from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Greenness (in German colloquially naivety ; associated adjective naive , of French naïf , infantile ', original', 'simple', 'harmless', 'silly') can be used as a truncated, has passed over in the general usage form of native "( e) “ (native, original). In general, people are referred to as naive who cannot adequately assess circumstances and actions. Often "naive" is a synonym for gullible, innocent, easily seduced or ignorant.

Use of terms

As the definition suggests, it is mostly children who are naive. While the childlike impartiality and unadulteratedness is still seen by many as positive, even pure and innocent , with an adult it is often seen as a serious character defect, as a mental limitation. Here it also appears in the wake of arrogance and narcissism .

Naivety is not the same as ignorance. Pure ignorance can be filled by taking note of facts. Naivety typically hinders the ability to assess and classify new facts appropriately. Misjudgments by other people are particularly considered naive if they are too positive. On the other hand, overly negative assessments of other people are not rated as naive. Naivety is thus linked to the tendency to underestimate other people's egoism.

However, naivety can also be perceived as positive, even attractive , in adults . It can then be viewed as innocent, open or as a sign of a personality that has not yet been distorted by the malevolence of other people .

As a positive trait, naivety also appears in outstanding personalities in history. They are not only impartial, but have the gift, with the help of their genius and based on their enormous knowledge, to face a situation in a neutral manner, free of restrictions. With their childlike curiosity and free from intellectual shackles, boundaries are tested and pushed, paving the way for groundbreaking discoveries and inventions.

In this sense, naivety means not only impartiality, but also the ability or the peculiarity to approach a situation neutrally free of (limiting) knowledge . While the lack of knowledge can usually seem dangerous, this kind of naivety harbors the virtue of innocence . To be naive here does not mean to be unconditional or ignorant. Rather, it is the antipathic (reluctant) attitude towards conceptual life that hardly confronts knowledge or cognition with a reservation of existence . Kant describes naivety as “a noble or beautiful simplicity that bears the seal of nature” or elsewhere as “an outbreak of the original sincerity of mankind against the art of pretending that has become a different nature” .

One of the first literary treatises that had naivety on the subject was the picaresque novel The adventurous Simplicissimus by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen .


Friedrich Schiller distinguishes the essay " On Naive and Sentimental Poetry " between child ish he naivety that is ridiculed because their source of ignorance and inability, and child Lich he recognizes naivety behind the man "a heart full of innocence and truth" and the admired as "a higher practical [ie moral] strength". Childishly naive means “in harmony with nature”, “at one with yourself and happy in the feeling of being human” - without knowing it. In this sense the ancient man lives, feels and writes naively . The modern poet, on the other hand, behaves sentimentally in that he longs to return to harmony with nature and the beauty of antiquity; for “we”, the modern, live “at odds with ourselves and unhappy in our experiences of humanity” - namely with the knowledge of antiquity as the irretrievably lost childhood of the human race. Schiller therefore does not demand the impossible, a return to nature and to naive poetry. Rather, he recognizes an educational ideal in the longing for ancient beauty.

Without any connection with Schiller's considerations, one speaks of naive art and describes paintings that are characterized by a childish (often childish) view of the world. In addition to high artistic talent, some of these pictures also testify to “a heart full of innocence and truth”, such as that of the customs officer Henri Rousseau (1844-1910), for whom the Parisian avant-garde became enthusiastic at the beginning of the 20th century, or a decade later on his death also internationally recognized Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani (1862–1918). The expression “naive music”, on the other hand, is rarely used, but there are also comparable phenomena in the field of folk music ( Scott Joplin , Champion Jack Dupree and many others).


In science, people taking part in an experiment are referred to as “naive” if they are not aware of the specific aim of the investigation or if they do not know that they are the subjects of the investigation. Such a group of people is regarded as impartial and not prejudiced, so the investigation process did not influence the test subjects or the result. This also reduces distortions of results due to expectations and inappropriate adaptation to the experiment.

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Naivety  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Franka Köpp: Axiomatization in poetic production; Rilke and Brecht's axiomatic field. Berlin, Humboldt-Univ. Diss. F. Köpp, 2001, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-8311-3915-6 , p. 257. Google Books online