The Gay Science Quotes

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The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs by Friedrich Nietzsche
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The Gay Science Quotes (showing 1-30 of 72)
“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“The heaviest burden: “What, if some day or night, a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life, as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh… must return to you—all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over again and again—and you with it, speck of dust!’ Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god, and never have I heard anything more divine!’ If this thought were to gain possession of you, it would change you as you are, or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, “do you want this once more and innumerable times more?” would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Living in a constant chase after gain compels people to expend their spirit to the point of exhaustion in continual pretense and overreaching and anticipating other. Virtue has come to consist of doing something in less time that someone else. Hours in which honesty is permitted have become rare, and when they arrive one is tired and does not only want to "let oneself go" but actually wishes to stretch out as long and wide and ungainly as one happens to be... Soon we may well reach the point where people can no longer give in to the desire for a vita contemplativa (that is, taking a walk with ideas and friends) without self-contempt and a bad conscience.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
“In the end we are always rewarded for our good will, our patience, fair-mindedness, and gentleness with what is strange.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity. For the crowd believes that if it cannot see to the bottom of something it must be profound. It is so timid and dislikes going into the water.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Pity is the most agreeable feeling among those who have little pride and no prospects of great conquests.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Worldly Wisdom

Do not stay in the field!
Nor climb out of sight.
The best view of the world
Is from a medium height.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“if you are unwilling to endure your own suffering even for an hour, and ontinually forestall all possible misfortune, if you regard as deserving of annihilation, any suffering and pain generally as evil, as detestable, and as blots on existence, well, you have then, besides your religion of compassion, yet another religion in your heart (and this is perhaps the mother of the former)-the religion of smug ease. Ah, how little you know of the happiness of man, you comfortable and good-natured ones!for happiness and misfortune are brother and sister, and twins, who grow tall together, or, as with you, remain small together!”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
tags: death
“Deeds need time, even after they are done, in order to be seen or heard.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“There is something quite amazing and monstrous about the education of upper-class women. What could be more paradoxical? All the world is agreed that they are to be brought up as ignorant as possible of erotic matters, and that one has to imbue their souls with a profound sense of shame in such matters until the merest suggestion of such things triggers the most extreme impatience and flight. The "honor" of women really comes into play only here: what else would one not forgive them? But here they are supposed to remain ignorant even in their hearts: they are supposed to have neither eyes nor ears, nor words, nor thoughts for this -- their "evil;" and mere knowledge is considered evil. And then to be hurled as by a gruesome lightning bolt, into reality and knowledge, by marriage -- precisely by the man they love and esteem most! To catch love and shame in a contradiction and to be forced to experience at the same time delight, surrender, duty, pity, terror, and who knows what else, in the face of the unexpected neighborliness of god and beast!
Thus a psychic knot has been tied that may have no equal. Even the compassionate curiosity of the wisest student of humanity is inadequate for guessing how this or that woman manages to accommodate herself to this solution of the riddle, and to the riddle of a solution, and what dreadful, far-reaching suspicions must stir in her poor, unhinged soul -- and how the ultimate philosophy and skepsis of woman casts anchor at this point!
Afterward, the same deep silence as before. Often a silence directed at herself, too. She closes her eyes to herself.
Young women try hard to appear superficial and thoughtless. The most refined simulate a kind of impertinence.
Women easily experience their husbands as a question mark concerning their honor, and their children as an apology or atonement. They need children and wish for them in a way that is altogether different from that in which a man may wish for children.
In sum, one cannot be too kind about women.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Faith is always coveted most and needed most urgently where will is lacking; for will, as the affect of command, is the decisive sign of sovereignty and strength. In other words, the less one knows how to command, the more urgently one covets someone who commands, who commands severely—a god, prince, class, physician, father confessor, dogma, or party conscience. From this one might perhaps gather that the two world religions, Buddhism and Christianity, may have owed their origin and above all their sudden spread to a tremendous collapse and disease of the will. And that is what actually happened: both religions encountered a situation in which the will had become diseased, giving rise to a demand that had become utterly desperate for some "thou shalt." Both religions taught fanaticism in ages in which the will had become exhausted, and thus they offered innumerable people some support, a new possibility of willing, some delight in willing. For fanaticism is the only "strength of the will" that even the weak and insecure can be brought to attain, being a sort of hypnotism of the whole system of the senses and the intellect for the benefit of an excessive nourishment (hypertrophy) of a single point of view and feeling that henceforth becomes dominant— which the Christian calls his faith. Once a human being reaches the fundamental conviction that he must be commanded, he becomes "a believer."

Conversely, one could conceive of such a pleasure and power of self-determination, such a freedom of the will [ This conception of "freedom of the will" ( alias, autonomy) does not involve any belief in what Nietzsche called "the superstition of free will" in section 345 ( alias, the exemption of human actions from an otherwise universal determinism).] that the spirit would take leave of all faith and every wish for certainty, being practiced in maintaining himself on insubstantial ropes and possibilities and dancing even near abysses. Such a spirit would be the free spirit par excellence.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Only great pain, the long, slow pain that takes its time... compels us to descend to our ultimate depths... I doubt that such pain makes us "better"; but I know it makes us more profound... In the end, lest what is most important remain unsaid: from such abysses, from such severe sickness, one returns newborn, having shed one's skin... with merrier senses, with a second dangerous innocence in joy, more childlike and yet a hundred times subtler than one has ever been before.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Either one does not dream, or one does so interestingly. One should learn to spend one's waking life in the same way: not at all, or interestingly.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Books and drafts mean something quite different for different thinkers. One collects in a book the lights he was able to steal and carry home swiftly out of the rays of some insight that suddenly dawned on him, while another thinker offers us nothing but shadows - images in black and grey of what had built up in his soul the day before.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Where has God gone?” [the madman asked] “I shall tell you. We
have killed him – you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we
done this? How were we able to drink up the seas? Who gave us the
sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we
unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now?

Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually
falling? Backwards, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there
any up or down left? Are we not straying as though through Infinite nothing?

Where is God? God is Dead. Go remains dead. And we have
killed him. How shall we, murders of all murders, console ourselves?”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“And as long as you are in any way ashamed before yourself, you do not yet belong with us.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“For believe me! — 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! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer! At long last the search for knowledge will reach out for its due: — it will want to rule and possess, and you with it!”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars requires time, deeds require time even after they are done, before they can be seen and heard.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“God is dead, God remains dead, and we have killed him.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“Nothing is needed more than truth, and in relation to it everything else has only second-rate value."

This unconditional will to truth—what is it? Is it the will not to allow oneself to be deceived? Or is it the will not to deceive? For the will to truth could be interpreted in the second way, too—if only the special case "I do not want to deceive myself" is subsumed under the generalization "I do not want to deceive." But why not deceive?

But why not allow oneself to be deceived?

Note that the reasons for the former principle belong to an altogether different realm from those for the second. One does not want to allow oneself to be deceived because one assumes that it is harmful, dangerous, calamitous to be deceived. In this sense, science would be a long-range prudence, a caution, a utility; but one could object in all fairness: How is that? Is wanting not to allow oneself to be deceived really less harmful, less dangerous, less calamitous? What do you know in advance of the character of existence to be able to decide whether the greater advantage is on the side of the unconditionally mistrustful or of the unconditionally trusting?”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“For nothing is more democratic than logic; it is no respecter of persons and makes no distinction between crooked and straight noses.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“We say it is "explanation" but it is only in "description" that we are in advance of the older stages of knowledge and science. We describe better we explain just as little as our predecessors. We have discovered a manifold succession where the naive man and investigator of older cultures saw only two things "cause" and "effect " as it was said we have perfected the conception of becoming but have not got a knowledge of what is above and behind the conception. The series of "causes" stands before us much more complete in every case we conclude that this and that must first precede in order that that other may follow - but we have not grasped anything thereby. The peculiarity for example in every chemical process seems a "miracle " the same as before just like all locomotion nobody has "explained" impulse. How could we ever explain We operate only with things which do not exist with lines surfaces bodies atoms divisible times divisible spaces - how can explanation ever be possible when we first make everything a conception our conception It is sufficient to regard science as the exactest humanizing of things that is possible we always learn to describe ourselves more accurately by describing things and their successions. Cause and effect: there is probably never any such duality in fact there is a continuum before us from which we isolate a few portions - just as we always observe a motion as isolated points and therefore do not properly see it but infer it. The abruptness with which many effects take place leads us into error it is however only an abruptness for us. There is an infinite multitude of processes in that abrupt moment which escape us. An intellect which could see cause and effect as a continuum which could see the flux of events not according to our mode of perception as things arbitrarily separated and broken - would throw aside the conception of cause and effect and would deny all conditionality.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“The Thought of Death. It gives me a melancholy happiness to live in the midst of this confusion of streets, of necessities, of voices: how much enjoyment, impatience and desire, how much thirsty life and drunkenness of life comes to light here every moment! And yet it will soon be so still for all these shouting, lively, life- loving people! How everyone's shadow, his gloomy travelling companion stands behind him! It is always as in the last moment before the departure of an emigrant- ship: people have more than ever to say to one another, the hour presses, the ocean with its lonely silence waits impatiently behind all the noise-so greedy, so certain of its prey! And all, all, suppose that the past has been nothing, or a small matter, that the near future is everything: hence this haste, this crying, this self-deafening and self-overreaching! Everyone wants to be foremost in this future-and yet death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future! How strange that this sole thing that is certain and common to all, exercises almost no influence on men, and that they are the furthest from regarding themselves as the brotherhood of death! It makes me happy to see that men do not want to think at all of the idea of death! I would fain do something to make the idea of life to us to be more than friends in the sense of that sublime possibility. And so we will believe in our even a hundred times more worthy of their attention.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
tags: death
“The good men of every age are those who go to the roots of the old thoughts and bear fruit with them.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
“whatever is profound loves masks; what is most profound even hates image and parable.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs

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