Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia: Table of Contents



My novel TABLE 41

My Guide to English Usage

My YouTube Channel

Table of Contents


A Wonderful Video for Wonderful People

I Renounce All My Early Books and Writings

Aphorisms on Art

Aphorisms on Consumerism and Genius

Aphorisms on Racism, Cultural Studies, and Kim Jong-un

Aphorisms on Libertarianism, Criticism, and Psychoanalysis

My Favorite Writers, My Favorite Music, My Favorite Films

The Most Important Video You Will Ever Watch

Three Aperçus: On DEADPOOL (2016), David Foster Wallace, and Beauty

Three Aperçus: THE NEON DEMON (2016) and Envy

Bob Dylan Is Overrated: On Bob Dylan Being Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016

The Red Pig Asian Kitchen: BANNED by Yelp

Happy Father’s Day: Or, Chopo Chicken: BANNED by Yelp

Analogy Blindness: I Invented a Linguistic Term

Polyptoton: Greg Gutfeld

Two Haiku

David Foster Wallace and Macaulay Culkin: Two Aperçus

On the Distinction between the flâneur and the boulevardier

Ordering a Pizza at the Standard Market Grill in Lincoln Park: BANNED by Yelp

Jimmy Carter

Emo Island






Was Nietzsche an Atheist?  Was Nietzsche a Misogynist?  Sam Harris’s Unspoken Indebtedness to Nietzsche

What  Does This Mean?: “God is dead”

What Does This Mean?: “What does not kill me makes me stronger”

What Is the Eternal Recurrence of the Same?

What Is the Will-to-Power?

Was Nietzsche a Sexist?

Was Nietzsche a Fascist?

Was Nietzsche a Proto-Nazi?

Schopenhauer and Nietzsche

Jordan Peterson Does Not Understand Nietzsche

A Readable English Translation of Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche: Translated by Joseph Suglia





























Racism and Shakespeare: Was Shakespeare a Racist?

What, If Anything, Does Donald Trump Have in Common with Julius Caesar?

Was Shakespeare a Sexist?

Transgenderism in Shakespeare


Jordan Peterson Is Overrated

Mark Z. Danielewski Is a Bad Writer: Part One: When Did Writing Stop Having to Do with Writing?: Mark Z. Danielewski’s THE HOUSE OF LEAVES

Mark Z. Danielewski Is a Bad Writer: Part Two: On ONLY REVOLUTIONS by Mark Z. Danielewski

Mark Z. Danielewski Is a Bad Writer: Part Three: On THE FIFTY-YEAR SWORD by Mark Z. Danielewski

Quentin Tarantino Is an Anti-Black Racist

California Über Alles: Quentin Tarantino’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)

Against “Bizarro” Fiction

Chuck Palahniuk Is a Bad Writer: Part One: On FIGHT CLUB by “Chuck” Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk Is a Bad Writer: Part Two: On STRANGER THAN FICTION by “Chuck” Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk Is a Bad Writer: Part Three: On RANT by “Chuck” Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk Is a Bad Writer: Part Four: On SNUFF by “Chuck” Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk Is a Bad Writer: Part Five: On TELL-ALL by “Chuck” Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk Is a Bad Writer: Part Six: On DAMNED by “Chuck” Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk Is a Bad Writer: Part Seven: Fifty Shades of Error: “Chuck” Palahniuk’s BEAUTIFUL YOU

Chuck Palahniuk Is a Bad Writer: Part Eight: Slap Something Together: “Chuck” Palahniuk’s MAKE SOMETHING UP: STORIES YOU CAN’T UNREAD

On THE HISTORY OF LOVE by Nicole Krauss


On THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy

On EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED by Jonathan Safran Foer: Jonathan Safran Foer Is a Bad Writer, Part One

On EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE by Jonathan Safran Foer: Jonathan Safran Foer Is a Bad Writer, Part Two

On EATING ANIMALS by Jonathan Safran Foer: Jonathan Safran Foer Is a Bad Writer, Part Three

Writing with Scissors: Jonathan Safran Foer’s TREE OF CODES: Jonathan Safran Foer Is a Bad Writer, Part Four

On CHRONIC CITY by Jonathan Lethem

Malcolm Gladwell Is a Bad Writer: Part One: On BLINK by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell Is a Bad Writer: Part Two: On OUTLIERS by Malcolm Gladwell

Dave Eggers Is a Bad Writer: Part One: On A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING by Dave Eggers


Karl Ove Knausgaard Is a Bad Writer: On MIN KAMP / MY STRUGGLE, Volume One by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Karl Ove Knausgaard Is a Bad Writer: On MIN KAMP / MY STRUGGLE, Volume Two by Karl Ove Knausgaard

David Foster Wallace Is a Bad Writer: Part One: OBLIVION

David Foster Wallace Is a Bad Writer: Part Two: A SUPPOSEDLY FUN THING THAT I WILL NEVER DO AGAIN

David Foster Wallace Is a Bad Writer: Part Three: BOTH FLESH AND NOT

David Foster Wallace Is a Bad Writer: Part Four: CONSIDER THE LOBSTER

David Foster Wallace Is a Bad Writer: Part Five: INFINITE JEST

Jonathan Franzen Is a Bad Writer: On FREEDOM by Jonathan Franzen


On THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold

Craig Clevenger Is a Bad Writer: Part One: On DERMAPHORIA by Craig Clevenger

HOW NOT TO WRITE A SENTENCE: Craig Clevenger Is a Bad Writer: Part Two: On THE CONTORTIONIST’S HANDBOOK by Craig Clevenger

Girl Gone Rogue: Concerning Sarah Palin


Corregidora / Corrigenda

I Prefer Not to Misinterpret: Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street”

So Long, Planet Earth!: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind”

Keats and the Power of the Negative: On “La Belle Dame sans Merci”

On “Eveline” by James Joyce

On “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” by D.H. Lawrence

Why I Can’t Stand Georges Bataille

On WOMEN by Charles Bukowski

On FAT GIRL / A MA SOEUR by Catherine Breillat

On NOSFERATU by Werner Herzog

On CORREGIDORA by Gayl Jones


Escape from Utopia: Bret Easton Ellis

On GILES GOAT-BOY by John Barth

On LIPSTICK JUNGLE by Candace Bushnell



On O, DEMOCRACY! by Kathleen Rooney

On STUCK by Steve Balderson

On THE CASSEROLE CLUB by Steve Balderson

On THE YELLOW WALLPAPER by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Trace of the Father

On VICTOR/VICTORIA by Blake Edwards

On STEPS by Jerzy Kosinski


On V. by Thomas Pynchon


On MAO II by Don DeLillo

On ROBINSON ALONE by Kathleen Rooney

Dennis Cooper and the Demystification of Love



On CRASH by J.G. Ballard



A Readable English Translation of BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL by Friedrich Nietzsche / An English Translation of Jenseits von Gut und Böse (1886) / Translated by Joseph Suglia

A Readable English Translation of Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

An English Translation of Jenseits von Gut und Böse (1886)

Translated by Joseph Suglia



Let us assume that truth is a woman—what then?  Is the suspicion not well-grounded that all philosophers, insofar as they were dogmatists, had a very poor understanding of women?  That the terrible earnestness, the awkward importunacy, with which they have hitherto went at the truth, were unsuitable and unskilled means of winning a lady?  One thing is certain: She has not accepted their suits—and every kind of dogmatism today stands there in a sad and sodden and discouraged posture.  If it is still standing at all!  For there are mockers who claim that dogmatism has fallen down, that every form of dogmatism is lying on the ground, or even worse, that all of the dogmatisms are exhaling their last gasp.  Seriously, though, there are good reasons for the hope that all dogmatizing in philosophy was nothing more than a sort of noble childishness and amateurishness—that it was as solemn, as definitive, and as conclusive as its gestures were.  And the time is perhaps quite near in which we will comprehend, time and time again, just what served as the bedrock for such sublime and unconditional philosophical edifices as the dogmatists built up—some kind of folk superstition (such as the subject and “I” superstition, which even today causes trouble), some kind of word play, perhaps, a grammatical seduction, or a presumptuous generalization of facts that are quite narrow, quite personal, quite human-all-too-human.  One hopes that the philosophy of the dogmatists was only a promise extending over millennia, as was, in early times, astrology, in whose service, perhaps, was squandered more labor, money, cunning, and patience than for any actual science.  We owe the great architectural style of Asia and Egypt to “meta-earthly” claims.  It seems that all great things, in order to inscribe humanity with their eternal demands, must first wander over the Earth as monstrous and fear-inspiring caricatures.  One such caricature was dogmatic philosophy—for instance, the Vedanta philosophy in Asia, Platonism in Europe.  Let us not be ungrateful toward them, while, at the same time, acknowledging that the worst, most protracted, and most pernicious of all errors hitherto was the error of dogmatism, namely Plato’s invention of the Pure Spirit and the Good in itself.  However, now that this error has been overcome, Europe sighs in relief and at least enjoyed a healthier—sleep, we, whose task is wakefulness itself, are the inheritors of all the force gathered from the struggle against this error.  Of course, talking about the Spirit and the Good means standing the truth on its head and denying the perspectival, the fundamental condition of all life.  One may, as if one were a doctor, ask: “How could such a sickness come from Plato, the loveliest growth of antiquity?  Had the bad Socrates corrupted him, after all?  Was Socrates actually the corrupter of youth, after all?  And did he perhaps deserve his hemlock?”  But the struggle against Plato, or to put it in a more comprehensible language for the “people,” the struggle against the Christian-ecclesiastical pressure of millennia—for Christendom is Platonism for the “people”—has created in Europe a magnificent tension of the spirit the likes of which the Earth has never seen: With such a tense bow can one now shoot the remotest targets.  Indeed, the European human experiences this tension as a necessity, and there have already been two attempts to slacken the bow.  The first was through Jesuitism, and the second was through the democratic Enlightenment—thanks to the freedom of the press and the reading of newspapers, the goal might be reached that the intellect will not so easily see itself as a “need”!  (The Germans have invented gun powder—all respect to them for that!  However, they ruined it—they invented the press.)  But we, we who are neither Jesuits nor democrats, nor even German enough, we are good Europeans and free, quite free spirits—we still have them, the total need of the intellect and the total tension of the bow!  And perhaps also the arrow, the task, and—who knows?—perhaps also the goal

Sils-Maria, Oberengadin, June 1885




1. The will to truth still entices us to so many risks! That famed truthfulness, of which all philosophers hiherto have spoken with reverence! How many questions has this “will to truth” laid before us!  What wondrous, terrible, questionable questions!  That is already a long story—and yet does it not seem to us that this story has scarcely begun?  What wonder, then, that we have already grown mistrustful, what wonder that we have already lost patience, what wonder that we have already turned impatiently away from the truth?  For that reason, we should, on our side, learn questioning from this Sphinx?  Who is it, actually, who here poses questions to us?  What is it actually in us that wills “the truth”?—In fact, we have hesitated for a long time before the question of the origin of this will—until we, ultimately, stood frozen before an even more fundamental question.  What asked about the value of this will.  Granted, we want the truth: Why not rather untruth?  And uncertainty?  Even ignorance?—The problem of the value of truth comes before us—or was it us who came before this problem?  Who among us here is Oedipus?  Who is the Sphinx?  It is a rendezvous, so it seems, of questions and question marks.—And would one ever believe that we were the first who raised this question, that we were the first to see this question, the first to fasten it in our gaze, the first to risk it?  For there is a risk inherent to this question, and perhaps there is no greater one.


2. “How could something originate from its opposite? For instance, truth from error? Or the will to truth from the will to deception?  Or selfless action from selfishness?  Or the pure sunny view of essences from lustfulness?  Such origination is impossible.  Who would ever dream of such a thing is a fool—no, even worse.  Things of the highest worth must have another origin, their own origin—they must not have come from this ephemeral, seductive, deceptive, paltry world; they cannot be derivable from this chaos of delusion and desire!  No, rather from the womb of being, from the impermanent, from the concealed god, from the ‘thing in itself’—from there they must have come, and from nowhere else!”—This kind of judging constitutes the typical prejudice that allows us to recognize metaphysicians of every epoch; this kind of evaluation stands in the background of all logical procedures; from this “belief” comes all of their efforts at “knowledge,” from this belief comes all of their efforts to solemnly christen something as the “truth.”  The fundamental belief of metaphysicians is the faith in oppositions of value.  It has never dawned on even the most careful among them to start doubting right at the threshold, right where it is needed the most, even though they have praised one another for their “de omnibus dubitandum.”  To be precise, one should doubt, first of all, if oppositions exist at all, and, secondly, one should wonder if such folkish evaluations and oppositions of value, upon which metaphysicians have imprinted their seal of approval, might not only be foreground appraisals.  They are, perhaps, merely provisional perspectives.  Perhaps they have only been looked at “from around the corner,” or from below, from the perspective of a frog, to borrow an expression with which painters are familiar.  Whatever value one might attribute to the truth, to truthfulness, to selflessness, perhaps it would be possible to grant an even more fundamental value to appearance, to the will to deception, to selfishness, and to desire.  It might even be possible that what constitutes the value of those good and honorable things is an insidious connection to those bad things to which they seem opposed—perhaps they are related, knotted together, hooked, perhaps even essentially the same.  Perhaps!—But who today is willing to concern oneself with such a dangerous Perhaps?  One is already waiting for the arrival of a new species of philosophers, such who have an entirely different taste and tendency as the previous philosophers—philosophers of the dangerous Perhaps in every respect.—And to speak in all seriousness: I see such new philosophers coming up.


3. After I observe philosophers long enough, reading between the lines, I say to myself: One must ascribe the majority of conscious thinking to instinctive activity, and even in the case of philosophical thinking. One has to relearn the concept [of conscious thinking], as one relearned the concepts of hereditary and “the congenital.” In the same way as birth has little to do with the entire proto-process and procedure of hereditary, just as little is “consciousness” opposed to the instinctive, in any decisive sense.  The majority of conscious thinking is secretly led by the instincts and forced down determinate pathways.  Even behind all logic and its ostensible self-mastery of movement lie evaluations—spoken more clearly, physiological demands for the preservation of a determinate form of life.  For example, the idea that the determinate is worth more than the indeterminate, that appearance is worth less than the “truth”: Such evaluations, for all of their regulative importance for us, could be mere foreground evaluations, a specific kind of niaiserie, which necessitates the preservation of beings.  This presupposes, of course, that human beings are not the “measure of all things”…


4. The falsity of a judgment is, for us, no objection to a judgment; this is the place in which our new language perhaps sounds the strangest. The question is: To what extent is it life-promoting, life-sustaining, species-sustaining, perhaps even species-breeding? And we are fundamentally inclined to maintain that the falsest judgments (to which synthetic a priori judgments belong) are the most indispensable, that without the validation of logical fictions, without measuring reality against the wholly invented world of the unconditioned and self-identical, without the constant falsification of the world through numbers, people could not live—the renunciation of false judgments would be a renunciation of life, a negation of life.  To admit untruth as a condition of life: This clearly means resisting the usual value-feelings in a dangerous manner.  And a philosophy which takes such a risk thereby goes beyond Good and Evil.


5. What provokes us into regarding all philosophers half with mistrust and half with mockery is not that we constantly find out how innocent they are—how often and how easily they mess up and go astray, in short, their childishness and childlikeness. Rather, what provokes our mistrust and mockery is that there is not enough honesty in them, even though they make loud and virtuous noises when the problem of truthfulness is even remotely touched upon. They all act as though they discovered and arrived at their own opinions through the self-development of a cold, pure, divinely insouciant dialectics (in contrast with mystics of every stripe, who are more forthright and more foolish than they are—the mystics talk of “inspiration”).  While, in fact, what happens is that the philosophers take a proposition that has been accepted in advance, a sudden impression, an “inspiration,” at most an abstracted and sifted-through wish of the heart that is then defended with rationalizations sought after the fact—all of them are advocates, who do not want to be known as such, and indeed cunning endorsers of their prejudices, which they christen “truths”—and are very far away from the bravery of conscience that would admit this fact, this very fact, far from the good taste of bravery, which would let friend or enemy know about this trickery, which would warn friend or enemy of this trickery, whether it be from exuberance or from self-deprecation.  The Tartuffery of Old Kant (a Tartuffery which is as stiff as it is prudish), who entices us down dialectical detours, sideroads that lead to his “categorical imperative”—or rather that lead us astray to his “categorical imperative.”  This spectacle makes us smile, we who are so indulgent, we who find no small amusement in spying on the subtle tricks of the old moralists and preachers of morals.  Or even that hocus-pocus of mathematical formulae with which Spinoza armed and masked (as if with ore) his philosophy—which would be better termed “his love of wisdom”—and thus from the beginning intimidate any assailants who would dare cast a glance at this unconquerable Virgin and Pallas Athena.  How much timidity and vulnerability are revealed by this masquerade of the reclusive invalid!


6. Gradually, the essence of every great philosophy hitherto was disclosed to me: To be precise, it was the self-confession of its creator and a kind of involuntary and unnoticed memoir. In brief, the moral (or immoral) intentions in every philosophy made up the actual life-germ from which the entire plant had been germinated. In fact, it would be good (and smart) to provide an explanation of how the most hidden metaphysical claims of a philosophy originated.  In order to do this, one must ask: Which morality does it (does he) stem from?  I accordingly do not believe that some “epistemological drive” is the father of philosophy.  Rather, there is another drive, here as elsewhere—knowledge (misknowledge!) is only an instrument that serves this deeper drive.  But anyone who looks at the fundamental drives of human beings, insofar as they play the game of pretending to be inspiring geniuses (or demons and kobolds), will soon find out that they have all done philosophy at one time or another.  Any one of these would be too pleased to present itself as the ultimate purpose of existence and as the rightful master of all of the other drives.  For each drive is thirsty for mastery: and as such tries out philosophizing.—Indeed: Among scholars, the truly scientific people, it might stand otherwise—“better,” if one likes.  There might really be something like an epistemological drive, some kind of trifling, autonomous clockwork, which, well-wound, bravely does its work without the remaining drives of the scholar essentially being involved.  The genuine “interests” of the scholar reside therefore somewhere entirely different, whether in the family or the acquisition of money or in politics.  Indeed, it is almost a matter of indifference whether his little machine is installed at this place within science or someplace else, and it is a matter of indifference whether the “promising” young worker makes a philologist or a fungus connoisseur or a chemist out of himself.  None of these things characterize him, whether he becomes this or that.  Rather, there is nothing impersonal about the philosopher.  It is the case that his morality gives a decisive and determining testimony of who he is—that is, his morality testifies to the hierarchy in which the innermost drives of his nature are arranged.


7. How malicious philosophers can be! I know of nothing more venomous than the joke in which Epicurus indulged against Plato and the Platonists: He called them “Dionysiokolakes.” That means, literally and on the surface, “flatterer of Dionysus”—thus, “tyrant retinue” and “toady.”  But above all, he wants to say that “all of them are actors; there is nothing authentic about them” (for dionysokolax was a popular designation for actors).  And that last part was the true maliciousness which Epicurus shot at Plato: He was exasperated by the bombastic mannerisms, the mise-en-scène that Plato and his students were so skilled at—which Epicurus was not skilled at!  He, the old schoolmaster from Samos, who sat hidden in his little Athenian garden and who wrote three hundred books—who knows why?  Perhaps out of rage and emulousness toward Plato?—It took one hundred years before Greece found out who this garden god Epicurus was.—Did it ever find out?


8. In every philosophy there is a point at which the “conviction” of the philosopher steps on stage: or, to say it in the language of the ancient mysteries:

adventavit asinus / pulcher et fortissimus.


9. You want to live “in accordance with nature”? O you noble Stoics, what a chicanery of words! Think of the essence that nature is—measurelessly wasteful, measurelessly indifferent, without purpose or care, without mercy or justice, fruitful and at the same time barren and uncertain.  Think of the indifference of nature itself as power—how could you live according to this indifference?  Life—is that not a wanting-to-be-otherwise, as nature is?  Is life not an evaluating, a preferring, a being-unjust, a being-limited, a wanting-to-be-different?  And suppose that your imperative “to live according to nature” meant, in essence, as much as “living according to life”: How could you do otherwise?  What is the reason for making a principle out of what you are yourselves and what you cannot help but be?—In truth, things are entirely different: Even though you rapturously pretend to read the canon of your law in nature, it is the exact opposite, you wonderworthy actors and self-deceivers!  Your pride wants to prescribe your morality, your ideal to nature and to incarnate your ideal in nature, nature itself!  You demand that Nature exist “according to the Stoa” and would like all of existence to be according to your own image—as the monstrous eternal glorification and generalization of Stoicism!  With all of your love of truth, you have forced yourselves for so long, so persistently, with such a hypnotic paralysis, to see nature in a false manner, namely in Stoical manner—and some abyssal arrogance gives you the madhouse hope that because you know how to tyrannize yourselves—Stoicism is self-tyranny—nature, too, lets itself be tyrannized: Is the Stoic not, then, a piece of nature? … But this is an old, eternal story: What happened with the Stoics is still happening today, as soon as a philosophy begins to believe in itself.  It always creates the world according to its own image.  It cannot do otherwise; philosophy is the tyrannical drive itself, the spiritual will to power, to the “creation of the world,” to the causa prima.


10. The zeal and the subtlety—I almost want to say, “the slyness”—with which the problem of the “real and apparent world” has been taken up gives one much to think about and much to listen to. And whoever hears nothing more than a “will to truth” in the background does not possess the sharpest of ears. In certain rare cases, there might actually be such a will to truth, some sort of extravagant and adventurous bravery, the ambitiousness of a metaphysician to take part in a lost cause that will, in the end, prefer a handful of “certainties” to a whole wagon of lovely possibilities.  There might even be puritanical fanatics of the conscience who would rather die for a certain nothingness than an uncertain Something.  But this is nihilism and the symptom of a despairing, deathly tired soul: no matter how bold the gestures of such a virtuousness might appear.  Among the stronger, more lifeful, life-thirsty thinkers, things stand much differently: Insofar as they campaign against appearance and utter the word “perspectival” only with contempt, insofar as they deprecate the believability of their own bodies as much as they deprecate the believability of phenomena, which says, “the Earth stands still,” and so, with seemingly good spirits relinquish their securest possession (for what does one believe in with greater certainty than one’s own body?)—who knows, if they do not intend to reappropriate something that one once even more securely possessed, some kind of old belief from Below, perhaps “the immortal soul” or “the old God”—in short, ideas that make their lives a bit more endurable, ideas that made them stronger and more cheerful than the “modern ideas”?  It is this mistrust against modern ideas, it is the disbelief in all of that which was built yesterday and today; it is perhaps a frivolous exuberance mixed with contempt that can no longer endure the bric-a-brac of concepts of various origins, which is how positivism advertises itself these days, a disgust by those of complacent tastes for the funfair-chromatics and raggediness of all these realist-philosophasters, for whom nothing is as new and as genuine as this colorfulness.  Here, I think, credit should be given to those skeptical anti-realists and epistemo-microscopists: their instinct, which diverts them from modern reality is unassailable—what do we care for their retrogressive detours?  The essential thing is not that they want to “regress”: rather that they—want to move away.  A little more strength, motility, courage, artfulness: and they will want to go out—and never come back!


11. It strikes me that people are everywhere working hard to distract themselves from the real influence that Kant exerted over German philosophy and to slip away from acknowledgement of the worth that he placed on himself. Kant was, first and foremost, proud of his Table of Categories. He said, with this table in hand: “This is the most difficult thing that could have been done in behalf of metaphysics.”  Let us understand this “could have been”!  He was proud to have discovered, within human beings, a new capacity (faculty), the capacity of synthetic a priori judgments.  Granted, he deceived himself therein: however, the development and sudden efflorescence of German philosophy is dependent on this pride and on the competitiveness of all younger philosophers who want, if possible, to discover something even more worthy of pride—and this means “new capacities” (faculties)!—But let us think of it: Now is the time to do so.  “How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?” Kant asked—and how did he answer, really?  They are capacitated by a capacity.  Unfortunately, his answer was not composed of four words.  Rather, his answer was so extensive and deferential and given with such an extravagance of German ponderousness and flourishes that one missed the ludicrous niaiserie allemande that was embedded in such an answer.  One was out of one’s brain at news of the discovery of this new capacity, and the jubilation reached its apogee as Kant discovered-introduced a moral capacity, too, in human beings—for, at that time, the Germans were still moral, and not at all “realistically political.”—That was the honeymoon of German philosophy.  All the young theologians of the Tübingen seminary went looking in the bushes—all of them went searching for “capacities.”  And what did they find—in that innocent, rich, still-young age of the German Spirit, in which Romanticism, the evil fairy, whispered, whistled, and sang, an age in which “finding” and “inventing” had not yet been distinguished?  Above all, they found a capacity for the “supersensible”: Schelling christened it “intellectual intuition” and thus gratified the most ardent desires of his fundamentally piety-loving Germans.  One cannot do greater damage to this exuberant and exalted movement than by taking it seriously and by not treating it with moral indignation—it is a movement that was youth itself, no matter how much it clad itself in grey and hoary concepts.  Enough!  One grows older—the dream flies away.  The time came when one scratched one’s brow—one is still scratching it.  One was a dreamer—first and above all, old Kant.  “Capacitated by a capacity,” he said, or at least meant.  But is that—an answer?  An explanation?  Or isn’t it merely the repetition of the question?  How does opium put to sleep?  It “capacitates by a capacity,” namely, by the virtus dormitiva.  As that physician in Moliere put it:

quia est in eo virtus dormitiva, / cujus est natura sensus assoupire.

But such answers belong to comedy, and it is high time to replace the Kantian question “How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?” with another question: “Why are such questions necessary?”  That is to say, it is time for us to understand that such questions are necessary to believe in for the preservation of the species to which we belong—which means that such questions might still be false!  Or more clearly stated and crude and basic: Synthetic a priori judgments should not be possible.  We have no right to them; in our mouths, they are purely false judgments.  The belief in its truth is indeed merely necessary as a foreground belief and as visual evidence, which belong to the perspectival optics of life.—And finally, to recall the monstrous effect which “German philosophy” (I hope that the right to these quotation marks is understood?) has had on Europe, a certain virtus dormativa is involved.  They were all delighted—the noble layabouts, the virtuous, the mystics, the artists, the three-quarter Christians, and political obscurantists of all nations—to have a counterpoison against the still-prepotent sensualism of the time, which cascaded over from the previous century.  In brief: “sensus assoupire.”


12. As far as materialistic atomism is concerned: This is one of the most well-refuted things in existence. And perhaps there is not a single scholar today so uneducated as to ascribe any serious significance to this term, except as a convenient, handy expression (namely, as a shorthand)—thanks, above all, to that Pole Boscovich, who, together with the Pole Copernicus, at this point the greatest and most victorious opponent of visual evidence. While it was precisely Copernicus who persuaded us to believe, against all sensory evidence, that the Earth does not stand still, Boscovich taught us to abjure that last bit of belief in the Earth “standing still”: belief in “matter,” in “material,” in the Earth-residue and the little clump of atom.  It was the greatest triumph over the senses that had been ever won on the Earth.—It is necessary to go further and declare war on the “atomistic need,” which has had a dangerous afterlife in areas that no one suspected, just like the popular “metaphysical need”: Let this war be a merciless fight to the finish.  Before all else, one must wreck that other fatal atomistics, the one that Christendom has taught the best and the longest, the atomistics of the soul.  Let this phrase be allowed to characterize the belief that the soul is something unassailable, eternal, indivisible, that the soul is a monad, that the soul is something like an atom: This belief should be stricken from science!  Between us, it is absolutely unnecessary to free oneself from belief in “the soul” and to renounce one of the oldest and deferential hypotheses, since the naturalists, in their awkwardness, lose the soul as soon as they touch it.  But the path to new conceptions and refinements of the soul hypothesis stands open: and concepts such as “mortal soul” and “soul as subjective multiplicity” and “soul as social structure of drives and affects” will continue to have their civil rights in science.  By preparing the end of the superstition, which hitherto proliferated around the soul idea with a tropical luxuriance, the new psychologist thrusts himself into a new wasteland and a new mistrust.  It might be the case that the older psychologists had an easier and more amusing time—: Ultimately, however, the new psychologist knows that he is condemned to invention.  And, who knows?  Perhaps to discovery.—


13. The physiologists should think twice before positing the drive to self-preservation as the cardinal drive of organic beings. Above all else, a living entity wants to discharge strength—life itself is the will to power—self-preservation is only the indirect and most frequent consequence thereof.—In short, here as everywhere else, be careful of superfluous teleological principles—such as the drive to self-preservation (thanks to Spinoza for this inconsequentiality). So much is demanded by method, which is essentially the parsimony / frugality of principles.


14. It has dawned today in perhaps five or six heads that even physics is merely an interpretation of the world and an arrangement of the world (among us, if I may say so!). But insofar as it rests on belief in the senses, it counts for more, and will to continue to count for more—that is, it will count as an explanation—for a long time yet to come. It has eyes and fingers on its side; it has optical evidence and tactile evidence on its side.  This has had an enchanting, persuasive, convincing effect on an epoch with a basically plebeian taste—indeed, it instinctively follows the truth canon of the eternally popular sensualism.  What is clear?  What is “explained”?  Only to what can be seen and felt—that is as far as the problem is pursued.  To the contrary: The enchantment of the Platonic perspective consists precisely in its resistance to sensible evidence; it was a dignified perspective, perhaps the perspective of human beings who enjoyed even more powerful and fastidious senses than our contemporaries but who found a greater triumph in mastering their senses—and this by means of pale, cold, grey conceptual net that they threw over the colorful chaos of the senses, over “the mob of the senses,” as Plato put it.  It was another kind of pleasure in world-overpowering and world-interpretation in the manner of Plato, different from the pleasure of physicists today, as well as the pleasure of the Darwinists and the Anti-Theologians who work in the field of physiology with the principle of the “smallest possible force” and the greatest possible stupidity.  “Where human beings have nothing more to see and grasp, there they have also nothing more to seek”—that is, of course, another imperative than the Platonic imperative, which, however, for a sturdy, sedulous generation of machinists and bridge builders who have purely crude labor before them, it might be just the right imperative to get the job done.


15. In order to pursue physiology with a good conscience, we must insist that the sense organs are not “appearances” in the sense that this word is used in idealistic philosophy: As such they certainly cannot be causes! Sensualism, at least as a regulative hypothesis, if not as a heuristic principle. How is that?  And others say that the external world would be the work of our organs?  But then our body, as a piece of this external world would be the work of our organs!  And then, indeed, our organs themselves would be the work of our organs!  This is, so it appears to me, a fundamental reductio ad absurdum: given that the concept of causa sui is something fundamentally absurd.  It follows that the external world is not the work of our organs—?


16. There are forever innocuous self-observers who believe that there is such a thing as “immediate certainty”—for instance, “I think” or, as was Schopenhauer’s superstition, “I will.” It is here and there as if knowing could purely and nakedly apprehend its object (Gegenstand), as if some “thing in itself” would never be falsified on the side of the subject or on the side of the object (Objekt). That “immediate certainty” or “absolute knowledge” or the “thing in itself” all contain a contradictio in adjecto is something that I will repeat one hundred times: One should finally release oneself from the seduction of words!  The people might believe that knowing is a knowing-to-the-end.  The philosopher should be saying: “When I analyze the process that is expressed in the sentence ‘I think,’ I arrive at a series of bold assertions, the justification of which is difficult, perhaps even impossible.  For instance: that I am the one who thinks, that there is even something that thinks at all, that thinking is an activity and the outcome of a being which might be thought of as a cause, that an “I” exists, and finally, that what is characterized as ‘thinking’ has already been settled—that I know, in other words, what thinking is.  For if I had not already decided that what I experienced was ‘thinking,’ how may I compare it with other states of mind?  And how may say I that what happened wasn’t ‘willing’ or ‘feeling’ instead?  Enough!  This ‘I think’ presupposes that I am able to compare my present state of mind with other states of mind in order to establish what my current state of mind is: Because of this retrospective comparison with other kinds of ‘knowing,’ my current state of mind has no ‘absolute certainty’ for me.”  In place of that “immediate certainty” in which the people might believe in certain cases, the philosopher takes on a series of metaphysical questions, proper and genuine questions of the intellectual conscience, which are the following: “Where do I get this concept of thinking from?  Why do I believe in cause and effect?  What gives me the right to speak of an ‘I’ as a cause and finally as the cause of thoughts?”  Whoever has the confidence to answer these metaphysical questions with an appeal to intuition as a form of knowledge, as someone does who says: “I think and know that this, at least, is true, real, certain”—he will find a smile ready for him, with two question marks, from a philosopher.  “My dear sir,” the philosopher will perhaps give him to understand, “it is unlikely that you are mistaken, but why should it be the truth?”—


17. As far as the superstitions of the logicians are concerned: I will never tire of underlining a single, tiny fact that these superstitious ones are loath to admit—namely, that a thought comes when it wants to come, not when I want it to come. Thus it is a falsification of the state of affairs to say that the subject “I” is the condition of the predicate “think.” It thinks: However, that this “It” should be the famous, ancient “I” is, putting it mildly, nothing more an assumption, an assertion, and by no means an “immediate certainty.”  Finally, this “It thinks” is already too heavily determined: Even the “It” contains the interpretation of a process and does not belong to the process itself.  People are deriving inferences from grammatical habits: “Thinking is an activity.  Every activity has an actor; therefore…”  The more ancient atomistics followed a similar schema and held that behind every “force” there must be a clump of matter that motivates that “force,” an atom.  More powerful minds learned how to do without that “little piece of Earth,” and perhaps logicians, too, will learn to do without that little “It” (into which the “I” so reverentially vanished).


18. The smallest charm of a theory is not that it is refragable / refutable: The refragability / refutability of a theory is precisely what draws discerning minds to it. The charm of “free-will” theory is apparently owed to the fact that it has been refuted hundreds of times. Again and again, someone comes across this theory and feels strong enough to refute it once more.


19. The philosophers take the effort to speak of the will, as if it were the most familiar thing in the world. Indeed, Schopenhauer gave us to understand that only the will is actually known to us, completely known to us, without qualification or addition known to us. But again and again, it has struck me that, in this case, Schopenhauer has only done what all philosophers have done.  That is, he took over and exaggerated a prejudice of the people.  Willing has always seemed to me to be something complicated, something that is only verbally unified—and that single word, willing, contains a prejudice of the people that has overruled even the smallest precautions that philosophers usually take.  Were we more careful, then we would be “unphilosophical.”  We say: In every willing there is a multiplicity of feelings.  That is to say: The feeling of the state in which we are away, a feeling of the state in which we are toward, and a feeling of this “away” and this “toward” itself, as well as the corresponding feeling in the muscles that comes into play by a sort of habit as soon as we “will,” even without our putting “arms and legs” into motion.  In the same way that feelings—even a plurality of feelings—must be recognized as ingredients of the will; secondly, so must thoughts be, as well.  In each act of the will, there is a commanding thought—and we should not believe that thought could be excised from “willing,” as there would be some willing left over after the thought were removed!  Thirdly, the will is not merely a complex of feelings and thoughts, but above all, it includes an affect: and it is that very affect of command.  That which is named the “freedom of the will” is essentially the affect of superiority with respect to what must obey: “I am free; that must obey.”  This consciousness is packed in every act of willing—particularly that intensity of attention, that proper look which fixates on one thing, that absolute evaluation (“Now you do this, and nothing else matters”), that inner certainty that one will be obeyed, and everything else that belongs to the state of commanding.  A person that wills—commands something in oneself that obeys or that makes one believe that one obeys.  Now the most remarkable thing about willing is—that the people only have one word for so many things.  We are, in certain situations, at once the obeying and the commanding, and as the obeying, know the feelings of compulsion, pushing, pressure, resistance, motion that generally start right after the act of willing has begun.  On the other hand, we are in the habit of neglecting, and deceiving ourselves about, this duality thanks to the synthetic concept “I.”  As the result of this synthetic concept, a whole chain of erroneous inferences and fallacious evaluations have attached themselves to willing, so much so that the person who wills believes, in all good faith, that willing is sufficient for action.  Since it is almost always the case that there is willing only where there is the expectation of the outcome of a command, only where there is the expectation of obedience, and therefore only where there is the expectation of action, appearance tends to translate into action—as if the outcome were necessary.  Enough!  The one who wills believes, with a degree of certainty, that action and appearance are somehow one—and attributes the success, the performance of the will, to willing itself and consequently enjoys an increase in the feeling of power that all success brings with it.  “Freedom of the will”—that is the name for the multitudinous pleasure-state of the one who wills, who commands and who equates oneself with the performance of this willing.  As such, the one who wills enjoys the triumph over resistances while thinking that it was his will alone that overcame these resistances.  Accordingly, the one who wills takes pleasure in being the commander as well as pleasure in using the instruments that successfully carry the command out, the serviceable “under-wills” or under-souls—our body is indeed nothing more than a society of many souls.  L’effet c’est moi.  What happens here is what happens in every well-built and happy communality: The ruling class identifies itself with the successes of the communality.  All willing is simply a matter of commanding and obeying and is built on the foundation, as I said earlier, of a society composed of many “souls.”  It is for this reason that philosophy arrogates the right to understand willing within the circle of morality: morality understood as the doctrine of sovereign relations, from which the phenomenon of ‘life’ originates.—


20. Individual philosophical concepts are not self-willed and do not grow out of themselves but only emerge in relation and connection to one another. As suddenly and as voluntarily as they seem to originate in the history of thinking, they belong to a system as the comprehensive members of fauna belong to a part of the Earth. This is ultimately revealed by the way in which diverse philosophers fill out a definite fundamental schema of possible philosophies.  As if under a spell, they believe that they are carving out a new path, only to find themselves revolving in the same orbit: They might feel independent of one another, with their critical or systematic wills, but something pushes them in the same determined order, one after the other, and this ‘something’ is the same inherited systematicity and relatedness of concepts.  In fact, their thinking is not so much a discovery as it is a recognition, a remembrance, a nostalgia, and a kind of homecoming to a remote, primeval household of the soul from which such concepts developed.—Philosophizing is the highest form of atavism.  The familial relationships between Indian, Greek, and German philosophies are clearly perceptible.  Precisely where there is a linguistic relationship, because of the common philosophy of grammar—I mean, the common domination of similar grammatical functions—it is obvious that everything lies ready for a common unfolding and sequentializing of philosophical systems.  On the other hand, the way to other possible interpretations of the world is as good as blocked.  Philosophers of the Ural-Altaic languages, in which the concept of the subject is underdeveloped, will “see the world” differently than those in Germanic and Islamic countries.  The spell of grammatical functions, in the final analysis, is the spell of physiological judgments and of racial conditioning.—So much for a repudiation of Locke’s shallowness in his discussion of the origin of ideas.


21. The causa sui is the best self-contradiction that has ever been conceived, a type of logical violation and a kind of unnaturalness. However, the exorbitant arrogance of humankind has entangled itself deeply and terribly in this nonsense. The longing for “the freedom of the will”—in the superlative metaphysical sense that still lords over the heads of the semi-educated, the longing to carry total responsibility for one’s actions and to disburden God, the world, one’s ancestors, chance, and society of all responsibility—is the idea of being nothing less than the causa sui oneself and, with a boldness greater than that of Little Munchhausen, to pull oneself up by one’s own hair from the quag of existence.  Suppose that someone saw through the philistine simplicity of the popular “free-will” concept and struck it out of one’s head—I would then ask this person to take his “enlightenment” one step further and to rid himself of its opposite, as well.  I mean the “unfree will,” which issues from a misuse of the concepts of cause and effect.  One should not reify the concepts of cause and effect as the natural scientists do (and whoever else today thinks naturalistically—) according to the dominant mechanistic idiocy, which would have a cause push and shove an “effect” into existence.  We should only use “cause” and “effect” as pure concepts and not conventional fictions for the purposes of description and clarification, but not for the purpose of explanation.  There is nothing “causal” or “necessary” in the “In Itself,” no “psychological unfreedom”—this does not follow from “causality,” there rules no such “law.”  We alone are the causes—we have fabricated sequence, the For-One Another, relativity, force, number, law, ground, purpose.  And if we fashion and mingle this “In-Itself” into things, so we do so, as we have always done—namely, mythologically.  The “unfree will” is mythology: Real life only concerns weak wills and strong wills.  It is almost always symptomatic of what he lacks when a thinker feels out compulsion, need, Must-Follow, pressure, unfreedom in every “causal-nexus” and “psychological necessity”: It is even treacherous to feel this way—and the personality of the thinker betrays itself.  And in general, if I have observed things correctly, the “unfreedom of the will” is forever grasped as a problem by two opposing sides, but in a deeply personal manner.  The one side would never dream of renouncing its “responsibility”; they would not give up the belief in themselves for any price, they would not give up a personal right to their advantage (the vain races belong here—).  By contrast, the other side wants to answer for nothing, to be indebted to nothing (to be guilty about nothing) and to demand, from an inner self-contempt, to be able to unload their self-blame onto something else.  When they write books these days, this latter group tends to side with criminals; a kind of socialist pity is their most appealing disguise.  And in fact, the fatalism of the weak-willed starts to look astonishingly attractive when it presents itself as “la religion de la souffrance humaine”: That is its “good taste.”


22. Forgive me, as an old philologist, for not being able to refrain from pointing my finger at bad tricks of interpretation, but that “lawfulness of nature” of which you physicians so proudly speak, as if it—only existed thanks to your explication and awful “philology.” That is no factuality, no “text.” Rather, it is merely a naïve-humanitarian correction and a distortion of sense, one that comfortably accommodates the democratic instincts of the modern soul!  “Everywhere there is equality before the law—nature is nothing different and no better than we are”: an elegant thought in the back of the brain, one that disguises a plebeian enmity for the privileged and the autocratic and one that disguises, as well, a second, more refined atheism.  “Ni dieu, ni maître”—you want that, too: and therefore, “Hurray for the laws of nature!”—isn’t that right?  But as I said above, that is an interpretation, not the text, and anyone else, with an opposing intention and different tricks of interpretation, could draw entirely different conclusions from the very same nature and, with regard to the very same phenomena, could read out of nature a tyrannous ruthlessness and the merciless assertion of power claims—this second kind of interpreter would show “the will to power” without any exception or condition such that almost every word and even the very word “tyranny” would eventually appear as useless or as a weakening and mollifying metaphor—as too human.  And yet this same interpreter might nevertheless make the same claims about the world as you, namely that there is a “necessary” and “calculable” course of the world, but not because it is ruled by laws, but because the laws are absolutely absent, and every power, at every moment, draws its final consequences.  Granted, this, too, is an interpretation—and you will doubtless be zealous enough to make this objection—so much the better.—


23. All psychology unto this point has been dependent on moral prejudices and fears: It has never ventured into the depths. To grasp psychology as morphology and as the doctrine of the development of the will to power, as I have done—no one has even touched on this subject, even in thought—to the extent, of course, that we are allowed to recognize, in what has been written thus far, a symptom of that over which one has until now been silent. The violence of moral prejudices has permeated the spiritual world, supposedly the coldest world, the world without presuppositions—and as is self-evident, a world that has been damaging, restricting, dazzling, and disfiguring.  A genuine physio-psychology has to contend with the unconscious resistances in the heart of the researcher—it has “the heart” pitted against it.  Even a doctrine of the mutual conditionality of the “good” and “evil” impulses, as a more sophisticated immorality, will cause grief and distress in even a robust and hearty conscience—to say nothing of a doctrine that holds that the good impulses are derived from the bad ones.  Just suppose that someone considers affects such as hatred, envy, avarice, the addiction to power to be the life-conditioning affects, as states of mind that must be foundationally and essentially present in the total economy of life and that consequently need to be intensified wherever life is intensified!  Such a person will suffer from such a train of thought as if from a seasickness.  And even this hypothesis is hardly the most discomforting, hardly the strangest in this monstrous, nearly new realm of dangerous knowledge!  And there are, in fact, hundreds of good reasons for someone to stay as far away from this realm as—possible!  On the other hand: If someone has embarked on a ship thereto—ahoy!  Clench your teeth right together!  Open your eyes right now!  Keep that hand firmly on the wheel!  We will voyage together away from morality!  We will squelch, we will pulverize, every last remnant of morality as we embark and voyage—but who cares about us?  Never before have such bold voyagers and adventurers opened this deeper world of insight, and the psychologist who “sacrifices”—it won’t be a sacrifizio dell’intelletto.  Quite the opposite!  The psychologist will demand, at the very least, that psychology will once again be recognized as the Queen of the Sciences, to whom all the other sciences give their service and readiness.  For psychology is, from now on, the path to fundamental problems.




24. O sancta simplicitas! In what a strange simplification and falsification does the human being live! Whoever has eyes for wondering can never stop wondering!  How everything around us has been made bright and free and easy and simple!  How we have given our senses a free pass for everything superficial, how we have given our thinking a divine lust for leaps in logic and false conclusions!—How we have understood, right from the very beginning, to keep our ignorance in order to enjoy a barely comprehensible freedom, in order to enjoy thoughtlessness, recklessness, bravery!  All for the sake of a joy in life—all in order to enjoy life itself!  And from this stable, granite ground of ignorance science is elevated—the will to knowledge comes from the will to non-knowledge, to ignorance, to the untrue!  Not from its opposite, ignorance, does science grow—science is, rather, the refinement of ignorance!  Even when language, here as elsewhere, cannot free itself from its crudeness and continues to speak of opposites, when there are only degrees and subtitle gradations.  Even when the Tartuffery of morals—which is embedded in our bodies, which belongs to today’s indomitable “flesh and blood”—twists the words in our mouths (we who should know better).  Even then, we recognize what is happening and laugh about it—how even the best science wants to imprison us in a simplified, thoroughly synthetic, well-fabricated, and well-falsified world.  How unwillingly yet willingly does science love error because science, the living—loves life!


25. After such a cheerful entrance, there is a serious word that I would like to say, one that I hope will not be ignored: It is directed at the most serious people. Be on the watch, you philosophers and friends of knowledge and shield yourself from martyrdom! Protect yourself from suffering “for the sake of truth”!  Protect yourself from your own defense!  You will putrefy the innocence and sophisticated neutrality of your conscience, you will make yourself obdurate to objections and to red capes, suffering “for the sake of truth” will stupefy you, it will bestialize you, it will turn you into a bull, when you combat against danger, defamation, suspicion, expulsion and the even more vulgar consequences of adversarialness—ultimately, you will have to play the role of the defender of the truth on the Planet Earth.  As if “the truth” were such a harmless and gawky person that she needed defenders!  And you, especially, you Knights of the Sorrowful Countenance, my dear Loafers and Web-Spinners of the Spirit!  In the end, you know that it does not matter whether you are proven right, nor does it matter whether any philosopher has ever been proven right, and that a more laudable truthfulness dwells in every little question mark that you put after your favorite slogans and darling doctrines (and sometimes after yourselves) than in all of the solemn gestures and trump cards laid before accusers and courts of law!  Step aside instead!  Fly to hidden lands!  And put on your masks and use your subtlety so that no one recognizes you!  Or so that they will be a bit scared of you!  And do not forget the garden, the garden with the golden lattice!  And have people around you who will be like a garden—or like music floating over the water, for evening time, when the day is already a memory.  Choose the good solitude, the free, courageous, light solitude, which gives you the right to stay good, in some sense.  How venomous, how cunning, how much worse does every long war that cannot be waged out in the open!  How personal do you become after a long fear, after keeping a close eye on your enemies, on possible enemies, for such a long time!  The exiles from society, the long-persecuted, the terribly harassed—as well as the involuntary hermits, the Spinozas or the Giordano Brunos—will ultimately become sophisticated avengers and maker of poison, perhaps in a spiritual masquerade and perhaps without wanting to (just try digging up the foundation of Spinoza’s ethics and philosophy!).  To say nothing of the stupidity of moral indignation, which is an unmistakable sign that a philosopher has lost his sense of humor.  The martyrdom of the philosopher, his “sacrifice for the truth,” brings to light his inner agitator and actor—and since we have only ever regarded the philosopher with an aesthetic curiosity, it is easy to understand the dangerous wish to see philosophers in their degradation (degraded to “martyrs,” to crybabies of the stage and tribunal).  We should be clear about what we will be seeing—nothing more than a satyr play, an epilogue farce, nothing more than continual evidence that the real long tragedy is finally at its end.  That is assuming that every philosophy was a long tragedy at its inception.—


26. Every exceptional person strives instinctively for his fortress and his privacy where he can be saved from the multitude, the many, the Most—a place where, as the exception, he can forget about the “human” rule. The only outside case would be one in which he would be driven toward the rule by an even stronger instinct, as a knower in the great and extraordinary sense. Whoever traffics with people and does not occasionally shimmer with all the colors of distress—shining with the tremulous greens and greys of nausea, satiety, pity, sullenness, isolation—is no person of higher taste.  Suppose, however, that he does not take this burden and displeasure voluntarily upon himself, suppose he remains aversive, quiet and proud in his fortress—well, then, he is certainly not made for knowledge, certainly not predestined for it.  For one day, he will surely say to himself: “To the Devil with my good taste!  The rule is more interesting than the exception—than I, the exception!”  And he will then move down and, above all, move “within.”  The study of the average person—long and serious and requiring much dissimulation, self-overcoming, confidentiality, bad company (all company is bad company if it isn’t with your equals)—this constitutes a necessary part of the life history of a philosopher, perhaps the part which is the most disagreeable, the most malodorous, and the richest in disappointment.  If he had the good fortune to be bred into the fortunate child of knowledge, so would he encounter those who would truly abbreviate and alleviate his task.  I mean the so-called cynics—thus, those who recognize the bestial, the commonal, and the “regular” in themselves and yet still have a degree of intellectuality and the itch to talk about themselves and people like themselves in front of witnesses.  Sometimes, they even wallow in books as if in their own filth.  Cynicism is the only form in which base souls touch upon genuine honesty.  And the higher human being has only to open one’s ears to the more vulgar and refined kind of cynicism to congratulate oneself every time that a shameless buffoon or scientific satyr is audible.  There are even cases in which disgust mingles with enchantment—cases in which genius couples with some indiscreet ram and ape, through some whim of nature, as in the case of Abbé Galiani, perhaps the most profound, the most insightful, and filthiest man of his century.  He was far deeper than Voltaire and consequently much more often silent.  Much more frequently does it turn out that, as indicated, that a scientific head is set upon the body of an ape, an exceptionally sophisticated understanding is set upon a common soul—hardly a rare occurrence among physicians and moral physiologists.  And wherever someone speaks of another human being as a stomach with two needs or as one head with one stomach, wherever someone only sees, looks for, and wants to see hunger, sexual desire, and vanity, as if these were the sole driving forces of human behavior—in short, wherever someone speaks “badly” of other human beings and not just “poorly”—right then, the lover of knowledge should listen carefully and sedulously.  He should have his ears right there where such things are said without indignation.  For the indignant person and whoever tears and flays himself with his own teeth (or the world or God or society as a substitute) may stand higher than the laughing and self-complacent satyr, morally understood.  But considered any other way, he is a more common, more indifferent, less instructive case.  And no one lies so often as the indignant.—


27. It is difficult to be understood, particularly when one thinks and lives gangasrotogati among people who think and live otherwise, namely, those who kurmagati or “walk as if they were frogs,” mandeikagati—I do everything that I can to make it difficult to understand myself!—and one should be grateful for any good will that is found in any refined interpretation. But as far as “good friends” are concerned, they are always too comfortable and believe that they have the right to comfortableness. So it does one good to concede a playspace, a playground, for misunderstanding.  Then one can have a good laugh at the fact that one has been misunderstood by one’s friends.  Or one could completely get rid of these friends—and have a good laugh about that!


28. The most difficult thing to translate from one language to another is the tempo of its style: which has its ground in the character of a race or, physiologically speaking, in the average tempo of its “metabolism.” There are honest attempts at translation which are almost falsifications, involuntary generalizations of the original text, simply because the original’s brave and comical tempo was untranslatable, a tempo that leaps over the dangerous element in things and in words. The German is almost incapable of presto in his language: Therefore, it is easy to conclude that he is also incapable of many of the most delightful and bold nuances of free, free-spirited thought.  Just as the buffo and the satyr are foreign to him, in body and conscience, so are Aristophanes and Petronius untranslatable.  Everything ponderous, viscous, solemnly vulgar, all the tedious and boring genres of style—all of this has been developed by the Germans into an overflowing multiplicity.  Forgive me for confessing that even Goethe’s prose, with its mixture of stiffness and filigree, is no exception and serves as a mirror image of the “good old age” to which it belongs.  It is an expression of the German taste of the time, when there was still a “German taste”: the Rococo taste, in moribus et artibus.  Lessing is an exception, thanks to his actorly nature; he understood so much and was skilled in so much.  It was not in vain that he translated Bayle and fled to live in proximity to Diderot and Voltaire and even more so the Roman writers of comedic theatre.  Even in tempo, Lessing loved freespiritedness, the flight from Germany.  But how could the German language, even in the prose of a Lessing, imitate the tempo of Machiavelli, who, in his Prince, permits us to breathe the dry, refined air of Florence and who never forgoes the opportunity to present the most serious concerns in an untrammeled allegrissimo, perhaps not without the malicious feeling of an artist for the contrast that he is risking—the thoughts are long, heavy, hard, dangerous, and the tempo is galloping and the most high-spirited.  Who, in the end, would dare to translate Petronius into German, a writer who, more than any crass musician before him, was the master of the presto in invention, inspiration, and word.  Who do all of the quagmires in the sick, terrible world matter, even those of the “old world,” when someone, such as he, has the feet of the wind, the drive and the breath, the liberating scorn of the wind that makes everything healthy, since he makes everything run!  And as far as Aristophanes is concerned, that transfiguring, complementary spirit, for whose sake we can pardon Greece for everything, on the condition that one has understood deeply what requires forgiving and transfiguring.  I know of nothing that incites my dreams of Plato’s concealed, sphinxlike nature as much as the following petit fait, thankfully preserved: that no one found a “Bible” beneath Plato’s pillow in his death chamber.  Nothing Egyptian, nothing Pythagorean, nothing Platonic.  Rather, there was Aristophanes.  How could even a Plato have endured life—a Greek life, to which he said, “No”—without an Aristophanes?


29. Independence is a matter for the few—it is the privilege of the strong. And even those who have the right to independence, without having to be independent, demonstrate thereby that he is apparently not only strong but also audacious to the point of unrestrainedness. He finds himself in a labyrinth, he multiplies by a thousand the dangers which life always brings with it.  The least danger that such a person falls into is not that no one sees how he messes up, isolates himself, is rent to pieces by some hell-minotaur of the conscience.  And if such a person falls down, this descent will be so remote from the understanding of human beings that they won’t even be able to feel it or empathize with him—and he will never be able to turn back!  He can never return to the sympathy of human beings!


30. Our highest insights must—and should!—sound like idiocies and even, under certain circumstances, like crimes, when they come unbeckoned into ears that are neither desired nor prepared for them. The exoteric and the esoteric, as philosophers differentiate them—among Indians, Greeks, Persians, and Muslims, in short, everywhere where there is belief in hierarchy and not in equality and equal rights—the exoteric and the esoteric are not distinguished on the basis of the outside position of the exoteric and the position of the esoteric, which would see, evaluate, measure, judge from within. The more essential distinction is that in the exoteric position, things are seen from below—the esoteric position, by contrast, looks down below from above!  There are heights of the soul from which even tragedy ceases to exist, no longer has tragic effects.  Taking into consideration all the woe in the world as one thing: Who would dare to decide whether his unifying vision of all the woe in the world would necessarily lead to pity, which would therewith lead one astray into the doubling of one’s woe?  …  What nourishes or refreshes the higher type of human will be almost poisonous to those of the inferior type.  The virtues of the common man will perhaps signify vices and weaknesses to a philosopher.  If a higher type of man were to degenerate and go to his ruin, this might give him the very qualities that would make him venerated as a saint in the low world to which he has sunk.  There are books that have inverted value, in soul and health, depending on whether the inferior souls and passions or the higher and more forceful souls use them.  In the first case, such books are dangerous, disintegrating, and dissolving; in the second case, they are herald calls that summon the courageous to their courage.  Books for everyone are always malodorous books: The stench of small people clings to them.  Where the mob eats and drinks, even where they worship, it tends to stench.  Don’t go into the churches if you want to breathe clean air.


31. The young admire and despise without that art of nuance which constitutes life’s greatest reward; therefore, they will pay dearly for ambushing people and things with “Yes” and “No.” Everything is set up so that the worst of all tastes, the taste for the unconditional, will be cruelly duped and abused until people learn to put some art in their feelings and prefer to experiment with the artificial: just as the proper artists of life do. The wrathful and reverential qualities that are endemic to youth do not rest, it seems, until they have falsified people and things so thoroughly that they unleash themselves upon them.—Youth is intrinsically falsifying and deceiving.  Later, after the young soul has been tortured with absolute disappointments, finally turns against itself with suspicion, endlessly hot and wild, even in its suspiciousness and bites of conscience.  How ferocious it is toward itself now, how it impatiently tears itself asunder, how it takes revenge for its long self-blinding, as if it had been a willful blindness!  During this period of transition, a person punishes oneself by mistrusting one’s own feelings; one tortures one’s enthusiasm with doubt.  Indeed, even the good conscience is felt as a danger, as are the self-veiling and ennui of sophisticated honesty; and above all, one takes part—a fundamental part—against “youth.”  Ten years later: and one understands that all of this was still a stage of—youth!


32. Throughout the longest epoch in human history—one calls it “the prehistoric age”—the worth or worthlessness of an action was derived from its consequences: The action itself was given little consideration, as little consideration as its origin. In today’s China, something similar is happening: A child’s mark of distinction or of disgrace is traceable back to its parents. Similarly, the retroactive force of a success or a failure conduced whether people thought of an action as good or as bad.  We will name this period the proto-moral period of humanity: The moral imperative “Know thyself!” was unknown back then.  Over the last 10,000 years, to the contrary, upon entire swathes of the Planet Earth, people come to think about the origin of an action, not its consequences, in order to decide the worth of an action.  This was altogether a great event, a remarkable sophistication of point of view and of measure, the unconscious aftereffect of the hegemony of aristocratic values and the belief in “origins,” and the sign of a period that one could characterize as moral in the narrow sense: Thus the first step toward self-knowledge was made.  Origin instead of consequence: What an inversion of perspective!  And to be sure, this inversion was only attained after long struggles and many oscillations!  Indeed: A fateful new superstition, a peculiarly narrow interpretation came thereby to dominate.  The provenance of an action was, in the most determinative sense, interpreted as an origin that came from an intention.  There was then a consensus that the worth of an action would reside in the worth of the intention behind it.  The intention is the entire origin and prehistory of an action.  Under this prejudice, almost unto the present day on the Planet Earth, one has morally lauded, censured, judged, and even philosophized.—Should we not be summoned today by the necessity of bringing about an inversion and fundamental displacement of values, thanks to a reinvigorated self-contemplation and deepening of humanity?  Should we not be standing on the threshold of a period that we may negatively characterize, at the beginning, as extramoral?  Today, when we immoralists are motivated by the suspicion that the decisive value of an action is what is non-intentional, when all its intentionality, all that is visible, known, “conscious” belongs to its surface and skin—which, like every skin, reveals but also conceals?  Briefly, we believe that the intention is only the sign and symptom, one that requires an interpretation, and that a sign means so many things and therefore that means almost nothing.  That morality, in the former sense, therefore, intention-morality, was a prejudice, a precipitousness, a provisionality, perhaps, a thing along the lines of astrology and alchemy, but, in any case, something that must be overcome.  The overcoming of morality, in a certain understanding, the self-overcoming of morality: Let this be the name for that long secret labor which is reserved for the most refined and honest, even the most malicious consciences of today, as the living touchstone of the soul.—


33. It cannot be helped: The feeling of acquiescence, the self-sacrifice for the benefit of the other person, the entire morality of self-abnegation all must be called to task and brought to trial. The same must be said of the aesthetics of “disinterested contemplation,” beneath which the emasculation of art, seductively enough, seeks to give itself a good conscience. There is too, too much wizardry and sweetening in this feeling “for others,” this feeling of “not-for-me” for it not to be necessary to become doubly mistrustful and ask, “Are these not perhaps seductions?”  The fact that they are agreeable (to those who have such feelings, to those who enjoy their fruit, to the mere onlooker)this does not provide us with an argument for these things.  Rather, it gives us a reason for caution.  Let us therefore be cautious!


34. No matter from which philosophical standpoint one might stand: seen from such a position, the erroneousness of the world in which we believe to be living is the securest and most fixed thing that our eyes can seize hold of. We find reason after reason for this, all of which entice us into making presumptions about the deceptiveness in the “essence of things.” Whoever, however, makes thinking itself (therefore, “the spirit”) responsible for the falseness of the world—an honorable way out, taken by every conscious or unconscious advocatus dei—whoever regards this world, together with space, time, form, and motion, to be falsely inferred, such a person would at the very least have a good pretext to grow mistrustful of all thinking.  Wouldn’t this have been the greatest prank that has ever been played?  And what guarantee is there that the prank that has always been played would not continue to be played?  In all seriousness, the innocence of the thinker has something touching and respect-inspiring about it.  It is an innocence that allows thinkers, even today, to prostrate themselves before consciousness with the request that there be honest answers.  For example, whether consciousness is “real,” and why it holds the external world at arm’s length, and so many other questions.  The belief in “immediate certainties” is a moral naivete which does us philosophers honor: However—we should cease being “merely moral” persons!  Aside from morality, every belief is a kind of stupidity that gives us little honor.  In bourgeois life, the disposition of being-always-ready-to-mistrust is considered as the sign of a “bad character” and consequently is regarded as imprudent.  Here among us, on the other side of the bourgeois world, with its Yeses and Nos—what should prevent us from being imprudent and from saying, “The philosopher has nigh the right to a bad character.  He has today the duty to be mistrustful, to squint maliciously from out of every abyss of suspicion”?  Forgive me this joke, this somber farce, this expression: for as to betrayal and being betrayed, I learned long ago to think differently, to evaluate differently, and I’ve a few ribbings in store for those blind-rage philosophers who struggle not to be betrayed.  Why wouldn’t they be enraged?  Why wouldn’t they struggle?  This comes from a moral prejudice that truth is worth more than appearance, the most ill-demonstrated assumption in the world.  Let us go this far and admit: There would be no life without fundamental perspectival evaluations and phenomenalities.  And if someone, with the moral enthusiasm and stupidity of most philosophers, wanted to abolish the “phenomenal world,” assuming that one could do so, there would be none of your truth left!  Not only that, what makes us think that there is even an essential distinction between the “true” and the “false”?  Does it not suffice to accept the strata of appearances, and, as it were, lighter and darker shades and nuances of appearance—different valeurs, to use the language of painters?  Why would the world that concerns us—not be a fiction?  And whoever asks—“But doesn’t fiction belong to a Creator?”—why could we not respond, “Why?  What if this ‘belong’ belongs to a fiction?”?  Is it not allowed, against subject, against predicate, against object, to be a little ironic?  Shouldn’t philosophers elevate themselves above grammatical credulity?  With all due respect to governesses: Isn’t it time for philosophy to abandon governesses’ beliefs?


35. O Voltaire! O humanity! O stupidity!  There is something to “truth,” to the search for truth; and if human beings pursue this too humanly—“Il ne cherche le vrai que pour fair le bien”—I wager that he’ll find nothing!


36. Suppose that nothing is “given” as real besides our desires and our passions, that we can neither move downward or upward to any “reality” other than the reality of our impulses—thinking is only the relation of these impulses to one another. Are we not allowed to experiment and to ask the question whether this “given” isn’t enough to understand the so-called mechanistic (or “material”) world, as well? I don’t mean that the world is a deception, an “appearance,” a “representation” (in the Berkleyean and Schopenhauerian senses); I mean that the “reality” of our desires and passions might allow us to understand the mechanistic world as belonging to the same range of reality as our affects themselves.  As a more primitive form of the world of affects in which everything is contained in a powerful unity before branching out and developing itself in the organic process (and of course, being softened and weakened—)?  As a sort of life of the impulses in which the total organic functions (self-regulation, assimilation, nourishment, elimination, metabolism) are still synthetically bound together—as a preform of life?—Ultimately, we are not only allowed to experiment: The conscience of method calls for it.  Multiple forms of causality should not be posited until the attempt to make do with a single one has been taken to its furthest limit (—to absurdity, if you will allow the expression): That is the morality of method that today cannot be evaded—it follows “from its definition,” as the mathematicians would say.  The question is finally whether we recognize the will as effectual, whether we believe in the causality of the will.  If we do—and belief in this is belief in causality itself—so we must make the experiment of positing the causality of the will hypothetically as the only causality there is.  “Will” can naturally only affect “will”—and not “matter” (not “the nerves,” for instance—): Enough!  One has to set forth the hypothesis that will is affecting will everywhere in which “effects” are recognized—and that every mechanistic event in which a force is active is really the force of the will, a will-effect.—Assuming, finally, that we succeed in explaining our entire life of impulses as the arrangement and ramification of one basic form of will (namely, as the will to power, which is my assertion).  Assuming that all organic forces could be traced back to this will to power and find that it even solved the problem of procreation and nourishment (which is really a single problem).  Then one would have obtained the right to determine all efficacious force unambiguously as the will to power.  Viewing the world from within, determining and characterizing “the intelligible character” of the world—it would be precisely the “will to power” and nothing else besides.—


37. “What is that? Doesn’t that mean, to use a cliché, that God is refuted, but not the Devil—?” Quite the opposite!  Quite the opposite, my friends!  And, for the Devil’s sake, what is making you use clichés?—


38. This is how it went with the French Revolution, in the illuminatedness of more recent times—that terrifying and, on close evaluation, superfluous farce into which noble and exalted spectators throughout Europe have, from a remote position, interpreted their own indignations and enthusiasms for so long and with such passionateness until the text disappeared beneath the interpretation: In the same way, a noble afterworld could again misunderstand the whole past, and in so doing, perhaps, begin to make it tolerable to look at.—Or instead: Has this not already happened? Weren’t we ourselves this “noble afterworld”? And it is not now, inasmuch as this is what we apprehend to be the case, is it not now—already gone?


39. No one would consider a doctrine to be true just because it makes people happy or just because it makes people virtuous. An exception to this might be our dear “idealists,” who grow frothily excited over the Good, the True, and the Beautiful and let every kind of brightly colored, vulgar, and good-natured wishful thinking swim in their pond. Good fortune and virtuousness are not arguments.  But we like to forget—even contemplative spirits like to forget—that being made unhappy and evil are no counter-arguments, either.  Something might be true, even if it is damaging and dangerous in the highest degree.  It could even belong to the fundamental constitution of existence that people with full knowledge are destroyed—so that the strength of a spirit is proportionate to how much of the “truth” he can endure.  To phrase it more clearly, the strength of the intellect might be proportionate to the degree that it needs the “truth” to be diluted, shrouded, sweetened, made stupid, falsified.  But there is no doubt that when it comes to the discovery of certain parts of the truth, the wicked and the unhappy are in a more favorable position and have a greater probability of success—not to mention the wicked who are fortunate, a species that the moralists are silent about.  Perhaps obduracy and craftiness provide more favorable conditions for the emergence of strong, independent spirits and philosophers than that gentle, refined, yielding benignity and art of easygoingness which is prized in scholars and prized with good reason.  Assuming that we do not limit the concept of “philosopher” to philosophers who write books (or to those who put their own philosophy into books)!  One last feature in the picture of the free-spirited philosopher is brought forward to us by Stendahl; it is an example that, for the sake of the German taste, I will not forbear from underlining, in order to go against the German taste!  “Pour être bon philosophie,” says the last of the great psychologists.  “Il fault être sec, claire, sans illusion.  Un banquier, qui a fait fortune, a une partie du caractère requis pour faire des découvertes en philosophie, c’est-à-dire pour voir clair dans ce qui est.”


40. Everything that is deep loves the mask; the deepest things even hate images and likenesses. Would not the very opposite of the shame of a god be the right clothing in which the shame of a god would cloak itself? A questionable question: It would be strange if some mystic had not already attempted the same thing.  There are events of such a tender character that they should be veiled with coarseness and made unrecognizable.  There are acts that are so full of love and extravagant generosity that nothing is more advisable than to conceal them by taking a stick and giving the eyewitnesses a good, thorough drubbing; this will darken all mnemonic traces.  There are many people who are quite skilled at darkening and maltreating their own memory in order to exact their vengeance on at least this one accessory: —shame is inventive.  It is not the worst things that shame the worst: It is not only guile that hides behind a mask—there is so much that is good in cunning.  I can think of a man who has something precious and vulnerable to hide, raw and round like a green old heavy-hooped wine barrel: The delicacy of his shame will want it this way.  Someone with profundity in his shame encounters even his fate and delicate decisions along the paths that few people ever travel on—a shame the presence of which his closest friends and confidantes are not permitted to know of.  His life’s danger is hidden from their eyes, and so is his reobtained trust in life.  Such a person who conceals so much—who instinctively needs speech in order to keep silent and hidden and who is inexhaustible in his evasion of communication—desires and demands a mask to wander around in the hearts and brains of his friends.  Even if he doesn’t want such hiddenness, his eyes will open one day, and he will see that a mask of him was already there—and he will see that this is for the best.  Every profound mind needs a mask: What is more, a mask is constantly growing around every profound mind, thanks to the constant false (false because flat) interpretation of his every word, his every step, each sign of his life that he emits.—


41. We should experiment on ourselves to see whether we are designed for independence and command—and do so at the proper time. We should never supersede our own experiments, even if they are the most dangerous games that we could play and are witnessable by no other adjudicators than ourselves. Never depend on anyone: even if that person be our favorite—every person is a prison, every person is a corner, even.  Never depend on any fatherland: even if that country be the most afflicted and desperate—it is rather less difficult to release our heart from a victorious fatherland.  Never depend on pity for anyone: even if it is pity for higher human beings whose rare torture and helplessness we have fortuitously glimpsed.  Never depend on a scientific discipline: however much it tempts us with precious findings that seem to be reserved for us alone.  Never depend on any kind of dissociation, on that voluptuous remoteness and strangeness of the birds that fly ever higher into the sky in order to see ever more below them—the danger of those who fly.  Never depend on our own virtues, and never allow ourselves to be sacrificed for the sake of a single one of our characteristics (for example, our “hospitality”), which is the danger of all dangers for rich souls of the higher kind, who extravagantly squander themselves and do so almost with indifference, and who push the virtue of liberality to the point of vice.  We must learn how to preserve ourselves: the strongest test for independence.


42. A new species of philosopher is coming up: I will presume to christen them with a name that is not without danger. As far as I can tell, and as far as they allow me to tell anything about them (for they belong to the type of people who wish to remain riddles), these philosophers of the future might have the right (and might have the wrong) to be described as attempters / experimenters. This name is ultimately nothing more than an attempt / experiment and might even be an attempt at seduction, if you will.


43. Are these new philosophers the new friends of the “truth”? It is entirely probable: for all previous philosophers loved their truths. Surely, however, they will not be dogmatists.  If their truth were everyone’s truth, that would be an offense against pride—an offense against taste, as well: “Everyone’s truth” is the secret desire and concealed meaning of all dogmatic striving hitherto.  “My judgment is my judgment: For that reason, others have no right to it”—such a thing would perhaps be said by such a philosopher of the future. We must dispense with the bad-taste desire to harmonize with the multitude.  “Good” is no longer good when it’s stuck in your neighbor’s mouth.  And how could there be such a thing as a “common good”?  The phrase is self-contradictory: Whatever is common has little value.  Ultimately, things must stand in the way that they are standing now and have always stood: Great things are reserved for the great, abysses are reserved for the profound, tenderness and the tremble are reserved for the sophisticated, and, all in all, everything is rare is reserved for the rare.—


44. After all of this, do I need to say that even the free, the quite free spirits, these philosophers of the future—that they will certainly be more than merely free spirits? They will be something more, something higher, something greater, and something fundamentally other, those who never want to be misunderstood or confused with anyone else. However, in saying this, I feel toward them—almost as much as toward ourselves, those who are the heralds and precursors, we free spirits!—the obligation to sweep away from us an ancient, stupid prejudice and misinterpretation which, like a mist, has for all too long made the concept of “free spirit” opaque.  In every European country, and also in America, there is now something that abuses this name: a very narrow, restricted, fettered type of spirit who wants approximately the opposite of our intentions and instincts—not to speak of the fact that this type of spirit shuts the window and bolts the door on the coming, new philosophers of the future.  They belong, to be succinct, among the levelers, these falsely named “free spirits”—these garrulous and profusely scribbling slaves of the democratic taste and its “modern ideas.”  Altogether, they are people without solitude, without their own solitude—tactless yet upright youngsters whose courage and respectable morals cannot be denied, but who are also unfree and ludicrously superficial, particularly given that they see the forms of traditional, old society as the causes of ALL human misery and injustice.  Thereby the truth is happily turned on its head!  What they strive for with all of their strength is the common green meadow happiness of the herd, with security, safety, comfort, and the alleviation of life for everyone.  Their most magnificently sung songs and doctrines are called “equality of rights” and “empathy for the suffering”—they sing that suffering is something that will be taken away, that it must be abolished.  We inverted ones, we who have opened our eye and conscience to the question as to how and where the plant “Human Being” has hitherto grown most vigorously, believe that this has always taken place under the reverse conditions, that for this purpose the dangerousness of his situation had to be grown monstrously, his inventive and camouflaging capacities (his “spirit”—) had to develop into something refined and daring under long oppression and compulsion, and his life-will had to be intensified to the unconditional power-will?  We believe that severity, violence, slavery, danger in the street and in the heart, secrecy, stoicism, the seducer’s art, and devilry of every kind—that everything wicked, horrible, tyrannical, predatory, and colubrine in human beings serve as much to exalt the “human” species as its opposite.  We do not even say enough when we only say, “this much,” and in any case we find ourselves here, both with our speech and our silence, at the other end of all modern ideology and herd wishful thinking—at their antipode, perhaps?  No wonder that we “free spirits” are not exactly the most communicative spirits, that we do not wish to disclose in every respect from what a spirit can free itself and to where perhaps it will then be driven?  And as to the significance of the dangerous formula “Beyond Good and Evil,” with which we at least protect ourselves from misinterpretation, we are something else than “libres-penseurs,” “liben pensatori,” “freethinkers,” and whatever these upstanding advocates of “modern ideas” like to name themselves.  Being at home, or at least guests, in many lands of the spirit, having slipped again and again from the somber, agreeable corners in which fondness and prejudice, youth, origin, the accident of human beings and of books, or even the weariness of travel seemed to spellbind us, full of malice against the seductions of dependency which he hid in honors, money, positions, or enthusiasms of the senses, grateful even for dire need and vicissitudinous illness, because such things release us from some kind of rule and “prejudice,” grateful to the god, devil, sheep, and worm in us, curious to the point of vice, researchers to the point of cruelty, with inconsiderate fingers that grope for the intangible, with teeth and stomachs for the most indigestible, ready for any handiwork that requires perspicacity and acute senses, ready for every adventure, owing to an excess of “free will,” with foreground and background souls, the ultimate intentions which are not easy to sight, with foregrounds and backgrounds to the end of which no foot may run, concealed under the mantles of light, conquerors, though we resemble heirs and profligates, arrangers and collectors from morning until evening, misers of our wealth and our crammed drawers, economical in learning and forgetting, inventive in scheming, sometimes proud of Tables of Categories, sometimes pedants, sometimes night owls of work even in the brightness of the day, yes, when necessary, even scarecrows—and today, it is necessary, insofar as we are the born, sworn, jealous friends of solitude, of our own profoundest midnightly and afternoonly solitude—such a kind of human being are we, we free spirits!  And perhaps you are something like that, you coming ones?  You new philosophers?




45. The human soul and its limitations, the entire extent of human inner experience that has been reached thus far, the heights, the depths, and the distances of these experiences, the entire former history of the soul and all of the possibilities that have not yet been drunken down: These are the predetermined hunting grounds of an innate psychologist and friend of the “great hunt.” But how often must he say to himself, despairingly: “Only one person! Ah, nothing more than one person!  And this vast forest, this primeval forest!”  And so he wishes for one hundred hunting aides and finely trained bloodhounds that he could drive into the history of the human soul in order to get his prey in order.  In vain!  He finds again and again, thoroughly and bitterly, how hard it is to find assistants and hounds for the very things that pique his curiosity.  The difficulty with sending scholars out into new and dangerous hunting grounds—where courage, cleverness, and refinement in every sense are needed—is that they are no longer useful precisely where the great danger begins: with the “great hunt.”  It is right there where they lose their eyes and noses for tracking quarry.  In order to figure out and to establish the kind of history the problem of knowledge and conscience had in the soul of the homines religiosi, one would have to have, perhaps, an intellectual conscience just as deep, as wounded, as monstrous as the intellectual conscience of Pascal—and then one would need an expansive heaven of bright, malicious intellectuality from which to survey, order, and force into formulae this chaos of dangerous and painful experiences.—But who is there to do me this service!  But who would have the time to wait for such a servant!—They emerge so seldom!  They are improbable in every age!  Ultimately, one has to do it oneself in order to know even a single thing.  That means, there is much to be done!—But curiosity of my style remains the most pleasant of all vices—Pardon me!  I should say instead: The love of truth has its reward in Heaven and also on Earth.—


46. The sort of faith that the first Christendom required and not seldom achieved within a skeptical, southern, and free-spirited world, a world that had a century-long battle between schools of philosophy behind it and within it, to say nothing of the lesson in tolerance given by the imperium Ronanum—this faith is not the true-hearted and barbarous faith of the slave to which Northern barbarians such as Luther and Cromwell attached God and Christendom. This original faith is much closer to Pascal’s faith, which, in a terrible manner, resembles the extended suicide of a reason that cannot be killed off immediately and in a single blow. Christian faith is sacrifice from its inception: the sacrifice of all liberty, the sacrifice of all pride, the sacrifice of all self-confidence of spirit; at the same time, it is enslavement and self-mockery, self-mangling.  There is cruelty and a religious Phoenicianism in this faith, one that presumes a brittle, multitudinous, and well-spoiled conscience: Its presupposition is that the subjugation of spirit is indescribably painful, that the entire past and all of the habits of such a spirit turns against the absurdissimum which is presented as “faith.”  Modern people, with their inurement to all Christian nomenclature, are no longer sympathetic to the dreadful superlative that was inherent, according to ancient tastes, in the paradox of the “God on the Cross” formula.  Nowhere has there ever been such a bold reversal, nowhere has there ever been anything as terrible, as questioning, as questionable as this formula: It summons a revaluation of all the values of antiquity.—It is the exaction-of-revenge by the Orient, the deep Orient, it is the taking-of-revenge of the Oriental slave on Rome and its elegant and frivolous tolerance, on the Roman “Catholicity” of faith—and never was it the Roman faith that enraged the slave.  It was rather the master’s absence of faith, that half-stoical and smiling unconcernedness in contrast to the slave’s earnestness of faith.  “Enlightenment” is enraging: The slave wants precisely the unconditional; he understands only tyranny, even when it comes to morality.  He loves as he hates, without nuance, into the depths, to the point of pain, to the point of illness, his many hidden sufferings rage against the elegant taste that seems to deny these sufferings.  Skepticism about suffering (fundamentally nothing more than an aristocratic attitude) contributed in no small part to the origination of the last great slave rebellion, which began with the French Revolution.


47. Wherever on Earth the religious neurosis has appeared, we find it bound up with three deadly dietary prescriptions: solitude, fasting, and sexual abstinence—without being able to decide with assurance what is the cause and what is the effect and whether there is even a relationship here between cause and effect. This final doubt is justified by the most regular symptoms, among people both savage and tame, including the wildest kind of voluptuousness which suddenly transforms into a spasmodic repentance and negation of will and world: perhaps both are interpretable as a masked form of epilepsy? But it is precisely here where interpretation should be gotten rid of: Around no other type of person has such a profusion of nonsense and superstition grown as around the religious type, and no other type has been more interesting to people, even to philosophers.  It is high time to be a little cold, to learn to be cautious, even better: look away, to go away.—Even in the background of the most recent philosophy, the Schopenhauerian philosophy, there stands (almost as the problem itself) the dreadful question mark of religious crisis and awakening.  How is the negation of the will possible?  How is the saint possible?—this seems to really have been the question that made Schopenhauer a philosopher, the question with which Schopenhauer began.  And so it was a genuinely Schopenhauerian consequence that his most committed disciple (perhaps also his last, as far as Germany is concerned—), namely Richard Wagner, ended his life’s work precisely at this point and finally brought that terrible and eternal type on the stage as Kundry, type vécu, as he loved and lived.  At the same time, the psychiatrists in every European country had the opportunity to study up close the religious neurosis—or, to use my language, “the religious essence”—as the “Salvation Army,” its last epidemic outbreak.—If anyone were to ask what is really so exorbitantly interesting about the phenomenon of the saint to people of all kinds, to people in every age, it would have to be without doubt the apparition of miracles which are always attached to the phenomenon of the saint.  Miracles: that is, the immediate succession of opposite states, states of the soul that are morally valued as antithetical.  It seems palpable that a “saint,” a good human being, can be made out of a “bad human being.”  The earlier psychology shipwrecks at this point: Shouldn’t this really have happened because of the installation of the hegemony of morality, because they really believed in the morality of opposing values, because they saw such oppositions in the text and in the state of affairs, because they read them into the text and state of affairs, because they interpreted them into the text and in the state of affairs?—How could this be?  The “miracle” as an error in interpretation?  A deficiency of philology?—


48. It seems as if Catholicism belongs to the Latin races more inwardly than the whole of Christendom belongs to us Northerners. For this very reason, unbelief in Catholic countries should be interpreted quite differently than it is in Protestant countries—namely, unbelief in Catholic countries is a kind of infuriation, a kind of enragement toward the spirit of the race, whereas for us, in Protestant countries, unbelief is a kind of return to the spirit (or unspirit—) of the race. We Northerners come doubtless from the barbarian races, even with respect to our aptitude for religion: We are poorly equipped for religion.  The Celts should be excluded from this, for they have given the North the most fertile ground for the Christian infection.—In France blossomed the Christian ideal, as far as the pale Northern sun would allow it.  How strangely pious do even the most recent French skeptics seem to our taste (insofar as some Celtic blood is within their lineage)!  How Catholic, how un-German to us is the stench of August Comte’s sociology, with its Roman logic of the instincts!  How Jesuitical is Saint-Beuve, that charming and clever cicerone from Port-Royal, despite all of his enmity toward the Jesuits!  And indeed Ernest Renan: How inaccessible to us Northerners is the language of this Renan!  His voluptuous soul (“voluptuous” in a more sophisticated sense), lying comfortably in his bed, would be disequilibriated, in a single moment, by some nothingness of religious intensity!  Recite just once these lovely sentences—and what malice and arrogance throb in our souls in response (our souls are German and therefore probably less lovely and more severe)!: “Disons donc hardiment que la religion est un produit de l’homme normal, que l’homme est le plus dans le vrai quand il est le plus religieux et le plus assure d’une destinée infinite…  C’est quand il est bon qu’il veut que la vertu corresponde à un ordre éternel, c’est quand il contemple les choses d’une manière désintéressée qu’il trouve la mort révoltante et absurde.  Comment ne pas supposer que c’est dans ces moments-là, que l’homme voit le mieux?…”  These sentences are so very antipodal to my ears and tendencies that, as I read them, I wrote in a rage, in the margin: “la niaiserie religieuse par excellence!”—until my wrath turned into fondness for these sentences which put the truth on its head!  It is so elegant, so distinctive to have one’s own antipodes!


49. The most astonishing thing about the religiosity of ancient Greek culture is the untrammeled plenteousness of gratitude that emanates from it: —This is a highly distinguished type of human being who stands before nature and before life! —Later, after the mob gained ascendancy in Greece, fear overgrew everything—even religion; and Christendom waited in the wings.


50. The passion for God: These are the rustic, true-hearted, and impertinent types, like Luther—the whole of Protestantism dispenses with the southern delicatezza. There is an Oriental ecstasy within this passion for God, as if it were the ecstasy of a slave who had just received an undeserved pardon or an undeserved elevation in status. An example thereof is St. Augustine, who had a disgusting lack of good taste in his gestures and desires.  There is an effeminate tenderness and desirousness within this passion for God, a bashful and unknowing yearning for a unio mystica et physica: as we see in Madame de Guyon.  In many cases, it manifests itself, strangely enough, as a kind of camouflaging of puberty in a young man or young woman; here and there, it even comes about as the final ambition of an old spinstress—in such cases, the Church often canonizes such a woman as a saint.


51. Until the present day, the most powerful people have bowed with reverence before the saint. The saint—that riddle of self-mastery and deliberate, final self-renunciation. Why have they bowed down before the saint?  They suspected that there was a superior force at work within him, beneath the question mark of his fragile and abject appearance.  They suspected that this force wanted to test itself by mastering itself.  They suspected a strength of will in which they recognized their own strength and lust for domination: By honoring the saint, they honored what was within themselves.  Moreover, the image of the saint raised the following suspicion: Such a monstrosity of self-negation, such an anti-natural thing could not be desired in vain—that is what they said to themselves, that is what they asked themselves.  Might there be a reason for it?  Might the ascetic have received news of a terrible danger in private, from his messengers and visitors?  Enough!  The powerful leaders of the world learned from the saint a new fear; they sensed a new power within him, and this power was perceived as an alien, still-unconquered enemy.  —It was the “will to power” that forced them to stand frozen before the saint.  They had to pose questions to him—


52. In the Jewish “Old Testament”—the book of divine justice—there are people, things, and speeches in such a great style that there is nothing comparable in any of the Ancient Greek or Indian literature. One stands in terror and awe before such a monstrous remnant of what humanity once was—and one only disconsolately reflects upon Ancient Asia and upon that little European semi-island which supposedly signifies “human progress.” Indeed, one someone who is nothing more than an emaciated house pet and who only knows house-pet needs (like our educated folk of today, like the Christians of “educated” Christendom) will find nothing astonishing, much less distressing, in these ruins.  The taste for the Old Testament is a touchstone for all reference to the “great” and the “small”: Perhaps he will find the New Testament, that Book of Grace, much closer to his heart (there is much therein that stenches of that real, tender, damp true-believer, small-soul smell).  To have taken this New Testament (a Rococo of taste in every sense) and have pasted it together with the Old Testament and to have formed a single book out of both—calling it the “Bible,” the “The Book Itself”—this is the perhaps the greatest presumption and “sin against the spirit” that literary Europe has on its conscience.


53. Why atheism today? —God as “the Father” has been thoroughly refuted, not to mention God as “the Judge” and God as “the Redeemer.” The same thing could be said of his “free will”: He doesn’t hear anything—and if he did, he wouldn’t know how to help, anyway. The worst is that he seems incapable of communicating himself clearly: Is he unclear?  —Having asked questions, having listened, having researched, in many different languages, these are what seem to me to be the causes of the decline of European theism.  The religious instinct is indeed growing vigorously—however, it denies theistic gratification with the deepest mistrust.


54. What has the whole of contemporary philosophy really been doing? Since Descartes—and, truly, more in spite of him rather than because of him—all philosophers have attempted to assassinate the ancient concept of the soul under the pretext of a critique of the subject and a critique of the predicate. That is to say, it would be the assassination of the fundamental presupposition of the Christian doctrine.  Contemporary philosophy, understood as epistemological skepticism, is, implicitly or explicitly, anti-Christian: though, for the sake of more sophisticated ears, is by no means anti-religious.  Formerly, people believed in “the soul,” in the same way that people believed in grammar and the grammatical subject: One said that the “I” is the condition and that “think” is the predicate and conditioned—thinking is an activity to which a subject must be conceived as the cause.  These days, with an admirable tenacity and cleverness, people are experimenting whether they can escape this net—whether perhaps the inverse is not true: perhaps “think” is the condition and the “I” is the conditioned.  The “I” is therefore a synthesis that is constructed by thinking.  Kant wanted to prove that the subject cannot be proven by the subject—nor can the object be proven by the object.  The possibility of a phenomenal existence of the subject (thus, “the soul”) might not have always been foreign to him, a thought that once appeared on Earth, with extraordinary power, as the Vedanta philosophy.


55. Religious cruelty is a long ladder with many steps; however, there are three of them which are the most important. Once human beings make sacrifices to their god, perhaps sacrificing even those whom they loved the best—to this belongs the sacrifice of the firstborn in all prehistoric religions, including the sacrifice of the Kaiser Tiberius in the Mithraic grotto of the island Capri, that most terrifying of all Roman anachronisms. Then, in the moralistic epoch of humanity, people sacrificed the strongest instincts that they possessed to their god: their “nature.”  This festive joy glimmers in the cruel gaze of the ascetic, this exalted “anti-naturality.”  Ultimately, what is there left to sacrifice?  Isn’t it now finally time sacrifice anything that brings comfort, everything sacred, everything that heals, all hope, every faith in an obscure harmony or in future felicities and justices?  Isn’t it finally time to sacrifice god itself and, in an act of cruelty against oneself, worship stones, worship stupidity, worship heaviness, worship Nothingness?  To sacrifice god for the sake of Nothingness—this paradoxical mysterium of the final cruelty has been reserved for the generation that is approaching: We all know about this already.—


56. Whoever, like myself, has long struggled—out of some kind of mysterious desire—to think deeply about pessimism and to free pessimism from its semi-Christian, semi-German narrowness and simplification (as displayed by the current century, namely in the Schopenhauerian philosophy). Whoever has looked the most world-negating style of thinking up and down, with an Asiatic and meta-Asiatic eye, beyond good and evil and no longer, as Buddha and Schopenhauer did, under the spell and delusion of morality. Whoever has done so has inadvertently opened his eyes to the inverted ideal: the ideal of the most exuberant people, the ideal of the liveliest people, the ideal of the most world-affirming people, those who have not merely learned to resign themselves to, and to put up with, everything that is and was, but who want to have it all over again, from out of all eternity, insatiably summoning da capo, not merely to himself, but rather to whole plays and spectacles, and not merely to spectacles, but fundamentally to those who have need of this spectacle and who the spectacle makes necessary: because he will, again and again, have need of it—and again and again be made necessary.  How is that?  And would this not be—circulus vitiosus deus?


57. With the power of his mental gaze and insight grows the distance and, at the same time, the space around the human being. His world becomes deeper; forever new stars, forever new enigmas and images enter his vision. Perhaps everything on which the eye of his mind tested its incisiveness and profundity was nothing more than a practice opportunity, a playful matter, something for children and for child-brains.  Perhaps someday the solemnest concepts—“God” and “sin,” concepts that have caused so much fighting and suffering—will seem to us no more important than toys and childish whining seem important to an old man.  And perhaps “the old man” will have need of another toy and another form of suffering—forever still child enough, an eternal child!


58. Has anyone ever noticed how a genuinely religious life requires external leisure or semi-leisure? (Leisure for its favorite pastime, microscopic self-examination, as much as for that tender state of composure known as “prayer” and is a constant readiness for the “coming of God.”) I mean, leisure with a good conscience, from ancient times until today, from the bloodline, is not entirely foreign to the aristocratic feeling that defiles work.  That is to say, it is the feeling that work makes soul and body common.  And has anyone ever noticed that, consequently, the modern, noisy, time-devouring, self-complacent, stupidly arrogant sedulousness, more than anything else, educates and leads one to “unfaith”?  Among those who live outside of religion—for example, in Germany—I find “freethinking” people of different stripes and heritages.  The majority for whom diligence, from generation to generation, has deteriorated the religious instinct.  So much so that they no longer know what purpose religion serves.  And they only register its presence in the world with a kind of stolid astonishment.  They feel that they are already industrious enough, these decent people, what with their businesses and their pleasures, to say nothing of their “fatherland,” their newspapers, their “familial duties.”  It seems that they have no time left over for religion, especially since they have no idea whether that religion would be a new business or a new pleasure, since, after all, they say to themselves, “It is impossible that anyone would go into a church just to spoil a good mood.”  They are hardly enemies of religious custom; if anyone (such as the state) requires of them to participate in such customs, they do what is required of them, as many people do.  They do so with a patient and modest earnestness and without much curiosity or discomfort.  They just live too far on the other side, beyond religion, to find a For or an Against necessary in such matters.  Today, the majority of middle-class German Protestants belong to these indifferent ones, particularly those in the centers of trade and transportation.  The same is true of the majority of diligent scholars and the entirety of the university faculties (excepting the theologians, whose existence and very possibility gives the psychologist more and more enigmas to unpuzzle).  Rarely do pious and ecclesiastical people ever have an idea of how much good will—one might even say, how much willful will—is required for a German scholar to take the problem of religion seriously.  His entire craft—and the workerlike industriousness that his modern conscience demands of him—inclines him to a condescending, almost kindly cheerfulness toward religion, mingled with a gentle deprecation on account of the “filthiness” of the spirit which he assumes is within every church in which people make their confessions.  Only from a historical perspective (thus not on the basis of his personal experiences) does a scholar take religion into careful consideration, with a reverential seriousness.  But even when he raises his feeling for religion to gratitude, he does not come any closer to church or piety—possibly quite the opposite.  The pragmatic indifference for religious matters in which he was born and raised is sublimated to a carefulness and purity that avoids contact with religious people and religious affairs.  It can be the depth of his tolerance and humanity that brings him to evade the subtle crises that come with such tolerance.  Each age has its own divine naivete of which other ages might be envious.  And how much naivete, how much admirable, childish, and unrestrainedly stupid naivete lies in the scholar’s feeling of superiority!  In the good conscience of his tolerance, in the cluelessly simplistic surety with which his instinct deals with religious people as if they were an inferior and debased kind of people!  Over which he is grown out, away, upward—he, the little presumptuous dwarf and mob-man, the busy-nimble head-worker and hand-worker of “ideas,” of “modern ideas”!


59. Whoever has looked deeply into the world can guess the wisdom that resides in the superficiality of human beings. It is their self-preservative instinct that teaches them to be elusive, light, and false. Here and there, among artists and philosophers, there is discoverable a passionate and exaggerated worship of “pure forms.”  Let no one doubt that whoever, in such a manner, needs the culture of the superfice once grabbed what was beneath the surface, with unfortunate results.  Perhaps there is even a hierarchy among such burnt children, these innate artists, who can only enjoy life by intending to falsify its image (as if it were a protracted revenge against life).  One can induce the degree to which they are sick of life from the extent to which they want to see its image falsified, diluted, pushed-into-the-beyond, deified.  One can count the homines religiosi as the highest rank of the artists.  It is the deep, suspicious fear of an irremediable pessimism that drives whole millennia to sink their teeth into a religious interpretation of existence.  It is the instinctive fear that suspects that the truth has been seized upon too soon, before the human being has become strong enough, before the human being has become artist enough…  Piety, the “life in God,” thus appears as the final spawn of the fear of truth—the most refined monster to have been spawned from the fear of truth.  It appears as the worshipfulness of an artist, as an artist’s drunkenness, before the most consistent of falsifications, the will to invert the truth into untruth at all costs.  Perhaps there has never been a more powerful means of beautifying humanity than piety.  Through piety humanity can become so much art, so much surface, so much color-play, so much kindliness—so that no one suffers by looking at it anymore.


60. To love human beings for the sake of God—until this point, that was the strangest, most dignified feeling achieved by human beings. The love of humanity is a form of stupidity and animality more than anything else (without some kind of sacralizing hidden motive). The addiction to the love of humanity only gets its measure, its refinement, its grain of salt, its tincture of ambergris from a higher addiction.  Whoever it was who first sensed and “experienced” this, even though his tongue might have stumbled as he tried to express it—let him be for all time as holy and as admirable as the one who has flown the highest and who has the most beautifully lost his way!


61. The philosopher as we free spirits understand him—as the person who has the most expansive responsibility, as the person who has a conscience for the total development of the human species. This philosopher will make religion work for his own training and education, in the same way that previous political and economic conditions would serve his own interests. The influence that religion can exert on a philosopher’s training and power of discrimination depends on the kind of person who is placed under religion’s spell and shelter.  The influence of religion might be as destructive as it is creative and formative.  For the strong, independent, commanding, prepared, and predetermined philosophers, in whom the reason and the art of a reigning race is corporealized, religion can be a means of overcoming resistances in order to dominate.  Religion as the bond that binds ruler and subordinate together.  Religion as the bond that binds the conscience of the subordinate to the rule.  The most concealed and intimate part of the submissive, that part which the submissive would most like to withdraw from obedience, is revealed to the ruler and becomes answerable to the ruler (thanks to religion).  And in the event that certain individuals from distinguished origins are inclined to a withdrawn and contemplative life, by their lofty spirituality, and only reserve for themselves the gentlest form of dominance (over exceptional young men or monks), religion can also be used as a means of creating quietude—a quietude that is remote from the noise and the bustle of vulgar governance.  Religion can even be used to create a space of purity that is remote from the necessary filth of all politicking.  This is how the Brahmans understood religion, for example.  With the assistance of a religious organization, the Brahmans gave to themselves the power to appoint their kings to the people (Volk), while the Brahmans positioned themselves far away from the people and felt themselves to be human beings with loftier, meta-regal tasks.  In the meantime, religion also gives the ruled the portion of instruction and opportunity they need to someday rule and command themselves.  That is, the rising classes and stations in which, through fortunate marriage arrangements, the strength and the lust for willing, the will to self-mastery, are forever ascending.  To them religion offers incentive and temptation enough to travel down the path of higher spirituality, to try out the affects of the great self-overcoming, the affects of silence and solitude.  Ascetism and puritanism are almost indispensable means of education and ennobling, whenever a race wants to master its mob origins and to work its way up to eventual mastery.  Lastly, as far as average people are concerned, the All-Most, those who are there only to serve, those who are only there for general utility, and who are only permitted to exist for these reasons, religion gives them an inestimable self of complacency with their situation and type.  Religion gives them a multitudinous peacefulness of heart.  Religion ennobles their obeisance; it gives them, and those who are like them, yet another kind of happiness and yet another kind of sorrow.  Religion brings them something like a transfiguration and beautification, something like a justification for their everyday life and for their total degradation, for the total, semi-bestial poverty of their souls.  Religion, and the religious signification of life, smears sunshine over such always-tormented human beings and makes even their own image endurable to them.  Religion has the same effect that the Epicurean philosophy has upon those suffering members of the higher classes; it refreshes, it refines, it exploits suffering, as it were.  Ultimately, it is sanctifying and legitimizing.  Perhaps nothing is so honorable in Christendom and in Buddhism as their art of teaching even the most inferior types of people to use piety to install themselves within a higher illusional order of things and thus make themselves content with the actual order, in which they live hard enough—and precisely this hard life is necessary.


62. Finally, of course, in order to give a counterargument against religion, in order to show its terrible counterbalance, and to shed light on its uncanny dangerousness. When religion is not put in the hands of the philosopher, who would use it as a means of training and of education, there is always a fearful and expensive price to pay. Religion sovereignly presides, when it is left to its own devices and becomes its own goal and not one means among other means.  As with any other animal species, humanity has a surplus of misbirths and invalids, the deformed and the fragile, the necessarily suffering.  The best cases in humanity are always the exception, and when taking into consideration that the human being is the not-yet-established beast, the extreme exception.  But it is even worse than that: The more a human being represents the higher type, the greater the improbability that he will turn out well.  The accidental, the law of nonsense in the total economy of humanity, shows its destructive effect on the higher human being—in the most terrifying manner.  The life-conditions of the higher human being are refined, multiple, and difficult to calculate.  So how is this surfeit of failures treated by the two greatest religions?  They seek to sustain, to stabilize in life whatever can be preserved.  Indeed, they are fundamentally on the side of the suffering, as the religion for the suffering; they give the suffering the right to suffer from life as if it were a sickness and want to make every other sensation of life count as false and impossible.  If anyone wants to value this preserving and sustaining solicitude, insofar as it was designed for the highest type of human being, the type that almost always suffers the most: In the total analysis, the sovereign religions belong to the chief causes of the degradation of the “human” type to the lowest levels.  They maintain too much of what should be destroyed.  They deserve inestimable gratitude, and who is too rich in gratitude not to become poor from thankfulness for what, for example, the “spiritual people” of Christendom have done for Europe?  Surely, if they give the suffering consolation, if they give the oppressed and the insecure courage, if they give the dependent a stick to lean upon, if they entice the inwardly destroyed and primitivized to cloisters and prisons of the soul.  What else did they have to do but work on the sustenance of the sick and the suffering with good conscience—that means, in fact and in truth, to work on the deterioration of the European race?  To turn all valuations upside down—that is what they had to do!  And shatter the strong, sicken great hopes, problematize pleasure in beauty!  Every form of self-mastery, everything virile, everything that conquers, every lust for mastery, every instinct that is owned by the highest and well-formed type of “human”—they had to bend all of that, twisting all of it into insecurity, distress over one’s conscience, self-destruction!  Indeed, they perverted the entire love of the earthly and the mastery over the Earth into hatred toward the Earth and the earthly!  That was the task of the Church and they had to set this task for itself until, in its estimation, finally “de-worlding,” “de-sensuousizing,” and “higher human being” melted together into a single feeling!  If someone could survey the amazingly painful, crude-yet-refined comedy of European Christendom with the mocking and detached eye of an Epicurean god, I believe that person would never stop laughing in astonishment.  Does it not seem that a single will over Europe has dominated Europe for eighteen centuries—making of the human being a sublime misbirth?  Whoever has inverted needs, however, whoever is no longer Epicurean but who has a divine hammer in hand—someone who comes across the near-voluntary degeneracy and laming of Christian Europeans (Pascal, for instance)—would he not scream with fury, with pity, with terror: “O you idiots!  You arrogant, pitiful idiots!  What have you done?  Was that work for your hands?  How you shattered and wrecked my loveliest stone!  What did you get out of it?”  I would say: Christendom was unto this point the most calamitous kind of self-elevation.  People who are neither high nor hard enough to form human beings in the way that artists can.  People who are neither strong nor farseeing enough to preside with a sublime self-restraint over the foreground law of the thousandfold failures and destructions.  People who are not distinguished enough to see the abyssal differences in rank, the cleft of rank, between one human being and another.  Such people have, with their “equality before God,” presided over the fate of Europe, until finally a diminutive, almost ludicrous type was chastened into existence.  A herd animal—something good-natured, something sickly, something mediocre—today’s European…




63. Whoever is a fundamental teacher takes things seriously only in relation to one’s students—even oneself.


64. “Knowledge for knowledge’s sake”—that is the last snare laid by morality: thereby we are completely entangled in morality once more.


65. The charm of knowledge would be small, if less shame had to be overcome on the way to it.


65a.  One is most dishonorable toward one’s god: He is not permitted to sin.


66. The tendency of someone who lets oneself be debased, robbed, lied to, and exploited might be the shame of a god among men.


67. Love for only one person is a kind of barbarity, for it is exercised at the expense of all other people. This also includes the love for God.


68. “I did that,” says my memory. “I could not have done that”—says my pride and remains inexorable. Eventually—memory gives in.


69. One has not observed life very carefully, if one has failed to see the hand that gently—kills.


70. If someone has character, this means that one has a typical experience—that repeats itself over and over again.


71. The Sage as Astronomer—So long as you feel the stars as something “above you,” you lack the eyes of a person of knowledge.


72. It is not the strength, but the duration of high sentiments that constitutes the higher human beings.


73. Whoever reaches one’s ideal thereby goes beyond it.


73a. Many peacocks hide their peacocks’ tails from every eye—and call this their pride.


74. A person of genius is unbearable, unless he or she possess at least two other things besides: thankfulness and purity.


75. The degree and kind of a person’s sexuality extends to the highest peak of one’s spirit.


76. Under peaceful conditions, warlike people assault themselves.


77. With principles, someone seeks to tyrannize or defend or honor or abuse or conceal his or her tendencies: Two people with the same principles probably seek fundamentally different things, for that very reason.


78. People who reproach themselves still respect themselves as reproachers.


79. A soul which knows that it is loved, but does not itself love, betrays its sediment—its lowest elements come up to the surface.


80. A matter that is explained ceases to concern us—What did the god mean, the god who gave the advice: “Know yourself!”? Did this perhaps mean: “Don’t be concerned with yourself? Become objective!”?—And Socrates?—And what about the so-called “person of knowledge”?


81. It is terrible to die of thirst at sea. Is it necessary for you to salt your truth so that it will no longer—slake thirst?


82. “Pity for everyone”—that would be harshness and tyranny for you, my good neighbor!—


83. Instinct—When the house is on fire, one forgets one’s dinner.—Yes, but then, one retrieves it from the ashes.


87. Restrained Heart, Free Spirit—When one restrains and imprisons the heart, one gives the spirit many freedoms: I said this once before. But no one believed me when I said so, except for those who knew it already.


88. One begins to distrust very clever persons when they become embarrassed.


89. Terrible experiences raise the suspicion whether the one who experiences them is not also something terrible.


90. Hatred and love lighten heavy, melancholy people and bring them for a while to the surface—whereas the others are aggravated by hatred and by love.


91. So cold, so glacial, that one burns one’s finger on him! Every hand recoils that lays hold of him!—And precisely for that very reason, many think that he is glowingly hot.


92. Who has never, for the sake of one’s good reputation—sacrificed oneself?


93. In amiability, there is no hatred of human beings, but precisely for that reason, a great deal of contempt for human beings.


94. The maturity of man: that means to have retrieved the earnestness that one had as a child at play.


95. To be ashamed of one’s immorality: This is a step on the ladder at the end of which one is ashamed also of one’s morality.


96. One should separate from life as Ulysses separated from Nausicaa—blessingly instead of lovingly.


97. How is that? A great man? Each time, I see only the actor of his ideal.


98. When one trains the conscience, it kisses us at the same time that it bites.


99. The disappointed one speaks—“I listened for an echo, and I heard only praise.”


100. We all pretend to ourselves to be simpler than we are: We relax ourselves from our fellow human beings thereby.


101. A person of knowledge could easily feel himself, these days, to be the animalization of God.


102. The discovery of mutual love should really make the lover sober about the beloved. “How is this possible? The person you love is unpresumptuous enough to love even you?  Or stupid enough?  Or—or—”


103. The Danger in Fortune.—“Now, everything is turning out for the best for me, from now on, I love every fate—who would like to be my fate?”


104. It is not their love of humanity, but the impotence of their love of humanity that prevents the Christians of today from burning us.


105. The pia fraus is even more against the taste of the free spirit, the “man of knowledge” (against his “piety”), than the impia fraus. Thereupon the profound lack of understanding with respect to the Church which is characteristic of the “free spirit” types—this is their unfreedom.


106. By means of music, the very passions enjoy themselves.


107. Once the decision has been made to close the ear against even the best counterarguments: sign of a strong character. Therefore, an occasional will to stupidity.


108. There are no moral phenomena, only a moral interpretation of phenomena…


109. The criminal is often enough not equal to his deed: He lessens or maligns it.


110. The advocates of a criminal are seldom artists enough to turn the beautiful terribleness of the deed to the advantage of the doer.


111. Our vanity is most difficult to wound just when our very pride has been wounded.


112. To whomever feels himself preordained to contemplation and not to faith, all believers are too noisy and obtrusive: He guards against them.


113. “You want to take him in? Then you must be embarrassed before him.”


116. The great epochs of our life reside in those moments wherein we win the courage to rebaptize our badness as our best.


117. The will to overcome an affect is ultimately only the will of another affect or the will of several other affects.


118. There is an innocence of admiration: It is possessed by him on whom it has not yet dawned that he himself might one day be admired.


119. The disgust of filth can be so great as to prevent us from cleaning ourselves—from “justifying” ourselves.


120. Sensuality often outspeeds the growth of love so much that its root remains weak and easily extirpable.


121. It is a delicate matter that God learned Greek when he wished to turn writer—and that he did not learn it better.


122. To rejoice when one is praised is, for many, merely a kind of politeness of the heart—and the very opposite of vanity of the spirit.


123. Even concubinage has been corrupted:—by marriage.


124. Who exults at the stake does not triumph over pain, but triumphs over the fact that no pain is felt where it was expected. A parable.


125. When we have to change our impressions of someone, we reprove him severely for the discomfort which he thereby causes us.


126. A people is nature’s detour to arrive at six or seven great men.—Yes: and then to circumvent them.


128. The more abstract the truth you wish to teach, the more you must entice the senses to it.


129. The Devil has the most extensive perspectives on God; on that account, he keeps so far away from him:—the Devil, that is, as the oldest friend of knowledge.


130. What a person is begins to betray itself when his talent subsides—when he ceases to show what he can do. Talent is also ornamentation; ornamentation is also a form of concealment.


132. One is best punished for one’s virtues.


133. Whoever does not know how to find the way one’s ideal lives more frivolously and more impudently than the person who has no ideal.


134. From the senses originate all believability, all good conscience, all appearance of truth.


135. Phariseeism is not the degeneration of the good human being; a considerable part thereof is rather the condition of all being-good.


136. The one seeks an accoucheur for his thoughts, the other seeks someone whom he can assist: a good conversation thus originates.


137. In intercourse with scholars and artists, one readily makes mistakes in opposite directions: Behind a remarkable scholar, one finds, not infrequently, a mediocre human being, and behind a mediocre artist, one finds rather often—a very remarkable human being.


138. We do the same while waking as while dreaming: We only invent and imagine the person with whom we have intercourse—and then forget it immediately afterward.


140. Advice as Riddle—“Unless the ribbon is not to tear—first, you must bite upon it there.”


141. The abdomen is the reason that the human being does not so easily take oneself for a god.


142. The chastest saying that I have ever heard: “Dans le véritable amour c’est l’âme qui envelope le corps.” [Translation: “In true love, it is the soul that envelopes the body.”]


143. Our vanity would like what we do best to qualify as what is most difficult for us to do. Concerning the origin of many moralities.


146. Whoever fights with monsters should see to it that he does not become a monster thereby. And when you look too long in an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.


149. That which an age considers evil is usually an unseasonable echo of what was formerly considered good—the atavism of an old ideal.


150. Around the hero everything becomes a tragedy; around the demigod everything becomes a satyr-play; and around God everything becomes—what? perhaps a “world”?


151. Having a talent is not enough: One must also have your permission to have it—no? my friends?


152. “Where the Tree of Knowledge stands, there is forever Paradise”: so speak the oldest and youngest serpents.


153. What is done from love always takes place beyond Good and Evil.


154. Objection, evasion, cheerful mistrust, love of mockery are signs of health: Everything unconditional belongs to pathology.


155. The sense of the tragic increases and decreases along with sensuality.


156. Insanity in individuals is something rare—but in groups, parties, people, ages, it is the rule.


157. The thought of suicide is a strong means of consolation: by means of it, one gets through many a bad night.


158. To our strongest impulse, the tyrant in us, truckles not only our reason, but also even our conscience.


159. One must repay good and bad: but why just to the person who did us good or ill?


160. One no longer loves one’s knowledge sufficiently as soon as one has communicated it.


161. Poets are shameless with their experiences: They exploit them.


162. “Our fellow is no longer our neighbor, but rather the neighbor of the neighbor”—every population thinks this way.


163. Love brings to light the highest and concealed traits of a lover—his rare traits, his exceptional traits: By virtue of this fact, love deceives us as to what is his rule.


164. Jesus said to his Jews: “The law was for slaves—love God, as I love Him, as His son! What do the sons of God care for morality?”


165. With respect to every party.—A shepherd always has need of a bellwether—or he must occasionally be his own wether.


166. One might very well lie with the mouth, but the jaws nonetheless tell the truth.


167. To severe people, intimacy is matter of shame—and something precious.


168. Christendom gave Eros poison to drink—he indeed never died of it, but instead degenerated into Vice.


169. Talking about oneself a great deal can also be a means of concealing oneself.


170. In praise there is more importunacy than in blame.


171. To a person of knowledge, pity has the same laughable effect as putting gentle hands on a cyclops.


172. Now and then, one embraces a beloved person out of love of humankind (because one cannot embrace everyone): but that is precisely what may not be revealed to the beloved…


173. One does not hate when one disesteems but only when one esteems the hated person as one’s equal or as one’s superior.


174. You utilitarians, you only love what is useful as a vehicle for your inclinations—even you actually find the noise of its wheels insupportable!


175. Ultimately, one loves one’s desires and not the thing or person desired.


176. The vanity of others is only counter to our taste when it is counter to our vanity.


177. Concerning what “truthfulness” is, perhaps no one has ever been sufficiently truthful.


178. The follies of clever people are never believed: What a renunciation of the rights of humanity!


179. We grasp the consequences of our actions by the mane, quite indifferent to the fact that we have “reformed” in the meantime.


180. There is an innocence in lying which the sign of good faith in a cause.


181. It is inhuman to bless where one is cursed.


182. The familiarity of superiors embitters because it may not be returned.


183. “I am shaken, not because you lied to me, but because I no longer believe you.”


184. There is a haughtiness of goodness which takes on the appearance of wickedness.


185. “I don’t like it.”—Why?—“I am not equal to it.”—Has ever a person answered this way?




186. In today’s Europe, moral sensation is just as delicate, old, multifarious, easily stimulable, and refined as “the science of morals” that belongs to it, which is still young, amateurish, vulgar, and thumby. This is an appealing contrast, one that is sometimes visible and corporeal in the person of the moralist himself or herself. Even the phrase “the science of morals” far too arrogant and tasteless in comparison with what it describes, since good taste always prefers more modest expressions than “the science of morals.”  With the greatest rigor, we should admit what is necessary and what will be provisionally correct for a long time in the future: namely, the gathering of materials and comprehensible concepts and the arrangement of a monstrous regime of tender feelings of value and value distinctions—feelings and distinctions that live, grow, reproduce, and die.  Perhaps all of this will be preparatory for a typology of morals (to attempt to make the recurrent and frequent formations of this living crystallization perceptible).  No one was, indeed, this modest before.  All of the philosophers demanded, with a rigid seriousness that brought one to laughter, something loftier, more fastidious, more solemn as soon as they conceived of their morals as a science.  They wanted the grounding of their morals.  And every philosopher since then has believed to have grounded morals.  Morals themselves were considered as a “given.”  How far away from their crass pride was the task of describing morals—this unimpressive-seeming task that was abandoned to the dust and the rot!  Although, for them, no hands or senses could be refined enough for the job!  Because these moral philosophers knew moral facts only crudely, in the form of an arbitrary abstract or in the form of an accidental abbreviation—they knew something about the morality of their own environment, their class, their church, the spirit of their age, their climate, their little stretch of Earth.  Because these moral philosophers were poorly trained with respect to people, with respect to periods of human history, with respect to antiquities—and weren’t even very eager to learn about them.  Because of all this, they never even stared at morality in the face—morality, which only discloses itself when one compares many different kinds of morals.  Every previous “science of morals” has failed to grasp the problem of morality itself, as strange as that might sound.  Even the suspicion is missing—the suspicion that there is anything problematical about morality is missing.  What philosophers called the “grounding of morals” and what they attempted to bring into existence was, seen in the proper light, nothing more than an educated form of good faith in the dominant morality.  What they named the “grounding of morals” was nothing more than a new means of expression—therefore, a factuality within a specific form of morality.  Indeed, in the final analysis, it was a kind of denial that this morality is permitted to even be grasped as a problem to begin with.  And in any case, it is the converse of testing, dissecting, interrogating, and vivisecting this faith.  Hear, for instance, the almost admirable innocence with which Schopenhauer describes his own task!  Draw your own inferences about the scientificity of this “science” from the way in which the Last Master of morality still speaks—he speaks as if he were a child or an old wife!  “The principle,” he says (page 136 of The Foundations of Morals), “the foundational axiom, the content of which all ethicists agree upon: neminem laede, immo omnes, quantum potes, juva—this is actually the proposition that every teacher of ethics has striven to ground…  [It is] the actual foundation of ethics, the philosopher’s stone which has been sought for centuries.”  The difficulty of grounding the proposition cited above might indeed be great.  It is well known that Schopenhauer also was not successful.  Whoever has not fundamentally felt how tastelessly false and sentimentalistic this proposition is, in a world the essence of which is the will-to-power.  Whoever has not felt this should remember that Schopenhauer, even though he was a pessimist, actually played the flute…  Every day, after dinner.  You can read about it in his biography.  And incidentally, one might ask: a pessimist, a repudiator of God, a repudiator of the world who stops at morality?  Someone who assents to morality and who plays the flute to laede-neminem morality?  How could such a person actually be—a pessimist?


187. Aside from the worth of such assertions as “There is within us a categorical imperative,” one might pose the question: What does such an assertion say about the one who makes it? There are morals which justify their creators before others. Other morals are meant to pacify him and to make him feel harmoniously at peace with himself.  Some morals are designed to nail him to the cross and to humiliate him.  Through other morals, he wishes to exact revenge.  Through others, he wishes to hide himself; through others, he wishes to transfigure himself and to project himself into the remoteness, into the heights.  One moral allows its creator to forget something; the other serves to sentence him, or something about him, to oblivion.  More than a few moralists impose their power and creative mood on humanity.  Many others—perhaps even Kant—articulate the following understanding through their moralities: “What is most respectable about me is that I can obey—and with you, it shall not be otherwise than it is with me!”  In brief, morals are nothing more than a semiology of affects.


188. Every morality is a portion of tyranny against “nature,” against “reason”—in contrast with laisser-aller. That, however, is no objection against morality. You still have to declare from another morality that every form of tyranny and unreason are impermissible.  The most essential, invaluable feature of every morality is that it is a long compulsion.  If you want to understand Stoicism or Port-Royal or Puritanism, you have to call to mind the compulsion which has brought every language to its strength and freedom—the metrical compulsion, the tyranny of rhyme and rhythm.  Look at the distress that every poet and every orator in every population goes through!  Some of today’s prose writers are not exempt from this compulsion, either.  An implacable conscience dwells in their ears.  The utilitarian dolts say, and think that they are clever for saying, that compulsion is “done out of stupidity.”  The anarchists, who think of themselves as “free” and free-spirited, consider compulsion to be “submission to an arbitrary law.”  The amazing fact is, however, that everything on Earth that exists or has existed that has anything to do with freedom, sophistication, boldness, dance, and masterly confidence, whether it is in the realm of thinking or ruling or speaking or persuasion or in the arts or in ethics—all of these things have developed by means of the “tyranny of arbitrary law.”  And for anything that is serious, there is no small probability that it is this which is “nature” and “natural”—and not laisser-aller!  Every artist knows how remote from the feeling of self-abandonment is his “most natural” condition—the free arrangement, the positioning, the joining, the forming that happens in the moments of “inspiration.”  He knows how rigorously and subtly he obeys the thousandfold laws, laws that make a mockery of conceptual formulation on the basis of their severity and determinateness (compared with these laws, even the most fixed concept has something fluid, multiple, ambiguous about it).  To say it one more time, the most essential thing “in Heaven as on Earth,” it seems to me, is obedience for a long time and in a single direction.  By means of this obedience, something comes about that makes life on Earth worth living—in the long run—for instance, virtue, art, music, dance, reason, spirituality, something transfigurative, refined, crazy, and divine.  The long unfreedom of the spirit, the mistrustful restraint that is placed upon the communicability of his thought, the discipline that the thinker inflicts upon himself, whether he is thinking within the constraints of ecclesiastical or courtly guidelines or whether his thinking is based upon Aristotelian presuppositions.  The long intellectual will to interpret everything that happens according to a Christian schema and to uncover the Christian God within every accidental occurrence and to justify every accidental occurrence by reference to the Christian God.  All of this violence, all of this arbitrariness, all of this severity, all of this counter-rationality has been set up as the means through which strength, reckless curiosity, and refined motility have been bred into the European spirit.  Admittedly, an irreplaceable loss of power and spirit also resulted from these constraints; power and spirit had been suppressed, smothered, and ruined (for here as everywhere else, “nature,” as it is, shows itself in its profligate and indifferent magnificence, which is outrageous yet dignified).  For millennia, European thinkers thought that they were proving something.  Today, things are the opposite: Every thinker who “wishes to prove something” raises our suspicions.  The results that were supposed to emerge from their most rigorous contemplation have already long since been established, whether it is Asiatic astrology or, as it is today, the benign Christian-moralistic interpretation of one’s most intimate personal experiences (“for the honor of God” or “for the salvation of the soul”).  Such tyranny, such arbitrariness, such rigorous and grandiose idiocy have educated the spirit.  Slavery is, it would seem, the indispensable means for the cruder and more refined intellects.  Every morality may be viewed in this way: “Nature” is that which teaches us to hate the laisser-aller, the all-too-vast freedom.  “Nature” is that which implants the need for restricted horizons, for narrower tasks.  “Nature” teaches us the narrowing of perspective—and therefore, in a sense, stupidity as the condition of life and the condition of growth.  “You shall obey someone, and you shall obey that person for a long time; otherwise, you will be destroyed and lose your final self-respect.”  This seems to me to be the moral imperative of nature, which is hardly “categorical,” as old Kant demanded it to be (hence, the “otherwise”).  Nor is “nature” directed toward the individual (for what does “nature” care about the individual!).  Rather, “nature” is directed to populations, races, periods of history, classes, and, above all, the whole animal called “the human being.”  “Nature” is directed to the human being.


189. The industrious races find it immensely difficult to endure leisure. The sanctification of Sunday was a masterpiece of the English instinct—use the Mass to bore the Englishman so that he lusts after the weekday and the workday, without him being aware of what has happened. The same is the case for the clever invention—and the clever interposition—of the fast.  Something similar can be perceived, in all of its richness, in the ancient world (not to mention within the southern populations, though not with respect to work).  There must be many different kinds of fasting.  Wherever powerful drives and habits dominate, the lawgivers of that society interpolate leap days in which such drives are fettered; thus, the drives learn once more what hunger means.  When regarded from a higher position: Any generation or epoch that seems to be afflicted by any kind of moral fanaticism is embedded with periods of compulsion and fasting in which a drive is cast down and suppressed and yet at the same time learns to purify itself and sharpen itself.  There are even whole philosophical sects that allow such an interpretation (such as the Stoic school in the midst of Hellenistic culture, a culture which was suffused with aphrodisiacal fragrances; there was lewdness in the air).  Here we have a clue to the elucidation of a paradox: Of all periods of human history, why was it within the Christian period—in which Europe in general was under the yoke of Christian value judgments—that the sexual drive (amour-passion) was sublimated?


190. There is something in Plato’s morality that doesn’t really belong to Plato. There is something discoverable in Plato’s philosophy, one might say, that exists in spite of Plato. I mean the Socratism that Plato was really too dignified for.  “No one wants to hurt oneself; this means that everything that is bad is involuntary.  For the bad man does injury to himself: He would never do such a thing if he knew that the bad were bad.  Consequently, the bad man is only bad because of an error.  If he removes his error, that makes him necessarily—good.”  The type of inferring stenches of the mob, which only sees the painful consequences of acting badly and actually makes the judgment: “It is dumb to do bad things.”  He identifies “good” with “useful” and “agreeable” just like that!  Anyone who follows the scent of moral utilitarianism to this source will seldom go wrong.  Plato did all he could to interpolate something sophisticated and distinguished into the statement of his teacher—above all, he tried to interpret himself within.  He, the boldest of all interpreters, who treated the whole of Socrates as if it were a popular theme or a folk song that he heard in the alley.  Plato varied this theme into the infinite and the impossible—with all of his own masks and multiplicities.  In jest, one may say Homerically: What is the Platonic Socrates if not prósthe Pláton opithén te Pláton mésse te Chímaira?


191. The old theological problem of “faith” and “knowledge”—or, to speak clearer, instinct and reason—therefore, the question of whether the instincts deserve more authority than rationality in the valuation of things. Rationality asks for reasons, for a “Why?” Rationality wants to know how to act and estimate with purposefulness and utility.  It is always the old moral problem as it emerges in the person of Socrates long before Christendom sliced the spirit in two.  Socrates initially put himself on the side of reason, according to the taste of his talent (that of a superior dialectician).  In truth, what did he do throughout his life but laugh at the awkward ineptitude of his noble fellow Athenians, who were people of instinct, like all noble people, and who could never give information on the reasons for their actions?  Ultimately, however, in silence and in secrecy, he laughed at himself: He discovered the same difficulty and ineptitude in himself, with all of his refined conscience and self-interrogation.  What is the purpose, then, he persuaded himself, what is the purpose of freeing himself from the instincts?  Give both the instincts and reason their due—one must follow the instincts and yet persuade reason to assist them with its good reasons.  This was the real fallacy of that great, mysterious ironist.  He made his conscience content with this form of self-deception.  In fact, he saw through to the irrationality within moral judgments.  Plato, who was in such matters innocent and who lacked the shrewdness of the plebeian, attempted (exerting a strength greater than that of any philosopher before him!) to prove that reason and instinct reach the same goal: the Good, “God.”  Since Plato, all theologians and philosophers have trodden the same path.  That is to say, in moral matters, instinct (or as Christians call it, “faith,” or as I call it, “the herd”) dominates.  Descartes, the father of rationalism (and thus the grandfather of revolution), needs to be exempted from the domination of instinct; he accorded all authority to reason.  However, reason is nothing more than an instrument, and Descartes was superficial.


192. Whoever pursues the history of any particular science will find a guiding thread in its development. This guiding thread will help one understand the oldest and basest processes of all “knowledge and cognition.” Everywhere hasty hypotheses, fabrications, the stupid good will toward “faith,” the absence of mistrust, patience—all of these things develop first of all.  Our senses learn too late—and never completely learn—how to become subtle, faithful, careful organs of cognition.  It is more comfortable for our eye to reproduce an image that it has often produced before than to fasten its gaze on any new and different impression, given any occasion.  If the eye were to fix its gaze on a new and different impression, that would require more energy, more “morality.”  It is discomforting and difficult for the ear to hear something new; we listen badly when we hear foreign music.  Whenever we hear another language, we involuntarily attempt to reshape the sounds that we hear into words that sound more familiar and more native to us.  For example, the ancient Germans transformed the word arcubalista, which they heard, into Armbrust (“crossbow”).  The new seems inimical and recalcitrant to our senses.  Generally, affects such as fear, love, hatred—this includes passive affects such as laziness—dominate even the “simplest” processes of sensibility.  Just as rarely today does a reader completely read each individual word (or even the syllables) on a page.  Rather, he arbitrarily extracts around five out of every twenty words and “guesses” the sense that presumably belongs to these five words.  Even as rarely do we see a tree comprehensively and precisely as it is, with respect to each leaf and each branch, with respect to every color and every form; it strikes as so much easier to projectively fantasticate an approximation of tree.  We do the same even in the midst of the strangest experiences.  We fabricate for ourselves the greatest portion of our experiences, and it is hardly necessary to force ourselves to regard ourselves as the “inventor” of some process or another.  All of this to say: We are thoroughly and for all time—habituated to lying.  Or, in order to phrase the same thing more virtuously and more hypocritically (that is, more agreeably): We are far more artist than we know.  When engaged in a lively conversation, I often look at the face of the person with whom I am talking.  Every thought that she expresses—or that I believe to have summoned from her—every thought is so clearly and precisely determined before me that it is as if the degree of clarity vastly exceeds the power of my optical faculty.  The delicacy of the play of muscles and the expression of the eyes must have therefore been projectively poeticized by me.  Perhaps this person made an entirely different expression or none at all.


193. Quidquid luce fuit, tenebris agit: but also the reverse. What we experience in dreams belongs to the economy of our soul, as if it were something that we “really” experienced (on the proviso that we dream-experience it often enough). Thereby capacitated, we become richer or poorer, have more needs or fewer needs and become finally, in the clear light of day, and even in the most cheerful moments of our waking spirit, a little cosseted by the habits of our dreams.  Presuming that someone flies often in his dreams and, after having so dreamt, becomes conscious of the power and the art of flying as it if were his own prerogative, as if he were fortunate to have this talent, which is peculiar to him and worthy of envy.  Such a person, who believes himself capable of actualizing every contour and corner of flight with the gentlest impulse, he who knows the feeling of a particular divine levity, the feeling of a “Go up!” without tension or compulsion, the feeling of a “Go down!” without condescension or degradation—without gravitas!—how could such a person who has such dream-experiences and dream-habits, how could such a person not find the word “fortunate” differently colored and differently defined in his waking day?  How could every other kind of “flying”—the “swinging upward,” as the poets describe it—not seem too terrestrial, muscular, violent, even too “heavy” for him?


194. The diversity of human beings displays itself not merely in the diversity of their Tables of Goods (that is, the way in which they consider certain goods to be worthy of striving after and the disagreements among them over the More and the Less, the hierarchy of commonly recognized goods). The diversity of human beings shows itself much more in the different ways in which they consider what counts as a genuine appropriation, what it means to really have something. With respect to a woman, for instance, more modest men regard disposition over her body and sexual enjoyment to be a sufficient and satisfactory sign of having, of possession.  Someone who has a more mistrustful and fastidious thirst for possession will see the “question mark” in the above definition; he will see the mere appearance of possession within and will demand a more meticulous examination in order to know not merely whether the woman belongs to him alone, but to know that she has abandoned everything that she has or that she would like to have.  Only this qualifies as “possession” for him.  A third man, however, would not consider this to be the end of his mistrust and desire for ownership.  He asks himself whether the woman, even if she abandons everything for his sake, is not doing so for a phantasmal version of himself.  Above all, he wants to be fundamentally—even abyssally—known by her before he is loved by her at all.  He dares to allow himself to be found out.  Only then does he feel in total possession of the beloved—when she is no longer deceived by him, when she loves him for his devilry and hidden insatiability as much as she loves him for his kindness, patience, and intellectuality.  Another would like to possess an entire population—and all of the higher arts of Cagliostro and Catilina are appropriate to this purpose.  Another who has a delicate thirst for possession says to himself: “Never deceive where you would possess.”  He is irritated by the idea, made impatient by the idea that a mask of himself rules the hearts of the people.  “Therefore, I must make myself known and, before all else, know myself!”  Among serviceable and benevolent people a vulgar guilefulness appears almost regularly—those whom they help must first be “dressed up” in order to receive their help.  As if the unfortunate, for instance, should “earn” their help.  As if those who demand their help should be profoundly grateful for their help.  As if those who demand their help should prove themselves to be dependent, submissive.  With these imaginings, they dispose themselves over the unfortunate as if he were their possession—as if they were benevolent and serviceable people merely out of their desire for possession.  These people are jealous when someone crosses them while they are helping or when someone helps an unfortunate before they do.  Parents involuntarily do something similar with their children—they call it “education.”  No mother doubts in the core of her heart that the child was born to be her property.  No father contests his right to subject the child to his conceptions and valuations.  Indeed, formerly, it seemed easy for fathers to dispose over the life and the death of the neonate (as it was with the ancient Germans).  And as it was with the father, now the teacher, the social station, the priest, the prince sees within every new person the surefire opportunity for a new possession.  From which it follows…


195. The Jews—a people “born into slavery” (as Tacitus and the entire ancient world says; “the chosen people of all people,” as they say themselves and as they believe). The Jews accomplished that miraculous inversion of values thanks to which life on Earth has acquired its new and dangerous charm. Their prophets coalesced the concepts “rich,” “godless,” “evil,” “violent,” “sensuous” into a single concept and recoined the word “world” as an insult.  Within this inversion of values (to which belongs using the word for “poor” as if it were a synonym for “sacred” and “friend”) dwells the significance of the Jewish people: With it begins the slave revolt in morality.


196. It may be inferred that there are innumerable dark bodies near the Sun—bodies that we have never seen. Between us, that is a parable. And a psychologist of morals reads the whole of celestiography as nothing more than a parable.  And as a semiology, which is silent about so much.


197. Animal predators and human predators (such as Cesare Borgia) are fundamentally misunderstood, “nature” is misunderstood, so long as we are looking for “sickliness” at the core of the healthiest tropical monsters and vegetative growths. We do not understand them at all when we go looking for a “Hell” that would be born within them—as almost all moralists thus far have done. Does it not seem that the moralists hate the primeval forest and the tropics?  And does it not seem that they consider the “tropical human” to be a disease and a kind of human degeneracy, as if the “tropical human” were its own Hell and self-torment?  Why, then?  In favor of the “temperate zones”?  In favor of the “temperate humans”?  In favor of the “moralists”?  The mediocre?  This for a chapter entitled “Morality as Timorousness.”


198. All of these morals directed at individuals in order to foster their “happiness,” as it is called. What are these morals other than proposals on how to behave in relation to the degree of danger in which an individual lives with himself / herself? They are prescriptions against the passions, their good and bad tendencies, inasmuch as they have the will-to-power and want to play the master.  Artifices large and small, clever stratagems large and small—the reek of old household appliances clinging to them, the wisdom of old ladies attached to them.  All of them have a baroque and irrational form, since they are applied to “everything”—since they generalize, where one is not permitted to generalize.  All of them speak absolutely; all of them are taken absolutely.  All of them are seasoned with more than just a grain of salt; moreover, they are only tolerable, and even become seductive, when they are over-seasoned and stench dangerously of “otherworldliness,” above all.  Considered intellectually, they are worth little and are hardly “scientific,” much less “wise.”  Rather, to say it one more time, and to say it three more times: Smartness, smartness, smartness intermeshed with stupidity, stupidity, stupidity.  Whether it is the advice or the curative of the Stoics—indifference and stone-column coldness toward the fiery foolishness of the affects.  Or whether it is the laugh-no-moreness and cry-no-moreness of Spinoza, who naively advocated for the destruction of the affects through analysis and vivisection.  Or whether it is the toning-down of the affects to a harmless middle ground where they could be easily satisfied, as it is in moral Aristotelianism.  Even morality as the gratification of the affects through a deliberate dilution and spiritualization, in the symbolism of the arts.  Something like this is done in music or divine love or love of humanity for the sake of God.  For in religion the passions obtain their civil rights again, provided that…  There is smartness, smartness, smartness, and stupidity, stupidity, stupidity, ultimately, even in that accommodating and spirited surrender to the affects taught by Hafis and Goethe, that bold slackening of the reins, that spiritual-corporeal licentia morum in the exceptional cases of wise fogies and sods for whom “little is dangerous anymore.”  This, too, for the chapter “Morality as Timorousness.”


199. For as long as there have been human beings, there have also been human herds (generations, communities, lineages, populations, states, churches); moreover, there have always been masses of obedient subordinates in relation to a small number of commanding leaders. Taken from this perspective, therefore, it has always been obedience that has been practiced by—and bred within—human beings. One may easily posit that, on average, there is a need which is innate within human beings, a kind of formal conscience that gives the order: “Thou shalt absolutely do this thing.”  Or: “Thou shalt absolutely forbear from doing this thing.”  In brief: “Thou shalt.”  This need strives to satiate itself and to fill itself with content.  The need for obedience absorbs whatever a commander screams in its ear, no matter who that commander might be—whether that commander is a parent, a teacher, the law, class judgment, or public opinion.  It seizes and assumes these orders as indiscriminately as a crude appetite would, according to its own strength, impatience, and intensity.  This strange delimitation of human development is based on the fact that the herd instinct is inherited best and at the cost of the art of commanding (manifestations of the herd instinct include hesitations and prolongations, frequent retrogressions and rotations).  Imagine: If this instinct proceeds to its final excesses, there will be an absence of commanders and independent human beings.  Or the commanders and independent human beings will suffer inwardly from a bad conscience and will need to deceive themselves into believing that they are commanding when they are only obeying.  Such is the actual state of affairs in Europe: I call it the moral hypocrisy of the commandant.  The only way that they know how to shield their bad consciences is acting as if they were the executors of older or loftier commands (from their ancestors, their constitutions, their rights, their laws, or even their God).  Sometimes, to protect themselves from their bad consciences, they even borrow herd ways of thinking or herd maxims, such as “the first servant of the people” or “instrument of the common good.”  On the other hand, today’s European herd human gives the appearance of being the only human who is permitted to extol those traits which make him tame, congenial, and useful to the herd as the only actual human virtues (thus, sense of commonality, benevolence, considerateness, industriousness, moderation, modesty, indulgence, pity).  For those cases, however, in which one believes that one cannot dispense with a leader and bellwether, today, one makes experiment after experiment in replacing that commander by adding together a herd of clever herd humans.  Such is the origin, for example, of all representative constitutions.  What a benevolent act for those European herd animals!  What a redemption from intolerable pressure when someone appears who can give absolute commands to the European herd animals!  The effect of Napoleon’s appearance is the final piece of major evidence of this fact.  The history of Napoleon’s influence is almost the history of higher happiness brought about in the most valuable human beings and moments in the whole of the current century.


200. Any person who lives in this age—the age of disintegration, in which races are thrown together. Such a person has multiple heritages in his or her body. This means that s/he has contradictory drives and standards (and often, more than merely contradictory drives and standards).  Drives and standards that fight with one another and seldom give any peace.  Such a person—a person of late-born cultures and fractured lights—will often be a weak person.  His fundamental desire is that the war which he is will come to an end.  Happiness, for him, seems to be primarily the happiness of placidity, the happiness of unperturbedness, the happiness of satiety, the happiness of the final unity—as the “Sabbath of Sabbaths,” to quote the sacred rhetor St. Augustine, who was himself such a person—in harmony with a pacifying medicine and way of thinking (for instance, the Epicurean or Christian).  However, if contradiction and war work in such a nature as if they were stimuli and additional prompts to life.  If there is genuine mastery and elegance in the war with the powerful and irreconcilable drives within him (thus, inherited and bred self-mastery and the outwitting of oneself).  If all of these things are present, then there will germinate magically the most incomprehensible and unthinkable creature.  The Riddle Human—the one who is predetermined for victory and seduction, the most beautiful expressions of which is Alcibiades and Caesar.  (I would like to include in their company the first European, according to my taste: Friedrich II of Hohenstaufen.  Among artists, perhaps I would include Leonardo da Vinci.)  All of these Riddle Humans belong in the same epochs in which the weaker type, with his demand for relaxation, treads in the foreground.  Both types belong to each other and originate for the same source.


201. As long as usefulness, especially herd usefulness, dominates moral judgments. As long as one’s gaze is directed at the preservation of the community. As long as the “immoral” is considered to be whatever seems to endanger the survival of the community—there can be no “morality of neighborly love.”  Suppose that there is already the constant practice of considerateness, pity, equity, gentleness, reciprocity of helpfulness.  Suppose that in the current state of society, all of the drives that will later be described with the honorable title of “virtues” (and will almost coincide with the concept of “morality”)—suppose that these drives are already active and do not belong at all to the realm of moral valuations; they are extra-moral.  An act of pity, for instance, in the best days of Rome, was neither good nor evil, and if it was praised for what it was, that praise would coincide, in the best cases, with a kind of involuntary deprecation, as soon as that act was held up as something that promoted the common good, as something that served the res publica.  Ultimately, the “love of the neighbor” is always something irrelevant, partly conventional, and arbitrary-phenomenal in relation to the fear of the neighbor.  After the structure of society is established, as a whole, and seems to be secured against external dangers, the fear of the neighbor creates yet new perspectives of moral valuation.  Certain strong and dangerous drives—such as the lust for endeavor, daring adventurousness, the addiction to vengeance, slyness, rapacity, the lust for domination—were not only honored (under other names) but cultivated and bred.  (Because the whole of society was in danger, and protection against enemies was needed.)  Now the dangerousness of these drives is felt to be double—now there are no longer escape valves for them to be released.  Gradually, they are marked as “immoral” and surrendered to defamation.  Now the opposing drives and inclinations are raised to status of moral honor.  Step by step, the herd instinct draws its conclusion.  This is the moral perspective, regardless of how much or how little danger to the community or to equality there dwells within an opinion, in a state, in an affect, in a will, in a talent.  Fear is yet again the mother of morality.  When the highest and strongest drives explode in passion, driving the individual far over the average and far above the depressions of the herd conscience, the self-esteem of the community is wrecked.  Its belief in itself—its backbone, as it were—is shattered.  As a result, these are the drives that are stigmatized and defamed.  Lofty, untrammeled intellectuality, the will to stand alone, and the great reason are all perceived as dangerous.  Everything that elevates the individual above the herd, everything that terrifies will be called “evil” from now on.  The cheap, the modest, the orderly, the equalizing mentality, the mediocrity of desires are given moral names and honors.  Finally, under peaceable conditions, the opportunity and the necessity of educating the feelings of strength and severity are lacking more and more.  And now every form of severity, even in justice, perturbs the conscience.  A lofty, difficult aristocratic attitude is almost considered to be offensive and awakens mistrust, as does self-responsibility.  It is “the lamb” that wins respect—no, better, “the sheep.”  There is a stage of pathological pulverization and tenderization in the history of society—when society takes sides with those who do it injury, with criminals.  And it does so earnestly and honestly!  Punishment: That seems somehow illiberal to this society.  It is certain that the ideas of “punishment” and “deserving punishment” cause this society pain, are terrifying to this society.  “Isn’t it sufficient to make him harmless?  Why should there be more punishment?  Punishment is itself terrible!”  With this question herd morality—the morality of timorousness—draws its final conclusion.  Assuming that one could even abolish the danger, the ground of all fear altogether.  Even then, one would abolish morality along with it!  It would no longer be necessary!  It would no longer consider itself necessary!  Whoever tests the conscience of today’s European will extract the same imperative from one thousand moral folds and pockets, the imperative of herd timorousness: “We wish that there would somehow finally be nothing more to fear!”  Somehow finally—the will and the way to that point is called today everywhere in Europe “progress.”


202. Let us say once more what we have said one hundred times before, for the ears are not well-inclined to such truths, for our truths. We have long since known how offensive it sounds when we reckon human beings to be animals, without ornamentation or metaphor. Blame will almost be attributed to us for referring to human beings of “modern ideas” with the expressions “herd,” “herd instinct,” and so forth.  What is to be done about this?  We cannot do otherwise, for herein dwells our new insight.  We have found that wherever the European influence is dominant, all of the main moral judgments of Europe are unanimous, and this includes the countries that are allied with Europe.  What Socrates believed not to know, and what the famous snake once promised to teach, is apparent in Europe: Today’s Europeans “know” what is good and what is evil.  Now it must be difficult to listen to, it must sound terrible to one’s ears, when we repeatedly admit: What we believe that we know, what is exalted with praise and with blame, what is called “good” is the instinct of that herd animal called “human being.”  The herd instinct is coming to the fore, exerting preponderance, supremacy over the other instincts, in accordance with the growing physiological approximation and alignment of which it is the symptom.  Morality, in today’s Europe, is herd-animal morality.  Therefore, as we come to understand things, it is a kind of human morality beside which, before which, and after which many other higher moralities would exist or would be made possible.  Against such a new “possibility,” against such a new “Thou Shalt,” this morality directs all of its forces.  It says stubbornly and inexorably: “I am morality itself, and nothing is outside of my morality!”  Indeed, with the assistance of religion, which sublimates and flatters herd-animal desires, things have come to the point at which this morality is constantly and visibly expressed in political and social institutions: The democratic movement inherits Christian morality.  The tempo, however, is too slow and torpid for the impatient, for the sick, and for those who are addicted to the aforementioned instinct.  Evidence can be found in the raving yowls, in the forever-bared teeth of the anarchistic dogs that course through the streets of European culture, in seeming opposition to the peacefully laboring democrats and revolutionary ideologues, in even greater opposition to the idiotic philosophasters and monastically exalted ones who call themselves “socialists” and who want the “free society.”  In truth, however, all of these forms are united in their fundamental and instinctive enmity toward every social form other than that of the autonomous herd (to the point that even the socialistic formula ni dieu ni maître is rejected, even the concepts of “master” and “slave” are rejected).  They are all one in their resistance against every exceptional claim, every exceptional right, and that every exceptional privilege (which means, in the final analysis, they are against every right, since when All are equal, no one needs “rights” anymore).  They are all in one in their mistrust toward punitive justice (as if it were the violation of the weak, a wrong against the necessary consequence of all earlier societies).  But even so, they are all one in the religion of pity, of commiseration for whatever feels, lives, and suffers (all the way up to animals, all the way up to “God”—the excessiveness of pity for “God” belongs to a democratic epoch).  They are all unanimous in their shrieking and in the impatience of their pity, in their mortal hatred of suffering in general, in their almost feminine impotence to remain spectators and to allow suffering to happen.  They are unanimous in their involuntary benightedness and tenderization, under which Europe seems to be threatened by a new Buddhism.  They are one in their faith in the morality of common pity, as if it were morality itself, as if it were the height, the attained height of humanity, the unanimous hope for the future, the means of consolation for those who live in the present, the great dissolvent of all past guilt.  They are all one in their faith in the community as the dissolveress—they are all in one in their faith in the herd, therefore, in their faith in themselves…


203. Those of us who are of another belief. We who do not see the democratic movement as merely the debasement of political organization but as the diminution of human beings, as their banalization and as the degradation of their worth. Where do we need to reach with our hopes?  Toward new philosophers, there is no other choice.  Toward minds that are strong enough and original enough to incite oppositional valuations.  Toward minds that are strong enough and original enough to revaluate, to invert “eternal values.”  Toward those who were sent out before us.  Toward the human beings of the future, who, in the present, tie the knots and compel the Will of Millennia down new paths.  To teach the future of humanity to human beings as their will.  The future of humanity as dependent on the human will.  To prepare for great risks and for the total experiment of discipline and breeding—so that the dreadful hegemony of nonsense and arbitrariness which was once named “history” will come to an end.  The nonsense of the “greatest number” is only its terminal form.  For this purpose, someday, a new type of philosopher and commander will be necessary.  Whatever hidden, frightening, and benevolent spirits have existed, they will seem pale and dwarfish in comparison with this image.  The image of such a leader that floats before our eyes—may I say it aloud, my fellow free spirits?  The circumstances that are required for the origination of the leader must partly be created, partly be taken from other sources and exploited.  The most probable means for such a soul to grow up to its greatest height and violence, the most likely tests for it to undergo, in order for such a soul to feel the compulsion of these tasks.  The new pressure, the new hammer of such a revaluation of values will steel the conscience and transmute the heart into iron so that it might bear the weight of such a responsibility.  On the other hand, the necessity of such leaders, the terrifying danger that they might be absent or fail and degenerate—are those our real cares and darkenings.  Do you know this, my free spirits?  These are the heavy, distant thoughts and thunderings that slip across the skies of our lives.  Few pains are as sensitive as the pain of having once seen or sympathized with an extraordinary human being who has derailed and degenerated—or even having surmised that such a thing once happened.  However, whoever has an exceptional eye for the total danger that “humanity” itself will degenerate.  Whoever recognizes the monstrous contingency, as we do, that has been playing games with the future of humanity thus far.  A game in which neither hand nor the “finger of God” has ever played along!  Someone who surmised the catastrophic undoing inherent to the stupid unwittingness and confidingness of “modern ideas.”  Even more, the stupid unwittingness and confidingness that lies concealed within the whole of Christian-European morality.  Such a person suffers from an anxiety with which no other anxiety can be compared.  He grasps in a single glance what could be bred in humanity—with the favorable accumulation and intensification of force and task.  He will know with all of the science of his conscience how humanity has still not exhausted its greatest possibilities.  He will know how often the human type has already stood before enigmatic decisions and new paths.  He will know well, from his most painful memories, what a miserable thing it is when a person of the highest rank shatters, fractures, sinks down—when this happens to someone who is in the process of becoming.  The total degeneracy of humanity, humanity’s degeneration to the status of what the socialistic morons and shall0wheads call the “human of the future,” appears as their ideal!  This degeneration and minimization of human beings to complete herd animals (or, as they say, to humans of the “free society”)!  This animalization of humanity to dwarfish beasts, with their equal rights and claims is possible.  There is no doubt of it!  Whoever has thought this possibility through to the end will no longer feel nausea, unlike other people.  Perhaps s/he will know a new task!




204. At the risk that our moralizing will seem to be what it always has been—namely, an undiscouraged montrer ses plaies, to quote Balzac—I will dare to countervail against the unseemly and injurious displacement of rank between science and philosophy, which today, with the best conscience, is threatening to be installed. I mean that one must have the right to speak from experience on the loftier question of rank—and experience always signifies, it seems to me, bad experience. One must have the right to speak from experience in order not to speak in the way that the blind speak about colors or the way in which women and artists speak of science (“Oh, this terrible science!” sigh their instinct and their shame.  “It always goes down to the root!”).  The scientist’s declaration of independence, his emancipation from philosophy, is one of the more sophisticated aftereffects of the democratic essence and non-essence.  The self-mastery and self-elevation of the scholar is today everywhere in its fullest bloom, in its finest springtime (this does not mean that, in this case, his self-praise smells pleasant).  “Freedom from all masters!”  This is what the mob instinct wants—and after science turned against theology with the most fortunate success (science was the “maid” of theology for too long), now science is legislating philosophy and playing the role of its “master” with the greatest arrogance and incomprehension.  What am I saying?  The scientist is playing the role of the philosopher.  According to my memory (this is the memory of a scientific man, if I may say so), I have heard young explorers of nature and older doctors talking about philosophy and philosophers, their words teeming with arrogant naiveties (not to mention the most educated and illusioned of all scholars, the philologists and schoolmen, who are educated and illusioned by profession).  Soon the specialists and the loafers instinctively resisted all synthetic tasks and capacities.  Soon the industrious laborers scented the otium and elegant voluptuousness of the philosopher’s household of the soul and felt reduced and belittled.  Soon came the color blindness of the pragmatists who saw nothing in philosophy other than a sequence of refuted systems and an extravagant expense that would never do anyone “any good.”  Soon sprang up the fear of camouflaged mysticism; soon sprang up the justification of the limits of cognition.  Soon came the disrespect toward individual philosophers, which had been unwittingly generalized to a disrespect toward philosophy itself.  Finally, I discovered beneath the arrogant denigration of philosophy the terrible aftereffects of what a certain philosopher himself had done.  One no longer was submissive to this particular philosopher, but neither did one escape the spell of his dismissive evaluations of other philosophers.  The result was a bad feeling about all philosophy.  (Such seemed to me, for example, Schopenhauer’s aftereffect on contemporary Germany.  With the unintelligent wrath that he spewed at Hegel, Schopenhauer made the last generation of Germans break away from German culture.  Everything considered, German culture of the recent past was the zenith and divinatory refinement of the historical sense.  However, Schopenhauer himself was impoverished, unreceptive, un-German to the point of ingeniousness in this matter.)  All things considered, the damage inflicted on the once-respectable reputation of philosophy might have to do with the human-all-too-humanness (that is, the miserable character) of contemporary philosophy, which has opened the door to the instinct of the mob.  One recognizes the degree to which our modern world has strayed from the Heraclitean type, the Platonic type, and the Empedoclean type (or whatever these regal and magisterial hermits of the spirit might have been called).  We should acknowledge the good reasons why such representatives of philosophy, thanks to the fashions of the time, are brought up and brought down—for instance, the two Lions of Berlin, the anarchist Eugen Dühring and the amalgamist Eduard von Hartmann.  We should acknowledge the good reasons why a decent person of science would feel oneself to be of a superior type and lineage to those philosophers, especially the mishmash philosophers who call themselves “philosophers of reality” or “positivists” (those who inspire a dangerous mistrust of philosophy in the soul of a young, ambitious scholar).  Such philosophers are, in the best case, themselves scholars and specialists (one can feel it!).  They are all defeated by science and then re-subjected to science.  Science somehow wanted more from them without a right to this “more” and without a responsibility for this “more.”  And now, worshipfully, wrathfully, vengefully, philosophy represents a lack of belief in the master-task and the masterfulness of philosophy, in word and deed.  Finally, how could it be otherwise?  Science blossoms today, its good conscience bountifully visible.  By contrast, contemporary philosophy is gradually sinking.  The remains of philosophy inspire mistrust and a lack of confidence, if not outright mockery and pity.  Philosophy has been reduced to “epistemology.”  Essentially, this is nothing more than a meek epochism and doctrine of temperance.  A philosophy that is not permitted to traverse the threshold and awkwardly denies entrance.  That is philosophy in its dying breath, a finality, an agony, something that incites pity.  How could such a philosophy—dominate?


205. There are, in truth, so many dangers today to the development of the philosopher that one has reason to doubt whether such a fruit can ever ripen. The tower of the sciences has grown to monstrous proportions and with it, the likelihood that the philosopher will tire of learning or will stop learning altogether and instead “specialize.” The result will be that he will never reach his height—and never be able to survey, to look around, to look down.  Or he will reach his height too late, when his best time will long have been over, and his energy will long have been expended.  Or he will become so damaged, vulgarized, degenerated that his vision, the totality of his value judgments, will mean very little anymore.  Even the refinement of his intellectual conscience hesitates and causes him to hesitate.  He becomes afraid of the seductions of dilettantism, of the millipede with its thousand feelers.  He knows all too well that anyone who loses one’s self-respect no longer commands as a knower, no longer leads.  He would be forced to become a great actor, a philosophical Cagliostro and ratcatcher of spirits; in short, he would become a seducer.  Ultimately, it comes down to a question of taste—if not a question of conscience.  And to redouble the difficulties of the philosopher, he is required to give a judgment, not on the sciences, but on life and on the value of life—he is required to give a judgment, a “Yes” or a “No.”  He is reluctant to believe that he has the right, much less the obligation, to have such a judgment.  He believes that he would have to search through the most comprehensive range of experiences—perhaps even through the most disturbing and destructive experiences before coming to this right, to this belief.  And he believes that he would have to do so hesitantly, doubtingly, mutely.  In fact, the crowd has misinterpreted the philosopher for a long time; they have confused him with the religiously exalted, desensibilized, “desecularized” fanatics and God-intoxicated drunkards.  And even today, one hears someone being praised for living “wisely” or for living “as a philosopher lives.”  This means nothing more than “smart” and “distant.”  Wisdom: To the mob, that seems a form of elusion.  A trick.  A means of getting oneself out of a nasty game.  However, the real philosopher lives “unphilosophically” and “unwise”—doesn’t it seem so to us, my friends?  Above all, the real philosopher lives uncleverly and feels the weight and duty of one hundred experiments and temptations of life.  He constantly risks himself, he plays the nasty game…


206. In relation to the genius, that is, in relation to a creature who creates or births (both words should be taken in their widest application), the scholar is a scientific commoner. He has something of the old maid about him. After all, he doesn’t know how to participate in the two most valuable human activities.  People admit that both the scholar and the old maid are respectable—and one emphasizes this admission—but this is, as it were, a kind of compensation.  One is annoyed by the fact that one is compelled to make this concession.  Let us look at this matter a bit more precisely: What is the scientific person?  Above all, he is an undistinguished type of human.  Someone with the virtues of an undistinguished type of human—that is, someone who is not dominating, not authoritarian, and also not self-sufficient.  He is industrious.  He patiently arranges things in sequences and in rows.  In whatever he can do and must do, he is regular and measured.  He has an instinctive understanding of those who are like he is and for what they require.  He requires, for instance, a portion of independence, a green meadow, the peacefulness without which no work can be done.  He claims honor and recognition (which presuppose acknowledgement, acknowledgeableness), the sunshine of a good name, the constant seal of his worth and his usefulness—this allows him to overcome, again and again, that inner mistrust which lies at the core of all dependent people and herd animals.  The scholar usually has the diseases and the disorders of the undistinguished type.  He is fraught with petty envies and has a lynx’s eye for the coarsest qualities of those whose heights he will never scale.  He is confiding, but in the fashion of someone who lets himself go without ever releasing himself.  And when he is around people who are releasing themselves, he just stands there, colder and more closed-off than anyone in the room.  His eye becomes like a slick, self-withholding lake without a ripple of delight, without a ripple of sympathy.  The nastiest and most dangerous things of which a scholar is capable come from the instinct for mediocrity that characterizes him and his type.  It comes from the Jesuitism of mediocrity which instinctively works on annihilating the uncommon human being and which strives to break the tense bow or—even better!—strives to bend the tense bow.  The bending happens with considerateness—with a gentle hand, of course.  Bending with confiding pity.  That is the real art of Jesuitism, which has always understood how to introduce itself as the religion of pity.—


207. Who has not been bored to death with all of this subjectiveness and damned ipseitymosity? However grateful one might be to the objective spirit, and however one might welcome it with gratitude—in the end, however, one must learn to be cautious with one’s gratitude and put an end to the exaggerated celebration of the deselving and depersonalization that the spirit has recently been subjected to, as if it were redemption and transfiguration, as if that were the end in itself. This [deselving / depersonalization of the spirit] has been tending to happen in the Pessimist school, which has its own reasons for honoring “disinterested knowledge.”  The objective person—who, unlike the pessimist, no longer swears and reprobates—is the ideal learner; after one thousand failures and semi-failures, he is the one in whom the scientific instinct blooms.  Assuredly, he is one of the most expensive tools that exist.  He belongs in the hand of the one who has more power than he.  He is only an instrument, as it were.  He is mirror; he has no “self-purpose.”  The objective person is, in fact, a mirror who is used to supplicating itself before anything that wants to be known, with no desires other than those required by knowledge or “reflection.”  He waits until something comes along and then extends himself so tenderly that even the delicate footfalls and sliding-by of spiritual beings will not elude his surface and skin.  What little “personality” he still possesses seems to him supervenient, arbitrary, or, even more often, troubling.  This is the extent to which he has come to see himself as the conduit and reflection of external shapes and events.  He can only conjure the memory of his “self” with great effort, and it is not uncommon for his memories to be inexact.  He easily mistakes himself for other people.  He misunderstands his personal needs, and this is the only place in which he is unsophisticated and inadvertent.  It might happen that he is worried about the well-being of Wife or Friend.  It might happen that he is bothered by the small-mindedness of Wife or Friend.  It might happen that he is annoyed by the claustrophobia-inducing atmosphere that emanates from Wife or Friend.  It might happen that he is concerned about his lack of friends or other social connections.  Indeed, he forces himself to meditate on his torment—but in vain!  His thoughts quickly roam to the more general case, and tomorrow he knows as little as he knew yesterday how to help himself.  He no longer takes himself seriously and no longer has time for himself.  He is sanguine not because he is free from trouble but because he lacks the ability to grasp and handle his trouble.  The inveterate obeisance toward every object and experience, the sunny and placid hospitality with which he accepts everything that strikes him, his brand of inconsiderate benevolence, of dangerous unconcernedness as to “Yes” or “No.”  Alas!  There are enough instances in which he must atone for his virtues!  And as a human being, generally considered, he becomes far too easily the caput mortuum of these virtues.  Should one want love or hatred from him—I mean “love” and “hatred” as God, woman, and animal understand them—he will do what he can and give what he can.  But no one should be surprised if it does not amount to much—if he should show himself precisely on this point to be artificial, brittle, questionable, and decomposable.  His love is forced, his hatred is synthetic—or, rather, un tour de force, a slight display of vaingloriousness or affectation.  He is only authentic to the extent that he can be objective.  Only in his sanguine totalization is he still a form of “nature,” is he still “natural.”  His mirroring and eternally auto-polishing soul no longer knows how to affirm, no longer knows how to negate.  He does not command, nor does he destroy.  With Leibniz, he utters, “Je ne méprise presque rien.”  Don’t ignore or diminish the value of the presque!  Nor is he the model human; he does not go in front of anyone, nor does he ever go behind.  Generally, he puts himself in such a remote position that he never has any reason to truck with Good or Evil.  If he has long been mistaken for a philosopher, if he has long been confused with the Caesarean breeder and autocrat of civilization, he has been granted far too much honor and the essential point about him as been overlooked—he is but an instrument, a slavish thing, though by all means the sublimest kind of slave.  He is, however, nothing in himself—presque rien!  The objective human is an instrument, a precious, easily damaged, easily tarnished measuring instrument and specular art piece that should be taken care of and honored.  But he is no goal, neither escape nor shaft, no complementary man in whom the rest of existence would justify itself, no terminus—and still less a point of departure, a generating, or a first cause.  Nothing sturdy or prepotent.  Nothing set-up-by-itself.  Nothing that wants to be master.  Rather, he is merely a tender, bloated, delicately mobile piece of pottery that is waiting for some kind of form and content.  He is waiting for someone to “shape” him.  All things considered, he is a human without content or form.  A “selfless” human.  Consequentially, he is of no use to women, in parenthesi.—


208. I hope that the previous discussion of the objective spirit has made it clear [that he is no skeptic]. When a philosopher of today announces that he is not a skeptic, everyone grows impatient. They look at him with a certain trepidation [on account of his lack of skepticism].  They have so many questions to ask of him, so many questions.  The nervous auditors of his announcement even declare him to be dangerous.  His rejection of skepticism sounds to them as if it were an ominously malevolent boom in the distance, as if a new kind of bomb were being detonated someplace, a kind of spiritual dynamite of the spirit, perhaps a newly discovered Russian nihiline, a pessimism bonae voluntatis, that not only says, “No,” that not only means “No,” but—perish the thought!—does “No!”  Against this so-called “good will”—which is really the will to the actual, active negation of life—there is no better soporific and depressant than skepticism, as is generally acknowledgeable these days.  The gentle, graceful, lulling poppy of skepticism.  Hamlet himself is now prescribed by the doctors as an antidote to the “spirit” and its subterranean murmurings.  “Have our ears not had their fill our bad noises?” the skeptics say, friends of rest, and almost as a kind of security police force.  “Dreadful is the Underground No!  Be silent, you pessimistic moles!”  The skeptic, that is, that fragile creature, frightens so easily.  His conscience is schooled to jolt at every “No!” and even at that decisive, stentorian “Yes!”  That is how conscience is made to feel as if it were a bite.  “Yes!” and “No!”—they seem at variance with morality.  Quite the opposite: He loves to make a festival of his virtue with a kind of noble abstemiousness.  Meanwhile, he asks, perhaps, with Montaigne: “What do I know?”  Or saying, with Socrates: “All I know is that I know nothing.”  Or: “I don’t trust myself; no door is open to me.”  Or: “Even if the door were open, what would be the point of entering?”  Or: “What is the use of premature hypotheses?  It might be more tasteful to withhold making hypotheses.  Why are you obligated to straighten what is crooked?  To stop up every hole with caulk?  Isn’t there time enough?  Does time have time?  Oh, you daemon children, can you not all wait?  Even the uncertain has its charm, the Sphinx, too, is a Circe, and Circe, too, was a philosopheress.”  So does a skeptic console himself, and in truth, he needs some consolation.  For skepticism is the most spiritual expression of a certain multifaceted physiological disposition, which, in ordinary language, is called “weakness of the nerves” and “sickliness.”  It comes about whenever races or lineages which have been long divided suddenly and decisively intermesh with one another.  Everything is disquietude, dementedness, doubtfulness, and tentativeness in the new generation, which has inherited, so to speak, different standards and values in its bloodstream.  The strongest powers function individually.  Each virtue prevents the other from growing and becoming strong; balance, support, and perpendicular stability are missing in body and soul.  It is the will, however, that is most diseased and degenerated in such commoners; they are no longer conversant with independent decision-making or the brave feeling of pleasure in willing—they are skeptical of the “freedom of the will,” even in their dreams.  Today’s Europe is the stage for a mindless, hasty attempt at the radical blending of lineages and consequently of races.  Today’s Europe is thus skeptical from top to bottom, sometimes exhibiting the mobile skepticism which springs impatiently and lustfully from one branch to another, sometimes somberly, as if it were a cloud over-laden with question marks—and often sick to death of its will!  Paralysis of will.  Where do we not find this cripple sitting today?  And yet how bedizened!  How seductively decorated!  These are the finest fancy dresses and masks for this disease.  What is exhibited in the showcase windows as “objectivity,” the “spirit of science,” “l’art pour l’art,” and “pure volitional cognition” is nothing more than bedecked skepticism and volitional paralysis.  I will vouch for this diagnosis of the European disease.  The sickness of the will is distributed unequally over Europe.  It is at its worst and most intricate where civilization has endured the longest, but it decreases wherever “the barbarian” still (or again) affirms his right under the baggy garment of Western culture.  In today’s France, it can be easily perceived and comprehended that the will is most moribund, and France, which has always had a superb talent for transmuting even the ominous crises of its spirit into something enticing and delightful, now blatantly exhibits its intellectual superiority over the rest of Europe by being the school and showcase of all the charms of skepticism.  Moreover, the power of willing and of perseverance in resolution is already somewhat stronger in Germany.  In Northern Germany, it is stronger than in Central Germany.  It is considerably stronger in England, Spain, and Corsica.  It is associated with phlegm in the former and with hardheadedness in the latter.  We should not overlook Italy, which is too young to know what it wants and must first show whether it can exercise will, but it is strongest and most surprising of all in that immense middle empire where Europe as it were flows back to Asia—namely, in Russia.  There, the power to will has been gathered and stored.  There, the will—uncertain whether it is negative or affirmative—waits portentously to be released (to use the language of our physicists).  Perhaps not only Indian wars and complications in Asia would be necessary to emancipate Europe from its greatest danger, but also internal subversion, the dissolution of the empire into small bodies, and above all, the introduction of parliamentary stupidity, together with the obligation for everyone to read one’s newspaper at breakfast.  I do not say this as one who wishes it.  In my heart, I would prefer the opposite.  I mean such an increase in the threatening attitude of Russia, that Europe would have to make up its mind to become equally threatening.  By acquiring a new will, by means of a new Europe-dominating caste.  An insistent, terrible will of its own, that can set its goals thousands of years ahead—so that the long spun-out comedy of its Small Statehood (Kleinstaaterei) and its dynastic and democratic multivolitionality might at last come to an end.  The time for minor politics has passed.  The next century will bring the struggle for the mastery of the world—the compulsion to great politics.


209. As to the extent to which the new, bellicose era in which we Europeans have seemingly entered might favor the development of another, stronger form of skepticism: I would like to express myself provisionally by way of a parable, which the friends of German history will surely understand. The questionable, insane father of Friedrich the Great. That mindless enthusiast for handsome grenadiers who had grown into big men.  The man who, as King of Prussia, gave existence to a military and skeptical genius and thereby, in reality, the new, triumphal emergence of the German type.  [Friedrich Wilhelm I] had the finesse and fortunate hand of the genius on at least one point: He knew what was wanting in Germany back then, and he know that this want was one hundred times more anxiety-provoking and urgent than any lack in education or social form.  His resistance to Young Friedrich came from a deep, instinctual dread.  Men were missing.  And the father suspected, to his bitterest annoyance, that his own son was not man enough.  In that, however, he was being self-deceptive.  But who would not have deceived oneself in his position?  He saw his son precipitate into atheism, into esprit, into the agreeable banter of brilliant Frenchmen.  He saw in the background the great vampire, Skepticism the Spider.  He suspected the irremediable misery of a heart that was not hard enough for either Good or Evil.  He suspected a broken will that commands no more, that can command no more.  In the meantime, however, there swelled in his son that much more dangerous and much more severe new kind of skepticism.  Who knows to what degree it was furthered precisely by his father’s hatred and by the glacial melancholy of a will that had become isolated?  The skepticism of audacious virility, which is closely allied to the genius for war and for conquest, make its entrance in Germany in the shape of Friedrich the Great.  It is a skepticism that is contemptuous—yet nonetheless seizes for itself.  It is a skepticism that undermines and takes possession.  It is a skepticism that believes nothing but that does not lose itself thereby.  It is a skepticism which gives the spirit a dangerous liberty but which holds tightly the heart.  It is the German form of skepticism, which, as a Friedrichism that perdured and ascended to intellectuality, has brought Europe for a long time under the subjection of the German spirit and its critical and historical mistrust.  Owing to the indomitably strong and resilient virile character of the great German philologists and historical critics (who, regarded properly, were all also artistes of destruction and corrosion), a new concept of the German spirit gradually stabilized itself.  In spite of all Romanticism in music and in philosophy, the drive toward virile skepticism was decidedly manifest in this new concept of the German spirit.  For instance, in the unfrightenedness of a gaze, in the courageousness and severity of the hand that carves to pieces.  In the resolute will to dangerous voyages of discovery, to intellectualized North Pole expeditions under destitute and dangerous skies.  There may be good reasons for the fact that warm-blooded and superficial humanists make the sign of the cross before this spirit, cet esprit fataliste, ironique, mephistophelique, as Michelet names it, not without shuddering.  However, if one would sympathize with this fear of the “man” that resides in the German spirit which wakes Europe from of its “dogmatic slumber,” let us call to mind the earlier concept of that had to be overcome.  And it wasn’t so long ago that a masculated woman would dare, with unbridled presumption, to commend the Germans as mild, good-heared, weak-willed, and poetic morons to the wider European audience.  Let us finally understand the astoundment of Napoleon when he came to see Goethe.  It reveals what people had thought of the “German spirit” for centuries.  “Voilà un homme!”  Napoleon meant to say: “That is indeed a man!  And I was only expecting a German!”—


210. Let us presume that in the image of the philosopher of the future, there is some trait which suggests that he is a skeptic in the aforementioned sense. If that is the case, such a feature [skepticism] designates only one thing about them—it is not something that designates who they are themselves. With the same justice, they might call themselves critics; certainly, they will be experiments.  By the name with which I dared to christen them, I have already explicitly highlighted their experimentation and their passion for experimentation.  Is this not because, as critics both physical and spiritual, they will love to pursue experiments in a new, perhaps broader, and more dangerous manner?  Isn’t it not that, in their passion for knowledge, they venture further in bolder and painful attempts—beyond what the delicate, cosseted taste of a democratic century will condone?  Doubtless these approaching ones will hardly forbear the serious, fastidious qualities that distinguish the critic from the skeptic.  I mean the assurance as to standards of value, the conscious application of a unified method, the reluctant courage, the ability to stand alone, and the ability to be responsible for oneself.  Indeed, the joy in negation and dismemberment will be acknowledgeable among themselves.  They will have a certain cool-headed cruelty which will know how to manipulate the knife with sureness and dexterity—whether the heart bleeds or not.  They will be more severe than humanitarians might like and perhaps not merely toward themselves.  They won’t relate to the “truth” as something that will give them “pleasure,” as something that will “lift them,” as something that will “edify” them.  Rather, they will have little faith that the “truth” could ever furnish such pleasantries.  They will smile, those stern spirits, whenever someone says in their presence: “If a thought lifts me, why should it not be true?” or “If a work bewitches me, why should it not be true?” or “If an artist expands [my sensibilities], why should he not be great?”  Perhaps they will not only smile but be genuinely nauseated by all that is thus exalted, idealistic, feminine, and hermaphroditic, and if anyone looked through the secret chambers of their hearts, one would scarcely find within the intention to coalesce “Christian sentiments” with “antiquarian taste” or even with “modern parliamentarism” (the sort of coalescence necessarily found in our very uncertain and therefore very conciliatory century even among philosophers).  Critical discipline and every habit that leads to purity and rigor in intellectual matters will not only be demanded of themselves by these philosophers of the future.  They might even exhibit it as their ornament—despite this fact, they will not want to be therefore called critics.  If it will be decreed, as is quite common these days, that “philosophy itself is criticism and critical science—and nothing else besides!” philosophers of the future will regard this as no minor scandal afflicting philosophy.  Though such an appraisal of philosophy might enjoy the approval of all the French and German positivists (and perhaps it flattered the heart and taste of even Kant: just call to mind the titles of his major works), our new philosophers will say nonetheless that critics are instruments of the philosopher.  As such, as instruments, they are far from being philosophers themselves!  Even the great Chinaman of Königsberg was only a great critic.


211. I insist that people finally stop confusing philosophical workers and scientists with philosophers. I insist that people rigorously adhere to the maxim “to each his due” and not give too much to one and too little to the other. It might be necessary to the education of real philosophers to stand on each of the steps on which his servants, the scientific workers of philosophy, have stood.  Perhaps the real philosopher must have been a critic, a skeptic, a dogmatist, a historian, a poet, a collector, a voyager, a solver of riddles, a moralist, a seer, a “free spirit,” and anything else before circumscribing the expanse of human values and feelings of value.  Before having the ability to look with manifold eyes and consciences from the heights into every distance, from the abyss up to every height, from the narrowness of the corner into the broadness of every vastness.  However, all of this is nothing more than a precondition for his task.  The task itself will be something different.  It is the demand for the creation of values.  Philosophical workers who model themselves on Kant or Hegel begin with a massive cache of valuations.  I mean, value-positings, creations of value, that were once dominant long ago and have long since been called “truths.”  Philosophical workers who imitate Kant or Hegel stabilize these valuations and push them into formulae, whether we are in the realm of logic or politics (morality) or art.  It is incumbent upon such researchers to make everything that has happened or has been estimated thus far surveyable, thinkable, graspable, and manipulable.  To take everything that has been around for a long time—yes, even “time” itself—and abbreviate it.  To overpower the whole of the past.  This is an awesome and wonderworthy task that would satisfy a sophisticated pride and a tough will.  Real philosophers, however, are commanders and legislators.  They say: “So shall it be!”  They are the ones who determine the human “Whereto” and the human “Wherefore” before anyone else.  They are enjoined to do the pre-work before any of the philosophical workers do their work.  Real philosophers reach for the future with the hands of creators.  Everything that is and everything that was becomes for them a means to an end, a tool, a hammer.  Their “cognition” is a form of creating, their creating is legislation, their will is truth—the will to power.  Are there such philosophers these days?  Have there ever been such philosophers?  Shouldn’t there be such philosophers?…


212. It has always seemed to me that the philosopher—necessarily, a person of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow—must always find himself in contradiction with his today. His enemy has always been the ideal of today. Until this point, all of these extraordinary investigators of humanity called “philosophers” seldom felt themselves to be friends of wisdom; rather, they felt themselves to be disagreeable fools and pernicious question marks.  Their task has always been being the bad conscience of their time—and this has always been their hard, unwitting, irrefusable task (and yet ultimately, this has been the greatness of their task).  Applying the vivisectional knife to the breast of the virtues of their time, they reveal what their own secret was: to know a new greatness in humanity, to open a new, unridden road to humanity’s magnification.  Each time, they uncover how much hypocrisy, complacency, and wantonness, how much letting-oneself-go and letting-oneself-fall, how many lies are concealed beneath the most honored specimens of contemporary morality.  How much of today’s virtue is obsolete!  Each time, they said: “We have to go out, we have to go out there today, where you feel least at home.”  In the world of “modern ideas” in which everyone is banished into a corner and [crammed into a] “specialization,” a philosopher—assuming that there are any philosophers today—would be impelled to posit the greatness of humanity (the concept of “greatness”) precisely in its expansiveness and manifoldness, in its totality-in-multiplicity.  He would even determine the worth and rank of a human being by how much and how many one could bear and take upon oneself, how far someone could stretch one’s responsibility.  Today’s taste and virtue weaken and dilute the will.  Nothing is more contemporary than the weakness of the will.  Therefore, the concept of “greatness” must include within itself the strength of the will, its toughness and its capacity to make protracted decisions (such a concept must be the ideal of the real philosopher).  With equal justice, an inverted epoch had the converse doctrine and ideal—the doctrine and ideal of a stupid, self-renunciative, humiliated, selfless humanity.  Such a doctrine and ideal was appropriate to the sixteenth century, with its pent-up volitional energy, a century that suffered from the most untrammeled waters and storm-surges of selfishness.  In the time of Socrates, among people with exhausted instincts, conservative Ancient Athenians who let themselves go—for the sake of “happiness,” as they said, for pleasure, as could be seen from how they behaved.  For this purpose, they put worn-out, pompous words into their mouths—words that their lives had no right to.  Perhaps irony toward the greatness of the soul was necessary at such a time—that malicious Socratic assurance of the old physician and man of the crowd.  An irony that mercilessly cut into the flesh, as if into the flesh and heart of the “distinguished,” with a single glance which spoke clearly enough: “Do not disguise yourselves before me!  Here—here we are equal!”  Today, by contrast, in Europe, where all herd animals receive equal honors.  In Europe, where honors are equally distributed.  Where the “equality of rights” all too easily could convert into the equality of wrongs.  I would like to say that there is in today’s Europe an all-out war against everything uncommon, against everything strange, against every privilege, against the higher humans, against the higher souls, against the higher duties, against the higher responsibilities, against the creative plentitude of power, against lordliness.  Today, the concept of “greatness” includes being-distinguished, wanting-to-be-for-oneself, being-able-to-be-other-than-oneself, standing-alone, and being-forced-to-live-by-one’s-own-strength.  And the philosopher will reveal something about his own ideal when he sets forth: “He shall be the greatest who can be the most alone, the most hidden, the most elusive, and the Human Being Who Is Beyond Good and Evil.  He will be master of his virtues, he who is abounding in will.  Just this shall be called greatness: being capable of being as multiple as one is whole.  Being capable of being as broad as one is full.”  And to ask the question once more: Is greatness possible today?


213. It is difficult to learn what a philosopher is because it is difficult to teach what a philosopher is. You have to “know” it—from experience—or you have to be proud not to know it. These days, people talk about things of which they can have no experience, especially (and worst of all) when it comes to philosophical affairs.  Few are familiar with matters of philosophy, few are permitted to know them, and every popular opinion about them is false.  So it is with the genuinely philosophical complementarity between a boldly wanton spirituality that runs presto and a dialectical rigor and necessity that never makes a mistake.  This experience [of the complementarity between spirituality and dialectics] is unknown to most thinkers and scholars; if someone were to tell them of it, they would find it incredible.  Most thinkers and scholars think of every necessity as a need, a strenuous having-to-follow and a compelled-to-do-it.  And think itself is, for them, something slow, halting, almost a burden and often enough something “worth the sweat of the noble.”  But not at all as something light and divine and closely allied with the dance and high spirits!  “Thinking,” “taking a matter seriously,” “considering something with gravity”—all of these things belong to one another, according to thinkers and scholars.  Such has been their “experience.”  Even artists might have a finer sense for [the complementarity between spirituality and dialectics].  They know all too well that only when nothing is “voluntary” and everything is necessary do their feelings of freedom, refinement, authority, creative positing, ordering, shaping reach their heights.  In short, they know all too well that necessity and the “freedom of will” are one and the same.  Lastly, there is a hierarchy of states of the soul which corresponds to the hierarchy of problems.  And the highest problems drive away anyone who dares to come too close, mercilessly reverberating anyone who is not intellectually predestinated to their solutions by virtue of one’s stature and power.  What does it matter if, as so often happens today, nimble averageheads and unnimble honest-hearted mechanics and empiricists push on with their plebeian energy as if they were rushing into the Court of all Courts!  No longer may dirty feet tramp upon such a carpet.  The Primeval Law of Things has already taken care of that.  The gates remain shut to these invaders.  May they smash and break their heads against these gates!  One must be born for that lofty world.  To say things more clearly: To have the right to philosophy (taking the word in its broadest sense), one must be bred into it.  One’s right to philosophy comes from one’s heritage, one’s ancestry; one’s “bloodline” is also decisive.  Multiple generations must pave the way for the engendering of the philosopher.  Each one of his virtues must be individually acquired, cultivated, passed down from previous generations, incarnated.  And not merely the bold, light, delicate gait and course of his thoughts.  Above all, his readiness to great responsibilities, the loftiness of his commanding gaze and his downmost look.  His feeling of remoteness from the mob, with all of its obligations and virtues.  The way in which he safeguards and defends, with gentle condescension, whatever is misinterpreted and aspersed and traduced, be it God, be it the Devil.  The pleasure, the practice in great justice.  The art of commanding.  The broadness of his will.  The deliberative eye, which seldom admires, seldom gazes upward, seldom loves…




214. Our virtues? We probably still have our virtues, but certainly not those squat, true-hearted virtues that our grandfathers held in esteem—virtues that we keep at arm’s length. We Europeans of the day after tomorrow.  We firstborns of the twentieth century.  With all of our deleterious curiosity, with our multisidedness, with our art of disguise, with our friable yet sugary cruelty of spirit and sensuousness.  If we must have virtues, we presumably would only have those that are compatible with our most intimate and most heartful proclivities—with our most flagrant requirements.  Avaunt!  Let us go searching for them in our labyrinths!  Wherein so many things are lost, wherein so many get lost.  And is there anything lovelier than an expedition for one’s virtues?  Doesn’t this almost mean: believing in one’s virtue?  This “believing-in-one’s-virtue”—is this not fundamentally the same thing as what is called the “good conscience”?  That honorable longicaudal concept, that pigtailed concept?  The one that our grandfathers used to wear on the backs of their heads—often enough, they would wear it on the backs of their intellects, too.  However little we might imagine ourselves to be old-fashioned and grandfatherly, in one respect, we are the worthy grandchildren of our grandfathers, we late-born Europeans, with our good consciences.  We, too, wear the pigtails on the backs of our heads.  Oh, if we only knew how soon, how quickly—something different were coming…!


215. As in the stellar realm, wherein two suns determine the path of a planet. In certain cases, multichromatic suns illuminate a single planet—now with red light, now with green—then cascade all of their colors upon that planet at once. So are we modern human beings—we are determined by the complex mechanics of our own “starry heavens.”  We are determined by a variety of morals.  Our actions are illumined by alternating colors.  They are seldom unambiguous—and there are enough cases in which we perform chromatic actions.


216. Love one’s enemies. I believe that is well-known. There are today thousands of instances of this, big and small.  Indeed, something loftier and more sublime happens now and again.  We learn to despise as we love, especially when we love best.  But all of this is unconscious, noiseless, without pageantry, with the shame and concealedness of kindness, which forbids both solemn words and the formulae of virtue.  Morality as attitudinizing—we find it tasteless these days.  The fact that we find it tasteless is a kind of progress.  Our fathers’ progress was regarding religion as a form of attitudinizing—as something tasteless (this includes the enmity toward religion and the Voltairean bitterness toward religion, as well as everything else that belonged to the dactylology of free spirits back then).  It is the music in our conscience, the dance in our spirit, which is never assonant with the litanies of the Puritans, the sermons of the moralists, or anything relating to the bourgeoisie.


217. Watch out for those who invest value in appearing morally tactful and sophisticated in moral decisions! They never forgive us when they slip up in front of us (they are especially unforgiving when they make a mistake concerning us)! They will inevitably and instinctively slander us and insult us, even while remaining our “friends.”  Blessed are the forgetful, for then they, too, will “have done” with their stupidities.


218. The French psychologists—where today are there psychologists other than in France? The French psychologists have never ceased savoring, with bitterness and in so many ways, the bętise bourgeoise. It is almost as if they were betraying something about themselves.  Flaubert, for instance, the good citizen of Rouen, ultimately saw, heard, or tasted nothing else.  This was his style of self-torment and refined cruelty.  Now, for a change of pace (otherwise, things would grow boring), I recommend another thing of delight: that is, the unconscious deviousness that all good, fat, upstanding mediocre spirits have toward higher spirits and their tasks.  I mean, that refined, enmeshed, Jesuitical deviousness which is one thousand times more refined than the intellect and taste of these mediocrities in any of their other best moments.  Their deviousness is more refined than even the intellects of their victims, the higher spirits (further evidence that “instinct” is the most intelligent form of intelligence that has hitherto been discovered).  To be succinct: Study, you psychologists, the philosophy of the “rule” in its conflict with the “exception”!  There you will have a spectacle fit for the gods and for divine malice!  Or to be relevant to contemporaneity: Perform vivisection on “good people,” on homo bonae voluntatis!


219. Moral judgments and moral condemnations are the favorite form of revenge of the intellectually limited on those who are less limited intellectually. They are also a form of compensation for who are poorly gifted by nature. Finally, they are an opportunity for the poorly gifted to acquire spirit and to become refined.  The spiritualization of malice.  For the intellectually limited, it does their hearts good to know that there is a measure by which they may stand equal to those who are inundated with intellectual gifts; it does their hearts good to know that there is a measure by which they may stand equal to those who are privileged with intellect.  They fight for the “equality of all before God” and almost need the faith in God for this purpose.  The most vigorous adversaries of atheism are among their number.  If someone were to say to them, “The decency and respectability of someone who is merely moral cannot be compared with a high level of intellectuality,” they would be infuriated.  I will be careful not to say that to them.  Rather, I will flatter them with my proposition that a high level of intellectuality is nothing more than the final outgrowth of the moral qualities of which it consists.  Instead, I will tell them that a high level of intellectuality is merely the synthesis of all of those conditions that had been individually acquired by the so-called “merely moral”—conditions that had been acquired through a long process of breeding and practice, perhaps even through a series of generations.  I would tell them, rather, that lofty intellectuality is just the spiritualization of justice and a sort of kindly severity which knows that it is entitled to maintain the order of rank in the world—among things themselves and not just among human beings.


220. Given the popularity of the term “disinterested,” one must become conscious of what truly interests people, perhaps not without danger. One must become conscious of the things that fundamentally and profoundly interest the common man—including the educated, even the scholars, and, unless everything is other than what it seems, perhaps even the philosophers. The fact emerges that the majority of what interests higher natures, those with more sophisticated and fastidious tastes, will seem entirely “uninteresting” to the average person.  If the average person notices a preoccupation with it nonetheless, he will name it “désintéressé” and asks himself how it is possible to act “disinterestedly.”  There have been philosophers who knew how to give the popularity [of “disinterestedness”] a seductive and mystical-otherworldly expression.  (Perhaps because they never experienced a high nature?).  Instead of setting forth the naked and honestly simple truth that a “disinterested” action is a very interested and interesting action, provided that…  “And love?”  How is that?  Even an act performed out of love should be “unegoic”?  Oh, you idiots—!  “And the praise for self-sacrifice?”  But who would actually sacrifice himself unless he knew that he wanted something for doing so and would receive something in return—?  Perhaps something from himself in exchange for something for himself.  That he surrendered himself in order to have something more, perhaps to be something more or indeed to “feel” himself as being something more.  But this is a realm of questions and answers in which a distinguished spirit would not to dwell for a long time.  This is precisely the moment at which Truth would have to suppress a yawn, if she had to give an answer.  In the end, Truth is a woman; no one should do her any violence.


221. “It comes about,” said a moralistic pedant and nitpicker, “that I prize and honor an unselfish person. Not because he is unselfish, however; I prize and honor him because it seems to me that [a moral person is someone who has] the right to use another person at his own expense. Enough!  It always a question of who he is and who that other person is.  For example, for a person who was made and determined for command, self-denial and self-withholding would not be considered virtues but the squandering of virtues.  That is how it seems to me.  Every unegoic morality that considers itself unconditional and directed toward everyone does not just transgress against good taste.  It also incites one to sins of omission and is yet another seduction under a mask of philanthropy—a kind of seduction and offense to those who are higher, those who are rarer, those who are privileged.  From the very beginning, morality must be forced to bow before rank order.  The presumptuousness of moral [gradation] must be thrust into one’s conscience until there is finally concurrence between them—until one finally recognizes that it is immoral to say that ‘what is right for one person is also fair for another.’”  So says my moralistic pedant and bonhomme.  Does he really deserve to be laughed at for pushing moral [gradation] into morality?  But you shouldn’t be too correct if you want the one who laughs at you to be on your side.  A little kernel of wrong belongs even to good taste.


222. Wherever pity is sermonized these days—and if you are listening carefully, you won’t hear any religion other than the religion of pity preached these days. Those psychologists who have ears, let them hear!  Behind all of the vanity, behind all of the noise that is peculiar to these preachers (and vanity and noise are peculiar to all preachers), the psychologist will hear the real raspy, groaning sound of self-contempt.  Self-contempt belong to the benightedness and uglification of Europe which have been growing for a century now.  (The first symptoms thereof can be found described in a thoughtful letter by Ferdinando Galiani to Madame d’Épinay.)  Self-contempt is a symptom of the benightedness and uglification of Europe—if it is not their cause!  The person of “modern ideas,” that proud ape, is boundlessly discontent with himself.  This has been established.  He suffers—and his vanity wants him to only “suffer with others,” to suffer the suffering of pity.


223. The European mongrel [Nietzsche does not mean this in any racist sense; as the paragraph will make clear, he is alluding to an intellectual mixing]—a relatively ugly plebeian, all in all. He absolutely needs a costume. He needs history as a storage closet of costumes.  Obviously, he notices that nothing looks good on his body—he changes his clothes and then changes them again.  Look at the nineteenth century as a rapidly alternating series of preferences, as a rapidly alternating masquerade of style.  Even during the moments of despair over the fact that “nothing suits” us.  In vain dressing up as in Romanticist or Classicist or Christian or Florentine or Baroque or “Nationalist,” in moribus et artibus.  No matter what: “It doesn’t look good!”  But “spirit”—particularly, the “historical spirit”—notices that even this despair is to its own advantage.  Again and again, a new portion of prehistory or some foreign country will be tried out, flipped over, put away, packed up, and, above all, studied.  We are the first to have studied epochs in puncto “costimes.”  I mean the morals, articles of faith, aesthetic tastes, and religions.  We are prepared, as no age before us ever was, for a carnival in the grand style, for spiritual carnival laughter and merriment, for the transcendental heights of the loftiest idiocy and for an Aristophanean mockery of the world.  Perhaps we will discover a realm of our invention, a realm where we can still be original, a realm in which we can be something like the parodists of world history and the clowns of God.  If nothing in our present has a future, perhaps at least our laughter will!


224. The historical sense (or the ability to quickly guess the hierarchy of values by which a population, a society, a human being has lived; the “divinatory instinct” for the characterization of values, for the relation between the authority of values and the authority of effectual forces). This historical sense, which we Europeans claim as our peculiarity, is a consequence of the bewitching, insane semi-barbarism into which Europe has been plunged by virtue of the democratic intermingling of classes and races. The nineteenth century is the first to be familiar with this sense as if it were its sixth sense.  The past of every form and way of life, the past of every culture (cultures that previously stood stiff next to another or on top of another) infuses into our “modern souls” thanks to this intermingling.  Our instincts are now running backward, and we ourselves are a kind of chaos.  Consequently, “the spirit” discovers thereby, as I said, its advantage.  Because of the semi-barbarism in our bodies and in our desires, we now have secret access to everywhere, to the labyrinth of undeveloped cultures and to every semi-barbarism that has ever been on Earth.  And inasmuch as the most considerable part of human culture thus far has been semi-barbaric, this “historical sense” almost signifies an instinct for everything, the taste and tongue for everything—by which it immediately shows itself to be an undistinguished sense.  We can enjoy Homer a second time, for example.  Perhaps the appreciation of Homer is our most fortunate advantage, one that people of a more distinguished culture do not and did not know how to make their own, one that they hardly allowed themselves (such as the French of the seventeenth century, such as Saint-Evremond, who rejected Homer’s esprit vaste, even the final notes of Voltaire).  The definitive “Yes” and “No” of their palate, their readiness to feel disgusted, their tentativeness and reserve in relation to anything foreign, their timidity before the tastelessness of even a lively curiosity, and the general unwillingness of every distinguished and self-subsistent culture to admit a new pleasantry, to admit any self-dissatisfaction, to admit an admiration for the exotic.  All of this puts a distinguished culture in an unfavorable position toward, disposes a distinguished culture unfavorably toward the best things in the world—whatever things cannot become their property or their prey.  No sense is more incomprehensible to such [distinguished] people than the historical sense and its groveling, plebeian curiosity.  It is no different with Shakespeare, this amazing Spanish-Moorish-Saxon taste-synthesis which would nearly kill an Ancient Athenian friend of Aeschylus with laughter or with rage.  But we—we accept this wild play of colors, this gallimaufry of tenderness, vulgarity, and artistry, with a secret familiarity and warmth.  We enjoy him as an aesthetic refinement reserved solely for us and do not allow ourselves to be disturbed by the repulsive fumes and the proximity of the English mob in which Shakespeare’s art and taste lived, any more than we allow ourselves to be disturbed by the Chiaia in Naples.  There, with all of our senses enchanted and willing, we go our way, however much the cloaca of the bad neighborhoods stench the air.  We people of the “historical sense”: We do have our virtues, that is indisputable.  We are undemanding, selfless, modest, bold, completely self-overcoming, acquiescent, quite grateful, quite patient, quite accommodating.  For all of that, we are not very “tasteful.”  Let us finally admit to ourselves that there is something which we people of the “historical sense” find difficult to comprehend, to feel, to taste once more, to love more.  Let us finally admit that there is something which we are fundamentally prejudiced against and almost inimical to.  It is the perfect and the ultimate.  It is the ripeness contained in each culture and genre of art, the genuinely dignified element (Vornehme) in works and in people.  It is the glimpse of smooth seas and halcyon self-sufficiency.  It is the goldenness and the coolness in which all perfect things are displayed.  Perhaps our great virtue, the historical sense, necessarily contradicts good taste.  At least it contradicts the best taste.  We are only able to reproduce the smallest, briefest, and highest turns of fortune and transformations of human life that light up here and there—and we are only able to do so poorly, haltingly, and with force.  We enjoy every moment and miracle when a great force voluntarily stands still before the measureless and illimitable.  We enjoy the moments at which an excess of refined pleasure is suddenly trammeled and petrified, establishing and stabilizing itself upon a ground that is still shivering.  Measure is alien to us, we must admit.  Our impetus is the impetus of infinitude, of illimitedness.  As if we were the rider on the horse which snorts as it moves forward, we drop the reins, we moderns, we semi-barbarians—and we are those who are there first, there in our serenity, where we are also the most—in danger.


225. Whether it is hedonism, whether it is pessimism, whether it is utilitarianism, whether it is eudaemonism: All of these ways of thinking are foreground ways of thinking and naiveties. They measure the worth of things by pleasure and pain—that is, according to subsidiary conditions and secondary matters. No one who is conscious of the formative powers and the aesthetic conscience will look down upon them without mockery and pity.  We pity you!  Our pity is, of course, not “pity” as you mean it.  It is not pity for social “distress,” for “society,” with its sick and its misfortunate.  It is not pity for the ever-burdened and the ever-broken, who lie around us on the ground.  Even less is it pity for the strata of grumbling, oppressed, rebellious slaves who strive for mastery (they call it “freedom”).  Our pity is a loftier, more hyperopic pity.  We see how humanity has been minimized—we see how you have minimized humanity!  And there are moments when we look at your pity with an indescribable anxiousness.  There are moments when we turn against this pity.  There are moments when we find your seriousness more dangerous than any kind of frivolity.  Whenever possible, you want to abolish suffering—and there has never been a crazier “whenever possible.”  And we?  Apparently, we wish that everything be intensified and worse than it was!  Welfare, as you understand it—that is no goal, it seems like an end to us!  A state that makes human beings ridiculous and contemptible—that makes them desire their decline!  The breeding of suffering, the great suffering—do you not know that it has been just this breeding which has brought about the ascension of humanity?  The tenseness of the soul when it is in a state of misfortune—this is what trains its strength.  The shudder of the soul when it glimpses its own great destruction.  Its sensitivity, its bravery as it bears, perseveres, deciphers, exploits its misery.  And whatever gifts it has been given—profundity, mystery, masking, spirit, cunning—haven’t they been given to the soul by suffering, by the discipline of the great suffering?  Within every human being, creator and creature are unified.  Within every human being is contained material, fragments, excess, mud, filth, nonsense, chaos.  But within every human being, also the creator, the educationalist, a kind of hammer-hardness, a sort of divine spectatorship, and the Seventh Day are also present.  Do you understand this contradiction?  And that your pity concerns the “creature in humanity”—what must be shaped, broken, forged, rent, burnt, polished, purified.  That is, what necessarily suffers and must suffer?  And our pity—do you not understand at whom our inverse pity is directed?  Our inverse pity is directed against the feeblest and the most cosseted.  Thus, pity against pity!  However, to say it once more, there are greater problems that all of the pleasure problems, suffering problems, and pity problems.  And every philosophy that proceeds from such problems is a form of naivete.


226. We immoralists! The world that concerns us, the world in which we are frightened, the world in which we love, this nearly invisible, inaudible world of subtle commands, of subtle obedience, a world in which an “almost” exists in every respect, this spiny, tricky, spiky, cushy world. Indeed, this is a world that is shielded against vulgar spectators and overly familiar curiosity!  We are spiderwebbed in a strong net and garb of duties and cannot get out.  Within we are exactly “people of duty,” even we!  Now and then, it is true, we dance well in our “chains” and between our “swords.”  More often, it is just as true that we grind our teeth under the pressure and are impatient of the secret difficulties of our fate.  But we are able to do what we want.  Morons and appearances say against us: “Those people have no duties.”  We will always have morons and appearances against our side!


227. We cannot rid ourselves of our honesty, we free spirits (assuming that it is our virtue to begin with). Now, we want to work on our honesty with all of the malice and love that we can muster and will never grow tired of it. The only thing that remains for us now is the “perfecting” of the virtue of honesty.  Like a gilded, azure, mocking twilight, may its glow settle upon this aging culture and all of its soggy, somber seriousness.  And if our honesty nonetheless grows tired and sighs and stretches its limbs and finds us too hard and would rather that things be better, lighter and more tender, like a pleasant vice.  Let us stay hard, we last Stoics!  And we will facilitate our honesty with all of the devilry that lies within us.  Our disgust for the crass and the approximate, our nitimur in vetitum, our adventurer’s courage, our shrewd and fastidious curiosity, our most refined and disguised intellectual will-to-power and a world-overcoming that lustfully rambles and raves over all of the realms of the future.  Let us bring all of our “devils” to help out our “God.”  It is likely that people will be mistaken about us and misinterpret us because of this—who cares?  They will say: “Your ‘honesty’ is nothing more than your devilry!”  Who cares?  And even if they were right!  Isn’t it the case that all gods heretofore are sanctified, rechristened devils?  And ultimately, what do we know about ourselves?  And what will be the name of the spirit that leads us?  (It is a matter of naming.)  And how many spirits will we conceal?  Let us make sure that our honesty will never become our vanity, our finery, our gaudery, our finity, our stupidity, O free spirits!  Every virtue inclines to stupidity, as every form of stupidity inclines to virtue.  “Stupid to the point of holiness,” as one says in Russia.  Let us be careful not to become holy and boring out of honesty!  Isn’t life one hundred times too short to be bored?  One has to believe in eternal life in order to…


228. Forgive me the insight that all moral philosophy so far has been boring and soporific. And nothing has done more to lower “virtue” in my eyes than the tediousness of its advocates. Still, I wouldn’t want to misrepresent their general usefulness.  It is important to note that the fewest number of people reflect on morality.  It is even more important that morality should one day become interesting!  However, do not be concerned!  Things are today as they have always been.  I have not seen a single European who conceived of moral reflection as something dangerous, risky, seductive, or catastrophic (or who communicated that moral reflection could be any of these things).  See, for example, the indefatigable, inescapable English utilitarians.  How crassly, how reverentially they follow the footsteps of Bentham, wandering here and wandering them (a Homeric parable says it clearer), as Bentham himself followed the footsteps of the revered Helvétius.  No, he was not a dangerous man, this Helvétius (ce sénateur Pococurante, to quote Galiani).  This is no new thought, nor is it the sophisticated modulation of an old thought or even a crease in an old thought.  It is not even the real history of what had been thought.  An impossible literature, on the whole, unless you know how to silage it with a little malice.  That old English vice known as cant has insinuated into the works of these moralists (which one must read with second thoughts, on the proviso that one must read them at all).  Cant is moralistic Tartuffery that is disguised under the new form of scientificity.  There is no shortage of secret defenses against the biting of the conscience that afflicts a race of former Puritans whenever they deal with a scientific conception of morality.  (Is a moralist not the opposite of a Puritan?  Isn’t a moralist a thinker—someone who considers morality as something questionable, as something worthy of a question mark, as something problematical?  Shouldn’t moralization be—immoral?).  Ultimately, they all want English morality to be given its rights—since it would best serve humanity or “general utility” or “the fortune of the majority.”  No, rather, morality would best serve the fortune of England!  They want to demonstrate, with all of their power, that striving for the fortune of England is the right path of virtue.  (By “the fortune of England,” I mean comfort and fashion and, in the best circumstance, a seat in Parliament.)  [They believe that] all the virtue that has ever existed in the world has consisted in such a striving.  Not a single of one of these awkward, guilty-conscience herd animals wants to know or to scent the fact that “general welfare” is far from being an ideal, far from being a goal, and far from being any kind of comprehensible concept.  They don’t want [to accept the fact] that “general welfare” is nothing more than a vomitive.  Or: What is fair for one person can absolutely not be fair for another person.  Or: The demand for a universal morality is the depreciation of the higher human being.  Or: There is a hierarchy between one human being and another human being; consequently, there is a hierarchy between one morality and another morality.  The utilitarian Englishman is a modest and fundamentally mediocre kind of person and, as I said earlier, insofar as he is boring, one cannot think more highly of his utility.  They should even be encouraged, as the following verses attempt to do, to a certain extent:


Hail, you good wheelbarrow pushers!
Forever “the longer, the better”
Forever stiff in head and knee
Spiritless, humorless
Indestructibly mediocre
Sans genie et sans esprit!


229. The most recent epochs, which have every reason to be proud of their humanity, still have so much fear, so much superstitious fear of the “savage, cruel beast.” The mastery of the beast is precisely the reason for this human epoch’s pride. Even palpable truths have remained unspoken for centuries, as if by mutual agreement, because it appears that these truths would help bring that savage beast back to life—that beast which took so long to kill off.  I will be taking a risk, to an extent, if I let such a truth elude me.  May others re-encage that truth and give it to drink the “milk of pious thinking” until the truth lies quiet and oblivious in its usual corner.  It is important to unlearn and to re-learn cruelty and to open one’s eyes.  Impatience should finally be learned so that such immodest, fat errors stop wandering around virtuously and impetuously—for example, the ideas about tragedy that have been fed to ancient and modern philosophers.  Almost everything that we call “higher culture” rests on the spiritualization and deepening of cruelty.  This is my thesis.  That “savage beast” has hardly been slaughtered.  It lives, it blooms, it has just been—deified.  Cruelty is what constitutes the painful voluptuousness of tragedy.  The agreeable effects of tragic pity (so called) derive their sweetness from the mixed-in ingredient of cruelty.  Even the agreeable effects of sublimity—all the way up to the loftiest and tenderest shiverings of metaphysics—fundamentally derive their sweetness from the mixed-in ingredient of cruelty.  The Roman in the arena, Christ in his ecstatic spasms on the cross, the Spanish in view of the heretics’ pyre or the bullfight, the modern Japanese storming to see tragedies, the Parisian suburban laborer with his nostalgia for a bloody revolution, the Wagnerianne with her unhooked will who “loses herself” over Tristan and Isolde.  What all of these savor, what all of these strive to drink in with a secret fervor, is the spicy drink of the great Circe “Cruelty.”  We must indeed chase away the stupid psychology of yesterday, which only teaches of cruelty that it originates from the sight of a strange suffering.  There is much more fertile—indeed, an overly fertile—enjoyment that comes from one’s own suffering, from one’s own making-oneself-suffer.  And wherever a human being denies oneself in the religious sense or maims oneself, as the Phoenicians and ascetics did.  Or generally considered, desensibilization, the flaying of the skin, contrition.  The Puritanical spasms of penitence, the vivisection of the conscience, the Pascalian sacrifizio dell’intelletto.  Whenever this happens, he is secretly tempted by his own cruelty and charges forward with that dangerous shudder of self-directed cruelty.  Ultimately, it should be considered that even the knower, by forcing his mind to know against his mind’s tendencies and, often enough, against the desires of his heart, as well, says, “No,” where might have affirmed, loved, worshipped.  The knower rules as artist and transmuter of cruelty.  Even every taking-as-deep and taking-as-fundamental is a form of violation, a wanting-to-hurt the basic will of the spirit, which ceaselessly tends toward semblance and superfice.  Even in every wanting-to-know there is a droplet of cruelty.


230. Perhaps people will not immediately understand what I have said here about a “basic will of the spirit.” Permit me to elucidate. The commanding Thing which people call “the spirit” wants to master itself and master everything around it and feel as if it were the master.  It has the will to change plurality into unity.  It is a binding-together, trammeling, mastery-loving, and truly masterful will.  Its requirements and capacities are the same as physiologists have established for all that lives, grows, and multiplies.  The force of the spirit—to appropriate the strange—discloses itself in a strong tendency to assimilate the new with the old, to simplify the multiple, to oversee or to repel the contradictory.  Just as it will arbitrarily highlight, extract, or falsify definite traits and lines of the strange, of some portion of the “external world.”  Its intention is to incorporate new “experiences,” to sequentialize new things into old sequences.  Its intention, then, is growth—more precisely, the feeling of growth, the feeling of augmented energy.  The same will is served by an apparently oppositional drive of the spirit, a resolution to ignorance that suddenly breaks out.  The arbitrary cutting-off, the closing of its window, the interior “No”-saying to this thing or to that thing, the not-letting-approach, the kind of defensive position against much that is knowable, the feeling of contentment with darkness, with shut-off horizons, the “Yes”-saying and calling-ignorance-“good.”  All of which are necessary in accordance to the degree of its appropriative force, its “digestive force,” to use a metaphor—and truly, “the spirit” does resemble a stomach more than anything.  Likewise, here belongs the occasional will of the spirit to allow itself to be deceived, perhaps with the playful suspicion that things do not stand that way (that you just accept things as they are), perhaps with a feeling of pleasure in every uncertainty and equivocality, the joyous self-enjoyment in the arbitrary narrowness and intimacy of a corner, in the all-too-close, in the foreground, in the magnified, in the minimized, in the displaced, in the beautified, a self-enjoyment in the arbitrariness of all of these expressions of power.  Finally, there belongs here that not quite harmless readiness of the spirit to deceive other spirits and to disguise itself from them, the constant pressure and intensity of a creative, formative, mutable force.  The spirit enjoys the plurality of its masks and its shrewdness.  It also enjoys the feeling of its security [behind the mask]—it is precisely through its Protean arts that it is best protected and hidden!  This will to semblance, to simplification, to the mask, to the cloak, in short, to the superficial—for every surface is a cloak—counteracts that sublime tendency of the knower that accepts things (and desires to accept things) as deep, multiple, and fundamental.  [The sublime tendency of the knower] is a kind of cruelty of the intellectual conscience and taste which every valiant thinker will acknowledge resides within him (assuming that, as befits him, his eye has hardened and sharpened itself long enough and is used to strict discipline, even to stern words).  He will say: “There is something cruel in the tendency of my spirit.”  May virtuous, lovely people try to dissuade him from it!  In fact, it would sound more graceful if one, instead of cruelty, accused us of “extravagant honesty” (or murmured it to us or praised us for it)—we free, very free spirits.  And perhaps this is what our—posthumous fame will be?  In the meantime (for there will be time before then), we are the least likely to gussy ourselves up with such moralistic verbal baubles and verbal frippery.  Our entire work thus far has been spoiled by this taste and its lively luxuriousness.  These are such beautiful, glittering, clanging, festive words: “honesty,” “the love of truth,” “the love of wisdom,” “sacrifice for the sake of knowledge,” “the heroism of the truthful.”  There is something within these words that swells one’s pride.  But we hermits and marmots, we have long since persuaded ourselves to assume the secrecy of the hermit’s conscience.  We have long since persuaded ourselves that this pompous verbal display belongs to the cladding of old lies, to the rubbish and gold dust of unconscious human vanity.  And we have persuaded ourselves that beneath the smarmy coloring and overpainting the terrible foundational text homo natura is still recognizable.  To retranslate the human being into nature.  To become master over the many vain and fanatical interpretations and adjoining senses of nature which had been hitherto been scribbled and painted over the eternal foundational text homo natura.  To ensure that the human being stands henceforth before human being as he does today, hardened in the discipline of science, before the other nature, with unfrightened Oedipus eyes and stopped Odysseus ears, deaf against the seductive means of old metaphysical bird catchers, which had warbled at him for too long: “You are more!  You are higher!  You are of another origin!”  This may be a strange and insane task, but it is a task—who would deny it?  Why would we choose it, this insane task?  Or to put it another way: “Why know anything at all?”  Someone will ask us this question.  And we, thus pressured, we who have been asked the same thing one hundred times, we found and find no better answer…


231. Learning transforms us. It does what all nourishment does that does more than merely “keep one alive,” as every physiologist knows. But at bottom, at our deepest “bottom,” there is indeed something unteachable, the granite of an intellectual fatum that gives predetermined decisions and answers to select, predetermined questions.  From within each cardinal problem speaks an immutable “So I am.”  As to man and woman, for instance, a thinker cannot re-learn; he can only cease-learn.  He can only uncover, at last, what he considers “established.”  In time, certain solutions are found to problems that inspire within us a firm belief.  Perhaps one will name them henceforth one’s “convictions.”  Later, one sees them as nothing more than footsteps to self-knowledge, guideposts to the problems that we are.  Or rather, guideposts to the great stupidity which we are, to our intellectual fatum, to the unteachableness of our “down below.”  On account of the abundant graciousness that I bestowed upon myself, perhaps I will be permitted to pronounce a few truths concerning the “Woman in itself”—on the condition that one understands from the outset that these are merely my truths.




240. Once more and for the first time, I heard Richard Wagner’s Overture to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. It is splendid, over-encumbered, heavy, late-stage art, which pridefully assumes that two centuries of music are still living—for the purpose of making the work understandable. It is to the Germans’ honor that such a pride made no mistakes!  What succulence, what forces, what seasons, what climes are here not intermingled?  Sometimes, it strikes us as ancient.  Sometimes, it strikes us as exotic, bitter, and juvenile.  Sometimes, it is just as arbitrary as it is ponderously conventional.  It is not seldom curmudgeonly; more often, it is coarse and gross.  It has fire and courage and, at the same time, the flaccid, fallow skin of fruit, which ripens too late.  It streams out wide and full, and suddenly, there is a moment of inexplicable tentativeness, as if it were a hole that ruptures between cause and effect, a pressure that gives us to dream, almost a nightmare.  But already the old flow of comfort broadens and expands once more, the most multifaceted kind of comfort, the comfort of old and new happiness, certainly including the feeling of happiness that the artist has for himself, a happiness that he refuses to hide, the amazed, happy, shared knowledge of his mastery of the means that are here applied, his new and newly acquired, never-tested aesthetic equipment which he appears to reveal to us.  All in all, no beauty, no South, nothing of the southern, refined brightness of the sky, nothing graceful, no dancing, scarcely a will to logic.  Even a certain vulgarity that is highlighted, as if the artist wished to say to us: “This was my intention.”  A portentous garbing, something arbitrarily barbarous and solemn, a flurry of scholarly and reverential preciosity and witticism.  Something German, in the best and worst senses of the word.  Something multiple, amorphous, and inexhaustible in the German manner.  A certain German potency and overflowing of the soul, which is unafraid to conceal itself beneath the raffinements of decadence (which is where it feels best).  A right, genuine, veritable sign of the German soul, which is at the same time young and old, overripe and overrich in the future.  This kind of music expresses bet what I think of the Germans: They are from the day before yesterday and from the day.  They still have no today.


241. We “good Europeans”—even we have hours when we permit ourselves a heartful fatherlandness. Hours when we slide and plop down into old loves and a bit of narrowness. (I gave an example thereof in the passage above.)  [From time to time, even we have] surges of nationalism, moments when we are oppressed by bursts of patriotism, when we are inundated by all kinds of ancient feelings.   Weighty spirits, such as we are, might take a long time to have done with such moments, moments that are restricted to a few hours and that might be over with in a few hours.  For one of us, it might take half a year; in another, it might take the course of one’s human life.  It depends on the speed and force with which they digest and “metabolize.”  Indeed, a could think of dull, halting races of people that would need, even in our fast-paced Europe, half a century to overcome their atavistic attacks of fatherlandness and glued-to-the-soilness and reclaim their reason, by which I mean their “good Europeanness.”  And as I am digressing on this possibility, it strikes me that I am the earwitness of a conversation between two old “patriots.”  Evidently, they are hard of hearing and for that reason are speaking all the louder.  “He has opinions and knowledge of philosophy as much as a farmer or a fraternity brother,” one of them says.  “He is still innocent.  But who cares about any of that today?  This is the time of the masses.  All prostrate themselves before massiveness.  And that’s how it is in politics, too.  They call a statesman ‘great’ if he builds up a new Tower of Babel, some behemoth of realm and power.  Who cares whether we more careful ones and more reserved ones, in the meantime, don’t believe that a great thought leads to a great deed or a great cause?  Suppose that a statesman brought his people into a position where they were forced to pursue ‘great politics’—a position for which they were badly equipped by nature and for which they were badly prepared.  So that it were necessary for them to sacrifice their old and reliable virtues for the sake of a new and dubious mediocrity.  Suppose a statesman condemned his people to ‘politicization’ when they have much better things to do and better things to think about and, in the core of their souls, have never freed themselves from a circumspect disgust for restiveness, emptiness, and noisy vixenishness.  Suppose that such a statesman prods the dormant passions and cupidity of his people, makes a flaw of their former coyness and enjoyment of stasis, makes a sin of their exoticism and secret infinitude, devalues their most ardent habits, reverses their conscience, narrows their spirit, ‘nationalizes’ their taste.  How is this?  A statesman who would do all of this—who would force his people to do penance for all of the future, if there even were a future—such a statesman would be great?”  The other old patriot answered the first with vigor: “Of course!  Otherwise he couldn’t have done it!  Was it insane to have such desires?  But perhaps all greatness is insane at its inception!”  His interlocutor screams at him: “Misuse of words!  Strong!  Strong!  Strong and insane!  Not great!”  The old men had evidently gotten themselves heated, as they screamed their ‘truths’ in each other’s faces, in such a fashion.  I, however, in my happiness and in my Beyond, thought how soon the stronger become master over the strong.  And also that the intellectual flattening of a people equals the deepening of the other.


242. The distinction that Europeans are seeking, whether one calls it “civilization” or “humanization” or “progress.” Let it be called simply, without praise or blame, “the democratic movement in Europe” (to use a political formula). Beneath the foreground of morality and politics that is indicated by such formulae, an extraordinary physiological process is occurring, a process that is constantly flowing.  It is the process of approximating all Europeans.  It is their growing liberation from the conditions under which races of people originate, races that are climate-bound and class-bound.  It is their progressive independence from that determinate milieu which has inscribed its demands within their souls and bodies for centuries.  It is thus the slow emergence of an essentially supranational and nomadic kind of person who, physiologically speaking, possesses the maximum skill and power of adaptation (it is exemplified by this distinction).  The process of the European who is becoming, who might be slowed down by lapses in tempo but who can perhaps gain vehemence and depth thereby, who can grow.  The Storm and Stress of the current period of “nationalistic feeling” belongs here, as does the emergent movement of anarchism.  This process will probably produce results that might not be expected by its naïve promoters and eulogists, the apostles of “modern ideas.”  The same new conditions that give rise to the equalization and banalization of humanity.  The same new conditions that form a serviceable, sedulous, multiply useful, and employable herd-animal human are, to the highest degree, suitable to generate the most dangerous and most prepossessing qualities of the exceptional human.  While that adaptive power, which experiments with ever-changing conditions and works anew on every new generation, with almost every new decade, making the powerfulness of that type impossible.  While the total impression of such a future European will probably be a garrulous, weak-willed, and extremely employable worker who needs a master as he needs his daily bread.  While, therefore, the democratization of Europe proceeds from the engendering of slavery in the most subtle sense of the word.  In individual and exceptional cases, the strong human will be forced to become stronger and richer than he has ever been before, thanks to the absence of prejudice in his schooling, thanks to the monstrous plurality of exercises, arts, and masks.  I would like to say that the democratization of Europe is, at the same time, the involuntary institution of a breeding ground for tyrants.  I intend the word tyrants in every sense, including in the intellectual.


243. I am pleased to hear that our sun is rushing toward the Hercules constellation. And I hope that the human beings upon this Earth will do as the Sun does. And we at the vanguard, we good Europeans!


244. There was a time when one was accustomed to naming the Germans with the distinguished word “profound.” Now that the new, more successful type of German is greedy for much different honors, and now that the “sharpness” is perhaps missing from his depth, it is almost certainly timely and patriotic to ask if one did not deceive oneself in giving such praise. [We might ask] whether the German depth is not fundamentally something much different and worse than what it appears to be.  Perhaps it is something that one can successfully get rid of—thank God!  Let us, then, attempt to re-learn German profundity!  Nothing is more necessary for this purpose than a little vivisection of the German soul.  The German soul is, above all, composed of multiple and diverse origins; it is more assembled and agglomerated than actually built: That is because of its provenance.  Any German who would be emboldened to claim, “Two souls dwell, alas, in my breast!” would be misapprehending the truth.  It would be more accurate to claim that he missed the truth that there are many souls within.  The Germans are a group of people who are the most extraordinary mingling and confluence of races, perhaps even with a surplus of pre-Aryan elements—a “people of the center,” in every sense.  The Germans are more incomprehensible, more comprehensive, more contradictory, more obscure, more unpredictable, more surprising, even more terrifying to themselves than any other group of people.  They evade definition and are, for that reason, the despair of the French.  The fact that the question “What is German?” never dies out is characteristic of the Germans.  Kotzebue knew the Germans well enough: “We are recognized,” they rejoiced to him—and even Sand believed that she knew them.  Jean Paul knew what he was doing when he railed against Fichte’s mendacious yet patriotic flatteries and hyperbole.  However, it is likely that Goethe thought otherwise about the Germans than Jean Paul did, even though Goethe did concur with his critique of Fichte.  What did Goethe actually think about the Germans?  But there are so many things that he never explicitly spoke of, so many things about which he knew to be silent.  It was a lifelong, prudent silence—he probably had good reasons for it.  It was certainly not the “Wars of Independence” that made him gaze joyfully upward, any more than it was the French Revolution.  The event that prompted him to rethink his Faust—indeed, the event that prompted him to rethink the entire problem of the “human”—was the appearance of Napoleon.  There are words of Goethe in which he repudiates Germany as if he were an outsider, repudiating with an impatient severity everything that the Germans consider their pride.  Goethe once defined the famous German mind as “forbearance of the weaknesses of others, forbearance of one’s own weaknesses.”  Was he incorrect?  One of the traits of the Germans is that one is hardly ever completely wrong about them.  The German soul bears within itself passageways and breezeways.  There are caverns within it—and hiding places, castle dungeons.  The chaos of the German soul has the charm of an enigma.  The German understands the secret passages to chaos.  And as everything loves its likeness, so does the German love the clouds and all that is unclear, all that becomes, all that is twilit, all that is moist and ominously impending.  He feels that anything which is uncertain, shapeless, self-displacing, and intensifying is “deep.”  The German is nothing in himself; he becomes, he “develops himself.”  “Development” is therefore the genuinely German ‘Catch and Release’ game in the grand realm of philosophical formulae.  “Development” is a regent concept, allied with German beer and German music, that is laboring to Germanize the whole of Europe.  Foreigners stand astounded and fascinated before the enigmas produced by the antinomic nature of the German soul (which Hegel used in his System and which Richard Wagner ultimately put into music).  “Good-natured” yet “mean-spirited”: Such a complementarity would be impossible for any other population.  Unfortunately, it is justified all too often in Germany.  Just live for a while among the Swabians!  The awkwardness of the German scholar, his social gaucheness, corresponds terrifyingly well with a kind of inner tightrope walking and easy audacity that all the gods have learned to fear.  If anyone wishes to demonstrate the “German soul” ad oculos, just look at the German taste, German arts and culture.  What a plebeian indifference toward matters of “taste”!  How the noblest and the commonest stand beside each other!  How disorderly and overflowing is the entire economy of the soul!  The German drags his soul around.  He drags around everything that he has experienced.  He badly digests his experiences; he will never be “finished” with them.  His German depth is often nothing more than a heavy, halting form of “digestion.”  And as with all the sick, as with all dyspeptics who have the urge for comfort, so the Germans loves “openness” and “conventionality.”  How comfortable it is to be open and conventional!  Today’s German understands that being confiding and accommodating and leaving one’s cards on their table—German honesty—it is perhaps the most dangerous and fortunate kind of concealment.  It is his genuinely Mephistophelean art, with which he can nonetheless “go too far”!  The German lets himself go and looks out with true, blue, empty, German eyes—and foreigners quickly mistake him with nightshirt!  I would like to say: Let the “German profundity” be what it will.  Between us, shall we not permit ourselves to have a laugh about it?  We would do well henceforth to honor the appearance and good name of “German profundity” and not to take it out in trade, not to exchange it too easily for Prussian “sharpness” and Berlinian wit and sand.  It is clever for a people to take themselves for deep, for incompetent, for good-natured, for honest, for dimwitted—or to allow themselves to be so taken.  That could even be—a kind of depth!  Lastly, one should honor one’s name.  The Germans, die Deutschen, are not called the tiusche people for nothing, the deceptive people, das Täusche-Volk…


245. The “good old” days are over. Mozart sang them out. How fortunate we are that his rococo still speaks to us!  How fortunate we are that his “good society,” his tender exaltations, his childish pleasure in Chinese culture and in arabesques, his heartfelt etiquette, his yearning for the delicate, for the darling, for the dancing, and for the lachrymose, his faith in Southern Europe still appeal to something residual within us!  Alas, someday, this will all be gone!  But who would doubt that the understanding and taste for Beethoven will be gone even sooner?  Though he was only the swan’s song of a stylistic transition and a stylistic interruption and not, as was Mozart, the swan’s song of a grand European taste that lasted for centuries.  Beethoven is the intermediate stage between an old, brittle soul that is constantly shattering and a futurely, immature soul that is constantly approaching.  Upon his music settles that twilight of eternal loss and eternally illimitable hope—the same light that suffused Europe when it dreamed along with Rousseau, when it danced around the Tree of Freedom of the revolution and ended by virtually idolizing Napoleon.  But how quickly does this feeling blanch!  How difficult is it even to know this feeling today!  How strange does the language of this Rousseau, Schiller, Shelley, and Byron sound to our ears!  A collective language in which the destiny of Europe was verbalized.  The language that Beethoven knew how to make sing!  The next stage of German music was Romanticism—that is to say, historically considered, a briefer, more volatile, more superficial movement than that great interlude, that transition from Rousseau to Napoleon and to the resurrection of democracy.  Weber?  What are his Freischütz and Oberon to us today?  Or Marschner’s Hans Heiling or Vampyr?  Or even Wagner’s Tannhäuser?  That sound has now faded, even though the music has not yet been completely forgotten.  The whole of Romantic music was scarcely elegant enough, scarcely music enough, to have any right to be anywhere other than in the theatre, in front of a crowd.  From the beginning, it was second-rate music, music that only a few real musicians took seriously.  Things stood otherwise with Felix Mendelssohn, that halcyon master who, thanks to his lighter, purer, more gifted soul, was quickly admired and just as quickly forgotten as a beautiful incident within German music.  As far as Robert Schumann is concerned: He was taken seriously and took things seriously himself, right from the beginning.  He was the last one to found a school.  Between you and me, is it not fortunate, is it not a relief, is it not liberating to know that Schumannian Romanticism has been overthrown?  Schumann, who flushed into the “Saxon Switzerland” of his soul.  Schumann, whose nature was semi-Wertherian and semi-Jean-Paulian.  Schumann was certainly not Beethovenian!  And certainly not Byronian!  Schumann’s Manfred is misbegotten and misconceived to a fault.  Schumann’s taste was fundamentally a minor taste (namely, a dangerous tendency toward serene lyricism and dipsomania of feeling—this tendency is doubly dangerous among Germans).  Schumann is constantly walking on the side of the road.  He is always shyly apologizing and retreating.  He is a noble tenderling who reveled in nothing but anonymous joy and anonymous pain.  From his inception, he was a kind of little girl, noli me tangere.  This Schumann was nothing more than a German event in music and not even a European event such as Beethoven was.  Nor was he a European event in the even more comprehensive manner that Mozart was.  With Schumann, German music met its greatest danger: the loss of the voice of the European soul, sunk into mere fatherlandness.


246. What torture are German-language books for those who possess the third ear! How the reader stands unwillingly beside this slowly swirling sump of soundless sounds and undanceable rhythms which the Germans call a “book”! And the German reader of books!  How lazy, how reluctantly, how badly he reads!  How many Germans actually know the art that should be placed into every sentence—and how many Germans demand the knowledge thereof?  It is an art that wants to be fathomed as much as the sentence wants to be understood!  A misunderstanding about its tempo, for example.  And the sentence itself has been misunderstood.  To be confident with rhythmically decisive syllables, to find charming and deliberate the interruption in all-too-stringent symmetries.  To extend a refined and patient ear to every staccato and rubato and to fathom the sense in the sequence of vocals and diphthongs, how tenderly and how richly their colors change when placed in succession.  Which book-reading German is good-natured enough to recognize such duties and requirements and to be able to listen to so much art and intention in the language?  Ultimately, the Germans do not “have the ear for it.”  And so the strongest stylistic contrasts will not be heard and the most refined artistry will be squandered, as if on the dead.  These were my reflections as I observed how someone mistook two masters of the art of prose for each other—in such a crass and clueless manner.  One of these masters lets the words drip down, hesitantly and coldly, as if from the ceiling of a moist cave; he expects the dull sound and resonance.  And the other grasps his language as if it were a supple dagger and, from finger to toe, feels the dangerous joy of the quivering, super-sharp clink-clang which wants to bite, which wants to sizzle, which wants to cut.


247. Our best musicians write badly—and this fact shows how little sound and ear there is within the German [prose] style. Germans do not read aloud. They read with the eye, not with the ear, all the while keeping their ears in a drawer somewhere.  When the ancients read, if they read at all (it happened seldom enough), they read aloud to themselves and loudly.  Whenever someone read quietly, they were nonplussed and asked themselves, “Why?” in private.  “Loudly”: That means, with all of the swellings, inflections, sudden changes in tone, and alterations in tempo that the ancient public world took pleasure in.  Back then, the laws of graphic style were the same as the laws of phonetic style.  And those laws partly depended on the astonishing training of the ear and the larynx, the sophisticated precepts for the ear and the larynx; they were also dependent on the strength, duration, and power of the ancients’ lungs.  A period is (in the antiquarian sense) a physiological totality unified in a single breath.  Such periods (as appear in the work of Demosthenes and Cicero) swell and sink twice over in a single draught of breath.  This is pleasure for the ancients, who knew from their own schooling how to value the virtues of rarity and difficulty in the performance of such periods.  We moderns really have no right to the great period—we who are short of breath in every sense!  The ancients were altogether dilettantes when it came to speaking—therefore, they were knowers and therefore, critics.  For this reason, they drove their rhetors to the extreme.  In the same way, in the previous century [the eighteenth century], all of the Italians and Italianesses knew how to sing; through them, lyrical virtuosity (and therefore also the art of melody) reaches its height.  Until most recently, in Germany, there was a genre of public and vaguely artistic speech (before a kind of grandstand eloquence shyly and crassly enough animated its young wings)—that was the rhetoric which came from the pulpit.  The preachers were the only ones in Germany who knew how much a syllable weighed, how much a word weighed—the extent to which a sentence strikes, leaps, crashes, runs, runs out.  They had conscience in their ears, and often enough, it was a bad conscience.  For there was no shortage of reasons why a German should so rarely attain skillfulness in rhetoric—almost always do so late in life.  The masterpiece of German prose is, without question, also the masterpiece of the greatest preacher in Germany.  The Bible has been the best German book thus far.  In comparison with Luther’s Bible, almost everything else is just “literature”—something that did not germinate in Germany and therefore did not and does not germinate in German hearts.  As the Bible has done.


248. There are two kinds of genius. The first kind of genius procreates and wants to procreate. The second is pleased to be fructified and to give birth.  There is the female problem of pregnancy among the second people of genius, to whom has fallen the secret obligation of forming, ripening, completing.  The Greeks, for example, were a people of this stripe, as are the French.  The first type of genius has the necessity of fructifying and becoming the origin of new orders of life—like the Jews, the Romans, and (to ask in all modesty) perhaps the Germans?  These people are tortured and raptured by obscure fevers and are ineluctably forced out of themselves, loving and lusting after foreign races (those who “let themselves be fructified”).  They are thereby impelled to mastery, as are all those who are full of procreative forces and thus know they are “of God’s grace.”  These two forms of genius seek themselves out, as men and women seek themselves out.  However, they misunderstood each other, as men and women do.


249. Every population has its own form of Tartuffery and calls this its “virtues.” No one knows the best of what one is. No one can know the best of what one is.


250. What does Europe owe to the Jews? A great deal, both good and bad, but primarily one thing that is both the best and the worst: the grand style of morality. [Europe has the Jews to thank for] the fearsomeness and majesty of endless requirements, endless meanings, the whole romanticism and sublimity of moral problematics.  [But Europe also has the Jews to thank for] life’s most attractive, most subtle, and most special elements within that play of colors and seductiveness in whose after-shimmer the evening sky of contemporary European culture is glowing.  And perhaps is glowing out.  Along with the spectators and the philosophers, those us who are artists are thus—grateful to the Jews.


251. One has to accept the fact that a people will suffer, will want to suffer, from nationalistic typhus and political ambitiousness. All kinds of clouds, all kinds of disturbances will waft over their spirit—basically, minor attacks of stupefaction. With today’s Germans, for example, there is the Anti-French stupidity, the Anti-Judaic stupidity, the Anti-Polish stupidity, the Christian-Romantic stupidity, the Wagnerian stupidity, the Teutonic stupidity, the Prussian stupidity, and whatever they are called (look at the miserable, blubber-headed, bandage-headed historians Sybel and Treizschke for examples of these stupidities)—minor becloudings of the German spirit and conscience. Pardon me for not being completely immune from such illnesses when I dwelled, for a brief time, in a severely infected region.  As did everyone else, I had thoughts about things that did not concern me: the first sign of the political infection.  For instance, the Jews.  Listen!  I have never met a German who was kindly disposed toward the Jews.  And even though real Antisemitism is unconditionally rejected by the prudently and politically minded, this prudence, this political cast of mind is not directed against the feeling of Antisemitism itself; rather, it is directed against its dangerous excessiveness.  In particular, it is directed against the tasteless and injurious manner in which this immoderate feeling is expressed.  Let there be no doubt of this!  The statement that Germany has more than enough Jews, that it is necessary for the German stomach, for the German blood to have done with this quantum of “Jews” (and that it has been long since necessary)—in the way that the Italians, the French, the English have done (thanks to their stronger digestive systems): This statement is the clear enouncement, the clear language of a universal instinct that one should listen to, that one should act upon.  “Do not let any more Jews inside!  Close the doors to the Jews, especially the doors to East Germany (also to Austria)!”  Thus commands the instinct of a people that are so weak and indeterminate that they could easily be wiped out, extinguished by a stronger race.  The Jews are doubtless the most vigorous, toughest, and purest race that lives in Europe today.  They understand how to persevere even in the worst conditions (better even than in favorable conditions) thanks to virtues that people today would rather label as vices.  Thanks, above all, to a resolute faith that doesn’t need to be ashamed before “modern ideas.”  If they change, they change in the way that the Russian regime makes conquests—in the way that regime which has time on its side does, in the way that a regime does that wasn’t born yesterday.  That is, they change according to the foundational principle “As slowly as possible!”  A thinker who has the future of Europe on his conscience will, in every sketch he makes of this future, take the Jews into account in the same way that he would take the Russians into account: as the most certain and likely factor in the great play and struggle of forces.  What is called a “nation” in today’s Europe (and what is really more of a res facta than a res nata—and sometimes a res ficta et picta will look exactly the same): What is called a “nation” in today’s Europe is, in each case, something that is becoming, something that is young and easily displaceable and not yet a race at all, to say nothing of the aere perennius which is the Jewish mode.  These “nations” should be careful and look out for every hot-headed rivalry, for every hot-headed adversarial attitude!  The Jews could already have dominance—literal supremacy—over Europe by now, if they wanted to (or if they were forced to, which is what the Anti-Semites seem to want).  This is established.  Yet they have not worked toward this goal; likewise, they have not made plans to do so.  In the meantime, what they want and wish for instead—indeed, with a certain impetuosity / obtrusiveness / pushiness—is to be assimilated with, and absorbed by, Europe.  They are thirsting for this goal—to find a place where they can be fixed, permitted to exist, respected, and to put an end to the nomadic life, the life of the “eternal Jew.”  And one should notice this drive, this push (which expresses, perhaps, even an alleviation of the Jewish instinct) and accommodate them.  For this purpose, it would be perhaps useful and judicious to throw the Antisemitic loudmouths out of the country.  Approached cautiously, selectively, around the way that the English nobility does it.  It would clearly be unproblematic for the strongest and already well-formed New German types (for instance, the noble officers of the Mark Brandenburg) to engage with them.  It would be interesting from a number of perspectives to see (or not to see) whether the genius for fortune and patience (as well as spirit and spiritualness, which is markedly lacking today in the Mark) might not be added to, bred into, the inherited art of commanding and obedience (both are classical attributes of the Mark).  But now it might be opportune for me to end my cheerful Germanomania and my festive speech, for I am already touching on something that I do take seriously: the “European problem,” as I understand it, and the breeding for a new, caste that would reign over Europe.


252. This is no philosophical race—the English.  Bacon signified an attack on the philosophical mind in general. Hobbes, Hume, and Locke degraded and minimized the value of the concept of the “philosopher” for over a century.  Kant rose up and stood up against Hume.  Schelling had this to say about Locke: “Je méprise Locke.”  In their fight against the English-mechanistic idiotization of the world, Hegel and Schopenhauer (with Goethe) were of one mind.  Both fraternal enemy geniuses in philosophy, who moved along the opposite poles of the German spirit (and who thereby did each other wrong, as only brothers can do).  Every semi-actor and rhetorician knew well enough what is missing in England and what has always missing in England.  The gauche chowderhead Carlyle, who sought to hide beneath grotesquely caricatured emotions what he knew about himself: the real power of intellectuality, the real depth of the intellectual gaze, was missing in himself.  Basically, philosophy.  It is characteristic of an unphilosophical race that it holds on to Christendom so tightly.  Such a race needs discipline in “moralizing” and humanization.  The English is more somber and more sensuous, more strong-willed and more brutal than the German; between the two of them, the English the more common one, as well as the more pious one, precisely for those reasons.  The English has an even greater need for Christendom.  To more sophisticated nostrils, the English Christendom still has the genuinely English, second-hand aroma of spleen and alcoholic excess against which it is rightly used as a remedy.  The subtler poison against the cruder poison, then.  A subtle poison, in fact, is an advance, a step toward intellectualization, among crude populations.  The English vulgarity and peasant seriousness are most tolerably disguised—rather, analyzed and reinterpreted—through Christian dactylology and through praying and psalmody.  As for that herd of drunk and dissolute cattle which used to grunt their moralisms under the auspices of Methodism—and which today, grunt their moralisms as the “Salvation Army”: For such a herd of cattle, a spasm of contrition might be the highest “human” accomplishment which they can attain, relatively speaking.  This much may be reasonably admitted.  The most offensive thing about even the most humane Englishman is his absence of music, to speak metaphorically (and literally).  He has neither tact nor dance in the movements of his soul and body.  Indeed, he doesn’t even have the desire for tact or for dance—for “music.”  Listen to him speak.  Watch the loveliest Englishwoman as she walks—in no other country on Earth are there lovelier doves and swans.  Finally, listen to them sing!  But I am asking for too much…


253. There are some truths that are understood by mediocre brains better than by any others because these are the brains that are the most appropriate for them.  There are some truths that are only capable of stimulating and enticing mediocre minds. This uncomfortable / unpleasant proposition is being thrust upon us, now that the spirit of well-respected yet mediocre Englishmen is preponderating in the middle regions of European taste.  I would name Darwin, John Stuart Mill, and Herbert Spencer [in this respect].  Who would doubt that it is useful for such minds to dominate—for the time being?  It would be a mistake to think that those spirits of the higher kind, those spirits which fly beyond, would ever be skilled at establishing and collecting common little facts—and deriving conclusions from them.  Rather, being the exception, they are not in any favorable position [to judge] the “rule.”  Ultimately, they have more to do than merely to know.  That is, they have to be something new and mean something new; they have to present new values!  The chasm between knowledge and ability is perhaps greater—and spookier—than one thinks.  Those who are capable of doing things in the grand style, the creators, might have to be ignorant.  While, on the other hand, when it comes to scientific discoveries of the Darwinian type, it might not harm to have at one’s disposal a certain narrowness, aridity, and diligent carefulness—in short, it might do no harm to possess English traits.  Let us not forget that the English once caused the total depression of the European spirit with their profound banality.  With what people term “modern ideas” or “the ideas of the eighteenth century” or “French ideas.”  There is no doubt that what the German spirit stood up against with the deepest nausea was of English origin.  The French have been nothing more than the apes and the performers of these ideas—indeed, they have even been their best soldiers.  Likewise, and regrettably, the French were their first and most fundamental victims.  For ultimately, the âme française grew so thin and starved on the damned Anglomania of “modern ideas” that we look back on their sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (with their profoundly passionate energy, their inventive elegance) with something akin to disbelief.  It is necessary to clamp on this statement of historical fairness with one’s teeth and defend it against momentary glimpses and illusions: The European noblesse is the invention and work of the French—the feeling, the taste, the customs (in brief, taking the word noblesse in its highest sense).  European commonness, the plebeianism of modern ideas—is the invention and work of the English.


254. Even now, France is still the site of the most spiritual and refined culture in Europe and the lofty academy of taste. But one must know how to find this “France of Taste.” Whoever belongs to it knows how to hide.  There might be a small number of people in which it lives, in which it is bodied forth.  To this school belong, perhaps, those who do not stand on the strongest legs—a portion thereof are fatalists, the somber, the sick.  Another parcel comprises the mollycoddled and the artificial—those who are ambitious enough to conceal themselves.  They all have something in common: They close their ears to the raging stupidity and loud gabbling of the democratic bourgeois.  Indeed, a stupidified and vulgarized France undulates in the foreground today.  Recently, France celebrated a real orgy of distastefulness and self-admiration at Victor Hugo’s funeral.  And they have something else in common: the good will to keep intellectual Germanization at bay.  And an even greater inability to do so!  Perhaps Schopenhauer is now more at home within this France of the Spirit, which is also a France of Pessimism, than he ever was in Germany—and more comfortably at home within.  Not to speak of Heinrich Heine, who has transmigrated into the flesh and the blood of some of the more sophisticated and fastidious lyricists of Paris for some time now.  Or of Hegel, who appears today in the shape of Taine, the preeminent living historian, on whom Hegel exerts a nearly tyrannical influence.  As far as Richard Wagner is concerned: The more that French music learns to develop according to real demands of the âme moderne, the more will it “Wagnerize.”  Such may one say in advance.  It is already happening!  Nevertheless, there are three things that the French may display with pride as their inheritance and as their property and as unlost traits of an ancient cultural preponderance over Europe—despite all of the voluntary or involuntary Germanization and mobification of taste.  One is the capacity for artistic passion, for the obeisance to “form,” for which the phrase l’art pour l’art was invented (besides thousands of others).  Something like this has existed in France for three centuries.  Thanks to [the French] reverence for “small numbers,” a kind of chamber music of literature has been made possible that is missing in the rest of Europe.  The second (thing that grounds the preponderance of the French over Europe) is their ancient, multifaceted, moralistic culture, which means that one finds, generally considered, even among the little romanciers of newspapers and the occasional boulevardiers of Paris a certain psychological sensitivity and curiosity that no one finds a concept of in, for example, Germany (to say nothing of the actual thing!).  For this purpose, the Germans lack a few centuries of moralism, which, as I said above, France has not denied itself.  Anyone who calls the Germans “naïve” for this reason is turning a deficiency into something worthy of praise.  (In contrast to the German inexperience and innocence in voluptate psychologica, which is not remotely related to the tedium of German social intercourse.  In this realm of tender shuddering, Henri Beyle counts as the most accomplished expression of a genuinely French curiosity and talent for invention, that remarkably anticipatory forerunner ran with a Napoleonic tempo through his Europe, through many centuries of the European soul, as a detector and discoverer of this soul.  Two centuries were required to somehow catch up with him, to guess some of the riddles that tormented and enraptured him, this wonderful Epicurean and question-mark man who was France’s last great psychologist.)  There is yet a third claim to superiority: The essence of the French is a half-complete synthesis of the North and the South.  A synthesis that allows them to comprehend many things and to do many other things that an English would never comprehend.  Their temperament is periodically directed toward, and diverted away from, the South.  Within this temperament, from time to time, the Provençal and Ligurian blood froths over.  The French shield themselves from the dreadful northern Grey-on-Grey and its sunless conceptual spookiness and anemia.  Against the excessiveness of our German disease of taste, one will prescribe blood and iron with great resolve: the “great politics” (according to a dangerous healing art which teaches me to wait and wait, but not to hope).  And in the French there is a predisposition and an accommodating manner toward those rarer and rarely satisfied people who are too cosmopolitan to find satisfaction in any kind of fatherlandishness, toward those who know how to love the North in the South and the South in the North.  For the congenital Mediterranean, the “good European.”  Bizet made music for them—Bizet, this last genius, who has seen a new beauty and seduction and who has discovered a piece of the Southernness of music.


255. With regard to German music, I advise a great deal of caution. Provided that one loves the South as much as I love the South—intellectually and sensuously, as a great academy of the healing arts. With its boundless sunniness and sunny transfigurations, which spread over a self-dominating and self-trusting existence.  Now, such a person who loves the South in such a manner will learn to be careful about German music.  For this kind of music not only will ruin his taste; it will ruin his health, as well.  Such a Southerner—not by descent, but by faith—must dream of the redemption of music from the North if he dreams of the music of the future / the future of music.  He will dream of having within his ears the prelude to a more profound, more powerful, and perhaps more evil and more mysterious music—a supra-German music, which does not fade away, grow pale, or become jaundiced before the sight of the voluptuous, blue sea and the Mediterranean sky, as all German music does.  A supra-European music that asserts its rights even before the brown sunsets of the desert, its soul related to the palm tree, its soul knowing how to be at home among massive, beautiful, solitary predators, its soul knowing how to wander…  I could imagine a music, the rarest magic of which would be that it knew nothing of good and evil.  Perhaps it would only know some kind of sailors’ homesickness, trembling here and there with a few golden shadows and tender vulnerabilities.  It would be an art that would see the escaping colors of a declining, almost incomprehensible moral world from a place far away.  And it would be an art that would be hospitable and deep enough to accommodate those who seek asylum later in life.


256. Thanks to the diseased estrangement of the populations of Europe from one another. An estrangement that has been set in motion by the lunacy of nationalism and that is still dividing the populations of Europe. Thanks also to those politicians with their quick glances and precipitous hands who are on top today because of this nationalistic lunacy.  These politicians are unaware that the politics of radical divergence which they pursue is necessarily only an intermediate form of politics.  Thanks to all of this, and thanks to much that is unspeakable today, the most unambiguous signs which express that Europe wants to become unified have been either overlooked or mendaciously reinterpreted.  The real direction of all the more profound and more expansive human beings of this century has been to prepare, in the mysterious labor of their soul, the way for a new synthesis and to try to anticipate the European of the future.  Only in the foreground, only in their weaker hours (such as old age), did they belong to a “fatherland.”  Only when they relaxed from themselves did they become “patriots.”  I am thinking of Napoleon, Goethe, Beethoven, Stendhal, Heinrich Heine, Schopenhauer: Don’t blame me if I include Richard Wagner among them, about whom one should not be led astray by one’s own misunderstanding.  Geniuses of this type seldom have the right to understand themselves.  Even less are they understood, of course, because of the rude noise that the French use to block and shield themselves from Richard Wagner.  The fact remains, though, that the French Late Romanticism of the 1840s and Richard Wagner belong to each other in the closest and most intimate manner.  They are related in all of the heights and depths of their requirements—they are fundamentally connected.  The soul of Europe, the soul of the One Europe, is that which yearns and urges outward and upward—whereto?  To a new light?  Toward a new sun?  But who wouldn’t like to express precisely what all of the masters of the new medium of language did not know how to express clearly?  It is certain that the same Storm and Stress tormented them, that they searched in the same fashion, these last great searchers!  The first artists with a world-literary education—most of them were even writers, poets, mediators, and synthesizers of artistic media and the sensorium.  Literature dominated all of them, all the way into their ears and their eyes.  (Wagner belongs as a musician among painters, as a painter among musicians, as an artist, in general, among actors.)  All of them were fanatics of expression “at all costs.”  I would highlight Delacroix as Wagner’s closest relative.  All of them were great discoverers in the realm of the sublime—also in the realm of the ugly and that of the ghastly.  They were even greater discoverers in the realm of effects, in the realm of showmanship, in the art of showbusiness—all of which were talents that were far outside of their genius.  Virtuosi through and through, with an uncanny access to everything that seduces, entices, compels, overthrows.  Congenital enemies of logic and of straight lines.  Lusting after the foreign, the exotic, the monstrous, the crooked, the self-contradictory.  As human beings, they were Tantaluses of the Will.  Parvenu plebeians who knew how to strike an elegant tempo in life and in creation yet who were incapable of a lento.  One thinks, for instance, of Balzac.  Untrammeled laborers, almost destroying themselves through labor.  Antinomians and rebels against ethics.  Ambitious and insatiable without a sense of balance and without taking any pleasure from being so.  All of them at last broken by the Christian Cross, all of them sinking down.  (And rightly so, for who among them would have been profound and original enough for an Antichristian philosophy?).  Each of them was a kind of impudently bold, splendidly violent, high-flying and high-soaring higher human being who first taught their century—and it is the century of the mob!—the concept of the “higher human being.”  May the German friends of Richard Wagner research whether there is something absolutely German in Wagnerian art or whether its distinctness comes from supra-German sources and impulses.  The degree to which Paris was indispensable to the formation of the Wagnerian type may not be underestimated.  The depths of Wagner’s instincts summoned him to Paris at the decisive moment.  Nor should one underestimate the degree to which his entire appearance, his self-apostolate, was based on the model of French socialism.  Perhaps a closer comparison will reveal, to the credit of Richard Wagner’s German nature, that he did everything stronger, bolder, and harder than the French of the nineteenth century could do—thanks to the circumstance that we Germans stand closer to barbarism than the French.  Perhaps the oddest thing that Richard Wagner ever created will be inaccessible, unsympathetic, and inimitable to the late Latin races, today and evermore: the figure of Siegfried, that quite free human being who might actually be far too free, far too severe, far too cheerful, far too healthy, and far too anti-Catholic for the tastes of traditional and delicate cultural populations.  He might have even been a sin against Romanticism, this anti-Romantic Siegfried.  Now, Wagner had richly abolished this sin, in his sad old age, anticipating a taste that in the meantime has become political.  He took his own religious vehemence down the path toward Rome.  Perhaps he did not travel down this path himself, but he did begin to sermonize the path toward Rome.  So that no one misunderstands these aforesaid words, I will avail myself of a few powerful rhymes which will reveal to less sophisticated ears my intentions.  What I have against “late Wagner” and his Parsifal music.


Is that still German?

Did this sleazy screeching come from a German heart?
And is this the self-flaying of a German body?
German is this priestly hand-folding?
This incense-fragrant sense-stimulating?
And German is this stumbling, tripping, falling?
This insecure wham-bam-bamming?

Is that still German?

Think!  You are still standing by the gate:
For what you hear is Rome—Rome’s wordless faith!




257. Any elevation of the “human” type has been the work of aristocratic society, and so shall it ever be. An aristocracy is a society that believes in the long ladder of hierarchy; it believes in the diversity of values between one human being and another. And it believes that slavery, in some form, is always necessary.  A pathos of distance arises from the incarnate difference between the classes, the constant looking beyond and looking down of the dominant classes upon their subordinates and tools, and the just as constant practice of obedience and commanding—the holding-down and holding-away.  Without this pathos of distance, that other, more mysterious form of pathos could not grow: the demand for an ever-greater distance, the demand for an ever-greater widening of distance within the soul itself.  The continual formation of ever-higher, ever-rarer, ever-remoter, ever-broader, ever more expansive states of the soul.  Basically, the very elevation of the “human” type, the continuous “self-overcoming of the human being,” to assimilate a moralistic formula into a supra-moral sense.  Indeed: Do not allow yourself to give in to any humanitarian deceptions concerning the history of the development of aristocratic societies (such a society is thus the presupposition of the elevation of the “human” type).  The truth is hard.  Let us tell the story, without sparing anyone’s feelings, of the way that every higher culture on Earth has begun!  Those who still have a natural nature, those who are barbarians in the terrible sense of that word, those rapacious predators who are still in possession of the seamless force of will and the desire for mastery.  They pounce upon those who are weaker, more civilized, more peaceful—perhaps they pounce upon those who belong to the merchant races or the cattle-breeding races.  Perhaps they pounce upon those who belong to ancient, delicate cultures, whose final burst of vitality flickered out in a glittering firework spectacle of spirit and corruption.  The distinguished caste was originally the barbarian caste.  The superiority of the barbarian resided not primarily in his or her physical force, but rather in his or her soulful force.  [The barbarian] was the more complete human being (which meant, at that stage, “the more complete beast”).


258. Corruption is the expression of the instincts which are threatening anarchy. Corruption is also the expression that the fundamental structure of affects, which we call “life,” has been destabilized. Corruption means something fundamentally different, depending on the lifeform in which it shows itself.  If, for example, an aristocracy, such as the French aristocracy at the beginning of the Revolution, throws away its privileges in a gesture of sublime nausea and sacrifices itself to an excessiveness of moralistic feeling: This is corruption.  It was actually only the concluding act of the enduring corruption of the eighteenth century in which the aristocracy gradually surrendered its dominant authority and deposed itself to a function of the kingdom (and finally became the bauble and ornament of that kingdom).  The most essential thing about a good and healthy aristocracy is, though, that it should not feel as if it were a function (whether it be of the kingdom, whether it be of the communality).  The essential thing about a good and healthy aristocracy is that it feel as if it were the sense and the highest justification of the kingdom, of the communality, etc.  It is essential, for this reason, that the aristocracy accept the self-sacrifice of an indeterminate number of human beings with good conscience—human beings who must be oppressed and reduced to incompleteness, to slaves, to instruments in the service of the aristocracy.  Its fundamental belief must be that the society is not permitted to exist for the sake of society.  Rather: The fundamental belief of the aristocracy must be that society exists merely as the substratum and scaffolding for the sake of an exceptional type of human being.  Its fundamental belief must be that society exists merely in order to empower the exceptional type of human being, to allow the exceptional type of human being to elevate to his or her higher task and to his or her higher being.  This comparable to that heliotropic Javanese climbing plant called sipo matador.  Wrapping its arms around the oak tree, this plant climbs relentlessly and for so long until it finally comes to the top of the oak and, propped upon the oak’s highest branches, unfolds its corolla in the free light and displays its happiness.


259. Sharing injury, violation, exploitation. Positing one will as equal to another’s. These can be considered good manners between individuals (“good manners” understood in the colloquial sense), if the right conditions are there.  (“The right conditions” would be the actual similarity in strength and value of two individuals and the co-belonging of the aforementioned experiences within a single body.)  However, as soon as one wants to assume this principle and make it—wherever possible—the foundational principle of a society: Then, the principle of sharing grievances and equalizing wills shows itself for what it is.  It is the will to negate life.  It is the principle of dissolution and disintegration.  Here you have to think thoroughly and rationally and resist all sentimental weakness.  Life itself is essentially appropriating, damaging, dominating the strange and the weak, oppressing, imposing one’s own forms on others, incorporating, being-severe, and—at the very least, in the mildest of cases—exploiting.  But why must we use such old words?  Words from an age that imprinted them with a defamatory meaning?  As we presupposed above, even within a body that treats bodies that are like it as equal—and this happens in every healthy aristocracy: Such a body will behave toward bodies that are different from it in a way that it refrains from behaving when it encounters bodies that are similar to it.  That is, if that body is a living body and not a dying body.  The body of the aristocrat must be the corporeal will to power.  It will grow, it will expand, it will draw to itself, it will desire supremacy—not out of some kind of morality or immortality, but rather because it lives and because life itself is the very will to power.  Nowhere is the vulgar consciousness of the European more resistant to education than it is here.  Everywhere, these days, people are raving—all while wearing scientific clothes.  They are raving about the conditions of a future society which will abolish its “exploitive character.”  To my ears, that sounds as if they were promising to invent a life that abstains from developing any organic functions.  “Exploitation” does not belong to a corrupt or incomplete or primitive society.  It belongs to the essence of the living itself, as its basic organic function.  “Exploitation” is the consequence of the actual will to power, which is the very will to life.  Granted, this is a new theory.  In reality, it is the ur-fact of all history.  At the very least, let us be honest about it!


260. As I wander through the coarser and more sophisticated morals that have dominated this Earth (or that still dominate the Earth), I have found that certain traits regularly repeat themselves and bind themselves to other traits. At last, two basic types were revealed, and a basic distinction emerged. There is master morality and slave morality.  Let me add that in all higher and synthetic cultures, there appears the attempt to intermediate both forms of morality.  Even more often, the two moralities are confused with each other, and reciprocal misunderstandings arise.  Indeed, you sometimes find them starkly juxtaposed—even within the same person, even within the same soul.  Moral value distinctions originate either from the dominating type—which takes pleasure in its difference from the dominated type—or from the dominated type (slaves and dependents of every degree).  In the first case: If it is the dominators who determine (and determine well) the concept of morality, the sublime and proud states of the soul will be felt as the most distinctive and hierarchical states.  The distinguished person divides himself from those creatures who express the contrary of such elevated, proud states of the soul.  He has contempt for them.  It becomes immediately apparent that in the first form of morality, the opposition between “Good” and “Evil” means the same as the opposition between “Distinguished” and “Contemptible.”  The opposition between “Good” and “Evil” comes from a different origin.  Contemptible will be the cowardly, the nervous, the trifling, whoever thinks of his own restricted utility.  Even more contemptible are the mistrustful person with his unfree glances, the self-denigrating person, the canine type of human who allows himself to be mistreated, the smarmy beggar, and, above all, the liar.  Such is the fundamental belief of all aristocrats: The common people are mendacious.  “We truthful ones”: This is how the nobility of Ancient Greece named itself.  It is obvious that moral valuations were first derived from people and only later derived from actions.  For this reason, it is an awful mistake when the moral historians begin their inquiries with the question “Why do we praise acts that are done from pity?”  The distinguished type of human being feels himself to be determinative of value.  S/he does not need approval.  S/he judges: “What is injurious to me is injurious in itself.”  S/he knows himself or herself as the one who confers honor to things in the first place.  S/he is creative of value.  Everything that s/he recognizes in him- or herself is honored.  Such morality is a form of self-glorification.  In the foreground is the feeling of plentitude, the feeling of a power that wants to overflow, the happiness that comes from the feeling of high tension, the consciousness of a wealth that wants to give and squander.  Even the distinguished person helps the misfortunate, but never or almost never out of pity.  Rather, s/he does so from the feeling of pressure that is produced by the overflow of power.  The distinguished person honors the mightiness within himself/herself.  S/he honors, as well, the one who exerts power over oneself.  The distinguished person honors the one who knows when to speak and when to keep silent; s/he honors the one who applies rigor and severity to oneself.  “Wotan put a hard heart in my breast”: So goes an ancient Scandinavian saga.  This was rightly poeticized from the soul of a proud Viking.  Such a person is quite proud that s/he is not made for pity.  For this reason, the hero of the sage admonishes: “Whoever does not have a hard heart when young will never be hard.”  Those who are distinguished and audacious and who think in such a manner are the furthest away from that morality that sees pity or acting for the benefit of others or désintéressement as its distinctive traits.  Belief in oneself, pride in oneself, and a fundamentally adversarial and ironic position toward “selflessness” belong to a distinguished form of morality—so does the gentle deprecation of one’s inferiors and the reluctance to be empathic, as well as the reluctance to have a “warm heart.”  The mighty are those who know how to honor.  It is their art, their realm of sensation.  The profound reverence toward age and tradition—the whole of justice rests upon this double reverence, and the belief in, and the preference for, one’s ancestors and the disinclination toward the approaching generations: These things are typical of the morality of the powerful.  Conversely, if people of “modern ideas” believe almost instinctually in “progress” and the “future” and are ever more lacking in reverence for age: This reveals the undistinguished origin of these “ideas.”  For the most part, however, the morality of the dominant is alien to contemporary tastes.  Its fundamental propositions are considered to be uncomfortable in their stringency: that one only has duties toward one’s equals.  That one may behave toward creatures of inferior rank and toward anything strange as one pleases or “as the heart desires.”  In any event, one is permitted to act toward such creatures “beyond Good and Evil.”  Pity and other such things may belong here.  The capacity and the obligation to practice long-term gratitude and long-term vengeance—both only practiced among one’s equals—refinement in retaliation, conceptual refinement in friendship, a certain necessity to have enemies.  (Enemies are, as it were, the “ditches” for the affects of envy, rivalry, arrogance—basically, in order to be able to be a good friend, such “ditches” are needed.)  All are the typical characteristics of the morality of distinction, which, as indicated above, is not the morality of “modern ideas” and which is therefore difficult to sympathize with today.  It is also difficult, these days, to excavate and to uncover the morality of the distinguished.  Things stand otherwise with the second type of morality, slave morality.  Suppose that the violated, the oppressed, the suffering, the unfree, the insecure, and the fatigued are moralizing.  What would their moral valuations be?  Probably a pessimistic distrust of the whole situation of humanity would be expressed.  Perhaps a judgment of human beings together with their situation.  The gaze of the slave is disadvantageous to the virtues of the powerful.  [The slave] is skeptical and mistrustful; he is subtly mistrustful of anything that is revered as “Good” [on the side of the masters].  He would like to persuade himself that their fortune is not genuine.  Inversely, those traits that serve to alleviate the conditions of the suffering are drawn out and suffused with light.  This is where reverence for pity, the accommodating and serviceable hand, the warm heart, patience, sedulousness, humility, and friendliness come in.  These are the most utile properties and nearly the only means of withstanding the pressures of existence.  Slave morality is essentially the morality of usefulness.  Here, the herd is the origin of the famous opposition between “Good” and “Evil.”  Powerfulness and dangerousness will be felt within “Evil”—a certain formidableness, refinement, and strength which stunt any inchoate contempt.  According to slave morality, then, “Evil” inspires fear.  According to master morality, it is precisely the “Good” which inspires fear and which desires to inspire fear, while the “bad” person will be felt as contemptible.  The opposition reaches its zenith when, as the consequence of slave morality, the scent of deprecation clings to the idea of “Good”—no matter how gentle and benevolent it might be.  For “Good,” according to the slavish way of thinking is, in any event, the person who is incapable of danger.  He is good-natured, easy to deceive, perhaps a little dumb, un bonhomme.  Everywhere in which slave morality dominates, the words “good” and “dumb” come closer together in the language.  The last basic distinction: the longing for liberty, the instinct for happiness, and the intricacies of the feeling of freedom belong as necessarily to slave morals and morality as art and exalted reverence and exalted obeisance belong as regular symptoms to an aristocratic way of thinking and valuating.  On this basis, it becomes immediately evident why love as passion—our European specialty—must have an absolutely distinguished source.  As is well known, the invention of love-as-passion belongs to the Provençal chivalric poets, to those magnificently inventive people of the gai saber, to whom Europe owes so much gratitude and to which Europe owes almost its very existence.—


261. One of the things that are perhaps most difficult for distinguished people to understand is vanity. They will attempt to deny its existence, whereas another kind of person will grasp it with both hands. The problem for the distinguished person is to imagine a creature who seeks to awaken a good impression of itself in others—an impression that it does not have of itself.  An impression that is also “unearned.”  And afterward, this vain creature is supposed to believe this good impression itself.  To a distinguished person, all of this seems somewhat distasteful and dishonorable to one’s own self.  It also seems so baroquely irrational that the distinguished person would rather see vanity as something rare and doubt of its existence in most of the cases in which it is brought up.  He will say, for instance: “I might be mistaken about my own worth.  Or I might demand to be recognized by others.  But that isn’t vanity.  Rather, it is a kind of benightedness or, more commonly, it is what people call ‘humility’ or ‘modesty.’”  Or even: “I can be happy about the good impression that others have of me for all kinds of reasons—perhaps because I honor and love them and enjoy their enjoyment.  Perhaps also because their good impression of me highlights my good impression of myself and strengthens it.  Perhaps because the good impression that others have of me, even in cases where I disagree, is just useful to me or promises some future usefulness.”  It is only through compulsion (that is, by studying history) that the distinguished person conceives how, from time immemorial, the common person only was what he was considered to be.  Since he is not at all accustomed to posit values himself, he only ascribes values to himself that his masters have ascribed to him.  (The creation of values is proper right of the masters.)  As the consequence of a massive atavism, the ordinary person will always just wait until an impression is made of him and then he will instinctively subjugate himself to that impression.  Certainly not just a “good” impression, but also a bad and unfair impression.  (Think, for example, of the majority of self-estimates and self-underestimates that credulous women learn from their father confessors.  Think of the self-estimates and self-underestimates that the credulous Christian learns from his Church.)  Basically, in keeping with the gradual approach of the democratic order of things (and its source, the common sanguinity of masters and slaves), the original impulse of the distinguished and rare is being encouraged more and more and is disseminated ever more widely: to ascribe to oneself value and to “think well of oneself.”  In each epoch, however, the impulse of the rare and the distinguished is countered by a more ancient, more extensive, and more fundamentally embodied tendency: that is the phenomenon of “vanity,” and this older tendency (vanity) will master the newer tendency (to give oneself value and to think well of oneself).  The vain person enjoys every good impression that people have of him, every good impression about him that he hears (completely beside the question of whether or not that impression is true or false and regardless of any usefulness such a positive impression might have).  In the same manner, he suffers from every negative impression that people have of him.  For he subjugates himself to both of these impressions, the positive and the negative.  He feels himself subjugated to them—and this comes from that most ancient of instincts, the instinct to be subjugable, and it is the instinct to be subjugable that bursts within him.  It is “the Slave” that is in the blood of the vain person, a residue of the slyness of the Slave—and how much “Slave” is still regressive within woman, for example!  She seeks to entice others into having positive impressions of her.  Along the same lines, the slave is the one who prostrates himself before the positive opinion [that the master has of him] after the fact, as if he were not the one who summoned the positive opinion to begin with.  And to say it once more: Vanity is a kind of atavism.


262. A species emerges, a type of creature is stabilized and strengthened when it is placed, again and again, under the same unfavorable circumstances. Contrariwise, it is known from the experience of breeders that species which receive a superabundance of nourishment and an excess of care and protection will incline toward the strongest variation of type. Such species—which receive an excess of nourishment, care, and protection—will be rich in aberrations and monstrosities (also in monstrous vices).  Now look at an aristocratic communality, such as the Greek polis or Venice, as if it were an intentional or unintentional breeding institution.  There are people who rely on one another as a form of perseverance—mostly because they must persevere or else run the risk of becoming extirpated.  Here, every advantage is lacking—every form of excess, every kind of safeguard that would favor species variation.  A species becomes necessary as a species only if it can assert itself and become permanent in its constant struggle against its neighbors or against the revolt-threatening oppressed or against insurrection.  A species becomes necessary as a species only on account of its hardness, consistency, and simplicity of form.  The multiplicities of experience teach the [dominant members of a] species to which qualities it chiefly owes its existence.  Despite all divinity and humanity, it is still there.  Despite all divinity and humanity, it has always had the upper hand.  [The dominant members of the species] call these qualities “virtues.”  Only virtues make the species great [according to the dominant caste].  If it is done severely, severity is desired.  Every form of aristocratic morality is intolerant—in the way that it educates its youth, in the way that it instructs women, in its conjugal customs, in its relations between the old and the young, in its penal laws (which alone have the aberrant in their gaze).  [The dominant members of the species] count intolerance itself as a virtue, and they give it the name “justice.”  A type with a few strong features.  A species of stringent, bellicist, taciturn, closed-off, and locked-away human beings (and are such from the most sophisticated feelings for the enchantments and nuances of society).  In this way, a society will be solidified—above the tumult of generations.  The cause of the stabilization and the strengthening of society is, as I said above, the constant struggle with ever-identical unfavorable circumstances.  At last, however, a favorable situation emerges—a favorable situation that slackens the tremendous tension.  Perhaps the neighbors are no longer adversaries, and the means to live—even the enjoyment of life—are in fertile abundance.  With a single stroke, the bonds and the compulsions of the old disciplinary norms are rent.  The [members of the species] no longer feel themselves as necessary, as existentially conditioned.  If the species wants to continue, it can only do so in the guise of luxury, of archaic taste.  Whether it takes the form of aberration (into the loftier, the more refined, the rarer) or of degeneracy and monstrosity, variation suddenly exists in the greatest plenitude and splendor—right there, as a spectacle.  Now, the individual dares to be individual.  Now, the individual dares to take off.  At these turns of history, side by side and often entangled and strangled, there is a majestic, multifarious, primordial jungle-like proliferation and towering, a tropical tempo in the rivalry of growth and a tremendous devastation and going-down-to-the-ground, thanks to, as it were, the wildly turned-against-one-another exploding egoisms that wrestle with one another “for sun and light” and derive no border, no rein, no safeguard from the previous morality.  It was the morality itself which accumulated its energy to such monstrous propositions.  It was the morality itself that tensed the bow in such a threatening manner—now it is, now it will “survive.”  The ghostly, threatening point has been reached—the point at which a greater, more multitudinous, more expansive life lives beyond the old morality.  The “individual” stands there—compelled to its own legislation, to its own artifices, to the cunning of self-preservation, self-heightening, self-redemption.  Nothing but new “For what purposes,” nothing but new “By this meanses,” no more formulae that are held in common.  Misunderstanding is bound to disrespect.  Decline, decomposition, and the highest desires are terribly entangled.  The genius of the race is overflowing from all of the cornucopias of the Good and the Awful.  The catastrophic simultaneity of spring and autumn, flush with new stimulations and veils that are characteristic of a fresh corruption, a corruption that is yet unexhausted, that is not yet depleted.  Again the danger is there, the mother of morality, the great danger, this time transferred to an individual, to one’s intimates and friends, on the street, to one’s own child, to one’s own heart, in everything that is ownmost and one’s most secret desires and volitions.  What will the future moral philosophers have to sermonize about?  They will discover—these sharp-eyed observers and slackers—that it will all soon come to an end, that everything around them will wreck and be wrecked.  That nothing will be standing the day after tomorrow.  Except for a certain kind of human being, the incurably mediocre.  The mediocre alone have the promise of persistence, of propagation.  It is they who are the people of the future, the only ones who will survive.  “Be like us!  Become mediocre!” is now considered the only morality that still makes sense, that still finds ears to listen to it.  But this morality of mediocrity is difficult to sermonize!  It may never admit what it is and what it wants!  It must speak of measure and dignity and duty and love for one’s neighbor.  It will need to bury irony!


263. The instinct for rank is, more than anything, already the mark of a high rank. The pleasure that one takes in the nuances of honor suggests that such a person has a distinguished heritage and is a person of distinguished habits. The preciousness, kindliness, and loftiness of a soul will be dangerously put to the test whenever it encounters something that is of the first rank but which is not yet guarded from invasive groping and vulgarity by the shudders of authority.  Something that is passing by, going its way, unmarked, undiscovered, trying new things out, perhaps intentionally veiled and disguised, as if it were a living touchstone.  Anyone who is charged with the task and exercise of investigating such souls will use this art in many of its forms to establish the ultimate value of such a soul—to identify the inexorable, innate hierarchy to which it belongs.  The investigator will test his subject’s instinct for honorDifférence engendre haine.  Many natures have a commonness that suddenly sprays forth as if it were filthy water whenever some kind of holy vessel, some kind of treasure from a secluded shrine, some kind of a book that bears the signs of a tremendous destiny is carried over.  On the other hand, there is an unwitting muteness, a hesitation in the eyes, a silencing of every gesture which expresses that a soul feels the proximity of something that is most worthy of reverence.  All things considered, the way in which respect for the Bible has been maintained in Europe is the most impressive fragment of discipline and refinement of manners that Europe owes to Christendom.  Such books of depth and ultimate significance require an external tyranny of authority for their protection to give them the millennia of longevity that are requisite in order to unpack them and unpuzzle them.  Much will have been accomplished when the vast crowd (shallow minds and quick digesters of all stripes) is finally trained to stop touching everything.  A great deal will have been achieved when they are trained to understand that there are sacred experiences that demand the removal of shoes and the prohibition of unclean hands.  This training is almost the pinnacle of humanity.  In contrast, as far as the so-called educated class is concerned, the believers in “modern ideas”: Perhaps nothing is more nauseating than their lack of shame, the complacent impudence of their eyes and their hands, which touch, lick, and fondle everything.  These days, there is possibly a greater elegance (Vornehmheit) of taste and tactful respectfulness, relatively speaking, amid the peasantry than amid the newspaper-reading demimonde of the spirit, the educated class.


264. What one’s ancestors did with the greatest constancy and love should never be effaced from the soul of a human being. Perhaps they were assiduous savers of money and the accessories of a writing desk and a money box, modest and bourgeois in their desires, modest in their virtues. Perhaps they were used to being ordered around from morning until night; perhaps they were sweet on rough pleasures and even rougher duties and responsibilities.  Perhaps at some point, they finally sacrificed their old privileges of birth and possession in order to live fully their faith—their “god”—as the people of an implacable and tender conscience that is ashamed of any mediation.  It is impossible that the child will not embody the properties and proclivities of his parents and ancient forbears.  This is the problem of race.  Assuming that you know a few things about someone’s parents, you can draw a conclusion about the child: some adverse intemperance, some sitting-in-a-dark-corner envy, some crude sanctimonious nonsense.  How these three things together have always constituted the real “mob” type!  Something along these lines will be transfused to the child as surely as if it were contaminated blood.  And only with the help of the best education and enculturation will one be able to deceive oneself about such an inheritance.  And what else is the point of education and enculturation these days?  In our very populist, one might say, ochlocratic age, “education” and “enculturation” will have to belong to the art of deception—they exist to deceive one about one’s heritage, they exist to deceive away the inherited mobbishness in one’s body and soul.  An educator who sermonizes truthfulness before all else.  An educator who constantly bellows at his breedees / trainees: “Be truthful!  Be natural!  Show yourself for what you are!”  Even such a virtuous, true-hearted donkey will learn to reach for the furca of Horace in order to naturam expellere: what was result?  “Mob” usque recurret.—


265. At the risk of offending innocent ears, I propose the following: Egoism belongs to the essence of the distinguished soul. By “egoism,” I mean our inexorable belief that other creatures will be subordinate to creatures such as “we are” and will sacrifice themselves to us. The distinguished soul will presuppose the fact of one’s egoism without so much as a question mark.  Not even with a feeling of the harshness, constrainedness, or capriciousness that comes with it.  Rather, the distinguished soul will accept his or her own egoism as something that might be grounded in the primordial law of things.  If they were to look for a name for this egoism [without calling it as such], they would say, “It is justice itself.”  On certain conditions, they will confess that they were hesitant, at first, to admit that they share equal rights with others.  As soon as the question of rank comes to light, they will move among these equals and equally righted with the same assurance of shame and tender reverence that they have when interacting with themselves—according to that secret, inborn mechanism that all stars know how to follow.  This is just yet another portion of egoism—this delicacy / subtlety and self-restraint while in contact with others.  Every star is just such an egoist.  Every distinguished soul honors itself in others and honors itself in the rights which it transmits to them.  The egoist never doubts that the exchange of honors and rights belongs to the essence of all interaction as if it belonged to the natural state of things.  The distinguished soul gives as it takes—and this exchange comes out of its impassioned and stimulable instinct for compensation, which lies at the basis of its soul.  The concept of “mercy,” inter pares, is nonsensical and noisome.  There might be a sublime way of letting gifts come down upon you from on high and thirstily drink them up as if they were droplets of water.  But a distinguished soul is unskilled in such arts and gestures.  Here, its egoism is an impediment.  The distinguished soul does not at all enjoy looking “On High.”  Instead, it would prefer to look laterally—horizontally, slowly—or downward.  The distinguished soul is already on high, and it knows this.


266. “One can only truly esteem the one who does not search for oneself.”—Goethe to Rath Schlosser


267. The Chinese have a saying which mothers teach their children: siao-sin. “Make your heart small!” This the actual fundamental tendency of late civilizations: I have no doubt that our self-minimization is the first thing that an Ancient Greek would notice about us Europeans of today.  And more than anything, it is this which would be “antithetical to his taste.”


268. What is commonness, ultimately? Words are the sonic signs of concepts. Concepts, however, are the more or less definite image-signs of often-repeated and coalescent sensations; they are the glyphs of sensation-assemblages.  Using the same words is not enough for us to understand one another.  We must use the same words for the same genres of inner experience.  We must, in the end, hold an experience in common.  Therefore, human beings within the same population understand one another better than those who belong to different populations, even if they are manipulating the same language.  Or rather: When people have lived together for a long time under similar conditions (climate, soil, danger, needs, work), something comes into being, something that “goes without saying”: a population.  In each soul, a determinate number of often-repeated experiences takes the upper hand over those experiences that rarely occur.  On the basis of these same experiences, we understand one another quickly and ever quicker evermore—the history of language is the history of the process of truncation.  On this basis of this quick understanding, we are bound together—tighter and ever tighter.  The greater the danger, the greater is the need to come to an agreement, quickly and easily, about what needs to be done.  When there is a danger, people can absolutely not dispense with the requirement of not misunderstanding one another.  In every friendship or romance, we administer this test: [We know that] nothing will endure as soon as we find out that one of us feels, intends, senses, desires, fears differently than the other person, even though we are using the same words.  (The fear of the “eternal misunderstanding”: This is the well-meaning genius who so often obstructs people of different sexes from rushing into the connections to which their senses and hearts are guiding them—and not some Schopenhauerian “genius of the species”!).  The sensation-assemblages inside of a soul that are the quickest to awaken, the quickest to speak up, the quickest to give commands will decide the total hierarchy of its values.  This [hierarchy of values], in turn, will ultimately determine [the soul’s] Table of Goods.  A person’s valuations disclose something about the structure of his or her soul and what that soul sees as the conditions of its life, its real needs.  The facile communicability of needs means, ultimately, the experiencing of average and common experiences—on the proviso that needs have only brought people together when they indicated, with similar signs, similar experiences and similar needs.  The facile communicability of needs must have been the most violent of forces that has ever been imposed on human beings.  Those human beings who are more ordinary and more recognizable take, and have always took, the advantage.  Those human beings who are rarer, more exceptional, more sophisticated, and more difficult to understand have no problem staying alone; they are subject to accidents in their isolation and seldom reproduce.  It is necessary to summon extraordinary counter-forces in order to impede this natural, all-too-natural progressus in simile: the continuing education of human beings into becoming similar, ordinary, average, herd-like—and common!


269. A congenital psychologist, someone who cannot avoid becoming a psychologist, a diviner of souls. The more such a psychologist turns his attention to exceptional cases and exceptional human beings, the greater will be the danger that he will suffocate from pity. He needs severity and cheerfulness more than anyone else.  The foundering, the annihilation of higher human beings, those rare souls, is the strict rule.  It is terrible always to have such a rule before one’s eyes.  The torment of the psychologist who discovers this annihilation, who discovers the total inner “irremediableness” of higher human beings, this eternal “Too late!” in every sense.  The torment of the psychologist who makes this discovery before anyone else and then makes this discovery again and again (almost), throughout the total course of history—this torment is multidimensional.  Someday, he might have the occasion to turn bitterly against his own lot and attempt his own destruction.  It might happen that he himself will be “ruined.”  In nearly every psychologist, there is perceptible a treacherous preference for—and pleasure in—contact with ordinary and orderly people.  This reveals that the psychologist forever requires a cure, that he forever needs a kind of escape and oblivion, a way out from the insights and the incisions that his “trade” has carved into his conscience.  The fear of memory is peculiar to him.  He is easily silenced by the judgments of others.  He listens with a motionless visage to how they revere, admire, love, transfigure what he has seen.  Or he conceals his silence by expressing his agreement with some foreground opinion.  Perhaps the paradox of his situation becomes so terrifying that the mob acquires a great admiration for what he has a mixture of pity and contempt for—the mob of the educated, the mob of fanatics.  [I mean the] admiration for those “great men” and prodigies for whose sake people bless and honor the fatherland, the Earth, the dignity of humanity.  Those “great men” and prodigies who are pointed out to the youth for their education…  And who knows whether the same thing has not happened in every remarkable instance?  The mob worships a god—and that “god” turns out to be a miserable sacrificial beast!  Success is always the greatest liar, and the “work” itself is a form of success.  The great statesman, the conqueror, the discoverer is camouflaged by his creations—to the point of unrecognizability.  The “work” of artists, of philosophers invents whoever has created it, whoever should have created it.  The “great men” (as they are regarded) are tiny pieces of bad poetry written after the fact.  Counterfeit money dominates the world of historical value.  The great poets (for example)—this Byron, Musset, Poe, Leopardi, Kleist, Gogol.  They are, perhaps they always have been, people of the moment.  Enthusiastic, sensuous, juvenile, frivolous and unpredictable when it comes to mistrust, frivolous and unpredictable when it comes to confidence.  With souls that generally conceal some kind of fissure.  Often taking revenge with their work for some inner defilement.  Often seeking oblivion by flying away from an all-too-reliable memory.  Often getting lost in the slime and almost falling in love with it—until they become like the will-o’-the-wisps that surround the swamp and pretend to become stars (the people then call them “idealists”).  Often struggling with some enduring disgust, with the recurring specter of disbelief, which chills them and compels them to yearn for gloria and to take “belief in itself” from the hands of besotted flatterers and then devour it.  What torment these great artists and higher human beings are for anyone who has guessed who they really are!  So much is perceptible: It is precisely from women that great artists and higher human beings so easily experience outbursts of illimited pity, outbursts of the most acquiescent pity—women who are clairvoyant in the world of suffering and, regrettably, addicted to helping and rescuing those who are far beyond their powers.  Great artists and higher human beings experience so many outbursts of pity that the crowd, especially the worshipping crowd, does not understand and overloads such outbursts of pity with so many invasive and self-complacent interpretations.  This pity normally deceives itself as to its strength.  Woman might believe that love can do anything.  It is her essential faith.  Alas, the one who knows the heart suspects how poor, how stupid, how helpless, how presumptuous, how misbegotten even the best love is, even the profoundest love is!  Even the best and profoundest love is more likely to destroy than it is to save!  It is possible that lying hidden and disguised beneath the holy fable of the life of Jesus is one of the most painful cases of the martyrdom of the knowledge about love.  The martyrdom of the most innocent and yearning heart, which never had enough human love, which demanded nothing other than love and the feeling of being loved.  With severity, with lunacy, with frightening outbursts against those who refused to give him love.  The story of one who was so impoverished, unsatiated, and insatiable in love that he had to invent Hell as a place to send those who did not want to love him.  One who, finally becoming aware of human love, had to invent a God who was totally love, who was the ability to love totally.  One who has mercy on human love because it is so paltry, so ignorant!  Whoever so feels, whoever knows such things about love—seeks death.—But why indulge in such painful things?  Unless one has to.—


270. The intellectual arrogance and disgust of anyone who has ever suffered profoundly. Hierarchy is nearly determined by how deep a person is capable of suffering. He is certain that his suffering has given him a greater knowledge than the cleverest and wisest could ever have—and this shivering certainty supersaturates him, tinting him with its colors.  He is familiar with worlds that are distant and terrible—he’s sure of that.  He is “at home” in places that “you would know nothing about!”  …  This silent intellectual arrogance of the one who suffers, this pride of the exceptional person of knowledge, the “initiate,” almost its sacrificial figure.  He requires all kinds of disguises to shield himself from contact with intrusive, pitying hands—indeed, from anyone who is not his brother or sister in pain.  Deep suffering makes distinctive (vornehm); it separates.  One of the most sophisticated forms of disguise is Epicureanism and a certain ostentatious boldness in taste that takes suffering lightly and defends itself against anything sad and profound.  There are “cheerful people” who use their cheerfulness because it allows them to be misunderstood; they want to be misunderstood.  There are “scientific people” who use science because it gives them a cheerful appearance and because scientificity implies that a person is superficial.  They want to seduce others into a false conclusion.  Some intellects are cocky and free and want to hide that their hearts are crippled, proud, inoperable.  They want to deny this.  Now and then, even foolishness is a mask for an unholy, super-certain knowledge.  From this, one can infer that reverence “for the mask” belongs to a more sophisticated form of humanity that will not engage in an inopportune psychology or an invasive curiosity.


271. What divides two people most deeply is a different sense and degree of cleanliness. All of the decency, all of the reciprocal utility, all of the goodwill in the world will not help. What matters is always the same: They “cannot stand the way that those people reek!”  The lofty instinct for cleanliness forces the one burdened with it into the strangest and most threatening isolation.  It is as if one were a saint.  For saintliness is precisely what it is—the highest intellectualization of the aforesaid instinct.  Some kind of shared knowledge of the superabundant joy that comes from bathing—some kind of zeal and craving that constantly drives the soul out of the night and into the morning, out of cloudiness, out of “tribulation,” and into brightness, radiance, profundity, finesse.  As much as such a tendency makes a person distinctive—it is a distinguished tendency—it also separates.  The pity of the saint is pity for human scum, for all-too-human scum.  There are degrees and heights where even pity is felt by him as form of contamination, as filthiness…


272. A sign of elegance (Vornehmheit): Never consider lowering our obligations to the level of just anyone’s obligations. Never have the desire to renounce our responsibility. Never have the desire to share our responsibility.  Count our privileges, and the performance of these privileges, among our obligations.


273. Any human being who strives for greatness regards anyone he encounters on his path as either a means to an end or as something that will slow him down or as an impedance. Or he will regard that person as a bed on which he can take a short rest. His generosity toward his fellow human beings is peculiar to the superior species to which he belongs.  This generosity is only made possible when he is dominating and when he is at the zenith of his powers.  He is impatient and conscious that he had been condemned to a play a role in a comedy until he reached his height (for every war is a comedy and hides its goal in the way in which every means hides its goal).  And all of this—[the impatience of the great man and his awareness that he had played a role in a comedy]—spoils all social intercourse for him.  This is the kind of person who knows solitude and what is most poisonous about solitude.


274. The problem with the one who waits. Many fortunate and unpredictable events are necessary in order for a higher human being to “explode,” as they say. The solution to a problem is dormant within the higher human being; only at the opportune time does he come to act.  This usually does not happen, and in every corner of the Earth there sit those who wait.  They hardly know for how long they must wait; few of them know that they are waiting in vain.  From time to time, the alarm bell will sound too late—that chance circumstance which will give them the “permission” to act.  Then, the best years of their youth and the power to act have been spent from sitting still for so long.  And how many have found, right as they “jump up” in terror, that their limbs have fallen asleep and their spirit is already too heavy!  “It is too late,” they say to themselves, marveling at themselves in disbelief and from now on, forever useless.  Should the “handless Raphael” be not the exception but the rule in the realm of genius (understanding the phrase “handless Raphael” in its broadest sense)?  Perhaps genius is not so rare; five hundred hands are necessary, though, in order to tyrannize kairós, “the opportune time.”  In order to grab chance by the back of its head!


275. People who don’t want to see someone’s height will stare all the more keenly at whatever is low about him. They will stare at whatever is in the foreground. By doing so, they reveal the kind of people that they really are.


276. Grosser, lowlier souls are better equipped to deal with every kind of hurt and loss than are more elegant souls. The latter, the more elegant souls, are in much greater danger—the probability will be greater that they will face misfortune or be destroyed. Because of the multiplicity of their conditions for life, this danger is extraordinary.—When a lizard loses a finger, the finger grows back.  Not so with human beings.


277. Sufficiently terrible! The same old story! After your house is built, you notice something, you unwittingly learn something, that you should have known before the building started.  The eternal, miserable “Too late!”  The melancholy of all that is finished! …


278. Wanderer, who are you? I see you going your way, contemptless, loveless, with an inscrutable gaze. Damp and sad like a plummet, coming back up to the light from every depth unsatiated.  What were you looking for down there?  With a breast that never sighs, with lips that hide their disgust, with hand that only slowly grabs.  Who are you?  What did you do?  Rest here!  This place is hospitable to everyone.  Relax!  And whoever you might be, what would make you happy?  What would make you relax?  Just name it!  I will offer you whatever I own!  “Relax?  Relax?  Oh, you curious one, what are you talking about?  But give me, I ask you…”  What?  What?  Tell me!  “One more mask!  A second mask!”


279. When they are happy, people of deep sadness reveal who they really are: They have a means of grasping happiness, as if they wanted to crush and strangle it out of jealousy. Alas, they know too well that it will run away from them!


280. “Terrible! Terrible! What is this?  Isn’t he—retreating?”  Indeed!  However, you understand him badly if you complain about this.  He is retreating as one who is ready to make a great leap—.


281. “Will they believe me? But I demand to be believed. I have always been bad at thinking of myself, at thinking about myself.  Only thinking about myself in very rare cases—only when forced to and always without any pleasure in ‘the matter.’  Always ready to deviate from ‘Me’ and forever without faith in the results.  Always coming from an ineluctable mistrust toward the possibility of self-knowledge, a mistrust that has even brought me to the point at which I feel a contradictio in adjecto in the concept of ‘immediate knowledge,’ which is something that the theorists allow themselves to believe in.  All of these facts are just about the most certain things that I know about myself.  There has to be some kind of resistance in me toward believing anything determinate about myself.  Is there a riddle therein?  Probably.  Fortunately, however, it is nothing for my teeth.—Perhaps [my resistance toward self-knowledge] discloses the species to which I belong?—But it doesn’t disclose [the name of] this species to me: which is exactly how I wish it.”


282. “What happened to you?” “I don’t know,” he said haltingly. “Perhaps the harpies flew at me from across the table.”  These days, it happens every now and then, a mild-mannered, moderate, reserved human being will suddenly be thrown into a rage and smash dishes and turn over the table, screaming, raving, cursing the whole world.  Finally, he will walk away, ashamed, furious at himself.  Where did he go?  For what reason did he leave?  To starve himself, alone, away from the others?  To suffocate himself with the memory of what he did?  A person who has the desires of a soul that is high-born and fastidious.  A person who rarely finds his table set properly.  A person who rarely finds his food well-prepared.  The danger will always be considerable for such a person.  Today, however, the danger is absolutely extraordinary.  Thrown into a noisy and mobbish age, having no desire to eat out of a single one of its bowls, he can easily die from hunger or thirst.  Or if, despite everything, he finally “digs in” and eats, he could easily be annihilated by a sudden paroxysm of nausea.  All of us have probably sat down at tables where we did not belong.  And the most intellectual among us find it the hardest to nourish ourselves.  We know the dangerous dyspepsia that originates from the sudden recognition of the kind of feed that we are eating—from the sudden disappointment with our fodder, the sudden disappointment with those who are sitting at our table, eating their dessert.  Dessert nausea.


283. Assuming that one wants to dispense any praise at all, it is a sophisticated and at the same time elegant form of self-mastery to praise something that one does not agree with. Otherwise, one would be praising oneself, which is invidious to good taste. Of course, this is a form of self-mastery that provides other people with a good opportunity and incentive to constantly misunderstand the one who is giving out praise.  In order to permit yourself this real luxury of taste and morality, you have to avoid living among intellectual idiots.  Moreover, you have to live among such people whose misunderstandings and errors are amusing because of their sophistication—otherwise you will pay the price!  “He praised me; thus, he did me a service.”  This inferential asininity ruins half of our lives, the lives of us hermits.  For such asininity in drawing inferences brings the asses into our neighborhoods, into our friendships.


284. Living with an extraordinary and proud serenity. Always on the other side. Having his affects (voluntarily).  Not having his affects.  Having his For and Against.  Not having any For or Against.  Condescending to assume a For or an Against—for a few hours.  Riding them as if he were riding horses.  Sometimes, riding them as if they were donkeys.  You have to know how to use their stupidity as if it were fire.  Keeping in reserve his three hundred surfaces.  Even wearing sunglasses.  For there are moments when no one should be allowed to see our eyes.  Not to mention: There are also moments when no one should be allowed to see our “reasons.”  Choosing for his company that mischievous and gleeful vice known as “politeness.”  Staying master of his four virtues: courage, insight, empathy, solitude.  Solitude is one of our virtues, for it is a sublime tendency and urge toward cleanliness.  Solitude gives us the suspicion that contact between human and human “in society” inevitably makes one unclean.  Every form of communality makes—somehow, somewhere, sometime—everything “common.”


285. The greatest events and thoughts—though the greatest thoughts are the greatest events—will be comprehended last. Contemporary generations will never experience such events. They will live past them.  It is a bit like what happens in the stellar realm.  The light from the most distant stars comes to human beings last.  And before that light arrives, human beings deny that—stars exist.  “How many centuries does a mind require in order to be comprehended?”  That is also a standard of measurement which creates a necessary hierarchy and etiquette.  For minds, as for stars.


286. “Here the vista is free, the mind is lifted.” There is, however, an inverse kind of human being who is also at the apex and who also has a free prospect. But this type of human being looks down.


287. What is “distinguished”? What does the word distinguished mean to us? How does one identify someone who is distinguished?  How does one recognize a distinguished human being under the heavy, overcast sky of the burgeoning ochlocracy, which darkens everything and makes everything heavy as lead?  It is not one’s actions which reveal who is distinguished.  Actions are forever ambiguous, forever unfathomable.  Nor is it one’s “works.”  There are more than enough people among artists and scholars who reveal through their work their deep desire to become distinguished.  It is precisely this demand for distinction that is alien to the needs of the distinguished soul.  In fact, the demand for distinction is the loquacious and dangerous mark of its absence.  It is not works, but rather faith that is decisive here.  Faith establishes the hierarchy (to absorb an ancient religious formula into a new and deeper understanding).  There is a kind of fundamental certainty that the distinguished soul has for itself.  This certainty cannot be sought or found; perhaps, it can also not be lost.  The distinguished soul is in awe of itself.


288. There are people who have intellect in an inevitable manner. They might turn and twist, as they like; they might hold their hands before their treacherous eyes (as if the hands weren’t capable of betrayal!). Finally, it comes out that they have something that they tried to conceal: namely, intellect.  One of the most sophisticated means of deceiving other people for as long as possible and successfully appearing more stupid than you really are (which is as desirable in everyday life as an umbrella) is called “enthusiasm.”  Including what belongs to it, such as virtue.  For, as Galiani says (who certainly knew about such things): vertu est enthousiasme.


289. You can always hear an echo in the writings of a hermit—forever the echo of the wasteland, forever the sound of whispering and the shy-looking-around of solitude. From his most powerful words, from his screaming, resounds a new and more dangerous kind of solitude, of self-withholding. Whoever has sat with his soul—year in and year out, day in and day out—in confidential dialogue, in confidential debate.  Whoever has become a cave bear or a graverobber or the guardian of a treasure and a dragon.  Whoever has sat there in his cave—it might be a labyrinth or a gold shaft.  His very concepts will get a twilight color, an odor that smells as much of depth as it does of mildew.  Something incommunicative and resistant.  Something that blows its cold wind on every passer-by.  The hermit never believes that a philosopher expresses his real and final opinions in books (assuming that such a philosopher was originally a hermit himself).  Isn’t that just why people write books?  To keep what they hide to themselves?  The hermit will question whether a philosopher can even have “final and real” opinions at all.  He will question whether at the back of every cavern there might not be another cavern; he will question whether there must not be another cavern at the back of every cavern.  A wider, stranger, richer world beyond every surface.  An abyss beneath every ground, beneath every “grounding.”  Every philosophy is a foreground philosophy.  Such is the judgment of the hermit: “There is something arbitrary about the fact that he is staying here and not there.  There is something arbitrary about the way he is looking backward and looking around himself.  Something arbitrary about the fact that he isn’t digging deeper right here.  Something arbitrary about the fact that he isn’t tossing the spade aside.  There is something suspicious about that.”  Every philosophy also conceals another philosophy; every opinion is also a form of concealment, every word is also a mask.


290. Every profound thinker is more afraid of becoming understood than of becoming misunderstood. In the latter case, becoming misunderstood would perhaps hurt the thinker’s vanity. In the former case, however, becoming understood would wound his heart, his empathy, which forever speaks these words: “Oh, why do you want to have it so difficult—why do you want it to be as difficult for you as it is for me?”


291. The human being is a multitudinous, mendacious, artful, and opaque beast—a beast that seems uncanny to other beasts not so much because it is powerful but because it is crafty and clever. [The human beast] has invented the good conscience in order to enjoy its own soul someday, as if that soul were something simple. And the whole of morality is a long, hearty falsification—to make it possible [for the human beast] to view its soul with pleasure.  From this perspective, there is much more in the concept of “art” than one commonly believes.


292. A philosopher is a human being who constantly experiences, sees, hears, surmises, hopes, and dreams extraordinary things. He is struck by his own thoughts as if encountering them from the outside—from above and from below. As if he were struck by his type of events and lightning bolts.  He himself is perhaps a kind of storm which is pregnant with new lightning flashes.  He is a catastrophic human being, a calamitous human being around whom there is forever rumbling and humming and gaping and everything is uncanny.  A philosopher.  Alas, a being who often runs away from himself and often is afraid of himself.  However, he is curious enough to return to himself again and again…


293. A man who says, “I like that. I will take it for myself, and I will protect it and defend it against anyone.” A man who wants to pursue a matter, a man who wants to carry out a decision, a man who wants to be true to a thought, a man who wants to hold on to a woman, a man who wants to punish an impertinent / overbold character and throw him down.  A man who has his wrath and his sword.  A man who the weak, the suffering, the oppressed, even animals like to go to—and who belong to him by nature.  Basically, a man who is naturally master.  If such a man has pity.  Well!  This pity has value, then!  But who cares about the pity of someone who suffers?  Or the pity of someone who sermonizes pity?  There is today almost everywhere in Europe a diseased delicateness and sickly sensitivity to pain.  In the same way, there is a repulsive intemperateness in lamentation, a softness which gussies itself up into something higher with the help of religion and philosophical bric-a-brac.  There is a formal cult of suffering.  The unmanliness which is christened as “pity” in such exalted circles, I believe, is what always appears first to your eye.  This latest form of bad taste must be warded off, vigorously and thoroughly.  And finally, I wish that people will put the amulet gai saber on their hearts and around their necks.  [Gai saber means] “the gay science,” to translate it into [English].


294. The Olympian vice. Against that philosopher who, being a real Englishman, tried to defame laughter to all thinking minds. “Laughter is an awful oddment of human nature that every thinking mind will strive to overcome” (Hobbes).  If I were permitted a hierarchy of philosophers according to the tier of their laughter, up to those who are capable of a golden laughter.  Given that even the gods philosophize (a conclusion to which I have been urged many times), I have no doubt that they know how to laugh in a suprahuman and new manner—and at the expense of all serious things!  Gods take pleasure in mockery: It seems as if they can’t refrain from laughing even at holy acts.


295. The Genius of the Heart—possessed by the great Hidden One. The Experimenting God / The Tempting God. The one who was born to be the Ratcatcher of the Conscience, whose voice knows how to descend into the underworld of every soul.  The one whose every word, whose every glance conveys carefulness and a fold of seduction.  The one whose sovereignty understands how to appear differently than what he is.  More so, he knows how to compel his followers to come closer to him—he knows how to make them follow him more intimately, more thoroughly.  The Genius of the Heart—he who silences every sound and every form of self-complacency.  He who teaches how to listen.  He who smooths rough souls and gives them the taste of a new desire.  He makes them as silent as a mirror that reflects the deep sky.  The Genius of the Heart, who teaches the foolish and impulsive hand to hesitate and to grasp in a more decorous manner.  The Genius of the Heart, who surmises the existence of a hidden and forgotten treasure.  The Genius of the Heart, who divines the droplet of goodness and sweet spirituality beneath the dark and thick sheet of ice.  The Genius of the Heart: the one who serves as the dowsing rod for every grain of gold that has been long buried in a dungeon of sludge and sand.  The Genius of the Heart: the one who enriches everyone he comes into contact with.  He does not ennoble or surprise, as if blessing and oppressing someone with a strange gift.  Rather, he makes them richer in themselves, newer than ever before, broken open, as if thawed by a balmy gust.  As if they now could be heard.  Perhaps they are less secure than before.  Perhaps they are more delicate, more fragile, more fragmented than before.  However, they are now full of hopes that are still nameless.  They are now overflowing with a new will and a new surge.  They are now overflowing with a new non-will and a new counter-surge…  But what am I doing, my friends?  Whom am I talking about?  Whom am I telling you about?  Have I forgotten so much that I can’t even name his name?  Unless it be the case that you have already guessed yourselves who this questionable spirit, who this questionable god is, who would be praised in such a fashion.  As with everyone who has been on the go from childhood, as has happened to everyone who has been in foreign lands since walking with a child’s legs, so has it come to pass with me: I have crossed paths with many strange spirits, many spirits who are not harmless.  Above all, however, the one of whom I spoke has crossed my path again and again.  He is no less than the god Dionysius, that great Ambiguous One, the Experimenting God / the Tempting God.  The one to whom, as you know, I sacrificed my firstborn child, in all secrecy and fearful reverence.  I am the last one, it seems to me, who has sacrificed a firstborn to Dionysius.  For I found no one who could have understood what I did back then.  In the meantime, I learned much more, too much, about the philosophy of this god, a knowledge that has been transmitted from mouth to mouth.  I, the last acolyte and initiate of the god Dionysius.  And might I be permitted, finally, to begin my work, my friends?  To give you a little taste of this philosophy, as much as I am allowed to?  With a soft voice, as is courteous.  For this philosophy concerns much that is arcane, much that is new, much that is uncommon, much that is fantastical, much that is spooky.  The idea that Dionysius is a philosopher, the idea that even the gods philosophize, seems like news to me—a piece of news that is hardly uncontroversial and that might even excite mistrust among philosophers.  Among you, my friends, such an idea would receive less opposition, unless it come too late and at an unpropitious time.  For I have been informed that you are not fond of believing these days in god or in gods.  Perhaps, as I tell my story, I even have to go further with my candor than the strict habits of your ears would prefer?  Certainly, the God in question went further in such dialogues—much, much further—and was always many steps ahead of me…  Indeed, I would like—if it were permissible—to give him lovely, solemn names of grandeur and of virtue, according to the rules of human usage.  I would boast of his courage in research and discover, of his bold honesty, truthfulness, and love of wisdom.  However, a god such as this would have nothing to do with all of this honorable, sumptuous junk.  He would say: “Keep this praise to yourselves and to those who are like you—and whomever else has need of it!  I—have no reason to bedizen my nudity!”  The suspicion arises that this type of divinity and philosopher perhaps lacks shame.  About this matter, he once said: “I love humanity, under certain circumstances.”  He alluded to Ariadne, who was present as he was speaking.  “The human being is, to my mind, an agreeable, audacious, inventive animal that has no equal upon the Earth.  An animal that finds its way out of every labyrinth.  I am good to [this creature].  I think often of [this beast], how I impel it and make it stronger, eviler, and profounder than it is.”  I ask, terrified: “Stronger, eviler, and profounder?”  He says again: “Indeed, stronger, eviler, and profounder—and also lovelier.”  And with this, the Experimenting God, the Tempting God grinned with his halcyon grin, as if he said something enchantingly gracious.  You can see it right here.  This divinity lacks more than just shame.  But you can also see that there are perfectly good reasons to presume that we can teach the gods a thing or two.  We human beings, we are—more human…


296. Oh, what are you, then—you, my written and painted thoughts? Not too long ago, you were so vivid, so young, and so malicious, full of barbs and hidden spices that made me laugh and sneeze. And now?  Already you’ve taken off your young person’s clothes, and a few of you are, I am afraid, ready to become truths.  You already look so immortal!  So heartbreakingly upstanding!  So boring!  And were things any different back then?  What things we wrote out back then, what things we painted out—we mandarins with our Chinese paintbrushes, we eternalizers of things that let themselves be written.  What are we then capable of painting out?  Alas, only that which is already wilting and begins to stench!  Alas, forever only storm clouds after they have exhausted themselves and withdrawn—and golden, post-date feelings!  Alas, forever only birds that flew with fatigue and then had done with their flying and let themselves be caught—by our hands!  We externalize what lives no longer, what no longer can fly—only worn-out and outworn things!  And it is our afternoon, my written and painted thoughts, for which only I have colors, perhaps many colors, many vivid delicatenesses and fifty yellows and browns and greens and reds.  But no one suspects how you looked in your morning, you unpredicted sparks and wonders of my solitude, you, my old, beloved—awful thoughts!


From Lofty Mountains: An Epilogue Song


O afternoon of life!  What a solemn time!
O summer garden!
Intranquil happiness.  Standing and watching and waiting
I’m waiting for friends, ready day and night
Where are you hiding, my friends?  Come!  It’s time!  It’s time!


Was it not for your sake that the iceberg’s grey
Is today engarlanded with roses?
The stream is looking for you, yearning, pushing on
Wind and cloud sail higher into the blue
Higher to peer at you from a high bird’s view


High in the Most High, my table is set for you
Who dwells so close to the stars?
Who dwells in the grey remoteness of the abyss?
My realm—which realm stretches out further?
And my honey—who has ever tasted it?


There you are, friends!  Alas, I’m not the one
Who you’re looking for?
You hesitate, astounded—alas, you’d rather complain?
I—am no longer the one?  Have my hand, gait, and face been swapped?
And what am I to you, friends—am I not the one?


Have I become another?  Have I become foreign to myself?
Have I originated from myself?
A wrestler who defeated himself too often?
His strength turned against itself?
Wounded and confined by his own victory?


Am I looking for where the wind blows the sharpest?
Am I learning to live
Where no one lives, in destitute ice-bear zones?
Unlearning humanity and divinity, curse and prayer?
Have I become a specter that wafts over glaciers?


My dear old friends!  Look!  Now you seem pale
Flush with love and dread!
No, go!  Don’t be angry!  Here—you can’t build a house!
Here between the most distant realms of ice and rock—
Here one has to be like both hunter and chamois.


What a wicked hunter I’ve become!  See how tightly
Strung is my bow!
The strongest drew the bow string—:
But alas!  Dangerous is that arrow!
More dangerous than any arrow!  Get out!  Run for safety…!


You’re turning away?  O heart, you deceive yourself enough
Your hopes stay strong:
Do your new friends hold doors open for you?
Let go of the old!  Leave your memories alone!
You were young once.  Now you are young better!


What ever binds us is the bond of hope
Who is reading the signs that
Love once inscribed, signs that now fade?
I am like the parchment that the hand
Shies from touching—so that it doesn’t brown, so that it doesn’t burn.


Friends no more.  They are—what do I call them?
Just friend-specters?
They knock nightly on my heart and window
They stare at me and say: “We were the ones?”
O wilted words that once were redolent of roses!


O yearning of youth that misunderstands itself!
Those whom I yearned for,
Those whom I consider myself to be related to-transformed by
They became old—I exorcised them away:
Only those who change themselves are related to me.


O afternoon of life!  What a solemn time!
O summer garden!
Intranquil happiness.  Standing and watching and waiting
I’m waiting for friends, ready day and night
Where are you hiding, my new friends?  Come!  It’s time!  It’s time!


This song is done—sweet scream of yearning
Dead in my mouth:
A wizard did it, that friend who always comes at the right time,
Friend to the afternoon.  No!  Don’t ask me who it is!
In the afternoon, it was.  When one became two.


Now we feast.  We know our common goal,
The festival of festivals:
Friend Zarathustra came, guest of guests!
Now the world is laughing.  Tearing the gruesome curtain.
The wedding of light and darkness is here…


Translated by Joseph Suglia.  December 2019

Aphorisms on Racism, Cultural Studies, and Kim Jong-un


by Joseph Suglia

Race is nothing more than an abstraction; only individuals actually exist.

Cultural Studies explains philosophy through the speculum of trash culture.  This is very appealing to people who are bored by philosophy and who are attracted to trash culture.

Kim Jong-un might be able to read minds.  But can he read books?

Joseph Suglia

An Analysis of ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (Shakespeare) by Joseph Suglia


An Analysis of All’s Well That Ends Well (Shakespeare)

by Joseph Suglia

“Die Forderung, geliebt zu werden, ist die grösste aller Anmassungen.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche, Menschliches, Allzumenschliches, Volume One, 525

My argument is that Shakespeare is both the most overestimated and the most underestimated writer in the history of English literature.  His most famous plays are stupendously and stupefyingly overrated (e.g. The Tempest), whereas the plays that have been relatively understaged and underread until recently, such as Measure for Measure and Love’s Labour’s Lost (which, strangely, is never called a “problem play”), are his masterworks.  All’s Well That Ends Well is rightly seen as one of the problematical plays, since it does not exactly follow the contours of the Shakespearean comedy.

One could rightly say that all of the Shakespearean comedies are conjugal propaganda.  They celebrate marriage, that is to say, and marriage, for Hegel and for many others, is the foundation of civil society.  In the Age of Elizabeth, long before and long afterward, the way in which children are expected to have been begotten is with the imprimatur of marriage.

But there is no marriage-boosterism in All’s Well That Ends Well, no ra-raing or oohing and aahing over marriage.  In All’s Well That Ends Well, a celebration of marriage is absent.

Whereas Much Ado about Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream end in anti-orgies, in collectivized, communalized, semi-coerced marriages, the wedding in All’s Well That Ends Well takes place in the second act and is absolutely coerced.

The play is about a woman named Helena who forces a man named Bertram to marry her and to have sexual intercourse with her.  As blunt as this synopsis might be, it is nonetheless accurate.  A psychotic stalker, Helena will stop at nothing and will not take “Yes” for an answer.  She pursues Bertram relentlessly.  As I shall argue below, Bertram genuinely does not want to be married to Helena, nor does he wish to be physically intimate with her.  Not only that: There is absolutely no evidence that he desires Helena at the end of the play.  Quite the opposite, as I shall contend.  Much like her predecessor, Boccaccio’s Giletta, Helena is a monomaniac whose obsession ends in the achievement of her desire and her scheme: “[M]y intents are fix’d, and will not leave me” [I:i].  And yet, does obsession ever end?

When we are first presented with her, Helena remarks, “I do affect a sorrow indeed, but I have it too” [I:i].  She means that she affects a sorrow for her father, who died not more than six months ago, but is genuinely sorrowful over the thought of the impossibility of possessing Bertram: “I think not on my father, / And these great tears grace his remembrance more / Than those I shed for him” [Ibid.].  Her indifference to her father’s death reveals that she is hardly the virtuous innocent that the Countess, Lefew, and (later) the King of France take her to be: “I think not on my father…  I have forgot him.  My imagination / Carries no favour in’t but Bertram’s” [Ibid.].  All she thinks about is Bertram, whose “relics” she “sanctifies” [Ibid.], much like a dement who collects the socks of her lover which she has pilfered from the laundry machine.

Even more revealingly, Helena’s love for Bertram has a social and political valence: “Th’ambition in my love thus plagues itself” [I:i].  Am I alone in hearing in the word ambition an envy for Bertram’s higher social status?  I am not suggesting that her love for him is purely socially and politically motivated.  I am suggesting rather that her love is inseparable from the desire for social / political advancement.

When he takes his leave, Bertram does not propose that Helena visit Paris to win the King’s favor, despite what Helena’s words might suggest: “My lord your son made me to think of this; / Else Paris and the medicine and the king / Had from the conversation of my thoughts / Haply been absent then” [I:iii].  Helena lies to the Countess—and/or lies to herself—when she says that her love “seeks not to find that her search implies, / But riddle-like lives sweetly where she dies” [I:iii].  No, Helena is indefatigable and is hardly the self-abnegating “barefooted” saint [III:iv] that she pretends to be.  Furthermore, she is lying to herself and to the Countess of Rossillion when she says that she is not “presumptuous,” as she is lying when she says that she would not “have [Bertram]” until she “deserve[s] him” [I:iii].  Who decides when she should “deserve” Bertram?  Apparently, Helena believes that only she is authorized to decide when she is deserving of Bertram.  Why is Bertram not permitted to decide when and if she is deserving of him?  Helena is sexually aggressive from the beginning unto the sour end.

The fundamental challenge of the play is not for Helena to find a way to become married to Bertram.  As I wrote above, Bertram is forced to marry Helena in the second act of the play.  The fundamental challenge of the play is for Helena to find a way to have sexual intercourse with Bertram—to couple with him, whether he wants to couple with her or not.

And Bertram has made it clear that he does not find Helena sexually attractive.  And yet Helena refuses to accept his rejection and sexually unifies with Bertram while dissembling herself as another woman, Diana Capilet.

Helena is not satisfied merely being married to Bertram.  Nor, it seems, would she be satisfied with Bertram’s assent and consent, even if he had assented and consented to the marriage.  She wants to possess Bertram against his own will: “[L]ike a timorous thief, most fain would steal / What law does vouch mine own” [II:v].

Why not take Helena at her word?  On the one hand, she is saying that she is lawfully entitled to the appropriation of Bertram’s body, but that is not enough for her.  She is saying that she has the power to break his life, but she would rather have the power to break his heart.  On the other hand, taking Helena at her word, she is the thief who would like to steal what is lawfully her own.  She would like to experience the thrill of transgressing the law without ever transgressing the law.  All’s well that ends well.  She does not want to take the wealth of his body; she wants to steal the wealth of his body.  Now, this might seem a curiously literal interpretation of the line, but does Helena not deceive her husband like a thief in the night [III:ii]?  She does not cheat on her husband; she cheats with her husband.  She is like the banker who steals from her own bank or like the casino owner who gambles at her own casino.

It would be a mistake to see Bertram as an erotophobe, since he does attempt to seduce Diana.  He is revolted by Helena.  The idea of having sex with her suffuses him with nausea.  Bertram acknowledges that he is married to a woman whom he does not love, but he swears that he will never be physically intimate with her.  In a letter to his mother, Bertram writes: “I have wedded [Helena], not bedded her, and sworn to make the ‘not’ eternal” [II:ii].  He is so disgusted by the idea of having sex with her that he goes to war to escape her: “I’ll to the Tuscan wars and never bed her” [II:iii].

Bertram’s reluctance to be yoked to Helena must be seen within the horizon of the early seventeenth century.  Let us not forget that Queen Elizabeth was the monarch at the time of the play’s composition, and within Bertram’s refusal to become the “forehorse to a smock” [II:i] (the leading horse in a train of horses spurred on by a woman) one can hear the resonances of Elizabeth’s reign.  However, it would be mistaken to suggest that Bertram does not want to marry Helena merely because she is a woman who has been invested with regal authority or merely because she was once lowborn and poor.  Again, he finds her physically repellent.

Helena does not stop until she couples with Bertram without his consent.  Is this not rape?  According to the standards of our day, impersonated sex is indeed sexual violation, but it is unlikely that it would have been considered ravishment in the Age of Elizabeth.

And is this not incest, for Helena and Bertram are sister and brother, disregarding the banality of biology?  There is a conversation about incest in Act One, Scene Three, the conclusion of which is: Helena would acknowledge the Countess as her mother, on the condition that the world does not recognize Bertram as her brother.  But are Helena and Bertram not sister and brother?  They grew up together in the same household, and it is possible that Bertram rejects Helena partly out of the fear of incest.

The Countess certainly sees Helena as her organic daughter: “If [Helena] had partaken of my flesh and cost me the dearest groans of a mother I could not have owed her a more rooted love” [V:v].  Helena is the replica that is naturalized, much like the artificial fruit in the bowl that lies upon your kitchen table, which you accept as natural.

Fortune (what is constituted after birth) and Nature (what is constituted at birth) reverse each other: Bertram becomes the bastard child; the orphan Helena becomes the proper daughter: “Which of them both / Is dearest to me I have no skill in sense / To make distinction” [III:iv].  Much worse: The Countess raises Helena to a status that is higher than that of her own son, who is written off by her as a reprobate.  When the Countess intones the opening line of the play, “In delivering my son from me, I bury a second husband” [I:i], you do get the impression that her biological son is dead through the act of birth, that her son is a stillborn.

Throughout the play, there are posited false equivalences.  Convalescence is falsely equated to marriage, as virginity is equated to mortality.  Epexegesis: The revival of the King of France is equated to the compulsory marriage of Bertram to Helena (Bertram questions this false economics of equivalence: “But follows it, my lord to bring me down / Must answer for your raising?” [II:iii]), in a Bachelorette-style gameshow that is rigged in advance in which she nominates Bertram without ever taking any of the French lords seriously as his competitors.  The death of the King is equated to virginity, as virginity is equated to death in Parolles’ campaign against virginity (“He that hangs himself is a virgin; virginity murthers itself, and should be buried in highways out of all sanctified limit, as a desperate offendress against nature” [I:i]).  The King strikes a balance between Bertram’s loss and Helena’s gain: “Take her by the hand / And tell her she is thine; to whom I promise / A counterpoise, if not to thy estate, / A balance more replete” [II:iii].  A fake equivalence, false equation is again posited, between the sacrifice of Bertram’s social status and the elevation of Helena’s status.  One thing is taken for another, one person is replaced with another, as we see with the replacement of Diana with Helena.  Such is the logic of substitution or the logic of substitutability in All’s Well That Ends Well.

Those literary critics who praise Helena as an innocent are wrong (I am looking at you, Harold Bloom), in the same way that the Countess of Rossillion and Lefew are wrong about her “innocence”: Helena is not saintly, she is not simple, she is not unambiguously honest (unless by “honesty” one intends “virginity”), she is not unambiguously good, she is not uncomplicatedly “virtuous” [I:i].  She is not reducible to the role of the innocent that she plays.  Shakespeare’s characters are not undifferentiated.  His fools tend to be wise, and his characters in general are neither simply good nor simply evil, but rather both good and evil—sometimes, his characters are even good and evil at the same time.  This is stated almost aphoristically in the words of the First Lord, a gentleman whose role seems to be to emphasize that #NotAllMenAreSwine: “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together; our virtues would be proud if our faults whipp’d them not, and our crimes would despair if they were not cherish’d by our virtues” [IV:iii].  The proto-Nietzschean Shakespeare is ventriloquized through the First Lord, I think.  Both Nietzsche and Shakespeare admonish us against pouring all of humanity into twin buckets, one marked GOOD and the other marked EVIL.  Shakespearean characters are of overwhelming and self-contradicting complexity, assemblages of oxymoronic elements.

For this reason, those critics who condemn Bertram as a cad are wrong in the same way that Diana is wrong when she calls him simply “not honest” [III:v].  (Let me remark parenthetically that Parolles is the double of Bertram, as Diana is the double of Helena.  Parolles absorbs all of Bertram’s negative traits, particularly the tendency to seduce and impregnate washerwomen.)  (And here is a second set of parentheses: Parolles is also the double of Helena.  He ignores his social status when he refuses to call his lord Bertram “master” [II:iii].)  Those who suggest that Helena shyly longs after a man who is unworthy of her are as wrong as Lefew, who claims that the French lords reject Helena, when it is the other way around.  (I’m still looking at you, Harold Bloom.)  Bertram is a cad, a seducer, yes, but he is not reducible to his caddishness.

Despite her indifference to her father’s death, Helena identifies with her father, Gerard de Narbon, the physician, and uses her father’s recipes to heal the King of France.  When Bertram pleads to the Florentine washerwoman, “[G]ive thyself unto my sick desires” [IV:ii], it is apparent that he is conscious of his own sickness, and it is Helena who will wear the quackish mask of the physician once more.  The first half of the play folds upon the second half: In the first half, Helena cures the King of his ailment; in the second, Helena cures Bertram of the sickness of his lechery—against his will.

When the King’s eyes first alight upon Helena, she seems a radiant presence: “This haste hath wings indeed” [II:i], he says, as if she were a seraphic apparition.  It is Helena’s womanly charm, her femaleness, that resurrects him from the dead: “Methinks in thee some blessed spirit doth speak / His powerful sound within an organ weak” [Ibid.].  It is her vixenishness that virilizes him.

The King is revived from the dead.  Now, Bertram has lost the right to say, “No” to Helena.  Love for Helena is now equated to the obedience to the King of France: “Thou wrong’st thyself if thou should’st strive to choose [to love Helena]!” [II:iii], the King screams at Bertram.  In other words, “You should not have to choose to love Helena.  I have commanded you to love Helena, and therefore you MUST love Helena.”  The word of the King is law, and to defy the word of the King is misprision.  Behind Helena’s monomaniacal pursuit of Bertram is all of the weight of legal and regal authority.  Love of Helena is bound up with love of the King, and an affront to Helena is an affront to the throne.  This is to say that Bertram is legally and politically obligated to love Helena, as if love is something that could be compelled, coerced, commanded.

Here, the King of France ignores that desire is not logical or causal and is not subject to regal injunction.  Desire cannot be systematized.  We cannot program our minds to love; we cannot download love applications into the smartphones of our minds.

Were she not such a monomaniac, Helena would have let Bertram go after he refuses her, but she does not.  Not once does Helena accept Bertram’s rejection.  Not once does she turn her attention to another man after Bertram scorns her.  Instead, she pretends to relinquish the man she is determined to appropriate: “That you are well restor’d, my lord, I’m glad. / Let the rest go” [II:iii].  When Helena says this, it is accismus, that is, the feigned refusal of that which is earnestly desired.  It is not a statement of resignation.  Nor should one mistake her demand to marry for a marriage proposal.  Helena does not propose marriage; she imposes marriage.

It would have been noble had Helena renounced Bertram upon learning that he is a marriage escapee, that he defected to Italy and entered the Tuscan Wars and a likely death to escape her.  However, this is not what Helena does: Instead, she pursues him to Italy.  Her path of reflection is as follows: “Bertram left France to escape me; therefore, I will leave France, as well—and follow him to Italy.”  Whereas Helena wants presence, Bertram wants absence: “Till I have no wife I have nothing in France” [III:ii], he writes to his mother.  To say that she wants everything would be a gross understatement.  She wants more than everything—she wants to eat her Key Lime Pie and refrigerate it at the same time.

Bertram gives away his six-generation family ring to Helena, who is disguised as a Florentine washerwoman, and this is ring will be returned to him.  The ring seals not only his marriage to Helena, but also seals his marriage to the community / to the collective.  The symbol of the ring is clearly the chief symbol of the play, for treason moves in an annular pattern.  Treachery is circular; treason is circular.  This is the meaning of the difficult and frequently misinterpreted words of the First Lord:

We are, the First Lord says, “[m]erely our own traitors.  And as in the common course of all treasons we still see them reveal themselves till they attain to their abhorr’d ends; so he that in this action contrives against his own nobility, in his proper stream o’erflows himself” [IV:iii].

I would translate these lines thus: “We human beings are traitors to ourselves.  We betray ourselves in the very act of betrayal.  As we betray others, we betray ourselves—that is, we reveal ourselves as traitors and thus we betray our own betrayals.”  According to a citation in The Oxford English Dictionary, “till” could mean “while” in 1603.  All’s Well That Ends Well is believed to have been written between 1604 and 1605.  If “till” meant “while” in 1603 in England, then this is a justifiable reading of the lines.

All of the main characters are unrepentant traitors, and traitors always betray themselves.  We see treacherous treason in the treacheries of Parolles, of Helena, and of Bertram.

Parolles intends to betray the Florentine army, but ends up betraying military secrets to the Florentine army.

Helena does, in fact, deceive her husband, but this deception ends in legitimized sexual intercourse.  Moreover, she lies when she says that she “embrace[s]” death to “set [Bertram] free” [III:iv], but she does so in order to affirm the sanctity of marriage.  She is a liar who feigns her own death—but she does so in order to honor marriage and thus to honor Elizabethan society.  In the eyes of the world, she has done nothing wrong.  Who could blame her for cozening someone who would unjustly win?  Would could blame her for deceiving her husband in order to sanctify conjugality?  A Casanova in reverse, she takes a honeymoon to Italy and has sex with her husband—only her husband thinks that he is having sex with someone else.  No one is devirginized, except for Bertram’s wife.

Bertram would betray Helena by cheating upon her, but he ends up betraying himself.  He intends to commit adultery on his own wife, but he ends up committing adultery with his wife.

From a purely external / legal / formal point of view, neither sin nor crime has been performed in each case.  In each case, the three characters have sinful intentions, and yet commit no sin.  All’s well that ends in a socially acceptable manner.  It is for this reason that Helena says that the reason within her treasonous marriage plot “[i]s wicked meaning in a lawful deed, / And lawful meaning in a lawful act, / Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact” [III:vii].  And later in the play: “All’s well that ends well; still the fine’s the crown. / Whatever the course, the end is the renown” [IV:v].  “Fine” here means “ending.”  The formal close of the plot sanctifies all of the deception that came before it.  The ring turns itself around; the end communes with the beginning.  The ring is closed, erasing all of the treachery and deception that was used to forge it.

No one is innocent, and no one is guilty.  Diana implies the innocent guilt of not only Bertram, but of all traitors, when she says: “Because he’s guilty and he is not guilty” [V:iii].  The traitors of the play (Parolles, Helena, and Bertram) are innocent, though their intentions are treasonous.

One character after the other intends to perform a treacherous action, but this action is transmuted into its opposite.  Such is the reversal of language: As the First Lord says to the Second Lord (in reference to a secret that will be communicated by the latter to the former): “When you have spoken it, ’tis dead, and I am the grave of it” [IV:iii].  Language kills.  That is: Language has the tendency to say the exact opposite of what we mean.  When we say or write, “I am lonely,” we cannot be lonely, for we open up the possibility of communication.  When we say or write, “I am sad,” we are not sad enough to stop speaking or writing.

Concerning the intentional errors of language: The bescarfed fool Patrolles misuses words throughout, and this is always Shakespeare’s way of ridiculing characters he does not respect.  For instance, Parolles says “facinerious” instead of “facinorous” [II:iii].  He uses an affected language, such as when he calls Bertram’s defection from marriage a “capriccio” [Ibid.].  He often cannot finish his sentences.  Again and again, his sentences are broken off with em-dashes (this is what rhetoricians call aposiopesis).  And yet there is some sense in his nonsense.  When he intones, “Mort du vinaigre!” [III:iii], this might seem to be mere babble, and yet might it not evoke the crucifixion of Christ, whose broken lips and tongue were said to be moistened by vinegar?  When Parolles is accosted by the Florentines, dressed as Muscovites, they utter gibble-gabble, such as “Boskos vauvado” and “Manka revania dulche” [IV:i].  And yet are they gabbling?  Dulche might invoke Dolch, a German word that means “dagger” (after all, the Florentines-dressed-as-Muscovites are pointing their poniards at Parolles), and boskos might evoke “bosk” or “boscage,” which makes sense, since the scene takes place in a forest.  Even though they are gabbling, there is significance in their gibble-gabble.  Shakespeare cannot allow his writing to be meaningless.  There is, in his writing, a tyranny of meaning.  Even the nonsense in his plays carries sense.

At the end of the play, which does not end well, and which therefore belies its own title, Bertram acknowledges that his wife is his wife, but he does so in formalistic and legalistic language: “If she, my liege, can make me know this clearly / I’ll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly” [V:iii].  In other words, “I love you because I am socially, legally, and politically obligated to love you.”  He speaks as if the knowledge of information led to desire, as if the confirmation of a legal contract necessarily issued in passion.  Indeed, Helena has proven that she has fulfilled both conditions of the contract: that she pull the ring from his finger and that she produce a child of whom he is the father.  The ring is given as evidence to Helena’s kangaroo court; the parturition of the child is demonstrated, as if this were the Elizabethan version of a talk-show paternity test.  It is probable, however, that Bertram intended “ring” and “child” as metaphors—and yet Helena takes the letter as the law.  Helena literalizes what might have been intended metaphorically.

Is the social, legal, and political obligation to love another human being not the definition of marriage?  Kant defined marriage as the mutual leasing of each other’s genital organs, and philosophers since Hegel have criticized his glacial definition.  But was Kant incorrect?  All’s Well That Ends Well implies essentially the same thing.  It could be said, with only slight exaggeration or overstatement, that this play is a work of misogamy in contrast to the epithalamia Much Ado about Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Shakespeare’s most problematical comedy would suggest that marriage is the lie of all lies, the hoax of all hoaxes, and should be avoided by anyone who values solitude, privacy, and freedom.

When Bertram submits to the will of Helena and the will of the King the first time, it is hardly a profession of love: “I find that she, which late / Was in my nobler thoughts most base, is now / The praised of the king; who, so ennobled, / Is as ’twere born so” [II:iii].  This is the least erotic assent to marry someone that has ever been articulated.

“All yet seems well” [V:iii; emphasis mine].  There is the semblance of a happy closure, the simulation of a happy ending.  Simply because the circle has closed in a formal sense, this does not mean that anyone is happy.  All’s Well That Ends Well does not end well.  All is not well in All’s Well That Ends Well.  All’s ill that ends well.

Joseph Suglia



SO LONG, PLANET EARTH!: An analysis of ODE TO THE WEST WIND (Percy Bysshe Shelley) by Dr. Joseph Suglia

SO LONG, PLANET EARTH!: An analysis of “Ode to the West Wind” (Percy Bysshe Shelley)

by Dr. Joseph Suglia

Bad news, humans!  The Andromeda Galaxy is barreling toward the Milky Way, the sun of our solar system will explode, will extinguish itself, as all stars do, and, long before either of these things happen, most of the Planet Earth will become uninhabitably hot.  All of the planets within our galaxy, with the exception of Earth, are unlivable, which means that the human species, if it is to survive at all, will have to trickle away the rest of its existence in spacecraft.  Otherwise, we are hurtling toward our extinction and oblivion as if we were a suicide of lemmings.

Percy Bysshe Shelley saw all of this coming and wrote a poem about the destruction of our world, in the autumn of 1819, when the poet was twenty-seven, entitled “Ode to the West Wind.”  It recalls an earlier poem by Albrecht von Haller entitled “Incomplete Poem on Eternity” (1736), which was quoted by Immanuel Kant in his youthful essay “Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and of the Sublime” (1764).  (It is not entirely certain whether Shelley read Kant, much less Haller.  See Hugh Roberts’s article “Shelley among the Post-Kantians.”)  Both poems—that of Shelley and that of Haller—are chillingly apocalyptic and yet also celebratory of the apocalypse, the coming of what Haller described as “the second nothingness” that will “bury” us all.

The ode is divided into five groups.  Each group contains five stanzas.  The first four stanzas in each group are three lines long; the last stanza of each group is a rhyming couplet.  The entire poem is written in iambic pentameter: Each line has ten syllables; the first syllable is unstressed, the second is stressed.  It begins thus:

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh, hear!

The West Wind is like an invisible exorcist that expels leaves in the way that an exorcist expels ghosts.  Thus far, the poem seems to be nothing more than the description of a natural phenomenon that uses a supernatural simile: A natural phenomenon (the West Wind) is likened to a supernatural force (the enchanter) that drives away another supernatural force (ghosts).  Until we read of the “pestilence-stricken multitudes” who are escorted to their mass-death.  “Multitudes” evokes human beings, not leaves—sick human beings, poor human beings.

When the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, England was horribly impoverished.  It was a time of famine, grave poverty, and deep unemployment.  Thanks to the Corn Laws of 1815, the import of corn was blocked and the multitudes were starving.

At this point, one of the meanings generated by the poem is clear: This is an ode that welcomes the death of humanity (as it was in the early nineteenth century) and the birth of a new humanity.  The poem suggests that the Apocalypse might not be such a bad idea, after all.  It is not a misanthropic poem, however, since Shelley is not opposed to humanity as such; indeed, he (the paper Shelley) affirms the advent of a better humanity.  I hesitate to use the word nihilistic, since the poem is not absent of value.  Value-building is all that the poem does.  There is a value presented in the poem, and it is the value of preservative destruction: The westerly wind is named a “Wild Spirit,” at the close of the first section, and both a “destroyer” and a “preserver.”  It is the unseen presence that destroys the immiserated multitudes and the regal chariot that bears the seeds of a new humanity to their wintry sleep, to be awakened by the Spring Wind.  The West Wind, then, has two functions: to destroy lost contemporary humanity and to plant the seeds for a stronger future humanity.

At the close of the first stanza, as at the close of the second and the third, the narrator sounds a clarion call, a plangent summons to the West Wind (which is apostrophized by the familiar “Thou”): “oh, hear!”

Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky’s commotion,
Loose clouds like earth’s decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine aery surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith’s height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh, hear!

The focus of the poem shifts from the ground to the sky.  To be precise: The view of the poem moves from the leaves that are being dispersed, as rioters in a mob, to the clouds that are being dispelled by the aerial force of the West Wind.  No longer does the poem look down upon the poverty-stricken multitudes; now, the poem looks up at the Castlereaghs and the Eldons.  No love is shown for the upper classes, which are likened to a bacchante’s tresses.

It is important to place the poem in the age in which it was written.  Shelley had already condemned the government of Lord Liverpool for butchering the British people at Peterloo, Manchester (16 August 1819), in a rage-incented and rage-incenting poem entitled “The Masque of Anarchy.”  Shelley was no nihilistic, ennui-drowsy elitist wishing for the death of the poor and uneducated masses.  The paper Shelley, at least, wishes for the West Wind to sweep away everyone and everything that currently exists, both low and high.

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae’s bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave’s intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh, hear!

The tyrannies of the world—the violently repressive British government among them—are overthrown by the annihilating gust.  The great wind dreamed, and this is what it dreamed: The wind envisioned the “old palaces and towers” reflected in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.  And these “old palaces and towers” were “all overgrown with azure moss and flowers.”  Swathes of invasive vegetation colonize the city, which is transmuting into a jungle—an ever-growing, ever-flourishing, ever-blossoming jungle.

This is the last time that the prophet will summon the West Wind. Now, it is the prophet himself who will become the focus of the poem.  I use the masculine pronoun because it is clear that the narrator is a he in the fourth section:

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne’er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

The prophet, far from exempting himself from the wind’s sweepings, calls to the wind to carry him along as if he were a leaf, a cloud, or a wave.  At first, it seems as if the prophet were calling for his own self-negation, but then notice how he quickly calls himself a “comrade” of the wind in Stanza Three and then identifies himself with the wind in the second line of the couplet: “[o]ne too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.”  One cannot escape the impression that the prophet sees himself as something more than a leaf, a cloud, or a wave.  If anything, this is self-deification, the raising of the Self to the godhood.  This is anthropotheism, similar to the anthropotheism that Feuerbach saw in Christianity: Christians attribute the best parts of themselves to God.

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O, Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Translation: Let my leaves emerge from the nothingness that the wind will leave in its wake.  Le me be revivified after the wind’s many destructions and annihilations.  Let my poems revitalize the dead Earth.  Like any good Romantic figure, Shelley’s prophet desires to unify himself with nature, but this does not mean that he would be swallowed up by nature–it means, rather, that he would swallow nature, engulf nature, interiorize nature, transform nature into the Self: “Be thou me.”  This is, again, not self-obliteration; it is anthropotheism, the aggressive self-assertion of the human will.  The poet’s song will outlast the wind.

Concluding Unscientific Postscript.  German Romanticism (of the Jena period) is nostalgic for the reunification of subject and object, self and world.  English Romanticism seems to want the same thing, except, in the English Romantic imagination, the Self dominates Nature.  It wants Nature to capitulate to the Self.

Compare Shelley with Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage:

Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part
Of me and of my soul, as I of them?

Dr. Joseph Suglia



A commentary on HUMAN, ALL-TOO-HUMAN by Nietzsche / MENSCHLICHES, ALLZUMENSCHLICHES: Nietzsche and Sam Harris / Nietzsche on Women / Was Nietzsche a sexist? / Was Nietzsche a misogynist? / Nietzsche and Sexism / Sam Harris and Nietzsche / Sexism and Nietzsche / Misogyny and Nietzsche / Nietzsche and Misogyny / Nietzsche and Sexism / Nietzsche and Feminism / Feminism and Nietzsche / Friedrich Nietzsche on Women / Friedrich Nietzsche and Sam Harris / Is Sam Harris Influenced by Nietzsche?


A commentary by Joseph Suglia

MAM = Menschliches, Allzumenschliches. Ein Buch für freie Geister (1878); second edition: 1886

VMS = Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche (1879)

WS = Der Wanderer und sein Schatten (1880)

The following will not have been an interpretation of Nietzsche’s Human, All-Too-Human.  It will have been a commentary: Comment taire? as the French say.  “How to silence?”  In other words: How should the commentator silence his or her own voice and invisibilize his or her own presence in order to amplify the sound of the text and magnify the text’s image?

An interpretation replaces one meaning with another, or, as Heidegger would say, regards one thing as another.  A commentary adds almost nothing to the text under consideration.

Nietzsche’s Psychological Reductionism and Perspectivalism

Human, All-Too-Human is almost unremittingly destructive.  For the most part, it only has a negative purpose: to demolish structures and systems of thought.  However, there is also a positive doctrine within these pages, and that is the doctrine of total irresponsibility and necessity (to which I will return below) and the promise of a future humanity that will be unencumbered by religion, morality, and metaphysics.

In the preface of the second edition (1886), Nietzsche makes this thrust and tenor of his book clear with the following words: The purpose of the book is “the inversion of customary valuations and valued customs” (die Umkehrung gewohnter Wertschätzungen und geschätzter Gewohnheiten).  The highest ideals are reduced to the basest human-all-too-humanness of human beings.  This is a form of psychological reductionism: Once-good values (love, fidelity, patriotism, motherliness) are deposed.  The man who mourns his dead child is an actor on an imaginary stage who performs the act of mourning in order to stir up the emotions of his spectators—he is vain, not selflessly moral.  The faithful girl wants to be cheated upon in order to prove her fidelity—she is egoistic, not selflessly moral.  The soldier wants to die on the battlefield in order to prove his patriotism—he is egoistic, not selflessly moral.  The mother gives up sleep to prove her virtuous motherliness—she is egoistic, not selflessly moral [MAM: 57].

The inversion of valuations leads to an advocacy of the worst values: vanity and egoism (but never the vaingloriousness of arrogance, against which Nietzsche warns us for purely tactical reasons).  As well as lying.  Nietzsche praises lying at the expense of the truth to the point at which lying becomes the truth, and the truth becomes a lie that pretends that it is true.  This, of course, is a paradox, for anyone who says, “There is no truth, only interpretations of truth” is assuming that one’s own statement is true.

Again and again, Nietzsche phenomenalizes the world.  Appearance (Schein) becomes being (Sein): The hypocrite is seduced by his own voice into believing the things that he says.  The priest who begins his priesthood as a hypocrite, more or less, will eventually turn into a pious man, without any affectation [MAM: 52].  The thing in itself is a phenomenon.  Everything is appearance.  There is no beyond-the-world; there is nothing outside of the world, no beyond on the other side of the world, no επέκεινα.

As far as egoism is concerned: Nietzsche tells us again and again: All human beings are self-directed.  I could have just as easily written, All human beings are selfish, but one must be careful.  Nietzsche does not believe in a hypostatized self.  Every individual, Nietzsche instructs us, is a dividual (divided against himself or herself), and the Nietzsche of Also Sprach Zarathustra (1883-1885) utterly repudiates the idea of a substantialized self.  To put it another way: No one acts purely for the benefit of another human being, for how could the first human being do anything without reference to himself or herself?: Nie hat ein Mensch Etwas gethan, das allein für Andere und ohne jeden persönlichen Begweggrund gethan wäre; ja wie sollte er Etwas thun können, das ohne Bezug zu ihm wäre? [MAM: 133].  Only a god would be purely other-directed.  Lichtenberg and La Rochefoucauld are Nietzsche’s constant points of reference in this regard.  Nietzsche never quotes this Rochefoucauldian apothegm, but he might as well have:

“True love is like a ghost which many have talked about, but few have seen.”


“Jealousy contains much more self-love than love.”

Whatever is considered “good” is relativized.  We are taught that the Good is continuous with the Evil, that both Good and Evil belong to the same continuum.  Indeed, there are no opposites, only degrees, gradations, shades, differentiations.  Opposites exist only in metaphysics, not in life, which means that every opposition is a false opposition.  When the free spirit recognizes the artificiality of all oppositions, s/he undergoes the “great liberation” (grosse Loslösung)—a tearing-away from all that is traditionally revered—and “perhaps turns [his or her] favor toward what previously had a bad reputation” (vielleicht nun seine Gunst dem zugewendet, was bisher in schlechtem Rufe stand) [Preface to the second edition].  The awareness that life cannot be divided into oppositions leads to an unhappy aloneness and a lone unhappiness, which can only be alleviated by the invention of other free spirits.

What is a “free spirit”?  A free spirit is someone who does not think in the categories of Either/Or, someone who does not think in the categories of Pro and Contra, but sees more than one side to every argument.  A free spirit does not merely see two sides to an argument, but rather as many sides as possible, an ever-multiplying multiplicity of sides.  As a result, free spirits no longer languish in the manacles of love and hatred; they live without Yes, without No.  They no longer trouble themselves over things that have nothing to do with them; they have to do with things that no longer trouble them.  They are mistresses and masters of every Pro and every Contra, every For and every Against.

All over the internet, you will find opposing camps: feminists and anti-feminists, those who defend religious faith and those who revile religious faith, liberals and conservatives.  Nietzsche would claim that each one of these camps is founded upon the presupposition of an error.  And here Nietzsche is unexpectedly close to Hegel: I am thinking of Nietzsche’s perspectivalism, which is, surprisingly, closer to the Hegelian dialectic than most Nietzscheans and Hegelians would admit, since they themselves tend to be one-sided.  In all disputes, the free spirit sees each perspective as unjust because one-sided.  Instead of choosing a single hand, the free spirit considers both what is on the one hand and what is on the other (einerseits—andererseits) [MAM: 292].  The free spirit hovers over all perspectives, valuations, evaluations, morals, customs, and laws: ihm muss als der wünschenswertheste Zustand jenes freie, furchtlose Schweben über Menschen, Sitten, Gesetzen und den herkömmlichen Schätzungen der Dinge genügen [MAM: 34].  It is invidiously simplistic and simplistically invidious to freeze any particular perspective.  Worse, it is anti-life, for life is conditioned by perspective and its injustices: das Leben selbst [ist] bedingt durch das Perspektivische und seine Ungerechtigkeit [Preface to the second edition].  A free spirit never takes one side or another, for that would reduce the problem in question to the simplicity of a fixed opposition, but instead does justice to the many-sidedness of every problem and thus does honor to the multifariousness of life.

There Is No Free Will.  Sam Harris’s Unspoken Indebtedness to Nietzsche.

Let me pause over three revolutions in the history of Western thought.

The cosmological revolution known as the “Copernican Revolution” marked a shift from the conception of a cosmos in which the Earth is the center to the conception of a system in which the Sun is the center.  A movement from geocentrism (and anthropocentrism) to heliocentrism.

The biological revolution took the shape of the theory of evolution (“It’s only a theory!” exclaim the unintelligent designers), which describes the adaptation of organisms to their environments through the process of non-random natural selection.

There is a third revolution, and it occurred in psychology.  I am not alluding to psychoanalysis, but rather to the revolution that predated psychoanalysis and made it possible (Freud was an admirer of Nietzsche).  Without the Nietzschean revolution, psychoanalysis would be unthinkable, and Twitter philosopher Sam Harris’s Free Will (2012) would never have existed.

I am alluding to the revolution that Nietzsche effected in 1878.  It was a silent revolution.  Almost no one seems aware that this revolution ever took place.

It is a revolution that describes the turning-away from voluntarism (the theory of free will) and the turning-toward determinism, and Nietzsche’s determinism will condition his critique of morality.  Nietzschean determinism is the doctrine of total irresponsibility and necessity.

[Let it be clear that I know that Spinoza, Hume, Hobbes, Schopenhauer, et al., wrote against the concept of the free will before Nietzsche.]

The free will is the idea that we have control over our own thoughts, moods, feelings, and actions.  It conceives of the mind as transparent to itself: We are aware in advance of why we do-say-write-think the things that we do-say-write-think.  This idea is false: You no more know what your next thought will be than you know what the next sentence of this commentary will be (if this is your first time reading this text).  It is only after the fact that we assign free will to the sources of actions, words, and thoughts.  Our thoughts, moods, and feelings—e.g. anger, desire, affection, envy—appear to us as isolated mental states, without reference to previous or subsequent thoughts, moods, and feelings: This is the origin of the misinterpretation of the human mind known as “the free will” (the definite article the even suggests that there is only one).  The free will is an illusion of which we would do well to disabuse ourselves.

We do not think our thoughts.  Our thoughts appear to us.  They come to the surfaces of our consciousness from the abysms of the unconscious mind.  Close your eyes, and focus on the surfacings and submersions of your own thoughts, and you will see what I mean.

This simple exercise of self-observation suffices to disprove the illusion of voluntarism.  If your mind is babbling, this very fact of consciousness refutes the idea of free will.  Mental babble invalidates the voluntarist hypothesis.  Does anyone truly believe that s/he wills babble into existence?  Does anyone deliberately choose the wrong word to say or the wrong action to perform?  If free will existed, infelicity would not exist at all or would exist less.  After all, what would free will be if not the thinking that maps out what one will have thought-done-said-written—before actually having thought one’s thought / done one’s deed / said one’s words / written one’s words?

Belief in free will provokes hatred, malice, guilt, regret, and the desire for vengeance.  After all, if someone chooses to behave in a hateful way, that person deserves to be hated.  Anyone who dispenses with the theory of the free will hates less and loves less.  No more desire for revenge, no more enmity.  No more guilt, no more regret.  No more rewards for impressive people who perform impressive acts, for rewarding implies that the rewarded could have acted differently than s/he did.  In a culture that accepted the doctrine of total irresponsibility, there would be neither heroes nor villains.  There would be no reason to heroize taxi drivers who return forgotten wallets and purses to their clients, nor would there be any reason to heroize oneself, since what a person does is not his choice / is not her choice.  No one would be praised, nor would anyone praise oneself.  No one would condemn others, nor would anyone condemn oneself.  Researchers would investigate the origins of human behavior, but would not punish, for the sources of all human thought and therefore the sources of all human behavior are beyond one’s conscious control / beyond the reach of consciousness.  It makes no sense to say / write that someone is “good” or “evil,” if goodness and evilness are not the products of a free will.  There is no absolute goodness or absolute evilness; nothing is good as such or evil as such.  There is neither voluntary goodness nor voluntary evilness.

If there is no free will, there is no human responsibility, either.  The second presupposes the first.  Do you call a monster “evil”?  A monster cannot be evil if it is not responsible for what it does.  Do we call earthquakes “evil”?  Do we call global warming “evil”?  Natural phenomena are exempt from morality, as are non-human animals.  We do not call natural phenomena “immoral”; we consider human beings “immoral” because we falsely assume the existence of a free will.  We feel guilt / regret for our “immoral” actions / thoughts, not because we are free, but because we falsely believe ourselves to be free: [W]eil sich der Mensch für frei halt, nicht aber weil er frei ist, empfindet er Reue und Gewissensbisse [MAM 39].  No one chooses to have Asperger syndrome or Borderline Personality Disorder.  Why, then, should someone who is afflicted with Asperger syndrome or Borderline Personality Disorder be termed “evil”?  No one chooses one’s genetic constitution.  You are no more responsible for the emergence of your thoughts and your actions than you are responsible for your circulatory system or for the sensation of hunger.

Those who would like to adumbrate Nietzsche’s “mature” thought should begin with Human, All-Too-Human (1878), not with Daybreak (1801).  Nietzsche’s critique of morality makes no sense whatsoever without an understanding of his deeper critique of voluntarism (the doctrine of free will): Again, the ideas of Good and Evil only make sense on the assumption of the existence of free will.

Anyone who dispenses with the idea of free will endorses a shift from a system of punishment to a system of deterrence (Abschreckung).  A system of deterrence would restrain and contain criminals so that someone would not behave badly, not because someone has behaved badly.  As Nietzsche reminds us, every human act is a concrescence of forces from the past: one’s parents, one’s teachers, one’s environment, one’s genetic constitution.  It makes no sense, then, to believe that any individual is responsible for what he or she does.  All human activity is motivated by physiology and the unconscious mind, not by Good or Evil.  Everything is necessary, and it might even be possible to precalculate all human activity, through the mechanics of artificial intelligence, to steal a march on every advance: Alles ist notwendig, jede Bewegung mathematisch auszurechnen… Die Täuschung des Handelnden über sich, die Annahme des freien Willens, gehört mit hinein in diesen auszurechnenden Mechanismus [MAM: 106].

If you accept the cruelty of necessity (and is life not cruel, if we have no say in what we think and what we do?), the nobility of humanity falls away (the letter of nobility, the Adelsbrief) [MAM: 107].  All human distinction is devalued, since it is predetermined—since it is necessary.  Human beings would finally recognize themselves within nature, not outside of nature, as animals among other animals.  I must cite this passage in English translation, one which is not irrelevant to this context and one which belongs to the most powerful writing I have ever read, alongside Macbeth’s soliloquy upon learning of his wife’s death: “The ant in the forest perhaps imagines just as strongly that it is the goal and purpose for the existence of the forest as we do, when we in our imagination tie the downfall of humanity almost involuntarily to the downfall of the Earth: Indeed, we are still modest if we stop there and do not arrange a general twilight of the world and of the gods (eine allgemeine Welt- and Götterdämmerung) for the funeral rites of the final human (zur Leichenfeier des letzten Menschen).  The most dispassionate astronomer can oneself scarcely feel the lifeless Earth in any other way than as the gleaming and floating gravesite of humanity” [WS: 14].

The demystification of the theory of free will has been re-presented by Sam Harris, who might seem like the Prophet of the Doctrine of Necessity.  Those who have never read Nietzsche might believe that Dr. Harris is the first person to say these things, since Dr. Harris never credits Nietzsche’s theory of total human irresponsibility.  If you visit Dr. Harris’s Web site, you will discover a few English translations of Nietzsche on his Recommended Reading List.  We know that Dr. Harris’s first book (unpublished) was a novel in which Nietzsche is a character.  We also know that Dr. Harris was a student of Philosophy at Stanford University.  He would therefore not have been unaware of the Nietzschean resonances in his own text Free Will.  Why, then, has Dr. Harris never publically acknowledged his indebtedness to Nietzschean determinism?

Nietzsche Is / Is Not (Always) a Misogynist.

In 1882, Nietzsche was sexually rejected by Lou Andreas-Salome, a Russian intellectual, writer, and eventual psychoanalyst who was found spellbinding by seemingly every cerebral man she met, including Rilke and Paul Ree.  Since the first edition of Human, All-Too-Human was published four years before, Salome’s rejection of Nietzsche cannot be said to have had an impact on his reflections on women at that stage in the evolution of his thinking.

Nietzsche is sometimes a misogynist.  But I must emphasize: He is not always a misogynist.

At times, Nietzsche praises women / is a philogynist.  To give evidence of Nietzsche’s philogyny, all one needs to do is cite Paragraph 377 of the first volume: “The perfect woman is a higher type of human being than the perfect man” (Das volkommene Weib ist ein höherer Typus des Menschen, als der volkommene Mann).  Elsewhere, Nietzsche extols the intelligence of women: Women have the faculty of understanding (Verstand), he writes, whereas men have mind (Gemüth) and passion (Leidenschaft) [MAM: 411].  The loftier term Verstand points to the superiority of women over men.  Here, Nietzsche is far from misogynistic—indeed, he almost seems gynocratic.

Nor is Nietzsche a misogynist, despite appearances, in the following passage—one in which he claims that women tolerate thought-directions that are logically in contradiction with one another: Widersprüche in weiblichen Köpfen.—Weil die Weiber so viel mehr persönlich als sachlich sind, vertragen sich in ihrem Gedankenkreise Richtungen, die logisch mit einander in Widerspruch sind: sie pflegen sich eben für die Vertreter dieser Richtungen der Reihe nach zu begeistern und nehmen deren Systeme in Bausch und Bogen an; doch so, dass überall dort eine todte Stelle entsteht, wo eine neue Persönlichkeit später das Übergewicht bekommt [MAM: 419].

To paraphrase: Nietzsche is saying that the minds of women are fluxuous and not in any pejorative sense.  He means that multiple positions coexist simultaneously in the consciousnesses of women.  Personalities are formed and then evacuate themselves, leaving dead spots (todte Stellen), where new personalities are activated.  This does not mean that the minds of women contain “dead spots”—it means that they are able to form and reform new personalities, which is a strength, not a weakness.  And yet does he not say the same thing about his invisible friends, the free spirits?  Free spirits are also in a state of constant flux, and their fluxuousness, while necessarily unjust to their own opinions, allows them to move from opinion to opinion with alacrity and to hold in their heads multiple opinions at the same time.  Free spirits have opinions and arguments, but no convictions, for convictions are petrific.  Free spirits are guiltless betrayers of their own opinions [MAM: 637] and goalless wanderers from opinion to opinion [MAM: 638].

Why would the substitution-of-one-position-for-another, intellectual inconstancy, be considered as something negative?  Is it not a trait of the free spirit the ability to substitute a new position for an older one with alacrity?  And is the free spirit not Nietzsche’s ideal human being—at least before the overhuman takes the stage?  Such is my main argument: Free-spiritedness is womanliness, and free spirits are womanly, if we accept Nietzsche’s definitions of “free-spiritedness” and of “womanliness.”

This is not to deny the strain of misogyny that runs throughout Nietzsche’s collected writings.  Yes, Nietzsche does write unkind and unjustifiable things about women—some of his statements about women are downright horrible and indefensible.  My objective here is to highlight the polysemy and polyvocality of his writing, its ambiguity.  For a further discussion of Nietzsche’s ambiguous representations of the feminine, consult Derrida’s Spurs, wherein he analyzes the figure of the veil in Beyond Good and Evil.

To say or write that Nietzsche is always a misogynist would be to disambiguate his work—if by “Nietzsche” one is referring to the paper Nietzsche.  (For a series of accounts of Nietzsche as a human being, see Conversations with Nietzsche: A Life in the Words of His Contemporaries, published by Oxford University Press.)  Nonetheless, let us pause over the historical, living human being Friedrich Nietzsche, who was male, and his relation to one historical, living human being, who was female: Marie Baumgartner, the mother of one of Nietzsche’s students and his sometime French translator.  In the original manuscript of Mixed Opinions and Maxims, the first appendix to Human, All-Too-Human, Nietzsche wrote: “Whether we have a serpent’s tooth or not is something that we do not know until someone has put his heel upon us.  Our character is determined even more by the lack of certain experiences than by what we have experienced” [VMS: 36].  In a letter to Nietzsche dated 13 November 1878, Marie Baumgartner wrote: “I would gladly have added to your very striking maxim: ‘a woman or mother would say, until someone puts his heel upon her darling or her child.’  For a woman will not silently allow something to happen to them that in most cases she patiently accepts for herself.”  Nietzsche was so affected by Baumgartner’s rather delicately worded suggestion that he modulated the text to reflect her proposal.  If Nietzsche regarded women as inferior (and he never did), why would he take seriously something that a female reader wrote about his manuscript—so seriously that he modified his manuscript to incorporate her words?  The fact that Nietzsche reflected Marie Baumgartner’s suggestion in the revision of his manuscript is evidence enough that he respected the intelligence of this particular woman—the grain of his own writing confirms that he respected the intelligence of women in general and even considered women in general to be more intelligent than men in general.

Nietzsche Was Not an Atheist, if by “Atheist” One Means “Someone Who Does Not Believe in God.”

Nietzsche tells us, in Paragraph Nine of the first volume, “Even if a metaphysical world did exist, it would be nothing other than an otherness [Anderssein] that would be unavailable and incomprehensible to us; it would be a thing with [purely] negative characteristics.”

My question (which has been inspired by Nietzsche) is the following: Why do we even care about the beyond?  Should questions such as “Is there life after death?” not be greeted with apathy?  Why are we engaged with such questions to begin with?  Do not such questions merit indifference rather than seriousness?

Questions such as “Does God exist?” and “Is there life after death?” cannot be answered scientifically or logically.  We do not require their answers in order to live.  All of us live out our lives without knowing the answers to such questions.  Not merely that: It is entirely possible to live out our lives without ever ASKING or PURSUING such questions—and would we not be better off for not having done so?

Let me put it another way: Do the questions “Why does the world exist?” and “Why is there being rather than nothing?” not presuppose a reason for existing and a reason for being?  I am looking at you, Heidegger.

The Nietzsche of 1878 is not an atheist, if by “atheist” one means “someone who does not believe in God.”  Those who contest the existence of a deity or deities are practicing a form of skiamachy.  Nietzsche, on the other hand, is someone who considers questions about the existence of God, or of any extra-worldly transcendence, to be superfluous.  Otherworldliness is not something that can be discussed, since it is purely negative.

Moreover, the Nietzsche of Human, All-Too-Human is not merely not an atheist.  He is also not a philosopher, if by “philosopher,” we mean someone who speculates about imaginary worlds / is an imaginary world-builder.  Nietzsche will not become a philosopher, speculative or otherwise, until the very end of his period of lucidity, with the doctrines of the Eternal Recurrence of the Always-Same and the Will to Power.

Nietzsche Contradicts Himself.  Often.  But This Is Not a Flaw in His Thinking.

Nietzsche contradicts himself—often—but this is not a flaw in this thinking.  He tells us to stop using the word “optimism” [MAM: 28] and then uses the word himself, without any perceptible irony, in other sections of the book.  After scolding us for believing in heroes, he warmly sponsors the “refined heroism” (verfeinerten Heroismus) of the free spirit who works in a small office and passes quietly into and out of life [MAM: 291].  In Paragraph 148 of the first volume, Nietzsche claims that the poet alleviates (erleichtert) life—this seems to contradict his claim, five paragraphs later, that “art aggravates the heart of the poet” (Die Kunst macht dem Denker das Herz schwer), that listening to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony infuses the listener with the heavy feeling of immortality, with religious and metaphysical conceptions.  If Nietzsche contradicts himself, and he does, this is because free-spiritedness is multitudinous, multi-perspectival, self-contradictory thinking.  Free-spiritedness is multi-spiritedness.

Aphorisms Inspired by Nietzsche

On Religion and Politics

What is religious is political, and what is political is religious.

On Morality

Morality depends on opportunity.

On Communication

A word means something different to you than it does to me, which means that communication is impossible: Nothing is communicable save the power to communicate the impossibility of communication.  (Nietzsche suggests that the worst alienation is when two people fail to understand each other’s irony.)  Consciousness of this fact would liberate us from the bitterness and intensity of every sensation.

On Interpretation

The mind is geared not toward what has been interpreted, but toward that which has not been interpreted and might not even be interpretable.  Nietzsche: “We take something that is unexplained and obscure to be more important than something that has been explained and made clear” [MAM: 532].

On the Voice

We often disagree with someone because of the sound of his or her voice.  We often agree with someone because of the sound of his or her voice.

On Salvation

In a 1966 interview with Der Spiegel, Heidegger claimed: “Only a god can save us.”  This statement must be revised: Not even a god could save us now.

On Censorial America

In contemporary America, you may be prosecuted and persecuted for what you think, insofar as what you think is available in language.

Joseph Suglia