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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funnest books ever written,
This review is from: Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits (Paperback)Nietzsche is always fun in all of his writings, and this book is one of his best in this regard. It is better than morning coffee in stimulating the mind, and one cannot read it without frequent chuckles. One can only wonder if Nietzsche would have been as personable in real life as he is in this book. One can say with certainty though that Freud was right in stating that Nietzsche new more about himself than most any other human being...but also, he knew more about other humans than perhaps any other human being. Nietzsche incites the reader to recklessness, and this gives the book its value. Everyone needs free play: a run up the steps of Ephesus. The Nietzschean project of drunken Dionysian ecstacy can be accomplished by the perusal of the written word: this book is ample proof of that.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inchoate Nietzsche,
This review is from: Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits (Paperback)If you want to view the beginning of Nietzsche's philosophy, then this is the book to read. The rejection of accepted views of humankind, discovering the motive behind certain ways of being and thinking, are all coming into shape. However, his voice is not fully formed. His tiresome section on morals seems totally derivative/in response to Ree and other aphoristic writers about morals, in finding the motivations behind "moral" behavior.
His ideas were fundamental in modern philosophy. Nietzsche's nihilism is consistently mis-interpreted. Now, people seem to settle for mis-interpretation of Nietzsche and existentialists as totally positivistic. In some sense, rejection of those previously absolute ideas affirm the material world, and human knowledge, continuously refuted by anti-materalist and theological tradition. There was and is a basis for future knowledge, a philosophy not divorced from existential reality.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Free-spirited Nomadism,
This review is from: Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits (Paperback)Human, All Too Human first appeared in 1878, and was dedicated to Voltaire.
The book marks the first time Nietzsche wrote in what came to be his characteristic style: a collection of aphorisms on various topics. It includes almost 1400 of them on subjects ranging from religion to knowledge, from authority to culture.
"People whose daily lives appears to them too empty and monotonous easily become religious: this is understandable and forgivable; only they have no right to demand religiosity of those whose daily lives are not empty and monotonous."
"Everything natural to which one attaches the idea of the bad and sinful (as is done now in regard to the erotic) oppresses the imagination and makes it gloomy, causes men to haggle with themselves and deprives them of security and trust; even their dreams acquire a flavour of tormented conscience.
And yet this suffering from the natural in the reality of things is completely groundless: it is only the consequence of opinions about things. It is easy to see how designating the ineluctably natural as bad, and then invariably finding it so, makes men themselves worse than they need be. The artifice practiced by religion which will have man evil and sinful by nature is to make him suspicious of nature and thus make him himself bad."
"There is not enough love and goodness in the world for us to be permitted to give any of it away to imaginary things."
"We speak of Nature and forget to include ourselves: we ourselves are nature nonetheless. - It follows that Nature is something quite different from what we think of when we speak its name."
On Dangerous Books:
"Somebody remarked: I can tell by my own reaction to it that this book is harmful. But let him only wait and perhaps one day he will admit to himself that this same book has done him a great service by bringing out the hidden sickness of his heart and making it visible."
"There has hitherto been no philosopher in whose hands philosophy has not become an apologia for Knowledge; on this point, each of them is an optimist, inasmuch as he believes that knowledge must be in the highest degree useful."
"There is no pre-established harmony between the furtherance of truth and the well-being of mankind."
Nietzsche furthermore points out that a passionate representation in no way proves that what it purports to re-present actually exists:
"Strong belief demonstrates only its strength, not the truth of that which is believed."
On Being (Reality) as Selection:
"The good poet of the future will depict only reality and completely ignore all those fantastic, superstitious, half-mendacious, faded subjects upon which earlier poets demonstrated their powers. Only reality, but by no means every reality - he will depict a select reality!"
"From the ages in which men were accustomed to believe in possession of unqualified truth there has come a profound displeasure with all sceptical and relativistic positions in regard to any question of knowledge whatsoever; one usually prefers to surrender unconditionally to a conviction harboured by people in positions of authority (fathers, friends, teachers, princes) and feels a kind of pang of conscience if one fails to do so."
"The content of our conscience is everything that was during the years of our childhood regularly demanded of us without reason by people we honoured or feared. It is thus that the conscience that excites that feeling of compulsion (`I must do this, not do that') which does not ask `why must I?'. The belief in authorities is the source of the conscience: it is therefore not the voice of God in the heart of man, but the voice of some men in man."
"As a rule the individual wants through the opinion of others to confirm the opinion he has of himself and to ratify himself in his own eyes; but our mighty habituation to authority - a habituation that is as old as mankind itself - also impels many to rely on authority for their belief in themselves, that is to say to acquire it only at the hands of others: they trust the judgement of others more than they do their own."
"Commanding and obeying both give pleasure: the former when it has not yet become a habit, the latter however when it has become a habit. Old servants under new masters promote pleasure in one another."
"An important species of pleasure, and thus an important source of custom, originates in habit. One does what is habitual better and more easily and thus prefers to do it, one derives a sense of pleasure from it and knows from experience that the habitual has proven itself and is thus useful; a custom one can live with is demonstrated as salutary, beneficial, in contrast to all novel experimentations that have not yet proven themselves. Custom is consequently the union of the pleasant and the useful, and in addition it demands no cogitation" (cf. Habit by Dr. Neale Martin).
"So long as we do not feel that we are dependent on anything we regard ourselves as independent. But what if the opposite were true: that man is always living in manifold dependence but regards himself as free when, out of long habituation, he no longer perceives the weight of the chains? It is only from new chains that he now suffers. - `freedom of will' really means nothing more than feeling no new chains."
On Herd Mentality:
"The first opinion that occurs to us when we are suddenly asked about something is usually not our own but only the customary one pertaining to our caste, station, origin; our own opinions rarely swim to the top."
"Usually our transition from indifference to inclination or aversion is in no way conscious; we gradually accustom ourselves to the sensibility of our environment, and because sympathetic agreement and accommodation is so pleasant we soon bear all the marks and party colours of this environment." (cf. Herd by Mark Earls).
"It is only up to a certain point that possessions make man more independent and free; one step further - and the possessions become Master, the possessor becomes a Slave: as which he must sacrifice to them his time and his thoughts and henceforth feel himself obligated to a society, nailed to a place and incorporated into a state none of which perhaps meet his inner and essential needs."
On Thinkers and Artists:
"What we may call ourselves in all seriousness is `free-ranging spirits', because we feel the tug towards freedom as the strongest drive of our spirit and, in antithesis to the fettered and firm-rooted intellects, see our ideal almost in a spiritual nomadism."
"Do we have to deny those who come later the right to reanimate the works of earlier times with their own souls? No, for it is only if we bestow upon them our soul that they can continue to live: it is only our blood that constrains them to speak to us. A truly `historical' rendition would be ghostly speech before ghosts. We honour the great artists of the past less through that unfruitful awe which allows every word, every note, to lie where it has been put than we do through active endeavours to help them to come repeatedly to life again... As our Schiller says, the living are always in the right."
"The philosopher believes that the value of his philosophy lies in the whole, in the building: posterity discovers it in the bricks with which he built and which are then often used again for better building: in the fact, that is to say, that the building can be destroyed and nonetheless possess value as material."
"Everyone who enjoys believes the tree was concerned about the fruit; but it was, in fact, concerned about the seed."
"He who reduces to paper what he is suffering will be a melancholy author. A serious author, however, is one who tells us what he has suffered and why he is now reposing in joy."
"Laughing and staying silent - is that now your whole philosophy? It wouldn't be the worst one."
"The Thinker, and the Artist likewise, whose better self has taken refuge in his work, feels an almost malicious joy when he sees how his body and his spirit are being slowly broken down and destroyed by time: it is as though he observed from the corner a thief working away at his money-chest, while knowing that the chest is empty and all the treasure it contained safe."
"Music cannot be said to be the immediate language of feeling, but its primeval union with poetry has deposited so much symbolism into rhythmic movement, into the varying strength and volume of musical sounds, that we now suppose it to speak directly to the inner world and to come from the inner world... It was the intellect itself which first introduced significance into sounds: just as, in the case of architecture, it likewise introduced a significance into the relations between lines and masses which is in itself quite unknown to the laws of mechanics" (cf. Dr. Daniel J. Levitin's This is Your Brain on Music; and The World in Six Songs).
On Cynics and Epicureans:
"Like the Cynic, the Epicurean employs his higher culture to make himself independent of dominating opinions; only he lifts himself above them, while the Cynic remains at the stage of negation. It is as though he wanders along still, sheltered, twilight pathways, while above him the tops of the trees whirl about in the wind and betray to him how violently buffeted the world outside is. In the case of the Cynic, on the other hand, it is as though he walks abroad naked in the teeth of the wind and hardens himself to the point of feeling nothing."
On Shakespeare vs. Sophocles:
"Shakespeare, when compared with Sophocles, resembles a mine full of an immeasurable quantity of gold, lead and rubble, while the latter is not merely gold, but gold in so noble a form its value as metal almost comes to be forgotten. But quantity raised to the highest pitch has the effect of quality. That fact benefits Shakespeare."
"Fellow rejoicing, not fellow suffering, makes the friend."
On Thinking vs. Memory:
"Many a man fails to become a thinker only because his memory is too good."
"The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it."
"The general imprecise way of observing sees everywhere in nature "opposites": (as, e.g. `warm' and `cold') where there are, not opposites, but differences of degree. This bad habit has led us into wanting to comprehend and analyse the inner world, too, the spiritual-moral world, in terms of such opposites. An unspeakable amount of painfulness, arrogance, harshness, estrangement, frigidity has entered into human feelings because we think we see opposites instead of transitions."
On the Interconnectedness of Becoming:
"If one considers that, not only a book, but every action performed by a human being becomes in some way the cause of other actions, decisions, thoughts, that everything that happens is inextricably knotted to everything that will happen, one comes to recognize the existence of an actual immortality, that of motion."
On the multiplicity of unconscious forces within each "individual":
"Direct self-observation is not nearly sufficient for us to know ourselves: we require history, for the past continues to flow within us in a hundred waves; we ourselves are, indeed, nothing but that which at every moment we experience of this continued flowing. It may even be said that here too, when we desire to descend into the river of what seems to be our own most intimate and personal being, there applies the dictum of Heraclitus: we cannot step into the same river twice."
On the necessity of Slowness:
"To the Americans the inhabitants of Europe seem one and all ease-loving and Epicurean creatures, though in fact they are swarming among one another like bees and wasps. This agitation is growing so great that higher culture can no longer allow its fruits to mature; it is as though the seasons were following upon one another too quickly. From lack of repose our civilization is turning into a new barbarism. That is why one of the most necessary corrections to the character of mankind that have to be taken in hand is a considerable strengthening of the contemplative element in it."
"As at all times, so now too, men are divided into the Slaves and the Free: for he who does not have two-thirds of his day to himself is a Slave, let him be what he may otherwise: statesman, businessman, official, scholar."
"Because time for thinking and quietness in thinking are lacking, one no longer ponders different views: one contents oneself with hating them. With the tremendous acceleration of life, mind and eye have become accustomed to seeing and judging partially or inaccurately, and everyone is like the traveller who gets to know a land and its people from a railway carriage. An independent and cautious attitude towards knowledge is disparaged almost as a kind of derangement, the free spirit is brought into disrepute."
"How seldom do we now encounter one able to live happily and peaceably with himself even in the turmoil of life, saying to himself with Goethe: the best is the profound stillness towards the world in which I live and grow, and win for myself what they cannot take from me with fire and sword."
"The thirst for equality can express itself either as a desire to draw everyone down to oneself (through diminishing them, spying on them, tripping them up) or to raise oneself and everyone else up (through recognizing their virtues, helping them, rejoicing in their success)."
"The unpleasant character who is full of mistrust, consumed with envy whenever competitors or neighbours achieve a success, and violently opposes all opinions not his own, demonstrates that he belongs to an earlier stage of culture and is thus a relic: for the way in which he traffics with men was the apt and right one for conditions obtaining during an age of club-law; he is a retarded man.
Another character who readily rejoices with his fellow men, wins friends everywhere, welcomes everything new and developing, takes pleasure in the honours and successes of others and makes no claim to be in sole possession of the truth but is full of a diffident mistrust - he is an anticipatory man striving toward a higher human culture."
"Good-naturedness, friendliness, politeness of the heart are never-failing emanations of the unegoistic drive and have played a far greater role in the construction of culture than those much more celebrated expressions of it called pity, compassion and self-sacrifice... One can likewise discover much more happiness in the world than clouded eyes can see: one can do so if one calculates correctly and does not overlook all those moments of pleasure in which every day of even the most afflicted human life is rich."
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here's to Friedrich Nietzsche,
This review is from: Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits (Paperback)"Human All too Human" is the zenith in Nietzsche's philosophy. It doesn't get any better than this, folks. Read this book from cover to cover and you will be amazed, and if you're like me, captivated, by the depth of Nietzsche's thinking. In "Human, All too Human", Nietzsche spills his musings on the State, "Man alone with himself", and the eternal splinter in his brain, religion.
When reading "Human, All too Human", you will recognize Nietzsche's shortcomings. His distrust of women is evident. His insecurity with the rapid advancement of technology and communications in his time clouded his thinking. But we should be forgiving of these errors. Judge not, lest you be judged. Nietzsche, like all of us, was human. He too, like so many of us do, embraced false symbols of power (religion, militarism) in his younger days. He was, after all, the son of a Lutheran clergyman and joined the army as an ambulance orderly during the Franco-Prussian War. Fortunately for posterity, Nietzsche possessed the intellectual fortitude to recognize these errors and bring them to light in his writings.
In "Human, All too Human", Nietzsche proves his remarkable ability to examine mankind like a crude specimen under a microscope. He stumbled along the way, but at least he mustered this courage. Isn't that all we can hope to be in this life? A little more human?
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Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits by Friedrich Nietzsche (Paperback - Nov. 13 1996)