Nietzsche on love of truth, life, and perhaps even cultivating the species

Is it any wonder that we finally grow suspicious, lose patience, turn round impatiently? That we learn from this Sphinx how to pose questions of our own? Who is actually asking us the questions here? What is it in us that really wants to get at the truth’?

It is true that we paused for a long time to question the origin of this will, until finally we came to a complete stop at an even more basic question. We asked about the value of this will. Given that we want truth: why do we not prefer untruth? And uncertainty? Even ignorance?

—Beyond Good and Evil, On the Prejudices of Philosophers.

There are some things we now know too well, we knowing ones: oh, how we nowadays learn as artists to forget well, to be good at not knowing! And as for our future, one will hardly find us again on the paths of those Egyptian youths who make temples unsafe at night, embrace statues, and want by all means to unveil, uncover, and put into a bright light whatever is kept concealed for good reasons. No, we have grown sick of this bad taste, this will to truth, to truth at any price’, this youthful madness in the love of truth: we are too experienced, too serious, too jovial, too burned, too deep for that . . . We no longer believe that truth remains truth when one pulls off the veil; we have lived too much to believe this. Today we consider it a matter of decency not to wish to see everything naked, to be present everywhere, to understand and know’ everything.

—The Gay Science, Preface

We do not object to a judgement just because it is false; this is probably what is strangest about our new language. The question is rather to what extent the judgement furthers life, preserves life, preserves the species, perhaps even cultivates the species; and we are in principle inclined to claim that judgements that are the most false (among which are the synthetic a priori judgements)* are the most indispensable to us, that man could not live without accepting logical fictions, without measuring reality by the purely invented world of the unconditional, self-referential, without a continual falsification of the world by means of the number-that to give up false judgements would be to give up life, to deny life. Admitting untruth as a condition of life: that means to resist familiar values in a dangerous way; and a philosophy that dares this has already placed itself beyond good and evil.

—Beyond Good and Evil, On the Prejudices of Philosophers.

quote nietzsche