April 1, 2014

Truth vs. Truths?

Happy April! Apologies for not writing to you last week. I was a college student on Spring Break and was busy conducting shenanigans. I was also training harder than I ever have in my life to be ready for a competition that is coming up this next weekend (and working ahead so that I won't fall terribly behind after missing two days of classes). It just hit me how quickly this school year is coming to a close. What incredible and insane time it has been! How has your year been so far? Let me know in the comments!

So I don't know if you're familiar with a philosopher named Nietzsche. I for one am not. But, today my Ethics professor introduced us to his thoughts and I just wanted to mull it all over for a bit. I remember learning a bit about Nietzsche when I studied Western Civilization. He is often portrayed as the pessimistic philosopher and is associated strongly with his words "God is dead" as well as nihilism.

A small taste of nihilism for you. And dat mustache doe!
To be honest, I expected the introduction to Nietzsche's philosophy to be more on the depressing than intriguing side--but this was not so!

Nietzsche actually made a point that piqued my interest. He was criticizing some of his philosophical predecessors, but what I thought was truly--well--true is that he states that a lot of the great philosophers had built their philosophies around what they had experienced in their lives. Essentially, what Aristotle, Epictetus, Mill, and others wrote was an "unconscious autobiography." For instance, Aristotle considered the right way to live as pursuing a life of study/reason. But, he himself was a philosopher--so of course he would think that studying was the highest good! Or Epictetus believed that happiness was only attainable by concerning oneself only with what one could control. You can't control others' actions, but you can control your own, so happiness can be found when your actions reflect solid morality and are done with dignity. However, Epictetus was a crippled slave. The only way he could find happiness was by accepting his situation and making the most out of what he could control.

Nietzsche argues that, contrary to many of his predecessors, there is not just One Truth, but many truths. What is true for you is shaped largely by what has happened to you. There could be an identical occurrence that happens to me and you--yet I could take away completely different lessons than the ones you discover. So does that make either one of our realities less accurate? Of course not--reality is subjective!

I just found this point so fascinating because it drove me to reflect on my beliefs, and to see how they match up with what has happened to me in my past and how I had learned to cope during the difficult times. And I wanted to share this with you, because a lot of what I write for this blog does in a sense represent my unconscious autobiography.

What are some of the things in your life that have affected your beliefs, or vice versa? Please share in the comments. I would love to hear what inspires and drives you--we can always grow and learn from each other by striking up a conversation in all that empty space below!

Take care,
-Riley XO

Hmmm, time to come up with a good prank to surprise my roommate!  :P

1 comment:

  1. Really inspiring/interesting post! :)

    I've thought of this before, that the opportunities or lifestyle offered to a person affect what they want to believe.. It's easier to believe something attainable to you, or some other quote I've forgotten the gist of. Sorry if this comment makes no sense, my brain is swimming with multi-lingual essay-writing exhaustion!!


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