This Is My Truth, Now Tell Me Yours

Aneurin Bevan? Jennie Lee? Michael Foot? Friedrich Nietzsche? Zarathustra? Manic Street Preachers? John Strachey? Hubert Griffith? Herbert L. Matthews? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A U.K politician expressed a willingness to hear alternative viewpoints by using the following expression:

This is my truth; tell me yours.

British Labour Party leader Aneurin Bevan has received credit for this remark. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: There is substantive evidence that Aneurin Bevan employed this statement. The second volume of a comprehensive biography of Bevan by Michael Foot appeared in 1973, and Foot attributed the saying to Bevan. Interestingly, Foot also alluded to a precursor remark by the famous German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

Often he would protest furiously: ‘O God why did you make the world so beautiful and the life of man so short?’ But he would also say, with Nietzsche, ‘this is my truth, now tell me yours’, thus invoking his special gift of imaginative tolerance.

Jennie Lee who was married to Bevan from 1934 up to his death in 1960 also attributed the saying to Bevan. See the 1980 citation below. Admittedly, the ascriptions from Foot and Lee appeared after the death of Bevan which reduced their probative value.

Here are additional selected citations and comments.

Continue reading This Is My Truth, Now Tell Me Yours

Notes:

  1. 1973, Aneurin Bevan: A Biography by Michael Foot, Volume 2: 1945-1960, Chapter 17: 1960, Quote Page 657, Davis-Poynter, London. (Verified with scans)

This Is My Way/Truth; Tell Me Your Way/Truth

Friedrich Nietzsche? Zarathustra? John Strachey? Hubert Griffith? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Different people hold divergent views of the world. Here are three versions of a germane remark:

  • You have heard my truth; now tell me yours.
  • This then is my truth. What is yours?
  • This is my way; where is yours?

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has received credit for this comment. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: Between 1883 and 1885 Friedrich Nietzsche published “Also sprach Zarathustra: Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen” (“Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None”). Zarathustra was an important religious figure, but Nietzsche constructed his own fictional didactic version of the prophet. The third part of the Nietzsche’s book contained a passage in which the character Zarathustra discussed his pursuit of truth. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

By many ways, in many ways, I reached my truth: it was not on one ladder that I climbed to the height where my eye roams over my distance. And it was only reluctantly that I ever inquired about the way: that always offended my taste. I preferred to question and try out the ways themselves.

Zarathustra continued his commentary by signaling that his way/truth might be different from the way/truth of the reader:

A trying and questioning was my every move; and verily, one must also learn to answer such questioning. That, however, is my taste—not good, not bad, but my taste of which I am no longer ashamed and which I have no wish to hide.

“This is my way; where is yours?”—thus I answered those who asked me “the way.” For the way—that does not exist.

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

QI conjectures that the saying under analysis evolved from Nietzsche’s words. The translation above was created by Princeton University Professor of Philosophy Walter Kaufmann in 1954. An excerpt from the original German is presented below together with additional English renderings.

Continue reading This Is My Way/Truth; Tell Me Your Way/Truth

Notes:

  1. 1976 (1954 and 1968 Copyright), The Portable Nietzsche by Friedrich Nietzsche, Translation by Walter Kaufmann (Princeton University), Thus Spoke Zarathustra: Third Part, Quote Page 307, The Viking Press, New York. (Verified with scans)