Human all too human: 32. Injustice necessary.

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.

32. Poor judgement is our burden.

DSCF8649Our judgements concerning life are illogical and therefore unjust. The first reason for this is the partial availability of the material we work with, and then how we make conclusions out of it, and finally, the fact that every separate piece of the material is unavoidably the result of impure knowledge. If we know someone for a long time we still have not enough information to give a final evaluation, every evaluation is premature and should be. We are the one that measures, and we are ever changing. Our mood swings prevent us from making a stable platform from where we can measure the other Maybe the conclusion is that we should not judge at all. If we could just live without guesses, and favorites because they depend on your flawed evaluation. A drive towards or away from something without a need or avoidance, or an evaluation of the worth of the goal doesn’t exist. We know that we are unjust and illogical, and it is a disharmony of existence.


Text from the translation by Helen Zimmern and my take on it

All judgments on the value of life are illogically developed, and therefore unjust. Our judgements concerning life are illogical and therefore unjust. The inexactitude1 of the judgment lies, firstly, in the manner in which the material is presented, namely very imperfectly ; The first reason for this is the partial availability of the material we work with, secondly, in the manner in which the conclusion is formed out of it; And then how we make conclusions out of it, and thirdly, in the fact that every separate element of the material is again the result of vitiated2 recognition, and this, too, of necessity. And finally, the fact that every separate piece of the material is unavoidably the result of impure knowledge. For instance, no experience of an individual, however near he may stand to us, can be perfect, so that we could have a logical right to make a complete estimate of him; all estimates are rash, and must be so. If we know someone for a long time we still have not enough information to give a final evaluation, every evaluation premature and should be. Finally, the standard by which we measure, our nature, is not of unalterable dimensions, We are the one ourselves that measures, and we are ever changing —we have moods and vacillations, and yet we should have to recognise ourselves as a fixed standard in order to estimate correctly the relation of any thing whatever to ourselves. Our mood swings prevent us from making a stable platform from where we can measure the other (we don’t know who is moving).  From this it will, perhaps, follow that we should make no judgments at all; Maybe the conclusion is that we should not judge at all. if one could only live without making estimations, If we could just live without guesses, without having likes and dislikes! For all dislike is connected with an estimation, as well as all inclination. and favorites because they depend on your flawed evaluation. An impulse towards or away from anything without a feeling that something advantageous is desired, something injurious avoided, an impulse without any kind of conscious valuation of the worth of the aim does not exist in man. A drive towards or away from something without a need or avoidance, or an evaluation of the worth of the goal doesn’t exist. We are from the beginning illogical, and therefore unjust beings, and can recognize this; it is one of the greatest and most inexplicable discords of existence. We know that we are unjust and illogical, and it is a disharmony of existence.

1 The quality or state of being inexact or inaccurate; inexactness.

2 To reduce the value or quality of; impair or spoil


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

  1. INJUSTICE NECESSARY.—All judgments on the value of life are illogically developed, and therefore unjust. The inexactitude of the judgment lies, firstly, in the manner in which the material is presented, namely very imperfectly ; secondly, in the manner in which the conclusion is formed out of it; and thirdly, in the fact that every separate element of the material is again the result of vitiated recognition, and this, too, of necessity. For instance, no experience of an individual, however near he may stand to us, can be perfect, so that we could have a logical right to make a complete estimate of him ; all estimates are rash, and must be so. Finally, the standard by which we measure, our nature, is not of unalterable dimensions,—we have moods and vacillations, and yet we should have to recognise ourselves as a fixed standard in order to estimate correctly the relation of any thing whatever to ourselves. From this it will, perhaps, follow that we should make no judgments at all ; if one could only live without making estimations, without having likes and dislikes ! For all dislike is connected with an estimation, as well as all inclination. An impulse towards or away from anything without a feeling that something advantageous is desired, something injurious avoided, an impulse without any kind of conscious valuation of the worth of the aim does not exist in man. We are from the beginning illogical, and therefore unjust beings, and can recognise this ; it is one of the greatest and most inexplicable discords of existence.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Ungerechtsein nothwendig. – Alle Urtheile über den Werth des Lebens sind unlogisch entwickelt und desshalb ungerecht. Die Unreinheit des Urtheils liegt erstens in der Art, wie das Material vorliegt, nämlich sehr unvollständig, zweitens in der Art, wie daraus die Summe gebildet wird, und drittens darin, dass jedes einzelne Stück des Materials wieder das Resultat unreinen Erkennens ist und zwar diess mit voller Nothwendigkeit. Keine Erfahrung zum Beispiel über einen Menschen, stünde er uns auch noch so nah, kann vollständig sein, so dass wir ein logisches Recht zu einer Gesammtabschätzung desselben hätten; alle Schätzungen sind voreilig und müssen es sein. Endlich ist das Maass, womit wir messen, unser Wesen, keine unabänderliche Grösse, wir haben Stimmungen und Schwankungen, und doch müssten wir uns selbst als ein festes Maass kennen, um das Verhältniss irgend einer Sache zu uns gerecht abzuschätzen. Vielleicht wird aus alledem folgen, dass man gar nicht urtheilen sollte; wenn man aber nur leben könnte, ohne abzuschätzen, ohne Abneigung und Zuneigung zu haben! – denn alles Abgeneigtsein hängt mit einer Schätzung zusammen, ebenso alles Geneigtsein. Ein Trieb zu Etwas oder von Etwas weg, ohne ein Gefühl davon, dass man das Förderliche wolle, dem Schädlichen ausweiche, ein Trieb ohne eine Art von erkennender Abschätzung über den Werth des Zieles, existirt beim Menschen nicht. Wir sind von vornherein unlogische und daher ungerechte Wesen, und können diess erkennen: diess ist eine der grössten und unauflösbarsten Disharmonien des Daseins.

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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