And looking out on high I saw Aristotle, the Master of Those Who Know, ringed by the great souls of philosophy.
-Dante, The Inferno
The exact translation of the line I paraphrase above seems in some dispute; what Dante is saying precisely is beyond my poor academic powers to determine. But the gist is reasonably accurate: the poet was speaking of Aristotle, and Aristotle was being commended for seeking and holding and teaching real knowledge.
Not, of course, that Aristotle's knowledge was perfect; no one's is. The overriding point is that we can know; we can hold a real knowledge of and appreciation for persons, things, and events.
Many thinkers today do not accept this preposition. My professors of education (I will not call them teachers) were very open in that they did not believe that there were any things true for all time and all places. In that light, should we be surprised that so many schools do such a poor job of education?
Questions of religion are tossed off as little more than personally interpretive systems which, at best, only help individuals cope with the traumas of this world. Could this be a reason that reverence for anything beyond the person involved has paled lately?
In politics, issues are little more than vague platitudes which help people get elected. Perhaps that is why men and women of depth and understanding eschew elective offices, for they understand that real things are at stake and are too busy actually dealing with them in real time?
Moral virtue is now all too often seen as a myth; should we wonder why there is so little respect for people and institutions?
All of this and far greater errors are based on the idea that we cannot really know anything. The fact is, if that false axiom should prove right, if there is no universal knowledge which we can all, if we wish, understand, then there is no meaning in the world or to life.
Do not fear. That cannot be the case. Aristotle and all the dead white guys, and a great many others of varying races and creeds (for truth is eternal and thus widely recognized across cultures and peoples) have shown us that we can know. Forget the liberal academics who have no respect for that tenet; it shows only their ignorance. Ignore the science trumps religion tribes; they will not accept that knowledge has different tests in different areas. In science, the test of truth is empirical. In philosophy, the test is Reason. With Theology, the standard of evidence is Faith. In the end, all knowledge compliments itself across these three major branches of her, that goddess we call Wisdom.
We can know. Therefore we can act. We can act for the greater good of ourselves and our world. We can do what we must with the clarity that truth is with us, that it dwells among us and at all levels. In the end, that is why we will win and the secular elements across the spectrum will lose. We have something to stand on. They have a bedrock of air.