Just say no (to content): Nietzsche’s surprising “information diet”



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Just say no (to content): Nietzsche’s surprising “information diet” - ars Technica

No one ever accused Nietzsche of modesty. The man was convinced of his own world-shaking destiny, which must have been tough to sustain when only a few hundred people were reading his books. Still, Nietzsche offered his then-nonexistent readership tips for properly absorbing his works—especially his more “aphoristic” books. Nietzsche describes his ideal reader in the preface to Daybreak:

A book like this, a problem like this, is in no hurry; we both, I just as much of my book, are friends of lento [slowness]. It is not for nothing that I have been a philologist, perhaps I am a philologist still, that is to say, a teacher of slow reading:—in the end I also write slowly. Nowadays it is not only my habit, it is also to my taste—a malicious taste, perhaps?—no longer to write anything which does not reduce to despair every sort of man who is “in a hurry.”
Anyone who has tried to read Daybreak straight through, as though it were a novel, will run headlong into Nietzsche’s “malicious taste.” The goal was to craft a form that embodies the qualities encouraged by the content: pithy nuggets demanding careful thought, mental experimentation, and wide-ranging curiosity about morality and psychology. By forcing his readers to proceed slowly if they want to make sense of the book, Nietzsche puts a preemptive stop to bingeing.