08 January 2009

Nietzsche's concept of the error of the unknown

The Third Great Error

Continuing on from the last two posts, Herr Nietzsche now explains how the human desire for comfort lends to the perception of an "imaginary cause" that compensates a state of mind. In three sections, Nietzsche explains how one may take this action, the psychological reasoning behind it, and finally how it applies to concepts of morality and religion. In my interpretation, I understand it starting with someone who lacks or does not have a firm grasp on the laws of the natural world—natural causality. When someone blames something bad on the actions of a witch, some 'evil spirit,' or invokes the name of some deity to explain that which is unknown, are they not merely acting out of defense to comfort their state of mind—a compensation for a lack of knowledge on a certain matter? And upon what basis do people assume these causes and turn them into a fact—into memes? Pure imagination. Essentially, our perception of reality is incomplete or flawed, and that very fact disturbs us to the point that we should create something to fill the gap—to complete our perception and bring ourselves comfort. What is so bad about accepting that we are ignorant about certain things? What good is there in producing a guess or outright lie that may in fact be wrong? This is the error of our intellectual arrogance.

grabbed from: http://dailynietzsche.blogspot.com/2007/12/third-great-error.html

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