Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 August 25, 1900) was a German philosopher, whose critiques of contemporary culture, religion, and philosophy centered around a basic question regarding the foundation of values and ...
The most spiritual human beings, assuming they are the most courageous, also experience by far the most painful tragedies: but it is precisely for this reason that they honor life, because it brings against them its most formidable weapons.
We operate with nothing but things which do not exist, with lines, planes, bodies, atoms, divisible time, divisible space -- how should explanation even be possible when we first make everything into an image, into our own image!
We find nothing easier than being wise, patient, superior. We drip with the oil of forbearance and sympathy, we are absurdly just, we forgive everything. For that very reason we ought to discipline ourselves a little; for that very reason we ought to cultivate a little emotion, a little emotional vice, from time to time. It may be hard for us; and among ourselves we may perhaps laugh at the appearance we thus present. But what of that! We no longer have any other mode of self-overcoming available to us: this is our asceticism, our penance.
The invalid is a parasite on society. In a certain state it is indecent to go on living. To vegetate on in cowardly dependence on physicians and medicaments after the meaning of life, the right to life, has been lost ought to entail the profound contempt of society.
The architect represents neither a Dionysian nor an Apollinian condition: here it is the mighty act of will, the will which moves mountains, the intoxication of the strong will, which demands artistic expression. The most powerful men have always inspired the architects; the architect has always been influenced by power.
At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.
Altered opinions do not alter a man's character (or do so very little); but they do illuminate individual aspects of the constellation of his personality which with a different constellation of opinions had hitherto remained dark and unrecognizable.
Undeserved praise causes more pangs of conscience later than undeserved blame, but probably only for this reason, that our power of judgment are more completely exposed by being over praised than by being unjustly underestimated.
The significance of language for the evolution of culture lies in this, that mankind set up in language a separate world beside the other world, a place it took to be so firmly set that, standing upon it, it could lift the rest of the world off its hinges and make itself master of it. To the extent that man has for long ages believed in the concepts and names of things as in aeternae veritates he has appropriated to himself that pride by which he raised himself above the animal: he really thought that in language he possessed knowledge of the world.
One receives as reward for much ennui, despondency, boredom --such as a solitude without friends, books, duties, passions must bring with it --those quarter-hours of profoundest contemplation within oneself and nature. He who completely entrenches himself against boredom also entrenches himself against himself: he will never get to drink the strongest refreshing draught from his own innermost fountain.
I fear animals regard man as a creature of their own kind which has in a highly dangerous fashion lost its healthy animal reason -- as the mad animal, as the laughing animal, as the weeping animal, as the unhappy animal.
Star friendship.— We were friends and have become estranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as if we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and course; our paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together, as we did—and then the good ships rested so quietly in one harbor and one sunshine that it may have looked as if they had reached their goal and as if they had one goal. But then the almighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never see one another again,—perhaps we shall meet again but fail to recognize each other: our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us! That we have to become estranged is the law above us: by the same token we should also become more venerable for each other! And thus the memory of our former friendship should become more sacred! There is probably a tremendous but invisible stellar orbit in which our very different ways and goals may be included as small parts of this path,—let us rise up to this thought! But our life is too short and our power of vision too small for us to be more than friends in the sense of this sublime possibility.— Let us then believe in our star friendship even if we should be compelled to be earth enemies.
The philosopher believes that the value of his philosophy lies in the whole, in the building: posterity discovers it in the bricks with which he built and which are then often used again for better building: in the fact, that is to say, that building can be destroyed and nonetheless possess value as material.
Not necessity, not desire --no, the love of power is the demon of men. Let them have everything --health, food, a place to live, entertainment --they are and remain unhappy and low-spirited: for the demon waits and waits and will be satisfied.
To give style to one's character -- a great and rare art! He exercises it who surveys all that his nature presents in strength and weakness and then moulds it to an artistic plan until everything appears as art and reason, and even the weaknesses delight the eye.
The desire to create continually is vulgar and betrays jealousy, envy, ambition. If one is something one really does not need to make anything --and one nonetheless does very much. There exists above the productive man a yet higher species.
To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled -- because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance.
Wherever there are walls I shall inscribe this eternal accusation against Christianity upon them -- I can write in letters which make even the blind see. 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.
In the beautiful, man sets himself up as the standard of perfection; in select cases he worships himself in it. 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.
Nothing is beautiful, only man: on this piece of naivete rests all aesthetics, it is the first truth of aesthetics. Let us immediately add its second: nothing is ugly but degenerate man -- the domain of aesthetic judgment is therewith defined.
The aphorism in which I am the first master among Germans, are the forms of eternity; my ambition is to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book -- what everyone else does not say in a book.
Reckoned physiologically, everything ugly weakens and afflicts man. It recalls decay, danger, impotence; he actually suffers a loss of energy in its presence. The effect of the ugly can be measured with a dynamometer. Whenever man feels in any way depressed, he senses the proximity of something ugly. His feeling of power, his will to power, his courage, his pride -- they decline with the ugly, they increase with the beautiful.
Let us beware of saying there are laws in nature. There are only necessities: there is no one to command, no one to obey, no one to transgress. When you realize there are no goals or objectives, then you realize, too, that there is no chance: for only in a world of objectives does the word chance have any meaning.
Actual philosophers... are commanders and law-givers: they say thus it shall be!, it is they who determine the Wherefore and Whither of mankind, and they possess for this task the preliminary work of all the philosophical laborers, of all those who have subdued the past -- they reach for the future with creative hand, and everything that is or has been becomes for them a means, an instrument, a hammer. Their knowing is creating, their creating is a law giving, their will to truth is -- will to power. Are their such philosophers today? Have there been such philosophers? Must there not be such philosophers?
The newspaper reader says: this party will ruin itself if it makes errors like this. My higher politics says: a party which makes errors like this is already finished -- it is no longer secure in its instincts.
As regards the celebrated struggle for life, it seems to me for the present to have been rather asserted than proved. It does occur, but as the exception; the general aspect of life is not hunger and distress, but rather wealth, luxury, even absurd prodigality -- where there is a struggle it is a struggle for power.
We have no organ at all for knowledge, for truth: we know (or believe or imagine) precisely as much as may be useful in the interest of the human herd, the species: and even what is here called usefulness is in the end only a belief, something imagined and perhaps precisely that most fatal piece of stupidity by which we shall one day perish.
Judgments, value judgments concerning life, for or against, can in the last resort never be true: they possess value only as symptoms, they come into consideration only as symptoms -- in themselves such judgments are stupidities.
What is wanted -- whether this is admitted or not -- is nothing less than a fundamental remolding, indeed weakening and abolition of the individual: one never tires of enumerating and indicating all that is evil and inimical, prodigal, costly, extravagant in the form individual existence has assumed hitherto, one hopes to manage more cheaply, more safely, more equitably, more uniformly if there exist only large bodies and their members.
How is freedom measured, in individuals as in nations? By the resistance which has to be overcome, by the effort it costs to stay aloft. One would have to seek the highest type of free man where the greatest resistance is constantly being overcome: five steps from tyranny, near the threshold of the danger of servitude.
If one considers how much reason every person has for anxiety and timid self-concealment, and how three-quarters of his energy and goodwill can be paralyzed and made unfruitful by it, one has to be very grateful to fashion, insofar as it sets that three-quarters free and communicates self-confidence and mutual cheerful agreeableness to those who know they are subject to its law.
I do not know what the spirit of a philosopher could more wish to be than a good dancer. For the dance is his ideal, also his fine art, finally also the only kind of piety he knows, his divine service.
Again and again I am brought up against it, and again and again I resist it: I don't want to believe it, even though it is almost palpable: the vast majority lack an intellectual conscience; indeed, it often seems to me that to demand such a thing is to be in the most populous cities as solitary as in the desert.
I know my fate. One day there will be associated with my name the recollection of something frightful -- of a crisis like no other before on earth, of the profoundest collision of conscience, of a decision evoked against everything that until then had been believed in, demanded, sanctified. I am not a man I am dynamite.