Fragmente der Vorsokratiker",
_Benn's, Burnet's_ and _Fairbanks'_ books we may regard as the
peristyle through which we enter the temple of Early Greek Philosophy.
Nietzsche's essay then is like a beautiful festoon swinging between the
columns erected by Diels and the others out of the marble of facts.
Beauty and the personal equation are the two "leitmotive" of
Nietzsche's history of the pre-Socratian philosophers. Especially
does he lay stress upon the personal equation, since that is the
only permanent item of interest, considering that every "System"
crumbles into nothing with the appearance of a new thinker. In this
way Nietzsche treats of _Thales, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides,
Xenophanes, Anaxagoras._ There are also some sketches of a draft for
an intended but never accomplished continuation, in which Empedocles,
Democritus and Plato were to be dealt with.
Probably the most popular of the Essays in this book will prove to be
the one on TRUTH AND FALSITY. It is an epistemological rhapsody on the
relativity of truth, on "Appearance and Reality," on "perceptual flux"
Man's intellect is only a means in the struggle for existence, a means
taking the place of the animal's horns and teeth. It adapts itself
especially to deception and dissimulation.
There are no absolute truths. Truth is relative and always imperfect.
Yet fictitious values fixed by convention and utility are set down as
truth. The liar does not use these standard coins of the realm. He is
hated; not out of love for truth, no, but because he is dangerous.
Our words never hit the essence, the "X" of a thing, but indicate only
external characteristics. Language is the columbarium of the ideas, the
cemetery of perceptions.
Truths are metaphors, illusions, anthropomorph isms about which one has
forgotten that they are such. There are different truths to different
beings. Like a spider man sits in the web of his truths and ideas. He
wants to be deceived. By means of error he mostly lives; truth is often
fatal. When the liar, the story-teller, the poet, the rhapsodist lie to
him without hurting him he--loves them!--
The text underlying this translation is that of Vol. I. of the
"Taschenausgabe." One or two obscure passages I hope my conjectures may
have elucidated. The dates following the titles indicate the year when
these essays were written.
In no other work have I felt so deeply the great need of the science of
Signifies with its ultimate international standardisation of terms, as
attempted by Eisler and Baldwin. I hope, however, I have succeeded in
conveying accurately the meaning of the author in spite of a certain
_looseness_ in his philosophical terminology.
The English language
My writings have been termed a school of distrust, still more of disdain: also, and more happily, of courage, audacity even.Page 2
that a soul in which the type of "free spirit" can attain maturity and completeness had its decisive and deciding event in the form of a great emancipation or unbinding, and that prior to that event it seemed only the more firmly and forever chained to its place and pillar.Page 8
However, the philosopher ascribes "instinct" to contemporary man and assumes that this is one of the unalterable facts regarding man himself, and hence affords a clue to the understanding of the universe in general.Page 18
A third feeling, as the result of two prior, single, separate feelings, is judgment in its crudest form.Page 24
What earthly reason could anyone have for being an optimist unless he had a god to defend who _must_ have created the best of all possible worlds, since he is himself all goodness and perfection?--but what thinking man has now any need for the hypothesis that there is a god?--There is also no occasion whatever for a pessimistic confession of faith, unless one has a personal interest in denouncing the advocate of god, the theologian or the theological philosopher, and maintaining the counter proposition that evil reigns, that wretchedness is more potent than joy, that the world is a piece of botch work, that phenomenon (Erscheinung) is but the manifestation of some evil spirit.Page 30
Without such practical acquaintance, one is apt to look upon this making and forming as a much easier thing than it really is; one is not keenly enough alive to the felicity and the charm of success.Page 32
In time, however, the.Page 36
We once, that is, had more faith in the purity of his character than he had himself.Page 41
Moreover, he is now rid of a number of disturbing notions; he is no longer beguiled by such words as hell-pain, sinfulness, unworthiness: he sees in them merely the flitting shadow pictures of false views of life and of the world.Page 43
Passion will not wait: the tragic element in the lives of great men does not generally consist in their conflict with time and the inferiority of their fellowmen but in their inability to put off their work a year or two: they cannot wait.Page 44
65 =Whither Honesty May Lead.Page 51
(At first other and more important kinds of utilitarian qualities stand in the foreground.Page 59
Just as he cherishes the beautiful work of art, but does not praise it (as it is incapable of doing anything for itself), just as he stands in the presence of plants, he must stand in the presence of human conduct, his own included.Page 61
and in the same soil, and may, perhaps, in thousands of years be powerful enough to endow mankind with capacity to develop the wise, guiltless man (conscious of guiltlessness) as unfailingly as it now developes the unwise, irrational, guilt-conscious man--that is to say, the necessary higher step, not the opposite of it.Page 67
But it rests equally upon other and higher ideas.Page 68
Wherever the Olympian gods receded into the background, there even Greek life became gloomier and more perturbed.Page 72
=--Careful consideration must render it possible to propound some explanation of that process in the soul of a Christian which is termed need of salvation, and to propound an explanation,.Page 73
It appeared that in the psychological analysis of religious "facts" a new anchorage and above all a new calling were to be gained.Page 79
means whereby such natures may resist the general exhaustion of their will to live (their nerves).Page 80
Everything natural with which man connects the idea of badness and sinfulness (as, for instance, is still customary in regard to the erotic) injures and degrades the imagination, occasions a shamed aspect, leads man to war upon himself and makes him uncertain, distrustful of himself.