8 May 2009

Ugly Duties, in Nietzsche, The Dawn of Day, 515

by Corry Shores
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[The following is summary. The original text is reproduced below.]

Friedrich Nietzsche

The Dawn of Day


Beauty has increased as civilization progressed. This is because there are three occasions for ugliness that have been slowly disappearing from civilized humans:
1) the wildest outbursts of ecstasy,
2) extreme bodily exertion, and
3) the necessity of inducing fear by one's very sight and presence. When cultures begin, they absolutely must perform such fear-inciting behaviors, in order to survive. For this reason, ugliness lies at the core of the "proper gestures and ceremonies". In fact, ugliness was a civic duty.

Image from the Kennedy translation:


Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Vol. 9: The Dawn of Day.Transl. J.M. Kennedy. Ed. Oscar Levy. New York: MacMillan, 1911.
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