On Belief in Truth


“Belief in truth begins with doubts of all truths in which one has previously believed.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

Reflection and Occam’s Razor


‘Ned thought for a while. […] ‘Some – I don’t know – some conspiracy brought me here and I need to understand what it was.’
‘We are merely the starstennis balls, Ned, struck and banded which way please them.’
‘You don’t believe that. You believe in will. You told me so.’
‘Like anyone with a sliver of honesty in them I believe what I find I believe when I wake up each morning. Sometimes I can only think we are determined by the writing in our genes, sometimes it seems to me that we are made or unmade by our upbringings. On better days, it is true that I hope with some conviction that we and we alone make ourselves everything that we are.’
‘Nature, Nurture or Nietzsche in fact.’
‘Ha!’ Babe clapped Ned in the back. ‘It’s coming on, the creature is coming on,’ he boomed to the wide uncomprehending lawn. ‘Listen,’ he said, tucking has arm in Ned’s, ‘if you want to understand your own situation, can you not apply some of the logic it has cost me so much brain blood to teach you? Take out Occam’s Razor and cut away the irrelevant and the obfuscatory. Set down only what you know.’

– Fry. S. 2010. The Stars’ Tennis Balls London, Great Britain: Arrow Books (2014) p. 210-211

Beauty


When contemplating the property beauty, as with knowledge, it turns out to be very difficult to provide an uncontentious analysis. Because of its many different conceptions and dimensions, the full value of beauty is surprisingly hard to capture. To that end, below is a list of quotations to help sketch a definition of the property beauty.

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
– Confucius

“The voice of beauty speaks softly; it creeps only into the most fully awakened souls.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

“Beauty awakens the soul to act.”
– Dante Alighieri

“Beauty is not caused. It is.”
– Emily Dickinson

“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”
– Khalil Gibran

“Whatever the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth whether it existed before or not.”
– John Keats

“There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.”
– Edgar Allan Poe

“Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.”
– David Hume

“Beauty is a form of Genius – is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in the dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.”
– Gwyneth Paltrow

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”
– Anne Frank

See more: Approximations

Truth


When contemplating the property truth, as with knowledge, it turns out to be very difficult to provide an uncontentious analysis. Because of its many different conceptions and dimensions, the full value of truth is surprisingly hard to capture. To that end, below is a list of quotations to help sketch a definition of the property truth.

“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
– François de La Rochefoucauld

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
– Winston Churchill

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
– Oscar Wilde

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
– Gloria Steinem

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
– Socrates

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
– Mark Twain

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
– Aldous Huxley

“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.”
– Pablo Picasso

“The more I see, the less I know for sure.”
– John Lennon

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
– Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

See more: Approximations

Depth Perception


The human eye uses three methods to perceive and determine distance:

“The more I see, the less I know for sure.”
– John Lennon

The size a known object has on your retina – if you have knowledge of the size of an object from previous experience, then your brain can gauge the distance based on the size of the object on the retina.

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
– Aldous Huxley

Moving parallax – when you move your head from side to side, objects that are close to you move rapidly across your retina. However, objects that are far away move very little. In this way, your brain can tell roughly how far something is from you.

“All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Stereo vision – each eye receives a different image of an object on its retina because each eye is about 2 inches apart. This is especially true when an object is close to your eyes. This is less useful when objects are far away because the images on the retina become more identical the farther they are from your eyes.

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
– C.S. Lewis, ‘The Magician’s Nephew’

Aphorism


“Aphorism. Noun; Predigested wisdom.” – Ambrose Bierce

An aphorism is a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation. For a saying to be called an aphorism, it has to be memorable and spoken or written in a laconic sense.

“I have forgotten my umbrella.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Or rather,

“The aphorism in which I am the first master among Germans, are the forms of ‘eternity’; my ambition is to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book, or what everyone else does not say in a book.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Nihilism‏


When asked to give a definition for nihilism, a true nihilist would sigh and say: “It’s useless to define it, it’s useless to provide an example.” and quote Cormac McCarthy, “The point is there ain’t no point.” I think we can do a little better than that.

In philosophy, nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. It is also the philosophical doctrine which holds all values to be baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated.

“A nihilist is a man who judges of the world as it is that it ought not to be, and of the world as it ought to be that it does not exist.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

In psychiatry, the term nihilism is used to refer to a certain delusion, experienced in some mental disorders, that an aspect of the world or one’s mind, body, or self does not exist.

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”
– William Shakespeare