Human all too human: 44. Gratitude and revenge

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/synopsis.

  1. Gratitude as revenge.

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The reason why the powerful man is grateful is: his benefactor intruded his sphere with charity. The powerful man, in his turn, penetrates the sphere of his benefactor with gratitude. It is a milder form of revenge. Without the satisfaction of gratitude, the powerful man would have shown himself powerless, and would have been reckoned as such ever after. Therefore, every group of the good, originally the powerful, places gratitude amongst the first duties. Swift propounded the maxim that men were grateful in the same proportion as they were revengeful.


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

The reason why the powerful man is grateful is this : his benefactor, through the benefit he confers, has mistaken and intruded into the sphere of the powerful man, —now the latter, in return, penetrates into the sphere of the benefactor by the act of gratitude. It is a milder form of revenge. The reason why the powerful man is grateful is: his benefactor intruded the sphere of the powerful man with his charity. The powerful man, in his turn, penetrates the sphere of his benefactor with gratitude. It is a milder form of revenge. Without the satisfaction of gratitude, the powerful man would have shown himself powerless, and would have been reckoned as such ever after. Without the satisfaction of gratitude, the powerful man would have shown himself powerless, and would have been reckoned as such ever after. Therefore every society of the good, which originally meant the powerful, places gratitude amongst the first duties. Therefore every group of the good, originally the powerful, places gratitude amongst the first duties. Swift propounded the maxim that men were grateful in the same proportion as they were revengeful. Swift propounded the maxim that men were grateful in the same proportion as they were revengeful.


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

  1. GRATITUDE AND REVENGE.The reason why the powerful man is grateful is this : his benefactor, through the benefit he confers, has mistaken and intruded into the sphere of the powerful man, —now the latter, in return, penetrates into the sphere of the benefactor by the act of gratitude. It is a milder form of revenge. Without the satisfaction of gratitude, the powerful man would have shown himself powerless, and would have been reckoned as such ever after. Therefore every society of the good, which originally meant the powerful, places gratitude amongst the first duties.—Swift propounded the maxim that men were grateful in the same proportion as they were revengeful.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Dankbarkeit und Rache. – Der Grund, wesshalb der Mächtige dankbar ist, ist dieser. Sein Wohlthäter hat sich durch seine Wohlthat an der Sphäre des Mächtigen gleichsam vergriffen und sich in sie eingedrängt: nun vergreift er sich zur Vergeltung wieder an der Sphäre des Wohlthäters durch den Act der Dankbarkeit. Es ist eine mildere Form der Rache. Ohne die Genugthuung der Dankbarkeit zu haben, würde der Mächtige sich unmächtig gezeigt haben und fürderhin dafür gelten. Desshalb stellt jede Gesellschaft der Guten, das heisst ursprünglich der Mächtigen, die Dankbarkeit unter die ersten Pflichten. – Swift hat den Satz hingeworfen, dass Menschen in dem selben Verhältniss dankbar sind, wie sie Rache hegen.

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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