The people know best, and the elites know nothing. I would like to demonstrate this fact with reference to the knowledge of elites themselves, and compare this knowledge to the understanding of the people. I argue that wisdom, or reason, can balance between the factual nonsense of elites, on the one hand, and the real understanding of the people, on the other. This balance must prioritise the people over the elites, in essence dissolving the elites in the waters of the people. Because the elites do not really exist as a class; their existence is completely anomalous, as there is nothing that distinguishes them from the people. The elites are idiots. They are madmen, and criminals, looting ideas from better men. Let me give some examples.
In academia, there is a cult of personality around academics who can come up with nonsense propositions and make them look justifiable. Take Quentin Skinner, who claims to reinvigorate the thought of Thomas Hobbes and Niccolo Machiavelli through the linguistic philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Seemingly ignoring the ways in which Wittgenstein’s linguistic turn echoes the ontological critique of Martin Heidegger and the critique of technological modernity, Skinner takes the English version of Wittgenstein in J. L. Austin and argues that the history of ideas is the history of words. So, when Hobbes is talking about the state, he is really talking about the word ‘the state’ and how it has evolved over time. What a ridiculous and reductionist idea. And yet — hundreds of intellectual historians worship the guy.
Take the sphere of statistics, and the modern journal paper cult of mathematics. Using statistical tests is the new scholastic maxim of truth. If you don’t get the right result, you fail. But it is so damn easy to manipulate statistics to get the result you want. As Kurt Godel argued, the myth of completeness in mathematics is the root of many philosophical and mathematical errors. Godel is one of the greatest mathematicians of the last century. Tell that to the next academic who tries to write a journal paper with uncritical reference to the cultish school of statistical analysis. As Michel Foucault and Charles Tilly, historians of science and politics, respectively, have argued, ‘bio-statistics’ is a useful tool for the modern state to discipline the body and keep us in check with rounds of hospital checks and ‘therapy’ for the soul. It is Orwellian and disgusting. It is the way the world works. But that doesn’t make it right. It means we have to change the world. So for God’s sake, change it.
Take music, and the cult of Jacob Collier. Fourths are minor, fifths are major, and diminished fifths are a balance between the two. The first two ideas are Jacob’s; the third is mine. I am grateful to Mr. Collier for setting up the thesis and antithesis. My synthesis emerges from my songs, like ‘Shadow’, and Jacob’s propositions are more plain, for someone who uses immensely complicated chords in his own music. His theory is simple and his practice complex; I prefer a complex theory and simple practice, because I know that music should be enjoyable, above all else. Theory is interesting when it is complex. Music is enjoyable when it is simple. I can only presume Jacob makes enjoyable theory because his music is not enjoyable, and merely interesting. It is an upside-down musical philosophy, rather than a true philosophy and practice of music.
I have met people in academia who believe simultaneously that we can satisfy truth-denying criteria for success while also speaking the truth. This is absurd. We cannot succeed by constructing a monument of truth in a world that is patently false. We must live in the shadows, and with the shadows, while pointing out that they are, in fact, shadows. We must live alone, and let go of these false hopes and delusions of grandeur, while also rejecting the misleading path of careerism. We must say no to everything except what fills our hearts with joy, for this is the first and last truth of all philosophy. In the death of music and art itself, we must take refuge in the joi de vivre which seemingly animates Collier’s music but rather is denied by its limited scope and refusal to engage with the reality of death. For life itself is a kind of death, and death a kind of life. We must mourn the living, and the lives we continue to lead. We must turn our worldview upside down, while respecting what has come before us. We must change this world, while maintaining continuity for the sake of stability. We must serve the people, and abolish the elites, while maintaining their knowledge through the wisdom of true philosophers, true technicians, and true musicians. The false idols must fall. Truth will prevail.
Let it be so.
Disclaimer: Any similarity between names mentioned and actual individuals is purely accidental and largely theoretical. These are fun ideas to entertain but, as always, I may be mistaken. After all, what do I know?