Truth and Belief

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James L. Walker

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In No. 93 of Liberty there occur the following words written by Miss Kelly: "When .... lapse . . . the Tak Kaks into the denial of all truth and justice."

In reply to this suggestion, let me offer the following from Stirner, page 117: "If an era lies enmeshed in an error, there are always some who derive advantage from it, while the others bear the injury resulting. In the middle ages the error was universal among Christians that the Church must have supreme power on earth. The hierarch believed not less in this 'truth' than the laity, and both were stuck fast in the same error. But the hierarchs had the advantage of the power which it gave, and the laity suffered the injury of subjection. As the saying is, we learn wisdom by suffering; and so the laity at length became wise, and no longer believed in the medieval 'truth.' A similar relation occurs between the middle class and the working class. Burgher and workman believe in the 'truth' of money. Those who do not possess it believe in it not less than those who do possess it, and so the laity like the priests."

On page 40 of Stirner, read: "Why is an irrefragable mathematical truth — which, according to the usual understanding of words, might be called even an eternal one—not a sacred truth? Because it is not a revealed truth, or not the revelation of a higher being."

Following this is a clear explanation how "revelation" is not confined to theology, but the ideal and general "man" becomes the object of worship, as a higher being than the individual man, and the source of so-called truths, rights, and ideas to be held sacred.

Nobody fears that mathematical truths will not maintain themselves without help of my veneration. If even science has its intolerance, it must be that it has its hypotheses which demand devout behavior, respect, not doubt. I value all the truth I know, but I value it simply as my possession. Instead of denying it, I use it as my own. I will give at another time a few words on justice, which will be as plain.

Tak Kak.

  • James L. Walker, “Truth and Belief,” Liberty 4, no. 17 (March 12, 1887): 7.