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Beyond Good and Evil
Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future.


Epigrams and Interludes.


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


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


The charm of knowledge would be small if so much shame did not have to be overcome on the road to it.


One is most dishonest towards one's God: he is not permitted to sin!


The inclination to disparage himself, to let himself be robbed, lied to and exploited, could be the self-effacement of a god among men.


Love for one person is a piece of barbarism: for it is practiced at the expense of all others. Love of God likewise.


"I have done that," says my memory. "I cannot have done that," says my pride, and remains inexorable. Eventually—memory yields.


One has been a bad spectator of life if one has not also seen the hand that in a considerate fashion—kills.


If one has character one also has one's typical experience which recurs again and again.


The sage as astronomer.— As long as you still feel the stars as being something "over you" you still lack the eye of the man of knowledge.


It is not the strength but the duration of exalted sensations which makes exalted men.


He who attains his ideal by that very fact transcends it.


Many a peacock hides his peacock tail from all eyes—and calls it his pride.


A man with genius is unendurable if he does not also possess at least two other things: gratitude and cleanliness.


The degree and kind of a man's sexuality reaches up into the topmost summit of his spirit.


Under conditions of peace the warlike man attacks himself.


With one's principles one seeks to tyrannize over one's habits or to justify or honor or scold or conceal them—two people with the same principles probably seek something fundamentally different with them.


Whoever despises [verachtet] himself still respects [achtet] himself as one who despises.


A soul which knows it is loved but does not itself love betrays its dregs—its lowest part comes up.


A thing explained is a thing we have no further concern with.— What did that god mean who counseled: "know thyself!" Does that perhaps mean: "Have no further concern with thyself! become objective!"— And Socrates?— And the "man of science"? —


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?


"Pity for all"—would be harshness and tyranny for you, my neighbor! —


Instinct.— When the house burns down one forgets even one's dinner.— Yes: but one retrieves it from the ashes.


Woman learns how to hate to the extent that she unlearns how—to charm.


The same emotions in man and woman are, however, different in tempo: therefore man and woman never cease to misunderstand one another.


Behind all their personal vanity women themselves always have their impersonal contempt—for "woman."


Bound heart, free spirit.— If one binds one's heart firmly and imprisons it one can allow one's spirit many liberties: I have said that before. But no one believes it if he does not already know it .....


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


Terrible experiences make one wonder whether he who experiences them is not something terrible.


Heavy, melancholy people grow lighter through precisely that which makes others heavy, through hatred and love, and for a while they rise to their surface.


So cold, so icy one burns one's fingers on him! Every hand that grasps him starts back!— And for just that reason many think he is growing hot.


Who has not for the sake of his reputation—sacrificed himself? —


There is no hatred for men in geniality, but for just that reason all too much , contempt for men.


A man's maturity: that means having found again the seriousness that one had as a child at play.


To be ashamed of one's immorality: that is a step on the ladder at the end of which one is also ashamed of one's morality.


One ought to depart from life as Odysseus departed from Nausicaa—blessing rather than in love with it.


What? A great man? I always see only the actor of his own ideal.


If one trains one's conscience it will kiss us as it bites.


The disappointed man speaks.— "I listened for an echo and I heard only praise—."


Before ourselves we all pose as being simpler than we are: thus do we take a rest from our fellow men.


Today a man of knowledge might easily feel as if he were God become animal [Thierwerdung: a play on Menschwerdung, the incarnation (of God as man in Jesus Christ)].


To discover he is loved in return ought really to disenchant the lover with the beloved. "What? She is so modest as to love even you? Or so stupid? Or—or—."


The danger in happiness.— "Now everything is turning out well for me, now I love every destiny:—who would like to be my destiny?"


It is not their love for men but the impotence of their love for men which hinders the Christians of today from—burning us.


The free spirit, the "pious man of knowledge"—finds pia fraus [pious fraud] even more offensive to his taste (to his kind of "piety") than impia fraus [impious fraud]. Hence the profound lack of understanding of the church typical of the "free spirit"—his kind of unfreedom.


By means of music the passions enjoy themselves.


To close your ears to even the best counter-argument once the decision has been taken: sign of a strong character. Thus an occasional will to stupidity.


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


The criminal is often enough not equal to his deed: he disparages and slanders it.


A criminal's lawyers are seldom artists enough to turn the beautiful terribleness of the deed to the advantage of him who did it


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


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


"You want to make him interested in you? Then pretend to be embarrassed in his presence—"


The tremendous expectation in regard to sexual love and the shame involved in this expectation distorts all a woman's perspectives from the start.


Where neither love nor hate is in the game a woman is a mediocre player.


The great epochs of our life are the occasions when we gain the courage to rebaptize our evil qualities as our best qualities.


The will to overcome an emotion is ultimately only the will of another emotion or of several others.


There is an innocence in admiration: he has it to whom it has not yet occurred that he too could one day be admired.


Disgust with dirt can be so great that it prevents us from cleaning ourselves—from "justifying" ourselves.


Sensuality often makes love grow too quickly, so that the root remains weak and is easy to pull out.


It was a piece of subtle refinement that God learned Greek when he wanted to become a writer—and that he did not learn it better.


To enjoy praise is with some people only politeness of the heart—and precisely the opposite of vanity of the spirit.


Even concubinage has been corrupted:—by marriage.


He who rejoices even at the stake triumphs not over pain but at the fact that he feels no pain where he had expected to feel it. A parable.


When we have to change our opinion about someone we hold the inconvenience he has therewith caused us greatly to his discredit.


A people is a detour of nature to get to six or seven great men.— Yes: and then to get round them.


Science offends the modesty of all genuine women. They feel as if one were trying to look under their skin—or worse! under their clothes and finery.


The more abstract the truth is that you would teach, the more you have to seduce the senses to it. [See: August 8 to 24, 1882: Letter to Lou Salomé.]


The devil has the widest perspectives for God, and that is why he keeps so far away from him:—the devil being the oldest friend of knowledge.


What a person is begins to betray itself when his talent declines—when he ceases to show what he can do. Talent is also finery; finery is also a hiding place.


The sexes deceive themselves about one another: the reason being that fundamentally they love and honor only themselves (or their own ideal, to express it more pleasantly—). Thus man wants woman to be peaceful—but woman is essentially unpeaceful, like the cat, however well she may have trained herself to present an appearance of peace.


One is punished most for one's virtues.


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


All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses.


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


One seeks a midwife for his thoughts, another someone to whom he can be a midwife: thus originates a good conversation.


When one has dealings with scholars and artists it is easy to miscalculate in opposite directions: behind a remarkable scholar one not infrequently finds a mediocre man, and behind a mediocre artist often—a very remarkable man.


What we do in dreams we also do when we are awake: we invent and fabricate the person with whom we associate—and immediately forget we have done so.


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


Counsel as conundrum [Rath als Räthsel].— "If the bonds are not to burst—you must try to cut them first."


The belly is the reason man does not so easily take himself for a god.


The chastest expression I have ever heard: "Dans le véritable amour c'est l'âme, qui enveloppe le corps." ["In true love it is the soul that envelops the body." Attributed to Jeanne Marie de Guyon. Cf. Astolphe Custine (1790-1857), Le monde comme il est. 2 vols. (Paris: E. Renduel, 1835), 1:102.]


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


When a woman has scholarly inclinations there is usually something wrong with her sexuality. Unfruitfulness itself disposes one to a certain masculinity of taste; for man is, if I may be allowed to say so, "the unfruitful animal."


Comparing man and woman in general one may say: woman would not have the genius for finery if she did not have the instinct for the secondary role.


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


From old Florentine novels, moreover—from life: "buona femmina e mala femmina vuol bastone." Sacchetti, Nov. 86. ["Good and bad women need the stick." Franco Sacchetti (c.1335-c.1400): Italian poet and novelist. Nietzsche's source was Émile Gebhart's Études méridionales. Vol. 1: Les Origines de la Renaissance en Italie. Paris: Hachette, 1879, 268-269. "Les dames, dans le Décaméron, gouvernment déjà un cercle spirituel et sont maîtresses dans l'art de la conversation légère ou du récit pathétique.1 [.... Footnote]1. Dans la réalité bourgeoise et populaire, dont les conteurs des Cento Novelle antiche et Sachetti sont les peintres exacts, le rôle des femmes est fort médiocre, mais la société décrite par ces écrivains est, beaucoup moins que celle du Décaméron, dans le courant de la Renaissance. Les femmes qui y trompent leurs maris avec le plus de décision sont des filles nobles épousées par des marchands. Ceux-ci, personnages assez grossiers, emploient un laid proverbe: Buona femmina e mala femmina vuol bastone. (Sacchetti, Nov. 86.) Les femmes se vengent de leur brutalité et n'ont point tort tout à fait. Nous sommes bien loin ici des amorose donne de Boccace et de toute civilisation supérieure." (The ladies in the Décaméron already control a spiritual circle and are masters in the art of light conversation or récit pathétique.1 [.... Footnote]1. In the bourgeoise and popular reality, of which the Cento Novelle antiche [Hundred Ancient Tales] storytellers and Sachetti are the true painters, the role of women is very mediocre, but the society described by these writers is much inferior than that of the Décaméron during the Renaissance. There the women who completely deceive their husbands are noble maidens married to merchants. These rather vulgar characters use a vile adage: "Buona femmina e mala femmina vuol bastone." (Sacchetti, Nov. 86.) The women avenge their brutality and are not completely wrong. Here we are very far from the amorose donne of Boccacio and any higher civilization.)]


To seduce one's neighbor to a good opinion and afterwards faithfully to believe in this good opinion of one's neighbor: who can do this trick as well as women? —


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.


Around the hero everything becomes a tragedy, around the demi-god a satyr-play; and around God everything becomes what? Perhaps a "world"? —


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


"Where the tree of knowledge stands is always paradise": thus speak the oldest and youngest serpents.


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


Objection, evasion, happy distrust, pleasure in mockery are signs of health: everything unconditional belongs in pathology.


The sense of the tragic increases and diminishes with sensuality.


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


The thought of suicide is a powerful solace: by means of it one gets through many a bad night.


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


One has to requite good and ill: but why to precisely the person who did us good or ill?


One no longer loves one's knowledge enough when one has communicated it.


Poets behave impudently towards their experiences: they exploit them.


"Our neighbor [Nächster: neighbor in the religious sense] is not our neighbor [Nachbar: neighbor in the literal sense] but our neighbor's neighbor"—thus thinks every people.


Love brings to light the exalted and concealed qualities of a lover—what is rare and exceptional in him: to that extent it can easily deceive as to what is normal in him.


Jesus said to his Jews: "The law was made for servants—love God as I love him, as his son! What have we sons of God to do with morality!" —


Concerning every party.— A shepherd always has need of a bellwether [Leithammel] too—or he must himself occasionally be a wether [Hammel: a castrated ram].


You may lie with your mouth [Munde], but with the mouth [Maule: mouth or grimace] you make as you do so you nonetheless tell the truth.


With hard men intimacy is a thing of shame—and something precious.


Christianity gave Eros poison to drink—he did not die of it, to be sure, but degenerated into vice.


To talk about oneself a great deal can also be a means of concealing oneself.


In praise there is more importunity than in blame.


Pity in a man of knowledge seems almost ludicrous, like sensitive hands on a Cyclops.


From love of man one sometimes embraces anyone (because one cannot embrace everyone): but one must never let this anyone know it .....


One does not hate so long as one continues to rate low, but only when one has come to rate equal or higher.


You utilitarians, even your love for everything utile [useful] is only a vehicle of your inclinations—don't you really find the noise of its wheels intolerable?


In the end one loves one's desire and not what is desired.


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


Perhaps no one has ever been sufficiently truthful about what "truthfulness" is.


Clever people are not credited with their follies: what a deprivation of human rights!


The consequences of our actions take us by the scruff of the neck, altogether indifferent to the fact that we have "improved" in the meantime.


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


It is inhuman to bless where one is cursed.


The familiarity of the superior embitters, because it may not be returned.—


"Not that you lied to me but that I no longer believe you—that is what has distressed me." —


There is a rambunctious spirit of good-naturedness which looks like malice.


"I do not like it."— Why?— "I am not up to it."— Has anyone ever answered like that?

Published Works | Beyond Good and Evil | Epigrams and Interludes© The Nietzsche Channel