Saturday, 29 April 2017

Dangers of Too Much Truth-Seeking

Excess in any field of life, including truth-seeking, is detrimental to health and well-being. 

An excessive concern with 'truth' can indeed turn one into a dogmatist who has cast aside all remnants of humility and respect for philosophical diversity. It can also darken one's worldview to such an extent as to make harming others seem advisable (see Consequences of Worldview). 

As Nietzsche wrote
"He who fights monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster."
It was indeed that thinker who thought that art was worth more than truth since compelling us to life or at least sometimes making life worth living, which cannot be said with the same force of dogged truth-seeking, especially when the latter takes issue with every aspect of the human condition. 

At any rate, art has a capacity for more open-ended-ness and nuance than 'truth' discourses, whether of the philosophical or factual variety (see Factual and Philosophical Truth) and can sometimes prove to be a more effective way to resist and side-step immoral realities than head-on political activism (Refusing to Play the Chess Game). 

Addendum - Nietzsche's view that 'we have art in order not to perish from the truth' is somewhat echoed by French author Marcel Proust's aesthetic solution to the problem of existence in the last instalment of his mammoth novel In Search of Lost Time (also known as Remembrance of Things Past). In that book, Time Regained, Proust writes
"Yet it is true that truth, which is not compatible with happiness or physical health, is not always compatible even with life."

Butch from Pulp Fiction

In the movie Pulp Fiction directed by Quentin Tarantino, a telling exchange occurs between the boxer Butch - who's just killed a man in the ring - played by Bruce Willis and a hispanic, female cab driver named Esmerelda:


               He looks at her license.

                         ...Esmarelda Villalobos – is that 

                         The name is Spanish, but I'm 

                         It's a very pretty name.

                         It mean "Esmarelda of the wolves."

                         That's one hell of a name you got 
                         there, sister.

                         Thank you. And what is your name?


                         Butch. What does it mean?

                         I'm an American, our names don't 
                         mean shit.

This last statement is funny because butch of course means 
'having an an appearance or other qualities of a type traditionally seen as masculine'
which is an appearance action-thriller actor Bruce Willis - not to mention the character he plays in the film, a lethal professional boxer and criminal - is usually associated with. 

Experience as Interpretation

It goes almost without saying that when individuals claim to be speaking or writing 'from experience' they are in fact doing so from an interpretation of their experience, because experience, however objective, is always filtered through an individual's sensibility and outlook.

Puppet Monst Looks at the Moon