Friedrich Nietzsche

German philosopher (1844–1900)
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Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (15 October 184425 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, writer, and philologist whose work has exerted a profound influence on modern intellectual history. His critiques of contemporary culture, religion, and philosophy centered on a basic question regarding the foundation of values and morality.

Thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
See also:
Human, All Too Human
The Dawn (book)
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Beyond Good and Evil
Twilight of the Idols
Ecce Homo (book)
The Antichrist


It is precisely facts that do not exist, only interpretations.
  • I am utterly amazed, utterly enchanted! I have a precursor, and what a precursor! I hardly knew Spinoza: that I should have turned to him just now, was inspired by "instinct." Not only is his overtendency like mine—namely to make all knowledge the most powerful affect — but in five main points of his doctrine I recognize myself; this most unusual and loneliest thinker is closest to me precisely in these matters: he denies the freedom of the will, teleology, the moral world-order, the unegoistic, and evil. Even though the divergencies are admittedly tremendous, they are due more to the difference in time, culture, and science. In summa: my lonesomeness, which, as on very high mountains, often made it hard for me to breathe and make my blood rush out, is now at least a twosomeness. Strange! Incidentally, I am not at all as well as I had hoped. Exceptional weather here too! Eternal change of atmospheric conditions! — that will yet drive me out of Europe! I must have clear skies for months, else I get nowhere. Already six severe attacks of two or three days each. With affectionate love, Your friend.
  • Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire.
  • Against that positivism which stops before phenomena, saying "there are only facts," I should say: no, it is precisely facts that do not exist, only interpretations...[1]
    • Notebooks (Late 1886 – Spring 1887)
    • Popular usage: There are no facts, only interpretations.
That is the secret of all culture: it does not provide artificial limbs, wax noses or spectacles—that which can provide these things is, rather, only sham education. Culture is liberation, the removal of all the weeds, rubble and vermin that want to attack the tender buds of the plant.
  • In Germany there is much complaining about my "eccentricities." But since it is not known where my center is, it won't be easy to find out where or when I have thus far been "eccentric." That I was a philologist, for example, meant that I was outside my center (which fortunately does not mean that I was a poor philologist). Likewise, I now regard my having been a Wagnerian as eccentric. It was a highly dangerous experiment; now that I know it did not ruin me, I also know what significance it had for me — it was the most severe test of my character.
    • Letter to Carl Fuchs (14 December 1887)
  • I now myself live, in every detail, striving for wisdom, while I formerly merely worshipped and idolized the wise.
    • Letter to Mathilde Mayer, July 16, 1878, cited in Karl Jaspers, Nietzsche (Baltimore: 1997), p. 46
  • So far no one had had enough courage and intelligence to reveal me to my dear Germans. My problems are new, my psychological horizon frighteningly comprehensive, my language bold and clear; there may well be no books written in German which are richer in ideas and more independent than mine.
    • Letter to Carl Fuchs (14 December 1887)
  • I've seen proof, black on white, that Herr Dr. Förster has not yet severed his connection with the anti-Semitic movement. ... Since then I've had difficulty coming up with any of the tenderness and protectiveness I've so long felt toward you. The separation between us is thereby decided in really the most absurd way. Have you grasped nothing of the reason why I am in the world? ... Now it has gone so far that I have to defend myself hand and foot against people who confuse me with these anti-Semitic canaille; after my own sister, my former sister, and after Widemann more recently have given the impetus to this most dire of all confusions. After I read the name Zarathustra in the anti-Semitic Correspondence my forbearance came to an end. I am now in a position of emergency defense against your spouse's Party. These accursed anti-Semite deformities shall not sully my ideal!!
That educating philosopher of whom I dreamed would, I came to think, not only discover the central force, he would also know how to prevent its acting destructively on the other forces: his educational task would, it seemed to me, be to mould the whole man into a living solar and planetary system and to understand its higher laws of motion.
  • You have committed one of the greatest stupidities — for yourself and for me! Your association with an anti-Semitic chief expresses a foreignness to my whole way of life which fills me again and again with ire or melancholy. ... It is a matter of honor with me to be absolutely clean and unequivocal in relation to anti-Semitism, namely, opposed to it, as I am in my writings. I have recently been persecuted with letters and Anti-Semitic Correspondence Sheets. My disgust with this party (which would like the benefit of my name only too well!) is as pronounced as possible, but the relation to Förster, as well as the aftereffects of my former publisher, the anti-Semitic Schmeitzner, always brings the adherents of this disagreeable party back to the idea that I must belong to them after all. ... It arouses mistrust against my character, as if publicly I condemned something which I have favored secretly — and that I am unable to do anything against it, that the name of Zarathustra is used in every Anti-Semitic Correspondence Sheet, has almost made me sick several times.
  • Style ought to prove that one believes in an idea; not only that one thinks it but also feels it.
  • Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen.
    • Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, Part I, Chapter 11, "Vom neuen Götzen" ("The New Idol"). Published in four parts between 1883 and 1891 Another translation: “But the state lieth in all languages of good and evil; and whatever it saith it lieth; and whatever it hath it hath stolen.”
  • State is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies; and this lie slips from its mouth: 'I, the state, am the people'.
Where there have been powerful governments, societies, religions, public opinions, in short wherever there has been tyranny, there the solitary philosopher has been hated; for philosophy offers an asylum to a man into which no tyranny can force it way, the inward cave, the labyrinth of the heart.
  • Mathematics would certainly have not come into existence if one had known from the beginning that there was in nature no exactly straight line, no actual circle, no absolute magnitude.
    • As quoted in The Puzzle Instinct : The Meaning of Puzzles in Human Life‎ (2004) by Marcel Danesi, p. 71 from Human All-Too-Human
  • Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein.
    • He who fights with monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.
    • Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146
  • Ist das Leben nicht hundert Mal zu kurz, sich in ihm— zu langweilen?
    • Is not life a hundred times too short for us— to bore ourselves?
    • Beyond Good and Evil, Chapter VII, 227
  • Für jede hohe Welt muß man geboren sein; deutlicher gesagt, man muß für sie gezüchtet sein: ein Recht auf Philosophie -- das Wort im grossen Sinne genommen -- hat man nur Dank seiner Abkunft, die Vorfahren, das »Geblüt« entscheidet auch hier. Viele Geschlechter müssen der Entstehung des Philospohen vorgearbeitet haben; jede seiner Tungenden muß einzeln erworben, gepflegt, fortgeerbt, einverleibt worden sein...
  • One must be born to any superior world — to make it plainer, one must be bred for it. One has a right to philosophy (taking the word in its greatest sense) only by virtue of one's breeding; one's ancestors, one's "blood," decides this, too. Many generations must have worked on the origin of a philosopher; each one of his virtues must have been separately earned, cared for, passed on, and embodied.
    • Beyond Good and Evil, translated by Marianne Cowan [Henry Regnery Company, 1955, p. 139]; Jenseits von Gut und Böse [Philipp Reclam, Stuttgart, 1988, p. 130]
  • wir vermeinen, daß Härte, Gewaltsamkeit, Sklaverie, Gefahr auf der Gasse und im Herzen, Verborgenheit, Stoicismus, Versucherkunst und Teufelei jeder Art, daß alles Böse, Furchtbare, Tyrannische, Raubthier- und Schlangenhafte am Menschen so gut zur Erhöhung der Species »Mensch« dient, als sein Gegensatz...
  • We imagine that hardness, violence, slavery, peril in the street and in the heart, concealment, Stoicism, temptation, and deviltry of every sort, everything evil, frightful, tyrannical, raptor- and snake-like in man, serves as well for the advancement of the species "man" as their opposite.
    • Beyond Good and Evil, translated by Marianne Cowan [Henry Regnery Company, 1955, p. 50]; Jenseits von Gut und Böse [Philipp Reclam, Stuttgart, 1988, p. 130]
  • Man verdirbt einen Jüngling am sichersten, wenn man ihn anleitet, den Gleichdenkenden höher zu achten, als den Andersdenkenden.
    • The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.
    • The Dawn, Sec. 297
We are responsible to ourselves for our own existence; consequently we want to be the true helmsman of this existence and refuse to allow our existence to resemble a mindless act of chance.
  • Although the most acute judges of the witches and even the witches themselves, were convinced of the guilt of witchery, the guilt nevertheless was non-existent. It is thus with all guilt.
  • Freier Wille ohne Fatum ist ebenso wenig denkbar, wie Geist ohne Reelles, Gutes ohne Böses.
    • Free will without fate is no more conceivable than spirit without matter, good without evil.
      • "Fatum und Geschichte," April 1862
  • Sobald es aber möglich wäre, durch einen starken Willen die ganze Weltvergangenheit umzustürzen, sofort träten wir in die Reihe der unabhängigen Götter, und Weltgeschichte hieße dann für uns nichts als ein träumerisches Selbstentrücktsein; der Vorhang fällt, und der Mensch findet sich wieder, wie ein Kind mit Welten spielend, wie ein Kind, das beim Morgenglühen aufwacht und sich lachend die furchtbaren Träume von der Stirn streicht.
    • As soon as it becomes possible, by dint of a strong will, to overthrow the entire past of the world, then, in a single moment, we will join the ranks of independent gods. World history for us will then be nothing but a dreamlike otherworldly being. The curtain falls, and man once more finds himself a child playing with whole worlds—a child, awoken by the first glow of morning, who laughingly wipes the frightful dreams from his brow.
      • "Fatum und Geschichte," April 1862
  • The modern scientific counterpart to belief in God is the belief in the universe as an organism: this disgusts me. This is to make what is quite rare and extremely derivative, the organic, which we perceive only on the surface of the earth, into something essential, universal, and eternal! This is still an anthropomorphizing of nature!
    • KSA 9,11 [201]
  • Is Wagner a human being at all? Is he not rather a disease? He contaminates everything he touches - he has made music sick.
    • Der Fall Wagner (1888)
  • May I really say it! All truths are bloody truths to me—take a look at my previous writings.
    • Notebooks (Summer 1880) 4[271]
  • This is the mistake which I seem to make eternally, that I imagine the sufferings of others as far greater than they really are. Ever since my childhood, the proposition ‘my greatest dangers lie in pity’ has been confirmed again and again.
    • 1884 Letter
The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music (1873), later expanded as The Birth of Tragedy, Or: Hellenism and Pessimism (1886), Shaun Whiteside translation, Penguin Classics (1993)
Art is the supreme task and the truly metaphysical activity in this life
The man who is responsive to artistic stimuli reacts to the reality of dreams as does the philosopher to the reality of existence; he observes closely, and he enjoys his observation: for it is out of these images that he interprets life, out of these processes that he trains himself for life.
We cannot help but see Socrates as the turning-point, the vortex of world history.
  • Nochmals gesagt, heute ist es mir ein unmögliches Buch, - ich heisse es schlecht geschrieben, schwerfällig, peinlich, bilderwüthig und bilderwirrig, gefühlsam, hier und da verzuckert bis zum Femininischen, ungleich im Tempo, ohne Willen zur logischen Sauberkeit, sehr überzeugt und deshalb des Beweisens sich überhebend, misstrauisch selbst gegen die Schicklichkeit des Beweisens, als Buch für Eingeweihte, als "Musik" für Solche, die auf Musik getauft, die auf gemeinsame und seltene Kunst-Erfahrungen hin von Anfang der Dinge an verbunden sind, als Erkennungszeichen für Blutsverwandte in artibus, - ein hochmüthiges und schwärmerisches Buch, das sich gegen das profanum vulgus der "Gebildeten" von vornherein noch mehr als gegen das "Volk" abschliesst, welches aber, wie seine Wirkung bewies und beweist, sich gut genug auch darauf verstehen muss, sich seine Mitschwärmer zu suchen und sie auf neue Schleichwege und Tanzplätze zu locken.
    • To say it once again: today I find it an impossible book — badly written, clumsy and embarrassing, its images frenzied and confused, sentimental, in some places saccharine-sweet to the point of effeminacy, uneven in pace, lacking in any desire for logical purity, so sure of its convictions that it is above any need for proof, and even suspicious of the propriety of proof, a book for initiates, 'music' for those who have been baptized in the name of music and who are related from the first by their common and rare experiences of art, a shibboleth for first cousins in artibus [in the arts] an arrogant and fanatical book that wished from the start to exclude the profanum vulgus [the profane mass] of the 'educated' even more than the 'people'; but a book which, as its impact has shown and continues to show, has a strange knack of seeking out its fellow-revellers and enticing them on to new secret paths and dancing-places.
    • "Attempt at a Self-Criticism", p. 5
  • Oh wie ferne war mir damals gerade dieser ganze Resignationismus!
    • How far I was then from all that resignationism!
    • "Attempt at a Self-criticism", p. 10
  • Diesen Ernsthaften diene zur Belehrung, dass ich von der Kunst als der höchsten Aufgabe und der eigentlich metaphysischen Thätigkeit dieses Lebens im Sinne des Mannes überzeugt bin, dem ich hier, als meinem erhabenen Vorkämpfer auf dieser Bahn, diese Schrift gewidmet haben will.
    • Art is the supreme task and the truly metaphysical activity in this life...
    • "Preface to Richard Wagner", p. 13
  • Wie nun der Philosoph zur Wirklichkeit des Daseins, so verhält sich der künstlerisch erregbare Mensch zur Wirklichkeit des Traumes; er sieht genau und gern zu: denn aus diesen Bildern deutet er sich das Leben, an diesen Vorgängen übt er sich für das Leben. Nicht etwa nur die angenehmen und freundlichen Bilder sind es, die er mit jener Allverständigkeit an sich erfährt: auch das Ernste, Trübe, Traurige, Finstere, die plötzlichen Hemmungen, die Neckereien des Zufalls, die bänglichen Erwartungen, kurz die ganze "göttliche Komödie" des Lebens, mit dem Inferno, zieht an ihm vorbei, nicht nur wie ein Schattenspiel - denn er lebt und leidet mit in diesen Scenen - und doch auch nicht ohne jene flüchtige Empfindung des Scheins; und vielleicht erinnert sich Mancher, gleich mir, in den Gefährlichkeiten und Schrecken des Traumes sich mitunter ermuthigend und mit Erfolg zugerufen zu haben: "Es ist ein Traum! Ich will ihn weiter träumen!" Wie man mir auch von Personen erzählt hat, die die Causalität eines und desselben Traumes über drei und mehr aufeinanderfolgende Nächte hin fortzusetzen im Stande waren: Thatsachen, welche deutlich Zeugniss dafür abgeben, dass unser innerstes Wesen, der gemeinsame Untergrund von uns allen, mit tiefer Lust und freudiger Nothwendigkeit den Traum an sich erfährt.
    • Thus the man who is responsive to artistic stimuli reacts to the reality of dreams as does the philosopher to the reality of existence; he observes closely, and he enjoys his observation: for it is out of these images that he interprets life, out of these processes that he trains himself for life. It is not only pleasant and agreeable images that he experiences with such universal understanding: the serious, the gloomy, the sad and the profound, the sudden restraints, the mockeries of chance, fearful expectations, in short the whole 'divine comedy' of life, the Inferno included, passes before him, not only as a shadow-play — for he too lives and suffers through these scenes — and yet also not without that fleeting sense of illusion; and perhaps many, like myself, can remember calling out to themselves in encouragement, amid the perils and terrors of the dream, and with success: 'It is a dream! I want to dream on!' Just as I have often been told of people who have been able to continue one and the same dream over three and more successive nights: facts which clearly show that our innermost being, our common foundation, experiences dreams with profound pleasure and joyful necessity.
    • p. 15
  • In diesen Sanct-Johann- und Sanct-Veittänzern erkennen wir die bacchischen Chöre der Griechen wieder, mit ihrer Vorgeschichte in Kleinasien, bis hin zu Babylon und den orgiastischen Sakäen. Es giebt Menschen, die, aus Mangel an Erfahrung oder aus Stumpfsinn, sich von solchen Erscheinungen wie von "Volkskrankheiten", spöttisch oder bedauernd im Gefühl der eigenen Gesundheit abwenden: die Armen ahnen freilich nicht, wie leichenfarbig und gespenstisch eben diese ihre "Gesundheit" sich ausnimmt, wenn an ihnen das glühende Leben dionysischer Schwärmer vorüberbraust.
    • In these dancers of Saint John and Saint Vitus we can recognize the Bacchic choruses of the Greeks, with their prehistory in Asia Minor, as far back as Babylon and the orgiastic Sacaea. Some people, either through a lack of experience or through obtuseness, turn away with pity or contempt from phenomena such as these as from 'folk diseases', bolstered by a sense of their own sanity; these poor creatures have no idea how blighted and ghostly this 'sanity' of theirs sounds when the glowing life of Dionysiac revellers thunders past them.
    • p. 17
In the mountains of truth you will never climb in vain: either you will get up higher today or you will exercise your strength so as to be able to get up higher tomorrow.
  • Es geht die alte Sage, dass König Midas lange Zeit nach dem weisen Silen, dem Begleiter des Dionysus, im Walde gejagt habe, ohne ihn zu fangen. Als er ihm endlich in die Hände gefallen ist, fragt der König, was für den Menschen das Allerbeste und Allervorzüglichste sei. Starr und unbeweglich schweigt der Dämon; bis er, durch den König gezwungen, endlich unter gellem Lachen in diese Worte ausbricht: `Elendes Eintagsgeschlecht, des Zufalls Kinder und der Mühsal, was zwingst du mich dir zu sagen, was nicht zu hören für dich das Erspriesslichste ist? Das Allerbeste ist für dich gänzlich unerreichbar: nicht geboren zu sein, nicht zu sein, nichts zu sein. Das Zweitbeste aber ist für dich - bald zu sterben.
    • According to the old story, King Midas had long hunted wise Silenus, Dionysus' companion, without catching him. When Silenus had finally fallen into his clutches, the king asked him what was the best and most desirable thing of all for mankind. The daemon stood still, stiff and motionless, until at last, forced by the king, he gave a shrill laugh and spoke these words: 'Miserable, ephemeral race, children of hazard and hardship, why do you force me to say what it would be much more fruitful for you not to hear? The best of all things is something entirely outside your grasp: not to be born, not to be, to be nothing. But the second-best thing for you — is to die soon.'
    • p. 22
  • Der philosophische Mensch hat sogar das Vorgefühl, dass auch unter dieser Wirklichkeit, in der wir leben und sind, eine zweite ganz andre verborgen liege...
    • Underneath this reality in which we live and have our being, another and altogether different reality lies concealed...
    • p. 23, William Haussmann translation
  • Mit dem Tode der griechischen Tragödie dagegen entstand eine ungeheure, überall tief empfundene Leere; wie einmal griechische Schiffer zu Zeiten des Tiberius an einem einsamen Eiland den erschütternden Schrei hörten "der grosse Pan ist todt": so klang es jetzt wie ein schmerzlicher Klageton durch die hellenische Welt: "die Tragödie ist todt! Die Poesie selbst ist mit ihr verloren gegangen! Fort, fort mit euch verkümmerten, abgemagerten Epigonen! Fort in den Hades, damit ihr euch dort an den Brosamen der vormaligen Meister einmal satt essen könnt!"
    • Greek tragedy met her death in a different way from all the older sister arts: she died tragically by her own hand, after irresolvable conflicts, while the others died happy and peaceful at an advanced age. If a painless death, leaving behind beautiful progeny, is the sign of a happy natural state, then the endings of the other arts show us the example of just such a happy natural state: they sink slowly, and with their dying eyes they behold their fairer offspring, who lift up their heads in bold impatience. The death of Greek tragedy, on the other hand, left a great void whose effects were felt profoundly, far and wide; as once Greek sailors in Tiberius' time heard the distressing cry 'the god Pan is dead' issuing from a lonely island, now, throughout the Hellenic world, this cry resounded like an agonized lament: 'Tragedy is dead! Poetry itself died with it! Away, away with you, puny, stunted imitators! Away with you to Hades, and eat your fill of the old masters' crumbs!'
    • p. 54
  • Bei diesem Zusammenhange ist die leidenschaftliche Zuneigung begreiflich, welche die Dichter der neueren Komödie zu Euripides empfanden; so dass der Wunsch des Philemon nicht weiter befremdet, der sich sogleich aufhängen lassen mochte, nur um den Euripides in der Unterwelt aufsuchen zu können: wenn er nur überhaupt überzeugt sein dürfte, dass der Verstorbene auch jetzt noch bei Verstande sei.
    • This context enables us to understand the passionate affection in which the poets of the New Comedy held Euripides; so that we are no longer startled by the desire of Philemon, who wished to be hanged at once so that he might meet Euripides in the underworld, so long as he could be sure that the deceased was still in full possession of his senses.
    • p. 55
  • ...aesthetischen Sokratismus...dessen oberstes Gesetz ungefähr so lautet: "alles muss verständig sein, um schön zu sein"; als Parallelsatz zu dem sokratischen "nur der Wissende ist tugendhaft."
    • ...aesthetic Socratism, the chief law of which is, more or less: "to be beautiful everything must first be intelligible" — a parallel to the Socratic dictum: "only the one who knows is virtuous."
    • p. 62
  • Nun aber schien Sokrates die tragische Kunst nicht einmal "die Wahrheit zu sagen": abgesehen davon, dass sie sich an den wendet, der "nicht viel Verstand besitzt", also nicht an den Philosophen: ein zweifacher Grund, von ihr fern zu bleiben. Wie Plato, rechnete er sie zu den schmeichlerischen Künsten, die nur das Angenehme, nicht das Nützliche darstellen und verlangte deshalb bei seinen Jüngern Enthaltsamkeit und strenge Absonderung von solchen unphilosophischen Reizungen; mit solchem Erfolge, dass der jugendliche Tragödiendichter Plato zu allererst seine Dichtungen verbrannte, um Schüler des Sokrates werden zu können.
    • But for Socrates, tragedy did not even seem to "tell what's true", quite apart from the fact that it addresses "those without much wit", not the philosopher: another reason for giving it a wide berth. Like Plato, he numbered it among the flattering arts which represent only the agreeable, not the useful, and therefore required that his disciples abstain most rigidly from such unphilosophical stimuli — with such success that the young tragedian, Plato, burnt his writings in order to become a pupil of Socrates.
    • p. 68
No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.
  • Darum hat Lessing, der ehrlichste theoretische Mensch, es auszusprechen gewagt, dass ihm mehr am Suchen der Wahrheit als an ihr selbst gelegen sei...
    • Lessing, the most honest of theoretical men, dared to say that he took greater delight in the quest for truth than in the truth itself.
    • p. 73
  • ...der kann sich nicht entbrechen, in Sokrates den einen Wendepunkt und Wirbel der sogenannten Weltgeschichte zu sehen. Denn dächte man sich einmal diese ganze unbezifferbare Summe von Kraft, die für jene Welttendenz verbraucht worden ist, nicht im Dienste des Erkennens, sondern auf die praktischen d.h. egoistischen Ziele der Individuen und Völker verwendet, so wäre wahrscheinlich in allgemeinen Vernichtungskämpfen und fortdauernden Völkerwanderungen die instinctive Lust zum Leben so abgeschwächt, dass, bei der Gewohnheit des Selbstmordes, der Einzelne vielleicht den letzten Rest von Pflichtgefühl empfinden müsste, wenn er, wie der Bewohner der Fidschiinseln, als Sohn seine Eltern, als Freund seinen Freund erdrosselt: ein praktischer Pessimismus, der selbst eine grausenhafte Ethik des Völkermordes aus Mitleid erzeugen könnte - der übrigens überall in der Welt vorhanden ist und vorhanden war, wo nicht die Kunst in irgend welchen Formen, besonders als Religion und Wissenschaft, zum Heilmittel und zur Abwehr jenes Pesthauchs erschienen ist.
    • We cannot help but see Socrates as the turning-point, the vortex of world history. For if we imagine that the whole incalculable store of energy used in that global tendency had been used not in the service of knowledge but in ways applied to the practical — selfish — goals of individuals and nations, universal wars of destruction and constant migrations of peoples would have enfeebled man's instinctive zest for life to the point where, suicide having become universal, the individual would perhaps feel a vestigial duty as a son to strangle his parents, or as a friend his friend, as the Fiji islanders do: a practical pessimism that could even produce a terrible ethic of genocide through pity, and which is, and always has been, present everywhere in the world where art has not in some form, particularly as religion and science, appeared as a remedy and means of prevention for this breath of pestilence.
    • p. 73
  • Aber wie verändert sich plötzlich jene eben so düster geschilderte Wildniss unserer ermüdeten Cultur, wenn sie der dionysische Zauber berührt! Ein Sturmwind packt alles Abgelebte, Morsche, Zerbrochne, Verkümmerte, hüllt es wirbelnd in eine rothe Staubwolke und trägt es wie ein Geier in die Lüfte. Verwirrt suchen unsere Blicke nach dem Entschwundenen: denn was sie sehen, ist wie aus einer Versenkung an's goldne Licht gestiegen, so voll und grün, so üppig lebendig, so sehnsuchtsvoll unermesslich. Die Tragödie sitzt inmitten dieses Ueberflusses an Leben, Leid und Lust, in erhabener Entzückung, sie horcht einem fernen schwermüthigen Gesange - er erzählt von den Müttern des Seins, deren Namen lauten: Wahn, Wille, Wehe. - Ja, meine Freunde, glaubt mit mir an das dionysische Leben und an die Wiedergeburt der Tragödie. Die Zeit des sokratischen Menschen ist vorüber: kränzt euch mit Epheu, nehmt den Thyrsusstab zur Hand und wundert euch nicht, wenn Tiger und Panther sich schmeichelnd zu euren Knien niederlegen. Jetzt wagt es nur, tragische Menschen zu sein: denn ihr sollt erlöst werden. Ihr sollt den dionysischen Festzug von Indien nach Griechenland geleiten! Rüstet euch zu hartem Streite, aber glaubt an die Wunder eures Gottes!
    • But what changes come upon the weary desert of our culture, so darkly described, when it is touched by the magic of Dionysus! A storm seizes everything decrepit, rotten, broken, stunted; shrouds it in a whirling red cloud of dust and carries it into the air like a vulture. In vain confusion we seek for all that has vanished; for what we see has risen as if from beneath he earth into the gold light, so full and green, so luxuriantly alive, immeasurable and filled with yearning. Tragedy sits in sublime rapture amidst this abundance of life, suffering and delight, listening to a far-off, melancholy song which tells of the Mothers of Being, whose names are Delusion, Will, Woe. -
      Yes, my friends, join me in my faith in this Dionysiac life and the rebirth of tragedy. The age of Socratic man is past: crown yourselves with ivy, grasp the thyrsus and do not be amazed if tigers and panthers lie down fawning at your feet. Now dare to be tragic men, for you will be redeemed. You shall join the Dionysiac procession from India to Greece! Gird yourselves for a hard battle, but have faith in the miracles of your god!
    • p. 98

Anti-Education (1872)

There exists in the world a single path along which no one can go except you: whither does it lead? Do not ask, go along it.

1872 lectures "Gedanken über die Zukunft unserer Bildungsanstalten" [The future of our educational institutions] Translated by D. Searls (2015)

  • Diese doppelte Selbständigkeit preist man mit Hochgefühl als ›akademische Freiheit‹: ... nur daß hinter beiden Gruppen in bescheidener Entfernung der Staat mit einer gewissen gespannten Aufsehermiene steht, um von Zeit zu Zeit daran zu erinnern, daß er Zweck, Ziel und Inbegriff der sonderbaren Sprech- und Hörprozedur sei.
    • This independence is glorified as "academic freedom," ... except that in the background, a discreet distance away, stands the state watching with a certain supervisory look on its face, making sure to remind everybody from time to time that it is the aim, the purpose, the essence of this whole strange process.
  • So ist langsam an Stelle einer tiefsinnigen Ausdeutung der ewig gleichen Probleme ein historisches, ja selbst ein philologisches Abwägen und Fragen getreten: was der und jener Philosoph gedacht habe oder nicht, oder ob die und jene Schrift ihm mit Recht zuzuschreiben sei oder gar ob diese oder jene Lesart den Vorzug verdiene. Zu einem derartigen neutralen Sichbefassen mit Philosophie werden jetzt unsere Studenten in den philosophischen Seminarien unserer Universitäten angereizt: weshalb ich mich längst gewöhnt habe, eine solche Wissenschaft als Abzweigung der Philologie zu betrachten und ihre Vertreter danach abzuschätzen, ob sie gute Philologen sind oder nicht. Demnach ist nun freilich die Philosophie selbst von der Universität verbannt: womit unsre erste Frage nach dem Bildungswert der Universitäten beantwortet ist.
    • Philological considerations have slowly but surely taken the place of profound explorations of eternal problems. The question becomes: What did this or that philosopher think or not think? And is this or that text rightly ascribed to him or not? And even: Is this variant of a classical text preferable to that other? Students in university seminars today are encouraged to occupy themselves with such emasculated inquiries. As a result, of course, philosophy itself is banished from the university altogether.
  • Not one of these nobly equipped young men has escaped the restless, exhausting, confusing, debilitating crisis of education. ... He feels that he cannot guide himself, cannot help himself—and then he dives hopelessly into the world of everyday life and daily routine, he is immersed in the most trivial activity possible, and his limbs grow weak and weary.
In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge.
Über Wahrheit und Lüge im außermoralischen Sinn (1873)
Part 1.
  • Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of "world history," but nevertheless, it was only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die. One might invent such a fable, and yet he still would not have adequately illustrated how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened.
    • Variant translation: In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the highest and most mendacious minute of "world history" — yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.
      One might invent such a fable and still not have illustrated sufficiently how wretched, how shadowy and flighty, how aimless and arbitrary, the human intellect appears in nature. There have been eternities when it did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened.
  • The pride connected with knowing and sensing lies like a blinding fog over the eyes and senses of men, thus deceiving them concerning the value of existence. For this pride contains within itself the most flattering estimation of the value of knowing. Deception is the most general effect of such pride, but even its most particular effects contain within themselves something of the same deceitful character.
There exists no more repulsive and desolate creature in the world than the man who has evaded his genius and who now looks furtively to left and right, behind him and all about him. In the end such a man becomes impossible to get hold of, since he is wholly exterior, without kernel: a tattered, painted bag of clothes.
  • Deception, flattering, lying, deluding, talking behind the back, putting up a false front, living in borrowed splendor, wearing a mask, hiding behind convention, playing a role for others and for oneself — in short, a continuous fluttering around the solitary flame of vanity — is so much the rule and the law among men that there is almost nothing which is less comprehensible than how an honest and pure drive for truth could have arisen among them. They are deeply immersed in illusions and in dream images; their eyes merely glide over the surface of things and see "forms."
    • Variant translation: The constant fluttering around the single flame of vanity is so much the rule and the law that almost nothing is more incomprehensible than how an honest and pure urge for truth could make its appearance among men.
  • What does man actually know about himself? Is he, indeed, ever able to perceive himself completely, as if laid out in a lighted display case? Does nature not conceal most things from him — even concerning his own body — in order to confine and lock him within a proud, deceptive consciousness, aloof from the coils of the bowels, the rapid flow of the blood stream, and the intricate quivering of the fibers! She threw away the key.
  • and woe betide fateful curiosity should it ever succeed in peering through a crack in the chamber of consciousness, out and down into the depths, and thus gain an intimation of the fact that humanity, in the indifference of its ignorance, rests on the pitiless, the greedy, the insatiable, the murderous—clinging in dreams, as it were, to the back of a tiger.
  • The liar is a person who uses the valid designations, the words, in order to make something which is unreal appear to be real. He says, for example, "I am rich," when the proper designation for his condition would be "poor." He misuses fixed conventions by means of arbitrary substitutions or even reversals of names. If he does this in a selfish and moreover harmful manner, society will cease to trust him and will thereby exclude him. What men avoid by excluding the liar is not so much being defrauded as it is being harmed by means of fraud. Thus, even at this stage, what they hate is basically not deception itself, but rather the unpleasant, hated consequences of certain sorts of deception. It is in a similarly restricted sense that man now wants nothing but truth: he desires the pleasant, life-preserving consequences of truth. He is indifferent toward pure knowledge which has no consequences; toward those truths which are possibly harmful and destructive he is even hostilely inclined.
  • Are designations congruent with things? Is language the adequate expression of all realities?
    It is only by means of forgetfulness that man can ever reach the point of fancying himself to possess a "truth" of the grade just indicated. If he will not be satisfied with truth in the form of tautology, that is to say, if he will not be content with empty husks, then he will always exchange truths for illusions.
  • The various languages placed side by side show that with words it is never a question of truth, never a question of adequate expression; otherwise, there would not be so many languages. The "thing in itself" (which is precisely what the pure truth, apart from any of its consequences, would be) is likewise something quite incomprehensible to the creator of language and something not in the least worth striving for. This creator only designates the relations of things to men, and for expressing these relations he lays hold of the boldest metaphors.' To begin with, a nerve stimulus is transferred into an image: first metaphor. The image, in turn, is imitated in a sound: second metaphor. And each time there is a complete overleaping of one sphere, right into the middle of an entirely new and different one.
Only by forgetting that he himself is an artistically creating subject, does man live with any repose, security, and consistency...
Between two absolutely different spheres, as between subject and object, there is no causality, no correctness, and no expression; there is, at most, an aesthetic relation.
  • We believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things — metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.
  • Every word instantly becomes a concept precisely insofar as it is not supposed to serve as a reminder of the unique and entirely individual original experience to which it owes its origin; but rather, a word becomes a concept insofar as it simultaneously has to fit countless more or less similar cases — which means, purely and simply, cases which are never equal and thus altogether unequal. Every concept arises from the equation of unequal things. Just as it is certain that one leaf is never totally the same as another, so it is certain that the concept "leaf" is formed by arbitrarily discarding these individual differences and by forgetting the distinguishing aspects.
  • We obtain the concept, as we do the form, by overlooking what is individual and actual; whereas nature is acquainted with no forms and no concepts, and likewise with no species, but only with an X which remains inaccessible and undefinable for us.
  • Was ist also Wahrheit? Ein bewegliches Heer von Metaphern, Metonymien, Anthropomorphismen, kurz eine Summe von menschlichen Relationen, die, poetisch und rhetorisch gesteigert, übertragen, geschmückt wurden, und die nach langem Gebrauch einem Volke fest, kanonisch und verbindlich dünken: die Wahrheiten sind Illusionen, von denen man vergessen hat, daß sie welche sind, Metaphern, die abgenutzt und sinnlich kraftlos geworden sind, Münzen, die ihr Bild verloren haben und nun als Metall, nicht mehr als Münzen, in Betracht kommen.
    • What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions — they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins.
  • We still do not yet know where the drive for truth comes from. For so far we have heard only of the duty which society imposes in order to exist: to be truthful means to employ the usual metaphors. Thus, to express it morally, this is the duty to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie with the herd and in a manner binding upon everyone. Now man of course forgets that this is the way things stand for him. Thus he lies in the manner indicated, unconsciously and in accordance with habits which are centuries' old; and precisely by means of this unconsciousness and forgetfulness he arrives at his sense of truth.
  • The venerability, reliability, and utility of truth is something which a person demonstrates for himself from the contrast with the liar, whom no one trusts and everyone excludes. As a "rational" being, he now places his behavior under the control of abstractions. He will no longer tolerate being carried away by sudden impressions, by intuitions.
Everything which distinguishes man from the animals depends upon this ability to volatilize perceptual metaphors in a schema, and thus to dissolve an image into a concept.
  • Everything which distinguishes man from the animals depends upon this ability to volatilize perceptual metaphors in a schema, and thus to dissolve an image into a concept. For something is possible in the realm of these schemata which could never be achieved with the vivid first impressions: the construction of a pyramidal order according to castes and degrees, the creation of a new world of laws, privileges, subordinations, and clearly marked boundaries — a new world, one which now confronts that other vivid world of first impressions as more solid, more universal, better known, and more human than the immediately perceived world, and thus as the regulative and imperative world.
  • One may certainly admire man as a mighty genius of construction, who succeeds in piling an infinitely complicated dome of concepts upon an unstable foundation, and, as it were, on running water. Of course, in order to be supported by such a foundation, his construction must be like one constructed of spiders' webs: delicate enough to be carried along by the waves, strong enough not to be blown apart by every wind.
  • As a genius of construction man raises himself far above the bee in the following way: whereas the bee builds with wax that he gathers from nature, man builds with the far more delicate conceptual material which he first has to manufacture from himself.
  • When someone hides something behind a bush and looks for it again in the same place and finds it there as well, there is not much to praise in such seeking and finding. Yet this is how matters stand regarding seeking and finding "truth" within the realm of reason. If I make up the definition of a mammal, and then, after inspecting a camel, declare "look, a mammal' I have indeed brought a truth to light in this way, but it is a truth of limited value. That is to say, it is a thoroughly anthropomorphic truth which contains not a single point which would be "true in itself" or really and universally valid apart from man. At bottom, what the investigator of such truths is seeking is only the metamorphosis of the world into man.
  • Only by forgetting this primitive world of metaphor can one live with any repose, security, and consistency: only by means of the petrification and coagulation of a mass of images which originally streamed from the primal faculty of human imagination like a fiery liquid, only in the invincible faith that this sun, this window, this table is a truth in itself, in short, only by forgetting that he himself is an artistically creating subject, does man live with any repose, security, and consistency. If but for an instant he could escape from the prison walls of this faith, his "self consciousness" would be immediately destroyed. It is even a difficult thing for him to admit to himself that the insect or the bird perceives an entirely different world from the one that man does, and that the question of which of these perceptions of the world is the more correct one is quite meaningless, for this would have to have been decided previously in accordance with the criterion of the correct perception, which means, in accordance with a criterion which is not available.
  • Between two absolutely different spheres, as between subject and object, there is no causality, no correctness, and no expression; there is, at most, an aesthetic relation: I mean, a suggestive transference, a stammering translation into a completely foreign tongue — for which I there is required, in any case, a freely inventive intermediate sphere and mediating force. "Appearance" is a word that contains many temptations, which is why I avoid it as much as possible. For it is not true that the essence of things "appears" in the empirical world. A painter without hands who wished to express in song the picture before his mind would, by means of this substitution of spheres, still reveal more about the essence of things than does the empirical world. Even the relationship of a nerve stimulus to the generated image is not a necessary one. But when the same image has been generated millions of times and has been handed down for many generations and finally appears on the same occasion every time for all mankind, then it acquires at last the same meaning for men it would have if it were the sole necessary image and if the relationship of the original nerve stimulus to the generated image were a strictly causal one. In the same manner, an eternally repeated dream would certainly be felt and judged to be reality. But the hardening and congealing of a metaphor guarantees absolutely nothing concerning its necessity and exclusive justification.
  • If each us had a different kind of sense perception — if we could only perceive things now as a bird, now as a worm, now as a plant, or if one of us saw a stimulus as red, another as blue, while a third even heard the same stimulus as a sound — then no one would speak of such a regularity of nature, rather, nature would be grasped only as a creation which is subjective in the highest degree. After all, what is a law of nature as such for us? We are not acquainted with it in itself, but only with its effects, which means in its relation to other laws of nature — which, in turn, are known to us only as sums of relations. Therefore all these relations always refer again to others and are thoroughly incomprehensible to us in their essence.
  • We produce these representations in and from ourselves with the same necessity with which the spider spins. If we are forced to comprehend all things only under these forms, then it ceases to be amazing that in all things we actually comprehend nothing but these forms. For they must all bear within themselves the laws of number, and it is precisely number which is most astonishing in things. All that conformity to law, which impresses us so much in the movement of the stars and in chemical processes, coincides at bottom with those properties which we bring to things. Thus it is we who impress ourselves in this way
The drive toward the formation of metaphors is the fundamental human drive, which one cannot for a single instant dispense with in thought, for one would thereby dispense with man himself.
There is no regular path which leads from these intuitions into the land of ghostly schemata, the land of abstractions. There exists no word for these intuitions; when man sees them he grows dumb, or else he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard — of combinations of concepts.
Part 2
  • We have seen how it is originally language which works on the construction of concepts, a labor taken over in later ages by science. Just as the bee simultaneously constructs cells and fills them with honey, so science works unceasingly on this great columbarium of concepts, the graveyard of perceptions.
  • Whereas the man of action binds his life to reason and its concepts so that he will not be swept away and lost, the scientific investigator builds his hut right next to the tower of science so that he will be able to work on it and to find shelter for himself beneath those bulwarks which presently exist. And he requires shelter, for there are frightful powers which continuously break in upon him, powers which oppose scientific "truth" with completely different kinds of "truths" which bear on their shields the most varied sorts of emblems.
  • The drive toward the formation of metaphors is the fundamental human drive, which one cannot for a single instant dispense with in thought, for one would thereby dispense with man himself. This drive is not truly vanquished and scarcely subdued by the fact that a regular and rigid new world is constructed as its prison from its own ephemeral products, the concepts. It seeks a new realm and another channel for its activity, and it finds this in myth and in art generally. This drive continually confuses the conceptual categories and cells by bringing forward new transferences, metaphors, and metonymies. It continually manifests an ardent desire to refashion the world which presents itself to waking man, so that it will be as colorful, irregular, lacking in results and coherence, charming, and eternally new as the world of dreams. Indeed, it is only by means of the rigid and regular web of concepts that the waking man clearly sees that he is awake; and it is precisely because of this that he sometimes thinks that he must be dreaming when this web of concepts is torn by art.
  • Because of the way that myth takes it for granted that miracles are always happening, the waking life of a mythically inspired people — the ancient Greeks, for instance — more closely resembles a dream than it does the waking world of a scientifically disenchanted thinker.
  • Man has an invincible inclination to allow himself to be deceived and is, as it were, enchanted with happiness when the rhapsodist tells him epic fables as if they were true, or when the actor in the theater acts more royally than any real king. So long as it is able to deceive without injuring, that master of deception, the intellect, is free; it is released from its former slavery and celebrates its Saturnalia. It is never more luxuriant, richer, prouder, more clever and more daring.
  • That immense framework and planking of concepts to which the needy man clings his whole life long in order to preserve himself is nothing but a scaffolding and toy for the most audacious feats of the liberated intellect. And when it smashes this framework to pieces, throws it into confusion, and puts it back together in an ironic fashion, pairing the most alien things and separating the closest, it is demonstrating that it has no need of these makeshifts of indigence and that it will now be guided by intuitions rather than by concepts. There is no regular path which leads from these intuitions into the land of ghostly schemata, the land of abstractions. There exists no word for these intuitions; when man sees them he grows dumb, or else he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard — of combinations of concepts. He does this so that by shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers he may at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful present intuition.
We believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things — metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.
Nature is acquainted with no forms and no concepts, and likewise with no species, but only with an X which remains inaccessible and undefinable for us.
  • There are ages in which the rational man and the intuitive man stand side by side, the one in fear of intuition, the other with scorn for abstraction. The latter is just as irrational as the former is inartistic. They both desire to rule over life: the former, by knowing how to meet his principle needs by means of foresight, prudence, and regularity; the latter, by disregarding these needs and, as an "overjoyed hero," counting as real only that life which has been disguised as illusion and beauty.
  • The man who is guided by concepts and abstractions only succeeds by such means in warding off misfortune, without ever gaining any happiness for himself from these abstractions. And while he aims for the greatest possible freedom from pain, the intuitive man, standing in the midst of a culture, already reaps from his intuition a harvest of continually inflowing illumination, cheer, and redemption — in addition to obtaining a defense against misfortune. To be sure, he suffers more intensely, when he suffers; he even suffers more frequently, since he does not understand how to learn from experience and keeps falling over and over again into the same ditch.
Main article: Untimely Meditations
The pride connected with knowing and sensing lies like a blinding fog over the eyes and senses of men, thus deceiving them concerning the value of existence.
Are designations congruent with things? Is language the adequate expression of all realities?
  • Um aber unsere Klassiker so falsch beurteilen und so beschimpfend ehren zu können, muß man sie gar nicht mehr kennen: und dies ist die allgemeine Tatsache. Denn sonst müßte man wissen, daß es nur eine Art gibt, sie zu ehren, nämlich dadurch, daß man fortfährt, in ihrem Geiste und mit ihrem Mute zu suchen, und dabei nicht müde wird.
    • In order to be able thus to misjudge, and thus to grant left-handed veneration to our classics, people must have ceased to know them. This, generally speaking, is precisely what has happened. For, otherwise, one ought to know that there is only one way of honoring them, and that is to continue seeking with the same spirit and with the same courage, and not to weary of the search.
    • (A. Ludovici trans.), § 1.2
  • [Philistines] only devised the notion of an epigone-age in order to secure peace for themselves, and to be able to reject all the efforts of disturbing innovators summarily as the work of epigones. With the view of ensuring their own tranquility, these smug ones even appropriated history, and sought to transform all sciences that threatened to disturb their wretched ease into branches of history. ... No, in their desire to acquire an historical grasp of everything, stultification became the sole aim of these philosophical admirers of “nil admirari.” While professing to hate every form of fanaticism and intolerance, what they really hated, at bottom, was the dominating genius and the tyranny of the real claims of culture.
  • In this way, a philosophy which veiled the Philistine confessions of its founder beneath neat twists and flourishes of language proceeded further to discover a formula for the canonization of the commonplace. It expatiated upon the rationalism of all reality, and thus ingratiated itself with the Culture-Philistine, who also loves neat twists and flourishes, and who, above all, considers himself real, and regards his reality as the standard of reason for the world. From this time forward he began to allow every one, and even himself, to reflect, to investigate, to aestheticise, and, more particularly, to make poetry, music, and even pictures—not to mention systems of philosophy; provided, of course, that ... no assault were made upon the “reasonable” and the “real”—that is to say, upon the Philistine.
  • I do not know what meaning classical studies could have for our time if they were not untimely—that is to say, acting counter to our time and thereby acting on our time and, let us hope, for the benefit of a time to come.
    • “On the uses and disadvantages of history for life,” R. Hollingdale, trans. (1983), § 2.0, p. 60
  • Perhaps no philosopher is more correct than the cynic. The happiness of the animal, that thorough cynic, is the living proof of cynicism.
As soon as it becomes possible, by dint of a strong will, to overthrow the entire past of the world, then, in a single moment, we will join the ranks of independent gods. World history for us will then be nothing but a dreamlike otherworldly being. The curtain falls, and man once more finds himself a child playing with whole worlds—a child, awoken by the first glow of morning, who laughingly wipes the frightful dreams from his brow.
  • In his heart every man knows quite well that, being unique, he will be in the world only once and that no imaginable chance will for a second time gather together into a unity so strangely variegated an assortment as he is: he knows it but he hides it like a bad conscience—why? From fear of his neighbor, who demands conventionality and cloaks himself with it. But what is it that constrains the individual to fear his neighbor, to think and act like a member of a herd, and to have no joy in himself? Modesty, perhaps, in a few rare cases. With the great majority it is indolence, inertia. ... Men are even lazier than they are timid, and fear most of all the inconveniences with which unconditional honesty and nakedness would burden them. Artists alone hate this sluggish promenading in borrowed fashions and appropriated opinions and they reveal everyone's secret bad conscience, the law that every man is a unique miracle.
  • The man who does not wish to belong to the mass needs only to cease taking himself easily; let him follow his conscience, which calls to him: “Be your self! All you are now doing, thinking, desiring, is not you yourself.”
  • Es gibt kein öderes und widrigeres Geschöpf in der Natur als den Menschen, welcher seinem Genius ausgewichen ist und nun nach rechts und nach links, nach rückwärts und überallhin schielt. Man darf einen solchen Menschen zuletzt gar nicht mehr angreifen, denn er ist ganz Außenseite ohne Kern, ein anbrüchiges, gemaltes, aufgebauschtes Gewand.
    • There exists no more repulsive and desolate creature in the world than the man who has evaded his genius and who now looks furtively to left and right, behind him and all about him. In the end such a man becomes impossible to get hold of, since he is wholly exterior, without kernel: a tattered, painted bag of clothes; a decked-out ghost that cannot inspire even fear and certainly not pity.
  • Wenn man mit Recht vom Faulen sagt, er töte die Zeit, so muß man von einer Periode, welche ihr Heil auf die öffentlichen Meinungen, das heißt auf die privaten Faulheiten setzt, ernstlich besorgen, daß eine solche Zeit wirklich einmal getötet wird: ich meine, daß sie aus der Geschichte der wahrhaften Befreiung des Lebens gestrichen wird. Wie groß muß der Widerwille späterer Geschlechter sein, sich mit der Hinterlassenschaft jener Periode zu befassen, in welcher nicht die lebendigen Menschen, sondern öffentlich meinende Scheinmenschen regierten.
    • If it is true to say of the lazy that they kill time, then it is greatly to be feared that an era which sees its salvation in public opinion, this is to say private laziness, is a time that really will be killed: I mean that it will be struck out of the history of the true liberation of life. How reluctant later generations will be to have anything to do with the relics of an era ruled, not by living men, but by pseudo-men dominated by public opinion.
  • Wir haben uns über unser Dasein vor uns selbst zu verantworten; folglich wollen wir auch die wirklichen Steuermänner dieses Daseins abgeben und nicht zulassen, daß unsre Existenz einer gedankenlosen Zufälligkeit gleiche.
    • We are responsible to ourselves for our own existence; consequently we want to be the true helmsman of this existence and refuse to allow our existence to resemble a mindless act of chance.
  • I will make an attempt to attain freedom, the youthful soul says to itself; and is it to be hindered in this by the fact that two nations happen to hate and fight one another, or that two continents are separated by an ocean, or that all around it a religion is taught with did not yet exist a couple of thousand years ago. All that is not you, it says to itself.
  • Niemand kann dir die Brücke bauen, auf der gerade du über den Fluß des Lebens schreiten mußt, niemand außer dir allein.
    • No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.
Mathematics would certainly have not come into existence if one had known from the beginning that there was in nature no exactly straight line, no actual circle, no absolute magnitude.
  • Es gibt in der Welt einen einzigen Weg, auf welchem niemand gehen kann, außer dir: wohin er führt? Frage nicht, gehe ihn.
    • There exists in the world a single path along which no one can go except you: whither does it lead? Do not ask, go along it.
      • “Schopenhauer as educator,” § 3.1, R. Hollingdale, trans. (1983), p. 129
  • Wie finden wir uns selbst wieder? Wie kann sich der Mensch kennen? Er ist eine dunkle und verhüllte Sache; und wenn der Hase sieben Häute hat, so kann der Mensch sich sieben mal siebzig abziehn und wird noch nicht sagen können: »das bist du nun wirklich, das ist nicht mehr Schale«.
    • How can a man know himself? He is a thing dark and veiled; and if the hare has seven skins, man can slough off seventy times seven and still not be able to say: “this is really you, this is no longer outer shell.”
  • Das ist das Geheimnis aller Bildung: sie verleiht nicht künstliche Gliedmaßen, wächserne Nasen, bebrillte Augen – vielmehr ist das, was diese Gaben zu geben vermöchte, nur das Afterbild der Erziehung. Sondern Befreiung ist sie, Wegräumung alles Unkrauts, Schuttwerks, Gewürms, das die zarten Keime der Pflanzen antasten will.
    • That is the secret of all culture: it does not provide artificial limbs, wax noses or spectacles—that which can provide these things is, rather, only sham education. Culture is liberation, the removal of all the weeds, rubble and vermin that want to attack the tender buds of the plant.
Compare: "Truth that has been merely learned is like an artificial limb, a false tooth, a waxen nose; at best, like a nose made out of another's flesh; it adheres to us only because it is put on."—Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. 2, Ch. 22, § 261
  • I always believed that at some time fate would take from me the terrible effort and duty of educating myself. I believed that, when the time came, I would discover a philosopher to educate me, a true philosopher whom one could follow without any misgiving because one would have more faith in him than one had in oneself. Then I asked myself: what would be the principles by which he would educate you?—and I reflected on what he might say about the two educational maxims which are being hatched in our time. One of them demands that the educator should quickly recognize the real strength of his pupil and then direct all his efforts and energy and heat at them so as to help that one virtue to attain true maturity and fruitfulness. The other maxim, on the contrary, requires that the educator should draw forth and nourish all the forces which exist in his pupil and bring them to a harmonious relationship with one another. ... But where do we discover a harmonious whole at all, a simultaneous sounding of many voice in one nature, if not in such men as Cellini, men in whom everything, knowledge, desire, love, hate, strives towards a central point, a root force, and where a harmonious system is constructed through the compelling domination of this living centre? And so perhaps these two maxims are not opposites at all? Perhaps the one simply says that man should have a center and the other than he should also have a periphery? That educating philosopher of whom I dreamed would, I came to think, not only discover the central force, he would also know how to prevent its acting destructively on the other forces: his educational task would, it seemed to me, be to mould the whole man into a living solar and planetary system and to understand its higher laws of motion.
  • Die gebildeten Stände und Staaten werden von einer großartig verächtlichen Geldwirtschaft fortgerissen. Niemals war die Welt mehr Welt, nie ärmer an Liebe und Güte.
    • The civilized classes and nations are swept away by the grand rush for contemptible wealth. Never was the world worldlier, never was it emptier of love and goodness.
      • “Schopenhauer as educator,” § 3.4
The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.
  • Where there have been powerful governments, societies, religions, public opinions, in short wherever there has been tyranny, there the solitary philosopher has been hated; for philosophy offers an asylum to a man into which no tyranny can force it way, the inward cave, the labyrinth of the heart.
    • trans. Hollingdale, “Schopenhauer as educator,” § 3.3, p. 139
  • These people who have fled inward for their freedom also have to live outwardly, become visible, let themselves be seen; they are united with mankind through countless ties of blood, residence, education, fatherland, chance, the importunity of others; they are likewise presupposed to harbour countless opinions simply because these are the ruling opinions of the time; every gesture which is not clearly a denial counts as agreement.
    • trans. Hollingdale, “Schopenhauer as educator,” § 3.3, p. 139
  • All that exists that can be denied deserves to be denied; and being truthful means: to believe in an existence that can in no way be denied and which is itself true and without falsehood.
    • trans. Hollingdale, “Schopenhauer as educator,” p. 153
  • The objective of all human arrangements is through distracting one's thoughts to cease to be aware of life.
    • trans. Hollingdale (1983), “Schopenhauer as educator,” p. 154
  • Haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself.
    • trans. Hollingdale (1983), “Schopenhauer as educator,” p. 158
Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today.
Menschliches, Allzumenschliches
One will rarely err if extreme actions be ascribed to vanity, ordinary actions to habit, and mean actions to fear.
  • Life is, after all, not a product of morality.
    • Preface 1, tr. R.J. Hollingdale. The German original has slightly other meaning: "das Leben ist nun einmal nicht von der Moral ausgedacht" ("...and the life was not invented, one day, by morality").
  • Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today.
    • Preface 7
  • One common false conclusion is that because someone is truthful and upright towards us he is spreading the truth. Thus the child believes his parents' judgements, the Christian believes the claims of the church's founders. Likewise, people do not want to admit that all those things which men defended with the sacrifice of their lives and happiness in earlier centuries were nothing but errors.
    • I.53
  • No power can maintain itself if only hypocrites represent it.
    • I. 55
  • One must have a good memory to be able to keep the promises one makes.
    • I.59
  • ... die Hoffnung: sie ist in Wahrheit das übelste der Übel, weil sie die Qual der Menschen verlängert.
    • In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man's torments.
    • I.71
  • One will rarely err if extreme actions be ascribed to vanity, ordinary actions to habit, and mean actions to fear.
    • I.74
  • When virtue has slept, she will get up more refreshed.
    • I.83
  • Most men are too concerned with themselves to be malicious.
    • I.85
  • He who humbleth himself wants to be exalted.
    • I.87
  • Every tradition grows ever more venerable — the more remote its origin, the more confused that origin is. The reverence due to it increases from generation to generation. The tradition finally becomes holy and inspires awe.
    • I.96
  • Thoughts in a poem. The poet presents his thoughts festively, on the carriage of rhythm: usually because they could not walk.
    • 1.189
  • Where there is happiness, there is found pleasure in nonsense. The transformation of experience into its opposite, of the suitable into the unsuitable, the obligatory into the optional (but in such a manner that this process produces no injury and is only imagined in jest), is a pleasure; ...
    • I.213
  • Main deficiency of active people. Active men are usually lacking in higher activity--I mean individual activity. They are active as officials, businessmen, scholars, that is, as generic beings, but not as quite particular, single and unique men. In this respect they are lazy.
It is the misfortune of active men that their activity is almost always a bit irrational. For example, one must not inquire of the money-gathering banker what the purpose for his restless activity is: it is irrational. Active people roll like a stone, conforming to the stupidity of mechanics.
Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men. Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.
  • We often contradict an opinion for no other reason than that we do not like the tone in which it is expressed.
  • Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive.
  • Unpleasant, even dangerous, qualities can be found in every nation and every individual: it is cruel to demand that the Jew be an exception. In him, these qualities may even be dangerous and revolting to an unusual degree; and perhaps the young stock-exchange Jew is altogether the most disgusting invention of mankind.
    • I.475
  • He who thinks a great deal is not suited to be a party man: he thinks his way through the party and out the other side too soon.
    • I.579
  • Socialism itself can hope to exist only for brief periods here and there, and then only through the exercise of the extremest terrorism. For this reason it is secretly preparing itself for rule through fear and is driving the word 'justice' into the heads of the half-educated masses like a nail so as to rob them of their reason... and to create in them a good conscience for the evil game they are to play.
    • Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 173-174
  • The advantage of a bad memory is that one can enjoy the same good things for the first time several times.
    • I.580
  • No one talks more passionately about his rights than he who in the depths of his soul doubts whether he has any. By enlisting passion on his side he wants to stifle his reason and its doubts: thus he will acquire a good conscience and with it success among his fellow men.
    • I.597
  • If you have hitherto believed that life was one of the highest value and now see yourselves disappointed, do you at once have to reduce it to the lowest possible price?
    • II.1
  • Die mutter der Ausschweifung ist nicht die Freude, sondern die Freudlosigkeit.[1]
    • The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness.[2]
    • II.77
  • Mancher wird nur deshalb kein Denker, weil sein Gedächtnis zu gut ist.
    • Many a man fails to become a thinker only because his memory is too good.
    • II.122
  • The worst readers are those who behave like plundering troops: they take away a few things they can use, dirty and confound the remainder, and revile the whole.
    • II.137
  • A witticism is an epigram on the death of a feeling.
    • II.202
  • Forgetting our intentions is the most frequent of all acts of stupidity.
    • II.206
  • A Path to Equality. - A few hours of mountain climbing turn a rascal and a saint into two pretty similar creatures. Fatigue is the shortest way to Equality and Fraternity--and, in the end, Liberty will surrender to Sleep.
    • II.263
  • It says nothing against the ripeness of a spirit that it has a few worms.
    • II.353
  • With all great deceivers there is a noteworthy occurrence to which they owe their power. In the actual act of deception... they are overcome by belief in themselves. It is this which then speaks so miraculously and compellingly to those who surround them.[specific citation needed]
  • Im Gebirge der Wahrheit kletterst du nie umsonst: Entweder du kommst schon heute weiter hinauf oder übst deine Kräfte, um morgen höher steigen zu können.
    • In the mountains of truth you will never climb in vain: either you will get up higher today or you will exercise your strength so as to be able to get up higher tomorrow.
  • It is mere illusion and pretty sentiment to expect much from mankind if he forgets how to make war. And yet no means are known which call so much into action as a great war, that rough energy born of the camp, that deep impersonality born of hatred, that conscience born of murder and cold-bloodedness, that fervor born of effort of the annihilation of the enemy, that proud indifference to loss, to one's own existence, to that of one's fellows, to that earthquake-like soul-shaking that a people needs when it is losing its vitality.[specific citation needed]

Helen Zimmern translation

It is the privilege of greatness to grant supreme pleasure through trifling gifts.
The distinction that lies in being unhappy (as if to feel happy were a sign of shallowness, lack of ambition, ordinariness) is so great that when someone says, "But how happy you must be!" we usually protest.
Young people love what is interesting and odd, no matter how true or false it is. More mature minds love what is interesting and odd about truth. Fully mature intellects, finally, love truth, even when it appears plain and simple, boring to the ordinary person; for they have noticed that truth tends to reveal its highest wisdom in the guise of simplicity.
It is not the struggle of opinions that has made history so violent, but rather the struggle of belief in opinions, that is, the struggle of convictions.
  • Feinde der Wahrheit. - Überzeugungen sind gefährlichere Feinde der Wahrheit, als Lügen.
    • Enemies of truth. Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 483
  • Ziel und Wege. - Viele sind hartnäckig in Bezug auf den einmal eingeschlagenen Weg, Wenige in Bezug auf das Ziel.
    • Destination and paths. Many people are obstinate about the path once it is taken, few people about the destination.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 494
  • Das Empörende an einer individuellen Lebensart. - Alle sehr individuellen Maassregeln des Lebens bringen die Menschen gegen Den, der sie ergreift, auf; sie fühlen sich durch die aussergewöhnliche Behandlung, welche jener sich angedeihen lässt, erniedrigt, als gewöhnliche Wesen.
    • The infuriating thing about an individual way of living. People are always angry at anyone who chooses very individual standards for his life; because of the extraordinary treatment which that man grants to himself, they feel degraded, like ordinary beings.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 495
  • Vorrecht der Grösse. - Es ist das Vorrecht der Grösse, mit geringen Gaben hoch zu beglücken.
    • Privilege of greatness. It is the privilege of greatness to grant supreme pleasure through trifling gifts.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 496
  • Jeder in Einer Sache überlegen. - In civilisirten Verhältnissen fühlt sich Jeder jedem Anderen in Einer Sache wenigstens überlegen: darauf beruht das allgemeine Wohlwollen, insofern Jeder einer ist, der unter Umständen helfen kann und desshalb sich ohne Scham helfen lassen darf.
    • Everyone superior in one thing. In civilized circumstances, everyone feels superior to everyone else in at least one way; this is the basis of the general goodwill, inasmuch as everyone is someone who, under certain conditions, can be of help, and need therefore feel no shame in allowing himself to be helped.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 509
  • Das Leben als Ertrag des Lebens. - Der Mensch mag sich noch so weit mit seiner Erkenntniss ausrecken, sich selber noch so objectiv vorkommen: zuletzt trägt er doch Nichts davon, als seine eigene Biographie.
    • Life as the product of life. However far man may extend himself with his knowledge, however objective he may appear to himself - ultimately he reaps nothing but his own biography.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 513
  • Aus der Erfahrung. - Die Unvernunft einer Sache ist kein Grund gegen ihr Dasein, vielmehr eine Bedingung desselben.
    • From experience. That something is irrational is no argument against its existence, but rather a condition for it.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 515
  • Gefahr unserer Cultur. - Wir gehören einer Zeit an, deren Cultur in Gefahr ist, an den Mitteln der Cultur zu Grunde zu gehen.
    • Danger of our culture. We belong to a time in which culture is in danger of being destroyed by the means of culture.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 520
  • Die Länge des Tages. - Wenn man viel hineinzustecken hat, so hat ein Tag hundert Taschen.
    • The day's length. If a man has a great deal to put in them, a day will have a hundred pockets.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 529
  • Unglück. - Die Auszeichnung, welche im Unglück liegt (als ob es ein Zeichen von Flachheit, Anspruchslosigkeit, Gewöhnlichkeit sei, sich glücklich zu fühlen), ist so gross, dass wenn Jemand Einem sagt: "Aber wie glücklich Sie sind!" man gewöhnlich protestirt.
    • Unhappiness. The distinction that lies in being unhappy (as if to feel happy were a sign of shallowness, lack of ambition, ordinariness) is so great that when someone says, "But how happy you must be!" we usually protest.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 534
  • Den Andern zum Vorbild. - Wer ein gutes Beispiel geben will, muss seiner Tugend einen Gran Narrheit zusetzen: dann ahmt man nach und erhebt sich zugleich über den Nachgeahmten, - was die Menschen lieben.
    • Model for others. He who wants to set a good example must add a grain of foolishness to his virtue; then others can imitate and, at the same time, rise above the one being imitated - something which people love.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 561
  • Schatten in der Flamme. - Die Flamme ist sich selber nicht so hell, als den Anderen, denen sie leuchtet: so auch der Weise.
    • Shadow in the flame. The flame is not so bright to itself as to those on whom it shines: so too the wise man.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 570
  • Eigene Meinungen. - Die erste Meinung, welche uns einfällt, wenn wir plötzlich über eine Sache befragt werden, ist gewöhnlich nicht unsere eigene, sondern nur die landläufige, unserer Kaste, Stellung, Abkunft zugehörige; die eigenen Meinungen schwimmen selten oben auf.
    • Our own opinions. The first opinion that occurs to us when we are suddenly asked about a matter is usually not our own, but only the customary one, appropriate to our caste, position, or parentage; our own opinions seldom swim near the surface.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 571
  • Lebensalter und Wahrheit. - junge Leute lieben das Interessante und Absonderliche, gleichgültig wie wahr oder falsch es ist. Reifere Geister lieben Das an der Wahrheit, was an ihr interessant und absonderlich ist. Ausgereifte Köpfe endlich lieben die Wahrheit auch in Dem, wo sie schlicht und einfältig erscheint und dem gewöhnlichen Menschen Langeweile macht, weil sie gemerkt haben, dass die Wahrheit das Höchste an Geist, was sie besitzt, mit der Miene der Einfalt zu sagen pflegt.
    • Age and truth. Young people love what is interesting and odd, no matter how true or false it is. More mature minds love what is interesting and odd about truth. Fully mature intellects, finally, love truth, even when it appears plain and simple, boring to the ordinary person; for they have noticed that truth tends to reveal its highest wisdom in the guise of simplicity.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 609
  • Der Gegenwart entfremdet. - Es hat grosse Vortheile, seiner Zeit sich einmal in stärkerem Maasse zu entfremden und gleichsam von ihrem Ufer zurück in den Ocean der vergangenen Weltbetrachtungen getrieben zu werden. Von dort aus nach der Küste zu blickend, überschaut man wohl zum ersten Male ihre gesammte Gestaltung und hat, wenn man sich ihr wieder nähert, den Vortheil, sie besser im Ganzen zu verstehen, als Die, welche sie nie verlassen haben.
    • Alienated from the present. There are great advantages in for once removing ourselves distinctly from our time and letting ourselves be driven from its shore back into the ocean of former world views. Looking at the coast from that perspective, we survey for the first time its entire shape, and when we near it again, we have the advantage of understanding it better on the whole than do those who have never left it.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 616
  • Philosophisch gesinnt sein. - Gewöhnlich strebt man darnach, für alle Lebenslagen und Ereignisse eine Haltung des Gemüthes, eine Gattung von Ansichten zu erwerben, - das nennt man vornehmlich philosophisch gesinnt sein. Aber für die Bereicherung der Erkenntniss mag es höheren Werth haben, nicht in dieser Weise sich zu uniformiren, sondern auf die leise Stimme der verschiedenen Lebenslagen zu hören; diese bringen ihre eigenen Ansichten mit sich. So nimmt man erkennenden Antheil am Leben und Wesen Vieler, indem man sich selber nicht als starres, beständiges, Eines Individuum behandelt.
    • A philosophical frame of mind. Generally we strive to acquire one emotional stance, one viewpoint for all life situations and events: we usually call that being of a philosophical frame of mind. But rather than making oneself uniform, we may find greater value for the enrichment of knowledge by listening to the soft voice of different life situations; each brings its own views with it. Thus we acknowledge and share the life and nature of many by not treating ourselves like rigid, invariable, single individuals.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 618
  • Verkehr mit dem höheren Selbst. - Ein jeder hat seinen guten Tag, wo er sein höheres Selbst findet; und die wahre Humanität verlangt, jemanden nur nach diesem Zustande und nicht nach den Werktagen der Unfreiheit und Knechtung zu schätzen. Man soll zum Beispiel einen Maler nach seiner höchsten Vision, die er zu sehen und darzustellen vermochte, taxiren und verehren. Aber die Menschen selber verkehren sehr verschieden mit diesem ihrem höheren Selbst und sind häufig ihre eigenen Schauspieler, insofern sie Das, was sie in jenen Augenblicken sind, später immer wieder nachmachen. Manche leben in Scheu und Demuth vor ihrem Ideale und möchten es verleugnen: sie fürchten ihr höheres Selbst, weil es, wenn es redet, anspruchsvoll redet. Dazu hat es eine geisterhafte Freiheit zu kommen und fortzubleiben wie es will; es wird desswegen häufig eine Gabe der Götter genannt, während eigentlich alles Andere Gabe der Götter (des Zufalls) ist: jenes aber ist der Mensch selber.
    • Traffic with one's higher self. Everyone has his good day, when he finds his higher self; and true humanity demands that we judge someone only when he is in this condition, and not in his workdays of bondage and servitude. We should, for example, assess and honor a painter according to the highest vision he was able to see and portray. But people themselves deal very differently with this, their higher self, and often act out the role of their own self, to the extent that they later keep imitating what they were in those moments. Some regard their ideal with shy humility and would like to deny it: they fear their higher self because, when it speaks, it speaks demandingly. In addition, it has a ghostly freedom of coming or staying away as it wishes; for that reason it is often called a gift of the gods, while actually everything else is a gift of the gods (of chance): this, however, is the man himself.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 624
  • Leben und Erleben. - Sieht man zu, wie Einzelne mit ihren Erlebnissen - ihren unbedeutenden alltäglichen Erlebnissen - umzugehen wissen, so dass diese zu einem Ackerland werden, das dreimal des Jahres Frucht trägt; während Andere - und wie Viele! - durch den Wogenschlag der aufregendsten Schicksale, der mannigfaltigsten Zeit- und Volksströmungen hindurchgetrieben werden und doch immer leicht, immer obenauf, wie Kork, bleiben: so ist man endlich versucht, die Menschheit in eine Minorität (Minimalität) Solcher einzutheilen, welche aus Wenigem Viel zu machen verstehen: und in eine Majorität Derer, welche aus Vielem Wenig zu machen verstehen; ja man trifft auf jene umgekehrten Hexenmeister, welche, anstatt die Welt aus Nichts, aus der Welt ein Nichts schaffen.
    • Life and experience. If one notices how some individuals know how to treat their experiences (their insignificant everyday experiences) so that these become a plot of ground that bears fruit three times a year; while others (and how many of them!) are driven through the waves of the most exciting turns of fate, of the most varied currents of their time or nation, and yet always stay lightly on the surface, like cork: then one is finally tempted to divide mankind into a minority (minimality) of those people who know how to make much out of little and a majority of those who know how to make a little out of much; indeed, one meets those perverse wizards who, instead of creating the world out of nothing, create nothing out of the world.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 627
  • Es ist nicht der Kampf der Meinungen, welcher die Geschichte so gewaltthätig gemacht hat, sondern der Kampf des Glaubens an die Meinungen, das heisst der Ueberzeugungen.
    • It is not the struggle of opinions that has made history so violent, but rather the struggle of belief in opinions, that is, the struggle of convictions.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / excerpt from aphorism 630
  • Wir sind im Wesentlichen noch dieselben Menschen, wie die des Zeitalters der Reformation: wie sollte es auch anders sein? Aber dass wir uns einige Mittel nicht mehr erlauben, um mit ihnen unsrer Meinung zum Siege zu verhelfen, das hebt uns gegen jene Zeit ab und beweist, dass wir einer höhern Cultur angehören. Wer jetzt noch, in der Art der Reformations-Menschen, Meinungen mit Verdächtigungen, mit Wuthausbrüchen bekämpft und niederwirft, verräth deutlich, dass er seine Gegner verbrannt haben würde, falls er in anderen Zeiten gelebt hätte, und dass er zu allen Mitteln der Inquisition seine Zuflucht genommen haben würde, wenn er als Gegner der Reformation gelebt hätte. Diese Inquisition war damals vernünftig, denn sie bedeutete nichts Anderes, als den allgemeinen Belagerungszustand, welcher über den ganzen Bereich der Kirche verhängt werden musste, und der, wie jeder Belagerungszustand, zu den äussersten Mitteln berechtigte, unter der Voraussetzung nämlich (welche wir jetzt nicht mehr mit jenen Menschen theilen), dass man die Wahrheit, in der Kirche, habe, und um jeden Preis mit jedem Opfer zum Heile der Menschheit bewahren müsse. Jetzt aber giebt man Niemandem so leicht mehr zu, dass er die Wahrheit habe: die strengen Methoden der Forschung haben genug Misstrauen und Vorsicht verbreitet, so dass Jeder, welcher gewaltthätig in Wort und Werk Meinungen vertritt, als ein Feind unserer jetzigen Cultur, mindestens als ein zurückgebliebener empfunden wird. In der That: das Pathos, dass man die Wahrheit habe, gilt jetzt sehr wenig im Verhältniss zu jenem freilich milderen und klanglosen Pathos des Wahrheit-Suchens, welches nicht müde wird, umzulernen und neu zu prüfen.
    • Essentially, we are still the same people as those in the period of the Reformation - and how should it be otherwise? But we no longer allow ourselves certain means to gain victory for our opinion: this distinguishes us from that age and proves that we belong to a higher culture. These days, if a man still attacks and crushes opinions with suspicions and outbursts of rage, in the manner of men during the Reformation, he clearly betrays that he would have burnt his opponents, had he lived in other times, and that he would have taken recourse to all the means of the Inquisition, had he lived as an opponent of the Reformation. In its time, the Inquisition was reasonable, for it meant nothing other than the general martial law which had to be proclaimed over the whole domain of the church, and which, like every state of martial law, justified the use of the extremest means, namely under the assumption (which we no longer share with those people) that one possessed truth in the church and had to preserve it at any cost, with any sacrifice, for the salvation of mankind. But now we will no longer concede so easily that anyone has the truth; the rigorous methods of inquiry have spread sufficient distrust and caution, so that we experience every man who represents opinions violently in word and deed as any enemy of our present culture, or at least as a backward person. And in fact, the fervor about having the truth counts very little today in relation to that other fervor, more gentle and silent, to be sure, for seeking the truth, a search that does not tire of learning afresh and testing anew.
    • Section IX, "Man Alone with Himself" / aphorism 633

(The Dawn of Day, translated by John McFarland Kennedy (1911)

He who is punished is never he who performed the deed. He is always the scapegoat.
  • Being silent is something one completely unlearns if, like him, one has been for so long a solitary mole - - -
    • Preface
  • Who is the most moral man? First, he who obeys the law most frequently, who ... is continually inventive in creating opportunities for obeying the law. Then, he who obeys it even in the most difficult cases. The most moral man is he who sacrifices the most to custom. ... Self-overcoming is demanded, not on account of any useful consequences it may have for the individual, but so that hegemony of custom and tradition shall be made evident.
    • § 9
  • Whoever has overthrown an existing law of custom has hitherto always first been accounted a bad man: but when, as did happen, the law could not afterwards be reinstated and this fact was accepted, the predicate gradually changed: - history treats almost exclusively of these bad men who subsequently became good men!
    • 20
  • What! the inventors of ancient civilisations, the first makers of tools and tape lines, the first builders of vehicles, ships, and houses, the first observers of the laws of the heavens and the multiplication tables—is it contended that they were entirely different from the inventors and observers of our own time, and superior to them? And that the first slow steps forward were of a value which has not been equalled by the discoveries we have made with all our travels and circumnavigations of the earth?
    • 36
  • “Let us be indulgent to the great one-eyed!” said Stuart Mill, as if it were necessary to ask for indulgence when we are willing to believe and almost to worship them. I say: Let us be indulgent towards the two-eyed, both great and small; for, such as we are now, we shall never rise beyond indulgence!
    • 51
  • The Christian Vengeance against Rome. — Perhaps nothing is more fatiguing than the sight of a continual conqueror: for more than two hundred years the world had seen Rome overcoming one nation after another, the circle was closed, all future seemed to be at an end, everything was done with a view to its lasting for all time—yea, when the Empire built anything it was erected with a view to being aere perennius. We, who know only the “melancholy of ruins,” can scarcely understand that totally different melancholy of eternal buildings, from which men endeavoured to save themselves as best they could—with the light-hearted fancy of a Horace, for example. Others sought different consolations for the weariness which was closely akin to despair, against the deadening knowledge that from henceforth all progress of thought and heart would be hopeless, that the huge spider sat everywhere and mercilessly continued to drink all the blood within its reach, no matter where it might spring forth.This mute, century-old hatred of the wearied spectators against Rome, wherever Rome's domination extended, was at length vented in Christianity, which united Rome, “the world,” and “sin” into a single conception.
    • 71
  • The Philology of Christianity. — How little Christianity cultivates the sense of honesty can be inferred from the character of the writings of its learned men. They set out their conjectures as audaciously as if they were dogmas, and are but seldom at a disadvantage in regard to the interpretation of Scripture. Their continual cry is: “I am right, for it is written”—and then follows an explanation so shameless and capricious that a philologist, when he hears it, must stand stock-still between anger and laughter, asking himself again and again: Is it possible? Is it honest? Is it even decent?
    It is only those who never—or always—attend church that underestimate the dishonesty with which this subject is still dealt in Protestant pulpits; in what a clumsy fashion the preacher takes advantage of his security from interruption; how the Bible is pinched and squeezed; and how the people are made acquainted with every form of the art of false reading.
    • 84
  • He who is punished is never he who performed the deed. He is always the scapegoat.
    • 252
  • He who lives as children live — who does not struggle for his bread and does not believe that his actions possess any ultimate significance — remains childlike.
    • 280
  • It is not enough to prove something, one has also to seduce or elevate people to it. That is why the man of knowledge should learn how to speak his wisdom: and often in such a way that it sounds like folly!
    • 330
  • Freedom of Speech. The truth must be told, even if the world should be shivered in fragments”—so cries the eminent and grandiloquent Fichte.—Yes, certainly; but we must have it first.—What he really means, however, is that each man should speak his mind, even if everything were to be turned upside down. This point, however, is open to dispute.
    • 353
  • For those who need consolation no means of consolation is so effective as the assertion that in their case no consolation is possible: it implies so great a degree of distinction that they at once hold up their heads again.
    • 380
  • Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in him!
    • 382
  • One has attained to mastery when one neither goes wrong nor hesitates in the performance.
    • 537

(Full text)

We are, all of us, growing volcanoes that approach the hour of their eruption; but how near or distant that is, nobody knows — not even God.
Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (1882)
What does your conscience say? — "You shall become the person you are."
To what extent can truth endure incorporation? That is the question; that is the experiment.
Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings — always darker, emptier, simpler.
We have no dreams at all or interesting ones. We should learn to be awake the same way — not at all or in an interesting manner.
The secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and greatest enjoyment is — to live dangerously.
I would not know what the spirit of a philosopher might wish more to be than a good dancer.
  • I keep having the same experience and keep resisting it every time. I do not want to believe it although it is palpable: the great majority of people lack an intellectual conscience. Indeed, it has often seemed to me as if anyone calling for an intellectual conscience were as lonely in the most densely populated cities as if he were in a desert. Everybody looks at you with strange eyes and goes right on handling his scales, calling this good and that evil. Nobody even blushes when you intimate that their weights are underweight; nor do people feel outraged; they merely laugh at your doubts. I mean: the great majority of people does not consider it contemptible to believe this or that and to live accordingly, without first having given themselves an account of the final and most certain reasons pro and con, and without even troubling themselves about such reasons afterward: the most gifted men and the noblest women still belong to this "great majority." But what is goodheartedness, refinement, or genius to me, when the person who has these virtues tolerates slack feelings in his faith and judgments and when he does not account the desire for certainty as his inmost craving and deepest distress--as that which separates the higher human beings from the lower.
    • Sec. 2
  • We are, all of us, growing volcanoes that approach the hour of their eruption; but how near or distant that is, nobody knows — not even God.
    • Sec. 9
  • Benefiting and hurting others are ways of exercising one's power upon others; that is all one desires in such cases. One hurts those whom one wants to feel one's power, for pain is a much more efficient means to that end than pleasure; pain always raises the question about its origin while pleasure is inclined to stop with itself without looking back. We benefit and show benevolence to those who are already dependent on us in some way (which means that they are used to thinking of us as causes); we want to increase their power because in that way we increase ours, or we want to show them how advantageous it is to be in our power; that way they will become more satisfied with their condition and more hostile to and willing to fight against the enemies of our power.
    • Sec. 13
  • Even the most beautiful scenery is no longer assured of our love after we have lived in it for three months, and some distant coast attracts our avarice: possessions are generally diminished by possession...
    • Sec. 14
  • People who live in an age of corruption are witty and slanderous; they know that there are other kinds of murder than by dagger or assault; they also know that whatever is well said is believed...
    • Sec. 23
  • The reasons and purposes for habits are always lies that are added only after some people begin to attack these habits and to ask for reasons and purposes. At this point the conservatives of all ages are thoroughly dishonest: they add lies.
    • Sec. 29
  • A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions — as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.
    • Sec. 41
  • Pardon me, my friends, I have ventured to paint my happiness on the wall.
    • Sec. 56
  • But let us not forget this either: it is enough to create new names and estimations and probabilities in order to create in the long run new "things."
    • Sec. 58
  • Without art we would be nothing but foreground and live entirely in the spell of that perspective which makes what is closest at hand and most vulgar appear as if it were vast, and reality itself.
    • Sec. 78
  • Good prose is written only face to face with poetry.
    • Sec. 92
  • Art furnishes us with eyes and hands and above all the good conscience to be able to turn ourselves into such a phenomenon.
    • Sec. 107
  • Gott ist tot! aber so wie die Art der Menschen ist, wird es vielleicht noch Jahrtausende lang Höhlen geben, in denen man seinen Schatten zeigt. — Und wir — Wir müssen auch noch seinen Schatten besiegen.
    • God is dead; but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown. — And we — we still have to vanquish his shadow, too.
    • Sec. 108
    • Quotes about quotes: see also God is dead.
  • To what extent can truth endure incorporation? That is the question; that is the experiment.
    • Sec. 110
  • Morality is herd instinct in the individual.
    • Sec. 116
  • Knowledge more than a Means. —Also without this passion — I refer to the passion for knowledge — science would be furthered: science has hitherto increased and grown up without it. The good faith in science, the prejudice in its favour, by which States are at present dominated (it was even the Church formerly), rests fundamentally on the fact that the absolute inclination and impulse has so rarely revealed itself in it, and that science is regarded not as a passion, but as a condition and an "ethos." Indeed, amour-plaisir of knowledge (curiosity) often enough suffices, amour-vanité suffices, and habituation to it, with the afterthought of obtaining honour and bread; it even suffices for many that they do not know what to do with a surplus of leisure, except to continue reading, collecting, arranging, observing and narrating; their "scientific impulse" is their ennui.
    • Sec. 123
  • Gott ist tot! Gott bleibt tot! Und wir haben ihn getötet.
    • God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
    • Sec. 125
    • Quotes about quote: see also God is dead.
  • Mystical explanations are considered deep; the truth is, they are not even shallow.
    • Sec. 126; variant translation: Mystical explanations are thought to be deep; the truth is that they are not even shallow.
  • Der christliche Entschluss, die Welt hässlich und schlecht zu finden, hat die Welt hässlich und schlecht gemacht.
    • The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.
    • Sec. 130
  • What is now decisive against Christianity is our taste, no longer our reasons.
    • Sec. 132
  • To find everything profound — that is an inconvenient trait. It makes one strain one's eyes all the time, and in the end one finds more than one might have wished.
    • Sec. 158
  • We are always in our own company.
    • Sec. 166
  • Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings — always darker, emptier, simpler.
    • Sec. 179
  • The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.
    • Sec. 191
  • The Way to Happiness. — A sage asked of a fool the way to happiness. The fool answered without delay, like one who had been asked the way to the next town: "Admire yourself, and live on the street!" "Hold," cried the sage, "you require too much; it suffices to admire oneself!" The fool replied: "But how can one constantly admire without constantly despising?"
    • Sec. 213
  • Faith Saves. —Virtue gives happiness and a state of blessedness only to those who have a strong faith in their virtue: —not, however, to the more refined souls whose virtue consists of a profound distrust of themselves and of all virtue. After all, therefore, it is "faith that saves" here also!—and be it well observed, not virtue!
    • Sec. 214
  • We have no dreams at all or interesting ones. We should learn to be awake the same way — not at all or in an interesting manner.
    • Sec. 232
  • Die Leugner des Zufalls. — 'Kein Sieger glaubt an den Zufall.'
    • Those who deny chance. — 'No victor believes in chance.'
      • Sec. 258
  • Was sagt dein Gewissen? — 'Du sollst der werden, der du bist.'
    • What does your conscience say? — 'You shall become the person you are.'
    • Variant translation: Become who you are.
    • Sec. 270
    • Common misattribution to the same effect: Become thyself!
      • It is noted that the phrase was first used by Pindar (Pyth. II, 73), and was merely creatively re-used by Nietzsche. He also later gave his Ecce Homo the subtitle: "How one becomes what one is."
        • Cf. also Hegel's formulation that "spirit ... makes itself that which it is."
  • What is the seal of liberation? — No longer being ashamed in front of oneself.
    • Sec. 275
  • There is something laughable about the sight of authors who enjoy the rustling folds of long and involved sentences: they are trying to cover up their feet.
    • Sec. 282
  • Glaubt es mir! – das Geheimnis, um die größte Fruchtbarkeit und den größten Genuß vom Dasein einzuernten, heißt: gefährlich leben!
    • For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer! At long last the search for knowledge will reach out for its due: — it will want to rule and possess, and you with it!
    • Sec. 283; Variant translation: For believe me: the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and greatest enjoyment is — to live dangerously.
  • Everything good, fine or great they do is first of all an argument against the skeptic inside them.
    • Sec. 284
  • Perhaps man will rise ever higher as soon as he ceases to flow out into a god.
    • Sec. 285
  • Eins ist Not. — Seinem Charakter 'Stil geben'.
    • One thing is needful — to 'give style' to one's character.
    • Sec. 290
  • We want to be poets of our life — first of all in the smallest most everyday matters.
    • Sec. 299
  • Do you believe then that the sciences would have arisen and grown up if the sorcerers, alchemists, astrologers and witches had not been their forerunners; those who, with their promisings and foreshadowings, had first to create a thirst, a hunger, and a taste for hidden and forbidden powers?
    • Variant translation: Do you believe then that the sciences would ever have arisen and become great if there had not beforehand been magicians, alchemists, astrologers and wizards, who thirsted and hungered after abscondite and forbidden powers?
    • Sec. 300
  • Whatever has value in our world now does not have value in itself, according to its nature — nature is always value-less, but has been given value at some time, as a present — and it was we who gave and bestowed it.
    • Sec. 302
  • New Domestic Animals. I want to have my lion and my eagle about me, that I may always have hints and premonitions concerning the amount of my strength or weakness. Must I look down on them today, and be afraid of them? And will the hour come once more when they will look up to me, and tremble?
    • Sec. 314
  • It is true that there are men who, on the approach of severe pain, hear the very opposite call of command, and never appear more proud, more martial, or more happy than when the storm is brewing; indeed, pain itself provides them with their supreme moments! These are the heroic men, the great pain-bringers of mankind: those few and rare ones who need just the same apology as pain generally — and verily, it should not be denied them. They are forces of the greatest importance for preserving and advancing the species, be it only because they are opposed to smug ease, and do not conceal their disgust at this kind of happiness.
    • Sec. 318
  • Who can attain to anything great if he does not feel in himself the force and will to inflict great pain? The ability to suffer is a small matter: in that line, weak women and even slaves often attain masterliness. But not to perish from internal distress and doubt when one inflicts great suffering and hears the cry of it — that is great, that belongs to greatness.
    • Sec. 325
  • The heaviest burden: “What, if some day or night, a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life, as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life must return to you, all in the same succession and sequence — even this spider and this moonlight between the trees and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over again and again—and you with it, speck of dust!’ Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god, and never have I heard anything more divine!’ If this thought were to gain possession of you, it would change you as you are, or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, “do you want this once more and innumerable times more?” would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?.
    • Sec. 341
  • It is said with good reason that convictions have no civic rights in the domain of science: it is only when a 277conviction voluntarily condescends to the modesty of an hypothesis, a preliminary standpoint for experiment, or a regulative fiction, that its access to the realm of knowledge, and a certain value therein, can be conceded,—always, however, with the restriction that it must remain under police supervision, under the police of our distrust.—Regarded more accurately, however, does not this imply that only when a conviction ceases to be a conviction can it obtain admission into science? Does not the discipline of the scientific spirit just commence when one no longer harbours any conviction?... It is probably so: only, it remains to be asked whether, in order that this discipline may commence, it is not necessary that there should already be a conviction, and in fact one so imperative and absolute, that it makes a sacrifice of all other convictions. One sees that science also rests on a belief: there is no science at all "without premises." The question whether truth is necessary, must not merely be affirmed beforehand, but must be affirmed to such an extent that the principle, belief, or conviction finds expression, that "there is nothing more necessary than truth, and in comparison with it everything else has only a secondary value."—This absolute will to truth: what is it? Is it the will not to allow ourselves to be deceived?
    • Sec. 344
  • Could one count such dilettantes and old spinsters as that mawkish apostle of virginity, Mainländer, as a genuine German? In the last analysis he probably was a Jew (all Jews become mawkish when they moralize).
    • Sec. 357
  • I would not know what the spirit of a philosopher might wish more to be than a good dancer.
    • Sec. 381
  • We "conserve" nothing; neither do we want to return to any past periods; we are not by any means "liberal"; we do not work for "progress"; we do not need to plug up our ears against the sirens who in the market place sing of the future: their song about "equal rights," "a free society," "no more masters and no servants" has no allure for us.
  • We simply do not consider it desirable that a realm of justice and concord should be established on earth (because it would certainly be the realm of the deepest leveling and chinoiserie); we are delighted with all who love, as we do, danger, war, and adventures, who refuse to compromise, to be captured, reconciled, and castrated; we count ourselves among conquerors; we think about the necessity for new orders, also for a new slavery — for every strengthening and enhancement of the human type also involves a new kind of enslavement.
    • The term chinoiserie indicates "unnecessary complication" and some translations point out that this passage invokes ideas in the concluding poem of Beyond Good and Evil: "nur wer sich wandelt bleibt mit mir verwandt" : Only those who keep changing remain akin to me.
  • Is it not clear that with all this we are bound to feel ill at ease in an age that likes to claim the distinction of being the most humane, the mildest, and the most righteous age that the sun has ever seen? It is bad enough that precisely when we hear these beautiful words we have the ugliest suspicions. What we find in them is merely an expression — and a masquerade — of a profound weakening, of weariness, of old age, of declining energies. What can it matter to us what tinsel the sick may use to cover up their weakness? Let them parade it as their virtue; after all, there is no doubt that weakness makes one mild, oh so mild, so righteous, so inoffensive, so "humane"!
    • Sec. 377
  • Preparatory Men. — I welcome all signs that a more virile, warlike age is about to begin, which will restore honor to courage above all! For this age shall prepare the way for one yet higher, and it shall gather the strength that this higher age will require some day — the age that will carry heroism into the search for knowledge and that will wage wars for the sake of ideas and their consequences.
  • To this end we now need many preparatory courageous human beings who cannot very well leap out of nothing — any more than out of the sand and slime of present-day civilization and metropolitanism: human beings who know how to be silent, lonely, resolute, and content and constant in invisible activities; human beings who are bent on seeking in all things for what in them must be overcome; human beings distinguished as much by cheerfulness, patience, unpretentiousness, and contempt for all great vanities as by magnanimity in victory and forbearance regarding the small vanities of the vanquished; human beings whose judgment concerning all victors and the share of chance in every victory and fame is sharp and free; human beings with their own festivals, their own working days, and their own periods of mourning, accustomed to command with assurance but instantly ready to obey when that is called for, equally proud, equally serving their own cause in both cases; more endangered human beings, more fruitful human beings, happier beings!
A strong and well-constituted man digests his experiences (deeds and misdeeds all included) just as he digests his meats, even when he has some tough morsels to swallow.
Also translated as Genealogy of Morals
  • We are unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge-and with good reason. We have never sought ourselves- how could it happen that we should ever find ourselves?
    • Preface, Section 1
  • There still shines the most important nuance by virtue of which the noble felt themselves to be men of a higher rank. They designate themselves simply by their superiority in power (as "the powerful," "the masters," "the commanders") or by the most clearly visible signs of this superiority, for example, as "the rich," "the possessors" (this is the meaning of 'Arya,' and of corresponding words in Iranian and Slavic).
    • Essay 1, Section 5
  • As is well known, the priests are the most evil enemies — but why? Because they are the most impotent. It is because of their impotence that in them hatred grows to monstrous and uncanny proportions, to the most spiritual and poisonous kind of hatred. The truly great haters in the world history have always been priests; likewise the most ingenious haters: other kinds of spirit hardly come into consideration when compared with the spirit of priestly vengefulness.
    • Essay 1, Section 7
  • While every noble morality develops from a triumphant affirmation of itself, slave morality from the outset says No to what is "outside," what is "different," what is "not itself"; and this No is its creative deed.
    • Essay 1, Section 10
  • To be incapable of taking one's enemies, one's accidents, even one's misdeeds seriously for very long—that is the sign of strong, full natures in whom there is an excess of the power to form, to mold, to recuperate and to forget[...] Such a man shakes off with a single shrug many vermin that eat deep into others; here alone genuine 'love of one's enemies' is possible—supposing it to be possible at all on earth. How much reverence has a noble man for his enemies!—and such reverence is a bridge to love.—For he desires his enemy for himself, as his mark of distinction; he can endure no other enemy than one in whom there is nothing to despise and very much to honor!
    • Essay 1, Section 11
  • To ask strength not to express itself as strength, not to be a will to dominate, a will to subjugate, a will to become master, a thirst for enemies and obstacles and triumphant celebrations, is just as absurd as to ask weakness to express itself as strength.
    • Essay 1, Section 13
  • To demand of strength that it should not express itself as strength, that it should not be a desire to overcome, a desire to throw down, a desire to become master, a thirst for enemies and resistances and triumphs, is just as absurd as to demand of weakness that it should express itself as strength. A quantum of force is equivalent to a quantum of drive, will, effect—more, it is nothing other than precisely this very driving, willing, effecting, and only owing to the seduction of language (and of the fundamental errors of reason that are petrified in it) which conceives and misconceives all effects as conditioned by something that causes effects, by a “subject,” can it appear otherwise. For just as the popular mind separates the lightning from its flash and takes the latter for an action, for the operation of a subject called lightning, so popular morality also separates strength from expressions of strength, as if there were a neutral substratum behind the strong man, which was free to express strength or not to do so. But there is no such substratum; there is no “being” behind doing, effecting, becoming; “the doer” is merely a fiction added to the deed—the deed is everything. The popular mind in fact doubles the deed; when it sees the lightning flash, it is the deed of a deed: it posits the same event first as cause and then a second time as its effect. [..] [O]ur entire science still lies under the misleading influence of language and has not disposed of that little changeling, the “subject” (the atom, for example, is such a changeling, as is the Kantian “thing-in-itself”); no wonder if the submerged, darkly glowering emotions of vengefulness and hatred exploit this belief for their own ends and in fact maintain no belief more ardently than the belief that the strong man is free to be weak and the bird of prey to be a lamb—for thus they gain the right to make the bird of prey accountable for being a bird of prey.
    • Essay 1, Section 13
  • Without cruelty there is no festival: thus the longest and most ancient part of human history teaches — and in punishment there is so much that is festive!
    • Essay 2, Section 6
  • To see others suffer does one good, to make others suffer even more: this is a hard saying but an ancient, mighty, human, all-too-human principle which even the apes might subscribe; for it has been said that in devising bizarre cruelties they anticipate man and are, as it were his "prelude."
    • Essay 2, Section 6
  • Let me declare expressly that in the days when mankind was not yet ashamed of its cruelty, life on earth was more cheerful than it is now that pessimists exist.
    • Essay 2, Section 7
  • Now, when suffering is always the first of the arguments marshalled against life, as its most questionable feature, it is salutary to remember the times when people made the opposite assessment, because they could not do without making people suffer and saw first-rate magic in it, a veritable seductive lure to life. Perhaps pain - I say this to comfort the squeamish - did not hurt as much then as it does now; at least, a doctor would be justified in assuming this, if he had treated a Negro (taken as a representative for primeval man) for serious internal inflammations which would drive the European with the stoutest constitution to distraction; - they do not do that to Negroes. (The curve of human capacity for pain actually does seem to sink dramatically and almost precipitously beyond the first ten thousand or ten million of the cultural elite; and for myself, I do not doubt that in comparison with one night of pain endured by a single, hysterical blue stocking, the total suffering of all the animals who have been interrogated by the knife in scientific research is as nothing.)
    • Essay 2, Section 7
  • That every will must consider every other will its equal — would be a principle hostile to life, an agent of the dissolution and destruction of man, an attempt to assassinate the future of man, a sign of weariness, a secret path to nothingness.
    • Essay 2, Section 11
  • It is possible to imagine a society flushed with such a sense of power that it could afford to let its offenders go unpunished.
    • Essay 2, Section 10
  • Generally speaking, punishment makes men hard and cold; it concentrates; it sharpens the feeling of alienation; it strengthens the power of resistance.
    • Second Essay, Aphorism 14
  • The broad effects which can be obtained by punishment in man and beast are the increase of fear, the sharpening of the sense of cunning, the mastery of the desires; so it is that punishment tames man, but does not make him "better."
    • Essay 2, Section 15
  • All instincts that do not discharge themselves outwardly turn inward — this is what I call the internalization of man: thus it was that man first developed what was later called his "soul."
    • Essay 2, Section 16
  • The advent of the Christian God, as the maximum god attained so far, was therefore accompanied by the maximum feeling of guilty indebtedness on earth.
    • Essay 2, Section 20
  • If a temple is to be erected, a temple must be destroyed.
    • Essay 2, Section 24
  • Is this even possible today?-But some day, in a stronger age than this decaying, self-doubting present, he must yet come to us, the redeeming man of great love and contempt, the creative spirit whose compeHing strength will not let him rest in any aloofness or any beyond, whose isolation is misunderstood by the people as if it were flight from reality-while it is only his' absorption, immersion, penetration into reality, so that, when he one day emerges again into the light, he may bring home the redemption of this reality: its redemption from the curse that the hitherto reigning ideal has laid upon it. This man of the future, who will redeem us not only from the hitherto reigning ideal but also from that which was bound to grow out of it, the great nausea, the will to nothingness, nihilism; this bell-stroke of noon and of the great decision that liberates the will again and restores its goal to the earth and his hope to man; this Antichrist and antinihilist; this victor over God and nothingness- he must come one day.
    • Essay 2, Aphorism 24
  • Whoever is completely and wholly an artist is to all eternity separated from the "real," the actual; on the other hand, one can understand how he may sometimes weary to the point of desperation of the eternal "unreality" and falsity of his innermost existence- and that then he may well attempt what ia most forbidden him, to lay hold of actuality, for once actually to be.
    • Third Essay, Section 4
  • Es sind im asketischen Ideale so viele Brücken zur Unabhängigkeit angezeigt, dass ein Philosoph nicht ohne ein innerliches Frohlocken und Händeklatschen die Geschichte aller jener Entschlossnen zu hören vermag, welche eines Tages Nein sagten zu aller Unfreiheit und in irgend eine Wüste giengen.
    • Ascetic ideals reveal so many bridges to independence that a philosopher is bound to rejoice and clap his hands when he hears the story of all those resolute men who one day said No to all servitude and went into some desert.
      • Essay 3, Aphorism 7, W. Kaufmann, trans., Basic Writings of Nietzsche (1992), p. 543
  • That which Heraclitus avoided, however, is still the same at that which we shun today: the noise and democratic chatter of the Ephesians, their politics, their latest news of the “Empire,” ... their market business of “today”—for we philosophers need to be spared one thing above all: everything to do with “today.” We reverence what is still, cold, noble, distant, past, and in general everything in the face of which the soul does not have to defend itself and wrap itself up.
    • Essay 3, Aphorism 8, W. Kaufmann, trans., in Basic Writings of Nietzsche (1992), p. 546
  • Every one who has ever built anywhere a "new heaven" first found the power thereto in his own hell.
  • A married philosopher belongs in comedy, that is my proposition-and as for that exception, Socrates-the malicious Socrates, it would seem, married ironically, just to demonstrate this proposition.
    • Essay 3, Aphorism 7
  • The sick are the greatest danger for the healthy; it is not from the strongest that harm comes to the strong, but from the weakest.
    • Essay 3, Aphorism 14
  • A strong and well-constituted man digests his experiences (deeds and misdeeds all included) just as he digests his meats, even when he has some tough morsels to swallow.
    • Essay 3, Aphorism 16
  • O, what nowadays does science not conceal! How much, at least, it is meant to conceal!
    • Essay 3, Aphorism 23
Götzen-Dämmerung (1888)
See also Twilight of the Idols
Without music, life would be a mistake.
Christianity is a metaphysics of the hangman…
We have already gone beyond whatever we have words for. In all talk there is a grain of contempt.
  • Plato ist langweilig.
    • Plato is boring.
      • What I Owe to the Ancients, 2
  • To live alone one must be an animal or a god - says Aristotle. There is yet a third case: one must be both - a philosopher.
    • Maxims and Arrows, 3
  • Wie? ist der Mensch nur ein Fehlgriff Gottes? Oder Gott nur ein Fehlgriff des Menschen?
    • What is it: is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder of man?
    • Variant: Which? Is man one of God's blunders or is God one of man's blunders?
      • Maxims and Arrows, 7
  • Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker.
    • What does not kill me, makes me stronger.
      • Maxims and Arrows, 8
  • Hat man sein warum? des Lebens, so verträgt man sich fast mit jedem wie?
    • He who has a Why? in life can tolerate almost any How?
      • Maxims and Arrows, 12
    • Variant translations:
    • He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.
  • Der Mensch strebt nicht nach Glück; nur der Engländer thut das
    • Man does not strive for happiness; only the Englishman does that
      • Maxims and Arrows, 12
  • Women are considered profound. Why? Because we never fathom their depths. But women aren't even shallow.
    • Maxims and Arrows, 27
  • Ohne Musik wäre das Leben ein Irrtum.
    • Without music, life would be a mistake.
      • Maxims and Arrows, 33
  • Das Christenthum ist eine Metaphysik des Henkers...
    • Christianity is a metaphysics of the hangman...
      • The Four Great Errors, Section 7
  • Liberalismus: auf deutsch Heerden-Verthierung ...
    • Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization.
      • Skirmishes of an Untimely Man Sect. 38
  • Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves. It is to preserve the distance which separates us from other men. To grow more indifferent to hardship, to severity, to privation, and even to life itself.
    • Sect. 38
  • Two great European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity.
    • What the Germans lack, 2; also in The Antichrist, Sec. 60, and Gay Science, Sec. 147
  • Man believes that the world itself is filled with beauty — he forgets that it is he who has created it. He alone has bestowed beauty upon the world — alas! only a very human, an all too human, beauty.
    • Expeditions of an Untimely Man, 19
  • My conception of freedom. — The value of a thing sometimes does not lie in that which one attains by it, but in what one pays for it — what it costs us. I give an example. Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. One knows, indeed, what their ways bring: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic [genüsslich] — every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization ...
    • Variant translation: Liberal institutions straightway cease from being liberal the moment they are soundly established: once this is attained no more grievous and more thorough enemies of freedom exist than liberal institutions.
    • Expeditions of an Untimely Man, 38
  • It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a whole book — what everyone else does not say in a whole book.
    • Things the Germans Lack, 51
  • The doctrine of equality! ... But there is no more venomous poison in existence: for it appears to be preached by justice itself, when it is actually the end of justice ... "Equality to the equal; inequality to the unequal" — that would be true justice speaking: and its corollary, "never make the unequal equal".
    • Die Lehre von der Gleichheit! ... Aber es giebt gar kein giftigeres Gift: denn sie scheint von der Gerechtigkeit selbst gepredigt, während sie das Ende der Gerechtigkeit ist... "Den Gleichen Gleiches, den Ungleichen Ungleiches - das wäre die wahre Rede der Gerechtigkeit: und, was daraus folgt, Ungleiches niemals gleich machen."
    • Expeditions of an Untimely Man, §48 Progress in my sense (Streifzüge eines Unzeitgemässen §48 Fortschritt in meinem Sinne). Chapter title also translated as: Skirmishes of an Untimely Man, Kaufmann/Hollingdale translation, and Raids of an Untimely Man, Richard Polt translation
  • When one gives up Christian belief one thereby deprives oneself of the right to Christian morality. For the latter is absolutely not self-evident: one must make this point clear again and again, in spite of English shallowpates.
    • Expeditions of an Untimely Man §5
  • We have already gone beyond whatever we have words for. In all talk there is a grain of contempt.
    • Expeditions of an Untimely Man §26
    • Wofür wir Worte haben, darüber sind wir auch schon hinaus. In allem Reden liegt ein Gran Verachtung.
    • Variant translation: That for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts. There is always a kind of contempt in the act of speaking.'
  • These same institutions produce quite different effects while they are still being fought for; then they really promote freedom in a powerful way. On closer inspection it is war that produces these effects, the war for liberal institutions, which, as a war, permits illiberal instincts to continue. And war educates for freedom. For what is freedom? That one has the will to self-responsibility. That one maintains the distance which separates us. That one becomes more indifferent to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings for one's cause, not excluding oneself.
  • Freedom means that the manly instincts which delight in war and victory dominate over other instincts, for example, over those of "pleasure." The human being who has become free — and how much more the spirit who has become free — spits on the contemptible type of well-being dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, females, Englishmen, and other democrats. The free man is a warrior. —
  • How is freedom measured, in individuals as in nations? By the resistance which must be overcome, by the effort [Mühe] it costs to remain on top. The highest type of free men should be sought where the highest resistance is constantly overcome: five steps from tyranny, close to the threshold of the danger of servitude. This is true psychologically if by "tyrants" are meant inexorable and dreadful instincts that provoke the maximum of authority and discipline against themselves — most beautiful type: Julius Caesar — ; this is true politically too; one need only go through history. The nations which were worth something, became worth something, never became so under liberal institutions: it was great danger that made something of them that merits respect. Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit — and forces us to be strong ...
  • First principle: one must need to be strong — otherwise one will never become strong. — Those large hothouses [Treibhäuser] for the strong, for the strongest kind of human being that has ever been, the aristocratic commonwealths of the type of Rome or Venice, understood freedom exactly in the sense in which I understand the word freedom: as something one has and does not have, something one wants, something one conquers ...
  • Our institutions are no good any more: on that there is universal agreement. However, it is not their fault but ours. Once we have lost all the instincts out of which institutions grow, we lose institutions altogether because we are no longer good for them.
The very word "Christianity" is a misunderstanding — in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.
Main article: The Antichrist
Der Antichrist (1888); The Antichrist (English translation at WIkisource) (German)
Against boredom even gods struggle in vain.
  • Einige werden posthum geboren.
    • Some are born posthumously.
      • Foreword
  • What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself. What is bad? All that is born of weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome.
    • Sec. 2
  • In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.
    • Sec. 16
  • Hope, in its stronger forms, is a great deal more powerful stimulans to life than any sort of realized joy can ever be. Man must be sustained in suffering by a hope so high that no conflict with actuality can dash it—so high, indeed, that no fulfilment can satisfy it: a hope reaching out beyond this world.
    • Sec. 23
  • Love is a state in which a man sees things most decidedly as they are not.
    • Sec. 23
  • the priestly class — decadence is no more than a means to an end. Men of this sort have a vital interest in making mankind sick, and in confusing the values of "good" and "bad," "true" and "false" in a manner that is not only dangerous to life, but also slanders it.
    • Sec. 24
  • The 'Kingdom of Heaven' is a condition of the heart — not something that comes 'upon the earth' or 'after death'.
    • Sec. 34
  • The 'kingdom of God' is not something one waits for; it has no yesterday or tomorrow, it does not come 'in a thousand years' — it is an experience within a heart; it is everywhere, it is nowhere...
    • Sec. 34
  • The very word "Christianity" is a misunderstanding — in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.
    • This has commonly been paraphrased: The last Christian died on the cross.
    • Sec. 39
  • As an artistic triumph in psychological corruption ... the Gospels, in fact, stand alone ... Here we are among Jews: this is the first thing to be borne in mind if we are not to lose the thread of the matter. This positive genius for conjuring up a delusion of personal "holiness" unmatched anywhere else, either in books or by men; this elevation of fraud in word and attitude to the level of an art — all this is not an accident due to the chance talents of an individual, or to any violation of nature. The thing responsible is race.
    • Sec. 44
  • The whole disaster was only made possible by the fact that there already existed in the world a similar megalomania, allied to this one in race, to wit, the Jewish.
    • Sec. 44
  • What follows, then? That one had better put on gloves before reading the New Testament. The presence of so much filth makes it very advisable. One would as little choose early Christians for companions as Polish Jews: not that one need seek out an objection to them — neither has a pleasant smell.
    • Sec. 46
  • "Do I still have to add that in the entire New Testament there is only one solitary figure one is obliged to respect? Pilate, the Roman governor. To take a Jewish affair seriously — he cannot persuade himself to do that. One Jew more or less — what does it matter ?... The noble scorn of a Roman before whom an impudent misuse of the word 'truth' was carried on has enriched the New Testament with the only expression which possesses value — which is its criticism, its annihilation even: 'What is truth?..."
    • Sec. 46
  • The God that Paul invented for himself, a God who "reduced to absurdity" "the wisdom of this world" (especially the two great enemies of superstition, philology and medicine), is in truth only an indication of Paul's resolute determination to accomplish that very thing himself: to give one's own will the name of God, Torah — that is essentially Jewish.
    • Sec. 47
  • God created woman. And boredom did indeed cease from that moment — but many other things ceased as well! Woman was God's second mistake.
    • Sec. 48
  • Gegen die Langeweile kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.
    • Against boredom even gods struggle in vain.
    • Sec. 48
  • That faith makes blessed under certain circumstances, that blessedness does not make of a fixed idea a true idea, that faith moves no mountains but puts mountains where there are none: a quick walk through a madhouse enlightens one sufficiently about this.
    • Sec. 51; often paraphrased as: "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything".
  • »Glaube« heißt Nicht-wissen-wollen.
    • "Faith" means not wanting to know.
    • Sec. 52
  • Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence–who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights.
    • Sec. 57
  • Nihilist und Christ: das reimt sich, das reimt sich nicht bloss.
    • Nihilist and Christian. They rhyme, and do not merely rhyme...
    • Sec. 58, as translated by R. J. Hollingdale. In German these words do rhyme; variant translation: Nihilist and Christian. They rhyme, and they do indeed do more than just rhyme.
  • Christianity destroyed for us the whole harvest of ancient civilization, and later it also destroyed for us the whole harvest of Mohammedan civilization. The wonderful culture of the Moors in Spain, which was fundamentally nearer to us and appealed more to our senses and tastes than that of Rome and Greece, was trampled down ( — I do not say by what sort of feet — ) Why? Because it had to thank noble and manly instincts for its origin — because it said yes to life, even to the rare and refined luxuriousness of Moorish life! The crusaders later made war on something before which it would have been more fitting for them to have grovelled in the dust — a civilization beside which even that of our nineteenth century seems very poor and very "senile." [...] Intrinsically there should be no more choice between Islam and Christianity than there is between an Arab and a Jew. The decision is already reached; nobody remains at liberty to choose here. Either a man is a Chandala or he is not.... “War to the knife with Rome! Peace and friendship with Islam!”: this was the feeling, this was the act, of that great free spirit, that genius among German emperors, Frederick II.
    • Sec. 60
  • I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct for revenge for which no expedient is sufficiently poisonous, secret, subterranean, petty — I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind.

And time is reckoned from the dies nefastus with which this calamity began — from the first day of Christianity! Why not rather after its last day? From today? Revaluation of all values!

    • Sec. 62
One must pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.
I am no man, I am dynamite.
What does not kill him, makes him stronger.
See also Ecce Homo
Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) indicates the phrase Pontius Pilate used in presenting Jesus to the crowd after his scourging. Cross-references within Ecce Homo are by chapter and paragraph number, with the chapters referred to in abbreviated form as follows: F: Foreword, I: Why I Am So Wise, II: Why I Am So Clever, III: Why I Write Such Good Books, IV: Why I Am a Destiny.
  • I am a disciple of the philosopher Dionysus, I would rather be a satyr than a saint.
    • From Preface
  • Der Mensch der Erkenntniss muss nicht nur seine Feinde lieben, er muss auch seine Freunde hassen können.
    • The knight of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies, but also to hate his friends.
      • Foreword, in the Oscar Levy authorized translation.
    • Variant translations:
    • The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.
  • Man büßt es theuer, unsterblich zu sein: man stirbt dafür mehrere Male bei Lebzeiten.
    • One must pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.
    • 5
  • And nothing on earth consumes a man more quickly than the passion of resentment.
    • "Why I Am So Wise", 6
  • I know my fate. One day my name will be associated with the memory of something tremendous — a crisis without equal on earth, the most profound collision of conscience, a decision that was conjured up against everything that had been believed, demanded, hallowed so far. I am no man, I am dynamite.
    • "Why I am a Destiny", 1
  • ... was ihn nicht umbringt, macht ihn stärker
    • What does not kill him, makes him stronger.
    • "Why I Am So Wise", 2
    • Cf. Twilight of the Idols (1888), "Maxims and Arrows", aphorism 8: What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.
  • I am a pure-blooded Polish nobleman, without a single drop of bad blood, certainly not German blood. When I look for my diametric opposite, an immeasurably shabby instinct, I always think of my mother and sister, — it would blaspheme my divinity to think I am related to this sort of canaille. The way my mother and sister treat me to this very day is a source of unspeakable horror; a real time bomb is at work here, which can tell with unerring certainty the exact moment I can be hurt — in my highest moments, ... because at that point I do not have the strength to resist poison worms ...
    • "Why I Am So Wise", 3, as translated in The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and Other Writings (2005) edited by Aaron Ridley and Judith Norman, p. 77
  • All things considered, I could never have survived my youth without Wagnerian music. For I seemed condemned to the society of Germans. If a man wishes to rid himself of a feeling of unbearable oppression, he may have to take to hashish. Well, I had to take to Wagner...
    • "Why I am So Clever", 6. Trans. Clifton P. Fadiman
  • The world is poor for him who has never been sick enough for this 'voluptuousness of hell':
    • "Why I am Destiny", 6. Trans. R. J. Hollingdale
  • Daß man wird, was man ist, setzt voraus, daß man nicht im entferntesten ahnt, was man ist.
    • To become what one is, one must not have the faintest idea what one is.
    • "Why I am So Clever", 9.
    • Variant translations:
    • Becoming what you are presupposes that you have not the slightest inkling what you are.

Dionysian-Dithyrambs (1888)

  • Only fool! Only poet!
    Merely speaking colorfully,
    From fools' masks shouting colorfully,
    Climbing about on deceptive word-bridges,
    On misleading rainbows,
    Between false heavens
    Rambling, lurking —
    Only fool! Only poet!
  • The desert grows: woe to him in whom deserts hide ...
  • Do not forget, man, consumed by lust:
    you—are the stone, the desert, are death ...
  • You sacrifice yourself, your wealth torments you,
    You give away yourself,
    You don't take care of yourself, you don't love yourself;
    Great agony always compels you,
    The agony of an overflowing barn, an overabundant heart;
    But no one thanks you any longer ...
  • Dionysus:
    Be clever, Ariadne! ...
    You have little ears; you have my ears:
    Put a clever word in them! —
    Must one not first hate oneself, in order to love oneself? ...
    I am your labyrinth ...
I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not — that one endures.
Der Wille zur Macht (1888) is an anthology of material from Nietzsche's notebooks of the 1880s, edited by his friend Peter Gast, supervised by his sister Elisabeth Nietzsche, and misrepresented by her as his unpublished magnum opus. All but 16 of its 1067 fragments can be traced to source texts in the historical-critical edition of Nietzsche's writings, Kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke, though 204 of the 1067 sections involve patching together paragraphs not originally juxtaposed by Nietzsche, or dividing continuous passages into multiple "aphorisms" and re-arranging their order, and much of the text has been lightly edited to correct punctuation errors. Because of its misrepresentation of Nietzsche's private notes as an all but finished magnum opus, it has been called a "historic forgery".
  • In my opinion, Henrik Ibsen has become very German. With all his robust idealism and "Will to Truth," he never dared to ring himself free from moral-illusionism which says "freedom," and will not admit, even to itself, what freedom is: the second stage in the metamorphosis of the "Will to Power" in him who lacks it. In the first stage, one demands justice at the hands of those who have power. In the second, one speaks of "freedom," that is to say, one wishes to "shake oneself free" from those who have power. In the third stage, one speaks of "equal rights"—that is to say, so long as one is not a predominant personality one wishes to prevent one's competitors from growing in power.
    • Friedrich Nietzsche The Will to Power Vol 1 S. 86 p. 71 1914
  • This is the antinomy: Insofar as we believe in morality we pass sentence on existence.
    • Sec. 6 (Notebook W II 2. Autumn 1887, KGW VIII, 2.237, KSA 12.571 [citations are to Nietzsche's manuscripts by archival code, and the page numbers in which the entire section can be found transcribed therefrom, in the hardcover and softcover historical-critical editions]).
  • Natürlicher ist unsere Stellung in politicis: wir sehen Probleme der Macht, des Quantums Macht gegen ein anderes Quantum. Wir glauben nicht an ein Recht, das nicht auf der Macht ruht, sich durchzusetzen: wir empfinden alle Rechte als Eroberungen.
    • More natural is our position in politics: We see problems of power, of one quantum of power against another. We do not believe in any right that is not supported by the power of enforcement: we feel all rights to be conquests.
      • Sec. 120 (Spring-Fall 1887)
  • Moralities and religions are the principal means by which one can make whatever one wishes out of man, provided one possesses a superfluity of creative forces and can assert one's will over long periods of time — in the form of legislation and customs.
    • Sec. 144 (Notebook N VII 1. April - June 1885, KGW VII, 3.198, KSA 11.478)
  • A man as he ought to be: that sounds to us as insipid as "a tree as it ought to be."
    • Sec. 332 (Notebook W II 3. November 1887 - March 1888, KGW VIII, 2.304, KSA 13.62)
  • The stronger becomes master of the weaker, in so far as the latter cannot assert its degree of independence — here there is no mercy, no forbearance, even less a respect for "laws."
    • Sec. 630 (Notebook W I 4. June - July 1885, KGW VII, 3.283, KSA 11.559)
  • The individual itself as a struggle between parts (for food, space, etc.): its evolution tied to the victory or predominance of individual parts, to an atrophy, a "becoming an organ" of other parts. ... The aristocracy in the body, the majority of the rulers (struggle between cells and tissues). ... Slavery and division of labor: the higher type possible only through the subjugation of the lower, so that it becomes a function.
    • Sec. 660 : The Body as a Political Structure
  • Morality is: the mediocre are worth more than the exceptions ... I abhore Christianity with a deadly hatred.
    • Sec. 685 (Notebook W II 5. Spring 1888, KGW VIII, 3.95-7, KSA 13.303-5)
  • The states in which we infuse a transfiguration and a fullness into things and poetize about them until they reflect back our fullness and joy in life...three elements principally: sexuality, intoxication and cruelty — all belonging to the oldest festal joys.
    • Sec. 801 (Notebook W II 1. Fall 1887, KGW VIII, 2.57-8, KSA 12.393-4)
  • The beautiful exists just as little as the true. In every case it is a question of the conditions of preservation of a certain type of man: thus the herd-man will experience the value feeling of the true in different things than will the overman.
    • Sec. 804 (Notebook W II 2. Fall 1887, KGW VIII, 2.220-1, KSA 12.554-5)
  • A declaration of war on the masses by higher men is needed! ... Everything that makes soft and effeminate, that serves the end of the people or the feminine, works in favor of universal suffrage, i.e. the domination of the inferior men. But we should take reprisal and bring this whole affair to light and the bar of judgment.
    • Sec. 864 (Notebook W II 5. Spring 1888, KGW VIII, 3.157-62, KSA 13.365-70)
  • The rights a man arrogates to himself are related to the duties he imposes on himself, to the tasks to which he feels equal. The great majority of men have no right to existence, but are a misfortune to higher men.
    • Sec. 872 (Notebook W I 1. Spring 1884, KGW VII, 2.97-8, KSA 11.101-2)
  • The homogenizing of European man ... requires a justification: it lies in serving a higher sovereign species that stands upon the former which can raise itself to its task only by doing this. Not merely a master race whose sole task is to rule, but a race with its own sphere of life, with an excess of strength ... strong enough to have no need of the tyranny of the virtue-imperative.
    • Sec. 898 (Notebook W II 1. Fall 1887, KGW VIII, 2.88-90, KSA 12.424-6)
  • To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities — I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not — that one endures.
    • Sec 910 (Autumn 1887, KSA 12.513)
  • There is only nobility of birth, only nobility of blood. When one speaks of "aristocrats of the spirit," reasons are usually not lacking for concealing something. As is well known, it is a favorite term among ambitious Jews. For spirit alone does not make noble. Rather, there must be something to ennoble the spirit. What then is required? Blood.
    • Sec. 942 (Notebook W I 5. August - September 1885, KGW VII, 3.412, KSA 11.678)
  • The possibility has been established for the production of...a master race, the future "masters of the earth"...made to endure for millennia — a higher kind of men who...employ democratic Europe as their most pliant and supple instrument for getting hold of the destinies of the earth.
    • Sec. 960 (Notebook W I 8. Fall 1885 - Fall 1886, KGW VIII, 1.85-6, KSA 12.87-8)

Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks (posthumous)

as translated by Marianne Cowan (1962)
  • I tell the story of these philosophers in simplified form: I merely wish to bring out in each system that point which represents a piece of the personality, and which history must preserve as a part of what is irrefutable and indisputable.
  • My task is to throw a light on that which we must always love and revere, of which no subsequent knowledge can rob us: man in his greatness.
  • The only thing of interest in a refuted system is the personal element. It alone is what is forever irrefutable.
    • p. 25
  • Whoever wishes to justify [Philosophy] must show ... to what ends a healthy culture uses and has used philosophy.
    • p. 27
  • Where could we find an instance of cultural pathology which philosophy restored to health? If philosophy ever manifested itself as helpful, redeeming, or prophylactic, it was in a healthy culture. The sick, it made even sicker.
    • p. 27
  • The very reason [the Greeks] got so far is that they knew how to pick up the spear and throw it onward from the point where others had left it. Their skill in the art of fruitful learning was admirable. We ought to be learning from our neighbors precisely as the Greeks learned from theirs, not for the sake of learned pedantry but rather using everything we learn as a foothold which will take us up as high, and higher, than our neighbor.
    • p. 30
  • The quest for philosophical beginnings is idle, for everywhere in all beginnings we find only the crude, the unformed, the empty and the ugly. What matters in all things is the higher levels.
    • p. 30
  • ... the republic of creative minds: each giant calling to his brother through the desolate intervals of time. And undisturbed by the wanton noises of the dwarfs that creep past beneath them, their high spirit-converse continues.
    • p. 32
  • Philosophy leaps ahead on tiny toeholds; hope and intuition lend wings to its feet. Calculating reason lumbers heavily behind, looking for better footholds, for reason too wants to reach that alluring goal which its divine comrade has long since reached.
    • p. 40
  • Science rushes headlong, without selectivity, without “taste,” at whatever is knowable, in the blind desire to know all at any cost. Philosophical thinking, on the other hand, is ever on the scent of those things which are most worth knowing, the great and the important insights.
    • p. 43
  • The concept of greatness is changeable, in the realm of morality as well as in that of esthetics. And so philosophy starts by legislating greatness.
    • p. 43
  • "Grant me, ye gods, but one certainty," runs Parmenides' prayer, "and if it be but a log's breadth on which to lie. on which to ride upon the sea of uncertainty. Take away everything that comes-to-be, everything lush, colorful, blossoming, illusory, everything that charms and is alive. Take all these for yourselves and grant me but the one and only, poor empty certainty.”
    • p. 81

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)

Quotes reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).


  • The good generally displeases us when it is beyond our ken.
  • Everyone who enjoys thinks that the principal thing to the tree is the fruit, but in point of fact the principal thing to it is the seed.—Herein lies the difference between them that create and them that enjoy.
  • He that prefers the beautiful to the useful in life will, undoubtedly, like children who prefer sweetmeats to bread, destroy his digestion and acquire a very fretful outlook on the world.
  • On the heights it is warmer than people in the valleys suppose, especially in winter. The thinker recognizes the full import of this simile.
  • The value of many men and books rests solely on their faculty for compelling all to speak out the most hidden and intimate things.
  • Merchant and pirate were for a long period one and the same person. Even today mercantile morality is really nothing but a refinement of piratical morality.
  • I teach you the Overman. Man is something which shall be surpassed.
    • Thus Spake Zarathustra.


  • Rather than cope with the unbearable loneliness of their condition men will continue to seek their shattered God, and for His sake they will love the very serpents that dwell among His ruins.
    • As quoted by J. P. Stern in an interview conducted by Bryan Magee in The Great Philosophers : A History of Western Philosophy (1987)
  • The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
    • This quote is misattributed to Nietzsche but I took my time to look in all of his books and did not find it. However I found that it belongs to ―Rudyard Kipling. I found this evidence here:
  • Sorry but I do not find it at that link but what would that matter? You must show us where Kipling said or wrote it. This is not 'evidence' but just more hearsay. Show us where Kipling said it.
  • You know these things as thoughts, but your thoughts are not your experiences, they are an echo and after-effect of your experiences: as when your room trembles when a carriage goes past. I however am sitting in the carriage, and often I am the carriage itself.
    • Attributed across social media to TSZ. Is actually quoted in TSZ, Penguin Classics, Reg Hollingdale translation, in the introduction pg 12. Attributed to 'posthumously produced notes' [Nachlass?] Hollingdale continues.' In a man who thinks like this, the dichotomy between thinking and feeling, intellect and passion, has really disappeared. He feels his thoughts. He can fall in love with an idea. An idea can make him ill.'
  • Nobody is more inferior than those who insist on being equal.
    • Often attributed to Nietzsche especially on social media, but no citation is ever given, and the only source I can find that states Nietzche said this was a mock interview by Richard Marshall.


  • A moral system valid for all is basically immoral.
    • Generally attributed to Nietzsche, this is a quotation from Curtis Cate's Friedrich Nietzsche: A Biography (2003) and is the author's interpretation of Nietzsche's Aphorism 221 (Beyond Good and Evil)
  • Meaning and morality of one's life come from within oneself. Healthy, strong individuals seek self-expansion by experimenting and by living dangerously. Life consists of an infinite number of possibilities, and the healthy person explores as many of them as possible. Religions that teach pity, self-contempt, humility, self-restraint and guilt are incorrect. The good life is ever-changing, challenging, devoid of regret, intense, creative, and risky.
    • Attributed to Nietzsche on quotes sites and on social media, the original quotation is from An Introduction to the History of Psychology by B. R. Hergenhahn (2008, page 226) and is the author's summary of Nietzsche's ideas: "The meaning and morality of one's life come from within oneself. Healthy, strong individuals seek self-expansion by experimenting, by living dangerously. Life consists of an almost infinite number of possibilities, and the healthy person (the superman) explores as many of them as possible. Religions or philosophies that teach pity, humility, submissiveness, self-contempt, self-restraint, guilt, or a sense of community are simply incorrect. [...] For Nietzsche, the good life is ever-changing, challenging, devoid of regret, intense, creative, and risky."
  • Those who dance appear insane to those who cannot hear the music.
    • First recorded appearance: Germaine de Staël's On Germany (1813). ". . . sometimes even in the habitual course of life, the reality of this world disappears all at once, and we feel ourselves in the middle of its interests as we should at a ball, where we did not hear the music; the dancing that we saw there would appear insane." There are several other pre-Nietzsche examples, indicating that the phrase was widespread in the nineteenth-century; it was referred to in 1927 as an "old proverb".
  • If you crush a cockroach, you're a hero. If you crush a beautiful butterfly, you're a villain. Morals have aesthetic criteria.

Quotes about Nietzsche

The degree of introspection achieved by Nietzsche had never been achieved by anyone, nor is it ever likely to be achieved again. ~ Sigmund Freud
Alphabetized by surname.
The faith men formerly invested in God they would now invest in barbaric "brotherhoods with the aim of the robbery and exploitation of the non-brothers." ~ Tom Wolfe.
Nietzsche did not think that the ideal of truthfulness went into retirement when its metaphysical origins were discovered, and he did not suppose, either, that truthfulness could be detached from a concern for the truth. Truthfulness as an ideal retains its power, and so far from his seeing truth as dispensable or malleable, his main question is how it can be made bearable. ~ Bernard Williams
  • Absolute nothingness is an ultimate ground of a purely apophatic mysticism, and it is even more primal in Mahayana Buddhism, just as it has been resurrected in the deepest expressions of a uniquely modern imagination. Nietzsche is the only Western thinker who has fully thought an absolute nothingness, although that nothingness is a deep even if elusive ground of Hegelian thinking, and of all of the fullest expressions of modern dialectical thinking and vision.
  • Only Nietzsche and Blake know a wholly fallen Godhead, a Godhead which is an absolutely alien Nihil, but the full reversal of that Nihil is apocalypse itself, an apocalypse which is an absolute joy, and Blake and Nietzsche are those very writers who have most evoked that joy.
  • Nietzsche's inverted Platonism, his insistence on life and the sensuously and materially given as against the suprasensuous and transcendent ideas which, since Plato, had been supposed to measure, judge, and give meaning to the given, ended in what is commonly called nihilism. Yet Nietzsche was no nihilist but, on the contrary, was the first to try to overcome the nihilism inherent not in the notions of the thinkers but in the reality of modern life. What he discovered in his attempt at “trans-valuation” was that within this categorical framework the sensuous loses its very raison d'être when it is deprived of its background of the suprasensuous and transcendent. “We abolished the true world: which world has remained? perhaps the world of appearances? . . . But no! together with the true world we abolished the world of appearances.” This insight in its elementary simplicity is relevant for all the turning-about operations in which the tradition found its end.
    • Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future (1961), Chap. 1 : Tradition and the Modern Age
  • Nietzsche seems to have been unaware of the origin as well as of the modernity of the term “value” when he accepted it as a key notion in his assault on tradition. But when he began to devaluate the current values of society, the implications of the whole enterprise quickly became manifest. Ideas in the sense of absolute units had become identified with social values to such an extent that they simply ceased to exist once their value-character, their social status, was challenged. Nobody knew his way better than Nietzsche through the meandering paths of the modern spiritual labyrinth, where recollections and ideas of the past are hoarded up as though they had always been values which society depreciated whenever it needed better and newer commodities. Also, he was well aware of the profound nonsense of the new “value-free” science which was soon to degenerate into scientism and general scientific superstition and which never, despite all protests to the contrary, had anything in common with the Roman historians' attitude of sine ira et studio.
    • Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future (1961), Chap. 1 : Tradition and the Modern Age
  • Who knew that if you merely represent the thought of Nietzsche or Schopenhauer in a fun way it would find such an audience? Some things, it seems, are always green.
  • Here we stand before a question which, from the perspective of the Christian proclamation, stands over every individualistic and every collectivistic humanism, old or new. It excludes neither individualism nor collectivism. It bears on the individual and also on society, but always on the concrete individual as distinct from other individuals, and always on the society founded on free reciprocal responsibility. It defends discipline in the face of Nietzsche and freedom in the face of Marx.
    • Karl Barth, "The Christian Proclamation Here and Now" (1949)
  • It is another matter, and one that objectively considered is to the praise of Nietzsche, that he thus hurled himself against the strongest and not the weakest point in the opposing front. With his discovery of the Crucified and His host he discovered the Gospel itself in a form which was missed even by the majority of its champions, let alone its opponents, in the 19th century. And by having to attack it in this form, he has done us the good office of bringing before us the fact that we have to keep to this form as unconditionally as he rejected it, in self-evident antithesis not only to him, but to the whole tradition on behalf of which he made this final hopeless sally.
    • Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, Ⅲ, 2.(1960), 45. Man in his Determination as the Covenant-partner of God
  • An extreme, unconditional human yearning was expressed for the first time by Nietzsche independently of moral goals or of serving God. ... Ardor that doesn't address a dramatically articulated moral obligation is a paradox. ... If we stop looking at states of ardor as simply preliminary to other and subsequent conditions grasped as beneficial, the state I propose seems a pure play of lightning, merely an empty consummation. Lacking any relation to material benefits such as power or the growth of the state (or of God or a Church or a party), this consuming can't even be comprehended. ... I'll have to face the same difficulties as Nietzsche—putting God and the good behind him, though all ablaze with the ardor possessed by those who lay down their lives for God or the good.
  • It is Nietzsche's merit that he was aware that to philosophize is radically problematic in the cultural, historicist dispensation. He recognized the terrible intellectual and moral risks involved. At the center of his every thought was the question “How is it possible to do what I am doing?” He tried to apply to his own thought the teachings of cultural relativism. This practically nobody else does. For example, Freud says that men are motivated by desire for sex and power, but he did not apply those motives to explain his own science or his own scientific activity. But if he can be a true scientist, i.e., motivated by love of the truth, so can other men, and his description of their motives is thus mortally flawed. Or if he is motivated by sex or power, he is not a scientist, and his science is only one means among many possible to attain those ends. This contradiction runs throughout the natural and social sciences. They give an account of things that cannot possibly explain the conduct of their practitioners.
    • Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (New York: 1988), pp. 203-204
  • I've come to understand that the quality of memorability and inevitability which I assumed came from intense pleasure may actually have come from a kind of pain. That is to say that one learns from Nietzsche that there is something painful about meaning. Sometimes it is the pain of difficulty, sometimes the pain of being set a standard that one cannot attain.
  • Kierkegaard's criticism of actual Christianity is an inner one; he does not confront Christianity, as, for example, Nietzsche does, with an alleged higher value, and test it by that and reject it.
    • Martin Buber, criticizing Nietzsche's concept of "Will to Power," Between Man and Man (1965), p. 61
  • Greatness by nature includes a power, but not a will to power. ... The great man, whether we comprehend him in the most intense activity of his work or in the restful equipoise of his forces, is powerful, involuntarily and composedly powerful, but he is not avid for power. What he is avid for is the realization of what he has in mind, the incarnation of the spirit.
    • Martin Buber, criticizing Nietzsche's concept of "Will to Power," Between Man and Man (1965), p. 150
  • It is Nietzsche's merit to have critically placed the problem of the relationship between life and truth and to have denounced the confusion between truth and what sustains, justifies, and legitimizes. However, the Nietzschean chant to life, the cry for the intensification of life to the detriment of “truth” etc., are simply Nietzsche's choice, not a part of his scientific (specifically, psychological) results. ... The way of truth, if it is really undertaken — and not only “proclaimed” in the apologetic discourse of the philosopher as a “seeker of truth” — must necessarily — so is the goal of my argument — lead to the non-being. ... If Nietzsche frightens you, then take your moral ideas to their last consequences, which will lead one to embrace a negative ethic, that is, an ethic in which truth will have absolute primacy over life.
  • The more exciting life is, the more absurd is the idea of losing it. This is perhaps the secret of that proud aridity felt in Nietzsche's work. In this connection, Nietzsche appears to be the only artist to have derived the extreme consequences of an aesthetic of the Absurd, inasmuch as his final message lies in a sterile and conquering lucidity and an obstinate negation of any supernatural consolation.
    • Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus (1942), translated by Justin O'Brien
  • In that the children of Cain have triumphed, increasingly, throughout the centuries, the God of the Old Testament can be said to have been incredibly successful. Paradoxically, the blasphemers have injected new life into the jealous God whom Christianity wished to banish from history. One of their most profoundly audacious acts was to recruit Christ into their camp by making His story end on the Cross and on the bitter note of the cry that precedes His agony. By this means it was possible to preserve the implacable face of a God of hate—which coincided far better with creation as the rebels conceived it. Until Dostoievsky and Nietzsche, rebellion is directed only against a cruel and capricious divinity—a divinity who prefers, without any convincing motive, Abel's sacrifice to Cain's and, by so doing, provokes the first murder. Dostoievsky, in the realm of imagination, and Nietzsche, in the realm of fact, enormously increase the field of rebellious thought and demand an accounting from the God of love Himself. Nietzsche believes that God is dead in the souls of his contemporaries. Therefore he attacks, like his predecessor Stirner, the illusion of God that lingers, under the guise of morality, in the thought of his times. But until they appear upon the scene, the freethinkers, for example, were content to deny the truth of the history of Christ (“that dull story,” in Sade's words) and to maintain, by their denials, the tradition of an avenging god.
  • Nietzsche's philosophy, undoubtedly, revolves around the problem of rebellion. More precisely, it begins by being a rebellion. But we sense the change of position that Nietzsche makes. With him, rebellion begins with “God is dead,” which is assumed as an established fact; then it turns against everything that aims at falsely replacing the vanished deity and reflects dishonor on a world which doubtless has no direction but which remains nevertheless the only proving-ground of the gods. Contrary to the opinion of certain of his Christian critics, Nietzsche did not form a project to kill God. He found Him dead in the soul of his contemporaries. He was the first to understand the immense importance of the event and to decide that this rebellion on the part of men could not lead to a renaissance unless it was controlled and directed. Any other attitude toward it, whether regret or complacency, must lead to the apocalypse. Thus Nietzsche did not formulate a philosophy of rebellion, but constructed a philosophy on rebellion.
  • Nietzsche is exactly what he recognized himself as being: the most acute manifestation of nihilism's conscience. The decisive step that he compelled rebellion to take consists in making it jump from the negation of the ideal to the secularization of the ideal. Since the salvation of man is not achieved in God, it must be achieved on earth. Since the world has no direction, man, from the moment he accepts this, must give it one that will eventually lead to a superior type of humanity. Nietzsche laid claim to the direction of the future of the human race. “The task of governing the world is going to fall to our lot.” And elsewhere: “The time is approaching when we shall have to struggle for the domination of the world, and this struggle will be fought in the name of philosophical principles.” In these words he announced the twentieth century. But he was able to announce it because he was warned by the interior logic of nihilism and knew that one of its aims was ascendancy; and thus he prepared the way for this ascendancy.
    There is freedom for man without God, as Nietzsche imagined him; in other words, for the solitary man. There is freedom at midday when the wheel of the world stops spinning and man consents to things as they are. But what is becomes what will be, and the ceaseless change of things must be accepted. The light finally grows dim, the axis of the day declines. Then history begins again and freedom must be sought in history; history must be accepted. Nietzscheism—the theory of the individual's will to power—was condemned to support the universal will to power. Nietzscheism was nothing without world domination. Nietzsche undoubtedly hated freethinkers and humanitarians. He took the words freedom of thought in their most extreme sense: the divinity of the individual mind. But he could not stop the freethinkers from partaking of the same historical fact as himself—the death of God—nor could he prevent the consequences being the same. Nietzsche saw clearly that humanitarianism was only a form of Christianity deprived of superior justification, which preserved final causes while rejecting the first cause. But he failed to perceive that the doctrines of socialist emancipation must, by an inevitable logic of nihilism, lead to what he himself had dreamed of: superhumanity.
  • Our conjecture that metaphysics is a substitute, albeit an inadequate one, for art, seems to be further confirmed by the fact that the metaphysician who perhaps had artistic talent to the highest degree, viz Nietzsche, almost entirely avoided the error of that of confusion. A large part of his work has predominantly empirical content. We find there, for instance, historical analyses of specific artistic phenomena, or an historical psychological analysis of morals, In the work, however, in which he expresses most strongly that which others express through metaphysics or ethics, in Thus Spake Zarathustra, he does not choose the misleading theoretical form, but openly form of art, of poetry.
    • Rudolf Carnap, "The Elimination of Metaphysics through Logical Analysis of Language", originally published in Erkenntnis, Vol II (1932), translated by Arthur Pap, published in A. J. Ayer (ed.), Logical Positivism (1959)
  • Nietzsche follows the path till he reaches a complete and absolute nihilism never perhaps achieved before or since in human thinking. Human action is deprived not merely of any rational motive but of any super-rational motive. It becomes simply the expression of a biological urge to self-assertion ; the will to power. Standing beyond good and evil, and recognizing no conscious ultimate purpose, Nietzsche's superman is the perfect animal. Nietzsche is at the opposite pole to those who subordinate means to ends and hold that the end sanctifies the means. He believes only in action as a good in itself without reference to ends.
    • E. H. Carr, The New Society (1951), Chap. 6 : The Road to Freedom
  • If Nietzsche had not ended in imbecility, Nietzscheism would end in imbecility. Thinking in isolation and with pride ends in being an idiot. Every man who will not have softening of the heart must at last have softening of the brain.
  • Nothing is more irritating than those works which “coordinate” the luxuriant products of a mind that has focused on just about everything except a system. What is the use of giving a so-called coherence to Nietzsche’s ideas, for example, on the pretext that they revolve around a central motif? Nietzsche is a sum of attitudes, and it only diminishes him to comb his work for a will to order, a thirst for unity. A captive of his moods, he has recorded their variations. His philosophy, a meditation on his whims, is mistakenly searched by the scholars for the constants it rejects.
  • Since Nietzsche frequently intends to shock his readers, they may be in a position to learn from him—providing they admit that what is shocking may also be true, and that one has not refuted a thinker by recognizing the shocking consequences of his thought.
    • Werner Dannhauser, Nietzsche’s View of Socrates (Ithaca: 1974), p. 21
  • Socrates was the plebeian dissector of an aristocratic society; Nietzsche is the aristocratic dissector of a plebeian society.
    • Werner Dannhauser, Nietzsche’s View of Socrates (Ithaca: 1974), p. 37
  • Nietzsche was a man with a noble vision of man's future. His own delicacy, integrity, and courage shine through his writing. He was also free of the crude racism which was to be an important element of fascism, and he had only contempt for political anti-Semitism. But the fact remains that in various ways Nietzsche influenced fascism. Fascism may have abused the words of Nietzsche, but his words are singularly easy to abuse.
    • Werner J. Dannhauser, "Nietzsche", in Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, eds. History of political philosophy 3rd ed. (1987)
  • The spirit of scientific investigation never ceased to impress [Nietzsche] as uniquely favorable not only for achieving knowledge but also for furnishing an atmosphere of dryness and clarity within which a man of genuinely intellectual conscience might function.
  • However illusory Nietzsche's “positive” objectivity may have been for both artists and scientists, it was proposed as a solution to a deep problem. Objectivity and the scientific self that practiced it were intrinsically unstable. Objectivity demanded that the self split into active experimenter and passive observer and that types of scientific objects be defined by atlas images of individual specimens too particularized to be typical. Nietzsche smelled the acrid odor of burnt sacrifice when the ascetic turned will against will: the objective man of science stood accused of inauthenticity, of self divided against itself. These were ethical reproaches. There were also epistemological objections to objectivity: How could an individual stand for a class without idealization or even selection? How could a universally valid working object be extracted from a particular depicted with all its flaws and accidents?
    • Lorraine J. Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity (2007), p. 250
  • Nothing has changed in the past few years to make Hayek's, Schumpeter's, and Mellon's arguments stronger intellectually against the critiques of Keynes and Friedman than they were 60 years ago. On substance, their current victory is inexplicable. But their triumph, epitomized by the Tea Party movement and its hostility to government action, can be explained by our fourth horseman: Friedrich Nietzsche in his role as psychologist of human ressentiment. Nietzsche talked about the losers — or rather, about those who thought they were the losers. He looked at those who saw themselves as weak and poor — rather than strong and rich — and saw trouble.
    • J. Bradford DeLong, "The Four Horsemen of the Teapocalypse", Foreign Policy (November 28, 2010)
  • Friedrich Nietzsche saw—through the mists of his contempt for all things English—an even more cosmic message in Darwin: God is dead. If Nietzsche is the father of existentialism, then perhaps Darwin deserves the title of grandfather.
    • Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Chap. 3 : Universal Acid
  • In the wake of Darwin's publication of Origin of Species, Friedrich Nietzsche rediscovered what Hume had already toyed with: the idea that an eternal recurrence of blind, meaningless variation—chaotic, pointless shuffling of matter and law—would inevitably spew up worlds whose evolution through time would yield the apparently meaningful stories of our lives. This idea of eternal recurrence became a cornerstone of his nihilism, and thus part of the foundation of what became existentialism.
    • Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Chap. 7 : Priming Darwin's Pump
  • Friedrich Nietzsche published his Genealogy of Morals in 1887. He was the second great sociobiologist, and, unlike Hobbes, he was inspired (or provoked) by Darwinism.
    • Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Chap. 16 : On the Origin of Morality
  • Nietzsche's Just So Stories are terrific (old-style and new-style). They are a mixture of brilliant and crazy, sublime and ignoble, devastatingly acute history and untrammeled fantasy. If Darwin's imagination was to some degree handicapped by his English mercantile heritage, Nietzsche's was even more handicapped by his German intellectual heritage, but those biographical facts (whatever they are) have no bearing on the current value of the memes whose birth each attended so brilliantly.
    • Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Chap. 16 : On the Origin of Morality
  • Nietzsche's most important contribution to sociobiology, I think, is his steadfast application of one of Darwin's own fundamental insights to the realm of cultural evolution. This is the insight most notoriously overlooked by the Social Darwinists and by some contemporary sociobiologists.
    • Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea (1995), Chap. 16 : On the Origin of Morality
  • In the best of cases, the philosopher is not simply one who ascends from the cave and perceives the sun. Rather, he is one who out of the depths of his own creativity becomes a new sun for mankind.
    • Bruce Detwiler, Nietzsche and the Politics of Aristocratic Radicalism, p. 29
  • Only a professor of paradox could rank the obscure and dogmatic fragments of Heraclitus above the mellowed wisdom and the developed art of Plato. With all his philology, Nietzsche never quite penetrated to the spirit of the Greeks; never learned the lesson that moderation and self-knowledge (as taught by the Delphic inscriptions and the greater· philosophers) must bank, without extinguishing, the fires of passion and desire; that Apollo must limit Dionysus. Some have described Nietzsche as a pagan; but he was not that: neither Greek pagan like Pericles nor German pagan like Goethe; he lacked the balance and restraint that made these men strong. “I shall give back to men the serenity which is the condition of all culture,” he writes, but alas, how can one give what one has not? ...Nietzsche here fell short of that historical sense which he lauded as so necessary to philosophy; or he would have seen the doctrine of meekness and humbleness of heart as a necessary antidote to the violent and warlike virtues of the barbarians who nearly destroyed, in the first millennium of the Christian era, that very culture to which Nietzsche always returns for nourishment and refuge. Surely this wild emphasis on power and movement is the echo of a feverish and chaotic age? This supposedly universal “will to power” hardly expresses the quiescence of the Hindu, the calm of the Chinese, or the satisfied routine of the medieval peasant. Power is the idol of some of us; but most of us long rather for security and peace...Foiled in his search for love, he turned upon woman with a bitterness unworthy of a philosopher, and unnatural in a man; missing parentage and losing friendship, he never knew that the finest moments of life come through mutuality and comradeship, rather than from domination and war. He did not live long enough, or widely enough, to mature his half-truths into wisdom. Perhaps if he had lived longer he would have turned his strident chaos into a harmonious philosophy. Truer of him than of the Jesus to whom he applied them, were his own words: “He died too early; he himself would have revoked his doctrine had he Teached” a riper age; “noble enough to revoke he was!” But death had other plans...He spoke with bitterness, but with invaluable sincerity; and his thought went through the clouds and cobwebs of the modern mind like cleansing lightning and a-rushing wind. The air of European philosophy is clearer and fresher now because Nietzsche wrote.
  • For 'anti-foundationalist' postmodernity, by contrast, our forms of life are relative, ungrounded, self-sustaining, made up of mere cultural convention and tradition, without any identifiable origin or grandiose goal; and 'theory', at least for the more conservative brands of the creed, is for the most part just a high-sounding way of rationalizing these inherited habits and institutions. We cannot found our activities rationally, not only because there are different, discontinuous, perhaps incommensurable rationalities, but because any reasons we can advance will always be shaped by some pre-rational context of power, belief, interest or desire which can never itself be the subject of rational demonstration. There is no overarching totality, rationality or fixed centre to human life, no metalanguage which can capture its endless variety, just a plurality of cultures and narratives which cannot be hierarchically ordered or 'privileged', and which must consequently respect the inviolable 'otherness' of ways of doing things which are not their own. Knowledge is relative to cultural contexts, so that to claim to know the world 'as it is' is simply a chimera - not only because our understanding is always a matter of partial, partisan interpretation, but because the world itself is no way in particular. Truth is the product of interpretation, facts are constructs of discourse, objectivity is just whatever questionable interpretation of things has currently seized power, and the human subject is as much a fiction as the reality he or she contemplates, a diffuse, self-divided entity without any fixed nature or essence. In all of this, postmodernity is a kind of extended footnote to the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, who anticipated almost every one of these positions in nineteenth-century Europe.
    • Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction (Anniversary ed., 2008)
  • In Nietzsche's view, the death of God must also spell the death of Man—that is to say, the end of a certain lordly, overweening humanism—if absolute power is not simply to be transplanted from the one to the other. Otherwise humanism will always be secretly theological. It will be a continuation of God by other means.
    • Terry Eagleton, Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate (2009), Chapter 1. The Scum of the Earth
  • Nietzsche sought a new sort of aristocracy of super- or above-men, which would be the ultimate goal of civilized existence. The sources of this Nietzschean idea were several. Darwin's theory of evolution suggested to Nietzsche the notion of humanity as an evolving species, although Nietzsche emphatically rejected the concept of the superman or above-man as the outcome of a biological process; in a sense, the superman or above-man is a spiritualized form of Darwinism.
    • Alan Ebenstein, Hayek's Journey: The Mind of Friedrich Hayek (2003), Ch. 2. German and Viennese Intellectual Thought
  • Nietzsche was the first to release the desire to know from the sovereignty of knowledge itself: to re-establish the distance and exteriority that Aristotle cancelled.
  • The only valid tribute to thought such as Nietzsche's is precisely to use it, to deform it, to make it groan and protest. And if commentators then say that I am being faithful or unfaithful to Nietzsche, that is of absolutely no interest.
    • Michel Foucault, "Prison Talk", From Magazine Litteraire 101, June 1975, published in Power/Knowledge (1980), edited by Colin Gordon
  • No notice need be taken of Nietzsche's assumption that the adoption of Christianity so softened the fiber of the people that it was rendered unfit to resist the barbarians. It is now clear that Rome was doomed long before the frontier line broke, and equally clear that after the state adopted Christianity, the Christians were fully as loyal in their efforts to protect the realm from invasion as were the pagans. Indeed the Christians, through their belief in divine aid and their respect for duty, seem to have developed a vigor and determination that might if anything have revitalized the Empire had not leader­ship totally failed.
  • The degree of introspection achieved by Nietzsche had never been achieved by anyone, nor is it ever likely to be achieved again.
    • Sigmund Freud, in remarks (28 October 1908), as reported in Freud, Adler, and Jung (1980) by Walter Arnold Kaufmann, p. 265
    • Variant: Freud several times said of Nietzsche that he had a more penetrating knowledge of himself than any other man who ever lived or was likely to live.
      • As reported in Freud, Adler, and Jung (1980) by Walter Arnold Kaufmann, p. 266 (part of this statement has sometimes been taken as a direct quote of Freud, rather than a summation of what he said).
  • Nietzsche seems sometimes to replace the “transcendence” which stands at the center of traditional accounts—the existence of a transcendent God, or, failing that, a transcendental viewpoint—with that of a continually transcending activity. ... There is no single, final perspective, but given any one perspective, we can always go beyond it.
  • Although Nietzsche would not perhaps always have been pleased to see it presented in this way, his basic project, as he recognises, is a variant of Christianity, a religion which he interprets, in turn, as a slightly debased form of Platonism (‘Platonism for the common folk’).
    • Raymond Geuss, Changing the Subject : Philosophy from Socrates to Adorno (2017), Chap. 8 : Nietzsche
  • Nietzsche was not a social theorist, but a poet, a rebel, and innovator. His aristocracy was neither of birth nor of purse; it was of the spirit. In that respect Nietzsche was an anarchist, and all true anarchists were aristocrats.
  • In Vienna one could hear interesting lectures on modern German prose and poetry. One could read the works of the young iconoclasts in art and letters, the most daring among them being Nietzsche. The magic of his language, the beauty of his vision, carried me to undreamed-of heights. [...] I had to do my reading at the expense of much-needed sleep; but what was physical strain in view of my raptures over Nietzsche? The fire of his soul, the rhythm of his song, made life richer, fuller, and more wonderful for me.
  • The most disheartening tendency common among readers is to tear out one sentence from a work, as a criterion of the writer's ideas or personality. Friedrich Nietzsche, for instance, is decried as a hater of the weak because he believed in the Uebermensch. It does not occur to the shallow interpreters of that giant mind that this vision of the Uebermensch also called for a state of society which will not give birth to a race of weaklings and slaves.
  • Because Nietzsche was always so caught in positivism that he could not acknowledge to himself that his critique of the objectivist self-understanding of science was critique of knowledge, he necessarily misunderstood in naturalistic terms the knowledge-constitutive interest that he discovered. Only if interest and instinct are immediately identical can the subjective conditions of the objectivity of possible knowledge affect the meaning of the distinction between illusion and knowledge as such. Nothing, however, compels adoption of an empiricist interpretation of knowledge-constitutive interests, as long as the self-reflection of science, which becomes conscious of the interest basis of knowledge, is not positivistically misunderstood itself, that is rejected as critique. It is precisely this to which Nietzsche sees himself constrained. He always comes up with the same argument against the theory of knowledge.
    • Jürgen Habermas, Knowledge and Human Interests (1968), chap. 12 : Psychoanalysis and Social Theory: Nietzsche's Reduction of Cognitive Interests
  • Nietzsche wanted to explode the framework of Occidental rationalism within which the competitors of Left and Right Hegelianism still moved. His antihumanism, continued by Heidegger and Bataille in two variations, is the real challenge for the discourse of modernity.
    • Jürgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (1985), Lecture 3 : Three Perspectives: Left Hegelians, Right Hegelians, and Nietzsche
  • The theory of a will to power operating in every event provides the framework within which Nietzsche explains how the fictions of a world comprised of entities and of goods arise, as well as the illusory identities of knowing and morally acting subjects; how, with the soul and self-consciousness, a sphere of inwardness is constituted; how metaphysics, science, and the ascetic ideal achieved dominance ― and, finally, how subject-centered reason owes this entire inventory to the occurrence of an unsalutary, masochistic inversion of the very core of the will to power. The nihilistic domination of subject-centered reason is conceived as the result and expression of a perversion of the will to power.
    • Jürgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity (1985), Lecture 4 : The Entry into Postmodernity: Nietzsche as a Turning Point
  • If in Nietzsche's thinking the prior tradition of Western thought is gathered and completed in a decisive respect, then the confrontation with Nietzsche becomes one with all Western thought hitherto.
  • Nietzsche ... does not shy from conscious exaggeration and one-sided formulations of his thought, believing that in this way he can most clearly set in relief what in his vision and in his inquiry is different from the run-of-the-mill.
  • One indication of the importance of Nietzsche is the pantheon of major twentieth century intellectuals whom he influenced. He was an influence on Jean-Paul Sartre and Hermann Hesse, major writers, both of whom won Nobel Prizes. He was an influence on thinkers as diverse in their outlooks as Ayn Rand and Michel Foucault. Rand's politics are classically liberal -- while Foucault's are far Left, including a stint as a member of the French Communist Party. There is the striking fact that Nietzsche was an atheist, but he was an influence on Martin Buber, one of the most widely-read theologians of the twentieth century. And Nietzsche said harsh things about the Jews ... but he was nonetheless admired by Chaim Weizmann, a leader of the Zionist movement and first president of Israel.
    • Stephen Hicks, Nietzsche and the Nazis (2006, 2010), Ockham's Razor, ISBN: 9492262049, pp. 51-52
  • Nietzsche, the eloquent and menacing prophet of an impending catastrophe whose exact nature he did not quite define, expressed this crisis of expectations better than anyone else. His very mode of literary exposition, by means of a succession of poetic and prophetic aphorisms containing visionary intuitions or unargued truths, seemed a contradiction of the rationalist system-building discourse of philosophy which he claimed to practise. His enthusiastic admirers multiplied among middle-class (male) youth from 1890.
    For Nietzsche, the avant garde decadence, pessimism and nihilism of the 1880s was more than a fashion. They were 'the logical end-product of our great values and ideals'. Natural science, he argued, produced its own internal disintegration, its own enemies, an anti-science. The consequences of the modes of thought accepted by nineteenth-century politics and economics were nihilist. The culture of the age was threatened by its own cultural products. Democracy produced socialism, the fatal swamping of genius by mediocrity, strength by weakness - a note also struck, in a more pedestrian and positivistic key, by the eugenists. In that case was it not essential to reconsider all these values and ideals and the system of ideas of which they formed a part, for in any case the 'revaluation of all values' was taking place? Such reflections multiplied as the old century drew to its end. The only ideology of serious calibre which remained firmly committed to the nineteenth-century belief in science, reason and progress was Marxism, which was unaffected by disillusion about the present because it looked forward to the future triumph of precisely those 'masses' whose rise created so much uneasiness among middle-class thinkers.
  • Rohde became more and more firmly bound to the bourgeois world, its institutions and accepted opinions. ... The contrast between the two natures makes Rohde and Nietzsche exemplary representatives of two distinctive worlds. In their youth they both live in the realm of boundless possibilities and feel an affinity through the exuberance of their noble aspirations. Subsequently they go in opposite directions. Nietzsche remains young, leaving concrete reality as his task assumes existential import. Rohde grows old, bourgeois, stable, and skeptical. Hence courage is a fundamental trait in Nietzsche, plaintive self-irony in Rohde. ... Rohde retained the interests but not the attitudes of his youth; he looked to the world of the Greeks for the object of his contemplation rather than the norm of obligation.
    • Karl Jaspers, Nietzsche, C. Walraff and F. Schmitz, trans. (Baltimore: 1997), pp. 61-62
  • If you try to put yourself into the mood of someone who is always alone, as Nietzsche was, you realize that your own consciousness then begins to stare into your own face. You are always your own speaker and your own listener; you are always looking into your own light, into your own eyes. And then you can well personify consciousness as your daily partner.
  • The realization that our mental functioning is largely irrational was arrived at by several thinkers at the same time, including Friedrich Nietzsche, ... Freud, who was much influenced by both Darwin and Nietzsche ... was its most profound and articulate exponent.
  • The philosopher John Searle once told me that reading Nietzsche was like drinking cognac — a sip was good, but you didn't want to drink the whole bottle.
  • A system must necessarily be based on premises that by its very nature it cannot question. This was one of Nietzsche's objections, although he did not put the point this way himself. The systematic thinker starts with a number of primary assumptions from which he draws a net of inferences and thus deduces his system; but he cannot, from within the system, establish the truth of his premises. He takes them for granted, and even if they should seem “self-evident” to him, they may not seem so to others. They are in that sense arbitrary and reducible to the subjective make-up of the thinker.
  • Nietzsche [in The Gay Science § 143] denounced monotheism for preaching the existence of one Normalgott as a single norm which suggests somehow that there is also a Normalmensch: a norm to which all men must conform and a bar to the development of individuality. It was the advantage of polytheism, Nietzsche contends, that it allowed for a “multiplicity of norms.”
  • Nietzsche was the first major German philosopher who was not strongly influenced by Kant. Like Hegel and many other German philosophers, he was steeped in Goethe, but he was free of the fateful compulsion to reconcile Goethe with Kant.
  • Nietzsche's attack on belief in rationality and truth, his denial of morality rooted in religious belief, came to seem anything but misplaced. The Churches could not come out of this era untarnished. Yet neither the loss of belief nor fall in the numbers of followers of the main Christian denominations should be exaggerated or pre-dated. After two world wars that influence remained profound. For all their travails the Christian Churches survived the catastrophic first half of the twentieth century remarkably intact. Their main problems would come later.
  • Nietzsche may have been seriously wrong in his understanding of modernity: he may have mistaken one part of the story—the rise of secularism—for the whole tale; but few men have struggled as honestly with the problem of nihilism as he.
  • All in all, Nietzsche was an opponent of socialism, an opponent of nationalism, and an opponent of racial thinking. Apart from these bents of mind, he might have made an outstanding Nazi.
    • Ernst Krieck, Nazi theoretician (1882-1947), as quoted by Max Whyte, “The Uses and Abuses of Nietzsche in the Third Reich: Alfred Baeumler’s ‘Heroic Realism.’” Journal of Contemporary History Vol 43, no. 2 (2008), p. 188
  • If every second of our lives recurs an infinite number of times, we are nailed to eternity as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross. It is a terrifying prospect. In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make. That is why Nietzsche called the idea of eternal return the heaviest of burdens.
    • Milan Kundera The Unbearable Lightness of Being, M. Heim, trans. (New York: 1984)
  • Nietzsche’s arrival in modern philosophy signaled an unprecedented necessity: “probity”, “intellectual conscience”, Enlightenment radicalized by a new bravery that scorns any comforts like God.
  • Strauss’ whole study indicates that noble nature as Nietzsche presents it—no, embodies it—replaces divine nature as Plato presents it.
  • The morality of Nietzsche is a mere innovation. The first is an advance because no one who did not admit the validity of the old maxim could see reason for accepting the new one, and anyone who accepted the old would at once recognize the new as an extension of the same principle. If he rejected it, he would have to reject it as a superfluity, something that went too far, not as something simply heterogeneous from his own ideas of value. But the Nietzschean ethic can be accepted only if we are ready to scrap traditional morals as a mere error and then to put ourselves in a position where we can find no ground for any value judgments at all.
    • C. S. Lewis, in The Abolition of Man (1943) Chapter 2. The Way
  • By the middle of the [Eighteenth] century what Nietzsche was later to call a transvaluation of all values was in full blast. Nothing sacred was spared—not even the classical spirit that had been the chief attainment of the Renaissance—and of the ideas and attitudes that were attacked not many survived. It was no longer necessary to give even lip service to the old preposterous certainties, whether theological or political, aesthetic or philosophical. In France, Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot were making a bonfire of all the ancient Christian superstitions; in England Gibbon was preparing to revive the long dormant art of history and Adam Smith was laying the foundations of the new science of economics; in Germany Kant was pondering an ethical scheme that that would give the Great Commandment a rational basis.
  • There are critics who see in all this proof that Nietzsche showed signs of insanity from early manhood, but as a matter of fact it was his abnormally accurate vision and not a vision gone awry, that made him stand so aloof from his fellows. In the vast majority of those about him he saw the coarse metal of sham and pretense beneath the showy gilding of learning. ... It was inevitable that he should perceive the difference between his own fanatical striving for the truth and the easy dependence upon precedent and formula which lay beneath their booming bombast.
    • H. L. Mencken, The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (1908), p. 27-28
  • Nietzsche's dynamic contradictiousness has served as a source for the kind of static, somnolent, undiscriminating, sceptical tolerance which seems to be expressed by the claim to have stopped believing in sin. Readiness to question everything mutates mysteriously into a pose of equal indifference to all possible answers. Can this be more than pose? That it often is a pose, lasting only till the owner's moral corns happen to be trodden on, is by now a common observation. (The shocked immoralist in Tom Stoppard's play Professional Foul is a nice case.) But this is not just an unfair joke by satirists. What else could the undiscriminating position be? It is scarcely possible to vindicate it as a stern attempt to stand by one's moral principles, and remain indifferent in the face of all temptation to do otherwise.
    • Mary Midgley, Wickedness (1984), Chap. 2 : Intelligibility and Immoralism
  • In order to communicate at all—even so far as to acknowledge a disagreement—we have to assume this much uniformity in motives. Rationalists have obscured this obvious truth by claiming much more, and also by neglecting many important but alarming motives. Those who pointed out these neglected motives, such as Nietzsche, saw their activity as subversive of morality—‘immoralism’. But they have to choose between two diametrically opposite kinds of subversion which are open to them. The reductive kind substitutes a different, but equally limited theory of motivation for the traditional one. The sceptical kind denies that any such theory is possible. The sceptical line, pursued in isolation, seems to underlie the idea that sin is an exploded myth. If—per absurdum—we really could not assume any uniformity in human purposes, and were thus debarred from all generalizing about what might be good for anyone, this might be true. There would then indeed be little sense in morality—or perhaps in anything else. But this is not a clear line of reasoning at all. It seems to owe much of its popularity to being kept for remote cases where particular dogmatic errors need to be resisted. But all of us—like Nietzsche himself— regard some moral issues not as remote but as pressing and serious; we are inside them. When we want to find cases of wickedness, we should concentrate on these. If we do, none of us actually doubts that some things done are wrong.
    • Mary Midgley, Wickedness (1984), Chap. 2 : Intelligibility and Immoralism
  • To be sure, one comes no closer to the truth if, in reaction to these and similar doctrines, one calls the state, with Nietzsche, the coldest of all cold monsters.
  • In the coarsest sense, to say that Nietzsche's style is important is to say that his writing is unusual and idiosyncratic. This in turn is just to say that his works do not exhibit the features we have been accustomed to expect of philosophical treatises. And, forgetting that philosophical treatises themselves have been written in the most various styles imaginable, this has often been taken to show that Nietzsche's works are not, in some sense, philosophical.
    • Alexander Nehamas, Nietzsche: Life as Literature, Ch. 1, The Most Multifarious Art of Style
  • The one reaction Nietzsche cannot tolerate is indifference, and this is what his use of hyperbole is designed to eliminate.
  • Against the danger of this temptation stands the further insight that God will take “the things which are not to put to nought things that are.” Every life, whether mighty or weak, whether respected or despised in a particular situation, is under the peril of regarding itself as necessary and central in the scheme of things, rather than as contingent and dependent. More accurately, it seeks to overcome the apprehension of its own insignificance by protesting its significance overmuch and implementing this assertion by deeds of imperialism. The weak are no more immune from this temptation than the strong and wise. Whatever the defects of Nietzsche's perverse ethics, he is right in discerning the element of vindictiveness which expresses itself in the rebellion of the weak and the despised. This is not the only element in their rebellion. At best it is, as the rebels assert it to be, a fateful instrument of the judgments of God.
    • Reinhold Niebuhr, "The Things That Are and the Things That Are Not", Beyond Tragedy (1937)
  • Loyalty to life, according to Nietzsche, begins in the resolve to seek life's principle with itself and not in something outside it—not, for example, in a God or supernature that, by being conceived as all that life is not—infinite, eternal, changeless, perfect goodness, perfect plenitude—stands as antithetical to life.
    • David Norton, Personal Destinies: A Philosophy of Ethical Individualism (1976), p. 80
  • Along with ignoring the French Revolution, one of the most telling features of the new books on atheism [cf. new atheism ] is their consistent refusal to engage Nietzsche, who, if read correctly, ought to make atheists squirm far more than he has ever caused discomfit to believers. ¶ First, he turned the critical methods of the Enlightenment against their inventors and showed that Enlightened faith in progress was just as illusory as belief in an afterlife. Second, he demanded that a critical philosophy stop pretending to be a substitute religion (he shrewdly called Hegelian idealism “insidious theology”). Third, he insisted on the indissoluble bond between Christian doctrine and Christian morality and poured contempt on novelists like George Eliot for supposing otherwise [...] ¶ Perhaps this why Nietzsche said in Ecce Homo, “the most serious Christians have always been well disposed toward me.” For they at least, unlike Dawkins, Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens, can see that after Nietzsche a moral critique of the Christian God has become impossible, for it denies the very presupposition that makes its own critique possible. Like Abraham asking if the Lord God of justice could not himself do justice, protest atheism must accept the very norms that Nietzsche showed are essential to the meaning of belief. In Nietzsche alone one reads what the world really looks like si Deus non sit [if God does not exist].
  • It will be seen by the discriminating that Nietzsche in... bidding his renaissant aristocrats to ignore morality in favour of their own individual needs was, in reality, allotting them a difficult task, and one that from the moral point of view is often commended. Yet the distinction must be insisted upon that an individually determined adjustment of means to ends is contrary to the very spirit of popular morality, however externally it may appear to be high morality. For the aristocrat in determining his own mode of life specifically repudiates any universal value in it. He not only does not accept the common mode of life, but he has no desire to make his own mode common. That, in fact, is the distinction between the aristocrat and the demagogue turned tyrant. The mark of the plebeian raised to power is that he desires his values to become universal. He desires all men to say, do, think and feel as he says, does, thinks and feels. But the true aristocrat desires that all men shall be like himself free, self-ruling, self-choosing. But this reticence and self-denial are also difficult to maintain in the face of popular sophistry. Nietzsche, however, makes it clear that war against popular sophistry is the normal condition of the aristocrat. To develop individual power there is needed a long purpose and a great resistance; and what resistance can be greater than that offered by the multitude? Hence, in one sense, the multitude with their gods are indispensable to the creation of the powerful man. As a sort of battlefield and place of exercise, the populace serve the needs of the aristocrat.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche. It's easy to see why his sociopathic ravings would have inspired so many repugnant movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including fascism, Nazism, Bolshevism, the Ayn Randian fringe of libertarianism, and the American alt-Right and neo-Nazi movements today. Less easy to see is why he continues to be a darling of the academic humanities. True, he was a punchy stylist, and, as his apologists note, he extolled the individual superman rather than a master race. But as Bertrand Russell pointed out in A History of Western Philosophy, the intellectual content is slim: it “might be stated more simply and honestly in the one sentence: ‘I wish I had lived in the Athens of Pericles or the Florence of the Medici’.”
  • Admittedly there were cliques before Wagner. But there was nothing quite like the Wagnerians (unless later the Freudians): a pressure group, a party, a church with rituals. But I shall say no more about this, since Nietzsche has said it all much better.
    • Karl Popper, Unended Quest (1976), Chap. 14 : Progressivism in Art, Especially in Music
  • On such a view, reason has no concern with goals as such—all it can do is to inform us about the efficiency of means to ends. It can neither guide us in setting ends nor advise us about priorities, about how conflicts among divergent ends are to be settled. Ends, priorities, and values all lie outside the range of reason. They are no more than our value allegiances, the product of a rationally blind attachment to some fundamentally extrarational commitment. (In this context, oddly enough, Hume and Nietzsche are birds of the same feather.)
    • Nicholas Rescher, Rationality (1988), p. 95
  • Nietzsche, the child of a Lutheran pastor, radicalized this argument, painting all of Christianity—indeed all of Western religion, going back to Judaism—as a slave morality, the psychic revolt of the lower orders against their betters. Before there was religion or even morality, there was the sense and sensibility of the master class. The master looked upon his body—its strength and beauty, its demonstrated excellence and reserves of power—and saw and said that it was good. ... The modern residue of that slave revolt, Nietzsche makes clear, is found not in Christianity, or even in religion, but in the nineteenth-century movements for democracy and socialism ...
    • Corey Robin, "Garbage and Gravita", The Nation (June 7, 2010)
  • Part of Nietzsche's worry was philosophical: How was it possible in a godless world, naturalistically conceived, to deem anything of value? But his concern was also cultural and political. Because of democracy, which was “Christianity made natural,” the aristocracy had lost “its naturalness”—that is, the traditional vindication of its power. How then might a hierarchy of excellence, aesthetic and political, re-establish itself, defend itself against the mass—particularly a mass of workers—and dominate that mass? [...] Nietzsche's response to that challenge was not to revert or resort to a more objective notion of value: that was neither possible nor desirable. Instead, he embraced one part of the modern understanding of value—its fabricated nature—and turned it against its democratic and Smithian premises. Value was indeed a human creation, Nietzsche acknowledged, and as such could just as easily be conceived as a gift, an honorific bestowed by one man upon another. “Through esteeming alone is there value,” Nietzsche has Zarathustra declare; “to esteem is to create.” Value was not made with coarse and clumsy hands; it was enacted with an appraising gaze, a nod of the head signifying a matchless abundance of taste. It was, in short, aristocratic.
    • Corey Robin, "Nietzsche’s Marginal Children: On Friedrich Hayek", The Nation (May 7, 2013)
  • In brief, as is suggested by Plato's three voyages to Sicily, his revolutionary politics is not only a purging of decadence but also a powerful portrait of his temptation to rule, regardless of how dangerous that temptation may be. Some of my readers may regard this interpretation as an anachronistic imposition of a Nietzschean theme onto Plato. I reply that it shows how deeply Nietzsche learned from Plato. But one thing that Nietzsche did not learn is that every attempt to enact the truth in human affairs without compromise leads to the reversal of that truth. The result of having learned this lesson is to retreat backward into one degree or another of decadence.
  • In spite of Nietzsche's criticism of the romantics, his outlook owes much to them; it is that of aristocratic anarchism, like Byron's, and one is not surprised to find him admiring Byron. He attempts to combine two sets of values which are not easily harmonized: on the one hand he likes ruthlessness, war, and aristocratic pride; on the other hand, he loves philosophy and literature and the arts, especially music. Historically, these values coexisted in the Renaissance; Pope Julius II, fighting for Bologna and employing Michelangelo, might be taken as the sort of man whom Nietzsche would wish to see in control of governments. It is natural to compare Nietzsche with Machiavelli, in spite of important differences between the two men. As for the differences: Machiavelli was a man of affairs, whose opinions had been formed by close contact with public business, and were in harmony with his age; he was not pedantic or systematic, and his philosophy of politics scarcely forms a coherent whole; Nietzsche, on the contrary, was a professor, an essentially bookish man, and a philosopher in conscious opposition to what appeared to be the dominant political and ethical trends of his time. The similarities, however, go deeper. Nietzsche's political philosophy is analogous to that of The Prince (not The Discourses), though it is worked out and applied over a wider field. Both Nietzsche and Machiavelli have an ethic which aims at power and is deliberately anti-Christian, though Nietzsche is more frank in this respect. What Caesar Borgia was to Machiavelli, Napoleon was to Nietzsche: a great man defeated by petty opponents.
  • Nietzsche's objection to Christianity is that it caused acceptance of what he calls 'slave morality'. It is curious to observe the contrast between his arguments and those of the French philosophes who preceded the Revolution. They argued that Christian dogmas are untrue; that Christianity teaches submission to what is deemed to be the will of God, whereas self-respecting human beings should not bow before any higher Power; and that the Christian Churches have become the allies of tyrants, and are helping the enemies of democracy to deny liberty and continue to grind the faces of the poor. Nietzsche is not interested in the metaphysical truth of either Christianity or any other religion; being convinced that no religion is really true, he judges all religions entirely by their social effects. He agrees with the philosophes in objecting to submission to the supposed will of God, but he would substitute for it the will of earthly 'artist-tyrants'. Submission is right, except for these supermen, but not submission to the Christian God. As for the Christian Churches' being allies of tyrants and enemies of democracy, that, he says, is the very reverse of the truth. The French Revolution and Socialism are, according to him, essentially identical in spirit with Christianity; to all alike he is opposed, and for the same reason: that he will not treat all men as equal in any respect whatever.
  • Speaking of Spinoza he [Nietzsche] says: "How much of personal timidity and vulnerability does this masquerade of a sickly recluse betray!" Exactly the same may be said of him, with the less reluctance since he has not hesitated to say it of Spinoza. It is obvious that in his day-dreams he is a warrior, not a professor; all the men he admires were military. His opinion of women, like every man's, is an objectification of his own emotion towards them, which is obviously one of fear. "[Thou goest to woman?] Forget not thy whip"—but nine women out of ten would get the whip away from him, and he knew it, so he kept away from women, and soothed his wounded vanity with unkind remarks.
  • It does not occur to Nietzsche as possible that a man should genuinely feel universal love, obviously because he himself feels almost universal hatred and fear, which he would fain disguise as lordly indifference. His "noble" man—who is himself in day-dreams—is a being wholly devoid of sympathy, ruthless, cunning, cruel, concerned only with his own power. King Lear, on the verge of madness, says: "I will do such things—What they are yet I know not—but they shall be The terror of the earth." This is Nietzsche's philosophy in a nutshell.
  • I dislike Nietzsche because he likes the contemplation of pain, because he erects conceit into a duty, because the men whom he most admires are conquerors, whose glory is cleverness in causing men to die. But I think the ultimate argument against his philosophy, as against any unpleasant but internally self-consistent ethic, lies not in an appeal to facts, but in an appeal to the emotions. Nietzsche despises universal love; I feel it the motive power to all that I desire as regards the world. His followers have had their innings, but we may hope that it is coming rapidly to an end.
  • Nietzsche was personally more philosophical than his philosophy. His talk about power, harshness, and superb immorality was the hobby of a harmless young scholar and constitutional invalid. He did not crave in the least either wealth or empire. What he loved was solitude, nature, music, books. But his imagination, like his judgment, was captious; it could not dwell on reality, but reacted furiously against it. Accordingly, when he speaks of the will to be powerful, power is merely an eloquent word on his lips. It symbolises the escape from mediocrity. What power would be when attained and exercised remains entirely beyond his horizon. What meets us everywhere is the sense of impotence and a passionate rebellion against it.
  • Central to the Smithian approach is our willingness to see critically what we observe around us. The sense of comfort that is often associated with being content with the world as it is can seriously hamper the pursuit of justice. This understanding goes strongly against a line of thought that was powerfully presented by Friedrich Nietzshe. ‘The Christian resolve to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad’, said Nietzshe. I think I can, with some effort, understand what Nietzsche meant, but it is hard for me, even with a lot of effort, to see that Nietzshe's hypothesis helps us to understand the causation or resilience of the nastiness of the world in which we live. Nor, I must insist (this I do as a thoroughly unreligious person), does it offer any obvious insight into the lives and achievements of Martin Luther King, or Mother Theresa, or Desmond Tutu, who have tried to reduce injustice in the world and have done so with non-negligible success.
    • Amartya Sen, “Values and justice”, Journal of Economic Methodology, Vol. 19, No. 2, June 2012, 101–108
  • I am interested, that is, in historical and philosophical questions about politics, and I have worked in particular on questions about freedom, representation, democracy and the state. But I also accept and indeed profoundly believe in the Nietzschean view that no such concepts can have definitions: they only have histories. But if they only have histories, then the only way to understand them is historically ― and that is what animates my work, the belief that if we are going to understand any of the concepts we use to organise our social, moral, and political world, we shall have to study them historically. If only because, as Nietzsche says in a wonderful phrase, the concepts we have inherited ― and the interpretations we place upon those concepts ― are just frozen conflicts, the outcomes of ideological debate. We just get the views of the winners, so that historians always have to engage in an act of retrieval, trying to recover wider and missing structures of debate.
  • At the University of Basel Professor Eucken often served with Nietzsche on the examining committee of candidates for the doctorate in classical philology. On such occasions, if the student appeared to be getting the worst of it in the verbal contest, Nietzsche would be observed to become more and more nervous until, finally, he could contain himself no longer and would break in with leading questions: "I suppose you mean so-and-so?" or "Do you not believe this or that?" until he got the student to say just about what he should have said in the first place. Professor Eucken does not regard the widespread influence of Nietzsche as altogether evil, believing he should not be held responsible for all the vagaries and extravagances of his devotees. The reason of Nietzsche's popularity, according to Eucken, is his strong individualism; for the Germans, in spite of governmental control and the Social Democracy, are pronounced individualists in character. The German will insist upon having his own house, his own seat, his own opinion.
  • An illuminating example of a search for new forms of affirmation appears in the work of the German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 –1900). An obscure figure during his lifetime (or at least his rational lifetime, since he became incurably insane in 1889), Nietzsche's fame would increase steadily in the pre-1914 years. His intellectual development, notwithstanding his many personal idiosyncrasies, offers a revealing guide to the possibilities and problematic features of the late nineteenth century acceptance of the criticisms made by the mid-century adherents of progress and positivism, but rejection of these adherents' ideals.
    • Jonathan Sperber, Europe 1850-1914: Progress, Participation and Apprehension (2009), p. 157
  • Owing to its radical anti-egalitarianism Nietzsche's vision of a possible future is in a sense more profoundly political than Marx' vision. Like the typical Continental European conservative Nietzsche saw in communism only the completion of democratic egalitarianism and of the liberalistic demand for freedom which is not a "freedom for" but only a "freedom from." But in contradistinction to those conservatives he held that conservatism as such is doomed, since all merely defensive positions, all merely backward looking endeavors are doomed. The future seemed to be with democracy and nationalism. Both were regarded by Nietzsche as incompatible with what he held to be the task of the twentieth century.
    • Leo Strauss, "Philosophy as Rigorous Science and Political Philosophy", Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy 2, no. 1 (1971)
  • Nietzsche, prompted by “some enigmatic desire,” has tried for a long time to penetrate pessimism to its depth and in particular to free it from the delusion of morality which in a way contradicts its world-denying tendency. He thus has grasped a more world-denying way of thinking than any other pessimist. Yet a man who has taken this road has perhaps without intending to do this opened his eyes to the opposite ideal—to the ideal belonging to the religion of the future. It goes without saying that what in some other men was “perhaps” the case was a fact in Nietzsche's thought and life. The adoration of the nothing proves to be the indispensable transition from every kind of world-denial to the most unbounded Yes: the eternal Yes-saying to everything that was and is.
    • Leo Strauss, "Note on the Plan of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil", Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy 3, nos. 2 and 3 (1973)
  • Nietzsche's criticism can be reduced to one proposition: modern man has been trying to preserve biblical morality while abandoning biblical faith. That is impossible.
    • Leo Strauss, "Progress or Return? The Contemporary Crisis in Western Civilization", Modern Judaism 1 (1981)
  • It is certainly not an overstatement to say that no one has ever spoken so greatly and so nobly of what a philosopher is as Nietzsche.
    • Leo Strauss, "Existentialism", lecture delivered in 1956, published in Interpretation, Spring 1995, Vol. 22, No. 3
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous atheist and ardent enemy of religion and Christianity, knew more about the power the idea of God than many faithful Christians.
    • Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations (1948), Chapter 6. The Escape From God
  • Nietzsche is the most impressive and effective representative of what could be called a "philosophy of life." Life in this term is the process in which the power of being actualizes itself. But in actualizing itself it overcomes that in life which, although belonging to life, negates life.
    • Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be (1952), Chapter 1. Being and Courage
  • Nietzsche knew of the ambiguity in all life. He knew of the creative and destructive elements which are always present in every life process. If you want to find out about his idea of God, do not look first to his statement that "God is dead." Read instead the last fragments of The Will to Power, which is a collection of fragments. It is not a book in itself. The last fragment describes the divine demonic character of life in formulations which show the ambiguity, the greatness, and the destructiveness of life. He asks us to affirm this life in its great ambiguity. Out of this he then has another kind of God, a God in which the demonic underground, the Dionysian underground, is clearly visible. The victory of the element of rationality or of meaning is not as clear as in other philosophers like Kant or Hegel, Hume or Locke, but there is an opening up of vitality, and its half-creative, half-destructive power.
  • This divergence and perversion of the essential question is most striking in what goes today by the name of philosophy. There would seem to be only one question for philosophy to resolve: What must I do? Despite being combined with an enormous amount of unnecessary confusion, answers to the question have at any rate been given within the philosophical tradition on the Christian nations. For example, in Kant´s Critique of Practical Reason, or in Spinoza, Schopenhauer and specially Rousseau. But in more recent times, since Hegel´s assertion that all that exists is reasonable, the question of what one must do has been pushed to the background and philosophy has directed its whole attention to the investigation of things as they are, and to fitting them into a prearranged theory. This was the first step backwards. The second step, degrading human thought yet further, was the acceptance of the struggle for existence as a basic law, simply because that struggle can be observed among animals and plants. According to this theory the destruction of the weakest is a law which should not be opposed. And finally, the third step was taken when the childish originality of Nietzsche´s half-crazed thought, presenting nothing complete or coherent, but only various drafts of immoral and completely unsubstantiated ideas, was accepted by the leading figures as the final word in philosophical science. In reply to the question: what must we do? the answer is now put straightforwardly as: live as you like, without paying attention to the lives of others. If anyone doubted that the Christian world of today has reached a frightful state of torpor and brutalization (not forgeting the recent crimes committed in the Boers and in China, which were defended by the clergy and acclaimed as heroic feats by all the world powers), the extraordinary success of Nietzsche's works is enough to provide irrefutable proof of this. Some disjointed writings, striving after effect in a most sordid manner, appear, written by a daring, but limited and abnormal German, suffering from power mania. Neither in talent nor in their basic argument to these writings justify public attention. In the days of Kant, Leibniz, or Hume, or even fifty years ago, such writings would not only have received no attention, but they would not even have appeared. But today all the so called educated people are praising the ravings of Mr. N, arguing about him, elucidating him, and countless copies of his works are printed in all languages.
    • Leo Tolstoy, What is Religion : Of What Does its Essence Consist? (1902), Ch. 11
  • The whole world knows that virtue consists in the subjugation of one's passions, or in self-renunciation. It is not just the Christian world, against whom Nietzsche howls, that knows this, but it is an eternal supreme law towards which all humanity has developed, including Brahmanism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and the ancient Persian religion. And suddenly a man appears who declares that he is convinced that self-renunciation, meekness, submissiveness and love are all vices that destroy humanity (he has in mind Christianity, ignoring all the other religions). One can understand why such a declaration baffled people at first. But after giving it a little thought and failing to find any proof of the strange propositions, any rational person ought to throw the books aside and wonder if there is any kind of rubbish that would not find a publisher today. But this has not happened with Nietzsche´s books. The majority of pseudo-enlightened people seriously look into the theory of the übermensch, and acknowledge its author to be a great philosopher, a descendant of Descartes, Leibniz and Kant. And all this has come about because the majority of pseudo-enlightened men of today object to any reminder of virtue, or to its chief premise: self-renunciation and love—virtues that restrain and condemn the animal side of their life. They gladly welcome a doctrine, however incoherently and disjointedly expressed, of egotism and cruelty, sanctioning the idea of personal happiness and superiority over the lives of others, by which they live.
    • Leo Tolstoy, What is Religion : Of What Does its Essence Consist? (1902), Ch. 11
  • It would certainly not be difficult to unearth in Nietzsche’s voluminous works a few pages which, outside their context, might serve to illustrate any preconceived thesis, particularly within the framework of a global exegesis which, parenthetically, would be quite useful to the works of Nietzsche, which are more obscure than profound. This is what the anarchists of Western Europe did, who hastened to consider Nietzsche one of them and who received a cruel rebuff: the philosopher of the master’s morality rejected them with all the rudeness he was capable of. It is clear to the reader, we hope, that we find sterile such a literary and textual attitude towards the writings rich in paradoxes of the recently deceased German thinker, whose aphorisms are often contradictory and in general allow for dozens of interpretations. The natural road towards a correct clarification of Nietzschean philosophy is the analysis of the social base that gave birth to this complex product. The present article strove to carry out an analysis of this kind. The base revealed itself to be rotten, pernicious, and poisoned. From which this conclusion: let them invite us as much as they want to dive in all confidence into Nietzscheism, to breathe deeply in his works the fresh air of proud individualism. We will not answer these appeals and, without fearing facile reproaches of narrowness and exclusivism, will reply with skepticism the way Nathaniel did in the gospel: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
  • Probably no one as skillfully as Nietzsche has managed to appeal to the wild instincts that are dormant in man, and on the other hand to outrage at himself all the lofty feelings that we owe to the higher element in us. This way of writing ensured Nietzsche a huge number of readers.
    • Kazimierz Twardowski, "Fryderyk Nietzsche". In Lewicki, Witold (ed.). Przełom, R. 1, Vienna, 8 June 1885, no. 2-3, p. 77.
  • Nietzsche does not favor reckless, anarchic action. The model of the artist, and more specifically the musician, is important. Rhythm is of the essence; timing of notes, of actions, allows for a style that is cohesive, even if not uniform. The music that emerges comes out over time, it becomes and develops slowly into a whole that is effective if timed well. Again Nietzsche sees that artists, especially musicians and poets, have such a talent. And to the extent that a writer writes poetically, he also shares in this talent.
    • Diego A. von Vacano, The Art of Power: Machiavelli, Nietzsche and the Making of Aesthetic Political Theory (2007, Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, pp. 99-100)
  • In Nietzsche and [Jakob] Burckhardt the German language had its last great voices of the old Goethean individualism amid the triumphant Bismarck era of statism and mechanized material power. . . . Nietzsche remains unequaled in anticipating out ever-increasing need today for the full, unmechanized personality.
  • The two leitmotifs of the present writer's Metapolitics: From the Romantics to Hitler, 1941, were the rival outlooks of Nietzsche, Wagner: Nietzsche as the voice warning Germany against nationalism, anti-Semitism, herd-collectivism; Wagner as the voice teaching Hitler his Aryan racism, anti-parliamentary leadership-cult, anti-aristocratic cult of the collective "folk." . . . Nietzsche's was the only voice in the 1880's to say that Richard Wagner's folk-romanticism and anti-Semitism would make his German nationalist disciples "the destroyers of both German and European culture."
    • Viereck, The Unadjusted Man, pp. 57–58.
  • Naïve optimists have celebrated science – that is to say: the techniques of mastering life that are based on science – as the road to happiness; but I think I may be allowed to ignore this [idea] completely, in view of Nietzsche's devastating criticism of those “ultimate men” who have “invented happiness”. Who believes it, apart from a few overgrown children occupying academic or editorial chairs?
    • Max Weber, "Science as a Profession and Vocation", translated by Hans Henrik Bruun
  • In 1870 Nietzsche knew that nihilism stood at the door; now it is with us. Despair for mankind is nearly universal. What hope is there? The current protest of youth is basically a rebellion against a nihilistic society, but what comes next?
    • Lancelot Law Whyte, The Universe of Experience: A Worldview Beyond Science and Religion (1974)
  • I don't see Nietzsche as the sort of philosopher whose views you just adopt: there are all sorts of problems with his positive views about the future, about politics, and so on. I see him in the same way that Foucault saw him, as a sort of resource. Foucault said that there isn't any one Nietzsche: everybody gets out of him what they find most helpful. I'm also convinced, from my own experience, that you get most out of him when you've got part of the way there on some path of your own. I think it's arriving at some thoughts of my own which turned out to be not dissimilar to things that Nietzsche had developed in greater depth that has greatly increased my interest in him. I do think that his genealogies are very remarkable constructions, and deserve our attention and respect. But of course they go beyond the metaphysical psychology of Kantian moralism. They also extend much more generally to the sources of our moral conceptions and their associated metaphysical models.
    • Bernard Williams, interview in Key Philosophers in Conversation (1999) edited by Andrew Pyle
  • There continue to be complex debates about what Nietzsche understood truth to be. Quite certainly, he did not think, in pragmatist spirit, that beliefs are true if they serve our interests or welfare: we have just seen some of his repeated denials of this idea. The more recently fashionable view is that he was the first of the deniers, thinking that there is no such thing as truth, or that truth is what anyone thinks it is, or that it is a boring category that we can do without. This is also wrong, and more deeply so. Nietzsche did not think that the ideal of truthfulness went into retirement when its metaphysical origins were discovered, and he did not suppose, either, that truthfulness could be detached from a concern for the truth. Truthfulness as an ideal retains its power, and so far from his seeing truth as dispensable or malleable, his main question is how it can be made bearable.
  • Although Nietzsche was keenly alive to what concerns the deniers, he was an opponent of them. The indifference to truthfulness which they encourage would be for him merely an aspect of nihilism. When he discovered that the values of truth and truthfulness, such as the resistance to self-deception and to comforting mythologies, were not self-justifying and not given simply with the concept of truth—unless the concept of truth is itself inflated into providing some metaphysical teleology of human existence, of the kind that he rejected in Platonism—he did not settle for a demure civic conversation in the style of Richard Rorty's ironist, or saunter off with the smug nod that registers a deconstructive job neatly done. He was aware that his own criticisms and exposures owed both their motivation and their effect to the spirit of truthfulness. His aim was to see how far the values of truth could be revalued, how they might be understood in a perspective quite different from the Platonic and Christian metaphysics which had provided their principal source in the West up to now.
  • Anyone who can understand that the Buddhist idea of Nirvana is not merely negative, and that the Buddha himself who (like the Superman) 'looks down on suffering humanity like a hillsman on the planes' is not an atheistic monster, will instantly see how this misses the point. Nietzsche was not an atheist, any more than the Buddha was. Anyone who reads the Night Song and the Dance Song in Zarathustra will recognize that they spring out of the same emotion as the Vedic or Gathic hymns or the Psalms of David. The idea of the Superman is a response to the need for salvation in precisely the same way that Buddhism was a response to the 'three signs'.
  • Nietzsche's great concept of Yea-saying gave him a notion of purpose that is seen as positive. Nietzsche, in short, was a religious mystic.
  • Nietzsche was used to being alone. He regarded it as being part of destiny of the man of genius. His hero, Schopenhauer, convinced him of it when he was barely twenty, and although he came later to reject Schopenhauer, he never rebelled against his destiny of aloneness.
    • Colin Wilson in The Outsider, Chapter Five The Pain Threshold
  • Nietzsche was not an atheist, any more than the Buddha was.
    • Colin Wilson in The Outsider, Chapter Five The Pain Threshold
  • The rather more dubious side of Nietzsche's 'evolutionism' is his glorification of the warrior -- particularly when, as an exemplification of the warrior-hero, he chooses an archetypal 'spoilt brat' like cesare Borgia. Nietzsche's own physical weakness and consequent inability to escape the atmosphere of the study leads him to take a rather unrealistic view of the man of action
    • Colin Wilson in Rudolf Steiner: The Man and His Vision, p. 87
  • There are problems I never tackle, which do not lie in my path or belong to my world. Problems of the intellectual world of the West which Beethoven (& perhaps Goethe to a certain extent) tackled & wrestled with but which no philosopher has ever confronted (perhaps Nietzsche passed close to them). And perhaps they are lost to western philosophy, that is there will be no one there who experiences and so can describe the development of this culture as an epic. Or more precisely it just is no longer an epic, or is one only for someone who observes it from outside & perhaps Beethoven did this with prevision (as Spengler hints in one place).
  • Both Nietzsche and Marx did their greatest work seeking to explain the mystery. The term both used was "decadence."
    But if there was decadence, what was decaying? Religious faith and moral codes that had been in place since time was, said Nietzsche, who in 1882 made the most famous statement in modern philosophy — "God is dead" — and three startlingly accurate predictions for the twentieth century. He even estimated when they would begin to come true: about 1915. (1) The faith men formerly invested in God they would now invest in barbaric "brotherhoods with the aim of the robbery and exploitation of the non-brothers." Their names turned out, in due course, to be the German Nazis and the Russian Communists. (2) There would be "wars such as have never been waged on earth." Their names turned out to be World War I and World War II. (3) There no longer would be Truth but, rather, "truth" in quotation marks, depending upon which concoction of eternal verities the modem barbarian found most useful at any given moment. The result would be universal skepticism, cynicism, irony, and contempt. The First World War began in 1914 and ended in 1918. On cue, as if Nietzsche were still alive to direct the drama, an entirely new figure, with an entirely new name, arose in Europe: that embodiment of skepticism, cynicism, irony, and contempt, the Intellectual.
    • Tom Wolfe, "In the Land of the Rococo Marxists," Harpers Monthly (June 2000)
  • Unless I am dashing off a snippy reply to a stalker (for instance), my correspondence tends to strive for the spirit of Nietzsche's gangasrotogati.
  • Nietzsche does not simply criticize or reject the impulses of modern morality that make judgments of blame, seek to attach guilt, and invoke a need to pay for the wrongful deed through the counter-hurt of punishment. He says that this morality created human interiority, an ability to hold events in memory over time, and ultimately the strength of a sovereign subject with a sense of responsibility. To be stuck in a spirit of ressentiment, however, leads to nihilism. In the end it is unrealistic and mean-spirited to seek equivalence for every harm that must come from the flesh next to someone's heart.
    • Iris Marion Young, Responsibility for Justice
  • The tragedy of Friedrich Nietzsche's life was that it happened to be a one-man show, a monodrama wherein no other actor entered upon the stage. As the acts of the play precipitate themselves like an avalanche before our eyes, the solitary fighter stands alone beneath the louring skies of destiny—not a soul is at his side to succour him; no woman is there to soften by her ever-present sympathy the stresses of the atmosphere. Every action takes its birth in him, and its repercussions are felt by him alone. The few figures which, at the outset, creep by in the shadow of his person, accompany his heroic enterprise with gestures of dumb astonishment and fear; soon they glide away and vanish as if faced by some danger. Not one person ventures to enter wholeheartedly into the innermost sanctum of Nietzsche's destiny; the poet-philosopher is doomed to speak, to struggle, to suffer alone. He converses with no one, and no one has anything to say to him. What is even more terrible is that none hearken to his voice.
    • Stefan Zweig, The Struggle with the Daemon: Holderlin, Kleist, and Nietzsche (1925), translated by Eden and Cedar Paul
  • Nietzsche was not a poseur, nor was he represented as a hero during his lifetime. Since his death, many who claim to be his disciples have pictured him as an archetypal hero. Defiant carriage of the head; a lofty brow furrowed with sombre thoughts; thick, wavy hair, clustering down to the strong column of the neck; two falcon eyes beneath bushy eyebrows; every feature of this masterful countenance taut with willpower, health and strength—such is the portrait usually given of him. Like a second Vercingetorix, he is shown with a heavy moustache falling manfully over the hard-set lips which surmount a prominent chin, and involuntarily the image called up is that of the barbarian warrior, a Viking of the Teutonic north striding forward sword in hand to victory, his hunting horn slung over his shoulder and a spear within easy reach. It is thus that our sculptors and painters delight in portraying him, a Germanic superman, a Prometheus bound, hoping thereby to render this great recluse more accessible to men of little faith who, corrupted by school books and stage presentations, are incapable of detecting tragedy unless it is draped in theatrical trappings. But genuine tragedy is never theatrical, and the true portrait of Nietzsche is far less picturesque than busts and paintings of him would have us believe.
    • Stefan Zweig, The Struggle with the Daemon: Holderlin, Kleist, and Nietzsche (1925), translated by Eden and Cedar Paul

See also



Works about Nietzsche

Conservative intellectuals
France Bainvillede BenoistBernanosLe Bonde BonaldBossuetBrucknerCamusCarrelde ChateaubriandFayeFustel de CoulangesFaguetDurkheimGirardGuénonHouellebecqde Jouvenelde MaistreMaurrasRenande RivarolTainede TocquevilleZemmour
Germanosphere von BismarckBurckhardtHamannHegelHeideggerHerderJüngervon Kuehnelt-LeddihnKlagesLorenzLöwithMannNietzscheNolteNovalisPieperRauschningvon RankeRöpkeSchmittSloterdijkSchoeckSpenglervon TreitschkeWeininger
Italy D'AnnunzioEvolaGentileMoscaPareto
Iberia & Latin America de CarvalhoCortésDávilaFernández de la Mora y MonOrtega y GassetSalazar
United Kingdom AmisArnoldBalfourBellocBowdenBurkeCarlyleChestertonColeridgeDisraeliFergusonFilmerGaltonGibbonGrayHitchensHumeJohnson (Paul)Johnson (Samuel)KiplingLandLawrenceLewisMoreMosleyMurrayNewmanOakeshottPowellRuskinScrutonStephenTolkienUnwinWaughWordsworthYeats
USA & Canada AntonBabbittCalhounCoolidgeCrichtonBellBellowBloomBoorstinBuchananBuckley Jr.BurnhamCaldwellConquestDerbyshireDouthatDreherDurantEastmanFrancisGoldbergGoldwaterGottfriedGrantHansonHuntingtonJacobyKimballKirkKristolLaschLovecraftMansfieldMearsheimerMeyerMurrayNockPagliaPetersonRepplierRieffRufoRushtonShockleySowellSumnerThielViereckVoegelinWeaverYarvin
Russia DostoyevskyDuginHavelSolzhenitsyn
Ummah AsadFardidKhameneiKhomeiniQutbShariati
Other / Mixed Alamariu (Bronze Age Pervert)ConradEliadeEysenckHayekHazonyHoppeMannheimMishimaMolnarSantayanaStraussTalmon
Social and political philosophers
Classic AristotleMarcus AureliusChanakyaCiceroConfuciusMozi LaoziMenciusMoziPlatoPlutarchPolybiusSeneca the YoungerSocratesSun TzuThucydidesXenophonXun Zi
Conservative de BenoistBolingbrokeBonaldBurkeBurnhamCarlyleColeridgeComteCortésDurkheimDávilaEvolaFichteFilmerGaltonGentileHegelHeideggerHerderHobbesHoppeHumede JouvenelJüngerKirkvon Kuehnelt-LeddihnLandde MaistreMansfieldMoscaOakeshottOrtegaParetoPetersonSantayanaSchmittScrutonSowellSpenglerStraussTaineTocqueville • VicoVoegelinWeaverYarvin
Liberal ArendtAronBastiatBeccariaBenthamBerlinBoétieCamusCondorcetConstantDworkinEmersonErasmusFranklinFukuyamaHayekJeffersonKantLockeMachiavelliMadisonMaineMillMiltonMenckenMisesMontaigneMontesquieuNietzscheNozickOrtegaPopperRandRawlsRothbardSadeSchillerSimmelSmithSpencerSpinozade StaëlStirnerThoreauTocquevilleTuckerVoltaireWeberWollstonecraft
Religious al-GhazaliAmbedkarAugustine of HippoAquinasAugustineAurobindoCalvinChestertonDanteDayanandaDostoyevskyEliadeGandhiGirardGregoryGuénonJesusJohn of SalisburyJungKierkegaardKołakowskiLewisLutherMaimonidesMalebrancheMaritainMoreMuhammadMüntzerNiebuhrOckhamOrigenPhiloPizanQutbRadhakrishnanShariatiSolzhenitsynTaylorTeilhard de ChardinTertullianTolstoyVivekanandaWeil
Socialist AdornoAflaqAgambenBadiouBakuninBaudrillardBaumanBernsteinButlerChomskyde BeauvoirDebordDeleuzeDeweyDu BoisEngelsFanonFoucaultFourierFrommGodwinGoldmanGramsciHabermasKropotkinLeninLondonLuxemburgMaoMarcuseMarxMazziniNegriOwenPaine RortyRousseauRussellSaint-SimonSartreSkinnerSorelTrotskyWalzerXiaopingŽižek

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