Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays Collected Works, Volume Two

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 43

life and the love for truth that only asks: What is the good of Life
at all? The mission which the philosopher has to discharge within a
real Culture, fashioned in a homogeneous style, cannot be clearly
conjectured out of our circumstances and experiences for the simple
reason that we have no such culture. No, it is only a Culture like the
Greek which can answer the question as to that task of the philosopher,
only such a Culture can, as I said before, justify philosophy at all;
because such a Culture alone knows and can demonstrate why and how the
philosopher is _not_ an accidental, chance wanderer driven now hither,
now thither. There is a steely necessity which fetters the philosopher
to a true Culture: but what if this Culture does not exist? Then the
philosopher is an incalculable and therefore terror-inspiring comet,
whereas in the favourable case, he shines as the central star in the
solar-system of culture. It is for this reason that the Greeks justify
the philosopher, because with them he is no comet.

[1] _Cf._ Napoleon's word about Goethe: "Voilà un homme!"--TR.


After such contemplations it will be accepted without offence if I
speak of the pre-Platonic philosophers as of a homogeneous company, and
devote this paper to them exclusively. Something quite new begins with
Plato; or it might be said with equal justice that in comparison with
that Republic of Geniuses from Thales to Socrates, the philosophers
since Plato lack something essential.

Whoever wants to express himself unfavourably about those older masters
may call them one-sided, and their _Epigones,_ with Plato as head,
many-sided. Yet it would be more just and unbiassed to conceive of
the latter as philosophic hybrid-characters, of the former as the
pure types. Plato himself is the first magnificent hybrid-character,
and as such finds expression as well in his philosophy as in his
personality. In his ideology are united Socratian, Pythagorean, and
Heraclitean elements, and for this reason it is no typically pure
phenomenon. As man, too, Plato mingles the features of the royally
secluded, all-sufficing Heraclitus, of the melancholy-compassionate and
legislatory Pythagoras and of the psycho-expert dialectician Socrates.
All later philosophers are such hybrid-characters; wherever something
one-sided does come into prominence with them as in the case of the
Cynics, it is not type but caricature. Much more important however is
the fact that they are founders of sects and that the sects founded
by them are all institutions in direct opposition to the Hellenic
culture and the unity of its style prevailing up to that time. In
their way they seek a redemption, but only for the

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Text Comparison with On the Future of our Educational Institutions; Homer and Classical Philology Complete Works, Volume Three

Page 1
Nietzsche endeavoured to counteract this tendency in the "Homer and Classical Philology," his inaugural address at Băle University, by outlining a much vaster conception of philology than his fellow-teachers had ever dreamt of, laying stress upon the artistic results which would accrue if the science were applied on a wider scale--results which would be of a much higher order than those obtained by the narrow pedantry then prevailing.
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The third and most important stipulation is, that he should in no case be constantly bringing himself and his own "culture" forward, after the style of most modern men, as the correct standard and measure of all things.
Page 13
Secondly, you do not appear to know how a real duel is conducted;--do you suppose that we should have faced each other in this lonely spot, like two highwaymen, without seconds or doctors, etc.
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It was to be a silent solemnisation, all reminiscence and all future; the present was to be as a hyphen between the two.
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We knew this, that, thanks to our little society, no thought of embracing any particular career had ever entered our minds in those days.
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I was overcome by a general feeling of depression: my recourse to solitude was not arrogance or superciliousness.
Page 27
The universities can no longer lay claim to this importance as centres of influence, seeing that, as they now stand, they are at least, in one important aspect, only a kind of annex to the public school system, as I shall shortly point out to you.
Page 28
The same teacher would also have to take our classical authors and show, line for line, how carefully and with what precision every expression has to be chosen when a writer has the correct feeling in his heart and has before his eyes a perfect conception of all he is writing.
Page 38
The old estimate of scholarship and scholarly culture, as an absolute, which Wolf overcame, seems after a slow and spiritless struggle rather to have taken the place of the culture-principle of more recent introduction, and now claims its former exclusive rights, though not with the same frankness, but disguised and with features veiled.
Page 42
the highest posts in the scholastic profession, as I myself have done, then I know how we often laughed at the exact contrary, and grew serious over something quite different----" "Now, my friend," interrupted the philosopher, laughingly, "you speak as one who would fain dive into the water without being able to swim, and who fears something even more than the mere drowning; _not_ being drowned, but laughed at.
Page 45
On the other hand, I fully understand what you have said about the surplus of public schools and the corresponding surplus of higher grade teachers; and in this regard I myself have collected some information which assures me that the educational tendency of the public school _must_ right itself by this very surplus of teachers who have really nothing at all to do with education, and who are called into existence and pursue this path solely because there is a demand for them.
Page 46
What a deep breath he draws when he succeeds in raising yet another dark corner of antiquity to the level of his own intelligence!--when, for example, he discovers in Pythagoras a colleague who is as enthusiastic as himself in arguing about politics.
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And would you give the name of arguments to those distorted, clumsy, narrow-minded, ungainly, crippled things? Yes, I have just now been listening to the fruits of some of this present-day culture, and my ears are still ringing with the sound of historical 'self-understood' things, of over-wise and pitiless historical reasonings! Mark this, thou unprofaned Nature: thou hast grown old, and for thousands of years this starry sky has spanned the space above thee--but thou hast never yet heard such conceited and, at bottom, mischievous chatter as the talk of the present day! So you are proud of your poets and artists, my good Teutons? You point to them and brag about them to foreign countries, do you? And because it has given you no trouble to have them amongst you, you have formed the pleasant theory that you need not concern yourselves further with them? Isn't that so, my inexperienced children: they come of their own free will, the stork brings them to you! Who would dare to mention a midwife! You deserve an earnest teaching, eh? You should be proud of the fact that all the noble and brilliant men we have mentioned were prematurely suffocated, worn out, and crushed through you, through your barbarism? You think without shame of Lessing, who, on account of your stupidity, perished in battle against your ludicrous gods and idols, the evils of your theatres, your learned men, and your theologians, without once daring to lift himself to the height of that immortal flight for which he was brought into the world.
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'[8] Just think how long I have lived at a distance from you, and how all those temptations you speak of have endeavoured to lure me away, not perhaps without some success, even though I myself may not have observed it.
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" And then we once more heard that loud melody from the waters of the Rhine, intoned by numerous and strong voices.
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It is they who sang that peculiar song, and they have doubtless accompanied your friend here.
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midst of which the invigorating and uplifting breath of the true German spirit would inspire them.
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' "Whence came the incomprehensible intensity of this alarm? For those young men were the bravest, purest, and most talented of the band both in dress and habits: they were distinguished by a magnanimous recklessness and a noble simplicity.
Page 90
At a certain given date, about the time of Pisistratus, the poems which had been repeated orally were said to have been collected in manuscript form; but the scribes, it is added, allowed themselves to take some liberties with the text by transposing some lines and adding extraneous matter here and there.
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was infinitely inferior to the songs that sprang up naturally in the poet's mind and were written down with instinctive power: we can even take a step further.