Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays Collected Works, Volume Two

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 89

point.



19


Here of course one might ask, what fancy had at that time so suddenly
occurred to the Nous, to knock against some chance material particle
out of that number of particles and to turn it around in whirling dance
and why that did not occur to It earlier. Whereupon Anaxagoras would
answer: "The Nous has the privilege of arbitrary action; It may begin
at any chance time, It depends on Itself, whereas everything else is
determined from outside. It has no duty, and no end which It might
be compelled to pursue; if It did once begin with that motion and
set Itself an end, this after all was only--the answer is difficult,
Heraclitus would say--_play!_"

That seems always to have been the last solution or answer hovering on
the lips of the Greek. The Anaxagorean Mind is an artist and in truth
the most powerful genius of mechanics and architecture, creating with
the simplest means the most magnificent forms and tracks and as it were
a mobile architecture, but always out of that irrational arbitrariness
which lies in the soul of the artist. It is as though Anaxagoras was
pointing at Phidias and in face of the immense work of art, the Cosmos,
was calling out to us as he would do in front of the Parthenon: "The
Becoming is no moral, but only an artistic phenomenon." Aristotle
relates that, to the question what made life worth living, Anaxagoras
had answered: "Contemplating the heavens and the total order of the
Cosmos." He treated physical things so devotionally, and with that
same mysterious awe, which we feel when standing in front of an antique
temple; his doctrine became a species of free-thinking religious
exercise, protecting itself through the _odi profanum vulgus et arceo_
and choosing its adherents with precaution out of the highest and
noblest society of Athens. In the exclusive community of the Athenian
Anaxagoreans the mythology of the people was allowed only as a symbolic
language; all myths, all gods, all heroes were considered here only as
hieroglyphics of the interpretation of nature, and even the Homeric
epic was said to be the canonic song of the sway of the Nous and the
struggles and laws of Nature. Here and there a note from this society
of sublime free-thinkers penetrated to the people; and especially
Euripides, the great and at all times daring Euripides, ever thinking
of something new, dared to let many things become known by means of the
tragic mask, many things which pierced like an arrow through the senses
of the masses and from which the latter freed themselves only by

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Human, All-Too-Human: A Book for Free Spirits, Part 1 Complete Works, Volume Six

Page 1
g.
Page 11
Formerly the spirit was not occupied with strict thought, its earnestness then lay in the spinning out of symbols and forms.
Page 26
But who still bothers about the theologians now--except the theologians? Apart from all theology and its contentions, it is quite clear that the world is not good and not bad (to say nothing of its being the best or the worst), and that the terms "good" and "bad" have only significance with respect to man, and indeed, perhaps, they are not justified even here in the way they are usually employed; in any case we must get rid of both the calumniating and the glorifying conception of the world.
Page 28
Even the rarer people who think outside themselves do not contemplate this general life, but only a limited part of it.
Page 30
On the contrary, a man from whom the ordinary fetters of life have so far fallen that he continues to live only for the sake of ever better knowledge must be able to renounce without envy and regret: much, indeed almost everything that is precious to other men, he must regard as the _all-sufficing_ and the most desirable condition; the free, fearless soaring over men, customs, laws, and the traditional valuations of things.
Page 71
For the greatest achievements of the people who are called geniuses and saints it is necessary that they should secure interpreters by force, who _misunderstand_ them for the good of mankind.
Page 82
kind of delight that he covets, perhaps that delight in which all others are united.
Page 86
Probably this occasionally drove the neighbouring nations to desperation.
Page 112
Precisely in this sore and weakened place the community is _inoculated_ with something new; but its general strength must be great enough to absorb and assimilate this new thing into its blood.
Page 118
--It may be figuratively said that the ages of culture correspond to the zones of the various climates, only that they lie one behind another and not beside each other like the geographical zones.
Page 127
national life is so rich.
Page 128
These philosophers had a firm belief in.
Page 131
THE WITTY PERSON EITHER OVERVALUED OR UNDERVALUED.
Page 134
Therefore, for the salvation of a constantly increasing culture, a new generation is immediately necessary, which will not do very much either, for in order to come up with the father's culture the son must exhaust almost all the inherited energy which the father himself possessed at that stage of life when his son was born; with the little addition he gets further on (for as here the road is being traversed for the second time progress is--a little quicker; in order to learn that which the father knew, the son does not consume quite so much strength).
Page 154
POSTHUMOUS FAME.
Page 162
THE "STORM AND STRESS" PERIOD of WOMEN.
Page 163
--There is nothing by, which able women can so alleviate the lives of their husbands, should these be great and famous, as by becoming, so to speak, the receptacle for the general disfavour and occasional ill-humour of the rest of mankind.
Page 171
The others can be appeased by favours: those in power are still sufficiently rich and wise to adopt that expedient.
Page 189
555.
Page 210
Thus, my friends, shall it obtain? Amen! Till we meet again.