the things people call love

So it’s Valentine’s day and I’ve been thinking recently about the philosophy of love and friendship.

Soppy, huh? Not necessarily. Here’s what Nietzsche says:

The things people call love.— Greed and love: what different feelings these two terms evoke!—nevertheless it could be the same instinct that has two names… Our love of our neighbor—is it not a desire for new possessions? And likewise our love of knowledge, truth, and altogether any desire for what is new? Gradually we become tired of the old, of what we safely possess, and we stretch out our hands again; even the most beautiful scenery is no longer assured of our love after we have lived in it for three months, and some distant coast attracts our avarice: possessions are generally diminished by possession. Our pleasure in ourselves tries to maintain itself by again and again changing something new into ourselves,—that is what possession means. To become tired of some possession means: tiring of ourselves…Sexual love betrays itself most clearly as a desire for possession: the lover wants unconditional and sole possession of the person for whom he longs, he wants equally unconditional power over the soul and over the body of the beloved; he alone wants to be loved and desires to live and rule in the other soul as supreme and supremely desirable. If one considers that this means nothing less than excluding the whole world from a precious good, from happiness and enjoyment…then one comes to feel genuine amazement that this wild avarice and injustice of sexual love has been glorified and deified so much in all ages—indeed, that this love has furnished the concept of love as the opposite of egoism while it actually may be the most ingenuous expression of egoism.

At this point linguistic usage has evidently been formed by those who did not possess but desired,—probably, there have always been too many of these. Those to whom much possession and satiety were granted in this area have occasionally made some casual remark about “the raging demon,” as that most gracious and beloved of all Athenians, Sophocles, did: but Eros has always laughed at such blasphemers,—they were invariably his greatest favorites.

Here and there on earth we may encounter a kind of continuation of love in which this possessive craving of two people for each other gives way to a new desire and lust for possession, a shared higher thirst for an ideal above them: but who knows such love? Who has experienced it? Its right name is friendship.

Gay Science Aph.14

Good, huh?

Happy Valentines day, everybody! And extra-special love if I consider you my friend…



  1. Very nice I was able to find the english translation of what I was looking for here! Love and friendship for you, dear. Greetings from Germany, Mario (

  2. […] my only previous post about what love is, I quoted Nietzsche and his view that love and greed are two words for the same thing. Love, […]

  3. I got here also looking for a translation of it. I love this, my best friend i love him so much but we now that if we tie each other we would stop belong to each other. If you have to tie it up, is not yours.i feel is the perfect love. Makes sense too that freuds said we all fall in love of our friends.

    Thank you and in practice in complex but have this always present.

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