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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

100                  MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

the nineteenth century built its appalling barracks for workmen.

The ruling element in Christianity is altruism. It makes virtues
of weaknesses and brands the strong, glad man as a criminal. It
glorifies all those qualities by means of which it can maintain itself
in the struggle for existence: charity, pity, self-sacrifice. An ascetic
ideal which is hostile to life! 'Bad conscience' is merely the sup-
pressed striving for freedom of an enslaved race; the instincts they
exercised when free they must now, as slaves, resist and brand as
evil. This race of "conscience'-stricken slaves devised religious
conceptions of sin against God; they conceive God as the extreme
contrast of their suppressed but still stirring instincts; these in-
stincts they interpret as sin against God, their sufferings they
interpret as punishment for the sins with which they identify 'bad
conscience'. It was religion's most eventful tour deforce-, it was the
will against life, against the body, against the world, against beauty
and happiness. And therefore away with 'bad conscience' and pity
and ascetic ideas! We must be 'good Europeans', who have out-
grown Christianity. Let us return to the clear-cut distinction of
good (or strong) and bad (or weak). By the will to truth we shall
find the way to the other side of good and evil, till the first-born
of the new time come, the new Zarathustra, the blond beast1 -like
the dawn over the sea. Then, in the new Dionysiac age of gladness,
with truth realized, the division into lords and slaves will be no
more, for we shall all have crossed the bridges from ape to man
and from man to superman. Equality will have been reached, not
by depressing the strong and proud, but by elevating the weak
and humble. Not to be happy in Heaven, to be happy on earth is
the watchword of the new culture.

Got^enddmmerung oder me man mit dem Hammer philosophiert
(printed 1888, published 1895) dates the decay of German culture
from the foundation of the new Reich in 1871; of Socialists
Nietzsche says here that, since the base of their creed is Christian
feeling, their ideal of free men is illusory. The fevered megalo-
mania otEcce homo (written 1888, published 1908) is but a logical
climax, heightened by disease and the lack of response, of what,
after all, is Nietzsche's most vital idea: to leave all and magnify
self (^sich *%u sich selbst verfuhrer?}.

The quintessence of Nietzsche's thinking is thus seen to be the
permanent elevation of the type man. But this fiery optimism,
1 'die prachtvolk) nacb Betite und Sieg lustern schweifende, blonde J$estie?