Saturday, December 27, 2003

The Upshot of Oakeshott - 239 LexiLine Journal

A good friend of mine sent me the following link

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/27/opinion/27BROO.html

to a December 27, 2003 New York Times article by David Brooks
entitled "Arguing With Oakeshott". Brooks writes:

"One of the most important philosophers of the 20th century,
Oakeshott lived and died, in 1990, in England. As Andrew Sullivan,
who did his dissertation on him, has pointed out, the easiest way to
grasp Oakeshott is to know that he loved Montaigne and Shakespeare.
He loved Montaigne for his skepticism and Shakespeare for his array
of eccentric characters. Oakeshott seemed to measure a society by
how well it nurtured idiosyncratic individuals, and he certainly
qualified as one.

Oakeshott was epistemologically modest. The world is an intricate
place, he believed, filled with dense patterns stretching BACK INTO
TIME. We have to be aware of how little we know and how little we
can know." [block script added by LexiLine]

The "Upshot of Oakeshott" is contained in that wonderful phrase by
Brooks in recounting Oakeshott's observation that "The world ... is
filled with dense patterns stretching BACK INTO TIME". Recall, this
IS a list on the HISTORY of civilization....

The next time you read articles by scholars on man's history -
including the postings on this list - look BEHIND the words, phrases
and sentences - and ask yourself - WHAT is actually being said by
WHOM and WHY? - and WHERE did the uttered ideas, concepts, beliefs,
indeed, ALLEGATIONS, etc. come from? What "dense patterns" do you
see in the writer's historical view? Is the writer aware of how
little we know? Is the writer aware that the world is an intricate
place and has been for quite some millennia?

Let us take an example. Look at the megaliths. Is the mainstream
view simplistic or complex? Compare this view to the view of ancient
man that LexiLine presents. Do the mainstreamers see the dense
fabric of history? What view of the brain of man is manifested in
their writings - for our ancestors of only 5000 years ago - a mere
250 generations (of 20 years each) ago? Can stone age man have been
as primitive as he is made out to be by the mainstream? which would
mean that we have made radical changes in only 250 generations?

Or is Oakeshott closer to the truth? Should we EXPECT to find
carved "pictures" in stone, drawn by our ancestors in days before
pen and ink, and formal writing?

I think we should. Else our whole sculptural and painting talent
developed only in the last 250 generations - and that is not very
likely, is it?

Rather, as far as art, painting, sculpture, yes, and even astronomy
are concerned, "The world ... is filled with dense patterns
stretching BACK INTO TIME"... far back.

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