Truth Pt. 1

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.

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