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Title: Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays - Collected Works, Volume Two
Author: Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm
Language: English
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The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche

The First Complete and Authorised English Translation

Edited by Dr Oscar Levy

Volume Two







1. THE GREEK STATE--Preface to an unwritten book (1871)

2. THE GREEK WOMAN--Fragment (1871)

3. ON MUSIC AND WORDS--Fragment (1871)

4. HOMER'S CONTEST--Preface to an unwritten book (1872)

--Preface to an unwritten book (1872)




The essays contained in this volume treat of various subjects. With
the exception of perhaps one we must consider all these papers as
fragments. Written during the early Seventies, and intended mostly as
prefaces, they are extremely interesting, since traces of Nietzsche's
later tenets--like Slave and Master morality, the Superman--can be
found everywhere. But they are also very valuable on account of the
young philosopher's daring and able handling of difficult and abstruse
subjects. "Truth and Falsity," and "The Greek Woman" are probably the
two essays which will prove most attractive to the average reader.

In the essay on THE GREEK STATE the two tenets mentioned above
are clearly discernible, though the Superman still goes by the
Schopenhauerian label "genius." Our philosopher attacks the modern
ideas of the "dignity of man" and of the "dignity of labour," because
Existence seems to be without worth and dignity. The preponderance
of such illusory ideas is due to the political power nowadays vested
in the "slaves." The Greeks saw no dignity in labour. They saw the
necessity of it, and the necessity of slavery, but felt ashamed of
both. Not even the labour of the artist did they admire, although they
praised his completed work.

If the Greeks perished through their slavery, one thing is still more
certain: we shall perish through the lack of slavery. To the essence
of Culture slavery is innate. It is part of it. A vast multitude must
labour and "slave" in order that a few may lead an existence devoted to
beauty and art.

Strife and war are necessary for the welfare of the State. War
consecrates and purines the State. The purpose of the military State
is the creating of the military genius, the ruthless conqueror, the
War-lord. There also exists a mysterious connection between the State
in general and the creating of the genius.

In THE GREEK WOMAN, Nietzsche, the man who said, "One cannot think
highly enough of women," delineates his ideal of woman. Penelope,
Antigone, Electra are his ideal types.

Plato's dictum that in the perfect State the family would cease to
exist, belongs to the most intimate things uttered about the relation
between women and the State. The Greek woman as mother had to vegetate
in obscurity, to lead a kind of Cranfordian existence for the greater
welfare of the body politic. Only in Greek antiquity did woman occupy
her proper position, and for this reason she was more honoured than she
has ever been since. Pythia was the mouthpiece, the symbol of Greek

ON MUSIC AND WORDS. Music is older, more fundamental than language.
Music is an expression of cosmic consciousness. Language is only a

It is true the music of every people was at first allied to lyric
poetry; "absolute music" always appeared much later. But that is due
to the double nature in the essence of language. The _tone_ of the
speaker expresses the basic pleasure- and displeasure-sensations of the
individual. These form the tonal subsoil common to all languages; they
are comprehensible everywhere. Language itself is a super-structure on
that subsoil; it is a gesture-symbolism for all the other conceptions
which man adds to that subsoil.

The endeavour to illustrate a poem by music is futile. The text of
an opera is therefore quite negligible. Modern opera in its music is
therefore often only a stimulant or a remembrancer for set, stereotyped
feelings. Great music, _i.e.,_ Dionysean music, makes us forget to
listen to the words.

HOMER'S CONTEST. The Greek genius acknowledged strife, struggle,
contest to be necessary in this life. Only through competition and
emulation will the Common-Wealth thrive. Yet there was no unbridled
ambition. Everyone's individual endeavours were subordinated to the
welfare of the community. The curse of present-day contest is that it
does not do the same.

amusing and yet serious attack is made on the hollow would-be culture
of the German Philistines who after the Franco-Prussian war were
swollen with self-conceit, self-sufficiency, and were a great danger to
real Culture. Nietzsche points out Schopenhauer's great philosophy as
the only possible means of escaping the humdrum of Philistia with its
hypocrisy and intellectual ostrichisation.

The essay on GREEK PHILOSOPHY DURING THE TRAGIC AGE is a performance
of great interest to the scholar. It brims with ideas. The Hegelian
School, especially Zeller, has shown what an important place is held by
the earlier thinkers in the history of Greek thought and how necessary
a knowledge of their work is for all who wish to understand Plato and
Aristotle. _Diels'_ great book: "Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker",
_Benn's, Burnet's_ and _Fairbanks'_ books we may regard as the
peristyle through which we enter the temple of Early Greek Philosophy.
Nietzsche's essay then is like a beautiful festoon swinging between the
columns erected by Diels and the others out of the marble of facts.

Beauty and the personal equation are the two "leitmotive" of
Nietzsche's history of the pre-Socratian philosophers. Especially
does he lay stress upon the personal equation, since that is the
only permanent item of interest, considering that every "System"
crumbles into nothing with the appearance of a new thinker. In this
way Nietzsche treats of _Thales, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides,
Xenophanes, Anaxagoras._ There are also some sketches of a draft for
an intended but never accomplished continuation, in which Empedocles,
Democritus and Plato were to be dealt with.

Probably the most popular of the Essays in this book will prove to be
the one on TRUTH AND FALSITY. It is an epistemological rhapsody on the
relativity of truth, on "Appearance and Reality," on "perceptual flux"
versus--"conceptual conceit."

Man's intellect is only a means in the struggle for existence, a means
taking the place of the animal's horns and teeth. It adapts itself
especially to deception and dissimulation.

There are no absolute truths. Truth is relative and always imperfect.
Yet fictitious values fixed by convention and utility are set down as
truth. The liar does not use these standard coins of the realm. He is
hated; not out of love for truth, no, but because he is dangerous.

Our words never hit the essence, the "X" of a thing, but indicate only
external characteristics. Language is the columbarium of the ideas, the
cemetery of perceptions.

Truths are metaphors, illusions, anthropomorph isms about which one has
forgotten that they are such. There are different truths to different
beings. Like a spider man sits in the web of his truths and ideas. He
wants to be deceived. By means of error he mostly lives; truth is often
fatal. When the liar, the story-teller, the poet, the rhapsodist lie to
him without hurting him he--loves them!--

The text underlying this translation is that of Vol. I. of the
"Taschenausgabe." One or two obscure passages I hope my conjectures may
have elucidated. The dates following the titles indicate the year when
these essays were written.

In no other work have I felt so deeply the great need of the science of
Signifies with its ultimate international standardisation of terms, as
attempted by Eisler and Baldwin. I hope, however, I have succeeded in
conveying accurately the meaning of the author in spite of a certain
_looseness_ in his philosophical terminology.

The English language is somewhat at a disadvantage through its lack
of a Noun-Infinitive. I can best illustrate this by a passage from

χρὴ τὸ λέγειν τε νοεῑν τ' ἐὸν ἔμμεναι· ἔστι γὰρ εῖναι, μηδὲν δ' οὐκ
ἔστιν· τά σ' ἐγὼ ψράζεσθαι ἄνωγα.

In his usual masterly manner _Diels_ translates these lines with: "Das
Sagen und Denken musz ein Seiendes sein. Denn das Sein existiert, das
Nichts existiert nicht; das heisz ich dich wohl zu beherzigen." On
the other hand in _Fairbanks'_ "version" we read: "It is necessary
both to say and to think that being is; for it is possible that being
is, and it is impossible that not being is; this is what I bid thee
ponder." In order to avoid a similar obscurity, throughout the paper on
"EARLY GREEK PHILOSOPHY" I have rendered "das Seiende" (τὸ ἐὸν) with
"Existent", "das Nicht-Seiende" with "Non-Existent"; "das Sein" (εῖναι)
with "Being" and "das Nicht-Sein" with "Not-Being."

I am directly or indirectly indebted for many suggestions to several
friends of mine, especially to two of my colleagues, J. Charlton
Hipkins, M.A., and R. Miller, B.A., for their patient revision of the
whole of the proofs.


LONDON, _July_ 1911.


Preface to an Unwritten Book (1871)

We moderns have an advantage over the Greeks in two ideas, which are
given as it were as a compensation to a world behaving thoroughly
slavishly and yet at the same time anxiously eschewing the word
"slave": we talk of the "dignity of man" and of the "dignity of
labour." Everybody worries in order miserably to perpetuate a miserable
existence; this awful need compels him to consuming labour; man
(or, more exactly, the human intellect) seduced by the "Will" now
occasionally marvels at labour as something dignified. However in
order that labour might have a claim on titles of honour, it would be
necessary above all, that Existence itself, to which labour after all
is only a painful means, should have more dignity and value than it
appears to have had, up to the present, to serious philosophies and
religions. What else may we find in the labour-need of all the millions
but the impulse to exist at any price, the same all-powerful impulse by
which stunted plants stretch their roots through earthless rocks!

Out of this awful struggle for existence only individuals can emerge,
and they are at once occupied with the noble phantoms of artistic
culture, lest they should arrive at practical pessimism, which Nature
abhors as her exact opposite. In the modern world, which, compared
with the Greek, usually produces only abnormalities and centaurs, in
which the individual, like that fabulous creature in the beginning of
the Horatian Art of Poetry, is jumbled together out of pieces, here in
the modern world in one and the same man the greed of the struggle for
existence and the need for art show themselves at the same time: out of
this unnatural amalgamation has originated the dilemma, to excuse and
to consecrate that first greed before this need for art. Therefore; we
believe in the "Dignity of man" and the "Dignity of labour."

The Greeks did not require such conceptual hallucinations, for among
them the idea that labour is a disgrace is expressed with startling
frankness; and another piece of wisdom, more hidden and less
articulate, but everywhere alive, added that the human thing also was
an ignominious and piteous nothing and the "dream of a shadow." Labour
is a disgrace, because existence has no value in itself; but even
though this very existence in the alluring embellishment of artistic
illusions shines forth and really seems to have a value in itself, then
that proposition is still valid that labour is a disgrace--a disgrace
indeed by the fact that it is impossible for man, fighting for the
continuance of bare existence, to become an _artist._ In modern times
it is not the art-needing man but the slave who determines the general
conceptions, the slave who according to his nature must give deceptive
names to all conditions in order to be able to live. Such phantoms as
the dignity of man, the dignity of labour, are the needy products of
slavedom hiding itself from itself. Woful time, in which the slave
requires such conceptions, in which he is incited to think about and
beyond himself! Cursed seducers, who have destroyed the slave's state
of innocence by the fruit of the tree of knowledge! Now the slave must
vainly scrape through from one day to another with transparent lies
recognisable to every one of deeper insight, such as the alleged "equal
rights of all" or the so-called "fundamental rights of man," of man as
such, or the "dignity of labour." Indeed he is not to understand at
what stage and at what height dignity can first be mentioned--namely,
at the point, where the individual goes wholly beyond himself and no
longer has to work and to produce in order to preserve his individual

And even on this height of "labour" the Greek at times is overcome by
a feeling, that looks like shame. In one place Plutarch with earlier
Greek instinct says that no nobly born youth on beholding the Zeus in
Pisa would have the desire to become himself a Phidias, or on seeing
the Hera in Argos, to become himself a Polyklet; and just as little
would he wish to be Anacreon, Philetas or Archilochus, however much he
might revel in their poetry. To the Greek the work of the artist falls
just as much under the undignified conception of labour as any ignoble
craft. But if the compelling force of the artistic impulse operates in
him, then he _must_ produce and submit himself to that need of labour.
And as a father admires the beauty and the gift of his child but thinks
of the act of procreation with shamefaced dislike, so it was with the
Greek. The joyful astonishment at the beautiful has not blinded him
as to its origin which appeared to him, like all "Becoming" in nature,
to be a powerful necessity, a forcing of itself into existence. That
feeling by which the process of procreation is considered as something
shamefacedly to be hidden, although by it man serves a higher purpose
than his individual preservation, the same feeling veiled also the
origin of the great works of art, in spite of the fact that through
them a higher form of existence is inaugurated, just as through
that other act comes a new generation. The feeling of _shame_ seems
therefore to occur where man is merely a tool of manifestations of will
infinitely greater than he is permitted to consider himself in the
isolated shape of the individual.

Now we have the general idea to which are to be subordinated the
feelings which the Greek had with regard to labour and slavery. Both
were considered by them as a necessary disgrace, of which one feels
_ashamed,_ as a disgrace and as a necessity at the same time. In this
feeling of shame is hidden the unconscious discernment that the real
aim _needs_ those conditional factors, but that in that _need_ lies the
fearful and beast-of-prey-like quality of the Sphinx Nature, who in
the glorification of the artistically free culture-life so beautifully
stretches forth her virgin-body. Culture, which is chiefly a real need
for art, rests upon a terrible basis: the latter however makes itself
known in the twilight sensation of shame. In order that there may be a
broad, deep, and fruitful soil for the development of art, the enormous
majority must, in the service of a minority, be slavishly subjected
to life's struggle, to a _greater_ degree than their own wants
necessitate. At their cost, through the surplus of their labour, that
privileged class is to be relieved from the struggle for existence, in
order to create and to satisfy a new world of want.

Accordingly we must accept this cruel sounding truth, that _slavery
is of the essence of Culture;_ a truth of course, which leaves no
doubt as to the absolute value of Existence. _This truth_ is the
vulture, that gnaws at the liver of the Promethean promoter of Culture.
The misery of toiling men must still increase in order to make the
production of the world of art possible to a small number of Olympian
men. Here is to be found the source of that secret wrath nourished
by Communists and Socialists of all times, and also by their feebler
descendants, the white race of the "Liberals," not only against
the arts, but also against classical antiquity. If Culture really
rested upon the will of a people, if here inexorable powers did not
rule, powers which are law and barrier to the individual, then the
contempt for Culture, the glorification of a "poorness in spirit," the
iconoclastic annihilation of artistic claims would be _more than_ an
insurrection of the suppressed masses against drone-like individuals;
it would be the cry of compassion tearing down the walls of Culture;
the desire for justice, for the equalization of suffering, would
swamp all other ideas. In fact here and there sometimes an exuberant
degree of compassion has for a short time opened all the flood gates
of Culture-life; a rainbow of compassionate love and of peace appeared
with the first radiant rise of Christianity and under it was born
Christianity's most beautiful fruit, the gospel according to St John.
But there are also instances to show that powerful religions for long
periods petrify a given degree of Culture, and cut off with inexorable
sickle everything that still grows on strongly and luxuriantly. For it
is not to be forgotten that the same cruelty, which we found in the
essence of every Culture, lies also in the essence of every powerful
religion and in general in the essence of _power,_ which is always
evil; so that we shall understand it just as well, when a Culture is
shattering, with a cry for liberty or at least justice, a too highly
piled bulwark of religious claims. That which in this "sorry scheme" of
things will live (_i.e.,_ must live), is at the bottom of its nature a
reflex of the primal-pain and primal-contradiction, and must therefore
strike our eyes--"an organ fashioned for this world and earth"--as
an insatiable greed for existence and an eternal self-contradiction,
within the form of time, therefore as Becoming. Every moment devours
the preceding one, every birth is the death of innumerable beings;
begetting, living, murdering, all is one. Therefore we may compare
this grand Culture with a blood-stained victor, who in his triumphal
procession carries the defeated along as slaves chained to his chariot,
slaves whom a beneficent power has so blinded that, almost crushed by
the wheels of the chariot, they nevertheless still exclaim: "Dignity of
labour!" "Dignity of Man!" The voluptuous Cleopatra-Culture throws ever
again the most priceless pearls, the tears of compassion for the misery
of slaves, into her golden goblet. Out of the emasculation of modern
man has been born the enormous social distress of the present time,
not out of the true and deep commiseration for that misery; and if it
should be true that the Greeks perished through their slavedom then
another fact is much more certain, that we shall perish through the
_lack_ of slavery. Slavedom did not appear in any way objectionable,
much less abominable, either to early Christianity or to the Germanic
race. What an uplifting effect on us has the contemplation of the
mediæval bondman, with his legal and moral relations,--relations that
were inwardly strong and tender,--towards the man of higher rank, with
the profound fencing-in of his narrow existence--how uplifting!--and
how reproachful!

He who cannot reflect upon the position of affairs in Society without
melancholy, who has learnt to conceive of it as the continual painful
birth of those privileged Culture-men, in whose service everything
else must be devoured--he will no longer be deceived by that false
glamour, which the moderns have spread over the origin and meaning
of the State. For what can the State mean to us, if not the means by
which that social-process described just now is to be fused and to
be guaranteed in its unimpeded continuance? Be the sociable instinct
in individual man as strong as it may, it is only the iron clamp of
the State that constrains the large masses upon one another in such a
fashion that a chemical decomposition of Society, with its pyramid-like
super-structure, is _bound_ to take place. Whence however originates
this sudden power of the State, whose aim lies much beyond the insight
and beyond the egoism of the individual? How did the slave, the blind
mole of Culture, _originate_? The Greeks in their instinct relating
to the law of nations have betrayed it to us, in an instinct, which
even in the ripest fulness of their civilisation and humanity never
ceased to utter as out of a brazen mouth such words as: "to the victor
belongs the vanquished, with wife and child, life and property. Power
gives the first _right_ and there is no right, which at bottom is not
presumption, usurpation, violence."

Here again we see with what pitiless inflexibility Nature, in order
to arrive at Society, forges for herself the cruel tool of the
State--namely, that _conqueror_ with the iron hand, who is nothing else
than the objectivation of the instinct indicated. By the indefinable
greatness and power of such conquerors the spectator feels, that they
are only the means of an intention manifesting itself through them
and yet hiding itself from them. The weaker forces attach themselves
to them with such mysterious speed, and transform themselves so
wonderfully, in the sudden swelling of that violent avalanche, under
the charm of that creative kernel, into an affinity hitherto not
existing, that it seems as if a magic will were emanating from them.

Now when we see how little the vanquished trouble themselves after a
short time about the horrible origin of the State, so that history
informs us of no class of events worse than the origins of those
sudden, violent, bloody and, at least in _one_ point, inexplicable
usurpations: when hearts involuntarily go out towards the magic of
the growing State with the presentiment of an invisible deep purpose,
where the calculating intellect is enabled to see an addition of forces
only; when now the State is even contemplated with fervour as the
goal and ultimate aim of the sacrifices and duties of the individual:
then out of all that speaks the enormous necessity of the State,
without which Nature might not succeed in coming, through Society,
to her deliverance in semblance, in the mirror of the genius. What
discernments does the instinctive pleasure in the State not overcome!
One would indeed feel inclined to think that a man who looks into the
origin of the State will henceforth seek his salvation at an awful
distance from it; and where can one not see the monuments of its
origin--devastated lands, destroyed cities, brutalised men, devouring
hatred of nations! The State, of ignominiously low birth, for the
majority of men a continually flowing source of hardship, at frequently
recurring periods the consuming torch of mankind--and yet a word, at
which we forget ourselves, a battle cry, which has filled men with
enthusiasm for innumerable really heroic deeds, perhaps the highest and
most venerable object for the blind and egoistic multitude which only
in the tremendous moments of State-life has the strange expression of
greatness on its face!

We have, however, to consider the Greeks, with regard to the unique
sun-height of their art, as the "political men in themselves," and
certainly history knows of no second instance of such an awful
unchaining of the political passion, such an unconditional immolation
of all other interests in the service of this State-instinct; at the
best one might distinguish the men of the Renascence in Italy with a
similar title for like reasons and by way of comparison. So overloaded
is that passion among the Greeks that it begins ever anew to rage
against itself and to strike its teeth into its own flesh. This bloody
jealousy of city against city, of party against party, this murderous
greed of those little wars, the tiger-like triumph over the corpse
of the slain enemy, in short, the incessant renewal of those Trojan
scenes of struggle and horror, in the spectacle of which, as a genuine
Hellene, Homer stands before us absorbed with _delight_--whither does
this naïve barbarism of the Greek State point? What is its excuse
before the tribunal of eternal justice? Proud and calm, the State steps
before this tribunal and by the hand it leads the flower of blossoming
womanhood: Greek society. For this Helena the State waged those
wars--and what grey-bearded judge could here condemn?--

Under this mysterious connection, which we here divine between State
and art, political greed and artistic creation, battlefield and work
of art, we understand by the State, as already remarked, only the
cramp-iron, which compels the Social process; whereas without the
State, in the natural _bellum omnium contra omnes_ Society cannot
strike root at all on a larger scale and beyond the reach of the
family. Now, after States have been established almost everywhere, that
bent of the _bellum omnium contra omnes_ concentrates itself from time
to time into a terrible gathering of war-clouds and discharges itself
as it were in rare but so much the more violent shocks and lightning
flashes. But in consequence of the effect of that _bellum,_--an effect
which is turned inwards and compressed,--Society is given time during
the intervals to germinate and burst into leaf, in order, as soon as
warmer days come, to let the shining blossoms of genius sprout forth.

In face of the political world of the Hellenes, I will not hide those
phenomena of the present in which I believe I discern dangerous
atrophies of the political sphere equally critical for art and society.
If there should exist men, who as it were through birth are placed
outside the national-and State-instincts, who consequently have to
esteem the State only in so far as they conceive that it coincides
with their own interest, then such men will necessarily imagine as the
ultimate political aim the most undisturbed collateral existence of
great political communities possible, which _they_ might be permitted
to pursue their own purposes without restriction. With this idea in
their heads they will promote _that_ policy which will offer the
greatest security to these purposes; whereas it is unthinkable, that
they, against their intentions, guided perhaps by an unconscious
instinct, should sacrifice themselves for the State-tendency,
unthinkable because they lack that very instinct. All other citizens
of the State are in the dark about what Nature intends with her
State-instinct within them, and they follow blindly; only those who
stand outside this instinct know what _they_ want from the State and
what the State is to grant them. Therefore it is almost unavoidable
that such men should gain great influence in the State because they
are allowed to consider it as a _means,_ whereas all the others under
the sway of those unconscious purposes of the State are themselves
only means for the fulfilment of the State-purpose. In order now to
attain, through the medium of the State, the highest furtherance
of their selfish aims, it is above all necessary, that the State be
wholly freed from those awfully incalculable war-convulsions so that
it may be used rationally; and thereby they strive with all their
might for a condition of things in which war is an impossibility. For
that purpose the thing to do is first to curtail and to enfeeble the
political separatisms and factions and through the establishment of
large _equipoised_ State-bodies and the mutual safeguarding of them
to make the successful result of an aggressive war and consequently
war itself the greatest improbability; as on the other hand they will
endeavour to wrest the question of war and peace from the decision of
individual lords, in order to be able rather to appeal to the egoism
of the masses or their representatives; for which purpose they again
need slowly to dissolve the monarchic instincts of the nations. This
purpose they attain best through the most general promulgation of
the liberal optimistic view of the world, which has its roots in the
doctrines of French Rationalism and the French Revolution, _i.e.,_ in
a wholly un-Germanic, genuinely neo-Latin shallow and unmetaphysical
philosophy. I cannot help seeing in the prevailing international
movements of the present day, and the simultaneous promulgation of
universal suffrage, the effects of the _fear of war_ above everything
else, yea I behold behind these movements, those truly international
homeless money-hermits, as the really alarmed, who, with their
natural lack of the State-instinct, have learnt to abuse politics as
a means of the Exchange, and State and Society as an apparatus for
their own enrichment. Against the deviation of the State-tendency
into a money-tendency, to be feared from this side, the only remedy
is war and once again war, in the emotions of which this at least
becomes obvious, that the State is not founded upon the fear of the
war-demon, as a protective institution for egoistic individuals, but
in love to fatherland and prince, it produces an ethical impulse,
indicative of a much higher destiny. If I therefore designate as a
dangerous and characteristic sign of the present political situation
the application of revolutionary thought in the service of a selfish
State-less money-aristocracy, if at the same time I conceive of the
enormous dissemination of liberal optimism as the result of modern
financial affairs fallen into strange hands, and if I imagine all evils
of social conditions together with the necessary decay of the arts to
have either germinated from that root or grown together with it, one
will have to pardon my occasionally chanting a Pæan on war. Horribly
clangs its silvery bow; and although it comes along like the night,
war is nevertheless Apollo, the true divinity for consecrating and
purifying the State. First of all, however, as is said in the beginning
of the "Iliad," he lets fly his arrow on the mules and dogs. Then he
strikes the men themselves, and everywhere pyres break into flames.
Be it then pronounced that war is just as much a necessity for the
State as the slave is for society, and who can avoid this verdict if
he honestly asks himself about the causes of the never-equalled Greek

He who contemplates war and its uniformed possibility, the _soldier's
profession,_ with respect to the hitherto described nature of the
State, must arrive at the conviction, that through war and in the
profession of arms is placed before our eyes an image, or even perhaps
the _prototype of the State._ Here we see as the most general effect of
the war-tendency an immediate decomposition and division of the chaotic
mass into _military castes,_ out of which rises, pyramid-shaped,
on an exceedingly broad base of slaves the edifice of the "martial
society." The unconscious purpose of the whole movement constrains
every individual under its yoke, and produces also in heterogeneous
natures as it were a chemical transformation of their qualities until
they are brought into affinity with that purpose. In the highest
castes one perceives already a little more of what in this internal
process is involved at the bottom, namely the creation of the _military
genius_--with whom we have become acquainted as the original founder of
states. In the case of many States, as, for example, in the Lycurgian
constitution of Sparta, one can distinctly perceive the impress of that
fundamental idea of the State, that of the creation of the military
genius. If we now imagine the military primal State in its greatest
activity, at its proper "labour," and if we fix our glance upon the
whole technique of war, we cannot avoid correcting our notions picked
up from everywhere, as to the "dignity of man" and the "dignity of
labour" by the question, whether the idea of dignity is applicable
also to that labour, which has as its purpose the destruction of the
"dignified" man, as well as to the man who is entrusted with that
"dignified labour," or whether in this warlike task of the State those
mutually contradictory ideas do not neutralise one another. I should
like to think the warlike man to be a _means_ of the military genius
and his labour again only a tool in the hands of that same genius; and
not to him, as absolute man and non-genius, but to him as a means of
the genius--whose pleasure also can be to choose his tool's destruction
as a mere pawn sacrificed on the strategist's chessboard--is due a
degree of dignity, of that dignity namely, _to have been deemed worthy
of being a means of the genius._ But what is shown here in a single
instance is valid in the most general sense; every human being, with
his total activity, only has dignity in so far as he is a tool of _the_
genius, consciously or unconsciously; from this we may immediately
deduce the ethical conclusion, that "man in himself," the absolute man
possesses neither dignity, nor rights, nor duties; only as a wholly
determined being serving unconscious purposes can man excuse his

_Plato's perfect State_ is according to these considerations certainly
something still greater than even the warm-blooded among his admirers
believe, not to mention the smiling mien of superiority with which
our "historically" educated refuse such a fruit of antiquity. The
proper aim of the State, the Olympian existence and ever-renewed
procreation and preparation of the genius,--compared with which
all other things are only tools, expedients and factors towards
realisation--is here discovered with a poetic intuition and painted
with firmness. Plato saw through the awfully devastated Herma of the
then-existing State-life and perceived even then something divine in
its interior. He _believed_ that one might be able to take out this
divine image and that the grim and barbarically distorted outside and
shell did not belong to the essence of the State: the whole fervour
and sublimity of his political passion threw itself upon this belief,
upon that desire--and in the flames of this fire he perished. That in
his perfect State he did not place at the head _the_ genius in its
general meaning, but only the genius of wisdom and of knowledge, that
he altogether excluded the inspired artist from his State, that was
a rigid consequence of the Socratian judgment on art, which Plato,
struggling against himself, had made his own. This more external,
almost incidental gap must not prevent our recognising in the total
conception of the Platonic State the wonderfully great hieroglyph of
a profound and eternally to be interpreted _esoteric doctrine of the
connection between State and Genius._ What we believed we could divine
of this cryptograph we have said in this preface.


(Fragment, 1871)

Just as Plato from disguises and obscurities brought to light the
innermost purpose of the State, so also he conceived the chief cause
of the position of the _Hellenic Woman_ with regard to the State; in
both cases he saw in what existed around him the image of the ideas
manifested to him, and of these ideas of course the actual was only a
hazy picture and phantasmagoria. He who according to the usual custom
considers the position of the Hellenic Woman to be altogether unworthy
and repugnant to humanity, must also turn with this reproach against
the Platonic conception of this position; for, as it were, the existing
forms were only precisely set forth in this latter conception. Here
therefore our question repeats itself: should not the nature and the
position of the Hellenic Woman have a _necessary_ relation to the goals
of the Hellenic Will?

Of course there is one side of the Platonic conception of woman, which
stands in abrupt contrast with Hellenic custom: Plato gives to woman a
full share in the rights, knowledge and duties of man, and considers
woman only as the weaker sex, in that she will not achieve remarkable
success in all things, without however disputing this sex's title to
all those things. We must not attach more value to; this strange notion
than to the expulsion of the artist out of the ideal State; these are
side-lines daringly mis-drawn, aberrations as it were of the hand
otherwise so sure and of the so calmly contemplating eye which at times
under the influence of the deceased master becomes dim and dejected; in
this mood he exaggerates the master's paradoxes and in the abundance of
his love gives himself satisfaction by very eccentrically intensifying
the latter's doctrines even to foolhardiness.

The most significant word however that Plato as a Greek could say on
the relation of woman to the State, was that so objectionable demand,
that in the perfect State, the _Family was to cease._ At present let us
take no account of his abolishing even marriage, in order to carry out
this demand fully, and of his substituting solemn nuptials arranged by
order of the State, between the bravest men and the noblest women, for
the attainment of beautiful offspring. In that principal proposition
however he has indicated most distinctly--indeed too distinctly,
offensively distinctly--an important preparatory step of the Hellenic
Will towards the procreation of the genius. But in the customs of the
Hellenic people the claim of the family on man and child was extremely
limited: the man lived in the State, the child grew up for the State
and was guided by the hand of the State. The Greek Will took care that
the need of culture could not be satisfied in the seclusion of a small
circle. From the State the individual has to receive everything in
order to return everything to the State. Woman accordingly means to the
State, what _sleep_ does to man. In her nature lies the healing power,
which replaces that which has been used up, the beneficial rest in
which everything immoderate confines itself, the eternal Same, by which
the excessive and the surplus regulate themselves. In her the future
generation dreams. Woman is more closely related to Nature than man and
in all her essentials she remains ever herself. Culture is with her
always something external, a something which does not touch the kernel
that is eternally faithful to Nature, therefore the culture of woman
might well appear to the Athenian as something indifferent, yea--if one
only wanted to conjure it up in one's mind, as something ridiculous.
He who at once feels himself compelled from that to infer the position
of women among the Greeks as unworthy and all too cruel, should not
indeed take as his criterion the "culture" of modern woman and her
claims, against which it is sufficient just to point out the Olympian
women together with Penelope, Antigone, Elektra. Of course it is true
that these are ideal figures, but who would be able to create such
ideals out of the present world?--Further indeed is to be considered
_what sons_ these women have borne, and what women they must have been
to have given birth to such sons! The Hellenic woman as _mother_ had
to live in obscurity, because the political instinct together with
its highest aim demanded it. She had to vegetate like a plant, in
the narrow circle, as a symbol of the Epicurean wisdom λάθε βυώσας.
Again, in more recent times, with the complete disintegration of the
principle of the State, she had to step in as helper; the family as a
makeshift for the State is her work; and in this sense the _artistic
aim_ of the State had to abase itself to the level of a _domestic_ art.
Thereby it has been brought about, that the passion of love, as the
one realm wholly accessible to women, regulates our art to the very
core. Similarly, home-education considers itself so to speak as the
only natural one and suffers State-education only as a questionable
infringement upon the right of home-education: all this is right as
far as the modern State only is concerned.--With that the nature of
woman withal remains unaltered, but her _power_ is, according to the
position which the State takes up with regard to women, a different
one. Women have indeed really the power to make good to a certain
extent the deficiencies of the State--ever faithful to their nature,
which I have compared to sleep. In Greek antiquity they held that
position, which the most supreme will of the State assigned to them:
for that reason they have been glorified as never since. The goddesses
of Greek mythology are their images: the Pythia and the Sibyl, as well
as the Socratic Diotima are the priestesses out of whom divine wisdom
speaks. Now one understands why the proud resignation of the Spartan
woman at the news of her son's death in battle can be no fable. Woman
in relation to the State felt herself in her proper position, therefore
she had more _dignity_ than woman has ever had since. Plato who through
abolishing family and marriage still intensifies the position of woman,
feels now so much _reverence_ towards them, that oddly enough he is
misled by a subsequent statement of their equality with man, to abolish
again the order of rank which is their due: the highest triumph of the
woman of antiquity, to have seduced even the wisest!

As long as the State is still in an embryonic condition woman as
_mother_ preponderates and determines the grade and the manifestations
of Culture: in the same way as woman is destined to complement the
disorganised State. What Tacitus says of German women: _inesse
quin etiam sanctum aliquid et providum putant, nec aut consilia
earum aspernantur aut responsa neglegunt,_ applies on the whole to
all nations not yet arrived at the real State. In such stages one
feels only the more strongly that which at all times becomes again
manifest, that the instincts of woman as the bulwark of the future
generation are invincible and that in her care for the preservation
of the species Nature speaks out of these instincts very distinctly.
How far this divining power reaches is determined, it seems, by the
greater or lesser consolidation of the State: in disorderly and more
arbitrary conditions, where the whim or the passion of the individual
man carries along with itself whole tribes, then woman suddenly comes
forward as the warning prophetess. But in Greece too there was a never
slumbering care that the terribly overcharged political instinct might
splinter into dust and atoms the little political organisms before
they attained their goals in any way. Here the Hellenic Will created
for itself ever new implements by means of which it spoke, adjusting,
moderating, warning: above all it is in the _Pythia,_ that the power
of woman to compensate the State manifested itself so clearly, as it
has never done since. That a people split up thus into small tribes
and municipalities, was yet at bottom _whole_ and was performing the
task of its nature within its faction, was assured by that wonderful
phenomenon the Pythia and the Delphian oracle: for always, as long as
Hellenism created its great works of art, it spoke out of _one_ mouth
and as _one_ Pythia. We cannot hold back the portentous discernment
that to the Will individuation means much suffering, and that in order
to reach those _individuals_ It _needs_ an enormous step-ladder of
individuals. It is true our brains reel with the consideration whether
the Will in order to arrive at _Art,_ has perhaps effused Itself out
into these worlds, stars, bodies, and atoms: at least it ought to
become clear to us then, that Art is not necessary for the individuals,
but for the Will itself: a sublime outlook at which we shall be
permitted to glance once more from another position.


(Fragment, 1871)

What we here have asserted of the relationship between language and
music must be valid too, for equal reasons concerning the relationship
of _Mime_ to _Music._ The Mime too, as the intensified symbolism of
man's gestures, is, measured by the eternal significance of music,
only a simile, which brings into expression the innermost secret
of music but very superficially, namely on the substratum of the
passionately moved human body. But if we include language also in the
category of bodily symbolism, and compare the _drama,_ according to
the canon advanced, with music, then I venture to think, a proposition
of Schopenhauer will come into the clearest light, to which reference
must be made again later on. "It might be admissible, although a purely
musical mind does not demand it, to join and adapt words or even a
clearly represented action to the pure language of tones, although the
latter, being self-sufficient, needs no help; so that our perceiving
and reflecting intellect, which does not like to be quite idle, may
meanwhile have light and analogous occupation also. By this concession
to the intellect man's attention adheres even more closely to music,
by this at the same time, too, is placed underneath that which the
tones indicate in their general metaphorless language of the heart,
a visible picture, as it were a schema, as an example illustrating a
general idea ... indeed such things will even heighten the effect
of music." (Schopenhauer, Parerga, II., "On the Metaphysics of the
Beautiful and Æsthetics," § 224.) If we disregard the naturalistic
external motivation according to which our perceiving and reflecting
intellect does not like to be quite idle when listening to music, and
attention led by the hand of an obvious action follows better--then
the drama in relation to music has been characterised by Schopenhauer
for the best reasons as a schema, as an example illustrating a general
idea: and when he adds "indeed such things will even heighten the
effect of music" then the enormous universality and originality of
vocal music, of the connection of tone with metaphor and idea guarantee
the correctness of this utterance. The music of every people begins in
closest connection with lyricism and long before absolute music can be
thought of, the music of a people in that connection passes through
the most important stages of development. If we understand this primal
lyricism of a people, as indeed we must, to be an imitation of the
artistic typifying Nature, then as the original prototype of that union
of music and lyricism must be regarded: _the duality in the essence
of language,_ already typified by Nature. Now, after discussing the
relation of music to metaphor we will fathom deeper this essence of

In the multiplicity of languages the fact at once manifests itself,
that word and thing do not necessarily coincide with one another
completely, but that the word is a symbol. But what does the word
symbolise? Most certainly only conceptions, be these now conscious
ones or as in the greater number of cases, unconscious; for how
should a word-symbol correspond to that innermost nature of which we
and the world are images? Only as conceptions we know that kernel,
only in its metaphorical expressions are we familiar with it; beyond
that point there is nowhere a direct bridge which could lead us to it.
The whole life of impulses, too, the play of feelings, sensations,
emotions, volitions, is known to us--as I am forced to insert here in
opposition to Schopenhauer--after a most rigid self-examination, not
according to its essence but merely as conception; and we may well be
permitted to say, that even Schopenhauer's "Will" is nothing else but
the most general phenomenal form of a Something otherwise absolutely
indecipherable. If therefore we must acquiesce in the rigid necessity
of getting nowhere beyond the conceptions we can nevertheless again
distinguish two main species within their realm. The one species
manifest themselves to us as pleasure-and-displeasure-sensations and
accompany all other conceptions as a never-lacking fundamental basis.
This most general manifestation, out of which and by which alone we
understand all Becoming and all Willing and for which we will retain
the name "Will" has now too in language its own symbolic sphere:
and in truth this sphere is equally fundamental to the language,
as that manifestation is fundamental to all other conceptions. All
degrees of pleasure and displeasure--expressions of _one_ primal
cause unfathomable to us--symbolise themselves in _the tone of the
speaker:_ whereas all the other conceptions are indicated by the
_gesture-symbolism_ of the speaker. In so far as that primal cause
is the same in all men, the _tonal subsoil_ is also the common
one, comprehensible beyond the difference of language. Out of it
now develops the more arbitrary gesture-symbolism which is not
wholly adequate for its basis: and with which begins the diversity
of languages, whose multiplicity we are permitted to consider--to
use a simile--as a strophic text to that primal melody of the
pleasure-and-displeasure-language. The whole realm of the consonantal
and vocal we believe we may reckon only under gesture-symbolism:
consonants _and_ vowels without that fundamental tone which is
necessary above all else, are nothing but _positions_ of the organs
of speech, in short, gestures--; as soon as we imagine the _word_
proceeding out of the mouth of man, then first of all the root of the
word, and the basis of that gesture-symbolism, the _tonal subsoil,_
the echo of the pleasure-and-displeasure-sensations originate. As our
whole corporeality stands in relation to that original phenomenon, the
"Will," so the word built out of its consonants and vowels stands in
relation to its tonal basis.

This original phenomenon, the "Will," with its scale of
pleasure-and-displeasure-sensations attains in the development of music
an ever more adequate symbolic expression: and to this historical
process the continuous effort of lyric poetry runs parallel, the effort
to transcribe music into metaphors: exactly as this double-phenomenon,
according to the just completed disquisition, lies typified in language.

He who has followed us into these difficult contemplations readily,
attentively, and with some imagination--and with kind indulgence where
the expression has been too scanty or too unconditional--will now
have the advantage with us, of laying before himself more seriously and
answering more deeply than is usually the case some stirring points of
controversy of present-day æsthetics and still more of contemporary
artists. Let us think now, after all our assumptions, what an
undertaking it must be, to set music to a poem; _i.e.,_ to illustrate
a poem by music, in order to help music thereby to obtain a language
of ideas. What a perverted world! A task that appears to my mind like
that of a son wanting to create his father! Music can create metaphors
out of itself, which will always however be but schemata, instances as
it were of her intrinsic general contents. But how should the metaphor,
the conception, create music out of itself! Much less could the idea,
or, as one has said, the "poetical idea" do this. As certainly as a
bridge leads out of the mysterious castle of the musician into the free
land of the metaphors--and the lyric poet steps across it--as certainly
is it impossible to go the contrary way, although some are said to
exist who fancy they have done so. One might people the air with the
phantasy of a Raphael, one might see St. Cecilia, as he does, listening
enraptured to the harmonies of the choirs of angels--no tone issues
from this world apparently lost in music: even if we imagined that that
harmony in reality, as by a miracle, began to sound for us, whither
would Cecilia, Paul and Magdalena disappear from us, whither even
the singing choir of angels! We should at once cease to be Raphael:
and as in that picture the earthly instruments lie shattered on the
ground, so our painter's vision, defeated by the higher, would fade
and die away.--How nevertheless could the miracle happen? How should
the Apollonian world of the eye quite engrossed in contemplation be
able to create out of itself the tone, which on the contrary symbolises
a sphere which is excluded and conquered just by that very Apollonian
absorption in Appearance? The delight at Appearance cannot raise out
of itself the pleasure at Non-appearance; the delight of perceiving is
delight only by the fact that nothing reminds us of a sphere in which
individuation is broken and abolished. If we have characterised at
all correctly the Apollonian in opposition to the Dionysean, then the
thought which attributes to the metaphor, the idea, the appearance,
in some way the power of producing out of itself the tone, must
appear to us strangely wrong. We will not be referred, in order to be
refuted, to the musician who writes music to existing lyric poems; for
after all that has been said we shall be compelled to assert that the
relationship between the lyric poem and its setting must in any case
be a different one from that between a father and his child. Then what

Here now we may be met on the ground of a favourite æsthetic notion
with the proposition, "It is not the poem which gives birth to
the setting but the _sentiment_ created by the poem." I do not
agree with that; the more subtle or powerful stirring-up of that
pleasure-and-displeasure-subsoil is in the realm of productive art
_the_ element which is inartistic in itself; indeed only its total
exclusion makes the complete self-absorption and disinterested
perception of the artist possible. Here perhaps one might retaliate
that I myself just now predicated about the "Will," that in music
"Will" came to an ever more adequate symbolic expression. My answer,
condensed into an æsthetic axiom, is this: _the Will is the object of
music but not the origin of it,_ that is the Will in its very greatest
universality, as the most original manifestation, under which is to
be understood all Becoming. That, which we call _feeling,_ is with
regard to this Will already permeated and saturated with conscious and
unconscious conceptions and is therefore no longer directly the object
of music; it is unthinkable then that these feelings should be able
to create music out of themselves. Take for instance the feelings of
love, fear and hope: music can no longer do anything with them in a
direct way, every one of them is already so filled with conceptions.
On the contrary these feelings can serve to symbolise music, as the
lyric poet does who translates for himself into the simile-world of
feelings that conceptually and metaphorically unapproachable realm
of the Will, the proper content and object of music. The lyric poet
resembles all those hearers of music who are conscious of an _effect
of music on their emotions;_ the distant and removed power of music
appeals, with them, to an _intermediate realm_ which gives to them
as it were a foretaste, a symbolic preliminary conception of music
proper, it appeals to the intermediate realm of the emotions. One might
be permitted to say about them, with respect to the Will, the only
object of music, that they bear the same relation to this Will, as the
analogous morning-dream, according to Schopenhauer's theory, bears to
the dream proper. To all those, however, who are unable to get at music
except with their emotions, is to be said, that they will ever remain
in the entrance-hall, and will never have access to the sanctuary of
music: which, as I said, emotion cannot show but only symbolise.

With regard however to the origin of music, I have already explained
that that can never lie in the Will, but must rather rest in the lap of
that force, which under the form of the "Will" creates out of itself a
visionary world: _the origin of music lies beyond all individuation,_ a
proposition, which after our discussion on the Dionysean self-evident.
At this point I take the liberty of setting forth again comprehensively
side by side those decisive propositions which the antithesis of the
Dionysean and Apollonian dealt with has compelled us to enunciate:

The "Will," as the most original manifestation, is the object of music:
in this sense music can be called imitation of Nature, but of Nature in
its most general form.--

The "Will" itself and the feelings--manifestations of the Will already
permeated with conceptions--are wholly incapable of creating music out
of themselves, just as on the other hand it is utterly denied to music
to represent feelings, or to have feelings as its object, while Will is
its only object.--

He who carries away feelings as effects of music has within them as
it were a symbolic intermediate realm, which can give him a foretaste
of music, but excludes him at the same time from her innermost

The lyric poet interprets music to himself through the symbolic
world of emotions, whereas he himself, in the calm of the Apollonian
contemplation, is exempted from those emotions.--

When, therefore, the musician writes a setting to a lyric poem he is
moved as musician neither through the images nor through the emotional
language in the text; but a musical inspiration coming from quite a
different sphere _chooses_ for itself that song-text as allegorical
expression. There cannot therefore be any question as to a necessary
relation between poem and music; for the two worlds brought here into
connection are too strange to one another to enter into more than a
superficial alliance; the song-text is just a symbol and stands to
music in the same relation as the Egyptian hieroglyph of bravery did to
the brave warrior himself. During the highest revelations of music we
even feel involuntarily the _crudeness_ of every figurative effort and
of every emotion dragged in for purposes of analogy; for example, the
last quartets of Beethoven quite put to shame all illustration and the
entire realm of empiric reality. The symbol, in face of the god really
revealing himself, has no longer any meaning; moreover it appears as an
offensive superficiality.

One must not think any the worse of us for considering from this point
of view one item so that we may speak about it without reserve, namely
the _last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony,_ a movement which
is unprecedented and unanalysable in its charms. To the dithyrambic
world-redeeming exultation of this music Schiller's poem "To Joy,"
is wholly incongruous, yea, like cold moon-light, pales beside that
sea of flame. Who would rob me of this sure feeling? Yea, who would
be able to dispute that that feeling during the hearing of this music
does not find expression in a scream only because we, wholly impotent
through music for metaphor and word, already _hear nothing at all
from Schiller's poem._ All that noble sublimity, yea the grandeur of
Schiller's verses has, beside the truly naïve-innocent folk-melody of
joy, a disturbing, troubling, even crude and offensive effect; only
the ever fuller development of the choir's song and the masses of the
orchestra preventing us from hearing them, keep from us that sensation
of incongruity. What therefore shall we think of that awful æsthetic
superstition that Beethoven himself made a solemn statement as to his
belief in the limits of absolute music, in that fourth movement of the
Ninth Symphony, yea that he as it were with it unlocked the portals
of a new art, within which music had been enabled to represent even
metaphor and idea and whereby music had been opened to the "conscious
mind." And what does Beethoven himself tell us when he has choir-song
introduced by a recitative? "Alas friends, let us intonate not these
tones but more pleasing and joyous ones!" More pleasing and joyous
ones! For that he needed the convincing tone of the human voice, for
that he needed the music of innocence in the folk-song. Not the word,
but the "more pleasing" sound, not the idea but the most heartfelt
joyful tone was chosen by the sublime master in his longing for the
most soul-thrilling ensemble of his orchestra. And how could one
misunderstand him! Rather may the same be said of this movement as
_Richard Wagner_ says of the great "_Missa Solemnis_" which he calls "a
pure symphonic work of the most genuine Beethoven-spirit" (Beethoven,
p. 42). "The voices are treated here quite in the sense of human
instruments, in which sense Schopenhauer quite rightly wanted these
human voices to be considered; the text underlying them is understood
by us in these great Church compositions, not in its conceptual
meaning, but it serves in the sense of the musical work of art, merely
as material for vocal music and does not stand to our musically
determined sensation in a disturbing position simply because it does
not incite in us any rational conceptions but, as its ecclesiastical
character conditions too, only touches us with the impression of
well-known symbolic creeds." Besides I do not doubt that Beethoven, had
he written the Tenth Symphony--of which drafts are still extant--would
have composed just the _Tenth_ Symphony.

Let us now approach, after these preparations, the discussion of the
_opera,_ so as to be able to proceed afterwards from the opera to
its counterpart in the Greek tragedy. What we had to observe in the
last movement of the Ninth, _i.e.,_ on the highest level of modern
music-development, viz., that the word-content goes down unheard in
the general sea of sound, is nothing isolated and peculiar, but the
general and eternally valid norm in the vocal music of all times, the
norm which alone is adequate to the origin of lyric song. The man in
a state of Dionysean excitement has a _listener_ just as little as
the orgiastic crowd, a listener to whom he might have something to
communicate, a listener as the epic narrator and generally speaking the
Apollonian artist, to be sure, presupposes. It is rather in the nature
of the Dionysean art, that it has no consideration for the listener:
the inspired servant of Dionysos is, as I said in a former place,
understood only by his compeers. But if we now imagine a listener at
those endemic outbursts of Dionysean excitement then we shall have to
prophesy for him a fate similar to that which Pentheus the discovered
eavesdropper suffered, namely, to be torn to pieces by the Mænads. The
lyric musician sings "as the bird sings,"[1] alone, out of innermost
compulsion; when the listener comes to him with a demand he must
become dumb. Therefore it would be altogether unnatural to ask from
the lyric musician that one should also understand the text-words of
his song, unnatural because here a demand is made by the listener, who
has no right at all during the lyric outburst to claim anything. Now
with the poetry of the great ancient lyric poets in your hand, put
the question honestly to yourself whether they can have even thought
of making themselves clear to the mass of the people standing around
and listening, clear with their world of metaphors and thoughts;
answer this serious question with a look at Pindar and the Æschylian
choir songs. These most daring and obscure intricacies of thought,
this whirl of metaphors, ever impetuously reproducing itself, this
oracular tone of the whole, which we, _without_ the diversion of music
and orchestration, so often cannot penetrate even with the closest
attention--was this whole world of miracles transparent as glass to
the Greek crowd, yea, a metaphorical-conceptual interpretation of
music? And with such mysteries of thought as are to be found in Pindar
do you think the wonderful poet could have wished to elucidate the
music already strikingly distinct? Should we here not be forced to an
insight into the very nature of the lyricist--the artistic man, who
to _himself_ must interpret music through the symbolism of metaphors
and emotions, but who has nothing to communicate to the listener; an
artist who, in complete aloofness, even forgets those who stand eagerly
listening near him. And as the lyricist his hymns, so the people sing
the folk-song, for themselves, out of in-most impulse, unconcerned
whether the word is comprehensible to him who does not join in the
song. Let us think of our own experiences in the realm of higher
art-music: what did we understand of the text of a Mass of Palestrina,
of a Cantata of Bach, of an Oratorio of Händel, if we ourselves perhaps
did not join in singing? Only for _him who joins_ in singing do lyric
poetry and vocal music exist; the listener stands before it as before
absolute music.

But now the _opera_ begins, according to the clearest testimonies, with
the _demand of the listener to understand the word._

What? The listener _demands?_ The word is to be understood?

But to bring music into the service of a series of metaphors and
conceptions, to use it as a means to an end, to the strengthening
and elucidation of such conceptions and metaphors--such a peculiar
presumption as is found in the concept of an "opera," reminds me of
that ridiculous person who endeavours to lift himself up into the air
with his own arms; that which this fool and which the opera according
to that idea attempt are absolute impossibilities. That idea of the
opera does not demand perhaps an abuse from music but--as I said--an
impossibility. Music never _can_ become a means; one may push,
screw, torture it; as tone, as roll of the drum, in its crudest and
simplest stages, it still defeats poetry and abases the latter to its
reflection. The opera as a species of art according to that concept is
therefore not only an aberration of music, but an erroneous conception
of æsthetics. If I herewith, after all, justify the nature of the opera
for æsthetics, I am of course far from justifying at the same time bad
opera music or bad opera-verses. The worst music can still mean, as
compared with the best poetry, the Dionysean world-subsoil, and the
worst poetry can be mirror, image and reflection of this subsoil, if
together with the best music: as certainly, namely, as the single tone
against the metaphor is already Dionysean, and the single metaphor
together with idea and word against music is already Apollonian. Yea,
even bad music together with bad poetry can still inform as to the
nature of music and poesy.

When therefore Schopenhauer felt Bellini's "Norma," for example, as the
fulfilment of tragedy, with regard to that opera's music and poetry,
then he, in Dionysean-Apollonian emotion and self-forgetfulness, was
quite entitled to do so, because he perceived music and poetry in
their most general, as it were, philosophical value, _as_ music and
poetry: but with that judgment he showed a poorly educated taste,--for
good taste always has historical perspective. To us, who intentionally
in this investigation avoid any question of the historic value of an
art-phenomenon and endeavour to focus only the phenomenon itself,
in its unaltered eternal meaning, and consequently in its _highest_
type, too,--to us the art-species of the "opera" seems to be justified
as much as the folk-song, in so far as we find in both that union
of the Dionysean and Apollonian and are permitted to assume for the
opera--namely for the highest type of the opera--an origin analogous to
that of the folk-song. Only in so far as the opera historically known
to us has a completely different origin from that of the folk-song
do we reject this "opera," which stands in the same relation to that
generic notion just defended by us, as the marionette does to a living
human being. It is certain, music never can become a means in the
service of the text, but must always defeat the text, yet music must
become bad when the composer interrupts every Dionysean force rising
within himself by an anxious regard for the words and gestures of his
marionettes. If the poet of the opera-text has offered him nothing more
than the usual schematised figures with their Egyptian regularity, then
the freer, more unconditional, more Dionysean is the development of the
music; and the more she despises all dramatic requirements, so much
the higher will be the value of the opera. In this sense it is true the
opera is, at its best, good music, and nothing but music: whereas the
jugglery performed at the same time is, as it were, only a fantastic
disguise of the orchestra, above all, of the most important instruments
the orchestra has: the singers; and from this jugglery the judicious
listener turns away laughing. If the mass is diverted by _this very
jugglery_ and only _permits_ the music with it, then the mob fares as
all those do who value the frame of a good picture higher than the
picture itself. Who treats such naïve aberrations with a serious or
even pathetic reproach?

But what will the opera mean as "dramatic" music, in its possibly
farthest distance from pure music, efficient in itself, and purely
Dionysean? Let us imagine a passionate drama full of incidents which
carries away the spectator, and which is already sure of success
by its plot: what will "dramatic" music be able to add, if it does
not take away something? Firstly, it _will_ take away much: for in
every moment where for once the Dionysean power of music strikes
the listener, the eye is dimmed that sees the action, the eye that
became absorbed in the individuals appearing before it: the listener
now _forgets_ the drama and becomes alive again to it only when the
Dionysean spell over him has been broken. In so far, however, as music
makes the listener forget the drama, it is not yet "dramatic" music:
but what kind of music is that which is not _allowed_ to exercise
any Dionysean power over the listener? And how is it possible? It is
possible as _purely conventional symbolism,_ out of which convention
has sucked all natural strength: as music which has diminished to
symbols of remembrance: and its effect aims at reminding the spectator
of something, which at the sight of the drama must not escape him lest
he should misunderstand it: as a trumpet signal is an invitation for
the horse to trot. Lastly, before the drama commenced and in interludes
or during tedious passages, doubtful as to dramatic effect, yea,
even in its highest moments, there would still be permitted another
species of remembrance-music, no longer purely conventional, namely
_emotional-music,_ music, as a stimulant to dull or wearied nerves.
I am able to distinguish in the so-called dramatic music these two
elements only: a conventional rhetoric and remembrance-music, and a
sensational music with an effect essentially physical: and thus it
vacillates between the noise of the drum and the signal-horn, like
the mood of the warrior who goes into the battle. But now the mind,
regaling itself on pure music and educated through comparison, demands
a _masquerade_ for those two wrong tendencies of music; "Remembrance"
and "Emotion" are to be played, but in good music, which must be
in itself enjoyable, yea, valuable; what despair for the dramatic
musician, who must mask the big drum by good music, which, however,
must nevertheless have no purely musical, but only a stimulating
effect! And now comes the great Philistine public nodding its thousand
heads and enjoys this "dramatic music" which is ever ashamed of itself,
enjoys it to the very last morsel, without perceiving anything of its
shame and embarrassment. Rather the public feels its skin agreeably
tickled, for indeed homage is being rendered in all forms and ways to
the public! To the pleasure-hunting, dull-eyed sensualist, who needs
excitement, to the conceited "educated person" who has accustomed
himself to good drama and good music as to good food, without after all
making much out of it, to the forgetful and absent-minded egoist, who
must be led back to the work of art with force and with signal-horns
because selfish plans continually pass through his mind aiming at
gain or pleasure. Woe-begone dramatic musicians! "Draw near and view
your Patrons' faces! The half are coarse, the half are cold." "Why
should you rack, poor foolish Bards, for ends like these the gracious
Muses?"[2] And that the muses are tormented, even tortured and flayed,
these veracious miserable ones do not themselves deny!

We had assumed a passionate drama, carrying away the spectator, which
even without music would be sure of its effect. I fear that that in
it which is "poetry" and _not_ action proper will stand in relation
to true poetry as dramatic music to music in general: it will be
remembrance-and emotional-poetry. Poetry will serve as a means, in
order to recall in a conventional fashion feelings and passions,
the expression of which has been found by real poets and has become
celebrated, yea, normal with them. Further, this poetry will be
expected in dangerous moments to assist the proper "action,"--whether
a criminalistic horror-story or an exhibition of witchery mad with
shifting the scenes,--and to spread a covering veil over the crudeness
of the action itself. Shamefully conscious, that the poetry is only
masquerade which cannot bear the light of day, such a "dramatic"
rime-jingle clamours now for "dramatic" music, as on the other hand
again the poetaster of such dramas is met after one-fourth of the
way by the dramatic musician with his talent for the drum and the
signal-horn and his shyness of genuine music, trusting in itself and
self-sufficient. And now they see one another; and these Apollonian and
Dionysean caricatures, this _par nobile fratrum,_ embrace one another!

[1] A reference to Goethe's ballad, The Minstrel, st. 5:

"I sing as sings the bird, whose note The leafy bough is heard on. The
song that falters from my throat For me is ample guerdon." TR.

[2] A quotation from Goethe's "Faust": Part I., lines 91, 92, and 95,


Preface to an Unwritten Book (1872)

When one speaks of "_humanity_" the notion lies at the bottom,
that humanity is that which _separates_ and distinguishes man from
Nature. But such a distinction does not in reality exist: the
"natural" qualities and the properly called "human" ones have grown
up inseparably together. Man in his highest and noblest capacities
_is_ Nature and bears in himself her awful twofold character. His
abilities generally considered dreadful and inhuman are perhaps indeed
the fertile soil, out of which alone can grow forth all humanity in
emotions, actions and works.

Thus the Greeks, the most humane men of ancient times, have in
themselves a trait of cruelty, of tiger-like pleasure in destruction:
a trait, which in the grotesquely magnified image of the Hellene, in
Alexander the Great, is very plainly visible, which, however, in their
whole history, as well as in their mythology, must terrify us who
meet them with the emasculate idea of modern humanity. When Alexander
has the feet of Batis, the brave defender of Gaza, bored through,
and binds the living body to his chariot in order to drag him about
exposed to the scorn of his soldiers, that is a sickening caricature of
Achilles, who at night ill-uses Hector's corpse by a similar trailing;
but even this trait has for us something offensive, something which
inspires horror. It gives us a peep into the abysses of hatred. With
the same sensation perhaps we stand before the bloody and insatiable
self-laceration of two Greek parties, as for example in the Corcyrean
revolution. When the victor, in a fight of the cities, according to
the _law_ of warfare, executes the whole male population and sells all
the women and children into slavery, we see, in the sanction of such a
law, that the Greek deemed it a positive necessity to allow his hatred
to break forth unimpeded; in such moments the compressed and swollen
feeling relieved itself; the tiger bounded forth, a voluptuous cruelty
shone out of his fearful eye. Why had the Greek sculptor to represent
again and again war and fights in innumerable repetitions, extended
human bodies whose sinews are tightened through hatred or through the
recklessness of triumph, fighters wounded and writhing with pain, or
the dying with the last rattle in their throat? Why did the whole Greek
world exult in the fighting scenes of the "Iliad"? I am afraid, we do
not understand them enough in "Greek fashion," and that we should even
shudder, if for once we _did_ understand them thus.

But what lies, as the mother-womb of the Hellenic, _behind_ the Homeric
world? In the _latter,_ by the extremely artistic definiteness, and the
calm and purity of the lines we are already lifted far above the purely
material amalgamation: its colours, by an artistic deception, appear
lighter, milder, warmer; its men, in this coloured, warm illumination,
appear better and more sympathetic--but where do we look, if, no
longer guided and protected by Homer's hand, we step backwards into
the pre-Homeric world? Only into night and horror, into the products
of a fancy accustomed to the horrible. What earthly existence is
reflected in the loathsome-awful theogonian lore: a life swayed only
by the _children of the night,_ strife, amorous desires, deception,
age and death. Let us imagine the suffocating atmosphere of Hesiod's
poem, still thickened and darkened and without all the mitigations and
purifications, which poured over Hellas from Delphi and the numerous
seats of the gods! If we mix this thickened Boeotian air with the grim
voluptuousness of the Etruscans, then such a reality would _extort_
from us a world of myths within which Uranos, Kronos and Zeus and
the struggles of the Titans would appear as a relief. Combat in this
brooding atmosphere is salvation and safety; the cruelty of victory is
the summit of life's glories. And just as in truth the idea of Greek
law has developed from _murder_ and expiation of murder, so also nobler
Civilisation takes her first wreath of victory from the altar of the
expiation of murder. Behind that bloody age stretches a wave-furrow
deep into Hellenic history. The names of Orpheus, of Musæus, and
their cults indicate to what consequences the uninterrupted sight of
a world of warfare and cruelty led--to the loathing of existence, to
the conception of this existence as a punishment to be borne to the
end, to the belief in the identity of existence and indebtedness. But
these particular conclusions are not specifically Hellenic; through
them Greece comes into contact with India and the Orient generally. The
Hellenic genius had ready yet another answer to the question: what does
a life of fighting and of victory mean? and gives this answer in the
whole breadth of Greek history.

In order to understand the latter we must start from the fact that
the Greek genius admitted the existing fearful impulse, and deemed it
_justified;_ whereas in the Orphic phase of thought was contained the
belief that life with such an impulse as its root would not be worth
living. Strife and the pleasure of victory were acknowledged; and
nothing separates the Greek world more from ours than the _colouring,_
derived hence, of some ethical ideas, _e.g.,_ of _Eris_ and of _Envy_.

When the traveller Pausanius during his wanderings through Greece
visited the Helicon, a very old copy of the first didactic poem of the
Greeks, "The Works and Days" of Hesiod, was shown to him, inscribed
upon plates of lead and severely damaged by time and weather. However
he recognised this much, that, unlike the usual copies, it had _not_
at its head that little hymnus on Zeus, but began at once with the
declaration: "_Two_ Eris-goddesses are on earth." This is one of the
most noteworthy Hellenic thoughts and worthy to be impressed on the
new-comer immediately at the entrance-gate of Greek ethics. "One would
like to praise the one Eris, just as much as to blame the other, if
one uses one's reason. For these two goddesses have quite different
dispositions. For the one, the cruel one, furthers the evil war and
feud! No mortal likes her, but under the yoke of need one pays honour
to the burdensome Eris, according to the decree of the immortals. She,
as the elder, gave birth to black night. Zeus the high-ruling one,
however, placed the other Eris upon the roots of the earth and among
men as a much better one. She urges even the unskilled man to work, and
if one who lacks property beholds another who is rich, then he hastens
to sow in similar fashion and to plant and to put his house in order;
the neighbour vies with the neighbour who strives after fortune. Good
is this Eris to men. The potter also has a grudge against the potter,
and the carpenter against the carpenter; the beggar envies the beggar,
and the singer the singer."

The two last verses which treat of the _odium figulinum_ appear to
our scholars to be incomprehensible in this place. According to their
judgment the predicates: "grudge" and "envy" fit only the nature of
the evil Eris, and for this reason they do not hesitate to designate
these verses as spurious or thrown by chance into this place. For
that judgment however a system of Ethics other than the Hellenic must
have inspired these scholars unawares; for in these verses to the
good Eris Aristotle finds no offence. And not only Aristotle but the
whole Greek antiquity thinks of spite and envy otherwise than we do
and agrees with Hesiod, who first designates as an evil one that Eris
who leads men against one another to a hostile war of extermination,
and secondly praises another Eris as the good one, who as jealousy,
spite, envy, incites men to activity but not to the action of war to
the knife but to the action of _contest._ The Greek is _envious_ and
conceives of this quality not as a blemish, but as the effect of a
_beneficent_ deity. What a gulf of ethical judgment between us and him?
Because he is envious he also feels, with every superfluity of honour,
riches, splendour and fortune, the envious eye of a god resting on
himself, and he fears this envy; in this case the latter reminds him
of the transitoriness of every human lot; he dreads his very happiness
and, sacrificing the best of it, he bows before the divine envy.
This conception does not perhaps estrange him from his gods; their
significance on the contrary is expressed by the thought that with them
man in whose soul jealousy is enkindled against every other living
being, is _never_ allowed to venture into contest. In the fight of
Thamyris with the Muses, of Marsyas with Apollo, in the heart-moving
fate of Niobe appears the horrible opposition of the two powers, who
must never fight with one another, man and god.

The greater and more sublime however a Greek is, the brighter in him
appears the ambitious flame, devouring everybody who runs with him on
the same track. Aristotle once made a list of such contests on a large
scale; among them is the most striking instance how even a dead person
can still incite a living one to consuming jealousy; thus for example
Aristotle designates the relation between the Kolophonian Xenophanes
and Homer. We do not understand this attack on the national hero of
poetry in all its strength, if we do not imagine, as later on also with
Plato, the root of this attack to be the ardent desire to step into
the place of the overthrown poet and to inherit his fame. Every great
Hellene hands on the torch of the contest; at every great virtue a new
light is kindled. If the young Themistocles could not sleep at the
thought of the laurels of Miltiades so his early awakened bent released
itself only in the long emulation with Aristides in that uniquely
noteworthy, purely instinctive genius of his political activity, which
Thucydides describes. How characteristic are both question and answer,
when a notable opponent of Pericles is asked, whether he or Pericles
was the better wrestler in the city, and he gives the answer: "Even if
I throw him down he denies that he has fallen, attains his purpose and
convinces those who saw him fall."

If one wants to see that sentiment unashamed in its naïve expressions,
the sentiment as to the necessity of contest lest the State's welfare
be threatened, one should think of the original meaning of _Ostracism,_
as for example the Ephesians pronounced it at the banishment of
Hermodor. "Among us nobody shall be the best; if however someone is the
best, then let him be so elsewhere and among others." Why should not
someone be the best? Because with that the contest would fail, and the
eternal life-basis of the Hellenic State would be endangered. Later on
Ostracism receives quite another position with regard to the contest;
it is applied, when the danger becomes obvious that one of the great
contesting politicians and party-leaders feels himself urged on in
the heat of the conflict towards harmful and destructive measures and
dubious _coups d'état._ The original sense of this peculiar institution
however is not that of a safety-valve but that of a stimulant.
The all-excelling individual was to be removed in order that the
contest of forces might re-awaken, a thought which is hostile to the
"exclusiveness" of genius in the modern sense but which assumes that in
the natural order of things there are always _several_ geniuses which
incite one another to action, as much also as they hold one another
within the bounds of moderation. That is the kernel of the Hellenic
contest-conception: it abominates autocracy, and fears its dangers; it
desires as a _preventive_ against the genius--a second genius.

Every natural gift must develop itself by contest. Thus the Hellenic
national pedagogy demands, whereas modern educators fear nothing as
much as, the unchaining of the so-called ambition. Here one fears
selfishness as the "evil in itself"--with the exception of the
Jesuits, who agree with the Ancients and who, possibly, for that
reason, are the most efficient educators of our time. They seem to
believe that Selfishness, _i.e.,_ the individual element is only the
most powerful _agens_ but that it obtains its character as "good" and
"evil" essentially from the aims towards which it strives. To the
Ancients however the aim of the agonistic education was the welfare of
the whole, of the civic society. Every Athenian for instance was to
cultivate his Ego in contest, so far that it should be of the highest
service to Athens and should do the least harm. It was not unmeasured
and immeasurable as modern ambition generally is; the youth thought of
the welfare of his native town when he vied with others in running,
throwing or singing; it was her glory that he wanted to increase with
his own; it was to his town's gods that he dedicated the wreaths which
the umpires as a mark of honour set upon his head. Every Greek from
childhood felt within himself the burning wish to be in the contest
of the towns an instrument for the welfare of his own town; in this
his selfishness was kindled into flame, by this his selfishness was
bridled and restricted. Therefore the individuals in antiquity were
freer, because their aims were nearer and more tangible. Modern man, on
the contrary, is everywhere hampered by infinity, like the fleet-footed
Achilles in the allegory of the Eleate Zeno: infinity impedes him, he
does not even overtake the tortoise.

But as the youths to be educated were brought up struggling against
one another, so their educators were in turn in emulation amongst
themselves. Distrustfully jealous, the great musical masters, Pindar
and Simonides, stepped side by side; in rivalry the sophist, the higher
teacher of antiquity meets his fellow-sophist; even the most universal
kind of instruction, through the drama, was imparted to the people
only under the form of an enormous wrestling of the great musical and
dramatic artists. How wonderful! "And even the artist has a grudge
against the artist!" And the modern man dislikes in an artist nothing
so much as the personal battle-feeling, whereas the Greek recognises
the artist _only in such a personal struggle._ There where the modern
suspects weakness of the work of art, the Hellene seeks the source of
his highest strength! That, which by way of example in Plato is of
special artistic importance in his dialogues, is usually the result
of an emulation with the art of the orators, of the sophists, of the
dramatists of his time, invented deliberately in order that at the end
he could say: "Behold, I can also do what my great rivals can; yea
I can do it even better than they. No Protagoras has composed such
beautiful myths as I, no dramatist such a spirited and fascinating
whole as the Symposion, no orator penned such an oration as I put
up in the Georgias--and now I reject all that together and condemn
all imitative art! Only the contest made me a poet, a sophist, an
orator!" What a problem unfolds itself there before us, if we ask
about the relationship between the contest and the conception of the
work of art!--If on the other hand we remove the contest from Greek
life, then we look at once into the pre-Homeric abyss of horrible
savagery, hatred, and pleasure in destruction. This phenomenon alas!
shows itself frequently when a great personality was, owing to an
enormously brilliant deed, suddenly withdrawn from the contest and
became _hors de concours_ according to his, and his fellow-citizens'
judgment. Almost without exception the effect is awful; and if one
usually draws from these consequences the conclusion that the Greek was
unable to bear glory and fortune, one should say more exactly that he
was unable to bear fame without further struggle, and fortune at the
end of the contest. There is no more distinct instance than the fate
of Miltiades. Placed upon a solitary height and lifted far above every
fellow-combatant through his incomparable success at Marathon, he feels
a low thirsting for revenge awakened within himself against a citizen
of Para, with whom he had been at enmity long ago. To satisfy his
desire he misuses reputation, the public exchequer and civic honour and
disgraces himself. Conscious of his ill-success he falls into unworthy
machinations. He forms a clandestine and godless connection with Timo
a priestess of Demeter, and enters at night the sacred temple, from
which every man was excluded. After he has leapt over the wall and
comes ever nearer the shrine of the goddess, the dreadful horror of a
panic-like terror suddenly seizes him; almost prostrate and unconscious
he feels himself driven back and leaping the wall once more, he falls
down paralysed and severely injured. The siege must be raised and a
disgraceful death impresses its seal upon a brilliant heroic career,
in order to darken it for all posterity. After the battle at Marathon
the envy of the celestials has caught him. And this divine envy breaks
into flames when it beholds man without rival, without opponent, on
the solitary height of glory. He now has beside him only the gods--and
therefore he has them against him. These however betray him into a deed
of the Hybris, and under it he collapses.

Let us well observe that just as Miltiades perishes so the noblest
Greek States perish when they, by merit and fortune, have arrived from
the racecourse at the temple of Nike. Athens, which had destroyed the
independence of her allies and avenged with severity the rebellions
of her subjected foes, Sparta, which after the battle of Ægospotamoi
used her preponderance over Hellas in a still harsher and more cruel
fashion, both these, as in the case of Miltiades, brought about their
ruin through deeds of the Hybris, as a proof that without envy,
jealousy, and contesting ambition the Hellenic State like the Hellenic
man degenerates. He becomes bad and cruel, thirsting for revenge, and
godless; in short, he becomes "pre-Homeric"--and then it needs only a
panic in order to bring about his fall and to crush him. Sparta and
Athens surrender to Persia, as Themistocles and Alcibiades have done;
they betray Hellenism after they have given up the noblest Hellenic
fundamental thought, the contest, and Alexander, the coarsened copy and
abbreviation of Greek history, now invents the cosmopolitan Hellene,
and the so-called "Hellenism."


Preface to an Unwritten Book (1872)

In dear vile Germany culture now lies so decayed in the streets,
jealousy of all that is great rules so shamelessly, and the general
tumult of those who race for "Fortune" resounds so deafeningly, that
one must have a strong faith, almost in the sense of _credo quia
absurdum est,_ in order to hope still for a growing Culture, and above
all--in opposition to the press with her "public opinion"--to be able
to work by public teaching. With violence must those, in whose hearts
lies the immortal care for the people, free themselves from all the
inrushing impressions of that which is just now actual and valid, and
evoke the appearance of reckoning them indifferent things. They must
appear so, because they want to think, and because a loathsome sight
and a confused noise, perhaps even mixed with the trumpet-flourishes
of war-glory, disturb their thinking, and above all, because they want
to _believe_ in the German character and because with this faith they
would lose their strength. Do not find fault with these believers if
they look from their distant aloofness and from the heights towards
their Promised Land! They fear those experiences, to which the kindly
disposed foreigner surrenders himself, when he lives among the Germans,
and must be surprised how little German life corresponds to those great
individuals, works and actions, which, in his kind disposition he
has learned to revere as the true German character. Where the German
cannot lift himself into the sublime he makes an impression less than
the mediocre. Even the celebrated German scholarship, in which a number
of the most useful domestic and homely virtues such as faithfulness,
self-restriction, industry, moderation, cleanliness appear transposed
into a purer atmosphere and, as it were, transfigured, is by no means
the result of these virtues; looked at closely, the motive urging to
unlimited knowledge appears in Germany much more like a defect, a gap,
than an abundance of forces, it looks almost like the consequence
of a needy formless atrophied life and even like a flight from the
moral narrow-mindedness and malice to which the German without such
diversions is subjected, and which also in spite of that scholarship,
yea still within scholarship itself, often break forth. As the true
virtuosi of philistinism the Germans are at home in narrowness of life,
discerning and judging; if any one will carry them above themselves
into the sublime, then they make themselves heavy as lead, and as such
lead-weights they hang to their truly great men, in order to pull them
down out of the ether to the level of their own necessitous indigence.
Perhaps this Philistine homeliness may be only the degeneration of
a genuine German virtue--a profound submersion into the detail, the
minute, the nearest and into the mysteries of the individual--but this
virtue grown mouldy is now worse than the most open vice, especially
since one has now become conscious, with gladness of the heart, of this
quality, even to literary self-glorification. Now the _"Educated"_
among the proverbially so cultured Germans and the _"Philistines"_
among the, as everybody knows, so uncultured Germans shake hands
in public and agree with one another concerning the way in which
henceforth one will have to write, compose poetry, paint, make music
and even philosophise, yea--rule, so as neither to stand too much aloof
from the culture of the one, nor to give offence to the "homeliness"
of the other. This they call now "The German Culture of our times."
Well, it is only necessary to inquire after the characteristic by which
that "educated" person is to be recognised; now that we know that his
foster-brother, the German Philistine, makes himself known as such to
all the world, without bashfulness, as it were, after innocence is lost.

The educated person nowadays is educated above all _"historically,"_ by
his historic consciousness he saves himself from the sublime in which
the Philistine succeeds by his "homeliness." No longer that enthusiasm
which history inspires--as Goethe was allowed to suppose--but just the
blunting of all enthusiasm is now the goal of these admirers of the
_nil admirari,_ when they try to conceive everything historically; to
them however we should exclaim: Ye are the fools of all centuries!
History will make to you only those confessions, which you are worthy
to receive. The world has been at all times full of trivialities and
nonentities; to your historic hankering just these and only these
unveil themselves. By your thousands you may pounce upon an epoch--you
will afterwards hunger as before and be allowed to boast of your sort
of starved soundness. _Illam ipsam quam iactant sanitatem non firmitate
sed iciunio consequuntur. (Dialogus de oratoribus, cap._ 25.) History
has not thought fit to tell you anything that is essential, but
scorning and invisible she stood by your side, slipping into this one's
hand some state proceedings, into that one's an ambassadorial report,
into another's a date or an etymology or a pragmatic cobweb. Do you
really believe yourself able to reckon up history like an addition
sum, and do you consider your common intellect and your mathematical
education good enough for that? How it must vex you to hear, that
others narrate things, out of the best known periods, which you will
never conceive, never!

If now to this "education," calling itself historic but destitute of
enthusiasm, and to the hostile Philistine activity, foaming with rage
against all that is great, is added that third brutal and excited
company of those who race after "Fortune"--then that in _summa_ results
in such a confused shrieking and such a limb-dislocating turmoil that
the thinker with stopped-up ears and blindfolded eyes flees into the
most solitary wilderness,--where he may see, what those never will
see, where he must hear sounds which rise to him out of all the depths
of nature and come down to him from the stars. Here he confers with
the great problems floating towards him, whose voices of course sound
just as comfortless-awful, as unhistoric-eternal. The feeble person
flees back from their cold breath, and the calculating one runs right
through them without perceiving them. They deal worst, however, with
the "educated man" who at times bestows great pains upon them. To him
these phantoms transform themselves into conceptual cobwebs and hollow
sound-figures. Grasping after them he imagines he has philosophy; in
order to search for them he climbs about in the so-called history
of philosophy--and when at last he has collected and piled up quite
a cloud of such abstractions and stereotyped patterns, then it may
happen to him that a real thinker crosses his path and--puffs them
away. What a desperate annoyance indeed to meddle with philosophy as
an "educated person"! From time to time it is true it appears to him
as if the impossible connection of philosophy with that which nowadays
gives itself airs as "German Culture" has become possible; some mongrel
dallies and ogles between the two spheres and confuses fantasy on
this side and on the other. Meanwhile however _one_ piece of advice
is to be given to the Germans, if they do not wish to let themselves
be confused. They may put to themselves the question about everything
that they now call Culture: is _this_ the hoped-for German Culture, so
serious and creative, so redeeming for the German mind, so purifying
for the German virtues that their only philosopher in this century,
Arthur _Schopenhauer,_ should have to espouse its cause?

Here you have the philosopher--now search for the Culture proper to
him! And if you are able to divine what kind of culture that would have
to be, which would correspond to such a philosopher, then you have, in
this divination, already _passed sentence_ on all your culture and on




(_Probably_ 1874)

If we know the aims of men who are strangers to us, it is sufficient
for us to approve of or condemn them as wholes. Those who stand nearer
to us we judge according to the means by which they further their
aims; we often disapprove of their aims, but love them for the sake of
their means and the style of their volition. Now philosophical systems
are absolutely true only to their founders, to all later philosophers
they are usually _one_ big mistake, and to feebler minds a sum of
mistakes and truths; at any rate if regarded as highest aim they are
an error, and in so far reprehensible. Therefore many disapprove of
every philosopher, because his aim is not theirs; they are those whom I
called "strangers to us." Whoever on the contrary finds any pleasure at
all in great men finds pleasure also in such systems, be they ever so
erroneous, for they all have in them one point which is irrefutable, a
personal touch, and colour; one can use them in order to form a picture
of the philosopher, just as from a plant growing in a certain place one
can form conclusions as to the soil. _That_ mode of life, of viewing
human affairs at any rate, has existed once and is therefore possible;
the "system" is the growth in this soil or at least a part of this

I narrate the history of those philosophers simplified: I shall bring
into relief only _that_ point in every system which is a little bit
of _personality,_ and belongs to that which is irrefutable, and
indiscussable, which history has to preserve: it is a first attempt
to regain and recreate those natures by comparison, and to let the
polyphony of Greek nature at least resound once again: the task is, to
bring to light that which we must _always love and revere_ and of which
no later knowledge can rob us: the great man.


(_Towards the end of_ 1879)

This attempt to relate the history of the earlier Greek philosophers
distinguishes itself from similar attempts by its brevity. This has
been accomplished by mentioning but a small number of the doctrines of
every philosopher, _i.e.,_ by incompleteness. Those doctrines, however,
have been selected in which the personal element of the philosopher
re-echoes most strongly; whereas a complete enumeration of all possible
propositions handed down to us--as is the custom in text-books--merely
brings about one thing, the absolute silencing of the personal element.
It is through this that those records become so tedious; for in systems
which have been refuted it is only this personal element that can still
interest us, for this alone is eternally irrefutable. It is possible
to shape the picture of a man out of three anecdotes. I endeavour to
bring into relief three anecdotes out of every system and abandon the


There are opponents of philosophy, and one does well to listen to them;
especially if they dissuade the distempered heads of Germans from
metaphysics and on the other hand preach to them purification through
the Physis, as Goethe did, or healing through Music, as Wagner. The
physicians of the people condemn philosophy; he, therefore, who wants
to justify it, must show to what purpose healthy nations use and have
used philosophy. If he can show that, perhaps even the sick people
will benefit by learning why philosophy is harmful just to them. There
are indeed good instances of a health which can exist without any
philosophy or with quite a moderate, almost a toying use of it; thus
the Romans at their best period lived without philosophy. But where is
to be found the instance of a nation becoming diseased whom philosophy
had restored to health? Whenever philosophy showed itself helping,
saving, prophylactic, it was with healthy people; it made sick people
still more ill. If ever a nation was disintegrated and but loosely
connected with the individuals, never has philosophy bound these
individuals closer to the whole. If ever an individual was willing to
stand aside and plant around himself the hedge of self-sufficiency,
philosophy was always ready to isolate him still more and to destroy
him through isolation. She is dangerous where she is not in her full
right, and it is only the health of a nation but not that of every
nation which gives her this right.

Let us now look around for the highest authority as to what
constitutes the health of a nation. I he Greeks, as _the_ truly
healthy nation, have _justified_ philosophy once for all by having
philosophised; and that indeed more than all other nations. They could
not even stop at the right time, for still in their withered age
they comported themselves as heated notaries of philosophy, although
they understood by it only the pious sophistries and the sacrosanct
hair-splittings of Christian dogmatics. They themselves have much
lessened their merit for barbarian posterity by not being able to stop
at the right time, because that posterity in its uninstructed and
impetuous youth necessarily became entangled in those artfully woven
nets and ropes.

On the contrary, the Greek knew how to begin at the right time, and
this lesson, when one ought to begin philosophising, they teach more
distinctly than any other nation. For it should not be begun when
trouble comes as perhaps some presume who derive philosophy from
moroseness; no, but in good fortune, in mature manhood, out of the
midst of the fervent serenity of a brave and victorious man's estate.
The fact that the Greeks philosophised at that time throws light on
the nature of philosophy and her task as well as on the nature of the
Greeks themselves. Had they at that time been such commonsense and
precocious experts and gayards as the learned Philistine of our days
perhaps imagines, or had their life been only a state of voluptuous
soaring, chiming, breathing and feeling, as the unlearned visionary is
pleased to assume, then the spring of philosophy would not have come to
light among them. At the best there would have come forth a brook soon
trickling away in the sand or evaporating into fogs, but never that
broad river flowing forth with the proud beat of its waves, the river
which we know as Greek Philosophy.

True, it has been eagerly pointed out how much the Greeks could
find and learn abroad, in the Orient, and how many different things
they may easily have brought from there. Of course an odd spectacle
resulted, when certain scholars brought together the alleged masters
from the Orient and the possible disciples from Greece, and exhibited
Zarathustra near Heraclitus, the Hindoos near the Eleates, the
Egyptians near Empedocles, or even Anaxagoras among the Jews and
Pythagoras among the Chinese. In detail little has been determined;
but we should in no way object to the general idea, if people did not
burden us with the conclusion that therefore Philosophy had only been
imported into Greece and was not indigenous to the soil, yea, that
she, as something foreign, had possibly ruined rather than improved
the Greek. Nothing is more foolish than to swear by the fact that the
Greeks had an aboriginal culture; no, they rather absorbed all the
culture flourishing among other nations, and they advanced so far,
just because they understood how to hurl the spear further from the
very spot where another nation had let it rest. They were admirable
in the art of learning productively, and so, like them, we _ought_
to learn from our neighbours, with a view to Life not to pedantic
knowledge, using everything learnt as a foothold whence to leap
high and still higher than our neighbour. The questions as to the
beginning of philosophy are quite negligible, for everywhere in the
beginning there is the crude, the unformed, the empty and the ugly;
and in all things only the higher stages come into consideration.
He who in the place of Greek philosophy prefers to concern himself
with that of Egypt and Persia, because the latter are perhaps more
"original" and certainly older, proceeds just as ill-advisedly as
those who cannot be at ease before they have traced back the Greek
mythology, so grand and profound, to such physical trivialities as
sun, lightning, weather and fog, as its prime origins, and who fondly
imagine they have rediscovered for instance in the restricted worship
of the one celestial vault among the other Indo-Germans a purer form
of religion than the poly-theistic worship of the Greek had been. The
road towards the beginning always leads into barbarism, and he who is
concerned with the Greeks ought always to keep in mind the fact that
the unsubdued thirst for knowledge in itself always barbarises just as
much as the hatred of knowledge, and that the Greeks have subdued their
inherently insatiable thirst for knowledge by their regard for Life,
by an ideal need of Life,--since they wished to live immediately that
which they learnt. The Greeks also philosophised as men of culture and
with the aims of culture, and therefore saved themselves the trouble
of inventing once again the elements of philosophy and knowledge
out of some autochthonous conceit, and with a will they at once set
themselves to fill out, enhance, raise and purify these elements they
had taken over in such a way, that only now in a higher sense and in a
purer sphere they became inventors. For they discovered the _typical
philosopher's genius,_ and the inventions of all posterity have added
nothing essential.

Every nation is put to shame if one points out such a wonderfully
idealised company of philosophers as that of the early Greek masters,
Thales, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Empedocles,
Democritus and Socrates. All those men are integral, entire and
self-contained,[1] and hewn out of one stone. Severe necessity exists
between their thinking and their character. They are not bound by any
convention, because at that time no professional class of philosophers
and scholars existed. They all stand before us in magnificent solitude
as the only ones who then devoted their life exclusively to knowledge.
They all possess the virtuous energy of the Ancients, whereby they
excel all the later philosophers in finding their own form and in
perfecting it by metamorphosis in its most minute details and general
aspect. For they were met by no helpful and facilitating fashion. Thus
together they form what Schopenhauer, in opposition to the Republic of
Scholars, has called a Republic of Geniuses; one giant calls to another
across the arid intervals of ages, and, undisturbed by a wanton, noisy
race of dwarfs, creeping about beneath them, the sublime intercourse of
spirits continues.

Of this sublime intercourse of spirits I have resolved to relate those
items which our modern hardness of hearing might perhaps hear and
understand; that means certainly the least of all. It seems to me
that those old sages from Thales to Socrates have discussed in that
intercourse, although in its most general aspect, everything that
constitutes for our contemplation the peculiarly Hellenic. In their
intercourse, as already in their personalities, they express distinctly
the great features of Greek genius of which the whole of Greek history
is a shadowy impression, a hazy copy, which consequently speaks less
clearly. If we could rightly interpret the total life of the Greek
nation, we should ever find reflected only that picture which in her
highest geniuses shines with more resplendent colours. Even the first
experience of philosophy on Greek soil, the sanction of the Seven Sages
is a distinct and unforgettable line in the picture of the Hellenic.
Other nations have their Saints, the Greeks have Sages. Rightly it has
been said that a nation is characterised not only by her great men
but rather by the manner in which she recognises and honours them. In
other ages the philosopher is an accidental solitary wanderer in the
most hostile environment, either slinking through or pushing himself
through with clenched fists. With the Greek however the philosopher is
not accidental; when in the Sixth and Fifth centuries amidst the most
frightful dangers and seductions of secularisation he appears and as
it were steps forth from the cave of Trophonios into the very midst of
luxuriance, the discoverers' happiness, the wealth and the sensuousness
of the Greek colonies, then we divine that he comes as a noble warner
for the same purpose for which in those centuries Tragedy was born
and which the Orphic mysteries in their grotesque hieroglyphics give
us to understand. The opinion of those philosophers on Life and
Existence altogether means so much more than a modern opinion because
they had before themselves Life in a luxuriant perfection, and because
with them, unlike us, the sense of the thinker was not muddled by
the disunion engendered by the wish for freedom, beauty, fulness of
life and the love for truth that only asks: What is the good of Life
at all? The mission which the philosopher has to discharge within a
real Culture, fashioned in a homogeneous style, cannot be clearly
conjectured out of our circumstances and experiences for the simple
reason that we have no such culture. No, it is only a Culture like the
Greek which can answer the question as to that task of the philosopher,
only such a Culture can, as I said before, justify philosophy at all;
because such a Culture alone knows and can demonstrate why and how the
philosopher is _not_ an accidental, chance wanderer driven now hither,
now thither. There is a steely necessity which fetters the philosopher
to a true Culture: but what if this Culture does not exist? Then the
philosopher is an incalculable and therefore terror-inspiring comet,
whereas in the favourable case, he shines as the central star in the
solar-system of culture. It is for this reason that the Greeks justify
the philosopher, because with them he is no comet.

[1] _Cf._ Napoleon's word about Goethe: "Voilà un homme!"--TR.


After such contemplations it will be accepted without offence if I
speak of the pre-Platonic philosophers as of a homogeneous company, and
devote this paper to them exclusively. Something quite new begins with
Plato; or it might be said with equal justice that in comparison with
that Republic of Geniuses from Thales to Socrates, the philosophers
since Plato lack something essential.

Whoever wants to express himself unfavourably about those older masters
may call them one-sided, and their _Epigones,_ with Plato as head,
many-sided. Yet it would be more just and unbiassed to conceive of
the latter as philosophic hybrid-characters, of the former as the
pure types. Plato himself is the first magnificent hybrid-character,
and as such finds expression as well in his philosophy as in his
personality. In his ideology are united Socratian, Pythagorean, and
Heraclitean elements, and for this reason it is no typically pure
phenomenon. As man, too, Plato mingles the features of the royally
secluded, all-sufficing Heraclitus, of the melancholy-compassionate and
legislatory Pythagoras and of the psycho-expert dialectician Socrates.
All later philosophers are such hybrid-characters; wherever something
one-sided does come into prominence with them as in the case of the
Cynics, it is not type but caricature. Much more important however is
the fact that they are founders of sects and that the sects founded
by them are all institutions in direct opposition to the Hellenic
culture and the unity of its style prevailing up to that time. In
their way they seek a redemption, but only for the individuals or at
the best for groups of friends and disciples closely connected with
them. The activity of the older philosophers tends, although they were
unconscious of it, towards a cure and purification on a large scale;
the mighty course of Greek culture is not to be stopped; awful dangers
are to be removed out of the way of its current; the philosopher
protects and defends his native country. Now, since Plato, he is in
exile and conspires against his fatherland.

It is a real misfortune that so very little of those older philosophic
masters has come down to us and that all complete works of theirs are
withheld from us. Involuntarily, on account of that loss, we measure
them according to wrong standards and allow ourselves to be influenced
unfavourably towards them by the mere accidental fact that Plato
and Aristotle never lacked appreciators and copyists. Some people
presuppose a special providence for books, a _fatum libellorum;_ such
a providence however would at any rate be a very malicious one if it
deemed it wise to withhold from us the works of Heraclitus, Empedocles'
wonderful poem, and the writings of Democritus, whom the ancients put
on a par with Plato, whom he even excels as far as ingenuity goes,
and as a substitute put into our hand Stoics, Epicureans and Cicero.
Probably the most sublime part of Greek thought and its expression
in words is lost to us; a fate which will not surprise the man who
remembers the misfortunes of Scotus Erigena or of Pascal, and who
considers that even in this enlightened century the first edition of
Schopenhauer's "_The World As Will And Idea_" became waste-paper. If
somebody will presuppose a special fatalistic power with respect to
such things he may do so and say with Goethe: "Let no one complain
about and grumble at things vile and mean, they _are_ the real
rulers,--however much this be gainsaid!" In particular they are more
powerful than the power of truth. Mankind very rarely produces a good
book in which with daring freedom is intonated the battle-song of
truth, the song of philosophic heroism; and yet whether it is to live a
century longer or to crumble and moulder into dust and ashes, depends
on the most miserable accidents, on the sudden mental eclipse of men's
heads, on superstitious convulsions and antipathies, finally on fingers
not too fond of writing or even on eroding bookworms and rainy weather.
But we will not lament but rather take the advice of the reproving and
consolatory words which Hamann addresses to scholars who lament over
lost works. "Would not the artist who succeeded in throwing a lentil
through the eye of a needle have sufficient, with a bushel of lentils,
to practise his acquired skill? One would like to put this question to
all scholars who do not know how to use the works of the Ancients any
better than that man used his lentils." It might be added in our case
that not one more word, anecdote, or date needed to be transmitted to
us than has been transmitted, indeed that even much less might have
been preserved for us and yet we should have been able to establish the
general doctrine that the Greeks justify philosophy.

A time which suffers from the so-called "general education" but has
no culture and no unity of style in her life hardly knows what to
do with philosophy, even if the latter were proclaimed by the very
Genius of Truth in the streets and market-places. She rather remains
at such a time the learned monologue of the solitary rambler, the
accidental booty of the individual, the hidden closet-secret or the
innocuous chatter between academic senility and childhood. Nobody
dare venture to fulfil in himself the law of philosophy, nobody
lives philosophically, with that simple manly faith which compelled
an Ancient, wherever he was, whatever he did, to deport himself as
a Stoic, when he had once pledged his faith to the Stoa. All modern
philosophising is limited politically and regulated by the police to
learned semblance. Thanks to governments, churches, academies, customs,
fashions, and the cowardice of man, it never gets beyond the sigh: "If
only!..." or beyond the knowledge: "Once upon a time there was..."
Philosophy is without rights; therefore modern man, if he were at all
courageous and conscientious, ought to condemn her and perhaps banish
her with words similar to those by which Plato banished the tragic
poets from his State. Of course there would be left a reply for her, as
there remained to those poets against Plato. If one once compelled her
to speak out she might say perhaps: "Miserable Nation! Is it my fault
if among you I am on the tramp, like a fortune teller through the land,
and must hide and disguise myself, as if I were a great sinner and ye
my judges? Just look at my sister, Art! It is with her as with me; we
have been cast adrift among the Barbarians and no longer know how to
save ourselves. Here we are lacking, it is true, every good right; but
the judges before whom we find justice judge you also and will tell
you: First acquire a culture; then you shall experience what Philosophy
can and will do."--


Greek philosophy seems to begin with a preposterous fancy, with the
proposition that _water_ is the origin and mother-womb of all things.
Is it really necessary to stop there and become serious? Yes, and
for three reasons: Firstly, because the proposition does enunciate
something about the origin of things; secondly, because it does
so without figure and fable; thirdly and lastly, because in it is
contained, although only in the chrysalis state, the idea: Everything
is one. The first mentioned reason leaves Thales still in the company
of religious and superstitious people, the second however takes him
out of this company and shows him to us as a natural philosopher, but
by virtue of the third, Thales becomes the first Greek philosopher.
If he had said: "Out of water earth is evolved," we should only have
a scientific hypothesis; a false one, though nevertheless difficult
to refute. But he went beyond the scientific. In his presentation of
this concept of unity through the hypothesis of water, Thales has not
surmounted the low level of the physical discernments of his time, but
at the best overleapt them. The deficient and unorganised observations
of an empiric nature which Thales had made as to the occurrence and
transformations of water, or to be more exact, of the Moist, would
not in the least have made possible or even suggested such an immense
generalisation. That which drove him to this generalisation was a
metaphysical dogma, which had its origin in a mystic intuition and
which together with the ever renewed endeavours to express it better,
we find in all philosophies,--the proposition: _Everything is one!_

How despotically such a faith deals with all empiricism is worthy of
note; with Thales especially one can learn how Philosophy has behaved
at all times, when she wanted to get beyond the hedges of experience
to her magically attracting goal. On light supports she leaps in
advance; hope and divination wing her feet. Calculating reason too,
clumsily pants after her and seeks better supports in its attempt to
reach that alluring goal, at which its divine companion has already
arrived. One sees in imagination two wanderers by a wild forest-stream
which carries with it rolling stones; the one, light-footed, leaps
over it using the stones and swinging himself upon them ever further
and further, though they precipitously sink into the depths behind
him. The other stands helpless there most of the time; he has first
to build a pathway which will bear his heavy, weary step; sometimes
that cannot be done and then no god will help him across the stream.
What therefore carries philosophical thinking so quickly to its goal?
Does it distinguish itself from calculating and measuring thought
only by its more rapid flight through large spaces? No, for a strange
illogical power wings the foot of philosophical thinking; and this
power is Fancy. Lifted by the latter, philosophical thinking leaps
from possibility to possibility, and these for the time being are
taken as certainties; and now and then even whilst on the wing it
gets hold of certainties. An ingenious presentiment shows them to
the flier; demonstrable certainties are divined at a distance to be
at this point. Especially powerful is the strength of Fancy in the
lightning-like seizing and illuminating of similarities; afterwards
reflection applies its standards and models and seeks to substitute
the similarities by equalities, that which was seen side by side by
causalities. But though this should never be possible, even in the case
of Thales the indemonstrable philosophising has yet its value; although
all supports are broken when Logic and the rigidity of Empiricism want
to get across to the proposition: Everything is water; yet still there
is always, after the demolition of the scientific edifice, a remainder,
and in this very remainder lies a moving force and as it were the hope
of future fertility.

Of course I do not mean that the thought in any restriction or
attenuation, or as allegory, still retains some kind of "truth"; as
if, for instance, one might imagine the creating artist standing
near a waterfall, and seeing in the forms which leap towards him,
an artistically prefiguring game of the water with human and animal
bodies, masks, plants, rocks, nymphs, griffins, and with all existing
types in general, so that to him the proposition: Everything is water,
is confirmed. The thought of Thales has rather its value--even after
the perception of its indemonstrableness--in the very fact, that it was
meant unmythically and unallegorically. The Greeks among whom Thales
became so suddenly conspicuous were the anti-type of all realists
by only believing essentially in the reality of men and gods, and
by contemplating the whole of nature as if it were only a disguise,
masquerade and metamorphosis of these god-men. Man was to them the
truth, and essence of things; everything else mere phenomenon and
deceiving play. For that very reason they experienced incredible
difficulty in conceiving of ideas as ideas. Whilst with the moderns
the most personal item sublimates itself into abstractions, with
them the most abstract notions became personified. Thales, however,
said, "Not man but water is the reality of things "; he began to
believe in nature, in so far that he at least believed in water. As
a mathematician and astronomer he had grown cold towards everything
mythical and allegorical, and even if he did not succeed in becoming
disillusioned as to the pure abstraction, Everything is one, and
although he left off at a physical expression he was nevertheless among
the Greeks of his time a surprising rarity. Perhaps the exceedingly
conspicuous _Orpheans_ possessed in a still higher degree than he the
faculty of conceiving abstractions and of thinking unplastically; only
they did not succeed in expressing these abstractions except in the
form of the allegory. Also Pherecydes of Syrus who is a contemporary
of Thales and akin to him in many physical conceptions hovers with
the expression of the latter in that middle region where Allegory is
wedded to Mythos, so that he dares, for example, to compare the earth
with a winged oak, which hangs in the air with spread pinions and which
Zeus bedecks, after the defeat of Kronos, with a magnificent robe of
honour, into which with his own hands Zeus embroiders lands, water
and rivers. In contrast with such gloomy allegorical philosophising
scarcely to be translated into the realm of the comprehensible, Thales'
are the works of a creative master who began to look into Nature's
depths without fantastic fabling. If as it is true he used Science
and the demonstrable but soon out-leapt them, then this likewise
is a typical characteristic of the philosophical genius. The Greek
word which designates the Sage belongs etymologically to _sapio,_ I
taste, _sapiens,_ the tasting one, _sisyphos,_ the man of the most
delicate taste; the peculiar art of the philosopher therefore consists,
according to the opinion of the people, in a delicate selective
judgment by taste, by discernment, by significant differentiation. He
is not prudent, if one calls _him_ prudent, who in his own affairs
finds out the good; Aristotle rightly says: "That which Thales and
Anaxagoras know, people will call unusual, astounding, difficult,
divine but--useless, since human possessions were of no concern to
those two." Through thus selecting and precipitating the unusual,
astounding, difficult, and divine, Philosophy marks the boundary-lines
dividing her from Science in the same way as she does it from Prudence
by the emphasising of the useless. Science without thus selecting,
without such delicate taste, pounces upon everything knowable, in the
blind covetousness to know all at any price; philosophical thinking
however is always on the track of the things worth knowing, on the
track of the great and most important discernments. Now the idea of
greatness is changeable, as well in the moral as in the æsthetic
realm, thus Philosophy begins with a legislation with respect to
greatness, she becomes a Nomenclator. "That is great," she says,
and therewith she raises man above the blind, untamed covetousness
of his thirst for knowledge. By the idea of greatness she assuages
this thirst: and it is chiefly by this, that she contemplates the
greatest discernment, that of the essence and kernel of things, as
attainable and attained. When Thales says, "Everything is water," man
is startled up out of his worm-like mauling of and crawling about among
the individual sciences; he divines the last solution of things and
masters through this divination the common perplexity of the lower
grades of knowledge. The philosopher tries to make the total-chord of
the universe re-echo within himself and then to project it into ideas
outside himself: whilst he is contemplative like the creating artist,
sympathetic like the religionist, looking out for ends and causalities
like the scientific man, whilst he feels himself swell up to the
macrocosm, he still retains the circumspection to contemplate himself
coldly as the reflex of the world; he retains that cool-headedness,
which the dramatic artist possesses, when he transforms himself into
other bodies, speaks out of them, and yet knows how to project this
transformation outside himself into written verses. What the verse is
to the poet, dialectic thinking is to the philosopher; he snatches
at it in order to hold fast his enchantment, in order to petrify it.
And just as words and verse to the dramatist are only stammerings in
a foreign language, to tell in it what he lived, what he saw, and
what he can directly promulgate by gesture and music only, thus the
expression of every deep philosophical intuition by means of dialectics
and scientific reflection is, it is true, on the one hand the only
means to communicate what has been seen, but on the other hand it is
a paltry means, and at the bottom a metaphorical, absolutely inexact
translation into a different sphere and language. Thus Thales saw the
Unity of the "Existent," and when he wanted to communicate this idea he
talked of water.


Whilst the general type of the philosopher in the picture of Thales
is set off rather hazily, the picture of his great successor already
speaks much more distinctly to us. _Anaximander_ of Milet, the
first philosophical author of the Ancients, writes in the very way
that the typical philosopher will always write as long as he is
not alienated from ingenuousness and _naïveté_ by odd claims: in
a grand lapidarian style of writing, sentence for sentence ... a
witness of a new inspiration, and an expression of the sojourning in
sublime contemplations. The thought and its form are milestones on
the path towards the highest wisdom. With such a lapidarian emphasis
Anaximander once said: "Whence things originated, thither, according
to necessity, they must return and perish; for they must pay penalty
and be judged for their injustices according to the order of time."
Enigmatical utterance of a true pessimist, oracular inscription on the
boundary-stone of Greek philosophy, how shall we explain thee?

The only serious moralist of our century in the Parergis (Vol. ii.,
chap. 12, "Additional Remarks on The Doctrine about the Suffering in
the World, Appendix of Corresponding Passages") urges on us a similar
contemplation: "The right standard by which to judge every human
being is that he really is a being who ought not to exist at all,
but who is expiating his existence by manifold forms of suffering
and death:--What can one expect from such a being? Are we not all
sinners condemned to death? We expiate our birth firstly by our
life and secondly by our death." He who in the physiognomy of our
universal human lot reads this doctrine and already recognises the
fundamental bad quality of every human life, in the fact that none
can stand a very close and careful contemplation--although our time,
accustomed to the biographical epidemic, seems to think otherwise and
more loftily about the dignity of man; he who, like Schopenhauer, on
"the heights of the Indian breezes" has heard the sacred word about
the moral value of existence, will be kept with difficulty from
making an extremely anthropomorphic metaphor and from generalizing
that melancholy doctrine--at first only limited to human life--and
applying it by transmission to the general character of all existence.
It may not be very logical, it is however at any rate very human and
moreover quite in harmony with the philosophical leaping described
above, now with Anaximander to consider all Becoming as a punishable
emancipation from eternal "Being," as a wrong that is to be atoned
for by destruction. Everything that has once come into existence also
perishes, whether we think of human life or of water or of heat and
cold; everywhere where definite qualities are to be noticed, we are
allowed to prophesy the extinction of these qualities--according to
the all-embracing proof of experience. Thus a being that possesses
definite qualities and consists of them, can never be the origin and
principle of things; the veritable _ens,_ the "Existent," Anaximander
concluded, cannot possess any definite qualities, otherwise, like
all other things, it would necessarily have originated and perished.
In order that Becoming may not cease, the Primordial-being must be
indefinite. The immortality and eternity of the Primordial-being lies
not in an infiniteness and inexhaustibility--as usually the expounders
of Anaximander presuppose--but in this, that it lacks the definite
qualities which lead to destruction, for which reason it bears also its
name: The Indefinite. The thus labelled Primordial-being is superior
to all Becoming and for this very reason it guarantees the eternity
and unimpeded course of Becoming. This last unity in that Indefinite,
the mother-womb of all things, can, it is true, be designated only
negatively by man, as something to which no predicate out of the
existing world of Becoming can be allotted, and might be considered a
peer to the Kantian "Thing-in-itself."

Of course he who is able to wrangle persistently with others as to what
kind of thing that primordial substance really was, whether perhaps an
intermediate thing between air and water, or perhaps between air and
fire, has not understood our philosopher at all; this is likewise to
be said about those, who seriously ask themselves, whether Anaximander
had thought of his primordial substance as a mixture of all existing
substances. Rather we must direct our gaze to the place where we can
learn that Anaximander no longer treated the question of the origin
of the world as purely physical; we must direct our gaze towards that
first stated lapidarian proposition. When on the contrary he saw a sum
of wrongs to be expiated in the plurality of things that have become,
then he, as the first Greek, with daring grasp caught up the tangle of
the most profound ethical problem. How can anything perish that has a
right to exist? Whence that restless Becoming and giving-birth, whence
that expression of painful distortion on the face of Nature, whence the
never-ending dirge in all realms of existence? Out of this world of
injustice, of audacious apostasy from the primordial-unity of things
Anaximander flees into a metaphysical castle, leaning out of which he
turns his gaze far and wide in order at last, after a pensive silence,
to address to all beings this question: "What is your existence worth?
And if it is worth nothing why are you there? By your guilt, I observe,
you sojourn in this world. You will have to expiate it by death. Look
how your earth fades; the seas decrease and dry up, the marine-shell
on the mountain shows you how much already they have dried up; fire
destroys your world even now, finally it will end in smoke and ashes.
But again and again such a world of transitoriness will ever build
itself up; who shall redeem you from the curse of Becoming?"

Not every kind of life may have been welcome to a man who put such
questions, whose upward-soaring thinking continually broke the empiric
ropes, in order to take at once to the highest, superlunary flight.
Willingly we believe tradition, that he walked along in especially
dignified attire and showed a truly tragic hauteur in his gestures
and habits of life. He lived as he wrote; he spoke as solemnly as he
dressed himself, he raised his hand and placed his foot as if this
existence was a tragedy, and he had been born in order to co-operate
in that tragedy by playing the _rôle_ of hero. In all that he was the
great model of Empedocles. His fellow-citizens elected him the leader
of an emigrating colony--perhaps they were pleased at being able to
honour him and at the same time to get rid of him. His thought also
emigrated and founded colonies; in Ephesus and in Elea they could not
get rid of him; and if they could not resolve upon staying at the spot
where he stood, they nevertheless knew that they had been led there by
him, whence they now prepared to proceed without him.

Thales shows the need of simplifying the empire of plurality, and
of reducing it to a mere expansion or disguise of the _one single_
existing quality, water. Anaximander goes beyond him with two steps.
Firstly he puts the question to himself: How, if there exists an
eternal Unity at all, is that Plurality possible? and he takes the
answer out of the contradictory, self-devouring and denying character
of this Plurality. The existence of this Plurality becomes a moral
phenomenon to him; it is not justified, it expiates itself continually
through destruction. But then the questions occur to him: Yet why has
not everything that has become perished long ago, since, indeed, quite
an eternity of time has already gone by? Whence the ceaseless current
of the River of Becoming? He can save himself from these questions
only by mystic possibilities: the eternal Becoming can have its origin
only in the eternal "Being," the conditions for that apostasy from
that eternal "Being" to a Becoming in injustice are ever the same, the
constellation of things cannot help itself being thus fashioned, that
no end is to be seen of that stepping forth of the individual being out
of the lap of the "Indefinite." At this Anaximander stayed; that is,
he remained within the deep shadows which like gigantic spectres were
lying on the mountain range of such a world-perception. The more one
wanted to approach the problem of solving how out of the Indefinite the
Definite, out of the Eternal the Temporal, out of the Just the Unjust
could by secession ever originate, the darker the night became.----


Towards the midst of this mystic night, in which Anaximander's problem
of the Becoming was wrapped up, Heraclitus of Ephesus approached and
illuminated it by a divine flash of lightning. "I contemplate the
Becoming," he exclaimed,--"and nobody has so attentively watched this
eternal wave-surging and rhythm of things. And what do I behold?
Lawfulness, infallible certainty, ever equal paths of Justice,
condemning Erinyes behind all transgressions of the laws, the whole
world the spectacle of a governing justice and of demoniacally
omnipresent natural forces subject to justice's sway. I do not behold
the punishment of that which has become, but the justification of
Becoming. When has sacrilege, when has apostasy manifested itself in
inviolable forms, in laws esteemed sacred? Where injustice sways, there
is caprice, disorder, irregularity, contradiction; where however Law
and Zeus' daughter, Dike, rule alone, as in this world, how could the
sphere of guilt, of expiation, of judgment, and as it were the place of
execution of all condemned ones be there?"

From this intuition Heraclitus took two coherent negations, which are
put into the right light only by a comparison with the propositions of
his predecessor. Firstly, he denied the duality of two quite diverse
worlds, into the assumption of which Anaximander had been pushed; he
no longer distinguished a physical world from a metaphysical, a realm
of definite qualities from a realm of indefinable indefiniteness. Now
after this first step he could neither be kept back any longer from
a still greater audacity of denying: he denied "Being" altogether.
For this one world which was left to him,--shielded all round by
eternal, unwritten laws, flowing up and down in the brazen beat of
rhythm,--shows nowhere persistence, indestructibility, a bulwark in the
stream. Louder than Anaximander, Heraclitus exclaimed: "I see nothing
but Becoming. Be not deceived! It is the fault of your limited outlook
and not the fault of the essence of things if you believe that you see
firm land anywhere in the ocean of Becoming and Passing. You need names
for things, just as if they had a rigid permanence, but the very river
in which you bathe a second time is no longer the same one which you
entered before."

Heraclitus has as his royal property the highest power of intuitive
conception, whereas towards the other mode of conception which is
consummated by ideas and logical combinations, that is towards reason,
he shows himself cool, apathetic, even hostile, and he seems to
derive a pleasure when he is able to contradict reason by means of a
truth gained intuitively, and this he does in such propositions as:
"Everything has always its opposite within itself," so fearlessly
that Aristotle before the tribunal of Reason accuses him of the
highest crime, of having sinned against the law of opposition.
Intuitive representation however embraces two things: firstly, the
present, motley, changing world, pressing on us in all experiences,
secondly, the conditions by means of which alone any experience of
this world becomes possible: time and space. For these are able to be
intuitively apprehended, purely in themselves and independent of any
experience; _i.e.,_ they can be perceived, although they are without
definite contents. If now Heraclitus considered time in this fashion,
dissociated from all experiences, he had in it the most instructive
monogram of all that which falls within the realm of intuitive
conception. Just as he conceived of time, so also for instance did
Schopenhauer, who repeatedly says of it: that in it every instant
exists only in so far as it has annihilated the preceding one, its
father, in order to be itself effaced equally quickly; that past
and future are as unreal as any dream; that the present is only the
dimensionless and unstable boundary between the two; that however, like
time, so space, and again like the latter, so also everything that
is simultaneously in space and time, has only a relative existence,
only through and for the sake of a something else, of the same kind
as itself, _i.e.,_ existing only under the same limitations. This
truth is in the highest degree self-evident, accessible to everyone,
and just for that very reason, abstractly and rationally, it is only
attained with great difficulty. Whoever has this truth before his eyes
must however also proceed at once to the next Heraclitean consequence
and say that the whole essence of actuality is in fact activity, and
that for actuality there is no other kind of existence and reality,
as Schopenhauer has likewise expounded ("The World As Will And Idea,"
Vol. I., Bk. I, sec. 4): "Only as active does it fill space and time:
its action upon the immediate object determines the perception in
which alone it exists: the effect of the action of any material object
upon any other, is known only in so far as the latter acts upon the
immediate object in a different way from that in which it acted before;
it consists in this alone. Cause and effect thus constitute the whole
nature of matter; its true being _is_ its action. The totality of
everything material is therefore very appropriately called in German
_Wirklichkeit_ (actuality)--a word which is far more expressive than
_Realität_ (reality).[2] That upon which actuality acts is always
matter; actuality's whole 'Being' and essence therefore consist only in
the orderly change, which _one_ part of it causes in another, and is
therefore wholly relative, according to a relation which is valid only
within the boundary of actuality, as in the case of time and space."

The eternal and exclusive Becoming, the total instability of all
reality and actuality, which continually works and becomes and never
_is,_ as Heraclitus teaches--is an awful and appalling conception,
and in its effects most nearly related to that sensation, by which
during an earthquake one loses confidence in the firmly-grounded earth.
It required an astonishing strength to translate this effect into
its opposite, into the sublime, into happy astonishment. Heraclitus
accomplished this through an observation of the proper course of all
Becoming and Passing, which he conceived of under the form of polarity,
as the divergence of a force into two qualitatively different, opposite
actions, striving after reunion. A quality is set continually at
variance with itself and separates itself into its opposites: these
opposites continually strive again one towards another. The common
people of course think to recognise something rigid, completed,
consistent; but the fact of the matter is that at any instant, bright
and dark, sour and sweet are side by side and attached to one another
like two wrestlers of whom sometimes the one succeeds, sometimes the
other. According to Heraclitus honey is at the same time sweet and
bitter, and the world itself an amphora whose contents constantly need
stirring up. Out of the war of the opposites all Becoming originates;
the definite and to us seemingly persistent qualities express only the
momentary predominance of the one fighter, but with that the war is not
at an end; the wrestling continues to all eternity. Everything happens
according to this struggle, and this very struggle manifests eternal
justice. It is a wonderful conception, drawn from the purest source
of Hellenism, which considers the struggle as the continual sway of a
homogeneous, severe justice bound by eternal laws. Only a Greek was
able to consider this conception as the fundament of a _Cosmodicy;_ it
is Hesiod's good Eris transfigured into the cosmic principle, it is
the idea of a contest, an idea held by individual Greeks and by their
State, and translated out of the gymnasia and palæstra, out of the
artistic agonistics, out of the struggle of the political parties and
of the towns into the most general principle, so that the machinery of
the universe is regulated by it. Just as every Greek fought as though
he alone were in the right, and as though an absolutely sure standard
of judicial opinion could at any instant decide whither victory is
inclining, thus the qualities wrestle one with another, according to
inviolable laws and standards which are inherent in the struggle. The
Things themselves in the permanency of which the limited intellect of
man and animal believes, do not "exist" at all; they are as the fierce
flashing and fiery sparkling of drawn swords, as the stars of Victory
rising with a radiant resplendence in the battle of the opposite

That struggle which is peculiar to all Becoming, that eternal
interchange of victory is again described by Schopenhauer: ("The World
As Will And Idea," Vol. I., Bk. 2, sec. 27) "The permanent matter
must constantly change its form; for under the guidance of causality,
mechanical, physical, chemical, and organic phenomena, eagerly striving
to appear, wrest the matter from each other, for each desires to
reveal its own Idea. This strife may be followed up through the whole
of nature; indeed nature exists only through it." The following pages
give the most noteworthy illustrations of this struggle, only that
the prevailing tone of this description ever remains other than that
of Heraclitus in so far as to Schopenhauer the struggle is a proof of
the Will to Life falling out with itself; it is to him a feasting
on itself on the part of this dismal, dull impulse, as a phenomenon
on the whole horrible and not at all making for happiness. The arena
and the object of this struggle is Matter,--which some natural forces
alternately endeavour to disintegrate and build up again at the expense
of other natural forces,--as also Space and Time, the union of which
through causality _is_ this very matter.

[2] Mira in quibusdam rebus verborum proprietas est, et consuetudo
sermonis antiqui quædam efficacissimis notis signat (Seneca, Epist.


Whilst the imagination of Heraclitus measured the restlessly moving
universe, the "actuality" (_Wirklichkeit_), with the eye of the happy
spectator, who sees innumerable pairs wrestling in joyous combat
entrusted to the superintendence of severe umpires, a still higher
presentiment seized him, he no longer could contemplate the wrestling
pairs and the umpires, separated one from another; the very umpires
seemed to fight, and the fighters seemed to be their own judges--yea,
since at the bottom he conceived only of the one Justice eternally
swaying, he dared to exclaim: "The contest of The Many is itself pure
justice. And after all: The One is The Many. For what are all those
qualities according to their nature? Are they immortal gods? Are they
separate beings working for themselves from the beginning and without
end? And if the world which we see knows only Becoming and Passing but
no Permanence, should perhaps those qualities constitute a differently
fashioned metaphysical world, true, not a world of unity as Anaximander
sought behind the fluttering veil of plurality, but a world of eternal
and essential pluralities?" Is it possible that however violently he
had denied such duality, Heraclitus has after all by a round-about way
accidentally got into the dual cosmic order, an order with an Olympus
of numerous immortal gods and demons,--viz., _many_ realities,--and
with a human world, which sees only the dust-cloud of the Olympic
struggle and the flashing of divine spears,--_i.e.,_ only a Becoming?
Anaximander had fled just from these definite qualities into the lap of
the metaphysical "Indefinite"; because the former _became_ and passed,
he had denied them a true and essential existence; however should it
not seem now as if the Becoming is only the looming-into-view of a
struggle of eternal qualities? When we speak of the Becoming, should
not the original cause of this be sought in the peculiar feebleness of
human cognition--whereas in the nature of things there is perhaps no
Becoming, but only a co-existing of many true increate indestructible

These are Heraclitean loop-holes and labyrinths; he exclaims once
again: "The 'One' is the 'Many'." The many perceptible qualities are
neither eternal entities, nor phantasmata of our senses (Anaxagoras
conceives them later on as the former, Parmenides as the latter),
they are neither rigid, sovereign "Being" nor fleeting Appearance
hovering in human minds. The third possibility which alone was left
to Heraclitus nobody will be able to divine with dialectic sagacity
and as it were by calculation, for what he invented here is a rarity
even in the realm of mystic incredibilities and unexpected cosmic
metaphors.--The world is the _Game_ of Zeus, or expressed more
physically, the game of fire with itself, the "One" is only in this
sense at the same time the "Many."--

In order to elucidate in the first place the introduction of fire as
a world-shaping force, I recall how Anaximander had further developed
the theory of water as the origin of things. Placing confidence in the
essential part of Thales' theory, and strengthening and adding to the
latter's observations, Anaximander however was not to be convinced
that before the water and, as it were, after the water there was no
further stage of quality: no, to him out of the Warm and the Cold
the Moist seemed to form itself, and the Warm and the Cold therefore
were supposed to be the preliminary stages, the still more original
qualities. With their issuing forth from the primordial existence
of the "Indefinite," Becoming begins. Heraclitus who as physicist
subordinated himself to the importance of Anaximander, explains to
himself this Anaximandrian "Warm" as the respiration, the warm breath,
the dry vapours, in short as the fiery element: about this fire he now
enunciates the same as Thales and Anaximander had enunciated about
the water: that in innumerable metamorphoses it was passing along the
path of Becoming, especially in the three chief aggregate stages as
something Warm, Moist, and Firm. For water in descending is transformed
into earth, in ascending into fire: or as Heraclitus appears to have
expressed himself more exactly: from the sea ascend only the pure
vapours which serve as food to the divine fire of the stars, from the
earth only the dark, foggy ones, from which the Moist derives its
nourishment. The pure vapours are the transitional stage in the passing
of sea into fire, the impure the transitional stage in the passing
of earth into water. Thus the two paths of metamorphosis of the fire
run continuously side by side, upwards and downwards, to and fro, from
fire to water, from water to earth, from earth back again to water,
from water to fire. Whereas Heraclitus is a follower of Anaximander in
the most important of these conceptions, _e.g.,_ that the fire is kept
up by the evaporations, or herein, that out of the water is dissolved
partly earth, partly fire; he is on the other hand quite independent
and in opposition to Anaximander in excluding the "Cold" from the
physical process, whilst Anaximander had put it side by side with the
"Warm" as having the same rights, so as to let the "Moist" originate
out of both. To do so, was of course a necessity to Heraclitus, for
if everything is to be fire, then, however many possibilities of its
transformation might be assumed, nothing can exist that would be the
absolute antithesis to fire; he has, therefore, probably interpreted
only as a degree of the "Warm" that which is called the "Cold," and
he could justify this interpretation without difficulty. Much more
important than this deviation from the doctrine of Anaximander is a
further agreement; he, like the latter, believes in an end of the
world periodically repeating itself and in an ever-renewed emerging of
another world out of the all-destroying world-fire. The period during
which the world hastens towards that world-fire and the dissolution
into pure fire is characterised by him most strikingly as a demand
and a need; the state of being completely swallowed up by the fire as
satiety; and now to us remains the question as to how he understood
and named the newly awakening impulse for world-creation, the
pouring-out-of-itself into the forms of plurality. The Greek proverb
seems to come to our assistance with the thought that "satiety gives
birth to crime" (the Hybris) and one may indeed ask oneself for a
minute whether perhaps Heraclitus has derived that return to plurality
out of the Hybris. Let us just take this thought seriously: in its
light the face of Heraclitus changes before our eyes, the proud gleam
of his eyes dies out, a wrinkled expression of painful resignation, of
impotence becomes distinct, it seems that we know why later antiquity
called him the "weeping philosopher." Is not the whole world-process
now an act of punishment of the Hybris? The plurality the result of a
crime? The transformation of the pure into the impure, the consequence
of injustice? Is not the guilt now shifted into the essence of the
things and indeed, the world of Becoming and of individuals accordingly
exonerated from guilt; yet at the same time are they not condemned for
ever and ever to bear the consequences of guilt?


That dangerous word, Hybris, is indeed the touchstone for every
Heraclitean; here he may show whether he has understood or mistaken
his master. Is there in this world: Guilt, injustice, contradiction,

Yes, exclaims Heraclitus, but only for the limited human being, who
sees divergently and not convergently, not for the contuitive god;
to him everything opposing converges into one harmony, invisible it
is true to the common human eye, yet comprehensible to him who like
Heraclitus resembles the contemplative god. Before his fiery eye no
drop of injustice is left in the world poured out around him, and even
that cardinal obstacle--how pure fire can take up its quarters in
forms so impure--he masters by means of a sublime simile. A Becoming
and Passing, a building and destroying, without any moral bias, in
perpetual innocence is in this world only the play of the artist and of
the child. And similarly, just as the child and the artist play, the
eternally living fire plays, builds up and destroys, in innocence--and
this game the _Æon_ plays with himself. Transforming himself into water
and earth, like a child he piles heaps of sand by the sea, piles up
and demolishes; from time to time he recommences the game. A moment of
satiety, then again desire seizes him, as desire compels the artist to
create. Not wantonness, but the ever newly awakening impulse to play,
calls into life other worlds. The child throws away his toys; but soon
he starts again in an innocent frame of mind. As soon however as the
child builds he connects, joins and forms lawfully and according to an
innate sense of order.

Thus only is the world contemplated by the æsthetic man, who has
learned from the artist and the genesis of the latter's work, how the
struggle of plurality can yet bear within itself law and justice,
how the artist stands contemplative above, and working within the
work of art, how necessity and play, antagonism and harmony must pair
themselves for the procreation of the work of art.

Who now will still demand from such a philosophy a system of Ethics
with the necessary imperatives--Thou Shalt,--or even reproach
Heraclitus with such a deficiency. Man down to his last fibre is
Necessity and absolutely "unfree "--if by freedom one understands the
foolish claim to be able to change at will one's _essentia_ like a
garment, a claim, which up to the present every serious philosophy
has rejected with due scorn. That so few human beings live with
consciousness in the _Logos_ and in accordance with the all-overlooking
artist's eye originates from their souls being wet and from the fact
that men's eyes and ears, their intellect in general is a bad witness
when "moist ooze fills their souls." Why that is so, is not questioned
any more than why fire becomes water and earth. Heraclitus is not
_compelled_ to prove (as Leibnitz was) that this world was even the
best of all; it was sufficient for him that the world is the beautiful,
innocent play of the _Æon._ Man on the whole is to him even an
irrational being, with which the fact that in all his essence the law
of all-ruling reason is fulfilled does lot clash. He does not occupy
a specially favoured position in nature, whose highest phenomenon is
not simple-minded man, but fire, for instance, as stars. In so far as
man has through necessity received a share of fire, he is a little
more rational; as far as he consists of earth and water it stands
badly with his reason. He is not compelled to take cognisance of the
_Logos_ simply because he is a human being. Why is there water, why
earth? This to Heraclitus is a much more serious problem than to ask,
why men are so stupid and bad. In the highest and the most perverted
men the same inherent lawfulness and justice manifest themselves.
If however one would ask Heraclitus the question "Why is fire not
always fire, why is it now water, now earth?" then he would only just
answer: "It is a game, don't take it too pathetically and still less,
morally." Heraclitus describes only the existing world and has the same
contemplative pleasure in it which the artist experiences when looking
at his growing work. Only those who have cause to be discontented
with his natural history of man find him gloomy, melancholy, tearful,
sombre, atrabilarious, pessimistic and altogether hateful. He however
would take these discontented people, together with their antipathies
and sympathies, their hatred und their love, as negligible and perhaps
answer them with some such comment as: "Dogs bark at anything they do
not know," or, "To the ass chaff is preferable to gold."

With such discontented persons also originate the numerous complaints
as to the obscurity of the Heraclitean style; probably no man has ever
written clearer and more illuminatingly; of course, very abruptly,
and therefore naturally obscure to the racing readers. But why a
philosopher should intentionally write obscurely--a thing habitually
said about Heraclitus--is absolutely inexplicable; unless he has some
cause to hide his thoughts or is sufficiently a rogue to conceal his
thoughtlessness underneath words. One is, as Schopenhauer says, indeed
compelled by lucid expression to prevent misunderstandings even in
affairs of practical every-day life, how then should one be allowed to
express oneself indistinctly, indeed puzzlingly in the most difficult,
most abstruse, scarcely attainable object of thinking, the tasks of
philosophy? With respect to brevity however Jean Paul gives a good
precept: "On the whole it is right that everything great--of deep
meaning to a rare mind--should be uttered with brevity and (therefore)
obscurely so that the paltry mind would rather proclaim it to be
nonsense than translate it into the realm of his empty-headedness.
For common minds have an ugly ability to perceive in the deepest and
richest saying nothing but their own every-day opinion." Moreover and
in spite of it Heraclitus has not escaped the "paltry minds"; already
the Stoics have "re-expounded" him into the shallow and dragged down
his æsthetic fundamental-perception as to the play of the world to the
miserable level of the common regard for the practical ends of the
world and more explicitly for the advantages of man, so that out of his
Physics has arisen in those heads a crude optimism, with the continual
invitation to Dick, Tom, and Harry, "_Plaudite amici!_"


Heraclitus was proud; and if it comes to pride with a philosopher then
it is a great pride. His work never refers him to a "public," the
applause of the masses and the hailing chorus of contemporaries. To
wander lonely along his path belongs to the nature of the philosopher.
His talents are the most rare, in a certain sense the most unnatural
and at the same time exclusive and hostile even toward kindred talents.
The wall of his self-sufficiency must be of diamond, if it is not to
be demolished and broken, for everything is in motion against him. His
journey to immortality is more cumbersome and impeded than any other
and yet nobody can believe more firmly than the philosopher that he
will attain the goal by that journey--because he does not know where
he is to stand if not on the widely spread wings of all time; for the
disregard of everything present and momentary lies in the essence of
the great philosophic nature. He has truth; the wheel of time may roll
whither it pleases, never can it escape from truth. It is important
to hear that such men have lived. Never for example would one be able
to imagine the pride of Heraclitus as an idle possibility. In itself
every endeavour after knowledge seems by its nature to be eternally
unsatisfied and unsatisfactory. Therefore nobody unless instructed
by history will like to believe in such a royal self-esteem and
conviction of being the only wooer of truth. Such men live in their
own solar-system--one has to look for them there. A Pythagoras, an
Empedocles treated themselves too with a super-human esteem, yea, with
almost religious awe; but the tie of sympathy united with the great
conviction of the metempsychosis and the unity of everything living,
led them back to other men, for their welfare and salvation. Of that
feeling of solitude, however, which permeated the Ephesian recluse
of the Artemis Temple, one can only divine something, when growing
benumbed in the wildest mountain desert. No paramount feeling of
compassionate agitation, no desire to help, heal and save emanates from
him. He is a star without an atmosphere. His eye, directed blazingly
inwards, looks outward, for appearance's sake only, extinct and icy.
All around him, immediately upon the citadel of his pride beat the
waves of folly and perversity: with loathing he turns away from them.
But men with a feeling heart would also shun such a Gorgon monster
as cast out of brass; within an out-of-the-way sanctuary, among the
statues of gods, by the side of cold composedly-sublime architecture
such a being may appear more comprehensible. As man among men
Heraclitus was incredible; and though he was seen paying attention to
the play of noisy children, even then he was reflecting upon what never
man thought of on such an occasion: the play of the great world-child,
Zeus. He had no need of men, not even for his discernments. He was
not interested in all that which one might perhaps ascertain from
them, and in what the other sages before him had been endeavouring to
ascertain. He spoke with disdain of such questioning, collecting, in
short "historic" men. "I sought and investigated myself," he said, with
a word by which one designates the investigation of an oracle; as if
he and no one else were the true fulfiller and achiever of the Delphic
precept: "Know thyself."

What he learned from this oracle, he deemed immortal wisdom, and
eternally worthy of explanation, of unlimited effect even in the
distance, after the model of the prophetic speeches of the Sibyl.
It is sufficient for the latest mankind: let the latter have that
expounded to her, as oracular sayings, which he like the Delphic god
"neither enunciates nor conceals." Although it is proclaimed by him,
"without smiles, finery and the scent of ointments," but rather as with
"foaming mouth," it _must_ force its way through the millenniums of
the future. For the world needs truth eternally, therefore she needs
also Heraclitus eternally; although he has no need of her. What does
his fame matter to _him?_--fame with "mortals ever flowing on!" as he
exclaims scornfully. His fame is of concern to man, not to himself;
the immortality of mankind needs him, not he the immortality of the
man Heraclitus. That which he beheld, _the doctrine of the Law in the
Becoming, and of the Play in the Necessity,_ must henceforth be beheld
eternally; he has raised the curtain of this greatest stage-play.


Whereas in every word of Heraclitus are expressed the pride and the
majesty of truth, but of truth caught by intuitions, not scaled by
the rope-ladder of Logic, whereas in sublime ecstasy he beholds but
does not espy, discerns but does not reckon, he is contrasted with his
contemporary _Parmenides,_ a man likewise with the type of a prophet
of truth, but formed as it were out of ice and not out of fire, and
shedding around himself cold, piercing light.

Parmenides once had, probably in his later years, a moment of the
very purest abstraction, undimmed by any reality, perfectly lifeless;
this moment--un-Greek, like no other in the two centuries of the
Tragic Age--the product of which is the doctrine of "Being," became a
boundary-stone for his own life, which divided it into two periods; at
the same time however the same moment divides the pre-Socratic thinking
into two halves, of which the first might be called the Anaximandrian,
the second the Parmenidean. The first period in Parmenides' own
philosophising bears still the signature of Anaximander; this
period produced a detailed philosophic-physical system as answer to
Anaximander's questions. When later that icy abstraction-horror caught
him, and the simplest proposition treating of "Being" and "Not-Being"
was advanced by him, then among the many older doctrines thrown by him
upon the scrap heap was also his own system. However he does not appear
to have lost all paternal piety towards the strong and well-shapen
child of his youth, and he saved himself therefore by saying: "It is
true there is only one right way; if one however wants at any time to
betake oneself to another, then my earlier opinion according to its
purity and consequence alone is right." Sheltering himself with this
phrase he has allowed his former physical system a worthy and extensive
space in his great poem on Nature, which really was to proclaim the
new discernment as the only signpost to truth. This fatherly regard,
even though an error should have crept in through it, is a remainder
of human feeling, in a nature quite petrified by logical rigidity and
almost changed into a thinking-machine.

Parmenides, whose personal intercourse with Anaximander does not seem
incredible to me, and whose starting from Anaximander's doctrine is
not only credible but evident, had the same distrust for the complete
separation of a world which only is, and a world which only becomes, as
had also caught Heraclitus and led to a denying of "Being" altogether.
Both sought a way out from that contrast and divergence of a dual order
of the world. That leap into the Indefinite, Indefinable, by which
once for all Anaximander had escaped from the realm of Becoming and
from the empirically given qualities of such realm, that leap did not
become an easy matter to minds so independently fashioned as those of
Heraclitus and Parmenides; first they endeavoured to walk as far as
they could and reserved to themselves the leap for that place, where
the foot finds no more hold and one has to leap, in order not to fall.
Both looked repeatedly at that very world, which Anaximander had
condemned in so melancholy a way and declared to be the place of wanton
crime and at the same time the penitentiary cell for the injustice of
Becoming. Contemplating this world Heraclitus, as we know already, had
discovered what a wonderful order, regularity and security manifest
themselves in every Becoming; from that he concluded that the Becoming
could not be anything evil and unjust. Quite a different outlook had
Parmenides; he compared the qualities one with another, and believed
that they were not all of the same kind, but ought to be classified
under two headings. If for example he compared bright and dark, then
the second quality was obviously only the _negation_ of the first;
and thus he distinguished positive and negative qualities, seriously
endeavouring to rediscover and register that fundamental antithesis
in the whole realm of Nature. His method was the following: He took a
few antitheses, _e.g.,_ light and heavy, rare and dense, active and
passive, and compared them with that typical antithesis of bright and
dark: that which corresponded with the bright was the positive, that
which corresponded with the dark the negative quality. If he took
perhaps the heavy and light, the light fell to the side of the bright,
the heavy to the side of the dark; and thus "heavy" was to him only
the negation of "light," but the "light" a positive quality. This
method alone shows that he had a defiant aptitude for abstract logical
procedure, closed against the suggestions of the senses. The "heavy"
seems indeed to offer itself very forcibly to the senses as a positive
quality; that did not keep Parmenides from stamping it as a negation.
Similarly he placed the earth in opposition to the fire, the "cold"
in opposition to the "warm," the "dense" in opposition to the "rare,"
the "female" in opposition to the "male," the "passive" in opposition
to the "active," merely as negations: so that before his gaze our
empiric world divided itself into two separate spheres, into that
of the positive qualities--with a bright, fiery, warm, light, rare,
active-masculine character--and into that of the negative qualities.
The latter express really only the lack, the absence of the others, the
positive ones. He therefore described the sphere in which the positive
qualities are absent as dark, earthy, cold, heavy, dense and altogether
as of feminine-passive character. Instead of the expressions "positive"
and "negative" he used the standing term "existent" and "non-existent"
and had arrived with this at the proposition, that, in contradiction to
Anaximander, this our world itself contains something "existent," and
of course something "non-existent." One is not to seek that "existent"
outside the world and as it were above our horizon; but before us,
and everywhere in every Becoming, something "existent" and active is

With that however still remained to him the task of giving the more
exact answer to the question: What is the Becoming? and here was the
moment where he had to leap, in order not to fall, although perhaps to
such natures as that of Parmenides, even any leaping means a falling.
Enough! we get into fog, into the mysticism of _qualitates occultæ,_
and even a little into mythology. Parmenides, like Heraclitus, looks
at the general Becoming and Not-remaining and explains to himself a
Passing only thus, that the "Non-Existent" bore the guilt. For how
should the "Existent" bear the guilt of Passing? Likewise, however,
the Originating, i.e., the Becoming, must come about through the
assistance of the "Non-Existent"; for the "Existent" is always there
and could not of itself first originate and it could not explain any
Originating, any Becoming. Therefore the Originating, the Becoming
as well as the Passing and Perishing have been brought about by the
negative qualities. But that the originating "thing" has a content,
and the passing "thing" loses a content, presupposes that the positive
qualities--and that just means that very content--participate
likewise in both processes. In short the proposition results: "For the
Becoming the 'Existent' as well as the 'Non-Existent' is necessary;
when they co-operate then a Becoming results." But how come the
"positive" and the "negative" to one another? Should they not on the
contrary eternally flee one another as antitheses and thereby make
every Becoming impossible? Here Parmenides appeals to a _qualitas
occulta,_ to a mystic tendency of the antithetical pairs to approach
and attract one another, and he allegorises that peculiar contrariety
by the name of Aphrodite, and by the empirically known relation of
the male and female principle. It is the power of Aphrodite which
plays the matchmaker between the antithetical pair, the "Existent"
and the "Non-Existent." Passion brings together the antagonistic and
antipathetic elements: the result is a Becoming. When Desire has become
satiated, Hatred and the innate antagonism again drive asunder the
"Existent" and the "Non-Existent"--then man says: the thing perishes,


But no one with impunity lays his profane hands on such awful
abstractions as the "Existent" and the "Non-Existent"; the blood
freezes slowly as one touches them. There was a day upon which an odd
idea suddenly occurred to Parmenides, an idea which seemed to take
all value away from his former combinations, so that he felt inclined
to throw them aside, like a money bag with old worn-out coins. It is
commonly believed that an external impression, in addition to the
centrifugal consequence of such ideas as "existent" and "non-existent,"
has also been co-active in the invention of that day; this impression
was an acquaintance with the theology of the old roamer and rhapsodist,
the singer of a mystic deification of Nature, the Kolophonian
_Xenophanes._ Throughout an extraordinary life Xenophanes lived as
a wandering poet and became through his travels a well-informed and
most instructive man who knew how to question and how to narrate, for
which reason Heraclitus reckoned him amongst the polyhistorians and
above all amongst the "historic" natures, in the sense mentioned.
Whence and when came to him the mystic bent into the One and the
eternally Resting, nobody will be able to compute; perhaps it is only
the conception of the finally settled old man, to whom, after the
agitation of his erratic wanderings, and after the restless learning
and searching for truth, the vision of a divine rest, the permanence of
all things within a pantheistic primal peace appears as _the_ highest
and greatest ideal. After all it seems to me quite accidental that in
the same place in Elea two men lived together for a time, each of whom
carried in his head a conception of unity; they formed no school and
had nothing in common which perhaps the one might have learned from
the other and then might have handed on. For, in the case of these two
men, the origin of that conception of unity is quite different, yea
opposite; and if either of them has become at all acquainted with the
doctrine of the other then, in order to understand it at all, he had to
translate it first into his own language. With this translation however
the very specific element of the other doctrine was lost. Whereas
Parmenides arrived at the unity of the "Existent" purely through an
alleged logical consequence and whereas he span that unity out of the
ideas "Being" and "Not-Being," Xenophanes was a religious mystic and
belonged, with that mystic unity, very properly to the Sixth Century.
Although he was no such revolutionising personality as Pythagoras
he had nevertheless in his wanderings the same bent and impulse to
improve, purify, and cure men. He was the ethical teacher, but still
in the stage of the rhapsodist; in a later time he would have been
a sophist. In the daring disapproval of the existing customs and
valuations he had not his equal in Greece; moreover he did not, like
Heraclitus and Plato, retire into solitude but placed himself before
the very public, whose exulting admiration of Homer, whose passionate
propensity for the honours of the gymnastic festivals, whose adoration
of stones in human shape, he criticised severely with wrath and scorn,
yet not as a brawling Thersites. The freedom of the individual was with
him on its zenith; and by this almost limitless stepping free from all
conventions he was more closely related to Parmenides than by that last
divine unity, which once he had beheld, in a visionary state worthy of
that century. His unity scarcely had expression and word in common with
the one "Being" of Parmenides, and certainly had not the same origin.

It was rather an opposite state of mind in which Parmenides found his
doctrine of "Being," On that day and in that state he examined his
two co-operating antitheses, the "Existent" and the "Non-Existent,"
the positive and the negative qualities, of which Desire and Hatred
constitute the world and the Becoming. He was suddenly caught up,
mistrusting, by the idea of negative quality, of the "Non-Existent."
For can something which does not exist be a quality? or to put the
question in a broader sense: can anything indeed which does not exist,
exist? The only form of knowledge in which we at once put unconditional
trust and the disapproval of which amounts to madness, is the tautology
A = A. But this very tautological knowledge called inexorably to him:
what does not exist, exists not! What is, is! Suddenly he feels
upon his life the load of an enormous logical sin; for had he not
always without hesitation assumed that _there were existing_ negative
qualities, in short a "Non-Existent," that therefore, to express it by
a formula, A = Not-A, which indeed could only be advanced by the most
out and out perversity of thinking. It is true, as he recollected, the
whole great mass of men judge with the same perversity; he himself
has only participated in the general crime against logic. But the
same moment which charges him with this crime surrounds him with the
light of the glory of an invention, he has found, apart from all human
illusion, a principle, the key to the world-secret, he now descends
into the abyss of things, guided by the firm and fearful hand of the
tautological truth as to "Being."

On the way thither he meets Heraclitus--an unfortunate encounter! Just
now Heraclitus' play with antinomies was bound to be very hateful to
him, who placed the utmost importance upon the severest separation of
"Being" and "Not-Being"; propositions like this: "We are and at the
same time we are not" --"'Being' and 'Not-Being' is at the same time
the same thing and again not the same thing," propositions through
which all that he had just elucidated and disentangled became again
dim and inextricable, incited him to wrath. "Away with the men," he
exclaimed, "who seem to have two heads and yet know nothing! With them
truly everything is in flux, even their thinking! They stare at things
stupidly, but they must be deaf as well as blind so to mix up the
opposites"! The want of judgment on the part of the masses, glorified
by playful antinomies and praised as the acme of all knowledge was to
him a painful and incomprehensible experience.

Now he dived into the cold bath of his awful abstractions. That which
is true must exist in eternal presence, about it cannot be said "it
was," "it will be." The "Existent" cannot have become; for out of what
should it have become? Out of the "Non-Existent"? But that does not
exist and can produce nothing. Out of the "Existent"? This would not
produce anything but itself. The same applies to the Passing, it is
just as impossible as the Becoming, as any change, any increase, any
decrease. On the whole the proposition is valid: Everything about which
it can be said: "it has been" or "it will be" does not exist; about
the "Existent" however it can never be said "it does not exist." The
"Existent" is indivisible, for where is the second power, which should
divide it? It is immovable, for whither should it move itself? It
cannot be infinitely great nor infinitely small, for it is perfect and
a perfectly given infinitude is a contradiction. Thus the "Existent"
is suspended, delimited, perfect, immovable, everywhere equally
balanced and such equilibrium equally perfect at any point, like a
globe, but not in a space, for otherwise this space would be a second
"Existent." But there cannot exist several "Existents," for in order to
separate them, something would have to exist which was not existing, an
assumption which neutralises itself. Thus there exists only the eternal

If now, however, Parmenides turned back his gaze to the world of
Becoming, the existence of which he had formerly tried to understand
by such ingenious conjectures, he was wroth at his eye seeing the
Becoming at all, his ear hearing it. "Do not follow the dim-sighted
eyes," now his command runs, "not the resounding ear nor the
tongue, but examine only by the power of the thought." Therewith he
accomplished the extremely important first critique of the apparatus
of knowledge, although this critique was still inadequate and proved
disastrous in its consequences. By tearing entirely asunder the
senses and the ability to think in abstractions, _i.e._ reason, just
as if they were two thoroughly separate capacities, he demolished
the intellect itself, and incited people to that wholly erroneous
separation of "mind" and "body" which, especially since Plato, lies
like a curse on philosophy. All sense perceptions, Parmenides judges,
cause only illusions and their chief illusion is their deluding us to
believe that even the "Non-Existent" exists, that even the Becoming has
a "Being." All that plurality, diversity and variety of the empirically
known world, the change of its qualities, the order in its ups and
downs, is thrown aside mercilessly as mere appearance and delusion;
from there nothing is to be learnt, therefore all labour is wasted
which one bestows upon this false, through-and-through futile world,
the conception of which has been obtained by being hum-bugged by the
senses. He who judges in such generalisations as Parmenides did, ceases
therewith to be an investigator of natural philosophy in detail; his
interest in phenomena withers away; there develops even a hatred of
being unable to get rid of this eternal fraud of the senses. Truth is
now to dwell only in the most faded, most abstract generalities, in the
empty husks of the most indefinite words, as in a maze of cobwebs; and
by such a "truth" now the philosopher sits, bloodless as an abstraction
and surrounded by a web of formulæ. The spider undoubtedly wants the
blood of its victims; but the Parmenidean philosopher hates the very
blood of his victims, the blood of Empiricism sacrificed by him.


And that was a Greek who "flourished" about the time of the outbreak
of the Ionic Revolution. At that time it was possible for a Greek
to flee out of the superabundant reality, as out of a mere delusive
schematism of the imaginative faculties--not perhaps like Plato into
the land of the eternal ideas, into the workshop of the world-creator,
in order to feast the eyes on unblemished, unbreakable primal-forms of
things--but into the rigid death-like rest of the coldest and emptiest
conception, that of the "Being." We will indeed beware of interpreting
such a remarkable fact by false analogies. That flight was not a
world-flight in the sense of Indian philosophers; no deep religious
conviction as to the depravity, transitoriness and accursedness of
Existence demanded that flight--that ultimate goal, the rest in the
"Being," was not striven after as the mystic absorption in _one_
all-sufficing enrapturing conception which is a puzzle and a scandal
to common men. The thought of Parmenides bears in itself not the
slightest trace of the intoxicating mystical Indian fragrance, which
is perhaps not wholly imperceptible in Pythagoras and Empedocles; the
strange thing in that fact, at this period, is rather the very absence
of fragrance, colour, soul, form, the total lack of blood, religiosity
and ethical warmth, the abstract-schematic--in a Greek!--above all
however our philosopher's awful energy of striving after _Certainty,_
in a mythically thinking and highly emotional--fantastic age is quite
remarkable. "Grant me but a certainty, ye gods!"is the prayer of
Parmenides, "and be it, in the ocean of Uncertainty, only a board,
broad enough to lie on! Everything becoming, everything luxuriant,
varied, blossoming, deceiving, stimulating, living, take all that for
yourselves, and give to me but the single poor empty Certainty!"

In the philosophy of Parmenides the theme of ontology forms the
prelude. Experience offered him nowhere a "Being" as he imagined it to
himself, but from the fact that he could conceive of it he concluded
that it must exist; a conclusion which rests upon the supposition
that we have an organ of knowledge which reaches into the nature of
things and is independent of experience. The material of our thinking
according to Parmenides does not exist in perception at all but is
brought in from somewhere else, from an extra-material world to which
by thinking we have a direct access. Against all similar chains of
reasoning Aristotle has already asserted that existence never belongs
to the essence, never belongs to the nature of a thing. For that very
reason from the idea of "Being"--of which the _essentia_ precisely is
only the "Being"--cannot be inferred an _existentia_ of the "Being" at
all. The logical content of that antithesis "Being" and "Not-Being"
is perfectly nil, if the object lying at the bottom of it, if the
precept cannot be given from which this antithesis has been deduced
by abstraction; without this going back to the precept the antithesis
is only a play with conceptions, through which indeed nothing is
discerned. For the merely logical criterion of truth, as Kant teaches,
namely the agreement of a discernment with the general and the formal
laws of intellect and reason is, it is true, the _conditio sine qua
non,_ consequently the negative condition of all truth; further however
logic cannot go, and logic cannot discover by any touchstone the error
which pertains not to the form but to the contents. As soon, however,
as one seeks the content for the logical truth of the antithesis:
"That which is, is; that which is not, is not," one will find indeed
not a simple reality, which is fashioned rigidly according to that
antithesis: about a tree I can say as well "it is" in comparison with
all the other things, as well "it becomes" in comparison with itself
at another moment of time as finally also "it is not," _e.g._," it is
not yet tree," as long as I perhaps look at the shrub. Words are only
symbols for the relations of things among themselves and to us, and
nowhere touch absolute truth; and now to crown all, the word "Being"
designates only the most general relation, which connects all things,
and so does the word "Not-Being." If however the Existence of the
things themselves be unprovable, then the relation of the things among
themselves, the so-called "Being" and "Not-Being," will not bring us
any nearer to the land of truth. By means of words and ideas we shall
never get behind the wall of the relations, let us say into some
fabulous primal cause of things, and even in the pure forms of the
sensitive faculty and of the intellect, in space, time and causality
we gain nothing, which might resemble a "_Veritas æterna?_" It is
absolutely impossible for the subject to see and discern something
beyond himself, so impossible that Cognition and "Being" are the most
contradictory of all spheres. And if in the uninstructed _naïveté_
of the then critique of the intellect Parmenides was permitted to
fancy that out of the eternally subjective idea he had come to a
"Being-In-itself," then it is to-day, after Kant, a daring ignorance,
if here and there, especially among badly informed theologians who
want to play the philosopher, is proposed as the task of philosophy:
"to conceive the Absolute by means of consciousness," perhaps even
in the form: "the Absolute is already extant, else how could it be
sought?" as Hegel has expressed himself, or with the saying of Beneke:
"that the 'Being' must be given somehow, must be attainable for us
somehow, since otherwise we could not even have the idea of 'Being.'"
The idea of "Being"! As though that idea did not indicate the most
miserable empiric origin already in the etymology of the word. For
_esse_ means at the bottom: "to breathe," if man uses it of all other
things, then he transmits the conviction that he himself breathes and
lives by means of a metaphor, _i.e.,_ by means of something illogical
to the other things and conceives of their Existence as a Breathing
according to human analogy. Now the original meaning of the word soon
becomes effaced; so much however still remains that man conceives of
the existence of other things according to the analogy of his own
existence, therefore anthropomorphically, and at any rate by means
of an illogical transmission. Even to man, therefore apart from that
transmission, the proposition: "I breathe, therefore a 'Being' exists"
is quite insufficient since against it the same objection must be made,
as against the _ambulo, ergo sum,_ or _ergo est_.


The other idea, of greater import than that of the "Existent," and
likewise invented already by Parmenides, although not yet so clearly
applied as by his disciple Zeno is the idea of the Infinite. Nothing
Infinite can exist; for from such an assumption the contradictory
idea of a perfect Infinitude would result. Since now our actuality,
our existing world everywhere shows the character of that perfect
Infinitude, our world signifies in its nature a contradiction against
logic and therewith also against reality and is deception, lie,
fantasma. Zeno especially applied the method of indirect proof; he
said for example, "There can be no motion from one place to another;
for if there were such a motion, then an Infinitude would be given as
perfect, this however is an impossibility." Achilles cannot catch up
the tortoise which has a small start in a race, for in order to reach
only the point from which the tortoise began, he would have had to run
through innumerable, infinitely many spaces, viz., first half of that
space, then the fourth, then the sixteenth, and so on _ad infinitum._
If he does in fact overtake the tortoise then this is an illogical
phenomenon, and therefore at any rate not a truth, not a reality, not
real "Being," but only a delusion. For it is never possible to finish
the infinite. Another popular expression of this doctrine is the
flying and yet resting arrow. At any instant of its flight it has a
position; in this position it rests. Now would the sum of the infinite
positions of rest be identical with motion? Would now the Resting,
infinitely often repeated, be Motion, therefore its own opposite?
The Infinite is here used as the _aqua fortis_ of reality, through
it the latter is dissolved. If however the Ideas are fixed, eternal
and entitative--and for Parmenides "Being" and Thinking coincide--if
therefore the Infinite can never be perfect, if Rest can never become
Motion, then in fact the arrow has not flown at all; it never left its
place and resting position; no moment of time has passed. Or expressed
in another way: in this so-called yet only alleged Actuality there
exists neither time, nor space, nor motion. Finally the arrow itself is
only an illusion; for it originates out of the Plurality, out of the
phantasmagoria of the "Non-One" produced by the senses. Suppose the
arrow had a "Being," then it would be immovable, timeless, increate,
rigid and eternal--an impossible conception! Supposing that Motion was
truly real, then there would be no rest, therefore no position for the
arrow, therefore no space--an impossible conception! Supposing that
time were real, then it could not be of an infinite divisibility; the
time which the arrow needed, would have to consist of a limited number
of time-moments, each of these moments would have to be an _Atomon_--an
impossible conception! All our conceptions, as soon as their
empirically-given content, drawn out of this concrete world, is taken
as a _Veritas æterna,_ lead to contradictions. If there is absolute
motion, then there is no space; if there is absolute space then there
is no motion; if there is absolute "Being," then there is no Plurality;
if there is an absolute Plurality, then there is no Unity. It should
at least become clear to _us_ how little we touch the heart of things
or untie the knot of reality with such ideas, whereas Parmenides and
Zeno inversely hold fast to the truth and omnivalidity of ideas and
condemn the perceptible world as the opposite of the true and omnivalid
ideas, as an objectivation of the illogical and contradictory. With all
their proofs they start from the wholly undemonstrable, yea improbable
assumption that in that apprehensive faculty we possess the decisive,
highest criterion of "Being" and "Not-Being," _i.e.,_ of objective
reality and its opposite; those ideas are not to prove themselves
true, to correct themselves by Actuality, as they are after all really
derived from it, but on the contrary they are to measure and to judge
Actuality, and in case of a contradiction with logic, even to condemn.
In order to concede to them this judicial competence Parmenides had to
ascribe to them the same "Being," which alone he allowed in general
as _the_ "Being"; Thinking and that one increate perfect ball of the
"Existent" were now no longer to be conceived as two different kinds
of "Being," since there was not permitted a duality of "Being." Thus
the over-risky flash of fancy had become necessary to declare Thinking
and "Being" identical. No form of perceptibility, no symbol, no simile
could possibly be of any help here; the fancy was wholly inconceivable,
but it was necessary, yea in the lack of every possibility of
illustration it celebrated the highest triumph over the world and
the claims of the senses. Thinking and that clod-like, ball-shaped,
through-and-through dead-massive, and rigid-immovable "Being," must,
according to the Parmenidean imperative, dissolve into one another and
be the same in every respect, to the horror of fantasy. What does it
matter that this identity contradicts the senses! This contradiction
is just the guarantee that such an identity is not borrowed from the


Moreover against Parmenides could be produced a strong couple of
_argumenta ad hominem_ or _ex concessis,_ by which, it is true, truth
itself could not be brought to light, but at any rate the untruth of
that absolute separation of the world of the senses and the world of
the ideas, and the untruth of the identity of "Being" and Thinking
could be demonstrated. Firstly, if the Thinking of Reason in ideas is
real, then also Plurality and Motion must have reality, for rational
Thinking is mobile; and more precisely, it is a motion from idea to
idea, therefore within a plurality of realities. There is no subterfuge
against that; it is quite impossible to designate Thinking as a rigid
Permanence, as an eternally immobile, intellectual Introspection of
Unity. Secondly, if only fraud and illusion come from the senses,
and if in reality there exists only the real identity of "Being" and
Thinking, what then are the senses themselves? They too are certainly
Appearance only since they do not coincide with the Thinking, and
their product, the world of senses, does not coincide with "Being."
If however the senses themselves are Appearance to whom then are
they Appearance? How can they, being unreal, still deceive? The
"Non-Existent" cannot even deceive. Therefore the Whence? of deception
and Appearance remains an enigma, yea, a contradiction. We call these
_argumenta ad hominem:_ The Objection Of The Mobile Reason and that
of The Origin Of Appearance. From the first would result the reality
of Motion and of Plurality, from the second the impossibility of the
Parmenidean Appearance, assuming that the chief-doctrine of Parmenides
on the "Being" were accepted as true. This chief-doctrine however only
says: The "Existent" only has a "Being," the "Non-Existent" does not
exist. If Motion however has such a "Being," then to Motion applies
what applies to the "Existent" in general: it is increate, eternal,
indestructible, without increase or decrease. But if the "Appearance"
is denied and a belief in it made untenable, by means of that question
as to the Whence? of the "Appearance," if the stage of the so-called
Becoming, of change, our many-shaped, restless, coloured and rich
Existence is protected from the Parmenidean rejection, then it is
necessary to characterise this world of change and alteration as a
_sum_ of such really existing Essentials, existing simultaneously
into all eternity. Of a change in the strict sense, of a Becoming
there cannot naturally be any question even with this assumption. But
now Plurality has a real "Being," all qualities have a real "Being"
and motion not less; and of any moment of this world--although these
moments chosen at random lie at a distance of millenniums from one
another--it would have to be possible to say: all real Essentials
extant in this world are without exception co-existent, unaltered,
undiminished, without increase, without decrease. A millennium later
the world is exactly the same. Nothing has altered. If in spite of
that the appearance of the world at the one time is quite different
from that at the other time, then that is no deception, nothing merely
apparent, but the effect of eternal motion. The real "Existent" is
moved sometimes thus, sometimes thus: together, asunder, upwards,
downwards, into one another, pell-mell.


With this conception we have already taken a step into the realm
of the doctrine of _Anaxagoras._ By him both objections against
Parmenides are raised in full strength; that of the mobile Thinking
and that of the Whence? of "Appearance"; but in the chief proposition
Parmenides has subjugated him as well as all the younger philosophers
and nature-explorers. They all deny the possibility of Becoming and
Passing, as the mind of the people conceives them and as Anaximander
and Heraclitus had assumed with greater circumspection and yet still
heedlessly. Such a mythological Originating out of the Nothing, such
a Disappearing into the Nothing, such an arbitrary Changing of the
Nothing into the Something, such a random exchanging, putting on and
putting off of the qualities was henceforth considered senseless; but
so was, and for the same reasons, an originating of the Many out of the
One, of the manifold qualities out of the one primal-quality, in short
the derivation of the world out of a primary substance, as argued by
Thales and Heraclitus. Rather was now the real problem advanced of
applying the doctrine of increate imperishable "Being" to this existing
world, without taking one's refuge in the theory of appearance and
deception. But if the empiric world is not to be Appearance, if the
things are not to be derived out of Nothing and just as little out of
the one Something, then these things must contain in themselves a real
"Being," their matter and content must be unconditionally real, and
all change can refer only to the form, _i.e.,_ to the position, order,
grouping, mixing, separation of these eternally co-existing Essentials.
It is just as in a game of dice; they are ever the same dice; but
falling sometimes thus, sometimes thus, they mean to us something
different. All older theories had gone back to a primal element, as
womb and cause of Becoming, be this water, air, fire or the Indefinite
of Anaximander. Against that Anaxagoras now asserts that out of the
Equal the Unequal could never come forth, and that out of the one
"Existent" the change could never be explained. Whether now one were
to imagine that assumed matter to be rarefied or condensed, one would
never succeed by such a condensation or rarefaction in explaining the
problem one would like to explain: the plurality of qualities. But if
the world in fact is full of the most different qualities then these
must, in case they are not appearance, have a "Being," _i.e.,_ must
be eternal, increate, imperishable and ever co-existing. Appearance,
however, they cannot be, since the question as to the Whence? of
Appearance remains unanswered, yea answers itself in the negative! The
earlier seekers after Truth had intended to simplify the problem of
Becoming by advancing only one substance, which bore in its bosom the
possibilities of all Becoming; now on the contrary it is asserted:
there are innumerable substances, but never more, never less, and never
new ones. Only Motion, playing dice with them throws them into ever
new combinations. That Motion however is a truth and not Appearance,
Anaxagoras proved in opposition to Parmenides by the indisputable
succession of our conceptions in thinking. We have therefore in the
most direct fashion the insight into the truth of motion and succession
in the fact that we think and have conceptions. Therefore at any rate
the _one_ rigid, resting, dead "Being" of Parmenides has been removed
out of the way, there are many "Existents" just as surely as all
these many "Existents" (existing things, substances) are in motion.
Change is motion--but whence originates motion? Does this motion leave
perhaps wholly untouched the proper essence of those many independent,
isolated substances, and, according to the most severe idea of the
"Existent," _must_ not motion in itself be foreign to them? Or does
it after all belong to the things themselves? We stand here at an
important decision; according to which way we turn, we shall step into
the realm either of Anaxagoras or of Empedocles or of Democritus. The
delicate question must be raised: if there are many substances, and if
these many move, what moves them? Do they move one another? Or is it
perhaps only gravitation? Or are there magic forces of attraction and
repulsion within the things themselves? Or does the cause of motion
lie outside these many real substances? Or putting the question
more pointedly: if two things show a succession, a mutual change of
position, does that originate from themselves? And is this to be
explained mechanically or magically? Or if this should not be the case
is it a third something which moves them? It is a sorry problem, for
Parmenides would still have been able to prove against Anaxagoras the
impossibility of motion, even granted that there are many substances.
For he could say: Take two Substances existing of themselves, each with
quite differently fashioned, autonomous, unconditioned "Being"--and
of such kind are the Anaxagorean substances--they can never clash
together, never move, never attract one another, there exists between
them no causality, no bridge, they do not come into contact with one
another, do not disturb one another, they do not interest one another,
they are utterly indifferent. The impact then is just as inexplicable
as the magic attraction: that which is utterly foreign cannot exercise
any effect upon another, therefore cannot move itself nor allow
itself to be moved. Parmenides would even have added: the only way of
escape which is left to you is this, to ascribe motion to the things
themselves; then however all that you know and see as motion is indeed
only a deception and not true motion, for the only kind of motion which
could belong to those absolutely original substances, would be merely
an autogenous motion limited to themselves without any effect. But
you _assume_ motion in order to explain those effects of change, of
the disarrangement in space, of alteration, in short the causalities
and relations of the things among themselves. But these very effects
would not be explained and would remain as problematic as ever; for
this reason one cannot conceive why it should be necessary to assume a
motion since it does not perform that which you demand from it. Motion
does not belong to the nature of things and is eternally foreign to

Those opponents of the Eleatean unmoved Unity were induced to make
light of such an argument by prejudices of a perceptual character. It
seems so irrefutable that each veritable "Existent" is a space-filling
body, a lump of matter, large or small but in any case spacially
dimensioned; so that two or more such lumps cannot be in one space.
Under this hypothesis Anaxagoras, as later on Democritus, assumed that
they must knock against each other; if in their motions they came by
chance upon one another, that they would dispute the same space with
each other, and that this struggle was the very cause of all Change.
In other words: those wholly isolated, thoroughly heterogeneous and
eternally unalterable substances were after all not conceived as
being absolutely heterogeneous but all had in addition to a specific,
wholly peculiar quality, also one absolutely homogeneous substratum: a
piece of space-filling matter. In their participation in matter they
all stood equal and therefore could act upon one another, _i.e.,_
knock one another. Moreover all Change did not in the least depend on
the heterogeneity of those substances but on their homogeneity, as
matter. At the bottom of the assumption of Anaxagoras is a logical
oversight; for that which is _the_ "Existent-In-Itself" must be wholly
unconditional and coherent, is therefore not allowed to assume as its
cause anything,--whereas all those Anaxagorean substances have still
a conditioning Something: matter, and already assume its existence;
the substance "Red" for example was to Anaxagoras not just merely red
in itself but also in a reserved or suppressed way a piece of matter
without any qualities. Only with this matter the "Red-In-Itself" acted
upon other substances, not with the "Red," but with that which is
not red, not coloured, nor in any way qualitatively definite. If the
"Red" had been taken strictly as "Red," as the real substance itself,
therefore without that substratum, then Anaxagoras would certainly not
have dared to speak of an effect of the "Red" upon other substances,
perhaps even with the phrase that the "Red-In-Itself" was transmitting
the impact received from the "Fleshy-In-Itself." Then it would be clear
that such an "Existent" _par excellence_ could never be moved.


One has to glance at the opponents of the Eleates, in order to
appreciate the extraordinary advantages in the assumption of
Parmenides. What embarrassments,--from which Parmenides had
escaped,--awaited Anaxagoras and all who believed in a plurality of
substances, with the question, How many substances? Anaxagoras made the
leap, closed his eyes and said, "Infinitely many"; thus he had flown
at least beyond the incredibly laborious proof of a definite number
of elementary substances. Since these "Infinitely Many" had to exist
without increase and unaltered for eternities, in that assumption was
given the contradiction of an infinity to be conceived as completed
and perfect. In short, Plurality, Motion, Infinity driven into flight
by Parmenides with the amazing proposition of the one "Being," returned
from their exile and hurled their projectiles at the opponents of
Parmenides, causing them wounds for which there is no cure. Obviously
those opponents have no real consciousness and knowledge as to the
awful force of those Eleatean thoughts, "There can be no time, no
motion, no space; for all these we can only think of as infinite,
and to be more explicit, firstly infinitely large, then infinitely
divisible; but everything infinite has no 'Being,' does not exist," and
this nobody doubts, who takes the meaning of the word "Being" severely
and considers the existence of something contradictory impossible,
_e.g.,_ the existence of a completed infinity. If however the very
Actuality shows us everything under the form of the completed infinity
then it becomes evident that it contradicts itself and therefore has no
true reality. If those opponents however should object: "but in your
thinking itself there does exist succession, therefore neither could
your thinking be real and consequently could not prove anything," then
Parmenides perhaps like Kant in a similar case of an equal objection
would have answered: "I can, it is true, say my conceptions follow upon
one another, but that means only that we are not conscious of them
unless within a chronological order, _i.e.,_ according to the form of
the inner sense. For that reason time is not a something in itself
nor any order or quality objectively adherent to things." We should
therefore have to distinguish between the Pure Thinking, that would
be timeless like the one Parmenidean "Being," and the consciousness
of this thinking, and the latter would already translate the thinking
into the form of appearance, _i.e.,_ of succession, plurality and
motion. It is probable that Parmenides would have availed himself
of this loophole; however, the same objection would then have to be
raised against him which is raised against Kant by A. Spir ("Thinking
And Reality," 2nd ed., vol. i., pp. 209, &c). "Now, in the first place
however it is clear, that I cannot know anything of a succession as
such, unless I have the successive members of the same simultaneously
in my consciousness. Thus the conception of a succession itself is
not at all successive, hence also quite different from the succession
of our conceptions. Secondly Kant's assumption implies such obvious
absurdities that one is surprised that he could leave them unnoticed.
Cæsar and Socrates according to this assumption are not really dead,
they still live exactly as they did two thousand years ago and only
seem to be dead, as a consequence of an organisation of my inner
sense." Future men already live and if they do not now step forward as
living that organisation of the "inner sense" is likewise the cause
of it. Here above all other things the question is to be put: How can
the beginning and the end of conscious life itself, together with
all its internal and external senses, exist merely in the conception
of the inner sense? _The_ fact is indeed this, that one certainly
cannot deny the reality of Change. If it is thrown out through the
window it slips in again through the keyhole. If one says: "It merely
seems to me, that conditions and conceptions change,"--then this very
semblance and appearance itself is something objectively existing and
within it without doubt the succession has objective reality, some
things in it really do succeed one another.--Besides one must observe
that indeed the whole critique of reason only has cause and right of
existence under the assumption that to us our _conceptions_ themselves
appear exactly as they are. For if the conceptions also appeared to us
otherwise than they really are, then one would not be able to advance
any solid proposition about them, and therefore would not be able to
accomplish any gnosiology or any "transcendental" investigation of
objective validity. Now it remains however beyond all doubt that our
conceptions themselves appear to us as successive."

The contemplation of this undoubted succession and agitation has now
urged Anaxagoras to a memorable hypothesis. Obviously the conceptions
themselves moved themselves, were not pushed and had no cause of
motion outside themselves. Therefore he said to himself, there exists
a something which bears in itself the origin and the commencement
of motion; secondly, however, he notices that this conception was
moving not only itself but also something quite different, the body.
He discovers therefore, in the most immediate experience an effect
of conceptions upon expansive matter, which makes itself known as
motion in the latter. That was to him a fact; and only incidentally
it stimulated him to explain this fact. Let it suffice that he had a
regulative schema for the motion in the world,--this motion he now
understood either as a motion of the true isolated essences through
the Conceptual Principle, the Nous, or as a motion through a something
already moved. That with his fundamental assumption the latter kind,
the mechanical transmission of motions and impacts likewise contained
in itself a problem, probably escaped him; the commonness and every-day
occurrence of the effect through impact most probably dulled his eye to
the mysteriousness of impact. On the other hand he certainly felt the
problematic, even contradictory nature of an effect of conceptions upon
substances existing in themselves and he also tried therefore to trace
this effect back to a mechanical push and impact which were considered
by him as quite comprehensible. For the Nous too was without doubt such
a substance existing in itself and was characterised by him as a very
delicate and subtle matter, with the specific quality of thinking.
With a character assumed in this way, the effect of this matter upon
other matter had of course to be of exactly the same kind as that
which another substance exercises upon a third, _i.e.,_ a mechanical
effect, moving by pressure and impact. Still the philosopher had now a
substance which moves itself and other things, a substance of which the
motion did not come from outside and depended on no one else: whereas
it seemed almost a matter of indifference how this automobilism was
to be conceived of, perhaps similar to that pushing themselves hither
and thither of very fragile and small globules of quicksilver. Among
all questions which concern motion there is none more troublesome than
the question as to the beginning of motion. For if one may be allowed
to conceive of all remaining motions as effect and consequences, then
nevertheless the first primal motion is still to be explained; for the
mechanical motions, the first link of the chain certainly cannot lie in
a mechanical motion, since that would be as good as recurring to the
nonsensical idea of the _causa sui._ But likewise it is not feasible
to attribute to the eternal, unconditional things a motion of their
own, as it were from the beginning, as dowry of their existence. For
motion cannot be conceived without a direction whither and whereupon,
therefore only as relation and condition; but a thing is no longer
"entitative-in-itself" and "unconditional," if according to its nature
it refers necessarily to something existing outside of it. In this
embarrassment Anaxagoras thought he had found an extraordinary help
and salvation in that Nous, automobile and otherwise independent; the
nature of that Nous being just obscure and veiled enough to produce the
deception about it, that its assumption also involves that forbidden
_causa sui._ To empiric observation it is even an established fact that
Conception is not a _causa sui_ but the effect of the brain, yea, it
must appear to that observation as an odd eccentricity to separate the
"mind," the product of the brain, from its _causa_ and still to deem it
existing after this severing. This Anaxagoras did; he forgot the brain,
its marvellous design, the delicacy and intricacy of its convolutions
and passages and he decreed the "Mind-In-Itself." This "Mind-In-Itself"
alone among all substances had Free-will,--a grand discernment! This
Mind was able at any odd time to begin with the motion of the things
outside it; on the other hand for ages and ages it could occupy itself
with itself--in short Anaxagoras was allowed to assume a _first_ moment
of motion in some primeval age, as the _Chalaza_ of all so-called
Becoming; _i.e.,_ of all Change, namely of all shifting and rearranging
of the eternal substances and their particles, Although the Mind itself
is eternal, it is in no way compelled to torment itself for eternities
with the shifting about of grains of matter; and certainly there was a
time and a state of those matters--it is quite indifferent whether that
time was of long or short duration--during which the Nous had not acted
upon them, during which they were still unmoved. That is the period of
the Anaxagorean chaos.


The Anaxagorean chaos is not an immediately evident conception; in
order to grasp it one must have understood the conception which our
philosopher had with respect to the so-called "Becoming." For in
itself the state of all heterogeneous "Elementary-existences" before
all motion would by no means necessarily result in an absolute mixture
of all "seeds of things," as the expression of Anaxagoras runs, an
intermixture, which he imagined as a complete pell-mell, disordered
in its smallest parts, after all these "Elementary-existences" had
been, as in a mortar, pounded and resolved into atoms of dust, so that
now in that chaos, as in an amphora, they could be whirled into a
medley. One might say that this conception of the chaos did not contain
anything inevitable, that one merely needed rather to assume any chance
position of all those "existences," but not an infinite decomposition
of them; an irregular side-by-side arrangement was already sufficient;
there was no need of a pell-mell, let alone such a total pell-mell.
What therefore put into Anaxagoras' head that difficult and complex
conception? As already said: his conception of the empirically given
Becoming. From his experience he drew first a most extraordinary
proposition on the Becoming, and this proposition necessarily resulted
in that doctrine of the chaos, as its consequence.

The observation of the processes of evolution in nature, not a
consideration of an earlier philosophical system, suggested to
Anaxagoras the doctrine, that _All originated from All;_ this was the
conviction of the natural philosopher based upon a manifold, and at the
bottom, of course, excessively inadequate induction. He proved it thus:
if even the contrary could originate out of the contrary, _e.g.,_ the
Black out of the White, everything is possible; that however did happen
with the dissolution of white snow into black water. The nourishment of
the body he explained to himself in this way: that in the articles of
food there must be invisibly small constituents of flesh or blood or
bone which during alimentation became disengaged and united with the
homogeneous in the body. But if All can become out of All, the Firm out
of the Liquid, the Hard out of the Soft, the Black out of the White,
the Fleshy out of Bread, then also All must be contained in All. The
names of things in that case express only the preponderance of the one
substance over the other substances to be met with in smaller, often
imperceptible quantities. In gold, that is to say, in that which one
designates _a potiore_ by the name "gold," there must be also contained
silver, snow, bread, and flesh, but in very small quantities; the
whole is called after the preponderating item, the gold-substance.

But how is it possible, that one substance preponderates and fills a
thing in greater mass than the others present? Experience shows, that
this preponderance is gradually produced only through Motion, that
the preponderance is the result of a process, which we commonly call
Becoming. On the other hand, that "All is in All" is not the result
of a process, but, on the contrary, the preliminary condition of all
Becoming and all Motion, and is consequently previous to all Becoming.
In other words: experience teaches, that continually the like is
added to the like, _e.g.,_ through nourishment, therefore originally
those homogeneous substances were not together and agglomerated, but
they were separate. Rather, in all empiric processes coming before
our eyes, the homogeneous is always segregated from the heterogeneous
and transmitted (_e.g.,_ during nourishment, the particles of flesh
out of the bread, &c), consequently the pell-mell of the different
substances is the older form of the constitution of things and in point
of time previous to all Becoming and Moving. If all so-called Becoming
is a segregating and presupposes a mixture, the question arises,
what degree of intermixture this pell-mell must have had originally.
Although the process of a moving on the part of the homogeneous to
the homogeneous--_i.e.,_ Becoming--has already lasted an immense
time, one recognises in spite of that, that even yet in all things
remainders and seed-grains of all other things are enclosed, waiting
for their segregation, and one recognises further that only here and
there a preponderance has been brought about; the primal mixture
must have been a complete one, _i.e.,_ going down to the infinitely
small, since the separation and unmixing takes up an infinite length of
time. Thereby strict adherence is paid to the thought: that everything
which possesses an essential "Being" is infinitely divisible, without
forfeiting its specificum.

According to these hypotheses Anaxagoras conceives of the world's
primal existence: perhaps as similar to a dust-like mass of infinitely
small, concrete particles of which every one is specifically simple
and possesses one quality only, yet so arranged that every specific
quality is represented in an infinite number of individual particles.
Such particles Aristotle has called _Homoiomere_ in consideration of
the fact that they are the Parts, all equal one to another, of a Whole
which is homogeneous with its Parts. One would however commit a serious
mistake to equate this primal pell-mell of all such particles, such
"seed-grains of things" to the one primal matter of Anaximander; for
the latter's primal matter called the "Indefinite" is a thoroughly
coherent and peculiar mass, the former's primal pell-mell is an
aggregate of substances. It is true one can assert about this Aggregate
of Substances exactly the same as about the Indefinite of Anaximander,
as Aristotle does: it could be neither white nor grey, nor black, nor
of any other colour; it was tasteless, scentless, and altogether as a
Whole defined neither quantitatively nor qualitatively: so far goes the
similarity of the Anaximandrian Indefinite and the Anaxagorean Primal
Mixture. But disregarding this negative equality they distinguish
themselves one from another positively by the latter being a compound,
the former a unity. Anaxagoras had by the assumption of his Chaos at
least so much to his advantage, that he was not compelled to deduce the
Many from the One, the Becoming out of the "Existent."

Of course with his complete intermixture of the "seeds" he had to
admit one exception: the Nous was not then, nor is It now admixed with
any thing. For if It were admixed with only one "Existent," It would
have, in infinite divisions, to dwell in all things. This exception
is logically very dubious, especially considering the previously
described material nature of the Nous, it has something mythological in
itself and seems arbitrary, but was however, according to Anaxagorean
_prœmissa,_ a strict necessity. The Mind, which is moreover infinitely
divisible like any other matter, only not through other matters but
through Itself, has, if It divides Itself, in dividing and conglobating
sometimes in large, sometimes in small masses, Its equal mass and
quality from all eternity; and that which at this minute exists as Mind
in animals, plants, men, was also Mind without a more or less, although
distributed in another way a thousand years ago. But wherever It had a
relation to another substance, there It never was admixed with it, but
voluntarily seized it, moved and pushed it arbitrarily--in short, ruled
it. Mind, which alone has motion in Itself, alone possesses ruling
power in this world and shows it through moving the grains of matter.
But whither does It move them? Or is a motion conceivable, without
direction, without path? Is Mind in Its impacts just as arbitrary
as it is, with regard to the time when It pushes, and when It does
not push? In short, does Chance, _i.e.,_ the blindest option, rule
within Motion? At this boundary we step into the Most Holy within the
conceptual realm of Anaxagoras.


What had to be done with that chaotic pell-mell of the primal state
previous to all motion, so that out of it, without any increase of
new substances and forces, the existing world might originate, with
its regular stellar orbits, with its regulated forms of seasons and
days, with its manifold beauty and order,--in short, so that out of
the Chaos might come a Cosmos? This can be only the effect of Motion,
and of a definite and well-organised motion. This Motion itself is
the means of the Nous, Its goal would be the perfect segregation of
the homogeneous, a goal up to the present not yet attained, because
the disorder and the mixture in the beginning was infinite. This
goal is to be striven after only by an enormous process, not to be
realized suddenly by a mythological stroke of the wand. If ever, at
an infinitely distant point of time, it is achieved that everything
homogeneous is brought together and the "primal-existences" undivided
are encamped side by side in beautiful order, and every particle has
found its comrades and its home, and the great peace comes about after
the great division and splitting up of the substances, and there will
be no longer anything that is divided ind split up, then the Nous will
again return into Its automobilism and, no longer Itself divided,
roam through the world, sometimes in larger, sometimes in smaller
masses, as plant-mind or animal-mind, and no longer will It take up Its
new dwelling-place in other matter. Meanwhile the task has not been
completed; but the kind of motion which the Nous has thought out, in
order to solve the task, shows a marvellous suitableness, for by this
motion the task is further solved in each new moment. For this motion
has the character of concentrically progressive circular motion; it
began at some one point of the chaotic mixture, in the form of a little
gyration, and in ever larger paths this circular movement traverses
all existing "Being," jerking forth everywhere the homogeneous to
the homogeneous. At first this revolution brings everything Dense
to the Dense, everything Rare to the Rare, and likewise all that is
Dark, Bright, Moist, Dry to their kind; above these general groups or
classifications there are again two still more comprehensive, namely
_Ether,_ that is to say everything that is Warm, Bright, Rare, and
_Aër,_ that is to say everything that is Dark, Cold, Heavy, Firm.
Through the segregation of the ethereal masses from the aërial,
there is formed, as the most immediate effect of that epicycle whose
centre moves along in the circumference of ever greater circles, a
something as in an eddy made in standing water; heavy compounds are
led towards the middle and compressed. Just in the same way that
travelling waterspout in chaos forms itself on the outer side out of
the Ethereal, Rare, Bright Constituents, on the inner side out of the
Cloudy, Heavy, Moist Constituents. Then in the course of this process
out of that Aërial mass, conglomerating in its interior, water is
separated, and again out of the water the earthy element, and then
out of the earthy element, under the effect of the awful cold are
separated the stones. Again at some juncture masses of stone, through
the momentum of the rotation, are torn away sideways from the earth and
thrown into the realm of the hot light Ether; there in the latter's
fiery element they are made to glow and, carried along in the ethereal
rotation, they irradiate light, and as sun and stars illuminate and
warm the earth, in herself dark and cold. The whole conception is of
a wonderful daring and simplicity and has nothing of that clumsy and
anthropomorphical teleology, which has been frequently connected with
the name of Anaxagoras. That conception has its greatness just in this,
that it derives the whole Cosmos of Becoming out of the moved circle,
whereas Parmenides contemplated the true "Existent" as a resting, dead
ball. Once that circle is put into motion and caused to roll by the
Nous, then all the order, law and beauty of the world is the natural
consequence of that first impetus. How very much one wrongs Anaxagoras
if one reproaches him for the wise abstention from teleology which
shows itself in this conception and talks scornfully of his Nous as
of a _deus ex machina._ Rather, on account of the elimination of
mythological and theistic miracle-working and anthropomorphic ends and
utilities, Anaxagoras might have made use of proud words similar to
those which Kant used in his Natural History of the Heavens. For it is
indeed a sublime thought, to retrace that grandeur of the cosmos and
the marvellous arrangement of the orbits of the stars, to retrace all
that, in all forms to a simple, purely mechanical motion and, as it
were, to a moved mathematical figure, and therefore not to reduce all
that to purposes and intervening hands of a machine-god, but only to
a kind of oscillation, which, having once begun, is in its progress
necessary and definite, and effects result which resemble the wisest
computation of sagacity and extremely well thought-out fitness without
being anything of the sort. "I enjoy the pleasure," says Kant, of
seeing how a well-ordered whole produces itself without the assistance
of arbitrary fabrications, under the impulse of fixed laws of motion--a
well-ordered whole which looks so similar to that world-system which
is ours, that I cannot abstain from considering it to be the same.
It seems to me that one might say here, in a certain sense without
presumption: 'Give me matter and I will build a world out of it.'"


Suppose now, that for once we allow that primal mixture as rightly
concluded, some considerations especially from Mechanics seem to oppose
the grand plan of the world edifice. For even though the Mind at a
point causes a circular movement its continuation is only conceivable
with great difficulty, especially since it is to be infinite and
gradually to make all existing masses rotate. As a matter of course one
would assume that the pressure of all the remaining matter would have
crushed out this small circular movement when it had scarcely begun;
that this does not happen presupposes on the part of the stimulating
Nous, that the latter began to work suddenly with awful force, or at
any rate so quickly, that we must call the motion a whirl: such a
whirl as Democritus himself imagined. And since this whirl must be
infinitely strong in order not to be checked through the whole world of
the Infinite weighing heavily upon it, it will be infinitely quick, for
strength can manifest itself originally only in speed. On the contrary
the broader the concentric rings are, the slower will be this motion;
if once the motion could reach the end of the infinitely extended
world, then this motion would have already infinitely little speed of
rotation. _Vice versa,_ if we conceive of the motion as infinitely
great, _i.e.,_ infinitely quick, at the moment of the very first
beginning of motion, then the original circle must have been infinitely
small; we get therefore as the beginning a particle rotated round
itself, a particle with an infinitely small material content. This
however would not at all explain the further motion; one might imagine
even all particles of the primal mass to rotate round themselves and
yet the whole mass would remain unmoved and unseparated. If, however,
that material particle of infinite smallness, caught and swung by the
Nous, was not turned round itself but described a circle somewhat
larger than a point, this would cause it to knock against other
material particles, to move them on, to hurl them, to make them rebound
and thus gradually to stir up a great and spreading tumult within
which, as the next result, that separation of the aërial masses from
the ethereal had to take place. Just as the commencement of the motion
itself is an arbitrary act of the Nous, arbitrary also is the manner of
this commencement in so far as the first motion circumscribes a circle
of which the radius is chosen somewhat larger than a point.


Here of course one might ask, what fancy had at that time so suddenly
occurred to the Nous, to knock against some chance material particle
out of that number of particles and to turn it around in whirling dance
and why that did not occur to It earlier. Whereupon Anaxagoras would
answer: "The Nous has the privilege of arbitrary action; It may begin
at any chance time, It depends on Itself, whereas everything else is
determined from outside. It has no duty, and no end which It might
be compelled to pursue; if It did once begin with that motion and
set Itself an end, this after all was only--the answer is difficult,
Heraclitus would say--_play!_"

That seems always to have been the last solution or answer hovering on
the lips of the Greek. The Anaxagorean Mind is an artist and in truth
the most powerful genius of mechanics and architecture, creating with
the simplest means the most magnificent forms and tracks and as it were
a mobile architecture, but always out of that irrational arbitrariness
which lies in the soul of the artist. It is as though Anaxagoras was
pointing at Phidias and in face of the immense work of art, the Cosmos,
was calling out to us as he would do in front of the Parthenon: "The
Becoming is no moral, but only an artistic phenomenon." Aristotle
relates that, to the question what made life worth living, Anaxagoras
had answered: "Contemplating the heavens and the total order of the
Cosmos." He treated physical things so devotionally, and with that
same mysterious awe, which we feel when standing in front of an antique
temple; his doctrine became a species of free-thinking religious
exercise, protecting itself through the _odi profanum vulgus et arceo_
and choosing its adherents with precaution out of the highest and
noblest society of Athens. In the exclusive community of the Athenian
Anaxagoreans the mythology of the people was allowed only as a symbolic
language; all myths, all gods, all heroes were considered here only as
hieroglyphics of the interpretation of nature, and even the Homeric
epic was said to be the canonic song of the sway of the Nous and the
struggles and laws of Nature. Here and there a note from this society
of sublime free-thinkers penetrated to the people; and especially
Euripides, the great and at all times daring Euripides, ever thinking
of something new, dared to let many things become known by means of the
tragic mask, many things which pierced like an arrow through the senses
of the masses and from which the latter freed themselves only by means
of ludicrous caricatures and ridiculous re-interpretations.

The greatest of all Anaxagoreans however is Pericles, the mightiest and
worthiest man of the world; and Plato bears witness that the philosophy
of Anaxagoras alone had given that sublime flight to the genius of
Pericles. When as a public orator he stood before his people, in the
beautiful rigidity and immobility of a marble Olympian and now, calm,
wrapped in his mantle, with unruffled drapery, without any change of
facial expression, without smile, with a voice the strong tone of
which remained ever the same, and when he now spoke in an absolutely
un-Demosthenic but merely Periclean fashion, when he thundered, struck
with lightnings, annihilated and redeemed--then he was the epitome
of the Anaxagorean Cosmos, the image of the Nous, who has built for
Itself the most beautiful and dignified receptacle, then Pericles was
as it were the visible human incarnation of the building, moving,
eliminating, ordering, reviewing, artistically-undetermined force of
the Mind. Anaxagoras himself said man was the most rational being or
he must necessarily shelter the Nous within himself in greater fulness
than all other beings, because he had such admirable organs as his
hands; Anaxagoras concluded therefore, that that Nous, according to
the extent to which It made Itself master of a material body, was
always forming for Itself out of this material the tools corresponding
to Its degree of power, consequently the Nous made the most beautiful
and appropriate tools, when It was appearing in his greatest fulness.
And as the most wondrous and appropriate action of the Nous was that
circular primal-motion, since at that time the Mind was still together,
undivided, in Itself, thus to the listening Anaxagoras the effect
of the Periclean speech often appeared perhaps as a simile of that
circular primal-motion; for here too he perceived a whirl of thoughts
moving itself at first with awful force but in an orderly manner, which
in concentric circles gradually caught and carried away the nearest and
farthest and which, when it reached its end, had reshaped--organising
and segregating--the whole nation.

To the later philosophers of antiquity the way in which Anaxagoras
made use of his Nous for the interpretation of the world was strange,
indeed scarcely pardonable; to them it seemed as though he had found a
grand tool but had not well understood it and they tried to retrieve
what the finder had neglected. They therefore did not recognise what
meaning the abstention of Anaxagoras, inspired by the purest spirit
of the method of natural science, had, and that this abstention first
of all in every case puts to itself the question: "What is the cause
of Something"? (_causa efficiens_)--and not "What is the purpose of
Something"? (_causa finalis_). The Nous has not been dragged in by
Anaxagoras for the purpose of answering the special question: "What
is the cause of motion and what causes regular motions?"; Plato
however reproaches him, that he ought to have, but had not shown that
everything was in its own fashion and its own place the most beautiful,
the best and the most appropriate. But this Anaxagoras would not have
dared to assert in any individual case, to him the existing world was
not even the most conceivably perfect world, for he saw everything
originate out of everything, and he found the segregation of the
substances through the Nous complete and done with, neither at the
end of the filled space of the world nor in the individual beings.
For his understanding it was sufficient that he had found a motion,
which, by simple continued action could create the visible order out
of a chaos mixed through and through; and he took good care not to put
the question as to the Why? of the motion, as to the rational purpose
of motion. For if the Nous had to fulfil by means of motion a purpose
innate in the noumenal essence, then it was no longer in Its free will
to commence the motion at any chance time; in so far as the Nous is
eternal, It had also to be determined eternally by this purpose, and
then no point of time could have been allowed to exist in which motion
was still lacking, indeed it would have been logically forbidden to
assume a starting point for motion: whereby again the conception of
original chaos, the basis of the whole Anaxagorean interpretation of
the world would likewise have become logically impossible. In order
to escape such difficulties, which teleology creates, Anaxagoras had
always to emphasise and asseverate that the Mind has free will; all
Its actions, including that of the primal motion, were actions of the
"free will," whereas on the contrary after that primeval moment the
whole remaining world was shaping itself in a strictly determined, and
more precisely, mechanically determined form. That absolutely free
will however can be conceived only as purposeless, somewhat after the
fashion of children's play or the artist's bent for play. It is an
error to ascribe to Anaxagoras the common confusion of the teleologist,
who, marvelling at the extraordinary appropriateness, at the agreement
of the parts with the whole, especially in the realm of the organic,
assumes that that which exists for the intellect had also come into
existence through intellect, and that that which man brings about only
under the guidance of the idea of purpose, must have been brought about
by Nature through reflection and ideas of purpose. (Schopenhauer, "The
World As Will And Idea," vol. ii., Second Book, chap. 26: On Teleology).
Conceived in the manner of Anaxagoras, however, the order and
appropriateness of things on the contrary is nothing but the immediate
result of a blind mechanical motion; and only in order to cause this
motion, in order to get for once out of the dead-rest of the Chaos,
Anaxagoras assumed the free-willed Nous who depends only on Itself.
He appreciated in the Nous just the very quality of being a thing of
chance, a chance agent, therefore of being able to act unconditioned,
undetermined, guided neither by causes nor by purposes.

Notes for a Continuation

(Early Part of 1873)


That this total conception of the Anaxagorean doctrine must be
right, is proved most clearly by the way in which the successors
of Anaxagoras, the Agrigentine Empedocles and the atomic teacher
Democritus in their counter-systems actually criticised and improved
that doctrine. The method of this critique is more than anything a
continued renunciation in that spirit of natural science mentioned
above, the law of economy applied to the interpretation of nature.
That hypothesis, which explains the existing world with the smallest
expenditure of assumptions and means is to have preference: for in such
a hypothesis is to be found the least amount of arbitrariness, and in
it free play with possibilities is prohibited. Should there be two
hypotheses which both explain the world, then a strict test must be
applied as to which of the two better satisfies that demand of economy.
He who can manage this explanation with the simpler and more known
forces, especially the mechanical ones, he who deduces the existing
edifice of the world out of the smallest possible number of forces,
will always be preferred to him who allows the more complicated and
less-known forces, and these moreover in greater number, to carry on a
world-creating play. So then we see Empedocles endeavouring to remove
the _superfluity_ of hypotheses from the doctrine of Anaxagoras.

The first hypothesis which falls as unnecessary is that of the
Anaxagorean Nous, for its assumption is much too complex to explain
anything so simple as motion. After all it is only necessary to explain
the two kinds of motion: the motion of a body towards another, and the
motion away from another.


If our present Becoming is a segregating, although not a complete one,
then Empedocles asks: what prevents complete segregation? Evidently a
force works against it, _i.e.,_ a latent motion of attraction.

Further: in order to explain that Chaos, a force must already have
been at work; a movement is necessary to bring about this complicated

Therefore periodical preponderance of the one and the other force is
certain. They are opposites.

The force of attraction is still at work; for otherwise there would be
no Things at all, everything would be segregated.

This is the actual fact: two kinds of motion. The Nous does not explain
them. On the contrary, Love and Hatred; indeed we certainly see that
these move as well as that the Nous moves.

Now the conception of the primal state undergoes a change: it is
the most _blessed._ With Anaxagoras it was the chaos before the
architectural work, the heap of stones as it were upon the building


Empedocles had conceived the thought of a tangential force originated
by revolution and working against gravity ("de coelo," i., p. 284),
Schopenhauer, "W. A. W.," ii. 390.

He considered the continuation of the circular movement according
to Anaxagoras _impossible._ It would result in a _whirl, i.e.,_ the
contrary of ordered motion.

If the particles were infinitely mixed, pell-mell, then one would be
able to break asunder the bodies without any exertion of power, they
would not cohere or hold together, they would be as dust.

The forces, which press the atoms against one another, and which give
stability to the mass, Empedocles calls "Love." It is a molecular
force, a constitutive force of the bodies.


Against Anaxagoras.

1. The Chaos already presupposes motion.

2. Nothing prevented the complete segregation.

3. Our bodies would be dust-forms. How can motion exist, if there are
not counter-motions in all bodies?

4. An ordered permanent circular motion impossible; only a whirl. He
assumes the whirl itself to be an effect of the νεῑκος.--ἀπορροιαί. How
do distant things operate on one another, sun upon earth? If everything
were still in a whirl, that would be impossible. Therefore at least two
moving powers: which must be inherent in Things.

5. Why infinite ὄντα? Transgression of experience. Anaxagoras meant
the chemical atoms. Empedocles tried the assumption of four kinds of
chemical atoms. He took the aggregate states to be essential, and heat
to be co-ordinated. Therefore the aggregate states through repulsion
and attraction; matter in four forms.

6. The periodical principle is necessary.

7. With the living beings Empedocles will also deal still on the same
principle. Here also he denies purposiveness. His greatest deed. With
Anaxagoras a dualism.


The symbolism of _sexual love._ Here as in the Platonic fable the
longing after Oneness shows itself, and here, likewise, is shown
that once a greater unity already existed; were this greater unity
established, then this would again strive after a still greater one.
The conviction of the unity of everything living guarantees that once
there was an _immense Living Something,_ of which we are pieces;
that is probably the Sphairos itself. He is the most blessed deity.
Everything was connected only through love, therefore in the highest
degree appropriate. Love has been torn to pieces and splintered by
hatred, love has been divided into her elements and killed--bereft
of life. In the whirl no living individuals originate. Eventually
everything is segregated and now our period begins. (He opposes the
Anaxagorean Primal Mixture by a Primal Discord.) Love, blind as she
is, with furious haste again throws the elements one against another
endeavouring to see whether she can bring them back to life again or
not. Here and there she is successful. It continues. A presentiment
originates in the living beings, that they are to strive after still
higher unions than home and the primal state. Eros. It is a terrible
crime to kill life, for thereby one works back to the Primal Discord.
Some day everything will be again one _single life,_ the most blissful

The Pythagorean-orphean doctrine re-interpreted in the manner of
natural science. Empedocles consciously masters both means of
expression, therefore he is the first rhetor. Political aims.

The double-nature--the agonal and the loving, the compassionate.

Attempt of the _Hellenic total reform_.

All inorganic matter has originated out of organic, it is dead organic
matter. Corpse and man.



The greatest possible simplification of the hypotheses.

1. There is motion, therefore vacuum, therefore a "Non-Existent."
Thinking is motion.

2. If there is a "Non-Existent" it must be indivisible, _i.e.,_
absolutely filled. Division is only explicable in case of empty spaces
and pores. The "Non-Existent" alone is an absolutely porous thing.

3. The secondary qualities of matter, νόμῳ, not of Matter-In-Itself.

4. Establishment of the primary qualities of the ἄτομα. Wherein
homogeneous, wherein heterogeneous?

5. The aggregate-states of Empedocles (four elements) presuppose only
the homogeneous atoms, they themselves cannot therefore be ὄντα.

6. Motion is connected indissolubly with the atoms, effect of gravity.
Epicur. Critique: what does gravity signify in an infinite vacuum?

7. Thinking is the motion of the fire-atoms. Soul, life, perceptions of
the senses.
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
Value of materialism and its embarrassment.

Plato and Democritus.

The hermit-like homeless noble searcher for truth. Democritus and the
Pythagoreans together find the basis of natural sciences.
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
What are the causes which have interrupted a flourishing science of
experimental physics in antiquity after Democritus?


Anaxagoras has taken from Heraclitus the idea that in every Becoming
and in every Being the opposites are together.

He felt strongly the contradiction that a body has many qualities and
he _pulverised_ it in the belief that he had now dissolved it into
its true qualities.
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
_Plato:_ first Heraclitean, later Sceptic: Everything, even Thinking,
is in a state of flux.

Brought through Socrates to the permanence of the good, the beautiful.

These assumed as entitative.

All generic ideals partake of the idea of the good, the beautiful, and
they too are therefore _entitative_, _being_ (as the soul partakes of
the idea of Life). The idea is _formless_.

Through Pythagoras' metempsychosis has been answered the question: how
we can know anything about the ideas.

Plato's end: scepticism in Parmenides. Refutation of ideology.



Greek thought during the _tragic age is pessimistic_ or _artistically

Their judgment about _life_ implies more.

The One, flight from the Becoming. _Aut_ unity, _aut_ artistic play.

Deep distrust of reality: nobody assumes a good god, who has made
everything _optime_.

    {Pythagoreans, religious sect.
     Democritus: the world without moral
       and æsthetic meaning, pessimism of

If one placed a tragedy before all these, the three former would see
in it the mirror of the fatality of existence, Parmenides a transitory
appearance, Heraclitus and Anaxagoras an artistic edifice and image of
the world-laws, Democritus the result of machines.
    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

With Socrates _Optimism_ begins, an optimism no longer artistic, with
teleology and faith in the good god; faith in the enlightened good
man. Dissolution of the instincts, Socrates breaks with the hitherto
prevailing _knowledge_ and _culture;_ he intends returning to the old
citizen-virtue and to the State.

Plato dissociates himself from the State, when he observes that the
State has become identical with the new Culture.

The Socratic scepticism is a weapon against the hitherto prevailing
culture and knowledge.



In some remote corner of the universe, effused into innumerable
solar-systems, there was once a star upon which clever animals invented
cognition. It was the haughtiest, most mendacious moment in the history
of this world, but yet only a moment. After Nature had taken breath
awhile the star congealed and the clever animals had to die.--Someone
might write a fable after this style, and yet he would not have
illustrated sufficiently, how wretched,; shadow-like, transitory,
purposeless and fanciful the human intellect appears in Nature. There
were eternities during which this intellect did not exist, and when it
has once more passed away there will be nothing to show that it has
existed. For this intellect is not concerned with any further mission
transcending the sphere of human life. No, it is purely human and none
but its owner and procreator regards it so pathetically as to suppose
that the world revolves around it. If, however, we and the gnat could
understand each other we should learn that even the gnat swims through
the air with the same pathos, and feels within itself the flying centre
of the world. Nothing in Nature is so bad or so insignificant that it
will not, at the smallest puff of that force cognition, immediately
swell up like a balloon, and just as a mere porter wants to have his
admirer, so the very proudest man, the philosopher, imagines he sees
from all sides the eyes of the universe telescopically directed upon
his actions and thoughts.

It is remarkable that this is accomplished by the intellect, which
after all has been given to the most unfortunate, the most delicate,
the most transient beings only as an expedient, in order to detain them
for a moment in existence, from which without that extra-gift they
would have every cause to flee as swiftly as Lessing's son.[1] That
haughtiness connected with cognition and sensation, spreading blinding
fogs before the eyes and over the senses of men, deceives itself
therefore as to the value of existence owing to the fact that it bears
within itself the most flattering evaluation of cognition. Its most
general effect is deception; but even its most particular effects have
something of deception in their nature.

The intellect, as a means for the preservation of the individual,
develops its chief power in dissimulation; for it is by dissimulation
that the feebler, and less robust individuals preserve themselves,
since it has been denied them to fight the battle of existence
with horns or the sharp teeth of beasts of prey. In man this art
of dissimulation reaches its acme of perfection: in him deception,
flattery, falsehood and fraud, slander, display, pretentiousness,
disguise, cloaking convention, and acting to others and to himself
in short, the continual fluttering to and fro around the _one_
flame--Vanity: all these things are so much the rule, and the law,
that few things are more incomprehensible than the way in which an
honest and pure impulse to truth could have arisen among men. They
are deeply immersed in illusions and dream-fancies; their eyes glance
only over the surface of things and see "forms"; their sensation
nowhere leads to truth, but contents itself with receiving stimuli
and, so to say, with playing hide-and-seek on the back of things.
In addition to that, at night man allows his dreams to lie to him a
whole life-time long, without his moral sense ever trying to prevent
them; whereas men are said to exist who by the exercise of a strong
will have overcome the habit of snoring. What indeed _does_ man know
about himself? Oh! that he could but once see himself complete, placed
as it were in an illuminated glass-case! Does not nature keep secret
from him most things, even about his body, _e.g.,_ the convolutions of
the intestines, the quick flow of the blood-currents, the intricate
vibrations of the fibres, so as to banish and lock him up in proud,
delusive knowledge? Nature threw away the key; and woe co the fateful
curiosity which might be able for a moment to look out and down through
a crevice in the chamber of consciousness, and discover that man,
indifferent to his own ignorance, is resting on the pitiless, the
greedy, the insatiable, the murderous, and, as it were, hanging in
dreams on the back of a tiger. Whence, in the wide world, with this
state of affairs, arises the impulse to truth?

As far as the individual tries to preserve himself against other
individuals, in the natural state of things he uses the intellect
in most cases only for dissimulation; since, however, man both from
necessity and boredom wants to exist socially and gregariously, he
must needs make peace and at least endeavour to cause the greatest
_bellum omnium contra omnes_ to disappear from his world. This first
conclusion of peace brings with it a something which looks like the
first step towards the attainment of that enigmatical bent for truth.
For that which henceforth is to be "truth" is now fixed; that is to
say, a uniformly valid and binding designation of things is invented
and the legislature of language also gives the first laws of truth:
since here, for the first time, originates the contrast between truth
and falsity. The liar uses the valid designations, the words, in order
to make the unreal appear as real; _e.g.,_ he says, "I am rich,"
whereas the right designation for his state would be "poor." He abuses
the fixed conventions by convenient substitution or even inversion
of terms. If he does this in a selfish and moreover harmful fashion,
society will no longer trust him but will even exclude him. In this way
men avoid not so much being defrauded, but being injured by fraud. At
bottom, at this juncture too, they hate not deception, but the evil,
hostile consequences of certain species of deception. And it is in
a similarly limited sense only that man desires truth: he covets the
agreeable, life-preserving consequences of truth; he is indifferent
towards pure, ineffective knowledge; he is even inimical towards truths
which possibly might prove harmful or destroying. And, moreover, what
after all are those conventions op language? Are they possibly products
of knowledge, of the love of truth; do the designations and the things
coincide? Is language the adequate expression of all realities?

Only by means of forgetfulness can man ever arrive at imagining that he
possesses "truth" in that degree just indicated. If he does not mean
to content himself with truth in the shape of tautology, that is, with
empty husks, he will always obtain illusions instead of truth. What
is a word? The expression of a nerve-stimulus in sounds. But to infer
a cause outside us from the nerve-stimulus is already the result of a
wrong and unjustifiable application of the proposition of causality.
How should we dare, if truth with the genesis of language, if the point
of view of certainty with the designations had alone been decisive; how
indeed should we dare to say: the stone is hard; as if "hard" was known
to us otherwise; and not merely as an entirely subjective stimulus!
We divide things according to genders; we designate the tree as
masculine,[2] the plant as feminine:[3] what arbitrary metaphors! How
far flown beyond the canon of certainty! We speak of a "serpent";[4]
the designation fits nothing but the sinuosity, and could therefore
also appertain to the worm. What arbitrary demarcations! what one-sided
preferences given sometimes to this, sometimes to that quality of a
thing! The different languages placed side by side show that with words
truth or adequate expression matters little: for otherwise there would
not be so many languages. The "Thing-in-itself" (it is just this which
would be the pure ineffective truth) is also quite incomprehensible
to the creator of language and not worth making any great endeavour
to obtain. He designates only the relations of things to men and for
their expression he calls to his help the most daring metaphors. A
nerve-stimulus, first transformed into a percept! First metaphor! The
percept again copied into a sound! Second metaphor! And each time he
leaps completely out of one sphere right into the midst of an entirely
different one. One can imagine a man who is quite deaf and has never
had a sensation of tone and of music; just as this man will possibly
marvel at Chladni's sound figures in the sand, will discover their
cause in the vibrations of the string, and will then proclaim that
now he knows what man calls "tone"; even so does it happen to us all
with language. When we talk about trees, colours, snow and flowers,
we believe we know something about the things themselves, and yet we
only possess metaphors of the things, and these metaphors do not in the
least correspond to the original essentials. Just as the sound shows
itself as a sand-figure, in the same way the enigmatical _x_ of the
Thing-in-itself is seen first as nerve-stimulus, then as percept, and
finally as sound. At any rate the genesis of language did not therefore
proceed on logical lines, and the whole material in which and with
which the man of truth, the investigator, the philosopher works and
builds, originates, if not from Nephelococcygia, cloud-land, at any
rate not from the essence of things.

Let us especially think about the formation of ideas. Every word
becomes at once an idea not by having, as one might presume, to serve
as a reminder for the original experience happening but once and
absolutely individualised, to which experience such word owes its
origin, no, but by having simultaneously to fit innumerable, more or
less similar (which really means never equal, therefore altogether
unequal) cases. Every idea originates through equating the unequal. As
certainly as no one leaf is exactly similar to any other, so certain
is it that the idea "leaf" has been formed through an arbitrary
omission of these individual differences, through a forgetting of the
differentiating qualities, and this idea now awakens the notion that in
nature there is, besides the leaves, a something called _the_ "leaf,"
perhaps a primal form according to which all leaves were woven, drawn,
accurately measured, coloured, crinkled, painted, but by unskilled
hands, so that no copy had turned out correct and trustworthy as a
true copy of the primal form. We call a man "honest"; we ask, why has
he acted so honestly to-day? Our customary answer runs, "On account of
his honesty." _The_ Honesty! That means again: the "leaf" is the
cause of the leaves. We really and truly do not know anything at all
about an essential quality which might be called _the_ honesty, but we
do know about numerous individualised, and therefore unequal actions,
which we equate by omission of the unequal, and now designate as honest
actions; finally out of them we formulate a _qualitas occulta_ with the
name "Honesty." The disregarding of the individual and real furnishes
us with the idea, as it likewise also gives us the form; whereas nature
knows of no forms and ideas, and therefore knows no species but only
an _x,_ to us inaccessible and indefinable. For our antithesis of
individual and species is anthropomorphic too and does not come from
the essence of things, although on the other hand we do not dare to
say that it does not correspond to it; for that would be a dogmatic
assertion and as such just as undemonstrable as its contrary.

What therefore is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonymies,
anthropomorphisms: in short a sum of human relations which became
poetically and rhetorically intensified, metamorphosed, adorned, and
after long usage seem to a nation fixed, canonic and binding; truths
are illusions of which one has forgotten that they _are_ illusions;
worn-out metaphors which have become powerless to affect the senses;
coins which have their obverse effaced and now are no longer of account
as coins but merely as metal.

Still we do not yet know whence the impulse to truth comes, for up to
now we have heard only about the obligation which society imposes in
order to exist: to be truthful, that is, to use the usual metaphors,
therefore expressed morally: we have heard only about the obligation
to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie gregariously in a style
binding for all. Now man of course forgets that matters are going thus
with him; he therefore lies in that fashion pointed out unconsciously
and according to habits of centuries' standing--and by _this very
unconsciousness,_ by this very forgetting, he arrives at a sense for
truth. Through this feeling of being obliged to designate one thing as
"red," another as "cold," a third one as "dumb," awakes a moral emotion
relating to truth. Out of the antithesis "liar" whom nobody trusts,
whom all exclude, man demonstrates to himself the venerableness,
reliability, usefulness of truth. Now as a "_rational_" being he
submits his actions to the sway of abstractions; he no longer suffers
himself to be carried away by sudden impressions, by sensations, he
first generalises all these impressions into paler, cooler ideas, in
order to attach to them the ship of his life and actions. Everything
which makes man stand out in bold relief against the animal depends on
this faculty of volatilising the concrete metaphors into a schema, and
therefore resolving a perception into an idea. For within the range of
those schemata a something becomes possible that never could succeed
under the first perceptual impressions: to build up a pyramidal order
with castes and grades, to create a new world of laws, privileges,
sub-orders, delimitations, which now stands opposite the other
perceptual world of first impressions and assumes the appearance of
being the more fixed, general, known, human of the two and therefore
the regulating and imperative one. Whereas every metaphor of perception
is individual and without its equal and therefore knows how to escape
all attempts to classify it, the great "edifice of ideas shows the
rigid regularity of a Roman Columbarium and in logic breathes forth the
sternness and coolness which we find in mathematics. He who has been
breathed upon by this coolness will scarcely believe, that the idea
too, bony and hexa-hedral, and permutable as a die, remains however
only as the _residuum of a metaphor,_ and that the illusion of the
artistic metamorphosis of a nerve-stimulus into percepts is, if not
the mother, then the grand-mother of every idea. Now in this game of
dice, "Truth" means to use every die as it is designated, to count its
points carefully, to form exact classifications, and never lo violate
the order of castes and the sequences of rank. Just as the Romans
and Etruscans for their benefit cut up the sky by means of strong
mathematical lines and banned a god as it were into a _templum,_ into a
space limited in this fashion, so every nation has above its head such
a sky of ideas divided up mathematically, and it understands the demand
for truth to mean that every conceptual god is to be looked for only
in _his_ own sphere. One may here well admire man, who succeeded in
piling up an infinitely complex dome of ideas on a movable foundation
and as it were on running water, as a powerful genius of architecture.
Of course in order to obtain hold on such a foundation it must be as
an edifice piled up out of cobwebs, so fragile, as to be carried away
by the waves: so firm, as not to be blown asunder by every wind. In
this way man as an architectural genius rises high above the bee;
she builds with wax, which she brings together out of nature; he
with the much more delicate material of ideas, which he must first
manufacture within himself. He is very much to be admired here--but
not on account of his impulse for truth, his bent for pure cognition
of things. If somebody hides a thing behind a bush, seeks it again and
finds it in the self-same place, then there is not much to boast of,
respecting this seeking and finding; thus, however, matters stand with
the seeking and finding of "truth" within the realm of reason. If I
make the definition of the mammal and then declare after inspecting a
camel, "Behold a mammal," then no doubt a truth is brought to light
thereby, but it is of very limited value, I mean it is anthropomorphic
through and through, and does not contain one single point which is
"true-in-itself," real and universally valid, apart from man. The
seeker after such truths seeks at the bottom only the metamorphosis
of the world in man, he strives for an understanding of the world as
a human-like thing and by his battling gains at best the feeling of
an assimilation. Similarly, as the astrologer contemplated the stars
in the service of man and in connection with their happiness and
unhappiness, such a seeker contemplates the whole world as related to
man, as the infinitely protracted echo of an original sound: man; as
the multiplied copy of the one arch-type: man. His procedure is to
apply man as the measure of all things, whereby he starts from the
error of believing that he has these things immediately before him
as pure objects. He therefore forgets that the original metaphors of
perception _are_ metaphors, and takes them for the things themselves.

Only by forgetting that primitive world of metaphors, only by the
congelation and coagulation of an original mass of similes and percepts
pouring forth as a fiery liquid out of the primal faculty of human
fancy, only by the invincible faith, that _this_ sun, _this_ window,
_this_ table is a truth in itself: in short only by the fact that
man forgets himself as subject, and what is more as an _artistically
creating_ subject: only by all this does he live with some repose,
safety and consequence. If he were able to get out of the prison walls
of this faith, even for an instant only, his "self-consciousness would
be destroyed at once. Already it costs him some trouble to admit to
himself that the insect and the bird perceive a world different from
his own, and that the question, which of the two world-perceptions is
more accurate, is quite a senseless one, since to decide this question
it would be necessary to apply the standard of _right perception,_
i.e., to apply a standard which _does not exist._ On the whole it
seems to me that the "right perception"--which would mean the adequate
expression of an object in the subject--is a nonentity full of
contradictions: for between two utterly different spheres, as between
subject and object, there is no causality, no accuracy, no expression,
but at the utmost an _æsthetical_ relation, I mean a suggestive
metamorphosis, a stammering translation into quite a distinct foreign
language, for which purpose however there is needed at any rate an
intermediate sphere, an intermediate force, freely composing and
freely inventing. The word "phenomenon" contains many seductions, and
on that account I avoid it as much as possible, for it is not true
that the essence of things appears in the empiric world. A painter
who had no hands and wanted to express the picture distinctly present
to his mind by the agency of song, would still reveal much more with
this permutation of spheres, than the empiric world reveals about
the essence of things. The very relation of a nerve-stimulus to the
produced percept is in itself no necessary one; but if the same percept
has been reproduced millions of times and has been the inheritance of
many successive generations of man, and in the end appears each time to
all mankind as the result of the same cause, then it attains finally
for man the same importance as if it were _the_ unique, necessary
percept and as if that relation between the original nerve-stimulus
and the percept produced were a close relation of causality: just as
a dream eternally repeated, would be perceived and judged as though
real. But the congelation and coagulation of a metaphor does not at all
guarantee the necessity and exclusive justification of that metaphor.

Surely every human being who is at home with such contemplations has
felt a deep distrust against any idealism of that kind, as often
as he has distinctly convinced himself of the eternal rigidity,
omni-presence, and infallibility of nature's laws: he has arrived at
the conclusion that as far as we can penetrate the heights of the
telescopic and the depths of the microscopic world, everything is quite
secure, complete, infinite, determined, and continuous. Science will
have to dig in these shafts eternally and successfully and all things
found are sure to have to harmonise and not to contradict one another.
How little does this resemble a product of fancy, for if it were one
it would necessarily betray somewhere its nature of appearance and
unreality. Against this it may be objected in the first place that if
each of us had for himself a different sensibility, if we ourselves
were only able to perceive sometimes as a bird, sometimes as a worm,
sometimes as a plant, or if one of us saw the same stimulus as red,
another as blue, if a third person even perceived it as a tone, then
nobody would talk of such an orderliness of nature, but would conceive
of her only as an extremely subjective structure. Secondly, what is,
for us in general, a law of nature? It is not known in itself but
only in its effects, that is to say in its relations to other laws
of nature, which again are known to us only as sums of relations.
Therefore all these relations refer only one to another and are
absolutely incomprehensible to us in their essence; only that which we
add: time, space, _i.e.,_ relations of sequence and numbers, are really
known to us in them. Everything wonderful, however, that we marvel
at in the laws of nature, everything that demands an explanation and
might seduce us into distrusting idealism, lies really and solely in
the mathematical rigour and inviolability of the conceptions of time
and space. These however we produce within ourselves and throw them
forth with that necessity with which the spider spins; since we are
compelled to conceive all things under these forms only, then it is no
longer wonderful that in all things we actually conceive none but these
forms: for they all must bear within themselves the laws of number,
and this very idea of number is the most marvellous in all things. All
obedience to law which impresses us so forcibly in the orbits of stars
and in chemical processes coincides at the bottom with those qualities
which we ourselves attach to those things, so that it is we who
thereby make the impression upon ourselves. Whence it clearly follows
that that artistic formation of metaphors, with which every sensation
in us begins, already presupposes those forms, and is therefore only
consummated within them; only out of the persistency of these primal
forms the possibility explains itself, how afterwards--out of the
metaphors themselves a structure of ideas, could again be compiled. For
the latter is an imitation of the relations of time, space and number
in the realm of metaphors.

[1] The German poet, Lessing, had been married for just a little over
one year to Eva König. A son was born and died the same day, and the
mother's life was despaired of. In a letter to his friend Eschenburg
the poet wrote: "... and I lost him so unwillingly, this son! For he
had so much understanding! so much understanding! Do not suppose that
the few hours of fatherhood have made me an ape of a father! I know
what I say. Was it not understanding, that they had to drag him into
the world with a pair of forceps? that he so soon suspected the evil
of this world? Was it not understanding, that he seized the first
opportunity to get away from it?..."

Eva König died a week later.--TR.

[2] In German _the tree--der Baum_--is masculine.--TR.

[3] In German _the plant--die Pflanze--_-is feminine--TR.

[4] _Cf._ the German _die Schlange_ and _schlingen,_ the English
_serpent_ from the Latin _serpere._--TR.


As we saw, it is _language_ which has worked originally at the
construction of ideas; in later times it is _science._ Just as the
bee works at the same time at the cells and fills them with honey,
thus science works irresistibly at that great columbarium of ideas,
the cemetery of perceptions, builds ever newer and higher storeys;
supports, purifies, renews the old cells, and endeavours above all to
fill that gigantic framework and to arrange within it the whole of the
empiric world, _i.e.,_ the anthropomorphic world. And as the man of
action binds his life to reason and its ideas, in order to avoid being
swept away and losing himself, so the seeker after truth builds his hut
close to the towering edifice of science in order to collaborate with
it and to find protection. And he needs protection. For there are awful
powers which continually press upon him, and which hold out against the
"truth" of science "truths" fashioned in quite another way, bearing
devices of the most heterogeneous character.

That impulse towards the formation of metaphors, mat fundamental
impulse of man, which we cannot reason away for one moment--for thereby
we should reason away man himself--is in truth not defeated nor even
subdued by the fact that out of its evaporated products, the ideas, a
regular and rigid new world has been built as a stronghold for it. This
impulse seeks for itself a new realm of action and another river-bed,
and finds it in _Mythos_ and more generally in _Art._ This impulse
constantly confuses the rubrics and cells of the ideas, by putting
up new figures of speech, metaphors, metonymies; it constantly shows
its passionate longing for shaping the existing world of waking man
as motley, irregular, inconsequentially incoherent, attractive, and
eternally new as the world of dreams is. For indeed, waking man _per
se_ is only clear about his being awake through the rigid and orderly
woof of ideas, and it is for this very reason that he sometimes comes
to believe that he was dreaming when that woof of ideas has for a
moment been torn by Art. Pascal is quite right, when he asserts, that
if the same dream came to us every night we should be just as much
occupied by it as by the things which we see every day; to quote his
words, "If an artisan were certain that he would dream every night
for fully twelve hours that he was a king, I believe that he would
be just as happy as a king who dreams every night for twelve hours
that he is an artisan." The wide-awake day of a people mystically
excitable, let us say of the earlier Greeks, is in fact through the
continually-working wonder, which the mythos presupposes, more akin to
the dream than to the day of the thinker sobered by science. If every
tree may at some time talk as a nymph, or a god under the disguise of
a bull, carry away virgins, if the goddess Athene herself be suddenly
seen as, with a beautiful team, she drives, accompanied by Pisistratus,
through the markets of Athens--and every honest Athenian did believe
this--at any moment, as in a dream, everything is possible; and all
nature swarms around man as if she were nothing but the masquerade
of the gods, who found it a huge joke to deceive man by assuming all
possible forms.

Man himself, however, has an invincible tendency to let himself
be deceived, and he is like one enchanted with happiness when the
rhapsodist narrates to him epic romances in such a way that they appear
real or when the actor on the stage makes the king appear more kingly
than reality shows him. Intellect, that master of dissimulation, is
free and dismissed from his service as slave, so long as It is able
to deceive without _injuring,_ and then It celebrates Its Saturnalia.
Never is It richer, prouder, more luxuriant, more skilful and daring;
with a creator's delight It throws metaphors into confusion, shifts the
boundary-stones of the abstractions, so that for instance It designates
the stream as the mobile way which carries man to that place whither
he would otherwise go. Now It has thrown off Its shoulders the emblem
of servitude. Usually with gloomy officiousness It endeavours to point
out the way to a poor individual coveting existence, and It fares forth
for plunder and booty like a servant for his master, but now It Itself
has become a master and may wipe from Its countenance the expression
of indigence. Whatever It now does, compared with Its former doings,
bears within itself dissimulation, just as Its former doings bore the
character of distortion. It copies human life, but takes it for a
good thing and seems to rest quite satisfied with it. That enormous
framework and hoarding of ideas, by clinging to which needy man saves
himself through life, is to the freed intellect only a scaffolding and
a toy for Its most daring feats, and when It smashes it to pieces,
throws it into confusion, and then puts it together ironically, pairing
the strangest, separating the nearest items, then It manifests that It
has no use for those makeshifts of misery, and that It is now no longer
led by ideas but by intuitions. From these intuitions no regular road
leads into the land of the spectral schemata, the abstractions; for
them the word is not made, when man sees them he is dumb, or speaks in
forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of ideas, in order
to correspond creatively with the impression of the powerful present
intuition at least by destroying and jeering at the old barriers of

There are ages, when the rational and the intuitive man stand side by
side, the one full of fear of the intuition, the other full of scorn
for the abstraction; the latter just as irrational as the former is
inartistic. Both desire to rule over life; the one by knowing how to
meet the most important needs with foresight, prudence, regularity;
the other as an "over-joyous" hero by ignoring those needs and taking
that life only as real which simulates appearance and beauty. Wherever
intuitive man, as for instance in the earlier history of Greece,
brandishes his weapons more powerfully and victoriously than his
opponent, there under favourable conditions, a culture can develop and
art can establish her rule over life. That dissembling, that denying of
neediness, that splendour of metaphorical notions and especially that
directness of dissimulation accompany all utterances of such a life.
Neither the house of man, nor his way of walking, nor his clothing, nor
his earthen jug suggest that necessity invented them; it seems as if
they all were intended as the expressions of a sublime happiness, an
Olympic cloudlessness, and as it were a playing at seriousness. Whereas
the man guided by ideas and abstractions only wards off misfortune by
means of them, without even enforcing for himself happiness out of the
abstractions; whereas he strives after the greatest possible freedom
from pains, the intuitive man dwelling in the midst of culture has from
his intuitions a harvest: besides the warding off of evil, he attains a
continuous in-pouring of enlightenment, enlivenment and redemption. Of
course when he _does_ suffer, he suffers more: and he even suffers more
frequently since he cannot learn from experience, but again and again
falls into the same ditch into which he has fallen before. In suffering
he is just as irrational as in happiness; he cries aloud and finds no
consolation. How different matters are in the same misfortune with
the Stoic, taught by experience and ruling himself by ideas! He who
otherwise only looks for uprightness, truth, freedom from deceptions
and shelter from ensnaring and sudden attack, in his misfortune
performs the masterpiece of dissimulation, just as the other did in
his happiness; he shows no twitching mobile human face but as it were a
mask with dignified, harmonious features; he does not cry out and does
not even alter his voice; when a heavy thundercloud bursts upon him,
he wraps himself up in his cloak and with slow and measured step walks
away from beneath it.


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