On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 43

which we, my good friend, have often met with: those blatant heralds
of educational needs, when examined at close quarters, are suddenly
seen to be transformed into zealous, yea, fanatical opponents of true
culture, _i.e._ all those who hold fast to the aristocratic nature of
the mind; for, at bottom, they regard as their goal the emancipation
of the masses from the mastery of the great few; they seek to
overthrow the most sacred hierarchy in the kingdom of the
intellect--the servitude of the masses, their submissive obedience,
their instinct of loyalty to the rule of genius.

"I have long accustomed myself to look with caution upon those who are
ardent in the cause of the so-called 'education of the people' in the
common meaning of the phrase; since for the most part they desire for
themselves, consciously or unconsciously, absolutely unlimited
freedom, which must inevitably degenerate into something resembling
the saturnalia of barbaric times, and which the sacred hierarchy of
nature will never grant them. They were born to serve and to obey; and
every moment in which their limping or crawling or broken-winded
thoughts are at work shows us clearly out of which clay nature moulded
them, and what trade mark she branded thereon. The education of the
masses cannot, therefore, be our aim; but rather the education of a
few picked men for great and lasting works. We well know that a just
posterity judges the collective intellectual state of a time only by
those few great and lonely figures of the period, and gives its
decision in accordance with the manner in which they are recognised,
encouraged, and honoured, or, on the other hand, in which they are
snubbed, elbowed aside, and kept down. What is called the 'education
of the masses' cannot be accomplished except with difficulty; and even
if a system of universal compulsory education be applied, they can
only be reached outwardly: those individual lower levels where,
generally speaking, the masses come into contact with culture, where
the people nourishes its religious instinct, where it poetises its
mythological images, where it keeps up its faith in its customs,
privileges, native soil, and language--all these levels can scarcely
be reached by direct means, and in any case only by violent
demolition. And, in serious matters of this kind, to hasten forward
the progress of the education of the people means simply the
postponement of this violent demolition, and the maintenance of that
wholesome unconsciousness, that sound sleep, of the people, without
which counter-action and remedy no culture, with the exhausting strain
and excitement of its own actions, can make any headway.

"We know, however,

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Homer and Classical Philology

Page 0
" It must be freely admitted that philology is to some extent borrowed from several other sciences, and is mixed together like a magic potion from the most outlandish liquors, ores, and bones.
Page 1
Science has this in common with art, that the most ordinary, everyday thing appears to it as something entirely new and attractive, as if metamorphosed by witchcraft and now seen for the first time.
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 talk as we will about the unattainability of this goal, and even designate the goal itself as an illogical pretension--the aspiration for it is very real; and I should like to try to make it clear by an example that the most significant steps of classical philology never lead away from the ideal antiquity, but to it; and that, just when people are speaking unwarrantably of the overthrow of sacred shrines, new and more worthy altars are being erected.
Page 4
When historical criticism has confidently seized upon this method of evaporating apparently concrete personalities, it is permissible to point to the first experiment as an important event in the history of sciences, without considering whether it was successful in this instance or not.
Page 5
From those times until the generation that produced Friedrich August Wolf we must take a jump over a long historical vacuum; but in our own age we find the argument left just as it was at the time when the power of controversy departed from antiquity, and it is a matter of indifference to us that Wolf accepted as certain tradition what antiquity itself had set up only as a hypothesis.
Page 6
The conception of popular poetry seemed to lead like a bridge over this problem--a deeper and more original power than that of every single creative individual was said.
Page 7
If, however, this construction was not clearly seen, this fault was due to the way the poems were handed down to posterity and not to the poet himself--it was the result of retouchings and interpolations, owing to which the original setting of the work gradually became obscured.
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 tradition is exposed to eternal danger without the help of handwriting, and runs the risk of including in the poems the remains of those individualities through whose oral tradition they were handed down.
Page 10
The only path which leads back beyond the time of Pisistratus and helps us to elucidate the meaning of the name Homer, takes its way on the one hand through the reports which have reached us concerning Homer's birthplace: from which we see that, although his name is always associated with heroic epic poems, he is on the other hand no more referred to as the composer of the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_ than as the author of the _Thebais_ or any other cyclical epic.
Page 11
This imaginary contest with Hesiod did not even yet show the faintest presentiment of individuality.
Page 12
The _Iliad_ is not a garland, but a bunch of flowers.
Page 13
And that wonderful genius to whom we owe the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_ belongs to this thankful posterity: he, too, sacrificed his name on the altar of the primeval father of the Homeric epic, Homeros.
Page 14
Let us hear how a learned man of the first rank writes about Homer even so late as 1783: "Where does the good man live? Why did he remain so long incognito? Apropos, can't you get me a silhouette of him?" We demand _thanks_--not in our own name, for we are but atoms--but in the name of philology itself, which is indeed neither a Muse nor a Grace, but a messenger of the gods: and just as the Muses descended upon the dull and tormented Boeotian peasants, so Philology comes into a world full of gloomy colours and pictures, full of the deepest, most incurable woes; and speaks to men comfortingly of the beautiful and godlike figure of a distant, rosy, and happy fairyland.
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.