Does intuition ever lie

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Friedrich Nietzsche

About truth and lies in a non-moral sense


In some remote corner of the universe, which was poured out flickering in countless solar systems, there was once a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. It was the most haughty and mendacious minute in "world history"; but only for a minute. After a few breaths of nature the star froze and the clever animals had to die. - In this way someone could invent a fable and yet would not have sufficiently illustrated how pathetic, how shadowy and fleeting, how useless and arbitrary the human intellect appears within nature. There were ages when he wasn't; when it's over with him again, nothing will have happened. For there is no other mission for that intellect that goes beyond human life. It is human, and only its owner and producer takes it as pathetically as if the hinges of the world were turning within it. But if we could communicate with the mosquito, we would hear that it too swims through the air with this pathos and feels within itself the flying center of this world. There is nothing so reprehensible and insignificant in nature that is not immediately swelled up like a tube by a little touch of that power of knowledge; And just as every porter wants his admirer, so even the proudest person, the philosopher, thinks he sees the eyes of the universe telescopically focused on his actions and thoughts from all sides.

It is remarkable that the intellect can achieve this, which is only given as an aid to the most unfortunate, most delicate, most ephemeral beings in order to hold them in existence for a minute, from which they otherwise, without that addition, as quickly as Lessing's Son had every reason to flee. That arrogance associated with cognition and feeling, laying a blinding fog over the eyes and senses of men, is therefore mistaken about the value of existence, in that it carries within itself the most flattering appreciation for cognition itself. Its most general effect is deception - but even the most individual effects have something of the same character about them.

The intellect, as a means of preserving the individual, unfolds its main forces in disguise; for this is the means by which the weaker, less robust individuals maintain themselves than whom a struggle for existence with horns or sharp predatory teeth is denied. This art of disguise comes to its peak in people: here is deception, flattering, lying and deceiving, talking behind-the-back, representing, living in borrowed splendor, being masked, concealing convention, acting in front of others and in front of himself, briefly the constant fluttering around them a Flame vanity so much the rule and the law that almost nothing is more incomprehensible than how an honest and pure urge to truth could arise among men. They are deeply immersed in illusions and dream images, their eyes only glide around on the surface of things and see "forms", their sensation leads nowhere to the truth, but is content to receive stimuli and, as it were, a tentative play on the back of things to play. In addition, man allows himself to be lied to for a lifetime in a dream without his moral feeling ever trying to prevent this: while there are supposed to be people who have got rid of snoring through a strong will. What does a person actually know about himself! Yes, could he even once fully perceive himself, laid down as if in an illuminated glass case? Does not nature withhold most of it from him, even about his body, in order to captivate and enclose him in a proud, jealous consciousness, away from the windings of the intestines, the rapid flow of bloodstreams, the entangled fiber tremors! She threw away the key: and woe to the fateful new greed that could look through a crack out of the consciousness room and down and that now suspected that man rests on the merciless, the greedy, the insatiable, the murderous in the indifference of his ignorance and, as it were, hanging on the back of a tiger in dreams. Where in all the world does the drive to truth come from in this constellation!

Insofar as the individual wants to preserve himself from other individuals, in a natural state of things he mostly uses the intellect only to disguise: but because man wants to exist socially and in herds out of need and boredom at the same time, he needs a peace treaty and seeks at least that the greatest of all bellum omnium contra omnes disappear from his world. This peace treaty brings with it what looks like the first step towards the attainment of that mysterious instinct for truth. For now what is supposed to be "truth" from now on is fixed, that is, a uniformly valid and binding designation of things is invented, and the legislation of language also gives the first laws of truth: for it arises here for the first time Draw the contrast between truth and lies. The liar uses the valid labels, the words, to make the unreal appear real; he says, for example, "I am rich," while "poor" would be the correct term for his condition. He misuses the fixed conventions by randomly exchanging or even reversing the names. If he does this in a selfish and, moreover, damaging way, society will no longer trust him and thereby exclude him from itself. People flee from being betrayed not so much as from being damaged by fraud: they hate, even at this stage, not fundamentally deception, but the dire, hostile consequences of certain types of deception. In a similarly limited sense, man wants only the truth: he desires the pleasant, life-sustaining consequences of truth, he is indifferent to pure knowledge without consequences, he is even hostile to the possibly harmful and destructive truths. And moreover: what about those conventions of language? Are they perhaps products of knowledge, of the sense of truth, do the names and things coincide? Is language the adequate expression of all realities?

Only through forgetfulness can man ever come to believe that he possesses a "truth" in the degree just indicated. If he does not want to be satisfied with the truth in the form of tautology, that is, with empty shells, he will trade illusions for truths forever. What is a word The mapping of a nerve stimulus in sounds. But to infer a cause outside of us from the nerve stimulus is already the result of a wrong and unjustified application of the principle of reason. How could we, if the truth in the genesis of language, the point of certainty in the designations alone had been decisive, how could we say: the stone is hard: as if "hard" were still known to us in some other way, and not only as a very subjective irritation! We divide things up according to sex, we call the tree male, the plant female: what arbitrary transfers! How far beyond the canon of certainty! We are talking about a "snake": the name applies to nothing but writhing, so it could also apply to the worm. What arbitrary delimitations, what one-sided preferences now that, now that property of a thing! The different languages, placed side by side, show that when it comes to words, the truth is never important, and it is never an adequate expression: otherwise there would not be so many languages. The "thing in itself" (that would just be the pure truth without consequences) is also completely incomprehensible to the linguist and absolutely not worth striving for. It only describes the relations of things to people and uses the most daring metaphors to express them. A nerve stimulus, first transferred to an image! First metaphor. The image is reshaped in a sound! Second metaphor. And each time complete jumping over the sphere, right into a completely different and new one. One can imagine a person who is completely deaf and has never had a feeling for the tone and the music: how he marveled at the chladnian sound figures in the sand, found their cause in the trembling of the string and would now swear that now it ought to know what people call "sound" is what we all feel about language. We believe that we know something of the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow and flowers, and yet we have nothing but metaphors of things [312] which do not correspond at all to the original beings. Like clay as a figure of sand, the enigmatic X of the thing itself appears as a nerve stimulus, then as an image, and finally as a sound. In any case, it is not logical in the origin of language, and all the material in which and with what later the man of truth, the researcher, the philosopher works and builds, if not from Cloud Cuckoo Land, at least not from the essence of the things.

Let us think especially of the formation of the concepts. Every word immediately becomes conceptual because it should not serve as a memory for the unique, completely individualized original experience to which it owes its origin, but at the same time for countless, more or less similar, that is, strictly speaking, never the same, i.e., at the same time must fit in all unequal cases. Every concept arises through equating unequal. As certain as one leaf is never exactly the same as another, the concept of leaf is certainly formed by dropping these individual differences at will, by forgetting what distinguishes them, and now arouses the idea that there is something in nature besides the leaves that " Leaf "would be, for example, an archetype, according to which all leaves would be woven, drawn, calibrated, colored, curled, painted, but by clumsy hands, so that no specimen would have turned out to be a correct and reliable copy of the original form. We call a person "honest"; why did he act so honestly today? we ask. Our answer is usually: because of his honesty. The truth! That means again: the leaf is the cause of the leaves. We know nothing of an essential quality that would be called "honesty", but we do know of numerous individualized, thus unequal actions which we equate by omitting the unequal and which we now call honest actions; Finally we formulate one of them qualitas occulta with the name: "honesty". The overlook of the individual and the real gives us the concept, just as it gives us the form, whereas nature knows no forms and concepts, i.e. also no genres, but only an X that is inaccessible and indefinable for us Genus is anthropomorphic [313] and does not originate from the essence of things, even if we do not dare to say that it does not correspond to it: that would be a dogmatic assertion and as such as inexplicable as its opposite.

So what is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonymies, anthropomorphisms, in short a sum of human relations, which, poetically and rhetorically heightened, transferred, adorned and which after long use seem solid, canonical and binding to a people: the truths are illusions of which one can has forgotten that they are some, metaphors that have worn out and become senselessly powerless, coins that have lost their image and can now be considered as metal, no longer as coins.

We still do not know where the drive to truth comes from: until now we have only heard of the obligation that society makes in order to exist: to be truthful, that is to use the usual metaphors, i.e. to put it morally: of the obligation to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie herd by herd in a style that is binding for all. Now, of course, man forgets that this is how it is with him; so he lies unconsciously in the manner indicated and after a hundred years of habituation - and just comes through this unconsciousnessthrough this forgetting to feel the truth. The feeling of being obliged to designate one thing as "red", another as "cold", and a third as "mute" awakens a moral impulse that relates to truth: from the opposition of the liar, whom no one trusts that everyone excludes, man demonstrates what is venerable, trustworthy and useful in truth. He now presents his actions as "sensible«Beings under the rule of abstractions; he no longer suffers from being swept away by sudden impressions, by the perceptions; he first generalizes all these impressions into more discolored, cooler concepts in order to tie the vehicle of his life and actions to them. Everything that sets humans apart from animals depends on this ability to volatilize descriptive metaphors into a scheme, that is, to dissolve an image into a concept. In the area of ​​those schemes, namely, something is possible [314] which would never succeed under the vivid first impressions: to build a pyramidal order according to caste and degrees, to create a new world of laws, privileges, subordinates, and limit determinations, which the others can now visualize The world of first impressions confronts us as the more solid, more general, more familiar, more human and therefore as the regulating and imperative. While every visual metaphor is individual and unparalleled and therefore always knows how to escape all categorization, the large structure of the concepts shows the rigid regularity of a Roman columbarium and exhales in logic that rigor and coolness that is inherent in mathematics. Anyone who is breathed in by this coolness will hardly believe that the term, bony and octagonal like a cube and relocatable like that, but only as that Residual of a metaphor remains, and that the illusion of the artistic transfer of a nerve stimulus into images is if not the mother, then at least the grandmother of every concept. Within this dice game of terms, however, "truth" means using each dice as it is called, counting your eyes precisely, forming correct categories and never violating the caste order and the order of the rankings. How the Romans and Etruscans cut the sky through strong mathematical lines and in such a delimited space as in one templum, banished a god, every people has such a mathematically divided conceptual sky and understands by the requirement of truth that every conceptual god only in his Looking for a sphere. One can admire the human being here as a tremendous building genius who succeeds in piling up an infinitely complicated conceptual dome on movable foundations and, as it were, on running water - of course, in order to find support on such foundations, it must be a building made of spider threads, so delicate in order to be carried away by the wave, so firmly that not to be blown apart by every wind. As building genius, the human being rises above the bee: the bee builds from wax that it collects from nature, he builds from the much more delicate material of the concepts that he first has to fabricate from himself. He is to be admired here very much - but only not because of his drive for truth, [315] for pure knowledge of things. If someone hides a thing behind a bush, looks for it again there and also finds it, then there is not much to be boasted about in this search and finding: but this is how it is with the search and finding of "truth" within the realm of reason. If I define the mammal and then, after inspecting a camel, declare: "See, a mammal," then a truth is brought to light, but it is of limited value, I mean, it is thoroughly anthropomorphic and contains not a single point that is "true in itself", really and generally valid, apart from the human being. The researcher for such truths is basically only looking for the metamorphosis of the world in people; he struggles to understand the world as a human-like thing and, at best, fights for the feeling of assimilation. Just as the astrologer looks at the stars in the service of people and in connection with their happiness and suffering, such a researcher regards the whole world as linked to people, as the infinitely broken echo of a primordial sound, the human being, as the multiplied image of the an archetype, of man.His procedure is to hold man as the measure of all things: but he proceeds from the error of believing that he has these things immediately, as pure objects. So he forgets the original visual metaphors as metaphors and takes them as the things themselves.

Only through the forgetting of that primitive world of metaphors, only through the hardening and rigidness of an original mass of images flowing in heated fluid from the primal faculties of human imagination, only through invincible belief, these Sun, this Window, this Table is a truth in itself, in short only because the human being is a subject, namely as a artistically creating Subject, forgets, he lives with a certain calm, security and consistency: if he could just get out of the prison walls of this belief for a moment, his "self-confidence" would immediately be over. This alone costs him an effort to admit to himself how the insect or the bird perceive a completely different world than the human being, and that the question of which of the two world perceptions is more correct is a completely senseless one, since this is already based on the standard of correct [316] perception, that is, with one not available Yardstick that would have to be measured. In general, however, "correct perception" seems to me - that would mean: the adequate expression of an object in the subject - a contradicting absurdity: because between two absolutely different spheres, as between subject and object, there is no causality, no correctness, no expression, but at most one aesthetic Behavior, I mean a suggestive transference, a stammering translation into a completely foreign language: for which, however, a freely poetic and freely inventing middle sphere and middle force is required. The word "appearance" contains many seductions, which is why I avoid it as much as possible: for it is not true that the essence of things appears in the empirical world. A painter who has no hands and who wanted to express the image he had in mind through song will always reveal more in this interchanging of spheres than the empirical world reveals of the essence of things. Even the relation of a nerve stimulus to the image produced is not necessary in itself: but if the same image has been produced a million times and is inherited through many human sexes, and ultimately appears in the whole of humanity each time as a result of the same cause, then it finally has the same meaning for human beings as if it were the only necessary picture and as if that relation of the original nerve stimulus to the traditional picture was a strict causal relation: like a dream, repeated forever, would be felt and judged as reality. But the fact that a metaphor becomes rigid and rigid does not guarantee the necessity and exclusive justification of this metaphor.

Certainly every person who is at home in such considerations has felt a deep mistrust of any such idealism, whenever he was once quite clearly convinced of the eternal consistency, omnipresence and infallibility of the laws of nature; He has concluded: here everything, as far as we can penetrate, is so securely developed according to the height of the telescopic and the depth of the microscopic world, endless, regular and without gaps; science will forever have to dig successfully in these shafts, and everything found will agree and not contradict one another. How little does this resemble a fantasy product: for if it were this, it would have to make one guess the appearance and the unreality somewhere. On the other hand, we have to say: if we still had a different kind of sensory perception, we ourselves could only perceive now as a bird, now as a worm, now as a plant, or would one of us see the same stimulus as red, the other as blue, if a third even heard it as a sound, no one would speak of such a regularity in nature, but only understand it as a highly subjective structure. Then: what is a law of nature for us anyway? It is not known to us per se, but only in its effects, that is, in its relations to other laws of nature, which are known to us only as sums of relations. So all these relations always refer to each other and are by their nature incomprehensible to us through and through; only what we add, time, space, that is, succession relationships and numbers, are really known to us. Everything wonderful, however, which we are amazed at about the laws of nature, which demands our explanation and could lead us to distrust idealism, lies precisely and entirely only in the mathematical rigor and inviolability of time and ideas of space. But this we produce in and out of us with the necessity with which the spider spins; If we are compelled to understand all things in terms of these forms only, then it is no longer wonderful that we really only understand these forms in all things: for they all have to bear the laws of number in themselves, and number even is the most amazing thing in things. All the regularity that so impresses us in the course of the stars and in the chemical process basically coincides with those properties that we bring to things ourselves, so that we impress ourselves with them. It turns out, however, that the artistic metaphor formation with which every sensation begins in us already presupposes those forms, that is, is carried out in them; only the firm persistence of these archetypes explains the possibility of how afterwards a structure of concepts could again be constituted from the metaphors themselves. This is namely an imitation of the relationships of time, space and numbers on the basis of metaphors.


[318] Originally working on the construction of the concepts, as we have seen, the language, in later times the science. Just as the bee builds the cells and fills the cells with honey at the same time, science works relentlessly on that great columbarium of concepts, the burial place of beliefs, building new and higher floors, supporting, cleaning, renewing the old cells and being ahead every effort is made to fill that framework, piled up into the monstrosity, and to classify the whole empirical world, that is, the anthropomorphic world, into it. If the acting person binds his life to reason and its concepts in order not to be swept away and not to lose himself, then the researcher builds his hut close to the tower of science in order to be able to help with it and provide protection for himself to find the existing bulwark. And he needs protection: for there are terrible powers that continually penetrate him and oppose the scientific “truth” with “truths” of very different nature with the most varied of shield signs.

That instinct to form metaphors, that fundamental instinct of human beings, which cannot be discounted for a moment, because that would exclude human beings themselves, is due to the fact that a regular and rigid new world is built for them as a fortress out of their volatile products, the concepts is, in truth, not conquered and hardly tamed. He looks for a new area of ​​his work and another river bed and finds it in the myth and in general art. He continually confuses the rubrics and cells of the concepts by adding new transcriptions, metaphors, and metonymies; he continually shows the desire to redesign the existing world of the waking person as colorfully, irregularly, incoherently, appealingly and eternally anew, like the one World of dreams is. In itself the wakeful person is only aware of the fact that he is awake through the rigid and regular web of concepts, and for this very reason he sometimes believes that he is dreaming when that web of concepts is torn apart by art. Pascal is right when he asserts that if the same dream came to us every night, we would be just as preoccupied with it as with the things we see every day: 'If a craftsman were certain to dream every night, full of them I believe that he was king for twelve hours, "says Pascal," that he would be just as happy as a king who dreamed for twelve hours every night that he was a craftsman. " older Greeks, is in fact more like the dream than the day of the scientifically disillusioned thinker because of the continually working miracle, as myth assumes it. When every tree can speak as a nymph or a god can drag virgins away from under the cover of a bull, when the goddess Athena herself is suddenly seen driving through the Athens markets with a beautiful team accompanied by the Pisistratus - and the honest one believed that Athenians - everything is possible in every moment as in dreams, and the whole of nature swarms around man as if it were only the masquerade of the gods, who only made a joke of deceiving man in all forms.

Man himself, however, has an invincible tendency to be deceived and is enchanted with happiness when the rhapsode tells him epic fairy tales as true or the actor in the play acts as the king even more regally than reality shows him. The intellect, that master of disguise, is free and relieved of its other servitude as long as it can deceive without being able to damage, and then celebrates its Saturnalia. He is never more luxuriant, richer, prouder, more agile and daring: with creative ease he throws the metaphors into confusion and shifts the boundaries of abstractions, so that he describes, for example, the river as the moving path that carries people to where they go otherwise goes. Now he has thrown aside the sign of servitude: otherwise he strives with gloomy busyness to show the way and the tools to a poor individual who longs for existence, and who goes out like a servant for his master to robbery and booty, he is now he has become the master and is allowed to wipe the expression of need from his face. Whatever he does now, in comparison with his earlier actions, everything bears the disguise, just as the earlier [320] the distortion in itself. He copies human life, but takes it for a good cause and seems to be quite satisfied with it. That immense framework and boardwork of concepts to which needy people cling to through life is only a framework and a toy for their most daring tricks: and when they smash it, throw it together, ironically reassemble it, the strangest thing pairing and separating the neighbor, he reveals that he does not need those makeshift means of need and that he is now guided not by concepts but by intuitions. From these intuitions, there is no regular route into the land of ghostly schemes, of abstractions: the word is not made for them, people fall silent when they see them, or speak in all forbidden metaphors and unheard-of conceptions in order to at least get through the shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers to creatively correspond to the impressions of the powerful contemporary intuition.

There are ages in which the rational person and the intuitive person stand side by side, one in fear of intuition, the other with scorn at abstraction; the latter is just as unreasonable as the former is inartistic. Both desire to rule over life; the latter, in that he knows how to meet the most important needs through precaution, prudence and regularity, the latter, in that, as an "overjoyed hero", he does not see those needs and only takes life, disguised as appearance and beauty, as real. Where the intuitive man, for example, as in ancient Greece, wields his weapons more powerfully and victoriously than his antagonism, a culture can best shape itself and the rule of art over life can be established: that pretense, that denial of need, that shine of metaphorical notions and, in general, that immediacy of deception accompanies all expressions of such a life. Neither the house, nor the step, nor the clothes, nor the clay jug reveal that necessity invented them: it seems as if all of them should express a sublime happiness and an Olympic cloudlessness and, as it were, a game of seriousness. While the human being guided by concepts and abstractions only averts misfortune through them, [321] without forcing himself happiness from the abstractions, while he strives for the greatest possible freedom from pain, the intuitive human being, standing in the midst of a culture, already reaps from his own Intuition, besides warding off evil, is a continually flowing enlightenment, enlightenment, redemption. Of course he suffers more severely, if he suffers: yes he also suffers more often because he does not know how to learn from experience and repeatedly falls into the same pit into which he once fell. In suffering he is just as unreasonable as in happiness, he screams loudly and has no consolation. How differently, under the same misfortune, stands the stoic man, instructed by experience and dominated by concepts! He, who otherwise only seeks sincerity, truth, freedom from deception and protection from bewitching attacks, now, in misfortune, casts off the masterpiece of disguise like the one in happiness; He does not wear a twitching and agile human face, but rather a mask with dignified proportions of features, he does not scream and does not even change his voice: when a real cloud of weather pours over him, he wraps himself in his cloak and walks slowly under her of it. [322]