Quotes by Friedrich Nietzsche

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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 ... more

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What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil.
The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it.
There are no facts, only interpretations.
We should consider every day lost in which we have not danced at least once.
The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.
And if your friend does evil to you, say to him, I forgive you for what you did to me, but how can I forgive you for what you did to yourself?
He who lives by fighting with an enemy has an interest in the preservation of the enemy's life.
One must learn to love oneself with a wholesome and healthy love, so that one can bear to be with oneself and need not roam.
You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
Fear is the mother of morality.
The man loves danger and sport. That is why he loves woman, the most dangerous of all sports.
Is man one of God's blunders or is God one of man's blunders?
We are franker towards others than towards ourselves.
One ought to hold on to one's heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
The word Christianity is already a misunderstanding -- in reality there has been only one Christian, and he died on the Cross.
Insanity in individuals is something rare -- but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.
Without music, life would be a mistake.
In Heaven all the interesting people are missing.
The lonely one offers his hand too quickly to whomever he encounters.
In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad.
There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths.
In the consciousness of the truth he has perceived, man now sees everywhere only the awfulness or the absurdity of existence and loathing seizes him.
It is always consoling to think of suicide: in that way one gets through many a bad night.
A matter that becomes clear ceases to concern us.
How people keep correcting us when we are young! There is always some bad habit or other they tell us we ought to get over. Yet most bad habits are tools to help us through life.
The best friend is likely to acquire the best wife, because a good marriage is based on the talent for friendship.
He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how.
Great intellects are skeptical.
Love is a state in which a man sees things most decidedly as they are not.
Man... cannot learn to forget, but hangs on the past: however far or fast he runs, that chain runs with him.
The future influences the present just as much as the past.
I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you!
The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.
The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy.
A woman may very well form a friendship with a man, but for this to endure, it must be assisted by a little physical antipathy.
When one has not had a good father, one must create one.
Believe me! The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously!
To forget one's purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.
You gave him an opportunity of showing greatness of character and he did not seize it. He will never forgive you for that.
He who cannot obey himself will be commanded. That is the nature of living creatures.
He that humbleth himself wishes to be exalted.
I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.
We have art in order not to die of the truth.
The anarchist and the Christian have a common origin.
For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.
After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands.
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.
The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying to others is relatively an exception.
Not by wrath does one kill, but by laughter.
Man is no longer an artist, he has become a work of art.
I fear we are not getting rid of God because we still believe in grammar.
Fanatics are picturesque, mankind would rather see gestures than listen to reasons.
It says nothing against the ripeness of a spirit that it has a few worms.
To do great things is difficult, but to command great things is more difficult.
One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly.
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.
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
It is my ambition to say in ten sentences; what others say in a whole book.
Faith means not wanting to know what is true.
Women are considered deep -- why? Because one can never discover any bottom to them. Women are not even shallow.
Madness is something rare in individuals -- but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule.
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species.
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!
The doctrine of equality! There exists no more poisonous poison: for it seems to be preached by justice itself, while it is the end of justice.
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
When one has much to put into them, a day has a hundred pockets.
For the woman, the man is a means: the end is always the child.
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.
We would not let ourselves be burned to death for our opinions: we are not sure enough of them for that. But perhaps for the right to have our opinions and to change them.
Everything in woman hath a solution. It is called pregnancy.
Experience, as a desire for experience, does not come off. We must not study ourselves while having an experience.
Existence really is an imperfect tense that never becomes a present.
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.
Christianity makes suffering contagious.
One often contradicts an opinion when what is uncongenial is really the tone in which it was conveyed.
Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood.
The more abstract the truth you want to teach, the more thoroughly you must seduce the senses to accept it.
I love those who do not know how to live for today.
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.
Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual.
Only sick music makes money today.
Necessity is not an established fact, but rather an interpretation.
Not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, does the enlightened man dislike to wade into its waters.
Every philosophy is the philosophy of some stage of life.
So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.
Idleness is the parent of psychology.
What really raises one's indignation against suffering is not suffering intrinsically, but the senselessness of suffering.
When one does away with oneself one does the most estimable thing possible: one thereby almost deserves to live.
He who laughs best today, will also laugh last.
I teach you the Superman. Man is something that should be overcome.
The kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart --not something that comes upon the earth or after death.
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.
Two great European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity.
These people abstain, it is true: but the bitch Sensuality glares enviously out of all they do.
Beggars should be entirely abolished! Truly, it is annoying to give to them and annoying not to give to them.
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.
We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.
If a woman possesses manly virtues one should run away from her; and if she does not possess them she runs away from herself.
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.
Mystical explanations are considered deep. The truth is that they are not even superficial.
Many a man fails as an original thinker simply because his memory it too good.
When we talk in company we lose our unique tone of voice, and this leads us to make statements which is no way correspond to our real thoughts.
If you believed more in life you would fling yourself less to the moment.
The spiritualization of sensuality is called love: it is a great triumph over Christianity.
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.
Everyone who has ever built anywhere a new heaven first found the power thereto in his own hell.
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.
He who despises himself nevertheless esteems himself as a self-despiser.
The great man fights the elements in his time that hinder his own greatness, in other words his own freedom and sincerity.
No man lies so boldly as the man who is indignant.
One may sometimes tell a lie, but the grimace that accompanies it tells the truth.
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.
Our treasure lies in the beehive of our knowledge. We are perpetually on the way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind.
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.
Instinct. When the house burns one forgets even lunch. Yes, but one eats it later in the ashes.
A sedentary life is the real sin against the Holy Spirit. Only those thoughts that come by walking have any value.
There is in general good reason to suppose that in several respects the gods could all benefit from instruction by us human beings. We humans are -- more humane.
The strongest knowledge (that of the total freedom of the human will) is nonetheless the poorest in successes: for it always has the strongest opponent, human vanity.
Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions.
A strong and secure man digests his experiences (deeds and misdeeds alike) just as he digests his meat, even when he has some bits to swallow.
One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.
Against boredom the gods themselves fight in vain.
Art raises its head where creeds relax.
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.
There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.
The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper.
Wit is the epitaph of an emotion.
Thoughts are the shadows of our sensations -- always darker, emptier, simpler than these.
What then in the last resort are the truths of mankind? They are the irrefutable errors of mankind.
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.
We must be physicists in order to be creative since so far codes of values and ideals have been constructed in ignorance of physics or even in contradiction to physics.
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.
Nothing has been purchased more dearly than the little bit of reason and sense of freedom which now constitutes our pride.
Most of the time in married life is taken up by talk.
Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it is even becoming mob.
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.
Success has always been a great liar.
All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting.
The lie is a condition of life.
The idealist is incorrigible: if he is thrown out of his heaven he makes an ideal of his hell.
What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man.
The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously.
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.
Only the most acute and active animals are capable of boredom. -- A theme for a great poet would be God's boredom on the seventh day of creation.
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.
Early in the morning, at break of day, in all the freshness and dawn of one's strength, to read a book --I call that vicious!
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.
In every ascetic morality man worships a part of himself as God and for that he needs to diabolize the other part.
In the mountains the shortest route is from peak to peak, but for that you must have long legs. Aphorisms should be peaks: and those to whom they are spoken should be big and tall of stature.
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.
Where does one not find that bland degeneration which beer produces in the spirit!
He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.
What is the vanity of the vainest man compared with the vanity which the most modest possesses when, in the midst of nature and the world, he feels himself to be man!
All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.
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.
The press, the machine, the railway, the telegraph are premises whose thousand-year conclusion no one has yet dared to draw.
It is obvious that all sense has gone out of modern marriage: which is, however, no objection to marriage but to modernity.
Without music, life would be an error. The German imagines even God singing songs
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.
Even today a crude sort of persecution is all that is required to create an honorable name for any sect, no matter how indifferent in itself.
Because men really respect only that which was founded of old and has developed slowly, he who wants to live on after his death must take care not only of his posterity but even more of his past.
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.
Has a woman who knew she was well-dressed ever caught a cold?
All in all, punishment hardens and renders people more insensible; it concentrates; it increases the feeling of estrangement; it strengthens the power of resistance.
Oh, how much is today hidden by science! Oh, how much it is expected to hide!
Reason is the cause of our falsification of the evidence of the senses. In so far as the senses show becoming, passing away, change, they do not lie.
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.
A letter is an unannounced visit, the postman the agent of rude surprises. One ought to reserve an hour a week for receiving letters and afterwards take a bath.
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.
An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.
You say it is the good cause that hallows even war? I tell you: it is the good war that hallows every cause.
The ascetic makes a necessity of virtue.
Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest.
We do not place especial value on the possession of a virtue until we notice its total absence in our opponent.
One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.
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.
You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
War has always been the grand sagacity of every spirit which has grown too inward and too profound; its curative power lies even in the wounds one receives.
All good people are weak,they are good because they are not strong enough to be evil
God,too decompose.God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.
Verily, I have often laughed at the weaklings who thought themselves good because they had no claws.
What ? Is man merely a mistake of God's ? Or God merely a mistake of man's ?
The formula for my happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal>
Does wisdom perhaps appear on the earth as a raven which is inspired by the smell of carrion?
One must have a good memory to keep the promises one has made