The Teachers of the Object of Existence. Whether I look with a good or an evil eye upon men, I find them always at one problem, each and all of them: to do that which conduces to the conservation of the human species. And certainly not out of any sentiment of love for this species, but simply because nothing in them is older, stronger, more inexorable and more unconquerable than that instinct, because it is precisely the essence of our race and herd. Although we are accustomed readily enough, with our usual short-sightedness, to separate our neighbours precisely into useful and hurtful, into good and evil men, yet when we make a general calculation, and reflect longer on the whole question, we become distrustful of this defining and separating, and finally leave it alone. Even the most hurtful man is still perhaps, in respect to the conservation of the race, the most useful of all; for he conserves in himself, or by his effect on others, impulses without which mankind might long ago have languished or decayed. Hatred, delight in mischief, rapacity and ambition, and whatever else is called evil belong to the marvellous economy of the conservation of the race; to be sure a costly, lavish, and on the whole very foolish economy: which has, however, hitherto preserved our race, as is demonstrated to us. I no longer know, my dear fellow-man and neighbour, if thou canst at all live to the disadvantage of the race, and therefore, “unreasonably” and “badly”; that which could have injured the race has perhaps died out many millenniums ago, and now belongs to the things which are no longer possible even to God. Indulge thy best or thy worst desires, and above all, go to wreck! in either case thou art still probably the furtherer and benefactor of mankind in some way or other, and in that respect thou mayest have thy panegyrists and similarly thy mockers! But thou wilt never find him who would be quite qualified to mock at thee, the individual, at thy best, who could bring home to thy conscience its limitless, buzzing and croaking wretchedness so as to be in accord with truth! To laugh at oneself as one would have to laugh in order to laugh out of the veriest truth, to do this, the best have not hitherto had enough of the sense of truth, and the most endowed have had far too little genius! There is perhaps still a future even for laughter! When the maxim, “The race is all, the individual is nothing,” has incorporated itself in humanity, and when access stands open to every one at all times to this ultimate emancipation and irresponsibility. Perhaps then laughter will have united with wisdom, perhaps then there will be only “joyful wisdom.” Meanwhile, however, it is quite otherwise, meanwhile the comedy of existence has not yet “become conscious” of itself, meanwhile it is still the period of tragedy, the period of morals and religions. What does the ever new appearing of founders of morals and religions, of instigators of struggles for moral valuations, of teachers of remorse of conscience and religious war, imply? What do these heroes on this stage imply? For they have hitherto been the heroes of it, and all else, though solely visible for the time being, and too close to one, has served only as preparation for these heroes, whether as machinery and coulisse, or in the role of confidants and valets. (The poets, for example, have always been the valets of some morality or other.) It is obvious of itself that these tragedians also work in the interest of the race, though they may believe that they work in the interest of God, and as emissaries of God. They also further the life of the species, in that they further the belief in life. “It is worthwhile to live” each of them calls out, “there is something of importance in this life; life has something behind it and under it; take care!” That impulse, which rules equally in the noblest and the ignoblest, the impulse to the conservation of the species, breaks forth from time to time as reason and passion of spirit; it has then a brilliant train of motives about it, and tries with all its power to make us forget that fundamentally it is just impulse, instinct, folly and baselessness. Life should be loved, for . . .! Man should benefit himself and his neighbour, for . . .! And whatever all these shoulds and fors imply, and may imply in future! In order that that which necessarily and always happens of itself and without design, may henceforth appear to be done by design, and may appeal to men as reason and ultimate command, for that purpose the ethi-culturist comes forward as the teacher of design in existence; for that purpose he devises a second and different existence, and by means of this new mechanism he lifts the old common existence off its old common hinges. No! he does not at all want us to laugh at existence, nor even at ourselves nor at himself; to him an individual is always an individual, something first and last and immense, to him there are no species, no sums, no noughts. However foolish and fanatical his inventions and valuations may be, however much he may mis understand the course of nature and deny its conditions and all systems of ethics hitherto have been foolish and anti-natural to such a degree that mankind would have been ruined by any one of them had it got the upper hand, at any rate, every time that “the hero” came upon the stage some thing new was attained: the frightful counterpart of laughter, the profound convulsion of many individuals at the thought, “Yes, it is worth while to live! yes, I am worthy to live!” life, and thou, and I, and all of us together became for a while interesting to ourselves once more. It is not to be denied that hitherto laughter and reason and nature have in the long run got the upper hand of all the great teachers of design: in the end the short tragedy always passed over once more into the eternal comedy of existence; and the “ waves of innumerable laughters “ to use the expression of AEschylus must also in the end beat over the great-est of these tragedies. But with all this corrective laughter, human nature has on the whole been changed by the ever new appearance of those teachers of the design of existence, human nature has now an additional requirement, the very requirement of the ever new appearance of such teachers and doctrines of “ design.” Man has gradually be come a visionary animal, who has to fulfil one more condition of existence than the other animals: man must from time to time believe that he knows why he exists; his species cannot flourish without periodically confiding in life! Without the belief in reason in life! And always from time to time will the human race decree anew that “ there is something which really may not be laughed at.” And the most clairvoyant philanthropist will add that “ not only laughing and joyful wisdom, but also the tragic with all its sublime irrationality, counts among the means and necessities for the conservation of the race!” And consequently! Consequently! Consequently! Do you understand me, oh my brothers? Do you understand this new law of ebb and flow? We also shall have our time!
The Intellectual Conscience. I have always the same experience over, again, and always make a new effort against it; for although it is evident to me I do not want to believe it: in the greater number of men the intellectual conscience is lacking; indeed, it would often seem to me that in demanding such a thing, one is as solitary in the largest cities as in the desert. Everyone looks at you with strange eyes and continues to make use of his scales, calling this good and that bad; and no one blushes for shame when you remark that these weights are not the full amount — there is also no indignation against you; perhaps they laugh at your doubt, mean to say that the greater number of people do not find it contemptible to believe this or that, and live according to it, without having been previously aware of the ultimate and surest reasons for and against it, and without even giving themselves any trouble about such reasons afterwards, the most lifted men and the noblest women still belong to this “ greater number.” But what is kind-heartedness, refinement and genius to me, if he who has these virtues harbours indolent sentiments in beh and judgment, if the longing for certainty does not rule in him, as his innermost desire and profoundest need — as that which separates higher from lower men! In certain pious people I have found a hatred of reason, and have been favourably disposed to them for it: their bad intellectual conscience at least still betrayed itself, in this manner! But to stand in the midst of this rerum concordia discors and all the marvellous uncertainty and ambiguity of existence, and not to question, not to tremble with desire and delight in questioning, not even to hate the questioner—perhaps even to make merry over him to the extent of meanness—that is what I regard as contemptible, and it is this sentiment which I first of all search for in every one — some folly or other always persuades me anew that every man has this sentiment, as man. This is my special kind of unrighteousness.
Noble and Ignoble. To ignoble natures all noble, magnanimous sentiments appear inexpedient, and on that account first and foremost, as incredible: they blink with their eyes when they hear of such matters, and seem inclined to say, “there will, no doubt, be some advantage therefrom, one cannot see through all walls; ” they are jealous of the noble person, as if he sought advantage by back-stair methods. When they are all too plainly convinced of the absence of selfish intentions and emoluments, the noble person is regarded by them as a kind of fool: they despise him in his gladness, and laugh at the lustre of his eye. “ How can a person rejoice at being at a disadvantage, how can a person with open eyes want to meet with dis advantage! It must be a disease of the reason with which the noble affection is associated “; so they think, and they look depreciatingly thereon; just as they depreciate the joy which the lunatic derives from his fixed idea. The ignoble nature is distinguished by the fact that it keeps its advantage steadily in view, and that this thought of the end and advantage is even stronger than its strongest impulse: not to be tempted to inexpedient activities by its impulses that is its wisdom and inspiration. In comparison with the ignoble nature the higher nature is more irrational: for the noble, magnanimous, and self-sacrificing person succumbs in fact to his impulses, and in his best moments his reason lapses altogether. An animal, which at the risk of life protects its young, or in the pairing season follows the female where it meets with death, does not think of the risk and the death; its reason pauses likewise, because its delight in its young, or in the female, and the fear of being deprived of this delight, dominate it exclusively; it becomes stupider than at other times, like the noble and magnanimous person. He possesses feelings of pleasure and pain of such intensity that the intellect must either be silent before them, or yield itself to their service: his heart then goes into his head, and one henceforth speaks of “passions.” (Here and there to be sure, the antithesis to this, and as it were the “reverse of passion,” presents itself; for example in Fontenelle, to whom some one once laid the hand on the heart with the words, “ What you have there, my dearest friend, is brain also.”) It is the unreason, or perverse reason of passion, which the ignoble man despises in the noble individual, especially when it concentrates upon objects whose value appears to him to be altogether fantastic and arbitrary. He is offended at him who succumbs to the passion of the belly, but he understands the allurement which here plays the tyrant; but he does not understand, for example, how a person out of love of knowledge can stake his health and honour on the game. The taste of the higher nature devotes itself to exceptional matters, to things which usually do not affect people, and seem to have no sweetness; the higher nature has a singular standard of value. Yet it is mostly of the belief that it has not a singular standard of value in its idiosyncrasies of taste; it rather sets up its values and non-values as the generally valid values and non-values, and thus becomes incomprehensible and impracticable. It is very rarely that a higher nature has so much reason over and above as to understand and deal with everyday men as such; for the most part it believes in its passion as if it were the concealed passion of every one, and precisely in this belief it is full of ardour and eloquence. If then such exceptional men do not perceive themselves as exceptions, how can they ever understand the ignoble natures and estimate average men fairly! Thus it is that they also speak of the folly, inexpediency and fantasy of mankind, full of astonishment at the madness of the world, and that it will not recognise the “one thing needful for it.” This is the eternal unrighteousness of noble natures.
That which Preserves the Species. The strongest and most evil spirits have hitherto advanced man kind the most: they always rekindled the sleeping-passions all orderly arranged society lulls the passions to sleep; they always reawakened the sense of comparison, of contradiction, of delight in the new, the adventurous, the untried; they compelled men to set opinion against opinion, ideal plan against ideal plan. By means of arms, by upsetting boundary-stones, by violations of piety most of all: but also by new religions and morals! The same kind of “ wickedness “ is in every teacher and preacher of the new which makes a conqueror infamous, although it expresses itself more refinedly, and does not immediately set the muscles in motion (and just on that account does not make so in famous!). The new, however, is under all circumstances the evil, as that which wants to conquer, which tries to upset the old boundary-stones and the old piety; only the old is the good! The good men of every age are those who go to the roots of the old thoughts and bear fruit with them, the agriculturists of the spirit. But every soil be comes finally exhausted, and the ploughshare of evil must always come once more. There is at present a fundamentally erroneous theory of morals which is much celebrated, especially in England: according to it the judgments “good” and “evil” are the accumulation of the experiences of that which is “ expedient ” and “ inexpedient ”; according to this theory, that which is called good is conservative of the species, what is called evil, how ever, is detrimental to it. But in reality the evil impulses are just in as high a degree expedient, indispensable, and conservative of the species as the good: only, their function is different.
Unconditional Duties. All men who feel that they need the strongest words and intonations, the most eloquent gestures and attitudes, in order to operate at all revolutionary politicians, socialists, preachers of repentance with or without Christianity, with all of whom there must be no mere half-success, all these speak of “duties,” and indeed, always of duties, which have the character of being unconditional without such they would have no right to their excessive pathos: they know that right well! They grasp, therefore, at philosophies of morality which preach some kind of categorical imperative, or they assimilate a good lump of religion, as, for example, Mazzini did. Because they want to be trusted unconditionally, it is first of all necessary for them to trust themselves unconditionally, on the basis of some ultimate, undebatable command, sublime in itself, as the ministers and instruments of which, they would fain feel and announce themselves. Here we have the most natural, and for the most part, very influential opponents of moral enlightenment and scepticism: but they are rare. On the other hand, there is always a very numerous class of those opponents wherever interest teaches subjection, while repute and honour seem to forbid it. He who feels himself dishonoured at the thought of being the instrument of a prince, or of a party and sect, or even of wealthy power (for example, as the descendant of a proud, ancient family), but wishes just to be this instrument, or must be so before himself and before the public such a person has need of pathetic principles which can at all times be appealed to: principles of an unconditional ought, to which a person can subject himself without shame, and can show himself subjected. All more refined servility holds fast to the categorical imperative, and is the mortal enemy of those who want to take away the unconditional character of duty: propriety demands this from them, and not only propriety.
Loss of Dignity. Meditation has lost all its dignity of form; the ceremonial and solemn bearing of the meditative person have been made a mockery, and one would no longer endure a wise man of the old style. We think too hastily and on the way and while walking and in the midst of business of all kinds, even when we think on the most serious matters; we require little preparation, even little quiet: it is as if each of us carried about an unceasingly revolving machine in his head, which still works, even under the most unfavourable circumstances. Formerly it was perceived in a person that on some occasion he wanted to think it was perhaps the exception! that he now wanted to become wiser and collected his mind on a thought: he put on a long face for it, as for a prayer, and arrested his step-nay, stood still for hours on the street when the thought “came” on one — or on two legs. It was thus “worthy of the affair”!
Something for the Laborious. —— He who at present wants to make moral questions a subject of study has an immense field of labour before him. All kinds of passions must be thought about singly, and followed singly throughout periods, peoples, great and insignificant individuals; all their rationality all their valuations and elucidations of things, ought to come to light! Hitherto all that has given colour to existence has lacked a history: where would one find a history of love, of avarice, of envy, of conscience, of piety, of cruelty? Even a comparative history of law, as also of punishment, has hitherto been completely lacking. Have the different divisions of the day, the consequences of a regular appointment of the times for labour, feast, and repose, ever been made the object of investigation? Do we know the moral effects of the alimentary substances? Is there a philosophy of nutrition? (The ever-recurring outcry for and against vegetarianism proves that as yet there is no such philosophy!) Have the experiences with regard to communal living, for example, in monasteries, been collected? Has the dialectic of marriage and friendship been set forth? The customs of the learned, of trades-people, of artists, and of mechanics have they already found their thinkers? There is so much to think of thereon! All that up till now has been considered as the “conditions of existence,” of human beings, and all reason, passion and superstition in this consideration have they been investigated to the end? The observation alone of the different degrees of development which the human impulses have attained, and could yet attain, according to the different moral climates, would furnish too much work for the most laborious; whole generations, and regular cooperating generations of the learned, would be needed in order to exhaust the points of view and the material here furnished. The same is true of the determining of the reasons for the differences of the moral climates (“on what account does this sun of a fundamental moral judgment and standard of highest value shine here and that sun there?”). And there is again a new labour which points out the erroneousness of all these reasons, and determines the entire essence of the moral judgments hitherto made. Supposing all these labours to be accomplished, the most critical of all questions would then come into the foreground: whether science is in a position to furnish goals for human action, after it has proved that it can take them away and annihilate them and then would be the time for a process of experimenting, in which every kind of heroism could satisfy itself, an experimenting for centuries, which would put into the shade all the great labours and sacrifices of previous history. Science has not hitherto built its Cyclopic structures; for that also the time will come.
Unconscious Virtues. All qualities in a man of which he is conscious and especially when he presumes that they are visible and evident to his environment also are subject to quite other laws of development than those qualities which are unknown to him, or imperfectly known, which by their subtlety can also conceal themselves from the subtlest observer, and hide as it were behind nothing, as in the case of the delicate sculptures on the scales of reptiles (it would be an error to suppose them an adornment or a defence for one sees them only with the microscope; consequently, with an eye artificially strengthened to an extent of vision which similar animals, to which they might perhaps have meant adornment or defence, do not possess!). Our visible moral qualities, and especially our moral qualities believed to be visible, follow their own course, and our invisible qualities of similar name, which in relation to others neither serve for adornment nor defence, also follow their own course: quite a different course probably, and with lines and refinements, and sculptures, which might perhaps give pleasure to a God with a divine microscope. We have, for example, our diligence, our ambition, our acuteness: all the world knows about them, and besides, we have probably once more our diligence, our ambition, our acuteness; but for these our reptile scales the microscope has not yet been invented! And here the adherents of instinctive morality will say, “Bravo! He at least regards unconscious virtues as possible that suffices us! “ Oh, ye unexacting creatures!
Our Eruptions. Numberless things which humanity acquired in its earlier stages, but so weakly and embryonically that it could not be noticed that they were acquired, are thrust suddenly into light long afterwards, perhaps after the lapse of centuries: they have in the interval become strong and mature. In some ages this or that talent, this or that virtue seems to be entirely lacking, as it is in some men; but let us wait only for the grandchildren and grandchildren’s children, if we have time to wait, they bring the interior of their grandfathers into the sun, that interior of which the grandfathers themselves were unconscious. The son, indeed, is often the betrayer of his father; the latter understands himself better since he has got his son. We have all hidden gardens and plantations in us; and by another simile, we are all growing volcanoes, which will have their hours of eruption: how near or how distant this is, nobody of course knows, not even the good God.
A Species of Atavism. I like best to think of the rare men of an age as suddenly emerging after-shoots of past cultures, and of their persistent strength: like the atavism of a people and its civilisation: there is thus still something in them to think of! They now seem strange, rare, and extra ordinary: and he who feels these forces in himself has to foster them in face of a different, opposing world; he has to defend them, honour them, and rear them to maturity: and he either becomes a great man thereby, or a deranged and eccentric person, if he does not altogether break down betimes. Formerly these rare qualities were usual, and were consequently regarded as common: they did not distinguish people. Perhaps they were demanded and presupposed; it was impossible to become great with them, for indeed there was also no danger of becoming insane and solitary with them. It is principally in the old-established families and castes of a people that such after-effects of old impulses present themselves, while there is no probability of such atavism where races, habits, and valuations change too rapidly. For the tempo of the evolutional forces in peoples implies just as much as in music; for our case an andante of evolution is absolutely necessary, as the tempo of a passionate and slow spirit: and the spirit of con serving families is certainly of that sort.
Consciousness. Consciousness is the last and latest development of the organic, and consequently also the most unfinished and least powerful of these developments. Innumerable mistakes originate out of consciousness, which, “ in spite of fate,” as Homer says, cause an animal or a man to break down earlier than might be necessary. If the conserving bond of the instincts were not very much more powerful, it would not generally serve as a regulator: by perverse judging and dreaming with open eyes, by superficiality and credulity, in short, just by consciousness, mankind would necessarily have broken down: or rather, without the former there would long ago have been nothing more of the latter! Before a function is fully formed and matured, it is a danger to the organism: all the better if it be then thoroughly tyrannised over! Consciousness is thus thoroughly tyrannised over — and not least by the pride in it! It is thought that here is the quintessence of man; that which is enduring, eternal, ultimate, and most original in him! Consciousness is regarded as a fixed, given magnitude! Its growth and intermittences are denied! It is accepted as the “unity of the organism”! — This ludicrous overvaluation and misconception of consciousness has as its result the great utility that a too rapid maturing of it has thereby been hindered. Because men believed that they already possessed consciousness, they gave themselves very little trouble to acquire it and even now it is not otherwise! It is still an entirely new problem just dawning on the human eye, and hardly yet plainly recognisable: to embody knowledge in ourselves and make it instinctive, a problem which is only seen by those who have grasped the fact that hitherto our errors alone have been embodied in us, and that all our consciousness is relative to errors!
The Goal of Science. What? The ultimate goal of science is to create the most pleasure possible to man, and the least possible pain? But what if pleasure and pain should be so closely connected that he who wants the greatest possible amount of the one must also have the greatest possible amount of the other, that he who wants to experience the “heavenly high jubilation,”* must also be ready to be “sorrowful unto death”? * And it is so, perhaps! The Stoics at least believed it was so, and they were consistent when they wished to have the least possible pleasure, in order to have the least possible pain from life. (When one uses the expression: “The virtuous man is the happiest,” it is as much the sign-board of the school for the masses, as a casuistic subtlety for the subtle.) At present also ye have still the choice: either the least possible pain, in short painlessness and after all, socialists and politicians of all parties could not honourably promise more to their people, or the greatest possible amount of pain, as the price of the growth of a fullness of refined delights and enjoyments rarely tasted hitherto! If ye decide for the former, if ye therefore want to depress and minimise man’s capacity for pain, well, ye must also depress and minimise his capacity for enjoyment. In fact, one can further the one as well as the other goal by science! Perhaps science is as yet best known by its capacity for depriving man of enjoyment, and making him colder, more statuesque, and more Stoical. But it might also turn out to be the great pain-bringer! And then, perhaps, its counteracting force would be discovered simultaneously, its immense capacity for making new sidereal worlds of enjoyment beam forth!
* Allusions to the song of Clara in Goethe’s “ Egmont.”— TR.
The Theory of the Sense of Power. We exercise our power over others by doing them good or by doing them ill that is all we care for! _Doing ill_ to those on whom we have to make our power felt; for pain is a far more sensitive means for that purpose than pleasure: pain always asks concerning the cause, while pleasure is inclined to keep within itself and not look backward. Doing good and being kind to those who are in any way already dependent on us (that is, who are accustomed to think of us as their raison d’etre); we want to increase their power, because we thus increase our own; or we want to show them the advantage there is in being in our power—they thus become more contented with their position, and more hostile to the enemies of our power and readier to contend with them If we make sacrifices in doing good or in doing ill, it does not alter the ultimate value of our actions; even if we stake our life in the cause, as martyrs for the sake of our church, it is a sacrifice to our longing for power, or for the purpose of conserving our sense of power. He who under these circumstances feels that he “is in possession of truth,” how many possessions does he not let go, in order to preserve this feeling! What does he not throw overboard, in order to keep himself “up”, — that is to say, above the others who lack the truth! Certainly the condition we are in when we do ill is seldom so pleasant, so purely pleasant, as that in which we practise kindness, — it is an indication that we still lack power, or it betrays ill-humour at this defect in us; it brings with it new dangers and uncertainties as to the power we already possess, and clouds our horizon by the prospect of revenge, scorn, punishment and failure. Perhaps only those most susceptible to the sense of power, and eager for it, will prefer to impress the seal of power on the resisting individual. — those to whom the sight of the already subjugated person as the object of benevolence is a burden and a tedium. It is a question how a person is accustomed to season his life; it is a matter of taste whether a person would rather have the slow or the sudden, the safe or the dangerous and daring increase of power — he seeks this or that seasoning always according to his temperament. An easy booty is something contemptible to proud natures; they have an agreeable sensation only at the sight of men of unbroken spirit who could be enemies to them, and similarly, also, at the sight of all not easily accessible possession; they are often hard toward the sufferer, for he is not worthy of their effort or their pride, but they show themselves so much the more courteous towards their equals, with whom strife and struggle would in any case be full of honour, if at any time an occasion for it should present itself. It is under the agreeable feelings of this perspective that the members of the knightly caste have habituated themselves to exquisite courtesy toward one another. Pity is the most pleasant feeling in those who have not much pride, and have no prospect of great conquests: the easy booty and that is what every sufferer is is for them an enchanting thing. Pity is said to be the virtue of the gay lady.
What is called Love. The lust of property, and love: what different associations each of these ideas evoke! and yet it might be the same impulse twice named: on the one occasion disparaged from the standpoint of those already possessing (in whom the impulse has attained something of repose, who are now apprehensive for the safety of their “possession”); on the other occasion viewed from the standpoint of the unsatisfied and thirsty, and therefore glorified as “good.” Our love of our neighbour, is it not a striving after new property? And similarly our love of knowledge, of truth; and in general all the striving after novelties? We gradually become satiated with the old and securely possessed, and again stretch out our hands; even the finest landscape in which we live for three months is no longer certain of our love, and any kind of more distant coast excites our covetousness: the possession for the most part becomes smaller through possessing. Our pleasure in ourselves seeks to maintain itself by always transforming something new into ourselves, that is just possessing. To become satiated with a possession, that is to become satiated with ourselves. (One can also suffer from excess, even the desire to cast away, to share out, may assume the honourable name of “love.”) When we see any one suffering, we willingly utilise the opportunity then afforded to take possession of him; the beneficent and sympathetic man, for example, does this; he also calls the desire for new possession awakened in him, by the name of “love,” and has enjoyment in it, as in a new acquisition suggesting itself to him. The love of the sexes, however, betrays itself most plainly as the striving after possession: the lover wants the unconditioned, sole possession of the person longed for by him; he wants just as absolute power over her soul as over her body; he wants to be loved solely, and to dwell and rule in the other soul as what is highest and most to be desired. When one considers that this means precisely to exclude all the world from a precious possession, a happiness, and an enjoyment; when one considers that the lover has in view the impoverishment and privation of all other rivals, and would like to become the dragon of his golden hoard, as the most inconsiderate and selfish of all “ conquerors” and exploiters; when one considers finally that to the lover himself, the whole world besides appears indifferent, colourless, and worthless, and that he is ready to make every sacrifice, disturb every arrangement, and put every other interest behind his own, one is verily surprised that this ferocious lust of property and injustice of sexual love should have been glorified and deified to such an extent at all times; yea, that out of this love the conception of love as the antithesis of egoism should have been derived, when it is perhaps precisely the most unqualified expression of egoism. Here, evidently, the non-possessors and desirers have determined the usage of language, there were, of course, always too many of them. Those who have been favoured with much possession and satiety, have, to be sure, dropped a word now and then about the “ raging demon,” as, for instance, the most lovable and most beloved of all the Athenians Sophocles; but Eros always laughed at such revilers, they were always his greatest favourites. There is, of course, here and there on this terrestrial sphere a kind of sequel to love, in which that covetous longing of two persons for one another has yielded to a new desire and covetousness, to a common, higher thirst for a superior ideal standing above them: but who knows this love? Who has experienced it? Its right name is friendship.
Out of the Distance. This mountain makes the whole district which it dominates charming in every way, and full of significance. After we have said this to ourselves for the hundredth time, we are so irrationally and so gratefully disposed to wards it, as the giver of this charm, that we fancy it must itself be the most charming thing in the district and so we climb it, and are undeceived. All of a sudden, both it and the landscape around us and under us, are as it were disenchanted; we had forgotten that many a greatness, like many a goodness, wants only to be seen at a certain distance, and entirely from below, not from above, it is thus only that it operates. Per haps you know men in your neighbourhood who can only look at themselves from a certain distance to find themselves at all endurable, or attractive and enlivening; they are to be dissuaded from self-knowledge.
Across the Plank. One must be able to dis simulate in intercourse with persons who are ashamed of their feelings; they take a sudden aversion to anyone who surprises them in a state of tenderness, or of enthusiastic and high-running feeling, as if he had seen their secrets. If one wants to be kind to them in such moments one should make them laugh, or say some kind of cold, playful wickedness —.their feeling thereby congeals, and they are again self-possessed. But I give the moral before the story. We were once on a time so near one another in the course of our lives, that nothing more seemed to hinder our friendship and fraternity, and there was merely a small plank between us. While you were just about to step on it, I asked you: “ Do you want to come across the plank to me? ” But then you did not want to come any longer; and when I again entreated, you were silent. Since then mountains and torrents, and whatever separates and alienates, have interposed between us, and even if we wanted to come to one another, we could no longer do so! When, however, you now remember that small plank, you have no longer words, but merely sobs and amazement.
Motivation of Poverty.We cannot, to be sure, by any artifice make a rich and richly-flowing virtue out of a poor one, but we can gracefully enough reinterpret its poverty into necessity, so that its aspect no longer gives pain to us, and we cease making reproachful faces at fate on account of it. It is thus that the wise gardener does who puts the tiny streamlet of his garden into the arms of a fountain-nymph, and thus motivates the poverty: and who would not like him need the nymphs!
Ancient Pride. — The ancient savour of nobility is lacking in us, because the ancient slave is lacking in our sentiment. A Greek of noble descent found such immense intermediate stages, and such a distance betwixt his elevation and that ultimate baseness, that he could hardly even see the slave plainly: even Plato no longer saw him entirely. It is otherwise with us, accustomed as we are to the doctrine of the equality of men, although not to the equality itself. A being who has not the free disposal of himself and has not got leisure, that is not regarded by us as anything con temptible; there is perhaps too much of this kind of slavishness in each of us, in accordance with the conditions of our social order and activity, which are fundamentally different from those of the ancients. The Greek philosopher went through life with the secret feeling that there were many more slaves than people supposed that is to say, that every one was a slave who was not a philosopher. His pride was puffed up when he considered that even the mightiest of the earth were thus to be looked upon as slaves. This pride is also unfamiliar to us, and impossible; the word “ slave ” has not its full force for us even in simile.
Evil. Test the life of the best and most pro ductive men and nations, and ask yourselves whether a tree which is to grow proudly heaven ward can dispense with bad weather and tempests: whether disfavour and opposition from without, whether every kind of hatred, jealousy, stubbornness, distrust, severity, greed, and violence do not belong to the favouring circumstances without which a great growth even in virtue is hardly possible? The poison by which the weaker nature is destroyed is strengthening to the strong indi vidual and he does not call it poison.
Dignity of Folly. Several millenniums further on in the path of the last century! and in every thing that man does the highest prudence will be exhibited: but just thereby prudence will have lost all its dignity. It will then, sure enough, be necessary to be prudent, but it will also be so usual and common, that a more fastidious taste will feel this necessity as vulgarity. And just as a tyranny of truth and science would be in a position to raise the value of falsehood, a tyranny of prudence could force into prominence a new species of nobleness. To be noble that might then mean, perhaps, to be capable of follies.
To the Teachers of Unselfishness. The virtues of a man are called good, not in respect to the results they have for himself, but in respect to the results which we expect therefrom for ourselves and for society: we have all along had very little unselfishness, very little “ non-egoism ” in our praise of the virtues! For otherwise it could not but have been seen that the virtues (such as diligence, obedience, chastity, piety, justice) are mostly injurious to their possessors, as impulses which rule in them too vehemently and ardently, and do not want to be kept in coordination with the other impulses by the reason. If you have a virtue, an actual, perfect virtue (and not merely a kind of impulse towards virtue!)-you are its victim! But your neighbour praises your virtue precisely — that account! One praises the diligent man though he injures his sight, or the originality and freshness of his spirit, by his diligence; the youth is honoured and regretted who has “worn himself out by work,” because one passes the judgment that “for society as a whole the loss of the best individual is only a small sacrifice! A pity that this sacrifice should be necessary! A much greater pity it is true, if the individual should think differently, and regard his preservation and development as more important than his work in the service of society!” And so one regrets this youth, not his own account, but because a devoted instrument, regardless of self-a so-called “good man, has been lost to society by his death. Perhaps one further considers the question, whether it would not have been more advantageous for the interests of society if he had laboured with less disregard of himself, and had preserved himself longer — indeed one readily admits an advantage therefrom but one esteems the other advantage, namely, that a sacrifice has been made, and that the disposition of the sacrificial animal has once more been obviously endorsed as higher and more enduring, accordingly, on the one part, the instrumental character in the virtues which is praised I when the virtues are praised, and on the other part a blind, ruling impulse in every virtue which rei to let itself be kept within bounds by the general advantage to the individual; in short, what praised is the unreason in the virtues, in consequence of which the individual allows himself to be transformed into a function of the whole. The praise of the virtues is the praise of something which is privately injurious to the individual; it is praise of impulses which deprive man of his noblest self-love, and the power to take the best care of himself. To be sure, for the teaching and embodying of virtuous habits a series of effects of virtue are displayed, which make it appear that virtue and private advantage are closely related, and there is in fact such a relationship! Blindly furious diligence, for example, the typical virtue of an instrument, is represented as the way to riches and honour, and as the most beneficial antidote to tedium and passion: but people are silent concerning its danger, its greatest dangerousness. Education proceeds in this manner throughout: it endeavours, by a series of enticements and advantages, to determine the individual to a certain mode of thinking and acting, which, when it has become habit, impulse and passion, rules in him and over him, in opposition to his ultimate advantage, but “ for the general good.” How often do I see that blindly furious diligence does indeed create riches and honours, but at the same time deprives the organs of the refinement by virtue of which alone an enjoyment of riches and honours is possible; so that really the main expedient for combating tedium and passion, simultaneously blunts the senses and makes the spirit refractory towards new stimuli! (The busiest of all ages our age does not know how to make anything out of its great diligence and wealth, except always more and more wealth, and more and more diligence; there is even more genius needed for laying out wealth than for acquiring it! Well, we shall have our “grandchildren”!) If the education succeeds, every virtue of the individual is a public utility, and a private disadvantage in respect to the highest private end probably some psycho-aesthetic stunting, or even premature dissolution. One should consider successively from the same standpoint the virtues of obedience, chastity, piety, and justice. The praise of the unselfish, self sacrificing, virtuous person he, consequently, who does not expend his whole energy and reason for his own conservation, development, elevation, furtherance and augmentation of power, but lives as regards himself unassumingly and thoughtlessly, perhaps even indifferently or ironically, this praise has in any case not originated out of the spirit of unselfishness! The “ neighbour ” praises unselfishness because he profits by it! If the neighbour were “unselfishly” disposed himself, he would reject that destruction of power, that injury for his advantage, he would thwart such inclinations in their origin, and above all he would manifest his unselfishness just by not giving it a good name! The fundamental contradiction in that morality which at present stands in high honour is here indicated: the motives to such a morality are in antithesis to its principle! That with which this morality wishes to prove itself, refutes it out of its criterion of what is moral! The maxim, “ Thou shalt renounce thyself and offer thyself as a sacrifice,” in order not to be inconsistent with its own morality, could only be decreed by a being who himself renounced his own advantage thereby, and who perhaps in the required self-sacrifice of individuals brought about his own dissolution. As soon, however, as the neighbour (or society) recommended altruism on account of its utility, the precisely antithetical proposition, “ Thou shalt seek thy advantage even at the expense of everybody else,” was brought into use: accordingly, “ thou shalt,” and “ thou shalt not,” are preached in one breath!
L’Ordre du Jour pour le Roi. The day commences: let us begin to arrange for this day the business and fetes of our most gracious lord, who at present is still pleased to repose. His Majesty has bad weather today: we shall be careful not to call it bad; we shall not speak of the weather, but we shall go through today’s business somewhat more ceremoniously and make the fetes somewhat more festive than would otherwise be necessary. His Majesty may perhaps even be sick: we shall give the last good news of the evening at breakfast, the arrival of M. Montaigne, who knows how to joke so pleasantly about his sickness, he suffers from stone. We shall receive several persons (persons! what would that old inflated frog, who will be among them, say, if he heard this word! “ I am no person,” he would say, “but always the thing itself “) and the reception will last longer than is pleasant to anybody; a sufficient reason for telling about the poet who wrote over his door, “ He who enters here will do me an honour; he who does not a favour.” That is, forsooth, saying a discourteous thing in a courteous manner! And perhaps this poet is quite justified on his part in being discourteous; they say that his rhymes are better than the rhymester. Well, let him still make many of them, and withdraw himself as much as possible from the world: and that is doubtless the significance of his well-bred rudeness! A prince, on the other hand, is always of more value than his “verse,” even when but what are we about? We gossip, and the whole court believes that we have already been at work and racked our brains: there is no light to be seen earlier than that which burns in our “window. Hark! Was that not the bell? The devil! The day and the dance commence, and we do not know our rounds! We must then improvise, all the world improvises its day. To day, let us for once do like all the world! And therewith vanished my wonderful morning dream, probably owing to the violent strokes of the tower-clock, which just then announced the fifth hour with all the importance which is peculiar to it. It seems to me that on this occasion the God of dreams wanted to make merry over my habits, it is my habit to commence the day by arranging it properly, to make it endurable for myself, and it is possible that I may often have done this too formally, and too much like a prince.
The Characteristics of Corruption. Let us observe the following characteristics in that condition of society from time to time necessary, which is designated by the word “ corruption.” Immediately upon the appearance of corruption anywhere, a motley superstition gets the upper hand, and the hitherto universal belief of a people becomes colourless and impotent in comparison with it; for superstition is freethinking of the second rank, he who gives himself over to it selects certain forms and formulae which appeal to him, and permits himself a right of choice. The superstitious man is always much more of a “ person,” in comparison with the religious man, and a superstitious society will be one in which there are many individuals, and a delight in individuality. Seen from this standpoint superstition always appears as a progress in comparison with belief, and as a sign that the intellect becomes more independent and claims to have its rights. Those who reverence the old religion and the religious disposition then complain of corruption, they have hitherto also determined the usage of language, and have given a bad repute to superstition, even among the freest spirits. Let us learn that it is a symptom of enlightenment. Secondly, a society in which corruption takes a hold is blamed for effeminacy: for the appreciation of war, and the delight in war, perceptibly diminish in such a society, and the conveniences of life are now just as eagerly sought after as were military and gymnastic honours formerly. But one is accustomed to overlook the fact that the old national energy and national passion, which acquired a magnificent splendour in war and in the tourney, has now transferred itself into innumerable private passions, and has merely become less visible; indeed in periods of “corruption” the quantity and quality of the expended energy of a people is prob ably greater than ever, and the individual spends it lavishly, to such an extent as could not be done formerly he was not then rich enough to do so! And thus it is precisely in times of “ effeminacy” that tragedy runs at large in and out of doors, it is then that ardent love and ardent hatred are bora, and the flame of knowledge flashes heaven ward in full blaze. Thirdly, as if in amends for the reproach of superstition and effeminacy, it is customary to say of such periods of corruption that they are milder, and that cruelty has then greatly diminished in comparison with the older, more credulous, and stronger period. But to this praise I am just as little able to assent as to that reproach: I only grant so much namely, that cruelty now becomes more refined, and its older forms are henceforth counter to the taste; but the wounding and torturing by word and look reaches its highest development in times of corruption, it is now only that wickedness is created, and the delight in wickedness. The men of the period of corruption are witty and calumnious; they know that there are yet other ways of murdering than by the dagger and the ambush they know also that all that is well said is believed in. Fourthly, it is when “morals decay” that those beings whom one calls tyrants first make their appearance; they are the forerunners of the individual, and as it were early matured firstlings. Yet a little while, and this fruit of fruits hangs ripe and yellow on the tree of a people, and only for the sake of such fruit did this tree exist! When the decay has reached its worst, and likewise the conflict of all sorts of tyrants, there always arises the Caesar, the final tyrant, who puts an end to the exhausted struggle for sovereignty, by making the exhaustedness work for him. In his time the individual is usually most mature, and consequently the “culture” is highest and most fruitful, but not on his account nor through him: although the men of highest culture love to flatter their Caesar by pretending that they are his creation. The truth, however, is that they need quietness externally, because they have disquietude and labour internally. In these times bribery and treason are at their height: for the love of the ego, then first discovered, is much more powerful than the love of the old, used-up, hackneyed “father land”; and the need to be secure in one way or other against the frightful fluctuations of fortune, opens even the nobler hands, as soon as a richer and more powerful person shows himself ready to put gold into them. There is then so little certainty with regard to the future; people live only for the day: a psychical condition which enables every deceiver to play an easy game, people of course only let themselves be misled and bribed “for the present,” and reserve for themselves futurity and virtue. The individuals, as is well known, the men who only live for themselves, provide for the moment more than do their opposites, the gregarious men, because they consider themselves just as incalculable as the future; and similarly they attach them selves willingly to despots, because they believe themselves capable of activities and expedients, which can neither reckon on being understood by the multitude, nor on finding favour with but the tyrant or the Caesar understands the right of the individual even in his excesses, and has an interest in speaking on behalf of a bolder private morality, and even in giving his hand to it For he thinks of himself, and wishes people to think of him what Napoleon once uttered in his classical style —“I have the right to answer by an eternal ‘thus I am’ to everything about which complaint is brought against me. I am apart from all the world, I accept conditions from nobody. I wish people also to submit to my fancies, and to take it quite as a simple matter, if I should indulge in this or that diversion.” Thus spoke Napoleon once to his wife, when she had reasons for calling in question the fidelity of her husband. — The times of corruption are the seasons when the apples fall from the tree: I mean the individuals, the seed-bearers of the future, the pioneers of spmtua colonisation, and of a new construction of national and social unions. Corruption is only an abusive term for the harvest time of a people.
Different Dissatisfactions. —— The feeble and as it were feminine dissatisfied people, have ingenuity for beautifying and deepening life; the strong dissatisfied people-the masculine persons among them to continue the metaphor have ingenuity for improving and safeguarding life. The former show their weakness and feminine character by willingly letting themselves be temporarily deceived, and perhaps even by putting up with a little ecstasy and enthusiasm on a time, but on the whole they are never to be satisfied, and suffer from the incurability of their dissatisfaction; moreover they are the patrons of all those who manage to concoct opiate and narcotic comforts, and on that account are averse to those who value the physician higher than the priest, they thereby encourage the continuance of actual distress! If there had not been a surplus of dissatisfied persons of this kind in Europe since the time of the Middle Ages, the remarkable capacity of Europeans for constant transformation would perhaps not have originated at all; for the claims of the strong dissatisfied persons are too gross, and really too modest to resist being finally quieted down. China is an instance of a country in which dissatisfaction on a grand scale and the capacity for transformation have died out for many centuries; and the Socialists and state-idolaters of Europe could easily bring things to Chinese conditions and to a Chinese “happiness,” with their measures for the amelioration and security of life, provided that they could first of all root out the sicklier, tenderer, more feminine dissatisfaction and Romanticism which are still very abundant among us. Europe is an invalid who owes her best thanks to her incurability and the eternal transformations of her sufferings; these constant new situations, these equally constant new dangers, pains, and make-shifts, have at last generated an intellectual sensitiveness which is almost equal to genius, and is in any case the mother of all genius.
Not Pre-ordained to Knowledge. There is a pur blind humility not at all rare, and when a person is afflicted with it, he is once for all disqualified for being a disciple of knowledge. It is this in fact — the moment a man of this kind perceives anything striking, he turns as it were on his heel and says to himself: “You have deceived yourself Where have your wits been! This cannot be the truth!”-and then, instead of looking at it and listening to it with more attention, he runs out of the way of the striking object as if intimidated, and seeks to get it out of his head as quickly as possible. For his fundamental rule runs thus: “I want to see nothing that contradicts the usual opinion concerning things! Am I created for the purpose of discovering new truths? There are already too many of the old ones.”
What is Living? Living — that is to continually eliminate from ourselves what is about to die; Living — that is to be cruel and inexorable towards all that becomes weak and old in ourselves and not only in ourselves. Living — that means, there fore to be without piety toward the dying, the wretched and the old? To be continually a murderer? — And yet old Moses said: “Thou shalt not kill!”
The Self–Renouncer. What does the self-renouncer do? He strives after a higher world, he wants to fly longer and further and higher than all men of affirmation he throws away many things that would impede his flight, and several things among them that are not valueless, that are not unpleasant to him: he sacrifices them to his desire for elevation. Now this sacrificing, this casting away, is the very thing which becomes visible in him: on that account one calls him a self-renouncer, and as such he stands before us, enveloped in his cowl, and as the soul of a hair-shirt With this effect, however, which he makes upon us he is well content: he wants to keep concealed from us his desire, his pride, his intention of flying above us. Yes! He is wiser than we thought, and so courteous towards us this affirmer! For that is what he is, like us, even in his self-renunciation.
Injuring with one’s best Qualities. Our strong points sometimes drive us so far forward that we cannot any longer endure our weaknesses, and we perish by them: we also perhaps see this result beforehand, but nevertheless do not want it to be otherwise. We then become hard towards that which would fain be spared in us, and our pitiless-ness is also our greatness. Such an experience, which must in the end cost us our life, is a symbol of the collective effect of great men upon others and upon their epoch: it is just with their best abilities, with that which only they can do, that they destroy much that is weak, uncertain, evolving, and willing, and are thereby injurious. Indeed, the case may happen in which, taken on the whole, they only do injury, because their best is accepted and drunk up as it were solely by those who lose their understanding and their egoism by it, as by too strong a beverage; they become so intoxicated that they go breaking their limbs on all the wrong roads where their drunkenness drives them.
Adventitious Liars. When people began to combat the unity of Aristotle in France, and consequently also to defend it, there was once more to be seen that which has been seen so often, but seen so unwillingly: people imposed false reasons on themselves on account of which those laws ought to exist, merely for the sake of not acknowledging to themselves that they had accustomed themselves to the authority of those laws, and did not want any longer to have things otherwise. And people do so in every prevailing morality and religion, and have always done so: the reasons and intentions behind the habit, are only added surreptitiously when people begin to combat the habit, and ask for reasons and intentions. It is here that the great dishonesty of the conservatives of all times hides: they are adventitious liars.
The Comedy of Celebrated Men. Celebrated men who need their fame, as, for instance, all politicians, no longer select their associates and friends without fore-thought: from the one they want a portion of the splendour and reflection of his virtues; from the other they want the fear-inspiring power of certain dubious qualities in him, of which every body is aware; from another they steal his reputation for idleness and basking in the sun, because it is advantageous for their own ends to be regarded temporarily as heedless and lazy: it conceals the fact that they lie in ambush; they now use the visionaries, now the experts, now the brooders, now the pedants in their neighbourhood, as their actual selves for the time; but very soon they do not need them any longer! And thus while their environment and outside die off continually, every thing seems to crowd into this environment, and wants to become a “ character” of it; they are like great cities in this respect. Their repute is continually in process of mutation, like their character, for their changing methods require this change, and they show and exhibit sometimes this and sometimes that actual or fictitious quality on the stage; their friends and associates, as we have said, belong to these stage properties. On the other hand, that which they aim at must remain so much the more steadfast, and burnished and resplendent in the distance, and this also sometimes needs its comedy and its stage-play.
Commerce and Nobility. Buying and selling is now regarded as something ordinary, like the art of reading and writing; everyone is now trained to it even when he is not a tradesman exercising himself daily in the art; precisely as formerly in the period of uncivilised humanity, everyone was a hunter and exercised himself day by day in the art of hunting. Hunting was then something common: but just as this finally became a privilege of the powerful and noble, and thereby lost the character of the commonplace and the ordinary by ceasing to be necessary and by becoming an affair of fancy and luxury, so it might become the same some day with buying and selling. Conditions of society are imaginable in which there will be no selling and buying, and in which the necessity for this art will become quite lost; perhaps it may then happen that individuals who are less subjected to the law of the prevailing condition of things will indulge in buying and selling as a luxury of sentiment. It is then only that commerce would acquire nobility, and the noble would then perhaps occupy themselves just as readily with commerce as they have done hitherto with war and politics: while on the other hand the valuation of politics might then have entirely altered. Already even politics ceases to be the business of a gentleman; and it is possible that one day it may be found to be so vulgar as to be brought, like all party literature and daily literature, under the rubric: “Prostitution of the intellect.”
Undesirable Disciples. What shall I do with these two youths! called out a philosopher dejectedly, who “corrupted” youths, as Socrates had once corrupted them, they are unwelcome disciples to me. One of them cannot say “Nay,” and the other says “Half and half” to everything. Provided they grasped my doctrine, the former would suffer too much, for my mode of thinking requires a martial soul, willingness to cause pain, delight in denying, and a hard skin, he would succumb by open wounds and internal injuries. And the other will choose the mediocre in every thing he represents, and thus make a mediocrity of the whole, I should like my enemy to have such a disciple.
Outside the Lecture-room. “In order to prove that man after all belongs to the good-natured animals, I would remind you how credulous he has been for so long a time. It is now only, quite late, and after an immense self-conquest, that he has become a distrustful animal, yes! man is now more wicked than ever.” I do not understand this; why should man now be more distrustful and more wicked? “Because now he has science, because he needs to have it!”
Historia abscondita. Every great man has a power which operates backward; all history is again placed on the scales on his account, and a thousand secrets of the past crawl out of their lurking-places into his sunlight. There is absolutely no knowing what history may be some day The past is still perhaps undiscovered in its essence! There is yet so much reinterpreting ability needed!
Heresy and Witchcraft. — To think otherwise than is customary — that is by no means so much the activity of a better intellect, as the activity of strong wicked inclinations — severing, isolating, refractory, mischief-loving, malicious inclinations. Heresy is the counterpart of witchcraft, and is certainly just as little a merely harmless affair, or a thing worthy of honour in itself. Heretics and sorcerers are two kinds of bad men; they have it in common that they also feel themselves wicked; their unconquerable delight is to attack and injure whatever rules — whether it be men or opinions. The Reformation, a kind of duplication of the spirit of the Middle Ages at a time when it had no longer a good conscience, produced both of these kinds of people in the greatest profusion.
Last Words.-lt will be recollected that the Emperor Augustus, that terrible man, who 1 himself as much in his own power and be silent as well as any wise Socrates, became indiscreet about himself in his last words; for the first time he let his mask fall, when he gave to understand that he had carried a mask and played a comedy, he had played the father of his country and wisdom on the throne well, even to the point of illusion! Plaudite amid, comoedia finita est! The thought of the dying Nero: qualis artifex pereo! was also the thought of the dying Augustus: histrionic conceit! histrionic loquacity! And the very counterpart to the dying Socrates! But Tiberius died silently, that most tortured of all self-torturers, he was genuine and not a stage-player! What may have passed through his head in the end! Perhaps this: “Life that is a long death. I am a fool, who shortened the lives of so many! Was created for the purpose of being a benefactor? I should have given them eternal life: and then I could have seen them dying eternally. I had such good eyes for that: qualis spectator pereo!” When he seemed once more to regain his powers after a long death-struggle, it was considered advisable to smother him with pillows, he died a double death.
Owing to three Errors. Science has been furthered during recent centuries, partly because it was hoped that God’s goodness and wisdom would be best understood therewith and thereby the principal motive in the soul of great Englishmen (like Newton); partly because the absolute utility of knowledge was believed in, and especially the most intimate connection of morality, knowledge, and happiness the principal motive in the soul of great
Frenchmen (like Voltaire); and partly because it was thought that in science there was something unselfish, harmless, self-sufficing, lovable, and truly innocent to be had, in which the evil human impulses did not at all participate the principal motive in the soul of Spinoza, who felt himself divine, as a knowing being: it is consequently owing to three errors that science has been furthered.
Explosive People. When one considers how ready are the forces of young men for discharge, one does not wonder at seeing them decide so uncritically and with so little selection for this or that cause: that which attracts them is the sight of eagerness for a cause, as it were the sight of the burning match not the cause itself. The more ingenious seducers on that account operate by holding out the prospect of an explosion to such persons, and do not urge their cause by means of reasons; these powder-barrels are not won over by means of reasons!
Altered Taste. The alteration of the general taste is more important than the alteration of opinions; opinions, with all their proving, refuting, and intellectual masquerade, are merely symptoms of altered taste, and are certainly not what they are still so often claimed to be, the causes of the altered taste. How does the general taste alter? By the fact of individuals, the powerful and influential persons, expressing and tyrannically enforcing without any feeling of shame, their hoc est ridiculum, hocest absurdum; the decisions, there fore, of their taste and their disrelish: they thereby lay a constraint upon many people, out of which there gradually grows a habituation for still more, and finally a necessity for all. The fact, however, that these individuals feel and “taste” differently, has usually its origin in a peculiarity of their mode of life, nourishment, or digestion, perhaps in a surplus or deficiency of the inorganic salts in their blood and brain, in short in their physis; they have, however, the courage to avow their physical constitution, and to lend an ear even to the most delicate tones of its requirements: their aesthetic and moral judgments are those “most delicate tones” of their physis.
The Lack of a noble Presence. Soldiers and their leaders have always a much higher mode of comportment toward one another than workmen and their employers. At present at least, all militarily established civilisation still stands high above all so-called industrial civilisation; the latter, in its present form, is in general the meanest mode of existence that has ever been. It is simply the law of necessity that operates here: people want to live, and have to sell themselves; but they despise him who exploits their necessity and purchases the workman. It is curious that the subjection to powerful, fear-inspiring, and even dreadful individuals, to tyrants and leaders of armies, is not at all felt so painfully as the subjection to such undistinguished and uninteresting persons as the captains of industry; in the employer the workman usually sees merely a crafty, blood-sucking dog of a man, speculating on every necessity, whose name, form, character, and reputation are altogether indifferent to him. It is prob able that the manufacturers and great magnates of commerce have hitherto lacked too much all those forms and attributes of a superior race, which alone make persons interesting; if they had had the nobility of the nobly-born in their looks and bearing, there would perhaps have been no socialism in the masses of the people. For these are really ready for slavery of every kind, provided that the superior class above them constantly shows itself legitimately superior, and born to command by its noble presence! The commonest man feels that nobility is not to be improvised, and that it is his part to honour it as the fruit of protracted race-culture but the absence of superior presence, and the notorious vulgarity of manufacturers with red, fat hands, brings up the thought to him that it is only chance and fortune that has here elevated the one above the other; well then so he reasons with himself let us in our turn tempt chance and fortune! Let us in our turn throw the dice! and socialism commences.
Against Remorse. The thinker sees in his own actions attempts and questionings to obtain information about something or other; success and failure are answers to him first and foremost. To vex himself, however, because something does not succeed, or to feel remorse at all he leaves that to those who act because they are commanded to do so, and expect to get a beating when their gracious master is not satisfied with the result.
Work and Ennui. In respect to seeking work for the sake of the pay, almost all men are alike at present in civilised countries; to all of them work is a means, and not itself the end; on which account they are not very select in the choice of the work, provided it yields an abundant profit. But still there are rarer men who would rather perish than work without delight in their labour: the fastidious people, difficult to satisfy, whose object is not served by an abundant profit, unless the work itself be the reward of all rewards. Artists and contemplative men of all kinds belong to this rare species of human beings; and also the idlers who spend their life in hunting and travelling, or in love-affairs and adventures. They all seek toil and trouble in so far as these are associated with pleasure, and they want the severest and hardest labour, if it be necessary. In other respects, how ever, they have a resolute indolence, even should impoverishment, dishonour, and danger to health and life be associated therewith. They are not so much afraid of ennui as of labour without pleasure; indeed they require much ennui, if their work is to succeed with them. For the thinker and for all inventive spirits ennui is the unpleasant “calm” of the soul which precedes the happy voyage and the dancing breezes; he must endure it, he must await the effect it has on him: it is precisely this which lesser natures cannot at all experience! is common to scare away ennui in every way, just as it is common to labour without pleasure. It perhaps distinguishes the Asiatics above the Europeans, that they are capable of a longer and profounder repose; even their narcotics operate slowly and require patience, in contrast to the obnoxious suddenness of the European poison, alcohol.
What the Laws Betray. One makes a great mis take when one studies the penal laws of a people, as if they were an expression of its character; the laws do not betray what a people is, but what appears to them foreign, strange, monstrous, and outlandish. The laws concern themselves with the exceptions to the morality of custom; and the severest punishments fall on acts which conform to the customs of the neighbouring peoples, among the Wahabites, there are only two mortal sins: having another God than the Wahabite God, and smoking (it is designated by them as “the disgraceful kind of drinking”). “And how is it with regard to murder and adultery?” asked the Englishman with astonishment on learning these things. “Well, God is gracious and pitiful!” answered the old chief. — Thus among the ancient Romans there was the idea that a woman could only sin mortally in two ways: by adultery on the one hand, and by wine-drinking on the other. Old Cato pretended that kissing among relatives had only been made a custom in order to keep women in control on this point; a kiss meant: did her breath smell of wine? Wives had actually been punished by death who were surprised taking wine: and certainly not merely because women under the influence of wine sometimes unlearn altogether the art of saying No; the Romans were afraid above all things of the orgiastic and Dionysian spirit with which the women of Southern Europe at that time (when wine was still new in Europe) were sometimes visited, as by a monstrous foreignness which subverted the basis of Roman sentiments; it seemed to them treason against Rome, as the embodiment of foreignness.
The Believed Motive. However important it may be to know the motives according to which man kind has really acted hitherto, perhaps the belief in this or that motive, and therefore that which mankind has assumed and imagined to be the actual mainspring of its activity hitherto, is some thing still more essential for the thinker to know. For the internal happiness and misery of men have always come to them through their belief in this or that motive, not however, through that which was actually the motive! All about the latter has an interest of secondary rank.
Epicurus. Yes, I am proud of perceiving the character of Epicurus differently from anyone else perhaps, and of enjoying the happiness of the afternoon of antiquity in all that I hear and read of him: I see his eye gazing out on a broad whitish sea, over the shore-rocks on which the sunshine rests, while great and small creatures play in its light, secure and calm like this light and that eye itself. Such happiness could only have been devised by a chronic sufferer, the happiness of an eye before which the sea of existence has become calm, and which can no longer tire of gazing at the surface and at the variegated, tender, tremulous skin of this sea. Never previously was there such a moderation of voluptuousness.
Our Astonishment There is a profound and fundamental satisfaction in the fact that science ascertains things that hold their ground, and again furnish the basis for new researches: it could certainly be otherwise. Indeed, we are so much convinced of all the uncertainty and caprice of our judgments, and of the everlasting change of all human laws and conceptions, that we are really astonished how persistently the results of science hold their ground! In earlier times people knew nothing of this changeability of all human things; the custom of morality maintained the belief that the whole inner life of man was bound to iron necessity by eternal fetters: perhaps people then felt a similar voluptuousness of astonishment when they listened to tales and fairy stories. The wonderful did so much good to those men, who might well get tired sometimes of the regular and the eternal. To leave the ground for once! To soar! To stray! To be mad! that belonged to the paradise and the revelry of earlier times; while our felicity is like that of the shipwrecked man who has gone ashore, and places himself with both feet on the old, firm ground in astonishment that it does not rock.
The Suppression of the Passions. When one continually prohibits the expression of the passions as something to be left to the “vulgar,” to coarser, bourgeois, and peasant natures that is, when one does not want to suppress the passions themselves, but only their language and demeanour, one nevertheless realises therewith just what one does not want: the suppression of the passions themselves, or at least their weakening and alteration, as the court of Louis XIV. (to cite the most instructive instance), and all that was dependent on it, experienced. The generation that followed, trained in suppressing their expression, no longer possessed the passions themselves, but had a pleasant, superficial, playful disposition in their place, a generation which was so permeated with the incapacity to be ill-mannered, that even an injury was not taken and retaliated, except with courteous words. Perhaps our own time furnishes the most remarkable counterpart to this period: I see everywhere (in life, in the theatre, and not least in all that is written) satisfaction at all the coarser outbursts and gestures of passion; a certain convention of passionateness is now desired, only not the passion itself! Nevertheless it will thereby be at last reached, and our posterity will have a genuine savagery, and not merely a formal savagery and unmannerliness.
Knowledge of Distress. Perhaps there is nothing by which men and periods are so much separated from one another, as by the different degrees of knowledge of distress which they possess; distress of the soul as well as of the body. With respect to the latter, owing to lack of sufficient self experience, we men of the present day (in spite of our deficiencies and infirmities), are perhaps all of us blunderers and visionaries in compansor with the men of the age of fear — the longest of all ages, when the individual had to protect himself against violence, and for that purpose had to be a man of violence himself. At that time a man went through a long schooling of corporeal tortures and privations, and found even in a certain kind of cruelty toward himself, in a voluntary use of pain, a necessary means for his preservation; at that time a person trained his environment the endurance of pain; at that time a person willingly inflicted pain, and saw the most frightful things of this kind happen to others, without having any other feeling than for his own security. As regards the distress of the soul however, I now look at every man with respect to whether he knows it by experience or by description; whether he still regards it as necessary to simulate this knowledge, perhaps as an indication of more refined culture; or whether, at the bottom of his heart, he does not at all believe in great sorrows of soul, and at the naming of them calls to mind a similar experience as at the naming of great corporeal sufferings, such as tooth aches, and stomach-aches. It is thus, however, that it seems to be with most people at present. Owing to the universal inexperience of both kinds of pain, and the comparative rarity of the spectacle of a sufferer, an important consequence results: people now hate pain far more than earlier man did, and calumniate it worse than ever; indeed people nowadays can hardly endure the thought of pain, and make out of it an affair of conscience and a reproach to collective existence. The appearance of pessimistic philosophies is not at all the sign of great and dreadful miseries; for these interrogative marks regarding the worth of life appear in periods when the refinement and alleviation of existence already deem the unavoidable gnat-stings of the soul and body as altogether too bloody and wicked; and in the poverty of actual experiences of pain, would now like to make painful general ideas appear as suffering of the worst kind. There might indeed be a remedy for pessimistic philosophies and the excessive sensibility which seems to me the real “distress of the present”: but perhaps this remedy already sounds too cruel, and would itself be reckoned among the symptoms owing to which people at present conclude that “existence is some thing evil.” Well! the remedy for “the distress” is distress.
Magnanimity and allied Qualities. Those paradoxical phenomena, such as the sudden coldness in the demeanour of good-natured men, the humour of the melancholy, and above all magnanimity, as a sudden renunciation of revenge or of the gratification of envy — appear in men in whom there is a powerful inner impulsiveness, in men of sudden safety and sudden disgust. Their satisfactions are so rapid and violent that satiety, aversion and flight into the antithetical taste, immediately follow upon them: in this contrast the convulsion of feeling liberates itself, in one person by sudden coldness, in another by laughter, and in a third tears and self-sacrifice. The magnanimous person appears to me — at least that kind of magnanimous person who has always made most impression — as a man with the strongest thirst for vengeance, to whom a gratification presents itself close at hand, and who already drinks it off in imagination so copiously, thoroughly, and to the last drop.that an excessive, rapid disgust follows this rapid licentiousness — he now elevates himself “above himself,” as one says, and forgives his enemy, yea, blesses and honours him. With this violence done to himself, however, with this mockery of his impulse to revenge, even still so powerful, he merely yields to the new impulse, the disgust which has become powerful, and does this just as impatiently and licentiously, as a short time previously he forestalled, and as it were exhausted, the joy of revenge with his fantasy. In magnanimity there is the same amount of egoism as in revenge, but a different quality of egoism.
The Argument of Isolation. The reproach of conscience, even in the most conscientious, is weak against the feeling: “This and that are contrary to the good morals of your society.” A cold glance or a wry mouth on the part of those among whom and for whom one has been educated, is still feared even by the strongest. What is really feared there? Isolation! as the argument which demolishes even the best arguments for a person or cause! It is thus that the gregarious instinct speaks in us.
Sense for Truth. Commend me to all scepticism where I am permitted to answer: “Let us put it to the test!” But I don’t wish to hear anything more of things and questions which do not admit of being tested. That is the limit of my “sense for truth”: for bravery has there lost its right.
What others Know of us. That which we know of ourselves and have in our memory is not so decisive for the happiness of our life as is generally believed. One day it flashes upon our mind what others know of us (or think they know) and then we acknowledge that it is the more powerful. We get on with our bad conscience more easily than with our bad reputation.
Where Goodness Begins. Where bad eyesight can no longer see the evil impulse as such, on account of its refinement, there man sets up the kingdom of goodness; and the feeling of having now gone over into the kingdom of goodness brings all those impulses (such as the feelings of security, of comfortableness, of benevolence) into simultaneous activity, which were threatened and confined by the evil impulses. Consequently, the duller the eye so much the further does goodness extend! Hence the eternal cheerfulness of the populace and of children! Hence the gloominess and grief (allied to the bad conscience) of great thinkers.
The Consciousness of Appearance. How wonderfully and novelly, and at the same time how awfully and ironically, do I feel myself situated with respect to collective existence, with my know ledge! I have discovered for myself that the old humanity and animality, yea, the collective primeval age, and the past of all sentient being, continues to meditate, love, hate, and reason in me, I have suddenly awoke in the midst of this dream, but merely to the consciousness that I just dream, and that I must dream on in order not to perish; just as the sleep-walker must dream on in order not to tumble down. What is it that is now “appearance” to me! Verily, not the antithesis of any kind of essence, what knowledge can I assert of any kind of essence whatsoever, except merely the predicates of its appearance! Verily not a dead mask which one could put upon an unknown X, and which to be sure one could also remove! Appearance is for me the operating and living thing itself; which goes so far in its self-mockery as to make me feel that here there is appearance, and Will ’o the Wisp, and spirit-dance, and nothing more, that among all these dreamers, I also, the “thinker,” dance my dance, that the thinker is a means of prolonging further the terrestrial dance, and in so far is one of the masters of ceremony of existence, and that the sublime consistency and connectedness of all branches of knowledge is perhaps, and will perhaps, be the best means for maintaining the universality of the dreaming, the complete, mutual understandability of all those dreamers, and thereby the duration of the dream.
The Ultimate Nobility of Character. What then makes a person “noble”? Certainly not that he makes sacrifices; even the frantic libertine makes sacrifices. Certainly not that he generally follows his passions; there are contemptible passions. Certainly not that he does something for others, and without selfishness; perhaps the effect of selfishness is precisely at its greatest in the noblest persons. But that the passion which seizes the noble man is a peculiarity, without his knowing that it is so: the use of a rare and singular measuring-rod, almost a frenzy: the feeling of heat in things which feel cold to all other persons: a divining of values for which scales have not yet been invented: a sacrificing on altars which are consecrated to an unknown God: a bravery without the desire for honour: a self-sufficiency which has superabundance, and imparts to men and things Hitherto, therefore, it has been the rare in man, and the unconsciousness of this rareness, that has made men noble. Here, however, let us consider that everything ordinary, immediate, and indispensable, in short, what has been most preservative of the species, and generally the rule in mankind hitherto, has been judged unreasonable and calumniated in its entirety by this standard, in favour of the exceptions. To become the advocate of the rule — that may perhaps be the ultimate form and refinement in which nobility of character will reveal itself on earth.
The Desire for Suffering. When I think of the desire to do something, how it continually tick and stimulates millions of young Europeans, who cannot endure themselves and all their ennui,- I conceive that there must be a desire in them to suffer something, in order to derive from th suffering a worthy motive for acting, for doing something. Distress is necessary! Hence the cry of the politicians, hence the many false trumped-up exaggerated “states of distress” of all possible kinds, and the blind readiness to believe in them This young world desires that there should arrive or appear from the outside — not happiness — but misfortune; and their imagination is already busy beforehand to form a monster out of it, so that they may afterwards be able to fight with a monster. If these distress-seekers felt the power to benefit themselves, to do something for themselves from internal sources, they would also understand how to create a distress of their own, specially their own, from internal sources. Their inventions might then be more refined, and their gratifications might sound like good music: while at present they fill the world with their cries of distress, and consequently too often with the feeling of distress in the first place! They do not know what to make of themselves and so they paint the misfortune of others on the wall; they always need others! And always again other others! Pardon me, my friends, I have ventured to paint my happiness on the wall.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:12