Posts Tagged With: Julien Benda

The Devaluation of Truth

“Cosmic Intelligence has given us a will, so that we can make it the instrument of our higher nature by placing it at the service of a high ideal. The first step is to understand and apply some essential truths. Once you have understood an essential truth, use your will to put it into practice, in the knowledge that this is the only way to understand it fully. It is easy to state truths; anybody can go and find them in the works of a few sages and then repeat them parrot-fashion. By doing, so they may gain the respect of a few people blind enough not to see how ignorant and weak they really are. But deceiving the blind is not a very great achievement! In any case, there are others, who see things clearly and are not so easily fooled: the beings of light in the invisible world. In fact, it is these entities whose respect we must earn, and we will earn it by applying the truths the initiates and sages reveal to us. These truths are true weapons, and we will never find better ones for winning life’s battles. But we need an arm to be able to use them – that is, the will to put them into practice.”

Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

Chomsky and David Barsamian

Years ago, I remember watching an interview with Professor Noam Chomsky with journalist David Barsamian. I can’t find the clip in question but the gist of it was that Chomsky was saying that most people in academia and research these days, professors, researchers, scientists, are in fact professional liars, they’re actually trained to be as such. At the time, I didn’t and couldn’t understand what he was saying given that the way academia works is that research papers are submitted for publication for respected journals and usually have to go through a rigorous process of peer-review and questioning, which is usually meant to flush out any inconsistencies prior to publication.

It is only recently I’ve come to understand  that truth has a relatively insignificant value in public intellectual life, in academic life, in literary life. Ideology matters much more. Personal comfort matters more. Careerism matters more.  As long as you can prove things in theory and on paper, you’re golden but never mind how those theories may play out in the real world or who it may hurt or what kind of havoc it can create it its wake once they are put into practice. Economists in particular  use a word, “externalities” in their models to account and justify some of these unforeseen damages but yet they do fuck-all about it just as long as they can get those additional letters behind their name, get a cushy job in academia or consulting and watch the numbers increase in their bank account and train other students to think and act like them, preferably using their own research and ideas to buffer up their own legacy.

This is really encapsulated in Julien Benda’s book, “The Treason of the Intellectuals”, which is based in this binary notion that there are two competing sets of values in the world: fame and fortune on the one side, truth and justice on the other side. The gist of Benda’s book is, the more committed you are to truth and justice, the less you’re going to see of fame and fortune and the more committed you are to fame and fortune, the less you will see of truth and justice.
Sometimes you will see those with fame and fortune try to pursue truth and justice to devastating effect and they end up being blacklisted like babe-alicious actor and activist Viggo Mortensen.
King Aragorn has become a silver fox. Mortensen went on the Charlie Rose Show once with a T-shirt emblazoned with "No Blood for Oil" - afterwards, his Hollywood career stalled with the exception of working with visionary director David Cronenberg.

King Aragorn has become a silver fox. All this and a conscience too (Le sigh). Mortensen went on the Charlie Rose Show once with a T-shirt emblazoned with “No Blood for Oil” – afterwards, his mainstream Hollywood career stalled with the exception of working with visionary director David Cronenberg.

Other times, it just comes off as disingenuous, fake and trite like Princess Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent effort to feed her family on $29 a week on a food stamp challenge… and threw in the towel after 4 days. It would seem to me you’re better off pursuing truth and justice and in the course of doing so, you may end up with the fame and fortune later on…but there is no guarantee of that either.
Gwynnie-poo's $29 haul which was supposed to feed her family for a week. Do you really need 7 limes?

Gwynnie-poo’s $29 haul which was supposed to feed her family for a week. Do you really need 7 limes?

I remember in the early 1990s, you could only get Chomsky books via special order from his publisher Black Rose Books at anarchist bookshops. Nowadays, there are whole shelves devoted to his titles in mainstream bookshops and people like Radiohead have his books on their tour buses. It’s been interesting to watch the pendulum shift.
Yeah, I get that "orange is the new black" but seriously, you should be wearing orange in a prison Hillary, not as a pantsuit.

Yeah, I get that “orange is the new black” but seriously, you should be wearing orange in a prison Hillary, not as a pantsuit.

I see this dichotomy now over, and over and over again in practically every sphere of modern-day life. Whether it is politicians with checkered pasts making bids for leadership like Hillary Clinton, shady but highly influential academics (and their lesser-known lackeys) with very specific agendas like White Anglo-Saxon financial and militaristic supremacy at all costs or yoga celebrities who are suddenly doing a 180 degree turn to be more “diversity-sensitive” when they themselves first perpetuated those very unattainable models of beauty and fitness and body image acceptance in the first place which now need to be dismantled completely in certain cases.
Not a lot of women will ever have a body and ability like this, with yoga or not.

Not a lot of women will ever have a body and ability like this, with yoga or not.

(I’m talking to you Kathryn Budig – you don’t go from modeling toeSox butt-naked as a white, thin, super-bendy blonde California woman to suddenly being the champion of  “loving your body” and “diversity” for people who are anything but white, thin, super-bendy blonde and from California. That’s almost as bad as when Christopher Hitchens went from Noam Chomsky to George W. Bush  in the course of one day during 9-11. You only jump ship like that if you’re already looking for an “out” or if you’re an ideological opportunist to begin with and wanting to join a certain bandwagon because it is popular or lucrative.)
The astrological climate suggests that this is going to be a relatively calm, drama-free spring and summer. Usually when things are calm and easy, people usually get a bit lax and put their guards down. With all these upcoming elections in the US, Canada and the UK, in fact I would argue it might even be advisable to strengthen them up a bit. I think most politicians are full of rot anyway but I can’t shake this feeling that many of us are going to be asked in one form or another, in our own lives, what we personally stand for and value. Is it truth and justice (which will be the hard road) or the easier route of fame and fortune?
Your call, folks.
Categories: Ascension, Ch-ch-ch-changes, Politico, Pop culture, Raise your EQ, Yoga | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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