Saturday, 26 December 2015

What Can Be Shown, But Not Said

Philosopher A:

“Moral properties can’t be studied as neurons or protons are studied.
There are no microscopes for such things.
You can't trace them in a cloud-chamber.
They aren’t open to dissection.
And to claim that moral positions “expresses only feelings”
Is to shovel dirt on something both perfect and necessary.
Such socio-pickings at the moral body rob it of meaning.
Morality crucified by psycho-fact, number-crunching survey
And the dirty data which raids its own land.

You can’t - you mustn’t! - bring it down to nature’s low state.
It is a check on that very thing.
Something beyond it and, at times, inscrutable.
To naturalise is to rob a precious thing of value.

“Grubby little positivist!
Don’t you know that science’s realm is minute
Compared to the realms outside space and time?
So take your clinical hands off these things! -
Things which exist in abstract - though real - worlds.
All you have is a mere hotchpotch of facts.

“I can take you to these worlds.
But, firstly, take off your white coat.
Lift up that guard you call ‘science’- that prison of the soul.
The wall you place between yourself and the transcendent.

These other worlds don’t need you; or any of your kind.
You must grasp - and soon - the “hard fact” that you need them.
Your soul is a sham-soul.
A soul drowned in the mud of brutish fact.
One so stuffed with data - so blocked with evidence - that it chokes on what it thinks worthy.

“To repeat: you demand evidence for the truths which don’t display themselves under a microscope,
Or when tested for reality.
Experiments serve only to muddy the water
Between you and a clear-water reflection.
That vision of the untestable, unquantifiable, immutable.

“Keep your hands off this singular sphere!
You can't see its transcendent reality.
You haven’t the soul to do so.
So don't press-gang yet more storm-troopers for positivism;
To fight their colonial war against the transcendent.
Please keep your white coat within your white laboratory.
Let your dark mind look - with its microscopic eye - at those slabs of matter,
All sprawled out (corpse-like) on your clinical, white table.”

Philosopher B:

“You ask me - and my ‘kind’ - to step inside.
To show - not say – these possibles of worlds impossible to us.
The only requirement? A self-deluding metaphysics, like your own.
Such would help me leap that chasm between worldly fact and purer truth.
You imply they’re waiting for me – even me! - on the right side of the divide.

“Does this strange world somehow surround you?
Or is it within you?
Can you dip into it (whatever it is, wherever it is) whenever you feel like it,
Like a boy plunging into his own biscuit tin?
Who gave you the keys denied to men like me?
Who let you into the realm of abstract being, supra-natural properties,
And truths shown, but not said?
Shown only to those with a faith like your own.

“The things of which I must only speak, should be said clearly.
But the insubstantial things of which you speak
Can only be shown, not said…
Or so your preacher-teacher said -
That man you so adore.
That genius from Vienna.”

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