Truth is a King

Truth demands our adherence, our conformity. There is no just, no correct argument against Truth, or therefore any just or correct way to act in contravention to Truth – indeed, no possible way, for there can be no way to enact a false or incoherent proposition. It might seem prima facie that it is possible to enact a falsehood. But not so. The only way we can possibly act is in a way that is in agreement with reality, and thus with Truth. We can certainly believe that we are enacting a proposition that is in fact false, and so shape our acts wrongly, as appropriate to circumstances that do not in fact obtain. Acts may err in their aims. But they must conform to reality, or they could not happen.

Consider: we can say, and even perhaps believe, that 276 + 943 = 1,119. But we can’t carry that proposition into practice, no matter what we do. I.e., we cannot demonstrate by our acts that it is true. The most we can do with 276 + 943 = 1,119 is mess up our behaviour. When we mess up a calculation, and then act on that error, what we end up doing is enacting a truth that is not quite apposite to the situation at hand: e.g., cutting at the wrong spot on the plank. The cut in itself is perfectly good. It does just what a cut should do. But it is inapt to our purposes. The defect, then, is not in the cut, but in its fitness to our intentions and apprehensions; which is just to say that the defect is in the fitness of our intentions or apprehensions.

A fortiori then is it impossible to contravene the Truth about how we ought to act. Acts that would contravene the moral Truth actually demonstrate it. Moral Truth is manifest in the disastrous consequences of any collision with it. E.g., you can act as if murder were licit, you can believe that murder is licit, and you can murder on that basis; but you can’t murder licitly. When you then reap the painful consequences of murder, you demonstrate that it is illicit. Or likewise, more concretely, when you ram your head into a boulder under the misapprehension that it won’t hurt, the boulder rams back.

If it is anything at all, Truth is a fact. And there’s no arguing with facts, there is only finding them out and understanding them, adapting to them, fitting ourselves to them. We have no choice in this, other than to begin to effect our death. Truth then is imperative not just logically and epistemologically, but nomologically; in its very being it has the character of Law.

But if Truth is a fact, it is a concrete being. There is no other way to be a fact – which is to say, an accomplished act.

Notice then that a truth is a proposition that has value to a being; in this is its facticity constituted. Truth furthermore comprehends all truths of all facts, including the facts of persons such as we. Comprehension can occur only in the larger, of the smaller. The atom cannot comprehend the bat. Truth comprehends persons. But only a person (or something yet greater) can comprehend a person.

So Truth is a person (or something yet greater). And because he is a fact who demands our conformity to his Law by virtue of his mere being, he is a royal person. Truth is a King.

27 thoughts on “Truth is a King

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  3. No offense intended, slumlord, but that really is kind of a dumb question, don’t you think? Surely you already know that “my country, right or wrong” does not exactly describe the general attitude among Traditionalists?

    • Surely you already know that “my country, right or wrong” does not exactly describe the general attitude among Traditionalists?

      Really?

      You see, traditionalists say this all the time, but what error exactly are they prepared to ditch?

      To quote G.K.C

      The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition.

      Take, for example, the role of women in society. As a datum point, let us pick the 1870’s. Was the societal treatment of women at this period of time (lets say in Western European society) in accordance with the truth of human nature and the Will of God?

      I’d like to know your take on the issue.

  4. Kristor,

    Greetings. If you have the time, I would be exceedingly interested to hear your response to an essay that I have often returned to over the last couple of years. It is entitled “The Mystery of the Two Natures” by the Perennialist Christian, James Cutsinger. I apologize for my interference- I certainly have no intention of hijacking this thread.

    Kind Regards

  5. The point is, we’re not your average “Tea Party conservatives” like Chesterton describes in the quote.

    You’d like to know my take on the role of women in society? What part(s) of their role would you like for me to denounce specifically, here and now (I’ve done so elsewhere many times, so it’s no skin off my nose)? I’m not at all prepared to defend the women’s suffrage movement for example, and would unilaterally repeal the 19th Amendment tomorrow if I could. That’s not a tradition I am ever going to embrace, … unless someone is able to convince me that the “right” of women to vote in elections makes any sense in the grand scheme of things. And that’s not very likely to happen anytime soon.

    • I have to agree with Terry, Slumlord. You’ll have to specify exactly what aspect of the social position of women in America circa 1870 you’d like an opinion on. Your question is too vague to answer; like, “what do you think about Great Britain?”

      • Kristor, right. I can’t be sure what exactly Slumlord is asking us to denounce. I can speculate, of course, but ‘the role of women in society circa 1870’ is a pretty broad category, so I’d have to speculate on a thousand different points. In general terms I oppose ‘female empowerment’, as is used in common vernacular, if that is what he’s getting at. Beyond that, I’m not sure how to answer.

      • Have never thought about those particular issues – they don’t interest me much – but I shall do so.

        Is it your position that these two innovations are traditional, or are they truthful? Or what? And, what are your arguments pro or con for whatever position you take on them? Not playing gotcha here, I’m genuinely interested.

      • Sorry for the very late reply.

        Is it your position that these two innovations are traditional, or are they truthful? Or what? And, what are your arguments pro or con for whatever position you take on them? Not playing gotcha here, I’m genuinely interested.

        Well, it would seem to violate natural justice that a woman, who is considered by the Church to possess moral agency, would be dispossessed of her property rights by the act of marriage. Furthermore, the traditional conception of marriage would defend the property rights of a prudentially bad husband over those of a prudentially wise wife. It was traditional society which enforced views and essentially gave justification to an injustice.

        The “radical” notion, at the time, of getting rid of this traditional convention, is in my mind correct and in accordance with natural justice. Therefore the innovation was an improvement and more accord with the truth of our understanding of the marital union than traditional understandings of it at the time. The traditionalists were supporting error.

      • Very interesting, thanks, Slumlord. I still have not thought about these questions much. Perhaps it is only my temporal parochialism speaking in me, but my first pass at the question is that modern community property laws are a good approximation of justice: what each party brings to the marriage is their separate property, except insofar as they intentionally commingle it; and what accrues to them during their marriage belongs to both of them as a community.

        I think it likely though that my apprehension that this sort of policy is just may be really only an apprehension of its justice *under the modern broken condition of matrimony.* There may be something in traditional matrimony that renders the traditional arrangements of property rights just and appropriate, safeguarding the interests of the wife better than the alternatives. But before I can be really sure of that, I shall have to learn more about traditional matrimony, which obviously began to go out the window long, long before the 19th century. I’ll not even opine about whether that process was just. I simply don’t know enough about it to have an informed opinion. I don’t even know where I would start to inform myself. Any tips from readers would be appreciated.

      • Kristor, I’m not trying to be a smart alec here but I think the whole “property rights” issue here is indicative of a far broader problem of the Right and also provides an insight as to why the Left always wins.

        Late 19th Century industrial society was a totally different beast to medieval Europe, this raised new social conditions and new social problems. Problems which did not have to be dealt with in the past. The problem for conservatives is that they kept applying the old solutions and would not allow for innovation, within the conservative tradition, to occur. Instead, liberals took the initiative and dealt with these problems in their own way outside of the conservative tradition.

        Religious conservatives act as if they have complete understanding of God’s truth and doctrinal innovation is impossible. I want to be quite clear of what I mean by this. Does the Right have a full understanding of God’s plan for man given that the Left’s understanding of man is false? Does God intend for women to stay at home in an industrial society whilst men work? Recent Catholic encyclicals would indicate not. Now this reappraisal of the female situation is not a concession to modernity but rather an improved understanding of the nature and roles of men and women.

        I’m not asking you to accept the Catholic Encyclical rather, the notion, that maybe there is more to learn about God and his plan for man than we currently know, and maybe deeper spiritual insight may be less prohibitive and more expansive. This is not a capitulation to the times, but rather the times prompting us to delve into our beliefs more deeply.

        Smart Christians knew that Christianity was in deep trouble at the end of the 19th C. And they were looking for a way out, the Nouvelle Theologians, which included Ratzinger, understood that we had to go back to the sources, but I don’t think that most of them had the intellectual acumen to work it out. Hence all thd trouble since V2. The project remains unfinished.

  6. But what if my gravatar circle felt like it was a square? Isn’t it hateful and ignorant to tell that circle that it’s a circle? Society ought to call that polygon a ‘square’ instead, out of respect. There’s nothing more disgusting and unloving than saying ‘you weren’t drawn with four sides and right angles, so you’re not a square.’

  7. Slumlord, thanks!:

    (1) The practice of women working outside the home should be greatly curtailed; there should be enormous social pressure placed on women to have babies, and to raise and educate their children at home. That should be the rule. Of course, every rule admits of the exception, but the exception does not eliminate the rule.

    (2) I don’t think it makes much sense in a Traditional society for women to have property rights independent of their husbands, and/or, their fathers if not married. Traditional societies encourage marriage and reproduction. …

    • Terry and Kristor

      Sorry that I haven’t replied but I have had computer issues and several other pressing issues which came up unexpectedly. Will give a reply in the next few days.

      • Understood. I rarely write from my computer anymore, but I do occasionally.

        I actually have a situation brewing in this connection regarding the proper role of women in society that you might find relevant to the discussion.

        I live in S.E. Oklahoma, where, as I’m sure you’ve heard, we are being inundated, almost on a daily basis, with torrential rainfalls. This has created many problems because of ground saturation, and so on and so forth. On a personal level, I live in a rural area where my property, like everyone else’s here, has its own septic system. As with many others, my system is not working correctly due to the aforesaid unceasing torrential rainfalls and associated problems. The only difference between my situation and several others I know about is that someone (anonymously) complained to the State about mine. Now, here is where the relevant part comes in:

        By law the state has to investigate such complaints, and to take some sort of effective action in the case. In my particular case I’ve been ordered to have my system replaced. Which I have taken action to do, but the problem is that ground saturation – caused by flooding – will not permit its being replaced for the time being. So the state is putting pressure on me to have it done, and in this connection they’ve filed legal documentation containing a “statement of facts” which conveniently omits all of the facts as per my compliance with their orders since day one.

        But here’s the deal, I’ve been very fortunate to have a male representative from DEQ assigned to the case. Working with him, I have successfully had several amendments added to the original order as well as several “statements of fact” removed, which protect me against certain types of liability due to things I cannot control, in other words, “acts of God,” or of nature. I know of several others who are basically in my same shoes, who weren’t so fortunate as I to get a male representative to investigate their particular cases. What I’m getting at in short, and as a general rule, is that power and women don’t go together especially well. I should hate to think how relentlessly the state would come after me were I forced to deal with a woman in the case. My problem would be, in that case, that she is the one with all the power, and she wouldn’t mind it in the least to exercise it with extreme prejudice, especially against a misogynist pig like me. 🙂

  8. I agree. Kings are overthrown on a regular basis, and so are truths. But I suspect that is not the point you were trying to make.

    • Correct. Truths can’t be overthrown. Nor can true kings, for that matter. At most, true kings can be usurped.

      But the post was not about human kings at all, but rather their archetype and Lord.

  9. Pingback: The Essential Disagreement of Religions | The Orthosphere

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