My rating: 100/100
See Book Notes for other books I have read. If you like my notes, go buy it!
Tagline: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future
It is hard to assess the extent of Nietzsche’s thoughts on modern society, but it is certainly far-reaching. I am surprised, however, at the large portion of the population today that seems to have completely ignored or avoided him entirely. I came from a conservative Christian background and of course heard of Nietzsche, but only that his view were controversial and that I probably shouldn’t read him. He was (wrongfully) associated with the Nazi’s and claimed to be the Antichrist – what more do you need? Such is my folly, that I subconsciously avoided him, or didn’t read him because I had better things to read that matched my interests and opinions more closely. We all live in bubbles, no matter how widely read we are. Ironically, Nietzsche himself calls out our unwillingness to look into the mirror, to look into the opposite: “A very popular error: having the courage of one’s convictions; rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one’s convictions!!!”
This book has a sense of clear, practical, intense profundity that I have not ever seen anywhere but the Bible and the Tao Te Ching – and surpasses the latter in clarity. Nietzsche can say in a short sentence what it takes other people paragraphs to communicate. It is a treatise in stark contradiction to the Judeo-Christian worldview, and will be challenging for people with that background to reconcile and assimilate into their life-philosophies. The most likely response is pure rejection of its entirety. I have no answer for this, except to at least make sure you are reading him in context (not provided here). Nietzsche uses hyperbole, sarcasm, opposing viewpoints, and contradictions as literary tools constantly. Be on guard. I literally re-read every paragraph twice, not because Nietzsche’s not clear, but because I would miss so much due to the density and profundity of what he was saying.
Below are direct quotes of important text that I underlined or noted during my reading.
The old Freud said in a letter about Nietzsche: “In my youth he signified a nobility which I could not attain.”
Christianity is Platonism for “the people.” [in that it is dogmatic]
Part One: On the Prejudices of the Philosophers
will to truth
frog perspectives – jumping from one stance to another
The question is to what extent it is life-promoting, life preserving, species-preserving, perhaps even species cultivating.
Recognize untruth as a condition of life.
5 – Philosophers claim truth
Jordan Peterson has a 45 minute lecture on this paragraph alone. https://youtu.be/MSO1C9uYJLA
Every great philosopher so far has been the personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir.
The real “interests” of the scholar therefore lie usually somewhere else – say, in his family, or in making money, or in politics.
Nature, wasteful beyond measure, indifferent beyond measure, without purposes and consideration, without mercy and justice, fertile and desolate and uncertain at the same time; imagine indifference itself as a power – how could you live according to this indifference? Living – is that not precisely wanting to be other than this nature?
because you know how to tyrannize yourselves – Stoicism is self tyranny – nature, too, lets herself be tyrannized: is not the Stoic – a piece of nature?
But this is an ancient, eternal story: what formerly happened with the Stoics still happens today, too, as soon as any philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise. Philosophy is this tyrannical drive itself, the most spiritual will to power, to the “creation of the world,” to the causa prima (first cause).
In rare and isolated instances it may really be the case that such a will to truth, some extravagant and adventurous courage, a metaphysician’s ambition to hold a hopeless position, may participate and ultimately prefer even a handful of “certainty” to a whole carload of beautiful possibilities; there may actually be puritanical fanatics of conscience who prefer even a certain nothing to an uncertain something to lie down on – and die. But this is nihilism and the sign of a despairing, mortally weary soul – however courageous the gestures of such a virtue may look.
It is high time to replace the Kantian question, “How are synthetic judgments a priori possible?” by another question, “Why is belief in such judgments necessary?”
abjure – renounce, repudiate, or retract; recant
Christianity has taught soul atomism … regards the soul as something indestructible, eternal, indivisible … this belief ought to be expelled from science!
The way is open for new versions and refinements of the soul-hypothesis; and such conceptions as “mortal soul”, and “soul as subjective multiplicity,” and “soul as social structure of the drives and affects.”
Physiologists should think before putting down the instinct of self-preservation as the cardinal instinct of an organic being. A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength – life itself is will to power; self preservation is only one of the indirect and most frequent results.
Physics is only an interpretation and exegesis of the world (to suit us) and not a world-explanation.
“Where man cannot find anything to see or to grasp, he has no further business” – that is certainly an imperative different from the Platonic one, but it may be the right imperative for a tough, industrious race of machinists and bridge builders of the future, who have nothing but rough work to do.
A thought come when “it” wishes, and not when “I” wish.
18 – “free will” already refuted
Let us notice what is strangest about the will – we are at the same time the commanding and obeying parties.
Indeed, our body is but a social structure composed of many souls.
atavism – evolutionary throwback, such as traits reappearing that had disappeared generations before.
21 – freewill is a mythology
causa sui – literally “cause of itself”; something which is generated within itself.
It is we alone who have devised cause, sequence, for-each-other, relativity, constraint, number, law, freedom, motive, and purpose. The “unfree will” is mythology; in real life it is only a matter of strong and weak wills.
And in general, if I have observed correctly, the “unfreedom of the will” is regarded as a problem from two entirely opposite standpoints, but always in a profoundly personal manner: some will not give up their “responsibility,” their belief in themselves, the personal right to their merits at any price (the vain races belong to this class). Others, on the contrary, do not wish to be answerable for anything, or blamed for anything, and owing to an inward self-contempt, seek to lay the blame for themselves somewhere else.
22 – nature does not conform
23 – prejudice of moralities
If a person should regard even the affects of hatred, envy, covetousness, and the lust to rule as conditions of life, as factors which, fundamentally and essentially, must be present in the general economy of life (and must, therefore, be further enhanced if life is to be further enhanced) – he will suffer from such a view of things as from sickness.
My note: That these insights have existed for over a hundred years, and I have never heard of them, society has never heard of them, is a complete mystery to me. I suppose it only stands to show how each individual, though they carry thousands of years of evolutionary biology and cultural norms, still must discover their own way of life, uncover the truths and rules by which to live.
Part Two: The Free Spirit
24 – Oversimplification
O sancta simplicitas! (Holy simplicity!) In what strange simplification and falsification man lives! … How we have made everything around us clear and free and easy and simple!
My note: But is it not by necessity that we simplify the world? We can only hold 7 digits in our finds to call our friends on the phone, so how can we not simplify things? I suppose the warning is against oversimplification – much as we reduce individuals into political ideologies and judge them based on that absurdly wide category. But it is an equal impossibility to understand each individual’s political view while trying to make decisions as a political leader. Perhaps rather, blessed are those who reduce the rules and guidelines for life into a meal that can be swallowed in one sitting, and no more complex.
Take care, philosophers and friends, of knowledge, and beware of martyrdom! Of suffering “for the truth’s sake”! Even of defending yourselves! It spoils all the innocence and fine neutrality of your conscience; it makes you headstrong against objections.
No philosopher so far has been proved right.
in the footnote, a note of Nietzsche’s in the 1880s: “A very popular error: having the courage of one’s convictions; rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one’s convictions!!!“
Cynicism is the only form in which base sourls approach honesty; and the higher man must listen closely to every coarse or subtle cynicism.
28 – Tempo of language
rococo – French architecture style ~1720
Independence is for the very few; it is a privilege of the strong. And whoever attempts it even with the best right but without inner constraint proves that he is probably not only strong, but also daring to the point of recklessness.
Our highest insights must – and should – sound like follies and sometimes like crimes when they are heard without permission by those who are not predisposed and predestined for them.
exoteric – suitable for or communicated to the general public.
There are heights of the soul from which even tragedy ceases to look tragic.
Risk trying even what is artificial – as the real artists of life do.
My thoughts on this: This is one of those sentences that takes hours to set in, and after long meditation you see the far reaching aspects of such a thought. Essentially Nietzsche is calling out the hypocrisy of “genuine” artists that claim their work is purely original. Perhaps it is even more powerful of a risk to pretend to be something you are not – and by doing so, become something better than you were before. This is a reaching out, a pushing forward. People are often afraid of appearing fake, and this is the reason so many people resonate with The Catcher in the Rye, because everyone is faking. Nietzsche here instead takes command of the faking, and sees it as a tool to create something that has never existed.
32 – Value of Action
During prehistorical times – the value or disvalue of an action was derived from its consequences.
The decisive value of an action lies precisely in what is unintentional in it, while everything about it that is intentional, everything about it that can be seen, known, “conscious”, still belongs to its surface and skin – which, like every skin, betrays something but conceals even more.
My note: Secondary and tertiary after effects of an action must be taking into account. Good intentions do not absolve us the negative results of “right” action. For example, the “war on drugs” left thousands of families without fathers because they were thrown in jail for possession and use. The aftereffects of such an action were likely far worse than the straightforward drug use would have been.
38 – French Revolution
Something might be true while being harmful and dangerous in the highest degree.
Perhaps hardness and cunning furnish more favorable conditions for the origin of the strong, independent spirit and philosopher than that gentle, fine, conciliatory good-naturedness.
Every profound spirit [i.e. person, idea] needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is growing continually, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow, interpretation of every word, every step, every sign of life he gives.
My thoughts: Don’t be surprised when your words are misinterpreted and misused against you. Perhaps you find a way instead to embrace the fact that you are a mystery to others and somehow use it to your advantage.
One has to test oneself to see that one is destined for independence and command – and do it at the right time. One should not dodge one’s tests, though they may be the most dangerous game one could play and are the tests that are taken in the end before no witness or judge but ourselves.
One must know how to conserve oneself: the hardest test of independence.
How should there be a “common good”! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value.
They will be free, very free spirits, these philosophers of the future.
What they [Nietzsche refers to “them” as levelers, the opposite of new philosophers] would like to strive for with all their powers is the universal green-pasture happiness of the herd, with security, lack of danger, comfort, and an easier life for everyone; the two songs and doctrines which they repeat most often are “equality of rights” and “sympathy for all that suffers” – and suffering itself they take for something that must be abolished. PP We opposite men, having opened our eyes and conscience to the question where and how the plant “man” has so far grown most vigorously to a height – we think that this has happened every time under the opposite conditions, that to this end the dangerousness of his situation must first grow to the point of enormity, his power of invention and simulation (his “spirit”) had to develop under prolonged pressure and constraint into refinement and audacity, his life-will had to be enhanced into an unconditional power-will. We think that hardness, forcefulness, slavery, danger in the alley and the heart, life in hiding, stoicism, the art of experiment and devilry of every kind, that everything evil, terrible, tyrannical in man, everything in him that is kin to beasts of prey and serpents, serves the enhancement of the species “man” as much as its opposite does.
My thoughts on this passage: Its not often you’ll hear something like this in normal conversation, and the reason I love reading. It is challenging. That said, I disagree that inventive spirits by necessity grow in adversity – it seems that instead the most creative types of spirits grow in times of stability and times of boredom.
[new philosophers are] full of malice against the lures of dependence that lie hidden in honors, or money, or offices, or enthusiasms of the senses; grateful even to need and vacillating sickness because they always rid us from some rule and its “prejudice,” grateful to god, devil, sheep, and worm in us; curious to a vice, investigators to the point of cruelty, with uninhibited fingers for the unfathomable, with teeth and stomachs for the most indigestible, ready for every feat that requires a sense of acuteness and acute senses, ready for every venture, thanks to an excess of “free will,” with fore- and back-souls into whose ultimate intentions nobody can look so easily, with fore- and backgrounds which no foot is likely to explore to the end; concealed under cloaks of light, conquerors even if we look like heirs and prodigals, arrangers and collectors from morning till late, misers of our riches and our crammed drawers, economical in learning and forgetting, inventive in chemas, occasionally proud of tables of categories, occasionally pendants, occasionally night owls of work even in broad daylight; yes, when it is necessary even scarecrows – and today it is necessary; namely, insofar as we are born, sworn, jealous friends of solitude, of our own most profound, most midnightly, most middaily solitude: that is the type of man we are, we free spirits! And perhaps you have something of this, too, you that are coming? you new philosophers?-
Part Three: What is Religious?
Perhaps nothing in Christianity or Buddhism is as venerable as their art of teaching even the lowliest how to place themselves through piety in an illusory higher order of things and thus to maintain their contentment with the real order, in which their life is hard enough – and precisely this hardness is necessary.
The sovereign religions we have had so far are among the chief causes that have kept the type “man” on a lower rung – they have preserved too much of what ought to perish.
Part Four: Epigrams and Interludes
Eo ipso – by that very fact
Many a peacock hides his peacock tail from all eyes – and calls that his pride.
A man with spirit is unbearable if he does not also have at least two other things: gratitude and cleanliness.
Under peaceful conditions a warlike man sets upon himself.
92 – Don’t sacrifice yourself
Who has not, for the sake of his good reputation – sacrificed himself once?
93 – Don’t be too affable
Affability contains no hatred of men, but for that very reason too much contempt for men.
The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us.
One seeks a midwife for this thoughts, another someone whom he can help: origin of a good conversation.
Our vanity desires that what we do best should be considered what is hardest for us. Concerning the origin of many a morality.
152 – red pill blue pill?
“Where the tree of knowledge stands, there is always Paradise”: thus speak the oldest and the youngest serpents.
Whatever is done from love always occurs beyond good and evil.
The vanity of others offends our taste only when it offends our vanity.
179 – fate
The consequences of our actions take hold of us, quite indifferent to our claim that meanwhile we have “improved”.
The high spirits of kindness may look like malice.
Part Five: Natural History of Morals
[philosophers] wanted to supply a rational foundation for morality – and every philosopher so far has believed that he has provided such a foundation. Morality itself, however, was accepted as “given”.
There is something in the morality of Plato that does not really belong to Plato but is merely encountered in his Philosophy – one might say, in spite of Plato: namely, the Socrates for which he was really too noble. “Nobody wants to do harm to himself, therefore all that is bad is done involuntarily. For the bad do harm to themselves: this they would not do if they knew that the bad is bad. Hence the bad are bad only because of an error; if one removes the error, one necessarily make them – good.”
This type of inference smells of the rabble that sees nothing in bad actions but the unpleasant consequences and really judges, “it is stupid to do what is bad,” while “good” is taken without further ado to be identical with “useful and agreeable.” In the case of every moral utilitarianism one may immediately infer the same origin and follow one’s nose: one will rarely go astray.
Involuntarily, parents turn children into something similar to themselves – they call that “education”.
“Moral hypocrisy of those commanding.” – They know no other way to protect themselves against their bad conscience than to pose as the executors of more ancient or higher commands (of ancestors, the constitution, of right, the laws, or even God).
The appearance of one who commands unconditionally strikes these herd-animal Europeans as an immense comfort and salvation from a gradually intolerable pressure, as was last attested in a major way by the effect of Napoleon’s appearance. The history of Napoleon’s reception is almost the history of the higher happiness attained by this whole century in its most valuable human beings and moments.
An act of pity, for example, was not considered either good or bad, moral or immoral, in the best period of the Romans.
Fear of the neighbor creates new perspectives of moral valuation. Certain strong and dangerous drives, like an enterprising spirit, foolhardiness, vengefulness, craftiness, rapacity, and lust to rule, … are branded as immoral and abandoned to slander.
High and independent spirituality, the will to stand alone, even a powerful reason are experienced as dangers; everything that elevates an individual above the herd and intimidates the neighbor is henceforth called evil; and the fair, modest, submissive, conforming mentality, the mediocrity of desires attains moral designations and honors.
They are at one with the lot in their thorough and instinctive hostility to every other form of society except that of the autonomous herd (even to the point of repudiating the very concepts of “master” and “servant” – ni dieu ni maitre runs a socialist formula). They are at one in their tough resistance to every special claim, every special right and privilege (which means in the last analysis, every right: for once all are equal nobody needs “rights” anymore). … They are at one, the lot of them, in the cry and the impatience of pity, in their deadly hatred of suffering generally, in their almost feminine inability to remain spectators, to let someone suffer.
Part Six: We Scholars
references the enlightenment
A philosopher demands of himself a judgement, a Yes, or No, not about the sciences but about life and the value of life – that he is reluctant to come to believe that he has a right, or even a duty, to such a judgement, and must seek his way to this right, and faith only from the most comprehensive – perhaps most disturbing and destructive – experiences, and frequently hesitates, doubts, and lapses into silence.
But the genuine philosopher – as it seems to us, my friends? – lives “unphilosophically” and “unwisely,” about all imprudently, and feels the burden and the duty of a hundred attempts and temptations of life – he risks himself constantly, he plays the wicked game.
206 – N describes the “scientific” and “scholar”
What not to be:
Let us look more closely: what is the scientific man? To begin with, a type of man that is not noble, with the virtues of a type of man that is not noble, which is to say, a type that does not dominate and is neither authoritative nor self-sufficient: he has industriousness, patient acceptance of his place in rank and file, evenness and moderation in his abilities and needs, an instinct for his e1quals and for what they need; for example, that bit of independence and green pasture without which there is not quiet work, that claim to honor and recognition (which first of all presupposes literal recognition and recognizability), that sunshine of a good name, that constant attestation of his value and utility which is needed to overcome again and again the internal mistrust which is the sediment in the hearts of all dependent men and herd animals.
207 – N describes an “objective person”
put a halt to the exaggerated manner in which the “unselfing” and depersonalization of the spirit is being celebrated nowadays as if it were the goal itself.
he accepts everything that comes his way … His love is forced, his hatred artificial … no longer knows how to affirm or negate; he does not command, neither does he destroy … The objective man is an instrument, easily injured … a man without substance and content, a “selfless” man.
208 – Negative aspects of skeptics
soporific – causing or tending to cause sleep
[skeptics] no longer know independence of decisions and the intrepid sense of pleasure in willing – they doubt the “freedom of the will” even in their dreams.
[skepticism leads to] paralysis of the will
209 – Positive aspects of skepticism
The skepticism despises and seizes; it undermines and takes possession; it does not believe but does not lose itself in the process; it give the spirit dangerous freedom, but it is severe on the heart.
Now, as an intrepid eye, now as the courage and hardness of analysis, as the tough will to undertake dangerous journeys of exploration and spiritualized North Pole expeditions under desolate and dangerous skies.
They admit to a pleasure in saying No and in taking things apart, and to a certain levelheaded cruelty that knows how to handle a knife surely and subtlety, even when the heart bleeds.
Critical discipline and every habit that is conducive to cleanliness and severity in matters of the spirit will be demanded by these philosophers not only of themselves: they could display them as their kind of jewels.
211 – True philosophers vs. philosophical laborers
[Genuine philosophers have been (past tense)] critic and skeptic and dogmatist and historian and also poet and collector and traveler and solver of riddles and moralist and seer and “free spirit” and almost everything in order to pass through the whole range of human values and value feelings and to be able to see with many different eyes and consciences, from a height and into every distance, from the depths into every height, from a nook into every expanse. But all these are merely preconditions of his task: this task itself demands something different – it demands that he create values.
Genuine philosophers are commanders and legislators: they say, “thus it shall be!“
The philosopher, being of necessity a man of tomorrow, has always found himself in contradiction to today: … like disagreeable fools and dangerous question marks, have found their task, their hard, unwanted, inescapable task, but eventually also the greatness of their task, in being the bad conscience of their time.
He would even determine value and rank in accordance with how much and how many things one could bear and take upon himself, how far one could extend his responsibility.
Philosopher’s ideal, strength of will, hardness, and the capacity for long-range decisions must belong to the concept of “greatness”.
“equality of rights” could all too easily be changed into equality in violating rights.
And the philosopher will betray something of his own ideal when he posits: “He shall be greatest who can be loneliest, the most concealed, the most deviant, the human being beyond good and evil, the master of his virtues, he that is overrich in will. Precisely this shall be called greatness: being capable of being as manifold as whole, as ample as full.“
Kaufmann’s footnote: “A person is thought to be great souled if he claims much and deserves much [as Socrates did in the Apology when he said he deserved the greatest honor Athens could bestow] … He claims less than he deserves is small-souled … The great-souled man is justified in despising other people – his estimates are correct; but most proud men have no good ground for their pride … He is fond of conferring benefits, but ashamed to receive them, because, the former is a mark of superiority and the latter of infer4iority… It is also a characteristic of the great-souled men never to ask help from others, or only with reluctance, but to render aid willingly; and to be haughty towards men of position and fortune, but courteous towards those of moderate station … He must be open both in love and in hate, since concealment shows timidity; and care more for the truth than for what people will think; … he is outspoken and frank, except when speaking with ironical self depreciation, as he does to common people … He does not bear a grudge, for it is not a mark of greatness of soul to recall things against people, especially the wrongs they have done you, but rather to overlook them. He is… not given to speaking evil himself, even of his enemies, except when he deliberately intends to give offence … Such then being the great-souled man, the corresponding character on the side of deficiency is the small souled man, and on that of excess the vain man.” (Nicomachean Ethics IV.3)
The highest problems repulse everyone mercilessly who dares approach them without being predestined for their solution by the height and power of his spirituality.
Part Seven: Our Virtues
It pleases them deep down in their hearts that there are standards before which those overflowing with the wealth and privileges of the spirit are their equals: they fight for the “equality of all men before God” and almost need faith in God just for that. They include the most vigorous foes of atheism.
But anyone who has really made sacrifices knows that he wanted and got something in return – perhaps something of himself in return for something of himself – that he gave up here in order to have more there, perhaps in order to be more or at least to feel that he was “more”.
Like a rider on a steed that flies forward, we drop the reins before the infinite, we modern men, like semi-barbarians – and reach our bliss only where we are most – in danger.
225 Suffering and well-being
eudaemonism – happiness, well being
You want, if possible – and there is no more insane “if possible” – to abolish suffering.
Well-being as you understand it – that is no goal, that seems to us an end, a state that soon makes man ridiculous and contemptible – that makes his destruction desirable.
My note: establishment of well being and reduction of suffering are only secondary values.
The discipline of suffering, of great suffering – do you not know that only this discipline has created all enhancements of man so far? That tension of the soul in unhappiness which cultivates its strength, its shudders face to face with great ruin, its inventiveness and courage in enduring, persevering, interpreting, and exploiting suffering, and whatever has been granted to it of profundity, secret, mask, spirit, cunning, greatness – was it not granted to it through suffering, through the discipline of great suffering? In man creature and creator are united: in man there is material, fragment, excess, clay, dirt, nonsense, chaos; but in man there is also creator, form-giver, hammer hardness, spectator divinity, and seventh day: do you understand this contrast?
But to say it once more: there are higher problems than all problems of pleasure, pain, and pity; and every philosophy that stops with them is a naivete.
It is probably that we shall be misunderstood and mistaken for others on this account: what matter?
“Stupid to the point of holiness,” they say in Russia.
That what is fair for one cannot by any means for that reason alone also be fair for others; … there is an order of rank between man and man, hence also between morality and morality.
229 – Cruelty
Part Eight: Peoples and Fatherlands
247 – writing style – read it aloud.
Kaufmann’s footnote: The point of the title [beyond good and evil] is not that the author considers himself beyond good and evil in the crudest sense, but it is in part that he is beyond saying such silly things as, “the Jews are good” or “the Jews are evil.”
“Admit no more new Jews!” – thus commands the instinct of a people whose type is still weak and indefinite, so it could easily be blurred or extinguished by a stronger race.
Bismarck’s famous phrase, “It is not by speeches and majority resolutions that the great questions of the time are decided – that was the mistake of 1848 and 1849 – but by iron and blood.”
Part Nine: What is Noble
When, for example, an aristocracy, like that of France at the beginning of the Revolution, throws away its privileges with a subline disgust and sacrifices itself to an extravagance of its own moral feelings, that is corruption.
Life itself is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of what is alien and weaker; suppression, hardness, imposition of one’s own forms, incorporation and at least, at its mildest, exploitation.
Everywhere people are now raving, even under scientific disguises, about coming conditions of society in which “the exploitative aspect” will be removed. … “Exploitation” does not belong to a corrupt or imperfect and primitive society: it belongs to the essence of what lives, as a basic organic function; it is a consequence of the will to power, which is after all the will of life.
master morality and slave morality
the good human being has to be undangerous in the slaves way of thinking.
A species comes to be through the long fight with essentially constant unfavorable conditions. Conversely, we know from the experience of breeders that species accorded superabundant nourishment and quite generally extra protection and care soon tend most strongly toward variations of the type and become rich in marvels and monstrosities (including monstrous vices).
egoism belongs to the nature of a noble soul
What, in the end, is common?
Words are acoustical signs for concepts; concepts, however are more or less definite image signs for often recurring and associated sensations, for groups of sensations. To understand one another, it is not enough that one use the same words; one also has to use the same words for the same species of inner experience; in the end one has to have one’s experience in common.
Therefore the human beings of one people understand one other better than those belonging to different people even if they employ the same language; or rather when human beings have long lived together under similar conditions (of climate, soil, danger, needs, and work), what results from this is people who “understand one another” – a people.
Whoever knows the heart will guess how poor, stupid, helpless, arrogant, blundering, more apt to destroy than to save is even the best and profoundest love!
There are “scientific men” who employ science because being scientific suggest that a human being is superficial – they want to seduce others to this false inference.
Signs of nobility: never thinking of degrading our duties into duties for everybody; not wanting to delegate, to share, one’s own responsibility; counting one’s privileges and their exercise among one’s duties.
274 – Waiting
Men who are waiting, scarcely knowing in what way they are waiting, much less that they are waiting in vain. Occasionally the call that awakens – that accident which gives the “permission” to act – comes too late, when the best youth and strength for action has already been used up by sitting still; and many have found to their horror when they “leaped up” that their limbs had gone to sleep and their spirit had becomes too heavy. “It is too late,” they said to themselves, having lost their faith in themselves and henceforth forever useless.
footnote: c.f. Zarathustra, Part II: “the greatest events – they are not our loudest but our stillest hours. Not around the inventors of new noise, but around the inventors of new values does the world revolve; it revolves inaudibly” … We are in no position to tell who among our contemporaries is great.
Among artists and scholars today one finds enough of those who betray by their works how they are impelled by a profound desire for what is noble; but just this need for what is noble is fundamentally different from the needs of the noble soul itself and actually the eloquent and dangerous mark of its lack.
The noble soul has reverence for itself.
A philosopher – is a human being who constantly experiences, sees, hears, suspects, hopes, and dreams extraordinary things; who is struck by his own thoughts as from outside.