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“There is No Truth” and “Do Everything You Can To Give Power to the Powerless”

A well-meaning friend of mind studied philosophy and came to two conclusions.  The first one was “There is no truth.”

“What do you mean by that, Gami?” I asked him, because that was his name.

“I mean that truth is always just a function of interest. It is, as Nietzsche says, simply a metaphor on the move trying to conquer things.  Metaphysically it makes no sense — how could a sentence correspond to the world?  Politically, we have to question it.  Why do people believe in truth?  Because they are trying to protect their power and privilege from any criticism.”

“That’s a lot, Gami.   Is that all?”

“It isn’t.” Gami said.  “The other thing is to give power to the powerless.  The weak, the vulnerable, the poor.  Let them have power.  They deserve it.”

It came to pass that Gami’s father died and his mother grew ill and Gami found that his brother Haidook had moved into the house and was taking care of her with his girlfriend Dirdirella.  Haidook had taken his portion of their father’s inheritance and spent it foolishly investing in a fish restaurant in Des Moines where nobody likes fish (also it was a bad restaurant).  Then he had borrowed a lot of money and spent it going to a university that promised to teach its students to get rich quick investing in real estate, but in fact had the opposite or nearly opposite effect — he got poor quick!  He also got drunk a lot and ate poorly and had had a heart attack at the tender age of 42.   Gami came home one weekend and found the mother lying on the mattress without a sheet and she had two bed sores.  Dirdirella despite receiving money from the state for taking care of their mother was at a party.

“This is intolerable!” Gami said.

“Gami is just saying that because he tried to have sex with Dirdirella and he hired a guy to beat her up.” said Gami’s brother Haidook.

“That’s not true.” said Gami.

“In any case let me handle selling the house.  I have never had any power in this family.  I should now.” said Haidook.

“But why should you get power now?   What little power you have had in the past you have used poorly to disastrous effect!”

“Spoken like a full-on liar!” screamed Haidook and picked up a piano stool and hit poor Gami in the side of the head, necessitating seven stitches, although in the legal papers he filed Haidook maintained it never happened.

In the hospital I discussed philosophy with Gami.  “Look, Gami, I don’t think you should go around saying there is no truth.  It just lets your brother tell lies about you and you have no way to defend yourself.  If there is no truth there is no way to say that you didn’t hit on Dirdirella”

“I didn’t!” said Gami.  It was difficult for him to speak because his cheek had swollen to the size of a musk melon.

“And I don’t think you should necessarily go around giving power to the powerless, because some of the powerless have no power because if they had any they would be really bad at using it.”

“I guess.” said Gami.  “But metaphysically I still think there is no truth.”

“Metaphysically you can think that.” I said, and although I did not express it I inwardly reclassified Gami as a lunatic.

“And even though I don’t think the foolish, self-deceptive powerless should be given power now I think somehow someday they should.”

“Someday.”

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3 thoughts on ““There is No Truth” and “Do Everything You Can To Give Power to the Powerless”

  1. Seems to go both ways. A lot of subjective gets passed off as objective – what is the objective when we start contaminating with bits of subjective so we can pretend our feels are how the world is?

    Is what Gami saying a lunatic thing – if he was saying ‘There is no water’ when really all the water is poisoned, is it really lunatic? Ironically it’s subjective – there is water, objectively so. And it will kill you if you drink it. But sometimes subjectively merely tapers down to a short hand for fact. A less poisoned drink. What if there is no clean water?

  2. Mikey says:

    I went to university to study philosophy and in my first term I looked around at the other philosophy students. They were mostly pretty normal studenty types who went to the bar in the evening and stressed out about essays and sat around working on their opinions, but there was a significant minority of weird ones. There was one guy who was often either dressed in traditional Indian ceremonial stuff, or Jacobean court-wear. There was a guy who we called Lithium Boy who would interrupt a discussion with “Yeah but if time is quantised, this whole discussion is meaningless anyway” or something.

    The message I took from it was – philosophy might be interesting, but remember not to take your conclusions too seriously.

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