A nation, or a people, is a detour of nature to arrive at six or seven great men.--Yes, and then to get round them.
The idea came to me upon reading the Proverbs of Hell. William Blake, and his poetry, philosophy, have been close to me since high school. These Nietzschean aphorisms seem a marvelous companion piece to the Proverbs.
They have been associated in my mind ever since Grade 11 in San Francisco, where I attended Lick-Wilmerding High School--the best high school in the world! It was in English--though rather more like philosophy, that I took both Blake and Niezsche. Jack Coffey was my teacher. It was with him, and everything else that
happened in San Francisco, that I came to consciousness.
On a more mundane level, the assignment he set us for Niezsche, was to choose an aphorism, with his assistance, and develop it into an essay.
I looked at:
- If a man has character, he has also his typical experience, which always recurs.
- One begins to distrust very clever persons when they become embarrassed.
- Dreadful experiences raise the question whether he who experiences them is not something dreadful also.
- What? A great man? I always see merely the play-actor of his own ideal!
- To him who feels himself preordained to contemplation and not to believe, all believers are too noisy and obtrusive; he guards against them.
- Where there is neither love nor hatred in the game, woman’s play is mediocre.
- There is an innonce of admiration; it is possessed by him to whom it has not yet occurred that he himself may be admired some day.
- Sensuality often forces the growth of love too much, so that its root remains weak, and is easily torn up.
- He who cannot find the way to his ideal, lives more frivolously and shamelessly than the man without an ideal.
- From the senses originate all trustworthiness, all good conscience, all evidence of truth.
- Our vanity would like what we can do best to pass precisely for what is most difficult to us.--Concerning the origin of many systems of morals.
- That which an age considers evil is usually an unseasonable echo of what was formerly considered good--the atavism of an old ideal.
- It is not enough to possess a talent: one must also have your permission to possess it;--eh, my friends?
- What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.
- Objection, evasion, joyous distrust, and love of irony are signs of health; everything absolute belongs to pathology.
- Insanity in individuals is something rare--but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.
- To talk much about oneself may also be a means of concealing oneself.
- One loves ultimately one’s desires, not the thing desired.
- The vanity of others is only counter to our taste when it is counter to our vanity.
- It is inhuman to bless when one is being cursed.
And Coffey went through this list like a scythe, saying, completely correctly, what did a 16 year old boy know about these thoughts. And then we settled on:
By means of music the very passions enjoy themselves.
Hardly a surprising choice for he who would become themusic!
In my mind, there is a congruence between Blake and Nietzsche. The aphorism I have cited above is Nietzsche’s take on the issue. His “great men” are never comfortable
in society. And I think I’m not alone when I make the assumption that at least some of the aphorisms are self-descriptive.
But whatever is driving these “great men,” usually also drives them away from most of their fellow men and women--or drives them away from him. Scorn is no different
whether it is dished out in England, or in Germany! And in retaliation, they would delight to eclater le bourgeoisie--scandalize the bourgeoisie.
I believe, however, it is not entirely that. The path to realization is not the path of the many. Conformism is not the way of the one. The ‘path of greatest advantage,’ to coin a term, is a always under threat of the ‘path of least resistence’! Every age, every country,
sees this. It is down to us, whether “great men,” or “great women,” to see the threat before before us, and confront it in whatever way we can. The state of emergency is upon us!
Back to Earth! Its been hard! Not just entering these things, but the node integration. Especially when either the server at Everything, or maybe its just my
internet connection, is slow. It----takes----ages! And then there are those tricky pipes.
And those other quirks in the system. I found that after making a correction to spelling, I would get the previous page--screen, whatever you call it--with the very
mistake I had corrected. This has happenned at one or two other times as well--not often, but infuriating when it does. I expect Everything to be perfect!
But I’m getting the hang of it. I’m getting hooked on it! You’re not going to be getting rid of me for a while yet!
Aphorisms & Entr’Acts
from Beyond Good & Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
He who is a thorough teacher takes things seriously--and even himself--only in relation
to his pupils.
”Knowledge for its own sake”--that is the last snare laid by morality: we are thereby
completely entagled in morals once more.
The charm of knowledge would be small, were it not that so much shame has to be
overcome on the way to it.
We are most dishonourable towards our God: he is not permitted to sin.
The tendancy of a person to allow himself to be degraded, robbed, deceived, and
exploited might be the diffidence of a God amongst men.
Love to one only is a barbarity, for it is exercised at the expense of all others. Love to
”I did that.” says my memory, “I could not have done that,” says my pride, and
remains inexorable. Eventually--the memory yields.
One has regarded life carelessly, if one has failed to see the hand that--kills with
If man has character, he has also his typical experience, which always recurs.
The Sage as Astronomer.--So long as thou feelest the stars as an “above thee,”
thou lackest the eye of the discerning one.
It is not the strength, but the duration of great sentiments that makes great men.
He who attains his ideal, precisely thereby surpasses it.
Many a peacock hides his tail from every eye--and calls it his pride.
A man of genius is unbearable, unless he posses at least two things besides: gratitude
The degree and nature of a man’s sensuality extends to the highest altitudes of his
Under peaceful conditions the militant man attacks himself.
With his principles a man seeks either to dominate, or justify, or honour, or reproach,
or conceal his habits: two men with the same principles probably seek fundamentally different ends therewith.
He who despises himself, nevertheless esteems himslef thereby, as a despiser.
A soul which knows that it is loved, but does not itself love, betrays its sediment: its
dregs come up.
A thing that is explained ceases to concern us.--What did the God mean who gave the advice, “Know thyself!” Did it perhaps imply: “Cease to be concerned about thyself! become objective!”--And Socrates?--And the “scientific man”?
It is terrible to die of thirst at sea. Is it necessary that you should so salt your truth
that it will no longer--quench thirst?
”Sympathy for all”--would be harshness and tyranny for thee, my good neighbour!
Instinct--When the house is on fire one forgets even the dinner.--Yes, but one
recovers it from amongst the ashes.
Woman learns how to hate in proportion as she--forgets how to charm.
The same emotions are in man and woman, but in different tempo; on that
account man and woman never cease to misunderstand each other.
In the backround of all their personal vanity, women themselves have still their
impersonal scorn--for “woman.”
Fettered Heart, Free Spirit.--When one firmly fetters one’s heart and keeps it
prisoner, one can allow one’s spirit many liberties: I said this once before. But people do
not believe it when I say so, unless they know it already.
One begins to distrust very clever persons when they become embarrassed.
Dreadful experiences raise the question whether he who experiences them is not something dreadful also.
Heavy, melancholy men turn lighter, and come temporarily to their surface, precisely
by that which makes others heavy--by hatred and love.
So cold, so icy, that one burns one’s fingers at the touch of him! Every hand that lays
hold of him shrinks back!--And for that very reason many think him red-hot.
Who has not, at one time or another--sacrificed himself for the sake of his good name?
In affability there is no hatred of men, but precisely on that account a great deal too
much contempt of men.
The maturity of man--that means, to have reacquired the seriousness that one had as a
child at play.
To be ashamed of one’s immortality is a step on the ladder at the end of which one is
ashamed also of one’s mortality.
One should part from life as Ulysses parted from Nausicaa--blessing it rather than in
love with it.
What? A great man? I always see merely the play-actor of his own ideal.
When one trains one’s conscience, it kisses one while it bites.
The Disappointed One Speaks.--”I listened for the echo and I heard only praise.”
We all feign to ourselves that we are simpler than we are; we thus relax ourselves
away from our fellows.
A discerning one might easily regard himself at present as the animalisation of God.
Discovering reciprocal love should really disenchant the lover with regard to the beloved. “What! She is modest enough to love even you? Or stupid enough? Or--or----"
The Danger in Happiness.--”Everything now turns out best for me. I now love
every fate: who would like to be my fate?”
Not their love of humanity, but the impotence of their love, prevents the Christians of
The pia fraus is still more repugnant to the taste (the “piety”) of the
free spirit (the “pious man of knowledge”) than the impia fraus. Hence the profound lack of judgment, in comparison with the church, charasteristic of the type “free spirit”--as its non-freedom.
By means of music the very passions enjoy themselves.
Translated by Helen Zimmern.
There are more(?!). But I will end, for now, with the one I wrote an essay on for a Grade 11 English Class--yes Grade 11. At Lick-Wilmerding H.S. (sometimes known as Lick-Wilmerding-Lux H.S.) in San Francisco The greatest high school in the world!