Ironically, only we fish out of water know that progressivism is not a set of views or a set of values, but a way of thinking that sends the waters of progress downstream.
And we have renounced this way of thinking.
Why have we committed such glorious treason?
Last month Mencius provided a characteristically insightful post on the path to dark enlightenment. I’d like to extend a metaphor he employed to show that there is no dark enlightenment – only dark revelation. He states:
For there is one brief moment in which the chick can conceive the concept of an egg. The moment before, egg is universe. The moment after - egg is eggshell.
Our difficulty is that we do not understand eggs and have no memory of escaping from an egg - only from an eggshell.
It is strangely curious that the egg appears to exist only when being turned to eggshell. When inside it, egg is everything. Once one understands it’s an egg, one instantly smashes it and emerges from it. It can perhaps be said that the egg never existed as an egg in relation to the being that smashed it at all.
What is this moment of egg-smashing?
All humans believe dogmas. Dogmas are symptoms of man’s eternal quest for understanding, byproducts of productive human culture, and regulators of social order. As fundamentally social creatures, dogmas inform our relationships with other people and shape our roles in families, neighborhoods, businesses, nations, and all other webs of human relationships.
Just as the chicken lays her egg not out of will but out of necessity due to her nature, man believes dogma not out of will but out of necessity due to his nature. Likewise, the egg shields the chick from what’s outside of it just as the dogma shields the man from what’s beyond it.
If an egg is a dogma, then the beak is surely inductive reasoning. The eternal quest for Truth beyond dogma is the urge to break out of one’s egg.
Upon breaking one dogma man acquires another. This is where the analogy breaks down – or does it? Upon emerging from the egg, the chick finds that there is something beyond it – something that constrains her still, which no beak can penetrate.
Even the most determined man is doomed to fail in his furious attempt to comprehend Truth. He may smash egg after egg for his whole life but he will always live within one. This illustrates, in fact, that though man cannot acquire Truth it can be said that he does experience its painfully elusive effects most acutely when most passionately smashing the eternal egg of dogma, like emerging from a reverse Matryoshka doll of infinite figures.
In seeking Truth we learn, modify, believe, and teach dogmas - our own truths perhaps. In seeking nothing with inductive reasoning man lives faith – the recognition that Truth is beyond our domain of understanding.
Could there be a man of perfect faith he would not believe there is no egg. He would realize it.
For man there is only the eternal egg of dogma.