About the book


Beyond Good and Evil draws on and expands the ideas of Nietzsche’s previous work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but with a more critical and polemical approach. In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche accuses past philosophers of lacking critical sense and blindly accepting dogmatic premises in their consideration of morality. The work moves into the realm beyond good and evil in the sense of leaving behind the traditional morality which Nietzsche subjects to a destructive critique in favour of what he regards as an affirmative approach that fearlessly confronts the perspectival nature of knowledge and the perilous condition of the modern individual.  Goodreads

Year published:  1886

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Quotes from the book

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Beyond Good and Evil (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Religion and philosophy are prejudiced towards the views of the philosopher or the preacher

  • But this is an old and everlasting story: what happened in old times with the Stoics still happens today, as soon as ever a philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise; philosophy is this tyrannical impulse itself, the most spiritual Will to Power, the will to creation of the world, the will to the causa prima.
  • The noble soul reveres itself.
  • It has gradually become clear to me what every great philosophy up till now has consisted of – namely, the confession of its originator, and a species of involuntary and unconscious autobiography; and moreover that the moral (or immoral) purpose in every philosophy has constituted the true vital germ out of which the entire plant has always grown.
  • Their [philosophers] thinking is, in fact, far less a discovery than a re-recognizing, a remembering, a return and a home-coming to a far-off, ancient common-household of the soul, out of which those ideas formerly grew: philosophizing is so far a kind of atavism of the highest order.
  • Every philosophy also concealsa philosophy; every opinion is also a hideout, every word also a mask.
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‘Free spirits’ of the modern age think for themselves

  • To him who feels himself preordained to contemplation and not to belief, all believers are too noisy and obtrusive; he guards against them.
  • Wisdom—seems to the rabble a kind of escape, a means and a trick for getting well out of a wicked game. But the genuine philosopher—as it seems to us, my friends?—lives ‘unphilosophically’ and ‘unwisely,’ above 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.
  • Every profound spirit needs a mask.
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We must strike out against the herd mentality

  • One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. Good is no longer good when one’s neighbour mouths it. And how should there be a common good! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.
  • It is the business of the very few to be independent; it is a privilege of the strong. And whoever attempts it, even with the best right, but without being OBLIGED to do so, proves that he is probably not only strong, but also daring beyond measure. 
  • The great periods of our life occur when we gain the courage to rechristen what is bad about us as what is best.
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Truth and thoughts are ever-changing

  • The strength of a person’s spirit would then be measured by how much ‘truth’ he could tolerate, or more precisely, to what extent he needs to have it diluted, disguised, sweetened, muted, falsified.
  • There is no such thing as moral phenomena, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena
  • To recognize untruth as a condition of life–that certainly means resisting accustomed value feelings in a dangerous way; and a philosophy that risks this would by that token alone place itself beyond good and evil.
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Those who hold power may define truths today, but when power shifts, so too might the definitions of morality, good and evil

  • 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.
  • He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.
  • A man who wills commands something within himself that renders obedience, or that he believes renders obedience.
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