The Trap Of Pragmatism

By Leo Gura - April 10, 2023

Here’s Richard Rorty, a popular contemporary academic philosopher and pragmatist, explaining pragmatism:

Pragmatism is a very alluring trap within philosophy. Especially for common-sense folk and business-minded folk who just want to get on with life rather than sitting around and endlessly theorizing in an armchair. The appeal of pragmatism is that it lets you say, “To hell with all these abstruse philosophical musings, let’s just throw all those ‘philosophical’ questions away and focus on living a good life. We don’t need advanced philosophy, we can just be very grounded, practical, rational, and ‘scientific’. Who cares how many angels can fit on the head of a pin? We don’t need to worry about metaphysical issues. We can just define truth as that which works and leads to better outcomes for mankind.” This is Rorty’s basic position (AKA, pragmatism).

However, do you see the problem? That will only work if it’s true! If it’s false it will not work. And it just so happens that it’s false that you can go about living life without concern for truth. Nor can you redefine truth to simply be that which is practical and leads to better outcomes. You cannot redefine truth in that way because that’s not what truth is. Truth is not utility nor survival, but pragmatism assumes it is or can be made to be without any material difference. As if nothing would be lost by equating truth with survival. But, paradoxically, something practical is lost in reducing truth to utility. Then truth just becomes whatever the ego finds convenient — which means a life enslaved to the self-serving needs, desires, and fantasies of an illusory ego — which comes with serious practical consequences. Years from now, when all your bullshit and self-deception comes due, that will not be mere theory, that will be painfully practical — like a punch to the face.

The issue of truth cannot be dismissed or ignored just because is sounds “academic” or woolly. The whole point is that truth is not academic, it’s ultimate reality! Just because the topic of truth confuses you, or leads many philosophers in endless circles, does not mean that you can safely ignore it, as Rorty would have us believe. If you don’t take the issue of truth seriously then you have no way of orienting yourself in life — which forever dooms you to false orientation and self-deception. You will not get truthful orientation by default or by accident. Truthful orientation requires serious mental and spiritual labor. The issue of truth is so serious that pragmatism itself turns out to be false, but a pragmatist cannot see this because he has convinced himself that truth isn’t important. And so he thereby orients himself toward falsehood. But good luck convincing a pragmatist of that.

If I tell you, “Truth matters”, and you respond, “No it doesn’t”, there’s nothing more I can do to help you other than to tell you that you’re fooling yourself. But to see that you are fooling yourself and how much this will be a problem down the road requires that you be able to recognize some semblance of truth. Which of course you cannot if you argued that it doesn’t matter to begin with — thereby creating a Catch-22.

It is not safe to assume that truth doesn’t matter, nor that you can reduce truth down to anything practical. In fact, truth is such a serious issue that truth CANNOT merely be practical. If truth were nothing more than pragmatics it wouldn’t be worth a damn and we wouldn’t be talking about it for 2000 years. Truth is too profound and too important to be subordinate to utility. Truth must transcend practicality because it is prior to the notion of utility, purpose, value, or meaning. This is what Rorty and the pragmatists fail to understand. If truth could be boiled down to pragmatics then I would be very displeased with GOD. GOD designed reality such that everyone who ignores truth will be punished, not by GOD, but by their own stupidity. And I would not want it any other way. Rorty’s punishment for treating truth so flippantly is that he never found GOD. That will be your punishment too unless you are careful. And there will be many more-earthly punishments as well.

When you decide to discount truth, GOD himself can no longer help you. Your care for truth IS how GOD helps you. Truth is the umbilical cord that connects every creature to GOD. Because GOD IS TRUTH! But if you cut that cord out of stupidity, then you’re doomed to a hell of your own creation. By discounting truth you disconnect yourself from yourself. Because, of course, YOU ARE GOD!

Now you might protest, “But Leo! Isn’t it unfair that GOD would doom stupid people to hell? What kind of GOD would withhold himself from the stupid? Why is GOD so elitist?” Well, you see, since GOD is Intelligence, it cannot be accessed other than through exceptional levels of intelligence. It’s not that GOD is withholding itself from the stupid, it’s that the stupid simply cannot fathom GOD, because GOD cannot be stupid, GOD is Intelligence itself. So either you rise to GOD’s level or you don’t get to see GOD. If you don’t see GOD there is only one reason: you’re not being intelligent enough. That’s it! GOD itself is not powerful enough to disclose itself to an idiot, precisely because that idiot is GOD. The only way GOD can disclose itself to an idiot is if the idiot cures himself of enough ignorance to realize that he is GOD.

The notion that the best kind of philosophy is one which rejects all philosophy to just focus on practical earthly matters, is one of the stupidest kinds of philosophy. You’d have to be a fool to think that this would work. Unfortunately, many of the best scientists and business-people have convinced themselves of this very notion. But if philosophy worked like that then philosophy wouldn’t exist! The whole conundrum of philosophy is that you cannot avoid philosophy any more than you can avoid a charging rhinoceros by burying your head in the sand.

Many people believe that they can avoid philosophy by being very practical, business-like, reasonable, and ‘scientific’. As if that wasn’t a philosophy! The issue is, Is that a truthful philosophy? And the answer is No! So it’s not that you’re outsmarting philosophy by avoiding it, you’re actually fooling yourself into doing false philosophy. It’s like you’ve entered a boxing match and decided to open by tripping and falling flat on your face because you’re worried you might get punched. And you’re convinced that this is the winning strategy. No! In life, if you fail to act wisely you lose by default.

That’s pragmatism in a nutshell. Pragmatism is one of most popular philosophies on the planet. It’s so popular that most people don’t even recognize themselves as pragmatists. It’s popular because it gives the ego a blank check to run hog-wild with its favorite activity: survival. Money, success, convenience, pleasure, fame, status, sex, power, family, tribe — all of this is now equivalent to truth, which is the very essence of devilry. The Devil is a pragmatist, for obvious reasons. The Devil’s notion of truth is anything that serves him — anything that’s useful to him. But that is NOT truth!

And yet, despite all this, the final paradox here that academic philosophy is so bad that I would rather have people be pragmatists than doing academic philosophy. This is the awful state of current philosophy in our culture. It’s embarrassing how bad humans are at philosophy. I would rather live alone in a cave than participate in the horseshit that is academic philosophy. There is hardly a single Western philosopher in the last 2000 years worthy of respect. They were all clowns and devils. So much debate, so many words, so little substance. None of them can render a satisfactory explanation of Consciousness, Truth, or GOD. I reached the ultimate understanding of reality despite all their bullshit. I spit on all of them. None of them comprehend GOD. Fuck you academic devils for what you did to philosophy. You turned the most important subject of all into a joke. I had to wade neck-deep through 2000 years of your horseshit to finally reach GOD on my own. So pardon me if I’m a bit bitter.

I’m trying to show you how to cut through all the crap and do some serious philosophy.

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