Human all too human: 36. Objection.

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. People don’t like intellectuals to look to close.

DSCF8614Is there a downside to psychological observations? Are we aware of the downside so we can divert future intellectuals away from it? It is better for the general well being to believe in the goodness of men and have shame for the nakedness of the soul, these qualities are only useful when psychological sharp-sightedness is needed, this believe in the goodness of men might as well been for the best. When one imitates Plutarch’s1 heroes with enthusiasm and don’t want to see their motives you will benefit society with that, but not the truth, the psychological mistake and weakness when you do this is beneficial for humanity. Truth is better served with the words used by La Rochefoucauld in his forward to “Sentences et maximes morales.”3: “That which the world calls virtue is usually nothing, but a phantom formed by our passions to which we give an honest name so as to do what we wish with impunity.” He, and others like Paul Rée4 resemble good marksmen who again and again hit the bull’s-eye of human nature. What they do is amazing but the small minded people that are not driven by science but by love for mankind will condemn them.


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

Or should there be a counter-reckoning to that theory that places psychological observation amongst the means of charming, curing, and relieving existence ? Is there a downside to psychological observations? Should one have sufficiently convinced one’s self of the unpleasant consequences of this art to divert from it designedly the attention of him who is educating himself in it? Are we aware of the downside so we can divert future interlectuals? As a matter of fact, a certain blind belief in the goodness of human nature, an innate aversion to the analysis of human actions, a kind of shamefacedness with respect to the nakedness of the soul may really be more desirable for the general well- being of a man than that quality, useful in isolated cases, of psychological sharp-sightedness ; It is better for the general health to believe in the goodness of men and have shame for the nakedness of the soul, these qualities are only useful when psychological sharp-sightedness is needed.   and perhaps the belief in goodness, in virtuous men and deeds, in an abundance of impersonal good-will in the world, has made men better inasmuch as it has made them less distrustful. This believe in the goodness of men might as well been for the best. When one imitates Plutarch’s heroes with enthusiasm, and turns with disgust from a suspicious examination of the motives for their actions, it is not truth which benefits thereby, but the welfare of human society ; When one imitates Plutarch’s1 heroes with enthusiasm and don’t want to see their motives you will benefit society with that and not the truth.  the psychological mistake and, generally speaking, the insensibility on this matter helps humanity forwards, The psychological mistake and weakness in this case is beneficial for humanity.  while the recognition of truth gains more through the stimulating power of hypothesis than La Rochefoucauld2 has said in his preface to the first edition of his “Sentences et maximes morales.”. . . Truth is better served with the words of La Rochefoucauld in his forward to “Sentences et maximes morales.”3:  “Ce que le monde nomme vertu n’est d’ordinaire qu’un fantôme formé par nos passions, à qui on donne un nom honnête pour faire impunément ce qu’on veut.” That which the world calls virtue is usually nothing, but a phantom formed by our passions to which we give an honest name so as to do what we wish with impunity.” La Rochefoucauld and those other French masters of soul-examination (who have lately been joined by a German, the author of Psychological Observations [4]) resemble good marksmen who again and again hit the bull’s-eye but it is the bull’s-eye of human nature. He, and others like Paul Rée4 resemble good marksmen who again and again hit the bull’s-eye of human nature.; Their art arouses astonishment ; but in the end a spectator who is not led by the spirit of science, but by humane intentions, will probably execrate an art which appears to implant in the soul the sense of the disparagement and suspicion of mankind. What they do is amazing but the people that are not driven by science but by love for mankind will condemn it.

1 Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, commonly called Parallel Lives or Plutarch’s Lives, is a series of biographies of famous men, arranged in tandem to illuminate their common moral virtues or failings, probably written at the beginning of the second century AD. (read more)

2 François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac; 15 September 1613 – 17 March 1680) was a noted French author of maxims and memoirs. It is said that his world-view was clear-eyed and urbane, and that he neither condemned human conduct nor sentimentally celebrated it. (read more)

3 There are many version of this book so this specific forward is hard to find but here you can read the book as it is presented now.

4 Paul Ludwig Carl Heinrich Rée (21 November 1849 – 28 October 1901) was a German author and philosopher, and friend of Friedrich Nietzsche. (read more)


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

  1. OBJECTION.—Or should there be a counter-reckoning to that theory that places psychological observation amongst the means of charming, curing, and relieving existence ? Should one have sufficiently convinced one’s self of the unpleasant consequences of this art to divert from it designedly the attention of him who is educating himself in it? As a matter of fact, a certain blind belief in the goodness of human nature, an innate aversion to the analysis of human actions, a kind of shamefacedness with respect to the nakedness of the soul may really be more desirable for the general well- being of a man than that quality, useful in isolated cases, of psychological sharp-sightedness ; and perhaps the belief in goodness, in virtuous men and deeds, in an abundance of impersonal good-will in the world, has made men better inasmuch as it has made them less distrustful. When one imitates Plutarch’s heroes with enthusiasm, and turns with disgust from a suspicious examination of the motives for their actions, it is not truth which benefits thereby, but the welfare of human society ; the psychological mistake and, generally speaking, the insensibility on this matter helps humanity forwards, while the recognition of truth gains more through the stimulating power of hypothesis than La Rochefoucauld has said in his preface to the first edition of his “Sentences et maximes morales.”. . . “Ce que le monde nomme vertu n’est d’ordinaire qu’un fantôme formé par nos passions, à qui on donne un nom honnête pour faire impunément ce qu’on veut.” La Rochefoucauld and those other French masters of soul-examination (who have lately been joined by a German, the author of Psychological Observations [4]) resemble good marksmen who again and again hit the bull’s-eye ; but it is the bull’s-eye of human nature. Their art arouses astonishment ; but in the end a spectator who is not led by the spirit of science, but by humane intentions, will probably execrate an art which appears to implant in the soul the sense of the disparagement and suspicion of mankind.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

Zweites Hauptstück, zur Geschichte der moralischen Empfindungen.

 

  1. Einwand.- Oder sollte es gegen jenen Satz, dass die psychologische Beobachtung zu den Reiz-, Heil- und Erleichterungsmitteln des Daseins gehöre, eine Gegenrechnung geben? Sollte man sich genug von den unangenehmen Folgen dieser Kunst überzeugt haben, um jetzt mit Absichtlichkeit den Blick der sich Bildenden von ihr abzulenken? In der That, ein gewisser blinder Glaube an die Güte der menschlichen Natur, ein eingepflanzter Widerwille vor der Zerlegung menschlicher Handlungen, eine Art Schamhaftigkeit in Hinsicht auf die Nacktheit der Seele mögen wirklich für das gesammte Glück eines Menschen wünschenswerthere Dinge sein, als jene, in einzelnen Fällen hilfreiche Eigenschaft der psychologischen Scharfsichtigkeit; und vielleicht hat der Glaube an das Gute, an tugendhafte Menschen und Handlungen, an eine Fülle des unpersönlichen Wohlwollens in der Welt die Menschen besser gemacht, insofern er dieselben weniger misstrauisch machte. Wenn man die Helden Plutarch’s mit Begeisterung nachahmt, und einen Abscheu davor empfindet, den Motiven ihres Handelns anzweifelnd nachzuspüren, so hat zwar nicht die Wahrheit, aber die Wohlfahrt der menschlichen Gesellschaft ihren Nutzen dabei: der psychologische Irrthum und überhaupt die Dumpfheit auf diesem Gebiete hilft der Menschlichkeit vorwärts, während die Erkenntniss der Wahrheit vielleicht durch die anregende Kraft einer Hypothese mehr gewinnt, wie sie La Rochefoucauld der ersten Ausgabe seiner “Sentences et maximes morales” vorangestellt hat: “Ce que le monde nomme vertu n’est d’ordinaire qu’un fantôame formé par nos passions, ŕ qui on donne un nom honnęte pour faire impunément ce qu’on veut.” La Rochefoucauld und jene anderen französischen Meister der Seelenprüfung (denen sich neuerdings auch ein Deutscher, der Verfasser der “Psychologischen Beobachtungen” zugesellt hat) gleichen scharf zielenden Schützen, welche immer und immer wieder in’s Schwarze treffen, – aber in’s Schwarze der menschlichen Natur. Ihr Geschick erregt Staunen, aber endlich verwünscht ein Zuschauer, der nicht vom Geiste der Wissenschaft, sondern der Menschenfreundlichkeit geleitet wird, eine Kunst, welche den Sinn der Verkleinerung und Verdächtigung in die Seelen der Menschen zu pflanzen scheint.

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

 

 

Human all too human: 35. Advantages of psychological observations.

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.

Chapter two, The history of the moral sentiments.

  1. Write maxims and life is easier.

DSC_1727Thinking about our human behavior can make life easier, if you do this it will make you more aware, even in difficult situations it will give you guidelines and make you feel better. This was once common knowledge but is now forgotten? It is clearly visible in Europe, not so much in literature and philosophical writings, because they are the works of exceptional individuals, but in the judgments on public events and personalities by the people, especially the lack of psychological analysis is noticeable in every rank of society where there is a lot of talk about men but not much about man. Why do we not talk or read more about this rich and harmless subject? Almost no one reads La Rochefoucault or similar books with maxims1, and even rarer are the ones that not blame these writers. But even these exceptional people that read it have a hard time finding all the pleasure in these maxims because they have never tried to make them themselves. Without this path of studying and polishing it will look easier than it is, and he will find therefore les pleasure in reading these maxims. So, they look like people who praise because they cannot love, and are very ready to admire, but still more ready to run away. 

1 A short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct.


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

SECOND DIVISION – The History of the moral sentiments.

That reflection on the human, all-too-human—or, according to the learned expression, psychological observation—is one of the means by which one may lighten the burden of life, Thinking about our human behavior can make live easier,  that exercise in this art produces presence of mind in difficult circumstances, if exercised it will make you more aware, in the midst of tiresome surroundings, even that from the most thorny and unpleasant periods of one’s own life one may gather maxims and thereby feel a little better: even in difficult situations it will give you rules and make you feel better. all this was believed, was known in former centuries. Why was it forgotten by our century, This was ones common knowledge but is now forgotten? when in Germany at least, even in all Europe, the poverty of psychological observation betrays itself by many signs? Not exactly in novels, tales, and philosophical treatises,—they are the work of exceptional individuals, It is clearly visible in Europe, not so much in literature and philosophical writings because they are the works of exceptional individuals, —rather in the judgments on public events and personalities ; but in the judgments on public events and personalities, but above all there is a lack of the art of psychological analysis and summing-up in every rank of society, especially the lack of psychological analysis is noticeable in every rank of society in which a great deal is talked about men, but nothing about man. where there is a lot of talk about men but not much about man. Why do we allow the richest and most harmless subject of conversation to escape us ? Why are not the great masters of psychological maxims more read ? Why do we not talk or read about this rich and harmless subject? For, without any exaggeration, the educated man in Europe who has read La Rochefoucauld and his kindred in mind and art, is rarely found, and still more rare is he who knows them and does not blame them. Almost no one reads La Rochefoucault or similar books, and even rarer are the ones that not blame these writers. It is probable, however, that even this exceptional reader will find much less pleasure in them than the form of this artist should afford him ; for even the clearest head is not capable of rightly estimating the art of shaping and polishing maxims unless he has really been brought up to it and has competed in it. But even these exceptional readers have a hard time finding all the pleasure in there maxims because they have never tried to make them themselves. Without this practical teaching one deems this shaping and polishing to be easier than it is ; one has not a sufficient perception of fitness and charm. For this reason the present readers of maxims find in them a comparatively small pleasure, hardly a mouthful of pleasantness, Without this path it looks easier than it is and he will find therefore les pleasure in reading these maxims. so that they resemble the people who generally look at cameos, who praise because they cannot love, and are very ready to admire, but still more ready to run away. So they look like people who praise because they cannot love, and are very ready to admire, but still more ready to run away.


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

SECOND DIVISION – The History Of The Moral Sentiments.

  1. ADVANTAGES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL OBSERVATION.—That reflection on the human, all-too-human—or,according to the learned expression, psychological observation—is one of the means by which one may lighten the burden of life, that exercise in this art produces presence of mind in difficult circumstances, in the midst of tiresome surroundings, even that from the most thorny and unpleasant periods of one’s own life one may gather maxims and thereby feel a little better: all this was believed, was known in former centuries. Why was it forgotten by our century, when in Germany at least, even in all Europe, the poverty of psychological observation betrays itself by many signs? Not exactly in novels, tales, and philosophical treatises,—they are the work of exceptional individuals,—rather in the judgments on public events and personalities ; but above all there is a lack of the art of psychological analysis and summing-up in every rank of society, in which a great deal is talked about men, but nothing about man. Why do we allow the richest and most harmless subject of conversation to escape us ? Why are not the great masters of psychological maxims more read ? For, without any exaggeration, the educated man in Europe who has read La Rochefoucauld and his kindred in mind and art, is rarely found, and still more rare is he who knows them and does not blame them. It is probable, however, that even this exceptional reader will find much less pleasure in them than the form of this artist should afford him ; for even the clearest head is not capable of rightly estimating the art of shaping and polishing maxims unless he has really been brought up to it and has competed in it. Without this practical teaching one deems this shaping and polishing to be easier than it is ; one has not a sufficient perception of fitness and charm. For this reason the present readers of maxims find in them a comparatively small pleasure, hardly a mouthful of pleasantness, so that they resemble the people who generally look at cameos, who praise because they cannot love, and are very ready to admire, but still more ready to run away.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

Zweites Hauptstück, zur Geschichte der moralischen Empfindungen.

  1. Vortheile der psychologischen Beobachtung. – Dass das Nachdenken über Menschliches, Allzumenschliches – oder wie der gelehrtere Ausdruck lautet: die psychologische Beobachtung – zu den Mitteln gehöre, vermöge deren man sich die Last des Lebens erleichtern könne, dass die Uebung in dieser Kunst Geistesgegenwart in schwierigen Lagen und Unterhaltung inmitten einer langweiligen Umgebung verleihe, ja dass man den dornenvollsten und unerfreulichsten Strichen des eigenen Lebens Sentenzen abpflücken und sich dabei ein Wenig wohler fühlen könne: das glaubte man, wusste man – in früheren Jahrhunderten. Warum vergass es dieses Jahrhundert, wo wenigstens in Deutschland, ja in Europa, die Armuth an psychologischer Beobachtung durch viele Zeichen sich zu erkennen giebt? Nicht gerade in Roman, Novelle und philosophischer Betrachtung, – diese sind das Werk von Ausnahmemenschen; schon mehr in der Beurtheilung öffentlicher Ereignisse und Persönlichkeiten: vor Allem aber fehlt die Kunst der psychologischen Zergliederung und Zusammenrechnung in der Gesellschaft aller Stände, in der man wohl viel über Menschen, aber gar nicht über den Menschen spricht. Warum doch lässt man sich den reichsten und harmlosesten Stoff der Unterhaltung entgehen? Warum liest man nicht einmal die grossen Meister der psychologischen Sentenz mehr? – denn, ohne jede Uebertreibung gesprochen: der Gebildete in Europa, der La Rochefoucauld und seine Geistes- und Kunstverwandten gelesen hat, ist selten zu finden; und noch viel seltener Der, welcher sie kennt und sie nicht schmäht. Wahrscheinlich wird aber auch dieser ungewöhnliche Leser viel weniger Freude an ihnen haben, als die Form jener Künstler ihm geben sollte; denn selbst der feinste Kopf ist nicht vermögend, die Kunst der Sentenzen-Schleiferei gebührend zu würdigen, wenn er nicht selber zu ihr erzogen ist, in ihr gewetteifert hat. Man nimmt, ohne solche practische Belehrung, dieses Schaffen und Formen für leichter als es ist, man fühlt das Gelungene und Reizvolle nicht scharf genug heraus. Desshalb haben die jetzigen Leser von Sentenzen ein verhältnissmässig unbedeutendes Vergnügen an ihnen, ja kaum einen Mund voll Annehmlichkeit, so dass es ihnen ebenso geht, wie den gewöhnlichen Betrachtern von Kameen: als welche loben, weil sie nicht lieben können und schnell bereit sind zu bewundern, schneller aber noch, fortzulaufen.

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

 

 

Human all too human: 34. For tranquillity.

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. Life is a bitch, but I can imagine a better one.

DSCF8639Is our philosophy now a tragedy? is truth hostile to life and improvement? Can we live in a lie, or is death better? Because, there is no “must do”, our way of seeing the world has destroyed morality. Our knowledge only excepts pleasure and pain, benefit, and injury as grounds for action, but how do they work with the truth? Our preferences or dislikes make wrong assessments and determine with it our pleasure and pain. Human life is one big lie, and no one can escape this without cursing his past and finding his present motives, like honor, worthless and the ideals that drive him seem ridiculous. Is there only despair left with a philosophy of destruction? I think this is determined by the temperament of man. I can imagine a life that is less affected by emotions and it would slowly lose it’s bad habits through the influence of knowledge.  Finally, you could live amongst men and on selves without praise, reproach, or agitation, feasting one’s eyes, as if it were a play, upon much of which one was formerly afraid. No more emphasis and attention on the thought that one is nature or more than nature. You need a more positive stance in life and not the qualities of old dogs and people chained for too long. You need people that live for knowledge and can live with less and ignore common values and practices. This person like to share this pleasure and lifestyle, it’s probably the only thing he can share to his detriment. But if more is asked of him he will point to his brother, the free man of action, with a slight scorn because his freedom is a particular one.   


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

But does not our philosophy thus become a tragedy ? Does not truth become hostile to life, to improvement? Is our philosophy now a tragedy, is truth hostile to life and improvement? A question seems to weigh upon our tongue and yet hesitate to make itself heard : whether one can consciously remain in untruthfulness? or, supposing one were obliged to do this, would not death be preferable? One question remains: can we live in a lie, or is death better? For there is no longer any ” must “; morality, in so far as it had any ” must ” or ” shalt, has been destroyed by our mode of contemplation, just as religion has been destroyed. Because there is no “must do”, our way of seeing the world has destroyed morality like the church before. Knowledge can only allow pleasure and pain, benefit and injury to subsist as motives; but how will these motives agree with the sense of truth? Knowledge only excepts pleasure and pain, benefit, and injury as grounds for action, but how do they work with the truth? They also contain errors (for, as already said, inclination and aversion, and their very incorrect determinations, practically regulate our pleasure and pain). But these have errors too, as said before, preference or aversion make wrong assessments and determine with it our pleasure and pain.   The whole of human life is deeply immersed in untruthfulness; the individual cannot draw it up out of this well, without thereby taking a deep dislike to his whole past, Human life is one big lie, and no one can escape this without cursing his past,   without finding his present motives —those of honor, for instance—inconsistent, and without opposing scorn and disdain to the passions which conduce to happiness in the future. and  finding his present motives, like honor, worthless and the ideals that drive him seem ridiculous- Is it true that there remains but one sole way of thinking which brings after it despair as a personal experience, as a theoretical result, a philosophy of dissolution, disintegration, and self-destruction? Is there only despair left with a philosophy of destruction? I believe that the decision with regard to the after- effects of the knowledge will be given through the temperament of a man; I think this is determined by the temperament of man. I could imagine another after-effect, just as well as that one described, which is possible in certain natures, by means of which a life would arise much simpler, freer from emotions than is the present one, I can imagine a life that is less affected by emotions so that though at first, indeed, the old motives of passionate desire might still have strength from old hereditary habit, they would gradually become weaker under the influence of purifying knowledge. and it would slowly lose it’s bad habits through the influence of knowledge.  One would live at last amongst men, and with one’s self as with Nature without praise, reproach, or agitation, feasting one’s eyes, as if it were a play, upon much of which one was formerly afraid. Finally, you could live amongst men and on selves without praise, reproach, or agitation, feasting one’s eyes, as if it were a play, upon much of which one was formerly afraid. One would be free from the emphasis, and would no longer feel the goading, of the thought that one is not only nature or more than nature. No more emphasis and attention on the thought that one is nature or more than nature Certainly, as already remarked, a good temperament would be necessary for this, an even, mild, and naturally joyous soul, a disposition which would not always need to be on its guard against spite and sudden outbreaks, and would not convey in its utterances anything of a grumbling or sudden nature, As mentioned before you need a more positive stance in life,—those well-known vexatious qualities of old dogs and men who have been long chained up. and not the qualities of old dogs and people chained for too long. On the contrary, a man from whom the ordinary fetters of life have so far fallen that he continues to live only for the sake of ever better knowledge must be able to renounce without envy and regret: much, indeed almost everything that is precious to other men, he must regard as the all- sufficing and the most desirable condition; the free, fearless soaring over men, customs, laws, and the traditional valuations of things. You need people that live for knowledge and can live with less and ignore common values and practices. The joy of this condition he imparts willingly, and he has perhaps nothing else to impart,—wherein, to be sure, there is more privation and renunciation. This person like to share this pleasure and lifestyle, it’s probably the only thing he can share to his detriment. If, nevertheless, more is demanded from him, he will point with a friendly shake of his head to his brother, the free man of action, and will perhaps not conceal a little derision, for as regards this ” freedom ” it is a very peculiar case. But if more is asked of him he will point to his brother, the free man of action, with a slight scorn because about his freedom is a particular one.   


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

  1. FOR TRANQUILLITY.—But does not our philosophy thus become a tragedy ? Does not truth become hostile to life, to improvement ? A question seems to weigh upon our tongue and yet hesitate to make itself heard : whether one can consciously remain in untruthfulness ? or, supposing one were obliged to do this, would not death be preferable ? For there is no longer any ” must ” ; morality, in so far as it had any ” must ” or ” shalt, has been destroyed by our mode of contemplation, just as religion has been destroyed. Knowledge can only allow pleasure and pain, benefit and injury to subsist as motives ; but how will these motives agree with the sense of truth ? They also contain errors (for, as already said, inclination and aversion, and their very incorrect determinations, practically regulate our pleasure and pain). The whole of human life is deeply immersed in untruthfulness ; the individual cannot draw it up out of this well, without thereby taking a deep dislike to his whole past, without finding his present motives —those of honour, for instance—inconsistent, and without opposing scorn and disdain to the passions which conduce to happiness in the future. Is it true that there remains but one sole way of thinking which brings after it despair as a personal experience, as a theoretical result, a philosophy of dissolution, disintegration, and self-destruction ? I believe that the decision with regard to the after- effects of the knowledge will be given through the temperament of a man ; I could imagine another after-effect, just as well as that one described, which is possible in certain natures, by means of which a life would arise much simpler, freer from emotions than is the present one, so that though at first, indeed, the old motives of passionate desire might still have strength from old hereditary habit, they would gradually become weaker under the influence of purifying knowledge. One would live at last amongst men, and with one’s self as with Nature without praise, reproach, or agitation, feasting one’s eyes, as if it were a play, upon much of which one was formerly afraid. One would be free from the emphasis, and would no longer feel the goading, of the thought that one is not only nature or more than nature. Certainly, as already remarked, a good temperament would be necessary for this, an even, mild, and naturally joyous soul, a disposition which would not always need to be on its guard against spite and sudden outbreaks, and would not convey in its utterances anything of a grumbling or sudden nature,—those well-known vexatious qualities of old dogs and men who have been long chained up. On the contrary, a man from whom the ordinary fetters of life have so far fallen that he continues to live only for the sake of ever better knowledge must be able to renounce without envy and regret : much, indeed almost everything that is precious to other men, he must regard as the all- sufficing and the most desirable condition ; the free, fearless soaring over men, customs, laws, and the traditional valuations of things. The joy of this condition he imparts willingly, and he has perhaps nothing else to impart,—wherein, to be sure, there is more privation and renunciation. If, nevertheless, more is demanded from him, he will point with a friendly shake of his head to his brother, the free man of action, and will perhaps not conceal a little derision, for as regards this ” freedom ” it is a very peculiar case.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Zur Beruhigung.- Aber wird so unsere Philosophie nicht zur Tragödie? Wird die Wahrheit nicht dem Leben, dem Besseren feindlich? Eine Frage scheint uns die Zunge zu beschweren und doch nicht laut werden zu wollen: ob man bewusst in der Unwahrheit bleiben könne? oder, wenn man diess müsse, ob da nicht der Tod vorzuziehen sei? Denn ein Sollen giebt es nicht mehr; die Moral, insofern sie ein Sollen war, ist ja durch unsere Betrachtungsart ebenso vernichtet wie die Religion. Die Erkenntniss kann als Motive nur Lust und Unlust, Nutzen und Schaden bestehen lassen: wie aber werden diese Motive sich mit dem Sinne für Wahrheit auseinandersetzen? Auch sie berühren sich ja mit Irrthümern (insofern, wie gesagt, Neigung und Abneigung und ihre sehr ungerechten Messungen unsere Lust und Unlust wesentlich bestimmen). Das ganze menschliche Leben ist tief in die Unwahrheit eingesenkt; der Einzelne kann es nicht aus diesem Brunnen herausziehen, ohne dabei seiner Vergangenheit aus tiefstem Grunde gram zu werden, ohne seine gegenwärtigen Motive, wie die der Ehre, ungereimt zu finden und den Leidenschaften, welche zur Zukunft und zu einem Glück in derselben hindrängen, Hohn und Verachtung entgegenzustellen. Ist es wahr, bliebe einzig noch eine Denkweise übrig, welche als persönliches Ergebniss die Verzweifelung, als theoretisches eine Philosophie der Zerstörung nach sich zöge? – Ich glaube, die Entscheidung über die Nachwirkung der Erkenntniss wird durch das Temperament eines Menschen gegeben: ich könnte mir eben so gut, wie jene geschilderte und bei einzelnen Naturen mögliche Nachwirkung, eine andere denken, vermöge deren ein viel einfacheres, von Affecten reineres Leben entstünde, als das jetzige ist: so dass zuerst zwar die alten Motive des heftigeren Begehrens noch Kraft hätten, aus alter vererbter Gewöhnung her, allmählich aber unter dem Einflusse der reinigenden Erkenntniss schwächer würden. Man lebte zuletzt unter den Menschen und mit sich wie in der Natur, ohne Lob, Vorwürfe, Ereiferung, an Vielem sich wie an einem Schauspiel weidend, vor dem man sich bisher nur zu fürchten hatte. Man wäre die Emphasis los und würde die Anstachelung des Gedankens, dass man nicht nur Natur oder mehr als Natur sei, nicht weiter empfinden. Freilich gehörte hierzu, wie gesagt, ein gutes Temperament, eine gefestete, milde und im Grunde frohsinnige Seele, eine Stimmung, welche nicht vor Tücken und plötzlichen Ausbrüchen auf der Hut zu sein brauchte und in ihren Aeusserungen Nichts von dem knurrenden Tone und der Verbissenheit an sich trüge, – jenen bekannten lästigen Eigenschaften alter Hunde und Menschen, die lange an der Kette gelegen haben. Vielmehr muss ein Mensch, von dem in solchem Maasse die gewöhnlichen Fesseln des Lebens abgefallen sind, dass er nur deshalb weiter lebt, um immer besser zu erkennen, auf Vieles, ja fast auf Alles, was bei den anderen Menschen Werth hat, ohne Neid und Verdruss verzichten können, ihm muss als der wünschenswertheste Zustand jenes freie, furchtlose Schweben über Menschen, Sitten, Gesetzen und den herkömmlichen Schätzungen der Dinge genügen. Die Freude an diesem Zustande theilt er gerne mit und er hat vielleicht nichts Anderes mitzutheilen, – worin freilich eine Entbehrung, eine Entsagung mehr liegt. Will man aber trotzdem mehr von ihm, so wird er mit wohlwollendem Kopfschütteln auf seinen Bruder hinweisen, den freien Menschen der That, und vielleicht ein Wenig Spott nicht verhehlen: denn mit dessen “Freiheit” hat es eine eigene Bewandtniss.

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

 

 

Human all too human: 33. Error about life necessary for life.

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. The ignorant lives, may the rest write poetry.

CVG_9391Every belief in the value and worthiness of life is based on impure thinking. It is only possible because of a lack of compassion for mankind. The few that think further only do this in a limited way. If you, for example, only look at the gifted people, and see them as the purpose of life and rejoice their activities, then you might believe in the value of life, but you have to ignore the rest and thus think impure. The same goes for when you only look at one human trade, the les egoistical, and forget about the rest.  But either way you are an exception if you think like that. But most people don’t complain about life and value it as it is, they only look at themselves and don’t look beyond themselves like the beforementioned exceptions. The lack of imagination and compassion shields him for the fate of others. The person with compassion will, then again, have a low value of life, and if he could understand it all he would curse life, because it has no goal. He who sees this will not find comfort in life, even in his own. But feeling lost as humanity and as an individual like a blossom in nature is greater than all other feelings, but who can handle that? Probably the poet, they know how to console themselves.


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

Every belief in the value and worthiness of life is based on vitiated1 Every belief in the value and worthiness of life is based on impure thinking. thought; it is only possible through the fact that sympathy for the general life and suffering of mankind is very weakly developed in the individual. It is only possible because of a lack of compassion for mankind. Even the rarer people who think outside themselves do not contemplate this general life, but only a limited part of it. The few that think further only do this in a limited way. If one understands how to direct one’s attention chiefly to the exceptions,—I mean to the highly gifted and the rich souls,—if one regards the production of these as the aim of the whole world-development and rejoices in its operation, then one may believe in the value of life, because one thereby overlooks the other men—one consequently thinks fallaciously. If you, for example, only look at the gifted people, and see them as the purpose of life and rejoice their activities, then you might believe in the value of life, but you have to ignore the rest and thus think impure.  So too, when one directs one’s attention to all mankind, but only considers one species of impulses in them, the less egoistical ones, and excuses them with regard to the other instincts, one may then again entertain hopes of mankind in general and believe so far in the value of life, consequently in this case also through fallaciousness of thought. The same goes for when you only look at one human trade, the les egoistical, and forget about the rest.  Let one, however, behave in this or that manner: with such behaviour one is an exception amongst men. But either way you are an exception if you think like that. Now, most people bear life without any considerable grumbling, and consequently believe in the value of existence, But most people don’t complain about life and value it as it is, but precisely because each one is solely self-seeking and self-affirming, and does not step out of himself like those exceptions ; everything extra-personal is imperceptible to them, or at most seems only a faint shadow. they only look at themselves and don’t look beond themselves like the beforementioned exceptions. Therefore, on this alone is based the value of life for the ordinary everyday man, that he regards himself as more important than the world. The great lack of imagination from which he suffers is the reason why he cannot enter into the feelings of other beings, and therefore sympathizes as little as possible with their fate and suffering. The lack of imagination and compassion shields him for the fate of others. He, on the other hand, who really could sympathize therewith, would have to despair of the value of life ; The person with compassion will, then again,  have a low value of life, were he to succeed in comprehending and feeling in himself the general consciousness of mankind, he would collapse with a curse on existence ; for mankind as a whole has no goals, and if he could understand it all he would curse life, because it has no goal. consequently man, in considering his whole course, cannot find in it his comfort and support, but his despair. If, in all that he does, he considers the final aimlessness of man, his own activity assumes in his eyes the character of wastefulness. He who sees this will not find comfort in life, even in his own. But to feel one’s self just as much wasted as humanity (and not only as an individual) as we see the single blossom of nature wasted, is a feeling above all other feelings. But feeling lost as humanity and an individual like a blossom in nature is greater than all other feelings,  But who is capable of it? Assuredly only a poet, and poets always know how to console themselves. But who can handle that? Probably the poet, they know how to console themselves.

1 Vitiated according to the dictionary: to impair the quality of; make faulty; spoil. The original German word: unreinem is translated as impure. Handwerk translated it like that, Hollingdale translated it as false.


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

  1. ERROR ABOUT LIFE NECESSARY FOR LIFE.—Every belief in the value and worthiness of life is based on vitiated thought ; it is only possible through the fact that sympathy for the general life and suffering of mankind is very weakly developed in the individual. Even the rarer people who think outside themselves do not contemplate this general life, but only a limited part of it. If one understands how to direct one’s attention chiefly to the exceptions,—I mean to the highly gifted and the rich souls,—if one regards the production of these as the aim of the whole world-development and rejoices in its operation, then one may believe in the value of life, because one thereby overlooks the other men—one consequently thinks fallaciously. So too, when one directs one’s attention to all mankind, but only considers one species of impulses in them, the less egoistical ones, and excuses them with regard to the other instincts, one may then again entertain hopes of mankind in general and believe so far in the value of life, consequently in this case also through fallaciousness of thought. Let one, however, behave in this or that manner : with such behaviour one is an exception amongst men. Now, most people bear life without any considerable grumbling, and consequently believe in the value of existence, but precisely because each one is solely self-seeking and self-affirming, and does not step out of himself like those exceptions ; everything extra-personal is imperceptible to them, or at most seems only a faint shadow. Therefore on this alone is based the value of life for the ordinary everyday man, that he regards himself as more important than the world. The great lack of imagination from which he suffers is the reason why he cannot enter into the feelings of other beings, and therefore sympathises as little as possible with their fate and suffering. He, on the other hand, who really could sympathise therewith, would have to despair of the value of life ; were he to succeed in comprehending and feeling in himself the general consciousness of mankind, he would collapse with a curse on existence ; for mankind as a whole has no goals, consequently man, in considering his whole course, cannot find in it his comfort and support, but his despair. If, in all that he does, he considers the final aimlessness of man, his own activity assumes in his eyes the character of wastefulness. But to feel one’s self just as much wasted as humanity (and not only as an individual) as we see the single blossom of nature wasted, is a feeling above all other feelings. But who is capable of it? Assuredly only a poet, and poets always know how to console themselves.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Der Irrthum über das Leben zum Leben nothwendig. – Jeder Glaube an Werth und Würdigkeit des Lebens beruht auf unreinem Denken; er ist allein dadurch möglich, dass das Mitgefühl für das allgemeine Leben und Leiden der Menschheit sehr schwach im Individuum entwickelt ist. Auch die seltneren Menschen, welche überhaupt über sich hinaus denken, fassen nicht dieses allgemeine Leben, sondern abgegränzte Theile desselben in’s Auge. Versteht man es, sein Augenmerk vornehmlich auf Ausnahmen, ich meine auf die hohen Begabungen und die reinen Seelen zu richten, nimmt man deren Entstehung zum Ziel der ganzen Weltentwickelung und erfreut sich an deren Wirken, so mag man an den Werth des Lebens glauben, weil man nämlich die anderen Menschen dabei übersieht: also unrein denkt. Und ebenso, wenn man zwar alle Menschen in’s Auge fasst, aber in ihnen nur eine Gattung von Trieben, die weniger egoistischen, gelten lässt und sie in Betreff der anderen Triebe entschuldigt: dann kann man wiederum von der Menschheit im Ganzen Etwas hoffen und insofern an den Werth des Lebens glauben: also auch in diesem Falle durch Unreinheit des Denkens. Mag man sich aber so oder so verhalten, man ist mit diesem Verhalten eine Ausnahme unter den Menschen. Nun ertragen aber gerade die allermeisten Menschen das Leben, ohne erheblich zu murren, und glauben somit an den Werth des Daseins, aber gerade dadurch, dass sich jeder allein will und behauptet, und nicht aus sich heraustritt wie jene Ausnahmen: alles Ausserpersönliche ist ihnen gar nicht oder höchstens als ein schwacher Schatten bemerkbar. Also darauf allein beruht der Werth des Lebens für den gewöhnlichen, alltäglichen Menschen, dass er sich wichtiger nimmt, als die Welt. Der grosse Mangel an Phantasie, an dem er leidet, macht, dass er sich nicht in andere Wesen hineinfühlen kann und daher so wenig als möglich an ihrem Loos und Leiden theilnimmt. Wer dagegen wirklich daran theilnehmen könnte, müsste am Werthe des Lebens verzweifeln; gelänge es ihm, das Gesammtbewusstsein der Menschheit in sich zu fassen und zu empfinden, er würde mit einem Fluche gegen das Dasein zusammenbrechen, – denn die Menschheit hat im Ganzen keine Ziele, folglich kann der Mensch, in Betrachtung des ganzen Verlaufes, nicht darin seinen Trost und Halt finden, sondern seine Verzweifelung. Sieht er bei Allem, was er thut, auf die letzte Ziellosigkeit der Menschen, so bekommt sein eigenes Wirken in seinen Augen den Charakter der Vergeudung. Sich aber als Menschheit (und nicht nur als Individuum) ebenso vergeudet zu fühlen, wie wir die einzelne Blüthe von der Natur vergeudet sehen, ist ein Gefühl über alle Gefühle. – Wer ist aber desselben fähig? Gewiss nur ein Dichter: und Dichter wissen sich immer zu trösten.

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

 

 

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

 

 

Human all too human: 31. The illogical 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.

It makes a thinker mad that humans need to be illogical, but it is necessary for all valuable things we do. Only the naïve thinks we can become all rational, but we would lose a lot if we would. Even the most rational man needs nature or with other words: irrationality.

In one sentence:

The things that are valuable, come from irrationality.

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

The thing that can make a thinker mad is the knowledge that we humans need to be illogical and that much good comes from it. It makes a thinker made that humans need to be illogical, It is so firmly rooted in the passions, in language, in art, in religion, and generally in everything that gives value to life, that it cannot be withdrawn without thereby hopelessly injuring these beautiful things. but it is necessary for all valuable things we do. Only the too naïve person can think that man can be rational, but if we would come close to this goal we would lose a lot. Only the naïve thinks we can become all rational, but we would lose a lot if we would. Even the most rational man has need of nature again from time to time, i.e. his illogical fundamental attitude towards all things. Even the most rational man needs nature or with other words: irrationality.


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

  1. THE ILLOGICAL NECESSARY.—One of those things that may drive a thinker into despair is the recognition of the fact that the illogical is necessary for man, and that out of the illogical comes much that is good. It is so firmly rooted in the passions, in language, in art, in religion, and generally in everything that gives value to life, that it cannot be withdrawn without thereby hopelessly injuring these beautiful things. It is only the all-too-naïve people who can believe that the nature of man can be changed into a purely logical one ; but if there were degrees of proximity to this goal, how many things would not have to be lost on this course ! Even the most rational man has need of nature again from time to time, i.e. his illogical fundamental attitude towards all things.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Das Unlogische nothwendig. – Zu den Dingen, welche einen Denker in Verzweifelung bringen können, gehört die Erkenntniss, dass das Unlogische für den Menschen nöthig ist, und dass aus dem Unlogischen vieles Gute entsteht. Es steckt so fest in den Leidenschaften, in der Sprache, in der Kunst, in der Religion und überhaupt in Allem, was dem Leben Werth verleiht, dass man es nicht herausziehen kann, ohne damit diese schönen Dinge heillos zu beschädigen. Es sind nur die allzu naiven Menschen, welche glauben können, dass die Natur des Menschen in eine rein logische verwandelt werden könne; wenn es aber Grade der Annäherung an dieses Ziel geben sollte, was würde da nicht Alles auf diesem Wege verloren gehen müssen! Auch der vernünftigste Mensch bedarf von Zeit zu Zeit wieder der Natur, das heisst seiner unlogischen Grundstellung zu allen Dingen.

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

 

 

Human all too human: 30. Bad habits in reasoning

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.

Mankind has the following bad habits: a thing exists; therefore it has a right to exist, it lives efficient and therefor it has the right to live. The next one is: the opinion that brings happiness is therefore true, this result gets labeled good as in useful (happiness is useful) And the opinion is also good but now logically (the opinion is logical). The opposite of this is: something does not work and is thus bad and an opinion causes pain and is thus true. A free spirit suffers under these “rules” and can mistakenly turn them around and say: if something does not work it is true or a distressing opinion is true because it is distressing.

In one sentence:

Reasoning follows often the beaten track mistakenly both up an downhill.

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

The usual false conclusions of mankind are these: Mankind has the following bad habits: a thing exists, therefore it has a right to exist, the reasoning goes from it can live, to it is efficient in it and therefore it has the right to live. It lives efficient and therefor it has the right to live. Then: an opinion brings happiness; therefore, it is the true opinion, its effect is good; therefore, it is itself good and true. The next one is: the opinion that brings happiness is therefore true, Here the results get labeled good as in useful this result gets labeled good as in useful (happiness is useful) and the cause (the opinion) of that gets the same label (good) but now as logical instead of useful. And the opinion is also good but now logically. The opposite of this is that an affair cannot be carried through, or maintained, therefore it is wrong; an opinion causes pain or excites, therefore it is false. The opposite of this is: something does not work and is thus bad and an opinion causes pain and is un true. The free spirit that suffers under these modes of reasoning frequently gives way to the temptation to draw the very opposite conclusions, which, in general, are naturally just as false: an affair cannot be carried through, therefore it is good; an opinion is distressing and disturbing, therefore it is true. A free spirit suffers under these “rules” and can mistakenly turn them around and say: if something does not work it is true or a distressing opinion is true because it is distressing.


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

  1. BAD HABITS IN REASONING.—The usual false conclusions of mankind are these : a thing exists, therefore it has a right to exist. Here there is inference from the ability to live to its suitability ; from its suitability to its rightfulness. Then : an opinion brings happiness ; therefore it is the true opinion. Its effect is good ; therefore it is itself good and true. To the effect is here assigned the predicate beneficent, good, in the sense of the useful, and the cause is then furnished with the same predicate good, but here in the sense of the logically valid. The inversion of the sentences would read thus: an affair cannot be carried through, or maintained, therefore it is wrong ; an opinion causes pain or excites, therefore it is false. The free spirit who learns only too often the faultiness of this mode of reasoning, and has to suffer from its consequences, frequently gives way to the temptation to draw the very opposite conclusions, which, in general, are naturally just as false : an affair cannot be carried through, therefore it is good ; an opinion is distressing and disturbing, therefore it is true.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Schlechte Gewohnheiten im Schliessen. – Die gewöhnlichsten Irrschlüsse der Menschen sind diese: eine Sache existirt, also hat sie ein Recht. Hier wird aus der Lebensfähigkeit auf die Zweckmässigkeit, aus der Zweckmässigkeit auf die Rechtmässigkeit geschlossen. Sodann: eine Meinung beglückt, also ist sie die wahre, ihre Wirkung ist gut, also ist sie selber gut und wahr. Hier legt man der Wirkung das Prädicat beglückend, gut, im Sinne des Nützlichen, bei und versieht nun die Ursache mit dem selben Prädicat gut, aber hier im Sinne des Logisch-Gültigen. Die Umkehrung der Sätze lautet: eine Sache kann sich nicht durchsetzen, erhalten, also ist sie unrecht; eine Meinung quält, regt auf, also ist sie falsch. Der Freigeist, der das Fehlerhafte dieser Art zu schliessen nur allzu häufig kennen lernt und an ihren Folgen zu leiden hat, unterliegt oft der Verführung, die entgegengesetzten Schlüsse zu machen, welche im Allgemeinen natürlich ebenso sehr Irrschlüsse sind: eine Sache kann sich nicht durchsetzen, also ist sie gut; eine Meinung macht Noth, beunruhigt, also ist sie wahr.

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

 

 

Human all too human: 29. Intoxicated by the scent of the blossoms

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.

Deep thoughts make us better than animals, and we will get closer to the essence of the world, but we prefer religion or art over science to get there. But these are not better ways to understand the world. This error made man deep and it gave us religion and art. Pure knowledge could not have brought does two in the world, because whoever shows us the real world bring disillusion. The world of art and religion is so wonderful and brings all kinds of emotions. because of this they deny the real world of knowledge. This results in a philosophy that logically (Does F.N. mean that the depth of their world is their justification?) denies the real world and this view can still be combined with affirming or denying the real world.

In one sentence:

The real world can exist together with the deniers.

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

It is believed that the deeper man thinks, the more delicately he feels the higher he rises above the animals, Deep thoughts make us better than animals, the nearer will he approach the real essence of the world and its knowledge. and we will get closer to the essence of the world,  Man does that through science, but he likes to do it more through art and religions. But we prefer religion or art over science to get there. These certainly are blossoms of the world, but by no means any nearer to the root of the world than the stalk. But it is not a better way for understanding the nature of things although most believe so. But these are not better ways to understand the world. Error has made man so deep, sensitive, and inventive that he has put forth such blossoms as religions and arts. This error made man deep and it gave us religion and art, Pure knowledge could not have been capable of it. pure knowledge could not have brought does two in the world, Whoever shows us the real world will bring us the most disagreeable disillusionment1. because whoever shows us the real world bring disillusion. Not the world as thing-in-itself, but the world as representation (as error) is so full of meaning, so deep, so wonderful, bearing happiness and unhappiness in its lap. The world of art and religion is so wonderful and brings all kinds of emotions. This result leads to a philosophy of the logical denial of the world, which, because of this they deny the real world. however, can be combined with a practical world-affirming just as well as with its opposite. This results in a philosophy that logically (Does F.N. mean that the depth of their world is their justification?) denies the real world and this view can still be combined with affirming or denying the real world.

1 A feeling of disappointment resulting from the discovery that something is not as good as one believed it to be.


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

  1. INTOXICATED BY THE SCENT OF THE BLOSSOMS.—It is supposed that the ship of humanity has always a deeper draught, the heavier it is laden ; it is believed that the deeper a man thinks, the more delicately he feels, the higher he values himself, the greater his distance from the other animals,—the more he appears as a genius amongst the animals,—all the nearer will he approach the real essence of the world and its knowledge; this he actually does too, through science, but he means to do so still more through his religions and arts. These certainly are blossoms of the world, but by no means any nearer to the root of the world than the stalk ; it is not possible to understand the nature of things better through them, although almost every one believes he can. Error has made man so deep, sensitive, and inventive that he has put forth such blossoms as religions and arts. Pure knowledge could not have been capable of it. Whoever were to unveil for us the essence of the world would give us all the most disagreeable disillusionment. Not the world as thing-in-itself, but the world as representation (as error) is so full of meaning, so deep, so wonderful, bearing happiness and unhappiness in its bosom. This result leads to a philosophy of the logical denial of the world, which, however, can be combined with a practical world-affirming just as well as with its opposite.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Vom Dufte der Blüthen berauscht. – Das Schiff der Menschheit, meint man, hat einen immer stärkeren Tiefgang, je mehr es belastet wird; man glaubt, je tiefer der Mensch denkt, je zarter er fühlt, je höher er sich schätzt, je weiter seine Entfernung von den anderen Thieren wird, – je mehr er als das Genie unter den Thieren erscheint, – um so näher werde er dem wirklichen Wesen der Welt und deren Erkenntniss kommen: diess thut er auch wirklich durch die Wissenschaft, aber er meint diess noch mehr durch seine Religionen und Künste zu thun. Diese sind zwar eine Blüthe der Welt, aber durchaus nicht der Wurzel der Welt näher, als der Stengel ist: man kann aus ihnen das Wesen der Dinge gerade gar nicht besser verstehen, obschon diess fast jedermann glaubt. Der Irrthum hat den Menschen so tief, zart, erfinderisch gemacht, eine solche Blüthe, wie Religionen und Künste, herauszutreiben. Das reine Erkennen wäre dazu ausser Stande gewesen. Wer uns das Wesen der Welt enthüllte, würde uns Allen die unangenehmste Enttäuschung machen. Nicht die Welt als Ding an sich, sondern die Welt als Vorstellung (als Irrthum) ist so bedeutungsreich, tief, wundervoll, Glück und Unglück im Schoosse tragend. Diess Resultat führt zu einer Philosophie der logischen Weltverneinung: welche übrigens sich mit einer praktischen Weltbejahung ebensogut wie mit deren Gegentheile vereinigen lässt.

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

 

 

Human all too human: 28. Ill famed words

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.

The words optimism and pessimism are now useless. The only optimist is one that defends the perfect world of God, and wat thinker believes in a God. The pessimist can only attack the theologians by proclaiming that the world is bad, but who attacks theologians nowadays? Besides the theology and the struggle against it, the world is not good and not bad, only humans(optimist/pessimist) can be “good and bad”, and these words might not be used in the right way here3. We must get rid of the idea of a good and bad world.

In one sentence:

Heathens and saints are bad and human, the world is neutral.

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

Away with those overused words optimism and pessimism! There is not much use for them anymore. The words optimism and pessimism are now useless. Only the chatterboxes (Schwätzer1) uses it. Why would you be an optimist unless he had a God to defend who must have created the best of worlds if he himself be goodness and perfection, but who needs the hypothesis of a God? The only optimist is one that defends the perfect world of God and what thinker believes in a God. But there is no need for the pessimist if we are not interested in harassing the defenders of god, the theologians, or the theologizing philosophers and forcefully defending the opposite point of view: that evil reigns, that pain is greater than pleasure, that the world is a bungled piece of work, the manifestation of an ill-will to life. The pessimist can only attack the theologians by proclaiming that the world is bad, but who attacks theologians nowadays? But who still bothers about the theologians now— except the theologians? Apart from all theology and its contentions2, Besides the theology and the struggle against it,  it is quite clear that the world is not good and not bad the world is not good and not bad, (to say nothing of its being the best or the worst), and that the terms ” good ” and ” bad ” have only significance with respect to man, only humans can be and indeed, perhaps, they are not justified even here in the way they are usually employed; “good and bad”, and these words might3 not been used in the right way here. We must get rid of the idea of a good and bad world.

1Schwätzer (From the original text): rattler, chatterbox, chatterer, windbag, gasbag, gossip

2 Zimmern and Harvey translated “Bekämpfung“ with contention and antagonism, you can also translate it with argument or disagreement. In Zimmern and Harveys words: the theologians have a disagreement: “Apart from all theology and its contentions”. I assume the theology disagree with the disbelievers. The other translators made that clearer despite that Zimmern and Harvey were more correct/literal in their translations.  Hollingale translates it as: “Disregarding theology and opposition to theology “, Handwerk translate it as: “Apart from all theology and struggle against it”, and the Dutch translation does it in a similar way, they all explain it.

3Good and bad…are not justified even here in the way they are usually employed“ At this moment I don’t know what Nietzsche means with “usually employed”, what is the normal situation you use the words good and bad and why can you not use it in this situation?


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

  1. ILL-FAMED WORDS.—Away with those wearisomely hackneyed terms Optimism and Pessimism ! For the occasion for using them becomes less and less from day to day ; only the chatterboxes still find them so absolutely necessary. For why in all the world should any one wish to be an optimist unless he had a God to defend who must have created the best of worlds if he himself be goodness and perfection,—what thinker, however, still needs the hypothesis of a God ? But every occasion for a pessimistic confession of faith is also lacking when one has no interest in being annoyed at the advocates of God (the theologians, or the theologising philosophers), and in energetically defending the opposite view, that evil reigns, that pain is greater than pleasure, that the world is a bungled piece of work, the manifestation of an ill-will to life. But who still bothers about the theologians now— except the theologians ? Apart from all theology and its contentions, it is quite clear that the world is not good and not bad (to say nothing of its being the best or the worst), and that the terms ” good ” and ” bad ” have only significance with respect to man, and indeed, perhaps, they are not justified even here in the way they are usually employed ; in any case we must get rid of both the calumniating and the glorifying conception of the world.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Verrufene Worte. – Weg mit den bis zum Ueberdruss verbrauchten Wörtern Optimismus und Pessimismus! Denn der Anlass, sie zu gebrauchen, fehlt von Tag zu Tage mehr: nur die Schwätzer haben sie jetzt noch so unumgänglich nöthig. Denn wesshalb in aller Welt sollte jemand Optimist sein wollen, wenn er nicht einen Gott zu vertheidigen hat, welcher die beste der Welten geschaffen haben muss, falls er selber das Gute und Vollkommene ist, – welcher Denkende hat aber die Hypothese eines Gottes noch nöthig? – Es fehlt aber auch jeder Anlass zu einem pessimistischen Glaubensbekenntniss, wenn man nicht ein Interesse daran hat, den Advocaten Gottes, den Theologen oder den theologisirenden Philosophen ärgerlich zu werden und die Gegenbehauptung kräftig aufzustellen: dass das Böse regiere, dass die Unlust grösser sei, als die Lust, dass die Welt ein Machwerk, die Erscheinung eines bösen Willens zum Leben sei. Wer aber kümmert sich jetzt noch um die Theologen – ausser den Theologen? – Abgesehen von aller Theologie und ihrer Bekämpfung liegt es auf der Hand, dass die Welt nicht gut und nicht böse, geschweige denn die beste oder die schlechteste ist, und dass diese Begriffe “gut” und “böse” nur in Bezug auf Menschen Sinn haben, ja vielleicht selbst hier, in der Weise, wie sie gewöhnlich gebraucht werden, nicht berechtigt sind: der schimpfenden und verherrlichenden Weltbetrachtung müssen wir uns in jedem Falle entschlagen.

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

 

 

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

 

Human all too human: 26. Reaction as progress.

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.

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

Sometimes strong people appear that bring alive the old days, they remind us that the new ways are not strong enough. Sometimes, strong wills revive old times. Luther is one of those people that’s showed up when science was not strong enough to resist him, the whole Renaissance seems like an early spring which is almost snowed under again. Luther halted science during the renaissance. But in this century Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics played the role of Luther and science is still not strong enough, Schopenhauer did it in Nietzsche’s time. in spite of the long-achieved destruction of all Christian dogmas. There is science in his teachings, but it is not strong, the old well – known “metaphysical requirement”1 are ruling. Schopenhauer has science ruled by metaphysic’s. It is one of Schopenhauer’s advantages that he gives us back older, mightier modes of contemplating the world and man, to which no other path would so easily lead us. His mode of thinking let you look at the world like in the old days. No one can do justice towards Christianity and its Asiatic cousins without the help of Schopenhauer, it is impossible to do it from the basis of still existing Christianity. You need Schopenhauer to do justice to religion, you cannot do it from existing Christianity. Only after this great success of justice The success is the use of Schopenhauer to look back at religion as it really was and is.   only after we resurrect the historical mindset of the enlightenment we can wear the banner of enlightenment We need the historical mindset of enlightenment including the three names, Petrarch2, Erasmus, Voltaire. We have turned reaction into progress. We no longer react if a strong will arrives, we go on, with progress

In one sentence:

Schopenhauer’s metaphysics can lead us to real enlightenment.

1In the Dutch translation there is a note that leads to Schopenhauer’s book: Die welt als wille und Vorstellung, book 2, chaper 17. (You can read the English version here)

2 Francesco Petrarca; July 20, 1304 – July 19, 1374), was an Italian scholar and poet in Renaissance Italy, who was one of the earliest humanists. His rediscovery of Cicero’s letters is often credited with initiating the 14th-century Renaissance. Petrarch is often considered the founder of Humanism. In the 16th century, Pietro Bembo created the model for the modern Italian language based on Petrarch’s works, as well as those of Giovanni Boccaccio, and, to a lesser extent, Dante Alighieri. Petrarch would be later endorsed as a model for Italian style by the Accademia della Crusca. Petrarch’s sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the “Dark Ages.” This standing back from his time was possible because he straddled two worlds—the classical and his own modern day. (Read more here)


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

  1. REACTION AS PROGRESS.—Now and again there appear rugged, powerful, impetuous, but nevertheless backward-lagging minds which conjure up once more a past phase of mankind ; they serve to prove that the new tendencies against which they are working are not yet sufficiently strong, that they still lack something, otherwise they would show better opposition to those exorcisers. Thus, for example, Luther’s Reformation bears witness to the fact that in his century all the movements of the freedom of the spirit were still uncertain, tender, and youthful ; science could not yet lift up its head. Indeed the whole Renaissance seems like an early spring which is almost snowed under again. But in this century also, Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics showed that even now the scientific spirit is not yet strong enough ; thus the whole mediæval Christian view of the world and human feeling could celebrate its resurrection in Schopenhauer’s doctrine, in spite of the long achieved destruction of all Christian dogmas. There is much science in his doctrine, but it does not dominate it : it is rather the old well – known “metaphysical requirement” that does so. It is certainly one of the greatest and quite invaluable advantages which we gain from Schopenhauer, that he occasionally forces our sensations back into older, mightier modes of contemplating the world and man, to which no other path would so easily lead us. The gain to history and justice is very great,—I do not think that any one would so easily succeed now in doing justice to Christianity and its Asiatic relations without Schopenhauer’s assistance, which is specially impossible from the basis of still existing Christianity. Only after this great success of justice, only after we have corrected so essential a point as the historical mode of contemplation which the age of enlightenment brought with it, may we again bear onward the banner of enlightenment, the banner with the three names, Petrarch, Erasmus, Voltaire. We have turned reaction into progress.

 

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Die Reaction als Fortschritt. – Mitunter erscheinen schroffe, gewaltsame und fortreissende, aber trotzdem zurückgebliebene Geister, welche eine vergangene Phase der Menschheit noch einmal heraufbeschwören: sie dienen zum Beweis, dass die neuen Richtungen, welchen sie entgegenwirken, noch nicht kräftig genug sind, dass Etwas an ihnen fehlt: sonst würden sie jenen Beschwörern besseren Widerpart halten. So zeugt zum Beispiel Luther’s Reformation dafür, dass in seinem Jahrhundert alle Regungen der Freiheit des Geistes noch unsicher, zart, jugendlich waren; die Wissenschaft konnte noch nicht ihr Haupt erheben. Ja, die gesammte Renaissance erscheint wie ein erster Frühling, der fast wieder weggeschneit wird. Aber auch in unserem Jahrhundert bewies Schopenhauer’s Metaphysik, dass auch jetzt der wissenschaftliche Geist noch nicht kräftig genug ist: so konnte die ganze mittelalterliche christliche Weltbetrachtung und Mensch-Empfindung noch einmal in Schopenhauer’s Lehre, trotz der längst errungenen Vernichtung aller christlichen Dogmen, eine Auferstehung feiern. Viel Wissenschaft klingt in seine Lehre hinein, aber sie beherrscht dieselbe nicht, sondern das alte, wohlbekannte “metaphysische Bedürfniss”. Es ist gewiss einer der grössten und ganz unschätzbaren Vortheile, welche wir aus Schopenhauer gewinnen, dass er unsere Empfindung zeitweilig in ältere, mächtige Betrachtungsarten der Welt und Menschen zurückzwingt, zu welchen sonst uns so leicht kein Pfad führen würde. Der Gewinn für die Historie und die Gerechtigkeit ist sehr gross: ich glaube, dass es jetzt Niemandem so leicht gelingen möchte, ohne Schopenhauer’s Beihülfe dem Christenthum und seinen asiatischen Verwandten Gerechtigkeit widerfahren zu lassen: was namentlich vom Boden des noch vorhandenen Christenthums aus unmöglich ist. Erst nach diesem grossen Erfolge der Gerechtigkeit, erst nachdem wir die historische Betrachtungsart, welche die Zeit der Aufklärung mit sich brachte, in einem so wesentlichen Puncte corrigirt haben, dürfen wir die Fahne der Aufklärung – die Fahne mit den drei Namen: Petrarca, Erasmus, Voltaire – von Neuem weiter tragen. Wir haben aus der Reaction einen Fortschritt gemacht.

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

 

Human all too human: 25. Private and ecumenical morality.

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.

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

Since people no longer believe in a God that guides them in great style, the people have to find a worldwide morality themselves. No god, no guidance. The older morality, especially that of Kant, required from the individual actions which were desired from all men, Kant’s categorical imperative. as if anybody knows what is good for all. If that is possible. It is a theory like that of free trade, that takes for granted that general harmony will come because of essential laws of progress. In the future they may find out that it’s not desirable to act alike. In the future maybe not desirable. In the interest of ecumenical aims it might rather be that for whole sections of mankind, special, and perhaps under certain circumstances even evil, tasks would have to be set2. Maybe some must suffer for the greater good. No matter what, if mankind is not too destroy itself by such a conscious universal rule3, it must learn a knowledge of the conditions of culture What does a culture need to exist? as scientific standard. Herein lies the enormous task of the great minds of the next century.

In one sentence:

No God, no Kant, is it now kill or be killed for the greater good?

1In this case it means worldwide, general, or universal but maybe with a hint of its more common meaning of promoting or fostering Christian unity throughout the world. (read more here)

2This is the first quote of Nietzsche, in this book, where he gives permission (or warns for) to regimes that act “for the good of the many” or what there doctrines say that is right like the former USSR, communist China, Nazi Germany or Modern USA.

3 “a conscious universal rule” is the translation for “solche bewusste Gesammtregierung” The Handwerk translation is: “conscious, total regulation”. The Dutch version it is:” bewuste integrale regering” or translated in English conscious integral government. The German dictionary says this about it: “gesammtregierung, f. oder sammtregierung, die von mehreren fürsten oder mächten für ein land gemeinschaftlich aufgestellte regierung. ebenda. (Link) I think the word Gesammtregierung is better translated as integral government because it emphasizes more the consciousness or “made by man” of the “rule”. And I think that Nietzsche talks about Kant’s categorical imperative here as a typical rule that might be turned into law by a “world” government. Think about the sentence that came before this one: “In the interest of ecumenical aims it might rather be that for whole sections of mankind, special, and perhaps under certain circumstances even evil, tasks would have to be set”. That is something that is not easily accepted as a moral rule but something a state could fabricate. if you don’t like this more direct translation from the Dutch version than Zimmern’s (and hollingdale’s) translations are better than the newest one from Handwerk in my opinion,


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

  1. PRIVATE AND ŒCUMENICAL MORALITY.—Since the belief has ceased that a God directs in general the fate of the world and, in spite of all apparent crookedness in the path of humanity, leads it on gloriously, men themselves must set themselves œcumenical aims embracing the whole earth. The older morality, especially that of Kant, required from the individual actions which were desired from all men,—that was a delightfully naïve thing, as if each one knew off-hand what course of action was beneficial to the whole of humanity, and consequently which actions in general were desirable ; it is a theory like that of free trade, taking for granted that the general harmony must result of itself according to innate laws of amelioration. Perhaps a future contemplation of the needs of humanity will show that it is by no means desirable that all men should act alike ; in the interest of œcumenical aims it might rather be that for whole sections of mankind, special, and perhaps under certain circumstances even evil, tasks would have to be set. In any case, if mankind is not to destroy itself by such a conscious universal rule, there must previously be found, as a scientific standard for œcumenical aims, a knowledge of the conditions of culture superior to what has hitherto been attained. Herein lies the enormous task of the great minds of the next century.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Privat- und Welt-Moral. – Seitdem der Glaube aufgehört hat, dass ein Gott die Schicksale der Welt im Grossen leite und, trotz aller anscheinenden Krümmungen im Pfade der Menschheit, sie doch herrlich hinausführe, müssen die Menschen selber sich ökumenische, die ganze Erde umspannende Ziele stellen. Die ältere Moral, namentlich die Kant’s, verlangt vom Einzelnen Handlungen, welche man von allen Menschen wünscht: das war eine schöne naive Sache; als ob ein jeder ohne Weiteres wüsste, bei welcher Handlungsweise das Ganze der Menschheit wohlfahre, also welche Handlungen überhaupt wünschenswerth seien; es ist eine Theorie wie die vom Freihandel, voraussetzend, dass die allgemeine Harmonie sich nach eingeborenen Gesetzen des Besserwerdens von selbst ergeben müsse. Vielleicht lässt es ein zukünftiger Ueberblick über die Bedürfnisse der Menschheit durchaus nicht wünschenswerth erscheinen, dass alle Menschen gleich handeln, vielmehr dürften im Interesse ökumenischer Ziele für ganze Strecken der Menschheit specielle, vielleicht unter Umständen sogar böse Aufgaben zu stellen sein. – Jedenfalls muss, wenn die Menschheit sich nicht durch eine solche bewusste Gesammtregierung zu Grunde richten soll, vorher eine alle bisherigen Grade übersteigende Kenntniss der Bedingungen der Cultur, als wissenschaftlicher Maassstab für ökumenische Ziele, gefunden sein. Hierin liegt die ungeheure Aufgabe der grossen Geister des nächsten Jahrhunderts.

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

 

Human all too human: 24. The possibility of progress.

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.

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

When a wise man from an old culture swears no longer to deal with people that believe in progress, he is right. Because his great culture lies behind him and its history teaches that it will never be young again; some sort of stupidity is needed to deny this. Old cultures will not turn young again. But man can consciously decide to move on to another culture, instead of unconsciously move on like before. But you can decide to move on This way they can create better conditions for the propagation of man for their nourishment, education and instruction. They can manage the earth better economically and control the power of man. When you shoose to move on you can better manage the world This new, conscious culture kills the old, which, regarded as a whole, has led an unconscious animal and plant life; it also kills distrust in progress, —progress is possible. This new conscious culture outshines the old unconscious culture. It is off course important to know that progress not necessarily follows, but you can not deny it either. But with the old culture progress is unthinkable. Progress is not guaranteed, but also not denied like with the old culture. Even if romantic fantasy has also constantly used the word ” progress ” to denote its aims (for instance, circumscribed primitive national cultures), it borrows the picture of it in any case from the past; its thoughts and ideas on this subject are entirely without originality. The romantic ideal of old cultures is borrowed from old cultures and not original.

In one sentence:

You can choose progress but some copy the old cultures to make-up new.


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

  1. THE POSSIBILITY OF PROGRESS.—When a scholar of the ancient culture forswears the company of men who believe in progress, he does quite right. For the greatness and goodness of ancient culture lie behind it, and historical education compels one to admit that they can never be fresh again ; an unbearable stupidity or an equally insufferable fanaticism would be necessary to deny this. But men can consciously resolve to develop themselves towards a new culture ; whilst formerly they only developed unconsciously and by chance, they can now create better conditions for the rise of human beings, for their nourishment, education and instruction ; they can administer the earth economically as a whole, and can generally weigh and restrain the powers of man. This new, conscious culture kills the old, which, regarded as a whole, has led an unconscious animal and plant life; it also kills distrust in progress,—progress is possible. I must say that it is over-hasty and almost nonsensical to believe that progress must necessarily follow ; but how could one deny that it is possible? On the other hand, progress in the sense and on the path of the old culture is not even thinkable. Even if romantic fantasy has also constantly used the word ” progress ” to denote its aims (for instance, circumscribed primitive national cultures), it borrows the picture of it in any case from the past ; its thoughts and ideas on this subject are entirely without originality.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Möglichkeit des Fortschritts. – Wenn ein Gelehrter der alten Cultur es verschwört, nicht mehr mit Menschen umzugehen, welche an den Fortschritt glauben, so hat er Recht. Denn die alte Cultur hat ihre Grösse und Güte hinter sich und die historische Bildung zwingt Einen, zuzugestehen, dass sie nie wieder frisch werden kann; es ist ein unausstehlicher Stumpfsinn oder ebenso unleidliche Schwärmerei nöthig, um diess zu leugnen. Aber die Menschen können mit Bewusstsein beschliessen, sich zu einer neuen Cultur fortzuentwickeln, während sie sich früher unbewusst und zufällig entwickelten: sie können jetzt bessere Bedingungen für die Entstehung der Menschen, ihre Ernährung, Erziehung, Unterrichtung schaffen, die Erde als Ganzes ökonomisch verwalten, die Kräfte der Menschen überhaupt gegen einander abwägen und einsetzen. Diese neue bewusste Cultur tödtet die alte, welche, als Ganzes angeschaut, ein unbewusstes Thier- und Pflanzenleben geführt hat; sie tödtet auch das Misstrauen gegen den Fortschritt, -er ist möglich. Ich will sagen: es ist voreilig und fast unsinnig, zu glauben, dass der Fortschritt nothwendig erfolgen müsse; aber wie könnte man leugnen, dass er möglich sei? Dagegen ist ein Fortschritt im Sinne und auf dem Wege der alten Cultur nicht einmal denkbar. Wenn romantische Phantastik immerhin auch das Wort “Fortschritt” von ihren Zielen (z.B. abgeschlossenen originalen Volks-Culturen) gebraucht: jedenfalls entlehnt sie das Bild davon aus der Vergangenheit; ihr Denken und Vorstellen ist auf diesem Gebiete ohne jede Originalität.

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

 

23. The age of comparison.

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.

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

The less man is influenced by tradition, the more internal movement his motives make Tradition stifles mankind and unfocused their motives. and as a consequence, you have their outward restlessness and the confused fluidity of mankind, the polyphony2 of strivings. The more unfocused, the more confused they behave. Who wants to bind himself to one place? With tradition gone you are free to move and choose. As all styles of arts are imitated simultaneously, so also are all grades and kinds of morality, of customs, of cultures.  Now different cultures can live together and not like before separated because of the localized sway of every culture, corresponding to the rooting of all artistic styles in place and time. Because more people mix together, their cultures also mix. Now that it is all here, ready to compare with each other the best esthetics, customs and moralities, this competition will crush the lesser ones. It is the age of comparison! In this mix the cultures compare with each other and the better cultures will push aside the lesser cultures. That is its pride, but more justly also its grief. Let us not be afraid of this grief! Rather will we comprehend as adequately as possible the task our age sets us: The better cultures can be proud but should also grief. The future cultures will know they are better than the old enclosed cultures and the culture of comparison, but which looks back with gratitude on both kinds of culture as upon antiquities worthy of veneration. Future cultures will look back at the old mono-cultures and the newer “comparative” culture as valuable memories.

In one sentence:

Future cultures will appreciate the long lost global culture that came from mono-cultures

1A style of musical composition employing two or more simultaneous but relatively independent melodic lines.


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

  1. THE AGE OF COMPARISON.—The less men are fettered by tradition, the greater becomes the inward activity of their motives ; the greater, again, in proportion thereto, the outward restlessness, the confused flux of mankind, the polyphony of strivings. For whom is there still an absolute compulsion to bind himself and his descendants to one place ? For whom is there still anything strictly compulsory? As all styles of arts are imitated simultaneously, so also are all grades and kinds of morality, of customs, of cultures. Such an age obtains its importance because in it the various views of the world, customs, and cultures can be compared and experienced simultaneously,—which was formerly not possible with the always localised sway of every culture, corresponding to the rooting of all artistic styles in place and time. An increased æsthetic feeling will now at last decide amongst so many forms presenting themselves for comparison; it will allow the greater number, that is to say all those rejected by it, to die out. In the same way a selection amongst the forms and customs of the higher moralities is taking place, of which the aim can be nothing else than the downfall of the lower moralities. It is the age of comparison ! That is its pride, but more justly also its grief. Let us not be afraid of this grief! Rather will we comprehend as adequately as possible the task our age sets us : posterity will bless us for doing so,—a posterity which knows itself to be as much above the terminated original national cultures as above the culture of comparison, but which looks back with gratitude on both kinds of culture as upon antiquities worthy of veneration.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Zeitalter der Vergleichung. – je weniger die Menschen durch das Herkommen gebunden sind, um so grösser wird die innere Bewegung der Motive, um so grösser wiederum, dem entsprechend, die äussere Unruhe, das Durcheinanderfluten der Menschen, die Polyphonie der Bestrebungen. Für wen giebt es jetzt noch einen strengeren Zwang, an einen Ort sich und seine Nachkommen anzubinden? Für wen giebt es überhaupt noch etwas streng Bindendes? Wie alle Stilarten der Künste neben einander nachgebildet werden, so auch alle Stufen und Arten der Moralität, der Sitten, der Culturen. – Ein solches Zeitalter bekommt seine Bedeutung dadurch, dass in ihm die verschiedenen Weltbetrachtungen, Sitten, Culturen verglichen und neben einander durchlebt werden können; was früher, bei der immer localisirten Herrschaft jeder Cultur, nicht möglich war, entsprechend der Gebundenheit aller künstlerischen Stilarten an Ort und Zeit. Jetzt wird eine Vermehrung des ästhetischen Gefühls endgültig unter so vielen der Vergleichung sich darbietenden Formen entscheiden: sie wird die meisten, – nämlich alle, welche durch dasselbe abgewiesen werden, – absterben lassen. Ebenso findet jetzt ein Auswählen in den Formen und Gewohnheiten der höheren Sittlichkeit statt, deren Ziel kein anderes, als der Untergang der niedrigeren Sittlichkeiten sein kann. Es ist das Zeitalter der Vergleichung! Das ist sein Stolz, – aber billigerweise auch sein Leiden. Fürchten wir uns vor diesem Leiden nicht! Vielmehr wollen wir die Aufgabe, welche das Zeitalter uns stellt, so gross verstehen, als wir nur vermögen: so wird uns die Nachwelt darob segnen, – eine Nachwelt, die ebenso sich über die abgeschlossenen originalen Volks-Culturen hinaus weiss, als über die Cultur der Vergleichung, aber auf beide Arten der Cultur als auf verehrungswürdige Alterthümer mit Dankbarkeit zurückblickt.

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

 

22. Unbelief in the “monumentumære perennius”

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.

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

Unbelief in the “monumentumære perennius” 1When mankind no longer has a metaphysical view of life it will lose interest in doing anything lasting and for later generations. Metaphysic views bring him in contact with something lasting and starting a church, for instance, will bring his soul eternal life. Can science also arouse such faith in its results? Science needs no faith but distrust. But lasting scientific truth may have become so great… that one may determine to found thereupon “eternal” works. For the present the contrast between our excited ephemeral2 existence and the long-winded rest of metaphysical ages is still too strong, because they exist too close together. The individual goes through too many inward and outward developments to settle down. He has a feeling as if he were going to immure himself alive in a mausoleum.

In one sentence:

The scientific age stretches and stresses the metaphysical mind.

1 A monument more lasting than bronze.

2 short-live


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

  1. UNBELIEF IN THE “MONUMENTUM ÆRE PERENNIUS”—An actual drawback which accompanies the cessation of metaphysical views lies in the fact that the individual looks upon his short span of life too exclusively and receives no stronger incentives to build durable institutions intended to last for centuries,—he himself wishes to pluck the fruit from the tree which he plants, and therefore he no longer plants those trees which require regular care for centuries, and which are destined to afford shade to a long series of generations. For metaphysical views furnish the belief that in them the last conclusive foundation has been given, upon which henceforth all the future of mankind is compelled to settle down and establish itself; the individual furthers his salvation, when, for instance, he founds a church or convent, he thinks it will be reckoned to him and recompensed to him in the eternal life of the soul, it is work for the soul’s eternal salvation. Can science also arouse such faith in its results ? As a matter of fact, it needs doubt and distrust as its most faithful auxiliaries ; nevertheless in the course of time, the sum of inviolable truths—those, namely, which have weathered all the storms of scepticism, and all destructive analysis—may have become so great (in the regimen of health, for instance), that one may determine to found thereupon “eternal” works. For the present the contrast between our excited ephemeral existence and the long-winded repose of metaphysical ages still operates too strongly, because the two ages still stand too closely together ; the individual man himself now goes through too many inward and outward developments for him to venture to arrange his own lifetime permanently, and once and for all. An entirely modern man, for instance, who is going to build himself a house, has a feeling as if he were going to immure himself alive in a mausoleum.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Unglaube an das “monumentum aere perennius”. – Ein wesentlicher Nachtheil, welchen das Aufhören metaphysischer Ansichten mit sich bringt, liegt darin, dass das Individuum zu streng seine kurze Lebenszeit in’s Auge fasst und keine stärkeren Antriebe empfängt, an dauerhaften, für Jahrhunderte angelegten Institutionen zu bauen; es will die Frucht selbst vom Baume pflücken, den es pflanzt, und desshalb mag es jene Bäume nicht mehr pflanzen, welche eine Jahrhundert lange gleichmässige Pflege erfordern und welche lange Reihenfolgen von Geschlechtern zu überschatten bestimmt sind. Denn metaphysische Ansichten geben den Glauben, dass in ihnen das letzte endgültige Fundament gegeben sei, auf welchem sich nunmehr alle Zukunft der Menschheit niederzulassen und anzubauen genöthigt sei; der Einzelne fördert sein Heil, wenn er zum Beispiel eine Kirche, ein Kloster stiftet, es wird ihm, so meint er, im ewigen Fortleben der Seele angerechnet und vergolten, es ist Arbeit am ewigen Heil der Seele. – Kann die Wissenschaft auch solchen Glauben an ihre Resultate erwecken? In der That braucht sie den Zweifel und das Misstrauen als treuesten Bundesgenossen; trotzdem kann mit der Zeit die Summe der unantastbaren, das heisst alle Stürme der Skepsis, alle Zersetzungen überdauernden Wahrheiten so gross werden (zum Beispiel in der Diätetik der Gesundheit), dass man sich daraufhin entschliesst, “ewige” Werke zu gründen. Einstweilen wirkt der Contrast unseres aufgeregten Ephemeren-Daseins gegen die langathmige Ruhe metaphysischer Zeitalter noch zu stark, weil die beiden Zeiten noch zu nahe gestellt sind; der einzelne Mensch selber durchläuft jetzt zu viele innere und äussere Entwickelungen, als dass er auch nur auf seine eigene Lebenszeit sich dauerhaft und ein für alle Mal einzurichten wagt. Ein ganz moderner Mensch, der sich zum Beispiel ein Haus bauen will, hat dabei ein Gefühl, als ob er bei lebendigem Leibe sich in ein Mausoleum vermauern wolle.

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

 

21. Conjectural victory of scepticism

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.

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

Let’s use the skeptical mindset and accept that there is no metaphysical world, and that metaphysical explanations of our world are useless, how would we look at man and world. You can imagine this even if you dismiss the question if Kant and Schopenhauer have any scientific proof. For it is quite possible, according to historical probability, that some time or other man, as a general rule, may grow skeptical; the question will then be this: What form will human society take under the influence of such a mode of thought? Maybe mankind distrust scientific proof of a metaphysical world, and when there is this distrust it will have the same result as if it was outright refuted and could no longer be believed in. The historical question with regard to an unmetaphysical frame of mind in mankind remains the same in both cases.

In one sentence:

It is historically possible that metaphysics will be refuted no matter what.

.


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

  1. CONJECTURAL VICTORY OF SCEPTICISM.—For once let the sceptical starting-point be accepted, —granted that there were no other metaphysical world, and all explanations drawn from meta- physics about the only world we know were useless to us, in what light should we then look upon men and things? We can think this out for ourselves, it is useful, even though the question whether anything metaphysical has been scientifically proved by Kant and Schopenhauer were altogether set aside. For it is quite possible, according to historical probability, that some time or other man, as a general rule, may grow sceptical ; the question will then be this : What form will human society take under the influence of such a mode of thought ? Perhaps the scientific proof of some metaphysical world or other is already so difficult that mankind will never get rid of a certain distrust of it. And when there is distrust of metaphysics, there are on the whole the same results as if it had been directly refuted and could no longer be believed in. The historical question with regard to an unmetaphysical frame of mind in mankind remains the same in both cases.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Muthmaasslicher Sieg der Skepsis. – Man lasse einmal den skeptischen Ausgangspunct gelten: gesetzt, es gäbe keine andere, metaphysische Welt und alle aus der Metaphysik genommenen Erklärungen der uns einzig bekannten Welt wären unbrauchbar für uns, mit welchem Blick würden wir dann auf Menschen und Dinge sehen? Diess kann man sich ausdenken, es ist nützlich, selbst wenn die Frage, ob etwas Metaphysisches wissenschaftlich durch Kant und Schopenhauer bewiesen sei, einmal abgelehnt würde. Denn es ist, nach historischer Wahrscheinlichkeit, sehr gut möglich, dass die Menschen einmal in dieser Beziehung im Ganzen und Allgemeinen skeptisch werden; da lautet also die Frage: wie wird sich dann die menschliche Gesellschaft, unter dem Einfluss einer solchen Gesinnung, gestalten? Vielleicht ist der wissenschaftliche Beweis irgend einer metaphysischen Welt schon so schwierig, dass die Menschheit ein Misstrauen gegen ihn nicht mehr los wird. Und wenn man gegen die Metaphysik Misstrauen hat, so giebt es im Ganzen und Grossen die selben Folgen, wie wenn sie direct widerlegt wäre und man nicht mehr an sie glauben dürfte. Die historische Frage in Betreff einer unmetaphysischen Gesinnung der Menschheit bleibt in beiden Fällen die selbe.

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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