Thursday, January 27, 2011

Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

Naturally I couldn't help taking a picture of this enormous sign. It's covering a closed down bank - a bit of an ignominious end for a formerly prestigious institution. But I started to reflect on what constitutes the truth. Now early in my training we students were visited by a Choice Therapist who, as an introduction, argued that there was no such thing as truth and that no-one could define it. That was a little relativist for me and I recalled the words of my philosophy lecturer from 1968. He would quip that "truth ... is that, which is, in fact, the case." Now that opens several cans of philosophical worms as he very well knew. Truth is multi-dimensional. There are many layers in a truth cake. Yet when we come to lived experience - and I'm thinking of someone communicating that to me in the psychoanalytic space - it has its own truth, which I would not wish to compromise. That truth might be but a a layer and to that extent, one dimensional. Yet it cannot be reduced to either "knowledge" or "fact". It is not about science. Nietzsche said "... may the will to truth mean this to you. That everything shall be transformed into the humanly conceivable, the humanly evident, the humanly palpable. You should follow your own senses to the end." Maybe there is a crossroads in psychoanalysis where, for a short space of time, truth lives. (Ref: Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Blissful islands: Thus Spake Zarathustra, tr RJ Hollingdale, Middlesex, Penguin, 191, p110)