Friedrich Nietzsche delivers a critical vision of culture in his philosophical poem Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
“Look at them, these superfluous ones, they steal the works of the inventors and the treasures of the wise: their theft, they call it culture – and everything becomes sickness and setback to them!”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, translation by Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt
Culture is equated here with theft: men have stolen the works of the great sages, the true inventors, and have given this theft the name of culture.
Nietzsche, through the figure of Zarathustra, clearly denounces this behavior: he qualifies as “superfluous” the men indulging in such a theft.