In this essay I will make use of a procedure, and concept of truth that emerged from the work of Brentano and Husserl, that runs against the currents and idols of our age. Its most recent articulation is found in the work of Heidegger. The idea of truth as aletheia is an attempt to see the truth of Being as it discloses itself to understanding. In this way, truth is an activity of disclosure that has two moments; coming to light and bringing to light. Its notion is that of allowing things, as it were, to come to presence, to speak for themselves. Rather than construct an artifice of propositional reference for external verification, phenomenological analysis allows for disclosure of meaning through a natural form of life in which a question at issue is at home. A hermeneutical circle of interpretation surrounds the concept in question—in this case „mystery‟—with a network of sense natural to its occurrence, and so brings understanding into a space in which the whole meaning of the moment is revealed.
This way of proceeding requires, or at least invites, an indirection of discourse. Kierkegaard famously remarked that the secret of communication is to set the other free. This is also a useful rule of inquiry into the truth of Being: to position oneself in such a way that one can hear as well as see, feel as well as think what it is that we are trying to understand. Literature is, in the view I will develop, an open domain and field of expression in which truth can happen, can come to a fuller presence in human understanding. There is an important cultural lesson in this procedure, whether or not I am able to make good on it here, that such understanding requires patience. This point has its parallel in Aristotle‟s reminder about moral knowledge: that some subjects can be learned only by being made a part of the learner‟s very nature, and this takes time.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Kimmel, L. (2004). Literature, Mystery, and Truth. Analecta Husserliana, 82, 31-46.