New Struggles. After Buddha was dead people showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a cave, an immense frightful shadow. God is dead:— but as the human race is constituted, there will perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which people will show his shadow. And we we have still to overcome his shadow!
Let us be on our Guard. Let us be on our guard against thinking that the world is a living being. Where could it extend itself? What could it nourish itself with? How could it grow and increase? We know tolerably well what the organic is; and we are to reinterpret the emphatically derivative, tardy, rare and accidental, which we only perceive on the crust of the earth, into the essential, universal and eternal, as those do who call the universe an organism? That disgusts me. Let us now be on our guard against believing that the universe is a machine; it is assuredly not constructed with a view to one end; we invest it with far too high an honour with the word “machine.” Let us be on our guard against supposing that anything so methodical as the cyclic motions of our neighbouring stars obtains generally and throughout the universe; indeed a glance at the Milky Way induces doubt as to whether there are not many cruder and more contradictory motions there, and even stars with continuous, rectilinearly gravitating orbits, and the like. The astral arrangement in which we live is an exception; this arrangement, and the relatively long durability which is determined by it, has again made possible the exception of exceptions, the formation of organic life. The general character of the world, on the other hand, is to all eternity chaos; not by the absence of necessity, but in the sense of the absence of order, structure, form, beauty, wisdom, and whatever else our aesthetic humanities are called. Judged by our reason, the unlucky casts are far oftenest the rule, the exceptions are not the secret purpose; and the whole musical box repeats eternally its air, which can never be called a melody, and finally the very expression, “unlucky cast” is already an anthropomorphising which involves blame. But how could we presume to blame or praise the universe! Let us be on our guard against ascribing to it heartlessness and unreason, or their opposites; it is neither perfect, nor beautiful, nor noble; nor does it seek to be anything of the kind, it does not at all attempt to imitate man! It is altogether unaffected by our aesthetic and moral judgments! Neither has it any self-preservative instinct, nor instinct at all; it also knows no law. Let us be on our guard against saying that there are laws in nature. There are only necessities: there is no one who commands, no one who obeys, no one who transgresses. When you know that there is no design, you know also that there is no chance: for it is only where there is a world of design that the word “chance” has a meaning. Let us be on our guard against saying that death is contrary to life. The living being is only a species of dead being, and a very rare species. Let us be on our guard against thinking that the world eternally creates the new. There are no eternally enduring substances; matter is just another such error as the God of the Eleatics. But when shall we be at an end with our foresight and precaution! When will all these shadows of God cease to obscure us? When shall we have nature entirely undeified! When shall we be permitted to naturalise our selves by means of the pure, newly discovered, newly redeemed nature?
Origin of Knowledge. Throughout immense stretches of time the intellect produced nothing but errors; some of them proved to be useful and preservative of the species: he who fell in with them, or inherited them, waged the battle for him self and his offspring with better success. Those erroneous articles of faith which were successively transmitted by inheritance, and have finally become almost the property and stock of the human species, are, for example, the following: that there are enduring things, that there are equal things, that there are things, substances, and bodies, that a thing is what it appears, that our will is free, that what is good for me is also good absolutely. It was only very late that the deniers and doubters of such propositions came forward, it was only very late that truth made its appearance as the most impotent form of knowledge. It seemed as if it were impossible to get along with truth, our organism was adapted for the very opposite; all its higher functions, the perceptions of the senses, and in general every kind of sensation, cooperated with those primevally embodied, fundamental errors. Moreover, those propositions became the very standards of knowledge according to which the “true” and the “false” were determined throughout the whole domain of pure logic. The strength of conceptions does not, therefore, depend on their degree of truth, but on their antiquity, their embodiment, their character as conditions of life. Where life and knowledge seemed to conflict, there has never been serious contention; denial and doubt have there been regarded as madness. The exceptional thinkers like the Eleatics, who, in spite of this, advanced and maintained the antitheses of the natural errors, believed that it was possible also to live these counterparts: it was they who devised the sage as the man of immutability, impersonality and universality of intuition, as one and all at the same time, with a special faculty for that reverse kind of knowledge; they were of the belief that their knowledge was at the same time the principle of life. To be able to affirm all this, however, they had to deceive them selves concerning their own condition: they had to attribute to themselves impersonality and unchanging permanence, they had to mistake the nature of the philosophic individual, deny the force of the impulses in cognition, and conceive of reason generally as an entirely free and self-originating activity; they kept their eyes shut to the fact that they also had reached their doctrines in contradiction to valid methods, or through their longing for repose or for exclusive possession or for domination. The subtler development of sincerity and of scepticism finally made these men impossible; their life also, and their judgments, turned out to be dependent on the primeval impulses and fundamental errors of all sentient being. The subtler sincerity and scepticism arose wherever two antithetical maxims appeared to be applicable to life, because both of them were compatible with the fundamental errors; where, therefore, there could be contention concerning a higher or lower degree of utility for life; and likewise where new maxims proved to be, not necessarily useful, but at least not injurious, as expressions of an intellectual impulse to play a game that was like all games innocent and happy. The human brain was gradually filled with such judgments and convictions; and in this tangled skein there arose ferment, strife and lust for power. Not only utility and delight, but every kind of impulse took part in the struggle for “truths”: the intellectual struggle became a business, an attraction, a calling, a duty, an honour: cognizing and striving for the true finally arranged themselves as needs among other needs. From that moment, not only belief and conviction, but also examination, denial, distrust and contradiction became forces; all “evil” instincts were subordinated to knowledge, were placed in its service, and acquired the prestige of the permitted, the honoured, the useful, and finally the appearance and innocence of the good. Knowledge, thus became a portion of life itself, and as life it became a continually growing power: until finally the cognitions and those primeval, fundamental errors clashed with each other, both as life, both as power, both in the same man. The thinker is now the being in whom the impulse to truth and those life-preserving errors wage their first conflict, now that the impulse to truth has also proved itself to be a life-preserving power. In comparison with the importance of this conflict everything else is indifferent; the final question concerning the conditions of life is here raised, and the first attempt is here made to answer it by experiment. How far is truth susceptible of embodiment? that is the question, that is the experiment.
Origin of the Logical. Where has logic originated in men’s heads? Undoubtedly out of the illogical, the domain of which must originally have been immense. But numberless beings who reasoned otherwise than we do at present, perished; albeit that they may have come nearer to truth than we! Whoever, for example, could not discern the “like” often enough with regard to food, and with regard to animals dangerous to him, whoever, therefore, deduced too slowly, or was too circumspect in his deductions, had smaller probability of survival than he who in all similar cases immediately divined the equality. The preponderating inclination, however, to deal with the similar as the equal an illogical inclination, for there is no thing equal in itself first created the whole basis of logic. It was just so (in order that the conception of substance should originate, this being indispensable to logic, although in the strictest sense nothing actual corresponds to it) that for a long period the changing process in things had to be overlooked, and remain unperceived; the beings not seeing correctly had an advantage over those who saw everything “in flux.” In itself every high degree of circumspection in conclusions, every sceptical inclination, is a great danger to life. No living being might have been preserved unless the contrary inclination to affirm rather than suspend judgment, to mistake and fabricate rather than wait, to assent rather than deny, to decide rather than be in the right had been cultivated with extraordinary assiduity. The course of logical thought and reasoning in our modern brain corresponds to a process and struggle of impulses, which singly and in themselves are all very illogical and unjust; we experience usually only the result of the struggle, so rapidly and secretly does this primitive mechanism now operate in us.
Cause and Effect. We say it is “explanation”; but it is only in “description” that we are in advance of the older stages of knowledge and science. We describe better, we explain just as little as our predecessors. We have discovered a manifold succession where the naive man and investigator of older cultures saw only two things, “cause” and “effect,” as it was said; we have perfected the conception of becoming, but have not got a knowledge of what is above and behind the conception. The series of “causes” stands before us much more complete in every case; we conclude that this and that must first precede in order that that other may follow but we have not grasped anything thereby. The peculiarity, for example, in every chemical process seems a “miracle,” the same as before, just like all locomotion; nobody has “explained” impulse. How could we ever explain! We operate only with things which do not exist, with lines, surfaces, bodies, atoms, divisible times, divisible spaces how can explanation ever be possible when we first make everything a conception, our conception! It is sufficient to regard science as the exactest humanising of things that is possible; we always learn to describe ourselves more accurately by describing things and their successions. Cause and effect: there is probably never any such duality; in fact there is a continuum before us, from which we isolate a few portions; just as we always observe a motion as isolated points, and therefore do not properly see it, but infer it. The abruptness with which many effects take place leads us into error; it is however only an abruptness for us. There is an infinite multitude of processes in that abrupt moment which escape us. An intellect which could see cause and effect as a continuum, which could see the flux of events not according to our mode of perception, as things arbitrarily separated and broken would throw aside the conception of cause and effect, and would deny all conditionality.
The Theory of Poisons. So many things have to be united in order that scientific thinking may arise, and all the necessary powers must have been devised, exercised, and fostered singly! In their isolation, however, they have very often had quite a different effect than at present, when they are confined within the limits of scientific thinking and kept mutually in check: they have operated as poisons; for example, the doubting impulse, the denying impulse, the waiting impulse, the collecting impulse, the disintegrating impulse. Many hecatombs of men were sacrificed ere these impulses learned to understand their juxtaposition and regard themselves as functions of one organising force in one man! And how far are we still from the point at which the artistic powers and the practical wisdom of life shall cooperate with scientific thinking, so that a higher organic system may be formed, in relation to which the scholar, the physician, the artist, and the lawgiver, as we know them at present, will seem sorry antiquities!
The Extent of the Moral. We construct a new picture, which we see immediately with the aid of all the old experiences which we have had, always according to the degree of our honesty and justice. The only experiences are moral experiences, even in the domain of sense-perception.
The Four Errors. Man has been reared by his errors: firstly, he saw himself always imperfect; secondly, he attributed to himself imaginary qualities; thirdly, he felt himself in a false position in relation to the animals and nature; fourthly, he always devised new tables of values, and accepted them for a time as eternal and unconditioned, so that at one time this, and at another time that human impulse or state stood first, and was ennobled in consequence. When one has deducted the effect of these four errors, one has also deducted humanity, humaneness, and “human dignity.”
Herd — Instinct. Wherever we meet with a morality we find a valuation and order of rank of the human impulses and activities. These valuations and orders of rank are always the expression of the needs of a community or herd: that which is in the first place to its advantage and in the second place and third place is also the authoritative standard for the worth of every individual. By morality the individual is taught to become a function of the herd, and to ascribe to himself value only as a function. As the conditions for the maintenance of one community have been very different from those of another community, there have been very different moralities; and in respect to the future essential transformations of herds and communities, states and societies, one can prophesy that there will still be very divergent moralities. Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual.
The Herd’s Sting of Conscience. In the longest and remotest ages of the human race there was quite a different sting of conscience from that of the present day. At present one only feels responsible for what one intends and for what one does, and we have our pride in ourselves. All our professors of jurisprudence start with this sentiment of individual independence and pleasure, as if the source of right had taken its rise here from the beginning. But throughout the longest period in the life of mankind there was nothing more terrible to a person than to feel himself independent. To be alone, to feel independent, neither to obey nor to rule, to represent an individual that was no pleasure to a person then, but a punishment; he was condemned “to be an individual.” Freedom of thought was regarded as discomfort personified. While we feel law and regulation as constraint and loss, people formerly regarded egoism as a painful thing, and a veritable evil. For a person to be himself, to value himself according to his own measure and weight that was then quite distasteful. The inclination to such a thing would have been regarded as madness; for all miseries and terrors were associated with being alone. At that time the “free will” had bad conscience in close proximity to it; and the less independently a person acted, the more the herd-instinct, and not his personal character, expressed itself in his conduct, so much the more moral did he esteem himself. All that did injury to the herd, whether the individual had intended it or not, then caused him a sting of conscience and his neighbour like wise, indeed the whole herd! It is in this respect that we have most changed our mode of thinking.
Benevolence. Is it virtuous when a cell transforms itself into the function of a stronger cell? It must do so. And is it wicked when the stronger one assimilates the other? It must do so likewise: it is necessary, for it has to have abundant indemnity and seeks to regenerate itself. One has there fore to distinguish the instinct of appropriation and the instinct of submission in benevolence, according as the stronger or the weaker feels benevolent. Gladness and covetousness are united in the stronger person, who wants to transform something to his function: gladness and desire — to — be — coveted in the weaker person, who would like to become a function. The former case is essentially pity, a pleasant excitation of the instinct of appropriation at the sight of the weak: it is to be remembered, however, that “strong” and “weak” are relative conceptions.
No Altruism! I see in many men an excessive impulse and delight in wanting to be a function; they strive after it, and have the keenest scent for all those positions in which precisely they themselves can be functions. Among such persons are those women who transform themselves into just that function of a man that is but weakly developed in him, and then become his purse, or his politics, or his social intercourse. Such beings maintain themselves best when they insert them selves in an alien organism; if they do not succeed they become vexed, irritated, and eat themselves up.
Health of the Soul. The favourite medico-moral formula (whose originator was Ariston of Chios), “Virtue is the health of the soul,” would, for all practical purposes, have to be altered to this: “Thy virtue is the health of thy soul.” For there is no such thing as health in itself, and all attempts to define a thing in that way have lamentably failed. It is necessary to know thy aim, thy horizon, thy powers, thy impulses, thy errors, and especially the ideals and fantasies of thy soul, in order to determine what health implies even for thy body. There are consequently innumerable kinds of physical health; and the more one again permits the unique and unparalleled to raise its head, the more one unlearns the dogma of the “Equality of men,” so much the more also must the conception of a normal health, together with a normal diet and a normal course of disease, be abrogated by our physicians. And then only would it be time to turn our thoughts to the health and disease of the south, and make the special virtue of everyone consist in its health; but, to be sure, what appeared as health in one person might appear as the contrary of health in another. In the end the great question might still remain open: Whether we could do without sickness for the development of our virtue, and whether our thirst for knowledge and self-knowledge would not especially need the sickly soul as well as the sound one; in short, whether the mere will to health is not a prejudice, a cowardice, and perhaps an instance of the subtlest barbarism and unprogressiveness?
Life no Argument. We have arranged for our selves a world in which we can live by the postulating of bodies, lines, surfaces, causes and effects, motion and rest, form and content: without these articles of faith no one could manage to live at present! But for all that they are still unproved. Life is no argument; error might be among the conditions of life.
The Element of Moral Scepticism in Christianity. Christianity also has made a great contribution to enlightenment, and has taught moral scepticism in a very impressive and effective manner, accusing and embittering, but with untiring patience and subtlety; it annihilated in every individual the belief in his virtues: it made the great virtuous ones, of whom antiquity had no lack, vanish for ever from the earth, those popular men, who, in the belief in their perfection, walked about with the dignity of a hero of the bull-fight. When, trained in this Christian school of scepticism, we now read the moral books of the ancients, for example those of Seneca and Epictetus, we feel a pleasurable superiority, and are full of secret insight and penetration, it seems to us as if a child talked before an old man, or a pretty, gushing girl before La Rochefoucauld: we know better what virtue is! After all, however, we have applied the same scepticism to all religious states and processes, such as sin, repentance, grace, sanctification, &c., and have allowed the worm to burrow so well, that we have now the same feeling of subtle superiority and insight even in reading all Christian books: we know also the religious feelings better! And it is time to know them well and describe them well, for the pious ones of the old belief die out also; let us save their likeness and type, at least for the sake of knowledge.
Knowledge, more than a Means. Also without this passion I refer to the passion for knowledge science would be furthered: science has hitherto increased and grown up without it. The good faith in science, the prejudice in its favour, by which States are at present dominated (it was even the Church formerly), rests fundamentally on the fact that the absolute inclination and impulse has so rarely revealed itself in it, and that science is regarded not as a passion, but as a condition and an “ethos.” Indeed, amour-plaisir of know ledge (curiosity) often enough suffices, amour-vanite suffices, and habituation to it, with the afterthought of obtaining honour and bread; it even suffices for many that they do not know what to do with a surplus of leisure, except to continue reading, collecting, arranging, observing and narrating; their “scientific impulse” is their ennui. Pope Leo X once (in the brief to Beroaldus) sang the praise of science; he designated it as the finest ornament and the greatest pride of our life, a noble employment in happiness and in misfortune; “without it,” he says finally, “all human undertakings would be without a firm basis — even with it they are still sufficiently mutable and insecure! ” But this rather sceptical Pope, like all other ecclesiastical panegyrists of science, suppressed his ultimate judgment concerning it. If one may deduce from his words what is remarkable enough for such a love of art, that he places science above art, in all, however, only from politeness that he omits to speak of that which he places high above all science: the “revealed truth,” and the “eternal salvation of the soul,” what are ornament, pride, entertainment and security of life to him, in comparison thereto. “Science is something of secondary rank, nothing ultimate or unconditioned, no object of passion — this judgment was kept back in Leo’s soul: truly Christian judgment concerning science! antiquity its dignity and appreciation were lessened by the fact that, even among its most eager disciples, the striving after virtue stood foremost and that people thought they had given the highest praise to knowledge when they celebrated it as the best means to virtue. It is something new in history that knowledge claims to be more than a means.
In the Horizon of the Infinite. We have left the land and have gone aboard ship! We have broken down the bridge behind us, nay, more, the land behind us! Well, little ship! look out! Beside thee is the ocean; it is true it does not always roar, and sometimes it spreads out like silk and gold and a gentle reverie. But times will come when thou wilt feel that it is infinite, and that there is nothing more frightful than infinity. Oh, the poor bird that felt itself free, and now strikes against the walls of this cage! Alas, if home sickness for the land should attack thee, as if there had been more freedom there, and there is no “land ” any longer!
The Madman. Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: “I seek God! I seek God! ” As there were many people standing about who did not believe in God, he caused a great deal of amusement. Why! is he lost? said one. Has he strayed away like a child? said another. Or does he keep himself hidden? Is he afraid of us? Has he taken a sea-voyage? Has he emigrated? the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub. The insane man jumped into their midst and transfixed them with his glances. “Where is God gone? ” he called out. “I mean to tell you! We have killed him — you and I! We are all his murderers! But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Back wards, sideways, forewards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in the morning? Do we not hear the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we not smell the divine putrefaction? for even Gods putrefy! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console our selves, the most murderous of all murderers? The holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed, has bled to death under our knife, who will wipe the blood from us? With what water could we cleanse ourselves? What lustrums, what sacred games shall we have to devise? Is not the magnitude of this deed too great for us? Shall we not ourselves have to become Gods, merely to seem worthy of it? There never was a greater event, and on account of it, all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history hitherto!” Here the madman was silent and looked again at his hearers; they also were silent and looked at him in surprise. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, so that it broke in pieces and was extinguished. “I come too early,” he then said, “I am not yet at the right time. This prodigious event is still on its way, and is travelling, it has not yet reached men’s ears. Lightning and thunder need time, the light of the stars needs time, deeds need time, even after they are done, to be seen and heard. This deed is as yet further from them than the furthest star, and yet they have done it!” It is further stated that the madman made his way into different churches on the same day, and there intoned his Requiem aeternam deo. When led out and called to account, he always gave the reply: “What are these churches now, if they are not the tombs and monuments of God?”
Mystical Explanations. Mystical explanations are regarded as profound; the truth is that they do not even go the length of being superficial.
After–Effect of the most Ancient Religiousness. The thoughtless man thinks that the Will is the only thing that operates, that willing is something simple, manifestly given, underived, and comprehensible in itself. He is convinced that when he does anything, for example, when he delivers a blow, it is he who strikes, and he has struck because he willed to strike. He does not notice any thing of a problem therein, but the feeling of willing suffices to him, not only for the acceptance of cause and effect, but also for the belief that he understands their relationship. Of the mechanism of the occurrence, and of the manifold subtle operations that must be performed in order that the blow may result, and likewise of the incapacity of the Will in itself to effect even the smallest part of those operations he knows nothing. The Will is to him a magically operating force; the belief in the Will as the cause of effects is the belief in magically operating forces. In fact, whenever he saw anything happen, man originally believed in a Will as cause, and in personally willing beings operating in the background, the conception of mechanism was very remote from him. Because, however, man for immense periods of time believed only in persons (and not in matter, forces, things, &c.), the belief in cause and effect has become a fundamental belief with him, which he applies every where when anything happens, and even still uses instinctively as a piece of atavism of remotest origin. The propositions, “No effect without a cause,” and “Every effect again implies a cause,” appear as generalisations of several less general propositions: “Where there is operation there has been willing?” “Operating is only possible on willing beings.” “There is never a pure, resultless experience of activity, but every experience involves stimulation of the Will” (to activity, defence, revenge or retaliation). But in the primitive period of the human race, the latter and the former propositions were identical, the first were not generalisations of the second, but the second were explanations of the first. Schopenhauer, with his assumption that all that exists is something volitional, has set a primitive mythology on the throne; he seems never to have attempted an analysis of the Will, because he believed like everybody in the simplicity and immediateness of all volition: while volition is in fact such a cleverly practised mechanical process that it almost escapes the observing eye. I set the following propositions against those of Schopenhauer: Firstly, in order that Will may arise, an idea of pleasure and pain is necessary. Secondly, that a vigorous excitation may be felt as pleasure or pain, is the affair of the interpreting intellect, which, to be sure, operates thereby for the most part unconsciously to us, and one and the same excitation may be interpreted as pleasure or pain. Thirdly, it is only in an intellectual being that there is pleasure, displeasure and Will; the immense majority of organisms have nothing of the kind.
The Value of Prayer. Prayer has been devised for such men as have never any thoughts of their own, and to whom an elevation of the soul is unknown, or passes unnoticed; what shall these people do in holy places and in all important situations in life which require repose and some kind of dignity? In order at least that they may not disturb, the wisdom of all the founders of religions, the small as well as the great, has commended to them the formula of prayer, as a long mechanical labour of the lips, united with an effort of the memory, and with a uniform, prescribed attitude of hands and feet — and eyes! They may then, like the Tibetans, chew the cud of their “om mane padme hum,” innumerable times, or, as in Benares, count the name of the God Ram–Ram-Ram (etc., with or without grace) on their fingers; or honour Vishnu with his thousand names of invocation, Allah with his ninety-nine; or they may make use of the prayer-wheels and the rosary: the main thing is that they are settled down for a time at this work, and present a tolerable appearance; their mode of prayer is devised for the advantage of the pious who have thought and elevation of their own. But even these have their weary hours when a series of venerable words and sounds, and a mechanical, pious ritual does them good. But supposing that these rare men in every religion the religious man is an exception know how to help themselves, the poor in spirit do not know, and to forbid them the prayer-babbling would mean to take their religion from them, a fact which Protestantism brings more and more to light. All that religion wants with such persons is that they should keep still with their eyes, hands, legs, and all their organs: they thereby become temporarily beautified and more human-looking!
The Conditions for God. “God himself cannot subsist without wise men,” said Luther, and with good reason; but “God can still less subsist with out unwise men,” good Luther did not say that!
A Dangerous Resolution. The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad, has made the world ugly and bad.
Christianity and Suicide. Christianity made use of the excessive longing for suicide at the time of its origin as a lever for its power: it left only two forms of suicide, invested them with the highest dignity and the highest hopes, and forbade all others with dreadful threatenings. But martyrdom and the slow self-annihilation of the ascetic were permitted.
Against Christianity. It is now no longer our reason, but our taste that decides against Christianity.
Axioms. An unavoidable hypothesis on which mankind must always fall back again, is in the long run more powerful than the most firmly believed belief in something untrue (like the Christian belief). In the long run: that means a hundred thousand years hence.
Pessimists as Victims. When a profound dislike of existence gets the upper hand, the after-effect of a great error in diet of which a people has been long guilty comes to light. The spread of Buddhism (not its origin) is thus to a considerable extent dependent on the excessive and almost exclusive rice-fare of the Indians, and on the universal enervation that results therefrom. Perhaps the modern, European discontentedness is to be looked upon as caused by the fact that the world of our forefathers, the whole Middle Ages, was given to drink, owing to the influence of German tastes in Europe: the Middle Ages, that means the alcoholic poisoning of Europe. — The German dislike of life (including the influence of the cellar-air and stove-poison in German dwellings), is essentially a cold-weather complaint.
Origin of Sin. Sin, as it is at present felt wherever Christianity prevails or has prevailed is a Jewish feeling and a Jewish invention; and in respect to this background of all Christian morality Christianity has in fact aimed at “Judaising” the whole world. To what an extent this has succeeded in Europe is traced most accurately in our remarkable alienness to Greek antiquity a world without the feeling of sin in our sentiments even at present; in spite of all the good will to approximation and assimilation, which whole generations and many distinguished individuals have not failed to display. “Only when thou repentest is God gracious to thee ” that would arouse the laughter or the wrath of a Greek: he would say, “Slaves may have such sentiments.” Here a mighty being, an almighty being, and yet a re vengeful being, is presupposed; his power is so great that no injury whatever can be done to him except in the point of honour. Every sin is an infringement of respect, a crime lasa majestatis divine and nothing more! Contrition, degradation, rolling-in-the-dust, these are the first and last conditions on which his favour depends: the restoration, therefore, of his divine honour! If injury be caused otherwise by sin, if a profound, spreading evil be propagated by it, an evil which, like a disease, attacks and strangles one man after another that does not trouble this honour-craving Oriental in heaven; sin is an offence against him, not against mankind! to him on whom he has bestowed his favour he bestows also this indifference to the natural consequences of sin. God and mankind are here thought of as separated, as so antithetical that sin against the latter cannot be at all possible, all deeds are to be looked upon solely with respect to their supernatural consequences, and not with respect to their natural results: it is thus that the Jewish feeling, to which all that is natural seems unworthy in itself, would have things. The Greeks, on the other hand, were more familiar with the thought that transgression also may have dignity, even theft, as in the case of Prometheus, even the slaughtering of cattle as the expression of frantic jealousy, as in the case of Ajax; in their need to attribute dignity to transgression and embody it therein, they invented tragedy, an art and a delight, which in its profoundest essence has remained alien to the Jew, in spite of all his poetic endowment and taste for the sublime.
The Chosen People. The Jews, who regard them selves as the chosen people among the nations, and that too because they are the moral genius among the nations (in virtue of their capacity for despising the human in themselves more than any other people) the Jews have a pleasure in their divine monarch and saint similar to that which the French nobility had in Louis XIV. This nobility had allowed its power and autocracy to be taken from it, and had become contemptible: in order not to feel this, in order to be able to forget it, an un equalled royal magnificence, royal authority and plenitude of power was needed, to which there was access only for the nobility. As in accordance with this privilege they raised themselves to the elevation of the court, and from that elevation saw everything under them, saw everything contemptible, they got beyond all uneasiness of con science. They thus elevated intentionally the tower of the royal power more and more into the clouds, and set the final coping-stone of their own power thereon.
Spoken in Parable. A Jesus Christ was only possible in a Jewish landscape I mean in one over which the gloomy and sublime thunder-cloud of the angry Jehovah hung continually. Here only was the rare, sudden flashing of a single sunbeam through the dreadful, universal and continuous nocturnal-day regarded as a miracle of “love,” as a beam of the most unmerited “grace.” Here only could Christ dream of his rainbow and celestial ladder on which God descended to man; everywhere else the clear weather and the sun were considered the rule and the commonplace.
The Error of Christ. The founder of Christianity thought there was nothing from which men suffered so much as from their sins: it was his error, the error of him who felt himself without sin, to whom experience was lacking in this respect! It was thus that his soul filled with that marvellous, fantastic pity which had reference to a trouble that even among his own people, the inventors of sin, was rarely a great trouble! But Christians understood subsequently how to do justice to their master, and how to sanctify his error into a “truth.”
Colour of the Passions. Natures such as the apostle Paul, have an evil eye for the passions; they learn to know only the filthy, the distorting, and the heart-breaking in them, their ideal aim, therefore, is the annihilation of the passions; in the divine they see complete purification from passion. The Greeks, quite otherwise than Paul and the Jews, directed their ideal aim precisely to the passions, and loved, elevated, embellished and deified them: in passion they evidently not only felt them selves happier, but also purer and diviner than otherwise. And now the Christians? Have they wished to become Jews in this respect? Have they perhaps become Jews?
Too Jewish. If God had wanted to become an object of love, he would first of all have had to forgo judging and justice:— a judge, and even a gracious judge, is no object of love. The founder of Christianity showed too little of the finer feeling in this respect being a Jew.
Too Oriental. What? A God who loves men, provided they believe in him and who hurls frightful glances and threatenings at him who does not believe in this love! What? A conditioned love as the feeling of an almighty God! A love which has not even become master of the sentiment of honour and of the irritable desire for vengeance! How Oriental is all that! “If I love thee, what does it concern thee?” 9 is already a sufficient criticism of the whole of Christianity.
* This means that true love does not look for reciprocity.
Frankincense. Buddha says: “Do not flatter thy benefactor!” Let one repeat this saying in a Christian church:— it immediately purifies the air of all Christianity.
The Greatest Utility of Polytheism. For the individual to set up his own ideal and derive from it his laws, his pleasures and his rights — that has perhaps been hitherto regarded as the most monstrous of all human aberrations, and as idolatry in itself; in fact, the few who have ventured to do this have always needed to apologise to themselves, usually in this wise: “Not I! not I! but a God, through my instrumentality!” It was in the marvellous art and capacity for creating Gods in poly theism that this impulse was permitted to discharge itself, it was here that it became purified, perfected, and ennobled; for it was originally a commonplace and unimportant impulse, akin to stubbornness, dis obedience and envy. To be hostile to this impulse towards the individual ideal, that was formerly the law of every morality. There was then only one norm, “the man” and every people believed that it had this one and ultimate norm. But above himself, and outside of himself, in a distant over-world, a person could see a multitude of norms: the one God was not the denial or blasphemy of the other Gods! It was here that individuals were first permitted, it was here that the right of individuals was first respected. The inventing of Gods, heroes, and supermen of all kinds, as well as coordinate men and undermen dwarfs, fairies, centaurs, satyrs, demons, devils was the inestimable preliminary to the justification of the selfishness and sovereignty of the individual: the freedom which was granted to one God in respect to other Gods, was at last given to the individual himself in respect to laws, customs and neighbours. Monotheism, on the contrary, the rigid consequence of the doctrine of one normal human being consequently the belief in a normal God, beside whom there are only false, spurious Gods has perhaps been the greatest danger of mankind in the past: man was then threatened by that premature state of inertia, which, so far as we can see, most of the other species of animals reached long ago, as creatures who all believed in one normal animal and ideal in their species, and definitely translated their morality of custom into flesh and blood. In polytheism man’s free-thinking and many-sided thinking had a prototype set up: the power to create for himself new and individual eyes, always newer and more individualised: so that it is for man alone, of all the animals, that there are no eternal horizons and perspectives.
Religious Wars. The greatest advance of the masses hitherto has been religious war, for it proves that the masses have begun to deal reverently with conceptions of things. Religious wars only result, when human reason generally has been refined by the subtle disputes of sects; so that even the populace becomes punctilious and regards trifles as important, actually thinking it possible that the “eternal salvation of the soul” may depend upon minute distinctions of concepts.
Danger of Vegetarians. The immense prevalence of rice-eating impels to the use of opium and narcotics, in like manner as the immense prevalence of potato-eating impels to the use of brandy:— it also impels, however, in its more subtle after-effects to modes of thought and feeling which operate narcotically. This is in accord with the fact that those who promote narcotic modes of thought and feeling, like those Indian teachers, praise a purely vegetable diet, and would like to make it a law for the masses: they want thereby to call forth and augment the need which they are in a position to satisfy.
German Hopes. Do not let us forget that the names of peoples are generally names of reproach. The Tartars, for example, according to their name, are “the dogs”; they were so christened by the Chinese. “Deutschen” (Germans) means originally “heathen ”: it is thus that the Goths after their conversion named the great mass of their unbaptized fellow-tribes, according to the indication in their translation of the Septuagint, in which the heathen are designated by the word which in Greek signifies “the nations.” (See Ulfilas.) It might still be possible for the Germans to make an honourable name ultimately out of their old name of reproach, by becoming the first non-Christian nation of Europe; for which purpose Schopenhauer, to their honour, regarded them as highly qualified. The work of Luther would thus be consummated, he who taught them to be anti-Roman, and to say: “Here stand! cannot do otherwise!”
Question and Answer. What do savage tribes at present accept first of all from Europeans? Brandy and Christianity, the European narcotics. And by what means are they fastest ruined? By the European narcotics,
Where Reformations Originate. At the time of the great corruption of the church it was least of all corrupt in Germany: it was on that account that the Reformation originated here, as a sign that even the beginnings of corruption were felt to be unendurable. For, comparatively speaking, no people was ever more Christian than the Germans at the time of Luther; their Christian culture was just about to burst into bloom with a hundred-fold splendour, one night only was still lacking; but that night brought the storm which put an end to all.
The Failure of Reformations. It testifies to the higher culture of the Greeks, even in rather early ages, that attempts to establish new Grecian religions frequently failed; it testifies that quite early there must have been a multitude of dis similar individuals in Greece, whose dissimilar troubles were not cured by a single recipe of faith and hope. Pythagoras and Plato, perhaps also Empedocles, and already much earlier the Orphic enthusiasts, aimed at founding new religions; and the two first-named were so endowed with the qualifications for founding religions, that one can not be sufficiently astonished at their failure: they just reached the point of founding sects. Every time that the Reformation of an entire people fails and only sects raise their heads, one may conclude that the people already contains many types, and has begun to free itself from the gross herding instincts and the morality of custom, a momentous state of suspense, which one is accustomed to disparage as decay of morals and corruption, while it announces the maturing of the egg and the early rupture of the shell. That Luther’s Reformation succeeded in the north, is a sign that the north had remained backward in comparison with the south of Europe, and still had requirements tolerably uniform in colour and kind; and there would have been no Christianising of Europe at all, if the culture of the old world of the south had not been gradually barbarized by an excessive admixture of the blood of German barbarians, and thus lost its ascendency. The more universally and unconditionally an individual, or the thought of an individual, can operate, so much more homogeneous and so much lower must be the mass that is there operated upon; while counter-strivings betray internal counter-requirements, which also want to gratify and realise them selves. Reversely, one may always conclude with regard to an actual elevation of culture, when powerful and ambitious natures only produce a limited and sectarian effect: this is true also for the separate arts, and for the provinces of knowledge. Where there is ruling there are masses: where there are masses there is need of slavery. Where there is slavery the individuals are but few, and have the instincts and conscience of the herd opposed to them.
Criticism of Saints. Must one then, in order to have a virtue, be desirous of having it precisely in its most brutal form? as the Christian saints desired and needed; those who only endured life with the thought that at the sight of their virtue self-contempt might seize every man. A virtue with such an effect I call brutal.
The Origin of Religion. The metaphysical requirement is not the origin of religions, as Schopenhauer claims, but only a later sprout from them. Under the dominance of religious thoughts we have accustomed ourselves to the idea of “another (back, under, or upper) world,” and feel an uncomfortable void and privation through the annihilation of the religious illusion; and then “another world” grows out of this feeling once more, but now it is only a metaphysical world, and no longer a religious one. That however which in general led to the assumption of “ another world” in primitive times, was not an impulse or requirement, but an error in the interpretation of certain natural phenomena, a difficulty of the intellect.
The greatest Change. The lustre and the hues of all things have changed! We no longer quite understand how earlier men conceived of the most familiar and frequent things, for example, of the day, and the awakening in the morning: owing to their belief in dreams the waking state seemed to them differently illuminated. And similarly of the whole of life, with its reflection of death and its significance: our “death” is an entirely different death. All events were of a different lustre, for a God shone forth in them; and similarly of all resolutions and peeps into the distant future: for people had oracles, and secret hints, and believed in prognostication. “Truth” was conceived in quite a different manner, for the insane could formerly be regarded as its mouthpiece a thing which makes us shudder, or laugh. Injustice made a different impression on the feelings: for people were afraid of divine retribution, and not only of legal punishment and disgrace. What joy was there in an age when men believed in the devil and tempter! What passion was there when people saw demons lurking close at hand! What philosophy was there when doubt was regarded as sinfulness of the most dangerous kind, and in fact as an outrage on eternal love, as distrust of every thing good, high, pure, and compassionate! We have coloured things anew, we paint them over continually, but what have we been able to do hitherto in comparison with the splendid colouring of that old master! I mean ancient humanity.
Homo poeta. “I myself who have made this tragedy of tragedies altogether independently, in so far as it is completed; I who have first entwined the perplexities of morality about existence, and have tightened them so that only a God could unravel them so Horace demands! I have already in the fourth act killed all the Gods for the sake of morality! What is now to be done about the fifth act? Where shall I get the tragic denouement! Must I now think about a comic denouement?”
Differences in the Dangerousness of Life. You don’t know at all what you experience; you run through life as if intoxicated, and now and then fall down a stair. Thanks however to your intoxication you still do not break your limbs: your muscles are too languid and your head too confused to find the stones of the staircase as hard as we others do! For, us life is a greater danger: we are made of glass alas, if we should strike against anything! And all is lost if we should fall!
What we Lack. We love the grandeur of Nature, and have discovered it; that is because human grandeur is lacking in our minds. It was the reverse with the Greeks: their feeling towards Nature was quite different from ours.
The most Influential Person. The fact that a person resists the whole spirit of his age, stops it at the door and calls it to account, must exert an influence! It is indifferent whether he wishes to exert an influence; the point is that he can.
Mentiri. Take care! he reflects: he will have a lie ready immediately. This is a stage in the civilisation of whole nations. Consider only what the Romans expressed by mentiri!
An Inconvenient Peculiarity. To find everything deep is an inconvenient peculiarity: it makes one constantly strain one’s eyes, so that in the end one always finds more than one wishes.
Every Virtue has its Time. The honesty of him who is at present inflexible often causes him remorse; for inflexibility is the virtue of a time different from that in which honesty prevails.
To the Admirers of the Age. The runaway priest and the liberated criminal are continually making grimaces; what they want is a look without a past. But have you ever seen men who know that their looks reflect the future, and who are so courteous to you, the admirers of the “age,” that they assume a look without a future?
Egoism. Egoism is the perspective law of our sentiment, according to which the near appears large and momentous, while in the distance the magnitude and importance of all things diminish.
After a Great Victory. The best thing in a great victory is that it deprives the conqueror of the fear of defeat “Why should I not be worsted for once?” he says to himself, “I am now rich enough to stand it.”
Those who Seek Repose. I recognise the minds that seek repose by the many dark objects with which they surround themselves: those who want to sleep darken their chambers, or creep into caverns. A hint to those who do not know what they really seek most, and would like to know!
The Happiness of Renunciation. He who has absolutely dispensed with something for a long time will almost imagine, when he accidentally meets with it again, that he has discovered it, and what happiness every discoverer has! Let us be wiser than the serpents that lie too long in the same sunshine.
Always in our own Society. All that is akin to me in nature and history speaks to me, praises me, urges me forward and comforts me: other things are unheard by me, or immediately forgotten. We are only in our own society always.
Misanthropy and Philanthropy. We only speak about being sick of men when we can no longer digest them, and yet have the stomach full of them. Misanthropy is the result of a far too eager philanthropy and “cannibalism,” but who ever bade you swallow men like oysters, my Prince Hamlet?
Concerning an Invalid. “Things go badly with him!” — What is wrong? “He suffers from the longing to be praised, and finds no sustenance for it.” Inconceivable! All the world does honour to him, and he is reverenced not only in deed but in word! “Certainly, but he is dull of hearing for the praise. When a friend praises him it sounds to him as if the friend praised himself; when an enemy praises him, it sounds to him as if the enemy wanted to be praised for it; when, finally, some one else praises him there are by no means so many of these, he is so famous! he is offended because they neither want him for a friend nor for an enemy; he is accustomed to say: What do I care for those who can still pose as the all-righteous towards me!”
Avowed Enemies. Bravery in presence of an enemy is a thing by itself: a person may possess it and still be a coward and an irresolute numskull. That was Napoleon’s opinion concerning the “bravest man” he knew, Murat: whence it follows that avowed enemies are indispensable to some men, if they are to attain to their virtue, to their manliness, to their cheerfulness.
With the Multitude. He has hitherto gone with the multitude and is its panegyrist; but one day he will be its opponent! For he follows it in the belief that his laziness will find its advantage thereby: he has not yet learned that the multitude is not lazy enough for him! that it always presses forward! that it does not allow any one to stand still! And he likes so well to stand still!
The Perverter of Taste. A: “You are a perverter of taste they say so everywhere!” B: “Certainly! I pervert every one’s taste for his party: no party forgives me for that.”
To be Profound and to Appear Profound. He who knows that he is profound strives for clearness; he who would like to appear profound to the multitude strives for obscurity. The multitude thinks everything profound of which it cannot see the bottom; it is so timid and goes so unwillingly into the water.
Apart. Parliamentarism, that is to say, the public permission to choose between five main political opinions, insinuates itself into the favour of the numerous class who would fain appear independent and individual, and like to fight for their opinions. After all, however, it is a matter of indifference whether one opinion is imposed upon the herd, or five opinions are permitted to it. He who diverges from the five public opinions and goes apart, has always the whole herd against him.
Concerning Eloquence. What has hitherto had the most convincing eloquence? The rolling of the drum: and as long as kings have this at their command, they will always be the best orators and popular leaders.
Compassion. The poor, ruling princes! All their rights now change unexpectedly into claims, and all these claims immediately sound like pretensions! And if they but say “we,” or “my people,” wicked old Europe begins laughing. Verily, a chief-master-of-ceremonies of the modern world would make little ceremony with them; perhaps he would decree that “les souverains rangent aux parvenus”
On “Educational Matters”. In Germany an important educational means is lacking for higher men; namely, the laughter of higher men; these men do not laugh in Germany.
For Moral Enlightenment. The Germans must be talked out of their Mephistopheles and out of their Faust also. These are two moral prejudices against the value of knowledge.
Thoughts. Thoughts are the shadows of our sentiments always however obscurer, emptier and simpler.
The Good Time for Free Spirits. Free Spirits take liberties even with regard to Science and meanwhile they are allowed to do so, while the Church still remains! In so far they have now their good time.
Following and Leading. A: “Of the two, the one will always follow, the other will always lead, whatever be the course of their destiny. And yet the former is superior to the other in virtue and intellect.” B: “And yet? And yet? That is spoken for the others; not for me, not for us! Fit secundum regulam”
In Solitude. When one lives alone one does not speak too loudly, and one does not write too loudly either, for one fears the hollow reverberation the criticism of the nymph Echo. And all voices sound differently in solitude!
The Music of the Best Future. The first musician for me would be he who knew only the sorrow of the profoundest happiness, and no other sorrow: there has not hitherto been such a musician.
Justice. Better allow oneself to be robbed than have scarecrows around one that is my taste. And under all circumstances it is just a matter of taste and nothing more!
Poor. He is now poor, but not because every thing has been taken from him, but because he has thrown everything away: what does he care? He is accustomed to find new things. It is the poor who misunderstand his voluntary poverty.
Bad Conscience. All that he now does is excellent and proper and yet he has a bad con science with it all. For the exceptional is his task.
Offensiveness in Expression. This artist offends me by the way in which he expresses his ideas, his very excellent ideas: so diffusely and forcibly, and with such gross rhetorical artifices, as if he were speaking to the mob. We feel always as if “in bad company” when devoting some time to his art. 3
Work. How closely work and the workers now stand even to the most leisurely of us! The royal courtesy in the words: “We are all workers,” would have been a cynicism and an indecency even under Louis XIV.
The Thinker. He is a thinker: that is to say, he knows how to take things more simply than they are.
Against Eulogisers. A: “One is only praised by one’s equals! ” B: “Yes! And he who praises you says: You are my equal!”
Against many a Vindication. The most perfidious manner of injuring a cause is to vindicate it intentionally with fallacious arguments.
The Good-natured. What is it that distinguishes the good-natured, whose countenances beam kindness, from other people? They feel quite at ease in presence of a new person, and are quickly enamoured of him; they therefore wish him well; their first opinion is: “He pleases me.” With them there follow in succession the wish to appropriate (they make little scruple about the person’s worth), rapid appropriation, joy in the possession, and actions in favour of the person possessed.
Kant's Joke. Kant tried to prove, in a way that dismayed “everybody,” that “everybody” was in the right: that was his secret joke. He wrote against the learned, in favour of popular prejudice; he wrote, however, for the learned and not for the people.
The “Open-hearted” Man. That man acts probably always from concealed motives; for he has always communicable motives on his tongue, and almost in his open hand.
Laughable! See! See! He runs away from men: they follow him, however, because he runs before them, they are such a gregarious lot!
The Limits of our Sense of Hearing. We hear only the questions to which we are capable of rinding an answer.
Caution therefore! There is nothing we are fonder of communicating to others than the seal of secrecy together with what is under it.
Vexation of the Proud Man. The proud man is vexed even with those who help him forward: he looks angrily at his carriage-horses
A Spendthrift. He has not yet the poverty of the rich man who has counted all his treasure, he squanders his spirit with the irrationalness of the spendthrift Nature.
Beggars and Courtesy. “One is not discourteous when one knocks at a door with a stone when the bell-pull is awanting” so think all beggars and necessitous persons, but no one thinks they are in the right.
Need. Need is supposed to be the cause of things; but in truth it is often only the result of things.
During the Rain. It rains, and I think of the poor people who now crowd together with their many cares, which they are unaccustomed to conceal; all of them, therefore, ready and anxious to give pain to one another, and thus provide them selves with a pitiable kind of comfort, even in bad weather. This, this only, is the poverty of the poor!
The Envious Man. That is an envious man it is not desirable that he should have children; he would be envious of them, because he can no longer be a child.
A Great Man! Because a person is “a great man,” we are not authorised to infer that he is a man. Perhaps he is only a boy, or a chameleon of all ages, or a bewitched girl.
A Mode of Asking for Reasons. There is a mode of asking for our reasons which not only makes us forget our best reasons, but also arouses in us a spite and repugnance against reason generally: a very stupefying mode of questioning, and really an artifice of tyrannical men!
Moderation in Diligence. One must not be anxious to surpass the diligence of one’s father that would make one ill.
Secret Enemies. To be able to keep a secret enemy that is a luxury which the morality even of the highest-minded persons can rarely afford.
Not Letting oneself be Deluded. His spirit has bad manners, it is hasty and always stutters with impatience; so that one would hardly suspect the deep breathing and the large chest of the soul in which it resides.
The Way to Happiness. A sage asked of a fool the way to happiness. The fool answered without delay, like one who had been asked the way to the next town: “Admire yourself, and live on the street! ” “Hold,” cried the sage, “you require too much; it suffices to admire oneself!” The fool replied: “But how can one constantly admire without constantly despising?”
Faith Saves. Virtue gives happiness and a state of blessedness only to those who have a strong faith in their virtue: not, however, to the more refined souls whose virtue consists of a profound distrust of themselves and of all virtue. After all, therefore, it is “faith that saves” here also! and be it well observed, not virtue!
The Ideal and the Material. You have a noble ideal before your eyes: but are you also such a noble stone that such a divine image could be formed out of you? And without that is not all your labour barbaric sculpturing? A blasphemy of your ideal?
Danger in the Voice. With a very loud voice a person is almost incapable of reflecting on subtle matters.
My Antipathy. I do not like those people who, in order to produce an effect, have to burst like bombs, and in whose neighbourhood one is always in danger of suddenly losing one’s hearing or even something more.
The Object of Punishment. The object of punishment is to improve him who punishes, that is the ultimate appeal of those who justify punishment.
Sacrifice. The victims think otherwise than the spectators about sacrifice and sacrificing: but they have never been allowed to express their opinion.
Consideration. Fathers and sons are much more considerate of one another than mothers and daughters.
Poet and Liar. The poet sees in the liar his foster-brother whose milk he has drunk up; the latter has thus remained wretched, and has not even attained to a good conscience.
Vicariousness of the Senses. “We have also eyes in order to hear with them,” said an old confessor who had grown deaf; “and among the blind he that has the longest ears is king.”
Animal Criticism. I fear the animals regard man as a being like themselves, seriously endangered by the loss of sound animal understanding; they regard him perhaps as the absurd animal, the laughing animal, the crying animal, the unfortunate animal.
The Natural. “Evil has always had the great effect! And Nature is evil! Let us therefore be natural!” so reason secretly the great aspirants after effect, who are too often counted among great men.
The Distrustful and their Style. We say the strongest things simply, provided people are about us who believe in our strength: such an environment educates to “simplicity of style.” The distrustful, on the other hand, speak emphatically; they make things emphatic.
Fallacy, Fallacy. He cannot rule himself; therefore that woman concludes that it will be easy to rule him, and throws out her lines to catch him; the poor creature, who in a short time will be his slave.
Against Mediators. He who attempts to mediate between two decided thinkers is rightly called mediocre: he has not an eye for seeing the unique; similarising and equalising are signs of weak eyes.
Obstinacy and Loyalty. Out of obstinacy he holds fast to a cause of which the questionableness has become obvious, he calls that, however, his “loyalty.”
Lack of Reserve. His whole nature fails to convince that results from the fact that he has never been reticent about a good action he has performed.
Dreaming. Either one does not dream at all, or one dreams in an interesting manner. One must learn to be awake in the same fashion: either not at all, or in an interesting manner.
The most Dangerous Point of View. What I now do, or neglect to do, is as important for all that is to come, as the greatest event of the past: in this immense perspective of effects all actions are equally great and small.
Consolatory Words of a Musician. “Your life does not sound into people’s ears: for them you live a dumb life, and all refinements of melody, all fond resolutions in following or leading the way, are concealed from them. To be sure you do not parade the thoroughfares with regimental music, but these good people have no right to say on that account that your life is lacking in music. He that hath ears let him hear.”
Spirit and Character. Many a one attains his full height of character, but his spirit is not adapted to the elevation, and many a one reversely.
To Move the Multitude. Is it not necessary for him who wants to move the multitude to give a stage representation of himself? Has he not first to translate himself into the grotesquely obvious, and then set forth his whole personality and cause in that vulgarised and simplified fashion?
The Polite Man. “He is so polite!” Yes, he has always a sop for Cerberus with him, and is so timid that he takes everybody for Cerberus, even you and me, that is his “politeness.”
Without Envy. He is wholly without envy, but there is no merit therein: for he wants to conquer a land which no one has yet possessed and hardly any one has even seen.
The Joyless Person. A single joyless person is enough to make constant displeasure and a clouded heaven in a household; and it is only by a miracle that such a person is lacking! Happiness is not nearly such a contagious disease; how is that?
On the Sea–Shore. I would not build myself a house (it is an element of my happiness not to be a house-owner!). If I had to do so, however, I should build it, like many of the Romans, right into the sea, I should like to have some secrets in common with that beautiful monster.
Work and Artist. This artist is ambitious and nothing more; ultimately, however, his work is only a magnifying-glass, which he offers to every one who looks in his direction.
Suum cuique. However great be my greed of knowledge, I cannot appropriate aught of things but what already belongs to me, the property of others still remains in the things. How is it possible for a man to be a thief or a robber?
Origin of “Good” and “Bad”. He only will devise an improvement who can feel that “this is not good.”
Mathematics. We want to carry the refinement and rigour of mathematics into all the sciences, as far as it is in any way possible, not in the belief that we shall apprehend things in this way, but in order thereby to assert our human relation to things. Mathematics is only a means to general and ultimate human knowledge.
The Sigh of the Seeker of Knowledge. “Oh, my covetousness! In this soul there is no disinterestedness but an all-desiring self, which, by means of many individuals, would fain see as with its own eyes, and grasp as with its own hands a self bringing back even the entire past, and wanting to lose nothing that could in any way belong to it! Oh, this flame of my covetousness! Oh, that I were reincarnated in a hundred individuals!” He who does not know this sigh by experience, does not know the passion of the seeker of knowledge either.
Guilt. Although the most intelligent judges of the witches, and even the witches themselves, were convinced of the guilt of witchcraft, the guilt, nevertheless, was not there. So it is with all guilt.
Misunderstood Sufferers. Great natures suffer otherwise than their worshippers imagine; they suffer most severely from the ignoble, petty emotions of certain evil moments; in short, from doubt of their own greatness; not however from the sacrifices and martyrdoms which their tasks require of them. As long as Prometheus sympathises with men and sacrifices himself for them, he is happy and proud in himself; but on becoming envious of Zeus and of the homage which mortals pay him then Prometheus suffers!
Better to be in Debt. “Better to remain in debt than to pay with money which does not bear our stamp! ” that is what our sovereignty prefers.
Always at Home. One day we attain our goal—and then refer with pride to the long journeys we have made to reach it. In truth, we did not notice that we travelled. We got into the habit of thinking that we were at home in every place.
Imitators. A: “What? You don’t want to have imitators?” B: “I don’t want people to do any-thing after me; I want every one to do something before himself (as a pattern to himself) just as I do.” A: “Consequently——?”
Skinniness. All profound men have their happiness in imitating the flying-fish at times, and playing on the crests of the waves; they think that what is best of all in things is their surface: their skinniness sit venia verbo.
From Experience. A person often does not know how rich he is, until he learns from experience what rich men even play the thief on him.
One times One. One only is always in the wrong, but with two truth begins. One only cannot prove himself right; but two are already beyond refutation.
Originality. What is originality? To see some thing that does not yet bear a name, that cannot yet be named, although it is before everybody’s eyes. As people are usually constituted, it is the name that first makes a thing generally visible to them. Original persons have also for the most part been the namers of things.
Sub specie aeterni. A: “You withdraw faster and faster from the living; they will soon strike you out of their lists!” B: “It is the only way to participate in the privilege of the dead.” A: “In what privilege?” B: “No longer having to die.”
Without Vanity. When we love we want our defects to remain concealed, not out of vanity, but lest the person loved should suffer therefrom. Indeed, the lover would like to appear as a God, and not out of vanity either.
With a high Aim.With a high aim a person is superior even to justice, and not only to his deeds and his judges.
Last updated Saturday, January 2, 2016 at 13:09