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

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 84

that it may believe in
the sudden appearance of the perfect. It is the business of the science
of art to contradict this illusion most decidedly, and to show up the
mistakes and pampering of the intellect, by means of which it falls
into the artist's trap.


THE ARTIST'S SENSE OF TRUTH.--With regard to recognition of truths, the
artist has a weaker morality than the thinker; he will on no account
let himself be deprived of brilliant and profound interpretations
of life, and defends himself against temperate and simple methods
and results. He is apparently fighting for the higher worthiness
and meaning of mankind; in reality he will not renounce the _most
effective_ suppositions for his art, the fantastical, mythical,
uncertain, extreme, the sense of the symbolical, the over-valuation
of personality, the belief that genius is something miraculous,--he
considers, therefore, the continuance of his art of creation as more
important than the scientific devotion to truth in every shape, however
simple this may appear.


ART AS RAISER OF THE DEAD.--Art also fulfils the task of preservation
and even of brightening up extinguished and faded memories; when it
accomplishes this task it weaves a rope round the ages and causes
their spirits to return. It is, certainly, only a phantom-life that
results therefrom, as out of graves, or like the return in dreams of
our beloved dead, but for some moments, at least, the old sensation
lives again and the heart beats to an almost forgotten time. Hence,
for the sake of the general usefulness of art, the artist himself must
be excused if he does not stand in the front rank of the enlightenment
and progressive civilisation of humanity; all his life long he has
remained a child or a youth, and has stood still at the point where he
was overcome by his artistic impulse; the feelings of the first years
of life, however, are acknowledged to be nearer to those of earlier
times than to those of the present century. Unconsciously it becomes
his mission to make mankind more childlike; this is his glory and his


POETS AS THE LIGHTENERS OF LIFE.--Poets, inasmuch as they desire to
lighten the life of man, either divert his gaze from the wearisome
present, or assist the present to acquire new colours by means of a
life which they cause to shine out of the past. To be able to do this,
they must in many respects themselves be beings who are turned towards
the past, so that they can be used as bridges to far distant times
and ideas, to dying or dead religions and cultures. Actually they
are always

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Text Comparison with Homer and Classical Philology

Page 0
The cause of this lies in its many-sided character, in the lack of an abstract unity, and in the inorganic aggregation of heterogeneous scientific activities which are connected with one another only by the name "Philology.
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
Schiller upbraided the philologists with having scattered Homer's laurel crown to the winds.
Page 3
" It may be added that, for a given period--such as our present philological period, for example--the centre of discussion may be removed from the problem of the poet's personality; for even now a painstaking experiment is being made to reconstruct the Homeric poems without the aid of personality, treating them as the work of several different persons.
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
This entire hypothesis is the most important in the domain of literary studies that antiquity has exhibited; and the acknowledgment of the dissemination of the Homeric poems by word of mouth, as opposed to the habits of a book-learned age, shows in particular a depth of ancient sagacity worthy of our admiration.
Page 6
"For who would wage war with the gods: who, even with the one god?" asks Goethe even, who, though a genius, strove in vain to solve that mysterious problem of the Homeric inaccessibility.
Page 7
A second party, on the other hand, sheltered themselves beneath the authority of Aristotle, who especially admired Homer's "divine" nature in the choice of his entire subject, and the manner in which he planned and carried it out.
Page 8
All these schools of thought start from the assumption that the problem of the present form of these epics can be solved from the standpoint of an aesthetic judgment--but we must await the decision as to the authorised line of demarcation between the man of genius and the poetical soul of the people.
Page 9
Now, however, such a contrast between popular poetry and individual poetry does not exist at all; on the contrary, all poetry, and of course popular poetry also, requires an intermediary individuality.
Page 10
, it must be deduced from principles--why this or that individuality appears in this way and not in that.
Page 11
This imaginary contest with Hesiod did not even yet show the faintest presentiment of individuality.
Page 12
We may even be ready to pronounce this synthetisation of great importance.
Page 13
In the first place, those "great" conceptions--such, for example, as that of the indivisible and inviolable poetic genius, Homer--were during the pre-Wolfian period only too great, and hence inwardly altogether empty and elusive when we now try to grasp them.
Page 14
We grant that philology is not the creator of this world, not the composer of that immortal music; but is it not a merit, and a great merit, to be a mere virtuoso, and let the world for the first time hear that music which lay so long in obscurity, despised and undecipherable? Who was Homer previously to Wolf's brilliant investigations? A good old man, known at best as a "natural genius," at all events the child of a barbaric age, replete with faults against good taste and good morals.
Page 15
Now, therefore, that I have enunciated my philological creed, I trust you will give me cause to hope that I shall no longer be a stranger among you: give me the assurance that in working with you towards this end I am worthily fulfilling the confidence with which the highest authorities of this community have honoured me.