On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 72

known you, I have learnt that the most noteworthy, instructive, and
decisive experiences and events in one's life are those which are of
daily occurrence; that the greatest riddle, displayed in full view of
all, is seen by the fewest to be the greatest riddle, and that these
problems are spread about in every direction, under the very feet of
the passers-by, for the few real philosophers to lift up carefully,
thenceforth to shine as diamonds of wisdom. Perhaps, in the short time
now left us before the arrival of your friend, you will be good enough
to tell us something of your experiences of university life, so as to
close the circle of observations, to which we were involuntarily
urged, respecting our educational institutions. We may also be allowed
to remind you that you, at an earlier stage of your remarks, gave me
the promise that you would do so. Starting with the public school, you
claimed for it an extraordinary importance: all other institutions
must be judged by its standard, according as its aim has been
proposed; and, if its aim happens to be wrong, all the others have to
suffer. Such an importance cannot now be adopted by the universities
as a standard; for, by their present system of grouping, they would be
nothing more than institutions where public school students might go
through finishing courses. You promised me that you would explain this
in greater detail later on: perhaps our student friends can bear
witness to that, if they chanced to overhear that part of our

"We can testify to that," I put in. The philosopher then turned to us
and said: "Well, if you really did listen attentively, perhaps you can
now tell me what you understand by the expression 'the present aim of
our public schools.' Besides, you are still near enough to this sphere
to judge my opinions by the standard of your own impressions and

My friend instantly answered, quickly and smartly, as was his habit,
in the following words: "Until now we had always thought that the sole
object of the public school was to prepare students for the
universities. This preparation, however, should tend to make us
independent enough for the extraordinarily free position of a
university student;[9] for it seems to me that a student, to a greater
extent than any other individual, has more to decide and settle for
himself. He must guide himself on a wide, utterly unknown path for
many years, so the public school must do its best to render him

I continued the argument where my friend left off. "It

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Text Comparison with The Case of Wagner Complete Works, Volume 8

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" And as early as 1874, Nietzsche wrote in his diary:--"Wagner is a born actor.
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But now I shall hold my tongue.
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It is the love for a woman whom we doubt.
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_ 51.
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--It would be much more natural _per se_ if our children were instructed in the elements of geography, natural science, political economy, and sociology, if they were gradually led to a consideration of life itself, and if finally, but much later, the most noteworthy events of the past were brought to their knowledge.
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The highest form: the conquest of the ideal by a backward movement from tendencies to institutions, and from institutions to men.