Truth, Post-Truth and Nothing but the Truth

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3 Responses

  1. Ivan Karamazov says:

    Post-truth in politics is used as a means to reject your failures. This is most easily visible in the conspiracy theories that are readily accepted on both sides of the spectrum, you’ve covered many of them yourself.

    By the way, your arguments against climate change are interesting, I don’t think I’ve heard someone make these claims. I agree there are sinister undertones to the concepts that underly sustainable development, such as population control, geo-engineering and measuring “quality of life”, etc. But the project in itself is largely utopian, who will force China to stop burning coal? Who will force the USA to stop extracting fossil fuels? Countries like a Russia depend on energy for their entire economy. Also none of this is new, humans have been using population control since ancient times. Plato and Aristotle were both encouraging population sizes relative to the size of their state. Moreover, Aristotle went so far as recommending abortion and infanticide to reach this goal. So you can see, population control is part of the scientific tradition. Our return to this tradition of worshiping Reason is what fuels madmen like Peter Singer who sees nothing wrong with what Aristotle says. None the less, the rejection or decline is over consumption in the West should dramatically reduce the adverse effects on the environment.

    Back to truth, in reality, there is no such thing as post-truth, the human mind is not capable of living in a Nietzschean world where it constructs the truth to satisfy the Will to Power. The mere fact of knowing that we don’t know doesn’t change the fact that we our bound to live within the limitations of the human physiology. With regards to Christianity, the religion, as far I understand it as an outsider, particularly in Catholicism, relies on the Myth of the resurrection of Christ. You must accept this as a historical event. Saint Paul, who in my eyes is the founder of Christianity (I see Jesus as having died believing himself to be a Jewish prophet/reformer rather than founding a new religion, was an ardent believer in this event.

    Nietzsche ironically believed in Christian definition of Truth, in the Gay Science he says:
    “But you will have gathered what I am getting at, namely, that it is still a metaphysical faith on which our faith in science rests—that even we knowers of today, we godless anti-metaphysicians still take our fire too, from the flame lit by the thousand-year old faith, the Christian faith which was also Plato’s faith, that God is Truth; that Truth is ‘Divine’”.

    • Han Fei says:

      Jesus was not a reformer, but quite the opposite. He was somebody who in the modern translation of terms could be called a “traditionalist fundamentalist” in that he sought to preserve the Old Testament faith against the magian and esoteric encroaches of Talmudic Pharisaism. The Jewish world was undergoing a radical transformation at the time, the sources of which are hinted at in the later books of the Bible. Christ does not make any sense unless without a through knowledge of the Old Testament, specifically the Prophets, in whose steps he was largely to follow.

      The reason why Paul was chosen to have such an influence over the early Christian community can be only understood in this light. Paul, being a Talmudic Pharisee, couldn’t be anything but deeply ensconced in the esoteric disciplines and cosmological knowledge of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Babylonians. In other words he was a man of letters, an educated man, in stark contrast to the rest of the Apostles . This is precisely what enabled him to reach out and be relevant to the learned and spiritually awakened men of the time. This is both in line with the religious understanding of him and the secular one. The only difference is that Christians believe that Paul brought nothing new into the Church, that was not already part of existing doctrine laid out by Jesus and the rest of the Apostles. In a sense, his ministry was incorporated a portion of Greek, Iranian and Babylonian spectrum of knowledge than specifically Jewish, which of course shatters the entire narrative of Paul being this great “Judaizer” of the Christian faith.

      The supreme irony of the matter is that over time, Talmudism turned into an esoteric and pagan tradition that supercedes the national specifics of the Jewish faith, making it in fact closer to the pagan traditions of the ancient Hellenic ekumene that spanned much of the known world at the time. Which is also why some elements of its teachings became zealously adopted by the elite circles of European Aristocracy and the Catholic Church throughout the centuries. On the other hand, the distinctively Jewish faith of the patriarchs and of Jesus assumed the groundwork for the gentile Medieval European tradition, whereas the esoteric, pagan, scientific and universalist discipline of the Jewish wise men became inimic to it, with the exception of the ruling circles.

  2. Robber Chih says:

    Great chat Branko. Many thanks. I’d much appreciate if you could offer your critique to the following:

    Is Christianity itself not a “post-truth”? From the book of Genesis we read that knowledge leads to death.
    Thinkers like Hegel and Eckhart both asserted that the eating of the tree of knowledge was a “good” or at least necessary event in human history. The devil is a deceiver.

    Following we encounter Abraham and God’s suspension of the ethical (can we read, truth here?). And Abraham’s faith which would guarantee the return of his son, i.e. faith or God would nullify the ‘truth’ of historical fact.
    Indeed the faith of Job is portrayed in the same light. Giving rise to the completely irrational concept of ‘the return’ of Kierkeggard. Who further posits the Knight of Faith over and against the knight of resignation, that of the mere truth.

    When philosophy cries halt at the gates of necessity, the Bible proclaims that man shall live by faith alone.

    The Bible was ushered into the occident only after being ‘interpreted’ by the Greek tradition (Philo) to bring God into conformity with the Truth of the Greeks. That truth which is binding, to man and God alike.

    Thus God is as immutable as reason and ethics. Unable to alter his nature or his creation. This is a very human idea, as developed in human systems of thought but not in accordance with revelation.

    Whereas ancients worshipped (?) divine Unity, as proscribed by reason, this meant villifying individuality and anything that made one individual by submitting to reason. But if anything, the Bible seems to read as a story of individual triumph against the general truth. Abraham, Noah, Job, Jesus etc.
    Even the apostles performed many miracles which must have made Hegel shudder.

    Even forgiveness is something post-truth viz whatever historical fact which is the object will have no more meaning or participation in truth.

    Pascal too strove to establish Christianity as a post-truth phenomenon. The faith has furthermore produced such beautiful pieces as The Cloud of Unknowing and De Doctora Ignoratia which in their own ways, and especially the latter’s, at least start with ‘truth’ but then establish it beyond conventional notions.

    The promised land is found because one specifically doesn’t “know” where it is but searches with faith. I’ve heard you say that Christian truth allows one to prophesy surely in all conventional sense, this is an acknowledgment of post-truth?

    I would not like this to be read as an endorsement of post modernism. There is a darkness beyond “truth” and a mystical darkness and those who enter it without the light of faith must (sic) succumb to dark forces. At the same time, the faith itself establishes in us a reality “post truth” in the human sense.

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