Random Quote #76 topic: nietzsche, We Philologists by Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900, translated by Kennedy, J. M.
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Up to the present time all history has been written from the standpoint
of success, and, indeed, with the assumption of a certain reason in this
success. This remark applies also to Greek history: so far we do not
possess any. It is the same all round, however: where are the historians
who can survey things and events without being humbugged by stupid
theories? I know of only one, Burckhardt. Everywhere the widest possible
optimism prevails in science. The question: "What would have been the
consequence if so and so had not happened?" is almost unanimously thrust
aside, and yet it is the cardinal question. Thus everything becomes
ironical. Let us only consider our own lives. If we examine history in
accordance with a preconceived plan, let this plan be sought in the
purposes of a great man, or perhaps in those of a sex, or of a party.
Everything else is a chaos.--Even in natural science we find this
deification of the necessary.

Germany has become the breeding-place of this historical optimism; Hegel
is perhaps to blame for this. Nothing, however, is more responsible for
the fatal influence of German culture. Everything that has been kept
down by success gradually rears itself up: history as the scorn of the
conqueror; a servile sentiment and a kneeling down before the actual
fact--"a sense for the State," they now call it, as if _that_ had still
to be propagated! He who does not understand how brutal and
unintelligent history is will never understand the stimulus to make it
intelligent. Just think how rare it is to find a man with as great an
intelligent knowledge of his own life as Goethe had . what amount of
rationality can we expect to find arising out of these other veiled and
blind existences as they work chaotically with and in opposition to each
other?

And it is especially naive when Hellwald, the author of a history of
culture, warns us away from all "ideals," simply because history has
killed them off one after the other.


-- Friedrich Nietzsche



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