Measure and Bildung
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Measure and Bildung book
The word Bildung, together with all its word forms and compounds, occurs some 1100 times in Nietzsche’s writings as published in the Kritische Studienausgabe.1 Two thirds of these occurrences we find in the early writings of the first five or six years (1870-1876), it is true. But the word does remain present until the last writings, even with a small increase in Ecce Homo. Roughly one can say that Nietzsche uses the word continuously in the same meaning, i.e. in a way that is consistent with the normal use of the word in the 19th century. Of course the word almost always occurs in Nietzsche’s writings in an explicit culture-critical context. But the import of this criticism is in general, that what is usually called Bildung in contemporary Germany or Europe, is no real Bildung. We find here, as in many other cases, the distinction between the factual, prevalent or current, on the one hand, and the actual or real or true, on the other; a distinction that is often indicated by the use of quotation marks. It is in the opposition of these two registers that Nietzsche develops his own interpretation of the general meaning of the word Bildung. In this chapter I want to concentrate on one particular element of this interpretation by Nietzsche, i.e. the way in which it is related to the concept of “measure”.