I pretended to be sold on the utopia the reprobate philosopher promised me. But I wasn’t. No amount of will-power could keep me from facing the problem of meaninglessness. No amount of fleeting and sinful pleasures could fully suppress the voice of God thundering in my conscience, either, as it declared: You are guilty. You are shameful. You are an adulterer, a fornicator, a thief, a drunkard. But I continued to make progress in my corruption, finding myself even more fully immersed in drugs and alcohol and reckless living.
I soon replaced Adderall and Oxycontin with cocaine and Xanax. I barely showered or slept. I became gaunt and vagabondish, catching up on sleep during the day after having been up all night binging on cocaine with strangers who loved me so long as I had money for drugs. Despite my chronic asthma, I was smoking three packs of cigarettes a night. And despite my complete disillusionment with philosophers, philosophy, and the evangelical atheism of bottom-tier “thinkers” like Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens – I would travel to work in New Jersey, through Manhattan, back to the Bronx with a copy of Deleuze and Guattari, or Frued, or Jung, or Derrida hoping to get something out of them.
I was attracted and repulsed, at the same time, by these writers. For on the one hand, they praised the virtues of their supposed freedom to think, say, and do whatever they wanted. Yet on the other hand, they had their own dogmatic assumptions about what kinds of thoughts, words, and deeds were acceptable, legitimate, and morally correct. I was attracted to them because of their will to create meaning where none existed. I was repulsed by their observable subservience to rules they had no control over. I was repulsed, moreover, because these men claimed to be heirs to Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher who more than any other clearly understood the consequences of rejecting the Christian system of truth and so, in light of that crystal clear understand, went insane, hugged a horse, and died a madman.
Cowards and hypocrites! I pontificated in the margins of their writings. Idiots! I preached under my breath as I read their treatises on the subway. I failed to see the irony of my moral indignation. I was blinded to the reality that I was still, even with the explicit rejection of my Creator, operating as one made in the divine image. I was filled with moral outrage. I was engaging in rational discourse. I was looking for a way to alleviate the cognitive dissonance created by my concrete experience of objective moral values, and my recognition of the objective nature of the laws of logic and mathematics, and my own desire to abandon those truths altogether.
I worked to get paid. I got paid in order to purchase drugs and alcohol. I got wasted in order to shut my mind off. I shut my mind off in order to delve more deeply into sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. And my conscience would still not shut off. You are guilty. You have abandoned your family. You are a hypocrite, just like the men you attack in your notes.
Picture this, then, if you would. A grown man guzzling Vodka from a tumbler, whose throat is numb from the sinus drip of consumed cocaine, sitting down in the middle of an apartment party, unable to remove his guilt of being a deadbeat dad and adulterer, and beginning to weep almost uncontrollably. This is the picture of an atheist who knew that something was not quite right with the life he had chosen. This is the picture of a man who was clearly living in violation of the law of God etched deeply into the very fabric of his being, and who yet refused to turn back to God.
I woke up in places surrounded by people I could not remember. I found myself in bed with people whose faces and names I may possibly never be able to conjure up. I found myself surrounded by upended beer and vodka bottles, empty baggies of cocaine, halved straws, vomit, and in some cases comatose women softly gripping glass bottles once filled with snortable heroin.
A Logical Conundrum
Whereas my former conundrum had to do with the problem of unity and diversity, the logical problem I faced at this time was simple: Upon what basis do any philosophers either assert p or deny p? If one asserts p on the basis of some prior proposition p1, then p1 is logically prior to p. p1 is necessary, whereas p is not. But if p1 is necessary, if it is a proposition more foundational than which no other proposition may be thought, then how could I know this to be the case? I had to believe it to be the case.
Now disregarding my former outspoken and hypocritical hatred of ever believing anything without evidence, assume that p is true. What does this imply about knowledge? It implies that knowledge is not a human construct but an objective reality that pre-exists human minds in general, my mind in particular, and transcends space and time. A proposition is a thought, a bearer of meaning. If, therefore, there is some bearer of meaning that pre-exists my thinking it, or anyone else’s thinking it, then it follows that there is a mind to whom this thought belongs. This mind cannot learn, for his thought is the foundation of all subsequently deduced truths. This mind, moreover, cannot be altered, for his thought, being the foundation of all subsequently deduced truths would contain within itself all other propositions.
If there is knowledge, in other words, then there is a system of knowledge, for any assertion p depends upon a previous assertion p1. And if there is a p1 from which all truths may be subsequently deduced, then there is a mind to which this assertion/thought/proposition/bearer-of-meaning belongs. This mind is immaterial, transcendent, universal, unalterable, omniscient and, by implication, omnipotent.
So if there is a single true proposition, then that proposition is either (a.)the first axiom in a system of propositions or (b.)a part of a system of propositions ultimately dependent upon a first axiom. If there was knowledge, then there was, of a necessity, an immaterial, transcendent, universal, unalterable, omniscient and, by implication, omnipotent mind.
Needless to say, this annoyed me to no end.
[Continued in Pt. 6]