Friedrich Nietzsche
Quotations


The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it.

The anarchist and the Christian have a common origin.

One often contradicts an opinion when what is uncongenial is really the tone in which it was conveyed.

The ascetic makes a necessity of virtue.

The most dangerous follower is he whose defection would destroy the whole party: that is to say, the best follower.

Against boredom the gods themselves fight in vain.

The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.

Deception, flattering, lying, deluding, talking behind the back, putting up a false front, living in borrowed splendor, wearing a mask, hiding behind convention, playing a role for others and for oneself -- in short, a continuous fluttering around the solitary flame of vanity -- is so much the rule and the law among men that there is almost nothing which is less comprehensible than how an honest and pure drive for truth could have arisen among them.

The various languages placed side by side show that with words it is never a question of truth, never a question of adequate expression; otherwise, there would not be so many languages. The 'thing in itself' (which is precisely what the pure truth, apart from any of its consequences, would be) is likewise something quite incomprehensible to the creator of language and something not in the least worth striving for.

Every word instantly becomes a concept precisely insofar as it is not supposed to serve as a reminder of the unique and entirely individual original experience to which it owes its origin; but rather, a word becomes a concept insofar as it simultaneously has to fit countless more or less similar cases -- which means, purely and simply, cases which are never equal and thus altogether unequal.

What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and; anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions -- they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins.

What is a law of nature as such for us? We are not acquainted with it in itself, but only with its effects, which means in its relation to other laws of nature -- which, in turn, are known to us only as sums of relations. Therefore all these relations always refer again to others and are thoroughly incomprehensible to us in their essence. All that we actually know about these laws of nature is what we ourselves bring to them -- time and space, and therefore relationships of succession and number. But everything marvelous about the laws of nature, everything that quite astonishes us therein and seems to demand our explanation, everything that might lead us to distrust idealism; all this is completely and solely contained within the mathematical strictness and inviolability of our representations of time and space.

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.

One must have a good memory to be able to keep the promises one makes.

One will rarely err if extreme actions be ascribed to vanity, ordinary actions to habit, and mean actions to fear.

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.

He who thinks a great deal is not suited to be a party man: he thinks his way through the party and out the other side too soon.

The advantage of a bad memory is that one can enjoy the same good things for the first time several times.

No one talks more passionately about his rights than he who in the depths of his soul doubts whether he has any. By enlisting passion on his side he wants to stifle his reason and its doubts: thus he will acquire a good conscience and with it success among his fellow men.

If you have hitherto believed that life was one of the highest value and now see yourselves disappointed, do you at once have to reduce it to the lowest possible price?

The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness.

Many a man fails to become a thinker only because his memory is too good.

The worst readers are those who behave like plundering troops: they take away a few things they can use, dirty and confound the remainder, and revile the whole.

A witticism is an epigram on the death of a feeling.

With all great deceivers there is a noteworthy occurrence to which they owe their power. In the actual act of deception...they are overcome by belief in themselves. It is this which then speaks so miraculously and compellingly to those who surround them.

In the mountains of truth you will never climb in vain: either you will get up higher today or you will exercise your strength so as to be able to get up higher tomorrow.

Good prose is written only face to face with poetry.

Art furnishes us with eyes and hands and above all the good conscience to be able to turn ourselves into such a phenomenon.

To what extent can truth endure incorporation? That is the question; that is the experiment.

God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him.

Morality is herd instinct in the individual.

The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.

We are always in our own company.

The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.

We have no dreams at all or interesting ones. We should learn to be awake the same way- not at all or in an interesting manner

In the mountains, the shortest way is from peak to peak: but for that, you need long legs. Aphorisms should be peaks: and those to whom they are spoken, big and tall.

It is the stillest words that bring on the storm. Thoughts that come on doves' feet guide the world.

It is some basic certainty which the noble soul has about itself, something which does not allow itself to be sought out or found or perhaps even to be lost. The noble soul has reverence for itself.

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.

Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.

The thought of suicide is a powerful solace: by means of it one gets through many a bad night.

In a man devoted to knowledge, pity seems almost ridiculous, like delicate hands on a cyclops.

It is possible to imagine a society flushed with such a sense of power that it could afford to let its offenders go unpunished.

What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself. What is bad? All that is born of weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome.

In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.

Love is a state in which a man sees things most decidedly as they are not.

The very word 'Christianity' is a misunderstanding -- in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.



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