(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "An Introductory Word on Nietzsche"

STOP 



Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world byJSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 
purposes. 

Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.istor.org/participate-istor/individuals/early- 
journal-content . 



JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 
contact support@jstor.org. 



AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ON NIETZSCHE 461 



AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ON NIETZSCHE^ 
WILLIAM MACKINTIRE SALTER 

Cambbidge, Massachusetts 

According to Professor Riehl of Berlin, the most widely read of 
serious writers in Germany today is Nietzsche.^ Grerman ideas 
require time to cross the Channel and still more time to reach 
America; but already translations of Nietzsche's numerous works 
are appearing in England, and within three or four years three 
books have been devoted to him in this country. Probably ere- 
long the thoughtful among us will have to attend to him, as we 
have had to attend to other German writers in the past. As yet 
very confused ideas are current about him; his disciples are more 
or less confused themselves. Nietzsche once half-humorously 
remarked that the first disciples of a doctrine really prove nothing 
against it. 

Moreover, Nietzsche was a lonely, markedly individual thinker, 
caring more to express himself than to be comprehended by the 
ordinary reader, soliloquizing much; and he said many things 
that, unless we carefully, patiently attend, may mislead, have 
misled. I could easily quote passages from him that would 
offend you, as they did me when I first came upon them. No one 
needs to be studied more before he is judged. No one lends 
himself less to impressionist treatment, which is all he ordinarily 
gets from non-Continental writers.^ Indeed, I sometimes think 
that Nietzsche is a philosopher for philosophers and a moralist 
for moralists rather than for the common run of us, so subtle is 
his thinking, such an acquaintance with the history and refine- 
ments of philosophical and ethical speculation does he presup- 
pose. 

Accordingly, it may be most useful, as well as most conformable 
to my abiKties, to cover a quite limited field this morning; and 

'An address to the Harvard Divinity Alumni Association, 19 June, 1912. 

* Friedricli Nietzsche, der KUnstler und der Denker (4th ed.), p. 8. 

' Some of the exceptions are the late William Wallace, Professor Pringle-Pat- 
tison, Mr. A. W. Benn, Havelock Ellis, our own Dr. Everett, Professor Thilly, and, 
mirabile diciu, two women, Dr. Grace N. Dolson and Miss Emily S. Hamblen. 



462 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW 

I shall content myself, after giving a few facts about his life and 
a very general characterization of him, to portray somewhat in 
detail his state of mind during one — the first — ^period of his career. 
What I say may thus serve as a kind of introduction to the sub- 
ject; and happy shall I be if I interest any one sufficiently to 
take it up on his own accoimt. 

Nietzsche was the son of a Protestant pastor (indeed he came 
from a line of them), and was born in 1844 in Rocken, a small 
Prussian village. He had the best and strictest of school train- 
ing at Naumburg and Schulpforta; at Schulpforta beginning a 
lifelong friendship with Paul Deussen, since well known as an 
authority on Hindu philosophy, a disciple of Schopenhauer, and 
now professor at Kiel. At twenty he entered the University of 
Bonn, removing later, with his "great" teacher, the philologist 
Ritschl, to Leipzig. His university studies were only interrupted 
by a period of military service. At twenty-four (in 1868) he was 
made professor of classical philology at Basel, becoming Ordi- 
narius two years later. He also undertook work in the Padago- 
gium, or higher Gymnasium, of the city. Eight years later he 
was obliged on account of ill-health to relinquish his duties at 
the Padagogium, and two years after, in 1878, he resigned, for the 
same reason, his university position as well. To his sister, who 
saw him in the spring following, he was hardly recognizable, 
"ein gebrochener, milder, gedlterter Mann." He was then thirty- 
five. His subsequent life was more or less spent in search of 
health; summers ordinarily in the Upper Engadine, winters on 
the Riviera. He lasted for ten years, when he had a stroke of 
paralysis, which affected his brain. His natural bodily vigor kept 
him alive for eleven years more, progressive paralysis ending in 
death in 1900. 

Perhaps a special word should be said of Nietzsche's insanity. 
It came suddenly, with the paralytic stroke I have mentioned. 
There are no real evidences of it before. A commentary on the 
state of American criticism with relation to Nietzsche is furnished 
by the fact that two of our books are prefaced with likenesses of 
him after he was hopelessly deranged. All his work — sixteen 
volumes in the octavo edition — was done before insanity came on. 
That there are traces or warnings of it in any of these volumes is 



AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ON NIETZSCHE 463 

at best a subjective opinion; in fact, it is a position that tends to 
be abandoned more and more.^ Highly wrought Nietzsche often 
was, particularly in his latest writings; he said extravagant 
things and uttered violent judgments. So did Carlyle; so have 
many earnest, lonely men, struggling unequally with their time; 
but insanity is another matter. 

The causes of his break-down were manifold. In attempting to 
mount a restive horse, when serving his time in the Prussian 
artillery, he suffered a serious rupture and was incapacitated for 
further service. Later he attached himself to the ambulance- 
corps of his country during the Franco-Prussian War (he could 
not be a soldier, as he was then living, and had become naturalized, 
in Switzerland), and had dangerous attacks of cholera and diph- 
theria, which were treated with strong medicines that deranged 
his stomach. Eye-troubles (he was always near-sighted) still 
further complicated the situation. Sick-headaches and insomnia 
became more or less chronic. His sleeplessness drove him to the 
use of drugs, and more and more powerful ones. All the time 
he was living the intensest intellectual life. This state of high 
tension, along with the other causes, seems sufficient to account 
for the final collapse. 

By nature he was of vigorous constitution. He had been fond 
as a boy of swimming and skating, and at the university, until 
his disablement, he was an active horseback-rider. At Bonn 
he was described as a "picture of health and strength, broad- 
shouldered, brown, with rather fair thick hair, and exactly the 
same height as Goethe." ^ He was clean both in person and in 
thought. At school the boys called him "the Uttle parson," 
instinctively repressing coarse language in his presence. He had 
a brief taste of dissipation at the university, but seemed to sicken 
of it. The delights of beer-drinking and duelling palled on him; 
and his openly expressed dissatisfaction with the "beer-material- 
ism" (as he called it) and the strained relations with his fellow- 

* Cf. Karl JoSl, Nietzsche und die Romantik, p. 328; H. Liestinberger, La Phi- 
losophie de Nietzsche, pp. 83 S.; R. Richter, Friedrich Nietzsche (2d ed.), pp. 91 ff.; 
H. Vaihinger, Nietzsche als Philosoph, p. 16; Ernst Homeffer, Nietzsches letztes 
SchaSen, p. 20. 

' Havelock Ellis, Affirmations, p. 11, quotes this. 



464 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW 

students that ensued, appear to have had something to do with 
his leaving Bonn for Leipzig. Once he allowed himself to be 
taken to a house of questionable character, but was soon speech- 
less before what he saw there. For a moment he turned to the 
piano, and then left.' Deussen says of him, "mulierem nunquam 
attigit"; and though this may be too absolute a claim,' it shows 
the impression that was left on one of his most intimate friends. 
He was never married. He had, however, intimate relations 
with gifted women, like Frau Cosima Wagner and Malwida von 
Meysenberg, and his family-affections were strong and tender; 
so tender toward his mother that he strove to keep his writings 
from her for fear of giving her pain. He had a nature at bottom 
sympathetic. No attentive reader can fail to feel this. If he 
warned against pity, it was as much because he had felt the 
excess of it as for lack of it. In personal intercourse he showed 
marked politeness, and, it is said, an almost feminine mildness. 
All his life he was practically a poor man. He called it his hap- 
piness that he owned no house, sayiag "Wer besitzt wird besetzt"; 
liked to wait on himself; despised the dinners of the rich; and 
loved solitude, aside from a few friends and the common people. 
The sight of the latter, he said, was as necessary to him as that 
of strong and healthy vegetation; and some of them in the later 
days of his illness and comparative emaciation in Geneva spoke 
endearingly of him as "il piccolo santo." He had remarkable 
strength of will. Once, as a school-boy, when the story of Mucins 
Scaevola was being discussed, he lighted a number of matches 
on his hand and held out his arm without wincing. He asserted 
himself against his later illnesses and depression in extraordinary 
fashion; and when he became mentally and spiritually dis- 
illusioned, he wrested strength from his very deprivations.* In 
general, there was an unusual firmness in his moral texture. He 
despised meanness, untruthfulness, cowardice, cunning; he liked 
straight speaking and straight thinking. He did not have one 
philosophy for the closet and another for life, as Schopenhauer 

^ It is Nietzsche's own story, as narrated by P. Deussen, Erinnervingen an 
F. Nietzsche, p. 24. 

' Cf . Mebius, Nietzsche, p. 50. 
' Also Sprach Zarathustra, p. 163. 



AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ON NIETZSCHE 465 

more or less did, but his thoughts were motives, rules. In his 
thinking itself we seem to catch the pulse-beats of his virile will.' 
Noble in spirit he was, too. One of his sayings is, "A sufferer has 
no right to pessimism";'" the thought being, of course, that such 
an one is too likely to be biassed by the personal point of view. 
Nor is he always dogmatic. At the close of the first book of his 
second or sceptical period, he asks his youthful readers not to 
take his doctrines at once as a guide of life, but rather as theses 
to be weighed; he throws the responsibility on them, urging them 
to be true to themselves even against him. Elsewhere he says: 

"It lureth thee, my mode and speech? 
Thou followest me, to hear me teach.' 
Nay! Guide thyself — honest and fair — 
And follow me, with care! with care!"'' 

Well aware that his doctrine was a kind of adventure, he tells 
us, "This is my way, what is yours? Tfte way there is not." "It 
belongs to the humanity of a teacher," he declares, "to warn 
his pupils against himself"; yes, a pupil badly recompenses his 
teacher, when he is always pupil and nothing more.'^ His ideal 
for the thinker as such appears in these lines: 

"Destined, star, for radiant path, 
No claim on thee the darkness hath! 
Roll on in bliss through this our age! 
Its trouble ne'er shall thee engage ! 
In furthest worlds thy beams shall glow: 
Pity, as sin, thou must not know 1 
Be pure: that duty's all you owe."'' 

Yes, Nietzsche was aware that the thinker might contradict him- 
self, as he himself did more or less in the successive periods of his 
mental evolution. "This thinker," he once says, evidently allud- 
ing to himself, "needs no one to confute him; he suffices to that 
end himself." Nor did he wish to be kept from following his own 

9 Cf. Riehl, op. cit., p. 161. 

"• Vermischte Meinungen u. s. w., (Vorrede, p. 5). 

" Werke (Pock, ed.), VI, p. 42, (tr. by Thomas Common). 

^ Zarathustra, p. 114. 

" Werke (Pock, ed.), VI, p. 56, (tr. by Thomas Common). 



466 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW 

path by friendly defence or adulation. One must needs, he said, 
not only love one's enemies, but be able to hate one's friends. 
In short, there was a kind of unworldliness about him. Vanity 
he had little of; reputation, save among the selectest few, he 
cared little for; personal resentments, such as Schopenhauer 
cherished, he was incapable of. I do not mean that his language 
is not severe at times, even unwarrantably so; but he tells us 
almost pathetically in one place that we must not underscore 
these passages, and that the severity and presumption come 
partly from his isolation. A lonely thinker, who finds no sym- 
pathy or echo for his ideas, involuntarily raises his pitch, he says, 
and easily falls into irritated speech.^* 

Perhaps I should add that the aphoristic form of much of his 
later writing has partly a physical explanation. He was able 
to write only at intervals, putting down his thoughts at auspicious 
moments, oftenest when he was out on his walks or chmbing. 
One year he had, he tells us, two hundred sick days. Such ill fort- 
une was extreme, but he was more or less incapacitated every 
year. 

Yet, despite the fragmentary nature of his work, Nietzsche 
was, one feels, a genuine thinker. He cannot of course be put 
into the same class with Aristotle or Kant; he is not systematic 
enough; his ideas, save in instances, are not sufficiently reasoned 
out. And yet he is more of a thinker (I mean more analytically 
and critically so) than writers hke Voltaire, Rousseau, Carlyle, 
or Emerson. He has reasoned and deep-going opinions on almost 
the whole range of human interests, including metaphysics, 
physics, psychology, ethics, art, religion, politics. It was the 
tendency at first to take Nietzsche as an artist, a man of letters, 
a "stylist" (to use a barbarous word imported from the German). 
Now he is often spoken of as a prophet. He once betrayed what 
he thought of style, when he said that the only way to improve 
it is to improve the thought. And as to prophecy, he was too 
remorselessly critical, too much concerned with ideas as such, 
to come exclusively under that category. The fact is, he was 
thinker -par eminence; and had he known better how to work and 

" I borrow here from Riehl, op. cit., p. 23. 



AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ON NIETZSCHE 467 

how not to work, or even had he lived ten years longer, he might 
have justified the title of systematic thinker, for he was engaged 
at the time of his collapse on a work, Der Wille zur Macht, that 
was to present in elaborate scientific form his total view of things. 
There are, as it is, fragments enough of this work to fill a stout 
volume and a half. 

And now, before attempting a partial portrait of the initial 
stage of his mental evolution, let me note the fact that his de- 
termination when a lad was to be a pastor, like his father and 
his grandfather, and that when he matriculated at Bonn, it was 
as student of philosophy and theology. It was only as his doubts 
increased or came to a head that he abandoned the study of 
theology, and something of the temper of religion remained with 
him always. His mind was essentially reverential. And here 
is the explanation of his craving for men beyond the men we 
know, higher men, superman (whatever the phrase is), something 
to satisfy, however inadequately, the instinct for the great and 
divine. 

I have spoken of his mental "evolution"; and it is one of 
the most characteristic things about Nietzsche that he was a 
changing, evolutionary being, as contrasted with his master 
Schopenhauer, whose views crystallized when he was still young 
and never materially altered. First he was under the spell of 
Schopenhauer and of Wagner (Schopenhauer on the philosophical 
side, Wagner on the artistic), and, I might add, of the anti-Socratic 
Greek view of life, as he understood it. Later he became dis- 
illusioned about Wagner, more or less turned against Schopen- 
hauer, was appreciative of Socrates and his rationalism, admired 
Voltaire and English positive science. It was his analytical, 
rationalistic, positivistic, many would say sober period, in which 
he dissected most of all his own earlier ideals, or, to use a phrase 
of his, laid them on ice. Last of all came a fresh idealism, sobered 
indeed and relieved of some of its early features, but none the 
less real and with magnificent forecasts. Nietzsche may be more 
interesting on account of this vivid life-history, but he is also 
more difficult of comprehension; we cannot always say, so 
Nietzsche thought, but so he thought at a certain time. And 
yet the later periods cannot be understood without an acquaint- 



468 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW 

ance with the eariier, and I must doubt whether one can under- 
stand him at all without an acquaintance with his masters, Scho- 
penhauer before all. 

And now let me endeavor to bring before you in some measure 
Nietzsche's initial state of mind. He is professor at Basel. He 
is kindly treated by his colleagues. Particularly is he happy 
in the friendship of Jacob Burckhardt, authority on Greek culture 
and on the Renaissance. Happy is he also in a friendship with 
Wagner, with whom and Frau Cosima he often spends delightful 
week-ends at their villa above Lake Lucerne. His lectures are 
strictly professional. He had specialized, I should perhaps have 
said, in Greek philology, and only the few devoted to philological 
study attend his lectures.^^ 

At the same time his interests are wide and he has an ideal 
beyond the training of capable philologists.'^ Occasionally he 
gives a public lecture, and now and then a little book or pam- 
phlet appears from him. In these we find his ideas and ideals 
in general. A new note is struck, a fresh stream of thought 
seems to be forming itself, even his interpretation of Greek life 
is more or less novel; feeling, passion, strong preferences and 
aversions, make themselves heard and felt. He sees in Socrates 
the beginning of the rationalistic spirit that killed Greek tragedy. 
He writes about David Strauss und Andere Philister; and this 
polemic from a new point of view against an honored name 
makes a veritable stir in the intellectual world. Schopenhauer 
als Erzieher appears, and "On the Use and Harm of History for 
Life," and "Richard Wagner in Bayreuth." " Unzeitgemdsse 
Betrachtungen" he calls them, i.e. considerations not in harmony 

^ Burckhardt said of him at the time that Basel had never before had a teacher 
like him (Lon Andreas-SalomS, Friedrich Nietzsche, in seinen Werken, p. 8). 

" Cf. Werke (Pock, ed.), I, xxviii. Nietzsche had an early antipathy to those 
who dissolve themselves into "reine Wissenschaft" (Schopenhauer als Erzieher, 
p. 3). The "historische Sinn," so extensively cultivated in Germany at the time, 
struck him as almost a "Krankheit" (Werke, Pock, ed., II, xli). He reflects at 
length (Schopenhauer als Erzieher, p. 3) on the "Selbstsucht der Wissenschaft," 
i.e. of the learned class, as one of the forces, "von denen zwar die Cultur gefordert 
wird, ohne dass man doch ihr Ziel, die Erzeugung des Genius, anerkennt." He 
even says, "Ein Gelehrter kann nie ein Philosoph werden" (he means by this 
" not merely a great thinker but an actual man. " Cf . what is said of Kant, Ibid., 
P-7). 



AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ON NIETZSCHE 469 

with the spirit of the time. It is a young fiery spirit that ex- 
presses itself, Professor Riehl remarks. A friend who visited 
him in Basel in 1872 says he appeared "fiery, elastic, self-con- 
scious, like a young lion." 

As I have said, he is a disciple of Schopenhauer. As a student 
at Leipzig he had chanced on his works. After he read one page, 
he knew he must read the whole, he felt Schoperhauer's full 
charm. It is interesting to see that Schopenhauer did not de- 
press him. As against the scepticism and despair which Kant 
had bred in a man like Heinrich von Kleist,*'' Schopenhauer was 
to him a leader who took one up to the heights of the tragic view, 
with the heavens and infinite stars overhead. He gave him, he 
says, a view of the world as a whole, opened up to him the mean- 
ing of life, and made him feel the true consolation for one's 
individual limitations and sorrows, namely, in renouncing self 
and giving one's self up to noble aims, above all to justice and 
pity.'* He echoed the words of Schopenhauer: "A happy life 
is impossible. The highest to which man can attain is a heroic 
course of life." This was to him a kind of battle-note. In seek- 
ing for happiness, he says, we do not go beyond the animal; yes, 
all our restless moving to and fro on the earth, our building of 
cities and states, our waging of wars, our restless accumulating 
and spending, our running amuck at people, our copying them, 

"Cf. the Quarterly Review (Oct., 1896, p. 310): "Reason, made suddenly- 
aware of its own impotence, so Nietzsche felt, would drive thoughtful men towards 
the wilderness in which, for example, Heinrich von Kleist had done himself to 
death." Kant, it must be remembered, reached the conclusion that we know noth- 
ing of things as they exist in themselves, our mind putting its shaping hand on 
every object; so that the world as we conceive it and the world as it really exists 
are separated by an impassable barrier. [Cf. the summary statement of O. 
Kiilpe, "Outer experience is bound up with space, inner experience with time, 
and they can be thought only in and through categories (space, time, and the 
categories being alike subjective, according to Kant). And so all realities of the 
several sciences, nature as well as soul, become phenomena. The knowing mind 
places on every object its stamp" (Philosophical Review, Jan., 1912, p. 8).] 

'' Ibid., p. 3. Cf . the description of his feelings after first reading Die Welt 
als Wille und Vorstellung: "Here there met me the full, unselfish, sunlit gaze of 
art; here I saw sickness and healing, exits and a haven of refuge, hell and heaven" 
(Professor Pringle-Pattison's translation from the Leben, in " Man's Place in the 
Cosmos," 2d ed., p. 259). 



470 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW 

our outwitting one another and trampling on one another, our 
cries in need and our shouts of joy in victory — all this, he says, is 
only continuation of our animality. It is, in a way, a picture of 
nine tenths of the content of human history; not only of the 
barbaric world, but of the world as it has now been going on for 
some two thousand years since the birth of Christ, yes, as it is 
going on at the present moment. Nietzsche at this time sees 
chiefly pain in it — pain, illusion, disappointment; he discovers 
little sense in it. The will plunges aimlessly forward, and does 
not know itself or the higher aims for which it exists. The world — 
this greater part of the world, that is — is to him full of gloom and 
contradiction. At bottom there is something terrible about it 
and something absurd. The terrible thing is that we live on one 
another; that forgetting our essential unity, imagining we are 
separate individuals, we prey on one another. Our human world 
is like the world outside. Animals prey on plants, we prey on 
animals; yes, animals prey on one another, and we men prey on 
one another. It seems to be a part of the order of things, the price 
of individual existence. A certain violence and wrong cleaves to 
life. This is the foundation of Nietzsche's tragic view of the 
world, as it was of Schopenhauer's. It is a mistake to think of 
Nietzsche originally, as of Schopenhauer, as having only the wish 
to put a slight thereby on morality. Both (Schopenhauer always 
and Nietzsche at the beginning) take their stand with morality, 
and it is life, not morality, that is put in the wrong. As Nietzsche 
afterward put it, "Before the court of morals (particularly Chris- 
tian, i.e. absolute morals) must life forever and unavoidably be in 
the wrong, since life is essentially something unmoral." i' It is 
this fact, that morality and right are violated in life, that makes 
the world to him enigmatic and terrible. It is the fight for exist- 
ence and the necessities it imposes that are the terrible things. 
Only a sensitive, a profoundly moral nature would feel in this way. 
Hegel did not feel so; Bismarck did not; our masters in political 
economy (till recently) have not; nine tenths of the world do 
not. Commonly, men see nothing more immoral in fighting for 
existence, whether with animals or with one another, than the 

'^ Versuch einer Selbstkritik, p. 5, prefixed to a 2d ed. of Die Geburt der 
TragSdie. 



AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ON NIETZSCHE 471 

South saw in subjecting slaves to their masters, or than the ancient 
Greeks in making slaves of those they conquered. 

Yet Nietzsche says (and here his view grows more tragic still), 
not only do we prey on one another, but we must; must, not 
merely for selfish ends, but to attain the things that make life 
worth while. By implication he asserts that the very means 
by which we rise above the sphere of animality, just described, 
are immoral means. For what are the things that make life 
worth while? Nietzsche answers, with Schopenhauer, philo- 
sophic contemplation, aesthetic appreciation, creation, the vision 
of truth and beauty; in short, philosophy and art. And how 
are these things reached? He answers, again with Schopenhauer, 
only by means of leisure. And how is leisure possible, since man 
lives by the sweat of his brow? Only as some men produce more 
than they need, thereby freeing others from the necessity of 
labor. That is, leisure is the fruit of surplus labor (Nietzsche 
uses Marx's term, " Mehr- Arbeit") P And as men are not apt 
to render this labor willingly, as they naturally want all they 
produce, some kind of necessity or force must be used upon them. 
Whether this be force of law, or of competition among them- 
selves for the chance to work, is immaterial. In either case the 
men are without choice, i.e. are slaves.^^ Nietzsche knows that 
the slavery of the "free laborer" of today is just as real as that 
of the legal slaves in the ancient world. On this shameful foun- 
dation, then, does the higher culture, philosophy, art, arise. 
Nietzsche says it in so many words: "Culture and art rest on a 
terrible foundation. In order that a wide, deep and fruitful 
soil may exist for their development, the vast majority must 
be in the service of a minority, must labor beyond the measure 
of their individual needs, be slaves of poverty. At their expense, 

20Der Griechische Staat in Werke (Pock, ed.), I, 210; cf. 211, "Das Elend 
der miihsam lebenden Menschen muss noch gestiegen werden, um einer geringen 
Anzahl olympischer Menschen die Produktion der Kunstwelt zu ermOglichen," and 
Die Geburt der TragOdie, p. 18, "die alexandrinische [i.e. Socratic, theoretical] 
Cultur brauchte einen Sklavenstand, um auf die Dauer existiren zu kSnnen." 

^^ Cf. Nietzsche's express language later: "Sklave (wie wir vielleicht jeden 
geistigen und korperlichen Lohnarbeiter bezeichnen mtissen"), Werke (Pock, ed.), 
V, xviii; also Professor Simmel's language quoted, xxiii, and MorgenrSthe, p. 206. 



472 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW 

by means of their surplus labor, must the few rise to freedom." ^^ 
It was so in ancient Greece (students of political science and 
political economy would do well to read his little paper on "The 
Greek State"). "To the nature of a higher culture slavery be- 
longs;" and Nietzsche unflinchingly makes the statement, not 
at all because he favors slavery or fails to be outraged by it, but 
simply because he sees, or thinks he sees, the fact. Indeed, about 
the absolute worth of a scheme of things in which slavery can 
be necessary, there cannot in his estimation be two opinions. 
This world is not a divine world, and he praises Schopenhauer 
for squarely saying so.^' 

And yet there is no way out for mankind save through phi- 
losophy and art. The many must toil and suffer, and only in- 
cidentally for their personal good. They must live in relative 
darkness that a few may reach the light, though this will ulti- 
mately be of universal benefit. In other words, tragedy is in- 
separable from life at present; even those to whom the joy of 
life does come, the philosophers and artists, must live for ends 
beyond their personal selves, live to pass on their light and the 
beauty they create. And the highest man of all (for philosophy 
and art are at best preparatory), the saint, the hero-saint— he 
dies to himself absolutely, makes himself one with all, with their 
pain and suffering as well, marks out some great path for the good 
of all, and follows it unflinchingly and with firm-set face, like the 
knight in Durer's picture, riding along his frightful way with 
Death and the Devil for companions, to the bitter end. For, it 
should be distinctly said, Nietzsche in this period puts the saint 
or hero above the philosophers and artists; and no one, he holds, 

^ Cf. Werke, XII (8vo. ed.), 206 (p. 439), "Aber haltet immer fest, dass diese 
ungeheure Bemiihung [of Fiirsten, Kaufleute, Beamten, Ackerbauer, Soldaten], 
dieser Schweiss, Staub u. Arbeitslann der Civilisation fur die da ist, die dies 
alles zu benutzen wissen, ohne mitzuarbeiten: dass es Ueberschussige geben muss, 
welche mit der allgemeinen Ueberarbeit erhalten werden, u. dass die Ueberschiiss- 
igen der Sinn u. die Apologie des ganzen Treibens sind!" 

® Cf . the admiration he later expresses, but no doubt early felt, for Schopen- 
hauer's repudiation of theism or pantheism: "The un-divinity of existence was 
recognized by him as something given, tangible, indiscussable " (FrBbliche Wis- 
senschaft, p. 359). Cf. "Der Atheismus war Das, was mich zu Schopenhauer 
ftthrte" (Ecce Homo, "Die Unzeitgemassen," p. 2). 



AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ON NIETZSCHE 473 

makes such sacrifices, accepts such obUgations,^ so absolutely 
parts with all self-seeking, as he. He once formally compares 
three ideal types of men: the Rousseau ideal man, easily a blind 
revolutionist, the Goethe ideal man, who too easily accepts the 
world as it is, simply glorifying it by philosophy and art,^^ and 
the Schopenhauer ideal type, the hero and saint; and he puts 
the Schopenhauer ideal man on top. He praises Schopenhauer 
for making the saint the final arbiter and judge of existence. 
He says, not victory in this world, but tragic death may be the 
highest thing; as we actually feel when we listen to old Greek 
drama and are Ufted to the thought of being other than we know 
of here.^* Yes, in the saint he sees the consmnmation toward 
which all nature presses and strives; for the saint is he in whom 
and through whom nature, the blind egoistic will working every- 
where, is redeemed from itself. He is the solver of the riddle 
of the world. With him indeed we all have affinities and ties. 
He is in actu what we are in potentia. He points to the redemp- 
tion toward which we all may strive.^' 

"From the start Nietzsche speaks of "Verpflichtungen" and "Pflichten" in 
a very different way from Schopenhauer (cf. Ibid., pp. 6, 8), though the difference 
may be more in language than in essential conception. Schopenhauer reacted 
against Kant's categorical imperative by going to an absurd opposite extreme. 

^Schopenhauer als Erzieher, p. 7: he had said of the philosopher, "Denn 
das ist die eigenthiimliche Arbeit aller grossen Denker gewesen, Gesetzgeber fUr 
Maass, Miinze und Gewicht der Dinge zu sein" (Ibid., p. 3); but above the phi- 
losopher he puts the saint. 

^ Die Geburt der TragSdie, p. 21; cf. Schopenhauer als Erzieher, p. 5, 
cf. II, 264-265, 1, 155, 148 ("' Wir glauben an das ewige Leben,' so ruft die TragS- 
die"). Geburt der Tragodie, p. 16 ("'Wir glauben an das ewige Leben,' so 
ruft die TragBdie"); p. 17 ("am reinsten Tone vielleicht im Oedipus auf Kolonos 
der versShnende Klang aus einer anderen Welt."). 

''' Cf. his recognition of Christianity: "Das Christenthum ist gewiss eine 
der reinsten Offenbarungen jenes Dranges nach Cultur und gerade nach der ioimer 
emeuten ErzeugUQg des Heiligen" (Schopenhaur als Erzieher, p. 6). In Die 
Geburt der TragSdie, p. 11, he shows appreciation of the deeper side of Chris- 
tianity, as contrasted with the lightness and surface cheerfulness of the later 
Greek spirit, so different from the serious and almost sombre views of the sixth 
century b.c, quite in the manner of Schopenhauer. Cf. Schopenhauer als Erzieher, 
p. 2, where he speaks of Christianity as surpassing in the elevation of its ideal the 
ancient moral systems "und die in alien gleichmassig waltende Nattlrlichkeit"; 
though he admits at the same time that Christianity went so far that it produced 
a reaction, and hence the vacillation of the modem mind. It was in the midst 
of his own perplexity over ultimate problems that he came on Schopenhauer (in 
1865), and found relief (Ibid., p. 2). 



474 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW 

Things being so, the whole aim at happiness is delusion. The 
final aim of our life is not in anything we can ourselves attain to, 
any passing success or satisfaction, but beyond us, above us, in 
producing or helping to produce those philosophers, artists, and 
saints through whom nature and man are redeemed; or, if we may, 
in producing the philosopher, artist, or saint in ourselves. "Hu- 
manity should continuously work to this end, to produce single 
great men; and this and nothing else is its task" — so Schopenhauer 
had said and so now Nietzsche after him. For such an end we are 
to strive; for it we are to make sacrifices. What accords with it is 
right; what clashes with it, wrong. Hence for every man to seek 
happiness, each in his own individual way, seems to Nietzsche 
folly. We do not exist for ourselves. The life of most of us has 
not significance enough to make it worth striving for as an end 
in itself. The purpose of our life is to serve higher life. In this 
way the lower gets a significance that it has not in itself. 

Taken abstractly, a view like this may not offend us; but 
Nietzsche is in earnest with it. The slave class of ancient Greece 
did not exist for itself. How meaningless was their toil and 
drudgery, save as thereby Greek genius was set free! Suppose 
the slaves had risen and asserted their own individual rights to 
happiness, the "rights of man," as we say. Where would the 
age of Pericles have been? No more do the corresponding class, 
the working-class of today, exist for themselves; and Nietzsche 
comments on the unfortunate consequences in modern times 
of the general-happiness philosophy, that is, the idea that all 
may attain happiness on the earth, for culture, now as always, 
requires a class of virtual slaves as its foundation,^* and if they 
rise, considering themselves wronged, culture will be destroyed. 

'' His sister says in summing up his views: "Man muss ohne Heuchelei zuge- 
ben, dass Sklaverei, oder wie man es nennen will, die schmachvoUe und betrilbliche 
Kehrseite jeder Civilisation ist! Man kann sie mildem, sie weniger schmerzhaft 
machen; man kann dem Knechte die Annahme seines Loses erleichtem — das 
Mittelalter mit seinen Feudal-System steht in dieser Hinsicht Uber der Neuzeit; — 
aber so laage es eine Gesellschatt giebt, wird es auch Machtige imd Privilegirte 
geben, deren Gllick auf der Muhsal u. schweren Arbeit einer unterdrflckten 
und zu ihren GUnsten ausgebeuteten Masse beruhen wird. Das sind harte Wahr- 
heiten, welcher nur der tragische Mensch in aller Unerschrockenheit in's Auge zu 
sehen wagt" (Werke, Pock, ed., II, xxxi-xxxii). 



AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ON NIETZSCHE 475 

"There is nothing more fearful," he declares, "than a barbaric 
slave-class that has come to consider its manner of existence a 
wrong, and sets about taking revenge not only for itself but for 
all generations." From the start, he had little sympathy with the 
spirit of the French Revolution or with present socialism: "Der 
gute Urmensch mil seine Reekie: welche paradiesischen Atissichten"! 
he ironically exclaims. Let Nietzsche not be misunderstood. 
The business-classes do not exist for themselves, either. They 
think they do, indeed, and there is just the trouble, for they are 
on top now and do pretty much as they like. The economic 
doctrine of laisser-faire which these classes virtually inspire, 
works injuriously, Nietzsche holds, on the morality of whole 
peoples today. The egoism of these classes, particularly since the 
period of the Reformation (for before that time the church had 
been a more or less restraining force), has become one of the 
determining factors in modern Kfe. It, along with the egoism 
of the military class, is to be reckoned among the coarsest and 
most evil influences that work upon us. The selfishness of the new 
industrial wealth perverts the aims of culture itself, looking on 
it as a means to its own gain and happiness. It opposes culture 
that has no industrial value. It thinks man has a right to happi- 
ness on earth, and needs education for this end, but only so far. 
Nietzsche speaks with scorn of the gold-aristocracy, the banking 
lords of our day without country or home, who use the State for 
their own ends, and so oppose war and even favor the masses 
against monarchs — ^patrons of peace and the people, forsooth! 
He questions the notion that wealth of itself prepares the way 
for culture. He satirizes the Germans after the Franco-Prussian 
War, who said, "Now let us become rich and self-conscious, and 
we shall have culture." Their wealth and surface-polish have 
been rather the foe of culture. Some kind of a surplus there must 
be, of course, but not, Nietzsche holds, the kind that is being 
piled up in modern communities. No, the business-classes, like 
the working-classes, have worth and dignity, in Nietzsche's view, 
as they serve ends beyond themselves, as they consciously or 
unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, are the helpmeets of 
genius, as they too contribute to the production of the phi- 
losopher, the artist, and the saint. If he recognizes the necessity 



476 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW 

of slavery for the workingman, it is not as the business-man or 
the economist might do so. He is ever a son of the muses, not 
a Phihstine. 

Undoubtedly, a certain hardness and severity come to the fore 
here. It is the beginning of the characteristic Nietzschean note. 
Life is a difficult business, and there is no easy way out. If we 
take a great aim into ourselves, we must be hard to all that op- 
poses it.^' Softness, weakness, become folly and worse. Even 
cruelty may be necessary. Might, rule, says Nietzsche, is always 
ruthless. Something of cruelty lies in the nature (i.e., at the 
basis) of all culture. The state which made slavery law and con- 
tinuous was cruel. Nietzsche speaks of the shameful origin of 
the state. Indeed here, in this first period, Nietzsche begins his 
revision of moral notions. We cannot, he says, aim at the happi- 
ness of others, singly or collectively, any more than at our own. 
The good of the greatest number, as we now find them, is not the 
ideal. The development of great commimities and states is not 
the ideal. Why should the many be more valuable than one? 
he in effect asks, quite in the spirit of Heraclitus, who said that 
one man was in his eyes equal to ten thousand, if he was the best. 
The aim of life, according to Nietzsche, is, I repeat, to produce 
those perfect specimens of the race, who by philosophy and art 
and heroic self -transcendence will redeem the race; and the aim 
of society at any given moment is to find out and establish those 
conditions that are favorable to the emergence of this higher breed 
of men. This is the end, and there should be iron-hardness in 
seeking it. We may have sympathy with men; we must;'" but 
not to the extent of interfering with the conditions and arrange- 
ments that are necessary to the attainment of the higher end. 
To attempt to make the working-class or the business-class happy 

29 Cf. Der Wffle zur Macht, 2d ed., p. 975: "Objektiv, hart, fest, streng 
bleiben im Durchsetzen eines Gedankens — das bringen die Kiinstler noch am besten 
zu Stande; wenn einer aber Menschen dazu nOthig hat (wie Lehrer, Staatsmanner 
u. s. w.), da geht die Ruhe und KSlte u. Harte schnell davon. Man kann bei 
Naturen wie CSsar u. Napoleon etwas ahnen von einem 'interesselosen' Arbeiten 
an ihrem Marmor, mag dabei von Menschen geopfert werden, was nur moglich. 
Auf dieser Bahn liegt die Zukimft der hSchsten Menschen, die grosste Verant- 
vjortlichkeit tragen und nicht daran zerbrechen." 

'""Die Weisheit wendet sich dem Gesamtbilde der Welt zu und sucht in 
diesem das ewige Leiden mit sympathischer Liebesempfindung zu ergreifen." 



AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ON NIETZSCHE 477 

in the way each would like to be, to relieve the one of surplus labor 
and allow the other to get and to spend as they choose, is against 
the evolutionary law. They must endure, and we must endure. 
The condition of things makes this necessary, the nature of the 
world, where good is won by pain, and Prometheus, the fire- 
bringer, the friend of man, suffers. Relief is only in freely accept- 
ing the tragic view, willingly making sacrifice (if we don't willingly, 
we may have to unwillingly), and feeling beyond us and above us 
the heavens and infinite stars, a super-earthly and super-human 
order of things. 

In the tribute to Schopenhauer which I have so often quoted — 
Schopenhauer, who with all his melancholy was to Nietzsche a 
good and brave fighter — Nietzsche imagines a disciple of culture 
saying, "I see something higher and more human above me than 
I myself am; help me all to attain it, as I will help every one who 
feels and suffers as I; in order that at last the man may arise who 
is full and measureless in knowledge and love and vision and 
power, and who with his whole being cleaves to nature and takes 
his place in nature as judge and valuer of things." ^^ Plainly, it is 
a self-confession. It lets us into the inner nature and soul of the 
man. He changed in many ways; but from this central aspira- 
tion or prayer, if I may call it so, he never wavered.'^ 

'1 Werke, II, 267. The translation of the latter part of this quotation is not 
literal; the German is: "Damit endlich wieder der Mensch entstehe, welcher sich 
voU und unendlich ftihlt im Erkennen vind Lieben, im Schauer und KOnnen, und 
mit aller seiner Ganzheit an und in der Natur hangt, als Richter und Werthmes- 
ser der Dinge." 

Of. " Ich habe von Kindesbeinen an iiber die Existenzbedingungen des Weisen 
nachgedacht" (X, 183, p. 987). 

^ " Meine ' Unzeitgemassen ' bedeuten fiir meine Versprechungen; was sie filr 
Andere sind, weiss ich nicht. Man glaube mir, dass ich langst nicht mehr leben 
wUrde, wenn ich diesen Versprechungen nur um Einen Schritt breit ausgewichen 
ware! Vielleicht kommt noch ein Mensch, der entdeckt, dass von 'Mensch. 
allgem.' an ich nichts gethan habe, als mein Versprechen erflillen" (XIV, Svo ed., 
381-382, p. 265).