Part 1 of 2
SKIRMISHES OF AN UNTIMELY MAN
1 My impossible ones. — Seneca: or the toreador of virtue. Rousseau: or the return to nature in impuris naturalibus [in natural filth]. Schiller: or the Moral-Trumpeter of Säckingen. Dante: or the hyena who writes poetry in tombs. Kant: or cant as an intelligible character. Victor Hugo: or the pharos at the sea of nonsense. Liszt: or the school of smoothness — with women. George Sand: or lactea ubertas — in translation, the milk cow with "a beautiful style." Michelet: or the enthusiasm which takes off its coat. Carlyle: or pessimism as a poorly digested dinner. John Stuart Mill: or insulting clarity. Les frères de Goncourt: or the two Ajaxes in battle with Homer — music by Offenbach. Zola: or "the delight in stinking."
2 Renan. — Theology: or the corruption of reason by 'original sin" (Christianity). Witness Renan who, whenever he risks a Yes or No of a more general nature scores a miss with painful regularity. He wants for example, to weld together la science and la noblesse: but la science belongs with democracy; what could be plainer? With no little ambition, he wishes to represent an aristocracy of the spirit: yet at the same time he is on his knees before its very counter-doctrine, the evangile des humbles — and not only on his knees. To what avail is all free-spiritedness, modernity, mockery, and wry-neck suppleness, if in one's guts one is still a Christian, a Catholic — in fact, a priest! Renan is most inventive, just like a Jesuit and father confessor, when it comes to seduction; his spirituality does not even lack the broad fat popish smile — like all priests, he becomes dangerous only when he loves. Nobody can equal him when it comes to adoring in a manner endangering life itself. This spirit of Renan's, a spirit which is enervated, is one more calamity for poor, sick, will-sick France.
3 Sainte Beuve. — Nothing of virility, full of petty wrath against all virile spirits. Wanders around, cowardly, curious, bored, eavesdropping — a female at bottom, with a female's lust for revenge and a female's sensuality. As a psychologist, a genius of médisance [slander], inexhaustibly rich in means to that end; no one knows better how to mix praise with poison. Plebeian in the lowest instincts and related to the ressentiment of Rousseau: consequently, a romantic — for underneath all romantisme lie the grunting and greed of Rousseau's instinct for revenge. A revolutionary, but still pretty well harnessed by fear. Without freedom when confronted with anything strong (public opinion, the Academy, the court, even Port Royal). Embittered against everything great in men and things, against whatever believes in itself. Poet and half-female enough to sense the great as a power; always writhing like the famous worm because he always feels stepped upon. As a critic, without any standard, steadiness, and backbone, with the cosmopolitan libertine's tongue for a medley of things, but without the courage even to confess his libertinage. As a historian, without philosophy, without the power of the philosophical eye — hence declining the task of judging in all significant matters, hiding behind the mask of "objectivity." It is different with his attitude to all things in which a fine, well-worn taste is the highest tribunal: there he really has the courage to stand by himself and delight in himself — there he is a master. In some respects, a preliminary version of Baudelaire.
4 De imitatione Christi is one of those books which I cannot hold in my hand without a physiological reaction: it exudes a perfume of the Eternal-Feminine which is strictly for Frenchmen — or Wagnerians. This saint has a way of talking about love which arouses even Parisian women to curiosity. I am told that that cleverest of Jesuits, Auguste Comte, who wanted to lead his Frenchmen to Rome via the detour of science, found his inspiration in this book. I believe it: "the religion of the heart."
5 G. Eliot. — They are rid of the Christian God and now believe all the more firmly that they must cling to Christian morality. That is an English consistency; we do not wish to hold it against little moralistic females à la Eliot. In England one must rehabilitate oneself after every little emancipation from theology by showing in a veritably awe-inspiring manner what a moral fanatic one is. That is the penance they pay there.
We others hold otherwise. When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one's feet. This morality is by no means self-evident: this point has to be exhibited again and again, despite the English flatheads. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one's hands. Christianity presupposes that man does not know, cannot know, what is good for him, what evil: he believes in God, who alone knows it. Christian morality is a command; its origin is transcendent; it is beyond all criticism, all right to criticism; it has truth only if God is the truth — it stands and falls with faith in God.
When the English actually believe that they know "intuitively" what is good and evil, when they therefore suppose that they no longer require Christianity as the guarantee of morality, we merely witness the effects of the dominion of the Christian value judgment and an expression of the strength and depth of this dominion: such that the origin of English morality has been forgotten, such that the very conditional character of its right to existence is no longer felt. For the English, morality is not yet a problem.
6 George Sand. — I read the first Lettres d'un voyageur: like everything that is descended from Rousseau, false, fabricated, bellows, exaggerated. I cannot stand this motley wallpaper style any more than the mob aspiration for generous feelings. The worst feature, to be sure, is the female's coquetry with male attributes, with the manners of naughty boys. How cold she must have been throughout, this insufferable artist! She wound herself up like a clock — and wrote. Cold, like Hugo, like Balzac, like all the romantics as soon as they took up poetic invention. And how self-satisfied she may have lain there all the while, this fertile writing-cow who had in her something German in the bad sense, like Rousseau himself, her master, and who in any case was possible only during the decline of French taste! But Renan reveres her.
7 Moral for psychologists. — Not to go in for backstairs psychology. Never to observe in order to observe! That gives a false perspective, leads to squinting and something forced and exaggerated. Experience as the wish to experience does not succeed. One must not eye oneself while having an experience; else the eye becomes "an evil eye." A born psychologist guards instinctively against seeing in order to see; the same is true of the born painter. He never works "from nature"; he leaves it to his instinct, to his camera obscura, to sift through and express the "case," "nature," that which is "experienced." He is conscious only of what is general, of the conclusion, the result: he does not know arbitrary abstractions from an individual case.
What happens when one proceeds differently? For example, if, in the manner of the Parisian novelists, one goes in for backstairs psychology and deals in gossip, wholesale and retail? Then one lies in wait for reality, as it were, and every evening one brings home a handful of curiosities. But note what finally comes of all this: a heap of splotches, a mosaic at best, but in any case something added together, something restless, a mess of screaming colors. The worst in this respect is accomplished by the Goncourts; they do not put three sentences together without really hurting the eye, the psychologist's eye.
Nature, estimated artistically, is no model. It exaggerates, it distorts, it leaves gaps. Nature is chance. To study "from nature" seems to me to be a bad sign: it betrays submission, weakness, fatalism; this lying in the dust before petit faits [little facts] is unworthy of a whole artist. To see what is — that is the mark of another kind of spirit, the anti-artistic, the factual. One must know who one is.
8 Toward a psychology of the artist. — If there is to be art, if there is to be any aesthetic doing and seeing, one physiological condition is indispensable: frenzy. Frenzy must first have enhanced the excitability of the whole machine; else there is no art. All kinds of frenzy, however diversely conditioned, have the strength to accomplish this: above all, the frenzy of sexual excitement, this most ancient and original form of frenzy. Also the frenzy that follows all great cravings, all strong affects; the frenzy of feasts, contests, feats of daring, victory, all extreme movement; the frenzy of cruelty; the frenzy in destruction, the frenzy under certain meteorological influences, as for example the frenzy of spring; or under the influence of narcotics; and finally the frenzy of will, the frenzy of an overcharged and swollen will. What is essential in such frenzy is the feeling of increased strength and fullness. Out of this feeling one lends to things, one forces them to accept from us, one violates them — this process is called idealizing. Let us get rid of a prejudice here: idealizing does not consist, as is commonly held, in subtracting or discounting the petty and inconsequential. What is decisive is rather a tremendous drive to bring out the main features so that the others disappear in the process.
9 In this state one enriches everything out of one's own fullness: whatever one sees, whatever one wills, is seen swelled, taut, strong, overloaded with strength. A man in this state transforms things until they mirror his power — until they are reflections of his perfection. This having to transform into perfection is — art. Even everything that he is not yet, becomes for him an occasion of joy in himself; in art man enjoys himself as perfection.
It would be permissible to imagine an opposite state, a specific anti-artistry by instinct — a mode of being which would impoverish all things, making them thin and consumptive. And, as a matter of fact, history is rich in such anti-artists, in such people who are starved by life and must of necessity grab things, eat them out, and make them more meager. This is, for example, the case of the genuine Christian — of Pascal, for example: a Christian who would at the same time be an artist simply does not occur. One should not be childish and object by naming Raphael or some homeopathic Christian of the nineteenth century: Raphael said Yes, Raphael did Yes; consequently, Raphael was no Christian.
10 What is the meaning of the conceptual opposites which I have introduced into aesthetics, Apollinian and Dionysian, both conceived as kinds of frenzy? The Apollinian frenzy excites the eye above all, so that it gains the power of vision. The painter, the sculptor, the epic poet are visionaries par excellence. In the Dionysian state, on the other hand, the whole affective system is excited and enhanced: so that it discharges all its means of expression at once and drives forth simultaneously the power of representation, imitation, transfiguration, transformation, and every kind of mimicking and acting. The essential feature here remains the ease of metamorphosis, the inability not to react (similar to certain hysterical types who also, upon any suggestion, enter into any role). It is impossible for the Dionysian type not to understand any suggestion; he does not overlook any sign of an affect; he possesses the instinct of understanding and guessing in the highest degree, just as he commands the art of communication in the highest degree. He enters into any skin, into any affect: he constantly transforms himself.
Music, as we understand it today, is also a total excitement and a total discharge of the affects, but even so only the remnant of a much fuller world of expression of the affects, a mere residue of the Dionysian histrionicism. To make music possible as a separate art, a number of senses, especially the muscle sense, have been immobilized (at least relatively, for to a certain degree all rhythm still appeals to our muscles); so that man no longer bodily imitates and represents everything he feels. Nevertheless, that is really the normal Dionysian state, at least the original state. Music is the specialization of this state attained slowly at the expense of those faculties which are most closely related to it.
11 The actor, the mime, the dancer, the musician, and the lyric poet are basically related in their instincts and, at bottom, one — but gradually they have become specialized and separated from each other, even to the point of mutual opposition. The lyric poet remained united with the musician for the longest time; the actor, with the dancer.
The architect represents neither a Dionysian nor an Apollinian state: here it is the great act of will, the will that moves mountains, the frenzy of the great will which aspires to art. The most powerful human beings have always inspired architects; the architect has always been under the spell of power. His buildings are supposed to render pride visible, and the victory over gravity, the will to power. Architecture is a kind of eloquence of power in forms — now persuading, even flattering, now only commanding. The highest feeling of power and sureness finds expression in a grand style. The power which no longer needs any proof, which spurns pleasing, which does not answer lightly, which feels no witness near, which lives oblivious of all opposition to it, which reposes within itself, fatalistically, a law among laws — that speaks of itself as a grand style.
12 I have been reading the life of Thomas Carlyle, this unconscious and involuntary farce, this heroic-moralistic interpretation of dyspeptic states. Carlyle: a man of strong words and attitudes, a rhetor from need, constantly lured by the craving for a strong faith and the feeling of his incapacity for it (in this respect, a typical romantic!). The craving for a strong faith is no proof of a strong faith, but quite the contrary. If one has such a faith, then one can afford the beautiful luxury of skepticism: one is sure enough, firm enough, has ties enough for that. Carlyle drugs something in himself with the fortissimo of his veneration of men of strong faith and with his rage against the less simple-minded: he requires noise. A constant passionate dishonesty against himself-that is his proprium; in this respect he is and remains interesting. Of course, in England he is admired precisely for his honesty. Well, that is English; and in view of the fact that the English are the people of consummate cant, it is even as it should be, and not only comprehensible. At bottom, Carlyle is an English atheist who makes it a point of honor not to be one.
13 Emerson. — Much more enlightened, more roving, more manifold, subtler than Carlyle; above all, happier. One who instinctively nourishes himself only on ambrosia, leaving behind what is indigestible in things. Compared with Carlyle, a man of taste. Carlyle, who loved him very much, nevertheless said of him: "He does not give us enough to chew on" — which may be true, but is no reflection on Emerson. Emerson has that gracious and clever cheerfulness which discourages all seriousness; he simply does not know how old he is already and how young he is still going to be; he could say of himself, quoting Lope de Vega, "Yo me sucedo a mi mismo" [I am my own heir]. His spirit always finds reasons for being satisfied and even grateful; and at times he touches on the cheerful transcendency of the worthy gentleman who returned from an amorous rendezvous, tamquiam re bene gesta [as if he had accomplished his mission]. "Ut desint vires," he said gratefully, "tamen est laudanda voluptas" [Though the power is lacking, the lust is nevertheless praiseworthy].
14 Anti-Darwin. — As for the famous "struggle for existence," so far it seems to me to be asserted rather than proved. It occurs, but as an exception; the total appearance of life is not the extremity, not starvation, but rather riches, profusion, even absurd squandering — and where there is struggle, it is a struggle for power. One should not mistake Malthus for nature.
Assuming, however, that there is such a struggle for existence — and, indeed, it occurs — its result is unfortunately the opposite of what Darwin's school desires, and of what one might perhaps desire with them — namely, in favor of the strong, the privileged, the fortunate exceptions. The species do not grow in perfection: the weak prevail over the strong again and again, for they are the great majority — and they are also more intelligent. Darwin forgot the spirit (that is English!); the weak have more spirit. One must need spirit to acquire spirit; one loses it when one no longer needs it. Whoever has strength dispenses with the spirit ("Let it go!" they think in Germany today; "the Reich must still remain to us"). It will be noted that by "spirit" I mean care, patience, cunning, simulation, great self-control, and everything that is mimicry (the latter includes a great deal of so-called virtue).
15 Casuistry of Psychologists. — This man knows human nature; why does he really study people? He wants to seize little advantages over them — or big ones, for that matter — he is a politician. That one over there also knows human nature, and you say that he seeks no profit for himself, that he is thoroughly "impersonal." Look more closely! Perhaps he even wants a worse advantage to feel superior to other human beings, to be able to look down on them, and no longer to mistake himself for one of them. This "impersonal" type as a despiser of human beings, while the first type is the more humane species, appearances notwithstanding. At least he places himself on the same plane, he places himself among them.
16 The psychological tact of the Germans seems very questionable to me, in view of quite a number of cases which modesty prevents me from enumerating. In one case I shall not lack a great occasion to substantiate my thesis: I bear the Germans a grudge for having made such a mistake about Kant and his "backdoor philosophy," as I call it — for that was not the type of intellectual integrity. The other thing I do not like to hear is a notorious "and": the Germans say "Goethe and Schiller" — I am afraid they say "Schiller and Goethe." Don't they know this Schiller yet? And there are even worse "ands"; with my own ears I have heard, if only among university professors, "Schopenhauer and Hartmann."
17 The most spiritual human beings, if we assume that they are the most courageous, also experience by far the most painful tragedies: but just for that reason they honor life because it pits its greatest opposition against them.
18 On the "intellectual conscience." — Nothing seems rarer to me today than genuine hypocrisy. I greatly suspect that the soft air of our culture is insalubrious for this plant. Hypocrisy belongs in the ages of strong faith when, even though constrained to display another faith, one did not abandon one's own faith. Today one does abandon it; or, even more commonly, one adds a second faith — and in either case one remains honest. Without a doubt, a very much greater number of convictions is possible today than formerly: "possible" means permissible, which means harmless. This begets tolerance toward oneself.
Tolerance toward oneself permits several convictions and they get along with each other: they are careful, like all the rest of the world, not to compromise themselves. How does one compromise oneself today? If one is consistent. If one proceeds in a straight line. If one is not ambiguous enough to permit five conflicting interpretations. If one is genuine.
I fear greatly that modern man is simply too comfortable for some vices, so that they die out by default. All evil that is a function of a strong will — and perhaps there is no evil without strength of will — degenerates into virtue in our tepid air. The few hypocrites whom I have met imitated hypocrisy: like almost every tenth person today, they were actors.
19 Beautiful and ugly ["fair and foul"]. — Nothing is more conditional — or, let us say, narrower — than our feeling for beauty. Whoever would think of it apart from man's joy in man would immediately lose any foothold. "Beautiful in itself" is a mere phrase, not even a concept. In the beautiful, man posits himself as the measure of perfection; in special cases he worships himself in it. A species cannot do otherwise but thus affirm itself alone. Its lowest instinct, that of self-preservation and self-expansion, still radiates in such sublimities. Man believes the world itself to be overloaded with beauty — and he forgets himself as the cause of this. He alone has presented the world with beauty — alas! only with a very human, all-too-human beauty. At bottom, man mirrors himself in things; he considers everything beautiful that reflects his own image: the judgment "beautiful" is the vanity of his species. For a little suspicion may whisper this question into the skeptic's ear: Is the world really beautified by the fact that man thinks it beautiful? He has humanized it, that is all. But nothing, absolutely nothing, guarantees that man should be the model of beauty. Who knows what he looks like in the eyes of a higher judge of beauty? Daring perhaps? Perhaps even amusing? Perhaps a little arbitrary?
"O Dionysus, divine one, why do you pull me by my ears?" Ariadne once asked her philosophic lover during one of those famous dialogues on Naxos. "I find a kind of humor in your ears, Ariadne: why are they not even longer?"
20 Nothing is beautiful, except man alone: all aesthetics rests upon this naïveté, which is its first truth. Let us immediately add the second: nothing is ugly except the degenerating man — and with this the realm of aesthetic judgment is circumscribed. Physiologically, everything ugly weakens and saddens man. It reminds him of decay, danger, impotence; it actually deprives him of strength. One can measure the effect of the ugly with a dynamometer. Wherever man is depressed at all, he senses the proximity of something "ugly." His feeling of power, his will to power, his courage, his pride — all fall with the ugly and rise with the beautiful. In both cases we draw an inference: the premises for it are piled up in the greatest abundance in instinct. The ugly is understood as a sign and symptom of degeneration: whatever reminds us in the least of degeneration causes in us the judgment of "ugly." Every suggestion of exhaustion, of heaviness, of age, of weariness; every kind of lack of freedom, such as cramps, such as paralysis; and above all, the smell, the color, the form of dissolution, of decomposition — even in the ultimate attenuation into a symbol — all evoke the same reaction, the value judgment, "ugly." A hatred is aroused — but whom does man hate then? There is no doubt: the decline of his type. Here he hates out of the deepest instinct of the species; in this hatred there is a shudder, caution, depth, farsightedness — it is the deepest hatred there is. It is because of this that art is deep.
21 Schopenhauer. — Schopenhauer, the last German worthy of consideration (who represents a European event like Goethe, like Hegel, like Heinrich Heine, and not merely a local event, a "national" one), is for a psychologist a first- rate case: namely, as a maliciously ingenious attempt to adduce in favor of a nihilistic total depreciation of life precisely the counter-instances, the great self-affirmations of the "will to life," life's forms of exuberance. He has interpreted art, heroism, genius, beauty, great sympathy, knowledge, the will to truth, and tragedy, in turn, as consequences of "negation" or of the "will's" need to negate — the greatest psychological counterfeit in all history, not counting Christianity. On closer inspection, he is at this point merely the heir of the Christian interpretation: only he knew how to approve that which Christianity had repudiated, the great cultural facts of humanity — albeit in a Christian, that is, nihilistic, manner (namely, as ways of "redemption," as anticipations of "redemption," as stimuli of the need for "redemption").
22 I take a single case. Schopenhauer speaks of beauty with a melancholy fervor. Why? Because he sees in it a bridge on which one will go farther, or develop a thirst to go farther. Beauty is for him a momentary redemption from the "will" — a lure to eternal redemption. Particularly, he praises beauty as the redeemer from "the focal point of the will," from sexuality — in beauty he sees the negation of the drive toward procreation. Queer saint! Somebody seems to be contradicting you; I fear it is nature. To what end is there any such thing as beauty in tone, color, fragrance, or rhythmic movement in nature? What is it that beauty evokes? Fortunately, a philosopher contradicts him too. No lesser authority than that of the divine Plato (so Schopenhauer himself calls him) maintains a different proposition: that all beauty incites procreation, that just this is the proprium of its effect, from the most sensual up to the most spiritual.
23 Plato goes further. He says with an innocence possible only for a Greek, not a "Christian," that there would be no Platonic philosophy at all if there were not such beautiful youths in Athens: it is only their sight that transposes the philosopher's soul into an erotic trance, leaving it no peace until it lowers the seed of all exalted things into such beautiful soil. Another queer saint! One does not trust one's ears, even if one should trust Plato. At least one guesses that they philosophized differently in Athens, especially in public. Nothing is less Greek than the conceptual web-spinning of a hermit — amor intellectualis dei [intellectual love of God] after the fashion of Spinoza. Philosophy after the fashion of Plato might rather be defined as an erotic contest, as a further development and turning inward of the ancient agonistic gymnastics and of its presuppositions. What ultimately grew out of this philosophic eroticism of Plato? A new art form of the Greek agon: dialectics. Finally, I recall — against Schopenhauer and in honor of Plato — that the whole higher culture and literature of classical France too grew on the soil of sexual interest. Everywhere in it one may look for the amatory, the senses, the sexual contest, "the woman" — one will never look in vain.
24 L'art pour l'art. — The fight against purpose in art is always a fight against the moralizing tendency in art, against its subordination to morality. L'art pour l'art means, "The devil take morality!" But even this hostility still betrays the overpowering force of the prejudice. When the purpose of moral preaching and of improving man has been excluded from art, it still does not follow by any means that art is altogether purposeless, aimless, senseless — in short, l'art pour l'art, a worm chewing its own tail. "Rather no purpose at all than a moral purpose!" — that is the talk of mere passion. A psychologist, on the other hand, asks: what does all art do? does it not praise? glorify? choose? prefer? With all this it strengthens or weakens certain valuations. Is this merely a "moreover"? an accident? something in which the artist's instinct had no share? Or is it not the very presupposition of the artist's ability? Does his basic instinct aim at art, or rather at the sense of art, at life? at a desirability of life? Art is the great stimulus to life: how could one understand it as purposeless, as aimless, as l'art pour l'art?
One question remains: art also makes apparent much that is ugly, hard, and questionable in life; does it not thereby spoil life for us? And indeed there have been philosophers who attributed this sense to it: "liberation from the will" was what Schopenhauer taught as the overall end of art; and with admiration he found the great utility of tragedy in its "evoking resignation." But this, as I have already suggested, is the pessimist's perspective and "evil eye." We must appeal to the artists themselves. What does the tragic artist communicate of himself? Is it not precisely the state without fear in the face of the fearful and questionable that he is showing? This state itself is a great desideratum, whoever knows it, honors it with the greatest honors. He communicates it — must communicate it, provided he is an artist, a genius of communication. Courage and freedom of feeling before a powerful enemy, before a sublime calamity, before a problem that arouses dread — this triumphant state is what the tragic artist chooses, what he glorifies. Before tragedy, what is warlike in our soul celebrates its Saturnalia; whoever is used to suffering, whoever seeks out suffering, the heroic man praises his own being through tragedy — to him alone the tragedian presents this drink of sweetest cruelty.
25 To put up with people, to keep open house with one's heart — that is liberal, but that is merely liberal. One recognizes those hearts which are capable of noble hospitality by the many draped windows and closed shutters: they keep their best rooms empty. Why? Because they expect guests with whom one does not "put up."
26 We no longer have sufficiently high esteem for ourselves when we communicate. Our true experiences are not at all garrulous. They could not communicate themselves even if they tried: they lack the right words. We have already gone beyond whatever we have words for. In all talk there is a grain of contempt. Language, it seems, was invented only for what is average, medium, communicable. By speaking the speaker immediately vulgarizes himself. — Out of a morality for deaf-mutes and other philosophers.
27 "This picture is enchantingly beautiful...!" The literary female: unsatisfied, excited, her heart and entrails void, ever listening, full of painful curiosity, to the imperative which whispers from the depths of her organism, aut liberi aut libri [either children or books] — the literary female: educated enough to understand the voice of nature even when it speaks Latin, and yet vain enough and goose enough to speak secretly with herself in French: 'je me verrai, je me lirai, je m'extasierai et je dirai: possible, que j'aie eu tant d'esprit?' ["I shall see myself, I shall read myself, I shall go into ecstasies, and I shall say: is it possible that I should have had so much wit?"]
28 The "impersonal" get a word in. — "Nothing is easier for us than to be wise, patient, and superior. We drip with the oil of forgiveness and sympathy, we are absurdly just, we pardon everything. For that very reason we ought to be a little more strict with ourselves; for that very reason we ought to breed a little affect in ourselves from time to time, a little vice of an affect. It may be hard on us; and among ourselves we may even laugh at the sight we thus offer. But what can be done about it? No other way of self-overcoming is left to us any more: this is our asceticism, our penance." Developing personal traits: the virtue of the "impersonal."
29 From a doctoral examination. — "What is the task of all higher education?" To turn men into machines. "What are the means?" Man must learn to be bored. "How is that accomplished?" By means of the concept of duty. "Who serves as the model?" The philologist: he teaches grinding. "Who is the perfect man?" The civil servant. "Which philosophy offers the highest formula for the civil servant?" Kant's: the civil servant as a thing-in-itself, raised up to be judge over the civil servant as phenomenon.
30 The right to stupidity. — The weary laborer who breathes slowly, looks genial, and lets things go as they may — this typical figure, encountered today, in the age of labor (and of the "Reich"!), in all classes of society, claims art, no less, as his proper sphere, including books and, above all, magazines — and even more the beauties of nature, Italy. The man of the evening, with his "savage drives gone to sleep" (as Faust says), needs a summer resort, the seashore, glaciers, Bayreuths. In such ages art has a right to pure foolishness — as a kind of vacation for spirit, wit, and feeling. Wagner understood that. Pure foolishness restores.
31 Another problem of diet. — The means by which Julius Caesar defended himself against sickliness and headaches: tremendous marches, the most frugal way of life, uninterrupted sojourn in the open air, continuous exertion — these are, in general, the universal rules of preservation and protection against the extreme vulnerability of that subtle machine, working under the highest pressure, which we call genius.
32 The immoralist speaks. — Nothing offends the philosopher's taste more than man, insofar as man desires. If he sees man in action, even if he sees this most courageous, most cunning, most enduring animal lost in labyrinthian distress — how admirable man appears to him! He still likes him. But the philosopher despises the desiring man, also the "desirable" man — and altogether all desirabilities, all ideals of man. If a philosopher could be a nihilist, he would be one because he finds nothing behind all the ideals of man. Or not even nothing — but only what is abject, absurd, sick, cowardly, and weary, all kinds of dregs out of the emptied cup of his life. Man being so venerable in his reality, how is it that he deserves no respect insofar as he desires? Must he atone for being so capable in reality? Must he balance his activity, the strain on head and will in all his activity, by stretching his limbs in the realm of the imaginary and the absurd?
The history of his desirabilities has so far been the partie honteuse of man: one should beware of reading in it too long. What justifies man is his reality — it will eternally justify him. How much greater is the worth of the real man, compared with any merely desired, dreamed-up, foully fabricated man? with any ideal man? And it is only the ideal man who offends the philosopher's taste.
33 The natural value of egoism. — Self-interest is worth as much as the person who has it: it can be worth a great deal, and it can be unworthy and contemptible. Every individual may be scrutinized to see whether he represents the ascending or the descending line of life. Having made that decision, one has a canon for the worth of his self-interest. If he represents the ascending line, then his worth is indeed extraordinary — and for the sake of life as a whole, which takes a step farther through him, the care for his preservation and for the creation of the best conditions for him may even be extreme. The single one, the "individual," as hitherto understood by the people and the philosophers alike, is an error after all: he is nothing by himself, no atom, no "link in the chain," nothing merely inherited from former times; he is the whole single line of humanity up to himself. If he represents the descending development, decay, chronic degeneration, and sickness (sicknesses are, in general, the consequences of decay, not its causes), then he has small worth, and the minimum of decency requires that he take away as little as possible from those who have turned out well. He is merely their parasite.
34 Christian and anarchist. — When the anarchist, as the mouthpiece of the declining strata of society, demands with a fine indignation what is "right," "justice," and "equal rights," he is merely under the pressure of his own uncultured state, which cannot comprehend the real reason for his suffering — what it is that he is poor in: life. A causal instinct asserts itself in him: it must be somebody's fault that he is in a bad way.
Also, the "fine indignation" itself soothes him; it is a pleasure for all wretched devils to scold: it gives a slight but intoxicating sense of power. Even plaintiveness and complaining can give life a charm for the sake of which one endures it: there is a fine dose of revenge in every complaint; one charges one's own bad situation, and under certain circumstances even one's own badness, to those who are different, as if that were an injustice, a forbidden privilege. "If I am canaille, you ought to be too" — on such logic are revolutions made.
Complaining is never any good: it stems from weakness. Whether one charges one's misfortune to others or to oneself — the socialist does the former; the Christian, for example, the latter — really makes no difference. The common and, let us add, the unworthy thing is that it is supposed to be somebody's fault that one is suffering; in short, that the sufferer prescribes the honey of revenge for himself against his suffering. The objects of this need for revenge, as a need for pleasure, are mere occasions: everywhere the sufferer finds occasions for satisfying his little revenge. If he is a Christian — to repeat it once more — he finds them in himself. The Christian and the anarchist are both decadents. When the Christian condemns, slanders, and besmirches "the world," his instinct is the same as that which prompts the socialist worker to condemn, slander, and besmirch society. The "last judgment" is the sweet comfort of revenge — the revolution, which the socialist worker also awaits, but conceived as a little farther off. The "beyond" — why a beyond, if not as a means for besmirching this world?