Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Why Truth?

Letter to friends and family, on Monday, November 20, 2017:

On this, my 60th birthday, I ask your indulgence to consider a dangerous philosophical question:
Why truth?
- and related questions:

Why justice?
Why honor?
Why honesty?
Why integrity?

- and so on. Why not their opposites: falsehood, tyranny, dishonor, lies and corruption?
I am not arguing in favor of those opposites; I shall leave that to Mr. Trump and his gang of dupes, collaborators and crooks. I am for truth, justice, honor, honesty and integrity, but I’d like to hear some reasons why. I question truth because I love it.
Trump and his gang have plenty of reasons for the lies that they love; though in truth those reasons are not reason; they are madness; for "why reason?" is another question in play here. Why reason? Why not madness?
Truth, justice, etc. all support each other; they argue for each other; but so do falsehood, tyranny, etc. The former group has a strategic, long-term advantage; but the latter has a short-term tactical advantage, as Mr. Trump’s gang has demonstrated. Truth can truly speak for itself, but falsehood can falsely speak for itself. Why favor one over the other?
I question truth because I love it. But why love? You can argue that truth, justice and reason lead to life, liberty and happiness; and these are true arguments. But why happiness? Why liberty? Why life?
Like I said, these questions are dangerous. I ask these dangerous questions because now they are political.
There is a paradox of origin at work here. Truth has true reasons for itself; those true reasons also have true reasons, and so on. But what starts the chain? Or perhaps it goes around in a circle, or a web. But what holds up the web? Something that’s not truth? But how reliable would such support be?
Perhaps the web of truth needs no support, it just floats. But that would not be proof; it would be faith. Must we take truth on faith? And leave falsehood to pride?

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