Human, All Too Human Quotes


Knowing how to Wash Oneself Clean.-- We must know how to emerge cleaner from unclean conditions, and if necessary, how to wash ourselves even with dirty water.

Nietzsche, "Knowing How to Wash Oneself Clean"

An admission of lack, this maxim maintains that one doesn't need to have all the answers to take a step in the right direction. This is essential to skepticism and obscurantism, in that it allows Nietzsche to criticize beliefs without replacing them with something better. He would maintain that it's better to not know and admit it than to pretend you do know.

The origin of morality may be trace to two ideas: "The community is of more value than the individual," and "The permanent interest is to be preferred to the temporary." The conclusion drawn is that the permanent interest of the community is unconditionally to be set above the temporary interest of the individual.... Hence, it constantly happens that the individual makes himself into a majority by means of his morality.

89. "Morality and its Sacrifice."

This argument deals with how morality operates if not from a divine or natural law. We impose morality on ourselves by collectively agreeing not to hold our own interests above the long-term interests of our community. This means that goodness depends on how much we think our moral gaps will harm the community, if at all, and technically, it means we are always morally free to choose anything, so long as we're willing to breach our contract with the collective. 

"Love."--The finest artistic conception wherein Christianity had the advantage over other religious systems lay in one word--Love. Hence it became the lyric religion.

95. Love.

This is a concession that Christianity did introduce a belief that is beautiful and desirable, such that it held an advantage over other religions. But, Nietzsche's argument implies that love is a social construct, invented by Christianity to ensure the success of the religion by preying on people's propensity to need acceptance. 

Many a man fails to become a thinker for the sole reason that his memory is too good.

122. Good Memory.

Memory in Nietzschean philosophy is a destructive force. Because each moment is complex and difficult to understand fully, our ability to remember often leads us to oversimplify and in the future, it cripples free thinking by leading to a bias toward what someone has already experienced.

The Muse of the poet who is not in love with reality will not be reality, and will bear him children with hollow eyes and all too tender bones.

135. Poet and Reality

A man who creates art that is idealistic will often fail because it won't be true. This is Nietzsche's argument for authenticity in art, even if that means ugliness where ugliness ought be. 

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