215 Quotes: Friedrich Nietzsche

  1. nietzscheYou say it is the good cause that hallows even war? I say unto you: it is the good war that hallows any cause.
  2. You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.
  3. You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
  4. Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon absolute truth.
  5. Women are considered deep – why? Because one can never discover any bottom to them. Women are not even shallow.
  6. Woman was God’s second mistake.
  7. Without music, life would be a mistake.
  8. Wit is the epitaph of an emotion.
  9. Whoever has witnessed another’s ideal becomes his inexorable judge and as it were his evil conscience.
  10. Whoever has provoked men to rage against him has always gained a party in his favor, too.
  11. Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
  12. Whoever feels predestined to see and not to believe will find all believers too noisy and pushy: he guards against them.
  13. Whoever does not have a good father should procure one.
  14. Whoever despises himself nonetheless respects himself as one who despises.
  15. Whoever battles with monsters had better see that it does not turn him into a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
  16. Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called ‘Ego’.
  17. When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.
  18. When one has not had a good father, one must create one.
  19. When one has finished building one’s house, one suddenly realizes that in the process one has learned something that one really needed to know in the worst way – before one began.
  20. When one has a great deal to put into it a day has a hundred pockets.
  21. When one does away with oneself one does the most estimable thing possible: one thereby almost deserves to live.
  22. 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.
  23. When art dresses in worn-out material it is most easily recognized as art.
  24. When a hundred men stand together, each of them loses his mind and gets another one.
  25. Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil.
  26. What? You seek something? You wish to multiply yourself tenfold, a hundredfold? You seek followers? Seek zeros!
  27. What then in the last resort are the truths of mankind? They are the irrefutable errors of mankind.
  28. What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man.
  29. What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.
  30. What do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame.
  31. What do I care about the purring of one who cannot love, like the cat?
  32. What can everyone do? Praise and blame. This is human virtue, this is human madness.
  33. We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.
  34. We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.
  35. We love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving.
  36. We hear only those questions for which we are in a position to find answers.
  37. We have art in order not to die of the truth.
  38. We do not hate as long as we still attach a lesser value, but only when we attach an equal or a greater value.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. Two great European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity.
  42. Today I love myself as I love my god: who could charge me with a sin today? I know only sins against my god; but who knows my god?
  43. 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.
  44. To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
  45. To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.
  46. 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.
  47. Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings – always darker, emptier and simpler.
  48. Those who cannot understand how to put their thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of debate.
  49. This is what is hardest: to close the open hand because one loves.
  50. This is the hardest of all: to close the open hand out of love, and keep modest as a giver.
  51. There is nothing we like to communicate to others as much as the seal of secrecy together with what lies under it.
  52. There is not enough religion in the world even to destroy religion.
  53. There is not enough love and goodness in the world to permit giving any of it away to imaginary beings.
  54. There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.
  55. 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.
  56. There is an innocence in admiration; it is found in those to whom it has never yet occurred that they, too, might be admired some day.
  57. There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
  58. There is a rollicking kindness that looks like malice.
  59. There cannot be a God because if there were one, I could not believe that I was not He.
  60. 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.
  61. There are slavish souls who carry their appreciation for favors done them so far that they strangle themselves with the rope of gratitude.
  62. 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.
  63. There are no moral phenomena at all, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena.
  64. There are no facts, only interpretations.
  65. There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths.
  66. 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.
  67. The world itself is the will to power – and nothing else! And you yourself are the will to power – and nothing else!
  68. The word ‘Christianity’ is already a misunderstanding – in reality there has been only one Christian, and he died on the Cross.
  69. The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.
  70. 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.
  71. The press, the machine, the railway, the telegraph are premises whose thousand-year conclusion no one has yet dared to draw.
  72. The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying to others is relatively an exception.
  73. The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.
  74. The lie is a condition of life.
  75. The ‘kingdom of Heaven’ is a condition of the heart – not something that comes ‘upon the earth’ or ‘after death.’
  76. The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it.
  77. 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.
  78. The future influences the present just as much as the past.
  79. The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.
  80. The doer alone learneth.
  81. The desire to annoy no one, to harm no one, can equally well be the sign of a just as of an anxious disposition.
  82. The demand to be loved is the greatest of all arrogant presumptions.
  83. The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.
  84. The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy.
  85. The best author will be the one who is ashamed to become a writer.
  86. The bad gains respect through imitation, the good loses it especially in art.
  87. The aphorism in which I am the first master among Germans, are the forms of ‘eternity’; my ambition is to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book – what everyone else does not say in a book.
  88. The abdomen is the reason why man does not readily take himself to be a god.
  89. That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
  90. Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.
  91. Success has always been a great liar.
  92. Stupid as a man, say the women: cowardly as a woman, say the men. Stupidity in a woman is unwomanly.
  93. Some are made modest by great praise, others insolent.
  94. Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day.
  95. Shared joys make a friend, not shared sufferings.
  96. Rejoicing in our joy, not suffering over our suffering, makes someone a friend.
  97. Regarding life, the wisest men of all ages have judged alike: it is worthless.
  98. Plato was a bore.
  99. Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.
  100. 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.
  101. Our vanity is hardest to wound precisely when our pride has just been wounded.
  102. 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.
  103. One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly.
  104. One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.
  105. One often contradicts an opinion when what is uncongenial is really the tone in which it was conveyed.
  106. One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.
  107. One may sometimes tell a lie, but the grimace that accompanies it tells the truth.
  108. One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.
  109. Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it is even becoming mob.
  110. 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.
  111. Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood.
  112. Nothing is beautiful, only man: on this piece of naivete 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.
  113. Nothing has been purchased more dearly than the little bit of reason and sense of freedom which now constitutes our pride.
  114. Not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, does the enlightened man dislike to wade into its waters.
  115. 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.
  116. No one lies so boldly as the man who is indignant.
  117. Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation.
  118. Mystical explanations are thought to be deep; the truth is that they are not even shallow.
  119. Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual.
  120. Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.
  121. Many a man fails as an original thinker simply because his memory it too good.
  122. Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.
  123. Love matches, so called, have illusion for their father and need for their mother.
  124. Love is not consolation. It is light.
  125. Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.
  126. 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.
  127. 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.
  128. It says nothing against the ripeness of a spirit that it has a few worms.
  129. It is the most sensual men who need to flee women and torment their bodies.
  130. It is not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, that the lover of knowledge is reluctant to step into its waters.
  131. It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.
  132. It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.
  133. It is impossible to suffer without making someone pay for it; every complaint already contains revenge.
  134. 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.
  135. It is always consoling to think of suicide: in that way one gets through many a bad night.
  136. Is man one of God’s blunders? Or is God one of man’s blunders?
  137. Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?
  138. Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
  139. In the last analysis, even the best man is evil: in the last analysis, even the best woman is bad.
  140. In the course of history, men come to see that iron necessity is neither iron nor necessary.
  141. 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.
  142. In praise there is more obtrusiveness than in blame.
  143. In music the passions enjoy themselves.
  144. In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad.
  145. In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
  146. In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.
  147. In everything one thing is impossible: rationality.
  148. In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.
  149. In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.
  150. If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
  151. If there is something to pardon in everything, there is also something to condemn.
  152. If a woman possesses manly virtues one should run away from her; and if she does not possess them she runs away from herself.
  153. Idleness is the parent of psychology.
  154. I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance.
  155. I still live, I still think: I still have to live, for I still have to think.
  156. I love those who do not know how to live for today.
  157. 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.’
  158. I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.
  159. I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.
  160. Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.
  161. He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.
  162. He who laughs best today, will also laughs last.
  163. He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
  164. He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?
  165. He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either.
  166. He that humbleth himself wishes to be exalted.
  167. Great indebtedness does not make men grateful, but vengeful; and if a little charity is not forgotten, it turns into a gnawing worm.
  168. God is a thought who makes crooked all that is straight.
  169. Go up close to your friend, but do not go over to him! We should also respect the enemy in our friend.
  170. Glance into the world just as though time were gone: and everything crooked will become straight to you.
  171. Genteel women suppose that those things do not really exist about which it is impossible to talk in polite company.
  172. For the woman, the man is a means: the end is always the child.
  173. For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.
  174. Fear is the mother of morality.
  175. Fanatics are picturesque, mankind would rather see gestures than listen to reasons.
  176. Faith: not wanting to know what is true.
  177. Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions.
  178. Experience, as a desire for experience, does not come off. We must not study ourselves while having an experience.
  179. Existence really is an imperfect tense that never becomes a present.
  180. ‘Evil men have no songs.’ How is it that the Russians have songs?
  181. Every man is a creative cause of what happens, a primum mobile with an original movement.
  182. Every church is a stone on the grave of a god-man: it does not want him to rise up again under any circumstances.
  183. Egoism is the very essence of a noble soul.
  184. Does wisdom perhaps appear on the earth as a raven which is inspired by the smell of carrion?
  185. Do whatever you will, but first be such as are able to will.
  186. Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.
  187. Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by those one has had.
  188. Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.
  189. Behind all their personal vanity, women themselves always have an impersonal contempt for woman.
  190. Before the effect one believes in different causes than one does after the effect.
  191. At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.
  192. Art raises its head where creeds relax.
  193. Art is the proper task of life.
  194. 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.
  195. 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.
  196. 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.
  197. And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.
  198. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
  199. An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.
  200. Although the most acute judges of the witches and even the witches themselves, were convinced of the guilt of witchery, the guilt nevertheless was non-existent. It is thus with all guilt.
  201. All truth is simple… is that not doubly a lie?
  202. All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
  203. All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.
  204. 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.
  205. All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses.
  206. Ah, women. They make the highs higher and the lows more frequent.
  207. After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands.
  208. Admiration for a quality or an art can be so strong that it deters us from striving to possess it.
  209. 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.
  210. A subject for a great poet would be God’s boredom after the seventh day of creation.
  211. A pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love.
  212. A great value of antiquity lies in the fact that its writings are the only ones that modern men still read with exactness.
  213. A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.
  214. A friend should be a master at guessing and keeping still: you must not want to see everything.
  215. A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.

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