Ecce Homo Complete Works, Volume Seventeen

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 49

dreamer, that I delight
in drawing the sword--and perhaps, also, that my wrist is dangerously
supple. The first onslaught (1873) was directed against German culture,
upon which I looked down even at that time with unmitigated contempt
Without either sense, substance, or goal, it was simply "public
opinion." There could be no more dangerous misunderstanding than to
suppose that Germany's success at arms proved anything in favour of
German culture--and still less the triumph of this culture; over
that of France. The second essay (1874) brings to light that which
is dangerous, that which corrodes and poisons life in our manner of
pursuing scientific study: Life is diseased, thanks to this dehumanised
piece of clockwork and mechanism, thanks to the "impersonality" of
the workman, 1 and the false economy of the "division of labour." The
object, which is culture, is lost sight of: modern scientific activity
as a means thereto simply produces barbarism. In this treatise, the
"historical sense," of which this century is so proud, is for the first
time recognised as sickness, as a typical symptom of decay. In the
third and fourth essays, a sign-post is set up pointing to a higher
concept of culture, to a re-establishment of the notion "culture";
and two pictures of the hardest self-love and self-discipline are
presented, two essentially un-modern types, full of the most sovereign
contempt for all that which lay around them and was called "Empire,"
"Culture," "Christianity," "Bismarck," and "Success,"--these two types
were Schopenhauer and Wagner, _or,_ in a word, Nietzsche....


Of these four attacks, the first met with extraordinary success. The
stir which it created was in every way gorgeous. I had put my finger
on the vulnerable spot of a triumphant nation--I had told it that its
victory was not a red-letter day for culture, but, perhaps, something
very different. The reply rang out from all sides, and certainly not
only from old friends of David Strauss, whom I had made ridiculous
as the type of a German Philistine of Culture and a man of smug
self-content--in short, as the author of that suburban gospel of his,
called _The Old and the New Faith_ (the term "Philistine of Culture"
passed into the current language of Germany after the appearance of my
book). These old friends, whose vanity as Würtembergians and Swabians
I had deeply wounded in regarding their unique animal, their bird
of Paradise, as a trifle comic, replied to me as ingenuously and as
grossly as I could have wished. The Prussian replies were smarter; they
contained more "Prussian blue." The most disreputable attitude was
assumed by a Leipzig paper, the egregious _Grentzboten_; and

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Text Comparison with Homer and Classical Philology

Page 0
That these wholly different scientific and aesthetico-ethical impulses have been associated under a common name, a kind of sham monarchy, is shown especially by the fact that philology at every period from its origin onwards was at the same time pedagogical.
Page 1
Where do we not meet with them, these mockers, always ready to aim a blow at the philological "moles," the animals that practise dust-eating _ex professo_, and that grub up and eat for the eleventh time what they have already eaten ten times before.
Page 2
From the circles upon whose help we must place the most implicit reliance--the artistic friends of antiquity, the warm supporters of Hellenic beauty and noble simplicity--we hear harsh voices crying out that it is precisely the philologists themselves who are the real opponents and destroyers of the ideals of antiquity.
Page 3
Let us then examine the so-called _Homeric question_ from this standpoint, a question the most important problem of which Schiller called a scholastic barbarism.
Page 4
By it scholars learnt to recognise condensed beliefs in the apparently firm, immobile figures of the life of ancient peoples; by it they for the first time perceived the wonderful capability of the soul of a people to represent the conditions of its morals and beliefs in the form of a personality.
Page 5
If we descend backwards from this zenith, step by step, we find a guide to the understanding of the Homeric problem in the person of Aristotle.
Page 6
Homer had now become of small consequence.
Page 7
The first school, on the other.
Page 8
But the newly-lighted flame also cast its shadow: and this shadow was none other than that superstition already referred to, which popular poetry set up in opposition to individual poetry, and thus enlarged the comprehension of the people's soul to that of the people's mind.
Page 9
This much-abused contrast, therefore, is necessary only when the term _individual poem_ is understood to mean a poem which has not grown out of the soil of popular feeling, but which has been composed by a non-popular poet in a non-popular atmosphere--something which has come to maturity in the study of a learned man, for example.
Page 10
Page 11
The infinite profusion of images and incidents in the Homeric epic must force us to admit that such a wide range of vision is next to impossible.
Page 12
As many pictures as possible are crowded on one canvas; but the man who placed them there was indifferent as to whether the grouping of the collected pictures was invariably suitable and rhythmically beautiful.
Page 13
parallel, and, further, one which proves to be of incalculable difficulty? Let it be noted that the insight into the most diverse operations of the instinctive and the conscious changes the position of the Homeric problem; and in my opinion throws light upon it.
Page 14
And there is a second fact which I should like to recall to the memory of those friends of antiquity who turn their dissatisfied backs on classical philology.
Page 15
great homogeneous views alone remain.