Friedrich Nietzsche, Miscellaneous Maxims and opinions (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche).

Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions, the first supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1879.  A second supplement, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten) followed in 1880.


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Previous Section   186. THE CULT OF CULTURE   Next Section

The Cult of Culture.  On great minds is bestowed the terrifying all-too-human of their natures, their blindnesses, deformities, and extravagances, so that their more powerful, easily all too powerful influence may be continually held within bounds through the distrust aroused by such qualities.  For the sum-total of all that humanity needs for its continued existence is so comprehensive, and demands powers so diverse and so numerous, that for every one-sided predilection, whether in science or politics or art or commerce, to which such natures would persuade us, mankind as a whole has to pay a heavy price.  It has always been a great disaster to culture when human beings are worshipped.  In this sense we may understand the precept of Mosaic law which forbids us to have any other gods but God.  Side by side with the cult of genius and violence we must always place, as its complement and remedy, the cult of culture.  This cult can find an intelligent appreciation even for the material, the inferior, the mean, the misunderstood, the weak, the imperfect, the one-sided, the incomplete, the untrue, the apparent, even the wicked and horrible, and can grant them the concession that all this is necessary.  For the continued harmony of all things human, attained by amazing toil and strokes of luck, and just as much the work of Cyclopes and ants as of geniuses, shall never be lost.  How, indeed, could we dispense with that deep, universal, and often uncanny bass, without which, after all, melody cannot be melody?  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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