People Are no Longer Interested in the Way Things Really Are
I am still reading Ortega y Gasset – or more accurately a book about him by Pedro Blas Gonzalez. He was born in Cuba, but his family immigrated to Florida when he was six. His English can compete with any other philosopher’s – you frequently need a dictionary to understand him. The chapter I am on now is about borrowed opinions (page 120).
In a strict sense, the debate today turns on whether truth is manifest in the individual, in one person, or in the collective life, in the people.
For mass man – for nearly everyone, that is – the answer is resoundingly clear: in the people – in everyone else’s opinions.
However, and this is a really tricky point – everyone believes he is an independent thinker, and refuses to see the obvious: that his opinions are simply those of the crowd. People are not interested in the way things really are – they are only interested in what everybody else believes they are. This is the nature of mass man – or as I prefer to call him: post-modern man. Here is Ortega himself:
Mankind is not spontaneously open, predisposed, or receptive to evidence. Instead this predisposition is what an intellectual struggles to cultivate in himself: it is his technique and his craft.
However, another kind of intellectual is also much in evidence: people who lie cleverly. They tell the people what they want to hear – not what they should hear.
I buy so many books from Amazon, they often notify me of other books I might be interested in. Recently they sent me a list of recent philosophy titles. Almost all of them were pseudo-philosophies – often blatantly so. But they are selling well, because this is what people want: to be confirmed in their opinions.
I am also listening to Brian Greene’s The Fabric of the Cosmos, a summary of the latest developments in Physics. Listening to it (or reading it) you can see how scientists ARE interested in how things are – and actively engaged in learning from each other.
And, with a little thought, you can see why most people have rejected science. The search for truth does not interest them.
He goes on to show how mass man determines most of today’s political events. More on that later.