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"Life consists of rare, isolated moments of the greatest significance and of innumerably many intervals, during which at best the silhouettes of those moments hover about us. Love, springtime, every beautiful melody, mountains, the moon, the sea — all these speak completely to the heart but once, if in fact they ever do get a chance to speak completely. For many men do not have those moments at all, and are themselves intervals and intermissions in the symphony of real life."

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

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"Only a very few people can be independent: it is a prerogative of the strong. And when independence is attempted by someone who has the right to it, but does not need it, we have proof that this man is probably not only strong, but bold to the point of recklessness. He ventures into a labyrinth, he multiplies life’s inevitable dangers a thousandfold, and not the least among these is the absence of any person to see how and where he is going astray, becoming isolated, being rent apart piece by piece in the cave of some Minotaur of the conscience. Assuming that such a person perishes, he perishes so far away from the understanding of human beings that they do not feel it or feel it for him – and he cannot go back again! Not even to the pity of humans!"

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

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"Fear is the mother of morals."

— Nietzsche, from Beyond Good and Evil

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"Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every spirit a mask is growing continually, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow, interpretation of every word, every step, every sign of life he gives."

— Nietzsche, from Beyond Good and Evil

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"I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves."

— Nietzsche, from Thus Spoke Zarathustra

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"Believe me, the secret to reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from existence is to live dangerously! Build your cities by Vesuvius! Send your ships into unexplored seas! Live at war with your fellows and with yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors, as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you knowing ones! The time is nearly gone when it could be enough for you to live hidden in the woods like a shy deer! At last knowledge will reach out its hand for what is due to it - it will want to rule and possess, and you will too, along with it!"

— Nietzsche, Gay Science

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"One emerges from such long, dangerous exercises of self-mastery as another person, with a few question marks more, above all with the will from now on to question more persistently, deeply, strictly, rigorously, evilly, quietly, than one had up to now. Trust in life is gone; life itself has become a problem. But please don’t believe that this necessarily makes one morose! Even love of life is still possible - one just loves differently."

— Nietzsche, Gay Science

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"

Over man and animal, I grew too tall;
Now when I speak — no one speaks with me at all.

I grew too high and too lonely —
I wait: on what do I wait only?

Close by, the clouds are sitting:
I wait on the first lightning.

"

— Friedrich Nietzsche - Pine and Lightning (1882)

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"This is no book: what do books matter!
What do coffins and shrouds matter!
This is a will, this is a promise,
This is a last bridge to break,
This is an ocean wind, an anchor-weighing,
A surging wheel, a steering course,
The cannons roar with white gunsmoke,
The sea laughs, the monster —"

— Friedrich Nietzsche, “This is no book” (1882)

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"

Once more, ere I move on
And send my glance forward,
Lonely, I raise my hands
To you, to whom I flee,
To whom I, in the deepest depths of my heart,
Have solemnly consecrated altars,
So that, at all times,
His voice would summon me again.

Deeply inscribed upon them glows
The words: To the Unknown God.
I am his, although up till this hour
I’ve remained in the company of sinners:
I am his—and I feel the noosed ropes
That pull me down in the struggle
And, should I flee,
Still force me into his service

I want to know you, unknown one,
You who have reached deep within my soul,
Wandering through my life like a storm,
You incomprehensible one, akin to me!
I want to know you, even serve you.

"

— Friedrich Nietzsche, “Once More ere I Move On”

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"Oh what years! What tortures of every kind, what periods of loneliness, of disgust with life! And as an antidote to all that, to both death and life, as it were, I brewed my own potion, those little ideas of mine with their little patches of unclouded sky above them…"

— July 3, 1882 - A Letter from Nietzsche to Lou Salome

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"It can’t be helped: I have to cause all my friends distress — just by finally expressing how I got myself out of distress. That metaphysical befogging of all things true and simple, the struggle with reason against reason, which wants to see in each and every thing a wonder and an absurdity — along with an altogether corresponding baroque art of over-excitement and glorified extravagance — I mean the art of Wagner: both these things finally made me more and more ill, and practically alienated me from my good temperament and my natural ability. I now live, more than ever ready for all the good and sound things, a hundred paces closer to the Greeks than ever before: how I myself, down tot he smallest detail, now aspire to live, whereas before I only revered and idolized the wise — in short, if you could empathize with this change and crisis, oh then you would have to wish to experience something similar!"

— July 15, 1878 - A Letter from Nietzsche to Mathilde Maier

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"We always hear something of the echo of desolation in a hermit’s writings, something of the whispering tone and shy, roundabout glance of solitude; out of his mightiest words, even out of his screams, we still hear the sound of a new and dangerous sort of silence, silencing. Anyone who has sat alone, in intimate dissension and dialogue with his soul, year in and year out, by day and by night; anyone whose cave (which might be a labyrinth, but also a gold mine) has turned him into a cave-bear or a treasure-digger or a treasure-keep and dragon; this persons ideas will themselves finally take on a characteristic twilight colour, and odour fully as much of the depths as of decay, something uncommunicative and stubborn that gusts coldly at every passer-by. The hermit does not believe that any philosopher (given that all philosophers have always first been hermits) every expressed his true and final opinions in books: don’t we write books precisely in order to hide what we keep hidden? Indeed, he will doubt whether a philosopher is even capable of ‘final and true’ opinions, whether at the back of his every cave a deeper cave is lying, is bound to lie — a wider, stranger, richer world over every surface, and abyss behind his every ground, beneath his every ‘grounding.’ Every philosophy is a foreground philosophy - this is a hermit’s judgement: ‘There is something arbitrary about the fact that he stopped just here, looked back, looked around, that he did not dig deeper just here, but set down his spade — and there is also something suspicious about it.’ Every philosophy also conceals a philosophy; every opinion is also a hiding place, every word also a mask."

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886)

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"Objections, digressions, gay mistrust, the delight in mockery are signs of health: everything unconditional belongs in pathology."

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

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"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