12 January 2005

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) on the Philosopher's Product

I believe that the vegetarians, with their prescription to eat less and more simply, are of more use than all the new moral systems taken together: a little exaggeration here is of no importance. There is no doubt that the future educators of mankind will also prescribe a stricter diet. One hopes to make modern men healthy by means of air, sun, habitation, travel, etc.—including medical stimuli and toxins. But nothing which would be difficult for man seems to be ordered any longer. The maxim seems to be: be healthy and ill in an agreeable and comfortable manner. Yet it is just this incessant lack of moderation in small matters, this lack of self-discipline, which finally becomes evident as universal haste and impotentia.

[S]o long as philosophers fail to muster the courage to seek a totally transformed regimen and to exhibit it by their own example, then they are of no consequence.

The philosopher's product is his life (which occupies the most important position, before his works). His life is his work of art, and every work of art is first turned toward the artist and then toward other men.

(Friedrich Nietzsche, "Philosophy in Hard Times," chap. 5 in Philosophy and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche's Notebooks of the Early 1870's, ed. and trans. Daniel Breazeale [Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1990 (1979)], 99-123, at 106, 107, and 109 [notes written in 1873] [italics in original; footnotes omitted])

No comments: