The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Values

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.

The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Values

Postby admin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:46 pm

The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Values, Book I, II, III, and IV
by Friedrich Nietzsche
Editor: Oscar Levy
Translator: Anthony M. Ludovici





A Plan
I. Nihilism—
1. Nihilism as an Outcome of the Valuations and Interpretations
of Existence which have prevailed hitherto
2. Further Causes of Nihilism
3. The Nihilistic Movement as an Expression of Decadence
4. The Crisis: Nihilism and the Idea of Recurrence
II. Concerning the History of European Nihilism—
(a) Modern Gloominess
(b) The Last Centuries
(c) Signs of Increasing Strength
I. Criticism of Religion—
1. Concerning the Origin of Religions
2. Concerning the History of Christianity
3. Christian Ideals
II. A Criticism of Morality—
1. The Origin of Moral Valuations
2. The Herd
3. General Observations concerning Morality
4. How Virtue is made to Dominate
5. The Moral Ideal—
A. A Criticism of Ideals
B. A Criticism of the "Good Man," of the Saint, etc.
C. Concerning the Slander of the so-called Evil Qualities
D. A Criticism of the Words: Improving, Perfecting, Elevating
6. Concluding Remarks concerning the Criticism of Morality
III. Criticism of Philosophy—
1. General Remarks
2. A Criticism of Greek Philosophy
3. The Truths and Errors of Philosophers
4. Concluding Remarks in the Criticism of Philosophy

Third Book. the Principles of a New Valuation.
I. The Will to Power in Science—
(a) The Method of Investigation
(b) The Starting-Point of Epistemology
(c) The Belief in the "Ego." Subject
(d) Biology of the Instinct of Knowledge. Perspectivity
(e) The Origin of Reason and Logic
(f) Consciousness
(g) Judgment. True—False
(h) Against Causality
(i) The Thing-in-Itself and Appearance
(k) The Metaphysical Need
(l) The Biological Value of Knowledge
(m) Science
II. The Will to Power in Nature—
1. The Mechanical Interpretation of the World
2. The Will to Power as Life—
(a) The Organic Process
(b) Man
3. Theory of the Will to Power and of Valuations
III. The Will to Power As Exemplified in Society and in the Individual
1. Society and the State
2. The Individual
IV. The Will to Power in Art
Fourth Book. Discipline and Breeding.
I. The Order of Rank—
1. The Doctrine of the Order of Rank
2. The Strong and the Weak
3. The Noble Man
4. The Lords of the Earth
5. The Great Man
6. The Highest Man as Lawgiver of the Future
II. Dionysus
III. Eternal Recurrence
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Re: The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Va

Postby admin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:47 pm


In the volume before us we have the first two books of what was to be Nietzsche's greatest theoretical and philosophical prose work. The reception given to Thus Spake Zarathustra had been so unsatisfactory, and misunderstandings relative to its teaching had become so general, that, within a year of the publication of the first part of that famous philosophical poem, Nietzsche was already beginning to see the necessity of bringing his doctrines before the public in a more definite and unmistakable form. During the years that followed—that is to say, between 1883 and 1886—this plan was matured, and although we have no warrant, save his sister's own word and the internal evidence at our disposal, for classing Beyond Good and Evil (published 1886) among the contributions to Nietzsche's grand and final philosophical scheme, "The Will to Power," it is now impossible to separate it entirely from his chief work as we would naturally separate The Birth of Tragedy, the Thoughts out of Season, the volumes entitled Human, all-too-Human, The Dawn of Day, and Joyful Wisdom.

Beyond Good and Evil, then, together with its sequel, The Genealogy of Morals, and the two little volumes, The Twilight of the Idols and the Antichrist (published in 1889 and 1894 respectively), must be regarded as forming part of the general plan of which The Will to Power was to be the opus magnum.

Unfortunately, The Will to Power was never completed by its author. The text from which this translation was made is a posthumous publication, and it suffers from all the disadvantages that a book must suffer from which has been arranged and ordered by foster hands. When those who were responsible for its publication undertook the task of preparing it for the press, it was very little more than a vast collection of notes and rough drafts, set down by Nietzsche from time to time, as the material for his chief work; and, as any liberty taken with the original manuscript, save that of putting it in order, would probably have resulted in adding or excluding what the author would on no account have added or excluded himself, it follows that in some few cases the paragraphs are no more than hasty memoranda of passing thoughts, which Nietzsche must have had the intention of elaborating at some future time. In these cases the translation follows the German as closely as possible, and the free use even of a conjunction has in certain cases been avoided, for fear lest the meaning might be in the slightest degree modified. It were well, therefore, if the reader could bear these facts in mind whenever he is struck by a certain clumsiness, either of expression or disposition, in the course of reading this translation.

It may be said that, from the day when Nietzsche first recognised the necessity of making a more unequivocal appeal to his public than the Zarathustra had been, that is to say, from the spring of 1883, his work in respect of The Will to Power suffered no interruption whatsoever, and that it was his chief preoccupation from that period until his breakdown in 1889.

That this span of six years was none too long for the task he had undertaken, will be gathered from the fact that, in the great work he had planned, he actually set out to show that the life-principle, "Will to Power," was the prime motor of all living organisms.

To do this he appeals both to the animal world and to human society, with its subdivisions, religion, art, morality, politics, etc. etc., and in each of these he seeks to demonstrate the activity of the principle which he held to be the essential factor of all existence.

Frau Foerster-Nietzsche tells us that the notion that "The Will to Power" was the fundamental principle of all life, first occurred to her brother in the year 1870, at the seat of war, while he was serving as a volunteer in a German army ambulance. On one occasion, at the close of a very heavy day with the wounded, he happened to enter a small town which lay on one of the chief military roads. He was wandering through it in a leisurely fashion when, suddenly, as he turned the corner of a street that was protected on either side by lofty stone walls, he heard a roaring noise, as of thunder, which seemed to come from the immediate neighbourhood. He hurried forward a step or two, and what should he see, but a magnificent cavalry regiment—gloriously expressive of the courage and exuberant strength of a people—ride past him like a luminous stormcloud. The thundering din waxed louder and louder, and lo and behold! his own beloved regiment of field artillery dashed forward at full speed, out of the mist of motes, and sped westward amid an uproar of clattering chains and galloping steeds. A minute or two elapsed, and then a column of infantry appeared, advancing at the double—the men's eyes were aflame, their feet struck the hard road like mighty hammer-strokes, and their accoutrements glistened through the haze. While this procession passed before him, on its way to war and perhaps to death,—so wonderful in its vital strength and formidable courage, and so perfectly symbolic of a race that will conquer and prevail, or perish in the attempt,—Nietzsche was struck with the thought that the highest will to live could not find its expression in a miserable "struggle for existence," but in a will to war, a Will to Power, a will to overpower! This is said to be the history of his first conception of that principle which is at the root of all his philosophy, and twelve years later, in Thus Spake Zarathustra, we find him expounding it thus:—

"Wherever I found a living thing, there found I Will to Power; and even in the will of the servant found I the will to be master.
"Only where there is life, is there also will: not, however, Will to Life, but—so teach I thee—Will to Power!
"Much is reckoned higher than life itself by the living one; but out of the very reckoning speaketh—the Will to Power!"

And three years later still, in Beyond Good and Evil, we read the following passage:—

"Psychologists should bethink themselves before putting down the instinct of self-preservation as the cardinal instinct of an organic being. A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength—life itself is Will to Power; self-preservation is only one of the indirect and most frequent results thereof."

But in this volume, and the one that is to follow, we shall find Nietzsche more mature, more sober, and perhaps more profound than in the works above mentioned. All the loves and hates by which we know him, we shall come across again in this work; but here he seems to stand more above them than he had done heretofore; having once enunciated his ideals vehemently and emphatically, he now discusses them with a certain grim humour, with more thoroughness and detail, and he gives even his enemies a quiet and respectful hearing. His tolerant attitude to Christianity on pages 8-9, 107, 323, for instance, is a case in point, and his definite description of what we are to understand by his pity (p. 293) leaves us in no doubt as to the calm determination of this work. Book One will not seem so well arranged or so well worked out as Book Two; the former being more sketchy and more speculative than the latter. Be this as it may, it contains deeply interesting things, inasmuch as it attempts to trace the elements of Nihilism—as the outcome of Christian values—in all the institutions of the present day.

In the Second Book Herbert Spencer comes in for a number of telling blows, and not the least of these is to be found on page 237, where, although his name is not mentioned, it is obviously implied. Here Nietzsche definitely disclaims all ideas of an individualistic morality, and carefully states that his philosophy aims at a new order of rank.

It will seem to some that morality is dealt with somewhat cavalierly throughout the two books; but, in this respect, it should not be forgotten that Nietzsche not only made a firm stand in favour of exceptional men, but that he also believed that any morality is nothing more than a mere system of valuations which are determined by the conditions in which a given species lives. Hence his words on page 107: "Beyond Good and Evil,—certainly; but we insist upon the unconditional and strict preservation of herd-morality"; and on page 323: "Suppose the strong were masters in all respects, even in valuing: let us try and think what their attitude would be towards illness, suffering, and sacrifice! Self-contempt on the part of the weak would be the result: they would do their utmost to disappear and to extirpate their kind. And would this be desirable?—should we really like a world in which the subtlety, the consideration, the intellectuality, the plasticity—in fact, the whole influence of the weak—was lacking?"

It is obvious from this passage that Nietzsche only objected to the influence of herd-morality outside the herd—that is to say, among exceptional and higher men who may be wrecked by it. Whereas most other philosophers before him had been the "Altruist" of the lower strata of humanity, Nietzsche may aptly be called the Altruist of the exceptions, of the particular lucky cases among men. For such "varieties," he thought, the morality of Christianity had done all it could do, and though he in no way wished to underrate the value it had sometimes been to them in the past, he saw that at present, in any case, it might prove a great danger. With Goethe, therefore, he believed that "Hypotheses are only the pieces of scaffolding which are erected round a building during the course of its construction, and which are taken away as soon as the edifice is completed. To the workman, they are indispensable; but he must be careful not to confound the scaffolding with the building."[1]

It is deeply to be deplored that Nietzsche was never able to complete his life-work. The fragments of it collected in volumes i. and ii. of The Will to Power are sufficiently remarkable to convey some idea of what the whole work would have been if only its author had been able to arrange and complete it according to his original design.

It is to be hoped that we are too sensible nowadays to allow our sensibilities to be shocked by serious and well-meditated criticism, even of the most cherished among our institutions, and an honest and sincere reformer ought no longer to find us prejudiced—to the extent of deafness—against him, more particularly when he comes forward with a gospel—"The Will to Power"—which is, above all, a test of our power to will.




[1] Naturwissenschaft im Allgemeinen (Weimar Edition, i. II, p. 132).
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Re: The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Va

Postby admin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:48 pm



Concerning great things one should either be silent or one should speak loftily:—loftily—that is to say, cynically and innocently.


What I am now going to relate is the history of the next two centuries. I shall describe what will happen, what must necessarily happen: the triumph of Nihilism. This history can be written already; for necessity itself is at work in bringing it about. This future is already proclaimed by a hundred different omens; as a destiny it announces its advent everywhere, for this music of to-morrow all ears are already pricked. The whole of our culture in Europe has long been writhing in an agony of suspense which increases from decade to decade as if in expectation of a catastrophe: restless, violent, helter-skelter, like a torrent that will reach its bourne, and refuses to reflect—yea, that even dreads reflection.


On the other hand, the present writer has done little else, hitherto, than reflect and meditate, like an instinctive philosopher and anchorite, who found his advantage in isolation—in remaining outside, in patience, procrastination, and lagging behind; like a weighing and testing spirit who has already lost his way in every labyrinth of the future; like a prophetic bird-spirit that looks backwards when it would announce what is to come; like the first perfect European Nihilist, who, however, has already outlived Nihilism in his own soul—who has out-grown, overcome, and dismissed it.

[Friedrich Nietzsche] NIHILISM: Been there, done that. Next stop: WILL TO POWER!
-- Nietzsche Detonated by the Will to Power, by Tara Carreon


For the reader must not misunderstand the meaning of the title which has been given to this Evangel of the Future. "The Will to Power: An Attempted Transvaluation of all Values"—with this formula a counter-movement finds expression, in regard to both a principle and a mission; a movement which in some remote future will supersede this perfect Nihilism; but which nevertheless regards it as a necessary step, both logically and psychologically, towards its own advent, and which positively cannot come, except on top of and out of it. For, why is the triumph of Nihilism inevitable now? Because the very values current amongst us to-day will arrive at their logical conclusion in Nihilism,—because Nihilism is the only possible outcome of our greatest values and ideals,—because we must first experience Nihilism before we can realise what the actual worth of these "values" was.... Sooner or later we shall be in need of new values.
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Re: The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Va

Postby admin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:49 pm



1. Nihilism is at our door: whence comes this most gruesome of all guests to us?—To begin with, it is a mistake to point to "social evils," "physiological degeneration," or even to corruption as a cause of Nihilism. This is the most straightforward and most sympathetic age that ever was. Evil, whether spiritual, physical, or intellectual, is, in itself, quite unable to introduce Nihilism, i.e., the absolute repudiation of worth, purpose, desirability. These evils allow of yet other and quite different explanations. But there is one very definite explanation of the phenomena: Nihilism harbours in the heart of Christian morals.

2. The downfall of Christianity,—through its morality (which is insuperable), which finally turns against the Christian God Himself (the sense of truth, highly developed through Christianity, ultimately revolts against the falsehood and fictitiousness of all Christian interpretations of the world and its history. The recoil-stroke of "God is Truth" in the fanatical Belief, is: "All is false." Buddhism of action....).

3. Doubt in morality is the decisive factor. The downfall of the moral interpretation of the universe, which loses its raison d'être once it has tried to take flight to a Beyond, meets its end in Nihilism. "Nothing has any purpose" (the inconsistency of one explanation of the world, to which men have devoted untold energy,—gives rise to the suspicion that all explanations may perhaps be false).

Here, 25 centuries ago, on the island of Samos, and in the other Greek colonies that had grown up in the busy Aegean sea, there was a glorious awakening. Suddenly, there were people who believed everything was made of atoms, that human beings and other animals had evolved from simpler forms, that diseases were not caused by demons or the gods, that the earth was only a planet going around a sun which was very far away.

This revolution made Cosmos out of Chaos. Here, in the 6th Century B.C., a new idea developed, one of the great ideas of the human species. It was argued that the universe was knowable. Why? Because it was ordered, because there are regularities in nature which permitted secrets to be uncovered. Nature was not entirely unpredictable. There were rules that even she had to obey. This ordered and admirable character of the universe was called Cosmos, and it was set in stark contradiction to the idea of Chaos. This was the first conflict of which we know between science and mysticism, between nature and the gods.

By why here? Why in these remote islands and inlets of the Eastern Mediterranean? Why not in the great cities of India or Egypt, Babylon, China, Mesoamerica? Because they were all at the center of old empires. They were set in their ways. Hostile to new ideas. But here in Ionia were a multitude of newly colonized islands and city states. Isolation, even if incomplete, promotes diversity. No single concentration of power could enforce conformity. Free inquiry became possible. They were beyond the frontiers of the empires. The merchants and tourists and sailors of Africa, Asia, and Europe met in the harbors of Ionia to exchange goods and stories and ideas. It was a vigorous and heady interaction of many traditions, prejudices, languages and gods.

These people were ready to experiment. Once you are open to questioning rituals and time-honored practices, you find that one question leads to another. What do you do when you're faced with several different gods, each claiming the same territory? The Babylonian Marduk and the Greek Zeus were each considered King of the Gods, Master of the Sky. You might decide that since they otherwise had rather different attributes, that one of them was merely invented by the priests. But if one, why not both?

So here it was that the great idea arose, the realization that there might be a way to know the world without the god hypothesis, that there might be principles, forces, laws of nature through which the world might be understood without attributing the fall of every sparrow to the direct intervention of Zeus. This is the place where science was born. That's why we're here.

-- A Personal Voyage: The Backbone of Night, by Carl Sagan

The Buddhistic feature: a yearning for nonentity (Indian Buddhism has no fundamentally moral development at the back of it; that is why Nihilism in its case means only morality not overcome; existence is regarded as a punishment and conceived as an error; error is thus held to be punishment—a moral valuation). Philosophical attempts to overcome the "moral God" (Hegel, Pantheism). The vanquishing of popular ideals: the wizard, the saint, the bard. Antagonism of "true" and "beautiful" and "good."

4. Against "purposelessness" on the one hand, against moral valuations on the other: how far has all science and philosophy been cultivated heretofore under the influence of moral judgments? And have we not got the additional factor—the enmity of science, into the bargain? Or the prejudice against science? Criticism of Spinoza. Christian valuations everywhere present as remnants in socialistic and positivistic systems. A criticism of Christian morality is altogether lacking.

5. The Nihilistic consequences of present natural science (along with its attempts to escape into a Beyond). Out of its practice there finally arises a certain self-annihilation, an antagonistic attitude towards itself—a sort of anti-scientificality.
Since Copernicus man has been rolling away from the centre towards x.

6. The Nihilistic consequences of the political and politico-economical way of thinking, where all principles at length become tainted with the atmosphere of the platform: the breath of mediocrity, insignificance, dishonesty, etc. Nationalism. Anarchy, etc. Punishment. Everywhere the deliverer is missing, either as a class or as a single man—the justifier.

7. Nihilistic consequences of history and of the "practical historian," i.e., the romanticist. The attitude of art is quite unoriginal in modern life. Its gloominess. Goethe's so-called Olympian State.

8. Art and the preparation of Nihilism. Romanticism (the conclusion of Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung).
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Re: The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Va

Postby admin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:52 pm


1. Nihilism As an Outcome of the Valuations and Interpretations of Existence Which Have Prevailed Heretofore.


What does Nihilism mean?—That the highest values are losing their value. There is no bourne. There is no answer to the question: "to what purpose?"


Thorough Nihilism is the conviction that life is absurd, in the light of the highest values already discovered; it also includes the view that we have not the smallest right to assume the existence of transcendental objects or things in themselves, which would be either divine or morality incarnate.

This view is a result of fully developed "truthfulness": therefore a consequence of the belief in morality.


What advantages did the Christian hypothesis of morality offer?

(1) It bestowed an intrinsic value upon men, which contrasted with their apparent insignificance and subordination to chance in the eternal flux of becoming and perishing.

(2) It served the purpose of God's advocates, inasmuch as it granted the world a certain perfection despite its sorrow and evil—it also granted the world that proverbial "freedom": evil seemed full of meaning.

(3) It assumed that man could have a knowledge of absolute values, and thus granted him adequate perception for the most important things.

(4) It prevented man from despising himself as man, from turning against life, and from being driven to despair by knowledge: it was a self-preservative measure.

In short: Morality was the great antidote against practical and theoretical Nihilism.


But among the forces reared by morality, there was truthfulness: this in the end turns against morality, exposes the teleology of the latter, its interestedness, and now the recognition of this lie so long incorporated, from which we despaired of ever freeing ourselves, acts just like a stimulus.
We perceive certain needs in ourselves, implanted during the long dynasty of the moral interpretation of life, which now seem to us to be needs of untruth: on the other hand, those very needs represent the highest values owing to which we are able to endure life. We have ceased from attaching any worth to what we know, and we dare not attach any more worth to that with which we would fain deceive ourselves—from this antagonism there results a process of dissolution.


This is the antinomy: In so far as we believe in morality, we condemn existence.


The highest values in the service of which man ought to live, more particularly when they oppressed and constrained him most—these social values, owing to their tone-strengthening tendencies, were built over men's heads as though they were the will of God or "reality," or the actual world, or even a hope of a world to come. Now that the lowly origin of these values has become known, the whole universe seems to have been transvalued and to have lost its significance—but this is only an intermediate stage.


The consequence of Nihilism (disbelief in all values) as a result of a moral valuation:—We have grown to dislike egotism (even though we have realised the impossibility of altruism);—we have grown to dislike what is most necessary (although we have recognised the impossibility of a liberum arbitrium and of an "intelligible freedom"[1]). We perceive that we do not reach the spheres in which we have set our values—at the same time those other spheres in which we live have not thereby gained one iota in value. On the contrary, we are tired, because we have lost the main incentive to live. "All in vain hitherto!"


"Pessimism as a preparatory state to Nihilism."


A. Pessimism viewed as strength—in what respect? In the energy of its logic, as anarchy, Nihilism, and analysis.

B. Pessimism regarded as collapse—in what sense? In the sense of its being a softening influence, a sort of cosmopolitan befingering, a "tout comprendre," and historical spirit.

Critical tension: extremes make their appearance and become dominant.


The logic of Pessimism leads finally to Nihilism: what is the force at work?—The notion that there are no values, and no purpose: the recognition of the part that moral valuations have played in all other lofty values.

Result: moral valuations are condemnations, negations; morality is the abdication of the will to live....

[1] This is a Kantian term. Kant recognised two kinds of Freedom—the practical and the transcendental kind. The first belongs to the phenomenal, the second to the intelligible world.—TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.


The Collapse of Cosmopolitan Values.


Nihilism will have to manifest itself as a psychological condition, first when we have sought in all that has happened a purpose which is not there: so that the seeker will ultimately lose courage. Nihilism is therefore the coming into consciousness of the long waste of strength, the pain of "futility," uncertainty, the lack of an opportunity to recover in some way, or to attain to a state of peace concerning anything—shame in one's own presence, as if one had cheated oneself too long.... The purpose above-mentioned might have been achieved: in the form of a "realisation" of a most high canon of morality in all worldly phenomena, the moral order of the universe; or in the form of the increase of love and harmony in the traffic of humanity; or in the nearer approach to a general condition of happiness; or even in the march towards general nonentity—any sort of goal always constitutes a purpose. The common factor to all these appearances is that something will be attained, through the process itself: and now we perceive that Becoming has been aiming at nothing, and has achieved nothing. Hence the disillusionment in regard to a so-called purpose in existence, as a cause of Nihilism; whether this be in respect of a very definite purpose, or generalised into the recognition that all the hypotheses are false which have hitherto been offered as to the object of life, and which relate to the whole of "Evolution" (man no longer an assistant in, let alone the culmination of, the evolutionary process).

Nihilism will manifest itself as a psychological condition, in the second place, when man has fixed a totality, a systematisation, even an organisation in and behind all phenomena, so that the soul thirsting for respect and admiration will wallow in the general idea of a highest ruling and administrative power (if it be the soul of a logician, the sequence of consequences and perfect reasoning will suffice to conciliate everything). A kind of unity, some form of "monism":' and as a result of this belief man becomes obsessed by a feeling of profound relativity and dependence in the presence of an All which is infinitely superior to him, a sort of divinity. "The general good exacts the surrender of the individual ..." but lo, there is no such general good! At bottom, man loses the belief in his own worth when no infinitely precious entity manifests itself through him—that is to say, he conceived such an All, in order to be able to believe in his own worth.

Nihilism, as a psychological condition, has yet a third and last form. Admitting these two points of view: that no purpose can be assigned to Becoming, and that no great entity rules behind all Becoming, in which the individual may completely lose himself as in an element of superior value; there still remains the subterfuge which would consist in condemning this whole world of Becoming as an illusion, and in discovering a world which would lie beyond it, and would be a real world. The moment, however, that man perceives that this world has been devised only for the purpose of meeting certain psychological needs, and that he has no right whatsoever to it, the final form of Nihilism comes into being, which comprises a denial of a metaphysical world, and which forbids itself all belief in a real world. From this standpoint, the reality of Becoming is the only reality that is admitted: all bypaths to back-worlds and false godheads are abandoned—but this world is no longer endured, although no one wishes to disown it.

What has actually happened? The feeling of worthlessness was realised when it was understood that neither the notion of "Purpose" nor that of "Unity" nor that of "Truth" could be made to interpret the general character of existence. Nothing is achieved or obtained thereby; the unity which intervenes in the multiplicity of events is entirely lacking: the character of existence is not "true," it is false; there is certainly no longer any reason to believe in a real world. In short, the categories, "Purpose," "Unity," "Being," by means of which we had lent some worth to life, we have once more divorced from it—and the world now appears worthless to us....


Admitting that we have recognised the impossibility of interpreting world by means of these three categories, and that from this standpoint the world begins to be worthless to us; we must ask ourselves whence we derived our belief in these three categories. Let us see if it is possible to refuse to believe in them. If we can deprive them of their value, the proof that they cannot be applied to the world, is no longer a sufficient reason for depriving that world of its value.

Result: The belief in the categories of reason[2] is the cause of Nihilism—we have measured the worth of the world according to categories which can only be applied to a purely fictitious world.

Conclusion: All values with which we have tried, hitherto, to lend the world some worth, from our point of view, and with which we have therefore deprived it of all worth (once these values have been shown to be inapplicable)—all these values, are, psychologically, the results of certain views of utility, established for the purpose of maintaining and increasing the dominion of certain communities: but falsely projected into the nature of things. It is always man's exaggerated ingenuousness to regard himself as the sense and measure of all things.

[2] This probably refers to Kant's celebrated table of twelve categories. The four classes, quantity, quality, relation, and modality, are each provided with three categories.—TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.


Nihilism represents an intermediary pathological condition (the vast generalisation, the conclusion that there is no purpose in anything, is pathological): whether it be that the productive forces are not yet strong enough—or that decadence still hesitates and has not yet discovered its expedients.

The conditions of this hypothesis:—That there is no truth; that there is no absolute state of affairs—no "thing-in-itself." This alone is Nihilism, and of the most extreme kind. It finds that the value of things consists precisely in the fact that these values are not real and never have been real, but that they are only a symptom of strength on the part of the valuer, a simplification serving the purposes of existence.


Values and their modification are related to the growth of power of the valuer.

The measure of disbelief and of the "freedom of spirit" which is tolerated, viewed as an expression of the growth of power.

"Nihilism" viewed as the ideal of the highest spiritual power, of the over-rich life, partly destructive, partly ironical.


What is belief? How is a belief born? All belief assumes that something is true.

The extremest form of Nihilism would mean that all belief—all assumption of truth—is false: because no real world is at hand. It were therefore: only an appearance seen in perspective, whose origin must be found in us (seeing that we are constantly in need of a narrower, a shortened, and simplified world).

This should be realised, that the extent to which we can, in our heart of hearts, acknowledge appearance, and the necessity of falsehood, without going to rack and ruin, is the measure of strength.

In this respect, Nihilism, in that it is the negation of a real world and of Being, might be a divine view of the world.


If we are disillusioned, we have not become so in regard to life, but owing to the fact that our eyes have been opened to all kinds of "desiderata." With mocking anger we survey that which is called "Ideal": we despise ourselves only because we are unable at every moment of our lives to quell that absurd emotion which is called "Idealism." This pampering by means of ideals is stronger than the anger of the disillusioned one.


To what extent does Schopenhauerian Nihilism continue to be the result of the same ideal as that which gave rise to Christian Theism? The amount of certainty concerning the most exalted desiderata, the highest values and the greatest degree of perfection, was so great, that the philosophers started out from it as if it had been an a priori and absolute fact: "God" at the head, as the given quantity—Truth. "To become like God," "to be absorbed into the Divine Being"—these were for centuries the most ingenuous and most convincing desiderata (but that which convinces is not necessarily true on that account: it is nothing more nor less than convincing. An observation for donkeys).

The granting of a personal-reality to this accretion of ideals has been unlearned: people have become atheistic. But has the ideal actually been abandoned? The latest metaphysicians, as a matter of fact, still seek their true "reality" in it—the "thing-in-itself" beside which everything else is merely appearance. Their dogma is, that because our world of appearance is so obviously not the expression of that ideal, it therefore cannot be "true"—and at bottom does not even lead back to that metaphysical world as cause. The unconditioned, in so far as it stands for that highest degree of perfection, cannot possibly be the reason of all the conditioned. Schopenhauer, who desired it otherwise, was obliged to imagine this metaphysical basis as the antithesis to the ideal, as "an evil, blind will": thus it could be "that which appears," that which manifests itself in the world of appearance. But even so, he did not give up that ideal absolute—he circumvented it....

(Kant seems to have needed the hypothesis of "intelligible freedom,"[3] in order to relieve the ens perfectum of the responsibility of having contrived this world as it is, in short, in order to explain evil: scandalous logic for a philosopher!).

[3] See Note on p. 11.


The most general sign of modern times: in his own estimation, man has lost an infinite amount of dignity. For a long time he was the centre and tragic hero of life in general; then he endeavoured to demonstrate at least his relationship to the most essential and in itself most valuable side of life—as all metaphysicians do, who wish to hold fast to the dignity of man, in their belief that moral values are cardinal values. He who has let God go, clings all the more strongly to the belief in morality.


Every purely moral valuation (as, for instance, the Buddhistic) terminates in Nihilism: Europe must expect the same thing! It is supposed that one can get along with a morality bereft of a religious background; but in this direction the road to Nihilism is opened. There is nothing in religion which compels us to regard ourselves as valuing creatures.


The question which Nihilism puts, namely, "to what purpose?" is the outcome of a habit, hitherto, to regard the purpose as something fixed, given and exacted from outside—that is to say, by some supernatural authority. Once the belief in this has been unlearned, the force of an old habit leads to the search after another authority, which would know how to speak unconditionally, and could point to goals and missions. The authority of the conscience now takes the first place (the more morality is emancipated from theology, the more imperative does it become) as a compensation for the personal authority. Or the authority of reason. Or the gregarious instinct (the herd). Or history with its immanent spirit, which has its goal in itself, and to which one can abandon oneself. One would like to evade the will, as also the willing of a goal and the risk of setting oneself a goal. One would like to get rid of the responsibility (Fatalism would be accepted). Finally: Happiness and with a dash of humbug, the happiness of the greatest number.

It is said:—

(1) A definite goal is quite unnecessary.

(2) Such a goal cannot possibly be foreseen. Precisely now, when will in its fullest strength were necessary, it is in the weakest and most pusillanimous condition. Absolute mistrust concerning the organising power of the will.


The perfect Nihilist.—The Nihilist's eye idealises in an ugly sense, and is inconstant to what it remembers: it allows its recollections to go astray and to fade, it does not protect them from that cadaverous coloration with which weakness dyes all that is distant and past. And what it does not do for itself it fails to do for the whole of mankind as well—that is to say, it allows it to drop.


Nihilism. It may be two things:—

A. Nihilism as a sign of enhanced spiritual strength: active Nihilism.

B. Nihilism as a sign of the collapse and decline of spiritual strength: passive Nihilism.


Nihilism, a normal condition.

It may be a sign of strength; spiritual vigour may have increased to such an extent that the goals toward which man has marched hitherto (the "convictions," articles of faith) are no longer suited to it (for a faith generally expresses the exigencies of the conditions of existence, a submission to the authority of an order of things which conduces to the prosperity, the growth and power of a living creature ...); on the other hand, a sign of insufficient strength, to fix a goal, a "wherefore," and a faith for itself.

It reaches its maximum of relative strength, as a powerful destructive force, in the form of active Nihilism.

Its opposite would be weary Nihilism, which no longer attacks: its most renowned form being Buddhism: as passive Nihilism, a sign of weakness: spiritual strength may be fatigued, exhausted, so that the goals and values which have prevailed hitherto are no longer suited to it and are no longer believed in—so that the synthesis of values and goals (upon which every strong culture stands) decomposes, and the different values contend with one another: Disintegration, then everything which is relieving, which heals, becalms, or stupefies, steps into the foreground under the cover of various disguises, either religious, moral, political or æsthetic, etc.


Nihilism is not only a meditating over the "in vain!"—not only the belief that everything deserves to perish; but one actually puts one's shoulder to the plough; one destroys. This, if you will, is illogical; but the Nihilist does not believe in the necessity of being logical.... It is the condition of strong minds and wills; and to these it is impossible to be satisfied with the negation of judgment: the negation by deeds proceeds from their nature. Annihilation by the reasoning faculty seconds annihilation by the hand.


Concerning the genesis of the Nihilist. The courage of all one really knows comes but late in life. It is only quite recently that I have acknowledged to myself that heretofore I have been a Nihilist from top to toe. The energy and thoroughness with which I marched forward as a Nihilist deceived me concerning this fundamental principle. When one is progressing towards a goal it seems impossible that "aimlessness per se" should be one's fundamental article of faith.


The Pessimism of strong natures. The "wherefore" after a terrible struggle, even after victory. That something may exist which is a hundred times more important than the question, whether we feel well or unwell, is the fundamental instinct of all strong natures—and consequently too, whether the others feel well or unwell. In short, that we have a purpose, for which we would not even hesitate to sacrifice men, run all risks, and bend our backs to the worst: this is the great passion.
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Re: The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Va

Postby admin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:54 pm

2. Further Causes of Nihilism.


The causes of Nihilism: (1) The higher species is lacking, i.e., the species whose inexhaustible fruitfulness and power would uphold our belief in Man (think only of what is owed to Napoleon—almost all the higher hopes of this century).

The Cult of Napoleon

At its core, the Synarchist international—like its front group Pan European Union—sought to create a one-world tyranny, modeled on the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. The first "Synarchist" text was written in the 1860s by Joseph Alexandre Saint-Yves d'Alveydre (1842-1909), an occultist and follower of Napoleon Bonaparte's own mystical advisor, Antoine Fabre d'Olivet (1767-1825). Fabre d'Olivet had started out as a leading member of the Jacobins, participating personally in the foiled assassination plot against King Louis XVI in 1789. He later served as a top official of the Interior and War Ministries under Napoleon Bonaparte. His occult writings about "purgative violence" and the "will to power"—antecedents of the works of Nietzsche—were adopted by Saint-Yves d'Alveydre, who launched the idea of Synarchism as a counter to the anarchy that had destabilized all of Europe, from 1648.

Saint-Yves' successor, Gerard Vincent Encausse ("Papus"), founded the Saint-Yves School of Occult Sciences, and began a recruiting drive for a secret society, which he called the Synarchy Government.
In his 1894 book Anarchie, Indolence & Synarchie, Papus spelled out an ambitious scheme to recruit all of the leaders of industry, commerce, finance, the military, and academia, to a single power scheme, aimed at destroying the "internal microbe" of society, anarchy.

Both Saint-Yves and Papus envisioned a global Synarchist empire, divided into five geographic areas: 1. the British Empire; 2. Euro-Africa; 3. Eurasia; 4. Pan-America; 5. Asia. Indeed, Alexandre Kojève is identified in Russian sources as a leader of the so-called "Eurasians," a group of Russian emigrés in the 1920s Berlin and Paris, led by Sir Samuel Hoare's Guchkov and tied into the Soviet secret service project called "the Trust." The "Eurasians" welcomed the Russian Revolution as a purgative force to wipe out corrupt Western civilization. Kojève's own cosmology of great tyrants counted Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler as second only to Napoleon, in achieving the "end of history" goal of a true global tyranny.

-- Synarchism: The Fascist Roots Of the Wolfowitz Cabal, by Jeffrey Steinberg

(2) The inferior species ("herd," "ass," "society") is forgetting modesty, and inflates its needs into cosmic and metaphysical values. In this way all life is vulgarised: for inasmuch as the mass of mankind rules, it tyrannises over the exceptions, so that these lose their belief in themselves and become Nihilists.

All attempts to conceive of a new species come to nothing ("romanticism," the artist, the philosopher; against Carlyle's attempt to lend them the highest moral values).

The result is that higher types are resisted.

The downfall and insecurity of all higher types. The struggle against genius ("popular poetry," etc.). Sympathy with the lowly and the suffering as a standard for the elevation of the soul.

The philosopher is lacking, the interpreter of deeds, and not alone he who poetises them.


Imperfect Nihilism—its forms: we are now surrounded by them.

All attempts made to escape Nihilism, which do not consist in transvaluing the values that have prevailed hitherto, only make the matter worse; they complicate the problem.


The varieties of self-stupefaction. In one's heart of hearts, not to know, whither? Emptiness. The attempt to rise superior to it all by means of emotional intoxication: emotional intoxication in the form of music, in the form of cruelty in the tragic joy over the ruin of the noblest, and in the form of blind, gushing enthusiasm over individual men or distinct periods (in the form of hatred, etc.). The attempt to work blindly, like a scientific instrument; to keep an eye on the many small joys, like an investigator, for instance (modesty towards oneself); the mysticism of the voluptuous joy of eternal emptiness; art "for art's sake" ("le fait"), "immaculate investigation," in the form of narcotics against the disgust of oneself; any kind of incessant work, any kind of small foolish fanaticism; the medley of all means, illness as the result of general profligacy (dissipation kills pleasure).

(1) As a result, feeble will-power.

(2) Excessive pride and the humiliation of petty weakness felt as a contrast.


The time is coming when we shall have to pay for having been Christians for two thousand years: we are losing the equilibrium which enables us to live—for a long while we shall not know in what direction we are travelling. We are hurling ourselves headlong into the opposite valuations, with that degree of energy which could only have been engendered in man by an overvaluation of himself.

Now, everything is false from the root, words and nothing but words, confused, feeble, or over-strained.

(a) There is a seeking after a sort of earthly solution of the problem of life, but in the same sense as that of the final triumph of truth, love, justice (socialism: "equality of persons").

(b) There is also an attempt to hold fast to the moral ideal (with altruism, self-sacrifice, and the denial of the will, in the front rank).

(c) There is even an attempt to hold fast to a "Beyond": were it only as an antilogical x; but it is forthwith interpreted in such a way that a kind of metaphysical solace, after the old style, may be derived from it.

(d) There is an attempt to read the phenomena of life in such a way as to arrive at the divine guidance of old, with its powers of rewarding, punishing, educating, and of generally conducing to a something better in the order of things.

(e) People once more believe in good and evil; so that the victory of the good and the annihilation of the evil is regarded as a duty (this is English, and is typical of that blockhead, John Stuart Mill).

(f) The contempt felt for "naturalness," for the desires and for the ego: the attempt to regard even the highest intellectuality of art as a result of an impersonal and disinterested attitude.

(g) The Church is still allowed to meddle in all the essential occurrences and incidents in the life of the individual, with a view to consecrating it and giving it a loftier meaning: we still have the "Christian State" and the "Christian marriage."


There have been more thoughtful and more destructively thoughtful[4] times than ours: times like those in which Buddha appeared, for instance, in which the people themselves, after centuries of sectarian quarrels, had sunk so deeply into the abyss of philosophical dogmas, as, from time to time, European people have done in regard to the fine points of religious dogma. "Literature" and the press would be the last things to seduce one to any high opinion of the spirit of our times: the millions of Spiritists, and a Christianity with gymnastic exercises of that ghastly ugliness which is characteristic of all English inventions, throw more light on the subject.

European Pessimism is still in its infancy—a fact which argues against it: it has not yet attained to that prodigious and yearning fixity of sight to which it attained in India once upon a time, and in which nonentity is reflected; there is still too much of the "ready-made," and not enough of the "evolved" in its constitution, too much learned and poetic Pessimism; I mean that a good deal of it has been discovered, invented, and "created," but not caused.

[4] zerdachtere.


Criticism of the Pessimism which has prevailed hitherto. The want of the eudæmonological standpoint, as a last abbreviation of the question: what is the purpose of it all? The reduction of gloom.

Our Pessimism: the world has not the value which we believed it to have,—our faith itself has so increased our instinct for research that we are compelled to say this to-day. In the first place, it seems of less value: at first it is felt to be of less value,—only in this sense are we pessimists,—that is to say, with the will to acknowledge this transvaluation without reserve, and no longer, as heretofore, to deceive ourselves and chant the old old story.

It is precisely in this way that we find the pathos which urges us to seek for new values. In short: the world might have far more value than we thought—we must get behind the naïveté of our ideals, for it is possible that, in our conscious effort to give it the highest interpretation, we have not bestowed even a moderately just value upon it.

What has been deified? The valuing instinct inside the community (that which enabled it to survive).

What has been calumniated? That which has tended to separate higher men from their inferiors, the instincts which cleave gulfs and build barriers.


Causes effecting the rise of Pessimism:—

(1) The most powerful instincts and those which promised most for the future have hitherto been calumniated, so that life has a curse upon it.

(2) The growing bravery and the more daring mistrust on the part of man have led him to discover the fact that these instincts cannot be cut adrift from life, and thus he turns to embrace life.

(3) Only the most mediocre, who are not conscious of this conflict, prosper; the higher species fail, and as an example of degeneration tend to dispose all hearts against them—on the other hand, there is some indignation caused by the mediocre positing themselves as the end and meaning of all things. No one can any longer reply to the question: "Why?"

(4) Belittlement, susceptibility to pain, unrest, haste, and confusion are steadily increasing—the materialisation of all these tendencies, which is called "civilisation," becomes every day more simple, with the result that, in the face of the monstrous machine, the individual despairs and surrenders.


Modern Pessimism is an expression of the uselessness only of the modern world, not of the world and existence as such.


The "preponderance of pain over pleasure" or the reverse (Hedonism); both of these doctrines are already signposts to Nihilism....

For here, in both cases, no other final purpose is sought than the phenomenon pleasure or pain.

But only a man who no longer dares to posit a will, a purpose, and a final goal can speak in this way—according to every healthy type of man, the worth of life is certainly not measured by the standard of these secondary things. And a preponderance of pain would be possible and, in spite of it, a mighty will, a saying of yea to life, and a holding of this preponderance for necessary.

"Life is not worth living"; "Resignation"; "what is the good of tears?"—this is a feeble and sentimental attitude of mind. "Un monstre gai vaut mieux qu'un sentimental ennuyeux."


The philosophie Nihilist is convinced that all phenomena are without sense and are in vain, and that there ought to be no such thing as Being without sense and in vain. But whence comes this "There ought not to be?"—whence this "sense" and this standard? At bottom the Nihilist supposes that the sight of such a desolate, useless Being is unsatisfying to the philosopher, and fills him with desolation and despair. This aspect of the case is opposed to our subtle sensibilities as a philosopher. It leads to the absurd conclusion that the character of existence must perforce afford pleasure to the philosopher if it is to have any right to subsist.

Now it is easy to understand that happiness and unhappiness, within the phenomena of this world, can only serve the purpose of means: the question yet remaining to be answered is, whether it will ever be possible for us to perceive the "object" and "purpose" of life—whether the problem of purposelessness or the reverse is not quite beyond our ken.


The development of Nihilism out of Pessimism. The denaturalisation of Values. Scholasticism of values. The values isolated, idealistic, instead of ruling and leading action, turn against it and condemn it.

Opposites introduced in the place of natural gradations and ranks. Hatred of the order of rank. Opposites are compatible with a plebeian age, because they are more easy to grasp.

The rejected world is opposed to an artificially constructed "true and valuable" one. At last we discover out of what material the "true" world was built; all that remains, now, is the rejected world, and to the account of our reasons for rejecting it we place our greatest disillusionment.

At this point Nihilism is reached; the directing values have been retained—nothing more!

This gives rise to the problem of strength and weakness:—

(1) The weak fall to pieces upon it;

(2) The strong destroy what does not fall to pieces of its own accord;

(3) The strongest overcome the directing values.

The whole condition of affairs produces the tragic age.
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Re: The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Va

Postby admin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:56 pm

3. The Nihilistic Movement As an Expression of Decadence.


Just lately an accidental and in every way inappropriate term has been very much misused: everywhere people are speaking of "Pessimism," and there is a fight around the question (to which some replies must be forthcoming): which is right—Pessimism or Optimism?

People have not yet seen what is so terribly-obvious—namely, that Pessimism is not a problem but a symptom,—that the term ought to be replaced by "Nihilism,"—that the question, "to be or not to be," is itself an illness, a sign of degeneracy, an idiosyncrasy.

The Nihilistic movement is only an expression of physiological decadence.


To be understood:—That every kind of decline and tendency to sickness has incessantly been at work in helping to create general evaluations: that in those valuations which now dominate, decadence has even begun to preponderate, that we have not only to combat the conditions which present misery and degeneration have brought into being; but that all decadence, previous to that of our own times, has been transmitted and has therefore remained an active force amongst us. A universal departure of this kind, on the part of man, from his fundamental instincts, such universal decadence of the valuing judgment, is the note of interrogation par excellence, the real riddle, which the animal "man" sets to all philosophers.


The notion "decadence":—Decay, decline, and waste, are, per se, in no way open to objection; they are the natural consequences of life and vital growth. The phenomenon of decadence is just as necessary to life as advance or progress is: we are not in a position which enables us to suppress it. On the contrary, reason would have it retain its rights.

It is disgraceful on the part of socialist-theorists to argue that circumstances and social combinations could be devised which would put an end to all vice, illness, crime, prostitution, and poverty.... But that is tantamount to condemning Life ... a society is not at liberty to remain young. And even in its prime it must bring forth ordure and decaying matter. The more energetically and daringly it advances, the richer will it be in failures and in deformities, and the nearer it will be to its fall. Age is not deferred by means of institutions. Nor is illness. Nor is vice.


Fundamental aspect of the nature of decadence: what has heretofore been regarded as its causes are its effects.

In this way, the whole perspective of the problems of morality is altered.

All the struggle of morals against vice, luxury, crime, and even against illness, seems a naïveté, a superfluous effort: there is no such thing as "improvement" (a word against repentance).

Decadence itself is not a thing that can be withstood: it is absolutely necessary and is proper to all ages and all peoples. That which must be withstood, and by all means in our power, is the spreading of the contagion among the sound parts of the organism.

Is that done? The very reverse is done. It is precisely on this account that one makes a stand on behalf of humanity.

How do the highest values created hitherto stand in relation to this fundamental question in biology? Philosophy, religion, morality, art, etc.

(The remedy: militarism, for instance, from Napoleon onwards, who regarded civilisation as his natural enemy.)


All those things which heretofore have been regarded as the causes of degeneration, are really its effects.

But those things also which have been regarded as the remedies of degeneration are only palliatives of certain effects thereof: the "cured" are types of the degenerate.

The results of decadence: vice—viciousness; illness—sickliness; crime—criminality; celibacy—sterility; hysteria—the weakness of the will; alcoholism; pessimism, anarchy; debauchery (also of the spirit). The calumniators, underminers, sceptics, and destroyers.


Concerning the notion "decadence." (1) Scepticism is a result of decadence: just as spiritual debauchery is.

(2) Moral corruption is a result of decadence (the weakness of the will and the need of strong stimulants).

(3) Remedies, whether psychological or moral, do not alter the march of decadence, they do not arrest anything; physiologically they do not count.

A peep into the enormous futility of these pretentious "reactions"; they are forms of anæsthetising oneself against certain fatal symptoms resulting from the prevailing condition of things; they do not eradicate the morbid element; they are often heroic attempts to cancel the decadent man, to allow only a minimum of his deleterious influence to survive.

(4) Nihilism is not a cause, but only the rationale of decadence.

(5) The "good" and the "bad" are no more than two types of decadence: they come together in all its fundamental phenomena.

(6) The social problem is a result of decadence.

(7) Illnesses, more particularly those attacking the nerves and the head, are signs that the defensive strength of strong nature is lacking; a proof of this is that irritability which causes pleasure and pain to be regarded as problems of the first order.


The most common types of decadence: (1) In the belief that they are remedies, cures are chosen which only precipitate exhaustion;—this is the case with Christianity (to point to the most egregious example of mistaken instinct);—this is also the case with "progress."

(2) The power of resisting stimuli is on the wane—chance rules supreme: events are inflated and drawn out until they appear monstrous ... a suppression of the "personality," a disintegration of the will; in this regard we may mention a whole class of morality, the altruistic, that which is incessantly preaching pity, and whose most essential feature is the weakness of the personality, so that it rings in unison, and, like an over-sensitive string, does not cease from vibrating ... extreme irritability....

(3) Cause and effect are confounded: decadence is not understood as physiological, and its results are taken to be the causes of the general indisposition:—this applies to all religious morality.

(4) A state of affairs is desired in which suffering shall cease; life is actually considered the cause of all ills—unconscious and insensitive states (sleep and syncope) are held in incomparably higher esteem than the conscious states; hence a method of life.


Concerning the hygiene of the "weak." All that is done in weakness ends in failure. Moral: do nothing. The worst of it is, that precisely the strength required in order to stop action, and to cease from reacting, is most seriously diseased under the influence of weakness: that one never reacts more promptly or more blindly than when one should not react at all.

The strength of a character is shown by the ability to delay and postpone reaction: a certain ἀδιαφορία is just as proper to it, as involuntariness in recoiling, suddenness and lack of restraint in "action," are proper to weakness. The will is weak: and the recipe for preventing foolish acts would be: to have a strong will and to do nothing—contradiction. A sort of self-destruction, the instinct of self-preservation is compromised.... The weak man injures himself.... That is the decadent type.

As a matter of fact, we meet with a vast amount of thought concerning the means wherewith impassibility may be induced. To this extent, the instincts are on the right scent; for to do nothing is more useful than to do something....

All the practices of private orders, of solitary philosophers, and of fakirs, are suggested by a correct consideration of the fact, that a certain kind of man is most useful to himself when he hinders his own action as much as possible.

Relieving measures: absolute obedience, mechanical activity, total isolation from men and things that might exact immediate decisions and actions.


Weakness of Will: this is a fable that can lead astray. For there is no will, consequently neither a strong nor a weak one. The multiplicity and disintegration of the instincts, the want of system in their relationship, constitute what is known as a "weak will"; their co-ordination, under the government of one individual among them, results in a "strong will"—in the first case vacillation and a lack of equilibrium is noticeable: in the second, precision and definite direction.


That which is inherited is not illness, but a predisposition to illness: a lack of the powers of resistance against injurious external influences, etc. etc, broken powers of resistance; expressed morally: resignation and humility in the presence of the enemy.

I have often wondered whether it would not be possible to class all the highest values of the philosophies, moralities, and religions which have been devised hitherto, with the values of the feeble, the insane and the neurasthenic in a milder form, they present the same evils.

The value of all morbid conditions consists in the fact that they magnify certain normal phenomena which are difficult to discern in normal conditions....

Health and illness are not essentially different, as the ancient doctors believed and as a few practitioners still believe to-day. They cannot be imagined as two distinct principles or entities which fight for the living organism and make it their battlefield. That is nonsense and mere idle gossip, which no longer holds water. As a matter of fact, there is only a difference of degree between these two living conditions: exaggeration, want of proportion, want of harmony among the normal phenomena, constitute the morbid state (Claude Bernard).

Just as "evil" may be regarded as exaggeration, discord, and want of proportion, so can "good" be regarded as a sort of protective diet against the danger of exaggeration, discord, and want of proportion.

Hereditary weakness as a dominant feeling: the cause of the prevailing values.

N.B.—Weakness is in demand—why?... mostly because people cannot be anything else than weak.

Weakening considered a duty: The weakening of the desires, of the feelings of pleasure and of pain, of the will to power, of the will to pride, to property and to more property; weakening in the form of humility; weakening in the form of a belief; weakening in the form of repugnance and shame in the presence of all that is natural—in the form of a denial of life, in the form of illness and chronic feebleness; weakening in the form of a refusal to take revenge, to offer resistance, to become an enemy, and to show anger.

Blunders in the treatment: there is no attempt at combating weakness by means of any fortifying system; but by a sort of justification consisting of moralising; i.e., by means of interpretation.

Two totally different conditions are confused: for instance, the repose of strength, which is essentially abstinence from reaction (the prototype of the gods whom nothing moves), and the peace of exhaustion, rigidity to the point of anæsthesia. All these philosophic and ascetic modes of procedure aspire to the second state, but actually pretend to attain to the first ... for they ascribe to the condition they have reached the attributes that would be in keeping only with a divine state.


The most dangerous misunderstanding.—There is one concept which apparently allows of no confusion or ambiguity, and that is the concept exhaustion. Exhaustion may be acquired or inherited—in any case it alters the aspect and value of things.

Unlike him who involuntarily gives of the superabundance which he both feels and represents, to the things about him, and who sees them fuller, mightier, and more pregnant with promises,—who, in fact, can bestow,—the exhausted one belittles and disfigures everything he sees—he impoverishes its worth: he is detrimental....

No mistake seems possible in this matter: and yet history discloses the terrible fact, that the exhausted have always been confounded with those with the most abundant resources, and the latter with the most detrimental.

The pauper in vitality, the feeble one, impoverishes even life: the wealthy man, in vital powers, enriches it. The first is the parasite of the second: the second is a bestower of his abundance. How is confusion possible?

When he who was exhausted came forth with the bearing of a very active and energetic man (when degeneration implied a certain excess of spiritual and nervous discharge), he was mistaken for the wealthy man. He inspired terror. The cult of the madman is also always the cult of him who is rich in vitality, and who is a powerful man. The fanatic, the one possessed, the religious epileptic, all eccentric creatures have been regarded as the highest types of power: as divine.

This kind of strength which inspires terror seemed to be, above all, divine: this was the starting-point of authority; here wisdom was interpreted, hearkened to, and sought. Out of this there was developed, everywhere almost, a will to "deify," i.e., to a typical degeneration of spirit, body, and nerves: an attempt to discover the road to this higher form of being. To make oneself ill or mad, to provoke the symptoms of serious disorder—was called getting stronger, becoming more superhuman, more terrible and more wise. People thought they would thus attain to such wealth of power, that they would be able to dispense it. Wheresoever there have been prayers, some one has been sought who had something to give away.

What led astray, here, was the experience of intoxication. This increases the feeling of power to the highest degree, therefore, to the mind of the ingenuous, it is power. On the highest altar of power the most intoxicated man must stand, the ecstatic. (There are two causes of intoxication: superabundant life, and a condition of morbid nutrition of the brain.)


Acquired, not inherited exhaustion: (1) inadequate nourishment, often the result of ignorance concerning diet, as, for instance, in the case of scholars; (2) erotic precocity: the damnation more especially of the youth of France—Parisian youths, above all, who are already dirtied and ruined when they step out of their lycées into the world, and who cannot break the chains of despicable tendencies; ironical and scornful towards themselves—galley-slaves despite all their refinement (moreover, in the majority of cases, already a symptom of racial and family decadence, as all hypersensitiveness is; and examples of the infection of environment: to be influenced by one's environment is also a sign of decadence); (3) alcoholism, not the instinct but the habit, foolish imitation, the cowardly or vain adaptation to a ruling fashion. What a blessing a Jew is among Germans! See the obtuseness, the flaxen head, the blue eye, and the lack of intellect in the face, the language, and the bearing; the lazy habit of stretching the limbs, and the need of repose among Germans—a need which is not the result of overwork, but of the disgusting excitation and over-excitation caused by alcohol.


A theory of exhaustion.—Vice, the insane (also artists), the criminals, the anarchists—these are not the oppressed classes, but the outcasts of the community of all classes hitherto.

Seeing that all our classes are permeated by these elements, we have grasped the fact that modern society is not a "society" or a "body," but a diseased agglomeration of Chandala,—a society which no longer has the strength even to excrete.

To what extent living together for centuries has very much deepened sickliness:

modern virtuee }
modern intellect } as forms of disease.
modern science }


The state of corruption.—The interrelation of all forms of corruption should be understood, and the Christian form (Pascal as the type), as also the socialistic and communistic (a result of the Christian), should not be overlooked (from the standpoint of natural science, the highest conception of society according to socialists, is the lowest in the order of rank among societies); the "Beyond" —corruption: as though outside the real world of Becoming there were a world of Being.

Here there must be no compromise, but selection, annihilation, and war—the Christian Nihilistic standard of value must be withdrawn from all things and attacked beneath every disguise ... for instance, from modern sociology, music, and Pessimism (all forms of the Christian ideal of values).

Either one thing or the other is true—that is to say, tending to elevate the type man....

The priest, the shepherd of souls, should be looked upon as a form of life which must be suppressed. All education, hitherto, has been helpless, adrift, without ballast, and afflicted with the contradiction of values.

Either one thing or the other is true—that is to say, tending to elevate the type man....

The priest, the shepherd of souls, should be looked upon as a form of life which must be suppressed. All education, hitherto, has been helpless, adrift, without ballast, and afflicted with the contradiction of values.


If Nature have no pity on the degenerate, it is not therefore immoral: the growth of physiological and moral evils in the human race, is rather the result of morbid and unnatural morality. The sensitiveness of the majority of men is both morbid and unnatural.

Why is it that mankind is corrupt in a moral and physiological respect? The body degenerates if one organ is unsound. The right of altruism cannot be traced to physiology, neither can the right to help and to the equality of fate: these are all premiums for degenerates and failures.

There can be no solidarity in a society containing unfruitful, unproductive, and destructive members, who, by the bye, are bound to have offspring even more degenerate than they are themselves.


Decadence exercises a profound and perfectly unconscious influence, even over the ideals of science: all our sociology is a proof of this proposition, and it has yet to be reproached with the fact that it has only the experience of society in the process of decay, and inevitably takes its own decaying instincts as the basis of sociological judgment.

The declining vitality of modern Europe formulates its social ideals in its decaying instincts: and these ideals are all so like those of old and effete races, that they might be mistaken for one another.

The gregarious instinct, then,—now a sovereign power,—is something totally different from the instinct of an aristocratic society: and the value of the sum depends upon the value of the units constituting it.... The whole of our sociology knows no other instinct than that of the herd, i.e., of a multitude of mere ciphers—of which every cipher has "equal rights," and where it is a virtue to be——naught....

The valuation with which the various forms of society are judged to-day is absolutely the same with that which assigns a higher place to peace than to war: but this principle is contrary to the teaching of biology, and is itself a mere outcome of decadent life. Life is a result of war, society is a means to war.... Mr. Herbert Spencer was a decadent in biology, as also in morality (he regarded the triumph of altruism as a desideratum!!!).


After thousands of years of error and confusion, it is my good fortune to have rediscovered the road which leads to a Yea and to a Nay.

I teach people to say Nay in the face of all that makes for weakness and exhaustion.

I teach people to say Yea in the face of all that makes for strength, that preserves strength, and justifies the feeling of strength.

Up to the present, neither the one nor the other has been taught; but rather virtue, disinterestedness, pity, and even the negation of life. All these are values proceeding from exhausted people.

After having pondered over the physiology of exhaustion for some time, I was led to the question: to what extent the judgments of exhausted people had percolated into the world of values.

The result at which I arrived was as startling as it could possibly be—even for one like myself who was already at home in many a strange world: I found that all prevailing values—that is to say, all those which had gained ascendancy over humanity, or at least over its tamer portions, could be traced back to the judgment of exhausted people.

Under the cover of the holiest names, I found the most destructive tendencies; people had actually given the name "God" to all that renders weak, teaches weakness, and infects with weakness.... I found that the "good man" was a form of self-affirmation on the part of decadence.

That virtue which Schopenhauer still proclaimed as superior to all, and as the most fundamental of all virtues; even that same pity I recognised as more dangerous than any vice. Deliberately to thwart the law of selection among species, and their natural means of purging their stock of degenerate members—this, up to my time, had been the greatest of all virtues....

One should do honour to the fatality which says to the feeble: "perish!"

The opposing of this fatality, the botching of mankind and the allowing of it to putrefy, was given the name "God" One shall not take the name of the Lord one's God in vain....

The race is corrupted—not by its vices, but by its ignorance: it is corrupted because it has not recognised exhaustion as exhaustion: physiological misunderstandings are the cause of all evil.

Virtue is our greatest misunderstanding.

Problem: how were the exhausted able to make the laws of values? In other words, how did they who are the last, come to power?... How did the instincts of the animal man ever get to stand on their heads?...
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Re: The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Va

Postby admin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:58 pm

4. The Crisis: Nihilism and the Idea of Recurrence.


Extreme positions are not relieved by more moderate ones, but by extreme opposite positions. And thus the belief in the utter immorality of nature, and in the absence of all purpose and sense, are psychologically necessary attitudes when the belief in God and in an essentially moral order of things is no longer tenable.

Nihilism now appears, not because the sorrows of existence are greater than they were formerly, but because, in a general way, people have grown suspicious of the "meaning" which might be given to evil and even to existence. One interpretation has been overthrown: but since it was held to be the interpretation, it seems as though there were no meaning in existence at all, as though everything were in vain.


It yet remains to be shown that this "in vain!" is the character of present Nihilism. The mistrust of our former valuations has increased to such an extent that it has led to the question: "are not all 'values' merely allurements prolonging the duration of the comedy, without, however, bringing the unravelling any closer?" The "long period of time" which has culminated in an "in vain," without either goal or purpose, is the most paralysing of thoughts, more particularly when one sees that one is duped without, however, being able to resist being duped.


Let us imagine this thought in its worst form: existence, as it is, without either a purpose or a goal, but inevitably recurring, without an end in nonentity: "Eternal Recurrence."

This is the extremest form of Nihilism: nothing (purposelessness) eternal!

European form of Buddhism: the energy of knowledge and of strength drives us to such a belief. It is the most scientific of all hypotheses. We deny final purposes. If existence had a final purpose it would have reached it.


It should be understood that what is being aimed at, here, is a contradiction of Pantheism: for "everything perfect, divine, eternal," also leads to the belief in Eternal Recurrence. Question: has this pantheistic and affirmative attitude to all things also been made possible by morality? At bottom only the moral God has been overcome. Is there any sense in imagining a God "beyond good and evil"? Would Pantheism in this sense be possible? Do we withdraw the idea of purpose from the process, and affirm the process notwithstanding? This were so if, within that process, something were attained every moment—and always the same thing. Spinoza won an affirmative position of this sort, in the sense that every moment, according to him, has a logical necessity: and he triumphed by means of his fundamentally logical instinct over a like conformation of the world.


But his case is exceptional. If every fundamental trait of character, which lies beneath every act, and which finds expression in every act, were recognised by the individual as his fundamental trait of character, this individual would be driven to regard every moment of his existence in general, triumphantly as good. It would simply be necessary for that fundamental trait of character to be felt in oneself as something good, valuable, and pleasurable.


Now, in the case of those men and classes of men who were treated with violence and oppressed by their fellows, morality saved life from despair and from the leap into nonentity:. for impotence in relation to mankind and not in relation to Nature is what generates the most desperate bitterness towards existence. Morality treated the powerful, the violent, and the "masters" in general, as enemies against whom the common man must be protected—that is to say, emboldened, strengthened. Morality has therefore always taught the most profound hatred and contempt of the fundamental trait of character of all rulers—i.e., their Will to Power. To suppress, to deny, and to decompose this morality, would mean to regard this most thoroughly detested instinct with the reverse of the old feeling and valuation. If the sufferer and the oppressed man were to lose his belief in his right to contemn the Will to Power, his position would be desperate. This would be so if the trait above-mentioned were essential to life, in which case it would follow that even that will to morality was only a cloak to this "Will to Power," as are also even that hatred and contempt. The oppressed man would then perceive that he stands on the same platform with the oppressor, and that he has no individual privilege, nor any higher rank than the latter.


On the contrary! There is nothing on earth which can have any value, if it have not a modicum of power—granted, of course, that life itself is the Will to Power. Morality protected the botched and bungled against Nihilism, in that it gave every one of them infinite worth, metaphysical worth, and classed them altogether in one order which did not correspond with that of worldly power and order of rank: it taught submission, humility, etc. Admitting that the belief in this morality be destroyed, the botched and the bungled would no longer have any comfort, and would perish.

This perishing seems like self-annihilation, like an instinctive selection of that which must be destroyed. The symptoms of this self-destruction of the botched and the bungled: self-vivisection, poisoning, intoxication, romanticism, and, above all, the instinctive constraint to acts whereby the powerful are made into mortal enemies (training, so to speak, one's own hangmen), the will to destruction as the will of a still deeper instinct—of the instinct of self-destruction, of the Will to Nonentity.


Nihilism is a sign that the botched and bungled in order to be destroyed, that, having been deprived of morality, they no longer have any reason to "resign themselves," that they take up their stand on the territory of the opposite principle, and will also exercise power themselves, by compelling the powerful to become their hangmen. This is the European form of Buddhism, that active negation, after all existence has lost its meaning.


It must not be supposed that "poverty" has grown more acute, on the contrary! "God, morality, resignation" were remedies in the very deepest stages of misery: active Nihilism made its appearance in circumstances which were relatively much more favourable. The fact, alone, that morality is regarded as overcome, presupposes a certain degree of intellectual culture; while this very culture, for its part, bears evidence to a certain relative well-being. A certain intellectual fatigue, brought on by the long struggle concerning philosophical opinions, and carried to hopeless scepticism against philosophy, shows moreover that the level of these Nihilists is by no means a low one. Only think of the conditions in which Buddha appeared! The teaching of the eternal recurrence would have learned principles to go upon (just as Buddha's teaching, for instance, had the notion of causality, etc.).


What do we mean to-day by the words "botched and bungled"? In the first place, they are used physiologically and not politically. The unhealthiest kind of man all over Europe (in all classes) is the soil out of which Nihilism grows: this species of man will regard eternal recurrence as damnation—once he is bitten by the thought, he can no longer recoil before any action. He would not extirpate passively, but would cause everything to be extirpated which is meaningless and without a goal to this extent; although it is only a spasm, or sort of blind rage in the presence of the fact that everything has existed again and again for an eternity—even this period of Nihilism and destruction. The value of such a crisis is that it purifies, that it unites similar elements, and makes them mutually destructive, that it assigns common duties to men of opposite persuasions, and brings the weaker and more uncertain among them to the light, thus taking the first step towards a new order of rank among forces from the standpoint of health: recognising commanders as commanders, subordinates as subordinates. Naturally irrespective of all the present forms of society.


What class of men will prove they are strongest in this new order of things? The most moderate—they who do not require any extreme forms of belief, they who not only admit of, but actually like, a certain modicum of chance and nonsense; they who can think of man with a very moderate view of his value, without becoming weak and small on that account; the most rich in health, who are able to withstand a maximum amount of sorrow, and who are therefore not so very much afraid of sorrow—men who are certain of their power, and who represent with conscious pride the state of strength to which man has attained.


How could such a man think of Eternal Recurrence?


The Periods of European Nihilism.

The Period of Obscurity: all kinds of groping measures devised to preserve old institutions and not to arrest the progress of new ones.

The Period of Light: men see that old and new are fundamental contraries; that the old values are born of descending life, and that the new ones are born of ascending life—that all old ideals are unfriendly to life (born of decadence and determining it, however much they may be decked out in the Sunday finery of morality). We understand the old, but are far from being sufficiently strong for the new.

The Periods of the Three Great Passions: contempt, pity, destruction.

The Periods of Catastrophes: the rise of a teaching which will sift mankind ... which drives the weak to some decision and the strong also.
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Re: The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Va

Postby admin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:01 pm


(a) Modern Gloominess.


My friends, we had a hard time as youths; we even suffered from youth itself as though it were a serious disease. This is owing to the age in which we were born—an age of enormous internal decay and disintegration which, with all its weakness and even with the best of its strength, is opposed to the spirit of youth. Disintegration—that is to say, uncertainty—is peculiar to this age: nothing stands on solid ground or on a sound faith. People live for the morrow, because the day-after-to-morrow is doubtful. All our road is slippery and dangerous, while the ice which still bears us has grown unconscionably thin: we all feel the mild and gruesome breath of the thaw-wind—soon, where we are walking, no one will any longer be able to stand!


If this is not an age of decay and of diminishing vitality, it is at least one of indiscriminate and arbitrary experimentalising—and it is probable that out of an excess of abortive experiments there has grown this general impression, as of decay: and perhaps decay itself.


Concerning the history of modern gloominess.

The state-nomads (officials, etc.): "homeless"—.

The break-up of the family.

The "good man" as a symptom of exhaustion.

Justice as Will to Power (Rearing).

Lewdness and neurosis.

Black music: whither has real music gone?

The anarchist.

Contempt of man, loathing.

Most profound distinction: whether hunger or satiety is creative? The first creates the Ideals of Romanticism.

Northern unnaturalness.

The need of Alcohol: the "need" of the working classes.

Philosophical Nihilism.


The slow advance and rise of the middle and lower classes (including the lower kind of spirit and body), which was already well under way before the French Revolution, and would have made the same progress forward without the latter,—in short, then, the preponderance of the herd over all herdsmen and bell-wethers,—brings in its train:—

(1) Gloominess of spirit (the juxtaposition of a stoical and a frivolous appearance of happiness, peculiar to noble cultures, is on the decline; much suffering is allowed to be seen and heard which formerly was borne in concealment);

(2) Moral hypocrisy (a way of distinguishing oneself through morality, but by means of the values of the herd: pity, solicitude, moderation; and not by means of those virtues which are recognised and honoured outside the herd's sphere of power);

(3) A really large amount of sympathy with both pain and joy (a feeling of pleasure resulting from being herded together, which is peculiar to all gregarious animals—"public spirit," "patriotism," everything, in fact, which is apart from the individual).


Our age, with its indiscriminate endeavours to mitigate distress, to honour it, and to wage war in advance with unpleasant possibilities, is an age of the poor. Our "rich people"—they are the poorest! The real purpose of all wealth has been forgotten.


Criticism of modern man:—"the good man," but corrupted and misled by bad institutions (tyrants and priests);—reason elevated to a position of authority;—history is regarded as the surmounting of errors;—the future is regarded as progress;—the Christian state ("God of the armies");—Christian sexual intercourse (as marriage);—the realm of "justice" (the cult of "mankind");—"freedom."

The romantic attitudes of the modern man;—the noble man (Byron, Victor Hugo, George Sand);—taking the part of the oppressed and the bungled and the botched: motto for historians and romancers;—the Stoics of duty;—disinterestedness regarded as art and as knowledge;—altruism as the most mendacious form of egoism (utilitarianism), the most sentimental form of egoism.

All this savours of the eighteenth century. But it had other qualities which were not inherited, namely, a certain insouciance, cheerfulness, elegance, spiritual clearness. The spiritual tempo has altered; the pleasure which was begotten by spiritual refinement and clearness has given room to the pleasure of colour, harmony, mass, reality, etc. etc. Sensuality in spiritual things. In short, it is the eighteenth century of Rousseau.


Taken all in all, a considerable amount of humanity has been attained by our men of to-day. That we feel this is in itself a proof of the fact that we have become so sensitive in regard to small cases of distress, that we somewhat unjustly overlook what has been achieved.

Here we must make allowances for the fact that a great deal of decadence is rife, and that, through such eyes, our world must appear bad and wretched. But these eyes have always seen in the same way, in all ages.

(1) A certain hypersensitiveness, even in morality.

(2) The quantum of bitterness and gloominess, which pessimism bears with it in its judgments—both together have helped to bring about the preponderance of the other and opposite point of view, that things are not well with our morality.

The fact of credit, of the commerce of the world, and the means of traffic—are expressions of an extraordinarily mild trustfulness in men.... To that may also be added—

(3) The deliverance of science from moral and religious prejudices: a very good sign, though for the most part misunderstood.

In my own way, I am attempting a justification of history.


The second appearance of Buddhism.—Its precursory signs: the increase of pity. Spiritual exhaustion. The reduction of all problems to the question of pleasure and pain. The glory of war which calls forth a counter-stroke. Just as the sharp demarcation of nations generates a counter-movement in the form of the most hearty "Fraternity." The fact that it is impossible for religion to carry on its work any longer with dogma and fables.

The catastrophe of Nihilism will put an end to all this Buddhistic culture.


That which is most sorely afflicted to-day is the instinct and will of tradition: all institutions which owe their origin to this instinct, are opposed to the tastes of the age.... At bottom, nothing is thought or done which is not calculated to tear up this spirit of tradition by the roots. Tradition is looked upon as a fatality; it is studied and acknowledged (in the form of "heredity"), but people will not have anything to do with it. The extension of one will over long periods of time, the selection of conditions and valuations which make it possible to dispose of centuries in advance—this, precisely, is what is most utterly anti-modern. From which it follows, that disorganising principles give our age its specific character.


"Be simple"—a demand which, when made to us complicated and incomprehensible triers of the heart and reins, is a simple absurdity.... Be natural: but even if we are unnatural—what then?


The means employed in former times in order to arrive at similarly constituted and lasting types, throughout long generations: entailed property and the respect of parents (the origin of the faith in gods and heroes as ancestors).

Now, the subdivision of property belongs to the opposite tendency. The centralisation of an enormous number of, different interests in one soul: which, to that end, must be very strong and mutable.


Why does everything become mummery.—The modern man is lacking in unfailing instinct (instinct being understood here to mean that which is the outcome of a long period of activity in the same occupation on the part of one family of men); the incapability of producing anything perfect, is simply the result of this lack of instinct: one individual alone cannot make up for the schooling his ancestors should have transmitted to him.

What a morality or book of law creates: that deep instinct which renders automatism and perfection possible in life and in work.

But now we have reached the opposite point; yes, we wanted to reach it—the most extreme consciousness, through introspection on the part of man and of history: and thus we are practically most distant from perfection in Being, doing, and willing: our desires—even our will to knowledge—shows how prodigiously decadent we are. We are striving after the very reverse of what strong races and strong natures will have—understanding is an end....

That Science is possible in the way in which it is practised to-day, proves that all elementary instincts, the instincts which ward off danger and protect life, are no longer active. We no longer save, we are merely spending the capital of our forefathers, even in the way in which we pursue knowledge.


Nihilistic trait.

(a) In the natural sciences ("purposelessness"), causality, mechanism, "conformity to law," an interval, a remnant.

(b) Likewise in politics: the individual lacks the belief in his own right, innocence; falsehood rules supreme, as also the worship of the moment.

(d) Likewise in political economy: the abolition of slavery: the lack of a redeeming class, and of one who justifies—the rise of anarchy. "Education"?

(d) Likewise in history: fatalism, Darwinism; the last attempts at reconciling reason and Godliness fail. Sentimentality in regard to the past: biographies can no longer be endured! (Phenomenalism even here: character regarded as a mask; there are no facts.)

(e) Likewise in Art: romanticism and its counter-stroke (repugnance towards romantic ideals and lies). The latter, morally, as a sense of greatest truthfulness, but pessimistic. Pure "artists" (indifference as to the "subject"). (The psychology of the father-confessor and puritanical psychology—two forms of psychological romanticism: but also their counter-stroke, the attempt to maintain a purely artistic attitude towards "men"—but even in this respect no one dares to make the opposite valuation.)


Against the teaching of the influence of environment and external causes: the power coming from inside is infinitely superior; much that appears like influence acting from without is merely the subjection of environment to this inner power.

Precisely the same environment may be used and interpreted in opposite ways: there are no facts. A genius is not explained by such theories concerning origins.


"Modernity" regarded in the light of nutrition and digestion.

Sensitiveness is infinitely more acute (beneath moral vestments: the increase of pity), the abundance of different impressions is greater than ever. The cosmopolitanism of articles of diet, of literature, newspapers, forms, tastes, and even landscapes. The speed of this affluence is prestissimo; impressions are wiped out, and people instinctively guard against assimilating anything or against taking anything seriously and "digesting" it; the result is a weakening of the powers of digestion. There begin a sort of adaptation to this accumulation of impressions. Man unlearns the art of doing, and all he does is to react to stimuli coming from his environment. He spends his strength, partly in the process of assimilation, partly in defending himself, and again partly in responding to stimuli. Profound enfeeblement of spontaneity:—the historian, the critic, the analyst, the interpreter, the observer, the collector, the reader,—all reactive talents,—all science!

Artificial modification of one's own nature in order to make it resemble a "mirror"; one is interested, but only epidermally: this is systematic coolness, equilibrium, a steady low temperature, just beneath the thin surface on which warmth, movement, "storm," and undulations play.

Opposition of external mobility to a certain dead heaviness and fatigue.


Where must our modern world be classed—under exhaustion or under increasing strength? Its multiformity and lack of repose are brought about by the highest form of consciousness.


Overwork, curiosity and sympathy—our modern vices.


A contribution to the characterisation of "Modernity."—Exaggerated development of intermediate forms; the decay of types; the break-up of tradition, schools; the predominance of the instincts (philosophically prepared: the unconscious has the greater value) after the appearance of the enfeeblement of will power and of the will to an end and to the means thereto.


A capable artisan or scholar cuts a good figure if he have his pride in his art, and looks pleasantly and contentedly upon life. On the other hand, there is no sight more wretched than that of a cobbler or a schoolmaster who, with the air of a martyr, gives one to understand that he was really born for something better. There is nothing better than what is good! and that is: to have a certain kind of capacity and to use it. This is virtù in the Italian style of the Renaissance.

Nowadays, when the state has a nonsensically oversized belly, in all fields and branches of work there are "representatives" over and above the real workman: for instance, in addition to the scholars, there are the journalists; in addition to the suffering masses, there is a crowd of jabbering and bragging ne'er-do-wells who "represent" that suffering—not to speak of the professional politicians who, though quite satisfied with their lot, stand up in Parliament and, with strong lungs, "represent" grievances. Our modern life is extremely expensive, thanks to the host of middlemen that infest it; whereas in the city of antiquity, and in many a city of Spain and Italy to-day, where there is an echo of the ancient spirit, the man himself comes forward and will have nothing to do with a representative or an intermediary in the modern style—except perhaps to kick him hence!


The pre-eminence of the merchant and the middleman, even in the most intellectual spheres: the journalist, the "representative," the historian (as an intermediary between the past and the present), the exotic and cosmopolitan, the middleman between natural science and philosophy, the semi-theologians.


The men I have regarded with the most loathing, heretofore, are the parasites of intellect: they are to be found everywhere, already, in our modern Europe, and as a matter of fact their conscience is as light as it possibly can be. They may be a little turbid, and savour somewhat of Pessimism, but in the main they are voracious, dirty, dirtying, stealthy, insinuating, light-fingered gentry, scabby—and as innocent as all small sinners and microbes are. They live at the expense of those who have intellect and who distribute it liberally: they know that it is peculiar to the rich mind to live in a disinterested fashion, without taking too much petty thought for the morrow, and to distribute its wealth prodigally. For intellect is a bad domestic economist, and pays no heed whatever to the fact that everything lives on it and devours it.


Modern Mummery

The motleyness of modern men and its charm Essentially a mask and a sign of boredom.

The journalist.

The political man (in the "national swindle").

Mummery in the arts:—

The lack of honesty in preparing and schooling oneself for them (Fromentin);

The Romanticists (their lack of philosophy and science and their excess in literature);

The novelists (Walter Scott, but also the monsters of the Nibelung, with their inordinately nervous music);

The lyricists.


Virtuosos (Jews).

The popular ideals are overcome, but not yet in the presence of the people:

The saint, the sage, the prophet.


The want of discipline in the modern spirit concealed beneath all kinds of moral finery.—The show-words are: Toleration (for the "incapacity of saying yes or no"); la largeur de sympathie (= a third of indifference, a third of curiosity, and a third of morbid susceptibility); "objectivity" (the lack of personality and of will, and the inability to "love"); "freedom" in regard to the rule (Romanticism); "truth" as opposed to falsehood and lying (Naturalism); the "scientific spirit" (the "human document": or, in plain English, the serial story which means "addition"—instead of "composition"); "passion" in the place of disorder and intemperance; "depth" in the place of confusion and the pell-mell of symbols.


Concerning the criticism of big words.—I am full of mistrust and malice towards what is called "ideal": this is my Pessimism, that I have recognised to what extent "sublime sentiments" are a source of evil—that is to say, a belittling and depreciating of man.

Every time "progress" is expected to result from an ideal, disappointment invariably follows; the triumph of an ideal has always been a retrograde movement.

Christianity, revolution, the abolition of slavery, equal rights, philanthropy, love of peace, justice, truth: all these big words are only valuable in a struggle, as banners: not as realities, but as show-words, for something quite different (yea, even quite opposed to what they mean!).


The kind of man is known who has fallen in love with the sentence "tout comprendre à est tout pardonner" It is the weak and, above all, the disillusioned: if there is something to pardon in everything, there is also something to contemn! It is the philosophy of disappointment, which here swathes itself so humanly in pity, and gazes out so sweetly.

They are Romanticists, whose faith has gone to pot: now they at least wish to look on and see how everything vanishes and fades. They call it l'art pour l'art, "objectivity," etc.


The main symptoms of Pessimism:—Dinners at Magny's; Russian Pessimism (Tolstoy, Dostoiewsky); æsthetic Pessimism, l'art pour l'art, "description" (the romantic and the anti-romantic Pessimism); Pessimism in the theory of knowledge (Schopenhauer: phenomenalism); anarchical Pessimism; the "religion of pity," Buddhistic preparation; the Pessimism of culture (exoticness, cosmopolitanism); moral Pessimism, myself.


"Without the Christian Faith" said Pascal, "you would yourselves be like nature and history, un monstre et un chaos." We fulfilled this prophecy: once the weak and optimistic eighteenth century had embellished and rationalised man.

Schopenhauer and Pascal.—I none essential point, Schopenhauer is the first who takes up Pascal's movement again: un monstre et un chaos, consequently something that must be negatived ... history, nature, and man himself!

"Our inability to know the truth is the result of our corruption, of our moral decay" says Pascal. And Schopenhauer says essentially the same. "The more profound the corruption of reason is, the more necessary is the doctrine of salvation"—or, putting it into Schopenhauerian phraseology, negation.


Schopenhauer as an epigone (state of affairs before the Revolution):—Pity, sensuality, art, weakness of will, Catholicism of the most intellectual desires—that is, at bottom, the good old eighteenth century.

Schopenhauer's fundamental misunderstanding of the will (just as though passion, instinct, and desire were the essential factors of will) is typical: the depreciation of the will to the extent of mistaking it altogether. Likewise the hatred of willing: the attempt at seeing something superior—yea, even superiority itself, and that which really matters, in non-willing, in the "subject-being without aim or intention." Great symptom of fatigue or of the weakness of will: for this, in reality, is what treats the passions as master, and directs them as to the way and to the measure....


The undignified attempt has been made to regard Wagner and Schopenhauer as types of the mentally unsound: an infinitely more essential understanding of the matter would have been gained if the exact decadent type which each of them represents had been scientifically and accurately defined.


In my opinion, Henrik Ibsen has become very German. With all his robust idealism and "Will to Truth," he never dared to ring himself free from moral-illusionism which says "freedom," and will not admit, even to itself, what freedom is: the second stage in the metamorphosis of the "Will to Power" in him who lacks it. In the first stage, one demands justice at the hands of those who have power. In the second, one speaks of "freedom," that is to say, one wishes to "shake oneself free" from those who have power. In the third stage, one speaks of "equal rights"—that is to say, so long as one is not a predominant personality one wishes to prevent one's competitors from growing in power.


The Decline of Protestantism: theoretically and historically understood as a half-measure. Undeniable predominance of Catholicism to-day: Protestant feeling is so dead that the strongest anti-Protestant movements (Wagner's Parsifal, for instance) are no longer regarded as such. The whole of the more elevated intellectuality in France is Catholic in instinct; Bismarck recognised that there was no longer any such thing as Protestantism.


Protestantism, that spiritually unclean and tiresome form of decadence, in which Christianity has known how to survive in the mediocre North, is something incomplete and complexly valuable for knowledge, in so far as it was able to bring experiences of different kinds and origins into the same heads.


What has the German spirit not made out of Christianity! And, to refer to Protestantism again, how much beer is there not still in Protestant Christianity! Can a crasser, more indolent, and more lounging form of Christian belief be imagined, than that of the average German Protestant?... It is indeed a very humble Christianity. I call it the Homœopathy of Christianity! I am reminded that, to-day, there also exists a less humble sort of Protestantism; it is taught by royal chaplains and anti-Semitic speculators: but nobody has ever maintained that any "spirit" "hovers" over these waters. It is merely a less respectable form of Christian faith, not by any means a more comprehensible one.


Progress.—Let us be on our guard lest we deceive ourselves! Time flies forward apace,—we would fain believe that everything flies forward with it,—that evolution is an advancing development.... That is the appearance of things which deceives the most circumspect. But the nineteenth century shows no advance whatever on the sixteenth: and the German spirit of 1888 is an example of a backward movement when compared with that of 1788.... Mankind does not advance, it does not even exist. The aspect of the whole is much more like that of a huge experimenting workshop where some things in all ages succeed, while an incalculable number of things fail; where all order, logic, co-ordination, and responsibility is lacking. How dare we blink the fact that the rise of Christianity is a decadent movement?—that the German Reformation was a recrudescence of Christian barbarism?—that the Revolution destroyed the instinct for an organisation of society on a large scale?... Man is not an example of progress as compared with animals: the tender son of culture is an abortion compared with the Arab or the Corsican; the Chinaman is a more successful type—that is to say, richer in sustaining power than the European.
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Re: The Will to Power, An Attempted Transvaluation of all Va

Postby admin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:03 pm

(b) The Last Centuries.


Gloominess and pessimistic influence necessarily follow in the wake of enlightenment. Towards 1770 a falling-off in cheerfulness was already noticeable; women, with that very feminine instinct which always defends virtue, believed that immorality was the cause of it. Galiani hit the bull's eye: he quotes Voltaire's verse:

"Un monstre gai vaut mieux
Qu'un sentimental ennuyeux."

If now I maintain that I am ahead, by a century or two of enlightenment, of Voltaire and Galiani—who was much more profound, how deeply must I have sunk into gloominess! This is also true, and betimes I somewhat reluctantly manifested some caution in regard to the German and Christian narrowness and inconsistency of Schopenhauerian or, worse still, Leopardian Pessimism, and sought the most characteristic form (Asia). But, in order to endure that extreme Pessimism (which here and there peeps out of my Birth of Tragedy), to live alone "without God or morality," I was compelled to invent a counter-prop for myself. Perhaps I know best why man is the only animal that laughs: he alone surfers so excruciatingly that he was compelled to invent laughter. The unhappiest and most melancholy animal is, as might have been expected, the most cheerful.


In regard to German culture, I have always had a feeling as of decline. The fact that I learned to know a declining form of culture has often made me unfair towards the whole phenomenon of European culture. The Germans always follow at some distance behind: they always go to the root of things, for instance:—

Dependance upon foreigners; Kant—Rousseau, the sensualists, Hume, Swedenborg.

Schopenhauer—the Indians and Romanticism, Voltaire.

Wagner—the French cult of the ugly and of grand opera, Paris, and the flight into primitive barbarism (the marriage of brother and sister).

The law of the laggard (the provinces go to Paris, Germany goes to France).

How is it that precisely Germans discovered the Greek (the more an instinct is developed, the more it is tempted to run for once into its opposite).

Music is the last breath of every culture.


Renaissance and Reformation.—What does the Renaissance prove? That the reign of the "individual" can be only a short one. The output is too great; there is not even the possibility of husbanding or of capitalising forces, and exhaustion sets in step by step. These are times when everything is squandered, when even the strength itself with which one collects, capitalises, and heaps riches upon riches, is squandered. Even the opponents of such movements are driven to preposterous extremes in the dissipation of their strength: and they too are very soon exhausted, used up, and completely sapped.

In the Reformation we are face to face with a wild and plebeian counterpart of the Italian Renaissance, generated by similar impulses, except that the former, in the backward and still vulgar North, had to assume a religious form—there the concept of a higher life had not yet been divorced from that of a religious one.

Even the Reformation was a movement for individual liberty; "every one his own priest" is really no more than a formula for libertinage. As a matter of fact, the words "Evangelical freedom" would have sufficed—and all instincts which had reasons for remaining concealed broke out like wild hounds, the most brutal needs suddenly acquired the courage to show themselves, everything seemed justified ... men refused to specify the kind of freedom they had aimed at, they preferred to shut their eyes. But the fact that their eyes were closed and that their lips were moistened with gushing orations, did not prevent their hands from being ready to snatch at whatever there was to snatch at, that the belly became the god of the "free gospel," and that all lusts of revenge and of hatred were indulged with insatiable fury.

This lasted for a while: then exhaustion supervened, just as it had done in Southern Europe; and again here, it was a low form of exhaustion, a sort of general ruere in servitium.... Then the disreputable century of Germany dawned.


Chivalry—the position won by power: its gradual break-up (and partial transference to broader and more bourgeois spheres). In the case of Larochefoucauld we find a knowledge of the actual impulses of a noble temperament—together with the gloomy Christian estimate of these impulses.

The protraction of Christianity through the French Revolution. The seducer is Rousseau; he once again liberates woman, who thenceforward is always represented as ever more interesting—suffering. Then come the slaves and Mrs. Beecher-Stowe. Then the poor and the workmen. Then the vicious and the sick—all this is drawn into the foreground (even for the purpose of disposing people in favour of the genius, it has been customary for five hundred years to press him forward as the great sufferer!). Then comes the cursing of all voluptuousness (Baudelaire and Schopenhauer), the most decided conviction that the lust of power is the greatest vice; absolute certainty that morality and disinterestedness are identical things; that the "happiness of all" is a goal worth striving after (i.e., Christ's Kingdom of Heaven). We are on the best road to it: the Kingdom of Heaven of the poor in spirit has begun.—Intermediate stages: the bourgeois (as a result of the nouveau riche) and the workman (as a result of the machine).

Greek and French culture of the time of Louis XIV. compared. A decided belief in oneself. A leisure-class which makes things hard for itself and exercises a great deal of self-control. The power of form, the will to form oneself. "Happiness" acknowledged as a purpose. Much strength and energy behind all formality of manners. Pleasure at the sight of a life that is seemingly so easy. The Greeks seemed like children to the French.


The Three Centuries.

Their different kinds of sensitiveness may perhaps be best expressed as follows:—

Aristocracy: Descartes, the reign of reason, evidence showing the sovereignty of the will.

Feminism: Rousseau, the reign of feeling, evidence showing the sovereignty of the senses; all lies.

Animalism: Schopenhauer, the reign of passion, evidence showing the sovereignty of animality, more honest, but gloomy.

The seventeenth century is aristocratic, all for order, haughty towards everything animal, severe in regard to the heart, "austere," and even free from sentiment, "non-German," averse to all that is burlesque and natural, generalising and maintaining an attitude of sovereignty towards the past for it believes in itself. At bottom it partakes very much of the beast of prey, and practises asceticism in order to remain master. It is the century of strength of will, as also that of strong passion.

The eighteenth century is dominated by woman, it is gushing, spiritual, and flat; but with intellect at the service of aspirations and of the heart, it is a libertine in the pleasures of intellect, undermining all authorities; emotionally intoxicated, cheerful, clear, humane, and sociable, false to itself and at bottom very rascally....

The nineteenth century is more animal, more subterranean, hateful, realistic, plebeian, and on that very account "better," "more honest," more submissive to "reality" of what kind soever, and truer; but weak of will, sad, obscurely exacting and fatalistic. It has no feeling of timidity or reverence, either in the presence of "reason" or the "heart"; thoroughly convinced of the dominion of the desires (Schopenhauer said "Will," but nothing is more characteristic of his philosophy than that it entirely lacks all actual willing). Even morality is reduced to an instinct ("Pity").

Auguste Comte is the continuation of the eighteenth century (the dominion of the heart over the head, sensuality in the theory of knowledge, altruistic exaltation).

The fact that science has become as sovereign as it is to-day, proves how the nineteenth century has emancipated itself from the dominion of ideals. A certain absence of "needs" and wishes makes our scientific curiosity and rigour possible—this is our kind of virtue.

Romanticism is the counterstroke of the eighteenth century; a sort of accumulated longing for its grand style of exaltation (as a matter of fact, largely mingled with mummery and self-deception: the desire was to represent strong nature and strong passion).

The nineteenth century instinctively goes in search of theories by means of which it may feel its fatalistic, submission to the empire of facts justified. Hegel's success against sentimentality and romantic idealism was already a sign of its fatalistic trend of thought, in its belief that superior reason belongs to the triumphant side, and in its justification of the actual "state" (in the place of "humanity," etc.).—Schopenhauer: we are something foolish, and at the best self-suppressive. The success of determinism, the genealogical derivation of obligations which were formerly held to be absolute, the teaching of environment and adaptation, the reduction of will to a process of reflex movement, the denial of the will as a "working cause"; finally—a real process of re-christening: so little will is observed that the word itself becomes available for another purpose. Further theories: the teaching of objectivity, "will-less" contemplation, as the only road to truth, as also to beauty (also the belief in "genius," in order to have the right to be submissive); mechanism, the determinable rigidity of the mechanical process; so-called "Naturalism," the elimination of the choosing, directing, interpreting subject, on principle.

Kant, with his "practical reason," with his moral fanaticism, is quite eighteenth century style; still completely outside the historical movement, without any notion whatsoever of the reality of his time, for instance, revolution; he is not affected by Greek philosophy; he is a phantasist of the notion of duty, a sensualist with a hidden leaning to dogmatic pampering.

The return to Kant in our century means a return to the eighteenth century, people desire to create themselves a right to the old ideas and to the old exaltation—hence a theory of knowledge which "describes limits," that is to say, which admits of the option of fixing a Beyond to the domain of reason.

Hegel's way of thinking is not so very far removed from that of Goethe: see the latter on the subject of Spinoza, for instance. The will to deify the All and Life, in order to find both peace and happiness in contemplating them: Hegel looks for reason everywhere—in the presence of reason man may be submissive and resigned. In Goethe we find a kind of fatalism which is almost joyous and confiding, which neither revolts nor weakens, which strives to make a totality out of itself, in the belief that only in totality does everything seem good and justified, and find itself resolved.


The period of rationalism—followed by a period of sentimentality. To what extent does Schopenhauer come under "sentimentality"? (Hegel under intellectuality?)


The seventeenth century suffers from humanity as from a host of contradictions ("l'amas de contradictions" that we are); it endeavours to discover man, to co-ordinate him, to excavate him: whereas the eighteenth century tries to forget what is known of man's nature, in order to adapt him to its Utopia. "Superficial, soft, humane"—gushes over "humanity."

The seventeenth century tries to banish all traces of the individual in order that the artist's work may resemble life as much as possible. The eighteenth century strives to create interest in the author by means of the work. The seventeenth century seeks art in art, a piece of culture; the eighteenth uses art in its propaganda for political and social reforms.

"Utopia," the "ideal man," the deification of Nature, the vanity of making one's own personality the centre of interest, subordination to the propaganda of social ideas, charlatanism—all this we derive from the eighteenth century.

The style of the seventeenth century: propre exact et libre.

The strong individual who is self-sufficient, or who appeals ardently to God—and that obtrusiveness and indiscretion of modern authors—these things are opposites. "Showing-oneself-off"—what a contrast to the Scholars of Port-Royal!

Alfieri had a sense for the grand style.

The hate of the burlesque (that which lacks dignity), the lack of a sense of Nature belongs to the seventeenth century.


Against Rousseau.—Alas! man is no longer sufficiently evil; Rousseau's opponents, who say that "man is a beast of prey," are unfortunately wrong. Not the corruption of man, but the softening and moralising of him is the curse. In the sphere which Rousseau attacked most violently, the relatively strongest and most successful type of man was still to be found (the type which still possessed the great passions intact: Will to Power, Will to Pleasure, the Will and Ability to Command). The man of the eighteenth century must be compared with the man of the Renaissance (also with the man of the seventeenth century in France) if the matter is to be understood at all: Rousseau is a symptom of self-contempt and of inflamed vanity—both signs that the dominating will is lacking: he moralises and seeks the cause of his own misery after the style of a revengeful man in the ruling classes.


Voltaire—Rousseau.—A state of nature is terrible; man is a beast of prey: our civilisation is an extraordinary triumph over this beast of prey in nature—this was Voltaires conclusion. He was conscious of the mildness, the refinements, the intellectual joys of the civilised state; he despised obtuseness, even in the form of virtue, and the lack of delicacy even in ascetics and monks.

The moral depravity of man seemed to pre-occupy Rousseau; the words "unjust," "cruel," are the best possible for the purpose of exciting the instincts of the oppressed, who otherwise find themselves under the ban of the vetitum and of disgrace; so that their conscience is opposed to their indulging any insurrectional desires. These emancipators seek one thing above all: to give their party the great accents and attitudes of higher Nature.


Rousseau; the rule founded on sentiment; Nature as the source of justice; man perfects himself in proportion as he approaches Nature (according to Voltaire, in proportion as he leaves Nature behind). The very same periods seem to the one to demonstrate the progress of humanity and, to the other, the increase of injustice and inequality.

Voltaire, who still understood umanità in the sense of the Renaissance, as also virtù (as "higher culture"), fights for the cause of the "honnêtes gens" "la bonne compagnie" taste, science, arts, and even for the cause of progress and civilisation.

The flare-up occurred towards 1760: On the one hand the citizen of Geneva, on the other le seigneur de Ferney. It is only from that moment and henceforward that Voltaire was the man of his age, the philosopher, the representative of Toleration and of Disbelief (theretofore he had been merely un bel esprit). His envy and hatred of Rousseau's success forced him upwards.

"Pour 'la canaille' un dieu rémunérateur et vengeur"—Voltaire.

The criticism of both standpoints in regard to the value of civilisation. To Voltaire nothing seems finer than the social invention: there is no higher goal than to uphold and perfect it. L'honnêteté consists precisely in respecting social usage; virtue in a certain obedience towards various necessary "prejudices" which favour the maintenance of society. Missionary of Culture, aristocrat, representative of the triumphant and ruling classes and their values. But Rousseau remained a plebeian, even as hommes de lettres, this was preposterous; his shameless contempt for everything that was not himself.

The morbid feature in Rousseau is the one which happens to have been most admired and imitated. (Lord Byron resembled him somewhat, he too screwed himself up to sublime attitudes and to revengeful rage—a sign of vulgarity; later on, when Venice restored his equilibrium, he understood what alleviates most and does the most good ... l'insouciance.)

In spite of his antecedents, Rousseau is proud of himself; but he is incensed if he is reminded of his origin....

In Rousseau there was undoubtedly some brain trouble; in Voltaire—rare health and lightsomeness. The revengefulness of the sick; his periods of insanity as also those of his contempt of man, and of his mistrust.

Rousseau's defence of Providence (against Voltaire's Pessimism): he had need of God in order to be able to curse society and civilisation; everything must be good per se, because God had created it; man alone has corrupted man. The "good man" as a man of Nature was pure fantasy; but with the dogma of God's authorship he became something probable and even not devoid of foundation.

Romanticism à la Rousseau: passion ("the sovereign right of passion"); "naturalness"; the fascination of madness (foolishness reckoned as greatness); the senseless vanity of the weak; the revengefulness of the masses elevated to the position of justice ("in politics, for one hundred years, the leader has always been this invalid").


Kant: makes the scepticism of Englishmen, in regard to the theory of knowledge, possible for Germans.

(1) By enlisting in its cause the interest of the German's religious and moral needs: just as the new academicians used scepticism for the same reasons, as a preparation for Platonism (vide Augustine); just as Pascal even used moral scepticism in order to provoke (to justify) the need of belief;

(2) By complicating and entangling it with scholastic flourishes in view of making it more acceptable to the German's scientific taste in form (for Locke and Hume, alone, were too illuminating, too clear—that is to say, judged according to the German valuing instinct, "too superficial").

Kant: a poor psychologist and mediocre judge of human nature, made hopeless mistakes in regard to great historical values (the French Revolution); a moral fanatic à la Rousseau; with a subterranean current of Christian values; a thorough dogmatist, but bored to extinction by this tendency, to the extent of wishing to tyrannise over it, but quickly tired, even of 'scepticism; and not yet affected by any cosmopolitan thought or antique beauty ... a dawdler and a go-between, not at all original (like Leibnitz, something between mechanism and spiritualism; like Goethe, something between the taste of the eighteenth century and that of the "historical sense" [which is essentially a sense of exoticism]; like German music, between French and Italian music; like Charles the Great, who mediated and built bridges between the Roman Empire and Nationalism—a dawdler par excellence).


In what respect have the Christian centuries with their Pessimism been stronger centuries than the eighteenth—and how do they correspond with the tragic age of the Greeks?

The nineteenth century versus the eighteenth. How was it an heir?—how was it a step backwards from the latter? (more lacking in "spirit" and in taste)—how did it show an advance on the latter? (more gloomy, more realistic, stronger).


How can we explain the fact that we feel something in common with the Campagna romana? And the high mountain chain?

Chateaubriand in a letter to M. de Fontanes in 1803 writes his first impression of the Campagna romana.

The President de Brosses says of the Campagna romana: "Il fallait que Romulus fût ivre quand il songea à bâtir une ville dans un terrain aussi laid."

Even Delacroix would have nothing to do with Rome, it frightened him. He loved Venice, just as Shakespeare, Byron, and Georges Sand did. Théophile Gautier's and Richard Wagner's dislike of Rome must not be forgotten.

Lamartine has the language for Sorrento and Posilippo.

Victor Hugo raves about Spain, "parce que aucune autre nation n'a moins emprunté à l'antiquité, parce qu'elle n'a subi aucune influence classique."


The two great attempts that were made to overcome the eighteenth century:

Napoleon, in that he called man, the soldier, and the great struggle for power, to life again, and conceived Europe as a political power.

Goethe, in that he imagined a European culture which would consist of the whole heritage of what humanity had attained to up to his time.

German culture in this century inspires mistrust—the music of the period lacks that complete element which liberates and binds as well, to wit—Goethe.

The pre-eminence of music in the romanticists of 1830 and 1840. Delacroix. Ingres—a passionate musician (admired Gluck, Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart), said to his pupils in Rome: "Si je pouvais vous rendre tous musiciens, vous y gagneriez comme peintres"—likewise Horace Vernet, who was particularly fond of Don Juan (as Mendelssohn assures us, 1831); Stendhal, too, who says of himself: "Combien de lieues ne ferais-je pas à pied, et à combien de jours de prison ne me soumetterais-je pas pour entendre Don Juan ou le Matrimonio segreto; et je ne sais pour quelle autre chose je ferais cet effort." He was then fifty-six years old.

The borrowed forms, for instance: Brahms as a typical "Epigone," likewise Mendelssohn's cultured Protestantism (a former "soul" is turned into poetry posthumously ...)

—the moral and poetical substitutions in Wagner, who used one art as a stop-gap to make up for what another lacked.

—the "historical sense," inspiration derived from poems, sagas.

—that characteristic transformation of which G. Flaubert is the most striking example among Frenchmen, and Richard Wagner the most striking example among Germans, shows how the romantic belief in love and the future changes into a longing for nonentity in 1830-50.


How is it that German music reaches its culminating point in the age of German romanticism? How is it that German music lacks Goethe? On the other hand, how much Schiller, or more exactly, how much "Thekla"[5] is there not in Beethoven!

Schumann has Eichendorff, Uhland, Heine, Hoffman, Tieck, in him. Richard Wagner has Freischütz, Hoffmann, Grimm, the romantic Saga, the mystic Catholicism of instinct, symbolism, "the free-spiritedness of passion" (Rousseau's intention). The Flying Dutchman savours of France, where le ténébreux (1830) was the type of the seducer.

The cult of music, the revolutionary romanticism of form. Wagner synthesises German and French romanticism.

[5] Thekla is the sentimental heroine in Schiller's Wallenstein.—TRANSLATOR'S NOTE.


From the point of view only of his value to Germany and to German culture, Richard Wagner is still a great problem, perhaps a German misfortune: in any case, however, a fatality. But what does it matter? Is he not very much more than a German event? It also seems to me that to no country on earth is he less related than to Germany; nothing was prepared there for his advent; his whole type is simply strange amongst Germans; there he stands in their midst, wonderful, misunderstood, incomprehensible. But people carefully avoid acknowledging this: they are too kind, too square-headed—too German for that. "Credo quia absurdus est": thus did the German spirit wish it to be, in this case too—hence it is content meanwhile to believe everything Richard Wagner wanted to have believed about himself. In all ages the spirit of Germany has been deficient in subtlety and divining powers concerning psychological matters. Now that it happens to be under the high pressure of patriotic nonsense and self-adoration, it is visibly growing thicker and coarser: how could it therefore be equal to the problem of Wagner!


The Germans are not yet anything, but they are becoming something; that is why they have not yet any culture;—that is why they cannot yet have any culture!—They are not yet anything: that means they are all kinds of things. They are becoming something: that means that they will one day cease from being all kinds of things. The latter is at bottom only a wish, scarcely a hope yet. Fortunately it is a wish with which one can live, a question of will, of work, of discipline, a question of training, as also of resentment, of longing, of privation, of discomfort,—yea, even of bitterness,—in short, we Germans will get something out of ourselves, something that has not yet been wanted of us—we want something more!

That this "German, as he is not as yet"—has a right to something better than the present German "culture"; that all who wish to become something better, must wax angry when they perceive a sort of contentment, an impudent "setting-oneself-at-ease," or "a process of self-censing," in this quarter: that is my second principle, in regard to which my opinions have not yet changed.
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