theresaurus

April 14, 2012

Nietzsche’s blog

Filed under: books — theresaurus @ 6:40 am

From Fred Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo:

“My form of retaliation consists in this: as soon as possible to set a piece of cleverness at the heels of an act of stupidity; by this means perhaps it may still be possible to overtake it. To speak in a parable: I dispatch a pot of jam in order to get rid of a bitter experience. … Let anybody only give me offense, I shall ‘retaliate,’ he can be quite sure of that. … You perceive that I should not like to see rudeness undervalued: it is by far the most humane form of contradiction, and, in the midst of modern effeminacy, it is one of our first virtues.

“God is a too palpably clumsy solution of things; a solution which shows a lack of delicacy towards us thinkers — at bottom He is really no more than a coarse and rude prohibition of us: thou shall not think! I am much more interested in another question, — a question upon which the salvation of humanity depends to a far greater degree than it does upon any piece of theological curiosity: I refer to nutrition. … Only the absolute worthlessness of German culture — its ‘idealism’ — can to some extent explain how it was that precisely in this matter, I was so backwards that my ignorance was almost saintly. … Indeed, I can say, that up to a very mature age, my food was entirely bad … . It was through the cooking in vogue at Leipzig, for instance, together with my first study of Schopenhauer (1865), that I earnestly renounced my ‘Will to Live.’ … But as to German cookery in general —  what has it not got on its conscience! Soup before the meal … meat boiled to shreds, vegetables cooked with fat and flour; the degeneration of pastries into paperweights! And, if you add thereto the absolutely bestial post-prandial drinking habits of the ancients, and not alone of the ancient Germans, you will understand where the German intellect took its origin — that is to say, in sadly disordered intestines. German intellect is indigestion; it can assimilate nothing. …  But even the English diet, which in comparison with German, and indeed with French alimentation, seems to me to constitute a ‘return to nature,’ — that is to say, cannibalism — is profoundly opposed to my own instincts. It seems to give the intellect heavy feet … . The best cooking is that of Piedmont. … All prejudices take their origin in the intestine.

“The scholar exhausts his whole strength in saying either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to matter which has already been thought out, or in criticizing it — he is no longer capable of thought on his own account. In him the instinct of self-defense has decayed, otherwise he would defend himself against books. The scholar is a decadent. … To set to early in the morning, at the break of day, in all the fullness and dawn of one’s strength, and to read a book — this I call positively vicious!

“All these things which mankind has valued with such earnestness heretofore are not even real; they are more creations of fancy, or, more strictly speaking, lies born of the evil instincts of diseased and, in the deepest sense, noxious natures — all the concepts, ‘God,’ ‘soul,’ ‘virtue,’ ‘sin,’ ‘Beyond,’ ‘truth,’ ‘eternal life.’ … [T]he most noxious men have been taken for great men, and that people were taught to despise the small things, or rather the fundamental things, of life.

“I know of no other manner of dealing with great tasks, than as play: this, as a sign of greatness, is an essential prerequisite.”

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