Friedrich Nietzsche: Seventeen Best Quotes (With References)

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This page contains a collection of quotes by Friedrich Nietzsche. These quotes are all genuine and details about the book, chapter number, and translation are included where applicable.


On the death of God:

Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: “I seek God! I seek God!” … Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him — you and I. All of us are his murderers. … God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. … There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, III, 125, trans. Walter Kaufmann


On the death of God:

After Buddha was dead, his shadow was still shown for centuries in a cave a tremendous, gruesome shadow. God is dead; but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown. And we we still have to vanquish his shadow, too.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, III, 108, trans. Walter Kaufmann


On error:

We have arranged for ourselves a world in which we can live by positing bodies, lines, planes, causes
and effects, motion and rest, form and content; without these articles of faith nobody now could endure life. But that does not prove them. Life is no argument. The conditions of life might include error.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, III, 121, trans. Walter Kaufmann


On truth:

What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorhisms in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power, coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense’ , trans. Walter Kaufmann


On facts:

There are no facts, only interpretations.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Nachlass, ed. K. Schlechta, trans. A. Danto


On objectivity:

Henceforth, my dear philosophers, let us be on guard against the dangerous old conceptual fiction that posited a “pure, will-less, painless, timeless knowing subject” let us guard against the snares of such contradictory concepts as “pure reason,” “absolute spirituality,” “knowledge in itself”: these always demand that we should think of an eye that is completely unthinkable, an eye turned in no particular direction, in which the active and interpreting forces, through which alone seeing becomes seeing something, are supposed to be lacking; these always demand of the eye an absurdity and a nonsense. There is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective “knowing” and the more affects we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, different eyes, we can use to observe one thing, the more complete will our “concept” of this thing, our “objectivity,” be.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, III, 12, trans. Kaufmann, and Hollingdale


On truth:

What are man’s truths ultimately? Merely his irrefutable errors.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, III, 265, trans. Walter Kaufmann


On thoughts:

Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings always darker, emptier, and simpler.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, III, 179, trans. Walter Kaufmann


On philosophers:

Lack of historical sense is the family failing of all philosophers.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, 2, trans. R. J. Hollingdale


On man:

Man is a rope, tied between beast and Superman a rope over an abyss.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, I, 4, trans. R. J. Hollingdale


On originality:

What is originality? To see something that has no name as yet and hence cannot be mentioned although it stares us all in the face. The way men usually are, it takes a name to make something visible for them.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, III, 261, trans. Walter Kaufmann


On memory:

“I have done that,” says my memory, “I cannot have done that,” says my pride, and remains inexorable. Eventually—memory yields.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 68, trans. Walter Kaufmann


On value:

Whatever has value in our world now does not have value in itself, according to its nature nature is always value-less, but has been given value at some time, as a present and it was we who gave and bestowed it.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 301, trans. Walter Kaufmann


On the greatest weight:

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 and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to 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 upside down 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 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, IV, 341, trans. Walter Kaufmann


On systematization:

I mistrust all systematizers and I avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols: 26, trans. Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale


On art:

Art makes the sight of life bearable by laying over it the veil of unclear thinking.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, 151, trans. R. J. Hollingdale


On philosophy:

Philosophy, as I have so far understood and lived it, means living voluntarily among ice and high mountains—seeking out everything strange and questionable in existence, everything so far placed under a ban by morality.

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, Preface, 3, trans. Walter Kaufmann


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