Den udtømte sandhed og den sande uudtømmelighed

  • Anders Kølle


The Exhausted Truth and the True Inexhaustibility

What are the relations between images and truth? How can truth be represented? In the article “The Exhausted Truth and the True Inexhaustibility”, the German romanticist and philosopher Friedrich Schlegel’s theories concerning the great value and unmeasurable importance of the endless, the unintelligible, and the inexhaustible serves as the opening to a discussion of what is to be understood by the question of truth. Does truth pertain to the forever unsayable domains of the oblique and evasive – that which must remain outside the firm grasp of enlightenment and understanding? Or, on the contrary, is truth that which not only can be enframed, but also reproduced and represented? The discussion of this question brings forth a fundamental divide between Schlegel’s and Romanticism’s idealizations of the creative and vitalistic transgressions of the human limits of understanding and the boundaries set up in the names of enlightenment and knowledge. As argued in the article, this divide would also describe a discrepancy between, on the one hand, a contemplative search into the unknown depths of the world, and, on the other hand, the desire to bring into light, into form, and into image. The Information Age in which we are said to live today would appear to provide us first and foremost with the latter image of truth: The substitution of Romanticism’s inexhaustive image of truth with the true exhaustiveness of our image culture.