Did Nietzsche actually say or write, "Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed."

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The quote, "Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed" is, at least on the Internet, often attributed to Nietzsche, e.g., goodreads, Simple Reminders, IHeartIntelligence, and all over Pinterest.

However, I cannot find any evidence for the attribution in Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche (Delphi Classics) or using Advanced Search on Google Books, with the search parameters, "Find results with all of the words" and "inauthor:Nietzsche" {search results}.

In addition, both QuoteFail and Wikiquotes question the attribution.

Nietzsche did write, "For the historical audit brings so much to light which is false and absurd, violent and inhuman, that the condition of pious illusion falls to pieces." 1

In the same essay he wrote, "... 'he who destroys illusions in himself and others is punished by the ultimate tyrant, Nature.'" 2

As far as I can tell, QuoteFail has it right: "This quote appears to have been created within the Tumblr-verse."

Does anyone know differently?

Footnotes

  1. Nietzsche, Friedrich. "Thoughts Out of Season, Part Two, The Use and Abuse of History. Preface." ("Vom Nutzen und Nachtheil der Historie für das Leben", 1874), Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche. Translated by Anthony M. Ludovici and Adrian Collins, Delphi Classics, 2015, Kindle edition, location 9365.

  2. Ibid. at location 9398.

Mark D Worthen PsyD

Posted 2017-12-10T04:26:14.883

Reputation: 204

2I'd be interested in knowing the source of this quote/idea as well. As Dakdeer suggests (I think), it is probably a fairly universal idea that has been espoused by a number of people. The most familiar is Jack Nicholson growling "You can't handle the truth!" – David Blomstrom – 2017-12-10T16:40:50.237

I'm not sure where Dakdeer is coming from in his sardonic "answer", but I like your point, especially the Jack Nicholson quote. ;o) – Mark D Worthen PsyD – 2017-12-11T17:40:58.650

eKGWB is the Complete Nietzsche in German online; "Illusion(en)" is seen at 202 places but looking for a near "Wahr(heit)" (i.e. truth) did not discover a better match than 9398. – sand1 – 2019-07-13T10:14:52.067

Answers

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This sounds like a loose paraphrase of the sense of Daybreak aph. 329 (see also the first half of aph. 542, and the parallel passage in Genealogy of Morals). The necessity of illusions is also the major theme of "Truth and Lie".

I agree with the earlier comment that, if it has any relation to a particular passage at all, it is a bad paraphrase! It's hard to explain exactly but if you even just skim the relevant passages in Morgenröthe or "Truth and Lie" you'll see that when he's discussing the sturdiness of illusions he is often discussing the important functions they serve and when he is discussing the pursuit of truth he is often treating it as the product of illusions! So both halves of this quotation sound like something Nietzsche would say (except not in his style...) but not when combined.

guest1806

Posted 2017-12-10T04:26:14.883

Reputation: 1 102

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I'm (more than) a bit of a Nietzsche buff. I have thoroughly read everything Nietzsche wrote as well having read much of what most reputable Nietzschean scholars have written. The closest I can recall him coming to saying something like this is, "We have art lest we perish of the truth."

Alexander Riegel

Posted 2017-12-10T04:26:14.883

Reputation: 11