When Stalin and successors ruled Russia, there was strict media censorship. You didn’t speak against the state. Nowadays there is no state censorship, yet the media kowtows as though there was. The censorship is self-imposed. “There is no person who tells [me] what you can and what you can’t do.“ says journalist Nikolai Svanidze, recently quoted in the Economist. “It is in the air."
Lot’s of things are “in the air.” In fact, that expression and concept is found here:
Furthermore, [it is] you [God made alive] though you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you at one time walked according to the system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience. Eph 2:1-2
The “air” of Ephesians has unfavorable connotations, much like the “air” in Russia. In both settings it represents an oppressive mindset. It also has “authority;" it is so pervasive that it molds people’s thinking without their being aware of it.
For example, a contempt of authority is these days “in the air.” National leaders, teachers, and police officers who once enjoyed an almost automatic authority, now find themselves challenged at every turn….not just challenged when they do wrong, but challenged regardless of what they do.
Is scientific, critical thinking…as the be-all and end-all…. also “in the air” today? I think so. An intense distrust of any input that can’t be quantified, analyzed and proven. If it in any way smacks of emotion, it is something to suppress, almost something to be ashamed of. But if we can put it in measurable terms…..ahhh, now we’re talking! Carl Jung dealt with ostensibly scientific matters of the human psyche. Yet instead of "abstract scientific terminology," he declared that he prefered dramatic, mythological terminology. It is more expressive, and besides, the former “is wont to toy with the notion that its theoretic formulations may one fine day be resolved into algebraic equations.”
Though it masquerades as the pinnacle of wisdom today, “critical thinking” is in reality a most shallow way of thinking. It is content to merely describe “magical” things, and yet imagines that by so doing it has arrived at understanding what these things are.
Here’s an example I've found on the internet of someone who thinks this way: a fellow named Ragoth:
I love music, and I play blues and jazz (as well as rock and metal). It's incredibly moving, often with very abstract themes. I also enjoy the feeling of love. However, I will readily admit that music is really just patterns of compressed air interacting with the ear and auditory networks of the brain. Likewise, love is a complex cascade of chemical signals carried out in the brain that affects the rest of the body. Does this take away from the "magic" of either of these? Not at all, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, to me, it's all the more wonderful to know that these are the kinds of things that molecules, in the right kind of order, can do.
Sheesh! That’s what music is? That’s what love is? Or has he not rather merely described some of its physical effects? The truly intriguing question of their nature….their “magic” as he puts it, he tosses aside as if it were the husk of the corn. Now, that would be fine if he realized he was doing it, but he appears to realize nothing of the sort. In describing physical effects, he carries on as if he’s solved two of life’s greatest mysteries.
I even hesitate to mention Ragoth by name (but I’ve overcome that hesitation) because it's hardly just him. Such thinking is increasing becoming the norm among today’s “critical, scientific thinkers.” It’s “in the air,” so to speak. People pick it up.
Here's one from Moristotle:
As I was publishing Tuesday's post, I felt vaguely uncomfortable that the photographs I was including were not of Monet's (or any other human being's) art, but of "Nature's art." I remembered that when I looked out a window in one of the galleries and spied the pond, I felt more drawn to it than to any of the man-made objects inside. And I supposed that individuals all over the world, of whatever religion (or irreligion) probably respond more reliably to the beauty of a lily pond than they do to any man-made work of art. Respond to Nature, that is.
He is drawn to nature. Aren’t we all, just like at the Plantation Gardens? Yet he’s “vaguely uncomfortable” about it. He fights it, as if it is something to be ashamed of, since he can’t scientifically account for it. (though they try to account for it…..via the ridiculous field of evolutionary psychologyin which every quirk of human nature is attributed to our ancient struggle for survival.)
In so many ways we sense intelligence behind physics, behind life, behind our environment, but critical thinking has us reject what we sense, at least until it can be confirmed by science….which it can’t be…..science has its limits.
Physicist Heinrich Hertz observed regarding the-then recent mathematics describing electromagnetism: "One cannot escape the feeling that these equations have an existence and an intelligence of their own, that they are wiser than we are, wiser even than their discoverers, that we get more out of them than was originally put into them." [italics mine] Little did he reckon on the determination of today’s critical thinkers, the ones who consider Mr. Spock their role model. They have indeed learned to “escape the feeling,” or at least not to let interfere with life in any significant way.
The aforementioned Carl Jung observed that belief in God or gods was near universal. He didn’t pass judgment upon this, but instead recognized it as a basic need of humanity. To ignore or contradict it in one‘s practice, he maintained, would be irresponsible psychotherapy. The next time I need my head examined, that’s the kind of guy I’ll seek out, rather than some modern-day critical type who declares: “first think we have to do is get rid of this nutcake religion!”