Thoughts Out of Season, Part II

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 104

analyse all
things--even the worthiest! To speak honestly, the savant is a
complex of very various impulses and attractive forces--he is a base
metal throughout.

Take first a strong and increasing desire for intellectual adventure,
the attraction of the new and rare as against the old and tedious.
Add to that a certain joy in nosing the trail of dialectic, and
beating the cover where the old fox, Thought, lies hid; the desire is
not so much for truth as the chase of truth, and the chief pleasure
is in surrounding and artistically killing it. Add thirdly a love of
contradiction whereby the personality is able to assert itself
against all others: the battle's the thing, and the personal victory
its aim,--truth only its pretext. The impulse to discover "particular
truths" plays a great part in the professor, coming from his
submission to definite ruling persons, classes, opinions, churches,
governments, for he feels it a profit to himself to bring truth to
their side.

The following characteristics of the savant are less common, but
still found.--Firstly, downrightness and a feeling for simplicity,
very valuable if more than a mere awkwardness and inability to
deceive, deception requiring some mother-wit.--(Actually, we may be
on our guard against too obvious cleverness and resource, and doubt
the man's sincerity.)--Otherwise this downrightness is generally of
little value, and rarely of any use to knowledge, as it follows
tradition and speaks the truth only in "adiaphora"; it being lazier
to speak the truth here than ignore it. Everything new means
something to be unlearnt, and your downright man will respect the
ancient dogmas and accuse the new evangelist of failing in the
_sensus recti_. There was a similar opposition, with probability and
custom on its side, to the theory of Copernicus. The professor's
frequent hatred of philosophy is principally a hatred of the long
trains of reasoning and artificiality of the proofs. Ultimately the
savants of every age have a fixed limit; beyond which ingenuity is
not allowed, and everything suspected as a conspirator against

Secondly, a clear vision of near objects, combined with great
shortsightedness for the distant and universal. The professor's range
is generally very small, and his eye must be kept close to the
object. To pass from a point already considered to another, he has to
move his whole optical apparatus. He cuts a picture into small
sections, like a man using an opera-glass in the theatre, and sees
now a head, now a bit of the dress, but nothing as a whole. The
single sections are never combined for him, he only infers their
connection, and consequently has no strong general impression. He

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Text Comparison with We Philologists Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Volume 8

Page 1
I To what a great extent men are ruled by pure hazard, and how little reason itself enters into the question, is.
Page 4
the sophists of the second century, the philologist-poets of the Renaissance, and the philologist as the teacher of the higher classes of society (Goethe, Schiller).
Page 8
How has it acquired this power? Calculations of the different prejudices in its favour.
Page 12
Philologists now feel that when these prejudices are at last refuted, and antiquity depicted in its true colours, the favourable prejudices towards them will diminish considerably.
Page 15
Even the Reformation could not dispense with classical studies for this purpose.
Page 20
" 61 Wolf's judgment on the amateurs of philological knowledge is noteworthy: "If they found themselves provided by nature with a mind corresponding to that of the ancients, or if they were capable of adapting themselves to other points of view and other circumstances of life, then, with even a nodding acquaintance with the best writers, they certainly acquired more from those vigorous natures, those splendid examples of thinking and acting, than most of those did who during their whole life merely offered themselves to them as interpreters.
Page 21
Bad conscience? or merely thoughtlessness? 69 We learn nothing from what philologists say about philology: it is all mere tittle-tattle--for example, Jahn's[6] "The Meaning and Place of the Study of Antiquity in Germany.
Page 23
Page 24
93 The consistency which is prized in a savant is pedantry if applied to the Greeks.
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The ennoblement of jealousy: the Greeks the most jealous nation.
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In the case of the genius, "the intellect will point out the faults which are seldom absent in an instrument that is put to a use for which it was not intended.
Page 27
117 The Greeks as the only people of genius in the history of the world.
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Homer is, in the world of the Hellenic discord, the pan-Hellenic Greek.
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At the time of Homer, indeed, the nature of the Greek was formed .
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Thus everything becomes ironical.
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If we have this, antiquity will be overcome.
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In regard.
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When could this culture have once again arisen? Christianity and Romans and barbarians: this would have been an onslaught: it would have entirely wiped out culture.
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194 _I dream of a combination of men who shall make no concessions, who shall show no consideration, and who shall be willing to be called "destroyers": they apply the standard of their criticism to everything and sacrifice themselves to truth.
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[6] Otto Jahn (1813-69), who is probably best remembered in philological circles by his edition of Juvenal.