Nietzsche on Plato
Twilight Of The Idols - What I Owe To The Ancients 2
.... 'Let no one offer me Plato as an objection. In respect of Plato I am a thorough sceptic and have always been unable to join in the admiration of Plato the artist which is traditional among scholars.... For the Platonic dialogue, that frightfully self-satisfied and childish kind of dialectics, to operate as a stimulus one must never have read any good French writers- Fontenelle for example. Plato is boring. - Ultimately my mistrust of Plato extends to the very bottom of him: I find him deviated so far from all the fundamental instincts of the Hellenes, so morally infected, so much an antecedent Christian... that I should prefer to describe the entire phenomenon 'Plato' by the harsh term 'higher swindle' or, if you prefer, 'idealism', than by any other..... My recreation, my preference, my cure from all Platonism has always been Thucydides. Thucydides, and perhaps the Principe of Machievelli, are related to me closely by their unconditional will not to deceive themselves and to see reason in reality- not in 'reason', still less in 'morality'.... One must turn him [Thucydides] over line by line and read his hidden thoughts as clearly as his words: there are few thinkers so rich in hidden thoughts. Sophist culture, by which I mean realist culture, attains in him its perfect expression.... Thucydides as the grand summation, the last manifestation of that strong, stern, hard matter-of-factness instinctive to the older Hellenes. Courage in face of reality ultimately distinguishes such natures as Thucydides and Plato: Plato is a coward in face of reality- consequently he flees into the ideal; Thucydides has himself under control- consequently he retains control over things...'