In 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche pronounced the death of God. In 1900, God pronounced the death of Nietzsche. In the years between, this German philosopher sought to open the eyes of the masses to the sheer pointlessness of existence using his biting, nihilistic rhetoric.
In 1966, TIME Magazine’s cover echoed Nietzsche’s sentiment, albeit in question form. “Is God Dead?” in giant red letters has become an icon of 20th century history. Nietzche’s intellectual descendants were proud of their his voice now influencing on an even grander scale. Hopelessness bred hope.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of this iconic cover, TIME published some new red letters – same style, different subject. “Is Truth Dead?” was the question for 2017. As a keen cultural observer, my ears were pricked. The subject matter of this piece was the Trumpian concept of truth as a malleable tool – an important conversation, no doubt. But I can’t help but think that TIME Magazine missed an opportunity to be truthful about truth.
Good job, TIME. Bad job, TIME.
TIME’s critique of truth massaging is both warranted and hypocritical. Warranted because language of fact and truth, right and wrong should never be distorted for any form of personal gain. Plain and simple – truth is good, falsehood is wrong. The Great Truth Masseuse of Washington would do well to listen.
On the other hand, TIME has missed a contradiction. A bad one, right in their blind spot. TIME refer to “binary distinctions between truth and falsehood” in the Trump piece, yet they represent a culture that flagrantly denies these same distinctions in areas of personal preference. TIME claims the moral high ground on matters of truth and falsehood while representing the wider cultural norm of relativizing truth whenever it suits.
I guess I would find it hard to see this if I too had a tree in my eye.
Binary – not just for nerds
Abortion and the transgender revolution are two examples of this – the suppression of self-evident truths in favour of Sovereign Self decrees.
Despite this organism inside me being a human, I will disregard its value and kill it. I make the rules.
Despite being a man, I will declare myself a woman. I have spoken.
Despite no supporting evidence, there are surveillance devices everywhere listening to every word my administration says. That is that.
How are these things different from each other? How is one worthy of critique and the others are not to be questioned? You either keep your cake or eat it. You can’t have both.
This 50 year slide from the death of God to Truth is telling – after all, if there is no God, no Ultimate Truth Giver, can things really be said to be true in any meaningful sense? Obviously, we use ‘truth’ and its derivatives daily to convey meaning but are we appealing to our own subjective sense of meaning, or are we rooting these words in something objective, something that is, regardless of who believes it – something greater than our own unstable circumstances and desires.
If TIME are receiving answers to their pointed cover question, I have one – Yes. Truth died a long time ago. But it has risen and reigns.