Human all too human: 46. Sympathy stronger than suffering.

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. Your shame, my suffering.

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Sympathy can be stronger than suffering. You can feel more shame, for instance, when someone else does something shameful than you would feel yourself if you did the same. For one thing, we believe more in him then he does and even when his egoism suffers more than ours because of his mistake the un-egoistic* in us is more deeply wounded by his guilt than is the un-egoistic in him.

* this word is not to be taken too seriously, but only as a modification of the expression


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

There are cases when sympathy is stronger than actual suffering. For instance, we are more pained when one of our friends is guilty of something shameful than when we do it ourselves. Sympathy can be stronger than suffering. You can feel more shame, for example, when someone else does something shameful than you would feel yourself doing the same. For one thing, we have more faith in the purity of his character than he has himself; then our love for him, probably on account of this very faith, is stronger than his love for himself. For one thing, we believe more in him then he does And even if his egoism suffers more thereby than our egoism, inasmuch as it has to bear more of the bad consequences of his fault, and even when his egoism suffers more than ours because of his mistake the un-egoistic in us—this word is not to be taken too seriously, but only as a modification of the expression—is more deeply wounded by his guilt than is the un-egoistic in him. the un-egoistic in us—this word is not to be taken too seriously, but only as a modification of the expression—is more deeply wounded by his guilt than is the un-egoistic in him.


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

  1. SYMPATHY STRONGER THAN SUFFERING.—There are cases when sympathy is stronger than actual suffering. For instance, we are more pained when one of our friends is guilty of something shameful than when we do it ourselves. For one thing, we have more faith in the purity of his character than he has himself; then our love for him, probably on account of this very faith, is stronger than his love for himself. And even if his egoism suffers more thereby than our egoism, inasmuch as it has to bear more of the bad consequences of his fault, the un-egoistic in us—this word is not to be taken too seriously, but only as a modification of the expression—is more deeply wounded by his guilt than is the un-egoistic in him.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Mitleiden stärker als Leiden. – Es giebt Fälle, wo das Mitleiden stärker ist, als das eigentliche Leiden. Wir empfinden es zum Beispiel schmerzlicher, wenn einer unserer Freunde sich etwas Schmähliches zu Schulden kommen lässt, als wenn wir selbst es thun. Einmal nämlich glauben wir mehr an die Reinheit seines Charakters, als er; sodann ist unsere Liebe zu ihm, wahrscheinlich eben dieses Glaubens wegen, stärker, als seine Liebe zu sich selbst. Wenn auch wirklich sein Egoismus mehr dabei leidet, als unser Egoismus, insofern er die übelen Folgen seines Vergehens stärker zu tragen hat, so wird das Unegoistische in uns – dieses Wort ist nie streng zu verstehen, sondern nur eine Erleichterung des Ausdrucks – doch stärker durch seine Schuld betroffen, als das Unegoistische in ihm.

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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