Saturday, January 6, 2024

#6 / Opinion Versus "The Truth"


Back on December 15th, I attended the "Hannah Arendt Virtual Reading Group" meeting that is advertised above. I am almost certain that I have previously suggested that those who are interested in thinking about politics from a "philosophical" perspective should read what Hannah Arendt has to say, and should consider setting aside some time, each week, to talk to other people who have been doing that very same thing. These Virtual Reading Group sessions are almost always thought-provoking. I learn something every time.

Discussed on December 15th was Hannah Arendt's observation that "politics" is always about "opinion," and not about "truth." We build the "political world" we most immediately inhabit by taking action - and we can take action, of course, both individually and collectively. "Politics" is the name we give to the mechanisms of debate and discussion that must always precede our collective, "political" action. There are many opinions about what to do, and when we act collectively, that is, "politically," we must determine, before we act, what exactly we will do. 

If we think there is some political "truth," rather than a number of different political "opinions" about what we should do, the potential for totalitarian politics results, because if something is "the truth," then all those who oppose it, who do not agree, who fail to conform, must be ripped out of our collective world, since any action they might take could undermine and destroy "the truth," that which is right, and good.

We all have opinions. No one knows "the truth." That's what Hannah Arendt thinks. 

I think so, too!

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