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iNTRODUCTIOIf - - - " - vii 

Author's Preface . . - - i 

First Division : First and Last Things - 1 3 
Second Division : The History of the Moral 

Sentiments - - - - - 53 

Third Division: The Religious Life- hx 
Fourth Division: Concerning the Soul of 

Artists and Authors- - - - i53 
Fifth Division: The Signs of Higher and 

Lower Culture - - - - 207 

Sixth Division: Man in Society - - 267 

Seventh Division: Wife and Child - - 295 

Eighth Division: A Glance at the State - 317 

Ninth Division: Man alone by Himself - 355 

An Epode — Among Friends - - - 409 

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Nietzsche's essay, Richard Wagner tn Bayreuth, 
appeared in 1876, and his next publication was 
his present work, which was issued in 1878. A 
comparison of the books will show that the two 
years of meditation intervening had brought about 
a great change in Nietzsche's views, his style of 
expressing them, and the form in which they were 
cast. The Dionysian, overflowing with life, gives 
way to an Apollonian thinker with a touch of 
pessimism. The long essay form is abandoned, 
and instead we have a series of aphorisms, some 
tinged with melancholy, others with satire, several, 
especially towards the end, with Nietzschian wit 
at its best, and a few at the beginning so very 
abstruse as to require careful study. 

Since the Bayreuth festivals of 1876, Nietzsche 
had gradually come to see Wagner as he really 
was. The ideal musician that Nietzsche had pic- 
tured in his own mind turned out to be nothing 
more than a rather dilettante philosopher, an 
opportunistic decadent with a suspicious tendency 
towards Christianity. The young philosopher 
thereupon proceeded to shake off the influence 
which the musician had exercised upon him. 
He was successful in doing so, but not without a 


struggle, just as he had formerly shaken off the 
influence of Schopenhauer. Hence he writes in 
his autobiography : * " Human, all-too-Human, is 
the monument of a crisis. It is entitled : ' A 
book for free spirits,' and almost every line in it 
represents a victory — in its pages I freed myself 
from everything foreign to my real nature. Ideal- 
ism is foreign to me : the title says, ' Where j/^« see 
ideal things, I see things which are only — human 
alas ! all-too-human 1 ' I know man better — the 
term ' free spirit ' must here be understood in no 
other sense than this : a freed man, who has once 
more taken possession of himself." 

The form of this book will be better under- 
stood when it is remembered that at this period 
Nietzsche was beginning to suffer from stomach 
trouble and headaches. As a cure for his com- 
plaints, he spent his time in travel when he could 
get a few weeks' respite from his duties at Basel 
University ; and it was in the course of his solitary 
walks and hill-climbing tours that the majority of 
these thoughts occurred to him and were jotted 
down there and then. A few of them, however, 
date further back, as he tells us in the preface to 
the second part of this work. Many of them, he 
says, occupied his mind even before he published 
his first book, The Birth of Tragedy, and several 
others, as we learn from his notebooks and post- 
humous writings, date from the period of the 
Thoughts out of Season. 

It must be clearly understood, however, that 

* Ecce Homo, p. 75. 


Nietzsche's disease must not be looked upon in 
the same way as that of an ordinary man. People 
are inclined to regard a sick man as rancorous ; 
but any one who fights with and conquers his 
disease, and even exploits it, as Nietzsche did, 
benefits thereby to an extraordinary degree. In 
the first place, he has passed through several stages 
of human psychology with which a healthy man 
is entirely unacquainted ; e.g. he has learnt by 
introspection the spiteful and revengeful spirit of 
the sick man and his religion. Secondly, in his 
moments of freedom from pain and gloom his 
thoughts will be all the more brilliant. 

In support of this last statement, one instance 
may be selected out of hundreds that could be 
adduced. Heinrich Heine spent the greater 
part of his life in exile from his native country, 
tortured by headaches, and finally dying in a 
foreign land as the result of a spinal disease. 
His splendid works were composed in his moments 
of respite from illness, and during the last years 
of his life, when his health was at its worst, he 
gave to the world his famous Romancero. We 
would likewise do well to recollect Goethe's 
saying : 

Zart Gedicht, wie Regenbogen, 

Wird nur auf dunkelm Grund gezogen.* 

Thus neither the form of this book — so 
startling at first to those who have been brought 
up in the traditions of our own school — nor the 

* " Tender poetry, like rainbows, can appear only on a 
dark and sombre background." — J. M. K. 


treat all men as equals, and proclaim the establish- 
ment of equal rights : 

so far a socialistic mode of thought which is based on justice 
is possible ; but, as has been said, only within the ranks of 
the governing classes, which in this case practises justice 
with sacrifices and abnegations. On the other hand, to 
demand equality of rights, as do the Socialists of the subject 
caste, is by no means the outcome of justice, but of covetous- 
ness. If you expose bloody pieces of flesh to a beast, and 
then withdraw them again until it finally begins to roar, do 
you think that the roaring implies justice ? 

Theologians on the other hand, as may be 
expected, will find no such ready help in their 
difficulties from Nietzsche. They must, on the 
contrary, be on their guard against so alert an 
adversary — a duty which they are apparently not 
going to shirk ; for theologians are amongst the 
most ardent students of Nietzsche in this country. 
Their attention may therefore be drawn to aphorism 
630 of this book, dealing with convictions and their 
origin, which will no doubt be successfully refuted 
by the defenders of the true faith. In fact, there 
is not a single paragraph in the book that does not 
deserve careful study by all serious thinkers. 

On the whole, however, this is a calm book, and 
those who are accustomed to Nietzsche the out- 
spoken Immoralist, may be somewhat astonished 
at the calm tone of the present volume. The ex- 
planation is that Nietzsche was now just beginning 
to walk on his own philosophical path. His life- 
long aim, the uplifting of the type man, was still in 
view, but the way leading towards it was once more 
uncertain. Hence the peculiarly calm, even melan- 


cholic, and what Nietzsche himself would call 
Apollonian, tinge of many of these aphorisms, so 
different from the style of his earlier and later 
writings. For this very reason, however, the book 
may appeal all the more to English readers, who 
are of course more Apollonian than Dionysian. 
Nietzsche is feeling his way, and these aphorisms 
represent his first steps. As such — besides having 
a high intrinsic value of themselves — they are 
enormous aids to the study of his character and 




I HAVE been told frequently, and always with 
great surprise, that there is something common 
and distinctive in all my writings, from the Birth 
of Tragedy to the latest published Prelude to a 
Philosophy of the Future. They all contain, I have 
been told, snares and nets for unwary birds, and 
an almost perpetual unconscious demand for the 
inversion of customary valuations and valued 
customs. What? Everything only — human — 
all-too-human ? People lay down my writings 
with this sigh, not without a certain dread and 
distrust of morality itself, indeed almost tempted 
and encouraged to become advocates of the worsi 
things : as being perhaps only the best dis- 
paraged ? My writings have been called a school 
of suspicion and especially of disdain, more happily, 
also, a school of courage and even of audacity. 
Indeed, I myself do not think that any one has 
ever looked at the world with such a profound 
suspicion ; and not only as occasional Devil's 
Advocate, but equally also, to speak theologically, 
as enemy and impeacher of God ; and he who 
realises something of the consequences involved, 

VOL. I. A 


in every profound suspicion, something of the 
chills and anxieties of loneliness to which every 
uncompromising difference of outlook condemns 
him who is affected therewith, will also understand 
how often I sought shelter in some kind of 
reverence or hostility, or scientificality or levity 
or stupidity, in order to recover from myself, and, 
as it were, to obtain temporary self-forgetfulness ; 
also why, when I did not find what I needed^ I 
was obliged to manufacture it, to counterfeit and 
to imagine it in a suitable manner (and what else 
have poets ever done? And for what purpose 
has all the art in the world existed ?). What I 
always required most, however, for my cure and 
self-recovery, was the belief that I was not isolated 
in such circumstances, that I did not see in an 
isolated manner — a magic suspicion of relationship 
and similarity to others in outlook and desire, a 
repose in the confidence of friendship, a blindness 
in both parties without suspicion or note of inter- 
rogation, an enjoyment of foregrounds, and surfaces 
of the near and the nearest, of all that has colour, 
epidermis, and outside appearance. Perhaps I 
might be reproached in this respect for much " art " 
and fine false coinage ; for instance, for voluntarily 
and knowingly shutting my eyes to Schopenhauer's 
blind will to morality at a time when I had become 
sufficiently clear-sighted about morality ; also for 
deceiving myself about Richard Wagner's incurable 
romanticism, as if it were a beginning and not an 
end ; also about the Greeks, also about the Germans 
and their future — and there would still probably 
be quite a long list of such alsos? Supposing 


however, that this were all true and that I were 
reproached with good reason, what do you know, 
what could you know as to how much artifice of 
self-preservation, how much rationality and higher 
protection there is in such self-deception, — and 
how much falseness I still require in order to allow 
myself again and again the luxury of my sincerity ? 
... In short, I still live ; and life, in spite of 
ourselves, is not devised by morality ; it demands 

illusion, it lives by illusion . . . but There ! 

I am already beginning again and doing what I 
have always done, old immoralist and bird-catcher 
that I am, — I am talking un-morally, ultra-moral ly, 
" beyond good and evil " ? . . . 


Thus then, when I found it necessary, I invented 
once on a time the " free spirits," to whom this 
discouragingly encouraging book with the title 
Human, all-too-Human, is dedicated. There are 
no such " free spirits " nor have there been such, 
but, as already said, I then required them for 
company to keep me cheerful in the midst of evils 
(sickness, loneliness, foreign ness, — acedia, inac- 
tivity) as brave companions and ghosts with whom 
I could laugh and gossip when so inclined and send 
to the devil when they became bores, — as com- 
pensation for the lack of friends. That such free 
spirits will be possible some day, that our Europe 
will have such bold and cheerful wights amongst 
her sons of to-morrow and the day after to-morrow, 
actually and bodily, and not merely, as in my case, 


as the shadows of a hermit's phantasmagoria — 
/ should be the last to doubt thereof. Already 
I see them coming, slowly, slowly ; and perhaps I 
am doing something to hasten their coming when 
I describe in advance under what auspices I see 
them originate, and upon what paths I see them 


One may suppose that a spirit in which the 
type " free spirit " is to become fully mature and 
sweet, has had its decisive event in a great emanci- 
pation, and that it was all the more fettered pre- 
viously and apparently bound for ever to its corner 
and pillar. What is it that binds most strongly ? 
What cords are almost unrendable? In men of 
a lofty and select type it will be their duties ; the 
reverence which is suitable to youth, respect and 
tenderness for all that is time-honoured and worthy, 
gratitude to the land which bore them, to the hand 
which led them, to the sanctuary where they learnt 
to adore, — their most exalted moments themselves 
will bind them most effectively, will lay upon them 
the most enduring obligations. For those who are 
thus bound the great emancipation comes suddenly, 
like an earthquake ; the young soul is all at once 
convulsed, unloosened and extricated — it does not 
itself know what is happening. An impulsion 
and compulsion sway and over-master it like a 
command ; a will and a wish awaken, to go forth 
on their course, anywhere, at any cost ; a violent, 
dangerous curiosity about an undiscovered world 
flames and flares in every sense. " Better to 



die than live here " — says the imperious voice and 
seduction, and this " here," this " at home " is all 
that the soul has hitherto loved ! A sudden fear 
and suspicion of that which it loved, a flash of 
disdain for what was called its " duty," a rebellious, 
arbitrary, volcanically throbbing longing for travel, 
foreignness, estrangement, coldness, disenchant- 
ment, glaciation, a hatred of love, perhaps a sacri- 
legious clutch and look backwards, to where it 
hitherto adored and loved, perhaps a glow of 
shame at what it was just doing, and at the same 
time a rejoicing that it was doing it, an intoxicated, 
internal, exulting thrill which betrays a triumph 
— a triumph ? Over what ? Over whom ? An 
enigmatical, questionable, doubtful triumph, but 
the first triumph nevertheless ; — such evil and 
painful incidents belong to the history of the great 
emancipation. It is, at the same time, a disease 
which may destroy the man, this first outbreak of 
power and will to self-decision, self-valuation, this 
will \.o free will; and how much disease is mani- 
fested in the wild attempts and eccentricities by 
which the liberated and emancipated one now 
seeks to demonstrate his mastery over things ! He 
roves about raging with unsatisfied longing ; what- 
ever he captures has to suffer for the dangerous 
tension of his pride ; he tears to pieces whatever 
attracts him. With a malicious laugh he twirls 
round whatever he finds veiled or guarded by a 
sense of shame ; he tries how these things look 
when turned upside down. It is a matter of 
arbitrariness with him, and pleasure in arbitrariness, 
if he now perhaps bestow his favour on what 


had hitherto a bad repute, — if he inquisitively 
and temptingly haunt what is specially forbidden. 
In the background of his activities and wanderings 
— for he is restless and aimless in his course as in 
a desert — stands the note of interrogation of an 
increasingly dangerous curiosity. " Cannot all 
valuations be reversed ? And is good perhaps 
evil ? And God only an invention and artifice 
of the devil? Is everything, perhaps, radically 
false ? And if we are the deceived, are we not 
thereby also deceivers ? Must we not also be 
deceivers ? " — Such thoughts lead and mislead 
him more and more, onward and away. Solitude 
encircles and engirdles him, always more threaten- 
ing, more throttling, more heart-oppressing, that 
terrible goddess and mater scsva cupidinum — but 
who knows nowadays what solitude is ? . , , 


From this morbid solitariness, from the desert 
of such years of experiment, it is still a long way 
to the copious, overflowing safety and soundness 
which does not care to dispense with disease 
itself as an instrument and angling-hook of 
knowledge ; — to that mature freedom of spirit 
which is equally self-control and discipline of 
the heart, and gives access to many and opposed 
modes of thought ; — to that inward comprehen- 
siveness and daintiness of superabundance, which 
excludes any danger of the spirit's becoming 
enamoured and lost in its own paths, and 


lying intoxicated in some corner or other ; to that 
excess of plastic, healing, formative, and restorative 
powers, which is exactly the sign of splendid 
health, that excess which gives the free spirit 
the dangerous prerogative of being entitled to 
live by experiments and offer itself to adventure ; 
the free spirit's prerogative of mastership ! Long 
years of convalescence may lie in between, years 
full of many-coloured, painfully-enchanting magi- 
cal transformations, curbed and led by a tough 
will to health, which often dares to dress and 
disguise itself as actual health. There is a middle 
condition therein, which a man of such a fate 
never calls to mind later on without emotion ; a 
pale, delicate light and a sunshine-happiness are 
peculiar to him, a feeling of bird-like freedom, 
prospect, and haughtiness, a tertium quid in 
which curiosity and gentle disdain are combined. 
A " free spirit " — this cool expression does good 
in every condition, it almost warms. One no 
longer lives, in the fetters of love and hatred, 
without Yea, without Nay, voluntarily near, 
voluntarily distant, preferring to escape, to turn 
aside, to flutter forth, to fly up and away; one 
is fastidious like every one who has once seen 
an immense variety beneath him, — and one has 
become the opposite of those who trouble them- 
selves about things which do not concern them. 
In fact, it is nothing but things which now 
concern the free spirit, — and how many things ! — 
which no longer trouble him ! 


A step further towards recovery, and the free 
spirit again draws near to life ; slowly, it is 
true, and almost stubbornly, almost distrustfully. 
Again it grows warmer around him, and, as it 
were, yellower ; feeling and sympathy gain depth, 
thawing winds of every kind pass lightly over him. 
He almost feels as if his eyes were now first opened 
to what is near. He marvels and is still ; where 
has he been ? The near and nearest things, how 
changed they appear to him ! What a bloom and 
magic they have acquired meanwhile ! He looks 
back gratefully, — grateful to his wandering, his 
austerity and self-estrangement, his far-sightedness 
and his bird-like flights in cold heights. What a 
good thing that he did not always stay " at home," 
" by himself," like a sensitive, stupid tenderling. 
He has been beside himself ^ there is no doubt. He 
now sees himself for the first time, — and what sur- 
prises he feels thereby ! What thrills unexperienced 
hitherto ! What joy even in the weariness, in the 
old illness, in the relapses of the convalescent ! 
How he likes to sit still and suffer, to practise 
patience, to lie in the sun ! Who is as familiar as 
he with the joy of winter, with the patch of sun- 
shine upon the wall ! They are the most grateful 
animals in the world, and also the most un- 
assuming, these lizards of convalescents with 
their faces half-turned towards life once more : — 
there are those amongst them who never let a 
day pass without hanging a little hymn of praise 
on its trailing fringe. And, speaking seriously, it 


is a radical cure for all pessimism (the well-known 
disease of old idealists and falsehood-mongers) to 
become ill after the manner of these free spirits, 
to remain ill a good while, and then grow well (I 
mean " better ") for a still longer period. It is 
wisdom, practical wisdom, to prescribe even health 
for one's self for a long time only in small doses. 


About this time it may at last happen, under 
the sudden illuminations of still disturbed and 
changing health, that the enigma of that great 
emancipation begins to reveal itself to the free, 
and ever freer, spirit, — that enigma which had 
hitherto lain obscure, questionable, and almost 
intangible, in his memory. If for a long time he 
scarcely dared to ask himself, " Why so apart ? 
So alone ? denying everything that I revered ? 
denying reverence itself? Why this hatred, this 
suspicion, this severity towards my own virtues ? " 
— he now dares and asks the questions aloud, and 
already hears something like an answer to them — 
" Thou shouldst become master over thyself and 
master also of thine own virtues. Formerly they 
were thy masters ; but they are only entitled to 
be thy tools amongst other tools. Thou shouldst 
obtain power over thy pro and contra, and learn 
how to put them forth and withdraw them again 
in accordance with thy higher purpose. Thou 
shouldst learn how to take the proper perspective 
of every valuation — the shifting, distortion, and 
apparent teleology of the horizons and everything 


that belongs to perspective ; also the amount of 
stupidity which opposite values involve, and all 
the intellectual loss with which every pro and every 
contra has to be paid for. Thou shouldst learn 
how much necessary injustice there is in every for 
and against, injustice as inseparable from life, and 
life itself as conditioned by the perspective and its 
injustice. Above all thou shouldst see clearly 
where the injustice is always greatest : — namely, 
where life has developed most punily, restrictedly, 
necessitously, and incipiently, and yet cannot help 
regarding itself as the purpose and standard of 
things, and for the sake of self-preservation, secretly, 
basely, and continuously wasting away and calling 
in question the higher, greater, and richer, — thou 
shouldst see clearly the problem of gradation of 
rank, and how power and right and amplitude of 

perspective grow up together. Thou shouldst ' 

But enough ; the free spirit knows henceforth 
which " thou shalt " he has obeyed, and also what 
he can now do, what he only now — may do. , , . 


Thus doth the free spirit answer himself with 
regard to the riddle of emancipation, and ends 
therewith, while he generalises his case, in order 
thus to decide with regard to his experience. " As 
it has happened to me" he says to himself, " so must 
it happen to every one in whom a mission seeks 
to embody itself and to ' come into the world.' " 
The secret power and necessity of this mission will 
operate in and upon the destined individuals like 


.ian unconscious pregnancy, — long before they have 
had the mission itself in view and have known its 
name. Our destiny rules over us, even when we 
are not yet aware of it ; it is the future that makes 
laws for our to-day. Granted that it is the problem 
of the gradations of rank, of which we may say 
that it is our problem, we free spirits ; now only 
in the midday of our life do we first understand 
what preparations, detours, tests, experiments, 
and disguises the problem needed, before it was 
pertnitted to rise before us, and how we had first 
to experience the most manifold and opposing 
conditions of distress and happiness in soul 
and body, as adventurers and circumnavigators of 
the inner world called " man," as surveyors of all 
the " higher " and the " one-above-another," also 
called " man " — penetrating everywhere, almost 
without fear, rejecting nothing, losing nothing, 
tasting everything, cleansing everything from all 
that is accidental, and, as it were, sifting it out 
— until at last we could say, we free spirits, 
" Here — a new problem ! Here a long ladder, 
the rungs of which we ourselves have sat upon 
and mounted, — which we ourselves at some time 
have been ! Here a higher place, a lower place, 
an under-us, an immeasurably long order, a 
hierarchy which we see \ here — our problem ! " 


No psychologist or augur will be in doubt for a 
moment as to what stage of the development just 
described the following book belongs (or is assigned 


to). But where are these psychologists nowa- 
days ? In France, certainly ; perhaps in Russia ; 
assuredly not in Germany. Reasons are not lack- 
ing why the present-day Germans could still even 
count this as an honour to them — bad enough, 
surely, for one who in this respect is un-German 
in disposition and constitution ! This German 
book, which has been able to find readers in a 
wide circle of countries and nations — it has been 
about ten years going its rounds — and must 
understand some sort of music and piping art, 
by means of which even coy foreign ears are 
seduced into listening, — it is precisely in Germany 
that this book has been most negligently read, and 
worst listened to ; what is the reason ? "It de- 
mands too much," I have been told, " it appeals to 
men free from the pressure of coarse duties, it wants 
refined and fastidious senses, it needs superfluity — 
superfluity of time, of clearness of sky and heart, 
oi otium in the boldest sense of the term : — purely 
good things, which we Germans of to-day do not 
possess and therefore cannot give." After such a 
polite answer my philosophy advises me to be 
silent and not to question further ; besides, in cer- 
tain cases, as the proverb points out, one only 
remains a philosopher by being — silent."* 

Nice, Spring 1886. 

* An allusion to the mediaeval Latin distich : 

O si tacuisses, 

Philosophus mansisses. — J. M. K. 




Chemistry of Ideas and Sensations. — Philo- 
sophical problems adopt in almost all matters the 
same form of question as they did two thousand 
years ago ; how can anything spring from its 
opposite ? for instance, reason out of unreason, the 
sentient out of the dead, logic out of unlogic, dis- 
interested contemplation out of covetous willing, 
life for others out of egoism, truth out of error ? 
Metaphysical philosophy has helped itself over 
those difficulties hitherto by denying the origin of 
one thing in another, and assuming a miraculous 
origin for more highly valued things, immediately 
out of the kernel and essence of the " thing in 
itself." Historical philosophy, on the contrary, 
which is no longer to be thought of as separate 
from physical science, the youngest of all philo- 
sophical methods, has ascertained in single cases 
(and presumably this will happen in everything) 


that there are no opposites except in the usual 
exaggeration of the popular or metaphysical point 
of view, and that an error of reason lies at the 
bottom of the opposition : according to this ex- 
planation, strictly understood, there is neither an 
unegoistical action nor an entirely disinterested 
point of view, they are both only sublimations in 
which the fundamental element appears almost 
evaporated, and is only to be discovered by the 
closest observation. All that we require, and which 
can only be given us by the present advance of 
the single sciences, is a chemistry of the moral, 
religious, eesthetic ideas and sentiments, as also of 
those emotions which we experience in ourselves 
both in the great and in the small phases of social 
and intellectual intercourse, and even in solitude ; 
but what if this chemistry should result in the fact 
that also in this case the most beautiful colours 
have been obtained from base, even despised 
materials ? Would many be inclined to pursue 
such examinations ? Humanity likes to put all 
questions as to origin and beginning out of its 
mind ; must one not be almost dehumanised to 
feel a contrary tendency in one's self? 


Inherited Faults of Philosophers. — All 
philosophers have the common fault that they 
start from man in his present state and hope to 
attain their end by an analysis of him. Uncon- 
sciously they look upon " man " as an sterna Veritas, 
as a thing unchangeable in all commotion, as a sure 



standard of things. But everything that the philo- 
sopher says about man is really nothing more than 
testimony about the man of a very limited space 
of time. A lack of the historical sense is the 
hereditary fault of all philosophers ; many, indeed, 
unconsciously mistake the very latest variety of man, 
such as has arisen under the influence of certain 
religions, certain political events, for the permanent 
form from which one must set out. They will 
not learn that man has developed, that his faculty 
of knowledge has developed also ; whilst for some 
of them the entire world is spun out of this faculty 
of knowledge. Now everything ^j-j^^//^/ in human 
development happened in pre-historic times, long 
before those four thousand years which we know 
something of; man may not have changed much 
during this time. But the philosopher sees " in- 
stincts " in the present man and takes it for granted 
that this is one of the unalterable facts of man- 
kind, and, consequently, can furnish a key to the 
understanding of the world ; the entire teleology 
is so constructed that man of the last four thousand 
years is spoken of as an eternal being, towards 
which all things in the world have from the be- 
ginning a natural direction. But everything has 
evolved ; there are no eternal facts, as there are 
likewise no absolute truths. Therefore, historical 
philosophising- is henceforth necessary, and with it 
the virtue of diffidence. 


Appreciation of Unpretentious Truths. 
— It is a mark of a higher culture to value the 


little unpretentious truths, which have been found 
by means of strict method, more highly than the 
joy-diffusing and dazzling errors which spring from 
metaphysical and artistic times and peoples. First 
of all one has scorn on the lips for the former, as 
if here nothing could have equal privileges with 
anything else, so unassuming, simple, bashful, 
apparently discouraging are they, so beautiful, 
stately, intoxicating, perhaps even animating, are 
the others. But the hardly attained, the certain, 
the lasting, and therefore of great consequence for 
all wider knowledge, is still the higher ; to keep 
one's self to that is manly and shows bravery, sim- 
plicity, and forbearance. Gradually not only single 
individuals but the whole of mankind will be 
raised to this manliness, when it has at last 
accustomed itself to the higher appreciation of 
durable, lasting knowledge, and has lost all belief 
in inspiration and the miraculous communication 
of truths. Respecters of forms, certainly, with 
their standard of the beautiful and noble, will first 
of all have good reasons for mockery, as soon as 
the appreciation of unpretentious truths, and the 
scientific spirit, begin to obtain the mastery; but 
only because their eye has either not yet recog- 
nised the charm of the simplest form, or because 
men educated in that spirit are not yet completely 
and inwardly saturated by it, so that they still 
thoughtlessly imitate old forms (and badly enough, 
as one does who no longer cares much about the 
matter). Formerly the spirit was not occupied 
with strict thought, its earnestness then lay in 
the spinning out of symbols and forms. This is 


changed ; that earnestness in the symbolical has 
become the mark of a lower culture. As our arts 
themselves grow evermore intellectual, our senses 
more spiritual, and as, for instance, people now 
judge concerning what sounds well to the senses 
quite differently from how they did a hundred 
years ago, so the forms of our life grow ever 
more spiritual, to the eye of older ages perhaps 
uglier, but only because it is incapable of perceiv- 
ing how the kingdom of the inward, spiritual 
beauty constantly grows deeper and wider, and to 
what extent the inner intellectual look may be of 
more importance to us all than the most beautiful 
bodily frame and the noblest architectural structure 

Astrology and the Like. — It is probable 
that the objects of religious, moral, aesthetic and 
logical sentiment likewise belong only to the sur- 
face of things, while man willingly believes that 
here, at least, he has touched the heart of the 
world ; he deceives himself, because those things 
enrapture him so profoundly, and make him so pro- 
foundly unhappy, and he therefore shows the same 
pride here as in astrology. For astrology believes 
that the firmament moves round the destiny of 
man ; the moral man, however, takes it for granted 
that what he has essentially at heart must also be 
the essence and heart of things. 


Misunderstanding of Dreams. — In the ages 
of a rude and primitive civilisation man believed 

VOL. I. B 


that in dreams he became acquainted with a second 
actual world ; herein lies the origin of all meta- 
physics. Without dreams there could have been 
found no reason for a division of the world. The 
distinction, too, between soul and body is connected 
with the most ancient comprehension of dreams, 
also the supposition of an imaginary soul-body, 
therefore the origin of all belief in spirits, and 
probably also the belief in gods. " The dead 
continues to live, for he appears to the living 
in a dream " : thus men reasoned of old for 
thousands and thousands of years. 


The Scientific Spirit partially but not 
WHOLLY Powerful. — The smallest subdivisions 
of science taken separately are dealt with purely 
in relation to themselves, — the general, great 
sciences, on the contrary, regarded as a whole, call 
up the question — certainly a very non-objective 
one — " Wherefore ? To what end ? " It is this 
utilitarian consideration which causes them to be 
dealt with less impersonally when taken as a 
whole than when considered in their various parts. 
In philosophy, above all, as the apex of the entire 
pyramid of science, the question as to the utility of * 
knowledge is involuntarily brought forward, and 
every philosophy has the unconscious intention of 
ascribing to it the greatest usefulness. For this 
reason there is so much high-flying metaphysics 
in all philosophies and such a shyness of the 
apparently unimportant solutions of physics ; for 


the importance of knowledge for life must appear 
as great as possible. Here is the antagonism 
between the separate provinces of science and 
philosophy. The latter desires, what art does, to 
give the greatest possible depth and meaning to 
life and actions ; in the former one seeks know- 
ledge and nothing further, whatever may emerge 
thereby. So far there has been no philosopher in 
whose hands philosophy has not grown into an 
apology for knowledge ; on this point, at least, 
every one is an optimist, that the greatest usefulness 
must be ascribed to knowledge. They are all 
tyrannised over by logic, and this is optimism — in 
its essence. 


The Kill-joy in Science. — Philosophy 
separated from science when it asked the question, 
" Which is the knowledge of the world and of life 
which enables man to live most happily ? " This 
happened in the Socratic schools ; the veins of 
scientific investigation were bound up by the 
point of view of happiness, — and are so still. 


Pneumatic Explanation of Nature. — 
Metaphysics explains the writing of Nature, so to 
^"^^ik, pneumatically , as the Church and her learned 
men formerly did with the Bible. A great deal 
of understanding is required to apply to Nature 
the same method of strict interpretation as the 
philologists have now established for all books 


with the intention of clearly understanding what 
the text means, but not suspecting a double sense 
or even taking it for granted. Just, however, as 
with regard to books, the bad art of interpretation 
is by no means overcome, and in the most 
cultivated society one still constantly comes across 
the remains of allegorical and mystic interpretation, 
so it is also with regard to Nature, indeed it is 
even much worse. 


The Metaphysical World. — It is true that 
there 'might be a metaphysical world ; the absolute 
possibility of it is hardly to be disputed. We 
look at everything through the human head and 
cannot cut this head off; while the question 
remains, What would be left of the world if it had 
been cut off ? This is a purely scientific problem, 
and one not very likely to trouble mankind ; 
but everything which has hitherto made meta- 
physical suppositions valuable^ terrible, delightful 
for man, what has produced them, is passion, error, 
and self-deception ; the very worst methods of 
knowledge, not the best, have taught belief therein. 
When these methods have been discovered as the 
foundation of all existing religions and meta- 
physics, they have been refuted. Then there still 
always remains that possibility ; but there is 
nothing to be done with it, much less is it possible 
to let happiness, salvation, and life depend on the 
spider-thread of such a possibility. For nothing 
could be said of the metaphysical world but that 
it would be a different condition, a condition in- 


accessible and incomprehensible to us; it would 
be a thing of negative qualities. Were the 
existence of such a world ever so well proved, the 
fact would nevertheless remain that it would be 
precisely the most irrelevant of all forms of 
knowledge : more irrelevant than the knowledge 
of the chemical analysis of water to the sailor in 
danger in a storm. 


The Harmlessness of Metaphysics in the 
Future. — Directly the origins of religion, art, 
and morals have been so described that one can 
perfectly explain them without having recourse to 
metaphysical concepts at the beginning and in the 
course of the path, the strongest interest in the 
purely theoretical problem of the " thing-in-itself " 
and the " phenomenon " ceases. For however it 
may be here, with religion, art, and morals we do 
not touch the " essence of the world in itself" ; we 
are in the domain of representation, no " intuition " 
can carry us further. With the greatest calmness 
we shall leave the question as to how our own 
conception of the world can differ so widely from 
the revealed essence of the world, to physiology 
and the history of the evolution of organisms and 


t Language as a Presumptive Science. — 
The importance of language for the development 
of culture lies in the fact that in language man has 


placed a world of his own beside the other, a 
position which he deemed so fixed that he might 
therefrom lift the rest of the world off its hinges, 
and make himself master of it. Inasmuch as 
man has believed in the ideas and names of things 
as c&tern<2 veritates for a great length of time, he 
has acquired that pride by which he has raised 
himself above the animal ; he really thought that 
in language he possessed the knowledge of the 
world. The maker of language was not modest 
enough to think that he only gave designations to 
things, he believed rather that with his words he 
expressed the widest knowledge of the things ; in 
reality language is the first step in the endeavour 
after science. Here also it is belief in ascertained 
truth, from which the mightiest sources of strength 
have flowed. Much later — only now — it is dawn- 
ing upon men that they have propagated a 
tremendous error in their belief in language. 
Fortunately it is now too late to reverse the 
development of reason, which is founded upon that 
belief. Logic, also, is founded upon suppositions 
to which nothing in the actual world corresponds, — 
for instance, on the supposition of the equality of 
things, and the identity of the same thing at 
different points of time, — but that particular 
science arose out of the contrary belief (that such 
things really existed in the actual world). It is 
the same with mathematics, which would certainly 
not have arisen if it had been known from the 
beginning that in Nature there are no exactly 
straight lines, no real circle, no absolute standard 
of size. 



Dream and Culture. — The function of the 
brain which is most influenced by sleep is the 
memory ; not that it entirely ceases ; but it is 
brought back to a condition of imperfection, such as 
everyone may have experienced in pre-historic times, 
whether asleep or awake. Arbitrary and confused 
as it is, it constantly confounds things on the 
ground of the most fleeting resemblances ; but 
with the same arbitrariness and confusion the 
ancients invented their mythologies, and even at 
the present day travellers are accustomed to 
remark how prone the savage is to forgetfulness, 
how, after a short tension of memory, his mind 
begins to sway here and there from sheer weariness 
and gives forth lies and nonsense. But in dreams 
we all resemble the savage ; bad recognition and 
erroneous comparisons are the reasons of the bad 
conclusions, of which we are guilty in dreams : so 
that, when we clearly recollect what we have 
dreamt, we are alarmed at ourselves at harbour- 
ing so much foolishness within us. The perfect 
distinctness of all dream-representations, which 
pre-suppose absolute faith in their reality, recall 
the conditions that appertain to primitive man, 
in whom hallucination was extraordinarily frequent, 
and sometimes simultaneously seized entire com- 
munities, entire nations. Therefore, in sleep and 
in dreams we once more carry out the task of 
early humanity. 



The Logic of Dreams. — In sleep our nervous 
system is perpetually excited by numerous inner 
occurrences ; nearly all the organs are disjointed 
and in a state of activity, the blood runs its 
turbulent course, the position of the sleeper causes 
pressure on certain limbs, his coverings influence 
his sensations in various ways, the stomach digests 
and by its movements it disturbs other organs, 
the intestines writhe, the position of the head 
occasions unaccustomed play of muscles, the feet, 
unshod, not pressing upon the floor with the soles, 
occasion the feeling of the unaccustomed just as 
does the different clothing of the whole body : 
all this, according to its daily change and extent, 
excites by its extraordinariness the entire system 
to the very functions of the brain, and thus there 
are a hundred occasions for the spirit to be sur- 
prised and to seek for the reasons of this excita- 
tion ; — the dream, however, is the seeking and 
representing of the causes of those excited sensa- 
tions, — that is, of the supposed causes. A person 
who, for instance, binds his feet with two straps 
will perhaps dream that two serpents are coiling 
round his feet ; this is first hypothesis, then a 
belief, with an accompanying mental picture and 
interpretation — " These serpents must be the causa 
of those sensations which I, the sleeper, experi- 
ence," — so decides the mind of the sleeper. The 
immediate past, so disclosed, becomes to him the 
present through his excited imagination. Thus 
every one knows from experience how quickly the 


dreamer weaves into his dream a loud sound that 
he hears, such as the ringing of bells or the firing 
of cannon, that is to say, explains it from a/Ur- 
wards so that he first thinks he experiences the 
producing circumstances and then that sound. 
But how does it happen that the mind of the 
dreamer is always so mistaken, while the same 
mind when awake is accustomed to be so tem- 
perate, careful, and sceptical with regard to its 
hypotheses ? so that the first random hypo- 
thesis for the explanation of a feeling suffices for 
him to believe immediately in its truth ? (For in 
dreaming we believe in the dream as if it were a 
reality, i.e. we think our hypothesis completely 
proved.) I hold, that as man now still reasons 
in dreams, so men reasoned also when awake 
through thousands of years ; the first causa which 
occurred to the mind to explain anything that 
required an explanation, was sufficient and stood 
for truth. (Thus, according to travellers' tales, 
savages still do to this very day.) This ancient 
element in human nature still manifests itself in 
our dreams, for it is the foundation upon which 
the higher reason has developed and still develops 
in every individual ; the dream carries us back 
into remote conditions of human culture, and pro- 
vides a ready means of understanding them better. 
Dream-thinking is now so easy to us because 
during immense periods of human development 
we have been so well drilled in this form of 
fantastic and cheap explanation, by means of the 
first agreeable notions. In so far, dreaming is a 
recreation for the brain, which by day has to 


satisfy the stern demands of thought, as they are 
laid down by the higher culture. We can at 
once discern an allied process even in our 
awakened state, as the door and ante-room of the 
dream. If we shut our eyes, the brain produces 
a number of impressions of light and colour, prob- 
ably as a kind of after-play and echo of all 
those effects of light which crowd in upon it by 
day. Now, however, the understanding, together 
with the imagination, instantly works up this 
play of colour, shapeless in itself, into definite 
figures, forms, landscapes, and animated groups. 
The actual accompanying process thereby is again 
a kind of conclusion from the effect to the cause : 
since the mind asks, " Whence come these impres- 
sions of light and colour ? " it supposes those 
figures and forms as causes ; it takes them for the 
origin of those colours and lights, because in the 
daytime, with open eyes, it is accustomed to find 
a producing cause for every colour, every effect of 
light. Here, therefore, the imagination constantly 
places pictures before the mind, since it supports 
itself on the visual impressions of the day in their 
production, and the dream-imagination does just 
the same thing, — that is, the supposed cause is 
deduced from the effect and represented after the 
effect ; all this happens with extraordinary rapidity, 
so that here, as with the conjuror, a confusion of 
judgment may arise and a sequence may look like 
something simultaneous, or even like a reversed 
sequence. From these circumstances we may 
gather how lately the more acute logical thinking, 
the strict discrimination of cause and effect has 


been developed, when our reasoning and under- 
standing faculties still involuntarily hark back to 
those primitive forms of deduction, and when we 
pass about half our life in this condition. The 
poet, too, and the artist assign causes for their 
moods and conditions which are by no means the 
true ones ; in this they recall an older humanity 
and can assist us to the understanding of it. 


Co-echoing. — All stronger moods bring with 
them a co-echoing of kindred sensations and 
moods, they grub up the memory, so to speak. 
Along with them something within us remembers 
and becomes conscious of similar conditions and 
their origin. Thus there are formed quick habit- 
ual connections of feelings and thoughts, which 
eventually, when they follow each other with 
lightning speed, are no longer felt as complexes 
but as unities. In this sense one speaks of the 
moral feeling, of the religious feeling, as if they 
were absolute unities : in reality they are streams 
with a hundred sources and tributaries. Here 
also, as so often happens, the unity of the word 
is no security for the unity of the thing. 


No Internal and External in the 
World. — As Democritus transferred the con- 
cepts " above " and " below " to endless space 
where they have no sense, so philosophers in 


general have transferred the concepts " Internal " 
and " External " to the essence and appearance of 
the world ; they think that with deep feelings one 
can penetrate deeply into the internal and ap- 
proach the heart of Nature. But these feelings 
are only deep in so far as along with them, barely 
noticeable, certain complicated groups of thoughts, 
which we call deep, are regularly excited ; a feel- 
ing is deep because we think that the accompany- 
ing thought is deep. But the *' deep " thought 
can nevertheless be very far from the truth, as, for 
instance, every metaphysical one ; if one take away 
from the deep feeling the commingled elements 
of thought, then the strong feeling remains, and 
this guarantees nothing for knowledge but itself, 
just as strong faith proves only its strength and 
not the truth of what is believed in. 

i6. f 

Phenomenon and Thing-in-itself. — Phil- 
osophers are in the habit of setting themselves 
before life and experience — before that which they 
call the world of appearance — as before a picture 
that is once for all unrolled and exhibits unchange- 
ably fixed the same process, — this process, they 
think, must be rightly interpreted in order to come 
to a conclusion about the being that produced the 
picture : about the thing-in-itself, therefore, which 
is always accustomed to be regarded as sufficient 
ground for the world of phenomenon. On the 
other hand, since one always makes the idea of the 
metaphysical stand definitely as that of the uncon- 


ditioned, consequently also unconditioning, one 
must directly disown all connection between the 
unconditioned (the metaphysical world) and the 
world which is known to us ; so that the thing-in- 
itself should most certainly not appear in the 
phenomenon, and every conclusion from the former 
as regards the latter is to be rejected. Both 
sides overlook the fact that that picture — that 
which we now call human life and experience — 
has gradually evolved, — nay, is still in the full pro- 
cess of evolving, — and therefore should not be 
regarded as a fixed magnitude from which a con- 
clusion about its originator might be deduced (the 
sufficing cause) or even merely neglected. It is 
because for thousands of years we have looked 
into the world with moral, aesthetic, and religious 
pretensions, with blind inclination, passion, or fear, 
and have surfeited ourselves in the vices of illogical 
thought, that this world has gradually become so 
marvellously motley, terrible, full of meaning and 
of soul, it has acquired colour — but we were the 
colourists ; the human intellect, on the basis of 
human needs, of human emotions, has caused this 
" phenomenon " to appear and has carried its 
erroneous fundamental conceptions into things. 
Late, very late, it takes to thinking, and now the 
world of experience and the thing-in-itself seem 
to it so extraordinarily different and separated, 
that it gives up drawing conclusions from the 
former to the latter — or in a terribly mysterious 
manner demands the renunciation of our intellect, 
of our personal will, in order thereby to reach the 
essential, that one may become essential. Again, 


others have collected all the characteristic features 
of our world of phenomenon, — that is, the idea of 
the world spun out of intellectual errors and in- 
herited by us, — and instead of accusing the intellect 
as the offenders, they have laid the blame on the 
nature of things as being the cause of the hard fact 
of this very sinister character of the world, and have 
preached the deliverance from Being. With all 
these conceptions the constant and laborious pro- 
cess of science (which at last celebrates its great- 
est triumph in a history of the origin of thought) 
becomes completed in various ways, the result of 
which might perhaps run as follows : — "That which 
we now call the world is the result of a mass of 
errors and fantasies which arose gradually in the 
general development of organic being, which are 
inter-grown with each other, and are now inherited 
by us as the accumulated treasure of all the past, 
— as a treasure, for the value of our humanity 
depends upon it. From this world of representa- 
tion strict science is really only able to liberate 
us to a very slight extent — as it is also not at 
all desirable — inasmuch as it cannot essentially 
break the power of primitive habits of feeling ; but 
it can gradually elucidate the history of the rise of 
that world as representation, — and lift us, at least 
for moments, above and beyond the whole process. 
Perhaps we shall then recognise that the thing in 
itself is worth a Homeric laugh ; that it seemed 
so much, indeed everything, and is really empty, 
namely, empty of meaning." 



Metaphysical Explanations. — The young 
man values metaphysical explanations, because 
they show him something highly significant in 
things which he found unpleasant or despicable, 
and if he is dissatisfied with himself, the feeling 
becomes lighter when he recognises the innermost 
world-puzzle or world-misery in that which he so 
strongly disapproves of in himself. To feel him- 
self less responsible and at the same time to find 
things more interesting — that seems to him a 
double benefit for which he has to thank meta- 
physics. Later on, certainly, he gets distrustful 
of the whole metaphysical method of explanation ; 
then perhaps it grows clear to him that those 
results can be obtained equally well and more 
scientifically in another way : that physical and 
historical explanations produce the feeling of 
personal relief to at least the same extent, 
and that the interest in life and its problems is 
perhaps still more aroused thereby. 


Fundamental Questions of Metaphysics. 
— When the history of the rise of thought comes 
to be written, a new light will be thrown on the 
following statement of a distinguished logician : — 
"The primordial general law of the cognisant 
subject consists in the inner necessity of recog- 
nising every object in itself in its own nature, as a 
thing identical with itself, consequently self-exist- 


ing and at bottom remaining ever the same 
and unchangeable : in short, in recognising every- 
thing as a substance." Even this law, which is 
here called " primordial," has evolved : it will some 
day be shown how gradually this tendency arises 
in the lower organisms, how the feeble mole-eyes 
of their organisations at first see only the same 
thing, — how then, when the various awakenings 
of pleasure and displeasure become noticeable, 
various substances are gradually distinguished, but 
each with one attribute, i.e. one single relation to 
such an organism. The first step in logic is the 
judgment, — the nature of which, according to the 
decision of the best logicians, consists in belief. 
At the bottom of all belief lies ike sensation of the 
pleasant or the painful in relation to the sentient 
subject. A new third sensation as the result of 
two previous single sensations is the judgment 
in its simplest form. We organic beings have 
originally no interest in anything but its relation to 
us in connection with pleasure and pain. Between 
the moments (the states of feeling) when we become 
conscious of this connection, lie moments of rest, 
of non-feeling ; the world and everything is then 
without interest for us, we notice no change in it 
(as even now a deeply interested person does not 
notice when any one passes him). To the plant, 
things are as a rule tranquil and eternal, every- 
thing like itself. From the period of the lower 
organisms man has inherited the belief that 
similar things exist (this theory is only con- 
tradicted by the matured experience of the most 
advanced science). The primordial belief of 


everything organic from the beginning is perhaps 
even this, that all the rest of the world is one and 
immovable. The point furthest removed from 
those early beginnings of logic is the idea of 
Causality, — indeed we still really think that all 
sensations and activities are acts of the free will; 
when the sentient individual contemplates himself, 
he regards every sensation, every alteration as 
something isolated, that is to say, unconditioned 
and disconnected, — it rises up in us without con- 
nection with anything foregoing or following. 
We are hungry, but do not originally think that 
the organism must be nourished ; the feeling seems 
to make itself felt without cause and purpose, it 
isolates itself and regards itself as arbitrary. 
Therefore, belief in the freedom of the will is an 
original error of everything organic, as old as the 
existence of the awakenings of logic in it; the 
belief in unconditioned substances and similar 
things is equally a primordial as well as an old 
error of everything organic. But inasmuch as 
all metaphysics has concerned itself chiefly with 
substance and the freedom of will, it may be 
designated as the science which treats of the 
fundamental errors of mankind, but treats of 
them as if they were fundamental truths. 


Number. — The discovery of the laws of numbers 
is made upon the ground of the original, already 
prevailing error, that there are many similar things 
(but in reality there is nothing similar), at least, 

VOL. I. C 


that there are things (but there is no " thing "). 
The supposition of plurality always presumes that 
there is something which appears frequently, — but 
here already error reigns, already we imagine 
beings, unities, which do not exist. Our sensations 
of space and time are false, for they lead — ex- 
amined in sequence — to logical contradictions. 
In all scientific determinations we always reckon 
inevitably with certain false quantities, but as these 
quantities are at least constant, as, for instance, 
our sensation of time and space, the conclusions 
of science have still perfect accuracy and certainty 
in their connection with one another ; one may 
continue to build upon them — until that final limit 
where the erroneous original suppositions, those 
constant faults, come into conflict with the con- 
clusions, for instance in the doctrine of atoms. 
There still we always feel ourselves compelled to 
the acceptance of a " thing " or material " sub- 
stratum " that is moved, whilst the whole scientific 
procedure has pursued the very task of resolving 
everything substantial (material) into motion ; here, 
too, we still separate with our sensation the mover 
and the moved and cannot get out of this circle, 
because the belief in things has from immemorial 
times been bound up with our being. When Kant 
says, " The understanding does not derive its 
laws from Nature, but dictates them to her," it is 
perfectly true with regard to the idea of Nature 
which we are compelled to associate with her 
(Nature = World as representation, that is to say 
as error), but which is the summing up of a 
number of errors of the understanding. The laws 


of numbers are entirely inapplicable to a world 
which is not our representation — these laws obtain 
only in the human world. 


A Few Steps Back. — A degree of culture, 
and assuredly a very high one, is attained when 
man rises above superstitious and religious notions 
and fears, and, for instance, no longer believes in 
guardian angels or in original sin, and has also 
ceased to talk of the salvation of his soul, — if he 
has attained to this degree of freedom, he has still 
also to overcome metaphysics with the greatest 
exertion of his intelligence. Then, however, a re- 
trogressive movement is necessary ; he must under- 
stand the historical justification as well as the 
psychological in such representations, he must 
recognise how the greatest advancement of 
humanity has come therefrom, and how, without 
such a retrocursive movement, we should have 
been robbed of the best products of hitherto 
existing mankind. With regard to philosophical 
metaphysics, I always see increasing numbers 
who have attained to the negative goal (that all 
positive metaphysics is error), but as yet few who 
climb a few rungs backwards ; one ought to look 
out, perhaps, over the last steps of the ladder, but 
not try to stand upon them. The most enlightened 
only succeed so far as to free themselves from 
metaphysics and look back upon it with superiority, 
while it is necessary here, too, as in the hippo- 
drome, to turn round the end of the course. 



Conjectural Victory of Scepticism. — For 
once let the sceptical starting-point be accepted, 
— granted that there were no other metaphysical 
world, and all explanations drawn from meta- 
physics about the only world we know were useless 
to us, in what light should we then look upon 
men and things ? We can think this out for 
ourselves, it is useful, even though the question 
whether anything metaphysical has been scientific- 
ally proved by Kant and Schopenhauer were 
altogether set aside. For it is quite possible, 
according to historical probability, that some time 
or other man, as a general rule, may grow sceptical ; 
the question will then be this : What form will 
human society take under the influence of such a 
mode of thought ? Perhaps the scientific proof of 
some metaphysical world or other is already so 
difficult that mankind will never get rid of a cer- 
tain distrust of it. And when there is distrust 
of metaphysics, there are on the whole the same 
results as if it had been directly refuted and could 
no longer be believed in. The historical question 
with regard to an unmetaphysical frame of mind 
in mankind remains the same in both cases. 


Unbelief in the " Monumentum ^re per- 
ENNius." — An actual drawback which accom- 
panies the cessation of metaphysical views lies in the 
fact that the individual looks upon his short span 



of life too exclusively and receives no stronger in- 
centives to build durable institutions intended to 
last for centuries, — he himself wishes to pluck the 
fruit from the tree which he plants, and therefore 
he no longer plants those trees which require 
regular care for centuries, and which are destined 
to afford shade to a long series of generations. 
For metaphysical views furnish the belief that in 
them the last conclusive foundation has been given, 
upon which henceforth all the future of mankind 
is compelled to settle down and establish itself ; 
the individual furthers his salvation, when, for 
instance, he founds a church or convent, he thinks 
it will be reckoned to him and recompensed to 
him in the eternal life of the soul, it is work for 
the soul's eternal salvation. Can science also 
arouse such faith in its results ? As a matter of 
fact, it needs doubt and distrust as its most faithful 
auxiliaries ; nevertheless in the course of time, the 
sum of inviolable truths — those, namely, which 
have weathered all the storms of scepticism, and 
all destructive analysis — may have become so great 
(in the regimen of health, for instance), that one 
may determine to found thereupon "eternal" works. 
For the present the contrast between our excited 
ephemeral existence and the long-winded repose 
of metaphysical ages still operates too strongly, 
because the two ages still stand too closely 
together ; the individual man himself now goes 
through too many inward and outward develop- 
ments for him to venture to arrange his own 
lifetime permanently, and once and for all. An 
entirely modern man, for instance, who is going 


to build himself a house, has a feeling as if he 
were going to immure himself alive in a mausoleum.^ 


The Age of Comparison. — The less men are 
fettered by tradition, the greater becomes the 
inward activity of their motives ; the greater, again, 
in proportion thereto, the outward restlessness, the 
confused flux of mankind, the polyphony of striv- 
ings. For whom is there still an absolute com- 
pulsion to bind himself and his descendants to one 
place ? For whom is there still anything strictly 
compulsory? As all styles of arts are imitated 
simultaneously, so also are all grades and kinds of 
morality, of customs, of cultures. Such an age 
obtains its importance because in it the various 
views of the world, customs, and cultures can be 
compared and experienced simultaneously, — which 
was formerly not possible with the always localised 
sway of every culture, corresponding to the root- 
ing of all artistic styles in place and time. 
An increased aesthetic feeling will now at last 
decide amongst so many forms presenting them- 
selves for comparison ; it will allow the greater 
number, that is to say all those rejected by it, to 
die out. In the same way a selection amongst 
the forms and customs of the higher moralities is 
taking place, of which the aim can be nothing 
else than the downfall of the lower moralities. 
It is the age of comparison ! That is its pride, 
but more justly also its grief. Let us not be 
afraid of this grief! Rather will we comprehend 


as adequately as possible the task our age sets us : 
posterity will bless us for doing so, — a posterity 
which knows itself to be as much above the 
terminated original national cultures as above the 
culture of comparison, but which looks back with 
gratitude on both kinds of culture as upon 
antiquities worthy of veneration. 


The Possibility of Progress. — When a 
scholar of the ancient culture forswears the 
company of men who believe in progress, he 
does quite right. For the greatness and good- 
ness of ancient culture lie behind it, and historical 
education compels one to admit that they can 
never be fresh again ; an unbearable stupidity or 
an equally insufferable fanaticism would be neces- 
sary to deny this. But men can consciously resolve 
to develop themselves towards a new culture; 
whilst formerly they only developed unconsciously 
and by chance, they can now create better con- 
ditions for the rise of human beings, for their 
nourishment, education and instruction ; they can 
administer the earth economically as a whole, and 
can generally weigh and restrain the powers of 
man. This new, conscious culture kills the old, 
which, regarded as a whole, has led an unconscious 
animal and plant life ; it also kills distrust in 
progress, — progress \s possible. I must say that it 
is over-hasty and almost nonsensical to believe 
that progress must necessarily follow ; but how 
could one deny that it is possible? On the 


Other hand, progress in the sense and on the 
path of the old culture is not even thinkable. 
Even if romantic fantasy has also constantly used 
the word " progress " to denote its aims (for in- 
stance, circumscribed primitive national cultures), 
it borrows the picture of it in any case from the 
past ; its thoughts and ideas on this subject are 
entirely without originality. 


Private and CEcumenical Morality. — 
Since the belief has ceased that a God directs in 
general the fate of the world and, in spite of all 
apparent crookedness in the path of humanity, 
leads it on gloriously, men themselves must set 
themselves oecumenical aims embracing the whole 
earth. The older morality, especially that of 
Kant, required from the individual actions which 
were desired from all men, — that was a delight- 
fully naive thing, as if each one knew off-hand 
what course of action was beneficial to the whole 
of humanity, and consequently which actions in 
general were desirable ; it is a theory like that of 
free trade, taking for granted that the general 
harmony must result of itself according to innate 
laws of amelioration. Perhaps a future contem- 
plation of the needs of humanity will show that 
it is by no means desirable that all men should 
act alike ; in the interest of oecumenical aims it 
might rather be that for whole sections of man- 
kind, special, and perhaps under certain circum- 
stances even evil, tasks would have to be set. In 



any case, if mankind is not to destroy itself by 
such a conscious universal rule, there must pre- 
viously be found, as a scientific standard for 
oecumenical aims, a knowledge of the conditions of 
culture superior to what has hitherto been attained. 
Herein lies the enormous task of the great minds 
of the next century. 


Reaction as Progress. — Now and again 
there appear rugged, powerful, impetuous, but 
nevertheless backward-lagging minds which con- 
jure up once more a past phase of mankind ; they 
serve to prove that the new tendencies against 
which they are working are not yet sufficiently 
strong, that they still lack something, otherwise 
they would show better opposition to those 
exorcisers. Thus, for example, Luther's Re- 
formation bears witness to the fact that in his 
century all the movements of the freedom of the 
spirit were still uncertain, tender, and youthful ; 
science could not yet lift up its head. Indeed 
the whole Renaissance seems like an early spring 
which is almost snowed under again. But in this 
century also, Schopenhauer's Metaphysics showed 
that even now the scientific spirit is not yet strong 
enough ; thus the whole mediaeval Christian view 
of the world and human feeling could celebrate 
its resurrection in Schopenhauer's doctrine, in spite 
of the long achieved destruction of all Christian 
dogmas. There is much science in his doctrine, 
but it does not dominate it : it is rather the old 
well - known " metaphysical requirement " that 


does so. It is certainly one of the greatest and 
quite invaluable advantages which we gain from 
Schopenhauer, that he occasionally forces our 
sensations back into older, mightier modes of 
contemplating the world and man, to which no 
other path would so easily lead us. The gain to 
history and justice is very great, — I do not think 
that any one would so easily succeed now in doing 
justice to Christianity and its Asiatic relations 
without Schopenhauer's assistance, which is speci- 
ally impossible from the basis of still existing 
Christianity. Only after this great success of 
justice, only after we have corrected so essential 
a point as the historical mode of contemplation 
which the age of enlightenment brought with it, 
may we again bear onward the banner of en- 
lightenment, the banner with the three names, 
Petrarch, Erasmus, Voltaire. We have turned 
reaction into progress. 


A Substitute for Religion. — It is believed 
that something good is said of philosophy when 
it is put forward as a substitute for religion for 
the people. As a matter of fact, in the spiritual 
economy there is need, at times, of an intermediary 
order of thought : the transition from religion to 
scientific contemplation is a violent, dangerous 
leap, which is not to be recommended. To this 
extent the recommendation is justifiable. But 
one should eventually learn that the needs which 
have been satisfied by religion and are now to 
be satisfied by philosophy are not unchangeable ; 


these themselves can be weakened and eradicated. 
Think, for instance, of the Christian's distress of 
soul, his sighing over inward corruption, his anxiety 
for salvation, — all notions which originate only in 
errors of reason and deserve not satisfaction but 
destruction. A philosophy can serve either to 
satisfy those needs or to set them aside ; for they 
are acquired, temporally limited needs, which are 
based upon suppositions contradictory to those 
of science. Here, in order to make a transition, 
art is far rather to be employed to relieve the mind 
over-burdened with emotions; for those notions 
receive much less support from it than from a 
metaphysical philosophy. It is easier, then, to 
pass over from art to a really liberating philo- 
sophical science. 


Ill-famed Words. — Away with those weari- 
somely hackneyed terms Optimism and Pessimism ! 
For the occasion for using them becomes less and 
less from day to day ; only the chatterboxes still 
find them so absolutely necessary. For why in 
all the world should any one wish to be an optimist 
unless he had a God to defend who must have 
created the best of worlds if he himself be goodness 
and perfection, — what thinker, however, still needs 
the hypothesis of a God ? But every occasion for 
a pessimistic confession of faith is also lacking when 
one has no interest in being annoyed at the advo- 
cates of God (the theologians, or the theologising 
philosophers), and in energetically defending the 
opposite view, that evil reigns, that pain is greater 


than pleasure, that the world is a bungled piece of 
work, the manifestation of an ill-will to life. But 
who still bothers about the theologians now — 
except the theologians ? Apart from all theology 
and its contentions, it is quite clear that the world 
is not good and not bad (to say nothing of its 
being the best or the worst), and that the terms 
" good " and " bad " have only significance with 
respect to man, and indeed, perhaps, they are not 
justified even here in the way they are usually 
employed ; in any case we must get rid of both 
the calumniating and the glorifying conception of 
the world. 


Intoxicated by the Scent of the 
Blossoms. — It is supposed that the ship of 
humanity has always a deeper draught, the heavier 
it is laden ; it is believed that the deeper a man 
thinks, the more delicately he feels, the higher he 
values himself, the greater his distance from the 
other animals, — the more he appears as a genius 
amongst the animals, — all the nearer will he 
approach the real essence of the world and its 
knowledge ; this he actually does too, through 
science, but he means to do so still more through 
his religions and arts. These certainly are 
blossoms of the world, but by no means any 
nearer to the root of the world than the stalk ; it 
is not possible to understand the nature of things 
better through them, although almost every one 
believes he can. Error has made man so deep, 
sensitive, and inventive that he has put forth such 


blossoms as religions and arts. Pure knowledge 
could not have been capable of it. Whoever 
were to unveil for us the essence of the world 
would give us all the most disagreeable disillusion- 
ment. Not the world as thing-in-itself, but the 
world as representation (as error) is so full of 
meaning, so deep, so wonderful, bearing happiness 
and unhappiness in its bosom. This result leads 
to a philosophy of the logical denial of the world, 
which, however, can be combined with a practical 
world-affirming just as well as with its opposite. 


Bad Habits in Reasoning. — The usual false 
conclusions of mankind are these : a thing exists, 
therefore it has a right to exist. Here there is 
inference from the ability to live to its suitability ; 
from its suitability to its rightfulness. Then : an 
opinion brings happiness ; therefore it is the true 
opinion. Its effect is good ; therefore it is itself 
good and true. To the effect is here assigned 
the predicate beneficent, good, in the sense of the 
useful, and the cause is then furnished with the 
same predicate good, but here in the sense of 
the logically valid. The inversion of the sentences 
would read thus : an affair cannot be carried 
through, or maintained, therefore it is wrong ; an 
opinion causes pain or excites, therefore it is false. 
The free spirit who learns only too often the 
faultiness of this mode of reasoning, and has to 
suffer from its consequences, frequently gives way 
to the temptation to draw the very opposite 


conclusions, which, in general, are naturally just 
as false : an affair cannot be carried through, 
therefore it is good ; an opinion is distressing and 
disturbing, therefore it is true. 


The Illogical Necessary. — One of those 
things that may drive a thinker into despair is the 
recognition of the fact that the illogical is necessary 
for man, and that out of the illogical comes much 
that is good. It is so firmly rooted in the passions, 
in language, in art, in religion, and generally in 
everything that gives value to life, that it cannot 
be withdrawn without thereby hopelessly injuring 
these beautiful things. It is only the all-too-naive 
people who can believe that the nature of man 
can be changed into a purely logical one ; but if 
there were degrees of proximity to this goal, how 
many things would not have to be lost on this 
course ! Even the most rational man has need of 
nature again from time to time, i.e. his illogical 
fundamental attitude towards all things. 


Injustice Necessary. — All judgments on the 
value of life are illogically developed, and therefore 
unjust. The inexactitude of the judgment lies, 
firstly, in the manner in which the material is 
presented, namely very imperfectly ; secondly, in 
the manner in which the conclusion is formed out 
of it ; and thirdly, in the fact that every separate 


element of the material is again the result of 
vitiated recognition, and this, too, of necessity. 
For instance, no experience of an individual, 
however near he may stand to us, can be perfect, 
so that we could have a logical right to make a 
complete estimate of him ; all estimates are rash, 
and must be so. Finally, the standard by which 
we measure, our nature, is not of unalterable 
dimensions, — we have moods and vacillations, 
and yet we should have to recognise ourselves as 
a fixed standard in order to estimate correctly the 
relation of any thing whatever to ourselves. From 
this it will, perhaps, follow that we should make 
no judgments at all ; if one could only live without 
making estimations, without having likes and 
dislikes ! For all dislike is connected with an 
estimation, as well as all incUnation. An impulse 
towards or away from anything without a feeling 
that something advantageous is desired, something 
injurious avoided, an impulse without any kind of 
conscious valuation of the worth of the aim does 
not exist in man. We are from the beginning 
illogical, and therefore unjust beings, and can 
recognise this ; it is one of the greatest and most 
inexplicable discords of existence. 


Error about Life necessary for Life. — 
Every belief in the value and worthiness of life is 
based on vitiated thought ; it is only possible 
through the fact that sympathy for the general life 
and suffering of mankind is very weakly developed 


in the individual. Even the rarer people who 
think outside themselves do not contemplate this 
general life, but only a limited part of it. If one 
understands how to direct one's attention chiefly 
to the exceptions, — I mean to the highly gifted and 
the rich souls, — if one regards the production of 
these as the aim of the whole world-development 
and rejoices in its operation, then one may 
believe in the value of life, because one thereby 
overlooks the other men — one consequently thinks 
fallaciously. So too, when one directs one's 
attention to all mankind, but only considers one 
species of impulses in them, the less egoistical 
ones, and excuses them with regard to the other 
instincts, one may then again entertain hopes of 
mankind in general and believe so far in the value 
of life, consequently in this case also through 
fallaciousness of thought. Let one, however, 
behave in this or that manner: with such 
behaviour one is an exception amongst men. 
Now, most people bear life without any consider- 
able grumbling, and consequently believe in the 
value of existence, but precisely because each one is 
solely self-seeking and self-affirming, and does not 
step out of himself like those exceptions ; every- 
thing extra-personal is imperceptible to them, or 
at most seems only a faint shadow. Therefore on 
this alone is based the value of life for the ordinary 
everyday man, that he regards himself as more 
important than the world. The great lack of 
imagination from which he suffers is the reason why 
he cannot enter into the feelings of other beings, 
and therefore sympathises as little as possible with 


their fate and suffering. He, on the other hand, 
who really could sympathise therewith, would have 
to despair of the value of life ; were he to succeed 
in comprehending and feeling in himself the 
general consciousness of mankind, he would 
collapse with a curse on existence; for mankind 
as a whole has no goals, consequently man, in 
considering his whole course, cannot find in it his 
comfort and support, but his despair. If, in all 
that he does, he considers the final aimlessness of 
man, his own activity assumes in his eyes the 
character of wastefulness. But to feel one's self 
just as much wasted as humanity (and not only 
as an individual) as we see the single blossom of 
nature wasted, is a feeling above all other feelings. 
But who is capable of it? Assuredly only a 
poet, and poets always know how to console 


For Tranquillity. — But does not our philo- 
sophy thus become a tragedy? Does not truth 
become hostile to life, to improvement ? A ques- 
tion seems to weigh upon our tongue and yet 
hesitate to make itself heard : whether one can 
consciously remain in untruthfulness ? or, supposing 
one were obliged to do this, would not death be 
preferable ? For there is no longer any " must " ; 
morality, in so far as it had any " must " or " shalt, 
has been destroyed by our mode of contemplation, 
just as religion has been destroyed. Knowledge 
can only allow pleasure and pain, benefit and in- 
jury to subsist as motives ; but how will these 

VOL. I. D 


motives agree with the sense of truth ? They also 
contain errors (for, as already said, inclination and 
aversion, and their very incorrect determinations, 
practically regulate our pleasure and pain). The 
whole of human life is deeply immersed in un- 
truthfulness ; the individual cannot draw it up out 
of this well, without thereby taking a deep dislike to 
his whole past, without finding his present motives 
— those of honour, for instance — inconsistent, and 
without opposing scorn and disdain to the passions 
which conduce to happiness in the future. Is it 
true that there remains but one sole way of think- 
ing which brings after it despair as a personal 
experience, as a theoretical result, a philosophy of 
dissolution, disintegration, and self-destruction ? I 
believe that the decision with regard to the after- 
effects of the knowledge will be given through the 
temperament of a man ; I could imagine another 
after-effect, just as well as that one described, which 
is possible in certain natures, by means of which a 
life would arise much simpler, freer from emotions 
than is the present one, so that though at first, 
indeed, the old motives of passionate desire might 
still have strength from old hereditary habit, they 
•would gradually become weaker under the influence - 
of purifying knowledge. One would live at last 
amongst men, and with one's self as with Nature, 
without praise, reproach, or agitation, feasting one's 
eyes, as if it were a play, upon much of which one 
was formerly afraid. One would be free from the 
emphasis, and would no longer feel the goading, of 
the thought that one is not only nature or more 
than nature. Certainly, as already remarked, a 


good temperament would be necessary for this, an 
even, mild, and naturally joyous soul, a disposition 
which would not always need to be on its guard 
against spite and sudden outbreaks, and would 
not convey in its utterances anything of a grumb- 
ling or sudden nature, — those well-known vexatious 
qualities of old dogs and men who have been long 
chained up. On the contrary, a man from whom 
the ordinary fetters of life have so far fallen that 
he continues to live only for the sake of ever better 
knowledge must be able to renounce without envy 
and regret : much, indeed almost everything that is 
precious to other men, he must regard as the all- 
sufficing and the most desirable condition ; the free, 
fearless soaring pver men, customs, laws, and the 
traditional valuations of things. The joy of this 
condition he imparts willingly, and he has perhaps 
nothing else to impart, — wherein, to be sure, there 
is more privation and renunciation. If, nevertheless, 
more is demanded from him, he will point with a 
friendly shake of his head to his brother, the free 
man of action, and will perhaps not conceal a little 
derision, for as regards this " freedom " it is a very 
peculiar case. 



Advantages of Psychological Observa- 
tion. — That reflection on the human, all-too- 
human — or, according to the learned expression, 
psychological observation — is one of the means 
by which one may lighten the burden of life, that 
exercise in this art produces presence of mind in 
difficult circumstances, in the midst of tiresome 
surroundings, even that from the most thorny and 
unpleasant periods of one's own life one may gather 
maxims and thereby feel a little better: all this 
was believed, was known in former centuries. Why 
was it forgotten by our century, when in Germany 
at least, even in all Europe, the poverty of 
psychological observation betrays itself by many 
signs? Not exactly in novels, tales, and philo- 
sophical treatises, — they are the work of exceptional 
individuals, — rather in the judgments on public 
events and personalities ; but above all there is a 
lack of the art of psychological analysis and sum- 
ming-up in every rank of society, in which a great 
deal is talked about men, but nothing about man. 
Why do we allow the richest and most harmless 


subject of conversation to escape us ? Why are 
not the great masters of psychological maxims 
more read ? For, without any exaggeration, the 
educated man in Europe who has read La Roche- 
foucauld and his kindred in mind and art, is rarely 
found, and still more rare is he who knows them 
and does not blame them. It is probable, how- 
ever, that even this exceptional reader will find 
much less pleasure in them than the form of this 
artist should afford him ; for even the clearest head 
is not capable of rightly estimating the art of 
shaping and polishing maxims unless he has really 
been brought up to it and has competed in it. 
Without this practical teaching one deems this 
shaping and polishing to be easier than it is ; one 
has not a sufficient perception of fitness and charm. 
For this reason the present readers of maxims find 
in them a comparatively small pleasure, hardly 
a mouthful of pleasantness, so that they resemble 
the people who generally look at cameos, who 
praise because they cannot love, and are very ready 
to admire, but still more ready to run away. 


Objection. — Or should there be a counter- 
reckoning to that theory that places psychological 
observation amongst the means of charming, curing, 
and relieving existence? Should one have suffi- 
ciently convinced one's self of the unpleasant con- 
sequences of this art to divert from it designedly 
the attention of him who is educating himself in it? 
As a matter of fact, a certain blind belief in the 


goodness of human nature, an innate aversion to 
the analysis of human actions, a kind of shame- 
facedness with respect to the nakedness of the soul 
may really be more desirable for the general well- 
being of a man than that quality, useful in iso- 
lated cases, of psychological sharp-sightedness ; and 
perhaps the belief in goodness, in virtuous men 
and deeds, in an abundance of impersonal good- 
will in the world, has made men better inasmuch 
as it has made them less distrustful. When one 
imitates Plutarch's heroes with enthusiasm, and 
turns with disgust from a suspicious examination 
of the motives for their actions, it is not truth 
which benefits thereby, but the welfare of human 
society ; the psychological mistake and, generally 
speaking, the insensibility on this matter helps 
humanity forwards, while the recognition of truth 
gains more through the stimulating power of 
hypothesis than La Rochefoucauld has said in his 
preface to the first edition of his " Sentences et 
maximes morales!' . . . " CV que le monde noinme 
vertu n'est (T ordinaire qu^un fantdme form^ par nos 
passions, d qui on donne un nom honnete pour f aire 
impun^ment ce qu'on veut." La Rochefoucauld and 
those other French masters of soul-examination 
(who have lately been joined by a German, the 
author of Psychological Observations *) resemble 
good marksmen who again and again hit the 
bull's-eye ; but it is the bull's-eye of human nature. 
Their art arouses astonishment ; but in the end a 
spectator who is not led by the spirit of science, 

* Dr. Paul R^e.— J. M. K. 


but by humane intentions, will probably execrate an 
art which appears to implant in the soul the sense 
of the disparagement and suspicion of mankind. 


Nevertheless. — However it may be with 
reckoning and counter-reckoning, in the present 
condition of philosophy the awakening of moral 
observation is necessary. Humanity can no 
longer be spared the cruel sight of the psycho- 
logical dissecting-table with its knives and forceps. 
For here rules that science which inquires into 
the origin and history of the so-called moral 
sentiments, and which, in its progress, has to 
draw up and solve complicated sociological 
problems : — the older philosophy knows the 
latter one not at all, and has always avoided the 
examination of the origin and history of moral 
sentiments on any feeble pretext. With what 
consequences it is now very easy to see, after it 
has been shown by many examples how the 
mistakes of the greatest philosophers generally 
have their starting-point in a wrong explanation 
of certain human actions and sensations, just as 
on the ground of an erroneous analysis — for 
instance, that of the so-called unselfish actions — 
a false ethic is built up ; then, to harmonise with 
this again, religion and mythological confusion 
are brought in to assist, and finally the shades 
of these dismal spirits fall also over physics and 
the general mode of regarding the world. If it 
is certain, however, that superficiality in psycho- 



logical observation has laid, and still lays, the 
most dangerous snares for human judgments and 
conclusions, then there is need now of that 
endurance of work which does not grow weary 
of piling stone upon stone, pebble on pebble; 
there is need of courage not to be ashamed of 
such humble work and to turn a deaf ear to 
scorn. And this is also true, — numberless single 
observations on the human and all-too-human 
have first been discovered, and given utterance to, 
in circles of society which were accustomed to 
offer sacrifice therewith to a clever desire to please, 
and not to scientific knowledge, — and the odour 
of that old home of the moral maxim, a very 
seductive odour, has attached itself almost in- 
separably to the whole species, so that on its 
account the scientific man involuntarily betrays a 
certain distrust of this species and its earnestness. 
But it is sufficient to point to the consequences, 
for already it begins to be seen what results of 
a serious kind spring from the ground of psycho- 
logical observation. What, after all, is the 
principal axiom to which the boldest and coldest 
thinker, the author of the book On the Origin of 
Moral Sensations^ has attained by means of his 
incisive and decisive analyses of human' actions? 
" The moral man," he says, " is no nearer to the 
intelligible (metaphysical) world than is the 
physical man." This theory, hardened and 
sharpened under the hammer-blow of historical 
knowledge, may some time or other, perhaps in 

♦ Dr. Paul Rde.— J. M. K. 


some future period, serve as the axe which is 
applied to the root of the " metaphysical need " 
of man, — whether more as a blessing than a 
curse to the general welfare it is not easy to 
say, but in any case as a theory with the most 
important consequences, at once fruitful and 
terrible, and looking into the world with that 
Janus-face which all great knowledge possesses. 


How FAR Useful. — It must remain for ever 
undecided whether psychological observation is 
advantageous or disadvantageous to man ; but it 
is certain that it is necessary, because science 
cannot do without it. Science, however, has no 
consideration for ultimate purposes, any more 
than Nature has, but just as the latter occasion- 
ally achieves things of the greatest suitableness 
without intending to do so, so also true science, 
as the imitator of nature in ideas, will occasion- 
ally and in many ways further the usefulness 
and welfare of man, — but also without intending 
to do so. 

But whoever feels too chilled by the breath of 
such a reflection has perhaps too little fire in him- 
self; let him look around him meanwhile and he 
will become aware of illnesses which have need of 
ice-poultices, and of men who are so " kneaded 
together " of heat and spirit that they can hardly 
find an atmosphere that is cold and biting enough. 
Moreover, as individuals and nations that are too 
serious have need of frivolities, as others too 


mobile and excitable have need occasionally of 
heavily oppressing burdens for the sake of their 
health, should not we, the more intellectual people 
of this age, that grows visibly more and more 
inflamed, seize all quenching and cooling means 
that exist, in order that we may at least remain 
as constant, harmless, and moderate as we still 
are, and thus, perhaps, serve some time or other 
as mirror and self-contemplation for this age? 


The Fable of Intelligible Freedom. — 
The history of the sentiments by means of which 
we make a person responsible consists of the 
following principal phases. First, all single actions 
are called good or bad without any regard to 
their motives, but only on account of the useful 
or injurious consequences which result for the 
community. But soon the origin of these dis- 
tinctions is forgotten, and it is deemed that the 
qualities " good " or " bad " are contained in the 
; action itself without regard to its consequences, 
by the same error according to which language 
describes the stone as hard, the tree as green, — with 
which, in short, the result is regarded as the cause. 
Then the goodness or badness is implanted in the 
motive, and the action in itself is looked upon as 
morally ambiguous. Mankind even goes further, 
[and applies the predicate good or bad no longer 
to single motives, but to the whole nature of an 
individual, out of whom the motive grows as the 
plant grows out of the earth. Thus, in turn, man 


is made responsible for his operations, then for his 
actions, then for his motives, abd finally for his 
nature. Eventually it is discovered that even this 
nature cannot be responsible, inasmuch as it is an 
absolutely necessary consequence concreted out of 
the elements and influences of past and present 
things, — that man, therefore, cannot be made re- 
sponsible for anything, neither for his nature, nor 
his motives, nor his actions, nor his effects. It has 
therewith come to be recognised that the history 
of moral valuations is at the same time the history 
of an error, the error of responsibility, which is 
based upon the error of the freedom of will. 
Schopenhauer thus decided against it : because 
certain actions bring ill humour (" consciousness 
of guilt") in their train, there must be a re- 
sponsibility ; for there would be no reason for this 
ill humour if not only all human actions were not 
done of necessity, — which is actually the case and 
also the belief of this philosopher, — but man him- 
self from the same necessity is precisely the being 
that he is — which Schopenhauer denies. From 
the fact of that ill humour Schopenhauer thinks 
he can prove a liberty which man must somehow 
have had, not with regard to actions, but with 
regard to nature; liberty, therefore, to be thus or 
otherwise, not to act thus or otherwise. From the 
esse, the sphere of freedom and responsibility, there 
results, in his opinion, the operari, the sphere of 
strict causality, necessity, and irresponsibility. This 
ill humour is apparently directed to the operari, — in 
so far it is erroneous, — but in reality it is directed 
to the esse, which is the deed of a free will, the 


fundamental cause of the existence of an individual, 
man becomes that which he wishes to be, his will 
is anterior to his existence. Here the mistaken 
conclusion is drawn that from the fact of the ill 
humour, the justification, the reasonable admissable- 
ness of this ill humour is presupposed ; and start- 
ing from this mistaken conclusion, Schopenhauer 
arrives at his fantastic sequence of the so-called 
intelligible freedom. But the ill humour after the 
deed is not necessarily reasonable, indeed it is 
assuredly not reasonable, for it is based upon the 
erroneous presumption that the action need not 
have inevitably followed. Therefore, it is only 
because man believes himself to be free, not 
because he is free, that he experiences remorse 
and pricks of conscience. Moreover, this ill 
humour is a habit that can be broken off; in 
many people it is entirely absent in connection 
with actions where others experience it. It is a 
very changeable thing, and one which is connected 
with the development of customs and culture, and 
probably only existing during a comparatively 
short period of the world's history. Nobody is 
responsible for his actions, nobody for his nature ; 
40 judge is identical with being unjust. This also 
applies when an individual judges himself. The 
theory is as clear as sunlight, and yet every one 
prefers to go back into the shadow and the un- 
truth, for fear of the consequences. 

The Super-Animal. — The beast in us wishes 
to be deceived ; morality is a lie of necessity in 


order that we may not be torn in pieces by it. 
Without the errors which lie in the assumption of 
morality, man would have remained an animal. 
Thus, however, he has considered himself as 
something higher and has laid strict laws upon 
himself. Therefore he hates the grades which 
have remained nearer to animalness, whereby the 
former scorn of the slave, as a not-yet-man, is to 
be explained as a fact. 


The Unchangeable Character. — That the 
character is unchangeable is not true in a strict 
sense ; this favourite theory means, rather, that 
during the short lifetime of an individual the new 
influencing motives cannot penetrate deeply enough 
to destroy the ingrained marks of many thousands 
of years. But if one were to imagine a man of 
eighty thousand years, one would have in him an 
absolutely changeable character, so that a number 
of different individuals would gradually develop 
out of him. The shortness of human life misleads 
us into forming many erroneous ideas about the 
qualities of man. 


The Order of Possessions and Morality. 
— The once-accepted hierarchy of possessions, 
according as this or the other is coveted by a 
lower, higher, or highest egoism, now decides 
what is moral or immoral. To prefer a lesser 
good (for instance, the gratification of the senses) 


to a more highly valued good (for instance, health) 
is accounted immoral, and also to prefer luxury 
to liberty. The hierarchy of possessions, however, 
is not fixed and equal at all times ; if any one pre- 
fers vengeance to justice he is moral according to 
the standard of an earlier civilisation, but immoral 
according to the present one. To be " immoral," 
therefore, denotes that an individual has not felt, 
or not felt sufficiently strongly, the higher, finer, 
spiritual motives which have come in with a 
new culture ; it marks one who has remained 
behind, but only according to the difference of 
degrees. The order of possessions itself is not 
raised and lowered according to a moral point 
of view ; but each time that it is fixed it sup- 
plies the decision as to whether an action is moral 
or immoral. 


Cruel People as Those who have Re- 
mained Behind, — People who are cruel now- 
adays must be accounted for by us as the grades 
of earlier civilisations which have survived ; 
here are exposed those deeper formations in 
the mountain of humanity which usually remain 
concealed. They are backward people whose 
brains, through all manner of accidents in the course 
of inheritance, have not been developed in so 
delicate and manifold a way. They show us 
what we all were and horrify us, but they them- 
selves are as little responsible as is a block of 
granite for being granite. There must, too, be 
grooves and twists in our brains which answer to 



that condition of mind, as in the form of certain 
human organs there are supposed to be traces of 
a fish-state. But these grooves and twists are no 
longer the bed through which the stream of our 
sensation flows. 


Gratitude and Revenge. — The reason why 
the powerful man is grateful is this : his bene- 
factor, through the benefit he confers, has mistaken 
and intruded into the sphere of the powerful man, 
— jiow the latter, in return, penetrates into the 
sphere of the benefactor by the act of gratitude. 
It is a milder form of revenge. Without the 
satisfaction of gratitude, the powerful man would 
have shown himself powerless, and would have 
been reckoned as such ever after. Therefore 
every society of the good, which originally meant 
the powerful, places gratitude amongst the first 
duties. — Swift propounded the maxim that men 
were grateful in the same proportion as they were 


The Twofold Early History of Good 
and Evil. — The conception of good and evil 
has a twofold early history, namelyyonce in the 
soul of the xuling tribes and castes. Whoever has 
the power of returning good for good, evil for evil, 
and really practises requital, and who is, therefore, 
grateful and revengeful, is called good ; whoever 
is powerless, and unable to requite, is reckoned as 
bad. As a good man one is reckoned ^mong the 


" good," a community which has common feelings 
because the single individuals are bound to one 
another by the sense of requital. As a bad man 
one belongs to the " bad," to a party of subordinate, 
powerless people who have no common feeling. 
The good are a paste, the bad are a cnass like 
dust. Good and bad have for a long time meant 
the same thing as noble and base, master and 
slave. On the other hand, the enemy is not 
looked upon as evil, he can requite. In Homer 
the Trojan and the Greek are both good. It is 
not the one who injures us, but the one who is 
despicable, who is called bad. Good is inherited 
in the community of the good ; it is impossible 
that a bad man could spring from such good 
soil. If, nevertheless, one of the good ones does 
something which is unworthy of the good, refuge 
is sought in excuses; the guilt is thrown upon 
a god, for instance ; it is said that he has struck 
the good man with blindness and madness. — 

T/ten in the soul of the oppressed and powerless. 
Here every ether man is looked upon as hostile, 
inconsiderate, rapacious, cruel, cunning, be he 
noble or base ; evil is the distinguishing word for 
man, even for every conceivable living creature, 
e.g: for a god ; human, divine, is the same thing 
as devilish, evil. The signs of goodness, helpful- 
ness, pity, are looked upon with fear as spite, the 
prelude to a terrible result, stupefaction and out- 
witting, — in short, as refined malice. With such a 
disposition in the individual a community could 
hardly exist, or at most it could exist only in its 
<:rudest form, so that in all places where this con- 

VOL. I. E 


ception of good and evil obtains, the downfall of 
the single individuals, of their tribes and races, is 
at hand. — Our present civilisation has grown up 
on the soil of the ^-uling tribes and castes. 


Sympathy Stronger than Suffering. — 
There are cases when sympathy is stronger than 
actual suffering. For instance, we are more pained 
when one of our friends is guilty of something 
shameful than when we do it ourselves. For one 
thing, we have more faith in the purity of his 
character than he has himself; then our love for 
him, probably on account of this very faith, is 
stronger than his love for himself. And even if 
his egoism suffers more thereby than our egoism, 
inasmuch as it has to bear more of the bad con- 
sequences of his fault, the un-egoistic in us — this 
word is not to be taken too seriously, but only as 
a modification of the expression — is more deeply 
wounded by his guilt than is the un-egoistic in 


Hypochondria. — There are people who be- 
come hypochondriacal through their sympathy and 
concern for another person ; the kind of sympathy 
which results therefrom is nothing but a disease. 
Thus there is also a Christian hypochondria, which 
afflicts those solitary, religiously-minded people 
who keep constantly before their eyes the suffer- 
ings and death of Christ, 


Economy of Goodness. — Goodness and love, 
as the most healing herbs and powers in human 
intercourse, are such costly discoveries that one 
would wish as much economy as possible to be 
exercised in the employment of these balsamic 
means ; but this is impossible. The economy 
of goodness is the dream of the most daring 


Goodwill. — Amongst the small, but count- 
lessly frequent and therefore very effective, things 
to which science should pay more attention than 
to the great, rare things, is to be reckoned good- 
will ; I mean that exhibition of a friendly dis- 
position in intercourse, that smiling eye, that clasp 
of the hand, that cheerfulness with which almost 
all human actions are usually accompanied. 
Every teacher, every official, adds this to whatever 
is his duty; it is the perpetual occupation of 
humanity, and at the same time the waves of its 
light, in which everything grows ; in the narrowest 
circle, namely, within the family, life blooms and 
flourishes only through that goodwill. Kindli- 
ness, friendliness, the courtesy of the heart, are 
ever-flowing streams of un-egoistic impulses, and 
have given far more powerful assistance to culture 
than even those much more famous demonstra- 
tions which are called pity, mercy, and self- 
sacrifice. But they are thought little of, and, as a 

atter of fact, there is not much that is un-egoistic 



in them. The sum of these small doses is never- 
theless mighty, their united force is amongst the 
strongest forces. Thus one finds much more 
happiness in the world than sad eyes see, if one 
only reckons rightly, and does not forget all those 
moments of comfort in which every day is rich, 
even in the most harried of human lives. 


The Wish to arouse Pity. — In the most 
remarkable passage of his auto - portrait (first 
printed in 1658), La Rochefoucauld assuredly 
hits the nail on the head when he warns all 
sensible people against pity, when he advises them 
to leave that to those orders of the people who 
have need of passion (because it is not ruled by 
reason), and to reach the point of helping the 
suffering and acting energetically in an accident ; 
while pity, according to his (and Plato's) judgment, 
weakens the soul. Certainly we should exhibit 
pity, but take good care not to feel it, for the 
unfortunate are so stupid that to them the 
exhibition of pity is the greatest good in the 
world. One can, perhaps, give a more forcible 
warning against this feeling of pity if one looks 
upon that need of the unfortunate not exactly as 
stupidity and lack of intellect, a kind of mental 
derangement which misfortune brings with it (and 
as such, indeed, La Rochefoucauld appears to 
regard it), but as something quite different and 
more serious. Observe children, who cry and 
scream in order to be pitied, and therefore wait 


for the moment when they will be noticed ; live in 
intercourse with the sick and mentally oppressed, 
and ask yourself whether that ready complaining 
and whimpering, that making a show of mis- 
fortune, does not, at bottom, aim at making the 
spectators miserable; the pity which the spectators 
then exhibit is in so far a consolation for the weak 
and suffering in that the latter recognise therein 
that ihey possess still one power, in spite of their 
weakness, the power of giving pain. The un- 
fortunate derives a sort of pleasure from this 
feeling of superiority, of which the exhibition of 
pity makes him conscious ; his imagination is 
exalted, he is still powerful enough to give the 
world pain. Thus the thirst for pity is the thirst 
for self-gratification, and that, moreover, at the 
expense of his fellow-men ; it shows man in the 
whole inconsiderateness of his own dear self, but 
not exactly in his " stupidity," as La Rochefou- 
cauld thinks. In society-talk three-fourths of all 
questions asked and of all answers given are 
intended to cause the interlocutor a little pain ; 
for this reason so many people pine for company ; 
it enables them to feel their power. There is a 
powerful charm of life in such countless but very 
small doses in which malice makes itself felt, just 
as goodwill, spread in the same way throughout 
the world, is the ever- ready means of healing. 
But are there many honest people who will admit 
that it is pleasing to give pain ? that one not 
infrequently amuses one's self — and amuses one's 
self very well — in causing mortifications to others, 
at least in thought, and firing off at them the 


grape-shot of petty malice ? Most people are too 
dishonest, and a few are too good, to know anything 
of this pudendum \ these will always deny that 
Prosper Merim^e is right when he says, " Sachez 
aussi qu'il rCy a rien de plus commun que de faire 
le mal pour le plaisir de le fairer 


How Appearance becomes Actuality. — 
The actor finally reaches such a point that even in 
the deepest sorrow he cannot cease from thinking 
about the impression made by his own person and 
the general scenic effect ; for instance, even at 
the funeral of his child, he will weep over his 
own sorrow and its expression like one of his own 
audience. The hypocrite, who always plays one 
and the same part, ceases at last to be a hypocrite ; 
for instance, priests, who as young men are 
generally conscious or unconscious hypocrites, 
become at last natural, and are then really without 
any affectation, just priests ; or if the father does 
not succeed so far, perhaps the son does, who 
makes use of his father's progress and inherits his 
habits. If any one long and obstinately desires to 
appear something, he finds it difficult at last to be 
anything else. The profession of almost every 
individual, even of the artist, begins with hypocrisy, 
with an imitating from without, with a copying of 
the effective. He who always wears the mask 
of a friendly expression must eventually obtain 
a power over well-meaning dispositions without 
which the expression of friendliness is not to be 



compelled, — and finally, these, again, obtain a 
power over him, he is well-meaning. 


The Point of Honour in Deception. — 
In all great deceivers one thing is noteworthy, to 
which they owe their power. In the actual act of 
deception, with all their preparations, the dreadful 
voice, expression, and mien, in the midst of their 
effective scenery they are overcome by their belief 
in themselves ; it is this, then, which speaks so 
wonderfully and persuasively to the spectators. 
The founders of religions are distinguished from 
those great deceivers in that they never awake 
from their condition of self-deception ; or at times, 
but very rarely, they have an enlightened moment 
when doubt overpowers them ; they generally 
console themselves, however, by ascribing these 
enlightened moments to the influence of the Evil 
One. There must be self-deception in order that 
this and that vcva-y produce great effects. For men 
believe in the truth of everything that is visibly, 
strongly believed in. 


The Nominal Degrees of Truth. — One 
of the commonest mistakes is this : because some 
one is truthful and honest towards us, he must 
speak the truth. Thus the child believes in its 
parents' judgment, the Christian in the assertions 
of the Founder of the Church. In the same way 
men refuse to admit that all those things which 
men defended in former ages with the sacrifice of 


life and happiness were nothing but errors ; it is 
even said, perhaps, that they were degrees of the 
truth. But what is really meant is that when a 
man has honestly believed in something, and has 
fought and died for his faith, it would really be 
too unjust if he had only been inspired by an 
error. Such a thing seems a contradiction of 
eternal justice ; therefore the heart of sensitive 
man ever enunciates against his head the axiom : 
between moral action and intellectual insight there 
must absolutely be a necessary connection. It is 
unfortunately otherwise ; for there is no eternal 


Falsehood. — Why do people mostly speak 
the truth in daily life ? — Assuredly not because a 
god has forbidden falsehood. But, firstly, because 
it is more convenient, as falsehood requires inven- 
tion, deceit, and memory. (As Swift says, he 
who tells a lie is not sensible how great a task 
he undertakes ; for in order to uphold one 
lie he must invent twenty others.) Therefore, 
because it is advantageous in upright circum- 
stances to say straight out, " I want this, I have 
done that," and so on ; because, in other words, 
the path of compulsion and authority is surer than 
that of cunning. But if a child has been brought 
up in complicated domestic circumstances, he em- 
ploys falsehood, naturally and unconsciously says 
whatever best suits his interests ; a sense of truth 
and a hatred of falsehood are quite foreign and 
unknown to him, and so he lies in all innocence. 




Throwing Suspicion on Morality for 
Faith's Sake. — No power can be maintained 
when it is only represented by hypocrites ; no 
matter how many " worldly " elements the Catholic 
Church possesses, its strength lies in those still 
numerous priestly natures who render life hard 
and full of meaning for themselves, and whose 
glance and worn bodies speak of nocturnal vigils, 
hunger, burning prayers, and perhaps even of 
scourging ; these move men and inspire them 
with fear. What if it were necessary to live thus ? 
This is the terrible question which their aspect 
brings to the lips. Whilst they spread this doubt 
they always uprear another pillar of their power ; 
even the free-thinker does not dare to withstand 
such unselfishness with hard words of truth, and to 
say, " Thyself deceived, deceive not others ! " Only 
the difference of views divides them from him, 
certainly no difference of goodness or badness ; 
but men generally treat unjustly that which they 
do not like. Thus we speak of the cunning and 
the infamous art of the Jesuits, but overlook the 
self-control which every individual Jesuit practises, 
and the fact that the lightened manner of life 
preached by Jesuit books is by no means for their 
benefit, but for that of the laity. We may even 
ask whether, with precisely similar tactics and 
organisation, we enlightened ones would make 
equally good tools, equally admirable through 
self-conquest, indefatigableness, and renunciation. 



Victory of Knowledge over Radical 
Evil. — It is of great advantage to him who de- 
sires to be wise to have witnessed for a time the 
spectacle of a thoroughly evil and degenerate man ; 
it is false, like the contrary spectacle, but for whole 
long periods it held the mastery, and its roots have 
even extended and ramified themselves to us and 
our world. In order to understand ourselves we 
must understand it\ but then, in order to mount 
higher we must rise above it. We recognise, then, 
that there exist no sins in the metaphysical sense ; 
but, in the same sense, also no virtues ; we recog- 
nise that the entire domain of ethical ideas is 
perpetually tottering, that there are higher and 
deeper conceptions of good and evil, of moral and 
immoral. He who does not desire much more 
from things than a knowledge of them easily 
makes peace with his soul, and will make a mis- 
take (or commit a sin, as the world calls it) at 
the most from ignorance, but hardly from covetous- 
ness. He will no longer wish to excommunicate 
and exterminate desires ; but his only, his wholly 
dominating ambition, to know as well as possible 
at all times, will make him cool and will soften 
all the savageness in his disposition. Moreover, 
he has been freed from a number of tormenting 
conceptions, he has no more feeling at the mention 
of the words " punishments of hell," " sinfulness," 
" incapacity for good," he recognises in them only 
the vanishing shadow-pictures of false views of 
the world and of life. 


Morality as the Self-Disintegration of 
Man. — A good author, who really has his heart in 
his work, wishes that some one could come and 
annihilate him by representing the same thing in 
a clearer way and answering without more ado 
the problems therein proposed. The loving girl 
wishes she could prove the self-sacrificing faithful- 
ness of her love by the unfaithfulness of her 
beloved. The soldier hopes to die on the field of 
battle for his victorious fatherland ; for his loftiest 
desires triumph in the victory of his country. 
The mother gives to the child that of which she 
deprives herself — sleep, the best food, sometimes 
her health and fortune. But are all these un- 
egoistic conditions ? Are these deeds of morality 
miracles, because, to use Schopenhauer's expres- 
sion, they are " impossible and yet performed " ? 
Is it not clear that in all four cases the individual 
loves something of himself, a thought, a desire, a 
production, better than anything else of himself; 
that he therefore divides his nature and to one 
part sacrifices all the rest? Is it something 
entirely different when an obstinate man says, " I 
would rather be shot than move a step out of my 
way for this man " ? The desire for something 
(wish, inclination, longing) is present in all the 
instances mentioned ; to give way to it, with all 
its consequences, is certainly not " un-egoistic." 
— In ethics man does not consider himself as 
individuum but as dividuum. 



What One may Promise. — One may promise 
actions, but no sentiments, for these are involun- 
tary. Whoever promises to love or hate a person, 
or be faithful to him for ever, promises something 
which is not within his power ; he can certainly 
promise such actions as are usually the results of 
love, hate, or fidelity, but which may also spring 
from other motives ; for many ways and motives 
lead to one and the same action. The promise 
to love some one for ever is, therefore, really : So 
long as I love you I will act towards you in a 
loving way ; if I cease to love you, you will still 
receive the same treatment from me, although 
inspired by other motives, so that our fellow-men 
will still be deluded into the belief that our love 
is unchanged and ever the same. One promises, 
therefore, the continuation of the semblance of 
love, when, without self-deception, one speaks vows 
of eternal love. 


Intellect and Morality. — One must have 
a good memory to be able to keep a given promise. 
One must have a strong power of imagination to 
be able to feel pity. So closely is morality bound 
to the goodness of the intellect. 


To wish for Revenge and to take Re- 
venge. — To have a revengeful thought and to 


carry it into effect is to have a violent attack of 
fever, which passes off, however, — but to have a 
revengeful thought without the strength and 
courage to carry it out is a chronic disease, a 
poisoning of body and soul which we have to 
bear about with us. Morality, which <jnly takes 
intentions into account, considers the two cases 
as equal ; usually the former case is regarded as 
the worse (because of the evil consequences which 
may perhaps result from the deed of revenge). 
Both estimates are short-sighted. 


The Power of Waiting. — Waiting is so 
difficult that even great poets have not disdained 
to take incapability of waiting as the motive for 
their works. Thus Shakespeare in Othello or 
Sophocles in Ajax, to whom suicide, had he been 
able to let his feelings cool down for one day, 
would no longer have seemed necessary, as the 
oracle intimated ; he would probably have snapped 
his fingers at the terrible whisperings of wounded 
vanity, and said to himself, " Who has not already, 
in my circumstances, mistaken a fool for a hero ? 
Is it something so very extraordinary ? " On the 
contrary, it is something very commonly human ; 
Ajax might allow himself that consolation. Passion 
will not wait ; the tragedy in the lives of great men 
frequently lies not in their conflict with the times 
and the baseness of their fellow-men, but in their 
incapacity of postponing their work for a year or 
two ; they cannot wait. In all duels advising 


friends have one thing to decide, namely whether 
the parties concerned can still wait awhile ; if this 
is not the case, then a duel is advisable, inasmuch 
as each of the two says, " Either I continue to live 
and that other man must die immediately, or vice 
versa." In such case waiting would mean a pro- 
longed suffering of the terrible martyrdom of 
wounded honour in the face of the insulter, and 
this may entail more suffering than life is worth. 


Revelling in Vengeance. — Coarser individ- 
uals who feel themselves insulted, make out the 
insult to be as great as possible, and relate the 
affair in greatly exaggerated language, in order to 
be able to revel thoroughly in the rarely awakened 
feelings of hatred and revenge. 


The Value of Disparagement. — In order 
to maintain their self-respect in their own eyes and 
a certain thoroughness of action, not a few men, 
perhaps even the majority, find it absolutely 
necessary to run down and disparage all their 
acquaintances. But as mean natures are numer- 
ous, and since it is very important whether they 
possess that thoroughness or lose it, hence 


The Man in a Passion. — We must beware of 
one who is in a passion against us as of one who 



has once sought our life ; for the fact that we still 
live is due to the absence of power to kill, — if looks 
would suffice, we should have been dead long ago. 
It is a piece of rough civilisation to force some one 
into silence by the exhibition of physical savage- 
ness and the inspiring of fear. That cold glance 
which exalted persons employ towards their 
servants is also a relic of that caste division be- 
tween man and man, a piece of rough antiquity ; 
women, the preservers of ancient things, have also 
faithfully retained this survival of an ancient 


Whither Honesty can Lead. — Somebody 
had the bad habit of occasionally talking quite 
frankly about the motives of his actions, which 
were as good and as bad as the motives of most 
men. He first gave offence, then aroused sus- 
picion, was then gradually excluded from society 
and declared a social outlaw, until at last justice 
remembered such an abandoned creature, on 
occasions when it would otherwise have had no 
eyes, or would have closed them. The lack of 
power to hold his tongue concerning the common 
secret, and the irresponsible tendency to see what 
no one wishes to see — himself — brought him to a 
prison and an early death. 


Punishable, but never Punished. — Our 
crime against criminals lies in the fact that we 
treat them like rascals. 




Sancta simplicitas of Virtue. — Every 
virtue has its privileges ; for example, that of 
contributing its own little faggot to the scaffold 
of every condemned man. 


Morality and Consequences. — It is not 
only the spectators of a deed who frequently judge 
of its morality or immorality according to its 
consequences, but the doer of the de^d himselt 
does so. For the motives and intentions are 
seldom sufficiently clear and simple, and some- 
times memory itself seems clouded by the con- 
sequences of the deed, so that one ascribes the 
deed to false motives or looks upon unessential 
motives as essential. Success often gives an 
action the whole honest glamour of a good 
conscience; failure casts the shadow of re- 
morse over the most estimable deed. Hence 
arises the well-known practice of the politician, 
who thinks, " Only grant me success, with that 
I bring all honest souls over to my side and 
make myself honest in my own eyes." In 
the same way success must replace a better 
argument. Many educated people still believe 
that the triumph of Christianity over Greek 
philosophy is a proof of the greater truthfulness 
of the former, — although in this case it is only 
the coarser and more powerful that has triumphed 
over the more spiritual and delicate. Which pos- 


sesses the greater truth may be seen from the fact 
that the awakening sciences have agreed with 
Epicurus' philosophy on point after point, but on 
point after point have rejected Christianity. 


Love and Justice. — Why do we over-esti- 
mate love to the disadvantage of justice, and say 
the most beautiful things about it, as if it were 
something very much higher than the latter ? Is 
it not visibly more stupid than justice ? Certainly, 
but precisely for that reason all the pleas anter for 
every one. It is blind, and possesses an abundant 
cornucopia, out of which it distributes its gifts to 
all, even if they do not deserve them, even if they 
express no thanks for them. It is as impartial as 
the rain, which, according to the Bible and experi- 
ence, makes not only the unjust, but also occasion- 
ally the just wet through to the skin. 


Execution. — How is it that every execution 
offends us more than does a murder ? It is the 
coldness of the judges, the painful preparations, 
the conviction that a human being is here being 
used as a warning to scare others. For the guilt 
is not punished, even if it existed — it lies with 
educators, parents, surroundinrjs, in ourselves, not 
in the murderer — I mean the determining cir- 

kVOL. I. F 





Hope. — Pandora brought the box of ills and 
opened it. It was the gift of the gods to men, 
outwardly a beautiful and seductive gift, and called 
the Casket of Happiness. Out of it flew all the 
evils, living winged creatures, thence they now 
circulate and do men injury day and night. One 
single evil had not yet escaped from the box, and 
by the will of Zeus Pandora closed the lid and it 
remained within. Now for ever man has the 
casket of happiness in his house and thinks he 
holds a great treasure ; it is at his disposal, he 
stretches out his hand for it whenever he desires ; 
for he does not know the box which Pandora 
brought was the casket of evil, and he believes the 
ill which remains within to be the greatest blessing, 
— it is hope. Zeus did not wish man, however 
much he might be tormented by the other evils, 
to fling away his life, but to go on letting himself 
be tormented again and again. Therefore he gives 
man hope, — in reality it is the worst of all evils, 
because it prolongs the torments of man. 


The Degree of Moral Inflammability 
Unknown. — According to whether we have or 
have not had certain disturbing views and im- 
pressions — for instance, an unjustly executed, 
killed, or martred father ; a faithless wife ; a 
cruel hostile attack — it depends whether our 
passions reach fever heat and influence our whole 



life or not. No one knows to what he may 
be driven by circumstances, pity, or indignation ; 
he does not know the degree of his own inflam- 
mability. Miserable little circumstances make us 
miserable ; it is generally not the quantity of ex- 
periences, but their quality, on which lower and 
higher man depends, in good and evil. 


The Martyr in Spite of Himself. — There 
was a man belonging to a party who was too 
nervous and cowardly ever to contradict his com- 
rades ; they made use of him for everything, they 
demanded everything from him, because he was 
more afraid of the bad opinion of his companions 
than of death itself; his was a miserable, feeble 
soul. They recognised this, and on the ground 
of these qualities they made a hero of him, and 
finally even a martyr. Although the coward in- 
wardly always said No, with his lips he always said 
Yes, even on the scaffold, when he was about to die 
for the opinions of his party ; for beside him stood 
one of his old companions, who so tyrannised over 
him by word and look that he really suffered death 
in the most respectable manner, and has ever 
since been celebrated as a martyr and a great 


The Every-day Standard. — One will 
seldom go wrong if one attributes extreme actions 
to vanity, average ones to habit, and petty ones 
to fear. 


84 human, all-too-human. 

Misunderstanding Concerning Virtue. 
— Whoever has known immorality in connection 
with pleasure, as is the case with a man who has 
a pleasure-seeking youth behind him, imagines 
that virtue must be connected with absence of 
pleasure. — Whoever, on the contrary, has been 
much plagued by his passions and vices, longs to 
find in virtue peace and the soul's happiness. 
Hence it is possible for two virtuous persons 
not to understand each other at all. 

The Ascetic. — The ascetic makes a necessity 
of virtue. 


Transferring Honour from the Person 
TO the Thing. — Deeds of love and sacrifice 
for the benefit of one's neighbour are gener- 
ally honoured, wherever they are manifested. 
Thereby we multiply the valuation of things which 
are thus loved, or for which we sacrifice ourselves, 
although perhaps they are not worth much in 
themselves. A brave army is convinced of the 
cause for which it fights. 


Ambition a Substitute for the Moral 
Sense. — The moral sense must not be lacking in 
those natures which have no ambition. The am- 


bitious manage without it, with almost the same 
results. For this reason the sons of unpreten- 
tious, unambitious families, when once they lose the 
moral sense, generally degenerate very quickly 
into complete scamps. 


Vanity Enriches. — How poor would be the 
human mind without vanity ! Thus, however, it 
resembles a well-stocked and constantly replen- 
ished bazaar which attracts buyers of every kind. 
There they can find eilmost everything, obtain 
almost everything, provided that they bring the 
right sort of coin, namely admiration. 


Old Age and Death. — Apart from the com- 
mands of religion, the question may well be asked. 
Why is it more worthy for an old man who feels 
his powers decline, to await his slow exhaustion 
and extinction than with full consciousness to set 
a limit to his life ? Suicide in this case is a per- 
fectly natural, obvious action, which should justly 
arouse respect as a triumph of reason, and did 
arouse it in those times when the heads of Greek 
philosophy and the sturdiest patriots used to seek 

I death through suicide. The seeking, on the con- 
trary, to prolong existence from day to day, with 
anxious consultation of doctors and painful mode 
of living, without the power of drawing nearer to 
the actual aim of life, is far less worthy. Religion 
is rich in excuses to reply to the demand for 


suicide, and thus it ingratiates itself with those 
who wish to cling to life. 


Errors of the Sufferer and the Doer. 
— When a rich man deprives a poor man of a 
possession (for instance, a prince taking the sweet- 
heart of a plebeian), an error arises in the mind of 
the poor man ; he thinks that the rich man must be 
utterly infamous to take away from him the little 
that he has. But the rich man does not estimate 
so highly the value of a single possession, because 
he is accustomed to have many ; hence he cannot 
imagine himself in the poor man's place, and does 
not commit nearly so great a wrong as the latter 
supposes. They each have a mistaken idea of the 
other. The injustice of the powerful, which, more 
than anything else, rouses indignation in history, 
is by no means so great as it appears. Alone the 
mere inherited consciousness of being a higher 
creation, with higher claims, produces a cold tem- 
perament, and leaves the conscience quiet ; we 
all of us feel no injustice when the difference is 
very great between ourselves and another creature, 
and kill a fly, for instance, without any pricks of 
conscience. Therefore it was no sign of badness 
in Xerxes (whom even all Greeks describe as 
superlatively noble) when he took a son away 
from his father and had him cut in pieces, because 
he had expressed a nervous, ominous distrust of 
the whole campaign ; in this case the individual 
is put out of the way like an unpleasant insect ; he 


is too lowly to be allowed any longer to cause 
annoyance to a ruler of the world. Yes, every 
cruel man is not so cruel as the ill-treated one 
imagines ; 4;he idea of pain is not the same as its 
endurance. It is the same thing in the case 
of unjust judges, of the journalist who leads 
public opinion astray by small dishonesties. In 
all these cases cause and effect are surrounded by 
entirely different groups of feelings and thoughts ; 
yet one unconsciously takes it for granted that 
doer and sufferer think and feel alike, and accord- 
ing to this supposition we measure the guilt of the 
one by the pain of the other. 


The Skin of the Soul. — As the bones, flesh, 
entrails, and blood-vessels are enclosed within a 
skin, which makes the aspect of man endurable, 
so the emotions and passions of the soul are 
enwrapped with vanity, — it is the skin of the soul. 


The Sleep of Virtue. — When virtue has 
slept, it will arise again all the fresher. 


The Refinement of Shame. — People are 
not ashamed to think something foul, but they 
are ashamed when they think these foul thoughts 
are attributed to them 




Malice is Rare. — Most people are far too 
much occupied with themselves to be malicious. 


The Tongue in the Balance. — We praise 
or blame according as the one or the other affords 
more opportunity for exhibiting our power of 


St. Luke xviii. 14, Improved.- 
humbleth himself wishes to be exalted. 

-He that 


The Prevention of Suicide. — There is a 
certain right by which we may deprive a man of 
life, but none by which we may deprive him of 
death ; this is mere cruelty. 


Vanity. — We care for the good opinion of 
men, firstly because they are useful to us, and 
then because we wish to please them (children 
their parents, pupils their teachers, and well- 
meaning people generally their fellow-men). Only 
where the good opinion of men is of importance 
to some one, apart from the advantage thereof or 
his wish to please, can we speak of vanity. In 


this case the man wishes to please himself, but at 
the expense of his fellow-men, either by misleading 
them into holding a false opinion about him, or by 
aiming at a degree of " good opinion " which must 
be painful to every one else (by arousing envy). 
The individual usually wishes to corroborate the 
opinion he holds of himself by the opinion of others, 
and to strengthen it in his own eyes ; but the strong 
habit of authority — a habit as old as man himself 
— induces many to support by authority their 
belief in themselves : that is to say, they accept it 
first from others ; they trust the judgment of 
others more than their own. The interest in 
himself, the wish to please himself, attains to 
such a height in a vain man that he misleads 
others into having a false, all too elevated estimation 
of him, and yet nevertheless sets store by their 
authority, — thus causing an error and yet believing 
in it. It must be confessed, therefore, that vain 
people do not wish to please others so much as 
themselves, and that they go so far therein as to 
neglect their advantage, for they often endeavour 
to prejudice their fellow - men unfavourably, 
inimicably, enviously, consequently injuriously 
against themselves, merely in order to have 
pleasure in themselves, personal pleasure. 



The Limits of Human Love. — A man who 
as declared that another is an idiot and a bad 
companion, is angry when the latter eventually 
roves himself to be otherwise. 





MoRAUTi. LARMOYANTE. — What a great deal 
of pleasure morality gives ! Only think what a 
sea of pleasant tears has been shed over descrip- 
tions of noble and unselfish deeds ! This charm 
of life would vanish if the belief in absolute 
irresponsibility were to obtain supremacy. 


The Origin of Justice. — Justice (equity) has 
its origin amongst powers which are fairly equal, 
as Thucydides (in the terrible dialogue between 
the Athenian and Melian ambassadors) rightly 
comprehended : that is to say, where there is no 
clearly recognisable supremacy, and where a 
conflict would be useless and would injure both 
sides, there arises the thought of coming to an 
understanding and settling the opposing claims ; 
the character of exchange is the primary character 
of justice. Each party satisfies the other, as each 
obtains what he values more than the other. 
Each one receives that which he desires, as his 
own henceforth, and whatever is desired is received 
in return. Justice, therefore, is recompense and 
exchange based on the hypothesis of a fairly equal 
degree of power, — thus, originally, revenge belongs 
to the province of justice, it is an exchange. Also 
gratitude. — Justice naturally is based on the point 
of view of a judicious self-preservation, on the 
egoism, therefore, of that reflection, " Why should 
I injure myself uselessly and perhaps not attain 


my aim after all ? " So much about the origin of 
justice. Because man, according to his intellectual 
custom, has forgotten the original purpose of so- 
called just and reasonable actions, and particularly 
because for hundreds of years children have been 
taught to admire and imitate such actions, the 
idea has gradually arisen that such an action is 
un-egoistic ; upon this idea, however, is based the 
high estimation in which it is held : which, more- 
over, like all valuations, is constantly growing, for 
something that is valued highly is striven after, 
imitated, multiplied, and increases, because the 
value of the output of toil and enthusiasm of each 
individual is added to the value of the thing itself. 
How little moral would the world look without 
this forgetfulness ! A poet might say that God 
had placed forgetfulness as door-keeper in the 
temple of human dignity. 


The Right of the Weaker. — When any 
one submits under certain conditions to a greater 
power, as a besieged town for instance, the counter- 
condition is that one can destroy one's self, burn 
the town, and so cause the mighty one a great 
loss. Therefore there is a kind of equalisation 

I here, on the basis of which rights may be 
determined. The enemy has his advantage in 
maintaining it. • In so far there are also rights 
between slaves and masters, that is, precisely so 
far as the possession of the slave is useful and 
important to his master. The right originally 




extends so far as one appears to be valuable 
to the other, essentially unlosable, unconquerable, 
and so forth. In so far the weaker one also has 
rights, but lesser ones. Hence the famous 
unusquisque tantum juris hahet, quantum, potentia 
valet (or more exactly, quantum, potentia valere 


The Three Phases of Hitherto Existing 
Morality. — It is the first sign that the animal 
has become man when its actions no longer have 
regard only to momentary welfare, but to what is 
enduring, when it grows useful and practical ; there 
the free rule of reason first breaks out. A still 
higher step is reached when he acts according to 
the principle of honour; by this means he brings 
himself into order, submits to common feelings, 
and that exalts him still higher over the phase in 
which he was led only by the idea of usefulness 
from a personal point of view ; he respects and 
wishes to be respected, i.e. he understands useful- 
ness as dependent upon what he thinks of others 
and what others think of him. Eventually he 
acts, on the highest step of the hitherto existing 
morality, according to his standard of things and 
men ; he himself decides for himself and others 
what is honourable, what is useful ; he has become 
the law-giver of opinions, in accordance with the 
ever more highly developed idea of what is useful 
and honourable. Knowledge enables him to place 
that which is most useful, that is to say the 
general, enduring usefulness, above the personal, 


the honourable recognition of general, enduring 
validity above the momentary ; he lives and acts 
as a collective individual. 


The Morality of the Mature Individual. 
— The impersonal has hitherto been looked upon 
as the actual distinguishing mark of moral action ; 
and it has been pointed out that in the beginning 
it was in consideration of the common good that 
all impersonal actions were praised and distin- 
guished. Is not an important change in these 
views impending, now when it is more and more 
recognised that it is precisely in the most persona/ 
possible considerations that the common good is 
the greatest, so that a strictly personal action now 
best illustrates the present idea of morality, as 
utility for the mass ? To make a whole person- 
ality out of ourselves, and in all that we do to keep 
that personality's highest good in view, carries 
us further than those sympathetic emotions and 
actions for the benefit of others. We all still 
suffer, certainly, from the too small consideration 
of the personal in us ; it is badly developed, — let 
us admit it ; rather has our mind been forcibly 
drawn away from it and offered as a sacrifice to 
the State, to science, or to those who stand in 
need of help, as if it were the bad part which 
must be sacrificed. We are still willing to work 
for our fellow-men, but only so far as we find our 
own greatest advantage in this work, no more and 
no less. It is only a question of what we under- 



stand as our advantage, the unripe, undeveloped, 
crude individual will understand it in the crudest 


Custom and Morality. — To be moral,correct, 
and virtuous is to be obedient to an old-established 
law and custom. Whether we submit with diffi- 
culty or willingly is immaterial, enough that we 
do so. He is called " good " who, as if naturally, 
after long precedent, easily and willingly, there- 
fore, does what is right, according to whatever this 
may be (as, for instance, taking revenge, if to take 
revenge be considered as right, as amongst the 
ancient Greeks). He is called good because he 
is good " for something " ; but as goodwill, pity, 
consideration, moderation, and such like, have come, 
with the change in manners, to be looked upon as 
" good for something," as useful, the good-natured 
and helpful have, later on, come to be distinguished 
specially as " good." (In the beginning other and 
more important kinds of usefulness stood in the 
foreground.) To be evil is to be " not moral " 
(immoral), to be immoral is to be in opposi- 
tion to tradition, however sensible or stupid it 
may be ; injury to the community (the " neigh- 
bour" being understood thereby) has, however, 
been looked upon by the social laws of all different 
ages as being eminently the actual " immorality," 
so that now at the word " evil " we immediately 
think of voluntary injury to one's neighbour. The 
fundamental antithesis which has taught man the 
distinction between moral and immoral, between 


good and evil, is pot the " egoistic " and " un- 
egoistic," ..but the being bound to the tradition, 
law, and solution thereof. How the tradition has 
arisen is immaterial, at all events without regard 
to good and evil or any immanent categorical im- 
perative, but above all for the purpose of preserving 
a community, a generation, an association, a people ; 
every superstitious custom that has arisen on 
account of some falsely explained accident, creates 
a tradition, which it is moral to follow ; to separate 
one's self from it is dangerous, but more dangerous 
for the community than for the individual (because 
the Godhead punishes the community for every 
outrage and every violation of its rights, and the 
individual only in proportion). Now every tradition 
grows continually more venerable, the farther off 
lies its origin, the more this is lost sight of; the 
veneration paid it accumulates from generation 
to generation, the tradition at last becomes holy 
and excites awe ; and thus in any case the morality 
of piety is a much older morality than that which 
requires un-egoistic actions. 

Pleasure in Traditional Custom. — An 
important species of pleasure, and therewith 
the source of morality, arises out of habit. 
Man does what is habitual to him more easily, 
better, and therefore more willingly; he feels 
a pleasure therein, and knows from experience 
that the habitual has been tested, and is there- 
fore useful ; a custom that we can live with is 
proved to be whoesome and advantageous in con- 


trast to all new and not yet tested experiments. 
According to this, morality is the union of the 
pleasant and the useful ; moreover, it requires no 
reflection. As soon as man can use compulsion, 
he uses it to introduce and enforce his customs ; for 
in his eyes they are proved as the wisdom of life. 
In the same way a company of individuals com- 
pels each single one to adopt the same customs. 
Here the inference is wrong ; because we feel at 
ease with a morality, or at least because we are 
able to carry on existence with it, therefore this 
morality is necessary, for it seems to be the on/)' 
possibility of feeling at ease ; the ease of life seems 
to grow out of it alone. This comprehension of 
the habitual as a necessity of existence is pursued 
even to the smallest details of custom, — as insight 
into genuine causality is very small with lower 
peoples and civilisations, they take precautions 
with superstitious fear that everything should go 
in its same groove ; even where custom is 
difficult, hard, and burdensome, it is preserved 
on account of its apparent highest usefulness. It 
is not known that the same degree of well-being 
can also exist with other customs, and that even 
higher degrees may be attained. We become 
aware, however, that all customs, even the hardest, 
grow pleasanter and milder with time, and that 
the severest way of life may become a habit and 
therefore a pleasure. 


Pleasure and Social Instinct. — Out of 
his relations with other men, man obtains a new 


species oi pleasure in addition to those pleasurable 
sensations which he derives from himself; whereby 
he greatly increases the scope of enjoyment. Per- 
haps he has already taken too many of the pleasures 
of this sphere from animals, which visibly feel 
pleasure when they play with each other, especially 
the mother with her young. Then consider the 
sexual relations, which make almost every female 
interesting to a male with regard to pleasure, and 
vice versa. The feeling of pleasure on the basis 
of human relations generally makes man better ; 
joy in common, pleasure enjoyed together is in- 
creased, it gives the individual security, makes him 
good-tempered, and dispels mistrust and envy, for 
we feel ourselves at ease and see others at ease. 
Similar manifestations of pleasure awaken the idea 
of the same sensations, the feeling of being like 
something ; a like effect is produced by common 
sufferings, the same bad weather, dangers, enemies. 
Upon this foundation is based the oldest alliance, 
the object of which is the mutual obviating and 
averting of a threatening danger for the benefit 
of each individual. And thus the social instinct 
grows out of pleasure. 


The Innocent Side of so-called Evil 
Actions. — All "evil" actions are prompted by 
the instinct of preservation, or, more exactly, by 
the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain 
on the part of the individual ; thus prompted, but 
not evil. " To cause pain per se " does not exist, 

VOL. I. G 


except in the brains of philosophers, neither does 
" to give pleasure per se " (pity in Schopenhauer's 
meaning). In the social condition before the State 
we kill the creature, be it ape or man, who tries 
to take from us the fruit of a tree when we are 
hungry and approach the tree, as we should still 
do with animals in inhospitable countries. The 
evil actions which now most rouse our indignation, 
are based upon the error that he who causes them 
has a free will, that he had the option, therefore, 
of not doing us this injury. This belief in option 
arouses hatred, desire for revenge, spite, and the 
deterioration of the whole imagination, while we 
are much less angry with an animal because we 
consider it irresponsible. To do injury, not from 
the instinct of preservation, but as requital, is the 
con.sequence of a false judgment and therefore 
equally innocent. The individual can in the con- 
dition which lies before the State, act sternly and 
cruelly towards other creatures for the purpose of 
terrifying, to establish his existence firmly by such 
terrifying proofs of his power. -Thus act the 
violent, the mighty, the original founders of States, 
who subdue the weaker to themselves. They have 
the right to do so, such as the State still takes for 
itself; or rather, there is no right that can hinder 
this. The ground for all morality can only be 
made ready when a stronger individual or a 
collective individual, for instance society or the 
State, subdues the single individuals, .draws them 
out of their singleness, and forms them into an 
association. . Compulsion precedes morality, indeed 
morality itself is compulsion for a time, to 


which one submits for the avoidance of pain. 
Later on it becomes . custom, — later still, free 
obedience, and finally almost instinct, — then, like 
everything long accustomed and natural, it is 
connected with pleasure — and is henceforth called 


Shame. — Shame exists everywhere where there 
is a " mystery " ; this, however, is a religious 
idea, which was widely extended in the older 
times of human civilisation. Everywhere were 
found bounded domains to which access was for- 
bidden by divine right, except under certain con- 
ditions ; at first locally, as, for example, certain 
spots that ought not to be trodden by the feet 
of the uninitiated, in the neighbourhood of 
which these latter experienced horror and fear. 
This feeling was a good deal carried over into 
other relations, for instance, the sex relations, 
which, as a privilege and aSvrov of riper years, 
had to be withheld from the knowledge of the 
young for their advantage, relations for the pro- 
tection and sanctification of which many gods 
were invented and were set up as guardians in 
the nuptial chamber. (In Turkish this room is 
on this account called harem, " sanctuary," and is 
distinguished with the same name, therefore, that 
is used for the entrance courts of the mosques.) 
Thus the kingdom is as a centre from which 
radiate power and glory, to the subjects a mystery 
full of secrecy and shame, of which many after- 
effects may still be felt among nations which 



otherwise do not by any means belong to the 
bashful type. Similarly, the whole world of inner 
conditions, the so-called " soul," is still a mystery 
for all who are not philosophers, after it has been 
looked upon for endless ages as of divine origin 
and as worthy of divine intercourse ; according 
to this it is an dBvTov and arouses shame. 


Judge not. — In considering earlier periods, 
care must be taken not to fall into unjust abuse. 
The injustice in slavery, the cruelty in the sup- 
pression of persons and nations, is not to be 
measured by our standard. For the instinct of 
justice was not then so far developed. Who 
dares to reproach the Genevese Calvin with the 
burning of the physician Servet? It was an 
action following and resulting from his convictions, 
and in the same way the Inquisition had a good 
right ; only the ruling views were false, and pro- 
duced a result which seems hard to us because 
those views have now grown strange to us. Be- 
sides, what is the burning of a single individual 
compared with eternal pains of hell for almost 
all! And yet this idea was universal at that 
time, without essentially injuring by its dreadful- 
ness the conception of a God. With us, too, 
political sectarians are hardly and cruelly treated, 
but because one is accustomed to believe in the 
necessity of the State, the cruelty is not so deeply 
felt here as it is where we repudiate the views. 
Cruelty to animals in children and Italians is 


due to ignorance, i.e. the animal, through the 
interests of Church teaching, has been placed too 
far behind man. Much that is dreadful and in- 
human in history, much that one hardly likes to 
believe, is mitigated by the reflection that the 
one who commands and the one who carries out 
are different persons, — the former does not be- 
hold the right and therefore does not experience 
the strong impression on the imagination ; the 
latter obeys a superior and therefore feels no 
responsibility. Most princes and military heads, 
through lack of imagination, easily appear hard 
and cruel without really being so. Egoism is 
not evily because the idea of the " neighbour " — 
the word is of Christian origin and does not 
represent the truth — is very weak in us ; and we 
feel ourselves almost as free and irresponsible 
towards him as towards plants and stones. We 
have yet to learn that others suffer, and this can 
never be completely learnt. 


" Man always Acts Rightly." — We do not 
complain of nature as immoral because it sends 
a thunderstorm and makes us wet, — why do 
we call those who injure us immoral ? Because 
in the latter case we take for granted a free will 
functioning voluntarily ; in the former we see 
necessity. But this distinction is an error. Thus 
we do not call even intentional injury immoral in 
all circumstances ; for instance, we kill a fly un- 
hesitatingly and intentionally, only because its 



buzzing annoys us ; we punish a criminal 
intentionally and hurt him in order to protect 
ourselves and society. In the first case it is the 
individual who, in order to preserve himself, or 
even to protect himself from worry, does inten- 
tional injury ; in the second case it is the State. 
All morals allow intentional injury in the case of 
necessity, that is, when it is a matter of self-pre- 
servation ! But these two points of view suffice 
to explain all evil actions committed by men 
against men, we are desirous of obtaining 
pleasure or avoiding pain ; in any case it is 
always a question of self-preservation. Socrates 
and Plato are right : whatever man does he always 
does well, that is, he does that which seems to 
him good (useful) according to the degree of his 
intellect, the particular standard of his reason- 


The Harmlessness of Malice. — The aim 
of malice is not the suffering of others in itself, 
but our own enjoyment ; for instance, as the feeling 
of revenge, or stronger nervous excitement. All 
teasing, even, shows the pleasure it gives to ex- 
ercise our power on others and bring it to an 
enjoyable feeling of preponderance. Is it im- 
moral to taste pleasure at the expense of another's 
pain ? Is malicious joy * devilish, as Schopen- 
hauer says ? We give ourselves pleasure in 

*This is the untranslatable word Schadenfretide, which 
means joy at the rnisfortune of others. — J. M. K. 


nature by breaking off twigs, loosening stones, 
fighting with wild animals, and do this in order 
to become thereby conscious of our strength. Is 
the knowledge, therefore, that another suffers 
through us, the same thing concerning which we 
otherwise feel irresponsible, supposed to make us 
immoral ? But if we did not know this we would 
not thereby have the enjoyment of our own 
superiority, which can only manifest itself by the 
suffering of others, for instance in teasing. All 
pleasure per se is neither good nor evil ; whence 
should come the decision that in order to have 
pleasure ourselves we may not cause displeasure 
to others ? From the point of view of usefulness 
alone, that is, out of consideration for the conse- 
quences^ {ox possible displeasure, when the injured 
one or the replacing State gives the expectation 
of resentment and revenge : this only can have 
been the original reason for denying ourselves 
such actions. Pity aims just as little at the 
pleasure of others as malice at the pain of others 
per se. For it contains at least two (perhaps 
many more) elements of a personal pleasure, and 
is so far self-gratification ; in the first place as the 
pleasure of emotion, which is the kind of pity 
that exists in tragedy, and then, when it impels 
to action, as the pleasure of satisfaction in the 
exercise of power. If, besides this, a suffering 
person is very dear to us, we lift a sorrow from 
ourselves by the exercise of sympathetic actions. 
Except by a few philosophers, pity has always 
been placed very low in the scale of rnoraj 
feelings, and rightly so, 




Self-defence, — If self-defence is allowed to 
pass as moral, then almost all manifestations of 
the so-called immoral egoism must also stand; 
men injure, rob, or kill in order to preserve or 
defend themselves, to prevent personal injury ; 
they lie where cunning and dissimulation are the 
right means of self-preservation. Intentional 
injury^ when our existence or safety (preservation 
of our comfort) is concerned, is conceded to be 
moral ; the State itself injures, according to this 
point of view, when it punishes. In unintentional 
injury, of course, there can be nothing immoral, 
that is ruled by chance. Is there, then, a kind 
of intentional injury where our existence or the 
preservation of our comfort is not concerned ? Is 
there an injuring out of pure malice^ for instance 
in cruelty ? If one does not know how much an 
action hurts, it is no deed of malice ; thus the 
child is not malicious towards the animal, not 
evil ; he examines and destroys it like a toy. 
But do we ever know entirely how an action hurts 
another? As far as our nervous system extends 
we protect ourselves from pain ; if it extended 
farther, to our fellow-men, namely, we should do 
no one an injury (except in such cases as we 
injure ourselves, where we cut ourselves for the 
sake of cure, tire and exert ourselves for the sake 
of health). We conclude by analogy that some- 
thing hurts somebody, and through memory and 
the strength of imagination we may suffer from it 



ourselves. But still what a difference there is 
between toothache and the pain (pity) that the 
sight of toothache calls forth ! Therefore, in 
injury out of so-called malice the degree of pain 
produced is always unknown to us ; but inasmuch 
as there is pleasure in the action (the feeling of 
one's own power, one's own strong excitement), 
the action is committed, in order to preserve the 
comfort of the individual, and is regarded, there- 
fore, from a similar point of view as defence and 
falsehood in necessity. No life without pleasure ; 
the struggle for pleasure is the struggle for life. 
Whether the individual so fights this fight that 
men call him good, or so that they call him evil, 
is determined by the measure and the constitution 
of his intellect. 


Recompensing Justice. — Whoever has com- 
pletely comprehended the doctrine of absolute 
irresponsibility can no longer include the so-called 
punishing and recompensing justice in the idea of 
justice, should this consist of giving to each man 
his due. For he who is punished does not deserve 
the punishment, he is only used as a means of 
henceforth warning away from certain actions ; 
equally so, he who is rewarded does not merit this 
reward, he could not act otherwise than he did. 
Therefore the reward is meant only as an 
encouragement to him and others, to provide a 
motive for subsequent actions ; words of praise 
are flung to the runners on the course, not to the 




one who has reached the goal. Neither punish- 
ment nor reward is anything that comes to one 
as one's own ; they are given from motives of use- 
fulness, without one having a right to claim them. 
Hence we must say, " The wise man gives no reward 
because the deed has been well done," just as we 
have said, " The wise man does not punish because 
evil has been committed, but in order that evil 
shall not be committed." If punishment and 
reward no longer existed, then the strongest 
motives which deter men from certain actions and 
impel them to certain other actions, would also 
no longer exist ; the needs of mankind require 
their continuance ; and inasmuch as punishment 
and reward, blame and praise, work most sensibly 
on vanity, the same need requires the continuance 
of vanity. 

1 06. 

At the Waterfall. — In looking at a water- 
fall we imagine that there is freedom of will and 
fancy in the countless turnings, twistings, and 
breakings of the waves ; but everything is com- 
pulsory, every movement can be mathematically 
calculated. So it is also with human actions ; 
one would have to be able to calculate every single 
action beforehand if one were all-knowing ; equally 
so all progress of knowledge, every error, all malice. 
The one who acts certainly labours under the 
illusion of voluntariness ; if the world's wheel were 
to stand still for a moment and an all-knowing, 
calculating reason were there to make use of this 


pause, it could foretell the future of every creature 
to the remotest times, and mark out every track 
upon which that wheel would continue to roll. The 
delusion of the acting agent about himself, the 
supposition of a free will, belongs to this mechanism 
which still remains to be calculated. 


Irresponsibility and Innocence. — The 
complete irresponsibility of man for his actions 
and his nature is the bitterest drop which he who 
understands must swallow if he was accustomed 
to see the patent of nobility of his humanity 
in responsibility and duty. All his valuations, 
distinctions, disinclinations, are thereby deprived 
of value and become false, — his deepest feeling 
for the sufferer and the hero was based on an 
error; he may no longer either praise or blame, 
for it is absurd to praise and blame nature and 
necessity. In the same way as he loves a fine 
work of art, but does not praise it, because it can 
do nothing for itself; in the same way as he regards 
plants, so must he regard his own actions and 
those of mankind. He can admire strength, 
beauty, abundance, in themselves ; but must find 
no merit therein, — the chemical progress and the 
strife of the elements, the torments of the sick 
person who thirsts after recovery, are all equally 
as little merits as those struggles of the soul and 
states of distress in which we are torn hither and 
.thither by different impulses until we finally decide 


for the strongest — as we say (but in reality it is 
the strongest motive which decides for us). All 
these motives, however, whatever fine names we 
may give them, have all grown out of the same 
root, in which we believe the evil poisons to be 
situated ; between good and evil actions there is 
no difference of species, but at most of degree. 
Good actions are sublimated evil ones ; evil actions 
are vulgarised and stupefied good ones. The 
single longing of the individual for self-gratification 
(together with the fear of losing it) satisfies itself 
in all circumstances : man may act as he can, that 
is as he must, be it in deeds of vanity, revenge, 
pleasure, usefulness, malice, cunning ; be it in deeds 
of sacrifice, of pity, of knowledge. The degrees 
of the power of judgment determine whither any 
one lets himself be drawn through this longing ; 
to every society, to every individual, a scale of 
possessions is continually present, according to 
which he determines his actions and judges those 
of others. But this standard changes constantly ; 
many actions are called evil and are only stupid, 
because the degree of intelligence which decided 
for them was very low. In a certain sense, even, 
all actions are still stupid ; for the highest degree 
of human intelligence which can now be attained 
will assuredly be yet surpassed, and then, in a 
retrospect, all our actions and judgments will 
appear as limited and hasty as the actions and 
judgments of primitive wild peoples now appear 
limited and hasty to us. To recognise all this 
may be deeply painful, but consolation comes 
after ; such pains are the pangs of birth. The 


butterfly wants to break through its chrysalis : it 
rends and tears it, and is then blinded and confused 
by the unaccustomed light, the kingdom of liberty. 
In such people as are capable of such sadness — and 
how few are ! — the first experiment made is to see 
' whether mankind can change itself from a moral 
into a wise mankind. The sun of a new gospel 
throws its rays upon the highest point in the soul 
of each single individual, then the mists gather 
thicker than ever, and the brightest light and 
the dreariest shadow lie side by side. Everything 
is necessity — so says the new knowledge, and 
this knowledge itself is necessity. Everything is 
^ innocence, and knowledge is the road to insight 
into this innocence. Are pleasure, egoism, vanity 
necessary for the production of the moral 
phenomena and their highest result, the sense for 
truth and justice in knowledge ; were error and 
the confusion of the imagination the only means 
through which mankind could raise itself gradually 
to this degree of self-enlightenment and self- 
liberation — who would dare to undervalue these 
means? Who would dare to be sad if he 
perceived the goal to which those roads led ? 
Everything in the domain of morality has evolved, 
is changeable, unstable, everything is dissolved, it 
is true ; but everything is also streaming towards 
te goal. Even if the inherited habit of erroneous 
valuation, love and hatred, continue to reign in us, 
^et under the influence of growing knowledge it 
n\\ become weaker ; a new habit, that of com- 
)rehension, of not loving, not hating, of over- 
looking, is gradually implanting itself in us upon 



the same ground, and in thousands of years will 
perhaps be powerful enough to give humanity the 
strength to produce wise, innocent (consciously 
innocent) men, as it now produces unwise, guilt- 
conscious men, — that is the necessary preliminary 
stepy not its opposite. 




The Double Fight against Evil. When 

misfortune overtakes us we can either pass over 
it so lightly that its cause is removed, or so that 
the result which it has on our temperament is 
altered, through a changing, therefore, of the evil 
into a good, the utility of which is perhaps not 
visible until later on. Religion and art (also 
metaphysical philosophy) work upon the changing 
of the temperament, partly through the changing 
of our judgment on events (for instance, with the 
help of the phrase "whom the Lord loveth He 
chasteneth "), partly through the awakening of a 
pleasure in pain, in emotion generally (whence 
the tragic art takes its starting-point). The more 
a man is inclined to twist and arrange meanings 
the less he will grasp the causes of evil and dis- 
perse them ; the momentary mitigation and in- 
fluence of a narcotic, as for example in toothache, 
suffices him even in more serious sufferings. The 
more the dominion of creeds and all arts dispense 
with narcotics, the more strictly men attend to 
the actual removing of the evil, which is certainly 



bad for writers of tragedy ; for the material for 
tragedy is growing scarcer because the domain of 
pitiless, inexorable fate is growing ever narrower, 
— but worse still for the priests, for they have 
hitherto lived on the narcotisation of human 


Sorrow is Knowledge. — How greatly we 
should like to exchange the false assertions of the 
priests, that there is a god who desires good from 
us, a guardian and witness of every action, every 
moment, every thought, who loves us and seeks 
our welfare in all misfortune, — how greatly we 
would like to exchange these ideas for truths 
which would be just as healing, pacifying and 
beneficial as those errors ! But there are no such 
truths ; at most philosophy can oppose to them 
metaphysical appearances (at bottom also un- 
truths). The tragedy consists in the fact that 
we cannot believe those dogmas of religion and 
metaphysics, if we have strict methods of truth 
in heart and brain : on the other hand, mankind 
has, through development, become so delicate, 
irritable and suffering, that it has need of 
the highest means of healing and consolation ; 
whence also the danger arises that man would 
bleed to death from recognised truth, or, more 
correctly, from discovered error. Byron has 
expressed this in the immortal lines : — 

Sorrow is knowledge : they who know the most 
Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth. 
The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life. 


For such troubles there is no better help than to 
recall the stately levity of Horace, at least for the 
worst hours and eclipses of the soul, and to say 
with him : 

. . . quid aeternis minorem 

consiliis animum fatigas ? 
cur non sub alta vel platano vel hac 
pinu jacentes.* 

But assuredly frivolity or melancholy of every 
degree is better than a romantic retrospection 
and desertion of the flag, an approach to 
Christianity in any form ; for according to the 
present condition of knowledge it is absolutely 
impossible to approach it without hopelessly 
soiling our intellectual conscience and giving our- 
selves away to ourselves and others. Those 
pains may be unpleasant enough, but we cannot 
become leaders and educators of mankind with- 
out pain ; and woe to him who would wish 
to attempt this and no longer have that clear 
conscience ! 


The Truth in Religion. — In the period 
of rationalism justice was not done to the 
importance of religion, of that there is no doubt, 
but equally there is no doubt that in the reaction 
that followed this rationalism justice was far 
overstepped ; for religions were treated lovingly, 

*Why harass with eternal designs a mind too weak to 
compass them ? Why do we not, as we he beneath a lofty 
plane-tree or this pine [drink while we may] ? HOR., Odes 
II. ii. 11-14. — J. M. K. 

VOL. I. H 


even amorously, and, for instance, a deeper, even 
the very deepest, understanding of the world was 
ascribed to them ; which science has only to strip 
of its dogmatic garment in order to possess the 
" truth " in un mythical form. Religions should, 
therefore, — this was the opinion of all opposers of 
rationalism, — sensu allegorico^ with all considera- 
tion for the understanding of the masses, give 
utterance to that ancient wisdom which is wisdom 
itself, inasmuch as all true science of later times 
has always led up to it instead of away from it, 
so that between the oldest wisdom of mankind 
and all later harmonies similarity of discernment 
and a progress of knowledge — in case one should 
wish to speak of such a thing — rests not upon the 
nature but upon the way of communicating it. 
This whole conception of religion and science is 
thoroughly erroneous, and none would still dare 
to profess it if Schopenhauer's eloquence had not 
taken it under its protection ; this resonant 
eloquence which, however, only reached its hearers 
a generation later. As surely as from Schopen- 
hauer's religious-moral interpretations of men and 
the world much may be gained for the under- 
standing of the Christian and other religions, so 
surely also is he mistaken about the value of 
religion for knowledge. Therein he himself was 
only a too docile pupil of the scientific teachers of 
his time, who all worshipped romanticism and 
had forsworn the spirit of enlightenment ; had he 
been born in our present age he could not pos- 
sibly have talked about the sensus allegoricus of 
religion ; he would much rather have given 



honour to truth, as he used to do, with the words, 
" no religion, direct or indirect, either as dogma or as 
allegory, has ever contained a truthy For each 
has been born of fear and necessity, through the 
byways of reason did it slip into existence ; once, 
perhaps, when imperilled by science, some philo- 
sophic doctrine has lied itself into its system in 
order that it may be found there later, but this 
is a theological trick of the time when a religion 
already doubts itself. These tricks of theology 
(which certainly were practised in the early days 
of Christianity, as the religion of a scholarly 
period steeped in philosophy) have led to that 
superstition of the sensus allegoricus, but yet more 
the habits of the philosophers (especially the half- 
natures, the poetical philosophers and the philo- 
sophising artists), to treat all the sensations which 
they discovered in themselves as the fundamental 
nature of man in general, and hence to allow their 
own religious feelings an important influence in 
the building up of their systems. As philosophers 
frequently philosophised under the custom of 
religious habits, or at least under the anciently 
inherited power of that " metaphysical need," they 
developed doctrinal opinions which really bore a 
great resemblance to the Jewish or Christian or 
Indian religious views, — a resemblance, namely, 
such as children usually bear to their mothers, 
only that in this case the fathers were not clear 
about that motherhood, as happens sometimes, — 
but in their innocence romanced about a family 
likeness between all religion and science. In 
reality, between religions and real science there 


exists neither relationship nor friendship, nor even 
enmity; they live on different planets. Every 
philosophy which shows a religious comet's tail 
shining in the darkness of its last prospects makes 
all the science it contains suspicious ; all this 
is presumably also religion, even though in the 
guise of science. Moreover, if all nations were to 
agree about certain religious matters, for instance 
the existence of a God (which, it may be remarked, 
is not the case with regard to this point), this 
would only be an argument against those affirmed 
matters, for instance the existence of a God ; the 
consensus gentium and hominum in general can 
only take place in case of a huge folly. On the 
other hand, there is no consensus omnium sapientium, 
with regard to any single thing, with that exception 
mentioned in Goethe's lines : 

" Alle die Weisesten aller der Zeiten 
Lacheln und winken und stimmen mit ein : 
Thoricht, auf Bess'rung der Thoren zu barren ! 
Kinder der Klugheit, o habet die Narren 
Eben zum Narren auch, wie sich's gehort ! " * 

Spoken without verse and rhyme and applied to 
our case, the consensus sapientium consists in 
this : that the consensus gentium counts as a folly. 

* " All greatest sages of all latest ages 
Will chuckle and slily agree, 
'Tis folly to wait till a fool's empty pate 
' Has learnt to be knowing and free : 
So children of wisdom, make use of the fools 
And use them whenever you can as your tools." — J.M.K 



The Origin of the Religious Cult. — If 
we go back to the times in which the religious life 
flourished to the greatest extent, we find a funda- 
mental conviction, which we now no longer share, 
and whereby the doors leading to a religious life 
are closed to us once for all, — it concerns Nature 
and intercourse with her. In those times people 
knew nothing of natural laws ; neither for earth 
nor for heaven is there a " must " ; a season, the 
sunshine, the rain may come or may not come. 
In short, every idea of natural causality is lacking. 
When one rows, it is not the rowing that moves 
the boat, but rowing is only a magical ceremony 
by which one compels a dcemon to move the 
boat. All maladies, even death itself, are the result 
of magical influences. Illness and death never 
happen naturally ; the whole conception of 
" natural sequence " is lacking, — it dawned first 
amongst the older Greeks, that is, in a very late 
phase of humanity, in the conception of Moira, 
enthroned above the gods. When a man shoots 
with a bow, there is still always present an 
irrational hand and strength ; if the wells suddenly 
dry up, men think first of subterranean dcemons 
and their tricks ; it must be the arrow of a god 
beneath whose invisible blow a man suddenly 
sinks down. In India (says Lubbock) a carpenter 
is accustomed to offer sacrifice to his hammer, his 
hatchet, and the rest of his tools ; in the same way 
a Brahmin treats the pen with which he writes, a 
soldier the weapons he requires in the field of 


battle, a mason his trowel, a labourer his plough. 
In the imagination of religious people all nature 
is a summary of the actions of conscious and 
voluntary creatures, an enormous complex of 
arbitrariness. No conclusion may be drawn with 
regard to everything that is outside of us, that 
anything will be so and so, must be so and so ; 
the approximately sure, reliable are we, — man is 
the rule, nature is irregularity, — this theory con- 
tains the fundamental conviction which obtains in 
rude, religiously productive primitive civilisations. 
We latter-day men feel just the contrary, — the 
richer man now feels himself inwardly, the more 
polyphonous is the music and the noise of his 
soul the more powerfully the symmetry of nature 
works upon him ; we all recognise with Goethe 
the great means in nature for the appeasing of 
the modern soul ; we listen to the pendulum swing 
of this greatest of clocks with a longing for rest, 
for home and tranquillity, as if we could absorb 
this symmetry into ourselves and could only 
thereby arrive at the enjoyment of ourselves. 
Formerly it was otherwise ; if we consider the 
rude, early condition of nations, or contemplate 
present-day savages at close quarters, we find 
them most strongly influenced by law and by 
tradition : the individual is almost automatically 
bound to them, and moves with the uniformity of 
a pendulum. To him Nature — uncomprehended, 
terrible, mysterious Nature — must appear as the 
sphere of liberty, of voluntariness, of the higher 
power, even as a superhuman degree of existence, 
as God. In those times and conditions, however, 


every individual felt that his existence, his happi- 
ness, and that of the family and the State, and 
the success of all undertakings, depended on those 
spontaneities of nature; certain natural events 
must appear at the right time, others be absent at 
the right time. How can one have any influence 
on these terrible unknown things, how can one 
bind the sphere of liberty ? Thus he asks himself, 
thus he inquires anxiously ; — is there, then, no 
means of making those powers as regular through 
tradition and law as you are yourself? The aim 
of those who believe in magic and miracles is to 
impose a law on nature, — and, briefly, the religious 
cult is a result of this aim. The problem which 
those people have set themselves is closely related 
to this : how can the weaker race dictate laws to 
the stronger^ rule it, and guide its actions (in 
relation to the weaker) ? One would first 
remember the most harmless sort of compulsion, 
that compulsion which one exercises when one 
has gained any one's affection. By imploring and 
praying, by submission, by the obligation of regular 
taxes and gifts, by flattering glorifications, it is 
also possible to exercise an influence upon the 
powers of nature, inasmuch as one gains the 
affections ; love binds and becomes bound. Then 
one can make compacts by which one is mutually 
bound to a certain behaviour, where one gives 
pledges and exchanges vows. But far more 
important is a species of more forcible compulsion, 
by magic and witchcraft. As with the sorcerer's 
help man is able to injure a more powerful enemy 
and keep him in fear, as the love-charm works at 



a distance, so the weaker man believes he can 
influence the mightier spirits of nature. The 
principal thing in all witchcraft is that we must 
get into our possession something that belongs to 
some one, hair, nails, food from their table, even 
their portrait, their name. With such apparatus 
we can then practise sorcery ; for the fundamental 
rule is, to everything spiritual there belongs some- 
thing corporeal ; with the help of this we are able 
to bind the spirit, to injure it, and destroy it ; the 
corporeal furnishes the handles with which we can 
grasp the spiritual. As man controls man, so he 
controls some natural spirit or other ; for this has 
also its corporeal part by which it may be grasped. 
The tree and, compared with it, the seed from 
which it sprang, — this enigmatical contrast seems 
to prove that the same spirit embodied itself in 
both forms, now small, now large. A stone that 
begins to roll suddenly is the body in which a 
spirit operates ; if there is an enormous rock 
lying on a lonely heath it seems impossible to 
conceive human strength sufficient to have brought 
it there, consequently the stone must have moved 
there by itself, that is, it must be possessed by a 
spirit. Everything that has a body is susceptible 
to witchcraft, therefore also the natural spirits. 
If a god is bound to his image we can 
use the most direct compulsion against him 
(through refusal of sacrificial food, scourging, 
binding in fetters, and so on). In order to 
obtain by force the missing favour of their god 
the lower classes in China wind cords round the 
image of the one who has left them in the lurch, 


pull it down and drag it through the streets in 
the dust and the dirt : " You dog of a spirit," 
they say, " we gave you a magnificent temple to 
live in, we gilded you prettily, we fed you well, 
we offered you sacrifice, and yet you are so 
ungrateful." Similar forcible measures against 
pictures of the Saints and Virgin when they 
refused to do their duty in pestilence or drought, 
have been witnessed even during the present 
century in Catholic countries. Through all these 
magic relations to nature, countless ceremonies 
have been called into life ; and at last, when the 
confusion has grown too great, an endeavour has 
been made to order and systematise them, in 
order that the favourable course of the whole 
progress of nature, i.e. of the great succession of 
the seasons, may seem to be guaranteed by a 
corresponding course of a system of procedure. 
The essence of the religious cult is to determine 
and confine nature to human advantage, to impress 
it with a legality, therefore, which it did not 
originally possess ; while at the present time we 
wish to recognise the legality of nature in order 
to adapt ourselves to it. In short, then, the 
religious cult is based upon the representations 
of sorcery between man and man, — and the 
sorcerer is older than the priest. But it is like- 

• wise based upon other and nobler representations ; 
it premises the sympathetic relation of man to 
man, the presence of goodwill, gratitude, the 

I hearing of pleaders, of treaties between enemies, 
the granting of pledges, and the claim to the 
protection of property. In very low stages of 


civilisation man does not stand in the relation of 
a helpless slave to nature, he is not necessarily its 
involuntary bondsman. In the Greek grade of 
religion, particularly in relation to the Olympian 
gods, there may even be imagined a common life 
between two castes, a nobler and more powerful 
one, and one less noble ; but in their origin both 
belong to each other somehow, and are of one 
kind ; they need not be ashamed of each other. 
That is the nobility of the Greek religion. 


At the Sight of certain Antique 
Sacrificial Implements. — The fact of how 
many feelings are lost to us may be seen, for 
instance, in the mingling of the droll, even of the 
obscene, with the religious feeling. The sensation 
of the possibility of this mixture vanishes, we only 
comprehend historically that it existed in the feasts 
of Demeter and Dionysus, in the Christian Easter- 
plays and Mysteries. But we also know that 
which is noble in alliance with burlesque and such 
like, the touching mingled with the laughable, 
which perhaps a later age will not be able to 


Christianity as Antiquity. — When on a 
Sunday morning we hear the old bells ring out, 
we ask ourselves, " Is it possible ! This is done 
on account of a Jew crucified two thousand years 
ago who said he was the Son of God. The proof 
of such an assertion is wanting." Certainly in our 


times the Christian religion is an antiquity that 
dates from very early ages, and the fact that its 
assertions are still believed, when otherwise all 
claims are subjected to such strict examination, 
is perhaps the oldest part of this heritage. A 
God who creates a son from a mortal woman ; a 
sage who requires that man should no longer 
work, no longer judge, but should pay attention to 
the signs of the approaching end of the world ; 
a justice that accepts an innocent being as a 
substitute in sacrifice; one who commands his 
disciples to drink his blood ; prayers for miraculous 
intervention ; sins committed against a God and 
atoned for through a God ; the fear of a future 
to which death is the portal ; the form of the 
cross in an age which no longer knows the 
signification and the shame of the cross,* how 
terrible all this appears to us, as if risen from the 
grave of the ancient past ! Is it credible that 
such things are still believed ? 


What is un-Greek in Christianity. — The 
Greeks did not regard the Homeric gods as raised 
above them like masters, nor themselves as being 
under them like servants, as the Jews did. They 
only saw, as in a mirror, the most perfect examples 
of their own caste ; an ideal, therefore, and not an 
opposite of their own nature. There is a feeling 

* It may be remembered tha^ the cross was the gallows 
of the ancient world. — J. M. K. 


of relationship, a mutual interest arises, a kind of 
symmachy. Man thinks highly of himself when 
he gives himself such gods, and places himself in 
a relation like that of the lower nobility towards 
the higher; while the Italian nations hold a 
genuine peasant-faith, with perpetual fear of evil 
and mischievous powers and tormenting spirits. 
Wherever the Olympian gods retreated into the 
background, Greek life was more sombre and 
more anxious. Christianity, on the contrary, 
oppressed man and crushed him utterly, sinking 
him as if in deep mire ; then into the feeling of 
absolute depravity it suddenly threw the light of 
divine mercy, so that the surprised man, dazzled 
by forgiveness, gave a cry of joy and for a moment 
believed that he bore all heaven within himself. 
All psychological feelings of Christianity work 
upon this unhealthy excess of sentiment, and 
upon the deep corruption of head and heart it 
necessitates ; it desires to destroy, break, stupefy, 
confuse, — only one thing it does not desire, namely 
moderation, and therefore it is in the deepest sense 
barbaric, Asiatic, ignoble and un- Greek. 


To BE Religious with Advantage. — There 
are sober and industrious people on whom religion 
is embroidered like a hem of higher humanity ; 
these do well to remain religious, it beautifies 
them. All people who do not understand some 
kind of trade in weapons — tongue and pen included 
as weapons — become servile ; for such the Christian 


religion is very useful, for then servility assumes 
the appearance of Christian virtues and is surpris- 
ingly beautified. People to whom their daily life 
appears too empty and monotonous easily grow 
religious ; this is comprehensible and excusable, 
only they have no right to demand religious 
sentiments from those whose daily life is not 
empty and monotonous.* 


The Commonplace Christian. — If Christi- 
anity were right, with its theories of an avenging 
God, of general sinfulness, of redemption, and the 
danger of eternal damnation, it would be a sign of 
weak intellect and lack of character not to become 
a priest, apostle or hermit, and to work only with 
fear and trembling for one's own salvation ; it 
would be senseless thus to neglect eternal benefits 
for temporary comfort. Taking it for granted 
that there is belief, the commonplace Christian is 
a miserable figure, a man that really cannot add 
two and two together, and who, moreover, just 
because of his mental incapacity for responsibility, 
did not deserve to be so severely punished as 
Christianity has decreed. 


Of the Wisdom of Christianity. — It is a 
clever stroke on the part of Christianity to teach 

* This may give us one of the reasons for the religiosity 
still happily prevailing in England and the United States. 
—J. M. K. 


the utter unworthiness, sinfulness, and despicable- 
ness of mankind so loudly that the disdain of 
their fellow-men is no longer possible. " He may 
sin as much as he likes, he is not essentially 
different from me, — it is I who am unworthy and 
despicable in every way," says the Christian to 
himself. But even this feeling has lost its sharpest 
sting, because the Christian no longer believes in 
his individual despicableness ; he is bad as men 
are generally, and comforts himself a little with 
the axiom, " We are all of one kind." 

1 1 8. 

Change of Front. — As soon as a religion 
triumphs it has for its enemies all those who 
would have been its first disciples. 


The Fate of Christianity. — Christianity 
arose for the purpose of lightening the heart ; 
but now it must first make the heart heavy in 
order afterwards to lighten it. Consequently it 
will perish. 


The Proof of Pleasure. — The agreeable 
opinion is accepted as true, — this is the proof of 
the pleasure (or, as the Church says, the proof of 
the strength), of which all religions are so proud 
when they ought to be ashamed of it. If Faith 
did not make blessed it would not be believed 
in ; of how little value must it be, then ! 



A Dangerous Game. — Whoever now allows 
scope to his religious feelings must also let them 
increase, he cannot do otherwise. His nature 
then gradually changes ; it favours whatever is 
connected with and near to the religious element, 
the whole extent of judgment and feeling becomes 
clouded, overcast with religious shadows. Sensa- 
tion cannot stand still ; one must therefore take 


The Blind Disciples. — So long as one 
knows well the strength and weakness of one's 
doctrine, one's art, one's religion, its power is 
still small. The disciple and apostle who has 
no eyes for the weaknesses of the doctrine, the 
religion, and so forth, dazzled by the aspect of 
the master and by his reverence for him, has on 
that account usually more power than the master 
himself. Without blind disciples the influence of 
a man and his work has never yet become great. 
To help a doctrine to victory often means only 
so to mix it with stupidity that the weight of the 
latter carries off also the victory for the former. 


Church Disestablishment. — There is not 
enough religion in the world even to destroy 




The Sinlessness of Man. — If it is under- 
stood how " sin came into the world," namely 
through errors of reason by which men held each 
other, even the single individual held himself, to 
be much blacker and much worse than was 
actually the case, the whole sensation will be 
much lightened, and man and the world will 
appear in a blaze of innocence which it will do 
one good to contemplate. In the midst of nature 
man is always the child per se. This child some- 
times has a heavy and terrifying dream, but when 
it opens its eyes it always finds itself back again 
in Paradise. 


The Irreligiousness of Artists. — Homer 
is so much at home amongst his gods, and is so 
familiar with them as a poet, that he must have 
been deeply irreligious ; that which the popular 
faith gave him — a meagre, rude, partly terrible 
superstition — he treated as freely as the sculptor 
does his clay, with the same unconcern, therefore, 
which ^schylus and Aristophanes possessed, and 
by which in later times the great artists of the 
Renaissance distinguished themselves, as also did 
Shakespeare and Goethe. 


The Art and Power of False Inter- 
pretations. — All the visions, terrors, torpors, < 


and ecstasies of saints are well-known forms of 
disease, which are only, by reason of deep-rooted 
religious and psychological errors, differently 
explained by him, namely not as diseases. Thus, 
perhaps, the Daimonion of Socrates was only an 
affection of the ear, which he, in accordance with 
his ruling moral mode of thought, expounded 
differently from what would be the case now. 
It is the same thing with the madness and 
ravings of the prophets and soothsayers ; it is 
always the degree of knowledge, fantasy, effort, 
morality in the head and heart of the interpreters 
which has made so much of it. For the greatest 
achievements of the people who are called geniuses 
and saints it is necessary that they should secure 
interpreters by force, who misunderstand them for 
the good of mankind. 


The Veneration of Insanity. — Because 
it was remarked that excitement frequently made 
the mind clearer and produced happy inspirations 
it was believed that the happiest inspirations and 
WM suggestions were called forth by the greatest 
excitement ; and so the insane were revered as 
wise and oracular. This is based on a false 



The Promises of Science. — The aim of 
modern science is : as little pain as possible, as 
long a life as possible, — a kind of eternal blessed- 

■t VOL. I I 



ness, therefore ; but certainly a very modest one 
as compared with the promises of religions. 


Forbidden Generosity. — There is not 
sufficient love and goodness in the world to permit 
us to give some of it away to imaginary beings. 


The Continuance of the Religious 
Cult in the Feelings. — The Roman Catholic 
Church, and before that all antique cults, domin- 
ated the entire range of means by which man 
was put into unaccustomed moods and rendered 
incapable of the cold calculation of judgment or 
the clear thinking of reason. A church quivering 
with deep tones ; the dull, regular, arresting 
appeals of a priestly throng, unconsciously com- 
municates its tension to the congregation and 
makes it listen almost fearfully, as if a miracle 
were in preparation ; the influence of the archi- 
tecture, which, as the dwelling of a Godhead, 
extends into the uncertain and makes its appari- 
tion to be feared in all its sombre spaces, — who 
would wish to bring such things back to mankind if 
the necessary suppositions are no longer believed ? 
But the results of all this are not lost, never- 
theless ; the inner world of noble, emotional,' 
deeply contrite dispositions, full of presentiments, 
blessed with hope, is inborn in mankind mainly 
through this cult ; what exists of it now in the 




soul was then cultivated on a large scale as it 
germinated, grew up and blossomed. 


The Painful Consequences of Religion. 
— However much we may think we have weaned 
ourselves from religion, it has nevertheless not 
been done so thoroughly as to deprive us of 
pleasure in encountering religious sensations and 
moods in music, for instance ; and if a philosophy 
shows us the justification of metaphysical hopes 
and the deep peace of soul to be thence acquired, 
and speaks, for instance, of the " whole, certain 
gospel in the gaze of Raphael's Madonnas," 
we receive such statements and expositions 
particularly warmly ; here the philosopher finds 
it easier to prove; that which he desires to 
give corresponds to a heart that desires to receive. 
Hence it may be observed how the less thoughtful 
free spirits really only take offence at the dogmas, 
but are well acquainted with the charm of religious 
sensations ; they are sorry to lose hold of the 
latter for the sake of the former. Scientific 
philosophy must be very careful not to smuggle 
in errors on the ground of that need, — a need 
which has grown up and is consequently 
temporary, — even logicians speak of " presenti- 
ments " of truth in ethics and in art (for instance, 
of the suspicion that " the nature of things is 
one "), which should be forbidden to them 
Between the carefully established truths and 
such " presaged " things there remains the un- 



bridgable chasm that those are due to intellect 
and these to requirement Hunger does not 
prove that food exists to satisfy it, but that it 
desires food. To " presage " does not mean 
the acknowledgment of the existence of a thing 
in any one degree, but its possibility, in so far 
as it is desired or feared ; " presage " does not 
advance one step into the land of certainty. We 
believe involuntarily that the portions of a 
philosophy which are tinged with religion are 
better proved than others ; but actually it is 
the contrary, but we have the inward desire that 
it may be so, that that which makes blessed, 
therefore, may be also the true. This desire 
misleads us to accept bad reasons for good ones. 


Of the Christian Need of Redemption. — 
With careful reflection it must be possible to 
obtain an explanation free from mythology of 
that process in the soul of a Christian which 
is called the need of redemption, consequently 
a purely psychological explanation. Up to the 
present, the psychological explanations of religious 
conditions and processes have certainly been 
held in some disrepute, inasmuch as a theology 
which called itself free carried on its unprofitable 
practice in this domain ; for here from the 
beginning (as the mind of its founder, Schleier- 
macher, gives us reason to suppose) the preserva- 
tion of the Christian religion and the continuance 
of Christian theology was kept in view ; a 



theology which was to find a new anchorage 
in the psychological analyses of religious " facts," 
and above all a new occupation. Unconcerned 
about such predecessors we hazard the following 
interpretation of the phenomenon in question. 
Man is conscious of certain actions which stand 
far down in the customary rank of actions ; he 
even discovers in himself a tendency towards 
similar actions, a tendency which appears to him 
almost as unchangeable as his whole nature. 
How willingly would he try himself in that 
other species of actions which in the general 
valuation are recognised as the loftiest and 
highest, how gladly would he feel himself to 
be full of the good consciousness which should 
follow an unselfish mode of thought ! But 
unfortunately he stops short at this wish, and 
the discontent at not being able to satisfy it 
is added to all the other discontents which his 
lot in life or the consequences of those above- 
mentioned evil actions have aroused in him ; 
so that a deep ill-humour is the result, with the 
search for a physician who could remove this 
and all its causes. This condition would not 
be felt so bitterly if man would only compare 
himself frankly with other men, — then he would 
have no reason for being dissatisfied with himself 
to a particular extent, he would only bear his 
share of the common burden of human dis- 
satisfaction and imperfection. But he compares 
himself with a being who is said to be capable 
only of those actions which are called unegoistic, 
and to live in the perpetual consciousness of an 


unselfish mode of thought, i.e. with God; it is 
because he gazes into this clear mirror that his 
image appears to him so dark, so unusually- 
warped. Then he is alarmed by the thought 
of that same creature, in so far as it floats 
before his imagination as a retributive justice ; 
in all possible small and great events he thinks 
he recognises its anger and menaces, that he 
even feels its scourge-strokes as judge and 
executioner. Who will help him in this danger, 
which, by the prospect of an immeasurable 
duration of punishment, exceeds in horror all 
the other terrors of the idea ? 


Before we examine the further consequences of 
this mental state, let us acknowledge that it is 
not through his " guilt " and " sin " that man 
has got into this condition, but through a series 
of errors of reason ; that it was the fault of the 
mirror if his image appeared so dark and hateful 
to him, and that that mirror was his work, the 
very imperfect work of human imagination and 
power of judgment. In the first place, a nature 
that is only capable of purely unegoistic actions 
is more fabulous than the phoenix ; it cannot 
even be clearly imagined, just because, when 
closely examined, the whole idea " unegoistic 
action " vanishes into air. No man ever did 
a thing which was done only for others and 
without any personal motive; how should he 
be able to do anything which had no relation 


to himself, and therefore without inward obligation 
(which must always have its foundation in a 
personal need) ? How could the ego act without 
ego} A God who, on the contrary, is all love, 
as such a one is often represented, would not 
be capable of a single unegoistic action, whereby 
one is reminded of a saying of Lichtenberg's 
which is certainly taken from a lower sphere : 
"We cannot possibly feel for others, as the 
saying is ; we feel only for ourselves. This 
sounds hard, but it is not so really if it be 
rightly understood. We do not love father or 
mother or wife or child, but the pleasant 
sensations they cause us ; " or, as Rochefoucauld 
says : " Si on croit aimer sa maitresse pour F amour 
(telle, on est Hen tromp^." To know the reason 
why actions of love are valued more than others, 
not on account of their nature, namely, but of 
their usefulness, we should compare the examina- 
tions already mentioned. On the Origin of 
Moral Sentiments. But should a man desire 
to be entirely like that God of Love, to do and 
wish everything for others and nothing for 
himself, the latter is impossible for the reason 
that he must do very much for himself to be 
able to do something for the love of others. 
Then it is taken for granted that the other is 
sufficiently egoistic to accept that sacrifice again 
and again, that living for him, — so that the people 
of love and sacrifice have an interest in the 
continuance of those who are loveless and 
incapable of sacrifice, and, in order to exist, 
the highest morality would be obliged positively 



to compel the existence of un-morality (whereby 
it would certainly annihilate itself). Further : 
the conception of a God disturbs and humbles 
so long as it is believed in ; but as to how it 
arose there can no longer be any doubt in the 
present state of the science of comparative 
ethnology ; and with a comprehension of this 
origin all belief falls to the ground. The 
Christian who compares his nature with God's 
is like Don Quixote, who under-valued his own 
bravery because his head was full of the 
marvellous deeds of the heroes of the chivalric 
romances, — -the standard of measurement in both 
cases belongs to the domain of fable. But if the 
idea of God is removed, so is also the feeling 
of " sin " as a trespass against divine laws, as 
a stain in a creature vowed to God. Then, 
perhaps, there still remains that dejection which 
is intergrown and connected with the fear of 
the punishment of worldly justice or of the 
scorn of men ; the dejection of the pricks of 
conscience, the sharpest thorn in the conscious- 
ness of sin, is always removed if we recognise 
that though by our own deed we have sinned 
against human descent, human laws and 
ordinances, still that we have not imperilled the 
" eternal salvation of the Soul " and its relation 
to the Godhead. And if man succeeds in 
gaining philosophic conviction of the absolute 
necessity of all actions and their entire irresponsi- 
bility, and absorbing this into his flesh and blood, 
even those remains of the pricks of conscience 



Now if the Christian, as we have said, has fallen 
into the way of self-contempt in consequence of 
certain errors through a false, unscientific inter- 
pretation of his actions and sensations, he must 
notice with great surprise how that state of con- 
tempt, the pricks of conscience and displeasure 
generally, does not endure, how sometimes there 
come hours when all this is wafted away from 
his soul and he feels himself once more free and 
courageous. In truth, the pleasure in himself, 
the comfort of his own strength, together with 
the necessary weakening through time of every 
deep emotion, has usually been victorious ; man 
loves himself once again, he feels it, — but precisely 
this new love, this self-esteem, seems to him 
incredible, he can only see in it the wholly un- 
deserved descent of a stream of mercy from on high. 
If he formerly believed that in every event he 
could recognise warnings, menaces, punishments, 
and every kind of manifestation of divine anger, 
he now finds divine goodness in all his experiences, 
— this event appears to him to be full of love, that 
one a helpful hint, a third, and, indeed, his whole 
happy mood, a proof that God is merciful. As 
formerly, in his state of pain, he interpreted his 
actions falsely, so now he misinterprets his ex- 
periences ; his mood of comfort he believes to be 
the working of a power operating outside of him- 
self, the love with which he really loves himself 
seems to him to be divine love; that which he 



calls mercy, and the prologue to redemption, is 
actually self-forgiveness, self-redemption. 


Therefore: A certain false psychology, a 
certain kind of imaginative interpretation of 
motives and experiences, is the necessary pre- 
liminary for one to become a Christian and to 
feel the need of redemption. When this error 
of reason and imagination is recognised, one ceases, 
to be a Christian. 


Of Christian Asceticism and Holiness. 
— As greatly as isolated thinkers have endeavoured 
to depict as a miracle the rare manifestations of 
morality, which are generally called asceticism and 
holiness, miracles which it would be almost an out- 
rage and sacrilege to explain by the light of common 
sense, as strong also is the inclination towards this 
outrage. A mighty impulse of nature has at all 
times led to a protest against those manifestations ; 
science, in so far as it is an imitation of nature, at 
least allows itself to rise against the supposed in- 
explicableness and unapproachableness of these 
objections. So far it has certainly not succeeded : 
those appearances are still unexplained, to the 
great joy of the above-mentioned worshippers of 
the morally marvellous. For, speaking generally, 
the unexplained fnust be absolutely inexplicable, 
the inexplicable absolutely unnatural, supernatural, 
wonderful, — thus runs the demand in the souls of 



religious and metaphysical people (also of 
artists, if they should happen to be thinkers at the 
same time ) ; whilst the scientist sees in this de- 
mand the " evil principle " in itself. The general, 
first probability upon which one lights in the 
contemplation of holiness and asceticism is this, 
that their nature is a complicated one, for almost 
everywhere, within the physical world as well as 
in the moral, the apparently marvellous has been 
successfully traced back to the complicated, the 
many-conditioned. Let us venture, therefore, to 
isolate separate impulses from the soul of saints 
and ascetics, and finally to imagine them as inter- 


There is a defiance of self, to the sublimest 
manifestation of which belong many forms of 
asceticism. Certain individuals have such great 
need of exercising their power and love of ruling 
that, in default of other objects, or because they 
have never succeeded otherwise, they finally ex- 
cogitate the idea of tyrannising over certain parts of 
their own nature, portions or degrees of themselves. 
Thus many a thinker confesses to views which 
evidently do not serve either to increase or im- 
prove his reputation ; many a one deliberately 
calls down the scorn of others when by keeping 
silence he could easily have remained respected ; 
others contradict former opinions and do not 
hesitate to be called inconsistent — on the contrary, 
they strive after this, and behave like reckless 



riders who like a horse best when it has grown 
wild, unmanageable, and covered with sweat. 
Thus man climbs dangerous paths up the highest 
mountains in order that he may laugh to scorn 
his own fear and his trembling knees ; thus the 
philosopher owns to views on asceticism, humility, 
holiness, in the brightness of which his own 
picture shows to the worst possible disadvantage. 
This crushing of one's self, this scorn of one's own 
nature, this spernere se sperni, of which religion 
has made so much, is really a very high degree of 
vanity. The whole moral of the Sermon on the 
Mount belongs here ; man takes a genuine delight 
in doing violence to himself by these exaggerated 
claims, and afterwards idolising these tyrannical 
demands of his soul. In every ascetic morality 
man worships one part of himself as a God, and 
is obliged, therefore, to diabolise the other parts. 


Man is not equally moral at all hours, this is 
well known. If his morality is judged to be the 
capability for great self-sacrificing resolutions and 
self-denial (which, when continuous and grown 
habitual, are called holiness), he is most moral in 
the passions ; the higher emotion provides him 
with entirely new motives, of which he, sober and 
cold as usual, perhaps does not even believe him- 
self capable. How does this happen ? Probably 
because of the proximity of everything great 
and highly exciting; if man is once wrought up 




to a state of extraordinary suspense, he is as 
capable of carrying out a terrible revenge as of 
a terrible crushing of his need for revenge. Under 
the influence of powerful emotion, he desires in 
any case the great, the powerful, the immense ; and 
if he happens to notice that the sacrifice of himself 
satisfies him as well as, or better than, the sacrifice 
of others, he chooses that. Actually, therefore, 
he only cares about discharging his emotion ; in 
order to ease his tension he seizes the enemy's 
spears and buries them in his breast. That there 
was something great in self-denial and not in 
revenge had to be taught to mankind by long 
habit ; a Godhead that sacrificed itself was the 
strongest, most effective symbol of this kind of 
greatness. As the conquest of the most diflScult 
enemy, the sudden mastering of an affection — 
thus this denial appears \ and so far it passes for 
the summit of morality. In reality it is a question 
of the confusion of one idea with another, while 
the temperament maintains an equal height, an 
equal level. Temperate men who are resting from 
their passions no longer understand the morality 
of those moments ; but the general admiration of 
those who had the same experiences upholds them ; 
pride is their consolation when affection and the 
understanding of their deed vanish. Therefore, 
at bottom even those actions of self-denial are not 
moral, inasmuch as they are not done strictly 
with regard to others ; rather the other only pro- 
vides the highly-strung temperament with an 
opportunity of relieving itself through that 



In many respects the ascetic seeks to make life 
easy for himself, usually by complete subordination 
to a strange will or a comprehensive law and 
ritual ; something like the way a Brahmin leaves 
nothing whatever to his own decision but refers 
every moment to holy precepts. This submission 
is a powerful means of attaining self-mastery : 
man is occupied and is therefore not bored, and 
yet has no incitement to self-will or passion ; after a 
completed deed there is no feeling of responsibility 
and with it no tortures of remorse. We have 
renounced our own will once and for ever, and 
this is easier than only renouncing it occasionally ; 
as it is also easier to give up a desire entirely than 
to keep it within bounds. When we remember 
the present relation of man to the State, we find 
that, even here, unconditional obedience is more 
convenient than conditional. The saint, therefore, 
makes his life easier by absolute renunciation of 
his personality, and we are mistaken if in that 
phenomenon we admire the loftiest heroism of 
morality. In any case it is more difficult to carry 
one's personality through without vacillation and 
unclearness than to liberate one's self from it in 
the above-mentioned manner ; moreover, it requires 
far more spirit and consideration. 


After having found in many of the less easily 
explicable actions manifestations of that pleasure 


in emotion per se, I should like to recognise also in 
self-contempt, which is one of the signs of holiness, 
and likewise in the deeds of self-torture (through 
hunger and scourging, mutilation of limbs, feigning 
of madness) a means by which those natures fight 
against the general weariness of their life-will 
(their nerves) ; they employ the most painful 
irritants and cruelties in order to emerge for a 
time, at all events, from that dulness and boredom 
into which they so frequently sink through their 
great mental indolence and that submission to a 
strange will already described. 


The commonest means which the ascetic and 
saint employs to render life still endurable and 
amusing consists in occasional warfare with 
alternate victory and defeat. For this he requires 
an opponent, and finds it in the so-called " inward 
enemy." He principally makes use of his inclina- 
tion to vanity, love of honour and rule, and of his 
sensual desires, that he may be permitted to regard 
his life as a perpetual battle and himself as a battle- 
field upon which good and evil spirits strive with 
alternating success. It is well known that sensual 
imagination is moderated, indeed almost dispelled, 
by regular sexual intercourse, whereas, on the 
contrary, it is rendered unfettered and wild by 
abstinence or irregularity. The imagination of 
many Christian saints was filthy to an extra- 
ordinary degree ; by virtue of those theories that 
these desires were actual demons raging within 


them they did not feel themselves to be too 
responsible ; to this feeling we owe the very 
instructive frankness of their self-confessions. It 
was to their interest that this strife should always 
be maintained in one degree or another, because, 
as we have already said, their empty life was thereby 
entertained. But in order that the strife might 
seem sufficiently important and arouse the enduring 
sympathy and admiration of non-saints, it was 
necessary that sensuality should be ever more 
reviled and branded, the danger of eternal 
damnation was so tightly bound up with these 
things that it is highly probable that for whole 
centuries Christians generated children with a 
bad conscience, wherewith humanity has certainly 
suffered a great injury. And yet here truth is 
all topsy-turvy, which is particularly unsuitable 
for truth. Certainly Christianity had said that 
every man is conceived and born in sin, and 
in the insupportable superlative-Christianity of 
Calderon this thought again appears, tied up and 
twisted, as the most distorted paradox there is, in 
the well-known lines — 

" The greatest sin of man 
Is that he was ever born." 

In all pessimistic religions the act of generation 
was looked upon as evil in itself. This is by no 
means the verdict of all mankind, not even of 
all pessimists. For instance, Empedocles saw in 
all erotic things nothing shameful, diabolical, or, 
sinful ; but rather, in the great plain of disaster 
he saw only one hopeful and redeeming figure, that 


of Aphrodite ; she appeared to him as a guarantee 
that the strife should not endure eternally, but 
that the sceptre should one day be given over to 
a gentler dcsinon. The actual Christian pessimists 
had, as has been said, an interest in the dominance 
of a diverse opinion ; for the solitude and spiritual 
wilderness of their lives they required an ever 
living enemy, and a generally recognised enemy, 
through whose fighting and overcoming they could 
constantly represent themselves to the non-saints 
as incomprehensible, half - supernatural beings. 
But when at last this enemy took to flight for ever 
in consequence of their mode of life and their 
impaired health, they immediately understood how 
to populate their interior with new daemons. 
The rising and falling of the scales of pride and 
humility sustained their brooding minds as well 
as the alternations of desire and peace of soul. 
At that time psychology served not only to cast 
suspicion upon everything human, but to oppress, 
to scourge, to crucify ; people wished to find 
themselves as bad and wicked as possible, they 
sought anxiety for the salvation of their souls, 
despair of their own strength. Everything natural 
with which man has connected the idea of evil and 
sin (as, for instance, he is still accustomed to do 
with regard to the erotic) troubles and clouds the 
imagination, causes a frightened glance, makes 
man quarrel with himself and uncertain and dis- 
trustful of himself. Even his dreams have the 
flavour of a restless conscience. And yet in the 
reality of things this suffering from what is natural 
is entirely without foundation, it is only the 

VOL. I. K 



consequence of opinions about things. It is easily 
seen how men grow worse by considering the 
inevitably-natural as bad, and afterwards always 
feeling themselves made thus. It is the trump- 
card of religion and metaphysics, which wish to 
have man evil and sinful by nature, to cast sus- 
picion on nature and thus really to make him bad, 
for he learns to feel himself evil since he cannot 
divest himself of the clothing of nature. After 
living for long a natural life, he gradually comes 
to feel himself weighed down by such a burden 
of sin that supernatural powers are necessary to 
lift this burden, and therewith arises the so-called 
need of redemption, which corresponds to no real 
but only to an imaginary sinfulness. If we survey 
the separate moral demands of the earliest times 
of Christianity it will everywhere be found that 
requirements are exaggerated in order that man 
cannot satisfy them ; the intention is not that he 
should become more moral, but that he should 
feel himself as sinful as possible. If man had not 
found this feeling agreeable — why would he have 
thought out such an idea and stuck to it so long? 
As in the antique world an immeasurable power 
of intellect and inventiveness was expended in 
multiplying the pleasure of life by festive cults, so 
also in the age of Christianity an immeasurable 
amount of intellect has been sacrificed to another 
endeavour, — man must by all means be made 
to feel himself sinful and thereby be excited, 
enlivened, ensouled. To excite, enliven, en-soul 
at all costs — is not that the watchword of a 
relaxed, over-ripe, over-cultured age ? The range 


of all natural sensations had been gone over a 
hundred times, the soul had grown weary, where- 
upon the saint and the ascetic invented a new 
species of stimulants for life. They presented 
themselves before the public eye, not exactly as an 
example for the many, but as a terrible and yet 
ravishing spectacle, which took place on that 
border-land between world and over-world, wherein 
at that time all people believed they saw now 
rays of heavenly light and now unholy tongues of 
flame glowing in the depths. The saint's eye, fixed 
upon the terrible meaning of this short earthly life, 
upon the nearness of the last decision concerning 
endless new spans of existence, this burning eye 
in a half-wasted body made men of the old world 
tremble to their very depths; to gaze, to turn 
shudderingly away, to feel anew the attraction of 
the spectacle and to give way to it, to drink deep 
of it till the soul quivered with fire and ague, — 
that was the last pleasure that antiquity invented 
after it had grown blunted even at the sight of 
beast-baitings and human combats. 




Now to sum up. That condition of soul in 
which the saint or embryo saint rejoiced, was 
composed of elements which we all know well, 
only that under the influence of other than 
religious conceptions they exhibit themselves in 
other colours and are then accustomed to en- 
counter man's blame as fully as, with that 
decoration of religion and the ultimate meaning 


of existence, they may reckon on receiving ad- 
miration and even worship, — might reckon, at 
least, in former ages. Sometimes the saint 
practises that defiance of himself which is a 
near relative of domination at any cost and 
gives a feeling of power even to the most 
lonely ; sometimes his swollen sensibility leaps 
from the desire to let his passions have full 
play into the desire to overthrow them like 
wild horses under the mighty pressure of a 
proud spirit ; sometimes he desires a complete 
cessation of all disturbing, tormenting, irritating 
sensations, a waking sleep, a lasting rest in the 
lap of a dull, animal, and plant-like indolence ; 
sometimes he seeks strife and arouses it within 
himself, because boredom has shown him its 
yawning countenance. He scourges his self- 
adoration with self-contempt and cruelty, he 
rejoices in the wild tumult of his desires and 
the sharp pain of sin, even in the idea of being 
lost ; he understands how to lay a trap for his 
emotions, for instance even for his keen love of 
ruling, so that he sinks into the most utter 
abasement and his tormented soul is thrown out 
of joint by this contrast ; and finally, if he longs 
for visions, conversations with the dead or with 
divine beings, it is at bottom a rare kind of de- 
light that he covets, pernaps that delight in which 
all others are united. Novalis, an authority on 
questions of holiness through experience and 
instinct, tells the whole secret with naive joy: 
" It is strange enough that the association of 
lust, religion, and cruelty did not long ago 


draw men's attention to their close relationship 
and common tendency." 


That which gives the saint his historical value 
is not the thing he is, but the thing he represents 
in the eyes of the unsaintly. It was through the 
fact that errors were made about him, that the 
state of his soul vfdiS falsely interpreted, that men 
separated themselves from him as much as 
possible, as from something incomparable and 
strangely superhuman, that he acquired the 
extraordinary power which he exercised over 
the imagination of whole nations and whole ages. 
He did not know himself; he himself interpreted 
the writing of his moods, inclinations, and actions 
according to an art of interpretation which was 
as exaggerated and artificial as the spiritual inter- 
pretation of the Bible. The distorted and diseased 
in his nature, with its combination of intellectual 
poverty, evil knowledge, ruined health, and over- 
excited nerves, remained hidden from his own 
sight as well as from that of his spectators. He 
was not a particularly good man, and still less 
was he a particularly wise one ; but he represented 
something that exceeded the human standard in 
goodness and wisdom. The belief in him sup- 
ported the belief in the divine and miraculous, 
in a religious meaning of all existence, in an 
impending day of judgment. In the evening 
glory of the world's sunset, which glowed over 



the Christian nations, the shadowy form of the 
saint grew to vast dimensions, it grew to such 
a height that even in our own age, which no 
longer believes in God, there are still thinkers 
who believe in the saint. 


It need not be said that to this description of 
the saint which has been made from an average 
of the whole species, there may be opposed many 
a description which could give a more agreeable 
impression. Certain exceptions stand out from 
among this species, it may be through great 
mildness and philanthropy, it may be through 
the magic of unusual energy ; others are attrac- 
tive in the highest degree, because certain wild 
ravings have poured streams of light on their whole 
being, as is the case, for instance, with the famous 
founder of Christianity, who thought he was the 
Son of God and therefore felt himself sinless — so 
that through this idea — which we must not judge 
too hardly because the whole antique world 
swarms with sons of God — he reached that same 
goal, that feeling of complete sinlessness, com- 
plete irresponsibility, which every one can now 
acquire by means of science. Neither have I 
mentioned the Indian saints, who stand midway 
between the Christian saint and the Greek 
philosopher, and in so far represent no pure 
type. Knowledge, science — such as existed then 
— the uplifting above other men through logical 


f discipline and training of thought, were as much 
fostered by the Buddhists as distinguishing signs 
of holiness as the same qualities in the Christian 
world are repressed and branded as signs of 



The Perfect should not have Grown. — 
With regard to everything that is perfect we 
are accustomed to omit the question as to how 
perfection has been acquired, and we only rejoice 
in the present as if it had sprung out of the 
ground by magic. Probably with regard to this 
matter we are still under the effects of an ancient 
mythological feeling. It still almost seems to 
us (in such a Greek temple, for instance, as that 
of Paestum) as if one morning a god in sport 
had built his dwelling of such enormous masses, 
at other times it seems as if his spirit had 
suddenly entered into a stone and now desired 
to speak through it. The artist knows that his 
work is only fully effective if it arouses the 
belief in an improvisation, in a marvellous 
instantaneousness of origin ; and thus he assists 
this illusion and introduces into art those elements 
of inspired unrest, of blindly groping disorder, of 
listening dreaming at the beginning of creation, 
as a means of deception, in order so to influence 
the soul of the spectator or hearer that it may 


believe in the sudden appearance of the perfect. 
It is the business of the science of art to con- 
tradict this illusion most decidedly, and to show up 
the mistakes and pampering of the intellect, by 
means of which it falls into the artist's trap. 


The Artist's Sense of Truth. — With 
regard to recognition of truths, the artist has 
a weaker morality than the thinker; he will 
on no account let himself be deprived of brilliant 
and profound interpretations of life, and defends 
himself against temperate and simple methods 
and results. He is apparently fighting for the 
higher worthiness and meaning of mankind ; 
in reality he will not renounce the most effective 
suppositions for his art, the fantastical, mythical, 
uncertain, extreme, the sense of the symbolical, 
the over-valuation of personality, the belief that 
genius is something miraculous, — he considers, 
therefore, the continuance of his art of creation 
as more important than the scientific devotion 
to truth in every shape, however simple this 
may appear. 


Art as Raiser of the Dead. — Art also 
fulfils the task of preservation and even of 
brightening up extinguished and faded memories ; 
when it accomplishes this task it weaves a rope 
round the ages and causes their spirits to return. 
It is, certainly, only a phantom-life that results 


therefrom, as out of graves, or like the return 
in dreams of our beloved dead, but for some 
moments, at least, the old sensation lives again 
and the heart beats to an almost forgotten time. 
Hence, for the sake of the general usefulness 
of art, the artist himself must be excused if he 
does not stand in the front rank of the enlighten- 
ment and progressive civilisation of humanity; 
all his life long he has remained a child or a 
youth, and has stood still at the point where he 
was overcome by his artistic impulse ; the feelings 
of the first years of life, however, are ac- 
knowledged to be nearer to those of earlier 
times than to those of the present century. 
Unconsciously it becomes his mission to make 
mankind more childlike; this is his glory and 
his limitation. 


Poets as the Lighteners of Life, — 
Poets, inasmuch as they desire to lighten the 
life of man, either divert his gaze from the 
wearisome present, or assist the present to 
acquire new colours by means of a life which 
they cause to shine out of the past. To be 
able to do this, they must in many respects 
themselves be beings who are turned towards 
the past, so that they can be used as bridges 
to far distant times and ideas, to dying or dead 
religions and cultures. Actually they are always 
and of necessity epigoni. There are, however, 
certain drawbacks to their means of lightening 
Hie, — they appease and heal only temporarily, 


only for the moment ; they even prevent men 
from labouring towards a genuine improvement 
in their conditions, inasmuch as they remove 
and apply palliatives to precisely that passion 
of discontent that induces to action. 


The Slow Arrow of Beauty. — The noblest 
kind of beauty is that which does not transport 
us suddenly, which does not make stormy and 
intoxicating impressions (such a kind easily 
arouses disgust), but that which slowly filters 
into our minds, which we take away with us 
almost unnoticed, and which we encounter again 
in our dreams ; but which, however, after having 
long lain modestly on our hearts, takes entire 
possession of us, fills our eyes with tears and 
our hearts with longing. What is it that we 
long for at the sight of beauty? We long to 
be beautiful, we fancy it must bring much 
happiness with it. But that is a mistake. 


The Animation of Art. — Art raises its head 
where creeds relax. It takes over many feelings 
and moods engendered by religion, lays them to 
its heart, and itself becomes deeper, more full 
of soul, so that it is capable of transmitting 
exultation and enthusiasm, which it previously 
was not able to do. The abundance of religious 
feelings which have grown into a stream are 



always breaking forth again and desire to 
conquer new kingdoms, but the growing enlighten- 
ment has shaken the dogmas of religion and 
inspired a deep mistrust, — thus the feeling, thrust 
by enlightenment out of the religious sphere, 
throws itself upon art, in a few cases into political 
life, even straight into science. Everywhere where 
human endeavour wears a loftier, gloomier aspect, 
it may be assumed that the fear of spirits, incense, 
and church-shadows have remained attached to it. 


How Rhythm Beautifies. — Rhythm casts 
a veil over reality ; it causes various artificialities 
of speech and obscurities of thought ; by the 
shadow it throws upon thought it sometimes 
conceals it, and sometimes brings it into 
prominence. As shadow is necessary to beauty, 
so the " dull " is necessary to lucidity. Art 
makes the aspect of life endurable by throwing 
over it the veil of obscure thought. 


The Art of the Ugly Soul. — Art is 
confined within too narrow limits if it be required 
that only the orderly, respectable, well-behaved 
soul should be allowed to express itself therein. 
As in the plastic arts, so also in music and 
poetry : there is an art of the ugly soul side 
by side with the art of the beautiful soul ; and 
■I' the mightiest effects of art, the crushing of souls, 




moving of stones and humanising of beasts, have 
perhaps been best achieved precisely by that art. 


Art makes Heavy the Heart of the 
Thinker. — How strong metaphysical need is 
and how difficult nature renders our departure 
from it may be seen from the fact that even in 
the free spirit, when he has cast off everything 
metaphysical, the loftiest effects of art can easily 
produce a resounding of the long silent, even 
broken, metaphysical string, — it may be, for 
instance, that at a passage in Beethoven's Ninth 
Symphony he feels himself floating above the 
earth in a starry dome with the dream of immor- 
tality in his heart ; all the stars seem to shine 
round him, and the earth to sink farther and 
farther away. — If he becomes conscious of this 
state, he feels a deep pain at his heart, and sighs 
for the man who will lead back to him his lost 
darling, be it called religion or metaphysics. In 
such moments his intellectual character is put to 
the test. 


Playing with Life. — The lightness and 
frivolity of the Homeric imagination was necessary 
, to calm and occasionally to raise the immoderately 
/ passionate temperament and acute intellect of the 
I Greeks. If their intellect speaks, how harsh and 
I cruel does life then appear ! They do not deceive 
I themselves, but they intentionally weave lies round 


life. Simonides advised his countrymen to look 
upon life as a game ; earnestness was too well- 
known to them as pain (the gods so gladly hear 
the misery of mankind made the theme of song), 
and they knew that through art alone misery 
might be turned into pleasure. As a punishment 
for this insight, however, they were so plagued 
with the love of romancing that it was difficult 
for them in everyday life to keep themselves free 
from falsehood and deceit ; for all poetic nations 
have such a love of falsehood, and yet are innocent 
withal. Probably this occasionally drove the neigh- 
bouring nations to desperation. 


The Belief in Inspiration. — It is to the 
interest of the artist that there should be a belief 
in sudden suggestions, so-called inspirations ; as 
if the idea of a work of art, of poetry, the funda- 
mental thought of a philosophy shone down from 
heaven like a ray of grace. In reality the imagina- 
tion of the good artist or thinker constantly pro- 
duces good, mediocre, and bad, but his judgment, 
most clear and practised, rejects and chooses 
and joins together, just as we now learn from 
Beethoven's notebooks that he gradually com- 
posed the most beautiful melodies, and in a 
manner selected them, from many different 
attempts. He who makes less severe distinctions, 
and willingly abandons himself to imitative 
memories, may under certain circumstances be- 
come a great improvisatore ; but artistic impro- 



visation ranks low in comparison with serious and 
laboriously chosen artistic thoughts. All great 
men were great workers, unwearied not only in 
invention but also in rejection, reviewing, trans- 
forming, and arranging. 


Inspiration Again. — If the productive power 
has been suspended for a length of time, and has 
been hindered in its outflow by some obstacle, 
there comes at last such a sudden out-pouring, as 
if an immediate inspiration were taking place 
without previous inward working, consequently a 
miracle. This constitutes the familiar deception, 
in the continuance of which, as we have said, the 
interest of all artists is rather too much concerned. 
The capital has only accumulated^ it has not 
suddenly fallen down from heaven. Moreover, 
such apparent inspirations are seen elsewhere, for 
instance in the realm of goodness, of virtue and 
of vice. 


The Suffering of Genius and its Value. 
— The artistic genius desires to give pleasure, but 
if his mind is on a very high plane he does not easily 
find any one to share his pleasure ; he offers en- 
tertainment but nobody accepts it. This gives 
him, in certain circumstances, a comically touching 
pathos ; for he has really no right to force pleasure 
on men. He pipes, but none will dance : can that 
be tragic ? Perhaps. — As compensation for this 
deprivation, however, he finds more pleasure in 


creating than the rest of mankind experiences in 
all other species of activity. His sufferings are con- 
sidered as exaggerated, because the sound of his 
complaints is louder and his tongue more eloquent ; 
and yet sometimes his sufferings are really very 
great ; but only because his ambition and his envy 
are so great. The learned genius, like Kepler 
and Spinoza, is usually not so covetous and does 
not make such an exhibition of his really greater 
sufferings and deprivations. He can reckon with 
greater certainty on future fame and can afford to 
do without the present, whilst an artist who does 
this always plays a desperate game that makes 
his heart ache. In very rare cases, when in one 
and the same individual are combined the genius 
of power and of knowledge and the moral genius, 
there is added to the above-mentioned pains that 
species of pain which must be regarded as the 
most curious exception in the world ; those extra- 
and super-personal sensations which are experienced 
on behalf of a nation, of humanity, of all civili- 
sation, all suffering existence, which acquire their 
value through the connection with particularly 
difficult and remote perceptions (pity in itself is 
worth but little). But what standard, what proof 
is there for its genuineness ? Is it not almost 
imperative to be mistrustful of all who talk of 
feeling sensations of this kind ? 


The Destiny of Greatness. — Every great 
phenomenon is followed by degeneration, especially 

VOL. I, L 

1 62 


in the world of art. The example of the great 
tempts vainer natures to superficial imitation or 
exaggeration ; all great gifts have the fatality of 
crushing many weaker forces and germs, and 
of laying waste all nature around them. The 
happiest arrangement in the development of an 
art is for several geniuses mutually to hold one 
another within bounds ; in this strife it generally 
happens that light and air are also granted to the 
weaker and more delicate natures. 


Art Dangerous for the Artist. — When 
art takes strong hold of an individual it draws 
him back to the contemplation of those times 
when art flourished best, and it has then a retro- 
grade effect. The artist grows more and more 
to reverence sudden inspirations ; he believes in 
gods and daemons, he spiritualises all nature, 
hates science, is changeable in his moods like the 
ancients, and longs for an overthrow of all exist- 
ing conditions which are not favourable to art, 
and does this with the impetuosity and unreason- 
ableness of a child. Now, in himself, the artist 
is already a backward nature, because he halts at 
a game that belongs properly to youth and child- 
hood ; to this is added the fact that he is educated 
back into former times. Thus there gradually 
arises a fierce antagonism between him and his 
contemporaries, and a sad ending; according to 
the accounts of the ancients, Homer and ^Eschylus 
spent their last years, and died, in melancholy. 




Created Individuals. — When it is said that 
the dramatist (and the artist above all) creates real 
characters, it is a fine deception and exaggeration, 
in the existence and propagation of which art cele- 
brates one of its unconscious but at the same time 
abundant triumphs. As a matter of fact, we do 
not understand much about a real, living man, and 
we generalise very superficially when we ascribe to 
him this and that character; this very imperfect 
attitude of ours towards man is represented by 
the poet, inasmuch as he makes into men (in 
this sense " creates ") outlines as superficial as our 
knowledge of man is superficial. There is a great 
deal of delusion about these created characters of 
artists ; they are by no means living productions 
of nature, but are like painted men, somewhat too 
thin, they will not bear a close inspection. And 
when it is said that the character of the ordinary 
living being contradicts itself frequently, and that 
the one created by the dramatist is the original 
model conceived by nature, this is quite wrong. 
A genuine man is something absolutely necessary 
(even in those so-called contradictions), but we 
do not always recognise this necessity. The 
imaginary man, the phantasm, signifies something 
necessary, but only to those who understand a real 
man only in a crude, unnatural simplification, so 
that a few strong, oft-repeated traits, with a great 
K B deal of light and shade and half-light about them, 
I R amply satisfy their notions. They are, therefore, 
I K, '^eady to treat the phantasm as a genuine, necessary 


man, because with real men they are accustomed 
to regard a phantasm, an outline, an intentional 
abbreviation as the whole. That the painter and 
the sculptor express the " idea " of man is a vain 
imagination and delusion ; whoever says this is in 
subjection to the eye, for this only sees the 
surface, the epidermis of the human body, — the 
inward body, however, is equally a part of the 
idea. Plastic art wishes to make character visible 
on 'the surface; histrionic art employs speech for 
the same purpose, it reflects character in sounds. 
Art starts from the natural ignorance of man about 
his interior condition (in body and character) ; it is 
not meant for philosophers or natural scientists. 


The Over-valuation of Self in the 
Belief in Artists and Philosophers. — We 
are all prone to think that the excellence of a 
work of art or of an artist is proved when it moves 
and touches us. But there our own excellence in 
judgment and sensibility must have been proved 
first, which is not the case. In all plastic art, who 
had greater power to effect a charm than Bernini, 
who made a greater effect than the orator that 
appeared after Demosthenes introduced the Asiatic 
style and gave it a predominance which lasted 
throughout two centuries? This predominance 
during whole centuries is not a proof of the 
excellence and enduring validity of a style ; 
therefore we must not be too certain in our good 
opinion of any artist, — this is not only belief 



"■'In the truthfulness of our sensations but also in 
the infallibility of our judgment, whereas judgment 
or sensation, or even both, may be too coarse or 
too fine, exaggerated or crude. Neither are the 
blessings and blissfulness of a philosophy or of a 
religion proofs of its truth ; just as little as the 
happiness which an insane person derives from his 
fixed idea is a proof of the reasonableness of this 


The Cult of Genius for the sake of 
Vanity. — Because we think well of ourselves, but 
nevertheless do not imagine that we are capable 
of the conception of one of Raphael's pictures or 
of a scene such as those of one of Shakespeare's 
dramas, we persuade ourselves that the faculty 
for doing this is quite extraordinarily wonderful, a 
very rare case, or, if we are religiously inclined, a 
grace from above. Thus the cult of genius fosters 
our vanity, our self-love, for it is only when we 
think of it as very far removed from us, as a 
miraculum^ that it does not wound us (even 
Goethe, who was free from envy, called Shakespeare 
a star of the farthest heavens, whereby we are 
reminded of the line " die Sterne, die begehrt man 
nicht " *). But, apart from those suggestions of our 

* The allusion is to Goethe's lines : 

Die Sterne, die begehrt man nicht, 
Man freut sick ihrer Pracht. 

We do not want the stars themselves, 
Their brilliancy delights our hearts. — J. M. K. 


vanity, the activity of a genius does not seem so 
radically different from the activity of a mechanical 
inventor, of an astronomer or historian or strategist. 
All these forms of activity are explicable if we 
realise men whose minds are active in one special 
direction, who make use of everything as material, 
who always eagerly study their own inward life 
and that of others, who find types and incitements 
everywhere, who never weary in the employment 
of their means. Genius does nothing but learn 
how to lay stones, then to build, always to seek for 
material and always to work upon it. Every 
human activity is marvellously complicated, and 
not only that of genius, but it is no " miracle." 
Now whence comes the belief that genius is found 
only in artists, orators, and philosophers, that they 
alone have " intuition" (by which we credit them 
with a kind of magic glass by means of which 
they see straight into one's " being ") ? It is clear 
that men only speak of genius where the workings 
of a great intellect are most agreeable to them 
and they have no desire to feel envious. To call 
any one " divine " is as much as saying " here we 
have no occasion for rivalry." Thus it is that 
everything completed and perfect is stared at, 
and everything incomplete is undervalued. Now 
nobody can see how the work of an artist has 
developed; that is its advantage, for everything of 
which the development is seen is looked on coldly. 
The perfected art of representation precludes all 
thought of its development, it tyrannises as a 
present perfection. For this reason artists of 
representation are especially held to be possessed 



of genius, but not scientific men. In reality, 
however, the former valuation and the latter 
under-valuation are only puerilities of reason. 


The Earnestness of Handicraft. — Do 
not talk of gifts, of inborn talents ! We could 
mention great men of all kinds who were but 
little gifted. But they obtained greatness, became 
" geniuses " (as they are called), through qualities 
of the lack of which nobody who is conscious of 
them likes to speak. They all had that thorough 
earnestness for work which learns first how to 
form the different parts perfectly before it ventures 
to make a great whole ; they gave themselves time 
for this, because they took more pleasure in doing 
small, accessory things well than in the effect of 
a dazzling whole. For instance, the recipe for 
becoming a good novelist is easily given, but the 
carrying out of the recipe presupposes qualities 
which we are in the habit of overlooking when we 
say, " I have not sufficient talent." Make a 
hundred or more sketches of novel-plots, none 
more than two pages long, but of such clearness 
that every word in them is necessary ; write down 
anecdotes every day until you learn to find the 
most pregnant, most effective form ; never weary 
of collecting and delineating human types and 
X characters ; above all, narrate things as often as 
K possible and listen to narrations with a sharp 
B eye and ear for the effect upon other people 
■ present ; travel like a landscape painter and a 



designer of costumes ; take from different sciences 
everything that is artistically effective, if it be 
well represented ; finally, meditate on the motives 
for human actions, scorn not even the smallest 
point of instruction on this subject, and collect 
similar matters by day and night. Spend some 
ten years in these various exercises : then the 
creations of your study may be allowed to see the 
light of day. But what do most people do, on 
the contrary? They do not begin with the part, 
but with the whole. Perhaps they make one 
good stroke, excite attention, and ever afterwards 
their work grows worse and worse, for good, 
natural reasons. But sometimes, when intellect 
and character are lacking for the formation of 
such an artistic career, fate and necessity take 
the place of these qualities and lead the future 
master step by step through all the phases of his 


The Danger and the Gain in the Cult 
OF Genius. — The belief in great, superior, fertile 
minds is not necessarily, but still very frequently, 
connected with that wholly or partly religious 
superstition that those spirits are of superhuman 
origin and possess certain marvellous faculties, 
by means of which they obtained their knowledge 
in ways quite different from the rest of mankind. 
They are credited with having an immediate 
insight into the nature of the world, through 
a peep-hole in the mantle of the phenomenon as 
it were, and it is believed that, without the 


trouble and seventy of science, by virtue of 
this marvellous prophetic sight, they could 
impart something final and decisive about man- 
kind and the world. So long as there are 
still believers in miracles in the world of 
knowledge it may perhaps be admitted that 
the believers themselves derive a benefit therefrom, 
inasmuch as by their absolute subjection to great 
minds they obtain the best discipline and schooling 
for their own minds during the period of develop- 
ment. On the other hand, it may at least be 
questioned whether the superstition of genius, 
of its privileges and special faculties, is useful 
for a genius himself when it implants itself in 
him. In any case it is a dangerous sign when 
man shudders at his own self, be it that famous 
Caesarian shudder or the shudder of genius which 
applies to this case, when the incense of sacrifice, 
which by rights is offered to a God alone, 
penetrates into the brain of the genius, so that 
he begins to waver and to look upon himself 
as something superhuman. The slow conse- 
quences are : the feeling of irresponsibility, the 
exceptional rights, the belief that mere inter- 
course with him confers a favour, and frantic rage 
at any attempt to compare him with others or 
even to place him below them and to bring into 
prominence whatever is unsuccessful in his work. 
Through the fact that he ceases to criticise 
himself one pinion after another falls out of 
his plumage, — that superstition undermines the 
foundation of his strength and even makes 
him a hypocrite after his power has failed him. 


For great minds it is, therefore, perhaps better 
when they come to an understanding about their 
strength and its source, when they comprehend 
what purely human qualities are mingled in them, 
what a combination they are of fortunate 
conditions : thus once it was continual energy, 
a decided application to individual aims, great 
personal courage, and then the good fortune of 
an education, which at an early period provided 
the best teachers, examples, and methods. 
Assuredly, if its aim is to make the greatest 
possible effect^ abstruseness has always done 
much for itself and that gift of partial insanity ; 
for at all times that power has been admired 
and envied by means of which men were deprived 
of will and imbued with the fancy that they 
were preceded by supernatural leaders. Truly, 
men are exalted and inspired by the belief that 
some one among them is endowed with super- 
natural powers, and in this respect insanity, as 
Plato says, has brought the greatest blessings 
to mankind. In a few rare cases this form of 
insanity may also have been the means by which 
an all-round exuberant nature was kept within 
bounds ; in individual life the imaginings of 
frenzy frequently exert the virtue of remedies 
which are poisons in themselves ; but in every 
" genius " that believes in his own divinity the 
poison shows itself at last in the same proportion 
as the " genius " grows old ; we need but 
recollect the example of Napoleon, for it was 
most assuredly through his faith in himself and his 
star, and through his scorn of mankind, that he 


grew to that mighty unity which distinguished 
him from all modern men, until at last, however, 
this faith developed into an almost insane 
fatalism, robbed him of his quickness of compre- 
hension and penetration, and was the cause of 
his downfall. 


Genius and Nullity, — It is precisely the 
07-iginal artists, those who create out of their 
own heads, who in certain circumstances can 
bring forth complete emptiness and husk, whilst 
the more dependent natures, the so-called talented 
ones, are full of memories of all manner of good- 
ness, and even in a state of weakness produce 
something tolerable. But if the original ones are 
abandoned by themselves, memory renders them 
no assistance ; they become empty. 


The Public. — The people really demands 
nothing more from tragedy than to be deeply 
affected, in order to have a good cry occasionally ; 
the artist, on the contrary, who sees the new 
tragedy, takes pleasure in the clever technical 
inventions and tricks, in the management and 
distribution of the material, in the novel arrange- 
ment of old motives and old ideas. His 
attitude is the aesthetic attitude towards a work 
of art, that of the creator ; the one first described, 
with regard solely to the material, is that of 
the people. Of the individual who stands between 



the two nothing need be said : he is neither 
" people " nor artist, and does not know what 
he wants — therefore his pleasure is also clouded 
and insignificant. 


The Artistic Education of the Public. — 
If the same motif is not employed in a hundred 
ways by different masters, the public never learns 
to get beyond their interest in the subject ; but 
at last, when it is well acquainted with the 
motif through countless different treatments, and 
no longer finds in it any charm of novelty or 
excitement, it will then begin to grasp and enjoy 
the various shades and delicate new inventions 
in its treatment. 


The Artist and his Followers must 
KEEP IN Step. — The progress from one grade 
of style to another must be so slow that not 
only the artists but also the auditors and 
spectators can follow it and know exactly what 
is going on. Otherwise there will suddenly appear 
that great chasm between the artist, who creates 
his work upon a height apart, and the public, 
who cannot rise up to that height and finally 
sinks discontentedly deeper. For when the 
artist no longer raises his public it rapidly sinks 
downwards, and its fall is the deeper and more 
dangerous in proportion to the height to which 
genius has carried it, like the eagle, out of 
whose talons a tortoise that has been borne up 
into the clouds falls to its destruction. 


The Source of the Comic Element. — If 
we consider that for many thousands of years 
man was an animal that was susceptible in the 
highest degree to fear, and that everything sudden 
and unexpected had to find him ready for battle, 
perhaps even ready for death ; that even later, 
in social relations, all security was based on 
the expected, on custom in thought and action, 
we need not be surprised that at everything 
sudden and unexpected in word and deed, if 
it occurs without danger or injury, man becomes 
exuberant and passes over into the very opposite 
of fear — the terrified, trembling, crouching being 
shoots upward, stretches itself: man Jaughs. 
This transition from momentary fear into short- 
lived exhilaration is called the Comic. On the 
other hand, in the tragic phenomenon, man passes 
quickly from great enduring exuberance into 
great fear ; but as amongst mortals great and 
lasting exuberance is much rarer than the cause 
for fear, there is far more comedy than tragedy 
in the world ; we laugh much oftener than we 
are agitated. 


The Artist's Ambition. — The Greek artists, 
the tragedians for instance, composed in order to 
conquer ; their whole art cannot be imagined 
without rivalry, — the good Hesiodian Eris, 
Ambition, gave wings to their genius. This 
ambition further demanded that their work 


should achieve the greatest excellence in their 
own eyes, as they understood excellence, without 
any regard for the reigning taste and the general 
opinion about excellence in a work of art; and 
thus it was long before ^Eschylus and Euripides 
achieved any success, until at last they educated 
judges of art, who valued their work according to 
the standards which they themselves appointed. 
Hence they strove for victory over rivals accord- 
ing to their own valuation, they really wished to 
be more excellent ; they demanded assent from 
without to this self-valuation, the confirmation of 
this verdict. To achieve honour means in this 
case " to make one's self superior to others, and 
to desire that this should be recognised publicly," 
Should the former condition be wanting, and the 
latter nevertheless desired, it is then called vanity. 
Should the latter be lacking and not missed, then 
it is W2xa&^ pride. 


What is Needful to a Work of Art. — 
Those who talk so much about the needful 
factors of a work of art exaggerate ; if they are 
artists they do so in majorein artis gloriam, if they 
are laymen, from ignorance. The form of a 
work of art, which gives speech to their thoughts 
and is, therefore, their mode of talking, is always 
somewhat uncertain, like all kinds of speech. 
The sculptor can add or omit many little traits, 
as can also the exponent, be he an actor or, in 
music, a performer or conductor. These many 
little traits and finishing touches afford him 


pleasure one day and none the next, they exist 
more for the sake of the artist than the art ; for 
he also has occasionally need of sweetmeats and 
playthings to prevent him from becoming morose 
with the severity and self-restraint which the 
representation of the dominant idea demands 
from him. 


To Cause the Master to be Forgotten. 
— The pianoforte player who executes the work 
of a master will have played best if he has made 
his audience forget the master, and if it seemed 
as if he were relating a story from his own 
life or just passing through some experience. 
Assuredly, if he is of no importance, every one 
will abhor the garrulity with which he talks 
about his own life. Therefore he must know 
how to influence his hearer's imagination favour- 
ably towards himself Hereby are explained all 
the weaknesses and follies of " the virtuoso." 


CoRRiGER LA FORTUNE, — There are unfortunate 
accidents in the lives of great artists, which 
compel the painter, for instance, to sketch out 
his most important picture only as a passing 
thought, or such as obliged Beethoven to leave 
behind him only the insufficient pianoforte score 
of many great sonatas (as in the great B flat). 
In these cases the artist of a later day must 
endeavour to fill out the life of the great man, — 
what, for instance, he would do who, as master 




of all orchestral effects, would call into life that 
symphony which has fallen into the piano-trance. 


Reducing. — Many things, events, or persons, 
cannot bear treatment on a small scale. The 
Laocoon group cannot be reduced to a knick- 
knack ; great size is necessary to it. But more 
seldom still does anything that is naturally small 
bear enlargement ; for which reason biographers 
succeed far oftener in representing a great man as 
small than a small one as great. 


Sensuousness in Present-day Art. — 
Artists nowadays frequently miscalculate when 
they count on the sensuous effect of their works, 
for their spectators or hearers have no longer a 
fully sensuous nature, and, quite contrary to the 
artist's intention, his work produces in them a 
" holiness " of feeling which is closely related to 
boredom. Their sensuousness begins, perhaps, just 
where that of the artist ceases ; they meet, therefore, 
only at one point at the most. 


Shakespeare as a Moralist. — Shakespeare 
meditated much on the passions, and on account 
of his temperament had probably a close acquaint- 
ance with many of them (dramatists are in 
general rather wicked men). He could, however 


not talk on the subject, like Montaigne, but put 
his observations thereon into the mouths of im- 
passioned figures, which is contrary to nature, 
certainly, but makes his dramas so rich in thought 
that they cause all others to seem poor in com- 
parison and readily arouse a general aversion to 
them. Schiller's reflections (which are almost 
always based on erroneous or trivial fancies) are 
just theatrical reflections, and as such are very 
effective ; whereas Shakespeare's reflections do 
honour to his model, Montaigne, and contain 
quite serious thoughts in polished form, but on 
that account are too remote and refined for the 
eyes of the theatrical public, and are consequently 


Securing a Good Hearing. — It is not 
sufficient to know how to play well ; one must 
also know how to secure a good hearing. A 
violin in the hand of the greatest master gives 
only a little squeak when the place where it is 
heard is too large ; the master may then be 
mistaken for any bungler. 


The Incomplete as the Effective. — Just 
as figures in relief make such a strong impression 
on the imagination because they seem in the act of 
emerging from the wall and only stopped by some 
sudden hindrance ; so the relief-like, incomplete 
representation of a thought, or a whole philosophy, 
is sometimes more effective than its exhaustive 

VOL. I. M 



amplification, — more is left for the investigation of 
the onlooker, he is incited to the further study of 
that which stands out before him in such strong 
light and shade ; he is prompted to think out the 
subject, and even to overcome the hindrance which 
hitherto prevented it from emerging clearly. 


Against the Eccentric. — When art arrays 
itself in the most shabby material it is most 
easily recognised as art. 


Collective Intellect. — A good author 
possesses not only his own intellect, but also that 
of his friends. 


Different Kinds of Mistakes. — The mis- 
fortune of acute and clear authors is that people 
consider them as shallow and therefore do not 
devote any effort to them ; and the good fortune of 
obscure writers is that the reader makes an effort 
to understand them and places the delight in his 
own zeal to their credit. 


Relation to Science. — None of the people 
have any real interest in a science, who only begin 
to be enthusiastic about it when they themselves 
nave made discoveries in it. 



The Key. — The single thought on which an 
eminent man sets a great value, arousing the 
derision and laughter of the masses, is for him a 
key to hidden treasures ; for them, however, it is 
nothing more than a piece of old iron. 


Untranslatable. — It is neither the best nor 
the worst parts of a book which are untranslatable. 


Authors' Paradoxes. — The so-called para- 
doxes of an author to which a reader objects are 
often not in the author's book at all, but in the 
reader's head. 


Wit. — The wittiest authors produce a scarcely 
noticeable smile. 


Antithesis. — Antithesis is the narrow gate 
through which error is fondest of sneaking to the 


Thinkers as Stylists. — Most thinkers write 
badly, because they communicate not only their 
thoughts, but also the thinking of them. 




Thoughts in Poetry. — The poet conveys 
his thoughts ceremoniously in the vehicle of«, 
rhythm, usually because they are not able to go 
on foot. 


The Sin against the Reader's Intellect. 
— When an author renounces his talent in order 
merely to put himself on a level with the reader, 
he commits the only deadly sin which the latter 
will never forgive, should he notice anything of it. 
One may say everything that is bad about a 
person, but in the manner in which it is said one 
must know how to revive his vanity anew. 


The Limits of Uprightness. — Even the 
most upright author lets fall a word too much 
when he wishes to round off a period. 


The Best Author. — The best author will be 
he who is ashamed to become one. 


Draconian Lav^ against Authors. — One 
should regard authors as criminals who only 
obtain acquittal or mercy in the rarest cases, — 
that would be a remedy for books becoming too 




The Fools of Modern Culture. — The fools 
of mediaeval courts correspond to our feuilleton 
writers ; they are the same kind of men, semi- 
rational, witty, extravagant, foolish, sometimes 
there only for the purpose of lessening the pathos 
of the outlook with fancies and chatter, and of 
drowning with their clamour the far too deep and 
solemn chimes of great events ; they were formerly 
in the service of princes and nobles, now they are in 
the service of parties (since a large portion of the 
old obsequiousness in the intercourse of the people 
with their prince still survives in party-feeling and 
party-discipline). Modern literary men, however, 
are generally very similar to the feuilleton writers, 
they are the " fools of modern culture," whom one 
judges more leniently when one does not regard 
them as fully responsible beings. To look upon 
writing as a regular profession should justly be 
regarded as a form of madness. 


After the Example of the Greeks. — It 
is a great hindrance to knowledge at present 
that, owing to centuries of exaggeration of feeling, 
all words have become vague and inflated. The 
higher stage of culture, which is under the sway 
(though not under the tyranny) of knowledge, 
requires great sobriety of feeling and thorough 
concentration of words — on which points the 
Greeks in the time of Demosthenes set an 



example to us. Exaggeration is a distinguishing 
mark of all modern writings, and even when 
they are simply written the expressions therein 
are still felt as too eccentric. Careful reflection, 
conciseness, coldness, plainness, even carried 
intentionally to the farthest limits, — in a word, 
suppression of feeling and taciturnity, — these 
are the only remedies. For the rest, this cold 
manner of writing and feeling is now very 
attractive, as a contrast ; and to be sure there is a 
new danger therein. For intense cold is as good 
a stimulus as a high degree of warmth. 


Good Narrators, Bad Explainers. — In 
good narrators there is often found an admirable 
psychological sureness and logicalness, as far 
as these qualities can be observed in the actions' 
of their personages, in positively ludicrous contrast 
to their inexperienced pyschological reasoning, 
so that their culture appears to be as extra- 
ordinarily high one moment as it seems regret- 
tably defective the next. It happens far too 
frequently that they give an evidently false ex- 
planation of their own heroes and their actions, — 
of this there is no doubt, however improbable 
the thing may appear. It is quite likely that 
the greatest pianoforte player has thought but 
little about the technical conditions and the 
special virtues, drawbacks, usefulness, and tract- 
ability of each finger (dactylic ethics), and makes 
big mistakes whenever he speaks of such things. 


The Writings of Acquaintances and 
THEIR Readers. — We read the writings of our 
acquaintances (friends and enemies) in a double 
sense, inasmuch as our perception constantly 
whispers, " That is something of himself, a 
remembrance of his inward being, his experiences, 
his talents," and at the same time another kind 
of perception endeavours to estimate the profit 
of the work in itself, what valuation it merits 
apart from its author, how far it will enrich 
knowledge. These two manners of reading and 
estimating interfere with each other, as may 
naturally be supposed. And a conversation with 
a friend will only bear good fruit of knowledge 
when both think only of the matter under 
consideration and forget that they are friends. 


Rhythmical Sacrifice. — Good writers alter 
the rhythm of many a period merely because they 
do not credit the general reader with the ability 
to comprehend the measure followed by the 
period in its first version ; thus they make it 
easier for the reader, by giving the preference 
to the better known rhythms. This regard for 
the rhythmical incapacity of the modern reader 
has already called forth many a sigh, for much 
has been sacrificed to it. Does not the same 
thing happen to good musicians ? 





The Incomplete as an Artistic Stimulus. 
— The incomplete is often more effective than 
perfection, and this is the case with eulogies. 
To effect their purpose a stimulating incomplete- 
ness is necessary, as an irrational element, which 
calls up a sea before the hearer's imagination, 
and, like a mist, conceals the opposite coast, i.e. 
the limits of the object of praise. If the well- 
known merits of a person are referred to and 
described at length and in detail, it always 
gives rise to the suspicion that these are his only 
merits. The perfect eulogist takes his stand 
above the person praised, he appears to overlook 
him. Therefore complete praise has a weakening 


Precautions in Writing and Teaching. 
— Whoever has once written and has been seized 
with the passion for writing learns from almost 
all that he does and experiences that which is 
literally communicable. He thinks no longer 
of himself, but of the author and his public ; 
he desires insight into things ; but not for his 
own use. He who teaches is mostly incapable 
of doing anything for his own good : he is always 
thinking of the good of his scholars, and all 
knowledge delights him only in so far as he 
is able to teach it. He comes at last to regard 
himself as a medium of knowledge, and above 
all as a means thereto, so that he has lost all 
serious consideration for himself, 




The Necessity for Bad Authors. — There 
will always be a need of bad authors ; for they 
meet the taste of readers of an undeveloped, 
immature age — these have their requirements as 
well as mature readers. If human life were of 
greater length, the number of mature individuals 
would be greater than that of the immature, 
or at least equally great; but, as it is, by far 
the greater number die too young: i.e. there 
are always many more undeveloped intellects 
with bad taste. These demand, with the greater 
impetuosity of youth, the satisfaction of their 
needs, and they insist on having bad authors. 


Too Near and too Far. — The reader and 
the author very often do not understand each 
other, because the author knows his theme too 
well and finds it almost slow, so that he omits 
the examples, of which he knows hundreds ; 
the reader, however, is interested in the subject, 
and is liable to consider it as badly proved if 
examples are lacking. 


A Vanished Preparation for Art. — Of 
everything that was practised in public schools, 
the thing of greatest value was the exercise in 
Latin style, — this was an e:>?ercise in art, whilst all 


other occupations aimed only at the acquirement 
of knowledge. It is a barbarism to put German 
composition before it, for there is no typical 
German style developed by public oratory ; but if 
there is a desire to advance practice in thought 
by means of German composition, then it is 
certainly better for the time being to pay no 
attention to style, to separate the practice in 
thought, therefore, from the practice in reproduc- 
tion. The latter should confine itself to the 
various modes of presenting a given subject, and 
should not concern itself with the independent 
finding of a subject. The mere presentment of a 
given subject was the task of the Latin style, for 
which the old teachers possessed a long vanished 
delicacy of ear. Formerly, whoever learned to 
write well in a modern language had to thank 
this practice for the acquirement (now we are 
obliged to go to school to the older French 
writers). But yet more : he obtained an idea of 
the loftiness and difficulty of form, and was 
prepared for art in the only right way : by 


Darkness and Over-Brightness Side by 
Side. — Authors who, in general, do not under- 
stand how to express their thoughts clearly are 
fond of choosing, in detail, the strongest, most 
exaggerated distinctions and superlatives, — there- 
by is produced an effect of light, which is like 
torchlight in intricate forest paths, 





Literary Painting. — An important object 
will be best described if the colours for the 
painting are taken out of the object itself, as a 
chemist does, and then employed like an artist, 
so that the drawing develops from the outlines 
and transitions of the colours. Thus the painting 
acquires something of the entrancing natural 
element which gives such importance to the object 


Books which Teach how to Dance. — 
There are authors who, by representing the 
impossible as possible, and by talking of morality 
and cleverness as if both were merely moods and 
humours assumed at will, produce a feeling of 
exuberant freedom, as if man stood on tiptoe and 
were compelled to dance from sheer, inward 


Unfinished Thoughts. — Just as not only 
manhood, but also youth and childhood have a 
value per se^ and are not to be looked upon merely 
as passages and bridges, so also unfinished 
thoughts have their value. For this reason we 
must not torment a poet with subtle explanations, 
but must take pleasure in the uncertainty of his 
horizon, as if the way to further thoughts were still 
open. We stand on the threshold ; we wait as 
for the digging up of a treasure, it is as if a well 
of profundity were about to be discovered. The 



poet anticipates something of the thinker's 
pleasure in the discovery of a leading thought, and 
makes us covetous, so that we give chase to it ; 
but it flutters past our head and exhibits the 
loveliest butterfly-wings, — and yet it escapes us. 


The Book Grown almost into a Human 
Being. — Every author is surprised anew at the 
way in which his book, as soon as he has sent it 
out, continues to live a life of its own ; it seems 
to him as if one part of an insect had been cut 
off and now went on its own way. Perhaps he 
forgets it almost entirely, perhaps he rises above 
the view expressed therein, perhaps even he under- 
stands it no longer, and has lost that impulse 
upon which he soared at the time he conceived 
the book ; meanwhile it seeks its readers, inflames 
life, pleases, horrifies, inspires new works, becomes 
the soul of designs and actions, — in short, it lives 
like a creature endowed with mind and soul, and 
yet is no human being. The happiest fate is that 
of the author who, as an old man, is able to say 
that all there was in him of life-inspiring, 
strengthening, exalting, enlightening thoughts and 
feelings still lives on in his writings, and that he 
himself now only represents the gray ashes, whilst 
the fire has been kept alive and spread out. And 
if we consider that every human action, not only 
a book, is in some way or other the cause of other 
actions, decisions, and thoughts ; that everything 
that happens is inseparably connected with every- 



thing that is going to happen, we recognise the 
real immortality, that of movement, — that which 
has once moved is enclosed and immortalised in 
the general union of all existence, like an insect 
within a piece of amber. 


Joy in Old Age. — The thinker, as likewise 
the artist, who has put his best self into his works, 
feels an almost malicious joy when he sees how 
mind and body are being slowly damaged and 
destroyed by time, as if from a dark corner he 
were spying a thief at his money-chest, knowing 
all the time that it was empty and his treasures 
in safety. 


Quiet Fruitfulness. — The born aristocrats 
of the mind are not in too much of a hurry ; their 
creations appear and fall from the tree on some 
quiet autumn evening, without being rashly 
desired, instigated, or pushed aside by new 
matter. The unceasing desire to create is vulgar, 
and betrays envy, jealousy, and ambition. If a 
man is something, it is not really necessary for 
him to do anything — and yet he does a great 
deal. There is a human species higher even than 
the " productive " man. 


Achilles and Homer. — It is always like 
the case of Achilles and Homer, — the one has 



the experiences and sensations, the other describes 
them. A genuine author only puts into words 
the feelings and adventures of others, he is an 
artist, and divines much from the little he has 
experienced. Artists are by no means creatures 
of great passion ; but they frequently represent 
themselves as such with the unconscious feeling 
that their depicted passion will be better believed 
in if their own life gives credence to their experi- 
ence in these affairs. They need only let them- 
selves go, not control themselves, and give free play 
to their anger and their desires, and every one will 
immediately cry out, " How passionate he is ! " But 
the deeply stirring passion that consumes and often 
destroys the individual is another matter: those 
who have really experienced it do not describe it 
in dramas, harmonies or romances. Artists are 
frequently unbridled individuals, in so far as they 
are not artists, but that is a different thing. 


Old Doubts about the Effect of Art. 
— Should pity and fear really be unburdened 
through tragedy, as Aristotle would have it, so 
that the hearers return home colder and quieter? 
Should ghost-stories really make us less fearful 
and superstitious ? In the case of certain 
physical processes, in the satisfaction of love, for 
instance, it is true that with the fulfilment of a 
need there follows an alleviation and temporary 
decrease in the impulse. But fear and pity are 
not in this sense the needs of particular organs 



which require to be relieved. And in time 
every instinct is even strengthened by practice 
in its satisfaction, in spite of that periodical 
mitigation. It might be possible that in each 
single case pity and fear would be soothed and 
relieved by tragedy ; nevertheless, they might, on 
the whole, be increased by tragic influences, and 
Plato would be right in saying that tragedy 
makes us altogether more timid and susceptible. 
The tragic poet himself would then of necessity 
acquire a gloomy and fearful view of the world, 
and a yielding, irritable, tearful soul ; it would 
also agree with Plato's view if the tragic poets, 
and likewise the entire part of the community 
that derived particular pleasure from them, 
degenerated into ever greater licentiousness and 
intemperance. But what right, indeed, has our 
age to give an answer to that great question of 
Plato's as to the moral influence of art ? If we 
even had art, — where have we an influence, any 
kind of an art-influence ? 


Pleasure in Nonsense. — How can we take 
pleasure in nonsense? But wherever there is 
laughter in the world this is the case: it may 
even be said that almost everywhere where there 
is happiness, there is found pleasure in nonsense. 
The transformation of experience into its opposite, 
of the suitable into the unsuitable, the obligatory 
into the optional (but in such a manner that 
this process produces no injury and is only 


imagined in jest), is a pleasure ; for it tempor- 
arily liberates us from the yoke of the obligatory, 
suitable and experienced, in which we usually 
find our pitiless masters ; we play and laugh 
when the expected (which generally causes fear 
and expectancy) happens without bringing any 
injury. It is the pleasure felt by slaves in the 
Saturnalian feasts 


The Ennobling of Reality. — Through the 
fact that in the aphrodisiac impulse men discerned 
a godhead and with adoring gratitude felt it 
working within themselves, this emotion has in 
the course of time become imbued with higher 
conceptions, and has thereby been materially 
ennobled. Thus certain nations, by virtue of 
this art of idealisation, have created great aids to 
culture out of diseases, — the Greeks, for instance, 
who in earlier centuries suffered from great 
nervous epidemics (like epilepsy and St. Vitus* 
Dance), and developed out of them the splendid 
type of the Bacchante. The Greeks, however, en- 
joyed an astonishingly high degree of health — 
their secret was, to revere even disease as a god, 
if it only possessed power. 


Music. — Music by and for itself is not so 
portentous for our inward nature, so deeply 
moving, that it ought to be looked upon as the 
direct language of the feelings ; but its ancient 
union with poetry has infused so much symbolism 





into rhythmical movement, into loudness and 
softness of tone, that we now hnagine it speaks 
directly to and comes from the inward nature. 
Dramatic music is only possible when the art 
of harmony has acquired an immense range of 
symbolical means, through song, opera, and a 
hundred attempts at description by sound. 
" Absolute music " is either form per se, in 
the rude condition of music, when playing in 
time and with various degrees of strength gives 
pleasure, or the symbolism of form which speaks 
to the understanding even without poetry, after 
the two arts were joined finally together after 
long development and the musical form had been 
woven about with threads of meaning and feeling. 
People who are backward in musical develop- 
ment can appreciate a piece of harmony merely 
as execution, whilst those who are advanced will 
comprehend it symbolically. No music is deep 
and full of meaning in itself, it does not speak 
of "will," of the "thing-in-itself"; that could be 
imagined by the intellect only in an age which 
had conquered for musical symbolism the entire 
range of inner life. It was the intellect itself 
that first g-ave this meaning to sound, just as it 
also gave meaning to the relation between lines 
and masses in architecture, but which in itself is 
quite foreign to mechanical laws. 


Gesture and Speech. — Older than speech is 
the imitation of gestures, which is carried on un- 

L. I. N 



consciously and which, in the general repression of 
the language of gesture and trained control of the 
muscles, is still so great that we cannot look at a 
face moved by emotion without feeling an agita- 
tion of our own face (it may be remarked that 
feigned yawning excites real yawning in any one 
who sees it). The imitated gesture leads the one 
who imitates back to the sensation it expressed 
in the face or body of the one imitated. Thus 
men learned to understand one another, thus the 
child still learns to understand the mother. 
Generally speaking, painful sensations may also 
have been expressed by gestures, and the pain 
which caused them (for instance, tearing the hair, 
beating the breast, forcible distortion and straining 
of the muscles of the face). On the other hand, 
gestures of joy were themselves joyful and lent 
themselves easily to the communication of the 
understanding; (laughter, as the expression of 
the feeling when being tickled, serves also for the 
expression of other pleasurable sensations). As 
soon as men understood each other by gestures, 
there could be established a symbolism of gestures ; 
I mean, an understanding could be arrived at 
respecting the language of accents, so that first 
accent and gesture (to which it was symbolically 
added) were produced, and later on the accent 
alone. In former times there happened very 
frequently that which now happens in the de- 
velopment of music, especially of dramatic music, 
— while music, without explanatory dance and 
pantomime (language of gesture), is at first only 
empty sound, but by long familiarity with that 




combination of music and movement the ear 
becomes schooled into instant interpretation of the 
figures of sound, and finally attains a height of 
quick understanding, where it has no longer any 
need of visible movement and understands the 
sound-poet without it. It is then called absolute 
music, that is music in which, without further help, 
everything is symbolically understood. 


The Spiritualising of Higher Art. — By 
virtue of extraordinary intellectual exercise through 
the art-development of the new music, our ears 
have been growing more intellectual. For this 
reason we can now endure a much greater volume 
of sound, much more " noise," because we are far 
better practised in listening for the sense in it 
than were our ancestors. As a matter of fact, 
all our senses have been somewhat blunted, because 
they immediately look for the sense ; that is, they 
ask what " it means " and not what " it is," — such 
a blunting betrays itself, for instance, in the abso- 
lute dominion of the temperature of sounds; for 
ears which still make the finer distinctions, between 
cis and des, for instance, are now amongst the 
exceptions. In this respect our ear has grown 
coarser. And then the ugly side of the world, 
the one originally hostile to the senses, has been 
conquered for music ; its power has been immensely 
widened, especially in the expression of the noble, 
the terrible, and the mysterious : our music now 



gives utterance to things which had formerly no 
tongue. In the same way certain painters have 
rendered the eye more intellectual, and have gone 
far beyond that which was formerly called pleasure 
in colour and form. Here, too, that side of the 
world originally considered as ugly has been 
conquered by the artistic intellect. What results 
from all this ? The more capable of thought that 
eye and ear become, the more they approach the 
limit where they become senseless, the seat of 
pleasure is moved into the brain, the organs of the 
senses themselves become dulled and weak, the 
symbolical takes more and more the place of the 
actual, — and thus we arrive at barbarism in this 
way as surely as in any other. In the meantime 
we may say : the world is uglier than ever, but it 
represents a more beautiful world than has ever 
existed. But the more the amber-scent of mean- 
ing is dispersed and evaporated, the rarer become 
those who perceive it, and the remainder halt at 
what is ugly and endeavour to enjoy it direct, an 
aim, however, which they never succeed in attain- 
ing. Thus, in Germany there is a twofold direction 
of musical development, here a throng of ten 
thousand with ever higher, finer demands, ever 
listening more and more for the " it means," and 
there the immense countless mass which yearly 
grows more incapable of understanding what is 
important even in the form of sensual ugliness, 
and which therefore turns ever more willingly to 
what in music is ugly and foul in itself, that is, to 
the basely sensual. 


A Stone is More of a Stone than 
Formerly. — As a general rule we no longer 
understand architecture, at least by no means in 
the same way as we understand music. We have 
outgrown the symbolism of lines and figures, just 
as we are no longer accustomed to the sound- 
effects of rhetoric, and have not absorbed this 
kind of mother's milk of culture since our first 
moment of life. Everything in a Greek or Chris- 
tian building originally had a meaning, and re- 
ferred to a higher order of things ; this feeling of 
inexhaustible meaning enveloped the edifice like 
a mystic veil. Beauty was only a secondary con- 
sideration in the system, without in any way 
materially injuring the fundamental sentiment of 
the mysteriously-exalted, the divinely and magic- 
ally consecrated ; at the most, beauty tempered 
horror — but this horror was everywhere pre- 
supposed. What is the beauty of a building now ? 
The same thing as the beautiful face of a stupid 
woman, a kind of mask. 


The Religious Source of the Newer 
Music. — Soulful music arose out of the Catholi- 
cism re-established after the Council of Trent, 
through Palestrina, who endowed the newly- 
awakened, earnest, and deeply moved spirit with 
sound; later on, in Bach, it appeared also in 


Protestantism, as far as this had been deepened 
by the Pietists and released from its originally- 
dogmatic character. The supposition and neces- 
sary preparation for both origins is the familiarity 
with music, which existed during and before the 
Renaissance, namely that learned occupation with 
music, which was really scientific pleasure in the 
masterpieces of harmony and voice-training. On 
the other hand, the opera must have preceded it, 
wherein the layman made his protest against a 
music that had grown too learned and cold, and 
endeavoured to re-endow Polyhymnia with a 
soul. Without the change to that deeply religious 
sentiment, without the dying away of the inwardly 
moved temperament, music would have remained 
learned or operatic ; the spirit of the counter- 
reformation is the spirit of modern music (for that 
pietism in Bach's music is also a kind of counter- 
reformation). So deeply are we indebted to the 
religious life. Music was the counter-reformation 
in the field of art ; to this belongs also the later 
painting of the Caracci and Caravaggi, perhaps 
also the baroque style, in any case more than the 
architecture of the Renaissance or of antiquity. 
And we might still ask : if our newer music could 
move stones, would it build them up into antique 
architecture? I very much doubt it. For that 
which predominates in this music, affections, 
pleasure in exalted, highly-strained sentiments, the 
desire to be alive at any cost, the quick change of 
feeling, the strong relief-effects of light and shade, 
the combination of the ecstatic and the naive, — 
all this has already reigned in the plastic arts and 


created new laws of style : — but it was neither in 
the time of antiquity nor of the Renaissance. 


The Beyond in Art. — It is not without deep 
pain that we acknowledge the fact that in their 
loftiest soarings, artists of all ages have exalted 
and divinely transfigured precisely those ideas 
which we now recognise as false; they are the 
glorifiers of humanity's religious and philosophical 
errors, and they could not have been this without 
belief in the absolute truth of these errors. But 
if the belief in such truth diminishes at all, if the 
rainbow colours at the farthest ends of human 
knowledge and imagination fade, then this kind 
of art can never re-flourish, for, like the Divina 
Commedia, Raphael's paintings, Michelangelo's 
frescoes, and Gothic cathedrals, they indicate not 
only a cosmic but also a metaphysical meaning in 
the work of art. Out of all this will grow a 
touching legend that such an art and such an 
artistic faith once existed. 


Revolution in Poetry. — The strict limit 
which the French dramatists marked out with 
regard to unity of action, time and place, con- 
struction of style, verse and sentence, selection 
of words and ideas, was a school as important as 
that of counterpoint and fugue in the development 
of modern music or that of the Gorgianic figures 
in Greek oratory. Such a restriction may appear 



absurd ; nevertheless there is no means of getting 
out of naturalism except by confining ourselves 
at first to the strongest (perhaps most arbitrary) 
means. Thus we gradually learn to walk grace- 
fully on the narrow paths that bridge giddy 
abysses, and acquire great suppleness of movement 
as a result, as the history of music proves to our 
living eyes. Here we see how, step by step, the 
fetters get looser, until at last they may appear 
to be altogether thrown off; this appearance is the 
highest achievement of a necessary development 
in art. In the art of modern poetry there existed 
no such fortunate, gradual emerging from self- 
imposed fetters. Lessing held up to scorn in 
Germany the French form, the only modern form 
of art, and pointed to Shakespeare ; and thus the 
steadiness of that unfettering was lost and a spring 
was made into naturalism — that is, back into the 
beginnings of art. From this Goethe endeavoured 
to save himself, by always trying to limit himself 
anew in different ways ; but even the most gifted 
only succeeds by continuously experimenting, if 
the thread of development has once been broken. 
It is to the unconsciously revered, if also 
repudiated, model of French tragedy that Schiller 
owes his comparative sureness of form, and he 
remained fairly independent of Lessing (whose 
dramatic attempts he is well known to have 
rejected). But after Voltaire the French them- 
selves suddenly lacked the great talents which 
would have led the development of tragedy out of 
constraint to that apparent freedom ; later on they 
followed the German example and made a spring 


into a sort of Rousseau-like state of nature and 
experiments. It is only necessary to read 
Voltaire's " Mahomet " from time to time in order 
to perceive clearly what European culture has lost 
through that breaking down of tradition. Once 
for all, Voltaire was the last of the great dramatists 
who with Greek proportion controlled his manifold 
soul, equal even to the greatest storms of tragedy, 
— he was able to do what no German could, because 
the French nature is much nearer akin to the 
Greek than is the German ; he was also the last 
great writer who in the wielding of prose possessed 
the Greek ear, Greek artistic conscientiousness, 
and Greek simplicity and grace ; he was, also, one 
of the last men able to combine in himself the 
greatest freedom of mind and an absolutely 
unrevolutionary way of thinking without being 
inconsistent and cowardly. Since that time the 
modern spirit, with its restlessness and its hatred 
of moderation and restrictions, has obtained the 
mastery on all sides, let loose at first by the fever 
of revolution, and then once more putting a bridle 
on itself when it became filled with fear and horror 
at itself, — but it was the bridle of rigid logic, no 
longer that of artistic moderation. It is true that 
through that unfettering for a time we are able to 
enjoy the poetry of all nations, everything that 
has sprung up in hidden places, original, wild, 
wonderfully beautiful and gigantically irregular, 
from folk-songs up to the " great barbarian " 
Shakespeare ; we taste the joys of local colour 
and costume, hitherto unknown to all artistic 
nations ; we make liberal use of the " barbaric 



advantages " of our time, which Goethe accentuated 
against Schiller in order to place the formlessness 
of his Faust in the most favourable light. But 
for how much longer? The encroaching flood of 
poetry of all styles and all nations must gradually 
sweep away that magic garden upon which a quiet 
and hidden growth would still have been possible ; 
all poets must become experimenting imitators, dar- 
ing copyists, however great their primary strength 
may be. Eventually, the public, which has lost 
the habit of seeing the actual artistic fact in the 
controlling of depicting power, in the organising 
mastery over all art-means, must come ever more 
and more to value power for power's sake, colour 
for colour's sake, idea for idea's sake, inspiration 
for inspiration's sake ; accordingly it will not enjoy 
the elements and conditions of the work of art, 
unless isolated, and finally will make the very 
natural demand that the artist must deliver it to 
them isolated. True, the " senseless " fetters of 
Franco-Greek art have been thrown off, but un- 
consciously we have grown accustomed to consider 
all fetters, all restrictions as senseless ; — and so 
art moves towards its liberation, but, in so doing, 
it touches — which is certainly highly edifying — 
upon all the phases of its beginning, its childhood, 
its incompleteness, its sometime boldness and 
excesses, — in perishing it interprets its origin and 
growth. One of the great ones, whose instinct 
may be relied on and whose theory lacked nothing 
but thirty years more of practice. Lord Byron, 
once said : that with regard to poetry in general, 
the more he thought about it the more convinced 


he was that one and all we are entirely on a wrong 
track, that we are following an inwardly false 
revolutionary system, and that either our own 
generation or the next will yet arrive at this same 
conviction. It is the same Lord Byron who said 
that he " looked upon Shakespeare as the very 
worst model, although the most extraordinary poet." 
And does not Goethe's mature artistic insight in 
the second half of his life say practically the same 
thing ? — that insight by means of which he made 
such a bound in advance of whole generations that, 
generally speaking, it may be said that Goethe's 
influence has not yet begun, that his time has still 
to come. Just because his nature held him fast 
for a long time in the path of the poetical 
revolution, just because he drank to the dregs of 
whatsoever new sources, views and expedients had 
been indirectly discovered through that breaking 
down of tradition, of all that had been unearthed 
from under the ruins of art, his later transformation 
and conversion carries so much weight ; it shows 
that he felt the deepest longing to win back the 
traditions of art, and to give in fancy the ancient 
perfection and completeness to the abandoned ruins 
and colonnades of the temple, with the imagination 
of the eye at least, should the strength of the arm 
be found too weak to build where such tremendous 
powers were needed even to destroy. Thus he 
lived in art as in the remembrance of the true 
art, his poetry had become an aid to remembrance, 
to the understanding of old and long-departed 
ages of art. With respect to the strength of the 
new age, his demands could not be satisfied ; but 



the pain this occasioned was amply balanced by 
the joy that they have been satisfied once, and that 
we ourselves can still participate in this satis- 
faction. Not individuals, but more or less ideal 
masks ; no reality, but an allegorical generality ; 
topical characters, local colours toned down and 
rendered mythical almost to the point of in- 
visibility ; contemporary feeling and the problems 
of contemporary society reduced to the simplest 
forms, stripped of their attractive, interesting 
pathological qualities, made ineffective in every 
other but the artistic sense ; no new materials and 
characters, but the old, long-accustomed ones in 
constant new animation and transformation ; that 
is art, as Goethe understood it later, as the Greeks 
and even the French practised it. 



What Remains of Art. — It is true that art 
has a much greater value in the case of certain 
metaphysical hypotheses, for instance when the 
belief obtains that the character is unchangeable 
and that the essence of the world manifests itself 
continually in all character and action ; thus the 
artist's work becomes the symbol of the eternally 
constant, while according to our views the artist 
can only endow his picture with temporary value, 
because man on the whole has developed and is 
mutable, and even the individual man has nothing 
fixed and constant. The same thing holds good 
with another metaphysical hypothesis : assuming 
that our visible world were only a delusion, as 
metaphysicians declare, then art would come very 


near to the real world, for there would then be far 
too much similarity between the world of appear- 
ance and the dream-world of the artist ; and the 
remaining difference would place the meaning of 
art higher even than the meaning of nature, 
because art would represent the same forms, the 
types and models of nature. But those supposi- 
tions are false ; and what position does art retain 
after this acknowledgment ? Above all, for 
centuries it has taught us to look upon life in 
every shape with interest and pleasure and to 
carry our feelings so far that at last we exclaim, 
" Whatever it may be, life is good." This teaching 
of art, to take pleasure in existence and to regard 
human life as a piece of nature, without too 
vigorous movement, as an object of regular 
development, — this teaching has grown into us ; 
it reappears as an all-powerful need of knowledge. 
We could renounce art, but we should not there- 
with forfeit the ability it has taught us, — ^just as 
we have given up religion, but not the exalting 
and intensifying of temperament acquired through 
religion. As the plastic arts and music are the 
standards of that wealth of feeling really acquired 
and obtained through religion, so also, after a dis- 
appearance of art, the intensity and multiplicity of 
the joys of life which it had implanted in us would 
still demand satisfaction. The scientific man is 
the further development of the artistic man. 


The After-glow of Art. — Just as in old 
age we remember our youth and celebrate festi- 



vals of memory, so in a short time mankind will 
stand towards art : its relation will be that of a 
touching memory of the joys of youth. Never, 
perhaps, in former ages was art dealt with so 
seriously and thoughtfully as now when it appears 
to be surrounded by the magic influence of death. 
We call to mind that Greek city in southern 
Italy, which once a year still celebrates its Greek 
feasts, amidst tears and mourning, that foreign 
barbarism triumphs ever more and more over the 
customs its people brought with them into the 
land ; and never has Hellenism been so much 
appreciated, nowhere has this golden nectar been 
drunk with so great delight, as amongst these fast 
disappearing Hellenes. The artist will soon come 
to be regarded as a splendid relic, and to him, 
as to a wonderful stranger on whose power and 
beauty depended the happiness of former ages, 
there will be paid such honour as is not often 
enjoyed by one of our race. The best in us is 
perhaps inherited from the sentiments of former 
times, to which it is hardly possible for us now 
to return by direct ways ; the sun has already 
disappeared, but the heavens of our life are still 
glowing and illumined by it, although we can 
behold it no longer. 




Ennoblement through Degeneration. — 
History teaches that a race of people is best 
preserved where the greater number hold one 
common spirit in consequence of the similarity 
of their accustomed and indisputable principles : 
in consequence, therefore, of their common faith. 
Thus strength is afforded by good and thorough 
customs, thus is learnt the subjection of the 
individual, and strenuousness of character becomes 
a birth gift and afterwards is fostered as a habit. 
The danger to these communities founded on 
individuals of strong and similar character is 
that gradually increasing stupidity through trans- 
mission, which follows all stability like its shadow. 
It is on the more unrestricted, more uncertain 
and morally weaker individuals that depends the 
intellectual progress of such communities, it is they 
who attempt all that is new and manifold. 
Numbers of these perish on account of their 
weakness, without having achieved any specially 
visible effect; but generally, particularly when 
they have descendants, they flare up and from 


time to time inflict a wound on the stable element 
of the community. Precisely in this sore and| 
weakened place the community is inoculated with! 
something new ; but its general strength must 
be great enough to absorb and assimilate this 
new thing into its blood. Deviating natures are 
of the utmost importance wherever there is to 
be progress. Every wholesale progress must be 
preceded by a partial weakening. The strongest 
natures retain the type, the weaker ones help it 
to develop. Something similar happens in the 
case of individuals ;'' a deterioration, a mutilation, 
even a vice and, above all, a physical or moral 
loss is seldom without its advantage. For 
instance, a sickly man in the midst of a warlike 
and restless race will perhaps have more chance 
of being alone and thereby growing quieter and 
wiser, the one-eyed man will possess a stronger 
eye, the blind man will have a deeper inward 
sight and will certainly have a keener sense of 
hearing. In so far it appears to me that the 
famous Struggle for Existence is not the only 
point of view from which an explanation can be 
given of the progress or strengthening of an 
individual or a race. Rather must two different 
things converge : firstly, the multiplying of stable 
strength through mental binding in faith and 
common feeling ; secondly, the possibility of 
attaining to higher aims, through the fact that 
there are deviating natures and, in consequence, 
partial weakening and wounding of the stable 
strength ; it is precisely the weaker nature, as 
the more delicate and free, that makes all progress 


at all possible. A people that is crumbling and 
weak in any one part, but as a whole still strong 
and healthy, is able to absorb the infection of 
what is new and incorporate it to its advantage. 
The task of education in a single individual is 
this : to plant him so firmly and surely that, as 
a whole, he can no longer be diverted from his 
path. Then, however, the educator must wound 
him, or else make use of the wounds which fate 
inflicts, and when pain and need have thus arisen, 
something new and noble can be inoculated into 
the wounded places. With regard to the ^tate, 
Machiavelli says that, " the form of Government 
is of very small importance, although half- 
educated people think otherwise. The great aim 
of State-craft should be duration, which out- 
weighs all else, inasmuch as it is more valuable 
than liberty." It is only with securely founded 
and guaranteed duration that continual develop- 
ment and ennobling inoculation are at all possible. 
As a rule, however, authority, the dangerous com- 
panion of all duration, will rise in opposition to 


Free-Thinker a Relative Term. — We 
call that man a free-thinker who thinks otherwise 
than is expected of him in consideration of his 
origin, surroundings, position, and office, or by 
reason of the prevailing contemporary views. 
He is the exception, fettered minds are the rule ; 
these latter reproach him, saying that his free 
principles either have their origin in a desire 

VOL. I. O 



to be remarkable or else cause free actions to 
inferred, — that is to say, actions which are not 
compatible with fettered morality. Sometimes it 
is also said that the cause of such and such free 
principles may be traced to mental perversity 
and extravagance ; but only malice speaks thus, 
nor does it believe what it says, but wishes 
thereby to do an injury, for the free-thinker 
usually bears the proof of his greater goodness 
and keenness of intellect written in his face so 
plainly that the fettered spirits understand it well 
enough. But the two other derivations of free- 
thought are honestly intended ; as a matter of 
fact, many free-thinkers are created in one or 
other of these ways. For this reason, however, 
the tenets to which they attain in this manner 
might be truer and more reliable than those of 
the fettered spirits. In the knowledge of truth, 
what really matters is the possession of it, not 
the impulse under which it was sought, the way 
in which it was found. If the free-thinkers are 
right then the fettered spirits are vvrong, and it is 
a matter of indifference whether the former have 
reached truth through immorality or the latter 
hitherto retained hold of untruths through 
morality. Moreover, it is not essential to the 
free-thinker that he should hold more correct 
views, but that he should have liberated himself 
from what was customary, be it successfully or 
disastrously. As a rule, however, he will have 
truth, or at least the spirit of truth-investigation, 
on his side ; he demands reasons, the others 
demand faith. 


The Origin of Faith. — The fettered spirit 
does not take up his position from conviction, 
but from habit ; he is a Christian, for instance, 
not because he had a comprehension of different 
creeds and could take his choice ; he is an 
EngHshman, not because he decided for England, 
but he found Christianity and England ready- 
made and accepted them without any reason, 
just as one who is born in a wine-country 
becomes a wine-drinker. Later on, perhaps, as 
he was a Christian and an Englishman, he dis- 
covered a few reasons in favour of his habit; 
these reasons may be upset, but he is not 
therefore upset in his whole position. For 
instance, let a fettered spirit be obliged to bring 
forward his reasons against bigamy and then it 
will be seen whether his holy zeal in favour of 
monogamy is based upon reason or upon custom. 
The adoption of guiding principles without reasons 
is called faith. 


Conclusions drawn from the Conse- 
Un-reason. — All states and orders of society, 
professions, matrimony, education, law : all these 
find strength and duration only in the faith which 
I the fettered spirits repose in them, — that is, in 
j the absence of reasons, or at least in the averting 
1^ of inquiries as to reasons. The restricted spirits 
IBklo not willingly acknowledge this, and feel that 



it is a pudendum. Christianity, however, which 
was very simple in its intellectual ideas, remarked 
nothing of this pudendum^ required faith and 
nothing but faith, and passionately repulsed the 
demand for reasons ; it pointed to the success 
of faith : " You will soon feel the advantages 
of faith," it suggested, " and through faith shall 
ye be saved." As an actual fact, the State 
pursues the same course, and every father brings 
up his son in the same way : " Only believe 
this," he says, " and you will soon feel the good 
it does." This implies, however, that the truth 
of an opinion is proved by its personal usefulness ; 
the wholesomeness of a doctrine must be a 
guarantee for its intellectual surety and solidity. 
It is exactly as if an accused person in a court 
of law were to say, " My counsel speaks the 
whole truth, for only see what is the result of 
his speech : I shall be acquitted." Because the 
fettered spirits retain their principles on account 
of their usefulness, they suppose that the free 
spirit also seeks his own advantage in his views 
and only holds that to be true which is profitable 
to him. But as he appears to find profitable 
just the contrary of that which his compatriots 
or equals find profitable, these latter assume that 
his principles are dangerous to them ; they say 
or feel, " He must not be right, for he is injurious 
to us." 


The Strong, Good Character. — The 
restriction of views, which habit has made instinct, 


leads to what is called strength of character. 
When any one acts from (qw but always from 
the same motives, his actions acquire great 
energy ; if these actions accord with the principles 
of the fettered spirits they are recognised, and 
they produce, moreover, in those who perform 
them the sensation of a good conscience. Few 
motives, energetic action, and a good conscience 
compose what is called strength of character. 
The man of strong character lacks a knowledge 
of the many possibilities and directions of action ; 
his intellect is fettered and restricted, because 
in a given case it shows him, perhaps, only two 
possibilities ; between these two he must now 
of necessity choose, in accordance with his whole 
nature, and he does this easily and quickly 
because he has not to choose between fifty 
possibilities. The educating surroundings aim 
at fettering every individual, by always placing 
before him the smallest number of possibilities. 
The individual is always treated by his educators 
as if he were, indeed, something new, but should 
become a duplicate. If he makes his first appear- 
ance as something unknown, unprecedented, he 
must be turned into something known and 
precedented. In a child, the familiar manifesta- 
tion of restriction is called a good character; 
in placing itself on the side of the fettered 
spirits the child first discloses its awakening 
common feeling ; with this foundation of common 
sentiment, he will eventually become useful tc 
his State or rank. 



The Standards and Values of the" 
Fettered Spirits. — There are four species of 
things concerning which the restricted spirits say 
they are in the right. Firstly : all things that last 
are right; secondly: all things that are not burdens 
to us are right ; thirdly : all things that are advan- 
tageous for us are right ; fourthly : all things for 
which we have made sacrifices are right. The last 
sentence, for instance, explains why a war that 
was begun in opposition to popular feeling is 
carried on with enthusiasm directly a sacrifice 
has been made for it. The free spirits, who 
bring their case before the forum of the fettered 
spirits, must prove that free spirits always existed, 
that free-spiritism is therefore enduring, that it 
will not become a burden, and, finally, that on 
the whole they are an advantage to the fettered 
spirits. It is because they cannot convince the 
restricted spirits on this last point that they 
profit nothing by having proved the first and 
second propositions. 


Esprit Fort. — Compared with him who has 
tradition on his side and requires no reasons 
for his actions, the free spirit is always weak, 
especially in action ; for he is acquainted with 
too many motives and points of view, and has, 
therefore, an uncertain and unpractised hand. 
What means exist of making him strong in spite 


of thiSy so that he will, at least, manage to 
survive, and will not perish ineffectually? 
What is the source of the strong spirit {esprit 
fort) ? This is especially the question as to the 
production of genius. Whence comes the energy, 
the unbending strength, the endurance with which 
the one, in opposition to accepted ideas, 
endeavours to obtain an entirely individual 
knowledge of the world ? 


The Rise of Genius. — The ingenuity with 
which a prisoner seeks the means of freedom, 
the most cold-blooded and patient employment 
of every smallest advantage, can teach us of 
what tools Nature sometimes makes use in order 
to produce Genius, — a word which I beg will be 
understood without any mythological and religious 
flavour; she, Nature, begins it in a dungeon and 
excites to the utmost its desire to free itself. 
Or to give another picture : some one who has 
completely lost his way in a wood, but who 
with unusual energy strives to reach the open 
in one direction or another, will sometimes dis- 
cover a new path which nobody knew previously, 
— thus arise geniuses, who are credited with 
originality. It has already been said that mutila- 
tion, crippling, or the loss of some important 
organ, is frequently the cause of the unusual 
development of another organ, because this one 
has to fulfil its own and also another function. 
This explains the source of many a brilliant 



talent. These general remarks on the origin of 
genius may be applied to the special case, the 
origin of the perfect free spirit. 


Conjecture as to the Origin of Free- 
Spiritism. — Just as the glaciers increase when in] 
equatorial regions the sun shines upon the seasi 
with greater force than hitherto, so may a very 
strong and spreading free-spiritism be a proof 
that somewhere or other the force of feeling has 
grown extraordinarily. 


The Voice of History. — In general, history 
appears to teach the following about the production 
of genius : it ill-treats and torments mankind- 
calls to the passions of envy, hatred, and rivalry- 
drives them to desperation, people against people, 
throughout whole centuries ! Then, perhaps, like 
a stray spark from the terrible energy thereby 
aroused, there flames up suddenly the light of 
genius ; the will, like a horse maddened by the 
rider's spur, thereupon breaks out and leaps over 
into another domain. He who could attain to a 
comprehension of the production of genius, and 
desires to carry out practically the manner in 
which Nature usually goes to work, would have 
to be just as evil and regardless as Nature itself. 
But perhaps we have not heard rightly. 


The Value of the Middle of the Road. 
— It is possible that the production of genius is 
reserved to a limited period of mankind's history. 
For we must not expect from the future every- 
thing that very defined conditions were able to 
produce ; for instance, not the astounding effects 
of religious feeling. This has had its day, and 
much that is very good can never grow again, 
because it could grow out of that alone. There 
will never again be a horizon of life and culture 
that is bounded by religion. Perhaps even the 
type of the saint is only possible with that certain 
narrowness of intellect, which apparently has com- 
pletely disappeared. And thus the greatest height 
of intelligence has perhaps been reserved for a 
single age ; it appeared — and appears, for we are 
still in that age — when an extraordinary, long- 
accumulated energy of will concentrates itself, as 
an exceptional case, upon intellectual aims. That 
height will no longer exist when this wildness and 
energy cease to be cultivated. Mankind probably 
approaches nearer to its actual aim in the middle 
of its road, in the middle time of its existence 
than at the end. It may be that powers with 
which, for instance, art is a condition, die out 
altogether ; the pleasure in lying, in the undefined, 
the symbolical, in intoxication, in ecstasy might fall 
into disrepute. For certainly, when life is ordered 
in the perfect State, the present will provide no. 
more motive for poetry, and it would only be those 
persons who had remained behind who would ask 


for poetical unreality. These, then, would as- 
suredly look longingly backwards to the times of 
the imperfect State, of half-barbaric society, to our 


Genius and the Ideal State in Conflict. 
— The Socialists demand a comfortable life for the 
greatest possible number. If the lasting house of 
this life of comfort, the perfect State, had really 
been attained, then this life of comfort would have 
destroyed the ground out of which grow the great 
intellect and the mighty individual generally, I 
mean powerful energy. Were this State reached, 
mankind would have grown too weary to be still 
capable of producing genius. Must we not hence 
wish that life should retain its forcible character, 
and that wild forces and energies should continue 
to be called forth afresh ? But warm and sympa- 
thetic hearts desire precisely the removal of that 
wild and forcible character, and the warmest hearts 
we can imagine desire it the most passionately of 
all, whilst all the time its passion derived its fire, its 
warmth, its very existence precisely from that wild 
and forcible character ; the warmest heart, therefore, 
desires the removal of its own foundation, the des- 
truction of itself, — that is, it desires something 
illogical, it is not intelligent. The highest intelli- 
gence and the warmest heart cannot exist together 
in one person, and the wise man who passes 
judgment upon life looks beyond goodness and 
only regards it as something which is not without 
value in the general summing-up of life. The 



wise man must oppose those digressive wishes of 
unintelligent goodness, because he has an interest 
in the continuance of his type and in the eventual 
appearance of the highest intellect ; at least, he 
will not advance the founding of the " perfect 
State," inasmuch as there is only room in it for 
wearied individuals. Christ, on the contrary, he 
whom we may consider to have had the warmest 
heart, advanced the process of making man stupid, 
placed himself on the side of the intellectually 
poor, and retarded the production of the greatest 
intellect, and this was consistent. His opposite, 
the man of perfect wisdom, — this may be safely 
prophesied — will just as necessarily hinder the pro- 
duction of a Christ. The State is a wise arrange- 
ment for the protection of one individual against 
another ; if its ennobling is exaggerated the indi- 
vidual will at last be weakened by it, even effaced, 
— thus the original purpose of the State will be 
most completely frustrated. 


The Zones of Culture. — It may be figura- 
tively said that the ages of culture correspond to 
the zones of the various climates, only that they 
lie one behind another and not beside each other 
like the geographical zones. In comparison with 
the temperate zone of culture, which it is our 
object to enter, the past, speaking generally, gives 
the impression of a tropical climate. Violent con- 
trasts, sudden changes between day and night, 
heat and colour-splendour, the reverence of all 



that was sudden, mysterious, terrible, the rapidity | 
with which storms broke: everywhere that lavish! 
abundance of the provisions of nature ; and opposed] 
to this, in our culture, a clear but by no means I 
bright sky, pure but fairly unchanging air, sharp- 
ness, even cold at times ; thus the two zones are; 
contrasts to each other. When we see how in 
that former zone the most raging passions are 
suppressed and broken down with mysterious force 
by metaphysical representations, we feel as if wild 
tigers were being crushed before our very eyes in 
the coils of mighty serpents ; our mental climate 
lacks such episodes, our imagination is temperate, 
even in dreams there does not happen to us what 
former peoples saw waking. But should we not 
rejoice at this change, even granted that artists 
are essentially spoiled by the disappearance of the 
tropical culture and find us non-artists a little too 
timid ? In so far artists are certainly right to deny 
"progress," for indeed it is doubtful whether the | 
last three thousand years show an advance in the 
arts. In the same way, a metaphysical philosopher 
like Schopenhauer would have no cause to acknow- 
ledge progress with a regard to metaphysical philo- 
sophy and religion if he glanced back over the last 
four thousand years. For us, however, the existence 
even of the temperate zones of culture is progress. 


Renaissance and Reformation. — The 
Italian Renaissance contained within itself all thei 
positive forces to which we owe modern culture. 


Such were the liberation of thought, the disregard 
of authorities, the triumph of education over the 
darkness of tradition, enthusiasm for science and 
the scientific past of mankind, the unfettering of 
the Individual, an ardour for truthfulness and a 
dislike of delusion and mere effect (which ardour 
blazed forth in an entire company of artistic charac- 
ters, who with the greatest moral purity required 
from themselves perfection in their works, and 
nothing but perfection) ; yes, the Renaissance 
had positive forces, which have, as yet, never 
become so mighty again in our modern culture. 
It was the Golden Age of the last thousand years, 
in spite of all its blemishes and vices. On the 
other hand, the German Reformation stands out as 
an energetic protest of antiquated spirits, who were 
by no means tired of mediaeval views of life, and 
who received the signs of its dissolution, the extra- 
ordinary flatness and alienation of the religious 
life, with deep dejection instead of with the 
rejoicing that would have been seemly. With 
their northern strength and stiff-neckedness they 
threw mankind back again, brought about the 
counter-reformation, that is, a Catholic Christianity 
of self-defence, with all the violences of a state of 
siege, and delayed for two or three centuries the 
complete awakening and mastery of the sciences ; 
just as they probably made for ever impossible 
the complete inter-growth of the antique and the 
modern spirit. The great task of the Renaissance 
could not be brought to a termination, this was 
prevented by the protest of the contemporary 
backward German spirit (which, for its salvation, 



had had sufficient sense in the Middle Ages to 
cross the Alps again and again). It was the 
chance of an extraordinary constellation of politics 
that Luther was preserved, and that his protest 
gained strength, for the Emperor protected him in 
order to employ him as a weapon against the Pope, 
and in the same way he was secretly favoured 
by the Pope in order to use the Protestant princes 
as a counter-weight against the Emperor. With- 
out this curious counter-play of intentions, Luther 
would have been burnt like Huss, — and the 
morning sun of enlightenment would probably 
have risen somewhat earlier, and with a splendour 
more beauteous than we can now imagine. 


Justice against the Becoming God. — 
When the entire history of culture unfolds itself to 
our gaze, as a confusion of evil and noble, of true 
and false ideas, and we feel almost seasick at the 
sight of these tumultuous waves, we then under- 
stand what comfort resides in the conception of a 
becoming God. This Deity is unveiled ever more 
and more throughout the changes and fortunes of 
mankind ; it is not all blind mechanism, a senseless 
and aimless confusion of forces. The deification 
of the process of being is a metaphysical outlook, 
seen as from a lighthouse overlooking the sea of 
history, in which a far-too historical generation of 
scholars found their comfort. This must not 
arouse anger, however erroneous the view may be. 
Only those who, like Schopenhauer, deny develop- 


ment also feel none of the misery of this historical 
wave, and therefore, because they know nothing 
of that becoming God and the need of His supposi- 
tion, they should in justice withhold their scorn. 


The Fruits According to their Seasons. 
— Every better future that is desired for mankind 
is necessarily in many respects also a worse 
future, for it is foolishness to suppose that a 
new, higher grade of humanity will combine in 
itself all the good points of former grades, and 
must produce, for instance, the highest form 
of art. Rather has every season its own 
advantages and charms, which exclude those of 
the other seasons. That which has grown out 
of religion and in its neighbourhood cannot grow 
again if this has been destroyed ; at the most, 
straggling and belated off-shoots may lead to 
deception on that point, like the occasional out- 
breaks of remembrance of the old art, a condition 
that probably betrays the feeling of loss and 
deprivation, but which is no proof of the power 
from which a new art might be born. 


The Increasing Severity of the World. 
— The higher culture an individual attains, the 
less field there is left for mockery and scorn. 
Voltaire thanked Heaven from his heart for the 
invention of marriage and the Church, by which 


it had so well provided for our cheer. But he 
and his time, and before him the sixteenth 
century, had exhausted their ridicule on this 
theme ; everything that is now made fun of on 
this theme is out of date, and above all too cheap 
to tempt a purchaser. Causes are now inquired 
after ; ours is an age of seriousness. Who cares 
now to discern, laughingly, the difference between 
reality and pretentious sham, between that which 
man is and that which he wishes to represent ; 
the feeling of this contrast has quite a different 
effect if we seek reasons. The more thoroughly 
any one understands life, the less he will mock, 
though finally, perhaps, he will mock at the 
" thoroughness of his understanding." 


The Genius of Culture. — If any one wished? 
to imagine a genius of culture, what would it 
be like ? It handles as its tools falsehood, force, 
and thoughtless selfishness so surely that it 
could only be called an evil, demoniacal being; 
but its aims, which are occasionally transparent, 
are great and good. It is a centaur, half-beast, 
half-man, and, in addition, has angel's wings 
upon its head. 


The Miracle-Education. — Interest in Edu- 
cation will acquire great strength only from 
the moment when belief in a God and His care 
is renounced, just as the art of healing could 


only flourish when the belief in miracle-cures 
ceased. So far, however, there is universal belief 
in the miracle-education ; out of the greatest 
disorder and confusion of aims and unfavourable- 
ness of conditions, the most fertile and mighty- 
men have been seen to grow ; could this happen 
naturally ? Soon these cases will be more closely 
looked into, more carefully examined ; but 
miracles will never be discovered. In similar 
circumstances countless persons perish constantly ; 
the few saved have, therefore, usually grown 
stronger, because they endured these bad con- 
ditions by virtue of an inexhaustible inborn 
strength, and this strength they had also exercised 
and increased by fighting against these circum- 
stances ; thus the miracle is explained. An 
education that no longer believes in miracles 
must pay attention to three things : first, how 
much energy is inherited ? secondly, by what 
means can new energy be aroused ? thirdly, how 
can the individual be adapted to so many and 
manifold claims of culture without being dis- 
quieted and destroying his personality, — in 
short, how can the individual be initiated into the 
counterpoint of private and public culture, how 
can he lead the melody and at the same time 
accompany it? 


The Future of the Physician. — There 
is now no profession which would admit of such 
an enhancement as that of the physician ; that 
is, after the spiritual physicians the so-called 

VOL. I. P 




pastors, are no longer allowed to practise their 
conjuring tricks to public applause, and a 
cultured person gets out of their way. The 
highest mental development of a physician has 
not yet been reached, even if he understands 
the best and newest methods, is practised in 
them, and knows how to draw those rapid 
conclusions from effects to causes for which 
the diagnostics are celebrated ; besides this, he 
must possess a gift of eloquence that adapts 
itself to every individual and draws his heart out 
of his body; a manliness, the sight of which alone 
drives away all despondency (the canker of all 
sick people), the tact and suppleness of a 
diplomatist in negotiations between such as have 
need of joy for their recovery and such as, for 
reasons of health, must (and can) give joy ; the 
acuteness of a detective and an attorney to 
divine the secrets of a soul without betraying 
them, — in short, a good physician now has need 
of all the artifices and artistic privileges of every 
other professional class. Thus equipped, he is 
then ready to be a benefactor to the whole o{. 
society, by increasing good works, mental joys 
and fertility, by preventing evil thoughts, projects 
and villainies (the evil source of which is so 
often the belly), by the restoration of a mental 
and physical aristocracy (as a maker and hinderer 
of marriages), by judiciously checking all so- 
called soul-torments and pricks of conscience 
Thus from a " medicine man " he becomes 
saviour, and yet need work no miracle, neither 
is he obliged to let himself be crucified. 


In the Neighbourhood of Insanity. — 
The sum of sensations, knowledge and ex- 
periences, the whole burden of culture, therefore, 
has become so great that an overstraining of 
nerves and powers of thought is a common 
danger, indeed the cultivated classes of European 
countries are throughout neurotic, and almost 
every one of their great families is on the verge 
of insanity in one of their branches. True, health 
is now sought in every possible way ; but in 
the main a diminution of that tension of feeling, 
of that oppressive burden of culture, is needful, 
which, even though it might be bought at a 
heavy sacrifice, would at least give us room for 
the great hope of a new Renaissance. To 
Christianity, to the philosophers, poets, and 
musicians we owe an abundance of deeply 
emotional sensations ; in order that these may 
not get beyond our control we must invoke the 
spirit of science, which on the whole makes us 
somewhat colder and more sceptical, and in 
particular cools the faith in final and absolute 
truths; it is chiefly through Christianity that 
it has grown so wild. 


The Bell-founding of Culture. — Culture 
has been made like a bell, within a covering of 
coarser, commoner material, falsehood, violence, 
the boundless extension of every individual " I," 



of every separate people — this was the covering. 
Is it time to take it off? Has the liquid set, 
have the good and useful impulses, the habits 
of the nobler nature become so certain and so ■{ 
general that they no longer require to lean on 
metaphysics and the errors of religion, no longer 
have need of hardnesses and violence as powerful fll 
bonds between man and man, people and people ? 
No sign from any God can any longer help us 
to answer this question ; our own insight must |i I 
decide. The earthly rule of man must be taken "■ ' < 
in hand by man himself, his " omniscience " must 
watch over the further fate of culture with a 
sharp eye. 


The Cyclopes of Culture. — Whoever has 
seen those furrowed basins which once contained 
glaciers, will hardly deem it possible that a time 
will come when the same spot will be a valley 
of woods and meadows and streams. It is the 
same in the history of mankind ; the wildest m I 
forces break the way, destructively at first, 
but their activity was nevertheless necessary in 
order that later on a milder civilisation might ■ I 
build up its house These terrible energies — 
that which is called Evil — are the cyclopic archi- 
tects and road-makers of humanity. 


The Circulation of Humanity. — It 
possible that all humanity is only a phase of 


development of a certain species of animal of 
limited duration. Man may have grown out 
of the ape and will return to the ape again,* 
without anybody taking an interest in the ending 
of this curious comedy. Just as with the decline 
of Roman civilisation and its most important 
cause, the spread of Christianity, there was a 
general uglification of man within the Roman 
Empire, so, through the eventual decline of general 
culture, there might result a far greater uglification 
and finally an animalising of man till he reached 
the ape. But just because we are able to face 
this prospect, we shall perhaps be able to avert 
such an end. 


The Consoling Speech of a Desperate 
Advance. — Our age gives the impression of an 
intermediate condition ; the old ways of regarding 
the world, the old cultures still partially exist, 
the new are not yet sure and customary and 
hence are without decision and consistency. It 
appears as if everything would become chaotic, 
as if the old were being lost, the new worthless 
and ever becoming weaker. But this is what the 
soldier feels who is learning to march ; for a time 
he is more uncertain and awkward, because his 
muscles are moved sometimes according to the 
old system and sometimes according to the new, 
and neither gains a decisive victory. We waver, 

* This may remind one of Gobineau's more jocular 
saying : " Nous ne descendons pas du singe, mats nous y 
allons:'—]. M. K, 


but it is necessary not to lose courage and give 
up what we have newly gained. Moreover, we 
cannot go back to the old, we have burnt our 
boats ; there remains nothing but to be brave 
whatever happen. — March ahead^ only get 
forward ! Perhaps our behaviour looks like 
progress ; but if not, then the words of Frederick 
the Great may also be applied to us, and indeed 
as a consolation : " Ah^ mon cher Sulzer, vous ne 
connaissez pas assez cette race maudite^ d laquelle 
nous appartenons," 


Suffering from Past Culture. — Whoever 
has solved the problem of culture suffers from a 
feeling similar to that of one who has inherited 
unjustly-gotten riches, or of a prince who reigns 
thanks to the violence of his ancestors. He 
thinks of their origin with grief and is often 
ashamed, often irritable. The whole sum of 
strength, joy, vigour, which he devotes to his 
possessions, is often balanced by a deep weariness, 
he cannot forget their origin. He looks despond- 
ingly at the future ; he knows well that his 
successors will suffer from the past as he does. 


Manners. — Good manners disappear in pro- 
portion as the influence of a Court and an exclusive 
aristocracy lessens ; this decrease can be plainly 
observed from decade to decade by those who have 
an eye for public behaviour, which grows visibly 


more vulgar. No one any longer knows how to 
court and flatter intelligently; hence arises the 
ludicrous fact that in cases where we must render 
actual homage (to a great statesman or artist, for 
instance), the words of deepest feeling, of simple, 
peasant-like honesty, have to be borrowed, owing 
to the embarrassment resulting from the lack 
of grace and wit. Thus the public ceremonious 
meeting of men appears ever more clumsy, but 
more full of feeling and honesty without really 
being so. But must there always be a decline in 
manners ? It appears to me, rather, that manners 
take a deep curve and that we are approaching 
their lowest point. When society has become sure 
of its intentions and principles, so that they have 
a moulding effect (the manners we have learnt 
from former moulding conditions are now inherited 
and always more weakly learnt), there will then 
be company manners, gestures and social ex- 
pressions, which must appear as necessary and 
simply natural because they are intentions and 
principles. The better division of time and work, 
the gymnastic exercise transformed into the ac- 
companiment of all beautiful leisure, increased and 
severer meditation, which brings wisdom and 
suppleness even to the body, will bring all this 
in its train. Here, indeed, we might think with a 
smile of our scholars, and consider whether, as a 
matter of fact, they who wish to be regarded as the 
forerunners of that new culture are distinguished 
by their better manners ? This is hardly the 
case ; although their spirit may be willing enough 
their flesh is weak. The past of culture is still too 



powerful in their muscles, they still stand in a fettered 
position, and are half worldly priests and half de- 
pendent educators of the upper classes, and besides 
this they have been rendered crippled and life- 
less by the pedantry of science and by antiquated, 
spiritless methods. In any case, therefore, they 
are physically, and often three-fourths mentally, 
still the courtiers of an old, even antiquated 
culture, and as such are themselves antiquated; 
the new spirit that occasionally inhabits these old 
dwellings often serves only to make them more 
uncertain and frightened. In them there dwell 
the ghosts of the past as well as the ghosts of the 
future ; what wonder if they do not wear the best 
expression or show the most pleasing behaviour? 


The Future of Science. — To him who 
works and seeks in her, Science gives much 
pleasure, — to him who learns her facts, very little. 
But as all important truths of science must gradu- 
ally become commonplace and everyday matters, 
even this small amount of pleasure ceases, just as 
we have long ceased to take pleasure in learning 
the admirable multiplication table. Now if Science 
goes on giving less pleasure in herself, and always 
takes more pleasure in throwing suspicion on the 
consolations of metaphysics, religion and art, that 
greatest of all sources of pleasure, to which 
mankind owes almost its whole humanity, becomes 
impoverished. Therefore a higher culture must 
^ive man a double brain, two brain -chambers, so 


to speak, one to feel science and the other to feel 
non-science, which can lie side by side, without 
confusion, divisible, exclusive ; this is a necessity 
of health. In one part lies the source of strength, 
in the other lies the regulator ; it must be heated 
with illusions, onesidednesses, passions ; and the 
malicious and dangerous consequences of over- 
heating must be averted by the help of conscious 
Science. If this necessity of the higher culture is not 
satisfied, the further course of human development 
can almost certainly be foretold : the interest in 
what is true ceases as it guarantees less pleasure ; 
illusion, error, and imagination reconquer step by 
step the ancient territory, because they are 
united to pleasure ; the ruin of science : the 
relapse into barbarism is the next result ; mankind 
must begin to weave its web afresh after having, 
like Penelope, destroyed it during the night. But 
who will assure us that it will always find the 
necessary strength for this ? 


The Pleasure in Discernment. — Why is 
discernment, that essence of the searcher and the 
philosopher, connected with pleasure? Firstly, 
and above all, because thereby we become con- 
scious of our strength, for the same reason that 
gymnastic exercises, even without spectators, are 
enjoyable. Secondly, because in the course of 
knowledge we surpass older ideas and their re- 
presentatives, and become, or believe ourselves to 
be, conquerors. Thirdly, because even a very 


little new knowledge exalts us above every one, 
and makes us feel we are the only ones who 
know the subject aright. These are the three most 
important reasons of the pleasure, but there are 
many others, according to the nature of the dis- 
cerner. A not inconsiderable index of such is 
given, where no one would look for it, in a passage 
of my parenetic work on Schopenhauer,* with the 
arrangement of which every experienced servant 
of knowledge may be satisfied, even though he 
might wish to dispense with the ironical touch 
that seems to pervade those pages. For if it be 
true that for the making of a scholar " a number 
of very human impulses and desires must be 
thrown together," that the scholar is indeed a 
very noble but not a pure metal, and " consists of 
a confused blending of very different impulses and 
attractions," the same thing may be said equally 
of the making and nature of the artist, the phil- 
osopher and the moral genius — and whatever 
glorified great names there may be in that list. 
Everything human deserves ironical consideration 
with respect to its origin, — therefore irony is so 
superfluous in the world. 


Fidelity as a Proof of Validity. — It is a' 
perfect sign of a sound theory if during forty 
years its originator does not mistrust it ; but I 

* This refers to his essay, " Schopenhauer as Educator," 
in Thoughts Out of Season, vol. ii. of the English edition. — 
J. M. K. 


maintain that there has never yet been a philo- 
sopher who has not eventually deprecated the 
philosophy of his youth. Perhaps, however, he 
has not spoken publicly of this change of opinion, 
for reasons of ambition, or, what is more probable 
in noble natures, out of delicate consideration for 
his adherents. 


The Increase of what is Interesting. — 
In the course of higher education everything 
becomes interesting to man, he knows how to 
find the instructive side of a thing quickly and to 
put his finger on the place where it can fill up a 
gap in his ideas, or where it may verify a thought. 
Through this boredom disappears more and more, 
and so does excessive excitability of temperament. 
Finally he moves among men like a botanist 
among plants, and looks upon himself as a 
phenomenon, which only greatly excites his dis- 
cerning instinct. 


The Superstition of the Simultaneous. — 
Simultaneous things hold together, it is said. A 
relative dies far away, and at the same time we 
dream about him, — Consequently ! But countless 
relatives die and we do not dream about them. 
It is like shipwrecked people who make vows ; 
afterwards, in the temples, we do not see the votive 
tablets of those who perished. A man dies, an owl 
hoots, a clock stops, all at one hour of the night, 
- — must there not be some connection ? Such an 


intimacy with nature as this supposition implies 
is flattering to mankind. This species of super- 
stition is found again in a refined form in historians 
and delineators of culture, who usually have a kind 
of hydrophobic horror of all that senseless mixture, 
in which individual and national life is so rich. 


Action and not Knowledge Exercised by 
Science. — The value of strictly pursuing science 
for a time does not lie precisely in its results, for 
these, in proportion to the ocean of what is worth 
knowing, are but an infinitesimally small drop. 
But it gives an additional energy, decisiveness, 
and toughness of endurance ; it teaches how to 
attain an aim suitably. In so far it is very valu- 
able, with a view to all that is done later on, to 
have once been a scientific man. 


The Youthful Charm of Science. — The 
search for truth still retains the charm of being 
in strong contrast to gray and now tiresome 
error ; but this charm is gradually disappearing. 
It is true we still live in the youthful age of 
science and are accustomed to follow truth as a 
lovely girl ; but how will it be when one day she 
becomes an elderly, ill-tempered looking woman ? 
In almost all sciences the fundamental knowledge 
is either found in earliest times or is still being 
sought; what a different attraction this exerts 


compared to that time when everything essential 
has been found and there only remains for the 
seeker a scanty gleaning (which sensation may be 
learnt in several historical disciplines). 


The Statue of Humanity. — The genius of 
culture fares as did Cellini when his statue of 
Perseus was being cast ; the molten mass threat- 
ened to run short, but it had to suffice, so he 
flung in his plates and dishes, and whatever else 
his hands fell upon. In the same way genius 
flings in errors, vices, hopes, ravings, and other 
things of baser as well as of nobler metal, for the 
statue of humanity must emerge and be finished ; 
what does it matter if commoner material is used 
here and there? 


A Male Culture. — The Greek culture of the 
classic age is a male culture. As far as women 
are concerned, Pericles expresses everything in 
the funeral speech : " They are best when they 
are as little spoken of as possible amongst men." 
The erotic relation of men to youths was the 
necessary and sole preparation, to a degree un- 
attainable to our comprehension, of all manly 
education (pretty much as for a long time all 
higher education of women was only attainable 
through love and marriage). All idealism of the 
strength of the Greek nature threw itself into that 
relation, and it is probable that never since have 
young men been treated so attentively, so lovingly, 



SO entirely with a view to their welfare {virtus) as' 
in the fifth and sixth centuries B.C. — according to 
the beautiful saying of Holderlin : " denn liebend 
giebt der Sterbliche vom Besten." * The higher the 
light in which this relation was regarded, the lower 
sank intercourse with woman ; nothing else was 
taken into consideration than the production of^ 
children and lust ; there was no intellectual 
intercourse, not even real love-making. If it be 
further remembered that women were even ex- 
cluded from contests and spectacles of every 
description, there only remain the religious cults 
as their sole higher occupation. For although in 
the tragedies Electra and Antigone were repre- 
sented, this was only tolerated in art, but not 
liked in real life, — ^just as now we cannot endure 
anything pathetic in life but like it in art. The 
women had no other mission than to produce 
beautiful, strong bodies, in which the father's i 
character lived on as unbrokenly as possible, and' 
therewith to counteract the increasing nerve- 
tension of such a highly developed culture. Thisj 
kept the Greek culture young for a relatively long; 
time; for in the Greek mothers the Greek genius < 
always returned to nature 


The Prejudice in Favour of Greatness. 
— It is clear that men overvalue everything great 

* For it is when loving that mortal man gives of his 
best.— J. M. K. 




and prominent. This arises from the conscious or 
unconscious idea that they deem it very useful 
when one person throws all his strength into one 
thing and makes himself into a monstrous organ. 
Assuredly, an equal development of all his powers 
is more useful and happier for man ; for every 
talent is a vampire which sucks blood and strength 
from other powers, and an exaggerated production 
can drive the most gifted almost to madness. 
Within the circle of the arts, too, extreme natures 
excite far too much attention ; but a much lower 
culture is necessary to be captivated by them. 
Men submit from habit to everything that seeks 


The Tyrants of the Mind. — It is only where 
the ray of myth falls that the life of the Greeks 
shines ; otherwise it is gloomy. The Greek philo- 
sophers are now robbing themselves of this myth ; 
is it not as if they wished to quit the sunshine for 
shadow and gloom ? Yet no plant avoids the 
light ; and, as a matter of fact, those philosophers 
were only seeking a brighter sun; the myth ^s 
not pure enoug^h, not shin i ng enough for them . 
They found this light in their knowledge, in that 
which each of them called his " truth." But in 
those times knowledge shone with a greater glory ; 
it was still young and knew but little of all the 
difficulties and dangers of its path ; it could still 
hope to reach in one single bound the central point 
of all being, and from thence to solve the riddle of 
the world. These philosophers had a firm belief in 



themselves and their " truth," and with it they over- 
threw all their neighbours and predecessors ; each 
one was a warlike, violent tyrant. The happiness in 
believing themselves the possessors of truth was per- 
haps never greater in the world, but neither were the 
hardness, the arrogance, and the tyranny and evil 
of such a belief. The y were tyrants, th ey were 
that, therefore, which every Greek want ed to be, 
a nd which every one was if he w as able. Perhaps 
Solon alone is an exception ; heTellsTli his poems 
how he disdained personal tyranny. But he did 
it for love of his works, of his law-giving ; and 
to be a law-giver is a sublimated form of tyranny, 
Parmenides also made laws. Pythagoras and 
Empedocles probably did the same ; Anaximander 
founded a city. Plato was the incarnate wish to 
become the greatest philosophic law-giver and 
founder of States ; he appears to have suffered 
terribly over the non-fulfilment of his nature, and 
towards his end his soul was filled with the bitterest 
gall. The more the Greek philosophers lost in 
power the more they suffered inwardly from this 
bitterness and malice ; when the various sects fought 
for their truths in the street, then first were the 
souls of these wooers of truth completely clogged 
through envy and spleen ; the tyrannical element 
then raged like poison within their bodies. These 
many petty tyrants would have liked to devour 
each other ; there survived not a single spark of love 
and very little joy in their own knowledge. The 
saying that tyrants are generally murdered and that 
their descendants are short-lived, is true also of the 
tyrants of the mind. Their history is short and 


violent, and their after-effects break off suddenly. 
It may be said of almost all great Hellenes that 
they appear to have come too late : it~~was~1;bu^ 
__with.^Eschylus, with Pindar, with Dpmo?ithpnen, -mth 
T hucydides : o ne generation — and then it is passed 
for ever. That is the stormy and __disrnal^IemeniE 
J n Greek history. We now, it is true, admire the 
gospel of the tortoises. To think historically is 
almost the same thing now as if in all ages history 
had been made according to the theory " The 
smallest possible amount in the longest possible 
time ! " Oh ! how quickly Greek history runs on ! 
Since then life has never been so extravagant — so 
unbounded. I cannot persuade myself that the 
history of the Greeks' faWxywed-thztmitural course 
for w hich it is so celebrated. They were much too 
variously gifted to be gradual in the orderly man- 
nS^pftlie tortoise when running a race with Achilles, 
and that is called natural development. The 
Greeks went rapidly forward, but equally rapidly 
downwardsj the movement of the whole machine 
is. so intensified that a single stone thrown amid 
its- wheels was sufficient to break it. Such a stone^ 
for instance, was Socrates ; the hitherto so wonder- 
fulty"regular, although certainly too rapid, develop- 
ment of the philosophical science was destroyed iri . 
one nighty It is no idle question whether Plato, 
had he remained free from the Socratic charm," 
would not have discovered a still higher type of the 
.philosophic man, which type is for ever lost to us. 
We look into the ages before him as into a sculptor's 
workshop of such types. The fifth and sixth 
centuries B.C. seemed to promise something more 

VOL. I. Q 



and. higher ev^n than they producgd ; they stopped , 
short at promising and announcingr 'And 
there is hardly a greater-lnssLJ:haJilhelIos§,of a type, 
of a new, hitherto undiscovered highest possibility 
oJ^hefhiivsophicHfe.-Y.VQXi of the older type the! 

,-gr-eater number are hadly transmitted ; it seems to 
me that all philosophers, from Thales to Democritus, 
are remarkably difficult to recognise, but whoever 
succeeds in imitating these figures walks amongst 
specimens of the mightiest and purest type. This 
ability is certainly rare, it was even absent in 
those later Greeks, who occupied themselves w^h 
theTcnowledge of the older philosophy ; Aristotle," 

"Especially, hardly seems to have had eyes in his 
head when he stands before these great ones. And 
thus it appears as if these splendid philosophers 
had lived in vain, or as if they had only been in- 
tended to prepare the quarrelsome and talkative 
followers of the Socratic schools. As I have 
said, here is a gap, a break in development ; some 
great misfortune must have happened, and the only 
statue which might have revealed the meaning and 
purpose of that great artistic training was either 
broken or unsuccessful ; what actually happened 
has remained for ever a secret of the workshop. 

That which happened amongst the Greeks — 
namely, that every great thinker who belie ved him - 
self to" be m_ possession of We.' 'ahsqlute _ truth 
became a tyrant, so that even the mental history of 

the Greel<s acquired that violent, hasty anddanger- 
ou5-c h aTacter"sTiowh" by their Apolitical history, — this 
type of event was not therewith exhausted, much 
that is similar has happened even in more modern 


times, although gradually becoming rarer and now 
but seldom showing the pure, naive conscience of 
the Greek philosophers. For on the whole, oppo- 
sition doctrines and scepticism now speak too 
powerfully, too loudly. The period of mental 
tyranny is past. It is true that in the spheres of 
higher culture there must always be a supremacy, 
but henceforth this supremacy lies in the hands of 
the oligarchs of the mind. In spite of local and 
political separation they form a cohesive society, 
whose members recognise and acknowledge each 
other, whatever public opinion and the verdicts of 
review and newspaper writers who influence the 
masses may circulate in favour of or against them. 
Mental superiority, which formerly divided and 
embittered, nowadays generally unites ; how could 
the separate individuals assert themselves and swim 
through life on their own course, against all currents, 
if they did not see others like them living here and 
there under similar conditions, and grasped their 
hands,in the struggle as much against the ochlocratic 
character of the half mind and half culture as 
against the occasional attempts to establish a 
tyranny with the help of the masses ? Oligarchs 
are necessary to each other, they are each other's 
best joy, they understand their signs, but each is 
^nevertheless free, he fights and conquers in his 
)lace and perishes rather than submit. 


Homer. — The greatest fact in Greek culture 
;mains this, that Homer became so early Pan- 


Helleiijp, All mental and human freedom to 
which the Greeks attained is traceable to this 
fact. At the same time it has actually been fatal 

tq_Greek cuUure;4br-j Jom€ r4€¥ej4e driir5smH.^^^ ^^ 
he ce ntralised, and dissolved the more sefiouT 
i nstincts o f independence. From jLiriie__to -tiaie 

there_arQsel_£cQm the dep ths of_Hellenism an 

opposition to Homer ; but he always rem ained 
vict orious . All great me ntal JB^w^^IL have, an 
oppressing effect as well a s a libera ting one ; but 
it certainly makes a difference \yhether it is Homer 
or_lhe__Biblfi or. Science that tyrannises over 


Talents. — In such a highly developed 
humanity as the present, each individual naturally 
has access to many talents. Each has an inborn 
talent^ but only in a few is that degree of tough- 
ness, endurance, and energy born and trained that 
he really becomes a talent, becomes what he w,- 
that is, that he discharges it in works and actions. 


The Witty Person either Overvalued 
OR Undervalued. — Unscientific but talented 
people value every mark of intelligence, whether 
it be on a true or a false track ; above all, they 
want the person with whom they have inter- 
course to entertain them with his wit, to spur 
them on, to inflame them, to carry them away in 
seriousness and play, and in any case to be a 


powerful amulet to protect them against boredom. 
Scientific natures, on the other hand, know that 
the gift of possessing all manner of notions should 
be strictly controlled by the scientific spirit: it is 
not that which shines, deludes and excites, but 
the often insignificant truth that is the fruit which 
he knows how to shake down from the tree of 
knowledge. Like Aristotle, he is not permitted 
to make any distinction between the " bores " and 
the " wits," his dcsmon leads him through the desert 
as well as through tropical vegetation, in order 
that he may only take pleasure in the really 
actual, tangible, true. In insignificant scholars 
this produces a general disdain and suspicion of 
cleverness, and, on the other hand, clever people 
frequently have an aversion to science, as have, 
for instance, almost all artists. 


Sense in School. — School has no task more 
important than to teach strict thought, cautious 
judgment, and logical conclusions, hence it must 
pay no attention to what hinders these operations, 
such as religion, for instance. It can count on the 
fact that human vagueness, custom, and need will 
later on unstring the bow of all-too-severe thought. 
But so long as its influence lasts it should enforce 
that which is the essential and distinguishing point 
in man : " Sense and Science, the very highest 
power of man" — as Goethe judges. The great 
natural philosopher, Von Baer, thinks that the 
superiority of all Europeans, when compared to 


Asiatics, lies in the trained capability of giving 
reasons for that which they believe, of which the 
latter are utterly incapable. Europe went to the 
school of logical and critical thought, Asia still 
fails to know how to distinguish between truth and 
fiction, and is not conscious whether its convictions 
spring from individual observation and systematic 
thought or from imagination. Sense in the school 
has made Europe what it is ; in the Middle Ages 
it was on the road to become once more a part 
and dependent of Asia, — forfeiting, therefore, the 
scientific mind which it owed to the Greeks. 


The Undervalued Effect of Public- 
School Teaching. — The value of a public 
school is seldom sought in those things which are 
really learnt there and are carried away never to 
be lost, but in those things which are learnt and 
which the pupil only acquires against his will, in 
order to get rid of them again as soon as possible. 
Every educated person acknowledges that the 
reading of the classics, as now practised, is a 
monstrous proceeding carried on before young 
people are ripe enough for it by teachers who 
with every word, often by their appearance alone, 
throw a mildew on a good author. But therein 
lies the value, generally unrecognised, of these 
teachers who speak the abstract language of the 
higher culture, which, though dry and difficult to 
understand, is yet a sort of higher gymnastics of the 
brain ; and there is value in the constant recurrence 

CC ^H 



in their language of ideas, artistic expressions, 
methods and allusions which the young people 
hardly ever hear in the conversations of their 
relatives and in the street. Even if the pupils 
only hear, their intellect is involuntarily trained 
to a scientific mode of regarding things. It is 
not possible to emerge from this discipline entirely 
untouched by its abstract character, and to remain 
a simple child of nature. 

Learning many Languages. — The learning 
of many languages fills the memory with words 
instead of with facts and thoughts, and this is a 
vessel which, with every person, can only contain 
a certain limited amount of contents. Therefore 
the learning of many languages is injurious, inas- 
much as it arouses a belief in possessing dexterity 
and, as a matter of fact, it lends a kind of delusive 
importance to social intercourse. It is also indirectly 
injurious in that it opposes the acquirement of 
solid knowledge and the intention to win the 
respect of men in an honest way. Finally, it is 
the axe which is laid to the root of a delicate 
sense of language in our mother-tongue, which 
thereby is incurably injured and destroyed. The 
two nations which produced the greatest stylists, 
the Greeks and the French, learned no foreign 
languages. But as human intercourse must always 
grow more cosmopolitan, and as, for instance, a 
good merchant in London must now be able to 
read and write eight languages, the learning of 



many tongues has certainly become a necessary 
evil ; but which, when finally carried to an 
extreme, will compel mankind to find a remedy, 
and in some far-off future there will be a new 
language, used at first as a language of commerce, 
then as a language of intellectual intercourse 
generally, then for all, as surely as some time 
or other there will be aviation. Why else should 
philology have studied the laws of languages for 
a whole century, and have estimated the necessary, 
the valuable, and the successful portion of each 
separate language? 


The War History of the Individual. — ^ 
In a single human life that passes through many 
styles of culture we find that struggle condensed 
which would otherwise have been played out 
between two generations, between father and son ; 
the closeness of the relationship sharpens this 
struggle, because each party ruthlessly drags in 
the familiar inward nature of the other party ; and 
thus this struggle in the single individual becomes 
most embittered \ here every new phase disregards 
the earlier ones with cruel injustice and mis- 
understanding of their means and aims. 


A Quarter of an Hour Earlier. — A man 
is found occasionally whose views are beyond his 
time, but only to such an extent that he anticipates 
the common views of the next decade. He 


possesses public opinion before it is public ; that 
is, he has fallen into the arms of a view that 
deserves to be trivial a quarter of an hour sooner 
than other people. But his fame is usually far 
noisier than the fame of those who are really- 
great and prominent 


The Art of Reading. — Every strong ten- 
dency is one-sided ; it approaches the aim of the 
straight line and, like this, is exclusive, that is, it 
does not touch many other aims, as do weak 
parties and natures in their wave-like rolling to- 
and-fro ; it must also be forgiven to philologists 
that they are one-sided. The restoration and 
keeping pure of texts, besides their explana- 
tion, carried on in common for hundreds of 
years, has finally enabled the right metliods 
to be found ; the whole of the Middle Ages was 
absolutely incapable of a strictly philological 
explanation, that is, of the simple desire to com- 
prehend what an author says — it was an achieve- 
ment, finding these methods, let it not be under- 
valued ! Through this all science first acquired 
continuity and steadiness, so that the art of 
reading rightly, which is called philology, attained 
its summit. 


The Art of Reasoning. — The greatest 
advance that men have made lies in their 



acquisition of the art to reason rightly. It is 
not so very natural, as Schopenhauer supposes 
when he says, " All are capable of reasoning, 
but few of judging," it is learnt late and has 
not yet attained supremacy. False conclusions 
are the rule in older ages ; and the mythologies 
of all peoples, their magic and their superstition, 
their religious cult and their law are the inex- 
haustible sources of proof of this theory. 


Phases of Individual Culture. — The 
strength and weakness of mental productiveness 
depend far less on inherited talents than on the 
accompanying amount of elasticity. Most edu- 
cated young people of thirty turn round at this 
solstice of their lives and are afterwards dis- 
inclined for new mental turnings. Therefore, 
for the salvation of a constantly increasing culture, 
a new generation is immediately necessary, which 
will not do very much either, for in order to 
come up with the father's culture the son must 
exhaust almost all the inherited energy which 
the father himself possessed at that stage of 
life when his son was born ; with the little 
addition he gets further on (for as here the 
road is being traversed for the second time 
progress is a little quicker ; in order to learn 
that which the father knew, the son does not 
consume quite so much strength). Men of great 
elasticity, like Goethe, for instance, get through 



almost more than four generations in succession 
would be capable of; but then they advance 
too quickly, so that the rest of mankind only 
comes up with them in the next century, and 
even then perhaps not completely, because the 
exclusiveness of culture and the consecutiveness 
of development have been weakened by the 
frequent interruptions. Men catch up more 
quickly with the ordinary phases of intellectual 
culture which has been acquired in the course 
of history. Nowadays they begin to acquire 
culture as religiously inclined children, and 
perhaps about their tenth year these sentiments 
attain to their highest point, and are then 
changed into weakened forms (pantheism), whilst 
they draw near to science ; they entirely pass by 
God, immortality, and such-like things, but are 
overcome by the witchcraft of a metaphysical 
philosophy. Eventually they find even this un- 
worthy of belief; art, on the contrary, seems 
to vouchsafe more and more, so that for a time 
metaphysics is metamorphosed and continues 
to exist either as a transition to art or as an 
artistically transfiguring temperament. But the 
scientific sense grows more imperious and con- 
ducts man to natural sciences and history, and 
particularly to the severest methods of knowledge, 
whilst art has always a milder and less exacting 
meaning. All this usually happens within the 
first thirty years of a man's life. It is the re- 
capitulation of a./>ensum, for which humanity had 
laboured perhaps thirty thousand years. 




Retrograded, not Left Behind. — Who-^ 
ever, in the present day, still derives his develop^ 
ment from religious sentiments, and perhaps lives 
for some length of time afterwards in metaphysics 
and art, has assuredly gone back a considerable 
distance and begins his race with other modern 
men under unfavourable conditions ; he apparently 
loses time and space. But because he stays in 
those domains where ardour and energy are 
liberated and force flows continuously as a volcanic 
stream out of an inexhaustible source, he goes 
forward all the more quickly as soon as he has 
freed himself at the right moment from those 
dominators ; his feet are winged, his breast has 
learned quieter, longer, and more enduring 
breathing. He has only retreated in order to 
have sufficient room to leap ; thus something 
terrible and threatening may lie in this retrograde 


A Portion of our Ego as an Artistic 
Object. — It is a sign of superior culture 
consciously to retain and present a true picture 
of certain phases of development which commoner 
men live through almost thoughtlessly and then 
efface from the tablets of their souls : this is a 
higher species of the painter's art which only the 
few understand. For this it is necessary to 
isolate those phases artificially. Historical studies 
form the qualification for this painting, for they 


constantly incite us in regard to a portion of 
history, a people, or a human life, to imagine 
for ourselves a quite distinct horizon of thoughts, 
a certain strength of feelings, the prominence of 
this or the obscurity of that. Herein consists 
the historic sense, that out of given instances 
we can quickly reconstruct such systems of 
thoughts and feelings, just as we can mentally 
reconstruct a temple out of a few pillars and 
remains of walls accidentally left standing. The 
next result is that we understand our fellow- 
men as belonging to distinct systems and re- 
presentatives of different cultures — that is, as 
necessary, but as changeable ; and, again, that 
we can separate portions of our own development 
and put them down independently. 


Cynics and Epicureans. — The cynic re- 
cognises the connection between the multiplied 
and stronger pains of the more highly cultivated 
man and the abundance of requirements ; he 
comprehends, therefore, that the multitude of 
opinions about what is beautiful, suitable, seemly 
and pleasing, must also produce very rich 
sources of enjoyment, but also of displeasure. 
In accordance with this view he educates himself 
backwards, by giving up many of these opinions 
and withdrawing from certain demands of culture ; 
he thereby gains a feeling of freedom and strength ; 
and gradually, when habit has made his manner 
of life endurable, his sensations of displeasure 



are, as a matter of fact, rarer and weaker than 
those of cultivated people, and approach those 
of the domestic animal ; moreover, he experiences 
everything with the charm of contrast, and — he 
can also scold to his heart's content; so that 
thereby he again rises high above the sensation- 
range of the animal. The Epicurean has the 
same point of view as the cynic ; there is usually 
only a difference of temperament between them. 
Then the Epicurean makes use of his higher 
culture to render himself independent of prevailing 
opinions, he raises himself above them, whilst 
the cynic only remains negative. He walks, 
as it were, in wind-protected, well-sheltered, half- 
dark paths, whilst over him, in the wind, the tops 
of the trees rustle and show him how violently 
agitated is the world out there. The cynic, on 
the contrary, goes, as it were, naked into the 
rushing of the wind and hardens himself to the 
point of insensibility. 


Microcosm and Macrocosm of Culture. 
— The best discoveries about culture man makes 
within himself when he finds two heterogeneous 
powers ruling therein. Supposing some one were 
living as much in love for the plastic arts or for 
music as he was carried away by the spirit of 
science, and that he were to regard it as impos- 
sible for him to end this contradiction by the 
destruction of one and complete liberation of the 
other power, there would therefore remain nothing 


for him to do but to erect around himself such 
a large edifice of culture that those two powers 
might both dwell within it, although at different 
ends, whilst between them there dwelt reconciling, 
intermediary powers, with predominant strength to 
quell, in case of need, the rising conflict. But 
such an edifice of culture in the single individual 
will bear a great resemblance to the culture 
of entire periods, and will afford consecutive 
analogical teaching concerning it. For wher- 
ever the great architecture of culture manifested 
itself it was its mission to compel opposing powers 
to agree, by means of an overwhelming accumu- 
lation of other less unbearable powers, without 
thereby oppressing and fettering them. 


Happiness and Culture. — We are moved 
at the sight of our childhood's surroundings, — the 
arbour, the church with its graves, the pond and 
the wood, — all this we see again with pain. 
We are seized with pity for ourselves ; for what 
have we not passed through since then ! And 
everything here is so silent, so eternal, only we 
are so changed, so moved ; we even find a few 
human beings, on whom Time has sharpened his 
teeth no more than on an oak tree, — peasants, 
fishermen, woodmen — they are unchanged. 
Emotion and self-pity at the sight of lower 
culture is the sign of higher culture ; from which 
the conclusion may be drawn that happiness has 
certainly not been increased by it. Whoever 




wishes to reap happiness and comfort in life 
should always avoid higher culture. 


The Simile of the Dance. — It must now 
be regarded as a decisive sign of great culture if 
some one possesses sufficient strength and flexi- 
bility to be as pure and strict in discernment as, 
in other moments, to be capable of giving poetry, 
religion, and metaphysics a hundred paces' start 
and then feeling their force and beauty. Such a 
position amid two such different demands is very 
difficult, for science urges the absolute supremacy 
of its methods, and if this insistence is not yielded 
to, there arises the other danger of a weak waver- 
ing between different impulses. Meanwhile, to 
cast a glance, in simile at least, on a solution of 
this difficulty, it may be remembered that dancing 
is not the same as a dull reeling to and fro 
between different impulses. High culture will 
resemble a bold dance, — wherefore, as has been 
said, there is need of much strength and suppleness. 


Of the Relieving of Life. — A primary 
way of lightening life is the idealisation of all its 
occurrences ; and with the help of painting we 
should make it quite clear to ourselves what ideal- 
ising means. The painter requires that the spectator 
should not observe too closely or too sharply, he 
forces him back to a certain distance from whence 


to make his observations ; he is obh'ged to take 
for granted a fixed distance of the spectator from 
the picture, — he must even suppose an equally 
certain amount of sharpness of eye in his 
spectator; in such things he must on no account 
waver. Every one, therefore, who desires to 
idealise his life must not look at it too closely, 
and must always keep his gaze at a certain 
distance. This was a trick that Goethe, for 
instance, understood. 


Aggravation as Relief, and Vice Versa. 
— Much that makes life more difficult in certain 
grades of mankind serves to lighten it in a higher 
grade, because such people have become familiar 
with greater aggravations of life. The contrary 
also happens ; for instance, religion has a double 
face, according to whether a man looks up to it 
to relieve him of his burden and need, or looks 
down upon it as nipon fetters laid on him to 
prevent him from soaring too high into the air. 


The Higher Culture is Necessarily 
Misunderstood. — He who has strung his instru- 
ment with only two strings, like the scholars 
(who, besides the instinct of knowledge possess 
only an acquired religious instinct), does not under- 
stand people who can play upon more strings. 
It lies in the nature of the higher, many-stringed 
culture that it should always be falsely interpreted 
by the lower; an example of this is when art 



appears as a disguised form of the religious. 
People who are only religious understand even' 
science as a searching after the religious senti- 
ment, just as deaf mutes do not know what music ; 
is, unless it be visible movement. 


Lamentation. — It is, perhaps, the advantages 
of our epoch that bring with them a backward 
movement and an occasional undervaluing of the 
vita contemplativa. But it must be acknowledged 
that our time is poor in the matter of great I 
moralists, that Pascal, Epictetus, Seneca, and 
Plutarch are now but little read, that work and) 
industry — formerly in the following of the great ! 
goddess Health — sometimes appear to rage like 
a disease. Because time to think and tranquillity , 
in thought are lacking, we no longer ponder over 
different views, but content ourselves with hating 
them. With the enormous acceleration of life,! 
mind and eye grow accustomed to a partial and! 
false sight and judgment, and all people are like 
travellers whose only acquaintance with countries 
and nations is derived from the railway. An 
independent and cautious attitude of knowledge 
is looked upon almost as a kind of madness ; the i 
free spirit is brought into disrepute, chiefly 
through scholars, who miss their thoroughness 
and ant-like industry in his art of regarding things 
and would gladly banish him into one single corner 
of science, while it has the different and higher 
mission of commanding the battalion rear-guard 
of scientific and learned men from an isolated 


position, and showing them the ways and aims 
of culture. A song of lamentation such as that 
which has just been sung will probably have its 
own period, and will cease of its own accord on a 
forcible return of the genius of meditation. 


The Chief Deficiency of Active People. — 
Active people are usually deficient in the higher 
activity, I mean individual activity. They are 
active as officials, merchants, scholars, that is as 
a species, but not as quite distinct separate and 
single individuals ; in this respect they are idle. 
It is the misfortune of the active that their activity 
is almost always a little senseless. For instance, 
we must not ask the money-making banker the 
reason of his restless activity, it is foolish. The 
active roll as the stone rolls, according to the 
stupidity of mechanics. All mankind is divided, 
as it was at all times and is still, into slaves and 
freemen ; for whoever has not two-thirds of his 
day for himself is a slave, be he otherwise what- 
ever he likes, statesman, merchant, official, or 


In Favour of the Idle. — As a sign that 
the value of a contemplative life has decreased, 
scholars now vie with active people in a sort of 
hurried enjoyment, so that they appear to value 
this mode of enjoying more than that which 
really pertains to them, and which, as a matter of 
fact, is a far greater enjoyment. Scholars are 



ashamed of otimn. But there is one noble thing 
about idleness and idlers. If idleness is really the 
beginning of all vice, it finds itself, therefore, at least 
in near neighbourhood of all the virtues ; the idle 
man is still a better man than the active. You 
do not suppose that in speaking of idleness and 
idlers I am alluding to you, you sluggards ? 


Modern Unrest. — Modem restlessness in- 
creases towards the west, so that Americans look 
upon the inhabitants of Europe as altogether 
peace-loving and enjoying beings, whilst in reality 
they swarm about like wasps and bees. This 
restlessness is so great that the higher culture 
cannot mature its fruits, it is as if the seasons 
followed each other too quickly. For lack of rest 
our civilisation is turning into a new barbarism. 
At no period have the active, that is, the restless, 
been of more importance. One of the necessary 
corrections, therefore, which must be undertaken in 
the character of humanity is to strengthen the 
contemplative element on a large scale. But every 
individual who is quiet and steady in heart and 
head already has the right to believe that he 
possesses not only a good temperament, but also 
a generally useful virtue, and even fulfils a higher 
mission by the preservation of this virtue. 


To what Extent the Active Man is 
Lazy. — I believe that every one must have his 


own opinion about everything concerning which 
opinions are possible, because he himself is a 
peculiar, unique thing, which assumes towards all 
other things a new and never hitherto existing 
attitude. But idleness, which lies at the bottom 
of the active man's soul, prevents him from draw- 
ing water out of his own well. Freedom of 
opinion is like health ; both are individual, and no 
good general conception can be set up of either of 
them. That which is necessary for the health of 
one individual is the cause of disease in another, 
and many means and ways to the freedom of the 
spirit are for more highly developed natures the 
ways and means to confinement. 


Censor Vit^. — Alternations of love and hatred 
for a long period distinguish the inward condition 
of a man who desires to be free in his judgment 
of life ; he does not forget, and bears everything a 
grudge, for good and evil. At last, when the 
whole tablet of his soul is written full of experi- 
ences, he will not hate and despise existence, 
neither will he love it, but will regard it sometimes 
with a joyful, sometimes with a sorrowful eye, and, 
like nature, will be now in a summer and now in 
an autumn mood. 


The Secondary Result. — Whoever earnestly 

desires to be free will therewith and without any 

compulsion lose all inclination for faults and vices ; 

^ he will also be more rarely overcome by anger and 



vexation. His will desires nothing more urgently 
than to discern, and the means to do this, — that is, 
the permanent condition in which he is best able 
to discern. 


The Value of Disease. — The man who is 
bed-ridden often perceives that he is usually ill of 
his position, business, or society, and through them 
has lost all self-possession. He gains this piece 
of knowledge from the idleness to which his illness 
condemns him. 


Sensitiveness in the Country. — If there 
are no firm, quiet lines on the horizon of his life, a 
species of mountain and forest line, man's inmost 
will itself becomes restless, inattentive, and covetous, 
as is the nature of a dweller in towns ; he has no 
happiness and confers no happiness. 


Prudence of the Free Spirits. — Free- 
thinkers, those who live by knowledge alone, will 
soon attain the supreme aim of their life and their 
ultimate position towards society and State, and 
will gladly content themselves, for instance, with a 
small post or an income that is just sufficient to 
enable them to live ; for they will arrange to live 
in such a manner that a great change of outward 
prosperity, even an overthrow of the political order, 
would not cause an overthrow of their life. To 
all these things they devote as little energy as 


possible in order that with their whole accumu- 
lated strength, and with a long breath, they may 
dive into the element of knowledge. Thus they 
can hope to dive deep and be able to see the 
bottom. Such a spirit seizes only the point of 
an event, he does not care for things in the whole 
breadth and prolixity of their folds, for he does not 
wish to entangle himself in them. He, too, knows 
the weekdays of restraint, of dependence and 
servitude. But from time to time there must 
dawn for him a Sunday of liberty, otherwise he 
could not endure life. It is probable that even his 
love for humanity will be prudent and somewhat 
short-winded, for he desires to meddle with the 
world of inclinations and of blindness only as far 
as is necessary for the purpose of knowledge. He 
must trust that the genius of justice will say some- 
thing for its disciple and protege if accusing voices 
were to call him poor in love. In his mode of life 
and thought there is a refined heroism, which 
scorns to offer itself to the great mob-reverence, as 
its coarser brother does, and passes quietly through 
and out of the world. Whatever labyrinths it 
traverses, beneath whatever rocks its stream has 
occasionally worked its way — when it reaches the 
light it goes clearly, easily, and almost noiselessly 
on its way, and lets the sunshine strike down to 
its very bottom. 


Forward. — And thus forward upon the path 
of wisdom, with a firm step and good confidence ! 
However you may be situated, serve yourself as a 



source of experience ! Throw off the displeasure 
at your nature, forgive yourself your own individu- 
ality, for in any case you have in yourself a ladder 
with a hundred steps upon which you can mount to 
knowledge. The age into which with grief you feel 
yourself thrown thinks you happy because of this 
good fortune ; it calls out to you that you shall 
still have experiences which men of later ages will 
perhaps be obliged to forego. Do not despise 
the fact of having been religious ; consider fully 
how you have had a genuine access to art. Can 
you not, with the help of these experiences, follow 
immense stretches of former humanity with a 
clearer understanding ? Is not that ground which 
sometimes displeases you so greatly, that ground 
of clouded thought, precisely the one upon which 
have grown many of the most glorious fruits of 
older civilisations ? You must have loved religion 
and art as you loved mother and nurse, — other- 
wise you cannot be wise. But you must be able 
to see beyond them, to outgrow them ; if you 
remain under their ban you do not understand 
them. You must also be familiar with history and 
that cautious play with the balances : " On the 
one hand — on the other hand." Go back, tread- 
ing in the footsteps made by mankind in its great 
and painful journey through the desert of the past, 
and you will learn most surely whither it is that 
all later humanity never can or may go again. 
And inasmuch as you wish with all your strength 
to see in advance how the knots of the future are 
tied, your own life acquires the value of an instru- 
ment and means of knowledge. It is within your 


power to see that all you have experienced, trials, 
errors, faults, deceptions, passions, your love and 
your hope, shall be merged wholly in your aim. 
This aim is to become a necessary chain of culture- 
links yourself, and from this necessity to draw a 
conclusion as to the necessity in the progress of 
general culture. When your sight has become 
strong enough to see to the bottom of the dark 
well of your nature and your knowledge, it is 
possible that in its mirror you may also behold 
the far-away visions of future civilisations. Do 
you think that such a life with such an aim is too 
wearisome, too empty of all that is agreeable ? 
Then you have still to learn that no honey is 
sweeter than that of knowledge, and that the 
overhanging clouds of trouble must be to you as 
an udder from which you shall draw milk for your 
refreshment. And only when old age approaches 
will you rightly perceive how you listened to the 
voice of nature, that nature which rules the whole 
world through pleasure ; the same life which has 
its zenith in age has also its zenith in wisdom, in 
that mild sunshine of a constant mental joyful- 
ness ; you meet them both, old age and wisdom, 
upon one ridge of life, — it was thus intended by 
Nature. Then it is time, and no cause for anger, 
that the mists of death approach. Towards the 
light is your last movement ; a joyful cry of 
knowledge is your last sound. 



Well-Meant Dissimulation. — In intercourse 
with men a well-meant dissimulation is often 
necessary, as if we did not see through the motives 
of their actions. 


Copies. — We not unfrequently meet with copies 
of prominent persons ; and as in the case of 
pictures, so also here, the copies please more than 
the originals. 


The Public Speaker. — One may speak with 
the greatest appropriateness, and yet so that every- 
body cries out to the contrary, — that is to say, 
when one does not speak to everybody. 


Want of Confidence. — Want of confidence 
among friends is a fault that cannot be censured 
without becoming incurable. 





The Art of Giving. — To have to refuse a 
gift, merely because it has not been offered in the 
right way, provokes animosity against the giver. 


The most Dangerous Partisan. — In every 
party there is one who, by his far too dogmatic 
expression of the party-principles, excites defec- 
tion among the others. 


Advisers of the Sick. — Whoever gives 
advice to a sick person acquires a feeling of 
superiority over him, whether the advice be ac- 
cepted or rejected. Hence proud and sensitive sick 
persons hate advisers more than their sickness. 


Double Nature of Equality. — The rage 
for equality may so manifest itself that we seek 
either to draw all others down to ourselves (by 
belittling, disregarding, and tripping up), or our- 
selves and all others upwards (by recognition, 
assistance, and congratulation). 


Against Embarrassment. — The best way 
to relieve and calm very embarrassed people is to 
give them decided praise. 



Preference for Certain Virtues. — We 
set no special value on the possession of a virtue 
until we perceive that it is entirely lacking in our 


Why we Contradict. — We often contradict 
an opinion when it is really only the tone in 
hich it is expressed that is unsympathetic to us. 



Confidence and Intimacy. — Whoever pro- 
poses to command the intimacy of a person is 
usually uncertain of possessing his confidence. 
Whoever is sure of a person's confidence attaches 
little value to intimacy with him. 


The Equilibrium of Friendship. — The 
right equilibrium of friendship in our relation to 
other men is sometimes restored when we put a 
few grains of wrong on our own side of the scales. 


The most Dangerous Physicians. — The 
most dangerous physicians are those who, like born 
actors, imitate the born physician with the perfect 
art of imposture. 




When Paradoxes are Permissible. — In| 
order to interest clever persons in a theory, it is 
sometimes only necessary to put it before theraj 
in the form of a prodigious paradox. 


How Courageous People are Won OverJ 
— Courageous people are persuaded to a course of 
action by representing it as more dangerous thar 
it really is. 


Courtesies. — We regard the courtesies showi 
us by unpopular persons as offences. 


Keeping People Waiting. — A sure way o( 
exasperating people and of putting bad thoughts 
into their heads is to keep them waiting longj 
That makes them immoral. 


Against the Confidential. — Persons whc 
give us their full confidence think they have 
thereby a right to ours. That is a mistake; 
people acquire no rights through gifts, 


A Mode of Settlement. — It often suffices 
to give a person whom we have injured ai 
opportunity to make a joke about us to give hii 



personal satisfaction, and even to make him favour- 
ably disposed to us. 

The Vanity of the Tongue. — Whether man 
conceals his bad qualities and vices, or frankly 
acknowledges them, his vanity in either case seeks 
its advantage thereby, — only let it be observed 
how nicely he distinguishes those from whom he 
conceals such qualities from those with whom he 
is frank and honest. 

Considerate. — To have no wish to offend or 
injure any one may as well be the sign of a just 
as of a timid nature. 

315. ' 

Requisite for Disputation. — He who can- 
not put his thoughts on ice should not enter into 
the heat of dispute. 


Intercourse and Pretension. — We forget 
our pretensions when we are always conscious of 
being amongst meritorious people; being alone 
implants presumption in us. The young are 
pretentious, for they associate with their equals, 
who are all ciphers but would fain have a great 


Motives of an Attack. — One does not attack 
a person merely to hurt and conquer him, but 
perhaps merely to become conscious of one's own 




Flattery. — Persons who try by means of 
flattery to put us off our guard in intercourse 
with them, employ a dangerous expedient, hke 
a sleeping-draught, which, when it does not send 
the patient to sleep, keeps him all the wider 


A Good Letter-Writer. — A person who 
does not write books, thinks much, and lives in 
unsatisfying society, will usually be a good letter- 


The Ugliest of All. — It may be doubted 
whether a person who has travelled much has 
found anywhere in the world uglier places than 
those to be met with in the human face. 


The Sympathetic Ones. — Sympathetic 
natures, ever ready to help in misfortune, are 
seldom those that participate in joy ; in the 
happiness of others they have nothing to occupy 
them, they are superfluous, they do not feel them- 
selves in possession of their superiority, and hence 
readily show their displeasure. 


The Relatives of a Suicide. — The relatives 
of a suicide take it in ill part that he did not 
remain alive out of consideration for their reputation. 



Ingratitude Foreseen. — He who makes a 
large gift gets no gratitude ; for the recipient is 
already overburdened by the acceptance of the gift. 

In Dull Society. — Nobody thanks a witty 
man for politeness when he puts himself on a par 
with a society in which it would not be polite to 
show one's wit. 

The Presence of Witnesses. — We are 
doubly willing to jump into the water after some 
one who has fallen in, if there are people present 
who have not the courage to do so. 


Being Silent. — For both parties in a con- 
troversy, the most disagreeable way of retaliating 
is to be vexed and silent ; for the aggressor 
usually regards the silence as a sign of contempt. 

Friends' Secrets. — Few people will not 
expose the private affairs of their friends when 
at a loss for a subject of conversation. 


Humanity. — The humanity of intellectual 
celebrities consists in courteously submitting to 

VOL. I. S 



unfairness in intercourse with those who are 
not celebrated. 


The Embarrassed. — People who do not feel 
sure of themselves in society seize every oppor- 
tunity of publicly showing their superiority to 
close friends, for instance by teasing them. 


Thanks. — A refined nature is vexed by know- 
ing that some one owes it thanks, a coarse nature 
by knowing that it owes thanks to some one. 


A Sign of Estrangement. — The surest sign' 
of the estrangement of the opinions of two persons 
is when they both say something ironical to each 
other and neither of them feels the irony. 


Presumption in Connection with Merit. 
— Presumption in connection with merit offends 
us even more than presumption in persons devoid 
of merit, for merit in itself offends us. 


Danger in the Voice. — In conversation we 
are sometimes confused by the tone of our own 
voice, and misled to make assertions that do not 
at all correspond to our opinions, 


In Conversation. — Whether in conversation 
with others we mostly agree or mostly disagree 
with them is a matter of habit ; there is sense in 
both cases. 

Fear of Our Neighbour. — We are afraid of 
the animosity of our neighbour, because we are 
apprehensive that he may thereby discover our 

Distinguishing by Blaming. — Highly re- 
spected persons distribute even their blame in 
such fashion that they try to distinguish us there- 
with. It is intended to remind us of their serious 
interest in us. We misunderstand them entirely 
when we take their blame literally and protest 
against it ; we thereby offend them and estrange 
ourselves from them. 

Indignation at the Goodwill of Others. 
— We are mistaken as to the extent to which we 
think we are hated or feared; because, though 
we ourselves know very well the extent of our 
divergence from a person, tendency, or party, those 
others know us only superficially, and can, there- 
fore, only hate us superficially. We often meet 
with goodwill which is inexplicable to us ; but 
when we comprehend it, it shocks us, because it 
shows that we are not considered with sufficient 
seriousness or importance. 



Thwarting Vanities. — When two persons ^, 
meet whose vanity is equally great, they have 
afterwards a bad impression of each other; 
because each has been so occupied with the 
impression he wished to produce on the other 
that the other has made no impression upon him ; 
at last it becomes clear to them both that their 
efforts have been in vain, and each puts the blame 
on the other. fl 


Improper Behaviour as a Good Sign. — A 
superior mind takes pleasure in the tactlessness, 
pretentiousness, and even hostility of ambitious 
youths ; it is the vicious habit of fiery horses 
which have not yet carried a rider, but, in a short 
time, will be so proud to carry one. 


When it is Advisable to Suffer Wrong 
— It is well to put up with accusations without 
refutation, even when they injure us, when the 
accuser would see a still greater fault on our part 
if we contradicted and perhaps even refuted him 
In this way, certainly, a person may always be 
wronged and always have right on his side, and 
may eventually, with the best conscience in the 
world, become the most intolerable tyrant and 
tormentor ; and what happens in the individual 
may also take place in whole classes of society. 



Too Little Honoured. — Very conceited 
persons, who have received less consideration than 
they expected, attempt for a long time to 
deceive themselves and others with regard to it, 
and become subtle psychologists in order to make 
out that they have been amply honoured. Should 
they not attain their aim, should the veil of 
deception be torn, they give way to all the greater 


Primitive Conditions Re - echoing in 
Speech. — By the manner in which people make 
assertions in their intercourse we often recognise 
an echo of the times when they were more con- 
versant with weapons than anything else ; some- 
times they handle their assertions like sharp- 
shooters using their arms, sometimes we think we 
hear the whizz and clash of swords, and with 
some men an assertion crashes down like a stout 
cudgel. Women, on the contrary, speak like 
beings who for thousands of years have sat at the 
loom, plied the needle, or played the child with 


The Narrator. — He who gives an account 
of something readily betrays whether it is because 
the fact interests him, or because he wishes to 
excite interest by the narration. In the latter 
case he will exaggerate, employ superlatives, and 
such like. He then does not usually tell his story 


SO well, because he does not think so much about 
his subject as about himself. 


The Reciter. — He who recites dramatic 
works makes discoveries about his own character; 
he finds his voice more natural in certain moods 
and scenes than in others, say in the pathetic or 
in the scurrilous, while in ordinary life, perhaps, 
he has not had the opportunity to exhibit pathos 
or scurrility. 


A Comedy Scene in Real Life. — Some one 
conceives an ingenious idea on a theme in order 
to express it in society. Now in a comedy we 
should hear and see how he sets all sail for that 
point, and tries to land the company at the place 
where he can make his remark, how he con- 
tinuously pushes the conversation towards the one 
goal, sometimes losing the way, finding it again, 
and finally arriving at the moment : he is almost 
breathless — and then one of the company takes 
the remark itself out of his mouth ! What will 
he do ? Oppose his own opinion ? 


Unintentionally Discourteous. — When 
a person treats another with unintentional dis- 
courtesy, — for instance, not greeting him because 
not recognising him, — he is vexed by it, although 
he cannot reproach his own sentiments ; he is 
hurt by the bad opinion which he has produced 



in the other person, or fears the consequences of 
his bad humour, or is pained by the thought of 
having injured him, — vanity, fear, or pity may 
therefore be aroused ; perhaps all three together. 


A Masterpiece of Treachery. — To express 
a tantalising distrust of a fellow-conspirator, lest 
he should betray one, and this at the very moment 
when one is practising treachery one's self, is a 
masterpiece of wickedness ; because it absorbs the 
other's attention and compels him for a time to act 
very unsuspiciously and openly, so that the real 
traitor has thus acquired a free hand. 


To Injure and to be Injured. — It is far 
pleasanter to injure and afterwards beg for forgive- 
ness than to be injured and grant forgiveness. 
He who does the former gives evidence of power 
and afterwards of kindness of character. The 
person injured, however, if he does not wish to be 
considered inhuman, must forgive ; his enjoyment 
of the other's humiliation is insignificant on 
account of this constraint. 


In a Dispute. — When we contradict another's 
opinion and at the same time develop our own, 
the constant consideration of the other opinion 
usually disturbs the natural attitude of our own 



which appears more intentional, more distinct, and 
perhaps somewhat exaggerated. 



An Artifice. — He who wants to get another 
to do something difficult must on no account 
treat the matter as a problem, but must set forth 
his plan plainly as the only one possible ; and 
when the adversary's eye betrays objection and 
opposition he must understand how to break off 
quickly, and allow him no time to put in a word. 


Pricks of Conscience after Social 
Gatherings. — Why does our conscience prick 
us after ordinary social gatherings ? Because we 
have treated serious things lightly, because in 
talking of persons we have not spoken quite justly 
or have been silent when we should have spoken, 
because, sometimes, we have not jumped up and 
run away, — in short, because we have behaved in 
society as if we belonged to it. 


We are Misjudged. — He who always listens 
to hear how he is judged is always vexed. For 
we are misjudged even by those who are nearest 
to us (" who know us best"). Even good friends 
sometimes vent their ill-humour in a spiteful 
word ; and would they be our friends if they knew 
us rightly? The judgments of the indifferent 


wound us deeply, because they sound so impartial, 
so objective almost. But when we see that 
some one hostile to us knows us in a concealed 
point as well as we know ourselves, how great is 
then our vexation ! 


The Tyranny of the Portrait. — Artists 
and statesmen, who out of particular features 
quickly construct the whole picture of a man or 
an event, are mostly unjust in demanding that 
the event or person should afterwards be actually 
as they have painted it ; they demand straightway 
that a man should be just as gifted, cunning, and 
unjust as he is in their representation of him. 


Relatives as the Best Friends. — The 
Greeks, who knew so well what a friend was, 
they alone of all peoples have a profound and 
largely philosophical discussion of friendship ; so 
that it is by them firstly (and as yet lastly) that 
the problem of the friend has been recognised 
as worthy of solution, — these same Greeks have 
designated relatives by an expression which is 
the superlative of the word " friend." This is 
inexplicable to me. 


Misunderstood Honesty. — When any one 
quotes himself in conversation (" I then said," " I 
am accustomed to say "), it gives the impression 
of presumption ; whereas it often proceeds from 



quite an opposite source ; or at least from honesty, 
which does not wish to deck and adorn the 
present moment with wit which belongs to an 
earlier moment. 


The Parasite. — It denotes entire absence of 
a noble disposition when a person prefers to live 
in dependence at the expense of others, usually 
with a secret bitterness against them, in order only 
that he may not be obliged to work. Such a 
disposition is far more frequent in women than 
in men, also far more pardonable (for historical 


On the Altar of Reconciliation. — There 
are circumstances under which one can only gain 
a point from a person by wounding him and 
becoming hostile ; the feeling of having a foe 
torments him so much that he gladly seizes the 
first indication of a milder disposition to effect 
a reconciliation, and offers on the altar of this 
reconciliation what was formerly of such im- 
portance to him that he would not give it up 
at any price. 


Presumption in Demanding Pity. — There 
are people who, when they have been in a rage 
and have insulted others, demand, firstly, that 
it shall all be taken in good part ; and, secondly, 
that they shall be pitied because they are subject 
to such violent paroxysms. So far does human 
presumption extend. 




Bait. — " Every man has his price " — that is 
not true. But perhaps every one can be found 
a bait of one kind or other at which he will 
snap. Thus, in order to gain some supporters 
for a cause, it is only necessary to give it the 
glamour of being philanthropic, noble, charitable, 
and self-denying — and to what cause could this 
glamour not be given ! It is the sweetmeat and 
dainty of their soul ; others have different ones. 


The Attitude in Praising. — When good 
friends praise a gifted person he often appears 
to be delighted with them out of politeness and 
goodwill, but in reality he feels indifferent. 
His real nature is quite unmoved towards them, 
and will not budge a step on that account out 
of the sun or shade in which it lies ; but people 
wish to please by praise, and it would grieve 
them if one did not rejoice when they praise 
a person. 


The Experience of Socrates. — If one has 
become a master in one thing, one has generally 
remained, precisely thereby, a complete dunce 
in most other things ; but one forms the very 
reverse opinion, as was already experienced by 
Socrates. This is the annoyance which makes 
association with masters disagreeable. 

• > II 




A Means of Defence. — In warring against 
stupidity, the most just and gentle of men at 
last become brutal. They are thereby, perhaps, 
taking the proper course for defence ; for the 
most appropriate argument for a stupid brain 
is the clenched fist. But because, as has been 
said, their character is just and gentle, they suffer 
more by this means of protection than they injure 
their opponents by it. 


Curiosity. — If curiosity did not exist, very 
little would be done for the good of our 
neighbour. But curiosity creeps into the houses 
of the unfortunate and the needy under the 
name of duty or of pity. Perhaps there is a 
good deal of curiosity even in the much-vaunted 
maternal love. 


Disappointment in Society. — One man 
wishes to be interesting for his opinions, another 
for his likes and dislikes, a third for his ac- 
quaintances, and a fourth for his solitariness — 
and they all meet with disappointment. For he 
before whom the play is performed thinks himself 
the only play that is to be taken into account. 


The Duel. — It may be said in favour of duels 
and all affairs of honour that if a man has such 


susceptible feelings that he does not care to live 
when So-and-so says or thinks this or that about 
him ; he has a right to make it a question of the 
death of the one or the other. With regard to the 
fact that he is so susceptible, it is not at all to 
be remonstrated with, in that matter we are the 
heirs of the past, of its greatness as well as of 
its exaggerations, without which no greatness 
ever existed. So when there exists a code of 
honour which lets blood stand in place of death, 
so that the mind is relieved after a regular duel 
it is a great blessing, because otherwise many 
human lives would be in danger. Such an 
institution, moreover, teaches men to be cautious 
in their utterances and makes intercourse with 
them possible. 


Nobleness and Gratitude. — A noble soul 
will be pleased to owe gratitude, and will not 
anxiously avoid opportunities of coming under 
obligation ; it will also be moderate afterwards 
in the expression of its gratitude; baser souls, 
on the other hand, are unwilling to be under any 
obligation, or are afterwards immoderate in their 
expressions of thanks and altogether too devoted. 
The latter is, moreover, also the case with persons 
of mean origin or depressed circumstances ; to 
show them a favour seems to them a miracle of 


Occasions of Eloquence. — In order to talk 
well one man needs a person who is decidedly and 



avowedly his superior to talk to, while another 
can only find absolute freedom of speech and 
happy turns of eloquence before one who is his 
inferior. In both cases the cause is the same ; 
each of them talks well only when he talks sans 
gine — the one because in the presence of something 
higher he does not feel the impulse of rivalry 
and competition, the other because he also lacks 
the same impulse in the presence of something 
lower. Now there is quite another type of men, 
who talk well only when debating, with the 
intention of conquering. Which of the two types 
is the more aspiring : the one that talks well from 
excited ambition, or the one that talks badly 
or not at all from precisely the same motive ? 


The Talent for Friendship. — Two types 
are distinguished amongst people who have a 
special faculty for friendship. The one is ever on 
the ascent, and for every phase of his development 
he finds a friend exactly suited to him. The series 
of friends which he thus acquires is seldom a con- 
sistent one, and is sometimes at variance and in 
contradiction, entirely in accordance with the fact 
that the later phases of his development neutralise 
or prejudice the earlier phases. Such a man may 
jestingly be called a ladder. The other type is 
represented by him who exercises an attractive in- 
fluence on very different characters and endowments, 
so that he wins a whole circle of friends ; these, 
however, are thereby brought voluntarily into 


friendly relations with one another in spite of all 
differences. Such a man may be called a circle^ for 
this homogeneousness of such different tempera- 
ments and natures must somehow be typified in 
him. Furthermore, the faculty for having good 
friends is greater in many people than the faculty 
for being a good friend. 


Tactics in Conversation. — After a conver- 
sation with a person one is best pleased with him 
when one has had an opportunity of exhibiting 
one's intelligence and amiability in all its glory. 
Shrewd people who wish to impress a person favour- 
ably make use of this circumstance, they provide 
him with the best opportunities for making a good 
joke, and so on in conversation. An amusing 
conversation might be imagined between two 
very shrewd persons, each wishing to impress the 
other favourably, and therefore each throwing to 
the other the finest chances in conversation, which 
neither of them accepted, so that the conversation 
on the whole might turn out spiritless and unat- 
tractive because each assigned to the other the 
opportunity of being witty and charming. 


Discharge of Indignation. — The man 
who meets with a failure attributes this failure 
rather to the ill-will of another than to fate. 



His irritated feelings are alleviated by think- 
ing that a person and not a thing is the cause 
of his failure ; for he can revenge himself on 
persons, but is obliged to swallow down the injuries 
of fate. Therefore when anything has miscarried 
with a prince, those about him are accustomed to 
point out some individual as the ostensible cause, 
who is sacrificed in the interests of all the courtiers ; 
for otherwise the prince's indignation would vent 
itself on them all, as he can take no revenge on 
the Goddess of Destiny herself. 


Assuming the Colours of the Environ- 
ment. — Why are likes and dislikes so contagious 
that we can hardly live near a very sensitive person 
without being filled, like a hogshead, with his /ors 
and againsts ? In the first place, complete forbear- 
ance of judgment is very difficult, and sometimes 
absolutely intolerable to our vanity ; it has the 
same appearance as poverty of thought and 
sentiment, or as timidity and unmanliness ; and so 
we are, at least, driven on to take a side, perhaps 
contrary to our environment, if this attitude gives 
greater pleasure to our pride. Asa rule, however, — 
and this is the second point, — we are not conscious 
of the transition from indifference to liking or 
disliking, but we gradually accustom ourselves to 
the sentiments of our environment, and because 
sympathetic agreement and acquiescence are so 
agreeable, we soon wear all the signs and party- 
colours of our surroundings. 



Irony. — Irony is only permissible as a peda- 
gogic expedient, on the part of a teacher when 
dealing with his pupils ; its purpose is to humble 
and to shame, but in the wholesome way that 
causes good resolutions to spring up and teaches 
people to show honour and gratitude, as they would 
to a doctor, to him who has so treated them. The 
ironical man pretends to be ignorant, and does it 
so well that the pupils conversing with him are 
deceived, and in their firm belief in their own 
superior knowledge they grow bold and expose all 
their weak points ; they lose their cautiousness and 
reveal themselves as they are, — until all of a sudden 
the light which they have held up to the teacher's 
face casts its rays back very humiliatingly upon 
themselves. Where such a relation, as that between 
teacher and pupil, does not exist, irony is a rudeness 
and a vulgar conceit. All ironical writers count on 
the silly species of human beings, who like to feel 
themselves superior to all others in common with 
the author himself, whom they look upon as the 
mouthpiece of their arrogance. Moreover, the habit 
of irony, like that of sarcasm, spoils the character ; 
it gradually fosters the quality of a malicious 
superiority ; one finally grows like a snappy dog, 
that has learnt to laugh as well as to bite. 


Arrogance. — There is nothing one should so 
juard against as the growth of the weed called 

■I71-M T T" 



arrogance, which spoils all one's good harvest ; for 
there is arrogance in cordiality, in showing honour, 
in kindly familiarity, in caressing, in friendly 
counsel, in acknowledgment of faults, in sympathy 
for others, — and all these fine things arouse aversion 
when the weed in question grows up among them. 
The arrogant man — that is to say, he who desires 
to appear more than he is or passes for — always 
miscalculates. It is true that he obtains a momen- 
tary success, inasmuch as those with whom he is 
arrogant generally give him the amount of honour 
that he demands, owing to fear or for the sake of j 
convenience; but they take a bad revenge for it,j 
inasmuch as they subtract from the value which 
they hitherto attached to him just as much as he 
demands above that amount. There is nothing for 
which men ask to be paid dearer than for humilia- 
tion. The arrogant man can make his really great 
merit so suspicious and small in the eyes of others 
that they tread on it with dusty feet. If at all, 
we should only allow ourselves a proud manner 
where we are quite sure of not being misunder- 
stood and considered as arrogant; as, for 
instance, with friends and wives. For in social 
intercourse there is no greater folly than to acquire 
a reputation for arrogance ; it is still worse than 
not having learnt to deceive politely. 


TkTR'A-T6.TE — Private conversation is the 
perfect conversation, because everything the one 
person says receives its particular colouring, its 


tone, and its accompanying gestures out of strict 
consideration for the other person engaged in the 
conversation, it therefore corresponds to what takes 
place in intercourse by letter, viz., that one and 
the same person exhibits ten kinds of psychical 
expression, according as he writes now to this 
individual and now to that one. In duologue there 
is only a single refraction of thought ; the person 
conversed with produces it, as the mirror in whom 
we want to behold our thoughts anew in their 
finest form. But how is it when there are two or 
three, or even more persons conversing with one ? 
Conversation then necessarily loses something of 
its individualising subtlety, different considerations 
thwart and neutralise each other ; the style which 
pleases one does not suit the taste of another. 
In intercourse with several individuals a person is 
therefore to withdraw within himself and represent 
facts as they are ; but he has also to remove from 
the subjects the pulsating ether of humanity 
which makes conversation one of the pleasantest 
things in the world. Listen only to the tone 
in which those who mingle with whole groups of 
men are in the habit of speaking; it is as if 
the fundamental base of all speech were, " It is 
myself \ I say this, so make what you will of it ! " 
That is the reason why clever ladies usually leave 
a singular, painful, and forbidding impression on 
those who have met them in society ; it is the 
talking to many people, before many people, that 
robs them of all intellectual amiability and shows 
tonly their conscious dependence on themselves, 
their tactics, and their intention of gaining a 



public victory in full light ; whilst in a private 
conversation the same ladies become womanly 
again, and recover their intellectual grace andj 


Posthumous Fame. — There is sense in hoping 
for recognition in a distant future only when we 
take it for granted that mankind will remain 
essentially unchanged, and that whatever is great 
is not for one age only but will be looked upon 
as great for all time. But this is an error. In 
all their sentiments and judgments concerning 
what is good and beautiful mankind have greatly 
changed ; it is mere fantasy to imagine one's self 
to be a mile ahead, and that the whole of mankind 
is coming our way. Besides, a scholar who is 
misjudged may at present reckon with certainty 
that his discovery will be made by others, and 
that, at best, it will be allowed to him later on by 
some historian that he also already knew this or 
that but was not in a position to secure the recog-; 
nition of his knowledge. Not to be recognised 
is always interpreted by posterity as lack of power. 
In short, one should not so readily speak in favour 
of haughty solitude. There are, however, ex 
ceptional cases ; but it is chiefly our faults, weak 
ness, and follies that hinder the recognition of our 
great qualities. 


Of Friends. — Just consider with thyself howl 
different are the feelings, how divided are thd 


opinions of even the nearest acquaintances ; how 
even the same opinions in thy friend's mind have 
quite a different aspect and strength from what 
they have in thine own ; and how manifold are 
the occasions which arise for misunderstanding 
and hostile severance. After all this thou wilt 
say to thyself, " How insecure is the ground upon 
which all our alliances and friendships rest, how 
liable to cold downpours and bad weather, how 
lonely is every creature ! " When a person recog- 
nises this fact, and, in addition, that all opinions 
and the nature and strength of them in his fellow- 
men are just as necessary and irresponsible as 
their actions ; when his eye learns to see this 
internal necessity of opinions, owing to the indis- 
soluble interweaving of character, occupation, talent, 
and environment, — he will perhaps get rid of the 
bitterness and sharpness of the feeling with which 
the sage exclaimed, " Friends, there are no friends ! " 
Much rather will he make the confession to him- 
self : — Yes, there are friends, but they were drawn 
towards thee by error and deception concerning 
thy character ; and they must have learnt to be 
silent in order to remain thy friends ; for such 
human relationships almost always rest on the 
fact that some few things are never said, are 
never, indeed, alluded to; but if these pebbles are set 
rolling friendship follows afterwards and is broken. 
; Are there any who would not be mortally injured 
[if they were to learn what their most intimate 
uriends really knew about them ? By getting a 
[knowledge of ourselves, and by looking upon our 
lature as a changing sphere of opinions and moods, 



and thereby learning to despise ourselves a little, 
we recover once more our equilibrium with the 
rest of mankind. It is true that we have good 
reason to despise each of our acquaintances, even 
the greatest of them ; but just as good reason to 
turn this feeling against ourselves. And so we 
will bear with each other, since we bear with our- 
selves ; and perhaps there will come to each a 
happier hour, when he will exclaim : 

"Friends, there are really no friends ! " thus cried 

th' expiring old sophist ; 
" Foes, there is really no foe ! " — thus shout I, 

the incarnate fool. 


The Perfect Woman. — The perfect woman is 
a higher type of humanity than the perfect man, 
and also something much rarer. The natural 
history of animals furnishes grounds in support of 
this theory. 


Friendship and Marriage. — The best friend 
will probably get the best wife, because a good 
marriage is based on talent for friendship. 


The Survival of the Parents. — The un- 
dissolved dissonances in the relation of the 
character and sentiments of the parents survive 
in the nature of the child and make up the 
history of its inner sufferings. 


Inherited from the Mother. — Every one 
bears within him an image of woman, inherited 
from his mother : it determines his attitude to- 


wards women as a whole, whether to honour, 
despise, or remain generally indifferent to them. 


Correcting Nature. — Whoever has not got 
a good father should procure one. 


Fathers and Sons. — Fathers have much to 
do to make amends for having sons. 


The Error of Gentlewomen. — Gentle- 
women think that a thing does not really exist 
when it is not possible to talk of it in society. 


A Male Disease. — The surest remedy for the 
male disease of self-contempt is to be loved by 
a sensible woman. 


A Species of Jealousy. — Mothers are readily 
jealous of the friends of sons who are particularly 
successful. As a rule a mother loves herself in 
her son more than the son. 


Rational Irrationality. — In the maturity 
of life and intelligence the feeling comes over a 
man that his father did wrong in begetting him. 



Maternal Excellence. — Some mothers 
need happy and honoured children, some need 
unhappy ones, — otherwise they cannot exhibit 
their maternal excellence. 


Different Sighs. — Some husbands have 
sighed over the elopement of their wives, the 
greater number, however, have sighed because 
nobody would elope with theirs. 

Love Matches. — Marriages which are con- 
tracted for love (so-called love-matches) have error 
for their father and need (necessity) for their mother. 

390. _ 

Women's Friendships. — Women can enter^ 
into friendship with a man perfectly well ; but 
in order to maintain it the aid of a little physical 
antipathy is perhaps required. 


Ennui.t — Many people, especially women, never 
feel ennui because they have never learnt to work 


An Element of Love. — In all feminine love 
something of maternal love also comes to light. 



Unity of Place and Drama. — If married 
couples did not live together, happy marriages 
would be more frequent. 

The Usual Consequences of Marriage. — 
All intercourse which does not elevate a person, 
debases him, and vice versa ; hence men usually 
sink a little when they marry, while women are 
somewhat elevated. Over-intellectual men require 
marriage in proportion as they are opposed to it 
as to a repugnant medicine. 

Learning to Command. — Children of unpre- 
tentious families must be taught to command, just 
as much as other children must be taught to obey, 

Wanting to be in Love. — Betrothed couples 
who have been matched by convenience often 
exert themselves to fall in love^ to avoid the 
reproach of cold, calculating expediency. In the 
same manner those who become converts to 
Christianity for their advantage exert themselves 
to become genuinely pious ; because the religious 
cast of countenance then becomes easier to them. 

No Standing Still in Love. — A musician 
who loves the slow tempo will play the same pieces 


ever more slowly. There is thus no standing 
still in any love. 


Modesty. — Women's modesty usually increases 
with their beauty.* 

Marriage on a Good Basis. — A marriage 
in which each wishes to realise an individual aim 
by means of the other will stand well ; for instance, 
when the woman wishes to become famous through 
the man and the man beloved through the woman. 


Proteus-Nature. — Through love women 
actually become what they appear to be in the 
imagination of their lovers. 


To Love and to Possess. — As a rule women 
love a distinguished man to the extent that they 
wish to possess him exclusively. They would 
gladly keep him under lock and key, if their 
vanity did not forbid, but vanity demands that 
he should also appear distinguished before others. 


The Test of a Good Marriage. — The good- 
ness of a marriage is proved by the fact that it 
can stand an " exception." 

* The opposite of this aphorism also holds good. — J. M. K. 



Bringing Anyone Round to Anything. — 
One may make any person so weak and weary by 
disquietude, anxiety, and excess of work or thought 
that he no longer resists anything that appears 
complicated, but gives way to it, — diplomatists 
and women know this. 


Propriety and Honesty. — Those girls who 
mean to trust exclusively to their youthful charms 
for their provision in life, and whose cunning is 
further prompted by worldly mothers, have just 
the same aims as courtesans, only they are wiser 
and less honest. 


Masks. — There are women who, wherever one 
examines them, have no inside, but are mere 
masks. A man is to be pitied who has connec- 
tion with such almost spectre-like and necessarily 
unsatisfactory creatures, but it is precisely such 
women who know how to excite a man's desire 
most strongly ; he seeks for their soul, and seeks 


Marriage as a Long Talk. — In entering 
on a marriage one should ask one's self the 
question, " Do you think you will pass your 
time well with this woman till your old age ? " 
All else in marriage is transitory ; talk, however, 
occupies most of the time of the association. 



Girlish Dreams. — Inexperienced girls flatter 
themselves with the notion that it is in their 
power to make a man happy ; later on they learn 
that it is equivalent to underrating a man to 
suppose that he needs only a girl to make him 
happy. Women's vanity requires a man to be 
something more than merely a happy husband. 


The Dying-out of Faust and Marguerite. 
— According to the very intelligent remark of a 
scholar, the educated men of modern Germany 
resemble somewhat a mixture of Mephistopheles 
and Wagner, but are not at all like Faust, whom 
our grandfathers (in their youth at least) felt 
agitating within them. To them, therefore, — to 
continue the remark, — Marguerites are not suited, 
for two reasons. And because the latter are no 
longer desired they seem to be dying out. 


Classical Education for Girls. — For 
goodness' sake let us not give our classical educa- 
tion to girls ! An education which, out of in- 
genious, inquisitive, ardent youths, so frequently 
makes — copies of their teacher ! 


Without Rivals. — Women readily perceive 
in a man whether his soul has already been taken 



possession of; they wish to be loved without' 
rivals, and find fault with the objects of his am- 
bition, his political tasks, his sciences and arts, if he 
have a passion for such things. Unless he be 
distinguished thereby, — then, in the case of a love- 
relationship between them, women look at the 
same time for an increase of their own distinction ; 
under such circumstances, they favour the lover. 


The Feminine Intellect. — The intellect of 
women manifests itself as perfect mastery, presence 
of mind, and utilisation of all advantages. They 
transmit it as a fundamental quality to their 
children, and the father adds thereto the darker 
background of the will. His influence determines 
as it were the rhythm and harmony with which the 
new life is to be performed ; but its melody is 
derived from the mother. For those who know 
how to put a thing properly : women have in- 
telligence, men have character and passion. This 
does not contradict the fact that men actually 
achieve so much more with their intelligence: 
they have deeper and more powerful impulses ; 
and it is these which carry their understanding 
(in itself something passive) to such an extent 
Women are often silently surprised at the great 
respect men pay to their character. When, there- 
fore, in the choice of a partner men seek specially 
for a being of deep and strong character, and 
women for a being of intelligence, brilliancy, and 
presence of mind, it is plain that at bottom men 


seek for the ideal man, and women for the ideal 
woman, — consequently not for the complement 
but for the completion of their own excellence. 


Hesiod's Opinion Confirmed. — It is a sign 
of women's wisdom that they have almost always 
known how to get themselves supported, like 
drones in a bee-hive. Let us just consider what 
this meant originally, and why men do not de- 
pend upon women for their support. Of a truth 
it is because masculine vanity and reverence are 
greater than feminine wisdom ; for women have 
known how to secure for themselves by their sub- 
ordination the greatest advantage, in fact, the 
upper hand. Even the care of children may 
originally have been used by the wisdom of women 
as an excuse for withdrawing themselves as much 
as possible from work. And at present they still 
understand when they are really active (as house- 
keepers, for instance) how to make a bewildering 
fuss about it, so that the merit of their activity is 
usually ten times over-estimated by men. 


Lovers as Short-sighted People. — A pair 
of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to 
cure a person in love ; and whoever has had suffi- 
cient imagination to represent a face or form 
twenty years older, has probably gone through 
life not much disturbed. 




Women in Hatred. — In a state of hatredj 
women are more dangerous than men ; for on< 
thing, because they are hampered by no regard^ 
for fairness when their hostile feelings have been; 
aroused; but let their hatred develop unchecked | 
to its utmost consequences; then also, because.' 
they are expert in finding sore spots (which every, 
man and every party possess), and pouncing upon J 
them : for which purpose their dagger-pointed in- 
telligence is of good service (whilst men, hesitat- 
ing at the sight of wounds, are often generously 
and conciliatorily inclined). 


Love. — The love idolatry which women practise 
is fundamentally and originally an intelligent de- 
vice, inasmuch as they increase their power by all 
the idealisings of love and exhibit themselves as so 
much the more desirable in the eyes of men. But 
by being accustomed for centuries to this exagger- 
ated appreciation of love, it has come to pass that 
they have been caught in their own net and have 
forgotten the origin of the device. They them- 
selves are now still more deceived than the men, 
and on that account also suffer more from the dis- 
illusionment which, almost necessarily, enters into 
the life of every woman — so far, at any rate, as she; 
has sufficient imagination and intelligence to bej 
able to be deceived and undeceived. 



The Emancipation of Women. — Can women 
be at all just, when they are so accustomed to love 
and to be immediately biased for or against? 
For that reason they are also less interested in 
things and more in individuals : but when they are 
interested in things they immediately become their 
partisans, and thereby spoil their pure, innocent 
effect. Thus there arises a danger, by no means 
small, in entrusting politics and certain portions of 
science to them (history, for instance). For what 
is rarer than a woman who really knows what 
science is ? Indeed the best of them cherish in 
their breasts a secret scorn for science, as if they 
were somehow superior to it. Perhaps all this 
can be changed in time ; but meanwhile it is so. 


The Inspiration in Women's Judgments. 
— The sudden decisions, for or against, which 
women are in the habit of making, the flashing 
illumination of personal relations caused by their 
spasmodic inclinations and aversions, — in short, the 
proofs of feminine injustice have been invested 
with a lustre by men who are in love, as if all 
women had inspirations of wisdom, even without 
the Delphic cauldron and the laurel wreaths ; and 
their utterances are interpreted and duly set forth 
as Sibylline oracles for long afterwards. When 
one considers, however, that for every person and 
for every cause something can be said in favour 

VOL. I, U 



of it but equally also something against it, that 
things are not only two-sided, but also three and 
four-sided, it is almost difficult to be entirely at 
fault in such sudden decisions ; indeed, it might be 
said that the nature of things has been so arranged 
that women should always carry their point.* 


' Being Loved. — As one of every two persons' 
in love is usually the one who loves, the other 
the one who is loved, the belief has arisen that 
in every love-affair there is a constant amount 
of love; and that the more of it the one person 
monopolises the less is left for the other. Ex- 
ceptionally it happens that the vanity of each of the 
parties persuades him or her that it is he or she 
who must be loved ; so that both of them wish to 
be loved: from which cause many half funny, half 
absurd scenes take place, especially in married life. 


Contradictions in Feminine Minds.- 
Owing to the fact that women are so much more 
personal than objective, there are tendencies 
included in the range of their ideas which are 
logically in contradiction to one another; they 
are accustomed in turn to become enthusiastically 
fond just of the representatives of these tendencies 

* It may be remarked that Nietzsche changed his view 
on this subject later on, and ascribed more importance to 
woman's intuition. Cf. also Disraeli's reference to the 
"High Priestesses of predestination." — J. M. K. 


and accept their systems in the lump ; but in 
such wise that a dead place originates wherever 
a new personality afterwards gets the ascendancy. 
It may happen that the whole philosophy in the 
mind of an old lady consists of nothing but such 
dead places. 


Who Suffers the More ? — After a personal 
dissension and quarrel between a woman and a 
man the latter party suffers chiefly from the idea 
of having wounded the other, whilst the former 
suffers chiefly from the idea of not having wounded 
the other sufficiently ; so she subsequently en- 
deavours by tears, sobs, and discomposed mien, 
to make his heart heavier. 


An Opportunity for Feminine Magnan- 
imity. — If we could disregard the claims of 
custom in our thinking we might consider whether 
nature and reason do not suggest several marriages 
for men, one after another: perhaps that, at the 
age of twenty-two, he should first marry an older 
girl who is mentally and morally his superior, and 
can be his leader through all the dangers of the 
twenties (ambition, hatred, self-contempt, and 
passions of all kinds). This woman's affection 
would subsequently change entirely into maternal 
love, and she would not only submit to it but 
would encourage the man in the most salutary 

I manner, if in his thirties he contracted an alliance 
with quite a young girl whose education he 



himself should take in hand. Marriage is a 
necessary institution for the twenties ; a useful, 
but not necessary, institution for the thirties ; for 
later life it is often harmful, and .4iromQtes Jhe 
mental deterioration of the man. 


The Tragedy of Childhood. — Perhaps it 
not infrequently happens that noble men with lofty 
aims have to fight their hardest battle in child- 
hood ; by having perchance to carry out their 
principles in opposition to a base-minded father 
addicted to feigning and falsehood, or living, like 
Lord Byron, in constant warfare with a childish 
and passionate mother. He who has had such 
an experience will never be able to forget all his 
life who has been his greatest and most dangerous 


Parental Folly. — The grossest mistakes in 
judging a man are made by his parents, — this is 
a fact, but how is it to be explained ? Have the 
parents too much experience of the child and 
cannot any longer arrange this experience into a 
unity? It has been noticed that it is only in 
the earlier period of their sojourn in foreign 
countries that travellers rightly grasp the general 
distinguishing features of a people ; the better 
they come to know it, they are the less able to 
see what is typical and distinguishing in a people. 
As soon as they grow short-sighted their eyes 1 
cease to be long-sighted. Do parents, therefore, 


judge their children falsely because they have 
never stood far enough away from them ? The 
following is quite another explanation : people 
are no longer accustomed to reflect on what is 
close at hand and surrounds them, but just accept 
it. Perhaps the usual thoughtlessness of parents 
is the reason why they judge so wrongly when 
once they are compelled to judge their children. 


The Future of Marriage. — The noble 
and liberal-minded women who take as their 
mission the education and elevation of the female 
sex, should not overlook one point of view : . 
'Marriage regarded in its highest aspect, as the., 
spiritual friendship of two persons of opposite 
sexes, and accordingly such as is hoped for in 
future, contracted for the purpose of producing 
and educating a new generation, — such marriage, 
which only makes use of the sensual, so to speak, 
as a rare and occasional means to a higher 
purpose, will, it is to be feared, probably need a 
natural auxiliary, namely, concubinage. For if, 
on the grounds of his health, the wife is also 
to serve for the sole satisfaction of the man's 
sexual needs, a wrong perspective, opposed to the 
aims indicated, will have most influence in the 
choice of a wife. The aims referred to : the 
production of descendants, will be accidental, and 
their successful education highly improbable. A 
j good wife, who has to be friend, helper, child -bearer, 
i mother, family-head and manager, and has even 




perhaps to conduct her own business and affairs 
separately from those of the husband, cannot at 
the same time be a concubine ; it would, in general, 
be asking too much of her. In the future, there- 
fore, a state of things might take place the 
opposite of what existed at Athens in the time 
of Pericles ; the men, whose wives were then little 
more to them than concubines, turned besides to 
the Aspasias, because they longed for the charms 
of a companionship gratifying both to head and 
heart, such as the grace and intellectual suppleness 
of women could alone provide. All human in- 
stitutions, just like marriage, allow only a moderate 
amount of practical idealising, failing which coarse 
remedies immediately become necessary. 


The "Storm and Stress" Period of 
Women. — In the three or four civilised countries 
of Europe, it is possible, by several centuries of 
education, to make out of women anything we 
like, — even men, not in a sexual sense, of course, 
but in every other. Under such influences they 
will acquire all the masculine virtues and forces, 
at the same time, of course, they must also have 
taken all the masculine weaknesses and vices into 
the bargain : so much, as has been said, we can 
command. But how shall we endure the inter- 
mediate state thereby induced, which may even 
last two or three centuries, during which feminine 
follies and injustices, woman's original birthday 
endowment, will still maintain the ascendancy 


over all that has been otherwise gained and 
acquired ? This will be the time when indigna- 
tion will be the peculiar masculine passion ; 
indignation, because all arts and sciences have 
been overflowed and choked by an unprecedented 
dilettanteism, philosophy talked to death by brain- 
bewildering chatter, politics more fantastic and 
partisan than ever, and society in complete dis- 
organisation, because the conservatrices of ancient 
customs have become ridiculous to themselves, 
and have endeavoured in every way to place 
themselves outside the pale of custom. If indeed 
women had their greatest power in custom, where 
will they have to look in order to reacquire a 
similar plenitude of power after having renounced 
custom ? 


Free-Spirit and Marriage. — Will free- 
thinkers live with women ? In general, I think 
that, like the prophesying birds of old, like the 
truth-thinkers and truth-speakers of the present, 
they must prefer to fly alone. 


The Happiness of Marriage. — Everything 
to which we are accustomed draws an ever- 
tightening cobweb-net around us ; and presently 
We notice that the threads have become cords, 
and that we ourselves sit in the middle like 
a spider that has here got itself caught and 
must feed on its own blood. Hence the free 
spirit hates all rules and customs, all that is 



permanent and definitive, hence he painfully 
tears asunder again and again the net around 
him, though in consequence thereof he will suffer 
from numerous wounds, slight and severe ; for he 
must break off every thread from himself, from 
his body and soul. He must learn to love where 
he has hitherto hated, and vice versa. Indeed, it 
must not be a thing impossible for him to sow 
dragon's teeth in the same field in which he 
formerly scattered the abundance of his bounty. 
From this it can be inferred whether he is suited 
for the happiness of marriage. 


Too Intimate. — When we live on too 
intimate terms with a person it is as if we were 
again and again handling a good engraving with 
our fingers ; the time comes when we have soiled 
and damaged paper in our hands, and nothing 
more. A man's soul also gets worn out by 
constant handling ; at least, it eventually appears 
so to us — never again do we see its original design 
and beauty. We always lose through too familiar 
association with women and friends ; and some- 
times we lose the pearl of our life thereby. 


The Golden Cradle. — The free spirit will 
always feel relieved when he has finally resolved 
to shake off the motherly care and guardianship 
with which women surround him. What harm 
will a rough wind, from which he has been so 


anxiously protected, do him ? Of what consequence 
is a genuine disadvantage, loss, misfortune, sick- 
ness, illness, fault, or folly more or less in his life, 
compared with the bondage of the golden cradle, 
the peacock's-feather fan, and the oppressive feel- 
ing that he must, in addition, be grateful because 
he is waited on and spoiled like a baby ? Hence 
it is that the milk which is offered him by the 
motherly disposition of the women about him can 
so readily turn into gall. 


A Voluntary Victim. — There is nothing 
by which able women can so alleviate the lives of 
their husbands, should these be great and famous, 
as by becoming, so to speak, the receptacle for the 
general disfavour and occasional ill-humour of the 
rest of mankind. Contemporaries are usually ac- 
customed to overlook many mistakes, follies, and 
even flagrant injustices in their great men if only 
they can find some one to maltreat and kill, as a 
proper victim for the relief of their feelings. A 
wife not infrequently has the ambition to present 
herself for this sacrifice, and then the husband 
may indeed feel satisfied, — he being enough of an 
egoist to have such a voluntary storm, rain, and 
lightning-conductor beside him. 


Agreeable Adversaries. — The natural in- 
clination of women towards quiet, regular, happily 



tuned existences and intercourse, the oil-like and 
calming effect of their influence upon the sea of 
life, operates unconsciously against the heroic 
inner impulse of the free spirit. Without know- 
ing it, women act as if they were taking away the 
stones from the path of the wandering mineral- 
ogist in order that he might not strike his foot 
against them — when he has gone out for the 
very purpose of striking against them. 


The Discord of Two Concords. — Woman 
wants to serve, and finds her happiness therein ; 
the free spirit does not want to be served, and 
therein finds his happiness. 


Xantippe. — Socrates found a wife such as he 
required, — but he would not have sought her had 
he known her suflficiently well ; even the heroism 
of his free spirit would not have gone so far. As 
a matter of fact, Xantippe forced him more and 
more into his peculiar profession, inasmuch as she 
made house and home doleful and dismal to him ; 
she taught him to live in the streets and wher- 
ever gossiping and idling went on, and thereby 
made him the greatest Athenian street-dia- 
lectician, who had, at last, to compare himself 
to a gad-fly which a god had set on the neck of 
the beautiful horse Athens to prevent it from 



Blind to the Future. — Just as mothers have 
senses and eye only for those pains of their children 
that are evident to the senses and eye, so the 
wives of men of high aspirations cannot accustom 
themselves to see their husbands suffering, starv- 
ing, or slighted, — although all this is, perhaps, not 
only the proof that they have rightly chosen their 
attitude in life, but even the guarantee that their 
great aims must be achieved some time. Women 
always intrigue privately against the higher souls 
of their husbands ; they want to cheat them out 
of their future for the sake of a painless and 
comfortable present. 

Authority and Freedom. — However highly 
women may honour their husbands, they honour 
still more the powers and ideas recognised by 
society; they have been accustomed for mil- 
lennia to go along with their hands folded on 
their breasts, and their heads bent before every- 
thing dominant, disapproving of all resistance to 
public authority. They therefore unintentionally, 
and as if from instinct, hang themselves as a drag 
on the wheels of free-spirited, independent en- 
deavour, and in certain circumstances make their 
husbands highly impatient, especially when the 
latter persuade themselves that it is really love 
which prompts the action of their wives. To 
disapprove of women's methods and generously 
to honour the motives that prompt them — that is 
man's nature and often enough his despair. 




Ceterum Censeo. — It is laughable when a com- 
pany of paupers decree the abolition of the right 
of inheritance, and it is not less laughable when 
childless persons labour for the practical law- 
giving of a country : they have not enough ballast 
in their ship to sail safely over the ocean of the 
future. But it seems equally senseless if a man 
who has chosen for his mission the widest know- 
ledge and estimation of universal existence, burdens 
himself with personal considerations for a family, 
with the support, protection, and care of wife and 
child, and in front of his telescope hangs that 
gloomy veil through which hardly a ray from the 
distant firmament can penetrate. Thus I, too, 
agree with the opinion that in matters of the 
highest philosophy all married men are to be 


Finally. — There are many kinds of hemlock, 
and fate generally finds an opportunity to put a 
cup of this poison to the lips of the free spirit, — 
in order to " punish " him, as every one then says. 
What do the women do about him then ? They 
cry and lament, and perhaps disturb the sunset- 
calm of the thinker, as they did in the prison at 
Athens. " Oh Crito, bid some one take those 
women away ! " said Socrates at last. 


Asking to be Heard. — The demagogic dis- 
position and the intention of working upon the 
masses is at present common to all political 
parties ; on this account they are all obliged to 
change their principles into great al fresco follies 
and thus make a show of them. In this matter 
there is no further alteration to be made : indeed, 
it is superfluous even to raise a finger against it ; 
for here Voltaire's saying applies : " Quand la 
populace se mile de raisonner, tout est perdu." 
Since this has happened we have to accommodate 
ourselves to the new conditions, as we have to 
accommodate ourselves when an earthquake has 
displaced the old boundaries and the contour of the 
land and altered the value of property. More- 
over, when it is once for all a question in the politics 
of all parties to make life endurable to the great- 
est possible majority, this majority may always 
decide what they understand by an endurable life ; 
if they believe their intellect capable of finding the 
right means to this end why should we doubt 
about it? They want, once for all, to be the 
architects of their own good or ill fortune ; and if 



their feeling of free choice and their pride in the 
five or six ideas that their brain conceals and 
brings to light, really makes life so agreeable to 
them that they gladly put up with the fatal con- 
sequences of their narrow-mindedness, there is 
little to object to, provided that their narrow- 
mindedness does not go so far as to demand that 
everything shall become politics in this sense, that 
all shall live and act according to this standard. 
For, in the first place, it must be more than ever 
permissible for some people to keep aloof from 
politics and to stand somewhat aside. To this 
they are also impelled by the pleasure of free 
choice, and connected with this there may even be 
some little pride in keeping silence when too many, 
and only the many, are speaking. Then this 
small group must be excused if they do not attach 
such great importance to the happiness of the 
majority (nations or strata of population may be 
understood thereby), and are occasionally guilty 
of an ironical grimace ; for their seriousness lies 
elsewhere, their conception of happiness is quite 
different, and their aim cannot be encompassed 
by every clumsy hand that has just five fingers. 
F"inally, there comes from time to time — what is 
certainly most difficult to concede to them, but 
must also be conceded — a moment when they 
emerge from their silent solitariness and try once 
more the strength of their lungs ; they then call 
to each other like people lost in a wood, to make 
themselves known and for mutual encouragement ; 
whereby, to be sure, much becomes audible that 
sounds evil to ears for which it is not intended. 



Soon, however, silence again prevails in the wood, 
such silence that the buzzing, humming, and 
fluttering of the countless insects that live in, 
above, and beneath it, are again plainly heard. 


Culture and Caste. — A higher culture can 
only originate where there are two distinct castes 
of society : that of the working class, and that of 
the leisured class who are capable of true leisure ; 
or, more strongly expressed, the caste of com- 
pulsory labour and the caste of free labour. The 
point of view of the division of happiness is not 
essential when it is a question of the production 
of a higher culture ; in any case, however, the 
leisured caste is more susceptible to suffering and 
suffer more, their pleasure in existence is less and 
their task is greater. Now supposing there should 
be quite an interchange between the two castes, 
so that on the one hand the duller and less 
intelligent families and individuals are lowered 
from the higher caste into the lower, and, on the 
other hand, the freer men of the lower caste obtain 
access to the higher, a condition of things would 
be attained beyond which one can only perceive 
the open sea of vague wishes. Thus speaks to us 
the vanishing voice of the olden time ; but where 
are there still ears to hear it ? 


Of Good Blood. — That which men and 
women of good blood possess much more tharj 



others, and which gives them an undoubted right 
to be more highly appreciated, are two arts which 
are always increased by inheritance : the art of 
being able to command, and the art of proud 
obedience. Now wherever commanding is the 
business of the day (as in the great world of 
commerce and industry), there results something 
similar to these families of good blood, only the 
noble bearing in obedience is lacking which is an 
inheritance from feudal conditions and hardly 
grows any longer in the climate of our culture. 


Subordination. — The subordination which 
is so highly valued in military and official ranks 
will soon become as incredible to us as the secret 
tactics of the Jesuits have already become ; and 
when this subordination is no longer possible a 
multitude of astonishing results will no longer be 
attained, and the world will be all the poorer. 
It must disappear, for its foundation is disappear- 
ing, the belief in unconditional authority, in 
ultimate truth ; even in military ranks physical 
compulsion is not sufficient to produce it, but only 
the inherited adoration of the princely as of some- 
thing superhuman. In freer circumstances people 
subordinate themselves only on conditions, in 
compliance with a mutual contract, consequently 
with all the provisos of self-interest. 


The National Army. — The greatest dis- 
advantage of the national army, now so much 


glorified, lies in the squandering of men of the 
highest civilisation ; it is only by the favourable- 
ness of all circumstances that there are such men 
at all ; how carefully and anxiously should we deal 
with them, since long periods are required to 
create the chance conditions for the production of 
such delicately organised brains ! But as the 
Greeks wallowed in the blood of Greeks, so do 
Europeans now in the blood of Europeans : and 
indeed, taken relatively, it is mostly the highly 
cultivated who are sacrificed, those who promise 
an abundant and excellent posterity ; for such 
stand in the front of the battle as commanders, 
and also expose themselves to most danger, by 
reason of their higher ambition. At present, when 
quite other and higher tasks are assigned than 
patria and honor, the rough Roman patriotism 
is either something dishonourable or a sign of 
being behind the times. 


Hope as Presumption. — Our social order will 
slowly melt away, as all former orders have done, 
as soon as the suns of new opinions have shone 
upon mankind with a new glow. We can only 
wish this melting away in the hope thereof, and 
we are only reasonably entitled to hope when we 
believe that we and our equals have more strength 
in heart and head than the representatives of the 
existing state of things. As a rule, therefore, this 
hope will be a presumption, an over- estimation. 

VOL. I. X 




War. — Against war it may be said that it 
makes the victor stupid and the vanquished re- 
vengeful. In favour of war it may be said that 
it barbarises in both its above-named results, and 
thereby makes more natural ; it is the sleep or 
the winter period of culture ; man emerges from 
it with greater strength for good and for evil. 


In the Prince's Service. — To be able to 
act quite regardlessly it is best for a statesman 
to carry out his work not for himself but for a 
prince. The eye of the spectator is dazzled by 
the splendour of this general disinterestedness, so 
that it does not see the malignancy and severity 
which the work of a statesman brings with it.* 


A Question of Power, not of Right. — As 
regards Socialism, in the eyes of those who always 
consider higher utility, if it is really a rising 
against their oppressors of those who for centuries 
have been oppressed and downtrodden, there is 
no problem of right involved (notwithstanding the 
ridiculous, effeminate question," How far ought we to 
grant its demands ? ") but only a problem oi power 
(" How far can we make use of its demands ? ") ; 

* This aphorism may have been suggested by Nietzsche's 
observing the behaviour of his great contemporary, Bismarck, 
towards the dynasty. — J. M. K. 


the same, therefore, as in the case of a natural 
force, — steam, for instance, — which is either forced 
by man into his service, as a machine-god, or 
which, in case of defects of the machine, that is to 
say, defects of human calculation in its construc- 
tion, destroys it and man together. In order to 
solve this question of power we must know how 
strong Socialism is, in what modification it may 
yet be employed as a powerful lever in the 
present mechanism of political forces ; under cer- 
tain circumstances we should do all we can to 
strengthen it. With every great force — be it the 
most dangerous — men have to think how they 
can make of it an instrument for their purposes. 
Socialism acquires a right only if war seems to 
have taken place between the two powers, the 
representatives of the old and the new, when, 
however, a wise calculation of the greatest 
possible preservation and advantageousness to 
both sides gives rise to a desire for a treaty. 
Without treaty no right. So far, however, there 
is neither war nor treaty on the ground in question, 
therefore no rights, no " ought." 


Utilising the most Trivial Dishonesty. — 
The power of the press consists in the fact that 
every individual who ministers to it only feels 
himself bound and constrained to a very small 
extent. He usually expresses his opinion, but 
sometimes also does not express it in order to 
serve his party or the politics of his country, or 



even himself. Such little faults of dishonesty, or 
perhaps only of a dishonest silence, are not hard 
to bear by the individual, but the consequences 
are extraordinary, because these little faults are 
committed by many at the same time. Each one 
says to himself: "For such small concessions I 
live better and can make my income ; by the 
want of such little compliances I make myself 
impossible." Because it seems almost morally 
indifferent to write a line more (perhaps even 
without signature), or not to write it, a person 
who has money and influence can make any 
opinion a public one. He who knows that most 
people are weak in trifles, and wishes to attain 
his own ends thereby, is always dangerous. 


Too Loud a Tone in Grievances. — Through 
the fact that an account of a bad state of things 
(for instance, the crimes of an administration, 
bribery and arbitrary favour in political or learned 
bodies) is greatly exaggerated, it fails in its effect 
on intelligent people, but has all the greater effect 
on the unintelligent (who would have remained 
indifferent to an accurate and moderate account). 
But as these latter are considerably in the majority, 
and harbour in themselves stronger will-power 
and more impatient desire for action, the ex- 
aggeration becomes the cause of investigations, 
punishments, promises, and reorganisations. In 
so far it is useful to exaggerate the accounts of 
bad states of things. 


The Apparent Weather - Makers of 
Politics. — Just as people tacitly assume that 
he who understands the weather, and foretells it 
about a day in advance, makes the weather, so 
even the educated and learned, with a display of 
superstitious faith, ascribe to great statesmen as 
their most special work all the important changes 
and conjunctures that have taken place during 
their administration, when it is only evident that 
they knew something thereof a little earlier than 
other people and made their calculations accord- 
ingly, — thus they are also looked upon as weather- 
makers — and this belief is not the least important 
instrument of their power. 


New and Old Conceptions of Govern- 
ment. — To draw such a distinction between 
Government and people as if two separate spheres 
of power, a stronger and higher, and a weaker and 
lower, negotiated and came to terms with each other, 
is a remnant of transmitted political sentiment, 
which still accurately represents the historic estab- 
lishment of the conditions of power in most States. 
When Bismarck, for instance, describes the con- 
stitutional system as a compromise between 
Government and people, he speaks in accordance 
with a principle which has its reason in history 
(from whence, to be sure, it also derives its ad- 
mixture of folly, without which nothing human 



can exist). On the other hand, we must now 
learn — in accordance with a principle which 
has originated only in the brain and has still to 
make history — that Government is nothing but 
an organ of the people, — not an attentive, honour- 
able " higher " in relation to a " lower " accustomed 
to modesty. Before we accept this hitherto un- 
historical and arbitrary, although logical, formula- 
tion of the conception of Government, let us but 
consider its consequences, for the relation between 
people and Government is the strongest typical 
relation, after the pattern of which the relationship 
between teacher and pupil, master and servants, 
father and family, leader and soldier, master and 
apprentice, is unconsciously formed. At present, 
under the influence of the prevailing constitutional 
system of government, all these relationships are 
changing a little, — they are becoming com- 
promises. But how they will have to be reversed 
and shifted, and change name and nature, when 
that newest of all conceptions has got the upper 
hand everywhere in people's minds ! — to achieve 
which, however, a century may yet be required. In 
this matter there is nothing further to be wished 
for except caution and slow development. 


Justice as the Decoy-Cry of Parties. — 
Well may noble (if not exactly very intelligent) 
representatives of the governing classes asseverate : 
" We will treat men equally and grant them 
equal rights " ; so far a socialistic mode of thought 


which is based on justice is possible ; but, as has 
been said, only within the ranks of the governing 
class, which in this case practises justice with 
sacrifices and abnegations. On the other hand, 
to demand equality of rights, as do the Socialists 
of the subject caste, is by no means the outcome 
of justice, but of covetousness. If you expose 
bloody pieces of flesh to a beast, and withdraw 
them again, until it finally begins to roar, do 
you think that roaring implies justice? 


Possession and Justice. — When the Socialists 
point out that the division of property at the 
present day is the consequence of countless deeds 
of injustice and violence, and, in summa, repudiate 
obligation to anything with so unrighteous a basis, 
they only perceive something isolated. The entire 
past of ancient civilisation is built up on violence, 
slavery, deception, and error ; we, however, cannot 
annul ourselves, the heirs of all these conditions, 
nay, the concrescences of all this past, and are 
not entitled to demand the withdrawal of a single 
fragment thereof. The unjust disposition lurks 
also in the souls of non-possessors ; they are not 
better than the possessors and have no moral 
prerogative ; for at one time or another their 
ancestors have been possessors. Not forcible 
new distributions, but gradual transformations of 
opinion are necessary; justice in all matters must 
"become greater, the instinct of violence weaker. 




The Helmsman of the Passions. — The 
statesman excites public passions in order to have 
the advantage of the counter-passions thereby 
aroused. To give an example : a German states- 
man knows quite well that the Catholic Church 
will never have the same plans as Russia ; indeed, 
that it would far rather be allied with the Turks 
than with the former country ; he likewise knows 
that Germany is threatened with great danger 
from an alliance between France and Russia. If 
he can succeed, therefore, in making France the 
focus and fortress of the Catholic Church, he has 
averted this danger for a lengthy period. He 
has, accordingly, an interest in showing hatred 
against the Catholics in transforming, by all kinds 
of hostility, the supporters of the Pope's authority 
into an impassioned political power which is 
opposed to German politics, and must, as a matter 
of course, coalesce with France as the adversary 
of Germany ; his aim is the catholicising of France, 
just as necessarily as Mirabeau saw the salvation 
of his native land in de-catholicising it. The one 
State, therefore, desires to muddle millions of 
minds of another State in order to gain advantage 
thereby. It is the same disposition which supports 
the republican form of government of a neighbour- 
ing State — le dhordre organise, as Mdrim^e says 
— for the sole reason that it assumes that this 
form of government makes the nation weaker, 
more distracted, less fit for war. 



The Dangerous Revolutionary Spirits. — 
Those who are bent on revolutionising society 
may be divided into those who seek something 
for themselves thereby and those who seek some- 
thing for their children and grandchildren. The 
latter are the more dangerous, for they have the 
belief and the good conscience of disinterestedness. 
The others can be appeased by favours : those in 
power are still sufficiently rich and wise to adopt 
that expedient. The danger begins as soon as 
the aims become impersonal ; revolutionists seek- 
ing impersonal interests may consider all defenders 
of the present state of things as personally in- 
terested, and may therefore feel themselves superior 
to their opponents. 

The Political Value of Paternity. — When 
a man has no sons he has not a full right to join 
in a discussion concerning the needs of a particular 
community. A person must himself have staked 
his dearest object along with the others : that 
alone binds him fast to the State ; he must have 
in view the well-being of his descendants, and 
must, therefore, above all, have descendants in 
order to take a right and natural share in all 
institutions and the changes thereof. The develop- 
ment of higher morality depends on a person's 
having sons ; it disposes him to be unegoistic, 
or, more correctly, it extends his egoism in its 
duration and permits him earnestly to strive after 
goals which lie beyond his individual lifetime. 




Pride of Descent. — A man may be justly 
proud of an unbroken line of good ancestors down 
to his father, — not however of the line itself, for 
every one has that. Descent from good ancestors 
constitutes the real nobility of birth ; a single 
break in the chain, one bad ancestor, therefore, 
destroys the nobility of birth. Every one who 
talks about his nobility should be asked : " Have 
you no violent, avaricious, dissolute, wicked, cruel 
man amongst your ancestors ? " If with good 
cognisance and conscience he can answer No, then 
let his friendship be sought. 


Slaves and Labourers. — The fact that we 
regard the gratification of vanity as of more 
account than all other forms of well-being 
(security, position, and pleasures of all sorts), is 
shown to a ludicrous extent by every one wishing 
for the abolition of slavery and utterly abhorring 
to put any one into this position (apart altogether 
from political reasons), while every one must ac- 
knowledge to himself that in all respects slaves 
live more securely and more happily than modern 
labourers, and that slave labour is very easy 
labour compared with that of the " labourer." We 
protest in the name of the " dignity of man " ; but, 
expressed more simply, that is just our darling 
vanity which feels non-equality, and inferiority 
in public estimation, to be the hardest lot of all. 


The cynic thinks differently concerning the matter, 
because he despises honour : — and so Diogenes 
was for some time a slave and tutor. 


Leading Minds and their Instruments. — 
We see that great statesmen, and in general all 
who have to employ many people to carry out 
their plans, sometimes proceed one way and 
sometimes another ; they either choose with great 
skill and care the people suitable for their plans, 
and then leave them a comparatively large 
amount of liberty, because they know that the 
nature of the persons selected impels them pre- 
cisely to the point where they themselves would 
have them go ; or else they choose badly, in fact 
take whatever comes to hand, but out of every 
piece of clay they form something useful for their 
purpose. These latter minds are the more high- 
handed ; they also desire more submissive instru- 
ments ; their knowledge of mankind is usually 
much smaller, their contempt of mankind greater 
than in the case of the first mentioned class, but 
the machines they construct generally work better 
than the machines from the workshops of the former. 


Arbitrary Law Necessary. — Jurists dis- 
pute whether the most perfectly thought-out law 
or that which is most easily understood should 
prevail in a nation. The former, the best model 
of which is Roman Law, seems incomprehensible 





to the layman, and is therefore not the expres- 
sion of his sense of justice. Popular laws, the 
Germanic, for instance, have been rude, supersti- 
tious, illogical, and in part idiotic, but they 
represented very definite, inherited national morals 
and sentiments. But where, as with us, law is 
no longer custom, it can only command and be 
compulsion ; none of us any longer possesses a 
traditional sense of justice ; we must therefore 
content ourselves with arbitrary laws, which are 
the expressions of the necessity that there must 
be law. The most logical is then in any case the 
most acceptable, because it is the most impartial^ 
granting even that in every case the smallest unit 
of measure in the relation of crime and punish- 
ment is arbitrarily fixed. 


The Great Man of the Masses. — Thei 
recipe for what the masses call a great man is | 
easily given. In all circumstances let a person 1 
provide them with something very pleasant, or] 
first let him put it into their heads that this orj 
that would be very pleasant, and then let him 
give it to them. On no account give it immediA 
ately, however: but let him acquire it by thej 
greatest exertions, or seem thus to acquire it. 
The masses must have the impression that there] 
is a powerful, nay indomitable strength of willj 
operating; at least it must seem to be there 
operating. Everybody admires a strong will, 
because nobody possesses it, and everybody sayS; 


to himself that if he did possess it there would 
no longer be any bounds for him and his egoism. 
If, then, it becomes evident that such a strong will 
effects something very agreeable to the masses, 
instead of hearkening to the wishes of covetous- 
ness, people admire once more, and wish good 
luck to themselves. Moreover, if he has all the 
qualities of the masses, they are the less ashamed 
before him, and he is all the more popular. 
Consequently, he may be violent, envious, 
rapacious, intriguing, flattering, fawning, inflated, 
and, according to circumstances, anything what- 


Prince and God. — People frequently com- 
mune with their princes in the same way as with 
their God, as indeed the prince himself was 
frequently the Deity's representative, or at least 
His high priest. This almost uncanny disposition 
of veneration, disquiet, and shame, grew, and has 
grown, much weaker, but occasionally it flares up 
again, and fastens upon powerful persons generally. 
The cult of genius is an echo of this veneration 
of Gods and Princes. Wherever an effort is 
made to exalt particular men to the superhuman, 
there is also a tendency to regard whole grades 
of the population as coarser and baser than they 
really are. 


My Utopia. — In a better arranged society 
the heavy work and trouble of life will be assigned 
to those who suffer least through it, to the most 




obtuse, therefore; and so step by step up to 
those who are most sensitive to the highest and 
sublimest kinds of suffering, and who therefore still 
suffer notwithstanding the greatest alleviations 
of life. 


A Delusion in Subversive Doctrines.— 
There are political and social dreamers who 
ardently and eloquently call for the overthrow 
of all order, in the belief that the proudest fane 
of beautiful humanity will then rear itself im- 
mediately, almost of its own accord. In these 
dangerous dreams there is still an echo of 
Rousseau's superstition, which believes in a 
marvellous primordial goodness of human nature, 
buried up, as it were ; and lays all the blame of 
that burying-up on the institutions of civilisation, 
on society. State, and education. Unfortunately, 
it is well known by historical experiences that 
every such overthrow reawakens into new life 
the wildest energies, the long-buried horrors and 
extravagances of remotest ages ; that an over- 
throw, therefore, may possibly be a source of 
strength to a deteriorated humanity, but never 
a regulator, architect, artist, or perfecter of human 
nature. It was not Voltaire's moderate nature, 
inclined towards regulating, purifying, and recon- 
structing, but Rousseau's passionate follies and half- 
lies that aroused the optimistic spirit of the Revolu- 
tion, against which I cry, " Ecrasez rinfdme!'* 
Owing to this the Spirit of enlightenment and 
progressive development has been long scared 


away ; let us see — each of us individually — if it 
is not possible to recall it ! 


Moderation. — When perfect resoluteness in 
thinking and investigating, that is to say, freedom 
of spirit, has become a feature of character, it 
produces moderation of conduct ; for it weakens 
avidity, attracts much extant energy for the 
furtherance of intellectual aims, and shows the 
semi-usefulness, or uselessness and danger, of all 
sudden changes. 


The Resurrection of the Spirit. — A 
nation usually renews its youth on a political 
sick-bed, and there finds again the spirit which 
it had gradually lost in seeking and maintaining 
power. Culture is indebted most of all to 
politically weakened periods 


New Opinions in the Old Home. — The 
overthrow of opinions is not immediately followed 
by the overthrow of institutions ; on the contrary, 
the new opinions dwell for a long time in the 
desolate and haunted house of their predecessors, 
and conserve it even for want of a habitation. 


Public Education. — In large States public 
education will always be extremely mediocre, for 



the same reason that in large kitchens the cook- 
ing is at best only mediocre. 


Innocent Corruption. — In all institutions 
into which the sharp breeze of public criticism 
does not penetrate an innocent corruption grows 
up like a fungus (for instance, in learned bodies 
and senates). 


Scholars as Politicians. — To scholars who 
become politicians the comic role is usually 
assigned ; they have to be the good conscience 
of a state policy. 


The Wolf hidden behind the Sheep. — 
Almost every politician, in certain circumstances, 
has such need of an honest man that he breaks 
into the sheep-fold like a famished wolf; not, 
however, to devour a stolen sheep, but to hide 
himself behind its woolly back. 


Happy Times. — A happy age is no longer 
possible, because men only wish for it but do not 
desire to have it ; and each individual, when good 
days come for him, learns positively to pray for 
disquiet and misery. The destiny of mankind is 
arranged for happy moments — every life has such | 
— but not for happy times. Nevertheless, such 
times will continue to exist in man's imagination 


as " over the hills and far away," an heirloom of 
his earliest ancestors ; for the idea of the happy- 
age, from the earliest times to the present, has no 
doubt been derived from the state in which man, 
after violent exertions in hunting and warfare, 
gives himself over to repose, stretches out his 
limbs, and hears the wings of sleep rustle around 
him. It is a false conclusion when, in accordance 
with that old habit, man imagines that after whole 
periods of distress and trouble he will be able also 
to enjoy the state of happiness in proportionate 
increase and duration. 


Religion and Government. — So long as 
the State, or, more properly, the Government, 
regards itself as the appointed guardian of a 
number of minors, and on their account considers 
the question whether religion should be preserved 
or abolished, it is highly probable that it will 
always decide for the preservation thereof. For 
religion satisfies the nature of the individual in 
times of loss, destitution, terror, and distrust, in 
cases, therefore, where the Government feels itself 
incapable of doing anything directly for the miti- 
gation of the spiritual sufferings of the individual ; 
indeed, even in general unavoidable and next to 
inevitable evils (famines, financial crises, and 
wars) religion gives to the masses an attitude of 
tranquillity and confiding expectancy. Whenever 
the necessary or accidental deficiencies of the 
State Government, or the dangerous consequences 

VOL. I. Y 



of dynastic interests, strike the eyes of the^ 
intelligent and make them refractory, the un- 
intelligent will only think they see the finger of] 
God therein and will submit with patience to the] 
dispensations from on high (a conception in which! 
divine and human modes of government usually 
coalesce) ; thus internal civil peace and continuity 
of development will be preserved. The power,! 
which lies in the unity of popular feeling, in the 
existence of the same opinions and aims for all, 
is protected and confirmed by religion, — the rare 
cases excepted in which a priesthood cannot agree] 
with the State about the price, and therefore 
comes into conflict with it. As a rule the State] 
will know how to win over the priests, because 
it needs their most private and secret system for 
educating souls, and knows how to value servants] 
who apparently, and outwardly, represent quite] 
other interests. Even at present no power can 
become " legitimate " without the assistance of j 
the priests ; a fact which Napoleon understood, j 
Thus, absolutely paternal government and the] 
careful preservation of religion necessarily go] 
hand-in -hand. In this connection it must be 
taken for granted that the rulers and governing] 
classes are enlightened concerning the advantages] 
which religion affords, and consequently feel them- 
selves to a certain extent superior to it, inasmuch ; 
as they use it as a means ; thus freedom of spirit 
has its origin here. But how will it be when 
the totally different interpretation of the idea of] 
Government, such as is taught in democratic^ 
States, begins to prevail? When one sees in it] 


nothing but the instrument of the popular will, 
no " upper " in contrast to an " under," but merely a 
function of the sole sovereign, the people ? Here 
also only the same attitude which the people 
assume towards religion can be assumed by the 
Government ; every diffusion of enlightenment 
will have to find an echo even in the repre- 
sentatives, and the utilising and exploiting of 
religious impulses and consolations for State 
purposes will not be so easy (unless powerful 
party leaders occasionally exercise an influence 
resembling that of enlightened despotism). When, 
however, the State is not permitted to derive any 
further advantage from religion, or when people 
think far too variously on religious matters to 
allow the State to adopt a consistent and uniform 
procedure with respect to them, the way out of 
the difficulty will necessarily present itself, namely 
to treat religion as a private affair and leave it 
to the conscience and custom of each single 
individual. The first result of all is that religious 
feeling seems to be strengthened, inasmuch as 
hidden and suppressed impulses thereof, which 
the State had unintentionally or intentionally 
stifled, now break forth and rush to extremes ; 
later on, however, it is found that religion is over- 
grown with sects, and that an abundance of 
dragon's teeth were sown as soon as religion 
was made a private affair. The spectacle of 
strife, and the hostile laying bare of all the 
weaknesses of religious confessions, admit finally 
of no other expedient except that every better 
and more talented person should make irreligious- 



ness his private affair, a sentiment which now 
obtains the upper hand even in the minds of 
the governing classes, and, almost against their 
will, gives an anti-religious character to their 
nleasures. As soon as this happens, the sentiment 
of persons still religiously disposed, who formerly 
adored the State as something half sacred or 
wholly sacred, changes into decided hostility to 
the State ; they lie in wait for governmental 
measures, seeking to hinder, thwart, and disturb 
as much as they can, and, by the fury of their 
contradiction, drive the opposing parties, the irre- 
ligious ones, into an almost fanatical enthusiasm 
for the State ; in connection with which there is 
also the silently co-operating influence, that since 
their separation from religion the hearts of persons 
in these circles are conscious of a void, and seek 
by devotion to the State to provide themselves 
provisionally with a substitute for religion, a kind 
of stuffing for the void. After these perhaps 
lengthy transitional struggles, it is finally decided 
whether the religious parties are still strong 
enough to revive an old condition of things, and 
turn the wheel backwards : in which case en- 
lightened despotism (perhaps less enlightened and 
more timorous than formerly), inevitably gets the 
State into its hands, — or whether the non-religious 
parties achieve their purpose, and, possibly through 
schools and education, check the increase of their 
opponents during several generations, and finally 
make them no longer possible. Then, however, 
their enthusiasm for the State also abates : it 
always becomes more obvious that along with the 



religious adoration which regards the State as a 
mystery and a supernatural institution, the reverent 
and pious relation to it has also been convulsed. 
Henceforth individuals see only that side of the 
State which may be useful or injurious to them, 
and press forward by all means to obtain an 
influence over it. But this rivalry soon becomes 
too great ; men and parties change too rapidly, 
and throw each other down again too furiously 
from the mountain when they have only just 
succeeded in getting aloft. All the measures 
which such a Government carries out lack the 
guarantee of permanence ; people then fight shy 
of undertakings which would require the silent 
growth of future decades or centuries to produce 
ripe fruit. Nobody henceforth feels any other 
obligation to a law than to submit for the moment 
to the power which introduced the law ; people 
immediately set to work, however, to undermine 
it by a new power, a newly-formed majority. 
Finally — it may be confidently asserted — the 
distrust of all government, the insight into the 
useless and harassing nature of these short- 
winded struggles, must drive men to an entirely 
new resolution : to the abrogation of the con- 
ception of the State and the abolition of the 
contrast of " private and public." Private concerns 
gradually absorb the business of the State ; even 
the toughest residue which is left over from the 
old work of governing (the business, for instance, 
which is meant to protect private persons from 
private persons) will at last some day be managed 
by private enterprise. The neglect, decline, and 


death of the State, the liberation of the private 
person (I am careful not to say the individual), 
are the consequences of the democratic conception 
of the State ; that is its mission. When it 
has accomplished its task, — which, like every- 
thing human, involves much rationality and 
irrationality, — and when all relapses into the old 
malady have been overcome, then a new leaf in 
the story-book of humanity will be unrolled, on 
which readers will find all kinds of strange tales 
and perhaps also some amount of good. To 
repeat shortly what has been said : the interests 
of the tutelary Government and the interests of 
religion go hand-in-hand, so that when the latter 
begins to decay the foundations of the State are 
also shaken. The belief in a divine regulation of 
political affairs, in a mystery in the existence of 
the State, is of religious origin : if religion dis- 
appears, the State will inevitably lose its old veil 
of Isis, and will no longer arouse veneration. The 
sovereignty of the people, looked at closely, serves 
also to dispel the final fascination and supersti- 
tion in the realm of these sentiments ; modern 
democracy is the historical form of the decay of 
the State. The outlook which results from this 
certain decay is not, however, unfortunate in 
every respect ; the wisdom and the selfishness of 
men are the best developed of all their qualities ; 
when the State no longer meets the demands of 
these impulses, chaos will least of all result, but a 
still more appropriate expedient than the State 
will get the mastery over the State. How many 
organising forces have already been seen to die 


out ! For example, that of the gens or clan 
which for millennia was far mightier than the 
power of the family, and indeed already ruled and 
regulated long before the latter existed. We our- 
selves see the important notions of the right and 
might of the family, which once possessed the 
supremacy as far as the Roman system extended, 
always becoming paler and feebler. In the same 
way a later generation will also see the State 
become meaningless in certain parts of the world, 
— an idea which many contemporaries can hardly 
contemplate without alarm and horror. To labour 
for the propagation and realisation of this idea is, 
certainly, another thing; one must think very 
presumptuously of one's reason, and only half 
understand history, to set one's hand to the 
plough at present — when as yet no one can show 
us the seeds that are afterwards to be sown upon 
the broken soil. Let us, therefore, trust to the 
" wisdom and selfishness of men " that the State 
may yet exist a good while longer, and that the 
destructive attempts of over-zealous, too hasty 
sciolists may be in vain ! 


Socialism, with Regard to its Means. — 
Socialism is the fantastic younger brother of 
almost decrepit despotism, which it wants to suc- 
ceed ; its efforts are, therefore, in the deepest 
sense reactionary. For it desires such an amount 
of State power as only despotism has possessed, 
—indeed, it outdoes all the past, in that it 



aims at the complete annihilation of the indi- 
vidual, whom it deems an unauthorised luxury 
of nature, which is to be improved by it into an 
appropriate organ of the general community. Owing 
to its relationship, it always appears in proximity 
to excessive developments of power, like the old 
typical socialist, Plato, at the court of the Sicilian 
tyrant ; it desires (and under certain circumstances 
furthers) the Caesarian despotism of this century, 
because, as has been said, it would like to become 
its heir. But even this inheritance would not 
suffice for its objects, it requires the most sub- 
missive prostration of all citizens before the 
absolute State, such as has never yet been realised ; 
and as it can no longer even count upon the old 
religious piety towards the State, but must rather 
strive involuntarily and continuously for the 
abolition thereof, — because it strives for the aboli- 
tion of all existing States, — it can only hope for 
existence occasionally, here and there for short 
periods, by means of the extremest terrorism. It 
is therefore silently preparing itself for reigns of 
terror, and drives the word " justice " like a nail 
into the heads of the half-cultured masses in order 
to deprive them completely of their understanding 
(after they had already suffered seriously from the 
half-culture), and to provide them with a good 
conscience for the bad game they are to play. 
Socialism may serve to teach, very brutally and 
impressively, the danger of all accumulations of 
State power, and may serve so far to inspire dis- 
trust of the State itself When its rough voice 
strikes up the way-cry " as much State as possible" 




the shout at first becomes louder than ever, — but 
soon the opposition cry also breaks forth, with so 
much greater force : " as little State as possible^ 


The Development of the Mind Feared 
BY the State. — The Greek polls wa s,Jike_everv 
organising political po wer, exclusiv e and distrust- 
ful of the growth of culture ; its powerful funda- 

" mental impulse seemed almost sotely to ' have^lt 
paralysing and obstructive effect thereon. It did 

""not want to let any hijtory or any becoming have 

-a^laceT^ircuTture ; the education laid d own In th^g 
State laws wasmeant to be obligatory on ''all 
fenerations to keep them at tf«7 stage of develop- 
ment. Plato also, later on, did not Hesi?e~it~t5"Be 
otEerwis e in his ideal S tate. I n sp ite of the polls 
duItijxe-deYflnpp:d. itself in This manner \ indireotly^^ 
Jq be sure, and against its will, th e polis furnished 
a ssistanc e b ecause the ambition of individuals 
t herein was stimulate d to the utmost, so that, 
having once found Uie^ath of IHteUectual develop- 

^ent, they fo llowed ttto^its farthest extremity ^ 

be made to 

On the other hand, appeal should-j 

"^?_£%"^?y*'i^--5f-??li^?§L fo^ ^^ ^s only a great 
optimistic dream about the alleged necessary con- 
nectionj3£tB[een_the FoTIs" and Athenian~^culture ; 
immediately before the night fell over Atjiens (the 

* jjlague "and the breakdown of tradition.)y_Xhu£yr 
di des makes this culture flash up once more likg^ 
a transfiguring afterglow, to efface the remem- 

"bran ce of th e e vil day tharhad" preceded^ 





European Man and the Destruction of 
Nationalities. — Commerce and industry, inter- 
change of books and letters, the universality of all 
higher culture, the rapid changing of locality and 
landscape, and the present nomadic life of all who 
are not landowners, — these circumstances neces- 
sarily bring with them a weakening, and finally a 
destruction of nationalities, at least of European 
nationalities ; so that, in consequence of perpetual 
crossings, there must arise out of them all a 
mixed race, that of the European man. At 
present the isolation of nations, through the rise 
of national enmities, consciously or unconsciously 
counteracts this tendency ; but nevertheless the 
process of fusing advances slowly, in spite of 
those occasional counter-currents. This artificial 
nationalism is, however, as dangerous as was 
artificial Catholicism, for it is essentially an un- 
natural condition of extremity and martial law, 
which has been proclaimed by the few over the 
many, and requires artifice, lying, and force to 
maintain its reputation. It is not the interests of 
the many (of the peoples), as they probably say, 
but it is first of all the interests of certain 
princely dynasties, and then of certain commercial 
and social classes, which impel to this nationalism ; 
once we have recognised this fact, we should just 
fearlessly style o\xrs&\ves good Europeans and labour 
actively for the amalgamation of nations ; in which 
efforts Germans may assist by virtue of their 
hereditary position as interpreters and intermediaries 


between nations. By the way, the great problem 
of the Jews only exists within the national States, 
inasmuch as their energy and higher intelligence, 
their intellectual and volitional capital, accumulated 
from generation to generation in tedious schools 
of suffering, must necessarily attain to universal 
supremacy here to an extent provocative of envy 
and hatred ; so that the literary misconduct is 
becoming prevalent in almost all modern nations 
— and all the more so as they again set up to be 
national — of sacrificing the Jews as the scape- 
goats of all possible public and private abuses. 
So soon as it is no longer a question of the 
preservation or establishment of nations, but of 
the production and training of a European mixed- 
race of the greatest possible strength, the Jew is 
just as useful and desirable an ingredient as any 
other national remnant. Every nation, every 
individual, has unpleasant and even dangerous 
qualities, — it is cruel to require that the Jew 
should be an exception. Those qualities may even 
be dangerous and frightful in a special degree in 
his case ; and perhaps the young Stock-Exchange 
Jew is in general the most repulsive invention of 
the human species. Nevertheless, in a general 
summing up, I should like to know how much 
must be excused in a nation which, not without 
blame on the part of all of us, has had the most 
mournful history of all nations, and to which we 
owe the most loving of men (Christ), the most 
upright of sages (Spinoza), the mightiest book, 
and the most effective moral law in the world ? 
Moreover, in the darkest times of the Middle 


Ages, when Asiatic clouds had gathered darkly 
over Europe, it was Jewish free-thinkers, scholars, 
and physicians who upheld the banner of en- 
lightenment and of intellectual independence under 
the severest personal sufferings, and defended 
Europe against Asia ; we owe it not least to their 
efforts that a more natural, more reasonable, at all 
events un-mythical, explanation of the world was 
finally able to get the upper hand once more, and 
that the link of culture which now unites us with 
the enlightenment of Greco-Roman antiquity has 
remained unbroken. If Christianity has done 
everything to orientalise the Occident, Judaism 
has assisted essentially in occidentalising it anew ; 
which, in a certain sense, is equivalent to making 
Europe's mission and history a continuation of 
that of Greece, 


Apparent Superiority of the Middle 
Ages. — The Middle Ages present in the Church 
an institution with an absolutely universal aim, 
involving the whole of humanity, — an aim, 
moreover, which — presumedly — concerned man's 
highest interests ; in comparison therewith the aims 
of the States and nations which modern history 
exhibits make a painful impression ; they seem 
petty, base, material, and restricted in extent. 
But this different impression on our imagination 
should certainly not determine our judgment ; for 
that universal institution corresponded to feigned 
and fictitiously fostered needs, such as the need of 
salvation, which, wherever they did not already 


exist, it had first of all to create : the new 
institutions, however, relieve actual distresses ; and 
the time is coming when institutions will arise to 
minister to the common, genuine needs of all 
men, and to cast that fantastic prototype, the 
Catholic Church, into shade and oblivion. 


War Indispensable. — It is nothing but 
fanaticism and beautiful soulism to expect very 
much (or even, much only) from humanity when 
it has forgotten how to wage war. For the 
present we know of no other means whereby the 
rough energy of the camp, the deep impersonal 
hatred, the cold-bloodedness of murder with a good 
conscience, the general ardour of the system in the 
destruction of the enemy, the proud indifference 
to great losses, to one's own existence and that 
of one's friends, the hollow, earthquake-like con- 
vulsion of the soul, can be as forcibly and certainly 
communicated to enervated nations as is done by 
every great war : owing to the brooks and streams 
that here break forth, which, certainly, sweep stones 
and rubbish of all sorts along with them and 
destroy the meadows of delicate cultures, the 
mechanism in the workshops of the mind is 
afterwards, in favourable circumstances, rotated by 
new power. Culture can by no means dispense 
with passions, vices, and malignities. When the 
Romans, after having become Imperial, had grown 
rather tired of war, they attempted to gain new 
strength by beast-baitings, gladiatoral combats, 


and Christian persecutions. The English of to- 
day, who appear on the whole to have also 
renounced war, adopt other means in order to 
generate anew those vanishing forces ; namely, the 
dangerous exploring expeditions, sea voyages 
and mountaineerings, nominally undertaken for 
scientific purposes, but in reality to bring home 
surplus strength from adventures and dangers of 
all kinds. Many other such substitutes for war [ 
will be discovered, but perhaps precisely thereby 
it will become more and more obvious that such 
a highly cultivated and therefore necessarily 
enfeebled humanity as that of modern Europe 
not only needs wars, but the greatest and most 
terrible wars, — consequently occasional relapses 
into barbarism, — lest, by the means of culture, it 
should lose its culture and its very existence. 


Industry in the South and the North. 
— Industry arises in two entirely different ways. 
The artisans of the South are not industrious 
because of acquisitiveness but because of the 
constant needs of others. The smith is in- 
dustrious because some one is always coming 
who wants a horse shod or a carriage mended. 
If nobody came he would loiter about in the 
market-place. In a fruitful land he has little 
trouble in supporting himself, for that purpose 
he requires only a very small amount of work, 
certainly no industry; eventually he would beg 
and be contented. The industry of English 


workmen, on the contrary, has acquisitiveness 
behind it ; it is conscious of itself and its aims ; 
with property it wants power, and with power the 
greatest possible liberty and individual distinction. 


Wealth as the Origin of a Nobility of 
Race. — Wealth necessarily creates an aristocracy 
of race, for it permits the choice of the most 
beautiful women and the engagement of the 
best teachers ; it allows a man cleanliness, time 
for physical exercises, and, above all, immunity 
from dulling physical labour. So far it provides 
all the conditions for making man, after a few 
generations, move and even act nobly and 
handsomely: greater freedom of character and 
absence of niggardliness, of wretchedly petty 
matters, and of abasement before bread-givers. 
It is precisely these negative qualities which are 
the most profitable birthday gift, that of happiness, 
for the young man ; a person who is quite poor 
usually comes to grief through nobility of dis- 
position, he does not get on, and acquires nothing, 
his race is not capable of living. In this con- 
nection, however, it must be remembered that 
wealth produces almost the same effects whether 
one have three hundred or thirty thousand thalers 
a year ; there is no further essential progression 
of the favourable conditions afterwards. But to 
have less, to beg in boyhood and to abase one's 
self is terrible, although it may be the proper 
starting-point for such as seek their happiness 


in the splendour of courts, in subordination to 
the mighty and influential, or for such as wish 
to be heads of the Church. (It teaches how to 
slink crouching into the underground passages 
to favour.) 


Envy and Inertia in Different Courses. 
— The two opposing parties, the socialist and the 
national, — or whatever they may be called in the 
different countries of Europe, — are worthy of each 
other ; envy and laziness are the motive powers in 
each of them. In the one camp they desire to 
work as little as possible with their hands, in the 
other as little as possible with their heads ; in 
the latter they hate and envy prominent, self- 
evolving individuals, who do not willingly allow 
themselves to be drawn up in rank and file for 
the purpose of a collective effect ; in the former 
they hate and envy the better social caste, which 
is more favourably circumstanced outwardly, 
whose peculiar mission, the production of the 
highest blessings of culture, makes life inwardly 
all the harder and more painful. Certainly, if 
it be possible to make the spirit of the collective 
effect the spirit of the higher classes of society, 
the socialist crowds are quite right, when they 
also seek outward equalisation between them- 
selves and these classes, since they are certainly 
internally equalised with one another already in 
head and heart. Live as higher men, and always 
do the deeds of higher culture, — thus everything 
that lives will acknowledge your right, and the 


order of society, whose summit ye are, will be 
safe from every evil glance and attack ! 


High Politics and their Detriments. — 
Just as a nation does not suffer the greatest 
losses that war and readiness for war involve 
through the expenses of the war, or the stoppage 
of trade and traffic, or through the maintenance 
of a standing army, — however great these losses 
may now be, when eight European States expend 
yearly the sum of five milliards of marks thereon, 
— but owing to the fact that year after year its 
ablest, strongest, and most industrious men are 
withdrawn in extraordinary numbers from their 
proper occupations and callings to be turned into 
soldiers : in the same way, a nation that sets 
about practising high politics and securing a 
decisive voice among the great Powers does not 
suffer its greatest losses where they are usually 
supposed to be. In fact, from this time onward 
it constantly sacrifices a number of its most 
conspicuous talents upon the " Altar of the 
Fatherland " or of national ambition, whilst 
formerly other spheres of activity were open to 
those talents which are now swallowed up by 
politics. But apart from these public hecatombs, 
and in reality much more horrible, there is a 
drama which is constantly being performed 
simultaneously in a hundred thousand acts ; every 
able, industrious, intellectually striving man of 
a nation that thus covets political laurels, is 




swayed by this covetousness, and no longer 
belongs entirely to himself alone as he did 
formerly; the new daily questions and cares of 
the public welfare devour a daily tribute of the 
intellectual and emotional capital of every citizen ; 
the sum of all these sacrifices and losses of 
individual energy and labour is so enormous, 
that the political growth of a nation almost 
necessarily entails an intellectual impoverishment l 
and lassitude, a diminished capacity for the f ' 
performance of works that require great concen- 
tration and specialisation. The question may 
finally be asked : " Does it then pay, all this 
bloom and magnificence of the total (which 
indeed only manifests itself as the fear of the 
new Colossus in other nations, and as the com- 
pulsory favouring by them of national trade and. 
commerce) when all the nobler, finer, and more 
intellectual plants and products, in which its soil 
was hitherto so rich, must be sacrificed to this 
coarse and opalescent flower of the nation ? * 


Repeated Once More. — Public opinion— j 
private laziness. 

* This is once more an allusion to modem Germany. 
—J M. K. 


The Enemies of Truth. — Convictions are more 
dangerous enemies of truth than lies. 


A ToPSY-TuRVY World. — We criticise a 
thinker more severely when he puts an unpleasant 
statement before us ; and yet it would be more 
reasonable to do so when we find his statement 


Decided Character. — A man far oftener ap- 
pears to have a decided character from persistently 
following his temperament than from persistently 
following his principles. 


The One Thing Needful. — One thing a 
man must have : either a naturally light disposition 
or a disposition lightened by art and knowledge. 




The Passion for Things. — Whoever sets his > 
passion on things (sciences, arts, the common weal, ifl 
the interests of culture) withdraws much fervour 
from his passion for persons (even when they 
are the representatives of those things ; as states- 
men, philosophers, and artists are the representa- 
tives of their creations). 

488. ) 

Calmness in Action. — As a cascade in its 
descent becomes more deliberate and suspended, 
so the great man of action usually acts with more 
calmness than his strong passions previous to 
action would lead one to expect. 


Not too Deep. — Persons who grasp a matter j 
in all its depth seldom remain permanently true 
to it. They have just brought the depth up into 
the light, and there is always much evil to be seen . 


The Illusion of Idealists. — All idealists 
imagine that the cause which they serve is 
essentially better than all other causes, and will 
not believe that if their cause is really to flourish 
it requires precisely the same evil-smelling manure 
which all other human undertakings have need of. 



Self-Observation. — Man is exceedingly 
well protected from himself and guarded against 
his self-exploring and self-besieging ; as a rule he 
can perceive nothing of himself but his outworks. 
The actual fortress is inaccessible, and even in- 
visible, to him, unless friends and enemies become 
traitors and lead him inside by secret paths. 


The Right Calling. — Men can seldom hold 
on to a calling unless they believe or persuade 
themselves that it is really more important than any 
other. Women are the same with their lovers. 


Nobility of Disposition. — Nobility of dis- 
position consists largely in good-nature and 
absence of distrust, and therefore contains precisely 
that upon which money-grabbing and successful 
men take a pleasure in walking with superiority 
and scorn. 


Goal and Path. — Many are obstinate with 
regard to the once-chosen path, few with regard 
to the goal. 


The Offensiveness in an Individual Way 
OF Life. — All specially individual lines of con- 
duct excite irritation against him who adopts 
them ; people feel themselves reduced to the 


level of commonplace creatures by the extra- 
ordinary treatment he bestows on himself. 


The Privilege of Greatness. — It is the 
privilege of greatness to confer intense happiness 
with insignificant gifts. 


Unintentionally Noble. — A personbehaves 
with unintentional nobleness when he has accus- 
tomed himself to seek naught from others and 
always to give to them. 


A Condition of Heroism. — When a person 
wishes to become a hero, the serpent must previ- 
ously have become a dragon, otherwise he lacks 
his proper enemy. 


Friends. — Fellowship in joy, and not sym- 
pathy in sorrow, makes people friends. 


Making Use of Ebb and Flow. — For the 
purpose of knowledge we must know how to 
make use of the inward current which draws us 
towards a thing, and also of the current which 
after a time draws us away from it. 




Joy in Itself. — " Joy in the Thing " people 
say ; but in reality it is joy in itself by means of 
the thing. 


The Unassuming Man. — He who is unas- 
suming towards persons manifests his presumption 
all the more with regard to things (town, State, 
society, time, humanity). That is his revenge. 


Envy and Jealousy. — Envy and jealousy 
are the pudenda of the human soul. The com- 
parison may perhaps be carried further. 


The Noblest Hypocrite. — It is a very noble 
hypocrisy not to talk of one's self at all. 

Vexation. — ^Vexation is a physical disease, 
which is not by any means cured when its cause 
is subsequently removed. 


The Champions of Truth. — Truth does not 
find fewest champions when it is dangerous to 
speak it, but when it is dull, 




More Troublesome even than Enemies. 
— Persons of whose sympathetic attitude we are 
not, in all circumstances, convinced, while for some 
reason or other (gratitude, for instance) we are 
obliged to maintain the appearance of unqualified 
sympathy with them, trouble our imagination 
far more than our enemies do. 


Free Nature. — We are so fond of being 
out among Nature, because it has no opinions 
about us. 


Each Superior in one Thing. — In civil- 
ised intercourse every one feels himself superior to 
all others in at least one thing; kindly feelings 
generally are based thereon, inasmuch as every one 
can, in certain circumstances, render help, and is 
therefore entitled to accept help without shame. 


Consolatory Arguments. — In the case of 
a death we mostly use consolatory arguments not 
so much to alleviate the grief as to make excuses 
for feeling so easily consoled. 


Persons Loyal to their Convictions. — 
Whoever is very busy retains his general views 
and opinions almost unchanged. So also does 


every one who labours in the service of an idea ; 
he will nevermore examine the idea itself, he no 
longer has any time to do so ; indeed, it is 
against his interests to consider it as still admit- 
ting of discussion. 


Morality and Quantity. — The higher 
morality of one man as compared with that of 
another, often lies merely in the fact that his 
aims are quantitively greater. The other, living 
in a circumscribed sphere, is dragged down by 
petty occupations. 


" The Life " as the Proceeds of Life. — 
A man may stretch himself out ever so far with 
his knowledge ; he may seem to himself ever so 
objective, but eventually he realises nothing there- 
from but his own biography. 

Iron Necessity. — Iron necessity is a thing 
which has been found, in the course of history, to 
be neither iron nor necessary. 


From Experience. — The unreasonableness 
of a thing is no argument against its existence, 
but rather a condition thereof. 


Truth. — Nobody dies nowadays of fatal 
truths, there are too many antidotes to them. 



A Fundamental Insight. — There is no 
pre-established harmony between the promotion 
of truth and the welfare of mankind. 


Man's Lot. — He who thinks most deeply 
knows that he is always in the wrong, however 
he may act and decide. 


Truth as Circe. — Error has made animals 
into men ; is truth perhaps capable of making man 
into an animal again ? 


The Danger of Our Culture. — We 
belong to a period of which the culture is in 
danger of being destroyed by the appliances of 


Greatness Means Leading the Way. — 
No stream is large and copious of itself, but 
becomes great by receiving and leading on so 
many tributary streams. It is so, also, with all 
intellectual greatnesses. It is only a question of 
some one indicating the direction to be followed 
by so many affluents ; not whether he was richly 
or poorly gifted originally. 



A Feeble Conscience. — People who talk 
about their importance to mankind have a feeble 
conscience for common bourgeois rectitude, keep- 
ing of contracts, promises, etc. 

Desiring to be Loved. — The demand to be 
loved is the greatest of presumptions. 


Contempt for Men. — The most unequivocal 
sign of contempt for man is to regard everybody 
merely as a means to one's own ends, or of no 
account whatever. 


Partisans through Contradiction. — 
Whoever has driven men to fury against himself 
has also gained a party in his favour. 


Forgetting Experiences. — Whoever thinks 
much and to good purpose easily forgets his own 
experiences, but not the thoughts which these 
experiences have called forth. 


Sticking to an Opinion. — One person 
sticks to an opinion because he takes pride in 
having acquired it himself, — another sticks to it 
because he has learnt it with difficulty and is 



proud of having understood it ; both of them, 
therefore, out of vanity. 


Avoiding the Light. — Good deeds avoid the 
light just as anxiously as evil deeds ; the latter 
fear that pain will result from publicity (as punish- 
ment), the former fear that pleasure will vanish 
with publicity (the pure pleasure per se, which 
ceases as soon as satisfaction of vanity is added 
to it). 


The Length of the Day.- 
much to put into them, a day 


The Genius of Tyranny.- 
cible desire to obtain tyrannical power has been 
awakened in the soul, and constantly keeps up 
its fervour, even a very mediocre talent (in poli- 
ticians, artists, etc.) gradually becomes an almost 
irresistible natural force. 

-When one has 
has a hundred 

-When an invin- 

The Enemy's Life. — He who lives by fighting 
with an enemy has an interest in the preservation 
of the enemy's life.* 

* This is why Nietzsche pointed out later on that he had 
an interest in the preservation of Christianity, and that he 
was sure his teaching would not undermine this faith — just 
as little as anarchists have undermined kings ; but have left 
them seated all the more firmly on their thrones. — J. M. K. 



More Important. — Unexplained, obscure 
matters are regarded as more important than 
explained, clear ones. 


Valuation of Services Rendered. — We 
estimate services rendered to us according to the 
value set on them by those who render them, not 
according to the value they have for us. 

Unhappiness. — The distinction associated with 
unhappiness (as if it were a sign of stupidity, un- 
ambitiousness, or commonplaceness to feel happy) 
is so great that when any one says to us, " How 
happy you are ! " we usually protest. 

Imagination in Anguish. — When one is 
afraid of anything, one's imagination plays the 
part of that evil spirit which springs on one's back 
just when one has the heaviest load to bear. 

The Value of Insipid Opponents. — We 
sometimes remain faithful to a cause merely 
because its opponents never cease to be insipid. 

The Value of a Profession. — A profession 
makes us thoughtless ; that is its greatest blessing. 



For it is a bulwark behind which we are permitted 
to withdraw when commonplace doubts and cares 
assail us. 


Talent. — Many a man's talent appears less 
than it is, because he has always set himself too 
heavy tasks. 


Youth. — Youth is an unpleasant period ; for 
then it is not possible or not prudent to be pro- 
ductive in any sense whatsoever. 


Too Great Aims. — Whoever aims publicly at 
great things and at length perceives secretly that 
he is too weak to achieve them, has usually also 
insufficient strength to renounce his aims publicly, 
and then inevitably becomes a hypocrite. 


In the Current. — Mighty waters sweep 
many stones and shrubs away with them ; mighty 
spirits many foolish and confused minds. 


The Dangers of Intellectual Emanci- 
pation. — In a seriously intended intellectual 
emancipation a person's mute passions and crav- 
ings also hope to find their advantage. 



The Incarnation of the Mind. — When any 
one thinks much and to good purpose, not only 
his face but also his body acquires a sage look. 


Seeing Badly and Hearing Badly. — The 
man who sees little always sees less than there is 
to see ; the man who hears badly always hears 
something more than there is to hear. 

Self-Enjoyment in Vanity. — The vain man 
does not wish so much to be prominent as to feel 
himself prominent ; he therefore disdains none of 
the expedients for self-deception and self-out- 
witting. It is not the opinion of others that he 
sets his heart on, but his opinion of their opinion 


Exceptionally Vain. — He who is usually 
self-sufficient becomes exceptionally vain, and 
keenly alive to fame and praise when he is 
physically ill. The more he Toses himself the 
more he has to endeavour to regain his position 
by means of the opinion of others. 


The " Witty." — Those who seek wit do not 
possess it. 



A Hint to the Heads of Parties. — When 
one can make people publicly support a cause they 
have also generally been brought to the point of 
inwardly declaring themselves in its favour, be- 
cause they wish to be regarded as consistent. 


Contempt. — Man is more sensitive to the 
contempt of others than to self-contempt. 


The Tie of Gratitude. — There are servile 
souls who carry so far their sense of obligation for 
benefits received that they strangle themselves with 
the tie of gratitude. 


The Prophet's Knack. — In predicting before- 
hand the procedure of ordinary individuals, it must 
be taken for granted that they always make use 
of the smallest intellectual expenditure in freeing 
themselves from disagreeable situations. 


Man's Sole Right. — He who swerves from 
the traditional is a victim of the unusual ; he who 
keeps to the traditional is its slave. The man is 
ruined in either case. 



Below the Beast. — When a man roars with 
laughter he surpasses all the animals by his 


Partial Knowledge. — He who speaks a 
foreign language imperfectly has more enjoyment 
therein than he who speaks it well. The enjoy- 
ment is with the partially initiated. 


Dangerous Helpfulness. — There are people 
who wish to make human life harder for no other 
reason than to be able afterwards to offer men 
their life-alleviating recipes — their Christianity, for 


— Industriousness and conscientiousness are often 
antagonists, owing to the fact that industrious- 
ness wants to pluck the fruit sour from the tree 
while conscientiousness wants to let it hang too 
long, until it falls and is bruised. 


Casting Suspicion. — We endeavour to cast 
suspicion on persons whom we cannot endure, 

VOL, I, 9A 




The Conditions are Lacking. — Many people 
wait all their lives for the opportunity to be good 
in their own way. 


Lack of Friends. — Lack of friends leads to 
the inference that a person is envious or presump- 
tuous. Many a man owes his friends merely to the 
fortunate circumstance that he has no occasion 
for envy. 


Danger in Manifoldness. — With one talent 
more we often stand less firmly than with one less ; 
just as a table stands better on three feet than on 


An Exemplar for Others. — Whoever wants 
to set a good example must add a grain of folly 
to his virtue ; people then imitate their exemplar 
and at the same time raise themselves above him, 
a thing they love to do. 


Being a Target. — The bad things others say 
about us are often not really aimed at us, but are 
the manifestations of spite or ill-humour occasioned 
by quite different causes. 



Easily Resigned. — We suffer but little on 
account of un gratified wishes if we have exercised 
our imagination in distorting the past. 


In Danger. — One is in greatest danger of 
being run over when one has just got out of 
the way of a carriage. 


The R6le According to the Voice. — 
Whoever is obliged to speak louder than he 
naturally does (say, to a partially deaf person 
or before a large audience), usually exaggerates 
what he has to communicate. Many a one 
becomes a conspirator, malevolent gossip, or 
intriguer, merely because his voice is best suited 
for whispering. 


Love and Hatred. — Love and hatred are 
not blind, but are dazzled by the fire which they 
carry about with them. 


Advantageously Persecuted. — People who 
cannot make their merits perfectly obvious to 
the world endeavour to awaken a strong hostility 
against themselves. They have then the consola- 
tion of thinking that this hostility stands between 
their merits and the acknowledgment thereof— 



and that many others think the same thing, 
which is very advantageous for their recognition. 


Confession. — We forget our fault when we 
have confessed it to another person, but he does not 
generally forget it. 


Self-Sufficiency. — The Golden Fleece of 
self-sufficiency is a protection against blows, but 
not against needle-pricks. 


Shadows in the Flame. — The flame is not 
so bright to itself as to those whom it illuminates, 
— so also the wise man. 


Our Own Opinions. — The first opinion that 
occurs to us when we are suddenly asked about 
anything is not usually our own, but only the 
current opinion belonging to our caste, position, 
or family ; our own opinions seldom float on 
the surface. 


The Origin of Courage. — The ordinary 
man is as courageous and invulnerable as a hero 
when he does not see the danger, when he has 
no eyes for it. Reversely, the hero has his one 
vulnerable spot upon the back, where he has 
no eyes. 



The Danger in the Physician. — One must 
be born for one's physician, otherwise one comes 
to grief through him. 


Marvellous Vanity. — Whoever has cour- 
ageously prophesied the weather three times and 
has been successful in his hits, acquires a certain 
amount of inward confidence in his prophetic gift. 
We give credence to the marvellous and irrational 
when it flatters our self-esteem. 


A Profession. — A profession is the backbone 
of life. 


The Danger of Personal Influence. — 
Whoever feels that he exercises a great inward 
influence over another person must give him a 
perfectly free rein, must, in fact, welcome and 
even induce occasional opposition, otherwise he 
will inevitably make an enemy. 


Recognition of the Heir. — Whoever has 
founded something great in an unselfish spirit 
is careful to rear heirs for his work. It is the 
sign of a tyrannical and ignoble nature to see 
opponents in all possible heirs, and to live in a 
state of self-defence against them. 



Partial Knowledge. — Partial knowledge is 
more triumphant than complete knowledge ; it 
takes things to be simpler than they are, and 
so makes its theory more popular and convincing. 


Unsuitable for a Party-Man. — Whoever 
thinks much is unsuitable for a party-man ; his 
thinking leads him too quickly beyond the party. 


A Bad Memory. — The advantage of a bad 
memory is that one enjoys several times the 
same good things for the first time. 


Self-Affliction. — Want of consideration is 
often the sign of a discordant inner nature, which 
craves for stupefaction. 


Martyrs. — The disciples of a martyr suffer 
more than the martyr. 


Arrears of Vanity. — The vanity of many 
people who have no occasion to be vain is the 
inveterate habit, still surviving from the time 
when people had no right to the belief in them- 


selves and only begged it in small sums from 


PuNCTUM Saliens OF PASSION. — A person 
falling into a rage or into a violent passion of 
love reaches a point when the soul is full like 
a hogshead, but nevertheless a drop of water has 
still to be added, the good will for the passion 
(which is also generally called the evil will). 
This item only is necessary, and then the hogs- 
head overflows. 


A Gloomy Thought. — It is with men as 
with the charcoal fires in the forest. It is only 
when young men have cooled down and have 
got charred, like these piles, that they become 
useful. As long as they fume and smoke they 
are perhaps more interesting, but they are useless 
and too often uncomfortable. Humanity ruthlessly 
uses every individual as material for the heating 
of its great machines ; but what then is the purpose 
of the machines, when all individuals (that is, the 
human race) are useful only to maintain them ? 
Machines that are ends in themselves : is that the 
umana commediaf 


The Hour-hand of Life. — Life consists of 
rare single moments of the greatest importance, 
and of countless intervals during which, at best, 
the phantoms of those moments hover around us. 
Love, the Spring, every fine melody, the mountains, 



the moon, the sea — all speak but once fully to 
the heart, if, indeed, they ever do quite attain 
to speech. For many people have not those 
moments at all, and are themselves intervals and 
pauses in the symphony of actual life. 


Attack or Compromise. — We often make 
the mistake of showing violent enmity towards a 
tendency, party, or period, because we happen 
only to get a sight of its most exposed side, its 
stuntedness, or the inevitable " faults of its virtues," 
— perhaps because we ourselves have taken a 
prominent part in them. We then turn our 
backs on them and seek a diametrically opposite 
course ; but the better way would be to seek out 
their strong good sides, or to develop them in 
ourselves. To be sure, a keener glance and a 
better will are needed to improve the becoming 
and the imperfect than are required to see through 
it in its imperfection and to deny it. 


Modesty. — There is true modesty (that is the 
knowledge that we are not the works we create) ; 
and it is especially becoming in a great mind, 
because such a mind can well grasp the thought 
of absolute irresponsibility (even for the good it 
creates). People do not hate a great man's pre- 
sumptuousness in so far as he feels his strength, 
but because he wishes to prove it by injuring 


others, by dominating them, and seeing how long 
they will stand it. This, as a rule, is even a proof 
of the absence of a secure sense of power, and 
makes people doubt his greatness. We must 
therefore beware of presumption from the stand- 
point of wisdom. 


The Day's First Thought. — The best way 
to begin a day well is to think, on awakening, 
whether we cannot give pleasure during the day 
to at least one person. If this could become a 
substitute for the religious habit of prayer our 
fellow-men would benefit by the change. 


Presumption as the Last Consolation. — 
When we so interpret a misfortune, an intellectual 
defect, or a disease that we see therein our pre- 
destined fate, our trial, or the mysterious punish- 
ment of our former misdeeds, we thereby make 
our nature interesting and exalt ourselves in im- 
agination above our fellows. The proud sinner 
is a well-known figure in all religious sects. 


The Vegetation of Happiness. — Close be- 
side the world's woe, and often upon its volcanic 
soil, man has laid out his little garden of happiness. 
Whether one regard life with the eyes of him 
who only seeks knowledge therefrom, or of him 
who submits and is resigned, or of him who re- 



joices over surmounted difficulties — everywhere 
one will find some happiness springing up beside 
the evil — and in fact always the more happiness 
the more volcanic the soil has been, — only it 
would be absurd to say that suffering itself is 
justified by this happiness. 


The Path of our Ancestors. — It is sensible 
when a person develops still further in himself 
the talent upon which his father or grandfather 
spent much trouble, and does not shift to some- 
thing entirely new ; otherwise he deprives himself 
of the possibility of attaining perfection in any 
one craft. That is why the proverb says, 
" Which road shouldst thou ride ? — That of thine 


Vanity and Ambition as Educators. — As 
long as a person has not become an instrument 
of general utility, ambition may torment him ; if, 
however, that point has been reached, if he 
necessarily works like a machine for the good of 
all, then vanity may result ; it will humanise him 
in small matters and make him more sociable, 
endurable, and considerate, when ambition has 
completed the coarser work of making him 


Philosophical Novices. — Immediately we 
have comprehended the wisdom of a philosopher, 
we go through the streets with a feeling as if we 


had been re-created and had become great men ; 
for we encounter only those who are ignorant of 
this wisdom, and have therefore to deliver new and 
unknown verdicts concerning everything. Because 
we now recognise a law-book we think we must 
also comport ourselves as judges. 

Pleasing by Displeasing. — People who pre- 
fer to attract attention, and thereby to displease, 
desire the same thing as those who neither wish 
to please nor to attract attention, only they seek 
it more ardently and indirectly by means of a 
step by which they apparently move away from 
their goal. They desire influence and power, and 
therefore show their superiority, even to such an 
extent that it becomes disagreeable ; for they 
know that he who has finally attained power 
pleases in almost all he says and does, and that 
even when he displeases he still seems to please. 
The free spirit also, and in like manner the 
believer, desire power, in order some day to please 
thereby ; when, on account of their doctrine, evil 
fate, persecution, dungeon, or execution threaten 
them, they rejoice in the thought that their 
teaching will thus be engraved and branded on 
the heart of mankind ; though its effect is remote 
they accept their fate as a painful but powerful 
means of still attaining to power. 

Casus Belli and the Like. — The prince 
who, for his determination to make war against 


his neighbour, invents a casus belli, is like a father 
who foists on his child a mother who is hence- 
forth to be regarded as such. And are not almost 
all publicly avowed motives of action just such 
spurious mothers? 

Passion and Right. — Nobody talks more 
passionately of his rights than he who, in the 
depths of his soul, is doubtful about them. By 
getting passion on his side he seeks to confound 
his understanding and its doubts, — he thus obtains 
a good conscience, and along with it success with 
his fellow-men. 


The Trick of the Resigning One. — He 
who protests against marriage, after the manner 
of Catholic priests, will conceive of it in its lowest 
and vulgarest form. In the same way he who 
disavows the honour of his contemporaries will 
have a mean opinion of it ; he can thus dispense 
with it and struggle against it more easily. More- 
over, he who denies himself much in great matters 
will readily indulge himself in small things. It 
might be possible that he who is superior to the 
approbation of his contemporaries would never- 
theless not deny himself the gratification of small 


The Years of Presumption. — The proper 

period of presumption in gifted people is between 

their twenty-sixth and thirtieth years ; it is the 

time of early ripeness, with a large residue of 


sourness. On the ground of what we feel within 
ourselves we demand honour and humility from 
men who see little or nothing of it, and because 
this tribute is not immediately forthcoming we 
revenge ourselves by the look, the gesture of 
arrogance, and the tone of voice, which a keen ear 
and eye recognise in every product of those years, 
whether it be poetry, philosophy, or pictures and 
music. Older men of experience smile thereat, 
and think with emotion of those beautiful years 
in which one resents the fate of being so much 
and seeming so little. Later on one really seems 
more, — but one has lost the good belief in being 
much, — unless one remain for life an incorrigible 
fool of vanity. 


Deceptive and yet Defensible. — Just as 
in order to pass by an abyss or to cross a deep 
stream on a plank we require a railing, not to 
hold fast by, — for it would instantly break down 
with us, — but to give the notion of security to 
the eye, so in youth we require persons who 
unconsciously render us the service of that 
railing. It is true they would not help us if 
we really wished to lean upon them in great 
danger, but they afford the tranquillising sensation 
of protection close to one (for instance, fathers, 
teachers, friends, as all three usually are). 


Learning to Love, — One must learn to 
love, one must learn to be kind, and this from 



childhood onwards; when education and chance 
give us no opportunity for the exercise of these 
feelings our soul becomes dried up, and even in- 
capable of understanding the fine devices of 
loving men. In the same way hatred must be 
learnt and fostered, when one wants to become 
a proficient hater, — otherwise the germ of it will 
gradually die out. 


Ruin as Ornament. — Persons who pass 
through numerous mental phases retain certain 
sentiments and habits of their earlier states, which 
then project like a piece of inexplicable antiquity 
and grey stonework into their new thought and 
action, often to the embellishment of the whole 


Love and Honour. — Love desires, fear 
avoids. That is why one cannot be both loved 
and honoured by the same person, at least not 
at the same time.* For he who honours recog- 
nises power, — that is to say, he fears it, he is in 
a state of reverential fear (Ehr-furchf). But love 
recognises no power, nothing that divides, detaches, 
superordinates, or subordinates. Because it does 
not honour them, ambitious people secretly or 
openly resent being loved. 

* Women never understand this. — J. M. K. 



A Prejudice in Favour of Cold Natures. 
— People who quickly take fire grow cold quickly, 
and therefore are, on the whole, unreliable. For 
those, therefore, who are always cold, or pretend 
to be so, there is the favourable prejudice that 
they are particularly trustworthy, reliable persons ; 
they are confounded with those who take fire 
slowly and retain it long. 


The Danger in Free Opinions. — Frivolous 
occupation with free opinions has a charm, like 
a kind of itching; if one yields to it further, 
one begins to chafe the places ; until at last an 
open, painful wound results ; that is to say, 
until the free opinion begins to disturb and 
torment us in our position in life and in our 
human relations. 


Desire for Sore Affliction. — When 
passion is over it leaves behind an obscure long- 
ing for it, and even in disappearing it casts a 
seductive glance at us. It must have afforded 
a kind of pleasure to have been beaten with this 
scourge. Compared with it, the more moderate 
sensations appear insipid ; we still prefer, ap- 
parently, the more violent displeasure to languid 




Dissatisfaction with Others and with 
THE World. — When, as so frequently happens, 
we vent our dissatisfaction on others when we 
are really dissatisfied with ourselves, we are in 
fact attempting to mystify and deceive our 
judgment ; we desire to find a motive a posteriori 
for this dissatisfaction, in the mistakes or de- 
ficiencies of others, and so lose sight of ourselves. 
Strictly religious people, who have been relentless 
judges of themselves, have at the same time 
spoken most ill of humanity generally; there has 
never been a saint who reserved sin for himself 
and virture for others, any more than a man 
who, according to Buddha's rule, hides his good 
qualities from people and only shows his bad ones. 

Confusion of Cause and Effect. — Un- 
consciously we seek the principles and opinions 
which are suited to our temperament, so that 
at last it seems as if these principles and opinions 
had formed our character and given it support 
and stability, whereas exactly the contrary has 
taken place. Our thoughts and judgments are, 
apparently, to be taken subsequently as the 
causes of our nature, but as a matter of fact our 
nature is the cause of our so thinking and judging. 
And what induces us to play this almost un- 
conscious comedy? Inertness and convenience, 
and to a large extent also the vain desire to be 
regarded as thoroughly consistent and homo- 


geneous in nature and thought ; for this wins 
respect and gives confidence and power. 


Age in Relation to Truth. — Young people 
love what is interesting and exceptional, indifferent 
whether it is truth or falsehood. Riper minds 
love what is interesting and extraordinary when 
it is truth. Matured minds, finally, love truth 
even in those in whom it appears plain and 
simple and is found tiresome by ordinary people, 
because they have observed that truth is in the 
habit of giving utterance to its highest intellectual 
verities with all the appearance of simplicity. 


Men as Bad Poets. — Just as bad poets seek 
a thought to fit the rhyme in the second half 
of the verse, so men in the second half of life, 
having become more scrupulous, are in the habit 
of seeking pursuits, positions, and conditions which 
suit those of their earlier life, so that outwardly 
all sounds well, but their life is no longer ruled 
and continuously determined anew by a powerful 
thought : in place thereof there is merely the 
intention of finding a rhyme. 


Ennui and Play. — Necessity compels us to 
work, with the product of which the necessity is 
appeased ; the ever new awakening of necessity, 
VOL. I. 2B 



however, accustoms us to work. But in the 
intervals in which necessity is appeased and 
asleep, as it were, we are attacked by ennui. 
What is this ? In a word it is the habituation 
to work, which now makes itself felt as a new 
and additional necessity; it will be all the 
stronger the more a person has been accustomed 
to work, perhaps, even, the more a person has 
suffered from necessities. In order to escape 
ennui, a man either works beyond the extent 
of his former necessities, or he invents play, that 
is to say, work that is only intended to appease 
the general necessity for work. He who has 
become satiated with play, and has no new 
necessities impelling him to work, is sometimes 
attacked by the longing for a third state, which 
is related to play as gliding is to dancing, as 
dancing is to walking, a blessed, tranquil move- 
ment ; it is the artists' and philosophers' vision 
of happiness. 


Lessons from Pictures. — If we look at a 
series of pictures of ourselves, from the time of 
later childhood to the time of mature man- 
hood, we discover with pleased surprise that the 
man bears more resemblance to the child than 
to the youth : that probably, therefore, in accord- 
ance with this fact, there has been in the interval a 
temporary alienation of the fundamental character, 
over which the collected, concentrated force of the 
man has again become master. With this observa- 
tion this other is also in accordance, namely, that 


all strong influences of passions, teachers, and 
political events, which in our youthful years draw 
us hither and thither, seem later on to be referred 
back again to a fixed standard ; of course they 
still continue to exist and operate within us, but 
our fundamental sentiments and opinions have now 
the upper hand, and use their influence perhaps as 
a source of strength, but are no longer merely 
regulative, as was perhaps the case in our twenties. 
Thus even the thoughts and sentiments of the 
man appear more in accordance with those of his 
childish years, — and this objective fact expresses 
itself in the above-mentioned subjective fact. 


The Tone of Voice of Different Ages. — 
The tone in which youths speak, praise, blame, 
and versify, displeases an older person because it 
is too loud, and yet at the same time dull and 
confused like a sound in a vault, which acquires 
such a loud ring owing to the emptiness ; for 
most of the thought of youths does not gush forth 
out of the fulness of their own nature, but is the 
accord and the echo of what has been thought, 
said, praised or blamed around them. As their 
sentiments, however (their inclinations and aver- 
sions), resound much more forcibly than the 
reasons thereof, there is heard, whenever they 
divulge these sentiments, the dull, clanging tone 
which is a sign of the absence or scarcity of 
reasons. The tone of riper age is rigorous, 
abruptly concise, moderately loud, but, like every- 


thing distinctly articulated, is heard very far off. 
Old age, finally, often brings a certain mildness 
and consideration into the tone of the voice, and 
as it were, sweetens it ; in many cases, to be sure 
it also sours it. 


The Atavist and the Forerunner. — The 
man of unpleasant character, full of distrust, 
envious of the success of fellow-competitors and 
neighbours, violent and enraged at divergent 
opinions, shows that he belongs to an earlier grade 
of culture, and is, therefore, an atavism ; lor the 
way in which he behaves to people was right and 
suitable only for an age of club-law ; he is an 
atavist. The man of a different character, rich in 
sympathy, winning friends everywhere, finding all 
that is growing and becoming amiable, rejoicing 
at the honours and successes of others and 
claiming no privilege of solely knowing the truth, 
but full of a modest distrust, — he is a forerunner 
who presses upward towards a higher human 
culture. The man of unpleasant character dates 
from the times when the rude basis of human 
intercourse had yet to be laid, the other lives on 
the upper floor of the edifice of culture, removed 
as far as possible from the howling and raging 
wild beast imprisoned in the cellars. 


Consolation for Hypochondriacs. — When 
a great thinker is temporarily subjected to hypo- 
chondriacal self-torture he can say to himself, by 


way of consolation : " It is thine own great 
strength on which this parasite feeds and grows ; 
if thy strength were smaller thou wouldst have 
less to suffer." The statesman may say just the 
same thing when jealousy and vengeful feeling, or, 
in a word, the tone of the bellum omnium contra 
omneSy for which, as the representative of a nation, 
he must necessarily have a great capacity, occa- 
sionally intrudes into his personal relations and 
makes his life hard. 


Estranged from the Present. — There are 
great advantages in estranging one's self for once 
to a large extent from one's age, and being as it 
were driven back from its shores into the ocean 
of past views of things. Looking thence towards 
the coast one commands a view, perhaps for the 
first time, of its aggregate formation, and when one 
again approaches the land one has the advantage 
of understanding it better, on the whole, than those 
who have never left it. 


Sowing and Reaping on the field of Per- 
sonal Defects. — Men like Rousseau understand 
how to use their weaknesses, defects, and vices as 
manure for their talent. When Rousseau bewails 
the corruption and degeneration of society as the 
evil results of culture, there is a personal experience 
at the bottom of it, the bitterness which gives 
sharpness to his general condemnation and poisons 



the arrows with which he shoots ; he unburdens 
himself first as an individual, and thinks of getting 
a remedy which, while benefiting society directly, 
will also benefit himself indirectly by means of 


Philosophically Minded. — We usually en- 
deavour to acquire one attitude of mind, one set 
of opinions for all situations and events of life — 
it is mostly called being philosophically minded. 
But for the acquisition of knowledge it may be of 
greater importance not to make ourselves thus 
uniform, but to hearken to the low voice of the 
different situations in life ; these bring their own 
opinions with them. We thus take an intelligent 
interest in the life and nature of many persons by 
not treating ourselves as rigid, persistent single 


In the Fire of Contempt. — It is a fresh 
step towards independence when one first dares 
to give utterance to opinions which it is considered 
as disgraceful for a person to entertain ; even 
friends and acquaintances are then accustomed to 
grow anxious. The gifted nature must also pass 
through this fire ; it afterwards belongs far more 
to itself. 


Self-sacrifice. — In the event of choice, a 
great sacrifice is preferred to a small one, because 
we compensate ourselves for the great sacrifice by 


self-admiration, which is not possible in the case 
of a small one. 


Love as an Artifice, — Whoever really wishes 
to become acquainted with something new (whether 
it be a person, an event, or a book), does well to 
take up the matter with all possible love, and to 
avert his eye quickly from all that seems hostile, 
objectionable, and false therein, — in fact to forget 
such things ; so that, for instance, he gives the 
author of a book the best start possible, and 
straightway, just as in a race, longs with beating 
heart that he may reach the goal. In this manner 
one penetrates to the heart of the new thing, to its 
moving point, and this is called becoming ac- 
quainted with it. This stage having been arrived 
at, the understanding afterwards makes its restric- 
tions ; the over-estimation and the temporary 
suspension of the critical pendulum were only 
artifices to lure forth the soul of the matter. 


Thinking Too Well and Too III of the 
World. — Whether we think too well or too ill of 
things, we always have the advantage of deriving 
therefrom a greater pleasure, for with a too good 
preconception we usually put more sweetness into 
things (experiences) than they actually contain. A 
too bad preconception causes a pleasant disap- 
pointment, the pleasantness that lay in the things 
themselves is increased by the pleasantness of the 



surprise. A gloomy temperament, however, will 
have the reverse experience in both cases. 


Profound People, — Those whose strength lies 
in the deepening of impressions — they are usually 
called profound people — are relatively self-pos- 
sessed and decided in all sudden emergencies, for 
in the first moment the impression is still shallow, 
it only then becomes deep. Long foreseen, long 
expected events or persons, however, excite such 
natures most, and make them almost incapable of 
eventually having presence of mind on the arrival 


Intercourse with the Higher Self, — 
Every one has his good day, when he finds his 
higher self; and true humanity demands that a 
person shall be estimated according to this state 
and not according to his work-days of constraint 
and bondage. A painter, for instance, should be 
appraised and honoured according to the most 
exalted vision he could see and represent. But 
men themselves commune very differently with 
this their higher self, and are frequently their own 
playactors, in so far as they repeatedly imitate 
what they are in those moments. Some stand in 
awe and humility before their ideal, and would 
fain deny it ; they are afraid of their higher self 
because, when it speaks, it speaks pretentiously. 
Besides, it has a ghost- like freedom of coming and 
staying away just as it pleases ; on that account it 


is often called a gift of the gods, while in fact 
everything else is a gift of the gods (of chance) ; 
this, however, is the man himself. 


Lonely People. — Some people are so much 
accustomed to being alone in self-communion that 
they do not at all compare themselves with others, 
but spin out their soliloquising life in a quiet, 
happy mood, conversing pleasantly, and even 
hilariously, with themselves. If, however, they 
are brought to the point of comparing them- 
selves with others, they are inclined to a brooding 
under-estimation of their own worth, so that they 
have first to be compelled by others to form once 
more a good and just opinion of themselves, and 
even from this acquired opinion they will always 
want to subtract and abate something. We must 
not, therefore, grudge certain persons their loneli- 
ness or foolishly commiserate them on that account, 
as is so often done. 


Without Melody. — There are persons to 
whom a constant repose in themselves and the 
harmonious ordering of all their capacities is so 
natural that every definite activity is repugnant to 
them. They resemble music which consists of 
nothing but prolonged, harmonious accords, without 
even the tendency to an organised and animated 
melody showing itself. All external movement 
serves only to restore to the boat its equilibrium 



on the sea of harmonious euphony. Modern men 
usually become excessively impatient when they 
meet such natures, who will never be anything in the 
world, only it is not allowable to say of them that 
they are nothing. But in certain moods the sight 
of them raises the unusual question : " Why should 
there be melody at all? Why should it not 
suffice us when life mirrors itself peacefully in a 
deep lake?" The Middle Ages were richer in 
such natures than our times. How seldom one 
now meets with any one who can live on so peace- 
fully and happily with himself even in the midst 
of the crowd, saying to himself, like Goethe, " The 
best thing of all is the deep calm in which I live 
and grow in opposition to the world, and gain 
what it cannot take away from me with fire and 


To Live and Experience. — If we observe 
how some people can deal with their experiences 
— their unimportant, everyday experiences — so 
that these become soil which yields fruit thrice 
a year ; whilst others — and how many ! — are 
driven through the surf of the most exciting 
adventures, the most diversified movements of 
times and peoples, and yet always remain light, 
always remain on the surface, like cork ; we are 
finally tempted to divide mankind into a minority 
(minimality) of those who know how to make 
much out of little, and a majority of those who 
know how to make little out of much ; indeed, we 
even meet with the counter- sorcerers who, instead 


of making the world out of nothing, make a 
nothing out of the world. 


Seriousness in Play. — -In Genoa one evening, 
in the twilight, I heard from a tower a long 
chiming of bells ; it was never like to end, and 
sounded as if insatiable above the noise of the 
streets, out into the evening sky and sea-air, so 
thrilling, and at the same time so childish and so 
sad. I then remembered the words of Plato, and 
suddenly felt the force of them in my heart : 
" Human matters, one and all, are not worthy of 
great seriousness ; nevertheless ..." 


Conviction and Justice. — The requirement 
that a person must afterwards, when cool and 
sober, stand by what he says, promises, and resolves 
during passion, is one of the heaviest burdens that 
weigh upon mankind. To have to acknowledge 
for all future time the consequences of anger, of 
fiery revenge, of enthusiastic devotion, may lead to 
a bitterness against these feelings proportionate 
to the idolatry with which they are idolised, 
especially by artists. These cultivate to its 
full extent the esteem of the passions, and have 
always done so ; to be sure, they also glorify the 
terrible satisfaction of the passions which a person 
affords himself, the outbreaks of vengeance, with 
death, mutilation, or voluntary banishment in their 
train, and the resignation of the broken heart. 



In any case they keep alive curiosity about the 
passions ; it is as if they said : " Without passions 
you have no experience whatever." Because we 
have sworn fidelity (perhaps even to a purely 
fictitious being, such as a god), because we have 
surrendered our heart to a prince, a party, a 
woman, a priestly order, an artist, or a thinker, in 
a state of infatuated delusion that threw a charm 
over us and made those beings appear worthy of 
all veneration, and every sacrifice — are we, there- 
fore, firmly and inevitably bound ? Or did we 
not, after all, deceive ourselves then ? Was there 
not a hypothetical promise, under the tacit pre- 
supposition that those beings to whom we conse- 
crated ourselves were really the beings they 
seemed to be in our imagination ? Are we under 
obligation to be faithful to our errors, even with 
the knowledge that by this fidelity we shall cause 
injury to our higher selves ? No, there is no law, 
no obligation of that sort ; we must become traitors, 
we must act unfaithfully and abandon our ideals 
again and again. We cannot advance from one 
period of life into another without causing these 
pains of treachery and also suffering from them. 
Might it be necessary to guard against the ebulli- 
tions of our feelings in order to escape these pains ? 
Would not the world then become too arid, too 
ghost-like for us? Rather will we ask ourselves 
whether these pains are necessary on a change of 
convictions, or whether they do not depend on 
a mistaken opinion and estimate. Why do we 
admire a person who remains true to his convic- 
tions and despise him who changes them ? I fear 


the answer must be, " because every one takes for 
granted that such a change is caused only by 
motives of more general utility or of personal 
trouble." That is to say, we believe at bottom 
that nobody alters his opinions as long as they are 
advantageous to him, or at least as long as they 
do not cause him any harm. If it is so, however, 
it furnishes a bad proof of the intellectual signifi- 
cance of all convictions. Let us once examine 
how convictions arise, and let us see whether their 
importance is not greatly over-estimated ; it will 
thereby be seen that the change of convictions also 
is in all circumstances judged according to a false 
standard, that we have hitherto been accustomed 
to suffer too much from this change. 


Conviction is belief in the possession of abso- 
lute truth on any matter of knowledge. This belief 
takes it for granted, therefore, that there are 
absolute truths ; also, that perfect methods have 
been found for attaining to them ; and finally, that 
every one who has convictions makes use of these 
perfect methods. All three notions show at once 
that the man of convictions is not the man of 
scientific thought ; he seems to us still in the 
age of theoretical innocence, and is practically a 
child, however grown-up he may be. Whole 
centuries, however, have been lived under the 
influence of those childlike presuppositions, and 
out of them have flowed the mightiest sources 
of human strength. The countless numbers who 


sacrificed themselves for their convictions believed 
they were doing it for the sake of absolute truth. 
They were all wrong, however ; probably no one 
has ever sacrificed himself for Truth ; at least, the 
dogmatic expression of the faith of any such person 
has been unscientific or only partly scientific. But 
really, people wanted to carry their point because 
they believed that they must be in the right. To 
allow their belief to be wrested from them prob- 
ably meant calling in question their eternal salva- 
tion. In an affair of such extreme importance 
the " will " was too audibly the prompter of the 
intellect. The presupposition of every believer 
of every shade of belief has been that he could not 
be confuted ; if the counter-arguments happened 
to be very strong, it always remained for him to 
decry intellect generally, and, perhaps, even to set 
up the " credo quia absurdum est " as the standard 
of extreme fanaticism. It is not the struggle of 
opinions that has made history so turbulent ; but 
the struggle of belief in opinions, — that is to say, of 
convictions. If all those who thought so highly 
of their convictions, who made sacrifices of all 
kinds for them, and spared neither honour, body, 
nor life in their service, had only devoted half of 
their energy to examining their right to adhere to 
this or that conviction and by what road they 
arrived at it, how peaceable would the history of 
mankind now appear ! How much more know- 
ledge would there be! All the cruel scenes in 
connection with the persecution of heretics of all 
kinds would have been avoided, for two reasons : 
firstly, because the inquisitors would above all have 


inquired of themselves, and would have recognised 
the presumption of defending absolute truth ; and 
secondly, because the heretics themselves would, 
after examination, have taken no more interest in 
such badly established doctrines as those of all 
religious sectarians and " orthodox " believers. 


From the ages in which it was customary to 
believe in the possession of absolute truth, people 
have inherited a profound dislike of all sceptical 
and relative attitudes with regard to questions of 
knowledge ; they mostly prefer to acquiesce, for 
good or evil, in the convictions of those in 
authority (fathers, friends, teachers, princes), and 
they have a kind of remorse of conscience when 
they do not do so. This tendency is quite com- 
prehensible, and its results furnish no ground for 
condemnation of the course of the development 
of human reason. The scientific spirit in man, 
however, has gradually to bring to maturity the 
virtue of cautious forbearance, the wise modera- 
tion, which is better known in practical than in 
theoretical life, and which, for instance, Goethe 
has represented in " Antonio," as an object of 
provocation for all Tassos, — that is to say, for 
unscientific and at the same time inactive natures. 
The man of convictions has in himself the right 
not to comprehend the man of cautious thought, 
the theoretical Antonio ; the scientific man, on the 
other hand, has no right to blame the former on 
that account, he takes no notice thereof, and 



knows, moreover, that in certain cases the former 
will yet cling to him, as Tasso finally clung to 


He who has not passed through different 
phases of conviction, but sticks to the faith in 
whose net he was first caught, is, under all circum- 
stances, just on account of this unchangeableness, 
a representative of atavistic culture ; in accordance 
with this lack of culture (which always pre- 
supposes plasticity for culture), he is severe, un- 
intelligent, unteachable, without liberality, an ever 
suspicious person, an unscrupulous person who 
has recourse to all expedients for enforcing his 
opinions because he cannot conceive that there 
must be other opinions ; he is, in such respects, 
perhaps a source of strength, and even wholesome 
in cultures that have become too emancipated and 
languid, but only because he strongly incites to 
opposition : for thereby the delicate organisation 
of the new culture, which is forced to struggle 
with him, becomes strong itself. 


In essential respects we are still the same men 
as those of the time of the Reformation ; how 
could it be otherwise? But the fact that we 
no longer allow ourselves certain means for pro- 
moting the triumph of our opinions distinguishes 
us from that age, and proves that we belong to 
a higher culture. He who still combats and 
overthrows opinions with calumnies and outbursts 


of rage, after the manner of the Reformation men, 
obviously betrays the fact that he would have 
burnt his adversaries had he lived in other times, 
and that he would have resorted to all the 
methods of the Inquisition if he had been an 
opponent of the Reformation. The Inquisition 
was rational at that time ; for it represented 
nothing else than the universal application of 
martial law, which had to be proclaimed through- 
out the entire domain of the Church, and which, 
like all martial law, gave a right to the extremest 
methods, under the presupposition, of course, 
(which we now no longer share with those people), 
that the Church possessed truth and had to preserve 
it at all costs, and at any sacrifice, for the salvation 
of mankind. Now, however, one does not so 
readily concede to any one that he possesses the 
truth ; strict methods of investigation have diffused 
enough of distrust and precaution, so that every 
one who violently advocates opinions in word and 
deed is looked upon as an enemy of our modern 
culture, or, at least, as an atavist. As a matter 
of fact the pathos that man possesses truth is 
now of very little consequence in comparison with 
the certainly milder and less noisy pathos of the 
search for truth, which is never weary of learning 
afresh and examining anew. 


Moreover, the methodical search for truth is 
itself the outcome of those ages in which con- 
victions were at war with each other. If the 
VOL. I. 2C 


individual had not cared about his " truth," that 
is to say, about carrying his point, there would 
have been no method of investigation ; thus, 
however, by the eternal struggle of the claims of 
different individuals to absolute truth, people went 
on step by step to find irrefragable principles 
according to which the rights of the claims could 
be tested and the dispute settled. At first people 
decided according to authorities ; later on they 
criticised one another's ways and means of finding 
the presumed truth ; in the interval there was a 
period when people deduced the consequences of 
the adverse theor}% and perhaps found them to be 
productive of injury and unhappiness ; from which 
it was then to be inferred by every one that the 
conviction of the adversary involved an error. 
The personal struggle of the thinker at last so 
sharpened his methods that real truths could be 
discovered, and the mistakes of former methods 
exposed before the eyes of all. 


On the whole, scientific methods are at least 
as important results of investigation as any other 
results, for the scientific spirit is based upon a 
knowledge of method, and if the methods were 
lost, all the results of science could not prevent 
the renewed prevalence of superstition and 
absurdity. Clever people may learn as much as 
they like of the results of science, but one still 
notices in their conversation, and especially in 
the hypotheses they make, that they lack the 


scientific spirit; they have not the instinctive 
distrust of the devious courses of thinking which, 
in consequence of long training, has taken root 
in the soul of every scientific man. It is enough 
for them to find any kind of hypothesis on a 
subject, they are then all on fire for it, and 
imagine the matter is thereby settled. To have 
an opinion is with them equivalent to immedi- 
ately becoming fanatical for it, and finally taking 
it to heart as a conviction. In the case of 
an unexplained matter they become heated for 
the first idea that comes into their head which 
has any resemblance to an explanation — a course 
from which the worst results constantly follow, 
especially in the field of politics. On that ac- 
count everybody should nowadays have become 
thoroughly acquainted with at least one science, 
for then surely he knows what is meant by 
method, and how necessary is the extremest 
carefulness. To women in particular this advice 
is to be given at present; as to those who are 
irretrievably the victims of all hypotheses, especi- 
ally when these have the appearance of being 
witty, attractive, enlivening, and invigorating. 
Indeed, on close inspection one sees that by far 
the greater number of educated people still desire 
convictions from a thinker and nothing but con- 
victions^ and that only a small minority want 
certainty. The former want to be forcibly carried 
away in order thereby to obtain an increase of 
strength ; the latter few have the real interest 
which disregards personal advantages and the 
increase of strength also. The former class, who 


greatly predominate, are always reckoned upon 
when the thinker comports himself and labels 
himself as a genius^ and thus views himself as a 
higher being to whom authority belongs. In so 
far as genius of this kind upholds the ardour of 
convictions, and arouses distrust of the cautious 
and modest spirit of science, it is an enemy of 
truth, however much it may think itself the 
wooer thereof. 


There is, certainly, also an entirely different 
species of genius, that of justice; and I cannot 
make up my mind to estimate it lower than any 
kind of philosophical, political, or artistic genius. 
Its peculiarity is to go, with heartfelt aversion, out 
of the way of everything that blinds and confuses 
people's judgment of things ; it is consequently 
an adversary of convictions, for it wants to give 
their own to all, whether they be living or dead, 
real or imaginary — and for that purpose it must 
know thoroughly ; it therefore places everything 
in the best light and goes around it with careful 
eyes. Finally, it will even give to its adversary 
the blind or short-sighted " conviction " (as men 
call it, — among women it is called " faith "), what 
is due to conviction — for the sake of truth. 


Opinions evolve out of passions ; indolence of 

intellect allows those to congeal into convictions. 

He, however, who is conscious of himself as a 

free, restless, lively spirit can prevent this conge- 


lation by constant change ; and if he is altogether 
a thinking snowball, he will not have opinions in 
his head at all, but only certainties and properly 
estimated probabilities. But we, who are of a 
mixed nature, alternately inspired with ardour 
and chilled through and through by the intellect, 
want to kneel before justice, as the only goddess 
we acknowledge. The^re in us generally makes 
us unjust, and impure in the eyes of our goddess ; 
in this condition we are not permitted to take 
her hand, and the serious smile of her approval 
never rests upon us. We reverence her as the 
veiled Isis of our life ; with shame we offer her 
our pain as penance and sacrifice when the fire 
threatens to burn and consume us. It is the 
intellect that saves us from being utterly burnt and 
reduced to ashes ; it occasionally drags us away 
from the sacrificial altar of justice or enwraps us 
in a garment of asbestos. Liberated from the 
fire, and impelled by the intellect, we then pass 
from opinion to opinion, through the change of 
parties, as noble betrayers of all things that can 
in any way be betrayed — and nevertheless with- 
out a feeling of guilt. 


The Wanderer. — He who has attained in- 
tellectual emancipation to any extent cannot, for 
a long time, regard himself otherwise than as a 
wanderer on the face of the earth — and not even 
as a traveller towards a final goal, for there is no 
such thing. But he certainly wants to observe and 


keep his eyes open to whatever actually happens 
in the world ; therefore he cannot attach his 
heart too firmly to anything individual ; he must 
have in himself something wandering that takes 
pleasure in change and transitoriness. To be 
sure such a man will have bad nights, when he 
is weary and finds the gates of the town that 
should offer him rest closed ; perhaps he may 
also find that, as in the East, the desert reaches 
to the gates, that wild beasts howl far and near, 
that a strong wind arises, and that robbers take 
away his beasts of burden. Then the dreadful 
night closes over him like a second desert upon 
the desert, and his heart grows weary of wander- 
ing. Then when the morning sun rises upon 
him, glowing like a Deity of anger, when the 
town is opened, he sees perhaps in the faces of 
the dwellers therein still more desert, uncleanli- 
ness, deceit, and insecurity than outside the gates 
— and the day is almost worse than the night. 
Thus it may occasionally happen to the wanderer ; 
but then there come as compensation the delight- 
ful mornings of other lands and days, when already 
in the grey of the dawn he sees the throng of 
muses dancing by, close to him, in the mist of 
the mountain ; when afterwards, in the symmetry 
of his ante-meridian soul, he strolls silently under 
the trees, out of whose crests and leafy hiding- 
places all manner of good and bright things are 
flung to him, the gifts of all the free spirits who 
are at home in mountains, forests, and solitudes, 
and who, like himself, alternately merry and 
thoughtful, are wanderers and philosophers. Born 


of the secrets of the early dawn, they ponder the 
question how the day, between the hours of ten 
and twelve, can have such a pure, transparent, 
and gloriously cheerful countenance : they seek 
the ante-meridian philosophy. 



{Translated by T. Common.) 


Nice, when mute we lie a-dreaming, 
Nicer still when we are laughing, 
'Neath the sky heaven's chariot speeding, 
On the moss the book a-reading, 
Sweetly loud with friends all laughing 
Joyous, with white teeth a-gleaming. 

Do I well, we're mute and humble; 
Do I ill — we'll laugh exceeding; 
Make it worse and worse, unheeding, 
Worse proceeding, more laughs needing. 
Till into the grave we stumble. 

Friends! Yea! so shall it obtain? 
Amen I Till we meet again. 


No excuses need be started! 
Give, ye glad ones, open hearted, 


To this foolish book before you 
Ear and heart and lodging meet ; 
Trust me, 'twas not meant to bore you, 
Though of folly I may treat ! 

What I find, seek, and am needing, 
Was it e'er in book for reading? 
Honour now fools in my name, 
Learn from out this book by reading 
How "our sense" from reason came. 

Thus, my friends, shall it obtain? 
Amen ! Till we meet again. 




First Complete and Authorised English Translation, in l8 Volumes. 

Edited by Dr OSCAR LEVY. 

I. THE BIRTH OF TRAGEDY. Translated by 

William A. Haussman'n, B.A., Ph.D., with Biographical Intro- 
duction by the Author's Sister, Portrait and Facsim ile. 

[Secand £dition. 


ESSAYS. Translated by M. A. Mucge, Ph.D. Crown 8vo. 


INSTITUTIONS. Translated by J. M. Kennedy. 

[Second Edition. 


lated by A. M. LuDovici, with Editorial Note. [ Third Edition. 


lated, with Introduction, by Adrian Collins, M.A. 

[Second Edition. 
VI. HUMAN, ALL-TOO-HUMAN, Vol. I. Translated 
by Helen Zimmern, with Introduction by J. M. Kennedy. 

[ Third Edition. 

VII. HUMAN, ALL-TOO-HUMAN, Vol. II. Translated, 

with Introduction, by Paul V. Cohn, B.A. 

VIII. THE CASE OF WAGNER : We Philolo^sts, &c. 

Translated by A. M. LuDOVici. Crown 8vo. [Third Edition. 

IX. THE DAWN OF DAY. Translated, with Intro- 
duction, by J. M. Kennedy. 

X. THE JOYFUL WISDOM. Translated, with Intro- 
duction, by Thomas Common. [Second Edition. 

lation by T. Common, with Introduction by Mrs Foerster- 
NiETZSCHE, and Commentary by A. M. Ludovici. 

[ Third Edition. 

XII. BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL. Translated by Helen 

Zimmern, with Introduction by T. Common. [Fourth Edition. 


by Horace B. Samuel, M.A. [Second Edition. 

XIV. THE WILL TO POWER, Vol. I. Translated, with 

Introduction, by A. M. Ludovici. [Third Edition. 

XV. THE WILL TO POWER, Vol. II. Translated, with 

Introduction, by A. M. Ludovici. [Second Edition. 


CHRIST, &c. Translated by A. M. Ludovici. [Second Edition. 

XVII. ECCE HOMO AND POETRY. Translated by A. M. 

Ludovici. Crown 8vo. 

XVIII. INDEX TO WORKS, by Robert Guppy ; and 

Vocabulary of all Foreign Words and Phrases, by Paul V. Cohn; 
prefaced by an Essay on the Nietzsche Movement in England, by 
Dr Oscar Levy. 450 pp. Crown 8vo. 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY, Publishers, New York. 




< PR A rc 

^AY 9 1980 
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