An English In Kentucky


















Friday April 19th 2019Tim Candler9


    Positive, Positivist, Positivism when used to describe thinkers refers to a 'faith' in the idea of rules, laws or whatever you want to call them, imposed by what's referred to as Human Authority rather than by Nature or by Reason Alone. And 'faith' is a word that should be distinguished from 'blind belief.' The whole point about faith is you're not absolutely certain, instead you have a degree of high confidence. Easy enough to have high confidence in Pythagoras' hypotenuse. But to have blind belief in anything subjects you to the possibility that under certain circumstances, such as the event horizon of a black hole, Pythagoras' theorem might not hold true and your event horizon traveling machine could come to a sticky end if you happened to have built your machine around the theorem. So best to test the theorem before flying into the black hole or you risk the same fate as those who reckoned they could fly by gluing feathers to their arms. All of which is good practice in scientific exploration but when it comes to human society the testing of the theory isn't really possible and always worth remembering our world is littered with very badly failed experiments.



      Pol Pot was a fan of Sartre, whose work I'd guess he would have read in the original French. He'd studied in Paris sometime in the late 1940's early 1950's and went home to become a teacher. Some minds might reject Sartre's work as a result of this association with Pol Pot. What Sartre said in his existentialist writings was something like this: We people are beings who create our own world. We do so by rebelling against authority over us and by taking personal responsibility for our own actions. Why we did this has to do with the idea that to be authentic, true to our nature, to our existence, we individual people had to have absolute freedom of choice, explore all the possibilities. And I think it's accurate to say that no way did Pol Pot apply any of what Sartre might have had to say to anyone other than himself and you have to wonder where Pol Pot put Sartre's idea of personal responsibility. One of the things about judging Sartre as a man and his understandings, is his rejection of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He reckoned the pat on the head would compromise his integrity. To often in the interpretation of the Idea, it seems to only belong to the enlightened, the rest of us it would appear need to be educated or reeducated. Indeed education was and still is a big thing for the Positivists.


Previous       Next