Ecce Homo Complete Works, Volume Seventeen

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 24

a very
delicate and reliable instrument, and that I am able to calculate the
change in degrees of atmospheric moisture by means of physiological
observations upon myself, even on so short a journey as that from
Turin to Milan; I think with horror of the ghastly fact that my
whole life, until the last ten years,--the most perilous years,--has
always been spent in the wrong, and what to me ought to have been
the most forbidden, places. Naumburg, Pforta, Thuringia in general,
Leipzig, Bâle, Venice--so many ill-starred places for a constitution
like mine. If I cannot recall one single happy reminiscence of my
childhood and youth, it is nonsense to suppose that so-called "moral"
causes could account for this--as, for instance, the incontestable
fact that I lacked companions that could have satisfied me; for this
fact is the same to-day as it ever was, and it does not prevent me
from being cheerful and brave. But it was ignorance in physiological
matters--that confounded "Idealism"--that was the real curse of my
life. This was the superfluous and foolish element in my existence;
something from which nothing could spring, and for which there can be
no settlement and no compensation. As the outcome of this "Idealism"
I regard all the blunders, the great aberrations of instinct, and
the "modest specialisations" which drew me aside from the task of my
life; as, for instance, the fact that I became a philologist--why
not at least a medical man or anything else which might have opened
my eyes? My days at Bâle, the whole of my intellectual routine,
including my daily time-table, was an absolutely senseless abuse of
extraordinary powers, without the slightest compensation for the
strength that I spent, without even a thought of what I was squandering
and how its place might be filled. I lacked all subtlety in egoism,
all the fostering care of an imperative instinct; I was in a state
in which one is ready to regard one's self as anybody's equal, a
state of "disinterestedness," a forgetting of one's distance from
others--something, in short, for which I can never forgive myself.
When I had well-nigh reached the end of my tether, simply because I
had almost reached my end, I began to reflect upon the fundamental
absurdity of my life--"Idealism." It was _illness_ that first brought
me to reason.


After the choice of nutrition, the choice of climate and locality, the
third matter concerning which one must not on any account make a
blunder, is the choice of the manner in which one _recuperates one's
strength._ Here, again, according to the extent to which a spirit is
_sui generis,_

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Page 7
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Everything, therefore, was originally custom, and whoever wished to raise himself above it, had first of all to make himself a kind of lawgiver and medicine-man, a sort of demi-god--in other words, he had to create customs, a dangerous and fearful thing to do!--Who is the most moral man? On the one hand, he who most frequently obeys the law: _e.
Page 19
--By the fact that, for thousands of years, _things_ (nature, tools, property of all kinds) were thought to be alive and to possess souls, and able to hinder and interfere with the designs of man, the feeling of impotence among men has become greater and more frequent than it need have.
Page 24
Since, on the contrary, everything spiritual (including all impulses, maliciousness, and inclinations) was regarded as common property, and consequently accessible to everybody, primitive mankind was not ashamed of being descended from animals or trees (the noble races thought themselves honoured by such legends), and saw in the spiritual that which unites us with nature, and not that which severs us from her.
Page 43
This mute, century-old hatred of the wearied spectators against Rome, wherever Rome's domination extended, was at length vented in Christianity, which united Rome, "the world," and "sin" into a single conception.
Page 44
Page 78
It is probable that a contest is going on among these motives too, a driving backwards and forwards, a rising and lowering of the parts, and it is this which would be the real "contest of motives," something quite invisible and unknown to us.
Page 79
AIMS? WILL?--We have accustomed ourselves to believe in two kingdoms, the domain of purposes and volition, and the domain of chance.
Page 89
A like feeling will then spring up in us as the result of an old association of movements and sentiments which has been trained to run backwards and forwards.
Page 128
This is indeed the worship of the German, the more so as there is now less worship left in his religion.
Page 145
Page 163
"--And the man entertained the same feelings towards the woman, and in his inmost heart he felt the very same thought.
Page 168
" 420.
Page 175
--First and foremost, there are the superficial thinkers, and secondly the profound thinkers--such as dive into the depths of a thing,--thirdly, the thorough thinkers, who get to the bottom of a thing--which is of much greater importance than merely diving into its depths,--and, finally, those who leap head foremost into the marsh: though this must not be looked upon as indicating either depth or thoroughness! these are the lovers of obscurity.
Page 178
the man with a nobly-formed intellect who possesses at the same time the character and inclinations, and even meets with the experiences, suited to such an intellect.
Page 186
Page 193
Page 205
He is distinguished from the Christian especially, because the latter lives in hope in the promise of "unspeakable glory," permits presents.
Page 206
Epictetus, on the other hand, neither hopes nor allows his best treasure to be given him--he possesses it already, holds it bravely in his hand, and defies the world to take it away from him.
Page 208
And should the desire for performing great deeds really be at bottom nothing but a flight from our own selves?--as Pascal would ask us.