Thursday, March 27, 2014

Quotes from The Case of Wagner, Nietzsche Contra Wagner, and Selected Aphorisms by Friedrich Nietzsche

The greatest event of my life took the form of a recovery. Wagner belongs only to my diseases. 

All that is good is easy, everything divine runs with light feet.

For, as a rule, artists are no better than the rest of the world, they are even worse - they misunderstand love. Even Wagner misunderstood it. They imagine that they are selfless in it because they appear to be seeking the advantage of another creature often to their own disadvantage. But in return they want to possess the other creature... Even God is no exception to this rule, he is very far from thinking "What does it matter to thee whether I love thee or not?" - He becomes terrible if he is not loved in return...

[N]othing so easily makes a painful impression as when a great mind despoils itself of its wings and strives for virtuosity in something greatly inferior, while it renounces more lofty aims.

People can actually kiss that which plunges them more quickly into the abyss.

[T]he musician is now becoming an actor, his art is developing ever more and more into a talent for telling lies.

A man is an actor when he is ahead of mankind in his possession of this one view, that everything which has to strike people as true, must not be true.

It is glaringly obvious: great success, mob success is no longer the achievement of the genuine - in order to get it a man must be an actor! - Victor Hugo and Richard Wagner - they both prove one and the same thing: that in declining civilisations, wherever the mob is allowed to decide, genuineness becomes superfluous, prejudicial, unfavourable. The actor, alone, can still kindle great enthusiasm. 

I contemplate the youthlets who have long been exposed to his [Wagner's] infection. The first relatively innocuous effect of it is the corruption of their taste.

Wagner is bad for young men; he is fatal for women.

You cannot serve two Masters when one of these is Wagner.

Other musicians are not to be considered by the side of Wagner. Things are generally bad. Decay is universal. Disease lies at the very root of things. If Wagner's name represents the ruin of music, just as Bernini's stands for the ruin of sculpture, he is not on that account its cause.

When one is not rich, at least have enough pride to be poor.

All that which today makes a claim to being the grand style in music is on precisely that account either false to us or false to itself.

Nowadays all things that can be done well and even with a master had are small. 

From the rule that corruption is paramount, that corruption is a fatality, - not even a God can save music.

Biologically, modern man represents a contradiction of values; he sits between two stools, he says yea and nay in one breath. No wonder that it is precisely in our age that falseness itself became flesh and blood, and even genius. No wonder Wagner dwelt among us.

I believe that artists very often do not know what they are best able to do. They are much too vain. Their minds are directed to something prouder than merely to appear little plants, which, with freshness, rareness, and beauty, know how to sprout from their soil with real perfection.

In the theatre one becomes mob, herd, woman, Pharisee, electing cattle, patron, idiot - Wagnerite: there, the most personal conscience is bound to submit to the levelling charm of the great multitude, there the neighbour rules, there one becomes a neighbour.

There is no necessary contrast between sensuality and chastity, every good marriage, every genuine love affair is above this contrast; but in those cases where the contrast exists, it is very far from being necessarily a tragic one. 

I cannot endure anything double-faced.

[W]oman would like to believe that love can do everything - it is the superstition peculiar to her. Alas, he knows the heart finds out how poor, helpless, pretentious, and blundering even the best and deepest love is - how much more readily it destroys than saves....

The intellectual loathing and haughtiness of every man who has suffered deeply - the extent to which a man can suffer, almost determines the order of rank - the chilling uncertainty with which he is thoroughly imbued and coloured, that by virtue of his suffering he knows more than the shrewdest and wisest can ever know, that he has been familiar with, and "at home" in many distant terrible worlds of which you know nothing. 

[E]verything necessary, seen from above and in the light of a superior economy, is also useful in itself - not only should one bear it, one should love it... Amor fati this is the very core of my being.

Only great suffering is the ultimate emancipator of spirit, for it teaches one that vast suspiciousness which makes an X out of every U, a genuine and proper X, i.e. the antepenultimate letter. Only great suffering; that great suffering, under which we seem to be over a fire of greenwood, the suffering that takes its time - forces us philosophers to descend into our nethermost depths, and to let go of all trustfulness, all good-nature, all whittling-down, all mildness, all mediocrity, - on which things we had formerly staked our humanity. I doubt whether such a suffering improves a man; but I know that it makes him deeper...

Perhaps truth is a woman who has reasons for not revealing her reasons?

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