Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) was a 19th-century German philosopher and classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, using a distinctive German-language style and displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism.
Nietzsche's influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism and postmodernism. His style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth have resulted in much commentary and interpretation, mostly in the continental tradition, and to a lesser extent in analytic philosophy.
His key ideas include the interpretation of tragedy as an affirmation of life, an eternal recurrence (which numerous commentators have re-interpreted), a rejection of Platonism and a repudiation of both Christianity and egalitarianism (especially in the form of democracy and socialism).
Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. At the age of 24 he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the youngest individual yet to have held this position), but resigned in 1879 because of health problems, which would plague him for most of his life. In 1889 he exhibited symptoms of insanity, living out his remaining years in the care of his mother and sister until his death in 1900.
1. A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.
2. A friend should be a master at guessing and keeping still: you must not want to see everything.
3. A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.
4. A great value of antiquity lies in the fact that its writings are the only ones that modern men still read with exactness.
5. A pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love.
6. A subject for a great poet would be God's boredom after the seventh day of creation.
7. A woman may very well form a friendship with a man, but for this to endure, it must be assisted by a little physical antipathy.
8. Admiration for a quality or an art can be so strong that it deters us from striving to possess it.
9. After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands.
10. Ah, women. They make the highs higher and the lows more frequent.
11. All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses.
12. All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.
13. All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.
14. All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
15. All truth is simple... is that not doubly a lie?
16. Although the most acute judges of the witches and even the witches themselves, were convinced of the guilt of witchery, the guilt nevertheless was non-existent. It is thus with all guilt.
17. An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.
18. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
19. And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.
20. Anyone who has declared someone else to be an idiot, a bad apple, is annoyed when it turns out in the end that he isn't.
21. Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive.
22. Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest.
23. Art is the proper task of life.
24. Art raises its head where creeds relax.
25. At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.
26. Before the effect one believes in different causes than one does after the effect.
27. Behind all their personal vanity, women themselves always have an impersonal contempt for woman.
28. Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.
29. Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by those one has had.
30. Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.
31. Do whatever you will, but first be such as are able to will.
32. Does wisdom perhaps appear on the earth as a raven which is inspired by the smell of carrion?
33. Egoism is the very essence of a noble soul.
34. Every church is a stone on the grave of a god-man: it does not want him to rise up again under any circumstances.
35. Every man is a creative cause of what happens, a primum mobile with an original movement.
36. 'Evil men have no songs.' How is it that the Russians have songs?
37. Existence really is an imperfect tense that never becomes a present.
38. Experience, as a desire for experience, does not come off. We must not study ourselves while having an experience.
39. Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions.
40. Faith: not wanting to know what is true.
41. Fanatics are picturesque, mankind would rather see gestures than listen to reasons.
42. Fear is the mother of morality.
43. For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.
44. For the woman, the man is a means: the end is always the child.
45. Genteel women suppose that those things do not really exist about which it is impossible to talk in polite company.
46. Glance into the world just as though time were gone: and everything crooked will become straight to you.
47. Go up close to your friend, but do not go over to him! We should also respect the enemy in our friend.
48. God is a thought who makes crooked all that is straight.
49. Great indebtedness does not make men grateful, but vengeful; and if a little charity is not forgotten, it turns into a gnawing worm.
50. He that humbleth himself wishes to be exalted.
51. He who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either.
52. He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?
53. He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
54. He who laughs best today, will also laughs last.
55. He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.
56. Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.
57. I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.
58. I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.
59. I do not know what the spirit of a philosopher could more wish to be than a good dancer. For the dance is his ideal, also his fine art, finally also the only kind of piety he knows, his "divine service."
60. I love those who do not know how to live for today.
61. I still live, I still think: I still have to live, for I still have to think.
62. I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance.
63. Idleness is the parent of psychology.
64. If a woman possesses manly virtues one should run away from her; and if she does not possess them she runs away from herself.
65. If there is something to pardon in everything, there is also something to condemn.
66. If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
67. In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.
68. In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.
69. In everything one thing is impossible: rationality.
70. In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.
71. In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
72. In large states public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad.
73. In music the passions enjoy themselves.
74. In praise there is more obtrusiveness than in blame.
75. In the consciousness of the truth he has perceived, man now sees everywhere only the awfulness or the absurdity of existence and loathing seizes him.
76. In the course of history, men come to see that iron necessity is neither iron nor necessary.
77. In the last analysis, even the best man is evil: in the last analysis, even the best woman is bad.
78. Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
79. Is life not a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?
80. Is man one of God's blunders? Or is God one of man's blunders?
81. It is always consoling to think of suicide: in that way one gets through many a bad night.
82. It is good to express a thing twice right at the outset and so to give it a right foot and also a left one. Truth can surely stand on one leg, but with two it will be able to walk and get around.
83. It is impossible to suffer without making someone pay for it; every complaint already contains revenge.
84. It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.
85. It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.
86. It is not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, that the lover of knowledge is reluctant to step into its waters.
87. It is the most sensual men who need to flee women and torment their bodies.
88. It says nothing against the ripeness of a spirit that it has a few worms.
89. Judgments, value judgments concerning life, for or against, can in the last resort never be true: they possess value only as symptoms, they come into consideration only as symptoms - in themselves such judgments are stupidities.
90. Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species.
91. Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.
92. Love is not consolation. It is light.
93. Love matches, so called, have illusion for their father and need for their mother.
94. Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.
95. Many a man fails as an original thinker simply because his memory it too good.
96. Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.
97. Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual.
98. Mystical explanations are thought to be deep; the truth is that they are not even shallow.
99. Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation.
100. No one lies so boldly as the man who is indignant.
101. Not necessity, not desire - no, the love of power is the demon of men. Let them have everything - health, food, a place to live, entertainment - they are and remain unhappy and low-spirited: for the demon waits and waits and will be satisfied.
102. Not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, does the enlightened man dislike to wade into its waters.
103. Nothing has been purchased more dearly than the little bit of reason and sense of freedom which now constitutes our pride.
104. Nothing is beautiful, only man: on this piece of naivete rests all aesthetics, it is the first truth of aesthetics. Let us immediately add its second: nothing is ugly but degenerate man - the domain of aesthetic judgment is therewith defined.
105. Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood.
106. On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.
107. Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it is even becoming mob.
108. One has to pay dearly for immortality; one has to die several times while one is still alive.
109. One may sometimes tell a lie, but the grimace that accompanies it tells the truth.
110. One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.
111. One often contradicts an opinion when what is uncongenial is really the tone in which it was conveyed.
112. One ought to hold on to one's heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.
113. One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly.
114. Our treasure lies in the beehive of our knowledge. We are perpetually on the way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind.
115. Our vanity is hardest to wound precisely when our pride has just been wounded.
116. People who have given us their complete confidence believe that they have a right to ours. The inference is false, a gift confers no rights.
117. Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.
118. Plato was a bore.
119. Regarding life, the wisest men of all ages have judged alike: it is worthless.
120. Rejoicing in our joy, not suffering over our suffering, makes someone a friend.
121. Shared joys make a friend, not shared sufferings.
122. Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day.
123. Some are made modest by great praise, others insolent.
124. Stupid as a man, say the women: cowardly as a woman, say the men. Stupidity in a woman is unwomanly.
125. Success has always been a great liar.
126. Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.
127. That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
128. The "kingdom of Heaven" is a condition of the heart - not something that comes "upon the earth" or "after death."
129. The abdomen is the reason why man does not readily take himself to be a god.
130. The aphorism in which I am the first master among Germans, are the forms of "eternity"; my ambition is to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book - what everyone else does not say in a book.
131. The bad gains respect through imitation, the good loses it especially in art.
132. The best author will be the one who is ashamed to become a writer.
133. The best weapon against an enemy is another enemy.
134. The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.
135. The demand to be loved is the greatest of all arrogant presumptions.
136. The desire to annoy no one, to harm no one, can equally well be the sign of a just as of an anxious disposition.
137. The doer alone learneth.
138. The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.
139. The future influences the present just as much as the past.
140. The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
141. The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it.
142. The lie is a condition of life.
143. The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.
144. The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying to others is relatively an exception.
145. The press, the machine, the railway, the telegraph are premises whose thousand-year conclusion no one has yet dared to draw.
146. The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.
147. The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.
148. The word "Christianity" is already a misunderstanding - in reality there has been only one Christian, and he died on the Cross.
149. The world itself is the will to power - and nothing else! And you yourself are the will to power - and nothing else!
150. There are horrible people who, instead of solving a problem, tangle it up and make it harder to solve for anyone who wants to deal with it. Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
151. There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths.
152. There are no facts, only interpretations.
153. There are no moral phenomena at all, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena.
154. There are people who want to make men's lives more difficult for no other reason than the chance it provides them afterwards to offer their prescription for alleviating life; their Christianity, for instance.
155. There are slavish souls who carry their appreciation for favors done them so far that they strangle themselves with the rope of gratitude.
156. There are various eyes. Even the Sphinx has eyes: and as a result there are various truths, and as a result there is no truth.
157. There cannot be a God because if there were one, I could not believe that I was not He.
158. There is a rollicking kindness that looks like malice.
159. There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
160. There is an innocence in admiration; it is found in those to whom it has never yet occurred that they, too, might be admired some day.
161. There is in general good reason to suppose that in several respects the gods could all benefit from instruction by us human beings. We humans are - more humane.
162. There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.
163. There is not enough love and goodness in the world to permit giving any of it away to imaginary beings.
164. There is not enough religion in the world even to destroy religion.
165. There is nothing we like to communicate to others as much as the seal of secrecy together with what lies under it.
166. These people abstain, it is true: but the bitch Sensuality glares enviously out of all they do.
167. This is the hardest of all: to close the open hand out of love, and keep modest as a giver.
168. This is what is hardest: to close the open hand because one loves.
169. Those who cannot understand how to put their thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of debate.
170. Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings - always darker, emptier and simpler.
171. To be ashamed of one's immorality: that is a step on the staircase at whose end one is also ashamed of one's morality.
172. To forget one's purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.
173. To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
174. To use the same words is not a sufficient guarantee of understanding; one must use the same words for the same genus of inward experience; ultimately one must have one's experiences in common.
175. Today I love myself as I love my god: who could charge me with a sin today? I know only sins against my god; but who knows my god?
176. Two great European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity.
177. Undeserved praise causes more pangs of conscience later than undeserved blame, but probably only for this reason, that our power of judgment are more completely exposed by being over praised than by being unjustly underestimated.
178. War has always been the grand sagacity of every spirit which has grown too inward and too profound; its curative power lies even in the wounds one receives.
179. We do not hate as long as we still attach a lesser value, but only when we attach an equal or a greater value.
180. We have art in order not to die of the truth.
181. We hear only those questions for which we are in a position to find answers.
182. We love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving.
183. We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.
184. We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.
185. What can everyone do? Praise and blame. This is human virtue, this is human madness.
186. What do I care about the purring of one who cannot love, like the cat?
187. What do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame.
188. What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.
189. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
190. What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man.
191. What then in the last resort are the truths of mankind? They are the irrefutable errors of mankind.
192. What? You seek something? You wish to multiply yourself tenfold, a hundredfold? You seek followers? Seek zeros!
193. Whatever is done for love always occurs beyond good and evil.
194. When a hundred men stand together, each of them loses his mind and gets another one.
195. When art dresses in worn-out material it is most easily recognized as art.
196. When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.
197. When one does away with oneself one does the most estimable thing possible: one thereby almost deserves to live.
198. When one has a great deal to put into it a day has a hundred pockets.
199. When one has finished building one's house, one suddenly realizes that in the process one has learned something that one really needed to know in the worst way - before one began.
200. When one has not had a good father, one must create one.
201. When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.
202. Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called 'Ego'.
203. Whoever battles with monsters had better see that it does not turn him into a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
204. Whoever despises himself nonetheless respects himself as one who despises.
205. Whoever does not have a good father should procure one.
206. Whoever feels predestined to see and not to believe will find all believers too noisy and pushy: he guards against them.
207. Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
208. Whoever has provoked men to rage against him has always gained a party in his favor, too.
209. Whoever has witnessed another's ideal becomes his inexorable judge and as it were his evil conscience.
210. Wit is the epitaph of an emotion.
211. Without music, life would be a mistake.
212. Woman was God's second mistake.
213. Women are considered deep - why? Because one can never discover any bottom to them. Women are not even shallow.
214. Women are quite capable of entering into a friendship with a man, but to keep it going that takes a little physical antipathy as well.
215. Women can form a friendship with a man very well; but to preserve it - to that end a slight physical antipathy must probably help.
216. Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon absolute truth.
217. You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
218. You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.
219. You say it is the good cause that hallows even war? I say unto you: it is the good war that hallows any cause.