“Repeat to yourself every day and as often as you can: ‘O Lord, have mercy on all those who will appear before You today.’ For every hour, every second, thousands of men leave this world and their souls appear before the Lord, and no one knows how many of them leave this earth in isolation, sadness, and anguish, with no one to take pity on them or even care whether they live or die. And so your prayer for such a man will rise to the Lord from the other end of the earth, although he may never have heard of you or you of him. But his soul, as it stands trembling before the Lord, will be cheered and gladdened to learn that there is someone on earth who loves him. And the Lord’s mercy will be even greater to both of you, for, however great your pity for the man, God’s pity will be much greater, for He is infinitely more merciful and more loving than you are.”—Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov: “Teachings of the Elder Zosima” Ramblings of an average human.: Every single second…
“The sight of the table, when at length we filed into the dining room, sent a chill through me. It was a meal for the very young or the very hungry. The uncompromising coldness and solidity of the viands was enough to appall a man conscious that his digestion needed humouring. A huge cheese faced us in an almost swashbuckling way. I do not know how else to describe it. It wore a blatant, rakish, nemo-me-impune-lacessit air, and I noticed that the professor shivered slightly as he saw it. Sardines, looking more oily and uninviting than anything I had ever seen, appeared in their native tin beyond the loaf of bread. There was a ham, in its third quarter, and a chicken which had suffered heavily during a previous visit to the table. Finally, a black bottle of whisky stood grimly beside Ukridge’s plate.”—
“The truth? You can almost feel the shudder of horror cascading through the professoriate: imagine someone so naïve as to speak of “the truth”! They don’t do truth in the fashionable precincts of the academy today. They do “theory”. You can even encounter people who use “theorize” as a transitive verb: “So-and-so theorizes the idea of freedom” (or art, nature, cookery, whatever), meaning that So-and-so embellishes whatever it is with a skein of owlish verbal irrelevancies.
“Truth” is rarely spoken of, and then only in deprecatory scare quotes. Have you noticed how widespread is the use of those instruments of epistemic deflation? It is positively epidemic. And why not? A simpler method of neutralizing or ironizing meaning can hardly be imagined. Never speak of virtue when you can say “virtue”; a bit of reasoning is not logical, but only “logical”; the procedure in question is not sound, but merely “sound.” And so on.
It works with words of cognitive failure too: don’t say that an argument is refuted, only that it is “refuted”. To appreciate what is at stake, consider the difference between fresh fish and “fresh” fish: the difference is difficult to define, perhaps, but easy to smell. The marvelous thing about this use of scare quotes is that it allows you to insinuate doubt without positively asserting anything at all. You don’t declare that “X” is not true, merely that “X is ‘true.’”—Roger Kimball, The Rape of the Masters : How Political Correctness Sabotages Art The Great Zero Gate: