Nietzsche: A Very Short Introduction – by Michael Tanner
Human All-Too-Human – by Friedrich Nietzsche (R. J. Hollingdale’s Translation)
Daybreak – by Friedrich Nietzsche (R. J. Hollingdale’s Translation)
The Gay Science – by Friedrich Nietzsche (Josefine Nauckhoff’s & Adrian Del Caro’s Translation)
Thus Spoke Zarathustra – by Friedrich Nietzsche (Adrian Del Caro’s Translation)
Beyond Good And Evil – by Friedrich Nietzsche (Judith Norman’s Translation)
On The Genealogy Of Morality – by Friedrich Nietzsche (Carol Diethe’s Translation)
Twilight of the Idols – by Friedrich Nietzsche (Walter Kaufmann’s Translation)
Ecce Homo – by Friedrich Nietzsche (Duncan Large’s Translation)
Nietzsche contra Wagner – by Friedrich Nietzsche (Walter Kaufmann’s Translation)
The Portable Nietzsche – by Friedrich Nietzsche (Walter Kaufmann’s Translation)
How Nietzsche Revolutionized Ethics – essay by Walter Kaufmann
Nietzsche and the Crisis in Philosophy – lecture by Walter Kaufmann
Nietzsche’s Reflections on Love – by Kathleen O’Dwyer
Free Nietzsche Virtual Issue – The European Journal of Philosophy
It seems to me more and more that the philosopher, as a necessary man of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, has always found himself, and always had to find himself, in opposition to his today: the ideal of the day was always his enemy. Hitherto all these extraordinary promoters of man, who are called philosophers, and who rarely have felt themselves to be friends of wisdom, but rather disagreeable fools and dangerous question marks, have found their task, their hard, unwanted, inescapable task, but finally also the greatness of their task, in being the bad conscience of their time. By applying the knife vivisectionally to the very virtues of the time they betrayed their own secret: to know of a new greatness of man, of a new untrodden way to his enhancement. Each time they have uncovered how much hypocrisy, comfortableness, letting oneself go and letting oneself drop, how many lies, were concealed under the most honored type of their contemporary morality, how much virtue was outlived. Each time they said: “We must proceed there, that way, where today you are least at home.”
Confronted with a world of “modem ideas,” which would banish everybody into a comer and a “specialty,” a philosopher if there could be any philosophers today would be forced to define the greatness of man, the concept of “greatness,” in terms precisely of man’s comprehensiveness and multiplicity, his wholeness in manifoldness: he would even determine worth and rank according to how much and how many things a person could bear and take upon himself, how far a person could extend his responsibility. Today the taste and virtue of the time weaken and thin out the will; nothing is more timely than weakness of the will. Therefore, according to the philosopher’s ideal, it is precisely strength of will, hardness, and the capacity for long-range decisions which must form part of the concept of “greatness” with as much justification as the opposite doctrine, and the ideal of a dumb, renunciatory, humble, selfless humanity was suitable for an opposite age, one which, like the sixteenth century, suffered from its accumulated will power and the most savage floods and tidal waves of selfishness.
At the time of Socrates, among men of fatigued instincts, among the conservatives of ancient Athens who let themselves go “for happiness,” as they said; for pleasure, as they behaved and who at the same time still used the old ornate words to which their life had long ceased to entitle them, irony was perhaps necessary for greatness of soul that Socratic sarcastic assurance of the old physician and plebian who cut ruthlessly into his own flesh, as well as into the flesh and heart of the “nobility,” with a glance that said unmistakably: “Don’t try to deceive me by dissimulation. Here we are equal.”
Today, conversely, when only the herd animal is honored and dispenses honors in Europe, and when “equality of rights” could all too easily be converted into an equality in violating rights by that I mean, into a common war on all that is rare, strange, or privileged, on the higher man, the higher soul, the higher duty, the higher responsibility, and on the wealth of creative power and mastery today the concept of “greatness” entails being noble, wanting to be by oneself, being capable of being different, standing alone, and having to live independently; and the philosopher will betray something of his own ideal when he posits: “He shall be the greatest who can be the loneliest, the most hidden, the most deviating, the human being beyond good and evil, the master of his virtues, he that is overrich in will. Precisely this should be called greatness: to be capable of being as manifold as whole, as wide as full.” And to ask this once more: today is greatness possible?
(February 17.1881) from Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil (section 212, translated by Walter Kaufmann)
One thing is needful.— To “give style” to one’s character—a great and rare art! It is practiced by those who survey all the strengths and weaknesses of their nature and then fit them into an artistic plan until every one of them appears as art and reason and even weaknesses delight the eye. Here a large mass of second nature has been added, there a piece of original nature has been removed:—both times through long practice and daily work at it. Here the ugly that could not be removed is concealed, there it has been reinterpreted and made sublime. Much that is vague and resisted shaping has been saved and exploited for distant views:—it is meant to beckon toward the far and immeasurable. In the end, when the work is finished, it becomes evident how the constraint of a single taste governed and formed everything large and small: whether this taste was good or bad is less important than one might suppose,—if only it was a single taste!— It will be the strong and domineering natures that enjoy their finest gaiety in such constraint and perfection under a law of their own; the passion of their tremendous will relents in the face of all stylized nature, of all conquered and serving nature; even when they have to build palaces and design gardens they demur at giving nature freedom.— Conversely, it is the weak characters without power over themselves that hate the constraint of style: they feel that if this bitter and evil constraint were imposed upon them they would be demeaned:— they become slaves as soon as they serve; they hate to serve. Such spirits—and they may be of the first rank—are always out to shape and interpret their environment as free nature—wild, arbitrary, fantastic, disorderly, and surprising. And they are well advised because it is only in this way that they can give pleasure to themselves! For one thing is needful: that a human being should attain satisfaction with himself—whether it be by means of this or that poetry and art: only then is a human being at all tolerable to behold! Whoever is dissatisfied with himself is continually ready for revenge: and we others will be his victims, if only by having to endure his ugly sight. For the sight of what is ugly makes one bad and gloomy.
from Nietzsche’s The Gay Science (section 290, translated by Walter Kaufmann)
The genius of the heart, as that great concealed one possesses it, the tempter god [“Versucher-Gott” could also mean “god of experimenters”] and born pied piper of consciences whose voice knows how to descend into the netherworld of every soul; who does not say a word or cast a glance in which there is no consideration and ulterior enticement; whose mastery includes the knowledge of how to seem—not what he is but what is to those who follow him one more constraint to press ever closer to him in order to follow him ever more inwardly and thoroughly—the genius of the heart who silences all that is loud and self-satisfied, teaching it to listen; who smooths rough souls and lets them taste a new desire—to lie still as a mirror, that the deep sky may mirror itself in them—the genius of the heart who teaches the doltish and rash hand to hesitate and reach out more delicately; who guesses the concealed and forgotten treasure, the drop of graciousness and sweet spirituality under dim and thick ice, and is a divining rod for every grain of gold that has long lain buried in the dungeon of much mud and sand; the genius of the heart from whose touch everyone walks away richer, not having received grace and surprised, not as blessed and oppressed by alien goods, but richer in himself, newer to himself than before, broken open, blown at and sounded out by a thawing wind, perhaps more unsure, tenderer, more fragile, more broken, but full of hopes that as yet have no name, full of new will and currents, full of new dissatisfaction and undertows …… but what am I doing, my friends? Of whom am I speaking to you? Have I forgotten myself so far that I have not even told you his name? Unless you have guessed by yourselves who this questionable spirit and god is who wants to be praised in such a fashion. For just as happens to everyone who from childhood has always been on his way and in foreign parts, many strange and not undangerous spirits have crossed my path, too, but above all he of whom I was speaking just now, and he again and again—namely, no less a one than the god Dionysus, that great ambiguous one and tempter god to whom I once offered, as you know, in all secrecy and reverence, my first-born [i.e., The Birth of Tragedy]—as the last, it seems to me, who offered him a sacrifice: for I have found no one who understood what I was doing then. Meanwhile I have learned much, all too much, more about the philosophy of this god, and, as I said, from mouth to mouth—I, the last disciple and initiate of the god Dionysus—and I suppose I might begin at long last to offer you, my friends, a few tastes of this philosophy, insofar as this is permitted to me? In an undertone, as is fair, for it concerns much that is secret, new, strange, odd, uncanny. Even that Dionysus is a philosopher, and that gods, too, thus do philosophy, seems to me to be a novelty that is far from innocuous and might arouse suspicion precisely among philosophers. Among you, my friends, it will not seem so offensive, unless it comes too late and not at the right moment; for today, as I have been told, you no longer like to believe in God and gods. Perhaps I shall also have to carry frankness further in my tale than will always be pleasing to the strict habits of your ears? Certainly the god in question went further, very much further, in dialogues of this sort and was always many steps ahead of me …. Indeed, if it were permitted to follow human custom in according to him many solemn pomp-and-virtue names, I should have to give abundant praise to his explorer and discoverer courage, his daring honesty, truthfulness, and love of wisdom. But such a god has no use whatever for all such venerable junk and pomp. “Keep that,” he would say, “for yourself and your likes and whoever else has need of it! I—have no reason for covering my nakedness.”— One guesses: this type of deity and philosopher is perhaps lacking in shame?— Thus he once said: “Under certain circumstances I love what is human”—and with this he alluded to Ariadne who was present—“man is to my mind an agreeable, courageous, inventive animal that has no equal on earth; it finds its way in any labyrinth. I am well disposed towards him: I often reflect how I might yet advance him and make him stronger, more evil, and more profound than he is.”— “Stronger, more evil, and more profound?” I asked startled. “Yes,” he said once more; “stronger, more evil, and more profound; also more beautiful”—and at that the tempter god smiled with his halcyon smile as though he had just paid an enchanting compliment. Here we also see: what this divinity lacks is not only a sense of shame—and there are also other good reasons for conjecturing that in several respects all of the gods could learn from us humans. We humans are—more humane …
from Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil (section 295, translated by Walter Kaufmann)