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About Friedrich Nietzsche



Friedrich Nietzsche.(1844 – 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history.   Wikipedia

References:   Encyclopaedia Britannica    |   Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

  

Friedrich Nietzsche (quotes)

Principles for living

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Truth

  • All truth is simple… is that not doubly a lie?  
  • Belief in the truth commences with the doubting of all those “truths” we once believed.
  • Faith means not wanting to know what is true.
  • On the mountains of truth, you can never climb in vain:  either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow. 
  • One’s belief in truth begins with doubt of all truths one has believed hitherto.
  • Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.
  • The truth is ugly: we have art so as not to perish from the truth.
  • There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths.
  • There are no facts, only interpretations.
  • Truth will have no gods before it.  The belief in truth begins with the doubt of all truths in which one has previously believed.
  • We have art in order not to die of the truth.
  • Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon absolute truth.
  • All things are subject to interpretation – whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.
  • Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.
  • There are various eyes. Even the Sphinx has eyes: and as a result, there are various truths, and as a result there is no truth.
  • We should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.
  • All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses.
  • It is good to express a thing twice right at the outset and so to give it a right foot and also a left one. Truth can surely stand on one leg, but with two it will be able to walk and get around.
  • It is not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, that the lover of knowledge is reluctant to step into its waters.
  • 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.
  • What then in the last resort are the truths of mankind? They are the irrefutable errors of mankind.
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Learning

  • He who would learn to fly one day must learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.
  • One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil.  
  • The doer alone learneth.
  • In large states, public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad.
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Wisdom and knowledge

  • Wisdom sets bounds even to knowledge.  
  • Better know nothing than half-know many things.  
  • Knowledge kills action; action requires the veils of illusion.
  • There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.
  • Faith means not wanting to know what is true.
  • Knowledge kills action; action requires the veils of illusion.
  • The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.  
  • 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.
  • It is not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, that the lover of knowledge is reluctant to step into its waters.
  • Does wisdom perhaps appear on the earth as a raven which is inspired by the smell of carrion?
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Living dangerously

  • A heart full of courage and cheerfulness needs a little danger from time to time, or the world gets unbearable.
  • Believe me! The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously!
  • For — believe me — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is — to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into unchartered seas!   
  • The devotion of the greatest is to encounter risk and danger, and play dice for death.  
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Beauty

  • The voice of beauty speaks softly; it creeps only into the most fully awakened souls.  
  • Nothing is beautiful, only man: on this piece of naiveté 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.
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Uniqueness

  • 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 marvellously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.
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Gratitude

  • The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.
  • There are slavish souls who carry their appreciation for favours done them so far that they strangle themselves with the rope of gratitude.
  • Great indebtedness does not make men grateful, but vengeful; and if a little charity is not forgotten, it turns into a gnawing worm.
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Happiness

  • Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard’s rustling, a breath, a breeze, a moment’s glance – it is little that makes the best happiness.
  • There is one thing one has to have: either a soul that is cheerful by nature, or a soul made cheerful by work, love, art, and knowledge.  
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Love

  • Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.
  • Love is not consolation.
  • Love matches, so called, have illusion for their father and need for their mother.
  • Love, too, has to be learned.
  • The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.  
  • There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.  
  • Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil.
  • We love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving.
  • The demand to be loved is the greatest of all arrogant presumptions.
  • Love is not consolation. It is light.
  • What do I care about the purring of one who cannot love, like the cat?
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Friendship

  • A friend should be a master at guessing and keeping still: you must not want to see everything.
  • A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.
  • The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.  
  • Shared joys make a friend, not shared sufferings.
  • Rejoicing in our joy, not suffering over our suffering, makes someone a friend.
  • Sometimes we owe a friend to the lucky circumstance that we give him no cause for envy.
  • Go up close to your friend, but do not go over to him! We should also respect the enemy in our friend.
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Responsibility

  • Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves.  
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Non-conformity

  • The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.  If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened.  But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
  • 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.  
  • They have turned the wolf into a dog and man himself into the man’s best domesticated animal.
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Following one’s own path

  • This is my way; where is yours? — Thus, I answered those who asked me ‘the way.’ For the way—that does not exist.
  • You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
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Giving

  • This is the manner of noble souls: they do not want to have anything for nothing; least of all, life. Whoever is of the mob wants to live for nothing; we others, however, to whom life gave itself, we always think about what we might best give in return… One should not wish to enjoy where one does not give joy.  
  • He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either.  
  • This is the hardest of all: to close the open hand out of love, and keep modest as a giver.
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Stillness

  • Our greatest experiences are our quietest moments.
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Chaos

  • One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.
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Loving your fate

  • But if fate, as a limit-determination, still seems more powerful than free will, there are two things we should not forget: first that fate is only an abstract concept, a force without matter; that for the individual there is only an individual fate, that fate is nothing else but a chain of events; that man, as soon as he acts, creates his own events, determines his own fate; that, in general, events, insofar as they affect him, are, consciously or unconsciously, brought about by himself and must suit him. The activity of man, however, does not first begin with birth. But already with the embryo and perhaps–who can be certain here–already with his parents and forefathers. All of you who believe in the immortality of the soul, unless you are willing to allow the development of the mortal out of something immortal or are willing to grant that the soul flies about in thin air until it is at last lodged in a body, must also believe in the pre-existence of the soul. The Hindu says: Fate is nothing but the acts we have committed in a prior state of our being. 
  • Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today.
  • Free will appears unfettered, deliberate; it is boundlessly free, wandering, the spirit. But fate is a necessity; unless we believe that world history is a dream-error, the unspeakable sorrows of mankind fantasies, and that we ourselves are but the toys of our fantasies. Fate is the boundless force of opposition against free will. Free will without fate is just as unthinkable as spirit without reality, good without evil. Only antithesis creates the quality.
  • Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called “the love of your fate.” Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment-not discouragement-you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.  Joseph Campbell
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Open mindedness

  • A man who is very busy seldom changes his opinions.
  • One often contradicts an opinion when what is uncongenial is really the tone in which it was conveyed.
  • One sticks to an opinion because he prides himself on having come to it on his own, and another because he has taken great pains to learn it and is proud to have grasped it: and so both do so out of vanity. 
  • The snake that cannot shed its skin perishes. So do the spirits who are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be spirit.
  • It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!
  • We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.
  • Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.
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Seeing all sides

  • To learn to see- to accustom the eye to calmness, to patience, and to allow things to come up to it; to defer judgment, and to acquire the habit of approaching and grasping an individual case from all sides. This is the first preparatory schooling of intellectuality. One must not respond immediately to a stimulus; one must acquire a command of the obstructing and isolating instincts.  
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Reflection

  • Strong and well-constituted people digest their experiences–deed and misdeeds–just as they digest their meats, even when they have some tough morsels to swallow. 
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Goals

  • By losing your goal – you have lost your way, too!
  • Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.
  • What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal.
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Action

  • A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions–as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.  
  • He who wills believes with a fair amount of certainty that will and action are somehow one; he ascribes the success, the carrying out of the willing, to the will itself, and thereby enjoys an increase of the sensation of power which accompanies all success.
  • Knowledge kills action; action requires the veils of illusion.
  • The doer alone learneth.
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Finding meaning in suffering

  • To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
  • Everyone who has ever built anywhere a new heaven first found the power thereto in his own hell.
  • It is impossible to suffer without making someone pay for it; every complaint already contains revenge.
  • I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.
  • It is always consoling to think of suicide: in that way, one gets through many a bad night.
  • Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.
  • What really raises one’s indignation against suffering is not suffering intrinsically, but the senselessness of suffering.
  • Shared joys make a friend, not shared sufferings.
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Thinking

  • All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
  • Many a man fails as an original thinker simply because his memory it too good.
  • Never trust a thought that didn’t come by walking.
  • We do not belong to those who only get their thought from books, or at the prompting of books, — it is our custom to think in the open air, walking, leaping, climbing, or dancing on lonesome mountains by preference, or close to the sea, where even the paths become thoughtful. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings – always darker, emptier and simpler.
  • I still live, I still think: I still have to live, for I still have to think.
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Purpose

  • He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.  
  • To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.
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Pleasure and desire

  • What destroys a man more quickly than to work, think and feel without inner necessity, without any deep personal desire, without pleasure – as a mere automaton of duty?
  • Live so that thou mayest desire to live again – that is thy duty – for in any case thou wilt live again! 
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Trust and distrust

  • I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.   
  • Joyous distrust is a sign of health. Everything absolute belongs to pathology.  
  • Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.
  • Never trust a thought that didn’t come by walking.
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Play

  • In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.
  • In the true man, there is a child concealed – who wants to play.
  • The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason, he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.
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Brevity

  • It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what other men say in whole books – what other men do not say in whole books.
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Simplicity

  • Truly, whoever possesses little is that much less possessed: praised be a little poverty!  
  • Possessions are generally diminished by possession.
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Experimentation

  • No, life has not disappointed me. On the contrary, I find it truer, more desirable and mysterious every year — ever since the day when the great liberator came to me: the idea that life could be an experiment of the seeker for knowledge — and not a duty, not a calamity, not trickery. 
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Being close to nature

  • We must remain as close to the flowers, the grass, and the butterflies as the child is who is not yet so much taller than they are.  We adults, on the other hand, have outgrown them and have to lower ourselves to stoop down to them.  It seems to me that the grass hates us when we confess our love for it.  Whoever would partake of all good things must understand how to be small at times. 
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Experience

  • To use the same words is not a sufficient guarantee of understanding; one must use the same words for the same genus of inward experience; ultimately one must have one’s experiences in common.
  • Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by those one has had.
  • Experience, as a desire for experience, does not come off. We must not study ourselves while having an experience.
  • Strong and well-constituted people digest their experiences–deed and misdeeds–just as they digest their meats, even when they have some tough morsels to swallow. 
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The heart

  • One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.   
  • Many find their heart when they have lost their head.
  • Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings – always darker, emptier and simpler.
  • The ‘kingdom of Heaven’ is a condition of the heart – not something that comes ‘upon the earth’ or ‘after death.’
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Strength (verse weakness)

  • What is bad? All that proceeds from weakness.
  • What does not kill us makes us stronger.  
  • Strong and well-constituted people digest their experiences–deed and misdeeds–just as they digest their meats, even when they have some tough morsels to swallow. 
  • Invisible threads are the strongest ties.
  • First principle: one must need strength, otherwise one will never have it.
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Things Nietzsche loved

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Art

  • Art is essentially the affirmation, the blessing, and the deification of existence.  
  • Art is the proper task of life.  
  • For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.  
  • The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.
  • The truth is ugly: we have art so as not to perish from the truth.
  • We have art in order not to die of the truth.
  • Art raises its head where creeds relax.
  • An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.
  • 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.
  • When art dresses in worn-out material it is most easily recognized as art.
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Music

  • Without music, life would be a mistake.  
  • In music the passions enjoy themselves.
  • Is Wagner a human being at all? Is he not rather a disease? He contaminates everything he touches – he has made music sick.
  • Sing me a new song; the world is transfigured; all the Heavens are rejoicing.
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Walking

  • All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
  • Never trust a thought that didn’t come by walking.
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Dancing

  • Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?  
  • And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.  
  • 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.
  • I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.
  • We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
  • 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.’
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Things that can limit us

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Busyness and striving

  • A man who is very busy seldom changes his opinions.
  • Living in a constant chase after gain compels people to expend their spirit to the point of exhaustion.
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Judgement

  • 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 can everyone do? Praise and blame. This is human virtue, this is human madness.
  • 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. 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.
  • Whoever has witnessed another’s ideal becomes his inexorable judge and as it were his evil conscience.
  • If there is something to pardon in everything, there is also something to condemn.
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Boredom

  • Against boredom even the gods struggle in vain.
  • Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves.
  • 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. 
  • To escape boredom, man works either beyond what his usual needs require, or else he invents play, that is, work that is designed to quiet no need other than that for working in general.  
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Faith

  • A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.  
  • Faith means not wanting to know what is true.
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Arrogance and pride

  • 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.
  • He that humbleth himself wishes to be exalted.  
  • Our vanity is hardest to wound precisely when our pride has just been wounded.
  • Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called ‘Ego’.
  • Nothing has been purchased more dearly than the little bit of reason and sense of freedom which now constitutes our pride.
  • The demand to be loved is the greatest of all arrogant presumptions.
  • Egoism is the very essence of a noble soul.
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Equality

  • 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.
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Shame

  • The Refinement of Shame. People are not ashamed to think something foul, but they are ashamed when they think these foul thoughts are attributed to them.
  • Everyone needs a sense of shame, but no one needs to feel ashamed.
  • What do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame.
  • What is the seal of attained freedom?   No longer being ashamed in front of oneself.
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Excess

  • The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness.
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Resentment

  • Nothing on earth consumes a man more than the passion of resentment.
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Hope

  • In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man’s torments.
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The love of power

  • 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.
  • The world itself is the will to power – and nothing else! And you yourself are the will to power – and nothing else!
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Lying

  • The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.
  • All truth is simple… is that not doubly a lie?  
  • Success has always been a great liar.
  • The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying to others is relatively an exception.
  • No one 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 lie is a condition of life.
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Insanity

  • And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.  
  • A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. 
  • Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs it is the rule.  
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The shadow in us

  • I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.
  • The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us.
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Evil

  • Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil.
  • The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us.
  • Free will appears unfettered, deliberate; it is boundlessly free, wandering, the spirit. But fate is a necessity; unless we believe that world history is a dream-error, the unspeakable sorrows of mankind fantasies, and that we ourselves are but the toys of our fantasies. Fate is the boundless force of opposition against free will. Free will without fate is just as unthinkable as spirit without reality, good without evil. Only antithesis creates the quality.
  • In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man’s torments.
  • In the last analysis, even the best man is evil: in the last analysis, even the best woman is bad.
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Illusion

  • There is an old illusion. It is called good and evil.
  • Knowledge kills action; action requires the veils of illusion.
  • Love matches, so called, have illusion for their father and need for their mother.
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God and religion

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God

  • Is man merely a mistake of God’s? Or God merely a mistake of man?
  • I cannot believe in a God that wants to be praised all the time.
  • I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.
  • God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives; who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves?
  • There cannot be a God because if there were one, I could not believe that I was not He.
  • 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.
  • God is a thought who makes crooked all that is straight.
  • There is not enough love and goodness in the world to permit giving any of it away to imaginary beings.
  • A subject for a great poet would be God’s boredom after the seventh day of creation.
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Religion

  • After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands. 
  • In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.  
  • In heaven all the interesting people are missing.
  • The word ‘Christianity’ is already a misunderstanding – in reality there has been only one Christian, and he died on the Cross.
  • Every church is a stone on the grave of a god-man: it does not want him to rise up again under any circumstances.
  • The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.
  • There are people who want to make men’s lives more difficult for no other reason than the chance it provides them afterwards to offer their prescription for alleviating life; their Christianity, for instance.
  • There is not enough religion in the world even to destroy religion.
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Women and marriage

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Women

  • Ah, women. They make the highs higher and the lows more frequent.  
  • Behind all their personal vanity, women themselves always have an impersonal contempt for woman.
  • In revenge and in love woman is more barbaric than man is.  
  • The same passions in man and woman nonetheless differ in tempo; hence man and woman do not cease misunderstanding one another.
  • Woman was God’s second mistake.
  • Fathers and sons are much more considerate of one another than mothers and daughters.
  • The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason, he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.
  • 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.
  • If a woman possesses manly virtues one should run away from her; and if she does not possess them she runs away from herself.
  • It is the most sensual men who need to flee women and torment their bodies.
  • In the last analysis, even the best man is evil: in the last analysis, even the best woman is bad.
  • For the woman, the man is a means: the end is always the child.
  • Women are considered deep – why? Because one can never discover any bottom to them. Women are not even shallow.
  • Genteel women suppose that those things do not really exist about which it is impossible to talk in polite company.
  • Stupid as a man, say the women: cowardly as a woman, say the men. Stupidity in a woman is unwomanly.
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Marriage

  • Marriage: that I call the will of two to create the one who is more than those who created it.   
  • When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.
  • It is not lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.
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Thoughts on …

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Virtue

  • Virtues are dangerous as vices insofar as they are allowed to rule over one as authorities and not as qualities one develops oneself.
  • What can everyone do? Praise and blame. This is human virtue, this is human madness.
  • If a woman possesses manly virtues one should run away from her; and if she does not possess them she runs away from herself.
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Memory

  • One must have a good memory to be able to keep the promises that one makes.
  • The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.
  • The existence of forgetting has never been proved:  We only know that some things don’t come to mind when we want them.
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Tradition

  • Every tradition grows ever more venerable – the more remote its origin, the more confused that origin is. The reverence due to it increases from generation to generation. The tradition finally becomes holy and inspires awe.
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Mastery

  • On this earth, one pays dearly for every kind of mastery . . . . For having a specialty one pays by also being the victim of this specialty. But you would have it otherwise — cheaper and fairer and above all more comfortable — isn’t that right, my dear contemporaries? 
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Belief

  • To him who feels himself preordained to contemplation and not to belief, all believers are too noisy and obtrusive; he guards against them.  
  • Whoever feels predestined to see and not to believe will find all believers too noisy and pushy: he guards against them.
  • One’s belief in truth begins with doubt of all truths one has believed hitherto.
  • Belief in the truth commences with the doubting of all those “truths” we once believed.
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Psychology

  • Idleness is the beginning of all psychology. What? Could it be that psychology is — a vice?
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Morality

  • Morality is neither rational nor absolute nor natural. The world has known many moral systems, each of which advances claims universality; all moral systems are therefore particular, serving a specific purpose for their propagators or creators, and enforcing a certain regime that disciplines human beings for social life by narrowing our perspectives and limiting our horizons. 
  • Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose.
  • Virtues are dangerous as vices insofar as they are allowed to rule over one as authorities and not as qualities one develops oneself.
  • To be ashamed of one’s immorality: that is a step on the staircase at whose end one is also ashamed of one’s morality.
  • Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual.
  • Fear is the mother of morality.
  • There are no moral phenomena at all, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena.
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Enemies

  • The life of the enemy. Whoever lives for the sake of combating an enemy has an interest in the enemy’s staying alive.
  • The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.  
  • You may have enemies whom you hate, but not enemies whom you despise. You must be proud of your enemy: then the success of your enemy shall be your success too.
  • But the worst enemy you can encounter will always be you, yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caves and woods.
  • How good bad music and bad reasons sound when we march against an enemy.
  • Go up close to your friend, but do not go over to him! We should also respect the enemy in our friend.
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Death

  • 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.
  • One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.
  • One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly.
  • When one does away with oneself one does the most estimable thing possible: one thereby almost deserves to live.
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The senses

  • All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses.  
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Problem solving

  • There are horrible people who, instead of solving a problem, tangle it up and make it harder to solve for anyone who wants to deal with it. Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
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Admiration and praise

  • There is an innocence in admiration; it is found in those to whom it has never yet occurred that they, too, might be admired someday.
  • Admiration for a quality or an art can be so strong that it deters us from striving to possess it.
  • Some are made modest by great praise, others insolent.
  • In praise, there is more obtrusiveness than in blame.
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Collective ego

  • When a hundred men stand together, each of them loses his mind and gets another one.
  • Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs it is the rule.  
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Science and philosophy

  • 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.
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Writing

  • The best author will be the one who is ashamed to become a writer.
  • A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.
  • Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood.
  • A great value of antiquity lies in the fact that its writings are the only ones that modern men still read with exactness.
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Words

  • I shall repeat a hundred times; we really ought to free ourselves from the seduction of words!
  • 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 uses the same words; one also has to use the same words for the same species of inner experiences; in the end one has to have one’s experiences in common.
  • Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon absolute truth.
  • It is the stillest words that bring the storm.
  • How charming it is that there are words and sounds: are not words and sounds rainbows and illusive bridges between things eternally separated?
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War

  • 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.
  • How good bad music and bad reasons sound when we march against an enemy.
  • You say it is the good cause that hallows even war? I say unto you: it is the good war that hallows any cause.
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More thoughts

  • A little poison now and then—maketh pleasant dreams.  
  • A matter that becomes clear ceases to concern us.
  • Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster.
  • Even the most beautiful scenery is no longer assured of our love after we have lived in it for three months, and some distant coast attracts our avarice: possessions are generally diminished by possession.
  • Every philosophy is the philosophy of some stage of life.
  • Every talent must unfold itself in fighting. 
  • Man is the cruelest animal. At tragedies, bullfights, and crucifixions he has so far felt best on earth; and when he invented hell for himself, behold, that was his heaven on earth.
  • Most people are far too much occupied with themselves to be malicious.
  • One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure. 
  • One’s own self is well hidden from one’s own self; of all mines of treasure, one’s own is the last to be dug up. 
  • Only where there are graves are there resurrections.  
  • Sex: a sweet poison only to the withered, but to the lion-willed the great cordial and the reverently reserved wine of wines. 
  • Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day. 
  • Some men are born posthumously. 
  • People who have given us their complete confidence believe that they have a right to ours. The inference is false, a gift confers no rights.
  • Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.  
  • That time does not run backward, that is its wrath; “That which was”–that is the name of the stone it cannot roll. 
  • The future influences the present just as much as the past. 
  • The more you let yourself go, the less others let you go. 
  • The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments. 
  • The small force that it takes to launch a boat into the stream should not be confused with the force of the stream that carries it along: but this confusion appears in nearly all biographies.
  • To win over certain people to something, it is only necessary to give it a gloss of love of humanity, nobility, gentleness, self- sacrifice — and there is nothing you cannot get them to swallow. 
  • When a man is ill his very goodness is sickly.  
  • Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation.
  • When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.
  • First learn to construct the parts properly before it ventures to fashion a great whole.
  • Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.
  • Winter, a bad guest, sitteth with me at home; blue are my hands with his friendly handshaking.  
  • Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions.
  • Fanatics are picturesque, mankind would rather see gestures than listen to reasons.
  • He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary.
  • I looked for great men, but all I found were the apes of their ideals.
  • It is easier to cope with a bad conscience than with a bad reputation.
  • In everything one thing is impossible: rationality.  
  • Whoever does not have a good father should procure one.
  • When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.
  • We hear only those questions for which we are in a position to find answers.
  • What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man.
  • It says nothing against the ripeness of a spirit that it has a few worms.
  • Wit is the epitaph of an emotion.
  • Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood.
  • What? You seek something? You wish to multiply yourself tenfold, a hundredfold? You seek followers? Seek zeros!
  • The desire to annoy no one, to harm no one, can equally well be the sign of a just as of an anxious disposition.
  • Mystical explanations are thought to be deep; the truth is that they are not even shallow.
  • There is nothing we like to communicate to others as much as the seal of secrecy together with what lies under it.
  • Existence really is an imperfect tense that never becomes a present.
  • Do whatever you will, but first be such as are able to will.
  • At times, one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.
  • Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it is even becoming mob.
  • There is a rollicking kindness that looks like malice.
  • The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it.
  • When one has a great deal to put into it a day has a hundred pockets.
  • Love matches, so called, have illusion for their father and need for their mother.
  • Whoever despises himself nonetheless respects himself as one who despises.
  • Whoever has provoked men to rage against him has always gained a party in his favor, too.
  • We do not hate as long as we still attach a lesser value, but only when we attach an equal or a greater value.
  • A great value of antiquity lies in the fact that its writings are the only ones that modern men still read with exactness.
  • In the course of history, men come to see that iron necessity is neither iron nor necessary.
  • Glance into the world just as though time were gone: and everything crooked will become straight to you.
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On a lighter note

  • It is very noble hypocrisy not to talk of one’s self.
  • Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders.  
  • In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.
  • A pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love.
  • Those who cannot understand how to put their thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of debate.
  • Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.
  • There cannot be a God because if there were one, I could not believe that I was not He.
  • ‘Evil men have no songs.’ How is it that the Russians have songs?
  • Anyone who has declared someone else to be an idiot, a bad apple, is annoyed when it turns out in the end that he isn’t.
  • Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day.
  • What do I care about the purring of one who cannot love, like the cat?
  • A subject for a great poet would be God’s boredom after the seventh day of creation.
  • The abdomen is the reason why man does not readily take himself to be a god.
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