Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays Collected Works, Volume Two

By Friedrich Nietzsche

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his fall and to crush him. Sparta and
Athens surrender to Persia, as Themistocles and Alcibiades have done;
they betray Hellenism after they have given up the noblest Hellenic
fundamental thought, the contest, and Alexander, the coarsened copy and
abbreviation of Greek history, now invents the cosmopolitan Hellene,
and the so-called "Hellenism."


Preface to an Unwritten Book (1872)

In dear vile Germany culture now lies so decayed in the streets,
jealousy of all that is great rules so shamelessly, and the general
tumult of those who race for "Fortune" resounds so deafeningly, that
one must have a strong faith, almost in the sense of _credo quia
absurdum est,_ in order to hope still for a growing Culture, and above
all--in opposition to the press with her "public opinion"--to be able
to work by public teaching. With violence must those, in whose hearts
lies the immortal care for the people, free themselves from all the
inrushing impressions of that which is just now actual and valid, and
evoke the appearance of reckoning them indifferent things. They must
appear so, because they want to think, and because a loathsome sight
and a confused noise, perhaps even mixed with the trumpet-flourishes
of war-glory, disturb their thinking, and above all, because they want
to _believe_ in the German character and because with this faith they
would lose their strength. Do not find fault with these believers if
they look from their distant aloofness and from the heights towards
their Promised Land! They fear those experiences, to which the kindly
disposed foreigner surrenders himself, when he lives among the Germans,
and must be surprised how little German life corresponds to those great
individuals, works and actions, which, in his kind disposition he
has learned to revere as the true German character. Where the German
cannot lift himself into the sublime he makes an impression less than
the mediocre. Even the celebrated German scholarship, in which a number
of the most useful domestic and homely virtues such as faithfulness,
self-restriction, industry, moderation, cleanliness appear transposed
into a purer atmosphere and, as it were, transfigured, is by no means
the result of these virtues; looked at closely, the motive urging to
unlimited knowledge appears in Germany much more like a defect, a gap,
than an abundance of forces, it looks almost like the consequence
of a needy formless atrophied life and even like a flight from the
moral narrow-mindedness and malice to which the German without such
diversions is subjected, and which also in spite of that scholarship,
yea still within scholarship itself, often break forth. As the

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Text Comparison with Thoughts out of Season, Part I David Strauss, the Confessor and the Writer - Richard Wagner in Bayreuth.

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(Images generously made available by the Hathi Trust.
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You must forgive this, however, in a Jew, who, while he has been baited for two thousand years by you, likes to turn round now that the opportunity has come, and tries to indulge on his part also in a little bit of that genial pastime.
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Let us, however, examine the internal evidence we speak of, and let us also discuss the purpose and spirit of the essay.
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Through historical consciousness, they saved themselves from enthusiasm; for, in opposition to Goethe, it was maintained that history would no longer kindle enthusiasm.
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built, and no profession of faith been made.
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When, for instance, he mentioned Haydn with that same warmth which made us so suspicious when he praised Lessing, and when he posed as the epopt and priest of a mysterious Haydn cult; when, in a discussion upon quartette-music, if you please, he even likened Haydn to a "good unpretending soup" and Beethoven to "sweetmeats" (p.
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In the path of every true artist, whose lot is cast in these modern days, despair and danger are strewn.
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Genuine disciples of genuine philosophies also teach this doctrine; for, like Wagner, they understand the art of deriving a more decisive and inflexible will from their master's teaching, rather than an opiate or a sleeping draught.
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Nevertheless, it demands silence of us as long as it keeps us in view; for art does not serve the purposes of war, but is merely with us to improve our hours of respite, before and during the course of the contest,--to improve those few moments when, looking back, yet dreaming of the future, we seem to understand the symbolical, and are carried away into a refreshing reverie when fatigue overtakes us.
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Wagner did this by discovering a connection between two objects which seemed to exist apart from each other as though in separate spheres--that between music and life, and similarly between music and the drama.
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Let us regard this as _one_ of Wagner's answers to the question, What does music mean in our time? for he has a second.
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In its search and craving for this ally, it becomes the arbiter of the whole visible world and the world of mere lying appearance of the present day.
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He who would fain emancipate art, and reinstall its sanctity, now desecrated, must first have freed himself from all contact with modern souls; only as an innocent being himself can he hope to discover the innocence of art, for he must be ready to perform the stupendous tasks of self-purification and self-consecration.
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A state of human civilisation, of human society, morality, order, and general organisation which would be able to dispense with the services of an imitative artist or mimic, is not perhaps so utterly inconceivable; but this Perhaps is probably the most daring that has ever been posited, and is equivalent to the gravest expression of doubt.
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It was in vain that he made repeated attempts to expose, with the utmost clearness, how worthless and humiliating such successes were to him: people were so unused to seeing an artist able to differentiate at all between the effects of his works that even his most solemn protests were never entirely trusted.
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That is why all Wagner's efforts were concentrated upon the one object of discovering those means which best served the purpose of _distinctness_, and to this end it was above all necessary for him to emancipate himself from all the prejudices and claims of the old "mood" music, and to give his compositions--the musical interpretations of feelings and passion--a perfectly unequivocal mode of expression.
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Wagner is never more himself than when he is overwhelmed with difficulties and can exercise power on a large scale with all the joy of a law-giver.
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He is one of the very great, who appeared amongst us a witness, and who is continually improving his testimony and making it ever clearer and freer; even when he stumbles as a scientist, sparks rise from the ground.
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No golden age, no cloudless sky will fall to the portion of those future generations, which his instinct led him to expect, and whose approximate characteristics may be gleaned from the cryptic characters of his art, in so far as it is possible to draw conclusions concerning the nature of any pain from the kind of relief it seeks.