Human all too human: 27. A substitute for religion.

Reading Friedrich Nietzsche’s Human all too human

Read the introduction here

You can read the aphorism I discuss here in English and German below the main article.

My take on it.

It is praised to substitute religion with philosophy as a religion for the people. When you balance your mind its sometimes good to step aside on a temperate mindset like philosophy. The transition can be dangerous. A philosophy can either satisfy or eradicate irrational Christian believes. These irrational believes are limited and contradict science. It is better to use art for the final transition because the irrational believes of the Cristian mind reacts better to art than to science. because art keeps the emotion less alive than metaphysical philosophy does. From art you can move on to a really liberating science.

 In one sentence:

To overcome irrational believes, use art to get to science.

 Synopsis, quote from the translation by Helen Zimmern and my take on it

It is believed that something good is said of philosophy when it is put forward as a substitute for religion for the people. It is praised to substitute religion with philosophy as a religion for the people. In fact, transitional zones of thought are occasionally necessary in the spiritual economy”. (Handwerk translation) 1 When you balance your mind its sometimes good to step aside on a temperate mindset like philosophy. The transition from religion to science can be dangerous. The transition can be dangerous. To this extent the recommendation is justifiable. But eventually we have to learn that the needs that religion satisfied, and that are now satisfied by philosophy can be weakened and eradicated. Think, for instance, of the Christian’s distress of soul, his sighing over inward corruption, his anxiety for salvation,—all notions which originate only in errors of reason and deserve not satisfaction but destruction. A philosophy can serve either to satisfy those needs or to set them aside A philosophy can either satisfy or eradicate irrational Christian believes. for they are acquired, temporally limited needs, and contradict science. These irrational believes are limited and contradict science. For the task of switching over to science from religion it is much better to use art to relieve the mind of emotions, It is better to use art for the final transition because the irrational believes of the Cristian mind reacts better to art than to science. for those notions receive much less support from it than from a metaphysical philosophy. because art keeps the emotion less alive that metaphysical philosophy does. From art you can move on to a really liberating science.

1The translators made a real mess out of this sentence. I think that Handwerk comes closest to the spirit of the text, judge for your self.

In der Tat bedarf es in der geistigen Ökonomie gelegentlich überleitender Gedankenkreise

In fact, in spiritual economy occasionally there is a need for a series of thought-processes (Google 2017)

In fact, transitional zones of thought are occasionally necessary in the spiritual economy. (Handwerk 2000)

The economy of the spirit does indeed occasionally require transitional orders of ideas (Hollingdale 1986)

in the spiritual economy there is need, at times, of an intermediary order of thought (Zimmern 1909)

And in fact, the training of the intellect does necessitate the convenient laying out of the track of thought. (Harvey 1908)


Human, all too human a book for free spirits Part I translated by Helen Zimmern 1909

  1. A SUBSTITUTE FOR RELIGION.—It is believed that something good is said of philosophy when it is put forward as a substitute for religion for the people. As a matter of fact, in the spiritual economy there is need, at times, of an intermediary order of thought : the transition from religion to scientific contemplation is a violent, dangerous leap, which is not to be recommended. To this extent the recommendation is justifiable. But one should eventually learn that the needs which have been satisfied by religion and are now to be satisfied by philosophy are not unchangeable ; these themselves can be weakened and eradicated. Think, for instance, of the Christian’s distress of soul, his sighing over inward corruption, his anxiety for salvation,—all notions which originate only in errors of reason and deserve not satisfaction but destruction. A philosophy can serve either to satisfy those needs or to set them aside ; for they are acquired, temporally limited needs, which are based upon suppositions contradictory to those of science. Here, in order to make a transition, art is far rather to be employed to relieve the mind over-burdened with emotions; for those notions receive much less support from it than from a metaphysical philosophy. It is easier, then, to pass over from art to a really liberating philosophical science.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Ersatz der Religion. – Man glaubt einer Philosophie etwas Gutes nachzusagen, wenn man sie als Ersatz der Religion für das Volk hinstellt. In der That bedarf es in der geistigen Oekonomie gelegentlich überleitender Gedankenkreise; so ist der Uebergang aus Religion in wissenschaftliche Betrachtung ein gewaltsamer, gefährlicher Sprung, Etwas, das zu widerrathen ist. Insofern hat man mit jener Anempfehlung Recht. Aber endlich sollte man doch auch lernen, dass die Bedürfnisse, welche die Religion befriedigt hat und nun die Philosophie befriedigen soll, nicht unwandelbar sind; diese selbst kann man schwächen und ausrotten. Man denke zum Beispiel an die christliche Seelennoth, das Seufzen über die innere Verderbtheit, die Sorge um das Heil, – alles Vorstellungen, welche nur aus Irrthümern der Vernunft herrühren und gar keine Befriedigung, sondern Vernichtung verdienen. Eine Philosophie kann entweder so nützen, dass sie jene Bedürfnisse auch befriedigt oder dass sie dieselben beseitigt; denn es sind angelernte, zeitlich begränzte Bedürfnisse, welche auf Voraussetzungen beruhen, die denen der Wissenschaft widersprechen. Hier ist, um einen Uebergang zu machen, die Kunst viel eher zu benutzen, um das mit Empfindungen überladene Gemüth zu erleichtern; denn durch sie werden jene Vorstellungen viel weniger unterhalten, als durch eine metaphysische Philosophie. Von der Kunst aus kann man dann leichter in eine wirklich befreiende philosophische Wissenschaft übergehen.

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 and the Gary Handwerk translation from the Colli-Montinari edition. Both are 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, 1986
  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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