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

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 203

in the age of theoretical innocence, and is practically
a child, however grown-up he may be. Whole centuries, however, have
been lived under the influence of those childlike presuppositions, and
out of them have flowed the mightiest sources of human strength. The
countless numbers who sacrificed themselves for their convictions
believed they were doing it for the sake of absolute truth. They were
all wrong, however; probably no one has ever sacrificed himself for
Truth; at least, the dogmatic expression of the faith of any such
person has been unscientific or only partly scientific. But really,
people wanted to carry their point because they believed that they
_must be_ in the right. To allow their belief to be wrested from
them probably meant calling in question their eternal salvation. In
an affair of such extreme importance the "will" was too audibly the
prompter of the intellect. The presupposition of every believer of
every shade of belief has been that he _could not_ be confuted; if the
counter-arguments happened to be very strong, it always remained for
him to decry intellect generally, and, perhaps, even to set up the
"_credo quia absurdum est_" as the standard of extreme fanaticism. It
is not the struggle of opinions that has made history so turbulent; but
the struggle of belief in opinions,--that is to say, of convictions.
If all those who thought so highly of their convictions, who made
sacrifices of all kinds for them, and spared neither honour, body,
nor life in their service, had only devoted half of their energy to
examining their right to adhere to this or that conviction and by what
road they arrived at it, how peaceable would the history of mankind now
appear! How much more knowledge would there be! All the cruel scenes
in connection with the persecution of heretics of all kinds would have
been avoided, for two reasons: firstly, because the inquisitors would
above all have inquired of themselves, and would have recognised
the presumption of defending absolute truth; and secondly, because
the heretics themselves would, after examination, have taken no more
interest in such badly established doctrines as those of all religious
sectarians and "orthodox" believers.


From the ages in which it was customary to believe in the possession
of absolute truth, people have inherited a profound _dislike_ of all
sceptical and relative attitudes with regard to questions of knowledge;
they mostly prefer to acquiesce, for good or evil, in the convictions
of those in authority (fathers, friends, teachers, princes), and they
have a kind of remorse of conscience when they do not do so. This
tendency is quite comprehensible, and its

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Text Comparison with The Case Of Wagner, Nietzsche Contra Wagner, and Selected Aphorisms.

Page 1
We feel we are on a higher plane, and that we must not judge these two men as if they were a couple of little business people who had had a suburban squabble.
Page 2
The fact was realised step by step; disappointment upon disappointment, revelation after revelation, ultimately brought it home to him, and though his best instincts at first opposed it, the revulsion of feeling at last became too strong to be scouted, and Nietzsche was plunged into the blackest despair.
Page 4
_ in Halevy's book, and pp.
Page 8
Far be it from me to value Wagner's music _in extenso_ here--this is scarcely a fitting opportunity to do so;--but I think it might well be possible to show, on purely psychological grounds, how impossible it was for a man like Wagner to produce real art.
Page 10
Let anyone apply this point of view to Nietzsche's life and theory.
Page 12
It builds, organises, completes, and in this sense it stands as a contrast to the polypus in music, to "endless melody".
Page 17
{~HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS~} At last a path of escape seemed gradually to open before him--what if the reef on which he had been wrecked could be interpreted as a goal, as the ulterior motive, as the actual purpose of his journey? To be wrecked here, this was also a goal:--_Bene navigavi cum naufragium feci_ {~HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS~} and he translated the "Ring" into Schopenhauerian language.
Page 19
Wagner is a great corrupter of music.
Page 26
Even in his general sketch of the action, Wagner is above all an actor.
Page 28
_ 10.
Page 29
Are they not one and all, like Wagner himself, on _quite intimate terms_.
Page 30
{~HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS~} They are right, how could these German youths--in their present condition,--miss what we others, we _halcyonians_, miss in Wagner? _i.
Page 32
The aesthetes gave themselves away when out of three schools of German philosophy they waged an absurd war against Wagner's principles with "ifs" and "fors"--what did he care about principles, even his own!--The Germans themselves had enough instinctive good sense to dispense with every "if" and "for" in this matter.
Page 33
There is nothing exhausted, nothing effete, nothing dangerous to life, nothing that slanders the world in the realm of spirit, which has not secretly found shelter in his art, he conceals the blackest obscurantism in the luminous orbs of the ideal.
Page 34
{~HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS~} Bayreuth is another word for a Hydro.
Page 35
But since a certain animal, _the worm_ of Empire, the famous _Rhinoxera_, has become lodged in the vineyards of the German spirit, nobody any longer understands a word I say.
Page 46
{~HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS~} And thus very gradually, I began to understand Epicurus, the opposite of a Dionysian Greek, and also the Christian who in fact is only a kind of Epicurean, and who, with his belief that "faith saves," carries the principle of Hedonism _as far as possible_--far beyond all intellectual honesty.
Page 50
{~HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS~} I was always condemned to the society of Germans.
Page 57
All Wagner's ideas straightway become manias; he is _tyrannised_ over by them.
Page 59