Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays Collected Works, Volume Two

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 28

For me is ample guerdon." TR.


[2] A quotation from Goethe's "Faust": Part I., lines 91, 92, and 95,
96.--TR.




HOMER'S CONTEST


Preface to an Unwritten Book (1872)


When one speaks of "_humanity_" the notion lies at the bottom,
that humanity is that which _separates_ and distinguishes man from
Nature. But such a distinction does not in reality exist: the
"natural" qualities and the properly called "human" ones have grown
up inseparably together. Man in his highest and noblest capacities
_is_ Nature and bears in himself her awful twofold character. His
abilities generally considered dreadful and inhuman are perhaps indeed
the fertile soil, out of which alone can grow forth all humanity in
emotions, actions and works.

Thus the Greeks, the most humane men of ancient times, have in
themselves a trait of cruelty, of tiger-like pleasure in destruction:
a trait, which in the grotesquely magnified image of the Hellene, in
Alexander the Great, is very plainly visible, which, however, in their
whole history, as well as in their mythology, must terrify us who
meet them with the emasculate idea of modern humanity. When Alexander
has the feet of Batis, the brave defender of Gaza, bored through,
and binds the living body to his chariot in order to drag him about
exposed to the scorn of his soldiers, that is a sickening caricature of
Achilles, who at night ill-uses Hector's corpse by a similar trailing;
but even this trait has for us something offensive, something which
inspires horror. It gives us a peep into the abysses of hatred. With
the same sensation perhaps we stand before the bloody and insatiable
self-laceration of two Greek parties, as for example in the Corcyrean
revolution. When the victor, in a fight of the cities, according to
the _law_ of warfare, executes the whole male population and sells all
the women and children into slavery, we see, in the sanction of such a
law, that the Greek deemed it a positive necessity to allow his hatred
to break forth unimpeded; in such moments the compressed and swollen
feeling relieved itself; the tiger bounded forth, a voluptuous cruelty
shone out of his fearful eye. Why had the Greek sculptor to represent
again and again war and fights in innumerable repetitions, extended
human bodies whose sinews are tightened through hatred or through the
recklessness of triumph, fighters wounded and writhing with pain, or
the dying with the last rattle in their throat? Why did the whole Greek
world exult in the fighting scenes of the "Iliad"? I am afraid, we do
not understand them enough in "Greek fashion," and that we should even
shudder, if for once

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Text Comparison with Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits

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" 11 =Language as a Presumptive Science.
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Inadequacy of distinction and error of comparison are the basis of the preposterous things we do and say in dreams, so that when we clearly recall a dream we are startled that so much idiocy lurks within us.
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Here again the imagination is continually interposing its images inasmuch as it participates in the production of the impressions made through the senses day by day: and the dream-fancy does exactly the same thing--that is, the presumed cause is determined from the effect and _after_ the effect: all this, too, with extraordinary rapidity, so that in this matter, as in a matter of jugglery or sleight-of-hand, a confusion of the mind is produced and an after effect is made to appear a simultaneous action, an inverted succession of events, even.
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15 =No Within and Without in the World.
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Thus is left quite ignored the circumstance that the picture--that which we now call life and experience--is a gradual evolution, is, indeed, still in process of evolution and for that reason should not be regarded as an enduring whole from which any conclusion as to its author (the all-sufficient reason) could be arrived at, or even pronounced out of the question.
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35 =Advantages of Psychological Observation.
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The Trojan and the Greek are in Homer both good.
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The customary is done more easily, better, therefore preferably.
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102 "=Man Always Does Right.
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106 =The Water Fall.
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He may no longer praise, no longer blame, for it is irrational to blame and praise nature and necessity.
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But this standard perpetually changes.
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There are certain exceptions among the species who distinguish themselves either by especial gentleness or especial humanity, and perhaps by the strength of their own personality.