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Title: Human, All-Too-Human, Part II
Author: Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900
Language: English
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                           Friedrich Nietzsche

                                  Human

                              All-Too-Human

                         A Book For Free Spirits

                                 Part II

                              Translated By

                            Paul V. Cohn, B.A.

                                 New York

                          The MacMillan Company

                                   1913



CONTENTS


Translator’s Introduction.
Preface.
Part I. Miscellaneous Maxims And Opinions.
Part II. The Wanderer And His Shadow.
Footnotes



TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION.


The publication of _Human, all-too-Human_ extends over the period
1878-1880. Of the two divisions which constitute the Second Part,
“Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions” appeared in 1879, and “The Wanderer
and his Shadow” in 1880, Nietzsche being then in his thirty-sixth year.
The Preface was added in 1886. The whole book forms Nietzsche’s first
lengthy contribution to literature. His previous works comprise only the
philological treatises, _The Birth of Tragedy_, and the essays on Strauss,
Schopenhauer, and Wagner in _Thoughts out of Season_.

With the volumes of _Human, all-too-Human_ Nietzsche appears for the first
time in his true colours as philosopher. His purely scholarly
publications, his essays in literary and musical criticism—especially the
essay on Richard Wagner at Bayreuth—had, of course, foreshadowed his work
as a thinker.

These efforts, however, had been mere fragments, from which hardly any one
could observe that a new philosophical star had arisen on the horizon. But
by 1878 the period of transition had definitely set in. Outwardly, the new
departure is marked by Nietzsche’s resignation in that year of his
professorship at Bâle—a resignation due partly to ill-health, and partly
to his conviction that his was a voice that should speak not merely to
students of philology, but to all mankind.

Nietzsche himself characterises _Human, all-too-Human_ as “the monument of
a crisis.” He might as fitly have called it the first-fruits of a new
harvest. Now, for the first time, he practises the form which he was to
make so peculiarly his own. We are told—and we may well believe—that the
book came as a surprise even to his most intimate friends. Wagner had
already seen how matters stood at the publication of the first part, and
the gulf between the two probably widened on the appearance of the Second
Part.

Several aphorisms are here, varying in length as in subject, and ranging
over the whole human province—the emotions and aspirations, the religions
and cultures and philosophies, the arts and literatures and politics of
mankind. Equally varied is the range of style, the incisive epigram and
the passage of pure poetry jostling each other on the same page. In this
curious power of alternating between cynicism and lyricism, Nietzsche
appears as the prose counterpart of Heine.

One or two of the aphorisms are of peculiar interest to English readers.
The essay (as it may almost be called) on Sterne (p. 60, No. 113) does
ample justice, if not more than justice, to that wayward genius. The
allusion to Milton (p. 77, No. 150) will come as somewhat of a shock to
English readers, especially to those who hold that in Milton Art triumphed
over Puritanism. It should be remembered, however, that Nietzsche’s view
coincides with Goethe’s. The dictum that Shakespeare’s gold is to be
valued for its quantity rather than its quality (p. 81, No. 162) also
betrays a certain exclusiveness—a legacy from that eighteenth-century
France which appealed so strongly to Nietzsche on its intellectual side.
To Nietzsche, as to Voltaire, Shakespeare is after all “the great
barbarian.”

The title of the book may be explained from a phrase in _Thus Spake
Zarathustra_: “Verily, even the greatest I found—all-too-human.” The
keynote of these volumes is indeed disillusion and destruction. Nor is
this to be wondered at, for all men must sweep away the rubbish before
they can build. Hence we find here little of the constructive philosophy
of Nietzsche—so far as he had a constructive philosophy. The Superman
appears but faintly, the doctrine of Eternal Recurrence not at all. For
this very reason, _Human, all-too-Human_ is perhaps the best
starting-point for the study of Nietzsche. The difficulties in style and
thought of the later work—difficulties that at times become well-nigh
insuperable in _Thus Spake Zarathustra_—are here practically absent. The
book may, in fact, almost be described as “popular,” bearing the same
relation to Nietzsche’s later productions as Wagner’s _Tannhäuser_ and
_Lohengrin_ bear to the _Ring_.

The translator’s thanks are due to Mr. Thomas Common for his careful
revision of the manuscript and many valuable suggestions.

P. V. C.



PREFACE.



1.


One should only speak where one cannot remain silent, and only speak of
what one has _conquered_—the rest is all chatter, “literature,” bad
breeding. My writings speak only of my conquests, “I” am in them, with all
that is hostile to me, _ego ipsissimus_, or, if a more haughty expression
be permitted, _ego ipsissimum_. It may be guessed that I have many below
me.... But first I always needed time, convalescence, distance,
separation, before I felt the stirrings of a desire to flay, despoil, lay
bare, “represent” (or whatever one likes to call it) for the additional
knowledge of the world, something that I had lived through and outlived,
something done or suffered. Hence all my writings,—with one exception,
important, it is true,—must be _ante-dated_—they always tell of a
“behind-me.” Some even, like the first three _Thoughts out of Season_,
must be thrown back before the period of creation and experience of a
previously published book (_The Birth of Tragedy_ in the case cited, as
any one with subtle powers of observation and comparison could not fail to
perceive). That wrathful outburst against the Germanism, smugness, and
raggedness of speech of old David Strauss, the contents of the first
_Thought out of Season_, gave a vent to feelings that had inspired me long
before, as a student, in the midst of German culture and cultured
Philistinism (I claim the paternity of the now much used and misused
phrase “cultured Philistinism”). What I said against the “historical
disease” I said as one who had slowly and laboriously recovered from that
disease, and who was not at all disposed to renounce “history” in the
future because he had suffered from her in the past. When in the third
_Thought out of Season_ I gave expression to my reverence for my first and
only teacher, the _great_ Arthur Schopenhauer—I should now give it a far
more personal and emphatic voice—I was for my part already in the throes
of moral scepticism and dissolution, that is, as much concerned with the
criticism as with the study of all pessimism down to the present day. I
already did not believe in “a blessed thing,” as the people say, not even
in Schopenhauer. It was at this very period that an unpublished essay of
mine, “On Truth and Falsehood in an Extra-Moral Sense,” came into being.
Even my ceremonial oration in honour of Richard Wagner, on the occasion of
his triumphal celebration at Bayreuth in 1876—Bayreuth signifies the
greatest triumph that an artist has ever won—a work that bears the
strongest stamp of “individuality,” was in the background an act of homage
and gratitude to a bit of the past in me, to the fairest but most perilous
calm of my sea-voyage ... and as a matter of fact a severance and a
farewell. (Was Richard Wagner mistaken on this point? I do not think so.
So long as we still love, we do not paint such pictures, we do not yet
“examine,” we do not place ourselves so far away as is essential for one
who “examines.” “Examining needs at least a secret antagonism, that of an
opposite point of view,” it is said on page 46 of the above-named work
itself, with an insidious, melancholy application that was perhaps
understood by few.) The composure that gave me the _power_ to speak after
many intervening years of solitude and abstinence, first came with the
book, _Human, All-too Human_, to which this second preface and apologia(1)
is dedicated. As a book for “free spirits” it shows some trace of that
almost cheerful and inquisitive coldness of the psychologist, who has
_behind_ him many painful things that he keeps _under_ him, and moreover
establishes them for himself and fixes them firmly as with a needle-point.
Is it to be wondered at that at such sharp, ticklish work blood flows now
and again, that indeed the psychologist has blood on his fingers and not
_only_ on his fingers?



2.


The _Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions_ were in the first place, like _The
Wanderer and His Shadow_, published separately as continuations and
appendices to the above-mentioned human, all-too human _Book for Free
Spirits_: and at the same time, as a continuation and confirmation of an
intellectual cure, consisting in a course of anti-romantic self-treatment,
such as my instinct, which had always remained healthy, had itself
discovered and prescribed against a temporary attack of the most dangerous
form of romantics. After a convalescence of six years I may well be
permitted to collect these same writings and publish them as a second
volume of _Human, All-too Human_. Perhaps, if surveyed together, they will
more clearly and effectively teach their lesson—a lesson of health that
may be recommended as a _disciplina voluntatis_ to the more intellectual
natures of the rising generation. Here speaks a pessimist who has often
leaped out of his skin but has always returned into it, thus, a pessimist
with goodwill towards pessimism—at all events a romanticist no longer. And
has not a pessimist, who possesses this serpentine knack of changing his
skin, the right to read a lecture to our pessimists of to-day, who are one
and all still in the toils of romanticism? Or at least to show them how it
is—done?



3.


It was then, in fact, high time to bid farewell, and I soon received
proof. Richard Wagner, who seemed all-conquering, but was in reality only
a decayed and despairing romantic, suddenly collapsed, helpless and
broken, before the Christian Cross.... Was there not a single German with
eyes in his head and sympathy in his heart for this appalling spectacle?
Was I the only one whom he caused—suffering? In any case, the unexpected
event illumined for me in one lightning flash the place that I had
abandoned, and also the horror that is felt by every one who is
unconscious of a great danger until he has passed through it. As I went
forward alone, I shuddered, and not long afterwards I was ill, or rather
more than ill—weary: weary from my ceaseless disappointment about all that
remained to make us modern men enthusiastic, at the thought of the power,
work, hope, youth, love, flung to all the winds: weary from disgust at the
effeminacy and undisciplined rhapsody of this romanticism, at the whole
tissue of idealistic lies and softening of conscience, which here again
had won the day over one of the bravest of men: last, and not least, weary
from the bitterness of an inexorable suspicion—that after this
disappointment I was doomed to mistrust more thoroughly, to despise more
thoroughly, to be alone more thoroughly than ever before. My task—whither
had it flown? Did it not look now as if my task were retreating from me
and as if I should for a long future period have no more right to it? What
was I to do to endure this most terrible privation?—I began by entirely
forbidding myself all romantic music, that ambiguous, pompous, stifling
art, which robs the mind of its sternness and its joyousness and provides
a fertile soil for every kind of vague yearning and spongy sensuality.
“Cave musicam” is even to-day my advice to all who are enough of men to
cling to purity in matters of the intellect. Such music enervates,
softens, feminises, its “eternal feminine” draws us—_down_!(2) My first
suspicion, my most immediate precaution, was directed against romantic
music. If I hoped for anything at all from music, it was in the
expectation of the coming of a musician bold, subtle, malignant, southern,
healthy enough to take an immortal revenge upon that other music.



4.


Lonely now and miserably self-distrustful, I took sides, not without
resentment, _against_ myself and _for_ everything that hurt me and was
hard to me. Thus I once more found the way to that courageous pessimism
that is the antithesis of all romantic fraud, and, as it seems to me
to-day, the way to “myself,” to my task. That hidden masterful Something,
for which we long have no name until at last it shows itself as our
task—that tyrant in us exacts a terrible price for every attempt that we
make to escape him or give him the slip, for every premature act of
self-constraint, for every reconciliation with those to whom we do not
belong, for every activity, however reputable, which turns us aside from
our main purpose, yes, even for every virtue that would fain protect us
from the cruelty of our most individual responsibility. “Disease” is
always the answer when we wish to have doubts of our rights to our own
task, when we begin to make it easier for ourselves in any way. How
strange and how terrible! It is our very alleviations for which we have to
make the severest atonement! And if we want to return to health, we have
no choice left—we must load ourselves _more heavily_ than we were ever
laden before.



5.


It was then that I learnt the hermitical habit of speech acquired only by
the most silent and suffering. I spoke without witnesses, or rather
indifferent to the presence of witnesses, so as not to suffer from
silence, I spoke of various things that did not concern me in a style that
gave the impression that they did. Then, too, I learnt the art of showing
myself cheerful, objective, inquisitive in the presence of all that is
healthy and evil—is this, in an invalid, as it seems to me, his “good
taste”? Nevertheless, a more subtle eye and sympathy will not miss what
perhaps gives a charm to these writings—the fact that here speaks one who
has suffered and abstained in such a way as if he had never suffered or
abstained. Here equipoise, composure, even gratitude towards life _shall_
be maintained, here rules a stern, proud, ever vigilant, ever susceptible
will, which has undertaken the task of defending life against pain and
snapping off all conclusions that are wont to grow like poisonous fungi
from pain, disappointment, satiety, isolation and other morasses. Perhaps
this gives our pessimists a hint to self-examination? For it was then that
I hit upon the aphorism, “a sufferer has as yet no right to pessimism,”
and that I engaged in a tedious, patient campaign against the unscientific
first principles of all romantic pessimism, which seeks to magnify and
interpret individual, personal experiences into “general judgments,”
universal condemnations—it was then, in short, that I sighted a new world.
Optimism for the sake of restitution, in order at some time to have the
right to become a pessimist—do you understand that? Just as a physician
transfers his patient to totally strange surroundings, in order to
displace him from his entire “past,” his troubles, friends, letters,
duties, stupid mistakes and painful memories, and teaches him to stretch
out hands and senses towards new nourishment, a new sun, a new future: so
I, as physician and invalid in one, forced myself into an utterly
different and untried zone of the soul, and particularly into an absorbing
journey to a strange land, a strange atmosphere, into a curiosity for all
that was strange. A long process of roaming, seeking, changing followed, a
distaste for fixity of any kind—a dislike for clumsy affirmation and
negation: and at the same time a dietary and discipline which aimed at
making it as easy as possible for the soul to fly high, and above all
constantly to fly away. In fact a minimum of life, an unfettering from all
coarser forms of sensuality, an independence in the midst of all marks of
outward disfavour, together with the pride in being able to live in the
midst of all this disfavour: a little cynicism perhaps, a little of the
“tub of Diogenes,” a good deal of whimsical happiness, whimsical gaiety,
much calm, light, subtle folly, hidden enthusiasm—all this produced in the
end a great spiritual strengthening, a growing joy and exuberance of
health. Life itself rewards us for our tenacious will to life, for such a
long war as I waged against the pessimistic weariness of life, even for
every observant glance of our gratitude, glances that do not miss the
smallest, most delicate, most fugitive gifts.... In the end we receive
Life’s great gifts, perhaps the greatest it can bestow—we regain _our_
task.



6.


Should my experience—the history of an illness and a convalescence, for it
resulted in a convalescence—be only my personal experience? and merely
just my “Human, All-too-human”? To-day I would fain believe the reverse,
for I am becoming more and more confident that my books of travel were not
penned for my sole benefit, as appeared for a time to be the case. May I,
after six years of growing assurance, send them once more on a journey for
an experiment?—May I commend them particularly to the ears and hearts of
those who are afflicted with some sort of a “past,” and have enough
intellect left to suffer even intellectually from their past? But above
all would I commend them to you whose burden is heaviest, you choice
spirits, most encompassed with perils, most intellectual, most courageous,
who must be the _conscience_ of the modern soul and as such be versed in
its _science_:(3) in whom is concentrated all of disease, poison or danger
that can exist to-day: whose lot decrees that you must be more sick than
any individual because you are not “mere individuals”: whose consolation
it is to know and, ah! to walk the path to a new health, a health of
to-morrow and the day after: you men of destiny, triumphant, conquerors of
time, the healthiest and the strongest, you _good Europeans_!



7.


To express finally in a single formula my opposition to the romantic
pessimism of the abstinent, the unfortunate, the conquered: there is a
will to the tragic and to pessimism, which is a sign as much of the
severity as of the strength of the intellect (taste, emotion, conscience).
With this will in our hearts we do not fear, but we investigate ourselves
the terrible and the problematical elements characteristic of all
existence. Behind such a will stand courage and pride and the desire for a
really great enemy. That was _my_ pessimistic outlook from the first—a new
outlook, methinks, an outlook that even at this day is new and strange? To
this moment I hold to it firmly and (if it will be believed) not only
_for_ myself but occasionally _against_ myself.... You would prefer to
have that proved first? Well, what else does all this long preface—prove?

SILS-MARIA, UPPER ENGADINE,
_September, 1886_.



PART I. MISCELLANEOUS MAXIMS AND OPINIONS.



1.


TO THE DISILLUSIONED IN PHILOSOPHY.—If you hitherto believed in the
highest value of life and now find yourselves disillusioned, must you
immediately get rid of life at the lowest possible price?



2.


OVERNICE.—One can even become overnice as regards the clearness of
concepts. How disgusted one is then at having truck with the half-clear,
the hazy, the aspiring, the doubting! How ridiculous and yet not
mirth-provoking is their eternal fluttering and straining without ever
being able to fly or to grasp!



3.


THE WOOERS OF REALITY.—He who realises at last how long and how thoroughly
he has been befooled, embraces out of spite even the ugliest reality. So
that in the long run of the world’s history the best men have always been
wooers of reality, for the best have always been longest and most
thoroughly deceived.



4.


ADVANCE OF FREETHINKING.—The difference between past and present
freethinking cannot better be characterised than by that aphorism for the
recognition and expression of which all the fearlessness of the eighteenth
century was needed, and which even then, if measured by our modern view,
sinks into an unconscious naïveté. I mean Voltaire’s aphorism,
“croyez-moi, mon ami, l’erreur aussi a son mérite.”



5.


A HEREDITARY SIN OF PHILOSOPHERS.—Philosophers have at all times
appropriated and _corrupted_ the maxims of censors of men (moralists), by
taking them over without qualification and trying to prove as necessary
what the moralists only meant as a rough indication or as a truth suited
to their fellow-countrymen or fellow-townsmen for a single decade.
Moreover, the philosophers thought that they were thereby raising
themselves above the moralists! Thus it will be found that the celebrated
teachings of Schopenhauer as to the supremacy of the will over the
intellect, of the immutability of character, the negativity of
pleasure—all errors, in the sense in which he understands them—rest upon
principles of popular wisdom enunciated by the moralists. Take the very
word “will,” which Schopenhauer twisted so as to become a common
denotation of several human conditions and with which he filled a gap in
the language (to his own great advantage, in so far as he was a moralist,
for he became free to speak of the will as Pascal had spoken of it). In
the hands of its creator, Schopenhauer’s “will,” through the philosophic
craze for generalisation, already turned out to be a bane to knowledge.
For this will was made into a poetic metaphor, when it was held that all
things in nature possess will. Finally, that it might be applied to all
kinds of disordered mysticism, the word was misused by a fraudulent
convention. So now all our fashionable philosophers repeat it and seem to
be perfectly certain that all things have a will and are in fact One Will.
According to the description generally given of this All-One-Will, this is
much as if one should positively try to have the stupid Devil for one’s
God.



6.


AGAINST VISIONARIES.—The visionary denies the truth to himself, the liar
only to others.



7.


ENMITY TO LIGHT.—If we make it clear to any one that, strictly, he can
never speak of truth, but only of probability and of its degrees, we
generally discover, from the undisguised joy of our pupil, how greatly men
prefer the uncertainty of their intellectual horizon, and how in their
heart of hearts they hate truth because of its definiteness.—Is this due
to a secret fear felt by all that the light of truth may at some time be
turned too brightly upon themselves? To their wish to be of some
consequence, and accordingly their concealment from the world of what they
are? Or is it to be traced to their horror of the all-too brilliant light,
to which their crepuscular, easily dazzled, bat-like souls are not
accustomed, so that hate it they must?



8.


CHRISTIAN SCEPTICISM.—Pilate, with his question, “What is Truth?” is now
gleefully brought on the scene as an advocate of Christ, in order to cast
suspicion on all that is known or knowable as being mere appearance, and
to erect the Cross on the appalling background of the Impossibility of
Knowledge.



9.


“NATURAL LAW,” A PHRASE OF SUPERSTITION.—When you talk so delightedly of
Nature acting according to law, you must either assume that all things in
Nature follow their law from a voluntary obedience imposed by
themselves—in which case you admire the morality of Nature: or you are
enchanted with the idea of a creative mechanician, who has made a most
cunning watch with human beings as accessory ornaments.—Necessity, through
the expression, “conformity to law,” then becomes more human and a coign
of refuge in the last instance for mythological reveries.



10.


FALLEN FORFEIT TO HISTORY.—All misty philosophers and obscurers of the
world, in other words all metaphysicians of coarse or refined texture are
seized with eyeache, earache, and toothache when they begin to suspect
that there is truth in the saying: “All philosophy has from now fallen
forfeit to history.” In view of their aches and pains we may pardon them
for throwing stones and filth at him who talks like this, but this
teaching may itself thereby become dirty and disreputable for a time and
lose in effect.



11.


THE PESSIMIST OF THE INTELLECT.—He whose intellect is really free will
think freely about the intellect itself, and will not shut his eyes to
certain terrible aspects of its source and tendency. For this reason
others will perhaps designate him the bitterest opponent of free thought
and give him that dreadful, abusive name of “pessimist of the intellect”:
accustomed as they are to typify a man not by his strong point, his
pre-eminent virtue, but by the quality that is most foreign to his nature.



12.


THE METAPHYSICIANS’ KNAPSACK.—To all who talk so boastfully of the
scientific basis of their metaphysics it is best to make no reply. It is
enough to tug at the bundle that they rather shyly keep hidden behind
their backs. If one succeeds in lifting it, the results of that
“scientific basis” come to light, to their great confusion: a dear little
“God,” a genteel immortality, perhaps a little spiritualism, and in any
case a complicated mass of poor-sinners’-misery and pharisee-arrogance.



13.


OCCASIONAL HARMFULNESS OF KNOWLEDGE.—The utility involved in the unchecked
investigation of knowledge is so constantly proved in a hundred different
ways that one must remember to include in the bargain the subtler and
rarer damage which individuals must suffer on that account. The chemist
cannot avoid occasionally being poisoned or burnt at his experiments. What
applies to the chemist, is true of the whole of our culture. This, it may
be added, clearly shows that knowledge should provide itself with healing
balsam against burns and should always have antidotes ready against
poisons.



14.


THE CRAVING OF THE PHILISTINE.—The Philistine thinks that his most urgent
need is a purple patch or turban of metaphysics, nor will he let it slip.
Yet he would look less ridiculous without this adornment.



15.


ENTHUSIASTS.—With all that enthusiasts say in favour of their gospel or
their master they are defending themselves, however much they comport
themselves as the judges and not the accused: because they are
involuntarily reminded almost at every moment that they are exceptions and
have to assert their legitimacy.



16.


THE GOOD SEDUCES TO LIFE.—All good things, even all good books that are
written against life, are strong means of attraction to life.



17.


THE HAPPINESS OF THE HISTORIAN.—“When we hear the hair-splitting
metaphysicians and prophets of the after-world speak, we others feel
indeed that we are the ‘poor in spirit,’ but that ours is the heavenly
kingdom of change, with spring and autumn, summer and winter, and theirs
the after-world, with its grey, everlasting frosts and shadows.” Thus
soliloquised a man as he walked in the morning sunshine, a man who in his
pursuit of history has constantly changed not only his mind but his heart.
In contrast to the metaphysicians, he is happy to harbour in himself not
an “immortal soul” but many _mortal_ souls.



18.


THREE VARIETIES OF THINKERS.—There are streaming, flowing, trickling
mineral springs, and three corresponding varieties of thinkers. The layman
values them by the volume of the water, the expert by the contents of the
water—in other words, by the elements in them that are not water.



19.


THE PICTURE OF LIFE.—The task of painting the picture of life, often as it
has been attempted by poets and philosophers, is nevertheless irrational.
Even in the hands of the greatest artist-thinkers, pictures and miniatures
of one life only—their own—have come into being, and indeed no other
result is possible. While in the process of developing, a thing that
develops, cannot mirror itself as fixed and permanent, as a _definite
object_.



20.


TRUTH WILL HAVE NO GODS BEFORE IT.—The belief in truth begins with the
doubt of all truths in which one has previously believed.



21.


WHERE SILENCE IS REQUIRED.—If we speak of freethinking as of a highly
dangerous journey over glaciers and frozen seas, we find that those who do
not care to travel on this track are offended, as if they had been
reproached with cowardice and weak knees. The difficult, which we find to
be beyond our powers, must not even be mentioned in our presence.



22.


_Historia in Nuce._—The most serious parody I ever heard was this: “In the
beginning was the nonsense, and the nonsense was with God, and the
nonsense was God.”(4)



23.


INCURABLE.—The idealist is incorrigible: if he be thrown out of his
Heaven, he makes himself a suitable ideal out of Hell. Disillusion him,
and lo! he will embrace disillusionment with no less ardour than he
recently embraced hope. In so far as his impulse belongs to the great
incurable impulses of human nature, he can bring about tragic destinies
and later become a subject for tragedy himself, for such tragedies as deal
with the incurable, implacable, inevitable in the lot and character of
man.



24.


APPLAUSE ITSELF AS THE CONTINUATION OF THE PLAY.—Sparkling eyes and an
amiable smile are the tributes of applause paid to all the great comedy of
world and existence—but this applause is a comedy within a comedy, meant
to tempt the other spectators to a _plaudite amici_.



25.


COURAGE FOR TEDIUM.—He who has not the courage to allow himself and his
work to be considered tedious, is certainly no intellect of the first
rank, whether in the arts or in the sciences.—A scoffer, who happened for
once in a way to be a thinker, might add, with a glance at the world and
at history: “God did not possess this courage, for he wanted to make and
he made all things so interesting.”



26.


FROM THE MOST INTIMATE EXPERIENCE OF THE THINKER.—Nothing is harder for a
man than to conceive of an object impersonally, I mean to see in it an
object and not a person. One may even ask whether it is possible for him
to dispense for a single moment with the machinery of his instinct to
create and construct a personality. After all, he associates with his
thoughts, however abstract they may be, as with individuals, against whom
he must fight or to whom he must attach himself, whom he must protect,
support and nourish. Let us watch or listen to ourselves at the moment
when we hear or discover a new idea. Perhaps it displeases us because it
is so defiant and so autocratic, and we unconsciously ask ourselves
whether we cannot place a contradiction of it by its side as an enemy, or
fasten on to it a “perhaps” or a “sometimes”: the mere little word
“probably” gives us a feeling of satisfaction, for it shatters the
oppressive tyranny of the unconditional. If, on the other hand, the new
idea enters in gentle shape, sweetly patient and humble, and falling at
once into the arms of contradiction, we put our autocracy to the test in
another way. Can we not come to the aid of this weak creature, stroke it
and feed it, give it strength and fulness, and truth and even
unconditionality? Is it possible for us to show ourselves parental or
chivalrous or compassionate towards our idea?—Then again, we see here a
judgment and there a judgment, sundered from each other, never looking at
or making any movement towards each other. So we are tickled by the
thought, whether it be not here feasible to make a match, to draw a
_conclusion_, with the anticipation that if a consequence follows this
conclusion it is not only the two judgments united in wedlock but the
matchmakers that will gain honour. If, however, we cannot acquire a hold
upon that thought either on the path of defiance and ill-will or on that
of good-will (if we hold it to be true)—then we submit to it and do homage
to it as a leader and a prince, give it a chair of honour, and speak not
of it without a flourish of trumpets: for we are bright in its brightness.
Woe to him who tries to dim this brightness! Perhaps we ourselves one day
grow suspicious of our idea. Then we, the indefatigable “king-makers” of
the history of the intellect, cast it down from its throne and immediately
exalt its adversary. Surely if this be considered and thought out a little
further, no one will speak of an “absolute impulse to knowledge”!

Why, then, does man prefer the true to the untrue, in this secret combat
with thought-personalities, in this generally clandestine match-making of
thoughts, constitution-founding of thoughts, child-rearing of thoughts,
nursing and almsgiving of thoughts? For the same reason that he practises
honesty in intercourse with real persons: _now_ from habit, heredity, and
training, _originally_ because the true, like the fair and the just, is
more expedient and more reputable than the untrue. For in the realm of
thought it is difficult to assume a power and glory that are built on
error or on falsehood. The feeling that such an edifice might at some time
collapse is humiliating to the self-esteem of the architect—he is ashamed
of the fragility of the material, and, as he considers himself more
important than the rest of the world, he would fain construct nothing that
is less durable than the rest of the world. In his longing for truth he
embraces the belief in a personal immortality, the most arrogant and
defiant idea that exists, closely allied as it is to the underlying
thought, _pereat mundus, dum ego salvus sim!_ His work has become his
“ego,” he transforms himself into the Imperishable with its universal
challenge. It is his immeasurable pride that will only employ the best and
hardest stones for the work—truths, or what he holds for such. Arrogance
has always been justly called the “vice of the sage”; yet without this
vice, fruitful in impulses, Truth and her status on earth would be in a
parlous plight. In our propensity to fear our thoughts, concepts and
words, and yet to honour ourselves in them, unconsciously to ascribe to
them the power of rewarding, despising, praising, and blaming us, and so
to associate with them as with free intellectual personalities, as with
independent powers, as with our equals—herein lie the roots of the
remarkable phenomenon which I have called “intellectual conscience.” Thus
something of the highest moral species has bloomed from a black root.



27.


THE OBSCURANTISTS.—The essential feature of the black art of obscurantism
is not its intention of clouding the brain, but its attempt to darken the
picture of the world and cloud our idea of existence. It often employs the
method of thwarting all illumination of the intellect, but at times it
uses the very opposite means, seeking by the highest refinement of the
intellect to induce a satiety of the intellect’s fruits. Hair-splitting
metaphysicians, who pave the way for scepticism and by their excessive
acumen provoke a distrust of acumen, are excellent instruments of the more
subtle form of obscurantism.—Is it possible that even Kant may be applied
to this purpose? Did he even _intend_ something of the sort, for a time at
least, to judge from his own notorious exposition: “to clear the way for
belief by setting limitations to knowledge”?—Certainly he did not succeed,
nor did his followers, on the wolf and fox tracks of this highly refined
and dangerous form of obscurantism—the most dangerous of all, for the
black art here appears in the garb of light.



28.


BY WHAT KIND OF PHILOSOPHY ART IS CORRUPTED.—When the mists of a
metaphysical-mystical philosophy succeed in making all æsthetic phenomena
_opaque_, it follows that these phenomena cannot be comparatively valued,
inasmuch as each becomes individually inexplicable. But when once they
cannot be compared for the sake of valuation, there arises an entire
absence-of-criticism, a blind indulgence. From this source springs a
continual diminution of the enjoyment of art (which is only distinguished
from the crude satisfaction of a need by the highest refinement of taste
and appreciation). The more taste diminishes, the more does the desire for
art change and revert to a vulgar hunger, which the artist henceforth
seeks to appease by ever coarser fare.



29.


ON GETHSEMANE.—The most painful thing a thinker can say to artists is:
“Could ye not _watch_ with me one hour?”



30.


AT THE LOOM.—There are many (artists and women, for instance) who work
against the few that take a pleasure in untying the knot of things and
unravelling their woof. The former always want to weave the woof together
again and entangle it and so turn the conceived into the unconceived and
if possible inconceivable. Whatever the result may be, the woof and knot
always look rather untidy, because too many hands are working and tugging
at them.



31.


IN THE DESERT OF SCIENCE.—As the man of science proceeds on his modest and
toilsome wanderings, which must often enough be journeys in the desert, he
is confronted with those brilliant mirages known as “philosophic systems.”
With magic powers of deception they show him that the solution of all
riddles and the most refreshing draught of true water of life are close at
hand. His weary heart rejoices, and he well-nigh touches with his lips the
goal of all scientific endurance and hardship, so that almost
unconsciously he presses forward. Other natures stand still, as if
spellbound by the beautiful illusion: the desert swallows them up, they
become lost to science. Other natures, again, that have often experienced
these subjective consolations, become very disheartened and curse the
salty taste which these mirages leave behind in the mouth and from which
springs a raging thirst—without one’s having come one step nearer to any
sort of a spring.



32.


THE SO-CALLED “REAL REALITY.”—When the poet depicts the various
callings—such as those of the warrior, the silk-weaver, the sailor—he
feigns to know all these things thoroughly, to be an expert. Even in the
exposition of human actions and destinies he behaves as if he had been
present at the spinning of the whole web of existence. In so far he is an
impostor. He practises his frauds on pure ignoramuses, and that is why he
succeeds. They praise him for his deep, genuine knowledge, and lead him
finally into the delusion that he really knows as much as the individual
experts and creators, yes, even as the great world-spinners themselves. In
the end, the impostor becomes honest, and actually believes in his own
sincerity. Emotional people say to his very face that he has the “higher”
truth and sincerity—for they are weary of reality for the time being, and
accept the poetic dream as a pleasant relaxation and a night’s rest for
head and heart. The visions of the dream now appear to them of more value,
because, as has been said, they find them more beneficial, and mankind has
always held that what is apparently of more value is more true, more real.
All that is generally called reality, the poets, conscious of this power,
proceed with intention to disparage and to distort into the uncertain, the
illusory, the spurious, the impure, the sinful, sorrowful, and deceitful.
They make use of all doubts about the limits of knowledge, of all
sceptical excesses, in order to spread over everything the rumpled veil of
uncertainty. For they desire that when this darkening process is complete
their wizardry and soul-magic may be accepted without hesitation as the
path to “true truth” and “real reality.”



33.


THE WISH TO BE JUST AND THE WISH TO BE A JUDGE.—Schopenhauer, whose
profound understanding of what is human and all-too-human and original
sense for facts was not a little impaired by the bright leopard-skin of
his metaphysic (the skin must first be pulled off him if one wants to find
the real moralist genius beneath)—Schopenhauer makes this admirable
distinction, wherein he comes far nearer the mark than he would himself
dare to admit: “Insight into the stern necessity of human actions is the
boundary line that divides philosophic from other brains.” He worked
against that wonderful insight of which he was sometimes capable by the
prejudice that he had in common with the moral man (not the moralist), a
prejudice that he expresses quite guilelessly and devoutly as follows:
“The ultimate and true explanation of the inner being of the entirety of
things must of necessity be closely connected with that about the ethical
significance of human actions.” This connection is not “necessary” at all:
such a connection must rather be rejected by that principle of the stern
necessity of human actions, that is, the unconditioned non-freedom and
non-responsibility of the will. Philosophic brains will accordingly be
distinguished from others by their disbelief in the metaphysical
significance of morality. This must create between the two kinds of brain
a gulf of a depth and unbridgeableness of which the much-deplored gulf
between “cultured” and “uncultured” scarcely gives a conception. It is
true that many back doors, which the “philosophic brains,” like
Schopenhauer’s own, have left for themselves, must be recognised as
useless. None leads into the open, into the fresh air of the free will,
but every door through which people had slipped hitherto showed behind it
once more the gleaming brass wall of fate. For we are in a prison, and can
only dream of freedom, not make ourselves free. That the recognition of
this fact cannot be resisted much longer is shown by the despairing and
incredible postures and grimaces of those who still press against it and
continue their wrestling-bout with it. Their attitude at present is
something like this: “So no one is responsible for his actions? And all is
full of guilt and the consciousness of guilt? But some one _must_ be the
sinner. If it is no longer possible or permissible to accuse and sentence
the individual, the one poor wave in the inevitable rough-and-tumble of
the waves of development—well, then, let this stormy sea, this development
itself, be the sinner. Here is free will: this totality can be accused and
sentenced, can atone and expiate. _So let God be the sinner and man his
redeemer._ Let the world’s history be guilt, expiation, and self-murder.
Let the evil-doer be his own judge, the judge his own hangman.” This
Christianity strained to its limits—for what else is it?—is the last
thrust in the fencing-match between the teaching of unconditioned morality
and the teaching of unconditioned non-freedom. It would be quite horrible
if it were anything more than a logical pose, a hideous grimace of the
underlying thought, perhaps the death-convulsion of the heart that seeks a
remedy in its despair, the heart to which delirium whispers: “Behold, thou
art the lamb which taketh away the sin of God.” This error lies not only
in the feeling, “I am responsible,” but just as much in the contradiction,
“I am not responsible, but some one must be.” That is simply not true.
Hence the philosopher must say, like Christ, “Judge not,” and the final
distinction between the philosophic brains and the others would be that
the former wish to be just and the latter wish to be judges.



34.


_Sacrifice._—You hold that sacrifice is the hallmark of moral action?—Just
consider whether in every action that is done with deliberation, in the
best as in the worst, there be not a sacrifice.



35.


AGAINST THE “TRIERS OF THE REINS” OF MORALITY.—One must know the best and
the worst that a man is capable of in theory and in practice before one
can judge how strong his moral nature is and can be. But this is an
experiment that one can never carry out.



36.


SERPENT’S TOOTH.—Whether we have a serpent’s tooth or not we cannot know
before some one has set his heel upon our necks. A wife or a mother could
say: until some one has put his heel upon the neck of our darling, our
child.—Our character is determined more by the absence of certain
experiences than by the experiences we have undergone.



37.


DECEPTION IN LOVE.—We forget and purposely banish from our minds a good
deal of our past. In other words, we wish our picture, that beams at us
from the past, to belie us, to flatter our vanity—we are constantly
engaged in this self-deception. And you who talk and boast so much of
“self-oblivion in love,” of the “absorption of the ego in the other
person”—you hold that this is something different? So you break the
mirror, throw yourselves into another personality that you admire, and
enjoy the new portrait of your ego, though calling it by the other
person’s name—and this whole proceeding is not to be thought
self-deception, self-seeking, you marvellous beings?—It seems to me that
those who hide something of themselves from themselves, or hide their
whole selves from themselves, are alike committing a theft from the
treasury of knowledge. It is clear, then, against what transgression the
maxim “Know thyself” is a warning.



38.


TO THE DENIER OF HIS VANITY.—He who denies his own vanity usually
possesses it in so brutal a form that he instinctively shuts his eyes to
avoid the necessity of despising himself.



39.


WHY THE STUPID SO OFTEN BECOME MALIGNANT.—To those arguments of our
adversary against which our head feels too weak our heart replies by
throwing suspicion on the motives of his arguments.



40.


THE ART OF MORAL EXCEPTIONS.—An art that points out and glorifies the
exceptional cases of morality—where the good becomes bad and the unjust
just—should rarely be given a hearing: just as now and again we buy
something from gipsies, with the fear that they are diverting to their own
pockets much more than their mere profit from the purchase.



41.


ENJOYMENT AND NON-ENJOYMENT OF POISONS.—The only decisive argument that
has always deterred men from drinking a poison is not that it is deadly,
but that it has an unpleasant taste.



42.


THE WORLD WITHOUT CONSCIOUSNESS OF SIN.—If men only committed such deeds
as do not give rise to a bad conscience, the human world would still look
bad and rascally enough, but not so sickly and pitiable as at
present.—Enough wicked men without conscience have existed at all times,
and many good honest folk lack the feeling of pleasure in a good
conscience.



43.


THE CONSCIENTIOUS.—It is more convenient to follow one’s conscience than
one’s intelligence, for at every failure conscience finds an excuse and an
encouragement in itself. That is why there are so many conscientious and
so few intelligent people.



44.


OPPOSITE MEANS OF AVOIDING BITTERNESS.—One temperament finds it useful to
be able to give vent to its disgust in words, being made sweeter by
speech. Another reaches its full bitterness only by speaking out: it is
more advisable for it to have to gulp down something—the restraint that
men of this stamp place upon themselves in the presence of enemies and
superiors improves their character and prevents it from becoming too acrid
and sour.



45.


NOT TO BE TOO DEJECTED.—To get bed-sores is unpleasant, but no proof
against the merits of the cure that prescribes that you should take to
your bed. Men who have long lived outside themselves, and have at last
devoted themselves to the inward philosophic life, know that one can also
get sores of character and intellect. This, again, is on the whole no
argument against the chosen way of life, but necessitates a few small
exceptions and apparent relapses.



46.


THE HUMAN “THING IN ITSELF.”—The most vulnerable and yet most
unconquerable of things is human vanity: nay, through being wounded its
strength increases and can grow to giant proportions.



47.


THE FARCE OF MANY INDUSTRIOUS PERSONS.—By an excess of effort they win
leisure for themselves, and then they can do nothing with it but count the
hours until the tale is ended.



48.


THE POSSESSION OF JOY ABOUNDING.—He that has joy abounding must be a good
man, but perhaps he is not the cleverest of men, although he has reached
the very goal towards which the cleverest man is striving with all his
cleverness.



49.


IN THE MIRROR OF NATURE.—Is not a man fairly well described, when we are
told that he likes to walk between tall fields of golden corn: that he
prefers the forest and flower colours of sere and chilly autumn to all
others, because they point to something more beautiful than Nature has
ever attained: that he feels as much at home under big broad-leaved walnut
trees as among his nearest kinsfolk: that in the mountains his greatest
joy is to come across those tiny distant lakes from which the very eyes of
solitude seem to peer at him: that he loves that grey calm of the misty
twilight that steals along the windows on autumn and early winter evenings
and shuts out all soulless sounds as with velvet curtains: that in unhewn
stones he recognises the last remaining traces of the primeval age, eager
for speech, and honours them from childhood upwards: that, lastly, the sea
with its shifting serpent skin and wild-beast beauty is, and remains to
him, unfamiliar?—Yes, something of the man is described herewith, but the
mirror of Nature does not say that the same man, with (and not even “in
spite of”) all his idyllic sensibilities, might be disagreeable, stingy,
and conceited. Horace, who was a good judge of such matters, in his famous
_beatus ille qui procul negotiis_ puts the tenderest feeling for country
life into the mouth of a Roman money-lender.



50.


POWER WITHOUT VICTORY.—The strongest cognition (that of the complete
non-freedom of the human will) is yet the poorest in results, for it has
always had the mightiest of opponents—human vanity.



51.


PLEASURE AND ERROR.—A beneficial influence on friends is exerted by one
man unconsciously, through his nature; by another consciously, through
isolated actions. Although the former nature is held to be the higher, the
latter alone is allied to good conscience and pleasure—the pleasure in
justification by good works, which rests upon a belief in the volitional
character of our good and evil doing—that is to say, upon a mistake.



52.


THE FOLLY OF COMMITTING INJUSTICE.—The injustice we have inflicted
ourselves is far harder to bear than the injustice inflicted upon us by
others (not always from moral grounds, be it observed). After all, the
doer is always the sufferer—that is, if he be capable of feeling the sting
of conscience or of perceiving that by his action he has armed society
against himself and cut himself off. For this reason we should beware
still more of doing than of suffering injustice, for the sake of our own
inward happiness—so as not to lose our feeling of well-being—quite apart
from any consideration of the precepts of religion and morality. For in
suffering injustice we have the consolation of a good conscience, of hope
and of revenge, together with the sympathy and applause of the just, nay
of the whole of society, which is afraid of the evil-doer. Not a few are
skilled in the impure self-deception that enables them to transform every
injustice of their own into an injustice inflicted upon them from without,
and to reserve for their own acts the exceptional right to the plea of
self-defence. Their object, of course, is to make their own burden
lighter.



53.


ENVY WITH OR WITHOUT A MOUTHPIECE.—Ordinary envy is wont to cackle when
the envied hen has laid an egg, thereby relieving itself and becoming
milder. But there is a yet deeper envy that in such a case becomes dead
silent, desiring that every mouth should be sealed and always more and
more angry because this desire is not gratified. Silent envy grows in
silence.



54.


ANGER AS A SPY.—Anger exhausts the soul and brings its very dregs to
light. Hence, if we know no other means of gaining certainty, we must
understand how to arouse anger in our dependents and adversaries, in order
to learn what is really done and thought to our detriment.



55.


DEFENCE MORALLY MORE DIFFICULT THAN ATTACK.—The true heroic deed and
masterpiece of the good man does not lie in attacking opinions and
continuing to love their propounders, but in the far harder task of
defending his own position without causing or intending to cause bitter
heartburns to his opponent. The sword of attack is honest and broad, the
sword of defence usually runs out to a needle point.



56.


HONEST TOWARDS HONESTY.—One who is openly honest towards himself ends by
being rather conceited about this honesty. He knows only too well why he
is honest—for the same reason that another man prefers outward show and
hypocrisy.



57.


COALS OF FIRE.—The heaping of coals of fire on another’s head is generally
misunderstood and falls flat, because the other knows himself to be just
as much in the right, and on his side too has thought of collecting coals.



58.


DANGEROUS BOOKS.—A man says: “Judging from my own case, I find that this
book is harmful.” Let him but wait, and perhaps one day he will confess
that the book did him a great service by thrusting forward and bringing to
light the hidden disease of his soul.—Altered opinions alter not at all
(or very little) the character of a man: but they illuminate individual
facets of his personality, which hitherto, in another constellation of
opinions, had remained dark and unrecognisable.



59.


SIMULATED PITY.—We simulate pity when we wish to show ourselves superior
to the feeling of animosity, but generally in vain. This point is not
noticed without a considerable enhancement of that feeling of animosity.



60.


OPEN CONTRADICTION OFTEN CONCILIATORY.—At the moment when a man openly
makes known his difference of opinion from a well-known party leader, the
whole world thinks that he must be angry with the latter. Sometimes,
however, he is just on the point of ceasing to be angry with him. He
ventures to put himself on the same plane as his opponent, and is free
from the tortures of suppressed envy.



61.


SEEING OUR LIGHT SHINING.—In the darkest hour of depression, sickness, and
guilt, we are still glad to see others taking a light from us and making
use of us as of the disk of the moon. By this roundabout route we derive
some light from our own illuminating faculty.



62.


FELLOWSHIP IN JOY.(5)—The snake that stings us means to hurt us and
rejoices in so doing: the lowest animal can picture to itself the _pain_
of others. But to picture to oneself the _joy_ of others and to rejoice
thereat is the highest privilege of the highest animals, and again,
amongst them, is the property only of the most select
specimens—accordingly a rare “human thing.” Hence there have been
philosophers who denied fellowship in joy.



63.


_Supplementary Pregnancy._—Those who have arrived at works and deeds are
in an obscure way, they know not how, all the more pregnant with them, as
if to prove supplementarily that these are their children and not those of
chance.



64.


HARD-HEARTED FROM VANITY.—Just as justice is so often a cloak for
weakness, so men who are fairly intelligent, but weak, sometimes attempt
dissimulation from ambitious motives and purposely show themselves unjust
and hard, in order to leave behind them the impression of strength.



65.


HUMILIATION.—If in a large sack of profit we find a single grain of
humiliation we still make a wry face even at our good luck.



66.


EXTREME HEROSTRATISM.(6)—There might be Herostratuses who set fire to
their own temple, in which their images are honoured.



67.


A WORLD OF DIMINUTIVES.—The fact that all that is weak and in need of help
appeals to the heart induces in us the habit of designating by diminutive
and softening terms all that appeals to our hearts—and accordingly
_making_ such things weak and clinging to our imaginations.



68.


THE BAD CHARACTERISTIC OF SYMPATHY.—Sympathy has a peculiar impudence for
its companion. For, wishing to help at all costs, sympathy is in no
perplexity either as to the means of assistance or as to the nature and
cause of the disease, and goes on courageously administering all its quack
medicines to restore the health and reputation of the patient.



69.


IMPORTUNACY.—There is even an importunacy in relation to works, and the
act of associating oneself from early youth on an intimate footing with
the illustrious works of all times evinces an entire absence of
shame.—Others are only importunate from ignorance, not knowing with whom
they have to do—for instance classical scholars young and old in relation
to the works of the Greeks.



70.


THE WILL IS ASHAMED OF THE INTELLECT.—In all coolness we make reasonable
plans against our passions. But we make the most serious mistake in this
connection in being often ashamed, when the design has to be carried out,
of the coolness and calculation with which we conceived it. So we do just
the unreasonable thing, from that sort of defiant magnanimity that every
passion involves.



71.


WHY THE SCEPTICS OFFEND MORALITY.—He who takes his morality solemnly and
seriously is enraged against the sceptics in the domain of morals. For
where he lavishes all his force, he wishes others to marvel but not to
investigate and doubt. Then there are natures whose last shred of morality
is just the belief in morals. They behave in the same way towards
sceptics, if possible still more passionately.



72.


SHYNESS.—All moralists are shy, because they know they are confounded with
spies and traitors, so soon as their penchant is noticed. Besides, they
are generally conscious of being impotent in action, for in the midst of
work the motives of their activity almost withdraw their attention from
the work.



73.


A DANGER TO UNIVERSAL MORALITY.—People who are at the same time noble and
honest come to deify every devilry that brings out their honesty, and to
suspend for a time the balance of their moral judgment.



74.


THE SADDEST ERROR.—It is an unpardonable offence when one discovers that
where one was convinced of being loved, one is only regarded as a
household utensil and decoration, whereby the master of the house can find
an outlet for his vanity before his guests.



75.


LOVE AND DUALITY.—What else is love but understanding and rejoicing that
another lives, works, and feels in a different and opposite way to
ourselves? That love may be able to bridge over the contrasts by joys, we
must not remove or deny those contrasts. Even self-love presupposes an
irreconcileable duality (or plurality) in one person.



76.


SIGNS FROM DREAMS.—What one sometimes does not know and feel accurately in
waking hours—whether one has a good or a bad conscience as regards some
person—is revealed completely and unambiguously by dreams.



77.


DEBAUCHERY.—Not joy but joylessness is the mother of debauchery.



78.


REWARD AND PUNISHMENT.—No one accuses without an underlying notion of
punishment and revenge, even when he accuses his fate or himself. All
complaint is accusation, all self-congratulation is praise. Whether we do
one or the other, we always make some one responsible.



79.


DOUBLY UNJUST.—We sometimes advance truth by a twofold injustice: when we
see and represent consecutively the two sides of a case which we are not
in a position to see together, but in such a way that every time we
mistake or deny the other side, fancying that what we see is the whole
truth.



80.


MISTRUST.—Self-mistrust does not always proceed uncertainly and shyly, but
sometimes in a furious rage, having worked itself into a frenzy in order
not to tremble.



81.


PHILOSOPHY OF PARVENUS.—If you want to be a personality you must even hold
your shadow in honour.



82.


KNOWING HOW TO WASH ONESELF CLEAN.—We must know how to emerge cleaner from
unclean conditions, and, if necessary, how to wash ourselves even with
dirty water.



83.


LETTING YOURSELF GO.—The more you let yourself go, the less others let you
go.



84.


THE INNOCENT ROGUE.—There is a slow, gradual path to vice and rascality of
every description. In the end, the traveller is quite abandoned by the
insect-swarms of a bad conscience, and although a thorough scoundrel he
walks in innocence.



85.


MAKING PLANS.—Making plans and conceiving projects involves many agreeable
sentiments. He that had the strength to be nothing but a contriver of
plans all his life would be a happy man. But one must occasionally have a
rest from this activity by carrying a plan into execution, and then comes
anger and sobriety.



86.


WHEREWITH WE SEE THE IDEAL.—Every efficient man is blocked by his
efficiency and cannot look out freely from its prison. Had he not also a
goodly share of imperfection, he could, by reason of his virtue, never
arrive at an intellectual or moral freedom. Our shortcomings are the eyes
with which we see the ideal.



87.


DISHONEST PRAISE.—Dishonest praise causes many more twinges of conscience
than dishonest blame, probably only because we have exposed our capacity
for judgment far more completely through excessive praise than through
excessive and unjust blame.



88.


HOW ONE DIES IS INDIFFERENT.—The whole way in which a man thinks of death
during the prime of his life and strength is very expressive and
significant for what we call his character. But the hour of death itself,
his behaviour on the death-bed, is almost indifferent. The exhaustion of
waning life, especially when old people die, the irregular or insufficient
nourishment of the brain during this last period, the occasionally violent
pain, the novel and untried nature of the whole position, and only too
often the ebb and flow of superstitious impressions and fears, as if dying
were of much consequence and meant the crossing of bridges of the most
terrible kind—all this forbids our using death as a testimony concerning
the living. Nor is it true that the dying man is generally more honest
than the living. On the contrary, through the solemn attitude of the
bystanders, the repressed or flowing streams of tears and emotions, every
one is inveigled into a comedy of vanity, now conscious, now unconscious.
The serious way in which every dying man is treated must have been to many
a poor despised devil the highest joy of his whole life and a sort of
compensation and repayment for many privations.



89.


MORALITY AND ITS SACRIFICE.—The origin of morality may be traced to two
ideas: “The community is of more value than the individual,” and “The
permanent interest is to be preferred to the temporary.” The conclusion
drawn is that the permanent interest of the community is unconditionally
to be set above the temporary interest of the individual, especially his
momentary well-being, but also his permanent interest and even the
prolongation of his existence. Even if the individual suffers by an
arrangement that suits the mass, even if he is depressed and ruined by it,
morality must be maintained and the victim brought to the sacrifice. Such
a trend of thought arises, however, only in those who are _not_ the
victims—for in the victim’s case it enforces the claim that the individual
might be worth more than the many, and that the present enjoyment, the
“moment in paradise,”(7) should perhaps be rated higher than a tame
succession of untroubled or comfortable circumstances. But the philosophy
of the sacrificial victim always finds voice too late, and so victory
remains with morals and morality: which are really nothing more than the
sentiment for the whole concept of morals under which one lives and has
been reared—and reared not as an individual but as a member of the whole,
as a cipher in a majority. Hence it constantly happens that the individual
makes himself into a majority by means of his morality.



90.


THE GOOD AND THE GOOD CONSCIENCE.—You hold that all good things have at
all times had a good conscience? Science, which is certainly a very good
thing, has come into the world without such a conscience and quite free
from all pathos, rather clandestinely, by roundabout ways, walking with
shrouded or masked face like a sinner, and always with the feeling at
least of being a smuggler. Good conscience has bad conscience for its
stepping-stone, not for its opposite. For all that is good has at one time
been new and consequently strange, against morals, immoral, and has gnawed
like a worm at the heart of the fortunate discoverer.



91.


SUCCESS SANCTIFIES THE INTENTIONS.—We should not shrink from treading the
road to a virtue, even when we see clearly that nothing but egotism, and
accordingly utility, personal comfort, fear, considerations of health,
reputation, or glory, are the impelling motives. These motives are styled
ignoble and selfish. Very well, but if they stimulate us to some
virtue—for example, self-denial, dutifulness, order, thrift, measure, and
moderation—let us listen to them, whatever their epithets may be! For if
we reach the goal to which they summon us, then the virtue we have
attained, by means of the pure air it makes us breathe and the spiritual
well-being it communicates, ennobles the remoter impulses of our action,
and afterwards we no longer perform those actions from the same coarse
motives that inspired us before.—Education should therefore force the
virtues on the pupil, as far as possible, according to his disposition.
Then virtue, the sunshine and summer atmosphere of the soul, can
contribute her own share of work and add mellowness and sweetness.



92.


DABBLERS IN CHRISTIANITY, NOT CHRISTIANS.—So that is your Christianity!—To
annoy humanity you praise “God and His Saints,” and again when you want to
praise humanity you go so far that God and His Saints must be annoyed.—I
wish you would at least learn Christian manners, as you are so deficient
in the civility of the Christian heart.



93.


THE RELIGIOUS AND IRRELIGIOUS IMPRESSION OF NATURE.—A true believer must
be to us an object of veneration, but the same holds good of a true,
sincere, convinced unbeliever. With men of the latter stamp we are near to
the high mountains where mighty rivers have their source, and with
believers we are under vigorous, shady, restful trees.



94.


JUDICIAL MURDER.—The two greatest judicial murders(8) in the world’s
history are, to speak without exaggeration, concealed and well-concealed
suicide. In both cases a man _willed_ to die, and in both cases he let his
breast be pierced by the sword in the hand of human injustice.



95.


“LOVE.”—The finest artistic conception wherein Christianity had the
advantage over other religious systems lay in one word—Love. Hence it
became the _lyric_ religion (whereas in its two other creations Semitism
bestowed heroico-epical religions upon the world). In the word “love”
there is so much meaning, so much that stimulates and appeals to memory
and hope, that even the meanest intelligence and the coldest heart feel
some glimmering of its sense. The cleverest woman and the lowest man think
of the comparatively unselfish moments of their whole life, even if with
them Eros never soared high: and the vast number of beings who _miss_ love
from their parents or children or sweethearts, especially those whose
sexual instincts have been refined away, have found their heart’s desire
in Christianity.



96.


THE FULFILMENT OF CHRISTIANITY.—In Christianity there is also an Epicurean
trend of thought, starting from the idea that God can only demand of man,
his creation and his image, what it is possible for man to fulfil, and
accordingly that Christian virtue and perfection are attainable and often
attained. Now, for instance, the belief in loving one’s enemies—even if it
is only a belief or fancy, and by no means a psychological reality (a real
love)—gives unalloyed happiness, so long as it is genuinely believed. (As
to the reason of this, psychologist and Christian might well differ.)
Hence earthly life, through the belief, I mean the fancy, that it
satisfies not only the injunction to love our enemies, but all the other
injunctions of Christianity, and that it has really assimilated and
embodied in itself the Divine perfection according to the command, “Be
perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,” might actually become a holy
life. Thus error can make Christ’s promise come true.



97.


OF THE FUTURE OF CHRISTIANITY.—We may be allowed to form a conjecture as
to the disappearance of Christianity and as to the places where it will be
the slowest to retreat, if we consider where and for what reasons
Protestantism spread with such startling rapidity. As is well known,
Protestantism promised to do far more cheaply all that the old Church did,
without costly masses, pilgrimages, and priestly pomp and circumstance. It
spread particularly among the Northern nations, which were not so deeply
rooted as those of the South in the old Church’s symbolism and love of
ritual. In the South the more powerful pagan religion survived in
Christianity, whereas in the North Christianity meant an opposition to and
a break with the old-time creed, and hence was from the first more
thoughtful and less sensual, but for that very reason, in times of peril,
more fanatical and more obstinate. If from the standpoint of _thought_ we
succeed in uprooting Christianity, we can at once know the point where it
will begin to disappear—the very point at which it will be most stubborn
in defence. In other places it will bend but not break, lose its leaves
but burst into leaf afresh, because the senses, and not thought, have gone
over to its side. But it is the senses that maintain the belief that with
all its expensive outlay the Church is more cheaply and conveniently
managed than under the stern conditions of work and wages. Yet what does
one hold leisure (or semi-idleness) to be worth, when once one has become
accustomed to it? The senses plead against a dechristianised world, saying
that there would be too much work to do in it and an insufficient supply
of leisure. They take the part of magic—that is, they let God work himself
(_oremus nos, Deus laboret_).



98.


THEATRICALITY AND HONESTY OF UNBELIEVERS.—There is no book that contains
in such abundance or expresses so faithfully all that man occasionally
finds salutary—ecstatic inward happiness, ready for sacrifice or death in
the belief in and contemplation of _his_ truth—as the book that tells of
Christ. From that book a clever man may learn all the means whereby a book
can be made into a world-book, a vade-mecum for all, and especially that
master-means of representing everything as discovered, nothing as future
and uncertain. All influential books try to leave the same impression, as
if the widest intellectual horizon were circumscribed here and as if about
the sun that shines here every constellation visible at present or in the
future must revolve.—Must not then all purely scientific books be poor in
influence on the same grounds as such books are rich in influence? Is not
the book fated to live humble and among humble folk, in order to be
crucified in the end and never resurrected? In relation to what the
religious inform us of their “knowledge” and their “holy spirit,” are not
all upright men of science “poor in spirit”? Can any religion demand more
self-denial and draw the selfish out of themselves more inexorably than
science?—This and similar things we may say, in any case with a certain
theatricality, when we have to defend ourselves against believers, for it
is impossible to conduct a defence without a certain amount of
theatricality. But between ourselves our language must be more honest, and
we employ a freedom that those believers are not even allowed, in their
own interests, to understand. Away, then, with the monastic cowl of
self-denial, with the appearance of humility! Much more and much better—so
rings our truth! If science were not linked with the pleasure of
knowledge, the utility of the thing known, what should we care for
science? If a little faith, love, and hope did not lead our souls to
knowledge, what would attract us to science? And if in science the ego
means nothing, still the inventive, happy ego, every upright and
industrious ego, means a great deal in the republic of the men of science.
The homage of those who pay homage, the joy of those whom we wish well or
honour, in some cases glory and a fair share of immortality, is the
personal reward for every suppression of personality: to say nothing here
of meaner views and rewards, although it is just on this account that the
majority have sworn and always continue to swear fidelity to the laws of
the republic and of science. If we had not remained in some degree
unscientific, what would science matter to us? Taking everything together
and speaking in plain language: “To a purely knowing being knowledge would
be indifferent.”—Not the quality but the quantity of faith and devoutness
distinguishes us from the pious, the believers. We are content with less.
But should one of them cry out to us: “Be content and show yourselves
contented!” we could easily answer: “As a matter of fact, we do not belong
to the most discontented class. But you, if your faith makes you happy,
show yourselves to be happy. Your faces have always done more harm to your
faith than our reasons! If that glad message of your Bible were written in
your faces, you would not need to demand belief in the authority of that
book in such stiff-necked fashion. Your words, your actions should
continually make the Bible superfluous—in fact, through you a new Bible
should continually come into being. As it is, your apologia for
Christianity is rooted in your unchristianity, and with your defence you
write your own condemnation. If you, however, should wish to emerge from
your dissatisfaction with Christianity, you should ponder over the
experience of two thousand years, which, clothed in the modest form of a
question, may be voiced as follows: ‘If Christ really intended to redeem
the world, may he not be said to have failed?’ ”



99.


THE POET AS GUIDE TO THE FUTURE.—All the surplus poetical force that still
exists in modern humanity, but is not used under our conditions of life,
should (without any deduction) be devoted to a definite goal—not to
depicting the present nor to reviving and summarising the past, but to
pointing the way to the future. Nor should this be so done as if the poet,
like an imaginative political economist, had to anticipate a more
favourable national and social state of things and picture their
realisation. Rather will he, just as the earlier poets portrayed the
images of the Gods, portray the fair images of men. He will divine those
cases where, in the midst of our modern world and reality (which will not
be shirked or repudiated in the usual poetic fashion), a great, noble soul
is still possible, where it may be embodied in harmonious, equable
conditions, where it may become permanent, visible, and representative of
a type, and so, by the stimulus to imitation and envy, help to create the
future. The poems of such a poet would be distinguished by appearing
secluded and protected from the heated atmosphere of the passions. The
irremediable failure, the shattering of all the strings of the human
instrument, the scornful laughter and gnashing of teeth, and all tragedy
and comedy in the usual old sense, would appear by the side of this new
art as mere archaic lumber, a blurring of the outlines of the
world-picture. Strength, kindness, gentleness, purity, and an unsought,
innate moderation in the personalities and their action: a levelled soil,
giving rest and pleasure to the foot: a shining heaven mirrored in faces
and events: science and art welded into a new unity: the mind living
together with her sister, the soul, without arrogance or jealousy, and
enticing from contrasts the grace of seriousness, not the impatience of
discord—all this would be the general environment, the background on which
the delicate differences of the embodied ideals would make the real
picture, that of ever-growing human majesty. Many roads to this poetry of
the future start from Goethe, but the quest needs good pathfinders and
above all a far greater strength than is possessed by modern poets, who
unscrupulously represent the half-animal and the immaturity and
intemperance that are mistaken by them for power and naturalness.



100.


THE MUSE AS PENTHESILEA.(9)—“Better to rot than to be a woman without
charm.” When once the Muse thinks thus, the end of her art is again at
hand. But it can be a tragic and also a comic finale.



101.


THE CIRCUITOUS PATH TO THE BEAUTIFUL.—If the beautiful is to be identified
with that which gives pleasure—and thus sang the Muses once—the useful is
often the necessary circuitous path to the beautiful, and has a perfect
right to spurn the short-sighted censure of men who live for the moment,
who will not wait, and who think that they can reach all good things
without ever taking a circuitous path.



102.


AN EXCUSE FOR MANY A TRANSGRESSION.—The ceaseless desire to create, the
eternal looking outward of the artist, hinders him from becoming better
and more beautiful as a personality: unless his craving for glory be great
enough to compel him to exhibit in his relations with other men a growth
corresponding to the growing beauty and greatness of his works. In any
case he has but a limited measure of strength, and how could the
proportion of strength that he spends on himself be of any benefit to his
work—or _vice versa_?



103.


SATISFYING THE BEST PEOPLE.—If we have satisfied the best people of our
time with our art, it is a sign that we shall not satisfy the best people
of the succeeding period. We have indeed “lived for all time,” and the
applause of the best people ensures our fame.(10)



104.


OF ONE SUBSTANCE.—If we are of one substance with a book or a work of art,
we think in our heart of hearts that it must be excellent, and are
offended if others find it ugly, over-spiced, or pretentious.



105.


SPEECH AND EMOTION.—That speech is not given to us to communicate our
emotions may be seen from the fact that all simple men are ashamed to seek
for words to express their deeper feelings. These feelings are expressed
only in actions, and even here such men blush if others seem to divine
their motives. After all, among poets, to whom God generally denies this
shame, the more noble are more monosyllabic in the language of emotion,
and evince a certain constraint: whereas the real poets of emotion are for
the most part shameless in practical life.



106.


A MISTAKE ABOUT A PRIVATION.—He that has not for a long time been
completely weaned from an art, and is still always at home in it, has no
idea how small a privation it is to live without that art.



107.


THREE-QUARTER STRENGTH.—A work that is meant to give an impression of
health should be produced with three-quarters, at the most, of the
strength of its creator. If he has gone to his farthest limit, the work
excites the observer and disconcerts him by its tension. All good things
have something lazy about them and lie like cows in the meadow.



108.


REFUSING TO HAVE HUNGER AS A GUEST.—As refined fare serves a hungry man as
well as and no better than coarser food, the more pretentious artist will
not dream of inviting the hungry man to his meal.



109.


LIVING WITHOUT ART AND WINE.—It is with works of art as with wine—it is
better if one can do without both and keep to water, and if from the inner
fire and inner sweetness of the soul the water spontaneously changes again
into wine.



110.


THE PIRATE-GENIUS.—The pirate-genius in art, who even knows how to deceive
subtle minds, arises when some one unscrupulously and from youth upwards
regards all good things, that are not protected by law, as the property of
a particular person, as his legitimate spoil. Now all the good things of
past ages and masters lie free around us, hedged about and protected by
the reverential awe of the few who know them. To these few our
robber-genius, by the force of his impudence, bids defiance and
accumulates for himself a wealth that once more calls forth homage and
awe.



111.


TO THE POETS OF GREAT TOWNS.—In the gardens of modern poetry it will
clearly be observed that the sewers of great towns are too near. With the
fragrance of flowers is mingled something that betrays abomination and
putrescence. With pain I ask: “Must you poets always request wit and dirt
to stand godfather, when an innocent and beautiful sensation has to be
christened by you? Are you obliged to dress your noble goddess in a hood
of devilry and caricature? But whence this necessity, this obligation?”
The reason is—because you live too near the sewers.



112.


OF THE SALT OF SPEECH.—No one has ever explained why the Greek writers,
having at command such an unparalleled wealth and power of language, made
so sparing a use of their resources that every post-classical Greek book
appears by comparison crude, over-coloured, and extravagant. It is said
that towards the North Polar ice and in the hottest countries salt is
becoming less and less used, whereas on the other hand the dwellers on the
plains and by the coast in the more temperate zones use salt in great
abundance. Is it possible that the Greeks from a twofold reason—because
their intellect was colder and clearer but their fundamental passionate
nature far more tropical than ours—did not need salt and spice to the same
extent that we do?



113.


THE FREEST WRITER.—In a book for free spirits one cannot avoid mention of
Laurence Sterne, the man whom Goethe honoured as the freest spirit of his
century. May he be satisfied with the honour of being called the freest
writer of all times, in comparison with whom all others appear stiff,
square-toed, intolerant, and downright boorish! In his case we should not
speak of the clear and rounded but of “the endless melody”—if by this
phrase we arrive at a name for an artistic style in which the definite
form is continually broken, thrust aside and transferred to the realm of
the indefinite, so that it signifies one and the other at the same time.
Sterne is the great master of _double entendre_, this phrase being
naturally used in a far wider sense than is commonly done when one applies
it to sexual relations. We may give up for lost the reader who always
wants to know exactly what Sterne thinks about a matter, and whether he be
making a serious or a smiling face (for he can do both with one wrinkling
of his features; he can be and even wishes to be right and wrong at the
same moment, to interweave profundity and farce). His digressions are at
once continuations and further developments of the story, his maxims
contain a satire on all that is sententious, his dislike of seriousness is
bound up with a disposition to take no matter merely externally and on the
surface. So in the proper reader he arouses a feeling of uncertainty
whether he be walking, lying, or standing, a feeling most closely akin to
that of floating in the air. He, the most versatile of writers,
communicates something of this versatility to his reader. Yes, Sterne
unexpectedly changes the parts, and is often as much reader as author, his
book being like a play within a play, a theatre audience before another
theatre audience. We must surrender at discretion to the mood of Sterne,
although we can always expect it to be gracious. It is strangely
instructive to see how so great a writer as Diderot has affected this
_double entendre_ of Sterne’s—to be equally ambiguous throughout is just
the Sternian super-humour. Did Diderot imitate, admire, ridicule, or
parody Sterne in his _Jacques le Fataliste_? One cannot be exactly
certain, and this uncertainty was perhaps intended by the author. This
very doubt makes the French unjust to the work of one of their first
masters, one who need not be ashamed of comparison with any of the
ancients or moderns. For humour (and especially for this humorous attitude
towards humour itself) the French are too serious. Is it necessary to add
that of all great authors Sterne is the worst model, in fact the
inimitable author, and that even Diderot had to pay for his daring? What
the worthy Frenchmen and before them some Greeks and Romans aimed at and
attained in prose is the very opposite of what Sterne aims at and attains.
He raises himself as a masterly exception above all that artists in
writing demand of themselves—propriety, reserve, character, steadfastness
of purpose, comprehensiveness, perspicuity, good deportment in gait and
feature. Unfortunately Sterne the man seems to have been only too closely
related to Sterne the writer. His squirrel-soul sprang with insatiable
unrest from branch to branch; he knew what lies between sublimity and
rascality; he had sat on every seat, always with unabashed watery eyes and
mobile play of feature. He was—if language does not revolt from such a
combination—of a hard-hearted kindness, and in the midst of the joys of a
grotesque and even corrupt imagination he showed the bashful grace of
innocence. Such a carnal and spiritual hermaphroditism, such untrammelled
wit penetrating into every vein and muscle, was perhaps never possessed by
any other man.



114.


A CHOICE REALITY.—Just as the good prose writer only takes words that
belong to the language of daily intercourse, though not by a long way all
its words—whence arises a choice style—so the good poet of the future will
only represent the real and turn his eyes away from all fantastic,
superstitious, half-voiced, forgotten stories, to which earlier poets
devoted their powers. Only reality, though by a long way not every
reality—but a choice reality.



115.


DEGENERATE SPECIES OF ART.—Side by side with the genuine species of art,
those of great repose and great movement, there are degenerate
species—weary, blasé art and excited art. Both would have their weakness
taken for strength and wish to be confounded with the genuine species.



116.


A HERO IMPOSSIBLE FROM LACK OF COLOUR.—The typical poets and artists of
our age like to compose their pictures upon a background of shimmering
red, green, grey, and gold, on the background of nervous sensuality—a
condition well understood by the children of this century. The drawback
comes when we do _not_ look at these pictures with the eyes of our
century. Then we see that the great figures painted by these artists have
something flickering, tremulous, and dizzy about them, and accordingly we
do not ascribe to them heroic deeds, but at best mock-heroic, swaggering
_mis_deeds.



117.


OVERLADEN STYLE.—The overladen style is a consequence of the
impoverishment of the organising force together with a lavish stock of
expedients and intentions. At the beginnings of art the very reverse
conditions sometimes appear.



118.


_PULCHRUM EST PAUCORUM HOMINUM._—History and experience tell us that the
significant grotesqueness that mysteriously excites the imagination and
carries one beyond everyday reality, is older and grows more luxuriantly
than the beautiful and reverence for the beautiful in art: and that it
begins to flourish exceedingly when the sense for beauty is on the wane.
For the vast majority of mankind this grotesque seems to be a higher need
than the beautiful, presumably because it contains a coarser narcotic.



119.


ORIGINS OF TASTE IN WORKS OF ART.—If we consider the primary germs of the
artistic sense, and ask ourselves what are the various kinds of joy
produced by the firstlings of art—as, for example, among savage tribes—we
find first of all the joy of understanding what another means. Art in this
case is a sort of conundrum, which causes its solver pleasure in his own
quick and keen perceptions.—Then the roughest works of art remind us of
the pleasant things we have actually experienced, and so give joy—as, for
example, when the artist alludes to a chase, a victory, a wedding.—Again,
the representation may cause us to feel excited, touched, inflamed, as for
instance in the glorification of revenge and danger. Here the enjoyment
lies in the excitement itself, in the victory over tedium.—The memory,
too, of unpleasant things, so far as they have been overcome or make us
appear interesting to the listener as subjects for art (as when the singer
describes the mishaps of a daring seaman), can inspire great joy, the
credit for which is given to art.—A more subtle variety is the joy that
arises at the sight of all that is regular and symmetrical in lines,
points, and rhythms. For by a certain analogy is awakened the feeling for
all that is orderly and regular in life, which one has to thank alone for
all well-being. So in the cult of symmetry we unconsciously do homage to
rule and proportion as the source of our previous happiness, and the joy
in this case is a kind of hymn of thanksgiving. Only when a certain
satiety of the last-mentioned joy arises does a more subtle feeling step
in, that enjoyment might even lie in a violation of the symmetrical and
regular. This feeling, for example, impels us to seek reason in apparent
unreason, and the sort of æsthetic riddle-guessing that results is in a
way the higher species of the first-named artistic joy.—He who pursues
this speculation still further will know what kind of hypotheses for the
explanation of æsthetic phenomena are hereby fundamentally rejected.



120.


NOT TOO NEAR.—It is a disadvantage for good thoughts when they follow too
closely on one another, for they hide the view from each other. That is
why great artists and writers have made an abundant use of the mediocre.



121.


ROUGHNESS AND WEAKNESS.—Artists of all periods have made the discovery
that in roughness lies a certain strength, and that not every one can be
rough who wants to be: also that many varieties of weakness have a
powerful effect on the emotions. From this source are derived many
artistic substitutes, which not even the greatest and most conscientious
artists can abstain from using.



122.


GOOD MEMORY.—Many a man fails to become a thinker for the sole reason that
his memory is too good.



123.


AROUSING INSTEAD OF APPEASING HUNGER.—Great artists fancy that they have
taken full possession of a soul. In reality, and often to their painful
disappointment, that soul has only been made more capacious and
insatiable, so that a dozen greater artists could plunge into its depths
without filling it up.



124.


ARTISTS’ ANXIETY.—The anxiety lest people may not believe that their
figures are _alive_ can mislead many artists of declining taste to portray
these figures so that they appear as if mad. From the same anxiety, on the
other hand, Greek artists of the earliest ages gave even dead and sorely
wounded men that smile which they knew as the most vivid sign of
life—careless of the actual forms bestowed by nature on life at its last
gasp.



125.


THE CIRCLE MUST BE COMPLETED.—He who follows a philosophy or a genre of
art to the end of its career and beyond, understands from inner experience
why the masters and disciples who come after have so often turned, with a
depreciatory gesture, into a new groove. The circle must be described—but
the individual, even the greatest, sits firm on his point of the
circumference, with an inexorable look of obstinacy, as if the circle
ought never to be completed.



126.


THE OLDER ART AND THE SOUL OF THE PRESENT.—Since every art becomes more
and more adapted to the expression of spiritual states, of the more
lively, delicate, energetic, and passionate states, the later masters,
spoilt by these means of expression, do not feel at their ease in the
presence of the old-time works of art. They feel as if the ancients had
merely been lacking in the means of making their souls speak clearly, also
perhaps in some necessary technical preliminaries. They think that they
must render some assistance in this quarter, for they believe in the
similarity or even unity of all souls. In truth, however, measure,
symmetry, a contempt for graciousness and charm, an unconscious severity
and morning chilliness, an evasion of passion, as if passion meant the
death of art—such are the constituents of sentiment and morality in all
old masters, who selected and arranged their means of expression not at
random but in a necessary connection with their morality. Knowing this,
are we to deny those that come after the right to animate the older works
with their soul? No, for these works can only survive through our giving
them our soul, and our blood alone enables them to speak to _us_. The real
“historic” discourse would talk ghostly speech to ghosts. We honour the
great artists less by that barren timidity that allows every word, every
note to remain intact than by energetic endeavours to aid them continually
to a new life.—True, if Beethoven were suddenly to come to life and hear
one of his works performed with that modern animation and nervous
refinement that bring glory to our masters of execution, he would probably
be silent for a long while, uncertain whether he should raise his hand to
curse or to bless, but perhaps say at last: “Well, well! That is neither I
nor not-I, but a third thing—it seems to me, too, something right, if not
just _the_ right thing. But you must know yourselves what to do, as in any
case it is you who have to listen. As our Schiller says, ‘the living man
is right.’ So have it your own way, and let me go down again.”



127.


AGAINST THE DISPARAGERS OF BREVITY.—A brief dictum may be the fruit and
harvest of long reflection. The reader, however, who is a novice in this
field and has never considered the case in point, sees something embryonic
in all brief dicta, not without a reproachful hint to the author,
requesting him not to serve up such raw and ill-prepared food.



128.


AGAINST THE SHORT-SIGHTED.—Do you think it is piece-work because it is
(and must be) offered you in pieces?



129.


READERS OF APHORISMS.—The worst readers of aphorisms are the friends of
the author, if they make a point of referring the general to the
particular instance to which the aphorism owes its origin. This
namby-pamby attitude brings all the author’s trouble to naught, and
instead of a philosophic lesson and a philosophic frame of mind, they
deservedly gain nothing but the satisfaction of a vulgar curiosity.



130.


READERS’ INSULTS.—The reader offers a two-fold insult to the author by
praising his second book at the expense of his first (or _vice versa_) and
by expecting the author to be grateful to him on that account.



131.


THE EXCITING ELEMENT IN THE HISTORY OF ART.—We fall into a state of
terrible tension when we follow the history of an art—as, for example,
that of Greek oratory—and, passing from master to master, observe their
increasing precautions to obey the old and the new laws and all these
self-imposed limitations. We see that the bow _must_ snap, and that the
so-called “loose” composition, with the wonderful means of expression
smothered and concealed (in this particular case the florid style of
Asianism), was once necessary and almost _beneficial_.



132.


TO THE GREAT IN ART.—That enthusiasm for some object which you, O great
man, introduce into this world causes the intelligence of the many to be
stunted. The knowledge of this fact spells humiliation. But the enthusiast
wears his hump with pride and pleasure, and you have the consolation of
feeling that you have increased the world’s happiness.



133.


CONSCIENCELESS ÆSTHETES.—The real fanatics of an artistic school are
perhaps those utterly inartistic natures that are not even grounded in the
elements of artistic study and creation, but are impressed with the
strongest of all the elementary influences of an art. For them there is no
æsthetic conscience—hence nothing to hold them back from fanaticism.



134.


HOW THE SOUL SHOULD BE MOVED BY THE NEW MUSIC.—The artistic purpose
followed by the new music, in what is now forcibly but none too lucidly
termed “endless melody,” can be understood by going into the sea,
gradually losing one’s firm tread on the bottom, and finally surrendering
unconditionally to the fluid element. One has to _swim_. In the previous,
older music one was forced, with delicate or stately or impassioned
movement, to _dance_. The measure necessary for dancing, the observance of
a distinct balance of time and force in the soul of the hearer, imposed a
continual self-control. Through the counteraction of the cooler draught of
air which came from this caution and the warmer breath of musical
enthusiasm, that music exercised its spell.—Richard Wagner aimed at a
different excitation of the soul, allied, as above said, to swimming and
floating. This is perhaps the most essential of his innovations. His
famous method, originating from this aim and adapted to it—the “endless
melody”—strives to break and sometimes even to despise all mathematical
equilibrium of time and force. He is only too rich in the invention of
such effects, which sound to the old school like rhythmic paradoxes and
blasphemies. He dreads petrifaction, crystallisation, the development of
music into the architectural. He accordingly sets up a three-time rhythm
in opposition to the double-time, not infrequently introduces five-time
and seven-time, immediately repeats a phrase, but with a prolation, so
that its time is again doubled and trebled. From an easy-going imitation
of such art may arise a great danger to music, for by the side of the
superabundance of rhythmic emotion demoralisation and decadence lurk in
ambush. The danger will become very great if such music comes to associate
itself more and more closely with a quite naturalistic art of acting and
pantomime, trained and dominated by no higher plastic models; an art that
knows no measure in itself and can impart no measure to the kindred
element, the all-too-womanish nature of music.



135.


POET AND REALITY.—The Muse of the poet who is not in love with reality
will not be reality, and will bear him children with hollow eyes and all
too tender bones.



136.


MEANS AND END.—In art the end does not justify the means, but holy means
can justify the end.



137.


THE WORST READERS.—The worst readers are those who act like plundering
soldiers. They take out some things that they might use, cover the rest
with filth and confusion, and blaspheme about the whole.



138.


SIGNS OF A GOOD WRITER.—Good writers have two things in common: they
prefer being understood to being admired, and they do not write for the
critical and over-shrewd reader.



139.


THE MIXED SPECIES.—The mixed species in art bear witness to their authors’
distrust of their own strength. They seek auxiliary powers, advocates,
hiding-places—such is the case with the poet who calls in philosophy, the
musician who calls in the drama, and the thinker who calls in rhetoric to
his aid.



140.


SHUTTING ONE’S MOUTH.—When his book opens its mouth, the author must shut
his.



141.


BADGES OF RANK.—All poets and men of letters who are in love with the
superlative want to do more than they can.



142.


COLD BOOKS.—The deep thinker reckons on readers who feel with him the
happiness that lies in deep thinking. Hence a book that looks cold and
sober, if seen in the right light, may seem bathed in the sunshine of
spiritual cheerfulness and become a genuine soul-comforter.



143.


A KNACK OF THE SLOW-WITTED.—The slow-witted thinker generally allies
himself with loquacity and ceremoniousness. By the former he thinks he is
gaining mobility and fluency, by the latter he gives his peculiarity the
appearance of being a result of free will and artistic purpose, with a
view to dignity, which needs slow movement.



144.


_LE STYLE BAROQUE._(11)—He who as thinker and writer is not born or
trained to dialectic and the consecutive arrangement of ideas, will
unconsciously turn to the rhetoric and dramatic forms. For, after all, his
object is to make himself understood and to carry the day by force, and he
is indifferent whether, as shepherd, he honestly guides to himself the
hearts of his fellow-men, or, as robber, he captures them by surprise.
This is true of the plastic arts as of music: where the feeling of
insufficient dialectic or a deficiency in expression or narration,
together with an urgent, over-powerful impulse to form, gives birth to
that species of style known as “baroque.” Only the ill-educated and the
arrogant will at once find a depreciatory force in this word. The baroque
style always arises at the time of decay of a great art, when the demands
of art in classical expression have become too great. It is a natural
phenomenon which will be observed with melancholy—for it is a forerunner
of the night—but at the same time with admiration for its peculiar
compensatory arts of expression and narration. To this style belongs
already a choice of material and subjects of the highest dramatic tension,
at which the heart trembles even when there is no art, because heaven and
hell are all too near the emotions: then, the oratory of strong passion
and gestures, of ugly sublimity, of great masses, in fact of absolute
quantity _per se_ (as is shown in Michael Angelo, the father or
grandfather of the Italian baroque stylists): the lights of dusk,
illumination and conflagration playing upon those strongly moulded forms:
ever-new ventures in means and aims, strongly underscored by artists for
artists, while the layman must fancy he sees an unconscious overflowing of
all the horns of plenty of an original nature-art: all these
characteristics that constitute the greatness of that style are neither
possible nor permitted in the earlier ante-classical and classical periods
of a branch of art. Such luxuries hang long on the tree like forbidden
fruit. Just now, when music is passing into this last phase, we may learn
to know the phenomenon of the baroque style in peculiar splendour, and, by
comparison, find much that is instructive for earlier ages. For from Greek
times onward there has often been a baroque style, in poetry, oratory,
prose writing, sculpture, and, as is well known, in architecture. This
style, though wanting in the highest nobility,—the nobility of an
innocent, unconscious, triumphant perfection,—has nevertheless given
pleasure to many of the best and most serious minds of their time. Hence,
as aforesaid, it is presumptuous to depreciate it without reserve, however
happy we may feel because our taste for it has not made us insensible to
the purer and greater style.



145.


THE VALUE OF HONEST BOOKS.—Honest books make the reader honest, at least
by exciting his hatred and aversion, which otherwise cunning cleverness
knows so well how to conceal. Against a book, however, we let ourselves
go, however restrained we may be in our relations with men.



146.


HOW ART MAKES PARTISANS.—Individual fine passages, an exciting general
tenor, a moving and absorbing finale—so much of a work of art is
accessible even to most laymen. In an art period when it is desired to win
over the great majority of the laymen to the side of the artists and to
make a party perhaps for the very preservation of art, the creative artist
will do well to offer nothing more than the above. Then he will not be a
squanderer of his strength, in spheres where no one is grateful to him.
For to perform the remaining functions, the imitation of Nature in her
organic development and growth, would in that case be like sowing seeds in
water.



147.


BECOMING GREAT TO THE DETRIMENT OF HISTORY.—Every later master who leads
the taste of art-lovers into his channel unconsciously gives rise to a
selection and revaluation of the older masters and their works. Whatever
in them is conformable and akin to him, and anticipates and foreshadows
him, appears henceforth as the only important element in them and their
works—a fruit in which a great error usually lies hidden like a worm.



148.


HOW AN EPOCH BECOMES LURED TO ART.—If we teach people by all the
enchantments of artists and thinkers to feel reverence for their defects,
their intellectual poverty, their absurd infatuations and passions (as it
is quite possible to do); if we show them only the lofty side of crime and
folly, only the touching and appealing element in weakness and flabbiness
and blind devotion (that too has often enough been done):—we have employed
the means for inspiring even an unphilosophical and inartistic age with an
ecstatic love of philosophy and art (especially of thinkers and artists as
personalities) and, in the worst case, perhaps with the only means of
defending the existence of such tender and fragile beings.



149.


CRITICISM AND JOY.—Criticism, one-sided and unjust as well as intelligent
criticism, gives so much pleasure to him who exercises it that the world
is indebted to every work and every action that inspires much criticism
and many critics. For criticism draws after it a glittering train of
joyousness, wit, self-admiration, pride, instruction, designs of
improvement.—The God of joy created the bad and the mediocre for the same
reason that he created the good.



150.


BEYOND HIS LIMITS.—When an artist wants to be more than an artist—for
example, the moral awakener of his people—he at last falls in love, as a
punishment, with a monster of moral substance. The Muse laughs, for,
though a kind-hearted Goddess, she can also be malignant from jealousy.
Milton and Klopstock are cases in point.



151.


A GLASS EYE.—The tendency of a talent towards moral subjects, characters,
motives, towards the “beautiful soul” of the work of art, is often only a
glass eye put on by the artist who lacks a beautiful soul. It may result,
though rarely, that his eye finally becomes living Nature, if indeed it be
Nature with a somewhat troubled look. But the ordinary result is that the
whole world thinks it sees Nature where there is only cold glass.



152.


WRITING AND DESIRE FOR VICTORY.—Writing should always indicate a victory,
indeed a conquest of oneself which must be communicated to others for
their behoof. There are, however, dyspeptic authors who only write when
they cannot digest something, or when something has remained stuck in
their teeth. Through their anger they try unconsciously to disgust the
reader too, and to exercise violence upon him—that is, they desire
victory, but victory over others.



153.


A GOOD BOOK NEEDS TIME.—Every good book tastes bitter when it first comes
out, for it has the defect of newness. Moreover, it suffers damage from
its living author, if he is well known and much talked about. For all the
world is accustomed to confuse the author with his work. Whatever of
profundity, sweetness, and brilliance the work may contain must be
developed as the years go by, under the care of growing, then old, and
lastly traditional reverence. Many hours must pass, many a spider must
have woven its web about the book. A book is made better by good readers
and clearer by good opponents.



154.


EXTRAVAGANCE AS AN ARTISTIC MEANS.—Artists well understand the idea of
using extravagance as an artistic means in order to convey an impression
of wealth. This is one of those innocent wiles of soul-seduction that the
artist must know, for in his world, which has only appearance in view, the
means to appearance need not necessarily be genuine.



155.


THE HIDDEN BARREL-ORGAN.—Genius, by virtue of its more ample drapery,
knows better than talent how to hide its barrel-organ. Yet after all it
too can only play its seven old pieces over and over again.



156.


THE NAME ON THE TITLE-PAGE.—It is now a matter of custom and almost of
duty for the author’s name to appear on the book, and this is a main cause
of the fact that books have so little influence. If they are good, they
are worth more than the personalities of their authors, of which they are
the quintessences. But as soon as the author makes himself known on the
title-page, the quintessence, from the reader’s point of view, becomes
diluted with the personal, the most personal element, and the aim of the
book is frustrated. It is the ambition of the intellect no longer to
appear individual.



157.


THE MOST CUTTING CRITICISM.—We make the most cutting criticism of a man or
a book when we indicate his or its ideal.



158.


LITTLE OR NO LOVE.—Every good book is written for a particular reader and
men of his stamp, and for that very reason is looked upon unfavourably by
all other readers, by the vast majority. Its reputation accordingly rests
on a narrow basis and must be built up by degrees.—The mediocre and bad
book is mediocre and bad because it seeks to please, and does please, a
great number.



159.


MUSIC AND DISEASE.—The danger of the new music lies in the fact that it
puts the cup of rapture and exaltation to the lips so invitingly, and with
such a show of moral ecstasy, that even the noble and temperate man always
drinks a drop too much. This minimum of intemperance, constantly repeated,
can in the end bring about a deeper convulsion and destruction of mental
health than any coarse excess could do. Hence nothing remains but some day
to fly from the grotto of the nymph, and through perils and billowy seas
to forge one’s way to the smoke of Ithaca and the embraces of a simpler
and more human spouse.



160.


ADVANTAGE FOR OPPONENTS.—A book full of intellect communicates something
thereof even to its opponents.



161.


YOUTH AND CRITICISM.—To criticise a book means, for the young, not to let
oneself be touched by a single productive thought therefrom, and to
protect one’s skin with hands and feet. The youngster lives in opposition
to all novelty that he cannot love in the lump, in a position of
self-defence, and in this connection he commits, as often as he can, a
superfluous sin.



162.


EFFECT OF QUANTITY.—The greatest paradox in the history of poetic art lies
in this: that in all that constitutes the greatness of the old poets a man
may be a barbarian, faulty and deformed from top to toe, and still remain
the greatest of poets. This is the case with Shakespeare, who, as compared
with Sophocles, is like a mine of immeasurable wealth in gold, lead, and
rubble, whereas Sophocles is not merely gold, but gold in its noblest
form, one that almost makes us forget the money-value of the metal. But
quantity in its highest intensity has the same effect as quality. That is
a good thing for Shakespeare.



163.


ALL BEGINNING IS DANGEROUS.—The Poet can choose whether to raise emotion
from one grade to another, and so finally to exalt it to a great height—or
to try a surprise attack, and from the start to pull the bell-rope with
might and main. Both processes have their danger—in the first case his
hearer may run away from him through boredom, in the second through
terror.



164.


IN FAVOUR OF CRITICS.—Insects sting, not from malice, but because they too
want to live. It is the same with our critics—they desire our blood, not
our pain.



165.


SUCCESS OF APHORISMS.—The inexperienced, when an aphorism at once
illuminates their minds with its naked truth, always think that it is old
and well known. They look askance at the author, as if he had wanted to
steal the common property of all, whereas they enjoy highly spiced
half-truths, and give the author to understand as much. He knows how to
appreciate the hint, and easily guesses thereby where he has succeeded and
failed.



166.


THE DESIRE FOR VICTORY.—An artist who exceeds the limit of his strength in
all that he undertakes will end by carrying the multitude along with him
through the spectacle of violent wrestling that he affords. Success is not
always the accompaniment only of victory, but also of the desire for
victory.



167.


_SIBI SCRIBERE._—The sensible author writes for no other posterity than
his own—that is, for his age—so as to be able even then to take pleasure
in himself.



168.


PRAISE OF THE APHORISM.—A good aphorism is too hard for the tooth of time,
and is not worn away by all the centuries, although it serves as food for
every epoch. Hence it is the greatest paradox in literature, the
imperishable in the midst of change, the nourishment which always remains
highly valued, as salt does, and never becomes stupid like salt.



169.


THE ART-NEED OF THE SECOND ORDER.—The people may have something of what
can be called art-need, but it is small, and can be cheaply satisfied. On
the whole, the remnant of art (it must be honestly confessed) suffices for
this need. Let us consider, for example, the kind of melodies and songs in
which the most vigorous, unspoiled, and true-hearted classes of the
population find genuine delight; let us live among shepherds, cowherds,
peasants, huntsmen, soldiers, and sailors, and give ourselves the answer.
And in the country town, just in the houses that are the homes of
inherited civic virtue, is it not the worst music at present produced that
is loved and, one might say, cherished? He who speaks of deeper needs and
unsatisfied yearnings for art among the people, as it is, is a crank or an
impostor. Be honest! Only in exceptional men is there now an art-need in
the highest sense—because art is once more on the down-grade, and human
powers and hopes are for the time being directed to other matters.—Apart
from this, outside the populace, there exists indeed, in the higher and
highest strata of society, a broader and more comprehensive art-need, but
_of the second order_. Here there is a sort of artistic commune, which
possibly means to be sincere. But let us look at the elements! They are in
general the more refined malcontents, who attain no genuine pleasure in
themselves; the cultured, who have not become free enough to dispense with
the consolations of religion, and yet do not find its incense sufficiently
fragrant; the half-aristocratic, who are too weak to combat by a heroic
conversion or renunciation the one fundamental error of their lives or the
pernicious bent of their characters; the highly gifted, who think
themselves too dignified to be of service by modest activity, and are too
lazy for real, self-sacrificing work; girls who cannot create for
themselves a satisfactory sphere of duties; women who have tied themselves
by a light-hearted or nefarious marriage, and know that they are not tied
securely enough; scholars, physicians, merchants, officials who
specialised too early and never gave their lives a free enough scope—who
do their work efficiently, it is true, but with a worm gnawing at their
hearts; finally, all imperfect artists—these are nowadays the true needers
of art! What do they really desire from art? Art is to drive away hours
and moments of discomfort, boredom, half-bad conscience, and, if possible,
transform the faults of their lives and characters into faults of
world-destiny. Very different were the Greeks, who realised in their art
the outflow and overflow of their own sense of well-being and health, and
loved to see their perfection once more from a standpoint outside
themselves. They were led to art by delight in themselves; our
contemporaries—by disgust of themselves.



170.


THE GERMANS IN THE THEATRE.—The real theatrical talent of the Germans was
Kotzebue. He and his Germans, those of higher as well as those of
middle-class society, were necessarily associated, and his contemporaries
should have said of him in all seriousness, “in him we live and move and
have our being.” Here was nothing—no constraint, pretence, or
half-enjoyment: what he could and would do was understood. Yes, until now
the honest theatrical success on the German stage has been in the hands of
the shamefaced or unashamed heirs of Kotzebue’s methods and influence—that
is, as far as comedy still flourishes at all. The result is that much of
the Germanism of that age, sometimes far off from the great towns, still
survives. Good-natured; incontinent in small pleasures; always ready for
tears; with the desire, in the theatre at any rate, to be able to get rid
of their innate sobriety and strict attention to duty and exercise; a
smiling, nay, a laughing indulgence; confusing goodness and sympathy and
welding them into one, as is the essential characteristic of German
sentimentality; exceedingly happy at a noble, magnanimous action; for the
rest, submissive towards superiors, envious of each other, and yet in
their heart of hearts thoroughly self-satisfied—such were they and such
was he.—The second dramatic talent was Schiller. He discovered a class of
hearers which had hitherto never been taken into consideration: among the
callow German youth of both sexes. His poetry responded to their higher,
nobler, more violent if more confused emotions, their delight in the
jingle of moral words (a delight that begins to disappear when we reach
the thirties). Thus he won for himself, by virtue of the passionateness
and partisanship of the young, a success which gradually reacted with
advantage upon those of riper years. Generally speaking, Schiller
rejuvenated the Germans. Goethe stood and still stands above the Germans
in every respect. To them he will never belong. How could a nation in
well-being and well-wishing come up to the intellectuality of Goethe?
Beethoven composed and Schopenhauer philosophised above the heads of the
Germans, and it was above their heads, in the same way, that Goethe wrote
his _Tasso_, his _Iphigenie_. He was followed by a small company of highly
cultured persons, who were educated by antiquity, life, and travel, and
had grown out of German ways of thought. He himself did not wish it to be
otherwise.—When the Romantics set up their well-conceived Goethe cult;
when their amazing skill in appreciation was passed on to the disciples of
Hegel, the real educators of the Germans of this century; when the
awakening national ambition turned out advantageous to the fame of the
German poets; when the real standard of the nation, as to whether it could
honestly find enjoyment in anything, became inexorably subordinated to the
judgment of individuals and to that national ambition,—that is, when
people began to enjoy by compulsion,—then arose that false, spurious
German culture which was ashamed of Kotzebue; which brought Sophocles,
Calderon, and even the Second Part of Goethe’s _Faust_ on the stage; and
which, on account of its foul tongue and congested stomach, no longer
knows now what it likes and what it finds tedious.—Happy are those who
have taste, even if it be a bad taste! Only by this characteristic can one
be wise as well as happy. Hence the Greeks, who were very refined in such
matters, designated the sage by a word that means “man of taste,” and
called wisdom, artistic as well as scientific, “taste” (_sophia_).



171.


MUSIC AS A LATE-COMER IN EVERY CULTURE.—Among all the arts that are
accustomed to grow on a definite culture-soil and under definite social
and political conditions, music is the last plant to come up, arising in
the autumn and fading-season of the culture to which it belongs. At the
same time, the first signs and harbingers of a new spring are usually
already noticeable, and sometimes music, like the language of a forgotten
age, rings out into a new, astonished world, and comes too late. In the
art of the Dutch and Flemish musicians the soul of the Christian middle
ages at last found its fullest tone: their sound-architecture is the
posthumous but legitimate and equal sister of Gothic. Not until Handel’s
music was heard the note of the best in the soul of Luther and his kin,
the great Judæo-heroical impulse that created the whole Reformation
movement. Mozart first expressed in golden melody the age of Louis XIV.
and the art of Racine and Claude Lorrain. The eighteenth century—that
century of rhapsody, of broken ideals and transitory happiness—only sang
itself out in the music of Beethoven and Rossini. A lover of sentimental
similes might say that all really important music was a swan-song.—Music
is, in fact, not a universal language for all time, as is so often said in
its praise, but responds exactly to a particular period and warmth of
emotion which involves a quite definite, individual culture, determined by
time and place, as its inner law. The music of Palestrina would be quite
unintelligible to a Greek; and again, what would the music of Rossini
convey to Palestrina?—It may be that our most modern German music, with
all its pre-eminence and desire of pre-eminence, will soon be no longer
understood. For this music sprang from a culture that is undergoing a
rapid decay, from the soil of that epoch of reaction and restoration in
which a certain Catholicism of feeling, as well as a delight in all
indigenous, national, primitive manners, burst into bloom and scattered a
blended perfume over Europe. These two emotional tendencies, adopted in
their greatest strength and carried to their farthest limits, found final
expression in the music of Wagner. Wagner’s predilection for the old
native sagas, his free idealisation of their unfamiliar gods and
heroes,—who are really sovereign beasts of prey with occasional fits of
thoughtfulness, magnanimity, and boredom,—his re-animation of those
figures, to which he gave in addition the mediæval Christian thirst for
ecstatic sensuality and spiritualisation—all this Wagnerian give-and-take
with regard to materials, souls, figures, and words—would clearly express
the spirit of his music, if it could not, like all music, speak quite
unambiguously of itself. This spirit wages the last campaign of reaction
against the spirit of illumination which passed into this century from the
last, and also against the super-national ideas of French revolutionary
romanticism and of English and American insipidity in the reconstruction
of state and society.—But is it not evident that the spheres of thought
and emotion apparently suppressed by Wagner and his school have long since
acquired fresh strength, and that his late musical protest against them
generally rings into ears that prefer to hear different and opposite
notes; so that one day that high and wonderful art will suddenly become
unintelligible and will be covered by the spider’s web of oblivion?—In
considering this state of affairs we must not let ourselves be led astray
by those transitory fluctuations which arise like a reaction within a
reaction, as a temporary sinking of the mountainous wave in the midst of
the general upheaval. Thus, this decade of national war, ultramontane
martyrdom, and socialistic unrest may, in its remoter after-effect, even
aid the Wagnerian art to acquire a sudden halo, without guaranteeing that
it “has a future” or that it has _the_ future. It is in the very nature of
music that the fruits of its great culture-vintage should lose their taste
and wither earlier than the fruits of the plastic arts or those that grow
on the tree of knowledge. Among all the products of the human artistic
sense ideas are the most solid and lasting.



172.


THE POET NO LONGER A TEACHER.—Strange as it may sound to our time, there
were once poets and artists whose soul was above the passions with their
delights and convulsions, and who therefore took their pleasure in purer
materials, worthier men, more delicate complications and dénouements. If
the artists of our day for the most part unfetter the will, and so are
under certain circumstances for that very reason emancipators of life,
those were tamers of the will, enchanters of animals, creators of men. In
fact, they moulded, re-moulded, and new-moulded life, whereas the fame of
poets of our day lies in unharnessing, unchaining, and shattering.—The
ancient Greeks demanded of the poet that he should be the teacher of grown
men. How ashamed the poet would be now if this demand were made of him! He
is not even a good student of himself, and so never himself becomes a good
poem or a fine picture. Under the most favourable circumstances he remains
the shy, attractive ruin of a temple, but at the same time a cavern of
cravings, overgrown like a ruin with flowers, nettles, and poisonous
weeds, inhabited and haunted by snakes, worms, spiders, and birds; an
object for sad reflection as to why the noblest and most precious must
grow up at once like a ruin, without the past and future of perfection.



173.


LOOKING FORWARD AND BACKWARD.—An art like that which streams out of Homer,
Sophocles, Theocritus, Calderon, Racine, Goethe, as the superabundance of
a wise and harmonious conduct of life—that is the true art, at which we
grasp when we have ourselves become wiser and more harmonious. It is not
that barbaric, if ever so delightful, outpouring of hot and highly
coloured things from an undisciplined, chaotic soul, which is what we
understood by “art” in our youth. It is obvious from the nature of the
case that for certain periods of life an art of overstrain, excitement,
antipathy to the orderly, monotonous, simple, logical, is an inevitable
need, to which artists must respond, lest the soul of such periods should
unburden itself in other ways, through all kinds of disorder and
impropriety. Hence youths as they generally are, full, fermenting,
tortured above all things by boredom, and women who lack work that fully
occupies their soul, require that art of delightful disorder. All the more
violently on that account are they inflamed with a desire for satisfaction
without change, happiness without stupor and intoxication.



174.


AGAINST THE ART OF WORKS OF ART.—Art is above all and first of all meant
to embellish life, to make us ourselves endurable and if possible
agreeable in the eyes of others. With this task in view, art moderates us
and holds us in restraint, creates forms of intercourse, binds over the
uneducated to laws of decency, cleanliness, politeness, well-timed speech
and silence. Hence art must conceal or transfigure everything that is
ugly—the painful, terrible, and disgusting elements which in spite of
every effort will always break out afresh in accordance with the very
origin of human nature. Art has to perform this duty especially in regard
to the passions and spiritual agonies and anxieties, and to cause the
significant factor to shine through unavoidable or unconquerable ugliness.
To this great, super-great task the so-called art proper, that of works of
art, is a mere accessary. A man who feels within himself a surplus of such
powers of embellishment, concealment, and transfiguration will finally
seek to unburden himself of this surplus in works of art. The same holds
good, under special circumstances, of a whole nation.—But as a rule we
nowadays begin art at the end, hang on to its tail, and think that works
of art constitute art proper, and that life should be improved and
transformed by this means—fools that we are! If we begin a dinner with
dessert, and try sweet after sweet, small wonder that we ruin our
digestions and even our appetites for the good, hearty, nourishing meal to
which art invites us!



175.


CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF ART.—Why, really, does a creative art nowadays
continue to exist? Because the majority who have hours of leisure (and
such an art is for them only) think that they cannot fill up their time
without music, theatres and picture-galleries, novels and poetry. Granted
that one could keep them from this indulgence, either they would strive
less eagerly for leisure, and the invidious sight of the rich would be
less common (a great gain for the stability of society), or they would
have leisure, but would learn to reflect on what can be learnt and
unlearnt: on their work, for instance, their associations, the pleasure
they could bestow. All the world, with the exception of the artist, would
in both cases reap the advantage.—Certainly, there are many vigorous,
sensible readers who could take objection to this. Still, it must be said
on behalf of the coarse and malignant that the author himself is concerned
with this protest, and that there is in his book much to be read that is
not actually written down therein.



176.


THE MOUTHPIECE OF THE GODS.—The poet expresses the universal higher
opinions of the nation, he is its mouthpiece and flute; but by virtue of
metre and all other artistic means he so expresses them that the nation
regards them as something quite new and wonderful, and believes in all
seriousness that he is the mouthpiece of the Gods. Yes, under the clouds
of creation the poet himself forgets whence he derives all his
intellectual wisdom—from father and mother, from teachers and books of all
kinds, from the street and particularly from the priest. He is deceived by
his own art, and really believes, in a naïve period, that a God is
speaking through him, that he is creating in a state of religious
inspiration. As a matter of fact, he is only saying what he has learnt, a
medley of popular wisdom and popular foolishness. Hence, so far as a poet
is really _vox populi_ he is held to be _vox dei_.



177.


WHAT ALL ART WANTS TO DO AND CANNOT.—The last and hardest task of the
artist is the presentment of what remains the same, reposes in itself, is
lofty and simple and free from the bizarre. Hence the noblest forms of
moral perfection are rejected as inartistic by weaker artists, because the
sight of these fruits is too painful for their ambition. The fruit gleams
at them from the topmost branches of art, but they lack the ladder, the
courage, the grip to venture so high. In himself a Phidias is quite
possible as a poet, but, if modern strength be taken into consideration,
almost solely in the sense that to God nothing is impossible. The desire
for a poetical Claude Lorrain is already an immodesty at present, however
earnestly one man’s heart may yearn for such a consummation.—The
presentment of the highest man, the most simple and at the same time the
most complete, has hitherto been beyond the scope of all artists. Perhaps,
however, the Greeks, in the ideal of Athene, saw farther than any men did
before or after their time.



178.


ART AND RESTORATION.—The retrograde movements in history, the so-called
periods of restoration, which try to revive intellectual and social
conditions that existed before those immediately preceding,—and seem
really to succeed in giving them a brief resurrection,—have the charm of
sentimental recollection, ardent longing for what is almost lost, hasty
embracing of a transitory happiness. It is on account of this strange
trend towards seriousness that in such transient and almost dreamy periods
art and poetry find a natural soil, just as the tenderest and rarest
plants grow on mountain-slopes of steep declivity.—Thus many a good artist
is unwittingly impelled to a “restoration” way of thinking in politics and
society, for which, on his own account, he prepares a quiet little corner
and garden. Here he collects about himself the human remains of the
historical epoch that appeals to him, and plays his lyre to many who are
dead, half-dead, and weary to death, perhaps with the above-mentioned
result of a brief resurrection.



179.


HAPPINESS OF THE AGE.—In two respects our age is to be accounted happy.
With respect to the _past_, we enjoy all cultures and their productions,
and nurture ourselves on the noblest blood of all periods. We stand
sufficiently near to the magic of the forces from whose womb these periods
are born to be able in passing to submit to their spell with pleasure and
terror; whereas earlier cultures could only enjoy themselves, and never
looked beyond themselves, but were rather overarched by a bell of broader
or narrower dome, through which indeed light streamed down to them, but
which their gaze could not pierce. With respect to the _future_, there
opens out to us for the first time a mighty, comprehensive vista of human
and economic purposes engirdling the whole inhabited globe. At the same
time, we feel conscious of a power ourselves to take this new task in hand
without presumption, without requiring supernatural aids. Yes, whatever
the result of our enterprise, however much we may have overestimated our
strength, at any rate we need render account to no one but ourselves, and
mankind can henceforth begin to do with itself what it will.—There are, it
is true, peculiar human bees, who only know how to suck the bitterest and
worst elements from the chalice of every flower. It is true that all
flowers contain something that is not honey, but these bees may be allowed
to feel in their own way about the happiness of our time, and continue to
build up their hive of discomfort.



180.


A VISION.—Hours of instruction and meditation for adults, even the most
mature, and such institutions visited without compulsion but in accordance
with the moral injunction of the whole community; the churches as the
meeting-places most worthy and rich in memories for the purpose; at the
same time daily festivals in honour of the reason that is attained and
attainable by man; a newer and fuller budding and blooming of the ideal of
the teacher, in which the clergyman, the artist and the physician, the man
of science and the sage are blended, and their individual virtues should
come to the fore as a collective virtue in their teaching itself, in their
discourses, in their method—this is my ever-recurring vision, of which I
firmly believe that it has raised a corner of the veil of the future.



181.


EDUCATION A DISTORTION.—The extraordinary haphazardness of the whole
system of education, which leads every adult to say nowadays that his sole
educator was chance, and the weathercock-nature of educational methods and
aims, may be explained as follows. The oldest and the newest
culture-powers, as in a turbulent mass-meeting, would rather be heard than
understood, and wish to prove at all costs by their outcries and
clamourings that they still exist or already exist. The poor teachers and
educators are first dazed by this senseless noise, then become silent and
finally apathetic, allowing anything to be done to them just as they in
their turn allow anything to be done to their pupils. They are not trained
themselves, so how are they to train others? They are themselves no
straight-growing, vigorous, succulent trees, and he who wishes to attach
himself to them must wind and bend himself and finally become distorted
and deformed as they.



182.


PHILOSOPHERS AND ARTISTS OF THE AGE.—Rhapsody and frigidity, burning
desires and waning of the heart’s glow—this wretched medley is to be found
in the picture of the highest European society of the present day. There
the artist thinks that he is achieving a great deal when through his art
he lights the torch of the heart as well as the torch of desire. The
philosopher has the same notion, when in the chilliness of his heart,
which he has in common with his age, he cools hot desires in himself and
his following by his world-denying judgments.



183.


NOT TO BE A SOLDIER OF CULTURE WITHOUT NECESSITY.—At last people are
learning what it costs us so dear not to know in our youth—that we must
first do superior actions and secondly seek the superior wherever and
under whatever names it is to be found; that we must at once go out of the
way of all badness and mediocrity _without fighting it_; and that even
doubt as to the excellence of a thing (such as quickly arises in one of
practised taste) should rank as an argument against it and a reason for
completely avoiding it. We must not shrink from the danger of occasionally
making a mistake and confounding the less accessible good with the bad and
imperfect. Only he who can do nothing better should attack the world’s
evils as the soldier of culture. But those who should support culture and
spread its teachings ruin themselves if they go about armed, and by
precautions, night-watches, and bad dreams turn the peace of their
domestic and artistic life into sinister unrest.



184.


HOW NATURAL HISTORY SHOULD BE EXPOUNDED.—Natural history, like the history
of the war and victory of moral and intellectual forces in the campaign
against anxiety, self-delusion, laziness, superstition, folly, should be
so expounded that every reader or listener may be continually aroused to
strive after mental and physical health and soundness, after the feeling
of joy, and be awakened to the desire to be the heir and continuator of
mankind, to an ever nobler adventurous impulse. Hitherto natural history
has not found its true language, because the inventive and eloquent
artists—who are needed for this purpose—never rid themselves of a secret
mistrust of it, and above all never wish to learn from it a thorough
lesson. Nevertheless it must be conceded to the English that their
scientific manuals for the lower strata of the people have made admirable
strides towards that ideal. But then such books are written by their
foremost men of learning, full, complete, and inspiring natures, and not,
as among us, by mediocre investigators.



185.


GENIUS IN HUMANITY.—If genius, according to Schopenhauer’s observation,
lies in the coherent and vivid recollection of our own experience, a
striving towards genius in humanity collectively might be deduced from the
striving towards knowledge of the whole historic past—which is beginning
to mark off the modern age more and more as compared with earlier ages and
has for the first time broken down the barriers between nature and spirit,
men and animals, morality and physics. A perfectly conceived history would
be cosmic self-consciousness.



186.


THE CULT OF CULTURE.—On great minds is bestowed the terrifying
all-too-human of their natures, their blindnesses, deformities, and
extravagances, so that their more powerful, easily all-too-powerful
influence may be continually held within bounds through the distrust
aroused by such qualities. For the sum-total of all that humanity needs
for its continued existence is so comprehensive, and demands powers so
diverse and so numerous, that for every one-sided predilection, whether in
science or politics or art or commerce, to which such natures would
persuade us, mankind as a whole has to pay a heavy price. It has always
been a great disaster to culture when human beings are worshipped. In this
sense we may understand the precept of Mosaic law which forbids us to have
any other gods but God.—Side by side with the cult of genius and violence
we must always place, as its complement and remedy, the cult of culture.
This cult can find an intelligent appreciation even for the material, the
inferior, the mean, the misunderstood, the weak, the imperfect, the
one-sided, the incomplete, the untrue, the apparent, even the wicked and
horrible, and can grant them the concession that _all this is necessary_.
For the continued harmony of all things human, attained by amazing toil
and strokes of luck, and just as much the work of Cyclopes and ants as of
geniuses, shall never be lost. How, indeed, could we dispense with that
deep, universal, and often uncanny bass, without which, after all, melody
cannot be melody?



187.


THE ANTIQUE WORLD AND PLEASURE.—The man of the antique world understood
better how to rejoice, we understand better how to grieve less. They
continually found new motives for feeling happy, for celebrating
festivals, being inventive with all their wealth of shrewdness and
reflection. We, on the other hand, concentrate our intellect rather on the
solving of problems which have in view painlessness and the removal of
sources of discomfort. With regard to suffering existence, the ancients
sought to forget or in some way to convert the sensation into a pleasant
one, thus trying to supply palliatives. We attack the causes of suffering,
and on the whole prefer to use prophylactics.—Perhaps we are only building
upon a foundation whereon a later age will once more set up the temple of
joy.



188.


THE MUSES AS LIARS.—“We know how to tell many lies,” so sang the Muses
once, when they revealed themselves to Hesiod.—The conception of the
artist as deceiver, once grasped, leads to important discoveries.



189.


HOW PARADOXICAL HOMER CAN BE.—Is there anything more desperate, more
horrible, more incredible, shining over human destiny like a winter sun,
than that idea of Homer’s:

“So the decree of the Gods willed it, and doomed man to perish, that it
might be a matter for song even to distant generations”?

In other words, we suffer and perish so that poets may not lack material,
and this is the dispensation of those very Gods of Homer who seem much
concerned about the joyousness of generations to come, but very little
about us men of the present. To think that such ideas should ever have
entered the head of a Greek!



190.


SUPPLEMENTARY JUSTIFICATION OF EXISTENCE.—Many ideas have come into the
world as errors and fancies but have turned out truths, because men have
afterwards given them a genuine basis to rest upon.



191.


PRO AND CON NECESSARY.—He who has not realised that every great man must
not only be encouraged but also, for the sake of the common welfare,
opposed, is certainly still a great child—or himself a great man.



192.


INJUSTICE OF GENIUS.—Genius is most unjust towards geniuses, if they be
contemporary. Either it thinks it has no need of them and considers them
superfluous (for it can do without them), or their influence crosses the
path of its electric current, in which case it even calls them pernicious.



193.


THE SADDEST DESTINY OF A PROPHET.—He has worked twenty years to convince
his contemporaries, and succeeds at last, but in the meantime his
adversaries have also succeeded—he is no longer convinced of himself.



194.


THREE THINKERS LIKE ONE SPIDER.—In every philosophical school three
thinkers follow one another in this relation: the first produces from
himself sap and seed, the second draws it out in threads and spins a
cunning web, the third waits in this web for the victims who are caught in
it—and tries to live upon this philosophy.



195.


FROM ASSOCIATION WITH AUTHORS.—It is as bad a habit to go about with an
author grasping him by the nose as grasping him by the horn (and every
author has his horn).



196.


A TEAM OF TWO.—Vagueness of thought and outbursts of sentimentality are as
often wedded to the reckless desire to have one’s own way by hook or by
crook, to make oneself alone of any consequence, as a genuinely helpful,
gracious, and kindly spirit is wedded to the impulse towards clearness and
purity of thought and towards emotional moderation and self-restraint.



197.


BINDING AND SEPARATING FORCES.—Surely it is in the heads of men that there
arises the force that binds them—an understanding of their common interest
or the reverse; and in their hearts the force that separates them—a blind
choosing and groping in love and hate, a devotion to one at the expense of
all, and a consequent contempt for the common utility.



198.


MARKSMEN AND THINKERS.—There are curious marksmen who miss their mark, but
leave the shooting-gallery with secret pride in the fact that their bullet
at any rate flew very far (beyond the mark, it is true), or that it did
not hit the mark but hit something else. There are thinkers of the same
stamp.



199.


ATTACK FROM TWO SIDES.—We act as enemies towards an intellectual tendency
or movement when we are superior to it and disapprove of its aim, or when
its aim is too high and unrecognisable to our eye—in other words, when it
is superior to us. So the same party may be attacked from two sides, from
above and from below. Not infrequently the assailants, from common hatred,
form an alliance which is more repulsive than all that they hate.



200.


ORIGINAL.—Original minds are distinguished not by being the first to see a
new thing, but by seeing the old, well-known thing, which is seen and
overlooked by every one, as something new. The first discoverer is usually
that quite ordinary and unintellectual visionary—chance.



201.


ERROR OF PHILOSOPHERS.—The philosopher believes that the value of his
philosophy lies in the whole, in the structure. Posterity finds it in the
stone with which he built and with which, from that time forth, men will
build oftener and better—in other words, in the fact that the structure
may be destroyed and yet have value as material.



202.


WIT.—Wit is the epitaph of an emotion.



203.


THE MOMENT BEFORE SOLUTION.—In science it occurs every day and every hour
that a man, immediately before the solution, remains stuck, being
convinced that his efforts have been entirely in vain—like one who, in
untying a noose, hesitates at the moment when it is nearest to coming
loose, because at that very moment it looks most like a knot.



204.


AMONG THE VISIONARIES.—The thoughtful man, and he who is sure of his
intelligence, may profitably consort with visionaries for a decade and
abandon himself in their torrid zone to a moderate insanity. He will thus
have travelled a good part of the road towards that cosmopolitanism of the
intellect which can say without presumption, “Nothing intellectual is
alien to me.”



205.


KEEN AIR.—The best and healthiest element in science as amid the mountains
is the keen air that plays about it.—Intellectual molly-coddles (such as
artists) dread and abuse science on account of this atmosphere.



206.


WHY SAVANTS ARE NOBLER THAN ARTISTS.—Science requires nobler natures than
does poetry; natures that are more simple, less ambitious, more
restrained, calmer, that think less of posthumous fame and can bury
themselves in studies which, in the eye of the many, scarcely seem worthy
of such a sacrifice of personality. There is another loss of which they
are conscious. The nature of their occupation, its continual exaction of
the greatest sobriety, weakens their will; the fire is not kept up so
vigorously as on the hearths of poetic minds. As such, they often lose
their strength and prime earlier than artists do—and, as has been said,
they are aware of their danger. Under all circumstances they seem less
gifted because they shine less, and thus they will always be rated below
their value.



207.


HOW FAR PIETY OBSCURES.—In later centuries the great man is credited with
all the great qualities and virtues of his century. Thus all that is best
is continually obscured by piety, which treats the picture as a sacred
one, to be surrounded with all manner of votive offerings. In the end the
picture is completely veiled and covered by the offerings, and thenceforth
is more an object of faith than of contemplation.



208.


STANDING ON ONE’S HEAD.—If we make truth stand on its head, we generally
fail to notice that our own head, too, is not in its right position.



209.


ORIGIN AND UTILITY OF FASHION.—The obvious satisfaction of the individual
with his own form excites imitation and gradually creates the form of the
many—that is, fashion. The many desire, and indeed attain, that same
comforting satisfaction with their own form. Consider how many reasons
every man has for anxiety and shy self-concealment, and how, on this
account, three-fourths of his energy and goodwill is crippled and may
become unproductive! So we must be very grateful to fashion for
unfettering that three-fourths and communicating self-confidence and the
power of cheerful compromise to those who feel themselves bound to each
other by its law. Even foolish laws give freedom and calm of the spirit,
so long as many persons have submitted to their sway.



210.


LOOSENERS OF TONGUES.—The value of many men and books rests solely on
their faculty for compelling all to speak out the most hidden and intimate
things. They are looseners of tongues and crowbars to open the most
stubborn teeth. Many events and misdeeds which are apparently only sent as
a curse to mankind possess this value and utility.



211.


INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM OF DOMICILE.(12)—Who of us could dare to call himself
a “free spirit” if he could not render homage after his fashion, by taking
on his own shoulders a portion of that burden of public dislike and abuse,
to men to whom this name is attached as a reproach? We might as well call
ourselves in all seriousness “spirits free of domicile” (_Freizügig_) (and
without that arrogant or high-spirited defiance) because we feel the
impulse to freedom (_Zug zur Freiheit_) as the strongest instinct of our
minds and, in contrast to fixed and limited minds, practically see our
ideal in an intellectual nomadism—to use a modest and almost depreciatory
expression.



212.


YES, THE FAVOUR OF THE MUSES!—What Homer says on this point goes right to
our heart, so true, so terrible is it:

“The Muse loved him with all her heart and gave him good and evil, for she
took away his eyes and vouchsafed him sweet song.”

This is an endless text for thinking men: she gives good and evil, that is
_her_ manner of loving with all her heart and soul! And each man will
interpret specially for himself why we poets and thinkers have to give up
our eyes in her service.(13)



213.


AGAINST THE CULTIVATION OF MUSIC.—The artistic training of the eye from
childhood upwards by means of drawing, painting, landscape-sketching,
figures, scenes, involves an estimable gain in life, making the eyesight
keen, calm, and enduring in the observation of men and circumstances. No
similar secondary advantage arises from the artistic cultivation of the
ear, whence public schools will generally do well to give the art of the
eye a preference over that of the ear.



214.


THE DISCOVERERS OF TRIVIALITIES.—Subtle minds, from which nothing is
farther than trivialities, often discover a triviality after taking all
manner of circuitous routes and mountain paths, and, to the astonishment
of the non-subtle, rejoice exceedingly.



215.


MORALS OF SAVANTS.—A regular and rapid advance in the sciences is only
possible when the individual is compelled to be not so distrustful as to
test every calculation and assertion of others, in fields which are remote
from his own. A necessary condition, however, is that every man should
have competitors in his own sphere, who are extremely distrustful and keep
a sharp eye upon him. From this juxtaposition of “not too distrustful” and
“extremely distrustful” arises sincerity in the republic of learning.



216.


REASONS FOR STERILITY.—There are highly gifted minds which are always
sterile only because, from temperamental weakness, they are too impatient
to wait for their pregnancy.



217.


THE PERVERTED WORLD OF TEARS.—The manifold discomforts which the demands
of higher culture cause to man finally pervert his nature to such an
extent that he usually keeps himself stoical and unbending. Thus he has
tears in reserve only for rare occasions of happiness, so that many must
weep even at the enjoyment of painlessness—only when happy does his heart
still beat.



218.


THE GREEKS AS INTERPRETERS.—When we speak of the Greeks we unwittingly
speak of to-day and yesterday; their universally known history is a blank
mirror, always reflecting something that is not in the mirror itself. We
enjoy the freedom of speaking about them in order to have the right of
being silent about others—so that these Greeks themselves may whisper
something in the ear of the reflective reader. Thus the Greeks facilitate
to modern men the communication of much that is debatable and hard to
communicate.



219.


OF THE ACQUIRED CHARACTER OF THE GREEKS.—We are easily led astray by the
renowned Greek clearness, transparency, simplicity, and order, by their
crystal-like naturalness and crystal-like art, into believing that all
these gifts were bestowed on the Greeks—for instance, that they could not
but write well, as Lichtenberg expressed it on one occasion. Yet no
statement could be more hasty and more untenable. The history of prose
from Gorgias to Demosthenes shows a course of toiling and wrestling
towards light from the obscure, overloaded, and tasteless, reminding one
of the labour of heroes who had to construct the first roads through
forest and bog. The dialogue of tragedy was the real achievement of the
dramatist, owing to its uncommon clearness and precision, whereas the
national tendency was to riot in symbolism and innuendo, a tendency
expressly fostered by the great choral lyric. Similarly it was the
achievement of Homer to liberate the Greeks from Asiatic pomp and gloom,
and to have attained the clearness of architecture in details great and
small. Nor was it by any means thought easy to say anything in a pure and
illuminating style. How else should we account for the great admiration
for the epigram of Simonides, which shows itself so simple, with no gilded
points or arabesques of wit, but says all that it has to say plainly and
with the calm of the sun, not with the straining after effect of the
lightning. Since the struggle towards light from an almost native twilight
is Greek, a thrill of jubilation runs through the people when they hear a
laconic sentence, the language of elegy or the maxims of the Seven Wise
Men. Hence they were so fond of giving precepts in verse, a practice that
we find objectionable. This was the true Apolline task of the Hellenic
spirit, with the aim of rising superior to the perils of metre and the
obscurity which is otherwise characteristic of poetry. Simplicity,
flexibility, and sobriety were wrestled for and not given by nature to
this people. The danger of a relapse into Asianism constantly hovered over
the Greeks, and really overtook them from time to time like a murky,
overflowing tide of mystical impulses, primitive savagery and darkness. We
see them plunge in; we see Europe, as it were, flooded, washed away—for
Europe was very small then; but they always emerge once more to the light,
good swimmers and divers that they are, those fellow-countrymen of
Odysseus.



220.


THE PAGAN CHARACTERISTIC.—Perhaps there is nothing more astonishing to the
observer of the Greek world than to discover that the Greeks from time to
time held festivals, as it were, for all their passions and evil
tendencies alike, and in fact even established a kind of series of
festivals, by order of the State, for their “all-too-human.” This is the
pagan characteristic of their world, which Christianity has never
understood and never can understand, and has always combated and
despised.—They accepted this all-too-human as unavoidable, and preferred,
instead of railing at it, to give it a kind of secondary right by grafting
it on to the usages of society and religion. All in man that has power
they called divine, and wrote it on the walls of their heaven. They do not
deny this natural instinct that expresses itself in evil characteristics,
but regulate and limit it to definite cults and days, so as to turn those
turbulent streams into as harmless a course as possible, after devising
sufficient precautionary measures. That is the root of all the moral
broad-mindedness of antiquity. To the wicked, the dubious, the backward,
the animal element, as to the barbaric, pre-Hellenic and Asiatic, which
still lived in the depths of Greek nature, they allowed a moderate
outflow, and did not strive to destroy it utterly. The whole system was
under the domain of the State, which was built up not on individuals or
castes, but on common human qualities. In the structure of the State the
Greeks show that wonderful sense for typical facts which later on enabled
them to become investigators of Nature, historians, geographers, and
philosophers. It was not a limited moral law of priests or castes, which
had to decide about the constitution of the State and State worship, but
the most comprehensive view of the reality of all that is human. Whence do
the Greeks derive this freedom, this sense of reality? Perhaps from Homer
and the poets who preceded him. For just those poets whose nature is
generally not the most wise or just possess, in compensation, that delight
in reality and activity of every kind, and prefer not to deny even evil.
It suffices for them if evil moderates itself, does not kill or inwardly
poison everything—in other words, they have similar ideas to those of the
founders of Greek constitutions, and were their teachers and forerunners.



221.


EXCEPTIONAL GREEKS.—In Greece, deep, thorough, serious minds were the
exception. The national instinct tended rather to regard the serious and
thorough as a kind of grimace. To borrow forms from a foreign source, not
to create but to transform into the fairest shapes—that is Greek. To
imitate, not for utility but for artistic illusion, ever and anon to gain
the mastery over forced seriousness, to arrange, beautify, simplify—that
is the continual task from Homer to the Sophists of the third and fourth
centuries of our era, who are all outward show, pompous speech,
declamatory gestures, and address themselves to shallow souls that care
only for appearance, sound, and effect. And now let us estimate the
greatness of those exceptional Greeks, who created science! Whoever tells
of them, tells the most heroic story of the human mind!



222.


SIMPLICITY NOT THE FIRST NOR THE LAST THING IN POINT OF TIME.—In the
history of religious ideas many errors about development and false
gradations are made in matters which in reality are not consecutive
outgrowths but contemporary yet separate phenomena. In particular,
simplicity has still far too much the reputation of being the oldest, the
initial thing. Much that is human arises by subtraction and division, and
not merely by doubling, addition, and unification.—For instance, men still
believe in a gradual development of the idea of God from those unwieldy
stones and blocks of wood up to the highest forms of anthropomorphism. Yet
the fact is that so long as divinity was attributed to and felt in trees,
logs of wood, stones, and beasts, people shrank from humanising their
forms as from an act of godlessness. First of all, poets, apart from all
considerations of cult and the ban of religious shame, have had to make
the inner imagination of man accustomed and compliant to this notion.
Wherever more pious periods and phases of thought gained the upper hand,
this liberating influence of poets fell into the background, and sanctity
remained, after as before, on the side of the monstrous, uncanny, quite
peculiarly inhuman. And then, much of what the inner imagination ventures
to picture to itself would exert a painful influence if externally and
corporeally represented. The inner eye is far bolder and more shameless
than the outer (whence the well-known difficulty and, to some extent,
impossibility, of working epic material into dramatic form). The religious
imagination for a long time entirely refuses to believe in the identity of
God with an image: the image is meant to fix the _numen_ of the Deity,
actually and specifically, although in a mysterious and not altogether
intelligible way. The oldest image of the Gods is meant to shelter and at
the same time to hide(14) the God—to indicate him but not to expose him to
view. No Greek really looked upon his Apollo as a pointed pillar of wood,
his Eros as a lump of stone. These were symbols, which were intended to
inspire dread of the manifestation of the God. It was the same with those
blocks of wood out of which individual limbs, generally in excessive
number, were fashioned with the scantiest of carving—as, for instance, a
Laconian Apollo with four hands and four ears. In the incomplete,
symbolical, or excessive lies a terrible sanctity, which is meant to
prevent us from thinking of anything human or similar to humanity. It is
not an embryonic stage of art in which such things are made—as if they
were not _able_ to speak more plainly and portray more sensibly in the age
when such images were honoured! Rather, men are afraid of just one
thing—direct speaking out. Just as the cella hides and conceals in a
mysterious twilight, yet not completely, the holy of holies, the real
_numen_ of the Deity; just as, again, the peripteric temple hides the
cella, protecting it from indiscreet eyes as with a screen and a veil, yet
not completely—so it is with the image of the Deity, and at the same time
the concealment of the Deity.—Only when outside the cult, in the profane
world of athletic contest, the joy in the victor had risen so high that
the ripples thus started reacted upon the lake of religious emotion, was
the statue of the victor set up before the temple. Then the pious pilgrim
had to accustom his eye and his soul, whether he would or no, to the
inevitable sight of human beauty and super-strength, so that the worship
of men and Gods melted into each other from physical and spiritual
contact. Then too for the first time the fear of really humanising the
figures of the Gods is lost, and the mighty arena for great plastic art is
opened—even now with the limitation that wherever there is to be adoration
the primitive form and ugliness are carefully preserved and copied. But
the Hellene, as he dedicates and makes offerings, may now with religious
sanction indulge in his delight in making God become a man.



223.


WHITHER WE MUST TRAVEL.—Immediate self-observation is not enough, by a
long way, to enable us to learn to know ourselves. We need history, for
the past continues to flow through us in a hundred channels. We ourselves
are, after all, nothing but our own sensation at every moment of this
continued flow. Even here, when we wish to step down into the stream of
our apparently most peculiar and personal development, Heraclitus’
aphorism, “You cannot step twice into the same river,” holds good.—This is
a piece of wisdom which has, indeed, gradually become trite, but
nevertheless has remained as strong and true as it ever was. It is the
same with the saying that, in order to understand history, we must
scrutinise the living remains of historical periods; that we must travel,
as old Herodotus travelled, to other nations, especially to those
so-called savage or half-savage races in regions where man has doffed or
not yet donned European garb. For they are ancient and firmly established
steps of culture on which we can stand. There is, however, a more subtle
art and aim in travelling, which does not always necessitate our passing
from place to place and going thousands of miles away. Very probably the
last three centuries, in all their colourings and refractions of culture,
survive even in our vicinity, only they have to be discovered. In some
families, or even in individuals, the strata are still superimposed on
each other, beautifully and perceptibly; in other places there are
dispersions and displacements of the structure which are harder to
understand. Certainly in remote districts, in less known mountain valleys,
circumscribed communities have been able more easily to maintain an
admirable pattern of a far older sentiment, a pattern that must here be
investigated. On the other hand, it is improbable that such discoveries
will be made in Berlin, where man comes into the world washed-out and
sapless. He who after long practice of this art of travel has become a
hundred-eyed Argus will accompany his Io—I mean his ego—everywhere, and in
Egypt and Greece, Byzantium and Rome, France and Germany, in the age of
wandering or settled races, in Renaissance or Reformation, at home and
abroad, in sea, forest, plant, and mountain, will again light upon the
travel-adventure of this ever-growing, ever-altered ego.—Thus
self-knowledge becomes universal knowledge as regards the entire past,
and, by another chain of observation, which can only be indicated here,
self-direction and self-training in the freest and most far-seeing spirits
might become universal direction as regards all future humanity.



224.


BALM AND POISON.—We cannot ponder too deeply on this fact: Christianity is
the religion of antiquity grown old; it presupposes degenerate old
culture-stocks, and on them it had, and still has, power to work like
balm. There are periods when ears and eyes are full of slime, so that they
can no longer hear the voice of reason and philosophy or see the wisdom
that walks in bodily shape, whether it bears the name of Epictetus or of
Epicurus. Then, perhaps, the erection of the martyr’s cross and the
“trumpet of the last judgment” may have the effect of still inspiring such
races to end their lives decently. If we think of Juvenal’s Rome, of that
poisonous toad with the eyes of Venus, we understand what it means to make
the sign of the Cross before the world, we honour the silent Christian
community and are grateful for its having stifled the Greco-Roman Empire.
If, indeed, most men were then born in spiritual slavery, with the
sensuality of old men, what a pleasure to meet beings who were more soul
than body, and who seemed to realise the Greek idea of the shades of the
under-world—shy, scurrying, chirping, kindly creatures, with a reversion
on the “better life,” and therefore so unassuming, so secretly scornful,
so proudly patient!—This Christianity, as the evening chime of the _good_
antiquity, with cracked, weary and yet melodious bell, is balm in the ears
even to one who only now traverses those centuries historically. What must
it have been to those men themselves!—To young and fresh barbarian
nations, on the other hand, Christianity is a poison. For to implant the
teaching of sinfulness and damnation in the heroic, childlike, and animal
soul of the old Germans is nothing but poisoning. An enormous chemical
fermentation and decomposition, a medley of sentiments and judgments, a
rank growth of adventurous legend, and hence in the long run a fundamental
weakening of such barbarian peoples, was the inevitable result. True,
without this weakening what should we have left of Greek culture, of the
whole cultured past of the human race? For the barbarians untouched by
Christianity knew very well how to make a clean sweep of old cultures, as
was only too clearly shown by the heathen conquerors of Romanised Britain.
Thus Christianity, against its will, was compelled to aid in making “the
antique world” immortal.—There remains, however, a counter-question and
the possibility of a counter-reckoning. Without this weakening through the
poisoning referred to, would any of those fresh stocks—the Germans, for
instance—have been in a position gradually to find by themselves a higher,
a peculiar, a new culture, of which the most distant conception would
therefore have been lost to humanity?—In this, as in every case, we do not
know, Christianly speaking, whether God owes the devil or the devil God
more thanks for everything having turned out as it has.



225.


FAITH MAKES HOLY AND CONDEMNS.—A Christian who happened upon forbidden
paths of thought might well ask himself on some occasion whether it is
really necessary that there should be a God, side by side with a
representative Lamb, if faith in the existence of these beings suffices to
produce the same influences? If they do exist after all, are they not
superfluous beings? For all that is given by the Christian religion to the
human soul, all that is beneficent, consoling, and edifying, just as much
as all that depresses and crushes, emanates from that faith and not from
the objects of that faith. It is here as in another well-known case—there
were indeed no witches, but the terrible effects of the belief in witches
were the same as if they really had existed. For all occasions where the
Christian awaits the immediate intervention of a God, though in vain (for
there is no God), his religion is inventive enough to find subterfuges and
reasons for tranquillity. In so far Christianity is an ingenious
religion.—Faith, indeed, has up to the present not been able to move real
mountains, although I do not know who assumed that it could. But it can
put mountains where there are none.



226.


THE TRAGI-COMEDY OF REGENSBURG.—Here and there we see with terrible
clearness the harlequinade of Fortune, how she fastens the rope, on which
she wills that succeeding centuries should dance, on to a few days, one
place, the condition and opinions of one brain. Thus the fate of modern
German history lies in the days of that disputation at Regensburg: the
peaceful settlement of ecclesiastical and moral affairs, without religious
wars or a counter-reformation, and also the unity of the German nation,
seemed assured: the deep, gentle spirit of Contarini hovered for one
moment over the theological squabble, victorious, as representative of the
riper Italian piety, reflecting the morning glory of intellectual freedom.
But Luther’s hard head, full of suspicions and strange misgivings, showed
resistance. Because justification by grace appeared to him _his_ greatest
motto and discovery, he did not believe the phrase in the mouth of
Italians; whereas, in point of fact, as is well known, they had invented
it much earlier and spread it throughout Italy in deep silence. In this
apparent agreement Luther saw the tricks of the devil, and hindered the
work of peace as well as he could, thereby advancing to a great extent the
aims of the Empire’s foes.—And now, in order to have a still stronger idea
of the dreadful farcicality of it all, let us add that none of the
principles about which men then disputed in Regensburg—neither that of
original sin, nor that of redemption by proxy, nor that of justification
by faith—is in any way true or even has any connection with truth: that
they are now all recognised as incapable of being discussed. Yet on this
account the world was set on fire—that is to say, by opinions which
correspond to no things or realities; whereas as regards purely
philological questions—as, for instance, that of the sacramental words in
the Eucharist—discussion at any rate is permitted, because in this case
the truth can be said. But “where nothing is, even truth has lost her
right.”(15)—Lastly, it only remains to be said that it is true these
principles give rise to sources of power so mighty that without them all
the mills of the modern world could not be driven with such force. And it
is primarily a matter of force, only secondarily of truth (and perhaps not
even secondarily)—is it not so, my dear up-to-date friends?



227.


GOETHE’S ERRORS.—Goethe is a signal exception among great artists in that
he did not live within the limited confines of his real capacity, as if
that must be the essential, the distinctive, the unconditional, and the
last thing in him and for all the world. Twice he intended to possess
something higher than he really possessed—and went astray in the second
half of his life, where he seems quite convinced that he is one of the
great scientific discoverers and illuminators. So too in the first half of
his life he demanded of himself something higher than the poetic art
seemed to him—and here already he made a mistake. That nature wished to
make him a plastic artist,—_this_ was his inwardly glowing and scorching
secret, which finally drove him to Italy, that he might give vent to his
mania in this direction and make to it every possible sacrifice. At last,
shrewd as he was, and honestly averse to any mental perversion in himself,
he discovered that a tricksy elf of desire had attracted him to the belief
in this calling, and that he must free himself of the greatest passion of
his heart and bid it farewell. The painful conviction, tearing and gnawing
at his vitals, that it was necessary to bid farewell, finds full
expression in the character of Tasso. Over Tasso, that Werther
intensified, hovers the premonition of something worse than death, as when
one says: “Now it is over, after this farewell: how shall I go on living
without going mad?” These two fundamental errors of his life gave Goethe,
in face of a purely literary attitude towards poetry (the only attitude
then known to the world), such an unembarrassed and apparently almost
arbitrary position. Not to speak of the period when Schiller (poor
Schiller, who had no time himself and left no time to others) drove away
his shy dread of poetry, his fear of all literary life and craftsmanship,
Goethe appears like a Greek who now and then visits his beloved, doubting
whether she be not a Goddess to whom he can give no proper name. In all
his poetry one notices the inspiring neighbourhood of plastic art and
Nature. The features of these figures that floated before him—and perhaps
he always thought he was on the track of the metamorphoses of one
Goddess—became, without his will or knowledge, the features of all the
children of his art. Without the extravagances of error he would not have
been Goethe—that is, the only German artist in writing who has not yet
become out of date—just because he desired as little to be a writer as a
German by vocation.



228.


TRAVELLERS AND THEIR GRADES.—Among travellers we may distinguish five
grades. The first and lowest grade is of those who travel and are
seen—they become really travelled and are, as it were, blind. Next come
those who really see the world. The third class experience the results of
their seeing. The fourth weave their experience into their life and carry
it with them henceforth. Lastly, there are some men of the highest
strength who, as soon as they have returned home, must finally and
necessarily work out in their lives and productions all the things seen
that they have experienced and incorporated in themselves.—Like these five
species of travellers, all mankind goes through the whole pilgrimage of
life, the lowest as purely passive, the highest as those who act and live
out their lives without keeping back any residue of inner experiences.



229.


IN CLIMBING HIGHER.—So soon as we climb higher than those who hitherto
admired us, we appear to them as sunken and fallen. For they imagined that
under all circumstances they were on the heights in our company (maybe
also through our agency).



230.


MEASURE AND MODERATION.—Of two quite lofty things, measure and moderation,
it is best never to speak. A few know their force and significance, from
the mysterious paths of inner experiences and conversions: they honour in
them something quite godlike, and are afraid to speak aloud. All the rest
hardly listen when they are spoken about, and think the subjects under
discussion are tedium and mediocrity. We must perhaps except those who
have once heard a warning note from that realm but have stopped their ears
against the sound. The recollection of it makes them angry and
exasperated.



231.


HUMANITY OF FRIENDSHIP AND COMRADESHIP.—“If thou wilt take the left hand,
then I will go to the right,”(16) that feeling is the hall-mark of
humanity in intimate intercourse, and without that feeling every
friendship, every band of apostles or disciples, sooner or later becomes a
fraud.



232.


THE PROFOUND.—Men of profound thought appear to themselves in intercourse
with others like comedians, for in order to be understood they must always
simulate superficiality.



233.


FOR THE SCORNERS OF “HERD-HUMANITY.”—He who regards human beings as a
herd, and flies from them as fast as he can, will certainly be caught up
by them and gored upon their horns.



234.


THE MAIN TRANSGRESSION AGAINST THE VAIN.—In society, he who gives another
an opportunity of favourably setting forth his knowledge, sentiments, and
experience sets himself above him. Unless he is felt by the other to be a
superior being without limitation, he is guilty of an attack upon his
vanity, while what he aimed at was the gratification of the other man’s
vanity.



235.


DISAPPOINTMENT.—When a long life of action distinguished by speeches and
writings gives publicity to a man’s personality, personal intercourse with
him is generally disappointing on two grounds. Firstly, one expects too
much from a brief period of intercourse (namely, all that the thousand and
one opportunities of life can alone bring out). Secondly, no recognised
person gives himself the trouble to woo recognition in individual cases.
He is too careless, and we are at too high a tension.



236.


TWO SOURCES OF KINDNESS.—To treat all men with equal good-humour, and to
be kind without distinction of persons, may arise as much from a profound
contempt for mankind as from an ingrained love of humanity.



237.


THE WANDERER IN THE MOUNTAINS TO HIMSELF.—There are certain signs that you
have gone farther and higher. There is a freer, wider prospect before you,
the air blows cooler yet milder in your face (you have unlearned the folly
of confounding mildness with warmth), your gait is more firm and vigorous,
courage and discretion have waxed together. On all these grounds your
journey may now be more lonely and in any case more perilous than
heretofore, if indeed not to the extent believed by those who from the
misty valley see you, the roamer, striding on the mountains.



238.


WITH THE EXCEPTION OF OUR NEIGHBOUR.—I admit that my head is set wrong on
my neck only, for every other man, as is well known, knows better than I
what I should do or leave alone. The only one who cannot help me is
myself, poor beggar! Are we not all like statues on which false heads have
been placed? Eh, dear neighbour?—Ah no; you, just you, are the exception!



239.


CAUTION.—We must either not go about at all with people who are lacking in
the reverence for personalities, or inexorably fetter them beforehand with
the manacles of convention.



240.


THE WISH TO APPEAR VAIN.—In conversation with strangers or little-known
acquaintances, to express only selected thoughts, to speak of one’s famous
acquaintances, and important experiences and travels, is a sign that one
is not proud, or at least would not like to appear proud. Vanity is the
polite mask of pride.



241.


GOOD FRIENDSHIP.—A good friendship arises when the one man deeply respects
the other, more even than himself; loves him also, though not so much as
himself; and finally, to facilitate intercourse, knows how to add the
delicate bloom and veneer of intimacy, but at the same time wisely
refrains from a true, real intimacy, from the confounding of _meum_ and
_tuum_.



242.


FRIENDS AS GHOSTS.—If we change ourselves vitally, our friends, who have
not changed, become ghosts of our own past: their voice sounds shadowy and
dreadful to us, as if we heard our own voice speaking, but younger,
harder, less mellow.



243.


ONE EYE AND TWO GLANCES.—The same people whose eyes naturally plead for
favours and indulgences are accustomed, from their frequent humiliations
and cravings for revenge, to assume a shameless glance as well.



244.


THE HAZE OF DISTANCE.—A child throughout life—that sounds very touching,
but is only the verdict from the distance. Seen and known close at hand,
he is always called “puerile throughout life.”



245.


ADVANTAGE AND DISADVANTAGE IN THE SAME MISUNDERSTANDING.—The mute
perplexity of the subtle brain is usually understood by the non-subtle as
a silent superiority, and is much dreaded whereas the perception of
perplexity would produce good will.



246.


THE SAGE GIVING HIMSELF OUT TO BE A FOOL.—The philanthropy of the sage
sometimes makes him decide to pretend to be excited, enraged, or
delighted, so that he may not hurt his surroundings by the coldness and
rationality of his true nature.



247.


FORCING ONESELF TO ATTENTION.—So soon as we note that any one in
intercourse and conversation with us has to force himself to attention, we
have adequate evidence that he loves us not, or loves us no longer.



248.


THE WAY TO A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE.—Learning from one’s enemies is the best way
to love them, for it inspires us with a grateful mood towards them.



249.


STRATAGEM OF THE IMPORTUNATE.—The importunate man gives us gold coins as
change for our convention coins, and thereby tries to force us afterwards
to treat our convention as an oversight and him as an exception.



250.


REASON FOR DISLIKE.—We become hostile to many an artist or writer, not
because we notice in the end that he has duped us, but because he did not
find more subtle means necessary to entrap us.



251.


IN PARTING.—Not by the way one soul approaches another, but by the way it
separates, do I recognise its relationship and homogeneity with the other.



252.


SILENTIUM.—We must not speak about our friends, or we renounce the
sentiment of friendship.



253.


IMPOLITENESS.—Impoliteness is often the sign of a clumsy modesty, which
when taken by surprise loses its head and would fain hide the fact by
means of rudeness.



254.


HONESTY’S MISCALCULATION.—Our newest acquaintances are sometimes the first
to learn what we have hitherto kept dark. We have the foolish notion that
our proof of confidence is the strongest fetter wherewith to hold them
fast. But _they_ do not know enough about us to feel so strongly the
sacrifice involved in our speaking out, and betray our secrets to others
without any idea of betrayal. Hereby we possibly lose our old friends.



255.


IN THE ANTE-CHAMBER OF FAVOUR.—All men whom we let stand long in the
ante-chamber of our favour get into a state of fermentation or become
bitter.



256.


WARNING TO THE DESPISED.—When we have sunk unmistakably in the estimation
of mankind we should cling tooth and nail to modesty in intercourse, or we
shall betray to others that we have sunk in our own estimation as well.
Cynicism in intercourse is a sign that a man, when alone, treats himself
too as a dog.



257.


IGNORANCE OFTEN ENNOBLES.—With regard to the respect of those who pay
respect, it is an advantage ostensibly not to understand certain things.
Ignorance, too, confers privileges.



258.


THE OPPONENT OF GRACE.—The impatient and arrogant man does not care for
grace, feeling it to be a corporeal, visible reproach against himself. For
grace is heartfelt toleration in movement and gesture.



259.


ON SEEING AGAIN.—When old friends see each other again after a long
separation, it often happens that they affect an interest in matters to
which they have long since become indifferent. Sometimes both remark this,
but dare not raise the veil—from a mournful doubt. Hence arise
conversations as in the realm of the dead.



260.


MAKING FRIENDS ONLY WITH THE INDUSTRIOUS.—The man of leisure is dangerous
to his friends, for, having nothing to do, he talks of what his friends
are doing or not doing, interferes, and finally makes himself a nuisance.
The clever man will only make friends with the industrious.



261.


ONE WEAPON TWICE AS MUCH AS TWO.—It is an unequal combat when one man
defends his cause with head and heart, the other with head alone. The
first has sun and wind against him, as it were, and his two weapons
interfere with each other: he loses the prize—in the eyes of truth. True,
the victory of the second, with his one weapon, is seldom a victory after
the hearts of all the other spectators, and makes him unpopular.



262.


DEPTH AND TROUBLED WATERS.—The public easily confounds him who fishes in
troubled waters with him who pumps up from the depths.



263.


DEMONSTRATING ONE’S VANITY TO FRIEND AND FOE.—Many a man, from vanity,
maltreats even his friends, when in the presence of witnesses to whom he
wishes to make his own preponderance clear. Others exaggerate the merits
of their enemies, in order to point proudly to the fact that they are
worthy of such foes.



264.


COOLING OFF.—The over-heating of the heart is generally allied with
illness of the head and judgment. He who is concerned for a time with the
health of his head must know what he has to cool, careless of the future
of his heart. For if we are capable at all of giving warmth, we are sure
to become warm again and then have our summer.



265.


MINGLED FEELINGS.—Towards science women and self-seeking artists entertain
a feeling that is composed of envy and sentimentality.



266.


WHERE DANGER IS GREATEST.—We seldom break our leg so long as life
continues a toilsome upward climb. The danger comes when we begin to take
things easily and choose the convenient paths.



267.


NOT TOO EARLY.—We must beware of becoming sharp too early, or we shall
also become thin too early.



268.


JOY IN REFRACTORINESS.—The good teacher knows cases where he is proud that
his pupil remains true to himself in opposition to him—at times when the
youth must not understand the man or would be harmed by understanding him.



269.


THE EXPERIMENT OF HONESTY.—Young men, who wish to be more honest than they
have been, seek as victim some one acknowledged to be honest, attacking
him first with an attempt to reach his height by abuse—with the underlying
notion that this first experiment at any rate is void of danger. For just
such a one has no right to chastise the impudence of the honest man.



270.


THE ETERNAL CHILD.—We think, short-sighted that we are, that fairy-tales
and games belong to childhood. As if at any age we should care to live
without fairy-tales and games! Our words and sentiments are indeed
different, but the essential fact remains the same, as is proved by the
child himself looking on games as his work and fairy-tales as his truth.
The shortness of life ought to preserve us from a pedantic distinction
between the different ages—as if every age brought something new—and a
poet ought one day to portray a man of two hundred, who really lives
without fairy-tales and games.



271.


EVERY PHILOSOPHY IS THE PHILOSOPHY OF A PERIOD OF LIFE.—The period of life
in which a philosopher finds his teaching is manifested by his teaching;
he cannot avoid that, however elevated above time and hour he may feel
himself. Thus, Schopenhauer’s philosophy remains a mirror of his hot and
melancholy youth—it is no mode of thought for older men. Plato’s
philosophy reminds one of the middle thirties, when a warm and a cold
current generally rush together, so that spray and delicate clouds and,
under favourable circumstances and glimpses of sunshine, enchanting
rainbow-pictures result.



272.


OF THE INTELLECT OF WOMEN.—The intellectual strength of a woman is best
proved by the fact that she offers her own intellect as a sacrifice out of
love for a man and his intellect, and that nevertheless in the new domain,
which was previously foreign to her nature, a second intellect at once
arises as an aftergrowth, to which the man’s mind impels her.



273.


RAISING AND LOWERING IN THE SEXUAL DOMAIN.—The storm of desire will
sometimes carry a man up to a height where all desire is silenced, where
he really loves and lives in a better state of being rather than in a
better state of choice. On the other hand, a good woman, from true love,
often climbs down to desire, and lowers herself in her own eyes. The
latter action in particular is one of the most pathetic sensations which
the idea of a good marriage can involve.



274.


MAN PROMISES, WOMAN FULFILS.—By woman Nature shows how far she has
hitherto achieved her task of fashioning humanity, by man she shows what
she has had to overcome and what she still proposes to do for
humanity.—The most perfect woman of every age is the holiday-task of the
Creator on every seventh day of culture, the recreation of the artist from
his work.



275.


TRANSPLANTING.—If we have spent our intellect in order to gain mastery
over the intemperance of the passions, the sad result often follows that
we transfer the intemperance to the intellect, and from that time forth
are extravagant in thought and desire of knowledge.



276.


LAUGHTER AS TREACHERY.—How and when a woman laughs is a sign of her
culture, but in the ring of laughter her nature reveals itself, and in
highly cultured women perhaps even the last insoluble residue of their
nature. Hence the psychologist will say with Horace, though from different
reasons: “Ridete puellae.”



277.


FROM THE YOUTHFUL SOUL.—Youths varyingly show devotion and impudence
towards the same person, because at bottom they only despise or admire
themselves in that other person, and between the two feelings but stagger
to and fro in themselves, so long as they have not found in experience the
measure of their will and ability.



278.


FOR THE AMELIORATION OF THE WORLD.—If we forbade the discontented, the
sullen, and the atrabilious to propagate, we might transform the world
into a garden of happiness.—This aphorism belongs to a practical
philosophy for the female sex.



279.


NOT TO DISTRUST YOUR EMOTIONS.—The feminine phrase “Do not distrust your
emotions” does not mean much more than “Eat what tastes good to you.” This
may also, especially for moderate natures, be a good everyday rule. But
other natures must live according to another maxim: “You must eat not only
with your mouth but also with your brain, in order that the greediness of
your mouth may not prove your undoing.”



280.


A CRUEL FANCY OF LOVE.—Every great love involves the cruel thought of
killing the object of love, so that it may be removed once for all from
the mischievous play of change. For love is more afraid of change than of
destruction.



281.


DOORS.—In everything that is learnt or experienced, the child, just like
the man, sees doors; but for the former they are places to go _to_, for
the latter to go _through_.



282.


SYMPATHETIC WOMEN.—The sympathy of women, which is talkative, takes the
sick-bed to market.



283.


EARLY MERIT.—He who acquires merit early in life tends to forget all
reverence for age and old people, and accordingly, greatly to his
disadvantage, excludes himself from the society of the mature, those who
confer maturity. Thus in spite of his early merit he remains green,
importunate, and boyish longer than others.



284.


SOULS ALL OF A PIECE.—Women and artists think that where we do not
contradict them we cannot. Reverence on ten counts and silent disapproval
on ten others appears to them an impossible combination, because their
souls are all of a piece.



285.


YOUNG TALENTS.—With respect to young talents we must strictly follow
Goethe’s maxim, that we should often avoid harming error in order to avoid
harming truth. Their condition is like the diseases of pregnancy, and
involves strange appetites. These appetites should be satisfied and
humoured as far as possible, for the sake of the fruit they may be
expected to produce. It is true that, as nurse of these remarkable
invalids, one must learn the difficult art of voluntary self-abasement.



286.


DISGUST WITH TRUTH.—Women are so constituted that all truth (in relation
to men, love, children, society, aim of life) disgusts them—and that they
try to be revenged on every one who opens their eyes.



287.


THE SOURCE OF GREAT LOVE.—Whence arises the sudden passion of a man for a
woman, a passion so deep, so vital? Least of all from sensuality only: but
when a man finds weakness, need of help, and high spirits united in the
same creature, he suffers a sort of overflowing of soul, and is touched
and offended at the same moment. At this point arises the source of great
love.



288.


CLEANLINESS.—In the child, the sense for cleanliness should be fanned into
a passion, and then later on he will raise himself, in ever new phases, to
almost every virtue, and will finally appear, in compensation for all
talent, as a shining cloud of purity, temperance, gentleness, and
character, happy in himself and spreading happiness around.



289.


OF VAIN OLD MEN.—Profundity of thought belongs to youth, clarity of
thought to old age. When, in spite of this, old men sometimes speak and
write in the manner of the profound, they do so from vanity, imagining
that they thereby assume the charm of juvenility, enthusiasm, growth,
apprehensiveness, hopefulness.



290.


ENJOYMENT OF NOVELTY.—Men use a new lesson or experience later on as a
ploughshare or perhaps also as a weapon, women at once make it into an
ornament.



291.


HOW BOTH SEXES BEHAVE WHEN IN THE RIGHT.—If it is conceded to a woman that
she is right, she cannot deny herself the triumph of setting her heel on
the neck of the vanquished; she must taste her victory to the full. On the
other hand, man towards man in such a case is ashamed of being right. But
then man is accustomed to victory; with woman it is an exception.



292.


ABNEGATION IN THE WILL TO BEAUTY.—In order to become beautiful, a woman
must not desire to be considered pretty. That is to say, in ninety-nine
out of a hundred cases where she could please she must scorn and put aside
all thoughts of pleasing. Only then can she ever reap the delight of him
whose soul’s portal is wide enough to admit the great.



293.


UNINTELLIGIBLE, UNENDURABLE.—A youth cannot understand that an old man has
also had his delights, his dawns of feeling, his changings and soarings of
thought. It offends him to think that such things have existed before. But
it makes him very bitter to hear that, to become fruitful, he must lose
those buds and dispense with their fragrance.



294.


THE PARTY WITH THE AIR OF MARTYRDOM.—Every party that can assume an air of
martyrdom wins good-natured souls over to its side and thereby itself
acquires an air of good nature—greatly to its advantage.



295.


ASSERTIONS SURER THAN ARGUMENTS.—An assertion has, with the majority of
men at any rate, more effect than an argument, for arguments provoke
mistrust. Hence demagogues seek to strengthen the arguments of their party
by assertions.



296.


THE BEST CONCEALERS.—All regularly successful men are profoundly cunning
in making their faults and weaknesses look like manifestations of
strength. This proves that they must know their defects uncommonly well.



297.


FROM TIME TO TIME.—He sat in the city gateway and said to one who passed
through that this was the city gate. The latter replied that this was
true, but that one must not be too much in the right if one expected to be
thanked for it. “Oh,” answered the other, “I don’t want thanks, but from
time to time it is very pleasant not merely to be in the right but to
remain in the right.”



298.


VIRTUE WAS NOT INVENTED BY THE GERMANS.—Goethe’s nobleness and freedom
from envy, Beethoven’s fine hermitical resignation, Mozart’s cheerfulness
and grace of heart, Handel’s unbending manliness and freedom under the
law, Bach’s confident and luminous inner life, such as does not even need
to renounce glamour and success—are these qualities peculiarly German?—If
they are not, they at least prove to what goal Germans should strive and
to what they can attain.



299.


_PIA FRAUS_ OR SOMETHING ELSE.—I hope I am mistaken, but I think that in
Germany of to-day a twofold sort of hypocrisy is set up as the duty of the
moment for every one. From imperial-political misgivings Germanism is
demanded, and from social apprehensions Christianity—but both only in
words and gestures, and particularly in ability to keep silent. It is the
veneer that nowadays costs so much and is paid for so highly; and for the
benefit of the spectators the face of the nation assumes German and
Christian wrinkles.



300.


HOW FAR EVEN IN THE GOOD THE HALF MAY BE MORE THAN THE WHOLE.—In all
things that are constructed to last and demand the service of many hands,
much that is less good must be made a rule, although the organiser knows
what is better and harder very well. He will calculate that there will
never be a lack of persons who _can_ correspond to the rule, and he knows
that the middling good is the rule.—The youth seldom sees this point, and
as an innovator thinks how marvellously he is in the right and how strange
is the blindness of others.



301.


THE PARTISAN.—The true partisan learns nothing more, he only experiences
and judges. It is significant that Solon, who was never a partisan but
pursued his aims above and apart from parties or even against them, was
the father of that simple phrase wherein lies the secret of the health and
vitality of Athens: “I grow old, but I am always learning.”



302.


WHAT IS GERMAN ACCORDING TO GOETHE.—They are really intolerable people of
whom one cannot even accept the good, who have freedom of disposition but
do not remark that they are lacking in freedom of taste and spirit. Yet
just this, according to Goethe’s well-weighed judgment, is German.—His
voice and his example indicate that the German should be more than a
German if he wishes to be useful or even endurable to other nations—and
which direction his striving should take, in order that he may rise above
and beyond himself.



303.


WHEN IT IS NECESSARY TO REMAIN STATIONARY.—When the masses begin to rage,
and reason is under a cloud, it is a good thing, if the health of one’s
soul is not quite assured, to go under a doorway and look out to see what
the weather is like.



304.


THE REVOLUTION-SPIRIT AND THE POSSESSION-SPIRIT.—The only remedy against
Socialism that still lies in your power is to avoid provoking Socialism—in
other words, to live in moderation and contentment, to prevent as far as
possible all lavish display, and to aid the State as far as possible in
its taxing of all superfluities and luxuries. You do not like this remedy?
Then, you rich bourgeois who call yourselves “Liberals,” confess that it
is your own inclination that you find so terrible and menacing in
Socialists, but allow to prevail in yourselves as unavoidable, as if with
you it were something different. As you are constituted, if you had not
your fortune and the cares of maintaining it, this bent of yours would
make Socialists of you. Possession alone differentiates you from them. If
you wish to conquer the assailants of your prosperity, you must first
conquer yourselves.—And if that prosperity only meant well-being, it would
not be so external and provocative of envy; it would be more generous,
more benevolent, more compensatory, more helpful. But the spurious,
histrionic element in your pleasures, which lie more in the feeling of
contrast (because others have them not, and feel envious) than in feelings
of realised and heightened power—your houses, dresses, carriages, shops,
the demands of your palates and your tables, your noisy operatic and
musical enthusiasm; lastly your women, formed and fashioned but of base
metal, gilded but without the ring of gold, chosen by you for show and
considering themselves meant for show—these are the things that spread the
poison of that national disease, which seizes the masses ever more and
more as a Socialistic heart-itch, but has its origin and breeding-place in
you. Who shall now arrest this epidemic?



305.


PARTY TACTICS.—When a party observes that a previous member has changed
from an unqualified to a qualified adherent, it endures it so ill that it
irritates and mortifies him in every possible way with the object of
forcing him to a decisive break and making him an opponent. For the party
suspects that the intention of finding a relative value in its faith, a
value which admits of pro and con, of weighing and discarding, is more
dangerous than downright opposition.



306.


FOR THE STRENGTHENING OF PARTIES.—Whoever wishes to strengthen a party
internally should give it an opportunity of being forcibly treated with
obvious injustice. The party thus acquires a capital of good conscience,
which hitherto it perhaps lacked.



307.


TO PROVIDE FOR ONE’S PAST.—As men after all only respect the
old-established and slowly developed, he who would survive after his death
must not only provide for posterity but still more for the past. Hence
tyrants of every sort (including tyrannical artists and politicians) like
to do violence to history, so that history may seem a preparation and a
ladder up to them.



308.


PARTY WRITERS.—The beating of drums, which delights young writers who
serve a party, sounds to him who does not belong to the party like a
rattling of chains, and excites sympathy rather than admiration.



309.


TAKING SIDES AGAINST OURSELVES.—Our followers never forgive us for taking
sides against ourselves, for we seem in their eyes not only to be spurning
their love but to be exposing them to the charge of lack of intelligence.



310.


DANGER IN WEALTH.—Only a man of intellect should hold property: otherwise
property is dangerous to the community. For the owner, not knowing how to
make use of the leisure which his possessions might secure to him, will
continue to strive after more property. This strife will be his
occupation, his strategy in the war with ennui. So in the end real wealth
is produced from the moderate property that would be enough for an
intellectual man. Such wealth, then, is the glittering outcrop of
intellectual dependence and poverty, but it looks quite different from
what its humble origin might lead one to expect, because it can mask
itself with culture and art—it can, in fact, purchase the mask. Hence it
excites envy in the poor and uncultured—who at bottom always envy culture
and see no mask in the mask—and gradually paves the way for a social
revolution. For a gilded coarseness and a histrionic blowing of trumpets
in the pretended enjoyment of culture inspires that class with the
thought, “It is only a matter of money,” whereas it is indeed to some
extent a matter of money, but far more of intellect.



311.


JOY IN COMMANDING AND OBEYING.—Commanding is a joy, like obeying; the
former when it has not yet become a habit, the latter just when it has
become a habit. Old servants under new masters advance each other mutually
in giving pleasure.



312.


AMBITION FOR A FORLORN HOPE.—There is an ambition for a forlorn hope which
forces a party to place itself at the post of extreme danger.



313.


WHEN ASSES ARE NEEDED.—We shall not move the crowd to cry “Hosanna!” until
we have ridden into the city upon an ass.



314.


PARTY USAGE.—Every party attempts to represent the important elements that
have sprung up outside it as unimportant, and if it does not succeed, it
attacks those elements the more bitterly, the more excellent they are.



315.


BECOMING EMPTY.—Of him who abandons himself to the course of events, a
smaller and smaller residue is continually left. Great politicians may
therefore become quite empty men, although they were once full and rich.



316.


WELCOME ENEMIES.—The Socialistic movements are nowadays becoming more and
more agreeable rather than terrifying to the dynastic governments, because
by these movements they are provided with a right and a weapon for making
exceptional rules, and can thus attack their real bogies, democrats and
anti-dynasts.—Towards all that such governments professedly detest they
feel a secret cordiality and inclination. But they are compelled to draw
the veil over their soul.



317.


POSSESSION POSSESSES.—Only up to a certain point does possession make men
feel freer and more independent; one step farther, and possession becomes
lord, the possessor a slave. The latter must sacrifice his time, his
thoughts to the former, and feels himself compelled to an intercourse,
nailed to a spot, incorporated with the State—perhaps quite in conflict
with his real and essential needs.



318.


OF THE MASTERY OF THEM THAT KNOW.—It is easy, ridiculously easy, to set up
a model for the choice of a legislative body. First of all the honest and
reliable men of the nation, who at the same time are masters and experts
in some one branch, have to become prominent by mutual scenting-out and
recognition. From these, by a narrower process of selection, the learned
and expert of the first rank in each individual branch must again be
chosen, also by mutual recognition and guarantee. If the legislative body
be composed of these, it will finally be necessary, in each individual
case, that only the voices and judgments of the most specialised experts
should decide; the honesty of all the rest should have become so great
that it is simply a matter of decency to leave the voting also in the
hands of these men. The result would be that the law, in the strictest
sense, would emanate from the intelligence of the most intelligent.—As
things now are, voting is done by parties, and at every division there
must be hundreds of uneasy consciences among the ill-taught, the incapable
of judgment, among those who merely repeat, imitate, and go with the tide.
Nothing lowers the dignity of a new law so much as this inherent
shamefaced feeling of insincerity that necessarily results at every party
division. But, as has been said, it is easy, ridiculously easy, to set up
such a model: no power on earth is at present strong enough to realise
such an ideal—unless the belief in the highest utility of knowledge, and
of those that know, at last dawns even upon the most hostile minds and is
preferred to the prevalent belief in majorities. In the sense of such a
future may our watchword be: “More reverence for them that know, and down
with all parties!”



319.


OF THE “NATION OF THINKERS” (OR OF BAD THINKING).—The vague, vacillating,
premonitory, elementary, intuitive elements—to choose obscure names for
obscure things—that are attributed to the German nature would be, if they
really still existed, a proof that our culture has remained several stages
behind and is still surrounded by the spell and atmosphere of the Middle
Ages.—It is true that in this backwardness there are certain advantages:
by these qualities the Germans (if, as has been said before, they still
possess them) would possess the capacity, which other nations have now
lost, for doing certain things and particularly for understanding certain
things. Much undoubtedly is lost if the lack of sense—which is just the
common factor in all those qualities—is lost. Here too, however, there are
no losses without the highest compensatory gains, so that no reason is
left for lamenting, granting that we do not, like children, and gourmands,
wish to enjoy at once the fruits of all seasons of the year.



320.


CARRYING COALS TO NEWCASTLE.—The governments of the great States have two
instruments for keeping the people dependent, in fear and obedience: a
coarser, the army, and a more refined, the school. With the aid of the
former they win over to their side the ambition of the higher strata and
the strength of the lower, so far as both are characteristic of active and
energetic men of moderate or inferior gifts. With the aid of the latter
they win over gifted poverty, especially the intellectually pretentious
semi-poverty of the middle classes. Above all, they make teachers of all
grades into an intellectual court looking unconsciously “towards the
heights.” By putting obstacle after obstacle in the way of private schools
and the wholly distasteful individual tuition they secure the disposal of
a considerable number of educational posts, towards which numerous hungry
and submissive eyes are turned to an extent five times as great as can
ever be satisfied. These posts, however, must support the holder but
meagrely, so that he maintains a feverish thirst for promotion and becomes
still more closely attached to the views of the government. For it is
always more advantageous to foster moderate discontent than contentment,
the mother of courage, the grandmother of free thought and exuberance. By
means of this physically and mentally bridled body of teachers, the youth
of the country is as far as possible raised to a certain level of culture
that is useful to the State and arranged on a suitable sliding-scale.
Above all, the immature and ambitious minds of all classes are almost
imperceptibly imbued with the idea that only a career which is recognised
and hall-marked by the State can lead immediately to social distinction.
The effect of this belief in government examinations and titles goes so
far that even men who have remained independent and have risen by trade or
handicraft still feel a pang of discontent in their hearts until their
position too is marked and acknowledged by a gracious bestowal of rank and
orders from above—until one becomes a “somebody.” Finally the State
connects all these hundreds of offices and posts in its hands with the
obligation of being trained and hallmarked in these State schools if one
ever wishes to enter this charmed circle. Honour in society, daily bread,
the possibility of a family, protection from above, the feeling of
community in a common culture—all this forms a network of hopes into which
every young man walks: how should he feel the slightest breath of
mistrust? In the end, perhaps, the obligation of being a soldier for one
year has become with every one, after the lapse of a few generations, an
unreflecting habit, an understood thing, with an eye to which we construct
the plan of our lives quite early. Then the State can venture on the
master-stroke of weaving together school and army, talent, ambition and
strength by means of common advantages—that is, by attracting the more
highly gifted on favourable terms to the army and inspiring them with the
military spirit of joyful obedience; so that finally, perhaps, they become
attached permanently to the flag and endow it by their talents with an
ever new and more brilliant lustre. Then nothing more is wanted but an
opportunity for great wars. These are provided from professional reasons
(and so in all innocence) by diplomats, aided by newspapers and Stock
Exchanges. For “the nation,” as a nation of soldiers, need never be
supplied with a good conscience in war—it has one already.



321.


THE PRESS.—If we consider how even to-day all great political transactions
glide upon the stage secretly and stealthily; how they are hidden by
unimportant events, and seem small when close at hand; how they only show
their far-reaching effect, and leave the soil still quaking, long after
they have taken place;—what significance can we attach to the Press in its
present position, with its daily expenditure of lung-power in order to
bawl, to deafen, to excite, to terrify? Is it anything more than an
everlasting false alarm, which tries to lead our ears and our wits into a
false direction?



322.


AFTER A GREAT EVENT.—A nation and a man whose soul has come to light
through some great event generally feel the immediate need of some act of
childishness or coarseness, as much from shame as for purposes of
recreation.



323.


TO BE A GOOD GERMAN MEANS TO DE-GERMANISE ONESELF.—National differences
consist, far more than has hitherto been observed, only in the differences
of various grades of culture, and are only to a very small extent
permanent (nor even that in a strict sense). For this reason all arguments
based on national character are so little binding on one who aims at the
alteration of convictions—in other words, at culture. If, for instance, we
consider all that has already been German, we shall improve upon the
hypothetical question, “What is German?” by the counter-question, “What is
_now_ German?” and every good German will answer it practically, by
overcoming his German characteristics. For when a nation advances and
grows, it bursts the girdle previously given to it by its national
outlook. When it remains stationary or declines, its soul is surrounded by
a fresh girdle, and the crust, as it becomes harder and harder, builds a
prison around, with walls growing ever higher. Hence if a nation has much
that is firmly established, this is a sign that it wishes to petrify and
would like to become nothing but a monument. This happened, from a
definite date, in the case of Egypt. So he who is well-disposed towards
the Germans may for his part consider how he may more and more grow out of
what is German. The tendency to be un-German has therefore always been a
mark of efficient members of our nation.



324.


FOREIGNISMS.—A foreigner who travelled in Germany found favour or the
reverse by certain assertions of his, according to the districts in which
he stayed. All intelligent Suabians, he used to say, are coquettish.—The
other Suabians still believed that Uhland was a poet and Goethe
immoral.—The best about German novels now in vogue was that one need not
read them, for one knew already what they contained.—The native of Berlin
seemed more good-humoured than the South German, for he was all too fond
of mocking, and so could endure mockery himself, which the South German
could not.—The intellect of the Germans was kept down by their beer and
their newspapers: he recommended them tea and pamphlets, of course as a
cure.—He advised us to contemplate the different nations of worn-out
Europe and see how well each displayed some particular quality of old age,
to the delight of those who sit before the great spectacle: how the French
successfully represent the cleverness and amiability of old age, the
English the experience and reserve, the Italians the innocence and
candour. Can the other masks of old age be wanting? Where is the proud old
man, the domineering old man, the covetous old man?—The most dangerous
region in Germany was Saxony and Thuringia: nowhere else was there more
mental nimbleness, more knowledge of men, side by side with freedom of
thought; and all this was so modestly veiled by the ugly dialect and the
zealous officiousness of the inhabitants that one hardly noticed that one
here had to deal with the intellectual drill-sergeants of Germany, her
teachers for good or evil.—The arrogance of the North Germans was kept in
check by their tendency to obey, that of the South Germans by their
tendency—to make themselves comfortable.—It appeared to him that in their
women German men possessed awkward but self-opinionated housewives, who
belauded themselves so perseveringly that they had almost persuaded the
world, and at any rate their husbands, of their peculiarly German
housewifely virtue.—When the conversation turned on Germany’s home and
foreign policy, he used to say (he called it “betray the secret”) that
Germany’s greatest statesman did not believe in great statesmen.—The
future of Germany he found menaced and menacing, for Germans had forgotten
how to enjoy themselves (an art that the Italians understood so well),
but, by the great games of chance called wars and dynastic revolutions,
had accustomed themselves to emotionalism, and consequently would one day
have an _émeute_. For that is the strongest emotion that a nation can
procure for itself.—The German Socialist was all the more dangerous
because impelled by no definite necessity: his trouble lay in not knowing
what he wanted; so, even if he attained many of his objects, he would
still pine away from desire in the midst of delights, just like Faust, but
presumably like a very vulgar Faust. “For the Faust-Devil,” he finally
exclaimed, “by whom cultured Germans were so much plagued, was exorcised
by Bismarck; but now the Devil has entered into the swine,(17) and is
worse than ever!”



325.


OPINIONS.—Most men are nothing and count for nothing until they have
arrayed themselves in universal convictions and public opinions. This is
in accordance with the tailors’ philosophy, “The apparel makes the man.”
Of exceptional men, however, it must be said, “The wearer primarily makes
the apparel.” Here opinions cease to be public, and become something else
than masks, ornament, and disguise.



326.


TWO KINDS OF SOBRIETY.—In order not to confound the sobriety arising from
mental exhaustion with that arising from moderation, one must remark that
the former is peevish, the latter cheerful.



327.


DEBASEMENT OF JOY.—To call a thing good not a day longer than it appears
to us good, and above all not a day earlier—that is the only way to keep
joy pure. Otherwise, joy all too easily becomes insipid and rotten to the
taste, and counts, for whole strata of the people, among the adulterated
foodstuffs.



328.


THE SCAPEGOAT OF VIRTUE.—When a man does his very best, those who mean
well towards him, but are not capable of appreciating him, speedily seek a
scapegoat to immolate, thinking it is the scapegoat of sin—but it is the
scapegoat of virtue.



329.


SOVEREIGNTY.—To honour and acknowledge even the bad, when it _pleases_
one, and to have no conception of how one could be ashamed of being
pleased thereat, is the mark of sovereignty in things great and small.



330.


INFLUENCE A PHANTOM, NOT A REALITY.—The man of mark gradually learns that
so far as he has influence he is a phantom in other brains, and perhaps he
falls into a state of subtle vexation of soul, in which he asks himself
whether he must not maintain this phantom of himself for the benefit of
his fellow-men.



331.


GIVING AND TAKING.—When one takes away (or anticipates) the smallest thing
that another possesses, the latter is blind to the fact that he has been
given something greater, nay, even the greatest thing.



332.


GOOD PLOUGHLAND.—All rejection and negation betoken a deficiency in
fertility. If we were good ploughland, we should allow nothing to be
unused or lost, and in every thing, event, or person we should welcome
manure, rain, or sunshine.



333.


INTERCOURSE AS AN ENJOYMENT.—If a man renounces the world and
intentionally lives in solitude, he may come to regard intercourse with
others, which he enjoys but seldom, as a special delicacy.



334.


TO KNOW HOW TO SUFFER IN PUBLIC.—We must advertise our misfortunes and
from time to time heave audible sighs and show visible marks of
impatience. For if we could let others see how assured and happy we are in
spite of pain and privation, how envious and ill-tempered they would
become at the sight!—But we must take care not to corrupt our fellow-men;
besides, if they knew the truth, they would levy a heavy toll upon us. At
any rate our public misfortune is our private advantage.



335.


WARMTH ON THE HEIGHTS.—On the heights it is warmer than people in the
valleys suppose, especially in winter. The thinker recognises the full
import of this simile.



336.


TO WILL THE GOOD AND BE CAPABLE OF THE BEAUTIFUL.—It is not enough to
practise the good one must have willed it, and, as the poet says, include
the Godhead in our will. But the beautiful we must not will, we must be
capable of it, in innocence and blindness, without any psychical
curiosity. He that lights his lantern to find perfect men should remember
the token by which to know them. They are the men who always act for the
sake of the good and in so doing always attain to the beautiful without
thinking of the beautiful. Many better and nobler men, from impotence or
from want of beauty in their souls, remain unrefreshing and ugly to
behold, with all their good will and good works. They rebuff and injure
even virtue through the repulsive garb in which their bad taste arrays
her.



337.


DANGER OF RENUNCIATION.—We must beware of basing our lives on too narrow a
foundation of appetite. For if we renounce all the joys involved in
positions, honours, associations, revels, creature comforts, and arts, a
day may come when we perceive that this repudiation has led us not to
wisdom but to satiety of life.



338.


FINAL OPINION ON OPINIONS.—Either we should hide our opinions or hide
ourselves behind our opinions. Whoever does otherwise, does not know the
way of the world, or belongs to the order of pious fire-eaters.



339.


“_GAUDEAMUS IGITUR._”—Joy must contain edifying and healing forces for the
moral nature of man. Otherwise, how comes it that our soul, as soon as it
basks in the sunshine of joy, unconsciously vows to itself, “I will be
good!” “I will become perfect!” and is at once seized by a premonition of
perfection that is like a shudder of religious awe?



340.


TO ONE WHO IS PRAISED.—So long as you are praised, believe that you are
not yet on your own course but on that of another.



341.


LOVING THE MASTER.—The apprentice and the master love the master in
different ways.



342.


ALL-TOO-BEAUTIFUL AND HUMAN.—“Nature is too beautiful for thee, poor
mortal,” one often feels. But now and then, at a profound contemplation of
all that is human, in its fulness, vigour, tenderness, and complexity, I
have felt as if I must say, in all humility, “Man also is too beautiful
for the contemplation of man!” Nor did I mean the moral man alone, but
every one.



343.


REAL AND PERSONAL ESTATE.—When life has treated us in true robber fashion,
and has taken away all that it could of honour, joys, connections, health,
and property of every kind, we perhaps discover in the end, after the
first shock, that we are richer than before. For now we know for the first
time what is so peculiarly ours that no robber hand can touch it, and
perhaps, after all the plunder and devastation, we come forward with the
airs of a mighty real estate owner.



344.


INVOLUNTARILY IDEALISED.—The most painful feeling that exists is finding
out that we are always taken for something higher than we really are. For
we must thereby confess to ourselves, “There is in you some element of
fraud—your speech, your expression, your bearing, your eye, your dealings;
and this deceitful something is as necessary as your usual honesty, but
constantly destroys its effect and its value.”



345.


IDEALIST AND LIAR.—We must not let ourselves be tyrannised even by that
finest faculty of idealising things: otherwise, truth will one day part
company from us with the insulting remark: “Thou arch-liar, what have I to
do with thee?”



346.


BEING MISUNDERSTOOD.—When one is misunderstood generally, it is impossible
to remove a particular misunderstanding. This point must be recognised, to
save superfluous expenditure of energy in self-defence.



347.


THE WATER-DRINKER SPEAKS.—Go on drinking your wine, which has refreshed
you all your life—what affair is it of yours if I have to be a
water-drinker? Are not wine and water peaceable, brotherly elements, that
can live side by side without mutual recriminations?



348.


FROM CANNIBAL COUNTRY.—In solitude the lonely man is eaten up by himself,
among crowds by the many. Choose which you prefer.



349.


THE FREEZING-POINT OF THE WILL.—“Some time the hour will come at last, the
hour that will envelop you in the golden cloud of painlessness; when the
soul enjoys its own weariness and, happy in patient playing with patience,
resembles the waves of a lake, which on a quiet summer day, in the
reflection of a many-hued evening sky, sip and sip at the shore and again
are hushed—without end, without purpose, without satiety, without need—all
calm rejoicing in change, all ebb and flow of Nature’s pulse.” Such is the
feeling and talk of all invalids, but if they attain that hour, a brief
period of enjoyment is followed by ennui. But this is the thawing-wind of
the frozen will, which awakes, stirs, and once more begets desire upon
desire.—Desire is a sign of convalescence or recovery.



350.


THE DISCLAIMED IDEAL.—It happens sometimes by an exception that a man only
reaches the highest when he disclaims his ideal. For this ideal previously
drove him onward too violently, so that in the middle of the track he
regularly got out of breath and had to rest.



351.


A TREACHEROUS INCLINATION.—It should be regarded as a sign of an envious
but aspiring man, when he feels himself attracted by the thought that with
regard to the eminent there is but one salvation—love.



352.


STAIRCASE HAPPINESS.—Just as the wit of many men does not keep pace with
opportunity (so that opportunity has already passed through the door while
wit still waits on the staircase outside), so others have a kind of
staircase happiness, which walks too slowly to keep pace with swift-footed
Time. The best that it can enjoy of an experience, of a whole span of
life, falls to its share long afterwards, often only as a weak, spicy
fragrance, giving rise to longing and sadness—as if “it might have been
possible”—some time or other—to drink one’s fill of this element: but now
it is too late.



353.


WORMS.—The fact that an intellect contains a few worms does not detract
from its ripeness.



354.


THE SEAT OF VICTORY.—A good seat on horseback robs an opponent of his
courage, the spectator of his heart—why attack such a man? Sit like one
who has been victorious!



355.


DANGER IN ADMIRATION.—From excessive admiration for the virtues of others
one can lose the sense of one’s own, and finally, through lack of
practice, lose these virtues themselves, without retaining the alien
virtues as compensation.



356.


USES OF SICKLINESS.—He who is often ill not only has a far greater
pleasure in health, on account of his so often getting well, but acquires
a very keen sense of what is healthy or sickly in actions and
achievements, both his own and others’. Thus, for example, it is just the
writers of uncertain health—among whom, unfortunately, nearly all great
writers must be classed—who are wont to have a far more even and assured
tone of health in their writings, because they are better versed than are
the physically robust in the philosophy of psychical health and
convalescence and in their teachers—morning, sunshine, forest, and
fountain.



357.


DISLOYALTY A CONDITION OF MASTERY.—It cannot be helped—every master has
but one pupil, and _he_ becomes disloyal to him, for he also is destined
for mastery.



358.


NEVER IN VAIN.—In the mountains of truth you never climb in vain. Either
you already reach a higher point to-day, or you exercise your strength in
order to be able to climb higher to-morrow.



359.


THROUGH GREY WINDOW-PANES.—Is what you see through this window of the
world so beautiful that you do not wish to look through any other
window—ay, and even try to prevent others from so doing?



360.


A SIGN OF RADICAL CHANGES.—When we dream of persons long forgotten or
dead, it is a sign that we have suffered radical changes, and that the
soil on which we live has been completely undermined. The dead rise again,
and our antiquity becomes modernity.



361.


MEDICINE OF THE SOUL.—To lie still and think little is the cheapest
medicine for all diseases of the soul, and, with the aid of good-will,
becomes pleasanter every hour that it is used.



362.


INTELLECTUAL ORDER OF PRECEDENCE.—You rank far below others when you try
to establish the exception and they the rule.



363.


THE FATALIST.—You must believe in fate—science can compel you thereto. All
that develops in you out of that belief—cowardice, devotion or loftiness,
and uprightness—bears witness to the soil in which the grain was sown, but
not to the grain itself, for from that seed anything and everything can
grow.



364.


THE REASON FOR MUCH FRETFULNESS.—He that prefers the beautiful to the
useful in life will undoubtedly, like children who prefer sweetmeats to
bread, destroy his digestion and acquire a very fretful outlook on the
world.



365.


EXCESS AS A REMEDY.—We can make our own talent once more acceptable to
ourselves by honouring and enjoying the opposite talent for some time to
excess.—Using excess as a remedy is one of the more refined devices in the
art of life.



366.


“WILL A SELF.”—Active, successful natures act, not according to the maxim,
“Know thyself,” but as if always confronted with the command, “Will a
self, so you will become a self.”—Fate seems always to have left them a
choice. Inactive, contemplative natures, on the other hand, reflect on how
they have chosen their self “once for all” at their entry into life.



367.


TO LIVE AS FAR AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT A FOLLOWING.—How small is the
importance of followers we first grasp when we have ceased to be the
followers of our followers.



368.


OBSCURING ONESELF.—We must understand how to obscure ourselves in order to
get rid of the gnat-swarms of pestering admirers.



369.


ENNUI.—There is an ennui of the most subtle and cultured brains, to which
the best that the world can offer has become stale. Accustomed to eat ever
more and more recherché fare and to feel disgust at coarser diet, they are
in danger of dying of hunger. For the very best exists but in small
quantities, and has sometimes become inaccessible or hard as stone, so
that even good teeth can no longer bite it.



370.


THE DANGER IN ADMIRATION.—The admiration of a quality or of an art may be
so strong as to deter us from aspiring to possess that quality or art.



371.


WHAT IS REQUIRED OF ART.—One man wants to enjoy himself by means of art,
another for a time to get out of or above himself.—To meet both
requirements there exists a twofold species of artists.



372.


SECESSIONS.—Whoever secedes from us offends not us, perhaps, but certainly
our adherents.



373.


AFTER DEATH.—It is only long after the death of a man that we find it
inconceivable that he should be missed—in the case of really great men,
only after decades. Those who are honest usually think when any one dies
that he is not much missed, and that the pompous funeral oration is a
piece of hypocrisy. Necessity first teaches the necessariness of an
individual, and the proper epitaph is a belated sigh.



374.


LEAVING IN HADES.—We must leave many things in the Hades of half-conscious
feeling, and not try to release them from their shadow-existence, or else
they will become, as thoughts and words, our demoniacal tyrants, with
cruel lust after our blood.



375.


NEAR TO BEGGARY.—Even the richest intellect sometimes mislays the key to
the room in which his hoarded treasures repose. He is then like the
poorest of the poor, who must beg to get a living.



376.


CHAIN-THINKERS.—To him who has thought a great deal, every new thought
that he hears or reads at once assumes the form of a chain.



377.


PITY.—In the gilded sheath of pity is sometimes hidden the dagger of envy.



378.


WHAT IS GENIUS?—To aspire to a lofty aim and to will the means to that
aim.



379.


VANITY OF COMBATANTS.—He who has no hope of victory in a combat, or who is
obviously worsted, is all the more desirous that his style of fighting
should be admired.



380.


THE PHILOSOPHIC LIFE MISINTERPRETED.—At the moment when one is beginning
to take philosophy seriously, the whole world fancies that one is doing
the reverse.



381.


IMITATION.—By imitation, the bad gains, the good loses credit—especially
in art.



382.


FINAL TEACHING OF HISTORY.—“Oh that I had but lived in those times!” is
the exclamation of foolish and frivolous men. At every period of history
that we seriously review, even if it be the most belauded era of the past,
we shall rather cry out at the end, “Anything but a return to that! The
spirit of that age would oppress you with the weight of a hundred
atmospheres, the good and beautiful in it you would not enjoy, its evil
you could not digest.” Depend upon it, posterity will pass the same
verdict on our own epoch, and say that it was unbearable, that life under
such conditions was intolerable. “And yet every one can endure his own
times?” Yes, because the spirit of his age not only lies _upon_ him but is
_in_ him. The spirit of the age offers resistance to itself and can bear
itself.



383.


GREATNESS AS A MASK.—By greatness in our comportment we embitter our foes;
by envy that we do not conceal we almost reconcile them to us. For envy
levels and makes equal; it is an unconscious, plaintive variety of
modesty.—It may be indeed that here and there, for the sake of the
above-named advantage, envy has been assumed as a mask by those who are
not envious. Certainly, however, greatness in comportment is often used as
the mask of envy by ambitious men who would rather suffer drawbacks and
embitter their foes than let it be seen that they place them on an equal
footing with themselves.



384.


UNPARDONABLE.—You gave him an opportunity of displaying the greatness of
his character, and he did not make use of the opportunity. He will never
forgive you for that.



385.


CONTRASTS.—The most senile thought ever conceived about men lies in the
famous saying, “The ego is always hateful,” the most childish in the still
more famous saying, “Love thy neighbour as thyself.”—With the one
knowledge of men has ceased, with the other it has not yet begun.



386.


A DEFECTIVE EAR.—“We still belong to the mob so long as we always shift
the blame on to others; we are on the track of wisdom when we always make
ourselves alone responsible; but the wise man finds no one to blame,
neither himself nor others.”—Who said that? Epictetus, eighteen hundred
years ago.—The world has heard but forgotten the saying.—No, the world has
not heard and not forgotten it: everything is not forgotten. But we had
not the necessary ear, the ear of Epictetus.—So he whispered it into his
own ear?—Even so: wisdom is the whispering of the sage to himself in the
crowded market-place.



387.


A DEFECT OF STANDPOINT, NOT OF VISION.—We always stand a few paces too
near ourselves and a few paces too far from our neighbour. Hence we judge
him too much in the lump, and ourselves too much by individual,
occasional, insignificant features and circumstances.



388.


IGNORANCE ABOUT WEAPONS.—How little we care whether another knows a
subject or not!—whereas he perhaps sweats blood at the bare idea that he
may be considered ignorant on the point. Yes, there are exquisite fools,
who always go about with a quiverful of mighty, excommunicatory
utterances, ready to shoot down any one who shows freely that there are
matters in which their judgment is not taken into account.



389.


AT THE DRINKING-TABLE OF EXPERIENCE.—People whose innate moderation leads
them to drink but the half of every glass, will not admit that everything
in the world has its lees and sediment.



390.


SINGING-BIRDS.—The followers of a great man often put their own eyes out,
so that they may be the better able to sing his praise.



391.


BEYOND OUR KEN.—The good generally displeases us when it is beyond our
ken.



392.


RULE AS MOTHER OR AS CHILD.—There is one condition that gives birth to
rules, another to which rules give birth.



393.


COMEDY.—We sometimes earn honour or love for actions and achievements
which we have long since sloughed as the snake sloughs his skin. We are
hereby easily seduced into becoming the comic actors of our own past, and
into throwing the old skin once more about our shoulders—and that not
merely from vanity, but from good-will towards our admirers.



394.


A MISTAKE OF BIOGRAPHERS.—The small force that is required to launch a
boat into the stream must not be confounded with the force of the stream
that carries the boat along. Yet this mistake is made in nearly all
biographies.



395.


NOT BUYING TOO DEAR.—The things that we buy too dear we generally turn to
bad use, because we have no love for them but only a painful recollection.
Thus they involve a twofold drawback.



396.


THE PHILOSOPHY THAT SOCIETY ALWAYS NEEDS.—The pillars of the social
structure rest upon the fundamental fact that every one cheerfully
contemplates all that he is, does, and attempts, his sickness or health,
his poverty or affluence, his honour or insignificance, and says to
himself, “After all, I would not change places with any one!”—Whoever
wishes to add a stone to the social structure should always try to implant
in mankind this cheerful philosophy of contentment and refusal to change
places.



397.


THE MARK OF A NOBLE SOUL.—A noble soul is not that which is capable of the
highest flights, but that which rises little and falls little, living
always in a free and bright atmosphere and altitude.



398.


GREATNESS AND ITS CONTEMPLATOR.—The noblest effect of greatness is that it
gives the contemplator a power of vision that magnifies and embellishes.



399.


BEING SATISFIED.—We show that we have attained maturity of understanding
when we no longer go where rare flowers lurk under the thorniest hedges of
knowledge, but are satisfied with gardens, forests, meadows, and
ploughlands, remembering that life is too short for the rare and uncommon.



400.


ADVANTAGE IN PRIVATION.—He who always lives in the warmth and fulness of
the heart, and, as it were, in the summer air of the soul, cannot form an
idea of that fearful delight which seizes more wintry natures, who for
once in a way are kissed by the rays of love and the milder breath of a
sunny February day.



401.


RECIPE FOR THE SUFFERER.—You find the burden of life too heavy? Then you
must increase the burden of your life. When the sufferer finally thirsts
after and seeks the river of Lethe, then he must become a _hero_ to be
certain of finding it.



402.


THE JUDGE.—He who has seen another’s ideal becomes his inexorable judge,
and as it were his evil conscience.



403.


THE UTILITY OF GREAT RENUNCIATION.—The useful thing about great
renunciation is that it invests us with that youthful pride through which
we can thenceforth easily demand of ourselves small renunciations.



404.


HOW DUTY ACQUIRES A GLAMOUR.—You can change a brazen duty into gold in the
eyes of all by always performing something more than you have promised.



405.


PRAYER TO MANKIND.—“Forgive us our virtues”—so should we pray to mankind.



406.


THEY THAT CREATE AND THEY THAT ENJOY.—Every one who enjoys thinks that the
principal thing to the tree is the fruit, but in point of fact the
principal thing to it is the seed.—Herein lies the difference between them
that create and them that enjoy.



407.


THE GLORY OF ALL GREAT MEN.—What is the use of genius if it does not
invest him who contemplates and reveres it with such freedom and loftiness
of feeling that he no longer has need of genius?—To make themselves
superfluous is the glory of all great men.



408.


THE JOURNEY TO HADES.—I too have been in the underworld, even as Odysseus,
and I shall often be there again. Not sheep alone have I sacrificed, that
I might be able to converse with a few dead souls, but not even my own
blood have I spared. There were four pairs who responded to me in my
sacrifice: Epicurus and Montaigne, Goethe and Spinoza, Plato and Rousseau,
Pascal and Schopenhauer. With them I have to come to terms. When I have
long wandered alone, I will let them prove me right or wrong; to them will
I listen, if they prove each other right or wrong. In all that I say,
conclude, or think out for myself and others, I fasten my eyes on those
eight and see their eyes fastened on mine.—May the living forgive me if I
look upon them at times as shadows, so pale and fretful, so restless and,
alas! so eager for life. Those eight, on the other hand, seem to me so
living that I feel as if even now, after their death, they could never
become weary of life. But eternal vigour of life is the important point:
what matters “eternal life,” or indeed life at all?



PART II. THE WANDERER AND HIS SHADOW.


_The Shadow_: It is so long since I heard you speak that I should like to
give you an opportunity of talking.

_The Wanderer_: I hear a voice—where? whose? I almost fancied that I heard
myself speaking, but with a voice yet weaker than my own.

_The Shadow_ (after a pause): Are you not glad to have an opportunity of
speaking?

_The Wanderer_: By God and everything else in which I disbelieve, it is my
shadow that speaks. I hear it, but I do not believe it.

_The Shadow_: Let us assume that it exists, and think no more about it. In
another hour all will be over.

_The Wanderer_: That is just what I thought when in a forest near Pisa I
saw first two and then five camels.

_The Shadow_: It is all the better if we are both equally forbearing
towards each other when for once our reason is silent. Thus we shall avoid
losing our tempers in conversation, and shall not at once apply mutual
thumb-screws in the event of any word sounding for once unintelligible to
us. If one does not know exactly how to answer, it is enough to say
_something_. Those are the reasonable terms on which I hold conversation
with any person. During a long talk the wisest of men becomes a fool once
and a simpleton thrice.

_The Wanderer_: Your moderation is not flattering to those to whom you
confess it.

_The Shadow_: Am I, then, to flatter?

_The Wanderer_: I thought a man’s shadow was his vanity. Surely vanity
would never say, “Am I, then, to flatter?”

_The Shadow_: Nor does human vanity, so far as I am acquainted with it,
ask, as I have done twice, whether it may speak. It simply speaks.

_The Wanderer_: Now I see for the first time how rude I am to you, my
beloved shadow. I have not said a word of my supreme _delight_ in hearing
and not merely seeing you. You must know that I love shadows even as I
love light. For the existence of beauty of face, clearness of speech,
kindliness and firmness of character, the shadow is as necessary as the
light. They are not opponents—rather do they hold each other’s hands like
good friends; and when the light vanishes, the shadow glides after it.

_The Shadow_: Yes, and I hate the same thing that you hate—night. I love
men because they are votaries of life. I rejoice in the gleam of their
eyes when they recognise and discover, they who never weary of recognising
and discovering. That shadow which all things cast when the sunshine of
knowledge falls upon them—that shadow too am I.

_The Wanderer_: I think I understand you, although you have expressed
yourself in somewhat shadowy terms. You are right. Good friends give to
each other here and there, as a sign of mutual understanding, an obscure
phrase which to any third party is meant to be a riddle. And we are good
friends, you and I. So enough of preambles! Some few hundred questions
oppress my soul, and the time for you to answer them is perchance but
short. Let us see how we may come to an understanding as quickly and
peaceably as possible.

_The Shadow_: But shadows are more shy than men. You will not reveal to
any man the manner of our conversation?

_The Wanderer_: _The manner_ of our conversation? Heaven preserve me from
wire-drawn, literary dialogues! If Plato had found less pleasure in
spinning them out, his readers would have found more pleasure in Plato. A
dialogue that in real life is a source of delight, when turned into
writing and read, is a picture with nothing but false perspectives.
Everything is too long or too short.—Yet perhaps I may reveal the _points
on which_ we have come to an understanding?

_The Shadow_: With that I am content. For every one will only recognise
your views once more, and no one will think of the shadow.

_The Wanderer_: Perhaps you are wrong, my friend! Hitherto they have
observed in my views more of the shadow than of me.

_The Shadow_: More of the shadow than of the light? Is that possible?

_The Wanderer_: Be serious, dear fool! My very first question demands
seriousness.



1.


OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE.—Probability, but no truth; the semblance of
freedom, but no freedom—these are the two fruits by virtue of which the
tree of knowledge cannot be confounded with the tree of life.



2.


THE WORLD’S REASON.—That the world is _not_ the abstract essence of an
eternal reasonableness is sufficiently proved by the fact that that _bit
of the world_ which we know—I mean our human reason—is none too
reasonable. And if _this_ is not eternally and wholly wise and reasonable,
the rest of the world will not be so either. Here the conclusion _a minori
ad majus, a parte ad totum_ holds good, and that with decisive force.



3.


“IN THE BEGINNING WAS.”—To glorify the origin—that is the metaphysical
after-shoot which sprouts again at the contemplation of history, and
absolutely makes us imagine that _in the beginning_ of things lies all
that is most valuable and essential.



4.


STANDARD FOR THE VALUE OF TRUTH.—The difficulty of climbing mountains is
no gauge of their height. Yet in the case of science it is different!—we
are told by certain persons who wish to be considered “the initiated,”—the
difficulty in finding truth is to determine the value of truth! This
insane morality originates in the idea that “truths” are really nothing
more than gymnastic appliances, with which we have to exercise ourselves
until we are thoroughly tired. It is a morality for the athletes and
gymnasts of the intellect.



5.


USE OF WORDS AND REALITY.—There exists a simulated contempt for all the
things that mankind actually holds most important, for all everyday
matters. For instance, we say “we only eat to live”—an abominable _lie_,
like that which speaks of the procreation of children as the real purpose
of all sexual pleasure. Conversely, the reverence for “the most important
things” is hardly ever quite genuine. The priests and metaphysicians have
indeed accustomed us to a hypocritically exaggerated _use of words_
regarding these matters, but they have not altered the feeling that these
most important things are not so important as those despised “everyday
matters.” A fatal consequence of this twofold hypocrisy is that we never
make these everyday matters (such as eating, housing, clothes, and
intercourse) the object of a constant unprejudiced and _universal_
reflection and revision, but, as such a process appears degrading, we
divert from them our serious intellectual and artistic side. Hence in such
matters habit and frivolity win an easy victory over the thoughtless,
especially over inexperienced youth. On the other hand, our continual
transgressions of the simplest laws of body and mind reduce us all, young
and old, to a disgraceful state of dependence and servitude—I mean to that
fundamentally superfluous dependence upon physicians, teachers and
clergymen, whose dead-weight still lies heavy upon the whole of society.



6.


EARTHLY INFIRMITIES AND THEIR MAIN CAUSE.—If we look about us, we are
always coming across men who have eaten eggs all their lives without
observing that the oblong-shaped taste the best; who do not know that a
thunder-storm is beneficial to the stomach; that perfumes are most
fragrant in cold, clear air; that our sense of taste varies in different
parts of our mouths; that every meal at which we talk well or listen well
does harm to the digestion. If we are not satisfied with these examples of
defective powers of observation, we shall concede all the more readily
that the everyday matters are very imperfectly seen and rarely observed by
the majority. Is this a matter of indifference?—Let us remember, after
all, that from this defect are derived _nearly all the bodily and
spiritual infirmities_ of the individual. Ignorance of what is good and
bad for us, in the arrangement of our mode of life, the division of our
day, the selection of our friends and the time we devote to them, in
business and leisure, commanding and obeying, our feeling for nature and
for art, our eating, sleeping, and meditation; ignorance and lack of keen
perceptions _in the smallest and most ordinary details_—this it is that
makes the world “a vale of tears” for so many. Let us not say that here as
everywhere the fault lies with human _unreason_. Of reason there is enough
and to spare, but it is _wrongly directed_ and _artificially diverted_
from these little intimate things. Priests and teachers, and the sublime
ambition of all idealists, coarser and subtler, din it even into the
child’s ears that the means of serving mankind at large depend upon
altogether different _things_—upon the salvation of the soul, the service
of the State, the advancement of science, or even upon social position and
property; whereas the needs of the individual, his requirements great and
small during the twenty-four hours of the day, are quite paltry or
indifferent.—Even Socrates attacked with all his might this arrogant
neglect of the human for the benefit of humanity, and loved to indicate by
a quotation from Homer the true sphere and conception of all anxiety and
reflection: “All that really matters,” he said, “is the good and evil hap
I find at home.”



7.


TWO MEANS OF CONSOLATION.—Epicurus, the soul-comforter of later antiquity,
said, with that marvellous insight which to this very day is so rarely to
be found, that for the calming of the spirit the solution of the final and
ultimate theoretical problems is by no means necessary. Hence, instead of
raising a barren and remote discussion of the final question, whether the
Gods existed, it sufficed him to say to those who were tormented by “fear
of the Gods”: “If there are Gods, they do not concern themselves with us.”
The latter position is far stronger and more favourable, for, by conceding
a few points to the other, one makes him readier to listen and to take to
heart. But as soon as he sets about proving the opposite (that the Gods do
concern themselves with us), into what thorny jungles of error must the
poor man fall, quite of his own accord, and without any cunning on the
part of his interlocutor! The latter must only have enough subtlety and
humanity to conceal his sympathy with this tragedy. Finally, the other
comes to feel disgust—the strongest argument against any
proposition—disgust with his own hypothesis. He becomes cold, and goes
away in the same frame of mind as the pure atheist who says, “What do the
Gods matter to me? The devil take them!”—In other cases, especially when a
half-physical, half-moral assumption had cast a gloom over his spirit,
Epicurus did not refute the assumption. He agreed that it might be true,
but that there was _a second assumption_ to explain the same phenomenon,
and that it could perhaps be maintained in other ways. The plurality of
hypotheses (for example, that concerning the origin of conscientious
scruples) suffices even in our time to remove from the soul the shadows
that arise so easily from pondering over a hypothesis which is isolated,
merely visible, and hence overvalued a hundredfold.—Thus whoever wishes to
console the unfortunate, the criminal, the hypochondriac, the dying, may
call to mind the two soothing suggestions of Epicurus, which can be
applied to a great number of problems. In their simplest form they would
run: firstly, granted the thing is so, it does not concern us; secondly,
the thing may be so, but it may also be otherwise.



8.


IN THE NIGHT.—So soon as night begins to fall our sensations concerning
everyday matters are altered. There is the wind, prowling as if on
forbidden paths, whispering as if in search of something, fretting because
he cannot find it. There is the lamplight, with its dim red glow, its
weary look, unwillingly fighting against night, a sullen slave to wakeful
man. There are the breathings of the sleeper, with their terrible rhythm,
to which an ever-recurring care seems to blow the trumpet-melody—we do not
hear it, but when the sleeper’s bosom heaves we feel our heart-strings
tighten; and when the breath sinks and almost dies away into a deathly
stillness, we say to ourselves, “Rest awhile, poor troubled spirit!” All
living creatures bear so great a burden that we wish them an eternal rest;
night invites to death.—If human beings were deprived of the sun and
resisted night by means of moonlight and oil-lamps, what a philosophy
would cast its veil over them! We already see only too plainly how a
shadow is thrown over the spiritual and intellectual nature of man by that
moiety of darkness and sunlessness that envelops life.



9.


ORIGIN OF THE DOCTRINE OF FREE WILL.—Necessity sways one man in the shape
of his passions, another as a habit of hearing and obeying, a third as a
logical conscience, a fourth as a caprice and a mischievous delight in
evasions. These four, however, seek the freedom of their will at the very
point where they are most securely fettered. It is as if the silkworm
sought freedom of will in spinning. What is the reason? Clearly this, that
every one thinks himself most free where his vitality is strongest; hence,
as I have said, now in passion, now in duty, now in knowledge, now in
caprice. A man unconsciously imagines that where he is strong, where he
feels most thoroughly alive, the element of his freedom must lie. He
thinks of dependence and apathy, independence and vivacity as forming
inevitable pairs.—Thus an experience that a man has undergone in the
social and political sphere is wrongly transferred to the ultimate
metaphysical sphere. There the strong man is also the free man, there the
vivid feeling of joy and sorrow, the high hopes, the keen desires, the
powerful hates are the attributes of the ruling, independent natures,
while the thrall and the slave live in a state of dazed oppression.—The
doctrine of free will is an invention of the ruling classes.



10.


ABSENCE OF FEELING OF NEW CHAINS.—So long as we do not feel that we are in
some way dependent, we consider ourselves independent—a false conclusion
that shows how proud man is, how eager for dominion. For he hereby assumes
that he would always be sure to observe and recognise dependence so soon
as he suffered it, the preliminary hypothesis being that he generally
lives in independence, and that, should he lose that independence for once
in a way, he would immediately detect a contrary sensation.—Suppose,
however, the reverse to be true—that he is always living in a complex
state of dependence, but thinks himself free where, through long habit, he
no longer feels the weight of the chain? He only suffers from new chains,
and “free will” really means nothing more than an absence of feeling of
new chains.



11.


FREEDOM OF THE WILL AND THE ISOLATION OF FACTS.—Our ordinary inaccurate
observation takes a group of phenomena as one and calls them a fact.
Between this fact and another we imagine a vacuum, we isolate each fact.
In reality, however, the sum of our actions and cognitions is no series of
facts and intervening vacua, but a continuous stream. Now the belief in
free will is incompatible with the idea of a continuous, uniform,
undivided, indivisible flow. This belief presupposes that every single
action is isolated and indivisible; it is an atomic theory as regards
volition and cognition.—We misunderstand facts as we misunderstand
characters, speaking of similar characters and similar facts, whereas both
are non-existent. Further, we bestow praise and blame only on this false
hypothesis, that there are similar facts, that a graduated order of
species of facts exists, corresponding to a graduated order of values.
Thus we isolate not only the single fact, but the groups of apparently
equal facts (good, evil, compassionate, envious actions, and so forth). In
both cases we are wrong.—The word and the concept are the most obvious
reason for our belief in this isolation of groups of actions. We do not
merely thereby designate the things; the thought at the back of our minds
is that by the word and the concept we can grasp the essence of the
actions. We are still constantly led astray by words and actions, and are
induced to think of things as simpler than they are, as separate,
indivisible, existing in the absolute. Language contains a hidden
philosophical mythology, which, however careful we may be, breaks out
afresh at every moment. The belief in free will—that is to say, in similar
facts and isolated facts—finds in language its continual apostle and
advocate.



12.


THE FUNDAMENTAL ERRORS.—A man cannot feel any psychical pleasure or pain
unless he is swayed by one of two illusions. Either he believes in the
identity of certain facts, certain sensations, and in that case finds
spiritual pleasure and pain in comparing present with past conditions and
in noting their similarity or difference (as is invariably the case with
recollection); or he believes in the freedom of the will, perhaps when he
reflects, “I ought not to have done this,” “This might have turned out
differently,” and from these reflections likewise he derives pleasure and
pain. Without the errors that are rife in every psychical pain and
pleasure, humanity would never have developed. For the root idea of
humanity is that man is free in a world of bondage—man, the eternal
wonder-worker, whether his deeds be good or evil—man, the amazing
exception, the super-beast, the quasi-God, the mind of creation, the
indispensable, the key-word to the cosmic riddle, the mighty lord of
nature and despiser of nature, the creature that calls _its_ history “the
history of the world”! _Vanitas vanitatum homo._



13.


REPETITION.—It is an excellent thing to express a thing consecutively in
two ways, and thus provide it with a right and a left foot. Truth can
stand indeed on one leg, but with two she will walk and complete her
journey.



14.


MAN AS THE COMIC ACTOR OF THE WORLD.—It would require beings more
intellectual than men to relish to the full the humorous side of man’s
view of himself as the goal of all existence and of his serious
pronouncement that he is satisfied only with the prospect of fulfilling a
world-mission. If a God created the world, he created man to be his ape,
as a perpetual source of amusement in the midst of his rather tedious
eternities. The music of the spheres surrounding the world would then
presumably be the mocking laughter of all the other creatures around
mankind. God in his boredom uses pain for the tickling of his favourite
animal, in order to enjoy his proudly tragic gestures and expressions of
suffering, and, in general, the intellectual inventiveness of the vainest
of his creatures—as inventor of this inventor. For he who invented man as
a joke had more intellect and more joy in intellect than has man.—Even
here, where our human nature is willing to humble itself, our vanity again
plays us a trick, in that we men should like in this vanity at least to be
quite marvellous and incomparable. Our uniqueness in the world! Oh, what
an improbable thing it is! Astronomers, who occasionally acquire a horizon
outside our world, give us to understand that the drop of life on the
earth is without significance for the total character of the mighty ocean
of birth and decay; that countless stars present conditions for the
generation of life similar to those of the earth—and yet these are but a
handful in comparison with the endless number that have never known, or
have long been cured, of the eruption of life; that life on each of these
stars, measured by the period of its existence, has been but an instant, a
flicker, with long, long intervals afterwards—and thus in no way the aim
and final purpose of their existence. Possibly the ant in the forest is
quite as firmly convinced that it is the aim and purpose of the existence
of the forest, as we are convinced in our imaginations (almost
unconsciously) that the destruction of mankind involves the destruction of
the world. It is even modesty on our part to go no farther than this, and
not to arrange a universal twilight of the world and the Gods as the
funeral ceremony of the last man. Even to the eye of the most unbiassed
astronomer a lifeless world can scarcely appear otherwise than as a
shining and swinging star wherein man lies buried.



15.


THE MODESTY OF MAN.—How little pleasure is enough for the majority to make
them feel that life is good! How modest is man!



16.


WHERE INDIFFERENCE IS NECESSARY.—Nothing would be more perverse than to
wait for the truths that science will finally establish concerning the
first and last things, and until then to think (and especially to believe)
in the traditional way, as one is so often advised to do. The impulse that
bids us seek nothing but _certainties_ in this domain is a religious
offshoot, nothing better—a hidden and only apparently sceptical variety of
the “metaphysical need,” the underlying idea being that for a long time no
view of these ultimate certainties will be obtainable, and that until then
the “believer” has the right not to trouble himself about the whole
subject. We have no need of these certainties about the farthermost
horizons in order to live a full and efficient human life, any more than
the ant needs them in order to be a good ant. Rather must we ascertain the
origin of that troublesome significance that we have attached to these
things for so long. For this we require the history of ethical and
religious sentiments, since it is only under the influence of such
sentiments that these most acute problems of knowledge have become so
weighty and terrifying. Into the outermost regions to which the mental eye
can penetrate (without ever penetrating _into_ them), we have smuggled
such concepts as guilt and punishment (everlasting punishment, too!). The
darker those regions, the more careless we have been. For ages men have
let their imaginations run riot where they could establish nothing, and
have induced posterity to accept these fantasies as something serious and
true, with this abominable lie as their final trump-card: that faith is
worth more than knowledge. What we need now in regard to these ultimate
things is not knowledge as against faith, but indifference as against
faith and pretended knowledge in these matters!—Everything must lie nearer
to us than what has hitherto been preached to us as the most important
thing, I mean the questions: “What end does man serve?” “What is his fate
after death?” “How does he make his peace with God?” and all the rest of
that bag of tricks. The problems of the dogmatic philosophers, be they
idealists, materialists, or realists, concern us as little as do these
religious questions. They all have the same object in view—to force us to
a decision in matters where neither faith nor knowledge is needed. It is
better even for the most ardent lover of knowledge that the territory open
to investigation and to reason should be encircled by a belt of fog-laden,
treacherous marshland, a strip of ever watery, impenetrable, and
indeterminable country. It is just by the comparison with the realm of
darkness on the edge of the world of knowledge that the bright, accessible
region of that world rises in value.—We must once more become good friends
of the “everyday matters,” and not, as hitherto, despise them and look
beyond them at clouds and monsters of the night. In forests and caverns,
in marshy tracts and under dull skies, on the lowest rungs of the ladder
of culture, man has lived for æons, and lived in poverty. There he has
learnt to despise the present, his neighbours, his life, and himself, and
we, the inhabitants of the brighter fields of Nature and mind, still
inherit in our blood some taint of this contempt for everyday matters.



17.


PROFOUND INTERPRETATIONS.—He who has interpreted a passage in an author
“more profoundly” than was intended, has not interpreted the author but
has obscured him. Our metaphysicians are in the same relation, or even in
a worse relation, to the text of Nature. For, to apply their profound
interpretations, they often alter the text to suit their purpose—or, in
other words, corrupt the text. A curious example of the corruption and
obscuration of an author’s text is furnished by the ideas of Schopenhauer
on the pregnancy of women. “The sign of a continuous will to life in
time,” he says, “is copulation; the sign of the light of knowledge which
is associated anew with this will and holds the possibility of a
deliverance, and that too in the highest degree of clearness, is the
renewed incarnation of the will to life. This incarnation is betokened by
pregnancy, which is therefore frank and open, and even proud, whereas
copulation hides itself like a criminal.” He declares that every woman, if
surprised in the sexual act, would be likely to die of shame, but
“displays her pregnancy without a trace of shame, nay even with a sort of
pride.” Now, firstly, this condition cannot easily be displayed more
aggressively than it displays itself, and when Schopenhauer gives
prominence only to the intentional character of the display, he is
fashioning his text to suit the interpretation. Moreover, his statement of
the universality of the phenomenon is not true. He speaks of “every
woman.” Many women, especially the younger, often appear painfully ashamed
of their condition, even in the presence of their nearest kinsfolk. And
when women of riper years, especially in the humbler classes, do actually
appear proud of their condition, it is because they would give us to
understand that they are still desirable to their husbands. That a
neighbour on seeing them or a passing stranger should say or think “Can it
be possible?”—that is an alms always acceptable to the vanity of women of
low mental capacity. In the reverse instance, to conclude from
Schopenhauer’s proposition, the cleverest and most intelligent women would
tend more than any to exult openly in their condition. For they have the
best prospect of giving birth to an intellectual prodigy, in whom “the
will” can once more “negative” itself for the universal good. Stupid
women, on the other hand, would have every reason to hide their pregnancy
more modestly than anything they hide.—It cannot be said that this view
corresponds to reality. Granted, however, that Schopenhauer was right on
the general principle that women show more self-satisfaction when pregnant
than at any other time, a better explanation than this lies to hand. One
might imagine the clucking of a hen even before she lays an egg, saying,
“Look! look! I shall lay an egg! I shall lay an egg!”



18.


THE MODERN DIOGENES.—Before we look for man, we must have found the
lantern.—Will it have to be the Cynic’s lantern?



19.


IMMORALISTS.—Moralists must now put up with being rated as immoralists,
because they dissect morals. He, however, who would dissect must kill, but
only in order that we may know more, judge better, live better, not in
order that all the world may dissect. Unfortunately, men still think that
every moralist in his every action must be a pattern for others to
imitate. They confound him with the preacher of morality. The older
moralists did not dissect enough and preached too often, whence that
confusion and the unpleasant consequences for our latter-day moralists are
derived.



20.


A CAUTION AGAINST CONFUSION.—There are moralists who treat the strong,
noble, self-denying attitude of such beings as the heroes of Plutarch, or
the pure, enlightened, warmth-giving state of soul peculiar to truly good
men and women, as difficult scientific problems. They investigate the
origin of such phenomena, indicating the complex element in the apparent
simplicity, and directing their gaze to the tangled skein of motives, the
delicate web of conceptual illusions, and the sentiments of individuals or
of groups, that are a legacy of ancient days gradually increased. Such
moralists are very different from those with whom they are most commonly
confounded, from those petty minds that do not believe at all in these
modes of thought and states of soul, and imagine their own poverty to be
hidden somewhere behind the glamour of greatness and purity. The moralists
say, “Here are problems,” and these pitiable creatures say, “Here are
impostors and deceptions.” Thus the latter deny the existence of the very
things which the former are at pains to explain.



21.


_Man as the Measurer._—Perhaps all human morality had its origin in the
tremendous excitement that seized primitive man when he discovered measure
and measuring, scales and weighing (for the word _Mensch_ [man] means “the
measurer”—he wished to _name_ himself after his greatest discovery!). With
these ideas they mounted into regions that are quite beyond all measuring
and weighing, but did not appear to be so in the beginning.



22.


_The Principle of Equilibrium._—The robber and the man of power who
promises to protect a community from robbers are perhaps at bottom beings
of the same mould, save that the latter attains his ends by other means
than the former—that is to say, through regular imposts paid to him by the
community, and no longer through forced contributions. (The same relation
exists between merchant and pirate, who for a long period are one and the
same person: where the one function appears to them inadvisable, they
exercise the other. Even to-day mercantile morality is really nothing but
a refinement on piratical morality—buying in the cheapest market, at prime
cost if possible, and selling in the dearest.) The essential point is that
the man of power promises to maintain the equilibrium against the robber,
and herein the weak find a possibility of living. For either they must
group themselves into an equivalent power, or they must subject themselves
to some one of equivalent power (_i.e._ render service in return for his
efforts). The latter course is generally preferred, because it really
keeps two dangerous beings in check—the robber through the man of power,
and the man of power through the standpoint of advantage; for the latter
profits by treating his subjects with graciousness and tolerance, in order
that they may support not only themselves but their ruler. As a matter of
fact, conditions may still be hard and cruel enough, yet in comparison
with the complete annihilation that was formerly always a possibility, men
breathe freely.—The community is at first the organisation of the weak to
counterbalance menacing forces. An organisation to outweigh those forces
would be more advisable, if its members grew strong enough to destroy the
adverse power: and when it is a question of one mighty oppressor, the
_attempt will_ certainly be made. But if the one man is the head of a
clan, or if he has a large following, a rapid and decisive annihilation is
improbable, and a long or permanent feud is only to be expected. This
feud, however, involves the least desirable condition for the community,
for it thereby loses the time to provide for its means of subsistence with
the necessary regularity, and sees the product of all work hourly
threatened. Hence the community prefers to raise its power of attack and
defence to the exact plane on which the power of its dangerous neighbour
stands, and to give him to understand that an equal weight now lies in its
own side of the scales—so why not be good friends?—Thus equilibrium is a
most important conception for the understanding of the ancient doctrines
of law and morals. Equilibrium is, in fact, the basis of justice. When
justice in ruder ages says, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” it
presupposes the attainment of this equilibrium and tries to maintain it by
means of this compensation; so that, when crime is committed, the injured
party will not take the revenge of blind anger. By means of the _jus
talionis_ the equilibrium of the disturbed relations of power is restored,
for in such primitive times an eye or an arm more means a bit more power,
more weight.—In a community where all consider themselves equal, disgrace
and punishment await crime—that is, violations of the principle of
equilibrium. Disgrace is thrown into the scale as a counter-weight against
the encroaching individual, who has gained profit by his encroachment, and
now suffers losses (through disgrace) which annul and outweigh the
previous profits. Punishment, in the same way, sets up a far greater
counter-weight against the preponderance which every criminal hopes to
obtain—imprisonment as against a deed of violence, restitution and fines
as against theft. Thus the sinner is reminded that his action has excluded
him from the community and from its moral advantages, since the community
treats him as an inferior, a weaker brother, an outsider. For this reason
punishment is not merely retaliation, but has something more, something of
the cruelty of the state of nature, and of this it would serve as a
reminder.



23.


WHETHER THE ADHERENTS OF THE DOCTRINE OF FREE WILL HAVE A RIGHT TO
PUNISH?—Men whose vocation it is to judge and punish try to establish in
every case whether an evil-doer is really responsible for his act, whether
he was able to apply his reasoning powers, whether he acted with motives
and not unconsciously or under constraint. If he is punished, it is
because he preferred the worse to the better motives, which he must
consequently have known. Where this knowledge is wanting, man is,
according to the prevailing view, not responsible—unless his ignorance,
_e.g._ his _ignorantia legis_, be the consequence of an intentional
neglect to learn what he ought: in that case he already preferred the
worse to the better motives at the time when he refused to learn, and must
now pay the penalty of his unwise choice. If, on the other hand, perhaps
through stupidity or shortsightedness, he has never seen the better
motives, he is generally not punished, for people say that he made a wrong
choice, he acted like a brute beast. The intentional rejection of the
better reason is now needed before we treat the offender as fit to be
punished. But how can any one be intentionally more unreasonable than he
ought to be? Whence comes the decision, if the scales are loaded with good
and bad motives? So the origin is not error or blindness, not an internal
or external constraint? (It should furthermore be remembered that every
so-called “external constraint” is nothing more than the internal
constraint of fear and pain.) Whence? is the repeated question. So reason
is not to be the cause of action, because reason cannot decide against the
better motives? Thus we call “free will” to our aid. Absolute discretion
is to decide, and a moment is to intervene when no motive exercises an
influence, when the deed is done as a miracle, resulting from nothing.
This assumed discretion is punished in a case where no discretion should
rule. Reason, which knows law, prohibition, and command, should have left
no choice, they say, and should have acted as a constraint and a higher
power. Hence the offender is punished because he makes use of “free
will”—in other words, has acted without motive where he should have been
guided by motives. But why did he do it? This question must not even be
asked; the deed was done without a “Why?” without motive, without origin,
being a thing purposeless, unreasoned.—However, according to the
above-named preliminary condition of punishability, such a deed should not
be punished at all! Moreover, even this reason for punishing should not
hold good, that in this case something had _not_ been done, had been
omitted, that reason had not been used at all: for at any rate the
omission was unintentional, and only intentional omission is considered
punishable. The offender has indeed preferred the worse to the better
motives, but without motive and purpose: he has indeed failed to apply his
reason, but not exactly with the object of not applying it. The very
assumption made in the case of punishable crime, that the criminal
intentionally renounced his reason, is removed by the hypothesis of “free
will.” According to your own principles, you must not punish, you
adherents of the doctrine of free will!—These principles are, however,
nothing but a very marvellous conceptual mythology, and the hen that
hatched them has brooded on her eggs far away from all reality.



24.


JUDGING THE CRIMINAL AND HIS JUDGE.—The criminal, who knows the whole
concatenation of circumstances, does not consider his act so far beyond
the bounds of order and comprehension as does his judge. His punishment,
however, is measured by the degree of astonishment that seizes the judge
when he finds the crime incomprehensible.—If the defending counsel’s
knowledge of the case and its previous history extends far enough, the
so-called extenuating circumstances which he duly pleads must end by
absolving his client from all guilt. Or, to put it more plainly, the
advocate will, step by step, tone down and finally remove the astonishment
of the judge, by forcing every honest listener to the tacit avowal, “He
was bound to act as he did, and if we punished, we should be punishing
eternal Necessity.”—Measuring the punishment by the degree of knowledge we
possess or can obtain of the previous history of the crime—is that not in
conflict with all equity?



25.


EXCHANGE AND EQUITY.—In an exchange, the only just and honest course would
be for either party to demand only so much as he considers his commodity
to be worth, allowance being made for trouble in acquisition, scarcity,
time spent and so forth, besides the subjective value. As soon as you make
your price bear a relation to the other’s need, you become a refined sort
of robber and extortioner.—If money is the sole medium of exchange, we
must remember that a shilling is by no means the same thing in the hands
of a rich heir, a farm labourer, a merchant, and a university student. It
would be equitable for every one to receive much or little for his money,
according as he has done much or little to earn it. In practice, as we all
know, the reverse is the case. In the world of high finance the shilling
of the idle rich man can buy more than that of the poor, industrious man.



26.


LEGAL CONDITIONS AS MEANS.—Law, where it rests upon contracts between
equals, holds good so long as the power of the parties to the contract
remains equal or similar. Wisdom created law to end all feuds and useless
expenditure among men on an equal footing. Quite as definite an end is put
to this waste, however, when one party has become decidedly weaker than
the other. Subjection enters and law ceases, but the result is the same as
that attained by law. For now it is the wisdom of the superior which
advises to spare the inferior and not uselessly to squander his strength.
Thus the position of the inferior is often more favourable than that of
the equal.—Hence legal conditions are temporary _means_ counselled by
wisdom, and not ends.



27.


EXPLANATION OF MALICIOUS JOY.—Malicious joy arises when a man consciously
finds himself in evil plight and feels anxiety or remorse or pain. The
misfortune that overtakes B. makes him equal to A., and A. is reconciled
and no longer envious.—If A. is prosperous, he still hoards up in his
memory B.’s misfortune as a capital, so as to throw it in the scale as a
counter-weight when he himself suffers adversity. In this case too he
feels “malicious joy” (_Schadenfreude_). The sentiment of equality thus
applies its standard to the domain of luck and chance. Malicious joy is
the commonest expression of victory and restoration of equality, even in a
higher state of civilisation. This emotion has only been in existence
since the time when man learnt to look upon another as his equal—in other
words, since the foundation of society.



28.


THE ARBITRARY ELEMENT IN THE AWARD OF PUNISHMENT.—To most criminals
punishment comes just as illegitimate children come to women. They have
done the same thing a hundred times without any bad consequences. Suddenly
comes discovery, and with discovery punishment. Yet habit should make the
deed for which the criminal is punished appear more excusable, for he has
developed a propensity that is hard to resist. Instead of this, the
criminal is punished more severely if the suspicion of habitual crime
rests on him, and habit is made a valid reason against all extenuation. On
the other hand, a model life, wherein crime shows up in more terrible
contrast, should make the guilt appear more heavy! But here the custom is
to soften the punishment. Everything is measured not from the standpoint
of the criminal but from that of society and its losses and dangers. The
previous utility of an individual is weighed against his one nefarious
action, his previous criminality is added to that recently discovered, and
punishment is thus meted out as highly as possible. But if we thus punish
or reward a man’s past (for in the former case the diminution of
punishment is a reward) we ought to go farther back and punish and reward
the cause of his past—I mean parents, teachers, society. In many instances
we shall then find the _judges_ somehow or other sharing in the guilt. It
is arbitrary to stop at the criminal himself when we punish his past: if
we will not grant the absolute excusability of every crime, we should stop
at each individual case and probe no farther into the past—in other words,
isolate guilt and not connect it with previous actions. Otherwise we sin
against logic. The teachers of free will should draw the inevitable
conclusion from their doctrine of “free will” and boldly decree: “No
action has a past.”



29.


ENVY AND HER NOBLER SISTER.—Where equality is really recognised and
permanently established, we see the rise of that propensity that is
generally considered immoral, and would scarcely be conceivable in a state
of nature—envy. The envious man is susceptible to every sign of individual
superiority to the common herd, and wishes to depress every one once more
to the level—or raise himself to the superior plane. Hence arise two
different modes of action, which Hesiod designated good and bad Eris. In
the same way, in a condition of equality there arises indignation if A. is
prosperous above and B. unfortunate beneath their deserts and equality.
These latter, however, are emotions of nobler natures. They feel the want
of justice and equity in things that are independent of the arbitrary
choice of men—or, in other words, they desire the equality recognised by
man to be recognised as well by Nature and chance. They are angry that men
of equal merits should not have equal fortune.



30.


THE ENVY OF THE GODS.—“The envy of the Gods” arises when a despised person
sets himself on an equality with his superior (like Ajax), or is made
equal with him by the favour of fortune (like Niobe, the too favoured
mother). In the social class system this envy demands that no one shall
have merits above his station, that his prosperity shall be on a level
with his position, and especially that his self-consciousness shall not
outgrow the limits of his rank. Often the victorious general, or the pupil
who achieves a masterpiece, has experienced “the envy of the gods.”



31.


VANITY AS AN ANTI-SOCIAL AFTERGROWTH.—As men, for the sake of security,
have made themselves equal in order to found communities, but as also this
conception is imposed by a sort of constraint and is entirely opposed to
the instincts of the individual, so, the more universal security is
guaranteed, the more do new offshoots of the old instinct for predominance
appear. Such offshoots appear in the setting-up of class distinctions, in
the demand for professional dignities and privileges, and, generally
speaking, in vanity (manners, dress, speech, and so forth). So soon as
danger to the community is apparent, the majority, who were unable to
assert their preponderance in a time of universal peace, once more bring
about the condition of equality, and for the time being the absurd
privileges and vanities disappear. If the community, however, collapses
utterly and anarchy reigns supreme, there arises the state of nature: an
absolutely ruthless inequality as recounted by Thucydides in the case of
Corcyra. Neither a natural justice nor a natural injustice exists.



32.


EQUITY.—Equity is a development of justice, and arises among such as do
not come into conflict with the communal equality. This more subtle
recognition of the principle of equilibrium is applied to cases where
nothing is prescribed by law. Equity looks forwards and backwards, its
maxim being, “Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you.”
_Aequum_ means: “This principle is conformable to our equality; it tones
down even our small differences to an appearance of equality, and expects
us to be indulgent in cases where we are not compelled to pardon.”



33.


ELEMENTS OF REVENGE.—The word “revenge” is spoken so quickly that it
almost seems as if it could not contain more than one conceptual and
emotional root. Hence we are still at pains to find this root. Our
economists, in the same way, have never wearied of scenting a similar
unity in the word “value,” and of hunting after the primitive root idea of
value. As if all words were not pockets, into which this or that or
several things have been stuffed at once! So “revenge” is now one thing,
now another, and sometimes more composite. Let us first distinguish that
defensive counter-blow, which we strike, almost unconsciously, even at
inanimate objects (such as machinery in motion) that have hurt us. The
notion is to set a check to the object that has hurt us, by bringing the
machine to a stop. Sometimes the force of this counter-blow, in order to
attain its object, will have to be strong enough to shatter the machine.
If the machine be too strong to be disorganised by one man, the latter
will all the same strike the most violent blow he can—as a sort of last
attempt. We behave similarly towards persons who hurt us, at the immediate
sensation of the hurt. If we like to call this an act of revenge, well and
good: but we must remember that here self-preservation alone has set its
cog-wheels of reason in motion, and that after all we do not think of the
doer of the injury but only of ourselves. We act without any idea of doing
injury in return, only with a view to getting away safe and sound.—It
needs time to pass in thought from oneself to one’s adversary and ask
oneself at what point he is most vulnerable. This is done in the second
variety of revenge, the preliminary idea of which is to consider the
vulnerability and susceptibility of the other. The intention then is to
give pain. On the other hand, the idea of securing himself against further
injury is in this case so entirely outside the avenger’s horizon, that he
almost regularly brings about his own further injury and often foresees it
in cold blood. If in the first sort of revenge it was the fear of a second
blow that made the counter-blow as strong as possible, in this case there
is an almost complete indifference to what one’s adversary will do: the
strength of the counter-blow is only determined by what he has _already_
done to us. Then what has he done? What profit is it to us if he is now
suffering, after we have suffered through him? This is a case of
readjustment, whereas the first act of revenge only serves the purpose of
self-preservation. It may be that through our adversary we have lost
property, rank, friends, children—these losses are not recovered by
revenge, the readjustment only concerns a subsidiary loss which is added
to all the other losses. The revenge of readjustment does not preserve one
from further injury, it does not make good the injury already
suffered—except in one case. If our honour has suffered through our
adversary, revenge can restore it. But in any case honour _has_ suffered
an injury if intentional harm has been done us, because our adversary
proved thereby that he was not afraid of us. By revenge we prove that we
are not afraid of him either, and herein lies the settlement, the
readjustment. (The intention of showing their complete lack of fear goes
so far in some people that the dangers of revenge—loss of health or life
or other losses—are in their eyes an indispensable condition of every
vengeful act. Hence they practise the duel, although the law also offers
them aid in obtaining satisfaction for what they have suffered. They are
not satisfied with a safe means of recovering their honour, because this
would not prove their fearlessness.)—In the first-named variety of revenge
it is just fear that strikes the counter-blow; in the second case it is
the absence of fear, which, as has been said, wishes to manifest itself in
the counter-blow.—Thus nothing appears more different than the motives of
the two courses of action which are designated by the one word “revenge.”
Yet it often happens that the avenger is not precisely certain as to what
really prompted his deed: perhaps he struck the counterblow from fear and
the instinct of self-preservation, but in the background, when he has time
to reflect upon the standpoint of wounded honour, he imagines that he has
avenged himself for the sake of his honour—this motive is in any case more
_reputable_ than the other. An essential point is whether he sees his
honour injured in the eyes of others (the world) or only in the eyes of
his offenders: in the latter case he will prefer secret, in the former
open revenge. Accordingly, as he enters strongly or feebly into the soul
of the doer and the spectator, his revenge will be more bitter or more
tame. If he is entirely lacking in this sort of imagination, he will not
think at all of revenge, as the feeling of “honour” is not present in him,
and accordingly cannot be wounded. In the same way, he will not think of
revenge if he despises the offender and the spectator; because as objects
of his contempt they cannot give him honour, and accordingly cannot rob
him of honour. Finally, he will forego revenge in the not uncommon case of
his loving the offender. It is true that he then suffers loss of honour in
the other’s eyes, and will perhaps become less worthy of having his love
returned. But even to renounce all requital of love is a sacrifice that
love is ready to make when its only object is to avoid hurting the beloved
object: this would mean hurting oneself more than one is hurt by the
sacrifice.—Accordingly, every one will avenge himself, unless he be bereft
of honour or inspired by contempt or by love for the offender. Even if he
turns to the law-courts, he desires revenge as a private individual; but
also, as a thoughtful, prudent man of society, he desires the revenge of
society upon one who does not respect it. Thus by legal punishment private
honour as well as that of society is restored—that is to say, punishment
is revenge. Punishment undoubtedly contains the first-mentioned element of
revenge, in as far as by its means society helps to preserve itself, and
strikes a counter-blow in self-defence. Punishment desires to prevent
further injury, to scare other offenders. In this way the two elements of
revenge, different as they are, are united in punishment, and this may
perhaps tend most of all to maintain the above-mentioned confusion of
ideas, thanks to which the individual avenger generally does not know what
he really wants.



34.


THE VIRTUES THAT DAMAGE US.—As members of communities we think we have no
right to exercise certain virtues which afford us great honour and some
pleasure as private individuals (for example, indulgence and favour
towards miscreants of all kinds)—in short, every mode of action whereby
the advantage of society would suffer through our virtue. No bench of
judges, face to face with its conscience, may permit itself to be
gracious. This privilege is reserved for the king as an individual, and we
are glad when he makes use of it, proving that we should like to be
gracious individually, but not collectively. Society recognises only the
virtues profitable to her, or at least not injurious to her—virtues like
justice, which are exercised without loss, or, in fact, at compound
interest. The virtues that damage us cannot have originated in society,
because even now opposition to them arises in every small society that is
in the making. Such virtues are therefore those of men of unequal
standing, invented by the superior individuals; they are the virtues of
rulers, and the idea underlying them is: “I am mighty enough to put up
with an obvious loss; that is a proof of my power.” Thus they are virtues
closely akin to pride.



35.


THE CASUISTRY OF ADVANTAGE.—There would be no moral casuistry if there
were no casuistry of advantage. The most free and refined intelligence is
often incapable of choosing between two alternatives in such a way that
his choice necessarily involves the greater advantage. In such cases we
choose because we must, and afterwards often feel a kind of emotional
sea-sickness.



36.


TURNING HYPOCRITE.—Every beggar turns hypocrite, like every one who makes
his living out of indigence, be it personal or public.—The beggar does not
feel want nearly so keenly as he must make others feel it, if he wishes to
make a living by mendicancy.



37.


A SORT OF CULT OF THE PASSIONS.—You hypochondriacs, you philosophic
blind-worms talk of the formidable nature of human passions, in order to
inveigh against the dreadsomeness of the whole world-structure. As if the
passions were always and everywhere formidable! As if this sort of terror
must always exist in the world!—Through a carelessness in small matters,
through a deficiency in observation of self and of the rising generation,
you have yourselves allowed your passions to develop into such unruly
monsters that you are frightened now at the mere mention of the word
“passion”! It rests with you and it rests with us to divest the passions
of their formidable features and so to dam them that they do not become
devastating floods.—We must not exalt our errors into eternal fatalities.
Rather shall we honestly endeavour to convert all the passions of humanity
into sources of joy.(18)



38.


THE STING OF CONSCIENCE.—The sting of conscience, like the gnawing of a
dog at a stone, is mere foolishness.



39.


ORIGIN OF RIGHTS.—Rights may be traced to traditions, traditions to
momentary agreements. At some time or other men were mutually content with
the consequences of making an agreement, and, again, too indolent formally
to renew it. Thus they went on living as if it had constantly been
renewed, and gradually, when oblivion cast its veil over the origin, they
thought they possessed a sacred, unalterable foundation on which every
generation would be compelled to build. Tradition was now a constraint,
even if it no more involved the profit originally derived from making the
agreement.—Here the weak have always found their strong fortress. They are
inclined to immortalise the momentary agreement, the single act of favour
shown towards them.



40.


THE SIGNIFICANCE OF OBLIVION IN MORAL SENTIMENT.—The same actions that in
primitive society first aimed at the common advantage were later on
performed from other motives: from fear or reverence of those who demanded
and recommended them; or from habit, because men had seen them done about
them from childhood upwards; or from kindness, because the practising of
them caused delight and approving looks on all sides; or from vanity,
because they were praised. Such actions, in which the fundamental motive,
that of utility, has been _forgotten_, are then called moral; not, indeed,
because they are done from those other motives, but because they are not
done with a conscious purpose of utility.—Whence the hatred of utility
that suddenly manifests itself here, and by which all praiseworthy actions
formally exclude all actions for the sake of utility?—Clearly society, the
rallying-point of all morality and of all maxims in praise of moral
action, has had to battle too long and too fiercely with the selfishness
and obstinacy of the individual not to rate every motive morally higher
than utility. Hence it looks as if morals had not sprung from utility,
whereas in fact morals are originally the public utility, which had great
difficulty in prevailing over the interests of the unit and securing a
loftier reputation.



41.


THE HEIRS TO THE WEALTH OF MORALITY.—Even in the domain of morals there is
an inherited wealth, which is owned by the gentle, the good-tempered, the
compassionate, the indulgent. They have inherited from their forefathers
their gentle mode of action, but not common sense (the source of that mode
of action). The pleasant thing about this wealth is that one must always
bestow and communicate a portion of it, if its presence is to be felt at
all. Thus this wealth unconsciously aims at bridging the gulf between the
morally rich and the morally poor, and, what is its best and most
remarkable feature, not for the sake of a future mean between rich and
poor, but for the sake of a universal prosperity and superfluity.—Such may
be the prevailing view of inherited moral wealth, but it seems to me that
this view is maintained more _in majorem gloriam_ of morality than in
honour of truth. Experience at least establishes a maxim which must serve,
if not as a refutation, at any rate as an important check upon that
generalisation. Without the most exquisite intelligence, says experience,
without the most refined capacity for choice and a strong propensity to
observe the mean, the morally rich will become spendthrifts of morality.
For by abandoning themselves without restraint to their compassionate,
gentle, conciliatory, harmonising instincts, they make all about them more
careless, more covetous, and more sentimental. The children of these
highly moral spendthrifts easily and (sad to relate) at best become
pleasant but futile wasters.



42.


THE JUDGE AND EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES.—“One should behave as a man of
honour even towards the devil and pay his debts,” said an old soldier,
when the story of Faust had been related to him in rather fuller detail.
“Hell is the right place for Faust!” “You are terrible, you men!” cried
his wife; “how can that be? After all, his only fault was having no ink in
his ink-stand! It is indeed a sin to write with blood, but surely for that
such a handsome man ought not to burn in Hell-fire?”



43.


PROBLEM OF THE DUTY OF TRUTH.—Duty is an imperious sentiment that forces
us to action. We call it good, and consider it outside the pale of
discussion. The origin, limits, and justification of duty we will not
debate or allow to be debated. But the thinker considers everything an
evolution and every evolution a subject for discussion, and is accordingly
without duty so long as he is merely a thinker. As such, he would not
recognise the duty of seeing and speaking the truth; he would not _feel_
the sentiment at all. He asks, whence comes it and whither will it go? But
even this questioning appears to him questionable. Surely, however, the
consequence would be that the thinker’s machinery would no longer work
properly if he could really feel himself unencumbered by duty in the
search for knowledge? It would appear, then, that for fuel the same
element is necessary as must be investigated by means of the
machine.—Perhaps the formula will be: granted there were a duty of
recognising truth, what is then the truth in regard to every other kind of
duty?—But is not a hypothetical sense of duty a contradiction in terms?



44.


GRADES OF MORALS.—Morality is primarily a means of preserving the
community and saving it from destruction. Next it is a means of
maintaining the community on a certain plane and in a certain degree of
benevolence. Its motives are fear and hope, and these in a more coarse,
rough, and powerful form, the more the propensity towards the perverse,
one-sided, and personal still persists. The most terrible means of
intimidation must be brought into play so long as milder forms have no
effect and that twofold species of preservation cannot be attained. (The
strongest intimidation, by the way, is the invention of a hereafter with a
hell everlasting.) For this purpose we must have racks and torturers of
the soul. Further grades of morality, and accordingly means to the end
referred to, are the commandments of a God (as in the Mosaic law). Still
further and higher are the commandments of an absolute sense of duty with
a “Thou shalt”—all rather roughly hewn yet _broad_ steps, because on the
finer, narrower steps men cannot yet set their feet. Then comes a morality
of inclination, of taste, finally of insight—which is beyond all the
illusory motives of morality, but has convinced itself that humanity for
long periods could be allowed no other.



45.


THE MORALITY OF PITY IN THE MOUTHS OF THE INTEMPERATE.—All those who are
not sufficiently masters of themselves and do not know morality as a
self-control and self-conquest continuously exercised in things great and
small, unconsciously come to glorify the good, compassionate, benevolent
impulses of that instinctive morality which has no head, but seems merely
to consist of a heart and helpful hands. It is to their interest even to
cast suspicion upon a morality of reason and to set up the other as the
sole morality.



46.


SEWERS OF THE SOUL.—Even the soul must have its definite sewers, through
which it can allow its filth to flow off: for this purpose it may use
persons, relations, social classes, its native country, or the world, or
finally—for the wholly arrogant (I mean our modern “pessimists”)—_le bon
Dieu_.



47.


A KIND OF REST AND CONTEMPLATION.—Beware lest your rest and contemplation
resemble that of a dog before a butcher’s stall, prevented by fear from
advancing and by greed from retiring, and opening its eyes wide as though
they were mouths.



48.


PROHIBITIONS WITHOUT REASONS.—A prohibition, the reason of which we do not
understand or admit, is almost a command, not only for the stiff-necked
but for the thirster after knowledge. We at once make an experiment in
order to learn _why_ the prohibition was made. Moral prohibitions, like
those of the Decalogue, are only suited to ages when reason lies
vanquished. Nowadays a prohibition like “Thou shalt not kill,” “Thou shalt
not commit adultery,” laid down without reasons, would have an injurious
rather than a beneficial effect.



49.


CHARACTER PORTRAIT.—What sort of a man is it that can say of himself: “I
despise very easily, but never hate. I at once find out in every man
something which can be honoured and for which I honour him: the so-called
amiable qualities attract me but little”?



50.


PITY AND CONTEMPT.—The expression of pity is regarded as a sign of
contempt, because one has clearly ceased to be an object of _fear_ as soon
as one becomes an object of pity. One has sunk below the level of the
equilibrium. For this equilibrium does not satisfy human vanity, which is
only satisfied by the feeling that one is imposing respect and awe. Hence
it is difficult to explain why pity is so highly prized, just as we need
to explain why the unselfish man, who is originally despised or feared as
being artful, is praised.



51.


THE CAPACITY OF BEING SMALL.—We must be as near to flowers, grasses, and
butterflies as a child, that is, not much bigger than they. We adults have
grown up beyond them and have to stoop to them. I think the grasses hate
us when we confess our love for them.—He who would have a share in all
good things must understand at times how to be small.



52.


THE SUM-TOTAL OF CONSCIENCE.—The sum-total of our conscience is all that
has regularly been demanded of us, without reason, in the days of our
childhood, by people whom we respected or feared. From conscience comes
that feeling of obligation (“This I must do, this omit”) which does not
ask, Why must I?—In all cases where a thing is done with “because” and
“why,” man acts without conscience, but not necessarily on that account
_against_ conscience.—The belief in authority is the source of conscience;
which is therefore not the voice of God in the heart of man, but the voice
of some men in man.



53.


CONQUEST OF THE PASSIONS.—The man who has overcome his passions has
entered into possession of the most fruitful soil, like the colonist who
has become lord over bogs and forests. To sow the seed of spiritual good
works on the soil of the vanquished passions is the next and most urgent
task. The conquest itself is a means, not an end: if it be not so
regarded, all kind of weeds and devil’s crop quickly spring up upon the
fertile soil that has been cleared, and soon the growth is all wilder and
more luxuriant than before.



54.


SKILL IN SERVICE.—All so-called practical men have skill in service,
whether it be serving others or themselves; this is what makes them
practical. Robinson owned a servant even better than Friday—his name was
Crusoe.



55.


DANGER IN SPEECH TO INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM.—Every word is a preconceived
judgment.



56.


INTELLECT AND BOREDOM.—The proverb, “The Hungarian is far too lazy to feel
bored,” gives food for thought. Only the highest and most active animals
are capable of being bored.—The boredom of God on the seventh day of
Creation would be a subject for a great poet.



57.


INTERCOURSE WITH ANIMALS.—The origin of our morality may still be observed
in our relations with animals. Where advantage or the reverse do not come
into play, we have a feeling of complete irresponsibility. For example, we
kill or wound insects or let them live, and as a rule think no more about
it. We are so clumsy that even our gracious acts towards flowers and small
animals are almost always murderous: this does not in the least detract
from our pleasure in them.—To-day is the festival of the small animals,
the most sultry day of the year. There is a swarming and crawling around
us, and we, without intention, but also without reflection, crush here and
there a little fly or winged beetle.—If animals do us harm, we strive to
_annihilate_ them in every possible way. The means are often cruel enough,
even without our really intending them to be so—it is the cruelty of
thoughtlessness. If they are useful, we turn them to advantage, until a
more refined wisdom teaches us that certain animals amply reward a
different mode of treatment, that of tending and breeding. Here
responsibility first arises. Torturing is avoided in the case of the
domestic animal. One man is indignant if another is cruel to his cow,
quite in accordance with the primitive communal morality, which sees the
commonwealth in danger whenever an individual does wrong. He who perceives
any transgression in the community fears indirect harm to himself. Thus we
fear in this case for the quality of meat, agriculture, and means of
communication if we see the domestic animals ill-treated. Moreover, he who
is harsh to animals awakens a suspicion that he is also harsh to men who
are weak, inferior, and incapable of revenge. He is held to be ignoble and
deficient in the finer form of pride. Thus arises a foundation of moral
judgments and sentiments, but the greatest contribution is made by
superstition. Many animals incite men by glances, tones, and gestures to
transfer themselves into them in imagination, and some religions teach us,
under certain circumstances, to see in animals the dwelling-place of human
and divine souls: whence they recommend a nobler caution or even a
reverential awe in intercourse with animals. Even after the disappearance
of this superstition the sentiments awakened by it continue to exercise
their influence, to ripen and to blossom.—Christianity, as is well known,
has shown itself in this respect a poor and retrograde religion.



58.


NEW ACTORS.—Among human beings there is no greater banality than death.
Second in order, because it is possible to die without being born, comes
birth, and next comes marriage. But these hackneyed little tragi-comedies
are always presented, at each of their unnumbered and innumerable
performances, by new actors, and accordingly do not cease to find
interested spectators: whereas we might well believe that the whole
audience of the world-theatre had long since hanged themselves to every
tree from sheer boredom at these performances. So much depends on new
actors, so little on the piece.



59.


WHAT IS “BEING OBSTINATE”?—The shortest way is not the straightest
possible, but that wherein favourable winds swell our sails. So says the
wisdom of seamen. Not to follow his course is obstinate, firmness of
character being then adulterated by stupidity.



60.


THE WORD “VANITY.”—It is annoying that certain words, with which we
moralists positively cannot dispense, involve in themselves a kind of
censorship of morals, dating from the times when the most ordinary and
natural impulses were denounced. Thus that fundamental conviction that on
the waves of society we either find navigable waters or suffer shipwreck
far more through what we appear than through what we are (a conviction
that must act as guiding principle of all action in relation to society)
is branded with the general word “vanity.” In other words, one of the most
weighty and significant of qualities is branded with an expression which
denotes it as essentially empty and negative: a great thing is designated
by a diminutive, ay, even slandered by the strokes of caricature. There is
no help for it; we must use such words, but then we must shut our ears to
the insinuations of ancient habits.



61.


THE FATALISM OF THE TURK.—The fatalism of the Turk has this fundamental
defect, that it contrasts man and fate as two distinct things. Man, says
this doctrine, may struggle against fate and try to baffle it, but in the
end fate will always gain the victory. Hence the most rational course is
to resign oneself or to live as one pleases. As a matter of fact, every
man is himself a piece of fate. When he thinks that he is struggling
against fate in this way, fate is accomplishing its ends even in that
struggle. The combat is a fantasy, but so is the resignation in fate—all
these fantasies are included in fate.—The fear felt by most people of the
doctrine that denies the freedom of the will is a fear of the fatalism of
the Turk. They imagine that man will become weakly resigned and will stand
before the future with folded hands, because he cannot alter anything of
the future. Or that he will give a free rein to his caprices, because the
predestined cannot be made worse by that course. The follies of men are as
much a piece of fate as are his wise actions, and even that fear of belief
in fate is a fatality. You yourself, you poor timid creature, are that
indomitable _Moira_, which rules even the Gods; whatever may happen, you
are a curse or a blessing, and in any case the fetters wherein the
strongest lies bound: in you the whole future of the human world is
predestined, and it is no use for you to be frightened of yourself.



62.


THE ADVOCATE OF THE DEVIL.—“Only by our own suffering do we become wise,
only by others’ suffering do we become good”—so runs that strange
philosophy which derives all morality from pity and all intellectuality
from the isolation of the individual. Herein this philosophy is the
unconscious pleader for all human deterioration. For pity needs suffering,
and isolation contempt of others.



63.


THE MORAL CHARACTER-MASKS.—In ages when the character-masks of different
classes are definitely fixed, like the classes themselves, moralists will
be seduced into holding the moral character-masks, too, as absolute, and
in delineating them accordingly. Thus Molière is intelligible as the
contemporary of the society of Louis XIV.: in our society of transitions
and intermediate stages he would seem an inspired pedant.



64.


THE MOST NOBLE VIRTUE.—In the first era of the higher humanity courage is
accounted the most noble virtue, in the next justice, in the third
temperance, in the fourth wisdom. In which era do _we_ live? In which do
_you_ live?



65.


A NECESSARY PRELIMINARY.—A man who will not become master of his
irritability, his venomous and vengeful feelings, and his lust, and
attempts to become master in anything else, is as stupid as the farmer who
lays out his field beside a torrent without guarding against that torrent.



66.


WHAT IS TRUTH?—_Schwarzert_ (Melanchthon): We often preach our faith when
we have lost it, and leave not a stone unturned to find it—and then we
often do not preach worst!

_Luther_: Brother, you are really speaking like an angel to-day.

_Schwarzert_: But that is the idea of your enemies, and they apply it to
you.

_Luther_: Then it would be a lie from the devil’s hind-quarters.



67.


THE HABIT OF CONTRASTS.—Superficial, inexact observation sees contrasts
everywhere in nature (for instance, “hot and cold”), where there are no
contrasts, only differences of degree. This bad habit has induced us to
try to understand and interpret even the inner nature, the intellectual
and moral world, in accordance with such contrasts. An infinite amount of
cruelty, arrogance, harshness, estrangement, and coldness has entered into
human emotion, because men imagined they saw contrasts where there were
only transitions.



68.


CAN WE FORGIVE?—How can we forgive them at all, if they know not what they
do? We have nothing to forgive. But does a man ever fully know what he is
doing? And if this point at least remains always debatable, men never have
anything to forgive each other, and indulgence is for the reasonable man
an impossible thing. Finally, if the evil-doers had really known what they
did, we should still only have a right to forgive if we had a right to
accuse and to punish. But we have not that right.



69.


HABITUAL SHAME.—Why do we feel shame when some virtue or merit is
attributed to us which, as the saying goes, “we have not deserved”?
Because we appear to have intruded upon a territory to which we do not
belong, from which we should be excluded, as from a holy place or holy of
holies, which ought not to be trodden by our foot. Through the errors of
others we have, nevertheless, penetrated to it, and we are now swayed
partly by fear, partly by reverence, partly by surprise; we do not know
whether we ought to fly or to enjoy the blissful moment with all its
gracious advantages. In all shame there is a mystery, which seems
desecrated or in danger of desecration through us. All _favour_ begets
shame.—But if it be remembered that we have never really “deserved”
anything, this feeling of shame, provided that we surrender ourselves to
this point of view in a spirit of Christian contemplation, becomes
habitual, because upon such a one God seems continually to be conferring
his blessing and his favours. Apart from this Christian interpretation,
the state of habitual shame will be possible even to the entirely godless
sage, who clings firmly to the basic non-responsibility and
non-meritoriousness of all action and being. If he be treated as if he had
deserved this or that, he will seem to have won his way into a higher
order of beings, who do actually deserve something, who are free and can
really bear the burden of responsibility for their own volition and
capacity. Whoever says to him, “You have deserved it,” appears to cry out
to him, “You are not a human being, but a God.”



70.


THE MOST UNSKILFUL TEACHER.—In one man all his real virtues are implanted
on the soil of his spirit of contradiction, in another on his incapacity
to say “no”—in other words, on his spirit of acquiescence. A third has
made all his morality grow out of his pride as a solitary, a fourth from
his strong social instinct. Now, supposing that the seeds of the virtues
in these four cases, owing to mischance or unskilful teachers, were not
sown on the soil of their nature, which provides them with the richest and
most abundant mould, they would become weak, unsatisfactory men (devoid of
morality). And who would have been the most unskilful of teachers, the
evil genius of these men? The moral fanatic, who thinks that the good can
only grow out of the good and on the soil of the good.



71.


THE CAUTIOUS STYLE.—_A._ But if this were known to _all_, it would be
injurious to the _majority_. You yourself call your opinions dangerous to
those in danger, and yet you make them public?

_B._ I write so that neither the mob, nor the _populi_, nor the parties of
all kinds can read me. So my opinions will never be “public opinions.”

_A._ How do you write, then?

_B._ Neither usefully nor pleasantly—for the three classes I have
mentioned.



72.


DIVINE MISSIONARIES.—Even Socrates feels himself to be a divine
missionary, but I am not sure whether we should not here detect a tincture
of that Attic irony and fondness for jesting whereby this odious, arrogant
conception would be toned down. He talks of the fact without unction—his
images of the gadfly and the horse are simple and not sacerdotal. The real
religious task which he has set himself—to _test_ God in a hundred ways
and see whether he spoke the truth—betrays a bold and free attitude, in
which the missionary walked by the side of his God. This testing of God is
one of the most subtle compromises between piety and free-thinking that
has ever been devised.—Nowadays we do not even need this compromise any
longer.



73.


HONESTY IN PAINTING.—Raphael, who cared a great deal for the Church (so
far as she could pay him), but, like the best men of his time, cared
little for the objects of the Church’s belief, did not advance one step to
meet the exacting, ecstatic piety of many of his patrons. He remained
honest even in that exceptional picture which was originally intended for
a banner in a procession—the Sistine Madonna. Here for once he wished to
paint a vision, but such a vision as even noble youths without “faith” may
and will have—the vision of the future wife, a wise, high-souled, silent,
and very beautiful woman, carrying her first-born in her arms. Let men of
an older generation, accustomed to prayer and devotion, find here, like
the worthy elder on the left, something superhuman to revere. We younger
men (so Raphael seems to call to us) are occupied with the beautiful
maiden on the right, who says to the spectator of the picture, with her
challenging and by no means devout look, “The mother and her child—is not
that a pleasant, inviting sight?” The face and the look are reflected in
the joy in the faces of the beholders. The artist who devised all this
enjoys himself in this way, and adds his own delight to the delight of the
art-lover. As regards the “messianic” expression in the face of the child,
Raphael, honest man, who would not paint any state of soul in which he did
not believe, has amiably cheated his religious admirers. He painted that
freak of nature which is very often found, the man’s eye in the child’s
face, and that, too, the eye of a brave, helpful man who sees distress.
This eye should be accompanied by a beard. The fact that a beard is
wanting, and that two different ages are seen in one countenance, is the
pleasing paradox which believers have interpreted in accordance with their
faith in miracles. The artist could only expect as much from their art of
exposition and interpretation.



74.


PRAYER.—On two hypotheses alone is there any sense in prayer, that not
quite extinct custom of olden times. It would have to be possible either
to fix or alter the will of the godhead, and the devotee would have to
know best himself what he needs and should really desire. Both hypotheses,
axiomatic and traditional in all other religions, are denied by
Christianity. If Christianity nevertheless maintained prayer side by side
with its belief in the all-wise and all-provident divine reason (a belief
that makes prayer really senseless and even blasphemous), it showed here
once more its admirable “wisdom of the serpent.” For an outspoken command,
“Thou shalt not pray,” would have led Christians by way of boredom to the
denial of Christianity. In the Christian _ora et labora ora_ plays the
rôle of pleasure. Without _ora_ what could those unlucky saints who
renounced _labora_ have done? But to have a chat with God, to ask him for
all kinds of pleasant things, to feel a slight amusement at one’s own
folly in still having any wishes at all, in spite of so excellent a
father—all that was an admirable invention for saints.



75.


A HOLY LIE.—The lie that was on Arria’s lips when she died (_Paete, non
dolet_(19)) obscures all the truths that have ever been uttered by the
dying. It is the only holy _lie_ that has become famous, whereas elsewhere
the odour of sanctity has clung only to _errors_.



76.


THE MOST NECESSARY APOSTLE.—Among twelve apostles one must always be hard
as stone, in order that upon him the new church may be built.



77.


WHICH IS MORE TRANSITORY, THE BODY OR THE SPIRIT?—In legal, moral, and
religious institutions the external and concrete elements—in other words,
rites, gestures, and ceremonies—are the most permanent. They are the body
to which a new spirit is constantly being superadded. The cult, like an
unchangeable text, is ever interpreted anew. Concepts and emotions are
fluid, customs are solid.



78.


THE BELIEF IN DISEASE _QUA_ DISEASE.—Christianity first painted the devil
on the wall of the world. Christianity first brought the idea of sin into
the world. The belief in the remedies, which is offered as an antidote,
has gradually been shaken to its very foundations. But the belief in the
disease, which Christianity has taught and propagated, still exists.



79.


SPEECH AND WRITINGS OF RELIGIOUS MEN.—If the priest’s style and general
expression, both in speaking and writing, do not clearly betray the
religious man, we need no longer take his views upon religion and his
pleading for religion seriously. These opinions have become powerless for
him if, judging by his style, he has at command irony, arrogance, malice,
hatred, and all the changing eddies of mood, just like the most
irreligious of men—how far more powerless will they be for his hearers and
readers! In short, he will serve to make the latter still more
irreligious.



80.


THE DANGER IN PERSONALITY.—The more God has been regarded as a personality
in himself, the less loyal have we been to him. Men are far more attached
to their thought-images than to their best beloved. That is why they
sacrifice themselves for State, Church, and even for God—so far as he
remains _their_ creation, their thought, and is not too much looked upon
as a personality. In the latter case they almost always quarrel with him.
After all, it was the most pious of men who let slip that bitter cry: “My
God, why hast thou forsaken me?”



81.


WORLDLY JUSTICE.—It is possible to unhinge worldly justice with the
doctrine of the complete non-responsibility and innocence of every man. An
attempt has been made in the same direction on the basis of the opposite
doctrine of the full responsibility and guilt of every man. It was the
founder of Christianity who wished to abolish worldly justice and banish
judgment and punishment from the world. For he understood all guilt as
“sin”—that is, an outrage against God and not against the world. On the
other hand, he considered every man in a broad sense, and almost in every
sense, a sinner. The guilty, however, are not to be the judges of their
peers—so his rules of equity decided. Thus all dispensers of worldly
justice were in his eyes as culpable as those they condemned, and their
air of guiltlessness appeared to him hypocritical and pharisaical.
Moreover, he looked to the motives and not to the results of actions, and
thought that only one was keen-sighted enough to give a verdict on
motives—himself or, as he expressed it, God.



82.


AN AFFECTATION IN PARTING.—He who wishes to sever his connection with a
party or a creed thinks it necessary for him to refute it. This is a most
arrogant notion. The only thing necessary is that he should clearly see
what tentacles hitherto held him to this party or creed and no longer hold
him, what views impelled him to it and now impel him in some other
directions. We have not joined the party or creed on strict grounds of
knowledge. We should not affect this attitude on parting from it either.



83.


SAVIOUR AND PHYSICIAN.—In his knowledge of the human soul the founder of
Christianity was, as is natural, not without many great deficiencies and
prejudices, and, as physician of the soul, was addicted to that
disreputable, laical belief in a universal medicine. In his methods he
sometimes resembles that dentist who wishes to heal all pain by extracting
the tooth. Thus, for example, he assails sensuality with the advice: “If
thine eye offend thee, pluck it out.”—Yet there still remains the
distinction that the dentist at least attains his object—painlessness for
the patient—although in so clumsy a fashion that he becomes ridiculous;
whereas the Christian who follows that advice and thinks he has killed his
sensuality, is wrong, for his sensuality still lives in an uncanny,
vampire form, and torments him in hideous disguises.



84.


PRISONERS.—One morning the prisoners entered the yard for work, but the
warder was not there. Some, as their manner was, set to work at once;
others stood idle and gazed defiantly around. Then one of them strode
forward and cried, “Work as much as you will or do nothing, it all comes
to the same. Your secret machinations have come to light; the warder has
been keeping his eye on you of late, and will cause a terrible judgment to
be passed upon you in a few days’ time. You know him—he is of a cruel and
resentful disposition. But now, listen: you have mistaken me hitherto. I
am not what I seem, but far more—I am the son of the warder, and can get
anything I like out of him. I can save you—nay, I will save you. But
remember this: I will only save those of you who _believe_ that I am the
son of the prison warder. The rest may reap the fruits of their unbelief.”
“Well,” said an old prisoner after an interval of silence, “what can it
matter to you whether we believe you or not? If you are really the son,
and can do what you say, then put in a good word for us all. That would be
a real kindness on your part. But have done with all talk of belief and
unbelief!” “What is more,” cried a younger man, “I don’t believe him: he
has only got a bee in his bonnet. I’ll wager that in a week’s time we
shall find ourselves in the same place as we are to-day, and the warder
will know nothing.” “And if the warder ever knew anything, he knows it no
longer,” said the last of the prisoners, coming down into the yard at that
moment, “for he has just died suddenly.” “Ah ha!” cried several in
confusion, “ah ha! Sir Son, Sir Son, how stands it now with your title?
Are we by any chance _your_ prisoners now?” “I told you,” answered the man
gently, “I will set free all who believe in me, as surely as my father
still lives.”—The prisoners did not laugh, but shrugged their shoulders
and left him to himself.



85.


THE PERSECUTORS OF GOD.—Paul conceived and Calvin followed up the idea
that countless creatures have been predestined to damnation from time
immemorial, and that this fair world was made in order that the glory of
God might be manifested therein. So heaven and hell and mankind merely
exist to satisfy the vanity of God! What a cruel, insatiable vanity must
have smouldered in the soul of the first or second thinker of such a
thought!—Paul, then, after all, remained Saul—the persecutor of God.



86.


SOCRATES.—If all goes well, the time will come when, in order to advance
themselves on the path of moral reason, men will rather take up the
_Memorabilia_ of Socrates than the Bible, and when Montaigne and Horace
will be used as pioneers and guides for the understanding of Socrates, the
simplest and most enduring of interpretative sages. In him converge the
roads of the most different philosophic modes of life, which are in truth
the modes of the different temperaments, crystallised by reason and habit
and all ultimately directed towards the delight in life and in self. The
apparent conclusion is that the most peculiar thing about Socrates was his
share in all the temperaments. Socrates excels the founder of Christianity
by virtue of his merry style of seriousness and by that wisdom of sheer
roguish pranks which constitutes the best state of soul in a man.
Moreover, he had a superior intelligence.



87.


LEARNING TO WRITE WELL.—The age of good speaking is over, because the age
of city-state culture is over. The limit allowed by Aristotle to the great
city—in which the town-crier must be able to make himself heard by the
whole assembled community—troubles us as little as do any
city-communities, us who even wish to be understood beyond the boundaries
of nations. Therefore every one who is of a good European turn of mind
must learn to _write_ well, and to write better and better. He cannot help
himself, he must learn that: even if he was born in Germany, where bad
writing is looked upon as a national privilege. Better writing means
better thinking; always to discover matter more worthy of communication;
to be able to communicate it properly; to be translateable into the
tongues of neighbouring nations; to make oneself comprehensible to
foreigners who learn our language; to work with the view of making all
that is good common property, and of giving free access everywhere to the
free; finally, to pave the way for that still remote state of things, when
the great task shall come for good Europeans—guidance and guardianship of
the universal world-culture.—Whoever preaches the opposite doctrine of not
troubling about good writing and good reading (both virtues grow together
and decline together) is really showing the peoples a way of becoming more
and more _national_. He is intensifying the malady of this century, and is
a foe to good Europeans, a foe to free spirits.



88.


THE THEORY OF THE BEST STYLE.—The theory of the best style may at one time
be the theory of finding the expression by which we transfer every mood of
ours to the reader and the listener. At another, it may be the theory of
finding expressions for the more desirable human moods, the communication
and transference of which one desires most—for the mood of a man moved
from the depth of his heart, intellectually cheerful, bright, and sincere,
who has conquered his passions. This will be the theory of the best style,
a theory that corresponds to the good man.



89.


PAYING ATTENTION TO MOVEMENT.—The movement of the sentences shows whether
the author be tired. Individual expressions may nevertheless be still
strong and good, because they were invented earlier and for their own
sake, when the thought first flashed across the author’s mind. This is
frequently the case with Goethe, who too often dictated when he was tired.



90.


“ALREADY” AND “STILL.”—_A._ German prose is still very young. Goethe
declares that Wieland is its father.

_B._ So young and already so ugly!

_C._ But, so far as I am aware, Bishop Ulfilas already wrote German prose,
which must therefore be fifteen hundred years old.

_B._ So old and still so ugly!



91.


ORIGINAL GERMAN.—German prose, which is really not fashioned on any
pattern and must be considered an original creation of German taste,
should give the eager advocate of a future original German culture an
indication of how real German dress, German society, German furniture,
German meals would look without the imitation of models.—Some one who had
long reflected on these vistas finally cried in great horror, “But, Heaven
help us, perhaps we already have that original culture—only we don’t like
to talk about it!”



92.


FORBIDDEN BOOKS.—One should never read anything written by those arrogant
wiseacres and puzzle-brains who have the detestable vice of logical
paradox. They apply _logical_ formulæ just where everything is really
improvised at random and built in the air. (“Therefore” with them means,
“You idiot of a reader, this ‘therefore’ does not exist for you, but only
for me.” The answer to this is: “You idiot of a writer, then why do you
write?”)



93.


DISPLAYING ONE’S WIT.—Every one who wishes to display his wit thereby
proclaims that he has also a plentiful lack of wit. That vice which clever
Frenchmen have of adding a touch of _dédain_ to their best ideas arises
from a desire to be considered richer than they really are. They wish to
be carelessly generous, as if weary of continual spending from overfull
treasuries.



94.


FRENCH AND GERMAN LITERATURE.—The misfortune of the French and German
literature of the last hundred years is that the Germans ran away too
early from the French school, and the French, later on, went too early to
the German school.



95.


OUR PROSE.—None of the present-day cultured nations has so bad a prose as
the German. When clever, _blasé_ Frenchmen say, “There is no German
prose,” we ought really not to be angry, for this criticism is more polite
than we deserve. If we look for reasons, we come at last to the strange
phenomenon that the German knows only improvised prose and has no
conception of any other. He simply cannot understand the Italian, who says
that prose is as much harder than poetry as the representation of naked
beauty is harder to the sculptor than that of draped beauty. Verse,
images, rhythm, and rhyme need honest effort—that even the German
realises, and he is not inclined to set a very high value on extempore
poetry. But the notion of working at a page of prose as at a statue sounds
to him like a tale from fairyland.



96.


THE GRAND STYLE.—The grand style comes into being when the beautiful wins
a victory over the monstrous.



97.


DODGING.—We do not realise, in the case of distinguished minds, wherein
lies the excellence of their expression, their turn of phrase, until we
can say what word every mediocre writer would inevitably have hit upon in
expressing the same idea. All great artists, in steering their car, show
themselves prone to dodge and leave the track, but never to fall over.



98.


SOMETHING LIKE BREAD.—Bread neutralises and takes out the taste of other
food, and is therefore necessary to every long meal. In all works of art
there must be something like bread, in order that they may produce divers
effects. If these effects followed one another without occasional pauses
and intervals, they would soon make us weary and provoke disgust—in fact,
a long meal of art would then be impossible.



99.


JEAN PAUL.—Jean Paul knew a great deal, but had no science; understood all
manner of tricks of art, but had no art; found almost everything
enjoyable, but had no taste; possessed feeling and seriousness, but in
dispensing them poured over them a nauseous sauce of tears; had even wit,
but, unfortunately for his ardent desire for it, far too little—whence he
drives the reader to despair by his very lack of wit. In short, he was the
bright, rank-smelling weed that shot up overnight in the fair pleasaunces
of Schiller and Goethe. He was a good, comfortable man, and yet a destiny,
a destiny in a dressing-gown.(20)



100.


PALATE FOR OPPOSITES.—In order to enjoy a work of the past as its
contemporaries enjoyed it, one must have a palate for the prevailing taste
of the age which it attacked.



101.


SPIRITS-OF-WINE AUTHORS.—Many writers are neither spirit nor wine, but
spirits of wine. They can flare up, and then they give warmth.



102.


THE INTERPRETATIVE SENSE.—The sense of taste, as the true interpretative
sense, often talks the other senses over to its point of view and imposes
upon them its laws and customs. At table one can receive disclosures about
the most subtle secrets of the arts; it suffices to observe what tastes
good and when and after what and how long it tastes good.



103.


LESSING.—Lessing had a genuine French talent, and, as writer, went most
assiduously to the French school. He knows well how to arrange and display
his wares in his shop-window. Without this true art his thoughts, like the
objects of them, would have remained rather in the dark, nor would the
general loss be great. His art, however, has taught many (especially the
last generation of German scholars) and has given enjoyment to a countless
number. It is true his disciples had no need to learn from him, as they
often did, his unpleasant tone with its mingling of petulance and
candour.—Opinion is now unanimous on Lessing as “lyric poet,” and will
some day be unanimous on Lessing as “dramatic poet.”



104.


UNDESIRABLE READERS.—How an author is vexed by those stolid, awkward
readers who always fall at every place where they stumble, and always hurt
themselves when they fall!



105.


POETS’ THOUGHTS.—Real thoughts of real poets always go about with a veil
on, like Egyptian women; only the deep _eye_ of thought looks out freely
through the veil.—Poets’ thoughts are as a rule not of such value as is
supposed. We have to pay for the veil and for our own curiosity into the
bargain.



106.


WRITE SIMPLY AND USEFULLY.—Transitions, details, colour in depicting the
passions—we make a present of all these to the author because we bring
them with us and set them down to the credit of his book, provided he
makes us some compensation.



107.


WIELAND.—Wieland wrote German better than any one else, and had the
genuine adequacies and inadequacies of the master. His translations of the
letters of Cicero and Lucian are the best in the language. His ideas,
however, add nothing to our store of thought. We can endure his cheerful
moralities as little as his cheerful immoralities, for both are very
closely connected. The men who enjoyed them were at bottom better men than
we are, but also a good deal heavier. They _needed_ an author of this
sort. The Germans did not need Goethe, and therefore cannot make proper
use of him. We have only to consider the best of our statesmen and artists
in this light. None of them had or _could_ have had Goethe as their
teacher.



108.


RARE FESTIVALS.—Pithy conciseness, repose, and maturity—where you find
these qualities in an author, cry halt and celebrate a great festival in
the desert. It will be long before you have such a treat again.



109.


THE TREASURE OF GERMAN PROSE.—Apart from Goethe’s writings and especially
Goethe’s conversations with Eckermann (the best German book in existence),
what German prose literature remains that is worth reading over and over
again? Lichtenberg’s _Aphorisms_, the first book of Jung-Stilling’s _Story
of My Life_, Adalbert Stifter’s _St. Martin’s Summer_ and Gottfried
Keller’s _People of Seldwyla_—and there, for the time being, it comes to
an end.



110.


LITERARY AND COLLOQUIAL STYLE.—The art of writing demands, first and
foremost, substitutions for the means of expression which speech alone
possesses—in other words, for gestures, accent, intonation, and look.
Hence literary style is quite different from colloquial style, and far
more difficult, because it has to make itself as intelligible as the
latter with fewer accessaries. Demosthenes delivered his speeches
differently from what we read; he worked them up for reading
purposes.—Cicero’s speeches ought to be “demosthenised” with the same
object, for at present they contain more of the Roman Forum than we can
endure.



111.


CAUTION IN QUOTATION.—Young authors do not know that a good expression or
idea only looks well among its peers; that an excellent quotation may
spoil whole pages, nay the whole book; for it seems to cry warningly to
the reader, “Mark you, I am the precious stone, and round about me is
lead—pale, worthless lead!” Every word, every idea only desires to live in
its own company—that is the moral of a choice style.



112.


HOW SHOULD ERRORS BE ENUNCIATED?—We may dispute whether it be more
injurious for errors to be enunciated badly or as well as the best truths.
It is certain that in the former case they are doubly harmful to the brain
and are less easily removed from it. But, on the other hand, they are not
so certain of effect as in the latter case. They are, in fact, less
contagious.



113.


LIMITING AND WIDENING.—Homer limited and diminished the horizon of his
subject, but allowed individual scenes to expand and blossom out. Later,
the tragedians are constantly renewing this process. Each takes his
material in ever smaller and smaller fragments than his predecessor did,
but each attains a greater wealth of blooms within the narrow hedges of
these sequestered garden enclosures.



114.


LITERATURE AND MORALITY MUTUALLY EXPLANATORY.—We can show from Greek
literature by what forces the Greek spirit developed, how it entered upon
different channels, and where it became enfeebled. All this also depicts
to us how Greek morality proceeded, and how all morality will proceed: how
it was at first a constraint and displayed cruelty, then became gradually
milder; how a pleasure in certain actions, in certain forms and
conventions arose, and from this again a propensity for solitary exercise,
for solitary possession; how the track becomes crowded and overcrowded
with competitors; how satiety enters in, new objects of struggle and
ambition are sought, and forgotten aims are awakened to life; how the
drama is repeated, and the spectators become altogether weary of looking
on, because the whole gamut seems to have been run through—and then comes
a stoppage, an expiration, and the rivulets are lost in the sand. The end,
or at any rate _an_ end, has come.



115.


WHAT LANDSCAPES GIVE PERMANENT DELIGHT.—Such and such a landscape has
features eminently suited for painting, but I cannot find the formula for
it; it remains beyond my grasp as a whole. I notice that all landscapes
which please me permanently have a simple geometrical scheme of lines
underneath all their complexity. Without such a mathematical substratum no
scenery becomes artistically pleasing. Perhaps this rule may be applied
symbolically to human beings.



116.


READING ALOUD.—The ability to read aloud involves of necessity the ability
to declaim. Everywhere we must apply pale tints, but we must determine the
degree of pallor in close relation to the richly and deeply coloured
background, that always hovers before our eyes and acts as our guide—in
other words, in accordance with the way in which we should _declaim_ the
same passages. That is why we must be able to declaim.



117.


THE DRAMATIC SENSE.—He who has not the four subtler senses of art tries to
understand everything with the fifth sense, which is the coarsest of
all—the dramatic sense.



118.


HERDER.—Herder fails to be all that he made people think he was and
himself wished to think he was. He was no great thinker or discoverer, no
newly fertile soil with the unexhausted strength of a virgin forest. But
he possessed in the highest degree the power of scenting the future, he
saw and picked the first-fruits of the seasons earlier than all others,
and they then believed that he had made them grow. Between darkness and
light, youth and age, his mind was like a hunter on the watch, looking
everywhere for transitions, depressions, convulsions, the outward and
visible signs of internal growth. The unrest of spring drove him to and
fro, but he was himself not the spring.—At times, indeed, he had some
inkling of this, and yet would fain not have believed it—he, the ambitious
priest, who would have so gladly been the intellectual pope of his epoch!
This is his despair. He seems to have lived long as a pretender to several
kingdoms or even to a universal monarchy. He had his following which
believed in him, among others the young Goethe. But whenever crowns were
really distributed, he was passed over. Kant, Goethe, and then the first
true German historians and scholars robbed him of what he thought he had
reserved for himself (although in silence and secret he often thought the
reverse). Just when he doubted in himself, he gladly clothed himself in
dignity and enthusiasm: these were often in him mere garments, which had
to hide a great deal and also to deceive and comfort him. He really had
fire and enthusiasm, but his ambition was far greater! It blew impatiently
at the fire, which flickered, crackled, and smoked—his _style_ flickers,
crackles, and smokes—but he yearned for the great flame which never broke
out. He did not sit at the table of the genuine creators, and his ambition
did not admit of his sitting modestly among those who simply enjoy. Thus
he was a restless spirit, the taster of all intellectual dishes, which
were collected by the Germans from every quarter and every age in the
course of half a century. Never really happy and satisfied, Herder was
also too often ill, and then at times envy sat by his bed, and hypocrisy
paid her visit as well. He always had an air of being scarred and
crippled, and he lacked simple, stalwart manliness more completely than
any of the so-called “classical writers.”



119.


SCENT OF WORDS.—Every word has its scent; there is a harmony and discord
of scents, and so too of words.



120.


THE FAR-FETCHED STYLE.—The natural style is an offence to the lover of the
far-fetched style.



121.


A VOW.—I will never again read an author of whom one can suspect that he
_wanted_ to make a book, but only those writers whose thoughts
unexpectedly became a book.



122.


THE ARTISTIC CONVENTION.—Three-fourths of Homer is convention, and the
same is the case with all the Greek artists, who had no reason for falling
into the modern craze for originality. They had no fear of convention, for
after all convention was a link between them and their public. Conventions
are the artistic means _acquired_ for the understanding of the hearer; the
common speech, learnt with much toil, whereby the artist can really
communicate his ideas. All the more when he wishes, like the Greek poets
and musicians, to conquer at once with each of his works (since he is
accustomed to compete publicly with one or two rivals), the first
condition is that he must be understood at once, and this is only possible
by means of convention. What the artist devises beyond convention he
offers of his own free will and takes a risk, his success at best
resulting in the setting-up of a new convention. As a rule originality is
marvelled at, sometimes even worshipped, but seldom understood. A stubborn
avoidance of convention means a desire not to be understood. What, then,
is the object of the modern craze for originality?



123.


ARTISTS’ AFFECTATION OF SCIENTIFIC METHOD.—Schiller, like other German
artists, fancied that if a man had intellect he was entitled to improvise
even with the pen on all difficult subjects. So there we see his prose
essays—in every way a model of how _not_ to attack scientific questions of
æsthetics and ethics, and a danger for young readers who, in their
admiration for Schiller the poet, have not the courage to think meanly of
Schiller the thinker and author.—The temptation to traverse for once the
forbidden paths, and to have his say in science as well, is easy and
pardonable in the artist. For even the ablest artist from time to time
finds his handicraft and his workshop unendurable. This temptation is so
strong that it makes the artist show all the world what no one wishes to
see, that his little chamber of thought is cramped and untidy. Why not,
indeed? He does not live there. He proceeds to show that the storeroom of
his knowledge is partly empty, partly filled with lumber. Why not, indeed?
This condition does not really become the artist-child badly. In
particular, the artist shows that for the very easiest exercises of
scientific method, which are accessible even to beginners, his joints are
too stiff and untrained. Even of that he need not really be ashamed! On
the other hand, he often develops no mean art in imitating all the
mistakes, vices, and base pedantries that are practised in the scientific
community, in the belief that these belong to the appearance of the thing,
if not to the thing itself. This is the very point that is so amusing in
artists’ writing, that the artist involuntarily acts as his vocation
demands: he parodies the scientific and inartistic natures. Towards
science he should show no attitude but that of parody, in so far as he is
an artist and only an artist.



124.


THE FAUST-IDEA.—A little sempstress is seduced and plunged into despair: a
great scholar of all the four Faculties is the evil-doer. That cannot have
happened in the ordinary course, surely? No, certainly not! Without the
aid of the devil incarnate, the great scholar would never have achieved
the deed.—Is this really destined to be the greatest German “tragic idea,”
as one hears it said among Germans?—But for Goethe even this idea was too
terrible. His kind heart could not avoid placing the little sempstress,
“the good soul that forgot itself but once,” near to the saints, after her
involuntary death. Even the great scholar, “the good man” with “the dark
impulse,” is brought into heaven in the nick of time, by a trick which is
played upon the devil at the decisive moment. In heaven the lovers find
themselves again. Goethe once said that his nature was too conciliatory
for really tragic subjects.



125.


ARE THERE “GERMAN CLASSICS”?—Sainte-Beuve observes somewhere that the word
“classic” does not suit the genius of certain literatures. For instance,
nobody could talk seriously of “German classics.”—What do our German
publishers, who are about to add fifty more to the fifty German classics
we are told to accept, say to that? Does it not almost seem as if one need
only have been dead for the last thirty years, and lie a lawful prey to
the public,(21) in order to hear suddenly and unexpectedly the trumpet of
resurrection as a “Classic”? And this in an age and a nation where at
least five out of the six great fathers of its literature are undoubtedly
antiquated or becoming antiquated—without there being any need for the age
or the nation to be ashamed of this. For those writers have given way
before the strength of our time—let that be considered in all
fairness!—Goethe, as I have indicated, I do not include. He belongs to a
higher species than “national literatures”: hence life, revival, and decay
do not enter into the reckoning in his relations with his countrymen. He
lived and now lives but for the few; for the majority he is nothing but a
flourish of vanity which is trumpeted from time to time across the border
into foreign ears. Goethe, not merely a great and good man, but a
_culture_, is in German history an interlude without a sequel. Who, for
instance, would be able to point to any trace of Goethe’s influence in
German politics of the last seventy years (whereas the influence,
certainly of Schiller, and perhaps of Lessing, can be traced in the
political world)? But what of those five others? Klopstock, in a most
honourable way, became out of date even in his own lifetime, and so
completely that the meditative book of his later years, _The Republic of
Learning_, has never been taken seriously from that day to this. Herder’s
misfortune was that his writings were always either new or antiquated.
Thus for stronger and more subtle minds (like Lichtenberg) even Herder’s
masterpiece, his _Ideas for the History of Mankind_, was in a way
antiquated at the very moment of its appearance. Wieland, who lived to the
full and made others live likewise, was clever enough to anticipate by
death the waning of his influence. Lessing, perhaps, still lives
to-day—but among a young and ever younger band of scholars. Schiller has
fallen from the hands of young men into those of boys, of all German boys.
It is a well-known sign of obsolescence when a book descends to people of
less and less mature age.—Well, what is it that has thrust these five into
the background, so that well-educated men of affairs no longer read them?
A better taste, a riper knowledge, a higher reverence for the real and the
true: in other words, the very virtues which these five (and ten or twenty
others of lesser repute) first re-planted in Germany, and which now, like
a mighty forest, cast over their graves not only the shadow of awe, but
something of the shadow of oblivion.—But classical writers are not
planters of intellectual and literary virtues. They bring those virtues to
perfection and are their highest luminous peaks, and being brighter,
freer, and purer than all that surrounds them, they remain shining above
the nations when the nations themselves perish. There may come an elevated
stage of humanity, in which the Europe of the peoples is a dark, forgotten
thing, but Europe lives on in thirty books, very old but never
antiquated—in the classics.



126.


INTERESTING, BUT NOT BEAUTIFUL.—This countryside conceals its meaning, but
it has one that we should like to guess. Everywhere that I look, I read
words and hints of words, but I do not know where begins the sentence that
solves the riddle of all these hints. So I get a stiff neck in trying to
discover whether I should start reading from this or that point.



127.


AGAINST INNOVATORS IN LANGUAGE.—The use of neologisms or archaisms, the
preference for the rare and the bizarre, the attempt to enrich rather than
to limit the vocabulary, are always signs either of an immature or of a
corrupted taste. A noble poverty but a masterly freedom within the limits
of that modest wealth distinguishes the Greek artists in oratory. They
wish to have less than the people has—for the people is richest in old and
new—but they wish to have that little _better_. The reckoning up of their
archaic and exotic forms is soon done, but we never cease marvelling if we
have an eye for their light and delicate manner in handling the
commonplace and apparently long outworn elements in word and phrase.



128.


GLOOMY AND SERIOUS AUTHORS.—He who commits his sufferings to paper becomes
a gloomy author, but he becomes a serious one if he tells us what he _has_
suffered and why he is now enjoying a pleasurable repose.



129.


HEALTHINESS OF TASTE.—How is it that health is less contagious than
disease—generally, and particularly in matters of taste? Or are there
epidemics of health?



130.


A RESOLUTION.—Never again to read a book that is born and christened (with
ink) at the same moment.



131.


IMPROVING OUR IDEAS.—Improving our style means improving our ideas, and
nothing else. He who does not at once concede this can never be convinced
of the point.



132.


CLASSICAL BOOKS.—The weakest point in every classical book is that it is
written too much in the mother tongue of its author.



133.


BAD BOOKS.—The book should demand pen, ink, and desk, but usually it is
pen, ink, and desk that demand the book. That is why books are of so
little account at present.



134.


PRESENCE OF SENSE.—When the public reflects on paintings, it becomes a
poet; when on poems, an investigator. At the moment when the artist
summons it it is always lacking in the right sense, and accordingly in
presence of sense, not in presence of mind.



135.


CHOICE IDEAS.—The choice style of a momentous period does not only select
its words but its ideas—and both from the customary and prevailing usage.
Venturesome ideas, that smell too fresh, are to the maturer taste no less
repugnant than new and reckless images and phrases. Later on both choice
ideas and choice words soon smack of mediocrity, because the scent of the
choice vanishes quickly, and then nothing but the customary and
commonplace element is tasted.



136.


MAIN REASON FOR CORRUPTION OF STYLE.—The desire to display more sentiment
than one really feels for a thing corrupts style, in language and in all
art. All great art shows rather the opposite tendency. Like every man of
moral significance, it loves to check emotion on its way and not let it
run its course to the very end. This modesty of letting emotion but half
appear is most clearly to be observed, for example, in Sophocles. The
features of sentiment seem to become beautified when sentiment feigns to
be more shy than it really is.



137.


AN EXCUSE FOR THE HEAVY STYLE.—The lightly uttered phrase seldom falls on
the ear with the full weight of the subject. This is, however, due to the
bad training of the ear, which by education must pass from what has
hitherto been called music to the school of the higher harmony—in other
words, to conversation.



138.


BIRD’S-EYE VIEWS.—Here torrents rush from every side into a ravine: their
movement is so swift and stormy, and carries the eye along so quickly,
that the bare or wooded mountain slopes around seem not to sink down but
to fly down. We are in an agonised tension at the sight, as if behind all
this were hidden some hostile element, before which all must fly, and
against which the abyss alone gave protection. This landscape cannot be
painted, unless we hover above it like a bird in the open air. Here for
once the so-called bird’s-eye view is not an artistic caprice, but the
sole possibility.



139.


RASH COMPARISONS.—If rash comparisons are not proofs of the wantonness of
the writer, they are proofs of the exhaustion of his imagination. In any
case they bear witness to his bad taste.



140.


DANCING IN CHAINS.—In the case of every Greek artist, poet, or writer we
must ask: What is the new constraint which he imposes upon himself and
makes attractive to his contemporaries, so as to find imitators? For the
thing called “invention” (in metre, for example) is always a self-imposed
fetter of this kind. “Dancing in chains”—to make that hard for themselves
and then to spread a false notion that it is easy—that is the trick that
they wish to show us. Even in Homer we may perceive a wealth of inherited
formulæ and laws of epic narration, within the circle of which he had to
dance, and he himself created new conventions for them that came after.
This was the discipline of the Greek poets: first to impose upon
themselves a manifold constraint by means of the earlier poets; then to
invent in addition a new constraint, to impose it upon themselves and
cheerfully to overcome it, so that constraint and victory are perceived
and admired.



141.


AUTHORS’ COPIOUSNESS.—The last quality that a good author acquires is
copiousness: whoever has it to begin with will never become a good author.
The noblest racehorses are lean until they are permitted to rest from
their victories.



142.


WHEEZING HEROES.—Poets and artists who suffer from a narrow chest of the
emotions generally make their heroes wheeze. They do not know what easy
breathing means.



143.


THE SHORT-SIGHTED.(22)—The short-sighted are the deadly foes of all
authors who let themselves go. These authors should know the wrath with
which these people shut the book in which they observe that its creator
needs fifty pages to express five ideas. And the cause of their wrath is
that they have endangered what remains of their vision almost without
compensation. A short-sighted person said, “All authors let themselves
go.” “Even the Holy Ghost?” “Even the Holy Ghost.” But he had a right to,
for he wrote for those who had lost their sight altogether.



144.


THE STYLE OF IMMORTALITY.—Thucydides and Tacitus both imagined immortal
life for their works when they executed them. That might be guessed (if
not known otherwise) from their style. The one thought to give permanence
to his ideas by salting them, the other by boiling them down; and neither,
it seems, made a miscalculation.



145.


AGAINST IMAGES AND SIMILES.—By images and similes we convince, but we do
not prove. That is why science has such a horror of images and similes.
Science does not want to convince or make plausible, and rather seeks to
provoke cold distrust by its mode of expression, by the bareness of its
walls. For distrust is the touchstone for the gold of certainty.



146.


CAUTION.—In Germany, he who lacks thorough knowledge should beware of
writing. The good German does not say in that case “he is ignorant,” but
“he is of doubtful character.”—This hasty conclusion, by the way, does
great credit to the Germans.



147.


PAINTED SKELETONS.—Painted skeletons are those authors who try to make up
for their want of flesh by artistic colourings.



148.


THE GRAND STYLE AND SOMETHING BETTER.—It is easier to learn how to write
the grand style than how to write easily and simply. The reasons for this
are inextricably bound up with morality.



149.


SEBASTIAN BACH.—In so far as we do not hear Bach’s music as perfect and
experienced connoisseurs of counterpoint and all the varieties of the
fugal style (and accordingly must dispense with real artistic enjoyment),
we shall feel in listening to his music—in Goethe’s magnificent phrase—as
if “we were present at God’s creation of the world.” In other words, we
feel here that something great is in the making but not yet made—our
mighty modern music, which by conquering nationalities, the Church, and
counterpoint has conquered the world. In Bach there is still too much
crude Christianity, crude Germanism, crude scholasticism. He stands on the
threshold of modern European music, but turns from thence to look at the
Middle Ages.



150.


HÄNDEL.—Händel, who in the invention of his music was bold, original,
truthful, powerful, inclined to and akin to all the heroism of which a
_nation_ is capable, often proved stiff, cold, nay even weary of himself
in composition. He applied a few well-tried methods of execution, wrote
copiously and quickly, and was glad when he had finished—but that joy was
not the joy of God and other creators in the eventide of their working
day.



151.


HAYDN.—So far as genius can exist in a man who is merely _good_, Haydn had
genius. He went just as far as the limit which morality sets to intellect,
and only wrote music that has “no past.”



152.


BEETHOVEN AND MOZART.—Beethoven’s music often appears like a deeply
emotional meditation on unexpectedly hearing once more a piece long
thought to be forgotten, “Tonal Innocence”: it is music about music. In
the song of the beggar and child in the street, in the monotonous airs of
vagrant Italians, in the dance of the village inn or in carnival nights he
discovers his melodies. He stores them together like a bee, snatching here
and there some notes or a short phrase. To him these are hallowed memories
of “the better world,” like the ideas of Plato.—Mozart stands in quite a
different relation to his melodies. He finds his inspiration not in
hearing music but in gazing at life, at the most stirring life of southern
lands. He was always dreaming of Italy, when he was not there.



153.


RECITATIVE.—Formerly recitative was dry, but now we live in the age of
moist recitative. It has fallen into the water, and the waves carry it
whithersoever they list.



154.


“CHEERFUL” MUSIC.—If for a long time we have heard no music, it then goes
like a heavy southern wine all too quickly into the blood and leaves
behind it a soul dazed with narcotics, half-awake, longing for sleep. This
is particularly the case with cheerful music, which inspires in us
bitterness and pain, satiety and home-sickness together, and forces us to
sip again and again as at a sweetened draught of poison. The hall of gay,
noisy merriment then seems to grow narrow, the light to lose its
brightness and become browner. At last we feel as if this music were
penetrating to a prison where a poor wretch cannot sleep for
home-sickness.



155.


FRANZ SCHUBERT.—Franz Schubert, inferior as an artist to the other great
musicians, had nevertheless the largest share of inherited musical wealth.
He spent it with a free hand and a kind heart, so that for a few centuries
musicians will continue to _nibble_ at his ideas and inspirations. In his
works we find a store of _unused_ inventions; the greatness of others will
lie in making use of those inventions. If Beethoven may be called the
ideal listener for a troubadour, Schubert has a right to be called the
ideal troubadour.



156.


MODERN MUSICAL EXECUTION.—Great tragic or dramatic execution of music
acquires its character by imitating the gesture of the great sinner, such
as Christianity conceives and desires him: the slow-stepping, passionately
brooding man, distracted by the agonies of conscience, now flying in
terror, now clutching with delight, now standing still in despair—and all
the other marks of great sinfulness. Only on the Christian assumption that
all men are great sinners and do nothing but sin could we justify the
application of this style of execution to _all_ music. So far, music would
be the reflection of all the actions and impulses of man, and would
continually have to express by gestures the language of the great sinner.
At such a performance, a listener who was not enough of a Christian to
understand this logic might indeed cry out in horror, “For the love of
Heaven, how did sin find its way into music?”



157.


FELIX MENDELSSOHN.—Felix Mendelssohn’s music is the music of the good
taste that enjoys all the good things that have ever existed. It always
points behind. How could it have much “in front,” much of a future?—But
did he want it to have a future? He possessed a virtue rare among artists,
that of gratitude without _arrière-pensée_. This virtue, too, always
points behind.



158.


A MOTHER OF ARTS.—In our sceptical age, real devotion requires almost a
brutal heroism of ambition. Fanatical shutting of the eyes and bending of
the knee no longer suffice. Would it not be possible for ambition—in its
eagerness to be the last devotee of all the ages—to become the begetter of
a final church music, as it has been the begetter of the final church
architecture? (They call it the Jesuit style.)



159.


FREEDOM IN FETTERS—A PRINCELY FREEDOM.—Chopin, the last of the modern
musicians, who gazed at and worshipped beauty, like Leopardi; Chopin, the
Pole, the inimitable (none that came before or after him has a right to
this name)—Chopin had the same princely punctilio in convention that
Raphael shows in the use of the simplest traditional colours. The only
difference is that Chopin applies them not to colour but to melodic and
rhythmic traditions. He admitted the validity of these traditions because
he was born under the sway of etiquette. But in these fetters he plays and
dances as the freest and daintiest of spirits, and, be it observed, he
does not spurn the chain.



160.


CHOPIN’S BARCAROLLE.—Almost all states and modes of life have a moment of
rapture, and good artists know how to discover that moment. Such a moment
there is even in life by the seashore—that dreary, sordid, unhealthy
existence, dragged out in the neighbourhood of a noisy and covetous
rabble. This moment of rapture Chopin in his Barcarolle expressed in sound
so supremely that Gods themselves, when they heard it, might yearn to lie
long summer evenings in a boat.



161.


ROBERT SCHUMANN.—“The Stripling,” as the romantic songsters of Germany and
France of the first three decades of this century imagined him—this
stripling was completely translated into song and melody by Robert
Schumann, the eternal youth, so long as he felt himself in full possession
of his powers. There are indeed moments when his music reminds one of the
eternal “old maid.”



162.


DRAMATIC SINGERS.—“Why does this beggar sing?” “Probably he does not know
how to wail.” “Then he does right.” But our dramatic singers, who wail
because they do not know how to sing—are they also in the right?



163.


DRAMATIC MUSIC.—For him who does not see what is happening on the stage,
dramatic music is a monstrosity, just as the running commentary to a lost
text is a monstrosity. Such music requires us to have ears where our eyes
are. This, however, is doing violence to Euterpe, who, poor Muse, wants to
have her eyes and ears where the other Muses have theirs.



164.


VICTORY AND REASONABLENESS.—Unfortunately in the æsthetic wars, which
artists provoke by their works and apologias for their works, just as is
the case in real war, it is might and not reason that decides. All the
world now assumes as a historical fact that, in his dispute with Piccini,
Gluck was in the right. At any rate, he was victorious, and had might on
his side.



165.


OF THE PRINCIPLE OF MUSICAL EXECUTION.—Do the modern musical performers
really believe that the supreme law of their art is to give every piece as
much high-relief as is possible, and to make it speak at all costs a
dramatic language? Is not this principle, when applied for example to
Mozart, a veritable sin against the spirit—the gay, sunny, airy, delicate
spirit—of Mozart, whose seriousness was of a kindly and not awe-inspiring
order, whose pictures do not try to leap from the wall and drive away the
beholder in panic? Or do you think that all Mozart’s music is identical
with the statue-music in _Don Juan_? And not only Mozart’s, but all
music?—You reply that the advantage of your principle lies in its greater
_effect_. You would be right if there did not remain the counter-question,
“_On whom_ has the effect operated, and _on whom_ should an artist of the
first rank desire to produce his effect?” Never on the populace! Never on
the immature! Never on the morbidly sensitive! Never on the diseased! And
above all—never on the _blasé_!



166.


THE MUSIC OF TO-DAY.—This ultra-modern music, with its strong lungs and
weak nerves, is frightened above all things of itself.



167.


WHERE MUSIC IS AT HOME.—Music reaches its high-water mark only among men
who have not the ability or the right to argue. Accordingly, its chief
promoters are princes, whose aim is that there should be not much
criticism nor even much thought in their neighbourhood. Next come
societies which, under some pressure or other (political or religious),
are forced to become habituated to silence, and so feel all the greater
need of spells to charm away emotional ennui—these spells being generally
eternal love-making and eternal music. Thirdly, we must reckon whole
nations in which there is no “society,” but all the greater number of
individuals with a bent towards solitude, mystical thinking, and a
reverence for all that is inexpressible; these are the genuine “musical
souls.” The Greeks, as a nation delighting in talking and argument,
accordingly put up with music only as an _hors d’œuvre_ to those arts
which really admit of discussion and dispute. About music one can hardly
even _think_ clearly. The Pythagoreans, who in so many respects were
exceptional Greeks, are said to have been great musicians. This was the
school that invented a five-years’ silence,(23) but did not invent a
dialectic.



168.


SENTIMENTALITY IN MUSIC.—We may be ever so much in sympathy with serious
and profound music, yet nevertheless, or perhaps all the more for that
reason, we shall at occasional moments be overpowered, entranced, and
almost melted away by its opposite—I mean, by those simple Italian
operatic airs which, in spite of all their monotony of rhythm and
childishness of harmony, seem at times to sing to us like the very soul of
music. Admit this or not as you please, you Pharisees of good taste, it is
so, and it is my present task to propound the riddle that it is so, and to
nibble a little myself at the solution.—In childhood’s days we tasted the
honey of many things for the first time. Never was honey so good as then;
it seduced us to life, into abundant life, in the guise of the first
spring, the first flower, the first butterfly, the first friendship.
Then—perhaps in our ninth year or so—we heard our first music, and this
was the first that we understood; thus the simplest and most childish
tunes, that were not much more than a sequel to the nurse’s lullaby and
the strolling fiddler’s tune, were our first experience. (For even the
most trifling “revelations” of art need preparation and study; there is no
“immediate” effect of art, whatever charming fables the philosophers may
tell.) Our sensation on hearing these Italian airs is associated with
those first musical raptures, the strongest of our lives. The bliss of
childhood and its flight, the feeling that our most precious possession
can never be brought back, all this moves the chords of the soul more
strongly than the most serious and profound music can move them.—This
mingling of æsthetic pleasure with moral pain, which nowadays it is
customary to call (rather too haughtily, I think) “sentimentality”—it is
the mood of Faust at the end of the first scene—this “sentimentality” of
the listener is all to the advantage of Italian music. It is a feeling
which the experienced connoisseurs in art, the pure “æsthetes,” like to
ignore.—Moreover, almost all music has a magical effect only when we hear
it speak the language of our own _past_. Accordingly, it seems to the
layman that all the old music is continually growing better, and that all
the latest is of little value. For the latter arouses no “sentimentality,”
that most essential element of happiness, as aforesaid, for every man who
cannot approach this art with pure æsthetic enjoyment.



169.


AS FRIENDS OF MUSIC.—Ultimately we are and remain good friends with music,
as we are with the light of the moon. Neither, after all, tries to
supplant the sun: they only want to illumine our nights to the best of
their powers. Yet we may jest and laugh at them, may we not? Just a
little, at least, and from time to time? At the man in the moon, at the
woman in the music?



170.


ART IN AN AGE OF WORK.—We have the conscience of an industrious epoch.
This debars us from devoting our best hours and the best part of our days
to art, even though that art be the greatest and worthiest. Art is for us
a matter of leisure, of recreation, and we consecrate to it the _residue_
of our time and strength. This is the cardinal fact that has altered the
relation of art to life. When art makes its great demands of time and
strength upon its recipients, it has to battle against the conscience of
the industrious and efficient, it is relegated to the idle and
conscienceless, who, by their very nature, are not exactly suited to great
art, and consider its claims arrogant. It might, therefore, be all over
with art, since it lacks air and the power to breathe. But perhaps the
great art attempts, by a sort of coarsening and disguising, to make itself
at home in that other atmosphere, or at least to put up with it—an
atmosphere which is really a natural element only for petty art, the art
of recreation, of pleasant distraction. This happens nowadays almost
everywhere. Even the exponents of great art promise recreation and
distraction; even they address themselves to the exhausted; even they
demand from him the evening hours of his working-day—just like the artists
of the entertaining school, who are content to smooth the furrowed brow
and brighten the lack-lustre eye. What, then, are the devices of their
mightier brethren? These have in their medicine-chests the most powerful
excitants, which might give a shock even to a man half-dead: they can
deafen you, intoxicate you, make you shudder, or bring tears to your eyes.
By this means they overpower the exhausted man and stimulate him for one
night to an over-lively condition, to an ecstasy of terror and delight.
This great art, as it now lives in opera, tragedy, and music—have we a
right to be angry with it, because of its perilous fascination, as we
should be angry with a cunning courtesan? Certainly not. It would far
rather live in the pure element of morning calm, and would far rather make
its appeal to the fresh, expectant, vigorous morning-soul of the beholder
or listener. Let us be thankful that it prefers living thus to vanishing
altogether. But let us also confess that an era that once more introduces
free and complete high-days and holidays into life will have no use for
_our_ great art.



171.


THE EMPLOYEES OF SCIENCE AND THE OTHERS.—Really efficient and successful
men of science might be collectively called “The Employees.” If in youth
their acumen is sufficiently practised, their memory is full, and hand and
eye have acquired sureness, they are appointed by an older
fellow-craftsman to a scientific position where their qualities may prove
useful. Later on, when they have themselves gained an eye for the gaps and
defects in their science, they place themselves in whatever position they
are needed. These persons all exist for the sake of science. But there are
rarer spirits, spirits that seldom succeed or fully mature—“for whose sake
science exists”—at least, in their view. They are often unpleasant,
conceited, or cross-grained men, but almost always prodigies to a certain
extent. They are neither employees nor employers; they make use of what
those others have worked out and established, with a certain princely
carelessness and with little and rare praise—just as if the others
belonged to a lower order of beings. Yet they possess the same qualities
as their fellow-workers, and that sometimes in a less developed form.
Moreover, they have a peculiar limitation, from which the others are free;
this makes it impossible to put them into a place and to see in them
useful tools. They can only live in their own air and on their own soil.
This limitation suggests to them what elements of a science “are
theirs”—in other words, what they can carry home into their house and
atmosphere: they think that they are always collecting their scattered
“property.” If they are prevented from building at their own nest, they
perish like shelterless birds. The loss of freedom causes them to wilt
away. If they show, like their colleagues, a fondness for certain regions
of science, it is always only regions where the fruits and seeds necessary
to them can thrive. What do they care whether science, taken as a whole,
has untilled or badly tilled regions? They lack all impersonal interest in
a scientific problem. As they are themselves personal through and through,
all their knowledge and ideas are remoulded into a person, into a living
complexity, with its parts interdependent, overlapping, jointly nurtured,
and with a peculiar atmosphere and scent as a whole.—Such natures, with
their system of personal knowledge, produce the illusion that a science
(or even the whole of philosophy) is finished and has reached its goal.
The life in their system works this magic, which at times has been fatal
to science and deceptive to the really efficient workers above described,
and at other times, when drought and exhaustion prevailed, has acted as a
kind of restorative, as if it were the air of a cool, refreshing
resting-place.—These men are usually called _philosophers_.



172.


RECOGNITION OF TALENT.—As I went through the village of S., a boy began to
crack his whip with all his might—he had made great progress in this art,
and he knew it. I threw him a look of recognition—in reality it hurt me
cruelly. We do the same in our recognition of many of the talents. We do
good to them when they hurt us.



173.


LAUGHING AND SMILING.—The more joyful and assured the mind becomes, the
more man loses the habit of loud laughter. In compensation, there is an
intellectual smile continually bubbling up in him, a sign of his
astonishment at the innumerable concealed delights of a good existence.



174.


THE TALK OF INVALIDS.—Just as in spiritual grief we tear our hair, strike
our foreheads, lacerate our cheeks or even (like Œdipus) gouge our eyes
out, so against violent physical pain we call to our aid a bitter, violent
emotion, through the recollection of slanderous and malignant people,
through the denigration of our future, through the sword-pricks and acts
of malice which we mentally direct against the absent. And at times it is
true that one devil drives out another—but then we have the other.—Hence a
different sort of talk, tending to alleviate pain, should be recommended
invalids: reflections upon the kindnesses and courtesies that can be
performed towards friend and foe.



175.


MEDIOCRITY AS A MASK.—Mediocrity is the happiest mask which the superior
mind can wear, because it does not lead the great majority—that is, the
mediocre—to think that there is any disguise. Yet the superior mind
assumes the mask just for their sake—so as not to irritate them, nay,
often from a feeling of pity and kindness.



176.


THE PATIENT.—The pine tree seems to listen, the fir tree to wait, and both
without impatience. They do not give a thought to the petty human being
below who is consumed by his impatience and his curiosity.



177.


THE BEST JOKER.—My favourite joke is the one that takes the place of a
heavy and rather hesitating idea, and that at once beckons with its finger
and winks its eye.



178.


THE ACCESSARIES OF ALL REVERENCE.—Wherever the past is revered, the
over-cleanly and over-tidy people should not be admitted. Piety does not
feel content without a little dust, dirt, and dross.



179.


THE GREAT DANGER OF SAVANTS.—It is just the most thorough and profound
savants who are in peril of seeing their life’s goal set ever lower and
lower, and, with a feeling of this in their minds, to become ever more
discouraged and more unendurable in the latter half of their lives. At
first they plunge into their science with spacious hopes and set
themselves daring tasks, the ends of which are already anticipated by
their imaginations. Then there are moments as in the lives of the great
maritime discoverers—knowledge, presentiment, and power raise each other
higher and higher, until a new shore first dawns upon the eye in the far
distance. But now the stern man recognises more and more how important it
is that the individual task of the inquirer should be limited as far as
possible, so that it may be entirely accomplished and the intolerable
waste of force from which earlier periods of science suffered may be
avoided. In those days everything was done ten times over, and then the
eleventh always had the last and best word. Yet the more the savant learns
and practises this art of solving riddles in their entirety, the more
pleasure he finds in so doing. But at the same time his demands upon what
is here called “entirety” grow more exacting. He sets aside everything
that must remain in this sense incomplete, he acquires a disgust and an
acute scent for the half-soluble—for all that can only give a kind of
certainty in a general and indefinite form. His youthful plans crumble
away before his eyes. There remains scarcely anything but a few little
knots, in untying which the master now takes his pleasure and shows his
strength. Then, in the midst of all this useful, restless activity, he,
now grown old, is suddenly then often overcome by a deep misgiving, a sort
of torment of conscience. He looks upon himself as one changed, as if he
were diminished, humbled, transformed into a dexterous _dwarf_; he grows
anxious as to whether mastery in small matters be not a convenience, an
escape from the summons to greatness in life and form. But he cannot pass
_beyond_ any longer—the time for that has gone by.



180.


TEACHERS IN THE AGE OF BOOKS.—Now that self-education and mutual education
are becoming more widespread, the teacher in his usual form must become
almost unnecessary. Friends eager to learn, who wish to master some branch
of knowledge together, find in our age of books a shorter and more natural
way than “school” and “teachers.”



181.


VANITY AS THE GREATEST UTILITY.—Originally the strong individual uses not
only Nature but even societies and weaker individuals as objects of
rapine. He exploits them, so far as he can, and then passes on. As he
lives from hand to mouth, alternating between hunger and superfluity, he
kills more animals than he can eat, and robs and maltreats men more than
is necessary. His manifestation of power is at the same time one of
revenge against his cramped and worried existence. Furthermore, he wishes
to be held more powerful than he is, and thus misuses opportunities; the
accretion of fear that he begets being an accretion of power. He soon
observes that he stands or falls not by what he _is_ but by what he is
_thought_ to be. Herein lies the origin of vanity. The man of power seeks
by every means to increase others’ faith in his power.—The thralls who
tremble before him and serve him know, for their part, that they are worth
just so much as they appear to him to be worth, and so they work with an
eye to this valuation rather than to their own self-satisfaction. We know
vanity only in its most weakened forms, in its idealisations and its small
doses, because we live in a late and very emasculated state of society.
Originally vanity is the great utility, the strongest means of
preservation. And indeed vanity will be greater, the cleverer the
individual, because an increase in the belief in power is easier than an
increase in the power itself, but only for him who has intellect or (as
must be the case under primitive conditions) who is cunning and crafty.



182.


WEATHER-SIGNS OF CULTURE.—There are so few decisive weather-signs of
culture that we must be glad to have at least one unfailing sign at hand
for use in house and garden. To test whether a man belongs to us (I mean
to the free spirits) or not, we must test his sentiments regarding
Christianity. If he looks upon Christianity with other than a critical
eye, we turn our backs to him, for he brings us impure air and bad
weather.—It is no longer our task to teach such men what a sirocco wind
is. They have Moses and the prophets of weather and of enlightenment.(24)
If they will not listen to these, then——



183.


THERE IS A PROPER TIME FOR WRATH AND PUNISHMENT.—Wrath and punishment are
our inheritance from the animals. Man does not become of age until he has
restored to the animals this gift of the cradle.—Herein lies buried one of
the mightiest ideas that men can have, the idea of a progress of all
progresses.—Let us go forward together a few millenniums, my friends!
There is still reserved for mankind a great deal of joy, the very scent of
which has not yet been wafted to the men of our day! Indeed, we may
promise ourselves this joy, nay summon and conjure it up as a necessary
thing, so long as the development of human reason does not stand still.
Some day we shall no longer be reconciled to the logical sin that lurks in
all wrath and punishment, whether exercised by the individual or by
society—some day, when head and heart have learnt to live as near together
as they now are far apart. That they no longer stand so far apart as they
did originally is fairly palpable from a glance at the whole course of
humanity. The individual who can review a life of introspective work will
become conscious of the _rapprochement_ arrived at, with a proud delight
at the distance he has bridged, in order that he may thereupon venture
upon more ample hopes.



184.


ORIGIN OF PESSIMISTS.—A snack of good food often decides whether we are to
look to the future with hollow eye or in hopeful mood. The same influence
extends to the very highest and most intellectual states. Discontent and
reviling of the world are for the present generation an inheritance from
starveling ancestors. Even in our artists and poets we often notice that,
however exuberant their life, they are not of good birth, and have often,
from oppressed and ill-nourished ancestors, inherited in their blood and
brain much that comes out as the subject and even the conscious colouring
of their work. The culture of the Greeks is a culture of men of wealth, in
fact, inherited wealth. For a few centuries they lived better than we do
(better in every sense, in particular far more simply in food and drink).
Then the brain finally became so well-stored and subtle, and the blood
flowed so quickly, like a joyous, clear wine, that the best in them came
to light no longer as gloomy, distorted, and violent, but full of beauty
and sunshine.



185.


OF REASONABLE DEATH.—Which is more reasonable, to stop the machine when
the works have done the task demanded of them, or to let it run on until
it stands still of its own accord—in other words, is destroyed? Is not the
latter a waste of the cost of upkeep, a misuse of the strength and care of
those who serve? Are men not here throwing away that which would be sorely
needed elsewhere? Is not a kind of contempt of the machines propagated, in
that many of them are so uselessly tended and kept up?—I am speaking of
involuntary (natural) and voluntary (reasonable) death. Natural death is
independent of all reason and is really an irrational death, in which the
pitiable substance of the shell determines how long the kernel is to exist
or not; in which, accordingly, the stunted, diseased and dull-witted
jailer is lord, and indicates the moment at which his distinguished
prisoner shall die. Natural death is the suicide of nature—in other words,
the annihilation of the most rational being through the most irrational
element that is attached thereto. Only through religious illumination can
the reverse appear; for then, as is equitable, the higher reason (God)
issues its orders, which the lower reason has to obey. Outside religious
thought natural death is not worth glorifying. The wise dispensation and
disposal of death belongs to that now quite incomprehensible and
immoral-sounding morality of the future, the dawn of which it will be an
ineffable delight to behold.



186.


RETROGRADE INFLUENCES.—All criminals force society back to earlier stages
of culture than that in which they are placed for the time being. Their
influence is retrograde. Let us consider the tools that society must forge
and maintain for its defence: the cunning detectives, the jailers, the
hangmen. Nor should we forget the public counsel for prosecution and
defence. Finally we may ask ourselves whether the judge himself and
punishment and the whole legal procedure are not oppressive rather than
elevating in their reaction upon all who are not law-breakers. For we
shall never succeed in arraying self-defence and revenge in the garb of
innocence, and so long as men are used and sacrificed as a means to the
end of society, all loftier humanity will deplore this necessity.



187.


WAR AS A REMEDY.—For nations that are growing weak and contemptible war
may be prescribed as a remedy, if indeed they really want to go on living.
National consumption as well as individual admits of a brutal cure. The
eternal will to live and inability to die is, however, in itself already a
sign of senility of emotion. The more fully and thoroughly we live, the
more ready we are to sacrifice life for a single pleasurable emotion. A
people that lives and feels in this wise has no need of war.



188.


INTELLECTUAL AND PHYSICAL TRANSPLANTATION AS REMEDIES.—The different
cultures are so many intellectual climates, every one of which is
peculiarly harmful or beneficial to this or that organism. History as a
whole, as the knowledge of different cultures, is the science of remedies,
but not the science of the healing art itself. We still need a physician
who can make use of these remedies, in order to send every one—temporarily
or permanently—to the climate that just suits him. To live in the present,
within the limits of a single culture, is insufficient as a universal
remedy: too many highly useful kinds of men, who cannot breathe freely in
this atmosphere, would perish. With the aid of history we must give them
air and try to preserve them: even men of lower cultures have their
value.—Add to this cure of intellects that humanity, on considerations of
bodily health, must strive to discover by means of a medical geography
what kinds of degeneration and disease are caused by each region of the
earth, and conversely, what ingredients of health the earth affords: and
then, gradually, nations, families, and individuals must be transplanted
long and permanently enough for them to become masters of their inherited
physical infirmities. The whole world will finally be a series of
sanatoria.



189.


REASON AND THE TREE OF MANKIND.—What you all fear in your senile
short-sightedness, regarding the over-population of the world, gives the
more hopeful a mighty task. Man is some day to become a tree overshadowing
the whole earth, with millions upon millions of buds that shall all grow
to fruits side by side, and the earth itself shall be prepared for the
nourishment of this tree. That the shoot, tiny as yet, may increase in sap
and strength; that the sap may flow in countless channels for the
nutrition of the whole and the parts—from these and similar tasks we must
derive our standard for measuring whether a man of to-day is useful or
worthless. The task is unspeakably great and adventurous: let us all
contribute our share to prevent the tree from rotting before its time! The
historically trained mind will no doubt succeed in calling up the human
activities of all the ages before its eyes, as the community of ants with
its cunningly wrought mounds stands before our eyes. Superficially judged,
mankind as a whole, like ant-kind, might admit of our speaking of
“instinct.” On a closer examination we observe how whole nations, nay
whole centuries, take pains to discover and test new means of benefiting
the great mass of humanity, and thus finally the great common fruit-tree
of the world. Whatever injury the individual nations or periods may suffer
in this testing process, they have each become wise through this injury,
and from them the tide of wisdom slowly pours over the principles of whole
races and whole epochs. Ants too go astray and make blunders. Through the
folly of its remedies, mankind may well go to rack and ruin before the
proper time. There is no sure guiding instinct for the former or the
latter. Rather must we boldly face the great task of preparing the earth
for a plant of the most ample and joyous fruitfulness—a task set by reason
to reason!



190.


THE PRAISE OF DISINTERESTEDNESS AND ITS ORIGIN.—Between two neighbouring
chieftains there was a long-standing quarrel: they laid waste each other’s
territories, stole cattle, and burnt down houses, with an indecisive
result on the whole, because their power was fairly equal. A third, who
from the distant situation of his property was able to keep aloof from
these feuds, yet had reason to dread the day when one of the two
neighbours should gain a decisive preponderance, at last intervened
between the combatants with ceremonial goodwill. Secretly he lent a heavy
weight to his peace proposal by giving either to understand that he would
henceforth join forces with the other against the one who strove to break
the peace. They met in his presence, they hesitatingly placed into his
hand the hands that had hitherto been the tools and only too often the
causes of hatred—and then they really and seriously tried to keep the
peace. Either saw with astonishment how suddenly his prosperity and his
comfort increased; how he now had as neighbour a dealer ready to buy and
sell instead of a treacherous or openly scornful evil-doer; how even, in
unforeseen troubles, they could reciprocally save each other from
distress, instead of, as before, making capital out of this distress of
his neighbour and enhancing it to the highest degree. It even seemed as if
the human type had improved in both countries, for the eyes had become
brighter, the forehead had lost its wrinkles; all now felt confidence in
the future—and nothing is more advantageous for the souls and bodies of
men than this confidence. They saw each other every year on the
anniversary of the alliance, the chieftains as well as their retinue, and
indeed before the eyes of the mediator, whose mode of action they admired
and revered more and more, the greater the profit that they owed to him
became. Then his mode of action was called _disinterested_. They had
looked far too fixedly at the profit they had reaped themselves hitherto
to see anything more of their neighbour’s method of dealing than that his
condition in consequence of this had not altered so much as their own; he
had rather remained the same: and thus it appeared that the former had not
had his profit in view. For the first time people said to themselves that
disinterestedness was a virtue. It is true that in minor private matters
similar circumstances had arisen, but men only had eyes for this virtue
when it was depicted on the walls in a large script that was legible to
the whole community. Moral qualities are not recognised as virtues,
endowed with names, held in esteem, and recommended as worthy of
acquisition until the moment when they have _visibly_ decided the
happiness and destiny of whole societies. For then the loftiness of
sentiment and the excitation of the inner creative forces is in many so
great, that offerings are brought to this quality, offerings from the best
of what each possesses. At its feet the serious man lays his seriousness,
the dignified man his dignity, women their gentleness, the young all the
wealth of hope and futurity that in them lies; the poet lends it words and
names, sets it marching in the procession of similar beings, gives it a
pedigree, and finally, as is the way of artists, adores the picture of his
fancy as a new godhead—he even teaches others to adore. Thus in the end,
with the co-operation of universal love and gratitude, a virtue becomes,
like a statue, a repository of all that is good and honourable, a sort of
temple and divine personage combined. It appears thenceforward as an
individual virtue, as an absolute entity, which it was not before, and
exercises the power and privileges of a sanctified super-humanity.—In the
later days of Greece the cities were full of such deified human
abstractions (if one may so call them). The nation, in its own fashion,
had set up a Platonic “Heaven of Ideas” on earth, and I do not think that
its inhabitants were felt to be less alive than any of the old Homeric
divinities.



191.


DAYS OF DARKNESS.—“Days of Darkness” is the name given in Norway to the
period when the sun remains below the horizon the whole day long. The
temperature then falls slowly but continually.—A fine simile for all
thinkers for whom the sun of the human future is temporarily eclipsed.



192.


THE PHILOSOPHY OF LUXURY.—A garden, figs, a little cheese, and three or
four good friends—that was the luxury of Epicurus.



193.


THE EPOCHS OF LIFE.—The real epochs of life are those brief periods of
cessation midway between the rise and decline of a dominating idea or
emotion. Here once again there is satisfaction: all the rest is hunger and
thirst—or satiety.



194.


DREAMS.—Our dreams, if for once in a way they succeed and are
complete—generally a dream is a bungled piece of work—are symbolic
concatenations of scenes and images in place of a narrative poetical
language. They paraphrase our experiences or expectations or relations
with poetic boldness and definiteness, so that in the morning we are
always astonished at ourselves when we remember the nature of our dream.
In dreams we use up too much artistry—and hence are often too poor in
artistry in the daytime.



195.


NATURE AND SCIENCE.—As in nature, so in science the worse and less fertile
soils are first cultivated—because the means that science in its early
stages has at command are fairly sufficient for this purpose. The working
of the most fertile soils requires an enormous, carefully developed,
persevering method, tangible individual results, and an organised body of
well-trained workers. All these are found together only at a late
stage.—Impatience and ambition often grasp too early at these most fertile
soils, but the results are then from the first null and void. In nature
such losses would usually be avenged by the starvation of the settlers.



196.


THE SIMPLE LIFE.—A simple mode of life is nowadays difficult, requiring as
it does far more reflection and gift for invention than even very clever
people possess. The most honourable will perhaps still say, “I have not
the time for such lengthy reflection. The simple life is for me too lofty
a goal: I will wait till those wiser than I have discovered it.”



197.


PEAKS AND NEEDLE-POINTS.—The poor fertility, the frequent celibacy, and in
general the sexual coldness of the highest and most cultivated spirits, as
that of the classes to which they belong, is essential in human economy.
Intelligence recognises and makes use of the fact that at an acme of
intellectual development the danger of a neurotic offspring is very great.
Such men are the peaks of mankind—they ought no longer to run out into
needle-points.



198.


_NATURA NON FACIT SALTUM._—However strongly man may develop upwards and
seem to leap from one contradiction to another, a close observation will
reveal the dovetails where the new building grows out of the old. This is
the biographer’s task: he must reflect upon his subject on the principle
that nature takes no jumps.



199.


CLEAN, BUT—He who clothes himself with rags washed clean dresses cleanly,
to be sure, but is still ragged.



200.


THE SOLITARY SPEAKS.—In compensation for much disgust, disheartenment,
boredom—such as a lonely life without friends, books, duties, and passions
must involve—we enjoy those short spans of deep communion with ourselves
and with Nature. He who fortifies himself completely against boredom
fortifies himself against himself too. He will never drink the most
powerful elixir from his own innermost spring.



201.


FALSE RENOWN.—I hate those so-called natural beauties which really have
significance only through science, especially geographical science, but
are insignificant in an æsthetic sense: for example, the view of Mont
Blanc from Geneva. This is an insignificant thing without the auxiliary
mental joy of science: the nearer mountains are all more beautiful and
fuller of expression, but “not nearly so high,” adds that absurd
depreciatory science. The eye here contradicts science: how can it truly
rejoice in the contradiction?



202.


THOSE THAT TRAVEL FOR PLEASURE.—Like animals, stupid and perspiring, they
climb mountains: people forgot to tell them that there were fine views on
the way.



203.


TOO MUCH AND TOO LITTLE.—Men nowadays live too much and think too little.
They have hunger and dyspepsia together, and become thinner and thinner,
however much they eat. He who now says “Nothing has happened to me” is a
blockhead.



204.


END AND GOAL.—Not every end is the goal. The end of a melody is not its
goal, and yet if a melody has not reached its end, it has also not reached
its goal. A parable.



205.


NEUTRALITY OF NATURE ON A GRAND SCALE.—The neutrality of Nature on a grand
scale (in mountain, sea, forest, and desert) is pleasing, but only for a
brief space. Afterwards we become impatient. “Have they all nothing to say
to _us_? Do _we_ not exist so far as they are concerned?” There arises a
feeling that a _lèse-majesté_ is committed against humanity.



206.


FORGETTING OUR PURPOSE.—In a journey we commonly forget its goal. Almost
every vocation is chosen and entered upon as means to an end, but is
continued as the ultimate end. Forgetting our purpose is the most frequent
form of folly.



207.


SOLAR ORBIT OF AN IDEA.—When an idea is just rising on the horizon, the
soul’s temperature is usually very low. Gradually the idea develops in
warmth, and is hottest (that is to say, exerts its greatest influence)
when belief in the idea is already on the wane.



208.


HOW TO HAVE EVERY MAN AGAINST YOU.—If some one now dared to say, “He that
is not for me is against me,” he would at once have all against him.—This
sentiment does credit to our era.



209.


BEING ASHAMED OF WEALTH.—Our age endures only a single species of rich
men—those who are ashamed of their wealth. If we hear it said of any one
that he is very rich, we at once feel a similar sentiment to that
experienced at the sight of a repulsively swollen invalid, one suffering
from diabetes or dropsy. We must with an effort remember our humanity, in
order to go about with this rich man in such a way that he does not notice
our feeling of disgust. But as soon as he prides himself at all on his
wealth, our feelings are mingled with an almost compassionate surprise at
such a high degree of human unreason. We would fain raise our hands to
heaven and cry, “Poor deformed and overburdened creature, fettered a
hundredfold, to whom every hour brings or may bring something unpleasant,
in whose frame twitches every event that occurs in scores of countries,
how can you make us believe that you feel at ease in your position? If you
appear anywhere in public, we know that it is a sort of running the
gauntlet amid countless glances that have for you only cold hate or
importunity or silent scorn. You may earn more easily than others, but it
is only a superfluous earning, which brings little joy, and the guarding
of what you have earned is now, at any rate, a more troublesome business
than any toilsome process of earning. You are continually suffering,
because you are continually losing. What avails it you that they are
always injecting you with fresh artificial blood? That does not relieve
the pain of those cupping-glasses that are fixed, for ever fixed, on your
neck!—But, to be quite fair to you, it is difficult or perhaps impossible
for you _not_ to be rich. You _must_ guard, you _must_ earn more; the
inherited bent of your character is the yoke fastened upon you. But do not
on that account deceive us—be honestly and visibly ashamed of the yoke you
wear, as in your soul you are weary and unwilling to wear it. This shame
is no disgrace.”



210.


EXTRAVAGANT PRESUMPTIONS.—There are men so presumptuous that they can only
praise a greatness which they publicly admire by representing it as steps
and bridges that lead to themselves.



211.


ON THE SOIL OF INSULT.—He who wishes to deprive men of a conception is
generally not satisfied with refuting it and drawing out of it the
illogical worm that resides within. Rather, when the worm has been killed,
does he throw the whole fruit as well into the mire, in order to make it
ignoble in men’s sight and to inspire disgust. Thus he thinks that he has
found a means of making the usual “third-day resurrection” of conceptions
an impossibility.—He is wrong, for on the very soil of insult, in the
midst of the filth, the kernel of the conception soon produces new
seeds.—The right thing then, is not to scorn and bespatter what one wishes
finally to remove, but to lay it tenderly on ice again and again, having
regard to the fact that conceptions are very tenacious of life. Here we
must act according to the maxim: “One refutation is no refutation.”



212.


THE LOT OF MORALITY.—Since spiritual bondage is being relaxed, morality
(the inherited, traditional, instinctive mode of action in accordance with
moral sentiments) is surely also on the decline. This, however, is not the
case with the individual virtues, moderation, justice, repose; for the
greatest freedom of the conscious intellect leads at some time, even
unconsciously, back to these virtues, and then enjoins their practice as
expedient.



213.


THE FANATIC OF DISTRUST AND HIS SURETY.—_The Elder_: You wish to make the
tremendous venture and instruct mankind in the great things? What is your
surety?

_Pyrrho_: It is this: I intend to warn men against myself; I intend to
confess all the defects of my character quite openly, and reveal to the
world my hasty conclusions, my contradictions, and my foolish blunders.
“Do not listen to me,” I will say to them, “until I have become equal to
the meanest among you, nay am even less than he. Struggle against truth as
long as you can, from your disgust with her advocate. I shall be your
seducer and betrayer if you find in me the slightest glimmering of
respectability and dignity.”

_The Elder_: You promise too much; you cannot bear this burden.

_Pyrrho_: Then I will tell men even that, and say that I am too weak, and
cannot keep my promise. The greater my unworthiness, the more will they
mistrust the truth, when it passes through my lips.

_The Elder_: You propose to teach distrust of truth?

_Pyrrho_: Yes; distrust as it never was yet on earth, distrust of anything
and everything. This is the only road to truth. The right eye must not
trust the left eye, and for some time light must be called darkness: this
is the path that you must tread. Do not imagine that it will lead you to
fruit trees and fair pastures. You will find on this road little hard
grains—these are truths. For years and years you will have to swallow
handfuls of lies, so as not to die of hunger, although you know that they
are lies. But those grains will be sown and planted, and perhaps, perhaps
some day will come the harvest. No one may _promise_ that day, unless he
be a fanatic.

_The Elder_: Friend, friend! Your words too are those of a fanatic!

_Pyrrho_: You are right! I will be distrustful of all words.

_The Elder_: Then you will have to be silent.

_Pyrrho_: I shall tell men that I have to be silent, and that they are to
mistrust my silence.

_The Elder_: So you draw back from your undertaking?

_Pyrrho_: On the contrary—you have shown me the door through which I must
pass.

_The Elder_: I don’t know whether we yet completely understand each other?

_Pyrrho_: Probably not.

_The Elder_: If only you understand yourself!

(Pyrrho turns round and laughs.)

_The Elder_: Ah, friend! Silence and laughter—is that now your whole
philosophy?

_Pyrrho_: There might be a worse.



214.


EUROPEAN BOOKS.—In reading Montaigne, La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyère,
Fontenelle (especially the _Dialogues des Morts_), Vauvenargues, and
Chamfort we are nearer to antiquity than in any group of six authors of
other nations. Through these six the spirit of the last centuries before
Christ has once more come into being, and they collectively form an
important link in the great and still continuous chain of the Renaissance.
Their books are raised above all changes of national taste and
philosophical nuances from which as a rule every book takes and must take
its hue in order to become famous. They contain more real ideas than all
the books of German philosophers put together: ideas of the sort that
breed ideas——I am at a loss how to define to the end: enough to say that
they appear to me writers who wrote neither for children nor for
visionaries, neither for virgins nor for Christians, neither for Germans
nor for—I am again at a loss how to finish my list. To praise them in
plain terms, I may say that had they been written in Greek, they would
have been understood by Greeks. How much, on the other hand, would even a
Plato have understood of the writings of our best German thinkers—Goethe
and Schopenhauer, for instance—to say nothing of the repugnance that he
would have felt to their style, particularly to its obscure, exaggerated,
and occasionally dry-as-dust elements? And these are defects from which
these two among German thinkers suffer least and yet far too much (Goethe
as thinker was fonder than he should have been of embracing the cloud, and
Schopenhauer almost constantly wanders, not with impunity, among symbols
of objects rather than among the objects themselves).—On the other hand,
what clearness and graceful precision there is in these Frenchmen! The
Greeks, whose ears were most refined, could not but have approved of this
art, and one quality they would even have admired and reverenced—the
French verbal wit: they were extremely fond of this quality, without being
particularly strong in it themselves.



215.


FASHION AND MODERNITY.—Wherever ignorance, uncleanness, and superstition
are still rife, where communication is backward, agriculture poor, and the
priesthood powerful, national costumes are still worn. Fashion, on the
other hand, rules where the opposite conditions prevail. Fashion is
accordingly to be found next to the virtues in modern Europe. Are we to
call it their seamy side?—Masculine dress that is fashionable and no
longer national proclaims of its wearer: firstly, that he does not wish to
appear as an individual or as member of a class or race; that he has made
an intentional suppression of these kinds of vanity a law unto himself:
secondly, that he is a worker, and has little time for dressing and
self-adornment, and moreover regards anything expensive or luxurious in
material and cut as out of harmony with his work: lastly, that by his
clothes he indicates the more learned and intellectual callings as those
to which he stands or would like to stand nearest as a European—whereas
such national costumes as still exist would exhibit the occupations of
brigand, shepherd, and soldier as the most desirable and distinguished.
Within this general character of masculine fashion exist the slight
fluctuations demanded by the vanity of young men, the dandies and dawdlers
of our great cities—in other words, Europeans who have not yet reached
maturity.—European women are as yet far less mature, and for this reason
the fluctuations with them are much greater. They also will not have the
national costume, and hate to be recognised by their dress as German,
French, or Russian. They are, however, very desirous of creating an
impression as individuals. Then, too, their dress must leave no one in
doubt that they belong to one of the more reputable classes of society (to
“good” or “high” or “great” society), and on this score their pretensions
are all the greater if they belong scarcely or not at all to that class.
Above all, the young woman does not want to wear what an older woman
wears, because she thinks she loses her market value if she is suspected
of being somewhat advanced in years. The older woman, on the other hand,
would like to deceive the world as long as possible by a youthful garb.
From this competition must continually arise temporary fashions, in which
the youthful element is unmistakably and inimitably apparent. But after
the inventive genius of the young female artists has run riot for some
time in such indiscreet revelations of youth (or rather, after the
inventive genius of older, courtly civilisations and of still existing
peoples—in fact, of the whole world of dress—has been pressed into the
service, and, say, the Spaniards, Turks, and ancient Greeks have been
yoked together for the glorification of fair flesh), then they at last
discover, time and again, that they have not been good judges of their own
interest; that if they wish to have power over men, the game of
hide-and-seek with the beautiful body is more likely to win than naked or
half-naked honesty. And then the wheel of taste and vanity turns once more
in an opposite direction. The rather older young women find that their
kingdom has come, and the competition of the dear, absurd creatures rages
again from the beginning.—But the more women advance mentally, and no
longer among themselves concede the pre-eminence to an unripe age, the
smaller their fluctuations of costume grow and the less elaborate their
adornment. A just verdict in this respect must not be based on ancient
models—in other words, not on the standard of the dress of women who dwell
on the shores of the Mediterranean—but must have an eye to the climatic
conditions of the central and northern regions, where the intellectual and
creative spirit of Europe now finds its most natural home.—Generally
speaking, therefore, it is not change that will be the characteristic mark
of fashion and modernity, for change is retrograde, and betokens the still
unripened men and women of Europe; but rather the repudiation of national,
social, and individual vanity. Accordingly, it is commendable, because
involving a saving of time and strength, if certain cities and districts
of Europe think and invent for all the rest in the matter of dress, in
view of the fact that a sense of form does not seem to have been bestowed
upon all. Nor is it really an excessive ambition, so long as these
fluctuations still exist, for Paris, for example, to claim to be the sole
inventor and innovator in this sphere. If a German, from hatred of these
claims on the part of a French city, wishes to dress differently,—as, for
example, in the Dürer style,—let him reflect that he then has a costume
which the Germans of olden times wore, but which the Germans have not in
the slightest degree invented. For there has never been a style of dress
that characterised the German as a German. Moreover, let him observe how
he looks in his costume, and whether his altogether modern face, with all
its hues and wrinkles, does not raise a protest against a Dürer fashion of
dress.—Here, where the concepts “modern” and “European” are almost
identical, we understand by “Europe” a far wider region than is embraced
by the Europe of geography, the little peninsula of Asia. In particular,
we must include America, in so far as America is the daughter of our
civilisation. On the other hand, not all Europe falls under the heading of
cultured “Europe,” but only those nations and divisions of nations which
have their common past in Greece, Rome, Judaism, and Christianity.



216.


“GERMAN VIRTUE.”—There is no denying that from the end of the eighteenth
century a current of moral awakening flowed through Europe. Then only
Virtue found again the power of speech. She learnt to discover the
unrestrained gestures of exaltation and emotion, she was no longer ashamed
of herself, and she created philosophies and poems for her own
glorification. If we look for the sources of this current, we come upon
Rousseau, but the mythical Rousseau, the phantom formed from the
impression left by his writings (one might almost say again, his
mythically interpreted writings) and by the indications that he provided
himself. He and his public constantly worked at the fashioning of this
ideal figure. The other origin lies in the resurrection of the Stoical
side of Rome’s greatness, whereby the French so nobly carried on the task
of the Renaissance. With striking success they proceeded from the
reproduction of antique forms to the reproduction of antique characters.
Thus they may always claim a title to the highest honours, as the nation
which has hitherto given the modern world its best books and its best men.
How this twofold archetype, the mythical Rousseau and the resurrected
spirit of Rome, affected France’s weaker neighbours, is particularly
noticeable in Germany, which, in consequence of her novel and quite
unwonted impulse to seriousness and loftiness in will and self-control,
finally came to feel astonishment at her own newfound virtue, and launched
into the world the concept “German virtue,” as if this were the most
original and hereditary of her possessions. The first great men who
transfused into their own blood that French impulse towards greatness and
consciousness of the moral will were more honest, and more grateful.
Whence comes the moralism of Kant? He is continually reminding us: from
Rousseau and the revival of Stoic Rome. The moralism of Schiller has the
same source and the same glorification of the source. The moralism of
Beethoven in notes is a continual song in praise of Rousseau, the antique
French, and Schiller. “Young Germany” was the first to forget its
gratitude, because in the meantime people had listened to the preachers of
hatred of the French. The “young German” came to the fore with more
consciousness than is generally allowed to youths. When he investigated
his paternity, he might well think of the proximity of Schiller,
Schleiermacher, and Fichte. But he should have looked for his grandfathers
in Paris and Geneva, and it was very short-sighted of him to believe what
he believed: that virtue was not more than thirty years old. People became
used to demanding that the word “German” should connote “virtue,” and this
process has not been wholly forgotten to this day.—Be it observed further
that this moral awakening, as may almost be guessed, has resulted only in
drawbacks and obstacles to the _recognition_ of moral phenomena. What is
the entire German philosophy, starting from Kant, with all its French,
English, and Italian offshoots and by-products? A semi-theological attack
upon Helvetius, a rejection of the slowly and laboriously acquired views
and signposts of the right road, which in the end he collected and
expressed so well. To this day Helvetius is the best-abused of all good
moralists and good men in Germany.



217.


CLASSIC AND ROMANTIC.—Both classically and romantically minded spirits—two
species that always exist—cherish a vision of the future; but the former
derive their vision from the strength of their time, the latter from its
weakness.



218.


THE MACHINE AS TEACHER.—Machinery teaches in itself the dovetailed working
of masses of men, in activities where each has but one thing to do. It is
the model of party organisations and of warfare. On the other hand, it
does not teach individual self-glorification, for it makes of the many a
machine, and of each individual a tool for one purpose. Its most general
effect is to teach the advantage of centralisation.



219.


UNABLE TO SETTLE.—One likes to live in a small town. But from time to time
just this small town drives us out into bare and lonely Nature, especially
when we think we know it too well. Finally, in order to refresh ourselves
from Nature, we go to the big town. A few draughts from this cup and we
see its dregs, and the circle begins afresh, with the small town as
starting-point.—So the moderns live; they are in all things rather too
thorough to be able to settle like the men of other days.



220.


REACTION AGAINST THE CIVILISATION OF MACHINERY.—The machine, itself a
product of the highest mental powers, sets in motion hardly any but the
lower, unthinking forces of the men who serve it. True, it unfetters a
vast quantity of force which would otherwise lie dormant. But it does not
communicate the impulse to climb higher, to improve, to become artistic.
It creates activity and monotony, but this in the long-run produces a
counter-effect, a despairing ennui of the soul, which through machinery
has learnt to hanker after the variety of leisure.



221.


THE DANGER OF ENLIGHTENMENT.—All the half-insane, theatrical, bestially
cruel, licentious, and especially sentimental and self-intoxicating
elements which go to form the true revolutionary substance, and became
flesh and spirit, before the revolution, in Rousseau—all this composite
being, with factitious enthusiasm, finally set even “enlightenment” upon
its fanatical head, which thereby began itself to shine as in an
illuminating halo. Yet, enlightenment is essentially foreign to that
phenomenon, and, if left to itself, would have pierced silently through
the clouds like a shaft of light, long content to transfigure individuals
alone, and thus only slowly transfiguring national customs and
institutions as well. But now, bound hand and foot to a violent and abrupt
monster, enlightenment itself became violent and abrupt. Its danger has
therefore become almost greater than its useful quality of liberation and
illumination, which it introduced into the great revolutionary movement.
Whoever grasps this will also know from what confusion it has to be
extricated, from what impurities to be cleansed, in order that it may then
by itself continue the work of enlightenment and also nip the revolution
in the bud and nullify its effects.



222.


PASSION IN THE MIDDLE AGES.—The Middle Ages are the period of great
passions. Neither antiquity nor our period possesses this widening of the
soul. Never was the capacity of the soul greater or measured by larger
standards. The physical, primeval sensuality of the barbarian races and
the over-soulful, over-vigilant, over-brilliant eyes of Christian mystics,
the most childish and youthful and the most over-ripe and world-weary, the
savageness of the beast of prey and the effeminacy and excessive
refinement of the late antique spirit—all these elements were then not
seldom united in one and the same person. Thus, if a man was seized by a
passion, the rapidity of the torrent must have been greater, the whirl
more confused, the fall deeper than ever before.—We modern men may be
content to feel that we have suffered a loss here.



223.


ROBBING AND SAVING.—All intellectual movements whereby the great may hope
to rob and the small to save are sure to prosper. That is why, for
instance, the German Reformation made progress.



224.


GLADSOME SOULS.—When even a remote hint of drink, drunkenness, and an
evil-smelling kind of jocularity was given, the souls of the old Germans
waxed gladsome. Otherwise they were depressed, but here they found
something they really understood.



225.


DEBAUCHERY AT ATHENS.—Even when the fish-market of Athens acquired its
thinkers and poets, Greek debauchery had a more idyllic and refined
appearance than Roman or German debauchery ever had. The voice of Juvenal
would have sounded there like a hollow trumpet, and would have been
answered by a good-natured and almost childish outburst of laughter.



226.


CLEVERNESS OF THE GREEK.—As the desire for victory and pre-eminence is an
ineradicable trait of human nature, older and more primitive than any
respect of or joy in equality, the Greek State sanctioned gymnastic and
artistic competitions among equals. In other words, it marked out an arena
where this impulse to conquer would find a vent without jeopardising the
political order. With the final decline of gymnastic and artistic contests
the Greek State fell into a condition of profound unrest and dissolution.



227.


THE “ETERNAL EPICURUS.”—Epicurus has lived in all periods, and lives yet,
unbeknown to those who called and still call themselves Epicureans, and
without repute among philosophers. He has himself even forgotten his own
name—that was the heaviest luggage that he ever cast off.



228.


THE STYLE OF SUPERIORITY.—“University slang,” the speech of the German
students, has its origin among the students who do not study. The latter
know how to acquire a preponderance over their more serious fellows by
exposing all the farcical elements of culture, respectability, erudition,
order, and moderation, and by having words taken from these realms always
on their lips, like the better and more learned students, but with malice
in their glance and an accompanying grimace. This language of
superiority—the only one that is original in Germany—is nowadays
unconsciously used by statesmen and newspaper critics as well. It is a
continual process of ironical quotation, a restless, cantankerous
squinting of the eye right and left, a language of inverted commas and
grimaces.



229.


THE RECLUSE.—We retire into seclusion, but not from personal misgivings,
as if the political and social conditions of the day did not satisfy us;
rather because by our retirement we try to save and collect forces which
will some day be urgently needed by culture, the more this present is
_this present_, and, as such, fulfils its task. We form a capital and try
to make it secure, but, as in times of real danger, our method is to bury
our hoard.



230.


TYRANTS OF THE INTELLECT.—In our times, any one who expressed a single
moral trait so thoroughly as the characters of Theophrastus and Molière
do, would be considered ill, and be spoken of as possessing “a fixed
idea.” The Athens of the third century, if we could visit it, would appear
to us populated by fools. Nowadays the democracy of ideas rules in every
brain—there the multitude collectively is lord. A single idea that tried
to be lord is now called, as above stated, “a fixed idea.” This is our
method of murdering tyrants—we hint at the madhouse.



231.


A MOST DANGEROUS EMIGRATION.—In Russia there is an emigration of the
intelligence. People cross the frontier in order to read and write good
books. Thus, however, they are working towards turning their country,
abandoned by the intellect, into a gaping Asiatic maw, which would fain
swallow our little Europe.



232.


POLITICAL FOOLS.—The almost religious love of the king was transferred by
the Greeks, when the monarchy was abolished, to the _polis_. An idea can
be loved more than a person, and does not thwart the lover so often as a
beloved human being (for the more men know themselves to be loved, the
less considerate they usually become, until they are no longer worthy of
love, and a rift really arises). Hence the reverence for State and _polis_
was greater than the reverence for princes had ever been. The Greeks are
the political fools of ancient history—today other nations boast that
distinction.



233.


AGAINST NEGLECT OF THE EYES.—Might one not find among the cultured classes
of England, who read the _Times_, a decline in their powers of sight every
ten years?



234.


GREAT WORKS AND GREAT FAITH.—One man had great works, but his comrade had
great faith in these works. They were inseparable, but obviously the
former was entirely dependent upon the latter.



235.


THE SOCIABLE MAN.—“I don’t get on well with myself,” said some one in
explanation of his fondness for society. “Society has a stronger digestion
than I have, and can put up with me.”



236.


SHUTTING THE MIND’S EYES.—If we are practised and accustomed to reflect
upon our actions, we must nevertheless close the inner eye while
performing an action (be this even only writing letters or eating or
drinking). Even in conversation with average people we must know how to
obscure our own mental vision in order to attain and grasp average
thinking. This shutting of the eyes is a conscious act and can be achieved
by the will.



237.


THE MOST TERRIBLE REVENGE.—If we wish to take a thorough revenge upon an
opponent, we must wait until we have our hand quite full of truths and
equities, and can calmly use the whole lot against him. Hence the exercise
of revenge may be identified with the exercise of equity. It is the most
terrible kind of revenge, for there is no higher court to which an appeal
can be made. Thus did Voltaire revenge himself on Piron, with five lines
that sum up Piron’s whole life, work, and character: every word is a
truth. So too he revenged himself upon Frederick the Great in a letter to
him from Ferney.



238.


TAXES OF LUXURY.—In shops we buy the most necessary and urgent things, and
have to pay very dear, because we pay as well for what is also to be had
there cheap, but seldom finds a customer—articles of luxury that minister
to pleasure. Thus luxury lays a constant tax upon the man of simple life
who does without luxuries.



239.


WHY BEGGARS STILL LIVE.—If all alms were given only out of compassion, the
whole tribe of beggars would long since have died of starvation.



240.


WHY BEGGARS STILL LIVE.—The greatest of almsgivers is cowardice.



241.


HOW THE THINKER MAKES USE OF A CONVERSATION.—Without being eavesdroppers,
we can hear a good deal if we are able to see well, and at the same time
to let ourselves occasionally get out of our own sight. But people do not
know how to make use of a conversation. They pay far too much attention to
what _they_ want to say and reply, whereas the true listener is often
contented to make a provisional answer and to say something merely as a
payment on account of politeness, but on the other hand, with his memory
lurking in ambush, carries away with him all that the other said, together
with his tones and gestures in speaking.—In ordinary conversation every
one thinks _he_ is the leader, just as if two ships, sailing side by side
and giving each other a slight push here and there, were each firmly
convinced that the other ship was following or even being towed.



242.


THE ART OF EXCUSING ONESELF.—If some one excuses himself to us, he has to
make out a very good case, otherwise we readily come to feel ourselves the
culprits, and experience an unpleasant emotion.



243.


IMPOSSIBLE INTERCOURSE.—The ship of your thoughts goes too deep for you to
be able to travel with it in the waters of these friendly, decorous,
obliging people. There are too many shallows and sandbanks: you would have
to tack and turn, and would find yourself continually at your wits’ end,
and they would soon also be in perplexity as to _your_ perplexity, the
reason for which they cannot divine.



244.


THE FOX OF FOXES.—A true fox not only calls sour the grapes he cannot
reach, but also those he has reached and snatched from the grasp of
others.



245.


IN INTIMATE INTERCOURSE.—However closely men are connected, there are
still all the four quarters of the heavens in their common horizon, and at
times they become aware of this fact.



246.


THE SILENCE OF DISGUST.—Behold! some one undergoes a thorough and painful
transformation as thinker and human being, and makes a public avowal of
the change. And those who hear him see nothing, and still believe he is
the same as before! This common experience has already disgusted many
writers. They had rated the intellectuality of mankind too highly, and
made a vow to be silent as soon as they became aware of their mistake.



247.


BUSINESS SERIOUSNESS.—The business of many rich and eminent men is their
form of recreation from too long periods of habitual leisure. They then
become as serious and impassioned as other people do in their rare moments
of leisure and amusement.



248.


THE EYE’S DOUBLE SENSE.—Just as a sudden scaly ripple runs over the waters
at your feet, so there are similar sudden uncertainties and ambiguities in
the human eye. They lead to the question: is it a shudder, or a smile, or
both?



249.


POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE.—This thinker needs no one to refute him—he is quite
capable of doing that himself.



250.


THE REVENGE OF THE EMPTY NETS.—Above all we should beware of those who
have the bitter feeling of the fisherman who after a hard day’s work comes
home in the evening with nets empty.



251.


NON-ASSERTION OF OUR RIGHTS.—The exertion of power is laborious and
demands courage. That is why so many do not assert their most valid
rights, because their rights are a kind of power, and they are too lazy or
too cowardly to exercise them. _Indulgence_ and _patience_ are the names
given to the virtues that cloak these faults.



252.


BEARERS OF LIGHT.—In Society there would be no sunshine if the born
flatterers (I mean the so-called amiable people) did not bring some in
with them.



253.


WHEN MOST BENEVOLENT.—When a man has been highly honoured and has eaten a
little, he is most benevolent.



254.


TO THE LIGHT.—Men press forward to the light not in order to see better
but to shine better.—The person before whom we shine we gladly allow to be
called a light.



255.


THE HYPOCHONDRIAC.—The hypochondriac is a man who has just enough
intellect and pleasure in the intellect to take his sorrows, his losses,
and his mistakes seriously. But the field on which he grazes is too small:
he crops it so close that in the end he has to look for single stalks.
Thus he finally becomes envious and avaricious—and only then is he
unbearable.



256.


GIVING IN RETURN.—Hesiod advises us to give the neighbour who has helped
us good measure and, if possible, fuller measure in return, as soon as we
have the power. For this is where the neighbour’s pleasure comes in, since
his former benevolence brings him interest. Moreover, he who gives in
return also has his pleasure, inasmuch as, by giving a little more than he
got, he redeems the slight humiliation of being compelled to seek aid.



257.


MORE SUBTLE THAN IS NECESSARY.—Our sense of observation for how far others
perceive our weaknesses is far more subtle than our sense of observation
for the weaknesses of others. It follows that the first-named sense is
more subtle than is necessary.



258.


A KIND OF BRIGHT SHADOWS.—Close to the nocturnal type of man we almost
regularly find, as if bound up with him, a bright soul. This is, as it
were, the negative shadow cast by the former.



259.


NOT TO TAKE REVENGE.—There are so many subtle sorts of revenge that one
who has occasion to take revenge can really do or omit to do what he
likes. In any case, the whole world will agree, after a time, that he
_has_ avenged himself. Hence the avoidance of revenge is hardly within
man’s power. He must not even so much as say that he does not _want_ to do
so, since the contempt for revenge is interpreted and felt as a sublime
and exquisite form of revenge.—It follows that we must do nothing
superfluous.



260.


THE MISTAKE OF THOSE WHO PAY HOMAGE.—Every one thinks he is paying a most
agreeable compliment to a thinker when he says that he himself hit upon
exactly the same idea and even upon the same expression. The thinker,
however, is seldom delighted at hearing such news, nay, rather, he often
becomes distrustful of his own thoughts and expressions. He silently
resolves to revise both some day. If we wish to pay homage to any one, we
must beware of expressing our agreement, for this puts us on the same
level.—Often it is a matter of social tact to listen to an opinion as if
it were not ours or even travelled beyond the limits of our own
horizon—as, for example, when an old man once in a while opens the
storehouse of his acquired knowledge.



261.


LETTERS.—A letter is an unannounced visit, and the postman is the
intermediary of impolite surprises. Every week we ought to have one hour
for receiving letters, and then go and take a bath.



262.


PREJUDICED.—Some one said: I have been prejudiced against myself from
childhood upwards, and hence I find some truth in every censure and some
absurdity in every eulogy. Praise I generally value too low and blame too
high.



263.


THE PATH TO EQUALITY.—A few hours of mountain-climbing make a blackguard
and a saint two rather similar creatures. Weariness is the shortest path
to equality and fraternity—and finally liberty is bestowed by sleep.



264.


CALUMNY.—If we begin to trace to its source a real scandalous
misrepresentation, we shall rarely look for its origin in our honourable
and straightforward enemies; for if they invented anything of the sort
about us, they, as being our enemies, would gain no credence. Those,
however, to whom for a time we have been most useful, but who, from some
reason or other, may be secretly sure that they will obtain no more from
us—such persons are in a position to start the ball of slander rolling.
They gain credence, firstly, because it is assumed that they would invent
nothing likely to do them damage; secondly, because they have learnt to
know us intimately.—As a consolation, the much-slandered man may say to
himself: Calumnies are diseases of others that break out in your body.
They prove that Society is a (moral) organism, so that you can prescribe
to _yourself_ the cure that will in the end be useful to others.



265.


THE CHILD’S KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.—The happiness of a child is as much of a
myth as the happiness of the Hyperboreans of whom the Greeks fabled. The
Greeks supposed that, if indeed happiness dwells anywhere on our earth, it
must certainly dwell as far as possible from us, perhaps over yonder at
the edge of the world. Old people have the same thought—if man is at all
capable of being happy, he must be happy as far as possible from our age,
at the frontiers and beginnings of life. For many a man the sight of
children, through the veil of this myth, is the greatest happiness that he
can feel. He enters himself into the forecourt of heaven when he says,
“Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of them is the kingdom of
heaven.” The myth of the child’s kingdom of heaven holds good, in some way
or other, wherever in the modern world some sentimentality exists.



266.


THE IMPATIENT.—It is just the growing man who does not want things in the
growing stage. He is too impatient for that. The youth will not wait
until, after long study, suffering, and privation, his picture of men and
things is complete. Accordingly, he confidently accepts another picture
that lies ready to his hand and is recommended to him, and pins his faith
to that, as if it must give him at once the lines and colours of his own
painting. He presses a philosopher or a poet to his bosom, and must from
that time forth perform long stretches of forced labour and renounce his
own self. He learns much in the process, but he often forgets what is most
worth learning and knowing—his self. He remains all his life a partisan.
Ah, a vast amount of tedious work has to be done before you find your own
colours, your own brush, your own canvas!—Even then you are very far from
being a master in the art of life, but at least you are the boss in your
own workshop.



267.


THERE ARE NO TEACHERS.—As thinkers we ought only to speak of
self-teaching. The instruction of the young by others is either an
experiment performed upon something as yet unknown and unknowable, or else
a thorough levelling process, in order to make the new member of society
conform to the customs and manners that prevail for the time being. In
both cases the result is accordingly unworthy of a thinker—the handiwork
of parents and teachers, whom some valiantly honest person(25) has called
“_nos ennemis naturels_.” One day, when, as the world thinks, we have long
since finished our education, we _discover ourselves_. Then begins the
task of the thinker, and then is the time to summon him to our aid—not as
a teacher, but as a self-taught man who has experience.



268.


SYMPATHY WITH YOUTH.—We are sorry when we hear that some one who is still
young is losing his teeth or growing blind. If we knew all the irrevocable
and hopeless feelings hidden in his whole being, how great our sorrow
would be! Why do we really suffer on this account? Because youth has to
continue the work we have undertaken, and every flaw and failing in its
strength is likely to injure _our_ work, that will fall into its hands. It
is the sorrow at the imperfect guarantee of our immortality: or, if we
only feel ourselves as executors of the human mission, it is the sorrow
that this mission must pass to weaker hands than ours.



269.


THE AGES OF LIFE.—The comparison of the four ages of life with the four
seasons of the year is a venerable piece of folly. Neither the first
twenty nor the last twenty years of a life correspond to a season of the
year, assuming that we are not satisfied with drawing a parallel between
white hair and snow and similar colour-analogies. The first twenty years
are a preparation for life in general, for the whole year of life, a sort
of long New Year’s Day. The last twenty review, assimilate, bring into
union and harmony all that has been experienced till then: as, in a small
degree, we do on every New Year’s Eve with the whole past year. But in
between there really lies an interval which suggests a comparison with the
seasons—the time from the twentieth to the fiftieth year (to speak here of
decades in the lump, while it is an understood thing that every one must
refine for himself these rough outlines). Those three decades correspond
to three seasons—summer, spring, and autumn. Winter human life has none,
unless we like to call the (unfortunately) often intervening hard, cold,
lonely, hopeless, unfruitful periods of disease the winters of man. The
twenties, hot, oppressive, stormy, impetuous, exhausting years, when we
praise the day in the evening, when it is over, as we wipe the sweat from
our foreheads—years in which work seems to us cruel but necessary—these
twenties are the summer of life. The thirties, on the other hand, are its
spring-time, with the air now too warm, now too cold, ever restless and
stimulating, bubbling sap, bloom of leaves, fragrance of buds everywhere,
many delightful mornings and evenings, work to which the song of birds
awakens us, a true work of the heart, a kind of joy in our own robustness,
strengthened by the savour of hopeful anticipation. Lastly the forties,
mysterious like all that is stationary, like a high, broad plateau,
traversed by a fresh breeze, with a clear, cloudless sky above it, which
always has the same gentle look all day and half the night—the time of
harvest and cordial gaiety—that is the autumn of life.



270.


WOMEN’S INTELLECT IN MODERN SOCIETY.—What women nowadays think of men’s
intellect may be divined from the fact that in their art of adornment they
think of anything but of emphasising the intellectual side of their faces
or their single intellectual features. On the contrary, they conceal such
traits, and understand, for example by an arrangement of their hair over
their forehead, how to give themselves an appearance of vivid, eager
sensuality and materialism, just when they but slightly possess those
qualities. Their conviction that intellect in women frightens men goes so
far that they even gladly deny the keenness of the most intellectual sense
and purposely invite the reputation of short-sightedness. They think they
will thereby make men more confiding. It is as if a soft, attractive
twilight were spreading itself around them.



271.


GREAT AND TRANSITORY.—What moves the observer to tears is the rapturous
look of happiness with which a fair young bride gazes upon her husband. We
feel all the melancholy of autumn in thinking of the greatness and of the
transitoriness of human happiness.



272.


SENSE AND SACRIFICE.—Many a woman has the _intelletto del sacrifizio_,(26)
and no longer enjoys life when her husband refuses to sacrifice her. With
all her wit, she then no longer knows—whither? and without perceiving it,
is changed from sacrificial victim to sacrificial priest.



273.


THE UNFEMININE.—“Stupid as a man,” say the women; “Cowardly as a woman,”
say the men. Stupidity in a woman is unfeminine.



274.


MASCULINE AND FEMININE TEMPERAMENT AND MORTALITY.—That the male sex has a
worse temperament than the female follows from the fact that male children
have a greater mortality than female, clearly because they “leap out of
their skins” more easily. Their wildness and unbearableness soon make all
the bad stuff in them deadly.



275.


THE AGE OF CYCLOPEAN BUILDING.—The democratisation of Europe is a
resistless force. Even he who would stem the tide uses those very means
that democratic thought first put into men’s hands, and he makes these
means more handy and workable. The most inveterate enemies of democracy (I
mean the spirits of upheaval) seem only to exist in order, by the fear
that they inspire, to drive forward the different parties faster and
faster on the democratic course. Now we may well feel sorry for those who
are working consciously and honourably for this future. There is something
dreary and monotonous in their faces, and the grey dust seems to have been
wafted into their very brains. Nevertheless, posterity may possibly some
day laugh at our anxiety, and see in the democratic work of several
generations what we see in the building of stone dams and walls—an
activity that necessarily covers clothes and face with a great deal of
dust, and perhaps unavoidably makes the workmen, too, a little
dull-witted; but who would on that account desire such work undone? It
seems that the democratisation of Europe is a link in the chain of those
mighty prophylactic principles which are the thought of the modern era,
and whereby we rise up in revolt against the Middle Ages. Now, and now
only, is the age of Cyclopean building! A final security in the
foundations, that the future may build on them without danger! Henceforth,
an impossibility of the orchards of culture being once more destroyed
overnight by wild, senseless mountain torrents! Dams and walls against
barbarians, against plagues, against physical and spiritual serfdom! And
all this understood at first roughly and literally, but gradually in an
ever higher and more spiritual sense, so that all the principles here
indicated may appear as the intellectual preparation of the highest artist
in horticulture, who can only apply himself to his own task when the other
is fully accomplished!—True, if we consider the long intervals of time
that here lie between means and end, the great, supreme labour, straining
the powers and brains of centuries, that is necessary in order to create
or to provide each individual means, we must not bear too hardly upon the
workers of the present when they loudly proclaim that the wall and the
fence are already the end and the final goal. After all, no one yet sees
the gardener and the fruit, for whose sake the fence exists.



276.


THE RIGHT OF UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE.—The people has not granted itself
universal suffrage but, wherever this is now in force, it has received and
accepted it as a temporary measure. But in any case the people has the
right to restore the gift, if it does not satisfy its anticipations. This
dissatisfaction seems universal nowadays, for when, at any occasion where
the vote is exercised, scarce two-thirds, nay perhaps not even the
majority of all voters, go to the polls, that very fact is a vote against
the whole suffrage system.—On this point, in fact, we must pronounce a
much sterner verdict. A law that enacts that the majority shall decide as
to the welfare of all cannot be built up on the foundation that it alone
has provided, for it is bound to require a far broader foundation, namely
the unanimity of all. Universal suffrage must not only be the expression
of the will of a majority, but of the whole country. Thus the dissent of a
very small minority is already enough to set aside the system as
impracticable; and the abstention from voting is in fact a dissent of this
kind, which ruins the whole institution. The “absolute veto” of the
individual, or—not to be too minute—the veto of a few thousands, hangs
over the system as the consequence of justice. On every occasion when it
is employed, the system must, according to the variety of the division,
first prove that it has still a right to exist.



277.


FALSE CONCLUSIONS.—What false conclusions are drawn in spheres where we
are not at home, even by those of us who are accustomed as men of science
to draw right conclusions! It is humiliating! Now it is clear that in the
great turmoil of worldly doings, in political affairs, in all sudden and
urgent matters such as almost every day brings up, these false conclusions
must decide. For no one feels at home with novelties that have sprung up
in the night. All political work, even with great statesmen, is an
improvisation that trusts to luck.



278.


PREMISSES OF THE AGE OF MACHINERY.—The press, the machine, the railway,
the telegraph are premisses of which no one has yet dared to draw the
conclusions that will follow in a thousand years.



279.


A DRAG UPON CULTURE.—When we are told that here men have no time for
productive occupations, because military manœuvres and processions take up
their days, and the rest of the population must feed and clothe them,
their dress, however, being striking, often gay and full of absurdities;
that there only a few distinguished qualities are recognised, individuals
resemble each other more than elsewhere, or at any rate are treated as
equals, yet obedience is exacted and yielded without reasoning, for men
command and make no attempt to convince; that here punishments are few,
but these few cruel and likely to become the final and most terrible; that
there treason ranks as the capital offence, and even the criticism of
evils is only ventured on by the most audacious; that there, again, human
life is cheap, and ambition often takes the form of setting life in
danger—when we hear all this, we at once say, “This is a picture of a
barbarous society that rests on a hazardous footing.” One man perhaps will
add, “It is a portrait of Sparta.” But another will become meditative and
declare that this is a description of our modern military system, as it
exists in the midst of our altogether different culture and society, a
living anachronism, the picture, as above said, of a community resting on
a hazardous footing; a posthumous work of the past, which can only act as
a drag upon the wheels of the present.—Yet at times even a drag upon
culture is vitally necessary—that is to say, when culture is advancing too
rapidly downhill or (as perhaps in this case) _uphill_.



280.


MORE REVERENCE FOR THEM THAT KNOW.—In the competition of production and
sale the public is made judge of the product. But the public has no
special knowledge, and judges by the appearance of the wares. In
consequence, the art of appearance (and perhaps the taste for it) must
increase under the dominance of competition, while on the other hand the
quality of every product must deteriorate. The result will be—so far as
reason does not fall in value—that one day an end will be put to that
competition, and a new principle will win the day. Only the master of the
craft should pronounce a verdict on the work, and the public should be
dependent on the belief in the personality of the judge and his honesty.
Accordingly, no anonymous work! At least an expert should be there as
guarantor and pledge his name if the name of the creator is lacking or is
unknown. The cheapness of an article is for the layman another kind of
illusion and deceit, since only durability can decide that a thing is
cheap and to what an extent. But it is difficult, and for a layman
impossible, to judge of its durability.—Hence that which produces an
effect on the eye and costs little at present gains the advantage—this
being naturally machine-made work. Again, machinery—that is to say, the
cause of the greatest rapidity and facility in production—favours the most
saleable kind of article. Otherwise it involves no tangible profit; it
would be too little used and too often stand idle. But as to what is most
saleable, the public, as above said, decides: it must be the most
exchangeable—in other words, the thing that appears good and also appears
cheap. Thus in the domain of labour our motto must also hold good: “More
respect for them that know!”



281.


THE DANGER OF KINGS.—Democracy has it in its power, without any violent
means, and only by a lawful pressure steadily exerted, to make kingship
and emperorship hollow, until only a zero remains, perhaps with the
significance of every zero in that, while nothing in itself, it multiplies
a number tenfold if placed on the right side. Kingship and emperorship
would remain a gorgeous ornament upon the simple and appropriate dress of
democracy, a beautiful superfluity that democracy allows itself, a relic
of all the historically venerable, primitive ornaments, nay the symbol of
history itself, and in this unique position a highly effective thing if,
as above said, it does not stand alone, but is put on the right side.—In
order to avoid the danger of this nullification, kings hold by their teeth
to their dignity as war-lords. To this end they need wars, or in other
words exceptional circumstances, in which that slow, lawful pressure of
the democratic forces is relaxed.



282.


THE TEACHER A NECESSARY EVIL.—Let us have as few people as possible
between the productive minds and the hungry and recipient minds! The
middlemen almost unconsciously adulterate the food which they supply. For
their work as middlemen they want too high a fee for themselves, and this
is drawn from the original, productive spirits—namely, interest,
admiration, leisure, money, and other advantages.—Accordingly, we should
always look upon the teacher as a necessary evil, just like the merchant;
as an evil that we should make as small as possible.—Perhaps the
prevailing distress in Germany has its main cause in the fact that too
many wish to live and live well by trade (in other words, desiring as far
as possible to diminish prices for the producer and raise prices for the
consumer, and thus to profit by the greatest possible loss to both). In
the same way, we may certainly trace a main cause of the prevailing
intellectual poverty in the superabundance of teachers. It is because of
teachers that so little is learnt, and that so badly.



283.


THE TAX OF HOMAGE.—Him whom we know and honour,—be he physician, artist,
or artisan,—who does and produces something for us, we gladly pay as
highly as we can, often a fee beyond our means. On the other hand, we pay
the unknown as low a price as possible; here is a contest in which every
one struggles and makes others struggle for a foot’s breadth of land. In
the work of the known there is something that cannot be bought, the
sentiment and ingenuity put into his work for our own sake. We think we
cannot better express our sense of obligation than by a sort of sacrifice
on our part.—The heaviest tax is the tax of homage. The more competition
prevails, the more we buy for the unknown and work for the unknown, the
lower does this tax become, whereas it is really the standard for the
loftiness of man’s spiritual intercourse.



284.


THE MEANS TOWARDS GENUINE PEACE.—No government will nowadays admit that it
maintains an army in order to satisfy occasionally its passion for
conquest. The army is said to serve only defensive purposes. This
morality, which justifies self-defence, is called in as the government’s
advocate. This means, however, reserving morality for ourselves and
immorality for our neighbour, because he must be thought eager for attack
and conquest if our state is forced to consider means of self-defence.—At
the same time, by our explanation of our need of an army (because he
denies the lust of attack just as our state does, and ostensibly also
maintains his army for defensive reasons), we proclaim him a hypocrite and
cunning criminal, who would fain seize by surprise, without any fighting,
a harmless and unwary victim. In this attitude all states face each other
to-day. They presuppose evil intentions on their neighbour’s part and good
intentions on their own. This hypothesis, however, is an _inhuman_ notion,
as bad as and worse than war. Nay, at bottom it is a challenge and motive
to war, foisting as it does upon the neighbouring state the charge of
immorality, and thus provoking hostile intentions and acts. The doctrine
of the army as a means of self-defence must be abjured as completely as
the lust of conquest. Perhaps a memorable day will come when a nation
renowned in wars and victories, distinguished by the highest development
of military order and intelligence, and accustomed to make the heaviest
sacrifice to these objects, will voluntarily exclaim, “We will break our
swords,” and will destroy its whole military system, lock, stock, and
barrel. Making ourselves defenceless (after having been the most strongly
defended) from a loftiness of sentiment—that is the means towards genuine
peace, which must always rest upon a pacific disposition. The so-called
armed peace that prevails at present in all countries is a sign of a
bellicose disposition, of a disposition that trusts neither itself nor its
neighbour, and, partly from hate, partly from fear, refuses to lay down
its weapons. Better to perish than to hate and fear, and twice as far
better to perish than to make oneself hated and feared—this must some day
become the supreme maxim of every political community!—Our liberal
representatives of the people, as is well known, have not the time for
reflection on the nature of humanity, or else they would know that they
are working in vain when they work for “a gradual diminution of the
military burdens.” On the contrary, when the distress of these burdens is
greatest, the sort of God who alone can help here will be nearest. The
tree of military glory can only be destroyed at one swoop, with one stroke
of lightning. But, as you know, lightning comes from the cloud and from
above.



285.


WHETHER PROPERTY CAN BE SQUARED WITH JUSTICE.—When the injustice of
property is strongly felt (and the hand of the great clock is once more at
this place), we formulate two methods of relieving this injustice: either
an equal distribution, or an abolition of private possession and a return
to State ownership. The latter method is especially dear to the hearts of
our Socialists, who are angry with that primitive Jew for saying, “Thou
shalt not steal.” In their view the eighth(27) commandment should rather
run, “Thou shalt not possess.”—The former method was frequently tried in
antiquity, always indeed on a small scale, and yet with poor success. From
this failure we too may learn. “Equal plots of land” is easily enough
said, but how much bitterness is aroused by the necessary division and
separation, by the loss of time-honoured possessions, how much piety is
wounded and sacrificed! We uproot the foundation of morality when we
uproot boundary-stones. Again, how much fresh bitterness among the new
owners, how much envy and looking askance! For there have never been two
really equal plots of land, and if there were, man’s envy of his neighbour
would prevent him from believing in their equality. And how long would
this equality, unhealthy and poisoned at the very roots, endure? In a few
generations, by inheritance, here one plot would come to five owners,
there five plots to one. Even supposing that men acquiesced in such abuses
through the enactment of stern laws of inheritance, the same equal plots
would indeed exist, but there would also be needy malcontents, owning
nothing but dislike of their kinsmen and neighbours, and longing for a
general upheaval.—If, however, by the second method we try to restore
ownership to the community and make the individual but a temporary tenant,
we interfere with agriculture. For man is opposed to all that is only a
transitory possession, unblessed with his own care and sacrifice. With
such property he behaves in freebooter fashion, as robber or as worthless
spendthrift. When Plato declares that self-seeking would be removed with
the abolition of property, we may answer him that, if self-seeking be
taken away, man will no longer possess the four cardinal virtues either;
as we must say that the most deadly plague could not injure mankind so
terribly as if vanity were one day to disappear. Without vanity and
self-seeking what are human virtues? By this I am far from meaning that
these virtues are but varied names and masks for these two qualities.
Plato’s Utopian refrain, which is still sung by Socialists, rests upon a
deficient knowledge of men. He lacked the historical science of moral
emotions, the insight into the origin of the good and useful
characteristics of the human soul. He believed, like all antiquity, in
good and evil as in black and white—that is to say, in a radical
difference between good and bad men and good and bad qualities.—In order
that property may henceforth inspire more confidence and become more
moral, we should keep open all the paths of work for small fortunes, but
should prevent the effortless and sudden acquisition of wealth.
Accordingly, we should take all the branches of transport and trade which
favour the accumulation of large fortunes—especially, therefore, the money
market—out of the hands of private persons or private companies, and look
upon those who own too much, just as upon those who own nothing, as types
fraught with danger to the community.



286.


THE VALUE OF LABOUR.—If we try to determine the value of labour by the
amount of time, industry, good or bad will, constraint, inventiveness or
laziness, honesty or make-believe bestowed upon it, the valuation can
never be a just one. For the whole personality would have to be thrown
into the scale, and this is impossible. Here the motto is, “Judge not!”
But after all the cry for justice is the cry we now hear from those who
are dissatisfied with the present valuation of labour. If we reflect
further we find every person non-responsible for his product, the labour;
hence merit can never be derived therefrom, and every labour is as good or
as bad as it must be through this or that necessary concatenation of
forces and weaknesses, abilities and desires. The worker is not at liberty
to say whether he shall work or not, or to decide how he shall work. Only
the standpoints of usefulness, wider and narrower, have created the
valuation of labour. What we at present call justice does very well in
this sphere as a highly refined utility, which does not only consider the
moment and exploit the immediate opportunity, but looks to the permanence
of all conditions, and thus also keeps in view the well-being of the
worker, his physical and spiritual contentment: in order that he and his
posterity may work well for our posterity and become trustworthy for
longer periods than the individual span of human life. The _exploitation_
of the worker was, as we now understand, a piece of folly, a robbery at
the expense of the future, a jeopardisation of society. We almost have the
war now, and in any case the expense of maintaining peace, of concluding
treaties and winning confidence, will henceforth be very great, because
the folly of the exploiters was very great and long-lasting.



287.


OF THE STUDY OF THE SOCIAL BODY.—The worst drawback for the modern student
of economics and political science in Europe, and especially in Germany,
is that the actual conditions, instead of exemplifying rules, illustrate
exceptions or stages of transition and extinction. We must therefore learn
to look beyond actually existing conditions and, for example, turn our
eyes to distant North America, where we can still contemplate and
investigate, if we will, the initial and normal movement of the social
body. In Germany such a study requires arduous and historical research,
or, as I have suggested, a telescope.



288.


HOW FAR MACHINERY HUMILIATES.—Machinery is impersonal; it robs the piece
of work of its pride, of the individual merits and defects that cling to
all work that is not machine-made—in other words, of its bit of humanity.
Formerly, all buying from handicraftsmen meant a mark of distinction for
their personalities, with whose productions people surrounded themselves.
Furniture and dress accordingly became the symbols of mutual valuation and
personal connection. Nowadays, on the other hand, we seem to live in the
midst of anonymous and impersonal serfdom.—We must not buy the
facilitation of labour too dear.



289.


CENTURY-OLD QUARANTINE.—Democratic institutions are centres of quarantine
against the old plague of tyrannical desires. As such they are extremely
useful and extremely tedious.



290.


THE MOST DANGEROUS PARTISAN.—The most dangerous partisan is he whose
defection would involve the ruin of the whole party—in other words, the
best partisan.



291.


DESTINY AND THE STOMACH.—A piece more or less of bread and butter in the
jockey’s body is occasionally the decisive factor in races and bets, and
thus in the good and bad luck of thousands.—So long as the destiny of
nations depends upon diplomats, the stomachs of diplomats will always be
the object of patriotic misgivings. _Quousque tandem_....



292.


THE VICTORY OF DEMOCRACY.—All political powers nowadays attempt to exploit
the fear of Socialism for their own strengthening. Yet in the long run
democracy alone gains the advantage, for _all_ parties are now compelled
to flatter “the masses” and grant them facilities and liberties of all
kinds, with the result that the masses finally become omnipotent. The
masses are as far as possible removed from Socialism as a doctrine of
altering the acquisition of property. If once they get the steering-wheel
into their hands, through great majorities in their Parliaments, they will
attack with progressive taxation the whole dominant system of capitalists,
merchants, and financiers, and will in fact slowly create a middle class
which may forget Socialism like a disease that has been overcome.—The
practical result of this increasing democratisation will next be a
European league of nations, in which each individual nation, delimited by
the proper geographical frontiers, has the position of a canton with its
separate rights. Small account will be taken of the historic memories of
previously existing nations, because the pious affection for these
memories will be gradually uprooted under the democratic régime, with all
its craze for novelty and experiment. The corrections of frontiers that
will prove necessary will be so carried out as to serve the interests of
the great cantons and at the same time that of the whole federation, but
not that of any venerable memories. To find the standpoints for these
corrections will be the task of future diplomats, who will have to be at
the same time students of civilisation, agriculturists, and commercial
experts, with no armies but motives and utilities at their back. Then only
will foreign and home politics be inseparably connected, whereas to-day
the latter follows its haughty dictator, and gleans in sorry baskets the
stubble that is left over from the harvest of the former.



293.


GOAL AND MEANS OF DEMOCRACY.—Democracy tries to create and guarantee
independence for as many as possible in their opinions, way of life, and
occupation. For this purpose democracy must withhold the political
suffrage both from those who have nothing and from those who are really
rich, as being the two intolerable classes of men. At the removal of these
classes it must always work, because they are continually calling its task
in question. In the same way democracy must prevent all measures that seem
to aim at party organisation. For the three great foes of independence, in
that threefold sense, are the have-nots, the rich, and the parties.—I
speak of democracy as of a thing to come. What at present goes by that
name is distinguished from older forms of government only by the fact that
it drives with new horses; the roads and the wheels are the same as of
yore.—Has the danger really become less with _these_ conveyances of the
commonwealth?



294.


DISCRETION AND SUCCESS.—That great quality of discretion, which is
fundamentally the virtue of virtues, their ancestress and queen, has in
common life by no means always success on its side. The wooer would find
himself deceived if he had wooed that virtue only for the sake of success.
For it is rated by practical people as suspicious, and is confused with
cunning and hypocrisy: he who obviously lacks discretion, the man who
quickly grasps and sometimes misses his grasp, has prejudice on his
side—he is an honest, trustworthy fellow. Practical people, accordingly,
do not like the prudent man, thinking he is to them a danger. Moreover, we
often assume the prudent man to be anxious, preoccupied,
pedantic—unpractical, butterfly people find him uncomfortable, because he
does not live in their happy-go-lucky way, without thinking of actions and
duties; he appears among them as their embodied conscience, and the bright
day is dimmed to their eyes before his gaze. Thus when success and
popularity fail him, he may often say by way of private consolation, “So
high are the taxes you have to pay for the possession of the most precious
of human commodities—still it is worth the price!”



295.


_ET IN ARCADIA EGO._—I looked down, over waves of hills, to a milky-green
lake, through firs and pines austere with age; rocky crags of all shapes
about me, the soil gay with flowers and grasses. A herd of cattle moved,
stretched, and expanded itself before me; single cows and groups in the
distance, in the clearest evening light, hard by the forest of pines;
others nearer and darker; all in calm and eventide contentment. My watch
pointed to half-past six. The bull of the herd had stepped into the white
foaming brook, and went forward slowly, now striving against, now giving
way to his tempestuous course; thus, no doubt, he took his sort of fierce
pleasure. Two dark brown beings, of Bergamasque origin, tended the herd,
the girl dressed almost like a boy. On the left, overhanging cliffs and
fields of snow above broad belts of woodland; to the right, two enormous
ice-covered peaks, high above me, shimmering in the veil of the sunny
haze—all large, silent, and bright. The beauty of the whole was
awe-inspiring and induced to a mute worship of the moment and its
revelation. Unconsciously, as if nothing could be more natural, you
peopled this pure, clear world of light (which had no trace of yearning,
of expectancy, of looking forward or backward) with Greek heroes. You felt
it all as Poussin and his school felt—at once heroic and idyllic.—So
individual men too have lived, constantly feeling themselves in the world
and the world in themselves, and among them one of the greatest men, the
inventor of a heroico-idyllic form of philosophy—Epicurus.



296.


COUNTING AND MEASURING.—The art of seeing many things, of weighing one
with another, of reckoning one thing with another and constructing from
them a rapid conclusion, a fairly correct sum—that goes to make a great
politician or general or merchant. This quality is, in fact, a power of
speedy mental calculation. The art of seeing _one_ thing alone, of finding
therein the sole motive for action, the guiding principle of all other
action, goes to make the hero and also the fanatic. This quality means a
dexterity in measuring with one scale.



297.


NOT TO SEE TOO SOON.—As long as we undergo some experience, we must give
ourselves up to the experience and shut our eyes—in other words, not
become observers of what we are undergoing. For to observe would disturb
good digestion of the experience, and instead of wisdom we should gain
nothing but dyspepsia.



298.


FROM THE PRACTICE OF THE WISE.—To become wise we must _will_ to undergo
certain experiences, and accordingly leap into their jaws. This, it is
true, is very dangerous. Many a “sage” has been eaten up in the process.



299.


EXHAUSTION OF THE INTELLECT.—Our occasional coldness and indifference
towards people, which is imputed to us as hardness and defect of
character, is often only an exhaustion of the intellect. In this state
other men are to us, as we are to ourselves, tedious or immaterial.



300.


“THE ONE THING NEEDFUL.”—If we are clever, the one thing we need is to
have joy in our hearts. “Ah,” adds some one, “if we are clever, the best
thing we can do is to be wise.”



301.


A SIGN OF LOVE.—Some one said, “There are two persons about whom I have
never thought deeply. That is a sign of my love for them.”



302.


HOW WE SEEK TO IMPROVE BAD ARGUMENTS.—Many a man adds a bit of his
personality to his bad arguments, as if they would thus go better and
change into straight and good arguments. In the same way, players at
skittles, even after a throw, try to give a direction to the ball by turns
and gestures.



303.


HONESTY.—It is but a small thing to be a pattern sort of man with regard
to rights and property—for instance (to name trifling points, which of
course give a better proof of this sort of pattern nature than great
examples), if as a boy one never steals fruit from another’s orchard, and
as a man never walks on unmown fields. It is but little; you are then
still only a “law-abiding person,” with just that degree of morality of
which a “society,” a group of human beings, is capable.



304.


“MAN!”—What is the vanity of the vainest individual as compared with the
vanity which the most modest person feels when he thinks of his position
in nature and in the world as “Man!”



305.


THE MOST NECESSARY GYMNASTIC.—Through deficiency in self-control in small
matters a similar deficiency on great occasions slowly arises. Every day
on which we have not at least once denied ourselves some _trifle_ is
turned to bad use and a danger to the next day. This gymnastic is
indispensable if we wish to maintain the joy of being our own master.



306.


LOSING OURSELVES.—When we have first found ourselves, we must understand
how from time to time to _lose_ ourselves and then to find ourselves
again.—This is true on the assumption that we are thinkers. A thinker
finds it a drawback always to be tied to one person.



307.


WHEN IT IS NECESSARY TO PART.—You must, for a time at least, part from
that which you want to know and measure. Only when you have left a city do
you see how high its towers rise above its houses.



308.


AT NOONTIDE.—He to whom an active and stormy morning of life is allotted,
at the noontide of life feels his soul overcome by a strange longing for a
rest that may last for months and years. All grows silent around him,
voices sound farther and farther in the distance, the sun shines straight
down upon him. On a hidden woodland sward he sees the great God Pan
sleeping, and with Pan Nature seems to him to have gone to sleep with an
expression of eternity on their faces. He wants nothing, he troubles about
nothing; his heart stands still, only his eye lives. It is a death with
waking eyes. Then man sees much that he never saw before, and, so far as
his eye can reach, all is woven into and as it were buried in a net of
light. He feels happy, but it is a heavy, very heavy kind of
happiness.—Then at last the wind stirs in the trees, noontide is over,
life carries him away again, life with its blind eyes, and its tempestuous
retinue behind it—desire, illusion, oblivion, enjoyment, destruction,
decay. And so comes evening, more stormy and more active than was even the
morning.—To the really active man these prolonged phases of cognition seem
almost uncanny and morbid, but not unpleasant.



309.


TO BEWARE OF ONE’S PORTRAIT-PAINTER.—A great painter, who in a portrait
has revealed and put on canvas the fullest expression and look of which a
man is capable, will almost always think, when he sees the man later in
real life, that he is only looking at a caricature.



310.


THE TWO PRINCIPLES OF THE NEW LIFE.—_First Principle_: to arrange one’s
life on the most secure and tangible basis, not as hitherto upon the most
distant, undetermined, and cloudy foundation. _Second Principle_: to
establish the rank of the nearest and nearer things, and of the more and
less secure, before one arranges one’s life and directs it to a final end.



311.


DANGEROUS IRRITABILITY.—Talented men who are at the same time _idle_ will
always appear somewhat irritated when one of their friends has
accomplished a thorough piece of work. Their jealousy is awakened, they
are ashamed of their own laziness, or rather, they fear that their active
friend will now despise them even more than before. In such a mood they
criticise the new achievement, and, to the utter astonishment of the
author, their criticism becomes a revenge.



312.


DESTRUCTIONS OF ILLUSIONS.—Illusions are certainly expensive amusements;
but the destruction of illusions is still more expensive, if looked upon
as an amusement, as it undoubtedly is by some people.



313.


THE MONOTONE OF THE “SAGE.”—Cows sometimes have a look of wondering which
stops short on the path to questioning. In the eye of the higher
intelligence, on the other hand, the _nil admirari_ is spread out like the
monotony of the cloudless sky.



314.


NOT TO BE ILL TOO LONG.—We should beware of being ill too long. The
lookers-on become impatient of their customary duty of showing sympathy,
because they find it too much trouble to maintain the appearance of this
emotion for any length of time. Then they immediately pass to suspicion of
our character, with the conclusion: “You deserve to be ill, and we need no
longer be at pains to show our sympathy.”



315.


A HINT TO ENTHUSIASTS.—He who likes to be carried away, and would fain be
carried on high, must beware lest he become too heavy. For instance, he
must not learn much, and especially not let himself be crammed with
science. Science makes men ponderous—take care, ye enthusiasts!



316.


KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO SURPRISE ONESELF.—He who would see himself as he is,
must know how to _surprise_ himself, torch in hand. For with the mind it
is as with the body: whoever is accustomed to look at himself in the glass
forgets his ugliness, and only recognises it again by means of the
portrait-painter. Yet he even grows used to the picture and forgets his
ugliness all over again.—Herein we see the universal law that man cannot
endure unalterable ugliness, unless for a moment. He forgets or denies it
in all cases.—The moralists must reckon upon that “moment” for bringing
forward their truths.



317.


OPINIONS AND FISH.—We are possessors of our opinions as of fish—that is,
in so far as we are possessors of a fish pond. We must go fishing and have
luck—then we have _our_ fish, _our_ opinions. I speak here of live
opinions, of live fish. Others are content to possess a cabinet of
fossils—and, in their head, “convictions.”



318.


SIGNS OF FREEDOM AND SERVITUDE.—To satisfy one’s needs so far as possible
oneself, even if imperfectly, is the path towards freedom in mind and
personality. To satisfy many even superfluous needs, and that as fully as
possible, is a training for servitude. The Sophist Hippias, who himself
earned and made all that he wore within and without, is the representative
of the highest freedom of mind and personality. It does not matter whether
all is done equally well and perfectly—pride can repair the damaged
places.



319.


BELIEF IN ONESELF.—In our times we mistrust every one who believes in
himself. Formerly this was enough to make people believe in one. The
recipe for finding faith now runs: “Spare not thyself! In order to set thy
opinion in a credible light, thou must first set fire to thy own hut!”



320.


AT ONCE RICHER AND POORER.—I know a man who accustomed himself even in
childhood to think well of the intellectuality of mankind—in other words,
of their real devotion as regards things of the intellect, their unselfish
preference for that which is recognised as true—but who had at the same
time a modest or even depreciatory view of his own brain (judgment,
memory, presence of mind, imagination). He set no value on himself when he
compared himself with others. Now in the course of years he was compelled,
first once and then in a hundred ways, to revise this verdict. One would
have thought he would be thoroughly satisfied and delighted. Such, in
fact, was to some extent the case, but, as he once said, “Yet a bitterness
of the deepest dye is mingled with my feeling, such as I did not know in
earlier life; for since I learnt to value men and myself more correctly,
my intellect seems to me of less use. I scarcely think I can now do any
good at all with it, because the minds of others cannot understand the
good. I now always see before me the frightful gulf between those who
could give help and those who need help. So I am troubled by the
misfortune of having my intellect to myself and of being forced to enjoy
it alone so far as it can give any enjoyment. But to give is more blessed
than to possess, and what is the richest man in the solitude of a
desert?”(28)



321.


HOW WE SHOULD ATTACK.—The reasons for which men believe or do not believe
are in very few people as strong as they might be. As a rule, in order to
shake a belief it is far from necessary to use the heaviest weapon of
attack. Many attain their object by merely making the attack with some
noise—in fact, pop-guns are often enough. In dealing with very vain
persons, the semblance of a strong attack is enough. They think they are
being taken quite seriously, and readily give way.



322.


DEATH.—Through the certain prospect of death a precious, fragrant drop of
frivolity might be mixed with every life—and now, you singular
druggist-souls, you have made of death a drop of poison, unpleasant to
taste, which makes the whole of life hideous.



323.


REPENTANCE.—Never allow repentance free play, but say at once to yourself,
“That would be adding a second piece of folly to the first.” If you have
worked evil, you must bethink yourself of doing good. If you are punished
for your actions, submit to the punishment with the feeling that by this
very submission you are somehow doing good, in that you are deterring
others from falling into the same error. Every malefactor who is punished
has a right to consider himself a benefactor to mankind.



324.


BECOMING A THINKER.—How can any one become a thinker if he does not spend
at least a third part of the day without passions, men, and books?



325.


THE BEST REMEDY.—A little health on and off is the best remedy for the
invalid.



326.


DON’T TOUCH.—There are dreadful people who, instead of solving a problem,
complicate it for those who deal with it and make it harder to solve.(29)
Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be entreated
not to hit the nail at all.



327.


FORGETTING NATURE.—We speak of Nature, and, in doing so, forget ourselves:
we ourselves are Nature, _quand même_.—Consequently, Nature is something
quite different from what we feel on hearing her name pronounced.



328.


PROFUNDITY AND ENNUI.—In the case of profound men, as of deep wells, it
takes a long time before anything that is thrown into them reaches the
bottom. The spectators, who generally do not wait long enough, too readily
look upon such a man as callous and hard—or even as boring.



329.


WHEN IT IS TIME TO VOW FIDELITY TO ONESELF.—We sometimes go astray in an
intellectual direction which does not correspond to our talents. For a
time we struggle heroically against wind and tide, really against
ourselves; but finally we become weary and we pant. What we accomplish
gives us no real pleasure, since we think that we have paid too heavy a
price for these successes. We even despair of our productivity, of our
future, perhaps in the midst of victory.—Finally, finally we turn back—and
then the wind swells our sails and bears us into our smooth water. What
bliss! How certain of victory we feel! Only now do we know what we are and
what we intend, and now we vow fidelity to ourselves, and have a right to
do so—as men that know.



330.


WEATHER PROPHETS.—Just as the clouds reveal to us the direction of the
wind high above our heads, so the lightest and freest spirits give signs
of future weather by their course. The wind in the valley and the
market-place opinions of to-day have no significance for the future, but
only for the past.



331.


CONTINUAL ACCELERATION.—Those who begin slowly and find it hard to become
familiar with a subject, sometimes acquire afterwards the quality of
continual acceleration—so that in the end no one knows where the current
will take them.



332.


THE THREE GOOD THINGS.—Greatness, calm, sunlight—these three embrace all
that a thinker desires and also demands of himself: his hopes and duties,
his claims in the intellectual and moral sphere, nay even in his daily
manner of life and the scenic background of his residence. Corresponding
to these three things are, firstly thoughts that exalt, secondly thoughts
that soothe, and thirdly thoughts that illuminate—but, fourthly, thoughts
that share in all these three qualities, in which all earthly things are
transfigured. This is the kingdom of the great _trinity of joy_.



333.


DYING FOR “TRUTH.”—We should not let ourselves be burnt for our
opinions—we are not so certain of them as all that. But we might let
ourselves be burnt for the right of possessing and changing our opinions.



334.


MARKET VALUE.—If we wish to pass exactly for what we are, we must be
something that has its market value. As, however, only objects in common
use have a market value, this desire is the consequence either of shrewd
modesty or of stupid immodesty.



335.


MORAL FOR BUILDERS.—We must remove the scaffolding when the house has been
built.



336.


SOPHOCLEANISM.—Who poured more water into wine than the Greeks? Sobriety
and grace combined—that was the aristocratic privilege of the Athenian in
the time of Sophocles and after. Imitate that whoever can! In life and in
work!



337.


HEROISM.—The heroic consists in doing something great (or in nobly _not_
doing something) without feeling oneself to be in competition _with_ or
_before_ others. The hero carries with him, wherever he goes, the
wilderness and the holy land with inviolable precincts.



338.


FINDING OUR “DOUBLE” IN NATURE.—In some country places we rediscover
ourselves, with a delightful shudder: it is the pleasantest way of finding
our “double.”—How happy must he be who has that feeling just here, in this
perpetually sunny October air, in this happy elfin play of the wind from
morn till eve, in this clearest of atmospheres and mildest of
temperatures, in all the serious yet cheerful landscape of hill, lake, and
forest on this plateau, which has encamped fearlessly next to the terrors
of eternal snow: here, where Italy and Finland have joined hands, and
where the home of all the silver colour-tones of Nature seems to be
established. How happy must he be who can say, “True, there are many
grander and finer pieces of scenery, but this is so familiar and intimate
to me, related by blood, nay even more to me!”



339.


AFFABILITY OF THE SAGE.—The sage will unconsciously be affable in his
intercourse with other men, as a prince would be, and will readily treat
them as equals, in spite of all differences of talent, rank, and
character. For this characteristic, however, so soon as people notice it,
he is most heavily censured.



340.


GOLD.—All that is gold does not glitter. A soft sheen characterises the
most precious metal.



341.


WHEEL AND DRAG.—The wheel and the drag have different duties, but also one
in common—that of hurting each other.



342.


DISTURBANCES OF THE THINKER.—All that interrupts the thinker in his
thoughts (disturbs him, as people say) must be regarded by him calmly, as
a new model who comes in by the door to offer himself to the artist.
Interruptions are the ravens which bring food to the recluse.



343.


BEING VERY CLEVER.—Being very clever keeps men young, but they must put up
with being considered, for that very reason, older than they are. For men
read the handwriting of the intellect as signs of _experience_—that is, of
having lived much and evilly, of suffering, error, and repentance. Hence,
if we are very clever and show it, we appear to them older and wickeder
than we are.



344.


HOW WE MUST CONQUER.—We ought not to desire victory if we only have the
prospect of overcoming our opponent by a hair’s breadth. A good victory
makes the vanquished rejoice, and must have about it something divine
which spares _humiliation_.



345.


AN ILLUSION OF SUPERIOR MINDS.—Superior minds find it difficult to free
themselves from an illusion; for they imagine that they excite envy among
the mediocre and are looked upon as exceptions. As a matter of fact,
however, they are looked upon as superfluous, as something that would not
be missed if it did not exist.



346.


DEMANDED BY CLEANLINESS.—Changing opinions is in some natures as much
demanded by cleanliness as changing clothes. In the case of other natures
it is only demanded by vanity.



347.


ALSO WORTHY OF A HERO.—Here is a hero who did nothing but shake the tree
as soon as the fruits were ripe. Do you think that too small a thing?
Well, just look at the tree that he shook.



348.


A GAUGE FOR WISDOM.—The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the
diminution of ill-temper.



349.


EXPRESSING AN ERROR DISAGREEABLY.—It is not to every one’s taste to hear
truth pleasantly expressed. But let no one at least believe that error
will become truth if it is disagreeably expressed.



350.


THE GOLDEN MAXIM.—Man has been bound with many chains, in order that he
may forget to comport himself like an animal. And indeed he has become
more gentle, more intellectual, more joyous, more meditative than any
animal. But now he still suffers from having carried his chains so long,
from having been so long without pure air and free movement—these chains,
however, are, as I repeat again and again, the ponderous and significant
errors of moral, religious, and metaphysical ideas. Only when the disease
of chains is overcome is the first great goal reached—the separation of
man from the brute. At present we stand in the midst of our work of
removing the chains, and in doing so we need the strictest precautions.
Only the ennobled man may be granted freedom of spirit; to him alone comes
the alleviation of life and heals his wounds; he is the first who can say
that he lives for the sake of joy, with no other aim; in any other mouth,
his motto of “Peace around me and goodwill towards all the most familiar
things,” would be dangerous.—In this motto for single individuals he is
thinking of an ancient saying, magnificent and pathetic, which applied to
all, and has remained standing above all mankind, as a motto and a beacon
whereby shall perish all who adorn their banner too early—the rock on
which Christianity foundered. It is not even yet time, it seems, for _all
men_ to have the lot of those shepherds who saw the heavens lit up above
them and heard the words: “Peace on earth and goodwill to one another
among men.”—It is still the age of the individual.



                  ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐



_The Shadow_: Of all that you have enunciated, nothing pleased me more
than one promise: “Ye want again to be good neighbours to the most
familiar things.” This will be to the advantage of us poor shadows too.
For do but confess that you have hitherto been only too fond of reviling
us.

_The Wanderer_: Reviling? But why did you never defend yourselves? After
all, you were very close to our ears.

_The Shadow_: It seemed to us that we were too near you to have a right to
talk of ourselves.

_The Wanderer_: What delicacy! Ah, you shadows are “better men”(30) than
we, I can see that.

_The Shadow_: And yet you called us “importunate”—us, who know one thing
at least extremely well: how to be silent and to wait—no Englishman knows
it better. It is true we are very, very often in the retinue of men, but
never as their bondsmen. When man shuns light, we shun man—so far, at
least, we are free.

_The Wanderer_: Ah, light shuns man far oftener, and then also you abandon
him.

_The Shadow_: It has often pained me to leave you. I am eager for
knowledge, and much in man has remained obscure to me, because I cannot
always be in his company. At the price of complete knowledge of man I
would gladly be your slave.

_The Wanderer_: Do you know, do I know, whether you would not then
unwittingly become master instead of slave? Or would remain a slave
indeed, but would lead a life of humiliation and disgust because you
despised your master? Let us both be content with freedom such as you have
enjoyed up to now—you and I! For the sight of a being not free would
embitter my greatest joys; all that is best would be repugnant to me if
any one had to share it with me—I will not hear of any slaves about me.
That is why I do not care for the dog, that lazy, tail-wagging parasite,
who first became “doggish” as the slave of man, and of whom they still say
that he is loyal to his master and follows him like——

_The Shadow_: Like his shadow, they say. Perhaps I have already followed
you too long to-day? It has been the longest day, but we are nearing the
end; be patient a little more! The grass is damp; I am feeling chilly.

_The Wanderer_: Oh, is it already time to part? And I had to hurt you in
the end—I saw you became darker.

_The Shadow_: I blushed the only colour I have at command. I remembered
that I had often lain at your feet like a dog, and that you then——

_The Wanderer_: Can I not with all speed do something to please you? Have
you no wish?

_The Shadow_: None, except perhaps the wish that the philosophic “dog”(31)
expressed to Alexander the Great—just move a little out of my light; I
feel cold.

_The Wanderer_: What am I to do?

_The Shadow_: Walk under those fir-trees and look around you towards the
mountains; the sun is sinking.

_The Wanderer_: Where are you? Where are you?



FOOTNOTES


    1 “Foreword” and “forword” would be the literal rendering of the play
      on words.—TR.

    2 The allusion is to the ending of the Second Part of Goethe’s
      _Faust_—“das Ewig Weibliche Zieht uns _hinan_!”—“The Eternal
      Feminine Draweth us _on_!”—TR.

    3 It has been attempted to render the play on “Gewissen” and
      “Wissen.”—TR.

    4 Cf. John i. 1.—TR.

    5 The German word _Mitfreude_, coined by Nietzsche in opposition to
      _Mitleid_ (sympathy), is untranslateable.—TR.

    6 Herostratus of Ephesus (in 356 B.C.) set fire to the temple of Diana
      in order (as he confessed on the rack) to gain notoriety.—TR.

    7 Quotation from Schiller, _Don Carlos_, i. 5.—TR.

    8 This, of course, refers to Jesus and Socrates.—TR.

    9 Queen of the Amazons, slain by Achilles in the Trojan War.—TR.

   10 From Schiller, _Wallenstein’s Lager_: “Wer den Besten seiner Zeit
      genug gethan, der hat gelebt für alle Zeiten” (“He that has
      satisfied the best men of his time has lived for all time”).

   11 In German _Barockstil_, _i.e._ the degenerate post-Renaissance style
      in art and literature, which spread from Italy in the seventeenth
      century.—TR.

   12 The original word, _Freizügig_, means, in the modern German Empire,
      possessing the free right of migration, without pecuniary burdens or
      other restrictions, from one German state to another. The play on
      words in _Zug zur Freiheit_ (“impulse to freedom”) is
      untranslateable.—TR.

   13 Nietzsche seems to allude to his own case, for he ultimately
      contracted a myopia which bordered on blindness.—TR.

   14 The play on _bergen_ (shelter) and _verbergen_ (hide) is
      untranslateable.—TR.

   15 Allusion to German proverb: “Where there is nothing, the Emperor has
      lost his rights.”—TR.

   16 Genesis xiii. 9.—TR.

   17 Luke viii. 33.—TR.

   18 The play on Freudenschaften (_i.e._ pleasure-giving passions) and
      _Leidenschaften_ (_i.e._ pain-giving passions) is often used by
      Nietzsche, and is untranslateable.—_Tr._

   19 The wife of the Stoic Thrasea Paetus, when their complicity in the
      great conspiracy of 65 A.D. against Nero was discovered, is reported
      to have said as she committed suicide, “It doesn’t hurt,
      Paetus.”—_Tr._

   20 It is interesting to compare this judgment with Carlyle’s praise of
      Jean Paul. The dressing-gown is an allusion to Jean Paul’s favourite
      costume.—TR.

   21 The German copyright expires thirty years after publication.—TR.

   22 Nietzsche himself was extremely short-sighted.—TR.

   23 In the sixth century B.C. Pythagoras founded at Croton a “school”
      somewhat resembling a monastic order. Among the ordeals for
      novitiates was enforced silence for five years.—TR.

   24 In the German _Aufklärung_ there is a play on the sense “clearing
      up” (of weather) and “enlightenment.”—TR.

   25 Stendhal.—TR.

   26 A transposition of _sacrifizio dell’ intelletto_, the Jesuit
      maxim.—TR.

   27 The original, by a curious slip, has “seventh.”—TR.

   28 Clearly autobiographical. Nietzsche, like all great men, passed
      through a period of modesty and doubt.—TR.

   29 Nietzsche here alludes to his own countrymen.—TR.

   30 An allusion to the poem “Der Wilde” (The Savage) by Säume, which
      ends with the line, “Sehet, wir wilden sind doch bessere Menschen”
      (Behold, after all, we savages are better men).—TR.

   31 Diogenes, founder of the Cynic school, which derived its name from
      κυών (dog).—TR.





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