I had insomnia again last night and put on the audiobook of Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities. The best history is always disorienting, and this is premium disorientation, on the order of Inventing the Individual.
According to Anderson, nations and nationalism are a modern phenomenon which uses the past to construct an imaginary present outfitted with an equally imaginary history that provides it a sense of continuity.
Continuity, coherence, clarity are basic human needs, it seems. What varies is how we get these basic needs met — but the way we get them met can erase the variations in how we have gotten them. The continuity, coherence and clarity we have now consist in our sharing that coninuity, coherence and clarity with our ancestors. Human nature seems invariable precisely where it is most variable, but for the sake of what actually is invariable.
These periodic historical disorientations, along with my regular philosophical disorientations have given me a quite different sense of continuity — one of human beings looking for continuity and building it out of whatever materials are closest at hand.
How many “red pill” folks remember that the reality to which Neo awoke was just another dream within nested dreams?
In an epiphany, we experience clarity, renewed purpose and resolve, and we conclude: “this is truth.” But this could not be further from the truth. It isn’t that the epiphany lacks truth, it is that it the clarifying, galvanizing effect happens despite truth — at least “truth” as those who seek it understand it
To refuse to know this truth about truth gives a knowing person even more clarity and resolve — even greatness.
To exalt these epiphany-effects is to exalt the power of delusion.
We dream red pills, we dream waking up, we dream enlightenment, we dream reality and call it truth.
We dream wokeness or awakenedness to amass power over those who dream weaker, wider, more liberal dreams.
Our epistemic misnorms are our deepest misnorms.
Even generations get lonely in their time.