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The Quotable Friedrich Nietzsche

On Madness
Madness is something rare in individuals -- but in groups, parties, peoples, age
s it is the rule. Beyond Good and Evil.
I fear animals regard man as a creature of their own kind which has in a highly
dangerous fashion lost its healthy animal reason -- as the mad animal, as the la
ughing animal, as the weeping animal, as the unhappy animal. The Gay Science.
On Religion
After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hand
s. Ecce Homo.
Two great European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity. Twilight of the Idols.
Even today many educated people think that the victory of Christianity over Gree
k philosophy is a proof of the superior truth of the former -- although in this
case it was only the coarser and more violent that conquered the more spiritual
and delicate. So far as superior truth is concerned, it is enough to observe tha
t the awakening sciences have allied themselves point by point with the philosop
hy of Epicurus, but point by point rejected Christianity. Human, all too Human.
The spiritualization of sensuality is called love: it is a great triumph over Ch
ristianity. Twilight of the Idols.
On the Self
Active, successful natures act, not according to the dictum "know thyself," but
as if there hovered before them the commandment: will a self and thou shalt beco
me a self. Assorted Opinions and Maxims.
He who cannot obey himself will be commanded. That is the nature of living crea
tures. Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures an
d knows how to turn to its advantage. The Will to Power.
To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to
assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled-because a right is a kind of
power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which
cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance. The Wanderer and His Sha
On Death
To die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly. Death of one's ow
n free choice, death at the proper time, with a clear head and with joyfulness,
consummated in the midst of children and witnesses: so that an actual leave-taki
ng is possible while he who is leaving is still there. Twilight of the Idols.
On Punishment
Distrust everyone in whom the impulse to punish is powerful! Thus Spoke Zarathu
A strange thing, our kind of punishment! It does not cleanse the offender, it is
no expiation: on the contrary, it defiles more than the offense itself. Daybr
The Will to Power
What is good? -- All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, pow
er itself in man. The Anti-Christ.
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 sati
sfied. Daybreak.
My idea is that every specific body strives to become master over all space and
to extend its force (its will to power) and to thrust back all that resists its
extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the part of other b
odies and ends by coming to an arrangement ("union") with those of them that are
sufficiently related to it: thus they then conspire together for power. And th
e process goes on. The Will to Power.
[Anything which] is a living and not a dying body... will have to be an incarnat
e will to power, it will strive to grow, spread, seize, become predominant -- no
t from any morality or immorality but because it is living and because life simp
ly is will to power... 'Exploitation'... belongs to the essence of what lives,
as a basic organic function; it is a consequence of the will to power, which is
after all the will to life. Beyond Good and Evil.
On Truth
There are no facts, only interpretations. Daybreak.
It is not things, but opinions about things that have absolutely no existence, w
hich have so deranged mankind! Daybreak.
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. Human, all too Human
Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme po
sitions. The Will to Power.
Why does man not see things? He is himself standing in the way: he conceals thin
gs. Daybreak.
Mystical explanations are considered deep. The truth is that they are not even s
uperficial. The Gay Science.
What are man's truths ultimately? Merely his irrefutable errors. The Gay Scienc
Over immense periods of time the intellect produced nothing but errors. A few of
these proved to be useful and helped to preserve the species: those who hit upo
n or inherited these had better luck in their struggle for themselves and their
progeny. Such erroneous articles of faith... include the following: that there
are things, substances, bodies; that a thing is what it appears to be; that our
will is free; that what is good for me is also good in itself. The Gay Science.
Eternal recurrence
Never yield to remorse, but at once tell yourself: remorse would simply mean add
ing to the first act of stupidity a second. The Wanderer and his Shadow.
What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest l
oneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you w
ill have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing
new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everythi
ng unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in th
e same succession and sequence - even this spider and this moonlight between the
trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is
turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!" Would you
not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?
... Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to cr
ave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal? Th
e Gay Science.
The Bad Man
Whoever has overthrown an existing law of custom has always first been accounted
a bad man: but when, as did happen, the law could not afterwards be reinstated
and this fact was accepted, the predicate gradually changed; history treats alm
ost exclusively of these bad men who subsequently became good men! Daybreak.
I know my fate. One day there will be associated with my name the recollection o
f something frightful -- of a crisis like no other before on earth, of the profo
undest collision of conscience, of a decision evoked against everything that unt
il then had been believed in, demanded, sanctified. I am not a man. I am dynamit
e. Ecce Homo.