Human all too human: 37. Nevertheless.

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.

  1. Research into morals have to be taken serious again.

DSC_1686Whatever you think of philosophy, the reanimation of moral observation is necessary. Important for this is the science that ask for the origins of moral sentiments and that solves complicated sociological problems, something the older philosophy did not do. The consequences can be seen in the wrong explanation of certain human actions and sensations by great philosophers. Like with the idea of unselfish actions and the false ethics that came from it, followed by a confused religion and a clouding of common sense. But superficial psychology seems to be the biggest enemy of progress and there is a lot of tedious work ahead. There is also a lot of bourgeoisie in popular psychology and serious researcher have to overcome that hurdle and make it a respectable science again, but results are already coming in from them. You can read it in the book: “On the Origin of Moral Sensations“ from Paul Ree.1 ” The moral man,” he says, ” is no nearer to the intelligible (metaphysical) world than is the physical man.” This idea, hardened by historical knowledge, may bringing down the ” metaphysical need ” of man, and if this good or bad for general wellbeing is hard to say, but it is important, and both fruitful and terrible like every two-face is looking in the world.


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

However it may be with reckoning and counter-reckoning, in the present condition of philosophy the awakening of moral observation is necessary. Humanity can no longer be spared the cruel sight of the psychological dissecting-table with its knives and forceps. Whatever you think of philosophy, reanimation of moral observation is necessary. For here rules that science which inquires into the origin and history of the so-called moral sentiments, and which, in its progress, has to draw up and solve complicated sociological problems: What rules in this area is the science that ask for the origins of moral sentiments and solve complicated sociological problems,   —the older philosophy knows the latter one not at all, and has always avoided the examination of the origin and history of moral sentiments on any feeble pretext. the older philosophy did none of that. With what consequences it is now very easy to see, after it has been shown by many examples how the mistakes of the greatest philosophers generally have their starting-point in a wrong explanation of certain human actions and sensations, The consequences can be seen in the wrong explanation of certain human actions and sensations by great philosophers. just as on the ground of an erroneous analysis—for instance, that of the so-called unselfish actions—a false ethic is built up ; then, to harmonise with this again, religion and mythological confusion are brought in to assist, and finally the shades of these dismal spirits fall also over physics and the general mode of regarding the world. Like with unselfish actions and the falls ethics that came from followed up by a confused religion and a clouding of physics and common thought. If it is certain, however, that superficiality in psychological observation has laid, and still lays, the most dangerous snares for human judgments and conclusions, then there is need now of that endurance of work which does not grow weary of piling stone upon stone, pebble on pebble; there is need of courage not to be ashamed of such humble work and to turn a deaf ear to scorn. But superficial psychology seems to be the biggest enemy of progress and there is a lot of tedious work ahead. And this is also true,—numberless single observations on the human and all-too-human have first been discovered, and given utterance to, in circles of society which were accustomed to offer sacrifice therewith to a clever desire to please, and not to scientific knowledge,—and the odour of that old home of the moral maxim, a very seductive odour, has attached itself almost inseparably to the whole species, so that on its account the scientific man involuntarily betrays a certain distrust of this species and its earnestness. And there is a lot of bourgeoisie in popular psychology and serious researcher have to overcome that. But it is sufficient to point to the consequences, for already it begins to be seen what results of a serious kind spring from the ground of psychological observation. But results are already coming in from serious research. What, after all, is the principal axiom to which the boldest and coldest thinker, the author of the book On the Origin of Moral Sensations, [5]has attained by means of his incisive and decisive analyses of human actions ? You can already read it in the book from Paul Ree.1 ” The moral man,” he says, ” is no nearer to the intelligible (metaphysical) world than is the physical man.” ” The moral man,” he says, ” is no nearer to the intelligible (metaphysical) world than is the physical man.” This theory, hardened and sharpened under the hammer-blow of historical knowledge, may some time or other, perhaps in some future period, serve as the axe which is applied to the root of the ” metaphysical need ” of man, This idea, hardened by historical knowledge, by bring down the ” metaphysical need ” of man, —whether more as a blessing than a curse to the general welfare it is not easy to say, but in any case as a theory with the most important consequences, at once fruitful and terrible, and looking into the world with that Janus-face which all great knowledge possesses. If it is for good or for bad for general wellbeing is hard to say, but it is important, both fruitful and terrible like every two-face is looking in the world.

1 Note form Hollingdale’s translation: The author of the book On the Origin of the Moral Sensations: again Paul Ree; the book, which is Ree’s chief work, was written during 1876-7 in the house in Sorrento in which Nietzsche was at the same time writing Human, All To Human


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

37.NEVERTHELESS.—However it may be with reckoning and counter-reckoning, in t he present condition of philosophy the awakening of moral observation is necessary. Humanity can no longer be spared the cruel sight of the psychological dissecting-table with its knives and forceps. For here rules that science which inquires into the origin and history of the so-called moral sentiments, and which, in its progress, has to draw up and solve complicated sociological problems:—the older philosophy knows the latter one not at all, and has always avoided the examination of the origin and history of moral sentiments on any feeble pretext. With what consequences it is now very easy to see, after it has been shown by many examples how the mistakes of the greatest philosophers generally have their starting-point in a wrong explanation of certain human actions and sensations, just as on the ground of an erroneous analysis—for instance, that of the so-called unselfish actions—a false ethic is built up ; then, to harmonise with this again, religion and mythological confusion are brought in to assist, and finally the shades of these dismal spirits fall also over physics and the general mode of regarding the world. If it is certain, however, that superficiality in psychological observation has laid, and still lays, the most dangerous snares for human judgments and conclusions, then there is need now of that endurance of work which does not grow weary of piling stone upon stone, pebble on pebble; there is need of courage not to be ashamed of such humble work and to turn a deaf ear to scorn. And this is also true,—numberless single observations on the human and all-too-human have first been discovered, and given utterance to, in circles of society which were accustomed to offer sacrifice therewith to a clever desire to please, and not to scientific knowledge,—and the odour of that old home of the moral maxim, a very seductive odour, has attached itself almost inseparably to the whole species, so that on its account the scientific man involuntarily betrays a certain distrust of this species and its earnestness. But it is sufficient to point to the consequences, for already it begins to be seen what results of a serious kind spring from the ground of psychological observation. What, after all, is the principal axiom to which the boldest and coldest thinker, the author of the book On the Origin of Moral Sensations, [5]has attained by means of his incisive and decisive analyses of human actions ? ” The moral man,” he says, ” is no nearer to the intelligible (metaphysical) world than is the physical man.” This theory, hardened and sharpened under the hammer-blow of historical knowledge, may some time or other, perhaps in some future period, serve as the axe which is applied to the root of the ” metaphysical need ” of man,—whether more as a blessing than a curse to the general welfare it is not easy to say, but in any case as a theory with the most important consequences, at once fruitful and terrible, and looking into the world with that Janus-face which all great knowledge possesses.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Trotzdem.- Wie es sich nun mit Rechnung und Gegenrechnung verhalte: in dem gegenwärtigen Zustande einer bestimmten einzelnen Wissenschaft ist die Auferweckung der moralischen Beobachtung nöthig geworden, und der grausame Anblick des psychologischen Secirtisches und seiner Messer und Zangen kann der Menschheit nicht erspart bleiben. Denn hier gebietet jene Wissenschaft, welche nach Ursprung und Geschichte der sogenannten moralischen Empfindungen fragt und welche im Fortschreiten die verwickelten sociologischen Probleme aufzustellen und zu lösen hat: – die ältere Philosophie kennt die letzteren gar nicht und ist der Untersuchung von Ursprung und Geschichte der moralischen Empfindungen unter dürftigen Ausflüchten immer aus dem Wege gegangen. Mit welchen Folgen: das lässt sich jetzt sehr deutlich überschauen, nachdem an vielen Beispielen nachgewiesen ist, wie die Irrthümer der grössten Philosophen gewöhnlich ihren Ausgangspunct in einer falschen Erklärung bestimmter menschlicher Handlungen und Empfindungen haben, wie auf Grund einer irrthümlichen Analysis, zum Beispiel der sogenannten unegoistischen Handlungen, eine falsche Ethik sich aufbaut, dieser zu Gefallen dann wiederum Religion und mythologisches Unwesen zu Hülfe genommen werden, und endlich die Schatten dieser trüben Geister auch in die Physik und die gesammte Weltbetrachtung hineinfallen. Steht es aber fest, dass die Oberflächlichkeit der psychologischen Beobachtung dem menschlichen Urtheilen und Schliessen die gefährlichsten Fallstricke gelegt hat und fortwährend von Neuem legt, so bedarf es jetzt jener Ausdauer der Arbeit, welche nicht müde wird, Steine auf Steine, Steinchen auf Steinchen zu häufen, so bedarf es der enthaltsamen Tapferkeit, um sich einer solchen bescheidenen Arbeit nicht zu schämen und jeder Missachtung derselben Trotz zu bieten. Es ist wahr: zahllose einzelne Bemerkungen über Menschliches und Allzumenschliches sind in Kreisen der Gesellschaft zuerst entdeckt und ausgesprochen worden, welche gewohnt waren, nicht der wissenschaftlichen Erkenntniss, sondern einer geistreichen Gefallsucht jede Art von Opfern darzubringen; und fast unlösbar hat sich der Duft jener alten Heimath der moralistischen Sentenz – ein sehr verführerischer Duft – der ganzen Gattung angehängt: so dass seinetwegen der wissenschaftliche Mensch unwillkürlich einiges Misstrauen gegen diese Gattung und ihre Ernsthaftigkeit merken lässt. Aber es genügt, auf die Folgen zu verweisen: denn schon jetzt beginnt sich zu zeigen, welche Ergebnisse ernsthaftester Art auf dem Boden der psychologischen Beobachtung aufwachsen. Welches ist doch der Hauptsatz zu dem einer der kühnsten und kältesten Denker, der Verfasser des Buches “Ueber den Ursprung der moralischen Empfindungen” vermöge seiner ein- und durchschneidenden Analysen des menschlichen Handelns gelangt? “Der moralische Mensch, sagt er, steht der intelligiblen (metaphysischen) Welt nicht näher, als der physische Mensch.” Dieser Satz, hart und schneidig geworden unter dem Hammerschlag der historischen Erkenntniss, kann vielleicht einmal, in irgendwelcher Zukunft, als die Axt dienen, welche dem “metaphysischen Bedürfniss” der Menschen an die Wurzel gelegt wird, – ob mehr zum Segen, als zum Fluche der allgemeinen Wohlfahrt, wer wüsste das zu sagen? – aber jedenfalls als ein Satz der erheblichsten Folgen, fruchtbar und furchtbar zugleich, und mit jenem Doppelgesichte in die Welt sehend, welches alle grossen Erkenntnisse haben.

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

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s