Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

German Philosopher and Classical Philologist,wrote critical texts on Religion, Morality, Contemporary Culture, Philosophy and Science, most influential in Existentialism and Post-Modernism

"Never to talk of oneself is a form of hypocrisy. "

"Nobody talks more passionately of his rights than he who, in the depths of his soul, is doubtful about harm. "

"Most thinkers write badly, because they communicate not only their thoughts, but also the thinking of them. "

"No one lies as much as the indignant do. "

"One must have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star. "

"Nothing is more expensive than a start. "

"Nothing on earth consumes a man more completely than the passion of resentment. "

"Not need, nor desire - no, the love of power is the demon of man. One may give them everything - health, nourishment, quarters, they remain unhappy; for the demon insists on being satisfied. One may take away everything from them and satisfy this demon: they then are almost happy. "

"Of what is great, one must either be silent, or speak with greatness - that means cynically and with innocence."

"One often contradicts an opinion when it is really only the tone in which it has been presented that is unsympathetic. "

"One must learn to love oneself... with a wholesome and healthy love, so that one can bear to be with oneself and need not roam."

"So long as men praise you, you can only be sure that you are not yet on your own path but on someone else's. "

"One will seldom go wrong if one attributes extreme actions to vanity, average ones to habit, and petty ones to fear."

"Profundity of thought belongs to youth, clarity of thought to old age. "

"Speaking generally, punishment hardens and numbs, it produces concentration, it sharpens the consciousness of alienation, it strengthens the power of resistance."

"Talking about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself. "

"Spiritual strength and passion, when accompanied by bad manners, only provoke loathing. "

"The doctrine of equality!... But there exists no more poisonous poison: for it seems to be preached by justice itself, while it is the end of justice... ‘Equality for equals, inequality for unequals’ - that would be the true voice of justice: and, what follows from it, ‘Never make equal what is unequal’. "

"That which does not kill me makes me stronger. "

"The falseness of an opinion is not for us any objection to it. The question is how far it is life-furthering, life-preserving, species-preserving."

"The genius - in his works, in his deeds - is necessarily a prodigal: his greatness lies in the fact that he expends himself. "

"The greatest events - are not our noisiest, but our stillest hours. "

"The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill-temper. "

"The greatest of almsgivers is cowardice. "

"The inability to lie is far from the love of truth. "

"The human being inventing signs is at the same time the human being who becomes ever more keenly conscious of himself. It was only as a social animal that man acquired self-consciousness."

"The man of belief is necessarily a dependent man... He does not belong to himself, but to the author of the idea he believes... At every step, one has to wrestle for truth; one has to surrender to it almost everything to which the heart, to which our love, our trust in life clings otherwise. That requires greatness of soul: the service of truth is the hardest service...faith makes blessed: consequently, it lies. "

"The metaphysical comfort - with which, I am suggesting even now, every true tragedy leaves us - that life is at the bottom of things, despite all the changes of appearances, indestructibly powerful and pleasurable - this comfort appears in the incarnate clarity in the chorus of satyrs, a chorus of natural being who live ineradicably, as it were behind all civilization and remain eternally the same, despite the changes of generations and of the history of nations."

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. "

"The most common lie is the lie one tells oneself; lying to others is relatively the exception. "

"The most intelligent men, like the strongest, find their happiness where others would find only disaster: in the labyrinth, in being hard with themselves and with others, in effort; their delight is self-mastery; in them asceticism becomes second nature, a necessity, an instinct."

"The most spiritual human beings, as the strongest, find their happiness where others would find their destruction: in the labyrinth, in severity towards themselves and others, in attempting; their joy lies in self-constraint: with them asceticism becomes nature, need, instinct."

"The visionary denies the truth to himself, the liar only to others. "

"The value of a man can only be measured with regard to other men. "

"To be ashamed of one’s immorality - that is a step on the staircase at whose end one is also ashamed of one’s morality. "

"There are no moral phenomena at all, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena. "

"Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings - always darker, emptier, and simpler. "

"We love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving. "

"Virtues are dangerous as vices insofar as they are allowed to rule over one as authorities and not as qualities one develops oneself. "

"We are unknown, we knowers, ourselves to ourselves: this has its own good reason. We have never searched for ourselves - how should it then come to pass, that we should ever find ourselves?"

"Truth is the kind of error without which a certain species of life could not live. The value of life is ultimately decisive."

"We seldom break our leg so long as life continues a toilsome upward climb. The danger comes when we begin to take things easily and choose the convenient paths."

"What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is bad? All that proceeds from weakness."

"What does your conscience say? - You shall become who you are. "

"What is evil? Whatever springs from weakness. "

"What else is love but understanding and rejoicing in the fact that another person lives, acts and experiences otherwise than we do?"

"What destroys a man more quickly than to work, think, and feel without inner necessity, without any deep personal desire, without pleasure – as a mere automaton of duty? "

"What is happiness? The feeling that power increases - that resistance is overcome. "

"What really raises one's indignation against suffering is not suffering intrinsically, but the senselessness of suffering. "

"What upsets me is not that you lied to me, but that from now on I can no longer believe you. "