Morrison Swift describes the fate of John Corcoran, who
unable to find work ended his life by drinking carbolic acid.
Swift's point was to demonstrate how absurd men were to suggest that
suffering contributed to absolute goodness.
In those days the argument amongst many, was that we
lived in a river headed up toward the city on a hill. The idea was
Hegelian in it's magnificence and contributes still as an adjunct to that
idealism of nationhood. The ship of state with adequate process,
rather than something like good, at the helm.
in one of his essays, uses Morrison Swift's description of Corcoran's
suicide to argue for pragmatism. Practical solutions to real
problems, rather than a belonging to an order of things.
Certainly these particular thinkers had their debates in
the 1890's, nonetheless the debate is a perennial. The ideal and the
practical are with us like giant oaks which were saplings three, four
thousand years ago. James suggested that practical minds were just as
inclined toward an idealism. Wrapped up in the detail, the big picture
A reputable argument would require a reputable mind,
and an attention span not limited to less than one page. However my
version of it can be summed up too simply with the phrase 'truth is
important'. Here I do not mean the tax return or tomorrow's weather, I
mean the vacuum that exists without truth.
Those thinkers who have done away with the objective
by replacing it with the analytical might well have done proper work, and
might well be quite accurate. But the vacuum they leave is usually
filled by those predictable ideas that provide for a sense of belonging,
rather than something that might actually be real or true.