On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 20

nothing from you, sir," the companion replied. "I have
heard too much from your lips at odd times and have been too long in
your company to be able to surrender myself entirely to our present
system of education and instruction. I am too painfully conscious of
the disastrous errors and abuses to which you used to call my
attention--though I very well know that I am not strong enough to hope
for any success were I to struggle ever so valiantly against them. I
was overcome by a feeling of general discouragement; my recourse to
solitude was the result neither of pride nor arrogance. I would fain
describe to you what I take to be the nature of the educational
questions now attracting such enormous and pressing attention. It
seemed to me that I must recognise two main directions in the forces
at work--two seemingly antagonistic tendencies, equally deleterious in
their action, and ultimately combining to produce their results: a
striving to achieve the greatest possible _expansion_ of education on
the one hand, and a tendency to _minimise and weaken_ it on the
other. The first-named would, for various reasons, spread learning
among the greatest number of people; the second would compel education
to renounce its highest, noblest and sublimest claims in order to
subordinate itself to some other department of life--such as the
service of the State.

"I believe I have already hinted at the quarter in which the cry for
the greatest possible expansion of education is most loudly raised.
This expansion belongs to the most beloved of the dogmas of modern
political economy. As much knowledge and education as possible;
therefore the greatest possible supply and demand--hence as much
happiness as possible:--that is the formula. In this case utility is
made the object and goal of education,--utility in the sense of
gain--the greatest possible pecuniary gain. In the quarter now under
consideration culture would be defined as that point of vantage which
enables one to 'keep in the van of one's age,' from which one can see
all the easiest and best roads to wealth, and with which one controls
all the means of communication between men and nations. The purpose of
education, according to this scheme, would be to rear the most
'current' men possible,--'current' being used here in the sense in
which it is applied to the coins of the realm. The greater the number
of such men, the happier a nation will be; and this precisely is the
purpose of our modern educational institutions: to help every one, as
far as his nature will allow, to become 'current'; to develop him

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with On the Future of our Educational Institutions

Page 2
Frivolous spendthrift! Thou art a reader after my own heart; for thou wilt be patient enough to accompany an author any distance, even though he himself cannot yet see the goal at which he is aiming,--even though he himself feels only that he must at all events honestly believe in a goal, in order that a future and possibly very remote generation may come face to face with that towards which we are now blindly and instinctively groping.
Page 4
This being so, I presume I am justified in assuming that in a quarter where so much is _done_ for the things of which I wish to speak, people must also _think_ a good deal about them.
Page 5
I am, moreover, convinced that the numerous alterations which have been introduced into these institutions within recent years, with the view of bringing them up-to-date, are for the most part but distortions and aberrations of the originally sublime tendencies given to them at their foundation.
Page 12
Away with these pistols and compose yourselves.
Page 17
The all too frequent exploitation of youth by the State, for its own purposes--that is to say, so that it may rear useful officials as quickly as possible and guarantee their unconditional obedience to it by means of excessively severe examinations--had remained quite foreign to our education.
Page 22
"In all cultivated circles people are in the habit of whispering to one another words something after this style: that it is a general fact that, owing to the present frantic exploitation of the scholar in the service of his science, his _education_ becomes every day more accidental and more uncertain.
Page 33
Up to the present their recognition by the public schools has been owing almost solely to the doubtful aesthetic hobbies of a few teachers or to the massive effects of certain of their tragedies and novels.
Page 34
"Every so-called classical education.
Page 35
Here, where the power of discerning form and barbarity gradually awakens, there appear the pinions which bear one to the only real home of culture--ancient Greece.
Page 38
"We are therefore all the more anxious to hold fast to that German spirit which revealed itself in the German Reformation, and in German music, and which has shown its enduring and genuine strength in the enormous.
Page 41
We want nothing for ourselves, and it should be nothing to us how many individuals may fall in this battle, or whether we ourselves may be among the first.
Page 44
Every man who, in an unexpected moment of enlightenment,.
Page 49
Indeed, we can discuss this dire necessity only in so far as the modern State is willing to discuss these things with us, and is prepared to follow up its demands by force: which phenomenon certainly makes the same impression upon most people as if they were addressed by the eternal law of things.
Page 69
(_Delivered on the 23rd of March 1872.
Page 75
"Free! Examine this freedom, ye observers of human nature! Erected upon the sandy, crumbling foundation of our present public school culture, its building slants to one side, trembling before the whirlwind's blast.
Page 76
gleam, both as the exemplification of a triviality and, at the same time, of an eternally surprising problem, deserving of explanation.
Page 79
For these latter show by their base smugness and their narrow professional limitations that this is the right element for them: against which there is nothing to be said.
Page 80
Page 81
And he was exasperated.
Page 83
Look at the honest conductor at the head of the orchestra performing his duties in a dull, spiritless fashion: you no longer think of the comical aspect of the whole scene, you listen--but it seems to you that the spirit of tediousness spreads out from the honest conductor over all his companions.