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PR JE i 

PLAN- ...... 5 


i. Nihilism as an Outcome of the Valuations 
and Interpretations of Existence which have 
prevailed hitherto .... 8 
Further Cau s of Nihilism - - -23 

The Nihilis c Movement as an Expression of 

Decadenc' - - - - 31 

The Crisis : Nihilism and the Idea of Recur- 
rence - - - - - -47 



a) Modern Gloominess - - - 55 

>) The Last Centurier - - -73 

Signs of Increasing Strength - 91 



1. Concerning the Origin of Religions - 113 

2. Concerning the His / of Christianity 132 

3. Christian Ideals - - - - - 179 




1. The Origin of Moral Valuations * 210 

2. The Herd - - - -1-226 

3. General Observations concerning Morality ' " 237 

4. How Virtue is made to Dominate - - 24? 

5. The Moral Ideal 

A. A Criticism of Ideals- - - - 264 

& A Criticism of the "Good Man," of the 

Saint, etc. - 282 

C. Concerning the Slander of the so-called Evil 

Qualities - - - - - 291 

D. A Criticism of the Words : Improving, Per- 

fecting, Elevating - - - -312 

6. Concluding Remarks concerning the Criticism 

of Morality ----- 320 


1. General Remarks .... 327 

2. A Criticism of Greek Philosophy - - 345 

3. The Truths and Errors of Philosophers - 369 

4. Concluding Remarks in the Criticism of Philo- 

sophy 378 


THE two volumes of The Will to Power have 
been revised afresh by their translator. He, the 
most gifted and conscientious of my collaborators, 
would have added his corrections to the second 
edition of these books, had it not been that five 
years of war and war-service prevented him from 
accomplishing a task which he always judged 
necessary. The changes made are numerous and 
well able to throw light upon many a dark passage, 
but the actual faults of translation were few in 
number, so that the first and second editions are 
by no means invalidated by this third one. 


PARIS, ist March 1924. 


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

Beyond Good and Evil, then, together with its 
sequel, he Genealogy of Morals, and the two 
little volumes, The Twilight of the Idols and the 


Antichrist (published in 1889 and 1894 respec- 
tively), must be regarded as forming part of the 
general plan of which The Will to Power was to 
be the opus magnum. 

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

It may be said that, from the day when 
Nietzsche first recognised the necessity of making 


a more unequivocal appeal to his public than the 
Zarathustra had been, that is to say, from the 
spring of 1883, his work in respect of The Will 
to Power suffered no interruption whatsoever, and 
that it was his chief preoccupation from that 
period until his breakdown in 1889. 

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

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

Frau Foerster-Nietzsche tells us that the notion 
that " The Will to Power " was the fundamental 
principle of all life, first occurred to her brother in 
the year 1870, at the seat of war, while he was 
serving as a volunteer in a German army ambul- 
ance. On one occasion, at the close of a very 
heavy day with the wounded, he happened to 
enter a small town which lay on one of the chief 
military roads. He was wandering through it in 
a leisurely fashion when, suddenly, as he turned 
the corner of a street that was protected on either 
side by lofty stone walls, he heard a roaring noise, 
as of thunder, which seemed to come from the 
immediate neighbourhood. He hurried forward a 
step or two, and what should he see, but a magni- 


ficent cavalry regiment gloriously expressive of 
the courage and exuberant strength of a people 
ride past him like a luminous stormcloud. The 
thundering din waxed louder and louder, and lo 
and behold ! his own beloved regiment of field 
artillery dashed forward at full speed, out of the 
mist of motes, and sped westward amid an uproar 
of clattering chains and galloping steeds. A 
minute or two elapsed, and then a column of in- 
fantry appeared, advancing at the double the 
men's eyes were aflame, their feet struck the hard 
road like mighty hammer-strokes, and their ac- 
coutrements glistened through the haze. While 
this procession passed before him, on its way to 
war and perhaps to death, so wonderful in its 
vital strength and formidable courage, and so per- 
fectly symbolic of a race that will conquer and 
prevail, or perish in the attempt, Nietzsche was 
struck with the thought that the highest will to 
live could not find its expression in a miserable 
" struggle for existence," but in a will to war, a 
Will to Power, a will to overpower ! 

This is said to be the history of his first con- 
ception of that principle which is at the root of 
all his philosophy, and twelve years later, in Thus 
Spake Zarathustra, we find him expounding it 
thus : 

" Wherever I found a living thing, there found 
I Will to Power; and even in the will of the 
servant found I the will to be master. 

" Only where there is life, is there also will : 
not, however, Will to Life, but so teach I thee 
Will to Power 1 


"Much is reckoned higher than life itself by 
the living one; but out of the very reckoning 
speaketh the Will to Power ! " 

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

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

But in this volume, and the one that is to 
follow, we shall find Nietzsche more mature, more 
sober, and perhaps more profound than in the 
works above mentioned. All the loves and hates 
by which we know him, we shall come across 
again in this work ; but here he seems to stand 
more above them than he had done heretofore; 
having once enunciated his ideals vehemently and 
emphatically, he now discusses them with a certain 
grim humour, with more thoroughness and detail, 
and he gives even his enemies a quiet and respect- 
ful hearing. His tolerant attitude to Christianity 
on pages 89, 107, 323, for instance, is a case in 
point, and his definite description of what we are 
to understand by his pity (p. 293) leaves us in no 
dc bt as to the calm determination of this work. 
BOOK One will not seem so well arranged or so 
well worked out as Book Two ; the former being 
more sketchy and more speculative than the latter. 
Be this as it may, it contains deeply interesting 
things, inasmuch as it attempts to trace the ele- 


ments of Nihilism as the outcome of Christian 
values in all the institutions of the present 

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

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

It is obvious from this passage that Nietzsche 
only objected to the influence of herd-morality 


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

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

It is to be hoped that we are too sensible now- 
adays to allow our sensibilities to be shocked by 
serious and well-meditated criticism, even of the 

* Naturwissenschaft im Allgemeinen (Weimar Edition, 
i. n, p. 132). 


most cherished among our institutions, and an 
honest and sincere reformer ought no longer to 
find us prejudiced to the extent of deafness- 
against him, more particularly when he comes 
forward with a gospel " The Will to Power " 
which is, above all, a test of our power to will. 



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


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


On the other hand, the present writer has done 
little else, hitherto, than reflect and meditate^ like 
VOL. i. A 


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

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




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

2. The downfall of Christianity, through its 
morality (which is insuperable), which finally turns 
against the Christian God Himself (the sense of 
truth, highly developed through Christianity, 
ultimately revolts against the falsehood and ficti- 
tiousness of all Christian interpretations of the 
world and its history. The recoil-stroke of <c God 


is Truth" in the fanatical Belief, is: "All is 
false." Buddhism of action. . . .) 

3. Doubt in morality is the decisive factor. 
The downfall of the moral interpretation of the 
universe, which loses its raison d'etre once it has 
tried to take flight to a Beyond, meets its end 
in Nihilism. " Nothing has any purpose " (the 
inconsistency of one explanation of the world, to 
which men have devoted untold energy, gives 
rise to the suspicion that all explanations may 
perhaps be false). The Buddhistic feature : a 
yearning for nonentity (Indian Buddhism has 
no fundamentally moral development at the back 
of it ; that is why Nihilism in its case means only 
morality not overcome ; existence is regarded as 
a punishment and conceived as an error ; error is 
thus held to be punishment a moral valuation). 
Philosophical attempts to overcome the "moral 
God" (Hegel, Pantheism}. The vanquishing of 
popular ideals: the wizard, the saint, the bard. 
Antagonism of "true" and "beautiful" and 
" good." 

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

5. The Nihilistic consequences of present natural 


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

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

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

8. Art and the preparation of Nihilism. Roman- 
ticism (the conclusion of Wagner's Ring of the 





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


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

This view is a result of fully developed " truth- 
fulness " : therefore a consequence of the belief in 


What advantages did the Christian hypothesis 
of morality offer ? 


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

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

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

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

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


But among the forces reared by morality, there 
was truthfulness-, this in the end turns against 
morality, exposes the teleology of the latter, its 
interestedness, and now the recognition of this lie 
so long incorporated, from which we despaired of 
ever freeing ourselves, acts just like a stimulus. 
We perceive certain needs in ourselves, implanted 
during the long dynasty of the moral interpreta- 
tion of life, which now seem to us to be needs 
of untruth : on the other hand, those very needs 
represent the highest values owing to which we 
are able to endure life. We have ceased from 


attaching any worth to what we know, and we 
dare not attach any more worth to that with 
which we would fain deceive ourselves from this 
antagonism there results a process of dissolution. 


This is the antinomy : 

In so far as we believe in morality, we con- 
demn existence. 


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


The consequence of Nihilism (disbelief in all 
values) as a result of a moral valuation : We 
have grown to dislike egotism (even though we have 
realised the impossibility of altruism) ; we have 
grown to dislike what is most necessary (although 
we have recognised the impossibility of a liberum 


arbitrium and of an " intelligible freedom " *). We 
perceive that we do not reach the spheres in 
which we have set our values at the same time 
.lose other spheres in which we live have not 
thereby gained one iota in value. On the contrary, 
we are tired, because we have lost the main in- 
centive to live. " All in vain hitherto ! " 

Pessimism as a preparatory state to Nihilism. 


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

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

Critical tension : extremes make their appear- 
ance and become dominant. 


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

* This is a Kantian term. Kant recognised two T : nds of 
Freedom the practical and the transcendental kind. 1 lie 
first belongs to the phenomenal, the second to the intelligible 


Result : moral valuations are condemnations ', ne- 
gations ; morality is the abdication of the will to 
live. . . . 




Nihilism will have to manifest itself as a psycho- 
logical condition, first when we have sought in all 
that has happened a purpose which is not there : 
so that the seeker will ultimately lose courage. 
Nihilism is therefore the coming into consciousness 
of the long waste of strength, the pain of " futility," 
uncertainty, the lack of an opportunity to recover 
in some way, or to attain to a state of peace 
concerning anything shame in one's own pres- 
ence, as if one had cheated oneself too long. . . . 
The purpose above-mentioned might have been 
achieved : in the form of a " realisation " of a most 
high canon of morality in all worldly phenomena, 
the moral order of the universe ; or in the form of 
the increase of love and harmony in the traffic of 
humanity ; or in the nearer approach to a general 
condition of happiness ; or even in the march to- 
wards general nonentity any sort of goal always 
constitutes a purpose. The common factor to all 
these appearances is that something will be at- 
tained, through the process itself: and now we 
perceive that Becoming has been aiming at nothing, 
and has achieved nothing. Hence the disillusion- 
ment in regard to a so-called purpose in existence, 
as a cause of Nihilism ; whether this be in re- 


spect of a very definite purpose, or generalised into 
the recognition that all the hypotheses are false 
which have hitherto been offered as to the object 
of life, and which relate to the whole of " Evolu- 
tion " (man no longer an assistant in, let alone 
the culmination of, the evolutionary process). 

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

Nihilism, as a psychological condition, has yet a 
third and last form. Admitting these two points 
of view : that no purpose can be assigned to Be- 
coming, and that no great entity rules behind all 
Becoming, in which the individual may completely 
lose himself as in an element of superior value ; 
there still remains the subterfuge which would con- 


sist in condemning this whole world of Becoming 
as an illusion, and in discovering a world which 
would lie beyond it, and would be a real world. 
The moment, however, that man perceives that 
this world has been devised only for the purpose 
of meeting certain psychological needs, and that 
he has no right whatsoever to it, the final form 
of Nihilism comes into being, which comprises a 
denial of a metaphysical world, and which forbids 
itself all belief in a real world. From this stand- 
point, the reality of Becoming is the only reality 
that is admitted : all bypaths to back-worlds and 
false godheads are abandoned but this world is no 
longer endured^ although no one wishes to disown it. 
What has actually happened ? The feeling of 
worthlessness was realised when it was understood 
that neither the notion of " Purpose? nor that of 
" Unity? nor that of " Truth? could be made to 
interpret the general character of existence. Noth- 
ing is achieved or obtained thereby; the unity 
which intervenes in the multiplicity of events is 
entirely lacking : the character of existence is not 
" true," it is false ; there is certainly no longer 
any reason to believe in a real world. In short, 
the categories, "Purpose," " Unity," " Being," by 
means of which we had lent some worth to life, 
we have once more divorced from it and the 
world now appears worthless to us. ... 


Admitting that we have recognised the impos- 
sibility of interpreting 'the world by means of these 


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

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

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

Nihilism represents an intermediary pathological 
condition (the vast generalisation, the conclusion 
that there is no purpose in anything, is pathological) : 

* This probably refers to Kant's celebrated table of twelve 
categories. The four classes, quantity, quality, relation, and 
modality, are each provided with three categories. TRANS- 


whether it be that the productive forces are not 
yet strong enough or that decadence still hesi- 
tates and has not yet discovered its expedients. 

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

14- v' 

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

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

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

15. ^ 

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

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


This should be realised, that the extent to 
which we can, in our heart of hearts, acknowledge 
appearance, and the necessity of falsehood, with- 
out going to rack and ruin, is the measure of 

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

1 6. 

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

To what extent does Schopenhauerian Nihilism 
continue to be the result of the same ideal as that 
which gave rise to Christian Theism? The 
amount of certainty concerning the most exalted 
desiderata, the highest values and the greatest 
degree of perfection, was so great, that the 
philosophers started out from it as if it had been 
an a priori and absolute fact \ " God " at the head, 
as the given quantity Truth. " To become like 
God," " to be absorbed into the Divine Being " 
VOL. i. B 


these were for centuries the most ingenuous and 
most convincing desiderata (but that which con- 
vinces is not necessarily true on that account: 
it is nothing more nor less than convincing. An 
observation for donkeys). 

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

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

* See Note on p. n. 


1 8. 

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


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


The question which Nihilism puts, namely, " to 
what purpose ? " is the outcome of a habit, hitherto, 
to regard the purpose as something fixed, given and 
exacted/jr0w outside that is to say,by some super- 
natural authority. Once the belief in this has been 
unlearned, the force of an old habit leads to the 
search after another authority, which would know 
how to speak unconditionally \ and could point to 


goals and missions. The authority of the conscience 
now takes the first place (the more morality is 
emancipated from theology, the more imperative 
does it become) as a compensation for the personal 
authority* Or the authority of reason. Or the 
gregarious instinct (the herd). Or history with its 
immanent spirit, which has its goal in itself, and to 
which one can abandon oneself. One would like 
to evade the will, as also the willing of a goal and 
the risk of setting oneself a goal. One would like 
to get rid of the responsibility (Fatalism would 
be accepted). Finally: Happiness, and with a 
dash of humbug, the happiness of the greatest 

It is said : 

(1) A definite goal is quite unnecessary. 

(2) Such a goal cannot possibly be foreseen. 
Precisely now, when will in its fullest strength 

were necessary, it is in the weakest and most /#./- 
lanimous condition. Absolute mistrust concerning 
the organising power of the will. 


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



Nihilism. It may be two things : 

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

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


Nihilism, a normal condition. 

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

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

Its opposite would be weary Nihilism, which no 
longer attacks: its most renowned form being 
Buddhism : as passive Nihilism, a sign of weakness : 
spiritual strength may be fatigued, exhausted, so 
that the goals and values which have prevailed 
hitherto are no longer suited to it and are no longer 
believed in so that the synthesis of values and 
goals (upon which every strong culture stands) 


decomposes, and the different values contend with 
one another : Disintegration^ then everything which 
is relieving, which heals, becalms, or stupefies, steps 
into the foreground under the cover of various dis- 
guises, either religious, moral, political or aesthetic, 


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


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



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



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

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

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


The result is that higher types are resisted. 

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

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


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

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


The varieties of self - stupefaction. In one's 
heart of hearts, not to know, whither ? Empti- 
ness. The attempt to rise superior to it all by 
means of emotional intoxication : emotional in- 
toxication in the form of music, in the form of 
cruelty in the tragic joy over the ruin of the 
noblest, and in the form of blind, gushing en- 
thusiasm over individual men or distinct periods 
(in the form of hatred, etc.). The attempt to 
work blindly, like a scientific instrument ; to keep 
an eye on the many small joys, like an investi- 
gator, for instance (modesty towards oneself) ; the 
mysticism of the voluptuous joy of eternal empti- 


ness ; art " for art's sake " ( le fait "), " immaculate 
investigation," in the form of narcotics against the 
disgust of oneself; any kind of incessant work, 
any kind of small foolish fanaticism ; the medley 
of all means, illness as the result of general pro- 
fligacy (dissipation kills pleasure). 

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

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


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

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

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

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

(c) There is even an attempt to hold fast to 
a " Beyond " : were it only as an antilogical x ; 
but it is forthwith interpreted in such a way that 


a kind of metaphysical solace, after the old style, 
may be derived from it. 

(d) There is an attempt to read the pheno- 
mena of life in such a way as to arrive at the 
divine guidance of old, with its powers of reward- 
ing, punishing, educating, and of generally con- 
ducing to a something better in the order of 

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

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

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

There have been more thoughtful and more 
destructively thoughtful * times than ours : times 
like those in which Buddha appeared, for instance, 
in which the people themselves, after centuries of 
sectarian quarrels, had sunk so deeply into the 
abyss of philosophical dogmas, as, from time to 

* zerdachtcre> 


time, European people have done in regard to the 
fine points of religious dogma. " Literature " and 
the press would be the last things to seduce one 
to any high opinion of the spirit of our times : 
the millions of Spiritists, and a Christianity 
with gymnastic exercises of that ghastly ugliness 
which is characteristic of all English inventions, 
throw more light on the subject. 

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


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

Our Pessimism : the world has not the value 
which we believed it to have, our faith itself has 
so increased our thirst for knowledge that we are 
compelled to say this to-day. In the first place, it 
seems of less value : at first it is felt to be of less 
value, only in this sense are we pessimists, that 
is to say, with the will to acknowledge this 


transvaluation without reserve, and no longer, as 
heretofore, to deceive ourselves and chant the old 
old story. 

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

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

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


Causes effecting the rise of Pessimism : 

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

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

(3) Only the most mediocre ', who are not 
conscious of this conflict, prosper; the higher 
species fail, and as an example of degeneration 
tend to dispose all hearts against them on the 
other hand, there is some indignation caused by 


the mediocre positing themselves as the end and 
meaning of all things. No one can any longer 
reply to the question : " Why ? " 

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


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


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

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

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

"Life is not worth living"; "Resignation"; 
" what is the good of tears ? " this is a feeble and 


sentimental attitude of mind. " Un monstre gai 
vaut mieux qu'un sentimental ennuyeux" 

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

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


The development of Nihilism out of Pessimism. 
The denaturalisation of Values. Scholasticism 
of values, The values isolated, idealistic, instead 


of ruling and leading action, turn against it and 
condemn it. 

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

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

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

This gives rise to the problem of strength and 
weakness : 

(1) The weak fall to pieces upon it; 

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

(3) The strongest overcome the directing 

The whole condition of affairs produces the 
tragic age. 



Just lately an accidental and in every way 
inappropriate term has been very much misused : 
everywhere people are speaking of "Pessimism? 


and there is a fight around the question (to which 
some replies must be forthcoming): which is 
right Pessimism or Optimism ? 

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

The Nihilistic movement is only an expression 
of physiological decadence. 


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


The notion " decadence " : Decay, decline, and 
waste, are, per se> in no way open to objection ; 


they are the natural consequences of life and vital 
growth. The phenomenon of decadence is just 
as necessary to life as advance or progress is : we 
are not in a position which enables us to suppress 
it. On the contrary, reason would have it retain - 
its rights. 

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


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

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

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

Decadence itself is not a thing that can be 
withstood : it is absolutely necessary and is proper 
to all ages and all peoples. That which must be 
VOL. i. C 


withstood, and by all means in our power, is the 
spreading of the contagion among the sound parts 
of the organism. 

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The most common types of decadence : 
(i) In the belief that they are remedies, cures 
are chosen which only precipitate exhaustion ; 
this is the case with Christianity (to point to the 


most egregious example of mistaken instinct) ; 
this is also the case with " progress." 

(2) The power of resisting stimuli is on the 
wane chance rules supreme : events are inflated 
and drawn out until they appear monstrous . . . 
a suppression of the " personality/ 1 a disintegration 
of the will; in this regard we may mention a 
whole class of morality, the altruistic, that which 
is incessantly preaching pity, and whose most 
essential feature is the weakness of the personality, 
so that it rings in unison, and, like an over- 
sensitive string, does not cease from vibrating . . . 
extreme irritability. . . . 

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

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


Concerning the hygiene of the " weak." All 
that is done in weakness ends in failure. Moral : 
*jlo nothing./ The worst of it is, that precisely the 
strength required in order to stop action, and to 
cease from reacting, is most seriously diseased 
under thfe influence of weakness : that one never 


reacts more promptly or more blindly than when 
one should not react at all. 

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

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

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

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


Weakness of Will: this is a fable that can 
lead astray. For there is no will, consequently 
neither a strong nor a weak one. The multi- 


plicity and disintegration of the instincts, the want 
of system in their relationship, constitute what is 
known as a " weak will" ; their co-ordination, under 
the government of one individual among them, 
results in a "strong will" in the first case 
vacillation and a lack of equilibrium is noticeable : 
in the second, precision and definite direction. 


That which is inherited is not illness, but ^.predis- 
position to illness : a lack of the powers of resistance 
against injurious external influences,etc.etc., broken 
powers of resistance ; expressed morally : resigna- 
tion and humility in the presence of the enemy. 

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

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

Health and illness are not essentially different, 
as the ancient doctors believed and as a few 
practitioners still believe to-day. They cannot 
be imagined as two distinct principles or entities 
which fight for the living organism and make it 
their battlefield. That is nonsense and mere idle? 
gossip, which no longer holds water. As a 
matter of fact, there is only a difference of 


degree between these two living conditions: 
exaggeration, want of proportion, want of harmony 
among the normal phenomena, constitute the 
morbid state (Claude Bernard). 

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

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

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

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

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

Two totally different conditions are confused: 
for instance, the repose of strength, which is essen- 
tially abstinence from reaction (the prototype of 
the gods whom nothing moves), and the peace of 


exhaustion, rigidity to the point of anaesthesia. 
All these philosophic and ascetic modes of pro- 
cedure aspire to the second state, but actually 
pretend to attain to the first ... for they ascribe 
to the condition they have reached the attributes 
that would be in keeping only with a divine state. 

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

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

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

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

When he who was exhausted came forth with 


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

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

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



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


A theory of exhaustion. Vice, the insane (also 
artists), the criminals, the anarchists these are 


not the oppressed classes, but Jhe jnttcasts of the 
community of all classesjhitherta 

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

To what extent Tiving together For" centuries 
has very much deepened sickliness : 
modern virtue 

modern intellect 
modern science 

as forms of disease. 


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


Decadence exercises a profound and perfectly 
unconscious influence, even over the ideals of 
science : all our sociology is a proof of this pro- 
position, and it has yet to be reproached with the 


fact that it has only the experience of society in 
the process of decay \ and inevitably takes its own 
decaying instincts as the basis of sociological 

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

That virtue which Schopenhauer still pro- 
claimed as superior to all, and as the most funda- 
mental of all virtues; even that same pity I 
recognised as more dangerous than any vice. 


Deliberately to thwart the law of selection among 
species, and their natural means of purging their 
stock of degenerate members this, up to my 
time, had been the greatest of all virtues. . . . 
One should do honour to the fatality which 

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

The race is corrupted not by its vices, but by 
its ignorance : it is corrupted because it has not 
recognised exhaustion as exhaustion : physio- 
fogicaT misunderstandings are the cause of all 

Virtue is our greatest misunderstanding. 

Problem: how were the exhausted able to 
make the laws of values ? In other words, how 
did they who are the last, come to power ? . . . 
How did the instincts of the animal man ever get 
to stand on their heads ? . . 



Extreme positions are^ not relieved Joy more 
moderate^ ones, Bu^ by extreme opposite positions. 
^ n ^ th us the Belief in the utter immorality of 
Mature, and in the absence of all purpose and sense] 
are psychologically necessafy^assTons when the 


belief in God and in an essentially moral ordgrof_ 
things is no longer tenable. ~~ 

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


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


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

This is the extremest form of Nihilism : nothing 
(purposelessness) eternal 1 


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

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

But his case is exceptional. If every funda- 
mental trait of character^ which lies beneath every 
act, and which finds expression in every act, were 
recognised by the individual as his fundamental 

VOL. i. D 


trait of character, this individual would be driven 
to regard every moment of existence in general, 
triumphantly as good. It would simply be neces- 
sary for that fundamental trait of character to b& 
felt in oneself as something good, valuable, anf! 

Now, in the case of those men and classes of 
men who were treated with violence and oppressed 
by their fellows, morality saved life from despair 
and from the leap into nonentity : for impotence 
in relation to mankind and not in relation to 
Nature is^w n &t generates the most desperate 
bitterness towards existence/ Morality treated 
tKe' powerful, tHe violent7~ancT the " masters " in 
general, as enemies against whom the common 
man must be protected that is to say, emboldened, 
strengthened. Morality has therefore always taught 
the most profound hatred and contempt of the 
fundamental trait of character of all rulers z>., 
their Will to Power. To suppress, to deny, and 
to decompose this morality, would mean to regard 
this most thoroughly detested instinct with the 
reverse of the old feeling and valuation. If the 
sufferer and the oppressed man were to lose his 
belief in his right to contemn the Will to Power, 
his position would be desperate. This would be 
so if the trait above-mentioned were essential to 
life, in which case it would follow that even 
that will to morality was only a cloak to this 
" Will to Power," as are also even that hatred and 
contempt The oppressed man would then per- 


ceive that he stands on the same platform with the 
oppressor, and that he has no individual privilege, 
nor any higher rank than the latter. 


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

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


Nihilism is a sign that the botched and bungled 
have no longer any consolation, that they destroy 


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


It must not be supposed that " distress " has 
grown more acute, on the contrary 1 " God, 
morality, resignation " were remedies in the very 
deepest stages of misery: active Nihilism made 
its appearance in circumstances which were rela- 
tively much more favourable. The fact, alone, that 
morality is regarded as overcome, presupposes a 
certain degree of intellectual culture; while this 
very culture, for its part, bears evidence to a 
certain relative well-being. A certain intellectual 
fatigue, brought on by the long struggle concerning 
philosophical opinions, and carried to hopeless 
scepticism against philosophy, shows moreover that 
the level of these Nihilists is by no means a low 
one. Only think of the conditions in which 
Buddha appeared I The teaching of the eternal 
recurrence would have learned principles to go 
upon (just as Buddha's teaching, for instance, had 
the notion of causality, etc.). 

What do we mean to-day by the words " botched 
and bungled " ? In the first place, they are used 


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

What class of men will prove they are strongest 
in this new order of things ? The most moderate 
they who do not require any extreme forms of 
belief, they who not only admit of, but actually 
like, a certain modicum of chance and nonsense ; 
they who can think of man with a very moderate 
view of his value, without becoming weak and 
small on that account; the most rich in health, 


who are able to withstand a maximum amount 
of sorrow, and who are therefore not so very much 
afraid of sorrow men who are certain of their 
power> and who represent with conscious pride the 
state of strength to which man has attained. 


How could such a man think of Eternal Re- 
currence ? 


The Periods of European Nihilism. 

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

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

The Periods of the Three Great Passions : con- 
tempt, pity, destruction. 

The Periods of Catastrophes : the rise of a teach- 
ing which will sift mankind . . . which drives 
the weak to some decision and the strong also. 




My friends, we had aharcT time as youths; we even 
suffered from youth itself as though it were a serious 
disease. This is owing to the age in which we were 
born an age of enormous internal decay and dis- 
integration which, with all its weakness and even 
with the best of its strength, is opposed to the 
spirit of youth. Disintegration that is to say, un- 
certainty is peculiar to this age : nothing stands 
on solid ground or on a sound faith. People live 
for the morrow, because the day-after-to-morrow is 
doubtful. All our road is slippery and dangerous, 
while the ice which still bears us has grown un- 
conscionably thin : we all feel the mild and grue- 
some breath of the thaw-wind soon, where we are 
walking, no one will any longer be able to stand 1 

5 8. 

If this is not an age of decay and of diminishing 
vitality, it is at least one of indiscriminate and 
arbitrary experimentalising and it is probable 
that out of an excess of abortive experiments there 


has grown this general impression, as of decay : 
and perhaps decay itself. 


Concerning the history of modern gloominess. 

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

The break-up of the family. 

The " good man " as a symptom of exhaustion. 

Justice as Will to Power (Rearing). 

Lewdness and neurosis. 

Black music : whither has real music gone ? 

The anarchist. 

Contempt of man, loathing. 

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

Northern unnaturalness. 

The need of Alcohol : the " need " of the work- 
ing classes. 

Philosophical Nihilism. 


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

(i) Gloominess of spirit (the juxtaposition of 
a stoical and a frivolous appearance of happiness, 


peculiar to noble cultures, is on the decline ; much 
suffering is allowed to be seen and heard which 
formerly was borne in concealment ; 

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

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


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


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

The romantic attitudes of the modern man : 


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

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


Taken all in all, a considerable amount of 
humanity has been attained by our men of to-day. 
That we do not feel this is in itself a proof of the 
fact that we have become so sensitive in regard to 
small cases of distress, that we somewhat unjustly 
overlook what has been achieved. 

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

(1) A certain hypersensitiveness, even in moral 

(2) The quantum of bitterness and gloominess, 


which pessimism bears with it in its judgments 
both together have helped to bring about the pre- 
ponderance of the other and opposite point of view, 
that things are not well with our morality. 

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

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

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

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

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

That which is most sorely afflicted to-day is 
the instinct and will of tradition : all institutions 
which owe their origin to this instinct, are opposed 


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


" Be simple " a demand which, when made to 
us complicated and incomprehensible triers of the 
heart and reins, is a simple absurdity. ... Be 
natural : but if one should be by nature " un-, 
natural,' 1 what then ? 


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

Now, the subdivision of property belongs to the 
opposite tendency. A newspaper instead of the 
daily prayers. Railways, the telegraph. The 
centralisation of an enormous number of different 
interests in one soul : which, to that end^ must be 
very strong and mutable. 



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

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

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

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


Nihilistic trait. 

(a) In the natural sciences (" purposelessness "), 


causality, mechanism, " conformity to law," an in- 
terval, a rfemnant. 

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

(c) Likewise in political economy : the abolition 
of slavery : the lack of a redeeming class, and of 
one who justifies the rise of anarchy. "Educa- 

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

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


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


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

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

Sensitiveness is infinitely more acute (beneath 
moral vestments : the increase of pity), the abund- 
ance of different impressions is greater than ever. 
The cosmopolitanism of articles of diet, of literature, 
newspapers, forms, tastes, and even landscapes. 
The speed of this affluence is prestissimo ; im- 
pressions are wiped out, and people instinctively 
guard against assimilating anything or against 
taking anything seriously and " digesting " it ; the 
result is a weakening of the powers of digestion. 
There begins a sort of adaptation to this accumula- 
tion of impressions, .^..Man unlearns^the^art^Qf daing^ 
and/?// he does is to raft?T^stlHiuli coming_Jrom 
his enylFonment. JfeTspends his strength^ partly 
in the process of assimilation, partly in defending 
himself^ and again partly in responding to stimuli. 
Profound enfeeblement of spontaneity: the his- 
torian, the critic, the analyst, the interpreter, the 
observer, the collector, the reader, all reactive 
talents, all science ! 

Artificial modification of one's own nature in 
order to make it resemble a " mirror " ; ong_js 
interested, but only epidermall^ : this is system- 
aSc^cboliiess, equilibrium, a steady low temperature, 


just beneath the thin surface on which warmth, 
movement, " storm," and undulations play. 

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


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


Overwork, curiosity and sympathy our modern 


A contribution to the characterisation of " Moder- 
nity!' Exaggerated development of intermediate 
forms ; the decay of types ; the break-up of tradi- 
tion, schools ; the predominance of the instincts 
(philosophically prepared : the unconscious has the 
greater value) after the appearance of the enfeeble- 
ment of will power and of the will to an end and 
to the means thereto. 


A capable artisan or scholar cuts a good figure 
if he have his pride in his art, and looks pleasantly 
and contentedly upon life. On the other hand, 
there is no sight more wretched than that of a 
cobbler or a schoolmaster who, with the air of a 
martyr, gives one to understand that he was really 


born for something better. There is nothing better 
than what is good ! and that is : to have a certain 
kind of capacity and to use it. This is virtii in 
the Italian style of the Renaissance. 

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

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

VOL. i. 


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


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

The political man (in the " national swindle "). 
Mummery in the arts : 

The lack of honesty in preparing and school- 
ing oneself for them (Fromentin) ; 


The Romanticists (their lack of philosophy 
and science and their excess of literature) ; 
The novelists (Walter Scott, but also the 
monsters of the Nibelung, with their in- 
ordinately nervous music) ; 
The lyricists. 
" Scientifically." 
Virtuosos (Jews). 

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

The saint, the sage, the prophet. 


The want of discipline in the modern spirit con- 
cealed beneath all kinds of moral finery. The 
show-words are : JToleration (for^the "incapacity 
of saying j[es_or jio^; la largeur de sympathie 
(^aTtHTrd of indifference, a third of curiosity, and 
a third of morbid susceptibility) ; " objectivity " 
(the lack of personality and of will, and the in- 
ability to " love ") ; " freedom " in regard to the 
rule (Romanticism) ; " truth " as opposed to false- 
hood and lying (Naturalism); the "scientific 
spirit " (the " human document " : or, in plain 
English, the serial story which means " addition " 
instead of " composition ") ; " passion " in the 
place of disorder and intemperance ; " depth " in 
the place of confusion and the pell-mell of symbols. 


Concerning the criticism of big words. I am full 
of mistrust and malice towards what is called 


" ideal " : this is my Pessimism y that I have recog- 
nised to what extent " sublime sentiments " are 
a source of evil that is to say, a belittling and 
depreciating of man. 

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

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


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

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


The main symptoms of Pessimism : Dinners at 
Magny's ; Russian Pessimism (Tolstoy, Dostoiew- 


sky) ; aesthetic Pessimism, Fart pour 1'art, " de- 
scription" (the romantic and the anti-romantic 
Pessimism); Pessimism in the theory of know- 
ledge (Schopenhauer : phenomenalism) ; anarchical 
Pessimism ; the " religion of pity," Buddhistic 
preparation ; the Pessimism of culture (exoticness, 
cosmopolitanism) ; moral Pessimism, myself. 


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

Schopenhauer and Pascal. In one essential point, 
Schopenhauer is the first who takes up Pascal's 
movement again : un monstre et un chaos, conse- 
quently something that must be negatived . . . 
history, nature, and man himself ! 

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

8 4 . 

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


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


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


Henrik Ibsen has become very clear to me. 
With all his robust idealism and " Will to Truth/' 
he never dared to ring himself free from moral- 
illusionism which says " freedom," and will not 
admit, even to itself, what freedom is : the second 
stage in the metamorphosis of the "Will to Power," 
in him who lacks it. In the first stage, one 
demands justice at the hands of those who have 
power. IfTtEe^second, one speaks of " freedom," 


that is to say, one wishes to " shake oneself free " 
from those who have power. In the third stage, 
one speaks of " ejgualjiglits,"- that is to^siayj sq_ 
long as one is not a predominant personality one 
^wishes to prevent bne's competitors from growing 
nTpower. ~~ 


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


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


What has the German spirit not made out of 
Christianity! And, to refer to Protestantism 
again, how much beer is there not still in Pro- 
testant Christianity ! Can a crasser, more indolent, 
and more lounging form of Christian belief be 


imagined, than that of the average German Pro- 
testant ? ... It is indeed a very humble Christi- 
anity. J^cdljtjthe Homoeopathy of Christianity ! 
I am ' remindecT tEat, to-3ay, there also exists a 
less humble sort of Protestantism ; it is taught by 
royal chaplains and anti-Semitic speculators : but 
nobody has ever maintained that any "spirit" 
" hovers " over these waters. It is merely a less 
respectable form of Christian faith, not by any 
means a more comprehensible one. 

Progress. Let us be on our guard lest we 
uv^ceive ourselves ! Time flies forward apace, 
we would fain believe that everything flies forward 
with it, that evolution is an advancing develop- 
ment. . . . That is the appearance of things which 
deceives the most circumspect. But the nineteenth 
century shows no advance whatever on the six- 
teenth: and the German spirit of 1888 is an 
example of a backward movement when compared 
with that of 1788. . . . Mankind does not 
advance, it does not even- exist. The aspect of 
the whole is much more like that of a huge experi- 
menting workshop where some things in all ages 
succeed, while an incalculable number of things 
fail ; where all order, logic, co-ordination, and 
responsibility is lacking. How dare we blink the 
fact that the rise of Christianity is a decadent 
movement? that the German Reformation was 
a recrudescence of Christian barbarism ? that the 
Revolution destroyed the instinct for an organisa- 


tion of society on a large scale? . . . Man is not 
an example of progress as compared with animals : 
the tender son of culture is an abortion compared 
with the Arab or the Corsican; the Chinaman 
is a more successful type that is to say, possess- 
ing more lasting powers than the European. 



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

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

If now I maintain that I am ahead, by a 
century or two of enlightenment, of Voltaire and 
Galiani who was much more profound, how 
deeply must I have sunk into gloominess ! This 
is also true, and betimes I somewhat reluctantly 
manifested some caution in regard to the German 
and Christian narrowness and inconsistency of 
Schopenhauerian or, worse still, Leopardian Pessim- 
ism, and sought the most characteristic form (Asia). 
But, in order to endure that extreme Pessimism 
(which here and there peeps out of my Birth of 
Tragedy), to live alone " without God or morality," 


I was compelled to invent a counter-prop for my- 
self. Perf^sJLkrLQjy-best why^man is JthSLSPJi 
janimaljliat laughs.: he alone^su^rs_so ^xcruciat- 
ingly that he w^Wmfefled to invent laughter. 
The unhappiest and most melancholy animaLis, 
asTmight have been expected, the most cheerful. 


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

Bependance upon foreigners ; Kant Rousseau, 
the sensualists, Hume, Swedenborg. 

Schopenhauer the Indians and Romanticism, 

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

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

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

Music is the last breath of every culture. 


Renaissance and Reformation. What does the 
Renaissance prove? That the reign of the 


" individual " can be only a short one. The out- 
put is too great ; fliere is not even the possibility 
of husbanding or of capitalising forces, and ex- 
haustion sets in step by step. These are times 
when everything is squandered^ when even the 
strength itself with which one collects, capitalises, 
and heaps riches upon riches, is squandered. 
Even the opponents of such movements are driven 
to preposterous extremes in the dissipation of 
their strength: and they too are very soon 
exhausted, used up, and completely sapped. 

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

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


" free gospel," and that all lusts of revenge and of 
hatred were indulged with insatiable fury. 

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


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

The protraction of Christianity through the 
French Revolution. The seducer is Rousseau ; 
he once again liberates woman, who thenceforward 
is always represented as ever more interesting 
suffering. Then come the slaves and Mrs. Beecher- 
Stowe. Then the poor and the workmen. Then 
the vicious and the sick all this is drawn into 
the foreground (even for the purpose of disposing 
people in favour of the genius, it has been custom- 
ary for five hundred years to press him forward as 
the great sufferer !). Then comes the cursing of 
all voluptuousness (Beaudelaire and Schopen- 
hauer) ; the most decided conviction that the lust 
of power is the greatest vice ; absolute certainty 
that morality and disinterestedness are identical 
things ; that the " happiness of all " is a goal worth 


striving after (i.e., Christ's Kingdom of Heaven). 
We are on the best road to it : the Kingdom of 
Heaven of the poor in spirit has begun. Inter- 
mediate stages : the bourgeois (as a result of the 
nouveau riche) and the workman (as a result of 
the machine). 

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

The Three Centuries. 

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

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

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

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

The seventeenth century is aristocratic^ all for 
order, haughty towards everything animal, severe 
in regard to the heart, " austere," and even free 
from sentiment, " non-German," averse to all that 


is burlesque and natural, generalising and main- 
taining an attitude of sovereignty towards the 
past' for it believes in itself. At bottom it 
partakes very much of the beast of prey, and 
practises asceticism in order to remain master. 
It is the century of strength of will, as also that of 
strong passion. 

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

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

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

The fact that science has become as sovereign 
as it is to-day, proves how the nineteenth century 
has emancipated itself from the dominion of ideals. 


A certain absence of " needs " and wishes makes our 
scientific curiosity and rigour possible this is 
our kind of virtue. 

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

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


the elimination of the choosing, directing, inter- 
preting subject, on principle. 

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

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

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

The period of rationalism followed by a 
aeriod of sentimentalitv. To what extent does 


Schopenhauer come under " sentimentality " ? 
(Hegel under intellectuality ?) 


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

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

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

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

The strong individual who is self-sufficient, or 
who appeals ardently to God and that obtrusive- 
ness and indiscretion of modern authors these 
things are opposites. " Showing-oneself-off " what 
a contrast to the Scholars of Port- Royal 1 


Alfieri had a sense for the grand style. 

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

9 8. 

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


Voltaire Rousseau. A state of nature is 
terrible ; man is a beast of prey : our civilisation 
is an extraordinary triumph over this beast of 
prey in nature this was Voltaire's conclusion. 
He was conscious of the mildness, the refinements, 


the intellectual joys of the civilised state; he 
despised obtuseness, even in the form of virtue, 
and the lack of delicacy even in ascetics and 

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


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

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

The flare-up occurred towards ij6o : On the 
one hand the citizen of Geneva, on the other le 
seigneur de Ferney. It is only from that moment 
and henceforward that Voltaire was the man of 


his age, the philosopher, the representative of 
Toleration and of Disbelief (theretofore he had 
been merely un bel esprit). His envy and hatred 
of Rousseau's success forced him upwards. 

"Pour ' la canaille* un dieu rtmuntrateur et 
vengeur " Voltaire. 

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

The morbid feature in Rousseau is the one 
which happens to have been most admired and 
imitated. (Lord Byron resembled him somewhat, 
he too screwed himself up to sublime attitudes 
and to revengeful rage a sign of vulgarity ; later 
on, when Venice restored his equilibrium, he under- 
stood what was more alleviating and did more 
good . . . r insouciance.} 

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

In Rousseau there was undoubtedly some brain 
trouble; in Voltaire rare health and lightsome- 
ness. The revengefulness of the sick ; his periods 


of insanity as also those of his contempt of man, 
and of his mistrust 

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

Romanticism 4 la Rousseau : passion ("the 
sovereign right of passion ") ; " naturalness " ; the 
fascination of madness (foolishness reckoned as 
greatness) ; the senseless vanity of the weak ; the 
revengefulness of the masses elevated to the posi- 
tion of justice (" in politics, for one hundred years, 
the leader has been an invalid "). 


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

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

(2) By complicating and entangling it with 
scholastic flourishes in view of making it more 


acceptable to the German's scientific taste in form 
(for Locke and Hume, alone, were too illuminating, 
too clear that is to say, judged according to the 
German valuing instinct, " too superficial "). 

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


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

The nineteenth century versus the eighteenth. 
How was it an heir ? how was it a step backwards 
from the latter ? (more lacking in " spirit " and 


in taste) how did it show an advance on the 
latter ? (more gloomy, more realistic, stronger). 


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

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

The President de Brosses says of the "Campagna 
romana : "II fallait que Romulus ftit ivre quand il 
songea b&tir une ville dans un terrain aussi laid." 

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

Lamartine has the language for Sorrento and 

Victor Hugo raves about Spain, "parce que 
aucune autre nation n'a moins emprunte' & 
Tantiquite*, parce qu'elle n'a subi aucune influence 


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

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

Goethe, in that he imagined a European culture 


which would consist of the whole heritage of what 
humanity had attained to up to his time. 

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

The pre-eminence of music in the romanticists 
of 1830 and 1840. Delacroix. Ingres a 
passionate musician (admired Gluck, Haydn, 
Beethoven, Mozart), said to his pupils in Rome: 
" Si je pouvais vous rendre tous musiciens, vous y 
gagneriez comme peintres " likewise Horace 
Vernet, who was particularly fond of Don Juan (as 
Mendelssohn assures us, 1831); Stendhal, too, who 
says of himself: " Combien de lieues ne ferais-je 
pas & pied, et combien de jours de prison ne me 
soumetterais-je pas pour entendre Don Juan ou le 
Matrimonio segreto ; et je ne sais pour quelle autre 
chose je ferais cet effort/ 1 He was then fifty-six 
years old. 

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

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

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

that characteristic transformation of which 
G. Flaubert is the most striking example among 
Frenchmen, and Richard Wagner the most strik- 
ing example among Germans, shows how the 


romantic belief in love and the future changes 
into a longing for nonentity in 1830-50. 

1 06. 

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

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

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


From the point of view only of his value to 
Germany and to German culture, Richard Wagner 
is still a great problem, perhaps a German mis- 
fortune: in any case, however, a fatality. But 
what does it matter? Is he not very much 
more than a German event? It also seems to 
me that to no country on earth is he less related 
than to Germany ; nothing was prepared there for 

* Thekla is the sentimental heroine in Schiller's Wallen- 


his advent ; his whole type is simply strange 
amongst Germans ; there he stands in their midst, 
wonderful, misunderstood, incomprehensible. But 
people carefully avoid acknowledging this : they are 
too kind, too square-headed too German for that. 
" Credo quia absurdus est " : thus did the German 
spirit wish it to be, in this case too hence it is 
content meanwhile to believe everything Richard 
Wagner wanted to have believed about himself. In 
all ages the spirit of Germany has been deficient in 
subtlety and divining powers concerning psycho- 
logical matters. Now that it happens to be under the 
it is visibly growing thicker and coarser : how could 
it therefore be equal to the problem of Wagner I 


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


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


First Principle: everything that characterises 
modern men savours of decay : but side by side 
with the prevailing sickness there are signs of a 
strength and powerfulness of soul which are still 
untried. The same causes which tend to promote 
the belittling of men> also force the stronger and 
rarer individuals upwards to greatness. 

1 10. 

General survey : the ambiguous character of our 
modern world precisely the same symptoms 
might at the same time be indicative of either 
decline or strength. And the signs of strength 
and of emancipation dearly bought, might in view 
of traditional (or hereditary) appreciations con- 
cerned with the feelings, be misunderstood as in- 
dications of weakness. In short, feeling^ as a 
means of fixing valuations, is not on a level with 
the times. 


Generalised: Every valuation is always back- 
war d\ it is merely the expression of the con- 
ditions which favoured survival and growth in 
a much earlier age: it struggles against new 
conditions of existence out of which it did not 
arise, and which it therefore necessarily misunder- 
stands: it hinders, and excites suspicion against, 
all that is new. 


The problem of the nineteenth century. To dis- 
cover whether its strong and weak side belong to 
each other. Whether they have been cut from 
one and the same piece. Whether the variety of 
its ideals and their contradictions are conditioned 
by a higher purpose : whether they are something 
higher. For it might be the prerequisite of great- 
ness, that growth should take place amid such 
violent tension. Dissatisfaction, Nihilism, might 
be a good sign. 


General survey. As a matter of fact, all 
abundant growth involves a concomitant process 
of crumbling to bits and decay : suffering and the 
symptoms of decline belong to ages of enormous 
progress; every fruitful and powerful movement 
of mankind has always brought about a concurrent 
Nihilistic movement Under certain circumstances, 
the appearance of the extremest form of Pessimism 
and actual Nihilism might be the sign of a process 
of incisive and most essential growth, and of man- 
kind's transit into completely new conditions of 
existence. This is ivhat I have understood. 



Starting out with a thoroughly courageous 
appreciation of our men of to-day : we must not 
allow ourselves to be deceived by appearance : 
this mankind is much less effective, but it gives 
quite different pledges of lasting strength^ its 
tempo is slower, but the rhythm itself is richer. 
Healthiness is increasing, the real conditions of a 
healthy body are on the point of being known, 
and will gradually be created, " asceticism " is 
regarded with irony. The fear of extremes, a 
certain confidence in the " right way/' no raving : 
a periodical self-habituation to narrower values 
(such as " mother-land," " science," etc.). 

This whole picture, however, would still be 
ambiguous-, it might be a movement either of 
increase or decline in Life. 


The belief in " progress " in lower spheres of 
intelligence, appears as increasing life : but this is 
self-deception ; 

in higher spheres of intelligence it is a sign 
of declining life. 

Description of the symptoms, 

The unity of the aspect : uncertainty in regard 
to the standard of valuation. 

Fear of a general " in vain." 




As a matter of fact, we are no longer so urgently 
in need of an antidote against the first Nihilism : 
Life is no longer so uncertain, accidental, and 
senseless in modern Europe. All such tremendous 
exaggeration of the value of men, of the value of 
evil, etc., are not so necessary now ; we can endure 
a considerable diminution of this value, we may 
grant a great deal of nonsense and accident : the 
power man has acquired now allows of a lowering 
of the means of discipline, of which the strongest 
was the moral interpretation of the universe. The 
hypothesis " God " is much too extreme. 


If anything shows that our humanisation is a 
genuine sign of progress, it is the fact that we no 
longer require excessive contraries, that we no 
longer require contraries at all. . . . 

We may love the senses ; for we have spirit- 
ualised them in every way and made them artistic ; 

We have a right to all things which hitherto 
have been most calumniated. 


The reversal of the order of rank. Those pious 
counterfeiters thepriests arebecomitigChandala 
in our midst: they occupy the position of the 
charlatan, of the quack, of the counterfeiter, of the 
sorcerer : we regard them as corrupters of the will, 


as the great slanderers and vindictive enemies of 
Life, and as the rebels among the bungled and the 
botched. We have made our middle class out of 
our servant-caste the Sudra that is to say, our 
people or the body which wields the political 

On the other hand, the Chandala of former 
times is paramount: the blasphemers^ the im- 
moralists, the independents of all kinds, the artists, 
the Jews, the minstrels and, at bottom, all dis- 
reputable classes are in the van. 

We have elevated ourselves to honourable 
thoughts, even more, we determine what honour 
is on earth, "nobility." . . . All of us to-day 
are advocates of life. We Immoralists are to-day 
the strongest power: the other great powers are 
in need of us ... we re-create the world in our 
own image. 

We have transferred the label " Chandala " to 
the priests > the backworldsmen, and to the deformed 
Christian society which has become associated with 
these people, together with creatures of like origin, 
the pessimists, Nihilists, romanticists of pity, 
criminals, and men of vicious habits the whole 
sphere in which the idea of " God " is that of 
Saviour. . , . 

We are proud of being no longer obliged to be 
liars, slanderers, and detractors of Life. . . . 


The advance of the nineteenth century upon 
the eighteenth (at bottom we good Europeans 


are carrying on a war against the eighteenth 
century) : 

(1) "The return to Nature" is getting to be 
understood, ever more definitely, in a way which 
is quite the reverse of that in which Rousseau used 
the phrase away from idylls and operas ! 

(2) Ever more decided, more anti-idealistic, 
more objective, more fearless, more industrious, 
more temperate, more suspicious of sudden changes, 
anti-revolutionary \ 

(3) The question of bodily health is being pressed 
ever more decidedly in front of the health of " the 
soul " : the latter is regarded as a condition brought 
about by the former, and bodily health is believed 
to be, at least, the prerequisite to spiritual health. 


If anything at all has been achieved, it is a more 
innocent attitude towards the senses, a happier, 
more favourable demeanour in regard to sensuality, 
resembling rather the position taken up by Goethe ; 
a prouder feeling has also been developed in know- 
ledge, and the " reine Thor " * meets with little 


We " objective people? It is not "pity" that 
opens up the way for us to all that is most remote 
and most strange in life and culture; but our 

* This is a reference to Wagner's Parsifal. The character 
as is well known, is written to represent a son of heart's 
affliction, and a child of wisdom humble, guileless, loving, 
pure, and a fool TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. 


accessibility and ingenuousness, which precisely 
does not " pity," but rather takes pleasure in hun- 
dreds of things which formerly caused pain (which 
in former days either outraged or moved us, or in 
the presence of which we were either hostile or 
indifferent). Pain in all its various phases is now 
interesting to us : on that account we are certainly 
not the more pitiful, even though the sight of pain 
may shake us to our foundations and move us to 
tears : and we are absolutely not inclined to be 
more helpful in view thereof. 

In this deliberate desire to look on at all pain 
and error, we have grown stronger and more 
powerful than in the eighteenth century ; it is a 
proof of our increase of strength (we have drawn 
closer to the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries). 
But it is a profound mistake to regard our " roman- 
ticism " as a proof of our " beautified souls." We 
want stronger sensations than all coarser ages and 
classes have wanted. (This fact must not be con- 
founded with the needs of neurotics and decadents ; 
in their case, of course, there is a craving for pepper 
even for cruelty.) 

We are all seeking conditions which are eman- 
cipated from the bourgeois, and to a greater degree 
from the priestly, notion of morality (every book 
which savours at all of priestdom and theology 
gives us the impression of pitiful niaiserie and 
mental indigence). " Good company," in fact, finds 
everything insipid which is not forbidden and con- 
sidered compromising in bourgeois circles ; and the 
case is the same with books, music, politics, and 
opinions on women. 

VOL. j. G 


1 2O. 

The simplification of man in the nineteenth cen- 
tury (The eighteenth century was that of elegance, 
subtlety, and generous feeling). Not " return to 
nature " ; for no natural humanity has ever existed 
yet. Scholastic, unnatural, and antinatural values 
are the rule and the beginning ; man only reaches 
Nature after a long struggle he never turns 
" back " to her. ... To be natural means, to dare 
to be as immoral as Nature is. 

We are coarser, more direct, richer in irony 
towards generous feelings, even when we are be- 
neath them. 

Our haute vol/e, the society consisting of our 
rich and leisured men, is more natural : people hunt 
each other, the love of the sexes is a kind of sport 
in which marriage is both a charm and an obstacle ; 
people entertain each other and live for the sake of 
pleasure ; bodily advantages stand in the first rank, 
and curiosity and daring are the rule. 

Our attitude towards knowledge is more natural ; 
we are innocent in our absolute spiritual debauchery, 
we hate pathetic and hieratic manners, we delight 
in that which is most strictly prohibited, we should 
scarcely recognise any interest in knowledge if we 
were bored in acquiring it. 

Our attitude to morality is also more natural. 
Principles have become a laughing-stock ; no one 
dares to speak of his " duty," unless in irony. But 
a helpful, benevolent disposition is highly valued. 
(Morality is located in instinct and the rest is 


despised. Besides this there are few points of 

Our attitude to politics is more natural : we see 
problems of power, of the quantum of power, against 
another quantum. We do not believe in a right 
that does not proceed from a power which is able 
to uphold it. We regard all rights as conquests. 

Our valuation of great men and things is more 
natural : we regard passion as a privilege ; we can 
conceive of nothing great which does not involve a 
great crime ; all greatness is associated in our minds 
with a certain standing-beyond-the-pale in morality. 

Our attitude to Nature is more natural : we no 
longer love her for her " innocence," her " reason," 
her " beauty," we have made her beautifully devilish 
and " foolish." But instead of despising her on 
that account, since then we have felt more closely 
related to her and more familiar in her presence. 
She does not aspire to virtue : we therefore respect 

Our attitude towards Art is more natural : we 
do not exact beautiful, empty lies, etc., from her ; 
brutal positivism reigns supreme, and it ascer- 
tains things with perfect calm. 

In short : there are signs showing that the 
European of the nineteenth century is less ashamed 
of his instincts ; he has gone a long way towards 
acknowledging his unconditional naturalness and 
immorality, without bitterness : on the contrary, he 
is strong enough to endure this point of view alone. 

To some ears this will sound as though corruption 
had made strides : and certain it is that man has 
not drawn nearer to the " Nature " which Rousseau 


speaks about, but has gone one step farther in the 
civilisation before which Rousseau stood in horror. 
We have grown stronger^ we have drawn nearer to 
the seventeenth century, more particularly to the 
taste which reigned towards its close (Dancourt, 
Le Sage, Regnard). 


Culture versus Civilisation. The culminating 
stages of culture and civilisation lie apart: one 
must not be led astray as regards the fundamental 
antagonism existing between culture and civilisa- 
tion. From the moral standpoint, great periods 
in the history of culture have always been periods 
of corruption ; while on the other hand, those periods 
in which man was deliberately and compulsorily 
tamed (" civilisation ") have always been periods 
of intolerance towards the most intellectual and 
most audacious natures. Civilisation desires some- 
thing different from what culture strives after: 
their aims may perhaps be opposed. . . . 


What I warn people against: confounding the 
instincts of decadence with those of humanity ; 

Confounding the dissolving means of civilisa- 
tion and those which necessarily promote decadence^ 
with culture ; 

Confounding debauchery, and the principle, 
"laisser aller," with the Will to Power (the 
latter is the exact reverse of the former). 



The unsolved problems which I set anew : the 
problem of civilisation, the struggle between Rous- 
seau and Voltaire about the year 1760. Man 
becomes deeper, more mistrustful, more " immoral," 
stronger, more self-confident and therefore " more 
natural" \ that is "progress." In this way, by a 
process of division of labour, the more evil strata 
and the milder and tamer strata of society get 
separated : so that the general facts are not visible 
at first sight. ... It is a sign of strength^ and of 
the self-control and fascination of the strong, that 
these stronger strata possess the arts in order to 
make their greater powers for evil felt as something 
"higher? As soon as there is "progress " there is 
a transvaluation of the strengthened factors into 
the " good." 


Man must have the courage of his natural instincts 
restored to him. 

The poor opinion he has of himself must be 
destroyed (not in the sense of the individual, but 
in the sense of the natural man . . .) 

The contradictions in things must be eradicated, 
after it has been well understood that we were 
responsible for them 

Social idiosyncrasies must be stamped out of 
existence (guilt, punishment, justice, honesty, 
freedom, love, etc. etc.) 

An advance towards " naturalness " : in all politi- 
cal questions, even in the relations between parties, 
even in merchants 1 , workmen's, or contractors' 


parties, only questions of power come into play : 
" what one can do " is the first question, what one 
ought to do is only a secondary consideration. 

the tyranny of the meanest and 
s, that is to say, the superficial, 
the envious, and the mummers, brought to its 
zenith, is, as a matter of fact, the logical con- 
clusion of "modern ideas" and their latent 
anarchy : but in the genial atmosphere of demo- 
cratic well-being the capacity for forming resolu- 
tions or even for coming to an end at all, is 
paralysed. Men follow but no longer their 
reason. That is why socialism is on the whole 
a hopelessly bitter affair: and there is nothing 
more amusing than to observe the discord between 
the poisonous and desperate faces of present-day 
socialists and what wretched and nonsensical 
feelings does not their style reveal to us ! -^and 
the child ishjamblike happiness of their hopes and 
desires. Nevertheless, in marijTplaces in Europe, 
fhere may be violent hand-to-hand struggles and 
irruptions on their account : the coming century 
is likely to be convulsed in more than one spot, 
and the Paris Commune, which finds defenders and 
advocates even in Germany, will seem to have 
been but a slight indigestion compared with what 
is to come. Be this as it may, there will always 
be too many people of property for socialism ever 
to signify anything more than an attack of illness : 
and these people of property are like one man 
with one faith, " one must possess something in 


order to be some one." This, however, is the oldest ^ 
and most wholesome of all instincts ; I should add : 
" one must desire more than one has in order to 
become more." For this is the teaching which life 
itself preaches to all living things : the morality of , 
Development. To have and to wish to have more, 
in a word, Growth that is life itself. In the 
teaching of socialism " a will to the denial of life " 
is but poorly concealed : botched men and races 
they must be who have devised a teaching of this 
sort. In fact, I even wish a few experiments 
might be made to show thatJn^a^DjQialistic^societyj 
life denies itself, aricL itself cuts away its own roots, 
The earth is big enough and man is still unex- 
hausted enough for a practical lesson of this sort 
and demonstratio ad absurdum even if it were 
accomplished only by a vast expenditure of lives 
to seem worth while to me. Still, Socialism, like 
a restless mole beneath the foundations of a society 
wallowing in stupidity, will be able to achieve 
something useful and salutary : it delays " Peace 
on Earth" and the whole process of character- 
softening of the democratic herding animal; it 
forces the European to have an extra supply of 
intellect, that is to say, craft and caution, and 
prevents his entirely abandoning the manly and 
warlike qualities, it also saves Europe awhile from 
the marasmus femininus which is threatening it. 


The most favourable obstacles and remedies of 
modernity : 


(1) Compulsory military service with real wars 
in which all joking is laid aside. 

(2) National thick-headedness (which simplifies 
and concentrates). 

(3) Improved nutrition (meat). 

(4) Increasing cleanliness and wholesomeness in 
the home. 

(5) The predominance of physiology over 
theology, morality, economics, and politics. 

(6) Military discipline in the exaction and the 
practice of one's " duty " (it is no longer customary 
to praise). 


I am delighted at the military development of 
Europe, also at the inner anarchical conditions : the 
period of quietude and " Chinadom " which Galiani 
prophesied for this century is now over. Personal 
and manly capacity, bodily capacity recovers its 
value, valuations are becoming more physical, 
nutrition consists ever more and more of flesh. 
Fine men have once more become possible. 
Bloodless sneaks (with mandarins at their head, 
as Comte imagined them) are now a matter of 
the past. J^he. .sayagg in ..every one of us is 
acknowledged, even the wild animal. Precisely on 
tJiaTaccomit, pHn6Sophers"will have a better chance. 
Kant is a scarecrow ! 


I have not yet seen any reasons to feel dis- 
couraged. He who acquires and preserves a 


strong will, together with a broad mind, has a 
more favourable chance now than ever he had. 
For the plasticity of man has become exceedingly 
great in democratic Europe : men who learn easily, 
who readily adapt themselves, are the rule : the 
gregarious animal of a high order of intelligence 
is prepared. He who would command finds those 
who must obey: I have Napoleon and Bismarck 
in mind, for instance. The struggle against strong 
and unintelligent wills, which forms the surest 
obstacle in one's way, is really insignificant. Who 
would not be able to knock down these " objective " 
gentlemen with weak wills, such as Ranke aind 
Renan 1 


Spiritual enlightenment \s an unfailing means of 
making men uncertain, weak of will, and needful 
of succour and support; in short, of developing 
the herding instincts in them. That is why all 
great artist-rulers hitherto (Confucius in China, 
the Roman Empire, Napoleon, Popedom at a 
time when they had the courage of their worldliness 
and frankly pursued power) in whom, the ruling 
instincts, that had prevailed until their time, 
culminated, also made use of the spiritual enlighten- 
ment ; or at least allowed it to be supreme (after 
the style of the Popes of the Renaissance). The 
self-deception of the masses on this point, in every 
democracy for instance, is of the greatest possible 
value: all that makes men smaller and more 
amenable is pursued under the title "progress." 



The highest equity and mildness as a condition 
of weakness (the New Testament and the early 
Christian community manifesting itself in the 
form of utter foolishness in the Englishmen, Darwin 
and Wallace). Your equity, ye higher men, drives 
you to universal suffrage, etc. ; your " humanity " 
urges you to be milder towards crime and stupidity. 
In the end you will thus help stupidity and harm- 
lessness to conquer. 

Outwardly : Ages of terrible wars, insurrections, 
explosions. Inwardly : ever more and more weak- 
ness among men ; events take the form of excitants. 
The Parisian as the type of the European extreme. 

Consequences: (i) Savages (at first, of course, 
in conformity with the culture that has reigned 
hitherto); (2) Sovereign individuals (where power - 
ful barbarous masses and emancipation from all 
that has been, are crossed). The age of greatest 
stupidity, brutality, and wretchedness in the masses, 
and in the highest individuals. 

An incalculable number of higher individuals 
now perish : but he who escapes their fate is as 
strong as the devil. In this respect we are re- 
minded of the conditions which prevailed in the 


How are Good Europeans sucft as ourselves 
distinguished from the patriots ? In the first place, 


we are atheists and immoralists, but we take care 
to support the religions and the morality which 
we associate with the gregarious instinct : for by 
means of them, an order of men is, so to speak, 
being prepared, which must at some time or other 
fall into our hands, which must actually crave for 
our hands. 

Beyond Good and Evil, certainly; but we 
insist upon the unconditional and strict preserva- 
tion of herd-morality. 

We reserve ourselves the right to several kinds 
of philosophy which it is necessary to learn : under 
certain circumstances, the pessimistic kind as a 
hammer; a European Buddhism might perhaps 
be indispensable. 

We should probably support the development 
and the maturation of democratic tendencies ; for 
it conduces to weakness of will : in " Socialism " 
we recognise a thorn which prevents smug ease. 

Attitude towards the people. Our prejudices ; 
we pay attention to the results of cross-breeding. 

Detached, well-to-do, strong : irony concerning 
the "press" and its culture. Our care: that 
scientific men should not become journalists. We 
despise any form of culture that tolerates news- 
paper reading or writing. 

We make our accidental positions (as Goethe 
and Stendhal did), our experiences, a foreground, 
and we lay stress upon them, so that we may 
deceive concerning our backgrounds. We ourselves 
wait and avoid putting our heart into them. They 
serve us as refuges, such as a wanderer might require 
and use but we avoid feeling at home in them. 


We are ahead of our fellows in that we have had 
a disciplina voluntatis. All strength is directed to 
the development of the will, an art which allows 
us to wear masks, an art of understanding beyond 
the passions (also " super- European " thought at 

This is our preparation before becoming the 
law-givers of the future and the lords of the earth ; 
if not we, at least our children. Caution where 
marriage is concerned. 


The twentieth century. The Abbe Galiani says 
somewhere : " Laprtvoyance est la cause des guerres 
actuelles de F Europe. Si Fon voulait se donner la 
peine de ne rien prtvoir, tout le monde serait 
tranquille, et je ne crois pas qu'on serait plus mal- 
heureuxparce qu'on neferaitpas la guerre? As I 
in no way share the unwarlike views of my deceased 
friend Galiani, I have no fear whatever of saying 
something beforehand with the view of conjuring 
up in some way the cause of wars. 

A condition of excessive consciousness , after the 
worst of earthquakes : with new questions. 


It is the time of the great noon, of the most 
appalling enlightenment : my particular kind of 
Pessimism : the great starting-point. 

(i) Fundamental contradiction between civil- 
isation and the elevation of man. 


(2) Moral valuations regarded as a history of 
lies and the art of calumny in the service of the 
Will to Power (of the will of the herd, which rises 
against stronger men). 

(3) The conditions which determine every 
elevation in culture (the facilitation of a selection 
being made at the cost of a crowd) are the con- 
ditions of all growth. 

(4). The multiformity of the world as a question 
of strength^ which sees all things in the perspective 
of their growth. The moral Christian values to 
be regarded as the insurrection and mendacity of 
slaves (in comparison with the aristrocratic values 
of the ancient world). 





ALL the beauty and sublimity with which we 
have invested real and imagined things, I will 
show to be the property aa^ product of man, 
and this should be his most beautiful apology. 
Man as a poet, as a thinker, as a god, as love, as 
power. J3h,_the regal liberality with which he 
has lavished gifts upon things , in _qrder_ to im m 
jj^rish himself and make himself feel wretchedj 
HMierto, tins has been his greatest disinterested- 
ness, that he admired and worshipped, and knew 
how to conceal from himself that he it was who 
had created what he admired. 


The origin of religion. Just as the illiterate 
man of to-day believes that his wrath is the cause 
of his being angry, that his mind is the cause of 
his thinking, that his soul is the cause of his 
feeling, in short, just as a mass of psychological 
entities are still unthinkingly postulated as causes ; 

VOL. i, H 


so, in a still more primitive age, the same pheno- 
mena were interpreted by man by means of 
personal entities. Those conditions of his soul 
which seemed strange, overwhelming, and raptur- 
ous, he regarded as obsessions and bewitching 
influences emanating from the power of some 
personality. (Thus the Christian, the most 
puerile and backward man of this age, traces 
hope, peace, and the feeling of deliverance to a 
psychological inspiration on the part of God : 
being by nature a sufferer and a creature in need 
of repose, states of happiness, peace, and resigna- 
tion, perforce seem strange to him, and seem to 
need some explanation.) Among intelligent, 
strong, and vigorous races, the epileptic is mostly 
the cause of a belief in the existence of some 
foreign power \ but all such examples of apparent 
subjection as, for instance, the bearing of the 
exalted man, of the poet, of the great criminal, 
or the passions, love and revenge lead to the 
invention of supernatural powers. A condition 
is made concrete by being identified with a 
personality, and when this condition overtakes 
anybody, it is ascribed to that personality. In 
other words : in the psychological concept of God, 
!a certain state of the soul is personified as a cause 
in order to appear as an effect. 

The psychological logic is as follows : when the 
feeling of power suddenly seizes and overwhelms 
a man, and this takes place in the case of all 
the great passions, a doubt arises in him con- 
cerning his own person : he date not think himself 
the cause of this astonishing sensation and thus 


he posits a stronger person, a Godhead as its cause. 
In short, the origin of religion lies in the extreme 
feelings of power, which, being strange^ take men 
by surprise : and just as the sick man, who feels 
one of his limbs unaccountably heavy, concludes 
that another man must be sitting on it, so the 
ingenuous homo religiosus, divides himself up into 
several people. Religion is an example of the 
" alteration de la personnalite? A sort of fear and 
sensation of terror in one's own presence. ... But 
also a feeling of inordinate rapture and exaltation. 
Among sick people, the sensation of health suffices 
to awaken a belief in the proximity of God. 


136. X 

Rudimentary psychology of the religious man : 
All changes are effects ; all effects are effects of 
will (the notion of " Nature " and of " natural law," 
is lacking) ; all effects presuppose an agent. 
Rudimentary psychology : one is only a cause 
oneself, when one knows that one has willed 

Result: States of power impute to man the 
feeling that he is not the cause of them, that he 
is not responsible for them : they come without 
being willed to do so consequently we cannot be 
their originators : will that is not free (that is to 
say, the knowledge of a change in our condition 
which we have not helped to bring about) requires 
a strong will. 

Consequence of this rudimentary psychology: 
Man has never dared to credit himself with his 


strong and startling moods, he has always con- 
ceived them as " passive/' as " imposed upon him 
from outside " : Religion is the offshoot of a 
doubt concerning the entity of the person, an 
alteration of the personality : in so far as every- 
thing great and strong in man was considered 
superhuman &&&foreign> man belittled himself, 
he laid the two sides, the very pitiable and weak 
side, and the very strong and startling side apart, 
in two spheres, and called the one " Man " and the 
other " God." 

And he has continued to act on these lines; 
during the period of the moral idiosyncrasy he 
did not interpret his lofty and sublime moral 
states as " proceeding from his own will " or as 
the "work" of the person. Even the Christian 
himself divides his personality into two parts, the 
one a mean and weak fiction which he calls man, 
and the other which he calls God (Deliverer and 

Reiigion has lowered the concept " man " ; its 
ultimate conclusion is that all goodness, greatness, 
and truth are superhuman, and are only obtainable 
by the grace of God. 


One way of raising man out of his self-abase- 
ment, which brought about the decline of the point 
of view that classed all lofty and strong states of 
the soul, as strange, was the theory of relation- 
ship. These lofty and strong states of the soul 
could t least be interpreted as the influence of 
our forebears \ we belonged to each other, we were 


irrevocably joined ; we grew in our own esteem, 
by acting according to the example of a model 
known to us all. 

There is an attempt on the part of noble 
families to associate religion with their own 
feelings of self-respect. Poets and seers do the 
same thing ; they feel proud that they have been 
worthy, that they have been selected for such 
association, they esteem it an honour, not to be 
considered at all as individuals, but as mere 
mouthpieces (Homer). 

Man gradually takes possession of the highest 
and proudest states of his soul, as also of his acts 
and his works. Formerly it was believed that 
one paid oneself the greatest honour by denying 
one's own responsibility for, the highest deeds one 
accomplished, and by ascribing them to God. 
The will which was not free, appeared to be that 
which imparted a higher value to a deed : in those 
days a god was postulated as the author of the deed. 


Priests are the actors of something which is 
supernatural, either in the way of ideals, gods, or 
saviours, and they have to make people believe in 
them ; in this they find their calling, this is the 
purpose of their instincts ; in order to make it as 
credible as possible, they have to exert themselves 
to the utmost extent in the art of posing ; their 
actor's sagacity must, above all, aim at giving 
them a clean conscience, by means of which, alone, 
it is possible to persuade effectively. 



The priest wishes to make it an understood 
thing that he is the highest type of man, that he 
rules even over those who wield the power, that 
he is invulnerable and unassailable, that he is 
the strongest power in the community, not by any 
means to be replaced or undervalued. 

Means thereto : he alone knows ; he alone is the 
man of virtue ; he alone has sovereign poiuer over 
himself \ he alone is, in a certain sense, God, and 
ultimately goes back to the Godhead ; he alone 
is the middleman between God and others] the 
Godhead administers punishment to every one 
who puts the priest at a disadvantage, or who 
thinks in opposition to him. 

Means thereto: Truth exists. There is only 
one way of attaining to it, and that is to become 
a priest. Every good in order, nature, or tradition, 
is to be traced to the wisdom of the priests. The 
Holy Book is their work. The whole of nature is 
only a fulfilment of the maxims which it contains. 
No other source of goodness exists than the priests. 
Every other kind of perfection, even the warrior's^ 
is different in rank from that of the priests. 

Consequence: If the priest is to be the highest 
type, then the degrees which lead to his virtues 
must be the degrees of value among men. Study > 
emancipation from material things, inactivity -, im 
passibility^ absence of passion^ solemnity ; the 
opposite of all this is found in the lowest type of 


The priest has taught a kind of morality which 
conduced to his being considered the highest type 
of man. He conceives a type which is the reverse 
of his own : the Chandala. By making these as 
contemptible as possible, some strength is lent to 
the order of castes. The priest'o excessive fear of 
sensuality also implies that the latter is the most 
serious threat to the order of castes (that is to say, 
order in general). . . . Every " free tendency " in 
puncto puncti overthrows the laws of marriage. 


The philosopher considered as the development 
of the priestly type: He has the heritage of the 
priest in his blood ; even as a rival he is compelled 
to fight with the same weapons as the priest of his 
time ; he aspires to the highest authority. 

What is it that bestows authority upon men who 
have no physical power to wield (no army, no 
arms at all . . .)? How do such men gain 
authority over those who are in possession of 
material power, and who represent authority? 
(Philosophers enter the lists against princes, vic- 
torious conquerors, and wise statesmen.) 

They can do it only by establishing the belief 
that they are in possession of a power which is 
higher and stronger God. Nothing is strong 
enough : every one is in need of the mediation and 
the services of priests. They establish themselves 
as indispensable intercessors. The conditions of 
their existence are: (i) That people believe in 
the absolute superiority of their god, in fact believe 


in their god \ (2) that there is no other access, no 
direct access to god, save through them. The 
second condition alone gives rise to the concept 
" heterodoxy " ; the first to the concept " dis- 
believers" (that is to say, he who believes in 
another god). 


A Criticism of the Holy Lie. That a lie is 
allowed in pursuit of holy ends is a principle 
which belongs to the theory of all priestcraft, 
and the object of this inquiry is to discover to 
what extent it belongs to its practice. 

But philosophers, too, whenever they intend 
taking over the leadership of mankind, with the 
ulterior motives of priests in their minds, have 
never failed to arrogate to themselves the right to 
lie : Plato above all. But the most elaborate of 
lies is the double lie, developed by the typically 
Arian philosophers of the Vedanta : two systems, 
contradicting each other in all their main points, 
but interchangeable, complementary, and mutually 
expletory, when educational ends were in question. 
The lie of the one has to create a condition in 
which the truth of the other can alone become 
intelligible. . . . 

How far does the holy lie of priests and philo- 
sophers go? The question here is, what hypo- 
theses do they advance in regard to education, 
and what are the dogmas they are compelled to 
invent in order to do justice to these hypotheses ? 

First : they must have power, authority, and 
absolute credibility on their side. 


Secondly : they must have the direction of the 
whole of Nature, so that everything affecting the 
individual seems to be determined by their law. 

Thirdly : their domain of power must be very 
extensive, in order that its control may escape 
the notice of those they subject : they must know 
the penal code of the life beyond of the life 
" after death," and, of course, the means where- 
by the road to blessedness may be discovered. 
They have to put the notion of a natural course 
of things out of sight, but as they are intelligent 
and thoughtful people, they are able to promise a 
host of effects, which they naturally say are con- 
ditioned by prayer or by the strict observance of 
their law. They can, moreover, prescribe a large 
number of things which are exceedingly reasonable 
only they must not point to experience or 
empiricism as the source of this wisdom, but to 
revelation or to the fruits of the u most severe 
exercises of penance." 

The holy lie, therefore, applies principally to the 
purpose of an action (the natural purpose, reason, 
is made to vanish : a moral purpose, the observ- 
ance of some law, a service to God, seems to be 
the purpose) : to the conseqttence of an action (the 
natural consequence is interpreted as something 
supernatural, and, in order to be on surer ground, 
other incontrollable and supernatural consequences 
are foretold). 

In this way the concepts good and evil are 
created, and seem quite divorced from the natural 
concepts: "useful," "harmful," "life-promoting," 
" life- reducing," indeed, inasmuch as another life 


is imagined, the former concepts may even be 
antagonistic to Nature's concepts of good and evil. 
In this way, the proverbial concept " conscience " 
is created : an inner voice, which, though it makes 
itself heard in regard to every action, does not 
measure the worth of that action according to its 
results, but according to its intention or the con- 
formity of this intention to the " law." 

The holy lie therefore invented: (i) a^vrfwho 
punishes and rewards, who recognises and carefully 
observes the law-book of the priests, and who is 
particular about sending them into the world as 
his mouthpieces and plenipotentiaries ; (2) an 
After Life, in which, alone, the great penal machine 
is supposed to be active to this end the immor- 
tality of the soul was invented ; (3) a conscience in 
man, understood as the knowledge that good and 
evil are permanent values that God himself 
speaks through it, whenever its counsels are in 
conformity with priestly precepts ; (4) Morality as 
the denial of all natural processes, as the subjection 
of all phenomena to a moral order, as the inter- 
pretation of all phenomena as the effects of a 
moral order of things (that is to say, the concept 
of punishment and reward), as the only power and 
only creator of all transformations ; (5) Truth as 
given, revealed, and identical with the teaching of 
the priests : as the condition to all salvation and 
happiness in this and the next world. 

In short : what is the price paid for the improve- 
ment supposed to be due to morality? The 
unhinging of reason, the reduction of all motives to 
fear and hope (punishment and reward) ; dependence 


upon the tutelage of priests, and upon a formulary 
exactitude which is supposed to express a divine 
will ; the implantation of a " conscience " which 
establishes a false science in the place of experience 
and experiment : as though all one had to do or 
had not to do were predetermined a kind of 
castration of the seeking and striving spirit ; in 
short: the worst mutilation of man that can be 
imagined, and it is pretended that "the good 
man " is the result. 

Practically speaking, all reason, the whole heri- 
tage of intelligence, subtlety, and caution, the first 
condition of the priestly canon, is arbitrarily re- 
duced, when it is too late, to a simple mechanical 
process : conformity with the law becomes a pur- 
pose in itself, it is the highest purpose ; Life no 
longer contains any problems \ the whole conception 
of the world is polluted by the notion of punish- 
ment \ Life itself, owing to the fact that the 
priests life is upheld as the non plus ultra of 
perfection, is transformed into a denial and pol- 
lution of life ; the concept " God " represents an 
aversion to Life, and even a criticism and a con- 
temning of it. Truth is transformed in the mind, 
into priestly prevarication ; the striving after truth, 
into the study of the Scriptures^ into the way to 
become a theologian.. 


A criticism of the Law-Book of Manu. The 
whole book is founded upon the holy lie. Was 
it the well-being of humanity that inspired the 
whole of this system? Was this kind of man, 


who believes in the interested nature of every 
action, interested or not interested in the success 
of this system ? The desire to improve mankind 
whence comes the inspiration to this feeling? 
Whence is the concept improvement taken ? 

We find a class of men, the sacerdotal class, who 
consider themselves the standard pattern, the 
highest example and most perfect expression of 
the type man. The notion of " improving " man- 
kind, to this class of men, means to make man- 
kind like themselves. They believe in their own 
superiority, they will be superior in practice : the 
cause of the holy lie is The Will to Power. . . . 

Establishment of the dominion : to this end, 
ideas which place a non plus ultra of power with 
the priesthood are made to prevail. Power ac- 
quired by lying was the result of the recognition 
of the fact that it was not already possessed 
physically, in a military form. . . . Lying as a 
supplement to power this is a new concept of 
" truth." 

It is a mistake to presuppose unconscious and 
innocent development in this quarter a sort of 
self-deception. Fanatics are not the discoverers 
of such exhaustive systems of oppression. . . . 
Cold-blooded reflection must have been at work 
here; the same sort of reflection which Plato 
showed when he worked out his " State " " One 
must desire the means when one desires the end." 
Concerning this political maxim, all legislators 
have always been quite clear. 

We possess the classical model, and it is speci- 
fically Arian : we can therefore hold the most 


gifted and most reflective type of man responsible 
for the most systematic lie that has ever been 
told. . . . Everywhere almost the lie was copied, 
and thus Arian influence corrupted the world. . . . 


Much is said to-day about the Semitic spirit of 
the New Testament : but the thing referred to is 
merely priestcraft, and in the purest example 
of an Arian law-book, in Manu, this kind of 
" Semitic spirit " that is to say, Sacerdotalism, is 
worse than anywhere else. 

The development of the Jewish hierarchy is not 
original : they learnt the scheme in Babylon it 
is Arian, When, later on, the same thing became 
dominant in Europe, under the preponderance 
of Germanic blood, this was in conformity to the 
spirit of the ruling race : a striking case of atavism. 
The Germanic middle ages aimed at a revival of 
the Arian order of castes. 

Mohammedanism in its turn learned from 
Christianity the use of a " Beyond " as an instru- 
ment of punishment. 

The scheme of a permanent community^ with 
priests at its head this oldest product of Asia's 
great culture in the domain of organisation 
naturally provoked reflection and imitation in every 
way. Plato is an example of this, but above all, 
the Egyptians. 


Moralities and religions are the principal means 
by which one can modify men into whatever one 


likes ; provided one is possessed of an overflow 
of creative power, and can cause one's will to pre- 
vail over long periods of time. 


If one wish to see an affirmative Arian religion 
which is the product of a ruling class, one should 
read the law-book of Manu. (The deification of 
the feeling of power in the Brahmin : it is in- 
teresting to note that it originated in the warrior- 
caste, and was later transferred to the priests.) 

If one wish to see an affirmative religion of the 
Semitic order, which is the product of the ruling 
class, one should read the Koran or the earlier 
portions of the Old Testament. (Mohammedan- 
ism> as a religion for men, has profound contempt 
for the sentimentality and prevarication of Christi- 
anity, . . . which, according to Mohammedans, 
is a woman's religion.) 

If one wish to see a negative religion of the 
Semitic order, which is the product of the op- 
pressed class, one should read the New Testament 
(which, according to Indian and Arian points 
of view, is a religion for the Chandala). 

If one wish to see a negative Arian religion, 
which is the product of the ruling classes, one 
should study Buddhism. 

It is quite in the nature of things that we have 
no Arian religion which is the product of the 
oppressed classes; for that would have been a 
contradiction : a race of masters is either para- 
mount or else it goes to the dogs. 



Religion, per se, has nothing to do with 
morality ; yet both offshoots of the Jewish religion 
are essentially moral religions which prescribe the 
rules of living, and procure obedience to their 
principles by means of rewards and punishment. 


Paganism Christianity. Paganism is that 
which says yea to all that is natural, it is innocence 
in being natural, " naturalness." Christianity is 
that which says no to all that is natural, it is a 
certain lack of dignity in being natural ; hostility 
to Nature. 

" Innocent " : Petronius is innocent, for in- 
stance. Beside this happy man a Christian is 
absolutely devoid of innocence. But since even 
the Christian status is ultimately only a natural 
condition, though it must not be regarded as such, 
the term "Christian" soon begins to mean the 
counterfeiting of the psychological interpretation. 


The Christian priest is from the root a mortal 
enemy of sensuality : one cannot imagine a greater 
contrast to his attitude than the guileless, slightly 
awed, and solemn attitude, which the religious 
rites of the most honourable women in Athens 
maintained in the presence of the symbol of sex. 
In all non-ascetic religions the procreative act is 
the secret per se : a sort of symbol of perfection 


and of the designs of the future: re-birth, im- 


Our belief in ourselves is the greatest fetter, 
the most telling spur, and the strongest pinion. 
Christianity ought to have elevated the innocence 
of man to the position of an article of belief 
men would then have become gods : in those 
days believing was still possible. 


The egregious lie of history : as if it were the 
corruption of Paganism that opened the road to 
Christianity. As a matter of fact, it was the 
enfeeblement and moralisation of the man of 
antiquity. The new interpretation of natural 
functions, which made them appear like vices ^ had 
already gone before 1 


Religions are ultimately wrecked by the belief 
in morality. The idea of the Christian moral 
God becomes untenable, hence " Atheism," as 
though there could be no other god. 

Culture is likewise wrecked by the belief in 
morality. For when the necessary and only 
possible conditions of its growth are revealed, 
nobody will any longer countenance it (Buddh- 


The physiology of Nihilistic religions. All in 
all, the Nihilistic religions are systematised histories 
of sickness described in religious and moral ter- 

In pagan cultures it is around the interpretation 
of the great annual cycles that the religious cult 
turns; in Christianity it is around a cycle of 
paralytic phenomena. 


This Nihilistic religion gathers together all the 
decadent elements and things of like order which 
it can find in antiquity, viz. : 

(a) The weak and the botched (the refuse of the 
ancient world, and that of which it rid itself with 
most violence). 

() Those who are morally obsessed and anti- 

(c) Those who are weary of politics and in- 
different (the blast Romans), the denationalised, 
who know not what they are. 

{d) Those who are tired of themselves who 
are happy to be party to a subterranean conspiracy. 


Buddha versus Christ. Among the Nihilistic 
religions, Christianity and Buddhism may always 
be sharply distinguished. Buddhism is the ex- 
pression of a fine evening, perfectly sweet and 
mild it is a sort of gratitude towards all that 


lies hidden, including that which it entirely 
lacks, viz., bitterness, disillusionment, and resent- 
ment. Finally it possesses lofty intellectual love ; 
it has got over all the subtlety of philosophical 
contradictions, and is even resting after it, though 
it is precisely from that source that it derives its 
intellectual glory and its glow as of a sunset 
(it originated in the higher classes). 

Christianity is a degenerative movement, con- 
sisting of all kinds of decaying and excremental 
elements : it is not the expression of the downfall 
of a race, it is, from the root, an agglomeration 
of all the morbid elements which are mutually 
attractive and which gravitate to one another. 
... It is therefore not a national religion, not 
determined by race : it appeals to the disinherited 
everywhere ; it consists of a foundation of resent- 
ment against all that is successful and dominant : 
it is in need of a symbol which represents the 
damnation of everything successful and dominant. 
It is opposed to every form of intellectual move- 
ment, to all philosophy : it takes up the cudgels 
for idiots, and utters a curse upon all intellect. 
Resentment against those who are gifted, learned, 
intellectually independent : in all these it suspects 
the element of success and domination. 


In Buddhism this thought prevails : " All 
passions, everything which creates emotions and 
leads to blood, is a call to action " to this extent 
alone are its believers warned against evil. For 


action has no sense, it merely binds one to 
existence. All existence, however, has no sense. 
Evil is interpreted as that which leads to irration- 
alisrn : to the affirmation of means whose end is 
denied. A road to nonentity is the desideratum, 
hence all emotional impulses are regarded with 
horror. For instance : " On no account seek after 
revenge ! Be the enemy of no one ! " The 
Hedonism of the weary finds its highest expression 
here. Nothing is more utterly foreign to Buddhism 
than the Jewish fanaticism of St. Paul: nothing 
could be more contrary to its instinct than the 
tension, fire, and unrest of the religious man, and, 
above all, that form of sensuality which sanctifies 
Christianity with the name " Love." Moreover, 
it is the cultured and very intellectual classes who 
find blessedness in Buddhism : a race wearied and 
besotted by centuries of philosophical quarrels, 
but not beneath all culture as those classes 
were from which Christianity sprang. ... In the 
Buddhistic ideal, there is essentially an emancipa- 
tion from good and evil : a very subtle suggestion 
of a Beyond to all morality is thought out in its 
teaching, and this Beyond is supposed to be 
compatible with perfection, the condition being, 
that even good actions are only needed pro tern., 
merely as a means, that is to say, in order to be 
free from all action. 

1 56. 

How very curious it is to see a Nihilistic religion 
such as Christianity, sprung from, and in keeping 
with, a decrepit and worn-out people, who have 


outlived all strong instincts, being transferred step 
by step to another environment that is to say, 
to a land of young people, who have not yet lived 
at all. The joy of the final chapter, of the fold 
and of the evening, preached to barbarians and 
Germans! How thoroughly all of it must first 
have been barbarised, Germanised ! To those 
who had dreamed of a Walhalla: who found 
happiness only in war ! A sufiernational religion 
preached in the midst of chaos, where no nations 
yet existed even. 


The only way to refute priests and religions is 
this: to show that their errors are no longer 
beneficent that they are rather harmful ; in short, 
that their own " proof of power " no longer holds 
good. . . . 



Christianity as an historical reality should not 
be confounded with that one root which its name 
recalls. The other roots, from which it has 
sprung, are by far the more important. It is an 
unprecedented abuse of names to identify such 
manifestations of decay and such abortions as 
the "Christian Church," "Christian belief," and 
"Christian life," with that Holy Name. What 
did Christ deny1 Everything which to-day is 
called Christian. 



The whole of the Christian creed all Christian 
"truth," is idle falsehood and deception, and is 
precisely the reverse of that which was at the 
bottom of the first Christian movement 

All that which in the ecclesiastical sense is 
Christian, is just exactly what is most radically 
anti- Christian : crowds of things and people appear 
instead of symbols, history takes the place of 
eternal facts, it is all forms, rites, and dogmas 
instead of a " practice " of life. To be really 
Christian would mean to be absolutely indifferent 
to dogmas, cults, priests, church, and theology. 

The practice of Christianity is no more an im- 
possible phantasy than the practice of Buddhism 
is : it is merely a means to happiness. 

1 60. 

Jesus goes straight to the point, the " Kingdom 
of Heaven " in the heart, and He does not find the 
means in duty to the Jewish Church; He even 
regards the reality of Judaism (its need to main- 
tain itself) as nothing; He is concerned purely 
with the inner man. 

Neither does He make anything of all the 
coarse forms relating to man's intercourse with 
God : He is opposed to the whole of the teaching 
of repentance and atonement ; lie points out how 
man ought to live in order to feel himself" deified," 
and how futile it is on his part to hope to live 
properly by showing repentance and contrition 


for his sins. " Sin is of no account " is practically 
his chief standpoint. 

Sin, repentance, forgiveness, all this does not 
belong to Christianity ... it is Judaism or 
Paganism which has become mixed up with Christ's 


The Kingdom of Heaven is a state of the heart 
(of children it is written, " for theirs is the 
Kingdom of Heaven ") : it has nothing to do with 
superterrestrial things. The Kingdom of God 
" cometh," not chronologically or historically, not 
on a certain day in the calendar ; it is not something 
which one day appears and was not previously 
there ; it is a " change of feeling in the individual," 
it is something which may come at any time and 
which may be absent at any time. . . . 


The thief on the cross ; -When the criminal him- 
self, who endures a painful death, declares : " the 
way this Jesus suffers and dies, without a murmur 
of revolt or enmity, graciously and resignedly, is 
the only right way," he assents to the gospel ; and 
by this very fact he is in Paradise. . , . 

Jesus bids us : not to resist, either by deeds or 
in our heart, him who ill-treats us ; 

He bids us admit of no grounds for separating 
ourselves from our wives ; 


He bids us make no distinction between 
foreigners and fellow-countrymen, strangers and 
familiars ; 

He bids us show anger to no one, and treat no 
one with contempt ; give alms secretly ; not to 
desire to become rich ; not to swear ; not to 
stand in judgment ; become reconciled with our 
enemies and forgive offences ; not to worship 
in public. 

" Blessedness " is nothing promised : it is here, 
with us, if we only wish to live and act in a par- 
ticular way, 


Subsequent Additions : The whole of the 
prophet- and thaumaturgist-attitudes and the 
bad temper ; while the conjuring-up of a supreme 
tribunal of justice is an abominable corruption 
(see Mark vi. 1 1 : " And whosoever shall not 
receive you. . . . Verily I say unto you, It shall 
be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha," etc.). 
The "fig tree" (Matt. xxi. 18, 19) : "Now in the 
morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 
And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came 
to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, 
and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee hence- 
forward for ever. And presently the fig tree 
withered away." 


The teaching of rewards and punishments has 
become mixed up with Christianity in a way 
which is quite absurd ; everything is thereby spoilt. 


In the same way, the practice of the first ecclesia 
militanS) of the Apostle Paul and his attitude, is 
put forward as if it had been commanded or pre- 

The subsequent glorification of the actual life 
and teaching of the first Christians : as if every- 
thing had been prescribed beforehand and had been 

only a matter of following' directions And 

as for the fulfilment of scriptural prophecies : how 
much of all that is more than forgery and cooking ? 

1 66. 

Jesus opposed a real life, a life in truth, to 
ordinary life : nothing could have been more 
foreign to His mind than the somewhat heavy 
nonsense of an "eternal Peter," of the eternal 
duration of a single person, Precisely what He 
combats is the exaggerated importance of the 
"person": how can He wish to immortalise it? 

He likewise combats the hierarchy within the 
community ; He never promises a certain propor- 
tion of reward for a certain proportion of deserts : 
how can He have meant to teach the doctrine of 
punishment and reward in a Beyond ? 


Christianity is an ingenuous attempt at bringing 
about a Buddhistic movement in favour of peace, 
sprung from the very heart of the resenting masses 
. . . but transformed by Paul into a mysterious 
pagan cult, which was ultimately able to accord 


with the whole of State organisation . . . and 
which carries on war, condemns, tortures, conjures, 
and hates. 

Paul bases his teaching upon the need of 
mystery felt by the great masses capable of 
religious emotions : he seeks a victim^ a bloody 
phantasmagoria, which may be equal to a contest 
with the images of a secret cult: God on the 
cross, the drinking of blood, the unio mystica with 
the " victim." 

He seeks the prolongation of life after death 
(the blessed and atoned after-life of the individual 
soul) which he puts in causal relation with the 
victim already referred to (according to the type 
of Dionysos, Mithras, Osiris). 

He feels the necessity of bringing notions of 
guilt and sin into the foreground, not a new 
practice of life (as Jesus Himself demonstrated and 
taught),but a new cult,a newbelief,a beliefin a mira- 
culous metamorphosis (" Salvation " through belief). 

He understood the great needs of the pagan 
world) and he gave quite an absolutely arbitrary 
picture of those two plain facts, Christ's life and 
death. He gave the whole a new accent, altering 
the equilibrium everywhere . . , he was one of 
the most active destroyers of primitive Christianity. 

The attempt made on the life of priests and theo- 
logians culminated, thanks to Paul, in a new priest- 
hood and theology a ruling caste and a Church. 

The attempt made to suppress the fussy im- 
portance of the " person," culminated in the belief 
in the eternal " personality " (and in the anxiety 
concerning " eternal salvation " . . .), and in the 


most paradoxical exaggeration of individual 

This is the humorous side of the question 
tragic humour : Paul again set up on a large scale 
precisely what Jesus had overthrown by His life. 
At last, when the Church edifice was complete, it 
even sanctioned the existence of the State. 

1 68. 

The Church is precisely that against which 
Jesus inveighed and against which He taught 
His disciples to fight. 


A God who died for our sins, salvation through 
faith, resurrection after death all these things 
are the counterfeit coins of real Christianity, for 
which that pernicious blockhead Paul must be 
held responsible. 

The life which must serve as an example consists 
in love and humility ; in the abundance of hearty 
emotion which does not even exclude the lowliest ; 
in the formal renunciation of all desire of making 
its rights felt, of all defence ; of conquest, in the 
sense of personal triumph ; in the belief in salva- 
tion in this world, despite all sorrow, opposition, and 
death ; in forgiveness and the absence of anger and 
contempt; in the absence of a desire to be rewarded ; 
in the refusal to be bound to anybody ; abandon- 
ment to all that is most spiritual and intellectual ; 


in fact, a very proud life controlled by the will 
of a servile and poor life. 

Once the Church had allowed itself to take 
over all the Christian practice, and had formally 
sanctioned the State, that kind of life which Jesus 
combats and condemns, it was obliged to lay 
the sense of Christianity in other things than early 
Christian ideals that is to say, in the faith in 
incredible things, in the ceremonial of prayers, 
worship, feasts, etc. etc. The notions " sin," " for- 
giveness," " punishment," " reward " everything, 
in fact, which had nothing in common with, and 
was quite absent from, primitive Christianity, now 
comes into the foreground. 

An appalling stew of Greek philosophy and 
Judaism ; asceticism ; continual judgments and 
condemnations ; the order of rank, etc. 


Christianity has, from the first, always trans- 
formed the symbolical into crude realities : 

(1) The antitheses "true life" and " false life" 
were misunderstood and changed into " life here " 
and " life beyond." 

(2) The notion "eternal life," as opposed to 
the personal life which is ephemeral, is translated 
into " personal immortality " ; 

(3) The process of fraternising by means of 
sharing the same food and drink, after the Hebrew- 
Arabian manner, is interpreted as the " miracle of 

(4) " Resurrection " which was intended to 


mean the entrance to the " true life," in the sense 
of being intellectually " born again," becomes an 
historical contingency, supposed to take place at 
some moment after death ; 

(5) The teaching of the Son of man as the 
" Son of God," that is to say, the life-relationship 
between man and God, becomes the " second 
person of the Trinity," and thus the filial relation- 
ship of every man even the lowest to God, is 
done away with \ 

(6) Salvation through faith (that is to say, that 
there is no other way to this filial relationship to 
God, save through the practice of life taught by 
Christ) becomes transformed into the belief that 
there is a miraculous way of atoning for all sin ; 
though not through our own endeavours, but by 
means of Christ : 

For all these purposes, " Christ on the Cross " 
had to be interpreted afresh. The death itself 
would certainly not be the principal feature of the 
event ... it was only another sign pointing to 
the way in which one should behave towards the 
authorities and the laws of the world that one 
was not to defend oneself this was the exemplary 


Concerning the psychology of Paul. The im- 
portant fact is Christ's death. This remains to 
be explained. . . . That there may be truth or 
error in an explanation never entered these 
people's heads : one day a sublime possibility 
strikes them, " His death might mean so and so " 


and it forthwith becomes so and so. An hypo- 
thesis is proved by the sublime ardour it lends to 
its discoverer. . . . 

"The proof of strength": i.e., a thought is 
demonstrated by its effects ("by their fruits," as 
the Bible ingenuously says) ; that which fires en- 
thusiasm must be true, what one loses one's 
blood for must be true 

In every department of this world of thought, 
the sudden feeling of power which an idea imparts 
to him who is responsible for it, is placed to the 
credit of that idea : and as there seems no other 
way of honouring an idea than by calling it true, 
the first epithet it is honoured with is the word 
true. . . . How could it have any effect other- 
wise ? It was imagined by some power : if that 
power were not real, it could not be the cause of 
anything. . . . The thought is then understood 
as inspired-, the effect it causes has something of 
the violent nature of a demoniacal influence 

A thought which a decadent like Paul could 
not resist and to which he completely yields, is 
thus " proved " true \ \ \ 

All these holy epileptics and visionaries did 
not possess a thousandth part of the honesty in 
self-criticism with which a philologist, nowadays, 
reads a text, or tests the truth of an historical 
event. . . . Beside us, such people were moral 


It matters little whether a thing be true, 
provided it be effective : total absence of intellectual 


uprightness. Everything is good, whether it be 
lying, slander, or shameless "cooking," provided 
it serve to heighten the degree of heat to the 
point at which people " believe." 

We are face to face with an actual school for 
the teaching of the means wherewith men are 
seduced to a belief: we see systematic contempt for 
those spheres whence contradiction might come 
(that is to say, for reason, philosophy, wisdom, 
doubt, and caution) ; a shameless praising and 
glorification of the teaching, with continual refer- 
ences to the fact that it was God who presented 
us with it that the apostle signifies nothing 
that no criticism is brooked, but only faith, ac- 
ceptance; that it is the greatest blessing and 
favour to receive such a doctrine of salvation ; 
that the state in which one should receive it, 
ought to be one of the profoundest thankfulness 
and humility. . . . 

The resentment which the lowly feel against all 
those in high places, is continually turned to 
account : the fact that this teaching is revealed to 
them as the reverse of the wisdom of the world, 
against the power of the world, seduces them to 
it. This teaching convinces the outcasts and the 
botched of all sorts and conditions; it promises 
blessedness, advantages, and privileges to the most 
insignificant and most humble men ; it fanaticises 
the poor, the small, and the foolish, and fills them 
with insane vanity, as though they were the mean- 
ing and salt of the earth. 

Again, I say, all this cannot be sufficiently 
contemned, we spare ourselves a criticism of the 


teaching ; it is sufficient to take note of the means 
it uses in order to be aware of the nature of the 
phenomenon one is examining. It identified itself 
with virtue, it appropriated the whole of the fasci- 
nating power of virtue^ shamelessly, for its own 
purposes ... it availed itself of the power of 
paradox, and of the need, manifested by old 
civilisations, iur pepper and absurdity ; it amazed 
and revolted at the same time ; it provoked per- 
secutions and ill-treatment. 

It is the same kind of well-thouglit-out meanness 
with which the Jewish priesthood established their 
power and built up their Church. . . . 

One must be able to discern: (i) that warmth 
of passion " love " (resting on a base of ardent 
sensuality) ; (2) the thoroughly ignoble character of 
Christianity : the continual exaggeration and 
verbosity ; the lack of cool intellectuality and 
irony ; the unmilitary character of all its instincts ; 
the priestly prejudices against manly pride, 
sensuality, the sciences, the arts. 


Paul: seeks power against ruling Judaism, 
his attempt is too weak. . . . Transvaluation of 
the notion " Jew " : the " race " is put aside : but that 
means denying the very basis of the whole struc- 
ture. The " martyr," the " fanatic," the value of 
all strong belief. Christianity is inform of decay 
of the old world, after the latter's collapse, and it is 
characterised by the fact that it brings all the most 
sickly and unhealthy elements and needs to the top. 


Consequently other instincts had to step into the 
foreground, in order to constitute an entity, a power 
able to stand alone in short, a condition of tense 
sorrow was necessary, like that out of which the 
Jews had derived their instinct of self-preserva- 
tion. . . . 

The persecution of Christians was invaluable for 
this purpose. 

Unity in the face of danger ; the conversion of 
the masses becomes the only means of putting an 
end to the persecution of the individual. (The 
notion " conversion " is therefore made as elastic 
as possible.) 


The Christian Judaic life : here resentment did 
not prevail. The great persecutions alone could 
have driven out the passions to that extent as 
also the ardour of love and hate. 

When the creatures a man most loves are 
sacrificed before his eyes for the sake of his faith, 
that man becomes aggressive ; the triumph of 
Christianity is due to its persecutors. 

Asceticism is not specifically Christian : this is 
what Schopenhauer misunderstood. It only shoots 
up in Christianity, wherever it would have existed 
without that religion. 

Melancholy Christianity, the torture and tor- 
ment of the conscience, is also only a peculiarity of 
a particular soil, where Christian values have taken 
root: it is not Christianity properly speaking. 
Christianity has absorbed all the different kinds 
of diseases which grow from morbid soil : one could 


reproach it simply with the fact that it did not 
know how to resist any contagion. But that 
precisely is the essential feature of it. Christi- 
anity is a type of decadence. 


The reality on which Christianity was able to 
build up its power consisted of the small dispersed 
Jeivish families, with their warmth, tenderness, and 
peculiar readiness to help, which, to the whole of 
the Roman Empire, was perhaps the most incom- 
prehensible and least familiar of their character- 
istics ; they were also united by their pride at 
being a " chosen people," concealed beneath a 
cloak of humility, and by their secret denial of all 
that was uppermost and that possessed power 
and splendour, although there was no shade of 
envy in their denial. To have recognised this as a 
power > to have regarded this blessed state as com- 
municable, seductive, and infectious even where 
pagans were concerned this constituted Paul's 
genius : to use up the treasure of latent energy 
and cautious happiness for the purposes of "a 
Jewish Church of free confession," and to avail 
himself of all the Jewish experience, their propa- 
ganda, and their expertness in the preservation of 
a community under a foreign power this is what 
he conceived to be his duty. He it was who 
discovered that absolutely unpolitical and isolated 
body of paltry people, and their art of asserting 
themselves and pushing themselves to the front, 
by means of a host of acquired virtues which are 
VOL. i. K 


made to represent the only forms of virtue (" the 
self-preservative measure and weapon of success 
of a certain class of man "). 

The principle of love comes from the small 
community of Jewish people: a very passionate 
soul glows here, beneath the ashes of humility and 
wretchedness : it is neither Greek, Indian, nor 
German. The song in praise of love which Paul 
wrote is not Christian ; it is the Jewish flare of that 
eternal flame which is Semitic. If Christianity has 
done anything essentially new in a psychological 
sense, it is this, that it has increased the temperature 
of the soul among those cooler and more noble 
races who were at that time at the head of affairs ; 
it discovered that the most wretched life could be 
made rich and invaluable, by means of an eleva- 
tion of the temperature of the soul. . . . 

It is easily understood that a transfer of this sort 
could not take place among the ruling classes : the 
Jews and Christians were at a disadvantage owing 
to their bad manners spiritual strength and 
passion, when accompanied by bad manners, only 
provoke loathing (I become aware of these bad 
manners while reading the New Testament). It 
was necessary to be related both in baseness and 
sorrow with this type of lower manhood in order 
to feel anything attractive in him. . . . The atti- 
tude a man maintains towards the New Testament 
is a test of the amount of classical taste he may 
have in him (see Tacitus) ; he who is not revolted 
by it, he who does not feel honestly and deeply 
that he is in the presence of a sort of fceda 
superstitio when reading it, and who does not draw 


his hand back so as not to soil his fingers such a 
man does not know what is classical. A man 
must feel about " the cross " as Goethe did.* 


The reaction of paltry people : Love provides 
the feeling of highest power. It should be under- 
stood to what extent, not man in general, but only 
a certain kind of man is speaking here. 

" We are godly in love, we shall be ' the children 
of God ' ; God loves us and wants nothing from 
us save love " ; that is to say : all morality, obedi- 
ence, and action, do not produce the same feeling 
of power and freedom as love does ; a man does 
nothing wicked from sheer love, but he does much 
more than if he were prompted by obedience and 
virtue alone. 

Here is the happiness of the herd, the communal 
feeling in big things as in small, the living senti- 
ment of unity felt as the sum of the feeling of life. 
Helping, caring for, and being useful, constantly 
kindle the feeling of power; visible success, the 

* Vieles kann ich ertragen. Die meisten beschwerlichen 


Duld' ich mit ruhigem Mut, wie es ein Gott mir gebeut. 
Wenige sind mir jedoch wie Gift und Schlange zuwider ; 
Viere : Rauch des Tabaks, Wanzen, und Knoblauch und >J. 
Goethe's Venetian Epigrams^ No. 67. 

Much can I bear. Things the most irksome 
I endure with such patience as comes from a god. 
Four things, however, repulse me like venom : 
Tobacco smoke, garlic, bugs, and the cross. 



expression of pleasure, emphasise the feeling of 
power ; pride is not lacking either, it is felt in the 
form of the community, the House of God, and 
the " chosen people." 

As a matter of fact, man has once more experi- 
enced an " alteration " of his personality : this time 
he called his feeling of love God. The awaken- 
ing of such a feeling must be pictured ; it is a sort 
of ecstasy, a strange language, a " Gospel " it was 
this newness which did not allow man to attribute 
love to himself he thought it was God leading 
him on and taking shape in his heart. "God 
descends among men," one's neighbour is trans- 
figured and becomes a God (in so far as he provokes 
the sentiment of love). Jesus is the neighbour , the 
moment He is transfigured in thought into a God, 
and into a cause provoking the feeling of power. 


Believers are aware that they owe an infinite 
amount to Christianity, and therefore conclude 
that its Founder must have been a man of the 
first rank. . . . This conclusion is false, but it is 
typical of the reverents. Regarded objectively, 
it is, in the first place, just possible that they are 
mistaken concerning the extent of their debt to 
Christianity: a man's convictions prove nothing 
concerning the thing he is convinced about, and 
in religions they are more likely to give rise to 
suspicions. . . . Secondly, it is possible that the 
debt owing to Christianity is not due to its 
Founder at all, but to the whole structure, the 


whole thing to the Church, etc. The notion 
" Founder" is so very equivocal, that it may stand 
even for the accidental cause of a movement: 
the person of the Founder has been inflated in 
proportion as the Church has grown : but even 
this process of veneration allows of the conclusion 
that, at one time or other, this Founder was some- 
thing exceedingly insecure and doubtful in the 
beginning. . . . Let any one think of the free and 
easy way in which Paul treats the problem of the 
personality of Jesus, how he almost juggles with 
it : some one who died, who was seen after His 
death, some one whom the Jews delivered up to 
death all this was only the theme Paul wrote 
the music to it. 

The founder of a religion may be quite insignifi- 
cant a wax vesta and no more \ 


Concerning the psychological problem of Christi- 
anity. The driving forces are : resentment, 
popular insurrection, the revolt of the bungled and 
the botched. (In Buddhism it is different : it is 
not born of resentment. It rather combats resent- 
ment because the latter leads to action?) 

This party, which stands for freedom, under- 
stands that the abandonment of antagonism in 
thought and deed is a condition of distinction and 
preservation. Here lies the psychological difficulty 
which has stood in the way of Christianity being 


understood : the force which created it, urges to 
a struggle against itself. 

Only as a party standing to? peace and innocence 
can this insurrectionary movement hope to be 
successful : it must conquer by means of excessive 
mildness, sweetness, softness, and its instincts are 
aware of this. The feat was to deny and con- 
demn the force, of which man is the expression, 
and to press the reverse of that force continually 
to the fore, by word and deed. 

1 80. 

The pretence of youthfulness. It is a mistake 
to imagine that, with Christianity, an ingenuous 
and youthful people rose against an old culture ; 
the story goes that it was out of the lowest levels 
of society, where Christianity flourished and shot 
its roots, that the more profound source of life 
gushed forth afresh : but nothing can be under- 
stood of the psychology of Christianity, if it be 
supposed that it was the expression of revived 
youth among a people, or of the resuscitated 
strength of a race. It is rather a typical form of 
decadence, of moral-softening and of hysteria, 
amid a general hotch-potch of races and people 
that had lost all aims and had grown weary and 
sick. The wonderful company which gathered 
round this master-seducer of the populace, would 
not be at all out of place in a Russian novel : all 
the diseases of the nerves seem to give one 
another a rendezvous in this crowd the 
absence of a known duty, the feeling that every- 


thing is nearing its end, that nothing is any longer 
worth while, and that contentment lies in dolce 
far niente. 

The power and certainty of the future in the 
Jew's instinct, its monstrous will for life and for 
power, lies in its ruling classes ; the people who 
upheld primitive Christianity are best dis- 
tinguished by this exhausted condition of their 
instincts. On the one hand, they are sick of every- 
thing ; on the other, they are content with each 
other, with themselves and for themselves. 


Christianity regarded as emancipated Judaism 
(just as a nobility which is both racial and in- 
digenous ultimately emancipates itself from these 
conditions, and goes in search of kindred 
elements. . . .). 

(1) As a Church (community) on the territory 
of the State, as an unpolitical institution. 

(2) As life, breeding, practice, art of living. 

(3) As a religion of sin (sin committed against 
God, being the only recognised kind, and the only 
cause of all suffering), with a universal cure for it. 
There is no sin save against God ; what is done 
against men, man shall not sit in judgment upon, 
nor call to account, except in the name of God. 
At the same time, all commandments (love): 
everything is associated v/ith God, and all acts are 
performed according to God's will. Beneath this 
arrangement there lies exceptional intelligence 
(a very narrow life, such as that led by the 


Esquimaux, can only be endured by most peaceful 
and indulgent people : the Judaeo- Christian dogma 
turns against sin in favour of the " sinner "). 


The Jewish priesthood understood how to 
present everything it claimed to be right as a 
divine precept, as an act of obedience to God, and 
also to introduce all those things which conduced 
to preserve Israel and were the conditions of its 
existence (for instance: the large number of 
" works " : circumcision and the cult of sacrifices, as 
the very pivot of the national conscience), not as 
Nature, but as God. 

This process contimied ; within the very heart of 
Judaism, where the need of these " works " was not 
felt (that is to say, as a means of keeping a race 
distinct), a priestly sort of man was pictured, whose 
bearing towards the aristocracy was like that of 
" noble nature " ; a spontaneous and non - caste 
sacerdotalism of the soul, which now, in order to 
throw its opposite into strong relief, attaches value, 
not to the "dutiful acts" themselves, but to the 
sentiment. . . . 

At bottom, the problem was once again, how 
to make a certain kind of soul prevail : it was also 
a popular insurrection in the midst of a priestly 
people a pietistic movement coming from below 
(sinners, publicans, women, and children). Jesus 
of Nazareth was the symbol of their sect. And 
again, in order to believe in themselves, they were 
in need of a theological transfiguration-, they 
require nothing less than " the Son of God " in 


order to create a belief for themselves. And just 
as the priesthood had falsified the whole history 
of Israel, another attempt was made, here, to alter 
and falsify the whole history of mankind in such 
a way as to make Christianity seem like the most 
important event it contained. This movement 
could have originated only upon the soil of Judaism, 
the main feature of which was the confounding of 
guilt with sorro^v and the reduction of all sin to 
sin against God. Of all this, Christianity is the 
second degree of poiver. 

The symbolism of Christianity is based upon 
that of Judaism, which had already transfigured 
all reality (history, Nature) into a holy and 
artificial unreality which refused to recognise 
real history, and which showed no more interest 
in a natural course of things. 


The Jews made the attempt to prevail, after 
two of their castes the warrior and the agri- 
cultural castes, had disappeared from their midst. 

In this sense they are the u castrated people" : they 
have their priests and then their Chandala. . . . 

How easily a disturbance occurs among them 
an insurrection of their Chandala. This was the 
origin of Christianity. 

Owing to the fact that they had no knowledge of 
warriors except as their masters, they introduced 


enmity towards the nobles, the men of honour, 
pride, and power, and the ruling classes, into their 
religion : they are pessimists from indignation. . . . 

Thus they created a very important and novel 
position: the priests in the van of the Chandala 
against the noble classes. . . . 

Christianity was the logical conclusion of this 
movement : even in the Jewish priesthood, it still 
scented the existence of the caste, of the privileged 
and noble minority it therefore did away with 

Christ is the unit of the Chandala who removes 
the priest . . . the Chandala who redeems 
himself. . . . 

That is why the French Revolution is the lineal 
descendant and the continuator of Christianity 
it is characterised by an instinct of hate towards 
castes, nobles, and the last privileges. 


The "Christian Ideal" put on the stage with 
Jewish astuteness these are the fundamental 
psychological forces of its " nature " : 

Revolt against the ruling spiritual powers ; 

The attempt to make those virtues which facili- 
tate the happiness of the lowly > a standard of all 
values in fact, to call God that which is no 
more than the self-preservative instinct of that 
class of man possessed of least vitality ; 

Obedience and absolute abstention from war 
and resistance, justified by this ideal ; 


The love of one another as a result of the love 
of God. 

The trick : The denial of all natural mobilia, 
and their transference to the spiritual world 
beyond . . . the exploitation of virtue and its 
veneration for wholly interested motives, gradual 
denial of virtue in everything that is not Christian. 

1 86. 

The profound contempt with which the Christian 
was treated by the noble people of antiquity, is of 
the same order as the present instinctive aversion 
to Jews: it is the hatred which free and self- 
respecting classes feel towards those ivho wish to 
creep in secretly, and who combine an awkward 
bearing with foolish self-sufficiency. 

The New Testament is the gospel of a com- 
pletely ignoble species of man ; its pretensions to 
highest values yea, to all values, is, as a matter 
of fact, revolting even nowadays. 

How little the subject matters ! It is the spirit 
which gives the thing life ! What a quantity c* 
stuffy and sick-room air there is in all that chatter 
about " redemption/' " love," " blessedness," " faith/ 1 
" truth," " eternal life " ! Let any one look into a 
really pagan book and compare the two ; for in- 
stance, in Petronius, nothing at all is done, said, 
desired, and valued, which, according to a bigoted 
Christian estimate, is not sin, or even deadly sin. 
And yet how happy one feels with the purer air, the 


superior intellectuality, the quicker pace, and the free 
overflowing strength which is certain of the future ! 
In the whole of the New Testament there is not 
one bouffonnerie : but that fact alone would suffice 
to refute any book. . . . 


The profound lack of dignity with which all life, 
which is not Christian, is condemned : it does not 
suffice them to think meanly of their actual oppon- 
ents, they cannot do with less than a general 
slander of everything that is not themselves. . . . 
An abject and crafty soul is in the most perfect 
harmony with the arrogance of piety, as witness 
the early Christians. 

The future : they see that they are heavily paid 
for it. . . . Theirs is the muddiest kind of spirit 
that exists. The whole of Christ's life is so arranged 
as to confirm the prophecies of the Scriptures : 
He behaves in suchwise in order that they may be 
right. . . . 


The deceptive interpretation of the words, the 
doings, and the condition of dying people ; the 
natural fear of death, for instance, is systematically 
confounded with the supposed fear of what is to 
happen " after death." . . . 


The Christians have done exactly what the Jews 
did before them. They introduced what they 


conceived to be an innovation and a thing 
necessary to self-preservation into their Master's 
teaching, and wove His life into it. They likewise 
credited Him with all the wisdom of a maker of 
proverbs in short^ they represented their every- 
day life and activity as an act of obedience, and 
thus sanctified their propaganda. 

What it all depends upon, may be gathered 
from Paul : it is not much. What remains is 
the development of a type of saint, out of the 
values which these people regarded as saintly. 

The whole of the " doctrine of miracles," in- 
cluding the resurrection, is the result of self- 
glorification on the part of the community, which 
ascribed to its Master those qualities it ascribed 
to itself, but in a higher degree (or, better still, it 
derived its strength from Him. . . .). 


The Christians have never led the life which 
Jesus commanded them to lead, and the impudent 
fable of the " justification by faith/' and its unique 
and transcendental significance, is only the result 
of the Church's lack of courage and will in acknow- 
ledging those "works" which Jesus commanded. 

The Buddhist behaves differently from the non- 
Buddhist ; but the Christian behaves as all the rest 
of the world does> and possesses a Christianity of 
ceremonies and states of the soul. 

The profound and contemptible falsehood of 
Christianity in Europe makes us deserve the con- 
tempt of the Arabs, Hindoos, and Chinese. . . t 


Let any one listen to the words of the first German 
statesman, concerning that which has preoccupied 
Europe for the last forty years. 


" Faith " or " works " ? But that the " works," 
the habit of particular works may engender a certain 
set of values or thoughts ', is just as natural as it 
would be unnatural for " works " to proceed from 
mere valuations. Man must practise, not how to 
strengthen feelings of value, but how to strengthen 
action : first of all, one must be able to do some- 
thing. . . . Luther's Christian Dilettantism. Faith 
is an asses 1 bridge. The background consists of 
a profound conviction on the part of Luther and 
his peers, that they are unable to accomplish 
Christian " works," a personal fact, disguised 
under an extreme doubt as to v/hether all action 
is not sin and devil's work, so that the worth of 
life depends upon isolated and highly-strained 
conditions of inactivity (prayer, effusion, etc.). 
Ultimately, Luther would be right : the instincts 
which are expressed by the whole bearing of the 
reformers are the most brutal that exist Only 
in turning absolutely away from themselves, and in 
becoming absorbed in the opposite of themselves, 
only by means of an illusion ("faith") was 
existence endurable to them. 


" What was to be done in order to believe ? " 
an absurd question. That which is wrong with 


Christianity is, that it does none of the things 
that Christ commanded. 

It is a mean life, but seen through the eye of 


The entrance into the real life a man saves 
his own life by living the life of the multitude. 


Christianity has become something fundament- 
ally different from what its Founder wished it to 
be. It is the great anti-pagan movement of anti- 
quity, formulated with the use of the life, teaching, 
and " words " of the Founder of Christianity, but 
interpreted quite arbitrarily, according to a scheme 
embodying profoundly different needs : translated 
into the language of all the subterranean religions 
then existing. 

It is the rise of Pessimism (whereas Jesus 
wished to bring the peace and the happiness of 
the lambs) : and moreover the Pessimism of the 
weak, of the inferior, of the suffering, and of the 

Its mortal enemies are (i) Power, whether in 
the form of character, intellect, or taste, and 
" worldliness " ; (2) the "good cheer" of classical 
times, the noble levity and scepticism, hard pride, 
eccentric dissipation, and cold frugality of the sage, 
Greek refinement in manners, words, and form. 
Its mortal enemy is as much the Roman as the 


The attempt on the part of anti-paganism to 
establish itself on a philosophical basis, and to 
make its tenets possible : it shows a taste for the 
ambiguous figures of antique culture, and above 
all for Plato, who was, more than any other, an 
anti- Hellene and Semite in instinct. ... It also 
shows a taste for Stoicism, which is essentially 
the work of Semites ("dignity" is regarded as 
severity, law ; virtue is held to be greatness, self- 
responsibility, authority, greatest sovereignty over 
oneself this is Semitic. The Stoic is an Arabian 
sheik wrapped in Greek togas and notions. 


Christianity only resumes the fight which had 
already been begun against the classical ideal and 
noble religion. 

As a matter of fact, the whole process of 
transformation is only an adaptation to the 
needs and to the level of intelligence of religious 
masses then existing: those masses which 
believed in Isis, Mithras, Dionysos, and the 
" great mother," and which demanded the follow- 
ing things of a religion: (i) hopes of a beyond, 
(2) the bloody phantasmagoria of animal sacrifice 
(the mystery), (3) holy legend and the redeeming 
deed) (4) asceticism, denial of the world, super- 
stitious "purification," (5) a hierarchy as a part 
of the community. In short, Christianity 
everywhere fitted the already prevailing and 
increasing anti-pagan tendency those cults which 
Epicurus combated, or more exactly, those 


religions proper to the lower herd, women, slaves, 
and ignoble classes. 

The misunderstandings are therefore the 
following : 

(1) The immortality of the individual; 

(2) The assumed existence of another world ; 

(3) The absurd notion of punishment and 
expiation in the heart of the interpretation of 
existence ; 

(4) The profanation of the divine nature of 
man, instead of its accentuation, and the con- 
struction of a very profound chasm, which can 
only be crossed by the help of a miracle or by 
means of the most thorough self-contempt ; 

(5) The whole world of corrupted imagination 
and morbid passion, instead of a simple and 
loving life of action, instead of Buddhistic 
happiness attainable on earth ; 

(6) An ecclesiastical order with a priesthood, 
theology, cults, and sacraments ; in short, every- 
thing that Jesus of Nazareth combated \ 

(7) The miraculous in everything and every- 
body, superstition too : while precisely the trait 
which distinguished Judaism and primitive 
Christianity was their repugnance to miracles and 
their relative rationalism. 


The psychological f re-requisites : Ignorance and 
lack of ' culture , the sort of ignorance which has un- 
learned every kind of shame : let any one imagine 
those impudent saints in the heart of Athens ; 

VOL i. L 


The Jewish instinct of a chosen people : they 
appropriate all the virtues, without further ado, 
as their own, and regard the rest of the world as 
their opposite ; this is a profound sign of spiritual 
depravity ; 

The total lack of real aims and real duties, for 
which other virtues are required than those of the 
bigot the State undertook this work for them : 
and the impudent people still behaved as though 
they had no need of the State. " Except ye 
become as little children " oh, how far we are 
from this psychological ingenuousness ! 


The Founder of Christianity had to pay dearly 
for having directed His teaching at the lowest 
classes of Jewish society and intelligence. They 
understood Him only according to the limitations 
of their own spirit. ... It was a disgrace to concoct 
a history of salvation, a personal God, a personal 
Saviour, a personal immortality, and to have 
retained all the meanness of the " person," and of 
the "history" of a doctrine which denies the 
reality of all that is personal and historical. 

The legend of salvation takes the place of the 
symbolic " now " and " all time," of the symbolic 
"here" and " everywhere"; and miracles appear 
instead of the psychological symbol. 


Nothing is less innocent than the New Testa- 
ment, The soil from which it sprang is known. 


These people, possessed of an inflexible will to 
assert themselves, and who, once they had lost 
all natural hold on life, and had long existed 
without any right to existence, still knew how to 
prevail by means of hypotheses which were as 
unnatural as they were imaginary (calling them- 
selves the chosen people, the community of 
saints, the people of the promised land, and the 
" Church ") : these people made use of their pia 
fraus with such skill, and with such "clean 
consciences," that one cannot be too cautious 
when they preach morality. When Jews step 
forward as the personification of innocence, the 
danger must be great. While reading the New 
Testament a man should have his small fund of 
intelligence, mistrust, and wickedness constantly 
at hand. 

People of the lowest origin, partly mob, out- 
casts not only from good society, but also from 
respectable society ; grown away from the 
atmosphere of culture, and free from discipline ; 
ignorant, without even a suspicion of the fact that 
conscience can also rule in spiritual matters ; in a 
word the Jews : an instinctively crafty people, 
able to create an advantage, a means of seduction 
out of every conceivable hypothesis of superstition, 
even out of ignorance itself. 


I regard Christianity as the most fatal and 
seductive lie that has ever yet existed as the 
greatest and most impious lie : I can discern the 


last sprouts and branches of its ideal beneath 
every form of disguise, I decline to enter into any 
compromise or false position in reference to it 
I urge people to declare open war with it. 

The morality of paltry people as the measure 
of all things : this is the most repugnant kind of 
degeneracy that civilisation has ever yet brought 
into existence. And this kind of ideal is hanging 
still, under the name of " God/' over men's 
heads ! ! 


However modest one's demands may be 
concerning intellectual cleanliness, when one 
touches the New Testament one cannot help 
experiencing a sort of inexpressible feeling of dis- 
comfort ; for the unbounded cheek with which 
the least qualified people will have their say in 
its pages, in regard to the greatest problems 
of existence, and claim to sit in judgment on 
such matters, exceeds all limits. The impudent 
levity with which the most unwieldy problems 
are spoken of here (life, the world, God, the 
purpose of life), as if they were not problems at 
all, but the most simple things which these little 
bigots know all about \ \ \ 


This was the most fatal form of insanity that 
has ever yet existed on earth : when these 
little lying abortions of bigotry begin laying claim 
to the words "God," "last judgment," "truth," 


"love," "wisdom," "Holy Spirit," and thereby 
distinguishing themselves from the rest of the 
world ; when such men begin to transvalue values 
to suit themselves, as though they were the sense, 
the salt, the standard, and the measure of all 
things ; then all that one should do is this : 
build lunatic asylums for their incarceration. To 
persecute them was an egregious act of antique 
folly : this was taking them too seriously ; it was 
making them serious. 

The whole fatality was made possible by the 
fact that a similar form of megalomania was 
already in existence, the Jewish form (once the 
gulf separating the Jews from the Christian-Jews 
was bridged, the Christian-Jews were compelled to 
employ those self-preservative measures afresh 
which were discovered by the Jewish instinct, for 
their own self-preservation, after having accent- 
uated them) ; and again through the fact that 
Greek moral philosophy had done everything 
that could be done to prepare the way for 
moral-fanaticism, even among Greeks and Romans, 
and to render it palatable. . . . Plato, the 
great importer of corruption, who was the first 
who refused to see Nature in morality, and who 
had already deprived the Greek gods of all their 
worth by his notion "good? was already tainted 
with Jewish bigotry (in Egypt ? ). 


These small virtues of gregarious animals do 
not bv anv means lead to " eternal life " : to put 


them on the stage in such a way, and oneself 
with them is perhaps very smart ; but to him who 
keeps his eyes open, even here, it remains, in spite 
of all, the most ludicrous performance. A man by 
no means deserves privileges, either on earth or 
in heaven, because he happens to have attained 
to perfection in the art of behaving like a good- 
natured little sheep ; at best, he only remains a 
dear, absurd little ram with horns provided, of 
course, he does not burst with vanity or excite 
indignation by assuming the airs of a supreme 

What a terrible glow of false colouring here 
floods the meanest virtues as though they were 
the reflection of divine qualities! 

The natural purpose and utility of every 
virtue is systematically hushed up ; it can only be 
valuable in the light of a divine command or 
model, or in the light of the good which belongs 
to a beyond or a spiritual world. (This is 
magnificent ! As if it were a question of 
the salvation of the soul: but it was a means 
of making things bearable here with as many 
beautiful sentiments as possible.) 


The law, which is the fundamentally realistic 
formula of certain self-preservative measures of a 
community, forbids certain actions that have a 
definite tendency to jeopardise the welfare of that 
community : it does not forbid the attitude of mind 
which gives rise to these actions for in the pur- 


suit of other ends the community requires these 
forbidden actions, namely, when it is a matter of 
opposing its enemies. The moral idealist now 
steps forward and says : " God sees into men's 
hearts: the action itself counts for nothing; the 
reprehensible attitude of mind from which it pro- 
ceeds must be extirpated. . . ." In normal 
conditions men laugh at such things ; it is only 
in exceptional cases, when a community lives quite 
beyond the need of waging war in order to main- 
tain itself, that an ear is lent to such things. Any 
attitude of mind is abandoned, the utility of which 
cannot be conceived. 

This was the case, for example, when Buddha 
appeared among a people that was both peaceable 
and afflicted with great intellectual weariness. 

This was also the case in regard to the first 
Christian community (as also the Jewish), the 
primary condition of which was the absolutely 
unpolitical Jewish society. Christianity could grow 
only upon the soil of Judaism that is to say, 
among a people that had already renounced the 
political life, and which led a sort of parasitic 
existence within the Roman sphere of government, 
Christianity goes a step farther : it allows men to 
" emasculate " themselves even more ; the circum- 
stances actually favour their doing so. Nature is 
expelled from morality when it is said, " Love ye 
your enemies " : for Nature's injunction, " Ye shall 
love your neighbour and Jtate your enemy," has 
now become senseless in the law (in instinct) ; 
now, even the love a man feels for his neighbour 
must first be based upon something (a sort of love 


of God}. God is introduced everywhere, and 
utility is withdrawn ; the natural origin of morality 
is denied everywhere : the veneration of Nature, 
which lies in acknowledging a natural morality, is 
destroyed to the roots. ... 

Whence comes the seductive charm of this 
emasculate ideal of man ? Why are we not disgusted 
by it, just as we are disgusted at the thought of a 
eunuch ? . . . The answer is obvious : it is not the 
voice of the eunuch that revolts us, despite the 
cruel mutilation of which it is the result ; for, as a 
matter of fact, it has grown sweeter. . . . And 
owing to the very fact that the " male organ " has 
been amputated from virtue, its voice now has 
a feminine ring, which, formerly, was not to be 

On the other hand, we have only to think of 
the terrible hardness, dangers, and accidents to 
which a life of manly virtues leads the life of a 
Corsican, even at the present day, or that of a 
heathen Arab (which resembles the Corsican's life 
even to the smallest detail : the Arab's songs might 
have been written by Corsicans) in order to 
perceive how the most robust type of man, was 
fascinated and moved by the voluptuous ring of 
this " goodness " and " purity." ... A pastoral 
melody ... an idyll . . . the " good man " : such 
things have most effect in ages when tragedy is 

With this, we have realised to what extent the 
idealist " (the ideal eunuch) also proceeds from a 


definite reality and is not merely a visionary. . . , 
He has perceived precisely that, for his kind of 
reality, a brutal injunction of the sort which pro- 
hibits certain actions has no sense (because the 
instinct which would urge him to these actions is 
weakened^ thanks to a long need of practice, and 
of compulsion to practise). The castrator formu- 
lates a host of new self-preservative measures for 
a perfectly definite species of men : in this sense 
he is a realist. The means to which he has 
recourse for establishing his legislation, are the 
same as those of ancient legislators : he appeals 
to all authorities, to " God," and he exploits the 
notions " guilt and punishment " that is to say, 
he avails himself of the whole of the older ideal, 
but interprets it differently ; for instance : punish- 
ment is given a place in the inner self (it is called 
the pang of conscience). 

In practice this kind of man meets with his end 
the moment the exceptional conditions favouring 
his existence cease to prevail a sort of insular 
happiness, like that of Tahiti, and of the little Jews 
in the Roman provinces. Their only natural foe 
is the soil from which they spring : they must wage 
war against that, and once more give their offensive 
and defensive passions rope in order to be equal to 
it : their opponents are the adherents of the old 
ideal (this kind of hostility is shown on a grand 
scale by Paul in relation to Judaism, and by Luther 
in relation to the priestly ascetic ideal). The 
mildest form of this antagonism is certainly that 
of the first Buddhists ; perhaps nothing has given 
rise to so much work, as the enfeeblement and 


discouragement of the feeling of antagonism. The 
struggle against resentment almost seems the 
Buddhist's first duty ; thus only is his peace of soul 
secured. To isolate oneself without bitterness, 
this presupposes the existence of a surprisingly 
mild and sweet order of men, saints. . . . 

The Astuteness of moral castration. How is war 
waged against the virile passions and valuations? 
No violent physical means are available ; the war 
must therefore be one of ruses, spells, and lies in 
short, a " spiritual war." 

First recipe : One appropriates virtue in general, 
and makes it the main feature of one's ideal ; the 
older ideal is denied and declared to be the reverse 
of all ideals. Slander has to be carried to a fine 
art for this purpose. 

Second recipe : One's own type is set up as a 
general standard \ and this is projected into all 
things, behind all things, and behind the destiny 
of all things as God. 

Third recipe : The opponents of one's ideal are 
declared to be the opponents of God ; one arro- 
gates to oneself a right to great pathos, to power, 
and a right to curse and to bless. 

Fourth recipe: All suffering, all gruesome, 
terrible, and fatal things are declared to be the 
results of opposition to ons ideal all suffering is 
punishment even in the case of one's adherents 
(except it be a trial, etc.). 

Fifth recipe: One goes so far as to regard 
Nature as the reverse of one's ideal, and the lengthy 


sojourn amid natural conditions is considered a 
great trial of patience a sort of martyrdom ; one 
studies contempt, both in one's attitudes and one's 
looks towards all " natural things." 

Sixth recipe : The triumph of anti-naturalism 
and ideal castration, the triumph of the world of 
the pure, good, sinless, and blessed, is projected 
into the future as the consummation, the finale, 
the great hope, and the " Coming of the Kingdom 
of God." 

I hope that one may still be allowed to laugh 
at this artificial hoisting up of a small species of 
man to the position of an absolute standard of all 
things ? 


What I do not at all like in Jesus of Nazareth 
and His Apostle Paul, is that they stuffed so much 
into the heads of paltry people^ as if their modest 
virtues were worth so much ado. We have had 
to pay dearly for it all ; for they brought the most 
valuable qualities of both virtue and man into ill 
repute ; they set the guilty conscience and the 
self-respect of noble souls at loggerheads, and 
they led the braver \ more magnanimous > more daring, 
and more excessive tendencies of strong souls astray 
even to self-destruction. 


In the New Testament,^and especially in the 
Gospels, I discern absolutely no sign of a " Divine " 
voice : but rather an indirect form of the most 


subterranean fury, both in slander and destructive- 
ness one of the most dishonest forms of hatred. 
It lacks all knowledge of the qualities of a higher 
nature. It makes an impudent abuse of all 
kinds of plausibilities, and the whole stock of 
proverbs is used up and foisted upon one in its 
pages. Was it necessary to make a God come in 
order to appeal to those publicans and to say to 
them, etc. etc. ? 

Nothing could be more vulgar than this struggle 
with the Pharisees ', carried on with a host of absurd 
and unpractical moral pretences ; the mob, of course, 
has always been entertained by such feats. Fancy 
the reproach of " hypocrisy ! " coming from those 
lips ! Nothing could be more vulgar than this 
treatment of one's opponents a most insidious 
sign of nobility or its reverse. . . . 


Primitive Christianity is the abolition of the 
State : it prohibits oaths, military service, courts of 
justice, self-defence or the defence of a community, 
and denies the difference between fellow-country- 
men and strangers, as also the order of castes. 

Christ's example : He does not withstand those 
who ill-treat Him; He does not defend Himself; 
He does more, He " offers the left cheek " (to the 
demand : " Tell us whether thou be the Christ ? " 
He replies : " Hereafter shall ye see the Son of 
man sitting on the right hand of power, and 
coming in the clouds of heaven "). He forbids His 
disciples to defend Him; He calls attention to 


the fact that He could get help if He wished to, 
but will not. 

Christianity also means the abolition of society ', 
it prizes everything that society despises, its very 
growth takes place among the outcasts, the con- 
demned, and the leprous of all kinds, as also among 
"publicans," "sinners/ 1 prostitutes, and the most 
foolish of men (the " fisher folk ") ; it despises the 
rich, the scholarly, the noble, the virtuous, and the 
"punctilious." . . . 


The war against the noble and the powerful, 
as it is waged in the New Testament, is reminis- 
cent of Reynard the Fox and his methods : but 
plus the priestly unction and the more absolute 
refusal to recognise one's own craftiness. 


The Gospel is the announcement that the road 
to happiness lies open for the lowly and the 
poor that all one has to do is to emancipate 
one's self from all institutions, traditions, and the 
tutelage of the higher classes. Thus Christianity 
is no more than the typical teaching of Socialists. 

Property, acquisitions, mother-country, status 
and rank, tribunals, the police, the State, the 
Church, Education, Art, militarism : all these are 
so many obstacles in the way of happiness, so 
many mistakes, snares, and devil's artifices, on 
which the Gospel passes sentence all this is 
typical of socialistic doctrines. 

Behind all this there is the outburst, the ex- 


plosion, of a concentrated loathing of the 
" masters," the instinct which discerns the 
happiness of freedom after such long oppression. . . . 
(Mostly a symptom of the fact that the inferior 
classes have been treated too humanely, that their 
tongues already taste a joy which is forbidden 
them. ... It is not hunger that provokes revolu- 
tions, but the fact that the mob have contracted 
an appetite en mangeant. . . ,) 


Let the New Testament only be read as a book 
of seduction : in it virtue is appropriated, with 
the idea that public opinion is best won with it, 
and as a matter of fact it is a very modest kind of 
virtue, which recognises only the ideal gregarious 
animal and nothing more (including, of course, 
the herdsmen) : a puny, soft, benevolent, helpful, 
and gushingly-satisfied kind of virtue which to 
the outside world is quite devoid of pretensions, 
and which separates the "world" entirely from 
itself. The crassest arrogance which fancies that 
the destiny of man turns around it, and it alone, 
and that on the one side the community of 
believers represents what is right, and on the 
other the world represents what is false and 
eternally to be reproved and rejected. The most 
imbecile hatred of all things in power, which, how- 
ever, never goes so far as to touch these things. 
A kind of inner detachment which, outwardly, 
leaves everything as it was (servitude and slavery ; 
and knowing how to convert everything into a 
means oC serving God and virtue). 


21 I. 

Christianity is possible as the most private 
form of life; it presupposes the existence of a 
narrow, isolated, and absolutely unpolitical society 
it belongs to the conventicle. On the other 
hand, a "Christian State? "Christian politics," are 
pieces of downright impudence ; they are lies, like, 
for instance, a Christian leadership of an army, 
which in the end regards " the God of hosts " as 
chief of the staff. Even the Papacy has never 
been able to carry on politics in a Christian 
way . . .; and when Reformers indulge in politics, 
as Luther did, it is well known that they are just 
as ardent followers of Machiavelli as any other im- 
moralists or tyrants. 


Christianity is still possible at any moment. 
It is not bound to any one of the impudent 
dogmas that have adorned themselves with its 
name: it needs neither the teaching of the 
personal God, nor of sin, nor of immortality, nor of 
redemption, rior of faith ; it has absolutely no need 
whatever of metaphysics, and it needs asceticism 
and Christian " natural science " still less. Christi- 
anity is a method of life, not a system of belief. 
It tells us how we should behave, not what we 
should believe. 

He who says to-day : " I refuse to be a 
soldier," " I care not for tribunals," " I lay no 
claim to the services of the police," " I will not do 
anything that disturbs the peace within me: 


and if I must suffer on that account, nothing can 
so well maintain my inward peace as suffering " 
such a man would be a Christian. 


Concerning the history of Christianity. Con- 
tinual change of environment : Christian teaching 
is thus continually changing its centre of gravity. 
The favouring of low and paltry people. . . . The 
development of caritas. . . . The type "Chris- 
tian " gradually adopts everything that it originally 
rejected (and in the rejection of which it asserted 
its right to exist). The Christian becomes a 
citizen, a soldier, a judge, a workman, a merchant, 
a scholar, a theologian, a priest, a philosopher, a 
farmer, an artist, a patriot, a politician, a prince 
... he re-enters all those departments of active 
life which he had forsworn (he defends himself, 
he establishes tribunals, he punishes, he swears, 
he differentiates between people and people, he 
contemns, and he shows anger). The whole 
life of the Christian is ultimately exactly that 
life from which Christ preached deliverance. . . . 

The Church is just as much a factor in the 
triumph of the Antichrist, as the modern State 
and modern Nationalism. . . . The Church is the 
barbarisation of Christianity. 


Among the powers that have mastered Chris- 
tianity are : Judaism (Paul) ; Platonism (Augustine) ; 
The cult of mystery (the teaching of salvation, 


the emblem of the " cross ") ; Asceticism (hostility 
towards " Nature," " Reason," the " senses," the 
Orient . . .) 


Christianity is a denaturalisation of gregarious 
morality : under the power of the most complete 
misapprehensions and self-deceptions. Demo- 
cracy is a more natural form of it, and less sown 
with falsehood. It is a fact that the oppressed, 
the low, and whole mob of slaves and half-castes, 
will prevail. 

First step: they make themselves free they 
detach themselves, at first in fancy only; they 
recognise each other; they make themselves 

Second step : they enter the lists, they demand 
acknowledgment, equal rights, " Justice." 

Third step: they demand privileges (they 
draw the representatives of power over to their 

Fourth step : they alone want all power, and 
they have it. 

There are three elements in Christianity which 
must be distinguished: (a) the oppressed of all 
kinds, (If) the mediocre of all kinds, (c) the dis- 
satisfied and diseased of all kinds. The first 
struggle against the politically noble and their 
ideal ; the second contend with the exceptions 
and those who are in any way privileged (mentally 
or physically) ; the third oppose the natural 
instinct of the happy and the sound. 

Whenever a triumph is achieved, the second 


element steps to the fore; for then Christianity 
has won over the sound and happy to its side (as 
warriors in its cause), likewise the powerful (inter- 
ested to this extent in the conquest of the crowd) 
and now it is the gregarious instinct^ that 
mediocre nature which is valuable in every respect, 
that now gets its highest sanction through Chris- 
tianity. This mediocre nature ultimately becomes 
so conscious of itself (gains such courage in 
regard to its own opinions), that it arrogates to 
itself even political power. . . . 

Democracy is Christianity made natural \ a 
sort of "return to Nature," once Christianity, 
owing to extreme anti-naturalness, might have 
been overcome by the opposite valuation. Result : 
the aristocratic ideal begins to lose its natural 
character (" the higher man," " noble," " artist," 
" passion," " knowledge " ; Romanticism as the cult 
of the exceptional, genius, etc. etc.). 


When the " masters " may also become Christians. 
It is of the nature of a community (race, family, 
herd, tribe) to regard all those conditions and 
aspirations which favour its survival, as in them- 
selves valuable ; for instance : obedience, mutual 
assistance, respect, moderation, pity as also, to 
suppress everything that happens to stand in the 
way of the above. 

It is likewise of the nature of the rulers 
(whether they are individuals or classes) to 
patronise and applaud those virtues which make 


their subjects amenable and submissive (condi- 
tions and passions which may be utterly different 
from their own). 

The gregarious instinct and the instinct of the 
rulers sometimes agree in approving of a certain 
number of qualities and conditions, but for 
different reasons: the first do so out of direct 
egoism, the second out of indirect egoism. 

The submission to Christianity on the part of 
master races is essentially the result of the con- 
viction that Christianity is a religion for the herd, 
that it teaches obedience: in short, that Christians 
are more easily ruled than non-Christians. With 
a hint of this nature, the Pope, even nowadays, 
recommends Christian propaganda to the ruling 
Sovereign of China. 

It should also be added that the seductive 
power of the Christian ideal works most strongly 
upon natures that love danger, adventure, and 
contrasts ; that love everything that entails a risk, 
and wherewith a nonplus ultra of powerful feeling 
may be attained. In this respect, one has only 
to think of Saint Theresa, surrounded by the 
heroic instincts of her brothers : Christianity 
appears in those circumstances as a dissipation of 
the will, as strength of will, as a sort of Quixotic 


War against the Christian ideal, against the 
doctrine of " blessedness " and " salvation " as the 


aims of life, against the supremacy of the fools, of 
the pure in heart, of the suffering and of the 
botched ! 

When and where has any man, of any note at all, 
resembled the Christian ideal ? at least in the eyes 
of those who are psychologists and triers of the 
heart and reins. Look at all Plutarch's heroes ! 

2 1 8. 

Our claim to superiority : we live in an age of 
Comparisons; we are able to calculate as men 
have never yet calculated ; in every way we are 
history become self-conscious. We enjoy things 
in a different way ; we suffer in a different way : 
our instinctive activity is the comparison of an 
enormous variety of things. We understand 
everything; we experience everything, we no 
longer have a hostile feeling left within us. How- 
ever disastrous the results may be to ourselves, our 
plunging and almost lustful inquisitiveness, attacks, 
unabashed, the most dangerous of subjects. . . . 

" Everything is good " it gives us pain to say 
" nay " to anything. We suffer when we feel that 
we are sufficiently foolish to make a definite stand 
against anything. ... At bottom, it is we 
scholars who to-day are fulfilling Christ's teaching 
most thoroughly. 


We cannot suppress a certain irony when we 
contemplate those who think they have overcome 
Christianity by means of modern natural science. 
Christian values are by no means overcome by 


such people. "Christ on the cross" is still the 
most sublime symbol even now 


The two great Nihilistic movements are: (a) 
Buddhism, (V) Christianity. The latter has only 
just about reached a state of culture in which it 
can fulfil its original object, it has found its 
level, and now it can manifest itself without 
disguise. . . . 


We have re-established the Christian ideal, it 
now only remains to determine its value. 

(1) Which values does it denyl What does 
the ideal that opposes it stand for ? Pride, pathos 
of distance, great responsibility, exuberant spirits, 
splendid animalism, the instincts of war and of 
conquest, the deification of passion, revenge, 
cunning, anger, voluptuousness, adventure, know- 
ledge ; the noble ideal is denied : the beauty, 
wisdom, power, pomp, and awfulness of the type 
man : the man who postulates aims, the " future " 
man (here Christianity presents itself as the 
logical result of Judaism}. 

(2) Can it be realised ? Yes, of course, when the 
climatic conditions are favourable as in the case 
of the Indian ideal. Both neglect the factor work. 
It separates a creature from a people, a state, 
a civilised community, and jurisdiction ; it rejects 
education, wisdom, the cultivation of good man- 
ners, acquisition and commerce; it cuts adrift 


everything which is of use and value to men by 
means of an idiosyncrasy of sentiment it isolates 
a man. It is non-political, anti-national, neither 
aggressive nor defensive, and only possible 
within a strictly-ordered State or state of society, 
which allows these holy parasites to flourish at 
the cost of their neighbours. . . . 

(3) It has now become the will to be happy 
and nothing else ! " Blessedness " stands for 
something self-evident, that no longer requires 
any justification everything else (the way to 
live and let live) is only a means to an end. . . . 

But what follows is the result of a low order of 
thought-, the fear of pain, of defilement, of cor- 
ruption, is great enough to provide ample grounds 
for allowing everything to go to the dogs. . . . 
This is a poor way of thinking, and is the sign of 
an exhausted race ; we must not allow ourselves 
to be deceived. (" Become as little children." 
Natures of the same order-. Francis of Assisi, 
neurotic, epileptic, visionary, like Jesus.) 


The higher man distinguishes himself from the 
lower by his fearlessness and his readiness to 
challenge misfortune : it is a sign of degeneration 
when eudemonistic values begin to prevail (physio- 
logical fatigue and enfeeblement 'of will-power), 
Christianity, with its prospect of " blessedness," is 
the typical attitude of mind of a suffering and 
impoverished species of man. Abundant strength 
will be active, will suffer, and will go under : to it 


the bigotry of Christian salvation is bad music and 
hieratic posing and vexation. 


Poverty^ humility, and chastity are dangerous 
and slanderous ideals ; but like poisons, which are 
useful cures in the case of certain diseases, they 
were also necessary in the time of the Roman 

All ideals are dangerous : because they lower 
and brand realities; they are all poisons, but 
occasionally indispensable as cures. 


God created man, happy, idle, innocent, and 
immortal : our actual life is a false, decadent, and 
sinful existence, a punishment. . . . Suffering, 
struggle, work, and death are raised as objections 
against life, they make life questionable, unnatural 
something that must cease, and for which one 
not only requires but also has remedies ! 

Since the time of Adam, man has been in an 
abnormal state : God Himself delivered up His 
Son for Adam's sin, in order to put an end to 
the abnormal condition of things : the natural 
character of life is a curse ; to those who believe 
in Him, Christ restores normal life: He makes 
them happy, idle, and innocent. But the world 
did not become fruitful without labour; women 
do not bear children without pain ; illness has not 
ceased : believers are served just as badly as un- 
believers in this respect. All that has happened 


is, that man is delivered from death and sin 
two assertions which allow of no verification, and 
which are therefore emphasised by the Church 
with more than usual heartiness. " He is free 
from sin," not owing to his own efforts, not 
owing to a vigorous struggle on his part, but 
redeemed by the death of the Saviour^ conse- 
quently, perfectly innocent and paradisaical. 

Actual life is nothing more than an illusion 
(that is to say, a deception, an insanity). The 
whole of struggling, fighting, and real existence 
so full of light and shade, is only bad and false : 
everybody's duty is to be delivered from it. 

" Man, innocent, idle, immortal, and happy " 
this concept, which is the object of the " most 
supreme desires," must be criticised before any- 
thing else. Why should guilt, work, death, and 
pain (and, from the Christian point of view, also 
knowledge . . .) be contrary to all supreme desires ? 
The lazy Christian notions: "blessedness," 
" innocence," " immortality." 


The eccentric concept " holiness " does not 
exist " God " and " man " have not been divorced 
from each other. " Miracles " do not exist such 
spheres do not exist: the only one to be con- 
sidered is the " intellectual " (that is to say, the 
symbolically-psychological). As decadence : a 
counterpart to "Epicureanism." . . . Paradise 
according to Greek notions was only " Epicurus' 


A life of this sort lacks a purpose : it strives 
after nothing ; a form of the " Epicurean gods " 
there is no longer any reason to aim at anything, 
not even at having children : everything has 
been done. 


They despised the body : they did not reckon 
with it : nay, more they treated it as an enemy. 
It was their delirium to think that a man could 
carry a " beautiful soul " about in a body that was 
a cadaverous abortion. ... In order to inoculate 
others with this insanity they had to present the 
concept " beautiful soul " in a different way, and 
to transvalue the natural value, until, at last, a 
pale, sickly, idiotically exalted creature, some- 
f hing angelic, some extreme perfection and trans- 
figuration was declared to be the higher man. 


Ignorance in matters psychological. The 
Christian has no nervous system ; contempt for, 
and deliberate and wilful turning away from, the 
demands of the body, from discoveries about the 
body ; it is assumed that all this is in keeping 
with man's nature, and must perforce work the 
ultimate good of the soul; all functions of the 
body are systematically reduced to moral values ; 
illness itself is regarded as determined by morality, 
it is held to be the result of sin, or it is a trial 
or a state of salvation, through which man becomes 
more perfect than he could become in a state 


of health (Pascal's idea); under certain circum- 
stances, there are wilful attempts at inducing 


What in sooth is this struggle " against Nature " 
on the part of the Christian ? We shall not, of 
course, let ourselves be deceived by his words and 
explanations. It is Nature against something 
which is also Nature. With many, it is fear; 
with others, it is loathing ; with yet others, it is 
the sign of a certain intellectuality, the love of a 
bloodless and passionless ideal ; and in the case 
of the most superior men, it is love of an abstract 
Nature these try to live up to their ideal. It is 
easily understood that humiliation in the place of 
self-esteem, anxious cautiousness towards the 
passions, emancipation from the usual duties 
(whereby a higher notion of rank is created), the 
incitement to constant war on behalf of enormous 
issues, habituation to effusiveness of feelings all 
this goes to constitute a type : in such a type 
the hypersensitiveness of a perishing body pre- 
ponderates ; but the nervousness and the in- 
spirations it engenders are interpreted differently. 
The taste of this kind of creature tends either (i) 
to subtilise, (2) to indulge in bombastic eloquence, 
or (3) to go in for extreme feelings. The natural 
inclinations do get satisfied, but they are interpreted 
in a new way ; for instance, as "justification before 
God," " the feeling of redemption through grace," 
(every undeniable feeling of pleasure becomes 
interpreted in this way !) pride, voluptuousness, 


etc. General problem : what will become of the 
man who slanders and practically denies and 
belittles what is natural ? As a matter of fact, 
the Christian is an example of exaggerated self- 
control : in order to tame his passions, he seems 
to find it necessary to extirpate or crucify them. 


Man did not know himself physiologically 
throughout the ages his history covers : fyjg,..dQfi& 
not even kno^bipi^^nQ^^JlThe knowledge^ for 
instance, that man has a neryous^sYstgrn (but no 
^ sour^)js" stifl the privijege.,Qf the, most. educated 
people. J But man is not satisfied, in this respect, 
tcTsay We does not know, A man must be very- 
human to be able to say: " I do not know this/' 
that is to say, to be able to admit his ignorance. 

Suppose he is in pain or in a good mood, he 
never questions that he can find the reason of 
either condition if only he seeks. . . . And so he 
seeks for it. In truth he cannot find the reason ; 
for he does not even suspect where it lies. . . . 
What happens? . . . He takes a result of his 
condition for its cause ; for instance, if he should 
undertake some work (really undertaken because 
his good mood gave him the courage to do so) 
and carry it through successfully : behold, the 
work itself is the reason of his good mood. . . . 
As a matter of fact, his success was determined by 
the same cause as that which brought about his 
^ood mood that is to say, the happy co-ordina- 
tion of physiological powers and functions. 


He feels bad : consequently he cannot overcome 
a care, a scruple, or an attitude of self-criticism. 
. . He really fancies that his disagreeable con- 
dition is the result of his scruple, of his " sin," or 
of his " self-criticism." 

But after profound exhaustion and prostration, 
a state of recovery sets in. " How is it possible 
that I can feel so free, so happy? It is a 
miracle; only a God could have effected this 
change." Conclusion : " He has forgiven my 
sin." . . . 

From this follow certain practices : in order to 
provoke feelings of sinfulness and to prepare the 
way for crushed spirits it is necessary to induce 
a condition of morbidity and nervousness in 
the body. The methods of doing this are well 
known. Of course, nobody suspects the causal 
logic of the fact : the maceration of the flesh is 
interpreted religiously, it seems like an end in 
itself, whereas it is no more than a means of 
bringing about that morbid state of indigestion 
which is known as repentance (the " fixed idea " 
of sin, the hypnotising of the hen by means of the 
chalk-line " sin "). 

The mishandling of the body prepares the 
ground for the required range of " guilty feelings " 
that is to say, for that general state of pain 
which demands an explanation. . . . 

On the other hand, the method of " salvation " 
may also develop from the above: every dis- 
sipation of the feelings, whether prayers, move- 
ments, attitudes, or oaths, has been provoked, and 
exhaustion follows ; very often it is acute, or it 


appears in the form ot epilepsy. And behind this 
condition of deep somnolence there come signs of 
recovery or, in religious parlance, " Salvation." 


Formerly, the conditions and results of physio- 
logical exhaustion were considered more important 
than healthy conditions and their results, and this 
was owing to the suddenness, fearfulness, and 
mysteriousness of the former. Men were terrified 
by themselves, and postulated the existence of a 
higher world. People have ascribed the origin 
of the idea of two worlds one this side of the 
grave and the other beyond it to sleep and 
dreams, to shadows, to night, and to the fear of 
Nature : but the symptoms of physiological ex- 
haustion should, above all, have been considered. 

Ancient religions have quite special methods 
of disciplining the pious into states of exhaustion, 
in which they must experience such things. . . . 
The idea was, that one entered into a new order 
of things, where everything ceases to be known. 
The semblance of a higher power, . . . 


Sleep is the result of every kind of exhaus- 
tion ; exhaustion follows upon all excessive 
excitement. . . . 

In all pessimistic religions and philosophies 
there is a yearning for sleep ; the very notion 
" sleep " is deified and worshipped. 

In this case the exhaustion is racial; sleep 


regarded psychologically is only a symbol of a 
much deeper and longer compulsion to rest. . . . 
In praxi it is death which rules here in the 
seductive image of its brother sleep. . . . 


The whole of the Christian training in repent- 
ance and redemption may be regarded as a folie 
circulaire arbitrarily produced ; though, of course, 
it can be produced only in people who are pre- 
disposed to it that is to say, who have morbid 
tendencies in their constitutions. 


Against remorse and its purely psychical treat- 
ment. To be unable to have done with an ex- 
perience is already a sign of decadence. This 
reopening of old wounds, this wallowing in self- 
contempt and depression, is an additional form of 
disease ; no " salvation of the soul " ever results 
from it, but only a new kind of spiritual illness. . . . 

These " conditions of salvation " of which the 
Christian is conscious are merely variations of the 
same diseased state the interpretation of an 
attack of epilepsy by means of a particular 
formula which is provided, not by science, but by 
religious mania. 

When a man is ill his very goodness is sickly. 
... By far the greatest portion of the psychical 
apparatus which Christianity has used, is now 
classed among the various forms of hysteria and 


The whole process of spiritual healing must be 
remodelled on a physiological basis : the " sting 
of conscience " as such is an obstacle in the way 
of recovery as soon as possible the attempt 
must be made to counterbalance everything by 
means of new actions, so that there may be an 
escape from the morbidness of self-torture. . . . 
The purely psychical practices of the Church and 
of the various sects should be decried as dangerous 
to the health. No invalid is ever cured by prayers 
or by the exorcising of evil spirits : the states 
of " repose " which follow upon such methods of 
treatment, by no means inspire confidence, in the 
psychological sense. . . . 

A man is healthy when he can laugh at the 
seriousness and ardour with which he has allowed 
himself to be hypnotised to any extent by 
any detail in his life when his remorse 
seems to him like the action of a dog biting a 
stone when he is ashamed of his repentance. 

The purely psychological and religious practices, 
which have existed hitherto, only led to an altera- 
tion in the symptoms : according to them a man 
had recovered when he bowed before the cross, 
and swore that in future he would be a good 
man. . . . But a criminal, who, with a certain 
gloomy seriousness cleaves to his fate and refuses 
to malign his deed once it is done, has more 
spiritual health. . . . The criminals with whom 
Dostoiewsky associated in prison, were all, 
without exception, unbroken natures, are they 
not a hundred times more valuable than a 
" broken-spirited " Christian ? 


(For the treatment of pangs of conscience I 
recommend Mitchell's Treatment.*) 


A pang of conscience in a man is a sign that 
his character is not yet equal to his deed. There 
is such a thing as a pang of conscience after good 
deeds : in this case it is their unfamiliarity, their 
incompatibility with an old environment. 


Against remorse. I do not like this form of 
cowardice in regard to one's own actions, one 
must not leave one's self in the lurch under the 
pressure of sudden shame or distress. Extreme 
pride is much more fitting here. What is the 
good of it all in the end ! No deed gets 
undone because it is regretted, no more than 
because it is " forgiven" or " expiated." A man must 
be a theologian in order to believe in a power that 
erases faults : we immoralists prefer to disbelieve 
in " faults." We believe that all deeds, of what 
kind soever, are identically of the same value at 
root ; just as deeds which turn against us may 

* TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. -In The New Sydenham Society's 
Lexicon of Medicine and the Allied Sciences ', the following 
description of Mitchell's treatment is to be found: "A 
method of treating cases of neurasthenia and hysteria . . . 
by removal from home, rest in bed, massage twice a day, 
electrical excitation of the muscles, and excessive feeding, 
at first with milk." 


be useful from an economical point of view, and 
even generally desirable. In certain individual 
cases, we admit that we might well have been 
spared a given action; the circumstances alone 
predisposed us in its favour. Which of us, if 
favoured by circumstances, would not already 
have committed every possible crime ? . , . That 
is why one should never say : " Thou shouldst 
never have done such and such a thing," but only : 
" How strange it is that I have not done such and 
such a thing hundreds of times already ! " As a 
matter of fact, only a very small number of acts 
are typical acts and real epitomes of a personality, 
and seeing what a small number of people really 
are personalities, a single act very rarely character- 
ises a man. Acts are mostly dictated by circum- 
stances; they are superficial or merely reflex 
movements performed in response to a stimulus, 
long before the depths of our beings are affected 
or consulted in the matter. A fit of temper, a 
gesture, a blow with a knife : how little of the 
individual resides in these acts! A deed very 
often brings a sort of stupor or feeling of con- 
straint in its wake : so that the agent feels almost 
spellbound at its recollection, or as though he 
belonged to it, and were not an independent 
creature. This mental disorder, which is a form 
of hypnotism, must be resisted at all costs: surely 
a single deed, whatever it be, when it is compared 
with all one has done, is nothing, and may be 
deducted from the sum without making the 
account wrong. The unfair interest which society 
manifests in controlling the whole of our lives 


in one direction, as though the very purpose of its 
existence were to cultivate a certain individual 
act, should not infect the man of action: but 
unfortunately this happens almost continually. 
The reason of this is, that every deed, if followed 
by unexpected consequences, leads to a certain 
mental disturbance, no matter whether the con- 
sequences be good or bad. Behold a lover who 
has been given a promise, or a poet while he is 
receiving applause from an audience: as far as 
intellectual torpor is concerned, these men are in 
no way different from the anarchist who is 
suddenly confronted by a detective bearing a 
search warrant. 

There are some acts which are unworthy of us : 
acts which, if they were regarded as typical, would 
set us down as belonging to a lower class of man. 
The one fault that has to be avoided here, is to 
regard them as typical. There is another kind of 
act of which we are unworthy : exceptional acts, 
born of a particular abundance of happiness and 
health ; they are the highest waves of our spring 
tides, driven to an unusual height by a storm 
an accident: such acts and "deeds" are also 
not typical. An artist should never be judged 
according to the measure of his works. 


A. In proportion as Christianity seems necessary 
to-day, man is still wild and fatal. . . . 

B. In another sense, it is not necessary, but 
extremely dangerous, though it is captivating and 


seductive, because it corresponds with the morbid 
character of whole classes and types of modern 
humanity, . . . they simply follow their inclinations 
when they aspire to Christianity they are de- 
cadents of all kinds. 

A and B must be kept very sharply apart. 
In the case of A, Christianity is a cure, or at least 
a taming process (under certain circumstances 
it serves the purpose of making people ill : and 
this is sometimes useful as a means of subduing 
savage and brutal natures). In the case of B, it 
is a symptom of illness itself, it renders the state 
of decadence more acute ; in this case it stands 
opposed to a corroborating system of treatment, it 
is the invalid's instinct standing against that which 
would be most salutary to him. 


On one side there are the serious^ the dignified, 
and reflective people : and on the other the bar- 
barous, the unclean, and the irresponsible beasts : 
it is merely a question of taming animals and 
in this case the tamer must be hard, terrible, and 
awe-inspiring, at least to his beasts. 

All essential requirements must be imposed upon 
the unruly creatures with almost brutal distinct- 
ness that is to say, magnified a thousand times. 

Even the fulfilment of the requirement must 
be presented in the coarsest way possible, so 
that it may command respect, as in the case of 
the spiritualisation of the Brahmins. 



The struggle with the rabble and the herd. If 
any degree of tameness and order has been 
reached, the chasm separating these purified and 
regenerated people from the terrible remainder 
must have been bridged. . . . 

This chasm is a means of increasing self-respect 
in higher castes, and of confirming their belief in 
that which they represent hence the Chandala. 
Contempt and its excess are perfectly correct 
psychologically that is to say, magnified a 
hundred times, so that it may at least be felt. 


The struggle against brutal Instincts is quite 
different from the struggle against morbid instincts ; 
it may even be a means of overcoming brutality 
by making the brutes ill. The psychical treatment 
practised by Christianity is often nothing more 
than the process of converting a brute into a sick 
and therefore tame animal. 

The struggle against raw and savage natures 
must be a struggle with weapons which are able 
to affect such natures : superstitions and such means 
are therefore indispensable and essential. 


Our age, in a certain sense, is mature (that is to 
say, decadent), just as Buddha's was. . . . That 
is why a sort of Christianity is possible without 
all the absurd dogmas (the most repulsive offshoots 
of ancient hybridism). 



Supposing it were impossible to disprove Chris- 
tianity, Pascal thinks, in view of the terrible 
possibility that it may be true, that it is in the 
highest degree prudent to be a Christian. As a 
proof of how much Christianity has lost of its 
terrible nature, to-day we find that other attempt 
to justify it, which consists in asserting, that even 
if it were a mistake, it nevertheless provides the 
greatest advantages and pleasures for its adherents 
throughout their lives : it therefore seems that 
this belief should be upheld owing to the peace 
and quiet it ensures not owing to the terror of 
a threatening possibility, but rather out of fear of a 
life that has lost one of its charms. This hedonistic 
turn of thought, which uses happiness as a proof, 
is a symptom of decline: it takes the place of the 
proof resulting from power or from that which 
to the Christian mind is most terrible namely, 
fear. With this new interpretation, Christianity 
is, as a matter of fact, nearing its stage of 
exhaustion. People are satisfied with a Christianity 
which is an opiate, because they no longer have the 
strength to seek, to struggle, to dare, to stand 
alone, nor to take up Pascal's position and to 
share that gloomily brooding self-contempt, that 
belief in human unworthiness, and that anxiety 
which believes that it " may be damned." But a 
Christianity the chief object of which is to soothe 
diseased nerves, does not require the terrible 
solution consisting of a 4 * God on the cross " ; that 


is why Buddhism is secretly gaining ground all 
over Europe. 


The humour of European culture: people 
regard one thing as true, but do the other. For 
instance, what is the use of all the art of reading 
and criticising, if the ecclesiastical interpretation 
of the Bible, whether according to Catholics or 
Protestants, is still upheld 1 


No one is sufficiently aware of the barbarity ot 
the notions among which we Europeans still live. 
To think that men have been able to believe that 
the " Salvation of the soul " depended upon a 
book ! . . . And I am told that this is still 

What is the good of all scientific education, all 
criticism and all hermeneutics, if such nonsense as 
the Church's interpretation of the Bible has not 
yet turned the colours of our bodies permanently 
into the red of shame ? 


Subject for reflection : To what extent does the 
fatal belief in " Divine Providence " the most 
paralysing belief for both the hand and the under- 
standing that has ever existed continue to pre- 
vail ; to what extent have the Christian hypothesis 
and interpretation of Life continued their lives 


under the cover of terms like " Nature/' " Progress," 
" perfectionment," " Darwinism," or beneath the 
superstition that there is a certain relation between 
happiness and virtue, unhappiness and sin ? That 
absurd belief in the course of things, in " Life " 
and in the " instinct of Life " ; that foolish resig- 
nation which arises from the notion that if only 
every one did his duty all would go well all this 
sort of thing can only have a meaning if one 
assumes that there is a direction of things sub 
specie boni. Even fatalism, our present form of 
philosophical sensibility, is the result of a long 
belief in Divine Providence, an unconscious result : 
as though it were nothing to do with us how 
everything goes ! (As though we might let things 
take their own course ; the individual being only 
a modus of the absolute reality.) 


It is the height of psychological falsity on the 
part of man to imagine a being according to his 
own petty standard, who is a beginning, a " thing- 
in-itself," and who appears to him good, wise, 
mighty, and precious ; for thus he suppresses in 
thought all the causality by means of which every 
kind of goodness, wisdom, and power comes into 
existence and has value. In short, elements of 
the most recent and most conditional origin were 
regarded not as evolved, but as spontaneously 
generated and " things-in-themselves," and perhaps 
as the cause of all things. . . . Experience 
teaches us that, in every case in which a man has 


elevated himself to any great extent above the 
average of his fellows, every high degree of power 
always involves a corresponding degree of freedom 
from Good and Evil as also from "true'' and 
" false," and cannot take into account what good- 
ness dictates: the same holds good of a high 
degree of wisdom in this case goodness is just 
as much suppressed as truthfulness, justice, virtue, 
and other popular whims in valuations. In fact, 
is it not obvious that every high degree of goodness 
itself presupposes a certain intellectual myopia 
and obtuseness? as also an inability to dis- 
tinguish at a great distance between true and false, 
useful and harmful ? not to mention the fact that 
a high degree of power in the hands of the highest 
goodness might lead to the most baleful conse- 
quences (" the suppression of evil "). In sooth it 
is enough to perceive with what aspirations the 
"God of Love" inspires His believers: they ruin 
mankind for the benefit of " good men." In 
practice, this same God has shown Himself to be 
a God of the most acute myopia, devilry r , and im- 
potence, in the face of the actual arrangement of 
the universe, and from this the value of His con- 
ception may be estimated. 

Knowledge and wisdom can have no value in 
themselves, any more than goodness can : the goal 
they are striving after must be known first, for 
then only can their value or worthlessness be 
judged a goal might be imagined which would 
make excessive wisdom a great disadvantage (if, 
for instance, complete deception were a prerequisite 
to the enhancement of life ; likewise, if goodness 


were able to paralyse and depress the main springs 
of the great passions). . . . 

Taking our human life as it is, it cannot be 
denied that all " truth," "goodness," "holiness," 
and " Godliness " in the Christian sense, have 
hitherto shown themselves to be great dangers 
even now mankind is in danger of perishing owing 
to an ideal which is hostile to life. 


Let any one think of the loss which all human 
institutions suffer, when a divine and transcend- 
ental, higher sphere is postulated which must first 
sanction these institutions ! By recognising their 
worth in this sanction alone (as in the case of 
marriage, for instance) their natural dignity is 
reduced, and under certain circumstances denied. 
. . . Nature is spitefully misjudged in the same 
ratio as the anti-natural notion of a God is held 
in honour. " Nature " then comes to mean no more 
than " contemptible," " bad." . . . 

The fatal nature of a belief in God as the reality 
of the highest moral qualities : through it, all real 
values were denied and systematically regarded 
as valueless. Thus Anti-Nature ascended the 
throne. With relentless logic the last step was 
reached, and this was the absolute demand to deny 


By pressing the doctrine of disinterestedness 
and love into the foreground, Christianity by no 


means elevated the interests of the species above 
those of the individual. Its real historical effect, 
its fatal effect, remains precisely the increase of 
egotism^ of individual egotism, to excess (to the 
extreme which consists in the belief in individual 
immortality). The individual was made so 
important and so absolute, by means of Christian 
values, that he could no longer be sacrificed^ despite 
the fact that the species can only be maintained 
by human sacrifices. All " souls " became equal 
before God : but this is the most pernicious of all 
valuations ! If one regards individuals as equals, 
the demands of the species are ignored, and a 
process is initiated which ultimately leads to its 
ruin. Christianity is the reverse of the principle of 
selection. If the degenerate and sick man (" the 
Christian") is to be of the same value as the 
healthy man (" the pagan "), or if he is even to be 
valued higher than the latter, as Pascal's view of 
health and sickness would have us value him, the 
natural course of evolution is thwarted and the 
unnatural becomes law. ... In practice this 
general love of mankind is nothing more than 
deliberately favouring all the suffering, the botched, 
and the degenerate : it is this love that has reduced 
and weakened the power, responsibility, and lofty 
duty of sacrificing men. According to the scheme 
of Christian values, all that remained was the 
alternative of self-sacrifice, but this vestige of 
human sacrifice, which Christianity conceded and 
even recommended, has no meaning when regarded 
in the light of rearing a whole species. The pro- 
sperity of the species is by no means affected by 


the sacrifice of one individual (whether in the 
monastic and ascetic manner, or by means of crosses, 
stakes, and scaffolds, as the " martyrs " of error). 
What the species requires is the suppression of 
the physiologically botched, the weak and the 
degenerate : but it was precisely to these people 
that Christianity appealed as a preservative force, 
it simply strengthened that natural and very strong 
instinct of all the weak which bids them protect, 
maintain, and mutually support each other. What 
is Christian " virtue " and " love of men," if not 
precisely this mutual assistance with a view to 
survival, this solidarity of the weak, this thwarting 
of selection ? What is Christian altruism, if it is 
not the mob-egotism of the weak which divines 
that, if everybody looks after everybody else, 
every individual will be preserved for a longer 
period of time ? . . . He who does not consider 
this attitude of mind as immoral, as a crime against 
life, himself belongs to the sickly crowd, and also 
shares their instincts. . . . Genuine love of man- 
kind exacts sacrifice for the good of the species 
it is hard, full of self-control, because it needs 
human sacrifices. And this pseudo-humanity 
which is called Christianity, would fain establish 
the rule that nobody should be sacrificed. 


Nothing could be more useful and deserves 
more promotion than systematic Nihilism in action. 
As I understand the phenomena of Christianity 
and pessimism, this is what they say : " We are 


ripe for nonentity, for us it is reasonable not to be." 
This hint from " reason " in this case, is simply 
the voice of selective Nature. 

On the other hand, what deserves the most 
rigorous condemnation, is the ambiguous and 
cowardly infirmity of purpose of a religion like 
Christianity r , or rather like the Church, which, 
instead of recommending death and self-destruction, 
actually protects all the botched and bungled, and 
encourages them to propagate their kind. 

Problem : with what kind of means could one 
lead up to a severe form of really contagious 
Nihilism a Nihilism which would teach and prac- 
tise voluntary death with scientific conscientious- 
ness (and not the feeble continuation of a vegetative 
sort of life with false hopes of a life after death) ? 

Christianity cannot be sufficiently condemned 
for having depreciated the value of a great cleansing 
Nihilistic movement (like the one which was pro- 
bably in the process of formation), by its teaching 
of the immortality of the private individual, as 
also by the hopes of resurrection which it held out : 
that is to say, by dissuading people from perform- 
ing the deed of Nihilism which is suicide. ... In 
the latter's place it puts lingering suicide, and 
gradually a puny, meagre, but durable life ; gradu- 
ally a perfectly ordinary, bourgeois, mediocre life, 


Christian moral quackery. Pity and contempt 
succeed each other at short intervals, and at the 
sight of them I feel as indignant as if I were in 


the presence of the most despicable crime. Here 
error is made a duty a virtue, misapprehension 
has become a knack, the destructive instinct is 
systematised under the name of "redemption"; 
here every operation becomes a wound, an amputa- 
tion of those very organs whose energy would be 
the prerequisite to a return of health. And in the 
best of cases no cure is effected ; all that is done 
is to exchange one set of evil symptoms for another 
set. . . . And this pernicious nonsense, this system- 
atised profanation and castration of life, passes for 
holy and sacred ; to be in its service, to be an 
instrument of this art of healing that is to say, 
to be a priest, is to be rendered distinguished, 
reverent, holy, and sacred. God alone could have 
been the Author of this supreme art of healing ; 
redemption is only possible as a revelation, as an 
act of grace, as an unearned gift, made by the 
Creator Himself. 

Proposition I. : Spiritual healthiness is regarded 
as morbid, and creates suspicion. . . . 

Proposition II.: The prerequisites of a strong, 
exuberant life strong desires and passions are 
reckoned as objections against strong and ex- 
uberant life. 

Proposition III.: Everything which threatens 
danger to man, and which can overcome and ruin 
him, is evil, must be rejected and should be torn 
root and branch from his soul. 

Proposition IV. : Man converted into a weak 
creature, inoffensive to himself and others, crushed 
by humility and modesty, and conscious of his 
weakness, in fact, the "sinner," this is the 


desirable type, and one which one can produce by 
means of a little spiritual surgery. . . . 


What is it I protest against? That people 
should regard this paltry and peaceful mediocrity, 
this spiritual equilibrium which knows nothing of 
the fine impulses of great accumulations of strength, 
as something high, or possibly as the standard of 
all things. 

Bacon of Verulam says : Infimarum virtutum 
apud vulgus laus est, mediarum admiratio^ supre- 
marum sensus nullus. Christianity as a religion, 
however, belongs to the vulgus : it has no feeling 
for the highest kind of virtus. 


Let us see what the " genuine Christian " does 
with all the things which his instincts forbid : he 
covers beauty, pride, riches, self-reliance, brilliancy, 
knowledge, and power with suspicion and mud 
in short, all culture : his object is to deprive the 
latter of its clean conscience. 


The attacks made upon Christianity, hitherto, 
have been not only timid but false. So long as 
Christian morality was not felt to be a capital 
crime against Life> its apologists had a good time. 
The question concerning the mere "truth" of 


Christianity whether in regard to the existence 
of its God, or to the legendary history of its origin, 
not to speak of its astronomy and natural science 
is quite beside the point so long as no inquiry 
is made into the value of Christian morality. Are 
Christian morals worth anything^ or are they a 
profanation and an outrage, despite all the arts of 
holiness and seduction with which they are en- 
forced? The question concerning the truth of 
the religion may be met by all sorts of subterfuges ; 
and the most fervent believers can, in the end, 
avail themselves of the logic used by their 
opponents, in order to create a right for their side 
to assert that certain things are irrefutable that 
is to say, they transcend the means employed to 
refute them (nowadays this trick of dialectics is 
called " Kantian Criticism "). 


Christianity should never be forgiven for having 
ruined such men as Pascal. This is precisely 
what should be combated in Christianity, namely, 
that it has the will to break the spirit of the 
strongest and noblest natures. One should take 
no rest until this thing is utterly destroyed : the 
ideal of mankind which Christianity advances, the 
demands it makes upon men, and its " Nay " and 
"Yea" relative to humanity. The whole of the 
remaining absurdities, that is to say, Christian 
fable, Christian cobweb-spinning in ideas and 
principles, and Christian theology, do not concern 
us ; they might be a thousand times more absurd 


and we should not raise a finger to destroy them. 
But what we do stand up against, is that ideal 
which, thanks to its morbid beauty and feminine 
seductiveness, thanks to its insidious and slanderous 
eloquence, appeals to all the cowardices and 
vanities of wearied souls, and the strongest have 
their moments of fatigue, as though all that 
which seems most useful and desirable at such 
moments that is to say, confidence, artlessness, 
modesty, patience, love of one's like, resignation, 
submission to God, and a sort of self-surrender 
were useful and desirable per se ; as though the 
puny, modest abortion which in these creatures 
takes the place of a soul, this virtuous, mediocre 
animal and sheep of the flock which deigns to 
call itself man, were not only to take precedence 
of the stronger, more evil, more passionate, more 
defiant, and more prodigal type of man, who by 
virtue of these very qualities is exposed to a 
hundred times more dangers than the former, but 
were actually to stand as an ideal for man in 
general, as a goal, a measure the highest de- 
sideratum. The creation of this ideal was the 
most appalling temptation that had ever been put 
in the way of mankind ; for, with it, the stronger 
and more successful exceptions, the lucky cases 
among men, in which the will to power and to 
growth leads the whole species " man " one step 
farther forward, this type was threatened with 
disaster. By means of the values of this ideal, 
the growth of such higher men would be checked 
at the root. For these men, owing to their 
superior demands and duties, readily accept a 


more dangerous life (speaking economically, it is 
a case of an increase in the costs of the under- 
taking coinciding with a greater chance of failure). 
What is it we combat in Christianity? That it 
aims at destroying the strong, at breaking their 
spirit, at exploiting their moments of weariness 
and debility, at converting their proud assurance 
into anxiety and conscience-trouble ; that it knows 
how to poison the noblest instincts and to infect 
them with disease, until their strength, their will 
to power, turns inwards, against themselves 
until the strong perish through their excessive 
self-contempt and self-immolation : that gruesome 
way of perishing, of which Pascal is the most 
famous example. 

VOL. i* O 




Tins is an attempt at investigating morality 
without being affected by its charm, and not 
without some mistrust in regard to the beguiling 
beauty of its attitudes and looks. A world 
which we can admire, which is in keeping with 
our capacity for worship which is continually 
demonstrating itself in small things or in large : 
this is the Christian standpoint which is common 
to us all. 

But owing to an increase in our astuteness, in 
our mistrust, and in our scientific spirit (also 
through a more developed instinct for truth, which 
again is due to Christian influence), this interpre- 
tation has grown ever less and less tenable for us. 

The craftiest of subterfuges : Kantian criticism. 
The intellect not only denies itself every right to 
interpret things in that way, but also to reject the 
interpretation once it has been made. People 
are satisfied with a greater demand upon their 
credulity and faith, with a renunciation of all 


right to reason concerning the proof of their 
creed, with an intangible and superior " Ideal " 
(God) as a stop-gap. 

The Hegelian subterfuge, a continuation of the 
Platonic, a piece of romanticism and reaction, and 
at the same time a symptom of the historical 
sense of a new power : " Spirit " itself is the " self- 
revealing and self-realising ideal " : we believe 
that in the " process of development " an ever 
greater proportion of this ideal is being mani- 
fested thus the ideal is being realised, faith is 
vested in the future, into which all its noble 
needs are projected, and in which they are being 

In short : 

(1) God is unknowable to us and not to be 
demonstrated by us (the concealed meaning 
behind the whole of the epistemological move- 
ment) ; 

(2) God may be demonstrated, but as some- 
thing evolving, and we are part of it, as our 
pressing desire for an ideal proves (the concealed 
meaning behind the historical movement). 

It should be observed that criticism is never 
levelled at the ideal itself, but only at the 
problem which gives rise to a controversy con- 
cerning the ideal that is to say, why it has not 
yet been realised, or why it is not demonstrable 
in small things as in great. 

It makes all the difference : whether a man 
recognises this state of distress as such owing to 


a passion or to a yearning in himself, or whether 
it comes home to him as a problem which he 
arrives at only by straining his thinking powers 
and his historical imagination to the utmost. 

Away from the religious and philosophical 
points of view we find the same phenomena. 
Utilitarianism (socialism and democracy) criticises 
the origin of moral valuations, though it believes 
in them just as much as the Christian does. 
(What guilelessness ! As if morality could remain 
when the sanctioning deity is no longer present ! 
The belief in a " Beyond " is absolutely necessary, 
if the faith in morality is to be maintained.) 

Fundamental problem ; whence comes this 
almighty power of Faith ? Whence this faith in 
morality? (It is betrayed by the fact that 
even the fundamental conditions of life are 
falsely interpreted in favour of it : despite our 
knowledge of plants and animals. " Self-preser- 
vation " : the Darwinian prospect of a reconcilia- 
tion of the altruistic and egotistic principles.) 


An inquiiy into the origin of our moral 
valuations and tables of law has absolutely 
nothing to do with the criticism of them, though 
people persist in believing it has ; the two 
matters lie quite apart, notwithstanding the fact 
that the knowledge of the pudenda origo of a 
valuation does diminish its prestige, and pre- 
pares the way to a critical attitude and spirit 
towards it. 


A '>'"*' 

What is the actual worth of our valuations and 
tables of moral laws ? What is the outcome of their 
dominion ? For whom ? In relation to what ? 
answer : for Life. But what is Life ? A new and 
more definite concept of what " Life " is, becomes 
necessary here. My formula of this concept is : 
Life is Will to Power. 

What is the meaning of the very act of valuing ? 
Does it point back to another, metaphysical 
world, or does it point down ? (As Kant believed, 
who lived in a period which preceded the great 
historical movement.) In short : w/tat is its 
origin ? Or had it no human " origin " ? 
Answer : moral valuations are a sort of explana- 
ation, they constitute a method of interpreting. 
Interpretation in itself is a symptom of definite 
physiological conditions, as also of a definite 
spiritual level of ruling judgments. What is it 
that interprets ? Our passions. 


All virtues should be looked upon as physio- 
logical conditions : the principal organic functions, 
more particularly, should be considered necessary 
and good. All virtues are really refined passions 
and elevated physiological conditions. 

Pity and philanthropy may be regarded as the 
developments of sexual relations, justice as the 
development of the passion for revenge, virtue 
as the love of resistance, the will to power, 
honour as an acknowledgment of an equal, or of 
an equally powerful, force. 



Under " Morality " I understand a system ot 
valuations which is in relation with the conditions 
of a creature's life. 


Formerly it was said of every form of morality, 
" Ye shall know them by their fruits." I say of 
every form of morality : " It is a fruit, and from 
it I learn the Soil out of which it grew." 


I have tried to understand all moral judgments 
as symptoms and a language of signs in which 
the processes of physiological prosperity or the 
reverse, as also the consciousness of the conditions 
of preservation and growth, are betrayed a 
mode of interpretation equal in worth to astrology, 
prejudices, created by instincts (peculiar to races, 
communities, and different stages of existence, as, 
for instance, youth or decay, etc.). 

Applying this principle to the morality of 
Christian Europe more particularly, we find that 
our moral values are signs of decline, of a dis- 
belief in Life, and of a preparation for pes- 

My leading doctrine is this : there are no moral 
phenomena, but only a moral interpretation of 
phenomena. The origin of this interpretation 
itself lies beyond the pale of morality. 

What is the meaning of the fact that we have 


imagined a contradiction in existence? This is 
of paramount importance : behind all other 
valuations those moral valuations stand com- 
mandingly. Supposing they disappear, according 
to what standard shall we then measure ? And 
then of what value would knowledge be, etc. 


A point of view : in all valuations there is a 
definite purpose : the preservation of an individ- 
ual, a community, a race, a state, a church, a 
belief, or a culture. Thanks to the fact that 
people forget that all valuing has a purpose, one 
and the same man may swarm with a host of 
contradictory valuations, and therefore ivit/i a host 
of contradictory impulses. This is the expression 
of disease in man as opposed to the health of 
animals, in which all the instincts answer certain 
definite purposes. 

This creature full of contradictions, however, 
has in his being a grand method of acquiring 
knowledge : he feels the pros and cons, he elevates 
himself to Justice that is to say, to the ascertain- 
ing of principles beyond the valuations good and evil. 

The wisest man would thus be the richest in 
contradictions^ he would also be gifted with 
mental antennae wherewith he could understand 
all kinds of men ; and with it all he would have 
his great moments, when all the chords in his 
being would ring in splendid unison the rarest 
of accidents even in us ! A sort of planetary 



" To will " is to will an object. But " object," 
as an idea, involves a valuation. Whence do 
valuations originate? Is a permanent norm, 
" pleasant or painful," their basis ? 

But in an incalculable number of cases we 
first of all make a thing painful, by investing it 
with a valuation. 

The compass of moral valuations : they play a 
part in almost every mental impression. To us 
the world is coloured by them. 

We have imagined the purpose and value of 
all things : owing to this we possess an enormous 
fund of latent power \ but the study of compara- 
tive values teaches us that values which were 
actually opposed to each other have been held in 
high esteem, and that there have been many 
tables of laws (they could not, therefore, have 
been worth anything per se). 

The analysis of individual tables of laws re- 
vealed the fact that they were framed (often very 
badly) as the conditions of existence for limited 
groups of people, to ensure their maintenance. 

Upon examining modern men, we found that 
there are a large number of very different values 
to hand, and that they no longer contain any 
creative power the fundamental principle: "the 
condition of existence" is now quite divorced 
from the moral values. It is much more super- 
fluous and not nearly so painful. It becomes an 
arbitrary matter. Chaos. 

Who creates the goal which stands above man* 


kind and above the individual? Formerly 
morality was a preservative measure : but nobody 
wants to preserve any longer, there is nothing to 
preserve. Thus we are reduced to an experi- 
mental morality > each must postulate a goal for 


What is the criterion of a moral action ? (i) Its 
disinterestedness, (2) its universal acceptation, 
etc. But this is parlour-morality. Races must 
be studied and observed, and, in each case, the 
criterion must be discovered, as also the thing 
it expresses : a belief such as : " This particular 
attitude or behaviour belongs to the principal 
condition of our existence." Immoral means " that 
which brings about ruin." Now all societies in 
which these principles were discovered have met 
with their ruin : a few of these principles have 
been used and used again, because every newly 
established community required them; this was 
the case, for instance, with " Thou shalt not steal." 
In ages when people could not be expected to 
show any marked social instinct (as, for instance, 
in the age of the Roman Empire) the latter was, 
religiously speaking, directed towards the idea of 
" spiritual salvation," or, in philosophical parlance, 
towards " the greatest happiness." For even the 
philosophers of Greece did not feel any more for 
their TroXt?. 


The necessity of false values. A judgment 
may be refuted when it is shown that it was 


conditioned: but the necessity of retaining it is 
not thereby cancelled. Reasons can no more 
eradicate false values than they can alter astig- 
matism in a man's eyes. 

The need of their existence must be understood : 
they are the result of causes which have nothing 
to do with reasoning. 


To see and reveal the problem of morality 
seems to me to be the new task and the principal 
thing of all. I deny that this has been done by 
moral philosophies heretofore. 


How false and deceptive men have always 
been concerning the fundamental facts of their 
inner world ! Here to have no eye ; here to 
hold one's tongue, and here to open one's 


There seems to be no knowledge or conscious- 
ness of the many revolutions that have taken 
place in moral judgments, and of the number 
of times that "evil" has really and seriously 
been christened " good " and vice versd. I myself 
pointed to one of these transformations with the 
words " Sittlichkeit der Sitte." * Even conscience 

* The morality of custom. 


has changed its sphere : formerly there was such 
a thing as a gregarious pang of conscience. 


A. Morality as the work of Immorality. 

1. In order that moral values may attain to 

supremacy \ a host of immoral forces and 
passions must assist them. 

2. The establishment of moral values is the 

work of immoral passions and considera- 

B. Morality as the ivork of error. 

C. Morality gradually contradicts itself. 
Requital Truthfulness, Doubt, en-o^??, Judging. 

The " Immorality " of belief in morality. 
The steps : 

1. Absolute dominion of morality: all bio- 

logical phenomena measured and judged 
according to its values. 

2. The attempt to identify Life with morality 

(symptom of awakened scepticism : mor- 
ality must no longer be regarded as 
the opposite of Life) ; many means are 
sought even a transcendental one. 

3. The opposition of Life and Morality. 

Morality condemned and sentenced by 

D. To what extent was morality dangerous to 

(a) It depreciated the joy of living and the 
gratitude felt towards Life, etc. 


(K) It checked the tendency to beautify and 

to ennoble Life. 

(f) It checked the knowledge of Life. 
(cf) It checked the unfolding of Life, because 
it tried to set the highest phenomena 
thereof at variance with itself, 
E. Centra-account: the usefulness of morality 
to Life. 

(1) Morality may be a preservative measure 

for the general whole, it may be a pro- 
cess of uniting dispersed members : it 
is useful as an agent in the production 
of the man who is a " tool." 

(2) Morality may be a preservative measure 

mitigating the inner danger threatening 
man from the direction of his passions: 
it is useful to " mediocre people? 

(3) Morality may be a preservative measure 

resisting the life-poisoning influences of 
profound sorrow and bitterness : it is 
useful to the " sufferers? 

(4) Morality may be a preservative measure 

opposed to the terrible outbursts of the 
mighty : it is useful to the " lowly? 


It is an excellent thing when one can use the 
expressions "right" and "wrong" in a definite, 
narrow, and "bourgeois" sense, as for instance 
in the sentence : " Do right and fear no one " ; * 

* "Thue Recht und scheue Niemand." 


that is to say, to do one's duty, according to 
the rough scheme of life within the limit of which 
a community exists. Let us not think meanly 
of what a few thousand years of morality have 
inculcated upon our> minds. 


Two types of morality must not be confounded : 
the morality with which the instinct that has 
remained healthy defends itself from incipient 
decadence, and the other morality by means of 
which this decadence asserts itself, justifies itself, 
and leads downwards. 

The first-named is usually stoical, hard, tyran- 
nical (Stoicism itself was an example of the 
sort of " drag-chain " morality we speak of) ; the 
other is gushing, sentimental, full of secrets, it 
has the women and "beautiful feelings" on its 
side (Primitive Christianity was an example of 
this morality). 


I shall try to regard all moralising, with one 
glance, as a phenomenon also as a riddle. 
Moral phenomena have preoccupied me like 
riddles. To-day I should be able to give a reply 
to the question: why should my neighbour's 
welfare be of greater value to me than my own ? 
and why is it that my neighbour himself should 
value his welfare differently from the way in which 


I value it that is to say, why should precisely 
my welfare be paramount in his mind? What 
is the meaning of this " Thou shalt," which is 
regarded as " given " even by philosophers them- 
selves ? 

The seemingly insane idea that a man should 
esteem the act he performs for a fellow-creature, 
higher than the one he performs for himself, and 
that the same fellow-creature should do so too 
(that only those acts should be held to be good 
which are performed with an eye to the neighbour 
and for his welfare) has its reasons namely, 
as the result of the social instinct which rests 
upon the valuation, that single individuals are 
of little importance although collectively their 
importance is very great. This, of course, pre- 
supposes that they constitute a community with 
one feeling and one conscience pervading the 
whole. It is therefore a sort of exercise for 
keeping one's eyes in a certain direction ; it is 
the will to a kind of optics which renders a view 
of one's self impossible. 

My idea : goals are wanting, and these must be 
individuals. We see the general drift : every 
individual gets sacrificed and serves as a tool. 
Let any one keep his eyes open in the streets 
is not every one he sees a slave ? Whither ? What 
is the purpose of it all ? 


How is it possible that a man can respect 
himself only in regard to moral values, that he 


subordinates and despises everything in favour 
of good, evil, improvement, spiritual salvation, 
etc. ? as, for instance, Henri Frd. Amiel. What 
is the meaning of the moral idiosyncrasy '? I 
mean this both in the psychological and physio- 
logical sense, as it was, for instance, in Pascal. 
In cases, then, in which other great qualities are 
not wanting ; and even in the case of Schopen- 
hauer, who obviously valued what he did not 
and could have ... is it not the result oi 
a merely mechanical moral interpretation of real 
states of pain and displeasure ? is it not a par- 
ticular form of sensibility which does not happen 
to understand the cause of its many unpleasurable 
feelings, but thinks to explain them with moral 
hypotheses! In this way an occasional feeling 
of well-being and strength always appears under 
the optics of a " clean conscience," flooded with 
light through the proximity of God and the 
consciousness of salvation. . . . Thus the moral 
idiosyncratist has (i) either acquired his real 
worth in approximating to the virtuous type of 
society : " the good fellow," " the upright man " 
a sort of medium state of high respectability: 
mediocre in all his abilities, but honest, conscien- 
tious, firm, respected, and tried, in all his aspira- 
tions; (2) or, he imagines he has acquired that 
worth, simply because he cannot otherwise under- 
stand all his states he is unknown to himself; 
he therefore interprets himself in this fashion. 
Morality is the only scheme of interpretation by 
means of which this type of man can tolerate 
himself: is it a form of pride? 



The predominance of moral values. The con- 
quence of this predominance : the corruption of 
psychology, etc. ; the fatality which is associated 
with it everywhere. What is the meaning of this 
predominance ? What does it point to ? 

To a certain greater urgency of saying nay or 
yea definitely in this domain. All sorts of im- 
peratives have been used in order to make moral 
values appear as if they were for ever fixed : they 
have been enjoined for the longest period of time : 
they almost appear to be instinctive, like inner 
commands. They are the expression of society's 
preservative measures^ for they are felt to be almost 
beyond qttestion. The practice that is to say, 
the utility of being agreed concerning superior 
values, has attained in this respect to a sort of 
sanction. We observe that every care is taken 
to paralyse reflection and criticism in this depart- 
ment : look at Kant's attitude ! not to speak of 
those who believe that it is immoral even to 
prosecute " research " in these matters. 


My desire is to show the absolute homogeneity 
of all phenomena, and to ascribe to moral differ- 
entiations but the value of perspective ; to show 
that all that which is praised as moral is essentially 
the same as that which is immoral, and was only 


made possible, according to the law of all moral 
development that is to say, by means of immoral 
artifices and with a view to immoral ends just as 
all that which has been decried as immoral is, 
from the standpoint of economics, both superior 
and essential; and how development leading to 
a greater abundance of life necessarily involves 
progress in the realm of immorality. "Truth/ 1 
that is the extent to which we allow ourselves to 
comprehend this fact. 


But do not let us fear : as a matter of fact, we 
require a great deal of morality, in order to be 
immoral in this subtle way; let me speak in a 
parable : 

A physiologist interested in a certain illness, 
and an invalid who wishes to be cured of that 
same illness, have not the same interests. Let 
us suppose that the illness happens to be morality, 
for morality is an illness, and that we 
Europeans are the invalid : what an amount of 
subtle torment and difficulty would arise supposing 
we Europeans were, at once, our own inquisitive 
spectators and the physiologist above-mentioned ! 
Should we under these circumstances earnestly 
desire to rid ourselves of morality ? Should we 
want to? This is of course irrespective of the 
question whether we should be able to do so 
whether we can be cured at all ? 

VOL. i. p 




Whose will to power is morality ? The common 
factor of all European history since the time of 
Socrates is the attempt to make the moral values 
dominate all other values, -in order that they 
should not be only the leader and judge of life, 
but also of: (i) knowledge, (2) Art, (3) political 
and social aspirations. " Amelioration " regarded as 
the only duty, everything else used as a means 
thereto (or as a force distributing, hindering, and 
endangering its realisation, and therefore to be 
opposed and annihilated . . .). A similar move- 
ment to be observed in China and India. 

What is the meaning of this will to power on 
the part of moral values^ which has played such 
a part in the world's prodigious evolutions ? 

Answer : Three powers lie concealed behind it : 
(i) The instinct of the herd opposed to the strong 
and the independent ; (2) the instinct of all 
sufferers and all abortions opposed to the happy 
and well-constituted; (3) the instinct of the 
mediocre opposed to the exceptions. Enormous 
advantage of this movement, despite the cruelty, 
falseness, and narrow-mindedness which has helped 
it along (for the history of the struggle of morality 
ivith the fundamental instincts of life is in itself 
the greatest piece of immorality that has ever 
yet been witnessed on earth . . .). 



The fewest succeed in discovering a problem 
behind all that which constitutes our daily life, and 
to which we have become accustomed throughout 
the ages our eye does not seem focussed for 
such things : at least, this seems to me to be the 
case in so far as our morality is concerned. 

" Every man should be the preoccupation of his 
fellows"; he who thinks in this way deserves 
honour : no one ought to think of himself. 

"Thou shalt": an impulse which, like the 
sexual impulse, cannot fathom itself, is set apart 
and is not condemned as all the other instincts 
are on the contrary, it is made to be their 
standard and their judge ! 

The problem of " equality," in the face of the 
fact that we all thirst for distinction : here, on the 
contrary, we should demand of ourselves what we 
demand of others. That is so tasteless and 
obviously insane ; but it is felt to be holy and 
of a higher order. The fact that it is opposed to 
common sense is not even noticed. 

Self-sacrifice and self-abnegation are considered 
distinguishing, as are also the attempt to obey 
morality implicitly, and the belief that one should 
be every one's equal in its presence. 

The neglect and the surrender of Life and of 
well-being is held to be distinguished, as are also 
the complete renunciation of individual valuations 
and the severe exaction from every one of the 
same sacrifice, " The value of an action is once 


and for all fixed ; every individual must submit 
to this valuation." 

We see : an authority speaks who speaks ? 
We must condone it in human pride, if man tried 
to make this authority as high as possible, for he 
wanted to feel as humble as he possibly could by 
the side of it. Thus God speaks ! 

God was necessary as an unconditional sanction 
which has no superior,as a "Categorical Imperator": 
or, in so far as people believed in the authority 
of reason, what was needed was a "Unitarian 
metaphysics " by means of which this view could 
be made logical. 

Now, admitting that faith in God is dead : the 
question arises once more : " who speaks ? " My 
answer, which I take from biology and not from 
metaphysics, is: "the gregarious instinct speaks'' 
This is what desires to be master : hence its " thou 
shalt ! " it will allow the individual to exist only 
as a part of a whole, only in favour of the whole, 
it hates those who detach themselves from every- 
thing it turns the hatred of all individuals against 


The whole of the morality of Europe is based 
upon the values which are useful to the herd-, the 
sorrow of all higher and exceptional men is 
explained by the fact that everything which 
distinguishes them from others reaches their con- 
sciousness in the form of a feeling of their own 
smallness and egregiousness. It is the virtues of 
modern men which are the causes of pessimistic 


gloominess ; the mediocre, like the herd, are not 
troubled much with questions or with conscience 
they are cheerful. (Among the gloomy strong 
men, Pascal and Schopenhauer are noted examples.) 
The more dangerous a quality seems to the herd, 
the more completely it is condemned. 


The morality of truthfulness in the herd, 
" Thou shalt be recognisable, thou shalt express 
thy inner nature by means of clear and constant 
signs otherwise thou art dangerous : and sup- 
posing thou art evil, thy power of dissimulation is 
absolutely the worst thing for the herd. We 
despise the secretive and those whom we cannot 
identify. Consequently thou must regard thyself 
as recognisable, thou mayest not remain concealed 
from thyself, thou mayest not even believe in the 
possibility of thy ever changing'' Thus, the in- 
sistence upon truthfulness has as its main object 
the recognis ability and the stability of the individual. 
As a matter of fact, it is the object of education 
to make each gregarious unit believe in a certain 
definite dogma concerning the nature of man : 
education first creates this dogma and thereupon 
exacts " truthfulness." 


Within the confines of a herd or of a com- 
munity that is to say, inter pares^ the over-estima- 
tion of truthfulness is very reasonable. A man 


must not allow himself to be deceived and con- 
sequently he adopts as his own personal morality 
that he should deceive no one ! a sort of mutual 
obligation among equals ! In his dealings with 
the outside world caution and danger demand 
that he should be on his guard against deception : 
the first psychological condition of this attitude 
would mean that he is also on his guard against 
his inner self. Mistrust thus appears as the 
source of truthfulness. 


A criticism of the virtues of the herd. Inertia 
is active : (i) In confidence, because mistrust makes 
suspense, reflection, and observation necessary. 
(2) In veneration, where the gulf that separates 
power is great and submission necessary: then, 
so that fear may cease to exist, everybody tries 
to love and esteem, while the difference in power 
is interpreted as a difference of value : and thus 
the relationship to the powerful no longer has any- 
thing revolting in it. (3) In the sense of truth. 
What is truth? Truth is that explanation of 
things which causes us the smallest amount of 
mental exertion (apart from this, lying is extremely 
fatiguing). (4) In sympathy. It is a relief to 
know one's self on the same level with all, to feel 
as all feel, and to accept a belief which is already 
current; it is something passive beside the 
activity which appropriates and continually carries 
into practice the most individual rights of valua- 
tion (the latter process allows of no repose). (5) In 


impartiality and coolness of judgment: people 
scout the strain of being moved, and prefer to be 
detached and "objective." (6) In uprightness: 
people prefer to obey a law which is to hand 
rather than to create a new one, rather than to 
command themselves and others: the fear of 
commanding it is better to submit than to 
rebel. (7) In toleration : the fear of exercising 
a right or of enforcing a judgment. 


The instinct of the herd values the juste milieu 
and the average as the highest and most precious 
of all things : the spot where the majority is to 
be found, and the air that it breathes there. In 
this way it is the opponent of all order of rank ; 
it regards a climb from the level to the heights 
in the same light as a descent from the majority 
to the minority. The herd regards the exception, 
whether it be above or beneath its general level, 
as something which is antagonistic and dangerous 
to itself. Their trick in dealing with the ex- 
ceptions above them, the strong, the mighty, the 
wise, and the fruitful, is to persuade them to be- 
come guardians, herdsmen, and watchmen in fact, 
to become their head-servants : thus they convert 
a danger into a thing which is useful. In the 
middle, fear ceases : here a man is alone with 
nothing; here there is not much room even for 
misunderstandings; here there is equality; here 
a man's individual existence is not felt as a 
reproach, but as the right existence; here con- 


tentment reigns supreme. Mistrust is active only 
towards the exceptions ; to be an exception is to 
be a sinner. 


If, in compliance with our communal instincts, 
we make certain regulations for ourselves and 
forbid certain acts, we do not of course, in 
common reason, forbid a certain kind of "exist- 
ence," nor a certain attitude of mind, but only a 
particular application and development of this 
"existence" and "attitude of mind." But then 
the idealist of virtue, the moralist^ comes along and 
says : " God sees into the human heart ! What 
matters it that ye abstain from certain acts: ye 
are not any better on that account ! " Answer : 
Mr. Longears and Virtue-Monger, we do not 
want to be better at all, we are quite satisfied 
with ourselves, all we desire is that we should not 
harm one another and that is why we forbid 
certain actions when they take a particular direction 
that is to say, when they are against our own 
interests: but that does not alter the fact that 
when these same actions are directed against the 
enemies of our community against you, for 
instance we are at a loss to know how to pay 
them sufficient honour. We educate our children 
up to them ; we develop them to the fullest extent. 
Did we share that " god-fearing " radicalism which 
your holy craziness recommends, if we were green- 
horns enough to condemn the source of those for- 
bidden "acts" by condemning the "heart" and 
the " attitude of mind " which recommends them, 


that would mean condemning our very existence, 
and with it its greatest prerequisite an attitude 
of mind, a heart, a passion which we revere with 
all our soul. By our decrees we prevent this 
attitude of mind from breaking out and venting 
itself in a useless way we are prudent when we 
prescribe such laws for ourselves; we are also 
moral in so doing. . . . Have you no idea how- 
ever vague what sacrifices it has cost us, how 
much self-control, self-subjection, and hardness it 
has compelled us to exercise ? We are vehement 
in our desires ; there are times when we even feel 
as if we could devour each other. . . . But the 
"communal spirit" is master of us: have you 
observed that this is almost a definition of 
morality ? 


The weakness of the gregarious animal gives 
rise to a morality which is precisely similar to 
that resulting from the weakness of the decadent 
man : they understand each other ; they associate 
with each other (the great decadent religions 
always rely upon the support of the herd). The 
gregarious animal, as such, is free from all morbid 
characteristics, it is in itself an invaluable creature ; 
but it is incapable of taking any initiative ; it 
must have a "leader" the priests understand 
this. . . . The state is not subtle, not secret 
enough ; the art of " directing consciences " slips 
its grasp. How is the gregarious animal infected 
with illness by the priest ? 



The hatred directed against the privileged in 
body and spirit: the revolt of the ugly and 
bungled souls against the beautiful, the proud, and 
the cheerful. The weapons used : contempt of 
beauty, of pride, of happiness : " There is no such 
thing as merit," " The danger is enormous : it is 
right that one should tremble and feel ill at ease," 
" Naturalness is evil ; it is right to oppose all that 
is natural even ' reason ' " (all that is anti- 
natural is elevated to the highest place). 

It is again the priests who exploit this condition, 
and who win the "people" over to themselves. 
" The sinner " over whom there is more joy in 
heaven than over " the just person." This is the 
struggle against " paganism " (the pang of con- 
science, a measure for disturbing the harmony of 
the soul). 

The hatred of the mediocre for the exceptions, 
and of the herd for its independent members. 
(Custom actually regarded as " morality.") The 
revulsion of feeling against " egotism " : that 
only is worth anything which is done " for 
another." " We are all equal " ; against the 
love of dominion, against " dominion " in general ; 
against privilege ; against sectarians, free- 
spirits, and sceptics ; against philosophy (a force 
opposing mechanical and automatic instincts) ; 
in philosophers themselves " the categorical 
imperative," the essential nature of morality, 
"general and universal." 



The qualities and tendencies which are praised : 
peacefulness, equity, moderation, modesty, rever- 
ence, respectfulness, bravery, chastity, honesty, 
fidelity, credulity, rectitude, confidence, resigna- 
tion, pity, helpfulness, conscientiousness, simplicity, 
mildness, justice, generosity, leniency, obedience, 
disinterestedness, freedom from envy, good nature, 

We must ascertain to what extent such qualities 
are conditioned as means to the attainment of 
certain desires and ends (often an "evil" end) ; or 
as results of dominating passions (for instance, 
intellectuality) : or as the expressions of certain 
states of need that is to say, as preservative 
measures (as in the case of citizens, slaves, women, 

In short, every one of them is not considered 
"good" for its own sake, but rather because it 
approximates to a standard prescribed either by 
" society ". or by the " herd," as a means to the 
ends of the latter, as necessary for their preserva- 
tion and enhancement, and also as the result of 
an actual gregarious instinct in the individual ; 
these qualities are thus in the service of an 
instinct which is fundamentally different from these 
states of virtue. For the herd is antagonistic, 
selfish^ and pitiless to the outside world ; it is full 
of a love of dominion and of feelings of mistrust, etc. 

In the " herdsman " this antagonism comes to 
the fore: he must have qualities which are the 
reverse of those possessed by the herd. 


The mortal enmity of the herd towards all 
order of rank: its instinct is in favour of the 
leveller (Christ). Towards all strong individuals 
(the sovereigns) it is hostile, unfair, intemperate, 
arrogant, cheeky, disrespectful, cowardly, false, 
lying, pitiless, deceitful, envious, revengeful. 


My teaching is this, that the herd seeks to 
maintain and preserve one type of man, and that 
it defends itself on two sides that is to say, 
against those which are decadents from its ranks 
(criminals, etc.), and against those who rise superior 
to its dead level. The instincts of the herd tend 
to a stationary state of society ; they merely 
preserve. They have no creative power. 

The pleasant feelings of goodness and benevol- 
ence with which the just man fills us (as opposed 
to the suspense and the fear to which the great 
innovating man gives rise) are our own sensations 
of personal security and equality : in this way 
the gregarious animal glorifies the gregarious 
nature, and then begins to feel at ease. This 
judgment on the part of the " comfortable " ones 
rigs itself out in the most beautiful words and 
thus " morality " is born. Let any one observe, 
however, the hatred of the herd for all truthful 


Let us not deceive ourselves! When a man 
hears the whisper of the moral imperative in his 


breast, as altruism would have him hear it, he shows 
thereby that he belongs to the herd. When a 
man is conscious of the opposite feelings, that 
is to say, when he sees his danger and his undoing 
in disinterested and unselfish actions, then he 
does not belong to the herd. 


My philosophy aims at a new order of rank : 
not at an individualistic morality.* The spirit of 
the herd should rule within the herd but not 
beyond it: the leaders of the herd require a 
fundamentally different valuation for their actions, 
as do also the independent ones or the beasts of 
prey, etc. 



Morality regarded as an attempt at establishing 
human pride. The " Free-Will " theory is anti- 
religious. Its ultimate object is to bestow the 
right upon man to regard himself as the cause of 
his highest states and actions : it is a form of the 
growing feeling of pride. 

Man feels his power his " happiness " ; as they 
say : there must be a will behind these states 

* TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. Here is a broad distinction be- 
tween Nietzsche and Herbert Spencer. 


otherwise they do not belong to him. Virtue is 
an attempt at postulating a modicum of will, past 
or present, as the necessary antecedent to every 
exalted and strong feeling of happiness: if the 
will to certain actions is regularly present in 
consciousness, a sensation of power may be inter- 
preted as its result. This is a merely psychological 
point of view y based upon the false assumption 
that nothing belongs to us which we have not 
consciously willed. The whole of the teaching of 
responsibility relies upon the ingenuous psycho- 
logical rule that the will is the only cause, and 
that one must have been aware of having willed 
in order to be able to regard one's self as a cause. 

Then comes the counter-movement that of the 
moral-philosophers. These men still labour under 
the delusion that a man is responsible only for 
what he has willed. The value of man is then 
made a moral value : thus morality becomes a 
causa prima ; for this there must be some kind 
of principle in man, and " free will " is posited as 
prima causa. The arriere penste is always this : 
If man is not a causa prima through his will, he 
must be irresponsible, therefore he does not 
come within the jurisdiction of morals, virtue or 
vice is automatic and mechanical. . . . 

In short : in order that man may respect 
himself he must be capable of becoming evil. 


Theatricalness regarded as the result of " Free 
Will " morality. It is a step in the development 


of the feeling of power itself, to believe one's self to 
be the author of one's exalted moments (of one's 
perfection) and to have willed them. . . . 

(Criticism : all perfect action is precisely un- 
conscious and not deliberate ; consciousness is 
often the expression of an imperfect and often 
morbid constitution. Personal perfection regarded 
as determined by will, as an act of consciousness ', as 
reason with dialectics, is a caricature, a sort of self- 
contradiction. . . . Any degree of consciousness 
renders perfection impossible. ... A form of 


The moral hypothesis, designed with a view 
to justifying" God, said : evil must be voluntary 
(simply in order that the voluntariness of goodness 
might be believed in) ; and again, all evil and 
suffering have an object which is salvation. 

The notion "guilt" was considered as some- 
thing which had no connection at all with the 
ultimate cause of existence, and the notion 
"punishment" was held to be an educating and 
beneficent act, consequently an act proceeding from 
a good God. 

The absolute dominion of moral valuations over 
all others: nobody doubted that God could not 
be evil and could do no harm that is to say, 
perfection was understood merely as moral per- 


How false is the supposition that an action 
must depend upon what has preceded it in 


consciousness ! And morality has been measured 
in the light of this supposition, as also crimin- 
ality. . . . 

The value of an action must be judged by its 
results, say the utilitarians: to measure it 
according to its origin involves the impossibility 
of knowing that origin. 

But do we know its results ? Five stages 
ahead, perhaps. Who can tell what an action 
provokes and sets in motion ? As a stimulus ? 
As the spark which fires a powder-magazine ? 
Utilitarians are simpletons. . . . And finally, 
they would first of all have to know what is 
useful ; here also their sight can travel only over 
five stages or so. ... They have no notion of 
the great economy which cannot dispense with evil. 

We do not know the origin or the results: 
has an action, then, any value ? 

We have yet the action itself to consider : the 
states of consciousness that accompany it, the yea 
or nay which follows upon its performance : does 
the value of an action lie in the subjective states 
which accompany it? (In that case, the value of 
music would be measured according to the pleasure 
or displeasure which it occasions in us ... which 
it gives to the composer. . . .) Obviously feelings 
of value must accompany it, a sensation of power, 
restraint, or impotence for instance, freedom or 
lightsomeness. Or, putting the question differently: 
could the value of an action be reduced to physio- 
logical terms? could it be the expression of 
completely free or constrained life? Maybe its 
biological value is expressed in this way. . . . 


If, then, an action can be judged neither in the 
light of its origin, nor its results, nor its accom- 
paniments in consciousness, then its value must be 
#, unknown. . . . 


It amounts to a denaturalisation of morality to 
separate an action from a man ; to direct hatred 
or contempt against " sin " ; to believe that there 
are actions which are good or bad in themselves. 

The re-establishment of " Nature " : an action in 
itself is quite devoid of value ; the whole question 
is this: who performed it? One and the same 
" crime " may, in one case, be the greatest privi- 
lege, in the other infamy. As a matter of fact, it 
is the selfishness of the judges which interprets an 
action (in regard to its author) according as to 
whether it was useful or harmful to themselves (or 
in relation to its degree of likeness or unlikeness 
to them). 


The concept " reprehensible action " presents us 
with some difficulties. Nothing in all that happens 
can be reprehensible in itself: one would not dare 
to eliminate it completely \ for everything is so 
bound up with everything else, that to exclude 
one part would mean to exclude the whole. 

A reprehensible action, therefore, would mean a 
reprehensible world as a whole. . . . 

And even then, in a reprehensible world even 
reprehending would be reprehensible. . . . And 
the consequence of an attitude of mind that 

VOL. i. Q 


condemns everything, would be the affirmation of 
everything in practice. ... If Becoming is a huge 
ring, everything that forms a part of it is of equal 
value, is eternal and necessary. In all correlations 
of yea and nay, of preference and rejection, love 
and hate, all that is expressed is a certain point 
of view, peculiar to the interests of a certain type 
of living organism : everything that lives says yea 
by the very fact of its existence. 


Criticism of the subjective feelings of value. 
Conscience. Formerly people argued : conscience 
condemns this action, therefore this action is 
reprehensible. But, as a matter of fact, conscience 
condemns an action because that action has been 
condemned for a long period of time : all conscience 
does is to imitate : it does not create values. That 
which first led to the condemnation of certain 
actions, was not conscience : but the knowledge of 
(or the prejudice against) its consequences. . . . 
The approbation of conscience, the feeling of well- 
being, of " inner peace," is of the same order of 
emotions as the artist's joy over his work it 
proves nothing. . . . Self-contentment proves no 
more in favour of that which gives rise to it, than 
its absence can prove anything against the value 
of the thing which fails to give rise to it. We are 
far too ignorant to be able to judge of the value 
of our actions : in this respect we lack the ability 
to regard things objectively. Even when we 
condemn an action, we do not do so as judges, 


but as adversaries. . . . When noble sentiments 
accompany an action, they prove nothing in its 
favour : an artist may present us with an absolutely 
insignificant thing, though he be in the throes of 
the most exalted pathos during its production. It 
were wiser to regard these sentiments as misleading: 
they actually beguile our eye and our power, away 
from criticism, from caution and from suspicion, 
and the result often is that we makefvo/s of our- 
selves . . . they actually make fools of us. 


We are heirs to the conscience-vivisection and 
self-crucifixion of two thousand years : in these two 
practices lie perhaps our longest efforts at becoming 
perfect, our mastery, and certainly our subtlety ; we 
have affiliated natural propensities with a heavy 

An attempt to produce an entirely opposite 
state of affairs would be possible : that is to say, 
to affiliate all desires of a beyond, all sympathy 
with things which are opposed to the senses, the 
intellect, and nature in fact, all the ideals that 
have existed hitherto (which were all anti-worldly), 
with a heavy conscience. 


The great crimes in psychology : 

(i) That all pain and unhappiness should have 
been falsified by being associated with what is 
wrong (guilt). (Thus pain was robbed of its 


(2) That all strong emotions (wantonness, 
voluptuousness, triumph, pride, audacity, know- 
ledge, assurance, and happiness in itself) were 
branded as sinful, as seductive, and as suspicious. 

(3) That feelings of weakness, inner acts of 
cowardice, lack of personal courage, should have 
decked themselves in the most beautiful words, 
and have been taught as desirable in the highest 

(4) That greatness in man should have been 
given the meaning of disinterestedness, self-sacrifice 
for another's good, for other people ; that even in 
the scientist and the artist, the elimination of the 
individual personality is presented as the cause of 
the greatest knowledge and ability. 

(5) That love should have been twisted round 
to mean submission (and altruism), whereas it is 
in reality an act of appropriation or of bestowal, 
resulting in the last case from a superabundance 
in the wealth of a given personality. Only the 
wholest people can love; the disinterested ones, 
the "objective" ones, are the worst lovers (just 
ask the girls !). This principle also applies to the 
love of God or of the " home country " : a man 
must be able to rely absolutely upon himself. 
(Egotism may be regarded as the pre-eminence of 
the ego y altruism as the pre-eminence of others?) 

(6) Life regarded as a punishment (happiness 
as a means of seduction) ; the passions regarded 
as devilish ; confidence in one's self as godless. 

The whole of psychology is a psychology of 'obstacles, 
a sort of barricade built out of fear ; on the one 
hand we find the masses (the botched and bungled, 


the mediocre) defending themselves, by means of 
it, against the strong (and finally destroying 1 them 
in their growth . . . ); on the other hand, we 
find all the instincts with which these classes are 
best able to prosper, sanctified and alone held in 
honour by them. Let any one examine the 
Jewish priesthood. 


The vestiges of the depreciation of Nature through 
moral transcendence : The value of disinterested- 
ness, the cult of altruism ; the belief in a reward in 
the play of natural consequences; the belief in 
" goodness " and in genius itself, as if the one, like 
the other, were the result of disinterestedness \ the 
continuation of the Church's sanction of the life of 
the citizen ; the absolutely deliberate misunder- 
standing of history (as a means of educating up to 
morality) or pessimism in the attitude taken up 
towards history (the latter is just as much a 
result of the depreciation of Nature, as is that 
pseudo-justification of history, that refusal to see 
history as the pessimist sees it). 


" Morality for its own sake " this is an im- 
portant step in the denaturalisation of morals : in 
itself it appears as a final value. In this phase 
religion has generally become saturated with it : 
as, for instance, in the case of Judaism. It likewise 
goes through a phase in which it separates itself 


from religion, and in which no God is " moral " 
enough for it: it then prefers the impersonal 
ideal. . . . This is how the case stands at 

"Art for Art s sake ": this is a similarly dangerous 
principle : by this means a false contrast is lent 
to things it culminates in the slander of reality 
("idealising" into the hateful). When an ideal 
is severed from reality, the latter is debased, im- 
poverished, and calumniated. " Beauty for Beauty's 
sake,' " Truth for Truth's sake? " Goodness for 
Goodness' sake " these are three forms of the evil 
eye for reality. 

Art, knowledge, and morality are means : 
instead of recognising a life-promoting tendency 
in them, they have been associated with the 
opposite of Life with " God? they have also 
been regarded as revelations of a higher world, 
which here and there transpires through them. . . . 

"Beautiful" and "ugly? "true" and "false? 
"good" and "evil" these things are distinctions 
and antagonisms which betray the preservative 
and promotive measures of Life, not necessarily 
of man alone, but of all stable and enduring 
organisms which take up a definite stand against 
their opponents. The war which thus ensues is 
the essential factor : it is a means of separating 
things, leading to stronger isolation. . . . 


Moral naturalism : The tracing back of ap- 
parently independent and supernatural values to 


their real " nature " that is to say, to natural 
immorality, to natural " utility," etc. 

Perhaps I may designate the tendency of these 
observations by the term moral naturalism : my 
object is to re-translate the moral values which 
have apparently become independent and un- 
natural into their real nature that is to say, 
into their natural " immorality? 

N.B. Refer to Jewish "holiness" and its 
natural basis. The case is the same in regard 
to the moral law which has been made sovereign^ 
emancipated from its real nature (until it is 
almost the opposite of Nature). 

The stages in the denaturalisation of morality 
(or so-called " Idealisation ") : 

First it is a road to individual happiness, 

then it is the result of knowledge, 

then it is a Categorical Imperative, 

then it is a way to Salvation, 

then it is a denial of the will to live. 

(The gradual progress of the hostility of morality 
to Life.) 


The suppressed and effaced Heresy in morality. 
Concepts : paganism, master-morality, i/irtil. 


My problem ; What harm has mankind suffered 
hitherto from morals, as also from its own 
morality? Intellectual harm, etc. 



Why are not human values once more deposited 
nicely in the rut to which they alone have a right 
as routinary values ? Many species of animals 
have already become extinct; supposing man 
were also to disappear, nothing would be lacking 
on earth. A man should be enough of a philo- 
sopher to admire even this "nothing" (Nil 


Man, a small species of very excitable animals, 
which fortunately has its time. Life in general 
on earth is a matter of a moment, an incident, 
an exception that has no consequence, something 
which is of no importance whatever to the general 
character of the earth ; the earth itself is, like 
every star, a hiatus between two nonentities, an 
event without a plan, without reason, will, or self- 
consciousness the worst kind of necessity 
foolish necessity. . . . Something in us rebels 
against this view ; the serpent vanity whispers to 
our hearts, " All this must be false because it is 
revolting. . . . Could not all this be appearance ? 
And man in spite of all, to use Kant's words " 



Concerning the ideal of the moralist. In this 
treatise we wish to speak of the great politics of 


virtue. We wrote it for the use of all those who 
are interested, not so much in the process of 
becoming virtuous as in that of making others 
virtuous in how virtue is made to dominate. I 
even intend to prove that in order to desire this 
one thing the dominion of virtue the other 
must be systematically avoided ; that is to say, 
one must renounce all hopes of becoming virtuous. 
This sacrifice is great : but such an end is perhaps 
a sufficient reward for such a sacrifice. And even 
greater sacrifices ! . . . And some of the most 
famous moralists have risked as much. For these, , 
indeed, had already recognised and anticipated 
the truth which is to be revealed for the first time 
in this treatise : that the dominion of virtue is 
absolutely attainable only by the use of the same 
means which are employed in the attainment of 
any other dominion, in any case not by means of 
virtue itself. . . . 

As I have already said, this treatise deals with 
the politics of virtue: it postulates an ideal of 
these politics ; it describes it as it ought to be, 
if anything at all can be perfect on this earth. 
Now, no philosopher can be in any doubt as to 
what the type of perfection is in politics ; it is, of 
course, Machiavellianism. But Machiavellianism 
which is pur> sans mtlange^ cru, vert> dans toute sa 
force> dans toute son dpret^ is superhuman, divine, 
transcendental, and can never be achieved by 
man the most he can do is to approximate it. 
Even in this narrower kind of politics in the 
politics of virtue the ideal never seems to have 
been realised. Plato, too, only bordered upon it 


Granted that one have eyes for concealed things, 
one can discover, even in the most guileless and 
most conscious moralists (and this is indeed the 
name of these moral politicians and of the 
founders of all newer moral forces), traces showing 
that they too paid their tribute to human weak- 
ness. They all aspired to virtue on their own 
account at least in their moments of weariness ; 
and this is the leading and most capital error on 
the part of any moralist whose duty it is to be 
an immoralist in deeds. That he must not exactly 
appear to be the latter \ is another matter. Or 
rather it is not another matter : systematic self- 
denial of this kind (or, expressed morally : dis- 
simulation) belongs to, and is part and parcel of, 
the moralist's canon and of his self-imposed 
duties : without it he can never attain to his 
particular kind of perfection. Freedom from 
morality and from truth when enjoyed for that 
purpose which rewards every sacrifice: for the 
sake of making morality dominate that is the 
canon. Moralists are in need of the attitudes of 
virtue^ as also of the attitudes of truth; their 
error begins when they yield to virtue, when they 
lose control of virtue, when they themselves become 
moral or true. A great moralist is, among other 
thfngs, necessarily a great actor ; his only danger 
is that his pose may unconsciously become a 
second nature, just like his ideal, which is to keep 
his esse and his operari apart in a divine way ; 
everything he does must be done sub specie boni 
a lofty, remote, and exacting ideal 1 A divine 
ideal ! And, as a matter of fact, they say that 


the moralist thus imitates a model which is no less 
than God Himself: God, the greatest Immoralist 
in deeds that exists, but who nevertheless under- 
stands how to remain what He w, the good 
God. . . . 


The dominion of virtue is not established by 
means of virtue itself; with virtue itself, one re- 
nounces power, one loses the Will to Power. 


The victory of a moral ideal is achieved by the 
same " immoral " means as any other victory : 
violence, lies, slander, injustice. 


He who knows the way fame originates will be 
suspicious even of the fame virtue enjoys. 


Morality is just as " immoral " as any other 
thing on earth; morality is in itself a form of 

The great relief which this conviction brings. 
The contradiction between things disappears, the 
unity of all phenomena is saved- 


There are some who seek for the immoral 
side of things. When they say: "this is 


wrong," they believe it ought to be done away 
with or altered. On the other hand, I do not 
rest until I am quite clear concerning the im- 
morality of any particular thing which happens 
to come under my notice. When I discover it, 
I recover my equanimity. 


A. The ivays which lead to power ; the presenta- 
tion of the new virtue under the name of an old 
one, the awakening of " interest " concerning it 
(" happiness " declared to be its reward, and vice 
versfi)) artistic slandering of all that stands in 
its way, the exploitation of advantages and 
accidents with the view of glorifying it, the con- 
version of its adherents into fanatics by means 
of sacrifices and separations, symbolism on a 
grand scale. 

B. Poiver attained: (i) Means of constraint of 
virtue ; (2) seductive means of virtue ; (3) the 
(court) etiquette of virtue. 

By what means does a virtue attain to power f 
With precisely the same means as a political party : 
slander, suspicion, the undermining of opposing 
virtues that happen to be already in power, the 
changing of their names, systematic persecution 
and scorn ; in short, by means of acts of general 
" immorality'' 

How does a desire behave towards itself in 


order to become a virtuet A process of re- 
christening; systematic denial of its intentions; 
practice in misunderstanding itself; alliance with 
established and recognised virtues; ostentatious 
enmity towards its adversaries. If possible, too, 
the protection of sacred powers must be purchased ; 
people must also be intoxicated and fired with 
enthusiasm ; idealistic humbug must be used, and 
a party must be won, which either triumphs or 
perishes one must be unconscious and naif. 


Cruelty has become transformed and elevated 
into tragic pity, so that we no longer recognise 
it as such. The same has happened to the love 
of the sexes which has become amour-passion ; 
the slavish attitude of mind appears as Christian 
obedience; wretchedness becomes humility; the 
disease of the nervus sympathicus y for instance, is 
eulogised as Pessimism, Pascalism, or Carlylism, etc. 


We should begin to entertain doubts concerning 
a man if we heard that he required reasons in 
order to remain respectable: we should, in any 
case, certainly avoid his society. The little word 
"for" in certain cases may be compromising; 
sometimes a single " for " is enough to refute one. 
If we should hear, in course of time, that such-and- 
such an aspirant for virtue was in need of bad 
reasons in order to remain respectable, it would not 


conduce to increasing our respect for him. But 
he goes further; he comes to us, and tells us 
quite openly : " You disturb my morality with 
your disbelief, Mr. Sceptic ; so long as you cannot 
believe in my bad reasons^ that is to say, in my 
God, in a disciplinary Beyond, in free will, etc., 
you put obstacles in the way of my virtue, . . . 
Moral, sceptics must be suppressed : they prevent 
the moralisation of the masses? 


Our most sacred convictions, those which are 
permanent in us concerning the highest values, 
are judgments emanating from our muscles. 


Morality in the valuation of races and classes.* 
In view of the fact that the passions and funda- 
mental instincts in every race and class express 
the means which enable the latter to preserve 
themselves (or at least the means which have 
enabled them to live for the longest period of 
time), to call them " virtuous " practically means : 

That they change their character, shed their 
skins, and blot out their past. 

It means that they should cease from differen- 
tiating themselves from others. 

It means that they are getting to resemble each 
other in their needs and aspirations or, more 
exactly, that they are declining. . . . 

It means that the will to one kind of morality 


is merely the tyranny of the particular species, 
which is adapted to that kind of morality, over 
other species : it means a process of annihilation 
or general levelling in favour of the prevailing 
species (whether it be to render the non-prevailing 
species harmless, or to exploit them); the 
"Abolition of Slavery" a so-called tribute to 
"human dignity"; in truth, the annihilation of 
a fundamentally different species (the under- 
mining of its values and its happiness). 

The qualities which constitute the strength of 
an opposing race or class are declared to be the 
most evil and pernicious things it has: for by 
means of them it may be harmful to us (its 
virtues are slandered and rechristened). 

When a man or a people harm us, their action 
constitutes an objection against them : but from 
their point of view we are desirable, because we 
are such as can be useful to them. 

The insistence upon spreading "humaneness" 
(which guilelessly starts out with the assumption 
that it is in possession of the formula " What is 
human ") is all humbug, beneath the cover of 
which a certain definite type of man strives to 
attain to power: or, more precisely, a very 
particular kind of instinct the gregarious instinct. 
" The equality of men " : this is what lies concealed 
behind the tendency of making ever more and 
more men alike as men. 

The "interested nature" of the morality of 
ordinary people. (The trick was to elevate the 
great passions for power and property to the 
positions of protectors of virtue.) 


To what extent do all kinds of business men 
and money-grabbers all those who give and 
take credit find it necessary to promote the 
levelling of all characters and notions of value? 
the commerce and the exchange of the world leads 
to, and almost purchases, virtue. 

The State exercises the same influence, as does 
also any sort of ruling power at the head of 
officials and soldiers; science acts in the same 
way, in order that it may work in security and 
economise its forces. And the priesthood does 
the same. 

Communal morality is thus promoted here, 
because it is advantageous ; and, in order to make 
it triumph, war and violence are waged against 
immorality with what " right " ? Without 
any right whatsoever; but in accordance with 
the instinct of self-preservation. The same 
classes avail themselves of immorality when it 
serves their purpose to do so. 


Observe the hypocritical colour which all 
civil institutions are painted, just as if they were 
the offshoots of morality for instance : marriage, 
work, calling, patriotism, the family, order, and 
rights. But as they were all established in 
favour of the most mediocre type of man, to 
protect him from exceptions and the need of 
exceptions, one must not be surprised to find them 
sown with lies. 



Virtue must be defended against its preachers : 
they are its worst enemies. For they teach virtue 
as an ideal for all\ they divest virtue of the 
charm which consists in its rareness, its inimit- 
ableness, its exceptional and non - average 
character that is to say, of its aristocratic charm. 
A stand must also be made against those 
embittered idealists who eagerly tap all pots and 
are satisfied to hear them ring hollow : what in- 
genuousness ! to demand great and rare things, 
and then to declare, with anger and contempt of 
one's fellows, that they do not exist ! It is obvious, 
for instance, that a marriage is worth only as 
much as those are worth whom it joins that is 
to say, that on the whole it is something wretched 
and indecent: no priest or registrar can make 
anything else of it. 

Virtue* has all the instincts of the average 
man against it: it is not profitable, it is not 
prudent, and it isolates. It is related to passion, 
and not very accessible to reason ; it spoils the 
character, the head, and the senses always, of 
course, subject to the medium standard of men ; 
it provokes hostility towards order, and towards 
the lies which are concealed beneath all order, 
all institutions, and all reality when seen in 
the light of its pernicious influence upon others ', 
it is the worst of vices. 

* TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. Virtue is used here, of course, 
in the sense of " the excellence of man,' not in the sense of 
the Christian negative virtue. 
VOL. i. R 


I recognise virtue in that: (i) it does not 
insist upon being recognised ; (2) it does not 
presuppose the existence of virtue everywhere, 
but precisely something else ; (3) it does not suffer 
from the absence of virtue, but regards it rather 
as a relation of perspective which throws virtue 
into relief: it does not proclaim itself; (4) it 
makes no propaganda; (5) it allows no one to 
pose as judge because it is always a personal 
virtue; (6) it does precisely what is generally 
forbidden : virtue as I understand it is the actual 
vetitum within all gregarious legislation ; (7) in 
short, I recognise virtue in that it is in the 
Renaissance style virtfi free from all moralic 
acid. . . . 


In the first place/* Messrs. Virtue-mongers, you 
have no superiority over us; we should like to 
make you take modesty a little more to heart: 
it is wretched personal interests and prudence which 
suggest your virtue to you. And if you had 
more strength and courage in your bodies you 
would not lower yourselves thus to the level of 
virtuous ponentities. You make what you can of 
yourselves : partly what you are obliged to make, 
that is to say, what your circumstances force 
you to make, partly what suits your pleasure and 
partly what seems useful to you. But if you do 
only what is in keeping with your inclinations, 

* TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. Here Nietzsche returns to 
Christian virtue which is negative and moral. 


or what necessity exacts from you, or what is 
useful to you, you ought neither to praise your- 
selves nor let others praise you ! . . . One is a 
thoroughly puny kind of man when one is only 
virtuous: nothing should mislead you in this 
regard ! Men who have to be considered at all, 
were never such donkeys of virtue : their inmost 
instinct, that which determined their quantum of 
power, did not find its reckoning thus : whereas 
with your minimum amount of power nothing 
can seem more full of wisdom to you than 
virtue. But the multitude are on your side : and 
because you tyrannise over us, we shall fight 
you. . . . 

A virtuous man is of a lower species because, 
in the first place, he has no " personality," but 
acquires his value by conforming with a certain 
human scheme which has been once and for ever 
fixed. He has no independent value: he may 
be compared ; he has his equals, he must not be 
an individual. 

Reckoning up the qualities of the good man, 
why is it they appear pleasant to us ? Because 
they urge us neither to war, to mistrust, to 
caution, to the accumulating of forces, nor to 
severity : our laziness, our good nature, and our 
levity, have a good time. This, our feeling of 
well-being, is what we project into the good man 
in the form of a quality, in the form of a valuable 



Under certain circumstances, virtue is merely a 
venerable form of stupidity : who could blame 
her for it? And this form of virtue has not 
been outlived even to-day. A sort of honest 
peasant-simplicity, which is possible, however, in all 
classes of society, and which one cannot meet with 
anything else than a respectful smile, still thinks 
to-day that everything is in good hands that is 
to say, in " God's hands " : and when it supports 
this proposition with that same modest assurance 
as that with which it would assert that two and 
two are four, we others naturally refrain from 

Why disturb this pure foolery ? Why darken 
it with our cares concerning man, people, goals, 
the future? Even if we wished to do so, we 
shouldn't succeed. In all things these people see 
the reflection of their own venerable stupidity and 
goodness (in them the old God deus myops 
still lives); we others see something else in 
everything: our problematic nature, our contra- 
dictions, our deeper, more painful, and more 
suspicious wisdom. 


He who finds a particular virtue an easy 
matter, ultimately laughs at it. Seriousness 
cannot be maintained once virtue is attained. As 
soon as a man has reached virtue, he jumps out 
of it whither ? Into devilry. 

Meanwhile, how intelligent all our evil tend- 


encies and impulses have become ! What an 
amount of scientific inquisitiveness torments them ! 
They are all fishhooks of knowledge ! 


The idea is to associate vice with something so 
terrible that at last one is obliged to run away 
from it in order to be rid of its associations. 
This is the well-known case of Tannhauser. 
Tannhauser, brought to his wits' end by Wagner- 
ian music, cannot endure life any longer even In 
the company of Mrs. Venus: suddenly virtue 
begins to have a charm for him; a Thuringian 
virgin goes up in price, and what is even worse 
still, he shows a liking for Wolfram von Eschen- 
bach's melody. . , . 


The Patrons of Virtue. Lust of property, lust 
of power, laziness, simplicity, fear ; all these things 
are interested in virtue ; that is why it stands so 


Virtue is no longer believed in ; its powers of 
attraction are dead ; what is needed is some one 
who will once more bring it into the market in the 
form of an outlandish kind of adventure and of 
dissipation. It exacts too much extravagance and 
narrow-mindedness from its believers to allow of 
conscience not being against it to-day. Certainly, 
for people without either consciences or scruples, 


this may constitute its new charm: it is now 
what it has never been before a vice. 


Virtue is still the most expensive vice : let it 
remain so ! 


Virtues are as dangerous as vices, in so far as 
they are allowed to rule over one as authorities and 
laws coming from outside, and not as qualities one 
develops one's self. The latter is the only right 
way ; they should be the most personal means of 
defence and most individual needs the determin- 
ing factors of precisely our existence and growth, 
which :ve recognise and acknowledge independ- 
ently of the question whether others grow with us 
with the help of the same or of different principles. 
This view of the danger of the virtue which is 
understood as impersonal and objective also holds 
good of modesty : through modesty many of the 
choicest intellects perish. The morality of modesty 
is the worst possible softening influence for those 
souls for which it is pre-eminently necessary that 
they become hard betimes. 


The domain of morality must be reduced and 
limited step by step ; the names of the instincts 
which are really active in this sphere must be 
drawn into the light of day and honoured, after 


they have lain all this time in the concealment of 
hypocritical names of virtue. Out of respect for 
one's " honesty," which makes itself heard ever 
more and more imperiously, one ought to unlearn 
the shame which makes one deny and " explain 
away " all natural instincts. The extent to which 
one can dispense with virtue is the measure of 
one's strength; and a height may be imagined 
where the notion " virtue " is understood in such a 
way as to be reminiscent of virtu the virtue of 
the Renaissance free from moralic acid. But 
for the moment how remote this ideal seems ! 

The reduction of the domain of morality is a 
sign of its progress. Wherever, hitherto, thought 
has not been guided by causality, thinking has 
taken a moral turn. 


After all, what have I achieved ? Let us not 
close our eyes to this wonderful result : I have 
lent new charms to virtue it now affects one 
in the same way as something forbidden. It has 
our most subtle honesty against it, it is salted in 
the "cum grano satis" of the scientific pang of 
conscience. It savours of antiquity and of old 
fashion, and thus it is at last beginning to draw 
refined people and to make them inquisitive in 
short, it affects us like a vice. Only after we have 
once recognised that everything consists of lies and 
appearance, shall we have again earned the right 
to uphold this most beautiful of all fictions virtue. 
There will then remain no further reason to de- 
prive ourselves of it: only when we have shown 


virtue to be a form of immorality do we again 
justify it, it then becomes classified, and likened, 
in its fundamental features, to the profound and 
general immorality of all existence, of which it is 
then shown to be a part. It appears as a form of 
luxury of the first order, the most arrogant, the 
dearest, and rarest form of vice. We have robbed 
it of its grimaces and divested it of its drapery ; 
we have delivered it from the importunate famili- 
arity of the crowd; we have deprived it of its 
ridiculous rigidity, its empty expression, its stiff 
false hair, and its hieratic muscles. 


And is it supposed that I have thereby done 
any harm to virtue ? . . . Just as little as anar- 
chists do to princes. Only since they have been 
shot at, have they once more sat securely on their 
thrones. . . . For thus it has always been and 
will ever be: one cannot do a thing a better 
service than to persecute it and to run it to earth. 
. . . This I have done. 

A. A Criticism of Ideals. 


It were the thing to begin this criticism in such- 
wise as to do away with the word u Ideal" \ a 
criticism of desiderata. 



Only the fewest amongst us are aware of what 
is involved, from the standpoint of desirability, in 
every " thus should it be, but it is not," or even 
" thus it ought to have been " : such expressions 
of opinion involve a condemnation of the whole 
course of events. For there is nothing quite 
isolated in the world : the smallest thing bears the 
largest on its back ; on thy small injustice the 
whole nature of the future depends ; the whole is 
condemned by every criticism which is directed at 
the smallest part of it. Now granting that the 
moral norm even as Kant understood it is 
never completely fulfilled, and remains like a sort 
of Beyond hanging over reality without ever 
falling down to it ; then morality would contain 
in itself a judgment concerning the whole, which 
would still, however, allow of the question : whence 
does it get the right thereto ? How does the part 
come to acquire this judicial position relative to 
the whole ? And if, as some have declared, this 
moral condemnation of, and dissatisfaction with, 
reality, is an ineradicable instinct, is it not possible 
that this instinct may perhaps belong to the 
ineradicable stupidities and immodesties of our 
species ? But in saying this, we are doing pre- 
cisely what we deprecate; the point of view of 
desirability and of unauthorised fault-finding is 
part and parcel of the whole character of worldly 
phenomena just as every injustice and imperfection 
is it is our very notion of " perfection " which is 
never gratified. Every instinct which desires to 


be indulged gives expression to its dissatisfaction 
with the present state of things : how ? Is the 
whole perhaps made up of a host of dissatisfied 
parts, which all have desiderata in their heads ? Is 
the " course of things " perhaps " the road hence ? 
the road leading away from reality " that is to 
say, eternal dissatisfaction in itself? Is the concep- 
tion of desiderata perhaps the essential motive- 
power of all things ? Is it deus ? 


It seems to me of the utmost importance that 
we should rid ourselves of the notion of the whole, 
of an entity, and of any kind of power or form of 
the unconditioned. For we shall never be able 
to resist the temptation of regarding it as the 
supreme being, and of christening it " God." 
The " All " must be subdivided ; we must unlearn 
our respect for it, and reappropriate that which 
we have lent the unknown and an imaginary 
entity, for the purposes of our neighbour and our- 
selves. Whereas, for instance, Kant said : " Two 
things remain for ever worthy of honour" (at the 
close of his Practical Reason} to-day we should 
prefer to say : " Digestion is more worthy of 
honour." The concept, " the All," will always 
give rise to the old problems, " How is evil 
possible?" etc. Therefore, there is no "All? 
there is no great sensorium or inventarium or 


A man as he ought to be : this sounds to me in 
just as bad taste as : "A tree as it ought to be." 



Ethics : or the " philosophy of desirability." 
" Things ought to be otherwise," " things ought to 
become different " : dissatisfaction would thus seem 
the heart of ethics. 

One could find a way out of it, first, by select- 
ing only those states in which one is free from 
emotion ; secondly, by grasping the insolence and 
stupidity of the attitude of mind : for to desire 
that something should be otherwise than it is, 
means to desire that everything should be different 
it involves a damaging criticism of the whole. 
But life itself consists in such desiring ! 

To ascertain what exists^ how it exists seems an 
ever so much higher and more serious matter than 
every "thus should it be," because the latter, as 
a piece of human criticism and arrogance, appears 
to be condemned as ludicrous from the start. It 
expresses a need which would fain have the 
organisation of the world correspond with our 
human well-being, and which directs the will as 
much as possible towards the accomplishment of 
that relationship. 

On the other hand, this desire, " thus it ought 
to be," has only called forth that other desire, 
" what exists ? " The desire of knowing what exists, 
is already a consequence of the question, " how ? 
is it possible ? Why precisely so ? " Our wonder 
at the disagreement between our desires and the 
course of the world has led to our learning to 
know the course of the world. Perhaps the 
matter stands differently : maybe the expression, 


" thus it ought to be," is merely the utterance of 
our desire to overcome the world 


To-day when every attempt at determining how 
man should be is received with some irony, when 
we adhere to the notion that in spite of all one 
only becomes what one is (in spite of all that 
is to say, education, instruction, environment, 
accident, and disaster), in the matter of morality 
we have learnt, in a very peculiar way, how to 
reverse the relation of cause and effect. Nothing 
perhaps distinguishes us more than this from the 
ancient believers in morality. We no longer say, 
for instance, " Vice is the cause of a man's physical 
ruin," and we no longer say, " A man prospers with 
virtue because it brings a long life and happiness." 
Our minds to-day are much more inclined to the 
belief that vice and virtue are not causes but only 
effects. A man becomes a respectable member of 
society because he was a respectable man from the 
start that is to say, because he was born in 
possession of good instincts and prosperous pro- 
pensities. . . . Should a man enter the world poor, 
and the son of parents who are neither economical 
nor thrifty, he is insusceptible of being improved 
that is to say, he is only fit for the prison or the 
madhouse. . . . To-day we are no longer able to 
separate moral from physical degeneration: the 
former is merely a complicated symptom of the 
latter; a man is necessarily bad just as he is 
necessarily ill. . . . Bad : this word here stands 


for a certain lack of capacity which is related 
physiologically with the degenerating type for 
instance, a weak will, an uncertain and many-sided 
personality, the inability to resist reacting to a 
stimulus and to control one's self, and a certain 
constraint resulting from every suggestion pro- 
ceeding from another's will. Vice is not a cause ; 
it is an effect. . . . Vice is a somewhat arbitrary 
epitome of certain effects resulting from physio- 
logical degeneracy. A general proposition such 
as that which Christianity teaches, namely, " Man 
is evil," would be justified provided one were 
justified in regarding a given type of degenerate 
man as normal. But this may be an exaggeration. 
Of course, wherever Christianity prospers and pre- 
vails, the proposition holds good: for then the 
existence of an unhealthy soil of a degenerate 
territory is demonstrated. 


It is difficult to have sufficient respect for man, 
when one sees how he understands the art of 
fighting his way, of enduring, of turning circum- 
stances to his own advantage, and of overthrowing 
opponents ; but when he is seen in the light of 
his desires, he is the most absurd of all animals. 
... It is just as if he required a playground for 
his cowardice, his laziness, his feebleness, his 
sweetness, his submissiveness, where he recovers 
from his strong virile virtues. Just look at man's 
" desiderata " and his " ideals." Man, when he 
desires, tries to recover from that which is 


eternally valuable in him, from his deeds ; and 
then he rushes into nonentity, absurdity, valueless- 
ness, childishness. The intellectual indigence and 
lack of inventive power of this resourceful and 
inventive animal is simply terrible. The " ideal " 
is at the same time the penalty man pays for the 
enormous expenditure which he has to defray 
in all real and pressing duties. Should reality 
cease to prevail, there follow dreams, fatigue, 
weakness : an " ideal " might even be regarded 
as a form of dream, fatigue, or weakness. The 
strongest and the most impotent men become 
alike when this condition overtakes them : they 
deify the cessation of work, of war, of passions, 
of suspense, of contrasts, of " reality " in short, of 
the struggle for knowledge and of the trouble 
of acquiring it. 

" Innocence " to them is idealised stultification ; 
"blessedness" is idealised idleness; "love," the 
ideal state of the gregarious animal that will no 
longer have an enemy. And thus everything that 
lowers and belittles man is elevated to an ideal* 


A desire magnifies the thing desired ; and by 
not being realised it grows the greatest ideas 
are those which have been created by the strongest 
and longest desiring. Things grow ever more 
valuable in our estimation, the more our desire 
for them increases : if " moral values " have become 
the highest values, it simply shows that the moral 
ideal is the one which has been realised least (and 


thus it represented the Beyond to all suffering, as a 
road to blessedness). Man, with ever-increasing 
ardour, has only been embracing clouds : and 
ultimately called his desperation and impotence 
" God." 


Think of the nawettot all ultimate " desiderata " 
when the " wherefore " of man remains unknown. 


What is the counterfeit coinage of morality? 
First of all we should know what " good and 
evil " mean. That is as good as wishing to know 
why man is here, and what his goal or his destiny 
is. And that means that one would fain know 
that man actually has a goal or a destiny. 


The very obscure and arbitrary notion that 
humanity has a general duty to perform, and that, 
as a whole, it is striving towards a goal, is 
still in its infancy. Perhaps we shall once more 
be rid of it before it becomes a " fixed idea." , . . 
But humanity does not constitute a whole : it 
is an indissoluble multiplicity of ascending and 
descending organisms it knows no such thing 
as a state of youth followed by maturity and 
then age. But its strata lie confused and 
superimposed and in a few thousand years 


there may be even younger types of men than 
we can point out to-day. Decadence, on the 
other hand, belongs to all periods of human 
history : everywhere there is refuse and decaying 
matter, such things are in themselves vital pro- 
cesses ; for withering and decaying elements must 
be eliminated. 


Under the empire of Christian prejudice this 
question was never put at all: the purpose of life 
seemed to lie in the salvation of the individual 
soul ; the question whether humanity might last 
for a long or a short time was not considered. 
The best Christians longed for the end to come 
as soon as possible ; concerning the needs of the 
individual, there seemed to be no doubt whatsoever. 
. . . The duty of every individual for the present 
was identical with what it would be in any sort 
of future for the man of the future: the value, 
the purpose, the limit of values was for ever fixed, 
unconditioned, eternal, one with God. . . . What 
deviated from this eternal type was impious, 
diabolic, criminal. 

The centre of gravity of all values for each 
soul lay in that soul itself: salvation or damnation I 
The salvation of the immortal soul 1 The most 
extreme form of personalisation. . . . For each 
soul there was only one kind of perfection ; only 
one ideal, only one road to salvation. . . . The 
most extreme form of the principle of equal rights, 
associated with an optical magnification of in- 
dividual importance to the point of megalomania 


. . . Nothing but insanely important souls, re- 
volving round their own axes with unspeakable 
terror. . . . 

Nobody believes in these assumed airs of im- 
portance any longer to-day: and we have sifted 
our wisdom through the sieve of contempt. 
Nevertheless the optical habit survives, which 
would fain measure the value of man by his 
proximity to a certain ideal man : at bottom the 
personalisation view is upheld as firmly as that of 
the equality of rights as regards the ideal. In 
short: people seem to think that they know what 
the ultimate desideratum is in regard to the ideal 
man. . . . 

But this belief is merely the result of the 
exceedingly detrimental influence of the Christian 
ideal, as anybody can discover for himself every 
time he carefully examines the " ideal type." In 
the first place, it is believed that the approach to 
a given " type " is desirable ; secondly ', that this 
particular type is known ; thirdly, that every 
deviation from this type is a retrograde movement, 
a stemming of the spirit of progress, a loss of 
power and might in man. . . . To dream of a 
state of affairs in which this perfect man will 
be in the majority: our friends the Socialists 
and even Messrs, the Utilitarians have not gone 
farther than this. In this way an aim seems to 
have crept into the evolution of man : at any 
rate the belief in a certain progress towards an 
ideal is the only shape in which an aim is con- 

VOL. i. S 


ceived in the history of mankind to-day. In 
short : the coming of the " Kingdom of God" has 
been placed in the future, and has been given an 
earthly, a human meaning but on the whole the 
faith in the old ideal is still maintained. . . . 


TJie more concealed forms of the cult of Christian^ 
moral ideals. The insipid and cowardly notion 
" Nature? invented by Nature-enthusiasts (without 
any knowledge whatsoever of the terrible, the 
implacable, and the cynical element in even " the 
most beautiful " aspects), is only a sort of attempt 
at reading the moral and Christian notion of 
" humanity " into Nature ; Rousseau's concept of 
Nature, for instance, which took for granted that 
" Nature " meant freedom, goodness, innocence, 
equity, justice, and Idylls, was nothing more at 
bottom than the cult of Christian morality. We 
should collect passages from the poets in order 
to see what they admired, in lofty mountains, for 
instance. What Goethe had to do with them 
why he admired Spinoza. Absolute ignorance 
concerning the reasons of this cult. . . . 

The insipid and coivardly concept " Man" ct la 
Comte and Stuart Mill, is at times the subject of 
a cult. . . . This is only the Christian moral ideal 
again under another name. . . . Refer also to the 
freethinkers Guyau for example. 

The insipid and cowardly concept " Art? which 
is held to mean sympathy with all suffering and 
with everything botched and bungled (the same 


thing happens to history \ cf. Thierry) : again it is 
the cult of the Christian moral ideal. 

And now, as to the whole socialistic ideal: it is 
nothing but a blockheaded misunderstanding of 
the Christian moral ideal. 


The origin of the ideal The examination of 
the soil out of which it grows. 

A. Starting out from those " aesthetic " mental 
states during which the world seems rounder, 
fuller, and more perfect : we have the pagan ideal 
with its dominating spirit of self-affirmation 
(people give of their abundance}. The highest 
type : the classical ideal regarded as an expres- 
sion of the successful nature of all the more 
important instincts. In this classical ideal we 
find the grand style as the highest style. An 
expression of the "will to power" itself. The 
instinct which is most feared dares to acknow- 
ledge itself. 

B. Starting out from the mental states in 
which the world seemed emptier, paler, and thinner, 
when " spiritualisation " and the absence of sensu- 
ality assume the rank of perfection, and when all 
that is brutal, animal, direct, and proximate is 
avoided (people calculate and select} : the " sage/ 1 
" the angel " ; priestliness = virginity = ignorance, 
are the physiological ideals of such idealists : the 
ancemic ideal. Under certain circumstances this 
anaemic ideal may be the ideal of such natures as 


represent paganism (thus Goethe sees his " saint " 
in Spinoza). 

C. Starting out from those mental states in 
which the world seemed more absurd, more evil, 
pqorer, and more deceptive, an ideal cannot even 
be imagined or desired in it {people deny and 
annihilate) ; the projection of the ideal into the 
sphere of the anti-natural, anti-actual, anti-logical ; 
the state of him who judges thus (the " impover- 
ishment" of the world as a result of suffering: 
people take, they no longer bestow} : the anti-natural 

(The Christian ideal is a transitional form 
between the second and the third, now inclining 
more towards the former type, and anon inclining 
towards the latter.) 

The three ideals: A. Either a strengthening 
of Life (paganism), or B. an impoverishment of Life 
(an&mid)) or C. a denial of Life (anti-naturalism). 
The state of beatitude in A. is the feeling of 
extreme abundance ; in B. it is reached by the 
most fastidious selectivencss ; in C. it is the 
contempt and the destruction of Life. 


A. The consistent type understands that even 
evil must not be hated, must not be resisted, and 
that it is not allowable to make war against 
one's self; that it does not suffice merely to accept 
the pain which such behaviour brings in its train ; 
that one lives entirely in positive feelings; that 
one takes the side of one's opponents in word 


and deed ; that by means of a superfoetation of 
peaceful, kindly, conciliatory, helpful, and loving 
states, one impoverishes the soil of the other 
states, . . . that one is in need of unremitting 
practice. What is achieved thereby? The 
Buddhistic type, or the perfect cow. 

This point of view is possible only where no 
moral fanaticism prevails that is to say, when 
evil is not hated on its own account, but because 
it opens the road to conditions which are painful 
(unrest, work, care, complications, dependence). 

This is the Buddhistic point of view : there is 
no hatred of sin, the concept " sin," in fact, is 
entirely lacking. 

B. The inconsistent type. War is waged 
against evil there is a, belief that war waged 
for Goodness* sake does not involve the same moral 
results or affect character in the same way as 
war generally does (and owing to which tend- 
encies it is detested as evil}. As a matter of 
fact, a war of this sort carried on against evil is 
much more profoundly pernicious than any sort 
of personal hostility; and generally, it is "the 
person" which reassumes, at least in fancy, the 
position of opponent (the devil, evil spirits, etc.). 
The attitude of hostile observation and spying in 
regard to everything which may be bad in us, or 
hail from a bad source, culminates in a most 
tormented and most anxious state of mind : thus 
"miracles," rewards, ecstasy, and transcendental 
solutions of the earth-riddle now became desir- 
able. . . . The Christian type : or the perfect bigot. 



C. The stoical type. Firmness, self-control, 
imperturbability, peace in the form of the rigidity 
of a will long active profound quiet, the de- 
fensive state, the fortress, the mistrust of war 
firmness of principles; the unity of knowledge 
and will\ great self-respect. The type of the 
anchorite. The perfect blockhead. 


An ideal which is striving to prevail or to 
assert itself endeavours to further its purpose 
(a) by laying claim to a spurious origin ; (ft) by 
assuming a relationship between itself and the 
powerful ideals already existing; (c) by means 
of the thrill produced by mystery, as though 
an unquestionable power were manifesting itself; 
(rf) by the slander of its opponents' ideals ; (e) by 
a lying teaching of the advantages which follow in 
its wake, for instance : happiness, spiritual peace, 
general peace, or even the assistance of a mighty 
God, etc. Contributions to the psychology of 
the idealists : Carlyle, Schiller, Michelet. 

Supposing all the means of defence and 
protection, by means of which an ideal survives, 
are discovered, is it thereby refuted? It has 
merely availed itself of the means by which every- 
thing lives and grows they are all " immoral." 

My view: all the forces and instincts which 
are the source of life are lying beneath the ban 
of morality : morality is the life-denying instinct. 
Morality must be annihilated if life is to be 



To avoid knowing himself is the prudence of the 
idealist. The idealist : a creature who has reasons 
for remaining in the dark concerning himself, and 
who is also clever enough to remain in the dark 
concerning these reasons also. 


The tendency of moral evolution. Every one's 
desire is that there should be no other teaching 
and valuation of things than those by means of 
which he himself succeeds. Thus the fundamental 
tendency of the weak and mediocre of all times, 
has been to enfeeble the strong and to reduce them 
to the level of the weak '; their chief weapon in this 
process was the moral principle. The attitude of 
the strong towards the weak is branded as evil ; the 
highest states of the strong become bad bywords. 

The struggle of the many against the strong, 
of the ordinary against the extraordinary, of the 
weak against the strong: meets with one of its 
finest interruptions in the fact that the rare, the 
refined, the more exacting, present themselves as 
the weak, and repudiate the coarser weapons of 


(1) The so-called pure instinct for knowledge 
of all philosophers is dictated to them by their 
moral "truths," and is only seemingly inde- 

(2) The " Moral Truths," " thus shall things be 


done," are mere states of consciousness of an 
instinct which has grown tired, "thus and thus 
are things done by us." The " ideal " is supposed 
to re-establish and strengthen an instinct; it 
flatters man to feel he can obey when he is only 
an automaton. 


Morality as a means of seduction. " Nature is 
good ; for a wise and good God is its cause. 
Who, therefore, is responsible for the ' corruption 
of man ' ? Tyrants and seducers and the ruling 
classes are responsible they must be wiped out " : 
this is Rousseau's logic (compare with Pascats logic, 
which concludes by an appeal to original sin). 

Refer also to Luther's logic, which is similar. 
In both cases a pretext is sought for the 
introduction of an insatiable lust of revenge 
as a moral and religious duty. The hatred 
directed against the ruling classes tries to sanctify 
itself . . . (the " sin fulness of Israel" is the 
basis of the priest's powerful position). 

Compare this with Paul's logic, which is 
similar. It is always under the cover of God's 
business that these reactions appear, under the 
cover of what is right, or of humanity, etc. In 
the case of Christ the rejoicings of the people 
appear as the cause of His crucifixion. It was 
an anti-priestly movement from the beginning. 
Even in the anti-Semitic movement we find the 
same trick : the opponent is overcome with moral 
condemnations, and those who attack him pose 
as retributive Justice. 



The incidents of the fight: the fighter tries to 
transform his opponent into the exact opposite of 
himself imaginatively, of course. He tries to 
believe in himself to such an extent that he may 
have the courage necessary for the " good Cause " 
(as if he were the good Cause) ; as if reason, taste, 
and virtue were being assailed by his opponents. 
. . . The belief of which he is most in need, as 
the strongest means of defence and attack, is the 
belief in himself, which, however, knows how to 
misinterpret itself as a belief in God. He never 
pictures the advantages and the uses of victory, 
but only understands victory for the sake of 
victory for God's sake. Every small community 
(or individual), finding itself involved in a struggle, 
strives to convince itself of this : " Good taste, good 
judgment, and virtue are ours." War urges people 
to this exaggerated self-esteem. . . . 


Whatever kind of eccentric ideal one may have 
(whether as a " Christian," a " free - spirit," an 
" immoralist," or a German Imperialist), one 
should try to avoid insisting upon its being the 
ideal ; for, by so doing, it is deprived of all its 
privileged nature. One should have an ideal as a 
distinction ; one should not propagate it, and thus 
level one's self down to the rest of mankind. 

How is it, that in spite of this obvious fact, the 
majority of idealists indulge in propaganda for 


their ideal, just as if they had no right to it unless 
the majority acquiesce therein ? For instance, all 
those plucky and insignificant girls behave in this 
wa)', who claim the right to study Latin and 
mathematics. What is it urges them to do this ? 
I fear it is the instinct of the herd, and the terror 
of the herd : they fight for the " emancipation of 
woman," because they are best able to achieve 
their own private little distinction by fighting for 
it under the cover of a charitable movement, under 
the banner bearing the device " For others." 

The cleverness of idealists consists in their per- 
sistently posing as the missionaries and "repre- 
sentatives " of an ideal : they thus " beautify " 
themselves in the eyes of those who still believe 
in disinterestedness and heroism. Whereas real 
heroism consists, not in fighting under the banner 
of self-sacrifice, submission, and disinterestedness, 
but in not fighting at all. ..." I am thus ; I 
will be thus and you can go to the devil 1 " 


Every ideal assumes love> hate, reverence, and con- 
tempt. Either positive feeling is \htprimum mobile^ 
or negative feeling is. Hatred and contempt are 
the primum mobile in all the ideals which proceed 
from resentment. 

B. A Criticism of tfie " Good Man? of the Saint ', etc, 

The "good man" Or, hemiplegia of virtue. 
In the opinion of every strong and natural man, 


love and hate, gratitude and revenge, goodness 
and anger, affirmative and negative action, belong 
to each other. A man is good on condition that 
he knows how to be evil ; a man is evil, because 
otherwise he would not know how to be good. 
Whence comes the morbidness and ideological 
unnaturalness which repudiates these compounds 
which teaches a sort of one-sided efficiency as 
the highest of all things ? Whence this hemiplegia 
of virtue, the invention of the good man ? The 
object seems to be to make man amputate those 
instincts which enable him to be an enemy, to be 
harmful, to be angry, and to insist upon revenge. 
. . . This unnaturalness, then, corresponds to 
that dualistic concept of a wholly good and of a 
wholly bad creature (Gad, Spirit, Man) ; in the first 
are found all the positive, in the second all the 
negative forces, intentions, and states. This 
method of valuing thus believes itself to be 
" idealistic n ; it never doubts that in its concept 
of the " good man/' it has found the highest de- 
sideratum. When aspiring to its zenith it fancies 
a state in which all evil is wiped out, and in which 
only good creatures have actually remained over. 
It does not therefore regard the mutual depend- 
ence of the opposites good and evil as proved. 
On the contrary, the latter ought to vanish, and 
the former should remain. The first has a right 
to exist, the second ought not to be with us at 
all. . . . What, as a matter of fact, is the reason 
of this desire ? In all ages, and particularly in the 
Christian age, much labour has been spent in 
trying to reduce men to this one-sided activity: 


and even to-day, among those who have been 
deformed and weakened by the Church, people 
are not lacking who desire precisely the same 
thing with their " humanisation " generally, or 
with their " Will of God," or with their " Salvation 
of the Soul." The principal injunction behind all 
these things is, that man should no longer do 
anything evil, that he should under no circum- 
stances be harmful or desire harm. The way to 
arrive at this state of affairs is to amputate all 
hostile tendencies, to suppress all the instincts of 
resentment, and to establish " spiritual peace " as 
a chronic disease. 

This attitude of mind, in which a certain type 
of man is bred, starts out with this absurd 
hypothesis: good and evil are postulated as 
realities which are in a state of mutual contradic- 
tion (not as complementary values, which they 
are), people are advised to take the side of the 
good, and it is insisted upon that a good man 
resists and forswears evil until every trace of it is 
uprooted but with this valuation Life is actually 
denied^ for in all its instincts Life has both yea 
and nay. But far from understanding these facts, 
this valuation dreams rather of returning to the 
wholeness, oneness, and strengthfulness of Life : it 
actually believes that a state of blessedness will 
be reached when the inner anarchy and state of 
unrest which result from these opposed impulses 
is brought to an end. It is possible that no more 
dangerous ideology, no greater mischief in the 
science of psychology^ has ever yet existed, than 
this will to good : the most repugnant type of man 


has been reared, the man who is not free, the 
bigot ; it was taught that only in the form of a 
bigot could one tread the path which leads to 
God, and that only a bigot's life could be a godly 

And even here, Life is still in the right Life 
that knows not how to separate Yea from Nay : 
what is the good of declaring with all one's might 
that war is an evil, that one must harm no one, 
that one must not act negatively? One is still 
waging a war even in this, it is impossible to do 
otherwise ! The good man who has renounced 
all evil, and who is afflicted according to his desire 
with the hemiplegia of virtue, does not therefore 
cease from waging war, or from making enemies, 
or from saying "nay" and doing "nay." The 
Christian, for instance, hates " sin " ! and what 
on earth is there which he does not call " sin " ! 
It is precisely because of his belief in a moral 
antagonism between good and evil, that the world 
for him has grown so full of hatefulness and 
things that must be combated eternally. The 
" good man " sees himself surrounded by evil, and, 
thanks to the continual onslaughts of the latter, 
his eye grows more keen, and in the end discovers 
traces of evil in every one of his acts. And thus 
he ultimately arrives at the conclusion, which to 
him is quite logical, that Nature is evil, that man is 
corrupted, and that being good is an act of grace 
(that is to say, it is impossible to man when he 
stands alone). In short : he denies Life, he sees 
how " good," as the highest value, condemns Life. 
, . . And thus his ideology concerning good and 


evil ought to strike him as refuted. But one 
cannot refute a disease. Therefore he is obliged 
to conceive anotfier life ! . . . 


Power, whether in the hands of a god or of a 
man, is always understood to consist in the ability 
to Jtarm as well as to help. This is the case with 
the Arabs and with the Hebrews, in fact with all 
strong and well-constituted races. 

The dualistic separation of the two powers is 
fatal. ... In this way morality becomes the 
poisoner of life. 


A criticism of the good man. Honesty, dignity, 
dutifulness, justice, humanity, loyalty, uprightness, 
clean conscience is it really supposed that, by 
means of these fine-sounding words, the qualities 
they stand for are approved and affirmed for their 
own sake? Or is it this, that qualities and states 
indifferent in themselves have merely been looked 
at in a light which lends them some value ? Does 
the worth of these qualities lie in themselves, or 
in the use and advantages to which they lead (or 
to which they seem to lead, to which they are 
expected to lead) ? 

I naturally do not wish to imply that there is 
any opposition between the ego and the alter in 
the judgment : the question is, whether it is the 
results of these qualities, either in regard to him 
who possesses them or in regard to environment! 


society, " humanity," which lend them their value ; 
or whether they have a value in themselves. . . . 
In other words: is it utility which bids men 
condemn, combat, and deny the opposite qualities 
(duplicity, falseness, perversity, lack of self- 
confidence, inhumanity) ? Is the essence of such 
qualities condemned, or only their consequences ? 
In other words : were it desirable that there should 
exist no men at all possessed of such qualities? 
In any case, this is believed. . . . But here lies 
the error, the shortsightedness, the monocularity 
of narrow egoism. 

Expressed otherwise : would it be desirable to 
create circumstances in which the whole advan- 
tage would be on the side of the just so that all 
those with opposite natures and instincts would 
be discouraged and would slowly become extinct ? 

At bottom, this is a question of taste and of 
(esthetics: should we desire the most honourable 
types of men that is to say, the greatest bores 
alone to subsist? the rectangular, the virtuous, 
the upright, the good-natured, the straightforward, 
and the " blockheads " ? 

If one can imagine the total suppression of the 
huge number constituting the "others/' even the 
just man himself ceases from having a right to 
exist, he is, in fact, no longer necessary, and in 
this way it is seen that coarse utility alone could 
have elevated such an insufferable virtue to a 
place of honour. 

Desirability may lie precisely on the other side. 
It might be better to create conditions in which 
the "just man" would be reduced to the humble 


position of a "useful instrument" an "ideal 
gregarious animal," or at best a herdsman: in 
short, conditions in which he would no longer 
stand in the highest sphere, which requires other 


The "good man" as a tyrant. Mankind has 
always repeated the same error: it has always 
transformed a mere vital measure into the measure 
and standard of life; instead of seeking the 
standard in the highest ascent of life, in the 
problem of growth and exhaustion, it takes the 
preservative measures of a very definite kind of 
life, and uses them to exclude all other kinds of 
life, and even to criticise Life itself and to select 
from among its forms. That is to say, man 
ultimately forgets that measures are a means to 
an end, and gets to like them for themselves: 
they take the place of a goal in his mind, and 
even become the standard of goals to him 
that is to say, a given species of man regards his 
means of existence as the only legitimate means, 
as the means which ought to be imposed upon all, 
as " truth," " goodness," " perfection " : the given 
species, in fact, begins to tyrannise. ... It is a 
form of faith, of instinct, when a certain species 
of man does not perceive that his kind has been 
conditioned, when he does not understand his 
relation to other species. At any rate, any species 
of men (a people or a race) seems to be doomed 
as soon as it becomes tolerant, grants equal rights, 
and no longer desires to be master. 



" All good people are weak : they are good 
because they are not strong enough to be evil," 
said the Latuka chieftain Comorro to Baker. 

" Disasters are not to the faint-hearted," is a 
Russian proverb. 


Modest, industrious, benevolent, and temperate : 
thus you would that men were ? that good men 
were? But such men I can only conceive as 
slaves, the slaves of the future. 


The metamorphoses of slavery ; its disguise in 
the cloak of religion; its transfiguration through 


The ideal slave (the " good man "). He who 
cannot regard himself as a " purpose," and who 
cannot give himself any aim whatsoever, in- 
stinctively honours the morality of unselfishness. 
Everything urges him to this morality: his 
prudence, his experience, and his vanity. And 
even faith is a form of self-denial. 

Atavism: delightful feeling, to be able to obey 
unconditionally for once. 


VOL. I. T 


Industry, modesty, benevolence, temperance, 
are just so many obstacles in the way of sovereign 
sentiments, of great ingenuity, of an heroic purpose, 
of noble existence for one's self. 

It is not a question of going ahead (to that end 
all that is required is to be at best a herdsman, 
that is to say, the prime need of the herd), it is 
rather a matter of getting along alone, of being 
able to be another. 


We must realise all that has been accumulated 
as the result of the highest moral idealism : how 
almost all other values have crystallised round it. 
This shows that it has been desired for a very 
long time and with the strongest passions and 
that it has not yet been attained: otherwise it 
would have disappointed everybody (that is to say, 
it would have been followed by a more moderate 

The saint as the most powerful type of man : 
this ideal it is which has elevated the value of 
moral perfection so high. One would think that 
the whole of science had been engaged in proving 
that the moral man is the most powerful and most 
godly. The conquest of the senses and the 
passions everything inspired terror ; the un- 
natural seemed to the spectators to be super* 
natural and transcendental. . , , 



Francis of Assist : amorous and popular, a poet 
who combats the order of rank among souls, in 
favour of the lowest. The denial of spiritual 
hierarchy "all alike before God." 

Popular ideals: the good man, the unselfish 
man, the saint, the sage, the just man. O Marcus 
Aurelius 1 


I have declared war against the anaemic 
Christian ideal (together with what is closely 
related to it), not because I want to annihilate it, 
but only to put an end to its tyranny and clear 
the way for other ideals^ for more robust ideals. 
. . . The continuance of the Christian ideal belongs 
to the most desirable of desiderata: if only for 
the sake of the ideals which wish to take their 
stand beside it and perhaps above it they must 
have opponents, and strong ones too, in order to 
grow strong themselves. That is why we im- 
moralists require the power of morality : our 
instinct of self-preservation insists upon our 
opponents maintaining their strength all it 
requires is to become master of them. 

C. Concerning the Slander of the so-called 
Evil Qualities. 


Egoism and its problem ! The Christian 
gloominess of La Rochefoucauld, who saw egoism 


in everything, and imagined that he had therefore 
reduced the worth of things and virtues ! In 
opposition to him, I first of all tried to show that 
nothing else could exist save egoism, that in 
those men whose ego is weak and thin, the power 
to love also grows weak, that the greatest lovers 
are such owing to the strength of their ego, that 
love is an expression of egoism, etc. As a matter 
of fact, the false valuation aims at the interest of 
those who find it useful, whom it helps in fact, 
the herd ; it fosters a pessimistic mistrust towards 
the basis of Life; it would fain undermine the 
most glorious and most well-constituted men (out 
of fear) ; it would assist the lowly to have the upper 
hand of their conquerors ; it is the cause of uni- 
versal dishonesty, especially in the most useful 
type of men. 


Man is an indifferent egoist : even the cleverest 
regards his habits as more important than his 


Egoism ! But no one has yet asked : what is 
the ego like? Everybody is rather inclined to 
see all egos alike. This is the result of the slave 
theory, of universal suffrage, and of " equality." 


The behaviour of a higher man is the result of 
a very complex set of motives : any word such as 
" pity " betrays nothing of this complexity. The 


most important factor is the feeling, " who am I ? 
who is the other relative to me ? " Thus the 
valuing spirit is continually active. 


To think that the history of all moral pheno- 
mena may be simplified, as Schopenhauer thought, 
that is to say, that pity is to be found at the 
root of every moral impulse that has ever existed 
hitherto, is to be guilty of a degree of nonsense 
and ingenuousness worthy only of a thinker who 
is devoid of all historical instincts and who has 
miraculously succeeded in evading the strong 
schooling in history which the Germans, from 
Herder to Hegel, have undergone. 


My "pity? This is a feeling for which I can 
find no adequate term : I feel it when I am in 
the presence of any waste of precious capabilities, 
as, for instance, when I contemplate Luther : what 
power and what tasteless problems fit for back- 
woodsmen ! (At a time when the brave and light- 
hearted scepticism of a Montaigne was already 
possible in France !) Or when I see some one 
standing below where he might have stood, thanks 
to the development of a set of perfectly senseless 
accidents. Or even when, with the thought of 
man's destiny in my mind, I contemplate with 
horror and contempt the whole system of modern 
European politics, which is creating the circum- 


stances and weaving the fabric of the whole future 
of mankind. Yes, to what could not " mankind " 

attain, if 1 This is my " pity " ; despite the 

fact that no sufferer yet exists with whom I 
sympathise in this way. 


Pity is a waste of feeling, a moral parasite 
which is injurious to the health, " it cannot possibly 
be our duty to increase the evil in the world." If 
one does good merely out of pity, it is one's self 
and not one's neighbour that one is succouring. 
Pity does not depend upon maxims, but upon 
emotions. The suffering we see infects us ; pity 
is an infection. 


There is no such thing as egoism which keeps 
within its bounds and does not exceed them 
consequently, the " allowable," the " morally in- 
different" egoism of which some people speak, 
does not exist at all. 

" One is continually promoting the interests of 
one's * ego ' at the cost of other people " ; " Living 
consists in living at the cost of others " he who 
has not grasped this fact, has not taken the first 
step towards truth to himself. 


The " subject " is a piece of fiction : the ego of 
which every one speaks when he blames egoism, 
does not exist at all. 



Our " ego " which is not one with the unitary 
controlling force of our beings ! is really only an 
imagined synthesis ; therefore there can be no 
" egoistic " actions. 


Since all instincts are unintelligent, utility cannot 
represent a standpoint as far as they are concerned. 
Every instinct, when it is active, sacrifices strength 
and other instincts into the bargain : in the end 
it is stemmed, otherwise it would be the end of 
everything owing to the waste it would bring 
about. Thus : that which is " unegoistic," self- 
sacrificing, and imprudent is nothing in particular 
it is common to all the instincts ; they do not 
consider the welfare of the whole ego (because they 
simply do not think /), they act counter to our 
interests, against the ego : and often for the ego 
innocent in both cases ! 


The origin of moral values. Selfishness has as 
much value as the physiological value of him who 
possesses it. Each individual represents the whole 
course of Evolution, and he is not, as morals teach, 
something that begins at his birth. If he re- 
present the ascent of the line of mankind, his 
value is, in fact, very great ; and the concern about 
his maintenance and the promoting of his growth 
may even be extreme. (It is the concern about 


the promise of the future in him which gives the 
well-constituted individual such an extraordinary 
right to egoism.) If he represent descending 
development, decay, chronic sickening, he has 
little worth : and the greatest fairness would have 
him take as little room, strength, and sunshine as 
possible from the well-constituted. In this case 
society's duty is to suppress egoism (for the latter 
may sometimes manifest itself in an absurd, morbid, 
and seditious manner) : whether it be a question 
of the decline and pining away of single individuals 
or of whole classes of mankind. A morality and 
a religion of" love," the curbing of the self-affirming 
spirit, and a doctrine encouraging patience, re- 
signation, helpfulness, and co-operation in word and 
deed may be of the highest value within the 
confines of such classes, even in the eyes of their 
rulers : for it restrains the feelings of rivalry, of 
resentment, and of envy, feelings which are only 
too natural in the bungled and the botched, and 
it even deifies them under the ideal of humility, of 
obedience, of slave-life, of being ruled, of poverty, 
of illness, and of lowliness. This explains why 
the ruling classes (or races) and individuals of all 
ages have always upheld the cult of unselfishness, 
the gospel of the lowly and of " God on the Cross." 
The preponderance of an altruistic way of 
valuing is the result of a consciousness of the fact 
that one is botched and bungled. Upon ex- 
amination, this point of view turns out to be : " I 
am not worth much," simply a psychological valua- 
tion ; more plainly still : it is the feeling of im- 
potence, <f the lack of the great self-asserting 


impulses of power (in muscles, nerves, and ganglia). 
This valuation gets translated, according to the 
particular culture of these classes, into a moral or 
religious principle (the pre-eminence of religious or 
moral precepts is always a sign of low culture) : 
it tries to justify itself in spheres whence, as far 
as it is concerned, the notion " value " hails. The 
interpretation by means of which the Christian 
sinner tries to understand himself, is an attempt 
at justifying his lack of power and of self-con- 
fidence : he prefers to feel himself a sinner rather 
than feel bad for nothing : it is in itself a symptom 
of decay when interpretations of this sort are used 
at all. In some cases the bungled and the botched 
do not look for the reason of their unfortunate 
condition in their own guilt (as the Christian does), 
but in society : when, however, the Socialist, the 
Anarchist, and the Nihilist are conscious that their 
existence is something for which some one must be 
guilty, they are very closely related to the Christian, 
who also believes that he can more easily endure 
his ill ease and his wretched constitution when he 
has found some one whom he can hold responsible 
for it. The instinct of revenge and resentment 
appears in both cases here as a means of enduring 
life, as a self-preservative measure, as is also the 
favour shown to altruistic theory and practice. 
The hatred of egoism^ whether it be one's own (as 
in the case of the Christian), or another's (as in 
the case of the Socialists), thus appears as a valua- 
tion reached under the predominance of revenge ; 
and also as an act of prudence on the part of the 
preservative instinct of the suffering, ^ the form 


of an increase in their feelings of co-operation and 
unity. ... At bottom, as I have already suggested, 
the discharge of resentment which takes place in 
the act of judging, rejecting, and punishing egoism 
(one's own or that of others) is yet another self- 
preservative instinct on the part of the bungled 
and the botched. In short : the cult of altruism is 
merely a particular form of egoism, which regularly 
appears under certain definite physiological cir- 

When the Socialist, with righteous indignation, 
cries for "justice," "rights," "equal rights," it 
only shows that he is oppressed by his inade- 
quate culture, and is unable to understand why 
he suffers: he also finds pleasure in crying; if 
he were more at ease he would take jolly good 
care not to cry in that way: in that case he 
would seek his pleasure elsewhere. The same 
holds good of the Christian : he curses, condemns, 
and slanders the " world " and does not even 
except himself. But that is no reason for taking 
him seriously. In both cases we are in the 
presence of invalids who feel better for crying, 
and who find relief in slander. 


Every society has a tendency to reduce its 
opponents to caricatures^ at least in its own 
imagination, as also to starve them. As an 
example of this sort of caricature we have our 
"criminal? In the midst of the Roman and 
aristocratiCgprder of values, the Jew was reduced 


to a caricature. Among artists, " Mrs. Grundy 
and the bourgeois" become caricatures; while 
among pious people it is the heretics, and among 
aristocrats, the plebeian. Among immoralists it 
is the moralist. Plato, for instance, in my books 
becomes a caricature. 


All the instincts and forces which morality 
praises, seem to me to be essentially the same as 
those which it slanders and rejects : for instance, 
justice as will to power, will to truth as a means 
in the service of the will to power. 


The turning 1 of man's nature inwards. The 
process of turning a nature inwards arises when, 
owing to the establishment of peace and society, 
powerful instincts are prevented from venting 
themselves outwardly, and strive to survive 
harmlessly inside in conjunction with the imagi- 
nation. The need of hostility, cruelty, revenge, 
and violence is reverted, "it steps backwards"; 
in the thirst for knowledge there lurks both the 
lust of gain and of conquest; in the artist, the 
powers of dissimulation and falsehood find their 
scope; the instincts are thus transformed into 
demons with whom a fight takes place, etc. 


Falsity. Every sovereign instinct makes the 
others its instruments, its retainers and its syco- 


phants : it never allows itself to be called by its 
more hateful name : and it brooks no terms of 
praise in which it cannot indirectly find its share. 
Around every sovereign instinct all praise and 
blame in general crystallises into a rigorous 
form of ceremonial and etiquette. This is one of 
the causes of falsity. 

Every instinct which aspires to dominion, but 
which finds itself under a yoke, requisitions all 
the most beautiful names and the most generally 
accepted values to strengthen it and to support its 
self-esteem, and this explains why as a rule it 
dares to come forward under the name of the 
" master " it is combating and from whom it 
would be free (for instance, under the domination 
of Christian values, the desires of the flesh and of 
power act in this way). This is the other cause 
of falsity. 

In both cases complete ingenuousness reigns: 
the falseness never even occurs to the mind of 
those concerned. It is the sign of a broken 
instinct when man sees the motive force and its 
" expression " (" the mask ") as separate things 
it is a sign of inner contradiction and is much less 
formidable. Absolute innocence in bearing, word, 
and passion, a " good conscience " in falseness, 
and the certainty wherewith all the grandest and 
most pompous words and attitudes are appro- 
priated all these things are necessary for 

In the other case: that is to say, when extreme 
clearsightedness is present, the genius of the actor 
is needful as well as tremendous discipline in self- 


control, if victory is to be achieved. That is why 
priests are the cleverest and most conscious hypo- 
crites ; and then come princes, in whom their 
position in life and their antecedents account 
for a certain histrionic gift. Society men and 
diplomatists come third, and women fourth. 

The fundamental thought; Falsity seems so 
deep, so many-sided, and the will is directed so 
inexorably against perfect self-knowledge and 
accurate self-classification, that one is very pro- 
bably right in supposing that Truth and the will to 
truth are perhaps something quite different and 
only disguises. (The need of faith is the greatest 
obstacle in the way of truthfulness.) 


"Thou shalt not tell a falsehood": people 
insist upon truthfulness. But the acknowledg- 
ment of facts (the refusal to allow one's self to be 
lied to) has always been greatest with liars : they 
actually recognised the ^//reality of this popular 
" truthfulness." There is too much or too little 
being said continually : to insist upon people's 
exposing themselves with every word they say, is 
a piece of nai'vetd 

People say what they think, they are " truth- 
ful " ; but only under certain circumstances : that is 
to say, provided they be understood (inter par es\ 
and understood with good will into the bargain 
(once more inter pares). One conceals one's self in 
the presence of the unfamiliar : and he who would 
attain to something, says what he would fain have 


people think about him, but not what he thinks. 
(" The powerful man is always a liar.") 


The great counterfeit coinage of Nihilism con* 
cealed beneath an artful abuse of moral values : 

(a) Love regarded as self-effacement; as also 

(b) Only the most impersonal intellect (" the 
philosopher") can know the truth, "the true 
essence and nature of things." 

(c) Genius, great men are great, because they 
do not strive to further their own interests : the 
value of man increases in proportion as he effaces 

(d) Art as the work of the "pure free-willed 
subject " ; misunderstanding of " objectivity." 

\e) Happiness as the object of life : virtue as a 
means to an end. 

The pessimistic condemnation of life by Scho- 
penhauer is a moral one. Transference of the 
gregarious standards into the realm of meta- 

The " individual " lacks sense, he must there- 
fore have his origin in "the thing in itself" (and 
the significance of his existence must be shown 
to be " error ") ; parents are only an " accidental 
cause." The mistake on the part of science in 
considering the individual as the result of all 
past life instead of the epitome of all past life, is 
pow becoming known, 



1. Systematic falsification of history \ so that 
it may present a proof of the moral valua- 
tions : 

(a) The decline of a people and corruption. 
(V) The rise of a people and virtue. 
(c) The zenith of a people ("its culture") 
regarded as the result of high moral excellence. 

2. Systematic falsification of great men, great 
creators, and great periods. The desire is to make 
faith that which distinguishes great men : whereas 
carelessness in this respect, scepticism, " immoral- 
ity," the right to repudiate a belief, belongs to 
greatness (Caesar, Frederick the Great, Napoleon ; 
but also Homer, Aristophanes, Leonardo, Goethe). 
The principal fact their " free will " is always 


A great lie in history ; as if the corruption of 
the Church were the cause of the Reformation ! 
This was only the pretext and self-deception of 
the agitators very strong needs were making 
themselves felt, the brutality of which sorely re- 
quired a spiritual dressing. 


Schopenhauer declared high intellectuality to 
be the emancipation from the will : he did not 
wish to recognise the freedom from moral pre- 
judices which is coincident with the emancipation 


of a great mind ; he refused to see what is the 
typical immorality of genius ; he artfully contrived 
to set up the only moral value he honoured 
self-effacement, as the one condition of highest 
intellectual activity : " objective " contemplation. 
" Truth," even in art, only manifests itself after 
the withdrawal of the will. . . . 

Through all moral idiosyncrasies I see a 
fundamentally different valuation. Such absurd 
distinctions as " genius " and the world of will, of 
morality and immorality, / know nothing about at 
all. The moral is a lower kind of animal than 
the immoral, he is also weaker ; indeed he is a 
type in regard to morality, but he is not a type 
of his own. He is a copy ; at the best, a good 
copy the standard of his worth lies without him. 
I value a man according to the quantum of power 
and fullness of his will\ not according to the 
enfeeblement and moribund state thereof. I con- 
sider that a philosophy which teaches the denial 
of will is both defamatory and slanderous. ... I 
test the power of a will according to the amount 
of resistance it can offer and the amount of pain 
and torture it can endure and know how to turn 
to its own advantage ; I do not point to the evil 
and pain of existence with the finger of reproach, 
but rather entertain the hope that life may one 
day be more evil and more full of suffering than 
it has ever been. 

The zenith of intellectuality, according to 
Schopenhauer, was to arrive at the knowledge 
that all is to no purpose in short, to recognise 
what the good man already does instinctively. . . , 


He denies that there can be higher states of 
intellectuality he regards his view as a non plus 
ultra. . . . Here intellectuality is placed much 
lower than goodness ; its highest value (as art, for 
instance) would be to lead up to, and to advise 
the adoption of, morality, the absolute predomin- 
ance of moral values. 

Next to Schopenhauer I will now characterise 
Kant : there was nothing Greek in Kant ; he was 
quite anti-historical (cf. his attitude in regard to 
the French Revolution) and a moral fanatic (see 
Goethe's words concerning the radically evil 
element in human nature *). Saintliness also 
lurked somewhere in his soul. ... I require a 
criticism of the saintly type. 

Hegel's value : " Passion." 

Herbert Spencer's tea-grocer's philosophy : total 
absence of an ideal save that of the mediocre man. 

* TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. This is doubtless a reference to a 
passage in a letter written by Goethe to Herder, on 7th June 
1 793, from tne camp at Marienborn, near Mainz, in which 
the following words occur : " Dagegen hat aber auch Kant 
seinen philosophischen Ma?itel^ nachdem er ein langes 
Menschenleben gebraucht hat, ihn von mancheriei sudel- 
haften Vorurteilen zu reinigen^freventlich mit detn Schand- 
fleck des radikalen Bosen beschlabbert^ damit dock auch 
Christen herbeigelockt werden den Saum zu kiissen? 
(" Kant, on the other hand, after he had tried throughout 
his life to keep his philosophical cloak unsoiled by foul pre- 
judices, wantonly dirtied it in the end with the disreputable 
stain of the * radical evil' in human nature, in order that 
Christians too might be lured into kissing its hem.") From 
this passage it will be seen how Goethe had anticipated 
Nietzsche's view of Kant ; namely, that he was a Christian 
in disguise. 

VOL. i. U 


Fundamental instinct of all philosophers, 
historians, and psychologists : everything of value 
in mankind, art, history, science, religion, and 
technology must be shown to be morally valuable 
and morally conditioned^ in its aim, means, and 
result. Everything is seen in the light of this 
highest value; for instance, Rousseau's question 
concerning civilisation, " Will it make man grow 
better?" a funny question, for the reverse is 
obvious, and is a fact which speaks in favour of 
civilisation. ? 

4 , , > 

-' 383- 

Religious morality. Passion, great desire ; the 
passions of power, love, revenge, and property : 
the moralists wish to uproot and exterminate all 
these things, and "purify" the soul by driving 
them out of it. 

The argument is : the passions often lead to 
disaster therefore, they are evil and ought to be 
condemned. Man must wring himself free from 
them, otherwise he cannot be a good man. . . . 

This is of the same nature as : "If thy right eye 
offend thee, pluck it out." In this particular case 
when, with that " bucolic simplicity," the Founder 
of Christianity recommended a certain practice to 
His disciples, in the event of sexual excitement, 
the result would not be only the loss of a parti- 
cular member, but the actual castration of the 
whole of the man's character. . . . And the same 
applies to the moral mania, which, instead of 
insisting upon the control of the passions, sues for 


their extirpation. Its conclusion always is : only 
the emasculated man is a good man. 

Instead of making use of and of economising 
the great sources of passion, those torrents of the 
soul which are often so dangerous, overwhelming, 
and impetuous, morality this most shortsighted 
and most corrupted of mental attitudes would 
fain make them dry up. 


Conquest over the passions ? No, not if this is 
to mean their enfeeblement and annihilation. 
They must be enlisted in our service : and to this 
end it may be necessary to tyrannise them a good 
deal (not as individuals, but as communities, races, 
etc.). At length we should trust them enough to 
restore their freedom to them : they love us like 
good servants, and willingly go wherever our best 
interests lie. 


Intolerance on the part of morality is a sign of 
man's weakness : he is frightened of his own 
" immorality," he must deny his strongest instincts^ 
because he does not yet know how to use them. 
Thus the most fruitful quarters of the globe 
remain uncultivated longest: the power is lack- 
ing that might become master here. . , . 


There are some very simple peoples and men 
who believe that continuous fine weather would be 


a desirable thing: they still believe to-day in 
rebus moralibus, that the " good man " alone and 
nothing else than the " good man " is to be desired, 
and that the ultimate end of man's evolution will 
be that only the good man will remain on earth 
(and that it is only to that end that all efforts 
should be directed). This is in the highest 
degree an uneconomical thought; as we have 
already suggested, it is the very acme of simplicity, 
and it is nothing more than the expression of the 
agreeableness which the " good man " creates (he 
gives rise to no fear, he permits of relaxation, 
he gives what one is able to take). 

With a more educated eye one learns to desire 
exactly the reverse that is to say, an ever 
greater dominion of evil, man's gradual emancipa- 
tion from the narrow and aggravating bonds of 
morality, the growth of power around the greatest 
forces of Nature, and the ability to enlist the 
passions in one's service. 


The whole idea of the hierarchy of the passions : 
as if the only right and normal thing were to be 
led by reason whereas the passions are abnormal, 
dangerous, half-animal, and moreover, in so far as 
their end is concerned, nothing more than desires 
for pleasure. . . . 

Passion is deprived of its dignity (i) as if it 
only manifested itself in an unseemly way and 
were not necessary and always the motive force, 


(2) inasmuch as it is supposed to aim at no high 
purpose merely at pleasure. . . . 

The misinterpretation of passion and reason^ as 
if the latter were an independent entity, and not 
a state of relationship between all the various 
passions and desires ; and as though every passion 
did not possess its quantum of reason. . . . 


How it was that, under the pressure of the 
dominion of an ascetic and self-effacing morality^ 
it was precisely the passions love, goodness, pity, 
even justice, generosity, and heroism, which were 
necessarily misunderstood : 

It is the richness of a personality \ the fullness of 
it, its power to flow over and to bestow, its 
instinctive feeling of ease, and its affirmative 
attitude towards itself, that creates great love 
and great sacrifices : these passions proceed from 
strong and godlike personalism as surely as do 
the desire to be master, to obtrude, and the inner 
certainty that one has a right to everything. The 
opposite views, according to the most accepted 
notions, are indeed common views; and if one 
does not stand firmly and bravely on one's legs, 
one has nothing to give, and it is perfectly useless 
to stretch out one's hand either to protect or to 
support others. . . . 

How was it possible to transform these instincts 
to such an extent that man could feel that to be 
of value which is directed against himself, so that 
he could sacrifice himself for another self! O the 


psychological baseness and falseness which hither- 
to has laid down the law in the Church and in 
Church-infected philosophy ! 

If man is thoroughly sinful, then all he can do 
is to hate himself. As a matter of fact, he ought 
not to regard even his fellows otherwise than he 
does himself; the love of man requires a justifi- 
cation, and it is found in the fact that God 
commanded it. From this it follows that all the 
natural instincts of man (to love, etc.) appear to 
him to be, in themselves, prohibited ; and that he 
re-acquires a right to them only after having 
denied them as an obedient worshipper of God. 
. . . Pascal, the admirable logician of Christianity, 
went as far as this \ let any one examine his 
relations to his sister. " Not to make one's self 
loved," seemed Christian to him, 


Let us consider how dearly a moral canon such 
as this (" an ideal ") makes us pay. (Its enemies 
are well ? The " egoists.") 

The melancholy astuteness of self-abasement in 
Europe (Pascal, La Rochefoucauld) inner en- 
feeblement, discouragement, and self-consumption 
of the non-gregarious man. 

The perpetual process of laying stress upon 
mediocre qualities as being the most valuable 
(modesty in rank and file, the creature who is an 

Pangs of conscience associated with all that 


is self-glorifying and original: thus follows the 
unhappiness the gloominess of the world from 
the standpoint of stronger and better-constituted 
men ! 

Gregarious consciousness and timorousness 
transferred to philosophy and religion. 

Let us leave the psychological impossibility of 
a purely unselfish action out of consideration ! 


My ultimate conclusion is, that the real man 
represents a much higher value than the " de- 
sirable" man of any ideal that has ever existed 
hitherto ; that all " desiderata " in regard to man- 
kind have been absurd and dangerous dissipations 
by means of which a particular kind of man has 
sought to establish his measures of preservation 
and of growth as a law for all ; that every 
" desideratum " of this kind which has been made 
to dominate has reduced man's worth, his strength, 
and his trust in the future; that the indigence 
and mediocre intellectuality of man becomes most 
apparent, even to-day, when he reveals a desire \ 
that man's ability to fix values has hitherto been 
developed too inadequately to do justice to the 
actual, not merely to the "desirable," worth of 
man \ that, up to the present, ideals have really 
been the power which has most slandered man 
and the world, the poisonous fumes which have 
hung over reality, and which have seduced men to 
yearn for nonentity. . . . 


D. A Criticism of the Words : Improving, 
Perfecting^ Elevating. 


The standard according to which the value of 
moral valuations is to be determined. 

The fundamental fact that has been overlooked \ 
The contradiction between " becoming more 
moral " and the elevation and the strengthening 
of the type man. 

Homo natura : The " will to power." 


Moral values regarded as values of appearance 
and compared with physiological values. 


Reflecting upon generalities is always retrograde: 
the ultimate "desiderata" concerning men, for 
instance, have never been regarded as problems 
by philosophers. They always postulate the 
" improvement " of man, quite guilelessly, as 
though by means of some intuition they had been 
helped over the note of interrogation following 
the question, why necessarily " improve " ? To 
what extent is it desirable that man should be 
more virtuous^ or more intelligent^ or happier 1 
Granting that nobody yet knows the " wherefore ? " 
of mankind, all such desiderata have no sense 
whatever; and if one aspires to one of them 


who knows? perhaps one is frustrating the 
other. Is an increase of virtue compatible with 
an increase of intelligence and insight ? Dubito : 
only too often shall I have occasion to show that 
the reverse is true. Has virtue, as an end, in the 
strict sense of the word, not always been opposed 
to happiness hitherto? And again, does it not 
require misfortune, abstinence, and self-castigation 
as a necessary means ? And if the aim were to 
arrive at the highest insight, would it not therefore 
be necessary to renounce all hope of an increase 
in happiness, and to choose danger, adventure, 
mistrust, and seduction as a road to enlighten- 
ment ? . . . And suppose one will have happiness ; 
maybe one should join the ranks of the "poor 
in spirit/' 


The wholesale deception and fraud of so-called 
moral improvement. 

We do not believe that one man can be another 
if he is not that other already that is to say, if 
he is not, as often happens, an accretion of person- 
alities or at least of parts of persons. In this 
case it is possible to draw another set of actions 
from him into the foreground, and to drive back 
" the older man." . . . The man's aspect is altered, 
but not his actual nature. ... It is but the 
merest factum brutum that any one should cease 
from performing certain actions, and the fact 
allows of the most varied interpretations. Neither 
does it always follow therefrom that the habit of 
performing a certain action is entirely arrested, 


nor that the reasons for that action are dissipated. 
He whose destiny and abilities make him a 
criminal never unlearns anything, but is con- 
tinually adding to his store of knowledge: and 
long abstinence acts as a sort of tonic on his 
talent. . . . Certainly, as far as society is con- 
cerned, the only interesting fact is that some one 
has ceased from performing certain actions ; and 
to this end society will often raise a man out of 
those circumstances which make him able to per- 
form those actions : this is obviously a wiser course 
than that of trying to break his destiny and his 
particular nature. The Church, which has done 
nothing except to take the place of, and to 
appropriate, the philosophic treasures of antiquity, 
starting out from another standpoint and wishing 
to secure a " soul " or the " salvation " of a soul, 
believes in the expiatory power of punishment, as 
also in the obliterating power of forgiveness : both 
of which supposed processes are deceptions due to 
religious prejudice punishment expiates nothing, 
forgiveness obliterates nothing ; what is done can- 
not be undone. Because some one forgets some- 
thing it by no means proves that something has 
been wiped out. . . . An action leads to certain 
consequences, both in a man and outside him, and 
it matters not whether it has met with punishment, 
or whether it has been "expiated," " forgiven," 
or " obliterated," it matters not even if the Church 
meanwhile canonises the man who performed 
it. The Church believes in things that do not 
exist, it believes in " Souls " ; it believes in 
"influences" that do not exist in divine in- 


fluences; it believes in states that do not exist, 
in sin, redemption, and spiritual salvation : in all 
things it stops at the surface and is satisfied with 
signs, attitudes, words, to which it lends an 
arbitrary interpretation. It possesses a method 
of counterfeit psychology which is thought out 
quite systematically. 


" Illness makes men better," this famous 
assumption which is to be met with in all ages, 
and in the mouth of the wizard quite as often as 
in the mouth and jaws of the people, really 
makes one ponder. In view of discovering 
whether there is any truth in it, one might be 
allowed to ask whether there is not perhaps a 
fundamental relationship between morality and 
illness? Regarded as a whole, could not the 
" improvement of mankind " that is to say, the 
unquestionable softening, humanising, and taming 
which the European has undergone within the 
last two centuries be regarded as the result of a 
long course of secret and ghastly suffering, failure, 
abstinence, and grief? Has illness made " Euro- 
peans " " better " ? Or, put into other words, is 
not our modern soft-hearted European morality, 
which could be likened to that of the Chinese, 
perhaps an expression of physiological deteriora- 
tion ? ... It cannot be denied, for instance, that 
wherever history shows us " man " in a state of 
particular glory and power, his type is always 
dangerous, impetuous, and boisterous, and cares 


little for humanity ; and perhaps, in those cases 
in which it seems otherwise, all that was required 
was the courage or subtlety to see sufficiently 
below the surface in psychological matters, in 
order even in them to discover the general pro- 
position : " the more healthy, strong, rich, fruitful, 
and enterprising a man may feel, the more 
immoral he will be as well." A terrible thought, to 
which one should on no account give way. Pro- 
vided, however, that one take a few steps forward 
with this thought, how wondrous does the future 
then appear! What will then be paid for more 
dearly on earth, than precisely this very thing 
which we are all trying to promote, by all means 
in our power the humanising, the improving, 
and the increased " civilisation " of man ? Noth- 
ing would then be more expensive than virtue : 
for by means of it the world would ultimately be 
turned into a hospital : and the last conclusion of 
wisdom would be, " everybody must be everybody 
else's nurse." Then we should certainly have 
attained to the " Peace on earth," so long desired ! 
But how little "joy we should find in each 
other's company"! How little beauty, wanton 
spirits, daring, and danger ! So few " actions " 
which would make life on earth worth living! 
Ah ! and no longer any " deeds " ! But have not 
all the great things and deeds which have re- 
mained fresh in the memory of men, and which 
have not been destroyed by time, been immoral 
in the deepest sense of the word ? . , , 

r MUKA1A1X. 3 I/ 


The priests and with them the half-priests or 
philosophers of all ages have always called that 
doctrine true, the educating influence of which 
was a benevolent one or at least seemed so 
that is to say, tended to " improve." In this way 
they resemble an ingenuous plebeian empiric and 
miracle-worker who, because he had tried a 
certain poison as a cure, declared it to be no 
poison. " By their fruits ye shall know them " 
that is to say, " by our truths." This has been 
the reasoning of priests until this day. They 
have squandered their sagacity, with results that 
have been sufficiently fatal, in order to make the 
" proof of power " (or the proof " by the fruits ") 
pre-eminent and even supreme arbiter over all 
other forms of proof. " That which makes good 
must be good ; that which is good cannot lie " 
these are their inexorable conclusions " that 
which bears good fruit must consequently be 
true; there is no other criterion of truth." . . . 

But to the extent to which " improving " acts as 
an argument, deteriorating must also act as a refuta- 
tion. The error can be shown to be an error, by 
examining the lives of those who represent it : a 
false step, a vice can refute. . . . This indecent 
form of opposition, which comes from below and 
behind the doglike kind of attack, has not died 
out either. Priests, as psychologists, never dis- 
covered anything more interesting than spying out 
the secret vices of their adversaries they prove 
their Christianity by looking about for the world's 


filth. They apply this principle more particu- 
larly to the greatest on earth, to the geniuses: 
readers will remember how Goethe has been 
attacked on every conceivable occasion in Ger- 
many (Klopstock and Herder were among the 
first to give a " good example " in this respect 
birds of a feather flock together). 


One must be very immoral in order to make 
people moral by deeds. The moralist's means are 
the most terrible that have ever been used ; he 
who has not the courage to be an immoralist in 
deeds may be fit for anything else, but not for 
the duties of a moralist. 

Morality is a menagerie ; it assumes that iron 
bars may be more useful than freedom, even for 
the creatures it imprisons ; it also assumes that 
there are animal-tamers about who do not shrink 
from terrible means, and who are acquainted with 
the use of red-hot iron. This terrible species, 
which enters into a struggle with the wild animal, 
is called " priests." 


Man, incarcerated in an iron cage of errors, has 
become a caricature of man ; he is sick, emaciated, 
ill-disposed towards himself, filled with a loathing 
of the impulses of life, filled with a mistrust of 
all that is beautiful and happy in life in fact, 
he is a wandering monument of misery. How 
shall we ever succeed in vindicating this pheno- 


menon this artificial, arbitrary, and recent mis- 
carriage the sinner which the priests have bred 
on their territory? 

In order to think fairly of morality, we must 
put two biological notions in its place : the taming 
of the wild beasts, and the rearing of a particular 

The priests of all ages have always pretended 
that they wished to " improve." . . . But we, of 
another persuasion, would laugh if a lion-tamer 
ever wished to speak to us of his " improved " 
animals. As a rule, the taming of a beast is only 
achieved by deteriorating it: even the moral man, 
is not a better man; he is rather a weaker 
member of his species. But he is less harm- 
ful. . . . 


What I want to make clear, with all the means 
in my power, is : 

(a) That there is no worse confusion than that 
which confounds rearing and taming \ and these 
two things have always been confused. . . , 
Rearing, as I understand it, is a means of hus- 
banding the enormous powers of humanity in 
such a way that whole generations may build 
upon the foundations laid by their progenitors 
not only outwardly, but inwardly, organically, 
developing from the already existing stem and 
growing stronger. . . . 

(I)) That there is an exceptional danger in 
believing that mankind as a whole is developing 


and growing stronger, if individuals are seen to 
grow more feeble and more equally mediocre. 
Humanity mankind is an abstract thing: the 
object of rearing, even in regard to the most 
individual cases, can only be the strong man 
(the man who has no breeding is weak, dissipated, 
and unstable). 



These are the things I demand of you how- 
ever badly they may sound in your ears: that 
you subject moral valuations themselves to 
criticism. That you should put a stop to your 
instinctive moral impulse which in this case 
demands submission and not criticism with the 
question : " why precisely submission ? " That 
this yearning for a " why ? " for a criticism of 
morality should not only be your present form of 
morality, but the sublimest of all moralities, and 
an honour to yourselves and to the age you live 
in. That your honesty, your will, may give an 
account of itself, and not deceive you : " why 
not ? " Before what tribunal ? 

The three postulates \ 

All that is ignoble is high (the protest of the 

" vulgar man "). 
All that is contrary to Nature is high (the 

protest of the physiologically botched). 


All that is of average worth is high (the pro- 
test of the herd, of the " mediocre "). 

Thus in the history of morality a will to power 
finds expression, by means of which, either the 
slaves, the oppressed, the bungled and the botched, 
those that suffer from themselves, or the mediocre, 
attempt to make those valuations prevail which 
favour their existence. 

From a biological standpoint, therefore, the 
phenomenon Morality is of a highly suspicious 
nature. Up to the present, morality has developed 
at the cost of: the ruling classes and their specific 
instincts, the well - constituted and beautiful 
natures, the independent and privileged classes in 
all respects. 

Morality, then, is a sort of counter-movement 
opposing Nature's endeavours to arrive at a higher 
type. Its effects are : mistrust of life in general 
(in so far as its tendencies are felt to be immoral), 
hostility towards the senses (inasmuch as the 
highest values are felt to be opposed to the 
higher instincts), Degeneration and self-destruc- 
tion of " higher natures," because it is precisely in 
them that the conflict becomes conscious. 


Which values have been paramount hitherto f 
Morality as the leading value in all phases of 
philosophy (even with the Sceptics). Result : this 
world is no good, a "true world" must exist 

What is it that here determines the highest 
VOL. i. X 


value ? What, in sooth, is morality ? The instinct 
of decadence; it is the exhausted and the dis- 
inherited who take their revenge in this way and 
play the masters. . . . 

Historical proof: philosophers have always been 
decadents and always in the pay of Nihilistic 

The instinct of decadence appears as the will 
to power. The introduction of its system of 
means : its means arc absolutely immoral. 

General aspect: the values that have been 
highest hitherto have been a special instance of 
the will to power ; morality itself is a particular 
instance of immorality. 

Why the Antagonistic Values always succumbed. 

1. How was this actually possible ? Question : 
why did life and physiological well-constitutedness 
succumb everywhere ? Why was there no affirma- 
tive philosophy, no affirmative religion ? 

The historical signs of such movements : the 
pagan religion. Dionysos versus the Christ. 
The Renaissance. Art. 

2. The strong and the weak : the healthy and 
the sick ; the exception and the rule. There is 
no doubt as to who is the stronger. . . . 

General view of history ; Is man an exception in 
the history of life on this account ? An objection 
to Darwinism. The means wherewith the weak suc- 
ceed in ruling have become : instincts, " humanity," 
"institutions." . . . 

3. The proof of this rule on the part of the 


weak is to be found in our political instincts, in 
our social values, in our arts, and in our science. 


The instincts of decadence have become master 
of the instincts of ascending life. . . . The will to 
nonentity has prevailed over the will to life \ 

Is this true! is there not perhaps a stronger 
guarantee of life and of the species in this victory 
of the weak and the mediocre ? is it not perhaps 
only a means in the collective movement of life, a 
mere slackening of the pace, a protective measure 
against something even more dangerous? 

Suppose the strong were masters in all respects, 
even in valuing : let us try and think what their 
attitude would be towards illness, suffering, and 
sacrifice ! Self -contempt on the part of tJie weak 
would be the result : they would do their utmost 
to disappear and to extirpate their kind. And 
would this be desirable ? should we really like a 
world in which the subtlety, the consideration, the 
intellectuality, the plasticity in fact, the whole 
influence of the weak was lacking ? * . . . 

* TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. We realise here the great differ- 
ence between Nietzsche and those who draw premature con- 
clusions from Darwinism. There is no brutal solution of 
modern problems in Nietzsche's philosophy. He did not 
advocate anything so ridiculous as the total suppression of 
the weak and the degenerate. What he wished to resist and 
to overthrow was their supremacy^ their excessive power. He 
felt that there was a desirable and stronger type which was 
in need of having its hopes, aspirations, and instincts upheld 
in defiance of Christian values, 


We have seen two " wills to power M at war (in 
this special case we had a principle : that of agree- 
ing with the one that has hitherto succumbed, and 
of disagreeing with the one that has hitherto 
triumphed) : we have recognised the " real world " 
as a " world of lies? and morality as a form of 
immorality. We do not say "the stronger is 

We have understood what it is that has deter- 
mined the highest values hitherto, and why the 
latter should have prevailed over the opposite 
value : it was numerically the stronger. 

If we now purify the opposite value of the in- 
fection, the half-heartedness, and the degeneration^ 
with which we identify it, we restore Nature to 
the throne, free from moralic acid. 


Morality, a useful error ; or, more clearly still, 
a necessary and expedient lie according to the 
greatest and most impartial of its supporters. 


ought to be able to acknowledge the truth 
upTo \hat point where one is sufficiently elevated 
no longer to require the disciplinary school of moral 
error. When one judges life morally, it disgusts 

Neither should false personalities be invented ; 
one should not say, for instance, " Nature is cruel." 
It is precisely when one perceives that there is no 


such central controlling and responsible force that 

one is relieved! 

Evolution of man. A. He tried to attain to 
a certain power over Nature and over 
himself. (Morality was necessary in 
order to make man triumph in his 
struggle with Nature and the "wild 

B. If power over Nature has been attained, 
this power can be used as a help in 
our development: Will to Power as a 
self-enhancing and self-strengthening 


Morality may be regarded as the illusion of 
a species, fostered with the view of urging the 
individual to sacrifice himself to the future, and 
seemingly granting him such a very great value, 
that with that self-consciousness he may tyrannise 
over, and constrain, other sides of his nature, and 
find it difficult to be pleased with himself. 

We ought to be most profoundly thankful for 
what morality has done hitherto: but now it is 
no more than a burden which may prove fatal. 
Morality itself in the form of honesty urges us 
to deny morality. 


To what extent is the self-destruction of morality 
still a sign of its own strength ? We Europeans 
have within us the blood of those who were ready 
to die for their faith; we have taken morality 


frightfully seriously, and there is nothing which 
we have not, at one time, sacrificed to it. On the 
other hand, our intellectual subtlety has been 
reached essentially through the vivisection of our 
consciences. We do not yet know the " whither " 
towards which we are urging our steps, now that 
we have departed from the soil of our forebears. 
But it was on this very soil that we acquired the 
strength which is now driving us from our homes 
in search of adventure, and it is thanks to that 
strength that we are now in mid-sea, surrounded 
by untried possibilities and things undiscovered 
we can no longer choose, we must be conquerors, 
now that we have no land in which we feel at 
home and in which we would fain " survive." A 
concealed "yea " is driving us forward, and it is 
stronger than all our " nays." Even our strength 
no longer bears with us in the old swampy land : 
we venture out into the open, we attempt the task. 
The world is still rich and undiscovered, and even 
to perish were better than to be half-men or 
poisonous men. Our very strength itself urges 
us to take to the sea ; there where all suns have 
hitherto sunk we know of a new world. . . . 





LET us rid ourselves of a few superstitions 
which heretofore have been fashionable among 
philosophers 1 


Philosophers are prejudiced against appearance, 
change, pain, death, the things of the body, the 
senses, fate, bondage, and all that which has no 

In the first place, they believe in : absolute 
knowledge, (2) in knowledge for its own sake, 

(3) in virtue and happiness as necessarily related, 

(4) in the recognisability of men's acts. They are 
led by instinctive determinations of values, in 
which former cultures are reflected (more danger* 
ous cultures too). 


What have philosophers lacked^ (i) A sense 
of history, (2) a knowledge of physiology, (3) a 


goal in the future. The ability to criticise without 
irony or moral condemnation. 


Philosophers have had (i) from times im- 
memorial a wonderful capacity for the contradictio 
in adjecto, (2) they have always trusted concepts 
as unconditionally as they have mistrusted the 
senses : it never seems to have occurred to them 
that notions and words are our inheritance of past 
ages in which thinking was neither very clear nor 
very exact 

What seems to dawn upon philosophers last of 
all : that they must no longer allow themselves to 
be presented with concepts already conceived, nor 
must they merely purify and polish up those con- 
cepts ; but they must first make them, create them, 
themselves, and then present them and get people 
to accept them. Up to the present, people have 
trusted their concepts generally, as if they had 
been a wonderful dowry from some kind of 
wonderland: but they constitute the inheritance 
of our most remote, most foolish, and most intelli- 
gent forefathers. This piety towards that which 
already exists in us is perhaps related to the moral 
element in science. What we needed above all is 
absolute scepticism towards all traditional concepts 
(like that which a certain philosopher may already 
have possessed and he was Plato, of course : for 
he taught the reverse). 



Profoundly mistrustful towards the dogmas of 
the theory of knowledge, I liked to look now out 
of this window, now out of that, though I took 
good care not to become finally fixed anywhere, 
indeed I should have thought it dangerous to 
have done so though finally : is it within the 
range of probabilities for an instrument to criticise 
its own fitness? What I noticed more particu- 
larly was, that no scientific scepticism or dog- 
matism has ever arisen quite free from all arrieres 
penstes that it has only a secondary value as 
soon as the motive lying immediately behind it is 

Fundamental aspect : Kant's, Hegel's, Schopen- 
hauer's, the sceptical and epochistical, the histori- 
fying and the pessimistic attitudes all have a 
moral origin. I have found no one who has 
dared to criticise the moral valuations, and I soon 
turned my back upon the meagre attempts that 
have been made to describe the evolution of these 
feelings (by English and German Darwinians). 

How can Spinoza's position, his denial and 
repudiation of the moral values, be explained ? 
(It was the result of his Theodicy 1) 


Morality regarded as the highest form of 
protection. Our world is either the work and 
expression (the modus) of God, in which case it 
must be in the highest degree perfect (Leibnitz's 


conclusion . . .), and no one doubted that he 
knew what perfection must be like, and then all 
evil can only be apparent (Spinoza is more radical^ 
he says this of good and evil), or it must be a part 
of God's high purpose (a consequence of a particu- 
larly great mark of favour on God's part, who thus 
allows man to choose between good and evil : the 
privilege of being no automaton ; " freedom," with 
the ever-present danger of making a mistake and 
of choosing wrongly. . . . See Simplicius, for 
instance, in the commentary to Epictetus). 

Or our world is imperfect ; evil and guilt are 
real, determined, and are absolutely inherent to 
its being; -in that case it cannot be the real 
world: consequently knowledge can only be a 
way of denying the world, for the latter is error 
which may be recognised as such. This is 
Schopenhauer's opinion, based upon Kantian 
first principles. Pascal was still more desperate : 
he thought that even knowledge must be corrupt 
and false that revelation is a necessity if only 
in order to recognise that the world should be 
denied. . . . 


Owing to our habit of believing in uncondi- 
tional authorities, we have grown to feel a 
profound need for them: indeed, this feeling is 
so strong that, even in an age of criticism such 
as Kant's was, it showed itself to be superior to 
the need for criticism, and, in a certain sense, was 
able to subject the whole work of critical acumen, 
and to convert it to its own use. It proved its 


superiority once more in the generation which 
followed, and which, owing to its historical 
instincts, naturally felt itself drawn to a relative 
view of all authority, when it converted even the 
Hegelian philosophy of evolution (history re- 
christened and called philosophy) to its own use, 
and represented history as being the self-revela- 
tion and self-surpassing of moral ideas. Since 
Plato, philosophy has lain under the dominion of 
morality. Even in Plato's predecessors, moral 
interpretations play a most important r61e (Anaxi- 
mander 'declares that all things are made to perish 
as a punishment for their departure from pure 
being; Heraclitus thinks that the regularity of 
phenomena is a proof of the morally correct 
character of evolution in general). 


The progress of philosophy has been hindered 
most seriously hitherto through the influence of 
moral arrieres-pensfos. 


In all ages, " fine feelings " have been regarded 
as arguments, " heaving breasts '* have been the 
bellows of godliness, convictions have been the 
"criteria" of truth, and the need of opposition 
has been the note of interrogation affixed to 
wisdom. This falseness and fraud permeates the 
whole history of philosophy. But for a few 
respected sceptics, no instinct for intellectual 
uprightness is to be found anywhere. Finally, 


Kant guilelessly sought to make this thinker's 
corruption scientific by means of his concept, 
"practical reason? He expressly invented a 
reason which, in certain cases, would allow one 
not to bother about reason that is to say, in cases 
where the heart's desire, morality, or " duty " are 
the motive power. 


Hegel; his popular side, the doctrine of war 
and of great men. Right is on the side of the 
victorious : he (the victorious man) stands for the 
progress of mankind. His is an attempt at 
proving the dominion of morality by means of 

Kant: a kingdom of moral values withdrawn 
from us, invisible, real. 

Hegel : a demonstrable process of evolution, 
the actualisation of the kingdom of morality. 

We shall not allow ourselves to be deceived 
either in Kant's or Hegel's way : We no longer 
believe, as they did, in morality, and therefore have 
no philosophies to found with the view of justify- 
ing morality. Criticism and history have no 
charm for us in this respect : what is their charm, 
then? * 


The importance of German philosophy (Hegel)^ 
the thinking out of a kind of pantheism which 
would not reckon evil, error, and suffering as 
arguments against godliness. This grand initia- 
tive was misused by the powers that were (State, 


etc.) to sanction the rights of the people that 
happened to be paramount. 

Schopenhauer appears as a stubborn opponent 
of this idea ; he is a moral man who, in order to 
keep in the right concerning his moral valuation, 
finally becomes a denier of the world. Ultimately 
he becomes a " mystic." 

I myself have sought an cesthetic justification 
of the ugliness in this world. I regarded the 
desire for beauty and for the persistence of certain 
forms as a temporary preservative and recupera- 
tive measure: what seemed to me to be funda- 
mentally associated with pain, however, was the 
eternal lust of creating and the eternal compulsion 
to destroy. 

We call things ugly when we look at them with 
the desire of attributing some sense, some new 
sense, to what has become senseless: it is the 
accumulated power of the creator which compels 
him to regard what has existed hitherto as no 
longer acceptable, botched, worthy of being sup- 
pressed ugly ! 


My first solution of the problem : Dionysian 
wisdom. The joy in the destruction of the most 
noble thing y and at the sight of its gradual undoing, 
regarded as the joy over what is coming and what 
lies in the future, which triumphs over actual 
things^ however good they may be. Dionysian : 
temporary identification with the principle of life 
(voluptuousness of the martyr included). 

My innovations. The Development of Pessim- 


ism: intellectual pessimism; moral criticism, the 
dissolution of the last comfort. Knowledge, a 
sign of decay i veils by means of an illusion all 
strong action; culture isolates, is unfair and 
therefore strong. 

(1) My fight against decay and the increas- 
ing weakness of personality. I sought a new 

(2) The impossibility of this endeavour is 

(3) I therefore travelled farther along the road 
of dissolution and along it I found new sources 
of strength for individuals. We must be destroyers \ 
I perceived that the-state^oj^^j^/^ is one m . 

are qblejo arrive at aj&ind 

o/ peiJ^tlon^nOt'pvssiftte hitjierto^it is an image and 
i^ut^ed'l^amfle~'of life in general. To the para- 
lysing feeling of general dissolution and imperfec- 
tion, I opposed the Eternal Recurrence. 


People naturally seek the picture of life in that 
philosophy which makes them most cheerful 
that is to say, in that philosophy which gives the 
highest sense of freedom to tJteir strongest instinct. 
This is probably the case with me. 


German philosophy, as a whole, Leibnitz, 
Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, to mention the 
greatest, is the most out-and-out form of 


romanticism and home-sickness that has ever yet 
existed : it is a yearning for the best that has 
ever been known on earth. One is at home no- 
where ; that which is ultimately yearned after is a 
place where one can somehow feel at home ; be- 
cause there alone one would like to be at home, and 
that place is the Greek world ! But it is precisely 
in that direction that all bridges are broken down 
save, of course, the rainbow of concepts ! And 
the latter lead everywhere, to all the homes and 
" fatherlands " that ever existed for Greek souls ! 
Certainly, one must be very light and thin in 
order to cross these bridges ! But what happiness 
lies even in this desire for spirituality, almost for 
ghostliness! With it, how far one is from the 
" press and bustle " and the mechanical boorish- 
ness of the natural sciences, how far from the 
vulgar din of " modern ideas " ! One wants to get 
back to the Greeks via the Fathers of the Church, 
from North to South, from formulae to forms ; the 
passage out of antiquity Christianity is still a 
source of joy as a means of access to antiquity, 
as a portion of the old world itself, as a glistening 
mosaic of ancient concepts and ancient valuations. 
Arabesques, scroll-work, rococo of scholastic 
abstractions always better, that is to say, finer 
and more slender, than the peasant and plebeian 
reality of Northern Europe, and still a protest 
on the part of higher intellectuality against the 
peasant war and insurrection of the mob which 
have become master of the intellectual taste of 
Northern Europe, and which had its leader in a 
man as great and unintellectual as Luther: in 


this respect German philosophy belongs to the 
Counter-Reformation, it might even be looked 
upon as related to the Renaissance, or at least to 
the will to Renaissance, the will to get ahead with 
the discovery of antiquity, with the excavation of 
ancient philosophy, and above all of pre-Socratic 
philosophy the most thoroughly dilapidated of 
all Greek temples ! Possibly, in a few hundred 
years, people will be of the opinion that all 
German philosophy derived its dignity from this 
fact, that step by step it attempted to reclaim the 
soil of antiquity, and that therefore all demands 
for " originality " must . appear both petty and 
foolish when compared with Germany's higher 
claim to having refastened the bonds which 
seemed for ever rent the bonds which bound us to 
the Greeks, the highest type of " men " ever evolved 
hitherto. To-day we are once more approach- 
ing all the fundamental principles of the cosmogony 
which the Greek mind in Anaximander, Hera- 
clitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Democritus, and 
Anaxagoras, was responsible for. Day by day 
we are growing more Greek ; at first, as is only 
natural, the change remains confined to concepts 
and valuations, and we hover around like Grecis- 
ing spirits : but it is to be hoped that some day 
our body will also be involved 1 Here lies (and 
has always lain) my hope for the German nation. 


I do not wish to convert anybody to philosophy : 
it is both necessary and perhaps desirable that the 


philosopher should be a rare plant. Nothing is 
more repugnant to me than the scholarly praise 
of philosophy which is to be found in Seneca and 
Cicero. Philosophy has not much in common 
with virtue. I trust I may be allowed to say that 
even the scientific man is a fundamentally different 
person from the philosopher. What I most desire 
is, that the genuine notion " philosopher " should 
not completely perish in Germany. There are so 
many incomplete creatures in Germany already 
who would fain conceal their ineptitude beneath 
such noble names. 


I must set up the highest ideal of a philosopher. 
Learning is not everything ! The scholar is the 
sheep in the kingdom of learning ; he studies be- 
cause he is told to do so, and because others have 
done so before him. 


The superstition concerning philosophers 9 . They 
are confounded with men of science. As if the 
value of things were inherent in them and required 
only to be held on to tightly ! To what extent 
are their researches carried on under the influence 
of values which already prevail (their hatred of 
appearance of the body, etc.)? Schopenhauer 
concerning morality (scorn of Utilitarianism). 
Ultimately the confusion goes so far that 
Darwinism is regarded as philosophy, and thus at 
the present day power has gone over to the men 
of science. Even Frenchmen like Taine prosecute 
VOL. i. Y 


research, or mean to prosecute research, without 
being already in possession of a standard of 
valuation. Prostration before " facts " of a kind 
of cult. As a matter of fact, they destroy the 
existing valuations. 

The explanation of this misunderstanding. The 
man who is able to command is a rare phenomenon ; 
he misinterprets himself. What one wants to do, 
above all, is to disclaim all authority and to 
attribute it to circumstances. In Germany the 
critic's estimations belong to the history of 
awakening manhood. Lessing, etc. (Napoleon 
concerning Goethe). As a matter of fact, the 
movement is again made retrograde owing to 
German romanticism : and the fame of German 
philosophy relies upon it as if it dissipated the 
danger of scepticism and could demonstrate faith. 
Both tendencies culminate in Hegel : at bottom, 
what he did was to generalise the fact of German 
criticism and the fact of German romanticism, a 
kind of dialectical fatalism, but to the honour of 
intellectuality, with the actual submission of the 
philosopher to reality. The critic prepares the way : 
that is all I 

With Schopenhauer the philosopher's mission 
dawns; it is felt that the object is to determine 
values ; still under the dominion of eudemonism. 
The ideal of Pessimism, 

Theory and practice. This is a pernicious dis- 
tinction, as if there were an instinct of knowledge^ 


which, without inquiring into the utility or harm- 
fulness of a thing, blindly charged at the truth ; 
and then that, apart from this instinct, there were 
the whole world of practical interests. 

In contradiction of this, I try to show what 
instincts are active behind all these pure theorists, 
and how the latter, as a whole, under the 
dominion of their instincts, fatally make for some- 
thing which to their minds is " truth," to their 
minds and only to their minds. The struggle 
between systems, together with the struggle 
between epistemological scruples, is one which 
involves very special instincts (forms of vitality, of 
decline, of classes, of races, etc.). 

The so-called thirst for knowledge may be traced 
to the lust of appropriation and of conquest: in 
obedience to this lust the senses memory, and 
the instincts, etc., were developed. The quickest 
possible reduction of the phenomena, economy, 
the accumulation of spoil from the world of know- 
ledge (i.e. that portion of the world which has 
been appropriated and made manageable). . . . 

Morality is therefore such a curious science, 
because it is in the highest degree practical \ the 
purely scientific position, scientific uprightness, is 
thus immediately abandoned, as soon as morality 
calls for replies to its questions. Morality says : 
I require certain answers reasons, arguments ; 
scruples may come afterwards, or they may not 
come at all. 

" How must one act ? " If one considers that 
one is dealing with a supremely evolved type a 
type which has been " dealt with M for countless 


thousands of years, and in which everything has 
become instinct, expediency, automatism, fatality, 
the urgency of this moral question seems rather 

" How must one act ? " Morality has always 
been a subject of misunderstanding : as a matter 
of fact, a certain species, which was constituted to 
act in a certain way, wished to justify itself by 
making its norm paramount. 

" How must one act ? " this is not a cause, but 
an effect. Morality follows, the ideal comes 
at the end. . . . 

On the other hand, the appearance of moral 
scruples (or in other words, the coming to conscious- 
ness of the values which guide action) betray a 
certain morbidness ; strong ages and people do 
not ponder over their rights, nor over the principles 
of action, over instinct or over reason. Conscious- 
ness is a sign that the real morality that is to say, 
the certainty of instinct which leads to a definite 
course of action is going to the dogs. . . . Every 
time a new world of consciousness is created, the 
moralists are signs of a lesion, of impoverishment 
and of disorganisation. Those who are deeply 
instinctive fear bandying words over duties : among 
them are found pyrrhonic opponents of dialectics 
and of knowableness in general. ... A virtue is 
refuted with a " for." . . . 

Thesis: The appearance of moralists belongs 
to periods when morality is declining. 

Thesis: The moralist is a dissipator of moral 
instincts, however much he may appear to be their 


Thesis : That which really prompts the action 
of a moralist is not a moral instinct, but the 
instincts of decadence, translated into the forms of 
morality (he regards the growing uncertainty of 
the instincts as corruption). 

Thesis : The instincts of decadence which, thanks 
to moralists, wish to become master of the in- 
stinctive morality of stronger races and ages, 

(1) The instincts of the weak and of the botched ; 

(2) The instincts of the exceptions, of the 
anchorites, of the unhinged, of the abortions of 
quality or of the reverse ; 

(3) The instincts of the habitually suffering, who 
require a noble interpretation of their condition, 
and who therefore require to be as poor physi- 
ologists as possible. 


The humbug of the scientific spirit. One should 
not affect the spirit of science, when the time to 
be scientific is not yet at hand; but even the 
genuine investigator has to abandon vanity, and 
has to affect a certain kind of method which is 
not yet seasonable. Neither should we falsify 
things and thoughts, which we have arrived at 
differently, by means of a false arrangement of 
deduction and dialectics. It is thus that Kant in 
his "morality" falsifies his inner tendency to 
psychology ; a more modern example of the same 
thing is Herbert Spencer's Ethics. A man should 
neither conceal nor misrepresent the facts con- 
cerning the way in which he conceived his 


thoughts. The deepest and most inexhaustible 
books will certainly always have something of the 
aphoristic and impetuous character of Pascal's 
Penstes. The motive forces and valuations have 
lain long below the surface; that which comes 
uppermost is their effect. 

I guard against all the humbug of a false 
scientific spirit: 

(1) In respect of the manner of demonstration, 
if it does not correspond to the genesis of the 
thoughts ; 

(2) In respect of the demands for methods which, 
at a given period in science, may be quite 
impossible ; 

(3) In respect of the demand for objectivity, for 
cold impersonal treatment, where, as in the case 
of all valuations, we describe ourselves and our 
intimate experiences in a couple of words. There 
are ludicrous forms of vanity, as, for instance, 
Sainte-Beuve's. He actually worried himself all 
his life because he had shown some warmth or 
passion either "pro " or " con" and he would fain 
have lied that fact out of his life. 


" Objectivity " in the philosopher : moral in- 
difference in regard to one's self, blindness in regard 
to either favourable or fatal circumstances. Un- 
scrupulousness in the use of dangerous means ; 
perversity and complexity of character considered 
as an advantage and exploited. 

My profound indifference to myself: I refuse 


to derive any advantage from my knowledge, nor 
do I wish to escape any disadvantages which it 
may entail. I include among these disadvantages 
that which is called the perversion of character ; 
this prospect is beside the point : I use my char- 
acter, but I try neither to understand it nor to 
change it the personal calculation of virtue has 
not entered my head once. It strikes me that one 
closes the doors of knowledge as soon as one 
becomes interested in one's own personal case or 
even in the " Salvation of one's soul " ! . . . One 
should not take one's morality too seriously, nor 
should one forfeit a modest right to the opposite 
of morality. . . . 

A sort of heritage of morality is perhaps pre- 
supposed here : one feels that one can be lavish 
with it and fling a great deal of it out of the 
window without materially reducing one's means. 
One is never tempted to admire " beautiful souls," 
one always knows one's self to be their superior. 
The monsters of virtue should be met with inner 
scorn ; dtniaiser la vertu Oh, the joy of it ! 

One should revolve round one's self, have no 
desire to be " better " or " anything else " at all than 
one is. One should be too interested to omit 
throwing the tentacles or meshes of every mor- 
ality out to things. 


Concerning the psychology of philosophers. 
They should be psychologists this was possible 
only from the nineteenth century onwards and 
no longer little Jack Homers, who see three or 


four feet in front of them, and are almost satisfied 
to burrow inside themselves. We psychologists of 
the future are not very intent on self-contempla- 
tion : we regard it almost as a sign of degeneration 
when an instrument endeavours " to know itself" : * 
we are instruments of knowledge and we would 
fain possess all the precision and ingenuousness of 
an instrument consequently we may not analyse 
or " know " ourselves. The first sign of a great 
psychologist's self-preservative instinct: he never 
goes in search of himself, he has no eye, no interest, 
no inquisitiveness where he himself is concerned. 
. . . The great egoism of our dominating will 
insists on our completely shutting our eyes to 
ourselves, and on our appearing " impersonal, " 
" disinterested " ! Oh to what a ridiculous degree 
we are the reverse of this ! 

We are no Pascals, we are not particularly in- 
terested in the " Salvation of the soul," in our own 
happiness, and in our own virtue. We have neither 
enough time nor enough curiosity to be so con- 
cerned with ourselves. Regarded more deeply, the 
case is again different, we thoroughly mistrust all 
men who thus contemplate their own navels : be- 
cause introspection seems to us a degenerate form 
of the psychologist's genius, as a note of interroga- 
tion affixed to the psychologist's instinct : just as 
a painter's eye is degenerate which is actuated by 
the will to see for the sake of seeing. 

* TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. Goethe invariably inveighed 
against the c * yv5>6t a-eavrov n of the Socratic school ; he was 
of the opinion that an animal which tries to see its inner self 
must be sick. 




The apparition of Greek philosophers since the 
time of Socrates is a symptom of decadence ; the 
anti- Hellenic instincts become paramount. 

The "Sophist" is still quite Hellenic as are 
also Anaxagoras, Democritus, and the great 
lonians ; but only as transitional forms. The 
polis loses its faith in the unity of its culture, in 
its rights of dominion over every other polis. . . . 
Cultures, that is to say, " the gods," are exchanged, 
and thus the belief in the exclusive prerogative 
of the deus autochthonus is lost. Good and Evil of 
whatever origin get mixed : the boundaries separ- 
ating good from evil gradually vanish. . . . This 
is the " Sophist." . . . 

On the other hand, the " philosopher " is the 
reactionary : he insists upon the old virtues. He 
sees the reason of decay in the decay of institu- 
tions : he therefore wishes to revive ^institutions ; 
he sees decay in the decline of authority : he 
therefore endeavours to find new authorities (he 
travels abroad, explores foreign literature and 
exotic religions. . . .) ; he will reinstate the ideal 
polis, after the concept " polis " has become super- 
annuated (just as the Jews kept themselves to- 
gether as a "people" after they had fallen into 
slavery). They become interested in all tyrants : 
their desire is to re-establish virtue with force 


Gradually everything genuinely Hellenic is held 
responsible for the state of decay (and Plato is just 
as ungrateful to Pericles, Homer, tragedy, and 
rhetoric as the prophets are to David and Saul). 
The downfall of Greece is conceived as an objection 
to the fundamental principles of Hellenic culture : 
tlieprofounderror of philosophers. Conclusion : the 
Greek world perishes. The cause thereof: Homer, 
mythology, ancient morality, etc. 

The #tf#-Hellenic development of philosophers' 
valuations : the Egyptian influence (" Life after 
death " made into law. . . .) ; the Semitic influence 
(the " dignity of the sage," the " Sheik ") ; the 
Pythagorean influence, the subterranean cults, 
Silence, means of terrorisation consisting of appeals 
to a " Beyond," mathematics : the religious valua- 
tion consisting of a sort of intimacy with a cosmic 
entity ; the sacerdotal, ascetic, and transcendental 
influences; the dialectical influence, I am of 
opinion that even Plato already betrays revolting 
and pedantic meticulousness in his concepts! 
Decline of good intellectual taste : the hateful 
noisiness of every kind of direct dialectics seems 
no longer to be felt. 

The two decadent tendencies and extremes run 
side by side : (a) the luxuriant and more charming 
kind of decadence which shows a love of pomp and 
art, and (V) the gloomy kind, with its religious and 
moral pathos, its stoical self-hardening tendency, 
its Platonic denial of the senses, and its preparation 
of the soil for the coming of Christianity. 



To what extent psychologists have been cor- 
rupted by the moral idiosyncrasy! Not one of 
the ancient philosophers had the courage to 
advance the theory of the non-free will (that is 
to say, the theory that denies morality); not 
one had the courage to identify the typical 
feature of happiness, of every kind of happiness 
("pleasure"), with the will to power: for the 
pleasure of power was considered immoral ; not 
one had the courage to regard virtue as a result 
of immorality (as a result of a will to power) in 
the service of a species (or of a race, or of spoils) ; 
for the will to power was considered immoral. 

In the whole of moral evolution, there is no 
sign of truth : all the conceptual elements which 
come into play are fictions ; all the psychological 
tenets are false ; all the forms of logic employed 
in this department of prevarication are sophisms. 
The chief feature of all moral philosophers is their 
total lack of intellectual cleanliness and self-control : 
they regard " fine feelings " as arguments : their 
heaving breasts seem to them the bellows of 
godliness. . . . Moral philosophy is the most 
suspicious period in the history of the human 

The first great example: in the name of 
morality and under its patronage, a great wrong 
was committed, which as a matter of fact was 
in every respect an act of decadence. Sufficient 
stress cannot be laid upon this fact, that the 
great Greek philosophers not only represented 


the decadence of every kind of Greek ability \ but 
also made it contagious. . . . This " virtue " made 
wholly abstract was the highest form of seduction ; 
to make oneself abstract means to turn one's back 
on the world. 

The moment is a very remarkable one : the 
Sophists are within sight of the first criticism of 
morality \ the first knowledge of morality: they 
classify the majority of moral valuations (in view 
of their dependence upon local conditions) together; 
they lead one to understand that every form of 
morality is capable of being upheld dialectically : 
that is to say, they guessed that all the funda- 
mental principles of a morality must be sophistical 
a proposition which was afterwards proved in 
the grandest possible style by the ancient philoso- 
phers from Plato onwards (up to Kant); they 
postulate the primary truth that there is no such 
thing as a " moral per se" a " good per se y " and 
that it is madness to talk of "truth" in this 

Wherever was intellectual uprightness to be found 
in those days ? 

The Greek culture of the Sophists had grown 
out of all the Greek instincts ; it belongs to the 
culture of the age of Pericles as necessarily as 
Plato does not : it has its predecessors in Hera- 
clitus, Democritus, and in the scientific types of 
the old philosophy; it finds expression in the 
elevated culture of Thucydides, for instance. And 
it has ultimately shown itself to be right : every 
step in the science of epistemology and morality 
has confirmed the attitude of the Sophists. . . . Our 


modern attitude of mind is, to a great extent, 
Heraclitean, Democritean, and Protagorean . . . 
to say that it is Protagorean is even sufficient: 
because Protagoras was in himself a synthesis of 
the two men Heraclitus and Democritus. 

(Plato : a great Cagliostro> let us think of how 
Epicurus judged him ; how Timon, Pyrrho's friend, 

judged him Is Plato's integrity by any chance 

beyond question? . . . But we at least know 
what he wished to have taught as absolute truth 
namely, things which were to him not even 
relative truths : the separate and immortal life of 
" souls.") 


The Sophists are nothing more nor less than 
realists : they elevate all the values and practices 
which are common property to the rank of values 
they have the courage, peculiar to all strong 
intellects, which consists in knoiving their im- 
morality. . . . 

Is it to be supposed that these small Greek 
independent republics, so filled with rage and envy 
that they would fain have devoured each other, 
were led by principles of humanity and honesty ? 
Is Thucydides by any chance reproached with 
the words he puts into the mouths of the Athenian 
ambassadors when they were treating with the 
Melii anent the question of destruction or sub- 
mission ? Only the most perfect Tartuffes could 
have been able to speak of virtue in the midst of 
that dreadful strain or if not Tartuffes, at least 
detached philosopJters ', anchorites, exiles, and fleers 


from reality. . . . All of them, people who denied 
things in order to be able to exist. 

The Sophists were Greeks : when Socrates and 
Plato adopted the cause of virtue and justice, they 
were Jews or I know not what. Grote's tactics 
in the defence of the Sophists are false : he would 
like to raise them to the rank of men of honour 
and moralisers but it was their honour not to 
indulge in any humbug with grand words and 


The great reasonableness underlying all moral 
education lay in the fact that it always attempted 
to attain to the certainty of an instinct: so that 
neither good intentions nor good means, as such, 
first required to enter consciousness. Just as the 
soldier learns his exercises, so should man learn 
how to act in life. In truth this unconsciousness 
belongs to every kind of perfection : even the 
mathematician carries out his calculations un- 
consciously. . . . 

What, then, does Socrates 1 reaction mean, which 
recommended dialectics as the way to virtue, and 
which was amused when morality was unable to 
justify itself logically? But this is precisely what 
proves its superiority without unconsciousness it 
is worth nothing\ 

In reality it means the dissolution of Greek 
instincts^ when demonstrability is posited as the 
first condition of personal excellence in virtue. 
All these great " men of virtue " and of words are 
themselves types of dissolution. 


In practice, it means that moral judgments have 
been torn from the conditions among which they 
grew and in which alone they had some sense, from 
their Greek and Graeco-political soil, in order to 
be denaturalised under the cover of being sub- 
limated* The great concepts " good * and " just " 
are divorced from the first principles of which they 
form a part, and, as " ideas " become free, degenerate 
into subjects for discussion. A certain truth is 
sought behind them ; they are regarded as entities 
or as symbols of entities : a world is invented where 
they are "at home," and from which they are 
supposed to hail. 

In short \ the scandal reaches its apotheosis in 
Plato. . . . And then it was necessary to invent 
the abstract perfect man also : good, just, wise, 
and a dialectician to boot in short, the scarecrow 
of the ancient philosopher : a plant without any 
soil whatsoever; a human race devoid of all 
definite ruling instincts ; a virtue which " justifies " 
itself with reasons. The perfectly absurd "in- 
dividual" per se\ the highest form of Artifici- 
ality. . . . 

Briefly, the denaturalisation of moral values 
resulted in the creation of a degenerate type of 
man "the good man," "the happy man," "the 
wise man." Socrates represents a moment of the 
most prof ound perversity in the history of values. 


Socrates. This veering round of Greek taste 
in favour of dialectics is a great question. What 


really happened then? Socrates, the roturter 
who was responsible for it, was thus able to 
triumph over a more noble taste, the taste of t/ie 
noble : the mob gets the upper hand along with 
dialectics. Previous to Socrates dialectic manners 
were repudiated in good society; they were re- 
garded as indecent; the youths were warned 
against them. What was the purpose of this 
display of reasons ? Why demonstrate ? Against 
others one could use authority. One commanded, 
and that sufficed. Among friends, inter pares^ 
there was tradition also a form of authority: 
and last but not least, one understood each other. 
There was no room found for dialectics. Besides, 
all such modes of presenting reasons were dis- 
trusted. All honest things do ,not carry their 
reasons in their hands in such fashion. It is 
indecent to show all the five fingers at the same 
time. That which can be "demonstrated" is 
little worth. The instinct of every party-speaker 
tells him that dialectics excites mistrust and 
carries little conviction. Nothing is more easily 
wiped away than the effect of a dialectician. It can 
only be a means of self -defence. One must be in an 
extremity ; it is necessary to have to extort one's 
rights ; otherwise one makes no use of dialectics. 
That is why the Jews were dialecticians, Reynard 
the Fox was a dialectician, and so was Socrates. 
As a dialectician a person has a merciless instru- 
ment in his hand: he can play the tyrant with 
it; he compromises when he conquers. The 
dialectician leaves it to his opponent to demon- 
strate that he is not an idiot ; he is made furious 


and helpless, while the dialectician himself remains 
calm and still possessed of his triumphant reason- 
ing powers he paralyses his opponent's intellect. 
The dialectician's irony is a form of mob- 
revenge : the ferocity of the oppressed lies in the 
cold knife-cuts of the syllogism. . . . 

In Plato, as in all men of excessive sensuality 
and wild fancies, the charm of concepts was so 
great, that he involuntarily honoured and deified 
the concept as a form of ideal. Dialectical intoxi- 
cation : as the consciousness of being able to 
exercise control over one's self by means of it 
as an instrument of the Will to Power. 


The problem of Socrates. The two antitheses : 
the tragic and the Socratic spirits measured 
according to the law of Life. 

To what extent is the Socratic spirit a 
decadent phenomenon ? to what extent are 
robust health and power still revealed by the 
whole attitude of the scientific man, his dialectics, 
his ability, and his severity? (the health of the 
plebeian ; whose malice, esprit frondeur, whose 
astuteness, whose rascally depths, are held in 
check by his cleverness ; the whole type is " ugly "). 

Uglification : self-derision, dialectical dryness, 
intelligence in the form of a tyrant against the 
"tyrant" (instinct). Everything in Socrates is 
exaggeration, eccentricity, caricature; he is a 
buffoon with the blood of Voltaire in his veins. 

VOL. i. Z 


He discovers a new form of agon ; he is the first 
fencing-master in the superior classes of Athens ; 
he stands for nothing else than the highest form of 
cleverness \ he calls it "virtue" (he regarded it 
as a means of salvation ; he did not choose to be 
clever , cleverness was de rigueur)\ the proper 
thing is to control one's self in suchwise that one 
enters into a struggle not with passions but with 
reasons as one's weapons (Spinoza's stratagem 
the unravelment of the errors of passion) ; it is 
desirable to discover how every one may be caught 
once he is goaded into a passion, and to know 
how illogically passion proceeds ; self-mockery is 
practised in order to injure the very roots of the 
feelings of resentment, 

It is my wish to understand which idiosyncratic 
states form a part of the Socratic problem : its 
association of reason, virtue, and happiness. With 
this absurd doctrine of the identity of these things 
it succeeded in charming the world : ancient philo- 
sophy could not rid itself of this doctrine. . . . 

Absolute lack of objective interest: hatred of 
science : the idiosyncrasy of considering one's self 
a problem. Acoustic hallucinations in Socrates : 
morbid element. When the intellect is rich and 
independent, it most strongly resists preoccupying 
itself with morality. How is it that Socrates is 
a moral-maniac ? Every " practical " philosophy 
immediately steps into the foreground in times of 
distress. When morality and religion become the 
chief interests of a community, they are signs of a 
state of distress, 



Intelligence, clearness, hardness, and logic as 
weapons against the wildness of the instincts. 
The latter must be dangerous and must threaten 
ruin, otherwise no purpose can be served by 
developing intelligence to this degree of tyranny. 
In order to make a tyrant of intelligence the 
instincts must first have proved themselves tyrants. 
This is the problem. It was a very timely one 
in those days. Reason became virtue virtue 
equalled happiness. 

Solution ; Greek philosophers stand upon the 
same fundamental fact of their inner experiences as 
Socrates does ; five feet from excess, from anarchy 
and from dissolution all decadent men. They 
regard him as a doctor : Logic as will to power, as 
will to control self, as will to " happiness." The 
wildness and anarchy of Socrates' instincts is a 
sign of decadence, as is also the superfcetation 
of logic and clear reasoning in him. Both are 
abnormities, each belongs to the other. 

Criticism. Decadence reveals itself in this con- 
cern about " happiness " (i.e. about the " salvation 
of the soul " ; i.e. to feel that one's condition is a 
danger). Its fanatical interest in "happiness" 
shows the pathological condition of the subcon- 
scious self: it was a vital interest. The alternative 
which faced them all was : to be reasonable or to 
perish. The morality of Greek philosophers shows 
that they felt they were in danger. 



Why everything resolved itself into mummery. 
Rudimentary psychology, which only considered 
the conscious lapses of men (as causes), which re- 
garded " consciousness " as an attribute of the soul, 
and which sought a will behind every action (i.e. 
an intention), could only answer " Happiness " to 
the question : " What does man desire ? " (it was 
impossible to answer " Power," because that would 
have been immoral] ; consequently behind all 
men's actions there is the intention of attaining 
to happiness by means of them. Secondly : if 
man as a matter of fact does not attain to happi- 
ness, why is it ? Because he mistakes the means 
thereto. What is the unfailing means of acquiring 
happiness f Answer : virtue. Why virtue ? Be- 
cause virtue is supreme rationalness, and rational- 
ness makes mistakes in the choice of means 
impossible: virtue in the form of reason is the 
way to happiness. Dialectics is the constant 
occupation of virtue, because it does away with 
passion and intellectual cloudiness. 

As a matter of fact, man does not desire 
"happiness." Pleasure is a sensation of power: 
if the passions are excluded, those states of the 
mind are also excluded which afford the greatest 
sensation of power and therefore of pleasure. The 
highest rationalism is a state of cool clearness, 
which is very far from being able to bring about 
that feeling of power which every kind of exalta- 
tion involves. . . . 

The ancient philosophers combat everything 


that intoxicates and exalts everything that im- 
pairs the perfect coolness and impartiality of the 
mind. . . . They were consistent with their first 
false principle : that consciousness was the highest ', 
the supreme state of mind, the prerequisite of 
perfection whereas the reverse is true. . . . 

Any kind of action is imperfect in proportion as 
it has been willed or conscious. The philosophers 
of antiquity were the greatest duffers in practice, 
because they condemned themselves theoretically 
to dufferdom. ... In practice everything resolved 
itself into theatricalness : and he who saw through 
it, as Pyrrho did, for instance, thought as every- 
body did that is to say, that in goodness and 
uprightness " paltry people " were far superior to 

All the deeper natures of antiquity were dis- 
gusted at the philosophers of virtue ; all people 
saw in them was brawlers and actors. (This was 
the judgment passed on Plato by Epicurus and 

Result : In practical life, in patience, goodness, 
and mutual assistance, paltry people were above 
them : this is something like the judgment 
Dostoiewsky or Tolstoy claims for his muzhiks : 
they are more philosophical in practice, they are 
more courageous in their way of dealing with the 
exigencies of life. . . , 


A criticism of the philosopher. Philosophers and 
moralists merely deceive themselves when they 


imagine that they escape from decadence by 
opposing it. That lies beyond their wills: and 
however little they may be aware of the fact, it 
is generally discovered subsequently that they 
were among the most powerful promoters of 

Let us examine the philosophers of Greece 
Plato, for instance. He it was who separated the 
instincts from the/0/w, from the love of contest, 
from military efficiency, from art, beauty, the 
mysteries, and the belief in tradition and in 
ancestors. ... He was the seducer of the nobles : 
he himself seduces through the roturier Socrates. 
, . . He denied all the first principles of the 
" noble Greek " of sterling worth ; he made 
dialectics an everyday practice, conspired with 
the tyrants, dabbled in politics for the future, and 
was the example of a man whose instincts were 
most perfectly separated from tradition. He is 
profound and passionate in everything that is 

One after the other, these great philosophers 
represent the typical forms of decadence: the 
moral and religious idiosyncrasy, anarchy, nihilism, 
(ahdfapa), cynicism, hardening principles, hedon- 
ism, and reaction, 

The question of " happiness," of " virtue, 11 and 
of the " salvation of the soul/' is the expression of 
physiological contradictoriness in these declining 
natures: their instincts lack all balance and 


To what extent do dialectics and the faith in 
reason rest upon moral prejudices ? With Plato 
we are as the temporary inhabitants of an in- 
telligible world of goodness, still in possession of 
a bequest from former times: divine dialectics 
taking its root in goodness leads to everything 
good (it follows, therefore, that it must lead 
" backwards "). Even Descartes had a notion of 
the fact that, according to a thoroughly Christian 
and moral attitude of mind, which includes a 
belief in a good God as the Creator of all things, 
the truthfulness of God guarantees the judgments 
of our senses for us. But for this religious sanction 
and warrant of our senses and our reason, whence 
should we obtain our right to trust in existence ? 
That thinking must be a measure of reality, that 
what cannot be the subject of thought, cannot 
exist) is a coarse non plus ultra of a moral blind 
confidence (in the essential principle of truth at 
the root of all things); this in itself is a mad 
assumption which our experience contradicts every 
minute. We cannot think of anything precisely 
as it is. ... 


The real philosophers of Greece are those which 
came before Socrates (with Socrates something 
changes). They are all distinguished men, they 
take their stand away from the people and from 
usage ; they have travelled ; they are earnest to 


the point of sombreness, their eyes are calm, and 
they are not unacquainted with the business of 
state and diplomacy. They anticipated all the 
great concepts which coming sages were to have 
concerning things in general : they themselves re- 
presented these concepts, they made systems out 
of themselves. Nothing can give a higher idea 
of Greek intellect than this sudden fruitfulness in 
types, than this involuntary completeness in the 
drawing up of all the great possibilities of the 
philosophical ideal. I can see only one original 
figure in those that came afterwards: a late 
arrival, but necessarily the last Pyrrho the 
nihilist. His instincts were opposed to the in- 
fluences which had become ascendant in the mean- 
time : the Socratic school, Plato, and the artistic 
optimism of Heraclitus. (Pyrrho goes back to 
Democritus via Protagoras. . . .) 

Wise weariness: Pyrrho. To live humbly 
among the humble. Devoid of pride. To live 
in the vulgar way; to honour and believe what 
every one believes. To be on one's guard against 
science and intellect, and against everything that 
puffs one out. ... To be simply patient in the 
extreme, careless and mild ; airddeia, or, better 
still, irpavrrjs. A Buddhist for Greece, bred amid 
the tumult of the Schools ; born after his time ; 
weary; an example of the protest of weariness 
against the eagerness of dialecticians ; the in- 
credulity of the tired man in regard to the im- 


portance of everything. He had seen Alexander \ 
he had seen the Indian penitents. To such late- 
arrivals and creatures of great subtlety, every- 
thing lowly, poor, and idiotic, is seductive. It 
narcoticises : it gives them relaxation (Pascal). 
On the other hand, by mixing with the crowd, 
and getting confounded with the rest, they get 
a little warmth. These weary creatures need 
warmth. . . . To overcome contradiction ; to do 
away with contests ; to have no will to excel in 
any way : to deny the Greek instincts. (Pyrrho 
lived with his sister, who was a midwife.) To rig 
out wisdom in such a way that it no longer dis- 
tinguishes ; to give it the ragged mantle of poverty ; 
to perform the lowest offices, and to go to market 
and sell sucking-pigs. . . . Sweetness, clearness, 
indifference ; no need of virtues that require atti- 
tudes ; to be equal to all even in virtue : final 
conquest of one's self, final indifference. 

Pyrrho and Epicurus: two forms of Greek 
decadence: they are related in their hatred of 
dialectics and all theatrical virtues. These two 
things together were then called philosophy; 
Pyrrho and Epicurus intentionally held that which 
they loved in low esteem ; they chose common and 
even contemptible names for it, and they re- 
presented a state in which one is neither ill, 
healthy, lively, nor dead. . . . Epicurus was more 
naif, more idyllic, more grateful; Pyrrho had more 
experience of the world, had travelled more, and 
was more nihilistic. His life was a protest against 
the great doctrine of Identity (Happiness = Virtue 
= Knowledge). The proper way of living is not 
promoted by science: wisdom does not make 


"wise.". . . The proper way of living does not desire 
happiness, it turns away from happiness. . . . 


The war against the " old faith," as Epicurus 
waged it, was, strictly speaking, a struggle against 
pre-existing Christianity the struggle against a 
world then already gloomy, moralised, acidified 
throughout with feelings of guilt, and grown old 
and sick. 

Not the " moral corruption " of antiquity, but 
precisely its moral infectedness was the prerequisite 
which enabled Christianity to become its master. 
Moral fanaticism (in short: Plato) destroyed 
paganism by transvaluing its values and poisoning 
its innocence. We ought at last to understand 
that what was then destroyed was higher than what 
prevailed ! Christianity grew on the soil of 
psychological corruption, and could only take 
root in rotten ground. 


Science ; as a disciplinary measure or as an 
instinct. I see a decline of the instincts in Greek 
philosophers : otherwise they could not have been 
guilty of the profound error of regarding the 
conscious state as the more valuable state. The 
intensity of consciousness stands in the inverse 
ratio to the ease and speed of cerebral transmis- 
sion. Greek philosophy upheld the opposite view, 
which is always the sign of weakened instincts. 


We must, in sooth, seek perfect life there where 
it is least conscious (that is to say, there where it is 
least aware of its logic, its reasons, its means, its 
intentions, and its utility). The return to the 
facts of common sense, the facts of the common 
man and of " paltry people/' Honesty and intelli- 
gence stored up for generations by people who are 
quite unconscious of their principles, and who 
even have some fear of principles. It is not 
reasonable to desire a reasoning virtue. ... A 
philosopher is compromised by such a desire. 


When morality that is to say, refinement, 
prudence, bravery, and equity have been stored 
up in the same way, thanks to the moral efforts 
of a whole succession of generations, the collec- 
tive power of this hoard of virtue projects its 
rays even into that sphere where honesty is most 
seldom present the sphere of intellect. When 
a thing becomes conscious, it is the sign of a 
state of ill-ease in the organism ; something new 
has got to be found, the organism is not satisfied 
or adapted, it is subject to distress, suspense, and 
it is hypersensitive precisely all this is con- 
sciousness. . . . 

Genius lies in the instincts; goodness does 
too. One only acts perfectly when one acts in- 
stinctively. Even from the moral point of view 
all thinking which is conscious is merely a process 
of groping, and in the majority of cases an attack 
on morality. Scientific honesty is always sacrificed 


when a thinker begins to reason : let any one try 
the experiment: put the wisest man in the 
balance, and then let him discourse upon 
morality. . . . 

It could also be proved that the whole of a 
man's conscious thinking shows a much lower 
standard of morality than the thoughts of the 
same man would show if they were led by his 


The struggle against Socrates, Plato, and all 
the Socratic schools, proceeds from the profound 
instinct that man is not made better when he is 
shown that virtue may be demonstrated or based 
upon reason. . . . This in the end is the nig- 
gardly fact, it was the agonal instinct in all these 
born dialecticians, which drove them to glorify 
their personal abilities as the highest of all qualities ', 
and to represent every other form of goodness as 
conditioned by them. The anti-scientific spirit 
of all this " philosophy " : it will never admit that 
it is not right. 


This is extraordinary. From its very earliest 
beginnings, Greek philosophy carries on a struggle 
against science with the weapons of a theory of 
knowledge, especially of scepticism : and why is 
this? It is always in favour of morality. . . . 
(Physicists and medical men are hated.) Socrates, 
Aristippus, the Megarian school, the Cynics, 
EpicuruS) and Pyrrho a general onslaught upon 


knowledge in favour of morality. . . . (Hatred of 
dialectics also.) There is still a problem to be 
solved : they approach sophistry in order to be 
rid of science. On the other hand, the physicists 
are subjected to such an extent that, among 
their first principles, they include the theory of 
truth and of real being : for instance, the atom, 
the four elements {juxtaposition of being, in order 
to explain its multiformity and its transformations). 
Contempt of objectivity in interests is taught : 
return to practical interest, and to the personal 
utility of all knowledge. . . . 

The struggle against science is directed at: 
(l) its pathos (objectivity); (2) its means (that is 
to say, at its utility) ; (3) its results (which are 
considered childish). It is the same struggle 
which is taken up later on by the CJturch in the 
name of piety : the Church inherited the whole 
arsenal of antiquity for her war with science. 
The theory of knowledge played the same part 
in the affair as it did in Kant's or the Indians 1 
case. There is no desire whatever to be troubled 
with it, a free hand is wanted for the " purpose " 
that is envisaged. 

Against what powers are they actually defend- 
ing themselves ? Against dutifulness, against 
obedience to law, against the compulsion of going 
hand in hand I believe this is what is called 
Freedom. . . . 

This is how decadence manifests itself: the 
instinct of solidarity is so degenerate that solidarity 
itself gets to be regarded as tyranny : no authority 
or solidarity is brooked, nobody any longer 


desires to fall in with the rank and file, and to 
adopt its ignobly slow pace. The slow move- 
ment which is the tempo of science is generally 
hated, as are also the scientific man's indifference 
in regard to getting on, his long breath, and his 
impersonal attitude. 


At bottom, morality is hostile to science: 
Socrates was so already too and the reason is, 
that science considers certain things important 
which have no relation whatsoever to " good " 
and " evil," and which therefore reduce the gravifr 
of our feelings concerning " good " and " eVil." 
What morality requires is that the whole of a 
man should serve it with all his power: it 
considers it waste on the part of a creature that 
can ill afford waste > when a man earnestly troubles 
his head about stars or plants. That is why 
science very quickly declined in Greece, once 
Socrates had inoculated scientific work with the 
disease of morality. The mental altitudes 
reached by a Democritus, a Hippocrates, and a 
Thucydides, have not been reached a second 


The problem of the philosopher and of the 
scientific man. The influence of age ; depressing 
habits (sedentary study d la Kant ; over-work ; 
inadequate nourishment of the brain ; reading). 
A more essential question still : is it not already 
perhaps a symptom of decadence when thinking 
tends to establish generalities ? 


Objectivity regarded as the disintegration of the 
will (to be able to remain as detached as 
possible . . .). This presupposes a tremendous 
adiaphora in regard to the strong passions : a 
kind of isolation, an exceptional position, opposi- 
tion to the normal passions. 

Type : desertion of home-country ; emigrants go 
ever greater distances afield ; growing exoticism ; 
the voice of the old imperative dies away ; and 
the continual question " whither ? " (" happiness ") 
is a sign of emancipation from forms of organisa- 
tion, a sign of breaking loose from everything. 

Problem : is the man of science more of a 
decadent symptom than the philosopher ? as a 
whole the scientific man is not cut loose from 
everything, only>a part of his being is consecrated 
exclusively to the service of knowledge and 
disciplined to maintain a special attitude and 
point of view; in his department he is in need 
of all the virtues of a strong race, of robust 
health, of great severity, manliness, and intelli- 
gence. He is rather a symptom of the great 
multiformity of culture than of the effeteness of 
the latter. The decadent scholar is a bad 
scholar. Whereas the decadent philosopher has 
always been reckoned hitherto as the typical 


Among philosophers, nothing is more rare than 
intellectual uprightness : they perhaps say the very 
reverse, and even believe it. But the prerequisite 
of all their work is, that they can only admit of 


certain truths ; they know what they have to 
prove ; and the fact that they must be agreed as to 
these " truths " is almost what makes them recog- 
nise one another as philosophers. There are, for 
instance, the truths of morality. But belief in 
morality is not a proof of morality : there are 
cases and the philosopher's case is one in point 
when a belief of this sort is simply a piece of 


What is the retrograde factor in a philosopher ? 
He teaches that the qualities which he happens 
to possess are the only qu all ties that exist, that 
they are indispensable to those who wish to attain 
to the " highest good " (for instance, dialectics with 
Plato). He would have all men raise themselves, 
gradatim, to his type as the highest. He de- 
spises what is generally esteemed by him a gulf 
is cleft between the highest priestly values and the 
values of the world. He knows what is true, who 
God is, what every one's goal should be, and the 
way thereto. . . . The typical philosopher is 
thus an absolute dogmatist ; if he requires scepti- 
cism at all it is only in order to be able to speak 
dogmatically of his principal purpose. 


When the philosopher is confronted with his 
rival science, for instance, he becomes a sceptic ; 
then he appropriates a form of knowledge which 
he denies to the man of science ; he goes hand in 


hand with the priest so that he may not be sus- 
pected of atheism or materialism ; he considers 
an attack made upon himself as an attack upon 
morals, religion, virtue, and order he knows how 
to bring his opponents into ill repute by calling 
them " seducers " and " underminers " : then he 
marches shoulder to shoulder with power. 

The philosopher at war with other philosophers : 
he does his best to compel them to appear like 
anarchists, disbelievers, opponents of authority. 
In short, when he fights, he fights exactly like a 
priest and like the priesthood. 



Philosophy defined by Kant : " The science of 
the limitations of reason " ! 1 


According to Aristotle, Philosophy is the art 
of discovering truth. On the other hand, the 
Epicureans, who availed themselves of Aristotle's 
sensual theory of knowledge, retorted in ironical 
opposition to the search for truth : " Philosophy is 
the art of Life? 


The three great naivete's : 

Knowledge as a means of happiness (as if . . .) ; 

VOL. I. 2 A 


Knowledge as a means to virtue (as if . . .) ; 

Knowledge as a means to the " denial of Life " 
inasmuch as it leads to disappointment (as 
if . . .> 


As if there were one " truth " which one could 
by some means approach ! 


Error and ignorance are fatal. The assump- 
tion that truth has been found and that ignorance 
and error are at an end, constitutes one of the 
most seductive thoughts in the world. Granted 
that it be generally accepted, it paralyses the will 
to test, to investigate, to be cautious, and to 
gather experience: it may even be regarded as 
criminal that is to say, as a doubt concerning 
truth. . . . 

" Truth " is therefore more fatal than error* and 
ignorance, because it paralyses the forces which 
lead to enlightenment and knowledge. The 
passion for idleness now stands up for "truth" 
(" Thought is pain and misery ! "), as also do order, 
rule, the joy of possession, the pride of wisdom 
in fact, vanity \ it is easier to obey than to 
examine ; it is more gratifying to think " I possess 
the truth," than to see only darkness in all direc- 
tions ; . . . but, above all, it is reassuring, it lends 
confidence, and alleviates life it " improves " the 
character inasmuch as it reduces mistrust. " Spirit- 
ual peace," "a quiet conscience" these things 


are inventions which are only possible provided 
" Truth be found? " By their fruits ye shall know 
them." . . . "Truth" is the truth because it 
makes men better. . . . The process goes on : 
all goodness and all success is placed to the credit 
of " truth." 

This is the proof by success : the happiness, 
contentment, and the welfare of a community or 
of an individual, are now understood to be the 
result of the belief in morality. . . , Conversely ; 
failure is ascribed to a lack of faith. 


The causes of error lie just as much in the good 
as in the bad will of man : in an incalculable 
number of cases he conceals reality from himself, 
he falsifies it, so that he may not suffer from his 
good or bad will. God, for instance, is considered 
the shaper of man's destiny; he interprets his 
little lot as though everything were intentionally 
sent to him for the salvation of his soul, this 
act of ignorance in u philology," which to a more 
subtle intellect would seem unclean and false, is 
done, in the majority of cases, with perfect good 
faith. Goodwill, " noble feelings," and " lofty 
'states of the soul" are just as underhand and 
deceptive in the means they use as are the passions 
love, hatred, and revenge, which morality has 
repudiated and declared to be egotistic. 

Errors are what mankind has had to pay for 
most dearly : and taking them all in all, the errors 
which have resulted from goodwill are those which 


have wrought the most harm. The illusion which 
makes people happy is more harmful than the 
illusion which is immediately followed by evil 
results : the latter increases keenness and mistrust, 
and purifies the understanding; the former 
merely narcoticises. . . . 

Fine feelings and noble impulses ought, speak- 
ing physiologically, to be classified with the 
narcotics : their abuse is followed by precisely the 
same results as the abuse of any other opiate 
weak nerves. 


Error is the most expensive luxury that man 
can indulge in : and if the error happen to be a 
physiological one, it is fatal to life. What has 
mankind paid for most dearly hitherto ? For its 
" truths " : for every one of these were error% in 
physiologicis. . . . 


Psychological confitsions : the desire for belief 
is confounded with the " will to truth " (for instance, 
in Carlyle). But the desire for disbelief has also 
been confounded with the "will to truth" (a 
need of ridding one's self of a belief for a hundred 
reasons : in order to carry one's point against 
certain " believers "). What is it that inspires 
Sceptics ? The hatred of dogmatists or a need 
of repose, weariness as in Pyrrho's case. 

The advantages which were expected to come 
from truth, were the advantages resulting from 
a belief in it : for, in itself, truth could have been 


thoroughly painful, harmful, and even fatal. 
Likewise truth was combated only on account 
of the advantages which a victory over it would 
provide for instance, emancipation from the 
yoke of the ruling powers. 

The method of truth was not based upon 
motives of truthfulness, but upon motives of 'power , 
upon the desire to be superior. 

How is \x\tihprovedt By means of the feeling 
of increased power, by means of utility, by 
means of indispensability, in short, by means of 
its advantages (that is to say, hypotheses con- 
cerning what truth should be like in order that 
it may be embraced by us). But this involves 
prejudice : it is a sign that truth does not enter the 
question at all. . . . 

What is the meaning of the "will to truth," 
for* instance in the Goncourts? and in the 
naturalists ? A criticism of " objectivity." 

Why should we know: why should we not 
prefer to be deceived? . . . But what was 
needed was always belief and not truth. . . . 
Belief is created by means which are quite 
opposed to the method of investigation: it even 
depends upon the exclusion of the latter. 


A certain degree of faith suffices to-day to 
give us an objection to what is believed it does 
more, it makes us question the spiritual healthi- 
ness of the believer. 



Martyrs. To combat anything that is based 
upon reverence, opponents must be possessed of 
both daring and recklessness, and be hindered 
by no scruples. . . . Now, if one considers that 
for thousands of years man has sanctified as 
truths only those things which were in reality 
errors, and that he has branded any criticism of 
them with the hall-mark of badness, one will 
have to acknowledge, however reluctantly, that 
a goodly amount of immoral deeds were necessary 
in order to give the initiative to an attack I 
mean to reason. . . . That these immoralists have 
always posed as the " martyrs of truth " should 
be forgiven them : the truth of the matter is that 
they did not stand up and deny owing to an 
instinct for truth ; but because of a love of dis- 
solution, criminal scepticism, and the love of 
adventure. In other cases it is personal rancour 
which drives them into the province of problems 
they only combat certain points of view in 
order to be able to carry their point against 
certain people. But, above all, it is revenge 
which has become scientifically useful the 
revenge of the oppressed, those who, thanks to 
the truth that happens to be ruling, have been 
pressed aside and even smothered. . . . 

Truth, that is to say the scientific method, 
was grasped and favoured by such as recognised 
that it was a useful weapon of war an instru- 
ment of destruction. . . . 

In order to be honoured as opponents, they 


were moreover obliged to use an apparatus 
similar to that used by those whom they were 
attacking : they therefore brandished the concept 
" truth " as absolutely as their adversaries did 
they became fanatics at least in their poses, 
because no other pose could be expected to be 
taken seriously. What still remained to be done 
was left to persecution, to passion, and the un- 
certainty of the persecuted hatred waxed great, 
and the first impulse began to die away and to 
leave the field entirely to science. Ultimately 
all of them wanted to be right in the same absurd 
way as their opponents. . . . The word " con- 
viction," " faith," the pride of martyrdom these 
things are most unfavourable to knowledge. The 
adversaries of truth finally adopt the whole 
subjective manner of deciding about truth, that 
is to say, by means of poses, sacrifices, and heroic 
resolutions, and thus prolong the dominion of the 
anti-scientific method. As martyrs they com- 
promise their very own deed. 


The dangerous distinction between " theoretical" 
and "practical" in Kant for instance, but also 
in the ancient philosophers: they behave as if 
pure intellectuality presented them with the prob- 
lems of science and metaphysics ; they behave 
as if practice should be judged by a measure 
of its own, whatever the judgment of theory 
may be. 

Against the first tendency I set up my 


psychology of philosophers : their strangest calcula- 
tions and " intellectuality " are still but the last 
pallid impress of a physiological fact ; spontaneity 
is absolutely lacking in them, everything is instinct, 
everything is intended to follow a certain direction 
from the first. . . . 

Against the second tendency I put my question : 
whether we know another method of acting 
correctly, besides that of thinking correctly ; the 
last case is action, the first presupposes thought 
Are we possessed of a means whereby we can 
judge of the value of a method of life differently 
from the value of a theory : through induction or 
comparison ? . . . Guileless people imagine that 
in this respect we are better equipped, we know 
what is " good " and the philosophers are content 
to repeat this view. We conclude that some sort 
of faith is at work in this matter, and nothing 
more. . . . 

" Men must act ; consequently rules of conduct 
are necessary" this is what even the ancient 
Sceptics thought. The urgent need of a definite 
decision in this department of knowledge is used 
as an argument in favour of regarding something 
as true \ . . . 

" Men must not act " said their more con- 
sistent brothers, the Buddhists, and then thought 
out a mode of conduct which would deliver man 
from the yoke of action. . . . 

To adapt one's self, to live as the " common man " 
lives, and to regard as right and proper what 
he regards as right: this is submission to the 
gregarious instinct* One must carry one's courage 


and severity so far as to learn to consider such 
submission a disgrace. One should not live 
according to two standards ! . . . One should 
not separate theory and practice ! . . . 


Of all that which was formerly held to be true, 
not one word is to be credited. Everything 
which was formerly disdained as unholy, for- 
bidden, contemptible, and fatal all these 
flowers now bloom on the most charming paths 
of truth. 

The whole of this old morality concerns us no 
longer: it contains not one idea which is still 
worthy of respect. We have outlived it we 
are no longer sufficiently coarse and guileless to 
be forced to allow ourselves to be lied to in this 
way. ... In more polite language : we are too 
virtuous for it. ... And if truth in the old sense 
were "true" only because the old morality said 
" yea " to it, and had a right to say " yea " to it : 
it follows that no truth of the past can any longer 
be of use to us. ... Our criterion of truth is 
certainly not morality : we refute an assertion 
when we show that it is dependent upon morality 
and is inspired by noble feelings. 


All these values are empirical and conditioned. 
But he who believes in them and who honours 
them, refuses to acknowledge this aspect of them. 


All philosophers believe in these values, and one 
form their reverence takes is the endeavour to 
make a priori truths out of them. The falsifying 
nature of reverence. . . . 

Reverence is the supreme test of intellectual 
honesty \ but in the whole history of philosophy 
there is no such thing as intellectual honesty, but 
the " love of goodness. . . ." 

On the one hand, there is an absolute lack of 
method in testing the value of these values; 
secondly, there is a general disinclination either 
to test them or to regard them as conditioned at 
all. All anti- scientific instincts assembled round 
moral values in order to keep science out of this 
department. . . . 



Why philosophers are slanderers. The artful 
and blind hostility of philosophers towards the 
senses what an amount of mob and middle-class 
qualities lie in all this hatred ! 

The crowd always believes that an abuse of 
which it feels the harmful results, constitutes an 
objection to the thing which happens to be abused : 
all insurrectionary movements against principles, 
whether in politics or agriculture, always follow 
a line of argument suggested by this ulterior 
motive : the abuse must be shown to be necessary 
to, and inherent in, the principle. 


It is a woeful history: mankind looks for a 
principle, from the standpoint of which he will be 
able to contemn man he invents a world in 
order to be able to slander and throw mud at 
this world : as a matter of fact, he snatches every 
time at nothing, and construes this nothing as 
" God," as " Truth," and, in any case, as judge 
and detractor of this existence. . . . 

If one should require a proof of how deeply 
and thoroughly the actually barbarous needs of 
man, even in his present state of tameness and 
"civilisation," still seek gratification, one should 
contemplate the " leitmotifs " of the whole of the 
evolution of philosophy : a sort of revenge upon 
reality, a surreptitious process of destroying the 
values by means of which men live, a dissatisfied 
soul to which the conditions of discipline is one 
of torture, and which takes a particular pleasure in 
morbidly severing all the bonds that bind it to 
such a condition. 

The history of philosophy is the story of a secret 
and mad hatred of the prerequisities of Life, of 
the feelings which make for the real values of 
Life, and of all partisanship in favour of Life. 
Philosophers have never hesitated to affirm a 
fanciful world, provided it contradicted this world, 
and furnished them with a weapon wherewith 
they could calumniate this world. Up to the 
present, philosophy has been the grand school of 
slander \ and its power has been so great, that 
even to-day our science, which pretends to be the 
advocate of Life, has accepted the fundamental 
position of slander, and treats this world as 


" appearance," and this chain of causes as though 
it were only phenomenal. What is the hatred 
which is active here ? 

I fear that it is still the Circe of philosophers 
Morality, which plays them the trick of compelling 
them to be ever slanderers. . . . They believed in 
moral " truths," in these they thought they had 
found the highest values ; what alternative had 
they left, save that of denying existence ever 
more emphatically the more they got to know 
about it? ... For this life is immoral. . . . 
And it is based upon immoral first principles : 
and morality says nay to Life. 

Let us suppress the real world : and in order 
to do this, we must first suppress the highest 
values current hitherto morals. ... It is 
enough to show that morality itself is immoral^ 
in the same sense as that in which immorality 
has been condemned heretofore. If an end be 
thus made to the tyranny of the former values, 
if we have suppressed the "real world," a new 
order of values must follow of its own accord. 

The world of appearance and the world of lies : 
this constitutes the contradiction. The latter 
hitherto has been the " real world," " truth," " God." 
This is the one which we still have to suppress. 

The logic of my conception : 

(1) Morality as the highest value (it is 
master of all the phases of philosophy, even of 
the Sceptics). Result ': this world is no good, it 
is not the " real world." 

(2) What is it that determines the highest 
value here ? What, in sooth, is morality ? It is 


the instinct of decadence ; it is the means whereby 
the exhausted and the degenerate revenge them- 
selves. Historical proof: philosophers have 
always been decadents ... in the service of 
nihilistic religions. 

(3) It is the instinct of decadence coming to 
the fore as will to power. Proof: the absolute 
immorality of the means employed by morality 
throughout its history. 

General aspect: the values which have been 
highest hitherto constitute a specific case of the 
will to power ; morality itself is a specific case of 


The principal innovations ; Instead of " moral 
values," nothing but naturalistic values. Natural- 
isation of morality. 

In the place of " sociology," a doctrine of the 
forms of dominion. 

In the place of " society," the complex ivhole of 
culture^ which is my chief interest (whether in its 
entirety or in parts). 

In the place of the " theory of knowledge," a 
doctrine which laid down the value of the passions 
(to this a hierarchy of the passions would belong : 
the passions transfigured ': their superior rank } 
their " spirituality "). 

In the place of " metaphysics " and religion, the 
doctrine of Eternal Recurrence (this being regarded 
as a means to the breeding and selection of 



My precursors : Schopenhauer. To what extent 
I deepened pessimism, and first brought its full 
meaning within my grasp, by means of its mos f 
extreme opposite. 

Likewise : the higher Europeans, the pioneers 
of great politics. 

Likewise : the Greeks and their genesis. 

I have named those who were unconsciously 
my workers and precursors. But in what direc- 
tion may I turn with any hope of finding my 
particular kind of philosophers themselves, or at 
least my yearning for new philosophers ? In that 
direction, alone, where a noble attitude of mind 
prevalls^'afi attitude of mind which believes in 
slavery andjn manifold orders"ofrank ; as the pre- 
requisites of any high degree of culture. In that 
direction, alone, where a creative attitude of mind 
prevails, an attitude of mind which does not re- 
gard the world of happiness and repose, the 
" Sabbath of Sabbaths " as an end to be desired, 
and which, even in peace, honours the means which 
lead to new wars; an attitude of mind which 
would prescribe laws for the future, which for the 
sake of the future would treat everything that 
exists to-day with harshness and even tyranny ; 
a daring and " immoral " attitude of mind, which 
would wish to see both the good and the evil 


jecause it would feel itself able to put each in its 
right place that is to say, in that place in which 
each would need the other. But what prospect 
has he of finding what he seeks, who goes in 
search of philosophers to-day ? Is it not probable 
*:, even with the best Diogenes-lantern in his 
.id, he will wander about by night and day in 
vain ? This age is possessed of the opposite in- 
stincts. What it wants, above all, is comfort ; 
secondly, it wants publicity and the deafening din 
of actors' voices, the big drum which appeals to 
its Bank-Holiday tastes ; thirdly, that every one 
should lie on his belly in utter subjection before 
the greatest of all lies which is " the equality of 
men" and should honour only those virtues 
which make men equal and place them in equal 
positions. But in this way, the rise of the philo- 
sopher, as I understand him, is made completely 
impossible despite the fact that many may re- 
gard the present tendencies as rather favourable 
to his advent. As a matter of fact, the whole 
world mourns, to-day, the hard times that philo- 
sophers used to have, hemmed in between the fear 
of the stake, a guilty conscience, and the presump- 
tuous wisdom of the Fathers of the Church : but 
the truth is, that precisely these conditions were 
ever so much more favourable to the education 
of a mighty, extensive, subtle, rash, and daring 
intellect than the conditions prevailing to-day. 
At present another kind of intellect, the intellect 
of the demagogue, of the actor, and perhaps of the 
beaver- and ant-like scholar too, finds the best 
possible conditions for its development. But even 


for artists of a superior calibre the conditions a 
already far from favourable: for does not eve 
one of them, almost, perish owing to his wa: 
of discipline? They are no longer tyrannise 
over by an outside power by the tables 
absolute values enforced by a Church or by 
monarch : and thus they no longer learn to d 
velop their " inner tyrant," their will. And wht 
holds good of artists also holds good, to a greate 
and more fatal degree, of philosophers. Where 
then, are free spirits to be found to-day? Let 
any one show me a free spirit to-day I 


Under " Spiritual freedom " I understand some- 
thing very definite : it is a state in which one is a 
hundred times superior to philosophers and other; 
disciples of "truth" in one's severity towards 
one's self, in one's uprightness, in one's courage, and 
in one's absolute will to say nay even when it is 
dangerous to say nay. I regard the philosophers 
that have appeared 'Heretofore as contemptible 

J ~ I1T....L U -- - - - * -"-" " * 

libertines hiding Jbehind the petticoats of the 

female " Truth/' " * - ~