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Nietzsche's Skeleton Keys II - Dawn of Day (Excerpts)

Updated: Jul 3, 2021


 

WHO, THEN, IS EVER ALONE.—The faint-hearted wretch does not know what it means to be lonely. An enemy is always prowling in his tracks. Oh, for the man who could give us the history of that subtle feeling called loneliness!

 



I selected the following aphorisms and value table excerpts from Friedrich Nietzsche's book, Dawn of Day, published in 1881. Please note, the writings are not listed in the same order as they are in the original book, but in best order for purposes here.


 

GOING OUR OWN WAY.—When we take the decisive step, and make up our minds to follow our own path, a secret is suddenly revealed to us: it is clear that all those who had hitherto been friendly to us and on intimate terms with us judged themselves to be superior to us, and are offended now. The best among them are indulgent, and are content to wait patiently until we once more find the “right path”—they know it, apparently. Others make fun of us, and pretend that we have been seized with a temporary attack of mild insanity, or spitefully point out some seducer. The more malicious say we are vain fools, and do their best to blacken our motives; while the worst of all see in us their greatest enemy, some one who is thirsting for revenge after many years of dependence,—and are afraid of us. What, then, are we to do? My own opinion is that we should begin our sovereignty by promising to all our acquaintances in advance a whole year's amnesty for sins of every kind.


THE THIRD EYE.—What! You are still in need of the theatre! are you still so young? Be wise, and seek tragedy and comedy where they are better acted, and where the incidents are more interesting, and the actors more eager. It is indeed by no means easy to be merely a spectator in these cases—but learn! and then, amid all difficult or painful situations, you will have a little gate leading to joy and refuge, even when your passions attack you. Open your stage eye, that big third eye of yours, which looks out into the world through the other two.


TO THE STRONGER.—Ye stronger and arrogant intellects, we ask you for only one thing: throw no further burdens upon our shoulders, but take some of our burdens upon your own, since ye are stronger! but ye delight in doing the exact contrary: for ye wish to soar, so that we must carry your burden in addition to our own—we must crawl!

AGAINST THE GRAIN.—A thinker may for years at a time force himself to think against the grain: that is, not to pursue the thoughts that spring up within him, but, instead, those which he is compelled to follow by the exigencies of his office, an established division of time, or any arbitrary duty which he may find it necessary to fulfil. In the long run, however, he will fall ill; for this apparently moral self-command will destroy his nervous system as thoroughly and completely as regular debauchery.


THOSE PETTY TRUTHS.—“You know all that, but you have never lived through it—so I will not accept your evidence. Those ‘petty truths’—you deem them petty because you have not paid for them with your blood!”—But are they really great, simply because they have been bought at so high a price? and blood is always too high a price!—“Do you really think so? How stingy you are with your blood!”


TRUTH REQUIRES POWER.—Truth in itself is no power at all, in spite of all that flattering rationalists are in the habit of saying to the contrary. Truth must either attract power to its side, or else side with power, for otherwise it will perish again and again. This has already been sufficiently demonstrated, and more than sufficiently!


STOICAL.—The Stoic experiences a certain sense of cheerfulness when he feels oppressed by the ceremonial which he has prescribed for himself: he enjoys himself then as a ruler.

CONSIDER.—The man who is being punished is no longer he who has done the deed. He is always the scapegoat.


NOT TO IMBUE OUR NEIGHBOURS WITH OUR OWN DEMON.—Let us in our age continue to hold the belief that benevolence and beneficence are the characteristics of a good man; but let us not fail to add “provided that in the first place he exhibits his benevolence and beneficence towards himself.” For if he acts otherwise—that is to say, if he shuns, hates, or injures himself—he is certainly not a good man. He then merely saves himself through others: and let these others take care that they do not come to grief through him, however well disposed he may appear to be to them!—but to shun and hate one's own ego, and to live in and for others, this has up to the present, with as much thoughtlessness as conviction,


WISDOM WITHOUT EARS.—To hear every day what is said about us, or even to endeavour to discover what people think of us, will in the end kill even the strongest man. Our neighbours permit us to live only that they may exercise a daily claim upon us! They certainly would not tolerate us if we wished to claim rights over them, and still less if we wished to be right! In short, let us offer up a sacrifice to the general peace, let us not listen when they speak of us, when they praise us, blame us, wish for us, or hope for us—nay, let us not even think of it.


THE GREAT PRIZE.—There is a very rare thing, but a very delightful one, viz. the man with a nobly-formed intellect who possesses at the same time the character and inclinations, and even meets with the experiences, suited to such an intellect.


SHAME.—Look at that noble steed pawing the ground, snorting, longing for a ride, and loving its accustomed rider—but, shameful to relate, the rider cannot mount to-day, he is tired.—Such is the shame felt by the weary thinker in the presence of his own philosophy!


DOUBLY PATIENT.—“By doing this you will hurt many people.”—I know that, and I also know that I shall have to suffer for it doubly: in the first place out of pity for their suffering, and secondly from the revenge they will take on me. But in spite of this I cannot help doing what I do.


MAKING OTHERS HAPPY.—Why is the fact of our making others happy more gratifying to us than all other pleasures?—Because in so doing we gratify fifty cravings at one time. Taken separately they would, perhaps, be very small pleasures; but when put into one hand, that hand will be fuller than ever before—and the heart also.


EDUCATION.—Education is a continuation of procreation, and very often a kind of supplementary varnishing of it.


A DIGRESSION.—A book like this is not intended to be read through at once, or to be read aloud. It is intended more particularly for reference, especially on our walks and travels: we must take it up and put it down again after a short reading, and, more especially, we ought not to be amongst our usual surroundings.


AT THE HARVEST THANKSGIVING OF THE INTELLECT.—There is a daily increase and accumulation of experiences, events, opinions upon these experiences and events, and dreams upon these opinions—a boundless and delightful display of wealth! its aspect dazzles the eyes: I can no longer understand how the poor in spirit can be called blessed! Occasionally, however, I envy them when I am tired: for the superintendence of such vast wealth is no easy task, and its weight frequently crushes all happiness.—Alas, if only the mere sight of it were sufficient! If only we could be misers of our knowledge!


WITHOUT HATRED.—You wish to bid farewell to your passion? Very well, but do so without hatred against it! Otherwise you have a second passion.—The soul of the Christian who has freed himself from sin is generally ruined afterwards by the hatred for sin. Just look at the faces of the great Christians! they are the faces of great haters.


INGENIOUS AND NARROW-MINDED.—He can appreciate nothing beyond himself, and when he wishes to appreciate other people he must always begin by transforming them into himself. In this, however, he is ingenious.


ON ONE'S OWN TREE.—

A. No thinker's thoughts give me so much pleasure as my own: this, of course, proves nothing in favour of their value; but I should be foolish to neglect fruits which are tasteful to me only because they happen to grow on my own tree!—and I was once such a fool.

B. Others have the contrary feeling: which likewise proves nothing in favour of their thoughts, nor yet is it any argument against their value.


THE LAST ARGUMENT OF THE BRAVE MAN.—There are snakes in this little clump of trees.—Very well, I will rush into the thicket and kill them.—But by doing that you will run the risk of falling a victim to them, and not they to you.—But what do I matter?


OUR TEACHERS.—During our period of youth we select our teachers and guides from our own times, and from those circles which we happen to meet with: we have the thoughtless conviction that the present age must have teachers who will suit us better than any others, and that we are sure to find them without having to look very far. Later on we find that we have to pay a heavy penalty for this childishness: we have to expiate our teachers in ourselves, and then perhaps we begin to look for the proper guides. We look for them throughout the whole world, including even present and past ages—but perhaps it may be too late, and at the worst we discover that they lived when we were young—and that at that time we lost our opportunity


PRIVATE AND PUBLIC ACCUSERS.—Watch closely the accuser and inquirer,—for he reveals his true character; and it is not rare for this to be a worse character than that of the victim whose crime he is investigating. The accuser believes in all innocence that the opponent of a crime and criminal must be by nature of good character, or at least must appear as such—and this is why he lets himself go, that is to say, he drops his mask.


DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT?—Have you never been troubled by the fear that you might not be at all fitted for recognising what is true? by the fear that your senses might be too dull, and even your delicacy of sight far too blunt? If you could only perceive, even once, to what extent your volition dominates your sight! How, for example, you wished yesterday to see more than some one else, while to-day you wish to see it differently! and how from the start you were anxious to see something which would be in conformity with or in opposition to anything that people thought they had observed up to the present. Oh, those shameful cravings! How often you keep your eyes open for what is efficacious, for what is soothing, just because you happen to be tired at the moment! Always full of secret predeterminations of what truth should be like, so that you—you, forsooth!—might accept it! or do you think that to-day, because you are as frozen and dry as a bright winter morning, and because nothing is weighing on your mind, you have better eyesight! Are not ardour and enthusiasm necessary to do justice to the creations of thought?—and this indeed is what is called sight! as if you could treat matters of thought any differently from the manner in which you treat men. In all relations with thought there is the same morality, the same honesty of purpose, the same arrièrepensée, the same slackness, the same faint-heartedness—your whole lovable and hateful self! Your physical exhaustion will lend the things pale colours whilst your feverishness will turn them into monsters! Does not your morning show the things in a different light from the evening? Are you not afraid of finding in the cave of all knowledge your own phantom, the veil in which truth is wrapped up and hidden from your sight? Is it not a dreadful comedy in which you so thoughtlessly wish to take part?


HIDING ONE'S INTELLIGENCE.—When we surprise some one in the act of hiding his intelligence from us we call him evil: the more so if we suspect that it is his civility and benevolence which have induced him to do so.


THE EVIL MOMENT.—Lively dispositions only lie for a moment: after this they have deceived themselves, and are convinced and honest.


THE CONDITION OF POLITENESS.—Politeness is a very good thing, and really one of the four chief virtues (although the last), but in order that it may not result in our becoming tiresome to one another the person with whom I have to deal must be either one degree more or less polite than I—otherwise we should never get on, and the ointment would not only anoint us, but would cement us together.


FREED FROM SCEPTICISM.—

A. Some men emerge from a general moral scepticism badtempered and feeble, corroded, worm-eaten, and even partly consumed—but I on the other hand, more courageous and healthier than ever, and with my instincts conquered once more. Where a strong wind blows, where the waves are rolling angrily, and where more than usual danger is to be faced, there I feel happy. I did not become a worm, although I often had to work and dig like a worm. B. You have just ceased to be a sceptic; for you deny! A. And in doing so I have learnt to say yea again.


INEVITABLE.—No matter what your experience may be, any one who does not feel well disposed towards you will find in this experience some pretext for disparaging you! You may undergo the greatest possible revolutions of mind and knowledge, and at length, with the melancholy smile of the convalescent, you may be able to step out into freedom and bright stillness, and yet some one will say: “This fellow looks upon his illness as an argument, and takes his impotence to be a proof of the impotence of all others—he is vain enough to fall ill that he may feel the superiority of the sufferer.” And again, if somebody were to break the chains that bound him down, and wounded himself severely in doing so, some one else would point at him mockingly and cry: “How awkward he is! there is a man who had got accustomed to his chains, and yet he is fool enough to burst them asunder!


FOR WHOM THE TRUTH EXISTS.—Up to the present time errors have been the power most fruitful in consolations: we now expect the same effects from accepted truths, and we have been waiting rather too long for them. What if these truths could not give us this consolation we are looking for? Would that be an argument against them? What have these truths in common with the sick condition of suffering and degenerate men that they should be useful to them? It is, of course, no proof against the truth of a plant when it is clearly established that it does not contribute in any way to the recovery of sick people. Formerly, however, people were so convinced that man was the ultimate end of nature that they believed that knowledge could reveal nothing that was not beneficial and useful to man—nay, there could not, should not be, any other things in existence. Perhaps all this leads to the conclusion that truth as an entity and a coherent whole exists only for those natures who, like Aristotle, are at once powerful and harmless, joyous and peaceful: just as none but these would be in a position to seek such truths; for the others seek remedies for themselves—however proud they may be of their intellect and its freedom, they do not seek truth. Hence it comes about that these others take no real joy in science, but reproach it for its coldness, dryness, and inhumanity. This is the judgment of sick people about the games of the healthy.—Even the Greek gods were unable to administer consolation; and when at length the entire Greek world fell ill, this was a reason for the destruction of such gods.


SMALL DOSES.—If we wish a change to be as deep and radical as possible, we must apply the remedy in minute doses, but unremittingly for long periods. What great action can be performed all at once? Let us therefore be careful not to exchange violently and precipitately the moral conditions with which we are familiar for a new valuation of things,—nay, we may even wish to continue living in the old way for a long time to come, until probably at some very remote period we become aware of the fact that the new valuation has made itself the predominating power within us, and that its minute doses to which we must henceforth become accustomed have set up a new nature within us.—We now also begin to understand that the last attempt at a great change of valuations—that which concerned itself with political affairs (the “great revolution”)—was nothing more than a pathetic and sanguinary piece of quackery which, by means of sudden crises, was able to inspire a credulous Europe with the hope of a sudden recovery, and has therefore made all political invalids impatient and dangerous up to this very moment.


WE GODS IN EXILE.—Owing to errors regarding their descent, their uniqueness, their mission, and by claims based upon these errors, men have again and again “surpassed themselves”; but through these same errors the world has been filled with unspeakable suffering, mutual persecution, suspicion, misunderstanding, and an even greater amount of individual misery. Men have become suffering creatures in consequence of their morals, and the sum-total of what they have obtained by those morals is simply the feeling that they are far too good and great for this world, and that they are enjoying merely a transitory existence on it. As yet the “proud sufferer” is the highest type of mankind.


THE EMBELLISHMENT OF SCIENCE.—In the same way that the feeling that “nature is ugly, wild, tedious—we must embellish it (embellir la nature)”—brought about rococo horticulture, so does the view that “science is ugly, difficult, dry, dreary and weary, we must embellish it,” invariably gives rise to something called philosophy. This philosophy sets out to do what all art and poetry endeavour to do, viz., giving amusement above all else; but it wishes to do this, in conformity with its hereditary pride, in a higher and more sublime fashion before an audience of superior intellects. It is no small ambition to create for these intellects a kind of horticulture, the principal charm of which—like that of the usual gardening—is to bring about an optical illusion (by means of temples, perspective, grottos, winding walks, and waterfalls, to speak in similes), exhibiting science in a condensed form and in all kinds of strange and unexpected illuminations, infusing into it as much indecision, irrationality, and dreaminess as will enable us to walk about in it “as in savage nature,” but without trouble and boredom. Those who are possessed of this ambition even dream of making religion superfluous—religion, which among men of former times served as the highest kind of entertainment. All this is now running its course, and will one day attain its highest tide. Even now hostile voices are being raised against philosophy, exclaiming: “Return to science, to nature, and the naturalness of science!” and thus an age may begin which may discover the most powerful beauty precisely in the “savage and ugly” domains of science, just as it is only since the time of Rousseau that we have discovered the sense for the beauty of high mountains and deserts.


TWO KINDS OF MORALISTS.—To see a law of nature for the first time, and to see it whole (for example, the law of gravity or the reflection of light and sound), and afterwards to explain such a law, are two different things and concern different classes of minds. In the same way, those moralists who observe and exhibit human laws and habits—moralists with discriminating ears, noses, and eyes—differ entirely from those who interpret their observations. These latter must above all be inventive, and must possess an imagination untrammelled by sagacity and knowledge


AS LITTLE STATE AS POSSIBLE!—All political and economic matters are not of such great value that they ought to be dealt with by the most talented minds: such a waste of intellect is at bottom worse than any state of distress. These matters are, and ever will be, the province of smaller minds, and others than the smaller minds should not be at the service of this workshop: it would be better to let the machinery work itself to pieces again! But as matters stand at the present time, when not only do all people believe that they must know all about it day by day, but wish likewise to be always busy about it, and in so doing neglect their own work, it is a great and ridiculous mistake. The price that has to be paid for the “public safety” is far too high, and, what is maddest of all, we effect the very opposite of “public safety” a fact which our own dear century has undertaken to prove, as if this had never been proved before! To make society secure against thieves and fire, and to render it thoroughly fit for all kinds of trade and traffic, and to transform the State in a good and evil sense into a kind of Providence—these aims are low, mediocre, and not by any means indispensable; and we should not seek to attain them by the aid of the highest means and instruments which exist—means which we should reserve precisely for our highest and rarest aims! Our epoch, however much it may babble about economy, is a spendthrift: it wastes intellect, the most precious thing of all.


The Dawn of Day WHO, THEN, IS EVER ALONE.—The faint-hearted wretch does not know what it means to be lonely. An enemy is always prowling in his tracks. Oh, for the man who could give us the history of that subtle feeling called loneliness!


NIGHT AND MUSIC.—It was only at night time, and in the semiobscurity of dark forests and caverns, that the ear, the organ of fear, was able to develop itself so well, in accordance with the mode of living of the timid—that is, the longest human epoch which has ever yet existed: when it is clear daylight the ear is less necessary. Hence the character of music, which is an art of night and twilight.


APPEARANCE.—Alas! what must be best and most resolutely proved is appearance itself; for only too many people lack eyes to observe it. But it is so tiresome!

THOSE WHO ANTICIPATE.—What distinguishes poetic natures, but is also a danger for them, is their imagination, which exhausts itself in advance: which anticipates what will happen or what may happen, which enjoys and suffers in advance, and which at the final moment of the event or the action is already fatigued. Lord Byron, who was only too familiar with this, wrote in his diary: “If ever I have a son he shall choose a very prosaic profession—that of a lawyer or a pirate.”


THERE IS A TIME FOR THE THEATRE.—When the imagination of a people begins to diminish, there arises the desire to have its legends represented on the stage: it then tolerates the coarse substitutes for imagination. In the age of the epic rhapsodist, however, the theatre itself, and the actor dressed up as a hero, form an obstacle in the path of the imagination instead of acting as wings for it—too near, too definite, too heavy, and with too little of dreamland and the flights of birds about them.


THE HAPPINESS OF THE EVIL ONES.—These silent, gloomy, and evil men possess a peculiar something which you cannot dispute with them—an uncommon and strange enjoyment in the dolce far niente; a sunset and evening rest, such as none can enjoy but a heart which has been too often devoured, lacerated, and poisoned by the passions.


WORDS PRESENT IN OUR MINDS.—We always express our thoughts with those words which lie nearest to hand. Or rather, if I may reveal my full suspicion; at every moment we have only the particular thought for the words that are present in our minds.


FLATTERING THE DOG.—You have only to stroke this dog's coat once, and he immediately splutters and gives off sparks like any other flatterer—and he is witty in his own way. Why should we not endure him thus?


THE QUONDAM PANEGYRIST.—“He has now become silent now in regard to me, although he knows the truth and could tell it; but it would sound like vengeance—and he values truth so highly, this honourable man!”


THE AMULET OF DEPENDENT MEN.—He who is unavoidably dependent upon some master ought to possess something by which he can inspire his master with fear, and keep him in check: integrity, for example, or probity, or an evil tongue.


WHY SO SUBLIME!—Oh, I know them well this breed of animals! Certainly it pleases them better to walk on two legs “like a god”—but it pleases me better when they fall back on their four feet. This is incomparably more natural for them!


THE DEMON OF POWER.—Neither necessity nor desire, but the love of power, is the demon of mankind. You may give men everything possible—health, food, shelter, enjoyment—but they are and remain unhappy and capricious, for the demon waits and waits; and must be satisfied. Let everything else be taken away from men, and let this demon be satisfied, and then they will nearly be happy—as happy as men and demons can be; but why do I repeat this? Luther has already said it, and better than I have done, in the verses:

“And though they take our life,

Goods, honour, children, wife,

Yet is their profit small,

These things shall vanish all,

The Kingdom it remaineth.”

The Kingdom! there it is again!7*


7* A hit at the German Empire, which Nietzsche always despised, since it led to the utter extinction of the old German spirit. “Kingdom” (in “Kingdom of God”) and “Empire” are both represented by the one German word Reich.—TR.{FNS


DECEIVING ONE'S SELF.—Envious men with a discriminating intuition endeavour not to become too closely acquainted with their rivals in order that they may feel themselves superior to them


WHY SO PROUD?—A noble character is distinguished from a vulgar one by the fact that the latter has not at ready command a certain number of habits and points of view like the former: fate willed that they should not be his either by inheritance or by education.


THE APOSTATE OF THE FREE SPIRIT.—Is there any one, then, who seriously dislikes pious people who hold formally to their belief? Do we not, on the contrary, regard them with silent esteem and pleasure, deeply regretting at the same time that these excellent people do not share our own feelings? But whence arises that sudden, profound, and unreasonable dislike for the man who, having at one time possessed freedom of spirit, finally becomes a “believer”? In thinking of him we involuntarily experience the sensation of having beheld some loathsome spectacle, which we must quickly efface from our recollection. Should we not turn our backs upon even the most venerated man if we entertained the least suspicion of him in this regard? Not, indeed, from a moral point of view, but because of sudden disgust and horror! Whence comes this sharpness of feeling? Perhaps we shall be given to understand that, at bottom, we are not quite certain of our own selves? Or that, early in life, we build round ourselves hedges of the most pointed contempt, in order that, when old age makes us weak and forgetful, we may not feel inclined to brush our own contempt away from us? Now, speaking frankly, this suspicion is quite erroneous, and whoever forms it knows nothing of what agitates and determines the free spirit: how little, to him, does the changing of an opinion seem contemptible per se! On the contrary, how highly he prizes the ability to change an opinion as a rare and valuable distinction, especially if he can retain it far into old age! And his pride (not his pusillanimity) even reaches so high as to be able to pluck the fruits of the spernere se sperni and the spernere se ipsum: without his being troubled by the sensation of fear of vain and easy-going men. Furthermore, the doctrine of the innocence of all opinions appears to him to be as certain as the doctrine of the innocence of all actions: how could he act as judge and hangman before the apostate of intellectual liberty! On the contrary, the sight of such a person would disgust him as much as the sight of a nauseous illness disgusts the physician: the physical repulsion caused by everything spongy, soft, and suppurating momentarily overcomes reason and the desire to help. Hence our goodwill is overcome by the conception of the monstrous dishonesty which must have gained the upper hand in the apostate from the free spirit: by the conception of a general gnawing which is eating its way down even to the framework of the character.


THE MALCONTENT.—He is one of the brave old warriors: angry with civilisation because he believes that its object is to make all good things—honour, rewards, and fair women—accessible even to cowards.

THE WORSHIP OF NATURAL SOUNDS.—What signification can we find in the fact that our culture is not only indulgent to the manifestations of grief, such as tears, complaints, reproaches, and attitudes of rage and humility, but even approves them and reckons them among the most noble and essential things?—while, on the other hand, the spirit of ancient philosophy looked down upon them with contempt, without admitting their necessity in any way. Let us remember how Plato—who was by no means one of the most inhuman of the philosophers—speaks of the Philoctetus of the tragic stage. Is it possible that our modern culture is wanting in “philosophy”? or, in accordance with the valuations of those old philosophers, do we perhaps all form part of the “mob”?

AGAINST ROUSSEAU.—If it is true that there is something contemptible about our civilisation, we have two alternatives: of concluding with Rousseau that, “This despicable civilisation is to blame for our bad morality,” or to infer, contrary to Rousseau's view, that “Our good morality is to blame for this contemptible civilisation. Our social conceptions of good and evil, weak and effeminate as they are, and their enormous influence over both body and soul, have had the effect of weakening all bodies and souls and of crushing all unprejudiced, independent, and selfreliant men, the real pillars of a strong civilisation: wherever we still find the evil morality to-day, we see the last crumbling ruins of these pillars.” Thus let paradox be opposed by paradox! It is quite impossible for the truth to lie with both sides: and can we say, indeed, that it lies with either? Decide for yourself.

PERHAPS PREMATURE.—It would seem at the present time that, under many different and misleading names, and often with a great want of clearness, those who do not feel themselves attached to morals and to established laws are taking the first initial steps to organise themselves, and thus to create a right for themselves; whilst hitherto, as criminals, free-thinkers, immoral men and miscreants, they have lived beyond the pale of the law, under the bane of outlawry and bad conscience, corrupted and corrupting. On the whole, we should consider this as right and proper, although it may result in insecurity for the coming century and compel every one to bear arms.—There is thereby a counterforce which continually reminds us that there is no exclusively moral-making morality, and that a morality which asserts itself to the exclusion of all other morality destroys too much sound strength and is too dearly bought by mankind. The non-conventional and deviating people, who are so often productive and inventive, must no longer be sacrificed: it must never again be considered as a disgrace to depart from morality either in actions or thought; many new experiments must be made upon life and society, and the world must be relieved from a huge weight of bad conscience. These general aims must be recognised and encouraged by all those upright people who are seeking truth

A MODEL.—What do I like about Thucydides, and how does it come that I esteem him more highly than Plato? He exhibits the most wide-spread and artless pleasure in everything typical in men and events, and finds that each type is possessed of a certain quantity of good sense: it is this good sense which he seeks to discover. He likewise exhibits a larger amount of practical justice than Plato; he never reviles or belittles those men whom he dislikes or who have in any way injured him in the course of his life. On the contrary: while seeing only types, he introduces something noble and additional into all things and persons; for what could posterity, to which he dedicates his work, do with things not typical! Thus this culture of the disinterested knowledge of the world attains in him, the poet-thinker, a final marvellous bloom,—this culture which has its poet in Sophocles, its statesman in Pericles, its doctor in Hippocrates, and its natural philosopher in Democritus: this culture which deserves to be called by the name of its teachers, the Sophists, and which, unhappily, from the moment of its baptism at once begins to grow pale and incomprehensible to us,—for henceforward we suspect that this culture, which was combated by Plato and all the Socratic schools, must have been very immoral! The truth of this matter is so complicated and entangled that we feel unwilling unravel it: so let the old error (error veritate simplicior) run its old course.

THE GREEK GENIUS FOREIGN TO US.—Oriental or modern, Asiatic or European: compared with the ancient Greeks, everything is characterised by enormity of size and by the revelling in great masses as the expression of the sublime, whilst in Paestum, Pompeii, and Athens we are astonished, when contemplating Greek architecture, to see with what small masses the Greeks were able to express the sublime, and how they loved to express it thus. In the same way, how simple were the Greeks in the idea which they formed of themselves! How far we surpass them in the knowledge of man! Again, how full of labyrinths would our souls and our conceptions of our souls appear in comparison with theirs! If we had to venture upon an architecture after the style of our own souls—(we are too cowardly for that!)—a labyrinth would have to be our model. That music which is peculiar to us, and which really expresses us, lets this be clearly seen! (for in music men let themselves go, because they think there is no one who can see them hiding behind their music).

ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW.—How we babble about the Greeks! What do we understand of their art, the soul of which was the passion for naked masculine beauty! It was only by starting therefrom that they appreciated feminine beauty. For the latter they had thus a perspective quite different from ours. It was the same in regard to their love for women: their worship was of a different kind, and so also was their contempt.

TRAGEDY AND MUSIC.—Men of essentially warlike disposition, such, for example, as the ancient Greeks in the time of Æschylus, are difficult to rouse, and when pity once triumphs over their hardness they are seized as by a kind of giddiness or a “demoniacal power,”—they feel themselves overpowered and thrilled by a religious horror. After this they become sceptical about their condition; but as long as they are in it they enjoy the charm of being, as it were, outside themselves, and the delight of the marvellous mixed with the bitterest gall of suffering: this is the proper kind of drink for fighting men,—something rare, dangerous, and bitter-sweet, which does not often fall to one's lot. Tragedy appeals to souls who feel pity in this way, to those fierce and warlike souls which are difficult to overcome, whether by fear or pity, but which lose nothing by being softened from time to time. Of what use, however, is tragedy to those who are as open to the “sympathetic affections” as the sails of a ship to the wind! When at the time of Plato the Athenians had become more softened and sensitive, oh, how far they were still removed from the gushing emotions of the inhabitants of our modern towns and villages! And yet even then the philosophers were beginning to complain of the injurious nature of tragedy. An epoch full of danger such as that now beginning, in which bravery and manliness are rising in value, will perhaps again harden souls to such an extent that they will once more stand in need of tragic poets: but in the meantime these are somewhat superfluous, to put it mildly. For music, too, a better age may be approaching (it will certainly be a more evil age!) when artists will have to make their music appeal to strongly individual beings, beings which will have become hard and which will be dominated by the gloomy earnestness of their own passion; but of what use is music to the little souls of the present age which is fast passing away, souls that are too unsteady, ill-developed, half-personal, inquisitive, and covetous of everything?

THE MORAL FASHION OF A COMMERCIAL COMMUNITY.—Behind the principle of the present moral fashion: “Moral actions are actions performed out of sympathy for others,” I see the social instinct of fear, which thus assumes an intellectual disguise: this instinct sets forth as its supreme, most important, and most immediate principle that life shall be relieved of all the dangerous characteristics which it possessed in former times, and that every one must help with all his strength towards the attainment of this end. It is for that reason that only those actions which keep in view the general security and the feeling of security of society are called “good.” How little joy must men now have in themselves when such a tyranny of fear prescribes their supreme moral law, if they make no objection when commanded to turn their eyes from themselves and to look aside from themselves! And yet at the same time they have lynx eyes for all distress and suffering elsewhere! Are we not, then, with this gigantic intention of ours of smoothing down every sharp edge and corner in life, utilising the best means of turning mankind into sand! Small, soft, round, infinite sand! Is that your ideal, ye harbingers of the “sympathetic affections”? In the meantime even the question remains unanswered whether we are of more use to our neighbour in running immediately and continually to his help,—which for the most part can only be done in a very superficial way, as otherwise it would become a tyrannical meddling and changing,—or by transforming ourselves into something which our neighbour can look upon with pleasure,—something, for example, which may be compared to a beautiful, quiet, and secluded garden, protected by high walls against storms and the dust of the roads, but likewise with a hospitable gate.

FUNDAMENTAL BASIS OF A CULTURE OF TRADERS.—We have now an opportunity of watching the manifold growth of the culture of a society of which commerce is the soul, just as personal rivalry was the soul of culture among the ancient Greeks, and war, conquest, and law among the ancient Romans. The tradesman is able to value everything without producing it, and to value it according to the requirements of the consumer rather than his own personal needs. “How many and what class of people will consume this?” is his question of questions. Hence, he instinctively and incessantly employs this mode of valuation and applies it to everything, including the productions of art and science, and of thinkers, scholars, artists, statesmen, nations, political parties, and even entire ages: with respect to everything produced or created he inquires into the supply and demand in order to estimate for himself the value of a thing. This, when once it has been made the principle of an entire culture, worked out to its most minute and subtle details, and imposed upon every kind of will and knowledge, this is what you men of the coming century will be proud of,—if the prophets of the commercial classes are right in putting that century into your possession! But I have little belief in these prophets. Credat Judæus Apella—to speak with Horace.

THE CRITICISM OF OUR ANCESTORS.—Why should we now endure the truth, even about the most recent past? Because there is now always a new generation which feels itself in contradiction to the past and enjoys in this criticism the first-fruits of its sense of power. In former times the new generation, on the contrary, wished to base itself on the old and began to feel conscious of its power, not only in accepting the opinions of its ancestors but, if possible, taking them even more seriously. To criticise ancestral authority was in former times a vice; but at the present time our idealists begin by making it their starting-point.

TO LEARN SOLITUDE.—O ye poor fellows in the great centres of the world's politics, ye young and talented men, who, urged on by ambition, think it your duty to propound your opinion of every event of the day,—for something is always happening,—who, by thus making a noise and raising a cloud of dust, mistake yourselves for the rolling chariot of history; who, because ye always listen, always suit the moment when ye can put in your word or two, thereby lose all real productiveness. Whatever may be your desire to accomplish great deeds, the deep silence of pregnancy never comes to you! The event of the day sweeps you along like straws before the wind whilst ye lie under the illusion that ye are chasing the event,—poor fellows! If a man wishes to act the hero on the stage he must not think of forming part of the chorus; he should not even know how the chorus is made up.

178. DAILY WEAR AND TEAR.—These young men are lacking neither in character, nor talent, nor zeal, but they have never had sufficient time to choose their own path; they have, on the contrary, been habituated from the most tender age to have their path pointed out to them. At the time when they were ripe enough to be sent into the “desert,” something else was done with them. They were turned to account, estranged from themselves, and brought up in such a way that they became accustomed to be worn out by their daily toil. This was imposed on them as a duty, and now they cannot do without it; they would not wish it to be otherwise. The only thing that cannot be refused to these poor beasts of burden is their “holidays”—such is the name they give to this ideal of leisure in an overworked century; “holidays,” in which they may for once be idle, idiotic, and childish to their heart's content.

THE STATE AS A PRODUCTION OF ANARCHISTS.—In countries inhabited by tractable men there are always a few backsliders and intractable people. For the present the latter have joined the Socialists more than any other party. If it should happen that these people once come to have the making of the laws, they may be relied upon to impose iron chains upon themselves, and to practise a dreadful discipline,—they know themselves! and they will endure these harsh laws with the knowledge that they themselves have imposed them—the feeling of power and of this particular power will be too recent among them and too attractive for them not to suffer anything for its sake.

STIMULANTS AND FOOD.—Nations are deceived so often because they are always looking for a deceiver, i.e. a stimulating wine for their senses. When they can only have this wine they are glad to put up even with inferior bread. Intoxication is to them more than nutriment—this is the bait with which they always let themselves be caught! What, to them, are men chosen from among themselves—although they may be the most expert specialists—as compared with the brilliant conquerors, or ancient and magnificent princely houses! In order that he may inspire them with faith, the demagogue must at least exhibit to them a prospect of conquest and splendour. People will always obey, and even do more than obey, provided that they can become intoxicated in doing so. We may not even offer them repose and pleasure without this laurel crown and its maddening influence. This vulgar taste which ascribes greater importance to intoxication than nutrition did not by any means originate in the lower ranks of the population: it was, on the contrary, transplanted there, and on this backward soil it grows in great abundance, whilst its real origin must be sought amongst the highest intellects, where it flourished for thousands of years. The people is the last virgin soil upon which this brilliant weed can grow. Well, then, is it really to the people that we should entrust politics in order that they may thereby have their daily intoxication?


HIGH POLITICS.—Whatever may be the influence in high politics of utilitarianism and the vanity of individuals and nations, the sharpest spur which urges them onwards is their need for the feeling of power—a need which rises not only in the souls of princes and rulers, but also gushes forth from time to time from inexhaustible sources in the people. The time comes again and again when the masses are ready to stake their lives and their fortunes, their consciences and their virtue, in order that they may secure that highest of all enjoyments and rule as a victorious, tyrannical, and arbitrary nation over other nations (or at all events think that they do). On occasions such as these, feelings of prodigality, sacrifice, hope, confidence, extraordinary audacity, and enthusiasm will burst forth so abundantly that a sovereign who is ambitious or far-sighted will be able to seize the opportunity for making war, counting upon the good conscience of his people to hide his injustice. Great conquerors have always given utterance to the pathetic language of virtue; they have always been surrounded by crowds of people who felt themselves, as it were, in a state of exaltation and would listen to none but the most elevated oratory. The strange madness of moral judgments! When man experiences the sensation of power he feels and calls himself good; and at exactly the same time the others who have to endure his power call him evil!—Hesiod, in his fable of the epochs of man, has twice in succession depicted the same epoch, that of the heroes of Homer, and has thus made two epochs out of one: to those who lived under the terrible iron heel of those adventurous despots, or had heard their ancestors speak of them, the epoch appeared to be evil; but the descendants of those chivalric races worshipped it as the “good old times,” and as an almost ideally blissful age. The poet could thus not help doing what he did,—his audience probably included the descendants of both races.

BETTER MEN.—They tell me that our art is meant for the men of the present day, these greedy, unsatisfied, undisciplined, disgusted, and harassed spirits, and that it exhibits to them a picture of happiness, exaltation, and unworldliness beside that of their own brutality, so that for once they may forget and breathe freely; nay, perhaps find that they may derive some encouragement towards flight and conversion from that oblivion. Poor artists, with such a public as this; half of whose thoughts require the attention of a priest, and the other half the attention of an alienist! How much happier was Corneille—“Our great Corneille!” as Madame de Sévigné exclaimed, with the accent of a woman in the presence of a whole man,—how far superior was his audience, which he could please with pictures of chivalric virtues, strict duty, generous devotion, and heroic self-denial! How differently did he and they love existence, not as coming from blind and confused “will,” which we curse because we cannot destroy it; but loving existence as a place, so to speak, where greatness joined with humanity is possible, and where even the greatest restraint of form, such as submission to the caprice of priests and princes, could not suppress either the pride, chivalric feeling, the grace or the intellect of individuals, but could, on the contrary, be felt as a charm and incentive, as a welcome contrast to innate self-glorification and distinction and the inherited power of volition and passion.

VANITY OF THE TEACHERS OF MORALS.—The relatively small success which teachers of morals have met with may be explained by the fact that they wanted too much at once, i.e. they were too ambitious and too fond of laying down precepts for everybody. In other words, they were beating the air and making speeches to animals in order to turn them into men; what wonder, then, that the animals thought this tedious! We should rather choose limited circles and endeavour to find and promote morals for them: for instance, we should make speeches to wolves with the object of turning them into dogs; but, above all, the greatest success will remain for the man who does not seek to educate either everybody or certain limited circles, but only one single individual, and who cannot be turned to the right or left from his straight purpose. The last century was superior to ours precisely because it possessed so many individually educated men, as well as educators in the same proportion, who had made this their life's task, and who with this task were dignified not only in their own eyes but in those of all the remaining “good society.”

THE SO-CALLED CLASSICAL EDUCATION.—Alas! we discover that our life is consecrated to knowledge and that we should throw it away, nay, that we should even have to throw it away if this consecration did not protect us from ourselves: we repeat this couplet, and not without deep emotion: Thee, Fate, I follow, though I fain would not, And yet I must, with many a sigh and groan! And then, in looking backwards over the course of our lives, we discover that there is one thing that cannot be restored to us: the wasted period of our youth, when our teachers did not utilise these ardent and eager years to lead us to the knowledge of things, but merely to this so-called “classical education”! Only think of this wasted youth, when we were inoculated clumsily and painfully with an imperfect knowledge of the Greeks and Romans as well as of their languages, contrary to the highest principle of all culture, which holds that we should not give food except to those who hunger for it! Think of that period of our lives when we had mathematics and physics forced down our throats, instead of being first of all made acquainted with the despair of ignorance, instead of having our little daily life, our activities, and everything occurring in our houses, our workshops, in the sky, and in nature, split up into thousands of problems, painful, humiliating and irritating problems—and thus having our curiosity made acquainted with the fact that we first of all require a mathematical and mechanical knowledge before we can be allowed to rejoice in the absolute logic of this knowledge! If we had only been imbued with reverence for those branches of science, if we had only been made to tremble with emotion—were it only for once—at the struggles, the defeats, and the renewed combats of those great men, of the martyrdom which is the history of pure science! But, on the contrary, we were allowed to develop a certain contempt for those sciences in favour of historical training, formal education 4* and “classicism.” And we allowed ourselves to be so easily deceived! Formal education! Might we not have pointed to the best teachers at our high schools and asked laughingly, “Where then do they keep their formal education? and, if it is wanting in them, how can they teach it?” And classicism! Did we get any of that instruction which the ancients used to impart to their youth? Did we learn to speak or to write like them? Did we ceaselessly exercise ourselves in that duel of speech, dialectic? Did we learn to move as beautifully and proudly as they did, and to excel as they did in wrestling, throwing, and boxing? Did we learn anything of that practical asceticism of all the Greek philosophers? Did we receive any training in a single ancient virtue, and in the way in which the ancients were trained in it? Was not all meditation upon morals wanting in our education?—And how much more the only possible criticism on the subject of morality, those courageous and earnest attempts to live according to this or that morality! Did our teachers ever stir up a feeling in us which the ancients valued more highly than moderns? Did they in the spirit of the ancients indicate to us the divisions of the day and of life, and those aims by which the lives of the ancients were guided? Did we learn the ancient languages as we now learn the modern ones, viz. that we might speak them fluently and well? Nowhere can we find a real proficiency or any new faculty as the result of those toilsome years! only the knowledge of what men had learnt and were able to do in past ages! And what knowledge! Nothing becomes clearer to me year by year than the fact that the entire Greek and ancient mode of life, however simple and evident it must seem to our eyes, is in truth very difficult to understand, and even scarcely accessible, and that the customary ease with which we babble about the ancients is either giddy levity or the old hereditary conceit of our thoughtlessness. We are deceived by words and ideas which appear to resemble our own, but behind them there is always concealed a feeling which must be strange, incomprehensible, or painful to our modern conceptions. And these are realms in which boys are allowed to roam about! Enough: we roamed about them in our childhood, and there we became seized with an almost ineradicable antipathy for all antiquity, the antipathy arising from an intimacy which was apparently too great! For so great is the conceit of our classical teachers, who would almost make it appear that they had gained full control over the ancients, that they pass on this conceit to their pupils, together with the suspicion that such a possession is of little use for making people happy, but is good enough for honest, foolish old book-worms. “Let them brood over their treasure: it is well worthy of them!”—It is with this unexpressed thought that we completed our classical education. It can't be changed now—for us, at all events! But let us not think of ourselves alone!


4* “Formal education” is the name given in Germany to those branches of learning which tend to develop the logical faculties, as opposed to “material” education which deals with the acquisition of facts and all kinds of “useful” knowledge.—TR.{FNS

**My note - Classical/liberal education has been gutted in the west. Our government education is meant to produce idiots whose job and purpose are to be replaced by machines down in the stratum of the slave’s realm, and the “the leaders of tomorrow” in the aristocratic domains. This, as is all policing of such empire and aristocracy, is by design – MM.


THE MOST PERSONAL QUESTIONS OF TRUTH.—What am I really doing, and what do I mean by doing it? That is the question of truth which is not taught under our present system of education, and consequently not asked, because there is no time for it. On the other hand, we have always time and inclination for talking nonsense with children, rather than telling them the truth; for flattering women who will later on be mothers, rather than telling them the truth; and for speaking with young men about their future and their pleasures, rather than about the truth! But what, after all, are seventy years!—Time passes, and they soon come to an end; it matters as little to us as it does to the wave to know how and whither it is rolling! No, it might even be wisdom not to know it. “Agreed; but it shows a want of pride not even to inquire into the matter; our culture does not tend to make people proud.” “So much the better!” “Is it really?”

ENMITY OF THE GERMANS TOWARDS ENLIGHTENMENT.—Let us consider the contributions which in the first half of this century the Germans made to general culture by their intellectual work. In the first place, let us take the German philosophers: they went back to the first and oldest stage of speculation, for they were content with conceptions instead of explanations, like the thinkers of dreamy epochs—a pre-scientific type of philosophy was thus revived by them. Secondly, we have the German historians and romanticists: their efforts on the whole aimed at restoring to the place of honour certain old and primitive sentiments, especially Christianity, the “soul of the people,” folk-lore, folk-speech, mediævalism, Oriental asceticism, and Hinduism. In the third place, there are the natural philosophers who fought against the spirit of Newton and Voltaire, and, like Goethe and Schopenhauer, endeavoured to re-establish the idea of a deified or diabolised nature, and of its absolute ethical and symbolical meaning. The main general tendency of the Germans was directed against enlightenment and against those social revolutions which were stupidly mistaken for the consequences of enlightenment: the piety towards everything that existed tried to become piety towards everything that had ever existed, only in order that heart and mind might be permitted to fill themselves and gush forth again, thus leaving no space for future and novel aims. The cult of feeling took the place of the cult of reason, and the German musicians, as the best exponents of all that is invisible, enthusiastic, legendary, and passionate, showed themselves more successful in building up the new temple than all the other artists in words and thoughts. If, in considering these details, we have taken into account the fact that many good things were said and investigated, and that many things have since then been more fairly judged than on any previous occasion, there yet remains to be said of the whole that it was a general danger, and one by no means small, to set knowledge altogether below feeling under the appearance of an entire and definitive acquaintance with the past—and, to use that expression of Kant, who thus defined his own particular task—“To make way again for belief by fixing the limits of knowledge.” Let us once more breathe freely, the hour of this danger is past! And yet, strange to say, the very spirits which these Germans conjured up with such eloquence have at length become the most dangerous for the intentions of those who did conjure them up: history, the comprehension of origin and development, sympathy with the past, the new passion for feeling and knowledge, after they had been for a long time at the service of this obscure exalted and retrograde spirit, have once more assumed another nature, and are now soaring with outstretched wings above the heads of those who once upon a time conjured them forth, as new and stronger genii of that very enlightenment to combat which they had been resuscitated. It is this enlightenment which we have now to carry forward,—caring nothing for the fact that there has been and still is “a great revolution,” and again a great “reaction” against it: these are but playful crests of foam when compared with the truly great current on which we float, and want to float.

ASSIGNING PRESTIGE TO ONE'S COUNTRY.—It is the men of culture who determine the rank of their country, and they are characterised by an innumerable number of great inward experiences, which they have digested and can now value justly. In France and Italy this fell to the lot of the nobility; in Germany, where up to now the nobility has been, as a rule, composed of men who had not much intellect to boast about (perhaps this will soon cease to be the case), it was the task of the priests, the school teachers and their descendants.

WE ARE NOBLER.—Fidelity, generosity, concern for one's good reputation: these three qualities, combined in one sentiment, we call noble, distinguished, aristocratic; and in this respect we excel the Greeks. We do not wish to give this up at any cost under the pretext that the ancient objects of these virtues have rightly fallen in esteem, but we wish cautiously to substitute new objects for these most precious and hereditary impulses. To understand why the sentiments of the noblest Greeks must be considered as inferior and scarcely respectable in the present age, where we are still under the influence of the chivalric and feudal nobility, we must recall the words of consolation to which Ulysses gave utterance in the midst of the most humiliating situations, “Bear with it, my dear heart, bear with it! Thou hast borne with many more swinish things(5*) than these!” As an instance of this mythical example, consider also the tale of that Athenian officer, who, when threatened with a stick by another officer in the presence of the entire general staff, shook off his disgrace with the words, “Strike, but listen to me.” (This was Themistocles, that ingenious Ulysses of the classical epoch, who was just the man at the moment of disgrace to address to his “dear heart” that verse of comfort and affliction.) The Greeks were far from making light of life and death because of an insult, as we, influenced by a hereditary spirit of chivalric adventurousness and self-devotion, are in the habit of doing; or from looking for opportunities of honourably risking life and death, as in duels; or from valuing the preservation of an unstained name (honour) more than the acquirement of an evil reputation, when the latter was compatible with glory and the feeling of power; or from remaining faithful to the prejudices and the articles of faith of a caste, when these could prevent them from becoming tyrants. For this is the ignoble secret of the good Greek aristocrat: out of sheer jealousy he treats every one of the members of his caste as being on an equal footing with himself, but he is ready at every moment to spring like a tiger on his prey—despotism. What matter lies, murders, treason, or the betrayal of his native city to him! Justice was an extremely difficult matter for people of this kind to understand—nay, justice was almost something incredible. “The just man” was to the Greeks what “the saint” was to the Christians. When Socrates, however, laid down the axiom, “The most virtuous man is the happiest,” they could not trust their ears; they thought they had heard a madman speaking. For, as a picture of the happiest man, every nobleman had in his mind the cheeky audacity and devilry of the tyrant who sacrifices everything and every one to his own exuberance and pleasure. Among people whose imagination secretly raved about such happiness, the worship of the State could not, of course, have been too deeply implanted—but I think that men whose desire for power does not rage so blindly as that of the Greek noblemen no longer stand in need of such idolatry of the State, by means of which, in past ages, such a passion was kept within due bounds.


(5*) The reference is to the Odyssey, XX.{FNS 18…“a dog,” lit. more dog-like, i.e. shameless, horrible, audacious.—TR.{FNS

ENDURANCE OF POVERTY.—There is one great advantage in noble extraction: it makes us endure poverty better.

THE FUTURE OF THE NOBILITY.—The bearing of the aristocratic classes shows that, in all the members of their body the consciousness of power is continually playing its fascinating game. Thus people of aristocratic habits, men or women, never sink worn out into a chair; when every one else makes himself comfortable, as in a train, for example, they avoid reclining at their ease; they do not appear to get tired after standing at Court for hours at a stretch; they do not furnish their houses in a comfortable manner, but in such a way as to produce the impression of something grand and imposing, as if they had to serve as a residence for greater and taller beings; they reply to a provoking speech with dignity and clearness of mind, and not as if scandalised, crushed, shamed, or out of breath in the plebeian fashion. As the aristocrat is able to preserve the appearance of being possessed of a superior physical force which never leaves him, he likewise wishes by his aspect of constant serenity and civility of disposition, even in the most trying circumstances, to convey the impression that his mind and soul are equal to all dangers and surprises. A noble culture may resemble, so far as passions are concerned, either a horseman who takes pleasure in making his proud and fiery animal trot in the Spanish fashion,—we have only to recollect the age of Louis XIV.,—or like the rider who feels his horse dart away with him like the elemental forces, to such a degree that both horse and rider come near losing their heads, but, owing to the enjoyment of the delight, do keep very clear heads: in both these cases this aristocratic culture breathes power, and if very often in its customs only the appearance of the feeling of power is required, nevertheless the real sense of superiority continues constantly to increase as the result of the impression which this display makes upon those who are not aristocrats. This indisputable happiness of aristocratic culture, based as it is on the feeling of superiority, is now beginning to rise to ever higher levels; for now, thanks to the free spirits, it is henceforth permissible and not dishonourable for people who have been born and reared in aristocratic circles to enter the domain of knowledge, where they may secure more intellectual consecrations and learn chivalric services even higher than those of former times, and where they may look up to that ideal of victorious wisdom which as yet no age has been able to set before itself with so good a conscience as the period which is about to dawn. Lastly, what is to be the occupation of the nobility in the future if it becomes more evident from day to day that it is less and less indecorus to take any part in politics?

THE CARE OF THE HEALTH.—We have scarcely begun to devote any attention to the physiology of criminals, and yet we have already reached the inevitable conclusion that between criminals and madmen there is no really essential difference: if we suppose that the current moral fashion of thinking is a healthy way of thinking. No belief, however, is nowadays more firmly believed in than this one, so we should not therefore shrink from drawing the inevitable conclusion and treating the criminal like a lunatic—above all, not with haughty pitifulness, but with medical skill and good will. He may perhaps be in need of a change of air, a change of society, or temporary absence: perhaps of solitude and new occupations—very well! He may perhaps feel that it would be to his advantage to live under surveillance for a short time in order thus to obtain protection from himself and from a troublesome tyrannical impulse—very well! We should make clear to him the possibility and the means of curing him (the extermination, transformation, and sublimation of these impulses), and also, in the worst cases, the improbability of a cure; and we should offer to the incurable criminal, who has become a useless burden to himself, the opportunity of committing suicide. While holding this in reserve as an extreme measure of relief, we should neglect nothing which would tend above all to restore to the criminal his good courage and freedom of spirit; we should free his soul from all remorse, as if it were something unclean, and show him how he may atone for a wrong which he may have done some one by benefiting some one else, perhaps the community at large, in such way that he might even do more than balance his previous offence. All this must be done with the greatest tact! The criminal must, above all, remain anonymous or adopt an assumed name, changing his place of residence frequently, so that his reputation and future life may suffer as little as possible. At the present time it is true that the man who has been injured, apart altogether from the manner in which this injury might be redressed, wishes for revenge in addition, and applies to the courts that he may obtain it—and this is why our dreadful penal laws are still in force: Justice, as it were, holding up a pair of shopkeeper's scales and endeavouring to balance the guilt by punishment; but can we not take a step beyond this? Would it not be a great relief to the general sentiment of life if, while getting rid of our belief in guilt, we could also get rid of our old craving for vengeance, and gradually come to believe that it is a refined wisdom for happy men to bless their enemies and to do good to those who have offended them, exactly in accordance with the spirit of Christian teaching! Let us free the world from this idea of sin, and take care to cast out with it the idea of punishment. May these monstrous ideas henceforth live banished far from the abodes of men—if, indeed, they must live at all, and do not perish from disgust with themselves. Let us not forget also, however, that the injury caused to society and to the individual by the criminal is of the same species as that caused by the sick: for the sick spread cares and ill-humour; they are non-productive, consume the earnings of others, and at the same time require attendance, doctors, and support, and they really live on the time and strength of the healthy. In spite of this, however, we should designate as inhuman any one who, for this reason, would wish to wreak vengeance on the sick. In past ages, indeed, this was actually done: in primitive conditions of society, and even now among certain savage peoples, the sick man is treated as a criminal and as a danger to the community, and it is believed that he is the resting-place of certain demoniacal beings who have entered into his body as the result of some offence he has committed—those ages and peoples hold that the sick are the guilty! And what of ourselves? Are we not yet ripe for the contrary conception? Shall we not be allowed to say, “The guilty are the sick”? No; the hour for that has not yet come. We still lack, above all, those physicians who have learnt something from what we have hitherto called practical morals and have transformed it into the art and science of healing. We still lack that intense interest in those things which some day perhaps may seem not unlike the “storm and stress” of those old religious ecstasies. The Churches have not yet come into the possession of those who look after our health; the study of the body and of dietary are not yet amongst the obligatory subjects taught in our primary and secondary schools; there are as yet no quiet associations of those people who are pledged to one another to do without the help of law courts, and who renounce the punishment and vengeance now meted out to those who have offended against society. No thinker has as yet been daring enough to determine the health of society, and of the individuals who compose it, by the number of parasites which it can support; and no statesman has yet been found to use the ploughshare in the spirit of that generous and tender saying, “If thou wilt till the land, till it with the plough; then the bird and the wolf, walking behind thy plough, will rejoice in thee—all creatures will rejoice in thee.”

AGAINST BAD DIET.—Fie upon the meals which people nowadays eat in hotels and everywhere else where the well-off classes of society live! Even when eminent men of science meet together their tables groan under the weight of the dishes, in accordance with the principle of the bankers: the principle of too many dishes and too much to eat. The result of this is that dinners are prepared with a view to their mere appearance rather than the consequences that may follow from eating them, and that stimulating drinks are required to help in driving away the heaviness in the stomach and in the brain. Fie on the dissoluteness and extreme nervousness which must follow upon all this! Fie upon the dreams that such repasts bring! Fie upon the arts and books which must be the desert of such meals! Despite all the efforts of such people their acts will taste of pepper and ill-temper, or general weariness! (The wealthy classes in England stand in great need of their Christianity in order to be able to endure their bad digestions and their headaches.) Finally, to mention not only the disgusting but also the more pleasant side of the matter, these people are by no means mere gluttons: our century and its spirit of activity has more power over the limbs than the belly. What then is the meaning of these banquets? They represent! What in Heaven's name do they represent? Rank?—no, money! There is no rank now! We are all “individuals”! but money now stands for power, glory, pre-eminence, dignity, and influence; money at the present time acts as a greater or lesser moral prejudice for a man in proportion to the amount he may possess. Nobody wishes to hide it under a bushel or display it in heaps on a table: hence money must have some representative which can be put on the table—so behold our banquets!

DANÆ AND THE GOD OF GOLD.—Whence arises this excessive impatience in our day which turns men into criminals even in circumstances which would be more likely to bring about the contrary tendency? What induces one man to use false weights, another to set his house on fire after having insured it for more than its value, a third to take part in counterfeiting, while threefourths of our upper classes indulge in legalised fraud, and suffer from the pangs of conscience that follow speculation and dealings on the Stock Exchange: what gives rise to all this? It is not real want,—for their existence is by no means precarious; perhaps they have even enough to eat and drink without worrying,—but they are urged on day and night by a terrible impatience at seeing their wealth pile up so slowly, and by an equally terrible longing and love for these heaps of gold. In this impatience and love, however, we see re-appear once more that fanaticism of the desire for power which was stimulated in former times by the belief that we were in the possession of truth, a fanaticism which bore such beautiful names that we could dare to be inhuman with a good conscience (burning Jews, heretics, and good books, and exterminating entire cultures superior to ours, such as those of Peru and Mexico). The means of this desire for power are changed in our day, but the same volcano is still smouldering, impatience and intemperate love call for their victims, and what was once done “for the love of God” is now done for the love of money, i.e. for the love of that which at present affords us the highest feeling of power and a good conscience.

THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL.—One of the spectacles which the next century will invite us to witness is the decision regarding the fate of the European Jews. It is quite obvious now that they have cast their die and crossed their Rubicon: the only thing that remains for them is either to become masters of Europe or to lose Europe, as they once centuries ago lost Egypt, where they were confronted with similar alternatives. In Europe, however, they have gone through a schooling of eighteen centuries such as no other nation has ever undergone, and the experiences of this dreadful time of probation have benefited not only the Jewish community but, even to a greater extent, the individual. As a consequence of this, the resourcefulness of the modern Jews, both in mind and soul, is extraordinary. Amongst all the inhabitants of Europe it is the Jews least of all who try to escape from any deep distress by recourse to drink or to suicide, as other less gifted people are so prone to do. Every Jew can find in the history of his own family and of his ancestors a long record of instances of the greatest coolness and perseverance amid difficulties and dreadful situations, an artful cunning in fighting with misfortune and hazard. And above all it is their bravery under the cloak of wretched submission, their heroic spernere se sperni that surpasses the virtues of all the saints. People wished to make them contemptible by treating them contemptibly for nearly twenty centuries, and refusing them access to all honourable positions and dignities, and by pushing them further down into the meaner trades—and under this process indeed they have not become any cleaner. But contemptible? They have never ceased for a moment from believing themselves qualified for the very highest functions, nor have the virtues of the suffering ever ceased to adorn them. Their manner of honouring their parents and children, the rationality of their marriages and marriage customs, distinguishes them amongst all Europeans. Besides this, they have been able to create for themselves a sense of power and eternal vengeance from the very trades that were left to them (or to which they were abandoned). Even in palliation of their usury we cannot help saying that, without this occasional pleasant and useful torture inflicted on their scorners, they would have experienced difficulty in preserving their selfrespect for so long. For our self-respect depends upon our ability to make reprisals in both good and evil things. Nevertheless, their revenge never urges them on too far, for they all have that liberty of mind, and even of soul, produced in men by frequent changes of place, climate, and customs of neighbours and oppressors, they possess by far the greatest experience in all human intercourse, and even in their passions they exercise the caution which this experience has developed in them. They are so certain of their intellectual versatility and shrewdness that they never, even when reduced to the direst straits, have to earn their bread by manual labour as common workmen, porters, or farm hands. In their manners we can still see that they have never been inspired by chivalric and noble feelings, or that their bodies have ever been girt with fine weapons: a certain obtrusiveness alternates with a submissiveness which is often tender and almost always painful. Now, however, that they unavoidably inter-marry more and more year after year with the noblest blood of Europe, they will soon have a considerable heritage of good intellectual and physical manners, so that in another hundred years they will have a sufficiently noble aspect not to render themselves, as masters, ridiculous to those whom they will have subdued. And this is important! and therefore a settlement of the question is still premature. They themselves know very well that the conquest of Europe or any act of violence is not to be thought of; but they also know that some day or other Europe may, like a ripe fruit, fall into their hands, if they do not clutch at it too eagerly. In the meantime, it is necessary for them to distinguish themselves in all departments of European distinction and to stand in the front rank: until they shall have advanced so far as to determine themselves what distinction shall mean. Then they will be called the pioneers and guides of the Europeans whose modesty they will no longer offend. And then where shall an outlet be found for this abundant wealth of great impressions accumulated during such an extended period and representing Jewish history for every Jewish family, this wealth of passions, virtues, resolutions, resignations, struggles, and conquests of all kinds—where can it find an outlet but in great intellectual men and works! On the day when the Jews will be able to exhibit to us as their own work such jewels and golden vessels as no European nation, with its shorter and less profound experience, can or could produce, when Israel shall have changed its eternal vengeance into an eternal benediction for Europe: then that seventh day will once more appear when old Jehovah may rejoice in Himself, in His creation, in His chosen people—and all, all of us, will rejoice with Him!

THE IMPOSSIBLE CLASS.—Poverty, cheerfulness, and independence—it is possible to find these three qualities combined in one individual; poverty, cheerfulness, and slavery—this is likewise a possible combination: and I can say nothing better to the workmen who serve as factory slaves; presuming that it does not appear to them altogether to be a shameful thing to be utilised as they are, as the screws of a machine and the stopgaps, as it were, of the human spirit of invention. Fie on the thought that merely by means of higher wages the essential part of their misery, i.e. their impersonal enslavement, might be removed! Fie, that we should allow ourselves to be convinced that, by an increase of this impersonality within the mechanical working of a new society, the disgrace of slavery could be changed into a virtue! Fie, that there should be a regular price at which a man should cease to be a personality and become a screw instead! Are you accomplices in the present madness of nations which desire above all to produce as much as possible, and to be as rich as possible? Would it not be your duty to present a counter-claim to them, and to show them what large sums of internal value are wasted in the pursuit of such an external object? But where is your internal value when you no longer know what it is to breathe freely; when you have scarcely any command over your own selves, and often feel disgusted with yourselves as with some stale food; when you zealously study the newspapers and look enviously at your wealthy neighbour, made covetous by the rapid rise and fall of power, money, and opinions; when you no longer believe in a philosophy in rags, or in the freedom of spirit of a man who has few needs; when a voluntary and idyllic poverty without profession or marriage, such as should suit the more intellectual ones among you, has become for you an object of derision? On the other hand, the piping of the Socialistic rat-catchers who wish to inspire you with foolish hopes is continually sounding in your ears: they tell you to be ready and nothing further, ready from this day to the next, so that you wait and wait for something to come from outside, though living in all other respects as you lived before—until this waiting is at length changed into hunger and thirst and fever and madness, and the clay of the bestia triumphans at last dawns in all its glory. Every one of you should on the contrary say to himself: “It would be better to emigrate and endeavour to become a master in new and savage countries, and especially to become master over myself, changing my place of abode whenever the least sign of slavery threatens me, endeavouring to avoid neither adventure nor war, and, if things come to the worst, holding myself ready to die: anything rather than continuing in this state of disgraceful thraldom, this bitterness, malice and rebelliousness!” This would be the proper spirit: the workmen in Europe ought to make it clear that their position as a class has become a human impossibility, and not merely, as they at present maintain, the result of some hard and aimless arrangement of society. They should bring about an age of great swarming forth from the European beehive such as has never yet been seen, protesting by this voluntary and huge migration against machines and capital and the alternatives that now threaten them either of becoming slaves of the State or slaves of some revolutionary party. May Europe be freed from one-fourth of her inhabitants! Both she and they will experience a sensation of relief. It is only far in the distance, in the undertaking of vast colonisations, that we shall be able to observe how much rationality, fairness, and healthy suspicion mother Europe has incorporated in her sons—these sons who could no longer endure life in the home of the dull old woman, always running the danger of becoming as bad-tempered, irritable, and pleasure-seeking as she herself. The European virtues will travel along with these workmen far beyond the boundaries of Europe; and those very qualities which on their native soil had begun to degenerate into a dangerous discontent and criminal inclinations will, when abroad, be transformed into a beautiful, savage naturalness and will be called heroism; so that at last a purer air would again be wafted over this old, over-populated, and brooding Europe of ours. What would it matter if there was a scarcity of “hands”? Perhaps people would then recollect that they had accustomed themselves to many wants merely because it was easy to gratify them—it would be sufficient to unlearn some of these wants! Perhaps also Chinamen would be called in, and these would bring with them their modes of living and thinking, which would be found very suitable for industrious ants. They would also perhaps help to imbue this fretful and restless Europe with some of their Asiatic calmness and contemplation, and—what is perhaps most needful of all—their Asiatic stability.

THE ATTITUDE OF THE GERMANS TO MORALITY.—A German is capable of great things, but he is unlikely to accomplish them, for he obeys whenever he can, as suits a naturally lazy intellect. If he is ever in the dangerous situation of having to stand alone and cast aside his sloth, when he finds it no longer possible to disappear like a cipher in a number (in which respect he is far inferior to a Frenchman or an Englishman), he shows his true strength: then he becomes dangerous, evil, deep, and audacious, and exhibits to the light of day that wealth of latent energy which he had previously carried hidden in himself, and in which no one, not even himself, had ever believed. When in such a case a German obeys himself—it is very exceptional for him to do so—he does so with the same heaviness, inflexibility, and endurance with which he obeys his prince and performs his official duties: so that, as I have said, he is then capable of great things which bear no relation to the “weak disposition” he attributes to himself. As a rule, however, he is afraid of depending upon himself alone, he is afraid of taking the initiative: that is why Germany uses up so many officials and so much ink. Light-heartedness is a stranger to the German; he is too timid for it: but in entirely new situations which rouse him from his torpor he exhibits an almost frivolous spirit—he then delights in the novelty of his new position as if it were some intoxicating drink, and he is, as we know, quite a connoisseur in intoxication. It thus happens that the German of the present day is almost always frivolous in politics, though even here he has the advantage and prejudice of thoroughness and seriousness; and, although he may take full advantage of these qualities in negotiations with other political powers, he nevertheless rejoices inwardly at being able for once in his life to feel enthusiastic and capricious, to show his fondness for innovations, and to change persons, parties, and hopes as if they were masks. Those learned German scholars, who hitherto have been considered as the most German of Germans, were and perhaps still are as good as the German soldiers on account of their profound and almost childish inclination to obey in all external things, and on account of being often compelled to stand alone in science and to answer for many things: if they can only preserve their proud, simple, and patient disposition, and their freedom from political madness at those times when the wind changes, we may yet expect great things from them—such as they are or such as they were, they are the embryonic stage of something higher. So far the advantages and disadvantages of the Germans, including even their learned men, have been that they were more given to superstition and showed greater eagerness to believe than any of the other nations; their vices are, and always have been, their drunkenness and suicidal inclinations (the latter a proof of the clumsiness of their intellect, which is easily tempted to throw away the reins). Their danger is to be sought in everything that binds down the faculties of reason and unchains the passions (as, for example, the excessive use of music and spirits), for the German passion acts contrarily to its own advantage, and is as self-destructive as the passions of the drunkard. Indeed, German enthusiasm is worth less than that of other nations, for it is barren. When a German ever did anything great it was done at a time of danger, or when his courage was high, with his teeth firmly set and his prudence on the alert, and often enough in a fit of generosity.—Intercourse with these Germans is indeed advisable, for almost every one of them has something to give, if we can only understand how to make him find it, or rather recover it (for he is very untidy in storing away his knowledge). Well: when people of this type occupy themselves with morals, what precisely will be the morality that will satisfy them? In the first place, they will wish to see idealised in their morals their sincere instinct for obedience. “Man must have something which he can implicitly obey”—this is a German sentiment, a German deduction; it is the basis of all German moral teaching. How different is the impression, however, when we compare this with the entire morality of the ancient world! All those Greek thinkers, however varied they may appear to us, seem to resemble, as moralists, the gymnastic teacher who encourages his pupils by saying, “Come, follow me! Submit to my discipline! Then perhaps you may carry off the prize from all the other Greeks.” Personal distinction: such was the virtue of antiquity. Submission, obedience, whether public or private: such is German virtue. Long before Kant set forth his doctrine of the Categorical Imperative, Luther, actuated by the same impulse, said that there surely must be a being in whom man could trust implicitly—it was his proof of the existence of God; it was his wish, coarser and more popular than that of Kant, that people should implicitly obey a person and not an idea, and Kant also finally took his roundabout route through morals merely that he might secure obedience for the person. This is indeed the worship of the German, the more so as there is now less worship left in his religion. The Greeks and Romans had other opinions on these matters, and would have laughed at such “there must be a being”: it is part of the boldness of their Southern nature to take up a stand against “implicit belief,” and to retain in their inmost heart a trace of scepticism against all and every one, whether God, man, or idea. The thinker of antiquity went even further, and said nil admirari: in this phrase he saw reflected all philosophy. A German, Schopenhauer, goes so far in the contrary direction as to say: admirari id est philosophari. But what if, as happens now and then, the German should attain to that state of mind which would enable him to perform great things? if the hour of exception comes, the hour of disobedience? I do not think Schopenhauer is right in saying that the single advantage the Germans have over other nations is that there are more atheists among them than elsewhere; but I do know this: whenever the German reaches the state in which he is capable of great things, he invariably raises himself above morals! And why should he not? Now he has something new to do, viz. to command—either himself or others! But this German morality of his has not taught him how to command! Commanding has been forgotten in it

THE UTILITY OF THE STRICTEST THEORIES.—People are indulgent towards a man's moral weaknesses, and in this connection they use a coarse sieve, provided that he always professes to hold the most strict moral theories. On the other hand, the lives of freethinking moralists have always been examined closely through a microscope, in the tacit belief that an error in their lives would be the best argument against their disagreeable knowledge.6 6 If this aphorism seems obscure, the reader may take Tolstoi as an example of the first class and Nietzsche as an example of the second. Tolstoi's inconsistencies are generally glossed over, because he professed the customary moral theories of the age, while Nietzsche has had to endure the most searching criticism because he did not. In Nietzsche's case, however, the scrutiny has been in vain; for, having no unworkable Christian theories to uphold, unlike Tolstoi, Nietzsche's life is not a series of compromises. The career of the great pagan philosopher was, in essence, much more saintly than that of the great Christian. How different from Tolstoi, too, was that noble Christian, Pascal, who, from the inevitable clash of his creed and his nature, died at thirty-eight, while his weaker epigone lived in the fullness of his fame until he was over eighty!—TR.{FNS

THE “THING IN ITSELF.”—We used to ask formerly: What is the ridiculous?—as if there were something above and beyond ourselves that possessed the quality of provoking laughter, and we exhausted ourselves in trying to guess what it was (a theologian even held that it might be “the naïveté of sin”). At the present time we ask: What is laughter? how does it arise? We have considered the point, and finally reached the conclusion that there is nothing which is good, beautiful, sublime, or evil in itself; but rather that there are conditions of soul which lead us to attribute such qualities to things outside ourselves and in us. We have taken back their predicates from things; or we have at all events recollected that we have merely lent the things these predicates. Let us be careful that this insight does not cause us to lose the faculty of lending, and that we do not become at the same time wealthier and more avaricious.

TO THOSE WHO DREAM OF IMMORTALITY.—So you desire the everlasting perpetuity of this beautiful consciousness of yourselves? Is it not shameful? Do you forget all those other things which would in their turn have to support you for all eternity, just as they have borne with you up to the present with more than Christian patience? Or do you think that you can inspire them with an eternally pleasant feeling towards yourself? A single immortal man on earth would imbue everyone around him with such a disgust for him that a general epidemic of murder and suicide would be brought about. And yet, ye petty dwellers on earth, with your narrow conceptions of a few thousand little minutes of time, ye would wish to be an everlasting burden on this everlasting universal existence! Could anything be more impertinent? After all, however, let us be indulgent towards a being of seventy years: he has not been able to exercise his imagination in conceiving his own “eternal tediousness”—he had not time enough for that!


WHEREIN WE KNOW OURSELVES.—As soon as one animal sees another it mentally compares itself with it; and men of uncivilised ages did the same. The consequence is that almost all men come to know themselves only as regards their defensive and offensive faculties.

MEN WHOSE LIVES HAVE BEEN FAILURES.—Some men are built of such stuff that society is at liberty to do what it likes with them—they will do well in any case, and will not have to complain of having failed in life. Other men are formed of such peculiar material—it need not be a particularly noble one, but simply rarer—that they are sure to fare ill except in one single instance: when they can live according to their own designs,—in all other cases the injury has to be borne by society. For everything that seems to the individual to be a wasted or blighted life, his entire burden of discouragement, powerlessness, sickness, irritation, covetousness, is attributed by him to society—and thus a heavy, vitiated atmosphere is gradually formed round society, or, in the most favourable cases, a thundercloud.


WHAT INDULGENCE!—You suffer, and call upon us to be indulgent towards you, even when in your suffering you are unjust towards things and men! But what does our indulgence matter! You, however, should take greater precautions for your own sake! That's a nice way of compensating yourself for your sufferings, by imposing still further suffering on your own judgment! Your own revenge recoils upon yourselves when you start reviling something: you dim your own eyes in this way, and not the eyes of others; you accustom yourself to looking at things in the wrong way, and with a squint.

THE MORALITY OF VICTIMS.—“Enthusiastic sacrifice,” “selfimmolation”—these are the catch-words of your morality, and I willingly believe that you, as you say, “mean it honestly”: but I know you better than you know yourselves, if your “honesty” is capable of going arm in arm with such a morality. You look down from the heights of this morality upon that other sober morality which calls for self-control, severity, and obedience; you even go so far as to call it egoistic—and you are indeed frank towards yourselves in saying that it displeases you—it must displease you! For, in sacrificing and immolating yourselves with such enthusiasm, you delight in the intoxication of the thought that you are now one with the powerful being, God or man, to whom you are consecrating yourselves: you revel in the feeling of his power, which is again attested by this sacrifice. In reality, however, you only appear to sacrifice yourselves; for your imagination turns you into gods and you enjoy yourselves as such. Judged from the point of view of this enjoyment, how poor and feeble must that other “egoistic” morality of obedience, duty, and reason seem to you: it is displeasing to you because in this instance true self-sacrifice and self-surrender are called for, without the victim thinking himself to be transformed into a god, as you do. In a word, you want intoxication and excess, and this morality which you despise takes up a stand against intoxication and excess—no wonder it causes you some displeasure!

EVIL PEOPLE AND MUSIC.—Should the full bliss of love, which consists in unlimited confidence, ever have fallen to the lot of persons other than those who are profoundly suspicious, evil, and bitter? For such people enjoy in this bliss the gigantic, unlooked-for, and incredible exception of their souls! One day they are seized with that infinite, dreamy sensation which is entirely opposed to the remainder of their private and public life, like a delicious enigma, full of golden splendour, and impossible to be described by mere words or similes. Implicit confidence makes them speechless—there is even a species of suffering and heaviness in this blissful silence; and this is why souls that are overcome with happiness generally feel more grateful to music than others and better ones do: for they see and hear through music, as through a coloured mist, their love becoming, as it were, more distant, more touching, and less heavy. Music is the only means that such people have of observing their extraordinary condition and of becoming aware of its presence with a feeling of estrangement and relief. When the sound of music reaches the ears of every lover he thinks: “It speaks of me, it speaks in my stead; it knows everything!”

THE ARTIST.—The Germans wish to be transported by the artist into a state of dreamy passion; by his aid the Italians wish to rest from their real passions; the French wish him to give them an opportunity of showing their judgment and of making speeches. So let us be just!

TO DEAL LIKE AN ARTIST WITH ONE'S WEAKNESSES.—If we must positively have weaknesses and come in the end to look upon them as laws beyond ourselves, I wish that everybody may be possessed of as much artistic capacity as will enable him to set off his virtues by means of his weaknesses, and to make us, through his weaknesses, desirous of acquiring his virtues: a power which great musicians have possessed in quite an exceptional degree. How frequently do we notice in Beethoven's music a coarse, dogmatic, and impatient tone; in Mozart, the joviality of an honest man, whose heart and mind have not overmuch to give us; in Richard Wagner, an abrupt and aggressive restlessness, in the midst of which, just as the most patient listener is on the point of losing his temper, the composer regains his powers, and likewise the others. Through their very weaknesses, these musicians have created in us an ardent desire for their virtues, and have given us a palate which is ten times more sensitive to every note of this tuneful intellect, tuneful beauty, and tuneful goodness.

STRIVING FOR GENTLENESS.—When a vigorous nature has not an inclination towards cruelty, and is not always preoccupied with itself; it involuntarily strives after gentleness—this is its distinctive characteristic. Weak natures, on the other hand, have a tendency towards harsh judgments—they associate themselves with the heroes of the contempt of mankind, the religious or philosophical traducers of existence, or they take up their position behind strict habits and punctilious “callings”: in this way they seek to give themselves a character and a kind of strength. This is likewise done quite involuntarily

A HINT TO MORALISTS.—Our musicians have made a great discovery. They have found out that interesting ugliness is possible even in their art; this is why they throw themselves with such enthusiastic intoxication into this ocean of ugliness, and never before has it been so easy to make music. It is only now that we have got the general, dark-coloured background, upon which every luminous ray of fine music, however faint, seems tinged with golden emerald lustre; it is only now that we dare to inspire our audience with feelings of impetuosity and indignation, taking away their breath, so to speak, in order that we may afterwards, in an interval of restful harmony, inspire them with a feeling of bliss which will be to the general advantage of a proper appreciation of music. We have discovered the contrast: it is only now that the strongest effects are possible—and cheap. No one bothers any more about good music. But you must hurry up! When any art has once made this discovery, it has but a short space of time to live.—Oh, if only our thinkers could probe into the depths of the souls of our musicians when listening to their music! How long we must wait until we again have an opportunity of surprising the inward man in the very act of his evil doing, and his innocence of this act! For our musicians have not the slightest suspicion that it is their own history, the history of the disfigurement of the soul, which they are transposing into music. In former times a good musician was almost forced by the exigencies of his art to become a good man—and now!

THE MORALITY OF THE STAGE.—The man who imagines that the effect of Shakespeare's plays is a moral one, and that the sight of Macbeth irresistibly induces us to shun the evil of ambition, is mistaken, and he is mistaken once more if he believes that Shakespeare himself thought so. He who is truly obsessed by an ardent ambition takes delight in beholding this picture of himself; and when the hero is driven to destruction by his passion, this is the most pungent spice in the hot drink of this delight. Did the poet feel this in another way? How royally and with how little of the knave in him does his ambitious hero run his course from the moment of his great crime! It is only from this moment that he becomes “demoniacally” attractive, and that he encourages similar natures to imitate him.—There is something demoniacal here: something which is in revolt against advantage and life, in favour of a thought and an impulse. Do you think that Tristan and Isolde are warnings against adultery, merely because adultery has resulted in the death of both of them? This would be turning poets upside down, these poets who, especially Shakespeare, are in love with the passions in themselves, and not less so with the readiness for death which they give rise to: this mood in which the heart no more clings to life than a drop of water does to the glass. It is not the guilt and its pernicious consequences which interests these poets—Shakespeare as little as Sophocles (in the Ajax, Philoctetes, Œdipus)—however easy it might have been in the cases just mentioned to make the guilt the lever of the play, it was carefully avoided by the poets. In the same way the tragic poet by his images of life does not wish to set us against life. On the contrary, he exclaims; “It is the charm of charms, this exciting, changing, and dangerous existence of ours, so often gloomy and so often bathed in sun! Life is an adventure—whichever side you may take in life it will always retain this character!”—Thus speaks the poet of a restless and vigorous age, an age which is almost intoxicated and stupefied by its superabundance of blood and energy, in an age more evil than our own: and this is why it is necessary for us to adapt and accommodate ourselves first to the purpose of a Shakespearian play, that is, by misunderstanding it.

ARISTOTLE AND MARRIAGE.—Insanity makes its appearance in the children of great geniuses, and stupidity in those of the most virtuous—so says Aristotle. Did he mean by this to invite exceptional men to marry?

THE ORIGIN OF A BAD TEMPERAMENT.—Injustice and instability in the minds of certain men, their disordered and immoderate manner, are the ultimate consequences of the innumerable logical inexactitudes, superficialities, and hasty conclusions of which their ancestors have been guilty. Men of a good temperament, on the other hand, are descended from solid and meditative races which have set a high value upon reason—whether for praiseworthy or evil purposes is of no great importance.

DISSIMULATION AS A DUTY.—Kindness has been best developed by the long dissimulation which endeavoured to appear as kindness: wherever great power existed the necessity for dissimulation of this nature was recognised—it inspires security and confidence, and multiplies the actual sum of our physical power. Falsehood, if not actually the mother, is at all events the nurse of kindness. In the same way, honesty has been brought to maturity by the need for a semblance of honesty and integrity: in hereditary aristocracies. The persistent exercise of such a dissimulation ends by bringing about the actual nature of the thing itself: the dissimulation in the long run suppresses itself, and organs and instincts are the unexpected fruits in this garden of hypocrisy.


CONVERSATION ON MUSIC.—

A. What do you say to that music?

B. It has overpowered me, I can say nothing about it. Listen! there it is beginning again.

A. All the better! This time let us do our best to overpower it. Will you allow me to add a few words to this music? and also to show you a drama which perhaps at your first hearing you did not wish to observe?

B. Very well, I have two ears and even more if necessary; move up closer to me.

A. We have not yet heard what he wishes to say to us, up to the present he has only promised to say something—something as yet unheard, so he gives us to understand by his gestures, for they are gestures. How he beckons! How he raises himself up! How he gesticulates! and now the moment of supreme tension seems to have come to him: two more fanfares, and he will present us with his superb and splendidly-adorned theme, rattling, as it were, with precious stones. Is it a handsome woman? or a beautiful horse? Enough, he looks about him as if enraptured, for he must assemble looks of rapture. It is only now that his theme quite pleases him: it is only now that he becomes inventive and risks new and audacious features. How he forces out his theme! Ah, take care!—he not only understands how to adorn, but also how to gloss it over! Yes, he knows what the colour of health is, and he knows how to make it up,—he is more subtle in his self-consciousness than I thought. And now he is convinced that he has convinced his hearers; he sets off his impromptus as if they were the most important things under the sun: he points to his theme with an insolent finger as if it were too good for this world.—Ah, how distrustful he is! He is afraid we may get tired!—that is why he buries his melody in sweet notes.—Now he even appeals to our coarser senses that he may excite us and thus get us once again into his power. Listen to him as he conjures up the elementary force of tempestuous and thundering rhythms! And now that he sees that these things have captivated our attention, strangle us, and almost overwhelm us, he once again ventures to introduce his theme amidst this play of the elements in order to convince us, confused and agitated as we are, that our confusion and agitation are the effects of his miraculous theme. And from now onwards his hearers believe in him: as soon as the theme is heard once more they are reminded of its thrilling elementary effects. The theme profits by this recollection—now it has become demoniacal! What a connoisseur of the soul he is! He gains command over us by all the artifices of the popular orator. But the music has stopped again.

B. And I am glad of it; for I could no longer bear listening to your observations! I should prefer ten times over to let myself be deceived to knowing the truth once after your version.

A. That is just what I wished to hear from you. The best people now are just like you: you are quite content to let yourselves be deceived. You come here with coarse, lustful ears, and you do not bring with you your conscience of the art of listening. On the way here you have cast away your intellectual honesty, and thus you corrupt both art and artists. Whenever you applaud and cheer you have in your hands the conscience of the artists—and woe to art if they get to know that you cannot distinguish between innocent and guilty music! I do not indeed refer to “good” and “bad” music—we meet with both in the two kinds of music mentioned! but I call innocent music that which thinks only of itself and believes only in itself, and which on account of itself has forgotten the world at large—this spontaneous expression of the most profound solitude which speaks of itself and with itself, and has entirely forgotten that there are listeners, effects, misunderstandings and failures in the world outside. In short, the music which we have just heard is precisely of this rare and noble type; and everything I said about it was a fable—pardon my little trick if you will!

B. Oh, then you like this music, too? In that case many sins shall be forgiven you



END


 

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