The purpose of this digital text is to explain some points that Nietzsche’s written work “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense” touch on through the use of multimodal composition. The use of multimodality displays his theories in a new perspective that not only reiterates his work in a different way but also shows pictorial examples of his theory in the world. This unique format allows this theory to reach out to a new audience. It will also be of use to those who are already familiar with Nietzsche in their own study of his rhetoric. Not only students, but professors who teach his theories will hopefully benefit from looking at Nietzsche’s words in an innovative light.

So what is the theory that Nietzsche is basically arguing in his piece “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense”?

In a very basic explanation it could be summarized as a complex rhetorical argument. His argument is that ideologies, regardless of kind, context, or those that support them, are dangerous to the human condition and pointless in respect to human nature. He explains that because we believe in ideas such as a philosophy, a cultural norm, a religion, a political policy, or anything that is thought up, those [the ideas] become very powerful through support. Their support fuels the strength of the idea and over time, after repetition and growing popularity in the idea, it is given a concrete quality that is more than just an idea. It is no longer a thought, conversation, or just a different way of thinking, but now is seen by its followers as the absolute “Truth”, with a capital ‘T’. This truth is then viewed by its followers as more than just an idea, because they somehow “know” that it is an adequate expression of reality, not just an ideology. This “knowing” can now be attributed to the powerful effects of language, which can be used in a variety of manners such as metaphors and other linguistic devices. The most dangerous individuals who support their knowledge, or “knowing” are the fundamentalists who eat, breathe, and live for their ideologies. From lynching, to forcing a democratic policy on foreign nations through warfare, to self-immolation for protest, they all stem from beliefs in ideologies. The belief is so strong because the individuals “know” it is the “Truth” and they will go to violent measures to support its validity.

Whether or not we agree with Nietzsche’s somewhat nihilistic views of existence, we can still see that some of his arguments do make very credible points. So what this video is attempting to do is to depict the violent effects of metaphors in language and the illusions of “truth”. It includes excerpts taken directly from Nietzsche’s writing, as well as our own interpretations to further explain his theory. Because we expect our audience to consist of individuals who are not Nietzsche scholars, Nietzsche enthusiasts, or even individuals who have much less heard of him, the added language will help reduce the density of his dialogue.

It is important to be advised that the subject matter we cover using Nietzsche’s rhetorical argument are at times graphic in nature. However, rhetoric deals with effects of language. We use language in our everyday lives, it shapes who we are, how we connect with others, and what we believe in. So the graphic displays are important to help emphasize the raw and non-sugarcoated effects that occurs from language. Human intellect can actually be very pointless at times when it tries to ascribe to itself an objectivity instead of subjectivity regarding truth.

You can find a digital copy of Nietzsche’s “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense” if you would like to see his work in its original format, which is text-based.