As mentioned before, in our search for either meaning or purpose behind human existence and human history, we are confronted with either one of two possibilities or routes. For one, we are confronted with the absurdism of Camus and the nihilism of Nietzsche as an explanation for human existence and human history – which in turn render human history and human life difficult to cope with. Or, we are compelled to reckon with a cosmological and universal explanation and purpose for human existence and human history à la Hegel and Kant.
Also, with a cosmological or universal explanation and meaning behind human existence and human history, there is an underlying truth that is both basic and simple, and this basic and simple truth is supposed to explain everything. In turn, finding this basic and simple truth which explains everything is supposed to be the main objective of academia and journalism. After all, the best journalism is straightforward journalism. But out of political correctness and vogue in both a modern and postmodern age defined by the perpetuation and propagation of cognitive dissonance and obscurantism as a result of a hollow and superficial ontological state, the strategy for elite and establishment academics and journalists has been to avoid this basic and simple truth – which in turn explains everything – for as long as possible.
When the British historian Arnold Toynbee found this basic and simple truth which explains everything and when he wholeheartedly reckoned with it, he immediately fell out of favor with the academics and elites of British society, despite his legendary stature and exhaustive list of academic and literary accomplishments. Nevertheless, Toynbee was blunt about this basic and simple truth, and he was not deterred by a fallout with the elites in British society – which comprise essentially of academia, government, and the mainstream media – when he wrote in his famous multivolume work titled “A Study of History”:
“As the Sun, when he ‘rejoiceth as a giant to run his course’, is the source from which ‘the things are seen’ derive not their visibility but their genesis and their growth and their sustenance, so God is the source from which Man derives his significance as well as his consciousness and his life, and the purpose of God that is the reason for Man’s existence is that the creature should re-enter into communion with its Creator.”
The forerunner to Toynbee’s absolute idealism in the modern Western world – which stands in stark contrast to the historical materialism that serves as the ontological foundation for absurdism and nihilism and is essentially hollow and superficial in nature – is Hegel, who wrote:
“The beginning of religion, more precisely its content, is the concept of religion itself, that God is the absolute truth, the truth of all things, and subjectively that religion alone is the absolutely true knowledge.”
Thus, philosophy – which in essence is the search for this basic and simple truth which in turn explains everything – ends at the point when this basic and simple truth is discovered. As Wittgenstein said, once you find what you are looking for through philosophy, the result is that philosophy comes to an end and it is to be done away with. Submission to such a basic and simple truth is the primary challenge of an intellectual and social climate that is defined by arrogance, ego, and hubris. But if the meaning and purpose of human history and of human life – with the objective of academia and journalism being the search for this particular meaning and purpose – is derived from this most basic and simple truth, then there is essentially no choice but to submit to this most basic and simple truth, lest we prolong our plunge into cognitive dissonance, distress, implosion, and waywardness.