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Title: Human, All Too Human - A Book for Free Spirits
Author: Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    Copyright 1908
    By Charles H. Kerr & Company








It is often enough, and always with great surprise, intimated to me that
there is something both ordinary and unusual in all my writings, from
the "Birth of Tragedy" to the recently published "Prelude to a
Philosophy of the Future": they all contain, I have been told, snares
and nets for short sighted birds, and something that is almost a
constant, subtle, incitement to an overturning of habitual opinions and
of approved customs. What!? Everything is merely--human--all too human?
With this exclamation my writings are gone through, not without a
certain dread and mistrust of ethic itself and not without a disposition
to ask the exponent of evil things if those things be not simply
misrepresented. My writings have been termed a school of distrust, still
more of disdain: also, and more happily, of courage, audacity even. And
in fact, I myself do not believe that anybody ever looked into the world
with a distrust as deep as mine, seeming, as I do, not simply the timely
advocate of the devil, but, to employ theological terms, an enemy and
challenger of God; and whosoever has experienced any of the consequences
of such deep distrust, anything of the chills and the agonies of
isolation to which such an unqualified difference of standpoint condemns
him endowed with it, will also understand how often I must have sought
relief and self-forgetfulness from any source--through any object of
veneration or enmity, of scientific seriousness or wanton lightness;
also why I, when I could not find what I was in need of, had to fashion
it for myself, counterfeiting it or imagining it (and what poet or
writer has ever done anything else, and what other purpose can all the
art in the world possibly have?) That which I always stood most in need
of in order to effect my cure and self-recovery was faith, faith enough
not to be thus isolated, not to look at life from so singular a point of
view--a magic apprehension (in eye and mind) of relationship and
equality, a calm confidence in friendship, a blindness, free from
suspicion and questioning, to two sidedness; a pleasure in externals,
superficialities, the near, the accessible, in all things possessed of
color, skin and seeming. Perhaps I could be fairly reproached with much
"art" in this regard, many fine counterfeitings; for example, that,
wisely or wilfully, I had shut my eyes to Schopenhauer's blind will
towards ethic, at a time when I was already clear sighted enough on the
subject of ethic; likewise that I had deceived myself concerning Richard
Wagner's incurable romanticism, as if it were a beginning and not an
end; likewise concerning the Greeks, likewise concerning the Germans and
their future--and there may be, perhaps, a long list of such likewises.
Granted, however, that all this were true, and with justice urged
against me, what does it signify, what can it signify in regard to how
much of the self-sustaining capacity, how much of reason and higher
protection are embraced in such self-deception?--and how much more
falsity is still necessary to me that I may therewith always reassure
myself regarding the luxury of my truth. Enough, I still live; and life
is not considered now apart from ethic; it _will_ [have] deception; it
thrives (lebt) on deception ... but am I not beginning to do all over
again what I have always done, I, the old immoralist, and bird
snarer--talk unmorally, ultramorally, "beyond good and evil"?


Thus, then, have I evolved for myself the "free spirits" to whom this
discouraging-encouraging work, under the general title "Human, All Too
Human," is dedicated. Such "free spirits" do not really exist and never
did exist. But I stood in need of them, as I have pointed out, in order
that some good might be mixed with my evils (illness, loneliness,
strangeness, _acedia_, incapacity): to serve as gay spirits and
comrades, with whom one may talk and laugh when one is disposed to talk
and laugh, and whom one may send to the devil when they grow wearisome.
They are some compensation for the lack of friends. That such free
spirits can possibly exist, that our Europe will yet number among her
sons of to-morrow or of the day after to-morrow, such a brilliant and
enthusiastic company, alive and palpable and not merely, as in my case,
fantasms and imaginary shades, I, myself, can by no means doubt. I see
them already coming, slowly, slowly. May it not be that I am doing a
little something to expedite their coming when I describe in advance the
influences under which I see them evolving and the ways along which they


It may be conjectured that a soul in which the type of "free spirit" can
attain maturity and completeness had its decisive and deciding event in
the form of a great emancipation or unbinding, and that prior to that
event it seemed only the more firmly and forever chained to its place
and pillar. What binds strongest? What cords seem almost unbreakable? In
the case of mortals of a choice and lofty nature they will be those of
duty: that reverence, which in youth is most typical, that timidity and
tenderness in the presence of the traditionally honored and the worthy,
that gratitude to the soil from which we sprung, for the hand that
guided us, for the relic before which we were taught to pray--their
sublimest moments will themselves bind these souls most strongly. The
great liberation comes suddenly to such prisoners, like an earthquake:
the young soul is all at once shaken, torn apart, cast forth--it
comprehends not itself what is taking place. An involuntary onward
impulse rules them with the mastery of command; a will, a wish are
developed to go forward, anywhere, at any price; a strong, dangerous
curiosity regarding an undiscovered world flames and flashes in all
their being. "Better to die than live _here_"--so sounds the tempting
voice: and this "here," this "at home" constitutes all they have
hitherto loved. A sudden dread and distrust of that which they loved, a
flash of contempt for that which is called their "duty," a mutinous,
wilful, volcanic-like longing for a far away journey, strange scenes and
people, annihilation, petrifaction, a hatred surmounting love, perhaps a
sacrilegious impulse and look backwards, to where they so long prayed
and loved, perhaps a flush of shame for what they did and at the same
time an exultation at having done it, an inner, intoxicating,
delightful tremor in which is betrayed the sense of victory--a victory?
over what? over whom? a riddle-like victory, fruitful in questioning and
well worth questioning, but the _first_ victory, for all--such things of
pain and ill belong to the history of the great liberation. And it is at
the same time a malady that can destroy a man, this first outbreak of
strength and will for self-destination, self-valuation, this will for
free will: and how much illness is forced to the surface in the frantic
strivings and singularities with which the freedman, the liberated seeks
henceforth to attest his mastery over things! He roves fiercely around,
with an unsatisfied longing and whatever objects he may encounter must
suffer from the perilous expectancy of his pride; he tears to pieces
whatever attracts him. With a sardonic laugh he overturns whatever he
finds veiled or protected by any reverential awe: he would see what
these things look like when they are overturned. It is wilfulness and
delight in the wilfulness of it, if he now, perhaps, gives his approval
to that which has heretofore been in ill repute--if, in curiosity and
experiment, he penetrates stealthily to the most forbidden things. In
the background during all his plunging and roaming--for he is as
restless and aimless in his course as if lost in a wilderness--is the
interrogation mark of a curiosity growing ever more dangerous. "Can we
not upset every standard? and is good perhaps evil? and God only an
invention and a subtlety of the devil? Is everything, in the last
resort, false? And if we are dupes are we not on that very account
dupers also? _must_ we not be dupers also?" Such reflections lead and
mislead him, ever further on, ever further away. Solitude, that dread
goddess and mater saeva cupidinum, encircles and besets him, ever more
threatening, more violent, more heart breaking--but who to-day knows
what solitude is?


From this morbid solitude, from the deserts of such trial years, the way
is yet far to that great, overflowing certainty and healthiness which
cannot dispense even with sickness as a means and a grappling hook of
knowledge; to that matured freedom of the spirit which is, in an equal
degree, self mastery and discipline of the heart, and gives access to
the path of much and various reflection--to that inner comprehensiveness
and self satisfaction of over-richness which precludes all danger that
the spirit has gone astray even in its own path and is sitting
intoxicated in some corner or other; to that overplus of plastic,
healing, imitative and restorative power which is the very sign of
vigorous health, that overplus which confers upon the free spirit the
perilous prerogative of spending a life in experiment and of running
adventurous risks: the past-master-privilege of the free spirit. In the
interval there may be long years of convalescence, years filled with
many hued painfully-bewitching transformations, dominated and led to the
goal by a tenacious will for health that is often emboldened to assume
the guise and the disguise of health. There is a middle ground to this,
which a man of such destiny can not subsequently recall without emotion;
he basks in a special fine sun of his own, with a feeling of birdlike
freedom, birdlike visual power, birdlike irrepressibleness, a something
extraneous (Drittes) in which curiosity and delicate disdain have
united. A "free spirit"--this refreshing term is grateful in any mood,
it almost sets one aglow. One lives--no longer in the bonds of love and
hate, without a yes or no, here or there indifferently, best pleased to
evade, to avoid, to beat about, neither advancing nor retreating. One is
habituated to the bad, like a person who all at once sees a fearful
hurly-burly _beneath_ him--and one was the counterpart of him who
bothers himself with things that do not concern him. As a matter of fact
the free spirit is bothered with mere things--and how many
things--which no longer _concern_ him.


A step further in recovery: and the free spirit draws near to life
again, slowly indeed, almost refractorily, almost distrustfully. There
is again warmth and mellowness: feeling and fellow feeling acquire
depth, lambent airs stir all about him. He almost feels: it seems as if
now for the first time his eyes are open to things _near_. He is in
amaze and sits hushed: for where had he been? These near and immediate
things: how changed they seem to him! He looks gratefully back--grateful
for his wandering, his self exile and severity, his lookings afar and
his bird flights in the cold heights. How fortunate that he has not,
like a sensitive, dull home body, remained always "in the house" and "at
home!" He had been beside himself, beyond a doubt. Now for the first
time he really sees himself--and what surprises in the process. What
hitherto unfelt tremors! Yet what joy in the exhaustion, the old
sickness, the relapses of the convalescent! How it delights him,
suffering, to sit still, to exercise patience, to lie in the sun! Who so
well as he appreciates the fact that there comes balmy weather even in
winter, who delights more in the sunshine athwart the wall? They are
the most appreciative creatures in the world, and also the most humble,
these convalescents and lizards, crawling back towards life: there are
some among them who can let no day slip past them without addressing
some song of praise to its retreating light. And speaking seriously, it
is a fundamental cure for all pessimism (the cankerous vice, as is well
known, of all idealists and humbugs), to become ill in the manner of
these free spirits, to remain ill quite a while and then bit by bit grow
healthy--I mean healthier. It is wisdom, worldly wisdom, to administer
even health to oneself for a long time in small doses.


About this time it becomes at last possible, amid the flash lights of a
still unestablished, still precarious health, for the free, the ever
freer spirit to begin to read the riddle of that great liberation, a
riddle which has hitherto lingered, obscure, well worth questioning,
almost impalpable, in his memory. If once he hardly dared to ask "why so
apart? so alone? renouncing all I loved? renouncing respect itself? why
this coldness, this suspicion, this hate for one's very virtues?"--now
he dares, and asks it loudly, already hearing the answer, "you had to
become master over yourself, master of your own good qualities. Formerly
they were your masters: but they should be merely your tools along with
other tools. You had to acquire power over your aye and no and learn to
hold and withhold them in accordance with your higher aims. You had to
grasp the perspective of every representation (Werthschätzung)--the
dislocation, distortion and the apparent end or teleology of the
horizon, besides whatever else appertains to the perspective: also the
element of demerit in its relation to opposing merit, and the whole
intellectual cost of every affirmative, every negative. You had to find
out the _inevitable_ error[1] in every Yes and in every No, error as
inseparable from life, life itself as conditioned by the perspective and
its inaccuracy.[1] Above all, you had to see with your own eyes where
the error[1] is always greatest: there, namely, where life is littlest,
narrowest, meanest, least developed and yet cannot help looking upon
itself as the goal and standard of things, and smugly and ignobly and
incessantly tearing to tatters all that is highest and greatest and
richest, and putting the shreds into the form of questions from the
standpoint of its own well being. You had to see with your own eyes the
problem of classification, (Rangordnung, regulation concerning rank and
station) and how strength and sweep and reach of perspective wax upward
together: You had"--enough, the free spirit knows henceforward which
"you had" it has obeyed and also what it now can do and what it now, for
the first time, _dare_.

[1] Ungerechtigkeit, literally wrongfulness, injustice, unrighteousness.


Accordingly, the free spirit works out for itself an answer to that
riddle of its liberation and concludes by generalizing upon its
experience in the following fashion: "What I went through everyone must
go through" in whom any problem is germinated and strives to body itself
forth. The inner power and inevitability of this problem will assert
themselves in due course, as in the case of any unsuspected
pregnancy--long before the spirit has seen this problem in its true
aspect and learned to call it by its right name. Our destiny exercises
its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature:
it is our future that lays down the law to our to-day. Granted, that it
is the problem of classification[2] of which we free spirits may say,
this is _our_ problem, yet it is only now, in the midday of our life,
that we fully appreciate what preparations, shifts, trials, ordeals,
stages, were essential to that problem before it could emerge to our
view, and why we had to go through the various and contradictory
longings and satisfactions of body and soul, as circumnavigators and
adventurers of that inner world called "man"; as surveyors of that
"higher" and of that "progression"[3] that is also called
"man"--crowding in everywhere, almost without fear, disdaining nothing,
missing nothing, testing everything, sifting everything and eliminating
the chance impurities--until at last we could say, we free spirits:
"Here--a _new_ problem! Here, a long ladder on the rungs of which we
ourselves have rested and risen, which we have actually been at times.
Here is a something higher, a something deeper, a something below us, a
vastly extensive order, (Ordnung) a comparative classification
(Rangordnung), that we perceive: here--_our_ problem!"

[2] Rangordnung: the meaning is "the problem of grasping the relative
importance of things."

[3] Uebereinander: one over another.


To what stage in the development just outlined the present book belongs
(or is assigned) is something that will be hidden from no augur or
psychologist for an instant. But where are there psychologists to-day?
In France, certainly; in Russia, perhaps; certainly not in Germany.
Grounds are not wanting, to be sure, upon which the Germans of to-day
may adduce this fact to their credit: unhappily for one who in this
matter is fashioned and mentored in an un-German school! This _German_
book, which has found its readers in a wide circle of lands and
peoples--it has been some ten years on its rounds--and which must make
its way by means of any musical art and tune that will captivate the
foreign ear as well as the native--this book has been read most
indifferently in Germany itself and little heeded there: to what is that
due? "It requires too much," I have been told, "it addresses itself to
men free from the press of petty obligations, it demands fine and
trained perceptions, it requires a surplus, a surplus of time, of the
lightness of heaven and of the heart, of otium in the most unrestricted
sense: mere good things that we Germans of to-day have not got and
therefore cannot give." After so graceful a retort, my philosophy bids
me be silent and ask no more questions: at times, as the proverb says,
one remains a philosopher only because one says--nothing!

Nice, Spring, 1886.



=Chemistry of the Notions and the Feelings.=--Philosophical problems, in
almost all their aspects, present themselves in the same interrogative
formula now that they did two thousand years ago: how can a thing
develop out of its antithesis? for example, the reasonable from the
non-reasonable, the animate from the inanimate, the logical from the
illogical, altruism from egoism, disinterestedness from greed, truth
from error? The metaphysical philosophy formerly steered itself clear of
this difficulty to such extent as to repudiate the evolution of one
thing from another and to assign a miraculous origin to what it deemed
highest and best, due to the very nature and being of the
"thing-in-itself." The historical philosophy, on the other hand, which
can no longer be viewed apart from physical science, the youngest of all
philosophical methods, discovered experimentally (and its results will
probably always be the same) that there is no antithesis whatever,
except in the usual exaggerations of popular or metaphysical
comprehension, and that an error of the reason is at the bottom of such
contradiction. According to its explanation, there is, strictly
speaking, neither unselfish conduct, nor a wholly disinterested point of
view. Both are simply sublimations in which the basic element seems
almost evaporated and betrays its presence only to the keenest
observation. All that we need and that could possibly be given us in the
present state of development of the sciences, is a chemistry of the
moral, religious, aesthetic conceptions and feeling, as well as of those
emotions which we experience in the affairs, great and small, of society
and civilization, and which we are sensible of even in solitude. But
what if this chemistry established the fact that, even in _its_ domain,
the most magnificent results were attained with the basest and most
despised ingredients? Would many feel disposed to continue such
investigations? Mankind loves to put by the questions of its origin and
beginning: must one not be almost inhuman in order to follow the
opposite course?


=The Traditional Error of Philosophers.=--All philosophers make the
common mistake of taking contemporary man as their starting point and of
trying, through an analysis of him, to reach a conclusion. "Man"
involuntarily presents himself to them as an aeterna veritas as a
passive element in every hurly-burly, as a fixed standard of things. Yet
everything uttered by the philosopher on the subject of man is, in the
last resort, nothing more than a piece of testimony concerning man
during a very limited period of time. Lack of the historical sense is
the traditional defect in all philosophers. Many innocently take man in
his most childish state as fashioned through the influence of certain
religious and even of certain political developments, as the permanent
form under which man must be viewed. They will not learn that man has
evolved,[4] that the intellectual faculty itself is an evolution,
whereas some philosophers make the whole cosmos out of this intellectual
faculty. But everything essential in human evolution took place aeons
ago, long before the four thousand years or so of which we know
anything: during these man may not have changed very much. However, the
philosopher ascribes "instinct" to contemporary man and assumes that
this is one of the unalterable facts regarding man himself, and hence
affords a clue to the understanding of the universe in general. The
whole teleology is so planned that man during the last four thousand
years shall be spoken of as a being existing from all eternity, and
with reference to whom everything in the cosmos from its very inception
is naturally ordered. Yet everything evolved: there are no eternal facts
as there are no absolute truths. Accordingly, historical philosophising
is henceforth indispensable, and with it honesty of judgment.

[4] geworden.


=Appreciation of Simple Truths.=--It is the characteristic of an
advanced civilization to set a higher value upon little, simple truths,
ascertained by scientific method, than upon the pleasing and magnificent
errors originating in metaphysical and æsthetical epochs and peoples. To
begin with, the former are spoken of with contempt as if there could be
no question of comparison respecting them, so rigid, homely, prosaic and
even discouraging is the aspect of the first, while so beautiful,
decorative, intoxicating and perhaps beatific appear the last named.
Nevertheless, the hardwon, the certain, the lasting and, therefore, the
fertile in new knowledge, is the higher; to hold fast to it is manly and
evinces courage, directness, endurance. And not only individual men but
all mankind will by degrees be uplifted to this manliness when they are
finally habituated to the proper appreciation of tenable, enduring
knowledge and have lost all faith in inspiration and in the miraculous
revelation of truth. The reverers of forms, indeed, with their standards
of beauty and taste, may have good reason to laugh when the appreciation
of little truths and the scientific spirit begin to prevail, but that
will be only because their eyes are not yet opened to the charm of the
utmost simplicity of form or because men though reared in the rightly
appreciative spirit, will still not be fully permeated by it, so that
they continue unwittingly imitating ancient forms (and that ill enough,
as anybody does who no longer feels any interest in a thing). Formerly
the mind was not brought into play through the medium of exact thought.
Its serious business lay in the working out of forms and symbols. That
has now changed. Any seriousness in symbolism is at present the
indication of a deficient education. As our very acts become more
intellectual, our tendencies more rational, and our judgment, for
example, as to what seems reasonable, is very different from what it was
a hundred years ago: so the forms of our lives grow ever more
intellectual and, to the old fashioned eye, perhaps, uglier, but only
because it cannot see that the richness of inner, rational beauty always
spreads and deepens, and that the inner, rational aspect of all things
should now be of more consequence to us than the most beautiful
externality and the most exquisite limning.


=Astrology and the Like.=--It is presumable that the objects of the
religious, moral, aesthetic and logical notions pertain simply to the
superficialities of things, although man flatters himself with the
thought that here at least he is getting to the heart of the cosmos. He
deceives himself because these things have power to make him so happy
and so wretched, and so he evinces, in this respect, the same conceit
that characterises astrology. Astrology presupposes that the heavenly
bodies are regulated in their movements in harmony with the destiny of
mortals: the moral man presupposes that that which concerns himself most
nearly must also be the heart and soul of things.


=Misconception of Dreams.=--In the dream, mankind, in epochs of crude
primitive civilization, thought they were introduced to a second,
substantial world: here we have the source of all metaphysic. Without
the dream, men would never have been incited to an analysis of the
world. Even the distinction between soul and body is wholly due to the
primitive conception of the dream, as also the hypothesis of the
embodied soul, whence the development of all superstition, and also,
probably, the belief in god. "The dead still live: for they appear to
the living in dreams." So reasoned mankind at one time, and through many
thousands of years.


=The Scientific Spirit Prevails only Partially, not Wholly.=--The
specialized, minutest departments of science are dealt with purely
objectively. But the general universal sciences, considered as a great,
basic unity, posit the question--truly a very living question--: to what
purpose? what is the use? Because of this reference to utility they are,
as a whole, less impersonal than when looked at in their specialized
aspects. Now in the case of philosophy, as forming the apex of the
scientific pyramid, this question of the utility of knowledge is
necessarily brought very conspicuously forward, so that every philosophy
has, unconsciously, the air of ascribing the highest utility to itself.
It is for this reason that all philosophies contain such a great amount
of high flying metaphysic, and such a shrinking from the seeming
insignificance of the deliverances of physical science: for the
significance of knowledge in relation to life must be made to appear as
great as possible. This constitutes the antagonism between the
specialties of science and philosophy. The latter aims, as art aims, at
imparting to life and conduct the utmost depth and significance: in the
former mere knowledge is sought and nothing else--whatever else be
incidentally obtained. Heretofore there has never been a philosophical
system in which philosophy itself was not made the apologist of
knowledge [in the abstract]. On this point, at least, each is optimistic
and insists that to knowledge the highest utility must be ascribed. They
are all under the tyranny of logic, which is, from its very nature,


=The Discordant Element in Science.=--Philosophy severed itself from
science when it put the question: what is that knowledge of the world
and of life through which mankind may be made happiest? This happened
when the Socratic school arose: with the standpoint of _happiness_ the
arteries of investigating science were compressed too tightly to permit
of any circulation of the blood--and are so compressed to-day.


=Pneumatic Explanation of Nature.=[5]--Metaphysic reads the message of
nature as if it were written purely pneumatically, as the church and its
learned ones formerly did where the bible was concerned. It requires a
great deal of expertness to apply to nature the same strict science of
interpretation that the philologists have devised for all literature,
and to apply it for the purpose of a simple, direct interpretation of
the message, and at the same time, not bring out a double meaning. But,
as in the case of books and literature, errors of exposition are far
from being completely eliminated, and vestiges of allegorical and
mystical interpretations are still to be met with in the most cultivated
circles, so where nature is concerned the case is--actually much worse.

[5] Pneumatic is here used in the sense of spiritual. Pneuma being the
Greek word in the New Testament for the Holy Spirit.--Ed.


=Metaphysical World.=--It is true, there may be a metaphysical world;
the absolute possibility of it can scarcely be disputed. We see all
things through the medium of the human head and we cannot well cut off
this head: although there remains the question what part of the world
would be left after it had been cut off. But that is a purely abstract
scientific problem and one not much calculated to give men uneasiness:
yet everything that has heretofore made metaphysical assumptions
valuable, fearful or delightful to men, all that gave rise to them is
passion, error and self deception: the worst systems of knowledge, not
the best, pin their tenets of belief thereto. When such methods are once
brought to view as the basis of all existing religions and metaphysics,
they are already discredited. There always remains, however, the
possibility already conceded: but nothing at all can be made out of
that, to say not a word about letting happiness, salvation and life hang
upon the threads spun from such a possibility. Accordingly, nothing
could be predicated of the metaphysical world beyond the fact that it is
an elsewhere,[6] another sphere, inaccessible and incomprehensible to
us: it would become a thing of negative properties. Even were the
existence of such a world absolutely established, it would nevertheless
remain incontrovertible that of all kinds of knowledge, knowledge of
such a world would be of least consequence--of even less consequence
than knowledge of the chemical analysis of water would be to a storm
tossed mariner.

[6] Anderssein.


=The Harmlessness of Metaphysic in the Future.=--As soon as religion,
art and ethics are so understood that a full comprehension of them can
be gained without taking refuge in the postulates of metaphysical
claptrap at any point in the line of reasoning, there will be a complete
cessation of interest in the purely theoretical problem of the "thing in
itself" and the "phenomenon." For here, too, the same truth applies: in
religion, art and ethics we are not concerned with the "essence of the
cosmos".[7] We are in the sphere of pure conception. No presentiment [or
intuition] can carry us any further. With perfect tranquility the
question of how our conception of the world could differ so sharply from
the actual world as it is manifest to us, will be relegated to the
physiological sciences and to the history of the evolution of ideas and

[7] "Wesen der Welt an sich."


=Language as a Presumptive Science.=--The importance of language in the
development of civilization consists in the fact that by means of it
man placed one world, his own, alongside another, a place of leverage
that he thought so firm as to admit of his turning the rest of the
cosmos on a pivot that he might master it. In so far as man for ages
looked upon mere ideas and names of things as upon aeternae veritates,
he evinced the very pride with which he raised himself above the brute.
He really supposed that in language he possessed a knowledge of the
cosmos. The language builder was not so modest as to believe that he was
only giving names to things. On the contrary he thought he embodied the
highest wisdom concerning things in [mere] words; and, in truth,
language is the first movement in all strivings for wisdom. Here, too,
it is _faith in ascertained truth_[8] from which the mightiest fountains
of strength have flowed. Very tardily--only now--it dawns upon men that
they have propagated a monstrous error in their belief in language.
Fortunately, it is too late now to arrest and turn back the evolutionary
process of the reason, which had its inception in this belief. Logic
itself rests upon assumptions to which nothing in the world of reality
corresponds. For example, the correspondence of certain things to one
another and the identity of those things at different periods of time
are assumptions pure and simple, but the science of logic originated in
the positive belief that they were not assumptions at all but
established facts. It is the same with the science of mathematics which
certainly would never have come into existence if mankind had known from
the beginning that in all nature there is no perfectly straight line, no
true circle, no standard of measurement.

[8] Glaube an die gefundene Wahrheit, as distinguished from faith in
what is taken on trust as truth.


=Dream and Civilization.=--The function of the brain which is most
encroached upon in slumber is the memory; not that it is wholly
suspended, but it is reduced to a state of imperfection as, in primitive
ages of mankind, was probably the case with everyone, whether waking or
sleeping. Uncontrolled and entangled as it is, it perpetually confuses
things as a result of the most trifling similarities, yet in the same
mental confusion and lack of control the nations invented their
mythologies, while nowadays travelers habitually observe how prone the
savage is to forgetfulness, how his mind, after the least exertion of
memory, begins to wander and lose itself until finally he utters
falsehood and nonsense from sheer exhaustion. Yet, in dreams, we all
resemble this savage. Inadequacy of distinction and error of comparison
are the basis of the preposterous things we do and say in dreams, so
that when we clearly recall a dream we are startled that so much idiocy
lurks within us. The absolute distinctness of all dream-images, due to
implicit faith in their substantial reality, recalls the conditions in
which earlier mankind were placed, for whom hallucinations had
extraordinary vividness, entire communities and even entire nations
laboring simultaneously under them. Therefore: in sleep and in dream we
make the pilgrimage of early mankind over again.


=Logic of the Dream.=--During sleep the nervous system, through various
inner provocatives, is in constant agitation. Almost all the organs act
independently and vigorously. The blood circulates rapidly. The posture
of the sleeper compresses some portions of the body. The coverlets
influence the sensations in different ways. The stomach carries on the
digestive process and acts upon other organs thereby. The intestines are
in motion. The position of the head induces unaccustomed action. The
feet, shoeless, no longer pressing the ground, are the occasion of other
sensations of novelty, as is, indeed, the changed garb of the entire
body. All these things, following the bustle and change of the day,
result, through their novelty, in a movement throughout the entire
system that extends even to the brain functions. Thus there are a
hundred circumstances to induce perplexity in the mind, a questioning as
to the cause of this excitation. Now, the dream is a _seeking and
presenting of reasons_ for these excitations of feeling, of the supposed
reasons, that is to say. Thus, for example, whoever has his feet bound
with two threads will probably dream that a pair of serpents are coiled
about his feet. This is at first a hypothesis, then a belief with an
accompanying imaginative picture and the argument: "these snakes must be
the _causa_ of those sensations which I, the sleeper, now have." So
reasons the mind of the sleeper. The conditions precedent, as thus
conjectured, become, owing to the excitation of the fancy, present
realities. Everyone knows from experience how a dreamer will transform
one piercing sound, for example, that of a bell, into another of quite a
different nature, say, the report of cannon. In his dream he becomes
aware first of the effects, which he explains by a subsequent hypothesis
and becomes persuaded of the purely conjectural nature of the sound. But
how comes it that the mind of the dreamer goes so far astray when the
same mind, awake, is habitually cautious, careful, and so conservative
in its dealings with hypotheses? why does the first plausible
hypothesis of the cause of a sensation gain credit in the dreaming
state? (For in a dream we look upon that dream as reality, that is, we
accept our hypotheses as fully established). I have no doubt that as men
argue in their dreams to-day, mankind argued, even in their waking
moments, for thousands of years: the first _causa_, that occurred to the
mind with reference to anything that stood in need of explanation, was
accepted as the true explanation and served as such. (Savages show the
same tendency in operation, as the reports of travelers agree). In the
dream this atavistic relic of humanity manifests its existence within
us, for it is the foundation upon which the higher rational faculty
developed itself and still develops itself in every individual. Dreams
carry us back to the earlier stages of human culture and afford us a
means of understanding it more clearly. Dream thought comes so easily to
us now because we are so thoroughly trained to it through the
interminable stages of evolution during which this fanciful and facile
form of theorising has prevailed. To a certain extent the dream is a
restorative for the brain, which, during the day, is called upon to meet
the many demands for trained thought made upon it by the conditions of a
higher civilization.--We may, if we please, become sensible, even in our
waking moments, of a condition that is as a door and vestibule to
dreaming. If we close our eyes the brain immediately conjures up a
medley of impressions of light and color, apparently a sort of imitation
and echo of the impressions forced in upon the brain during its waking
moments. And now the mind, in co-operation with the imagination,
transforms this formless play of light and color into definite figures,
moving groups, landscapes. What really takes place is a sort of
reasoning from effect back to cause. As the brain inquires: whence these
impressions of light and color? it posits as the inducing causes of such
lights and colors, those shapes and figures. They serve the brain as the
occasions of those lights and colors because the brain, when the eyes
are open and the senses awake, is accustomed to perceiving the cause of
every impression of light and color made upon it. Here again the
imagination is continually interposing its images inasmuch as it
participates in the production of the impressions made through the
senses day by day: and the dream-fancy does exactly the same thing--that
is, the presumed cause is determined from the effect and _after_ the
effect: all this, too, with extraordinary rapidity, so that in this
matter, as in a matter of jugglery or sleight-of-hand, a confusion of
the mind is produced and an after effect is made to appear a
simultaneous action, an inverted succession of events, even.--From
these considerations we can see how _late_ strict, logical thought, the
true notion of cause and effect must have been in developing, since our
intellectual and rational faculties to this very day revert to these
primitive processes of deduction, while practically half our lifetime is
spent in the super-inducing conditions.--Even the poet, the artist,
ascribes to his sentimental and emotional states causes which are not
the true ones. To that extent he is a reminder of early mankind and can
aid us in its comprehension.


=Association.=[9]--All strong feelings are associated with a variety of
allied sentiments and emotions. They stir up the memory at the same
time. When we are under their influence we are reminded of similar
states and we feel a renewal of them within us. Thus are formed habitual
successions of feelings and notions, which, at last, when they follow
one another with lightning rapidity are no longer felt as complexities
but as unities. In this sense we hear of moral feelings, of religious
feelings, as if they were absolute unities. In reality they are streams
with a hundred sources and tributaries. Here again, the unity of the
word speaks nothing for the unity of the thing.

[9] Miterklingen: to sound simultaneously with.


=No Within and Without in the World.=[10]--As Democritus transferred the
notions above and below to limitless space, where they are destitute of
meaning, so the philosophers do generally with the idea "within and
without," as regards the form and substance (Wesen und Erscheinung) of
the world. What they claim is that through the medium of profound
feelings one can penetrate deep into the soul of things (Innre), draw
close to the heart of nature. But these feelings are deep only in so far
as with them are simultaneously aroused, although almost imperceptibly,
certain complicated groups of thoughts (Gedankengruppen) which we call
deep: a feeling is deep because we deem the thoughts accompanying it
deep. But deep thought can nevertheless be very widely sundered from
truth, as for instance every metaphysical thought. Take from deep
feeling the element of thought blended with it and all that remains is
_strength_ of feeling which is no voucher for the validity of
knowledge, as intense faith is evidence only of its own intensity and
not of the truth of that in which the faith is felt.

[10] Kein Innen und Aussen in der Welt: the above translation may seem
too literal but some dispute has arisen concerning the precise idea the
author means to convey.


=Phenomenon and Thing-in-Itself.=--The philosophers are in the habit of
placing themselves in front of life and experience--that which they call
the world of phenomena--as if they were standing before a picture that
is unrolled before them in its final completeness. This panorama, they
think, must be studied in every detail in order to reach some conclusion
regarding the object represented by the picture. From effect,
accordingly is deduced cause and from cause is deduced the
unconditioned. This process is generally looked upon as affording the
all sufficient explanation of the world of phenomena. On the other hand
one must, (while putting the conception of the metaphysical distinctly
forward as that of the unconditioned, and consequently of the
unconditioning) absolutely deny any connection between the unconditioned
(of the metaphysical world) and the world known to us: so that
throughout phenomena there is no manifestation of the thing-in-itself,
and getting from one to the other is out of the question. Thus is left
quite ignored the circumstance that the picture--that which we now call
life and experience--is a gradual evolution, is, indeed, still in
process of evolution and for that reason should not be regarded as an
enduring whole from which any conclusion as to its author (the
all-sufficient reason) could be arrived at, or even pronounced out of
the question. It is because we have for thousands of years looked into
the world with moral, aesthetic, religious predispositions, with blind
prejudice, passion or fear, and surfeited ourselves with indulgence in
the follies of illogical thought, that the world has gradually become so
wondrously motley, frightful, significant, soulful: it has taken on
tints, but we have been the colorists: the human intellect, upon the
foundation of human needs, of human passions, has reared all these
"phenomena" and injected its own erroneous fundamental conceptions into
things. Late, very late, the human intellect checks itself: and now the
world of experience and the thing-in-itself seem to it so severed and so
antithetical that it denies the possibility of one's hinging upon the
other--or else summons us to surrender our intellect, our personal will,
to the secret and the awe-inspiring in order that thereby we may attain
certainty of certainty hereafter. Again, there are those who have
combined all the characteristic features of our world of
phenomena--that is, the conception of the world which has been formed
and inherited through a series of intellectual vagaries--and instead of
holding the intellect responsible for it all, have pronounced the very
nature of things accountable for the present very sinister aspect of the
world, and preached annihilation of existence. Through all these views
and opinions the toilsome, steady process of science (which now for the
first time begins to celebrate its greatest triumph in the genesis of
thought) will definitely work itself out, the result, being, perhaps, to
the following effect: That which we now call the world is the result of
a crowd of errors and fancies which gradually developed in the general
evolution of organic nature, have grown together and been transmitted to
us as the accumulated treasure of all the past--as the _treasure_, for
whatever is worth anything in our humanity rests upon it. From this
world of conception it is in the power of science to release us only to
a slight extent--and this is all that could be wished--inasmuch as it
cannot eradicate the influence of hereditary habits of feeling, but it
can light up by degrees the stages of the development of that world of
conception, and lift us, at least for a time, above the whole spectacle.
Perhaps we may then perceive that the thing-in-itself is a meet subject
for Homeric laughter: that it seemed so much, everything, indeed, and
is really a void--void, that is to say, of meaning.


=Metaphysical Explanation.=--Man, when he is young, prizes metaphysical
explanations, because they make him see matters of the highest import in
things he found disagreeable or contemptible: and if he is not satisfied
with himself, this feeling of dissatisfaction is soothed when he sees
the most hidden world-problem or world-pain in that which he finds so
displeasing in himself. To feel himself more unresponsible and at the
same time to find things (Dinge) more interesting--that is to him the
double benefit he owes to metaphysics. Later, indeed, he acquires
distrust of the whole metaphysical method of explaining things: he then
perceives, perhaps, that those effects could have been attained just as
well and more scientifically by another method: that physical and
historical explanations would, at least, have given that feeling of
freedom from personal responsibility just as well, while interest in
life and its problems would be stimulated, perhaps, even more.


=The Fundamental Problems of Metaphysics.=--If a history of the
development of thought is ever written, the following proposition,
advanced by a distinguished logician, will be illuminated with a new
light: "The universal, primordial law of the apprehending subject
consists in the inner necessity of cognizing every object by itself, as
in its essence a thing unto itself, therefore as self-existing and
unchanging, in short, as a substance." Even this law, which is here
called "primordial," is an evolution: it has yet to be shown how
gradually this evolution takes place in lower organizations: how the
dim, mole eyes of such organizations see, at first, nothing but a blank
sameness: how later, when the various excitations of desire and aversion
manifest themselves, various substances are gradually distinguished, but
each with an attribute, that is, a special relationship to such an
organization. The first step towards the logical is judgment, the
essence of which, according to the best logicians, is belief. At the
foundation of all beliefs lie sensations of pleasure or pain in relation
to the apprehending subject. A third feeling, as the result of two
prior, single, separate feelings, is judgment in its crudest form. We
organic beings are primordially interested by nothing whatever in any
thing (Ding) except its relation to ourselves with reference to pleasure
and pain. Between the moments in which we are conscious of this
relation, (the states of feeling) lie the moments of rest, of
not-feeling: then the world and every thing (Ding) have no interest for
us: we observe no change in them (as at present a person absorbed in
something does not notice anyone passing by). To plants all things are,
as a rule, at rest, eternal, every object like itself. From the period
of lower organisms has been handed down to man the belief that there are
like things (gleiche Dinge): only the trained experience attained
through the most advanced science contradicts this postulate. The
primordial belief of all organisms is, perhaps, that all the rest of the
world is one thing and motionless.--Furthest away from this first step
towards the logical is the notion of causation: even to-day we think
that all our feelings and doings are, at bottom, acts of the free will;
when the sentient individual contemplates himself he deems every
feeling, every change, a something isolated, disconnected, that is to
say, unqualified by any thing; it comes suddenly to the surface,
independent of anything that went before or came after. We are hungry,
but originally we do not know that the organism must be nourished: on
the contrary that feeling seems to manifest itself without reason or
purpose; it stands out by itself and seems quite independent. Therefore:
the belief in the freedom of the will is a primordial error of
everything organic as old as the very earliest inward prompting of the
logical faculty; belief in unconditioned substances and in like things
(gleiche Dinge) is also a primordial and equally ancient error of
everything organic. Inasmuch as all metaphysic has concerned itself
particularly with substance and with freedom of the will, it should be
designated as the science that deals with the fundamental errors of
mankind as if they were fundamental truths.


=Number.=--The invention of the laws of number has as its basis the
primordial and prior-prevailing delusion that many like things exist
(although in point of fact there is no such thing is a duplicate), or
that, at least, there are things (but there is no "thing"). The
assumption of plurality always presupposes that _something_ exists which
manifests itself repeatedly, but just here is where the delusion
prevails; in this very matter we feign realities, unities, that have no
existence. Our feelings, notions, of space and time are false for they
lead, when duly tested, to logical contradictions. In all scientific
demonstrations we always unavoidably base our calculation upon some
false standards [of duration or measurement] but as these standards are
at least _constant_, as, for example, our notions of time and space, the
results arrived at by science possess absolute accuracy and certainty in
their relationship to one another: one can keep on building upon
them--until is reached that final limit at which the erroneous
fundamental conceptions, (the invariable breakdown) come into conflict
with the results established--as, for example, in the case of the atomic
theory. Here we always find ourselves obliged to give credence to a
"thing" or material "substratum" that is set in motion, although, at the
same time, the whole scientific programme has had as its aim the
resolving of everything material into motions [themselves]: here again
we distinguish with our feeling [that which does the] moving and [that
which is] moved,[11] and we never get out of this circle, because the
belief in things[12] has been from time immemorial rooted in our
nature.--When Kant says "the intellect does not derive its laws from
nature, but dictates them to her" he states the full truth as regards
the _idea of nature_ which we form (nature = world, as notion, that is,
as error) but which is merely the synthesis of a host of errors of the
intellect. To a world not [the outcome of] our conception, the laws of
number are wholly inapplicable: such laws are valid only in the world of

[11] Wir scheiden auch hier noch mit unserer Empfindung Bewegendes und

[12] Glaube an Dinge.


=Some Backward Steps.=--One very forward step in education is taken when
man emerges from his superstitious and religious ideas and fears and,
for instance, no longer believes in the dear little angels or in
original sin, and has stopped talking about the salvation of the soul:
when he has taken this step to freedom he has, nevertheless, through the
utmost exertion of his mental power, to overcome metaphysics. Then a
backward movement is necessary: he must appreciate the historical
justification, and to an equal extent the psychological considerations,
in such a movement. He must understand that the greatest advances made
by mankind have resulted from such a course and that without this very
backward movement the highest achievements of man hitherto would have
been impossible.--With regard to philosophical metaphysics I see ever
more and more who have arrived at the negative goal (that all positive
metaphysic is a delusion) but as yet very few who go a few steps
backward: one should look out over the last rungs of the ladder, but not
try to stand on them, that is to say. The most advanced as yet go only
far enough to free themselves from metaphysic and look back at it with
an air of superiority: whereas here, no less than in the hippodrome, it
is necessary to turn around in order to reach the end of the course.


=Presumable [Nature of the] Victory of Doubt.=--Let us assume for a
moment the validity of the skeptical standpoint: granted that there is
no metaphysical world, and that all the metaphysical explanations of the
only world we know are useless to us, how would we then contemplate men
and things? [Menschen und Dinge]. This can be thought out and it is
worth while doing so, even if the question whether anything metaphysical
has ever been demonstrated by or through Kant and Schopenhauer, be put
altogether aside. For it is, to all appearances, highly probable that
men, on this point, will be, in the mass, skeptical. The question thus
becomes: what sort of a notion will human society, under the influence
of such a state of mind, form of itself? Perhaps the _scientific
demonstration_ of any metaphysical world is now so difficult that
mankind will never be free from a distrust of it. And when there is
formed a feeling of distrust of metaphysics, the results are, in the
mass, the same as if metaphysics were refuted altogether and _could_ no
longer be believed. In both cases the historical question, with regard
to an unmetaphysical disposition in mankind, remains the same.


=Disbelief in the "monumentum aere perennius".=[13]--A decided
disadvantage, attending the termination of metaphysical modes of
thought, is that the individual fixes his mind too attentively upon his
own brief lifetime and feels no strong inducement to aid in the
foundation of institutions capable of enduring for centuries: he wishes
himself to gather the fruit from the tree that he plants and
consequently he no longer plants those trees which require centuries of
constant cultivation and are destined to afford shade to generation
after generation in the future. For metaphysical views inspire the
belief that in them is afforded the final sure foundation upon which
henceforth the whole future of mankind may rest and be built up: the
individual promotes his own salvation; when, for example, he builds a
church or a monastery he is of opinion that he is doing something for
the salvation of his immortal soul:--Can science, as well, inspire such
faith in the efficacy of her results? In actual fact, science requires
doubt and distrust as her surest auxiliaries; nevertheless, the sum of
the irresistible (that is all the onslaughts of skepticism, all the
disintegrating effects of surviving truths) can easily become so great
(as, for instance, in the case of hygienic science) as to inspire the
determination to build "eternal" works upon it. At present the contrast
between our excitated ephemeral existence and the tranquil repose of
metaphysical epochs is too great because both are as yet in too close
juxtaposition. The individual man himself now goes through too many
stages of inner and outer evolution for him to venture to make a plan
even for his life time alone. A perfectly modern man, indeed, who wants
to build himself a house feels as if he were walling himself up alive in
a mausoleum.

[13] Monument more enduring than brass: Horace, Odes III:XXX.


=Age of Comparison.=--The less men are bound by tradition, the greater
is the inner activity of motives, the greater, correspondingly, the
outer restlessness, the promiscuous flow of humanity, the polyphony of
strivings. Who now feels any great impulse to establish himself and his
posterity in a particular place? For whom, moreover, does there exist,
at present, any strong tie? As all the methods of the arts were copied
from one another, so were all the methods and advancements of moral
codes, of manners, of civilizations.--Such an age derives its
significance from the fact that in it the various ideas, codes, manners
and civilizations can be compared and experienced side by side; which
was impossible at an earlier period in view of the localised nature of
the rule of every civilization, corresponding to the limitation of all
artistic effects by time and place. To-day the growth of the aesthetic
feeling is decided, owing to the great number of [artistic] forms which
offer themselves for comparison. The majority--those that are condemned
by the method of comparison--will be allowed to die out. In the same way
there is to-day taking place a selection of the forms and customs of the
higher morality which can result only in the extinction of the vulgar
moralities. This is the age of comparison! That is its glory--but also
its pain. Let us not, however shrink from this pain. Rather would we
comprehend the nature of the task imposed upon us by our age as
adequately as we can: posterity will bless us for doing so--a posterity
that knows itself to be [developed] through and above the narrow, early
race-civilizations as well as the culture-civilization of comparison,
but yet looks gratefully back upon both as venerable monuments of


=Possibility of Progress.=--When a master of the old civilization (den
alten Cultur) vows to hold no more discussion with men who believe in
progress, he is quite right. For the old civilization[14] has its
greatness and its advantages behind it, and historic training forces one
to acknowledge that it can never again acquire vigor: only intolerable
stupidity or equally intolerable fanaticism could fail to perceive this
fact. But men may consciously determine to evolve to a new civilization
where formerly they evolved unconsciously and accidentally. They can now
devise better conditions for the advancement of mankind, for their
nourishment, training and education, they can administer the earth as an
economic power, and, particularly, compare the capacities of men and
select them accordingly. This new, conscious civilization is killing the
other which, on the whole, has led but an unreflective animal and plant
life: it is also destroying the doubt of progress itself--progress is
possible. I mean: it is hasty and almost unreflective to assume that
progress must _necessarily_ take place: but how can it be doubted that
progress is possible? On the other hand, progress in the sense and along
the lines of the old civilization is not even conceivable. If romantic
fantasy employs the word progress in connection with certain aims and
ends identical with those of the circumscribed primitive national
civilizations, the picture presented of progress is always borrowed from
the past. The idea and the image of progress thus formed are quite
without originality.

[14] Cultur, culture, civilisation etc., but there is no exact English


=Private Ethics and World Ethics.=--Since the extinction of the belief
that a god guides the general destiny of the world and, notwithstanding
all the contortions and windings of the path of mankind, leads it
gloriously forward, men must shape oecumenical, world-embracing ends for
themselves. The older ethics, namely Kant's, required of the individual
such a course of conduct as he wishes all men to follow. This evinces
much simplicity--as if any individual could determine off hand what
course of conduct would conduce to the welfare of humanity, and what
course of conduct is preëminently desirable! This is a theory like that
of freedom of competition, which takes it for granted that the general
harmony [of things] _must_ prevail of itself in accordance with some
inherent law of betterment or amelioration. It may be that a later
contemplation of the needs of mankind will reveal that it is by no means
desirable that all men should regulate their conduct according to the
same principle; it may be best, from the standpoint of certain ends yet
to be attained, that men, during long periods should regulate their
conduct with reference to special, and even, in certain circumstances,
evil, objects. At any rate, if mankind is not to be led astray by such a
universal rule of conduct, it behooves it to attain a _knowledge of the
condition of culture_ that will serve as a scientific standard of
comparison in connection with cosmical ends. Herein is comprised the
tremendous mission of the great spirits of the next century.


=Reaction as Progress.=--Occasionally harsh, powerful, impetuous, yet
nevertheless backward spirits, appear, who try to conjure back some past
era in the history of mankind: they serve as evidence that the new
tendencies which they oppose, are not yet potent enough, that there is
something lacking in them: otherwise they [the tendencies] would better
withstand the effects of this conjuring back process. Thus Luther's
reformation shows that in his century all the impulses to freedom of the
spirit were still uncertain, lacking in vigor, and immature. Science
could not yet rear her head. Indeed the whole Renaissance appears but as
an early spring smothered in snow. But even in the present century
Schopenhauer's metaphysic shows that the scientific spirit is not yet
powerful enough: for the whole mediaeval Christian world-standpoint
(Weltbetrachtung) and conception of man (Mensch-Empfindung)[15] once
again, notwithstanding the slowly wrought destruction of all Christian
dogma, celebrated a resurrection in Schopenhauer's doctrine. There is
much science in his teaching although the science does not dominate,
but, instead of it, the old, trite "metaphysical necessity." It is one
of the greatest and most priceless advantages of Schopenhauer's teaching
that by it our feelings are temporarily forced back to those old human
and cosmical standpoints to which no other path could conduct us so
easily. The gain for history and justice is very great. I believe that
without Schopenhauer's aid it would be no easy matter for anyone now to
do justice to Christianity and its Asiatic relatives--a thing impossible
as regards the christianity that still survives. After according this
great triumph to justice, after we have corrected in so essential a
respect the historical point of view which the age of learning brought
with it, we may begin to bear still farther onward the banner of
enlightenment--a banner bearing the three names: Petrarch, Erasmus,
Voltaire. We have taken a forward step out of reaction.

[15] Literally man-feeling or human outlook.


=A Substitute for Religion.=--It is supposed to be a recommendation for
philosophy to say of it that it provides the people with a substitute
for religion. And in fact, the training of the intellect does
necessitate the convenient laying out of the track of thought, since the
transition from religion by way of science entails a powerful, perilous
leap,--something that should be advised against. With this
qualification, the recommendation referred to is a just one. At the same
time, it should be further explained that the needs which religion
satisfies and which science must now satisfy, are not immutable. Even
they can be diminished and uprooted. Think, for instance, of the
christian soul-need, the sighs over one's inner corruption, the anxiety
regarding salvation--all notions that arise simply out of errors of the
reason and require no satisfaction at all, but annihilation. A
philosophy can either so affect these needs as to appease them or else
put them aside altogether, for they are acquired, circumscribed needs,
based upon hypotheses which those of science explode. Here, for the
purpose of affording the means of transition, for the sake of lightening
the spirit overburdened with feeling, art can be employed to far better
purpose, as these hypotheses receive far less support from art than from
a metaphysical philosophy. Then from art it is easier to go over to a
really emancipating philosophical science.


=Discredited Words.=--Away with the disgustingly over-used words
optimism and pessimism! For the occasion for using them grows daily
less; only drivelers now find them indispensably necessary. What earthly
reason could anyone have for being an optimist unless he had a god to
defend who _must_ have created the best of all possible worlds, since he
is himself all goodness and perfection?--but what thinking man has now
any need for the hypothesis that there is a god?--There is also no
occasion whatever for a pessimistic confession of faith, unless one has
a personal interest in denouncing the advocate of god, the theologian or
the theological philosopher, and maintaining the counter proposition
that evil reigns, that wretchedness is more potent than joy, that the
world is a piece of botch work, that phenomenon (Erscheinung) is but the
manifestation of some evil spirit. But who bothers his head about the
theologians any more--except the theologians themselves? Apart from all
theology and its antagonism, it is manifest that the world is neither
good nor bad, (to say nothing about its being the best or the worst) and
that these ideas of "good" and "bad" have significance only in relation
to men, indeed, are without significance at all, in view of the sense in
which they are usually employed. The contemptuous and the eulogistic
point of view must, in every case, be repudiated.


=Intoxicated by the Perfume of Flowers.=--The ship of humanity, it is
thought, acquires an ever deeper draught the more it is laden. It is
believed that the more profoundly man thinks, the more exquisitely he
feels, the higher the standard he sets for himself, the greater his
distance from the other animals--the more he appears as a genius
(Genie) among animals--the nearer he gets to the true nature of the
world and to comprehension thereof: this, indeed, he really does through
science, but he thinks he does it far more adequately through his
religions and arts. These are, certainly, a blossoming of the world, but
not, therefore, _nearer the roots of the world_ than is the stalk. One
cannot learn best from it the nature of the world, although nearly
everyone thinks so. _Error_ has made men so deep, sensitive and
imaginative in order to bring forth such flowers as religions and arts.
Pure apprehension would be unable to do that. Whoever should disclose to
us the essence of the world would be undeceiving us most cruelly. Not
the world as thing-in-itself but the world as idea[16] (as error) is
rich in portent, deep, wonderful, carrying happiness and unhappiness in
its womb. This result leads to a philosophy of world negation: which, at
any rate, can be as well combined with a practical world affirmation as
with its opposite.

[16] Vorstellung: this word sometimes corresponds to the English word
"idea", at others to "conception" or "notion."


=Evil Habits in Reaching Conclusions.=--The most usual erroneous
conclusions of men are these: a thing[17] exists, therefore it is right:
Here from capacity to live is deduced fitness, from fitness, is deduced
justification. So also: an opinion gives happiness, therefore it is the
true one, its effect is good, therefore it is itself good and true. Here
is predicated of the effect that it gives happiness, that it is good in
the sense of utility, and there is likewise predicated of the cause that
it is good, but good in the sense of logical validity. Conversely, the
proposition would run: a thing[17] cannot attain success, cannot
maintain itself, therefore it is evil: a belief troubles [the believer],
occasions pain, therefore it is false. The free spirit, who is sensible
of the defect in this method of reaching conclusions and has had to
suffer its consequences, often succumbs to the temptation to come to the
very opposite conclusions (which, in general, are, of course, equally
erroneous): a thing cannot maintain itself: therefore it is good; a
belief is troublesome, therefore it is true.

[17] Sache, thing but not in the sense of Ding. Sache is of very
indefinite application (res).


=The Illogical is Necessary.=--Among the things which can bring a
thinker to distraction is the knowledge that the illogical is necessary
to mankind and that from the illogical springs much that is good. The
illogical is so imbedded in the passions, in language, in art, in
religion and, above all, in everything that imparts value to life that
it cannot be taken away without irreparably injuring those beautiful
things. Only men of the utmost simplicity can believe that the nature
man knows can be changed into a purely logical nature. Yet were there
steps affording approach to this goal, how utterly everything would be
lost on the way! Even the most rational man needs nature again, from
time to time, that is, his illogical fundamental relation
(Grundstellung) to all things.


=Being Unjust is Essential.=--All judgments of the value of life are
illogically developed and therefore unjust. The vice of the judgment
consists, first, in the way in which the subject matter comes under
observation, that is, very incompletely; secondly in the way in which
the total is summed up; and, thirdly, in the fact that each single item
in the totality of the subject matter is itself the result of defective
perception, and this from absolute necessity. No practical knowledge of
a man, for example, stood he never so near to us, can be complete--so
that we could have a logical right to form a total estimate of him; all
estimates are summary and must be so. Then the standard by which we
measure, (our being) is not an immutable quantity; we have moods and
variations, and yet we should know ourselves as an invariable standard
before we undertake to establish the nature of the relation of any thing
(Sache) to ourselves. Perhaps it will follow from all this that one
should form no judgments whatever; if one could but merely _live_
without having to form estimates, without aversion and without
partiality!--for everything most abhorred is closely connected with an
estimate, as well as every strongest partiality. An inclination towards
a thing, or from a thing, without an accompanying feeling that the
beneficial is desired and the pernicious contemned, an inclination
without a sort of experiential estimation of the desirability of an end,
does not exist in man. We are primordially illogical and hence unjust
beings _and can recognise this fact_: this is one of the greatest and
most baffling discords of existence.


=Error Respecting Living for the Sake of Living Essential.=--Every
belief in the value and worthiness of life rests upon defective
thinking; it is for this reason alone possible that sympathy with the
general life and suffering of mankind is so imperfectly developed in the
individual. Even exceptional men, who can think beyond their own
personalities, do not have this general life in view, but isolated
portions of it. If one is capable of fixing his observation upon
exceptional cases, I mean upon highly endowed individuals and pure
souled beings, if their development is taken as the true end of
world-evolution and if joy be felt in their existence, then it is
possible to believe in the value of life, because in that case the rest
of humanity is overlooked: hence we have here defective thinking. So,
too, it is even if all mankind be taken into consideration, and one
species only of impulses (the less egoistic) brought under review and
those, in consideration of the other impulses, exalted: then something
could still be hoped of mankind in the mass and to that extent there
could exist belief in the value of life: here, again, as a result of
defective thinking. Whatever attitude, thus, one may assume, one is, as
a result of this attitude, an exception among mankind. Now, the great
majority of mankind endure life without any great protest, and believe,
to this extent, in the value of existence, but that is because each
individual decides and determines alone, and never comes out of his own
personality like these exceptions: everything outside of the personal
has no existence for them or at the utmost is observed as but a faint
shadow. Consequently the value of life for the generality of mankind
consists simply in the fact that the individual attaches more importance
to himself than he does to the world. The great lack of imagination from
which he suffers is responsible for his inability to enter into the
feelings of beings other than himself, and hence his sympathy with their
fate and suffering is of the slightest possible description. On the
other hand, whosoever really _could_ sympathise, necessarily doubts the
value of life; were it possible for him to sum up and to feel in himself
the total consciousness of mankind, he would collapse with a malediction
against existence,--for mankind is, in the mass, without a goal, and
hence man cannot find, in the contemplation of his whole course,
anything to serve him as a mainstay and a comfort, but rather a reason
to despair. If he looks beyond the things that immediately engage him to
the final aimlessness of humanity, his own conduct assumes in his eyes
the character of a frittering away. To feel oneself, however, as
humanity (not alone as an individual) frittered away exactly as we see
the stray leaves frittered away by nature, is a feeling transcending all
feeling. But who is capable of it? Only a poet, certainly: and poets
always know how to console themselves.


=For Tranquility.=--But will not our philosophy become thus a tragedy?
Will not truth prove the enemy of life, of betterment? A question seems
to weigh upon our tongue and yet will not put itself into words: whether
one _can_ knowingly remain in the domain of the untruthful? or, if one
_must_, whether, then, death would not be preferable? For there is no
longer any ought (Sollen), morality; so far as it is involved "ought,"
is, through our point of view, as utterly annihilated as religion. Our
knowledge can permit only pleasure and pain, benefit and injury, to
subsist as motives. But how can these motives be distinguished from the
desire for truth? Even they rest upon error (in so far, as already
stated, partiality and dislike and their very inaccurate estimates
palpably modify our pleasure and our pain). The whole of human life is
deeply involved in _untruth_. The individual cannot extricate it from
this pit without thereby fundamentally clashing with his whole past,
without finding his present motives of conduct, (as that of honor)
illegitimate, and without opposing scorn and contempt to the ambitions
which prompt one to have regard for the future and for one's happiness
in the future. Is it true, does there, then, remain but one way of
thinking, which, as a personal consequence brings in its train despair,
and as a theoretical [consequence brings in its train] a philosophy of
decay, disintegration, self annihilation? I believe the deciding
influence, as regards the after-effect of knowledge, will be the
_temperament_ of a man; I can, in addition to this after-effect just
mentioned, suppose another, by means of which a much simpler life, and
one freer from disturbances than the present, could be lived; so that at
first the old motives of vehement passion might still have strength,
owing to hereditary habit, but they would gradually grow weaker under
the influence of purifying knowledge. A man would live, at last, both
among men and unto himself, as in the natural state, without praise,
reproach, competition, feasting one's eyes, as if it were a play, upon
much that formerly inspired dread. One would be rid of the strenuous
element, and would no longer feel the goad of the reflection that man is
not even [as much as] nature, nor more than nature. To be sure, this
requires, as already stated, a good temperament, a fortified, gentle and
naturally cheerful soul, a disposition that has no need to be on its
guard against its own eccentricities and sudden outbreaks and that in
its utterances manifests neither sullenness nor a snarling tone--those
familiar, disagreeable characteristics of old dogs and old men that have
been a long time chained up. Rather must a man, from whom the ordinary
bondages of life have fallen away to so great an extent, so do that he
only lives on in order to grow continually in knowledge, and to learn to
resign, without envy and without disappointment, much, yes nearly
everything, that has value in the eyes of men. He must be content with
such a free, fearless soaring above men, manners, laws and traditional
estimates of things, as the most desirable of all situations. He will
freely share the joy of being in such a situation, and he has, perhaps,
nothing else to share--in which renunciation and self-denial really most
consist. But if more is asked of him, he will, with a benevolent shake
of the head, refer to his brother, the free man of fact, and will,
perhaps, not dissemble a little contempt: for, as regards his "freedom,"
thereby hangs a tale.[18]

[18] den mit dessen "Freiheit" hat es eine eigene Bewandtniss.



=Advantages of Psychological Observation.=--That reflection regarding
the human, all-too-human--or as the learned jargon is: psychological
observation--is among the means whereby the burden of life can be made
lighter, that practice in this art affords presence of mind in difficult
situations and entertainment amid a wearisome environment, aye, that
maxims may be culled in the thorniest and least pleasing paths of life
and invigoration thereby obtained: this much was believed, was known--in
former centuries. Why was this forgotten in our own century, during
which, at least in Germany, yes in Europe, poverty as regards
psychological observation would have been manifest in many ways had
there been anyone to whom this poverty could have manifested itself. Not
only in the novel, in the romance, in philosophical standpoints--these
are the works of exceptional men; still more in the state of opinion
regarding public events and personages; above all in general society,
which says much about men but nothing whatever about man, there is
totally lacking the art of psychological analysis and synthesis. But why
is the richest and most harmless source of entertainment thus allowed to
run to waste? Why is the greatest master of the psychological maxim no
longer read?--for, with no exaggeration whatever be it said: the
educated person in Europe who has read La Rochefoucauld and his
intellectual and artistic affinities is very hard to find; still harder,
the person who knows them and does not disparage them. Apparently, too,
this unusual reader takes far less pleasure in them than the form
adopted by these artists should afford him: for the subtlest mind cannot
adequately appreciate the art of maxim-making unless it has had training
in it, unless it has competed in it. Without such practical
acquaintance, one is apt to look upon this making and forming as a much
easier thing than it really is; one is not keenly enough alive to the
felicity and the charm of success. Hence present day readers of maxims
have but a moderate, tempered pleasure in them, scarcely, indeed, a true
perception of their merit, so that their experiences are about the same
as those of the average beholder of cameos: people who praise because
they cannot appreciate, and are very ready to admire and still readier
to turn away.


=Objection.=--Or is there a counter-proposition to the dictum that
psychological observation is one of the means of consoling, lightening,
charming existence? Have enough of the unpleasant effects of this art
been experienced to justify the person striving for culture in turning
his regard away from it? In all truth, a certain blind faith in the
goodness of human nature, an implanted distaste for any disparagement of
human concerns, a sort of shamefacedness at the nakedness of the soul,
may be far more desirable things in the general happiness of a man, than
this only occasionally advantageous quality of psychological
sharpsightedness; and perhaps belief in the good, in virtuous men and
actions, in a plenitude of disinterested benevolence has been more
productive of good in the world of men in so far as it has made men less
distrustful. If Plutarch's heroes are enthusiastically imitated and a
reluctance is experienced to looking too critically into the motives of
their actions, not the knowledge but the welfare of human society is
promoted thereby: psychological error and above all obtuseness in regard
to it, help human nature forward, whereas knowledge of the truth is more
promoted by means of the stimulating strength of a hypothesis; as La
Rochefoucauld in the first edition of his "Sentences and Moral Maxims"
has expressed it: "What the world calls virtue is ordinarily but a
phantom created by the passions, and to which we give a good name in
order to do whatever we please with impunity." La Rochefoucauld and
those other French masters of soul-searching (to the number of whom has
lately been added a German, the author of "Psychological Observations")
are like expert marksmen who again and again hit the black spot--but it
is the black spot in human nature. Their art inspires amazement, but
finally some spectator, inspired, not by the scientific spirit but by a
humanitarian feeling, execrates an art that seems to implant in the soul
a taste for belittling and impeaching mankind.


=Nevertheless.=--The matter therefore, as regards pro and con, stands
thus: in the present state of philosophy an awakening of the moral
observation is essential. The repulsive aspect of psychological
dissection, with the knife and tweezers entailed by the process, can no
longer be spared humanity. Such is the imperative duty of any science
that investigates the origin and history of the so-called moral feelings
and which, in its progress, is called upon to posit and to solve
advanced social problems:--The older philosophy does not recognize the
newer at all and, through paltry evasions, has always gone astray in the
investigation of the origin and history of human estimates
(Werthschätzungen). With what results may now be very clearly perceived,
since it has been shown by many examples, how the errors of the greatest
philosophers have their origin in a false explanation of certain human
actions and feelings; how upon the foundation of an erroneous analysis
(for example, of the so called disinterested actions), a false ethic is
reared, to support which religion and like mythological monstrosities
are called in, until finally the shades of these troubled spirits
collapse in physics and in the comprehensive world point of view. But if
it be established that superficiality of psychological observation has
heretofore set the most dangerous snares for human judgment and
deduction, and will continue to do so, all the greater need is there of
that steady continuance of labor that never wearies putting stone upon
stone, little stone upon little stone; all the greater need is there of
a courage that is not ashamed of such humble labor and that will oppose
persistence, to all contempt. It is, finally, also true that countless
single observations concerning the human, all-too-human, have been
first made and uttered in circles accustomed, not to furnish matter for
scientific knowledge, but for intellectual pleasure-seeking; and the
original home atmosphere--a very seductive atmosphere--of the moral
maxim has almost inextricably interpenetrated the entire species, so
that the scientific man involuntarily manifests a sort of mistrust of
this species and of its seriousness. But it is sufficient to point to
the consequences: for already it is becoming evident that events of the
most portentous nature are developing in the domain of psychological
observation. What is the leading conclusion arrived at by one of the
subtlest and calmest of thinkers, the author of the work "Concerning the
Origin of the Moral Feelings", as a result of his thorough and incisive
analysis of human conduct? "The moral man," he says, "stands no nearer
the knowable (metaphysical) world than the physical man."[19] This
dictum, grown hard and cutting beneath the hammer-blow of historical
knowledge, can some day, perhaps, in some future or other, serve as the
axe that will be laid to the root of the "metaphysical necessities" of
men--whether more to the blessing than to the banning of universal well
being who can say?--but in any event a dictum fraught with the most
momentous consequences, fruitful and fearful at once, and confronting
the world in the two faced way characteristic of all great facts.

[19] "Der moralische Mensch, sagt er, steht der intelligiblen
(metaphysischen) Welt nicht näher, als der physische Mensch."


=To What Extent Useful.=--Therefore, whether psychological observation
is more an advantage than a disadvantage to mankind may always remain
undetermined: but there is no doubt that it is necessary, because
science can no longer dispense with it. Science, however, recognizes no
considerations of ultimate goals or ends any more than nature does; but
as the latter duly matures things of the highest fitness for certain
ends without any intention of doing it, so will true science, doing with
ideas what nature does with matter,[20] promote the purposes and the
welfare of humanity, (as occasion may afford, and in many ways) and
attain fitness [to ends]--but likewise without having intended it.

[20] als die Nachahmung der Natur in Begriffen, literally: "as the
counterfeit of nature in (regard to) ideas."

He to whom the atmospheric conditions of such a prospect are too wintry,
has too little fire in him: let him look about him, and he will become
sensible of maladies requiring an icy air, and of people who are so
"kneaded together" out of ardor and intellect that they can scarcely
find anywhere an atmosphere too cold and cutting for them. Moreover: as
too serious individuals and nations stand in need of trivial
relaxations; as others, too volatile and excitable require onerous,
weighty ordeals to render them entirely healthy: should not we, the more
intellectual men of this age, which is swept more and more by
conflagrations, catch up every cooling and extinguishing appliance we
can find that we may always remain as self contained, steady and calm as
we are now, and thereby perhaps serve this age as its mirror and self
reflector, when the occasion arises?


=The Fable of Discretionary Freedom.=--The history of the feelings, on
the basis of which we make everyone responsible, hence, the so-called
moral feelings, is traceable in the following leading phases. At first
single actions are termed good or bad without any reference to their
motive, but solely because of the utilitarian or prejudicial
consequences they have for the community. In time, however, the origin
of these designations is forgotten [but] it is imagined that action in
itself, without reference to its consequences, contains the property
"good" or "bad": with the same error according to which language
designates the stone itself as hard[ness] the tree itself as
green[ness]--for the reason, therefore, that what is a consequence is
comprehended as a cause. Accordingly, the good[ness] or bad[ness] is
incorporated into the motive and [any] deed by itself is regarded as
morally ambiguous. A step further is taken, and the predication good or
bad is no longer made of the particular motives but of the entire nature
of a man, out of which motive grows as grow the plants out of the soil.
Thus man is successively made responsible for his [particular] acts,
then for his [course of] conduct, then for his motives and finally for
his nature. Now, at last, is it discovered that this nature, even,
cannot be responsible, inasmuch as it is only and wholly a necessary
consequence and is synthesised out of the elements and influence of past
and present things: therefore, that man is to be made responsible for
nothing, neither for his nature, nor his motives, nor his [course of]
conduct nor his [particular] acts. By this [process] is gained the
knowledge that the history of moral estimates is the history of error,
of the error of responsibility: as is whatever rests upon the error of
the freedom of the will. Schopenhauer concluded just the other way,
thus: since certain actions bring depression ("consciousness of guilt")
in their train, there must, then, exist responsibility, for there would
be no basis for this depression at hand if all man's affairs did not
follow their course of necessity--as they do, indeed, according to the
opinion of this philosopher, follow their course--but man himself,
subject to the same necessity, would be just the man that he is--which
Schopenhauer denies. From the fact of such depression Schopenhauer
believes himself able to prove a freedom which man in some way must have
had, not indeed in regard to his actions but in regard to his nature:
freedom, therefore, to be thus and so, not to act thus and so. Out of
the _esse_, the sphere of freedom and responsibility, follows, according
to his opinion, the _operari_, the spheres of invariable causation,
necessity and irresponsibility. This depression, indeed, is due
apparently to the _operari_--in so far as it be delusive--but in truth
to whatever _esse_ be the deed of a free will, the basic cause of the
existence of an individual: [in order to] let man become whatever he
wills to become, his [to] will (Wollen) must precede his
existence.--Here, apart from the absurdity of the statement just made,
there is drawn the wrong inference that the fact of the depression
explains its character, the rational admissibility of it: from such a
wrong inference does Schopenhauer first come to his fantastic consequent
of the so called discretionary freedom (intelligibeln Freiheit). (For
the origin of this fabulous entity Plato and Kant are equally
responsible). But depression after the act does not need to be rational:
indeed, it is certainly not so at all, for it rests upon the erroneous
assumption that the act need not necessarily have come to pass.
Therefore: only because man deems himself free, but not because
he is free, does he experience remorse and the stings of
conscience.--Moreover, this depression is something that can be grown
out of; in many men it is not present at all as a consequence of acts
which inspire it in many other men. It is a very varying thing and one
closely connected with the development of custom and civilization, and
perhaps manifest only during a relatively brief period of the world's
history.--No one is responsible for his acts, no one for his nature; to
judge is tantamount to being unjust. This applies as well when the
individual judges himself. The proposition is as clear as sunlight, and
yet here everyone prefers to go back to darkness and untruth: for fear
of the consequences.


=Above Animal.=--The beast in us must be wheedled: ethic is necessary,
that we may not be torn to pieces. Without the errors involved in the
assumptions of ethics, man would have remained an animal. Thus has he
taken himself as something higher and imposed rigid laws upon himself.
He feels hatred, consequently, for states approximating the animal:
whence the former contempt for the slave as a not-yet-man, as a thing,
is to be explained.


=Unalterable Character.=--That character is unalterable is not, in the
strict sense, true; rather is this favorite proposition valid only to
the extent that during the brief life period of a man the potent new
motives can not, usually, press down hard enough to obliterate the lines
imprinted by ages. Could we conceive of a man eighty thousand years old,
we should have in him an absolutely alterable character; so that the
maturities of successive, varying individuals would develop in him. The
shortness of human life leads to many erroneous assertions concerning
the qualities of man.


=Classification of Enjoyments and Ethic.=--The once accepted comparative
classification of enjoyments, according to which an inferior, higher,
highest egoism may crave one or another enjoyment, now decides as to
ethical status or unethical status. A lower enjoyment (for example,
sensual pleasure) preferred to a more highly esteemed one (for example,
health) rates as unethical, as does welfare preferred to freedom. The
comparative classification of enjoyments is not, however, alike or the
same at all periods; when anyone demands satisfaction of the law, he is,
from the point of view of an earlier civilization, moral, from that of
the present, non-moral. "Unethical" indicates, therefore, that a man is
not sufficiently sensible to the higher, finer impulses which the
present civilization has brought with it, or is not sensible to them at
all; it indicates backwardness, but only from the point of view of the
contemporary degree of distinction.--The comparative classification of
enjoyments itself is not determined according to absolute ethics; but
after each new ethical adjustment, it is then decided whether conduct be
ethical or the reverse.


=Inhuman Men as Survivals.=--Men who are now inhuman must serve us as
surviving specimens of earlier civilizations. The mountain height of
humanity here reveals its lower formations, which might otherwise remain
hidden from view. There are surviving specimens of humanity whose brains
through the vicissitudes of heredity, have escaped proper development.
They show us what we all were and thus appal us; but they are as little
responsible on this account as is a piece of granite for being granite.
In our own brains there must be courses and windings corresponding to
such characters, just as in the forms of some human organs there survive
traces of fishhood. But these courses and windings are no longer the bed
in which flows the stream of our feeling.


=Gratitude and Revenge.=--The reason the powerful man is grateful is
this. His benefactor has, through his benefaction, invaded the domain of
the powerful man and established himself on an equal footing: the
powerful man in turn invades the domain of the benefactor and gets
satisfaction through the act of gratitude. It is a mild form of revenge.
By not obtaining the satisfaction of gratitude the powerful would have
shown himself powerless and have ranked as such thenceforward. Hence
every society of the good, that is to say, of the powerful originally,
places gratitude among the first of duties.--Swift has added the dictum
that man is grateful in the same degree that he is revengeful.


=Two-fold Historical Origin of Good and Evil.=--The notion of good and
bad has a two-fold historical origin: namely, first, in the spirit of
ruling races and castes. Whoever has power to requite good with good and
evil with evil and actually brings requital, (that is, is grateful and
revengeful) acquires the name of being good; whoever is powerless and
cannot requite is called bad. A man belongs, as a good individual, to
the "good" of a community, who have a feeling in common, because all the
individuals are allied with one another through the requiting sentiment.
A man belongs, as a bad individual, to the "bad," to a mass of
subjugated, powerless men who have no feeling in common. The good are a
caste, the bad are a quantity, like dust. Good and bad is, for a
considerable period, tantamount to noble and servile, master and slave.
On the other hand an enemy is not looked upon as bad: he can requite.
The Trojan and the Greek are in Homer both good. Not he, who does no
harm, but he who is despised, is deemed bad. In the community of the
good individuals [the quality of] good[ness] is inherited; it is
impossible for a bad individual to grow from such a rich soil. If,
notwithstanding, one of the good individuals does something unworthy of
his goodness, recourse is had to exorcism; thus the guilt is ascribed to
a deity, the while it is declared that this deity bewitched the good man
into madness and blindness.--Second, in the spirit of the subjugated,
the powerless. Here every other man is, to the individual, hostile,
inconsiderate, greedy, inhuman, avaricious, be he noble or servile; bad
is the characteristic term for man, for every living being, indeed, that
is recognized at all, even for a god: human, divine, these notions are
tantamount to devilish, bad. Manifestations of goodness, sympathy,
helpfulness, are regarded with anxiety as trickiness, preludes to an
evil end, deception, subtlety, in short, as refined badness. With such a
predisposition in individuals, a feeling in common can scarcely arise at
all, at most only the rudest form of it: so that everywhere that this
conception of good and evil prevails, the destruction of the
individuals, their race and nation, is imminent.--Our existing morality
has developed upon the foundation laid by ruling races and castes.


=Sympathy Greater than Suffering.=--There are circumstances in which
sympathy is stronger than the suffering itself. We feel more pain, for
instance, when one of our friends becomes guilty of a reprehensible
action than if we had done the deed ourselves. We once, that is, had
more faith in the purity of his character than he had himself. Hence our
love for him, (apparently because of this very faith) is stronger than
is his own love for himself. If, indeed, his egoism really suffers more,
as a result, than our egoism, inasmuch as he must take the consequences
of his fault to a greater extent than ourselves, nevertheless, the
unegoistic--this word is not to be taken too strictly, but simply as a
modified form of expression--in us is more affected by his guilt than
the unegoistic in him.


=Hypochondria.=--There are people who, from sympathy and anxiety for
others become hypochondriacal. The resulting form of compassion is
nothing else than sickness. So, also, is there a Christian hypochondria,
from which those singular, religiously agitated people suffer who place
always before their eyes the suffering and death of Christ.


=Economy of Blessings.=--The advantageous and the pleasing, as the
healthiest growths and powers in the intercourse of men, are such
precious treasures that it is much to be wished the use made of these
balsamic means were as economical as possible: but this is impossible.
Economy in the use of blessings is the dream of the craziest of


=Well-Wishing.=--Among the small, but infinitely plentiful and therefore
very potent things to which science must pay more attention than to the
great, uncommon things, well-wishing[21] must be reckoned; I mean those
manifestations of friendly disposition in intercourse, that laughter of
the eye, every hand pressure, every courtesy from which, in general,
every human act gets its quality. Every teacher, every functionary adds
this element as a gratuity to whatever he does as a duty; it is the
perpetual well spring of humanity, like the waves of light in which
everything grows; thus, in the narrowest circles, within the family,
life blooms and flowers only through this kind feeling. The
cheerfulness, friendliness and kindness of a heart are unfailing
sources of unegoistic impulse and have made far more for civilization
than those other more noised manifestations of it that are styled
sympathy, benevolence and sacrifice. But it is customary to depreciate
these little tokens of kindly feeling, and, indeed, there is not much of
the unegoistic in them. The sum of these little doses is very great,
nevertheless; their combined strength is of the greatest of
strengths.--Thus, too, much more happiness is to be found in the world
than gloomy eyes discover: that is, if the calculation be just, and all
these pleasing moments in which every day, even the meanest human life,
is rich, be not forgotten.

[21] Wohl-wollen, kind feeling. It stands here for benevolence but not
benevolence in the restricted sense of the word now prevailing.


=The Desire to Inspire Compassion.=--La Rochefoucauld, in the most
notable part of his self portraiture (first printed 1658) reaches the
vital spot of truth when he warns all those endowed with reason to be on
their guard against compassion, when he advises that this sentiment be
left to men of the masses who stand in need of the promptings of the
emotions (since they are not guided by reason) to induce them to give
aid to the suffering and to be of service in misfortune: whereas
compassion, in his (and Plato's) view, deprives the heart of strength.
To be sure, sympathy should be manifested but men should take care not
to feel it; for the unfortunate are rendered so dull that the
manifestation of sympathy affords them the greatest happiness in the
world.--Perhaps a more effectual warning against this compassion can be
given if this need of the unfortunate be considered not simply as
stupidity and intellectual weakness, not as a sort of distraction of the
spirit entailed by misfortune itself (and thus, indeed, does La
Rochefoucauld seem to view it) but as something quite different and more
momentous. Let note be taken of children who cry and scream in order to
be compassionated and who, therefore, await the moment when their
condition will be observed; come into contact with the sick and the
oppressed in spirit and try to ascertain if the wailing and sighing, the
posturing and posing of misfortune do not have as end and aim the
causing of pain to the beholder: the sympathy which each beholder
manifests is a consolation to the weak and suffering only in as much as
they are made to perceive that at least they have the power,
notwithstanding all their weakness, to inflict pain. The unfortunate
experiences a species of joy in the sense of superiority which the
manifestation of sympathy entails; his imagination is exalted; he is
always strong enough, then, to cause the world pain. Thus is the thirst
for sympathy a thirst for self enjoyment and at the expense of one's
fellow creatures: it shows man in the whole ruthlessness of his own dear
self: not in his mere "dullness" as La Rochefoucauld thinks.--In social
conversation three fourths of all the questions are asked, and three
fourths of all the replies are made in order to inflict some little
pain; that is why so many people crave social intercourse: it gives them
a sense of their power. In these countless but very small doses in which
the quality of badness is administered it proves a potent stimulant of
life: to the same extent that well wishing--(Wohl-wollen) distributed
through the world in like manner, is one of the ever ready
restoratives.--But will many honorable people be found to admit that
there is any pleasure in administering pain? that entertainment--and
rare entertainment--is not seldom found in causing others, at least in
thought, some pain, and in raking them with the small shot of
wickedness? The majority are too ignoble and a few are too good to know
anything of this pudendum: the latter may, consequently, be prompt to
deny that Prosper Mérimée is right when he says: "Know, also, that
nothing is more common than to do wrong for the pleasure of doing it."


=How Appearance Becomes Reality.=--The actor cannot, at last, refrain,
even in moments of the deepest pain, from thinking of the effect
produced by his deportment and by his surroundings--for example, even at
the funeral of his own child: he will weep at his own sorrow and its
manifestations as though he were his own audience. The hypocrite who
always plays one and the same part, finally ceases to be a hypocrite; as
in the case of priests who, when young men, are always, either
consciously or unconsciously, hypocrites, and finally become naturally
and then really, without affectation, mere priests: or if the father
does not carry it to this extent, the son, who inherits his father's
calling and gets the advantage of the paternal progress, does. When
anyone, during a long period, and persistently, wishes to appear
something, it will at last prove difficult for him to be anything else.
The calling of almost every man, even of the artist, begins with
hypocrisy, with an imitation of deportment, with a copying of the
effective in manner. He who always wears the mask of a friendly man must
at last gain a power over friendliness of disposition, without which the
expression itself of friendliness is not to be gained--and finally
friendliness of disposition gains the ascendancy over him--he _is_


=The Point of Honor in Deception.=--In all great deceivers one
characteristic is prominent, to which they owe their power. In the very
act of deception, amid all the accompaniments, the agitation in the
voice, the expression, the bearing, in the crisis of the scene, there
comes over them a belief in themselves; this it is that acts so
effectively and irresistibly upon the beholders. Founders of religions
differ from such great deceivers in that they never come out of this
state of self deception, or else they have, very rarely, a few moments
of enlightenment in which they are overcome by doubt; generally,
however, they soothe themselves by ascribing such moments of
enlightenment to the evil adversary. Self deception must exist that both
classes of deceivers may attain far reaching results. For men believe in
the truth of all that is manifestly believed with due implicitness by


=Presumed Degrees of Truth.=--One of the most usual errors of deduction
is: because someone truly and openly is against us, therefore he speaks
the truth. Hence the child has faith in the judgments of its elders, the
Christian in the assertions of the founder of the church. So, too, it
will not be admitted that all for which men sacrificed life and
happiness in former centuries was nothing but delusion: perhaps it is
alleged these things were degrees of truth. But what is really meant is
that, if a person sincerely believes a thing and has fought and died for
his faith, it would be too _unjust_ if only delusion had inspired him.
Such a state of affairs seems to contradict eternal justice. For that
reason the heart of a sensitive man pronounces against his head the
judgment: between moral conduct and intellectual insight there must
always exist an inherent connection. It is, unfortunately, otherwise:
for there is no eternal justice.


=Falsehood.=--Why do men, as a rule, speak the truth in the ordinary
affairs of life? Certainly not for the reason that a god has forbidden
lying. But because first: it is more convenient, as falsehood entails
invention, make-believe and recollection (wherefore Swift says that
whoever invents a lie seldom realises the heavy burden he takes up: he
must, namely, for every lie that he tells, insert twenty more).
Therefore, because in plain ordinary relations of life it is expedient
to say without circumlocution: I want this, I have done this, and the
like; therefore, because the way of freedom and certainty is surer than
that of ruse.--But if it happens that a child is brought up in sinister
domestic circumstances, it will then indulge in falsehood as matter of
course, and involuntarily say anything its own interests may prompt: an
inclination for truth, an aversion to falsehood, is quite foreign and
uncongenial to it, and hence it lies in all innocence.


=Ethic Discredited for Faith's Sake.=--No power can sustain itself when
it is represented by mere humbugs: the Catholic Church may possess ever
so many "worldly" sources of strength, but its true might is comprised
in those still numberless priestly natures who make their lives stern
and strenuous and whose looks and emaciated bodies are eloquent of night
vigils, fasts, ardent prayer, perhaps even of whip lashes: these things
make men tremble and cause them anxiety: what, if it be really
imperative to live thus? This is the dreadful question which their
aspect occasions. As they spread this doubt, they lay anew the prop of
their power: even the free thinkers dare not oppose such
disinterestedness with severe truth and cry: "Thou deceived one,
deceive not!"--Only the difference of standpoint separates them from
him: no difference in goodness or badness. But things we cannot
accomplish ourselves, we are apt to criticise unfairly. Thus we are told
of the cunning and perverted acts of the Jesuits, but we overlook the
self mastery that each Jesuit imposes upon himself and also the fact
that the easy life which the Jesuit manuals advocate is for the benefit,
not of the Jesuits but the laity. Indeed, it may be questioned whether
we enlightened ones would become equally competent workers as the result
of similar tactics and organization, and equally worthy of admiration as
the result of self mastery, indefatigable industry and devotion.


=Victory of Knowledge over Radical Evil.=--It proves a material gain to
him who would attain knowledge to have had during a considerable period
the idea that mankind is a radically bad and perverted thing: it is a
false idea, as is its opposite, but it long held sway and its roots have
reached down even to ourselves and our present world. In order to
understand _ourselves_ we must understand _it_; but in order to attain a
loftier height we must step above it. We then perceive that there is no
such thing as sin in the metaphysical sense: but also, in the same
sense, no such thing as virtue; that this whole domain of ethical
notions is one of constant variation; that there are higher and deeper
conceptions of good and evil, moral and immoral. Whoever desires no more
of things than knowledge of them attains speedily to peace of mind and
will at most err through lack of knowledge, but scarcely through
eagerness for knowledge (or through sin, as the world calls it). He will
not ask that eagerness for knowledge be interdicted and rooted out; but
his single, all powerful ambition to _know_ as thoroughly and as fully
as possible, will soothe him and moderate all that is strenuous in his
circumstances. Moreover, he is now rid of a number of disturbing
notions; he is no longer beguiled by such words as hell-pain,
sinfulness, unworthiness: he sees in them merely the flitting shadow
pictures of false views of life and of the world.


=Ethic as Man's Self-Analysis.=--A good author, whose heart is really in
his work, wishes that someone would arise and wholly refute him if only
thereby his subject be wholly clarified and made plain. The maid in love
wishes that she could attest the fidelity of her own passion through
the faithlessness of her beloved. The soldier wishes to sacrifice his
life on the field of his fatherland's victory: for in the victory of his
fatherland his highest end is attained. The mother gives her child what
she deprives herself of--sleep, the best nourishment and, in certain
circumstances, her health, her self.--But are all these acts unegoistic?
Are these moral deeds miracles because they are, in Schopenhauer's
phrase "impossible and yet accomplished"? Is it not evident that in all
four cases man loves one part of himself, (a thought, a longing, an
experience) more than he loves another part of himself? that he thus
analyses his being and sacrifices one part of it to another part? Is
this essentially different from the behavior of the obstinate man who
says "I would rather be shot than go a step out of my way for this
fellow"?--Preference for something (wish, impulse, longing) is present
in all four instances: to yield to it, with all its consequences, is not
"unegoistic."--In the domain of the ethical man conducts himself not as
individuum but as dividuum.


=What Can be Promised.=--Actions can be promised, but not feelings, for
these are involuntary. Whoever promises somebody to love him always, or
to hate him always, or to be ever true to him, promises something that
it is out of his power to bestow. But he really can promise such courses
of conduct as are the ordinary accompaniments of love, of hate, of
fidelity, but which may also have their source in motives quite
different: for various ways and motives lead to the same conduct. The
promise to love someone always, means, consequently: as long as I love
you, I will manifest the deportment of love; but if I cease to love you
my deportment, although from some other motive, will be just the same,
so that to the people about us it will seem as if my love remained
unchanged.--Hence it is the continuance of the deportment of love that
is promised in every instance in which eternal love (provided no element
of self deception be involved) is sworn.


=Intellect and Ethic.=--One must have a good memory to be able to keep
the promises one makes. One must have a strong imagination in order to
feel sympathy. So closely is ethics connected with intellectual


=Desire for Vengeance and Vengeance Itself.=--To meditate revenge and
attain it is tantamount to an attack of fever, that passes away: but to
meditate revenge without possessing the strength or courage to attain it
is tantamount to suffering from a chronic malady, or poisoning of body
and soul. Ethics, which takes only the motive into account, rates both
cases alike: people generally estimate the first case as the worst
(because of the consequences which the deed of vengeance may entail).
Both views are short sighted.


=Ability to Wait.=--Ability to wait is so hard to acquire that great
poets have not disdained to make inability to wait the central motive of
their poems. So Shakespeare in Othello, Sophocles in Ajax, whose suicide
would not have seemed to him so imperative had he only been able to cool
his ardor for a day, as the oracle foreboded: apparently he would then
have repulsed somewhat the fearful whispers of distracted thought and
have said to himself: Who has not already, in my situation, mistaken a
sheep for a hero? is it so extraordinary a thing? On the contrary it is
something universally human: Ajax should thus have soothed himself.
Passion will not wait: the tragic element in the lives of great men does
not generally consist in their conflict with time and the inferiority
of their fellowmen but in their inability to put off their work a year
or two: they cannot wait.--In all duels, the friends who advise have but
to ascertain if the principals can wait: if this be not possible, a duel
is rational inasmuch as each of the combatants may say: "either I
continue to live and the other dies instantly, or vice versa." To wait
in such circumstances would be equivalent to the frightful martyrdom of
enduring dishonor in the presence of him responsible for the dishonor:
and this can easily cost more anguish than life is worth.


=Glutting Revenge.=--Coarse men, who feel a sense of injury, are in the
habit of rating the extent of their injury as high as possible and of
stating the occasion of it in greatly exaggerated language, in order to
be able to feast themselves on the sentiments of hatred and revenge thus


=Value of Disparagement.=--Not a few, perhaps the majority of men, find
it necessary, in order to retain their self esteem and a certain
uprightness in conduct, to mentally disparage and belittle all the
people they know. But as the inferior natures are in the majority and as
a great deal depends upon whether they retain or lose this uprightness,


=The Man in a Rage.=--We should be on our guard against the man who is
enraged against us, as against one who has attempted our life, for the
fact that we still live consists solely in the inability to kill: were
looks sufficient, it would have been all up with us long since. To
reduce anyone to silence by physical manifestations of savagery or by a
terrorizing process is a relic of under civilization. So, too, that cold
look which great personages cast upon their servitors is a remnant of
the caste distinction between man and man; a specimen of rude antiquity:
women, the conservers of the old, have maintained this survival, too,
more perfectly than men.


=Whither Honesty May Lead.=--Someone once had the bad habit of
expressing himself upon occasion, and with perfect honesty, on the
subject of the motives of his conduct, which were as good or as bad as
the motives of all men. He aroused first disfavor, then suspicion,
became gradually of ill repute and was pronounced a person of whom
society should beware, until at last the law took note of such a
perverted being for reasons which usually have no weight with it or to
which it closes its eyes. Lack of taciturnity concerning what is
universally held secret, and an irresponsible predisposition to see what
no one wants to see--oneself--brought him to prison and to early death.


=Punishable, not Punished.=--Our crime against criminals consists in the
fact that we treat them as rascals.


=Sancta simplicitas of Virtue.=--Every virtue has its privilege: for
example, that of contributing its own little bundle of wood to the
funeral pyre of one condemned.


=Morality and Consequence.=--Not alone the beholders of an act generally
estimate the ethical or unethical element in it by the result: no, the
one who performed the act does the same. For the motives and the
intentions are seldom sufficiently apparent, and amid them the memory
itself seems to become clouded by the results of the act, so that a man
often ascribes the wrong motives to his acts or regards the remote
motives as the direct ones. Success often imparts to an action all the
brilliance and honor of good intention, while failure throws the shadow
of conscience over the most estimable deeds. Hence arises the familiar
maxim of the politician: "Give me only success: with it I can win all
the noble souls over to my side--and make myself noble even in my own
eyes."--In like manner will success prove an excellent substitute for a
better argument. To this very day many well educated men think the
triumph of Christianity over Greek philosophy is a proof of the superior
truth of the former--although in this case it was simply the coarser and
more powerful that triumphed over the more delicate and intellectual. As
regards superiority of truth, it is evident that because of it the
reviving sciences have connected themselves, point for point, with the
philosophy of Epicurus, while Christianity has, point for point,
recoiled from it.


=Love and Justice.=--Why is love so highly prized at the expense of
justice and why are such beautiful things spoken of the former as if it
were a far higher entity than the latter? Is the former not palpably a
far more stupid thing than the latter?--Certainly, and on that very
account so much the more agreeable to everybody: it is blind and has a
rich horn of plenty out of which it distributes its gifts to everyone,
even when they are unmerited, even when no thanks are returned. It is
impartial like the rain, which according to the bible and experience,
wets not alone the unjust but, in certain circumstances, the just as
well, and to their skins at that.


=Execution.=--How comes it that every execution causes us more pain than
a murder? It is the coolness of the executioner, the painful
preparation, the perception that here a man is being used as an
instrument for the intimidation of others. For the guilt is not punished
even if there be any: this is ascribable to the teachers, the parents,
the environment, in ourselves, not in the murderer--I mean the
predisposing circumstances.


=Hope.=--Pandora brought the box containing evils and opened it. It was
the gift of the gods to men, a gift of most enticing appearance
externally and called the "box of happiness." Thereupon all the evils,
(living, moving things) flew out: from that time to the present they fly
about and do ill to men by day and night. One evil only did not fly out
of the box: Pandora shut the lid at the behest of Zeus and it remained
inside. Now man has this box of happiness perpetually in the house and
congratulates himself upon the treasure inside of it; it is at his
service: he grasps it whenever he is so disposed, for he knows not that
the box which Pandora brought was a box of evils. Hence he looks upon
the one evil still remaining as the greatest source of happiness--it is
hope.--Zeus intended that man, notwithstanding the evils oppressing him,
should continue to live and not rid himself of life, but keep on making
himself miserable. For this purpose he bestowed hope upon man: it is, in
truth, the greatest of evils for it lengthens the ordeal of man.


=Degree of Moral Susceptibility Unknown.=--The fact that one has or has
not had certain profoundly moving impressions and insights into
things--for example, an unjustly executed, slain or martyred father, a
faithless wife, a shattering, serious accident,--is the factor upon
which the excitation of our passions to white heat principally depends,
as well as the course of our whole lives. No one knows to what lengths
circumstances (sympathy, emotion) may lead him. He does not know the
full extent of his own susceptibility. Wretched environment makes him
wretched. It is as a rule not the quality of our experience but its
quantity upon which depends the development of our superiority or
inferiority, from the point of view of good and evil.


=The Martyr Against His Will.=--In a certain movement there was a man
who was too cowardly and vacillating ever to contradict his comrades. He
was made use of in each emergency, every sacrifice was demanded of him
because he feared the disfavor of his comrades more than he feared
death: he was a petty, abject spirit. They perceived this and upon the
foundation of the qualities just mentioned they elevated him to the
altitude of a hero, and finally even of a martyr. Although the cowardly
creature always inwardly said No, he always said Yes with his lips, even
upon the scaffold, where he died for the tenets of his party: for beside
him stood one of his old associates who so domineered him with look and
word that he actually went to his death with the utmost fortitude and
has ever since been celebrated as a martyr and exalted character.


=General Standard.=--One will rarely err if extreme actions be ascribed
to vanity, ordinary actions to habit and mean actions to fear.


=Misunderstanding of Virtue.=--Whoever has obtained his experience of
vice in connection with pleasure as in the case of one with a youth of
wild oats behind him, comes to the conclusion that virtue must be
connected with self denial. Whoever, on the other hand, has been very
much plagued by his passions and vices, longs to find in virtue the rest
and peace of the soul. That is why it is possible for two virtuous
people to misunderstand one another wholly.


=The Ascetic.=--The ascetic makes out of virtue a slavery.


=Honor Transferred from Persons to Things.=--Actions prompted by love or
by the spirit of self sacrifice for others are universally honored
wherever they are manifest. Hence is magnified the value set upon
whatever things may be loved or whatever things conduce to self
sacrifice: although in themselves they may be worth nothing much. A
valiant army is evidence of the value of the thing it fights for.


=Ambition a Substitute for Moral Feeling.=--Moral feeling should never
become extinct in natures that are destitute of ambition. The ambitious
can get along without moral feeling just as well as with it.--Hence the
sons of retired, ambitionless families, generally become by a series of
rapid gradations, when they lose moral feeling, the most absolute


=Vanity Enriches.=--How poor the human mind would be without vanity! As
it is, it resembles a well stacked and ever renewed ware-emporium that
attracts buyers of every class: they can find almost everything, have
almost everything, provided they bring with them the right kind of


=Senility and Death.=--Apart from the demands made by religion, it may
well be asked why it is more honorable in an aged man, who feels the
decline of his powers, to await slow extinction than to fix a term to
his existence himself? Suicide in such a case is a quite natural and due
proceeding that ought to command respect as a triumph of reason: and did
in fact command respect during the times of the masters of Greek
philosophy and the bravest Roman patriots, who usually died by their own
hand. Eagerness, on the other hand, to keep alive from day to day with
the anxious counsel of physicians, without capacity to attain any nearer
to one's ideal of life, is far less worthy of respect.--Religions are
very rich in refuges from the mandate of suicide: hence they ingratiate
themselves with those who cling to life.


=Delusions Regarding Victim and Regarding Evil Doer.=--When the rich man
takes a possession away from the poor man (for example, a prince who
deprives a plebeian of his beloved) there arises in the mind of the poor
man a delusion: he thinks the rich man must be wholly perverted to take
from him the little that he has. But the rich man appreciates the value
of a single possession much less because he is accustomed to many
possessions, so that he cannot put himself in the place of the poor man
and does not act by any means as ill as the latter supposes. Both have a
totally false idea of each other. The iniquities of the mighty which
bulk most largely in history are not nearly so monstrous as they seem.
The hereditary consciousness of being a superior being with superior
environment renders one very callous and lulls the conscience to rest.
We all feel, when the difference between ourselves and some other being
is exceedingly great, that no element of injustice can be involved, and
we kill a fly with no qualms of conscience whatever. So, too, it is no
indication of wickedness in Xerxes (whom even the Greeks represent as
exceptionally noble) that he deprived a father of his son and had him
drawn and quartered because the latter had manifested a troublesome,
ominous distrust of an entire expedition: the individual was in this
case brushed aside as a pestiferous insect. He was too low and mean to
justify continued sentiments of compunction in the ruler of the world.
Indeed no cruel man is ever as cruel, in the main, as his victim thinks.
The idea of pain is never the same as the sensation. The rule is
precisely analogous in the case of the unjust judge, and of the
journalist who by means of devious rhetorical methods, leads public
opinion astray. Cause and effect are in all these instances entwined
with totally different series of feeling and thoughts, whereas it is
unconsciously assumed that principal and victim feel and think exactly
alike, and because of this assumption the guilt of the one is based upon
the pain of the other.


=The Soul's Skin.=--As the bones, flesh, entrails and blood vessels are
enclosed by a skin that renders the aspect of men endurable, so the
impulses and passions of the soul are enclosed by vanity: it is the skin
of the soul.


=Sleep of Virtue.=--If virtue goes to sleep, it will be more vigorous
when it awakes.


=Subtlety of Shame.=--Men are not ashamed of obscene thoughts, but they
are ashamed when they suspect that obscene thoughts are attributed to


=Naughtiness Is Rare.=--Most people are too much absorbed in themselves
to be bad.


=The Mite in the Balance.=--We are praised or blamed, as the one or the
other may be expedient, for displaying to advantage our power of


=Luke 18:14 Improved.=--He that humbleth himself wisheth to be exalted.


=Prevention of Suicide.=--There is a justice according to which we may
deprive a man of life, but none that permits us to deprive him of death:
this is merely cruelty.


=Vanity.=--We set store by the good opinion of men, first because it is
of use to us and next because we wish to give them pleasure (children
their parents, pupils their teacher, and well disposed persons all
others generally). Only when the good opinion of men is important to
somebody, apart from personal advantage or the desire to give pleasure,
do we speak of vanity. In this last case, a man wants to give himself
pleasure, but at the expense of his fellow creatures, inasmuch as he
inspires them with a false opinion of himself or else inspires "good
opinion" in such a way that it is a source of pain to others (by
arousing envy). The individual generally seeks, through the opinion of
others, to attest and fortify the opinion he has of himself; but the
potent influence of authority--an influence as old as man himself--leads
many, also, to strengthen their own opinion of themselves by means of
authority, that is, to borrow from others the expedient of relying more
upon the judgment of their fellow men than upon their own.--Interest in
oneself, the wish to please oneself attains, with the vain man, such
proportions that he first misleads others into a false, unduly exalted
estimate of himself and then relies upon the authority of others for his
self estimate; he thus creates the delusion that he pins his faith
to.--It must, however, be admitted that the vain man does not desire to
please others so much as himself and he will often go so far, on this
account, as to overlook his own interests: for he often inspires his
fellow creatures with malicious envy and renders them ill disposed in
order that he may thus increase his own delight in himself.


=Limits of the Love of Mankind.=--Every man who has declared that some
other man is an ass or a scoundrel, gets angry when the other man
conclusively shows that the assertion was erroneous.


=Weeping Morality.=--How much delight morality occasions! Think of the
ocean of pleasing tears that has flowed from the narration of noble,
great-hearted deeds!--This charm of life would disappear if the belief
in complete irresponsibility gained the upper hand.


=Origin of Justice.=--Justice (reasonableness) has its origin among
approximate equals in power, as Thucydides (in the dreadful conferences
of the Athenian and Melian envoys) has rightly conceived. Thus, where
there exists no demonstrable supremacy and a struggle leads but to
mutual, useless damage, the reflection arises that an understanding
would best be arrived at and some compromise entered into. The
reciprocal nature is hence the first nature of justice. Each party makes
the other content inasmuch as each receives what it prizes more highly
than the other. Each surrenders to the other what the other wants and
receives in return its own desire. Justice is therefore reprisal and
exchange upon the basis of an approximate equality of power. Thus
revenge pertains originally to the domain of justice as it is a sort of
reciprocity. Equally so, gratitude.--Justice reverts naturally to the
standpoint of self preservation, therefore to the egoism of this
consideration: "why should I injure myself to no purpose and perhaps
never attain my end?"--So much for the origin of justice. Only because
men, through mental habits, have forgotten the original motive of so
called just and rational acts, and also because for thousands of years
children have been brought to admire and imitate such acts, have they
gradually assumed the appearance of being unegotistical. Upon this
appearance is founded the high estimate of them, which, moreover, like
all estimates, is continually developing, for whatever is highly
esteemed is striven for, imitated, made the object of self sacrifice,
while the merit of the pain and emulation thus expended is, by each
individual, ascribed to the thing esteemed.--How slightly moral would
the world appear without forgetfulness! A poet could say that God had
posted forgetfulness as a sentinel at the portal of the temple of human


=Concerning the Law of the Weaker.=--Whenever any party, for instance, a
besieged city, yields to a stronger party, under stipulated conditions,
the counter stipulation is that there be a reduction to insignificance,
a burning and destruction of the city and thus a great damage inflicted
upon the stronger party. Thus arises a sort of equalization principle
upon the basis of which a law can be established. The enemy has an
advantage to gain by its maintenance.--To this extent there is also a
law between slaves and masters, limited only by the extent to which the
slave may be useful to his master. The law goes originally only so far
as the one party may appear to the other potent, invincible, stable, and
the like. To such an extent, then, the weaker has rights, but very
limited ones. Hence the famous dictum that each has as much law on his
side as his power extends (or more accurately, as his power is believed
to extend).


=The Three Phases of Morality Hitherto.=--It is the first evidence that
the animal has become human when his conduct ceases to be based upon the
immediately expedient, but upon the permanently useful; when he has,
therefore, grown utilitarian, capable of purpose. Thus is manifested the
first rule of reason. A still higher stage is attained when he regulates
his conduct upon the basis of honor, by means of which he gains mastery
of himself and surrenders his desires to principles; this lifts him far
above the phase in which he was actuated only by considerations of
personal advantage as he understood it. He respects and wishes to be
respected. This means that he comprehends utility as a thing dependent
upon what his opinion of others is and their opinion of him. Finally he
regulates his conduct (the highest phase of morality hitherto attained)
by his own standard of men and things. He himself decides, for himself
and for others, what is honorable and what is useful. He has become a
law giver to opinion, upon the basis of his ever higher developing
conception of the utilitarian and the honorable. Knowledge makes him
capable of placing the highest utility, (that is, the universal,
enduring utility) before merely personal utility,--of placing ennobling
recognition of the enduring and universal before the merely temporary:
he lives and acts as a collective individuality.


=Ethic of the Developed Individual.=--Hitherto the altruistic has been
looked upon as the distinctive characteristic of moral conduct, and it
is manifest that it was the consideration of universal utility that
prompted praise and recognition of altruistic conduct. Must not a
radical departure from this point of view be imminent, now that it is
being ever more clearly perceived that in the most personal
considerations the most general welfare is attained: so that conduct
inspired by the most personal considerations of advantage is just the
sort which has its origin in the present conception of morality (as a
universal utilitarianism)? To contemplate oneself as a complete
personality and bear the welfare of that personality in mind in all that
one does--this is productive of better results than any sympathetic
susceptibility and conduct in behalf of others. Indeed we all suffer
from such disparagement of our own personalities, which are at present
made to deteriorate from neglect. Capacity is, in fact, divorced from
our personality in most cases, and sacrificed to the state, to science,
to the needy, as if it were the bad which deserved to be made a
sacrifice. Now, we are willing to labor for our fellowmen but only to
the extent that we find our own highest advantage in so doing, no more,
no less. The whole matter depends upon what may be understood as one's
advantage: the crude, undeveloped, rough individualities will be the
very ones to estimate it most inadequately.


=Usage and Ethic.=--To be moral, virtuous, praiseworthy means to yield
obedience to ancient law and hereditary usage. Whether this obedience be
rendered readily or with difficulty is long immaterial. Enough that it
be rendered. "Good" finally comes to mean him who acts in the
traditional manner, as a result of heredity or natural disposition, that
is to say does what is customary with scarcely an effort, whatever that
may be (for example revenges injuries when revenge, as with the ancient
Greeks, was part of good morals). He is called good because he is good
"to some purpose," and as benevolence, sympathy, considerateness,
moderation and the like come, in the general course of conduct, to be
finally recognized as "good to some purpose" (as utilitarian) the
benevolent man, the helpful man, is duly styled "good". (At first other
and more important kinds of utilitarian qualities stand in the
foreground.) Bad is "not habitual" (unusual), to do things not in
accordance with usage, to oppose the traditional, however rational or
the reverse the traditional may be. To do injury to one's social group
or community (and to one's neighbor as thus understood) is looked upon,
through all the variations of moral laws, in different ages, as the
peculiarly "immoral" act, so that to-day we associate the word "bad"
with deliberate injury to one's neighbor or community. "Egoistic" and
"non-egoistic" do not constitute the fundamental opposites that have
brought mankind to make a distinction between moral and immoral, good
and bad; but adherence to traditional custom, and emancipation from it.
How the traditional had its origin is quite immaterial; in any event it
had no reference to good and bad or any categorical imperative but to
the all important end of maintaining and sustaining the community, the
race, the confederation, the nation. Every superstitious custom that
originated in a misinterpreted event or casualty entailed some
tradition, to adhere to which is moral. To break loose from it is
dangerous, more prejudicial to the community than to the individual
(because divinity visits the consequences of impiety and sacrilege upon
the community rather than upon the individual). Now every tradition
grows ever more venerable--the more remote is its origin, the more
confused that origin is. The reverence due to it increases from
generation to generation. The tradition finally becomes holy and
inspires awe. Thus it is that the precept of piety is a far loftier
morality than that inculcated by altruistic conduct.


=Delight in the Moral.=--A potent species of joy (and thereby the source
of morality) is custom. The customary is done more easily, better,
therefore preferably. A pleasure is felt in it and experience thus shows
that since this practice has held its own it must be good. A manner or
moral that lives and lets live is thus demonstrated advantageous,
necessary, in contradistinction to all new and not yet adopted
practices. The custom is therefore the blending of the agreeable and the
useful. Moreover it does not require deliberation. As soon as man can
exercise compulsion, he exercises it to enforce and establish his
customs, for they are to him attested lifewisdom. So, too, a community
of individuals constrains each one of their number to adopt the same
moral or custom. The error herein is this: Because a certain custom has
been agreeable to the feelings or at least because it proves a means of
maintenance, this custom must be imperative, for it is regarded as the
only thing that can possibly be consistent with well being. The well
being of life seems to spring from it alone. This conception of the
customary as a condition of existence is carried into the slightest
detail of morality. Inasmuch as insight into true causation is quite
restricted in all inferior peoples, a superstitious anxiety is felt that
everything be done in due routine. Even when a custom is exceedingly
burdensome it is preserved because of its supposed vital utility. It is
not known that the same degree of satisfaction can be experienced
through some other custom and even higher degrees of satisfaction, too.
But it is fully appreciated that all customs do become more agreeable
with the lapse of time, no matter how difficult they may have been found
in the beginning, and that even the severest way of life may be rendered
a matter of habit and therefore a pleasure.


=Pleasure and Social Instinct.=--Through his relations with other men,
man derives a new species of delight in those pleasurable emotions which
his own personality affords him; whereby the domain of pleasurable
emotions is made infinitely more comprehensive. No doubt he has
inherited many of these feelings from the brutes, which palpably feel
delight when they sport with one another, as mothers with their young.
So, too, the sexual relations must be taken into account: they make
every young woman interesting to every young man from the standpoint of
pleasure, and conversely. The feeling of pleasure originating in human
relationships makes men in general better. The delight in common, the
pleasures enjoyed together heighten one another. The individual feels a
sense of security. He becomes better natured. Distrust and malice
dissolve. For the man feels the sense of benefit and observes the same
feeling in others. Mutual manifestations of pleasure inspire mutual
sympathy, the sentiment of homogeneity. The same effect is felt also at
mutual sufferings, in a common danger, in stormy weather. Upon such a
foundation are built the earliest alliances: the object of which is the
mutual protection and safety from threatening misfortunes, and the
welfare of each individual. And thus the social instinct develops from


=The Guiltless Nature of So-Called Bad Acts.=--All "bad" acts are
inspired by the impulse to self preservation or, more accurately, by
the desire for pleasure and for the avoidance of pain in the individual.
Thus are they occasioned, but they are not, therefore, bad. "Pain self
prepared" does not exist, except in the brains of the philosophers, any
more than "pleasure self prepared" (sympathy in the Schopenhauer sense).
In the condition anterior to the state we kill the creature, be it man
or ape, that attempts to pluck the fruit of a tree before we pluck it
ourselves should we happen to be hungry at the time and making for that
tree: as we would do to-day, so far as the brute is concerned, if we
were wandering in savage regions.--The bad acts which most disturb us at
present do so because of the erroneous supposition that the one who is
guilty of them towards us has a free will in the matter and that it was
within his discretion not to have done these evil things. This belief in
discretionary power inspires hate, thirst for revenge, malice, the
entire perversion of the mental processes, whereas we would feel in no
way incensed against the brute, as we hold it irresponsible. To inflict
pain not from the instinct of self preservation but in requital--this is
the consequence of false judgment and is equally a guiltless course of
conduct. The individual can, in that condition which is anterior to the
state, act with fierceness and violence for the intimidation of another
creature, in order to render his own power more secure as a result of
such acts of intimidation. Thus acts the powerful, the superior, the
original state founder, who subjugates the weaker. He has the right to
do so, as the state nowadays assumes the same right, or, to be more
accurate, there is no right that can conflict with this. A foundation
for all morality can first be laid only when a stronger individuality or
a collective individuality, for example society, the state, subjects the
single personalities, hence builds upon their unification and
establishes a bond of union. Morality results from compulsion, it is
indeed itself one long compulsion to which obedience is rendered in
order that pain may be avoided. At first it is but custom, later free
obedience and finally almost instinct. At last it is (like everything
habitual and natural) associated with pleasure--and is then called


=Shame.=--Shame exists wherever a "mystery" exists: but this is a
religious notion which in the earlier period of human civilization had
great vogue. Everywhere there were circumscribed spots to which access
was denied on account of some divine law, except in special
circumstances. At first these spots were quite extensive, inasmuch as
stipulated areas could not be trod by the uninitiated, who, when near
them, felt tremors and anxieties. This sentiment was frequently
transferred to other relationships, for example to sexual relations,
which, as the privilege and gateway of mature age, must be withdrawn
from the contemplation of youth for its own advantage: relations which
many divinities were busy in preserving and sanctifying, images of which
divinities were duly placed in marital chambers as guardians. (In
Turkish such an apartment is termed a harem or holy thing, the same word
also designating the vestibule of a mosque). So, too, Kingship is
regarded as a centre from which power and brilliance stream forth, as a
mystery to the subjects, impregnated with secrecy and shame, sentiments
still quite operative among peoples who in other respects are without
any shame at all. So, too, is the whole world of inward states, the
so-called "soul," even now, for all non-philosophical persons, a
"mystery," and during countless ages it was looked upon as a something
of divine origin, in direct communion with deity. It is, therefore, an
adytum and occasions shame.


=Judge Not.=--Care must be taken, in the contemplation of earlier ages,
that there be no falling into unjust scornfulness. The injustice in
slavery, the cruelty in the subjugation of persons and peoples must not
be estimated by our standard. For in that period the instinct of justice
was not so highly developed. Who dare reproach the Genoese Calvin for
burning the physician Servetus at the stake? It was a proceeding growing
out of his convictions. And the Inquisition, too, had its justification.
The only thing is that the prevailing views were false and led to those
proceedings which seem so cruel to us, simply because such views have
become foreign to us. Besides, what is the burning alive of one
individual compared with eternal hell pains for everybody else? And yet
this idea then had hold of all the world without in the least vitiating,
with its frightfulness, the other idea of a god. Even we nowadays are
hard and merciless to political revolutionists, but that is because we
are in the habit of believing the state a necessity, and hence the
cruelty of the proceeding is not so much understood as in the other
cases where the points of view are repudiated. The cruelty to animals
shown by children and Italians is due to the same misunderstanding. The
animal, owing to the exigencies of the church catechism, is placed too
far below the level of mankind.--Much, too, that is frightful and
inhuman in history, and which is almost incredible, is rendered less
atrocious by the reflection that the one who commands and the one who
executes are different persons. The former does not witness the
performance and hence it makes no strong impression on him. The latter
obeys a superior and hence feels no responsibility. Most princes and
military chieftains appear, through lack of true perception, cruel and
hard without really being so.--Egoism is not bad because the idea of the
"neighbor"--the word is of Christian origin and does not correspond to
truth--is very weak in us, and we feel ourselves, in regard to him, as
free from responsibility as if plants and stones were involved. That
another is in suffering must be learned and it can never be wholly


"=Man Always Does Right.="--We do not blame nature when she sends a
thunder storm and makes us wet: why then do we term the man who inflicts
injury immoral? Because in the latter case we assume a voluntary,
ruling, free will, and in the former necessity. But this distinction is
a delusion. Moreover, even the intentional infliction of injury is not,
in all circumstances termed immoral. Thus, we kill a fly intentionally
without thinking very much about it, simply because its buzzing about is
disagreeable; and we punish a criminal and inflict pain upon him in
order to protect ourselves and society. In the first case it is the
individual who, for the sake of preserving himself or in order to spare
himself pain, does injury with design: in the second case, it is the
state. All ethic deems intentional infliction of injury justified by
necessity; that is when it is a matter of self preservation. But these
two points of view are sufficient to explain all bad acts done by man to
men. It is desired to obtain pleasure or avoid pain. In any sense, it is
a question, always, of self preservation. Socrates and Plato are right:
whatever man does he always does right: that is, does what seems to him
good (advantageous) according to the degree of advancement his intellect
has attained, which is always the measure of his rational capacity.


=The Inoffensive in Badness.=--Badness has not for its object the
infliction of pain upon others but simply our own satisfaction as, for
instance, in the case of thirst for vengeance or of nerve excitation.
Every act of teasing shows what pleasure is caused by the display of
our power over others and what feelings of delight are experienced in
the sense of domination. Is there, then, anything immoral in feeling
pleasure in the pain of others? Is malicious joy devilish, as
Schopenhauer says? In the realm of nature we feel joy in breaking
boughs, shattering rocks, fighting with wild beasts, simply to attest
our strength thereby. Should not the knowledge that another suffers on
our account here, in this case, make the same kind of act, (which, by
the way, arouses no qualms of conscience in us) immoral also? But if we
had not this knowledge there would be no pleasure in one's own
superiority or power, for this pleasure is experienced only in the
suffering of another, as in the case of teasing. All pleasure is, in
itself, neither good nor bad. Whence comes the conviction that one
should not cause pain in others in order to feel pleasure oneself?
Simply from the standpoint of utility, that is, in consideration of the
consequences, of ultimate pain, since the injured party or state will
demand satisfaction and revenge. This consideration alone can have led
to the determination to renounce such pleasure.--Sympathy has the
satisfaction of others in view no more than, as already stated, badness
has the pain of others in view. For there are at least two (perhaps many
more) elementary ingredients in personal gratification which enter
largely into our self satisfaction: one of them being the pleasure of
the emotion, of which species is sympathy with tragedy, and another,
when the impulse is to action, being the pleasure of exercising one's
power. Should a sufferer be very dear to us, we divest ourselves of pain
by the performance of acts of sympathy.--With the exception of some few
philosophers, men have placed sympathy very low in the rank of moral
feelings: and rightly.


=Self Defence.=--If self defence is in general held a valid
justification, then nearly every manifestation of so called immoral
egoism must be justified, too. Pain is inflicted, robbery or killing
done in order to maintain life or to protect oneself and ward off harm.
A man lies when cunning and delusion are valid means of self
preservation. To injure intentionally when our safety and our existence
are involved, or the continuance of our well being, is conceded to be
moral. The state itself injures from this motive when it hangs
criminals. In unintentional injury the immoral, of course, can not be
present, as accident alone is involved. But is there any sort of
intentional injury in which our existence and the maintenance of our
well being be not involved? Is there such a thing as injuring from
absolute badness, for example, in the case of cruelty? If a man does not
know what pain an act occasions, that act is not one of wickedness. Thus
the child is not bad to the animal, not evil. It disturbs and rends it
as if it were one of its playthings. Does a man ever fully know how much
pain an act may cause another? As far as our nervous system extends, we
shield ourselves from pain. If it extended further, that is, to our
fellow men, we would never cause anyone else any pain (except in such
cases as we cause it to ourselves, when we cut ourselves, surgically, to
heal our ills, or strive and trouble ourselves to gain health). We
conclude from analogy that something pains somebody and can in
consequence, through recollection and the power of imagination, feel
pain also. But what a difference there always is between the tooth ache
and the pain (sympathy) that the spectacle of tooth ache occasions!
Therefore when injury is inflicted from so called badness the degree of
pain thereby experienced is always unknown to us: in so far, however, as
pleasure is felt in the act (a sense of one's own power, of one's own
excitation) the act is committed to maintain the well being of the
individual and hence comes under the purview of self defence and lying
for self preservation. Without pleasure, there is no life; the struggle
for pleasure is the struggle for life. Whether the individual shall
carry on this struggle in such a way that he be called good or in such a
way that he be called bad is something that the standard and the
capacity of his own intellect must determine for him.


=Justice that Rewards.=--Whoever has fully understood the doctrine of
absolute irresponsibility can no longer include the so called rewarding
and punishing justice in the idea of justice, if the latter be taken to
mean that to each be given his due. For he who is punished does not
deserve the punishment. He is used simply as a means to intimidate
others from certain acts. Equally, he who is rewarded does not merit the
reward. He could not act any differently than he did act. Hence the
reward has only the significance of an encouragement to him and others
as a motive for subsequent acts. The praise is called out only to him
who is running in the race and not to him who has arrived at the goal.
Something that comes to someone as his own is neither a punishment nor a
reward. It is given to him from utiliarian considerations, without his
having any claim to it in justice. Hence one must say "the wise man
praises not because a good act has been done" precisely as was once
said: "the wise man punishes not because a bad act has been done but in
order that a bad act may not be done." If punishment and reward ceased,
there would cease with them the most powerful incentives to certain acts
and away from other acts. The purposes of men demand their continuance
[of punishment and reward] and inasmuch as punishment and reward, blame
and praise operate most potently upon vanity, these same purposes of men
imperatively require the continuance of vanity.


=The Water Fall.=--At the sight of a water fall we may opine that in the
countless curves, spirations and dashes of the waves we behold freedom
of the will and of the impulses. But everything is compulsory,
everything can be mathematically calculated. Thus it is, too, with human
acts. We would be able to calculate in advance every single action if we
were all knowing, as well as every advance in knowledge, every delusion,
every bad deed. The acting individual himself is held fast in the
illusion of volition. If, on a sudden, the entire movement of the world
stopped short, and an all knowing and reasoning intelligence were there
to take advantage of this pause, he could foretell the future of every
being to the remotest ages and indicate the path that would be taken in
the world's further course. The deception of the acting individual as
regards himself, the assumption of the freedom of the will, is a part of
this computable mechanism.


=Non-Responsibility and Non-Guilt.=--The absolute irresponsibility of
man for his acts and his nature is the bitterest drop in the cup of him
who has knowledge, if he be accustomed to behold in responsibility and
duty the patent of nobility of his human nature. All his estimates,
preferences, dislikes are thus made worthless and false. His deepest
sentiment, with which he honored the sufferer, the hero, sprang from an
error. He may no longer praise, no longer blame, for it is irrational to
blame and praise nature and necessity. Just as he cherishes the
beautiful work of art, but does not praise it (as it is incapable of
doing anything for itself), just as he stands in the presence of plants,
he must stand in the presence of human conduct, his own included. He may
admire strength, beauty, capacity, therein, but he can discern no merit.
The chemical process and the conflict of the elements, the ordeal of
the invalid who strives for convalescence, are no more merits than the
soul-struggles and extremities in which one is torn this way and that by
contending motives until one finally decides in favor of the
strongest--as the phrase has it, although, in fact, it is the strongest
motive that decides for us. All these motives, however, whatever fine
names we may give them, have grown from the same roots in which we
believe the baneful poisons lurk. Between good and bad actions there is
no difference in kind but, at most, in degree. Good acts are sublimated
evil. Bad acts are degraded, imbruted good. The very longing of the
individual for self gratification (together with the fear of being
deprived of it) obtains satisfaction in all circumstances, let the
individual act as he may, that is, as he must: be it in deeds of vanity,
revenge, pleasure, utility, badness, cunning, be it in deeds of self
sacrifice, sympathy or knowledge. The degrees of rational capacity
determine the direction in which this longing impels: every society,
every individual has constantly present a comparative classification of
benefits in accordance with which conduct is determined and others are
judged. But this standard perpetually changes. Many acts are called bad
that are only stupid, because the degree of intelligence that decided
for them was low. Indeed, in a certain sense, all acts now are stupid,
for the highest degree of human intelligence that has yet been attained
will in time most certainly be surpassed and then, in retrospection, all
our present conduct and opinion will appear as narrow and petty as we
now deem the conduct and opinion of savage peoples and ages.--To
perceive all these things may occasion profound pain but there is,
nevertheless, a consolation. Such pains are birth pains. The butterfly
insists upon breaking through the cocoon, he presses through it, tears
it to pieces, only to be blinded and confused by the strange light, by
the realm of liberty. By such men as are capable of this sadness--how
few there are!--will the first attempt be made to see if humanity may
convert itself from a thing of morality to a thing of wisdom. The sun of
a new gospel sheds its first ray upon the loftiest height in the souls
of those few: but the clouds are massed there, too, thicker than ever,
and not far apart are the brightest sunlight and the deepest gloom.
Everything is necessity--so says the new knowledge: and this knowledge
is itself necessity. All is guiltlessness, and knowledge is the way to
insight into this guiltlessness. If pleasure, egoism, vanity be
necessary to attest the moral phenomena and their richest blooms, the
instinct for truth and accuracy of knowledge; if delusion and confusion
of the imagination were the only means whereby mankind could gradually
lift itself up to this degree of self enlightenment and self
emancipation--who would venture to disparage the means? Who would have
the right to feel sad if made aware of the goal to which those paths
lead? Everything in the domain of ethic is evolved, changeable,
tottering; all things flow, it is true--but all things are also in the
stream: to their goal. Though within us the hereditary habit of
erroneous judgment, love, hate, may be ever dominant, yet under the
influence of awaking knowledge it will ever become weaker: a new habit,
that of understanding, not-loving, not-hating, looking from above, grows
up within us gradually and in the same soil, and may, perhaps, in
thousands of years be powerful enough to endow mankind with capacity to
develop the wise, guiltless man (conscious of guiltlessness) as
unfailingly as it now developes the unwise, irrational, guilt-conscious
man--that is to say, the necessary higher step, not the opposite of it.



=The Double Contest Against Evil.=--If an evil afflicts us we can either
so deal with it as to remove its cause or else so deal with it that its
effect upon our feeling is changed: hence look upon the evil as a
benefit of which the uses will perhaps first become evident in some
subsequent period. Religion and art (and also the metaphysical
philosophy) strive to effect an alteration of the feeling, partly by an
alteration of our judgment respecting the experience (for example, with
the aid of the dictum "whom God loves, he chastizes") partly by the
awakening of a joy in pain, in emotion especially (whence the art of
tragedy had its origin). The more one is disposed to interpret away and
justify, the less likely he is to look directly at the causes of evil
and eliminate them. An instant alleviation and narcotizing of pain, as
is usual in the case of tooth ache, is sufficient for him even in the
severest suffering. The more the domination of religions and of all
narcotic arts declines, the more searchingly do men look to the
elimination of evil itself, which is a rather bad thing for the tragic
poets--for there is ever less and less material for tragedy, since the
domain of unsparing, immutable destiny grows constantly more
circumscribed--and a still worse thing for the priests, for these last
have lived heretofore upon the narcoticizing of human ill.


=Sorrow is Knowledge.=--How willingly would not one exchange the false
assertions of the homines religiosi that there is a god who commands us
to be good, who is the sentinel and witness of every act, every moment,
every thought, who loves us, who plans our welfare in every
misfortune--how willingly would not one exchange these for truths as
healing, beneficial and grateful as those delusions! But there are no
such truths. Philosophy can at most set up in opposition to them other
metaphysical plausibilities (fundamental untruths as well). The tragedy
of it all is that, although one cannot believe these dogmas of religion
and metaphysics if one adopts in heart and head the potent methods of
truth, one has yet become, through human evolution, so tender,
susceptible, sensitive, as to stand in need of the most effective means
of rest and consolation. From this state of things arises the danger
that, through the perception of truth or, more accurately, seeing
through delusion, one may bleed to death. Byron has put this into
deathless verse:

     "Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most
     Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth,
     The tree of knowledge is not that of life."

Against such cares there is no better protective than the light fancy of
Horace, (at any rate during the darkest hours and sun eclipses of the
soul) expressed in the words

     "quid aeternis minorem
     consiliis animum fatigas?
     cur non sub alta vel platano vel hac
     pinu jacentes."[22]

[22] Then wherefore should you, who are mortal, outwear
     Your soul with a profitless burden of care
     Say, why should we not, flung at ease neath this pine,
     Or a plane-tree's broad umbrage, quaff gaily our wine?
                      (Translation of Sir Theodore Martin.)

At any rate, light fancy or heavy heartedness of any degree must be
better than a romantic retrogression and desertion of one's flag, an
approach to Christianity in any form: for with it, in the present state
of knowledge, one can have nothing to do without hopelessly defiling
one's intellectual integrity and surrendering it unconditionally. These
woes may be painful enough, but without pain one cannot become a leader
and guide of humanity: and woe to him who would be such and lacks this
pure integrity of the intellect!


=The Truth in Religion.=--In the ages of enlightenment justice was not
done to the importance of religion, of this there can be no doubt. It is
also equally certain that in the ensuing reaction of enlightenment, the
demands of justice were far exceeded inasmuch as religion was treated
with love, even with infatuation and proclaimed as a profound, indeed
the most profound knowledge of the world, which science had but to
divest of its dogmatic garb in order to possess "truth" in its
unmythical form. Religions must therefore--this was the contention of
all foes of enlightenment--sensu allegorico, with regard for the
comprehension of the masses, give expression to that ancient truth which
is wisdom in itself, inasmuch as all science of modern times has led up
to it instead of away from it. So that between the most ancient wisdom
of man and all later wisdom there prevails harmony, even similarity of
viewpoint; and the advancement of knowledge--if one be disposed to
concede such a thing--has to do not with its nature but with its
propagation. This whole conception of religion and science is through
and through erroneous, and none would to-day be hardy enough to
countenance it had not Schopenhauer's rhetoric taken it under
protection, this high sounding rhetoric which now gains auditors after
the lapse of a generation. Much as may be gained from Schopenhauer's
religio-ethical human and cosmical oracle as regards the comprehension
of Christianity and other religions, it is nevertheless certain that he
erred regarding the value of religion to knowledge. He himself was in
this but a servile pupil of the scientific teachers of his time who had
all taken romanticism under their protection and renounced the spirit of
enlightenment. Had he been born in our own time it would have been
impossible for him to have spoken of the sensus allegoricus of religion.
He would instead have done truth the justice to say: never has a
religion, directly or indirectly, either as dogma or as allegory,
contained a truth. For all religions grew out of dread or necessity, and
came into existence through an error of the reason. They have, perhaps,
in times of danger from science, incorporated some philosophical
doctrine or other into their systems in order to make it possible to
continue one's existence within them. But this is but a theological work
of art dating from the time in which a religion began to doubt of
itself. These theological feats of art, which are most common in
Christianity as the religion of a learned age, impregnated with
philosophy, have led to this superstition of the sensus allegoricus, as
has, even more, the habit of the philosophers (namely those
half-natures, the poetical philosophers and the philosophising artists)
of dealing with their own feelings as if they constituted the
fundamental nature of humanity and hence of giving their own religious
feelings a predominant influence over the structure of their systems. As
the philosophers mostly philosophised under the influence of hereditary
religious habits, or at least under the traditional influence of this
"metaphysical necessity," they naturally arrived at conclusions
closely resembling the Judaic or Christian or Indian religious
tenets--resembling, in the way that children are apt to look like their
mothers: only in this case the fathers were not certain as to the
maternity, as easily happens--but in the innocence of their admiration,
they fabled regarding the family likeness of all religion and science.
In reality, there exists between religion and true science neither
relationship nor friendship, not even enmity: they dwell in different
spheres. Every philosophy that lets the religious comet gleam through
the darkness of its last outposts renders everything within it that
purports to be science, suspicious. It is all probably religion,
although it may assume the guise of science.--Moreover, though all the
peoples agree concerning certain religious things, for example, the
existence of a god (which, by the way, as regards this point, is not
the case) this fact would constitute an argument against the thing
agreed upon, for example the very existence of a god. The consensus
gentium and especially hominum can probably amount only to an absurdity.
Against it there is no consensus omnium sapientium whatever, on any
point, with the exception of which Goethe's verse speaks:

     "All greatest sages to all latest ages
         Will smile, wink and slily agree
     'Tis folly to wait till a fool's empty pate
         Has learned to be knowing and free.
     So children of wisdom must look upon fools
     As creatures who're never the better for schools."

Stated without rhyme or metre and adapted to our case: the consensus
sapientium is to the effect that the consensus gentium amounts to an


=Origin of Religious Worship.=--Let us transport ourselves back to the
times in which religious life flourished most vigorously and we will
find a fundamental conviction prevalent which we no longer share and
which has resulted in the closing of the door to religious life once for
all so far as we are concerned: this conviction has to do with nature
and intercourse with her. In those times nothing is yet known of
nature's laws. Neither for earth nor for heaven is there a must. A
season, sunshine, rain can come or stay away as it pleases. There is
wanting, in particular, all idea of natural causation. If a man rows, it
is not the oar that moves the boat, but rowing is a magical ceremony
whereby a demon is constrained to move the boat. All illness, death
itself, is a consequence of magical influences. In sickness and death
nothing natural is conceived. The whole idea of "natural course" is
wanting. The idea dawns first upon the ancient Greeks, that is to say in
a very late period of humanity, in the conception of a Moira [fate]
ruling over the gods. If any person shoots off a bow, there is always an
irrational strength and agency in the act. If the wells suddenly run
dry, the first thought is of subterranean demons and their pranks. It
must have been the dart of a god beneath whose invisible influence a
human being suddenly collapses. In India, the carpenter (according to
Lubbock) is in the habit of making devout offerings to his hammer and
hatchet. A Brahmin treats the plume with which he writes, a soldier the
weapon that he takes into the field, a mason his trowel, a laborer his
plow, in the same way. All nature is, in the opinion of religious
people, a sum total of the doings of conscious and willing beings, an
immense mass of complex volitions. In regard to all that takes place
outside of us no conclusion is permissible that anything will result
thus and so, must result thus and so, that we are comparatively
calculable and certain in our experiences, that man is the rule, nature
the ruleless. This view forms the fundamental conviction that dominates
crude, religion-producing, early civilizations. We contemporary men feel
exactly the opposite: the richer man now feels himself inwardly, the
more polyphone the music and the sounding of his soul, the more
powerfully does the uniformity of nature impress him. We all, with
Goethe, recognize in nature the great means of repose for the soul. We
listen to the pendulum stroke of this great clock with longing for rest,
for absolute calm and quiescence, as if we could drink in the uniformity
of nature and thereby arrive first at an enjoyment of oneself. Formerly
it was the reverse: if we carry ourselves back to the periods of crude
civilization, or if we contemplate contemporary savages, we will find
them most strongly influenced by rule, by tradition. The individual is
almost automatically bound to rule and tradition and moves with the
uniformity of a pendulum. To him nature--the uncomprehended, fearful,
mysterious nature--must seem the domain of freedom, of volition, of
higher power, indeed as an ultra-human degree of destiny, as god. Every
individual in such periods and circumstances feels that his existence,
his happiness, the existence and happiness of the family, the state,
the success or failure of every undertaking, must depend upon these
dispositions of nature. Certain natural events must occur at the proper
time and certain others must not occur. How can influence be exercised
over this fearful unknown, how can this domain of freedom be brought
under subjection? thus he asks himself, thus he worries: Is there no
means to render these powers of nature as subject to rule and tradition
as you are yourself?--The cogitation of the superstitious and
magic-deluded man is upon the theme of imposing a law upon nature: and
to put it briefly, religious worship is the result of such cogitation.
The problem which is present to every man is closely connected with this
one: how can the weaker party dictate laws to the stronger, control its
acts in reference to the weaker? At first the most harmless form of
influence is recollected, that influence which is acquired when the
partiality of anyone has been won. Through beseeching and prayer,
through abject humiliation, through obligations to regular gifts and
propitiations, through flattering homages, it is possible, therefore, to
impose some guidance upon the forces of nature, to the extent that their
partiality be won: love binds and is bound. Then agreements can be
entered into by means of which certain courses of conduct are mutually
concluded, vows are made and authorities prescribed. But far more potent
is that species of power exercised by means of magic and incantation. As
a man is able to injure a powerful enemy by means of the magician and
render him helpless with fear, as the love potion operates at a
distance, so can the mighty forces of nature, in the opinion of weaker
mankind, be controlled by similar means. The principal means of
effecting incantations is to acquire control of something belonging to
the party to be influenced, hair, finger nails, food from his table,
even his picture or his name. With such apparatus it is possible to act
by means of magic, for the basic principle is that to everything
spiritual corresponds something corporeal. With the aid of this
corporeal element the spirit may be bound, injured or destroyed. The
corporeal affords the handle by which the spiritual can be laid hold of.
In the same way that man influences mankind does he influences some
spirit of nature, for this latter has also its corporeal element that
can be grasped. The tree, and on the same basis, the seed from which it
grew: this puzzling sequence seems to demonstrate that in both forms the
same spirit is embodied, now large, now small. A stone that suddenly
rolls, is the body in which the spirit works. Does a huge boulder lie in
a lonely moor? It is impossible to think of mortal power having placed
it there. The stone must have moved itself there. That is to say some
spirit must dominate it. Everything that has a body is subject to magic,
including, therefore, the spirits of nature. If a god is directly
connected with his portrait, a direct influence (by refraining from
devout offerings, by whippings, chainings and the like) can be brought
to bear upon him. The lower classes in China tie cords around the
picture of their god in order to defy his departing favor, when he has
left them in the lurch, and tear the picture to pieces, drag it through
the streets into dung heaps and gutters, crying: "You dog of a spirit,
we housed you in a beautiful temple, we gilded you prettily, we fed you
well, we brought you offerings, and yet how ungrateful you are!" Similar
displays of resentment have been made against pictures of the mother of
god and pictures of saints in Catholic countries during the present
century when such pictures would not do their duty during times of
pestilence and drought.

Through all these magical relationships to nature countless ceremonies
are occasioned, and finally, when their complexity and confusion grow
too great, pains are taken to systematize them, to arrange them so that
the favorable course of nature's progress, namely the great yearly
circle of the seasons, may be brought about by a corresponding course of
the ceremonial progress. The aim of religious worship is to influence
nature to human advantage, and hence to instil a subjection to law into
her that originally she has not, whereas at present man desires to find
out the subjection to law of nature in order to guide himself thereby.
In brief, the system of religious worship rests upon the idea of magic
between man and man, and the magician is older than the priest. But it
rests equally upon other and higher ideas. It brings into prominence the
sympathetic relation of man to man, the existence of benevolence,
gratitude, prayer, of truces between enemies, of loans upon security, of
arrangements for the protection of property. Man, even in very inferior
degrees of civilization, does not stand in the presence of nature as a
helpless slave, he is not willy-nilly the absolute servant of nature. In
the Greek development of religion, especially in the relationship to the
Olympian gods, it becomes possible to entertain the idea of an existence
side by side of two castes, a higher, more powerful, and a lower, less
powerful: but both are bound together in some way, on account of their
origin and are one species. They need not be ashamed of one another.
This is the element of distinction in Greek religion.


=At the Contemplation of Certain Ancient Sacrificial Proceedings.=--How
many sentiments are lost to us is manifest in the union of the farcical,
even of the obscene, with the religious feeling. The feeling that this
mixture is possible is becoming extinct. We realize the mixture only
historically, in the mysteries of Demeter and Dionysos and in the
Christian Easter festivals and religious mysteries. But we still
perceive the sublime in connection with the ridiculous, and the like,
the emotional with the absurd. Perhaps a later age will be unable to
understand even these combinations.


=Christianity as Antiquity.=--When on a Sunday morning we hear the old
bells ringing, we ask ourselves: Is it possible? All this for a Jew
crucified two thousand years ago who said he was God's son? The proof of
such an assertion is lacking.--Certainly, the Christian religion
constitutes in our time a protruding bit of antiquity from very remote
ages and that its assertions are still generally believed--although men
have become so keen in the scrutiny of claims--constitutes the oldest
relic of this inheritance. A god who begets children by a mortal woman;
a sage who demands that no more work be done, that no more justice be
administered but that the signs of the approaching end of the world be
heeded; a system of justice that accepts an innocent as a vicarious
sacrifice in the place of the guilty; a person who bids his disciples
drink his blood; prayers for miracles; sins against a god expiated upon
a god; fear of a hereafter to which death is the portal; the figure of
the cross as a symbol in an age that no longer knows the purpose and the
ignominy of the cross--how ghostly all these things flit before us out
of the grave of their primitive antiquity! Is one to believe that such
things can still be believed?


=The Un-Greek in Christianity.=--The Greeks did not look upon the
Homeric gods above them as lords nor upon themselves beneath as
servants, after the fashion of the Jews. They saw but the counterpart as
in a mirror of the most perfect specimens of their own caste, hence an
ideal, but no contradiction of their own nature. There was a feeling of
mutual relationship, resulting in a mutual interest, a sort of alliance.
Man thinks well of himself when he gives himself such gods and places
himself in a relationship akin to that of the lower nobility with the
higher; whereas the Italian races have a decidedly vulgar religion,
involving perpetual anxiety because of bad and mischievous powers and
soul disturbers. Wherever the Olympian gods receded into the background,
there even Greek life became gloomier and more perturbed.--Christianity,
on the other hand, oppressed and degraded humanity completely and sank
it into deepest mire: into the feeling of utter abasement it suddenly
flashed the gleam of divine compassion, so that the amazed and
grace-dazzled stupefied one gave a cry of delight and for a moment
believed that the whole of heaven was within him. Upon this unhealthy
excess of feeling, upon the accompanying corruption of heart and head,
Christianity attains all its psychological effects. It wants to
annihilate, debase, stupefy, amaze, bedazzle. There is but one thing
that it does not want: measure, standard (das Maas) and therefore is it
in the worst sense barbarous, asiatic, vulgar, un-Greek.


=Being Religious to Some Purpose.=--There are certain insipid,
traffic-virtuous people to whom religion is pinned like the hem of some
garb of a higher humanity. These people do well to remain religious: it
adorns them. All who are not versed in some professional
weapon--including tongue and pen as weapons--are servile: to all such
the Christian religion is very useful, for then their servility assumes
the aspect of Christian virtue and is amazingly adorned.--People whose
daily lives are empty and colorless are readily religious. This is
comprehensible and pardonable, but they have no right to demand that
others, whose daily lives are not empty and colorless, should be
religious also.


=The Everyday Christian.=--If Christianity, with its allegations of an
avenging God, universal sinfulness, choice of grace, and the danger of
eternal damnation, were true, it would be an indication of weakness of
mind and character not to be a priest or an apostle or a hermit, and
toil for one's own salvation. It would be irrational to lose sight of
one's eternal well being in comparison with temporary advantage:
Assuming these dogmas to be generally believed, the every day Christian
is a pitiable figure, a man who really cannot count as far as three, and
who, for the rest, just because of his intellectual incapacity, does not
deserve to be as hard punished as Christianity promises he shall be.


=Concerning the Cleverness of Christianity.=--It is a master stroke of
Christianity to so emphasize the unworthiness, sinfulness and
degradation of men in general that contempt of one's fellow creatures
becomes impossible. "He may sin as much as he pleases, he is not by
nature different from me. It is I who in every way am unworthy and
contemptible." So says the Christian to himself. But even this feeling
has lost its keenest sting for the Christian does not believe in his
individual degradation. He is bad in his general human capacity and he
soothes himself a little with the assertion that we are all alike.


=Personal Change.=--As soon as a religion rules, it has for its
opponents those who were its first disciples.


=Fate of Christianity.=--Christianity arose to lighten the heart, but
now it must first make the heart heavy in order to be able to lighten it
afterwards. Christianity will consequently go down.


=The Testimony of Pleasure.=--The agreeable opinion is accepted as true.
This is the testimony of pleasure (or as the church says, the evidence
of strength) of which all religions are so proud, although they should
all be ashamed of it. If a belief did not make blessed it would not be
believed. How little it would be worth, then!


=Dangerous Play.=--Whoever gives religious feeling room, must then also
let it grow. He can do nothing else. Then his being gradually changes.
The religious element brings with it affinities and kinships. The whole
circle of his judgment and feeling is clouded and draped in religious
shadows. Feeling cannot stand still. One should be on one's guard.


=The Blind Pupil.=--As long as one knows very well the strength and the
weakness of one's dogma, one's art, one's religion, its strength is
still low. The pupil and apostle who has no eye for the weaknesses of a
dogma, a religion and so on, dazzled by the aspect of the master and by
his own reverence for him, has, on that very account, generally more
power than the master. Without blind pupils the influence of a man and
his work has never become great. To give victory to knowledge, often
amounts to no more than so allying it with stupidity that the brute
force of the latter forces triumph for the former.


=The Breaking off of Churches.=--There is not sufficient religion in the
world merely to put an end to the number of religions.


=Sinlessness of Men.=--If one have understood how "Sin came into the
world," namely through errors of the reason, through which men in their
intercourse with one another and even individual men looked upon
themselves as much blacker and wickeder than was really the case, one's
whole feeling is much lightened and man and the world appear together in
such a halo of harmlessness that a sentiment of well being is instilled
into one's whole nature. Man in the midst of nature is as a child left
to its own devices. This child indeed dreams a heavy, anxious dream. But
when it opens its eyes it finds itself always in paradise.


=Irreligiousness of Artists.=--Homer is so much at home among his gods
and is as a poet so good natured to them that he must have been
profoundly irreligious. That which was brought to him by the popular
faith--a mean, crude and partially repulsive superstition--he dealt with
as freely as the Sculptor with his clay, therefore with the same freedom
that Æschylus and Aristophanes evinced and with which in later times the
great artists of the renaissance, and also Shakespeare and Goethe, drew
their pictures.


=Art and Strength of False Interpretation.=--All the visions, fears,
exhaustions and delights of the saint are well known symptoms of
sickness, which in him, owing to deep rooted religious and psychological
delusions, are explained quite differently, that is not as symptoms of
sickness.--So, too, perhaps, the demon of Socrates was nothing but a
malady of the ear that he explained, in view of his predominant moral
theory, in a manner different from what would be thought rational
to-day. Nor is the case different with the frenzy and the frenzied
speeches of the prophets and of the priests of the oracles. It is always
the degree of wisdom, imagination, capacity and morality in the heart
and mind of the interpreters that got so much out of them. It is among
the greatest feats of the men who are called geniuses and saints that
they made interpreters for themselves who, fortunately for mankind, did
not understand them.


=Reverence for Madness.=--Because it was perceived that an excitement of
some kind often made the head clearer and occasioned fortunate
inspirations, it was concluded that the utmost excitement would occasion
the most fortunate inspirations. Hence the frenzied being was revered as
a sage and an oracle giver. A false conclusion lies at the bottom of all


=Promises of Wisdom.=--Modern science has as its object as little pain
as possible, as long a life as possible--hence a sort of eternal
blessedness, but of a very limited kind in comparison with the promises
of religion.


=Forbidden Generosity.=--There is not enough of love and goodness in the
world to throw any of it away on conceited people.


=Survival of Religious Training in the Disposition.=--The Catholic
Church, and before it all ancient education, controlled the whole domain
of means through which man was put into certain unordinary moods and
withdrawn from the cold calculation of personal advantage and from calm,
rational reflection. A church vibrating with deep tones; gloomy,
regular, restraining exhortations from a priestly band, who
involuntarily communicate their own tension to their congregation and
lead them to listen almost with anxiety as if some miracle were in
course of preparation; the awesome pile of architecture which, as the
house of a god, rears itself vastly into the vague and in all its
shadowy nooks inspires fear of its nerve-exciting power--who would care
to reduce men to the level of these things if the ideas upon which they
rest became extinct? But the results of all these things are
nevertheless not thrown away: the inner world of exalted, emotional,
prophetic, profoundly repentant, hope-blessed moods has become inborn in
man largely through cultivation. What still exists in his soul was
formerly, as he germinated, grew and bloomed, thoroughly disciplined.


=Religious After-Pains.=--Though one believe oneself absolutely weaned
away from religion, the process has yet not been so thorough as to make
impossible a feeling of joy at the presence of religious feelings and
dispositions without intelligible content, as, for example, in music;
and if a philosophy alleges to us the validity of metaphysical hopes,
through the peace of soul therein attainable, and also speaks of "the
whole true gospel in the look of Raphael's Madonna," we greet such
declarations and innuendoes with a welcome smile. The philosopher has
here a matter easy of demonstration. He responds with that which he is
glad to give, namely a heart that is glad to accept. Hence it is
observable how the less reflective free spirits collide only with dogmas
but yield readily to the magic of religious feelings; it is a source of
pain to them to let the latter go simply on account of the
former.--Scientific philosophy must be very much on its guard lest on
account of this necessity--an evolved and hence, also, a transitory
necessity--delusions are smuggled in. Even logicians speak of
"presentiments" of truth in ethics and in art (for example of the
presentiment that the essence of things is unity) a thing which,
nevertheless, ought to be prohibited. Between carefully deduced truths
and such "foreboded" things there lies the abysmal distinction that the
former are products of the intellect and the latter of the necessity.
Hunger is no evidence that there is food at hand to appease it. Hunger
merely craves food. "Presentiment" does not denote that the existence of
a thing is known in any way whatever. It denotes merely that it is
deemed possible to the extent that it is desired or feared. The
"presentiment" is not one step forward in the domain of certainty.--It
is involuntarily believed that the religious tinted sections of a
philosophy are better attested than the others, but the case is at
bottom just the opposite: there is simply the inner wish that it may be
so, that the thing which beautifies may also be true. This wish leads us
to accept bad grounds as good.


=Of the Christian Need of Salvation.=--Careful consideration must render
it possible to propound some explanation of that process in the soul of
a Christian which is termed need of salvation, and to propound an
explanation, too, free from mythology: hence one purely psychological.
Heretofore psychological explanations of religious conditions and
processes have really been in disrepute, inasmuch as a theology calling
itself free gave vent to its unprofitable nature in this domain; for its
principal aim, so far as may be judged from the spirit of its creator,
Schleier-macher, was the preservation of the Christian religion and the
maintenance of the Christian theology. It appeared that in the
psychological analysis of religious "facts" a new anchorage and above
all a new calling were to be gained. Undisturbed by such predecessors,
we venture the following exposition of the phenomena alluded to. Man is
conscious of certain acts which are very firmly implanted in the general
course of conduct: indeed he discovers in himself a predisposition to
such acts that seems to him to be as unalterable as his very being. How
gladly he would essay some other kind of acts which in the general
estimate of conduct are rated the best and highest, how gladly he would
welcome the consciousness of well doing which ought to follow unselfish
motive! Unfortunately, however, it goes no further than this longing:
the discontent consequent upon being unable to satisfy it is added to
all other kinds of discontent which result from his life destiny in
particular or which may be due to so called bad acts; so that a deep
depression ensues accompanied by a desire for some physician to remove
it and all its causes.--This condition would not be found so bitter if
the individual but compared himself freely with other men: for then he
would have no reason to be discontented with himself in particular as he
is merely bearing his share of the general burden of human discontent
and incompleteness. But he compares himself with a being who alone must
be capable of the conduct that is called unegoistic and of an enduring
consciousness of unselfish motive, with God. It is because he gazes into
this clear mirror, that his own self seems so extraordinarily distracted
and so troubled. Thereupon the thought of that being, in so far as it
flits before his fancy as retributive justice, occasions him anxiety. In
every conceivable small and great experience he believes he sees the
anger of the being, his threats, the very implements and manacles of his
judge and prison. What succors him in this danger, which, in the
prospect of an eternal duration of punishment, transcends in hideousness
all the horrors that can be presented to the imagination?


Before we consider this condition in its further effects, we would admit
to ourselves that man is betrayed into this condition not through his
"fault" and "sin" but through a series of delusions of the reason; that
it was the fault of the mirror if his own self appeared to him in the
highest degree dark and hateful, and that that mirror was his own work,
the very imperfect work of human imagination and judgment. In the first
place a being capable of absolutely unegoistic conduct is as fabulous as
the phoenix. Such a being is not even thinkable for the very reason that
the whole notion of "unegoistic conduct," when closely examined,
vanishes into air. Never yet has a man done anything solely for others
and entirely without reference to a personal motive; indeed how could he
possibly do anything that had no reference to himself, that is without
inward compulsion (which must always have its basis in a personal need)?
How could the ego act without ego?--A god, who, on the other hand, is
all love, as he is usually represented, would not be capable of a
solitary unegoistic act: whence one is reminded of a reflection of
Lichtenberg's which is, in truth, taken from a lower sphere: "We cannot
possibly feel for others, as the expression goes; we feel only for
ourselves. The assertion sounds hard, but it is not, if rightly
understood. A man loves neither his father nor his mother nor his wife
nor his child, but simply the feelings which they inspire." Or, as La
Rochefoucauld says: "If you think you love your mistress for the mere
love of her, you are very much mistaken." Why acts of love are more
highly prized than others, namely not on account of their nature, but on
account of their utility, has already been explained in the section on
the origin of moral feelings. But if a man should wish to be all love
like the god aforesaid, and want to do all things for others and nothing
for himself, the procedure would be fundamentally impossible because he
_must_ do a great deal for himself before there would be any possibility
of doing anything for the love of others. It is also essential that
others be sufficiently egoistic to accept always and at all times this
self sacrifice and living for others, so that the men of love and self
sacrifice have an interest in the survival of unloving and selfish
egoists, while the highest morality, in order to maintain itself must
formally enforce the existence of immorality (wherein it would be really
destroying itself.)--Further: the idea of a god perturbs and discourages
as long as it is accepted but as to how it originated can no longer, in
the present state of comparative ethnological science, be a matter of
doubt, and with the insight into the origin of this belief all faith
collapses. What happens to the Christian who compares his nature with
that of God is exactly what happened to Don Quixote, who depreciated his
own prowess because his head was filled with the wondrous deeds of the
heroes of chivalrous romance. The standard of measurement which both
employ belongs to the domain of fable.--But if the idea of God
collapses, so too, does the feeling of "sin" as a violation of divine
rescript, as a stain upon a god-like creation. There still apparently
remains that discouragement which is closely allied with fear of the
punishment of worldly justice or of the contempt of one's fellow men.
The keenest thorn in the sentiment of sin is dulled when it is perceived
that one's acts have contravened human tradition, human rules and human
laws without having thereby endangered the "eternal salvation of the
soul" and its relations with deity. If finally men attain to the
conviction of the absolute necessity of all acts and of their utter
irresponsibility and then absorb it into their flesh and blood, every
relic of conscience pangs will disappear.


If now, as stated, the Christian, through certain delusive feelings, is
betrayed into self contempt, that is by a false and unscientific view of
his acts and feelings, he must, nevertheless, perceive with the utmost
amazement that this state of self contempt, of conscience pangs, of
despair in particular, does not last, that there are hours during which
all these things are wafted away from the soul and he feels himself once
more free and courageous. The truth is that joy in his own being, the
fulness of his own powers in connection with the inevitable decline of
his profound excitation with the lapse of time, bore off the palm of
victory. The man loves himself once more, he feels it--but this very new
love, this new self esteem seems to him incredible. He can see in it
only the wholly unmerited stream of the light of grace shed down upon
him. If he formerly saw in every event merely warnings, threats,
punishments and every kind of indication of divine anger, he now reads
into his experiences the grace of god. The latter circumstance seems to
him full of love, the former as a helpful pointing of the way, and his
entirely joyful frame of mind now seems to him to be an absolute proof
of the goodness of God. As formerly in his states of discouragement he
interpreted his conduct falsely so now he does the same with his
experiences. His state of consolation is now regarded as the effect
produced by some external power. The love with which, at bottom, he
loves himself, seems to be the divine love. That which he calls grace
and the preliminary of salvation is in reality self-grace,


Therefore a certain false psychology, a certain kind of imaginativeness
in the interpretation of motives and experiences is the essential
preliminary to being a Christian and to experiencing the need of
salvation. Upon gaining an insight into this wandering of the reason and
the imagination, one ceases to be a Christian.


=Of Christian Asceticism and Sanctity.=--Much as some thinkers have
exerted themselves to impart an air of the miraculous to those singular
phenomena known as asceticism and sanctity, to question which or to
account for which upon a rational basis would be wickedness and
sacrilege, the temptation to this wickedness is none the less great. A
powerful impulse of nature has in every age led to protest against such
phenomena. At any rate science, inasmuch as it is the imitation of
nature, permits the casting of doubts upon the inexplicable character
and the supernal degree of such phenomena. It is true that heretofore
science has not succeeded in its attempts at explanation. The phenomena
remain unexplained still, to the great satisfaction of those who revere
moral miracles. For, speaking generally, the unexplained must rank as
the inexplicable, the inexplicable as the non-natural, supernatural,
miraculous--so runs the demand in the souls of all the religious and all
the metaphysicians (even the artists if they happen to be thinkers),
whereas the scientific man sees in this demand the "evil
principle."--The universal, first, apparent truth that is encountered in
the contemplation of sanctity and asceticism is that their nature is
complicated; for nearly always, within the physical world as well as in
the moral, the apparently miraculous may be traced successfully to the
complex, the obscure, the multi-conditioned. Let us venture then to
isolate a few impulses in the soul of the saint and the ascetic, to
consider them separately and then view them as a synthetic development.


There is an obstinacy against oneself, certain sublimated forms of which
are included in asceticism. Certain kinds of men are under such a strong
necessity of exercising their power and dominating impulses that, if
other objects are lacking or if they have not succeeded with other
objects they will actually tyrannize over some portions of their own
nature or over sections and stages of their own personality. Thus do
many thinkers bring themselves to views which are far from likely to
increase or improve their fame. Many deliberately bring down the
contempt of others upon themselves although they could easily have
retained consideration by silence. Others contradict earlier opinions
and do not shrink from the ordeal of being deemed inconsistent. On the
contrary they strive for this and act like eager riders who enjoy
horseback exercise most when the horse is skittish. Thus will men in
dangerous paths ascend to the highest steeps in order to laugh to scorn
their own fear and their own trembling limbs. Thus will the philosopher
embrace the dogmas of asceticism, humility, sanctity, in the light of
which his own image appears in its most hideous aspect. This crushing of
self, this mockery of one's own nature, this spernere se sperni out of
which religions have made so much is in reality but a very high
development of vanity. The whole ethic of the sermon on the mount
belongs in this category: man has a true delight in mastering himself
through exaggerated pretensions or excessive expedients and later
deifying this tyrannically exacting something within him. In every
scheme of ascetic ethics, man prays to one part of himself as if it were
god and hence it is necessary for him to treat the rest of himself as


=Man is Not at All Hours Equally Moral=; this is established. If one's
morality be judged according to one's capacity for great, self
sacrificing resolutions and abnegations (which when continual, and made
a habit are known as sanctity) one is, in affection, or disposition, the
most moral: while higher excitement supplies wholly new impulses which,
were one calm and cool as ordinarily, one would not deem oneself even
capable of. How comes this? Apparently from the propinquity of all great
and lofty emotional states. If a man is brought to an extraordinary
pitch of feeling he can resolve upon a fearful revenge or upon a fearful
renunciation of his thirst for vengeance indifferently. He craves, under
the influences of powerful emotion, the great, the powerful, the
immense, and if he chances to perceive that the sacrifice of himself
will afford him as much satisfaction as the sacrifice of another, or
will afford him more, he will choose self sacrifice. What concerns him
particularly is simply the unloading of his emotion. Hence he readily,
to relieve his tension, grasps the darts of the enemy and buries them in
his own breast. That in self abnegation and not in revenge the element
of greatness consisted must have been brought home to mankind only after
long habituation. A god who sacrifices himself would be the most
powerful and most effective symbol of this sort of greatness. As the
conquest of the most hardly conquered enemy, the sudden mastering of a
passion--thus does such abnegation _appear_: hence it passes for the
summit of morality. In reality all that is involved is the exchange of
one idea for another whilst the temperament remained at a like altitude,
a like tidal state. Men when coming out of the spell, or resting from
such passionate excitation, no longer understand the morality of such
instants, but the admiration of all who participated in the occasion
sustains them. Pride is their support if the passion and the
comprehension of their act weaken. Therefore, at bottom even such acts
of self-abnegation are not moral inasmuch as they are not done with a
strict regard for others. Rather do others afford the high strung
temperament an opportunity to lighten itself through such abnegation.


=Even the Ascetic Seeks to Make Life Easier=, and generally by means of
absolute subjection to another will or to an all inclusive rule and
ritual, pretty much as the Brahmin leaves absolutely nothing to his own
volition but is guided in every moment of his life by some holy
injunction or other. This subjection is a potent means of acquiring
dominion over oneself. One is occupied, hence time does not bang heavy
and there is no incitement of the personal will and of the individual
passion. The deed once done there is no feeling of responsibility nor
the sting of regret. One has given up one's own will once for all and
this is easier than to give it up occasionally, as it is also easier
wholly to renounce a desire than to yield to it in measured degree. When
we consider the present relation of man to the state we perceive
unconditional obedience is easier than conditional. The holy person also
makes his lot easier through the complete surrender of his life
personality and it is all delusion to admire such a phenomenon as the
loftiest heroism of morality. It is always more difficult to assert
one's personality without shrinking and without hesitation than to give
it up altogether in the manner indicated, and it requires moreover more
intellect and thought.


After having discovered in many of the less comprehensible actions mere
manifestations of pleasure in emotion for its own sake, I fancy I can
detect in the self contempt which characterises holy persons, and also
in their acts of self torture (through hunger and scourgings,
distortions and chaining of the limbs, acts of madness) simply a means
whereby such natures may resist the general exhaustion of their will to
live (their nerves). They employ the most painful expedients to escape
if only for a time from the heaviness and weariness in which they are
steeped by their great mental indolence and their subjection to a will
other than their own.


=The Most Usual Means= by which the ascetic and the sanctified
individual seeks to make life more endurable comprises certain combats
of an inner nature involving alternations of victory and prostration.
For this purpose an enemy is necessary and he is found in the so called
"inner enemy." That is, the holy individual makes use of his tendency to
vanity, domineering and pride, and of his mental longings in order to
contemplate his life as a sort of continuous battle and himself as a
battlefield, in which good and evil spirits wage war with varying
fortune. It is an established fact that the imagination is restrained
through the regularity and adequacy of sexual intercourse while on the
other hand abstention from or great irregularity in sexual intercourse
will cause the imagination to run riot. The imaginations of many of the
Christian saints were obscene to a degree; and because of the theory
that sexual desires were in reality demons that raged within them, the
saints did not feel wholly responsible for them. It is to this
conviction that we are indebted for the highly instructive sincerity of
their evidence against themselves. It was to their interest that this
contest should always be kept up in some fashion because by means of
this contest, as already stated, their empty lives gained distraction.
In order that the contest might seem sufficiently great to inspire
sympathy and admiration in the unsanctified, it was essential that
sexual capacity be ever more and more damned and denounced. Indeed the
danger of eternal damnation was so closely allied to this capacity that
for whole generations Christians showed their children with actual
conscience pangs. What evil may not have been done to humanity through
this! And yet here the truth is just upside down: an exceedingly
unseemly attitude for the truth. Christianity, it is true, had said that
every man is conceived and born in sin, and in the intolerable and
excessive Christianity of Calderon this thought is again perverted and
entangled into the most distorted paradox extant in the well known lines

     The greatest sin of man
     Is the sin of being born.

In all pessimistic religions the act of procreation is looked upon as
evil in itself. This is far from being the general human opinion. It is
not even the opinion of all pessimists. Empedocles, for example, knows
nothing of anything shameful, devilish and sinful in it. He sees rather
in the great field of bliss of unholiness simply a healthful and hopeful
phenomenon, Aphrodite. She is to him an evidence that strife does not
always rage but that some time a gentle demon is to wield the sceptre.
The Christian pessimists of practice, had, as stated, a direct interest
in the prevalence of an opposite belief. They needed in the loneliness
and the spiritual wilderness of their lives an ever living enemy, and a
universally known enemy through whose conquest they might appear to the
unsanctified as utterly incomprehensible and half unnatural beings. When
this enemy at last, as a result of their mode of life and their
shattered health, took flight forever, they were able immediately to
people their inner selves with new demons. The rise and fall of the
balance of cheerfulness and despair maintained their addled brains in a
totally new fluctuation of longing and peace of soul. And in that period
psychology served not only to cast suspicion on everything human but to
wound and scourge it, to crucify it. Man wanted to find himself as base
and evil as possible. Man sought to become anxious about the state of
his soul, he wished to be doubtful of his own capacity. Everything
natural with which man connects the idea of badness and sinfulness (as,
for instance, is still customary in regard to the erotic) injures and
degrades the imagination, occasions a shamed aspect, leads man to war
upon himself and makes him uncertain, distrustful of himself. Even his
dreams acquire a tincture of the unclean conscience. And yet this
suffering because of the natural element in certain things is wholly
superfluous. It is simply the result of opinions regarding the things.
It is easy to understand why men become worse than they are if they are
brought to look upon the unavoidably natural as bad and later to feel it
as of evil origin. It is the master stroke of religions and metaphysics
that wish to make man out bad and sinful by nature, to render nature
suspicious in his eyes and to so make himself evil, for he learns to
feel himself evil when he cannot divest himself of nature. He gradually
comes to look upon himself, after a long life lived naturally, so
oppressed by a weight of sin that supernatural powers become necessary
to relieve him of the burden; and with this notion comes the so called
need of salvation, which is the result not of a real but of an imaginary
sinfulness. Go through the separate moral expositions in the vouchers of
christianity and it will always be found that the demands are excessive
in order that it may be impossible for man to satisfy them. The object
is not that he may become moral but that he may feel as sinful as
possible. If this feeling had not been rendered agreeable to man--why
should he have improvised such an ideal and clung to it so long? As in
the ancient world an incalculable strength of intellect and capacity for
feeling was squandered in order to increase the joy of living through
feastful systems of worship, so in the era of christianity an equally
incalculable quantity of intellectual capacity has been sacrificed in
another endeavor: that man should in every way feel himself sinful and
thereby be moved, inspired, inspirited. To move, to inspire, to inspirit
at any cost--is not this the freedom cry of an exhausted, over-ripe,
over cultivated age? The circle of all the natural sensations had been
gone through a hundred times: the soul had grown weary. Then the saints
and the ascetics found a new order of ecstacies. They set themselves
before the eyes of all not alone as models for imitation to many, but as
fearful and yet delightful spectacles on the boundary line between this
world and the next world, where in that period everyone thought he saw
at one time rays of heavenly light, at another fearful, threatening
tongues of flame. The eye of the saint, directed upon the fearful
significance of the shortness of earthly life, upon the imminence of the
last judgment, upon eternal life hereafter; this glowering eye in an
emaciated body caused men, in the old time world, to tremble to the
depths of their being. To look, to look away and shudder, to feel anew
the fascination of the spectacle, to yield to it, sate oneself upon it
until the soul trembled with ardor and fever--that was the last pleasure
left to classical antiquity when its sensibilities had been blunted by
the arena and the gladiatorial show.


=To Sum Up All That Has Been Said=: that condition of soul at which the
saint or expectant saint is rejoiced is a combination of elements which
we are all familiar with, except that under other influences than those
of mere religious ideation they customarily arouse the censure of men in
the same way that when combined with religion itself and regarded as the
supreme attainment of sanctity, they are object of admiration and even
of prayer--at least in more simple times. Very soon the saint turns upon
himself that severity that is so closely allied to the instinct of
domination at any price and which inspire even in the most solitary
individual the sense of power. Soon his swollen sensitiveness of feeling
breaks forth from the longing to restrain his passions within it and is
transformed into a longing to master them as if they were wild steeds,
the master impulse being ever that of a proud spirit; next he craves a
complete cessation of all perturbing, fascinating feelings, a waking
sleep, an enduring repose in the lap of a dull, animal, plant-like
indolence. Next he seeks the battle and extinguishes it within himself
because weariness and boredom confront him. He binds his
self-deification with self-contempt. He delights in the wild tumult of
his desires and the sharp pain of sin, in the very idea of being lost.
He is able to play his very passions, for instance the desire to
domineer, a trick so that he goes to the other extreme of abject
humiliation and subjection, so that his overwrought soul is without any
restraint through this antithesis. And, finally, when indulgence in
visions, in talks with the dead or with divine beings overcomes him,
this is really but a form of gratification that he craves, perhaps a
form of gratification in which all other gratifications are blended.
Novalis, one of the authorities in matters of sanctity, because of his
experience and instinct, betrays the whole secret with the utmost
simplicity when he says: "It is remarkable that the close connection of
gratification, religion and cruelty has not long ago made men aware of
their inner relationship and common tendency."


=Not What the Saint is but what he was in= the eyes of the
non-sanctified gives him his historical importance. Because there
existed a delusion respecting the saint, his soul states being falsely
viewed and his personality being sundered as much as possible from
humanity as a something incomparable and supernatural, because of these
things he attained the extraordinary with which he swayed the
imaginations of whole nations and whole ages. Even he knew himself not
for even he regarded his dispositions, passions and actions in
accordance with a system of interpretation as artificial and exaggerated
as the pneumatic interpretation of the bible. The distorted and diseased
in his own nature with its blending of spiritual poverty, defective
knowledge, ruined health, overwrought nerves, remained as hidden from
his view as from the view of his beholders. He was neither a
particularly good man nor a particularly bad man but he stood for
something that was far above the human standard in wisdom and goodness.
Faith in him sustained faith in the divine and miraculous, in a
religious significance of all existence, in an impending day of
judgment. In the last rays of the setting sun of the ancient world,
which fell upon the christian peoples, the shadowy form of the saint
attained enormous proportions--to such enormous proportions, indeed,
that down even to our own age, which no longer believes in god, there
are thinkers who believe in the saints.


It stands to reason that this sketch of the saint, made upon the model
of the whole species, can be confronted with many opposing sketches that
would create a more agreeable impression. There are certain exceptions
among the species who distinguish themselves either by especial
gentleness or especial humanity, and perhaps by the strength of their
own personality. Others are in the highest degree fascinating because
certain of their delusions shed a particular glow over their whole
being, as is the case with the founder of christianity who took himself
for the only begotten son of God and hence felt himself sinless; so that
through his imagination--that should not be too harshly judged since the
whole of antiquity swarmed with sons of god--he attained the same goal,
the sense of complete sinlessness, complete irresponsibility, that can
now be attained by every individual through science.--In the same manner
I have viewed the saints of India who occupy an intermediate station
between the christian saints and the Greek philosophers and hence are
not to be regarded as a pure type. Knowledge and science--as far as they
existed--and superiority to the rest of mankind by logical discipline
and training of the intellectual powers were insisted upon by the
Buddhists as essential to sanctity, just as they were denounced by the
christian world as the indications of sinfulness.

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