Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:37 pm

Twilight of the Idols
by Friedrich Nietzsche
Text prepared from the original German and the translations by Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale




• Preface
• Maxims and Arrows
• The Problem of Socrates
• "Reason" in Philosophy
• How the "True World" Finally Became a Fable
• Morality as Anti-Nature
• The Four Great Errors
• The "Improvers" of Mankind
• What the Germans Lack
• Skirmishes of an Untimely Man
• What I Owe to the Ancients
• The Hammer Speaks
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Re: Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:38 pm


Maintaining cheerfulness in the midst of a gloomy task, fraught with immeasurable responsibility, is no small feat; and yet what is needed more than cheerfulness? Nothing succeeds if prankishness has no part in it. Excess strength alone is the proof of strength.

A revaluation of all values: this question mark, so black, so huge that it casts a shadow over the man who puts it down — such a destiny of a task compels one to run into the sunlight at every opportunity to shake off a heavy, all-too-heavy seriousness. Every means is proper to do this; every "case" is a case of luck. Especially, war. War has always been the great wisdom of all spirits who have become too introspective, too profound; even in a wound there is the power to heal. A maxim, the origin of which I withhold from scholarly curiosity, has long been my motto:

Increscunt animi, virescit volnere virtus.
["The spirits increase, vigor grows through a wound."]

Another mode of convalescence (in certain situations even more to my liking) is sounding out idols. There are more idols than realities in the world: that is my "evil eye" upon this world; that is also my "evil ear." Finally to pose questions with a hammer, and sometimes to hear as a reply that famous hollow sound that can only come from bloated entrails — what a delight for one who has ears even behind his ears, for me, an old psychologist and pied piper before whom just that which would remain silent must finally speak out.

This essay — the title betrays it — is above all a recreation, a spot of sunshine, a leap sideways into the idleness of a psychologist. Perhaps a new war, too? And are new idols sounded out? This little essay is a great declaration of war; and regarding the sounding out of idols, this time they are not just idols of the age, but eternal idols, which are here touched with a hammer as with a tuning fork: there are no idols that are older, more assured, more puffed-up — and none more hollow. That does not prevent them from being those in which people have the most faith; nor does one ever say "idol," especially not in the most distinguished instance.

Turin, September 30, 1888, on the day when the first book of the Revaluation of All Values was completed.

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Re: Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:39 pm


1 Idleness is the beginning of all psychology. What? Is psychology a vice?

2 Even the most courageous among us only rarely has the courage to face what he already knows.

3 To live alone one must be a beast or a god, says Aristotle. Leaving out the third case: one must be both — a philosopher.

4 "All truth is simple." Is that not a double lie?

5 I want, once and for all, not to know many things. Wisdom requires moderation in knowledge as in other things.

6 In our own wild nature we find the best recreation from our un-nature, from our spirituality.

7 What? Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man's?

8 Out of life's school of war: What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.

9 Help yourself, then everyone will help you. Principle of brotherly love.

10 Not to perpetrate cowardice against one's own acts! Not to leave them in the lurch afterward! The bite of conscience is indecent.

11 Can an ass be tragic? To perish under a burden one can neither bear nor throw off? The case of the philosopher.

12 If we have our own why in life, we shall get along with almost any how. Man does not strive for pleasure; only the Englishman does.

13 Man has created woman — out of what? Out of a rib of his god — of his "ideal."

14 What? You search? You would multiply yourself by ten, by a hundred? You seek followers? Seek zeros!

15 Posthumous men — I, for example — are understood worse than timely ones, but heard better. More precisely: we are never understood — hence our authority.

16 Among women: "Truth? Oh, you don't know truth! Is it not an attempt to kill our modesty?"

17 That is the kind of artist I love, modest in his needs: he really wants only two things, his bread and his art — panem et Circen ["bread and Circe"].

18 Whoever does not know how to lay his will into things, at least lays some meaning into them: that means, he has the faith that they already obey a will. (Principle of "faith".)

19 What? You chose virtue and took pride in your virtue, and yet you leer enviously at the advantages of those without scruples? But virtue involves renouncing "advantages." (Inscription for an anti-Semite's door.)

20 The perfect woman indulges in literature just as she indulges in a small sin: as an experiment, in passing, looking around to see if anybody notices it — and to make sure that somebody does.

21 To venture into many situations where one cannot get by with sham virtues, but where, like the tightrope walker on his rope, one either stands or falls — or gets away.

22 "Evil men have no songs." How is it, then, that the Russians have songs?

23 "German spirit": for the past eighteen years a contradiction in terms.

24 By searching out origins, one becomes a crab. The historian looks backward; eventually he also believes backward.

25 Being pleased with oneself protects even against the cold. Has a woman who knew herself to be well dressed ever caught a cold? I am assuming that she was barely dressed.

26 I mistrust all systematizers and avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity.

27 Women are considered profound. Why? Because we never fathom their depths. But women aren't even shallow.

28 If a woman has only manly virtues, we run away; and if she has no manly virtues, she runs away herself.

29 "How much has conscience had to chew on in the past! And what excellent teeth it had! And today — what is lacking?" A dentist's question.

30 One rarely falls into a single error. Falling into the first one, one always does too much. So one usually perpetrates another one — and now one does too little.

31 When stepped on, a worm doubles up. That is clever. In that way he lessens the probability of being stepped on again. In the language of morality: humility.

32 We hate lies and hypocrisy because our sense of honor is easily provoked. But the same hatred can arise from cowardice, since lies are forbidden by divine commandment: in that case, we are too cowardly to lie.

33 How little is required for pleasure! The sound of a bagpipe. Without music, life would be an error. The German imagines that even God sings songs.

34 On ne peut penser et ecrire qu'assis [One cannot think and write except when seated] (G. Flaubert). There I have caught you, nihilist! The sedentary life is the very sin against the Holy Spirit. Only thoughts reached by walking have value.

35 There are cases in which we are like horses, we psychologists, and become skittish: we see our own shadow looming up before us. A psychologist must turn his eyes from himself to see anything at all.

36 Are we immoralists harming virtue? No more than anarchists harm princes. Only because the latter are shot at do they once more sit securely on their thrones. Moral: morality must be shot at.

37 You run ahead? Are you doing it as a shepherd? Or as an exception? A third case would be as a fugitive. First question of conscience.

38 Are you genuine? Or merely an actor? A representative? Or that which is represented? In the end, perhaps you are merely a copy of an actor. Second question of conscience.

40 Are you one who looks on? Or one who lends a hand? Or one who looks away and walks off? Third question of conscience.

41 Do you want to walk along? Or walk ahead? Or walk by yourself? One must know what one wants and that one wants. Fourth question of conscience.

39 The disappointed one speaks. I searched for great human beings; I always found only the imitators of their ideals.

42 Those were steps for me, and I have climbed up over them: to that end I had to pass over them. Yet they thought that I wanted to retire on them.

43 What does it matter if I am right? I am much too right. And he who laughs best today will also laugh last.

44 The formula of my happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal.
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Re: Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:39 pm


1 About life, the wisest men of all ages have come to the same conclusion: it is no good. Always and everywhere one has heard the same sound from their mouths — a sound full of doubt, full of melancholy, full of weariness of life, full of resistance to life. Even Socrates said, as he died: "To live — that means to be sick a long time: I owe Asclepius the Savior a rooster." Even Socrates was tired of life. What does that prove? What does it demonstrate? At one time, one would have said (and it has been said loud enough by our pessimists): "At least something must be true here! The consensus of the sages must show us the truth." Shall we still talk like that today? May we? "At least something must be sick here," we retort. These wisest men of all ages — they should first be scrutinized closely. Were they all perhaps shaky on their legs? tottery? decadent? late? Could it be that wisdom appears on earth as a raven, attracted by a little whiff of carrion?

2 The irreverent idea that the great sages are types of decline first occurred to me precisely in a case where it is most strongly opposed by both scholarly and unscholarly prejudice: I realized that Socrates and Plato were symptoms of degeneration, tools of the Greek dissolution, pseudo-Greek, anti-Greek (Birth of Tragedy, 1872). The consensus of the sages — I recognized this ever more clearly — proves least of all that they were right in what they agreed on: it shows rather that they themselves, these wisest men, shared some physiological attribute, and because of this adopted the same negative attitude to life — had to adopt it. Judgments, judgments of value about life, for it or against it, can in the end never be true: they have value only as symptoms, they are worthy of consideration only as symptoms; in themselves such judgments are meaningless. One must stretch out one's hands and attempt to grasp this amazing subtlety, that the value of life cannot be estimated. Not by the living, for they are an interested party, even a bone of contention, and not impartial judges; not by the dead, for a different reason. For a philosopher to object to putting a value on life is an objection others make against him, a question mark concerning his wisdom, an un-wisdom. Indeed? All these great wise men — they were not only decadents but not wise at all. But let us return to the problem of Socrates.

3 By birth, Socrates belonged to the lowest class: Socrates was plebeian. We are told, and can see in sculptures of him, how ugly he was. But ugliness, in itself an objection, is among the Greeks almost a refutation. Was Socrates a Greek at all? Ugliness is often enough the expression of a development that has been crossed, thwarted in some way. Or it appears as declining development. The anthropological criminologists tell us that the typical criminal is ugly: monstrum in fronte, monstrum in animo [monstrous in appearance, monstrous in spirit]. But the criminal is a decadent. Was Socrates a typical criminal? At least that would be consistent with the famous judgment of the physiognomist that so offended the friends of Socrates. This foreigner told Socrates to his face that he was a monstrum — that he harbored in himself all the worst vices and appetites. And Socrates merely answered: "You know me, sir!"

4 Socrates' decadence is suggested not only by the admitted wantonness and anarchy of his instincts, but also by the overdevelopment of his logical ability and his characteristic thwarted sarcasm. Nor should we forget those auditory hallucinations which, as "the daimonion of Socrates," have been given a religious interpretion. Everything about Socrates is exaggerated, buffo, a caricature; everything is at the same time concealed, ulterior, underground. I want to understand what idiosyncrasy begot that Socratic idea that reason and virtue equal happiness — that most bizarre of all equations which is, moreover, opposed to every instinct of the earlier Greeks.

5 With Socrates, Greek taste changes in favor of logical argument. What really happened there? Above all, a noble taste is vanquished; with dialectics the plebs come to the top. Before Socrates, argumentative conversation was repudiated in good society: it was considered bad manners, compromising. The young were warned against it. Furthermore, any presentation of one's motives was distrusted. Honest things, like honest men, do not have to explain themselves so openly. What must first be proved is worth little. Wherever authority still forms part of good bearing, where one does not give reasons but commands, the logician is a kind of buffoon: one laughs at him, one does not take him seriously. Socrates was the buffoon who got himself taken seriously: what really happened there?

6 One chooses logical argument only when one has no other means. One knows that one arouses mistrust with it, that it is not very persuasive. Nothing is easier to nullify than a logical argument: the tedium of long speeches proves this. It is a kind of self-defense for those who no longer have other weapons. Unless one has to insist on what is already one's right, there is no use for it. The Jews were argumentative for that reason; Reynard the Fox also — and Socrates too?

7 Is the irony of Socrates an expression of revolt? Of plebeian ressentiment? Does he, as one oppressed, enjoy his own ferocity in the knife thrusts of his argument? Does he avenge himself on the noble audience he fascinates? As a dialectician, he holds a merciless tool in his hand; he can become a tyrant by means of it; he compromises those he conquers. The dialectician leaves it to his opponent to prove that he is not an idiot: he enrages and neutralizes his opponent at the same time. The dialectician renders the intellect of his opponent powerless. Indeed, in Socrates, is dialectic only a form of revenge?

8 I have explained how it was that Socrates could repel: it is therefore all the more necessary to explain how he could fascinate. That he discovered a new kind of contest, that he became its first fencing master for the noble circles of Athens, is one point. He fascinated by appealing to the competitive impulse of the Greeks — he introduced a variation into the wrestling match between young men and youths. Socrates was a great erotic.

9 But Socrates guessed even more. He saw through the noble Athenians; he saw that his own case, his idiosyncrasy, was no longer exceptional. The same kind of degeneration was quietly developing everywhere: old Athens was coming to an end. And Socrates understood that the world needed him — his method, his cure, his personal artifice of self-preservation. Everywhere the instincts were in anarchy, everywhere one was within sight of excess: monstrum in animo was the common danger. "The impulses want to play the tyrant; one must invent a counter-tyrant who is stronger." After the physiognomist had revealed to Socrates who he was — a cave of bad appetites — the great master of irony let slip another clue to his character. "This is true," he said, "but I mastered them all." How did Socrates become master over himself? His case was, at bottom, merely the extreme case, only the most striking instance of what was then beginning to be a epidemic: no one was any longer master over himself, the instincts turned against themselves. He fascinated, being an extreme case; his awe inspiring ugliness proclaimed him as such to all who could see: he fascinated, of course, even more as an answer, a solution, an apparent cure for this disease.

10 When one finds it necessary to turn reason into a tyrant, as Socrates did, the danger cannot be slight that something else threatens to play the tyrant. Rationality was hit upon as a savior; neither Socrates nor his "patients" had any choice about being rational: it was necessary, it was the last resort. The fanaticism with which all Greek reflection throws itself upon rationality betrays a desperate situation; there was danger, there was but one choice: either to perish or — to be absurdly rational. The moralism of the Greek philosophers from Plato on is pathologically conditioned; so is their reverence for logical argument. Reason equals virtue and happiness, that means merely that one must imitate Socrates and counter the dark appetites with a permanent daylight — the daylight of reason. One must be clever, clear, bright at any price: any concession to the instincts, to the unconscious, leads downward.

11 I have explained how Socrates fascinated his audience: he seemed to be a physician, a savior. Is it necessary to go on to demonstrate the error in his faith in "rationality at any price"? It is a self-deception on the part of philosophers and moralists if they believe that they are extricating themselves from decadence by waging war against it. Extrication lies beyond their strength: what they choose as a means, as salvation, is itself but another expression of decadence; they change the form of decadence, but they do not get rid of decadence itself. Socrates was a misunderstanding; any improvement morality, including Christianity, is a misunderstanding. The most blinding daylight; rationality at any price; life, bright, cold, cautious, conscious, without instinct, in opposition to the instincts — all this was a kind of disease, merely a disease, and by no means a return to "virtue," to "health," to happiness. To have to fight the instincts — that is the definition of decadence: as long as life is ascending, happiness equals instinct.

12 Did he himself understand this, this most brilliant of all self-deceivers? Was this what he said to himself in the end, in the wisdom of his courage to die? Socrates wanted to die: not Athens, but he himself chose the hemlock; he forced Athens to sentence him. "Socrates is no physician," he said softly to himself, "here death alone is the physician. Socrates himself has only been sick a long time."
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Re: Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:39 pm


1 You ask me which of the philosophers' traits are most characteristic? For example, their lack of historical sense, their hatred of the very idea of becoming, their Egypticism. They think that they show their respect for a subject when they dehistoricize it sub specie aeternitas — when they turn it into a mummy. Everything that philosophers handled over the past thousands of years turned into concept mummies; nothing real escaped their grasp alive. Whenever these venerable concept idolators revere something, they kill it and stuff it; they suck the life out of everything they worship. Death, change, old age, as well as procreation and growth, are to their minds objections — even refutations. Whatever has being does not become; whatever becomes does not have being. Now they all believe, desperately even, in what has being. But since they never grasp it, they seek for reasons why it is kept from them. "There must be mere appearance, there must be some deception which prevents us from perceiving that which has being: where is the deceiver?"

"We have found him," they cry jubilantly; "it is the senses! These senses, so immoral in other ways too, deceive us concerning the true world. Moral: let us free ourselves from the deception of the senses, from becoming, from history, from lies; history is nothing but faith in the senses, faith in lies. Moral: let us say No to all who have faith in the senses, to all the rest of mankind; they are all 'mob.' Let us be philosophers! Let us be mummies! Let us represent monotono-theism by adopting the manner of a gravedigger! And above all, away with the body, this wretched idée fixe of the senses, disfigured by all the fallacies of logic, refuted, even impossible, although it is impudent enough to behave as if it were real!"

2 With the highest respect, I exclude the name of Heraclitus. When the rest of the philosophic crowd rejected the testimony of the senses because it showed multiplicity and change, he rejected their testimony because it represented things as if they had permanence and unity. Heraclitus too did the senses an injustice. They lie neither in the way the Eleatics believed, nor as he believed — they do not lie at all. What we make of their testimony, that alone introduces lies; for example, the lie of unity, the lie of thinghood, of substance, of permanence. "Reason" is the reason we falsify the testimony of the senses. Insofar as the senses show becoming, passing away, and change, they do not lie. But Heraclitus will remain eternally right with his assertion that being is an empty fiction. The "apparent" world is the only one: the "true" world is merely added by a lie.

3 And what magnificent instruments of observation we possess in our senses! This nose, for example, of which no philosopher has yet spoken with reverence and gratitude, is actually the most delicate instrument so far at our disposal: it is able to detect tiny chemical concentrations that even elude a spectroscope. Today we possess science precisely to the extent to which we have decided to accept the testimony of the senses — to the extent to which we sharpen them further, arm them, and have learned to think them through. The rest is miscarriage and not-yet-science — in other words, metaphysics, theology, psychology, epistemology — or formal science, a doctrine of signs, such as logic and that applied logic which is called mathematics. In them reality is not encountered at all, not even as a problem — no more than the question of the value of such a sign-convention as logic.

4 The other characteristic of philosophers is no less dangerous; it consists in confusing the last and the first. They place that which comes at the end — unfortunately! for it ought not to come at all! namely, the "highest concepts," which means the most general, the emptiest concepts, the last smoke of evaporating reality — in the beginning, as the beginning. This again is nothing but their way of showing reverence: the higher may not grow out of the lower, may not have grown at all. Moral: whatever is of the first rank must be causa sui. Origin out of something else is considered an objection, a questioning of value. All the highest values are of the first rank; all the highest concepts, that which has being, the unconditional, the good, the true, the perfect — all these cannot have become and must therefore be causes. All these, moreover, cannot be unlike each other or in contradiction to each other. Thus they arrive at their stupendous concept, "God." That which is last, thinnest, and emptiest is put first, as the cause, as ens realissimum. Why did humanity have to take seriously the brain afflictions of these sick web-spinners? We have paid dearly for it!

5 At long last, let us contrast the very different manner in which we conceive the problem of error and appearance. (I say "we" for politeness' sake.) In the past, alteration, change, any becoming at all, were taken as proof of mere appearance, as an indication that there must be something which led us astray. Today, in contrast, precisely insofar as the prejudice of reason forces us to posit unity, identity, permanence, substance, cause, thinghood, being, we see ourselves somehow caught in error, compelled into error — so certain are we, on the basis of rigorous examination, that this is where the error lies.

It is no different in this case than with the movement of the sun: there our eye is the constant advocate of error, here it is our language. In its origin language belongs to the age of the most rudimentary psychology. We enter a realm of crude fetishism when we summon before consciousness the basic presuppositions of the metaphysics of language — in plain talk, the presuppositions of reason. Everywhere reason sees a doer and doing; it believes in will as the cause; it believes in the ego, in the ego as being, in the ego as substance, and it projects this faith in the ego-substance upon all things — only thereby does it first create the concept of "thing." Everywhere "being" is projected by thought, pushed underneath, as the cause; the concept of being follows, and is a derivative of, the concept of ego. In the beginning there is that great calamity of an error that the will is something which is effective, that will is a capacity. Today we know that it is only a word.

Very much later, in a world which was in a thousand ways more enlightened, philosophers, to their great surprise, became aware of the sureness, the subjective certainty, in our handling of the categories of reason: they concluded that these categories could not be derived from anything empirical — for everything empirical plainly contradicted them. Whence, then, were they derived?

And in India, as in Greece, the same mistake was made: "We must once have been at home in a higher world (instead of a very much lower one, which would have been the truth); we must have been divine, because we have reason!" Indeed, nothing has yet possessed a more naive power of persuasion than the error concerning being, as it has been formulated by the Eleatics, for example. After all, every word and every sentence we say speak in its favor. Even the opponents of the Eleatics still succumbed to the seduction of their concept of being: Democritus, among others, when he invented his atom. "Reason" in language — oh, what an old deceptive female she is! I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar.

6 It will be appreciated if I condense so essential and so new an insight into four theses. In that way I facilitate comprehension; in that way I provoke contradiction.

First proposition. The reasons for which "this" world has been characterized as "apparent" are the very reasons which indicate its reality; any other kind of reality is absolutely indemonstrable.

Second proposition. The criteria which have been bestowed on the "true being" of things are the criteria of not-being, of naught, the "true world" has been constructed out of contradiction to the actual world: indeed an apparent world, insofar as it is merely a moral-optical illusion.

Third proposition. To invent fables about a world "other" than this one has no meaning at all, unless an instinct of slander, detraction, and suspicion against life has gained the upper hand in us: in that case, we avenge ourselves against life with a phantasmagoria of "another," a "better" life.

Fourth proposition. Any distinction between a "true" and an "apparent" world — whether in the Christian manner or in the manner of Kant (in the end, an underhanded Christian) — is only a suggestion of decadence, a symptom of the decline of life. That the artist esteems appearance higher than reality is no objection to this proposition. For "appearance" in this case means reality once more, only by way of selection, reinforcement, and correction. The tragic artist is no pessimist: he is precisely the one who says Yes to everything questionable, even to the terrible — he is Dionysian.
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Re: Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:40 pm


1. The true world — attainable for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man; he lives in it, he is it.

(The oldest form of the idea, relatively sensible, simple, and persuasive. A circumlocution for the sentence, "I, Plato, am the truth.")

2. The true world — unattainable for now, but promised for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man ("for the sinner who repents").

(Progress of the idea: it becomes more subtle, insidious, incomprehensible — it becomes female, it becomes Christian. )

3. The true world — unattainable, indemonstrable, unpromisable; but the very thought of it — a consolation, an obligation, an imperative.

(At bottom, the old sun, but seen through mist and skepticism. The idea has become elusive, pale, Nordic, Königsbergian.)

4. The true world — unattainable? At any rate, unattained. And being unattained, also unknown. Consequently, not consoling, redeeming, or obligating: how could something unknown obligate us?

(Gray morning. The first yawn of reason. The cockcrow of positivism.)

5. The "true" world — an idea which is no longer good for anything, not even obligating — an idea which has become useless and superfluous — consequently, a refuted idea: let us abolish it!

(Bright day; breakfast; return of bon sens and cheerfulness; Plato's embarrassed blush; pandemonium of all free spirits.)

6. The true world — we have abolished. What world has remained? The apparent one perhaps? But no! With the true world we have also abolished the apparent one.

(Noon; moment of the briefest shadow; end of the longest error; high point of humanity; INCIPIT ZARATHUSTRA.)
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Re: Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:40 pm


1 All passions have a phase when they are merely disastrous, when they drag down their victim with the weight of stupidity — and a later, very much later phase when they wed the spirit, when they "spiritualize" themselves. Formerly, in view of the element of stupidity in passion, war was declared on passion itself, its destruction was plotted; all the old moral monsters are agreed on this: il faut tuer les passions. The most famous formula for this is to be found in the New Testament, in that Sermon on the Mount, where, incidentally, things are by no means looked at from a height. There it is said, for example, with particular reference to sexuality: "If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out." Fortunately, no Christian acts in accordance with this precept. Destroying the passions and cravings, merely as a preventive measure against their stupidity and the unpleasant consequences of this stupidity — today this itself strikes us as merely another acute form of stupidity. We no longer admire dentists who "pluck out" teeth so that they will not hurt any more.

To be fair, it should be admitted, however, that on the ground out of which Christianity grew, the concept of the "spiritualization of passion" could never have been formed. After all, the first church, as is well known, fought against the "intelligent" in favor of the "poor in spirit." How could one expect from it an intelligent war against passion? The church fights passion with excision in every sense: its practice, its "cure," is castratism. It never asks: "How can one spiritualize, beautify, deify a craving?" It has at all times laid the stress of discipline on extirpation (of sensuality, of pride, of the lust to rule, of avarice, of vengefulness). But an attack on the roots of passion means an attack on the roots of life: the practice of the church is hostile to life.

2 The same means in the fight against a craving — castration, extirpation — is instinctively chosen by those who are too weak-willed, too degenerate, to be able to impose moderation on themselves; by those who are so constituted that they require La Trappe, to use a figure of speech, or (without any figure of speech) some kind of definitive declaration of hostility, a cleft between themselves and the passion. Radical means are indispensable only for the degenerate; the weakness of the will — or, to speak more definitely, the inability not to respond to a stimulus — is itself merely another form of degeneration. The radical hostility, the deadly hostility against sensuality, is always a symptom to reflect on: it entitles us to suppositions concerning the total state of one who is excessive in this manner.

This hostility, this hatred, by the way, reaches its climax only when such types lack even the firmness for this radical cure, for this renunciation of their "devil." One should survey the whole history of the priests and philosophers, including the artists: the most poisonous things against the senses have been said not by the impotent, nor by ascetics, but by the impossible ascetics, by those who really were in dire need of being ascetics.

3 The spiritualization of sensuality is called love: it represents a great triumph over Christianity. Another triumph is our spiritualization of hostility. It consists in a profound appreciation of the value of having enemies: in short, it means acting and thinking in the opposite way from that which has been the rule. The church always wanted the destruction of its enemies; we, we immoralists and Antichristians, find our advantage in this, that the church exists. In the political realm too, hostility has now become more spiritual — much more sensible, much more thoughtful, much more considerate. Almost every party understands how it is in the interest of its own self-preservation that the opposition should not lose all strength; the same is true of power politics. A new creation in particular — the new Reich, for example — needs enemies more than friends: in opposition alone does it feel itself necessary, in opposition alone does it become necessary.

Our attitude to the "internal enemy" is no different: here too we have spiritualized hostility; here too we have come to appreciate its value. The price of fruitfulness is to be rich in internal opposition; one remains young only as long as the soul does not stretch itself and desire peace. Nothing has become more alien to us than that desideratum of former times, "peace of soul," the Christian desideratum; there is nothing we envy less than the moralistic cow and the fat happiness of the good conscience. One has renounced the great life when one renounces war.

In many cases, to be sure, "peace of soul" is merely a misunderstanding — something else, which lacks only a more honest name. Without further ado or prejudice, a few examples. "Peace of soul" can be, for one, the gentle radiation of a rich animality into the moral (or religious) sphere. Or the beginning of weariness, the first shadow of evening, of any kind of evening. Or a sign that the air is humid, that south winds are approaching. Or unrecognized gratitude for a good digestion (sometimes called "love of man"). Or the attainment of calm by a convalescent who feels a new relish in all things and waits. Or the state which follows a thorough satisfaction of our dominant passion, the well-being of a rare repletion. Or the senile weakness of our will, our cravings, our vices. Or laziness, persuaded by vanity to give itself moral airs. Or the emergence of certainty, even a dreadful certainty, after long tension and torture by uncertainty. Or the expression of maturity and mastery in the midst of doing, creating, working, and willing — calm breathing, attained "freedom of the will." Twilight of the Idols — who knows? perhaps also only a kind of "peace of soul."

I reduce a principle to a formula. Every naturalism in morality — that is, every healthy morality — is dominated by an instinct of life, some commandment of life is fulfilled by a determinate canon of "shalt" and "shalt not"; some inhibition and hostile element on the path of life is thus removed. Anti-natural morality — that is, almost every morality which has so far been taught, revered, and preached — turns, conversely, against the instincts of life: it is condemnation of these instincts, now secret, now outspoken and impudent. When it says, "God looks at the heart," it says No to both the lowest and the highest desires of life, and posits God as the enemy of life. The saint in whom God delights is the ideal eunuch. Life has come to an end where the "kingdom of God" begins.

5 Once one has comprehended the outrage of such a revolt against life as has become almost sacrosanct in Christian morality, one has, fortunately, also comprehended something else: the futility, apparentness, absurdity, and mendaciousness of such a revolt. A condemnation of life by the living remains in the end a mere symptom of a certain kind of life: the question whether it is justified or unjustified is not even raised thereby. One would require a position outside of life, and yet have to know it as well as one, as many, as all who have lived it, in order to be permitted even to touch the problem of the value of life: reasons enough to comprehend that this problem is for us an unapproachable problem. When we speak of values, we speak with the inspiration, with the way of looking at things, which is part of life: life itself forces us to posit values; life itself values through us when we posit values. From this it follows that even that anti-natural morality which conceives of God as the counter-concept and condemnation of life is only a value judgment of life — but of what life? of what kind of life? I have already given the answer: of declining, weakened, weary, condemned life. Morality, as it has so far been understood — as it has in the end been formulated once more by Schopenhauer, as "negation of the will to life" — is the very instinct of decadence, which makes an imperative of itself. It says: "Perish!" It is a condemnation pronounced by the condemned.

6 Let us finally consider how naive it is altogether to say: "Man ought to be such and such!" Reality shows us an enchanting wealth of types, the abundance of a lavish play and change of forms — and some wretched loafer of a moralist comments: "No! Man ought to be different." He even knows what man should be like, this wretched bigot and prig: he paints himself on the wall and comments, "Ecce homo!" But even when the moralist addresses himself only to the single human being and says to him, "You ought to be such and such!" he does not cease to make himself ridiculous. The single human being is a piece of fatum from the front and from the rear, one law more, one necessity more for all that is yet to come and to be. To say to him, "Change yourself!" is to demand that everything be changed, even retroactively. And indeed there have been consistent moralists who wanted man to be different, that is, virtuous — they wanted him remade in their own image, as a prig: to that end, they negated the world! No small madness! No modest kind of immodesty!

Morality, insofar as it condemns for its own sake, and not out of regard for the concerns, considerations, and contrivances of life, is a specific error with which one ought to have no pity — an idiosyncrasy of degenerates which has caused immeasurable harm.

We others, we immoralists, have, conversely, made room in our hearts for every kind of understanding, comprehending, and approving. We do not easily negate; we make it a point of honor to be affirmers. More and more, our eyes have opened to that economy which needs and knows how to utilize everything that the holy witlessness of the priest, the diseased reason in the priest, rejects — that economy in the law of life which finds an advantage even in the disgusting species of the prigs, the priests, the virtuous. What advantage? But we ourselves, we immoralists, are the answer.
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Re: Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:41 pm


1 The error of confusing cause and effect. There is no more insidious error than mistaking the effect for the cause: I call it the real corruption of reason. Yet this error is one of the most unchanging habits of mankind: we even worship it under the name of "religion" or "morality." Every single principle from religion or morality contains it; priests and moral legislators are the originators of this corruption of reason.

Here is an example. Everybody knows Cornaro's famous book in which he recommends a meager diet for a long and happy life — a virtuous life, too. Few books have been read so widely; even now thousands of copies are sold in England every year. I do not doubt that scarcely any book (except the Bible) has done as much harm, has shortened as many lives, as this well intentioned oddity. Why? Because Cornaro mistakes the effect for the cause. The worthy Italian thought his diet was the cause of his long life, whereas the precondition for a long life, the extraordinary slowness of his metabolism, was the cause of his slender diet. He was not free to eat little or much; his frugality was not a matter of "free will" — he made himself sick when he ate more. But whoever has a rapid metabolism not only does well to eat properly, but needs to. A scholar in our time, with his rapid consumption of nervous energy, would simply destroy himself on Cornaro's diet. Crede experto — believe me, I've tried.

2 The most general formula on which every religion and morality is founded is: "Do this and that, refrain from this and that — and then you will be happy! And if you don't..." Every morality, every religion, is based on this imperative; I call it the original sin of reason, the immortal unreason. In my mouth, this formula is changed into its opposite — the first example of my "revaluation of all values." An admirable human being, a "happy one," instinctively must perform certain actions and avoid other actions; he carries these impulses in his body, and they determine his relations with the world and other human beings. In a formula: his virtue is the effect of his happiness. A long life, many descendants — these are not the rewards of virtue: instead, virtue itself is that slowing down of the metabolism which leads, among other things, to a long life, many descendants — in short, to Cornaro's virtue.

Religion and morality say: "A people or a society are destroyed by license and luxury." My revalued reason says: when a people degenerates physiologically, when it approaches destruction, then the result is license and luxury (that is, the craving for ever stronger and more frequent stimulation necessary to arouse an exhausted nature). This young man easily turns pale and faints; his friends say: that is because of this or that disease. I say: he became diseased, he could not resist the disease, because of his pre-existing impoverished life or hereditary exhaustion. The newspaper reader says: this party destroys itself by making such a mistake. My higher politics says: a party that makes such a mistake has already reached its end; it has lost its sureness of instinct. Every mistake (in every sense of the word) is the result of a degeneration of instinct, a disintegration of the will: one could almost equate what is bad with whatever is a mistake. All that is good is instinctive — and hence easy, necessary, uninhibited. Effort is a failing: the god is typically different from the hero. (In my language: light feet are the first attribute of divinity.)

3 The error of a false causality. Humans have always believed that they knew what a cause was; but how did we get this knowledge — or more precisely, our faith that we had this knowledge? From the realm of the famous "inner facts," of which not a single one has so far turned out to be true. We believe that we are the cause of our own will: we think that here at least we can see a cause at work. Nor did we doubt that all the antecedents of our will, its causes, were to be found in our own consciousness or in our personal "motives." Otherwise, we would not be responsible for what we choose to do. Who would deny that his thoughts have a cause, and that his own mind caused the thoughts?

Of these "inward facts" that seem to demonstrate causality, the primary and most persuasive one is that of the will as cause. The idea of consciousness ("spirit") or, later, that of the ego (the "subject") as a cause are only afterbirths: first the causality of the will was firmly accepted as proved, as a fact, and these other concepts followed from it.

But we have reservations about these concepts. Today we no longer believe any of this is true. The "inner world" is full of phantoms and illusions: the will being one of them. The will no longer moves anything, hence it does not explain anything — it merely accompanies events; it can also be completely absent. The so-called motives: another error. Merely a surface phenomenon of consciousness, something shadowing the deed that is more likely to hide the causes of our actions than to reveal them. And as for the ego ... that has become a fable, a fiction, a play on words! It has altogether ceased to think, feel, or will!

What follows from this? There are no mental causes at all. The whole of the allegedly empirical evidence for mental causes has gone out the window. That is what follows! And what a nice delusion we had perpetrated with this "empirical evidence;" we interpreted the real world as a world of causes, a world of wills, a world of spirits. The most ancient and enduring psychology was at work here: it simply interpreted everything that happened in the world as an act, as the effect of a will; the world was inhabited with a multiplicity of wills; an agent (a "subject") was slipped under the surface of events. It was out of himself that man projected his three most unquestioned "inner facts" — the will, the spirit, the ego. He even took the concept of being from the concept of the ego; he interpreted "things" as "being" in accordance with his concept of the ego as a cause. Small wonder that later he always found in things what he had already put into them. The thing itself, the concept of thing is a mere extension of the faith in the ego as cause. And even your atom, my dear materialists and physicists — how much error, how much rudimentary psychology still resides in your atom! Not to mention the "thing-in-itself," the horrendum pudendum of metaphysicians! The "spirit as cause" mistaken for reality! And made the very measure of reality! And called God!

4 The error of imaginary causes. To begin with dreams: a cause is slipped after the fact under a particular sensation (for example, the sensation following a far-off cannon shot) — often a whole little novel is fabricated in which the dreamer appears as the protagonist who experiences the stimulus. The sensation endures meanwhile as a kind of resonance: it waits, so to speak, until the causal interpretation permits it to step into the foreground — not as a random occurrence but as a "meaningful event." The cannon shot appears in a causal mode, in an apparent reversal of time. What is really later (the causal interpretation) is experienced first — often with a hundred details that pass like lightning before the shot is heard. What has happened? The representations which were produced in reaction to certain stimulus have been misinterpreted as its causes.

In fact, we do the same thing when awake. Most of our general feelings — every kind of inhibition, pressure, tension, and impulsion in the ebb and flow of our physiology, and particularly in the state of the nervous system — excites our causal instinct: we want to have a reason for feeling this way or that — for feeling bad or good. We are never satisfied merely to state the fact that we feel this way or that: we admit this fact only — become conscious of it only — when we have fabricated some kind of explanation for it. Memory, which swings into action in such cases without our awareness, brings up earlier states of the same kind, together with the causal interpretations associated with them — not their actual causes. Of course, the faith that such representations or accompanying conscious processes are the causes is also brought forth by memory. Thus originates a habitual acceptance of a particular causal interpretation, which, as a matter of fact, inhibits any investigation into the real cause — it even excludes it.

5 The psychological explanation: to extract something familiar from something unknown relieves, comforts, and satisfies us, besides giving us a feeling of power. With the unknown, one is confronted with danger, discomfort, and care; the first instinct is to abolish these painful states. First principle: any explanation is better than none. Because it is fundamentally just our desire to be rid of an unpleasant uncertainty, we are not very particular about how we get rid of it: the first interpretation that explains the unknown in familiar terms feels so good that one "accepts it as true." We use the feeling of pleasure ("of strength") as our criterion for truth.

A causal explanation is thus contingent on (and aroused by) a feeling of fear. The "why?" shall, if at all possible, result not in identifying the cause for its own sake, but in identifying a cause that is comforting, liberating, and relieving. A second consequence of this need is that we identify as a cause something already familiar or experienced, something already inscribed in memory. Whatever is novel or strange or never before experienced is excluded. Thus one searches not just for any explanation to serve as a cause, but for a specific and preferred type of explanation: that which has most quickly and most frequently abolished the feeling of the strange, new, and hitherto unexperienced in the past — our most habitual explanations. Result: one type of causal explanation predominates more and more, is concentrated into a system and finally emerges as dominant — that is, as simply precluding other causes and explanations. The banker immediately thinks of "business," the Christian of "sin," and the girl of her love.

6 The whole realm of morality and religion belongs in this category of imaginary causes or "explanations" for disagreeable feelings. These feelings are produced by beings that are hostile to us (evil spirits: the most famous being the labeling of hysterical women as witches). They are aroused by unacceptable acts (the feeling of "sin" or "sinfulness" is slipped under a physiological discomfort; one always finds reasons for feeling dissatisfied with oneself). They are produced as punishments, as payment for something we should not have done, for something we should not have desired (impudently generalized by Schopenhauer into a principle in which morality appears as what it really is — as the very poisoner and slanderer of life: "Every great pain, whether physical or spiritual, declares what we deserve; for it could not come to us if we did not deserve it." World as Will and Representation II, 666). They are the effects of ill-considered actions that turn out badly. (Here the affects, the senses, are posited as causes, as "guilty"; and physiological calamities are interpreted with the help of other calamities as "deserved.")

We explain agreeable general feelings as produced by our trust in God, and by our consciousness of good deeds (the so-called "good conscience" — a physiological state which at times looks so much like good digestion that it is hard to tell them apart). They are produced by the successful termination of some enterprise (a naive fallacy: the successful termination of some enterprise does not by any means give a hypochondriac or a Pascal agreeable general feelings). They are produced by faith, charity, and hope — the Christian virtues.

In fact, all these supposed causes are actually effects, and as it were, translate pleasant or unpleasant feelings into a misleading terminology. One is in a state of hope because the basic physiological feeling is once again strong and rich; one trusts in God because the feeling of fullness and strength gives a sense of rest. Morality and religion belong entirely to the psychology of error: in every single case, cause and effect are confused; or truth is confused with the effects of believing something to be true; or a state of consciousness is confused with its physiological origins.

7 The error of free will. Today we no longer have any tolerance for the idea of "free will": we see it only too clearly for what it really is — the foulest of all theological fictions, intended to make mankind "responsible" in a religious sense — that is, dependent upon priests. Here I simply analyze the psychological assumptions behind any attempt at "making responsible."

Whenever responsibility is assigned, it is usually so that judgment and punishment may follow. Becoming has been deprived of its innocence when any acting-the-way-you-did is traced back to will, to motives, to responsible choices: the doctrine of the will has been invented essentially to justify punishment through the pretext of assigning guilt. All primitive psychology, the psychology of will, arises from the fact that its interpreters, the priests at the head of ancient communities, wanted to create for themselves the right to punish — or wanted to create this right for their God. Men were considered "free" only so that they might be considered guilty — could be judged and punished: consequently, every act had to be considered as willed, and the origin of every act had to be considered as lying within the consciousness (and thus the most fundamental psychological deception was made the principle of psychology itself).

Today, we immoralists have embarked on a counter movement and are trying with all our strength to take the concepts of guilt and punishment out of the world — to cleanse psychology, history, nature, and social institutions and sanctions of these ideas. And there is in our eyes no more radical opposition than that of the theologians, who continue to infect the innocence of becoming by means of the concepts of a "moral world-order," "guilt," and "punishment." Christianity is religion for the executioner.

8 What alone can be our doctrine? That no one gives a man his qualities — neither God, nor society, nor his parents and ancestors, nor he himself. (The nonsense of the last idea was taught as "intelligible freedom" by Kant — and perhaps by Plato.) No one is responsible for a man's being here at all, for his being such-and-such, or for his being in these circumstances or in this environment. The fatality of his existence is not to be disentangled from the fatality of all that has been and will be. Human beings are not the effect of some special purpose, or will, or end; nor are they a medium through which society can realize an "ideal of humanity" or an "ideal of happiness" or an "ideal of morality." It is absurd to wish to devolve one's essence on some end or other. We have invented the concept of "end": in reality there is no end.

A man is necessary, a man is a piece of fatefulness, a man belongs to the whole, a man is in the whole; there is nothing that could judge, measure, compare, or sentence his being, for that would mean judging, measuring, comparing, or sentencing the whole. But there is nothing besides the whole. That nobody is held responsible any longer, that the mode of being may not be traced back to a primary cause, that the world does not form a unity either as a sensorium or as "spirit" — that alone is the great liberation. With that idea alone we absolve our becoming of any guilt. The concept of "God" was until now the greatest objection to existence. We deny God, we deny the responsibility that originates from God: and thereby we redeem the world.
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Re: Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:41 pm


1 My demand of the philosopher is well known: that he take his stand beyond good and evil and treat the illusion of moral judgment as beneath him. This demand follows from an insight that I was the first to articulate: that there are no moral facts. Moral and religious judgments are based on realities that do not exist. Morality is merely an interpretation of certain phenomena — more precisely, a misinterpretation. Moral judgments, like religious ones, belong to a stage of ignorance in which the very concept of the real, and the distinction between what is real and imaginary, are still lacking. "Truth" at this stage designates all sorts of things that we today call "figments of the imagination." Moral judgments are therefore never to be taken literally: so understood, they are always merely absurd. Semiotically, however, they remain invaluable: they reveal, at least for those who can interpret them, the most valuable realities of cultures and psychologies that did not know how to "understand" themselves. Morality is only a language of signs, a group of symptoms: one must know how to interpret them correctly to be able to profit from them.

2 A first, tentative example: at all times morality has aimed to "improve" men — this aim is above all what was called morality. Under the same word, however, the most divergent tendencies have been concealed. But "improvement" has meant both taming the beast called man, and breeding a particular kind of man. Such zoological concepts are required to express the realities — realities of which the typical "improver," the priest, admittedly neither knows anything nor wants to know anything.

To call the taming of an animal its "improvement" sounds almost like a joke to our ears. Whoever knows what goes on in kennels doubts that dogs are "improved" there. They are weakened, they are made less harmful, and through the depressive effect of fear, through pain, through wounds, and through hunger, they become sickly beasts. It is no different with the tamed man whom the priest has "improved." In the early Middle Ages, when the church was indeed, above all, a kennel, the most perfect specimens of the "blond beast" were hunted down everywhere; and the noble Teutons, for example, were "improved." But how did such an "improved" Teuton look after he had been drawn into a monastery? Like a caricature of man, a miscarriage: he had become a "sinner," he was stuck in a cage, tormented with all sorts of painful concepts. And there he lay, sick, miserable, hateful to himself, full of evil feelings against the impulses of his own life, full of suspicion against all that was still strong and happy. In short, a "Christian."

Physiologically speaking: in the struggle with beasts, making them sick may be the only way to make them weak. The church understood this: it sickened and weakened man — and by so doing "improved" him.

3 Let us consider the other method for "improving" mankind, the method of breeding a particular race or type of man. The most magnificent example of this is furnished by Indian morality, sanctioned as religion in the form of "the law of Manu." Here the objective is to breed no less than four races within the same society: one priestly, one warlike, one for trade and agriculture, and finally a race of servants, the Sudras. Obviously, we are no longer dealing with animal tamers: a man that is a hundred times milder and more reasonable is the only one who could even conceive such a plan of breeding. One breathes a sigh of relief at leaving the Christian atmosphere of disease and dungeons for this healthier, higher, and wider world. How wretched is the New Testament compared to Manu, how foul it smells!

Yet this method also found it necessary to be terrible — not in the struggle against beasts, but against their equivalent — the ill-bred man, the mongrel man, the chandala. And again the breeder had no other means to fight against this large group of mongrel men than by making them sick and weak. Perhaps there is nothing that goes against our feelings more than these protective measures of Indian morality. The third edict, for example (Avadana-Sastra I), "on impure vegetables," ordains that the only nourishment permitted to the chandala shall be garlic and onions, seeing that the holy scripture prohibits giving them grain, fruit with grains, water or fire. The same edict orders that the water they drink may not be taken from rivers or wells, nor from ponds, but only from the approaches to swamps and from holes made by the footsteps of animals. They are also prohibited from washing their laundry and from washing themselves, since the water they are conceded as an act of grace may be used only to quench thirst. Finally, Sudra women are prohibited from assisting chandala women in childbirth, just as chandala women are prohibited from midwifing to each other.

The success of such sanitary police measures was inevitable: murderous epidemics, ghastly venereal diseases, and thereupon again "the law of the knife," ordaining circumcision for male children and the removal of the internal labia for female children. Manu himself says: "The chandalas are the fruit of adultery, incest, and rape (crimes that follow from the fundamental concept of breeding). For clothing they shall have only rags from corpses; for dishes, broken pots; for adornment, old iron; for divine services, only evil spirits. They shall wander without rest from place to place. They are prohibited from writing from left to right, and from using the right hand in writing: the use of the right hand and of from-left-to-right is reserved for the virtuous, for the people of pure blood."

4 These regulations are instructive enough: we encounter Aryan humanity at its purest and most primordial; we learn that the concept of "pure blood" is very far from being a harmless concept. On the other hand, it becomes obvious in which people the chandala hatred against this Aryan "humaneness" has has become a religion, eternalized itself, and become genius — primarily in the Gospels, even more so in the Book of Enoch. Christianity, sprung from Jewish roots and comprehensible only as a growth on this soil, represents the counter-movement to any morality of breeding, of race, privilege: it is the anti-Aryan religion par excellence. Christianity — the revaluation of all Aryan values, the victory of chandala values, the gospel preached to the poor and base, the general revolt of all the downtrodden, the wretched, the failures, the less favored, against "race": the undying chandala hatred is disguised as a religion of love.

5 The morality of breeding, and the morality of taming, are, in the means they use, entirely worthy of each other: we may proclaim it as a supreme principle that to make men moral one must have the unconditional resolve to act immorally. This is the great, the uncanny problem which I have been pursuing the longest: the psychology of the "improvers" of mankind. A small, and at bottom modest, fact — that of the so-called pia fraus [holy lie] — offered me the first insight into this problem: the pia fraus, the heirloom of all philosophers and priests who "improved" mankind. Neither Manu nor Plato nor Confucius nor the Jewish and Christian teachers have ever doubted their right to lie. They have not doubted that they had very different rights too. Expressed in a formula, one might say: all the means by which one has so far attempted to make mankind moral were through and through immoral.
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Re: Twilight of the Idols, by Friedrich Nietzsche

Postby admin » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:42 pm


1 Among Germans today it is not enough to have spirit: one must arrogate it, one must have the arrogance to have spirit.

Perhaps I know the Germans, perhaps I may even tell them some truths. The new Germany represents a large quantum of fitness, both inherited and acquired by training, so that for a time it may expend its accumulated store of strength, even squander it. It is not a high culture that has thus become the master, and even less a delicate taste, a noble "beauty" of the instincts; but more virile virtues than any other country in Europe can show. Much cheerfulness and self-respect, much assurance in social relations and in the reciprocality of duties, much industriousness, much perseverance — and an inherited moderation which needs the spur rather than the brake. I add that here one still obeys without feeling that obedience humiliates. And nobody despises his opponent.

One will notice that I wish to be just to the Germans: I do not want to break faith with myself here. I must therefore also state my objections to them. One pays heavily for coming to power: power makes stupid. The Germans — once they were called the people of thinkers: do they think at all today? The Germans are now bored with the spirit, the Germans now mistrust the spirit; politics swallows up all serious concern for really spiritual matters. Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles — I fear that was the end of German philosophy.

"Are there any German philosophers? Are there German poets? Are there good German books?" they ask me abroad. I blush; but with the courage which I maintain even in desperate situations I reply: "Well, Bismarck." Would it be permissible for me to confess what books are read today? Accursed instinct of mediocrity!

2 What the German spirit might be — who has not had his melancholy ideas about that! But this people has deliberately made itself stupid, for nearly a millennium: nowhere have the two great European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity, been abused more dissolutely. Recently even a third has been added — one that alone would be suffficient to dispatch all fine and bold fiexibility of the spirit — music, our constipated, constipating German music.

How much disgruntled heaviness, lameness, dampness, dressing gown — how much beer there is in the German intelligence! How is it at all possible that young men who dedicate their lives to the most spiritual goals do not feel the first instinct of spirituality, the spirit's instinct of self-preservation — and drink beer? The alcoholism of young scholars is perhaps no question mark concerning their scholarliness — without spirit one can still be a great scholar — but in every other respect it remains a problem. Where would one not find the gentle degeneration which beer produces in the spirit? Once, in a case that has almost become famous, I put my finger on such a degeneration — the degeneration of our number-one German free spirit, the clever David Strauss, into the author of a beer-bench gospel and "new faith." It was not for nothing that he had made his vow to the "fair brunette" [dark beer] in verse — loyalty unto death.

3 I was speaking of the German spirit: it is becoming cruder, it is becoming shallower. Is that enough? At bottom, it is something quite different that alarms me: how German seriousness, German depth, German passion in spiritual matters are declining more and more. The verve has changed, not just the intellectuality. Here and there I come into contact with German universities: what an atmosphere prevails among their scholars, what desolate spirituality — and how contented and lukewarm it has become! It would be a profound misunderstanding if one wanted to adduce German science against me-it would also be proof that one has not read a word I have written. For seventeen years I have never tired of calling attention to the despiritualizing influence of our current science-industry. The hard helotism to which the tremendous range of the sciences condemns every scholar today is a main reason why those with a fuller, richer, profounder disposition no longer find a congenial education and congenial educators. There is nothing of which our culture suffers more than of the superabundance of pretentious jobbers and fragments of humanity; our universities are, against their will, the real hothouses for this kind of withering of the instincts of the spirit. And the whole of Europe already has some idea of this — power politics deceives nobody. Germany is considered more and more as Europe's flatland. I am still looking for a German with whom I might be able to be serious in my own way — and how much more for one with whom I might be cheerful! Twilight of the Idols: who today would comprehend from what seriousness a philosopher seeks recreation here? Our cheerfulness is what is most incomprehensible about us.

4 Even a rapid estimate shows that it is not only obvious that German culture is declining but that there is sufficient reason for that. In the end, no one can spend more than he has: that is true of an individual, it is true of a people. If one spends oneself for power, for power politics, for economics, world trade, parliamentarianism, and military interests — if one spends in the direction the quantum of understanding, seriousness, will, and self- overcoming which one represents, then it will be lacking for the other direction.

Culture and the state — one should not deceive one-self about this — are antagonists: "Kultur-Staat" is merely a modern idea. One lives off the other, one thrives at the expense of the other. All great ages of culture are ages of political decline: what is great culturally has always been unpolitical, even anti-political. Goethe's heart opened at the phenomenon of Napoleon — it closed at the "Wars of Liberation." At the same moment when Germany comes up as a great power, France gains a new importance as a cultural power. Even today much new seriousness, much new passion of the spirit, have migrated to Paris; the question of pessimism, for example, the question of Wagner, and almost all psychological and artistic questions are there weighed incomparably more delicately and thoroughly than in Germany — the Germans are altogether incapable of this kind of seriousness. In the history of European culture the rise of the "Reich" means one thing above all: a displacement of the center of gravity. It is already known everywhere: in what matters most — and that always remains culture — the Germans are no longer worthy of consideration. One asks: Can you point to even a single spirit who counts from a European point of view, as your Goethe, your Hegel, your Heinrich Heine, your Schopenhauer counted? That there is no longer a single German philosopher — about that there is no end of astonishment.

5 The entire system of higher education in Germany has lost what matters most: the end as well as the means to the end. That education, that Bildung, is itself an end — and not "the Reich" — and that educators are needed to that end, and not secondary-school teachers and university scholars — that has been forgotten. Educators are needed who have themselves been educated, superior, noble spirits, proved at every moment, proved by words and silence, representing culture which has grown ripe and sweet — not the learned louts whom secondary schools and universities today offer our youth as "higher wet nurses." Educators are lacking, not counting the most exceptional of exceptions, the very first condition of education: hence the decline of German culture. One of this rarest of exceptions is my venerable friend, Jacob Burckhardt in Basel: it is primarily to him that Basel owes its pre-eminence in humaneness.

What the "higher schools" in Germany really achieve is a brutal training, designed to prepare huge numbers of young men, with as little loss of time as possible, to become usable, abusable, in government service. "Higher education" and huge numbers — that is a contradiction to start with. All higher education belongs only to the exception: one must be privileged to have a right to so high a privilege. All great, all beautiful things can never be common property: pulchrum est paucorum hominum. What contributes to the decline of German culture? That "higher education" is no longer a privilege — the democratism of Bildung, which has become "common" — too common. Let it not be forgotten that military privileges really compel an all-too-great attendance in the higher schools, and thus their downfall.

In present-day Germany no one is any longer free to give his children a noble education: our "higher schools" are all set up for the most ambiguous mediocrity, with their teachers, curricula, and teaching aims. And everywhere an indecent haste prevails, as if something would be lost if the young man of twenty-three were not yet "finished," or if he did not yet know the answer to the "main question": which calling? A higher kind of human being, if I may say so, does not like "callings," precisely because he knows himself to be called. He has time, he takes time, he does not even think of "finishing": at thirty one is, in the sense of high culture, a beginner, a child. Our overcrowded secondary schools, our overworked, stupefied secondary-school teachers, are a scandal: for one to defend such conditions, as the professors at Heidelberg did recently, there may perhaps be causes — reasons there are none.

6 I put forward at once — lest I break with my style, which is affirmative and deals with contradiction and criticism only as a means, only involuntarily — the three tasks for which educators are required. One must learn to see, one must learn to think, one must learn to speak and write: the goal in all three is a noble culture. Learning to see — accustoming the eye to calmness, to patience, to letting things come up to it; postponing judgment, learning to go around and grasp each individual case from all sides. That is the first preliminary schooling for spirituality: not to react at once to a stimulus, but to gain control of all the inhibiting, excluding instincts. Learning to see, as I understand it, is almost what, unphilosophically speaking, is called a strong will: the essential feature is precisely not to "will" — to be able to suspend decision. All unspirituality, all vulgar commonness, depend on the inability to resist a stimulus: one must react, one follows every impulse. In many cases, such a compulsion is already pathology, decline, a symptom of exhaustion — almost everything that unphilosophical crudity designates with the word "vice" is merely this physiological inability not to react. A practical application of having learned to see: as a learner, one will have become altogether slow, mistrustful, recalcitrant. One will let strange, new things of every kind come up to oneself, inspecting them with hostile calm and withdrawing one's hand. To have all doors standing open, to lie servilely on one's stomach before every little fact, always to be prepared for the leap of putting oneself into the place of, or of plunging into, others and other things — in short, the famous modern "objectivity" — is bad taste, is ignoble par excellence.

7 Learning to think: in our schools one no longer has any idea of this. Even in the universities, even among the real scholars of philosophy, logic as a theory, as a practice, as a craft, is beginning to die out. One need only read German books: there is no longer the remotest recollection that thinking requires a technique, a teaching curriculum, a will to mastery — that thinking wants to be learned like dancing, as a kind of dancing. Who among Germans still knows from experience the delicate shudder which light feet in spiritual matters send into every muscle? The stiff clumsiness of the spiritual gesture, the bungling hand at grasping — that is German to such a degree that abroad one mistakes it for the German character as such. The German has no fingers for nuances.

That the Germans have been able to stand their philosophers at all, especially that most deformed concept-cripple of all time, the great Kant, provides not a bad notion of German grace. For one cannot subtract dancing in every form from a noble education — to be able to dance with one's feet, with concepts, with words: need I still add that one must be able to dance with the pen too — that one must learn to write? But at this point I should become completely enigmatic for German readers.
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