WE FEARLESS ONES
“Carcasse, tu trembles? Tu tremblerais bien davantage, si tu savais, oil — e te mene.” Turenne. 18.73
What our Cheerfulness Signifies. The most important of more recent events — that “God is dead,” that the belief in the Christian God has become unworthy of belief — already begins to cast its first shadows over Europe. To the few at least whose eye, whose suspecting glance, is strong enough and subtle enough for this drama, some sun seems to have set, some old, profound confidence seems to have changed into doubt: our old world must seem to them daily more darksome, distrustful, strange and “old.” In the main, however, one may say that the event itself is far too great, too remote, too much beyond most people’s power of apprehension, for one to suppose that so much as the report of it could have reached them; not to speak of many who already knew what had taken place, and what must all collapse now that this belief had been undermined, because so much was built upon it, so much rested on it, and had become one with it: for example, our entire European morality. This lengthy, vast and uninterrupted process of crumbling, destruction, ruin and overthrow which is now imminent: who has realised it sufficiently today to have to stand up as the teacher and herald of such a tremendous logic of terror, as the prophet of a period of gloom and eclipse, the like of which has probably never taken place on earth before? . . . Even we, the born riddle-readers, who wait as it were on the mountains posted twixt today and tomorrow, and engirt by their contradiction, we, the firstlings and premature children of the coming century, into whose sight especially the shadows which must forthwith envelop Europe should already have come how is it that even we, with out genuine sympathy for this period of gloom, contemplate its advent without any personal solicitude or fear? Are we still, perhaps, too much under the immediate effects of the event and are these effects, especially as regards our selves, perhaps the reverse of what was to be expected not at all sad and depressing, but rather like a new and indescribable variety of light, happiness, relief, enlivenment, encouragement, and dawning day? . . . In fact, we philosophers and “free spirits” feel ourselves irradiated as by a new dawn by the report that the “old God is dead”; our hearts overflow with gratitude, astonishment, presentiment and expectation. At last the horizon seems open once more, granting even that it is not bright; our ships can at last put out to sea in face of every danger; every hazard is again permitted to the discerner; the sea, our sea, again lies open before us; perhaps never before did such an “open sea” exist.
To what Extent even We are still Pious. It is said with good reason that convictions have no civic rights in the domain of science: it is only when a conviction voluntarily condescends to the modesty of an hypothesis, a preliminary standpoint for experiment, or a regulative fiction, that its access to the realm of knowledge, and a certain value therein, can be conceded, always, however, with the restriction that it must remain under police super vision, under the police of our distrust. Regarded more accurately, however, does not this imply that only when a conviction ceases to be a conviction can it obtain admission into science? Does not the discipline of the scientific spirit just commence when one no longer harbours any conviction? . . . It is probably so: only, it remains to be asked whether, in order that this discipline may commence, it is not necessary that there should already be a conviction, and in fact one so imperative and absolute, that it makes a sacrifice of all other convictions. One sees that science also rests on a belief: there is no science at all “without premises.” The question whether truth is necessary, must not merely be affirmed beforehand, but must be affirmed to such an extent that the principle, belief, or conviction finds expression, that “there is nothing more necessary than truth, and in comparison with it everything else has only secondary value.” This absolute will to truth: what is it? Is it the will not to allow ourselves to be deceived? Is it the will not to deceive? For the will to truth could also be interpreted in this fashion, provided one included under the generalisation, “I will not deceive.” the special case, “I will not deceive myself.” But why not deceive? Why not allow oneself to be deceived? Let it be noted that the reasons for the former eventuality belong to a category quite different from those for the latter: one does not want to be deceived oneself, under the supposition that it is injurious, dangerous, or fatal to be deceived, in this sense science would be a prolonged process of caution, foresight and utility; against which, however, one might reasonably make objections. What? is not-wishing-to-be-deceived really less injurious, less dangerous, less fatal? What do you know of the character of existence in all its phases to be able to decide whether the greater advantage is on the side of absolute distrust, or of absolute trustfulness? In case, however, of both being necessary, much trusting and much distrusting, whence then should science derive the absolute belief, the conviction on which it rests, that truth is more important than anything else, even than every other conviction? This conviction could not have arisen if truth and untruth had both continually proved themselves to be useful: as is the case. Thus the belief in science, which now undeniably exists, cannot have had its origin in such a utilitarian calculation, but rather in spite of the fact of the inutility and dangerousness of the “Will to truth,” of “truth at all costs,” being continually demonstrated. “At all costs”: alas, we understand that sufficiently well, after having sacrificed and slaughtered one belief after another at this altar! Consequently, “Will to truth ” does not imply, “I will not allow I myself to be deceived,” but there is no other alternative “I will not deceive, not even myself”: and thus we have reached the realm of morality For let one just ask oneself fairly: “Why wilt thou not deceive?” especially if it should seem—and it does seem as if life were laid out with a view to appearance, I mean, with a view to error, deceit, dissimulation, delusion, self-delusion; and when on the other hand it is a matter of fact that the great type of life has always manifested itself on the side of the most unscrupulous πολυτροποι. Such an intention might perhaps, to express it mildly, be a piece of Quixotism, a enthusiastic craziness; it might also, however, I something worse, namely, a destructive principle, hostile to life. . . . “Will to Truth,”— that might be a concealed Will to Death. Thus the question Why is there science? leads back to the moral problem: What in general is the purpose of morality, if life, nature, and history are “non-moral”? There is no doubt that the conscientious man in the daring and extreme sense in which he is presupposed by the belief in science, affirms thereby a world other than that of life, nature, and history; and in so far as he affirms this “other world,” what? must he not just thereby deny its counterpart, this world, our world? . . . But what I have in view will now be understood, namely, that it is always a metaphysical belief on which our belief in science rests, and that even we knowing ones of today, the godless and anti-metaphysical, still take our fire from the conflagration kindled by a belief a millennium old, the Christian belief, which was also the belief of Plato, that God is truth, that the truth is divine. . . . But what if this itself always becomes more untrustworthy, what if nothing any longer proves itself divine, except it be error, blindness, and falsehood; what if God himself turns out to be our most persistent lie?
Morality as a Problem. A defect in personality revenges itself everywhere: an enfeebled, lank, obliterated, self-disavowing and disowning personality is no longer fit for anything good it is least of all at for philosophy. “Selflessness” has no value either in heaven or on earth; the great problems all demand great love, and it is only the strong, well-rounded, secure spirits, those who have a solid basis, that are qualified for them. It makes the most material difference whether a thinker stands personally related to his problems, having his fate, his need, and even his highest happiness therein; or merely impersonally, that is to say, if he can only feel and grasp them with the tentacles of cold, prying thought. In the latter case I warrant that nothing comes of it: for the great problems, granting that they let themselves be grasped at all, do not let themselves be held by toads and weaklings: that has ever been their taste a taste also which they share with all high-spirited women. How is it that I have not yet met with any one, not even in books, who seems to have stood to morality in this position, as one who knew morality as a problem, and this problem as his own personal need, affliction, pleasure and passion? It is obvious that up to the present morality has not been a problem at all; it has rather been the very ground on which people have met after all distrust, dissension and contradiction, the hallowed place of peace, where thinkers could obtain rest even from themselves, could recover breath and revive. I see no one who has ventured to criticise the estimates of moral worth. I miss in this connection even the attempts of scientific curiosity, and the fastidious, groping imagination of psychologists and historians, which easily anticipates a problem and catches it on the wing, without rightly knowing what it catches. With difficulty I have discovered some scanty data for the purpose of furnishing a history of the origin of these feelings and estimates of value (which is something different from a criticism of them, and also something different from a history of ethical systems). In an individual case I have done everything to encourage the inclination and talent for this kind of history in vain, as it would seem to me at present. There is little to be learned from those historians of morality (especially Englishmen): they themselves are usually, quite unsuspiciously, under the influence of a definite morality, and act unwittingly as its armour-bearers and followers perhaps still repeating sincerely the popular superstition of Christian Europe, that the characteristic of moral action consists in abnegation, self-denial, self-sacrifice, or in fellow-feeling and fellow-suffering. The usual error in their premises is their insistence on a certain consensus among human beings, at least among civilised human beings, with regard to certain propositions of morality, from thence they conclude that these propositions are absolutely binding even upon you and me; or reversely, they come to the conclusion that no morality is binding, after the truth has dawned upon them that among different peoples moral valuations are necessarily different: both of which conclusions are equally childish follies. The error of the more subtle amongst them is that they discover and criticise the probably foolish opinions of a people about its own morality, or the opinions of mankind about human morality generally (they treat accordingly of its origin, its religious sanctions, the superstition of free will, and such matters), and they think that just by so doing they have criticised the morality itself. But the worth of a precept, “Thou shalt,” is fundamentally different from and independent of such opinions about it, and must be distinguished from the weeds of error with which it has perhaps been overgrown: just as the worth of a medicine to a sick person is altogether independent of the question whether he has a scientific opinion about medicine, or merely thinks about it as an old wife would do. A morality could even have grown out of an error: but with this knowledge the problem of its worth would not even be touched. Thus, no one hitherto has tested the value of that most celebrated of all medicines, called morality: for which purpose it is first of all necessary for one to call it in question. Well, that is just our work.
Our Note of Interrogation. But you don’t under stand it? As a matter of fact, an effort will be necessary in order to understand us. We seek for words; we seek perhaps also for ears. Who are we after all? If we wanted simply to call our selves in older phraseology, atheists, unbelievers, or even immoralists, we should still be far from thinking ourselves designated thereby: we are all three in too late a phase for people generally to conceive, for you, my inquisitive friends, to be able to conceive, what is our state of mind under the circumstances. No! we have no longer the bitterness and passion of him who has broken loose, who has to make for himself a belief, a goal, and even a martyrdom out of his unbelief! We have become saturated with the conviction (and have grown cold and hard in it) that things are not at all divinely ordered in this world, nor even according to human standards do they go on rationally, mercifully, or justly: we know the fact that the world in which we live is ungodly, immoral, and “inhuman,” we have far too long interpreted it to ourselves falsely and mendaciously, according to the wish and will of our veneration, that is to say, according to our need. For man is a venerating animal! But he is also a distrustful animal: and that the world is not worth what we believed it to be worth is about the surest thing our dis trust has at last managed to grasp. So much distrust, so much philosophy! We take good care not to say that the world is of less value: it seems to us at present absolutely ridiculous when man claims to devise values to surpass the values of the actual world, it is precisely from that point that we have retraced our steps; as from an extravagant error of human conceit and irrationality, which for a long period has not been recognised as such. This error had its last expression in modern Pessimism; an older and stronger manifestation in the teaching of Buddha; but Christianity also contains it, more dubiously, to be sure, and more ambiguously, but none the less seductive on that account. The whole attitude of “man versus the world,” man as world-denying principle, man as the standard of the value of things, as judge of the world, who in the end puts existence itself on his scales and finds it too light the monstrous impertinence of this attitude has dawned upon us as such, and has disgusted us, we now laugh when we find, “Man and World” placed beside one another, separated by the sublime presumption of the little word “and”! But how is it? Have we not in our very laughing just made a further step in despising mankind? And consequently also in Pessimism, in despising the existence cognisable by us? Have we not just thereby awakened suspicion that there is an opposition between the world in which we have hitherto been at home with our venerations for the sake of which we perhaps endure life and another world which we ourselves are: an inexorable, radical, most profound suspicion concerning ourselves, which is continually getting us Europeans more annoyingly into its power, and could easily face the coming generation with the terrible alternative: Either do away with your venerations, or with yourselves! The latter would be Nihilism but would not the former also be Nihilism? This is our note of interrogation.
Believers and their Need of Belief. How much faith a person requires in order to flourish, how much “fixed opinion” he requires which he does not wish to have shaken, because he holds himself thereby is a measure of his power (or more plainly speaking, of his weakness). Most people in old Europe, as it seems to me, still need Christianity at present, and on that account it still finds belief. For such is man: a theological dogma might be refuted to him a thousand times, provided, how ever, that he had need of it, he would again and again accept it as “true,” according to the famous “proof of power” of which the Bible speaks. Some have still need of metaphysics; but also the impatient longing for certainty which at present discharges itself in scientific, positivist fashion among large numbers of the people, the longing by all means to get at something stable (while on account of the warmth of the longing the establishing of the certainty is more leisurely and negligently undertaken): even this is still the longing for a hold, a support; in short, the instinct of weakness, which, while not actually creating religions, metaphysics, and convictions of all kinds, nevertheless preserves them. In fact, around all these positivist systems there fume the vapours of a certain pessimistic gloom, something of weariness, fatalism, disillusionment, and tear of new disillusionment or else manifest animosity, ill-humour, anarchic exasperation, and whatever there is of symptom or masquerade of the feeling of weakness. Even the readiness with which our cleverest contemporaries get lost in wretched corners and alleys, for example, in Vaterlanderei (so I designate Jingoism, called chauvinisme in France, and “deutsch” in Germany), or in petty aesthetic creeds in the manner of Parisian naturalisme. (which only brings into prominence and uncovers that aspect of nature which excites simultaneously disgust and astonishment they like at present to call this aspect la verite vraie), or in Nihilism in the St Petersburg style (that is to say, in the belief in unbelief, even to martyrdom for it): this shows always and above all the need of belief, support, backbone, and buttress. . . . Belief is always most desired, most pressingly needed, where there is a lack of will: for the will, as emotion of command, is the distinguishing characteristic of sovereignty and power. That is to say, the less a person knows how to command, the more urgent is his desire for that which commands, and commands sternly, a God, a prince, a caste, a physician, a confessor, a dogma, a party conscience. From whence perhaps it could be inferred that the two world-religions, Buddhism and Christianity, might well have had the cause of their rise, and especially of their rapid extension, in an extraordinary mdadsjtfjku And in truth it has been so: both religions lighted upon a longing, monstrously exaggerated by malady of the will, for an imperative, a “Thou-shalt,” a longing going the length of despair; both religions were teachers of fanaticism in times of slackness of will-power, and thereby offered to innumerable persons a support, a new possibility of exercising will, an enjoyment in willing. For in fact fanaticism is the sole “volitional strength” to which the weak and irresolute can be excited, as a sort of hypnotising of the entire sensory-intellectual system, in favour of the over-abundant nutrition (hypertrophy) of a particular point of view and a particular sentiment, which then dominates the Christian calls it his faith. When a man arrives at the fundamental conviction that he requires to be commanded, he becomes “a believer.” Reversely, one could imagine a delight and a power of self-determining, and a freedom of will, whereby a spirit could bid farewell to every belief, to every wish for certainty, accustomed as it would be to support itself on slender cords and possibilities, and to dance even on the verge of abysses. Such a spirit would be the spirit par excellence.
The Origin of the Learned. The learned man in Europe grows out of all the different ranks and social conditions, like a plant requiring no specific soil: on that account he belongs essentially and involuntarily to the partisans of democratic thought. But this origin betrays itself. If one has trained one’s glance to some extent to recognise in a learned book or scientific treatise the intellectual idiosyncrasy of the learned man all of them have such idiosyncrasy, and if we take it by surprise, we shall almost always get a glimpse behind it of the “antecedent history” of the learned man and his family, especially of the nature of their callings and occupations. Where the feeling finds expression, “That is at last proved, I am now done with it,” it is commonly the ancestor in the blood and instincts of the learned man that approves of the “accomplished work ” in the nook from which he sees things; the belief in the proof is only an indication of what has been looked upon for ages by a laborious family as “good work.” Take an example: the sons of registrars and office-clerks of every kind, whose main task has always been to arrange a variety of material, distribute it in drawers, and systematise it generally, evince, when they become learned men, an inclination to regard a problem as almost solved when they have systematised it. There are philosophers who are at bottom nothing but systematising brains the formal part of the paternal occupation has become its essence to them. The talent for classifications, for tables of categories, betrays something; it is not for nothing that a person is the child of his parents. The son of an advocate will also have to be an advocate as investigator: he seeks as a first consideration, to carry the point in his case, as a second consideration, he perhaps seeks to be in the right. One recognises the sons of Protestant clergymen and schoolmasters by the naive assurance with which as learned men they already assume their case to be proved, when it has but been presented by them staunchly and warmly: they are thoroughly accustomed to people believing in them, it belonged to their fathers “trade”!
A Jew, contrariwise, in accordance with his business surroundings and the past of his race, is least of all accustomed to people believing him. Observe Jewish scholars with regard to this matter, they all lay great stress on logic, that is to say, on compelling assent by means of reasons; they know that they must conquer thereby, even when race and class antipathy is against them, even where people are unwilling to believe them. For in fact, nothing is more democratic than logic: it knows no respect of persons, and takes even the crooked nose as straight. (In passing we may remark that in respect to logical thinking, in respect to cleaner intellectual habits, Europe is not a little indebted to the Jews; above all the Germans, as being a lamentably deraisonnable race, who, even at the present day, must always have their “heads washed”30 in the first place. Wherever the Jews have attained to influence, they have taught to analyse more subtly, to argue more acutely, to write more clearly and purely: it has always been their problem to bring a people “to raison”)
* In German the expression Kopf zu waschen, besides the literal sense, also means “to give a person a sound drubbing.”— TR.
The Origin of the Learned once more. To seek self-preservation merely, is the expression of a state of distress, or of limitation of the true, fundamental instinct of life, which aims at the extension of power, and with this in view often enough calls in question self-preservation and sacrifices it. It should be taken as symptomatic when individual philosophers, as for example, the consumptive Spinoza, have seen and have been obliged to see the principal feature of life precisely in the so-called self-preservative instinct: they have just been men in states of distress. That our modern natural sciences have entangled themselves so much with Spinoza’s dogma (finally and most grossly in Darwinism, with its inconceivably one-sided doctrine of the “struggle for existence” ), is probably owing to the origin of most of the inquirers into nature: they belong in this respect to the people, their forefathers have been poor and humble persons, who knew too well by immediate experience the difficulty of making a living. Over the whole of English Darwinism there hovers something of the suffocating air of over-crowded England, some thing of the odour of humble people in need and in straits. But as an investigator of nature, a person ought to emerge from his paltry human nook: and in nature the state of distress does not prevail, but superfluity, even prodigality to the extent of folly. The struggle for existence is only an exception, a temporary restriction of the will to live; the struggle, be it great or small, turns every where on predominance, on increase and expansion, on power, in conformity to the will to power, which is just the will to live.
In Honour of Homines Religiosi. The struggle against the church is certainly (among other things for it has a manifold significance) the struggle of the more ordinary, cheerful, confiding, superficial natures against the rule of the graver, profounder, more contemplative natures, that is to say, the more malign and suspicious men, who with long continued distrust in the worth of life, brood also over their own worth: the ordinary instinct of the people, its sensual gaiety, its “good heart,” revolts against them. The entire Roman Church rests on a Southern suspicion of the nature of man (always misunderstood in the North), a suspicion whereby the European South has succeeded to the inheritance of the profound Orient the mysterious, venerable Asia and its contemplative spirit. Protestantism was a popular insurrection in favour of the simple, the respect able, the superficial (the North has always been more good-natured and more shallow than the South), but it was the French Revolution that first gave the sceptre wholly and solemnly into the hands of the “good man ” (the sheep, the ass, the goose, and everything incurably shallow, bawling, and fit for the Bedlam of “modern ideas ”).
In Honour of Priestly Natures. I think that philosophers have always felt themselves very remote from that which the people (in all classes of society nowadays) take for wisdom: the prudent, bovine placidity, piety, and country-parson meekness, which lies in the meadow and gazes at life seriously and ruminatingly: this is probably be cause philosophers have not had sufficiently the taste of the “people,” or of the country-parson, for that kind of wisdom. Philosophers will also perhaps be the last to acknowledge that the people should understand something of that which lies furthest from them, something of the great passion of the thinker, who lives and must live continually in the storm-cloud of the highest problems and the heaviest responsibilities (consequently, not gazing at all, to say nothing of doing so indifferently, securely, objectively). The people venerate an entirely different type of men when on their part they form the ideal of a “sage,” and they are a thousand times justified in rendering homage with the highest eulogies and honours to precisely that type of men namely, the gentle, serious, simple, chaste, priestly natures and those related to them, it is to them that the praise falls due in the popular veneration of wisdom. And to whom should the multitude have more reason to be grateful than to these men who pertain to its class and rise from its ranks, but are persons consecrated, chosen, and sacrificed for its good they themselves believe themselves sacrificed to God, before whom every one can pour forth his heart with impunity, by whom he can get rid of his secrets, cares, and worse things (for the man who “communicates himself” gets rid of himself, and he who has “confessed” forgets). Here there exists a great need: for sewers and pure cleansing waters are required also for spiritual filth, and rapid currents of love are needed, and strong, lowly, pure hearts, who qualify and sacrifice themselves for such service of the non-public health-department for it is a sacrificing, the priest is, and continues to be, a human sacrifice. . . . The people regard such sacrificed, silent, serious men of “faith” as “wise,” that is to say, as men who have become sages, as “reliable” in relation to their own unreliability. Who would desire to deprive the people of that expression and that veneration? But as is fair on the other side, among philosophers the priest also is still held to belong to the “people,” and is not regarded as a sage, because, above all, they them selves do not believe in “ sages,” and they already scent “the people” in this very belief and superstition. It was modesty which invented in Greece the word “philosopher,” and left to the play actors of the spirit the superb arrogance of assuming the name “wise” the modesty of such monsters of pride and self-glorification as Pythagoras and Plato.
Why we can hardly Dispense with Morality. The naked man is generally an ignominious spectacle I speak of us European males (and by no means of European females!). If the most joyous company at table suddenly found themselves stripped and divested of their garments through the trick of an enchanter, I believe that not only would the joyousness be gone and the strongest appetite lost; it seems that we Europeans cannot at all dispense with the masquerade that is called clothing. But should not the disguise of “moral men,” the screening under moral formulae and notions of decency, the whole kindly concealment of our conduct under conceptions of duty, virtue, public sentiment, honourableness, and disinterestedness, have just as good reasons in support of it? Not that I mean hereby that human wickedness and baseness, in short, the evil wild beast in us, should be disguised; on the contrary, my idea is that it is precisely as tame animals that we are an ignominious spectacle and require moral disguising, that the “inner man” in Europe is far from having enough of intrinsic evil “to let himself be seen ” with it (to be beautiful with it). The European disguises himself in morality because he has become a sick, sickly, crippled animal, who has good reasons for being “tame,” because he is almost an abortion, an imperfect, weak and clumsy thing. . . . It is not the fierceness of the beast of prey that finds moral disguise necessary, but the gregarious animal, with its profound mediocrity, anxiety and ennui. Morality dresses up the European let us acknowledge it! in more distinguished, more important, more conspicuous guise in “divine ” guise
The Origin of Religions. The real inventions of founders of religions are, on the one hand, to establish a definite mode of life and everyday custom, which operates as discipline voluntatis, and at the same time does away with ennui; and on the other hand, to give to that very mode of life an interpretation, by virtue of which it appears illumined with the highest value; so that it henceforth becomes a good for which people struggle, and under certain circumstances lay down their lives. In truth, the second of these inventions is the more essential: the first, the mode of life, has usually been there already, side by side, however, with other modes of life, and still unconscious of the value which it embodies. The import, the originality of the founder of a religion, discloses itself usually in the fact that he sees the mode of life, selects it, and divines for the first time the purpose for which it can be used, how it can be interpreted. Jesus (or Paul) for example, found around him the life of the common people in the Roman province, a modest, virtuous, oppressed life: he interpreted it, he put the highest significance and value into it and thereby the courage to despise every other mode of life, the calm fanaticism of the Moravians, the secret, subterranean self-confidence which goes on increasing, and is at last ready “to overcome the world” (that is to say, Rome, and the upper classes throughout the empire). Buddha, in like manner, found the same type of man, he found it in fact dispersed among all the classes and social ranks of a people who were good and kind (and above all inoffensive), owing to indolence, and who likewise owing to indolence, lived abstemiously, almost without requirements. He understood that such a type of man, with all its vis inertiae, had inevitably to glide into a belief which promises to avoid the return of earthly ill (that is to say, labour and activity generally), this “understanding” was his genius. The founder of a religion possesses psychological infallibility in the knowledge of a definite, average type of souls, who have not yet recognised themselves as akin. It is he who brings them together: the founding of a religion, therefore, always becomes a long ceremony of recognition.
The “Genius of the Species.” The problem of consciousness (or more correctly: of becoming conscious of oneself) meets us only when we begin to perceive in what measure we could dispense with it: and it is at the beginning of this perception that we are now placed by physiology and zoology (which have thus required two centuries to over take the hint thrown out in advance by Leibnitz). For we could in fact think, feel, will, and recollect, we could likewise “act” in every sense of the term, and nevertheless nothing of it all need necessarily “come into consciousness” (as one says metaphorically). The whole of life would be possible without its seeing itself as it were in a mirror: as in fact even at present the far greater part of our life still goes on without this mirroring, and even our thinking, feeling, volitional life as well, how ever painful this statement may sound to an older philosopher. What then is the purpose of consciousness generally, when it is in the main superfluous? Now it seems to me, if you will hear my answer and its perhaps extravagant supposition, that the subtlety and strength of consciousness are always in proportion to the capacity for communication of a man (or an animal), the capacity for communication in its turn being in proportion to the necessity for communication: the latter not to be understood as if precisely the individual himself who is master in the art of communicating and making known his necessities would at the same time have to be most dependent upon others for his necessities.: seems to me, however, to be so in relation to whole races and successions of generations: where necessity and need have long compelled men to communicate with their fellows and understand e another rapidly and subtly, a surplus of the power and art of communication is at last acquired as if it were a fortune which had gradually accumulated, and now waited for an heir to squander it prodigally (the so-called artists are these heirs in like manner the orators, preachers, and authors: all of them men who come at the end of a long succession, “late-born” always, in the best sense of the word, and as has been said, squanderers by their very nature). Granted that this observation correct, I may proceed further to the conjecture that consciousness generally has only been developed under the pressure of the necessity for communication — from the first it has been necessary and useful only between man and man (especially between those commanding and those obeying) and has only developed in proportion to its utility. Consciousness is properly only a connecting net work between man and man, — it is only as such that it has had to develop; the recluse and wild-beast species of men would not have needed it The very fact that our actions, thoughts, feelings and motions come within the range of our consciousness at least a part of them — is the result of a terrible, prolonged “must” ruling man’s destiny: as the most endangered animal he needed help and protection; he needed his fellows, he was obliged to express his distress, he had to know how to make himself understood and for all this he needed “consciousness ” first of all: he had to “know ” himself what he lacked, to “know” how he felt, and to “know” what he thought. For, to repeat it once more, man, like every living creature, thinks unceasingly, but does not know it; the thinking which is becoming conscious of itself is only the smallest part thereof, we may say, the most superficial part, the worst part: for this conscious thinking alone is done in words, that is to say, in the symbols for communication, by means of which the origin of consciousness is revealed. In short, the development of speech and the development of consciousness (not of reason, but of reason becoming self-conscious) go hand in hand. Let it be further accepted that it is not only speech that serves as a bridge between man and man, but also the looks, the pressure and the gestures; our becoming conscious of our sense impressions, our power of being able to fix them, and as it were to locate them outside of ourselves, has increased in proportion as the necessity has increased for communicating them to others by means of signs. The sign-inventing man is at the same time the man who is always more acutely self-conscious; it is only as a social animal that man has learned to become conscious of himself, he is doing so still, and doing so more and more. As is obvious, my idea is that consciousness does not properly belong to the individual existence of man, but rather to the social and gregarious nature in him; that, as follows therefrom, it is only in relation to communal and gregarious utility that it is finely developed; and that consequently each of us, in spite of the best intention of understanding himself as individually as possible, and of “knowing himself,” will always just call into consciousness the non-individual in him, namely, his “averageness”; that our thought itself is continuously as it were outvoted by the character of consciousness by the imperious “genius of the species” therein and is translated back into the perspective of the herd. Fundamentally our actions are in an incomparable manner altogether personal, unique and absolutely individual there is no doubt about it; but as soon as we translate them into consciousness, they do not appear so any longer. . . . This is the proper phenomenalism and perspectivism as I understand it: the nature of animal consciousness involves the notion that the world of which we can become conscious is only a superficial and symbolic world, a generalised and vulgarised world; that everything which becomes conscious becomes just thereby shallow, meagre, relatively stupid, a generalisation, a symbol, a characteristic of the herd; that with the evolving of consciousness there is always combined a great, radical perversion, falsification, superficialisation, and generalisation. Finally, the growing consciousness is a danger, and whoever lives among the most conscious Europeans knows even that it is a disease. As may be conjectured, it is not the antithesis of subject and object with which I am here concerned: I leave that distinction to the epistemologists who have remained entangled in the toils of grammar (popular metaphysics). It is still less the antithesis of “thing in itself” and phenomenon, for we do not “know” enough to be entitled even to make such a distinction. Indeed, we have not any organ at all for knowing, or for “truth”: we “know” (or believe, or fancy) just as much as may be of use in the interest of the human herd, the species; and even what is here called “usefulness” is ultimately only a belief, a fancy, and perhaps precisely the most fatal stupidity by which we shall one day be ruined.
The Origin of our Conception of “Knowledge” I take this explanation from the street. I heard one of the people saying that “he knew me,” so I asked myself: What do the people really under stand by knowledge? what do they want when they seek “knowledge”? Nothing more than that what is strange is to be traced back to some thing known. And we philosophers have we really understood anything more by knowledge? The known, that is to say, what we are accustomed to so that we no longer marvel at it, the common place, any kind of rule to which we are habituated, all and everything in which we know ourselves to be at home: what? is our need of knowing not just this need of the known? the will to discover in everything strange, unusual, or questionable, some thing which no longer disquiets us? Is it not possible that it should be the instinct of fear which enjoins upon us to know? Is it not possible that the rejoicing of the discerner should be just his rejoicing in the regained feeling of security? . . . One philosopher imagined the world “known” when he had traced it back to the “idea”: alas, was it not because the idea was so known, so familiar to him? because he had so much less fear of the “idea” Oh, this moderation of the discerners! let us but look at their principles, and at their solutions of the riddle of the world in this connection! When they again find aught in things, among things, or behind things that is unfortunately very well known to us, for example, our multiplication table, or our logic, or our willing and desiring, how happy they immediately are! For “what is known is understood”: they are unanimous as to that. Even the most circumspect among them think that the known is at least more easily understood than the strange; that for example, it is methodically ordered to proceed outward from the “inner world,” from “the facts of consciousness,” because it is the world which is better known to us! Error ot errors! The known is the accustomed, and the accustomed is the most difficult of all to “understand,” that is to say, to perceive as a problem, to perceive as strange, distant, “outside of us.” . . . The great certainty of the natural sciences in comparison with psychology and the criticism of the elements of consciousness unnatural sciences, as one might almost be entitled to call them rests precisely on the fact that they take what is strange as their object: while it is almost like something contradictory and absurd to wish to take generally what is not strange as an object. . . .
In what Manner Europe will always become “more Artistic”. Providing a living still enforces even in the present day (in our transition period when so much ceases to enforce) a definite role on almost all male Europeans, their so-called callings; some have the liberty, an apparent liberty, to choose this role themselves, but most have it chosen for them. The result is strange enough. Almost all Europeans confound themselves with their role when they advance in age; they themselves are the victims of their “good acting,” they have forgotten how much chance, whim and arbitrariness swayed them when their “calling” was decided and how many other roles they could perhaps have played: for it is now too late! Looked at more closely, we see that their characters have actually evolved out of their role, nature out of art. There were ages in which people believed with unshaken confidence, yea, with piety, in their predestination for this very business, for that very mode of livelihood, and would not at all acknowledge chance, or the fortuitous role, or arbitrariness therein. Ranks, guilds, and hereditary trade privileges succeeded, with the help of this belief, in rearing those extra ordinary broad towers of society which distinguished the Middle Ages, and of which at all events one thing remains to their credit: capacity for duration (and duration is a thing of the first rank on earth!). But there are ages entirely the reverse, the properly democratic ages, in which people tend to become more and more oblivious of this belief, and a sort of impudent conviction and quite contrary mode of viewing things comes to the front, the Athenian conviction which is first observed in the epoch of Pericles, the American conviction of the present day, which wants also more and more to become a European conviction: whereby the individual is convinced that he can do almost anything, that he can play almost any role, whereby everyone makes experiments with himself, improvises, tries anew, tries with delight, whereby all nature ceases and becomes art. . . . The Greeks, having adopted this role-creed an artist creed, if you will underwent step by step, as is well known, a curious transformation, not in every respect worthy of imitation: they became actual stage-players; and as such they enchanted, they conquered all the world, and at last even the conqueror of the world, (for the Graeculus histrio conquered Rome, and not Greek culture, as the naive are accustomed to say . . . ). What I fear, however, and what is at present obvious, if we desire to perceive it, is that we modern men are quite on the same road already; and whenever a man begins to discover in what respect he plays a role, and to what extent he can be a stage-player, he becomes a stage-player. . . . A new flora and fauna of men thereupon springs up, which cannot grow in more stable, more restricted eras or is left “at the bottom,” under the ban and suspicion of infamy; thereupon the most interesting and insane periods of history always make their appearance, in which “stage-players,” all kinds of stage-players, are the real masters. Precisely thereby another species of man is always more and more injured, and in the end made impossible: above all the great “architects”; the building power is now being paralysed; the courage that makes plans for the distant future is disheartened; there begins to be a lack of organising geniuses. Who is there who would now venture to undertake works for the completion of which millenniums would have to be reckoned upon? The fundamental belief is dying out, on the basis of which one could calculate, promise and anticipate the future in one’s plan, and offer it as a sacrifice thereto, that in fact man has only value and significance in so far as he is a stone in a great building; for which purpose he has first of all to be solid, he has to be a “stone.” . . . Above all, not a stage-player! In short alas! this fact will be hushed up for some considerable time to come! that which from henceforth will no longer be built, and can no longer be built, is a society in the old sense of the term; to build that structure everything is lacking, above all, the material. None of us are any longer material for a society: that is a truth which is seasonable at present! It seems to me a matter of indifference that mean while the most short-sighted, perhaps the most honest, and at any rate the noisiest species of men of the present day, our friends the Socialists, believe, hope, dream, and above all scream and scribble almost the opposite; in fact one already reads their watchword of the future: “free society,” on all tables and walls. Free society? Indeed! Indeed! But you know, gentlemen, sure enough whereof one builds it? Out of wooden iron! Out of the famous wooden iron! And not even out of wooden.
The old Problem: What is German? Let us count up apart the real acquisitions of philosophical thought for which we have to thank German intellects: are they in any allowable sense to be counted also to the credit of the whole race? Can we say that they are at the same time the work of the “German soul,” or at least a symptom of it, in the sense in which we are accustomed to think for example, of Plato’s ideomania, his almost religious madness for form as an event and an evidence the — “Greek soul”? Or would the reverse perhaps be true? Were they individually as much to the spirit of the race, as was for example, Goethe’s Paganism with a good conscience? Or as Bismarck’s Macchiavelism was with a good conscience, his so-called “practical politics” in Germany? Did our philosophers perhaps even go counter to the need of the “German soul”? In short were the German philosophers really philosophical Germans? — but over all who had philosophised up to his time — that consciousness is only an accident of mental attribute; that consequently what we call consciousness only constitutes a state of our spiritual and psychical world (perhaps a morbid state and far from being that world to) — is there any thing German in this thought, the profundity of which has not as yet been exhausted? Is there reason to think that a person of the Latin race would not readily have stumbled on this reversal of the apparent? for it is a reversal. Let us call to mind secondly, the immense note of interrogation which Kant wrote after the notion of causality. Not that he at all doubted its legitimacy, like Hume: on the contrary, he began cautiously to define the domain within which this notion has significance generally (we have not even yet got finished with the marking out of these limits). Let us take thirdly, the astonishing hit of Hegel, who stuck at no logical usage or fastidiousness when he ventured to teach that the conceptions of kinds develop out of one another: with which theory the thinkers in Europe were prepared for the last great scientific movement, for Darwinism for without Hegel there would have been no Darwin. Is there anything German in this Hegelian innovation which first introduced the decisive conception of evolution into science? Yes, without doubt we feel that there is something of ourselves “discovered” and divined in all three cases; we are thankful for it, and at the same time surprised; each of these three principles is a thoughtful piece of German self-confession, self-understanding, and self-know ledge. We feel with Leibnitz that “our inner world is far richer, ampler, and more concealed ”; as Germans we are doubtful, like Kant, about the ultimate validity of scientific knowledge of nature, and in general about whatever can be known causaliter: the knowable as such now appears to us of less worth. We Germans should still have been Hegelians, even though there had never been a Hegel, inasmuch as we (in contradistinction to all Latin peoples) instinctively attribute to becoming, to evolution, a profounder significance and higher value than to that which “is” we hardly believe at all in the validity of the concept “being.” This is all the more the case because we are not inclined to concede to our human logic that it is logic in itself, that it is the only kind of logic (we should rather like, on the contrary, to convince ourselves that it is only a special case, and perhaps one of the strangest and most stupid). A fourth question would be whether also Schopenhauer with his Pessimism, that is to say, the problem of the worth of existence, had to be a German. I think not. The event after which this problem was to be expected with certainty, so that an astronomer of the soul could have calculated the day and the hour for it namely, the decay of the belief in the Christian God, the victory of scientific atheism, is a universal European event, in which all races are to have their share of service and honour. On the contrary, it has to be ascribed precisely to the Germans those with whom Schopenhauer was contemporary, that they delayed this victory of atheism longest, and endangered it most. Hegel especially was its retarder par excellence, in virtue of the grandiose attempt which he made to persuade us at the very last of the divinity of existence, with the help of our sixth sense, “the historical sense.” As philosopher, Schopenhauer was the first avowed and inflexible atheist we Germans have had: his hostility to Hegel had here its motive. The non-divinity of existence was regarded by him as something understood, palpable, indisputable; he always lost his philosophical composure and got into a passion when he saw anyone hesitate and beat about the bush here. It is at this point that his thorough uprightness of character comes in: unconditional, honest atheism is precisely the preliminary condition for his raising the problem, as a final and hard-won victory of the European conscience, as the most prolific act of two thousand years discipline to truth, which in the end no longer tolerates the lie of the belief in a God. . . . One sees what has really gained the victory over the Christian God, Christian morality itself, the conception of veracity, taken ever more strictly, the confessional subtlety of the Christian conscience, translated and sublimated to the scientific conscience, to intellectual purity at any price. To look upon nature as if it were a proof of the goodness and care of a God; to interpret history in honour of a divine reason, as a constant testimony to a moral order in the world and a moral final purpose; to explain personal experiences as pious men have long enough explained them, as if everything were a dispensation or intimation of Providence, some thing planned and sent on behalf of the salvation of the soul: all that is now past, it has conscience against it, it is regarded by all the more acute consciences as disreputable and dishonourable, as mendaciousness, femininism, weakness, and cowardice, by virtue of this severity, if by any thing, we are good Europeans, the heirs of Europe’s longest and bravest self-conquest. When we thus reject the Christian interpretation, and condemn its “significance” as a forgery, we are immediately confronted in a striking manner with the Schopenhauerian question: Has existence then a significance at all? the question which will require a couple of centuries even to be completely heard in all its profundity. Schopenhauer’s own answer to this question was if I may be forgiven for saying so a premature, juvenile reply, a mere compromise, a stoppage and sticking in the very same Christian-ascetic, moral perspectives, the belief in which had got notice to quit along with the belief in God. But he raised the question as a good European, as we have said, and not as a German. Or did the Germans prove at least by the way in which they seized on the Schopenhauerian question, their inner connection and relationship to him, their preparation for his problem, and their need of it? That there has been thinking and printing even in Germany since Schopenhauer’s time on the problem raised by him, it was late enough! does not at all suffice to enable us to decide in favour of this closer relationship; one could, on the contrary, lay great stress on the peculiar awkwardness of this post-Schopenhauerian Pessimism Germans evidently do not behave themselves here as in their element. I do not at all allude here to Eduard von Hartmann; on the contrary, my old suspicion is not vanished even at present that he is too clever for us; I mean to say that as arrant rogue from the very first, he did not perhaps make merry solely over German Pessimism and that in the end he might probably “bequeathe” to them the truth as to how far a person could bamboozle the Germans themselves in the age of bubble companies. But further, are we perhaps to reckon to the honour of Germans, the old humming-top, Bahnsen, who all his life spun about with the greatest pleasure around his realistically dialectic misery and “personal ill-luck,” was that German? (In passing I recommend his writings for the purpose for which I myself have used them, as anti-pessimistic fare, especially on account of his elegantia psychologica, which, it seems to me, could alleviate even the most constipated body and soul). Or would it be proper to count such dilettanti and old maids as the mawkish apostle of virginity, Mainlander, among the genuine Germans? After all he was probably a Jew (all Jews become mawkish when they moralise). Neither Bahnsen, nor Mainlander, nor even Eduard von Hartmann, give us a reliable grasp of the question whether the pessimism of Schopenhauer (his frightened glance into an undeified world, which has become stupid, blind, deranged and problematic, his honourable fright) was not only an exceptional case among Germans, but a German event: while everything else which stands in the foreground, like our valiant politics and our joyful Jingoism (which decidedly enough regards everything with reference to a principle sufficiently unphilosophical: “Deutschland, Deutschland, uber Alles”* consequently sub specie speciely namely, the German species], testifies very plainly to the contrary. No!
The Germans of today are not pessimists! And Schopenhauer was a pessimist, I repeat it once more, as a good European, and not as a German.
* “Germany, Germany, above all”: the first line of the German national song. — TR.
The Peasant Revolt of the Spirit. We Europeans find ourselves in view of an immense world of ruins, where some things still tower aloft, while other objects stand mouldering and dismal, where most things however already lie on the ground, picturesque enough where were there ever finer ruins? overgrown with weeds, large and small. It is the Church which is this city of decay: we see the religious organisation of Christianity shaken to its deepest foundations. The belief in God is overthrown, the belief in the Christian ascetic ideal is now fighting its last fight. Such a long and solidly built work as Christianity it was the last construction of the Romans! could not of course be demolished all at once; every sort of earthquake had to shake it, every sort of spirit which perforates, digs, gnaws and moulders had to assist in the work of destruction. But that which is strangest is that those who have exerted themselves most to retain and preserve Christianity, have been precisely those who did most to destroy it, the Germans. It seems that the Germans do not understand the essence of a Church. Are they not spiritual enough, or not distrustful enough to do so? In any case the structure of the Church rests on a southern freedom and liberality of spirit, and similarly on a southern suspicion of nature, man, and spirit, it rests on a knowledge of man an experience of man, entirely different from what the north has had. The Lutheran Reformation in all its length and breadth was the indignation of the simple against something “complicated.” To speak cautiously, it was a coarse, honest mis understanding, in which much is to be forgiven, people did not understand the mode of expression of a victorious Church, and only saw corruption; they misunderstood the noble scepticism, the luxury of scepticism and toleration which every victorious, self-confident power permits. . . . One overlooks the fact readily enough at present that as regards all cardinal questions concerning power Luther was badly endowed; he was fatally short-sighted, superficial and imprudent and above all, as a man sprung from the people, he lacked all the hereditary qualities of a ruling caste, and all the instincts for power; so that his work, his intention to restore the work of the Romans, merely became involuntarily and unconsciously the commencement of a work of destruction. He unravelled, he tore asunder with honest rage, where the old spider had woven longest and most carefully. He gave the sacred books into the hands of everyone, they thereby got at last into the hands of the philologists, that is to say, the annihilators of every belief based upon books. He demolished the conception of “the Church ” in that he repudiated the belief in the inspiration of the Councils: for only under the supposition that the inspiring spirit which had founded the Church still lives in it, still builds it, still goes on building its house, does the conception of “the Church” retain its power. He gave back to the priest sexual intercourse: but three-fourths of the reverence of which the people (and above all the women of the people) are capable, rests on the belief that an exceptional man in this respect will also be an exceptional man in other respects. It is precisely here that the popular belief in some thing superhuman in man, in a miracle, in the saving God in man, has its most subtle and insidious advocate. After Luther had given a wife to the priest, he had to take from him auricular confession; that was psychologically right: but thereby he practically did away with the Christian priest him self, whose profoundest utility has ever consisted in his being a sacred ear, a silent well, and a grave for secrets. Every man his own priest behind such formula? and their bucolic slyness, there was concealed in Luther the profoundest hatred of “higher men,” and of the rule of “higher men,” as the Church had conceived them. Luther disowned an ideal which he did not know how to attain, while he seemed to combat and detest the degeneration thereof. As a matter of fact, he, the impossible monk, repudiated the rule of the homines religiosi he consequently brought about precisely the same thing within the ecclesiastical social order that he combated so impatiently in the civic order, namely a “peasant insurrection.” As to all that grew out of his Reformation afterwards, good and bad, which can at present be almost counted up who would be naive enough to praise or blame Luther simply on account of these results? He is innocent of all; he knew not what he did. The art of making the European spirit shallower especially in the north, or more good-natured, if people would rather hear it designated by a moral expression, undoubtedly took a clever step in advance in the Lutheran Reformation; and similarly there grew out of it the mobility and disquietude of the spirit, its thirst for independence, its belief in the right to freedom, and its “naturalness.” people wish to ascribe to the Reformation in the last instance the merit of having prepared and favoured that which we at present honour as “modern science,” they must of course add that H is also accessory to bringing about the degeneration of the modern scholar, with his lack of reverence, of shame and of profundity; and that it is also responsible for all naive candour and plain-dealing in matters of knowledge, in short for the plebeianism of the spirit which is peculiar to the last two centuries, and from which even pessimism hitherto, has not in any way delivered us. “ Modern ideas” also belong to this peasant insurrection of the north against the colder, more ambiguous, more suspicious spirit of the south, which has built itself its greatest monument in the Christian Church. Let us not forget in the end what a Church is, and especially in contrast to every “State ”: a Church is above all an authoritative organisation which secures to the most spiritual men the highest rank, and believes in the power of spirituality so far as to forbid all grosser appliances of authority. Through this alone the Church under all circumstances a nobler institution than the State.
Vengeance on Intellect, and other Backgrounds of Morality. Morality where do you think it has its most dangerous and rancorous advocates? There, for example, is an ill-constituted man, who docs not possess enough of intellect to be able to take pleasure in it, and just enough of culture to be aware of the fact; bored, satiated, and a self-despiser; besides being cheated unfortunately by some hereditary property out of the last consolation, “blessing of labour,” the self-forgetfulness in the “day’s work”; one who is thoroughly ashamed of his existence — perhaps also harbouring some vices, and who on the other hand (by means of books to which he has no right, or more intellectual society than he can digest), cannot help vitiating himself more and more, and making himself vain and irritable: such a thoroughly poisoned man for intellect becomes poison, culture becomes poison, possession becomes poison, solitude becomes poison, to such ill-constituted beings gets at last into a habitual state of vengeance and inclination for vengeance. . . . What do you think he finds necessary, absolutely necessary in order to give himself the appearance in his own eyes of superiority over more intellectual men, so as to give himself the delight of perfect revenge, at least in imagination? It is always morality that he requires, one may wager on it; always the big moral words, always the high-sounding words: justice, wisdom, holiness, virtue; always the Stoicism of gestures (how well Stoicism hides what one does not possess!); always the mantle of wise silence, of affability, of gentleness, and whatever else the idealist-mantle is called, in which the incurable self-despisers and also the incurably conceited walk about. Let me not be misunderstood: out of such born enemies of the spirit there arises now and then the rare specimen of humanity who is honoured by the people under the name of saint or sage: it is out of such men that there arise those prodigies of morality that make a noise, and make history, St Augustine was one of these men. Fear of the intellect, vengeance on the intellect Oh! how often have these powerfully impelling vices become the root of virtues! Yea, virtue itself! And asking the question among ourselves, even the philosopher’s pretension to wisdom, which has occasionally been made here and there on the earth, the maddest and most immodest of all pretensions, has it not always been above all in India as well as in Greece, a means of concealment? Sometimes, perhaps, from the point of view of education which hallows so many lies, it is a tender regard for growing and evolving persons, for disciples who have often to be guarded against themselves by means of the belief in a person (by means of an error). In most cases, however, it is a means of concealment for a philosopher, behind which he seeks protection, owing to exhaustion, age, chilliness, or hardening; as a feeling of the approaching end, as the sagacity of the instinct which animals have before their death, they go apart, remain at rest, choose solitude, creep into caves, become wise. . . . What? Wisdom a means of concealment of the philosopher from intellect?
Two Kinds of Causes which are Confounded. It seems to me one of my most essential steps and advances that I have learned to distinguish the cause of an action generally from the cause of an action in a particular manner, say, in this direction, with this aim. The first kind of cause is a quantum of stored-up force, which waits to be used in some manner, for some purpose; the second kind of cause, on the contrary, is something quite unimportant in comparison with the first, an insignificant hazard for the most part, in conformity with which the quantum of force in question “discharges” itself in some unique and definite manner the lucifer-match in relation to the barrel of gunpowder. Among those insignificant hazards and lucifer-matches I count all the so-called “aims,” and similarly the still more so-called “occupations” of people: they are relatively optional, arbitrary, and almost indifferent in relation to the immense quantum of force which presses on, as we have said, to be used up in any way whatever. One generally looks at the matter in a different manner: one is accustomed to see the impelling force precisely in the aim (object, calling, &c.), according to a primeval error, but it is only the directing force; the steersman and the steam have thereby been confounded. And yet it is not even always a steersman, the directing force. . . . Is the “aim” the “purpose,” not often enough only an extenuating pretext, an additional self-blinding of conceit, which does not wish it to be said that the ship ot/ows the stream into which it has accidentally run? That it “wishes ” to go that way, because it must go that way? That it has a direction, sure enough, but not a steersman? We still require a criticism of the conception of “purpose.”
The Problem of the Actor — The problem of the actor has disquieted me the longest; I was uncer tain (and am sometimes so still) whether one could not get at the dangerous conception of “artist”- a conception hitherto treated with unpardonable leniency from this point of view. Falsity with a good conscience; delight in dissimulation breaking forth as power, pushing aside, overflowing, and sometimes extinguishing the so-called “character”; the inner longing to play a role, to assume a mask, to put on an appearance; a surplus of capacity for adaptations of every kind, which can no longer gratify themselves in the service of the nearest and narrowest utility: all that perhaps does not pertain solely to the actor in himself? . . . Such an instinct would develop most readily in families of the lower class of the people, who have had to pass their lives in absolute dependence, under shifting pressure and constraint, who (to accommodate themselves to their conditions, to adapt themselves always to new circumstances) had again and again to pass themselves off and represent themselves as different persons, thus having gradually qualified themselves to adjust the mantle to every wind, thereby almost becoming the mantle itself, as masters of the embodied and incarnated art of eternally playing the game of hide and seek, which one calls mimicry among the animals: until at last this ability, stored up from generation to generation, has become domineering, irrational and intractable, till as instinct it begins to command the other instincts, and begets the actor and “artist” (the buffoon, the pantaloon, the Jack–Pudding, the fool, and the clown in the first place, also the classical type of servant, Gil Blas: for in such types one has the precursors of the artist, and often enough even of the “genius”). Also under higher social conditions there grows under similar pressure a similar species of men: only the histrionic instinct is there for the most part held strictly in check by another instinct, for example, among “diplomatists”; for the rest, I should think that it would always be open to a good diplomatist to become a good actor on the stage, provided his dignity “allowed” it. As regards the Jews, however, the adaptable people par excellence, we should, in conformity to this line of thought, expect to see among them a world-wide historical institution at the very first, for the rearing of actors, a proper breeding-place for actors; and in fact the question is very pertinent just now: what good actor at present is not a Jew? The Jew also, as a born literary man, as the actual ruler of the European press, exercises this power on the basis of his histrionic capacity: for the literary man is essentially an actor, he plays the part of “expert,” of “ specialist.” Finally women. If we consider the whole history of women, are they not obliged first of all, and above all to be actresses? If we listen to doctors who have hypnotised women, or, finally, if we love them and let ourselves be “ hypnotised ” by them, what is always divulged thereby? That they “give themselves airs,” even when they “give them selves.” . . . Woman is so artistic . . .
My Belief in the Virilising of Europe. We owe it to Napoleon (and not at all to the French Revolution, which had in view the “fraternity” of the nations, and the florid interchange of good graces among people generally) that several warlike centuries, which have not had their like in past history, may now follow one another in short, that we have entered upon the classical age of war, war at the same time scientific and popular, on the grandest scale (as regards means, talents and discipline), to which all coming millenniums will look back with envy and awe as a work of perfection: for the national movement out ot which this martial glory springs, is only the counter against Napoleon, and would not have existed without him. To him, consequently, one will one day be able to attribute the fact that man in Europe has again got the upper hand of the merchant and the Philistine; perhaps even of “woman” also, who has become pampered owing to Christianity and the extravagant spirit of the eighteenth century, and still more owing to “modern ideas.” Napoleon, who saw in modern ideas, and accordingly in civilisation, something like a personal enemy, has by this hostility proved himself one of the greatest continuators of the Renaissance: he has brought to the surface a whole block of the ancient character, the decisive block perhaps, the block of granite. And who knows but that this block of ancient character will in the end get the upper hand of the national movement, and will have to make itself in a positive sense the heir and continuator of Napoleon: who, as one knows, wanted one Europe, which was to be mistress of the world.
How each Sex has its Prejudice about Love. Notwithstanding all the concessions which I am inclined to make to the monogamic prejudice, I will never admit that we should speak of equal rights in the love of man and woman: there are no such equal rights. The reason is that man and woman understand something different by the term love, and it belongs to the conditions of love in both sexes that the one sex does not presuppose the same feeling, the same conception of “love,” in the other sex. What woman understands by love is clear enough: complete surrender (not merely devotion) of soul and body, without any motive, without any reservation, rather with shame and terror at the thought of a devotion restricted by clauses or associated with conditions. In this absence of conditions her love is precisely a faith: woman has no other. Man, when he loves a woman, wants precisely this love from her; he is consequently, as regards himself, furthest re moved from the prerequisites of feminine love; granted, however, that there should also be men to whom on their side the demand for complete devotion is not unfamiliar, well, they are really not men. A man who loves like a woman becomes thereby a slave; a woman, however, who loves like a woman becomes thereby a more perfect woman. . . . The passion of woman in its unconditional renunciation of its own rights presupposes in fact that there does not exist on the other side an equal pathos, an equal desire for renunciation: for if both renounced themselves out of love, there would result well, I don’t know what, perhaps a horror vacui? Woman wants to be taken and accepted as a possession, she wishes to be merged in the conceptions of “possession” and “possessed”; consequently she wants one who takes, who does not offer and give himself away, but who reversely is rather to be made richer in “himself” by the increase of power, happiness and faith which the woman herself gives to him. Woman gives herself, man takes her. I do not think one will get over this natural contrast by any social contract, or with the very best will to do justice, however desirable it may be to avoid bringing the severe, frightful, enigmatical, and unmoral elements of this antagonism constantly before our eyes. For love, regarded as complete, great, and full, is nature, and as nature, is to all eternity something “unmoral.” Fidelity is accordingly included in woman’s love, it follows from the definition thereof; with man fidelity may readily result in consequence of his love, perhaps as gratitude or idiosyncrasy of taste, and so-called elective affinity, but it does not belong to the essence of his love and indeed so little, that one might almost be entitled to speak of a natural opposition between love and fidelity in man, whose love is just a desire to possess, and not a renunciation and giving away; the desire to possess, however, comes to an end every time with the possession. . . . As a matter of fact it is the more subtle and jealous thirst for possession in a man (who is rarely and tardily convinced of having this “possession”), which makes his love continue; in that case it is even possible that his love may increase after the surrender, he does not readily own that a woman has nothing more to “surrender” to him.
The Anchorite Speaks. The art of associating with men rests essentially on one’s skilfulness (which presupposes long exercise) in accepting a repast, in taking a repast, in the cuisine of which one has no confidence. Provided one comes to the table with the hunger of a wolf everything is easy (“the worst society gives thee experience” as Mephistopheles says); but one has not always this wolf’s hunger when one needs it! Alas! how difficult are our fellow-men to digest! First principle: to stake one’s courage as in a misfortune, to seize boldly, to admire oneself at the same time, to take one’s repugnance between one’s teeth, to cram down one’s disgust. Second principle: to “improve” one’s fellow-man, by praise for example, so that he may begin to sweat out his self-complacency; or to seize a tuft of his good or “interesting” qualities, and pull at it till one gets his whole virtue out, and can put him under the folds of it. Third principle: self-hypnotism. To fix one’s eye on the object of one’s intercourse as on a glass knob, until, coming to feel pleasure or pain thereat, one falls asleep unobserved, becomes rigid, and acquires a fix’t pose — a household recipe used in married life and in friendship, well tested and prized as indispensable, but not yet scientifically formulated, proper name is patience.
The Anchorite Speaks once more. We also have intercourse with “men,” we also modestly put on the clothes in which people know us (as such) respect us and seek us; and we thereby mingle in society, that is to say, among the disguised who do not wish to be so called; we also do like a prudent masqueraders, and courteously dismiss all curiosity which has not reference merely to our “clothes” There are however other modes an artifices for “going about” among men and associating with them: for example, as a ghost, which is very advisable when one wants to scare them, and get rid of them easily. An example: a person grasps at us, and is unable to seize us. That frightens him. Or we enter by a closed door, when the lights are extinguished. Or after we are dead The latter is the artifice of posthumous men par excellence. (“What?” said such a one once impatiently “do you think we should delight in en during this strangeness, coldness, death-stillness about us, all this subterranean, hidden, dim, undiscovered solitude, which is called life with us, and might just as well be called death, if we were not conscious of what will arise out of us, and that only after our death shall we attain to our life and become living, ah! very living! we posthumous men!”)
At the Sight of a Learned Book. We do not belong to those who only get their thoughts from books, or at the prompting of books, it is our custom to think in the open air, walking, leaping, climbing, or dancing on lonesome mountains by preference, or close to the sea, where even the paths become thoughtful. Our first question concerning the value of a book, a man, or a piece of music is: Can it walk? or still better: Can it dance? . . . We seldom read; we do not read the worse for that oh, how quickly we divine how a person has arrived at his thoughts: if it is by sitting before an ink-bottle with compressed belly and head bent over the paper: oh, how quickly we are then done with his book! The constipated bowels betray themselves, one may wager on it, just as the atmosphere of the room, the ceiling of the room, the smallness of the room, betray themselves. These were my feelings when closing a straightforward, learned book, thankful, very thankful, but also relieved. . . . In the book of a learned man there is almost always something oppressive and oppressed: the “specialist” comes to light somewhere, his ardour, his seriousness, his wrath, his over-estimation of the nook in which he sits and spins, his hump every specialist has his hump. A learned book also always mirrors a distorted soul: every trade distorts. Look at our friends again with whom we have spent our youth, after they have taken possession of their science: alas! how the reverse has always taken place! Alas! how they them selves are now for ever occupied and possessed by their science! Grown into their nook, crumpled into unrecognisability, constrained, deprived of their equilibrium, emaciated and angular everywhere, perfectly round only in one place, we are moved and silent when we find them so. Every handicraft, granting even that it has a golden floor,32 has also a leaden ceiling above it, which presses and presses on the soul, till it is pressed into a strange and distorted shape. There is nothing to alter here. We need not think that it is at all possible to obviate this disfigurement by any educational artifice whatever. Every kind of perfection is purchased at a high price on earth, where everything is perhaps purchased too dear; one is an expert in one’s department at the price of being also a victim of one’s department. But you want to have it otherwise “more reasonable,” above all more convenient is it not so, my dear contemporaries? Very well! But then you will also immediately get something different: instead of the craftsman and expert, you will get the literary man, the versatile, “many-sided” litterateur, who to be sure lacks the hump not taking account of the hump or bow which he makes before you as the shopman of the intellect and the “porter” of culture, the litterateur, who is really nothing, but “ represents” almost everything: he plays and “represents” the expert, he also takes it upon himself in all modesty to see that he is paid, honoured and celebrated in this position. No, my learned friends! I bless you even on account of your humps! And also because like me you despise the litterateurs and parasites of culture! And because you do not know how to make merchandise of your intellect! And have so many opinions which cannot be ex pressed in money value! And because you do not represent anything which you are not! Because your sole desire is to become masters of your craft; because you reverence every kind of mastership and ability, and repudiate with the most relentless scorn everything of a make-believe, half-genuine, dressed-up, virtuoso, demagogic, histrionic nature in litteris et artibus all that which does not convince you by its absolute genuineness of discipline and preparatory training, or cannot stand your test! (Even genius does not help a person to get over such a defect, however well it may be able to deceive with regard to it: one understands this if one has once looked closely at our most gifted painters and musicians, who almost without exception, can artificially and supplementarily appropriate to themselves (by means of artful inventions of style, make-shifts, and even principles), the appearance of that genuineness, that solidity of training and culture; to be sure, without thereby deceiving themselves, without thereby imposing perpetual silence on their bad consciences. For you know of course that all great modern artists suffer from bad consciences? . . . )
* An allusion to the German Proverb, “Handwerk hat einen goldenen Boden.”— TR.
How one has to Distinguish first of all in Works of Art. Everything that is thought, versified, painted and composed, yea, even built and moulded, belongs either to monologic art, or to art before witnesses. Under the latter there is also to be included the apparently monologic art which involves the belief in God, the whole lyric of prayer; because for a pious man there is no solitude, we, the godless, have been the first to devise this invention. I know of no profounder distinction in all the perspective of the artist than this: Whether he looks at his growing work of art (at “himself”) with the eye of the witness; or whether he “has forgotten the world,” as is the essential thing in all monologic art, it rests on forgetting, it is the music of forgetting.
The Cynic Speaks. My objections to Wagner’s music are physiological objections. Why should I therefore begin by disguising them under aesthetic formulae? My “point” is that I can no longer breathe freely when this music begins to operate on me; my foot immediately becomes indignant at it and rebels: for what it needs is time, dance and march; it demands first of all from music the ecstasies which are in good walking, striding, leaping and dancing. But do not my stomach, my heart, my blood and my bowels also protest? Do I not become hoarse unawares under its influence? And then I ask myself what my body really wants from music generally. I believe it wants to have relief: so that all animal functions should be accelerated by means of light, bold, unfettered, self-assured rhythms; so that brazen, leaden life should be gilded by means of golden, good, tender harmonies. My melancholy would fain rest its head in the hiding-places and abysses of perfection: for this reason I need music. What do I care for the drama! What do I care for the spasms of its moral ecstasies, in which the “people” have their satisfaction! What do I care for the whole pantomimic hocus-pocus of the actor! . . . It will now be divined that I am essentially anti-theatrical at heart, but Wagner on the contrary, was essentially a man of the stage and an actor, the most enthusiastic mummer-worshipper that has ever existed, even among musicians! . . . And let it be said in passing that if Wagner’s theory was that “drama is the object, and music is only the means to it,” his practice on the contrary from beginning to end has been to the effect that “attitude is the object, drama and even music can never be anything else but means to this.” Music as a means of elucidating, strengthening and intensifying dramatic poses and the actor’s appeal to the senses, and Wagnerian drama only an opportunity for a number of dramatic attitudes! Wagner possessed, along with all other instincts, the dictatorial instinct of a great actor in all and everything, and as has been said, also as a musician. I once made this clear with some trouble to a thorough going Wagnerian, and I had reasons for adding: “Do be a little more honest with yourself: we are not now in the theatre. In the theatre we are only honest in the mass; as individuals we lie, we belie even ourselves. We leave ourselves at home when we go to the theatre; we there renounce the right to our own tongue and choice, to our taste, and even to our courage as we possess it and practise it within our own four walls in relation to God and man. No one takes his finest taste in art into the theatre with him, not even the artist who works for the theatre: there one is people, public, herd, woman, Pharisee, voting animal, democrat, neighbour, and fellow-creature; there even the most personal conscience succumbs to the levelling charm of the great multitude; there stupidity operates as wantonness and contagion; there the neighbour rules, there one becomes a neighbour. . . .” (I have forgotten to mention what my enlightened Wagnerian answered to my physiological objections: “So the fact is that you are really not healthy enough for our music?”)
Juxtapositions in us. Must we not acknowledge to ourselves, we artists, that there is a strange discrepancy in us; that on the one hand our taste, and on the other hand our creative power, keep apart in an extraordinary manner, continue apart, and have a separate growth; I mean to say that they have entirely different gradations and tempi of age, youth, maturity, mellowness and rottenness? So that, for example, a musician could all his life create things which contradicted all that his ear and heart, spoilt for listening, prized, relished and preferred: he would not even require to be aware of the contradiction! As an almost painfully regular experience shows, a person’s taste can easily outgrow the taste of his power, even without the latter being thereby paralysed or checked in its productivity. The reverse, however, can also to some extent take place, and it is to this especially that I should like to direct the attention of artists. A constant producer, a man who is a “mother” in the grand sense of the term, one who no longer knows or hears of anything except pregnancies and child beds of his spirit, who has no time at all to reflect and make comparisons with regard to himself and his work, who is also no longer inclined to exercise his taste, but simply forgets it, letting it take its chance of standing, lying or falling, perhaps such a man at last produces works on which he is then quite unfit to pass a judgment: so that he speaks and thinks foolishly about them and about himself. This seems to me almost the normal condition with fruitful artists, nobody knows a child worse than its parents and the rule applies even (to take an immense example) to the entire Greek world of poetry and art, which was never “conscious” of what it had done . . .
What is Romanticism? It will be remembered perhaps, at least among my friends, that at first I assailed the modern world with some gross errors and exaggerations, but at any rate with hope in my heart. I recognised who knows from what personal experiences? the philosophical pessimism of the nineteenth century as the symptom of a higher power of thought, a more daring courage and a more triumphant plenitude of life than had been characteristic of the eighteenth century, the age of Hume, Kant, Condillac, and the sensualists: so that the tragic view of things seemed to me the peculiar luxury of our culture, its most precious, noble, and dangerous mode of prodigality; but nevertheless, in view of its overflowing wealth, a justifiable luxury. In the same way I interpreted for myself German music as the expression of a Dionysian power in the German soul: I thought I heard in it the earthquake by means of which a primeval force that had been imprisoned for ages was finally finding vent indifferent as to whether all that usually calls itself culture was thereby made to totter. It is obvious that I then mis understood what constitutes the veritable character both of philosophical pessimism and of German music, namely, their Romanticism. What is Romanticism? Every art and every philosophy may be regarded as a healing and helping appliance in the service of growing, struggling life: they always presuppose suffering and sufferers. But there are two kinds of sufferers: on the one hand those that suffer from overflowing vitality, who need Dionysian art, and require a tragic view and insight into life; and on the other hand those who suffer from reduced vitality, who seek repose, quietness, calm seas, and deliverance from themselves through art or knowledge, or else intoxication, spasm, bewilderment and madness. All Romanticism in art and knowledge responds to the twofold craving of the latter; to them Schopenhauer as well as Wagner responded (and responds), to name those most celebrated and decided romanticists, who were then misunderstood by me (not however to their disadvantage, as may be reasonably conceded to me). The being richest in overflowing vitality, the Dionysian God and man, may not only allow himself the spectacle of the horrible and question able, but even the fearful deed itself, and all the luxury of destruction, disorganisation and negation. With him evil, senselessness and ugliness seem as it were licensed, in consequence of the overflowing plenitude of procreative, fructifying power, which can convert every desert into a luxuriant orchard. Conversely, the greatest sufferer, the man poorest in vitality, would have most need of mildness, peace and kindliness in thought and action: he would need, if possible, a God who is specially the God of the sick, a “Saviour”; similarly he would have need of logic, the abstract intelligibility of existence for logic soothes and gives confidence; in short he would need a certain warm, fear-dispelling narrowness and imprisonment within optimistic horizons. In this manner I gradually began to understand Epicurus, the opposite of a Dionysian pessimist; in a similar manner also the “Christian,” who in fact is only a type of Epicurean, and like him essentially a romanticist: and my vision has always become keener in tracing that most difficult and insidious of all forms of retrospective inference, in which most mistakes have been made the inference from the work to its author from the deed to its doer, from the ideal to him who needs it, from every mode of thinking and valuing to the imperative want behind it. In regard to all aesthetic values I now avail myself of this radical distinction: I ask in every single case, “Has hunger or superfluity become creative here?” At the out set another distinction might seem to recommend itself more it is far more conspicuous, namely, to have in view whether the desire for rigidity, for perpetuation, for being is the cause of the creating, or the desire for destruction, for change, for the new, for the future for becoming. But when looked at more carefully, both these kinds of desire prove themselves ambiguous, and are explicable precisely according to the before-mentioned, and, as it seems to me, rightly preferred scheme. The desire for destruction, change and becoming, may be the expression of overflowing power, pregnant with futurity (my terminus for this is of course the word “Dionysian”); but it may also be the hatred of the ill-constituted, destitute and unfortunate, which destroys, and must destroy, because the enduring, yea, all that endures, in fact all being, excites and provokes it. To understand this emotion we have but to look closely at our anarchists. The will to perpetuation requires equally a double interpretation. It may on the one hand proceed from gratitude and love: art of this origin will always be an art of apotheosis, perhaps dithyrambic, as with Rubens, mocking divinely, as with Hafiz, or clear and kind-hearted as with Goethe, and spreading a Homeric brightness and glory over every thing (in this case I speak of Apollonian art). It may also, however, be the tyrannical will of a sorely-suffering, struggling or tortured being, who would like to stamp his most personal, individual and narrow characteristics, the very idiosyncrasy of his suffering, as an obligatory law and constraint on others; who, as it were, takes revenge on all things, in that he imprints, enforces and brands his image, the image of his torture, upon them. The latter is romantic pessimism in its most extreme form, whether it be as Schopenhauerian will-philosophy, or as Wagnerian music: romantic pessimism, the last great event in the destiny of our civilisation. (That there may be quite a different kind of pessimism, a classical pessimism this presentiment and vision belongs to me, as something inseparable from me, as my proprium and ipsissimum; only that the word “classical ” is repugnant to my ears, it has become far too worn, too indefinite and indistinguishable. I call that pessimism of the future, for it is coming! I see it coming! Dionysian pessimism.)
We Unintelligible Ones. Have we ever com plained among ourselves of being misunderstood, misjudged, and confounded with others; of being calumniated, misheard, and not heard? That is just our lot alas, for a long time yet! say, to be modest, until 1901, it is also our distinction; we should not have sufficient respect for ourselves if we wished it otherwise. People confound us with others the reason of it is that we ourselves grow, we change continually, we cast off old bark, we still slough every spring, we always become younger, higher, stronger, as men of the future, we thrust our roots always more powerfully into the deep into evil, while at the same time we embrace the heavens ever more lovingly, more extensively, and suck in their light ever more eagerly with all our branches and leaves. We grow like trees that is difficult to understand, like all life! not in one place, but everywhere, not in one direction only, but upwards and outwards, as well as inwards and downwards. At the same time our force shoots forth in stem, branches, and roots; we are really no longer free to do anything separately, or to be anything separately. . . . Such is our lot, as we have said: we grow in height; and even should it be our calamity for we dwell ever closer to the lightning! well, we honour it none the less on that account; it is that which we do not wish to share with others, which we do not wish to bestow upon others, the fate of all elevation, our fate. . . .
Why we are not Idealists. Formerly philosophers were afraid of the senses: have we, perhaps, been far too forgetful of this fear? We are at present all of us sensualists, we representatives of the present and of the future in philosophy, not according to theory, however, but in praxis, in practice. . . . Those former philosophers, on the contrary, thought that the senses lured them out of their world, the cold realm of “ideas,” to a dangerous southern island, where they were afraid that their philosopher-virtues would melt away like snow in the sun. “Wax in the ears” was then almost a condition of philosophising; a genuine philosopher no longer listened to life, in so far as life is music, he denied the music of life—it is an old philosophical superstition that all music is Sirens music. Now we should be inclined at the present day to judge precisely in the opposite manner (which in itself might be just as false), and to regard ideas, with their cold, anaemic appearance, and not even in spite of this appearance, as worse seducers than the senses. They have always lived on the “blood ” of the philosopher, they always consumed his senses, and indeed, if you will believe me, his “heart” as well. Those old philosophers were heartless: philosophising was always a species of vampirism. At the sight of such figures even as Spinoza, do you not feel a profoundly enigma tical and disquieting sort of impression? Do you not see the drama which is here performed, the constantly increasing pallor, the spiritualisation always more ideally displayed? Do you not imagine some long-concealed blood-sucker in the background, which makes its beginning with the senses, and in the end retains or leaves behind nothing but bones and their rattling? I mean categories, formulae, and words (for you will pardon me in saying that what remains of Spinoza, amor intellectualis dei, is rattling and nothing more! What is amor, what is deus, when they have lost every drop of blood? . . . ) In summa: all philosophical idealism has hitherto been something like a disease, where it has not been, as in the case of Plato, the prudence of superabundant and dangerous healthfulness, the fear of overpowerful senses, fear the senses because —
“Science” as Prejudice. — It follows from the laws of class distinction that the learned, in so far as they belong to the intellectual middle-class, are debarred from getting even a sight of the really _great_ problems and notes of interrogation. Besides, their courage, and similarly their outlook, does not reach so far, — and above all their need which makes them investigators, their innate anticipation and desire that things should be constituted _in such and such a way_, their fears and hopes, are too soon quieted and set at rest. For example, that which makes the pedantic Englishman, Herbert Spencer, so enthusiastic in his way, and impels him to draw a line of hope, a horizon of desirability, the final reconciliation of “egoism and altruism” of which he dreams, — that almost causes nausea to people like us:— a humanity with such Spencerian perspectives as ultimate perspectives would seem to us deserving of contempt, of extermination! But the _fact_ that something has to be taken by him as his highest hope, which is regarded and may well be regarded by others merely as a distasteful possibility, is a note of interrogation which Spencer could not have foreseen. . . . It is just the same with the belief with which at present so many materialistic natural-scientists are content, the belief in a world which is supposed to have its equivalent and measure in human thinking and human valuations, a “world of truth” at which we might be able ultimately to arrive with the help of our insignificant, four-cornered human reason! What? do we actually wish to have existence debased in that fashion to a ready-reckoner exercise and calculation for stay-at-home mathematicians? We should not, above all, seek to divest existence of its ambiguous character: good taste forbids it, gentlemen, the taste of reverence for everything that goes beyond your horizon! That a world-interpretation is alone right by which you maintain your position, by which investigation and work can go on scientifically in your sense (you really mean mechanically? ], an interpretation which acknowledges numbering, calculating, weighing, seeing and handling, and nothing more such an idea is a piece of grossness and naivety, provided it is not lunacy and idiocy. Would the reverse not be quite probable, that the most superficial and external characters of existence its most apparent quality, its outside, its embodiment should let themselves be apprehended first? perhaps alone allow themselves to be apprehended? A “scientific” interpretation of the world as you understand it might consequently still be one of the stupidest, that is to say, the most destitute of significance, of all possible world-interpretations: I say this in confidence to my friends the Mechanicians, who today like to hobnob with philosophers, and absolutely believe that mechanics is the teaching of the first and last laws upon which, as upon a ground-floor, all existence must be built. But an essentially mechanical world would be an essentially meaningless world! Supposing we valued the worth of a music with reference to how much it could be counted, calculated, or formulated how absurd such a “scientific” estimate of music would be! What would one have apprehended, understood, or discerned in it! Nothing, absolutely nothing of what is really “music” in it! . . .
Our new “Infinite.” How far the perspective character of existence extends, or whether it have any other character at all, whether an existence without explanation, without “sense” does not just become “nonsense,” whether, on the other hand, all existence is not essentially an explaining existence these questions, as is right and proper, cannot be determined even by the most diligent and severely conscientious analysis and self-examination of the intellect, because in this analysis the human intellect cannot avoid seeing itself in its perspective forms, and only in them. We cannot see round our corner: it is hopeless curiosity to want to know what other modes of intellect and perspective there might be: for example, whether any kind of being could perceive time backwards, or alternately forwards and back wards (by which another direction of life and another conception of cause and effect would be given). But I think that we are today at least far from the ludicrous immodesty of decreeing from our nook that there can only be legitimate perspectives from that nook. The world, on the contrary, has once more become “infinite” to us: in so far we cannot dismiss the possibility that it contains infinite interpretations. Once more the great horror seizes us but who would desire forthwith to deify once more this monster of an unknown world in the old fashion? And perhaps worship the unknown thing as the “unknown person” in future? Ah! there are too many ungodly possibilities of interpretation comprised in this unknown, too much devilment, stupidity and folly of interpretation, our own human, all too human interpretation itself, which we know. . . .
Why we Seem to be Epicureans. We are cautious, we modern men, with regard to final convictions, our distrust lies in wait for the enchantments and tricks of conscience involved in every strong belief, in every absolute Yea and Nay: how is this explained? Perhaps one may see in it a good deal of the caution of the “burnt child,” of the disillusioned idealist; but one may also see in it another and better element, the joyful curiosity of a former lingerer in a corner, who has been brought to despair by his nook, and now luxuriates and revels in its antithesis, in the unbounded, in the “open air in itself.” Thus there is developed an almost Epicurean inclination for knowledge, which does not readily lose sight of the questionable character of things; likewise also a repugnance to pompous moral phrases and attitudes, a taste that repudiates all coarse, square contrasts, and is proudly conscious of its habitual reserve. For this too constitutes our pride, this easy tightening of the reins in our headlong impulse after certainty, this self-control of the rider in his most furious riding: for now, as of old, we have mad fiery steeds under us, and if we delay, it is certainly least of all the danger which causes us to delay. . . .
Our Slow Periods. It is thus that artists feel, and all men of “works,” the maternal species of men: they always believe at every chapter of their life’s work always makes a chapter that they have now reached the goal itself; they would always patiently accept death with the feeling: “we are ripe for it.” This is not the expression of exhaustion—but rather that of a certain autumnal sunniness and mildness, which the work itself, the maturing of the work, always leaves behind in its originator. Then the tempo of 1 slows down turns thick and flows with honey into long pauses, into the belief in the long pause. . . .
We Homeless Ones. Among the Europeans of today there are not lacking those who may call themselves homeless ones in a way which is at once a distinction and an honour; it is by them that my secret wisdom and gaya scienza is especially to be laid to heart! For their lot is hard, their hope un certain; it is a clever feat to devise consolation for them. But what good does it do! We children of the future, how could we be at home in the present?
We are unfavourable to all ideals which could make us feel at home in this frail, broken-down, transition period; and as regards the “realities” thereof, we do not believe in their endurance. The ice which still carries has become very thin: the thawing wind blows; we ourselves, the homeless ones, are an agency that breaks the ice, and the other too thin “realities.” . . . We “preserve” nothing, nor would we return to any past age; we are not at all “ liberal,” we do not labour for “progress,” we do not need first to stop our ears to the song of the market-place and the sirens of the future their song of “equal rights,” “free society,” “no longer either lords or slaves,” does not allure us! We do not by any means think it desirable that the kingdom of righteousness and peace should be established on earth (because under any circumstances it would be the kingdom of the profoundest mediocrity and Chinaism); we rejoice in all men, who like our selves love danger, war and adventure, who do not make compromises, nor let themselves be captured, conciliated and stunted; we count ourselves among the conquerors; we ponder over the need of a new order of things, even of a new slavery for every strengthening and elevation of the type “man” also involves a new form of slavery. Is it not obvious that with all this we must feel ill at ease in an age which claims the honour of being the most humane, gentle and just that the sun has ever seen? What a pity that at the mere mention of these fine words, the thoughts at the bottom of our hearts are all the more unpleasant, that we see therein only the expression or the masquerade of profound weakening, exhaustion, age, and declining power! What can it matter to us with what kind of tinsel an invalid decks out his weakness? He may parade it as his virtue; there is no doubt whatever that weakness makes people gentle, alas, so gentle, so just, so inoffensive, so “humane”! The “religion of pity,” to which people would like to persuade us yes, we know sufficiently well the hysterical little men and women who need this religion at present as a cloak and adornment! We are no humanitarians; we should not dare to speak of our “love of mankind”; for that, a person of our stamp is not enough of an actor! Or not sufficiently Saint–Simonist, not sufficiently French. A person must have been affected with a Gallic excess of erotic susceptibility and amorous impatience even to approach mankind honourably with his lewdness. . . . Mankind! Was there ever a more hideous old woman among all old women (unless perhaps it were “the Truth”: a question for philosophers)? No, we do not love Mankind! On the other hand, however, we are not nearly “German” enough (in the sense in which the word “German” is current at present) to advocate nationalism and race-hatred, or take delight in the national heart-itch and blood-poisoning, on account of which the nations of Europe are at present bounded off and secluded from one another as if by quarantines. We are too unprejudiced for that, too perverse, too fastidious; also too well-informed, and too much “travelled.” We prefer much rather to live on mountains, apart and “out of season,” in past or coming centuries, in order merely to spare ourselves the silent rage to which we know we should be condemned as witnesses of a system of politics which makes the German nation barren by making it vain, and which is a petty system besides: will it not be necessary for this system to plant itself between two mortal hatreds, lest its own creation should immediately collapse? Will it not be obliged to desire the perpetuation of the petty-state system of Europe? . . . We homeless ones are too diverse and mixed in race and descent for “modern men,” and are consequently little tempted to participate in the falsified racial self-admiration and lewdness which at present display themselves in Germany, as signs of German sentiment, and which strike one as doubly false and unbecoming in the people with the “historical sense.” We are, in a word and it shall be our word of honour! good Europeans, the heirs of Europe, the rich, over-wealthy heirs, but too deeply obligated heirs of millenniums of European thought. As such, we have also outgrown Christianity, and are disinclined to it and just because we have grown out of it, because our forefathers were Christians uncompromising in their Christian integrity, who willingly sacrificed possessions and positions, blood and country, for the sake of their belief. We do the same. For what, then? For our unbelief? For all sorts of unbelief? Nay, you know better than that, my friends! The hidden Yea in you is stronger than all the Nays and Perhapses, of which you and your age are sick; and when you are obliged to put out to sea, you emigrants, it is once more a faith which urges you thereto! . . .
“And once more Grow Clear.” We, the generous and rich in spirit, who stand at the sides of the streets like open fountains and would hinder no one from drinking from us: we do not know, alas! how to defend ourselves when we should like to do so; we have no means of preventing ourselves being made turbid and dark, we have no means of preventing the age in which we live casting its “up-to-date rubbish” into us, or of hindering filthy birds throwing their excrement, the boys their trash, and fatigued resting travellers their misery, great and small, into us. But we do as we have always done: we take whatever is cast into us down into our depths for we are deep, we do not forget and once more grow clear. . . .
The Foots Interruption. It is not a misanthrope who has written this book: the hatred of men costs too dear today. To hate as they formerly hated man, in the fashion of Timon, completely, without qualification, with all the heart, from the pure love of hatred for that purpose one would have to renounce contempt: and how much refined pleasure, how much patience, how much benevolence even, do we owe to contempt! Moreover we are thereby the “elect of God”: refined con tempt is our taste and privilege, our art, our virtue perhaps, we, the most modern amongst the moderns! . . . Hatred, on the contrary, makes equal, it puts men face to face, in hatred there is honour; finally, in hatred there is fear, quite a large amount of fear. We fearless ones, however, we, the most intellectual men of the period, know our advantage well enough to live without fear as the most intellectual persons of this age. People will not easily behead us, shut us up, or banish us; they will not even ban or burn our books. The age loves intellect, it loves us, and needs us, even when we have to give it to understand that we are artists in despising; that all intercourse with men is something of a horror to us; that with all our gentleness, patience, humanity and courteousness, we cannot persuade our nose to abandon its prejudice against the proximity of man; that we love nature the more, the less humanly things are done by her, and that we love art when it is the flight of the artist from man, or the raillery of the artist at man, or the raillery of the artist at himself. . . .
“The Wanderer” Speaks. In order for once to get a glimpse of our European morality from a distance, in order to compare it with other earlier or future moralities, one must do as the traveller who wants to know the height of the towers of a city: for that purpose he leaves the city. “Thoughts concerning moral prejudices,” if they are not to be prejudices concerning prejudices, presuppose a position outside of morality, some sort of world beyond good and evil, to which one must ascend, climb, or fly and in the given case at any rate, a position beyond our good and evil, an emancipation from all “Europe,” under stood as a sum of inviolable valuations which have become part and parcel of our flesh and blood. That one does want to get outside, or aloft, is perhaps a sort of madness, a peculiar, unreasonable “thou must” for even we thinkers have our idiosyncrasies of “unfree will”: the question is whether one can really get there. That may depend on manifold conditions: in the main it is a question of how light or how heavy we are, the problem of our “specific gravity.” One must be very light in order to impel one’s will to knowledge to such a distance, and as it were beyond one’s age, in order to create eyes for oneself for the survey of millenniums, and a pure heaven in these eyes besides! One must have freed oneself from many things by which we Europeans of today are oppressed, hindered, held down, and made heavy. The man of such a “Beyond,” who wants to get even in sight of the highest standards of worth of his age, must first of all “surmount” this age in himself it is the test of his power and consequently not only his age, but also his past aversion and opposition to his age, his suffering caused by his age, his unseasonableness, his Romanticism. . . .
The Question of Intelligibility. One not only wants to be understood when one writes, but also quite as certainly not to be understood. It is by no means an objection to a book when someone finds it unintelligible: perhaps this might just have been the intention of its author, perhaps he did not want to be understood by “anyone.” A distinguished intellect and taste, when it wants to communicate its thoughts, always selects its hearers; by selecting them, it at the same time closes its barriers against “the others.” It is there that all the more refined laws of style have their origin: they at the same time keep off, they create distance, they prevent “access” (intelligibility, as we have said,) while they open the ears of those who are acoustically related to them. And to say it between ourselves and with reference to my own case, I do not desire that either my ignorance, or the vivacity of my temperament, should prevent me being understood by you, my friends: I certainly do not desire that my vivacity should have that effect, however much it may impel me to arrive quickly at an object, in order to arrive at it at all. For I think it is best to do with profound problems as with a cold bath quickly in, quickly out. That one does not thereby get into the depths, that one does not get deep enough down is a superstition of the hydrophobic, the enemies of cold water; they speak without experience. Oh! the great cold makes one quick! And let me ask by the way: Is it a fact that a thing has been misunderstood and unrecognised when it has only been touched upon in passing, glanced at, flashed at? Must one absolutely sit upon it in the first place? Must one have brooded on it as on an egg? Diu noctuque incubando, as Newton said of himself? At least there are truths of a peculiar shyness and ticklishness which one can only get hold of suddenly, and in no other way, which one must either take by surprise, or leave alone. . . . Finally, my brevity has still another value: on those questions which preoccupy me, I must say a great deal briefly, in order that it may be heard yet more briefly. For as immoralist, one has to take care lest one ruins innocence, I mean the asses and old maids of both sexes, who get nothing from life but their innocence; moreover my writings are meant to fill them with enthusiasm, to elevate them, to encourage them in virtue. I should be at a loss to know of anything more amusing than to see enthusiastic old asses and maids moved by the sweet feelings of virtue: and “that have I seen ” spake Zarathustra. So much with respect to brevity; the matter stands worse as regards my ignorance, of which I make no secret to myself. There are hours in which I am ashamed of it; to be sure there are likewise hours in which I am ashamed of this shame. Perhaps we philosophers, all of us, are badly placed at present with regard to knowledge: science is growing, the most learned of us are on the point of discovering that we know too little. But it would be worse still if it were otherwise, if we knew too much; our duty is and remains first of all, not to get into confusion about ourselves. We are different from the learned; although it cannot be denied that amongst other things we are also learned. We have different needs, a different growth, a different digestion: we need more, we need also less. There is no formula as to how much an intellect needs for its nourishment; if, however, its taste be in the direction of independence, rapid coming and going, travelling, and perhaps adventure for which only the swiftest are qualified, it prefers rather to live free on poor fare, than to be unfree and plethoric. Not fat, but the greatest suppleness and power is what a good dancer wishes from his nourishment, and I know not what the spirit of a philosopher would like better than to be a good dancer. For the dance is his ideal, and also his art, in the end likewise his sole piety, his “divine service.” . . .
Great Healthiness. We, the new, the name less, the hard-to-understand, we firstlings of a yet untried future we require for a new end also a new means, namely, a new healthiness, stronger, sharper, tougher, bolder and merrier than any healthiness hitherto. He whose soul longs to experience the whole range of hitherto recognised values and desirabilities, and to circumnavigate all the coasts of this ideal “Mediterranean Sea,” who, from the adventures of his most personal experience, wants to know how it feels to be a conqueror and discoverer of the ideal as likewise how it is with the artist, the saint, the legislator, the sage, the scholar, the devotee, the prophet, and the godly Nonconformist of the old style: requires one thing above all for that purpose, great healthiness such healthiness as one not only possesses, but also constantly acquires and must acquire, because one continually sacrifices it again, and must sacrifice it! And now, after having been long on the way in this fashion, we Argonauts of the ideal, who are more courageous perhaps than prudent, and often enough shipwrecked and brought to grief, nevertheless, as said above, healthier than people would like to admit, dangerously healthy, always healthy again, it would seem, as if in recompense for it all, that we have a still undiscovered country before us, the boundaries of which no one has yet seen, a beyond to all countries and corners of the ideal known hitherto, a world so over-rich in the beautiful, the strange, the questionable, the frightful, and the divine, that our curiosity as well as our thirst for possession thereof, have got out of hand alas! that nothing will now any longer satisfy us! How could we still be content with the man of the present day after such peeps, and with such a craving in our conscience and consciousness? What a pity; but it is unavoidable that we should look on the worthiest aims and hopes of the man of the present day with ill-concealed amusement, and perhaps should no longer look at them. Another ideal runs on before us, a strange, tempting ideal, full of danger, to which we should not like to persuade any one, because we do not so readily acknowledge any one’s right thereto: the ideal of a spirit who plays naively (that is to say involuntarily and from overflowing abundance and power) with everything that has hitherto been called holy, good, inviolable, divine; to whom the loftiest conception which the people have reason ably made their measure of value, would already imply danger, ruin, abasement, or at least relaxation, blindness, or temporary self-forgetfulness; the ideal of a humanly superhuman welfare and benevolence, which may often enough appear inhuman, for example, when put by the side of all past seriousness on earth, and in comparison with all past solemnities in bearing, word, tone, look, morality and pursuit, as their truest involuntary parody, but with which, nevertheless, perhaps the great seriousness only commences, the proper interrogation mark is set up, the fate of the soul changes, the hour-hand moves, and tragedy begins. . . .
Epilogue. But while I slowly, slowly finish the painting of this sombre interrogation-mark, and am still inclined to remind my readers of the virtues of right reading oh, what forgotten and unknown virtues it comes to pass that the wickedest, merriest, gnome-like laughter resounds around me: the spirits of my book themselves pounce upon me, pull me by the ears, and call me to order. “We cannot endure it any longer,” they shout to me, “away, away with this raven-black music. Is it not clear morning round about us? And green, soft ground and turf, the domain of the dance? Was there ever a better hour in which to be joyful? Who will sing us a song, a morning song, so sunny, so light and so fledged that it will not scare the tantrums, but will rather invite them to take part in the singing and dancing. And better a simple rustic bagpipe than such weird sounds, such toad-croakings, grave-voices and marmot-pipings, with which you have hitherto regaled us in your wilderness, Mr Anchorite and Musician of the Future! No! Not such tones! But let us strike up some thing more agreeable and more joyful!”— You would like to have it so, my impatient friends? Well! Who would not willingly accede to your wishes? My bagpipe is waiting, and my voice also -- it may sound a little hoarse; take it as it is! don’t forget we are in the mountains! But what you will hear is at least new; and if you do not understand it, if you misunderstand the minstrel, what does it matter! That has always been “The Minstrel’s Curse.” 36 So much the more distinctly can you hear his music and melody, so much the better also can you dance to his piping. Would you like to do that? . . .
* Title of the well-known poem of Uhland. — TR.
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