Archive for October, 2006

The Final Truth

October 12, 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Final Truth

The chapter on truth ends with Jaspers warning not to arbitrarily justify or condemn everything. This after Nietszche conludes that "Nothing is true. Everything is permitted." (I thought I’d heard that before, so I looked through one of my books on/by William S. Burroughs, The Job. I thought the quote was "When nothing is Sacred, Everything is possible" But it turns out Hassan i Sabbah brought the saying into the world.) I’ll just get this out. Jasper wants to hold on to something, and no doubt, but Nietzsche is a new kind of philosopher. He’s more than telling us what we should aspire to, he does that, he tries to give us something to aspire to, but he makes it hard by taking away everything we’ve relied on to reach our aspirations.

"Nothing is true. Now you must give the highest proof of being of a noble kind."

Tags: Truth

Truth Pt. 2

October 8, 2006

Nietzsche says the statements “I want this” and “I have the right to this” are equal. In the second statement the truth is concealed. It’s this kind of thinking that Postman didn’t want let out the bag.

I hear Postman is ignored by academics, but academics are largely ignored by everyone else. The ideas in Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death” have been taken up by activist communities on the left, or the book is an expression of those ideas. I’ve been away from social justice activities for a couple years now, but in the ten years I was following them the ideas didn’t change at all.

Nietzsche’s writing isn’t completely applicable today, but the germ is there. The ideas that people fighting for change fear, are the same ideas that have the power to bring about change.

Truth Pt. 3

October 8, 2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Truth pt. 3

"That which convinces us is not necessarily true, it merely convinces us." From Will To Power (Quoted from memory, I’ll fix it later)

Truth Pt. 1

October 5, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Truth pt. 1

I’m still struggling through this chapter on truth. Writing something now won’t hurt. The problem is the word itself. Nietzsche uses it in different senses. There’s the idea of truth as social consent, or at least the truth in social consent, like the truth in error. There’s also the idea of truth in the moment, and truth as ultimate reality, which aren’t necessarily exclusive.

Nietzsche’s conception of man, which is in a process of becoming, leads to a truth/reality in change. Jaspers says that you can’t understand Nietzsche’s thought without looking at his life, and the conception of truth Nietzsche would have been destroying was absolute truth. So Nietzsche saying there is no truth would be consistent with his saying God is dead. There is no one. There is no one truth, no one of anything.

As an aside, I have read a lot of Neil Postman’s stuff. All his books about teaching should be mandatory reading for teachers. He pushes for pluralism in education. But his last book, I think it was his last book, was a real disappointment. For a while there I was reading Zinn, Chomsky and Postman. It was Postman who sent me back to Nietzsche, and on to Foucault. But in Building a Bridge to the 18th Century he betrays his motivations. I still think The End of Education is a worthwhile book, there’s something to his ideas in a school, but out in the world he’s a weakling. Postman wants God back in our lives, and he says if you have doubts, behave as if the narrative is true. He at one point goes so far to wish that Nietzsche had the maturity to keep quiet. But I think Postman had it backwards. He blames Nietzsche for the wars of the 20th century. I laughed typing that. Postman wants all the God talk and Natural Right talk of the 18th Century to be true, But Nietzsche saw through the illusion.