For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits

by Nietzsche, Friedrich (1996)


This remarkable collection of almost 1,400 aphorisms was originally published in three instalments. The first (now Volume I) appeared in 1878, just before Nietzsche abandoned academic life, with a first supplement entitled The Assorted Opinions and Maxims following in 1879, and a second entitled The Wanderer and his Shadow a year later. In 1886 Nietzsche republished them together in a two-volume edition, with new prefaces to each volume. Both volumes are presented here in R. J. Hollingdale's distinguished translation (originally published in the series Cambridge Texts in German Philosophy) with a new introduction by Richard Schacht. In this wide-ranging work Nietzsche first employed his celebrated aphoristic style, so perfectly suited to his iconoclastic, penetrating and multi-faceted thought. Many themes of his later work make their initial appearance here, expressed with unforgettable liveliness and subtlety. Human, All Too Human well deserves its subtitle 'A Book for Free Spirits', and its original dedication to Voltaire, whose project of radical enlightenment here found a new champion.

Key Passage

243: The future of the physician. - There is at present no profession capable of being so greatly advanced as is that of the physician; especially now that the spiritual physicians, the so-called curers of souls, may no longer carry on their sorceries to the sound of public approval and are avoided by all educated people. A physician has not now attained the highest degree of training of which he is capable when he knows the best and most recent remedies and is practised in applying them, and can draw those quick conclusions from effects to causes that make the celebrated diagnostician: he also has to possess an eloquence adapted to every individual and calculated to touch him to the very heart, a manliness at the sight of which all timorousness (the wormrot that undermines all invalids) takes flight, a diplomat's flexibility in mediating between those who require joy if they are to become well and those who for reasons of health must (and can) make others joyful, the subtlety of an agent of police or an advocate in comprehending the secrets of a soul without betraying them - in short, a good physician now needs the artifices and privileges of all the other professions; thus equipped he is then in a position to become a benefactor to the whole of society through the augmentation of good works, spiri­tual joy and fruitfulness, through the prevention of evil thoughts, inten­tions, acts of roguery (whose revolting source is so often the belly), through the production of a spiritual-physical aristocracy (as promoter and preventer of marriages), through the benevolent amputation of all so-called torments of soul and pangs of conscience: only thus will he cease to be a 'medicine-man' and become a saviour, to which end he will nonetheless require no miracles, nor will he need to have himself cruci­fied. (p.116)


Nietzsche, Physician, Medicine, Conscience


Nietzsche Citations

Links to Reference


Hollingdale, R. J.



How to contribute.