How to Become an American—or Non-American—Traditionalist, Part Three: Wisdom Through Intuition

[Part One is here. Part Two is here.]

Recall from the previous parts that traditionalism reconnects man with the true order of being and the wisdom of his ancestors, so that his life will be neither futile nor (like the leaders of liberalism) dedicated to evil. Recall also that the most important item of wisdom is the existence of the God of the Bible, a truth that has consequences for all reality.

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This series emphasizes how a non-traditionalist can make the life-giving change to traditionalism. Instead of laying out a description of the content of traditionalism and then asking the reader to decide if he agrees, we speak in general terms about the need for traditionalism. Most details will come later. And although we have used the phrase “American traditionalist,” non-Americans can also make this change.

*

How is the understanding of the order of being cultivated? Fundamentally through intuition.

Intuition is the faculty of knowing something immediately, without engaging in a formal process of logical reasoning from premises to conclusions. Intuitive knowledge is something you just know, and it therefore develops naturally unless it is actively opposed. Most people, for example, have, when they are young, an intuitive understanding that sex is holy and therefore not to be desecrated. But today people often become jaded and cynical as they internalize the false liberal view of sex that surrounds us. For such people the beginning of sexual wisdom is to start to reclaim their earlier, more innocent and more correct view of sex. And the way to awaken this sense is to pay attention to one’s deep intuitions.

Another important intuition is that the physical world is not the only world. Our most intimate experience of ourselves is of a mind, not just a body, and the mind, despite apparently being seated in the brain, is non-physical. Your consciousness does not take up space or have weight. Our minds are real, but non-physical. Also real but non-physical are the laws we perceive by intuition, such as logic and morality. Modernism cannot directly contradict the reality of these things, for all men know intuitively that they are real, but it denies them covertly when it questions God and when it makes tolerance and nonjudgmentalism the highest goods. In these ways, the laws of reality come to seem arbitrary and unjust, and the stage is set for their formal denial.

And there is the intuition that biological differences between species, sexes, and races are real. Modernity pretends that there are no essential biological differences, that all physical differences are of degree rather than kind, and that they are a result of evolution and environment rather than a God-ordained order. But intuition knows, especially when one is young, that biological differences are real differences, and not accidental features that can be overcome if we wish to do so.

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Intuition is key, for the most basic truths of the world cannot be proved in the sense of strict logical entailment in which statement B must be true if antecedent statement A is true. When it comes to the most basic truths such as the existence of God or the reality of morality, there is no universally agreed-upon strict entailment that connects statements together into a proof. And even if there were, we would still only be able to prove, by strict logical entailment, that if certain statements are true, then God exists or morality is real. Strict logical proof if is always conditional.

But this is no reason to despair. We have simply discovered an important feature of reality: that all thought is based on certain foundational realities that cannot be proved in the conventional and strict sense of the word “proof.” But this does not mean that we must choose our premises arbitrarily. It does not mean that man cannot know anything.

For the most important truths can be known, because there is plentiful evidence supporting them. It may not be “evidence” in a strictly scientific or strictly logical sense (although sometimes it is), but it is valid evidence. It is the correct evidence for proving what it proves. And to understand this evidence is to become wise.

Intuition, in fact, develops naturally in response to evidence that is observed, where “evidence” means any perception or experience that naturally generates the intuition. An intuition without any evidence to back it is nothing but a guess. (Sometimes it seems that we do have intuitions not caused by evidence. In these cases there was evidence, but we are not consciously aware of it.). Evidence leads to intuitive knowledge not through the application of formal logical reasoning, but as the immediate natural response to what is observed.

But intuitions can be mistaken. Since man is not omniscient, false beliefs are possible. And even a valid intuition is just a starting point. In order to test our intuitions and to expand our valid intuitions into wisdom, we must articulate them so that they are not simply felt, but are understood, and we must point to the evidence that supports these intuitions.

And as we shall see in the next post, man also needs revelation and repentance if he is to convert his intuitions into real wisdom.

[In the original edit of the post, I said “authority and repentance.” Authority is discussed later in this series, but the next part concerns revelation and repentance.]

[Part Four is here.]

10 thoughts on “How to Become an American—or Non-American—Traditionalist, Part Three: Wisdom Through Intuition

  1. Pingback: How to Become an American Traditionalist, Part Two: The Wisdom of the Ages | The Orthosphere

  2. Very interesting. So much of modernist philosophy is dedicated to suppressing the obvious: The things we cannot help but know. One of the first thing one realizes is that boys and girls are different, after all. Yet modern liberalism spends so much of its breath telling us how antiquated that rather obvious notion is. This is why I think liberalism, while it has existed for many a millennia in one form or another, could not thrive until the modern era. It was not until the modern era that we humans have possessed the capability to suppress such wisdom and get away with it to some degree. This is especially true with the dawn of the industrial world, and got even truer in our computer age where we can simply enter into a virtual reality.

    Perhaps this is one reason why Christ said that we must enter the Kingdom of God as though we were children.

    • I am still of the mind that modernity’s reliance on technology will be the death of it. Slowly but surely, they are losing the very human tools that enabled them to defeat the first reactionaries who rose up to stop them in France, De Maistre’s generation.

      Over time, technology and luxury has made them slow, unintelligent, decadent, weak, exposed. I believe we have witnessed the rather uninspiring apex of the Kali Yuga, the black age of modernity. It will largely be downhill from here. The only question is how quickly will it all disintegrate, and will bold men seize the mantle of power in the West before foreign influences extend the hand of imperialism.

      Time will tell. The Lord remains the end of all things, A to Ω.

      • I agree. However, it temporarily allows the possibility of liberalism run amok. The closest thing I can think of to compare it to would be a sugar or caffeine rush followed by the inevitable crash. It allows ungodly amounts of activity for a limited period of time, only to be followed by collapse.

      • I am a teacher in a small “Christian” high school here in the Deep South. My “Christian” students are literally eaten alive (on the inside) by cell phones and the internet-as-entertainment. They cannot follow a syllogism, they are incapable of linear thinking, and they are utterly uninterested in anything besides football games and rap music. They are functionally illiterate in the sense that they cannot (or will not) connect what happens in chapter three of a book with the things that were said and done in chapters one and two. We teachers (most of us are in our late 40’s to early 60’s) went to school back in the days when we enjoyed listening to smart teachers and/or professors say interesting things about worthy subjects. And we try to teach our students in this way…but it doesn’t work. I sometimes feel as if I am invisible when I am teaching, that I have become nothing more than a disembodied voice attempting to make sounds in a vacuum.

        And I am teaching “Christians” in the Bible Belt. I agree with you when you say that “modernity’s reliance on technology will be the death of it.” But the part that scares me so much is that modernity is the stew that all of us are cooking in; my students and their divorced and re-married parents are supposed to be the good guys. But they are stinkers. So who will rebuild once the whole thing crumbles? (For those of you who think that I am being uncharitable towards my students and their parents, you need to spend a few weeks in my shoes).

        You are of course correct when you say that “Time will tell. The Lord remains the end of all things, [alpha] to [omega].” But it is scary to think that our country is currently in the midst of something that cannot be compared to anything else. I don’t know what is coming next, and the not knowing is depressing.

        I wake up almost every day at 3;00 a.m., fretting about things that I cannot control.

  3. Pingback: How to Become an American—or Non-American—Traditionalist, Part Three: Wisdom Through Intuition | Reaction Times

  4. Pingback: How to Become an American Traditionalist, Part Four: Revelation and Repentance | The Orthosphere

  5. Pingback: How to Become an American Traditionalist, Part Five: Knowing About God | The Orthosphere

  6. Pingback: How to Become an American Traditionalist, Part Six: Other Authorities | The Orthosphere

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