“What was at stake was nothing less than the meaning of existence, the understanding of why things are as they are. The choice was clear: either the universe is ultimately an arbitrary product, the effect of an indifferent will guided by no objective values and subject to no independent canons of reason or goodness; or it is the result of wisdom, intelligible to its core and informed by a rationality and a sense of value that are, in essence, not very different from our own; or (to mention the most terrifying possibility of all) it simply is, necessary through its causes and transparent to the investigations of metaphysics and science but essentially devoid of any meaning or value whatsoever.”
The attempt to justify the ways of God to men — theodicy, a term coined by Leibniz — lies at the heart of the matter: “Why is there any evil at all in God’s creation?” Essentially, Leibniz’s answer is: Consider the whole. Explains Nadler, “It is not that everything will turn out for the best for me or for anyone else in particular. Nor is it necessarily the case that any other possible world would have been worse for me or for anyone else. Rather, Leibniz claims that any other possible world is worse overall than this one, regardless of any single person’s fortunes in it.” What is good for the whole isn’t necessarily good for every one of its individual parts or components. As Nadler emphasizes, summarizing Leibniz, “all things are connected and every single aspect of the world makes a contribution to its being the best world.”
Indo-Europeans have been discovering and forgetting transcendental idealism for thousands of years; when their societies are healthy, they know it like the law of gravity, but when they deny it, they become individualistic brats who live in decaying moral slums.