Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Truth and consequences.............

.................from this Martin Gurri essay:

This may be the proper place to bring up a question first raised by Nietzsche: Is truth at war with life? For all his irony, Nietzsche was an extreme Romantic who exalted strength and the instincts as the “will to power”—the great myth-making impulse that engendered meaning and dignity both for a civilization and the individual. To this end he opposed the “will to truth,” which he held to be cold, rational, instinct-denying and myth-destroying. That was the particular disease of the Western world, which “proposes as its ideal the theoretical man equipped with the greatest forces of knowledge, and laboring in the service of science, whose archetype and progenitor is Socrates.” The rise of theoretical man meant the death of the Christian God and a paralytical incapacity to pursue any other high ideal. The examined life, in that sense, was the affirmation of decadence and death.

Such notions may sound paradoxical, if not preposterous, to a modern hipster, but I make it an iron rule always to take Nietzsche seriously. Consider: Science is a neutral method, not a value system. It’s not by coincidence that scientists served monsters like Hitler and Stalin with as much loyalty and brilliance as they have dedicated to democracy. Heroic materialism as a way of life, which science ordains, typically degenerates into hedonism—the love of money and things. Obsessive self-examination leads directly to the mirror of Narcissus. A society built on self-worship has no conceivable future.

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