Ambellina from science fiction series The Amory Wars ponders the value of truth. (Evil Ink Comics)
Is knowing the truth necessarily a good position to be in? Whilst many people, such as some famous scientists, value truth outright, often, for many reasons, the truth is harmful. As a species, we seem to orientate ourselves towards finding it regard;ess, favouring being headed towards an uncertain but knowable future. To quote Ambellina (pictured) from The Amory Wars:
Friedrich Nietzsche called this desire to know the truth the ‘will to truth’.
Here’s the thing, though: many people who value truth outright don’t realise that their will to know the truth is an appropriated value from belief systems such as Christianity. Truthful living to them is a virtue.
Yet in many cases it is better not to pursue the truth. For example, we may innocently favour the spectacle of magic; live with the apparent unpreparedness of stand-up comedy; choose the lack of anxiety associated with placebos; and embrace the illusions of their being such things as free will and objective morality, which will both pull society together in the same direction.
But are we able to live like this? Doesn’t the will to seek truth overpower us in the end? For it’s either truth or crippling doubt.
Maybe we’re not able to live without truth. But maybe we already make truth conveniently fluid enough to live blissfully in ignorance.