Zarathustra by Me Published 1895 translation by Gerardo Published 1999 PREFACE This book belongs to the most rare of men. Perhaps not one of them is yet alive. It is possible that they may be among those who understand my “Zarathustra”: how could I confound myself with those who are now sprouting ears? — First the day after tomorrow must come for me. Some men are born posthumously.
The conditions under which any one understands me, and necessarily understands me — I know them only too well. Even to endure my seriousness, my passion, he must carry intellectual integrity to the verge of hardness. He must be accustomed to living on mountain tops — and to looking upon the wretched gabble of politics and nationalism as beneath him. He must have become indifferent; he must never ask of the truth whether it brings profit to him or a fatality to him… He must have an inclination, born of strength, for questions that no one has the courage for; the courage for the forbidden; predestination for the labyrinth.
The experience of seven solitudes. New ears for new music. New eyes for what is most distant. A new conscience for truths that have hitherto remained unheard.
And the will to economize in the grand manner — to hold together his strength, his enthusiasm… Reverence for self; love of self; absolute freedom of self… Very well, then! of that sort only are my readers, my true readers, my readers foreordained: of what account are the rest? — The rest are merely humanity. — One must make one’s self superior to humanity, in power, in loftiness of soul, — in contempt. FRIEDRICH W. NIETZSCHE.
... 8220;Hanna could neither read nor write.” He understood why she had let him do all the writing ... the harsh truth about her and then starts to understand why she acted the way she did. Then ... left her that note. He starts to also understand why she did or didn’t do many ... ;Leaving was her punishment.” Throughout “The Reader” the relationship between Hanna and Michael changes. ...
1. — Let us look each other in the face. We are Hyperboreans — we know well enough how remote our place is. “Neither by land nor by water will you find the road to the Hyperboreans”: even Pindar 1, in his day, knew that much about us.
Beyond the North, beyond the ice, beyond death — our life, our happiness… We have discovered that happiness; we know the way; we got our knowledge of it from thousands of years in the labyrinth. Who else has found it? — The man of today? — “I don’t know either the way out or the way in; I am whatever doesn’t know either the way out or the way in” — so sighs the man of today… This is the sort of modernity that made us ill, — we sickened on lazy peace, cowardly compromise, the whole virtuous dirtiness of the modern Yea and Nay.
This tolerance and larger of the heart that “forgives” everything because it “understands” everything is a sirocco to us. Rather live amid the ice than among modern virtues and other such south-winds! … We were brave enough; we spared neither ourselves nor others; but we were a long time finding out where to direct our courage. We grew dismal; they called us fatalists. Our fate — it was the fulness, the tension, the storing up of powers. We thirsted for the lightnings and great deeds; we kept as far as possible from the happiness of the weakling, from “resignation.”..
There was thunder in our air; nature, as we embodied it, became overcast — for we had not yet found the way. The formula of our happiness: a Yea, a Nay, a straight line, a goal… 2. What is good? — Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself, in man. What is evil? — Whatever springs from weakness. What is happiness? — The feeling that power increases — that resistance is overcome.
Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but efficiency (virtue in the Renaissance sense, virtu, virtue free of moral acid).
... Hamlet: Power vs Happiness Claudius what are your motives for killing the king, ... this point I think that he is not after power solely but maybe he was joules of his brother great ... distract from his lust for power, along with his marriage to the queen giving the ... could mean that Claudius is making a grab for power shown in his concentration on the foreign polices trying to ...
The weak and the botched shall perish: first principle of our charity. And one should help them to it. What is more harmful than any vice? — Practical sympathy for the botched and the weak — Christianity… 3. The problem that I set here is not what shall replace mankind in the order of living creatures ( — man is an end — ): but what type of man must be bred, must be willed, as being the most valuable, the most worthy of life, the most secure guarantee of the future.
This more valuable type has appeared often enough in the past: but always as a happy accident, as an exception, never as deliberately willed. Very often it has been precisely the most feared; hitherto it has been almost the terror of terrors; — and out of that terror the contrary type has been willed, cultivated and attained: the domestic animal, the herd animal, the sick brute-man — the Christian… 4. Mankind surely does not represent an evolution toward a better or stronger or higher level, as progress is now understood. This “progress” is merely a modern idea, which is to say, a false idea. The European of today, in his essential worth, falls far below the European of the Renaissance; the process of evolution does not necessarily mean elevation, enhancement, strengthening.
True enough, it succeeds in isolated and individual cases in various parts of the earth and under the most widely different cultures, and in these cases a higher type certainly manifests itself; something which, compared to mankind in the mass, appears as a sort of superman. Such happy strokes of high success have always been possible, and will remain possible, perhaps, for all time to come. Even whole races, tribes and nations may occasionally represent such lucky accidents. 5. We should not deck out and embellish Christianity: it has waged a war to the death against this higher type of man, it has put all the deepest instincts of this type under its ban, it has developed its concept of evil, of the Evil One himself, out of these instincts — the strong man as the typical reprobate, the “outcast among men.” Christianity has taken the part of all the weak, the low, the botched; it has made an ideal out of antagonism to all the self-preservative instincts of sound life; it has corrupted even the faculties of those natures that are intellectually most vigorous, by representing the highest intellectual values as sinful, as misleading, as full of temptation.
... it relates to many other aspects of life like a high-quality upbringing and a first-class education ... mom has been preaching to me. High school in a young adults life, especially in the males case, ... child like other students portray at Port Huron High School. But with information on diseases and ... teenage years I thought that her lectures and life experience stories were just for nagging and aggravation ...
The most lamentable example: the corruption of Pascal, who believed that his intellect had been destroyed by original sin, whereas it was actually destroyed by Christianity! — 6. It is a painful and tragic spectacle that rises before me: I have drawn back the curtain from the rottenness of man. This word, in my mouth, is at least free from one suspicion: that it involves a moral accusation against humanity. It is used — and I wish to emphasize the fact again — without any moral significance: and this is so far true that the rottenness I speak of is most apparent to me precisely in those quarters where there has been most aspiration, hitherto, toward “virtue” and “godliness.” As you probably surmise, I understand rottenness in the sense of decadence: my argument is that all the values on which mankind now fixes its highest aspirations are decadence-values. I call an animal, a species, an individual corrupt, when it loses its instincts, when it chooses, when it prefers, what is injurious to it. A history of the “higher feelings,” the “ideals of humanity” — and it is possible that I’ll have to write it — would almost explain why man is so degenerate.
Life itself appears to me as an instinct for growth, for survival, for the accumulation of forces, for power: whenever the will to power fails there is disaster. My contention is that all the highest values of humanity have been emptied of this will — that the values of decadence, of nihilism, now prevail under the holiest names. 7. Christianity is called the religion of pity.
— Pity stands in opposition to all the tonic passions that augment the energy of the feeling of aliveness: it is a depressant. A man loses power when he pities. Through pity that drain upon strength which suffering works is multiplied a thousandfold. Suffering is made contagious by pity; under certain circumstances it may lead to a total sacrifice of life and living energy — a loss out of all proportion to the magnitude of the cause ( — the case of the death of the Nazarene).
This is the first view of it; there is, however, a still more important one. If one measures the effects of pity by the gravity of the reactions it sets up, its character as a menace to life appears in a much clearer light.
... notion of prayerfully awaiting on Gods call for their lives and turned it completely around. And ... recognize that one values his life. Heeding the initial call of fear is something all ... a necessity for living. Now, ones stature in life, ones career, ones financial situation, ones possessions ... individuals forget their heart and step into life without responsibility.The foundation of successfully getting ...
Pity thwarts the whole law of evolution, which is the law of natural selection. It preserves whatever is ripe for destruction; it fights on the side of those disinherited and condemned by life; by maintaining life in so many of the botched of all kinds, it gives life itself a gloomy and dubious aspect. Mankind has ventured to call pity a virtue ( — in every superior moral system it appears as a weakness — ); going still further, it has been called the virtue, the source and foundation of all other virtues — but let us always bear in mind that this was from the standpoint of a philosophy that was nihilistic, and upon whose shield the denial of life was inscribed. Schopenhauer was right in this: that by means of pity life is denied, and made worthy of denial — pity is the technic of nihilism.
Let me repeat: this depressing and contagious instinct stands against all those instincts which work for the preservation and enhancement of life: in the role of protector of the miserable, it is a prime agent in the promotion of decadence — pity persuades to extinction… Of course, one doesn’t say “extinction”: one says “the other world,” or “God,” or “the true life,” or Nirvana, salvation, blessedness… This innocent rhetoric, from the realm of religious-ethical balderdash, appears a good deal less innocent when one reflects upon the tendency that it conceals beneath sublime words: the tendency to destroy life. Schopenhauer was hostile to life: that is why pity appeared to him as a virtue… Aristotle, as every one knows, saw in pity a sickly and dangerous state of mind, the remedy for which was an occasional purgative: he regarded tragedy as that purgative. The instinct of life should prompt us to seek some means of puncturing any such pathological and dangerous accumulation of pity as that appearing in Schopenhauer’s case (and also, alack, in that of our whole literary decadence, from St.
Petersburg to Paris, from Tolstoi to Wagner), that it may burst and be discharged… Nothing is more unhealthy, amid all our unhealthy modernism, than Christian pity. To be the doctors here, to be unmerciful here, to wield the knife here — all this is our business, all this is our sort of humanity, by this sign we are philosophers, we Hyperboreans! — 8. It is necessary to say just whom we regard as our antagonists: theologians and all who have any theological blood in their veins — this is our whole philosophy… One must have faced that menace at close hand, better still, one must have had experience of it directly and almost succumbed to it, to realize that it is not to be taken lightly ( — the alleged free-thinking of our naturalists and physiologists seems to me to be a joke — they have no passion about such things; they have not suffered — ).
... it completes. On the other hand, Kant admits in Virtue that: The pain that a man feels from remorse of conscience, though its ... an end in view,' and the 'three things' controlling moral 'truth and action' are 'sensation, reason, desire' (1139 a 32, 1139 ... contends that the prescriptions of physician and poisoner to achieve life or death 'are of equal value so far as each ...
This poisoning goes a great deal further than most people think: I find the arrogant habit of the theologian among all who regard themselves as “idealists” — among all who, by virtue of a higher point of departure, claim a right to rise above reality, and to look upon it with suspicion…
The idealist, like the ecclesiastic, carries all sorts of lofty concepts in his hand ( — and not only in his hand! ); he launches them with benevolent contempt against “understanding,”the senses,”honor,”good living,”science”; he sees such things as beneath him, as pernicious and seductive forces, on which “the soul” soars as a pure thing-in-itself — as if humility, chastity, poverty, in a word, holiness, had not already done much more damage to life than all imaginable horrors and vices… The pure soul is a pure lie… So long as the priest, that professional denier, calumniator and poisoner of life, is accepted as a higher variety of man, there can be no answer to the question, What is truth? Truth has already been stood on its head when the obvious attorney of mere emptiness is mistaken for its representative. 9.
Upon this theological instinct I make war: I find the tracks of it everywhere. Whoever has theological blood in his veins is shifty and dishonourable in all things. The pathetic thing that grows out of this condition is called faith: in other words, closing one’s eyes upon one’s self once for all, to avoid suffering the sight of incurable falsehood. People erect a concept of morality, of virtue, of holiness upon this false view of all things; they ground good conscience upon faulty vision; they argue that no other sort of vision has value any more, once they have made theirs sacrosanct with the names of “God,”salvation” and “eternity.” I unearth this theological instinct in all directions: it is the most widespread and the most subterranean form of falsehood to be found on earth. Whatever a theologian regards as true must be false: there you have almost a criterion of truth.
... understanding to man of God. Man uses religion to retain a bit of immortality, to reach the greatest section of existence and truth, and ... ritual along with mankinds desire for a relationship with God to form truth and value for the past, present, and future. Updike ... Wholly Other, and that man cannot reach God and that only God can touch man (Broadening 280). This suggests that God has a great hold ...
His profound instinct of self-preservation stands against truth ever coming into honour in any way, or even getting stated. Wherever the influence of theologians is felt there is a trans valuation of values, and the concepts “true” and “false” are forced to change places: what ever is most damaging to life is there called “true,” and whatever exalts it, intensifies it, approves it, justifies it and makes it triumphant is there called “false.” … When theologians, working through the “consciences” of princes (or of peoples — ), stretch out their hands for power, there is never any doubt as to the fundamental issue: the will to make an end, the nihilistic will exerts that power… 10.
Among Germans I am immediately understood when I say that theological blood is the ruin of philosophy. The Protestant pastor is the grandfather of German philosophy; Protestantism itself is its original. Definition of Protestantism: hemiplegia paralysis of Christianity — and of reason… One need only utter the words “Tubing en School” to get an understanding of what German philosophy is at bottom — a very artful form of theology…
The Suabian’s are the best liars in Germany; they lie innocently… Why all the rejoicing over the appearance of Kant that went through the learned world of Germany, three-fourths of which is made up of the sons of preachers and teachers — why the German conviction still echoing, that with Kant came a change for the better? The theological instinct of German scholars made them see clearly just what had become possible again… A backstairs leading to the old ideal stood open; the concept of the “true world,” the concept of morality as the essence of the world ( — the two most vicious errors that ever existed! ), were once more, thanks to a subtle and wily scepticism, if not actually demonstrable, then at least no longer refutable… Reason, the prerogative of reason, does not go so far… Out of reality there had been made “appearance”; an absolutely false world, that of being, had been turned into reality… The success of Kant is merely a theological success; he was, like Luther and Leibnitz, but one more impediment to German integrity, already far from steady.
— 11. A word now against Kant as a moralist. A virtue must be our invention; it must spring out of our personal need and defence. In every other case it is a source of danger.
That which does not belong to our life menaces it; a virtue which has its roots in mere respect for the concept of “virtue,” as Kant would have it, is pernicious. “Virtue,”duty,”good for its own sake,” goodness grounded upon impersonality or a notion of universal validity — these are all chimeras, and in them one finds only an expression of the decay, the last collapse of life, the Chinese spirit of Konigsberg. Quite the contrary is demanded by the most profound laws of self-preservation and of growth: to wit, that every man find his own virtue, his own categorical imperative. A nation goes to pieces when it confounds its duty with the general concept of duty.
Nothing works a more complete and penetrating disaster than every “impersonal” duty, every sacrifice before the Moloch of abstraction. — To think that no one has thought of Kant’s categorical imperative as dangerous to life! … The theological instinct alone took it under protection! — An action prompted by the life-instinct proves that it is a right action by the amount of pleasure that goes with it: and yet that Nihilist, with his bowels of Christian dogmatism, regarded pleasure as an objection… What destroys a man more quickly than to work, think and feel without inner necessity, without any deep personal desire, without pleasure — as a mere automaton of duty? That is the recipe for decadence, and no less for idiocy… Kant became an idiot. — And such a man was the contemporary of Goethe! This calamitous spinner of cobwebs passed for the German philosopher — still passes today! …
I forbid myself to say what I think of the Germans… Didn’t Kant see in the French Revolution the transformation of the state from the inorganic form to the organic? Didn’t he ask himself if there was a single event that could be explained save on the assumption of a moral faculty in man, so that on the basis of it, “the tendency of mankind toward the good” could be explained, once and for all time? Kant’s answer: “That is revolution.” Instinct at fault in everything and anything, instinct as a revolt against nature, German decadence as a philosophy — that is Kant! — — 12. I put aside a few sceptics, the types of decency in the history of philosophy: the rest haven’t the slightest conception of intellectual integrity. They behave like women, all these great enthusiasts and prodigies — they regard “beautiful feelings” as arguments, the “heaving breast” as the bellows of divine inspiration, conviction as the criterion of truth. In the end, with “German” innocence, Kant tried to give a scientific flavour to this form of corruption, this dearth of intellectual conscience, by calling it “practical reason.” He deliberately invented a variety of reasons for use on occasions when it was desirable not to trouble with reason — that is, when morality, when the sublime command “thou shalt,” was heard. When one recalls the fact that, among all peoples, the philosopher is no more than a development from the old type of priest, this inheritance from the priest, this fraud upon self, ceases to be remarkable.
When a man feels that he has a divine mission, say to lift up, to save or to liberate mankind — when a man feels the divine spark in his heart and believes that he is the mouthpiece of supernatural imperatives — when such a mission in. flames him, it is only natural that he should stand beyond all merely reasonable standards of judgment. He feels that he is himself sanctified by this mission, that he is himself a type of a higher order! … What has a priest to do with philosophy! He stands far above it! — And hitherto the priest has ruled! — He has determined the meaning of “true” and “not true”! 13. Let us not under-estimate this fact: that we ourselves, we free spirits, are already a “trans valuation of all values,” a visualized declaration of war and victory against all the old concepts of “true” and “not true.” The most valuable intuitions are the last to be attained; the most valuable of all are those which determine methods. All the methods, all the principles of the scientific spirit of today, were the targets for thousands of years of the most profound contempt; if a man inclined to them he was excluded from the society of “decent” people — he passed as “an enemy of God,” as a scoffer at the truth, as one “possessed.” As a man of science, he belonged to the Chandala 2…
We have had the whole pathetic stupidity of mankind against us — their every notion of what the truth ought to be, of what the service of the truth ought to be — their every “thou shalt” was launched against us… Our objectives, our methods, our quiet, cautious, distrustful manner — all appeared to them as absolutely discreditable and contemptible. — Looking back, one may almost ask one’s self with reason if it was not actually an aesthetic sense that kept men blind so long: what they demanded of the truth was picturesque effectiveness, and of the learned a strong appeal to their senses. It was our modesty that stood out longest against their taste… How well they guessed that, these turkey-cocks of God! 14. We have unlearned something.
We have be come more modest in every way. We no longer derive man from the “spirit,” from the “god-head”; we have dropped him back among the beasts. We regard him as the strongest of the beasts because he is the craftiest; one of the results thereof is his intellectuality. On the other hand, we guard ourselves against a conceit which would assert itself even here: that man is the great second thought in the process of organic evolution. He is, in truth, anything but the crown of creation: beside him stand many other animals, all at similar stages of development…
And even when we say that we say a bit too much, for man, relatively speaking, is the most botched of all the animals and the sickliest, and he has wandered the most dangerously from his instincts — though for all that, to be sure, he remains the most interesting! — As regards the lower animals, it was Descartes who first had the really admirable daring to describe them as machine; the whole of our physiology is directed toward proving the truth of this doctrine. Moreover, it is illogical to set man apart, as Descartes did: what we know of man today is limited precisely by the extent to which we have regarded him, too, as a machine. Formerly we accorded to man, as his inheritance from some higher order of beings, what was called “free will”; now we have taken even this will from him, for the term no longer describes anything that we can understand. The old word “will” now connotes only a sort of result, an individual reaction, that follows inevitably upon a series of partly discordant and partly harmonious stimuli — the will no longer “acts,” or “moves.” … Formerly it was thought that man’s consciousness, his “spirit,” offered evidence of his high origin, his divinity.
That he might be perfected, he was advised, tortoise-like, to draw his senses in, to have no traffic with earthly things, to shuffle off his mortal coil — then only the important part of him, the “pure spirit,” would remain. Here again we have thought out the thing better: to us consciousness, or “the spirit,” appears as a symptom of a relative imperfection of the organism, as an experiment, a groping, a misunderstanding, as an affliction which uses up nervous force unnecessarily — we deny that anything can be done perfectly so long as it is done consciously. The “pure spirit” is a piece of pure stupidity: take away the nervous system and the senses, the so-called “mortal shell,” and the rest is miscalculation — that is all! … 15. Under Christianity neither morality nor religion has any point of contact with actuality.
It offers purely imaginary causes (“God”soul,”ego,”spirit,”free will” — or even “unfree”), and purely imaginary effects (“sin”salvation”grace,”punishment,”forgiveness of sins”).
Intercourse between imaginary beings (“God,”spirits,”souls”); an imaginary natural history (anthropocentric; a total denial of the concept of natural causes); an imaginary psychology (misunderstandings of self, misinterpretations of agreeable or disagreeable general feelings — for example, of the states of the nervus with the help of the sign-language of religio-ethical balderdash — , “repentance,”pangs of conscience,”temptation by the devil,”the presence of God”); an imaginary teleology (the “kingdom of God,”the last judgment,”eternal life”).
— This purely fictitious world, greatly to its disadvantage, is to be differentiated from the world of dreams; the later at least reflects reality, whereas the former falsifies it, cheapens it and denies it. Once the concept of “nature” had been opposed to the concept of “God,” the word “natural” necessarily took on the meaning of “abominable” — the whole of that fictitious world has its sources in hatred of the natural ( — the real! — ), and is no more than evidence of a profound uneasiness in the presence of reality… This explains everything. Who alone has any reason for living his way out of reality? The man who suffers under it.
But to suffer from reality one must be a botched reality… The preponderance of pains over pleasures is the cause of this fictitious morality and religion: but such a preponderance also supplies the formula for decadence… 16. A criticism of the Christian concept of God leads inevitably to the same conclusion. — A nation that still believes in itself holds fast to its own god. In him it does honour to the conditions which enable it to survive, to its virtues — it projects its joy in itself, its feeling of power, into a being to whom one may offer thanks.
He who is rich will give of his riches; a proud people need a god to whom they can make sacrifices… Religion, within these limits, is a form of gratitude. A man is grateful for his own existence: to that end he needs a god. — Such a god must be able to work both benefits and injuries; he must be able to play either friend or foe — he is wondered at for the good he does as well as for the evil he does. But the castration, against all nature, of such a god, making him a god of goodness alone, would be contrary to human inclination. Mankind has just as much need for an evil god as for a good god; it doesn’t have to thank mere tolerance and humanitarianism for its own existence…
What would be the value of a god who knew nothing of anger, revenge, envy, scorn, cunning, violence? who had perhaps never experienced the rapturous of victory and of destruction? No one would understand such a god: why should any one want him? — True enough, when a nation is on the downward path, when it feels its belief in its own future, its hope of freedom slipping from it, when it begins to see submission as a first necessity and the virtues of submission as measures of self-preservation, then it must overhaul its god. He then becomes a hypocrite, timorous and demure; he counsels “peace of soul,” hate-no-more, leniency, “love” of friend and foe. He moralizes endlessly; he creeps into every private virtue; he becomes the god of every man; he becomes a private citizen, a cosmopolitan… Formerly he represented a people, the strength of a people, everything aggressive and thirsty for power in the soul of a people; now he is simply the good god… The truth is that there is no other alternative for gods: either they are the will to power — in which case they are national gods — or incapacity for power — in which case they have to be good. 17.
Wherever the will to power begins to decline, in whatever form, there is always an accompanying decline physiologically, a decadence. The divinity of this decadence, shorn of its masculine virtues and passions, is converted perforce into a god of the physiologically degraded, of the weak. Of course, they do not call themselves the weak; they call themselves “the good.” … No hint is needed to indicate the moments in history at which the dualistic fiction of a good and an evil god first became possible. The same instinct which prompts the inferior to reduce their own god to “goodness-in-itself” also prompts them to eliminate all good qualities from the god of their superiors; they make revenge on their masters by making a devil of the latter’s god. — The good god, and the devil like him — both are abortions of decadence.
— How can we be so tolerant of the na”i vet’e of Christian theologians as to join in their doctrine that the evolution of the concept of god from “the god of Israel,” the god of a people, to the Christian god, the essence of all goodness, is to be described as progress? — But even Renan does this. As if Renan had a right to be na ” ive! The contrary actually stares one in the face. When everything necessary to ascending life; when all that is strong, courageous, masterful and proud has been eliminated from the concept of a god; when he has sunk step by step to the level of a staff for the weary, a sheet-anchor for the drowning; when he be comes the poor man’s god, the sinner’s god, the invalid’s god par excellence, and the attribute of “saviour” or “redeemer” remains as the one essential attribute of divinity — just what is the significance of such a metamorphosis? what does such a reduction of the godhead imply? — To be sure, the “kingdom of God” has thus grown larger. Formerly he had only his own people, his “chosen” people. But since then he has gone wandering, like his people themselves, into foreign parts; he has given up settling down quietly anywhere; finally he has come to feel at home everywhere, and is the great cosmopolitan — until now he has the “great majority” on his side, and half the earth. But this god of the “great majority,” this democrat among gods, has not become a proud heathen god: on the contrary, he remains a Jew, he remains a god in a corner, a god of all the dark nooks and crevices, of all the noise some quarters of the world! …
His earthly kingdom, now as always, is a kingdom of the underworld, a souterrain kingdom, a ghetto kingdom… And he himself is so pale, so weak, so decadent… Even the palest of the pale are able to master him — messieurs the metaphysicians, those albinos of the intellect. They spun their webs around him for so long that finally he was hypnotized, and began to spin himself, and became another metaphysician. Thereafter he resumed once more his old business of spinning the world out of his inmost being sub specie Spinoza e; thereafter he be came ever thinner and paler — became the “ideal,” became “pure spirit,” became “the absolute,” became “the thing-in-itself.” …
The collapse of a god: he became a “thing-in-itself.” 18. The Christian concept of a god — the god as the patron of the sick, the god as a spinner of cobwebs, the god as a spirit — is one of the most corrupt concepts that has ever been set up in the world: it probably touches low-water mark in the ebbing evolution of the god-type. God degenerated into the contradiction of life. Instead of being its transfiguration and eternal Yea! In him war is declared on life, on nature, on the will to live! God becomes the formula for every slander upon the “here and now,” and for every lie about the “beyond”! In him nothingness is deified, and the will to nothingness is made holy! … 19. The fact that the strong races of northern Europe did not repudiate this Christian god does little credit to their gift for religion — and not much more to their taste.
They ought to have been able to make an end of such a moribund and worn-out product of the decadence. A curse lies upon them because they were not equal to it; they made illness, decrepitude and contradiction a part of their instincts — and since then they have not managed to create any more gods. Two thousand years have come and gone — and not a single new god! Instead, there still exists, and as if by some intrinsic right, — as if he were the ultimatum and maximum of the power to create gods, of the creator spiritus in mankind — this pitiful god of Christian monotony-theism! This hybrid image of decay, conjured up out of emptiness, contradiction and vain imagining, in which all the instincts of decadence, all the cowardice’s and weariness es of the soul find their sanction! — 20. In my condemnation of Christianity I surely hope I do no injustice to a related religion with an even larger number of believers: I allude to Buddhism.
Both are to be reckoned among the nihilistic religions — they are both decadence religions — but they are separated from each other in a very remarkable way. For the fact that he is able to compare them at all the critic of Christianity is indebted to the scholars of India. — Buddhism is a hundred times as realistic as Christianity — it is part of its living heritage that it is able to face problems objectively and coolly; it is the product of long centuries of philosophical speculation. The concept, “god,” was already disposed of before it appeared. Buddhism is the only genuinely positive religion to be encountered in history, and this applies even to its epistemology (which is a strict phenomenalism) — It does not speak of a “struggle with sin,” but, yielding to reality, of the “struggle with suffering.” Sharply differentiating itself from Christianity, it puts the self-deception that lies in moral concepts be hind it; it is, in my phrase, beyond good and evil. — The two physiological facts upon which it grounds itself and upon which it bestows its chief attention are: first, an excessive sensitiveness to sensation, which manifests itself as a refined susceptibility to pain, and secondly, an extraordinary spirituality, a too protracted concern with concepts and logical procedures, under the influence of which the instinct of personality has yielded to a notion of the “impersonal.” ( — Both of these states will be familiar to a few of my readers, the objectivist’s, by experience, as they are to me).
These physiological states produced a depression, and Buddha tried to combat it by hygienic measures. Against it he prescribed a life in the open, a life of travel; moderation in eating and a careful selection of foods; caution in the use of intoxicants; the same caution in arousing any of the passions that foster a bilious habit and heat the blood; finally, no worry, either on one’s own account or on account of others. He encourages ideas that make for either quiet contentment or good cheer — he finds means to combat ideas of other sorts. He understands good, the state of goodness, as something which promotes health. Prayer is not included, and neither is asceticism. There is no categorical imperative nor any disciplines, even within the walls of a monastery ( — it is always possible to leave — ).
These things would have been simply means of increasing the excessive sensitiveness above mentioned. For the same reason he does not advocate any conflict with unbelievers; his teaching is antagonistic to nothing so much as to revenge, aversion, ressentiment ( — “enmity never brings an end to enmity”: the moving refrain of all Buddhism… ) And in all this he was right, for it is precisely these passions which, in view of his main purpose, are unhealthful. The mental fatigue that he observes, already plainly displayed in too much “objectivity” (that is, in the individual’s loss of interest in himself, in loss of balance and of “egoism”), he combats by strong efforts to lead even the spiritual interests back to the ego. In Buddha’s teaching egoism is a duty. The “one thing needful,” the question “how can you be delivered from suffering,” regulates and determines the whole spiritual diet.
( — Perhaps one will here recall that Athenian who also declared war upon pure “,” to wit, Socrates, who also elevated egoism to the estate of a morality).
21. The things necessary to Buddhism are a very mild climate, customs of great gentleness and liberality, and no militarism; moreover, it must get its start among the higher and better educated classes. Cheerfulness, quiet and the absence of desire are the chief desiderata, and they are attained.
Buddhism is not a religion in which perfection is merely an object of aspiration: perfection is actually normal. — Under Christianity the instincts of the subjugated and the oppressed come to the fore: it is only those who are at the bottom who seek their salvation in it. Here the prevailing pastime, the favourite remedy for boredom is the discussion of sin, self-criticism, the inquisition of conscience; here the emotion produced by power (called “God”) is pumped up (by prayer); here the highest good is regarded as unattainable, as a gift, as “grace.” Here, too, open dealing is lacking; concealment and the darkened room are Christian. Here body is despised and hygiene is denounced as sensual; the church even ranges itself against cleanliness ( — the first Christian order after the banishment of the Moors closed the public baths, of which there were 270 in Cordova alone).
Christian, too; is a certain cruelty toward one’s self and toward others; hatred of unbelievers; the will to persecute. Sombre and disquieting ideas are in the foreground; the most esteemed states of mind, bearing the most respectable names are epileptoid; the diet is so regulated as to engender morbid symptoms and over-stimulate the nerves.
Christian, again, is all deadly enmity to the rulers of the earth, to the “aristocratic” — along with a sort of secret rivalry with them ( — one resigns one’s “body” to them — one want sonly one’s “soul.”.. ).
And Christian is all hatred of the intellect, of pride, of courage of freedom, of intellectual libertinage; Christian is all hatred of the senses, of joy in the senses, of joy in general… 22. When Christianity departed from its native soil, that of the lowest orders, the underworld of the ancient world, and began seeking power among barbarian peoples, it no longer had to deal with exhausted men, but with men still inwardly savage and capable of self torture — in brief, strong men, but bungled men.
Here, unlike in the case of the Buddhists, the cause of discontent with self, suffering through self, is not merely a general sensitiveness and susceptibility to pain, but, on the contrary, an inordinate thirst for inflicting pain on others, a tendency to obtain subjective satisfaction in hostile deeds and ideas. Christianity had to embrace barbaric concepts and valuations in order to obtain mastery over barbarians: of such sort, for example, are the sacrifices of the first-born, the drinking of blood as a sacrament, the disdain of the intellect and of culture; torture in all its forms, whether bodily or not; the whole pomp of the cult. Buddhism is a religion for peoples in a further state of development, for races that have become kind, gentle and over-spiritualized ( — Europe is not yet ripe for it — ): it is a summons ‘that takes them back to peace and cheerfulness, to a careful rationing of the spirit, to a certain hardening of the body. Christianity aims at mastering beasts of prey; its modus operandi is to make them ill — to make feeble is the Christian recipe for taming, for “civilizing.” Buddhism is a religion for the closing, over-wearied stages of civilization. Christianity appears before civilization has so much as begun — under certain circumstances it lays the very foundations thereof. 23.
Buddhism, I repeat, is a hundred times more austere, more honest, more objective. It no longer has to justify its pains, its susceptibility to suffering, by interpreting these things in terms of sin — it simply says, as it simply thinks, “I suffer.” To the barbarian, however, suffering in itself is scarcely understandable: what he needs, first of all, is an explanation as to why he suffers. (His mere instinct prompts him to deny his suffering altogether, or to endure it in silence. ) Here the word “devil” was a blessing: man had to have an omnipotent and terrible enemy — there was no need to be ashamed of suffering at the hands of such an enemy. — At the bottom of Christianity there are several subtleties that belong to the Orient. In the first place, it knows that it is of very little consequence whether a thing be true or not, so long as it is believed to be true.
Truth and faith: here we have two wholly distinct worlds of ideas, almost two diametrically opposite worlds — the road to the one and the road to the other lie miles apart. To understand that fact thoroughly — this is almost enough, in the Orient, to make one a sage. The Brahmins knew it, Plato knew it, every student of the esoteric knows it. When, for example, a man gets any pleasure out of the notion that he has been saved from sin, it is not necessary for him to be actually sinful, but merely to feel sinful. But when faith is thus exalted above everything else, it necessarily follows that reason, knowledge and patient inquiry have to be discredited: the road to the truth becomes a forbidden road.
— Hope, in its stronger forms, is a great deal more powerful stimulant to life than any sort of realized joy can ever be. Man must be sustained in suffering by a hope so high that no conflict with actuality can dash it — so high, indeed, that no fulfillment can satisfy it: a hope reaching out beyond this world. (Precisely because of this power that hope has of making the suffering hold out, the Greeks regarded it as the evil of evils, as the most malign of evils; it remained behind at the source of all evil. ) 3 — In order that love may be possible, God must become a person; in order that the lower instincts may take a hand in the matter God must be young. To satisfy the ardor of the woman a beautiful saint must appear on the scene, and to satisfy that of the men there must be a virgin. These things are necessary if Christianity is to assume lordship over a soil on which some aphrodisiacal or Adonis cult has already established a notion as to what a cult ought to be.
To insist upon chastity greatly strengthens the vehemence and subjectivity of the religious instinct — it makes the cult warmer, more enthusiastic, more soulful. — Love is the state in which man sees things most decidedly as they are not. The force of illusion reaches its highest here, and so does the capacity for sweetening, for transfiguring. When a man is in love he endures more than at any other time; he submits to anything. The problem was to devise a religion which would allow one to love: by this means the worst that life has to offer is overcome — it is scarcely even noticed. — So much for the three Christian virtues: faith, hope and charity: I call them the three Christian.
— Buddhism is in too late a stage of development, too full of positivism, to be shrewd in any such way. — 24. Here I barely touch upon the problem of the origin of Christianity. The first thing necessary to its solution is this: that Christianity is to be understood only by examining the soil from which it sprung — it is not a reaction against Jewish instincts; it is their inevitable product; it is simply one more step in the awe-inspiring logic of the Jews.
In the words of the Saviour, “salvation is of the Jews.” 4 — The second thing to remember is this: that the psychological type of the Galilean is still to be recognized, but it was only in its most degenerate form (which is at once maimed and overladen with foreign features) that it could serve in the manner in which it has been used: as a type of the Saviour of mankind. — The Jews are the most remarkable people in the history of the world, for when they were confronted with the question, to be or not to be, they chose, with perfectly unearthly deliberation, to be at any price: this price involved a radical falsification of all nature, of all naturalness, of all reality, of the whole inner world, as well as of the outer. They put themselves against all those conditions under which, hitherto, a people had been able to live, or had even been permitted to live; out of themselves they evolved an idea which stood in direct opposition to natural conditions — one by one they distorted religion, civilization, morality, history and psychology until each became a contradiction of its natural significance. We meet with the same phenomenon later on, in an incalculably exaggerated form, but only as a copy: the Christian church, put beside the “people of God,” shows a complete lack of any claim to originality. Precisely for this reason the Jews are the most fateful people in the history of the world: their influence has so falsified the reasoning of mankind in this matter that today the Christian can cherish anti-Semitism without realizing that it is no more than the final consequence of Judaism.
In my “Genealogy of Morals” I give the first psychological explanation of the concepts underlying those two antithetical things, a noble morality and a ressentiment morality, the second of which is a mere product of the denial of the former. The Judaeo-Christian moral system belongs to the second division, and in every detail. In order to be able to say Nay to everything representing an ascending evolution of life — that is, to well-being, to power, to beauty, to self-approval — the instincts of ressentiment, here become downright genius, had to invent an other world in which the acceptance of life appeared as the most evil and abominable thing imaginable. Psychologically, the Jews are a people gifted with the very strongest vitality, so much so that when they found themselves facing impossible conditions of life they chose voluntarily, and with a profound talent for self-preservation, the side of all those instincts which make for decadence — not as if mastered by them, but as if detecting in them a power by which “the world” could be defied. The Jews are the very opposite of decadents: they have simply been forced into appearing in that guise, and with a degree of skill approaching the non plus ultra of histrionic genius they have managed to put themselves at the head of all decadent movements ( — for example, the Christianity of Paul — ), and so make of them something stronger than any party frankly saying Yes to life. To the sort of men who reach out for power under Judaism and Christianity, — that is to say, to the priestly class-decadence is no more than a means to an end.
Men of this sort have a vital interest in making mankind sick, and in confusing the values of “good” and “bad,”true” and “false” in a manner that is not only dangerous to life, but also slanders it. 25. The history of Israel is invaluable as a typical history of an attempt to all natural values: I point to five facts which bear this out. Originally, and above all in the time of the monarchy, Israel maintained the right attitude of things, which is to say, the natural attitude. Its Jahveh was an expression of its consciousness of power, its joy in itself, its hopes for itself: to him the Jews looked for victory and salvation and through him they expected nature to give them whatever was necessary to their existence — above all, rain. Jahveh is the god of Israel, and consequently the god of justice: this is the logic of every race that has power in its hands and a good conscience in the use of it.
In the religious ceremonial of the Jews both aspects of this self-approval stand revealed. The nation is grateful for the high destiny that has enabled it to obtain dominion; it is grateful for the benign procession of the seasons, and for the good fortune attending its herds and its crops. — This view of things remained an ideal for a long while, even after it had been robbed of validity by tragic blows: anarchy within and the Assyrian without. But the people still retained, as a projection of their highest yearnings, that vision of a king who was at once a gallant warrior and an upright judge — a vision best visualized in the typical prophet (i.
e. , critic and satirist of the moment), Isaiah. — But every hope remained unfulfilled. The old god no longer could do what he used to do. He ought to have been abandoned. But what actually happened? simply this: the conception of him was changed — the conception of him was; this was the price that had to be paid for keeping him.
— Jahveh, the god of “justice” — he is in accord with Israel no more, he no longer visualizes the national egoism; he is now a god only conditionally… The public notion of this god now becomes merely a weapon in the hands of clerical agitators, who interpret all happiness as a reward and all unhappiness as a punishment for obedience or disobedience to him, for “sin”: that most fraudulent of all imaginable interpretations, whereby a “moral order of the world” is set up, and the fundamental concepts, “cause” and “effect,” are stood on their heads. Once natural causation has been swept out of the world by doctrines of reward and punishment some sort of unnatural causation becomes necessary: and all other varieties of the denial of nature follow it. A god who demands — in place of a god who helps, who gives counsel, who is at bottom merely a name for every happy inspiration of courage and self-reliance… Morality is no longer a reflection of the conditions which make for the sound life and development of the people; it is no longer the primary life-instinct; instead it has become abstract and in opposition to life — a fundamental perversion of the fancy, an “evil eye” on all things. What is Jewish, what is Christian morality? Chance robbed of its innocence; unhappiness polluted with the idea of “sin”; well-being represented as a danger, as a “temptation”; a physiological disorder produced by the canker worm of conscience…
26. The concept of god falsified; the concept of morality falsified; — but even here Jewish priest craft did not stop. The whole history of Israel ceased to be of any value: out with it! — These priests accomplished that miracle of falsification of which a great part of the Bible is the documentary evidence; with a degree of contempt unparalleled, and in the face of all tradition and all historical reality, they translated the past of their people into religious terms, which is to say, they converted it into an idiotic mechanism of salvation, whereby all offences against Jahveh were punished and all devotion to him was rewarded. We would regard this act of historical falsification as something far more shameful if familiarity with the ecclesiastical interpretation of history for thousands of years had not blunted our inclinations for uprightness in historic is. And the philosophers support the church: the lie about a “moral order of the world” runs through the whole of philosophy, even the newest. What is the meaning of a “moral order of the world”? That there is a thing called the will of God which, once and for all time, determines what man ought to do and what he ought not to do; that the worth of a people, or of an individual thereof, is to he measured by the extent to which they or he obey this will of God; that the destinies of a people or of an individual are controlled by this will of God, which rewards or punishes according to the degree of obedience manifested.
— In place of all that pitiable lie reality has this to say: the priest, a parasitical variety of man who can exist only at the cost of every sound view of life, takes the name of God in vain: he calls that state of human society in which he himself determines the value of all things “the kingdom of God”; he calls the means whereby that state of affairs is attained “the will of God”; with cold-blooded cynicism he estimates all peoples, all ages and all individuals by the extent of their subservience or opposition to the power of the priestly order. One observes him at work: under the hand of the Jewish priesthood the great age of Israel became an age of decline; the Exile, with its long series of misfortunes, was transformed into a punishment for that great age-during which priests had not yet come into existence. Out of the powerful and wholly free heroes of Israel’s history they fashioned, according to their changing needs, either wretched bigots and hypocrites or men entirely “godless.” They reduced every great event to the idiotic formula: “obedient or disobedient to God.” — They went a step further: the “will of God” (in other words some means necessary for preserving the power of the priests) had to be determined — and to this end they had to have a “revelation.” In plain English, a gigantic literary fraud had to be perpetrated, and “holy scriptures” had to be concocted — and so, with the utmost hierarchical pomp, and days of penance and much lamentation over the long days of “sin” now ended, they were duly published. The “will of God,” it appears, had long stood like a rock; the trouble was that mankind had neglected the “holy scriptures.”.. But the ”will of God” had already been revealed to Moses… What happened? Simply this: the priest had formulated, once and for all time and with the strictest meticulousness, what tithes were to be paid to him, from the largest to the smallest ( — not forgetting the most appetizing cuts of meat, for the priest is a great consumer of beefsteaks); in brief, he let it be known just what he wanted, what “the will of God” was…
From this time forward things were so arranged that the priest became indispensable everywhere; at all the great natural events of life, at birth, at marriage, in sickness, at death, not to say at the “sacrifice” (that is, at meal-times), the holy parasite put in his appearance, and proceeded to it — in his own phrase, to “sanctify” it… For this should be noted: that every natural habit, every natural institution (the state, the administration of justice, marriage, the care of the sick and of the poor), everything demanded by the life-instinct, in short, everything that has any value in itself, is reduced to absolute worthlessness and even made the reverse of valuable by the parasitism of priests (or, if you chose, by the “moral order of the world”).
The fact requires a sanction — a power to grant values becomes necessary, and the only way it can create such values is by denying nature… The priest depreciates and desecrates nature: it is only at this price that he can exist at all. — Disobedience to God, which actually means to the priest, to “the law,” now gets the name of “sin”; the means prescribed for “reconciliation with God” are, of course, precisely the means which bring one most effectively under the thumb of the priest; he alone can “save.” Psychologically considered, “sins” are indispensable to every society organized on an ecclesiastical basis; they are the only reliable weapons of power; the priest lives upon sins; it is necessary to him that there be “sinning.”.. Prime axiom: “God forgive th him that repent eth” — in plain English, him that submit teth to the priest.
27. Christianity sprang from a soil so corrupt that on it everything natural, every natural value, every reality was opposed by the deepest instincts of the ruling class — it grew up as a sort of war to the death upon reality, and as such it has never been surpassed. The “holy people,” who had adopted priestly values and priestly names for all things, and who, with a terrible logical consistency, had rejected everything of the earth as “unholy,”worldly,”sinful” — this people put its instinct into a final formula that was logical to the point of self-annihilation: as Christianity it actually denied even the last form of reality, the “holy people,” the “chosen people,” Jewish reality itself. The phenomenon is of the first order of importance: the small insurrectionary movement which took the name of Jesus of Nazareth is simply the Jewish instinct redivivus — in other words, it is the priestly instinct come to such a pass that it can no longer endure the priest as a fact; it is the discovery of a state of existence even more fantastic than any before it, of a vision of life even more unreal than that necessary to an ecclesiastical organization.
Christianity actually denies the church… I am unable to determine what was the target of the insurrection said to have been led (whether rightly or wrongly) by Jesus, if it was not the Jewish church — “church” being here used in exactly the same sense that the word has today. It was an insurrection against the “good and just,” against the “prophets of Israel,” against the whole hierarchy of society — not against corruption, but against caste, privilege, order, formalism. It was unbelief in “superior men,” a Nay flung at everything that priests and theologians stood for. But the hierarchy that was called into question, if only for an instant, by this movement was the structure of piles which, above everything, was necessary to the safety of the Jewish people in the midst of the “waters” — it represented their last possibility of survival; it was the final residuum of their independent political existence; an attack upon it was an attack upon the most profound national instinct, the most powerful national will to live, that has ever appeared on earth. This saintly anarchist, who aroused the people of the abyss, the outcasts and “sinners,” the Chandala of Judaism, to rise in revolt against the established order of things — and in language which, if the Gospels are to be credited, would get him sent to Siberia today — this man was certainly a political criminal, at least in so far as it was possible to be one in so absurdly unpolitical a community.
This is what brought him to the cross: the proof thereof is to be found in the inscription that was put upon the cross. He died for his own sins — there is not the slightest ground for believing, no matter how often it is asserted, that he died for the sins of others. — 28. As to whether he himself was conscious of this contradiction — whether, in fact, this was the only contradiction he was cognizant of — that is quite another question. Here, for the first time, I touch upon the problem of the psychology of the Saviour.
— I confess, to begin with, that there are very few books which offer me harder reading than the Gospels. My difficulties are quite different from those which enabled the learned curiosity of the German mind to achieve one of its most unforgettable triumphs. It is a long while since I, like all other young scholars, enjoyed with all the sapient laboriousness of a fastidious philologist the work of the incomparable Strauss. 5 At that time I was twenty years old: now I am too serious for that sort of thing. What do I care for the contradictions of “tradition”? How can any one call pious legends “traditions”? The histories of saints present the most dubious variety of literature in existence; to examine them by the scientific method, in the entire absence of corroborative documents, seems to me to condemn the whole inquiry from the start — it is simply learned idling.
29. What concerns me is the psychological type of the Saviour. This type might be depicted in the Gospels, in however mutilated a form and however much overladen with extraneous characters — that is, in spite of the Gospels; just as the figure of Francis of Assisi shows itself in his legends in spite of his legends. It is not a question of mere truthful evidence as to what he did, what he said and how he actually died; the question is, whether his type is still conceivable, whether it has been handed down to us. — All the attempts that I know of to read the history of a “soul” in the Gospels seem to me to reveal only a lamentable psychological levity. M.
Renan, that mountebank in psychologic us, has contributed the two most unseemly notions to this business of explaining the type of Jesus: the notion of the genius and that of the hero (“hero’s”).
But if there is anything essentially un evangelical, it is surely the concept of the hero. What the Gospels make instinctive is precisely the reverse of all heroic struggle, of all taste for conflict: the very incapacity for resistance is here converted into something moral: (“resist not evil!” — the most profound sentence in the Gospels, perhaps the true key to them), to wit, the blessedness of peace, of gentleness, the inability to be an enemy. What is the meaning of “glad tidings”? — The true life, the life eternal has been found — it is not merely promised, it is here, it is in you; it is the life that lies in love free from all retreats and exclusions, from all keeping of distances. Every one is the child of God — Jesus claims nothing for himself alone — as the child of God each man is the equal of every other man… Imagine making Jesus a hero! — And what a tremendous misunderstanding appears in the word “genius”! Our whole conception of the “spiritual,” the whole conception of our civilization, could have had no meaning in the world that Jesus lived in.
In the strict sense of the physiologist, a quite different word ought to be used here… We all know that there is a morbid sensibility of the tactile nerves which causes those suffering from it to recoil from every touch, and from every effort to grasp a solid object. Brought to its logical conclusion, such a physiological habitus becomes an instinctive hatred of all reality, a flight into the “intangible,” into the “incomprehensible”; a distaste for all formulae, for all conceptions of time and space, for everything established — customs, institutions, the church — ; a feeling of being at home in a world in which no sort of reality survives, a merely “inner” world, a “true” world, an “eternal” world… “The Kingdom of God is within you.”.. 30. The instinctive hatred of reality: the consequence of an extreme susceptibility to pain and irritation — so great that merely to be “touched” becomes unendurable, for every sensation is too profound.
The instinctive exclusion of all aversion, all hostility, all bounds and distances in feeling: the consequence of an extreme susceptibility to pain and irritation — so great that it senses all resistance, all compulsion to resistance, as unbearable anguish ( — that is to say, as harmful, as prohibited by the instinct of self-preservation), and regards blessedness (joy) as possible only when it is no longer necessary to offer resistance to anybody or anything, however evil or dangerous — love, as the only, as the ultimate possibility of life… These are the two physiological realities upon and out of which the doctrine of salvation has sprung. I call them a sublime super-development of hedonism upon a thoroughly un salubrious soil. What stands most closely related to them, though with a large admixture of Greek vitality and nerve-force, is epicureanism, the theory of salvation of paganism. Epicurus was a typical decadent: I was the first to recognize him. — The fear of pain, even of infinitely slight pain — the end of this can be nothing save a religion of love…
31. I have already given my answer to the problem. The prerequisite to it is the assumption that the type of the Saviour ha.