The Will to Truth
Why not, rather, Untruth?
Seeing God everywhere and all things upheld by Him is not a matter of sanctity,
but of plain sanity, because God IS everywhere and all things are upheld by Him.
What we do about it may be sanctity; but merely seeing it is sanity. To overlook God's presence is not simply to be irreligious; it is a kind of insanity, like overlooking anything else that is actually there.
—Frank Sheed, Theology and Sanity
The Will to Truth, which is to tempt us to many a hazardous enterprise, the famous Truthfulness of which all philosophers have hitherto spoken with respect, what questions has this Will to Truth not laid before us! What strange, perplexing, questionable questions! It is already a long story; yet it seems as if it were hardly commenced. Is it any wonder if we at last grow distrustful, lose patience, and turn impatiently away? That this Sphinx teaches us at last to ask questions ourselves? WHO is it really that puts questions to us here? WHAT really is this "Will to Truth" in us? In fact we made a long halt at the question as to the origin of this Will--until at last we came to an absolute standstill before a yet more fundamental question. We inquired about the VALUE of this Will. Granted that we want the truth: WHY NOT RATHER untruth? And uncertainty? Even ignorance? The problem of the value of truth presented itself before us--or was it we who presented ourselves before the problem? Which of us is the Oedipus here? Which the Sphinx? It would seem to be a rendezvous of questions and notes of interrogation. And could it be believed that it at last seems to us as if the problem had never been propounded before, as if we were the first to discern it, get a sight of it, and RISK RAISING it? For there is risk in raising it, perhaps there is no greater risk.
—Frederick Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
Why not untruth? I mean, it is a live option. We can know something to be true, and at the same time act like it isn’t, can we not? We can accept two opposing claims to be true, if we just want to. Nobody is stopping anyone. We can believe something knowing it’s not true, sort of, or disbelieve something knowing it to be true, to some extent. In short, we can disobey truth and we can obey untruth. We can do it. So, why not do it? Nietzsche wondered about this, specifically, why truth was privileged and deemed a non-negotiable and exclusive starting point in thinking and discourse. This was the case for his late-nineteenth-century Germans, and further back, since the time of Plato, when the latter invented the fateful and, for Nietzsche, foolish and servile and emasculating and dishonest distinction between appearance and reality, between the shadows of untruth and the Sun of truth, between the Good and what only appears to us as such.
The obvious one-word answer to Nietzsche’s question is insanity. Lying is knowing the truth about something but saying otherwise. The liar cares about the truth, but only for himself. But insanity is not caring about the truth at all, even for oneself. It is a sort of dedication, willing or otherwise, to untruth. To even pose the question, “Why not untruth,” is to flirt with insanity, to begin walking down the path that leads to it. It is tantamount to saying, “Why not insanity,” because sanity or mental health is secured and sustained through one’s dedication to reality, and truth is the conformity of the mind to reality. Being dedicated to something other and more than truth, then, is both an indication and cause of mental illness. M. Scott Peck:
Mental health is a dedication to reality at all costs; and mental illness occurs when the conscious will of the individual substantially deviates from the will of God, which is his or her own unconscious will. We attempt to defend our consciousness, our awareness, against reality. We do this by a variety of means which psychiatrists call defense mechanisms. All of us employ such defenses, thereby limiting our awareness. If in our laziness and fear of suffering we massively defend our awareness, then it will come to pass that our understanding of the world will bear little or no relation to reality. Although our conscious mind has denied reality, our unconscious which is omniscient, knows the true score and attempts to help us out by stimulating, through symptom formation, our conscious mind to the awareness that something is wrong. In other words, the painful and unwanted symptoms of mental illness are manifestations of grace. They are products of a powerful force, originating outside the consciousness which nurtures our spiritual growth.
Nietzsche was the first philosopher to pose seriously the question, “Why not untruth,” and to be taken seriously as a philosopher for doing so. The fact that he eventually went insane and never recovered is suggestive. Hamlet’s question, “To be or not to be?” is an equivalent interrogative sign of imminent insanity. Your and my existence is a gift we did not give ourselves, and it is one that we can’t unreceive. It simply is. There was once a “not to be” for us before we existed, but not after. To pose the possibility of “not being” as if we could make this possibility a reality is to move into unrealty, mental illness, insanity.
What prevents the vast majority of people from seriously entertaining this question, and living it out is the loving grace of God, keeping us in reality by making us suffer pain when we depart from it, like the pain we receive from touching a hot stove from which our mother may choose one time not to protect us so the lesson is firmly learned, never to be forgotten. We all depart from reality, particularly moral reality, from time to time and to some extent whenever we choose a lesser good over a higher good, when we lie or believe a lie knowing it’s a lie, when we seek to gain unjustly, when we act self-interestedly when duty-bound to care for another, etc. Internally, we suffer interior guilt for such actions, and if we repeatedly ignore or repress or rationalize the guilt, we suffer some level of mental illness. Externally, we suffer the moral opprobrium of friends and society when we trespass against the law and moral norms and customs. If we rebel against and resent this external pressure and punishment, we may be put in jail or otherwise ostracized by family, friends, and society at large. All this pain and suffering is, as Peck says, for our spiritual growth: “God chastises those He loves.”
Truth is the good of the intellect, and that’s why Dante tells us that all those in the Inferno have lost the good of the intellect. To ask, “why not untruth” is thus to ask, “Why not evil,” since truth and goodness are equivalent, as are untruth and evil. In seeking an answer to this question, one is seeking the truth, the good of one’s intellect, so one cannot really ask this question honestly and earnestly. Is it akin for me to claim right now, “I am not writing,” as I write this sentence. “Why not untruth” is not a question posed to the intellect but an attack on the intellect, and so an attack on truth and reality. To even ask this question seriously and earnetly is to sin against the truth, against reality itself. It is thus to dedicate oneself to unreality, which is the definition of insanity, more specifically, moral and spiritual insanity. One would hope that, internally, God, working through what Peck calls the omniscient unconscious or what is more plainly called guilt, and, externally, society and culture through its laws, norms, customs, and other pressures and coercive punishments, will inflict enough merciful and just pain on those who are tempted to ask this question and thus dedicate themselves to unreality to prevent them from doing so, and on those who have already gone down this path, to wake them up to repentance and metanoia.
But what if not just a few insane weirdos but a whole population were to ask this anti-question, being seduced into doing so by a corrupt education and culture, and even brainwashed into doing so by trauma-based mind control, terror-ritual induced scapegoating, and mass formation? And what if the cultural elites and their toadies were relentlessly and ubiquitously to promote and endorse and celebrate such questioning, denigrating, punishing and marginalizing those who don’t or won’t ask it? This, of course, is not hypothetical. The internal defense mechanisms that usually protect the soul against consistently acting against reality are completely corrupted now, as the psychopaths who have no such internal guides have created a global pathocracy in their own image. Every institution from medicine to academia to journalism to politics is now fully predatorial and tyrannical, serving only itself and the elites at the expense of the good of those it is supposed to serve. It’s worse than this. These institutions are now systematically intended to maim and paralyze and kill, physically and spiritually, and feed off those who remain, keeping them barely alive. Everything is vampiric and parasitic now. Add to this the psychological damage of incessant propaganda rendering unreality reality to perception and imagination, the intellectual damage of ideological indoctrination replacing liberal education and common sense and tradition, the moral damage of immersion in a culture in rebellion against the Tao, particularly in sexual matters, and the spiritual damage of a Church in full apostasy, with its leader baptizing deadly injections as sacraments of the love of neighbor, destroying by deliberate confusion the salvific doctrines and sacraments of the Faith, and offering up the Mystical Body of Christ to the globalist Luciferians, such as Schwab and Gates, to use as they see fit. Not to mention the hordes of treasonous leftist Marxist intellectuals, who identify as Catholic but are nothing but white-washed tombs of hypocrisy and filth, serving as willing mouthpieces and maskers of the Luciferian Great Reset propaganda, from the LGBTQ agenda of normalizing pedophilia, to the plandemic agenda of mass brainwashing and medical and financial enslavement, to the “sustainable development” agenda of .00001 propertied and 99.9999 (of whomever is left after they attempt to redue the world population to 500 million) propertyless.
How is the ordinary twenty-first-century secular person, not God-fearing, well-catechized, liberally educated, virtuous, etc., so say the least, supposed to save his soul, let alone remain immune from these evils and thus avoid the temptation to commit his life to untruth? All the rewards and blandishments are there for the taking if you do, and hell is unleashed upon you if you don’t. Insane people have always considered themselves the sane ones, and psychopaths see their elite club as the superior breed, but they didn’t get to impose their judgments on the sane and the moral. Now they do, and they have. The insane question in Nietzsche’s day was “why not untruth” because truth was the default existential position. The fact that Nietzsche even received a public hearing for his question indicates that things then were not good. And soon after that, the question would lose all its shock value. But it took a century and a half for untruth to become the default and only position, with even the spark of consciousness of any alternative extinguished in the collective consciousness. The result of Nietzsche’s question eventually infecting the consciousness of mankind, plus a global propaganda campaign made possible by a level of technology and malice never before seen in human history, has not only been the global reign of untruth, but the spiritual lobotomization of the masses such that the question of truth, let alone it’s unimpeachable and nonnegotiable authority, is no longer posed. We all seem to be in Plato’s Cave now, but without anyone to break our chains.
But God is here, and He knows what’s happening, and He is allowing it. He can stop it in a nano-second. But He needs to test us, and this is the final exam. He is asking, “Do you love me” every time we are confronted with propaganda, every time we are pressured to act against truth, every time we have a choice to act to gain the praise of others at the expense of our integrity and what we know to be true, every time we are tempted to ignore the warnings of others, to accept a narrative before assessing it because it makes our lives more comfortable to believe and promote it, to indulge in the self-righteousness of scapegoating. For, to put anything, however much it seems “necessary” or “prudent” or “caring,” or “progressive,” above the truth in our thought and speech, and above the spiritual good of others and ourselves in our action, is to tell Jesus that you do not love Him, and he takes our answer quite seriously.
We can tell Jesus we love him, and perhaps that’s all we can do at this time. I think it’s good enough.