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   323. TO BE A GOOD GERMAN MEANS TO DE-GERMANISE ONESELF   Next Section

To be A Good German means to de-Germanise Oneself.  National differences consist, far more than has hitherto been observed, only in the differences of various grades of culture, and are only to a very small extent permanent (nor even that in a strict sense).  For this reason all arguments based on national character are so little binding on one who aims at the alteration of convictions — in other words, at culture.  If, for instance, we consider all that has already been German, we shall improve upon the hypothetical question, "What is German”?  by the counter-question, "What is now German”?  and every good German will answer it practically, by overcoming his German characteristics.  For when a nation advances and grows, it bursts the girdle previously given to it by its national outlook.  When it remains stationary or declines, its soul is surrounded by a fresh girdle, and the crust, as it becomes harder and harder, builds a prison around, with walls growing ever higher.  Hence if a nation has much that is firmly established, this is a sign that it wishes to petrify and would like to become nothing but a monument.  This happened, from a definite date, in the case of Egypt.  So he who is well-disposed towards the Germans may for his part consider how he may more and more grow out of what is German.  The tendency to be un-German has therefore always been a mark of efficient members of our nation.  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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