A Nietzsche Reader (Penguin Classics)
Friedrich Nietzsche, R. J. Hollingdale
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The literary career of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) spanned less than twenty years, but no area of intellectual inquiry was left untouched by his iconoclastic genius. The philosopher who announced the death of God in The Gay Science (1882) and went on to challenge the Christian code of morality in Beyond Good and Evil (1886), grappled with the fundamental issues of the human condition in his own intense autobiography, Ecce Homo (1888). Most notorious of all, perhaps, his idea of the triumphantly transgressive übermann ('superman') is developed in the extreme, yet poetic words of Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883-92). Whether addressing conventional Western philosophy or breaking new ground, Nietzsche vastly extended the boundaries of nineteenth-century thought.
cloak of prudent silence, of geniality, of mildness and whatever else all those idealist-cloaks are called under which the incurable self-despisers, likewise the incurably vain, go about. Do not misunderstand me: out of such born enemies of the spirit there sometimes arises that rare piece of humanity which the people honours under the name of saint and wise man; out of such men there come those monsters of morality which make a great noise in the world, which make history – Saint Augustine is
the modern world in regard to all questions of origin. And this extends even into the apparently most objective domain of natural science and physiology […] * In regard to our problem […] it is of no small interest to establish that many of the chief traits by virtue of which the noble felt themselves to be human beings of a higher rank still shine through those words and roots which designate ‘good’. To be sure, they name themselves in perhaps the most frequent cases simply after their
men from working for a real improvement in their conditions by suspending and discharging in a palliative way the very passion which impels the discontented to action. [HA 148] 98 How metre beautifies. – Metre lays a veil over reality: it effectuates a certain artificiality of speech and unclarity of thinking; by means of the shadows it throws over thoughts it now conceals, now brings into prominence. As beautification requires shadows, so clarification requires ‘vagueness’. – Art makes
‘this could have happened differently’, and likewise gains pleasure or displeasure. Without the errors which are active in every psychical pleasure and displeasure a humanity would never have come into existence – whose fundamental feeling is and remains that man is the free being in a world of unfreedom, the eternal miracle worker whether he does good or ill, the astonishing exception, the superbeast and almost-god, the meaning of creation which cannot be thought away, the solution of the cosmic
hatred, for shame, for the lame, for the world – for it knows, oh it knows this world! You higher men, joy longs for you, joy the intractable, blissful – for your woe, you ill-constituted! All eternal joy longs for the ill-constituted. For all joy wants itself, therefore it also wants heart’s agony! O happiness! O pain! Oh break, heart! You higher men, learn this, learn that joy wants eternity, joy wants the eternity of all things, wants deep, deep, deep eternity! * Have you learned my song?