Unpublished Works | Freedom of Will and Fate. 1862 © The Nietzsche Channel

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Freedom of Will and Fate.

April 1862.

Excerpt from:
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures.
Part 2. Nietzsche's School Years and Military Service: 1858-68.

Translation Copyright The Nietzsche Channel.

Nietzsche's Writings as a Student.
Translation Copyright 2012, The Nietzsche Channel.

Freedom of will, in itself nothing else but freedom of thought, is also limited in a similar way as is freedom of thought.1 Thought cannot exceed the range of the circle of ideas, but the circle of ideas rests upon obtained intuitions and ones that can with their expansion grow and intensify without going beyond the limits determined by the design of the brain. In the same way, freedom of will is also capable of intensification up to the same extremity, but unrestricted within these limits. It is a different thing to put the will to work; the capacity for this is alloted to us in a fatalistic manner.—

While fate appears to man in the mirror of his own personality, individual freedom of will and individual fate are two equal adversaries. We find that the people believing in fate are distinguished by force and strength of will,2 that, on the other hand, women and men who let things happen according to perversely interpreted Christian tenets—since "God will make everything right"—allow themselves to be guided by circumstances in a degrading fashion. In general, "submission to God's will" and "humility" are often nothing but a cloak for cowardly timidity to face destiny with decisiveness.

If, however, fate as a defined limit still seems more powerful than free will, then we should not [....]

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Unpublished Works | Freedom of Will and Fate. 1862 © The Nietzsche Channel