Nietzsche ponderingThe perspectives of Nietzsche


Family failing of philosophers. -- All philosophers have the common failing of starting out from man as he is now and thinking they can reach their goal through an analysis of him. They involuntarily think of 'man' as an aeterna veritas, as something that remains constant in the midst of all flux, as a sure measure of things. Everything the philosopher has declared about man is, however, at bottom no more than a testimony as to the man of a very limited period of time. Lack of historical sense is the family failing of all philosophers.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.2, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Truth as Circe.-- Error has transformed animals into men; is truth perhaps capable of changing man back into an animal?

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.519, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

In the stream.-- Mighty waters draw much stone and rubble along with them; mighty spirits many stupid and bewildered heads.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.541, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

When asses are needed.-- You will never get the crowd to cry Hosanna until you ride into town on an ass.

from Nietzsche's Assorted Opinions and Maxims,s. 313, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Anti-theses.-- The most senile thing ever thought about man is contained in the celebrated saying 'the ego is always hateful'; the most childish is the even more celebrated 'love thy neighbor as thyself'. -- In the former, knowledge of human nature has ceased, in the latter it has not yet even begun.

from Nietzsche's Assorted Opinions and Maxims,s. 385, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Not enough!-- It is not enough to prove something, one also has to seduce or elevate people to it. That is why the man of knowledge should learns how to speak his wisdom: and often in such a way that it sounds like folly!

from Nietzsche's Daybreak, s. 330, R.J. Hollingdale transl

Gardener and garden.-- Out of damp and gloomy days, out of solitude, out of loveless words directed at us, conclusions grow up in us like fungus: one morning they are there, we know not how, and they gaze upon us, morose and gray. Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in him!

from Nietzsche's Daybreak, s. 382, R.J. Hollingdale transl

The vain.-- We are like shop windows in which we are continually arranging, concealing or illuminating the supposed qualities other ascribe to us - in order to deceive ourselves.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak, s. 385, R.J. Hollingdale transl

It is not things, but opinions about things that have absolutely no existence, which have so deranged mankind!

from Nietzsche's Daybreak, s. 563, R.J. Hollingdale transl

The signs of corruption.--Consider the following signs of those states of society which are necessary from time to time and which are designated with the word "corruption." As soon as corruption sets in anywhere superstition becomes rank. and the previous common faith of a people becomes pale and powerless against it. For superstition is second-order free spirit: those who surrender to it choose certain forms and formulas that they find congenial and permit themselves some freedom of choice. Whoever is superstitious is always, compared with the religious human being, much more of a person; and a superstitious society is one in which there are many individuals and much delight in individuality...

Second, a society in which corruptions spreads is accused of exhaustion... But what is generally overlooked is that the ancient national energy and national passion that became gloriously visible in war and warlike games have now been transmuted into countless private passions and have merely become less visible. Indeed, in times of "corruption" the power and force of the national energies that are expended are probably greater than ever and the individual squanders them as lavishly as he could not have formerly when he was simply not yet rich enough. Thus it is precisely in times of "exhaustion" that tragedy runs through houses and streets, that great love and great hatred are born, and that the flame of knowledge flares up into the sky.

Third, it is usually said... that such times of corruption are gentler and that cruelty declines drastically, compared with the old, stronger age which was more given to faith. All I concede is that cruelty now becomes more refined and that its older forms henceforth offend the new taste; but the art of wounding and torturing others with words and looks reaches its supreme development...The men of corruption are witty and slanderous; they know of types of murder that require neither daggers nor assault; they know that whatever is said well is believed.

Fourth, when "morals decay" those men emerge whom one calls tyrants: they are the precursors and as it were the precocious harbingers of individuals... In these ages bribery and treason reach their peak, for the love of the newly discovered ego is much more powerful now than the love of the old, used-up "fatherland"... Individuals--being truly in-and-for-themselves-- care, as is well known, more for the moment than do their opposites, the herd men... The times of corruption are those when the apples fall from the tree: I mean the individuals, for they carry the seeds of the future and are the authors of the spiritual colonization and origin of new states and communities. Corruption is merely a nasty word for the autumn of a people.

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s. 23, Walter Kaufmann transl

Will and willingness.-- Someone took a youth to a sage and said: "Look, he is being corrupted by women." The sage shook his head and smiled. "It is men," said he, "that corrupt women; and all the failings of women should be atoned by and improved in men. For it is man who creates for himself the image of woman, and woman forms herself according to this image."
"You are too kind-hearted about women," said one of those present; "you do not know them." The sage replied: "Will is the manner of men; willingness that of women. That is the law of the sexes - truly, a hard law for women. All of humanity is innocent of its existence; but women are doubly innocent. Who could have oil and kindness enough for them?"
"Damn oil! Damn kindness!" someone shouted out of the crowd; "Women need to be educated better!" - "Men need to be educated better," said the sage and beckoned to the youth to follow him. - The youth, however, did not follow him.

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s. 68, Walter Kaufmann transl.

The greatest danger that always hovered over humanity and still hovers over it is the eruption of madness - which means the eruption of arbitrariness in feeling, seeing and hearing, the enjoyment of the mind's lack of discipline, the joy in human unreason. Not truth and certainty are the opposite of the world of the madman, but the universality and the universal binding force of a faith; in sum, the non-arbitrary character of judgements... Thus the virtuous intellects are needed - oh, let me use the most unambiguous word - what is needed is virtuous stupidity, stolid metronomes for the slow spirit, to make sure that the faithful of the great shared faith stay together and continue their dance... We others are the exception and the danger - and we need eternally to be opposed. - Well, there actually are things to be said in favor of the exception, provided that it never wants to become the rule.

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s. 76, Walter Kaufmann transl.