Quotes about Friedrich Nietzsche
147 Sourced Quotes
The fact that the prevailing mood of modern culture was able to transmute the original pessimism of romanticism into an optimistic creed proves the power of this mood. Only occasionally the original pessimism erupts in full vigor, as in the thought of a Schopenhauer or Nietzsche. The subjugation of romantic pessimism, together with the transmutation of Marxist catastrophism establishes historical optimism far beyond the confines of modern rationalism. Though there are minor dissonances the whole chorus of modern culture learned to sing the new song of hope in remarkable harmony. The redemption of mankind, by whatever means, was assured for the future. It was, in fact, assured by the future.
You would not like Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.
Jeeves to Bertie Wooster
In '46, I had started to awaken to the world. At first, the Russians nationalized everything [in East-Germany / DDR]. Rich people had their property taken away, and the people got access to their libraries, which was wonderful for me. I read Hermann Hesse. Thomas Mann was a little too heavy for me. But Lombroso, Nietzsche. Materialists, I would call them – writers who said there was no god, no spirit, that freedom is an illusion. That affected me deeply.
Nietzsche … argues that all that passes in the life of a society is ephemeral and banausic except for the presence of great personalities, of men like Goethe … who seem to forge their own destinies, who seem to move unhampered by those burdens of existence which keep most men from rising above the vicissitudes of their daily toil.
I make music all the time that no-one ever hears. Y' know, I sing in the shower, I hit on things. Music is life - life is music. Of all people, Nietzsche said 'Life without music is an error'. And so I'll be making music one way or another. Oh believe me, I make music.. I've made whole records that no-one heard. Oh they came out, no-one bought them! We used to do whole secret tours, we used to stand outside like 'We're playing tonight!' and only the bouncers and bartenders would see you. I'm used to it. I'm that tree that falls in the forest.
For as long as possible, the learned collegium has tried to defend its integrity against the close combat of ideologico-critical exposures. Do not unmask, lest you yourself be unmasked could be the unspoken rule. It is no accident that the great representatives of critique—the French moralists, the Encyclopedists, the socialists, and especially Heine, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud—remain outsiders to the scholarly domain. In all of them there is a satirical, polemical component that can scarcely be hidden under the mask of scholarly respectability. These signals of a holy nonseriousness, which remains one of the sure indexes of truth, can be employed as signposts to the critique of cynical reason.
Monotheistic religions in the West have tended to conflate having a general orientation in life, having a specific theory of the world, having a sense of the positive meaningfulness of one's existence, and having a fixed set of rules for behavior, but these elements are in principle separable. … The metaphysical need, … both Marx and Nietzsche held, is a historical phenomenon that arises under determinate circumstances, and could be expected to disappear under other circumstances that we could relatively easily envisage.
The emancipation of the scholars and scientists from philosophy is according to [Nietzsche] only a part of the democratic movement, i. e. of the emancipation of the low from subordination to the high. … The plebeian character of the contemporary scholar or scientist is due to the fact that he has no reverence for himself.
Admirers of the 'purified' Nietzsche have been hard put to unite his sanctioning of barbarity with an often subtle and rarefied cultural critique. But we can easily dispose of this dichotomy. In the first place, the union of ultra-refinement and brutality was by no means a personal quirk requiring psychological elucidation, but a universal, psychical-moral distinguishing mark of imperialist decadence.
It had become an indisputable dogma that every expression in the same language must bear the same meaning in all peoples. And this was really the greatest affliction of the Select of that epoch, that they had to converse in the same tongue as the rabble, which had so often been desecrated in Parliaments, and assemblies, and lectures, and railway carriages; all of them, like Stendhal, would have given a great deal to have a langue sacre, comprehensible only by the few. All of them, like Goethe, allegorized meanings into their best works, in order to give the slip to prying snouts, and endeavoured to make themselves, as did Nietzsche, inaccessible, in order that the swine might not break into the gardens.
In our culture, we think that happy and color is trivial, that black and darkness is deeper. But Nietzsche said — which is a line that I firmly believe — "Joy is deeper than sorrow, for all joy seeks eternity." And if you see Grendel, you'll see, as he's on the edge of the abyss, ready to leap to his death, he sings, "Is it joy I feel? Is it joy I feel?" And it's so, so moving. You can have a lot of different explanations for the ending of that opera, but there is something so palpable that you will feel when he sings those lines.