Saintly Thoughts

The Eternal Crisis

It is well-known to students of logic that there are two main strategies that may be employed when theorizing; argument from particulars (induction) or argument from generalities (deduction).  Most forms of reasoning about things (whether those things be abstractions or definite problems) employ some combination of both techniques, often without thinking about what they are doing.  And this is, on some level, how it should be; for, if one is always stepping back from the object of ones reasoning to consider the rules of reasoning underlying ones reasoning, one would likely never get anything done.  Still, as a general rule of thumb, different disciplines tend towards one or the other of these techniques.  It may generally be said that science tends to be more inductive and that ethics and theology tends to be more deductive.  Again, this statement is a bit of a chimera, for all thought is (on some level) inductive, taking as its starting place some aspect of our observed existence--for how could we think on something completely other than ourselves and our experience?  What tends to be different is that those disciplines which appear deductive take as their starting observation some aspect of the human experience which touches on perceived human hope or desire.  That is, humanity sees something which it perceives that it wants or needs and extrapolates this into something abstract and universal.  And thus we create the world of universals; whether of the Primum Mobile or of gods or of dialectical materialism or of human rights.  It is easy to laugh at this process for we invariably overshoot our mark and create ludicrous extravagances of the mind which, when we attempt to then apply them to our lived experiences, tend to either blow apart or fail spectacularly to accomplish their established aims--often accomplishing their opposites.  And yet, in as we appear to need such overarching stories of existence--explanations and cosmologies of human hope and desire--it seems unlikely that this process shall cease; for even as the sophistication of our more doggedly inductive methods of analyses grows ever greater (i.e. our sciences), it seems unlikely that they shall ever grow so dense in their knowledge that they shall compass the explanation of fundamental human desire, especially as these methods disappear into untold vistas of undreamed and undesired cosmological complexity.  And thus we will always need to create systems, however so flawed such systems are likely to be, to explain ourselves to ourselves.  And to simply ignore this problem is not a viable solution until we develop such that we become other than we now are.  And so our gods will always be in flux, whether we look to ourselves or to the universe itself, and our methods of interpretation and explanation may, insofar as they tend either to the inductive or to the deductive, always reasonably point to opposing interpretations of existence which may not be brought into any meaningful synthesis--creating an eternal crisis within the human spirit.