... On The Question Between Truth and Love

Says Emerson: "I will not speak to the open question between Truth and Love.
 I shall not presume to interfere in the old politics of the
 skies; - "The cherubim know most; the seraphim love most." The gods 
shall settle their own quarrels.  

Oh, but philosophers are simply no good at shutting up!

Says Chretien:  “The obstacles to speech dissipate only in speech, as lover’s quarrels are resolved only in love.” 

Interesting proportions.  So the east is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet? 

Ah, but here comes Emerson again: "Truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. Your goodness must have some edge to it, else it is none!"

And so the battle starts again.  The truth comes out! The room slightly darkens.

..or did it just radically brighten? 

Welcome to the open question between truth and love. And it is a high time for CPM to have this discussion. 

Love says to truth: you are rigid with such pretense and conceit - you walk yourself right off the stage of life!

Truth responds with a long speech, natural to its kind:
"Is it senseless for me to ask, but on what basis do you decide? I accuse you of whim and you could only respond: “I hope it is somewhat better than whim at last, but we cannot spend the day in explanation. Expect me not to show cause why I seek or why I exclude company.” (Emerson, Self-Reliance)

Does the heart have its reasons?  Or is it the case that, unable to provide an account, the affections of love are at perpetual risk of sliding into hatred?   Perpetually susceptible to the sway of base designs?  

Does it invariably take us into the snares of tragedy? Or is love exactly that noble response that braves the meaningless torrent of the tragic stage?

What will do justice in this battle?  What will legislate us to go on?  

What about the love of wisdom? What about compassion?  The suffering animal?  The underdog? 

As we'll see, these words are talked about in many ways.   Let's see how well we can pick up on their principles and relation.  Is there truly a battle?   Are their domains so radically distinct?  Or Same?  Can we at least succeed in seeing them as complementary excellences? 

Go ahead and post relevant quotes in the comments below.



Join or login to comment.

  • Isabella

    Eros is a philosopher, in between ignorance and wisdom.
    Love is of something which a man wants but has not.
    Love desires beauty.
    The good is beautiful.
    If you realize you do not know, you will desire to know the truth. Hence love is a vehicle to truth.

    1 · August 4

    • Brian

      Thanks for setting it out that way.

      1 · August 4

    • Isabella

      It is not usually my style to set it out that way =) Of course you asked for how this account of love plays out as experienced by the rest of us and I left the actual experience of love out. Diotima as teacher of Socrates, would share the pursuit of truth with him and is presented as teaching him this process...these are key ingredients I think, this shared pursuit and someone having knowledge of the process. Which is an intimate process and one that is triggered by the intimate. Eros as going towards and touching upon this truth is a type of ecstatic experience, mystic vision, etc. It is not detached and cold.

      August 5

  • Brian

    RE: Socrates' myth of love being "born of Poverty and Plenty". "Poverty" reminds of 'aporia'- the state of puzzlement accompanying philosophical inquiry- derived from the greek word for lacking wealth, or "lacking a way out." Thus "Poverty" may refer to Socrates forever restrained to the demand of truth put upon him. "Plenty" may refer to the "excess" that so often marks the experience of love. Despite our lack, Socrates' love comes with remembrance of beauty encouraging us to remain cheerful inquirers. My question: If restraint/obedience and excess work in harmony in Socrates' enlightened account of love, how do they play out as experienced by the rest of us?

    2 · August 3

  • Eke.F

    My views no doubt were expressed from a near technical thought process, but, I could still be singing a synchronous tune with the rest of the house in the ongoing discuss, maybe, from a different perspective. I did try to circulate a graphic illustration of the possible interactions/relationship between 'LOVE' and 'TRUTH', but I doubt if most of us were able to peruse my graffiti before the end of today's meeting at Eva's. Neither did I walk through the illustration as I intended after letting go of it for your review. Should any one of us request a re-illustration of the graphics via this medium, I am willing to do the needful. F.E

    August 3

  • Poe

    A friend of mine is not very political but she is very compassionate (loving) towards others. In her reflection (pursuit for truth) she she said to me "I think the problem is that there are many short term solutions as opposed to long term goals." This was profound to me. Had she continued reflection and been living before the 19th century she could have coined the concept of creative destruction. I think this is part of the beauty of the relationship between truth and love. Our new found knowledge could make us cry, rejoice, reflect or take action, but that is probably for a different discussion. Anyway, fun meetup. Good job guys!

    1 · August 2

  • Brian

    "So eros, in summary, is of the good being one's own forever" -Diotima, The Symposium

    August 2

    • Brian

      Cont. "For eros, is not of the beautiful, as you believe, but of the generation and birth in the beautiful"

      August 2

  • Chad B.

    "Truth hath no confines."

    1 · July 30

    • Ann

      I like that, Rick. For we only can love that which we have in ourselves...which explains a lot.

      July 30

    • Ann

      We can only love that which we SEE in ourselves.

      July 30

  • Brian

    "God is not mathematical" -scruffy eavesdropper on the bus

    3 · July 21

  • Brian

    You who are young, be happy while you are young,
    and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart
    -Ecclesiastes

    2 · June 29

    • Brian

      -As for the wise and what they do, “no one knows whether love or hate awaits them.”- Ecclestiastes

      1 · June 29

    • Ann

      Young to me is 99 years old.

      2 · July 29

  • Brian

    "To love is to will one thing" kierkegaard

    I think this is helpful in identifying love with good will, which can actually be the principle of the NON-rational soul. (See the end of Aristotles Ethics book 1, or Meno's slave boy)

    1 · July 29

    • Ann

      I love Kierkegaard :)

      July 29

  • Brian

    We will readily agree that it is of the highest importance to know whether we are not duped by morality.
    -Levinas

    July 15

  • Brian

    Plato: "Friends (philia/ love) share all things in common"

    Spinoza:
    "Pity is a passivity toward another that we *imagine* to be like us." (Whereas love is a joyous activity of understanding.)

    June 29

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Create your own Meetup Group

Get started Learn more
Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy