10/18/05 - nietzsche

In today's excerpt - a taste of Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher who believed that only a type of supermen should rule over nations, and who reflected the growing hubris and nationalism of Germany and other contemporary European countries—consummated in the 20th century European wars. Brilliant enough to be appointed chair of classical philology at 24 at Basle University, he wrote primarily during the 1870's and 80's, a time of almost unmatched economic growth in Europe and a time immediately after Prussia's great military successes over France:

"What is good? Everything that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself. What is bad? Everything that is born of weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome. Not contentedness but more power; not peace but war; not virtue but fitness. [Renaissance virtue, virtu, virtue that is moraline-free]. The weak and the failures shall perish: first principle of our love of man. And they shall even be given every possible assistance. What is more harmful than any vice? Active pity for all the failures and all the weak: Christianity."


Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


The Portable Nietzsche


Penguin Books


Copyright 1954 by Viking Penguin Inc.


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