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Translated by HELEN ZIMMERN 





Mr. Willard Huntington Wright, who contributes the In- 
troduction to this book, is recognized as one of tbe fore- 
most students and interpreters of Nietzsche in America. 
His book, "What Nietzsche Taught," is regarded by critics, 
both here and abroad, as an authoritative introduction to 
Nietzsche's philosophy. Mr. Wright is also the author of 
"The Creative Will" and many other works on philosophy 
and aesthetics. 

This book is reprinted by arrangement with the Mac- 
millan Company. 

Manufactured in the Uftited States of America 
for The Modem Library y Inc., by H. Wolff 



Introduction vii 

Preface xv 

I Prejudices of Philosophers i 

II The Free Spirit 28 

III The Religious Mood 52 

IV Apophthegms and Interludes .... 72 
V The Natural History of Morals ... 94 

VI We Scholars 119 

VII Our Virtues 141 

VIII Peoples and Countries 1 70 

IX What Is Noble? 197 

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in 2006 witli funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



No philosopher since Kant has left so undeniable an im- 
print on modem thought as has Friedrich Nietzsche. Even 
Schopenhauer, whose influence colored the greater part of 
Europe, made no such widespread impression. Not only in 
ethics and literature do we find the moulding hand of 
Nietzsche at work, invigorating and solidifying; but in 
pedagogics £ind in art, in politics and religion, the influenci 
of his doctrines is to be encountered. 

The facts relating to Nietzsche's life are few and simple. 
-He was bom at Rodien, a little village in the Prussian prov- 
ince of Saxony, on October 15, 1844; and it is an interesting 
paradox that this most terrible and devastating critic of 
Christianity and its ideals, was the culmination of two long 
collateral lines of theologians. There were two other chil- 
dren in the Nietzsche household — a girl bom in 1846, and a 
son bom in 1850. The girl was named Therese Elizabeth 
Alexandra, and afterward 5he became the philosopher's 
closest companion and guardian and his most voluminous 
biographer. The boy, Joseph, did not survive his first year. 
When Nietzsche's father died the family moved to Naum- 
burg; and Friedrich, then only six years old, was sent to a 
local Municipal Boys' School. Later he was withdrawn and 
entered in a private institution which prepared the younger 
students for the Cathedral Grammar School. After a few 
years here Nietzsche successfully passed his examinations 
for the well-known Landes-Schule at Pforta, where he re- 
mained until 1864, enrolling the following term at the Uni- 
versity of Bonn. 

It was at Boim that a decided change came over his 
religious views; and it was here also that his great friendship 
for Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl, the philologist, developed. 
When Ritschl was transferred to the University of Leipzig, 
Nietzsche followed him. Leipzig was the tuming-point of 
his life. Here he met Wagner; became acquainted with 
"Erwin Rohde; and discovered Schopenhauer. An interest 



in politics also developed in him; and the war between 
Prussia and Austria fanned his youthful ardor to an almost 
extravagant degree. Twice he offered his services to the 
military, but both times was rejected on account of his 
shortsightedness. In the autumn of 1867, however, a new 
army regulation resulted in his being called to the colors, 
and he joined the artillery at Naumburg. But he was thrown 
from his horse in training and received a severe injury to 
his chest, which necessitated his permanent withdrawal from 

In October, 1868, Nietzsche returned to his work at Leip- 
zig, and shortly after, although but twenty-four, he was 
offered the post of Classical Philology at Bale. Two years 
later came the Franco-Prussian War, and he secured service 
as an ambulance attendant in the Hospital Corps. But his 
health was poor, and the work proved too much for him. He 
contracted diphtheria and severe dysentery, and it was neces- 
sary for him to discontinue his duties entirely. His sister 
tells us that this illness greatly undermined his health, and 
was the first cause of his subsequent condition. He did not 
wait until he was well before resuming his duties at the 
University; and this new strain imposed on his already 
depleted condition had much to do witii bringing on his final 

In 1872, Nietzsche's first important work appeared — 
^'The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music"; and in 
1873 he began a series of famous pamphlets which later were 
put into book form under the title of "Thoughts Out of 
Season." His health was steadily declining, and during the 
holidays he alternated between Switzerland and Italy in an 
endeavor to recuperate. In the former place he was with 
Wagner, but in 1876 his friendship for the composer began 
to cool. He had gone to Bayreuth, and there, after hearing 
"Der Ring des Nibelungen," he became bitter and disgusted 
at what he believed to be Wagner's compromise with Chris- 
tianity. But so strong was his affection for Wagner the 
man, that it was not until ten years had passed that he could 
bring himself to write the now famous attack which he had 
long had in mind. 

The year after the appearance of "Human Ail-Too- 




Human" ("Mensckliches AUzu Mensckliches") , Nietzsche's 
illness compelled him to resign his professorship at Bale; 
and two more years saw the appearance of 'The Dawn of 
Day" ("M or gemot en"), his first book of constructive think- 
ing. The remainder of his life was spent in a fruitless 
endeavor to regain his health. For eight years, during all 
of which time he was busily engaged in writing, he sought a 
climate that would revive him — visiting in turn Sils-Maria in 
Switzerland, Genoa, Monaco, Messina, Grunewald, Tauten- 
burg, Rome, Naumburg, Nice, Venice, Mentone, and the 
Riviera. But to no avail. He was constantly ill and for 
the most part alone, and this perturbed and restless period 
of his life resolved itself into a continuous struggle against 
melancholy and physical suffering. During these eight 
years Nietzsche had written "Thus Spake Zarathustra" 
("Also Sprack Zarathustra"), "The Joyful Wisdom" ("La 
Gaya Scienza"), "Beyond Good and Evil" ("Jenseits Gute 
und Bose"), "The Genealogy of Morals" ("Zur Genealogie 
der Moral"), "The Case of Wagner," "The Twilight of the 
Idols" {"Gdtzenddmmerung"), "The Antichrist" ("Der 
Antichrist"), "Ecce Homo," "Nietzsche contra Wagner,'* 
and an enormous number of notes which were to constitute 
his final and culminating work, "The Will to Power" ("Die 
Wille zur Macht"). The events during this ptnod. of 
Nietzsche's career were few. Perhaps the most important 
was his meeting with Lou Salome. But even this episode had 
small bearing on his life, and has been greatly emphasized 
by biographers because of its isolation in an existence out- 
wardly drab and uneventful. 

In January, 1889, an apopleptic fit marked the beginning 
of the end. Nietzsche's manner suddenly became alarming. 
He exhibited numerous eccentricities, so grave as to mean 
but one thing: his mind was seriously affected. There has 
long been a theory that his insanity was of gradual growth, 
that, in fact, he was unbalanced from birth. But there is 
no evidence to substantiate this theory. The statement that 
his books were those of a madman is entirely without foun- 
dation. His works were thought out in the most clarified 
manner; in his intercourse with his friends he was restrained 
and normal; and his voluminous correspondence showed no 


change toward the end either in sentiment or tone. His 
insanity was sudden; it came without warning; and it is 
puerile to point to his state of mind during the last years 
of his life as a criticism of his philosophy. His books must 
stand or fall on internal evidence. Judged from that stand- 
point they are scrupulously sane. 

The cause of Nietzsche's breakdown was due to a number 
of influences — his excessive use of chloral which he took for 
insomnia, the tremendous strain to which he put his intellect, 
his constant disappointments and privations, his mental 
solitude, his prolonged physical suffering. We know little of 
his last days before he went insane. Overbeck, in answer 
to a mad note, found him in Turin, broken. Nietzsche was 
put in a private sanitarium at Jena. Recovering somewhat 
he returned to Naumburg. Later his sister, Frau Forster- 
Nietzsche, removed him to a villa at Weimar; and three 
years after, on the twenty-fifth of August, 1900, he died. 
He was buried at Rocken, his native village. 

A double purpose animated Nietzsche in his writing of 
"Beyond Good and Evil" which was begun in the summer 
of 1885 and finished the following winter. It is at once an 
explanation and an elucidation of "Thus Spake Zarathustra," 
and a preparatory book for his greatest and most important 
work, "The Will to Power." In it Nietzsche attempts to 
define the relative terms of "good" and "evil," and to draw 
a line of distinction between immorality and unmorality. 
He saw the inconsistencies involved in the attempt to har- 
monize an ancient moral code with the needs of modem 
life, and recognized the compromises which were constantly 
being made between moral theory and social practice. His 
object was to establish a relationship between morality and 
necessity and to formulate a workable basis for human con- 
duct. Consequently "Beyond Good and Evil" is one of hisM 
most important contributions to a new system of ethics, and f 
touches on many of the deepest principles of his philosophy. 

Nietzsche opens "Beyond Good and Evil" with a long 
chapter headed "Prejudices of Philosophers," in which he 
outlines the course to be taken by his dialectic. The expo- ,, 
sition is accomplished by two methods; first, by an analysis 



and a refutation of the systems of thinking made use of by 
antecedent doctrinaires, and secondly, by defining the 
hypotheses on which his own philosophy is built. This 
chapter is a most important one, setting forth, as it does, the 
rationale of his doctrine of the will to power. It establishes 
Nietzsche's philosophic position and presents a closely knit 
explanation of the course pursued in the following chapters. 
The relativity of all truth — the hypothesis so often assumed 
in his previous work — Nietzsche here defends by analogy 
and argument. Using other leading forms of philosophy 
as a ground for exploration, he questions the absolutism of 
truth and shows wherein lies the difficulty of a final defini- 
tion. Nietzsche, in his analyses and criticisms, is not solely 
destructive: he is subterraneously constructing his own 
philosophical system founded on the "will to power." This 
phrase is used many times in the careful research of the first 
chapter. As the book proceeds, this doctrine develops. 

Nietzsche's best definition of what he calls the "free 
spirit," namely: the thinking man, the intellectual aristocrat, 
the philosopher and ruler, is contained in the twenty-six 
pages of the second chapter of "Beyond Good and Evil." 
In a series of paragraphs — longer than is Nietzsche's wont 
— the leading characteristics of this superior man are de- 
scribed. The "free spirit," however, must not be confused 
with the superman. The former is the "bridge" which the 
present-day man must cross in the process of surpassing him- 
self. In the delineation and analysis of him, as presented to 
us here, we can glimpse his most salient mental features. 
Heretofore, as in "Thus Spake Zarathustra," he has been 
but partially and provisionally defined. Now his instincts 
and desires, his habits and activities are outlined. Further- 
more, we are given an explanation of his relation to the 
inferior man and to the organisms of his environment. The 
chapter is a most important one, for at many points it is a 
subtle elucidation of many of Nietzsche's dominant philo- 
sophic principles. By inference, the differences of class 
distinction are strictly drawn. The slave-morality {sklav- 
tnaral) and the master-morality (herrenmoral) , though as 
yet undefined, are balanced against each other: and the 
deportmental standards of the masters and slaves are defined 


by way of distinguishing between these two opposing human 

A keen and far-reaching analysis of the various asjDects 
assumed by religious faith constitutes a third section of 
"Beyond Good and Evil." Though touching upon various 
influences of Christianity, this section is more general in its 
religious scope than even "The Antichrist," many indications 
of which are to be found here. This chapter has to do with 
the numerous inner experiences of man, which are directly or 
indirectly attributable to religious doctrines. The origin of 
the instinct for faith itself is sought, and the results of this 
faith are balanced against the needs of the individuals and 
of the race. The relation between religious ecstasy and 
sensuality; the attempt on the part of religious practitioners 
to arrive at a negation of the will; the transition from 
religious gratitude to fear; the psychology at the bottom of 
saint- worship; — to problems such as these Nietzsche de- 
votes his energies in his inquiry of the religious mood. 
There is an illuminating exposition of the important stages 
in religious cruelty and of the motives underlying the various 
forms of religious sacrifices. 

A very important phase of Nietzsche's teaching is con- 
tained in this criticism of the religious life. The detractors 
of the Nietzschean doctrine base their judgments on the 
assumption that the universal acceptation of his theories 
would result in social chaos. Nietzsche desired no such 
general adoption of his beliefs. In his bitterest diatribes 
against Christianity his object was not to shake the faith of 
the great majority of mankind in their idols. He sought 
merely to free the strong men from the restrictions of a 
religion which fitted the needs of only the weaker members 
of society. He neither hoped nor desired to wean the mass 
of humanity from Christianity or any similar dogmatic com- 
fort. On the contrary, he denounced those superficial athe- 
ists who endeavored to weaken the foundations of religion. 
He saw the positive necessity of such religions as a basis for 
his slave-morality, and in the present chapter he exhorts the 
rulers to preserve the religious faith of the serving classes, 
and to use it as a means of government — as an instrument 
in the work of disciplining and educating. His entire system 


of ethics is built on the complete disseverance of the domi 
nating class and the serving class; and his doctrine oi 
"beyond good and evil" should be considered only as it 
pertains to the superior man. To apply it to all classes 
would be to reduce Nietzsche's whole system of ethics to 
impracticability, and therefore to an absurdity. 

Passing from a consideration of the religious mood 
Nietzsche enters a broader sphere of ethical research, and 
endeavors to trace the history and development of morals. 
He accuses the philosophers of having avoided the real 
problem of morality, namely: the testing of the faith and 
motives which lie beneath moral beliefs. This is the task 
he sets for himself, and in his chapter, "The Natural History 
of Morals," he makes an examination of moral origins — an 
examination which is extended into an exhaustive treatise 
in his next book, "The Genealogy of Morals." However, his 
dissection here is carried out on a broader and far more gen- 
eral scale than in his previous books, such as "Human All- 
Too-Human" and "The Dawn of Day." Heretofore he had 
confined himself to codes and systems, to acts of morality 
and immorality, to judgments of conducts. In "Beyond 
Good and Evil" he treats of moral prejudices as forces 
working hand in hand with human progress. In addition, 
there is a definite attitude of constructive thinking here 
which is absent from his earlier work. 

In the chapter, "We Scholars," Nietzsche continues his 
definition of the philosopher, whom he holds to be the 
highest type of man. Besides being a mere description of 
the intellectual traits of this "free spirit," the chapter is 
also an exposition of the shortcomings of those modem men 
who pose as philosophers. Also the man of science and the 
man of genius are analyzed and weighed as to their relative 
importance in the community. In fact, we have here 
Nietzsche's most concise and complete definition of the indi- 
viduals upon whom rests the burden of progress. These 
valuations of the intellectual leaders are important to the 
student, for by one's understanding them, along with the 
reasons for such valuations, a comprehension of the ensuing 
volumes is facilitated. 

Important material touching on many of the fundamental 


boints of Nietzsche's philosophy is embodied in the chapter 
entitled "Our Virtues." The more general inquiries into 
conduct, and the research along the broader lines of ethics 
'are supplanted by inquiries into specific moral attributes. 
The current virtues are questioned, and their historical sig- 
nificance is determined. The value of such virtues is tested 
in their relation to different types of men. Sacrifice, sym- 
pathy, brotherly love, service, loyalty, altruism, and similar 
ideals of conduct are examined, and the results of such vir- 
tues are shown to be incompatible with the demands of 
modem social intercourse. Nietzsche poses against these 
virtues the sterner and more rigid forms of conduct, pointing 
out wherein they meet with the present requirements of 
human progress. The chapter is a preparation for his estab- 
lishment of a new morality and also an explanation of the 
dual ethical code which is one of the main pillars in his 
philosophical structure. Before presenting his precept of a 
dual morality, Nietzsche endeavors to determine woman's 
place in the political and social scheme, and points out the 
necessity, not only of individual feminine functioning, but 
of the preservation of a distinct polarity in sexual relation- 

In the final chapter many of Nietzsche's philosophical 
ideas take definite shape. The doctrine of slave-morality 
and master-morality, prepared for and partially defined in 
preceding chapters, is here directly set forth, and those vir- 
tues and attitudes which constitute the "nobility" of the 
master class are specifically defined. Nietzsche designates 
the duty of his aristocracy, and segregates the human attri- 
butes according to the rank of individuals. The Dionysian 
ideal, which underlies all the books that follow "Beyond 
Good and Evil," receives its first direct exposition and appli- 
cation. The hardier human traits, such as egotism, cruelty, 
arrogance, retaliation and appropriation, are given ascend- 
ancy over the softer virtues, such as sympathy, charity, for- 
giveness, loyalty and humility, and are pronounced necessary 
constituents in the moral code of a natural aristocracy. At 
this point is begun the transvaluation of values which was to 
have been completed in "The Will to Power." 

WiLLARD Huntington Wright. 


Supposing that Truth is a woman — what then? Is there 
not ground for suspecting that all philosophers, in so far 
as they have been dogmatists, have failed to understand 
women — that the terrible seriousness and climisy impor- 
tunity with which they have usually paid their addresses 
to Truth, have been unskilled and unseemly methods for 
winning a woman? Certainly she has never allowed herself 
to be won; and at present every kind of dogma stands with 
sad and discouraged mien — if, indeed, it stands at all! For 
there are scoffers who mmntain that it has fallen, that all 
dogma lies on the groimd — nay more, that it is at its last 
gasp. But to speak seriously, there are good groimds for 
hoping that all dogmatising in philosophy, whatever solemn, 
whatever conclusive and decided airs it has assumed, may 
have been only a noble puerilism and tjn-onism ; and probably 
the time is at hand when it will be once and again under- 
stood what has actually sufficed for the basis of such im- 
posing and absolute philosophical edifices as the dogmatists 
have hitherto reared: perhaps some popular superstition of 
immemorial time (such as the soul-superstition, which, in 
the form of subject- and ego-superstition, has not yet ceased 
doing mischief): perhaps some play upon words, a decep- 
tion on the part of grammar, or an audacious generalisation 
of very restricted, very personal, very human — all-too-human 
facts. The philosophy of the dogmatists, it is to be hoped, 
was only a promise for thousands of years aftervi-ards, aa, 



^as astrology in still earlier times, in the service of which 
probably more labour, gold, acuteness, and patience have 
been spent than on any actual science hitherto: we owe to 
it, and to its "super-terrestrial" pretensions in Asia and 
Egypt, the grand style of architecture. It seems that in 
order to inscribe themselves upon the heart of humanity with 
everlasting claims, all great things have first to wander about 
the earth as enormous and awe-inspiring caricatures: dog- 
matic philosophy has been a caricature of this kind — for 
instcince, the Vedanta doctrine in Asia, and Platonism in 
Europe. Let us not be ungrateful to it, although it must 
certainly be confessed that the worst, the most tiresome, 
and the most dangerous of errors hitherto has been a dog- 
matist error — ^namely, Plato's invention of Pure Spirit and 
the Good in Itself. But now when it has been surmounted, 
when Europe, rid of this nightmare, can again draw breath 
freely and at least enjoy a healthier — sleep, we, whose duty 
is wakefulness itself, are the heirs of all the strength which 
the struggle against this error has fostered. It amounted to 
the very inversion of truth, and the denial of the perspective 
— the fundamental condition — of life, to speak of Spirit and 
the Good as Plato spoke of them; indeed one might ask, as 
a physician: "How did such a malady attack that finest 
product of antiquity, Plato? Had the wicked Socrates really 
corrupted him? Was Socrates after all a corrupter of youths, 
and deserved his hemlock?" But the struggle against Plato, 
or — to speak plainer, and for the "people" — the struggle 
against the ecclesiastical oppression of millenniums of Christ- 
ianity (for Christianity is Platonism for the "people"), pro- 
duced in Europe a magnificent tension of soul, such as had 
not existed anywhere previously; with such a tensely-strained 
bow one can now aim at the furthest goals. As a matter of 
fact, the European feels this tension as a state of distress, 


and twice attempts have been made in grand style to imbend 
the bow: once by means of Jesuitism, and the second time by 
means of democratic enlightenment — which, with the aid of 
liberty of the press and newspaper-reading, might, in fact, 
bring it about that the ^irit would not so easily find itself 
in "distress"! (The Germans invented gunpowder — all 
credit to them! but they again made things square — they in- 
vented printing.) But we, who are neither Jesuits, nor demo- 
crats, nor even sufficiently Germans, we good Europeans, 
and free, very free spirits — ^we have it still, all the distress 
of spirit and all the tension of its bow! And perhaps also 
the arrow, the duty, and, who knows? the god to aim 
at. . . . 

Sils Maria Upper Engadine, Jum. 1885. 



|. Prejudices of Philosophers 

The Will to Truth, which is to tempt us to many a hazard- 
ous enterprise, the famous Truthfulness of which all 
philosophers have hitherto spoken with respect, what ques- 
tions has this Will to Truth not laid before us! What 
strange, perplexmg, questionable questions! It is already a 
long story; yet it seems as if it were hardly commenced. Is 
it any wonder if we at last grow distrustful, lose patience, 
and turn impatiently away? That this Sphinx teaches us 
at last to ask questions ourselves? Who is it really that puts 
questions to us here? What really is this "Will to Truth" in 
us? In fact we made a long halt at the question as to the 
origin of this Will — imtil at last we came to an absolute 
standstill before a yet more fundamental question. We in- 
quired about the value of this Will. Granted that we want 
the truth: why not rather untruth? And uncertainty? Even 
ignorance? The problem of the value of truth presented it- 
self before us — or was it we who presented ourselves before 
the problem? Which of us is the CEdipus here? Which the 
Sphinx? It would seem to be a rendezvous of questions and 
notes of interrogation. And could it be believed that it at 
last seems to us as if the problem had never been propounded 



before, as if we were the first to discern it, get a sight of it, 
and risk raising it. For there is risk in raising it, perhaps 
there is no greater risk. 

"How could anything originate out of its opposite? For 
example, truth out of error? or the Will to Truth out of the 
will to deception? or the generous deed out of selfishness? 
or the pure sun-bright vision of the wise man out of covet- 
ousness? Such genesis is impossible; whoever dreams of it 
is a fool, nay, worse than a fool ; things of the highest value 
must have a different origin, an origin of their own — in this 
transitory, seductive, illusory, paltry world, in this turmoil 
of delusion and cupidity, they cannot have their source. 
But rather in the lap of Being, in the intransitory, in the con- 
cealed God, in the 'Thing-in-itself — there must be their 
source, and nowhere else! " — This mode of reasoning discloses 
the typical prejudice by which meta-physicians of all times 
can be recognised, this mode of valuation is at the back of 
all their logical procedure; through this "belief" of theirs, 
they exert themselves for their "knowledge," for something 
that is in the end solemnly christened "the Truth." The 
fundamental belief of metaphysicians is the belief in anti- 
theses of values. It never occurred even to the wariest of 
them to doubt here on the very threshold (where doubt, 
however, was most necessary) ; though they had made a 
solemn vow, *'de omnibus dubitandum." For it may be 
doubted, firstly, whether antitheses exist at all ; and secondly, 
whether the popular valuations and anthitheses of value upon 
which metaphysicians have set their seal, are not perhaps 
merely superficial estimates, merely provisional perspectives, 
besides being probably made from some comer, perhaps froi 


below — "frog perspectives," as it were, to borrow an expres- 
sion current among painters. In spite of all the value which 
may belong to the true, the positive, and the unselfish, it 
might be possible that a higher and more fimdamental value 
for life generally should be assigned to pretence, to the will 
to delusion, to selfishness, and cupidity. It might even be 
possible that what constitutes the value of those good and 
respected things, consists precisely in their being insidiously 
related, knotted, and crocheted to these evil and apparently 
opposed things — perhaps even in being essentially identical 
with them. Perhaps! But who wishes to concern himself 
with such dangerous "Perhapses"! For that investigation 
one must await the advent of a new order of philosophers, 
such as will have other tastes and inclinations, the reverse 
of those hitherto prevalent — ^philosophers of the dangerous 
"Perhaps" in every sense of the term. And to speak in all 
seriousness, I see such new philosophers beginning to appear. 

Having kept a sharp eye on philosophers, and having read 
between their lines long enough, I now say to myself that the 
greater part of conscious thinking must be counted amongst 
the instinctive functions, and it is so even m the case of phil- 
osophical thinking; one has here to learn anew, as one learned 
anew about heredity and "innateness." As little as the act 
of birth comes into consideration in the whole process and 
procedure of heredity, just as little is "being-conscious" op- 
posed to the instinctive in any decisive sense; the greater 
part of the conscious thinking of a philosopher is secretly in- 
fluenced by his instincts, and forced into definite channels. 
And behind all logic and its seeming sovereignty of move- 
ment, there are valuations, or to speak more plainly, physio- 


logical demands, for the maintenance of a definite mode of 
life. For example, that the certain is worth more than the 
imcertain, that illusion is less valuable than "truth": such 
valuations, in spite of their regulative importance for us, 
might notwithstanding be only superficial valuations, spe- 
cial kinds of niaiserie, such as may be necessary for the 
maintenance of beings such as ourselves. Supposing, in ef- 
fect, that man is not just the "measure of things." . . . 

The falseness of an opinion is not for us any objection to 
it: it is here, perhaps, that our new language sounds most 
strangely. The question is, how far an opinion is life-fur- 
thering, life-preserving, species-preserving, perhaps species- 
rearing; and we are fundamentally inclined to maintain that 
the falsest opinions (to which the synthetic judgments a 
priori belong), are the most indispensable to us; that without 
a recognition of logical fictions, without a comparison of 
reality with the purely imagined world of the absolute and 
immutable, without a constant covmterfeiting of the work 
by means of numbers, man could not live — that the renun-j 
ciation of false opinions would be a renunciation of life, 
negation of life. To recognise untruth as a condition of lifei 
that is certainly to impugn the traditional ideas of value 
a dangerous maimer, and a philosophy which ventures to d<] 
so, has thereby alone placed itself beyond good and evil. 

That which causes philosophers to be regarded half-dis 
trustfully and half-mockingly, is not the oft-repeated disco\ 
ery how innocent they are — ^how often and easily they ma 


mistakes and lose their way, in short, how childish and 
childlike they are, — but that there is not enough honest 
dealing with them, whereas they all raise a loud and virtuous 
outcry when the problem of truthfulness is even hinted at 
in the remotest manner. They all pose as though their real 
opmions had been discovered and attained through the self- 
evolving of a cold, pure, divinely indifferent dialectic (in 
contrast to all sorts of mystics, who, fairer and foolisher, talk 
of "inspiration") ; whereas, in fact, a prejudiced proposition, 
idea, or "suggestion," which is generzilly their heart's desire 
abstracted and refined, is defended by them with arguments 
sought out after the event. They are all advocates who do 
not wish to be regarded as such, generally astute defenders, 
also, of their prejudices, which they dub "truths," — and very 
far from having the conscience which bravely admits this to 
itself; very far from having the good taste of the courage 
which goes so far as to let this be understood, p)erhaps to 
warn friend or foe, or in cheerful confidence and self -ridicule. 
The spectacle of the Tartuffery of old Kant, equally stiff and 
decent, with which he entices us into the dialectic by-ways 
that lead (more correctly mislead) to his "categorical im- 
perative" — makes us fastidious ones smile, we who find no 
small amusement in spying out the subtle tricks of old 
moralists and ethical preachers. Or, still more so, the hocus- 
pocus in mathematical form, by means of which Spinoza 
has, as it were, clad his philosophy in mail and mask — in fact, 
the "love of his wisdom," to translate the term fairly and 
squarely — in order thereby to strike terror at once into the 
heart of the assailant who should dare to cast a glance on 
that mvincible maiden, that Pallas Athene:— how much of 
personal timidity and vulnerability does this masquerade of 
a sickly recluse betray! 


It has gradually become clear to me what every great 
philosophy up till now has consisted of — namely, the confes- 
sion of its originator, and a species of involuntary and un- 
conscious auto-biography; and moreover that the moral (or 
immoral) purpose in every philosophy has constituted the 
true vital germ out of which the entire plant has always 
grown. Indeed, to understand how the abstrusest metaphysi- 
cal assertions of a philosopher have been arrived at, it is 
always well (and wise) to first ask oneself: ''What morality 
do they (or does he) aim at?" Accordingly, I do not believe 
that an "impulse to knowledge" is the father of philosophy; 
but that another impulse, here as elsewhere, has only made 
use of knowledge (and mistaken knowledge!) as an instru- 
ment. But whoever considers the fundamental impulses of 
man with a view to determining how far they may have here 
acted as inspiring genii (or as demons and cobolds) , will find 
that they have all practised philosophy at one time or an- 
other, and that each one of them would have been only too 
glad to look upon itself as the ultimate end of existence and 
the legitimate lord over all the other impulses. For every 
impulse is imperious, and as such, attempts to philosophise. 
To be sure, in the case of scholars, in the case of really 
scientific men, it may be otherwise — "better," if you will; 
there there may really be such a thing as an "impulse to 
I:nowledge," some kind of small, independent clock-work, 
which, when well wound up, works away industriously to that 
end, without the rest of the scholarly impulses taking any 
material part therein. The actual "interests" of the scholar, 
therefore, are generally in quite another direction — in the 
family, perhaps, or in money-making, or in politics; it is, 



in fact, almost indifferent at what point of research his little 
machine is placed, and whether the hopeful yoimg worker 
becomes a good philologist, a mushroom specialist, or a 
chemist; he is not characterised by becoming this or that. In 
the philosopher, on the contrary, there is absolutely nothing 
impersonal; and above all, his morality furnishes a decided 
and decisive testimony as to who he is, — that is to say, in 
what order the deepest impulses of his nature stand to each 

How malicious philosophers can be! I know of nothing 
more stinging than the joke Epicurus took the liberty of 
making on Plato and the Platonists; he called them Diony- 
siokolakes. In its original sense, and on the face of it, the 
word signifies "Flatterers of Dionysius" — consequently, ty- 
rants' accessories and lick-spittles; besides this, however, it is 
as much as to say, "They are all actors, there is nothing 
genuine about them" (for Dionysiokolax was a popular name 
for an actor). And the latter is really the malignant re- 
proach that Epicurus cast upon Plato: he was annoyed by 
the grandiose manner, the mise en scene style of which Plato 
and his scholars were masters — of which Epicurus was not 
a master! He, the old school-teacher of Samos, who sat 
concealed in his little garden at Athens, and wrote three 
hundred books, perhaps out of rage and ambitious envy of 
Plato, who knows! Greece took a hundred years to find 
out who the garden-god Epicurus really was. Did she ever 
find out? 




There is a point in every philosophy at which the "convic- 
tion" of the philosopher appear^ on the scene; or, to put it 
in the words of an ancient mystery: 

Adventavit asinus, 
Pulcher et fortissimus. 

You desire to live "according to Nature"? Oh, you noble 
Stoics, what fraud of words! Imagine to yourselves a being 
like Nature, boundlessly extravagant, boundlessly indifferent, 
without purpose or consideration, without pity or justice, at 
once fruitful and barren and imcertam: imagine to your- 
selves indifference as a power — ^how could you live in ac- 
cordance with such indifference? To live— is not that just 
endeavouring to be otherwise than this Nature? Is not 
living valuing, preferring, being imjust, being limited, en- 
deavouring to be different? And granted that your impera- 
tive, "living according to Nature," means actually the same 
as "living according to life" — ^how could you do differently? 
Why should you make a principle out of what you your- 
selves are, and must be? In reality, however, it is quite 
otherwise with you: while you pretend to read with rapture 
the canon of your law in Nature, you want something quite 
the contrary, you extraordinary stage-players and self-de- 
luders! In your pride you wish to dictate your morals and 
ideals to Nature, to Nature herself, and to incorporate thei 
therein; you insist that it shall be Nature "according to thi 
Stoa," and would like everything to be made after your o 





image, as a vast, eternal glorification and generalism of Stoic- 
ism ! With all your love for truth, you have forced yourselves 
so long, so persistently, and with such hypnotic rigidity to 
see Nature falsely, that is to say. Stoically, that you are no 
longer able to see it otherwise — and to crown all, some un- 
fathomable superciliousness gives you the Bedlamite hope 
that because you are able to tyrannise over yourselves — 
Stoicism is self-tyranny — Nature will also allow herself to be 
t)n'annised over: is not the Stoic a />cr^ of Nature? , . . But 
this is an old and everlasting story: what happened in old 
times with the Stoics still happens to-day, £is soon as ever 
a philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates 
the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise; phi- 
losophy is this tyrannical impulse itself, the most spiritual 
Will to Power, the will to "creation of the world," the will 
to the causa prima. 


The eagerness and subtlety, I should even say craftiness, 
with which the problem of "the real and the apparent world" 
is dealt with at present throughout Europe, furnishes food 
for thought and attention; and he who hears only a "Will 
to Truth" in the background, and nothing else, cannot cer- 
Jainly boast of the sharpest ears. In rare and isolated cases, 
^may really have happened that such a Will to Truth — a 
lin extravagant and adventurous pluck, a metaphysician's 
ibition of the forlorn hope — has participated therein: that 
ich in the end always prefers a handful of "certainty" to 
[whole cartload of beautiful possibilities; there may even 
puritanical fanatics of conscience, who prefer to put their 
^t trust in a sure nothing, rather than in an uncertain some- 
ig. But that is Nihilism, and the sign of a despairing. 


mortally wearied soul, notwithstanding the courageous bear- 
ing such a virtue may display. It seems, however, to be 
otherwise with stronger and livelier thinkers who are still 
eager for life. In that they side against appearance, and 
speak superciliously of "perspective," in that they rank the 
credibility of their own bodies about as low as the credibility 
of the ocular evidence that "the earth stands still," and thus, 
apparently, allowing with complacency their securest pos- 
session to escape (for what does one at present believe in 
more firmly than in one's body?), — who knows if they are 
not really trying to win back something which was formerly 
an even securer possession, something of the old domain of 
the faith of former times, perhaps the "immortal soul," per- 
haps "the old God," in short, ideas by which they could live 
better, that is to say, more vigourously and more joyously, 
than by "modem ideas"? There is distrust of these modem 
ideas in this mode of looking at things, a disbelief in all that 
has been constructed yesterday and to-day; there is per- 
haps some slight admixture of satiety and scom, which can 
no longer endure the bric-a-brac of ideas of the most varied 
origin, such as so-called Positivism at present throws on the 
market; a disgust of the more refined taste at the village-fair 
motleyness and patchiness of all these reality-philosophasters, 
in whom there is nothing either new or true, except this 
motlejTiess. Therein it seems to me that we should agree 
with those sceptical anti-realists and knowledge-microscopists 
of the present day; their instinct, which repels them from 
modern reality, is unrefuted . . . what do their retrograde 
by-paths concem us! The main thing about them is nolA 
that they wish to go "back," but that they wish to get ca^cy 
therefrom. A little more strength, swing, courage, and 
artistic power, and they would be o§ — and not back! 




It seems to me that there is everywhere an attempt at 
present to divert attention from the actual influence which 
Kant exercised on German philosophy, and especially to ig- 
nore prudently the value which he set upon himself. Kant 
was first and foremost proud of his Table of Categories; 
with it in his hand he said: "This is the most difficult thing 
that could ever be undertaken on behalf of metaphysics." 
Let us only understand this "could be"! He was proud of 
having discovered a new faculty in man, the faculty of 
synthetic judgment a priori. Granting that he deceived him- 
self in this matter; the development and rapid flourishing 
of German philosophy depended nevertheless on his pride, 
and on the eager rivalry of the younger generation to dis- 
cover if possible something — at all events "new faculties" — 
of which to be still prouder! — But let us reflect for a 
moment — it is high time to do so. "How are synthetic judg- 
ments a priori possible?" Kant asks himself — and what is 
really his answer? "By means of a means (faculty)" — ^but 
unfortunately not in five words, but so circumstantially, im- 
posingly, and with such display of German profimdity and 
verbal flourishes, that one altogether loses sight of the 
comical niaiserie allemande involved in such an answer. Peo- 
ple were beside themselves with delight over this new fac- 

^ ulty, and the jubilation reached its climeix v/hen Kant further 
discovered a moral faculty in man — for at that time Germans 
were still moral, not yet dabbling in the "Politics of hard 
fact." Then came the honeymoon of German philosophy. 
All the young theologians of the Tiibingen institution went 
I mmediately into the groves — all seeking for "faculties." 

jri .tod what did they not find — in that innocent, rich, and still 



youthful period of the German spirit, to which Romanticism, 
the malicious fairy, piped and sang, when one could not yet 
distinguish between "finding" and "inventing"! Above all 
a faculty for the "transcendental"; Schelling christened it, 
intellectual intuition, and thereby gratified the most earnest 
longings of the naturally pious-inclined Germans. One can 
do no greater wrong to the whole of this exuberant and ec- 
centric movement (which was really youthfulness, notwith- 
standing that it disguised itself so boldly in hoary and senile 
conceptions), than to take it seriously, or even treat it with 
moral indignation. Enough, however — the world grew older, 
and the dream vanished. A time came when people rubbed 
their foreheads, and they still rub them to-day. People had 
been dreaming, and first and foremost — old Kant. "By 
means of a means (faculty)" — he had said, or at least meant 
to say. But, is that — an answer? An explanation? Or 
is it not rather merely a repetition of the question? How 
does opium induce sleep? "By means of a means (faculty)," 
namely the virtus dormitiva, replies the doctor in Moliere, 

Quia est in eo virtus dormitiva, 
Cujus est natura sensus assoupire. 

But such replies belong to the realm of comedy, and it is 
high time to replace the Kantian question, "How are syn- 
thetic judgments a priori possible?" by another question, 
"Why is belief in such judgments necessary?" — in effect, it 
high time that we should imderstand that such judgments, 
must be believed to be true, for the sake of the preserva- 
tion of creatures like ourselves; though they still might] 
naturally be false judgments! Or, more plainly spokeUjj 
and roughly and readily — synthetic judgments a priori shoulc 
not "be possible" at all; we have no right to them; in oui 


mouths they are nothing but false judgments). Only, of 
course, the belief in their truth is necessary, as plausible 
belief and ocular evidence belonging to the perspective view 
of life. And finally, to call to mind the enormous influence 
which "German philosophy" — I hope you understand its 
right to inverted commas (gooseteet)? — has exercised 
throughout the whole of Europe, there is no doubt that a 
certain virtus dormitiva had a share in it; thanks to German 
philosophy, it was a delight to the noble idlers, the virtuous, 
the mystics, the artists, the three- fourths Christians, and the 
political obscurantists of all nations, to find an antidote to 
the still overwhelming sensualism which overflowed from 
the last century into this, in short — "sensus assoupire." . . . 


As regards materialistic atomism, it is one of the best 
refuted theories that have been advanced, and in Europe 
there is now perhaps no one in the learned world so un- 
scholarly as to attach serious signification to it, except for 
convenient everyday use (as an abbreviation of the means 
of expression) — thanks chiefly to the Pole Boscovich: he 
and the Pole Copernicus have hitherto been the greatest and 
most successful opponents of ocular evidence. For whilst 
Copernicus has persuaded us to believe, contrary to all the 
senses, that the earth does not stand fast, Boscovich has 
taught us to abjure the belief in the last thing that "stood 
fast" of the earth — the belief in "substance," in "matter," 
in the earth-residuum, and particle-atom: it is the greatest 
triumph over the senses that has hitherto been gained on 
earth. One must, however, go still further, and also declare 
war, relentless war to the knife, against the "atomistic re- 
quirements" which still lead a dangerous after-life in places 


where no one suspects them, like the more celebrated "meta- 
physical requirements": one must also above all give the fin- 
ishing stroke to that other and more portentous atomism 
which Christianity has taught best and longest, the soul- 
atomism. Let it be permitted to designate by this expression 
the belief which regards the soul as something indestructible, 
eternal, indivisible, as a monad, as an atomon: this belief 
ought to be expelled from science! Between ourselves, it is 
not at all necessary to get rid of "the soul" thereby, and thus 
renounce one of tlie oldest and most venerated hj^otheses — 
as happens frequently to the clumsiness of naturalists, who 
can hardly touch on the soul without immediately losing it. 
But the way is open for new acceptations and refinements of 
the soul-hypothesis; and such conceptions as "mortal soul," 
and "soul of subjective multiplicity," and "soul as social 
structure of the instincts and passions," want henceforth to 
have legitimate rights in science. In that the new psycholo- 
gist is about to put an end to the superstitions which have 
hitherto flourished with almost tropical luxuriance around the 
idea of the soul, he is really, as it were, thrusting himself into 
a new desert and a new distrust — it is possible that the older 
psychologists had a merrier and more comfortable time of 
it; eventually, however, he finds that precisely thereby he 
is also condemned to invent — and, who knows? perhaps to 
discover the new. 


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


thereof. In short, here, as everywhere else, let us beware of 
superfluous teleological principles! — one of which is the in- 
stinct of self-preservation (we owe it to Spinoza's inconsist- 
ency) . It is thus, in effect, that method ordains, which must 
be essentially economy of principles. 


It is perhaps just dawning on five or six minds that nat~ 
ural philosophy is only a world-exposition and world-ar- 
rangement (according to us, if I may say so!) and not a 
world-explanation; but in so far as it is based on belief in 
the senses, it is regarded as more, and for a long time to 
come must be regarded as more — namely, as an explanation. 
It has eyes and fingers of its own, it has ocular evidence 
and palpableness of its own: this operates fascinatingly, per- 
suasively, and convincingly upon an age with fundamentally 
plebeian tastes — in fact, it follows instinctively the canon 
of trutli of eternal popular sensualism. "What is clear, what 
is "explained"? Only that which can be seen and felt — one 
must pursue every problem thus far. Obversely, however, 
the charm of the Platonic mode of thought, which was an 
aristocratic mode, consisted precisely in resistance to obvious 
sense-evidence — perhaps among men who enjoyed even 
stronger and more fastidious senses than our contemporaries, 
but who knew how to find a higher triumph in remaining 
masters of them: and this by means of pale, cold, grey con- 
ceptional networks which they threw over the motley whirl 
of the senses — the mob of the senses, as Plato said. In this 
overcoming of the world, and interpreting of the world in 
the manner of Plato, there was an enjoyment different from 
that which the physicists of to-day offer us — and likewise 
the Darwinists and antiteleologists among the physiological 


workers, with their principle of the "smallest possible effort," 
and the greatest possible blunder. "Where there is nothing 
more to see or to grasp, there is also nothing more for men 
to do" — that is certainly an imperative different from the 
Platonic one, but it may notwithstanding be the right im- 
perative for a hardy, labourious race of machinists and 
bridge-builders of the future, who have nothing but rough 
work to perform. 


To study physiology with a clear conscience, one must 
insist on the fact that the sense-organs are not phenomena in 
the sense of the idealistic philosophy; as such they certainly 
could not be causes! Sensualism, therefore, at least as regu- 
lative hypothesis, if not as heuristic principle. What? And 
others say even that the external world is the work of our 
organs? But then our body, as a part of this external world, 
would be the work of our organs! But then our organs 
themselves would be the work of our organs! It seems to 
me that this is a complete reductio ad absurdum, if the con- 
ception causa sui is something fundamentally absurd. Con- 
sequently, the external world is not the work of our organs — ? 


There are still harmless self-observers who believe that 
there are "immediate certainties"; for instance, "I think," 
or as the superstition of Schopenhauer puts it, "I will"; as 
though cognition here got hold of its object purely and simply 
as "the thing in itself," without any falsification taking place 
either on the part of the subject or the object. I would 
repeat it, however, a hundred times, that "immediate cer- 


tainty," as well as "absolute knowledge" and the "thing in 
itself," involve a contradictio in adjecto; we really ought to 
free ourselves from the misleading significance of words! 
The people on their part may think that cognition is knowing 
all about things, but the philosopher must say to himself: 
"When I analyse the process that is expressed in the sen- 
tence, 'I think,' I find a whole series of daring assertions, the 
argumentative proof of which would be difficult, perhaps 
impossible: for instance, that it is / who think, that there 
must necessarily be something that thinks, that thinking is 
an activity and operation on the part of a being who is 
thought of as a cause, that there is an 'ego,' and finally, that 
it is already determined what is to be designated by thinking 
— that I know what thinking is. For if I had not already 
decided within myself what it is, by what standard could I 
determine whether that which is just happening is not perhaps 
'willing' or 'feeling'? In short, the assertion 'I think,' as- 
sumes that I compare my state at the present moment with 
other states of myself which I know, in order to determine 
what it is; on accoimt of this retrospective connection with 
further 'knowledge,' it has, at any rate, no immediate cer- 
tainty for me." — In place of the "immediate certainty" in 
which the people may believe in the special case, the philoso- 
pher thus finds a series of ^netaphysical questions presented 
to him, veritable conscience questions of the intellect, to wit: 
"From whence did I get the notion of 'thinking'? Why do 
I believe in cause and effect? What gives me the right to 
speak of an 'ego,' and even of an 'ego' as cause, and finally 
of an 'ego' as cause of thought?" He who ventures to an- 
swer these metaphysical questions at once by an appeal to 
a sort of intuitive perception, like the person who says, "I 
think, and know that this, at least, is true, actual, and cer- 
tain" — will encounter a smile and two notes of interrogation 


in a philosopher nowadays. "Sir," the philosopher' will per- 
haps give him to understand, "it is improbable that you are 
not mistaken, but why should it be the truth?" 


With regard to the superstitions of logicians, I shall never 
tire of emphasising a small, terse fact, which is unwillingly 
recognised by these credulous minds — namely, that a thought 
comes when "it" wishes, and not when "I" wish; so that it 
is a perversion of the facts of the case to say that the subject 
"I" is the condition of the predicate "think." One thinks; 
but that this "one" is precisely the famous old "ego," is, 
to put it mildly, only a supposition, an assertion, and as- 
suredly not an "immediate certainty." After all, one has 
even gone too far with this "one thinks" — even the "one" 
contains an interpretation of the process, and does not be- 
long to the process itself. One infers here according to the 
usual grammatical formula — "To think is an activity; every 
activity requires an agency that is active; consequently" . . . 
It was pretty much on the same lines that the older atomism 
sought, besides the operating "power," the material particle 
wherein it resides and out of which it operates — the atom. 
More rigourous minds, however, learnt at last to get along 
without this "earth-residuum," and perhaps some day we 
shall accustom ourselves, even from the logician's point of 
view, to get along without the little "one" (to which thdj 
worthy old "ego" has refined itself). 


It is certainly not the least charm of a theory that it is 
refutable; it is precisely thereby that it attracts the more 


subtle minds. It seems that the hundred-times-refuted theory 
of the "free will" owes its persistence to this charm alone; 
some one is always app)earing who feels himself strong enough- 
to refute it. 


Philosophers are accustomed to speak of the will as though 
it were the best-known thing in the world; indeed, Schopen- 
hauer has given us to understand that the will alone is really 
known to us, absolutely and completely known, without de- 
duction or addition. But it again and again seems to me that 
in this case Schopenhauer also only did what philosophers are 
in the habit of doing — he seems to have adopted a popular 
prejudice and exaggerated it. Willing — seems to me to be 
above all something complicated, something that is a unity 
only in name — and it is precisely in a name that popular 
prejudice lurks, which has got the mastery over the inade- 
quate precautions of philosophers in all ages. So let us for 
once be more cautious, let us be "unphilosophical": let us 
say that in all willing there is firstly a plurality of sensa- 
tions, namely, the sensation of the condition "away from 
which we go," the sensation of the condition "towards which 
we go," the sensation of this "from" and "towards" itself, 
and then besides, an accompanying muscular sensation, 
which, even without our putting in motion "arms and legs," 
commences its action by force of habit, directly we *'wiH" 
anything. Therefore, just as sensations (and indeed many 
kinds of sensations) are to be recognised as ingredients of 
the will, so, in the second place, thinking is also to be recog- 
nised; in every act of the will there is a ruling thought; — 
and let us not imagine it possible to sever this thought from 
the "willing," as if the will would then remain over! In the 


third place, the will is not only a complex of sensation and 
thinking, but it is above all an emotion, and in fact the 
emotion of the command. That which is termed "freedom 
of the will" is essentially the emotion of supremacy in re- 
spect to him who must obey: "I am free, 'he' must obey" — 
this consciousness is inherent in every will; and equally so 
the straining of the attention, the straight look which fixes 
itself exclusively on one thing, the unconditional judgment 
that "this and nothing else is necessary now," the inward 
certainty that obedience will be rendered — and whatever else 
pertains to the position of the commander. A man who wills 
commands something within himself which renders obedience, 
or which he believes renders obedience. But now let us 
notice what is the strangest thing about the will, — this affair 
so extremely complex, for which the people have only one 
name. Inasmuch as in the given circumstances we are at the 
same time the commanding and the obeying parties, and as 
the obe5dng party we know the sensations of constraint, im- 
pulsion, pressure, resistance, and motion, which usually com- 
mence immediately after the act of will; inasmuch as, on the 
other hand, we are accustomed to disregard this duality, 
and to deceive ourselves about it by means of the synthetic 
term "I": a whole series of erroneous conclusions, and con- 
sequently of false judgments about the will itself, has be- 
come attached to the act of willing — to such a degree that 
he who wills believes firmly that willing suffices for action. 
Since fn the majority of cases there has only been exercise of 
will when the effect of the command — consequently obedi- 
ence, and therefore action — was to be expected, the appear- 
ance has translated itself into the sentiment, as if there were 
a necessity of effect; in a word, he who wills believes with 
a fair amount of certainty that will and action are somehow 
one; he ascribes the success, the carrying out of the willing, 


to the will itself, and thereby enjoys an increase of the sensa- 
tion of power which accompanies all success. "Freedom of 
Will" — that is the expression for the complex state of de- 
light of the person exercising volition, who commands and 
at the same time identifies himself with the executor of the 
order — who, as such, enjoys also the triumph over obstacles, 
but thinks within himself that it was really his own will 
that overcame them. In this way the person exercising vo- 
lition adds the feelings of delight of his successful executive 
instruments, the useful "underwills" or under-souls — indeed, 
our body is but a social structure composed of many souls — ■ 
to his feelings of delight as commander. L'effet c'est mot: 
what happens here is what happens in every well-constructed 
and happy commonwealth, namely, that the governing class 
identifies itself with the successes of the commonwealth. In 
all willing it is absolutely a question of commanding and 
obeying, on the basis, as already said, of a social structure 
composed of many "souls"; on which account a philosopher 
should claim the right to include willing-as-such within the 
sphere of morals — regarded as the doctrine of the relations 
of supremacy imder which the phenomenon of "life" mani- 
fests itself. 


That the separate philosophical ideas are not anything 
optional or autonomously evolving, but grow up in connection 
and relationship with each other; that, however suddenly 
and arbitrarily they seem to appear in the history of thought, 
they nevertheless belong just as much to a system as the 
collective members of the fauna of a Continent — is betrayed 
in the end by the circumstance: how unfailingly the most 
diverse philosophers always fill in again a definite funda- 


mental scheme of possible philosophies. Under an invisible 
spell, they always revolve once more in the same orbit; 
however independent of each other they may feel them- 
selves with their critical or systematic wills, something within 
them leads them, something impels them in definite order the 
one after the other — to wit, the innate methodology and re- 
lationship of their ideas. Their thinking is, in fact, far less 
a discovery than a re-recognising, a remembering, a return 
and a home-coming to a far-off, ancient common-household 
of the soul, out of which those ideas formerly grew: philoso- 
phising is so far a kind of atavism of the highest order. The 
wonderful family resemblance of all Indian, Greek, and 
German philosophising is easily enough explained. In fact, 
where there is affinity of language, owing to the common 
philosophy of grammar — I mean owing to the unconscious 
domination and guidance of similar grammatical functions — 
it cannot but be that everything is prepared at the outset 
for a similar development and succession of philosophical 
systems; just as the way seems barred against certain other 
possibilities of world-interpretation. It is highly probable 
that philosophers within the domain of the Ural-Altaic lan- 
guages (where the conception of the subject is least de- 
veloped) look otherwise "into the world," and will be found 
on paths of thought different from those of the Indo Ger- 
mans and Mussulmans, the spell of certain grammatical 
functious is ultimately also the spell of physiological valua- 
tions and racial conditions. — So much by way of rejecting 
Locke's superficiality with regard to the origin of ideas. 



The causa sui is the best self-contradiction that has yet 
been conceived, it is a sort of logical violation and unnatural- 
ness; but the extravagant pride of man has managed to 
entangle itself profoundly and frightfully with this very 
folly. The desire for "freedom of will" in the superlative, 
metaphysical sense, such as still holds sway, unfortunately, 
in the minds of the half-educated, the desire to bear the 
entire and ultimate responsibility for one's actions oneself, 
and to absolve God, the world, ancestors, chance, and society 
therefrom, involves nothing less than to be precisely this 
causa sui, and, with more than Munchausen daring, to pull 
oneself up into existence by the hair, out of the slough of 
nothingness. If any one should find out in this manner the 
crass stupidity of the celebrated conception of "free will" 
and put it out of his head altogether, I beg of him to carry 
his "enlightenment" a step further, and also put out of his 
head the contrary of this monstrous conception of "free 
will": I mean "non-free will," which is tantamoimt to a 
misuse of cause and effect. One should not wrongly mate- 
rialise "cause" and "effect," as the natural philosophers da 
(and whoever like them naturalise in thinking at present), 
according to the prevailing mechanical doltishness which 
makes the cause press and push until it "effects" its end; 
one should use "cause" and "effect" only as pure concep- 
tions, that is to say, as conventional fictions for the purpose 
of designation and mutual understanding, — not for explana- 
tion. In "being-in-itself" there is nothing of "casual-con- 
nection," of "necessity," or of "psychological non-freedom; 
there the effect does not follow the cause, there "law" does 
not obtain. It is we alone who have devised cause, sequence^ 


reciprocity, relativity, constraint, number, law, freedom, mo- 
tive, and purpose; and when we interpret and intermix this 
symbol- world, as "being in itself," with things, we act once 
more as we have always acted — mythologically. The "non- 
free will" is mythology; in real life it is only a question of 
strong and weak wills. — It is almost always a symptom of 
what is lacking in himself, when a thinker, in every "casual- 
connection" and "psychological necessity," manifests some- 
thing of compulsion, indigence, obsequiousness, oppression, 
and non-freedom; it is suspicious to have such feelings — the 
person betrays himself. And in general, if I have observed 
correctly, the "non-freedom of the will" is regarded as a 
problem from two entirely opposite standpoints, but always 
in a profoundly personal manner: some will not give up 
their "responsibility," their belief in themselves, the personal 
right to their merits, at any price (the vain races belong to 
this class) ; others on the contrary, do not wish to be answer- 
able for anything, or blamed for anything, and owing to an 
inward self-contempt, seek to get out of the business, no 
matter how. The latter, when they write books, are in the 
habit at present of taking the side of criminals; a sort of 
socialistic sympathy is their favourite disguise. And as a 
matter of fact, the fatalism of the weak-willed embellishes 
itself surprisingly when it can pose as "la religion de la souf- 
jrance humaine"; that is its "good taste." 


Let me be pardoned, as an old philologist who cannot 
desist from the mischief of putting his finger on bad modes 
of interpretation, but "Nature's conformity to law," of which 
you physicists talk so proudly, as though — why, it exists only 
owing to your interpretation and bad "philology." It is no 


matter of fact, no "text," but rather just a naively humani- 
tarian adjustment and perversion of meaning, with which 
you make abundant concessions to the democratic instincts 
of the modem soul! "Everywhere equality before the law — 
Nature is not different in that respect, nor better than we:" 
a fine instance of secret motive, in which the vulgar antago- 
nism to everything privileged and autocratic — likewise a 
second and more refined atheism — is once more disguised. 
"Ni dieu, ni maitre" — that, also, is what you want; and 
therefore "Cheers for natural law!" — is it not so? But, as 
has been said, that is interpretation, not text; and somebody 
might come along, who, with opposite intentions and modes 
of interpretation, could read out of the same "Nature," and 
with regard to the same phenomena, just the tyrannically 
inconsiderate and relentless enforcement of the claims of 
power — an interpreter who should so place the unexceptional- 
ness and unconditionalness of all "Will to Power" before 
your eyes, that almost every word, and the word "tyranny'* 
itself, would eventually seem imsuitable, or like a weakening 
and softening metaphor — as being too human; and who 
should, nevertheless, end by asserting the same about this 
world as you do, namely, that it has a "necessary" and "cal- 
culable" course, not, however, because laws obtain in it, but 
because they are absolutely lacking, and every power effects 
its ultimate consequences every moment. Granted that this 
also is only interpretation — and you will be eager enough to 
make this objection? — well, so much the better. 


All psychology hitherto has run aground on moral pre- 
judices and timidities, it has not dared to launch out into 
the depths. In so far as it is allowable to recognise in that 


which has hitherto been written, evidence of that which has 
hitherto been kept silent, it seems as if nobody had yef 
harboured the notion of psychology as the Morphology and 
Development-doctrine of the Will to Power, as I conceive 
of it. The power of moral prejudices has penetrated deeply 
fnto the most intellectual world, the world apparently most 
indifferent and unprejudiced, and has obviously operated 
In an injiuious, obstructive, blinding, and distorting manner. 
A proper physio-psychology has to contend with unconscious 
antagonism in the heart of the investigator, it has "the 
heart" against it: even a doctrine of the reciprocal condi- 
tionalness of the "good" and the "bad" impulses, causes (as 
refined immorality) distress and aversion in a still strong 
and manly conscience — still more so, a doctrine of the deriva- 
tion of all good impulses from bad ones. If, however, a 
person should regard even the emotions of hatred, envy, 
covetousness, and imperiousness as life-conditioning emo- 
tions, as factors which must be present, fundamentally and 
essentially, in the general economy of life (which must, there- 
fore, be further developed if life is to be further developed), 
he will suffer from such a view of things as from sea-sickness. 
And yet this hypothesis is far from being the strangest and 
most painful in this immense and almost new domain of 
dangerous knowledge; and there are in fact a hundred good 
reasons why every one should keep away from it who can 
do so! On the other hand, if one has once drifted hither 
with one's bark, well! very good! now let us set our teeth 
firmly! let us open our eyes and keep our hand fast on the 
helm! We sail away right over morality, we crush out, we 
destroy perhaps the remains of our own morality by daring 
to make our voyage thither — ^but what do we matter! Never 
yet did a projounder world of insight reveal itself to daring 
travellers and adventurers, and the psychologist who thus 


"makes a sacrifice" — it is not the sacrifizio dell' intelletto, 
on the contrary! — will at least be entitled to demand in re- 
turn that psychology shall once more be recognised as the 
queen of the sciences, for whose service and equipment the 
other sciences exist. For psychology is once more the path 
to the fundamental problems. 



The Free Spirit 


sancta simplicitas! In what strange simplification and 
falsification man lives! One can never cease wondering when 
once one has got eyes for beholding this marvel! How we 
have made everything around us clear and free and easy 
and simple! how we have been able to give our senses a 
passport to everything superficial, our thoughts a god-like 
desire for wanton pranks and wrong inferences! — how from 
the beginning, we have contrived to retain our ignorance in 
order to enjoy an almost inconceivable freedom, thought- 
lessness, imprudence, heartiness, and gaiety — in order to 
enjoy life! And only on this solidified, granite-like founda- 
tion of ignorance could knowledge rear itself hitherto, the 
will to knowledge on the foundation of a far more powerful 
will, the will to ignorance, to the uncertain, to the untrue! 
Not as its opposite, but — as its refinement! It is to be 
hoped, indeed, that language, here as elsewhere, will not get 
over its awkwardness, and that it will continue to talk of 
opposites where there are only degrees and many refinements 
of gradation; it is equally to be hoped that the incarnated 
Tartuffery of morals, which now belongs to our unconquer- 
able "flesh and blood," will turn the words round in the 



mouths of us discerning ones. Here and there we under- 
stand it, and laugh at the way in which precisely the best 
knowledge seeks most to retain us in this simplified, thor- 
oughly artificial, suitably imagined and suitably falsified 
world: at the way in which, whether it will or not, it loves 
error, because, as living itself, it loves life! 


After such a cheerful commencement, a serious word 
would fain be heard; it appeals to the most serious minds. 
Take care, ye philosophers and friends of knowledge, and 
beware of martyrdom! Of suffering ''for the truth's sake"! 
even in your own defence! It spoils all the innocence and 
fine neutrality of your conscience; it makes you headstrong 
against objections and red rags; it stupefies, animalises, and 
brutalises, when in the struggle with danger, slander, sus- 
picion, expulsion, and even worse consequences of enmity, 
ye have at last to play your last card as protectors of truth 
upon earth — as though "the Truth" were such an innocent 
and incompetent creature as to require protectors! and you 
of all people, ye knights of the sorrowful countenance, 
Messrs Loafers and Cobweb-spinners of the spirit! Finally, 
ye know sufficiently well that it cannot be of any consequence 
if ye just carry your point; ye know that hitherto no philoso- 
pher has carried his point, and that there might be a more 
laudable truthfulness in every little interrogative mark which 
you place after your special words and favourite doctrines 
(and occasionally after yourselves) than in all the solemn 
pantomime and trumping games before accusers and law- 
courts! Rather go out of the way! Flee into concealment! 
And have your masks and your ruses, that ye may be mis- 
taken for what you are, or somewhat feared! And pray, 


don't forget the garden, the garden with golden trellis- work! 
And have people around you who are as a garden — or as 
music on the waters at eventide, when already the day be- 
comes a memory. Choose the good solitude, the free, wan- 
ton, lightsome solitude, which also gives you the right still 
to remain good in any sense whatsoever! How poisonous, 
how crafty, how bad, does every long war make one, which 
cannot be waged openly by means of force! How personal 
does a long fear make one, a long watching of enemies, of 
possible enemies! These pariahs of society, these long- 
pursued, badly-persecuted ones — also the compulsory re- 
cluses, the Spinozas or Giordano Brunos — always become 
in the end, even under the most intellectual masquerade, and 
perhaps without being themselves aware of it, refined ven- 
geance-seekers and poison-brewers (just lay bare the founda- 
tion of Spinoza's ethics and theology!), not to speak of the 
stupidity of moral indignation, which is the unfailing sign 
in a philosopher that the sense of philosophical humour 
has left him. The martyrdom of the philosopher, his "sacri- 
fice for the sake of truth," forces into the light whatever of 
the agitator and actor lurks in him; and if one has hitherto 
contemplated him only with artistic curiosity, with regard 
to many a philosopher it is easy to understand the dangerous 
desire to see him also in his deterioration (deteriorated into a 
"martyr," into a stage- and tribune-bawler) . Only, that it 
is necessary with such a desire to be clear what spectacle 
one will see in any case — merely a satyric play, merely an 
epilogue farce, merely the continued proof that the long, real 
tragedy is at an end, supposing that every philosophy has 
been a long tragedy in its origin. 

f 1 



Every select man strives instinctively for a citadel and a 
privacy, where he is free from the crowd, the many, the ma- 
jority — where he may forget "men who are the rule," as 
their exception; — exclusive only of the case in which he is 
pushed straight to such men by a still stronger instinct, as 
a discemer in the great and exceptional sense. Whoever, in 
intercourse with men, does not occasionally glisten in all 
the green and grey colours of distress, owing to disgust, 
satiety, sympathy, gloominess and solitariness, is assuredly 
not a man of elevated tastes; supposing, however, that he 
does not voluntarily take all this burden and disgust upon 
himself, that he persistently avoids it, and remains, as I said, 
quietly and proudly hidden in his citadel, one thing is then 
certain: he was not made, he was not predestined for knowl- 
edge. For as such, he would one day have to say to him- 
self: ''The devil take my good taste! but 'the rule' is more 
interesting than the exception — than myself, the exception ! " 
And he would go down, and above all, he would go "inside." 
The long and serious study of the average man — and conse- 
quently much disguise, self-overcoming, familiarity, and bad 
intercourse (all intercourse is bad intercourse except with 
one's equals) : — that constitutes a necessary part of the life- 
history of every philosopher; perhaps the most disagreeable, 
odious, and disappointing part. If he is fortunate, however, 
as a favourite child of knowledge should be, he will meet 
with suitable auxiliaries who will shorten and lighten his task; 
I mean so-called cynics, those who simply recognise the ani- 
mal, the common-place and "the rule" in themselves, and at 
the same time have so much spirituality and ticklishness as 
to make them talk of themselves and their like before wit- 


nesse^ — sometimes they wallow, even in books, as on their 
own dung-hill. Cynicism is the only form in which base 
souls approach what is called honesty; and the higher man 
must open his ears to all the coarser or finer cynicism, and 
congratulate himself when the clown becomes shameless right 
before him, or the scientific satyr speaks out. There are 
even cases where enchantment mixes with the disgust — 
namely, where by a freak of nature, genius is bound to 
some such indiscreet billy-goat and ape, as in the case of 
the Abbe Galiani, the profoundest, acutest, and perhaps also 
filthiest man of his century — he was far profounder than 
Voltaire, and consequently also, a good deal more silent. 
It happens more frequently, as has been hinted, that a scien- 
tific head is placed on an ape's body, a fine exceptional 
understanding in a base soul, an occurrence by no means 
rare, especially amongst doctors and moral physiologists. 
And whenever anyone speaks without bitterness, or rather 
quite innocently of man, as a belly with two requirements, 
and a head with one; whenever any one sees, seeks and wants 
to see only hunger, sexual instinct, and vanity as the real 
and only motives of human actions; in short, when any one 
speaks "badly" — and not even "ill" — of man, then ought the 
lover of knowledge to hearken attentively and diligently; 
he ought, in general, to have an open ear wherever there is 
talk without indignation. For the indignant man, and he 
who perpetually tears and lacerates himself with his own 
teeth (or, in place of himself, the world, God, or society), 
may indeed, morally speaking, stand higher than the laugh- 
ing and self-satisfied satyr, but in every other sense he is the 
more ordinary, more indifferent, and less instructive case. 
And no one is such a liar as the indignant man. 



It is difficult to be understood, especially when one thinks 
and lives gangasrotogati* among those only who think and 
live otherwise — namely, kurmagati,^ or at best "froglike," 
mandeikagati% (I do everything to be "difficultly understood" 
myself!) — and one should be heartily grateful for the good 
will to some refinement of interpretation. As regards "the 
good friends," however, who are always too easy-going, and 
think that as friends they have a right to ease, one does 
well at the very first to grant them a play-ground and romp- 
ing-place for misunderstanding — one c£m thus laugh still; or 
get rid of them altogether, these good friends — and laugh 
then also! 


What is most difficult to render from one language into 
another is the tempo of its style, which has its basis in the 
character of the race, or to speak more physiologically, in 
the average tempo of the assimilation of its nutriment. There 
are honestly meant translations, which, as involuntary vul- 
garisations, are almost falsifications of the original, merely 
^because its lively and merry tempo (which overleaps and ob- 
dates all dangers in word and expression) could not also be 
'rendered. A German is almost incapacitated for presto in 
^his language; consequently also, as may be reasonably in- 
ferred, for many of the most delightful and daring nuances 
3f free, free-spirited thought. And just as the buffoon and 
ityr are foreign to him in body and conscience, so Aristo- 

* Like the river Ganges : presto 

fLike the tortoise: lento. ^Like the frog: staccato. 


phanes and Petronius are untranslatable for him. Every- 
thing ponderous, viscous, and pompously clumsy, all long- 
winded and wearying species of style, are developed in pro- 
fuse variety among Germans — pardon me for stating the fact 
that even Goethe's prose, in its mixture of stiffness and ele- 
gance, is no exception, as a reflection of the "good old time" 
to which it belongs, and as an expression of German taste 
at a time when there was still a "German taste," which was 
a rococo-taste in moribus et artibus. Lessing is an excep- 
tion, owing to his histrionic nature, which understood much, 
and was versed in many things; he who was not the trans- 
lator of Bayle to no purpose, who took refuge willingly in 
the shadow of Diderot and Voltaire, and still more willingly 
among the Roman comedy-writers — Lessing loved also free- 
spiritism in the tempo, and flight out of Germany. But how 
could the German language, even in the prose of Lessing, 
imitate the tempo of Machiavelli, who in his "Principe" 
makes us breathe the dry, fine air of Florence, and cannot 
help presenting the most serious events in a boisterous alle- 
grissimo, perhaps not without a malicious artistic sense of 
the contrast he ventures to present — long, heavy, difficult, 
dangerous thoughts, and a tempo of the gallop, and of the 
best, wantonest humour? Finally, who would venture on a 
German translation of Petronius, who, more than any great 
musician hitherto, was a master of presto in invention, ideas, 
and words? What matter in the end about the swamps of 
the sick, evil world, or of the "ancient world," when like 
him, one has the feet of a wind, the rush, the breath, the 
emancipating scorn of a wind, which makes everything 
healthy, by making everything run! And with regard to 
Aristophanes — that transfiguring, complementary genius, for 
whose sake one pardons all Hellenism for having existed, 
provided one has understood in its full profundity all thatd 


Ihere requires pardon and transfiguration; there is nothing 
that has caused me to meditate more on Plato's secrecy and 
sphinx-like nature, than the happily preserved petit fait that 
under the pillow of his death-bed there was found no "Bi- 
ble," nor anything Egyptian, Pythagorean, or Platonic — but 
a book of Aristophanes. How could even Plato have en- 
dured life — a Greek life which he repudiated — without an 


It is the business of the very few to be independent; it is a 
privilege of the strong. And whoever attempts it, even with 
the best right, but without being obliged to do so, proves 
that he is probably not only strong, but also daring beyond 
measure. He enters into a labyrinth, he multiplies a thou- 
sandfold the dangers which life in itself already brings with 
it; not the least of which is that no one can see how and 
where he loses his way, becomes isolated, and is torn piece- 
meal by some minotaur of conscience. Supposing such a 
one comes to grief, it is so far from the comprehension of 
men that they neither feel it, nor sjonpathise with it. And 
he cannot any longer go back! He cannot even go back 
[again to the sympathy of men! 


Our deepest insights must — and should — appear as fol- 

[lies, and under certain circumstances as crimes, when they 

jme unauthorisedly to the ears of those who are not dis- 

)sed and predestined for them. The exoteric and the eso- 
[teric, as they were formerly distinguished by philosophers — 

long the Indians, as among the Greeks, Persians, and Mus- 


sulmans, in short, wherever people believed in gradations of 
rank and not in equality and equal rights — are not so 
much in contradistinction to one another in respect to the 
exoteric class, standing without, and viewing, estimating, 
measuring, and judging from the outside, and not from the 
inside; the more essential distinction is that the class in 
question views things from below upwards — while the eso- 
teric class views things jrom above downwards. There are 
heights of the soul from which tragedy itself no longer ap- 
pears to operate tragically; and if all the woe in the world 
were taken together, who would dare to decide whether the 
sight of it would necessarily seduce and constrain to sympa- 
thy, and thus to a doubling of the woe? . . . That which 
serves the higher class of men for nourishment or refresh- 
ment, must be almost poison to an entirely different and 
lower order of human beings. The virtues of the common 
man would perhaps mean vice and weakness in a philoso- 
pher; it might be possible for a highly developed man, 
supposing him to degenerate and go to ruin, to acquire 
qualities thereby alone, for the sake of which he would have 
to be honoured as a saint in the lower world into which he 
had sunk. There are books which have an inverse value for 
the soul and the health according as the inferior soul and 
the lower vitality, or the higher and more powerful, make 
use of them. In the former case they are dangerous, dis- 
turbing, unsettling books, in the latter case they are herald- 
calls which summon the bravest to their bravery. Books 
for the general reader are always ill-smelling books, the 
odour of paltry people clings to them. Where the populace 
eat and drink, and even where they reverence, it is accus- 
tomed to stink. One should not go into churches if one 
wishes to breathe pure air. 




In our youthful years we still venerate and despise with- 
out the art of nuance, which is the best gain of life, and we 
have rightly to do hard penance for having fallen upon men 
and things with Yea and Nay. Everything is so arranged 
that the worst of all tastes, the taste for the unconditional, 
is cruelly befooled and abused, until a man learns to intro- 
duce a little art into his sentiments, and prefers to try con- 
clusions with the artificial, as do the real artists of life. 
The angry and reverent spirit peculiar to youth appears to 
allow itself no peace, until it has suitably falsified men and 
things, to be able to vent its passion upon them: youth in 
itself even, is something falsifying and deceptive. Later on, 
when the young soul, tortured by continual disillusions, 
finally turns suspiciously against itself — still ardent and sav- 
age even in its suspicion and remorse of conscience: how it 
upbraids itself, how impatiently it tears itself, how it re- 
venges itself for its long self-blinding, as though it had been 
a voluntary blindness! In this transition one punishes one- 
self by distrust of one's sentiments; one tortures one's en- 
thusiasm with doubt, one feels even the good conscience 
to be a danger, as if it were the self-concealment and lassi- 
tude of a more refined uprightness; and above all, one 
espouses upon principle the cause against "youth." — A dec- 
ade later, and one comprehends that all this was also still-- 


Throughout the longest period of human history — one 
Us it the prehistoric period — the value or none-value of 


an action was inferred from its consequences; the action in 
itself was not taken into consideration, any more than its 
origin; but pretty much as in China at present, where the 
distinction or disgrace of a child redounds to its parents, the 
retro-operating power of success or failure was what induced 
men to think well or ill of an action. Let us call this period 
the pre-moral period of mankind; the imperative, "know 
thyself!" was then still unknown. — In the last ten thousand 
years, on the other hand, on certain large portions of the 
earth, one has gradually got so far, that one no longer lets 
the consequences of an action, but its origin, decide Vv'ith 
regard to its worth: a great achievement as a whole, an im- 
portant refinement of vision and of criterion, the uncon- 
scious effect of the supremacy of aristocratic values and of 
the belief in "origin," the mark of a period which may be 
designated in the narrower sense as the moral one: the first 
attempt at self-knowledge is thereby made. Instead of the 
consequences, the origin — what an inversion of perspective! 
And assuredly an inversion effected only after long struggle 
and wavering! To be sure, an ominous new superstition, a 
peculiar narrowness of interpretation, attained supremacy 
precisely thereby: the origin of an action was interpreted 
in the most definite sense possible, as origin out of an 
intention; people were agreed in the belief that the value of 
an action lay in the value of its intention. The intention 
as the sole origin and antecedent history of an action: under 
the influence of this prejudice moral praise and blame have 
been bestowed, and men have judged and even philoso- 
phised almost up to the present day. — Is it not possible, 
however, that the necessity may now have arisen of again 
making up our minds with regard to the reversing and 
fundamental shifting of values, owing to a new self-con- 
sciousness and acuteness in man — is it not possible that we 


may be standing on the threshold of a period which to be- 
gin with, would be distinguished negatively as ultra-moral: 
nowadays when, at least amongst us immoralists, the sus- 
picion arises that the decisive value of an action lies pre- 
cisely in that which is not intentional, and that all its inten- 
tionalness, all that is seen, sensible, or "sensed" in it, be- 
longs to its surface or skin — which, like every sldn, betrays 
something, but conceals still more? In short, we believe 
that the intention is only a sign or symptom, which first 
requires an explanation — a sign, moreover, which has too 
many interpretations, and consequently hardly any meaning 
in itself alone: that morality, in the sense in which it has 
been understood hitherto, as intention-morality, has been a 
prejudice, perhaps a prematureness or preliminariness, prob- 
ably something of the same rank as astrology and alchemy, 
but in any case something which must be surmounted. 
The surmounting of morality, in a certain sense even the 
self-mounting of morality — ^let that be the name for the 
long secret labour which has been reserved for the most re- 
fined, the most upright, and also the most wicked con- 
sciences of to-day, as the living touchstones of the soul. 


It cannot be helped: the sentiment of surrender, of sacri- 
fice for one's neighbour, and all self-renunciation-morality, 
must be mercilessly called to account, and brought to judg- 
ment ; just as the aesthetics of "disinterested contemplation," 
under which the emasculation of art nowadays seeks insidi- 
ously enough to create itself a good conscience. There is 
far too much witchery and sugar in the sentiments "for 
others" and "not for myself," for one not needing to be 
doubly distrustful here, and for one asking promptly: "Are 


they not perhaps — deceptions?" — That they please — him 
who has them, and him who enjoys their fruit, and also the 
mere spectator — that is still no argument in their favour, but 
just calls for caution. Let us therefore be cautious! 



At whatever standpoint of philosophy one may place one- 
self nowadays, seen from every position, the erroneousness 
of the world in which we think we live is the surest and 
most certain thing our eyes can light upon: we find proof 
after proof thereof, which would fain allure us into sur- 
mises concerning a deceptive principle in the "nature of 
things." He, however, who makes thinking itself, and con- 
sequently "the spirit," responsible for the falseness of the 
world — an honourable exit, which every conscious or un- 
conscious advocatus del avails himself of — he who regards 
this world, including space, time, form, and movement, as 
falsely deduced, would have at least good reason in the end 
to become distrustful also of all thinking; has it not hith- 
erto been playing upon us the worst of scurvy tricks? and 
what guarantee would it give that it would not continue to 
do what it has always been doing? In all seriousness, the 
innocence of thinkers has something touching and respect- 
inspiring in it, which even nowadays permits them to wait 
upon consciousness with the request that it will give them 
honest answers: for example, whether it be "real" or not, 
and why it keeps the outer world so resolutely at a distance, 
and other questions of the same description. The belief in 
"immediate certainties" is a moral naivete which does hon- 
our to us philosophers; but — we have now to cease being 
"merely moral" men! Apart from morality, such belief is 
a folly which does little honour to us! If in middle-claJj 


te an ever-ready distrust is regarded as the sign of a "bad 
racter," and consequently as an imprudence, here 
longst us, beyond the middle-class world and its Yeas and 
fays, what should prevent our being imprudent and saying: 
ie philosopher has at length a right to "bad character," as 
le being who has hitherto been most befooled on earth — 
he is now under obligation to distrustfulness, to the wicked- 
est squinting out of every abyss of suspicion. — Forgive me. 
the joke of this gloomy grimace and turn of expression; for 
I myself have long ago learned to think and estimate differ- 
ently with regard to deceiving and being deceived, and I 
keep at least a couple of pokes in the ribs ready for the 
blind rage with which philosophers struggle against being 
deceived. Why not? It is nothing more than a moral 
prejudice that truth is worth more than semblance; it is, in 
fact, the worst proved supposition in the world. So much 
must be conceded: there could have been no life at all ex- 
cept upon the basis of perspective estimates and semblances; 
and if, with the virtuous enthusiasm and stupidity of many 
philosophers, one wished to do away altogether with the 
"seeming world" — well, granted that you could do that, — 
at least nothing of your "truth" would thereby remain! 
Indeed, what is it that forces us in general to the supposi- 
tion that there is an essential opposition of "true" and 
■"false"? Is it not enough to suppose degrees of seeming- 
ness, and as it were lighter and darker shades and tones of 
semblance — different valeurs, as the painters say? Why 
might not the world which concerns us — be a fiction? And 
.to any one who suggested: "But to a fiction belongs an 
originator?" — might it not be bluntly replied: Why? May 
not this "belong" also belong to the fiction? Is it not at 
length permitted to be a little ironical towards the subject, 
just as towards the predicate and object? Might not the 


philosopher elevate himself above faith in grammar? All 
respect to governesses, but is it not time that philosc^hy 
should renounce governess-faith? 


O Voltaire! O humanity! O idiocy! There is some- 
thing ticklish in "the truth," and in the search for the truth; 
and if man goes about it too humanely — "il ne cherche le 
vrai que pour faire le bien" — I wager he finds nothing! 


Supposing that nothing else is "given" as real but our 
world of desires and passions, that we cannot sink or rise 
to any other "reality" but just that of our impulses — for 
thinking is only a relation of these impulses to one another: 
— are we not permitted to make the attempt and to ask the 
question whether this which is "given" does not suffice, by 
means of our coimterparts, for the understanding even of 
the so-called mechanical (or "material") world? I do not 
mean as an illusion, a "semblance," a "representation" (in 
the Berkeleyan and Schopenhauerian sense), but as pos- 
sessing the same degree of reality as our emotions them- 
selves — as a more primitive form of the world of emotions, 
in which everything still lies locked in a mighty unity, 
which afterwards branches off and develops itself in organic 
processes (naturally also, refines and debilitates) — as a kind 
of instinctive life in which all organic functions, including 
self-regulation, assimilation, nutrition, secretion, and change 
of matter, are still synthetically united with one another— 
as a primary form of life? — ^In the end, it is not only per 
mitted to make this attempt, it is commanded by the co: 



science of logical method. Not to assume several kinds of 
causality, so long as the attempt to get along with a single 
one has not been pushed to its furtherest extent (to absurd- 
ity, if I may be allowed to say so) : that is a morality of 
method which one may not repudiate nowadays — it follows 
"from its definition," as mathematicians say. The question 
is ultimately whether we really recognise the will as operat- 
ing, whether we believe in the causality of the will ; if we do 
so — and fundamentally our belief in this is just our belief in 
causality itself — we must make the attempt to posit hypo- 
thetically the causality of the will as the only causality. 
"Will" can naturally only operate on "will" — and not on 
"matter" (not on "nerves," for instance) : in short, the 
hypothesis must be hazarded, whether will does not operate 
on will wherever "effects" are recognised — and whether all 
mechanical action, inasmuch as a power operates therein, is 
not just the power of will, the effect of will. Granted, 
finally, that we succeeded in explaining our entire instinc- 
tive life as the development and ramification of one funda- 
mental form of will — namely, the Will to Power, as my 
thesis puts it; granted that all organic functions could be 
traced back to this Will to Power, and that the solution 
of the problem of generation and nutrition — it is one prob- 
lem — could also be found therein: one would thus have ac- 
quired the right to define all active force unequivocally as 
WiU to Power. The world seen from within, the world de- 
fined and designated according to its "intelligible character" 
— it would simply be "Will to Power," and nothing else. 



"What? Does not that mean in popular language: God 
is disproved, but not the devil"? — On the contrary! On 
the contrary, my friends! And who the devil also compels 
you to speak popularly 1 



As happened finally in all the enlightenment of modem 
times with the French Revolution (that terrible farce, quite 
superfluous when judged close at hand, into which, however, 
the noble and visionary spectators of all Europe have inter- 
preted from a distance their own indignation and enthusiasm 
so long and passionately, until the text has disappeared un- 
der the interpretation), so a noble posterity might once 
more misunderstand the whole of the past, and perhaps only 
thereby make its aspect endurable. — Or rather, has not this 
already happened? Have not we ourselves been — that 
"noble posterity"? And, in so far as we now comprehend 
this, is it not — thereby already past? 


Nobody will very readily regard a doctrine as true merely 
because it makes people happy or virtuous — excepting, per- 
haps, the amiable "Idealists," who are enthusiastic about 
the good, true, and beautiful, and let all kinds of motley, 
coarse, and good-natured desirabilities swim about promis- 
cuously in their pond. Happiness and virtue are no argu- 
ments. It is willingly forgotten, however, even on the part 
of thoughtful minds, that to make unhappy £ind to make 


bad are just as little counter-arguments. A thing could be 
true, although it were in the highest degree injurious and 
dangerous; indeed, the fundamental constitution of exist- 
ence might be such that one succumbed by a full knowledge 
of it — so that the strength of a mind might be measured by 
the amount of "truth" it could endure — or to speak more 
plainly, by the extent to which it required truth attenuated, 
veiled, sweetened, damped, and falsified. But there is no 
doubt that for the discovery of certain portions of truth the 
wicked and unfortunate are more favourably situated and 
have a greater likelihood of success; not to spezik of the 
wicked who are happy — a species about whom moralists 
are silent. Perhaps severity and craft are more favourable 
conditions for the development of strong, independent spirits 
and philosophers than the gentle, refined, yielding good- 
nature, and habit of taking things easily, which are prized, 
and rightly prized in a learned man. Presupposing always, 
to begin with, that the term "philosopher" be not confined 
to the philosopher who writes books, or even introduces his 
philosophy into books! — Stendhal furnishes a last feature of 
the portrait of the free-spirited philosopher, which for the 
sake of German taste I will not omit to underline — for it is 
opposed to German taste. "Pour etre bon philosophe," 
says this last great psychologist, "il jaut etre sec, clair, sans 
illusion. Un banquier, qui a fait fortune, a une partie du 
caractere requis pour faire des decouvertes en philosophie, 
c'est-d-dire pour voir clair dans ce qui est." 

j^ Everything that is profound loves the mask: the pro- 

j foundest things have a hatred even of figure and likeness. 

Should not the contrary only be the right disguise for the 


shame of a God to go about in? A question worth asking! — 
it would be strange if some mystic has not already ventured 
on the same kind of thing. There are proceedings of such 
a delicate nature that it is well to overwhelm them with 
coarseness and make them unrecognisable; there are ac- 
tions of love and of an extravagant magnanimity after 
which nothing can be wiser than to take a stick and thrash 
the witness soundly: one thereby obscures his recollection. 
Many a one is able to obscure and abuse his own memory, 
in order at least to have vengeance on this sole party in the 
secret: shame is inventive. They are not the worst things 
of which one is most ashamed: there is not only deceit be- 
hind a mask — there is so much goodness in craft. I could 
imagine that a man with something costly and fragile to 
conceal, would roll through life clumsily and rotundly like 
an old, green, heavily-hooped wine-cask: the refinement of 
his shame requiring it to be so. A man who has depths in 
his shame meets his destiny and his delicate decisions upon 
paths which few ever reach, and with regard to the exist- 
ence of which his nearest and most intimate friends may 
be ignorant; his mortal danger conceals itself from their eyes, 
and equally so his regained security. Such a hidden nature, 
which instinctively employs speech for silence and conceal- 
ment, and is inexhaustible in evasion of communication, de- 
sires and insists that a mask of himself shall occupy his 
place in the hearts and heads of his friends; and supposing 
he does not desire it, his eyes will some day be opened to 
the fact that there is nevertheless a mask of him there — and 
that it is well to be so. Every profound spirit needs a mask; 
nay, more, around every profound spirit there continually 
grows a mask, owing to the constantly false, that is to say, 
superficial interpretation of every word he utters, every step 
he takes, every sign of life he manifests. 




One must subject oneself to one's own tests that one is 
destined for independence and command, and do so at the 
right time. One must not avoid one's tests, although they 
constitute perhaps the most dangerous game one can play, 
and are in the end tests made only before ourselves and 
before no other judge. Not to cleave to any person, be it 
even the dearest — every person is a prison and also a re- 
cess. Not to cleave to a fatherland, be it even the most 
suffering and necessitous — it is even less difficult to detach 
one's heart from a victorious fatherland. Not to cleave to 
a S5anpathy, be it even for higher men, into whose peculiar 
torture and helplessness chance has given us an insight. 
Not to cleave to a science, though it tempt one with the 
most valuable discoveries, apparently specially reserved for 
us. Not to cleave to one's own liberation, to the voluptuous 
distance and remoteness of the bird, which always flies fur- 
ther aloft in order always to see more under it — the danger 
of the flier. Not to cleave to our own virtues, nor become 
as a whole a victim to any of our specialties, to our "hos- 
pitality" for instance, which is the danger of dangers for 
highly developed and wealthy souls, who deal prodigally, 
almost indifferently with themselves, and push the virtue of 
liberality so far that it becomes a vice. One must know 
how to conserve oneself — the best test of independence. 



A new order of philosophers is appearing; I shall venture 
to baptize them by a name not without danger. As far as I 
understand them, as far as they allow themselves to be 


understood — for it is their nature to wish to remain some- 
thing of a puzzle — these philosophers of the future might 
rightly, perhaps also wrongly, claim to be designated as 
"tempters." This name itself is after all only an attempt, 
or, if it be preferred, a temptation. 


Will they be new friends of "truth," these coming philoso* 
phers? Very probably, for all philosophers hitherto have 
loved their truths. But assuredly they will not be dog- 
matists. It must be contrary to their pride, and also con- 
Vrary to their taste, that their truth should still be truth for 
every one — that which has hitherto been the secret wish and 
ultimate purpose of all dogmatic efforts. "My opinion is my 
opinion: another person has not easily a right to it" — such 
\i. philosopher of the future will say, perhaps. One must 
Yenounce the bad taste of wishing to agree with many peo- 
ple. "Good" is no longer good when one's neighbour takes 
it into his mouth. And how could there be a "common 
good"! The expression contradicts itself; that which can 
be common is always of small value. In the end things 
must be as they are and have always been — the great things 
remain for the great, the abysses for the profound, the deli- 
cacies and thrills for the refined, and, to sum up shortly, 
everything rare for the rare. 


Need I say expressly after all this that they will be free, 
very free spirits, these philosophers of the future — as cer- 
tainly also they will not be merely free spirits, but something 
more, higher, greater, and fundamentally different, which 


does not wish to be misunderstood and mistaken? But while 
I say this, I feel under obligation almost as much to them 
as to ourselves (we free spirits who are their heralds and 
forerunners), to sweep away from ourselves altogether a 
stupid old prejudice and misunderstanding, which, like a 
fog, has too long made the conception of "free spirit" ob- 
scure. In every country of Europe, and the same in Amer- 
ica, there is at present something which makes an abuse of 
this name: a very narrow, prepossessed, enchained class of 
spirits, who desire almost the opposite of what our inten- 
tions and instincts prompt — not to mention that in respect 
to the new philosophers who are appearing, they must still 
more be closed windows and bolted doors. Briefly and re- 
grettably, they belong to the levellers, these wrongly 
named "free spirits" — as glib-tongued and scribe-fingered 
^laves of the democratic taste and its "modem ideas": all 
moi them men without solitude, without personal solitude, 
'blunt honest fellows to whom neither courage nor honourable 
conduct ought to be denied; only, they are not free, and are 
ludicrously superficial, especially in their innate partiality 
for seeing the cause of almost all human misery and failure 
in the old forms in which society hsis hitherto existed — a 
notion which happily inverts the truth entirely! What they 
would fain attain with all their strength, is the universal, 
green-meadow happiness of the herd, together with security, 
safety, comfort, and alleviation of life for every one; their 
two most frequently chanted songs and doctrines are called 
luality of Rights" and "Sympathy with all Sufferers" — 
|d suffering itself is looked upon by them as something 
lich must be done away with. We opposite ones, how- 
;r, who have opened our eye and conscience to the ques- 
how and where the plant "man" has hitherto grown 
most vigourously, believe that tliis has always taken place 


under the opposite conditions, that for this end the danger- 
ousness of his situation had to be increased enormously, his 
inventive faculty and dissembling power (his "spirit") had 
to develop into subtlety and daring under long oppression 
and compulsion, and his Will to Life had to be increased to 
the unconditioned Will to Power: — we believe that severity, 
violence, slavery, danger in the street and in the heart, se- 
crecy, stoicism, tempter's art and devilry of every kind, — 
that everything wicked, terrible, tyrannical, predatory, and 
serpentine in man, serves as well for the elevation of the 
human species as its opposite: — we do not even say enough 
when we only say this much; and in any case we find our- 
selves here, both with our speech and our silence, at the 
ether extreme of all modem ideology and gregarious desira- 
bility, as their antipodes perhaps? What wonder that we 
^'free spirits" are not exactly the most communicative spir- 
its? that we do not wish to betray in every respect what ai 
spirit can free itself from, and where perhaps it will then be 
driven? And as to the import of the dangerous formula, 
"Beyond Good and Evil," with which we at least avoid con- 
fusion, we are something else than "libres-penseurs," "liberi 
pensatori" "free-thinkers," and whatever these honest ad- 
vocates of "modem ideas" like to call themselves. Havingi 
been at home, or at least guests, in many realms of the spirit; 
having escaped again and again from the gloomy, agreeablei 
nooks in which preferences and prejudices, youth, origin, thci 
accident of men and books, or even the weariness of travel 
seemed to confine us; full of malice against the seductions of 
dependency which lie concealed in honours, money, positions,! 
or exaltation of the senses; grateful even for distress and 
the vicissitudes of illness, because they always free us from' 
some rule, and its "prejudice," grateful to the God, devil, 
3^6^, and worm in us; inquisitive to a fault, investigat 




to the point of cruelty, with unhesitating fingers for the in- 
tangible, with teeth and stomachs for the most indigestible, 
ready for any business that requires sagacity and acute 
senses, ready for every adventure, owing to an excess of 
"free will"; with anterior and posterior souls, into the ulti- 
mate intentions of which it is difficult to pry, with fore- 
grounds and backgrounds to the end of which no foot may 
run; hidden ones imder the mantles of light, appropriators, 
although we resemble heirs and spendthrifts, arrangers and 
collectors from morning till night, misers of our wealth and 
our full-crammed drawers, economical in learning and for- 
getting, inventive in scheming; sometimes proud of tables of 
categories, sometimes pedants, sometimes night-owls of work 
even in full day; yea, if necessary, even scarcecrows — and it 
is necessary nowadays, that is to say, inasmuch as we are the 
bom, sworn, jealous friends of solitude, of our own pro- 
foundest midnight and mid-day solitude: — such kind of men 
are we, we free spirits! And perhaps ye are also something 
of the same kind, ye coming ones? ye new philosophers? 

The Religious Mood 


The human soul and its limits, the range of man's inn| 
experiences hitherto attained, the heights, depths and dis^ 
tances of these experiences, the entire history of the soul 
up to the present time, and its still unexhausted possibili- 
ties: this is the preordained hunting- domain for a bom psy- 
chologist and lover of a "big hunt." But how often must 
he say despairingly to himself: "A single individual! alas, 
only a single individual! and this great forest, this virgin 
forest!" So he would like to have some hundreds of hunt- 
ing assistants, and fine trained hounds, that he could send 
into the history of the human soul, to drive his game to- 
gether. In vain: again and again he experiences, pro- 
foundly and bitterly, how difficult it is to find assistants and 
dogs for all the things that directly excite his curiosity. The 
evil of sending scholars into new and dangerous hunting- 
domains, where courage, sagacity, and subtlety in every 
sense are required, is that they are no longer serviceable 
just when the "big hunt," and also the great danger com- 
mences, — it is precisely then that they lose their keen eye 
and nose. In order, for instance, to divine and determine 
what sort of history the problem of knowledge and conscien^ 




has hitherto had in the souls of homines religiosi, a person 
would perhaps himself have to possess as profound, as 
bruised, as immense an experience as the intellectual con- 
science of Pascal; and then he would still require that 
wide-spread heaven of clear, wicked spirituality, which, from 
above, would be able to oversee, arrange, and effectively for- 
mulise this mass of dangerous and painful experiences. — But 
who could do me this service! And who would have time 
to wait for such servants! — they evidently appear too rarely, 
they are so improbable at all times! Eventually one must 
do everything oneself in order to know something; whiclr 
means that one has much to do! — But a curiosity like mine 
is once for all the most agreeable of vices — pardon me! 
I mean to say that the love of truth has its reward in heaven, 
and already upon earth. 


Faith, such as early Christianity desired, and not infre- 
quently achieved in the midst of a sceptical and southemly 
free-spirited world, which had centuries of struggle between 
philosophical schools behind it and in it, counting besides 
the education in tolerance which the imperium Romanum 
gave — this faith is not that sincere, austere slave-faith by 
which perhaps a Luther or a Cromwell, or some other north- 
em barbarian of the spirit remained attached to his God 
and Christianity; it is much rather the faith of Pascal, which 
xesembles in a terrible manner a continuous suicide of rea- 
— a tough, long-lived, wormlike reason, which is not to 
slain at once and with a single blow. The Christian faith 
from the beginning, is sacrifice: the sacrifice of all freedom, 
all pride, all self-confidence of spirit; it is at the same time 
abjection, self -derision, and self-mutilation. There is 




cruelty and religious Phoenicianism in this faith, which 
adapted to a tender, many-sided, and very fastidious con- 
science; it takes for granted that the subjection of the spirit 
is indescribably painful, that all the past and all the habits 
of such a spirit resist the absurdissimum, in the form of 
which "faith" comes to it. Modem men, with their ob- 
tuseness as regards all Christian nomenclature, have no 
longer the sense for the terribly superlative conception which 
was implied to an antique taste by the paradox of the for- 
mula, "God on the Cross." Hitherto there had never and 
nowhere been such boldness in inversion, nor anything at 
once so dreadful, questioning, and questionable as this for- 
mula: it promised a transvaluation of all ancient values. — It 
was the Orient, the profound Orient, it was the Oriental 
slave who thus took revenge on Rome and its noble, light- 
minded toleration, on the Roman "Catholicism" of non- 
faith ; and it was always, not the faith, but the freedom from 
the faith, the half-stoical and smiling indifference to the 
seriousness of the faith, which mades the slaves indignant 
at their masters and revolt against them. "Enlightenment" 
causes revolt: for the slave desires the unconditioned, he 
understands nothing but the tyrannous, even in morals; he 
loves as he hates, without nuance, to the very depths, to the 
point of pain, to the point of sickness — his many hidden 
sufferings make him revolt against the noble taste which 
seems to deny suffering. The scepticism with regard to suf- 
fering, fundamentally only an attitude of aristocratic mo- 
rality, was not the least of the causes, also, of the last great 
slave-insurrection which began with the French Revolu 



Wherever the religious neurosis has appeared on the earth 
so far, we find it connected with three dangerous prescrip- 
tions as to regimen: solitude, fasting, and sexual abstinence 
— but without its being possible to determine with certainty 
which is cause and which is effect, or if any relation at all of 
cause and effect exists there. This latter doubt is justified 
by the fact that one of the most regular symptoms among 
savage as well as among civilised peoples is the most sudden 
and excessive sensuality; which then with equal suddenness 
transforms into penitential paroxysms, world-renunciation, 
and will-renunciation: both symptoms perhaps explainable 
as disguised epilepsy? But nowhere is it more obligatory 
to put aside explanations: around no other type has there 
grown such a mass of absurdity and superstition, no other 
type seems to have been more interesting to men and even to 
philosophers — perhaps it is time to become just a little in- 
different here, to learn caution, or, better still, to look away,. 
to go away. — Yet in the background of the most recent 
philosophy, that of Schopenhauer, we find almost as the 
■roblem in itself, this terrible note of interrogation of the 
teligious crisis and awakening. How is the negation of will 
^ssible? how is the saint possible? — that seems to have been 
■le very question with which Schopenhauer made a start 
and became a philosopher. And thus it was a genuine 
ichopenhauerian consequence, that his most convinced ad- 
ent (perhaps also his last, as far as Germany is con- 
ed), namely, Richard Wagner, should bring his ovm 
work to an end just here, and should finally put that 
ible and eternal type upon the stage as Kundry, type 
u, and as it loved and lived, at the very time that the 


mad-doctors in almost all European countries had an oppor- 
tunity to study the type close at hand, wherever the reli- 
gious neurosis — or as I call it, "the religious mood" — made 
its latest epidemical outbreak and display as the "Salvation 
Army." — If it be a question, however, as to what has been 
so extremely interesting to men of all sorts in all ages, and 
even to philosophers, in the whole phenomenon of the saint, 
it is undoubtedly the appearance of the miraculous therein 
— ^namely, the immediate succession of opposites, of states 
of the soul regarded as morally antithetical: it was believed 
here to be self-evident that a "bad man" was all at once 
turned into a "saint," a good man. The hitherto existing 
psychology was wrecked at this point; is it not possible it 
may have happened principally because psychology had 
placed itself under the dominion of morals, because it be- 
lieved in oppositions of moral values, and saw, read, and 
interpreted these oppositions into the text and facts of the 
case? What? "Miracle" only an error of interpretation? 
A lack of philology? 


It seems that the Latin races are far more deeply attached 
to their Catholicism than we Northerners are to Christianity 
generally, and that consequently unbelief in Catholic coun- 
tries means something quite different from what it does 
among Protestants — namely, a sort of revolt against the 
spirit of the race, while with us it is rather a return to the 
spirit (or non-spirit) of the race. We Northerners undoubt- 
edly derive our origin from barbarous races, even as regards 
our talents for religion — we have poor talents for it. On^ 
may make an exception in the case of the Celts, who ha\ 
theretofore furnished also the best soil for Christian infe 


tion in the north: the Christian ideal blossomed forth in 
France as much as ever the pale sun of the north would 
allow it. How strangely pious for our taste are still these 
later French sceptics, whenever there is any Celtic blood in 
their origin! How Catholic, how un-German does Auguste 
Comte's Sociology seem to us, with the Roman logic of its 
instincts! How Jesuitical, that amiable and shrewd cicerone 
of Port-Royal, Sainte-Beuve, in spite of all his hostility to 
Jesuits! And even Ernest Renan: how inaccessible to u^ 
Northerners does the language of such a Renan appear, in 
whom every instant the merest touch of religious thrill 
throws his refined voluptuous and comfortably couching soul 
off its balance! Let us repeat after him these fine sentences 
— and what wickedness and haughtiness is immediately 
aroused by way of answer m our probably less beautiful but 
harder souls, that is to say, in our more German souls! — 
"Disons done hardiment que la religion est un produit de 
Vhomtne normal, que I'homme est le plus dans le vrai quand 
il est le plus religieux et le plus assure d'une destinee infinie. 
. . . C'est quand il est bon qu'il veut que la virtu corre- 
sponde a un order iternal, c'est quand il contemple les choses 
d'une manihe desintiressee qu'il trouve la mort revoltante et 
bsurde. Comment ne pas supposer que c'est dans ces mo- 
ents-la, que I'homme voit le mieux?" . . . These sentences 
e so extremely antipodal to my ears and habits of thought, 
at in my first impulse of rage on finding them, I wrote 
•n the margin, "la niaiserie religieuse par excellence!" — imtil 
« in my later rage I even took a fancy to them, these sentences 
Bnth their truth absolutely inverted! It is so nice and 
Huch a distinction to have one's own antipodes! 





That which is so astonishing in the religious life of the 
ancient Greeks is the irrestrainable stream of gratitude which 
it pours forth — it is a very superior kind of man who takes 
such an attitude towards nature and life. — ^Later on, when 
the populace got the upper hand in Greece, fear became 
rampant also in religion; and Christianity was preparing it- 


The passion for God: there are churlish, honest-hearted, 
and importunate kinds of it, like that of Luther — the whole 
of Protestantism lacks the southern delicatezza. There is an 
Oriental exaltation of the mind in it, like that of an unde- 
servedly favoured or elevated slave, as in the case of St. 
Augustine, for instance, who lacks in an offensive manner, 
all nobility in bearing and desires. There is a feminine 
tenderness and sensuality in it, which modestly and un- 
consciously longs for a unio mystica et physica, as in the 
case of Madame de Guy on. In many cases it appears, curi- 
ously enough, as the disguise of a girl's or youth's puberty; 
here and there even as the hysteria of an old maid, also 
as her last ambition. The Church has frequently canonised 
the woman in such a case. 



The mightiest men have hitherto always bowed reverently 
before the saint, as the enigma of self-subjugation and utter 
volimtary privation — why did they thus bow? They 


divined in him — and as it were behind the questionableness 
of his frail and wretched appearance — the superior force 
which wished to test itself by such a subjugation; the 
strength of will, in which they recognised their own strength 
and love of power, and knew how to honour it: they hon- 
oured something in themselves when they honoured the saint. 
In addition to this, the contemplation of the saint suggested 
to them a suspicion: such an enormity of self-negation and 
anti-naturalness will not have been coveted for nothing — 
they have said, inquiringly. There is perhaps a reason for 
it, some very great danger, about which the ascetic might 
wish to be more accurately informed through his secret 
interlocutors and visitors? In a word, the mighty ones of 
the world learned to have a new fear before him, they di- 
vined a new power, a strange, still unconquered enemy: — 
it was the "Will to Power" which obliged them to halt before 
the saint. They had to question him. 


In the Jewish "Old Testament," the book of divine jus- 
tice, there are men, things, and sayings on such an immense 
scale, that Greek and Indian literature has nothing to com- 
pare with it. One stands with fear and reverence before 
those stupendous remains of what man was formerly, and 
one has sad thoughts about old Asia and its little out-pushed 
peninsula Europe, which would like, by all means, to figure 
before Asia as the "Progress of Mankind." To be sure, he 

*ftio is himself only a slender, tame house-animal, and knows 
nly the wants of a house-animal (like our cultured people 
of to-day, including the Christians of "cultured" Christian- 
ity), need neither be amazed nor even sad amid those 
IS — ^the taste for the Old Testament is a touchstone with 



respect to "great" and "small": perhaps he will find that 
the New Testament, the book of grace, still appeals more 
to his heart (there is much of the odour of the genuine, 
tender, stupid beadsman and petty soul in it). To have 
bound up this New Testament (a kind of rococo of taste in 
every respect) along with the Old Testament into one book, 
as the "Bible," as "The Book in Itself," is perhaps the 
greatest audacity and "sin against the Spirit" which literary 
Europe has upon its conscience. 



Why Atheism nowadays? "The father" in God is thoi 
oughly refuted; equally so "the judge," "the rewarder." 
Also his "free will": he does not hear — and even if he did, 
he would not know how to help. The worst is that he 
seems incapable of communicating himself clearly; is he 
uncertain? — This is what I have made out (by questioning 
and listening at a variety of conversations) to be the cause 
of the decline of European theism; it appears to me that 
though the religious instinct is in vigorous growth, — it re- 
jects the theistic satisfaction with profound distrust. 

What does all modem philosophy mainly do? Since 
Descartes — and indeed more in defiance of him than on the 
basis of his procedure — an attentat has been made on the 
part of all philosophers on the old conception of the soul, 
under the guise of a criticism of the subject and predicate 
conception — that is to say, an attentat on the fundamental 
presupposition of Christian doctrine. Modern philosophy, 
as epistemological scepticism, is secretly or openly anti 



Christian, although (for keener ears, be it said) by no means- 
anti-rehgious. Formerly, in effect, one believed in "the 
soul" as one believed in grammar and the grammatical sub- 
ject: one said, "I" is the condition, "think" is the predicate 
and is conditioned — to think is an activity for which one 
must suppose a subject as cause. The attempt was then 
made, with marvellous tenacity and subtlety, to see if one 
could not get out of this net, — to see if the opposite was not 
perhaps true: "think" the condition, and "I" the condi- 
tioned; "I," therefore, only a S5nithesis which has been made 
by thinking itself. Kant really wished to prove that, start- 
ing from the subject, the subject could not be proved — nor 
the object either: the possibility of an apparent existence 
of the subject, and therefore of "the soul," may not always 
have been strange to him, — the thought which once had an 
immense power on earth as the Vedanta philosophy. 


There is a great ladder of religious cruelty, with many 
roimds; but three of these are the most important. Once 
on a time men sacrified human beings to their God, and per- 
haps just those they loved the best — to this category belong 
le firstling sacrifices of all primiti\*e religions, and also the 
rifice of the Emperor Tiberius in the Mithra-Grotto on 
le Island of Capri, that most terrible of all Roman anach- 
inisms. Then, during the moral epoch of mankind, they 
rificed to their God the strongest instincts they possessed, 
leir "nature"; this festal joy shines in the cruel glances of 
letics £ind "anti-natural" fanatics. Finally, what still re- 
ined to be sacrificed? Was it not necessary in the end 
for men to sacrifice everything comforting, holy, healing, all 

tpe, all faith in hidden harmonies, in future blessedness 


and justice? Was it not necessary to sacrifice God himself, 
and out of cruelty to themselves to worship stone, stupidity, 
gravity, fate, nothingness? To sacrifice God for nothingness 
— this paradoxical mystery of the ultimate cruelty has been 
reserved for the rising generation; we all know something 
thereof already. 


Whoever, like myself, prompted by some enigmatical de- 
sire, has long endeavoured to go to the bottom of the ques- 
tion of pessimism and free it from the half-Christian, half- 
German narrowness and stupidity in which it has finally 
presented itself to this century, namely, in the form of 
Schopenhauer's philosophy; whoever, with an Asiatic and 
super-Asiatic eye, has actually looked inside, and into the 
most world-renouncing of all possible modes of thought — 
beyond good and evil, and no longer like Buddha and 
Schopenhauer, under the dominion and delusion of morality, 
— whoever has done this, has perhaps just thereby, without 
really desiring it, opened his eyes to behold the opposite 
ideal: the ideal of the most world-approving, exuberant and 
vivacious man, who has not only learnt to compromise and 
arrange with that which was and is, but wishes to have it 
again as it was and is, for all eternity, insatiably calling out 
de capo, not only to himself, but to the whole piece and play; 
and not only the play, but actually to him who requires the 
play — and makes it necessary; because he always requires 

himself anew — ^and makes himself necessary. What? And 

this would not be — cir cuius vitiosus deus? 



The distance, and as it were the space around man, 
grows with the strength of his intellectual vision and insist: 
his world becomes profounder; new stars, new enigmas, and 
notions are ever coming into view. Perhaps everything on 
which the intellectual eye has exercised its acuteness and 
profundity has just been an occasion for its exercise, some- 
thing of a game, something for children and childish minds. 
Perhaps the most solemn conceptions that have caused the 
most fighting and suffering, the conceptions "God" and "sin," 
will one day seem to us of no more importance than a child's 
plaything or a child's pain seems to an old man; — and per- 
haps another plaything and another pain will then be neces- 
sary once more for "the old man" — always childish enough, 
an eternal child! 


Has it been observed to what extent outward idleness, or 
semi-idleness, is necessary to a real religious life (alike for 
its favourite microscopic labour of self-examination, and for 
.its soft placidity called "prayer," the state of perpetual 
kreadiness for the "coming of God"), I mean the idleness with 
[a good conscience, the idleness of olden times and of blood, 

which the aristocratic sentiment that work is dishonouring 
\ — that it vulgarises body and soul — is not quite unfamiliar? 

id that consequently the modem, noisy, time-engrossing, 
snceited, foolishly proud laboriousness educates and pre- 

ires for "unbelief" more than anything else? Amongst 
lese, for instance, who are at present living apart from 

igion in Germany, I find "free-thinkers" of diversified 


specks and origin, but above all a majority of those in 
whom laboriousness from generation to generation has dis- 
solved the religious instincts; so that they no longer know 
what purpose religions serve, and only note their existence 
in the world with a kind of dull astonishment. They feel 
themselves already fully occupied, these good people, be it 
by their business or by their pleasures, not to mention the 
'Tatherland," and the newspapers, and their "family du- 
ties"; it seems that they have no time whatever left for 
religion; and above all, it is not obvious to them whether it 
is a question of a new business or a new pleasure — for it is 
impossible, they say to themselves, that people should go to 
church merely to spwil their tempers. They are by no means 
enemies of religious customs; should certain circumstances, 
State affairs perhaps, require their participation in such cus- 
toms, they do what is required, as so many things are done — 
with a patient and unassuming seriousness, and without much 
curiosity or discomfort; — they live too much apart and out- 
side to feel even the necessity for a jor or against in such 
matters. Among those indifferent persons may be reckoned 
nowadays the majority of German Protestants of the middle 
classes, especially in the great laborious centres of trade and 
commerce; also the majority of laborious scholars, and the 
entire University personnel (with the exception of the theo- 
logians, whose existence and possibility there always givesj 
psychologists new and more subtle puzzles to solve), 
the part of pious, or merely church-going people, there is 
seldom any idea of how much goodwill, one might say arbi- 
trary will, is now necessary for a German scholar to take thej 
problem of religion seriously; his whole profession (and as ij 
have said, his whole workmanlike laboriousness, to which he 
is compelled by his modem conscience) inclines him to 
lofty and almost charitable serenity as regards religion, wit 


which is occasionally mingled a slight disdain for the "un- 
cleanliness" of spirit which he takes for granted wherever 
any one still professes to belong to the Church. It is only 
with the help of history {not through his own personal ex- 
perience, therefore) that the scholar succeeds in bringing 
himself to a respectful seriousness, and to a certain timid def- 
erence in presence of religions; but even when his sentiments 
have reached the stage of gratitude towards them, he has not 
personally advanced one step nearer to that which still main- 
tains itself as Church or as piety; perhaps even the contrary. 
The practical indifference to religious matters in the midst 
of which he has been bom and brought up, usually subli- 
mates itself in his case into circumspection and cleanliness, 
which shuns contact with religious men and things; and it 
may be just the depth of his tolerance and humanity which 
prompts him to avoid the delicate trouble which tolerance 
itself brings with it. — Every age has its own divine type of 
naivete, for the discovery of which other ages may envy it: 
and how much naivete — adorable, childlike, and boundlessly 
foolish naivete is involved in this belief of the scholar in his 
superiority, in the good conscience of his tolerance, in the un- 
suspecting, simple certainty with which his instinct treats the 
religious man as a lower and less valuable type, beyond, 
before, and above which he himself has developed — he, the 
little arrogant dwarf and mob-mem, the sedulously alert, 
head-and-hand drudge of "ideas," of "modem ideas"! 


Whoever has seen deeply into the world has doubtless 
divined what wisdom there is in the fact that men are super- 
ficial. It is their preservative instinct which teaches them to 
be flighty, lightsome, and false. Here and there one finds a 


passionate and exaggerated adoration of "pure forms" in 
philosophers as well as in artists: it is not to be doubted that 
whoever has need of the cult of the superficial to that extent, 
has at one time or another made an unlucky dive beneath it. 
Perhaps there is even an order of rank with respect to those 
burnt children, the bom artists who find the enjo3mient of 
life only in trying to falsify its image (as if taking wearisome 
revenge on it) ; one might guess to what degree life has 
disgusted them, by the extent to which they wish to see its 
image falsified, attenuated, ultrified, and deified; — one might 
reckon the homines religiosi amongst the artists, as their 
highest rank. It is the profound, suspicious fear of an in- 
curable pessimism which compels whole centuries to fasten 
their teeth into a religious interpretation of existence: the 
fear of the instinct which divines that truth might be at- 
tained too soon, before man has become strong enough, hard 
enough, artist enough. . . . Piety, the "Life in God," re- 
garded in this light, would appear as the most elaborate and 
ultimate product of the fear of truth, as artist-adoration and 
artist-intoxication in presence of the most logical of all falsi- 
fications, as the will to the inversion of truth, to imtruth at 
any price. Perhaps there has hitherto been no more effective 
means of beautifying man than piety; by means of it man 
can become so artful, so superficial, so iridescent, and so 
good, that his appearance no longer offends. 


To love mankind for God's sake — this has so far been the 
noblest and remotest sentiment to which mankind has at- 
tained. That love to mankind, without any redeeming inH 
tention in the background, is only an additional folly anc 
brutishness, that the inclination to this love has first to ge 


its proportion, its delicacy, its grain of salt and sprinkling 
of ambergris from a higher inclination: — whoever first per- 
ceived and "experienced" this, however his tongue may have 
stammered as it attempted to express such a delicate matter, 
let him for all time be holy and respected, as the man who 
has so far flown highest and gone astray in the finest 


The philosopher, as we free spirits understand him — as the 
man of the greatest responsibility, who has the conscience 
for the general development of mankind, — will use religion 
for his disciplining and educating work, just as he will use 
the contemporary political and economic conditions. The 
selecting and disciplining influence — destructive, as well as 
creative and fashioning — which can be exercised by means of 
religion is manifold and varied, according to the sort of 
people placed under its spell and protection. For those 
who are strong and independent, destined and trained to 
command, in whom the judgment and skill of a ruling race 
is incorporated, religion is an additional means for overcom- 
ing resistance in the exercise of authority — as a bond which 
binds rulers and subjects in common, betraying and sur- 
rendering to the former the conscience of the latter, their in- 
most heart, which would fain escape obedience. And in the 
case of the unique natures of noble origin, if by virtue of 
iperior spirituality they should incline to a more retired and 
>ntemplative life, reserving to themselves only the more 
ined forms of government (over chosen disciples or mem- 
ers of an order), religion itself may be used as a means for 
)taining peace from the noise and trouble of managing 
rosser affairs, and for securing immxmity from the unavoid- 


able filth of all political agitation. The Brahmins, for in- 
stance, understood this fact. With the help of a religious 
organisation, they secured to themselves the power of nomi- 
nating kings for the people, while their sentiments prompted 
them to keep apart and outside, as men with a higher zind 
super-regal mission. At the same time religion gives induce- 
ment and opportunity to some of the subjects to qualify 
themselves for future ruling and commanding: the slowly 
ascending ranks and classes, in which, through fortimate 
marriage customs, volitional power and delight in self-control 
are on the increase. To them religion offers sufficient incen- 
tives and temptations to aspire to higher intellectuality, and 
to experience the sentiments of authoritative self-control, of 
silence, and of solitude. Asceticism and Puritanism are 
almost indispensable means of educating and ennobling a 
race which seeks to rise above its hereditary baseness and 
work itself upward to future supremacy. And finally, to 
ordinary men, to the majority of the people, who exist for 
service and general utility, and are only so far entitled to 
exist, religion gives invaluable contentedness with their lot 
and condition, peace of heart, ennoblement of obedience, ad- 
ditional social happiness and sympathy, with something of 
transfiguration and embellishment, something of justification 
of all the commonplaceness, all the meanness, all the semi- 
animal poverty of their souls. Religion, together with the 
religious significance of life, sheds sunshine over such per-, 
petually harassed men, and makes even their own aspect enjj 
durable to them; it operates upon them as the EpicureaiC 
philosophy usually operates upon sufferers of a higher order, 
in a refreshing and refining manner, almost turning suffering 
to account, and in the end even halloing and vindicating it 
There is perhaps nothing so admirable in Christianity an^ 
Buddhism as their art of teaching even the lowest to elevat 


themselves by piety to a seemingly higher order of things, 
and thereby to retain their satisfaction with the actual world 
in which they find it difficult enough to live — this very diffi- 
culty being necessary. 


To be sure — to make also the bad counter-reckoning 
against such religions, and to bring to light their secret dan- 
gers — the cost is always excessive and terrible when religions 
do not operate as an educational and disciplinary medium 
in the hands of the philosopher, but rule voluntarily and 
paramountly , when they wish to be the final end, and not a 
means along with other means. Among men, as among all 
other animals, there is a surplus of defective, diseased, degen- 
erating, infirm, and necessarily suffering individuals; the 
successful cases, among men also, are always the exception; 
and in view of the fact that man is the animal not yet prop- 
erly adapted to his environment, the rare exception. But 
worse still. The higher the type a man represents, the 
greater is the improbability that he will succeed; the acci- 
dental, the law of irrationality in the general constitution of 
mcmkind, manifests itself most terribly in its destructive ef- 
fect on the higher orders of men, the conditions of whose 
lives are delicate, diverse, and difficult to determine. What, 
then, is the attitude of the two greatest religions above-men- 
tioned to the surplus of failures in life? They endeavour to 
preserve and keep alive whatever can be preserved; in fact, 
as the religions for sufferers, they take the part of these upon 
principle; they are always in favour of those who suffer 
from life as from a disease, and they would fain treat every 
other experience of life as false and impossible. However 
■fcighly we may esteem this indulgent and preservative care 


(inasmuch as in applying to others, it has applied, and ap- 
plies also to the highest and usually the most suffering type 
of man), the hitherto paramount religions — to give a general 
appreciation of them — are among the principal causes which 
have kept the type of *'man" upon a lower level — they have 
preserved too much that which should have perished. One 
has to thank them for invaluable services; and who is suffi- 
ciently rich in gratitude not to feel poor at the contemplation 
of all that the "spiritual men" of Christianity have done for 
Europe hitherto! But when they had given comfort to the 
sufferers, courage to the oppressed and despairing, a staff and 
support to the helpless, and when they had allured from so- 
ciety into convents and spiritual penitentiaries the broken- 
hearted and distracted: what else had they to do in order 
to work systematically in that fashion, and with a good con- 
science, for the preservation of all the sick and suffering, 
which means, in deed and in truth, to work for the deteriora- 
tion of the European race? To reverse all estimates of 
value — that is what they had to do! And to shatter the 
strong, to spoil great hopes, to cast suspicion on the delight 
in beauty, to break down everything autonomous, manly, 
conquering, and imperious — all instincts which are natural 
to the highest and most successful type of "man" — into un- 
certainty, distress of conscience, and self-destruction; for- 
sooth, to invert all love of the earthly and of supremacy 
over the earth, into hatred of the earth and earthly things — 
that is the task the Church imposed on itself, and was obliged 
to impose, until, according, to its standard of value, "un- 
worldliness," "unsensuousness," and "higher man" fused into 
cMie sentiment. If one could observe the strangely painful, 
equally coarse and refined comedy of European Christianity 
with the derisive £ind impartial eye of an Epicurean god, I 
should think one would never cease marvelling and laughing] 



does it not actually seem that some single will has ruled over 
Europe for eighteen centuries in order to make a sublime 
abortion of man? He, however, who, with opposite require- 
ments (no longer Epicurean) and with some divine hammer 
in his hand, could approach this almost voluntary degenera- 
tion and stunting of mankind, as exemplified in the Euro- 
pean Christian (Pascal, for instance), would he not have to 
cry aloud with rage, pity, and horror: "Oh, you bunglers, 
presumptuous pitiful bunglers, what have you done! Was 
that a work for your hands? How you have hacked and 
botched my finest stone! What have you presumed to do!" 
— I should say that Christianity has hitherto been the most 
portentous of presumptions. Men, not great enough, nor 
hard enough, to be entitled as artists to take part in fashion- 
ing man; men, not sufficiently strong and far-sighted to 
allow, with sublime self-constraint, the obvious law of the 
thousandfold failures and perishings to prevail; men, not 
sufficiently noble to see the radically different grades of 
rank and intervals of rank that separate man from man: — 
such men, with their "equality before God," have hitherto 
swayed the destiny of Europe; until at last a dwarfed, al- 
most ludicrous species has been produced, a gregarious ani- 
mal, something obliging, sickly, mediocre, the European of 
the present day. 


Apophthegms and Interludes 


He who is a thorough teacher takes things seriously — and 
even himself — only in relation to his pupils. 


"Knowledge for its own sake" — that is the last snare laic 
by morality: we are thereby completely entangled in moi 
once more. 


The charm of knowledge would be small, were it not 
much shame has to be overcome on the way to it. 


We are most dishonourable towards our God: he is not 
permitted to s&i. 




The tendency of a person to allow himself to be degraded, 
robbed, deceived, and exploited might be the diffidence of a 
God amongst men. 


Love to one only is a barbarity, for it is exercised at the 
expense of all others. Love to God also! 


"I did that," says my memory. "I could not have done 
that," says my pride, and remains inexorable. Eventually — 
the memory yields. 


One has regarded life carelessly, if one has failed to see 
the hand that — kilte with leniency. 


If a man has character, he has also his typical experience, 
which always recurs. 


The Sage as Astronomer. — So long as thou feelest the stars 
an "above thee," thou lackest the eye of the discerning 



It is not the strength, but the duration of great sentiments 
that makes great men. 


He who attains his ideal, precisely thereby surpasses it. 


Many a peacock hides his tail from every eye — and calls 
it his pride. 


A man of genius is unbearable, unless he possess at least 
two things besides: gratitude and purity. 


The degree and nature of a man's sensuality extends to 
the highest altitudes of his spirit. 


Under peaceful conditions the militant man attacks him- 

With his principles a man seeks either to dominate, 


justify, or honour, or reproach, or conceal his habits: two 
men with the same principles probably seek fundamentally 
different ends therewith. 


He who despises himself, nevertheless esteems himself 
thereby, as a despiser. 


A soul which knows that it is loved, but does not itself 
love, betrays its sediment: its dregs come up. 


A thing that is explained ceases to concern us. — ^What did 
the God mean who gave the advice, "Know thyself!" Did 
it perhaps imply: "Cease to be concerned about thyself! 
become objective!" — And Socrates? — And the "scientific 


It is terrible to die of thirst at sea. Is it necessary that 
tyou should so salt your truth that it will no longer — quench 


"Sympathy for all" — would be harshness and t)Tanny for 
Itkee, my good neighbour! 




Insttnct. — When the house is on fire one forgets even th€ 
dinner. — ^Yes, but one recovers it from amongst the ashes. 


Woman learns how to hate in proportion as she — forget 
now to charm. 


The same emotions are in man and woman, but in different 
tempo; on that account man and woman never cease to mis 
understand each other. 


In the background of all their personal vanity, wom€ 
l)t«emselves have still their impersonal scorn — for "woman." 


Fettered Heart, Free Spirit. — ^When one firmly fetters 
bne's heart and keeps it prisoner, one can allow one's spirit 
tnany liberties: I said this once before. But people do not 
believe it when I say so, unless they know it already. 



One begins to distrust very clever persons when they be- 
come embarrassed. 




Dreadful experiences raise the question whether he wh« 
experiences them is not something dreadful also. 


Heavy, melancholy men turn lighter, and come temporar- 
ily to their surface, precisely by that which makes others 
heavy — ^by hatred and love. 


So cold, so icy, that one bums one's finger at the touch 
of him! Every hand that lays hold of him shrinks back! — 
And for that very reason many think him red-hot. 


Who has not, at one time or another — sacrificed himself 
for the sake of his good name? 


In affability there is no hatred of men, but precisely on that 
I account a great deal too much contempt of men. 


The maturity of man — that means, to have reacquired the 
[seriousness that one had as a child at play. 



To be ash£imed of one's immorality is a step on the ladder 
at the end of which one is ashamed also of one's morality. 


One should part from life as Ulysses parted from Nausicaa 
-blessing it rather than in love with it. 


What? A great man? I always see merely the play-actor 
of his own ideal. 


When one trains one's conscience, it kisses one while it 


The Disappointed One Speaks. — "I listened for the echo 
and I heard only praise." 


We all feign to ourselves that we are simpler than we 
*re; we thus relax ourselves away from our fellows. 




A discerning one might easily regard himself at present as 
the animalisation of God. 



Discovering reciprocal love should really disenchant the 
lover with regard to the beloved. "What! She is modest 
enough to love even you? Or stupid enough? Or — or " 


The Danger in Happiness. — "Everything now turns out 
best for me, I now love every fate: — ^who would like to be 
riy fate?" 


Not their love of himianity, but the impotence of their 
love, prevents the Christians of to-day — ^burning us. 

The pia jraus is still more repugnant to the taste {the 
*'piety") of the free spirit (the "pious man of knowledge") 
than the impia jraus. Hence the profoimd lack of judg- 
ment, in comparison with the church, characteristic of the 
type "free spirit" — as its non-freedom. 


By means of music the very passions enjoy themselves. 


A sign of strong character, when once the resolution has 
been taken, to shut the ear even to the best coimter-argu- 
ments. Occasionally, therefore, a will to stupidity. 


There is no such thing as moral phenomena, but only a 
moral interpretation of phenomena. 


The criminal is often enough not equal to his deed: he ex- 
tenuates and maligns it. 


The advocates of a criminal are seldom artists enough 
to turn the beautiful terribleness of the deed to the advan- 
tage of the doer. 


Our vanity is most difficult to wound just when our pride 
has been wounded. 




To him who feels himself preordained to contemplation 
and not to belief, all believers are too noisy and obtrusive; 
he guards against them. 


"You want to prepossess him in your favour? Then you 
must be embarrassed before him." 


The immense expectation with regard to sexual love, and 
the coyness in this expectation, spoils all the perspectives of 
women at the outset. 


Where there is neither love nor hatred in the game, 
woman's play is mediocre. 


The great epochs of our life are at the points when we 
gain courage to rebaptize our badness as the best in us. 


The will to overcome an emotion, is ultimately only the 
rill of another, or of several other, emotions. 




There is an innocence of admiration: it is possessed by 
him to whom it has not yet occurred that he himself may 
he admired some day. 


Our loathing of dirt may be so great as to prevent om 
■cleaning ourselves — "justifying" ourselves. 


Sensuality often forces the growth of love too much, so 
that its root remains we£ik, and is easily torn up. 


It is a curious thing that God learned Greek when he 
wished to turn author — and that he did not learn it better. 


To rejoice on account of praise is in many cases merely 
politeness of heart — and the very opposite of vanity of spirit. 

Even concubinage has been corrupted — ^by marriage. 




He who exults at the stake, does not triumph over pain, 
but because of the fact that he does not feel pain where he 
expected it. A parable. 


When we have to change an opinion about any one, we 
charge heavily to his account the inconvenience he thereby 
causes us. 


A nation is a detour of nature to arrive at six or seven 
great men. — Yes, and then to get round them. 


In the eyes of all true women science is hostile to the 
sense of shame. They feel as if one wished to peep imder 
their skin with it — or worse still! imder their dress and 


The more abstract the truth you wish to teach, the more 
must you allure the senses to it. 


The devil has the most extensive perspectives for God; 



on that account he keeps so far away from him: — the devil,, 
in effect, as the oldest friend of knowledge. 


What a person is begins to betray itself when his talc 
decreases, — when he ceases to show what he can do. Talent" 
is also an adornment; an adornment is also a concealment. 


The sexes deceive themselves about each other: the rea- 
son is that in reality they honour and love only themselves 
(or their own ideal, to express it more agreeably). Thus 
man wishes woman to be peaceable: but in fact woman is 
essentially unpeaceable, like the cat, however well she may 
have assumed the peaceable demeanour. 


One is punished best for one's virtues. 


He who cannot find the way to his ideal, lives more 
frivolously zmd shamelessly than the man without an ideal. 


From the senses originate all trustworthiness, all good 
conscience, all evidence of truth. ^j 




Pharisaism is not a deterioration of the good man; a con- 
siderable peirt of it is rather an essential condition of being 


The one seeks an accoucheur for his thoughts, the other 
seeks some one whom he can assist: a good conversation thus 


In intercourse with scholars and artists one readily makes 
mistakes of opposite kinds: in a remarkable scholar one 
not infrequently finds a mediocre man; and often even in 
a mediocre artist, one finds a very remarkable man. 


We do the same when awake as when dreaming: we only 
invent and imagine him with whom we have intercourse — 
and forget it immediately. 


In revenge and in love woman is more barbarous thap 



Advice as a Riddle. — "If the band is not to break, bite it 
first — secure to make!" 


The belly is the reason why man does not so readily take 
himself for a God. 


The chastest utterance I ever heard: "Dans le veritable 
amour c'est I'dnti qui enveloppe le corps." 


Our vanity would like what we do best to pass precisely 
for what is most difficult to us. — Concerning the origin of 
many systems of morals. 


When a woman has scholarly inclinations there is gen- 
erally something wrong with her sexual nature. Barrenness 
itself conduces to a certain virility of taste; man, indeed, 
if I may say so, is "the barren animal." 


Comparing man and woman generally, one may say that 
woman would not have the genius for adornment, if she 
had not the instinct for the secondary role. „, 




He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he 
thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an 
abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee. 


From old Florentine novels — moreover, from life: Buona 
lemmina e mala jemmina vuol bastone. — Sacchetti, Nov. 86. 


To seduce their neighbour to a favourable opinion, and 
afterwards to believe implicitly in this opinion of their 
neighbour — who can do this conjuring trick so well as 


That which an age considers evil is usually an imseason- 
able echo of what was formerly considered good — the atavism 
of an old ideal. 


Around the hero everything becomes a tragedy; aroimd 
the demigod everything becomes a satyr-play; and aroimd 
God everything becomes — what? perhaps a "world"? 


It is not enough to possess a talent: one must also have 
your permission to possess it; — eh, my friends? 


"Where there is the tree of knowledge, there is always 
Paradise:" so say the most ancient and the most modem 


What is done out of love always takes place beyond good 
and evil. 


Objection, evasion, joyous distrust, and love of irony are 
signs of health; everything absolute belongs to pathology. 

The sense of the tragic increases and declines with sen- 


Insanity in individuals is something rare — ^but in groups, 
parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule. 


The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means 
of it one gets successfully through many a bad night. ^1 




Not only our reason, but also our conscience, truckles to 
our strongest impulse — the tyrant in us. 


One must repay good and ill; but why just to the person 
who did us good or ill? 


One no longer loves one's knowledge sufficiently after one 
has communicated it. 


Poets act shamelessly towards their experiences: tney ex- 
ploit them. 


"Our fellow-creature is not our neighbour, but our neigh- 
bour's neighbour:" — so thinks every nation. 


Love brings to light the noble and hidden qualities of a 
lover — his rare and exceptional traits: it is thus liable to be 
deceptive as to his normal character. 


Jesus said to his Jews: "The law was for servants; — love 


God as I love him, as his Son! What have we Sons of God 
to do with morals!" 


In Sight of Every Party. — ^A shepherd has always need 
of a bell-wether— or he has himself to be a wether occa- 


One may indeed lie with the mouth; but with the accom- 
panying grimace one nevertheless tells the truth. 


To vigourous men intimacy is a matter of shame — and 
something precious. 


Christianity gave Eros poison to drink; he did not die 
of it, certainly, but degenerated to Vice. 


To talk much about oneself may also be a means of con- 
cealing oneself. 


In praise there is mcH-e obtrusiveness than in blame. 



Pity has an almost ludicrous effect on a man of knowl- 
edge, like tender hands on a Cyclops. 


One occasionally embraces some one or other, out of love 
to mankind (because one cannot embrace all); but this is 
what one must never confess to the individual. 


One does not hate as long as one disesteems, but only 
when one esteems equal or superior. 


Ye Utilitarians — ^ye, too, love the utile only as a vehicle 
for your inclinations, — ye, too, resilly find the noise of its 
wheels insupportable! 

One loves ultimately one's desires, not the thing desired. 


The vanity of others is only counter to our taste when 
it is counter to our vanity. 




With regard to what "truthfulness" is, perhaps nobody has 
iver been sufficiently truthful. 


One does not believe in the follies of clever men: what a^ 
forfeiture of the rights of man! 


The consequences of our actions seize us by the forelock, 
very indifferent to the fact that we have meanwhile "re- 


There is an innocence in lying which is the sign of good, 
iaith in a cause. 


It is inhuman to bless when one is being cursed. 


The familiarity of superiors embitters one, because it may 
not be returned. 


"I am affected, not because you have deceived me, but 
because I can no longer believe in you." 




There is a haughtiness of kindness which has the appear- 
ance of wickedness. 

"I dislike him." — Why? — *'I am not a match for him." — 
Did any one ever answer so? 


The Natural History of Morals 


The moral sentiment in Europe at present is perhaps as 
subtle, belated, diverse, sensitive, and refined, as the "Science 
of Morals" belonging thereto is recent, initial, awkward, and 
coarse-fingered: — an interesting contrast, which sometimes 
becomes incarnate and obvious in the very person of a 
moralist. Indeed, the expression, "Science of Morals" is, 
in respect to what is designated thereby, far too presumptu- 
ous and counter to good taste, — ^which is always a fore- 
taste of more modest expressions. One ought to avow with 
the utmost fairness what is still necessary here for a long 
time, what is alone proper for the present: namely, the 
collection of material, the comprehensive survey and classi- 
fication of an immense domain of delicate sentiments of 
worth, and distinctions of worth, which live, grow, propagate, 
and perish — and perhaps attempts to give a clear idea of 
the recurring and more common forms of these living crystal- 
lisations — as preparation for a theory of types of morality. 
To be sure, people have not hitherto been so modest. All 
the philosophers, with a pedantic and ridiculous seriousness, 
demanded of themselves something very much higher, more 
pretentious, and ceremonious, when they concerned them- 



selves with morality as a science: they wanted to give a basis 
to morality — and every philosopher hitherto has believed 
that he has given it a basis; morality itself, however, has 
been regarded as something "given." How far from their 
awkward pride was the seemingly insignificant problem — 
left in dust and decay — of a description of forms of morality, 
notwithstanding that the finest hands and senses could hardly 
be fine enough for it! It was precisely owing to moral phi- 
losophers knowing the moral facts imperfectly, in an arbi- 
trary epitome, or an accidental abridgement — perhaps as 
the morality of their environment, their position, their church, 
their Zeitgeist, their climate and zone — it was precisely be- 
cause they were badly instructed with regard to nations, 
eras, and past ages, and were by no means eager to know 
about these matters, that they did not even come in sight 
of the real problems of morals — problems which only disclose 
themselves by a comparison of many kinds of morality. In 
every "Science of Morals" hitherto, strange as it may sound, 
the problem of morality itself has been omitted; there has 
been no suspicion that there was anything problematic there! 
That which philosophers called "giving a basis to morality," 
and endeavoured to realise, has, when seen in a right light, 
proved merely a learned form of good faith in prevailing 
morality, a new means of its expression, consequently just a 
matter-of-fact within the sphere of a definite morality, yea, 
in its ultimate motive, a sort of denial that it is lawful for 
this morality to be called in question — and in any case the 
reverse of the testing, analysing, doubting, and vivisecting 
of this very faith. Hear, for instance, with what innocence 
— almost worthy of honour — Schopenhauer represents his 
own task, and draw your conclusions concerning the scien- 
tificness of a "Science" whose latest master still talks in 
the strain of children and old wives: "The principle," he 


says (page 136 of the Grundprobleme der Ethik*), "the 
axiom about the purport of which all moralists are practically 
agreed: neminem laede, immo omnes quantum potes juva — 
is really the proposition which all moral teachers strive to 
establish, . . . the real basis of ethics which has been sought, 
like the philosopher's stone, for centuries." — The difficulty of 
establishing the proposition referred to may indeed be great 
— it is well known that Schopenhauer also was imsuccessful 
in his efforts; and whoever has thoroughly realised how 
absurdly false and sentimental this proposition is, in a world 
whose essence is Will to Power, may be reminded that 
Schopenhauer, although a pessimist, actually — played the 
flute . . . daily after dinner: one may read about the matter 
in his biography. A question by the way: a pessimist, a 
repudiator of God and of the world, who makes a halt at 
morality — who assents to morality, and plays the flute to 
laede-neminem moraJs, what? Is that really — a pessimint? 


Apart from the value of such assertions as ''there is :. 
categorical imperative in us," one can always ask: What 
does such an assertion indicate about him who makes it? 
There are systems of morals which are meant to justify their 
author in the eyes of other people; other systems of morals 
are meeint to tranquillise him, and make him self-satisfied; 
with other systems he wants to crucify and humble himself; 
with others he wishes to take revenge; with others to conceal 
himself; with others to glorify himself and gain superiority 
and distinction; — this system of morals helps its author tx) 
forget, that system makes him, or something of him, for- 

* Pages 54-55 of Schopenhauer's Basis of Morality, translated 
by Arthur B. Bullock, M.A. (1903). ^Il 


gotten; many a moralist would like to exercise power and 
creative arbitrariness over mankind; many another, perhaps, 
Kant especially, gives us to understand by his morals that 
"what is estimable in me, is that I know how to obey — and 
with you it shall not be otherwise than with me!" In short, 
systems of morals are only a sign-language of the emotions. 


In contrast to laisser-aller, every system of morals is a 
sort of tyranny against "nature" and also against "reason"; 
that is, however, no objection, unless one should again de- 
cree by some system of morals, that all kinds of tyranny 
and imreasonableness are unlawful. What is essential and 
invaluable in every system of morals, is that it is a long 
constraint. In order to understand Stoicism, or Port-Royal, 
or Puritanism, one should remember the constraint under 
which every language has attained to strength and freedom — 
the metrical constraint, the tyranny of rhyme and rhythm. 
How much trouble have the poets and orators of every nation 
given themselves! — not excepting some of the prose writers 
of to-day, in whose ear dwells an inexorable conscientious- 
ness — "for the sake of a folly," as utilitarian bunglers say, 
and thereby deem themselves wise — "from submission to 
arbitrary laws," as the anarchists say, and thereby fancy 
themselves "free," even free-spirited. The singular fact re- 
mains, however, that everything of the nature of freedom, 
elegance, boldness, dance, and masterly certainty, which ex- 
ists or has existed, whether it be in thought itself, or in 
administration, or in speaking and persuading, in art just 
as in conduct, has only developed by means of the tyranny 
of such arbitrary law; and in all seriousness, it is not at all 
improbable that precisely this is "nature" and "natural" — 


and not laisser-aller ! Every artist knows how different from 
the state of letting himself go, is his "most natural" condition, 
the free arranging, locating, disposing, and constructing in 
the moments of "inspiration" — and how strictly and deli- 
cately he then obeys a thousand laws, which, by their very 
rigidness and precision, defy all formulation by means of 
ideas (even the most stable idea has, in comparison there- 
with, something floating, manifold, and ambiguous in it). 
The essential thing "in heaven and in earth" is, apparently 
(to repeat it once more), that there should be long obedience 
in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always 
resulted in the long run, something which has made life 
worth living; for instance, virtue, art, music, dancing, rea- 
son, spirituality — anything whatever that is transfiguring, 
refined, foolish, or divine. The long bondage of the spirit, 
the distrustful constraint in the communicability of ideas, 
the discipline which the thinker imposed on himself to think 
in accordance with the rules of a church or a court, or 
conformable to Aristotelian premises, the persistent spiritual 
will to interpret everything that happened according to a 
Christian scheme, and in every occurrence to rediscover and 
justify the Christian God: — all this violence, arbitrariness, 
severity, dreadfulness, and unreasonableness, has proved it- 
self the disciplinary means whereby the European spirit has 
attained its strength, its remorseless curiosity and subtle 
mobility; granted also that much irrecoverable strength and 
spirit had to be stifled, suffocated, and spoilt in the process] 
(for here, as everywhere, "nature" shows herself as she is,l 
in all her extravagant and indifferent magnificence, which, 
is shocking, but nevertheless noble). That for centuries] 
European thinkers only thought in order to prove somethingj 
— nowadays, on the contrary, we are suspicious of everyj 
thinker who "wishes to prove something" — that it was alwa) 


settled beforehand what was to be the result of their strictest 
thinking, as it was perhaps in the Asiatic astrology of former 
times, or as it is still at the present day in the innocent, 
Christian-moral explanation of immediate personal events 
"for the glory of God," or "for the good of the soul":— this 
tyranny, this arbitrariness, this severe and magnificent stupid- 
ity, has educated the spirit; slavery, both in the coarser and 
the finer sense, is apparently an indispensable means even 
of spiritual education and discipline. One may look at every 
system of morals in this light: it is "nature" therein which 
teaches to hate the laisser-aller, the too great freedom, and 
implants the need for limited horizons, for immediate duties 
— ^it teaches the narrowing of perspectives, and thus, in a 
certain sense, that stupidity is a condition of life and develop- 
ment. "Thou must obey some one, and for a long time; 
otherwise thou wilt come to grief, and lose all respect for 
thyself" — this seems to me to be the moral imperative of na- 
ture, which is certainly neither "categorical," as old Kant 
wished (consequently the "otherwise"), nor does it address 
itself to the individual (what does nature care for the in- 
dividual!), but to nations, races, ages, and ranks, above all, 
however, to the animal "man" generally, to mankind. 


Industrious races find it a great hardship to be idle: it 
was a master stroke of English instinct to hallow and begloom 
Sunday to such an extent that the Englishman unconsciously 
hankers for his week- and work-day again: — as a kind of 
cleverly devised, cleverly intercalated fast, such as is also 
frequently found in the ancient world (although, as is appro- 
priate in southern nations, not precisely with respect t(» 
work). Many kinds of fasts are necessary; and wherever 


powerful influences and habits prevail, legislators have to see 
that intercalary days are appointed, on which such impulses 
are fettered, and learn to hunger anew. Viewed from a 
higher standpoint, whole generations and epochs, when they 
show themselves infected with any moral fanaticism, seem 
like those intercalated periods of restraint and fasting, during 
which an impulse learns to humble and submit itself — at 
the same time also to purify and sharpen itself; certain philo- 
sophical sects likewise admit of a similar interpretation (for 
instance, the Stoa, in the midst of Hellenic culture, with the 
atmosphere rank and overcharged with Aphrodisiacal 
odours). — Here also is a hint for the explanation of the 
paradox, why it was precisely in the most Christian period 
of European history, and in general only under the pressure] 
f)f Christian sentiments, that the sexual impulse sublimated j 
into love (amour-passion), 


There is something in the morality of Plato which does] 
not really belong to Plato, but which only appears in his 
philosophy, one might say, in spite of him: namely, Socra- 
tism, for which he himself was too noble. "No one desire 
to injure himself, hence all evil is done unwittingly. Thej 
evil man inflicts injury on himself; he would not do so, i 
however, if he knew that evil is evil. The evil man, there- 
fore, is only evil through error; if one free him from error one 
will necessarily make him — good." — This mode of reasoning 
savours of the populace, who perceive only the unpleasant 
consequences of evil-doing, and practically judge that "it isJ 
stupid to do wrong"; while they accept "good" as identical! 
with "useful and pleasant," vnthout further thought. As| 
regards every system of utilitarianism, one may at once 


assume that it has the same origin, and follow the scent: 
one will seldom err. — Plato did all he could to interpret 
something refined and noble into the tenets of his teacher, 
and above all to interpret himself into them — he, the most 
daring of all interpreters, who lifted the entire Socrates out 
of the street, as a popular theme and song, to exhibit him 
in endless and impossible modifications — namely, in all his 
own disguises and multiplicities. In jest, and in Homeric 
language as well, what is the Platonic Socrates, if not — 

jtooodc XIXaTGov Smodev re IXXaxcov \ieaar\ re XijiaiQOu 

The old theological problem of "Faith" and "Knowledge," 
or more plainly, of instinct and reason — the question whether, 
in respect to the valuation of things, instinct deserves more 
authority than rationality, which wants to appreciate and 
act according to motives, according to a "VVhy," that is to 
say, in conformity to purpose and utility — it is always the 
old moral problem that first appeared in the person of 
Socrates, and had divided men's minds long before Christian- 
ity. Socrates himself, following, of course, the taste of his 
talent — that of a surpassing dialectician — took first the side 
of reason; and, in fact, what did he do all his life but laugh 
at the awkward incapacity of the noble Athenians, who were 
men of instinct, like all noble men, and could never give 
satisfactory answers concerning the motives of their actions? 
In the end, however, though silently and secretly, he laughed 
also at himself: with his finer conscience and introspection. 
he found in himself the same difficulty and incapacity. "But 
why" — he said to himself — "should one on that account 
separate oneself from the instincts! One must set them right, 


and the reason also — one must follow the instincts, but at 
the same time persuade the reason to support them with good 
arguments." This was the real falseness of that great and 
mysterious ironist; he brought his conscience up to the 
point that he was satisfied with a kind of self -outwitting: 
in fact, he perceived the irrationality in the moral judgment. 
• — Plato, more innocent in such matters, and without the 
craftiness of the plebeian, wished to prove to himself, at the 
expenditure of all his strength — the greatest strength a phi- 
losopher had ever expended — that reason and instinct lead 
spontaneously to one goal, to the good, to ''God"; and since 
Plato, all theologians and philosophers have followed the 
same path — which means that in matters of morality, in- 
stinct (or as Christians call it, "Faith," or as I call it, "the 
herd") has hitherto triumphed. Unless one should make 
an exception in the case of Descartes, the father of rational- 
ism (and consequently the grandfather of the Revolution), 
who recognised only the authority of reason: but reason is 
only a tool, and Descartes was superficial. 


Whoever has followed the history of a single science, finds 
in its development a clue to the understanding of the oldest 
and commonest processes of all "knowledge and cognisance": 
there, as here, the premature h)7potheses, the fictions, the, 
good stupid will to "belief," and the lack of distrust anc 
patience are first developed — our senses learn late, and nevet 
learn completely, to be subtle, reliable, and cautious orga 
of knowledge. Our eyes find it easier on a given occasion! 
to produce a picture already often produced, than to seizei 
upon the divergence and novelty of an impression: the latterj 
requires more force, more "morality." It is difficult ant 


painful for the ear to listen to anything new; we hear strange 
music badly. When we hear another language spoken, we 
involuntarily attempt to form the sounds into words with 
which we are more familiar and conversant — it was thus, 
for example, that the Germans modified the spoken word 
arcubalista into armbrust (cross-bow). Our senses are also 
hostile and averse to the new; and generally, even in the 
"simplest" processes of sensation, the emotions dominate — 
such as fear, love, hatred, and the passive emotion of indo- 
lence. — As little as a reader nowadays reads all the single 
words (not to speak of syllables) of a page — ^he rather takes 
about five out oi every twenty words at random, and 
"guesses" the probably appropriate sense to them — just as 
little do we see a tree correctly and completely in respect to 
its leaves, branches, colour, and shape; we find it so much 
easier to fancy the chance of a tree. Even in the midst of 
the most remarkable experiences, we still do just the same; 
we fabricate the greater part of the experience, and can 
hardly be made to contemplate any event, except as "in- 
ventors" thereof. All this goes to prove that from our 
fundamental nature and from remote ages we have been — 
accustomed to lying. Or, to express it more politely and 
hypocritically, in short, more pleasantly — one is much more 
of an artist than one is aware of. — In an animated conver- 
sation, I often see the face of the person with whom I am 
speaking so clearly and sharply defined before me, accord- 
ing to the thought he expresses, or which I believe to be 
evoked in his mind, that the degree of distinctness far ex- 
ceeds the strength of my visual faculty — the delicacy of the 
play of the muscles and of the expression of the eyes must 
therefore be imagined by me. Probably the person put on 
quite a different expression, or none at all. 



Quidquid luce fuit, tenebris agit: but also contrariwise,j 
What we experience in dreams, provided we experience it 
often, pertains at last just as much to the general belonging 
of our soul as anything "actually" experienced; by virtue 
thereof we are richer or poorer, we have a requirement mori 
or less, and finally, in broad daylight, and even in the bright-^ 
est moments of our waking life, we are ruled to some extent 
by the nature of our dreams. Supposing that some one hz 
often flown in his dreams, and that at last, as soon as he 
dreams, he is conscious of the power and art of flying 
his privilege and his peculiarly enviable happiness; such 
person, who believes that on the slightest impulse, he can 
actualise all sorts of curves and angles, who knows the sen- 
sation of a certain divine levity, an "upwards" without effort 
or constraint, a "downwards" without descending or lower- 
ing — without trouble! — ^how could the man with such dream- 
experiences and dream-habits fail to find "happiness" dif- 
ferently coloured and defined, even in his waking hours! 
How could he fail — to long differently for happiness? 
"Flight," such as is described by poets, must, when compared 
with his own "flying," be far too earthly, muscular, violent, 
far too "troublesome" for him. 


The difference among men does not manifest itself only \v 
the difference of their lists of desirable things — in their re- 
garding different good things as worth striving for, and 
being disagreed as to the greater or less value, the order o*' 
rank, of the commonly recognised desirable things: — it mani 


fests itself much more in what they regard as actually having 
and possessing a desirable thing. As regards a woman, for 
instance, the control over her body and her sexual gratifi- 
cation serves as an amply sufficient sign of ownership and 
possession to the more modest man; another with a more 
suspicious and ambitious thirst for possession, sees the "ques- 
tionableness," the mere apparentness of such ownership, and 
wishes to have finer tests in order to know especially whether 
the woman not only gives herself to him, but also gives up 
for his sake what she has or would like to have — only then 
does he look upon her as "possessed." A third, however, 
has not even here got to the limit of his distrust and his 
desire for possession: he asks himself whether the woman, 
when she gives up everything for him, does not perhaps do 
so for a phantom of him; he wishes first to be thoroughly, 
indeed, profoundly well known; in order to be loved at all 
he ventures to let himself be found out. Only then does he 
feel the beloved one fully in his possession, when she no 
longer deceives herself about him, when she loves him just 
as much for the sake of his devilry and concealed insatia- 
bility, as for his goodness, patience, and spirituality. One 
man would like to possess a nation, and he finds all the 
higher arts of Cagliostro and Catalina suitable for his pur- 
pose. Another, with a more refined thirst for possession, says 
to himself: "One may not deceive where one desires to pos- 
sess" — he is irritated and impatient at the idea that a mask 
of him should rule in the hearts of the people: "I must, 
therefore, make myself known, and first of all learn to know 
myself!" Amongst helpful and charitable people, one almost 
always finds the awkward craftiness which first .<i;ets up suit- 
ably him who has to be helped, as though, for instance, he 
should "merit" help, seek just their help, and would show 
himself deeply grateful, attached, and subservient to tliem 


for all help. With these conceits, they take control of the 
needy as a property, just as in general they are charitable 
and helpful out of a desire for property. One finds them 
jealous when they are crossed or forestalled in their charity. 
Parents involuntarily make something like themselves out of 
their children — they call that "education" ; no mother doubts 
at the bottom of her heart that the child she has bom is 
thereby her property, no father hesitates about his right to 
his own ideas and notions of worth. Indeed, in former times 
fathers deemed it right to use their discretion concerning the 
life or death of the newly bom (as amongst the ancient Ger- 
mans). And like the father, so also do the teacher, the class, 
the priest, and the prince still see in every new individual an 
unobjectionable opportunity for a new possession. The 
consequence is. . . . 


The Jews — a people "bora for slavery," as Tacitus and the 
whole ancient world say of them; "the chosen people among 
the nations," as they themselves say and believe — the Jews 
performed the miracle of the inversion of valuations, by 
means of which life on earth obtained a new and dangerous 
charm for a couple of millenniums. Their prophets fused 
into one the expressions "rich," "godless," "wicked," "vio- 
lent," "sensual," and for the first time coined the word 
"world" as a term of reproach. In this inversion of valua- 
tions (in which is also included the use of the word "poor" 
as synonymous with "saint" and "friend") the significance 
of the Jewish people is to be foimd; it is with them that the 
slave-insurrection in morals commences. 





It is to be inferred that there are countless dark bodies 
near the sun — such as we shall never see. Amongst our- 
selves, this is an allegory; and the psychologist of morals 
reads the whole star-writing merely as an allegorical and S)T1i- 
bolic language in which much may be unexpressed. 


The beast of prey and the man of prey (for instance, 
Caesar Borgia) are fundamentally misimderstood, "nature" is 
misunderstood, so long as one seeks a "morbidness" in the 
constitution of these healthiest of all tropical monsters and 
growths, or even an innate "hell" in them — as almost all 
moralists have done hitherto. Does it not seem that there 
is a hatred of the virgin forest and of the tropics among 
moralists? And that the "tropical man" must be discredited 
at all costs, whether as disease and deterioration of mankind, 
or as his own hell and self-torture? And why? In favour 
of the "temperate zones"? In favour of the temperate men? 
The "moral"? The mediocre? — ^This for the chapter: "Mor- 
als as Timidity." 


All the systems of morals which address themselves with 
a view to their "happiness," as it is called — what else are 
they but suggestions for behaviour adapted to the degree of 
danger from themselves in which the individuals live; recipes 
for their passions, their good and bad propensities, in so far 
as such have the Will to Power zmid would like to play the 


master; small and great expediencies and elaborations, per 
meated with the musty odour of old family medicines and 
old-wife wisdom; all of them grotesque and absurd in their 
form — because they address themselves to "all," because they 
generalise where generalisation is not authorised; all of them 
speaking unconditionally, and taking themselves uncondi- 
tionally; all of them flavoured not merely with one grain of 
salt, but rather endurable only, and sometimes even seduc 
tive, when they are over-spiced and begin to smell dangerously, 
especially of "the other world." That is all of little value 
Vt^hen estimated intellectually, and is far from being "science," 
much less "wisdom"; but, repeated once more, and three 
times repeated, it is expediency, expediency, expediency, 
mixed with stupidity, stupidity, stupidity — whether it be thfi 
indifference and statuesque coldness towards the heated folly 
of the emotions, which the Stoics advised and fostered; or 
the no-more-laughing and no-more-weeping of Spinoza, the 
destruction of the emotions by their analysis and vivisection, 
which he recommended so naively; or the lowering of the 
emotions to an innocent mean at which they may be satisfied, 
the Aristotelianism of morals; or even morality as the en 
joyment of the emotions in a voluntary attenuation and 
spiritualisation by the symbolism of art, perhaps as music, 
or as love of God, and of mankind for God's sake — for in 
religion the passions are once more enfranchised, provided 
that . . . ; or, finally, even the complaisant and wanton 
surrender to the emotions, as has been taught by Hafis and 
Goethe, the bold letting-go of the reins, the spiritual and 
corporeal licentia morum in the exceptional cases of wise 
old codgers and drunkards, with whom it "no longer has 
much danger." — This also for the chapter: "Morals as 




Inasmuch as in all ages, as long as mankind has existed, 
there have also been human herds (family alliances, com- 
munities, tribes, peoples, states, churches), and always a 
great number who obey in proportion to the small number 
who command — in view, therefore, of the fact that obedience 
has been most practised and fostered among mankind hith- 
erto, one may reasonably suppose that, generally speaking, 
the need thereof is now innate in every one, as a kind of 
formal conscience which gives the command: "Thou shalt 
unconditionally do something, unconditionally refrain from 
something"; in short, "Thou shalt." This need tries 
to satisfy itself and to fill its form with a content; 
according to its strength, impatience, and eagerness, it 
at once seizes as an omnivorous appetite with little 
selection, and accepts whatever is shouted into its ear 
by all sorts of commanders — parents, teachers, laws, class 
prejudices, or public opinion. The extraordinary limitation 
of human development, the hesitation, protractedness, fre- 
quent retrogression, and turning thereof, is attributable to 
the fact that the herd-instinct of obedience is transmitted 
best, and at the cost of the art of command. If one imagine 
this instinct increasing to its greatest extent, commanders 
and independent individuals will finally be lacking alto- 
gether; or they will suffer inwardly from a bad conscience, 
and will have to impose a deception on themselves in the 
first place in order to be able to command: just as if they 
also were only obeying. This condition of things actually 
exists in Europe at present — I call it the moral hypocrisy of 
the commanding class. They know no other way of protect- 
ing themselves from their bad conscience than by playing the 


role of executors of older and higher orders (of predecessors, 
of the constitution, of justice, of the law, or of God himself) , 
or they even justify themselves by maxims from the current 
opinions of the herd, as "first servants of their people," or 
"instruments of the public weal." On the other hand, the 
gregarious European man nowadays assumes an air as if 
he were the only land of man that is allowable; he glorifies 
his qualities, such as public spirit, kindness, deference, in- 
dustry, temperance, modesty, indulgence, S5mipathy, by 
virtue of which he is gentle, endurable, and useful to the 
herd, as the peculiarly human virtues. In cases, however, 
where it is believed that the leader and bell-wether cannot 
be dispensed with, attempt after attempt is made nowadays 
to replace commanders by the summing together of clever 
gregarious men: all representative constitutions, for example, 
are of this origin. In spite of all, what a blessing, what a 
deliverance from a weight becoming unendurable, is the 
appearance of an absolute ruler for these gregarious Euro- 
peans—of this fact the effect of the appearance of Napoleon 
was the last great proof: the history of the influence of 
Napoleon is almost the history of the higher happiness to 
which the entire century has attained in its worthiest indi- 
viduals and periods. 


The man of an age of dissolution which mixes the races 
with one another, who has the inheritance of a diversified 
descent in his body — that is to say, contrary, and often not 
only contrary, instincts and standards of value, which strug- 
gle with one another and are seldom at peace — such a man 
of late culture and broken lights, will, on an average, b( 
a weak man. His fundamental desire is that the war wMi 



is in him should come to an end; happiness appears to him 
in the character of a soothing medicine and mode of thought 
(for instance, Epicurean or Christian) ; it is above all things 
the happiness of repx)se, of undisturbedness, of repletion, 
of final unity — it is the "Sabbath of Sabbaths," to use the 
expression of the holy rhetorician, St. Augustine, who was 
himself such a man. — Should, however, the contrariety and 
conflict in such natures operate as an additional incentive 
and stimulus to life — and if, on the other hand, in addition 
to their powerful zmd irreconciliable instincts, they have also 
inherited and indoctrinated into them a proper mastery and 
subtlety for carrying on the conflict with themselves (that 
is to say, the faculty of self-control and self-deception), 
there then arise those marvellously incomprehensible, and 
inexplicable beings, those enigmatical men, predestined for 
conquering and circumventing others, the finest examples 
of which are Alcibiades and Caesar (with whom I should like 
to associate the first of Europeans according to my taste, the 
Hohenstaufen, Frederick the Second), cmd amongst artists, 
perhaps Lionardo da Vinci. They appear precisely in the 
same periods when that weaker type, with its longing for 
repose, comes to the front; the two types are complementary 
to each other, and spring from the same causes. 


As long as the utility which determines moral estimates is 
only gregarious utility, as long as the preservation of the 
community is only kept in view, and the immoral is sought 
precisely and exclusively in what seems dangerous to the 
maintenance of the community, there can be no "morality 
of love to one's neighbour." Granted even that there is 
already a little constant exercise of consideration, sympathy, 


fairness, gentleness, and mutual assistance, granted that even 
in this condition of society all those instincts are already 
active which are latterly distinguished by honourable names 
as "virtues," and eventually almost coincide with the con- 
ception "morality": in that period they do not as yet belong 
to the domain of moral valuations — they are still ultra-moral. 
A sympathetic action, for instance, is neither called good nor 
bad, moral nor immoral, in the best period of the Romans; 
and should it be praised, a sort of resentful disdain is com- 
patible with this praise, even at the best, directly the sympa- 
thetic action is compared with one which contributes to the 
welfare of the whole, to the res publica. After all, "love to 
our neighbour" is always a secondary matter, partly con- 
ventional and arbitrarily manifested in relation to our fear 
of our neighbour. After the fabric of society seems on the 
whole established and secured against external dangers, it is 
this fear of our neighbour which again creates new perspec- 
tives of moral valuation. Certain strong and dangerous 
instincts, such as the love of enterprise, foolhardiness, re- 
vengefulness, astuteness, rapacity, and love of power, which 
up till then had not only to be honoured from the point of 
view of general utility — under other names, of course, than 
those here given — but had to be fostered and cultivated (be- 
cause they were perpetually required in the common danger 
against the common enemies), are now felt in their danger- 
ousness to be doubly strong — when the outlets. for them are 
lacking — and are gradually branded as immoral and given 
over to calumny. The contrary instincts and inclinations 
now attain to moral honour; the gregarious instinct grad- 
ually draws its conclusions. How much or how little danger- 
ousness to the community or to equality is contained in an 
opinion, a condition, an emotion, a disposition, or an endow- 
ment — that is now the moral perspective; here again fear 


is the mother of morals. It is by the loftiest and strongest 
instincts, when they break out passionately and carry the 
individual far above and beyond the average, and the low 
level of the gregarious conscience, that the self-reliance of 
the community is destroyed; its belief in itself, its back- 
bone, as it were, breaks; consequently these very instincts 
will be most branded and defamed. The lofty independent 
spirituality, the will to stand alone, and even the cogent 
reason, are felt to be dangers; everything that elevates the 
individual above the herd, and is a source of fear to the 
neighbour, is henceforth called evil; the tolerant, tmassum- 
ing, self-adapting, self-equalising disposition, the mediocrity 
of desires, attains to moral distinction and honour. Finally^ 
under very peaceful circumstances, there is always less op- 
portunity and necessity for training the feelings to severity 
and rigour; and now every form of severity, even in justice, 
begins to disturb the conscience; a lofty and rigourous noble- 
ness and self-responsibility almost offends, and awakens 
distrust, "the lamb," and still more "the sheep," wins re- 
spect. There is a point of diseased mellowness and effemi- 
nacy in the history of society, at which society itself takes 
the part of him who injures it, the part of the criminal, and 
does so, in fact, seriously and honestly. To punish, appears 
to it to be somehow imfair — it is certain that the idea of 
"punishment" £ind "the obligation to punish" are then pain- 
ful and alarming to people. "Is it not sufficient if the 
criminal be rendered harmless? Why should we still punish? 
Punishment itself is terrible!" — with these questions gre- 
garious morality, the morality of fear, draws its ultimate 
conclusion. If one could at all do away with danger, the 
cause of fear, one would have done away with this morality 
at the same time, it would no longer be necessary, it would 
not consider itself any longer necessary! — Whoever examines 


the .conscience of the present-day European, will always 
elicit the same imperative from its thousand moral folds and 
hidden recesses, the imperative of the timidity of the herd: 
"we wish that some time or other there may be nothing more 
to fear!" Some time or other — the will and the way thereto 
is nowadays called "progress" all over Europe. 


Let us at once say again what we have already said a 
hundred times, for people's ears nowadays are unwilling 
to hear such truths — our truths. We know well enough 
how offensively it sounds when any one plainly, and without 
metaphor, counts man amongst the animals; but it will be 
accounted to us almost a crime, that it is precisely in respect 
to men of "modem ideas" that we have constantly applied 
the terms "herd," "herd-instincts," and such like expressions. 
What avail is it? We cannot do otherwise, for it is precisely 
here that our new insight is. We have found that in all the 
principal moral judgments Europe has become unanimous, 
including likewise the countries where European influence 
prevails: in Europe people evidently know what Socrates 
thought he did not know, and what the famous serpent of 
old once promised to teach — they "know" to-day what is 
good and evil. It must then sound hard and be distasteful to 
the ear, when we always insist that that which here thinks 
it knows, that which here glorifies itself with praise and 
blame, and calls itself good, is the instinct of the herding 
human animal: the instinct which has come and is ever 
coming more and more to the front, to preponderance and 
supremacy over other instincts, according to the increasing 
physiological approximation and resemblance of which it is 
the S5miptom. Morality in Europe at present is herding- 


animal morality; and therefore, as we understand the matter, 
only one kind of human morality, beside which, before which, 
and after v/hich many other moralities, and above all higher 
moralities, are or should be possible. Against such a "possi- 
bility," against such a "should be," however, this morality 
defends itself with all its strength; it says obstinately and 
inexorably: "I am morality itself and nothing else is moral- 
ity!" Indeed, with the help of a religion which has 
humoured and flattered the sublimest desires of the herd- 
ing-animal, things have reached such a point that we always 
find a more visible expression of this morality even in 
political and social arrangements: the democratic move- 
ment is the inheritance of the Christian movement. That 
its tempo, however, is much too slow and sleepy for the 
more impatient ones, for those who are sick and distracted 
by the herding-instinct, is indicated by the increasingly 
furious howling, and always less disguised teeth-gnashing 
of the anarchist dogs, who are now roving through the high- 
ways of European culture. Apparently in opposition to the 
peacefully industrious democrats and Revolution-ideologues, 
and still more so to the awkward philosophasters and frater- 
nity-visionaries who call themselves Socialists and want a 
"free society," those are really at one with them all in their 
thorough and instinctive hostility to every form of society 
other than that of the autonomous herd (to the extent even 
of repudiating the notions "master" and "servant" — ni dieu 
ni maitre, says a socialist formula) ; at one in their tenacious 
opposition to every special claim, every special right and 
privilege (this means ultimately opposition to every right, 
for when all are equal, no one needs "rights" any longer) ; 
at one in their distrust of punitive justice (as though it were 
a \dolation of the weak, imfair to the necessary consequences 
of all former society) ; but equally at one in their religion of 



sympathy, in their compassion for all that feels, lives, and 
suffers (down to the very animals, up even to "God" — the 
extravagance of "sympathy for God" belongs to a democratic 
age) ; altogether at one in the cry and impatience of their 
sympathy, in their deadly hatred of suffering generally, in 
their almost feminine incapacity for witnessing it or allowing 
it; at one in their involuntary beglooming and heart-soften- 
ing, under the spell of which Europe seems to be threatened 
with a new Buddhism; at one in their belief in the morality 
of mutual sympathy, as though it were morality in itself, the 
climax, the attained climax of mankind, the sole hope of the 
future, the consolation of the present, the great discharge 
from all the obligations of the past; altogether at one in 
their belief in the community as the deliverer, in the herd, 
and therefore in "themselves." 


We, who hold a different belief — we, who regard the 
democratic movement, not only as a degenerating form of 
political organisation, but as equivEilent to a degenerating, 
a waning type of man, as involving his mediocrising and 
depreciation: where have we to fix our hopes? In new 
philosophers — there is no other alternative: in minds strong 
and original enough to initiate opposite estimates of value, 
to transvalue and invert "eternal valuations"; in forerunners, 
in men of the future, who in the present shall fix the con- 
straints and fasten the knots which will compel millenniums 
to take new paths. To teach man the future of humanity 
as his will, as depending on human will, and to make 
preparation for vast hazardous enterprises and collective 
attempts in rearing and educating, in order thereby to put 
an end to the frightful rule of folly and chance which has 


hitherto gone by the name of "history" (the folly of the 
"greatest number" is only its last form) — for that purpose 
a new type of philosophers and commanders will some time 
or other be needed, at the very idea of which everything that 
has existed in the way of occult, terrible, and benevolent 
beings might look pale and dwarfed. The image of such 
leaders hovers before our eyes: — is it lawful for me to say 
it aloud, ye free spirits? The conditions which one would 
partly have to create and partly utilise for their genesis; the 
presumptive methods and tests by virtue of which a soul 
should grow up to such an elevation and power as to feel a 
constraint to these tasks; a transvaluation of values, under 
the new pressure and hammer of which a conscience should 
be steeled and a heart transformed into brass, so as to bear 
the weight of such responsibility; and on the other hand the 
necessity for such leaders, the dreadful danger that they 
might be lacking, or miscarry and degenerate: — these are 
our real anxieties and glooms, ye know it well, ye free 
spirits! these are the heavy distant thoughts and storms 
which sweep across the heaven of our life. There are few 
pains so grievous as to have seen, divined, or experienced 
how an exceptional man has missed his way and deteriorated; 
but he who has the rare eye for the universal danger of 
"man" himself deteriorating, he who like us has recognised 
the extraordinary fortuitousness which has hitherto played 
its game in respect to the future of mankind — a game in 
which neither the hand, nor even a "finger of God" has 
participated! — ^he who divines the fate that is hidden under 
the idiotic tmwariness and blind confidence of "modem 
ideas," and still more under the whole of Christo-European 
morality — suffers from an anguish with which no other is 
to be compared. He sees at a glance all that could still be 
made out of man through a favourable accumulation and 


augmentation of human powers and arrangements; he knows 
with all the knowledge of his conviction how unexhausted 
man still is for the greatest possibilities, and how often in 
the past the type man has stood in presence of mysterious 
decisions and new paths: — ^he knows still better from his 
painfulest recollections on what wretched obstacles promising 
developments of the highest rank have hitherto usually gone 
to pieces, broken down, sunk, and become contemptible. 
The universal degeneracy of mankind to the level of the 
"man of the future" — as idealised by the socialistic fools and 
shallow-pates — this degeneracy and dwarfing of man to an 
absolutely gregarious animal (or as they call it, to a man of 
"free society"), this brutalising of man into a pigmy with 
equal rights and claims, is undoubtedly possible! He who 
has thought out this possibility to its ultimate conclusion 
knows another loathing unknown to the rest of mankind — 
and perhaps also a new mission/ 


We Scholars 


At the risk that moralising may also reveal itself here as 
that which it has always been — namely, resolutely montter 
ses plaies, according to Balzac — I would venture to protest 
against an improper and injurious alteration of rank, which 
quite unnoticed, and as if with the best conscience, threatens 
nowadays to establish itself in the relations of science and 
philosophy. I mean to say that one must have the right 
out of one's own experience — experience, as it seems to me^ 
always implies unfortunate experience? — to treat of such 
an important question of rank, so as not to speak of colour 
like the blind, or against science like women and artists 
("Ah! this dreadful science!" sigh their instinct and their 
shame, "it always finds things out!") The declaration of 
independence of the scientific man, his emancipation from 
philosophy, is one of the subtler after-effects of democratic 
organisation and disorganisation: the self-glorification and 
self-conceitedness of the learned man is now everywhere in 
full bloom, and in its best springtime — which does not mean 
to imply that in this case self-praise smells sweetly. Here 
also the instinct of the populace cries, "Freedom from all 
masters!" and after science has, with the happiest results, 



resisted theology, whose "handmaid" it had been too long, 
it now proposes in its wantonness and indiscretion to lay 
down laws for philosophy, and in its turn to play the 
"master" — what am I saying! to play the philosopher on its 
own accoimt. My memory — the memory of a scientific man, 
if you please! — teems with the naivetes of insolence which 
I have heard about philosophy and philosophers from young 
naturalists and old physicians (not to mention the most 
cultured and most conceited of all learned men, the philolo- 
gists and schoolmasters, who are both the one and the other 
by profession). On one occasion it was the specialist and 
the Jack Homer who instinctively stood on the defensive 
against all synthetic tasks and capabilities; at another time 
it was the industrious worker who had got a scent of otium 
and refined luxuriousness in the internal economy of the 
philosopher, and felt himself aggrieved and belittled thereby. 
On another occasion it was the colour-blindness of the utili- 
tarian, who sees nothing in philosophy but a series of refuted 
systems, and an extravagant expenditure which "does no- 
body any good." At another time the fear of disguised 
mysticism and of the boundary-adjustment of knowledge 
became conspicuous, at another time the disregard of indi- 
vidual philosophers, which had involuntarily extended to 
disregard of philosophy generally. In fine, I found most 
frequently, behind the proud disdain of philosophy in young 
scholars, the evil after-effect of some particular philosopher, 
to whom on the whole obedience had been foresworn, without, 
however, the spell of his scornful estimates of other philoso- 
phers having been got rid of — the result being a general 
ill-will to all philosophy. (Such seems to me, for instance, 
the after-effect of Schopenhauer on the most modem Ger- 
many: by his unintelligent rage against Hegel, he has suc- 
■ceeded in severing the whole of the last generation of Germans 



from its connection with German culture, which culture, all 
things considered, has been an elevation and a divining re- 
finement of the historical sense; but precisely at this point 
Schopenhauer himself was poor, irreceptive, and im-German 
to the extent of ingeniousness.) On the whole, speaking 
generally, it may just have been the humanness, all-too- 
humanness of the modem philosophers themselves, in short, 
their contemptibleness, which has injured most radically the 
reverence for philosophy and opened the doors to the in- 
stinct of the populace. Let it but be acknowledged to what 
an extent our modem world diverges from the whole style 
of the world of Heraclites, Plato, Empedocles, and whatever 
else all the royal and magnificent anchorites of the spirit were 
called; and with what justice an honest man of science may 
feel himself of a better family and origin, in view of such 
representatives of philosophy, who, owing to the fashion 
of the present day, are just as much aloft as they are down 
below — in Germany, for instance, the two lions of Berlin, 
the anarchist Eugen Diihring and the amalgamist Eduard 
von Hartmann. It is especi£illy the sight of those hotch- 
potch philosophers, who call themselves "realists," or "posi- 
tivists," which is calculated to implant a dangerous distmst 
in the soul of a young and ambitious scholar: those philoso- 
phers, at the best, are themselves but scholars and special- 
ists, that is very evident! All of them are persons who have 
been vanquished and brought back again under the dominion 
of science, who at one time or another claimed more from 
themselves, without having a right to the "more" and its 
responsibility — and who now, creditably, rancorously and 
vindictively, represent in word and deed, disbelief in the 
master- task and supremacy of philosophy. After all, hcv 
could it be otherwise? Science flourishes nowadays and has 
the good conscience clearly visible on its coimtensince; while 


that to which the entire modem philosophy has gradually 
sunk, the remnant of philosophy of the present day, excites 
distrust and displeasure, if not scorn and pity. Philosophy 
reduced to a "theory of knowledge," no more in fact than 
a diffident science of epochs and doctrine of forbearance: 
a philosophy that never even gets beyond the threshold, and 
rigourously denies itself the right to enter — that is philosophy 
in its last throes, an end, an agony, something that awakens 
pity. How could such a philosophy — rule! 


The dangers that beset the evolution of the philosopher 
are, in fact, so manifold nowadays, that one might doubt 
whether this fruit could still come to maturity. The extent 
and towering structure of the sciences have increased enor- 
mously, and therewith also the probability that the philoso- 
pher will grow tired even as a learner, or will attach himself 
somewhere and "specialise": so that he will no longer attain 
to his elevation, that is to say, to his superspection, his cir- 
cumspection, and his despection. Or he gets aloft too late, 
when the best of his maturity and strength is past; or when 
he is impaired, coarsened, and deteriorated, so that his view, 
his general estimate of things, is no longer of much import- 
, ance. It is perhaps just the refinement of his intellectual 
conscience that makes him hesitate and linger on the way; 
he dreads the temptation to become a dilettante, a millepede, 
a milleantenna; he knows too well that as a discerner, one 
who has lost his self-respect no longer commands, no longer 
leads; unless he should aspire to become a great play-actor 
a philosophical Cagliostro and spiritual rat-catcher — in short, 
a misleader. This is in the last instance a question of taste, 
if it has not really been a question of conscience. To double 


once more the philosopher's difficulties, there is also the fact 
that he demands from himself a verdict, a Yea or Nay, not 
concerning science, but concerning life and the worth of 
life — he learns unwillingly to believe that it is his 
right and even his duty to obtain this verdict, and he has to 
seek his way to the right and the belief only through the 
most extensive (perhaps disturbing and destroying) expe- 
riences, often hesitating, doubting, and dumbfounded. In 
fact, the philosopher has long been mistaken and confused 
by the multitude, either with the scientific man and ideal 
scholar, or with the religiously elevated, desensualised, de- 
secularised visionary and God-intoxicated man; and even 
yet when one hears anybody praised, because he lives 
"wisely," or "as a philosopher," it hardly means anything 
more than "prudently and apart." Wisdom: that seems to 
the populace to be a kind of flight, a means and artifice for 
withdrawing successfully from a bad game; but the genuine 
philosopher — does it not seem so to us, my friends? — lives 
"unphilosophically" and "unwisely," above all, imprudently, 
and feels the obligation and burden of a hundred attempts 
and temptations of life — he risks himself const£intly, he plays 
this bad game. 


In relation to the genius, that is to say, a being who 
either engenders or produces — ^both words understood in their 
fullest sense — the man of learning, the scientific average man, 
"has always something of the old maid about him; for, like 
her, he is not conversant with the two principal fimctions of 
man. To both, of course, to the scholar and to the old maid, 
one concedes respectability, as if by way of indemnification — 
in these cases one emphasises the respectability — and yet, 


in the compulsion of this concession, one has the same ad- 
mixture of vexation. Let us examine more closely: what is 
the scientific man? Firstly, a commonplace type of man, 
with commonplace virtues: that is to say, a non-ruling, non- 
authoritative, and non-self-sufficient type of man; he pos- 
sesses industry, patient adaptableness to rank and file, equa- 
bility and moderation in capacity and requirement; he has 
the instinct for people like himself, and for that which they 
require — for instance: the portion of independence and green 
meadow without which there is no rest from labour, the 
claim to honour and consideration (which first and foremost 
presupposes recognition and recognisability) , the sunshine 
of a good name, the perpetual ratification of his value and 
usefulness, with which -the inward distrust which lies at the 
bottom of the heart of all dependent men and gregarious 
animals, has again and again to be overcome. The learned 
man, as is appropriate, has also maladies and faults of an 
ignoble kind: he is full of petty envy, and has a lynx-eye 
for the weak points in those natures to whose elevations 
he cannot attain. He is confiding, yet only as one who lets 
himself go, but does not flow; and precisely before the man of 
the great current he stands all the colder and more reserved — 
his eye is then like a smooth and irresponsive lake, which 
is no longer moved by rapture or sympathy. The worst 
and most dangerous thing of which a scholar is capable re- 
sults from the instinct of mediocrity of his type, from the 
Jesuitism of mediocrity, which labours instinctively for the 
destruction of the exceptional man, and endeavours to break 
— or still better, to relax — every bent bow. To relax, of 
course, with consideration, and naturally with an indulgent 
hand — to relax with confiding sympathy: that is the real 
art of Jesuitism, which has always understood how to intro- 
duce itself as the religion of sympathy. S 



However gratefully one may welcome the objective spirit 
— and who has not been sick to death of all subjectivity and 
its confounded ipsisitnosity ! — in the end, however, one must 
learn caution even with regard to one's gratitude, and put 
a stop to the exaggeration with which the unselfing and 
depersonalising of the spirit has recently been celebrated, 
as if it were the goal in itself, as if it were salvation and 
glorification — as is especially accustomed to happen in the 
pessimist school, which has also in its turn good reasons for 
paying the highest honours to "disinterested knowledge." 
The objective man, who no longer curses and scolds like 
the pessimist, the ideal man of learning in whom the scientific 
instinct blossoms forth fully after a thousand complete and 
partial failures, is assuredly one of the most costly instru- 
ments that exist, but his place is in the hand of one who is 
more powerful. He is only an instrument; we may say, he 
is a mirror — ^he is no ''purpose in himself." The objective 
man is in truth a mirror: accustomed to prostration before 
everything that wants to be known, with such desires only 
as knowing or "reflecting" imply — ^he waits until something 
comes, and then expands himself sensitively, so that even 
the light footsteps and gliding past of spiritual beings may 
not be lost on his surface and film. Whatever "personality" 
he still possesses seems to him accidental, arbitrary, or still 
oftener, disturbing; so much has he come to regard himself 
as the passage and reflection of outside forms and events. 
He calls up the recollection of "himself" with an effort, and 
not infrequently wrongly; he readily confounds himself with 
other persons, he makes mistakes with regard to his own 
needs, and here only is he unrefined and negligent. Perhaps 


he is troubled about the health, or the pettiness and confined 
atmosphere of wife and friend, or the lack of companions 
and society — indeed, he sets himself to reflect on his suffer- 
ing, but in vain! His thoughts already rove away to the 
more general case, and to-morrow he knows as little as he 
knew yesterday how to help himself. He does not now take 
himself seriously and devote time to himself: he is serene, 
not from lack of trouble, but from lack of capacity for 
grasping and dealing with his trouble. The habitual com- 
plaisance with respect to all objects and experiences, the 
radiant and impartial hospitality with which he receives 
everything that comes his way, his habit of inconsiderate 
good-nature, of dangerous indifference as to Yea and Nay: 
alas! there are enough of cases in which he has to atone for 
these virtues of his! — and as man generally, he becomes far 
too easily the caput mortuum of such virtues. Should one 
wish love or hatred from him — I mean love and hatred as 
God, woman, and animal understand them — he will do what 
he can, and furnish what he can. But one must not be 
surprised if it should not be much — if he should show him- 
self just at this point to be false, fragile, questionable, and 
deteriorated. His love is constrained, his hatred is artificial, 
and rather un tour de force, a slight ostentation and exag- 
geration. He is only genuine so far as he can be objective; 
only in his serene totality is he still "nature" and "natural." 
His mirroring and eternally self-polishing soul no longer 
knows how to affirm, no longer how to deny; he does not 
command; neither does he destroy. "Je ne tniprise presque 
rien" — he says, with Leibnitz: let us not overlook nor under- 
value the presque! Neither is he a model man; he does 
not go in advance of any one, nor after either; he places 
himself generally too far off to have any reason for espousing 
the cause of either good or evil. If he has been so long 


confounded with the philosopher, with the Caesarian trainer 
and dictator of civilisation, he has had far too much honour, 
and what is more essential in him has been overlooked — ^he 
is an instrument, something of a slave, though certainly the 
sublimest sort of slave, but nothing in himself — presque rien! 
The objective man is an instrument, a costly, easily injured, 
easily tarnished, measuring instrument and mirroring appara- 
tus, which is to be taken care of and respected; but he is 
no goal, no outgoing nor upgoing, no complementary man 
in whom the rest of existence justifies itself, no termination 
— and still less a commencement, an engendering, or pri- 
mary cause, nothing hardy, powerful, self-centred, that wants 
to be master; but rather only a soft, inflated, delicate, mov- 
able potter's-form, that must wait for some kind of content 
and frame to "shape" itself thereto — for the most part a 
man without frame and content, a "selfless" man. Conse- 
quently, also, nothing for womai, in parenthesi. 


When a philosopher nowadays makes known that he is 
not a sceptic — I hope that has been gathered from the fore- 
going description of the objective spirit? — people all hear it 
impatiently; they regard him on that account with some ap- 
prehension, they would like to ask so many, many ques- 
tions . . . indeed among timid hearers, of whom there are 
now so many, he is henceforth said to be dangerous. With 
his repudiation of scepticism, it seems to them as if they 
heard some evil-threatening sound in the distance, as if a 
new kind of explosive were being tried somewhere, a d)ma- 
mite of the spirit, perhaps a newly discovered Russian 
nihiline, a pessimism bonae voluntatis, that not only denies, 
means denial, but — dreadful thought! practises denial. 


Against this kind of "good will" — a will to the veritable, 
actual negation of life — there is, as is generally acknowledged 
nowadays, no better soporific and sedative than scepticism, 
the mild, pleasing, lulling poppy of scepticism; and Hamlet 
himself is now prescribed by the doctors of the day as an 
antidote to the "spirit," and its underground noises. "Are 
not our ears already full of bad sounds?" say the sceptics, as 
lovers of repose, and almost as a kind of safety police, "this 
subterranean Nay is terrible! Be still, ye pessimistic moles! " 
The sceptic, in effect, that delicate creature, is far too easily 
frightened; his conscience is schooled so as to start at every 
Nay, and even at that sharp, decided Yea, and feels some- 
thing like a bite thereby. Yea! and Nay! — they seem to 
him opposed to morality; he loves, on the contrary, to make 
a festival to his virtue by a noble aloofness, while perhaps 
he says with Montaigne: "What do I know?" Or with 
Socrates: "I know that I know nothing." Or: "Here I do 
not trust myself, no door is open to me." Or: "Even if the 
door were open, why should I enter immediately?" Or: 
"What is the use of any hasty hypotheses? It might quite 
well be in good taste to make no hypotheses at all. Are you 
absolutely obliged to straighten at once what is crooked? to 
stuff every hole with some kind of oakum? Is there not 
time enough for that? Has not the time leisure? Oh, ye 
demons, can ye not at all wait? The uncertain also has 
its charms, the Sphinx, too, is a Circe, and Circe, too, was 
a philosopher." — Thus does a sceptic console himself; and in 
truth he needs some consolation. For scepticism is the most 
spiritual expression of a certain many-sided physiological 
temperament, which in ordinary language is called nervous 
debility and sickliness; it arises whenever races or classes 
which have been long separated, decisively and suddenly 
blend with one another. In the new generation, which has 


inherited as it were different standards and valuations in its 
blood, everything is disquiet, derangement, doubt, and tenta- 
tive; the best powers operate restrictively, the very virtues 
prevent each other growing and becoming strong, equilibrium, 
ballast, and perpendicular stability are lacking in body and 
soul. That, however, which is most diseased and degenerated 
in such nondescripts is the will; they are no longer familiar 
with independence of decision, or the courageous feeling of 
pleasure in willing — they are doubtful of the "freedom of the 
will" even in their dreams. Our present-day Europe, the 
scene of a senseless, precipitate attempt at a radical blending 
of classes, and consequently of races, is therefore sceptical 
in all its heights and depths, sometimes exhibiting the mobile 
scepticism which springs impatiently and wantonly from 
branch to branch, sometimes with gloomy aspect, like a 
cloud overcharged with interrogative signs — and often sick 
xmto death of its will! Paralysis of will; where do we not 
find this cripple sitting nowadays! And yet how bedecked 
oftentimes! How seductively ornamented! There are the 
finest gala dresses and disguises for this disease; and that, 
for instance, most of what places itself nowadays in the 
show-cases as "objectiveness," "the scientific spirit," "I'art 
pour I'art," and "pure voluntary knowledge," is only decked- 
out scepticism and paralysis of will — I am ready to answer 
for this diagnosis of the European disease.— The disease of 
the will is diffused unequally over Europe; it is worst and 
most varied where civilisation has longest prevailed; it 
decreases according as "the barbarian" still — or again — as- 
serts his claims under the loose drapery of Western culture. 
It is therefore in the France of to-day, as can be readily dis- 
closed and comprehended, that the will is most infirm; and 
France, which has always had a masterly aptitude for con 
verting even the portentous crises of its spirit into something 


charming and seductive, now manifests emphatically its in- 
tellectual ascendency over Europe, by being the school and 
exhibition of all the charms of scepticism. The power to 
will and to persist, moreover, in a resolution, is already 
somewhat stronger in Germany, and again in the North of 
Germany it is stronger than in Central Germany; it is 
considerably stronger in England, Spain, and Corsica, asso- 
ciated with phlegm in the former and with hard skulls in the 
latter — not to mention Italy, which is too young yet to 
know what it wants, and must first show whether it can 
exercise will; but it is strongest and most surprising of all 
in that immense middle empire where Europe as it were flows 
back to Asia — namely, in Russia. There the power to will 
has been long stored up and accumulated, there the will — 
uncertain whether to be negative or affirmative — waits threat- 
eningly to be discharged (to borrow their pet phrase from 
our physicists). Perhaps not only Indian wars and compli- 
cations in Asia would be necessary to free Europe from its 
greatest danger, but also internal subversion, the shattering 
of the empire into small states, and above all the introduction 
of parliamentary imbecility, together with the obligation of 
every one to read his newspaper at breakfast. I do not 
say this as one who desires it; in my heart I should rather 
prefer the contrary — I mean such an increase in the threaten- 
ing attitude of Russia, that Europe would have to make up 
its mind to become equally threatening — namely, to acquire 
one will, by means of a new caste to rule over the Continent, 
a persistent, dreadful will of its own, that can set its aims 
thousands of years ahead ; so that the long spun-out comedy 
of its petty-stateism, and its dynastic as well as its demo- 
cratic many-willed-ness, might finally be brought to a close. 
The time for petty politics is past; the next century 
bring the struggle for the dominion of the world — the cot 
Pulsion to GTeat noh'tirs. 




As to how far the new warlike age on which we Europeans 
have evidently entered may perhaps favour the growth of 
another and stronger kind of scepticism, I should like to 
express myself preliminarily merely by a parable, which the 
lovers of German history will already understand. That 
unscrupulous enthusiast for big, handsome grenadiers (who, 
as King of Prussia, brought into being a military and sceptical 
genius — and therewith, in reality, the new and now triumph- 
antly emerged type of German), the problematic, crazy 
father of Frederick the Great, had on one point the very 
knack and lucky grasp of the genius: he knew what was 
then lacking in Germany, the want of which was a hundred 
times more alarming and serious than any lack of culture and 
social form — his ill-will to the young Frederick resulted from 
the anxiety of a profound instinct. Men were lacking; and 
he suspected, to his bitterest regret, that his own son was 
not man enough. There, however, he deceived himself; 
but who would not have deceived himself in his place? 
He saw his son lapsed to atheism, to the esprit, to the pleasant 
frivolity of clever Frenchmen — ^he saw in the background 
the great bloodsucker, the spider scepticism; he suspected the 
incurable wretchedness of a heart no longer hard enough 
either for evil or good, and of a broken will that no longer 
commands, is no longer able to command. Meanwhile, 
however, there grew up in his son that new kind of harder 
and more dangerous scepticism — who knows to what extent 
it was encouraged just by his father's hatred and the icy 
melancholy of a will condemned to solitude? — the scepticism 
of daring manliness, which is closely related to the genius 
for war and conquest, and made its first entrance into Ger- 


many in the person of the great Frederick. This scepticism 
despises and nevertheless grasps; it undermines and takes 
possession; it does not beheve, but it does not thereby lose 
itself; it gives the spirit a dangerous liberty, but it keeps 
strict guard over the heart. It is the German form of scep- 
ticism, which, as a continued Fredericianism, risen to the 
highest spirituality, has kept Europe for a considerable time 
under the dominion of the German spirit and its critical and 
historical distrust. Owing to the insuperably strong and 
tough masculine character of the great German philologists 
and historical critics (who, rightly estimated, were also all 
of them artists of destruction and dissolution), a new con- 
ception of the German spirit gradually established itself — in 
spite of all Romanticism in music and philosophy — in which 
the leaning towards masculine scepticism was decidedly 
prominent: whether, for instance, as fearlessness of gaze, 
as courage and sternness of the dissecting hand, or as resolute 
will to dangerous voyages of discovery, to spiritualised 
North Pole expeditions under barren and dangerous skies. 
There may be good groimds for it when warm-blooded and 
superficial humanitarians cross themselves before this spirit, 
cet esprit jataliste, ironique, mephistophelique, as Michelet 
calls it, not without a shudder. But if one would realise 
how characteristic is this fear of the "man" in the German 
spirit which awakened Europe out of its "dogmatic slumber," 
let us call to mind the former conception which had to be 
overcome by this new one — and that it is not so very long 
ago that a masculinised woman could dare, with unbridled 
presumption, to recommend the Germans to the interest of 
Europe as gentle, good-hearted, weak-willed, and poetical 
fools. Finally, let us only understand profoundly enough 
Napoleon's astonishment when he saw Goethe: it reveals 
what had been regarded for centuries as the "German spirit." 


"Voila un homme!" — that was as much as to say: "But this 
is a man! And I only expected to see a German!" 


Supposing, then, that in the picture of the philosophers of 
the future, some trait suggests the question whether they 
must not perhaps be sceptics in the last-mentioned sense, 
something in them would only be designated thereby — and 
not they themselves. With equal right they might call 
themselves critics; and assuredly they will be men of experi- 
ments. By the name with which I ventured to baptize them, 
I have already expressly emphasised their attempting and 
their love of attempting: is this because, as critics in body 
and soul, they will love to make use of experiments in a 
new, and perhaps wider and more dangerous sense? In 
their passion for knowledge, will they have to go further 
in daring and painful attempts than the sensitive and pam- 
pered taste of a democratic century can approve of? — There 
is no doubt: these coming ones will be least able to dispense 
with the serious and not imscrupulous qualities which dis- 
tinguish the critic from the sceptic: I mean the certainty 
as to standards of worth, the conscious employment of a 
unity of method, the wary courage, the standing-alone, and 
the capacity for self -responsibility; indeed, they will avow 
among themselves a delight in denial and dissection, and 
a certain considerate cruelty, which knows how to handle 
the knife surely and deftly, even when the heart bleeds. 
They will be sterner (and perhaps not always towards them- 
selves only) than humane people may desire, they will not 
deal with the "truth" in order that it may "please" them, 
or "elevate" and "inspire" them — they will rather have 
little faith in "truth" bringing with it such revels for the 


feelings. They will smile, those rigourous spirits, when any 
one says in their presence: "that thought elevates me, why 
should it not be true?" or: "that work enchants me, why 
should it not be beautiful?" or: "that artist enlarges me, 
why should he not be great?" Perhaps they will not only 
have a smile, but a genuine disgust for all that is thus rap- 
turous, idealistic, feminine, and hermaphroditic; and if any 
one could look into their inmost hearts, he would not easily 
find therein the intention to reconcile "Christian sentiments" 
with "antique taste," or even with "modem parliamentar- 
ism" (the kind of reconciliation necessarily found even 
amongst philosophers in our very uncertain and consequently 
very conciliatory century). Critical discipline, and every 
habit that conduces to purity and rigour in intellectual mat- 
ters, will not only be demanded from themselves by these 
philosophers of the future; they may, even make a display 
thereof as their special adornment — nevertheless they will 
not want to be called critics on that account. It will seem 
to them no small indignity to philosophy to have it decreed, 
as is so welcome nowadays, that "philosophy itself is criti- 
cism and critical science — and nothing else whatever!" 
Though this estimate of philosophy may enjoy the approval 
of all the Positivists of France and Germany (and possibly it 
even flattered the heart and taste of Kant: let us call to 
mind the titles of his principal works) , our new philosophers 
will say, notwithstanding, that critics are instruments of the 
philosopher, and just on that account, as instruments, they 
are far from being philosophers themselves! Even the great 
Chinaman of Konigsberg was only a great critic 



I insist upon it that people finally cease confounding philo- 
sophical workers, and in general scientific men, with philoso- 
phers — that precisely here one should strictly give "each his 
own," £ind not give those far too much, these far too little. 
It may be necessary for the education of the real philosopher 
that he himself should have once stood upon all those steps 
upon which his servants, the scientific workers of philosophy, 
remain standing, and must remain standing: he himself 
must perhaps have been critic, and dogmatist, and historian, 
and besides, poet, and collector, and traveller, and riddle-^ 
reader^ and moralist, and seer, and "free spirit," and almost 
everything, in order to traverse the whole range of human 
values and estimations, and that he may be able with a 
variety of eyes and consciences to look from a height to any 
distance, from a depth up to any height, from a nook into 
any expanse. But all these are only preliminary conditions 
for his task; this task itself demands something else — it re- 
quires him to create values. The philosophical workers, after 
the excellent pattern of Kant and Hegel, have to fix and for- 
malise some great existing body of valuations — that is to 
say, former determinations of value, creations of value, 
which have become prevalent, and are for a time called 
"truths" — whether in the domain of the logical, the political 
(moral), or the artistic. It is for these investigators to make 
whatever has happened and been esteemed hitherto, con- 
spicuous, conceivable, intelligible, and manageable, to shorten 
everythmg long, even "time" itself, and to subjugate the 
entire past: an immense and wonderful task, in the carrying 
out of which all refined pride, all tenacious will, can surely 
find satisfaction. The real philosophers, however, are com' 


manders and law-givers; they say: "Thus shall it be!" 
They determine first the Whither and the Why of mankind, 
and thereby set aside the previous labour of all philosophi- 
cal workers, and all subjugators of the past — they grasp at 
the future with a creative hand, and whatever is and was, 
becomes for them thereby a means, an instrument, and a 
hammer. Their "knowing" is creating, their creating is a 
law-giving, their will to truth is — Will to Power. — Are there 
at present such philosophers? Have there ever been such 
philosophers? Must there not be such philosophers some 
day? . . . 


It is always more obvious to me that the philosopher, as a 
man indispensable for the morrow and the day after the 
morrow, has ever found himself, and has been obliged to find 
himself, in contradiction to the day in which he lives; his 
enemy has always been the ideal of his day. Hitherto all 
those extraordinary furtherers of humanity whom one calls 
philosophers — ^who rarely regarded themselves as lovers of 
wisdom, but rather as disagreeable fools and dangerous in- 
terrogators — ^have found their mission, their hard, involun- 
tary, imperative mission (in the end however the greatness 
of their mission), in being the bad conscience of their age. 
In putting the vivisector's knife to the breast of the very 
virtues of their age, they have betrayed their own secret; it 
has been for the sake of a new greatness of man, a new im- 
trodden path to his aggrandisement. They have always dis- 
closed how much hypocrisy, indolence, self-indulgence, and 
self-neglect, how much falsehood was concealed under the 
most venerated types of contemporary morality, how much 
virtue was outlived; they have always said: "We must re- 


move hence to where you are least at home." In face of a 
world of "modem ideas," which would like to confine every 
one in a comer, in a "specialty," a philosopher, if there 
could be philosophers nowadays, would be compelled to 
place the greatness of man, the conception of "greatness," 
precisely in his comprehensiveness and multifariousness, in 
his all-roundness; he would even determine worth and rank 
according to the amount and variety of that which a man 
could bear and take upon himself, according to the extent 
to which a man could stretch his responsibility. Nowadays 
the taste and virtue of the age weaken and attenuate the 
will; nothing is so adapted to the spirit of the age as weak- 
ness of will: consequently, in the ideal of the philosopher, 
strength of will, stemness and capacity for prolonged reso- 
lution, must specially be included in the conception of 
"greatness"; with as good a right as the opposite doctrine, 
with its ideal of a silly, renouncing, humble, selfless human- 
ity, was suited to an opposite age — such as the sixteenth cen- 
tury, which suffered from its accumulated energy of will, 
and from the wildest torrents and floods of selfishness. In 
the time of Socrates, among men only of wom-out instincts, 
old conservative Athenians who let themselves go — "for the 
sake of happiness," as they said; for the sake of pleasure, as 
their conduct indicated — and who had continually on their 
lips the old pompous words to which they had long forfeited 
the right by the life they led, irony was perhaps necessary 
for greatness of soul, the wicked Socratic assurance of the 
old physician and plebeian, who cut ruthlessly into his own 
flesh, as into the flesh and heart of the "noble," with a look 
that said plainly enou^: "Do not dissemble before me! 
here — we are equal!" At present, on the contrary, when 
throughout Europe the herding animal alone attains to hon- 
ours, and dispenses honours, when "equality of right" can 


too readily be transformed into equality in wrong: I mean to 
say into general war against everything rare, strange, and 
privileged, against the higher man, the higher soul, the higher 
duty, the higher responsibility, the creative plenipotence and 
lordliness — at present it belongs to the conception of "great- 
ness" to be noble, to wish to be apart, to be capable of 
being different, to stand alone, to have to live by personal 
initiative; and the philosopher will betray something of his 
own ideal when he asserts: "He shall be the greatest who 
can be the most solitary, the most concealed, the most di- 
vergent, the man beyond good and evil, the master of his 
virtues, and of superabundance of will; precisely this shall 
be called greatness: as diversified as can be entire, as ample 
as can be full." And to ask once more the question: Is 
greatness possible — nowadays? 



It is difficult to learn what a philosopher is, because it 
cannot be taught: one must "know" it by experience — or 
one should have the pride not to know it. The fact that at 
present people all talk of things of which they cannot have 
any experience, is true more especially and unfortunately cis 
concerns the philosopher and philosophical matters: — the 
very few know them, are permitted to know them, and all 
popular ideas about them are false. Thus, for instance, the 
truly philosophical combination of a bold, exuberant spirit- 
uality which runs at presto pace, and a dialectic rigour and 
necessity which makes no false step, is unknown to most 
thinkers and scholars from their own experience, and there- 
fore, should any one speak of it in their presence, it is in- 
credible to them. They conceive of every necessity as trou- 
blesome, as a painful compulsory obedience and state of con- 


straint; thinking itself is regarded by them as something 
slow and hesitating, almost as a trouble, and often enough 
as "worthy of the sweat of the noble" — but not at all as 
something easy and divine, closely related to dancing and 
exuberance! 'To think" and to take a matter "seriously," 
"arduously" — that is one and the same thing to them; such 
only has been their "experience." — Artists have here per- 
haps a finer intuition; they who know only too well that 
precisely when they no longer do anything "arbitrarily," 
and everything of necessity, their feeling of freedom, of 
subtlety, of power, of creatively fixing, disposing and shap- 
ing, reaches its climax — in short, that necessity and "free- 
dom of will" are then the same thing with them. There is, 
in fine, a gradation of rank in psychical states, to which 
the gradation of rank in the problems corresponds; and the 
highest problems repel ruthlessly every one who ventures too 
near them, without being predestined for their solution by 
the loftiness and power of his spirituality. Of what use is it 
for nimble, everyday intellects, or clumsy, honest mechanics 
and empiricists to press, in their plebeian ambition, close to 
such problems, and as it were into this "holy of holies" — 
as so often happens nowadays! But coarse feet must never 
tread upon such carpets: this is provided for in the primary 
law of things; the doors remain closed to those intruders, 
though they may dash and break their heads thereon! 
People have always to be born to a high station, or, more 
definitely, they have to be bred for it: a person has only a 
ri^t to philosophy — taking the word in its higher signifi- 
cance — in virtue of his descent; the ancestors, the "blood," 
decide here also. Many generations must have prepared 
the way for the coming of the philosopher; each of his vir- 
tues must have been separately acquired, nurtured, trans- 
mitted, and embodied; not only the bold, easy, delicate 


course and current of his thoughts, but above all the readi- 
ness for great responsibilities, the majesty of ruling glance 
and contemning look, the feeling of separation from the 
multitude with their duties and virtues, the kindly patron- 
age and defence of whatever is misunderstood and calum- 
niated, be it God or devil, the delight and practice of su- 
preme justice, the art of commanding, the amplitude of will, 
the lingering eye which rarely admires, rarely looks up, 
rarely loves. . . . 

■ ,j^gtd 


Our ViRiUES 


Our Virtues? — It is probable that we, too, have still our 
virtues, although naturally they are not those sincere and 
massive virtues on account of which we hold our grand- 
fathers in esteem and also at a little distance from us. We 
Europeans of the day after to-morrow, we firstlings of the 
twentieth century — with all our dangerous curiosity, our 
multifariousness and art of disguising, our mellow and seem- 
ingly sweetened cruelty in sense awd spirit — we shall pre- 
sumably, if we must have virtues, have those only which 
have come to agreement with our most secret and heartfelt 
inclinations, with our most ardent requirements: well, then, 
let us look for them in our labyrinths! — where, as we know, 
so many things lose themselves, so mauy things get quite 
lost! And is there anything finer than to search for one's 
own virtues? Is it not almost to beliew in one's own vir- 
tues? But this "believing in one's own N'irtues" — is it not 
practically the same as what was formerly called one's 
"good conscience," that long, respectable pigfail of an idea, 
which our grandfathers used to hang behind their heads, 
and often enough also behind their understibsndings? It 
seems, therefore, that however little we may imagine our- 
selves to be old-fashioned and grandfatherly respectable in 



other respects, in one thing we are nevertheless the worthy 
grandchildren of our grandfathers, we last Europeans with 
good consciences: we also still wear their pigtail. — Ah! if 
you only knew how soon, so very soon — it will be different! 


As in the stellar firmament there are sometimes two sims 
which determine the path of one planet, and in certain 
cases suns of different colours shine around a single planet, 
now with red light, now with green, and then simultaneously 
illumine and flood it with motley colours: so we modem 
men, owing to the complicated mechanism of our "firma- 
ment," are determined by different moralities; our actions 
shine alternately in different colours, and are seldom un- 
equivocal — and there are often cases, also, in which our 
actions are motley-coloured. 


To love one's enemies? I think that has been well 
learnt: it takes place thousands of times at present on a 
large and small scale; indeed, at times the higher and sub- 
limer thing takes place: — we learn to despise when we love, 
and precisely when we love best; all of it, however, uncon- 
sciously, without noise, without ostentation, with the shame 
and secrecy of goodness, which forbids the utterance of the 
pompous word and the formula of virtue. Morality as atti- 
tude — is opposed to our taste nowadays. This is also an 
%idvance, as it was an advance in our fathers that religion 
as an attitude finally became opposed to their taste, in- 
cludKig the enmity and Voltairean bitterness against reli- 
gion fand all that formerly belonged to freethinker-panto- 


mime). It is the music in our conscience, the dance in our 
spirit, to which Puritan litanies, moral sermons, and goody- 
goodness won't chime. 


Let us be careful in dealing with those who attach great 
importance to being credited with moral tact and subtlety 
in moral discernment! They never forgive us if they have 
once made a mistake before us (or even with regard to us) — 
they inevitably become our instinctive calumniators and de- 
tractors, even when they still remain our "friends." — 
Blessed are the forgetful: for they "get the better" even of 
their blunders. 


The psychologists of France — and where else are there 
still psychologists nowadays? — ^have never yet exhausted 
their bitter and manifold enjoyment of the betise bour- 
geoise, just as though ... in short, they betray something 
thereby. Flaubert, for instance, the honest citizen of Rouen, 
neither saw, heard, nor tasted anything else in the end; it 
was his mode of self-torment and refined cruelty. As this 
is growing wearisome, I would now recommend for a change 
something else for a pleasure — namely, the unconscious 
astuteness with which good, fat, honest mediocrity always 
behaves towards loftier spirits and the tasks they have to 
perform, the subtle, barbed, Jesuitical astuteness, which is 
a thousand times subtler than the taste and understanding 
of the middle-class in its best moments — subtler even than 
the understanding of its victims: — a repeated proof that 
"instinct" is the most intelligent of all kinds of intelli- 


gence which have hitherto been discovered. In short, you 
psychologists, study the philosophy of the "rule" in its 
struggle with the ''exception": there you have a spectacle 
fit for Gods and godlike malignity! Or, in plainer words, 
practise vivisection on "good people," on the "homo bonae 
voluntatis," ... on yourselves! 


The practice of judging and condemning morally, is the 
favourite revenge of the intellectually shallow on those who 
are less so; it is also a kind of indemnity for their being 
badly endowed by nature; and finally, it is an opportunity 
for acquiring spirit and becoming subtle: — malice spiritual- 
ises. They are glad in their inmost heart that there is a 
standard according to which those who are over-endowed 
with intellectual goods and privileges, are equal to them; 
they contend for the "equality of all before God," and 
almost need the belief in God for this purpose It is among 
them that the most powerful antagonists of atheism are 
found. If any one were to say to them: "a lofty spirituality 
is beyond all comparison with the honesty and respectability 
of a merely moral man" — it would make them furious; I 
shall take care not to say so. I would rather flatter them 
with my theory that lofty spirituality itself exists only as 
the ultimate product of moral qualities; that it is a synthesis 
of all qualities attributed to the "merely moral" man, after 
they have been acquired singly through long training and 
practice, perhaps during a whole series of generations; that 
lofty spirituality is precisely the spiritualising of justice, and 
the beneficent severity which knows that it is authorised to. 
maintain gradations of rank in the world, even among thing? 
■ — and not only among men. 





Now that the praise of the "disinterested person" is so 
popular one must — probably not without some danger — get 
an idea of what people actually take an interest in, and 
what are the things generally which fundamentally and 
profoundly concern ordinary men — including the cultured, 
even the learned, and perhaps philosophers also, if appear- 
ances do not deceive. The fact thereby becomes obvious 
that the greater part of what interests and charms higher 
natures, and more refined and fastidious tastes, seems abso- 
lutely "iminteresting" to the average man: — if, notwith- 
standing, he perceive devotion to these interests, he calls 
it desinteresse, and wonders how it is possible to act "disin- 
terestedly." There have been philosophers who could give 
this popular astonishment a seductive and mystical, other- 
world expression (perhaps because they did not know the 
higher nature by experience?), instead of stating the naked 
and candidly reasonable truth that "disinterested" action 
is very interesting and "interested" action, provided that . . . 
"And love?" — What! Even an action for love's sake shall 
be "unegoistic"? But you fools — ! "And the praise of the 
self-sacrificer?" — But whoever has really offered sacrifice 
knows that he wanted and obtained something for it — per- 
haps something from himself for something from himself; 
that he relinquished here in order to have more there, per- 
haps in general to be more, or even feel himself "more.'" 
But this is a realm of questions and answers in which a 
more fastidious spirit does not like to stay: for here truth 
has to stifle her yawns so much when she is obliged to 
answer. And after all, truth is a woman; one must not us<^ 
force with her. 



"It sometimes happens," said a moralistic pedant £ind 
trifle-retailer, "that I honour and respect an unselfish man: 
not, however, because he is unselfish, but because I think he 
has a right to be useful to another man at his own expense. 
In short, the question is always who he is, and who the 
■other is. For instance, in a person created and destined for 
command, self-denial and modest retirement, instead of 
being virtues would be the waste of virtues: so it seems to 
me. Every system of unegoistic morality which takes itself 
unconditionally and appeals to every one, not only sins 
against good taste, but is also an incentive to sins of omis- 
sion, an additional seduction under the mask of philanthropy 
— and precisely a seduction and injury to the higher, rarer, 
and more privileged types of men. Moral systems must be 
•compelled first of all to bow before the gradations of rank; 
their presumption must be driven home to their conscience 
— until they thoroughly understand at last that it is immoral 
to say that "what is right for one is proper for another," — 
So said my moralistic pedant and honhomme. Did he per- 
haps deserve to be laughed at when he thus exhorted sys- 
tems of morals to practise morality? But one should not 
be too much in the right if one wishes to have the laughers 
on one's own side; a grain of wrong pertains even to good 


Wherever S5mipathy (fellow-suffering) is preached nowa 
days — and, if I gather rightly, no other religion is any 
longer preached — let the psychologist have his ears open 




through all the vanity, through all the noise which is natural 
to these preachers (as to all preachers), he will hear a 
hoarse, groaning, genuine note of self -contempt. It belongs 
to the overshadowing and uglifying of Europe, which has 
been on the increase for a century (the first symptoms of 
which are already specified documentarily in a thoughtful 
letter of Galiani to Madame d'Epinay) — if it is not really 
the cause thereof! The man of "modem ideas," the con- 
ceited ape, is excessively dissatisfied with himself — this is 
perfectly certain. He suffers, and his vanity wants him 
only *'to suffer with his fellows." 


The hybrid European — a tolerably ugly plebeian, taken 
all in all — absolutely requires a costume: he needs history 
as a storeroom of costumes. To be sure, he notices that 
none of the costumes fit him properly — he changes and 
changes. Let us look at the nineteenth century with respect 
to these hasty preferences and changes in its masquerades 
of style, and also with respect to its moments of despera- 
tion on accoimt of "nothing suiting" us. It is in vain to 
get ourselves up as romsmtic, or classical, or Christian, or 
Florentine, or barocco, or "national," in moribus et artibus: 
it does not "clothe us"! But the "spirit," especially the 
"historical spirit," profits even by this desperation: once 
and again a new sample of the past or of the foreign is 
tested, put on, taken off, packed up, and above all studied — 
we are the first studious age in puncto of "costumes," I 
mean as concerns morals, articles of belief, artistic tastes, 
and religions; we are prepared as no other age has ever 
been for a carnival in the grand style, for the most spiritual 
festival-laughter and arrogance, for the transcendental height 


of supreme folly and Aristophanic ridicule of the world. 
Perhaps we are still discovering the domain of our invention 
just here, the domain where even we can still be original, 
probably as parodists of the world's history and as God's 
Merry-Andrews, — perhaps, though nothing else of the pres- 
ent have a future, our laughter itself may have a future! 


The historical sense (or the capacity for divining quickly 
the order of rank of the valuations according to which a 
people, a commimity, or an individual has lived, the "divin- 
ing instinct" for the relationships of these valuations, for 
the relation of the authority of the valuations to the author- 
ity of the operating forces), — this historical sense, which we 
Europeans claim as our specialty, has come to us in the 
train of the enchanting and mad semi-barbarity into which 
Europe has been plunged by the democratic mingling of 
classes and races — it is only the nineteenth century that has 
recognised this faculty as its sixth sense. Owing to this 
mingling, the past of every form and mode of life, and of 
cultures which were formerly closely contiguous and super- 
imposed on one another, flows forth into us "modem souls"; 
our instincts now run back in all directions, we ourselves are 
a kind of chaos: in the end, as we have said, the spirit per- 
ceives its advantage therein. By means of our semi-barbarity 
in body and in desire, we have secret access everywhere, 
such as a noble age never had; we have access above all to 
the labyrinth of imperfect civilisations, and to every form 
of semi-barbarity that has at any time existed on earth ; and 
in so far as the most considerable part of human civilisation 
hitherto has just been semi-barbarity, the "historical sense" 
implies almost the sense and instinct for everything, th 



taste and tongue for everything: whereby it immediately 
proves itself to be an ignoble sense. For instance, we enjoy 
Homer once more: it is perhaps our happiest acquisition that 
we know how to appreciate Homer, whom men of distin- 
guished culture (as the French of the seventeenth century, 
like Saint-Evremond, who reproached him for his esprit vastCy 
and even Voltaire, the last echo of the century) cannot and 
could not so easily appropriate — whom they scarcely per- 
mitted themselves to enjoy. The very decided Yea and 
Nay of their palate, their promptly ready disgust, their 
hesitating reluctance with regard to everything strange, their 
horror of the bad taste even of lively curiosity, and in 
general the averseness of every distinguished and self-suffi- 
cing culture to avow a new desire, a dissatisfaction with its 
own condition, or an admiration of what is strange: all this 
determines and disposes them unfavourably even towards the 
best things of the world which are not their property or 
could not become their prey — and no faculty is more unin- 
telligible to such men than just this historical sense, with 
its truckling, plebeian curiosity. The case is not different 
with Shakespeare, that marvellous Spanish-Moorish-Saxon 
synthesis of taste, over whom an ancient Athenian of the 
circle of ^schylus would have half-killed himself with laugh- 
ter or irritation: but we — accept precisely this wild motley- 
ness, this medley of the most delicate, the most coarse, and 
the most artificial, with a secret confidence and cordiality; 
we enjoy it as a refinement of art reserved expressly for us, 
and allow ourselves to be as little disturbed by the repulsive 
fumes and the proximity of the English populace in which 
Shakespeare's art and taste lives, as perhaps on the Chiaja 
of Naples, where, with all our senses awake, we go our 
way, enchanted and voluntarily, in spite of the drain-odour 
of the lower quarters of the town. That as men of the 


"historical sense" we have our virtues, is not to be dis- 
puted: — we are unpretentious, unselfish, modest, brave, 
habituated to self-control and self-renunication, very grate- 
ful, very patient, very complaisant — ^but with all this we are 
perhaps not very "tasteful." Let us finally confess it, that 
what is most difficult for us men of the "historical sense" to 
grasp, feel, taste, and love, what finds us fundamentally 
prejudiced and almost hostile, is precisely the perfection and 
ultimate maturity in every culture and art, the essentially 
noble in works and men, their moment of smooth sea and 
halcyon self-sufficiency, the goldenness and coldness which 
all things show that have perfected themselves. Perhaps our 
great virtue of the historical sense is in necessary contrast 
to good taste, at least to the very bad taste; and we can 
only evoke in ourselves imperfectly, hesitatingly, and withJ 
compulsion the small, short, and happy godsends and glori- 
fications of human life as they shine here and there: those 
moments and marvellous experiences when a great power has 
voluntarily come to a halt before the boundless and infinite, 
— when a superabundance of refined delight has been en- 
joyed by a sudden checking and petrifying, by standing 
firmly and planting oneself fixedly on still trembling groimd. 
Proportionateness is strange to us, let us confess it to our- 
selves; our itching is really the itching for the infinite, the 
immeasurable. Like the rider on his forward panting horse, 
we let the reins fall before the infinite, we modem men, we 
semi-barbarians — and are only in our highest bliss when we 
— are in most danger. 


Whether it be hedonism, pessimism, utilitarianism, or eu^ 
dsemonism, all those modes of thinking which measure th< 


worth of things according to pleasure and pain, that is, 
according to accompanying circumstances and secondary 
considerations, are plausible modes of thought and naivetes, 
which every one conscious of creative powers and an artist's 
conscience will look down upon with scorn, though not 
without sjmnpathy. Sympathy for you! — to be sure, that is 
not sympathy as you understand it: it is not sympathy for 
social "distress," for "society" with its sick and misfor- 
tuned, for the hereditarily vicious and defective who lie on 
the ground around us; still less is it S5mipathy for the 
grumbling, vexed, revolutionary slave-classes who strive af- 
ter power — they call it "freedom." Our sympathy is a lof- 
tier and further-sighted sympathy: — we see how man dwarfs 
himself, how you dwarf him! and there are moments when 
we view your sympathy with an indescribable anguish, when 
we resist it, — when we regard your seriousness as more dan- 
gerous than any kind of levity. You want, if possible— 
and there is not a more foolish "if possible" — to do away 
with suffering; and we? — it really seems that we would 
rather have it increased and made worse than it has ever 
been! Well-being, as you understand it — is certainly not p 
goal; it seems to us an end; a condition which at once ren 
ders man ludicrous and contemptible — and makes his de- 
struction desirable! The discipline of suffering, of great' 
suffering — know ye not that it is only this discipline that 
has produced all the elevations of humanity hitherto? The 
tension of soul in misfortune which communicates to it its 
energy, its shuddering in view of rack and ruin, its inven- 
tiveness and bravery in undergoing, enduring, interpreting, 
and exploiting misfortune, and whatever depth, mystery, 
disguise, spirit, artifice, or greatness has been bestov/ed upon 
the soul — has it not been bestowed through suffering, 
through the discipline of great suffering? In man creature 


and creator are united: in man there is not only matter, 
shred, excess, clay, mire, folly, chaos; but there is also the 
creator, the sculptor, the hardness of the hammer, the divin- 
ity of the spectator, and the seventh day — do ye understand 
this contrast? And that your sympathy for the "creature 
in man" applies to that which has to be fashioned, bruised, 
forged, stretched, roasted, annealed, refined — to that which 
must necessarily suffer, and is meant to suffer? And our 
sympathy — do ye not understand what our reverse sympathy 
applies to, when it resists your sympathy as the worst of 
all pampering and enervation? — So it is sympathy against 
sympathy! — But to repeat it once more, there are higher 
problems than the problems of pleasure and pain and sym- 
pathy; and all systems of philosophy which deal only with 
these are naivetes. 


We Immoralists. — This world with which we are concerned, 
in which we have to fear and love, this almost invisible, in- 
audible world of delicate command and delicate obedience, 
a world of "almost" in every respect, captious, insidious, 
sharp, and tender — yes, it is well protected from clumsy 
spectators and familiar curiosity! We are woven into a 
strong net and garment of duties, and cannot disengage our- 
selves — precisely here, we are "men of duty," even we! 
Occasionally it is true we dance in our "chains" and be- 
twixt our "swords"; it is none the less true that more often 
we gnash our teeth under the circumstances, and are impa- 
tient at the secret hardship of our lot. But do what we 
will, fools and appearances say of us: "these are men without 
duty," — we have always fools and appearances against us! 



Honesty, granting that it is the virtue from which we 
cannot rid ourselves, we free spirits — well, we will labour 
at it with all our perversity and love, and not tire of "per- 
fecting" ourselves in our virtue, which alone remains': may 
its glance some day overspread like a gilded, blue, mocking 
twilight this aging civilisation with its dull gloomy serious- 
ness! And if, nevertheless, our honesty should one day grow 
weary, and sigh, and stretch its limbs, and find us too hard, 
and would fain have it pleasanter, easier, and gentler, like 
an agreeable vice, let us remain hard, we latest Stoics, and 
let us send to its help whatever devilry we have in us: — 
our disgust at the clumsy and undefined, omx "nitimur in 
vetitum" our love of adventure, our sharpened and fastidi- 
ous curiosity, our most subtle, disguised, intellectual Will 
to Power and universal conquest, which rambles and roves 
avidiously around all the realms of the future — ^let us go with 
all our "devils" to the help of our "God"! It is probable 
that people will misunderstand and mistake us on that ac- 
count: what does it matter! They will say: "Their 'hon- 
esty' — that is their devilry, and nothing else!" What does 
itimatter! And even if they were right — ^have not all Gods 
hitherto been such sanctified, re-baptized devils? And after 
all, what do we know of ourselves? And what the spirit 
that leads us wants to be called? (It is a question of names.) 
And how many spirits we harbour? Our honesty, we free 
spirits — let us be careful lest it become our vanity, our orna- 
ment and ostentation, our limitation, our stupidity! Every 
virtue inclines to stupidity, every stupidity to virtue; "stu- 
pid to the point of sanctity," they say in Russia, — let us 
be careful lest out of pure honesty we do not eventually 


become saints and bores! Is not life a hundred times too 
short for us — to bore ourselves? One would have to believe 
in eternal life in order to. . . . 


I hope to be forgiven for discovering that all moral philos- 
ophy hitherto has been tedious and has belonged to the 
soporific appliances — and that "virtue," in my opinion, has 
been more injured by the tediousness of its advocates than 
by anything else; at the same time, however, I would not 
■wish to overlook their general usefulness. It is desirable that 
as few people as possible should reflect upon morals, and 
consequently it is very desirable that morals should not 
some day become interesting! But let us not be afraid! 
Things still remain to-day as they have always been: I see 
no one in Europe who has (or discloses) an idea of the fact 
that philosophising concerning morals might be conducted in 
a dangerous, captious, and ensnaring manner — that calamity 
might be involved therein. Observe, for example, the inde- 
fatigable, inevitable English utilitarians: how ponderously 
and respectably they stalk on, stalk along (a Homeric meta- 
phor expresses it better) in the footsteps of Bentham, just 
as he had already stalked in the footsteps of the respectable 
Helvetius! (no, he was not a dangerous man, HelvetiusJ 
ce senateur Pococurante, to use an expression of Galiani). 
No new thought, nothing of the nature of a finer turning or] 
better expression of an old thought, not even a proper his- 
tory of what has been previously thought on the subject: 1 
an impossible literature, taking it all in all, unless one knowsj 
how to leaven it with some mischief. In effect, the oldj 
English vice called cant, which is moral Tartuffism, has in- 


sinuated itself eilso into these moralists (whom one must 
certainly read with an eye to their motives if one must 
read them), concealed this time under the new form of the 
scientific spirit; moreover, there is not absent from them a 
secret struggle with the pangs of conscience, from which a 
race of former Puritans must naturally suffer, in all their 
scientific tinkering with morals. (Is not a moralist the op- 
posite of a Puritan? That is to say, as a thinker who re- 
gards morality as questionable, as worthy of interrogation, 
in short, as a problem? Is moralising not — immoral?) In 
the end, they all want English morality to be recognised as 
authoritative, inasmuch as mankind, or the "general utility," 
or "the happiness of the greatest number,'' — no! the happi- 
ness of England, will be best served thereby. They would 
like, by all means, to convince themselves that the striving 
after English happiness, I mean after comfort and fashion 
(and in the highest instance, a seat in Parliament), is at the 
same time the true path of virtue; in fact, that in so far as 
there has been virtue in the world hitherto, it has just con- 
sisted in such striving. Not one of those ponderous, con- 
science-stricken herding-animals (who undertake to advocate 
the cause of egoism as conducive to the general welfare) 
wants to have any knowledge or inkling of the facts that 
the "general welfare" is no ideal, no goal, no notion that 
can be at all grasped, but is only a nostrum, — that what is 
fair to one may not at all be fair to another, that the re- 
quirement of one morality for all is really a detriment to 
higher men, in short, that there is a distinction of rank be- 
tween man and man, and consequently between morality 
and morality. They are an unassuming and fundamentally 
mediocre species of men, these utilitarian Englishmen, and, 
as already remarked, in so far as they are tedious, one can- 
not think highly enough of their utility. One ought even to 


encourage them, as has been partially attempted in the fol- 
lowing rhymes: — 

Hail, ye worthies, barrow-wheeling, 
"Longer — better," aye revealing, 

Stiff er aye in head and knee; 
Unenraptured, never jesting, 
Mediocre everlasting, 

Sans genie et sans esprit! 


In these later ages, which may be proud of their human- 
ity, there still remains so much fear, so much superstition 
of the fear, of the "cruel wild beast," the mastering of 
which constitutes the very pride of these humaner ages — 
that even obvious truths, as if by the agreement of centuries, 
have long remained unuttered, because they have the ap- 
pearance of helping the finally slain wild beast back to life 
again. I perhaps risk something when I allow such a truth 
to escape; let others capture it again and give it so much 
"milk of pious sentiment" * to drink, that it will lie down 
quiet and forgotten, in its old corner. — One ought to learn 
anew about cruelty, and open one's eyes; one ought at last 
to learn impatience, in order that such immodest gross 
errors — as, for instance, have been fostered by ancient and 
modem philosophers with regard to tragedy — may no 
longer wander about virtuously and boldly. Almost every-^ 
thing that we call "higher culture" is based upon the spirit- 
ualising and intensifying of cruelty — this is my thesis; thcj 
"wild beast" has not been slain at all, it lives, it flourishes, 

♦An expression from Schiller's William Tell, Act IV, Scene 


has only been — transfigured. That which constitutes the 
painful delight of tragedy is cruelty; that which operates 
agreeably in so-called tragic sympathy, and at the basis 
even of everything sublime, up to the highest and most 
delicate thrills of metaphysics, obtains its sweetness solely 
from the intermingled ingredient of cruelty. What the Ro- 
man enjoys in the arena, the Christian in the ecstasies of the 
cross, the Spaniard at the sight of the faggot and stake, or 
of the bull-fight, the present-day Japanese who presses his 
way to the tragedy, the workman of the Parisian suburbs 
who has a homesickness for bloody revolutions, the Wagner- 
ienne who, with unhinged will, "undergoes" the perform- 
ance of "Tristan and Isolde" — what all these enjoy, and 
strive with mysterious ardour to drink in, is the philtre 
of the great Circe "cruelty." Here, to be sure, we must put 
aside entirely the blundering psychology of former times, 
which could only teach with regard to cruelty that it origi- 
nated at the sight of the suffering of others: there is an 
abundant, superabundant enjoyment even in one's own suf- 
fering, in causing one's own suffering — and wherever man 
has allowed himself to be persuaded to self-denial in the 
religious sense, or to self-mutilation, as among the Phoeni- 
cians and ascetics, or in general, to desensualisation, decar- 
nalisation, and contrition, to Puritanical repentance-spasms, 
to vivisection of conscience and to Pascal-like sacrifizia dell' 
intelleto, he is secretly allured and impelled forwards by his 

ICTuelty, by the dangerous thrill of cruelty towards himself. 
[f— Finally, let us consider that even the seeker of knowledge 
pperates as an artist and glorifier of cruelty, in that he 
compels his spirit to perceive against its own inclination, and 
often enough against the wishes of his heart: — he forces it 
to say Nay, where he would like to affirm, love, and adore.; 
raideed, every instance of taking a thing profoundly and 


fundamentally, is a violation, an intentional injuring of the 
iundamental will of the spirit, which instinctively aims at 
appearance and superficiality, — even in every desire for 
knowledge there is a drop of cruelty. 


Perhaps what I have said here about a "fundamental will 
jf the spirit" may not be understood without further de- 
tails; I may be allowed a word of explanation. — ^That im- 
perious something which is popularly called "the spirit," 
wishes to be master internally and externally, and to feel 
itself master; it has the will of a multiplicity for a sim- 
plicity, a binding, taming, imperious, and essentially ruling 
will. Its requirements and capacities here, are the same as 
those assigned by physiologists to everything that lives, 
grows, and multiplies. The power of the spirit to appro- 
priate foreign elements reveals itself in a strong tendency to 
assimilate the new to the old, to simplify the manifold, to 
overlook or repudiate the absolutely contradictory; just as 
it arbitrarily re-underlines, makes prominent, and falsifies 
for itself certain traits and lines in the foreign elements, in 
every portion of the "outside world." Its object thereby isi 
the incorporation of new "experiences," the assortment of 
new thing's in the old arrangements — in short, growth; or 
more properly, the feeling of growth, the feeling of increased 
power — is its object. This same will has at its service an 
apparently opposed impulse of the spirit, a suddenly adopted 
preference of ignorance, of arbitrary shutting out, a closing 
of windows, an inner denial of this or that, a prohibition to 
approach, a sort of defensive attitude against much that is 
knowable, a contentment with obscurity, with the shutting-in 
horizon, an acceptance and approval of ignorance: as thai 



which is all necessary according to the degree of its appro- 
priating power, its "digestive power," to speak figuratively 
(and in fact "the spirit" resembles a stomach more than 
anything else). Here also belong an occasional propensity 
of the spirit to let itself be deceived (perhaps with a wag- 
gish suspicion that it is not so and so, but is only allowed to 
pass as such), a delight in uncertainty and ambiguity, an 
exulting enjojonent of arbitrary, out-of-the-way narrowness 
and mystery, of the too-near, of the foreground, of the 
magnified, the diminished, the misshapen, the beautified — an 
enjoyment of the arbitrariness of all these manifestations of 
power. Finally, in this connection, there is the not unscru- 
pulous readiness of the spirit to deceive other spirits and 
dissemble before them — the constant pressing and straining 
of a creating, shaping, changeable power: the spirit enjoys 
therein its craftiness and its variety of disguises, it enjoys 
also its feeling of security therein — it is precisely by its Pro- 
tean arts that it is best protected and concealed! — Counter 
to this propensity for appearance, for simplification, for a 
disguise, for a cloak, in short, for an outside — for every out- 
side is a cloak — there operates the sublime tendency of the 
man of knowledge, which takes, and insists on taking things 
profoundly, variously, and thoroughly; as a kind of cruelty 
of the intellectual conscience and taste, which every cour- 
ageous thinker will acknowledge in himself, provided, as it 
ought to be, that he has sharpened and hardened his eye 
^sufficiently long for introspection, and is accustomed to se- 
vere discipline and even severe words. He will say: "There 
is something cruel in the tendency of my spirit": let the 
idrtuous and amiable try to convince him that it is not so! 
tn fact, it would sound nicer, if, instead of our cruelty, per- 
laps our "extravagant honesty" were talked about, whis- 
jred about and glorified — we free, very free spirits — and 


some day perhaps such will actually be our — posthumous 
glory! Meanwhile — for there is plenty of time until then — 
we should be least inclined to deck ourselves out in such 
florid and fringed moral verbiage; our whole former work 
has just made us sick of this taste and its sprightly exuber- 
ance. They are beautiful, glistening, jingling, festive words: 
honesty, love of truth, love of wisdom, sacrifice for knowl- 
edge, heroism of the truthful — there is something in them 
that makes one's heart swell with pride. But we anchorites 
and marmots have long ago persuaded ourselves in all the 
secrecy of an anchorite's conscience, that this worthy parade 
of verbiage also belongs to the old false adornment, frip- 
pery, and gold-dust of unconscious human vanity, and that 
even under such flattering colour and repainting, the terrible 
original text homo natura must again be recognised. In ef- 
fect, to translate man back again into nature; to master 
the many vain and visionary interpretations and subordinate 
meanings which have hitherto been scratched and daubed 
over the eternal original text, homo natura; to bring it 
about that man shall henceforth stand before man as he now, 
hardened by the discipline of science, stands before the other 
forms of nature, with fearless CEdipus-eyes, and stopped 
Ulysses-ears, deaf to the enticements of old metaphysical 
bird-catchers, who have piped to him far too long: "Thou 
art more! thou art higher! thou hast a different origin!" — 
this may be a strange and foolish task, but that it is a task, 
who can deny! Why did we choose it, this foolish task? 
Or, to put the question differently: "Why knowledge at 
all?" Every one will ask us about this. And thus pressed, 
we, who have asked ourselves the question a hundred times, 
have not foimd, and cannot find any better answer. 




Learning alters us, it does what all nourishment does that 
does not merely "conserve" — as the physiologist knows. But 
at the bottom of our souls, quite "down below," there is cer- 
tainly something unteachable, a granite of spiritual fate, of 
predetermined decision and answer to predetermined, chosen 
questions. In each cardinal problem there sp)eaks an im- 
changeable "I am this"; a thinker cannot learn anew about 
man and woman, for instance, but can only learn fully — ^he 
can only follow to the end what is "fixed" about them in 
himself. Occasionally we find certain solutions of problems 
which make strong beliefs for us; perhaps they are hence- 
forth called "convictions." Later on — one sees in them only 
footsteps to self-knowledge, guide-posts to the problem which 
we ourselves are — or more correctly to the great stupidity 
which we embody, our spiritual fate, the unteachable in us, 
quite "down below." — In view of this liberal compliment 
which I have just paid myself, permission will perhaps be 
more readily allowed me to utter some truths about "woman 
as she is," provided that it is known at the outset how liter- 
ally they are merely — my truths. 


Woman wishes to be independent, and therefore she be- 

is to enlighten men about "woman as she is" — this is one 

)f the worst developments of the general uglifying of Eur- 

)pe. For what must these clumsy attempts of feminine 

:ientificality and self -exposure bring to light! Woman has 

much cause for shame; in woman there is so much pe- 

mtry, superficiality, schoolmasterliness, petty presumption, 


unbridledness, and indiscretion concealed — study only wom- 
an's behaviour towards children! — which has really been 
best restrained and dominated hitherto by the fear of man. 
Alas, if ever the "eternally tedious in woman" — she has 
plenty of it! — is allowed to venture forth! if she begins 
radically and on principle to unlearn her wisdom and art — 
of charming, of playing, of frightening away sorrow, of alle- 
viating and taking easily; if she forgets her delicate aptitude 
for agreeable desires! Female voices are already raised, 
which, by Saint Aristophanes! make one afraid: — with medi- 
cal explicitness it is stated in a threatening manner what 
woman first and last requires from man. Is it not in the 
very worst taste that woman thus sets herself up to be scien- 
tific? Enlightenment hitherto has fortunately been men's 
affair, men's gift — we remained therewith "among ourselves"; 
and in the end, in view of all that women write about 
"woman," we may well have considerable doubt as to whether 
woman really desires enlightenment about herself — and can 
desire it. If woman does not thereby seek a new ornament 
for herself — I believe ornamentation belongs to the eternally 
feminine? — why, then, she wishes to make herself feared: 
perhaps she thereby wishes to get the mastery. But she does 
not want truth — what does woman care for truth? From 
the very first nothing is more foreign, more repugnant, or 
more hostile to woman than truth — her great art is false- 
hood, her chief concern is appearance and beauty. Let us 
confess it, we men: we honour and love this very art and 
this very instinct in woman: we who have the hard task, 
and for our recreation gladly seek the company of beings 
under whose hands, glances, and delicate follies, our seri- 
ousness, our gravity, and profundity appear almost like fol 
lies to us. Finally, I ask the question: Did a woman her 
?e]f ever acknowledge profundity in a woman's mind, oi 



justice in a woman's heart? And is it not true that on the 
whole ''woman" has hitherto been most despised by woman 
herself, and not at all by us? — We men desire that woman 
should not continue to compromise herself by enlightening 
us; just as it was man's care and the consideration for 
woman, when the church decreed: mulier taceat in ecclesia. 
[t was to the benefit of woman when Napoleon gave the too 
eloquent Madame de Stael to understand: mulier taceat in 
politicisf — and in my opinion, he is a true friend of woman 
who calls out to women to-day: mulier taceat de mulier e! 


It betrays corruption of the instincts — apart from the 
fact that it betrays bad taste — when a woman refers to 
Madame Roland, or Madame de Stael, or Monsieur George 
Sand, as though something were proved thereby in favour 
of "woman as she is." Among men, these are the three 
comical women as they are — nothing more! — and just the 
best involuntary counter-arguments against feminine eman- 
-cipation and autonomy. 


Stupidity in the kitchen; woman as cook; the terrible 
loughtlessness with which the feeding of the family and 
le master of the house is managed! Woman does not un- 

ierstand what food means, and she insists on being cook! 

[f woman had been a thinking creature, she should cer- 
linly, as cook for thousands of years, have discovered the 
lost important physiological facts, and should likewise have 

jot possession of the healing art ! Through bad female cooks 
-through the entire lack of reason in the kitchen — the de- 


velopment of mankind has been longest retarded and most 
interfered with: even to-day matters are very little better. — 
A word to High School girls. 


There are turns and casts of fancy, there are sentences, 
little handfuls of words, in which a whole culture, a whole 
society suddenly crystallises itself. Among these is the in- 
cidental remark of Madame de Lambert to her son: "Mon 
ami, ne vous permettez jamais que des folies, qui vous feront 
grand plaisir" — the motherliest and wisest remark, by the 
way, that was ever addressed to a son. 


I have no doubt that every noble woman will oppose what 
Dante and Goethe believed about woman — the former when 
he sang, "ella guardava suso, ed io in lei," and the latter 
when he interpreted it, "the eternally feminine draws us 
aloft"; for this is just what she believes of the eternally mas-, 


Seven Apophthegms for Women 

How the longest ennui flees, 

When a man comes to our knees! ' 

Age, alas! and science staid, 
Furnish even weak virtue aid. 


Sombre garb and silence meet: 
Dress for every dame — discreet. 

Whom I thank when in my bliss? 
God! — and my good tailoress! 

Young, a flower-decked cavern home; 
Old, a dragon thence doth roam. 

Noble title, leg that's fine, 

Man as well: Oh, were he mine! 

Sjjeech in brief and sense in mass — 
Slippery for the jenny-ass! 

23 7A 

Woman has hitherto been treated by men like birds, which, 
losing their way, have come down among them from an 
elevation: as something delicate, fragile, wild, strange, sweet, 
and animating — but as something also which must be cooped 
up to prevent it flying away. 


To be mistaken in the fundamental problem of "man and 
roman," to deny here the profoundest antagonism and the 
necessity for an eternally hostile tension, to dream here per- 

ips of equal rights, equal training, equal claims and obliga- 
tions: that is a typical sign of shallow-mindedness ; and a 

linker who has proved himself shallow at this dangerous 
)t — shallow in instinct! — may generally be regarded as 

ispicious, nay more, as betrayed, as discovered; he will 


probably prove too "short" for all fundamental questions 
of life, future as well as present, and will be unable to de- 
scend into any of the depths. On the other hand, a man 
who has depth of spirit as well as of desires, and has also 
the depth of benevolence which is capable of severity and 
harshness, and easily confounded with them, can only think 
of woman as Orientals do: he must conceive of her as a 
possession, as confinable property, as a being predestined for 
service and accomplishing her mission therein — ^he must 
take his stand in this matter upon the immense rationality 
of Asia, upon the superiority of the instinct of Asia, as the 
Greeks did formerly; those best heirs and scholars of Asia — 
who, as is well known, with their increasing culture and am- 
plitude of power, from Homer to the time of Pericles, became 
gradually stricter towards woman, in short, more oriental. 
How necessary, how logical, even how humanely desirable 
this was, let us consider for ourselves! 


The weaker sex has in no previous age been treated with 
so much respect by men as at present — this belongs to the 
tendency and fundamental taste of democracy, in the same 
way as disrespectfulness to old age — what wonder is it that 
abuse should be immediately made of this respect? They 
want more, they learn to make claims, the tribute of respect 
is at last felt to be well-nigh galling; rivalry for rights, in- 
deed actual strife itself, would be preferred: in a word, 
woman is losing modesty. And let us immediately add that 
she is also losing taste. She is unlearning to jear man: but 
the woman who "unlearns to fear" sacrifices her most wom- 
anly instincts. That woman should venture forward when 
the fear-inspiring quality in man — or more definitely, thJi 


man in man — is no longer either desired or fully developed, 
is reasonable enough and also intelligible enough; what is 
more difficult to understand is that precisely thereby — ■ 
woman deteriorates. This is what is happening nowadays: 
let us not deceive ourselves about it! Wherever the indus- 
trial spirit has triumphed over the military and aristocratic 
spirit, woman strives for the economic and legal independ- 
ence of a clerk: ''woman as clerkess" is inscribed on the por- 
tal of the modern society which is in course of formation. 
While she thus appropriates new rights, aspires to be "mas- 
ter," and inscribes "progress" of woman on her flags and 
banners, the very opposite realises itself with terrible ob- 
viousness: woman retrogrades. Since the French Revolution 
the influence of woman in Europe has declined in proportion 
as she has increased her rights and claims; and the "emanci- 
pation of woman," in so far as it is desired and demanded 
by women themselves (and not only by masculine shallow- 
pates), thus proves to be a remarkable symptom of the in- 
creased weakening and deadening of the most womanly in- 
stincts. There is stupidity in this movement, an almost mas- 
culine stupidity, of which a well-reared woman — who is al- 
ways a sensible woman — might be heartily ashamed. To 
lose the intuition as to the ground upon which she can most 
surely achieve victory; to neglect exercise in the use of her 
proper weapons; to let-herself-go before man, perhaps even 
"to the book," where formerly she kept herself in control 
and in refined, artful humility; to neutralise with her vir- 
tuous audacity man's faith in a veiled, fundamentally differ- 
it ideal in woman, something eternally, necessarily femi- 
ine; to emphatically and loquaciously dissuade man from 
le idea that woman must be preserved, cared for, pro- 
ected, and indulged, like some delicate, strangely wild, and 
tften pleasant domestic animal; the clumsy and indignant 


collection of everything of the nature of servitude and bond- 
age which the position of woman in the hitherto existing 
order of society has entailed and still entails (as though 
fslavery were a counter-argument, and not rather a condition 
of every higher culture, of every elevation of culture): — 
what does all this betoken, if not a disintegration of womanly 
instincts, a de-feminising? Certainly, there are enough of 
idiotic friends and corrupters of woman amongst the learned 
asses of the masculine sex, who advise woman to de-feminise 
herself in this manner, and to imitate all the stupidities from 
which "man" in Europe, European "manliness," suffers, — 
who would like to lower woman to "general culture," indeed 
even to newspaper reading and meddling with politics. Here 
and there they wish even to make women into free spirits 
and literary workers: as though a woman without piety 
would not be something perfectly obnoxious or ludicrous to 
a profound and godless man; — almost everywhere her nerves 
are being ruined by the most morbid and dangerous kind of 
music (our latest German music), and she is daily being 
made more hysterical and more incapable of fulfilling her 
first and last function, that of bearing robust children. They 
wish to "cultivate" her in general still more, and intend, as 
they say, to make the "weaker sex" strong by culture: as 
if history did not teach in the most emphatic manner that 
the "cultivating" of mankind and his weakening — that is to 
say, the weakening, dissipating, and languishing of his force 
of will — have always kept pace with one another, and that 
the most powerful and influential women in the world (and 
lastly, the mother of Napoleon) had just to thank their 
force of will — and not their schoolmasters! — for their power 
and ascendency over men. That which inspires respect in 
woman, and often enough fear also, is her nature, which is 
more "natural" than that of man, her genuine, camivora- 


like, cunning flexibility, her tiger-claws beneath the glove, 
her naivete in egoism, her untrainableness and innate wild- 
ness, the incomprehensibleness, extent and deviation of her 
desires and virtues. . . . That which, in spite of fear, ex- 
cites one's sympathy for the dangerous and beautiful cat, 
"woman," is that she seems more afflicted, more vulnerable, 
more necessitous of love and more condemned to disillusion- 
ment than any other creature. Fear and sympathy: it is 
with these feelings that man has hitherto stood in the pres- 
ence of woman, always with one foot already in tragedy, 
which rends while it delights. — What? And all that is now 
to be at an end? And the disenchantment of woman is in 
progress? The tediousness of woman is slowly evolving? 
Oh Europe! Europe! We know the homed animal which 
was always most attractive to thee, from which danger is 
ever again threatening thee! Thy old fable might once 
more become "history" — an immense stupidity might once 
again overmaster thee and carry thee away! And no God 
concealed beneath it — no! only an "idea," a "modem 
idea"! . . . 


Peoples and Countries 


I HEARD, once again for the first time, Richard Wagner's 
overture to the Master singers: it is a piece of magnificent, 
gorgeous, heavy, latter-day art, which has the pride to pre- 
suppose two centuries of music as still living, in order that it 
may be understood: — it is an honour to Germans that such a 
pride did not miscalculate! Wliat flavours and forces, what 
seasons and climes do we not find mingled in it! It im- 
presses us at one time as ancient, at another time as foreign, 
bitter, and too modem, it is as abitrary as it is pompously 
traditional, it is not infrequently roguish, still oftener rough 
and coarse — it has fire and courage, and at the same time 
the loose, dun-coloured skin of fruits which ripen too late. 
It flows broad and full: and suddenly there is a moment of 
inexplicable hesitation, like a gap that opens between cause 
and effect, an oppression that makes us dream, almost a 
nightmare; but already it broadens and widens anew, the 
old stream of delight — the most manifold delight, — of old 
and new happiness; including especially the joy of the artist 
in himself, which he refuses to conceal, his astonished, happy 
cognisance of his mastery of the expedients here employed, 
the new, newly acquired, imperfectly tested expedients of 



art which he apparently betrays to us. All in all, however, 
no beauty, no South, nothing of the delicate southern clear- 
ness of the sky, nothing of grace, no dance, hardly a will 
to logic; a certain clumsiness even, which is also empha- 
sised, as though the artist wished to say to us: "It is part 
of my intention"; a cumbersome drapery, something arbi- 
trarily barbaric and ceremonious, a flirring of learned and 
venerable conceits and witticisms; something German in 
the best and worst sense of the word, something in the Ger- 
man style, manifold, formless, and inexhaustible; a certain 
German potency and super-plenitude of soul, which is not 
afraid to hide itself under the raffinements of decadence — 
which, perhaps, feels itself most at ease there; a real, gen- 
uine token of the German soul, which is at the same time 
young and aged, too ripe and yet still too rich in futurity. 
This kind of music expresses best what I think of the Ger- 
mans: they belong to the day before yesterday and the day 
after to-morrow — they have as yet no to-day. 


We "good Europeans," we also have hours when v/e 

allow ourselves a warm-hearted patriotism, a plunge and 

relapse into old loves and narrow views — I have just given 

an example of it — ^hours of national excitement, of patriotic 

anguish, and all other sorts of old-fashioned floods of senti- 

lent. Duller spirits may perhaps only get done with what 

jnfines its operations in us to hours and plays itself out 

hours — in a considerable time: some in half a year, others 

half a lifetime, according to the speed and strength with 

^hich they digest and "change their material." Indeed, I 

3uld think of sluggish, hesitating races, which even in our 


rapidly moving Europe, would require half a century ere 
they could surmount such atavistic attacks of patriotism and 
soil-attachment, and return once more to reason, that is to 
say, to "good Europeanism." And while digressing on this 
possibility, I happen to become an ear-witness of a conver- 
sation between two old patriots — they were evidently both 
hard of hearing and consequently spoke all the louder. "He 
has as much, and knows as much, philosophy as a peasant 
or a corps-student," said the one — "he is still innocent. But 
what does that matter nowadays! It is the age of the 
masses: they lie on their belly before everything that is mas- 
sive. And so also in politicis. A statesman who rears up for 
them a new Tower of Babel, some monstrosity of empire 
and power, they call 'great' — what does it matter that we 
more prudent and conservative ones do not meanwhile give 
up the old belief that it is only the great thought that gives 
greatness to an action or affair. Supposing a statesman 
were to bring his people into the position of being obliged 
henceforth to practise 'high politics,' for which they were by 
nature badly endowed and prepared, so that they would have 
to sacrifice their old and reliable virtues, out of love to a new 
and doubtful mediocrity; — supposing a statesman were to 
condemn his people generally to 'practise politics,' when 
they have hitherto had something better to do and think 
about, and when in the depths of their souls they have been 
unable to free themselves from a prudent loathing of the 
restlessness, emptiness, and noisy wranglings of the essen- 
tially politics-practising nations; — supposing such a state- 
man were to stimulate the slumbering passions and avidities 
of his people, were to make a stigma out of their former 
diffidence and delight in aloofness, an offence out of their 
exoticism and hidden permanency, were to depreciate their 
most radical proclivities, subvert their consciences, make 


their minds narrow, and their tastes 'national' — what! a 
statesmcin who should do all this, which his people would 
have to do penance for throughout their whole future, if 
they had a future, such a statesman would be great, would 
he?" — "Undoubtedly!" replied the other old patriot vehe- 
mently; "otherwise he could not have done it! It was mad 
perhaps to wish such a thing! But perhaps everything 
great has been just as mad at its commencement!" — "Mis- 
use of words!" cried his interlocutor, contradictorily — 
"strong! strong! Strong and mad! Not great!" — The old 
men had obviously become heated as they thus shouted 
their "truths" in each other's faces; but I, in my happiness 
and apartness, considered how soon a stronger one may 
become master of the strong; and also that there is a com- 
pensation for the intellectual superficialising of a nation — 
namely, in the deepening of another. 


Whether we call it "civilisation," or "humanising," or 
"progress," which now distinguishes the European; whether 
we call it simply, without praise or blame, by the political 
formula: the democratic movement in Europe — behind all 
the moral and political foregrounds pointed to by such 
formulas, an immense physiological process goes on, which 
is ever extending: the process of the assimilation of Euro- 
peans; their increasing detachment from the conditions un- 
der which, climatically and hereditarily, united races origi- 
tte; their increasing independence of every definite milieu, 
at for centuries would fain inscribe itself with equal de- 
mands on soul and body; — that is to say, the slow emergence 
tan essentially super-national and nomadic species of man, 
o possesses, physiologically speaking, a maximum of the 


art and power of adaptation as his typical distinction. This 
process of tlie evolving European, which can be retarded in 
its tempo by great relapses, but will perhaps just gain and 
grow thereby in vehemence and depth — the still raging 
storm and stress of "national sentiment" pertains to it, and 
also the anarchism which is appearing at present — this 
process will probably arrive at results on which its naive 
propagators and panegyrists, the apostles of "modern ideas," 
would least care to reckon. The same new conditions under 
which on an average a levelling and mediocrising of man 
will take place — a useful, industrious, variously serviceable 
and clever gregarious man — are in the highest degree suitable 
to give rise to exceptional men of the most dangerous and 
attractive qualities. For, while the capacity for adaptation, 
which is every day trying changing conditions, and begins a 
new work with every generation, almost with every decade, 
makes the power julness of the type impossible; while the 
collective impression of such future Europeans will probably 
be that of numerous, talkative, weak-willed, and very handy 
workmen who require a master, a commander, as they re- 
quire their daily bread; while, therefore, the democratising 
of Europe will tend to the production of a type prepared 
for slavery in the most subtle sense of the term: the strong 
man will necessarily in individual and exceptional cases, 
become stronger and richer than he has perhaps ever been 
before — o^ving to the unprejudicedness of his schooling, ow- 
ing to the immense variety of practice, art, and disguise. I 
meant to say that the democratising of Europe is at the 
same time an involuntary arrangement for the rearing of 
tyrants — taking the word in all its meanings, even in its 
most spiritual sense. 




I hear with pleasure that our sun is moving rapidly to- 
wards the constellation Hercules: and I hope that the men 
on this earth will do like the sim. And we foremost, we 
good Europeans! 


There was a time when it was customary to call Germans 
"deep" by way of distinction; but now that the most suc- 
cessful type of new Germanism is covetous of quite other 
honours, and perhaps misses "smartness" in all that has 
depth, it is almost opportune and patriotic to doubt whether 
we did not formerly deceive ourselves with that commenda- 
tion: in short, whether German depth is not at bottom some- 
thing different and worse — and something from which, thank 
God, we are on the point of successfully ridding ourselves. 
Let us try, then, to releam with regard to German depth; 
the only thing necessary for the purpose is a little vivi- 
section of the German soul. — The German soul is above all 
manifold, varied in its source, aggregated and superimposed, 
rather than actually built: this is owing to its origin. A 
German who would embolden himself to assert: "Two souls, 
alas, dwell in my breast," would make a bad guess at the 
truth, or, more correctly, he would come far short of the 
truth about the number of souls. As a people made up of 
the most extraordinary mixing and mingling of races, per- 
haps even with a preponderance of the pre-Aryan element, 
as the "people of the centre" in every sense of the term, 
the Germans are more intangible, more ample, more con- 

adictory, more unknown, more incalculable, more sur- 



prising, and even more terrifying than other peoples are to 
themselves: — they escape definition, and are thereby alone 
the despair of the French. It is characteristic of the Ger- 
maas that the question: "What is German?" never dies 
out among them. Kotzebue certainly knew his Germans 
well enough: "we are known," they cried jubilantly to him — 
but Sand also thought he knew them. Jean Paul knew 
what he was doing when he declared himself incensed at 
Fichte's lying but patriotic flatteries and exaggerations, — 
but it is probable that Goethe thought differently about Ger- 
mans from Jean Paul, even though he acknowledged him to 
be right with regard to Fichte. It is a question what Goethe 
really thought about the Germans? — But about many things 
around him he never spoke explicitly, and all his life he 
knew how to keep an astute silence — probably he had good 
reason for it. It is certain that it was not the "Wars of In- 
dependence" that made him look up more joyfully, any 
more than it was the French Revolution, — the event on 
account of which he reconstructed his "Faust," and indeed 
the whole problem of "man," was the appearance of Na- 
poleon. There are words of Goethe in which he condemns 
with impatient severity, as from a foreign land, that which 
Germans take a pride in: he once defined the famous German 
turn of mind as "Indulgence towards its own and others' 
weaknesses." Was he wrong? it is characteristic of Germans 
that one is seldom entirely wrong about them. The German 
soul has passages and galleries in it, there are caves, hiding- 
places, and dungeons thereir.; its disorder has much of the 
charm of the mysterious; the German is well acquainted 
with the by-paths to chaos. And as everything loves its 
symbol, so the German loves the clouds and all that is ob- 
scure, evolving, crepuscular, damp, and shrouded: it seems 
to him that everything uncertain, undeveloped, self-displac- 


ing, and growing is "deep." The German himself does not 
exist: he is becoming, he is "developing himself." "Develop- 
ment" is therefore the essentially German discovery and hit 
in the great domain of philosophical formulas, — a ruling 
idea, which, together with German beer and German music, 
is labouring to Germanise all Europe. Foreigners are as- 
tonished and attracted by the riddles which the conflicting 
nature at the basis of the German soul propounds to them 
(riddles which Hegel systematised and Richard Wagner has 
in the end set to music). "Good-natured and spiteful" — 
such a juxtaposition, preposterous in the case of every other 
people, is unfortunately only too often justified in Germany: 
one has only to live for a while among Swabians to know 
this! The clumsiness of the German scholar and his soci£il 
distastefulness agree alarmingly well with his physical rope- 
dancing and nimble boldness, of which all the Gods have 
learnt to be afraid. If any one wishes to see the "German 
soul" demonstrated ad oculos, let him only look at German 
taste, at German arts and manners: what boorish indifference 
to "taste"! How the noblest and the commonest stand 
there in juxtaposition! How disorderly and how rich is the 
whole constitution of this soul! The German drags at his 
soul, he drags at everything he experiences. He digests his 
events badly; he never gets "done" with them; and German 
depth is often only a difficult, hesitating "digestion." And 
just as all chronic invalids, all dyspeptics, like what is con- 
venient, so the German loves "fr^ikness" and "honesty"; 
it is so convenient to be frank and honest! — This confiding- 
ness, this complaisance, this showing-the-cards of German 
honesty, is probably the most dangerous and most successful 
disguise which the German is up to nowadays: it is his proper 
Mephistophelean art; with this he can "still achieve much"! 
riBie German lets himself go, and thereby gazes with faithful, 


blue, empty German eyes — and other coimtries immediately 
confound him with his dressing-gown! — I meant to say 
that, let "German depth" be what it will — among ourselves 
alone we perhaps take the liberty to laugh at it — we shall do 
well to continue henceforth to honour its appearance and 
good name, and not barter away too cheaply our old reputa- 
tion as a people of depth for Prussian "smartness," and 
Berlin wit and sand. It is wise for a people to pose, and let 
itself be regarded, as profound, clumsy, good-natured, honest, 
and foolish: it might even be — profound to do so! Finally, 
we should do honour to our name — we are not called the 
"tiusche Volk" (deceptive people) for nothing. . . . 


The "good old" time is past, it sang itself out in Mozart — • 
how happy are we that his rococo still speaks to us, that his 
"good company," his tender enthusiasm, his childish delight 
in the Chinese and its flourishes, Ihis courtesy of heart, his 
longing for the elegant, the amorous, the tripping, the tearful, 
and his belief in the South, can still appeal to something left 
in us! Ah, some time or other it will be over with it! — 
but who can doubt that it will be over still sooner with the 
intelligence and taste for Beethoven! For he was only the 
last echo of a break and transition in style, and not, like 
Mozart, the last echo of a great European taste which had 
existed for centuries. Beethoven is the intermediate event 
between an old mellow soul that is constantly breaking down, 
and a future over-young soul that is always coming; there is 
spread over his music the twilight of eternal loss and eternal 
extravagant hope, — the same light in which Europe was 
bathed when it dreamed with Rousseau, when it danced 
round the Tree of Liberty of the Revolution, and finaOfll 


almost fell down in adoration before Napoleon. But how 
rapidly does this very sentiment now pale, how difficult 
nowadays is even the apprehension of this sentiment, how 
strangely does the language of Rousseau, Schiller, Shelley, 
and Byron sound to our ear, in whom collectively the same 
fate of Europe was able to speak, which knew how to sing 
in Beethoven! — Whatever German music came afterwards, 
belongs to Romanticism, that is to say, to a movement 
which, historically considered, was still shorter, more fleeting, 
and more superficial than that great interlude, the transition 
of Europe from Rousseau to Napoleon, and to the rise of 
democracy. Weber — ^but what do we care nowadays for 
"Freischutz" and "Oberon"! Or Marschner's "Hans Hell- 
ing" and "Vampyre"! Or even Wagner's "Tarmhauser" ! 
That is extinct, although not yet forgotten music. This whole 
music of Romanticism, besides, was not noble enough, was 
not musical enough, to maintain its position anywhere but 
in the theatre and before the masses; from the beginning it 
was second-rate music, which was little thought of by gen- 
uine musicians. It was different with Felix Mendelssohn, 
that halcyon master, who, on account of his lighter, purer, 
happier soul, quickly acquired admiration, and was equally 
quickly forgotten: as the beautiful episode of German music. 
But with regard to Robert Schumann, who took things se- 
riously, and has been taken seriously from the first— he 
was the last that founded a school, — do we not now regard 
it as a satisfaction, a relief, a deliverance, that this very 
Romanticism of Schumann's has been surmounted? Schu- 
mann, fleeing into the "Saxon Switzerland" of his soul, with 
a half Werther-like, half Jean-Paul-like nature (assuredly 
not like Beethoven! assuredly not like Byron!) — ^his Man- 
fred music is a mistake and a misunderstanding to the extent 
of injustice; Schumann, with his taste, which was funda- 


maitally a petty taste (that is to say, a dangerous propensity 
— doubly dangerous among Germans — for quiet lyricism and 
intoxication of the feelings), going constantly apart, timidly 
withdrawing and retiring, a noble weakling who revelled in 
nothing but zmonymous joy and sorrow, from the begirming 
a sort of girl and noli me tangere — this Schumann was al- 
ready merely a German event in music, and no longer a 
European event, as Beethoven had been, as in a still greater 
degree Mozart had been ; with Schumann German music was 
threatened with its greatest danger, that of losing the voice 
for the soul of Europe and sinking into a merely national 


What a torture are books written in German to a reader 
who has a third ear! How indignantly he stands beside 
the slowly turning swamp of sounds without tune and 
rhythms without dance, which Germans call a "book"! And 
even the German who reads books! How lazily, how reluc- 
tantly, how badly he reads! How many Germans know, 
and consider it obligatory to know, that there is art in every 
good sentence — art which must be divined, if the sentence 
is to be understood! If there is a misunderstanding about 
its tempo, for instance, the sentence itself is misunderstood! 
That one must not be doubtful about the rhythm-determining 
syllables, that one should feel the breaking of the too-rigid 
sjonmetry as intentional and as a charm, that one should 
lend a fine and patient ear to every staccato and every 
rubato, that one should divine the sense in the sequence of 
the vowels and diphthongs, and how delicately and richly they 
can be tinted and retinted in the order of their arrangement 
— who among book-reading Germans is complaisant enough 


to recognise such duties and requirements, and to listen to 
so much art and intention in language? After all, one just 
"has no ear for it"; and so the most marked contrasts of 
style are not heard, and the most delicate artistry is as it 
were squandered on the deaf. — These were my thoughts 
when I noticed how clumsily and unintuitively two masters 
in the art of prose- writing have been confounded: one, 
whose words drop down hesitatingly and coldly, as from the 
roof of a damp cave — he counts on their dull sound and 
echo; and another who manipulates his language like a 
flexible sword, and from his arm down into his toes feels 
the dangerous bliss of the quivering, over-sharp blade, which 
wishes to bite, hiss, and cut. 


How little the German style has to do with harmony and 
with the ear, is shown by the fact that precisely our good 
musicians themselves write badly. The German does not 
read aloud, he does not read for the ear, but only with his 
eyes; he has put his ears away in the drawer for the time. 
In antiquity when a man read — which was seldom enough — 
he read something to himself, and in a loud voice; they were 
surprised when any one read silently, and sought secretly 
the reason of it. In a loud voice: that is to say, with all 
the swellings, inflections, and variations of key and changes 
of tempo, in which the ancient public world took delight. 
The laws of the written style were then the same as those 
of the spoken style; and these laws depended partly on the 
surprising development and refined requirements of the ear 
and larynx; partly on the strength, endurance, and power 
of the ancient lungs. In the ancient sense, a period is above 
all a physiological whole, inasmuch as it is comprised in one 


breath. Such periods as occur in Demosthenes and Cicero, 
swelling twice and sinking twice, and all in one breath, 
were pleasures to the men of antiquity, who knew by their 
own schooling how to appreciate the virtue therein, the 
rareness and the difficulty in the deliverance of such a pe- 
riod ; — we have really no right to the big period, we modem 
men, who are short of breath in every sense! Those ancients, 
indeed, were all of them dilettanti in speaking, consequently 
connoisseurs, consequently critics — they thus brought their 
orators to the highest pitch; in the same maimer as in the 
last century, when all Italian ladies and gentlemen knew 
how to sing, the virtuosoship of song (and with it also the 
art of melody) reached its elevation. In Germany, how- 
ever (until quite recently when a kind of platform eloquence 
began shyly and awkwardly enough to flutter its young 
wings), there was properly speaking only one kind of public 
and approximately artistical discourse — that delivered from 
the pulpit. The preacher was the only one in Germany who 
knew the weight of a syllable or a word, in what manner 
a sentence strikes, springs, rushes, flows, and comes to a 
close; he alone had a conscience in his ears, often enough 
a bad conscience: for reasons are not lacking why pro- 
ficiency in oratory should be especially seldom attained by 
a German, or almost always too late. The masterpiece of 
German prose is therefore with good reason the masterpiece 
of its greatest preacher: the Bible has hitherto been the 
best German book. Compared with Luther's Bible, almost 
everything else is merely "literature" — something which has 
not grown in Germany, and therefore has not taken and does 
not take root in German hearts, as the Bible has done. 



There are two kinds of geniuses: one which above all 
engenders and seeks to engender, and another which will- 
ingly lets itself be fructified and brings forth. And similarly, 
among the gifted nations, there are those on whom the 
woman's problem of pregnancy has devolved, and the secret 
task of forming, maturing, and perfecting — the Greeks, for 
instance, were a nation of this kind, and so are the French; 
and others which have to fructify and become the cause of 
new modes of life — like the Jews, the Romans, and, in all 
modesty be it asked: like the Germans? — nations tortured 
and enraptured by unknown fevers and irresistibly forced out 
of themselves, amorous and longing for foreign races (for 
such as "let themselves be fructified"), and withal imperious, 
like everything conscious of being full of generative force, 
and consequently empowered "by the grace of God." These 
two kinds of geniuses seek each other like man and woman; 
but they also misunderstand each other — like man and; 


Every nation has its own "Tartuffery," and calls that its 
virtue. — One does not know — cannot know, the best that is 
in one. 


What Europe owes to the Jews? — Many things, good and 
bad, and above all one thing of the nature both of the best 
and the worst: the grand style in morality, the fearfulness 


and majesty of infinite demands, of infinite significations, the 
whole Romanticism and sublimity of moral questionableness 
— and consequently just the most attractive, ensnaring, and 
exquisite element in those iridescences and allurements to 
life, in the aftersheen of which the sky of our European cul- 
ture, its evening sky, now glows — perhaps glows out. For 
this, we artists among the spectators and philosophers, are — 
grateful to the Jews. 


It must be taken into the bargain, if various clouds and 
disturbances — in short, slight attacks of stupidity — pass over 
the spirit of a people that suffers and wants to suffer from 
national nervous fever and political ambition: for instance, 
among present-day Germans there is alternately the anti- 
French folly, the anti-Semitic folly, the anti-Polish folly, the 
Christian-romantic folly, the Wagnerian folly, the Teutonic 
folly, the Prussian folly (just look at those poor historians, 
the Sybels and Treitschkes, and their closely bandaged 
heads), and whatever else these little obscurations of the 
German spirit and conscience may be called. May it be for- 
given me that I, too, when on a short daring sojourn on very 
infected ground, did not remain wholly exempt from the dis- 
ease, but like every one else, began to entertain thoughts 
about matters which did not concern me — the first symptom 
of political infection. About the Jews, for instance, listen 
to the following: — I have never yet met a German who was 
favourably inclined to the Jews; and however decided the 
repudiation of actual anti-Semitism may be on the part of 
all prudent and political men, this prudence and policy is not 
perhaps directed against the nature of the sentiment itself, 
but only against its dangerous excess, and especially against 


the distasteful and infamous expression of this excess of 
sentiment; — on this point we must not deceive ourselves. 
That Germany has amply sufficient Jews, that the German 
stomach, the German blood, has difficulty (and will long 
have difficulty) in disposing only of this quantity of "Jew" 
— as the Italian, the Frenchman, and the Englishman have 
done by means of a stronger digestion: — that is the im- 
mistakable declaration and language of a general instinct, 
to which one must listen and according to which one must 
act. "Let no more Jews come in! And shut the doors, 
especially towards the East (also towards Austria) ! " — thus 
commands the instinct of a people whose nature is still 
feeble and uncertain, so that ii could be easily wiped out, 
easily extinguished, by a stronger race. The Jews, however, 
are beyond all doubt the strongest, toughest, and purest race 
at present living in Europe; they know how to succeed even 
under the worst conditions (in fact better than under favour- 
able ones), by means of virtues of some sort, which one 
would like nowadays to label as vices — owing above all to a 
resolute faith which does not need to be ashamed before 
"modem ideas"; they alter only, wken they do alter, in the 
same way that the Russian Empire makes its conquest — as 
an empire that has plenty of time and is not of yesterday — 
namely, according to the principle, "as slowly as possible"! 
A thinker who has the future of Europe at heart, ^vill, in all 
his perspectives concerning the future, calculate upon the 
Jews, as he will calculate upon the Russians, as above all 
the surest and likeliest factors in the great play and battle 
of forces. That which is at present called a "nation" in 
Europe, and is really rather a res facta than nata (indeed, 
sometimes confusingly similar to a res ficta et picta), is in 
every case something evolving, young, easily displaced, and 
not yet a race, much less such a race acre perennius, as the 


Jews are: such "nations" should most carefully avoid all hot- 
headed rivalry and hostility! It is certain that the Jews, 
if they desired — or if they were driven to it, as the anti- 
Semites seem to wish — could now have the ascendency, nay, 
literally the supremacy, over Europe; that they are not work- 
ing and planning for that end is equally certain. Meanwhile, 
they rather wish and desire, even somewhat importunely, to 
be insorbed and absorbed by Europe; they long to be finally 
settled, authorised, and respected somewhere, and wish to 
put an end to the nomadic life, to the "wandering Jew"; — 
and one should certainly take account of this impulse and 
tendency, and make advances to it (it possibly betokens a 
mitigation of the Jewish instincts) : for which purpose it 
would perhaps be useful and fair to banish the anti-Semitic 
bawlers out of the country. One should make advances 
with all prudence, and with selection; pretty much as the 
English nobility do. It stands to reason that the more power- 
ful and strongly marked types of new Germanism could 
enter into relation with the Jews with the least hesitation, 
for instance, the nobleman officer from the Prussian border: 
it would be interesting in many ways to see whether the 
genius for money and patience (and especially some intellect 
and intellectuality — sadly lacking in the place referred to) 
could not in addition be annexed and trained to the heredi- 
tary art of commanding and obeying — for both of which the 
country in question has now a classic reputation. But here 
it is expedient to break off my festal discourse and my 
sprightly Teutonomania: for I have already reached my 
serious topic, the "European problem," as I understand it, 
the rearing of a new ruling caste for Europe. 



They are not a philosophical race — the English : Bacon 
represents an attack on the philosophical spirit generally, 
Hobbes, Hume, and Locke, an abasement, and a depreciation 
of the idea of a "philosopher" for more than a century. It 
was against Hume that Kant uprose and raised himself; 
it was Locke of whom Schelling rightly said, "Je meprise 
Locke" ; in the struggle against the English mechanical stulti- 
fication of the world, Hegel and Schopenhauer (along with 
Goethe) were of one accord; the two hostile brother-geniuses 
in philosophy, who pushed in different directions towards the 
opposite poles of German thought, and thereby wronged each 
other as only brothers will do. — What is lacking in England, 
and has always been lacking, that half-actor and rhetorician 
knew well enough, the absurd muddle-head, Carlyle, who 
sought to conceal under passionate grimaces what he knew 
about himself: namely, what was lacking in Carlyle — real 
power of intellect, real depth of intellectual perception, in 
short, philosophy. It is characteristic of such an unphilo- 
sophical race to hold on firmly to Christianity — they need 
its discipline for "moralising" and humanising. The Eng- 
lishman, more gloomy, sensual, headstrong, and brutal than 
the German — is for that very reason, as the baser of the 
two, also the most pious: he has all the more need of 
Christianity. To finer nostrils, this English Christianity itself 
has still a characteristic English taint of spleen and alcoholic 
excess, for which, owing to good reasons, it is used as an 
antidote — the finer poison to neutralise the coarser: a finer 
form of poisoning is in fact a step in advance with coarse- 
mannered people, a step towards spiritualisation. The 
English coarseness and rustic demureness is still most satis- 


factorily disguised by Christian pantomime, and by prayivig 
and psalm-singing (or, more correctly, it is thereby explained 
and differently expressed) ; and for the herd of drunkards 
and rakes who formerly learned moral grunting under the 
influence of Methodism (and more recently as the "Salvation 
Army"), a penitential fit may really be the relatively highest 
manifestation of "humanity" to which they can be elevated: 
so much may reasonably be admitted. That, however, which 
offends even in the humanest Englishman is his lack of music, 
to speak figuratively (and also literally): he has neither 
rhythm nor dance in the movements of his soul and body; 
indeed, not even the desire for rhythm and dance, for 
"music." Listen to him speaking; look at the most beautiful 
Englishwoman walking — in no country on earth are there 
more beautiful doves and swans; finally, listen to them sing- 
ing! But I ask too much. . . . 

There are truths which are best recognised by mediocre 
minds, because they are best adapted for them, there are 
truths which only possess charms and seductive power for 
mediocre spirits: — one is pushed to this probably unpleasant 
conclusion, now that the influence of respectable but medio- 
cre Englishmen — I may mention Darwin, John Stuart Mill, 
and Herbert Spencer — begins to gain the ascendency in the 
middle-class region of European taste. Indeed, who could 
doubt that it is a useful thing for such minds to have the 
ascendency for a time? It would be an error to consider 
the highly developed and independently soaring minds as 
specially qualified for determining and collecting many little 
common facts, and deducing conclusions from them; as ex- 
ceptioiis, they are rather from the first in no very favourable 


position towards those who are "the rules." After all, they 
have more to do than merely to perceive: — in effect, they 
have to be something new, they have to signify something 
new, they have to represent new values! The gulf between 
knowledge and capacity is perhaps greater, and also more 
mysterious, than one thinks: the capable man in the grand 
style, the creator, will possibly have to be an ignorant per- 
son; — while on the other hand, for scientific discoveries like 
those of Darwin, a certain narrowness, aridity, and indus- 
trious carefulness (in short something English) may not 
be imfavourable for arriving at them. — Finally, let it not be 
forgotten that the English, with their profound mediocrity, 
brought about once before a general depression of European 
intelligence. What is called "modern ideas," or "the ideas of 
the eighteenth century," or "French ideas" — that, conse- 
quently, against which the German mind rose up with 
profovmd disgust — is of English origin, there is no doubt 
about it. The French were only the apes and actors of these 
ideas, their best soldiers, and likewise, alas! their first and 
profoundest victims; for owing to the diabolical Anglomania 
of "modem ideas," the dme jranqais has in the end become 
so thin and emaciated, that at present one recalls its sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries, its profound, passionate strength, 
its inventive excellency, almost with disbelief. One must, 
however, maintain this verdict of historical justice in a de- 
termined manner, and defend it against present prejudices 
and appearances: the European noblesse — of sentiment, taste, 
and manners, taking the word in every high sense — is the 
work and invention of France; the European ignobleness, 
the plebeianism of modem ideas — is England's work and in- 



Even at present France is still the seat of the most intel- 
lectual and refined culture of Europe, it is still the high 
school of taste; but one must know how to find this "France 
of taste." He who belongs to it keeps himself well con- 
cealed: — they may be a small number in whom it lives and is 
embodied, besides perhaps being men who do not stand upon 
the strongest legs, in part fatalists, hypochondriacs, invalids, 
in part persons over-indulged, over-refined, such as have the 
ambition to conceal themselves. They have all something in 
common: they keep their ears closed in presence of the 
delirious folly and noisy spouting of the democratic bour- 
geois. In fact, a besotted and brutalised France at present 
sprawls in the foreground — it recently celebrated a veritable 
orgy of bad taste, and at the same time of self-admiration, 
at the funeral of Victor Hugo. There is also something else 
common to them: a predilection to resist intellectual Ger- 
manising — and a still greater inability to do so! In this 
France of intellect, which is also a France of pessimism, 
Schopenhauer has perhaps become more at home, and more 
indigenous than he has ever been in Germany; not to speak 
of Heinrich Heine, who has long ago been re-incarnated in 
the more refined and fastidious lyrists of Paris; or of Hegel, 
who at present, in the form of Taine — the first of living his- 
torians — exercises an almost tyrannical influence. As re- 
gards Richard Wagner, however, the more French music 
learns to adapt itself to the actual needs of the dme moderne, 
the more will it "Wagnerise"; one can safely predict that 
beforehand, — it is already taking place sufficiently! There 
are, however, three things which the French can still boast 
of with pride as their heritage and possession, and as indelible 


tokens of their ancient intellectual superiority in Europe, in 
spite of all voluntary or involuntary Germanising and vul-, 
garising of taste. Firstly, the capacity for artistic emotion, 
for devotion to "form," for which the expression, Vart pour 
I' art, along with numerous others, has been invented: — such 
capacity has not been lacking in France for three centuries; 
and owing to its reverence for the "small number," it has 
again and again made a sort of chamber music of literature 
possible, which is sought for in vain elsewhere in Europe. — 
The second thing whereby the French c£in lay claim to a 
superiority over Europe is their ancient, many-sided, moral- 
istic culture, owing to which one finds on an average, even 
in the petty romanciers of the newspapers and chance boule- 
vardiers de Paris, a psychological sensitiveness and curiosity, 
of which, for example, one has no conception (to say noth- 
ing of the thing itself ! ) in Germany. The Germans lack a 
couple of centuries of the moralistic work requisite thereto, 
which, as we have said, France has not grudged: those who 
call the Germans "naive" on that account give them com^ 
mendation for a defect. (As the opposite of the German 
inexperience and innocence in voluptate psychologica, which 
is not too remotely associated with the tediousness of Ger- 
man intercourse, — and as the most successful expression of 
genuine French curiosity and inventive talent in this domain 
of delicate thrills, Henri Beyle may be noted; that remark- 
able anticipatory and forerunning man, who, with a Na- 
poleonic tempo, traversed his Europe, in fact, several 
centuries of the European soul, as a surveyor and discoverer 
thereof: — it has required two generations to overtake him 
one way or other, to divine long afterwards some of the 
riddles that perplexed and enraptured him — this strange 
Epicurean and man of interrogation, the last great psycholo- 
gist of France). — There is yet a third claim to superiority: 


'"n the French character there is a successful half-way s)^!- 
thesis of the North and South, which makes them compre- 
hend many things, and enjoins upon them other things, 
which an Englishman can never comprehend. Their tem- 
perament, turned alternately to and from the South, in 
which from time to time the Provencal and Ligurian blood 
froths over, preserves them from the dreadful, northern 
gray-in-gray, from sunless conceptual-spectrism and from 
poverty of blood — our German infirmity of taste, for the 
excessive prevalence of which at the present moment, blood 
and iron, that is to say "high politics," has with great reso- 
lution been prescribed (according to a dangerous healing art, 
which bids me wait and wait, but not yet hope). — There is 
also still in France a pre-understanding and ready welcome 
for those rarer and rarely gratified men, who are too com- 
prehensive to find satisfaction in any kind of fatherlandism, 
and know how to love the South when in the North £md the 
North when in the South — the bom Midlanders, the "good 
Europeans." For them Bizet has made music, this latest 
genius, who has seen a new beauty and seduction, — who has 
discovered a piece of the South in music. 


I hold that many precautions should be taken against 
German music. Suppose a person loves the South as I love 
it — as a great school of recovery for the most spiritual and 
the most sensuous ills, as a boundless solar profusion and 
effulgence which o'erspreads a sovereign existence believing 
in itself — ^well, such a person will learn to be somewhat on 
his guard against German music, because, in injuring his 
taste anew, it will also injure his health anew. Such a 
Southerner, a Southerner not by origin but by belief, if he 


should dream of the future of music, must also dream of it 
being freed from the influence of the North; £ind must have 
in his ears the prelude to a deeper, mightier, and perhaps 
more perverse and mysterious music, a super-German music, 
which does not fade, pale, and die away, as all German 
music does, at the sight of the blue, wanton sea and the 
Mediterranean clearness of sky — a super-European music, 
which holds its own even in presence of the brown sunsets 
of the desert, whose soul is akin to the palm-tree, and cjin 
be at home and can roam with big, beautiful, lonely beasts 
of prey. ... I could imagine a music of which the rarest 
charm would be that it knew nothing more of good and evil' 
only that here and there perhaps some sailor's home-sickness, 
some golden shadows and tender weaknesses might sweep 
lightly over it; an art which, from the far distance, would 
see the colours of a sinking and almost incomprehensible 
moral world fleeing towards it, and would be hospitable 
enough 2ind profound enough to receive such belated fugi- 


Owing to the morbid estrangement which the nationality- 
craze has induced and still induces among the nations of 
Europe, owing also to the short-sighted and hasty-handed 
politicians, who with the help of this craze, are at present in 
power, and do not suspect to what extent the disintegrating 
policy they pursue must necessarily be only an interlude 
policy — owing to all this, and much else that is altogether 
unmentionable at present, the most unmistakable signs that 
Europe wishes to be one, are now overlooked, or arbitrarily 
and falsely misinterpreted. With all the more profound and 
large-minded men of this century, the real general tendency 


of the mysterious labour of their souls was to prqjare the 
way for that new synthesis, and tentatively to anticipate 
the European of the future; only in their simulations, or 
in their weaker moments, in old age perhaps, did they belong 
to the "fatherlands" — they only rested from themselves 
when they became "patriots." I think of such men as Na- 
poleon, Goethe, Beethoven, Stendhal, Heinrich Heine, 
Schopenhauer: it must not be taken amiss if I also count 
Richard Wagner among them, about whom one must not 
let oneself be deceived by his own misunderstandings 
(geniuses like him have seldom the right to understand them- 
selves), still less, of course, by the unseemly noise with 
which he is now resisted and opposed in France: the fact 
remains, nevertheless, that Richard Wagner and the later 
French Romanticism of the forties, are most closely and inti- 
mately related to one another. They are akin, fundamentally 
akin, in all the heights and depths of their requirements; it 
is Europe, the one Europe, whose soul presses urgently and 
longingly, outwards and upwards, in their multifarious and 
boisterous art — whither? into a new light? towards a new 
sun? But who would attempt to express accurately what all 
these masters of new modes of speech could not express dis- 
tinctly? It is certain that the same storm and stress tor- 
mented them, that they sought in the same manner, these 
last great seekers! All of them steeped in literature to their 
eyes and ears — the first artists of universal literary culture — 
for the most part even themselves writers, poets, interme- 
diaries and blenders of the arts and the senses (Wagner, as 
musician is reckoned among painters, as poet among 
musicians, as artist generally among actors) ; all of them 
fanatics for expression "at any cost" — I specially mention 
Delacroix, the nearest related to Wagner; all of them great 
discoverers in the realm of the sublime, also of the loath- 


some and dreadful, still greater discoverers in effect, in dis- 
play, in the art of the show-shop; all of them talented far 
beyond their genius, out and out virtuosi, with mysterious 
accesses to all that seduces, allures, constrains, and upsets; 
bom enemies of logic and of the straight line, hankering 
after the strange, the exotic, the monstrous, the crooked, and 
the self-contradictory; as men, Tantaluses of the will, ple- 
beian parvenus, who knew themselves to be incapable of a 
noble tempo or of a lento in life and action — think of Balzac, 
for instance, — unrestrained workers, almost destroying them- 
selves by work; antinomians and rebels in manners, ambi- 
tious and insatiable, without equilibrium and enjoyment; 
all of them finally shattering and sinking down at the 
Christian cross (and with right and reason, for who of them 
would have been sufficiently profound and sufficiently origi- 
nal for an Antichristian philosophy?); — on the whole, a 
boldly daring, splendidly overbearing, high-flying, and aloft- 
up-dragging class of higher men, who had first to teach their 
century — and it is the century of the masses — the conception 
"higher man." . . . Let the German friends of Richard Wag- 
ner advise together as to whether there is anything purely 
German in the Wagnerian art, or whether its distinction dees 
not consist precisely in coming from super-German sources 
and impulses: in which connection it may not be underrated 
how indispensable Paris was to the development of his type, 
which the strength of his instincts made him long to visit at 
the most decisive time — and how the whole style of his pro- 
ceedings, of his self-apostolate, could only perfect itself in 
sight of the French socialistic original. On a more subtle 
comparison it will perhaps be foimd, to the honour of Richard 
Wagner's German nature, that he has acted in everything 
with more strength, daring, severity, and elevation than a 
nineteenth-century Frenchman could have done — owing to 


the circumstance that we Germans are as yet nearer to bar-' 
barism than the French; — perhaps even the most remarkable 
creation of Richard Wagner is not only at present, but for 
ever inaccessible, incomprehensible, and inimitable to the 
whole latter-day Latin race: the figure of Siegfried, that very 
free man, who is probably far too free, too hard, to cheer- 
ful, too healthy, too anti-Catholic for the taste of old and 
mellow civilised nations. He may even have been a sin 
' against Romanticism, this anti-Latin Siegfried: well, Wagner 
atoned amply for this sin in his old sad days, when — antici- 
pating a taste which has meanwhile passed into politics — ^he 
began, with the religious vehemence peculiar to him, to 
preach, at least, the way to Rome, if not to walk therein. — 
That these last words may not be misunderstood, I will call 
to my aid a few powerful rhymes, which will even betray 
to less delicate ears what I mean — what I mean counter to 
the "last Wagner" and his Parsifal music: — 

— Is this our mode? — 

From German heart came this vexed ululating? 

From German body, this self-lacerating? 

Is ours this priestly hand-dilation. 

This incense-fuming exaltation? 

Is ours this faltering, falling, shambling. 

This quite uncertain ding-dong-dangling? 

This sly nun-ogling, Ave-hour-bell ringing, 

This wholly false enraptured heaven-o'er springing? 

— Is this our mode? — 

Think well! — ye still wait for admission — 

For what ye hear is Rome — Rome's faith by intuitiot 

What Is Noble? 


Every elevation of the type "man," has hitherto been the 
work of an aristocratic society and so it will always be — a 
society believing in a long scale of gradations of rank and 
differences of worth among human beings, and requiring 
slavery in some form or other. Without the pathos of dis- 
tance, such as grows out of the incarnated difference of 
classes, out of the constant outlooking and downlooking of 
the ruling caste on subordinates and instruments, and out of 
their equally constant practice of obeying and commanding, 
of keeping down and keeping at a distance — that other more 
mysterious pathos could never have arisen, the longing for 
an ever new widening of distance within the soul itself, the 
formation of ever higher, rarer, further, more extended, 
more comprehensive states, in short, just the elevation of 
the type "man," the continued "self-surmounting of man," 
to use a moral formula in a supermoral sense. To be sure, 
one must not resign oneself to any humanitarian illusions 
about the history of the origin of an aristocratic society (that 
is to say, of the preliminary condition for the elevation of 
the tj^e "man"): the truth is hard. Let us acknowledge 
imprejudicedly how every higher civilisation hitherto has 



originated! Men with a still natural nature, barbarians in 
every terrible sense of the word, men of prey, still in pos- 
session of unbroken strength of will and desire for power, 
threw themselves upon weaker, more moral, more peaceful 
races (perhaps trading or cattle-rearing communities), or 
upon old mellow civilisations in which the final vital force 
was flickering out in brilliant fireworks of wat and depravity. 
At the commencement, the noble caste was always the bar- 
barian caste: their superiority did not consist first of all 
in their physical, but in their psychical power — they were 
more complete men (which at every point also implies the 
same as "more complete beasts"). 


Corruption — as the indication that anarchy threatens to 
break out among the instincts, and that the foundation of 
the emotions, called "life," is convulsed — is something radic- 
ally different according to the organisation in which it mani- 
fests itself. When, for instance, an aristocracy like that of 
France at the beginning of the Revolution, flung away its 
privileges with sublime disgust and sacrificed itself to an 
excess of its moral sentiments, it was corruption: — it was 
really only the closing act of the corruption which had existed 
for centuries, by virtue of which that aristocracy had abdi- 
cated step by step its lordly prerogatives and lowered itself 
to a function of royalty (in the end even to its decoration 
and parade-dress). The essential thing, however, in a good 
and healthy aristocracy is that it should not regard itself 
as a function either of the kingship or the commonwealth,^ 
but as the significance and highest justification thereof — 
that it should therefore accept with a good conscience the 
sacrifice of a legion of individuals, who, for its sake, must be 


suppressed and reduced to imperfect men, to slaves and in- 
struments. Its fundamental belief must be precisely that 
society is not allowed to exist for its own sake, but only as 
a foundation and scaffolding, by means of which a select class 
of beings may be able to elevate themselves to their higher 
duties, and in general to a higher existence: like those sun- 
seeking climbing plants in Java — they are called Sipo Mata- 
dor, — which encircle an oak so long and so often with their 
arms, until at last, high above it, but supported by it, they 
can imfold their tops in the open light, and exhibit their 


To refrain mutually from injury, from violence, from ex- 
ploitation, and put one's will on a par with that of others: 
this may result in a certain rough sense in good conduct 
among individuals when the necessary conditions are given 
(namely, the actual similarity of the individuals in amount 
of force and degree of worth, and their co-relation within 
one organisation). As soon, however, as one wished to take 
this principle more generally, and if possible even as the 
fundamental principle of society, it would immediately dis- 
close what it really is — namely, a Will to the denial of life, 
a principle of dissolution and decay. Here one must think 
profoundly to the very basis and resist all sentimental weak- 
ness: life itself is essentially appropriation, injury, conquest 
of the strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusion of 
peculiar forms, incorporation, and at the least, putting it 
mildest, exploitation; — ^but why should one for ever use 
precisely these words on which for ages a disparaging purpose 
has been stamped? Even the organisation within which, as 
was previously supposed, the individuals treat each other as 


equal — it takes place in every healthy aristocracy — must 
itself, if it be a living and not a dying organisation, do all 
that towards other bodies, which the individuals within it 
refrain from doing to each other: it will have to be the in- 
carnated Will to Power, it will endeavour to grow, to gain 
groimd, attract to itself and acquire ascendency — not owing 
to any morality or immorality, but because it lives, and 
because life is precisely Will to Power. On no point, how- 
ever, is the ordinary consciousness of Europeans more un- 
willing to be corrected than on this matter; people now rave 
everywhere, even under the guise of science, about coming 
conditions of society in which "the exploiting character" 
is to be absent: — that sounds to my ears as if they promised 
to invent a mode of life which should refrain from all organic 
functions. "Exploitation" does not belong to a depraved, 
or imperfect and primitive society: it belongs to the nature 
of the living being as a primary organic fimction; it is a 
consequence of the intrinsic Will to Power, which is pre- 
cisely the W^ill to Life. — Granting that as a theory this is a 
novelty — as a reality it is the fundamental fact of all history: 
let us be so far honest towards ourselves! 


In a tour through the many finer and coarser moralities 
which have hitherto prevailed or still prevail on the earth, 
I found certain traits recurring regularly together, and 
cormected with one another, until finally two primary types 
revealed themselves to me, and a radical distinction was 
brought to light. There is master-morality and slave-moral- 
ity; — I would at once add, however, that in all higher an 
mixed civilisations, there are also attempts at the recott 
ciliation of the two moralities; but one finds still oftener 




confusion and mutual misunderstanding of them, indeed^ 
sometimes their close juxtaposition — even in the same man, 
within one soul. The distinctions of moral values have either 
originated in a ruling caste, pleasantly conscious of being 
different from the ruled — or among the ruled class, the slaves 
and dependents of all sorts. In the first case, when it is the 
rulers who determine the conception "good," it is the ex- 
alted, proud disposition which is regarded as the distinguish- 
ing feature, and that which determines the order of rank. 
The noble type of man separates from himself the beings in 
whom the opposite of this exalted, proud disposition displays 
itself: he despises them. Let it at once be noted that in 
this first kind of morality the antithesis "good" and "bad" 
means practically the same as "noble" and "despicable"; — 
the antithesis "good" and "evil" is of a different origin. The 
cowardly, the timid, the insignificant, and those thinking 
merely of narrow utility are despised; moreover, also, the 
distrustful, with their constrained glances, the self-abasing, 
the dog-like kind of men who let themselves be abused, the 
mendicant flatterers, and above all the liars: — it is a fimda- 
mental belief of all aristocrats that the common people are 
untruthful. "We truthful ones" — the nobility in ancient 
Greece called themselves. It is obvious tliat everywhere the 
designations of moral value were at first applied to men, 
and were only derivatively and at a later period applied to 
actions; it is a gross mistake, therefore, when historians 
of morals start with questions like, "Why have sympathetic 
actions been praised?" The noble type of man regards 
himself as a determiner of values; he does not require to be 
approved of; he passes the judgment: "What is injurious to 
me is injurious in itself"; he knows that it is he himself only 
who confers honour on things; he is a creator of values. 
He honours whatever he recognises in himself: such morality 


is self-glorification. In the foreground there is the feeling 
of plenitude, of power, which seeks to overflow, the happi- 
ness of high tension, the consciousness of a wealth which 
would fain give and bestow: — the noble man also helps the 
unfortunate, but not — or scarcely — out of pity, but rather 
from an impulse generated by the super-abundance of power. 
The noble man honours in himself the powerful one, him also 
who has power over himself, who knows how to speak and 
how to keep silence, who takes pleasure in subjecting himself 
to severity and hardness, and has reverence for all that is 
severe and hard. "Wotan placed a hard heart in my breast," 
says an old Scandinavian Saga: it is thus rightly expressed 
from the soul of a proud Viking. Such a type of man is 
even proud of not being made for sympathy; the hero of 
the Saga therefore adds warningly: "He who has not a 
hard heart when young, will never have one." The noble and 
brave who think thus are the furthest removed from the 
morality which sees precisely in sympathy, or in acting for 
the good of others, or in disinter essement, the characteristic 
of the moral; faith in oneself, pride in oneself, a radical en- 
mity and irony towards "selflessness," belong as definitely to 
noble morality, as do a careless scorn and precaution in 
presence of sympathy and the "warm heart." — It is the pow- 
erful who know how to honour, it is their art, their domain 
for invention. The profound reverence for age and for 
tradition — all law rests on this double reverence, — the belief 
and prejudice in favour of ancestors and unfavourable to 
newcomers, is typical in the morality of the powerful ; and if, 
reversely, men of "modem ideas" believe almost instinctively 
in "progress" and the "future," and are more and more lack- 
ing in respect for old age, the ignoble origin of these "ideas"j 
has complacently betrayed itself thereby. A morality of thj 
ruling class, however, is more especially foreign and irritating 


to present-day taste in the sternness of its principle that one 
has duties only to one's equals; that one may act towards 
beings of a lower rank, towards all that is foreign, just as 
seems good to one, or "as the heart desires," and in any case 
"beyond good and evil": it is here that sympathy and similar 
sentiments can have a place. The ability and obligation 
to exercise prolonged gratitude and prolonged revenge — both 
only within the circle of equals, — artfulness in retaliation, 
raffinement of the idea in friendship, a certain necessity to 
have enemies (as outlets for the emotions of envy, quarrel- 
someness, arrogance — in fact, in order to be a good friend) : 
all these are t5rpical characteristics of the noble morality, 
which, as has been pointed out, is not the morality of "mod- 
em ideas," and is therefore at present difficult to realise, 
and also to unearth and disclose. — It is otherwise with the 
second type of morality, slave-morality. Supposing that the 
abused, the oppressed, the suffering, the unemancipated, the 
weary, and those uncertain of themselves, should moralise, 
what will be the common element in their moral estimates? 
Probably a pessimistic suspicion with regard to the entire 
situation of man will find expression, perhaps a condemnation 
of man, together with his situation. The slave has an un- 
favourable eye for the virtues of the powerful ; he has a scep- 
ticism and distrust, a refinement of distrust of everything 
"good" that is there honoured — he would fain persuade him- 
self that the very happiness there is not genuine. On the 
other hand, those qualities which serve to alleviate the ex- 
istence of sufferers are brought into prominence and flooded 
with light; it is here that sympathy, the kind, helping hand, 
the warm heart, patience, diligence, humility, and friendliness 
attain to honour; for here these are the most useful qualities, 
and almost the only means of supporting the burden of 
existence. Slave-morality is essentially the morality of utility. 


Here is the seat of the origin of the famous antithesis "good" 
and "evil": — power and dangerousness are assumed to reside 
in the evil, a certain dreadfulness, subtlety, and strength, 
which do not admit of being despised. According to slave- 
morality, therefore, the "evil" man arouses fear; according 
to master-morality, it is precisely the "good" man who arouses 
fear and seeks to arouse it, while the bad man is regarded 
as the despicable being. The contrast attains its maximum 
when, in accordance with the logical consequences of slave- 
morality, a shade of depreciation — it may be slight and well- 
intentioned — at last attaches itself to the "good" man of 
this morality; because, according to the servile mode of 
thought, the good man must in any case be the safe man: he 
is good-natured, easily deceived, perhaps a little stupid, un 
bonkomme. Everjrwhere that slave-morality gains the as- 
cendency, language shows a tendency to approximate the 
significations of the words "good" and "stupid." — A last 
fundamental difference: the desire for freedom, the instinct 
for happiness and the refinements of the feeling of liberty 
belong as necessarily to slave-morals and morality, as artifice 
and enthusiasm in reverence and devotion are the regular 
symptoms of an aristocratic mode of thinking and estimating. 
■ — Hence we can understand without further detail why love 
as a passion — it is our European specialty — must absolutely 
be of noble origin; as is well known, its invention is due to 
the Provengal poet-cavaliers, those brilliant, ingenious men 
of the "gai saber," to whom Europe owes so much, and 
almost owes itself. 


Vanity is one of the things which are perhaps most difficult 
for a noble man to understand: he will be tempted to deny 


it, where another kind of man thinks he sees it self -evidently. 
The problem for him is to represent to his mind beings 
who seek to arouse a good opinion of themselves which they 
themselves do not possess — and consequently also do not 
"deserve," — and who yet believe in this good opinion after- 
wards. This seems to him on the one hand such bad taste 
and so self -disrespectful, and on the other hand so grotesquely 
unreasonable, that he would like to consider vanity an excep- 
tion, and is doubtful about it in most cases when it is 
spoken of. He will say, for instance: "I may be mistaken 
about my value, and on the other hand may nevertheless de- 
mand that my value should be acknowledged by others pre- 
cisely as I rate it: — that, however, is not vanity (but self- 
conceit, or, in most cases, that which is called 'humility,' 
and also 'modesty')." Or he will even say: "For many rea- 
sons I can delight in the good opinion of others, perhaps 
because I love and honour them, and rejoice in all their 
joys, perhaps also because their good opinion endorses zmd 
strengthens my belief in my own good opinion, perhaps 
because the good opinion of others, even in cases where I do 
not share it, is useful to me, or gives promise of usefulness: — 
all this, however, is not vemity." The man of noble character 
must first bring it home forcibly to his mind, especially with 
the aid of history, that, from time immemorial, in all social 
strata in any way dependent, the ordinary man was only 
that which he passed for: — ^not being at all accustomed to 
fix values, he did not assign even to himself any other value 
than that which his master assigned to him (it is the peculiar 
right of masters to create values). It may be looked upon 
as the result of an extraordinary atavism, that the ordinary 
man, even at present, is still always waiting for an opinion 
about himself, and then instinctively submitting himself to 
it; yet by no means only to a "good" opinion, but also to 


a bad and unjust one (think, for instance, of the greater 
part of the self-appreciations and self-depreciations which 
believing women learn from their confessors, and which in 
general the believing Christian learns from his Church). 
In fact, conformably to the slow rise of the democratic social 
order (and its cause, the blending of the blood of masters 
and slaves), the originally noble and rare impulse of the 
masters to assign a value to themselves and to "think well" 
of themselves, will now be more and more encouraged and 
extended; but it has at all times an older, ampler, and more 
radically ingrained propensity opposed to it — and in the 
phenomenon of "vanity" this older propensity overmasters 
the younger. The vain person rejoices over every good opin- 
ion which he hears about himself (quite apart from the point 
of view of its usefulness, and equally regardless of its truth 
or falsehood), just as he suffers from every bad opinion: for 
he subjects himself to both, he ]eeh himself subjected to 
both, by that oldest instinct of subjection which breaks 
forth in him. — It is "the slave" in the vain man's blood, the 
remains of the slave's craftiness — and how much of the 
"slave" is still left in woman, for instance! — which seeks to 
seduce to good opinions of itself; it is the slave, too, who 
immediately afterwards falls prostrate himself before these 
opinions, as though he had not called them forth. — And to 
repeat it agziin: vanity is an atavism. 


A species originates, and a type becomes established and 
strong in the long struggle with essentially constant unfavour- 
able conditions. On the other hand, it is known by the expe- 
rience of breeders that species which receive superabundant 
nourishment, and in general a surplus of protection and care. 


immediately tend in the most marked way to develop varia- 
tions, and are fertile in prodigies and monstrosities (also in 
monstrous vices). Now look at an aristocratic common- 
wealth, say an ancient Greek polls, or Venice, as a voluntary 
or involuntary contrivance for the purpose of rearing human 
beings ; there are there men beside one another, thrown upon 
their own resources, who want to make their species prevail, 
chiefly because they must prevail, or else run the terrible 
danger of being exterminated. The favour, the superabund- 
ance, the protection are there lacking under which variations 
are fostered; the species needs itself as species, as something 
which, precisely by virtue of its hardness, its uniformity, 
and simplicity of structure, can in general prevail and make 
itself permanent in constant struggle with its neighbours, 
or with rebellious or rebellion-threatening vassals. The most 
\'aried experience teaches it what are the qualities to which 
it principally owes the fact that it still exists, in spite of 
all Gods and men, and has hitherto been victorious: these 
qualities it calls virtues, and these virtues alone it develops 
to maturity. It does so with severity, indeed it desires se- 
verity; every aristocratic morality is intolerant in the 
education of youth, in the control of women, in the mar- 
riage customs, in the relations of old and young, in the 
penal laws (which have an eye only for the degenerating) : 
it counts intolerance itself among the virtues, under the 
name of "justice." A type with few, but very marked 
features, a species of severe, warlike, wisely silent, reserved 
and reticent men (and as such, with the most delicate sensi- 
bility for the charm and nuances of society) is thus estab- 
lished, unaffected by the vicissitudes of generations; the 
constant struggle with imiform unfavourable conditions is, 
as already remarked, the cause of a type becoming stable 
and hard. Finally, however, a happy state of things results. 


the enormous tension is relaxed; there are perhaps no mere 
enemies among the neighbouring peoples, and the means of 
life, even of the enjoyment of life, are present in super- 
abundance. With one stroke the bond and constraint of the 
old discipline severs: it is no longer regarded as necessary, 
Us a condition of existence — if it would continue, it can only 
do so as a form of luxury, as an archaising taste. Varia- 
tions, whether they be deviations (into the higher, finer, and 
rarer), or deteriorations and monstrosities, appear suddenly 
on the scene in the greatest exuberance and splendour; the 
individual dares to be individual and detach himself. At 
this turning-point of history there manifest themselves, side 
by side, and often mixed and entangled together, a magnifi- 
cent, manifold, virgin-forest-like up-growth and up-striving, 
a kind of tropical tempo in the rivalry of growth, and an 
extraordinary decay and self-destruction, owing to the sav- 
agely opposing and seemingly exploding egoisms, which 
strive with one another "for sun and light," and can no 
longer assign any limit, restraint, or forbearance for them- 
selves by means of the hitherto existing morality. It was 
this morality itself which piled up the strength so enor- 
mously, which bent the bow in so threatening a manner: — 
it is now "out of date," it is getting "out of date." The 
dangerous and disquieting point has been reached when the 
greater, more manifold, more comprehensive life is lived 
beyond the old morality; the "individual" stands out, and is 
obliged to have recourse to his own law-giving, his owti arts 
and artifices for self-preservation, self-elevation, and self- 
deliverance. Nothing but new "Whys," nothing but new 
"Hows," no common formulas any longer, misunderstanding 
and disregard in league with each other, decay, deterioration, 
and the loftiest desires frightfully entangled, the genius of the 
race overflowing from all the cornucopias of good and bad, 


a portentous simultaneousness of Spring and Autumn, full 
of new charms and mysteries peculiar to the fresh, still in- 
exhausted, still unwearied corruption. Danger is again 
present, the mother of morality, great danger; this time 
shifted into the individual, into the neighbour and friend, 
into the street, into their own child, into their own heart, 
into all the most personal and secret recesses of their desires 
and volitions. What will the moral philosophers who appear 
at this time have to preach? They discover, these sharp 
onlookers and loafers, that the end is quickly approaching,, 
that everything around them decays and produces decay^ 
that nothing will endure until the day after to-morrow, except 
one species of man, the incurably mediocre. The mediocre 
alone have a prospect of continuing and propagating them- 
selves — they will be the men of the future, the sole survivors; 
"be like them! become mediocre!" is now the only morality 
which has still a significance, which still obtains a hearing.— 
But it is difficult to preach this morality of mediocrity! it 
can never avow what it is and what it desires! it has to talk 
of moderation and dignity and duty and brotherly love — ^it: 
will have difficulty in concealing its irony! 


There is an instinct for rank, which more than anything 
else is already the sign of a high rank; there is a delight in the 
nuances of reverence which leads one to infer noble origin 
and habits. The refinement, goodness, and loftiness of a 
soul are put to a perilous test when something passes by 
that is of the highest rank, but is not yet protected by the 
awe of authority from obtrusive touches and incivilities: 
something that goes its way like a living touchstone, undis- 
tinguished, undiscovered, and tentative, perhaps voluntarily 


veiled and disguised. He whose task and practice it is to 
investigate souls, will avail himself of many varieties of 
this very art to determine the ultimate value of a soul, the 
unalterable, innate order of rank to which it belongs: he 
will test it by its instinct for reverence. Difference engendre 
haine: the vulgarity of many a nature spurts up suddenly 
like dirty water, when any holy vessel, any jewel from closed 
shrines, any book bearing the marks of great destiny, is 
brought before it; while on the other hand, there is an invol- 
untary silence, a hesitation of the eye, a cessation of all 
gestures, by which it is indicated that a soul jeels the nearness 
of what is worthiest of respect. The way in which, on the 
whole, the reverence for the Bible has hitherto been main- 
tained in Europe, is perhaps the best example of discipline 
and refinement of manners which Europe owes to Christian- 
ity: books of such profoundness and supreme significance 
require for their protection an external tyranny of authority, 
in order to acquire the period of thousands of years which is 
necessary to exhaust and unriddle them. Much has been 
achieved when the sentiment has been at last instilled into 
the masses (the shallow-pates and the boobies of every kind) 
that they are not allowed to touch everything, that there are 
holy experiences before which they must take off their shoes 
and keep away the unclean hand — it is almost their highest 
advance towards humanity. On the contrary, in the so- 
called cultured classes, the believers in "modem ideas," 
nothing is perhaps so repulsive as their lack of shame, the 
easy insolence of eye and hand with which they touch, taste, 
and finger everything; and it is possible that even yet there 
is more relative nobility of taste, and more tact for reverence 
among the people, among the lower classes of the people, 
especially among peasants, than among the newspaper-read- 
ing demimonde of intellect, the cultured class. 



It cannot be effaced from a man's soul what his ancestors 
have preferably and most constantly done: whether they 
were perhaps diligent economisers attached to a desk and 
a cash-box, modest and citizen-like in their desires, modest 
also in their virtues; or whether they were accustomed to 
commanding from morning till night, fond of rude pleasures 
and probably of still ruder duties and responsibilities; or 
whether, finally, at one time or another, they have sacrificed 
old privileges of birth and possession, in order to live wholly 
for their faith — for their "God," — as men of an inexorable 
and sensitive conscience, which blushes at every compromise. 
It is quite impossible for a man not to have the qualities 
and predilections of his parents and ancestors in his consti- 
tution, whatever appearances may suggest to the contrary. 
This is the problem of race. Granted that one knows some- 
thing of the parents, it is admissible to draw a conclusion 
about the child: any kind of offensive incontinence, any kind 
of sordid envy, or of clumsy self-vaunting — the three things 
which together have constituted the genuine plebeian type 
in all times — such must pass over to the child, as surely as 
bad blood; and with the help of the best education and cul- 
ture one will only succeed in deceiving with regard to such 
heredity. — And what else does education and culture try to 
do nowadays! In our very democratic, or rather, very ple- 
beian age, "education" and "culture" must be essentially 
the art of deceiving — deceiving with regard to origin, with 
regard to the inherited plebeianism in body and soul. An 
educator who nowadays preached truthfulness above every- 
thing else, and called out constantly to his pupils: "Be true! 
Be natural! Show yourselves as you are!" — even such a 


virtuous and sincere ass would learn in a short time to have 
recourse to the furca of Horace, naturam expellere: with 
what results? "Plebeianism" usque recurret* 


At the risk of displeasing innocent ears, I submit that 
egoism belongs to the essence of a noble soul, I mean the 
unalterable belief that to a being such as "we," other beings 
must naturally be in subjection, and have to sacrifice them- 
selves. The noble soul accepts the fact of his egoism without 
question, and also without consciousness of harshness, con- 
straint, or arbitrariness therein, but rather as something that 
may have its basis in the primary law of things: — if he sought 
a designation for it he would say: "It is justice itself." He 
acknowledges under certain circumstances, which made him 
hesitate at first, that there are other equally privileged ones; 
as soon as he has settled this question of rank, he moves 
among those equals and equally privileged ones with the same 
assurance, as regards modesty and delicate respect, which 
he enjoys in intercourse with himself — in accordance with 
an innate heavenly mechanism which all the stars under- 
stand. It is an additional instance of his egoism, this artful- 
ness and self-limitation in intercourse with his equals — every 
star is a similar egoist; he honours himself in them, and in 
the rights which he concedes to them, he has no doubt that 
the exchange of honours and rights, as the essence of all 
intercourse, belongs also to the natural condition of things. 
The noble soul gives as he takes, prompted by the passionate 
and sensitive instinct of requital, which is at the root of his 
nature. The notion of "favour" has, inter pares, neither sig- 

♦ Horace's "Epistles," I. x. 24. 


nificance nor good repute; there may be a sublime way of 
letting gifts as it were light upon one from above, and of 
drinking them thirstily like dew-drops; but for those arts 
and displays the noble soul has no aptitude. His egoism 
hinders him here: in general, he looks "aloft" unwillingly — 
he looks either forward, horizontally and deliberately, or 
downwards — he knows that he is on a height. 


"One can only truly esteem him who does not look out for 
himself." — Goethe to Rath Schlosser. 


The Chinese have a proverb which mothers even teach 
their children: "Siao-sin" {"make thy heart small"). This 
is the essentially fimdamental tendency in latter-day civili- 
sations. I have no doubt that an ancient Greek, also, would 
first of all remark the self-dwarfing in us Europeans of to-day 
—in this respect alone we should immediately be ''distaste' 
ful" to him. 


What, after all, is ignobleness? — ^Words are vocal symbols 
for ideas; ideas, however, are more or less definite menta> 
S5mibols for frequently returning and concurring sensations, 
for groups of sensations. It is not sufficient to use the same 
words in order to understand one another: we must also 
employ the same words for the same kind of internal expe- 
riences, we must in the end have experiences in common. 
On this account the people of one nation understand 


one another better than those belonging to different 
nations, even when they use the same language; or rather, 
when people have lived long together under similar con- 
ditions (of climate, soil, danger, requirement, toil) there 
originates therefrom an entity that "understands itself" — 
namely, a nation. In all souls a like number of frequently 
recurring experiences have gained the upper hand over those 
occurring more rarely: about these matters people understand 
one another rapidly and always more rapidly — the history of 
language is the history of a process of abbreviation; 
on the basis of this quick comprehension people al- 
ways unite closer and closer. The greater the dan- 
ger, the greater is the need of agreeing quickly and 
readily about what is necessary; not to misunderstand 
one another in danger — that is what cannot at all be dis- 
pensed with in intercourse. Also in all loves and friendships 
one has the experience that nothing of the kind continues 
when the discovery has been made that in using the same 
words, one of the two parties has feelings, thoughts, intui- 
tions, wishes, or fears different from those of the other. 
(The fear of the "eternal misunderstanding": that is the 
good genius which so often keeps persons of different sexes 
from too hasty attachments, to which sense and heart 
prompt them — and not some Schopenhauerian "genius of 
the species"!) Whichever groups of sensations within a 
soul awaken most readily, begin to speak, and give the 
word of command — these decide as to the general order of 
rank of its values, and determine ultimately its list of de- 
sirable things. A man's estimates of value betray some-^ 
thing of the structure of his soul, and wherein it sees it 
conditions of life, its intrinsic needs. Supposing now that 
necessity has from all time drawn together only such men' 
as could express similar requirements and similar experiences 


by similar symbols, it results on the whole that the easy 
coinmunicability of need, which implies ultimately the un- 
dergoing only of average and common experiences, must 
have been the most potent of all the forces which have hith- 
erto operated upon mankind. The more similar, the more 
ordinary people, have always had and are still having the 
advantage; the more select, more refined, more unique, and 
difficultly comprehensible, are liable to stand alone; they 
succumb to accidents in their isolation, and seldom propa- 
gate themselves. One must appeal to immense opposing 
forces, in order to thwart this natural, all-too-natural pro- 
gressus in simile, the evolution of man to the similar, the 
ordinary, the average, the gregarious — to the ignoble! — 


The more a psychologist — a bom, an unavoidable psy- 
chologist and soul-diviner — turns his attention to the more 
select cases and individuals, the greater is his danger of be- 
ing suffocated by sympathy: he needs sternness and cheer- 
fulness more than any other man. For the corruption, the 
ruination of higher men, of the more unusually constituted 
souls, is in fact, the rule: it is dreadful to have such a rule 
always before one's eyes. The manifold torment of the 
psychologist who has discovered this ruination, who discov- 
ers once, and then discovers almost repeatedly throughout 
all history, this universal inner "desperateness" of higher 
men, this eternal "too late!" in every sense — may perhaps 
one day be the cause of his turning with bitterness against 
his own lot, and of his making an attempt at self-destruc- 
tion — of his "going to ruin" himself. One may perceive in 
almost every psychologist a tell-tale inclination for delight- 
ful intercourse with commonplace and well-ordered men: 


the fact is thereby disclosed that he always requires healing, 
that hft needs a sort of flight and forgetfulness, away from 
what his insight and incisiveness — from what his "business" 
— has laid upon his conscience. The fear of his memory 
is peculiar to him. He is easily silenced by the judgment 
of others; he hears with unmoved countenance how people 
honour, admire, love, and glorify, where he has perceived — 
or he even conceals his silence by expressly assenting to 
some plausible opinion. Perhaps the paradox of his situa- 
tion becomes so dreadful that, precisely where he has learnt 
great sympathy, together with great contempt, the multitude, 
the educated, and the visionaries, have on their part learnt 
great reverence — reverence for "great men" and marvellous 
animals, for the sake of whom one blesses and honours the 
fatherland, the earth, the dignity of mankind, and one's 
own self, to whom one points the young, and in view of 
whom one educates them. And who knows but in all great 
instances hitherto just the same happened: that the multi- 
tude worshipped a God, and that the "God" was only a 
poor sacrificial animal! Success has always been the great- 
est liar — and the "work" itself is a success; the great states- 
man, the conqueror, the discoverer, are disguised in their 
creations until they are unrecognisable; the "work" of the 
artist, of the philosopher, only invents him who has created 
it, is reputed to have created it; the "great men," as they 
are reverenced, are poor little fictions composed afterwards; 
in the world of historical values spurious coinage prevails. 
Those great poets, for example, such as Byron, Musset, Poe, 
Leopardi, Kleist, Gogol (I do not venture to mention much 
greater names, but I have them in my mind), as they now 
appear, and were perhaps obliged to be: m.en of the moment, 
enthusiastic, sensuous, and childish, light-minded and im- 
pulsive in their trust and distrust; with souls in which usually 


some flaw has to be concealed; often taking revenge with 
their works for an internal defilement, often seeking for- 
getfulness in their soaring from a too true memory, often 
lost in the mud and almost in love with it, until they 
become like the Will-o '-the- Wisps around the swamps, and 
pretend to be stars — the people then call them idealists, — 
often struggling with protracted disgust, with an ever-re- 
appearing phantom of disbelief, which makes them cold, 
and obliges them to languish for gloria and devour "faith 
as it is" out of the hands of intoxicated adulators: — what 
a torment these great artists are and the so-called higher 
men in general, to him who has once found them out! It is 
thus conceivable that it is just from woman — who is clair- 
voyant in the world of suffering, and also unfortunately 
eager to help and save to an extent far beyond her powers — 
that they have learnt so readily those outbreaks of boundless 
devoted sympathy, which the multitude, above all the rev- 
erent multitude, do not understand, and overwhelm with 
prying and self-gratifying interpretations. This sjmipathis- 
ing invariably deceives itself as to its power; woman would 
like to believe that love can do everything — it is the super- 
ctition peculiar to her. Alas, he who knows the heart finds 
out how poor, helpless, pretentious, and blundering even 
the best and deepest love is — he finds that it rather destroys 
than saves! — It is possible that under the holy fable and 
travesty of the life of Jesus there is hidden one of the 
most painful cases of the martyrdom of knowledge about 
love: the mart5n-dom of the most innocent and most craving 
heart, that never had enough of any human love, that de- 
manded love, that demanded inexorably and frantically to 
be loved and nothing else, with terrible outbursts against 
those who refused him their love; the story of a poor soul 
insatiated and insatiable in love, that had to invent hell to 


send thither those who would not love him — ^and that at 
last, enlightened about human love, had to invent a God 
who is entire love, entire capacity for love — who takes pity 
on human love, because it is so paltry, so ignorant ! He 
who has such sentiments, he who has such knowledge 
about love — seeks for death! — But why should one deal 
with such painful matters ? Provided, of course, that one 
is not obliged to do so. 


The intellectual haughtiness and loathing of every man 
who has suffered deeply — it almost determines the order 
of rank how deeply men can suffer — the chilling cer- 
tainty, with which he is thoroughly imbued and coloured, 
that by virtue of his suffering he knows more than the 
shrewedest and wisest can ever know, that he has been 
fmiliar with, and "at home" in, many distant, dreadful 
worlds of which "you know nothing" ! — this silent intel- 
lectual haughtiness of the sufferer, this pride of the elect 
of knowledge, of the "initiated," of the almost sacrificed, 
finds all forms of disguise necessary to protect itself from 
contact with officious and sympathising hands, and in 
general from all that is not its equal in suffering. Profound 
suffering makes noble : it separates. — One of the most re- 
fined forms of disguise is Epicurism, along with a certain 
ostentatious boldness of taste, which takes suffering 
lightly, and puts itself on the defensive against all that is 
sorrowful and profound. They are "gay men" who make 
use of gaiety, because they are misunderstood on account 
of it — they wish to be misunderstood. There are 
^'scientific minds" who make use of science, because it 
gives a gay appearance, and because scientificness leads 
to the conclusion that a person is superficial — ^they 


■wish to mislead to a false conclusion. There are free inso- 
lent minds which would fain conceal and deny that they are 
broken, proud, incurable hearts (the cynicism of Hamlet — 
the case of Galiani) ; and occasionally folly itself is the 
mask of an unfortunate over-assured knowledge. — From 
which it follows that it is the part of a more refined human- 
ity to have reverence "for the mask," and not to make use 
of psychology and curiosity in the wrong place. 


That which separates two men most profoundly is a dif- 
ferent sense and grade of purity. What does it matter 
about all their honesty and reciprocal usefulness, what does 
it matter about all their mutual good- will: the fact still 
remains — they "cannot smell each other!" The highest in- 
stinct for purity places him who is affected with it in the 
most extraordinary and dangerous isolation, as a saint: for 
it is just holiness — the highest spiritualisation of the in- 
stinct in question. Any kind of cognisance of an indescrib- 
able excess in the joy of the bath, any kind of ardour or 
thirst which perpetually impels the soul out of night into 
the morning, and out of gloom, out of "affliction" into 
clearness, brightness, depth, and refinement: — just as much 
as such a tendency distinguishes — it is a noble tendency — 
it also separates. — ^The pity of the saint is pity for the filth 
of the human, all-too-human. And there are grades and 
heights were pity itself is regarded by him as impurity, as 


Signs of nobility: never to think of lowering our duties 
to the rank of duties for everybody; to be unwilling to re- 


nounce or to share our responsibilities; to count our prerog- 
atives, and the exercise of them, among our duties. 


A man who strives after great things, looks upon every 
one whom he encoimters on his way either as a means of 
advance, or a delay and hindrance — or as a temporary rest- 
ing-place. His peculiar lofty bounty to his fellow-men is 
only possible when he attains his elevation and dominates. 
Impatience, and the consciousness of being always condemned 
to comedy up to that time — for even strife is a comedy, and 
conceals the end, as every means does — spoil all intercourse 
for him; this kind of man is acquainted with solitude, and 
what is most poisonous in it. 


The Problem of those who Wait. — Happy chances are 
necessary, and many incalculable elements, in order that a 
higher man in whom the solution of a problem is dormant, 
may yet take action, or "break forth," as one might say — 
at the right mom.ent. On an average it does not happen; 
and in all comers of the earth there are waiting ones sitting 
who hardly know to what extent they are waiting, and still 
less that they wait in vain. Occasionally, too, the waking 
call comes too late — the chance which gives "permission" 
to take action — when their best youth, and strength for ac- 
tion have been used up in sitting still ; and how many a one, 
just as he "sprang up," has found with horror that his limbs 
are benumbed and his spirits are now too heavy! "It is 
too late," he has said to himself — and has become self- 
distrustful and henceforth for ever useless. — In the domain 


of genius, may not the "Raphael without hands" (taking the 
expression in its widest sense) perhaps not be the exception, 
but the rule? — Perhaps genius is by no means so rare: but 
rather the five hundred hands which it requires in order to 
tyrannise over the naiQog "the right time" — in order to 
take chance by the forelock! 


He who does not wish to see the height of a man, looks 
all the more sharply at what is low in him, and in the fore- 
ground — and thereby betrays himself. 


In all kinds of injury and loss the lower and coarser soul 
is better off than the nobler soul: the dangers of the latter 
must be greater, the probability that it will come to grief 
and perish is in fact immense, considering the multiplicity 
of the conditions of its existence. — In a lizard a finger 
grows again which has been lost; not so in man, — 


It is too bad! Always the old story! When a man has 
finished building his house, he finds that he has learnt un- 
awares something which he ought absolutely to have known 
before he — began to build. The eternal, fatal "Too late!" 
The melancholia of everything completed! — 


— Wanderer, who art thou? I see thee follow thy path 


without scorn, without love, with unfathomable eyes, wet 
and sad as a plummet which has returned to the light insa- 
tiated out of every depth — what did it seek down there? — 
with a bosom that never sighs, with lips that conceal their 
loathing, with a hand which only slowly grasps: who art 
thou? what hast thou done? Rest thee here: this place 
has hospitality for every one — refresh thyself! And v/ho- 
ever thou art, what is it that now pleases thee? What will 
serve to refresh thee? Only name it, whatever I have I 
offer thee! "To refresh me? To refresh me? Oh, thou 
prying one, what sayest thou! But give me, I pray 

thee " What? what? Speak out! "Another mask! A 

second mask!" 


Men of profound sadness betray themselves when they 
are happy: they have a mode of seizing upon happiness as 
though they would choke and strangle it, out of jealousy — 
ah, they know only too well that it will flee from them! 


"Bad! Bad! What? Does he not— go back?" Yes! 
But you misunderstand him when you complain about it. 
He goes back like every one who is about to make a great 


— "Will people believe it of me? But I insist that they 
believe it of me: I have always thought very unsatisfactor- 
ily of myself and about myself, only in very rare cases, only 
compulsorily, always without delight in 'the subject,' ready 


to digress from 'myself,' and always without faith in the 
result, owing to an unconquerable distrust of the possibility 
of self-knowledge, which has led me so far as to feel a con- 
tradictio in adjecto even in the idea of 'direct knowledge' 
which theorists allow themselves: — this matter of fact is 
almost the most certain thing I know about myself. There 
must be a sort of repugnance in me to believe anything 
definite about myself. — Is there perhaps some enigma there- 
in? Probably; but forttmately nothing for my own teeth. — 
Perhaps it betrays the species to which I belong? — ^but not 
to myself, as is sufficiently agreeable to me." 


— "But what has happened to you?" — "I do not know," 
he said, hesitatingly; "perhaps the Harpies have flown over 
my table." — It sometimes happens nowadays that a gentle, 
sober, retiring man becomes suddenly mad, breaks the plates, 
upsets the table, shrieks, raves, and shocks everybody — and 
finally withdraws, ashamed, and raging at himself — whither? 
for what purpose? To famish apart? To suffocate with his 

memories? To him who has the desires of a lofty and 

dainty soul, and only seldom finds his table laid and his 
food prepared, the danger will always be great — nowadays, 
however, it is extraordinarily so. Thrown into the midst of 
a noisy and plebeian age, with which he does not like to eat 
out of the same dish, he may readily perish of hunger and 
thirst — or, should he nevertheless finally "fall to," of sudden 
nausea. — We have probably all sat at tables to which we 
did not belong; and precisely the most spiritual of us, who 
are most difficult to nourish, know the dangerous dyspepsia 
which originates from a sudden insight and disillusionment 
about our food and our messmates — the after-dinner nausea. 



If one wishes to praise at all, it is a delicate and at the 
same time a noble self-control, to praise only where one does 
not agree — otherwise in fact one would praise oneself, which 
is contrary to good taste: — a self-control, to be sure, which 
offers excellent opportunity and provocation to constant mis- 
understanding. To be able to allow oneself this veritable 
luxury of taste and morality, one must not live among in- 
tellectual imbeciles, but rather among men whose misunder- 
standings and mistakes amuse by their refinement — or one 
will have to pay dearly for it! — "He praises me, therefore 
he acknowledges me to be right" — this asinine method of 
inference spoils half of the life of us recluses, for it brings 
the asses into our neighbourhood and friendship. 


To live in a vast and proud tranquillity; always be- 
yond ... To have, or not to have, one's emotions, one's 
For and Against, according to choice; to lower oneself to 
them for hours; to seat oneself on them as upon horses, and 
often as upon asses: — for one must know how to make use 
of their stupidity as well as of their fire. To conserve 
one's three hundred foregrounds; also one's black spectacles: 
for there are circumstances when nobody must look into 
our eyes, still less into our "motives." And to choose for 
company that roguish and cheerful vice, politeness. And 
to remain master of one's four virtues, courage, insight, sym- 
pathy, and solitude. For solitude is a virtue with us, as a 
sublime bent and bias to purity, which divines that in the 
contact of man and man — "in society" — it must be unavoid- 


ably impure. All society makes one somehow, somewhere, 
or sometime — "commonplace." 


The greatest events and thoughts — the greatest thoughts, 
however, are the greatest events — are longest in being com- 
prehended: the generations which are contemporary with 
them do not experience such events — they live past them. 
Something happens there as in the realm of stars. The 
light of the furthest stars is longest in reaching man; £md 
before it has arrived man denies — that there are stars there. 
"How many centuries does a mind require to be under- 
stood? — that is also a standard, one also makes a gradation 
of rank and an etiquette therewith, such as is necessary for 
mind and for star. 


"Here is the prospect free, the mind exalted." * — But 
there is a reverse kind of man, who is also upon a height, and 
has also a free prospect — ^but looks downwards. 


— ^What is noble? What does the word "noble" still mean 
for us nowadays? How does the noble man betray himself, 
how is he recognised under this heavy overcast sky of the 
commencing plebeianism, by which everything is rendered 
opaque and leaden? — It is not hi? actions which establish 
his claim — actions are always ambiguous, always inscruta- 

♦ Goethe's "Faust," Part II., Act V. The words of Dr. Mari 


ble; neither is it his "works." One finds nowadays among 
artists and scholars plenty of those who betray by their 
works that a profound longing for nobleness impels them; 
but this very need of nobleness is radically different from 
the needs of the noble soul itself, and is in fact the eloquent 
and dangerous sign of the lack thereof. It is not the works, 
but the belief which is here decisive and determines the order 
of rank — to employ once more an old religious formula with 
a new and deeper meaning, — it is some fundamental cer- 
tainty which a noble soul has about itself, something which 
is not to be sought, is not to be found, and perhaps, also, 
is not to be lost. — The noble soul has reverence for itself. — 


There are men who are unavoidably intellectual, let them 
turn and twist themselves as they will, and hold their hands 
before their treacherous eyes — as though the hand were not 
a betrayer; it always comes out at last that they have 
something which they hide — namely, intellect. One of the 
subtlest means of deceiving, at least as long as possible, and 
of successfully representing oneself to be stupider than one 
really is — which in everyday life is often as desirable as an 
umbrella, — is called enthusiasm, including what belongs to 
it, for instance, virtue. For as Galiani said, who was obliged 
to know it: vertu est enthousiasme. 


In the writings of a recluse one always hears something of 
the echo of the wilderness, something of the murmuring 
tones and timid vigilance of solitude; in his strongest words, 
even in his cry itself, there sounds a new and more danger- 


ous kind of silence, of concealment. He who has sat day and 
night, from year's end to year's end, alone with his soul in 
familiar discord and discourse, he who has become a cave- 
bear, or a treasure-seeker, or a treasure-guardian and dragon 
in his cave — it may be a labyrinth, but can also be a gold- 
mine — his ideas themselves eventually acquire a twilight- 
colour of their own, and an odour, as much of the depth as 
of the mould, something uncommunicative and repulsive, 
which blows chilly upon every passerby. The recluse does 
not believe that a philosopher — supposing that a philosopher 
has always in the first place been a recluse — ever expressed 
his actual and ultimate opinions in books: are not books 
written precisely to hide what is in us? — indeed, he will 
doubt whether a philosopher can have "ultimate and actual" 
opinions at all; whether behind every cave in him there is 
not, and must necessarily be, a still deeper cave: an ampler, 
stranger, richer world beyond the surface, an abyss behind 
every bottom, beneath every "foundation." Every philos- 
ophy is a foreground philosophy — this is a recluse's verdict: 
"There is something arbitrary in the fact that the philosopher 
came to a stand here, took a retrospect and looked around; 
that he here laid his spade aside and did not dig any deeper 
— there is also something suspicious in it." Every philoso- 
phy also conceals a philosophy; every opinion is also a 
lurking-place, every word is also a mask. 


Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood 
than of being misunderstood. The latter perhaps wounds 
his vanity; but the former wounds his heart, his sympathy, 
which always says: "Ah, why would you also have as hard 
a time of it as I have?" 



Man, a complex, mendacious, artful, and inscrutable ani- 
mal, imcanny to the other animals by his artifice and sagac- 
ity, rather than by his strength, has invented the good con- 
science in order finally to enjoy his soul as something simple; 
and the whole of morality is a long, audacious falsification, 
by virtue of which generally enjojonent at the sight of the 
soul becomes possible. From this point of view there is per- 
haps much more in the conception of "art" than is gener- 
ally believed. 


A philosopher: that is a man who constantly experiences, 
sees, hears, suspects, hopes, and dreams extraordinary 
things; who is struck by his own thoughts as if they came 
from the outside, from above and below, as a species of 
events and lightning-flashes peculiar to him; who is perhaps 
himself a storm pregnant with new lightnings; a portentous 
man, around whom there is always rumbling and mumbling 
and gaping and something uncanny going on. A philoso- 
pher: alas, a being who often runs away from himself, is 
often afraid of himself — ^but whose curiosity always makes 
him "come to himself" again. 


A man who says: "I like that, I take it for my own, and 
mean to guard and protect it from every one"; a man who 
can conduct a case, carry out a resolution, remain true to an 
opinion, keep hold of a woman, punish and overthrow inso- 


lencc; a man who has his indignation and his sword, and 
to whom the weak, the suffering, the oppressed, and even 
the animals willingly submit and naturally belong; in short, 
a man who is a master by nature — when such a man ha3 
sympathy, well! that sympathy has value! But of what 
accoimt is the S5mipathy of those who suffer! Or of those 
even who preach s)anpathy! There is nowadays, through- 
out almost the whole of Europe, a sickly irritability and sen- 
sitiveness towards pain, and also a repulsive irrestrainable- 
ness in complaining, an effeminising, which, with the aid of 
religion and philosophical nonsense, seeks to deck itself out 
as something superior — there is a regular cult of suffering. 
The unmanliness of that which is called "sympathy" by 
such groups of visionaries, is always, I believe, the first 
thing that strikes the eye. — One must resolutely and radically 
taboo this latest form of bad taste; and finally I wish people 
to put the good amulet, "gai saber" ("gay science," in ordi- 
nary language), on heart and neck, as a protection against 


The Olympian Vice. — ^Despite Ae philosopher who, as a 
genuine Englishman, tried to bring laughter into bad repute 
in all thinking minds — "Laughing is a bad infirmity of hu- 
man nature, which every thinking mind will strive to over- 
come" (Hobbes), — I would even allow myself to rank phi- 
losophers according to the quality of their laughing — up to 
those who are capable of golden laughter. And supposing 
that Gods also philosophise, which I am strongly inclined to 
believe, owing to many reasons — I have no doubt that they 
also know how to laugh thereby in an overmanlike and new 
fashion — and at the expense of all serious things! Gods 


are fond of ridicule: it seems that they cannot refrain from 
laughter even in holy matters. 


The genius of the heart, as that great mysterious one 
possesses it, the tempter-god and bom rat-catcher of con- 
sciences, whose voice can descend into the nether-world of 
every soul, who neither speaks a word nor casts a glance 
in which there may not be some motive or touch of allure- 
ment, to whose perfection it pertains that he knows how 
to appear, — not as he is, but in a guise which acts as an 
additional constraint on his followers to press ever closer 
to him, to follow him more cordially and thoroughly; — the 
genius of the heart, which imposes silence and attention on 
everything loud and self-conceited, which smooths rough 
souls and makes them taste a new longing — to lie placid as a 
mirror, that the deep heavens may be reflected in them; — 
the genius of the heart, v^/hich teaches the clumsy and too 
hasty hand to hesitate, and to grasp more delicately; which 
scents the hidden and forgotten treasure, the drop of good- 
ness and sweet spirituality imder thick dark ice, and is a 
divining-rod for every grain of gold, long buried and im- 
prisoned in mud and sand; the genius of the heart, from 
contact with which every one goes away richer; not favoured 
or surprised, not as though gratified and oppressed by the 
good things of others; but richer in himself, newer than be- 
fore, broken up, blown upon, and sounded by a thawing 
wind; more uncertain, perhaps, more delicate, more fragile, 
more bruised, but full of hopes which as yet lack names, full 
of a new will and current, full of a new ill-will and counter- 
current . . . bui what am I doing, my friends? Of whom 
am I talking to you? Have I for|rotten myself so far that 


I have not even told you his name? Unless it be that you 
have already divined of your own accord who this question- 
able God and spirit is, that wishes to be praised in such a 
manner? For, as it happens to every one who from child- 
hood onward has always been on his legs, and in foreign 
lands, I have also encountered on my path many strange 
and dangerous spirits; above all, however, and again and 
again, the one of whom I have just spoken: in fact, no 
less a personage than the God Dionysus, the great equivo- 
cator and tempter, to whom, as you know, I once offered in 
all secrecy and reverence my first-fruits — the last, as it 
seems to me, who has offered a sacrifice to him, for I have 
found no one who could understand what I was then doing. 
In the meantime, however, I have learned much, far too 
much, about the philosophy of this God, and, as I said, from 
mouth to mouth — I, the last disciple and initiate of the 
God Dionysus: and perhaps I might at last begin to give 
you, my friends, as far as I am allowed, a little taste of 
this philosophy? In a hushed voice, as is but seemly: for it 
has to do with much that is secret, new, strange, wonderful, 
and imcanny. The very fact that Dionysus is a philosopher, 
and that therefore Gods also philosophise, seems to me a 
novelty which is not unensnaring, and might perhaps arouse 
suspicion precisely amongst philosophers; — amongst you, 
my friends, there is less to be said against it, except that it 
comes too late and not at the right time; for, as it has been 
disclosed to me, you are loth nowadays to believe in God 
and gods. It may happen, too, that in the frankness of my 
story I must go further than is agreeable to the strict usages 
of your ears? Certainly the God in question went further, 
very much further, in such dialogues, and was always many 
paces ahead of me. . . . Indeed, if it were allowed, I should 
have to give him, according to human usage, fine ceremoni- 


ous titles of lustre and merit, I should have to extol his 
courage as investigator and discoverer, his fearless honesty, 
truthfulness, and love of wisdom. But such a God does not 
know what to do with all that respectable trumpery and 
pomp. "Keep that," he would say, "for thyself and those 
like thee, and whoever else require it! I — have no reason 
tc cover my nakedness!" One suspects that this kind of 
divinity and philosopher perhaps lacks shame? — He once 
said: "Under certain circumstances I love mankind" — and 
referred thereby to Ariadne, who was present; "in my opin- 
ion man is an agreeable, brave, inventive animal, that has 
not his equal upon earth, he makes his way even through 
all labyrinths. I like man, and often think how I can still 
further advance him, and make him stronger, more evil, and 
more profound." — "Stronger, more evil, and more pro- 
found?" I asked in horror. "Yes," he said again, "stronger, 
more evil, and more profound; also more beautiful" — and 
thereby the tempter-god smiled with his halcyon smile, as 
though he had just paid some charming compliment. One 
here sees at once that it is not only shame that this divinity 
lacks; — and in general there are good grounds for supposing 
that in some things the Gods could all of them come to us 
men for instruction. We men are — more human. — - 


Alas! what are you, after all, my written and painted 
thoughts! Not long ago you were so variegated, young and 
malicious, so full of thorns and secret spices, that you made 
me sneeze and laugh — and now? You have already doffed 
your novelty, and some of you, I fear, are ready to become 
truths, so immortal do they look, so pathetically honest, sc> 
tedious! And was it ever otherwise? What then do w^ 


write and paint, we mandarins with Qiinese brush, we im- 
mortalisers of things which lend themselves to writing, what 
are we alone capable of painting? Alas, only that which is 
just about to fade and begins to lose its odour! Alas, only 
exhausted and departing storms and belated yellow senti- 
ments! Alas, only birds strayed and fatigued by flight, 
which now let themselves be captured with the hand — with 
our hand! We immortalise what cannot live and fly 
much longer, things only which are exhausted and mellow! 
And it is only for your afternoon, you, my written and 
painted thoughts, for which alone I have colours, many col- 
ours, perhaps, many variegated softenings, and fifty yellows 
and browns and greens and reds; — ^but nobody will divine 
thereby how ye looked in your morning, you sudden sparks 
and marvels of my solitude, you, my old, beloved — evil 
thoughts ! 


By F. W, Nietzsche 

Translated by L. A. Magnus 

Midday of Life! Oh, season of delight! 

My summer's park! 
Uneaseful joy to look, to lurk, to hark: — 
I peer for friends, am ready day and night, — 
Where linger ye, my friends? The time is rightl 

Is not the glacier's grey to-day for you 

The brooklet seeks you; wind, cloud, with longing thread 
And thrust themselves yet higher to the blue, 
To spy for you from farthest eagle's view. 

My table was spread out for you on high: — 

Who dwelleth so 
Star-near, so near the grisly pit below? — 
My realm^ — what realm hath wider boundary? 
My honey — who hath sipped its fragrancy? 



Friends, ye are there! Woe me, — ^yet I am not 

He whom ye seek? 
Ye stare and stop — better your wrath could speak! 
I am not I? Hand, gait, face, changed? And what 
I am, to you my friends, now am I not? 

Am I an other? Strange am I to Me? 

Yet from Me sprung? 
A wrestler, by himself too oft self-wrung? 
Hindering too oft my own self's potency, 
Woimded and hampered by self -victory? 

I sought where-so the wind blow keenest. There I learned 

to dwell 
Where no man dwells, on lonesome ice-lorn fell. 
And imleamed Man and God and curse and prayer? 
Became a ghost haunting the glaciers bare? 

Ye, my old friends! Look! Ye turn pale, filled o'er 

With love and fear! 
Go! Yet not in wrath. Ye could ne'er live here. 
Here in the farthest realm of ice and scaur, 
A huntsman must one be, like chamois soar. 



An evil huntsman was I? See how taut 

My bow was bent! 
Strongest was he by whom such bolt were sent — 
Woe now! That arrow is with peril fraught, 
Perilous as none. — Have yon safe home ye sought I 

Ye go! Thou didst endure enough, oh, heart; — 

Strong was thy hope; 
Unto new friends thy portals widely ope, 
Let old ones be. Bid memory depart! 
Wast thou young then, now — ^better young thou artl 


What linked us once together, one hope's tie — 

(Who now doth con 
Those lines, now fading, Love once wrote thereon?)— 
Is like a parchment, which the hand is shy 
To touch — like crackling leaves, all seared, all dry. 


Oh! Friends no more! They are — what name for those? — 

Friends' phantom-flight 
Knocking at my heart's window-pane at night. 
Gazing on me, that speaks "We were" and goes, — 
Oh, withered words, once fragrant as the rose! 



Finings of youth that might not understand! 

For which I pined, 
Which I deemed changed with me, kin of my kind: 
But they grew old, and thus were doomed and banned: 
None but new kith are native of my land! 


Midday of life! My second youth's delight! 

My summer's park! 
Unrestful joy to long, to lurk, to hark! 
I peer for friends! — am ready day and night. 
For my new friends. Come! Come! The time is right! 


This song is done, — the sweet sad cry of rue 

Sang out its end; 
A wizard wrought it, he the timely friend. 
The midday friend, — no, do not ask me who; 
At midday 'twas, when one became as two. 


We keep our Feast of Feasts, sure of our bourne, 

Our aims self-same: 
The Guest of Guests, friend Zarathustra, came! 
The world now laughs, the grisly veil was torn, 
And Light and Dark were one that wedding-mom. 





\ '^ \