- By Friedrich Nietzsche
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Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (/ˈniːtʃə, ˈniːtʃi/;[37] German: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈniːtʃə] (listen) or [ˈniːtsʃə];[38][39] 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, writer, and philologist whose work has exerted a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. He became the youngest person ever to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869 at the age of 24. Nietzsche resigned in 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life; he completed much of his core writing in the following decade. In 1889, at age 44, he suffered a collapse and afterward a complete loss of his mental faculties. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897 and then with his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. Nietzsche died in 1900. Nietzsche's writing spans philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction while displaying a fondness for aphorism and irony. Prominent elements of his philosophy include his radical critique of truth in favor of perspectivism; a genealogical critique of religion and Christian morality and related theory of master–slave morality; the aesthetic affirmation of life in response to both the "death of God" and the profound crisis of nihilism; the notion of Apollonian and Dionysian forces; and a characterization of the human subject as the expression of competing wills, collectively understood as the will to power. He also developed influential concepts such as the Übermensch and the doctrine of eternal return. In his later work, he became increasingly preoccupied with the creative powers of the individual to overcome cultural and moral mores in pursuit of new values and aesthetic health. His body of work touched a wide range of topics, including art, philology, history, religion, tragedy, culture, and science, and drew inspiration from figures such as Socrates, Zoroaster, Arthur Schopenhauer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Wagner and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


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On the doctrine of the feeling of power. - Benefiting and hurting others are ways of exercising one's power over them-that is all one wants in such cases! We hurt those to whom we need to make our power perceptible, for pain is a much more sensitive means to that end than pleasure: pain always asks for the cause, while pleasure is inclined to stop with itself and not look back. We benefit and show benevolence toward those who already depend on us in some way (that is, who are used to thinking of us as their causes); we want to increase their power because we thus increase our own, or we want to show them the advantage of being in our power-that way, they will be more satisfied with their situation and more hostile towards and willing to fight against the enemies of our power. Whether in benefiting or hurting others we make sacrifices does not affect the ultimate value of our actions; even if we stake our lives, as martyrs do for their church, it is a sacrifice made for our desire for power or for the preservation of our feeling of power. He who feels 'I am in possession of the truth'-how many possessions does he not renounce in order to save this feeling! What would he not throw overboard in order to stay 'on top'-that is, above the others who lack 'the truth'! The state in which we hurt others is certainly seldom as agreeable, in an unadulterated way, as that in which we benefit others; it is a sign that we are still lacking power, or it betrays a frustration in the face of this poverty; it brings new dangers and uncertainties to the power we do possess and clouds our horizon with the prospect of revenge, scorn, punishment, failure. Only to the most irritable and covetous adherents of the feeling of power-to those for whom the sight of those who are already subjected (the objects of benevolence) is a burden and boredom-might it be more pleasurable to imprint the seal of power on the reluctant. It depends on how one is accustomed to spice one's life; it is a matter of taste whether one prefers the slow or the sudden, the safe or the dangerous and daring increase in power-one always this or that spice according to one's temperament. An easy prey is something contemptible for proud natures; they take delight only at the sight of unbroken persons who could become their enemies and at the sight of all possessions that are hard to come by; they are often hard towards someone who is suffering, for he is not worthy of their contention and pride-but they are the more obliging toward their equals, against whom it would be honourable to fight and struggle if the occasion should arise. Spurred by the good feeling of this perspective, the members of the knightly caste became accustomed to treating each other with exquisite courtesy. Compassion is the most agreeable feeling for those who have little pride and no prospect of great conquests; for them, easy prey-and that is what those who suffer are-is something enchanting. Compassion is praised as the virtue of prostitutes.

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