We Philologists Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Volume 8

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 21

education" is concerned. They, however, who possess the greatest
knowledge of antiquity should likewise possess the greatest amount of
culture, viz., our philologists; but what is classical about them?


Classical philology is the basis of the most shallow rationalism always
having been dishonestly applied, it has gradually become quite
ineffective. Its effect is one more illusion of the modern man.
Philologists are nothing but a guild of sky-pilots who are not known as
such . this is why the State takes an interest in them. The utility of
classical education is completely used up, whilst, for example, the
history of Christianity still shows its power.


Philologists, when discussing their science, never get down to the root
of the subject . they never set forth philology itself as a problem. Bad
conscience? or merely thoughtlessness?


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." There is no feeling for what should be
protected and defended: thus speak people who have not even thought of
the possibility that any one could attack them.


Philologists are people who exploit the vaguely-felt dissatisfaction of
modern man, and his desire for "something better," in order that they
may earn their bread and butter.

I know them--I myself am one of them.


Our philologists stand in the same relation to true educators as the
medicine-men of the wild Indians do to true physicians What astonishment
will be felt by a later age!


What they lack is a real taste for the strong and powerful
characteristics of the ancients. They turn into mere panegyrists, and
thus become ridiculous.


They have forgotten how to address other men; and, as they cannot speak
to the older people, they cannot do so to the young.


When we bring the Greeks to the knowledge of our young students, we are
treating the latter as if they were well-informed and matured men. What,
indeed, is there about the Greeks and their ways which is suitable for
the young? In the end we shall find that we can do nothing for them
beyond giving them isolated details. Are these observations for young
people? What we actually do, however, is to introduce our young scholars
to the collective wisdom of antiquity. Or do we not? The reading of the
ancients is emphasised in this way.

My belief is that we are forced to concern ourselves with antiquity at a
wrong period of our lives. At the end of the twenties its meaning begins
to dawn on one.


There is something disrespectful about the way in which we

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It may also, however, be the tyrannical will of a sorely-suffering, struggling or tortured being, who would like to stamp his most personal, individual and narrow characteristics, the very idiosyncrasy of his suffering, as an obligatory law and constraint on others; who, as it were, takes revenge on all things, in that he imprints, enforces and brands _his_ image, the image of _his_ torture, upon them.
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As 'neath a shady tree I sat After long toil to take my pleasure, I heard a tapping "pit-a-pat" Beat prettily in rhythmic measure.