Book Review: The Death of Reality

deathofrealityby David Norris10/6/16
by Lawrence Dawson (2015 edition)  •  This is an important book.  If one wants to delve into the roots of political correctness, the perversion of language, and the poisoning of perceptions of reality, then read what the author reveals about a little known Austrian ‘philosopher’ and academic named Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Ludwig Wittgenstein was a Jewish intellectual, born in Vienna (1889) to one of Europe’s richest families.  From his maternal grandmother’s influence he was raised a Catholic.  He was a stutterer and was long confused about his sexuality.  There was a deep vein of depression that ran through his family which saw three of his brothers commit suicide at a young age.  Ending his life prematurely was an issue that he dealt with for the rest of his life.  He died of unknown causes in the spring of 1951 in England.

Ironically, this man who suffered from so much uncertainty about who he was, along with his difficulty in communicating, would wind up writing a treatise on language that was supposed to guide others to a better understanding of each other and the world through communicating with a new language.  He really had the best intentions after all.[pullquote]The political progressive left has made a successful assault on reality-founded knowledge, and has substituted ideologically generated beliefs in its place.[/pullquote]

Similar to the infamous Frankfurt School that we now recognize as a source of the leftist/progressive ideology that permeates American academics today, Wittengenstein was a peripheral member in a group known as the ‘Vienna Circle’ which, like the Frankfurt School in Germany, ran away from Europe to seek asylum from the Nazis, only to bring their delightful philosophies (contagions) with them.

Some say that Wittgenstein was a misunderstood genius and that his works have been misinterpreted and misapplied.  This may be true. However, it is essential to understand how these ideologies are created and then spread, often with the best of intentions.

Dawson gives example after example of how “Wittgensteinianism” has played a role in the corruption of language, and the obscuring of fact and reality, regarding the ‘clients of oppression’, such as women, blacks, homosexuals, etc.  He also examines how scientific thought and research (bogus global warming theories) has been polluted as well.

The Death of Reality documents that a politically-inspired unreality has been imposed on the American culture. The political progressive left has made a successful assault on reality-founded knowledge, and has substituted ideologically generated beliefs in its place.  These beliefs are increasingly immunized from correction.  Wittgenstein’s theories ‘prove’ reality is a mere opinion, and not factually based.

The book argues that the left has taken on a totalitarian character following its complete domination of the national mainstream media and the American university system.  Control over information and knowledge has given them the power to enforce political unrealities in the areas of the environment, race, gender, sexual proclivities, and even science.  This book aides the reader in recognizing the absurdities of modern ‘group think’ and to center on facts in this age of confusion. • (988 views)

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21 Responses to Book Review: The Death of Reality

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    The ultimate problem, of course, is that those who choose to live in unreality are likely to be forced to face reality at the worst moment. Unfortunately, they have enough power (or at least influence) to take down America (and maybe even the civilized world) with them. I doubt Orwell was familiar with Wittgenstein, but he was certainly well aware of how corrupted language could be used by totalitarian demagogues.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    the ‘Vienna Circle’ which, like the Frankfurt School in Germany, ran away from Europe to seek asylum from the Nazis, only to bring their delightful philosophies (contagions) with them.

    Something like the Californians fleeing the Golden State for Texas? We hope they don’t bring their infection with them.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Wittgenstein’s theories ‘prove’ reality is a mere opinion, and not factually based.

    Wittgenstein’s Magnum Opus was titled, “Tractatus Logico-Philoslphicus.” This hefty tome is written in mathematics so few can understand it. Such writings leave, anyone who wishes to claim they understand them, a very wide latitude for mis-interpretation and mis-use.

    It should also be mentioned that Wittgenstein was a student of Bertrand Russell, that loathsome logical positivist. But Wittgenstein was so brilliant that Russell gave up philosophy after Wittgenstein’s criticism of his writings. So, perhaps Wittgenstein did the world a favor.

    As to the question of “reality”, I am not sure Wittgenstein’s writings claim “reality” is a mere opinion. I would say they claim that words are not able to adequately describe “reality”, particularly higher or spiritual reality and the meaning of existence. I tend to agree with him there. Words are not the things, they are merely poor representations of the things.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      In his later books in the Advise and Consent series, Allen Drury would occasionally refer to “England’s oldest, most doddering peer” as a leftist activist. When a friend informed that Bertrand Russell was a peer, I understood who it was immediately.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I read an interesting article recently that posited that the ability for language is a quite major thing (one of the foundations of human exceptionalism). If I can find it again, I’ll post a liink.

      I’ve vacillated on this topic. Are words the mere expression of thoughts that precede them? Or are words themselves, like stone and mortar, the ingredients for constructing complex thoughts in the first place? Or is it some combination of the two, perhaps depending on what type of thoughts?

      Something inside my own head, soul, heart, and tongue tells me that there is a lot going on already that is then expressed through words (often very imperfectly).

      And yet I also think we are all “Guitar Hero” experts in thought, reasoning, and logic (feeling damn near omniscient) until we try to express these thoughts and either find them wanting and/or our skill in language to be wanting. (Which is which? I don’t know. We might be very intelligent but not articulate.)

      But I do know, or have very good reason to suspect, that one of the ills of our time is the “Guitar Hero” phenomenon whereby inside our own heads, we are all geniuses. I think sound bytes and other pre-packaged nostrums help to protect many from the realization that they don’t know all that they think they know (which I find especially common amongst libertarians).

      There’s also this very deep metaphysical Thomistic idea of the potential and the actual, which is likely too esoteric to have much relevance in the real world. But it’s interesting in considering that life itself is an expression of the actual from the mere potential. If God is complete unto himself, why us? Why anything? This is a gigantic mystery. But we can be reasonably sure that it is the acting out of our lives (not without thought, of course) that makes us alive and gives us meaning. We were not meant to sit in a chair and live inside our heads. A thought, at least for us, is not enough.

      And that’s another danger of thought and words. Mental masturbation can ride along side-by-side with the “Guitar Hero” syndrome, masking our lack of knowledge and understanding. Words themselves, disconnected from thought (or at least a deeper truth) becomes mere intellectualism and/or the tools of those who may be intelligent but whose skill with mere rhetoric can mask bad ideas or just dishonest ideas.

      I really don’t know where language fits in the hierarchy of things, but I highly suspect that without language, our thoughts would remain mostly inchoate, nice “Guitar Hero” vague beliefs and delusions, enlarged by ego and so perfect in their untested simplicity.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Note that Orwell posited in his 1984 afterword on Newspeak that one goal was to make certain thoughts — such as the principles of the Declaration of Independence — impossible because there would be no words to express them.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Are words the mere expression of thoughts that precede them? Or are words themselves, like stone and mortar, the ingredients for constructing complex thoughts in the first place? Or is it some combination of the two, perhaps depending on what type of thoughts?

        I believe your last sentence is probably closer to the truth. Think of how the cycle of birth, life and death must have effected early humans. It is said, humans are the only beings who understand that they will die. So the search for understanding of this cycle would have been a huge motivation for developing thoughts and words beyond the merely material.

        I believe abstract thought and the ability to develop language which expresses such thought, however imperfectly, indicate that something other than evolution is going on.

    • That Wittgenstein was a mathematician is absurd. I am a mathematician who has developed quantum-dimensional geometry which is replacing primitive quantum mechanics in physics and know Witt did not have a mathematical mind. His most influential work is “Philosophical Investigations” by which he deconstructed language by attacking Augustine’s view of language that words are given meaning as an objective reference to external reality. Witt deconstructed language by asserting word categories were collections of dissimilar objects given common meaning by social agreement alone. It doesn’t matter if Witt believed in “reality.” It only matters that his deconstructed language could not describe external reality.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        That Wittgenstein was a mathematician is absurd.

        Clearly words do not describe external reality to you, as no where did I say Wittgenstein was a mathematician. Using mathematics does not make one a mathematician in the sense of a Gauss.

        Wittgenstein studied engineering which uses math. He was interested in aeronautics which uses math. His reading of Russells’ “Principles of Mathematics” impelled him to visit England and personally meet Russell and become his student.

        Now you may go back to your alternate reality.

        • If your concept of mathematics is restricted to Gauss (statistics and non-Euclidean geometry) then I guess my comments could constitute an alternative reality. However, Witt’s “proposition 6” in Tractatus uses mathematical functions.
          “At the beginning of Proposition 6, Wittgenstein postulates the essential form of all sentences. He uses the notation [ p ¯ , ξ ¯ , N ( ξ ¯ ) ] {displaystyle [{bar {p}},{bar {xi }},N({bar {xi }})]} [bar p,barxi, N(barxi)], where

          p ¯ {displaystyle {bar {p}}} bar p stands for all atomic propositions,
          ξ ¯ {displaystyle {bar {xi }}} barxi stands for any subset of propositions, and
          N ( ξ ¯ ) {displaystyle N({bar {xi }})} N(barxi) stands for the negation of all propositions making up ξ ¯ {displaystyle {bar {xi }}} barxi.

          What proposition 6. really says is that any logical sentence can be derived from a series of NOR operations on the totality of atomic propositions. This is in fact a well-known logical theorem produced by Henry M. Sheffer, of which Wittgenstein makes use. Sheffer’s result was, however, restricted to the propositional calculus, and so, of limited significance. Wittgenstein’s N-operator is however an infinitary analogue of the Sheffer stroke, which applied to a set of propositions produces a proposition that is equivalent to the denial of every member of that set. Wittgenstein shows that this operator can cope with the whole of predicate logic with identity, defining the quantifiers at 5.52, and showing how identity would then be handled at 5.53-5.532.” (I apologize that the mathematical notions do not print) LD
          The point is that the deconstruction of language of “Philosophical Investigations” is an anti-mathematical point of view.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            So Wittgenstein did in fact use math in Tractatus, which is the point which I wanted to make.

            No problem with mathematical notations not printing. I could not understand them when I first looked at Tractatus, and I don’t think my math skills have improved since then.

            I will have to look at “Philosophical Investigations”, but I will take your word for it. “Tractatus” put me off reading any further complete tomes by Wittgenstein, but I have found abridged writings by him to be very interesting. In fact, his writings on language have had a strong influence on my thinking regarding words.

            • Be aware that it is considered that Wittgenstein reversed himself in his last work “Philosophical Investigations.” He is considered a linguistic “positivist” in “Tractatus” (i.e. words have objective referents). In PI he argued words were given meaning by “fiat” that is, categories given meaning by social agreement and did not identify objective reality. PI is a polemic and easily understood by the layman, unlike Tractatus.

  4. David N. says:

    “As to the question of “reality”, I am not sure Wittgenstein’s writings claim “reality” is a mere opinion. I would say they claim that words are not able to adequately describe “reality”, particularly higher or spiritual reality and the meaning of existence.”

    KFZ – I agree with you that this may have been Wittengenstein’s original point, and I also agree that words don’t always convey the depth of finer things. However doesn’t a society or a civilization require some sort of common structure of understanding and communication in order to exist?

    Somewhere along the way his writings were misinterpreted, or more likely, were corrupted in order to establish the notion that ‘all reality is relative’, it just depends on whose talking about it. Today, if the person speaking belongs to an oppressed or protected class ‘their truth’, ‘their reality’ is valid. If you are part of the ‘oppressor’ class, then your reality, becomes only your opinion, and because it is only an opinion it can be rejected out of hand and replaced with whatever words or concepts the oppressed or favored class chooses to use.

    To me this is no mere philosophical debate, but is rather a tactical effort to find a way to destroy the fabric of western culture through a fascistic manipulation of language.

    By the way, I was surprised when I noticed that this book was written twenty years ago. Yet another author was sounding an alarm to the American people back then. Between then and now, how much deeper and wider has the scourge of political correctness infested America?

  5. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    doesn’t a society or a civilization require some sort of common structure of understanding and communication in order to exist?

    Yes!!! This is one of my fundamental tenants about the world. Societies do not function on a theoretical basis. They deal with concrete situations. This is why I often tire of the zealots, both Left and Right and Libertarian who take all their beliefs to extremes. One of the signs of maturity is recognizing that all situations are not black and white and a balance must be found between security/order and liberty. Another sign of maturity is the realization that mankind is flawed and that even if we weren’t, our needs and desires bring us into conflict with others. The founding fathers understood this.

    Thus societies set up frameworks around which their members are expected to operate. Much latitude can be given, but parameters and guidelines must exist. That is why philosophers are much less important that prophets and priests. It is around religion that societies have been formed. It is only the Left which has tried to build society around a strictly secular philosophy. If God did not exist, he would have to be created.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      True, but I think his point related to language: you can’t communicate well when some people choose to interpret words/phrases differently, or use different ones (a problem with multilingual societies).

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        you can’t communicate well when some people choose to interpret words/phrases differently, or use different ones (a problem with multilingual societies).

        True enough. A nation, in the old sense of the word, developed around a common language. For example, Standard French became the Lingua Franca (sorry for pun) and eventually caused the death and near death of many regional dialects and languages. After Napoleon, virtually all educated people in France understood French. Words come to have common meanings in a society and these help bind a society together, over time.

        Mis-use of language is nothing new. Those who choose to interpret words differently have their own agendas and existed before Wittgenstein. Even Marx, Engels and their ilk were not the first. The problem is we have allowed these nihilistic nematodes to burrow into the very entrails of society and they now control the commanding heights of our education system. They have used this power to spread confusion and delay, to quote the Conductor in “Thomas the Tank Engine.”

  6. David N. says:

    “…nihilistic nematodes…”

    I love that phrase KFZ, it reminds me of “coelenterates and bed-bugs”, mind if I make use of it on occasion?

    “Mis-use of language is nothing new. Those who choose to interpret words differently have their own agendas and existed before Wittgenstein. Even Marx, Engels and their ilk were not the first.”

    You are correct about that. What is that quote from “Battlestar Galactica”…”All of this has happened before, and it will happen again.”

    Recurrence.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Be my guest with “nihilistic nematodes.”

      A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, nihilistic nematodes of the Empire were eating away at the forces of the Republic

    • Gibblet says:

      “All of this has happened before….”

      The mis-use of language can be traced back to the conversation between the serpent and Eve in Genesis 3.

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