Beyond Good and Evil :: Selected Epigrams :: Nietzsche

[Asterisks (*) indicate some of my especial favorites. — Dr. Sineokov]

*.63.  Whoever is a teacher through and through takes all things seriously only in relation to his students — even himself.

.64. “Knowledge for its own sake” — that is the last snare of morality: with that one becomes completely entangled in it once more.

***.65. The attraction of knowledge would be small if one did not have to overcome so much shame on the way.

***.66. The inclination to depreciate himself, to let himself be robbed, lied to, and taken advantage of, could be the modesty [Scham: usually translated as “shame”] of a god among men.

*.68. “I have done that,” says my memory. “I cannot have done that,” says my pride, and remains inexorable. Eventually — memory yields.

.69. One has watched life badly if one has not also seen the hand that considerately — kills.

*.70. If one has character one also has one’s typical experience, which recurs repeatedly.

*.71. The sage as astronomer. — As long as you still experience the stars as something “above you” you lack the eye of knowledge.

.72. Not the intensity but the duration of high feelings  makes high men.

*.73. Whoever reaches his ideal transcends it eo ipso.

*.73a. Many a peacock hides his peacock tail from all eyes — and calls that his pride.

***.75. The degree and kind of a man’s sexuality reach up into the ultimate pinnacle of his spirit.

**.76. Under peaceful conditions a warlike man sets upon himself.

**.77. With one’s principles one wants to bully one’s habits, or justify, honor, scold, or conceal them: two men with the same principles probably aim with them at something basically different.

***.78. Whoever despises himself still respects himself as one who despises.

*.79. A soul that knows it is loved but does not itself love betrays its sediment: what is at the bottom comes up.

.80. A matter that becomes clear ceases to concern us. — What was on the mind of that god who counseled: “Know thyself!” Did he mean: “Cease to concern yourself! Become objective!” — And Socrates? — And “scientific men”? —

*.81. It is terrible to die of thirst in the ocean. Do you have to salt your truth so heavily that it does not even — quench thirst any more?

***.83. Instinct. — When the house burns one forgets even lunch. — Yes, but one eats it later in the ashes.

.84. Woman learns to hate to the extent to which her charms — decrease.

*.85. The same affects in man and woman are yet different in tempo: therefore man and woman do not cease to misunderstand each other.

86. Women themselves always still have in the background of all personal vanity an impersonal contempt — for “woman.” —

****.87. Tethered heart, free spirit. — If one tethers one’s heart severely and imprisons it, one can give one’s spirit many liberties: I have said that once before. But one does not believe me, unless one already knows it —

**.88. One begins to mistrust very clever people when they become embarrassed.

.89. Terrible experiences pose the riddle whether the person who has them is not terrible.

*.90. Heavy, heavy-spirited people become lighter precisely through what makes others heavier, through hatred and love, and for a time they surface.

****.91. So cold, so icy that one burns one’s fingers on him! Every hand is startled when touching him. — And for that very reason some think he glows.

.92. Who has not, for the sake of his good reputation — sacrificed himself once? —

.93. Affability contains no hatred of men, but for that very reason too much contempt for men.

****.94. A man’s maturity — consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play.

**.95. 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.

**.96. One should part from life as Odysseus parted from Nausicaa — blessing it rather than in love with it.

****.98. If we train our conscience, it kisses us while it hurts us.

***.99. The voice of disappointment: “I listened for an echo and heard nothing but praise — ”

***.100. In front of ourselves we all pose as simpler than we are: thus we take a rest from our fellow men.

.101. Today the man of knowledge might well feel like God become animal.

****.102. Discovering that one is loved in return really ought to disenchant the lover with the beloved. “What? this person is modest enough to love even you? Or stupid enough? Or — or — ”

.103. Danger in happiness. — “Now everything redounds to my best, now I love every destiny — who feels like being my destiny?”

.104. Not their love of men but the impotence of their love of men keeps the Christians of today from — burning us.

*****.106. In music the passions enjoy themselves.

*.107. Once the decision has been made, close your ear even to the best counterargument: sign of a strong character. Thus an occasional will to stupidity.

*.110. The lawyers defending a criminal are rarely artists enough to turn the beautiful terribleness of his deed to his advantage.

.111. Our vanity is hardest to wound when our pride has just been wounded.

.112. Those who feel predestined to see and not to believe will find all believers too noisy and obtrusive: they fend them off.

*.113. ” You want to prepossess him in your favor? Then pretend to be embarrassed in his presence — ”

*.114. The enormous expectation in sexual love and the sense of shame in this expectation spoils all perspective for women from the start.

.115. Where neither love nor hatred is in the game, a woman’s game is mediocre.

*****.116. The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us.

**.117. The will to overcome an affect is ultimately only the will of another, or several other, affects.

.118. There is an innocence in admiration; it is found in those to whom it has never yet occurred that they, too, might be admired some day.

*.119. The disgust with dirt can be so great that it keeps us from cleaning ourselves — from “justifying” ourselves.

**.120. Sensuality often hastens the growth of love so much that the roots remain weak and are easily torn up.

**.121. It was subtle of God to learn Greek when he wished to become an author — and not to learn it better.

.122. Enjoying praise is in some people merely a courtesy of the heart — and just the opposite of vanity of the spirit.

**.124. Whoever rejoices on the very stake triumphs not over pain but at the absence of pain that he had expected. A parable.

*.125. When we have to change our mind about a person, we hold the inconvenience he causes us very much against him.

**.128. The more abstract the truth is that you want to teach, the more you have to seduce the senses to it.

.129. The devil has the broadest perspectives for God; therefore he keeps so far away from God  — the devil being the most ancient friend of wisdom.

.130. What a man is begins to betray itself when his talent decreases — when he stops showing what he can do. Talent, too, is finery; finery, too, is a hiding place.

*.131. The sexes deceive themselves about each other — because at bottom they honor and love only themselves (or their own ideal, to put it more pleasantly). Thus man likes woman peaceful — but woman is essentially unpeaceful, like a cat, however well she may have trained herself to seem peaceable.

*.132. One is best punished for one’s virtues.

.133. Whoever does not know how to find the way to his ideal lives more frivolously and impudently than the man without an ideal.

**.134. All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth comes only from the senses.

.135. Pharisaism is not a degeneration in a good man: a good deal of it is rather the condition of all being good.

.136. One seeks a midwife for his thoughts, another someone whom he can help: origin of a good conversation.

**.138. When we are awake we also do what we do in our dreams: we invent and make up the person with whom we associate — and immediately forget it.

.139. In revenge and in love woman is more barbarous than man.

****.141. The abdomen is the reason why man does not easily take himself for a god.

.142. The chastest words I have heard: “Dans le véritable amour c’est l’âme, qui enveloppe le corps.” [“In true love it is the soul that envelops the body.”]

.143. Our vanity desires that what we do best should be considered what is hardest for us. Concerning the origin of many a morality.

.144. When a woman has scholarly inclinations there is usually something wrong with her sexually. Sterility itself disposes one toward a certain masculinity of taste; for man is, if I may say so, “the sterile animal.”

*****.146. Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.

.149. What a time experiences as evil is usually an untimely echo of what was formerly experienced as good — the atavism of a more ancient ideal.

.150. Around the hero everything turns into a tragedy; around the demi-god, into a satyr play; and around God — what? perhaps into “world”? —

*.151. Having a talent is not enough: one also requires your permission for it — right, my friends?

.152. “Where the tree of knowledge stands, there is always Paradise”: thus speak the oldest and the youngest serpents.

****.153. Whatever is done from love always occurs beyond good and evil.

.154. Objections, digressions, gay mistrust, the delight in mockery are signs of health: everything unconditional belongs in pathology.

.155. The sense of the tragic gains and wanes with sensuality.

.156. Madness is rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.

*****.157. The thought of suicide is a powerful comfort: it helps one through many a dreadful night.

*.158. To our strongest drive, the tyrant in us, not only our reason bows but also our conscience.

***.160. One no longer loves one’s insight enough once one communicates it.

.161. Poets treat their experiences shamelessly: they exploit them.

*.164. Jesus said to his Jews: “The law was for servants — love God as I love him, as his son! What are morals to us sons of God!”

**.166. Even when the mouth lies, the way it looks still tells the truth.

**.167. In men who are hard, intimacy involves shame — and is precious.

.168. Christianity gave Eros poison to drink: he did not die of it but degenerated — into a vice.

.169. Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.

*.170. Praise is more intrusive than a reproach.

.171. In a man devoted to knowledge, pity seems almost ridiculous, like delicate hands on a cyclops.

**.172. From love of man one occasionally embraces someone at random (because one cannot embrace all): but one must not tell him this —

.174. You utilitarians, you, too, love everything useful only as a vehicle for your own inclinations; you, too, really find the noise of its wheels insufferable.

**.175. In the end one loves one’s desire and not what is desired.

*.176. The vanity of others offends our taste only when it offends our vanity.

**.177. Perhaps no one yet has been truthful enough about what “truthfulness” is.

**.178. One does not credit clever people with their follies: what a loss of human rights!

*.179. The consequences of our actions take hold of us, quite indifferent to our claim that meanwhile we have “improved.”

.180. There is an innocence in lying which is the sign of good faith in a cause.

*.181. It is inhuman to bless where one is cursed.

.182. The familiarity of those who are superior embitters because it may not be returned. —

**.183. “Not that you lied to me, but that I no longer believe you, has shaken me” —

.184. The high spirits of kindness may look like malice.

.185. “I don’t like him.” — Why? — “I am not equal to him.” — Has any human being ever answered this way?

[Selections from Part Four–“Epigrams and Interludes”–of Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufman; from The Modern Library’s Basic Writings of Nietzsche.]

6 thoughts on “Beyond Good and Evil :: Selected Epigrams :: Nietzsche

  1. Please explain numbers 64, 69, 73, 79, 80, 83, 87, 88, 89, 91,98, 99, 101,103, 105, 114, 123, 124, 134, 135, 140, 141, 146, 147, 151, 152, 162, 165, 174, 181

  2. Interesting, very, very interesting.
    Without doubt among the most thought-provoking jaunts along the web I’ve happened across in some time.
    My sole quarrel is with number 141. I can’t quite grasp what it means.

    • 141- because the human animal’s abdomen is full of guts like any other animal, it is difficult to take oneself for a god.. right? that’s my interpretation

    • Hunger. No god ever dies of starvation, as far as I know. You’d have to believe a god could die, and who has the courage to believe that these days? Could be nervousness too, I suppose, but that doesn’t seem to follow from BGE. Don’t cause too much trouble now. >=)

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