Tuesday, June 06, 2006

On etymology and mythology of Aletheia

Aletheia (αληθεια) is Greek for 'truth'. It derives from 'alethus' which means 'true', literally 'not concealing' from privative prefix a- 'not' + 'lethe' ('forgetfulness', 'oblivion'). As such, aletheia can be translated also as 'remembering'. Its gender is feminine. It is pronounced 'al-e-THEE-a'.
In Greek mythology Aletheia is a female daimon of truth, truthfulness, and sincerity. Her opposites are Dolos (trickery), Apate (deception) and the pseudologoi (lies).


Blogger Zeteticus said...

I just noticed that Aletheia contains Lethe, but means the opposite. I must reread Heidegger's ideas on Aletheia.

I've just recently noticed how important remembering is. The remembering you're referring to is similar to Plato's Recollection, no?

Thanks for the etymology. Very enlightening!


4:23 am  
Blogger hyperboreanmountain said...

Maybe the mechanics of truth have more to do with actively taking something out of hiddenness (alétheuein) and uncovering (aletheia) it -- than establishing correctness, likeness or agreement with a representation? Heidegger has some interesting notions on aletheia in this respect.

aléthes is reality unhidden, unconcealed ("as such", as something more than a mere representation).

8:51 am  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

Dear Zeteticus and Hyperboreanmountain, thanks for your comments.

Z - yes, the remembering I speak of is to a noticeable degree similar to that of Plato's recollection, but not just that. More on that below.

H - yes, I agree, Aletheia has more to do with actively taking something out of hiddenness than "establishing correctness". But then, how are these separate from eacher other and how much they blend with each other? How are these concepts defined?

In the context where I have formed my idea of Aletheia and further explore it, I have suggested two main keys to Aletheia: _forms_ and _will_ (as suggested in my _Manifesto of Aletheia_ - see my earlier blog entry on this). In this initiatory context where I am looking at these things, these keys can be said to refer to "knowing/finding oneself" (ala Plato) and to "creating oneself" (ala Gurdjieff). Both conceptual ways refer to Truth of Being and to Remembering that Truth. Both of those keys are needed in this process and they blend with each other in it.

The etymology of Aletheia has been interpreted more or less in the same basic way, but emphasis has varied. There will be more about etymology of Aletheia in my blog soon.

12:01 pm  
Blogger Reflexion said...

Aletheia - well, Plato used this quite extensively in writing.

A = Non
Lethe = from river Lethe (or river of Death)
Eia = experience

Non-Death-Experience (Immortality)

1:44 am  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

Dear Reflexion,

well put.


5:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hyvää päivää,
Do you know something about the mythological origin of the image "The Truth issuing (naked) out a well" ?
Minä kiitän teitä,

3:43 pm  
Anonymous NB said...

Just FYI, the word is pronounced ah-LEE-thia.

1:14 pm  
Anonymous Alan Cabal said...

Automotive license plates from Quebec bear the slogan, "Je me souviens."

9:01 pm  
Anonymous Joan said...

While examining online Amazon sampler pages of "The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs" by Jan Assmann, I learned of the Egyptian importance of Truth/Remembering. Ma'at is their concept/goddess for 'truth, order, balance'.

Assmann has a clarified defination of Ma'at the concept as 'connective justice'.

"Memory and mutually supportive action belong together; one is the condition for the other. Memory creates the space in which social action can unfold, while forgetting is synonymous with an inability to act, or in the Egyptian language, with "sloth/inertia." Without the past there is no action."(pg 128)

I noted in my journal entry about this find regarding its connection with ALETHEIA, and quoted you, "The nature of Remembering is sacred and it is the source of pure religiousness."

link to entry:
"Connective Communication Egyptian Style"

Thanks for bringing this important concept to our attention!

3:56 am  
Blogger nekkid said...

Tapio's pronunciation, AleeTHEEa, is the one used in Epic (Homeric) Greek and Early Attic. NB's pronunciation is used in Koine (Christian) and Attic. This may be checked in Liddell, Scott, ed. Jones: *A Greek-English Lexicon*.


5:51 am  

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