Human All-Too-Human, Part 1

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Repeated Once More.—Public opinion—private laziness.

[1] This aphorism may have been suggested by Nietzsche's observing the behaviour of his great contemporary, Bismarck, towards the dynasty.—J.M.K.

[2] This is once more an allusion to modern Germany.—J.M.K.

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The Enemies of Truth.—Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.


A Topsy-turvy World.—We criticise a thinker more severely when he puts an unpleasant statement before us; and yet it would be more reasonable to do so when we find his statement pleasant.


Decided Character.—A man far oftener appears to have a decided character from persistently following his temperament than from persistently following his principles.


The One Thing Needful.—One thing a man must have: either a naturally light disposition or a disposition lightened by art and knowledge.

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The Passion For Things.—Whoever sets his passion on things (sciences, arts, the common weal, the interests of culture) withdraws much fervour from his passion for persons (even when they are the representatives of those things; as statesmen, philosophers, and artists are the representatives of their creations).


Calmness in Action.—As a cascade in its descent becomes more deliberate and suspended, so the great man of action usually acts with more calmness than his strong passions previous to action would lead one to expect.


Not Too Deep.—Persons who grasp a matter in all its depth seldom remain permanently true to it. They have just brought the depth up into the light, and there is always much evil to be seen there.


The Illusion of Idealists.—All idealists imagine that the cause which they serve is essentially better than all other causes, and will not believe that if their cause is really to flourish it requires precisely the same evil-smelling manure which all other human undertakings have need of.

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Self-observation.—Man is exceedingly well protected from himself and guarded against his self-exploring and self-besieging; as a rule he can perceive nothing of himself but his outworks. The actual fortress is inaccessible, and even invisible, to him, unless friends and enemies become traitors and lead him inside by secret paths.


The Right Calling.—Men can seldom hold on to a calling unless they believe or persuade themselves that it is really more important than any other. Women are the same with their lovers.


Nobility of Disposition.—Nobility of disposition consists largely in good-nature and absence of distrust, and therefore contains precisely that upon which money-grabbing and successful men take a pleasure in walking with superiority and scorn.


Goal and Path.—Many are obstinate with regard to the once-chosen path, few with regard to the goal.


The Offensiveness in an Individual Way of Life.—All specially individual lines of conduct excite irritation against him who adopts them; people feel themselves reduced to the[Pg 358] level of commonplace creatures by the extraordinary treatment he bestows on himself.


The Privilege of Greatness.—It is the privilege of greatness to confer intense happiness with insignificant gifts.


Unintentionally Noble.—A person behaves with unintentional nobleness when he has accustomed himself to seek naught from others and always to give to them.


A Condition of Heroism.—When a person wishes to become a hero, the serpent must previously have become a dragon, otherwise he lacks his proper enemy.


Friends.—Fellowship in joy, and, not sympathy in sorrow, makes people friends.


Making Use of Ebb and Flow.—For the purpose of knowledge we must know how to make use of the inward current which draws us towards a thing, and also of the current which after a time draws us away from it.

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Joy in Itself.—"Joy in the Thing" people say; but in reality it is joy in itself by means of the thing.


The Unassuming Man.—He who is unassuming towards persons manifests his presumption all the more with regard to things (town, State, society, time, humanity). That is his revenge.


Envy and Jealousy.—Envy and jealousy are the pudenda of the human soul. The comparison may perhaps be carried further.


The Noblest Hypocrite.—It is a very noble hypocrisy not to talk of one's self at all.


Vexation.—Vexation is a physical disease, which is not by any means cured when its cause is subsequently removed.


The Champions of Truth.—Truth does not find fewest champions when it is dangerous to speak it, but when it is dull.

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More Troublesome Even Than Enemies.—Persons of whose sympathetic attitude we are not, in all circumstances, convinced, while for some reason or other (gratitude, for instance) we are obliged to maintain the appearance of unqualified sympathy with them, trouble our imagination far more than our enemies do.


Free Nature.—We are so fond of being out among Nature, because it has no opinions about us.


Each Superior in One Thing.—In civilised intercourse every one feels himself superior to all others in at least one thing; kindly feelings generally are based thereon, inasmuch as every one can, in certain circumstances, render help, and is therefore entitled to accept help without shame.


Consolatory Arguments.—In the case of a death we mostly use consolatory arguments not so much to alleviate the grief as to make excuses for feeling so easily consoled.

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