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The philosophical essay starts as a fairy tale, the metaphor of the beautiful creatures living on the start. However, it comes to a sad ending quite abruptly – the intellectual animals perish, because their start cools off. I think it is the same with man that lives within society – his inner creative, beautiful self dies and the world around his cools off, giving way to a pragmatic “reality”.
The metaphor is used to introduce the concept of the humans being intellectual creatures, which, apparently, does not reach beyond ones’ existence. The main purpose of the intellect is to allow physically weaker species to survive. In contrast with the obvious physical disadvantage, the man intellectually thinks of himself as the center of the universe. The battle for position in the society is waged continuously. It would be only natural for a man to use his intellect and dissimulation to maintain his position. However, it is not only preservation of himself that individual strives for; it is the cease from perpetual war against all. Humans are social specimen that needs their “herd”. In order to maintain their position in the society the “peace pact” should be enacted and that brings on the necessity of defining “truth”. Respectively, the lie is defined as well. There are different kinds of deceptions, and depending on how the truth is manipulated, it can cause harm. Ultimately, it is not the deception itself that people are cautious about, it is the consequences that are regretted and feared. Similarly, it is not the truth itself and pure knowledge the people are striving for but a comfortable existence.
Nietzsche talks about language as a mean of expressing truth, even though the metaphors used for images and designations are only suggestive, “arbitrary differentiations”. The very existence of different languages proves that there is no designation for the “thing in itself”, there is only a reflection of the relations of things to man. Consequently, if improper designation is used, it is a lie. There is a clear connection between nervous impulse and mental image created when hearing the word. Then, according to that mental image, a concept is formed. Language works on “the construction of concepts”, which later in ages would be science’s command. The man is surrounded by those concepts. Again, the truth could be different from the concept created by the word, thus language cannot clearly represent the truth. However, the use of language is insisted on. However, it seems that if the language would not exist, the truth would not exist either. If truth is only “
a mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions”, then, in a pursue of the social status people would have to put their intellects into other forms of communication and relating. And in that case the concept of “truth” might not make sense any more. Maybe, the way would be discovered of communicating the essence of things, not merely concepts and forms that nature is not familiar with.
As insufficient and false concept that the language is based on, for an individual to be accepted at the society he needs to follow “obligations imposed by society”. From the obligation of using specific metaphors, customary to the society, “arises a moral impulse in regard to truth”. If wrong metaphors are used, the individual is called a liar and could be expelled by society. Thus, the urge for creativity and discovery is stifled by the pragmatic choice of right metaphors. On the other hand, it provides certain measure of stability in the society, because it conditions people to think alike and use similar concepts.
Nietzsche sarcastically talks about men’s pursuit of knowledge. Throughout the whole essay he is argues that it is not the “pure truth” that the man wants to find, but only the truth that will make men’s life more pleasurable. He goes further, stating that human approach to understanding the world is through “man’s eyes” so to speak, not objective, and as a mean learning more about himself. For anyone, who studies the world it is important to remember that the truth might be found beyond the realm of self-discovery, selfishness and, even, traditional “truth”. The approach from the point of view that the man is the center of the universe can be binding and biased. This might be obvious, but often overlooked.
Human approach in his quest for knowledge and truth, that is of leads men to creating new metaphors for the things discovered. Nietzsche claims that the seeker of truth only interested in finding “metamorphosis of the world into man” and to “understand the world as something analogous to man”. Since there is no available “correct perception” to be a starting point in creating metaphors, thus a man has an anthropological approach to it. The subject and object are habitants of two different realities and it is impossible to make a proper “translation” between languages of the two, therefore communicating the essence of things is impossible. Thus, metaphors created are rather abstract and conceptual. The man is bound within the confines of the concepts set by society. The only way to reach in a different realm and to try to redefine standard approach is to engage into something dream-like, an art. Since “the drive toward the formation of metaphors is the fundamental human drive” and “man has an invincible inclination to allow himself to be deceived” he uses the art as another way of creating perceptions that are not absolutely true, but rather intuitively found way of alternative expression and concepts. Art allows a man to reach out of the traditional confines of the rigid establish metaphors and experience or experiment with “colorful, irregular, lacking in results and coherence, charming, and eternally new as the world of dreams”. The art present a possibility of following one’s intuition rather than rationality. It seems that the rational man has better chances or protecting himself. However, it is the intuitive man that leads a happier, more colorful life, even though it may be filled with more sorrow, but it is also filled with more joy.