Quotes about Friedrich Nietzsche
147 Sourced Quotes
People try so hard to believe in leaders now, pitifully hard. But we no sooner get a popular reformer or politician or soldier or writer or philosopher -- a Roosevelt, a Tolstoi, a Wood, a Shaw, a Nietzsche, than the cross-currents of criticism wash him away. My Lord, no man can stand prominence these days. It's the surest path to obscurity. People get sick of hearing the same name over and over.
It seems to me that had I not known Dostoevsky or Nietzsche or Freud or X or Z, I should have thought just as I did, and that I found in them rather an authorization than an awakening. Above all, they taught me to cease doubting, to cease fearing my thoughts, and to let those thoughts lead me to those lands that were not uninhabitable because after all I found them already there.
The German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, who had syphilis, said that only a person of deep faith could afford the luxury of religious skepticism. Humanists, by and large educated, comfortably middle-class persons with rewarding lives like mine, find rapture enough in secular knowledge and hope. Most people can't.
The absolutist lays down the law, but the relativist hears only roaring and bawling. Or, when the relativist voice, as it is heard from philosophers such as Nietzsche or James, itself starts to grate and sounds shrill, as it often does, and when the relativist then offers concessions, the absolutist hears only insincerity. The war of words can often turn into a dialogue of the deaf, and this too if part of its power to arouse outrage and fury.
The less we understand of what our fathers and forefathers sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Nietzsche called the spirit of gravity.
Most men do not feel in themselves the competence required for leading their group to victory, and therefore seek out a captain who appears to possess the courage and sagacity necessary for the achievement of supremacy. Even in religion this impulse appears. Nietzsche accused Christianity of inculcating a slave-morality, but ultimate triumph was always the goal. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
But there is a compelling reason to develop a personal strategy for living. Rejecting issues, which often feels liberating, is actually enslavement. Those who do not produce their own solutions must be using someone else's. As Nietzsche warned 'he who cannot obey himself will be commanded'.
To paraphrase the philosopher Nietzsche, he who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how. I've found that 20 percent of any change is knowing how; but 80 percent is knowing why. If we gather a set of strong enough reasons to change, we can change in a minute something we've failed to change for years.
The absolute scholar is in fact a rather uncanny being. He is instinct with Nietzsche's finding that to be interested in something, to be totally interested in it, is a libidinal thrust more powerful than love or hatred, more tenacious than faith or friendship — not infrequently, indeed, more compelling than personal life itself. Archimedes does not flee from his killers, he does not even turn his head to acknowledge their rush into his garden when he is immersed in the algebra of conic sections.
The final test of truth is ridicule. Very few dogmas have ever faced it and survived. Huxley laughed the devils out of the Gadarene swine. Not the laws of the United States but the mother-in-law joke brought the Mormons to surrender. Not the horror of it but the absurdity of it killed the doctrine of infant damnation. But the razor edge of ridicule is turned by the tough hide of truth. How loudly the barber-surgeons laughed at Huxley—and how vainly! What clown ever brought down the house like Galileo? Or Columbus? Or Darwin?... They are laughing at Nietzsche yet...
One day, when Nietzsche was telling his friend Deussen that it was not abrogation of the will nor extinction of the passions he aimed at, but their ennobling, his friend, a learned man, fast in the trammels of Christian doctrine, answered—not without some justice—that the only means of ennoblement was abrogation and extinction. Nietzsche had a difficult position to maintain; for what he wished to ennoble was no longer there.
Stirner and Nietzsche [adopt] a mode of thinking which is personal, introspective, and which while often operating on alternative systems of belief and action does so only as a means of better grasping one dominant goal—the patterns of individual redemption. Stirner and Nietzsche are not primarily interested in critique as such. … Their work is too egoistically compelled for them ever to employ the external world as more than the repository for a series of projections of their own.
The rather more dubious side of Nietzsche's 'evolutionism' is his glorification of the warrior — particularly when, as an exemplification of the warrior-hero, he chooses an archetypal 'spoilt brat' like Cesare Borgia. Nietzsche's own physical weakness and consequent inability to escape the atmosphere of the study leads him to take a rather unrealistic view of the man of action.
In the helter-skelter of this book, I didn't develop my views as theory. In fact, I even believe that efforts of that kind are tainted with ponderousness. Nietzsche wrote with his blood, and criticizing, or, better, experiencing him means pouring out one's lifeblood. … It was only with my life that I wrote the Nietzsche book that I had planned.
By the spirit of revenge, Nietzsche means a very great variety of phenomena. And to some of them he alludes in this speech. In his other writings, he [uses] a French word, ressentiment— which in Nietzsche does not merely mean resentment, but rather the reaction of those who are disadvantaged by nature and/or law against the privileged. And that leads in a deeper stratum to a denial of the superiority of the goodness of the advantages in question, [to a] denigration of those qualities and the longing for the humiliation of these people in this life and in the next.