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Friedrich Nietzsche


(In letter to his sister.)

Now it has gone so far that I have to defend myself hand and foot against people who confuse me with these anti-Semitic canaille; after my own sister, my former sister, and after Widemann more recently have given the impetus to this most dire of all confusions. After I read the name Zarathustra in the anti-Semitic Correspondence my forbearance came to an end. I am now in a position of emergency defense against your spouse’s Party. These accursed anti-Semite deformities shall not sully my ideal!!

I am just having all anti-Semites shot.


The falseness of an opinion is not for us any objection to it: it is here, perhaps, that our new language sounds most strangely. The question is, how far an opinion is life-furthering, life-preserving, species-preserving, perhaps species-rearing, and we are fundamentally inclined to maintain that the falsest opinions (to which the synthetic judgments a priori belong), are the most indispensable to us, that without a recognition of logical fictions, without a comparison of reality with the purely imagined world of the absolute and immutable, without a constant counterfeiting of the world by means of numbers, man could not live–that the renunciation of false opinions would be a renunciation of life, a negation of life. to recognise untruth as a conditioN of life; that is certainly to impugn the traditional ideas of value in a dangerous manner, and a philosophy which ventures to do so, has thereby alone placed itself beyond good and evil.

It is certainly not the least charm of a theory that it is refutable; it is precisely thereby that it attracts the more subtle minds. It seems that the hundred-times-refuted theory of the “free will” owes its persistence to this charm alone; some one is always appearing who feels himself strong enough to refute it.

What is it that forces us in general to the supposition that there is an essential opposition of “true” and “false”? Is it not enough to suppose degrees of seemingness, and as it were lighter and darker shades and tones of semblance.


Of the French Revolution.

The text has disappeared under the interpretation.


There are still harmless self-observers who believe that there are “immediate certainties”; for instance, “I think,” […] I would repeat it, however, a hundred times, that “immediate certainty,” as well as “absolute knowledge” and the “thing in itself,” involve a contradictio in adjecto; we really ought to free ourselves from the misleading significance of words! The people on their part may think that cognition is knowing all about things, but the philosopher must say to himself: “When I analyze the process that is expressed in the sentence, ‘I think,’ I find a whole series of daring assertions, the argumentative proof of which would be difficult, perhaps impossible: for instance, that it is I who think, that there must necessarily be something that thinks, that thinking is an activity and operation on the part of a being who is thought of as a cause, that there is an ‘ego,’ and finally, that it is already determined what is to be designated by thinking –that I know what thinking is. […] In short, the assertion ‘I think,’ assumes that I compare my state at the present moment with other states of myself which I know, in order to determine what it is; on account of this retrospective connection with further ‘knowledge,’ it has, at any rate, no immediate certainty for me.” […] He who ventures to answer these metaphysical questions at once by an appeal to a sort of intuitive perception, like the person who says, “I think, and know that this, at least, is true, actual, and certain” – will encounter a smile and two notes of interrogation in a philosopher nowadays. “Sir,” the philosopher will perhaps give him to understand, “it is improbable that you are not mistaken, but why should it be the truth?”

Gödeless gracious what a conundrum!


I am solitude become man.

I go into solitude so as not to drink out of everybody’s cistern. When I am among the many I live as the many do, and I do not think I really think. After a time it always seems as if they want to banish my self from myself and rob me of my soul.

Have people around you who are as a garden – or as music on the waters at eventide, when already the day becomes a memory. Choose the good solitude, the free, wanton, lightsome solitude, which also gives you the right still to remain good in any sense whatsoever! How poisonous, how crafty, how bad, does every long war make one, which cannot be waged openly by means of force! How personal does a long fear make one, a long watching of enemies, of possible enemies!

Eventually one must do everything oneself in order to know something; which means that one has much to do!

Social Impulses

Not to speak of the stupidity of moral indignation, which is the unfailing sign in a philosopher that the sense of philosophical humour has left him. The martyrdom of the philosopher, his “sacrifice for the sake of truth,” forces into the light whatever of the agitator and actor lurks in him.

It might be possible for a highly developed man, supposing him to degenerate and go to ruin, to acquire qualities thereby alone, for the sake of which he would have to be honoured as a saint in the lower world into which he had sunk.


Later on, when the young soul, tortured by continual disillusions, finally turns suspiciously against itself – still ardent and savage even in its suspicion and remorse of conscience: how it upbraids itself, how impatiently it tears itself, how it revenges itself for its long self-blinding, as though it had been a voluntary blindness! In this transition one punishes oneself by distrust of one’s sentiments; one tortures one’s enthusiasm with doubt, one feels even the good conscience to be a danger, as if it were the self-concealment and lassitude of a more refined uprightness; and above all, one espouses upon principle the cause against “youth.” – A decade later, and one comprehends that all this was also still – youth!


“Enlightenment” causes revolt, for the slave desires the unconditioned, he understands nothing but the tyrannous, even in morals, he loves as he hates, without nuance, to the very depths, to the point of pain, to the point of sickness – his many hidden sufferings make him revolt against the noble taste which seems to deny suffering.

Tags: nietzsche , social , cognitive