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    In two articles so far (here and here), I have been exploring how justified the new atheists’ appropriation of Darwinian ideas is. This is the third and final post.

    As we’ve seen, Erasmus Darwin was a quintessential legatee of Enlightenment prepossessions. As its somewhat virtue-signaling name implies, the thinkers of the Enlightenment wished to distance themselves from anything that smacked of religious “superstition.” This led to the determination to declare a unilateral declaration of independence from the metaphysical sphere in favor of purely “scientific” modes of explanation.

    Yet in the face of the last century of scientific discoveries we have come to realize that hubristic expectations stemming from the Enlightenment dream of encompassing the whole of reality in some grand material theory of everything have been forced into a reluctant retreat.1

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    In Plato’s Republic, we witness a dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon, in which Socrates presents his arguments about reality and knowledge. It is one of the most famous parts in the Republic, known as “The Allegory of the Cave.” In order to show the importance of education, Socrates tells a story about a group of people who are chained in a cavern, unable to turn around, who only see shadows that are projected on the wall by “the exhibitors of puppet shows,” who are also isolated from the prisoners in the cavern.

    Since the prisoners are kept from seeing the real world, they “deem reality to be nothing else than the shadows of the artificial objects.” These prisoners are half-human at best. They are kept in the dark, as it were, and not only are unable to fulfill their potential but also have no means to communicate with one another or the world outside of the cave about the unreality they witness. The illuminating power of reality is lost to them. In order to know and be awakened, the prisoners must be able to move their bodies first, and then tend to their souls by way of education. For Socrates, a life in such darkness is no life at all, and while the masses may be content with living like this, it is a philosopher’s task to bring about his own illumination and insight by goading such confrontations with it out of others.

    Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” has been used quite frequently in our culture. One of the reasons is that the text is perennial and it maintains that human nature does not change, despite the passage of time. Now, Plato’s dark cave is even more appropriate because we are living in the midst of the digital shadows imposed on us. There is a never-ending repertoire of ideological “puppet shows” brought on by the corrupt media, ideologues, and their political regimes. While they keep people in the cave, they also use them as both participants in and spectators of their plans. We are part of the gladiator spectacle, where one day you are in the ring, another you are a spectator. That is, if you let life devolve into that.

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    With societal turbulence all around us, many people feel that we are locked in some great and portentous struggle. But because it is so pervasive and multifaced, the nature of this struggle is not readily obvious. There are many fronts on which this struggle is being fought: racial relations, education, healthcare, popular culture, financial system, and freedom of speech, among others. It is not easy to make sense of it all, especially since the battles are highly pitched and emotions are running very high.

    What characterizes these battles, besides their intensity, is deep polarization. The possibility of the warring camps coming together and meeting on some common ground seems to be growing more distant by the day. There is even talk that the two sides will either come to blows, or they will each go their own way in some form of secession.

    The great battle of our time is a battle about the very nature of reality. More precisely, what the two sides war over on the most fundamental level is what constitutes truth and how it should be determined.

    Gaslighting is now an integral part of the left’s every move, and it is sowing confusion and wreaking havoc everywhere. The gaslighters have already managed to disorient many people and weaken their hold on reality. They correctly sense that if they can press sufficiently hard, they will be able to take advantage of the disarray and implement their godless, nihilistic, inhuman, love-deprived and freedom-negating agenda.

    Should they succeed, we will find ourselves living in a dystopian nightmare ruled by totalitarians.

    That’s why the great battle of our time is the battle for reality against those who aspire to negate it.

    This is what the current struggle is ultimately about.

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