Nietzsche Quotes : Quotes from the German philosopher


"Maturity is the recovery of the seriousness of a child at play."

"Thus spake Zarathustra, and left his cave, glowing and strong, like a morning sun which cometh from dark mountains. --The End."

Zarathustra, "Reading & Writing": "He who climbeth on the highest mountains, laugheth at all tragic plays and tragic realities."

Zarathustra, "Vision & Mystery": "To you, lovers of mystery, the twilight-enjoyers, whose souls are allured by flutes to every treacherous gulf."

"Whoever is related to me in the height of his aspirations will experience veritable ecstasies of learning; for I come from heights that no bird ever reached in its flight, I know abysses into which no foot ever strayed."

"One must never have spared oneself, one must have acquired hardness as a habit to be cheerful and in good spirits in the midst of nothing but hard truths."

"To you, the bold searchers, researchers, and whoever embarks with cunning sails on terrible seas--to you, drunk with riddles, glad of twilight, whose soul flutes astray to every whirlpool, because you do not want to grope along a thread with cowardly hand; and where you can guess, you hate to deduce."

"A man who has depths in his shame meets his destiny and his delicate decisions upon paths which few ever reach, and with regard to the existence of which his nearest and most intimate friends may be ignorant; his mortal danger conceals itself from their eyes, and equally so his regained security. Such a hidden nature, which instinctiviely employs speech for silence and concealment, and is inexhaustible in evasion of communication, desires and insists that a mask of himself shall occupy his place in the hearts and heads of his friends; and supposing he does not desire it, his eyes will some day be opened to the fact that there is nevertheless a mask of him there--and that it is well to be so."

"It suffices to love, to hate, to desire, and in general to feel, --immediately the spirit and the power of the dream come over us, and we ascend, with open eyes and indefferent to all danger, the most dangerous paths, to the roofs and towers of fantasy, and without any giddiness, as persons born for climbing--we the night-walkers by day! We artists! We moon-struck and God-struck ones! We death-silent, untiring wanderers on heights which we do not see as heights, but as our plains, as our places of safety!"

Ecco Homo: "Genius depends on dry air, on clear skies--that is, on rapid metabolism, on the possibility of drawing again and again on great, even tremendous quantities of strength."

"Ultimately, nobody can get more out of things, including books, than he already knows. For what one lacks access to from experience one will have no ear."

"These small things--nutrition, place, climate, recreation, the whole casuistry of selfishness--are inconceivably more important than everything one has taken to be important so far."

"I shall say another world for the most select ears: what I really want from music. That it be cheerful and profound like an afternoon in October. That it be individual, frolicsome, tender, a sweet small woman full of beastliness and charm."

"Merely through the constant need to ward off, one can become weak enough to be unable to defend oneself any longer."

"Having quills is a waste, even a double luxury when one can choose not to have quills but open hands."

"Scholars spend all of their energies on saying Yes and No, on criticism of what others have thought--they themselves no longer think."

Zarathustra: "You flow for me almost too violently, fountain of pleasure. And often you empty the cup again by wanting to fill it. And I must still learn to approach you more modestly: all too violently my heart still flows toward you--my heart, upon which my summer burns, short, hot, melancholy, overblissful; how my summer heart craves your coolness."

"The strength required for the vision of the most powerful reality is not only compatible with the most powerful strength for action, for monstrous action, for crime--it even presupposes it."

"Dreaming. - Either one does not dream at all, or one dreams in an interesting manner. One must learn to be awake in the same fashion: - either not at all, or in an interesting manner."

"The artist chooses his subject; that is his mode of praising."

"What we do is never understood, but only praised and blamed."

"Without Envy. - He is wholly without envy, but there is no merit therein: for he wants to conquer a land which no one has yet possessed and hardly any one has ever seen."

"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."

"We, the generous and rich in spirit, who stand at the sides of the streets like open fountains and would hinder no one drinking from us: we do not know, alas! how to defend ourselves when we should like to do so; we have no means of preventing ourselves being made turbid and dark - we have no means of preventing the age in which we live casting its 'up-to-date rubbish' into us, or of hindering filthy birds throwing their excrement, the boys their trash, and fatigued resting travellers their misery, great and small, into us. But we do as we have always done: we take whatever is cast into us down into our depths--for we are deep, we do not forget--and once more grow clear . . . . "

Basic Writings of Nietzsche - A collection of Walter Kauffman's masterful translations of five of Nietzsche's greatest works: The Birth of Tragedy, which forever changed assumptions about Greek culture and the nature of tragedy; Beyond Good and Evil, as comprehensive an overview of Nietzsche's thought as the delightfully aphoristic Thus Spake Zarathustra, but stated with considerably greater clarity; On the Geneaology of Morals, his major work on ethics; The Case of Wagner, a surprisingly witty piece written after Nietzsche's break with Richard Wagner; and Ecce Homo, Nietzsche's passionate and beautiful analysis of his life and work. This book is the best collection of Nietzsche's writings. Kaufmann's translation is incomparable; it has energy, wit; its language is a delight. In other translations Nietzsche comes off as much more ponderous. The Birth of Tragedy is a good place to start for knowledge of the early Nietzsche and is an indispensible book for understanding what came later. The Genelogy of Morals is the least aphoristic of Nietzsche's writings and provides an extended treatment of Nietzsche's famous and infamous views on morality, especially Christian morality. Beyond Good and Evil is aphoristic brilliance containing many of Nietzsche's most famous ideas. For those interested in Nietzsche there is no better place to start than this book. Nietzsche like Plato and unlike most philosophers really knew how to write. His writing is brilliant, original, and his style has no peer. Kaufmann produces English that is without peer in his translation of Nietzsche's works.

December 30, 2003 © Yenra ®