The Will to Power, Book I and II An Attempted Transvaluation of all Values

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 168

as a portion of the old world itself,
as a glistening mosaic of ancient concepts and ancient valuations.
Arabesques, scroll-work, rococo of scholastic abstractions--always
better, that is to say, finer and more slender, than the peasant and
plebeian reality of Northern Europe, and still a protest on the part
of higher intellectuality against the peasant war and insurrection
of the mob which have become master of the intellectual taste of
Northern Europe, and which had its leader in a man as great and
unintellectual as Luther:--in this respect German philosophy belongs
to the Counter-Reformation, it might even be looked upon as related
to the Renaissance, or at least to the will to Renaissance, the will
to get ahead with the discovery of antiquity, with the excavation of
ancient philosophy, and above all of pre-Socratic philosophy--the
most thoroughly dilapidated of all Greek temples! Possibly, in à few
hundred years, people will be of the opinion that all German philosophy
derived its dignity from this fact, that step by step it attempted
to reclaim the soil of antiquity, and that therefore all demands for
"originality" must appear both petty and foolish when compared with
Germany's higher claim to having refastened the bonds which seemed for
ever rent--the bonds which bound us to the Greeks, the highest type
of "men" ever evolved hitherto. To-day we are once more approaching
all the fundamental principles of the cosmogony which the Greek mind
in Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Democritus, and
Anaxagoras, was responsible for. Day by day we are growing more
_Greek_; at first, as is only natural, the change remains confined to
concepts and valuations, and we hover around like Greasing spirits: but
it is to be hoped that some day our _body_ will also be involved! Here
lies (and has always lain) my hope for the German nation.


I do not wish to convert anybody to philosophy: it is both necessary
and perhaps desirable that the philosopher should be a _rare_
plant. Nothing is more repugnant to me than the scholarly praise of
philosophy which is to be found in Seneca and Cicero. Philosophy
has not much in common with virtue. I trust I may be allowed to say
that even the scientific man is a fundamentally different person
from the philosopher. What I most desire is, that the genuine notion
"philosopher" should not completely perish in Germany. There are so
many incomplete creatures in Germany already who would fain conceal
their ineptitude beneath such noble names.


I must _set up the highest ideal of a philosopher._ Learning is not
everything! The scholar is the sheep in the kingdom of learning; he
studies because

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