27+ quotes from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche

Quotes from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo

Friedrich Nietzsche ·  367 pages

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“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary—but love it”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“To see others suffer does one good, to make others suffer even more: this is a hard saying but an ancient, mighty, human, all-too-human principle [....] Without cruelty there is no festival.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“Forgetfulness is not just a vis inertiae, as superficial people believe, but is rather an active ability to suppress, positive in the strongest sense of the word, to which we owe the fact that what we simply live through, experience, take in, no more enters our consciousness during digestion (one could call it spiritual ingestion) than does the thousand-fold process which takes place with our physical consumption of food, our so-called ingestion. To shut the doors and windows of consciousness for a while; not to be bothered by the noise and battle which our underworld of serviceable organs work with and against each other;a little peace, a little tabula rasa of consciousness to make room for something new, above all for the nobler functions and functionaries, for ruling, predicting, predetermining (our organism runs along oligarchic lines, you see) - that, as I said, is the benefit of active forgetfulness, like a doorkeeper or guardian of mental order, rest and etiquette: from which can immediately see how there could be no happiness, cheerfulness, hope, pride, immediacy, without forgetfulness.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“To be incapable of taking one's enemies, one's accidents, even one's misdeeds seriously for very long—that is the sign of strong, full natures in whom there is an excess of the power to form, to mold, to recuperate and to forget (a good example of this in modem times is Mirabeau, who had no memory for insults and vile actions done him and was unable to forgive simply because he—forgot). Such a man shakes off with a single shrug many vermin that eat deep into others; here alone genuine 'love of one's enemies' is possible—supposing it to be possible at all on earth. How much reverence has a noble man for his enemies!—and such reverence is a bridge to love.—For he desires his enemy for himself, as his mark of distinction; he can endure no other enemy than one in whom there is nothing to despise and very much to honor! In contrast to this, picture 'the enemy' as the man of ressentiment conceives him—and here precisely is his deed, his creation: he has conceived 'the evil enemy,' 'the Evil One,' and this in fact is his basic concept, from which he then evolves, as an afterthought and pendant, a 'good one'—himself!”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“No other German writer of comparable stature has been a more extreme critic of German nationalism than Nietzsche.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“i have never pondered over questions that are not questions.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“Read from a distant star, the majuscule script of our earthly existence would perhaps lead to the conclusion that the earth was the distinctively ascetic planet, a nook of disgruntled, arrogant creatures filled with a profound disgust with themselves, at the earth, at all life, who inflict as much pain on themselves as they possibly can out of pleasure in inflicting pain which is probably their only pleasure.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“But I need solitude--which is to say, recovery, return to myself, the breath of a free, light, playful air.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“While the noble man lives in trust and openness with himself (gennaios 'of noble descent' underlines the nuance 'upright' and probably also 'naïve'), the man of ressentiment is neither upright nor naive nor honest and straightforward with himself. His soul squints; his spirit loves hiding places, secret paths and back doors, everything covert entices him as his world, his security, his refreshment; he understands how to keep silent, how not to forget, how to wait, how to be provisionally self-deprecating and humble. A race of such men of ressentiment is bound to become eventually cleverer than any noble race; it will also honor cleverness to a far greater degree: namely, as a condition of existence of the first importance; while with noble men cleverness can easily acquire a subtle flavor of luxury and subtlety—for here it is far less essential than the perfect functioning of the regulating unconscious instincts or even than a certain imprudence, perhaps a bold recklessness whether in the face of danger or of the enemy, or that enthusiastic impulsiveness in anger, love, reverence, gratitude, and revenge by which noble souls have at all times recognized one another. Ressentiment itself, if it should appear in the noble man, consummates and exhausts itself in an immediate reaction, and therefore does not poison: on the other hand, it fails to appear at all on countless occasions on which it inevitably appears in the weak and impotent.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“But grant me from time to time—if there are divine goddesses in the realm beyond good and evil—grant me the sight, but one glance of something perfect, wholly achieved, happy, mighty, triumphant, something still capable of arousing fear! Of a man who justifies man, of a complementary and redeeming lucky hit on the part of man for the sake of which one may still believe in man!
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“For this is how things are: the diminution and leveling of European man constitutes our greatest danger, for the sight of him makes us weary.—We can see nothing today that wants to grow greater, we suspect that things will continue to go down, down, to become thinner, more good-natured, more prudent, more comfortable, more mediocre, more indifferent, more Chinese, more Christian—there is no doubt that man is getting 'better' all the time.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“When the oppressed, downtrodden, outraged exhort one another with the vengeful cunning of impotence: "let us be different from the evil, namely good! And he is good who does not outrage, who harms nobody, who does not attack, who does not requite, who leaves revenge to God, who keeps himself hidden as we do, who avoids evil and desires little from life, like us, the patient, humble, and just" -- this, listened to calmly and without previous bias, really amounts to no more than: "we weak ones are, after all, weak; it would be good if we did nothing for which we are not strong enough"; but this dry matter of fact, this prudence of the lowest order which even insects possess (popsing as dead, when in great danger, so as not to do "too much"), has, thanks to counterfeit and self-deception of impotence, clad itself in the ostentatious garb of the virtue of quiet, calm resignation, just as if the weakness of the weak -- that is to say, their essence, their effects, their sole ineluctable, irremovable reality - were a voluntary achievement, willed, chosen, a deed, a meritous act.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“What really arouses indignation against suffering is not suffering as such but the senselessness of suffering...”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“Generally speaking, punishment makes men hard and cold; it concentrates; it sharpens the feeling of alienation; it strengthens the power of resistance”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“Supposing that what is at any rate believed to be the 'truth' really is true, and the meaning of all culture is the reduction of the beast of prey 'man' to a tame and civilized animal, a domestic animal, then one would undoubtedly have to regard all those instincts of reaction and ressentiment through whose aid the noble races and their ideals were finally confounded and overthrown as the actual instruments of culture; which is not to say that the bearers of these instincts themselves represent culture. Rather is the reverse not merely probable—no! today it is palpable! These bearers of the oppressive instincts that thirst for reprisal, the descendants of every kind of European and non-European slavery, and especially of the entire pre-Aryan populace—they represent the regression of mankind! These 'instruments of culture' are a disgrace to man and rather an accusation and counterargument against 'culture' in general!”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“The Church today is more likely to alienate than to seduce...”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“How much blood and horror is at the bottom of all 'good things'!”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“Every kind of contempt for sex, every impurification of it by means of the concept "impure", is the crime par excellence against life--is the real sin against the holy spirit of life”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“Was it not part of the secret black art of truly grand politics of revenge, of a farseeing, subterranean, slowly advancing, and premeditated revenge, that Israel must itself deny the real instrument of its revenge before all the world as a mortal enemy and nail it to the cross, so that 'all the world,' namely all the opponents of Israel, could unhesitatingly swallow just this bait? And could spiritual subtlety imagine any more dangerous bait than this? Anything to equal the enticing, intoxicating, overwhelming, and undermining power of that symbol of the 'holy cross,' that ghastly paradox of a 'God on the cross,' that mystery of an unimaginable ultimate cruelty and self-crucifixion of God for the salvation of man?”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“It is the noble races that have left behind them the concept 'barbarian' wherever they have gone; even their highest culture betrays a consciousness of it and even a pride in it (for example, when Pericles says to the Athenians in his famous funeral oration 'our boldness has gained access to every land and sea, everywhere raising imperishable monuments to its goodness and wickedness"). This 'boldness' of noble races, mad, absurd, and sudden in its expression, the incalculability, even incredibility of their undertakings—Pericles specially commends the rhathymia of the Athenians—their indifference to and contempt for security, body, life, comfort, their hair-raising cheerfulness and profound joy in all destruction, in all the voluptuousness of victory and cruelty—all this came together, in the minds of those who suffered from it, in the image of the 'barbarian,' the 'evil enemy,' perhaps as the 'Goths,' the 'Vandals.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“There is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective "knowing"; and the more affects we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, different eyes, we can use to observe one thing, the more complete will our "concept" of this thing, our "objectivity," be.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“We are unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge--and with good reason. We have never sought ourselves--how could it happen that we should ever find ourselves?”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“Not every end is the goal. The end of a melody is not its goal; and yet: as long as the melody has not reached its end, it also hasn't reached its goal. A parable.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“What is it that I especially find utterly unendurable? That I cannot cope with, that makes me choke and faint? Bad air! Bad air! The approach of some ill-constituted thing; that I have to smell the entrails of some ill-constituted soul!”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“...all concepts in which an entire process is semiotically concentrated elude definition; only that which has no history is definable.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“We don't know ourselves, we knowledgeable people—we are personally ignorant
about ourselves. And there's good reason for that. We've never tried to find out who
we are. How could it ever happen that one day we'd discover our own selves? With
justice it's been said that "Where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also." Our
treasure lies where the beehives of our knowledge stand. We are always busy with our
knowledge, as if we were born winged creatures—collectors of intellectual honey. In
our hearts we are basically concerned with only one thing, to "bring something
home." As far as the rest of life is concerned, what people call "experience"—which
of us is serious enough for that? Who has enough time? In these matters, I fear, we've
been "missing the point."
Our hearts have not even been engaged—nor, for that matter, have our ears! We've
been much more like someone divinely distracted and self-absorbed into whose ear
the clock has just pealed the twelve strokes of noon with all its force and who all at
once wakes up and asks himself "What exactly did that clock strike?"—so we rub
ourselves behind the ears afterwards and ask, totally surprised and embarrassed "What
have we really just experienced? And more: "Who are we really?" Then, as I've
mentioned, we count—after the fact—all the twelve trembling strokes of the clock of
our experience, our lives, our being—alas! in the process we keep losing the count. So
we remain necessarily strangers to ourselves, we do not understand ourselves, we
have to keep ourselves confused. For us this law holds for all eternity: "Each man is
furthest from himself." Where we ourselves are concerned, we are not
"knowledgeable people.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


“Like a last signpost to the other path, Napoleon appeared, the most isolated and late-born man there has even been, and in him the problem of the noble ideal as such made flesh--one might well ponder what kind of problem it is; Napoleon this synthesis of the inhuman and the superhuman”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, quote from On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo


About the author

Friedrich Nietzsche
Born place: in Röcken bei Lützen, Prussian Province of Saxony, Germany
Born date October 15, 1844
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