Human, All Too Human

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by Friedrich Nietzsche

Of First and Last Things[edit]

  • "Esteeming humble truths. It is the sign of a higher culture to esteem more highly the little, humble truths, those discovered by a strict method, rather than the gladdening and dazzling errors that originate in metaphysical and artistic ages and men. At first, one has scorn on his lips for humble truths [-] But truths that are hard won, certain, enduring, and therefore still of consequence for all further knowledge are the higher;..."
    • Aphorism 3
    • Source: Human, All Too Human
    • Translation: Marion Faber and Stephen Lehmann, ISBN 978-0-14-044617-3
  • "Here lies the antagonism between the individual regions of science and philosophy. The latter wants, as art does, to bestow on life and action the greatest possible profundity and significance; in the former one seeks knowledge and nothing further -- and does in fact acquire it."
    • Aphorism 6
    • Source: Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy
    • Translation: R. J. Hollingdale, ISBN 0-521-56704-1
  • "So weiss jeder aus Erfahrung, wie schnell der Traeumende einen starken an ihn dringenden Ton, zum Beispiel Glockenlaeuten, Kanonenschuesse in seinen Traum verflicht, das heisst aus ihm hinterdrein erklaert, so dass er zuerst die veranlassenden Umstaende, dann jenen Ton zu erleben meint."
    • Translation: "Everyone knows from experience how fast the dreamer can incorporate into his dream a loud sound he hears, bell ringing, for example, or cannon fire, how he can explain it after the fact from his dream, so that he believes he is experiencing first the occasioning factors, and then that sound."
    • Aphorism 13
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Penguin Classics edition, translated by Marion Faber & Stephen Lehmann, ISBN 0140446176
  • "Das Traumdenken wird uns jetzt so leicht, weil wir in ungeheuren Entwickelungsstrecken der Menschheit gerade auf diese Form des phantastischen und wohlfeilen Erklaerens aus dem ersten beliebigen Einfalle heraus so gut eingedrillt worden sind. Insofern ist der Traum eine Erholung fuer das Gehirn, welches am Tage den strengeren Anforderungen an das Denken zu genuegen hat, wie sie von der hoeheren Cultur gestellt werden."
    • Translation: "Dream-thought is so easy for us now because, during mankind's immense periods of development, we have been so well drilled in just this form of fantastic and cheap explanation from the first, best idea. In this way dreaming is recuperation for a brain which must satisfy by day the stricter demands made on thought by higher culture."
    • Aphorism 13
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Allem Glauben zu Grunde liegt die Empfindung des Angenehmen oder Schmerzhaften in Bezug auf das empfindende Subject. Eine neue dritte Empfindung als Resultat zweier vorangegangenen einzelnen Empfindungen ist das Urtheil in seiner niedrigsten Form."
    • Translation: "All belief is based on the feeling of pleasure or pain in relation to the feeling subject. A new, third feeling as the result of two preceeding feelings is judgement in its lowest form."
    • Aphorism 18
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Ein wesentlicher Nachtheil, welchen das Aufhoeren metaphysischer Ansichten mit sich bringt, liegt darin, dass das Individuum zu streng seine kurze Lebenszeit in's Auge fasst und keine staerkeren Antriebe empfaengt, an dauerhaften, fuer Jahrhunderte angelegten Institutionen zu bauen."
    • Translation: "One crucial disadvantage about the end of metaphysical views is that the individual looks his own short life span too squarely in the eye and feels no strong incentive to build on enduring institutions, designed for the ages."
    • Aphorism 22
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Man glaubt einer Philosophie etwas Gutes nachzusagen, wenn man sie als Ersatz der Religion fuer das Volk hinstellt."
    • Translation: "One thinks he is speaking well of philosophy when he presents it as a substitute religion for the people."
    • Aphorism 27
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Der Irrthum hat den Menschen so tief, zart, erfinderisch gemacht, eine solche Bluethe, wie Religionen und Kuenste, herauszutreiben. Das reine Erkennen waere dazu ausser Stande gewesen.'"'
    • Translation: "Error has made man so deep, delicate, inventive as to bring forth such blossoms as religion and arts. Pure knowledge would never have been capable of it."
    • Aphorism 29
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann

On the History of Moral Feelings[edit]

  • "Ohne die Irrthuemer, welche in den Annahmen der Moral liegen, waere der Mensch Thier geblieben. So aber hat er sich als etwas Hoeheres genommen und sich strengere Gesetze auferlegt. Er hat desshalb einen Hass gegen die der Thierheit naeher gebliebenen Stufen."
    • Translation: "Without the errors inherent in the postulates of morality, man would have remained an animal. But as it is he has taken himself to be something higher and has imposed stricter laws upon himself. He therefore has a hatred of those stages of man that remain closer to the animal state."
    • Aphorism 40
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Die Kuerze des menschlichen Lebens verleitet zu manchen irrthuemlichen Behauptungen ueber die Eigenschaften des Menschen."
    • Translation: "The brevity of human life misleads us to many an erroneous assertion about the qualities of mans feelings."
    • Aphorism 41
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Die Menschen, welche jetzt grausam sind, muessen uns als Stufen frueherer Culturen gelten, welche uebrig geblieben sind: das Gebirge der Menschheit zeigt hier einmal die tieferen Formationen, welche sonst versteckt liegen, offen. ... Sie zeigen uns, was wir Alle waren, und machen uns erschrecken: aber sie selber sind so wenig verantwortlich, wie ein Stueck Granit dafuer, dass es Granit ist."
    • Translation: "We must think of men who are cruel today as stages of earlier cultures, which have been left over ... They show us what we all were, and frighten us. But they themselves are as little responsible as a piece of granite for being granite."
    • Aphorism 43
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Der Grund, wesshalb der Maechtige dankbar ist, ist dieser. Sein Wohlthaeter hat sich durch seine Wohlthat an der Sphaere des Maechtigen gleichsam vergriffen und sich in sie eingedraengt: nun vergreift er sich zur Vergeltung wieder an der Sphaere des Wohlthaeters durch den Act der Dankbarkeit. Es ist eine mildere Form der Rache."
    • Translation: "The powerful man feels gratitude for the following reason: through his good deed, his benefactor has, as it were, violated the powerful man's sphere and penetrated it. Now through his act of gratitude the powerful man requites himself by violating the sphere of the benefactor. It is a milder form of revenge."
    • Aphorism 44
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Freilich solle man Mitleiden bezeugen, aber sich hueten, es zu haben: denn die Ungluecklichen seien nun einmal so dumm, dass bei ihnen das Bezeugen von Mitleid das groesste Gut von der Welt ausmache."
    • Translation: "Of course one ought to express pity, but one ought to guard against having it; for unfortunate people are so stupid that they count the expression of pity as the greatest good on earth."
  • "das Mitleiden, welches Jene dann aeussern, ist insofern eine Troestung fuer die Schwachen und Leidenden, als sie daran erkennen, doch wenigstens noch Eine Macht zu haben, trotz aller ihrer Schwaeche: die Macht, wehe zu thun."
    • Translation: "The pity that the spectators then express consoles the weak and suffering, inasmuch as they see that, despite all their weakness, they still have at least one power: the power to hurt."
    • Aphorism 50
    • Note: The latter quote is part of a counter to the former.
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
But will there be many people honest enough to admit that it is a pleasure to inflict pain? That not infrequently one amuses himself (and well) by offending other men (at least in his thoughts) and by shooting pellets of petty malice at them? Most people are too dishonest, and a few men are too good, to know anything about this source of shame. So they may try to deny that Prosper Merimée is right when he says, Sachez aussi qu'il n'y a rien de plus commun que de faire le mal pour le plaisir de le faire. [Know that nothing is more common than to do harm for the pleasure of doing it] [Image: Prosper Merimee]Aphorism 50
  • "Aber wird es viele Ehrliche geben, welche zugestehen, dass es Vergnuegen macht, wehe zu thun?"
    • Translation: "But will there be many people honest enough to admit that it is a pleasure to inflict pain?"
    • Aphorism 50
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Einer der gewoehnlichen Fehlschluesse ist der: weil Jemand wahr und aufrichtig gegen uns ist, so sagt er die Wahrheit."
    • Translation: "One common false conclusion is that because someone is truthful and upright towards us he is speaking the truth."
    • Aphorism 53
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Isn't it clear that, in all these cases [of selflessness] man is loving something of himself, a thought, a longing, an offspring, more than something else of himself, that he is thus dividing up his being and sacrificing one part for the other?"
    • Aphorism 57
  • "Man kann Handlungen versprechen, aber keine Empfindungen; denn diese sind unwillkuerlich. Wer jemandem verspricht, ihn immer zu lieben oder immer zu hassen oder ihm immer treu zu sein, verspricht Etwas, das nicht in seiner Macht steht."
    • Translation: "One can promise actions, but not feelings, for the latter are involuntary. He who promises to love forever or hate forever or be forever faithful to someone is promising something that is not in his power."
    • Aphorism 58
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Die Leidenschaft will nicht warten"
    • Translation: "Passion doesn't want to wait."
    • Aphorism 61
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "[V]ielleicht die allermeisten Menschen haben, um ihre Selbstachtung und eine gewisse Tuechtigkeit im Handeln bei sich aufrecht zu erhalten, durchaus noethig, alle ihnen bekannten Menschen in ihrer Vorstellung herabzusetzen und zu verkleinern."
    • Translation: "[P]erhaps the great majority of men find it necessary, in order to maintain their self respect and a certain effectiveness in their actions, to lower and belittle the image they form of everyone they know."
    • Aphorism 63
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "If looks could kill, we would long ago have been done for."
    • Aphorism 64
  • "Er erregte erst Anstoss, dann Verdacht, wurde allmaehlich geradezu erfehmt und in die Acht der Gesellschaft erklaert, bis endlich die Justiz sich eines so verworfenen Wesens erinnerte, bei Gelegenheiten, wo sie sonst kein Auge hatte, oder dasselbe zudrueckte."
    • Translation: "At first, he gave offense, then he awoke suspicion, and at length he was virtually ostracized and banished. Finally, justice remembered this depraved creature on occasions when it otherwise averted or winked its eye"
    • Aphorism 65
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "In truth, [hope] is the most evil of evils because it prolongs man's torment."
    • Aphorism 71
  • "Man wird selten irren, wenn man extreme Handlungen auf Eitelkeit, mittelmaessige auf Gewoehnung und kleinliche auf Furcht zurueckfuehrt."
    • Translation: "One will seldom go wrong to attribute extreme actions to vanity, moderate ones to habit and petty ones to fear."
    • Aphorism 74
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "[I]t is automatically assumed that the perpetrator and sufferer think and feel the same, and the guilt of one is therefore measured by the pain of the other."
    • Aphorism 81
  • "Wenn die Tugend geschlafen hat, wird sie frischer aufstehen."
    • Translation: "When virtue has slept, it will arise refreshed."
    • Aphorism 83
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Die Menschen schaemen sich nicht, etwas Schmutziges zu denken, aber wohl, wenn sie sich vorstellen, dass man ihnen diese schmutzigen Gedanken zutraue."
    • Translation: "Men are not ashamed to think something dirty, but they are ashamed when they imagine that others might believe them capable of these dirty thoughts."
    • Aphorism 84
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Die meisten Menschen sind viel zu sehr mit sich beschaeftigt, um boshaft zu sein."
    • Translation: "Most men are much too concerned with themselves to be malicious."
    • Aphorism 85
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Man lobt oder tadelt, je nachdem das Eine oder das Andere mehr Gelegenheit giebt, unsere Urtheilskraft leuchten zu lassen."
    • Translation: "We praise or find fault, depending on which of the two provides more opportunity for our powers of judgement to shine."
    • Aphorism 86
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "Wer sich selbst erniedrigt, will erhoehet werden."
    • Translation: "He who humbleth himself wants to be exalted."
    • Aphorism 87
    • Notes: 'improvement' of Luke 18:14 - "He who humbleth himself shall be exalted."
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Faber & Lehmann
  • "[T]he initial character of justice is barter."
    • Aphorism 92
  • "Unusquisque tantum juris habet, quantum potentia valere creditur - Each has as much right as his power is assessed to be."
    • Aphorism 93
    • Note: based on a quote by Spinoza; "Unusquisque tantum juris habet, quantum potentia valet - Each has as much right as his power is worth."
  • "[W]e all still suffer from too slight a regard for our own personal needs; it has been poorly developed."
    • Aphorism 95
  • "Socrates and Plato were right: whatever man does, he always acts for the good; that is, in a way which seems to him good (useful) according to the degree of his intellect, the prevailing measure of his rationality."
    • Aphorism 102
  • "Is Schadenfreude devilish ... Is the knowledge, then, that another person is suffering because of us supposed to make immoral the same thing about which we would otherwise feel no responsibility?"
    • Aphorism 103
  • "If one does not know how painful an action is, it cannot be malicious; thus the child is not malicious or evil to an animal: he examines and destroys it like a toy."
  • "No life without pleasure, the struggle for pleasure is the struggle for life."
    • Aphorism 104
  • "Between good and evil actions there is no difference in type; at most a difference in degree. Good actions are sublimated evil actions; evil actions are good actions become coarse and stupid."
    • Aphorism 107

Religious Life[edit]

  • "The thinking of men who believe in magic and miracles is bent on imposing a law on nature; and in short, religious worship is the result of this thinking."
    • Aphorism 111
  • "When we hear the old bells ringing out on a Sunday morning, we ask ourselves: can it be possible? This is for a Jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was the son of God. The proof for such a claim is wanting."
    • Aphorism 113
  • "Christianity came into being in order to lighten the heart; but now it has to burden the heart first, in order to be able to lighten it afterwards. Consequently it will perish."
    • Aphorism 119
  • "Without blind disciples, no man or his work has ever gained great influence."
    • Aphorism 122
  • "There is not enough love and kindness in the world to permit us to give any of it away to imaginary beings."
    • Aphorism 129
  • "In each ascetic morality, man prays to one part of himself as a god and also finds it necessary to diabolify the rest."
    • Aphorism 137

From the Soul of Artists and Writers[edit]

  • "What do we long for when we see beauty? To be beautiful. We think much happiness must be connected with it. But that is an error."
    • Aphorism 149
  • "Art renders the sight of life bearable by laying over it the gauze of impure thinking."
    • Aphorism 151
  • "Every great phenomenon is followed by degeneration, particularly in the realm of art. The model of the great man stimulates vainer natures to imitate him outwardly or to surpass him; in addition, all great talents have the fateful quantity of stifling many weaker forces and seeds, and seem to devastate the nature around them. The most fortunate instance in the development of an art is when several geniuses reciprocally keep each other in check; in this kind of a struggle, weaker and gentler natures are generally also allowed air and light."
    • Aphorism 158
  • "Just as youth and childhood have value in and of themselves ... so too do unfinished thoughts have their own value."
    • Aphorism 207
  • "Every writer is surprised anew when a book, as soon as it has been separated from him, begins to take on a life of its own ... it goes about finding its readers, kindles life, pleases, horrifies, fathers new works, becomes the soul of others' resolutions and behaviour. In short, it lives like a being fitted out with a mind and soul—yet it is nevertheless not human."
    • Aphorism 208

Woman and Child[edit]

  • "Jedermann traegt ein Bild des Weibes von der Mutter her in sich: davon wird er bestimmt, die Weiber ueberhaupt zu verehren oder sie geringzuschaetzen oder gegen sie im Allgemeinen gleichgueltig zu sein."
    • Translation: "Everyone carries within him an image of woman that he gets from his mother; that determines whether he will honor women in general, or despise them, or be generally indifferent to them."
    • Aphorism 380
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Helen Zimmern
  • "In jeder Art der weiblichen Liebe kommt auch Etwas von der muetterlichen Liebe zum Vorschein."
    • Translation: "In every kind of female love, something of maternal love appears also."
    • Aphorism 392
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Helen Zimmern
  • "Wenn die Ehegatten nicht beisammen lebten, wuerden die guten Ehen haeufiger sein."
    • Translation: "If spouses did not live together, good marriages would be more frequent."
    • Aphorism 393
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Helen Zimmern
  • "Mit der Schoenheit der Frauen nimmt im Allgemeinen ihre Schamhaftigkeit zu."
    • Translation: "Women's modesty generally increases with their beauty."
    • Aphorism 398
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Helen Zimmern
  • "Man soll sich beim Eingehen einer Ehe die Frage vorlegen: glaubst du, dich mit dieser Frau bis in's Alter hinein gut zu unterhalten? Alles Andere in der Ehe ist transitorisch, aber die meiste Zeit des Verkehrs gehoert dem Gespraeche an."
    • Translation: "When entering a marriage, one should ask the question: do you think you will be able to have good conversations with this woman right into old age? Everything else in marriage transitory, but most of the time in interaction is spent in conversation."
    • Aphorism 406
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Helen Zimmern
  • "Nach einem persoenlichen Zwiespalt und Zanke zwischen einer Frau und einem Manne leidet der eine Theil am meisten bei der Vorstellung, dem anderen Wehe gethan zu haben; waehrend jener am meisten bei der Vorstellung leidet, dem andern nicht genug Wehe gethan zu haben, wesshalb er sich bemueht, durch Thraenen, Schluchzen und verstoerte Mienen, ihm noch hinterdrein das Herz schwer zu machen."
    • Translation: "After a personal disagreement and quarrel between a woman and a man, the one party suffers most at the thought of having hurt the other; while that other party suffers most at the thought of not having hurt the first enough; for which reason it tries by tears, sobs, and contorted features, to weigh down the other person's heart, even afterwards."
    • Aphorism 420
    • Source: Project Gutenberg
    • Translation source: Helen Zimmern

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