Here we continue our Road to Reason Series: a collection of blog posts dedicated to exploring how reason plays in today’s dominant global worldviews. Everyone has a worldview and uses reason extensively. We encourage you to consider which approach(es) you favor.
In the game of life, one rule is a person’s use of reason will usually decide her or his life’s results to a high degree. Here are our earlier posts in the Series:
Today’s Yellow Brick Road (Introduction to the Series)
We met the Wicked Witch in the Introduction to the Series (linked above), and we encountered her possible acolytes wearing Air Jordans in Series I (also linked above).
Last time we left Dorothy and the Scarecrow at a crossroads considering which yellow brick road to take. Well, they end up picking one together and skipping off to see the Wizard, which we know will multiply their adventures and compound their deadly troubles.
At this point we will not beat around the bush and try to extend the story’s suspense – it’s just too nerve racking for normal Americans, all knowing how it ends. Furthermore, our modus operandi at Praxis Circle is never to “hide the ball” of insights or knowledge. We will always strive to be totally straight with you and get right to the point at hand.
In this case, here’s the issue: How to eliminate the Wicked Witch? (She’s certainly trying to do that to Dorothy.)
With immediacy being our stated goal, we’re not going to take you now through all the scenes, characters, and Wizard’s deceptive delay tactics (with the broomstick “treasure hunt”). Ha! By the time Dorothy and her three friends enter the “I’d Turn Back if I Were You” black forest, every child in America watching is standing sideways to the TV screen, so he or she can’t see it.
No, we can’t take it anymore. The Witch must go and now!
Of course, the entire movie is a masterpiece of Americana laying out what has made us tick since inception. The Wicked Witch of the West is one of cinema’s most enduring characters, and Margaret Hamilton’s performance has few parallels. If you want to watch her in every scene, it is done so well for you here in two parts, one and two. It’s worth a close review because it provides an overview of all the corruption we face in America today.
Any “Wicked Witch” in Western culture will have obvious associations with the devil – traditionally the greatest arch-villain known to humankind. Many believe the devil exists in personal form or at least in essence as true evil in the world. History is loaded with evidence that this is true, though we must believe in truth, goodness, and beauty to get there. We aren’t saying we believe a red, pointy-tailed serpent-like creature is haunting us around every corner, though we sure see much evil afoot.
The Witch of the West tips her witch’s hat concerning good and evil when she talks about her “beautiful wickedness” – what’s destroyed when she meets her just end.
To try to define evil we should first take a brief look at select names that the devil carries around with him: adversary, enemy, tempter, accuser, deceiver, father of lies, mammon, thief, destroyer, son of wickedness, ruler of darkness, lawless one, murderer. These words suggest the devil is against light, truth, goodness, and life itself.
An important related question: Can the Witch’s wickedness be beautiful? Another is whether someone can be truly beautiful and wicked at the same time.(The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde offers an extended treatment here.)
In any case, we would like to suggest that the Witch’s self-applied description falls apart when one employs definition to “beautiful” and “wickedness,” deductive and inductive logic, and the rules of reason outlined in this Series. In sum, true wickedness can only be beautiful to the devil and his worshipers or followers; to evil itself. Truth takes on an aspect of warfare (good v. evil) that is undeniable, and, obviously, this has been recognized since ancient times. It’s that Revelation 19:15 property, again, mentioned in Series I.
Moral warfare is no less true today than when human beings were 100% agreed the world was enchanted, with much more historical experience supporting it now.
We hate to pick on the Far Left in America because we believe they’re well-intended, though distracted by other mixed motives (such as power, money, and sex).
But they are the ones denying truth & promoting relativism.
So, let’s lay out a few propositions, so we can quickly dispose of the Wicked Witch and move down the Yellow Brick Road to happier times:
- Don’t trust words.
- There’s no truth, only personal opinion.
- We believe in progress, but not in truth or goals.
- Absolutely no absolutes.
- No toleration of intolerance.
- The government knows best, unless elected by others.
- We’ll prove white patriarchy uses reason, being fake, to exploit other races, women, and classes.
- Don’t be conservative, except with the environment.
- All cultures are good (except ours), and no others believe that.
- The Far Left doesn’t exist, the Far Right being anything rightward.
What type of being would utter such contradictions? A demon, a game show host, a lawyer, a Speaker of the House?
Certainly a very confused one. But with similar words compounded over a long time period, we fear we’re hearing far worse than idiocy. Repeating known untruths in the form of rank contradiction is a form of lying.
Which brings us today’s central theme. It provides the one weapon guarantied to defeat the Wicked Witch’s beautiful wickedness, every single time it spooks you.
Three Laws of Thought
The Third Tool of Reason is Aristotle’s timeless Three Laws of Thought, centering on the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC). (Please see the post Series I of VI linked at top for the other two Tools, already introduced.) Because of its importance, the LNC is presented first, immediately below. If you’re really interested we suggest reviewing Stanford University overview in full, linked here. The LNC is the center point of all of Western reason. It goes beyond deductive or inductive logic and serves as reason’s ultimate given.
You need to decide if it’s worthy of your attention and why.
Just below, we show a second video outlining Aristotle’s two other laws that support the LNC, the Law of Identity and the Law of the Excluded Middle. To some, these three laws are the very essence of the vast right-wing, white conspiracy. These true believers see it as mystical to whites, like the saying inscribed in ancient times on the Oracle of Delphi’s walls. (“Know thyself.”)
In any case, we believe we are zooming in so close to wickedness now that we’ve called in a man of the cloth from the Roman Catholic Church to offer an overview. (You think we are joking? We are not. 🙂 )
While not everyone is familiar with the Law of Non-Contradiction, we all experience its reality when making choices or slipping into irreversible courses of action. Watch the video at top again. It’s the Scarecrow who uses reason he didn’t know he had to escape the Wicked Witch’s guards and lead Dorothy away. Once atop of the Witch’s castle, the escapees led by the Scarecrow find themselves at another crossroads; they must choose. Immediately, the Witch grasps the situation and splits her forces to trap them.
With her prey quickly surrounded, she knows from prior experience that she must destroy the brains behind her enemy first, the Scarecrow – and using fire is her first – and last – really big mistake. She chooses poorly! Truth cannot be destroyed and exists quite outside anyone’s opinions. It comes in many forms, but its properties are always the same. It always destroys error, as light destroys darkness.
There are no exceptions. The Truth in the LNC destroys the Witch’s beautiful wickedness every time we pour it on her. We brave believers must learn to do the same.
To round out our presentation, we offer this last instructional video to explain the Three Laws together (and their supporting logic): the Law of Identity (true inductive or deductive statements are true, not true for one person and not for another), the Law of the Excluded Middle (any statement is either true or false), and Law of Non-Contradiction (a statement cannot be true and false at the same time). In other words, as defined and experienced, truth is truth; when defined, clarified, and understood sufficiently, propositions are either true or false; and, finally, good propositions cannot be both true and false. The narrator discusses the Law of the Excluded Middle first.
Human reason worldwide accepts self-evident truths like people can’t physically be in two places at once or that someone can’t be both alive and dead at the same time. What happens in every day life is more critical than what happens at the quantum level. To clarify, we aren’t saying nature doesn’t present states of being in the middle between every known point on its natural spectrum or things in other quanta we can’t easily understand (much less experience or measure), and we aren’t talking about seemingly contradictory statements—someone can certainly be straddling two borderlines or be declared brain dead, while still retaining a pulse.
But truth itself is certainly binary, as are many analytical and practical options in life.
This completes our introduction to classical Western reason. In Series I and here in II we discussed our three basic Tools of Western Reason: the Deductive/Inductive Method, the Four Causes Scheme, and the Three Laws of Thought. As the last video suggests, our treatment is certainly not exhaustive. Human reason works in terrific detail, and philosophers spend their lives wrestling with these issues. But we believe our intro—when applied thoughtfully—will give you a reference point for considering other ways reason, logic, and truth are employed around the world.
We do want to comment on a proposition used as an example in the last video: “Jesus is Lord.” As we have said in the past, Christians are leaders in worldview thinking around the world because they believe Jesus came into the world to proclaim the truth as the Truth himself. No doubt, such a statement will be off-putting to many non-Christians as religious dogma. We hope it doesn’t bother you, however, because it shouldn’t.
(BTW, today dogma is usually the word ascribed important, true ideas by those who disagree with them. For example, from our point of view: “Theory is stupid dogma that’s killing America.” That’s where the U.S. seems to be right now: Spy v. Spy, T v. T, Truth v. Theory. If the past or the video at top is any indication, with God’s help, it ought to be no contest.)
To be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus Christ in the Way he suggests in the Gospels, the only detailed record of his life and sayings in existence. What is written there through his Word offers a set of principles and examples that unify Christians worldwide. Important here, one of those principles is that following Jesus is a 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year proposition. Indeed, God is Lord to most Abrahamic monotheists.
Furthermore, to Christians, anyway, “Jesus is Lord” means also quite clearly that the State is not.
In sum, using our heart and mind to make God or the Trinity our #1 priority is what faith is. Naturally, this is quite ok to Christians since God is Truth Itself, along with other characteristics God has revealed.
In sum, the gentleman in the video above concerning Introductory Logic is simply stating what all human beings believe to be true about all genuine Christians: Jesus is Lord.
We hope you can see why the Law of Non-Contradiction has deserved its own focus in this post. It’s that important. The rest of this Series will examine some specific worldviews to show how reason, logic, and truth come into play. Until then, we will leave you with Praxis Circle Contributor Roger Scruton’s answer on the importance of the Law of Non-Contradiction in philosophical logic and thought.
We do not claim that all apparently true proportions are reconcilable by human beings when they appear to be in conflict (apparent versus real paradox). Life does present genuine paradox that seems to indicate limits to human reason. We have a name for that, but will leave it aside for now.
However, what we do claim and what Sir Roger suggests is that, when important such contradictions do appear, human beings need to and usually do work overtime to reconcile them in truth. Indeed, when they find a new synthesis, they often arrive at an even better place for the world and God’s human beings in it. This is the long history of Christianity’s role in Western civilization, and it’s likely how our Creator God designed things.
So, yet again, it’s up to us . . . human heart and reason.
PS – One simply cannot get enough: A shortened version below with THE END OF HER.
So, “How bout a little LNC, Ms. Almira Gulch-on-Steroids?”
“What a world. What a world.” What a worldview.
There, now we feel better.