3. Appreciation of Simple Truths

You can read the aphorism  I discuss here below the main article.

Synopsis and my take on it:

An advanced civilization appreciates small scientific truth more than the blinding shine coming from metaphysical and artistic forms. The admirers of forms mock the admirers of “unpretentious truths” because the forms are so “beautiful, splendid, enchanting”. But the scientific truth is “hard won” and “manly”. Not only the individual but the whole of mankind “will be elevated to this manliness”. “The admirers of forms” will cling to the old truth after the scientific spirit succeeds, because they can’t or won’t appreciate the simple scientific truths. At the and of this aphorism Nietzsche writes that those worlds views have changed places and “the kingdom of the inward, spiritual beauty constantly grows deeper and wider”

This last quote was from the Helen Zimmern, 1914 translation. Below are the same passages but from different translators.

because it cannot see that the richness of inner, rational beauty always spreads and deepens” Alexander Harvey, 1908

spiritual beauty is continually growing deeper and wider” R. J. Hollingdale, 1986

“the realm of inner, spiritual beauty is continually deepening and expanding” Google translator 2017

“das Reich der inneren, geistigen Schönheit sich fortwährend vertieft und erweitert” F.Nietzsche 1878

In one sentence:

The appreciation of scientific beauty is slowly replacing the appreciation for external beauty.


Human, all too human a book for free spirits Part I, translated by Helen Zimmern 1914

3. ESTIMATION OF UNPRETENTIOUS TRUTHS.— It is the mark of a higher culture to value the little unpretentious truths which have been discovered by means of rigorous method more highly than the errors handed down by metaphysical ages and men, which blind us and make us happy. At first, one has scorn on his lips for unpretentious truths, as if they could offer no match for the others: they stand so modest, simple, sober, even apparently discouraging, while the other truths are so beautiful, splendid, enchanting, or even enrapturing. But truths that are hard won, certain, enduring, and therefore still of consequence for all further knowledge are the higher; to keep to them is manly, and shows bravery, simplicity, restraint. Eventually, not only the individual, but all mankind will be elevated to this manliness, when men finally grow accustomed to the greater esteem for durable, lasting knowledge and have lost all belief in inspiration and a seemingly miraculous communication of truths.

The admirers of forms, with their standard of beauty and sublimity, will, to be sure, have good reason to mock at first, when esteem for unpretentious truths and the scientific spirit first comes to rule, but only because either their eye has not yet been opened to the charm of the simplest form, or because men raised in that spirit have not yet been fully and inwardly permeated by it, so that they continue thoughtlessly to imitate old forms (and poorly, too, like someone who no longer really cares about the matter). Previously, the mind was not obliged to think rigorously; its importance lay in spinning out symbols and forms. That has changed ; that earnestness in the symbolical has become the mark of a lower culture. As our arts themselves grow evermore intellectual, our senses more spiritual, and as, for instance, people now judge concerning what sounds well to the senses quite differently from how they did a hundred years ago, so the forms of our life grow ever more spiritual, to the eye of older ages perhaps uglier, but only because it is incapable of perceiving how the kingdom of the inward, spiritual beauty constantly grows deeper and wider, and to what extent the inner intellectual look may be of more importance to us all than the most beautiful bodily frame and the noblest architectural structure


Menschliches allzumenschlich 1878/80

3. Schätzung der unscheinbaren Wahrheiten. – Es ist das Merkmal einer höhern Cultur, die kleinen unscheinbaren Wahrheiten, welche mit strenger Methode gefunden wurden, höher zu schätzen, als die beglückenden und blendenden Irrthümer, welche metaphysischen und künstlerischen Zeitaltern und Menschen entstammen. Zunächst hat man gegen erstere den Hohn auf den Lippen, als könne hier gar nichts Gleichberechtigtes gegen einander stehen: so bescheiden, schlicht, nüchtern, ja scheinbar entmuthigend stehen diese, so schön, prunkend, berauschend, ja vielleicht beseligend stehen jene da. Aber das mühsam Errungene, Gewisse, Dauernde und desshalb für jede weitere Erkenntniss noch Folgenreiche ist doch das Höhere, zu ihm sich zu halten ist männlich und zeigt Tapferkeit, Schlichtheit, Enthaltsamkeit an. Allmählich wird nicht nur der Einzelne, sondern die gesammte Menschheit zu dieser Männlichkeit emporgehoben werden, wenn sie sich endlich an die höhere Schätzung der haltbaren, dauerhaften Erkenntnisse gewöhnt und allen Glauben an Inspiration und wundergleiche Mittheilung von Wahrheiten verloren hat. – Die Verehrer der Formen freilich, mit ihrem Maassstabe des Schönen und Erhabenen, werden zunächst gute Gründe zu spotten haben, sobald die Schätzung der unscheinbaren Wahrheiten und der wissenschaftliche Geist anfängt zur Herrschaft zu kommen: aber nur weil entweder ihr Auge sich noch nicht dem Reiz der schlichtesten Form erschlossen hat oder weil die in jenem Geiste erzogenen Menschen noch lange nicht völlig und innerlich von ihm durchdrungen sind, so dass sie immer noch gedankenlos alte Formen nachmachen (und diess schlecht genug, wie es jemand thut, dem nicht mehr viel an einer Sache liegt). Ehemals war der Geist nicht durch strenges Denken in Anspruch genommen, da lag sein Ernst im Ausspinnen von Symbolen und Formen. Das hat sich verändert; jener Ernst des Symbolischen ist zum Kennzeichen der niederen Cultur geworden; wie unsere Künste selber immer intellectualer, unsere Sinne geistiger werden, und wie man zum Beispiel jetzt ganz anders darüber urtheilt, was sinnlich wohltönend ist, als vor hundert Jahren: so werden auch die Formen unseres Lebens immer geistiger, für das Auge älterer Zeiten vielleicht hässlicher, aber nur weil es nicht zu sehen vermag, wie das Reich der inneren, geistigen Schönheit sich fortwährend vertieft und erweitert und in wie fern uns Allen der geistreiche Blick jetzt mehr gelten darf, als der schönste Gliederbau und das erhabenste Bauwerk.

I use a Dutch translation that is based on the work of researchers Colli and Montinari. I also read a copyrighted translation by R.J.HolllingdaleI that is much better than the one I can show you here and that is a copyright free. It is a translation from 1914 that you can also read here and here. If you want to read it in German you can do that here, my German is not good enough to pretend that I can translate it better than the professionals do but I will use it as a referee. I did not find a copyright free Dutch edition but you can buy and then download it here if you like it, I will make some pictures of the first aphorism so you can see if you like it.


Sources:

I will read a Dutch translation that is based on the work of researchers Colli and Montinari. I also use a translation from R.J.Hollingdale that is more modern than the copyright free translation I use here. This is a translation from 1909 by Helen Zimmern, who knew Nietzsche personally, but there was no critical study of Nietzsche’s work done back then and this translation suffers from that. The same goes for the translation from Alexander Harvey. My German is not good enough to pretend that I can translate it better than the professionals do but I will use the original as a referee.

  1. Menselijk al te menselijk een boek voor vrije geesten, translated by Thomas Graftdijk, 2000. Buy it here
  2. Human, all too human a book for free spirits, translated by R.J.Hollingdale, 1996
  3. Human, all too human a book for free spirits I V3, translated by Gary handwerk 1997
  4. Human, all too human a book for free spirits Part I, translated by Helen Zimmern 1909. Read it  here
  5. Human, all too human a book for free spirits, translated by Alexander Harvey, 1908. Read it here
  6. Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80. Read it here

 

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