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Quotations From FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE


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  • A letter is an unannounced visit, and the postman is the intermediary of impolite surprises. Every week we ought to have one hour for receiving letters, and then go and take a bath.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 665, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980); Human, All-Too-Human, part II, Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions, trans. by Paul V. Cohn, in The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, vol. 7, p. 322, ed. Oscar Levy, New York, Russell and Russell (1964). The Wanderer and His Shadow, aphorism 261, "Letters," (1880).
  • In the course of history, men come to see that "iron necessity" is neither iron nor necessary.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 323, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Human, All-Too-Human, "Man Alone With Himself," aphorism 514, "Iron Necessity," (1878).

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  • Rejoicing in our joy, not suffering over our suffering, makes someone a friend.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 320, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Human, All-Too-Human, "Man Alone With Himself," aphorism 499, "Friend," (1878). Wordplay between Nietzsche's coinage Mitfreude ("rejoicing in our joy") and Mitleiden ("suffering over our suffering" or, more conventionally, "pitying").

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  • Someone said: "I have been prejudiced against myself from my earliest childhood: hence I find some truth in all blame and some stupidity in all praise. I generally estimate praise too poorly and blame too highly."
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 665, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). The Wanderer and His Shadow, aphorism 262, "Prejudiced," (1880).

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  • In the last analysis, even the best man is evil: in the last analysis, even the best woman is bad.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 10, p. 200, selection 5[1], number 118, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Unpublished fragments dating to November 1882February 1883. Originally meant to be attributed to Zarathustra in Thus Spoke Zarathustra; foreshadows the distinction between master morality ("good/bad") and slave morality ("good/evil") developed in Nietzsche's observations On the Genealogy of Morals.

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  • Whoever despises himself nonetheless respects himself as one who despises.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 5, p. 87, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Beyond Good and Evil, "Fourth Part: Maxims and Interludes," section 78 (1886).
  • Yet for all that, there is nothing in me of a founder of a religion—religions are affairs of the rabble; I find it necessary to wash my hands after I have come into contact with religious people.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 6, p. 365, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980); On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, p. 326, trans. by Walter Kaufmann, New York, Vintage Books (1967). Ecce Homo, "Why I Am a Destiny," section 1 (prepared for publication 1888, published posthumously 1908). A self-assessment appearing in Nietzsche's spiritual autobiography.

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  • In every party there is one person who, through his dotingly credulous enunciation of party principles, incites the other members to defection.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 240, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Human, All-Too-Human, "Man in Society," aphorism 298, "The Most Dangerous Partisan," (1878).
  • The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, p. 323, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Human, All-Too-Human, "Man Alone With Himself," aphorism 515, "From Experience," (1878).
  • When I contemplated purpose I also contemplated chance and foolishness.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 10, p. 217, selection 5[1], number 252, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Unpublished fragments dating to November 1882February 1883. Originally meant to be attributed to Zarathustra in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
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