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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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.