I chanced upon Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘On truth and lies in a non moral sense’. Although I’m not technically a ‘philosopher’ (but aren’t we all philosophers), I’m not sure I agree with his views on human dissimulation.

I assumed that early humans and other conscious animals, to an extent, had this innate sense of curiosity, to figure out how the world around them works (atleast using a series of metaphors and concepts to credit Nietzsche). On this topic, he says

He is indifferent toward pure knowledge which has no consequences; toward those truths which are possibly harmful and destructive he is even hostilely inclined

But place a man within a room with a weirdly shaped object, he is bound to inspect it sooner or later. The object could be impotent or possibly harmful, but he would still wonder what it is and try to figure it out to an extent. And the same applies, if it were a caveman or a crow (I could be wrong here). After all, there has to be some truth in the phrase ‘curiosity killed the cat’.

Moreover, he says

As a means for the preserving of the individual, the intellect unfolds its principle powers in dissimulation, which is the means by which weaker, less robust individuals preserve themselves-since they have been denied the chance to wage the battle for existence with horns or with the sharp teeth of beasts of prey, This art of dissimulation reaches its peak in man. Deception, flattering, lying, deluding, talking behind the back, putting up a false front, living in borrowed splendor, wearing a mask, hiding behind convention, playing a role for others and for oneself-in short, a continuous fluttering around the solitary flame of vanity-is so much the rule and the law among men that there is almost nothing which is less comprehensible than how an honest and pure drive for truth could have arisen among them.

From an evolutionary point of view, what would man have profited more from - lying and keeping to themselves or sharing knowledge for the greater good?

Are there similar criticisms to Nietzsche’s theories?


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