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Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, whose critiques of contemporary culture, religion, and philosophy centered on a basic question regarding the foundation of values and morality.
Born: October 15th, 1844
Died: August 25th, 1900
Quotes: 338 sourced quotes total (includes 2 misattributed, 1 disputed, 53 about)
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Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker.
Ohne Musik wäre das Leben ein Irrtum.
Gott ist tot! Gott bleibt tot! Und wir haben ihn getötet.
A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions — as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.
In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.
The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.
There are no facts, only interpretations.
»Glaube« heißt Nicht-wissen-wollen.
Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein.
Man verdirbt einen Jüngling am sichersten, wenn man ihn anleitet, den Gleichdenkenden höher zu achten, als den Andersdenkenden.
Two great European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity.
Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive.
... die Hoffnung: sie ist in Wahrheit das übelste der Übel, weil sie die Qual der Menschen verlängert.
The 'Kingdom of Heaven' is a condition of the heart — not something that comes 'upon the earth' or 'after death'.
Es gibt in der Welt einen einzigen Weg, auf welchem niemand gehen kann, außer dir: wohin er führt? Frage nicht, gehe ihn.
Einige werden posthum geboren.
One must have a good memory to be able to keep the promises one makes.
Wie? ist der Mensch nur ein Fehlgriff Gottes? Oder Gott nur ein Fehlgriff des Menschen?
Mathematics would certainly have not come into existence if one had known from the beginning that there was in nature no exactly straight line, no actual circle, no absolute magnitude.
Although the most acute judges of the witches and even the witches themselves, were convinced of the guilt of witchery, the guilt nevertheless was non-existent. It is thus with all guilt.
"Do I still have to add that in the entire New Testament there is only one solitary figure one is obliged to respect? Pilate, the Roman governor. To take a Jewish affair seriously — he cannot persuade himself to do that. One Jew more or less — what does it matter ?... The noble scorn of a Roman before whom an impudent misuse of the word 'truth' was carried on has enriched the New Testament with the only expression which possesses value — which is its criticism, its annihilation even: 'What is truth?..."
Morality is herd instinct in the individual.
Ist das Leben nicht hundert Mal zu kurz, sich in ihm— zu langweilen?
Hat man sein warum? des Lebens, so verträgt man sich fast mit jedem wie?
One will rarely err if extreme actions be ascribed to vanity, ordinary actions to habit, and mean actions to fear.
Woe to the thinker who is not the gardener but only the soil of the plants that grow in him!
The worst readers are those who behave like plundering troops: they take away a few things they can use, dirty and confound the remainder, and revile the whole.
Die mutter der Ausschweifung ist nicht die Freude, sondern die Freudlosigkeit. http://books.google.com/books?id=bzUAAAAAMAAJ&q=%22Die+mutter+der+Ausschweifung+ist+nicht+die+Freude+sondern+die+Freudlosigkeit%22&pg=RA1-PA48#v=onepage
Love is a state in which a man sees things most decidedly as they are not.
While every noble morality develops from a triumphant affirmation of itself, slave morality from the outset says No to what is "outside," what is "different," what is "not itself"; and this No is its creative deed.
I am utterly amazed, utterly enchanted! I have a precursor, and what a precursor! I hardly knew Spinoza: that I should have turned to him just now, was inspired by "instinct." Not only is his overtendency like mine—namely to make all knowledge the most powerful affect — but in five main points of his doctrine I recognize myself; this most unusual and loneliest thinker is closest to me precisely in these matters: he denies the freedom of the will, teleology, the moral world-order, the unegoistic, and evil. Even though the divergencies are admittedly tremendous, they are due more to the difference in time, culture, and science. In summa: my lonesomeness, which, as on very high mountains, often made it hard for me to breathe and make my blood rush out, is now at least a twosomeness. Strange! Incidentally, I am not at all as well as I had hoped. Exceptional weather here too! Eternal change of atmospheric conditions! — that will yet drive me out of Europe! I must have clear skies for months, else I get nowhere. Already six severe attacks of two or three days each. With affectionate love, Your friend.
… was ihn nicht umbringt, macht ihn stärker
A moral system valid for all is basically immoral.
Mancher wird nur deshalb kein Denker, weil sein Gedächtnis zu gut ist.
It says nothing against the ripeness of a spirit that it has a few worms.
Women are considered profound. Why? Because we never fathom their depths. But women aren't even shallow.
The very word "Christianity" is a misunderstanding — in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.
God created woman. And boredom did indeed cease from that moment — but many other things ceased as well! Woman was God's second mistake.
Everyone who enjoys thinks that the principal thing to the tree is the fruit, but in point of fact the principal thing to it is the seed.—Herein lies the difference between them that create and them that enjoy.
We believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things — metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.
What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power in man, the will to power, power itself. What is bad? All that is born of weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome.
Whatever has value in our world now does not have value in itself, according to its nature — nature is always value-less, but has been given value at some time, as a present — and it was we who gave and bestowed it.
Whoever has overthrown an existing law of custom has hitherto always first been accounted a bad man: but when, as did happen, the law could not afterwards be reinstated and this fact was accepted, the predicate gradually changed: - history treats almost exclusively of these bad men who subsequently became good men!
Freedom means that the manly instincts which delight in war and victory dominate over other instincts, for example, over those of "pleasure." The human being who has become free — and how much more the spirit who has become free — spits on the contemptible type of well-being dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, females, Englishmen, and other democrats. The free man is a warrior. —
To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities — I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not — that one endures.
Plato ist langweilig.
Good prose is written only face to face with poetry.
Nihilist und Christ: das reimt sich, das reimt sich nicht bloss.
Was sagt dein Gewissen? — 'Du sollst der werden, der du bist.'
Mystical explanations are considered deep; the truth is, they are not even shallow.
Die Länge des Tages. - Wenn man viel hineinzustecken hat, so hat ein Tag hundert Taschen.
Perhaps man will rise ever higher as soon as he ceases to flow out into a god.
I would not know what the spirit of a philosopher might wish more to be than a good dancer.
We have already gone beyond whatever we have words for. In all talk there is a grain of contempt.
Niemand kann dir die Brücke bauen, auf der gerade du über den Fluß des Lebens schreiten mußt, niemand außer dir allein.
There is nothing to life that has value, except the degree of power—assuming that life itself is the will to power.
The sick are the greatest danger for the healthy; it is not from the strongest that harm comes to the strong, but from the weakest.
Merchant and pirate were for a long period one and the same person. Even today mercantile morality is really nothing but a refinement of piratical morality.
We are, all of us, growing volcanoes that approach the hour of their eruption; but how near or distant that is, nobody knows — not even God.
We have no dreams at all or interesting ones. We should learn to be awake the same way — not at all or in an interesting manner.
We are unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge-and with good reason. We have never sought ourselves- how could it happen that we should ever find ourselves?
To live alone one must be an animal or a god - says Aristotle. There is yet a third case: one must be both - a philosopher.
A strong and well-constituted man digests his experiences (deeds and misdeeds all included) just as he digests his meats, even when he has some tough morsels to swallow.
Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire.
The whole disaster was only made possible by the fact that there already existed in the world a similar megalomania, allied to this one in race, to wit, the Jewish.
To find everything profound — that is an inconvenient trait. It makes one strain one's eyes all the time, and in the end one finds more than one might have wished.
He that prefers the beautiful to the useful in life will, undoubtedly, like children who prefer sweetmeats to bread, destroy his digestion and acquire a very fretful outlook on the world.
Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves. It is to preserve the distance which separates us from other men. To grow more indifferent to hardship, to severity, to privation, and even to life itself.
That faith makes blessed under certain circumstances, that blessedness does not make of a fixed idea a true idea, that faith moves no mountains but puts mountains where there are none: a quick walk through a madhouse enlightens one sufficiently about this.
We obtain the concept, as we do the form, by overlooking what is individual and actual; whereas nature is acquainted with no forms and no concepts, and likewise with no species, but only with an X which remains inaccessible and undefinable for us.
Our institutions are no good any more: on that there is universal agreement. However, it is not their fault but ours. Once we have lost all the instincts out of which institutions grow, we lose institutions altogether because we are no longer good for them.
We have seen how it is originally language which works on the construction of concepts, a labor taken over in later ages by science. Just as the bee simultaneously constructs cells and fills them with honey, so science works unceasingly on this great columbarium of concepts, the graveyard of perceptions.
Hope, in its stronger forms, is a great deal more powerful stimulans to life than any sort of realized joy can ever be. Man must be sustained in suffering by a hope so high that no conflict with actuality can dash it—so high, indeed, that no fulfilment can satisfy it: a hope reaching out beyond this world.
The pride connected with knowing and sensing lies like a blinding fog over the eyes and senses of men, thus deceiving them concerning the value of existence. For this pride contains within itself the most flattering estimation of the value of knowing. Deception is the most general effect of such pride, but even its most particular effects contain within themselves something of the same deceitful character.
Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of "world history," but nevertheless, it was only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die. One might invent such a fable, and yet he still would not have adequately illustrated how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened.
The various languages placed side by side show that with words it is never a question of truth, never a question of adequate expression; otherwise, there would not be so many languages. The "thing in itself" (which is precisely what the pure truth, apart from any of its consequences, would be) is likewise something quite incomprehensible to the creator of language and something not in the least worth striving for. '''This creator only designates the relations of things to men, and for expressing these relations he lays hold of the boldest metaphors.'''' To begin with, a nerve stimulus is transferred into an image: first metaphor. The image, in turn, is imitated in a sound: second metaphor. And each time there is a complete overleaping of one sphere, right into the middle of an entirely new and different one.
Only by forgetting this primitive world of metaphor can one live with any repose, security, and consistency: only by means of the petrification and coagulation of a mass of images which originally streamed from the primal faculty of human imagination like a fiery liquid, only in the invincible faith that this sun, this window, this table is a truth in itself, in short, only by forgetting that he himself is an artistically creating subject, does man live with any repose, security, and consistency. If but for an instant he could escape from the prison walls of this faith, his "self consciousness" would be immediately destroyed. It is even a difficult thing for him to admit to himself that the insect or the bird perceives an entirely different world from the one that man does, and that the question of which of these perceptions of the world is the more correct one is quite meaningless, for this would have to have been decided previously in accordance with the criterion of the correct perception, which means, in accordance with a criterion which is not available.
Liberalismus: auf deutsch Heerden-Verthierung ...
We are always in our own company.
Haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself.
When virtue has slept, she will get up more refreshed.
A witticism is an epigram on the death of a feeling.
''Die Leugner des Zufalls. — 'Kein Sieger glaubt an den Zufall.'''
The good generally displeases us when it is beyond our ken.
Feinde der Wahrheit. - Überzeugungen sind gefährlichere Feinde der Wahrheit, als Lügen.
Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings — always darker, emptier, simpler.
If a temple is to be erected, a temple must be destroyed.
What is now decisive against Christianity is our taste, no longer our reasons.
And nothing on earth consumes a man more quickly than the passion of resentment.
What is the seal of liberation? — No longer being ashamed in front of oneself.
This is the antinomy: Insofar as we believe in morality we pass sentence on existence.
Der christliche Entschluss, die Welt hässlich und schlecht zu finden, hat die Welt hässlich und schlecht gemacht.
'''The world is poor for him who has never been sick enough for this 'voluptuousness of hell':
Ziel und Wege. - Viele sind hartnäckig in Bezug auf den einmal eingeschlagenen Weg, Wenige in Bezug auf das Ziel.
A man as he ought to be: that sounds to us as insipid as "a tree as it ought to be."
The value of many men and books rests solely on their faculty for compelling all to speak out the most hidden and intimate things.
The advent of the Christian God, as the maximum god attained so far, was therefore accompanied by the maximum feeling of guilty indebtedness on earth.
It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a whole book — what everyone else does not say in a whole book.
To be sure, one comes no closer to the truth if, in reaction to these and similar doctrines, one calls the state, with Nietzsche, the coldest of all cold monsters.
Every tradition grows ever more venerable — the more remote its origin, the more confused that origin is. The reverence due to it increases from generation to generation. The tradition finally becomes holy and inspires awe.
Without art we would be nothing but foreground and live entirely in the spell of that perspective which makes what is closest at hand and most vulgar appear as if it were vast, and reality itself.
Gott ist tot! aber so wie die Art der Menschen ist, wird es vielleicht noch Jahrtausende lang Höhlen geben, in denen man seinen Schatten zeigt. — Und wir — Wir müssen auch noch seinen Schatten besiegen.
When one gives up Christian belief one thereby deprives oneself of the right to Christian morality. For the latter is absolutely not self-evident: one must make this point clear again and again, in spite of English shallowpates.
The 'kingdom of God' is not something one waits for; it has no yesterday or tomorrow, it does not come 'in a thousand years' — it is an experience within a heart; it is everywhere, it is nowhere...
Natürlicher ist unsere Stellung in politicis: wir sehen Probleme der Macht, des Quantums Macht gegen ein anderes Quantum. Wir glauben nicht an ein Recht, das nicht auf der Macht ruht, sich durchzusetzen: wir empfinden alle Rechte als Eroberungen.
The realization that our mental functioning is largely irrational was arrived at by several thinkers at the same time, including Friedrich Nietzsche... Freud, who was much influenced by both Darwin and Nietzsche... was its most profound and articulate exponent.
I have somehow something like "influence" … In the Anti-Semitic Correspondence … my name is mentioned in almost every issue. Zarathustra … has charmed the anti-Semites; there is a special anti-Semitic interpretation of it that made me laugh very much.
For those who need consolation no means of consolation is so effective as the assertion that in their case no consolation is possible: it implies so great a degree of distinction that they at once hold up their heads again.
Man believes that the world itself is filled with beauty — he forgets that it is he who has created it. He alone has bestowed beauty upon the world — alas! only a very human, an all too human, beauty.
Nietzsche may have been seriously wrong in his understanding of modernity: he may have mistaken one part of the story—the rise of secularism—for the whole tale; but few men have struggled as honestly with the problem of nihilism as he.
It is not enough to prove something, one has also to seduce or elevate people to it. That is why the man of knowledge should learn how to speak his wisdom: and often in such a way that it sounds like folly!
The broad effects which can be obtained by punishment in man and beast are the increase of fear, the sharpening of the sense of cunning, the mastery of the desires; so it is that punishment tames man, but does not make him "better."
As a genius of construction man raises himself far above the bee in the following way: whereas the bee builds with wax that he gathers from nature, man builds with the far more delicate conceptual material which he first has to manufacture from himself.
That every will must consider every other will its equal — would be a principle hostile to life, an agent of the dissolution and destruction of man, an attempt to assassinate the future of man, a sign of weariness, a secret path to nothingness.
Because of the way that myth takes it for granted that miracles are always happening, the waking life of a mythically inspired people — the ancient Greeks, for instance — more closely resembles a dream than it does the waking world of a scientifically disenchanted thinker.
Where there have been powerful governments, societies, religions, public opinions, in short wherever there has been tyranny, there the solitary philosopher has been hated; for philosophy offers an asylum to a man into which no tyranny can force it way, the inward cave, the labyrinth of the heart.
Do you believe then that the sciences would have arisen and grown up if the sorcerers, alchemists, astrologers and witches had not been their forerunners; those who, with their promisings and foreshadowings, had first to create a thirst, a hunger, and a taste for hidden and forbidden powers?
All things considered, I could never have survived my youth without Wagnerian music. For I seemed condemned to the society of Germans. If a man wishes to rid himself of a feeling of unbearable oppression, he may have to take to hashish. Well, I had to take to Wagner...
Unpleasant, even dangerous, qualities can be found in every nation and every individual: it is cruel to demand that the Jew be an exception. In him, these qualities may even be dangerous and revolting to an unusual degree; and perhaps the young stock-exchange Jew is altogether the most disgusting invention of mankind.
Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker’s sense of satisfaction with his small existence–who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights.
...to the priestly class — decadence is no more than a means to an end. Men of this sort have a vital interest in making mankind sick, and in confusing the values of "good" and "bad," "true" and "false" in a manner that is not only dangerous to life, but also slanders it.
What follows, then? That one had better put on gloves before reading the New Testament. The presence of so much filth makes it very advisable. One would as little choose early Christians for companions as Polish Jews: not that one need seek out an objection to them — neither has a pleasant smell.
I know my fate. One day my name will be associated with the memory of something tremendous — a crisis without equal on earth, the most profound collision of conscience, a decision that was conjured up against everything that had been believed, demanded, hallowed so far. I am no man, I am dynamite.
The venerability, reliability, and utility of truth is something which a person demonstrates for himself from the contrast with the liar, whom no one trusts and everyone excludes. As a "rational" being, he now places his behavior under the control of abstractions. He will no longer tolerate being carried away by sudden impressions, by intuitions.
The God that Paul invented for himself, a God who "reduced to absurdity" "the wisdom of this world" (especially the two great enemies of superstition, philology and medicine), is in truth only an indication of Paul's resolute determination to accomplish that very thing himself: to give one's own will the name of God, Torah — that is essentially Jewish.
These people who have fled inward for their freedom also have to live outwardly, become visible, let themselves be seen; they are united with mankind through countless ties of blood, residence, education, fatherland, chance, the importunity of others; they are likewise presupposed to harbour countless opinions simply because these are the ruling opinions of the time; every gesture which is not clearly a denial counts as agreement.
Greatness by nature includes a power, but not a will to power. … The great man, whether we comprehend him in the most intense activity of his work or in the restful equipoise of his forces, is powerful, involuntarily and composedly powerful, but he is not avid for power. What he is avid for is the realization of what he has in mind, the incarnation of the spirit.
One may certainly admire man as a mighty genius of construction, who succeeds in piling an infinitely complicated dome of concepts upon an unstable foundation, and, as it were, on running water. Of course, in order to be supported by such a foundation, his construction must be like one constructed of spiders' webs: delicate enough to be carried along by the waves, strong enough not to be blown apart by every wind.
Der Gegenwart entfremdet. - Es hat grosse Vortheile, seiner Zeit sich einmal in stärkerem Maasse zu entfremden und gleichsam von ihrem Ufer zurück in den Ocean der vergangenen Weltbetrachtungen getrieben zu werden. Von dort aus nach der Küste zu blickend, überschaut man wohl zum ersten Male ihre gesammte Gestaltung und hat, wenn man sich ihr wieder nähert, den Vortheil, sie besser im Ganzen zu verstehen, als Die, welche sie nie verlassen haben.
Are designations congruent with things? Is language the adequate expression of all realities? It is only by means of forgetfulness that man can ever reach the point of fancying himself to possess a "truth" of the grade just indicated. If he will not be satisfied with truth in the form of tautology, that is to say, if he will not be content with empty husks, then he will always exchange truths for illusions.
Was ist also Wahrheit? Ein bewegliches Heer von Metaphern, Metonymien, Anthropomorphismen, kurz eine Summe von menschlichen Relationen, die, poetisch und rhetorisch gesteigert, übertragen, geschmückt wurden, und die nach langem Gebrauch einem Volke fest, kanonisch und verbindlich dünken: die Wahrheiten sind Illusionen, von denen man vergessen hat, daß sie welche sind, Metaphern, die abgenutzt und sinnlich kraftlos geworden sind, Münzen, die ihr Bild verloren haben und nun als Metall, nicht mehr als Münzen, in Betracht kommen.
What does man actually know about himself? Is he, indeed, ever able to perceive himself completely, as if laid out in a lighted display case? Does nature not conceal most things from him — even concerning his own body — in order to confine and lock him within a proud, deceptive consciousness, aloof from the coils of the bowels, the rapid flow of the blood stream, and the intricate quivering of the fibers! She threw away the key.
Man has an invincible inclination to allow himself to be deceived and is, as it were, enchanted with happiness when the rhapsodist tells him epic fables as if they were true, or when the actor in the theater acts more royally than any real king. So long as it is able to deceive without injuring, that master of deception, the intellect, is free; it is released from its former slavery and celebrates its Saturnalia. It is never more luxuriant, richer, prouder, more clever and more daring.
There are ages in which the rational man and the intuitive man stand side by side, the one in fear of intuition, the other with scorn for abstraction. The latter is just as irrational as the former is inartistic. They both desire to rule over life: the former, by knowing how to meet his principle needs by means of foresight, prudence, and regularity; the latter, by disregarding these needs and, as an "overjoyed hero," counting as real only that life which has been disguised as illusion and beauty.
Whereas the man of action binds his life to reason and its concepts so that he will not be swept away and lost, the scientific investigator builds his hut right next to the tower of science so that he will be able to work on it and to find shelter for himself beneath those bulwarks which presently exist. And he requires shelter, for there are frightful powers which continuously break in upon him, powers which oppose scientific "truth" with completely different kinds of "truths" which bear on their shields the most varied sorts of emblems.
Deception, flattering, lying, deluding, talking behind the back, putting up a false front, living in borrowed splendor, wearing a mask, hiding behind convention, playing a role for others and for oneself — in short, a continuous fluttering around the solitary flame of vanity — is so much the rule and the law among men that there is almost nothing which is less comprehensible than how an honest and pure drive for truth could have arisen among them. They are deeply immersed in illusions and in dream images; their eyes merely glide over the surface of things and see "forms."
Every word instantly becomes a concept precisely insofar as it is not supposed to serve as a reminder of the unique and entirely individual original experience to which it owes its origin; but rather, a word becomes a concept insofar as it simultaneously has to fit countless more or less similar cases — which means, purely and simply, cases which are never equal and thus altogether unequal. Every concept arises from the equation of unequal things. Just as it is certain that one leaf is never totally the same as another, so it is certain that the concept "leaf" is formed by arbitrarily discarding these individual differences and by forgetting the distinguishing aspects.
When someone hides something behind a bush and looks for it again in the same place and finds it there as well, there is not much to praise in such seeking and finding. Yet this is how matters stand regarding seeking and finding "truth" within the realm of reason. If I make up the definition of a mammal, and then, after inspecting a camel, declare "look, a mammal' I have indeed brought a truth to light in this way, but it is a truth of limited value. That is to say, it is a thoroughly anthropomorphic truth which contains not a single point which would be "true in itself" or really and universally valid apart from man. At bottom, what the investigator of such truths is seeking is only the metamorphosis of the world into man.
The liar is a person who uses the valid designations, the words, in order to make something which is unreal appear to be real. He says, for example, "I am rich," when the proper designation for his condition would be "poor." He misuses fixed conventions by means of arbitrary substitutions or even reversals of names. If he does this in a selfish and moreover harmful manner, society will cease to trust him and will thereby exclude him. What men avoid by excluding the liar is not so much being defrauded as it is being harmed by means of fraud. Thus, even at this stage, what they hate is basically not deception itself, but rather the unpleasant, hated consequences of certain sorts of deception. It is in a similarly restricted sense that man now wants nothing but truth: he desires the pleasant, life-preserving consequences of truth. He is indifferent toward pure knowledge which has no consequences; toward those truths which are possibly harmful and destructive he is even hostilely inclined.
Between two absolutely different spheres, as between subject and object, there is no causality, no correctness, and no expression; there is, at most, an aesthetic relation: I mean, a suggestive transference, a stammering translation into a completely foreign tongue — for which I there is required, in any case, a freely inventive intermediate sphere and mediating force. "Appearance" is a word that contains many temptations, which is why I avoid it as much as possible. For it is not true that the essence of things "appears" in the empirical world. A painter without hands who wished to express in song the picture before his mind would, by means of this substitution of spheres, still reveal more about the essence of things than does the empirical world. Even the relationship of a nerve stimulus to the generated image is not a necessary one. But when the same image has been generated millions of times and has been handed down for many generations and finally appears on the same occasion every time for all mankind, then it acquires at last the same meaning for men it would have if it were the sole necessary image and if the relationship of the original nerve stimulus to the generated image were a strictly causal one. In the same manner, an eternally repeated dream would certainly be felt and judged to be reality. But the hardening and congealing of a metaphor guarantees absolutely nothing concerning its necessity and exclusive justification.
Das Christenthum ist eine Metaphysik des Henkers...
Gegen die Langeweile kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.
Eins ist not. — Seinem Charakter 'Stil geben'.
Life is, after all, not a product of morality.
Hume and Nietzsche are bird so the same feather.
Oh wie ferne war mir damals gerade dieser ganze Resignationismus!
The desert grows: woe to him in whom deserts hide ...
I teach you the Overman. Man is something which shall be surpassed.
Pardon me, my friends, I have ventured to paint my happiness on the wall.
Main article: The Antichrist Der Antichrist (1888); The Antichrist (English translation at WIkisource) (German)
Man büßt es theuer, unsterblich zu sein: man stirbt dafür mehrere Male bei Lebzeiten.
Freier Wille ohne Fatum ist ebenso wenig denkbar, wie Geist ohne Reelles, Gutes ohne Böses.
Do not forget, man, consumed by lust: you—are the stone, the desert, are death ...
One has attained to mastery when one neither goes wrong nor hesitates in the performance.
To what extent can truth endure incorporation? That is the question; that is the experiment.
Vorrecht der Grösse. - Es ist das Vorrecht der Grösse, mit geringen Gaben hoch zu beglücken.
He who is punished is never he who performed the deed. He is always the scapegoat.
O, what nowadays does science not conceal! How much, at least, it is meant to conceal!
I am a disciple of the philosopher Dionysus, I would rather be a satyr than a saint.
Der Mensch der Erkenntniss muss nicht nur seine Feinde lieben, er muss auch seine Freunde hassen können.
Daß man wird, was man ist, setzt voraus, daß man nicht im entferntesten ahnt, was man ist.
The objective of all human arrangements is through distracting one’s thoughts to cease to be aware of life.
Aus der Erfahrung. - Die Unvernunft einer Sache ist kein Grund gegen ihr Dasein, vielmehr eine Bedingung desselben.
Everything good, fine or great they do is first of all an argument against the skeptic inside them.
We want to be poets of our life — first of all in the smallest most everyday matters.
No more fiction for us: we calculate; but that we may calculate, we had to make fiction first.
Morality is: the mediocre are worth more than the exceptions … I abhore Christianity with a deadly hatred.
Strauss’ whole study indicates that noble nature as Nietzsche presents it—no, embodies it—replaces divine nature as Plato presents it.
Glaubt es mir! – das Geheimnis, um die größte Fruchtbarkeit und den größten Genuß vom Dasein einzuernten, heißt: gefährlich leben!
Thoughts in a poem. The poet presents his thoughts festively, on the carriage of rhythm: usually because they could not walk.
The advantage of a bad memory is that one can enjoy the same good things for the first time several times.
We often contradict an opinion for no other reason than that we do not like the tone in which it is expressed.
Schatten in der Flamme. - Die Flamme ist sich selber nicht so hell,als den Anderen, denen sie leuchtet: so auch der Weise.
Being silent is something one completely unlearns if, like him, one has been for so long a solitary mole - - -
The degree of introspection achieved by Nietzsche had never been achieved by anyone, nor is it ever likely to be achieved again.
Darum hat Lessing, der ehrlichste theoretische Mensch, es auszusprechen gewagt, dass ihm mehr am Suchen der Wahrheit als an ihr selbst gelegen sei...
Perhaps no philosopher is more correct than the cynic. The happiness of the animal, that thorough cynic, is the living proof of cynicism.
Gefahr unserer Cultur. - Wir gehören einer Zeit an, deren Cultur in Gefahr ist, an den Mitteln der Cultur zu Grunde zu gehen.
Art furnishes us with eyes and hands and above all the good conscience to be able to turn ourselves into such a phenomenon.
Nietzsche's great concept of Yea-saying gave him a notion of purpose that is seen as positive. Nietzsche, in short, was a religious mystic.
Is Wagner a human being at all? Is he not rather a disease? He contaminates everything he touches - he has made music sick.
Der philosophische Mensch hat sogar das Vorgefühl, dass auch unter dieser Wirklichkeit, in der wir leben und sind, eine zweite ganz andre verborgen liege...
Die gebildeten Stände und Staaten werden von einer großartig verächtlichen Geldwirtschaft fortgerissen. Niemals war die Welt mehr Welt, nie ärmer an Liebe und Güte.
It is possible to imagine a society flushed with such a sense of power that it could afford to let its offenders go unpunished.
On the heights it is warmer than people in the valleys suppose, especially in winter. The thinker recognizes the full import of this simile.
Nietzsche’s arrival in modern philosophy signaled an unprecedented necessity: “probity”, “intellectual conscience”, Enlightenment radicalized by a new bravery that scorns any comforts like God.
...aesthetischen Sokratismus...dessen oberstes Gesetz ungefähr so lautet: "alles muss verständig sein, um schön zu sein"; als Parallelsatz zu dem sokratischen "nur der Wissende ist tugendhaft."
Nietzsche was the first to release the desire to know from the sovereignty of knowledge itself: to re-establish the distance and exteriority that Aristotle cancelled.
Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous atheist and ardent enemy of religion and Christianity, knew more about the power the idea of God than many faithful Christians.
Es ist nicht der Kampf der Meinungen, welcher die Geschichte so gewaltthätig gemacht hat, sondern der Kampf des Glaubens an die Meinungen, das heisst der Ueberzeugungen.
There is something laughable about the sight of authors who enjoy the rustling folds of long and involved sentences: they are trying to cover up their feet.
He who thinks a great deal is not suited to be a party man: he thinks his way through the party and out the other side too soon.
He who lives as children live — who does not struggle for his bread and does not believe that his actions possess any ultimate significance — remains childlike.
But let us not forget this either: it is enough to create new names and estimations and probabilities in order to create in the long run new "things."
Without cruelty there is no festival: thus the longest and most ancient part of human history teaches — and in punishment there is so much that is festive!
The philosopher John Searle once told me that reading Nietzsche was like drinking cognac -- a sip was good, but you didn't want to drink the whole bottle.
Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today.
Only fool! Only poet! Merely speaking colorfully, From fools' masks shouting colorfully, Climbing about on deceptive word-bridges, On misleading rainbows, Between false heavens Rambling, lurking — Only fool! Only poet!
In his book Modern Times, the historian Paul Johnson referred to Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini as the three devils of the twentieth century. Interestingly, Nietzshean dogma influenced each of them.
Wir haben uns über unser Dasein vor uns selbst zu verantworten; folglich wollen wir auch die wirklichen Steuermänner dieses Daseins abgeben und nicht zulassen, daß unsre Existenz einer gedankenlosen Zufälligkeit gleiche.
If you have hitherto believed that life was one of the highest value and now see yourselves disappointed, do you at once have to reduce it to the lowest possible price?
All instincts that do not discharge themselves outwardly turn inward — this is what I call the internalization of man: thus it was that man first developed what was later called his "soul."
The stronger becomes master of the weaker, in so far as the latter cannot assert its degree of independence — here there is no mercy, no forbearance, even less a respect for "laws."
Rather than cope with the unbearable loneliness of their condition men will continue to seek their shattered God, and for His sake they will love the very serpents that dwell among His ruins.
Even though war and the market are the modern agones of power—with Nietzsche the theoretician of the first and Hayek of the second—the embrace of capitalism on the right has never been unqualified.
Das Leben als Ertrag des Lebens. - Der Mensch mag sich noch so weit mit seiner Erkenntniss ausrecken, sich selber noch so objectiv vorkommen: zuletzt trägt er doch Nichts davon, als seine eigene Biographie.
Den Andern zum Vorbild. - Wer ein gutes Beispiel geben will, muss seiner Tugend einen Gran Narrheit zusetzen: dann ahmt man nach und erhebt sich zugleich über den Nachgeahmten, - was die Menschen lieben.
Even the most beautiful scenery is no longer assured of our love after we have lived in it for three months, and some distant coast attracts our avarice: possessions are generally diminished by possession…
All that exists that can be denied deserves to be denied; and being truthful means: to believe in an existence that can in no way be denied and which is itself true and without falsehood.
Could one count such dilettantes and old spinsters as that mawkish apostle of virginity, Mainlander, as a genuine German? In the last analysis he probably was a Jew (all Jews become mawkish when they moralize).
I dislike Nietzsche because he likes the contemplation of pain, because he erects conceit into a duty, because the men whom he most admires are conquerors, whose glory is cleverness in causing men to die.
People who live in an age of corruption are witty and slanderous; they know that there are other kinds of murder than by dagger or assault; they also know that whatever is well said is believed...
Dionysus: Be clever, Ariadne! … You have little ears; you have my ears: Put a clever word in them! — Must one not first hate oneself, in order to love oneself? … I am your labyrinth …
In the mountains of truth you will never climb in vain: either you will get up higher today or you will exercise your strength so as to be able to get up higher tomorrow. (II.293, maxim 358)
Das Empörende an einer individuellen Lebensart. - Alle sehr individuellen Maassregeln des Lebens bringen die Menschen gegen Den, der sie ergreift, auf; sie fühlen sich durch die aussergewöhnliche Behandlung, welche jener sich angedeihen lässt, erniedrigt, als gewöhnliche Wesen.
Unglück. - Die Auszeichnung, welche im Unglück liegt (als ob es ein Zeichen von Flachheit, Anspruchslosigkeit, Gewöhnlichkeit sei, sich glücklich zu fühlen), ist so gross, dass wenn Jemand Einem sagt: "Aber wie glücklich Sie sind!" man gewöhnlich protestirt.
Eigene Meinungen. - Die erste Meinung, welche uns einfällt, wenn wir plötzlich über eine Sache befragt werden, ist gewöhnlich nicht unsere eigene, sondern nur die landläufige, unserer Kaste, Stellung, Abkunft zugehörige; die eigenen Meinungen schwimmen selten oben auf.
The spirit of scientific investigation never ceased to impress [Nietzsche] as uniquely favorable not only for achieving knowledge but also for furnishing an atmosphere of dryness and clarity within which a man of genuinely intellectual conscience might function.
A Path to Equality. - A few hours of mountain climbing turn a rascal and a saint into two pretty similar creatures. Fatigue is the shortest way to Equality and Fraternity--and, in the end, Liberty will surrender to Sleep.
In the best of cases, the philosopher is not simply one who ascends from the cave and perceives the sun. Rather, he is one who out of the depths of his own creativity becomes a new sun for mankind.
The man who does not wish to belong to the mass needs only to cease taking himself easily; let him follow his conscience, which calls to him: “Be your self! All you are now doing, thinking, desiring, is not you yourself.”
Jeder in Einer Sache überlegen. - In civilisirten Verhältnissen fühlt sich Jeder jedem Anderen in Einer Sache wenigstens überlegen: darauf beruht das allgemeine Wohlwollen, insofern Jeder einer ist, der unter Umständen helfen kann und desshalb sich ohne Scham helfen lassen darf.
The states in which we infuse a transfiguration and a fullness into things and poetize about them until they reflect back our fullness and joy in life...three elements principally: sexuality, intoxication and cruelty — all belonging to the oldest festal joys.
The rights a man arrogates to himself are related to the duties he imposes on himself, to the tasks to which he feels equal. The great majority of men have no right to existence, but are a misfortune to higher men.
Diesen Ernsthaften diene zur Belehrung, dass ich von der Kunst als der höchsten Aufgabe und der eigentlich metaphysischen Thätigkeit dieses Lebens im Sinne des Mannes überzeugt bin, dem ich hier, als meinem erhabenen Vorkämpfer auf dieser Bahn, diese Schrift gewidmet haben will.
The reasons and purposes for habits are always lies that are added only after some people begin to attack these habits and to ask for reasons and purposes. At this point the conservatives of all ages are thoroughly dishonest: they add lies.
You sacrifice yourself, your wealth torments you, You give away yourself, You don't take care of yourself, you don't love yourself; Great agony always compels you, The agony of an overflowing barn, an overabundant heart; But no one thanks you any longer …
With all great deceivers there is a noteworthy occurrence to which they owe their power. In the actual act of deception... they are overcome by belief in themselves. It is this which then speaks so miraculously and compellingly to those who surround them.
Es sind im asketischen Ideale so viele Brücken zur Unabhängigkeit angezeigt, dass ein Philosoph nicht ohne ein innerliches Frohlocken und Händeklatschen die Geschichte aller jener Entschlossnen zu hören vermag, welche eines Tages Nein sagten zu aller Unfreiheit und in irgend eine Wüste giengen.
Admittedly there were cliques before Wagner. But there was nothing quite like the Wagnerians (unless later the Freudians): a pressure group, a party, a church with rituals. But I shall say no more about this, since Nietzsche has said it all much better.
I do not know what meaning classical studies could have for our time if they were not untimely—that is to say, acting counter to our time and thereby acting on our time and, let us hope, for the benefit of a time to come.
Moralities and religions are the principal means by which one can make whatever one wishes out of man, provided one possesses a superfluity of creative forces and can assert one's will over long periods of time — in the form of legislation and customs.
The beautiful exists just as little as the true. In every case it is a question of the conditions of preservation of a certain type of man: thus the herd-man will experience the value feeling of the true in different things than will the overman.
The possibility has been established for the production of...a master race, the future "masters of the earth"...made to endure for millennia — a higher kind of men who...employ democratic Europe as their most pliant and supple instrument for getting hold of the destinies of the earth.
Das ist das Geheimnis aller Bildung: sie verleiht nicht künstliche Gliedmaßen, wächserne Nasen, bebrillte Augen – vielmehr ist das, was diese Gaben zu geben vermöchte, nur das Afterbild der Erziehung. Sondern Befreiung ist sie, Wegräumung alles Unkrauts, Schuttwerks, Gewürms, das die zarten Keime der Pflanzen antasten will.
Nietzsche is the most impressive and effective representative of what could be called a "philosophy of life." Life in this term is the process in which the power of being actualizes itself. But in actualizing itself it overcomes that in life which, although belonging to life, negates life.
Where there is happiness, there is found pleasure in nonsense. The transformation of experience into its opposite, of the suitable into the unsuitable, the obligatory into the optional (but in such a manner that this process produces no injury and is only imagined in jest), is a pleasure; ...
So far no one had had enough courage and intelligence to reveal me to my dear Germans. My problems are new, my psychological horizon frighteningly comprehensive, my language bold and clear; there may well be no books written in German which are richer in ideas and more independent than mine.
Wie finden wir uns selbst wieder? Wie kann sich der Mensch kennen? Er ist eine dunkle und verhüllte Sache; und wenn der Hase sieben Häute hat, so kann der Mensch sich sieben mal siebzig abziehn und wird noch nicht sagen können: »das bist du nun wirklich, das ist nicht mehr Schale«.
To see others suffer does one good, to make others suffer even more: this is a hard saying but an ancient, mighty, human, all-too-human principle which even the apes might subscribe; for it has been said that in devising bizarre cruelties they anticipate man and are, as it were his "prelude."
Es gibt kein öderes und widrigeres Geschöpf in der Natur als den Menschen, welcher seinem Genius ausgewichen ist und nun nach rechts und nach links, nach rückwärts und überallhin schielt. Man darf einen solchen Menschen zuletzt gar nicht mehr angreifen, denn er ist ganz Außenseite ohne Kern, ein anbrüchiges, gemaltes, aufgebauschtes Gewand.
No one talks more passionately about his rights than he who in the depths of his soul doubts whether he has any. By enlisting passion on his side he wants to stifle his reason and its doubts: thus he will acquire a good conscience and with it success among his fellow men.
The doctrine of equality! … But there is no more venomous poison in existence: for it appears to be preached by justice itself, when it is actually the end of justice … "Equality to the equal; inequality to the unequal" — that would be true justice speaking: and its corollary, "never make the unequal equal".
The modern scientific counterpart to belief in God is the belief in the universe as an organism: this disgusts me. This is to make what is quite rare and extremely derivative, the organic, which we perceive only on the surface of the earth, into something essential, universal, and eternal! This is still an anthropomorphizing of nature!
In Nietzsche’s view, the death of God must also spell the death of Man—that is to say, the end of a certain lordly, overweening humanism—if absolute power is not simply to be transplanted from the one to the other. Otherwise humanism will always be secretly theological. It will be a continuation of God by other means.
Bei diesem Zusammenhange ist die leidenschaftliche Zuneigung begreiflich, welche die Dichter der neueren Komödie zu Euripides empfanden; so dass der Wunsch des Philemon nicht weiter befremdet, der sich sogleich aufhängen lassen mochte, nur um den Euripides in der Unterwelt aufsuchen zu können: wenn er nur überhaupt überzeugt sein dürfte, dass der Verstorbene auch jetzt noch bei Verstande sei.
New Domestic Animals. I want to have my lion and my eagle about me, that I may always have hints and premonitions concerning the amount of my strength or weakness. Must I look down on them today, and be afraid of them? And will the hour come once more when they will look up to me, and tremble?
A declaration of war on the masses by higher men is needed! … Everything that makes soft and effeminate, that serves the end of the people or the feminine, works in favor of universal suffrage, i.e. the domination of the inferior men. But we should take reprisal and bring this whole affair to light and the bar of judgment.
There is only nobility of birth, only nobility of blood. When one speaks of "aristocrats of the spirit," reasons are usually not lacking for concealing something. As is well known, it is a favorite term among ambitious Jews. For spirit alone does not make noble. Rather, there must be something to ennoble the spirit. What then is required? Blood.
The rather more dubious side of Nietzsche's 'evolutionism' is his glorification of the warrior -- particularly when, as an exemplification of the warrior-hero, he chooses an archetypal 'spoilt brat' like cesare Borgia. Nietzsche's own physical weakness and consequent inability to escape the atmosphere of the study leads him to take a rather unrealistic view of the man of action
After Nietzsche’s devastating criticism of those “last men” who “invented happiness,” there is probably no need for me to remind you of the naïve optimism with which we once celebrated science, or the technology for the mastery of life based on it, as the path to happiness. Who believes this, apart from a few overgrown children occupying university chairs or editorial offices?
Meaning and morality of one's life come from within oneself. Healthy, strong individuals seek self-expansion by experimenting and by living dangerously. Life consists of an infinite number of possibilities, and the healthy person explores as many of them as possible. Religions that teach pity, self-contempt, humility, self-restraint and guilt are incorrect. The good life is ever-changing, challenging, devoid of regret, intense, creative, and risky.
Who can attain to anything great if he does not feel in himself the force and will to inflict great pain? The ability to suffer is a small matter: in that line, weak women and even slaves often attain masterliness. But not to perish from internal distress and doubt when one inflicts great suffering and hears the cry of it — that is great, that belongs to greatness.
In order to be able thus to misjudge, and thus to grant left-handed veneration to our classics, people must have ceased to know them. This, generally speaking, is precisely what has happened. For, otherwise, one ought to know that there is only one way of honoring them, and that is to continue seeking with the same spirit and with the same courage, and not to weary of the search.
There still shines the most important nuance by virtue of which the noble felt themselves to be men of a higher rank. They designate themselves simply by their superiority in power (as "the powerful," "the masters," "the commanders") or by the most clearly visible signs of this superiority, for example, as "the rich," "the possessors" (this is the meaning of 'Arya,' and of corresponding words in Iranian and Slavic).
I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct for revenge for which no expedient is sufficiently poisonous, secret, subterranean, petty — I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind. And time is reckoned from the dies nefastus with which this calamity began — from the first day of Christianity! Why not rather after its last day? From today? Revaluation of all values!
The homogenizing of European man … requires a justification: it lies in serving a higher sovereign species that stands upon the former which can raise itself to its task only by doing this. Not merely a master race whose sole task is to rule, but a race with its own sphere of life, with an excess of strength … strong enough to have no need of the tyranny of the virtue-imperative.
First principle: one must need to be strong — otherwise one will never become strong. — Those large hothouses [Treibhäuser] for the strong, for the strongest kind of human being that has ever been, the aristocratic commonwealths of the type of Rome or Venice, understood freedom exactly in the sense in which I understand the word freedom: as something one has and does not have, something one wants, something one conquers ...
I will make an attempt to attain freedom, the youthful soul says to itself; and is it to be hindered in this by the fact that two nations happen to hate and fight one another, or that two continents are separated by an ocean, or that all around it a religion is taught with did not yet exist a couple of thousand years ago. All that is not you, it says to itself.
Absolute nothingness is an ultimate ground of a purely apophatic mysticism, and it is even more primal in Mahayana Buddhism, just as it has been resurrected in the deepest expressions of a uniquely modern imagination. Nietzsche is the only Western thinker who has fully thought an absolute nothingness, although that nothingness is a deep even if elusive ground of Hegelian thinking, and of all of the fullest expressions of modern dialectical thinking and vision.
Lebensalter und Wahrheit. - junge Leute lieben das Interessante und Absonderliche, gleichgültig wie wahr oder falsch es ist. Reifere Geister lieben Das an der Wahrheit, was an ihr interessant und absonderlich ist. Ausgereifte Köpfe endlich lieben die Wahrheit auch in Dem, wo sie schlicht und einfältig erscheint und dem gewöhnlichen Menschen Langeweile macht, weil sie gemerkt haben, dass die Wahrheit das Höchste an Geist, was sie besitzt, mit der Miene der Einfalt zu sagen pflegt.
Preparatory human beings. — I welcome all signs that a more virile, warlike age is about to begin, which will restore honor to courage above all! For this age shall prepare the way for one yet higher, and it shall gather the strength that this higher age will require some day — the age that will carry heroism into the search for knowledge and that will wage wars for the sake of ideas and their consequences.
Here we stand before a question which, from the perspective of the Christian proclamation, stands over every individualistic and every collectivistic humanism, old or new. It excludes neither individualism nor collectivism. It bears on the individual and also on society, but always on the concrete individual as distinct from other individuals, and always on the society founded on free reciprocal responsibility. It defends discipline in the face of Nietzsche and freedom in the face of Marx.
In the coarsest sense, to say that Nietzsche's style is important is to say that his writing is unusual and idiosyncratic. This in turn is just to $ay that his works do not exhibit the features we have been accustomed to expect of philosophical treatises. And, forgetting that philosophical treatises themselves have been written in the most various styles imaginable, this has often been taken to show that Nietzsche's works are not, in some sense, philosophical.
...in diesen Sanct-Johann- und Sanct-Veittänzern erkennen wir die bacchischen Chöre der Griechen wieder, mit ihrer Vorgeschichte in Kleinasien, bis hin zu Babylon und den orgiastischen Sakäen. Es giebt Menschen, die, aus Mangel an Erfahrung oder aus Stumpfsinn, sich von solchen Erscheinungen wie von "Volkskrankheiten", spöttisch oder bedauernd im Gefühl der eigenen Gesundheit abwenden: die Armen ahnen freilich nicht, wie leichenfarbig und gespenstisch eben diese ihre "Gesundheit" sich ausnimmt, wenn an ihnen das glühende Leben dionysischer Schwärmer vorüberbraust.
Who is the most moral man? First, he who obeys the law most frequently, who … is continually inventive in creating opportunities for obeying the law. Then, he who obeys it even in the most difficult cases. The most moral man is he who sacrifices the most to custom. … Self-overcoming is demanded, not on account of any useful consequences it may have for the individual, but so that hegemony of custom and tradition shall be made evident.
As is well known, the priests are the most evil enemies — but why? Because they are the most impotent. It is because of their impotence that in them hatred grows to monstrous and uncanny proportions, to the most spiritual and poisonous kind of hatred. The truly great haters in the world history have always been priests; likewise the most ingenious haters: other kinds of spirit hardly come into consideration when compared with the spirit of priestly vengefulness.
Wenn man mit Recht vom Faulen sagt, er töte die Zeit, so muß man von einer Periode, welche ihr Heil auf die öffentlichen Meinungen, das heißt auf die privaten Faulheiten setzt, ernstlich besorgen, daß eine solche Zeit wirklich einmal getötet wird: ich meine, daß sie aus der Geschichte der wahrhaften Befreiung des Lebens gestrichen wird. Wie groß muß der Widerwille späterer Geschlechter sein, sich mit der Hinterlassenschaft jener Periode zu befassen, in welcher nicht die lebendigen Menschen, sondern öffentlich meinende Scheinmenschen regierten.
Mit dem Tode der griechischen Tragödie dagegen entstand eine ungeheure, überall tief empfundene Leere; wie einmal griechische Schiffer zu Zeiten des Tiberius an einem einsamen Eiland den erschütternden Schrei hörten "der grosse Pan ist todt": so klang es jetzt wie ein schmerzlicher Klageton durch die hellenische Welt: "die Tragödie ist todt! Die Poesie selbst ist mit ihr verloren gegangen! Fort, fort mit euch verkümmerten, abgemagerten Epigonen! Fort in den Hades, damit ihr euch dort an den Brosamen der vormaligen Meister einmal satt essen könnt!"
Philosophisch gesinnt sein. - Gewöhnlich strebt man darnach, für alle Lebenslagen und Ereignisse eine Haltung des Gemüthes, eine Gattung von Ansichten zu erwerben, - das nennt man vornehmlich philosophisch gesinnt sein. Aber für die Bereicherung der Erkenntniss mag es höheren Werth haben, nicht in dieser Weise sich zu uniformiren, sondern auf die leise Stimme der verschiedenen Lebenslagen zu hören; diese bringen ihre eigenen Ansichten mit sich. So nimmt man erkennenden Antheil am Leben und Wesen Vieler, indem man sich selber nicht als starres, beständiges, Eines Individuum behandelt.
Nun aber schien Sokrates die tragische Kunst nicht einmal "die Wahrheit zu sagen": abgesehen davon, dass sie sich an den wendet, der "nicht viel Verstand besitzt", also nicht an den Philosophen: ein zweifacher Grund, von ihr fern zu bleiben. Wie Plato, rechnete er sie zu den schmeichlerischen Künsten, die nur das Angenehme, nicht das Nützliche darstellen und verlangte deshalb bei seinen Jüngern Enthaltsamkeit und strenge Absonderung von solchen unphilosophischen Reizungen; mit solchem Erfolge, dass der jugendliche Tragödiendichter Plato zu allererst seine Dichtungen verbrannte, um Schüler des Sokrates werden zu können.
It does not occur to Nietzsche as possible that a man should genuinely feel universal love, obviously because he himself feels almost universal hatred and fear, which he would fain disguise as lordly indifference. His "noble" man—who is himself in day-dreams—is a being wholly devoid of sympathy, ruthless, cunning, cruel, concerned only with his own power. King Lear, on the verge of madness, says: "I will do such things—What they are yet I know not—but they shall be The terror of the earth." This is Nietzsche's philosophy in a nutshell.
Nietzsche does not favor reckless, anarchic action. The model of the artist, and more specifically the musician, is important. Rhythm is of the essence; timing of notes, of actions, allows for a style that is cohesive, even if not uniform. The music that emerges comes out over time, it becomes and develops slowly into a whole that is effective if timed well. Again Nietzsche sees that artists, especially musicians and poets, have such a talent. And to the extent that a writer writes poetically, he also shares in this talent.
We simply do not consider it desirable that a realm of justice and concord should be established on earth (because it would certainly be the realm of the deepest leveling and chinoiserie); we are delighted with all who love, as we do, danger, war, and adventures, who refuse to compromise, to be captured, reconciled, and castrated; we count ourselves among conquerors; we think about the necessity for new orders, also for a new slavery — for every strengthening and enhancement of the human type also involves a new kind of enslavement.
It is mere illusion and pretty sentiment to expect much from mankind if he forgets how to make war. And yet no means are known which call so much into action as a great war, that rough energy born of the camp, that deep impersonality born of hatred, that conscience born of murder and cold-bloodedness, that fervor born of effort of the annihilation of the enemy, that proud indifference to loss, to one's own existence, to that of one's fellows, to that earthquake-like soul-shaking that a people needs when it is losing its vitality.
These same institutions produce quite different effects while they are still being fought for; then they really promote freedom in a powerful way. On closer inspection it is war that produces these effects, the war for liberal institutions, which, as a war, permits illiberal instincts to continue. And war educates for freedom. For what is freedom? That one has the will to self-responsibility. That one maintains the distance which separates us. That one becomes more indifferent to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings for one's cause, not excluding oneself.
As an artistic triumph in psychological corruption … the Gospels, in fact, stand alone … Here we are among Jews: this is the first thing to be borne in mind if we are not to lose the thread of the matter. This positive genius for conjuring up a delusion of personal "holiness" unmatched anywhere else, either in books or by men; this elevation of fraud in word and attitude to the level of an art — all this is not an accident due to the chance talents of an individual, or to any violation of nature. The thing responsible is race.
In Germany there is much complaining about my "eccentricities." But since it is not known where my center is, it won't be easy to find out where or when I have thus far been "eccentric." That I was a philologist, for example, meant that I was outside my center (which fortunately does not mean that I was a poor philologist). Likewise, I now regard my having been a Wagnerian as eccentric. It was a highly dangerous experiment; now that I know it did not ruin me, I also know what significance it had for me — it was the most severe test of my character.
Speaking of Spinoza he [Nietzsche] says: "How much of personal timidity and vulnerability does this masquerade of a sickly recluse betray!" Exactly the same may be said of him, with the less reluctance since he has not hesitated to say it of Spinoza. It is obvious that in his day-dreams he is a warrior, not a professor; all the men he admires were military. His opinion of women, like every man's, is an objectification of his own emotion towards them, which is obviously one of fear. "[Thou goest to woman?] Forget not thy whip"—but nine women out of ten would get the whip away from him, and he knew it, so he kept away from women, and soothed his wounded vanity with unkind remarks.
Nochmals gesagt, heute ist es mir ein unmögliches Buch, - ich heisse es schlecht geschrieben, schwerfällig, peinlich, bilderwüthig und bilderwirrig, gefühlsam, hier und da verzuckert bis zum Femininischen, ungleich im Tempo, ohne Willen zur logischen Sauberkeit, sehr überzeugt und deshalb des Beweisens sich überhebend, misstrauisch selbst gegen die Schicklichkeit des Beweisens, als Buch für Eingeweihte, als "Musik" für Solche, die auf Musik getauft, die auf gemeinsame und seltene Kunst-Erfahrungen hin von Anfang der Dinge an verbunden sind, als Erkennungszeichen für Blutsverwandte in artibus, - ein hochmüthiges und schwärmerisches Buch, das sich gegen das profanum vulgus der "Gebildeten" von vornherein noch mehr als gegen das "Volk" abschliesst, welches aber, wie seine Wirkung bewies und beweist, sich gut genug auch darauf verstehen muss, sich seine Mitschwärmer zu suchen und sie auf neue Schleichwege und Tanzplätze zu locken.
How is freedom measured, in individuals as in nations? By the resistance which must be overcome, by the effort [Mühe] it costs to remain on top. The highest type of free men should be sought where the highest resistance is constantly overcome: five steps from tyranny, close to the threshold of the danger of servitude. This is true psychologically if by "tyrants" are meant inexorable and dreadful instincts that provoke the maximum of authority and discipline against themselves — most beautiful type: Julius Caesar — ; this is true politically too; one need only go through history. The nations which were worth something, became worth something, never became so under liberal institutions: it was great danger that made something of them that merits respect. Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit — and forces us to be strong ...
Wie nun der Philosoph zur Wirklichkeit des Daseins, so verhält sich der künstlerisch erregbare Mensch zur Wirklichkeit des Traumes; er sieht genau und gern zu: denn aus diesen Bildern deutet er sich das Leben, an diesen Vorgängen übt er sich für das Leben. Nicht etwa nur die angenehmen und freundlichen Bilder sind es, die er mit jener Allverständigkeit an sich erfährt: auch das Ernste, Trübe, Traurige, Finstere, die plötzlichen Hemmungen, die Neckereien des Zufalls, die bänglichen Erwartungen, kurz die ganze "göttliche Komödie" des Lebens, mit dem Inferno, zieht an ihm vorbei, nicht nur wie ein Schattenspiel - denn er lebt und leidet mit in diesen Scenen - und doch auch nicht ohne jene flüchtige Empfindung des Scheins; und vielleicht erinnert sich Mancher, gleich mir, in den Gefährlichkeiten und Schrecken des Traumes sich mitunter ermuthigend und mit Erfolg zugerufen zu haben: "Es ist ein Traum! Ich will ihn weiter träumen!" Wie man mir auch von Personen erzählt hat, die die Causalität eines und desselben Traumes über drei und mehr aufeinanderfolgende Nächte hin fortzusetzen im Stande waren: Thatsachen, welche deutlich Zeugniss dafür abgeben, dass unser innerstes Wesen, der gemeinsame Untergrund von uns allen, mit tiefer Lust und freudiger Nothwendigkeit den Traum an sich erfährt.
Both Nietzsche and Marx did their greatest work seeking to explain the mystery. The term both used was "decadence." But if there was decadence, what was decaying? Religious faith and moral codes that had been in place since time was, said Nietzsche, who in 1882 made the most famous statement in modern philosophy — "God is dead" — and three startlingly accurate predictions for the twentieth century. He even estimated when they would begin to come true: about 1915. (1) The faith men formerly invested in God they would now invest in barbaric "brotherhoods with the aim of the robbery and exploitation of the non-brothers." Their names turned out, in due course, to be the German Nazis and the Russian Communists. (2) There would be "wars such as have never been waged on earth." Their names turned out to be World War I and World War II. (3) There no longer would be Truth but, rather, "truth" in quotation marks, depending upon which concoction of eternal verities the modem barbarian found most useful at any given moment. The result would be universal skepticism, cynicism, irony, and contempt. The First World War began in 1914 and ended in 1918. On cue, as if Nietzsche were still alive to direct the drama, an entirely new figure, with an entirely new name, arose in Europe: that embodiment of skepticism, cynicism, irony, and contempt, the Intellectual.
Über Wahrheit und Lüge im außermoralischen Sinn (1873) Part 1.
We "conserve" nothing; neither do we want to return to any past periods; we are not by any means "liberal"; we do not work for "progress"; we do not need to plug up our ears against the sirens who in the market place sing of the future: their song about "equal rights," "a free society," "no more masters and no servants" has no allure for us.
Nietzsche does not simply criticize or reject the impulses of modern morality that make judgments of blame, seek to attach guilt, and invoke a need to pay for the wrongful deed through the counter-hurt of punishment. He says that this morality created human interiority, an ability to hold events in memory over time, and ultimately the strength of a sovereign subject with a sense of responsibility. To be stuck in a spirit of ressentiment, however, leads to nihilism. In the end it is unrealistic and mean-spirited to seek equivalence for every harm that must come from the flesh next to someone’s heart.
One can show that Emerson anticipated many of Nietzsche’s most famous utterances. There is a direct line from Emerson’s “oversoul” to the “overman.” Several decades before Nietzsche wrote, “What does not kill me makes me stronger,” Emerson wrote, “In general, every evil to which we do not succumb, is a benefactor.” More profoundly, Emerson foreshadowed Nietzsche’s concern with the ubiquity of flux and power, and the value of overcoming the past. “Life only avails,” Emerson once wrote, “not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transitions from a past to a new state.”
Nietzsche, the child of a Lutheran pastor, radicalized this argument, painting all of Christianity—indeed all of Western religion, going back to Judaism—as a slave morality, the psychic revolt of the lower orders against their betters. Before there was religion or even morality, there was the sense and sensibility of the master class. The master looked upon his body—its strength and beauty, its demonstrated excellence and reserves of power—and saw and said that it was good. … The modern residue of that slave revolt, Nietzsche makes clear, is found not in Christianity, or even in religion, but in the nineteenth-century movements for democracy and socialism ...
The man who is guided by concepts and abstractions only succeeds by such means in warding off misfortune, without ever gaining any happiness for himself from these abstractions. And while he aims for the greatest possible freedom from pain, the intuitive man, standing in the midst of a culture, already reaps from his intuition a harvest of continually inflowing illumination, cheer, and redemption — in addition to obtaining a defense against misfortune. To be sure, he suffers more intensely, when he suffers; he even suffers more frequently, since he does not understand how to learn from experience and keeps falling over and over again into the same ditch.
Everything which distinguishes man from the animals depends upon this ability to volatilize perceptual metaphors in a schema, and thus to dissolve an image into a concept. For something is possible in the realm of these schemata which could never be achieved with the vivid first impressions: the construction of a pyramidal order according to castes and degrees, the creation of a new world of laws, privileges, subordinations, and clearly marked boundaries — a new world, one which now confronts that other vivid world of first impressions as more solid, more universal, better known, and more human than the immediately perceived world, and thus as the regulative and imperative world.
There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest— whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories—comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer. And if it is true, as Nietzsche claims, that a philosopher, to deserve our respect, must preach by example, you can appreciate the importance of that reply, for it will precede the definitive act. These are facts the heart can feel; yet they call for careful study before they become clear to the intellect.
We produce these representations in and from ourselves with the same necessity with which the spider spins. If we are forced to comprehend all things only under these forms, then it ceases to be amazing that in all things we actually comprehend nothing but these forms. For they must all bear within themselves the laws of number, and it is precisely number which is most astonishing in things. All that conformity to law, which impresses us so much in the movement of the stars and in chemical processes, coincides at bottom with those properties which we bring to things. Thus it is we who impress ourselves in this way Part 2
I am a pure-blooded Polish nobleman, without a single drop of bad blood, certainly not German blood. When I look for my diametric opposite, an immeasurably shabby instinct, I always think of my mother and sister, — it would blaspheme my divinity to think I am related to this sort of canaille. The way my mother and sister treat me to this very day is a source of unspeakable horror; a real time bomb is at work here, which can tell with unerring certainty the exact moment I can be hurt — in my highest moments, … because at that point I do not have the strength to resist poison worms …
Leben und Erleben. - Sieht man zu, wie Einzelne mit ihren Erlebnissen - ihren unbedeutenden alltäglichen Erlebnissen - umzugehen wissen, so dass diese zu einem Ackerland werden, das dreimal des Jahres Frucht trägt; während Andere - und wie Viele! - durch den Wogenschlag der aufregendsten Schicksale, der mannigfaltigsten Zeit- und Volksströmungen hindurchgetrieben werden und doch immer leicht, immer obenauf, wie Kork, bleiben: so ist man endlich versucht, die Menschheit in eine Minorität (Minimalität) Solcher einzutheilen, welche aus Wenigem Viel zu machen verstehen: und in eine Majorität Derer, welche aus Vielem Wenig zu machen verstehen; ja man trifft auf jene umgekehrten Hexenmeister, welche, anstatt die Welt aus Nichts, aus der Welt ein Nichts schaffen.
It is true that there are men who, on the approach of severe pain, hear the very opposite call of command, and never appear more proud, more martial, or more happy than when the storm is brewing; indeed, pain itself provides them with their supreme moments! These are the heroic men, the great pain-bringers of mankind: those few and rare ones who need just the same apology as pain generally — and verily, it should not be denied them. They are forces of the greatest importance for preserving and advancing the species, be it only because they are opposed to smug ease, and do not conceal their disgust at this kind of happiness.
My conception of freedom. — The value of a thing sometimes does not lie in that which one attains by it, but in what one pays for it — what it costs us. I give an example. Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. One knows, indeed, what their ways bring: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic [genüsslich] — every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization ...
We still do not yet know where the drive for truth comes from. For so far we have heard only of the duty which society imposes in order to exist: to be truthful means to employ the usual metaphors. Thus, to express it morally, this is the duty to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie with the herd and in a manner binding upon everyone. Now man of course forgets that this is the way things stand for him. Thus he lies in the manner indicated, unconsciously and in accordance with habits which are centuries' old; and precisely by means of this unconsciousness and forgetfulness he arrives at his sense of truth.
[Philistines] only devised the notion of an epigone-age in order to secure peace for themselves, and to be able to reject all the efforts of disturbing innovators summarily as the work of epigones. With the view of ensuring their own tranquility, these smug ones even appropriated history, and sought to transform all sciences that threatened to disturb their wretched ease into branches of history. … No, in their desire to acquire an historical grasp of everything, stultification became the sole aim of these philosophical admirers of “nil admirari.” While professing to hate every form of fanaticism and intolerance, what they really hated, at bottom, was the dominating genius and the tyranny of the real claims of culture.
Es geht die alte Sage, dass König Midas lange Zeit nach dem weisen Silen, dem Begleiter des Dionysus, im Walde gejagt habe, ohne ihn zu fangen. Als er ihm endlich in die Hände gefallen ist, fragt der König, was für den Menschen das Allerbeste und Allervorzüglichste sei. Starr und unbeweglich schweigt der Dämon; bis er, durch den König gezwungen, endlich unter gellem Lachen in diese Worte ausbricht: `Elendes Eintagsgeschlecht, des Zufalls Kinder und der Mühsal, was zwingst du mich dir zu sagen, was nicht zu hören für dich das Erspriesslichste ist? Das Allerbeste ist für dich gänzlich unerreichbar: nicht geboren zu sein, nicht zu sein, nichts zu sein. Das Zweitbeste aber ist für dich - bald zu sterben.
'''Anyone who can understand that the Buddhist idea of Nirvana is not merely negative, and that the Buddha himself who (like the Superman) 'looks down on suffering humanity like a hillsman on the planes' is not an atheistic monster, will instantly see how this misses the point. Nietzsche was not an atheist, any more than the Buddha was. Anyone who reads the Night Song and the Dance Song in Zarathustra will recognize that they spring out of the same emotion as the Vedic or Gathic hymns or the Psalms of David. The idea of the Superman is a response to the need for salvation in precisely the same way that Buddhism was a response to the 'three signs''''.
To be incapable of taking one's enemies, one's accidents, even one's misdeeds seriously for very long—that is the sign of strong, full natures in whom there is an excess of the power to form, to mold, to recuperate and to forget[...] Such a man shakes off with a single shrug many vermin that eat deep into others; here alone genuine 'love of one's enemies' is possible—supposing it to be possible at all on earth. How much reverence has a noble man for his enemies!—and such reverence is a bridge to love.—For he desires his enemy for himself, as his mark of distinction; he can endure no other enemy than one in whom there is nothing to despise and very much to honor!
The morality of Nietzsche is a mere innovation. The first is an advance because no one who did not admit the validity of the old maxim could see reason for accepting the new one, and anyone who accepted the old would at once recognize the new as an extension of the same principle. If he rejected it, he would have to reject it as a superfluity, something that went too far, not as something simply heterogeneous from his own ideas of value. But the Nietzschean ethic can be accepted only if we are ready to scrap traditional morals as a mere error and then to put ourselves in a position where we can find no ground for any value judgments at all.
Rohde became more and more firmly bound to the bourgeois world, its institutions and accepted opinions. … The contrast between the two natures makes Rohde and Nietzsche exemplary representatives of two distinctive worlds. In their youth they both live in the realm of boundless possibilities and feel an affinity through the exuberance of their noble aspirations. Subsequently they go in opposite directions. Nietzsche remains young, leaving concrete reality as his task assumes existential import. Rohde grows old, bourgeois, stable, and skeptical. Hence courage is a fundamental trait in Nietzsche, plaintive self-irony in Rohde. … Rohde retained the interests but not the attitudes of his youth; he looked to the world of the Greeks for the object of his contemplation rather than the norm of obligation.
In this way, a philosophy which veiled the Philistine confessions of its founder beneath neat twists and flourishes of language proceeded further to discover a formula for the canonization of the commonplace. It expatiated upon the rationalism of all reality, and thus ingratiated itself with the Culture-Philistine, who also loves neat twists and flourishes, and who, above all, considers himself real, and regards his reality as the standard of reason for the world. From this time forward he began to allow every one, and even himself, to reflect, to investigate, to aestheticise, and, more particularly, to make poetry, music, and even pictures—not to mention systems of philosophy; provided, of course, that … no assault were made upon the “reasonable” and the “real”—that is to say, upon the Philistine.
Main deficiency of active people. Active men are usually lacking in higher activity--I mean individual activity. They are active as officials, businessmen, scholars, that is, as generic beings, but not as quite particular, single and unique men. In this respect they are lazy. It is the misfortune of active men that their activity is almost always a bit irrational. For example, one must not inquire of the money-gathering banker what the purpose for his restless activity is: it is irrational. Active people roll like a stone, conforming to the stupidity of mechanics. Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men. Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.
Is it not clear that with all this we are bound to feel ill at ease in an age that likes to claim the distinction of being the most humane, the mildest, and the most righteous age that the sun has ever seen? It is bad enough that precisely when we hear these beautiful words we have the ugliest suspicions. What we find in them is merely an expression — and a masquerade — of a profound weakening, of weariness, of old age, of declining energies. What can it matter to us what tinsel the sick may use to cover up their weakness? Let them parade it as their virtue; after all, there is no doubt that weakness makes one mild, oh so mild, so righteous, so inoffensive, so "humane"!
One indication of the importance of Nietzsche is the pantheon of major twentieth century intellectuals whom he influenced. ¶ He was an influence on Jean-Paul Sartre and Hermann Hesse, major writers, both of whom won Nobel Prizes. He was an influence on thinkers as diverse in their outlooks as Ayn Rand and Michel Foucault. Rand’s politics are classically liberal -- while Foucault’s are far Left, including a stint as a member of the French Communist Party. There is the striking fact that Nietzsche was an atheist, but he was an influence on Martin Buber, one of the most widely-read theologians of the twentieth century. And Nietzsche said harsh things about the Jews [...] but he was nonetheless admired by Chaim Weizmann, a leader of the Zionist movement and first president of Israel.
By the middle of the [Eighteenth] century what Nietzsche was later to call a transvaluation of all values was in full blast. Nothing sacred was spared—not even the classical spirit that had been the chief attainment of the Renaissance—and of the ideas and attitudes that were attacked not many survived. It was no longer necessary to give even lip service to the old preposterous certainties, whether theological or political, aesthetic or philosophical. In France, Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot were making a bonfire of all the ancient Christian superstitions; in England Gibbon was preparing to revive the long dormant art of history and Adam Smith was laying the foundations of the new science of economics; in Germany Kant was pondering an ethical scheme that that would give the Great Commandment a rational basis...
Nietzsche, prompted by “some enigmatic desire,” has tried for a long time to penetrate pessimism to its depth and in particular to free it from the delusion of morality which in a way contradicts its world-denying tendency. He thus has grasped a more world-denying way of thinking than any other pessimist. Yet a man who has taken this road has perhaps without intending to do this opened his eyes to the opposite ideal—to the ideal belonging to the religion of the future. It goes without saying that what in some other men was “perhaps” the case was a fact in Nietzsche’s thought and life. The adoration of the nothing proves to be the indispensable transition from every kind of world-denial to the most unbounded Yes: the eternal Yes-saying to everything that was and is.
Benefiting and hurting others are ways of exercising one's power upon others; that is all one desires in such cases. One hurts those whom one wants to feel one's power, for pain is a much more efficient means to that end than pleasure; pain always raises the question about its origin while pleasure is inclined to stop with itself without looking back. We benefit and show benevolence to those who are already dependent on us in some way (which means that they are used to thinking of us as causes); we want to increase their power because in that way we increase ours, or we want to show them how advantageous it is to be in our power; that way they will become more satisfied with their condition and more hostile to and willing to fight against the enemies of our power.
Nietzsche’s thought is best unraveled starting from his famous statement: “God is dead.” Nietzsche saw Western society as at a full stop and sought the “revaluation of all values”—a new moral order.What had been was worthless, in part because of Darwinian theories that showed human descent from animals. What Nietzsche believed was required were new moral concepts to fill the place left by the departure of the old. [...] Nietzsche sought a new sort of aristocracy of super- or above-men, which would be the ultimate goal of civilized existence. The sources of this Nietzschean idea were several. Darwin’s theory of evolution suggested to Nietzsche the notion of humanity as an evolving species, although Nietzsche emphatically rejected the concept of the superman or above-man as the outcome of a biological process; in a sense, the superman or above-man is a spiritualized form of Darwinism.
If each us had a different kind of sense perception — if we could only perceive things now as a bird, now as a worm, now as a plant, or if one of us saw a stimulus as red, another as blue, while a third even heard the same stimulus as a sound — then no one would speak of such a regularity of nature, rather, nature would be grasped only as a creation which is subjective in the highest degree. After all, what is a law of nature as such for us? We are not acquainted with it in itself, but only with its effects, which means in its relation to other laws of nature — which, in turn, are known to us only as sums of relations. Therefore all these relations always refer again to others and are thoroughly incomprehensible to us in their essence.
...der kann sich nicht entbrechen, in Sokrates den einen Wendepunkt und Wirbel der sogenannten Weltgeschichte zu sehen. Denn dächte man sich einmal diese ganze unbezifferbare Summe von Kraft, die für jene Welttendenz verbraucht worden ist, nicht im Dienste des Erkennens, sondern auf die praktischen d.h. egoistischen Ziele der Individuen und Völker verwendet, so wäre wahrscheinlich in allgemeinen Vernichtungskämpfen und fortdauernden Völkerwanderungen die instinctive Lust zum Leben so abgeschwächt, dass, bei der Gewohnheit des Selbstmordes, der Einzelne vielleicht den letzten Rest von Pflichtgefühl empfinden müsste, wenn er, wie der Bewohner der Fidschiinseln, als Sohn seine Eltern, als Freund seinen Freund erdrosselt: ein praktischer Pessimismus, der selbst eine grausenhafte Ethik des Völkermordes aus Mitleid erzeugen könnte - der übrigens überall in der Welt vorhanden ist und vorhanden war, wo nicht die Kunst in irgend welchen Formen, besonders als Religion und Wissenschaft, zum Heilmittel und zur Abwehr jenes Pesthauchs erschienen ist.
I've seen proof, black on white, that Herr Dr. Förster has not yet severed his connection with the anti-Semitic movement. … Since then I've had difficulty coming up with any of the tenderness and protectiveness I've so long felt toward you. The separation between us is thereby decided in really the most absurd way. Have you grasped nothing of the reason why I am in the world? … Now it has gone so far that I have to defend myself hand and foot against people who confuse me with these anti-Semitic canaille; after my own sister, my former sister, and after Widemann more recently have given the impetus to this most dire of all confusions. After I read the name Zarathustra in the anti-Semitic Correspondence my forbearance came to an end. I am now in a position of emergency defense against your spouse's Party. These accursed anti-Semite deformities shall not sully my ideal!!
Verkehr mit dem höheren Selbst. - Ein jeder hat seinen guten Tag, wo er sein höheres Selbst findet; und die wahre Humanität verlangt, jemanden nur nach diesem Zustande und nicht nach den Werktagen der Unfreiheit und Knechtung zu schätzen. Man soll zum Beispiel einen Maler nach seiner höchsten Vision, die er zu sehen und darzustellen vermochte, taxiren und verehren. Aber die Menschen selber verkehren sehr verschieden mit diesem ihrem höheren Selbst und sind häufig ihre eigenen Schauspieler, insofern sie Das, was sie in jenen Augenblicken sind, später immer wieder nachmachen. Manche leben in Scheu und Demuth vor ihrem Ideale und möchten es verleugnen: sie fürchten ihr höheres Selbst, weil es, wenn es redet, anspruchsvoll redet. Dazu hat es eine geisterhafte Freiheit zu kommen und fortzubleiben wie es will; es wird desswegen häufig eine Gabe der Götter genannt, während eigentlich alles Andere Gabe der Götter (des Zufalls) ist: jenes aber ist der Mensch selber.
There continue to be complex debates about what Nietzsche understood truth to be. Quite certainly, he did not think, in pragmatist spirit, that beliefs are true if they serve our interests or welfare: we have just seen some of his repeated denials of this idea. The more recently fashionable view is that he was the first of the deniers, thinking that there is no such thing as truth, or that truth is what anyone thinks it is, or that it is a boring category that we can do without. This is also wrong, and more deeply so. Nietzsche did not think that the ideal of truthfulness went into retirement when its metaphysical origins were discovered, and he did not suppose, either, that truthfulness could be detached from a concern for the truth. Truthfulness as an ideal retains its power, and so far from his seeing truth as dispensable or malleable, his main question is how it can be made bearable.
… And of this attack we have to say that it was well aimed, that it centered on the point which was vital for Nietzsche as the most consistent champion and prophet of humanity without the fellow-man. It is another matter, and one that objectively considered is to the praise of Nietzsche, that he thus hurled himself against the strongest and not the weakest point in the opposing front. With his discovery of the Crucified and His host he discovered the Gospel itself in a form which was missed even by the majority of its champions, let alone its opponents, in the 19th century. And by having to attack it in this form, he has done us the good office of bringing before us the fact that we have to keep to this form as unconditionally as he rejected it, in self-evident antithesis not only to him, but to the whole tradition on behalf of which he made this final hopeless sally.
In his heart every man knows quite well that, being unique, he will be in the world only once and that no imaginable chance will for a second time gather together into a unity so strangely variegated an assortment as he is: he knows it but he hides it like a bad conscience—why? From fear of his neighbor, who demands conventionality and cloaks himself with it. But what is it that constrains the individual to fear his neighbor, to think and act like a member of a herd, and to have no joy in himself? Modesty, perhaps, in a few rare cases. With the great majority it is indolence, inertia. … Men are even lazier than they are timid, and fear most of all the inconveniences with which unconditional honesty and nakedness would burden them. Artists alone hate this sluggish promenading in borrowed fashions and appropriated opinions and they reveal everyone’s secret bad conscience, the law that every man is a unique miracle.
To this end we now need many preparatory courageous human beings who cannot very well leap out of nothing — any more than out of the sand and slime of present-day civilization and metropolitanism: human beings who know how to be silent, lonely, resolute, and content and constant in invisible activities; human beings who are bent on seeking in all things for what in them must be overcome; human beings distinguished as much by cheerfulness, patience, unpretentiousness, and contempt for all great vanities as by magnanimity in victory and forbearance regarding the small vanities of the vanquished; human beings whose judgment concerning all victors and the share of chance in every victory and fame is sharp and free; human beings with their own festivals, their own working days, and their own periods of mourning, accustomed to command with assurance but instantly ready to obey when that is called for, equally proud, equally serving their own cause in both cases; more endangered human beings, more fruitful human beings, happier beings!
Central to the Smithian approach is our willingness to see critically what we observe around us. The sense of comfort that is often associated with being content with the world as it is can seriously hamper the pursuit of justice. This understanding goes strongly against a line of thought that was powerfully presented by Friedrich Nietzshe. ‘The Christian resolve to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad’, said Nietzshe. I think I can, with some effort, understand what Nietzsche meant, but it is hard for me, even with a lot of effort, to see that Nietzshe’s hypothesis helps us to understand the causation or resilience of the nastiness of the world in which we live. Nor, I must insist (this I do as a thoroughly unreligious person), does it offer any obvious insight into the lives and achievements of Martin Luther King, or Mother Theresa, or Desmond Tutu, who have tried to reduce injustice in the world and have done so with non-negligible success.
That immense framework and planking of concepts to which the needy man clings his whole life long in order to preserve himself is nothing but a scaffolding and toy for the most audacious feats of the liberated intellect. And when it smashes this framework to pieces, throws it into confusion, and puts it back together in an ironic fashion, pairing the most alien things and separating the closest, it is demonstrating that it has no need of these makeshifts of indigence and that it will now be guided by intuitions rather than by concepts. There is no regular path which leads from these intuitions into the land of ghostly schemata, the land of abstractions. There exists no word for these intuitions; when man sees them he grows dumb, or else he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard — of combinations of concepts. He does this so that by shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers he may at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful present intuition.
It is Nietzsche’s merit that he was aware that to philosophize is radically problematic in the cultural, historicist dispensation. He recognized the terrible intellectual and moral risks involved. At the center of his every thought was the question “How is it possible to do what I am doing?” He tried to apply to his own thought the teachings of cultural relativism. This practically nobody else does. For example, Freud says that men are motivated by desire for sex and power, but he did not apply those motives to explain his own science or his own scientific activity. But if he can be a true scientist, i.e., motivated by love of the truth, so can other men, and his description of their motives is thus mortally flawed. Or if he is motivated by sex or power, he is not a scientist, and his science is only one means among many possible to attain those ends. This contradiction runs throughout the natural and social sciences. They give an account of things that cannot possibly explain the conduct of their practitioners.
If Marx is inseparably linked to the growth of communism, it must be admitted that Nietzsche is linked to the emergence of fascism in the twentieth century. The relation of fascism to Nietzsche recalls the relation of the French Revolution to Rousseau. The problem of Nietzsche's connection with fascism is unfortunately not resolved by claiming, as many interpreters of Nietzsche are prone to do, that Nietzsche was no fascist, that he was a violent critic of German nationalism, and that he would have loathed Hitler. These things are undoubtedly true, and uttering them shows the absurdity of a crude identification of Nietzsche's doctrines with Hitler's ravings. Nietzsche was a man with a noble vision of man's future. His own delicacy, integrity, and courage shine through his writing. He was also free of the crude racism which was to be an important element of fascism, and he had only contempt for political anti-Semitism. But the fact remains that in various ways Nietzsche influenced fascism. Fascism may have abused the words of Nietzsche, but his words are singularly easy to abuse.
Nowadays I prefer to remain silent about Nietzsche. When I was teaching philosophy I often used to lecture on Nietzsche,but I wouldn't do that any more today. If I wanted to be pretentious, I would use 'the genealogy of morals' as the general title of what I am doing. It was Nietzsche who specified the power relation as the general focus, shall we say, of philosophical discourse-whereas for Marx it was the production relation. Nietzsche is the philosopher of power,a philosopher who managed to think of power without having to confine himself within a political theory in order to do so. Nietzsche's contemporary presence is increasingly important. But I am tired of people studying him only to produce the same kind of commentaries that are written on Hegel or Mallarmé. For myself, I prefer to utilise the writers I like. The only valid tribute to thought such as Nietzsche's is precisely to use it, to deform it, to make it groan and protest. And if commentators then say that I am being faithful or unfaithful to Nietzsche, that is of absolutely no interest.
You have committed one of the greatest stupidities — for yourself and for me! Your association with an anti-Semitic chief expresses a foreignness to my whole way of life which fills me again and again with ire or melancholy. … It is a matter of honor with me to be absolutely clean and unequivocal in relation to anti-Semitism, namely, opposed to it, as I am in my writings. I have recently been persecuted with letters and Anti-Semitic Correspondence Sheets. My disgust with this party (which would like the benefit of my name only too well!) is as pronounced as possible, but the relation to Förster, as well as the aftereffects of my former publisher, the anti-Semitic Schmeitzner, always brings the adherents of this disagreeable party back to the idea that I must belong to them after all. … It arouses mistrust against my character, as if publicly I condemned something which I have favored secretly — and that I am unable to do anything against it, that the name of Zarathustra is used in every Anti-Semitic Correspondence Sheet'', has almost made me sick several times.
The drive toward the formation of metaphors is the fundamental human drive, which one cannot for a single instant dispense with in thought, for one would thereby dispense with man himself. This drive is not truly vanquished and scarcely subdued by the fact that a regular and rigid new world is constructed as its prison from its own ephemeral products, the concepts. It seeks a new realm and another channel for its activity, and it finds this in myth and in art generally. This drive continually confuses the conceptual categories and cells by bringing forward new transferences, metaphors, and metonymies. It continually manifests an ardent desire to refashion the world which presents itself to waking man, so that it will be as colorful, irregular, lacking in results and coherence, charming, and eternally new as the world of dreams. Indeed, it is only by means of the rigid and regular web of concepts that the waking man clearly sees that he is awake; and it is precisely because of this that he sometimes thinks that he must be dreaming when this web of concepts is torn by art.
Aber wie verändert sich plötzlich jene eben so düster geschilderte Wildniss unserer ermüdeten Cultur, wenn sie der dionysische Zauber berührt! Ein Sturmwind packt alles Abgelebte, Morsche, Zerbrochne, Verkümmerte, hüllt es wirbelnd in eine rothe Staubwolke und trägt es wie ein Geier in die Lüfte. Verwirrt suchen unsere Blicke nach dem Entschwundenen: denn was sie sehen, ist wie aus einer Versenkung an's goldne Licht gestiegen, so voll und grün, so üppig lebendig, so sehnsuchtsvoll unermesslich. Die Tragödie sitzt inmitten dieses Ueberflusses an Leben, Leid und Lust, in erhabener Entzückung, sie horcht einem fernen schwermüthigen Gesange - er erzählt von den Müttern des Seins, deren Namen lauten: Wahn, Wille, Wehe. - Ja, meine Freunde, glaubt mit mir an das dionysische Leben und an die Wiedergeburt der Tragödie. Die Zeit des sokratischen Menschen ist vorüber: kränzt euch mit Epheu, nehmt den Thyrsusstab zur Hand und wundert euch nicht, wenn Tiger und Panther sich schmeichelnd zu euren Knien niederlegen. Jetzt wagt es nur, tragische Menschen zu sein: denn ihr sollt erlöst werden. Ihr sollt den dionysischen Festzug von Indien nach Griechenland geleiten! Rüstet euch zu hartem Streite, aber glaubt an die Wunder eures Gottes!
In every generation Nietzsche finds admirers who blur his message with that of Aleister Crowley, the Nietzsche-reading occultist who wrote, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” If Nietzsche was terrible, was he also beneficial? In a 1985 book “Nietzsche: Life as Literature,” the Princeton philosopher Alexander Nehamas argued that Nietzsche’s perspectivism does not imply that all beliefs are equally valid but that “one’s beliefs are not, and need not be, true for everyone.” On this reading, to fully accept a set of beliefs is to accept the values and way of life that are bound up with it, and since there is no single way of life that is right for everyone, there may be no set of beliefs that is fit for everyone. At its best, American individualism is not about the aggrandizement of the self or the acquiescent assumption that everybody simply has a right to think what they want. Rather, it stresses that our convictions are our own, and should be held as seriously as any other possessions. Or, as Nietzsche imagined philosophers would one day say, “ ‘My judgment is my judgment’: no one else is easily entitled to it.”
Christianity destroyed for us the whole harvest of ancient civilization, and later it also destroyed for us the whole harvest of Mohammedan civilization. The wonderful culture of the Moors in Spain, which was fundamentally nearer to us and appealed more to our senses and tastes than that of Rome and Greece, was trampled down ( — I do not say by what sort of feet — ) Why? Because it had to thank noble and manly instincts for its origin — because it said yes to life, even to the rare and refined luxuriousness of Moorish life! The crusaders later made war on something before which it would have been more fitting for them to have grovelled in the dust — a civilization beside which even that of our nineteenth century seems very poor and very "senile." [...] Intrinsically there should be no more choice between Islam and Christianity than there is between an Arab and a Jew. The decision is already reached; nobody remains at liberty to choose here. Either a man is a Chandala or he is not.... “War to the knife with Rome! Peace and friendship with Islam!”: this was the feeling, this was the act, of that great free spirit, that genius among German emperors, Frederick II.
While Nietzsche’s early readers took him as an antidote to Americanism, that did not mean they saw him as a representative German. Believing that his ancestors were Polish aristocrats known as Niezky, some attributed his thinking to “Slavic emotionalism.” All that changed in 1914, with the start of what a British newspaper called the “Euro-Nietzschean war.” The philosopher of personal liberation was transformed into a proto-storm trooper who believed might makes right and welcomed the sinister rise of the Teutonic “blond beast.” … If Nietzsche’s image reached its nadir during the Second World War, when Hitler presented Mussolini with a bound edition of his works and the historian Crane Brinton wrote a book asserting he would have been “a good Nazi,” a resurrection was soon to come. The German émigré and Princeton professor Walter Kaufmann almost single-handedly revived his standing with his many translations and forceful reminder that Nietzsche hated anti-Semites and German nationalists as well as woolly-headed romantics. Kaufmann’s Nietzsche was a late flower of the Enlightenment, a tough-minded rationalist with the courage to face the Darwinian revelation that there is no purpose to nature or to our existence. The true task of the overman was to overcome himself, not others, and to do so by sculpturing his impulses and thoughts and inheritances into a willed unity that could be called “style.”
What is most needed today is a fundamental theological thinking, one centered upon the Godhead itself, and centered upon that which is most challenging or most offensive in the Godhead, one which has truly been veiled in the modern world, except by our most revolutionary thinkers and visionaries. If we allow Blake and Nietzsche to be paradigmatic of those revolutionaries, nowhere else does such a centering upon God or the Godhead occur, although a full parallel to this occurs in Spinoza and Hegel; but the language of Hegel and Spinoza is not actually offensive, or not in its immediate impact, whereas the language of Nietzsche and Blake is the most purely offensive language which has ever been inscribed. Above all this is true of the theological language of Blake and Nietzsche, but here a theological language is a truly universal language, one occurring in every domain, and occurring as that absolute No which is the origin of every repression and every darkness, and a darkness which is finally the darkness of God, or the darkness of that Godhead which is beyond “God.” Only Nietzsche and Blake know a wholly fallen Godhead, a Godhead which is an absolutely alien Nihil, but the full reversal of that Nihil is apocalypse itself, an apocalypse which is an absolute joy, and Blake and Nietzsche are those very writers who have most evoked that joy.
Along with ignoring the French Revolution, one of the most telling features of the new books on atheism [cf. new atheism ] is their consistent refusal to engage Nietzsche, who, if read correctly, ought to make atheists squirm far more than he has ever caused discomfit to believers. ¶ First, he turned the critical methods of the Enlightenment against their inventors and showed that Enlightened faith in progress was just as illusory as belief in an afterlife. Second, he demanded that a critical philosophy stop pretending to be a substitute religion (he shrewdly called Hegelian idealism “insidious theology”). Third, he insisted on the indissoluble bond between Christian doctrine and Christian morality and poured contempt on novelists like George Eliot for supposing otherwise [...] ¶ Perhaps this why Nietzsche said in Ecce Homo, “the most serious Christians have always been well disposed toward me.” For they at least, unlike Dawkins, Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens, can see that after Nietzsche a moral critique of the Christian God has become impossible, for it denies the very presupposition that makes its own critique possible. Like Abraham asking if the Lord God of justice could not himself do justice, protest atheism must accept the very norms that Nietzsche showed are essential to the meaning of belief. In Nietzsche alone one reads what the world really looks like si Deus non sit [if God does not exist].
The heaviest burden: “What, if some day or night, a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life, as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life must return to you, all in the same succession and sequence — even this spider and this moonlight between the trees and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over again and again—and you with it, speck of dust!’ Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god, and never have I heard anything more divine!’ If this thought were to gain possession of you, it would change you as you are, or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, “do you want this once more and innumerable times more?” would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?.
The whole world knows that virtue consists in the subjugation of one's passions, or in self-renunciation. It is not just the Christian world, against whom Nietzsche howls, that knows this, but it is an eternal supreme law towards which all humanity has developed, including Brahmanism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and the ancient Persian religion. And suddenly a man appears who declares that he is convinced that self-renunciation, meekness, submissiveness and love are all vices that destroy humanity (he has in mind Christianity, ignoring all the others religions). One can understand why such a declaration baffled people at first. But after giving it a little thought and failing to find any proof of the strange propositions, any rational person ought to throw the books aside and wonder if there is any kind of rubbish that would not find a publisher today. But this has not happened with Nietzsche´s books. The majority of pseudo-enlightened people seriously look into the theory of the übermensch, and acknowledge its author to be a great philosopher, a descendant of Descartes, Leibniz and Kant. And all this has come about because the majority of pseudo-enlightened men of today object to any reminder of virtue, or to its chief premise: self-renunciation and love -virtues that restrain and condemn the animal side of their life. They gladly welcome a doctrine, however incoherently and disjointedly expressed, of egotism and cruelty, sanctioning the idea of personal happiness and superiority over the lives of others, by which they live.
Wir sind im Wesentlichen noch dieselben Menschen, wie die des Zeitalters der Reformation: wie sollte es auch anders sein? Aber dass wir uns einige Mittel nicht mehr erlauben, um mit ihnen unsrer Meinung zum Siege zu verhelfen, das hebt uns gegen jene Zeit ab und beweist, dass wir einer höhern Cultur angehören. Wer jetzt noch, in der Art der Reformations-Menschen, Meinungen mit Verdächtigungen, mit Wuthausbrüchen bekämpft und niederwirft, verräth deutlich, dass er seine Gegner verbrannt haben würde, falls er in anderen Zeiten gelebt hätte, und dass er zu allen Mitteln der Inquisition seine Zuflucht genommen haben würde, wenn er als Gegner der Reformation gelebt hätte. Diese Inquisition war damals vernünftig, denn sie bedeutete nichts Anderes, als den allgemeinen Belagerungszustand, welcher über den ganzen Bereich der Kirche verhängt werden musste, und der, wie jeder Belagerungszustand, zu den äussersten Mitteln berechtigte, unter der Voraussetzung nämlich (welche wir jetzt nicht mehr mit jenen Menschen theilen), dass man die Wahrheit, in der Kirche, habe, und um jeden Preis mit jedem Opfer zum Heile der Menschheit bewahren müsse. Jetzt aber giebt man Niemandem so leicht mehr zu, dass er die Wahrheit habe: die strengen Methoden der Forschung haben genug Misstrauen und Vorsicht verbreitet, so dass Jeder, welcher gewaltthätig in Wort und Werk Meinungen vertritt, als ein Feind unserer jetzigen Cultur, mindestens als ein zurückgebliebener empfunden wird. In der That: das Pathos, dass man die Wahrheit habe, gilt jetzt sehr wenig im Verhältniss zu jenem freilich milderen und klanglosen Pathos des Wahrheit-Suchens, welches nicht müde wird, umzulernen und neu zu prüfen.
I always believed that at some time fate would take from me the terrible effort and duty of educating myself. I believed that, when the time came, I would discover a philosopher to educate me, a true philosopher whom one could follow without any misgiving because one would have more faith in him than one had in oneself. Then I asked myself: what would be the principles by which he would educate you?—and I reflected on what he might say about the two educational maxims which are being hatched in our time. One of them demands that the educator should quickly recognize the real strength of his pupil and then direct all his efforts and energy and heat at them so as to help that one virtue to attain true maturity and fruitfulness. The other maxim, on the contrary, requires that the educator should draw forth and nourish all the forces which exist in his pupil and bring them to a harmonious relationship with one another. … But where do we discover a harmonious whole at all, a simultaneous sounding of many voice in one nature, if not in such men as Cellini, men in whom everything, knowledge, desire, love, hate, strives towards a central point, a root force, and where a harmonious system is constructed through the compelling domination of this living centre? And so perhaps these two maxims are not opposites at all? Perhaps the one simply says that man should have a center and the other than he should also have a periphery? That educating philosopher of whom I dreamed would, I came to think, not only discover the central force, he would also know how to prevent its acting destructively on the other forces: his educational task would, it seemed to me, be to mould the whole man into a living solar and planetary system and to understand its higher laws of motion.
This divergence and perversion of the essential question is most striking in what goes today by the name of philosophy. There would seem to be only one question for philosophy to resolve: What must I do? Despite being combined with an enormous amount of unnecessary confusion, answers to the question have at any rate been given within the philosophical tradition on the Christian nations. For example, in Kant´s Critique of Practical Reason, or in Spinoza, Schopenhauer and specially Rousseau. But in more recent times, since Hegel´s assertion that all that exists is reasonable, the question of what one must do has been pushed to the background and philosophy has directed its whole attention to the investigation of things as they are, and to fitting them into a prearranged theory. This was the first step backwards. The second step, degrading human thought yet further, was the acceptance of the struggle for existence as a basic law, simply because that struggle can be observed among animals and plants. According to this theory the destruction of the weakest is a law which should not be opposed. And finally, the third step was taken when the childish originality of Nietzsche´s half-crazed thought, presenting nothing complete or coherent, but only various drafts of immoral and completely unsubstantiated ideas, was accepted by the leading figures as the final word in philosophical science. In reply to the question: what must we do? the answer is now put straightforwardly as: live as you like, without paying attention to the lives of others. If anyone doubted that the Christian world of today has reached a frightful state of torpor and brutalization (not forgeting the recent crimes committed in the Boers and in China, which were defended by the clergy and acclaimed as heroic feats by all the world powers), the extraordinary success of Nietzsche's works is enough to provide irrefutable proof of this. Some disjointed writings, striving after effect in a most sordid manner, appear, written by a daring, but limited and abnormal German, suffering from power mania. Neither in talent nor in their basic argument to these writings justify public attention. In the days of Kant, Leibniz, or Hume, or even fifty years ago, such writings would not only have received no attention, but they would not even have appeared. But today all the so called educated people are praising the ravings of Mr. N, arguing about him, elucidating him, and countless copies of his works are printed in all languages.
In 1889, when Friedrich Nietzsche suffered the mental collapse that ended his career, he was virtually unknown. Yet by the time of his death in 1900 at the age of 55, he had become the philosophical celebrity of his age. From Russia to America, admirers echoed his estimation of himself as a titanic figure who could alter the course of history: “I am by far the most terrible human being that has existed so far; this does not preclude the possibility that I shall be the most beneficial.” His origins were humble for the role. … Suffering from violent migraines, Nietzsche resigned his academic post when he was 34 and began the life of a little-heeded nomad-intellectual in European resorts. With escalating intensity, he issued innovative works of philosophy that challenged every element of European civilization. He celebrated the artistic heroism of Beethoven and Goethe; denigrated the “slave morality” of Christianity, which transfigured weakness into virtue and vital strength into sin; and called on the strong in spirit to bring about a “transvaluation of all values.” The “higher man” — or as Nietzsche sometimes called him, the “overman” or “Übermensch” — did not succumb to envy or long for the afterlife; rather he willed that his life on earth repeat itself over and over exactly as it was. In later works, Nietzsche wrote with continued brilliance and growing megalomania of his disdain for the common “herd,” the dangers of nihilism and the possibility that the will to power is the “Ur-fact of all history.” He spent his last stricken decade in the care of his mother and then his sister, a fervent anti-Semite who would put him in good standing with the German nationalists he despised. As Nietzsche faltered, his writings began to spread. Small circles of European radicals, literary aristocrats and misfits styled themselves apprentice Übermenschen, ready to fashion the new values the age demanded. The German aesthete Count Harry Kessler plotted to build a Nietzsche memorial in Weimar with a stadium, a temple and a statue; it would, he hoped, effect “the transposition of the personality of Nietzsche into a grand architectural formula” expressing “the unity of lightness, of joy and of power.” But if Nietzsche inspired rapture and devotion, he also puzzled and dismayed. A sickly recluse with impeccable manners, he praised cruelty and strength. He decried Christianity as “a crime against life” even as he claimed that it made man interesting for the first time, and he proposed that everything we know is merely a partial “perspective knowing” even as he composed some of the most categorical remarks ever made: “God is dead”; “It is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that existence and the world are eternally justified”; “There are no facts, only interpretations.”