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View Full Version : The Origin of "Nothing is true, everything is permitted"



Graz73
07-18-2011, 09:21 AM
Hey check out this link. This guy gives a great explanation on the origins of the famous Assassin's motto:

nothing is true, everything is permitted (http://old.disinfo.com/archive/pages/article/id1562/pg1/)

I had just thought it was something made up for the games...

iN3krO
07-18-2011, 10:38 AM
The origin is very clean but the explenation, i prefer the one altair gave to al-muhalim :P

ThaWhistle
07-18-2011, 08:27 PM
heh, according to legend.... Wasn't it just from the novel Alamut?

LightRey
07-19-2011, 12:17 AM
Originally posted by ThaWhistle:
heh, according to legend.... Wasn't it just from the novel Alamut?
I'm pretty sure it was too. There's no legend here.

E-Zekiel
07-19-2011, 02:23 AM
The assassins were using the phrase long before any significant leader died, judging by the responses of known history...by other historical figures.


Did he mutter it on his deathbed? Sure, it's possible. But i would say it's entirely irrelevant to the origin of the phrase.

LightRey
07-19-2011, 11:34 AM
Originally posted by E-Zekiel:
The assassins were using the phrase long before any significant leader died, judging by the responses of known history...by other historical figures.


Did he mutter it on his deathbed? Sure, it's possible. But i would say it's entirely irrelevant to the origin of the phrase.
Makes one wonder that meaning they saw in the phrase though.

E-Zekiel
07-19-2011, 01:51 PM
I do wonder how they interpreted it, yeah. Very curious to know, but I suppose I never will.

I interpret it to mean that basically, unless you are God, you can never truly know anything to be absolute truth. Your entire world, everything you know, can be a lie of some sort construed by whatever means possible to the one lying. It could be anything from a corrupt media (which there's a ton of these days...thankfully a large chunk of it is going down thanks to Rupert Murdoch getting exposed, though), to a lying parent, to some kind of Matrix effect where you're living in a false reality. And because of that, everything that you "know" is simply permitted for you to know.

That's my interpretation of it, anyway http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

LightRey
07-19-2011, 02:55 PM
Originally posted by E-Zekiel:
I do wonder how they interpreted it, yeah. Very curious to know, but I suppose I never will.

I interpret it to mean that basically, unless you are God, you can never truly know anything to be absolute truth. Your entire world, everything you know, can be a lie of some sort construed by whatever means possible to the one lying. It could be anything from a corrupt media (which there's a ton of these days...thankfully a large chunk of it is going down thanks to Rupert Murdoch getting exposed, though), to a lying parent, to some kind of Matrix effect where you're living in a false reality. And because of that, everything that you "know" is simply permitted for you to know.

That's my interpretation of it, anyway http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
The cool thing is, that's kind of what quantum mechanics is based on :P

TheRedHanded
07-19-2011, 11:43 PM
In Bartol's novel, Hasan ibn Sabbah is pretty clear about what he means (yes, I've read it!)

Nothing is true...

There are no such things as gods, heaven, hell or karma. Any and all religions and beliefs are just pointless human attempts at making sense out of our improbable existence. Hence...

...everything is permitted!

Because if no greater power than us exist in the universe, then there are no judges to our actions but ourselves. For all intents and purposes, we get to decide what is good and what is evil.

That is both the greatest irony of the assassin order and Hasan's ultimate secret . For him, religion is merely another tool for manipulation, albeit a particularly potent one. A tool he wields to craft fanatical human weapons that are willing and eager to sacrifice their lives for a cause Hasan knows to be a lie.

Graz73
07-20-2011, 06:33 AM
That was a great and concise breakdown Bluebeat!

LightRey
07-20-2011, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by BlueBeat:
In Bartol's novel, Hasan ibn Sabbah is pretty clear about what he means (yes, I've read it!)

Nothing is true...

There are no such things as gods, heaven, hell or karma. Any and all religions and beliefs are just pointless human attempts at making sense out of our improbable existence. Hence...

...everything is permitted!

Because if no greater power than us exist in the universe, then there are no judges to our actions but ourselves. For all intents and purposes, we get to decide what is good and what is evil.

That is both the greatest irony of the assassin order and Hasan's ultimate secret . For him, religion is merely another tool for manipulation, albeit a particularly potent one. A tool he wields to craft fanatical human weapons that are willing and eager to sacrifice their lives for a cause Hasan knows to be a lie.
I was actually more interested in what the actual Hashashin meant by the phrase, but thank you. This is very helpful nonetheless.

kyobdash
08-16-2016, 03:43 PM
I was actually more interested in what the actual Hashashin meant by the phrase, but thank you. This is very helpful nonetheless.

Ezio:
" 'Nothing is true, everything is permitted' is merely an observation of the nature of reality, the world is an illusion.

To say that nothing is true is to realize that the foundations of society are fragile, and that we must be the shepherds of our own civilization.

To say that everything is permitted is to understand that we are the architects of our actions, and that we must live with their consequences, whether glorious or tragic."

I don't think this is something make up, because what it means is like from one of those acient civilization, full of wisdom. And you know what? Quantum physics also find out that "Nothing is real". But what is the origin, I think we'll know it one day.

cawatrooper9
08-16-2016, 05:15 PM
In response to "Nothing is True"- I know that the Ezio explanation is what most fans flock to, but let me propose a different idea with an emphasis on epistemology.

Some of you might be familiar with the Gettier Problem, and what actually constitutes as knowledge. One famous example of this is the "Cows in the Field" thought experiment, and it goes a little something like this:

"A man sees a big white shape in a field, too far away to make out much detail. 'There is a cow in this field', he thinks to himself. However, in truth, the white shape is actually a large blanket stuck on a small tree. However, behind the sheet, and completely obscured from the man's view, there actually is a cow. Even though his evaluation of the field was woefully incorrect, there was indeed a cow in the field. Is he justified in believing that there were cows in the field? Can he really be called right?"

This may be the way the Assassins see the world. "The world is an illusion", Ezio says, and I'm sure that he'd agree that what we believe of the world comes from our individual perceptions of it. This might even explain the confessions in The Grey- the Assassins may not agree with their enemies, but they can still recognize that the Templars have their own interpretations of the world and reasons for committing their actions.

longpinkytoes
10-18-2018, 02:18 PM
sometime after 732 BCE
Isaiah, Jerusalem
"Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we will die."

around 55 CE
Paul, Ephesus
"If the dead are not to be raised up, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die."

1879-1880 CE
Dostoyevsky, Moscow
"If God did not exist, everything would be permitted"

1938 CE
Bartol, Trieste
"Nothing is an absolute reality; all is permitted"

2007 10 13
Corey May, Montréal
"Nothing is true, everything is permitted"


the first use of the phrase in this list was the despondent response of the Israelites
to having been urged to demolish houses to rebuild the city walls, in order to avert the imminent siege of their city.
they had lost hope that they would be delivered if they resisted the siege, so used YOLO to manifest control of their lives.

the second use is actually a call to rally around the resurrection that had just replaced 'Ashes to ashes, dust to dust' [Genesis 3:19]
so that partying as a means to anaesthetise all-consuming helplessness was a last resort made obsolete in light of recent events.

the threat of imminent death is only free reign to act without fear of repercussions
if the assumption is made that a person cannot be judged after they are dead.
the condition "if god does not exist" or the assertion "nothing is an absolute reality"
are required for "everything is permitted" to be true. otherwise we are not free to judge our own actions.

the final wording used in the game has often been plumbed for new depth and meaning, and has even been given folk etymologies,
but is probably intended as a nod to earlier versions that all refer to, or condone amoral behaviour. (which AC gameplay requires)

[note: the quote attributed to Dostoyevsky may be a quote of Sartre quoting Dostoyevsky instead]