Human, All Too Human


Arrogance. Man should beware of nothing so much as the growth of that weed called arrogance, which ruins every one of our good harvests;7 for there is arrogance in warmheartedness, in marks of respect, in well-meaning intimacy, in caresses, in friendly advice, in confession of errors, in the pity for others--and all these fine things awaken revulsion when that weed grows among them. The arrogant man, that is, the one who wants to be more important than he is or is thought to be, always miscalculates. To be sure, he enjoys his momentary success, to the extent that the witnesses of his arrogance usually render to him, out of fear or convenience, that amount of honor which he demands. But they take a nasty vengeance for it, by subtracting just the amount of excess honor he demands from the value they used to attach to him. People make one pay for nothing so dearly as for humiliation. An arrogant man can make his real, great achievement so suspect and petty in the eyes of others that they tread upon it with dust-covered feet.
One should not even allow himself a proud bearing, unless he can be quite sure that he will not be misunderstood and considered arrogant--with friends or wives, for example. For in associating with men, there is no greater foolishness than to bring on oneself a reputation for arrogance; it is even worse than not having learned to lie politely.

7. in uns jede gute Ernte verdirbt ; in some other editions uns jede gute Ernte verdirbt

Friedrich NietzscheHuman, All Too Human: Section Six: Man in Society - Aphorism #37350011 years, 8 months ago 


Dialogue. A dialogue is the perfect conversation because everything that the one person says acquires its particular color, sound, its accompanying gesture in strict consideration of the other person to whom he is speaking; it is like letter-writing, where one and the same man shows ten ways of expressing his inner thoughts, depending on whether he is writing to this person or to that. In a dialogue, there is only one single refraction of thought: this is produced by the partner in conversation, the mirror in which we want to see our thoughts reflected as beautifully as possible. But how is it with two, or three, or more partners? There the conversation necessarily loses something of its individualizing refinement; the various considerations clash, cancel each other out; the phrase that pleases the one, does not accord with the character of the other. Therefore, a man interacting with several people is forced to fall back upon himself, to present the facts as they are, but rob the subject matter of that scintillating air of humanity that makes a conversation one of the most agreeable things in the world. Just listen to the tone in which men interacting with whole groups of men tend to speak; it is as if the ground bass8 of all speech were: "That is who I am; that is what I say; now you think what you will about it!" For this reason, clever women whom a man has met in society are generally remembered as strange, awkward, unappealing: it is speaking to and in front of many people that robs them of all intelligent amiability and turns a harsh light only on their conscious dependence on themselves, their tactics, and their intention to triumph publicly; while the same women in a dialogue become females again and rediscover their mind's gracefulness.

8. Recurrent short musical phrase, played against the melodies of the upper voices

Friedrich NietzscheHuman, All Too Human: Section Six: Man in Society - Aphorism #37446411 years, 8 months ago 


Posthumous fame. It makes sense to hope for recognition in a distant future only if one assumes that mankind will remain essentially unchanged and that all greatness must be perceived as great, not for one time only, but for all times. However, this is a mistake; in all its perceptions and judgments of what is beautiful and good, mankind changes very greatly; it is fantasy to believe of ourselves that we have a mile's head start and that all mankind is following our path. Besides, a scholar who goes unrecognized may certainly count on the fact that other men will also make the same discovery he did, and that in the best case a historian will later acknowledge that he already knew this or the other thing but was not capable of winning belief for his theory. Posterity always interprets lack of recognition as a lack of strength.
In short, one should not speak so quickly in favor of arrogant isolation. Incidentally, there are exceptions; but usually it is our errors, weaknesses, or follies that keep our great qualities from being recognized.

Friedrich NietzscheHuman, All Too Human: Section Six: Man in Society - Aphorism #37551811 years, 8 months ago 


About friends. Just think to yourself some time how different are the feelings, how divided the opinions, even among the closest acquaintances; how even the same opinions have quite a different place or intensity in the heads of your friends than in your own; how many hundreds of times there is occasion for misunderstanding or hostile flight. After all that, you will say to yourself: "How unsure is the ground on which all our bonds and friendships rest; how near we are to cold downpours or ill weather; how lonely is every man!" If someone understands this, and also that all his fellow men's opinions, their kind and intensity, are as inevitable and irresponsible as their actions; if he learns to perceive that there is this inner inevitability of opinions, due to the indissoluble interweaving of character, occupation, talent, and environment-- then he will perhaps be rid of the bitterness and sharpness of that feeling with which the wise man called out: "Friends, there are no friends!"9 Rather, he will admit to himself that there are, indeed, friends, but they were brought to you by error and deception about yourself; and they must have learned to be silent in order to remain your friend; for almost always, such human relationships rest on the fact that a certain few things are never said, indeed that they are never touched upon; and once these pebbles are set rolling, the friendship follows after, and falls apart. Are there men who cannot be fatally wounded, were they to learn what their most intimate friends really know about them?
By knowing ourselves and regarding our nature itself as a changing sphere of opinions and moods, thus learning to despise it a bit, we bring ourselves into balance with others again. It is true, we have good reason to despise each of our acquaintances, even the greatest; but we have just as good reason to turn this feeling against ourselves.
And so let us bear with each other, since we do in fact bear with ourselves; and perhaps each man will some day know the more joyful hour in which he says:
"Friends, there are no friends!" the dying wise man shouted.
"Enemies, there is no enemy!" shout I, the living fool.

9. Attributed to Aristotle

Friedrich NietzscheHuman, All Too Human: Section Six: Man in Society - Aphorism #37673111 years, 8 months ago 

Human, All Too Human


Woman and Child


The perfect woman. The perfect woman is a higher type of human than theperfect man, and also something much more rare.
The natural science of animals offers a means to demonstrate the probability ofthis tenet.

Friedrich NietzscheHuman, All Too Human: Section Seven: Woman and Child - Aphorism #37744111 years, 8 months ago