Ecce Homo Complete Works, Volume Seventeen

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 32

mere reacting medium. As an example of this I point to the intercourse
with books. The scholar who, in sooth, does little else than handle
books--with the philologist of average attainments their number may
amount to two hundred a day--ultimately forgets entirely and completely
the capacity of thinking for himself. When he has not a book between
his fingers he cannot think. When he thinks, he responds to a stimulus
(a thought he has read),--finally all he does is to react. The scholar
exhausts his whole strength in saying either "yes" or "no" to matter
which has already been thought out, or in criticising it--he is no
longer capable of thought on his own account.... In him the instinct
of self-defence has decayed, otherwise he would defend himself against
books. The scholar is a decadent. With my own eyes I have seen gifted,
richly endowed, and free-spirited natures already "read to ruins" at
thirty, and mere wax vestas that have to be rubbed before they can give
off any sparks--or "thoughts." To set to early in the morning, at the
break of day, in all the fulness and dawn of one's strength, and to
read a book--this I call positively vicious!


At this point I can no longer evade a direct answer to the question,
_how one becomes what one is._ And in giving it, I shall have to
touch upon that masterpiece in the art of self-preservation, which is
_selfishness._ ... Granting that one's life-task--the determination and
the fate of one's life-task--greatly exceeds the average measure of
such things, nothing more dangerous could be conceived than to come
face to face with one's self by the side of this life-task. The fact
that one becomes what one is, presupposes that one has not the remotest
suspicion of what one is. From this standpoint even the blunders of
one's life have their own meaning and value, the temporary deviations
and aberrations, the moments of hesitation and of modesty, the
earnestness wasted upon duties which lie outside the actual life-task.
In these matters great wisdom, perhaps even the highest wisdom, comes
into activity: in these circumstances, in which _nosce teipsum_ would
be the sure road to ruin, forgetting one's self, misunderstanding
one's self, belittling one's self, narrowing one's self, and making
one's self mediocre, amount to reason itself. Expressed morally, to
love one's neighbour and to live for others and for other things
_may_ be the means of protection employed to maintain the hardest
kind of egoism. This is the exceptional case in which I, contrary
to my principle and conviction, take the side of the altruistic
instincts; for

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

Page 1
in friendship, a blindness, free from suspicion and questioning, to two sidedness; a pleasure in externals, superficialities, the near, the accessible, in all things possessed of color, skin and seeming.
Page 4
And speaking seriously, it is a fundamental cure for all pessimism (the cankerous vice, as is well known, of all idealists and humbugs), to become ill in the manner of these free spirits, to remain ill quite a while and then bit by bit grow healthy--I mean healthier.
Page 5
You had to acquire power over your aye and no and learn to hold and withhold them in accordance with your higher aims.
Page 10
very conspicuously forward, so that every philosophy has, unconsciously, the air of ascribing the highest utility to itself.
Page 13
I have no doubt that as men argue in their dreams to-day, mankind argued, even in their waking moments, for thousands of years: the first _causa_, that occurred to the mind with reference to anything that stood in need of explanation, was accepted as the true explanation.
Page 14
Dreams carry us back to the earlier stages of human culture and afford us a means of understanding it more clearly.
Page 18
A third feeling, as the result of two prior, single, separate feelings, is judgment in its crudest form.
Page 19
=--One very forward step in education is taken when man emerges from his superstitious and religious ideas and fears and, for instance, no longer believes in the dear little angels or in original sin, and has stopped talking about the salvation of the soul: when he has taken this step to freedom he has, nevertheless, through the utmost exertion of his mental power, to overcome metaphysics.
Page 27
If one is capable of fixing his observation upon exceptional cases, I mean upon highly endowed individuals and pure souled beings, if their development is taken as the true end of world-evolution and if joy be felt in their existence, then it is possible to believe in the value of life, because in that case the rest of humanity is overlooked: hence we have here defective thinking.
Page 29
Apparently, too, this unusual reader takes far less pleasure in them than the form adopted by these artists should afford.
Page 44
=--Not alone the beholders of an act generally estimate the ethical or unethical element in it by the result: no, the one who performed the act does the same.
Page 49
Thus revenge pertains originally to the domain of justice as it is a sort of reciprocity.
Page 50
=--It is the first evidence that the animal has become human when his conduct ceases to be based upon the immediately expedient, but upon the permanently useful; when he has, therefore, grown utilitarian, capable of purpose.
Page 57
We conclude from analogy that something pains somebody and can in consequence, through recollection and the power of.
Page 61
The more the domination of religions and of all narcotic arts declines, the more searchingly do men look to the elimination of evil itself, which is a rather bad thing for the tragic poets--for there is ever less and less material for tragedy, since the domain of unsparing, immutable destiny grows constantly more circumscribed--and a still worse thing for the priests, for these last have lived heretofore upon the narcoticizing of human ill.
Page 62
) At any rate, light fancy or heavy heartedness of any degree must be better than a romantic retrogression and desertion of one's flag, an approach to Christianity in any form: for with it, in the present state of knowledge, one can have nothing to do without hopelessly defiling one's intellectual integrity and surrendering it unconditionally.
Page 68
Wherever the Olympian gods receded into the background, there even Greek life became gloomier and more perturbed.
Page 77
Others contradict earlier opinions and do not shrink from the ordeal of being deemed inconsistent.
Page 82
Novalis, one of the authorities in matters of sanctity, because of his experience and instinct, betrays the whole secret with the utmost simplicity when he says: "It is remarkable that the close connection of gratification, religion and cruelty has not long ago made men aware of their inner relationship and common tendency.
Page 83
--In the same manner I have viewed the saints of India who occupy an intermediate station between the christian saints and the Greek philosophers and hence are not to be regarded as a pure type.