Thursday, July 20, 2006


There seems to be a lot of interest in the truth lately. Or at least a lot of books written on the subject.

Recently I finished The Truth About Lies; before that it was Seth Godin's All Marketers Are Liars , which looked at how the mind deceives its owner, and now Why Truth Matters, a real headache-maker.

There were some times I wondered "why am I reading this?" Passages like this one tended to blur the eyes and crease the forehead:

"Although Montaigne might have found the Pyrrhonist epoche a satisfactory response to the problem of the missing criterion of truth, Rene Descartes did not. In Discourse on Method, he tells how in his youth he had been haunted by the spectre of uncertainty..."

But as long as you're wide awake while reading it, Why Truth Matters yields some good insights. Or, at least, questions.

The whole first chapter asks, how do we know that what we perceive is reality? And why does it matter?

Lest this seem like a futile exercise in what Edward de Bono calls "mental masturbation", the last chapter (I cheated and skipped to it!) sums up the titular question/statement: why truth matters.

If you're really smart you'll see it on the back cover, which would save you the trouble of wading through the philosophical background to the question/statement!

On the back cover is written:

Truth matters because we are the only species we know of that has the ability to find it out.

Fascinating. A good book to get your brain thoroughly awake, and looking at the world you find yourself in.

Not bedtime reading!


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