12/6/16

"If truth is relative, to what is it relative?"

"One celebrated critic, strongly associated with the popularizing of Ibsen in England, said, I think, the other day that Ibsen was aiming at asserting the relativity of truth. I cannot believe that Ibsen was so silly as all that. If truth is relative, to what is it relative? The same writer, I think, emphasized the matter still further by calling it the 'mutability of truth.'

"Philosophically understood, these phrases mean literally nothing at all; the quality of truth cannot be mutable; the element of actuality, if it is present, must always be the same. But symbolically understood, these phrases do mean something; they mean that Ibsen and many others honestly felt an irritation against all existing standards and ideals; spiritualist and materialist, revolutionist and reactionary. They really do mean with a lucidity varying with their mental capacity that there shall be no definable moral codes for the society of the future. In this they must be understood; and in this they must be fought."

~G.K. Chesterton: Daily News, June 2, 1906.

(h/t Mike Miles)


Henrik Jonan Ibsen (1828 - 1906),
by Gustav Borgen.

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