Monday, May 26, 2014

Friedrich Nietzsche: some aphorisms

"The good four. Honest with ourselves and with whatever is friend to us; courageous toward the enemy; generous toward the vanquished;  polite--always: that is how the four cardinal virtues want us."   

I don't know what he means by "the four cardinal virtues,"  but as I was raised a Catholic, they were justice, temperance, fortitude, and prudence.    Doesn't seem to be much of an overlap here, is there?
Polite?  That seems to have disappeared today or so it seems to me. 

"Against an enemy.  How good bad music and bad reasons sound when one marches against an enemy!"

I guess the mind or the reasoning faculties shut down and emotion takes over.

"Shedding one's skin.   The snake that cannot shed its skin perishes.  So do the spirits who are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be spirit."  

Didn't one of our two political parties make a virtue recently of not changing one's opinions regardless of the situation.  Those who do are accused of "wobbling."

All quotations are from
The Portable Nietzsche
Walter Kaufman:  Editor and translator


  1. Small pockets of polite society still exist in spite of becoming nearly extinct. Perhaps there are regional and national components. For example, whether it is accurate or not, people in the South (where I live) seem more polite than people in the North (where I used to live), and I recall that people I met in Iceland and Australia were surprisingly polite compared to people I have encountered in Asia and Africa (but that might be a language issue rather than a politeness issue).

  2. RT,

    Yes, small pockets is probably the case. But, with the increasing homogenization of 21st century global urban culture, those small pockets might disappear also. The bad always drives out the good, someone once observed.