Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The value of truth

A whole lotta things are geling in my mind right now, all slotting together and making sense. I spoke the other day about the myth of the "True Self" and how, indirectly, we had Plato to blame, he being the proclaimer that out there somewhere always lies the Perfect, fixed and absolute truth.

Nietzsche was the first philosopher that comprehensively attacked Plato. In his book "Beyond Good & Evil" (a set piece in BPG's studies) he started the book thus:

"What in us really wants 'truth'?

Indeed we came to a long halt at the question about the cause of this will until we came to a complete stop before a more basic question: We asked about the value of this will. Suppose we want truth: why not rather untruth, and uncertainty? even ignorance."

Nietzsche's questionining sounds preposterous on first appearance, but let me try illustrate what he is saying by a practical example that recently arrose:

Mrs M asked me a few days ago, " If you could ask God one Question, what would it be?"

Yeah, at first you think "Wow, if I got that opportunity I would have hit the Jackpot!"

But think a little further. What WOULD you ask? And if s/he answered, would it really make any difference? Would it add value to your life? Methinks not.

In fact, I'm not even sure I would want to know. Certainty almost imprisons one. As Nietzsche said "Why not rather uncertainty". With uncertainty the door is always left open. Possibility survives. When the door is closed there is an impossibility of possibility.

Interestingly, all of Nietzsche's writings have been analyzed and one of the most common words he ever used (besides the, a, it etc.) was the word "perhaps." And what is "perhaps"? Perhaps is uncertainty. It is the promise of possibility.

" The future is called 'perhaps' " - Tennessee Williams


Phew, getting quite philosophical in here. But you know what? I'm lovin it!

WBF - please define what you mean by "being true to yourself"


  1. lolol one question would not be enough

  2. There is no reality, only perception. And when many perceptions manage to mesh in some way, everybody agrees to call it "reality." Either way, it's vastly overrated.

    The concept of true self is slightly different. While man is a being of many moods, he does have a fixed sense of self. The part that stays with him even when the brain becomes psychotic, or demented.

    The part that's responsible for one man stealing vs. another staying faithful in face of absolute temptation. The part which experiences remorse after doing something that's against its innermost convictions.

  3. Polonius provided Hamlet with some great advice, none more important than “…to thine own self be true, because it must follow as the day the night, thou canst be false to no man”. It is too stressful to pretend to be something you’re not.

    In truth I copied this of an Internet page!

  4. Some very fuzzy thinking in the responses here that seem to ask (and beg) more questions than they answer.

    Not my blog so I will just say I think a dose of Nietzsche (properly understood,) to be a great corrective not only for Platonism but also for the extremes of late 20th/early 21st-century post-modernism.

    Keep it coming BPG. (Btw: I seem to recall Nietzsche having a rather high regard for the Buddha.)

  5. try hugging a horse, like nietzsche did, maybe you get it then.

  6. Oh you made my head hurt so badly. I wouldn't want to talk to, that's not right. I wouldn't want him to answer any of my questions. Knowing my luck, he'd be drunk or stoned that day and I would get a laugh in the face.



  7. The mythic truth is the whole truth.



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