I don’t know if I’ve popped up in the right place… but I’m desperate. There is a Nietzsche quote, I read it years ago. It is about how humanity is meaningful only to itself. In it he gives a short summary of the human race evolving into existence and then ending, all to the unseeing eyes of an indifferent universe. I remember it as extremely beautiful and hopeful, even if it’s a tad nihilistic. I may be mis-attributing it to Nietzsche. It would be deeply appreciated if you could help me.
Answer by Jürgen Lawrenz
The quote is hard to find, because it is not indexed among Nietzsche’s “official” works, but published posthumously by his sister. Shortly after WWII, when a new complete edition appeared, the editor (Karl Schlechter) ripped all of Elisabeth Forster’s forgeries out, including those which appeared in the faked Will to Power, bundling them all together in chronological order at the end of Vol. III under “Miscellaneous Writings”. At least this way we know when it was written — in 1873, in the vicinity of his Birth of Tragedy; and this explains why it is not connected to the Nazi-sponsored edition.
Anyway, the text reads:
“In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the haughtiest and most mendacious minute of “world history” — yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.”
Contained in Taylor Carman’s collection of miscellanies, On Truth and Untruth.
Answer by Hubertus Fremerey
This text is finished in June 1873, thus it is an early work.
The problem with searching in translation is: No two translations are the same, while the original always is. Thus I have “truth and falsity” or “truth and lie” or “falsity and truth” and “extra-moral sense” or “ultra-moral sense” — that alone makes six different translations of the same German text.