Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

German Philosopher and Classical Philologist,wrote critical texts on Religion, Morality, Contemporary Culture, Philosophy and Science, most influential in Existentialism and Post-Modernism

"There are questions whose truth or untruth cannot be decided by man; all the supreme questions, all the supreme problems of value are beyond human reason... To grasp the limits of reason - only this is true philosophy."

"There are no facts, only interpretations."

"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness."

"Tradition grows ever more venerable - the more remote its origin the more confused the origin is. The reverence due to it increases from generation to generation, until it becomes holy and inspires awe."

"There is not even enough religion in the world to destroy the world's religions."

"We have Art that we may not perish from Truth."

"Undeserved praise causes more pangs of conscience later than undeserved blame, but probably only for this reason, that our powers of judgment are more completely exposed by being overpraised than by being unjustly underestimated."

"To change his opinions is for one nature an expression of purity of mind, like somebody who changes his clothing; but for another nature it is only an expression of his vanity."

"We should not let ourselves be burned for our opinions themselves, since we can never be quite sure of them; but perhaps we might for the right to hold and alter them."

"What is most difficult to render from one language to another is the tempo of its style."

"What are man’s truths ultimately? Merely his irrefutable errors."

"When a hundred men stand together, each of them loses his mind and gets another one."

"When one is young, one venerates and despises without that art of nuances which constitutes the best gain of life."

"Wit is the epitaph of an emotion."

"When man, that master of destruction, of self-destruction, wounds himself, it is that very wound which forces him to live."

"Wisdom sets bounds even to knowledge."

"A great-souled hero must transcend the slavish thinking of those around him."

"A gift confers no rights."

"All that has a price is of little value."

"By losing your goal – you have lost your way, too!"

"All things return eternally, and ourselves with them: We have already existed in times without number, and all things with us."

"Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies."

"Cruelest enemy – Yourself!"

"Formula of my happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal."

"How is freedom measured, in individuals as in nations? By the resistance which has to be overcome."

"He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how."

"He who wants to set a good example must add a grain of foolishness to his virtue; then others can imitate and, at the same time, rise above the one being imitated – something which people love."

"In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule."

"Mistrust all in whom the urge to punish is strong!"

"Morality is primarily a means of preserving the community and saving it from destruction. Next it is a means of maintaining the community on a certain plane and in a certain degree of benevolence."

"Mankind can best be led by the nose with morality."

"Morality is herd instinct in the individual."

"One is healthy when one can laugh at the earnestness and zeal with which one has been hypnotized by any single detail of one's life."

"Rather perish than hate and fear, and twice rather perish than make oneself hated and feared – this must someday become the highest maxim for every single commonwealth."

"The future influences the present just as much as the past."

"The great lie about immortality destroys every kind of reason, every kind of naturalness in the instincts."

"The belief in authority is the source of conscience; which is therefore not the voice of God in the heart of man, but the voice of some men in man."

"The surest way of ruining a youth is to teach him to respect those who think as he does more highly than those who think differently from him."

"There are master-morality and slave-morality."

"Vanity is the polite mask of pride."

"We all fear truth."

"The secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is – to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas!"

"What does not destroy me makes me strong."

"What is it? Is man only God’s mistake or God only man’s mistake?"

"What one has no access to through experience, one has no ear for."

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process they do not become a monster. And when you look long into the abyss the abyss also looks into you."

"'Every man has a price.' This is not true. but for every man there exists a bait which he cannot resist swallowing. To win over certain people to something, it is only necessary to give it a gloss of love of humanity, nobility, gentleness, self-sacrifice - and there is nothing you cannot get them to swallow. To their souls, these are the icing, the tidbit: other kinds of soul have others."

"'Forgive us our virtues.' That is what we should ask of our neighbors. "

"The universe as a circle consisting in a definite number of changes which continually recurs... activity is eternal, the number of the products and states is limited."

"A good war makes sacred any cause. "