Do we need a friend of parrhesia?

Res: Parrhesia by Faucoult


The definition of truth at the beginning is controversial. The definition Foucault gave is if one believe what he think is true, it is true. Which conflict with Decarted’s true, which should start from one’s experience.

Crisis of parrhesia

In the analysis of Orestes story, Foucault propose that the parrhesia is not adequate to disclose the true. A person who could disclose the truth, like Socrate and Diogenes, should have not only parrhesia, but also wisdom. The function of parrhesia has to do with the relation of parrhesia to knowledge and education. So not everyone who has parrhesia would benefit others, further more, he may be dangerous by being entitled to use parrhesia? In a Athen society of democracy , everyone has right of parrhesia, and everyone’s opinion are taken into consideration. Is it really wise to consider everyone’s opinion? It is hard to say most people are wise enough to make right decision that require knowledge of scholar, vision of leader. The decision made by most people may not good, and the process is inefficient.

Do we need a friend of parrhesiastes?

In Socratic parrhesia, dialogue conducted by Socrate is to lead them to answer his questions, to confess about themselves. The purpose is to show his interlocutor’s ignorance of what he claims to know. In Cynic parrhesia, Diogenes hitting Alexander’s pride to force him to recognize he is not he claimed to be. Both of their dialogue are to uncover the paradox of the what one says about himself (the subjective truth) and what he behaves (the objective truth somehow).

About the question “Why, in personal life, we need a friend of parrhesiastes of truth teller?” the reason Plutarch give is we are naturally self-lover, and spontaneous flatterer of ourselves. We are unable to discover truth about ourselves. But I think it does not answer the question of the necessity of realizing what we really are. Would realizing what I really am really make my life better? Isn’t it better living in a illusion of a better me, than a truth of a worse me? Some parts of human nature is ugly, and we have nothing to do with it. So why disclose it?