The Joyful Wisdom, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Book Fourth

Sanctus Januarius

Thou who with cleaving fiery lances

The stream of my soul from its ice dost free,

Till with a rush and a roar it advances

To enter with glorious hoping the sea:

Brighter to see and purer ever,

Free in the bonds of thy sweet constraint,

So it praises thy wondrous endeavour,

January, thou beauteous saint!


For the New Year. I still live, I still think; I must still live, for I must still think. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum. To-day everyone takes the liberty of expressing his wish and his favourite thought: well, I also mean to tell what I have wished for myself today, and what thought first crossed my mind this year, a thought which ought to be the basis, the pledge and the sweetening of all my future life! I want more and more to perceive the necessary characters in things as the beautiful: I shall thus be one of those who beautify things. Amor fati: let that henceforth be my love! I do not want to wage war with the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers. Looking aside, let that be my sole negation! And all in all, to sum up: I wish to be at any time hereafter only & yea-sayer!


Personal Providence. —— There is a certain climax in life, at which, notwithstanding all our freedom, and however much we may have denied all directing reason and goodness in the beautiful chaos of existence, we are once more in great danger of intellectual bondage, and have to face our hardest test. For now the thought of a personal Providence first presents itself before us with its most persuasive force, and has the best of advocates, apparentness, in its favour, now when it is obvious that all and everything that happens to us always turns out for the best. The life of every day and of every hour seems to be anxious for nothing else but always to prove this proposition anew; let it be what it will, bad or good weather, the loss of a friend, a sickness, a calumny, the non-receipt of a letter, the spraining of one’s foot, a glance into a shop-window, a counter argument, the opening of a book, a dream, a deception: it shows itself immediately, or very soon afterwards, as something “not permitted to be absent,” it is full of profound significance and utility precisely for us! Is there a more dangerous temptation to rid ourselves of the belief in the Gods of Epicurus, those careless, unknown Gods, and believe in some anxious and mean Divinity, who knows personally every little hair on our heads, and feels no disgust in rendering the most wretched services? Well I mean in spite of all this! we want to leave the Gods alone (and the serviceable genii likewise), and wish to content ourselves with the assumption that our own practical and theoretical skilfulness in explaining and suitably arranging events has now reached its highest point. We do not want either to think too highly of this dexterity of our wisdom, when the wonderful harmony which results from playing on our instrument sometimes surprises us too much: a harmony which sounds too well for us to dare to ascribe it to ourselves. In fact, now and then there is one who plays with us beloved Chance: he leads our hand occasionally, and even the all-wisest Providence could not devise any finer music than that of which our foolish hand is then capable.


The Thought of Death. It gives me a melancholy happiness to live in the midst of this confusion of streets, of necessities, of voices: how much enjoyment, impatience and desire, how much thirsty life and drunkenness of life comes to light here every moment! And yet it will soon be so still for all these shouting, lively, life-loving people! How everyone’s shadow, his gloomy travelling-companion stands behind him! It is always as in the last moment before the departure of an emigrant-ship: people have more than ever to say to one another, the hour presses, the ocean with its lonely silence waits impatiently behind all the noise so greedy, so certain of its prey! And all, all, suppose that the past has been nothing, or a small matter, that the near future is everything: hence this haste, this crying, this self — deafening and self — overreaching! Everyone wants to be foremost in this future, and yet death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future! How strange that this sole thing that is certain and common to all, exercises almost no influence on men, and that they are the furthest from regarding themselves as the brother hood of death! It makes me happy to see that men do not want to think at all of the idea of death! I would fain do something to make the idea of life even a hundred times more worthy of their attention.


Stellar Friendship. We were friends, and have become strangers to each other. But this is as it ought to be, and we do not want either to conceal or obscure the fact as if we had to be ashamed of it. We are two ships, each of which has its goal and its course: we may, to be sure, cross one another in our paths, and celebrate a feast together as we did before — and then the gallant ships lay quietly in one harbour and in one sunshine, so that it might have been thought they were already at their goal, and that they had had one goal. But then the almighty strength of our tasks forced us apart once more into different seas and into different zones, and perhaps we shall never see one mother again — or perhaps we may see one another, but not know one another again; the different seas and suns have altered us! That we had to became strangers to one another is the law to which we are subject: just by that shall we become more sacred to one another! Just by that shall the thought of our former friendship become holier! There is probably some immense invisible curve and stellar orbit in which our courses and goals, so widely different, may be _comprehended_ as small stages of the way — let us raise ourselves to this thought! But our life is too short,and our power of vision too limited for us to be more than friends in the sense of that sublime possibility. And so we will believe in our stellar friendship, though we should have to be terrestrial enemies to one another.


Architecture for Thinkers. An insight is needed (and that probably very soon) as to what is specially lacking in our great cities namely, quiet, spacious, and widely extended places for reflection, places with long, lofty colonnades for bad weather, or for too sunny days, where no noise of wagons or of shouters would penetrate, and where a more refined propriety would prohibit loud praying even to the priest: buildings and situations which as a whole would express the sublimity of self-communion and seclusion from the world. The time is past when the Church possessed the monopoly of reflection, when the vita contemplativa had always in the first place to be the vita religiosa: and everything that the Church has built expresses this thought. I know not how we could content ourselves with their structures, even if they should be divested of their ecclesiastical purposes: these structures speak a far too pathetic and too biassed speech, as houses of God and places of splendour for super natural intercourse, for us godless ones to be able to think our thoughts in them. We want to have ourselves translated into stone and plant, we want to go for a walk in ourselves when we wander in these halls and gardens.


Knowing how to Find the End. — Masters of the first rank are recognised by knowing in a perfect manner how to find the end, in the whole as well as in the part; be it the end of a melody or of a thought, be it the fifth act of a tragedy or of a state The masters of the second degree always become restless towards the end, and seldom dip down into the sea with such proud, quiet equilibrium as, for example, the mountain-ridge at Porto fino where the Bay of Genoa sings its melody to an end.


The Gait. There are mannerisms of the intellect by which even great minds betray that they originate from the populace, or from the semi-populace:— it is principally the gait and step their thoughts which betray them; they cannot walk. It was thus that even Napoleon, to his profound chagrin, could not walk “legitimately” and in princely fashion on occasions when it was necessary to do so properly, as in great coronation processions and on similar occasions: even there he was always just the leader of a column proud and brusque at the same time, and very self-conscious it all It is something laughable to see those writers who make the folding robes of their periods rustle around them: they want to cover their feet.


Pioneers. I greet all the signs indicating that a more manly and warlike age is commencing, which will, above all, bring heroism again into honour! For it has to prepare the way for a yet higher age, and gather the force which the latter will one day require, the age which will carry heroism into know ledge, and wage war for the sake of ideas and their consequences. For that end many brave pioneers are now needed, who, however, cannot originate out of nothing, and just as little out of the sand and slime of present-day civilisation and the culture of great cities: men silent, solitary and resolute, who know how to be content and persistent in invisible activity: men who with innate disposition seek in all things that which is to be overcome in them: men to whom cheerfulness, patience, simplicity, and con tempt of the great vanities belong just as much as do magnanimity in victory and indulgence to the trivial vanities of all the vanquished: men with an acute and independent judgment regarding all victors, and concerning the part which chance has played in the winning of victory and fame: men with their own holidays, their own work-days, and their own periods of mourning; accustomed to command with perfect assurance, and equally ready, if need be, to obey, proud in the one case as in the other, equally serving their own interests: men more imperilled, more productive, more happy! For believe me! the secret of realising the largest productivity and the greatest enjoyment of existence is to live in danger! Build your cities on the slope of Vesuvius! Send your ships into unexplored seas! Live in war with your equals and with yourselves! Be robbers and spoilers, ye knowing ones, as long as ye cannot be rulers and possessors! The time will soon pass when you can be satisfied to live like timorous deer concealed in the forests. Knowledge will finally stretch out her hand for that which belongs to her: she means to rule and possess, and you with her!


Belief in Oneself. In general, few men have belief in themselves: and of those few some are endowed with it as a useful blindness or partial obscuration of intellect (what would they perceive if they could see to the bottom of themselves ). The others must first acquire the belief for them selves: everything good, clever, or great that they do, is first of all an argument against the sceptic that dwells in them: the question is how to convince or persuade this sceptic, and for that purpose genius almost is needed. They are signally dis satisfied with themselves.


Excelsior! “Thou wilt never more pray, never more worship, never more repose in infinite trust thou refusest to stand still and dismiss thy thoughts before an ultimate wisdom, an ultimate virtue, an ultimate power, thou hast no constant guardian and friend in thy seven solitudes thou livest without the outlook on a mountain that has snow on its head and fire in its heart there is no longer any requiter for thee, nor any amender with his finishing touch there is no longer any reason in that which happens, or any love in that which will happen to thee there is no longer any resting-place for thy weary heart, where it has only to find and no longer to seek, thou art opposed to any kind of ultimate peace, thou desirest the eternal recurrence of war and peace: man of renunciation, wilt thou renounce in all these things? Who will give thee the strength to do so? No one has yet had this strength!” — There is a lake which one day refused to flow away, and threw up a dam at the place where it had hitherto discharged: since then this lake has always risen higher and higher. Perhaps the very renunciation will also furnish us with the strength with which the renunciation itself can be borne; perhaps man will ever rise higher and higher from that point onward, when he no longer flows out into a God.


A Digression. Here are hopes; but what will you see and hear of them, if you have not experienced glance and glow and dawn of day in your own souls? I can only suggest I cannot do more! To move the stones, to make animals men would you have me do that? Alas, if you are yet stones and animals, you must seek your Orpheus!


Love of Blindness. “My thoughts,” said the wanderer to his shadow, “ought to show me where I stand, but they should not betray to me whither I go. I love ignorance of the future, and do not want to come to grief by impatience and anticipatory tasting of promised things.”


Lofty Moods. It seems to me that most men do not believe in lofty moods, unless it be for the moment, or at the most for a quarter of an hour, except the few who know by experience a longer duration of high feeling. But to be absolutely a man with a single lofty feeling, the incarnation of a single lofty mood that has hitherto been only a dream and an enchanting possibility: history does not yet give us any trustworthy example of it. Nevertheless one might also some day produce such men when a multitude of favourable conditions have been created and established, which at present even the happiest chance is unable to throw together. Perhaps that very state which has hitherto entered into our soul as an exception, felt with horror now and then, may be the usual condition of those future souls: a continuous movement between high and low, and the feeling of high and low, a constant state of mounting as on steps, and at the same time reposing as on clouds.


Aboard Ship! When one considers how a full philosophical justification of his mode of living and thinking operates upon every individual namely, as a warming, blessing, and fructifying sun, specially shining on him; how it makes him independent of praise and blame, self-sufficient, rich and generous in the bestowal of happiness and kindness; how it unceasingly transforms the evil to the good, brings all the energies to bloom and maturity, and altogether hinders the growth of the greater and lesser weeds of chagrin and dis content: one at last cries out importunately: Oh, that many such new suns were created! The evil man, also, the unfortunate man, and the exceptional man, shall each have his philosophy, his rights, and his sunshine! It is not sympathy with them that is necessary! we must unlearn this arrogant fancy, notwithstanding that humanity has so long learned it and used it exclusively, we have not to set up any confessor, exorcist, or pardoner for them! It is a new justice, however, that is necessary! And a new solution! And new philosophers! The moral earth also is round! The moral earth also has its antipodes! The antipodes also have their right to exist! there is still another world to discover and more than one! Aboard ship! ye philosophers!


One Thing is Needful. To “give style” to one’s character that is a grand and a rare art! He who surveys all that his nature presents in its strength and in its weakness, and then fashions it into an ingenious plan, until everything appears artistic and rational, and even the weaknesses enchant the eye exercises that admirable art. Here there has been a great amount of second nature added, there a portion of first nature has been taken away: in both cases with long exercise and daily labour at the task. Here the ugly, which does not permit of being taken away, has been concealed, there it has been reinterpreted into the sublime. Much of the vague, which re fuses to take form, has been reserved and utilised for the perspectives: it is meant to give a hint of the remote and immeasurable. In the end, when the work has been completed, it is revealed how it was the constraint of the same taste that organised and fashioned it in whole and in part: whether the taste was good or bad is of less importance than one thinks, it is sufficient that it was a taste! It will be the strong imperious natures which experience their most refined joy in such constraint, in such confinement and perfection under their own law; the passion of their violent volition lessens at the sight of all disciplined nature, all conquered and ministering nature: even when they have palaces to build and gardens to lay out, it is not to their taste to allow nature to be free. It is the reverse with weak characters who have not power over themselves, and hate the restriction of style: they feel that if this repugnant constraint were laid upon them, they would necessarily become vulgarised under it: they become slaves as soon as they serve, they hate service. Such intellects they may be intellects of the first rank are always concerned with fashioning and interpreting themselves and their surroundings as free nature wild, arbitrary, fantastic, confused and surprising: and it is well for them to do so, because only in this manner can they please themselves! For one thing is needful: namely, that man should attain to satisfaction with himself be it but through this or that fable and artifice: it is only then that man’s aspect is at all endurable! He who is dissatisfied with himself is ever ready to avenge himself on that account: we others will be his victims, if only in having always to endure his ugly aspect. For the aspect of the ugly makes one mean and sad.


Genoa. I have looked upon this city, its villas and pleasure-grounds, and the wide circuit of its inhabited heights and slopes, for a considerable time: in the end I must say that I see countenances out of past generations, this district is strewn with the images of bold and autocratic men. They have lived and have wanted to live on they say so with their houses, built and decorated for centuries, and not for the passing hour: they were well disposed to life, however ill-disposed they may often have been towards themselves. I always see the builder, how he casts his eye on all that is built around him far and near, and likewise on the city, the sea, and the chain of mountains; how he expresses power and conquest with his gaze: all this he wishes to fit into his plan, and in the end make it his property, by its becoming a portion of the same. The whole district is over grown with this superb, insatiable egoism of the desire to possess and exploit; and as these men when abroad recognised no frontiers, and in their thirst for the new placed a new world beside the old, so also at home everyone rose up against everyone else, and devised some mode of expressing his superiority, and of placing between himself and his neighbour his personal illimitableness. Everyone won for himself his home once more by over powering it with his architectural thoughts, and by transforming it into a delightful sight for his race. When we consider the mode of building cities in the north, the law, and the general delight in legality and obedience, impose upon us: we thereby divine the propensity to equality and submission which must have ruled in those builders. Here, however, on turning every corner you find a man by himself, who knows the sea, knows adventure, and knows the Orient, a man who is averse to law and to neighbour, as if it bored him to have to do with them, a man who scans all that is already old and established with envious glances: with a wonderful craftiness of fantasy, he would like, at least in thought, to establish all this anew, to lay his hand upon it, and introduce his meaning into it — if only for the passing hour of a sunny afternoon, when for once his insatiable and melancholy soul feels satiety, and when only what is his own, and nothing strange, may show itself to his eye.


To the Preachers of Morality. I do not mean to moralise, but to those who do, I would give this advice: if you mean ultimately to deprive the best things and the best conditions of all honour and worth, continue to speak of them in the same way as heretofore! Put them at the head of your morality, and speak from morning till night of the happiness of virtue, of repose of soul, of righteousness, and of reward and punishment in the nature of things: according as you go on in this manner, all these good things will finally acquire a popularity and a street-cry for themselves: but then all the gold on them will also be worn off, and more besides: all the gold in them will have changed into lead. Truly, you understand the reverse art of alchemy, the depreciating of the most valuable things! Try, just for once, another recipe, in order not to realise as hitherto the opposite of what you mean to attain: deny those good things, withdraw from them the applause of the populace and discourage the spread of them, make them once more the concealed chastities of solitary souls, and say: morality is something for bidden! Perhaps you will thus attract to your cause the sort of men who are only of any ac count, I mean the heroic. But then there must be something formidable in it, and not as hitherto something disgusting! Might one not be inclined to say at present with reference to morality what Master Eckardt says: “I pray God to deliver me from God!”


Our Atmosphere. We know it well: in him who only casts a glance now and then at science, as when taking a walk (in the manner of women, and alas! also like many artists), the strictness in its service, its inexorability in small matters as well as in great, its rapidity in weighing, judging and condemning, produce something of a feeling of giddiness and fright. It is especially terrifying to him that the hardest is here demanded, that the best is done without the reward of praise or distinction; it is rather as among soldiers almost nothing but blame and sharp reprimand is heard, for doing well prevails here as the rule, doing ill as the exception; the rule, however, has, here as everywhere, a silent tongue. It is the same with this “severity of science” as with the manners and politeness of the best society: it frightens the uninitiated. He, however, who is accustomed to it, does not like to live anywhere but in this clear, transparent, powerful, and highly electrified atmosphere, this manbr atmosphere. Anywhere else it is not pure and airy enough for him: he suspects that there his best art would neither be properly advantageous to anyone else, nor a delight to himself, that through misunderstandings half of his life would slip through his fingers, that much foresight, much concealment and reticence would constantly be necessary — nothing but great and useless losses of power! In this keen and clear element, however, he has his entire power: here he can fly! Why should he again go down into those muddy waters where he has to swim and wade and soil his wings! — No! There it is too hard for us to live! we cannot help it that we are born for the atmosphere, the pure atmosphere, we rivals of the ray of light; and that we should like best to ride like it on the atoms of ether, not away from the sun, but _towards the sun_! That, however, we cannot do:-— so we want to do the only thing that is in our power: namely, to bring light to the earth, we want to be "the light of the earth!" And for that purpose we have our wings and our swiftness and our severity, on that account we are manly, and even terrible like the fire. Let those fear us, who do not know how to warm and brighten themselves by our influence!


Against the Disparagers of Nature. They are disagreeable to me, those men in whom every natural inclination forthwith becomes a disease, something disfiguring, or even disgraceful. They have seduced us to the opinion that the inclinations and impulses of men are evil; they are the cause of our great injustice to our own nature, and to all nature! There are enough of men who may yield to their impulses gracefully and carelessly: but they do not do so, for fear of that imaginary “evil thing” in nature! That is the cause why there is so little nobility to be found among men: the indication of which will always be to have no fear of oneself, to expect nothing disgraceful from oneself, to fly without hesitation whithersoever we are impelled we free-born birds! Wherever we come, there will always be freedom and sunshine around us.


Short-lived Habits. I love short-lived habits, and regard them as an invaluable means for getting a knowledge of many things and various A L conditions, to the very bottom of their sweetness and bitterness; my nature is altogether arranged for short-lived habits, even in the needs of its bodily health, and in general, as far as I can see, from the lowest up to the highest matters. I always think that this will at last satisfy me permanently (the short-lived habit has also this characteristic belief of passion, the belief in ever lasting duration; I am to be envied for having found it and recognised it), and then it nourishes me at noon and at eve, and spreads a profound satisfaction around me and in me, so that I have no longing for anything else, not needing to compare, or despise, or hate. But one day the habit has had its time: the good thing separates from me, not as something which then inspires disgust in me but peaceably, and as though satisfied with me, as I am with it; as if we had to be mutually thankful, and thus shook hands for farewell. And already the new habit waits at the door, and similarly also my belief indestructible fool and sage that I am! that this new habit will be the right one, the ultimate right one. So it is with me as regards foods, thoughts, men, cities, poems, music, doctrines, arrangements of the day, and modes of life. On the other hand, I hate permanent habits, and feel as if a tyrant came into my neighbourhood, and as if my life’s breath condensed, when events take such a form that permanent habits seem necessarily to grow out of them: for example, through an official position, through constant companionship with the same persons, through a settled abode, or through a uniform state of health. Indeed, from the bottom of my soul I am gratefully disposed to all my misery and sickness, and to whatever is imperfect in me, because such things leave me a hundred back-doors through which I can escape from permanent habits. The most unendurable thing, to be sure, the really terrible thing, would be a life without habits, a life which continually required improvisation: that would be my banishment and my Siberia.


A Fixed Reputation. A fixed reputation was formerly a matter of the very greatest utility; and wherever society continues to be ruled by the herd — instinct, it is still most suitable for every individual to give to his character and business the appearance of unalterableness, even when they are not so in reality. “One can rely on him, he remains the same” that is the praise which has most significance in all dangerous conditions of society. Society feels with satisfaction that it has a reliable tool ready at all times in the virtue of this one, in the ambition of that one, and in the reflection and passion of a third one, it honours this tool-like nature, this self-constancy, this unchangeableness in opinions, efforts, and even in faults, with the highest honours. Such a valuation, which prevails and has prevailed everywhere simultaneously with the morality of custom, educates “characters,” and brings all changing, relearning, and self — transforming into disrepute. Be the advantage of this mode of thinking ever so great otherwise, it is in any case the mode of judging which is most injurious to knowledge: for precisely the good-will of the knowing one ever to declare himself unhesitatingly as opposed to his former opinions, and in general to be distrustful of all that wants to be fixed in him is here condemned and brought into disrepute. The disposition of the thinker, as incompatible with a “fixed reputation,” is regarded as dishonourable, while the petrifaction of opinions has all the honour to itself: we have at present still to live under the interdict of such rules! How difficult it is to live when one feels that the judgment of many millenniums is around one and against one. It is prob able that for many millenniums knowledge was afflicted with a bad conscience, and there must have been much self-contempt and secret misery in the history of the greatest intellects.


Ability to Contradict. Everyone knows at present that the ability to endure contradiction is a good indication of culture. Some people even know that the higher man courts opposition, and provokes it, so as to get a cue to his hitherto unknown partiality. But the ability to contradict, the attainment of a good conscience in hostility to the accustomed, the traditional and the hallowed, that is more than both the above-named abilities, and is the really great, new and astonishing thing in our culture, the step of all steps of the emancipated intellect: who knows that?


A Sigh. I caught this notion on the way, and rapidly took the readiest, poor words to hold it fast, so that it might not again fly away. But it has died in these dry words, and hangs and flaps about in them and now I hardly know, when I look upon it, how I could have had such happiness when I caught this bird.


What one should Learn from Artists. What means have we for making things beautiful, at tractive, and desirable, when they are not so? and I suppose they are never so in themselves! We have here something to learn from physicians, when, for example, they dilute what is bitter, or put wine and sugar into their mixing-bowl; but we have still more to learn from artists, who in fact, are continually concerned in devising such inventions and artifices. To withdraw from things until one no longer sees much of them, until one has even to see things into them, in order to see them at all or to view them from the side, and as in a frame or to place them so that they partly disguise themselves and only permit of perspective views or to look at them through coloured glasses, or in the light of the sunset or to furnish them with a surface or skin which is not fully transparent: we should learn all this from artists, and moreover be wiser than they. For this fine power of theirs usually ceases with them where art ceases and life begins; we, however, want to be the poets of our lives, and first of all in the smallest and most commonplace matters.


Prelude to Science. Do you believe then that the sciences would have arisen and grown up if the sorcerers, alchemists, astrologers and witches had not been their forerunners; those who, with their promisings and foreshadowings, had first to create a thirst, a hunger, and a taste for hidden and forbidden powers? Yea, that infinitely more had to be promised than could ever be fulfilled, in order that something might be fulfilled in the domain of knowledge? Perhaps the whole of religion, also, may appear to some distant age as an exercise and a prelude, in like manner as the prelude and preparation of science here exhibit themselves, though not at all practised and regarded as such. Perhaps religion may have been the peculiar means for enabling individual men to enjoy but once the entire self-satisfaction of a God and all his self-redeeming power. Indeed! one may ask would man have learned at all to get on the tracks of hunger and thirst for himself, and to extract satiety and fullness out of himself, without that religious schooling and preliminary history? Had Prometheus first to fancy that he had stolen the light, and that he did penance for the theft, in order finally to discover that he had created the light, in that he had longed for the light, and that not only man, but also God, had been the work of his hands and the clay in his hands? All mere creations of the creator? just as the illusion, the theft, the Caucasus, the vulture, and the whole tragic Promethean of all thinkers?


Illusion of the Contemplative. Higher men are distinguished from lower, by seeing and hearing immensely more, and in a thoughtful manner and it is precisely this that distinguishes man from the animal, and the higher animal from the lower. The world always becomes fuller for him who grows up to the full stature of humanity; there are always more interesting fishing-hooks, thrown out to him; the number of his stimuli is continually on the increase, and similarly the varieties of his pleasure and pain, the higher man becomes always at the same time happier and unhappier. An illusion, however, is his constant accompaniment all along: he thinks he is placed as a spectator and auditor before the great pantomime and concert of life; he calls his nature a contemplative nature, and thereby overlooks the fact that he himself is also a real creator, and continuous poet of life, that he no doubt differs greatly from the actor in this drama, the so-called practical man, but differs still more from a mere onlooker or spectator before the stage. There is certainly vis contemplativa, and reexamination of his work peculiar to him as poet, but at the same time, and first and foremost, he has the vis creativa, which the practical man or doer lacks, whatever appearance and current belief may say to the contrary. It is we, who think and feel, that actually and unceasingly make something which did not before exist: the whole eternally increasing world of valuations, colours, weights, perspectives, gradations, affirmations and negations. This composition of ours is continually learnt, practised, and translated into flesh and actuality, and even into the commonplace, by the so-called practical men (our actors, as we have said). What ever has value in the present world, has not it in itself, by its nature, nature is always worthless: but a value was once given to it, bestowed upon it and it was we who gave and bestowed! We only have created the world which is of any account to man! But it is precisely this knowledge that we lack, and when we get hold of it for a moment we have forgotten it the next: we misunderstand our highest power, we contemplative men, and estimate ourselves at too low a rate, we are neither as proud nor as happy as we might be.


The Danger of the Happiest Ones. To have fine senses and a fine taste; to be accustomed to the select and the intellectually best as our proper and readiest fare; to be blessed with a strong, bold, and daring soul; to go through life with a quiet eye and a firm step, ever ready for the worst as for a festival, and full of longing for undiscovered worlds and seas, men and Gods; to listen to all joyous music, as if there perhaps brave men, soldiers and seafarers, took a brief repose and enjoyment, and in the profoundest pleasure of the moment were overcome with tears and the whole purple melancholy of happiness: who would not like all this to be his possession, his condition! It was the happiness of Homer I The condition of him who invented the Gods for the Greeks, nay, who invented his Gods for himself! But let us not conceal the fact that with this happiness of Homer in one’s soul, one is more liable to suffering than any other creature under the sun! And only at this price do we purchase the most precious pearl that the waves of existence have hitherto washed ashore! As its possessor one always becomes more sensitive to pain, and at last too sensitive: a little displeasure and loathing sufficed in the end to make Homer disgusted with life. He was unable to solve a foolish little riddle which some young fishers proposed to him! Yes, the little riddles are the clangers of the happiest ones!


Two Happy Ones. Certainly this man, notwithstanding his youth, understands the improvisation of life, and astonishes even the acutest observers. For it seems that he never makes a mistake, although he constantly plays the most hazardous games. One is reminded of the improvising masters of the musical art, to whom even the listeners would fain ascribe a divine infallibility of the hand, notwithstanding that they now and then make a mistake, as every mortal is liable to do. But they are skilled and inventive, and always ready in a moment to arrange into the structure of the score the most accidental tone (where the jerk of a finger or a humour brings it about), and to animate the accident with a fine meaning and soul. Here is quite a different man: everything that he intends and plans fails with him in the long run. That on which he has now and again set his heart has already brought him several times to the abyss, and to the very verge of ruin; and if he has as yet got out of the scrape, it certainly has not been merely with a “black eye.” Do you think he is unhappy over it? He resolved long ago not to regard his own wishes and plans as of so much importance. “If this does not succeed with me,” he says to himself, “perhaps that will succeed; and on the whole I do not know but that I am under more obligation to thank my failures than any of my successes. Am I made to be headstrong, and to wear the bull’s horns? That which constitutes the worth and the sum of life for me, lies somewhere else; I know more of life, because I have been so often on the point of losing it; and just on that account I have more of life than any of you!”


In Doing we Leave Undone. In the main all those moral systems are distasteful to me which say: “Do not do this! Renounce! Overcome thyself!” On the other hand I am favourable to those moral systems which stimulate me to do something, and to do it again from morning till evening, to dream of it at night, and think of nothing else but to do it well, as well as is possible for me alone! From him who so lives there fall off one after the other the things that do not pertain to such a life: without hatred or antipathy, he sees this take leave of him today, and that tomorrow, like the yellow leaves which every livelier breeze strips from the tree: or he does not see at all that they take leave of him, so firmly is his eye fixed upon his goal, and generally forward, not sideways, backward, or downward. “Our doing must determine what we leave undone; in that we do, we leave undone” so it pleases me, so runs my pladtum. But I do not mean to strive with open eyes for my impoverishment; I do not like any of the negative virtues whose very essence is negation and self-renunciation.


Self-control Those moral teachers who first and foremost order man to get himself into his own power, induce thereby a curious infirmity in him, namely, a constant sensitiveness with reference to all natural strivings and inclinations, and as it were, a sort of itching. Whatever may hence forth drive him, draw him, allure or impel him, whether internally or externally it always seems to this sensitive being as if his self-control were in danger: he is no longer at liberty to trust himself to any instinct, to any free flight, but stands constantly with defensive mien, armed against himself, with sharp distrustful eye, the eternal watcher of his stronghold, to which office he has appointed himself. Yes, he can be great in that position! But how unendurable he has now become to others, how difficult even for himself to bear, how impoverished and cut off from the finest accidents of his soul! Yea, even from all further instruction! For we must be able to lose ourselves at times, if we want to learn something of what we have not in ourselves.


Stoic and Epicurean. The Epicurean selects the situations, the persons, and even the events which suit his extremely sensitive, intellectual constitution; he renounces the rest that is to say, by far the greater part of experience because it would be too strong and too heavy fare for him. The Stoic, on the contrary, accustoms himself to swallow stones and vermin, glass-splinters and scorpions, without feeling any disgust: his stomach is meant to become indifferent in the end to all that the accidents of existence cast into it: he reminds one of the Arabic sect of the Assaua, with which the French became acquainted in Algiers; and like those insensible persons, he also likes well to have an invited public at the exhibition of his insensibility, the very thing the Epicurean willingly dispenses with: he has of course his “garden”! Stoicism may be quite advisable for men with whom fate improvises, for those who live in violent times and are dependent on abrupt and change able individuals. He, however, who anticipates that fate will permit him to spin “a long thread,” does well to make his arrangements in Epicurean fashion; all men devoted to intellectual labour have done it hitherto! For it would be a supreme loss to them to forfeit their fine sensibility, and to acquire the hard, stoical hide with hedgehog prickles in exchange.


In Favour of Criticism. Something now appears to thee as an error which thou formerly lovedst as a truth, or as a probability: thou pushest it from thee and imaginest that thy reason has there gained a victory. But perhaps that error was then, when thou wast still another person thou art always another person, just as necessary to thee as all thy present “truths,” like a skin, as it were, which concealed and veiled from thee much which thou still mayst not see. Thy new life, and not thy reason, has slain that opinion for thee: thou dost not require it any longer, and now it breaks down of its own accord, and the irrationality crawls out of it as a worm into the light. When we make use of criticism it is not something arbitrary and impersonal, it is, at least very often, a proof that there are lively, active forces in us, which cast a skin. We deny, and must deny, because something in us wants to live and affirm itself, something which we perhaps do not as yet know, do not as yet see! So much in favour of criticism.


The History of each Day. What is it that constitutes the history of each day for thee? Look at thy habits of which it consists: are they the product of numberless little acts of cowardice and laziness, or of thy bravery and inventive reason? Although the two cases are so different, it is possible that men might bestow the same praise upon thee, and that thou mightst also be equally useful to them in the one case as in the other. But praise and utility and respectability may suffice for him whose only desire is to have a good conscience, not however for thee, the “trier of the reins,” who hast a consciousness of the conscience!


Out of the Seventh Solitude. One day the wanderer shut a door behind him, stood still, and wept. Then he said: “Oh, this inclination and impulse towards the true, the real, the non-apparent, the certain! How I detest it! Why does this gloomy and passionate taskmaster follow just me? I should like to rest, but it does not permit me to do so. Are there not a host of things seducing me to tarry! Everywhere there are gardens of Armida for me, and therefore there will ever be fresh separations and fresh bitterness of heart! I must set my foot forward, my weary wounded foot: and because I feel I must do this, I often cast grim glances back at the most beautiful things which could not detain me because they could not detain me!”


Will and Wave. How eagerly this wave comes hither, as if it were a question of its reaching some thing! How it creeps with frightful haste into the innermost corners of the rocky cliff! It seems that it wants to forestall some one; it seems that some thing is concealed there that has value, high value. And now it retreats somewhat more slowly, still quite white with excitement, is it disappointed? Has it found what it sought? Does it merely pretend to be disappointed? But already another wave approaches, still more eager and wild than the first, and its soul also seems to be full of secrets, and of longing for treasure-seeking. Thus live the waves, thus live we who exercise will! I do not say more. But what! Ye distrust me? Ye are angry at me, ye beautiful monsters? Do ye fear that I will quite betray your secret? Well! Just be angry with me, raise your green, dangerous bodies as high as ye can, make a wall between me and the sun as at present! Verily, there is now nothing more left of the world save green twilight and green lightning-flashes. Do as ye will, ye wanton creatures, roar with delight and wickedness or dive under again, pour your emeralds down into the depths, and cast your endless white tresses of foam and spray over them it is all the same to me, for all is so well with you, and I am so pleased with you for it all: how could I betray you! For take this to heart! I know you and your secret, I know your race! You and I are indeed of one race! You and I have indeed one secret!


Broken Lights. We are not always brave, and when we are weary, people of our stamp are liable to lament occasionally in this wise: “It is so hard to cause pain to men oh, that it should be necessary! What good is it to live concealed, when we do not want to keep to ourselves that which causes vexation? Would it not be more advisable to live in the madding crowd, and compensate individuals for sins that are committed, and must be committed, against mankind in general? Foolish with fools, vain with the vain, enthusiastic with enthusiasts? Would that not be reasonable when there is such an inordinate amount of divergence in the main? When I hear of the malignity of others against me is not my first feeling that of satisfaction? It is well that it should be so! I seem to myself to say to them—— I am so little in harmony with you, and have so much truth on my side: see henceforth that ye be merry at my expense as often as ye can! Here are my defects and mistakes, here are my illusions, my bad taste, my confusion, my tears, my vanity, my owlish concealment, my contradictions! Here you have something to laugh at! Laugh then, and enjoy yourselves! I am not averse to the law and nature of things, which is that defects and errors should give pleasure! To be sure, there were once more glorious times, when as soon as any one got an idea, however moderately new it might be, he would think him self so indispensable as to go out into the street with it, and call to everybody: Behold! the kingdom of heaven is at hand! I should not miss myself, if I were a-wanting. We are none of us indispensable!” As we have said, however, we do not think thus when we are brave; we do not think about it at all.


My Dog. I have given a name to my pain, and call it “a dog,” it is just as faithful, just as importunate and shameless, just as entertaining, just as wise, as any other dog and I can domineer over it, and vent my bad humour on it, as others do with their dogs, servants, and wives.


No Picture of a Martyr. I will take my cue from Raphael, and not paint any more martyr-pictures. There are enough of sublime things without its being necessary to seek sublimity where it is linked with cruelty; moreover my ambition would not be gratified in the least if I aspired to be a sublime executioner.


New Domestic Animals. I want to have my lion and my eagle about me, that I may always have hints and premonitions concerning the amount of my strength or weakness. Must I look down on them today, and be afraid of them? And will the hour come once more when they will look up to me, and tremble?


The Last Hour, Storms are my danger. Shall I have my storm in which I perish, as Oliver Cromwell perished in his storm? Or shall I go out as a light does, not first blown out by the wind, but grown tired and weary of itself a burnt-out light? Or finally, shall I blow myself out, so as not to burn out?


Prophetic Men. Ye cannot divine how sorely prophetic men suffer: ye think only that a fine “gift” has been given to them, and would fain have it yourselves, but I will express my meaning by a simile. How much may not the animals suffer from the electricity ot the atmosphere and the clouds! Some of them, as we see, have a prophetic faculty with regard to the weather, for example, apes (as one can observe very well even in Europe, and not only in menageries, but at Gibraltar). But it never occurs to us that it is their sufferings that are their prophets! When strong positive electricity, under the influence of an approaching cloud not at all visible, is suddenly converted into negative electricity, and an alteration of the weather is imminent, these animals then behave as if an enemy were approaching them, and pre pare for defence, or flight: they generally hide themselves, they do not think of the bad weather as weather, but as an enemy whose hand they already


Retrospect. We seldom become conscious of the real pathos of any period of life as such, as long as we continue in it, but always think it is the only possible and reasonable thing for us henceforth, and that it is altogether ethos and not pathos 27 to speak and distinguish like the Greeks. A few notes of music today recalled a winter and a house, and a life of utter solitude to my mind, and at the same time the sentiments in which I then lived: I thought I should be able to live in such a state always. But now I understand that it was entirely pathos and passion, something comparable to this painfully bold and truly comforting music, it is not one’s lot to have these sensations for years, still less for eternities: other wise one would become too “ethereal” for this planet.

* The distinction between ethos and pathos in Aristotle is, broadly, that between internal character and external circumstance. P. V. C.


Wisdom in Pain. In pain there is as much wisdom as in pleasure: like the latter it is one of the best self-preservatives of a species. Were it not so, pain would long ago have been done away with; that it is hurtful is no argument against it, for to be hurtful is its very essence. In pain I hear the commanding call of the ship’s captain: “Take in sail!” “Man,” the bold seafarer, must have learned to set his sails in a thousand different ways, otherwise he could not have sailed long, for the ocean would soon have swallowed him up. We must also know how to live with reduced energy: as soon as pain gives its precautionary signal, it is time to reduce the speed some great danger, some storm, is approaching, and we do well to “catch” as little wind as possible. It is true that there are men who, on the approach of severe pain, hear the very opposite call of command, and never appear more proud, more martial, or more happy than when the storm is brewing; indeed, pain itself provides them with their supreme moments! These are the heroic men, the great pain-bringers of mankind: those few and rare ones who need just the same apology as pain generally, and verily, it should not be denied them! They are forces of the greatest importance for preserving and advancing the species, be it only because they are opposed to smug ease, and do not conceal their disgust at this kind of happiness.


As Interpreters of our Experiences. One form of honesty has always been lacking among founders of religions and their kin: they have never made their experiences a matter of the intellectual con science. “What did I really experience? What then took place in me and around me? Was my understanding clear enough? Was my will directly opposed to all deception of the senses, and courageous in its defence against fantastic notions?” None of them ever asked these questions, nor to this day do any of the good religious people ask them. They have rather a thirst for things which are contrary to reason, and they don’t want to have too much difficulty in satisfying this thirst, so they experience “miracles” and “regenerations,” and hear the voices of angels! But we who are different, who are thirsty for reason, want to look as carefully into our experiences as in the case of a scientific experiment, hour by hour, day by day! We ourselves want to be our own experiments, and our own subjects of experiment.


On Meeting Again. A: Do I quite understand you? You are in search of something? Where, in the midst of the present, actual world, is your niche and star? Where can you lay yourself in the sun, so that you also may have a surplus of well-being, that your existence may justify itself? Let everyone do that for himself you seem to say, and let him put talk about generalities, concern for others and society, out of his mind! B: I want more; I am no seeker. I want to create my own sun for myself.


A New Precaution. Let us no longer think so much about punishing, blaming, and improving! We shall seldom be able to alter an individual, and if we should succeed in doing so, something else may also succeed, perhaps unawares: we may have been altered by him! Let us rather see to it that our own influence on all that is to come outweighs and overweighs his influence! Let us not struggle in direct conflict! all blaming, punishing, and desire to improve comes under this category. But let us elevate ourselves all the higher! Let us ever give to our pattern more shining colours! Let us obscure the other by our light! No! We do not mean to become darker ourselves on his account, like those who punish and are discontented! Let us rather go aside! Let us look away!


A Simile. Those thinkers in whom all the stars move in cyclic orbits, are not the most profound. He who looks into himself, as into an immense universe, and carries Milky Ways in himself, knows also how irregular all Milky Ways are; they lead into the very chaos and labyrinth of existence.


Happiness in Destiny. Destiny confers its great est distinction upon us when it has made us fight for a time on the side of our adversaries. We are thereby predestined to a great victory.


In Media Vita. No! Life has not deceived me! On the contrary, from year to year I find it richer, more desirable and more mysterious from the day on which the great liberator broke my fetters, the thought that life may be an experiment of the thinker and not a duty, not a fatality, not a deceit! And knowledge itself may be for others something different; for example, a bed of ease, or the path to a bed of ease, or an entertainment, or a course of idling, for me it is a world of dangers and victories, in which even the heroic sentiments have their arena and dancing-floor. “Life as a means to knowledge” with this principle in one’s heart, one can not only be brave, but can even live joyfully and laugh joyfully! And who could know how to laugh well and live well, who did not first understand the full significance of war and victory?


What Belongs to Greatness. Who can attain to anything great if he does not feel in himself the force and will to inflict great pain? The ability to suffer is a small matter: in that line, weak women and even slaves often attain masterliness. But not to perish from internal distress and doubt when one inflicts great suffering and hears the cry of it that is great, that belongs to greatness.


Physicians of the Soul and Pain. All preachers of morality, as also all theologians, have a bad habit in common: all of them try to persuade man that he is very ill, and that a severe, final, radical cure is necessary. And because mankind as a whole has for centuries listened too eagerly to those teachers, something of the superstition that the human race is in a very bad way has actually come over men: so that they are now far too ready to sigh; they find nothing more in life and make melancholy faces at each other, as if life were indeed very hard to endure. In truth, they are inordinately assured of their life and in love with it, and full of untold intrigues and subtleties for suppressing everything disagreeable, and for extracting the thorn from pain and misfortune. It seems to me that people always speak with exaggeration about pain and misfortune, as if it were a matter of good behaviour to exaggerate here: on the other hand people are intentionally silent in regard to the number of expedients for alleviating pain; as for instance, the deadening of it, feverish flurry of thought, a peaceful position, or good and bad reminiscences, intentions, and hopes, also many kinds of pride and fellow-feeling, which have almost the effect of anaesthetics: while in the greatest degree of pain fainting takes place of itself. We understand very well how to pour sweetness on our bitterness, especially on the bitterness of our soul; we find a remedy in our bravery and sublimity, as well as in the nobler delirium of sub-mission and resignation. A loss scarcely remains a loss for an hour: in some way or other a gift from heaven has always fallen into our lap at the same moment a new form of strength, for example: be it but a new opportunity for the exercise of strength! What have the preachers of morality not dreamt concerning the inner “misery” of evil men! What lies have they not told us about the misfortunes of impassioned men! Yes, lying is here the right word: they were only too well aware of the overflowing happiness of this kind of man, but they kept silent as death about it; because it was a refutation of their theory, according to which happiness only originates through the annihilation of the passions and the silencing of the will! And finally, as regards the recipe of all those physicians of the soul and their recommendation of a severe radical cure, we may be allowed to ask: Is our life really painful and burdensome enough for us to exchange it with advantage for a Stoical mode of living, and Stoical petrification? We do not feel sufficiently miserable to have to feel ill in the Stoical fashion!


Taking Things Seriously. The intellect is with most people an awkward, obscure and creaking machine, which is difficult to set in motion: they call it “taking a thing seriously” when they work with this machine and want to think well oh, how burdensome must good thinking be to them! That delightful animal, man, seems to lose his good-humour whenever he thinks well; he becomes serious! And “where there is laughing and gaiety, thinking cannot be worth anything:” so speaks the prejudice of this serious animal against all “Joyful Wisdom.” Well, then! Let us show that it is prejudice!


Doing Harm to Stupidity. It is certain that the belief in the reprehensibility of egoism, preached with such stubbornness and conviction, has on the whole done harm to egoism {in favour of the herd-instinct, as I shall repeat a hundred times!), especially by depriving it of a good conscience, and by bidding us seek in it the source of all misfortune. “Thy selfishness is the bane of thy life,” so rang the preaching for millenniums: it did harm, as we have said, to selfishness, and deprived it of much spirit, much cheerfulness, much ingenuity, and much beauty; it stultified and deformed and poisoned selfishness! Philosophical antiquity, on the other hand, taught that there was another principal source of evil: from Socrates downwards, the thinkers were never weary of preaching that “your thoughtlessness and stupidity, your unthinking way of living according to rule, and your subjection to the opinion of your neighbour, are the reasons why you so seldom attain to happiness, we thinkers are, as thinkers, the happiest of mortals.” Let us not decide here whether this preaching against stupidity was more sound than the preaching against selfishness; it is certain, however, that stupidity was thereby deprived of its good conscience: those philosophers did harm to stupidity.


Leisure and Idleness. There is an Indian savagery, a savagery peculiar to the Indian blood, in the manner in which the Americans strive after gold: and the breathless hurry of their work — the characteristic vice of the New World — a1ready begins to infect old Europe, and makes it savage also, spreading over it a strange lack of intellectuality. One is now ashamed of repose: even long reflection almost causes remorse of conscience. Thinking is done with a stop-watch, as dining is done with the eyes fixed on the financial newspaper; we live like men who are continually “afraid of letting opportunities slip.” “Better do anything whatever, than nothing”— this principle also is a noose with which all culture and all higher taste may be strangled. And just as all form obviously disappears in this hurry of workers, so the sense for form itself, the ear and the eye for the melody of movement, also disappear. The proof of this is the _clumsy perspicuity_ which is now everywhere demanded in all positions where a person would like to be sincere with his fellows, in intercourse with friends, women, relatives, children, teachers, pupils, leaders and princes — one has no longer either time or energy for ceremonies, for roundabout courtesies, for any _esprit_ in conversation, or for any _otium_ whatever. For life in the hunt for gain continually compels a person to consume his intellect, even to exhaustion, in constant dissimulation, overreaching, or forestalling: the real virtue nowadays is to do something in a shorter time than another person. And so there are only rare hours of sincere intercourse permitted: in them, however, people are tired, and would not only like “to let themselves go,” but to stretch their legs out wide in awkward style. The way people write their letters nowadays is quite in keeping with the age; their style and spirit will always be the true “sign of the times.” If there be still enjoyment in society and in art, it is enjoyment such as over-worked slaves provide for themselves. Oh, this moderation in “joy” of our cultured and uncultured classes! Oh, this increasing suspiciousness of all enjoyment! Work is winning over more and more the good conscience to its side: the desire for enjoyment already calls itself “need of recreation,” and even begins to be ashamed of itself. “One owes it to one’s health,” people say, when they are caught at a picnic. Indeed, it might soon go so far that one could not yield to the desire for the vita contemplative, (that is to say, excursions with thoughts and friends), without self-contempt and a bad conscience. Well! Formerly it was the very reverse: it was “action” that suffered from a bad conscience. A man of good family concealed his work when need compelled him to labour. The slave laboured under the weight of the feeling that he did something contemptible: the “doing” itself was something contemptible. “Only in otium and bellum is there nobility and honour:” so rang the voice of ancient prejudice!


Applause. The thinker does not need applause or the clapping of hands, provided he be sure of the clapping of his own hands: the latter, however, he cannot do without. Are there men who could also do without this, and in general without any kind of applause? I doubt it: and even as regards the wisest, Tacitus, who is no calumniator of the wise, says: quando etiam sapientibus gloria cupido novissima exuitur that means with him: never.


Better Deaf than Deafened. Formerly a person wanted to have his calling, but that no longer suffices today, for the market has become too large, there has now to be bawling. The consequence is that even good throats outcry each other, and the best wares are offered for sale with hoarse voices; without market-place bawling and hoarseness there is now no longer any genius. It is, sure enough, an evil age for the thinker: he has to learn to find his stillness betwixt two noises, and has to pretend to be deaf until he finally becomes so. As long as he has not learned this, he is in danger of perishing from impatience and headaches.


The Evil Hour. There has perhaps been an evil hour for every philosopher, in which he thought: What do I matter, if people should not believe my poor arguments! And then some malicious bird has flown past him and twittered: “What do you matter? What do you matter?”


What does Knowing Mean? Non ridere, non lugere, neque detestari, sed intelligere! says Spinoza, so simply and sublimely, as is his wont. Nevertheless, what else is this intelligere ultimately, but just the form in which the three other things become perceptible to us all at once? A result of the diverging and opposite impulses of desiring to deride, lament and execrate? Before knowledge is possible each of these impulses must first have brought forward its one-sided view of the object or event. The struggle of these one-sided views occurs afterwards, and out of it there occasionally arises a compromise, a pacification, a recognition of rights on all three sides, a sort of justice and agreement: for in virtue of the justice and agreement all those impulses can maintain themselves in existence and retain their mutual rights. We, to whose consciousness only the closing reconciliation scenes and final settling of accounts of these long processes manifest themselves, think on that account that intelligere is something conciliating, just and good, something essentially antithetical to the impulses; whereas it is only a certain relation of the impulses to one another. For a very long time conscious thinking was regarded as the only thinking: it is now only that the truth dawns upon us that the greater part of our intellectual activity goes on unconsciously and unfelt by us; I believe, however, that the im pulses which are here in mutual conflict under stand rightly how to make themselves felt by one another, and how to cause pain: the violent sudden exhaustion which overtakes all thinkers may have its origin here (it is the exhaustion of the battle-field). Aye, perhaps in our struggling interior there is much concealed heroism but certainly nothing divine, or eternally-reposing-in-itself, as Spinoza supposed. Conscious thinking and especially that of the philosopher, is the weakest and on that account also the relatively mildest and quietest mode of thinking: and thus it is precisely the philosopher who is most easily misled concerning the nature of knowledge.


One must Learn to Love. This is our experience in music: we must first learn in general to hear to hear fully, and to distinguish a theme or a melody, we have to isolate and limit it as a life by itself; then we need to exercise effort and good — will in order to endure it in spite of its strangeness we need patience towards its aspect and expression and indulgence towards what is odd in it — in the end there comes a moment when we are accustomed to it, when we expect it, when it dawns upon us that we should miss it if it were lacking; and then it goes on to exercise its spell and charm more and more, and does not cease until we have become its humble and enraptured lovers, who want it and want it again, and ask for nothing better from the world. It is thus with us, however, not only in music: it is precisely thus that we have learned to love everything that we love. We are always illy recompensed for our good-will, our patience reasonableness and gentleness towards what is unfamiliar, by the unfamiliar slowly throwing off its veil and presenting itself to us as a new, ineffable beauty: that is its thanks for our hospitality. He also who loves himself must have learned it in this way: there is no other way. Love also has to be learned.


Cheers for Physics! How many men are there who know how to observe? And among the few who do know, how many observe themselves? “Everyone is furthest from himself” all the “triers of the reins” know that to their discomfort; and the saying, “Know thyself,” in the mouth of a God and spoken to man, is almost a mockery. But that the case of self-observation is so desperate, is attested best of all by the manner in which almost everybody talks of the nature of a moral action, that prompt, willing, convinced, loquacious manner, with its look, its smile, and its pleasing eagerness! Everyone seems inclined to say to you: “Why, my dear Sir, that is precisely my affair! You address yourself with your question to him who is authorised to answer, for I happen to be wiser with regard to this matter than in anything else. Therefore, when a man decides that this is right} when he accordingly concludes that it must there fore be done, and thereupon does what he has thus recognised as right and designated as necessary then the nature of his action is moral!” But, my friend, you are talking to me about three actions instead of one: your deciding, for instance, that “this is right,” is also an action, could one not judge either morally or immorally? Why do you regard this, and just this, as right? “Because my conscience tells me so; conscience never speaks immorally, indeed it determines in the first place what shall be moral!” But why do you listen to the voice of your conscience? And in how far are you justified in regarding such a judgment as true and infallible? This belief is there no further conscience for it? Do you know nothing of an intellectual conscience? A conscience behind your “conscience ”? Your decision, “this is right,” has a previous history in your impulses, your likes and dislikes, your experiences and non-experiences; “how has it originated? ” you must ask, and after wards the further question: “what really impels me to give ear to it?” You can listen to its command like a brave soldier who hears the command of his officer. Or like a woman who loves him who commands. Or like a flatterer and coward, afraid of the commander. Or like a blockhead who follows because he has nothing to say to the contrary. In short, you can give ear to your conscience in a hundred different ways. But that you hear this or that judgment as the voice of conscience, consequently, that you feel a thing to be right may have its cause in the fact that you have never thought about your nature, and have blindly accepted from your childhood what has been designated to you as right: or in the fact that hitherto bread and honours have fallen to your share with that which you call your duty, it is “right” to you, because it seems to be your “condition of existence” (that you, however, have a right to existence seems to you irrefutable!). The persistency of your moral judgment might still be just a proof of personal wretchedness or impersonality; your “moral force” might have its source in your obstinacy or in your incapacity to perceive new ideals! And to be brief: if you had thought more acutely, observed more accurately, and had learned more, you would no longer under all circumstances call this and that your “duty” and your “conscience”: the know ledge how moral judgments have in general always originated would make you tired of these pathetic words, as you have already grown tired of other pathetic words, for instance “sin,” “salvation,” and “redemption.” And now, my friend, do not talk to me about the categorical imperative! That word tickles my ear, and I must laugh in spite of your presence and your seriousness. In this connection I recollect old Kant, who, as a punishment for having gained possession surreptitiously of the “thing in itself” also a very ludicrous affair! was imposed upon by the categorical imperative, and with that in his heart strayed back again to “God,” the “soul,” “freedom,” and “immortality,” like a fox which strays back into its cage: and it had been his strength and shrewdness which had broken open this cage! What? You admire the categorical imperative in you? This “persistency” of your so-called moral judgment? This absoluteness of the feeling that “as I think on this matter, so must everyone think”? Admire rather your selfishness therein! And the blindness, paltriness, and modesty of your selfishness! For it is selfishness in a person to regard his judgment as universal law, and a blind, paltry and modest selfishness besides, because it betrays that you have not yet discovered yourself, that you have not yet created for yourself any personal, quite personal ideal: for this could never be the ideal of another, to say nothing of all, of every one! He who still thinks that “each would have to act in this manner in this case,” has not yet advanced half a dozen paces in self-knowledge: otherwise he would know that there neither are, nor can be, similar actions, that every action that has been done, has been done in an entirely unique and inimitable manner, and that it will be the same with regard to all future actions; that all precepts of conduct (and even the most esoteric and subtle precepts of all moralities up to the present), apply only to the coarse exterior, that by means of them, indeed, a semblance of equality can be attained, but only a semblance, that in outlook and retrospect, every action is, and remains, an impenetrable affair, that our opinions of the “good,” “noble” and “great” can never be proved by our actions, because no action is cognisable, that our opinions, estimates, and tables of values are certainly among the most powerful levers in the mechanism of our actions, that in every single case, nevertheless, the law of their mechanism is untraceable. Let us confine ourselves, therefore, to the purification of our opinions and appreciations, and to the construction of new tables of value of our own: we will, how ever, brood no longer over the “moral worth of our actions”! Yes, my friends! As regards the whole moral twaddle of people about one another, it is time to be disgusted with it! To sit in judgment morally ought to be opposed to our taste! Let us leave this nonsense and this bad taste to those who have nothing else to do, save to drag the past a little distance further through time, and who are never themselves the present, consequently to the many, to the majority! We, however, would seek to become what we are, the new, the unique, the in-comparable, making laws for ourselves and creating ourselves! And for this purpose we must become the best students and discoverers of all the laws and necessities in the world. We must be physicists in order to be creators in that sense, whereas hitherto all appreciations and ideals have been based on ignorance of physics, or in contradiction thereto. And therefore, three cheers for physics! And still louder cheers for that which impels us thereto our honesty.


Avarice of Nature. Why has nature been so niggardly towards humanity that she has not let human beings shine, this man more and that man less, according to their inner abundance of light? Why have not great men such a fine visibility in their rising and setting as the sun? How much less equivocal would life among men then be!


Future “Humanity.” When I look at this age with the eye of a distant future, I find nothing so remarkable in the man of the present day as his peculiar virtue and sickness called “the historical sense.” It is a tendency to something quite new and foreign in history: if this embryo were given several centuries and more, there might finally evolve out of it a marvellous plant, with a smell equally marvellous, on account of which our old earth might be more pleasant to live in than it has been hitherto. We moderns are just beginning to form the chain of a very powerful, future sentiment, link by link, we hardly know what we are doing. It almost seems to us as if it were not the question of a new sentiment, but of the decline of all old sentiments: the historical sense is still some thing so poor and cold, and many are attacked by it as by a frost, and are made poorer and colder by it. To others it appears as the indication of stealthily approaching age, and our planet is regarded by them as a melancholy invalid, who, in order to forget his present condition, writes the history of his youth. In fact, this is one aspect of the new sentiment He who knows how to regard the history of man in its entirety as his own history, feels in the immense generalisation all the grief of the invalid who thinks of health, of the old man who thinks of the dream of his youth, of the lover who is robbed of his beloved, of the martyr whose ideal is destroyed, of the hero on the evening of the indecisive battle which has brought him wounds and the loss of a friend. But to bear this immense sum of grief of all kinds, to be able to bear it, and yet still be the hero who at the commencement of a second day of battle greets the dawn and his happiness, as one who has an horizon of centuries before and behind him, as the heir of all nobility, of all past intellect, and the obligatory heir (as the noblest) of all the old nobles; while at the same time the first of a new nobility, the equal of which has never been seen nor even dreamt of: to take all this upon his soul, the oldest, the newest, the losses, hopes, conquests, and victories of man kind: to have all this at last in one soul, and to comprise it in one feeling: this would necessarily furnish a happiness which man has not hitherto known, a God’s happiness, full of power and love, full of tears and laughter, a happiness which, like the sun in the evening, continually gives of its inexhaustible riches and empties into the sea, and like the sun, too, feels itself richest when even the poorest fisherman rows with golden oars! This divine feeling might then be called humanity!


The Will to Suffering and the Compassionate. Is it to your advantage to be above all compassionate? And is it to the advantage of the sufferers when you are so? But let us leave the first question for a moment without an answer. That from which we suffer most profoundly and personally is almost incomprehensible and inaccessible to every one else: in this matter we are hidden from our neighbour even when he eats at the same table with us. Everywhere, however, where we are noticed as sufferers, our suffering is interpreted in a shallow way; it belongs to the nature of the emotion of pity to divest unfamiliar suffering of its properly personal character: our “benefactors” lower our value and volition more than our enemies. In most benefits which are conferred on the unfortunate there is something shocking in the intellectual levity with which the compassionate person plays the role of fate: he knows nothing of all the inner consequences and complications which are called misfortune for me or for you! The entire economy of my soul and its adjustment by “misfortune,” the uprising of new sources and needs, the closing up of old wounds, the repudiation of whole periods of the past none of these things which may be connected with misfortune preoccupy the dear sympathiser. He wishes to succour, and does not reflect that there is a personal necessity for misfortune; that terror, want, impoverishment, midnight watches, adventures, hazards and mistakes are as necessary to me and to you as their opposites, yea, that, to speak mystically, the path to one’s own heaven always leads through the voluptuousness of one’s own hell. No, he knows nothing thereof. The “religion of compassion ” (or “the heart ”) bids him help, and he thinks he has helped best when he has helped most speedily! If you adherents of this religion actually have the same sentiments towards yourselves which you have towards your fellows, if you are unwilling to endure your own suffering even for an hour, and continually forestall all possible misfortune, if you regard suffering and pain generally as evil, as detestable, as deserving of annihilation, and as blots on existence, well, you have then, besides your religion of compassion, yet another religion in your heart (and this is perhaps the mother of the former) the religion of smug ease. Ah, how little you know of the happiness of man, you comfortable and good-natured ones! for happiness and misfortune are brother and sister, and twins, who grow tall together, or, as with you, remain small together! But now let us return to the first question. How is it at all possible for a person to keep to his path! Some cry or other is continually calling one aside: our eye then rarely lights on anything without it becoming necessary for us to leave for a moment our own affairs and rush to give assistance. I know there are hundreds of respectable and laud able methods of making me stray from my course, and in truth the most “moral” of methods! Indeed, the opinion of the present-day preachers of the morality of compassion goes so far as to imply that just this, and this alone is moral: to stray from our course to that extent and to run to the assistance of our neighbour. I am equally certain that I need only give myself over to the sight of one case of actual distress, and I, too, am lost! And if a suffering friend said to me, “See, I shall soon die, only promise to die with me” I might promise it, just as to select for once bad examples for good reasons the sight of a small, mountain people struggling for freedom, would bring me to the point of offering them my hand and my life. Indeed, there is even a secret seduction in all this awakening of compassion, and calling for help: our “own way” is a thing too hard and insistent, and too far removed from the love and gratitude of others, we escape from it and from our most personal conscience, not at all unwillingly, and, seeking security in the conscience of others, we take refuge in the lovely temple of the “religion of pity.” As soon now as any war breaks out, there always breaks out at the same time a certain secret delight precisely in the noblest class of the people: they rush with rapture to meet the new danger of death, because they believe that in the sacrifice for their country they have finally that long-sought-for permission the permission to shirk their aim: war is for them a detour to suicide, a detour, however, with a good conscience. And although silent here about some things, I will not, however, be silent about my morality, which says to me: Live in concealment in order that thou mayest live to thyself. Live ignorant of that which seems to thy age to be most important! Put at least the skin of three centuries betwixt thyself and the present day! And the clamour of the present day, the noise of wars and revolutions, ought to be a murmur to thee! Thou wilt also want to help, but only those whose distress thou entirely understandest, because they have one sorrow and one hope in common with thee thy friends: and only in the way that thou helpest thyself: I want to make them more courageous, more enduring, more simple, more joyful! I want to teach them that which at present so few understand, and the preachers of fellowship in sorrow least of all: namely, fellowship in joy!


Vita femina. To see the ultimate beauties in a work all knowledge and good-will is not enough; it requires the rarest, good chance for the veil of clouds to move for once from the summits, and for the sun to shine on them. We must not only stand at precisely the right place to see this, our very soul itself must have pulled away the veil from its heights, and must be in need of an external expression and simile, so as to have a hold and remain master of itself. All these, however, are so rarely united at the same time that I am inclined to believe that the highest summit of all that is good, be it work, deed, man, or nature, has hitherto remained for most people, and even for the best, as something concealed and shrouded: that, however, which unveils itself to us, unveils itself to us but once. The Greeks indeed prayed: “Twice and thrice, everything beautiful!” Ah, they had their good reason to call on the Gods, for ungodly actuality does not furnish us with the beautiful at all, or only does so once! I mean to say that the world is overfull of beautiful things, but it is nevertheless poor, very poor, in beautiful moments, and in the unveiling of those beautiful things. But perhaps this is the greatest charm of life: it puts a gold-embroidered veil of lovely potentialities over itself, promising, resisting, modest, mocking, sympathetic, seductive. Yes, life is a woman!


The Dying Socrates. I admire the courage and wisdom of Socrates in all that he did, said and did not say. This mocking and amorous demon and rat-catcher of Athens, who made the most insolent youths tremble and sob, was not only the wisest babbler that has ever lived, but was just as great in his silence. I would that he had also been silent in the last moment of his life, perhaps he might then have belonged to a still higher order of intellects. Whether it was death, or the poison, or piety, or wickedness something or other loosened his tongue at that moment, and he said: “ O Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepios.” For him who has ears, this ludicrous and terrible “last word” implies: “O Crito, life is a long sickness!” Is it possible! A man like him, who had lived cheerfully and to all appearance as a soldier, was a pessimist! He had merely put on a good demeanour towards life, and had all along concealed his ultimate judgment, his profoundest sentiment! Socrates, Socrates had suffered from life! And he also took his revenge for it with that veiled, fearful, pious, and blasphemous phrase! Had even a Socrates to revenge himself? Was there a grain too little of magnanimity in his superabundant virtue? Ah, my friends! We must surpass even the Greeks!


The Heaviest Burden. What if a demon” crept after thee into thy loneliest loneliness some day or night, and said to thee: “This life, as thou livest it at present, and hast lived it, thou must live it once more, and also innumerable times; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh, and all the unspeakably small and great in thy life must come to thee again, and all in the same series and sequence and similarly this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and similarly this moment, and I myself. The eternal sand-glass of existence will ever be turned once more, and thou with it, thou speck of dust!”

Wouldst thou not throw thyself down and gnash thy teeth, and curse the demon that so spake? Or hast thou once experienced a tremendous moment in which thou wouldst answer him: “Thou art a God, and never did I hear anything so divine!” If that thought acquired power over thee as thou art, it would transform thee, and perhaps crush thee; the question with regard to all and everything: “Dost thou want this once more, and also for innumerable times?” would lie as the heaviest burden upon thy activity! Or, how wouldst thou have to become favourably inclined to thyself and to life, so as to long for nothing more ardently than for this last eternal sanctioning and sealing?


Incipit Tragoedia. When Zarathustra was thirty years old, he left his home and the Lake of Urmi, and went into the mountains. There he enjoyed his spirit and his solitude, and for ten years did not weary of it. But at last his heart changed, and rising one morning with the rosy dawn, he went before the sun and spake thus to it: “Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for whom thou shinest! For ten years hast thou climbed hither unto my cave: thou wouldst have wearied of thy light and of the journey, had it not been for me, mine eagle, and my serpent. But we awaited thee every morning, took from thee thine overflow, and blessed thee for it. Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands out stretched to take it. I would fain bestow and distribute, until the wise have once more become joyous in their folly, and the poor happy in their riches. Therefore must I descend into the deep, as thou doest in the evening, when thou goest behind the sea and givest light also to the nether world, thou most rich star! Like thee must I go down, as men say, to whom I shall descend. Bless me then, thou tranquil eye, that canst behold even the greatest happiness without envy! Bless the cup that is about to overflow, that the water may flow golden out of it, and carry everywhere the reflection of thy bliss! Lo! This cup is again going to empty itself, and Zarathustra is again going to be a man.” Thus began Zarathustra’s down-going.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:58