Nietzsche on science

While searching for the appropriate epigraph for my thesis – y’know, important things – I found a lot of great Nietzsche quotes that vaguely relate to science:

Being deep and appearing deep.–Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.

Profundity of thought belongs to youth, clarity of thought to old age.

There are no facts, only interpretations.

There cannot be a God because if there were one, I could not believe that I was not He.

It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.

The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.

Cause and effect: such a duality probably never exists; in truth we are confronted by a continuum out of which we isolate a couple of pieces, just as we perceive motion only as isolated points and then infer it without ever actually seeing it. The suddenness with which many effects stand out misleads us; actually, it is sudden only for us. In this moment of suddenness there are an infinite number of processes which elude us. An intellect that could see cause and effect as a continuum and a flux and not, as we do, in terms of an arbitrary division and dismemberment, would repudiate the concept of cause and effect and deny all conditionality.

Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

What are man’s truths ultimately? Merely his irrefutable errors.

What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms — in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.
We still do not know where the urge for truth comes from; for as yet we have heard only of the obligation imposed by society that it should exist: to be truthful means using the customary metaphors – in moral terms, the obligation to lie according to fixed convention, to lie herd-like in a style obligatory for all…

Nietzsche loved to pile endless epigrams in his book; he was essentially the greatest Twitter philosopher of all time. Not only was he fairly straightforward in how he presented his ideas, but he was a great stylist. Read, say, Twilight of the Idols and then Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground and tell me they aren’t both products of similar minds.

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4 thoughts on “Nietzsche on science

  1. I absolutely love this one… Being deep and appearing deep.–Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.

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