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Title: Nietzsche - His Life and Works
Author: Ludovici, Anthony M. (Anthony Mario)
Language: English
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[Philosophies Ancient and Modern]




'Who is to be Master of the World?'

AND 'Notes to Zarathustra'






The commission for a book on Nietzsche, to form the latest addition
to a series of famous philosophers, is most certainly a sign that
the age of adversity, through which the earlier Nietzscheans had to
struggle, has at last come to an end. For ten consecutive years they
had had no reply whatever to their propaganda, and their publications,
loud as some of them were, proved as ineffective as cannon shots fired
into the eternity of interplanetary space. Finally, however, when the
echo was at last heard, it gave back nothing like the original sound:
it was an echo of groans and moans, an echo of roaring disapproval
and hissing mockery. Yet the years rolled on and on--and so did the
printing-presses--hissing and roaring as much as ever--but at last,
their thunders grew tamer and more subdued--the tempest of their fury
seemed to die away in the distance--occasionally a slight mutter
was still to be heard, but no more flashes and hisses--and suddenly
a streak of blue was observed over the horizon, followed by a ray
and smile of sunlight--and a soft zephyr of subdued and tentative
compliments--and when our Nietzsche edition had begun to appear in its
stately volumes we were enabled to receive from our former enemies on
both sides of the Atlantic "respectful congratulations."

And now all my brave friends are radiant with joy and optimism. Like
the wanderer in the fairy tale, while the storm of disgust and loud
reproach was raging, they wrapped themselves all the more closely in
their cloaks, and no impudent wind could tear a shred of garments from
them, but now that the sun of approval has set in, they would fain get
out of their armour and enjoy the fine weather as a reward for past
perils. Has not the spring come at last? Are not the gay flowers at our
feet meant to welcome the victorious warriors?... Are not the ladies
--ladies that from time immemorial have loved the warrior (especially
when he is successful)--smiling at us more gloriously even than the
sun?... Sun, ladies, flowers, smiles--was there ever a nicer

But, alas! there is an unimaginative creature among the guests, an
earnest face among the cheerful, a disbeliever among the faithful, a
dark countenance amid the bright assembly;--a being who, in glaring
contrast to the sun, the smiles, and the gaily-coloured dresses and
sunshades, is keeping a tight hold upon a dark umbrella--for he has an
uncontrollable mistrust of English weather!

And I may claim that I not only know the meteorological conditions of
England, but also those of the whole of modern Europe. I know them so
well that I have the greatest doubts whether Nietzsche's influence
will be strong enough to withstand the terrible hurricane of democracy
which in our age is sweeping everything before it, and leaving a
level plain in its rear. Nietzsche may have been ever so right, but
Truth and Righteousness do not always prevail in this world of ours,
indeed, they don't: the bible itself, that otherwise optimistic book,
lets this grand secret out once and only once--in the story of Job.
The "happy ending" in that book will deceive no realistic observer:
it was added to the story, as it is added to modern plays and novels,
for the edification and comfort of the audience: the true story of Job
was without it, as was the true story of many a brave man, as was the
true story of that great pope, who on his deathbed came out with the
confession: "Dilexi justitiam et odi iniquitatem, _propterea_ morior
in exsilio,"[1] a confession which went in the very teeth of his own
virtue-rewarding creed with its happy-go-lucky trust in the moral order
of the universe.

Nietzsche may have been right, _therefore_ he may be unsuccessful. I
myself regard Nietzsche's views on art, religion, psychology, morality,
as extremely sound; I think they are proved both by history and by
common experience; I even suspect that they could be confirmed by
science, if only science would give up looking at the world through
the coloured spectacles of democratic prejudice ... but then, it is
so difficult to give up this democratic prejudice; for it is by no
means simply a political opinion. Democracy, as a political creed, need
terrify no one; for political creeds succeed each other like waves
of the sea, whose thunder is loud and whose end is froth; but the
driving power behind democracy is not a political one, it is religious
--it is Christianity. A mighty religion still, a religion which has
governed the world for two thousand years, which has influenced all
philosophies, all literatures, all laws, all customs up to our own day,
till it has finally filtered into our hearts, our blood, our system,
and become part and parcel of ourselves without our being aware of
it. At the present moment we are all instinctive Christians. Even
if this Christian religion has been severely wounded by Nietzsche's
criticism--and I believe this to be the case--I beg to suggest
that a wounded lion may still have more strength than all the fussy,
political, rationalistic, agnostic, nonconformist, Nietzschean and
super-Nietzschean mice put together.

It was all the braver, therefore, on Nietzsche's part to assail
such a mighty enemy, and to attack him exactly on the spot where
attack was most needed, if victory were to be won. Nietzsche clearly
recognised that the canons of criticism had until now only been
directed against the outer works of that stalwart fortress--at
dogmatic, at supernatural, at ecclesiastical Christianity, and that
no one had yet dared to aim right at the very heart of the creed--
its morality, which, while the shamfighters were at work outside,
was being enormously strengthened and consolidated from within. This
morality, however, Nietzsche recognised as intimately connected with
modern democracy--and behind the rosebush of democracy with its
flowery speeches and its fraternity- and liberty-blossoms, Nietzsche
clearly saw the dragon of anarchy and dissolution lurking. It was the
mortal fear of annihilation and ruin which gave Nietzsche the daring
to fulminate against our religion with such imperishable Dithyrambics.
He was the first to mean the phrase, "_écrasez l'infâme!_" which in
Voltaire's mouth was only an epigrammatic exclamation. For Nietzsche's
great forerunner on the Continent, Wolfgang Goethe, who was also just
as well aware how it would all end, was much too prudent a man to lay
his innermost heart bare to his enemies, he--the grand old hypocrite
of Weimar--gauged the power of the contrary current correctly, and
wisely left the open combat against Christianity and democracy to
his great colleague--to that man of tragic wit, to Heinrich Heine.

And there were others on the Continent--very few to be sure, and no
politician or man of science or woman among them--others who saw the
drift of modern ideas: all of them poets. For poets are prophets: their
sensitive organisation feels the fall of the glass first, while their
pluck and their pride, their duty and their desire to face the storm
drive them into the very thick of it. The German poet Hebbel, the
French novelist Stendhal, were amongst them. A new Matthew Arnold
--the object of my wish for this country--would perhaps like to include
another poet, the Frenchman Alfred de Vigny, in whose journal are to
be found those awe-inspiring words against democracy: "Alas! it is
thou, Democracy, that art the desert! it is thou who hast shrouded
and bleached everything beneath thy monticles of sand! Thy tedious
flatness has covered everything and levelled all! For ever and ever
the valley and the hill supplant each other; and only from time to
time a man of courage is seen: he rises like a sand-whirl, makes his
ten paces towards the sun, and then falls like powder to the ground.
And then nothing more is seen save the eternal plain of endless sand."

Goethe and Hebbel, Stendhal and Heinrich Heine, Alfred de Vigny and
Friedrich Nietzsche, all made their ten steps towards the sun and are
now sleeping peacefully beneath the dry sands of Christian democracy.
Their works are read, to be sure; but alas! how few understand their
meaning! I see this and I shudder. And I remember another moment in
my life--a moment of perturbation too--a moment in which an idea
overcame me, which has been haunting me ever since. I was on a visit
to Mrs. Förster-Nietzsche, in her villa high up amongst the hills of
Weimar, waiting in the drawing-room for my hostess to enter. It was
the first time that I had stood upon the holy ground where Friedrich
Nietzsche gave up his heroic soul, and I was naturally impressed; my
eyes wandered reverently around the scene, and I suddenly noticed
some handwriting on the wall. The handwriting consisted of a powerful
letter N which the ingenious builder had engraved profusely upon the
oak panels of the room. The N, of course, reminded me of another big
N, connected with another big name,--the N which used to be engraved
together with the imperial crown and eagle upon the plate and regalia
of Napoleon Bonaparte. There was another victim of democracy: the man
who, elevated by its revolutionary wave, tried to stifle and subdue
the anarchical flood, was swallowed up as ignominiously as its other
implacable opponent, the plucky parson's son of the vicarage of Röcken.

The mighty sword in the beginning and the mighty pen at the end of
the last century were alike impotent against--Fate. No doubt, I saw
in that moment, as though lit up by a flashlight, the fate of Europe
clearly before my eyes. A fate--an iron fate. A fate unavoidable
for a continent that will have no more guides, no more great men.
A fate unavoidable for an age that spills its best blood with the
carelessness of ignorance. A fate unavoidable for a people that is
driven by its very religion to disobedience and anarchy. And I thought
of my own race, which has seen so many fates, so many ages, so many
empires decline--and there was I, the eternal Jew, witnessing another
catastrophe. And I shuddered, and when my hostess entered I had not
yet recovered my breath.

Gruesome, isn't it? But what if it should not come true? "There are
no more prophets to-day," says the Talmud scornfully. Well, unlike
my ancestor Jonah, who became melancholic when his announcement of
the downfall of Nineveh was not fulfilled, I beg to say that I on the
contrary shall be extremely delighted to have proved a false prophet.
But I shall keep my umbrella all the same.

                                                       OSCAR LEVY.
54 Russell Square,
London, W.C.

[1] 'I have loved justice and I have hated iniquity, _therefore_ I die
in exile.'



    Chapter I
    Life and Works
    Chapter II
    Nietzsche the Amoralist
    Chapter III
    Nietzsche the Moralist
    Chapter IV
    Nietzsche the Evolutionist
    Chapter V
    Nietzsche the Sociologist
    Summary and Conclusion
    Books Useful to the Student of Nietzsche

Abbreviations Used in Referring to Nietzsche's Works

    D. D. = Dawn of Day.
    Z.    = Thus Spake Zarathustra.
    G. E. = Beyond Good and Evil.
    G. M. = The Genealogy of Morals.
    Aph.  = Aphorism.

Chapter I

Life and Works

"Holy be thy name to all coming generations! In the name of all thy
friends, I, thy pupil, cry out our warmest thanks to thee for thy great

"Thou wast one of the noblest and purest men that ever trod this earth.

"And although this is known to both friend and foe, I do not deem it
superfluous to utter this testimony aloud at thy tomb. For we know the
world; we know the fate of Spinoza! Around Nietzsche's memory, too,
posterity may cast shadows! And therefore I close with the words: Peace
to thy ashes!"[1]

This view, expressed by Peter Gast, Nietzsche's staunchest friend and
disciple, at his master's graveside, in August 1900, may be regarded
as typical of the Nietzsche enthusiast's attitude towards his master.
On the other hand we have the assurance of Nietzsche's opponents and
enemies that nothing could have been more utterly disastrous to modern
society, more pernicious, dangerous, and ridiculous than Nietzsche's

At the present day Nietzsche is so potent a force and his influence is
increasing with such rapidity that, whatever our calling in life may
be, it behoves us to know precisely what he stands for, and to which of
the opinions above given we should subscribe. As a matter of fact, the
inquirer into the life and works of this interesting man will find that
he has well-nigh as many by-names as he has readers, and not the least
of our difficulties in speaking about him will be to give him a fitting
title, descriptive of his mission and the way in which he understood it.

Some deny his right to the title "philosopher"; others declare him to
be a mere anarchist; and a large number regard all his later works as
no more than a shallow though brilliant reversal of every accepted
doctrine on earth.

In order to be able to provoke so much diversity of opinion, a man
must be not only versatile but forcible. Nietzsche was both. There is
scarcely a subject in the whole range of philosophical thought which
he does not attack and blow up; and he hurls forth his hard, polished
missiles in a manner so destructive, and at the same time with such
accuracy of aim, that it is no wonder a chorus of ill-used strongholds
of traditional thought now cry out against him as a disturber and
annihilator of their peace. Yet, through all the dust, smoke, and noise
of his implacable warfare, there are both a method and a mission to be
discerned--a method and a mission in the pursuit of which Nietzsche is
really as unswerving as he seems capricious.

Throughout his life and all his many recantations and revulsions of
feeling, he remained faithful to one purpose and to one aim--the
elevation of the type man. However bewildered we may become beneath the
hail of his epigrams, treating of every momentous question that has
ever agitated the human mind, we still can trace this broad principle
running through all his works: his desire to elevate man and to make
him more worthy of humanity's great past.

Even in his attack on English psychologists, naturalists, and
philosophers, in _The Genealogy of Morals_, what are his charges against
them? He says they debase man, voluntarily or involuntarily, by seeking
the really operative, really imperative and decisive factor in history
precisely where the intellectual pride of man would least wish to find
it, i.e. in _vis inertiæ_, in some blind and accidental mechanism of
ideas, in automatic and purely passive adaptation and modification, in
the compulsory action of adjustment to environment.

Again, in his attack on the evolutionists' so-called "struggle for
existence," of which I shall speak more exhaustively later, it is the
suggestion that life--mere existence in itself--is worthy of being
an aim at all, that he deprecates so profoundly. And, once more, it is
with the view of elevating man and his aspirations that he levels the

Whatever we may think of his methods, therefore, at least his aim was
sufficiently lofty and honourable, and we must bear in mind that he
never shirked the duties which, rightly or wrongly, he imagined would
help him to achieve it.

What was Nietzsche? If we accept his own definition of the
philosopher's task on earth, we must place him in the front rank of
philosophers. For, according to him, the creation of new values, new
principles, new standards, is the philosopher's sole _raison d'être_; and
this he certainly accomplished. If, on the other hand, with all the
"school" philosophers, we ask him to show us his system, we shall most
surely be disappointed. In this respect, therefore, we may perhaps need
to modify our opinion of him.

Be that as it may, it is safe to maintain that he was a poet of no
mean order; not a mere versifier or rhapsodist, but a poet in the
old Greek sense of the word, _i.e._ a maker, in our time such men are
so rare that we are apt to question whether they exist at all, for
poetasters have destroyed our faith in them. Goethe was perhaps the
last example of the type in modern Europe, and although we may recall
the scientific achievements of men like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci
and Galileo, we are not sufficiently ready to associate their divining
and intuitive power in the department of science with their purely
artistic and poetic achievements, despite the fact that the two are
really inseparable.

Knowing the high authority with which poets of this order are wont
to sneak, it might be supposed that we should approach Nietzsche's
innovations in the realm of science with some respect, not in spite of,
but precisely owing to, his great poetic genius. Unfortunately to-day
this no longer follows. Too thoroughly have we divorced science from
emotion and feeling (very wrongly, as even Herbert Spencer and Buckle
both declared), and now, wherever we see emotion or a suggestion of
passion, we are too apt to purse our lips and stand on our guard.

When we consider that Nietzsche was ultimately to prove the bitterest
enemy of Christianity, and the severest critic of the ecclesiastic, his
antecedents seem, to say the least, remarkable. His father, Karl Ludwig
Nietzsche, born in 1813, was a clergyman of the German Protestant
Church; his grandfather had also taken orders; whilst his grandmother
on his father's side was descended from a long line of parsons. Nor do
things change very much when we turn to his mother's family; for his
maternal grandfather, Oehler, was also a clergyman, and, according to
Nietzsche's sister, he appears to have been a very sound, though broad,

Yet, perhaps, it is we who are wrong in seeing anything strange
in the fact that a man with such orthodox antecedents should have
developed into a prophet and reformer of Nietzsche's stamp; for we
should remember that only a long tradition of discipline and strict
conventionality, lasting over a number of generations, is able to rear
that will-power and determination which, as the lives of most great
men have shown, are the first conditions of all epoch-making movements
started by single individuals.

Friedrich Nietzsche was born at Röcken near Lützen, in the Prussian
province of Saxony, on the 15th of October 1844. From his earliest
childhood onwards the boy seems to have been robust and active and
does not appear to have suffered from any of the ordinary ailments of
infancy. In the biography written by his sister much stress is laid
upon this fact, while the sometimes exceptional health enjoyed by his
parents and ancestors is duly emphasised by the anxious biographer.
Elisabeth Nietzsche (born in July 1846), the biographer in question, is
perfectly justified in establishing these facts with care; for we know
that our poet philosopher died insane, and many have sought to show
that his insanity was hereditary and could be traced throughout his

Nietzsche's father died in 1849, and in the following year the family
removed to Naumburg. There the boy received his early schooling,
first at a preparatory school and subsequently at the Gymnasium--the
Grammar School--of the town. As a lad, it is said that he was fond
of military games, and of sitting alone, and it appears that he would
recline for hours at his grandmother Nietzsche's feet, listening to
her reminiscences of the great Napoleon. Towards the end of 1858 Mrs.
Nietzsche was offered a scholarship for her son, for a term of six
years, in the Landes-Schule, Pforta, so famous for the scholars it
produced. At Pforta, where the discipline was very severe, the boy
followed the regular school course and worked with great industry.
His sister tells us that during this period he distinguished himself
most in his private studies and artistic efforts, though even in the
ordinary work of the school he was decidedly above the average. It was
here, too, that he first became acquainted with Wagner's compositions,
and a word ought now perhaps to be said in regard to his musical

Music, we know, played anything but a minor rôle in his later life,
as his three important essays, _Richard Wagner in Bayreuth_, _The Case
of Wagner_, and _Nietzsche contra Wagner_, are with us to prove. I fear,
however, that it will be impossible to go very deeply into this
question here, save at the cost of other still more important matters
which have a prior claim to our attention. Let it then suffice to say
that, as a boy, Nietzsche's talent had already become so noticeable
that for some time the question which agitated the elders in his circle
of relatives and friends, among whom were some competent judges, was
whether he should not give up all else in order to develop his great
gift. In the end, however, it was decided that he should become a
scholar, and although he never entirely gave up composing and playing
the piano, music never attained to anything beyond the dignity of a
serious hobby in his life. In saying this I naturally exclude his
critical writings on the subject, which are at once valuable and

Nietzsche's six years at Pforta were responsible for a large number of
his subsequent ideas. When we hear him laying particular stress upon
the value of rigorous training free from all sentimentality; when we
read his views concerning austerity and the importance of law, order
and discipline, we must bear in mind that he is speaking with an actual
knowledge of these things, and with profound experience of their worth.
The excellence of his philological work may also be ascribed to the
very sound training he received at Pforta, and the Latin essay which
he wrote on an original subject (Theognis, the great aristocratic poet
of Megara) for the leaving examination, laid the foundation of all his
subsequent opinions on morality.

Nietzsche left Pforta in September 1864 and entered the University of
Bonn, where he studied philology and theology. The latter he abandoned
six months later, however, and in the autumn of 1865 he left Bonn for
Leipzig, whither his famous teacher Ritschl had preceded him. Between
1865 and 1867 his work at Leipzig proved of the utmost importance to
his career. Hellenism, Schopenhauer and Wagner now entered into his
life and became paramount influences with him, and each in its way
determined what his ultimate mission was to be. Hellenism drew him ever
more strongly to philology and to the problem of culture in general;
Schopenhauer directed him to philosophy, and Wagner taught him his
first steps in a subject which was to be the actual _Leit-motif_ of his
teaching--I refer to the question of Art.

His work during these two years, arduous though it was, in no way
affected his health, and, despite his short-sight, he tells us that
he was then able to endure the greatest strain without the smallest
trouble. Being of a robust and energetic nature, however, he was
anxious to discover some means of employing his bodily strength, and it
was for this reason that, regardless of the interruption in his work,
he was enthusiastic at the thought of becoming a soldier.

In the autumn of 1867 he entered the fourth regiment of Field
Artillery, and it is said that he performed his duties to the complete
satisfaction of his superiors. But, alas, this lasted but a short time;
for, as the result of an unfortunate fall from a restive horse, he was
compelled to leave the colours before he had completed his term of

In October 1868, after a serious illness, the student returned to his
work at Leipzig, and now that event took place which was perhaps the
most triumphant and most decisive in his career. It was Nietzsche's
ambition to get His doctor's degree as soon as possible and then
to travel. Meanwhile, however, others were busy determining what
he should do. Some philological essays which he had written in his
student days, and which, owing to their excellence, had been published
by the "Rheinisches Museum," had attracted the attention of the
educational Board of Bâle. One of the Board communicated with Ritschl
concerning Nietzsche, and the reply the learned scholar sent was so
favourable that the University of Bâle immediately offered Ritschl's
favourite pupil their Professorship of Classical Philology. This was an
exceptional honour, and, to crown it, the University of Leipzig quickly
granted Nietzsche his doctor's degree without further examination
--truly a remarkable occurrence in straitlaced and formal Germany!

His first years at Bâle are chiefly associated in our minds with his
inaugural address: "Homer and Classical Philology," with his action in
regard to the Franco-German war, and with his lectures on the "Future
of our Educational Institutions." I can do no more than refer to these
here, but as regards the war it is necessary to go into further detail.

In July 1870, hostilities opened between France and Prussia. Now,
although Nietzsche had been forced to become a naturalised Swiss
subject in order to accept his appointment at Bâle, he was loth
to remain inactive while his own countrymen fought for the honour
of Germany. He could not, however, fight for the Germans without
compromising Switzerland's neutrality. He therefore went as a hospital
attendant, and in this capacity, after obtaining the necessary leave,
he followed his former compatriots to the war. According to Elisabeth
Nietzsche, it was this act of devotion which was the cause of all her
brother's subsequent ill-health. In Ars-sur-Moselle, while tending
the sick and wounded, Nietzsche contracted dysentery from those in
his charge. With his constitution undermined by the exertions of the
campaign, he fell very seriously ill, and had to be relieved of his
duties. Long before he was strong enough to do so, however, he resumed
his work at Bâle; and now began that second phase of his life during
which he never once recovered the health he had enjoyed before the war.

In January 1872 Nietzsche published his first book, _The Birth of
Tragedy_. It is really but a portion of a much larger work on Hellenism
which he had always had in view from his earliest student days, and it
may be said to have been prepared in two preliminary lectures delivered
at Bâle, under the title of the "Greek Musical Drama," and "Socrates
and Tragedy." The work was received with enthusiasm by Wagnerians; but
among Nietzsche's philological friends it succeeded in rousing little
more than doubt and suspicion. It was a sign that the young professor
was beginning to ascribe too much importance to Art in its influence
upon the world, and this the dry men of science could not tolerate.

Between 1873 and 1876, Nietzsche, while still at Bâle, published four
more essays which, for matter and form, proved to be among the most
startling productions that Germany had read since Schopenhauer's prime.
Their author called these essays _Thoughts out of Season_, and his aim
in writing them was undoubtedly the regeneration of German culture.
The first was an attack on German Philistinism, in the person of David
Strauss, the famous theologian of Tübingen, whom Nietzsche dubbed
the "Philistine of Culture," and was calculated to check the extreme
smugness which had suddenly invaded all departments of thought and
activity in Germany as the result of the recent military triumph.

The second, _The Use and Abuse of History_, was a protest against
excessive indulgence in the "historical sense," or the love of looking
backwards, which threatened to paralyse the intelligence of Germany in
those days. In it Nietzsche tries to show how history is for the few
and not for the many, and points out how rare are those who have the
strength to endure the lesson of experience.

In the third, _Schopenhauer as Educator_, Nietzsche pits his great
teacher against all other dry-as-dust philosophers who make for
stagnation in philosophy. The fourth, Richard Wagner in Bayreuth,
contains Nietzsche's last word of praise as a friend of the great
German musician. In it we already see signs of his revulsion of
feeling; but on the whole it is a panegyric written with love and

The fourth, Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, contains Nietzsche's last word
of praise as a friend of the great German musician. In it we already
see signs of his revulsion of feeling; but on the whole it is a
panegyric written with love and conviction.

The only one of the four _Thoughts out of Season_ which created much
comment was the first, concerning David Strauss, and this gave rise to
a loud outcry against the daring young philologist.

Nietzsche had been very unwell throughout this period. Dyspepsia and
headaches, brought on partly by overwork, racked him incessantly,
and, in addition, he was getting ever nearer and nearer to a final
and irrevocable breach with the greatest friend of his life--Richard
Wagner. After obtaining leave from the authorities he went to Sorrento,
where, in the autumn of 1876, he began work on his next important book,
_Human, All-too-human_, the book which was to part him for ever from
Wagner. In February 1878 the first volume was ready for the printer,
and was published almost simultaneously with Wagner's Parsifal, which
work, as is well known, was the death-blow to Nietzsche's faith in his
former idol.

In _Human, All-too-human_, Nietzsche as a philosopher is not yet
standing on his own legs, as it were. He is only just beginning to
feel his way, and is still deeply immersed in the thought of other
men--more particularly that of the English positivists. As a work of
transition, however, _Human, All-too-Human_ is exceedingly interesting,
as are also its sequels _Miscellaneous Opinions and Apophthegms_ (1879)
and _The Wanderer and his Shadow_ (1880). But in none of these, as the
author himself admits, is there to be found that certainty of aim and
treatment which characterised his later writings.

In 1879, owing to ill-health, Nietzsche was compelled to resign his
professorship at the University of Bâle, and the spring of that year
saw him an independent man with an annual pension of 3000 francs,
generously granted to him by the Board of Management on the acceptance
of his resignation. With this pension and a small private income
derived from a capital of about £1400, he was not destitute, though by
no means affluent, and when we remember that he was obliged to defray
the expenses of publication in the case of almost every one of his
books, we may form some idea of his actual resources.

From this time forward Nietzsche's life was spent in travelling and
writing. Venice, Marienbad, Zürich, St. Moritz in the Ober-Engadine,
Sils Maria, Tautenberg in Thuringia, Genoa, etc., etc. were among the
places at which he stayed, according to the season; and during the year
1880 his health materially improved. In January 1881 he had completed
the manuscript of the _Dawn of Day_, and is said to have been well
satisfied with his condition.

In the _Dawn of Day_ Nietzsche for the first time begins to reveal his
real personality. This book is literally the dawn of his great life
work, and in it we find him grappling with all the problems which he
was subsequently to tackle with such a masterly and courageous hand. It
appeared in July 1881 and met with but a poor reception. Indeed, after
the publication of the last of the _Thoughts out of Season_ Nietzsche
appears to have created very little stir among his countrymen--a fact
which, though it greatly depressed him, only made him redouble his

In September 1882 _The Joyful Wisdom_ was published--a book written
during one of the happiest periods of his life. It is a veritable
fanfare of trumpets announcing the triumphal entry of its distinguished
follower _Zarathustra_. With it Nietzsche's final philosophical views are
already making headway, and it is full of the love of life and energy
which permeates the grand philosophical poem which was to come after it.

Disappointed by the meagre success of his works, and hurt by the
attitude of various friends, Nietzsche now retired into loneliness,
and, settling down on the beautiful bay of Rapallo, began work on that
wonderful moral, psychological, and critical rhapsody, _Thus Spake
Zarathustra_, which was to prove the greatest of his creations. During
the years 1883-84, the three first parts of this work were published,
and, though each part was issued separately and met with the same cold
reception which had been given to his other works of recent years,
Nietzsche never once lost heart or wavered in his resolve. It required,
however, all the sublime inspirations which we find expressed in that
wonderful _Book for all and None_, to enable a man to stand firmly and
absolutely alone amid all the hardships and reverses that beset our
anchorite poet throughout this period.

It was about this time that Nietzsche began to take chloral in the
hope of overcoming his insomnia; it was now, too, that his sister
--the only relative for whom, despite some misunderstandings, he had a
real affection--became engaged to a man with whom he was utterly out
of sympathy; and all the while negotiations, into which Nietzsche had
entered with the Leipzig University for the purpose of securing another
professorial chair, were becoming ever more hopeless.

In the course of this exposition I shall have to treat of the doctrines
enunciated in _Thus Spake Zarathustra_--indeed, seeing that this work
contains all Nietzsche's thought in a poetical form, it would be quite
impossible to discuss any single tenet of his philosophy without in
some way referring to the book in question. I cannot therefore say
much about it at present, save that it is generally admitted to be
Nietzsche's _opus magnum_. Besides the philosophical views expounded in
the four parts of which it consists, the value of its autobiographical
passages is enormous. In it we find the history of his most intimate
experiences, friendships, feuds, disappointments, triumphs, and the
like; and the whole is written in a style so magnetic and poetical,
that, as a specimen of _belles-lettres_ alone, entirely apart from the
questions it treats, the work cannot and ought not to be overlooked.

Although there is now scarcely a European language into which
_Zarathustra_ has not been translated, although the fame of the work,
at present, is almost universal, the reception it met with at the
time of its publication was so unsatisfactory, and misunderstanding
relative to its teaching became so general, that within a year of
the issue of its first part, Nietzsche was already beginning to see
the necessity of bringing his doctrines before the public in a more
definite and unmistakable form. During the years that followed--that is
to say, between 1883 and 1886--this plan was matured, and between 1886
and 1889--the year of our author's final breakdown, three important
books were published which may be regarded as prose-sequels to the
poem _Zarathustra_. These books are: _Beyond Good and Evil_ (1886),
_The Genealogy of Morals_ (1887), and _The Twilight of the Idols_
(1889); while the posthumous works _The Will to Power_ (1901) and
the little volume Antichrist, published in 1895, when its author was
lying hopelessly ill at Naumburg, also belong to the period in which
Nietzsche wished to make his _Zarathustra_ clear and comprehensible to
his fellows. In the ensuing chapters it will be my endeavour to state
briefly all that is vital in the works just referred to.

What remains to be related of Nietzsche's life is sad enough, and is
almost common knowledge. When his sister Elizabeth married Dr. Förster
and went to Paraguay with her spouse, Nietzsche was practically without
a friend, and, had it not been for Peter Gast's devotion and help,
he would probably have succumbed to his constitutional and mental
troubles much sooner than he actually did. Before his last breakdown
in Turin, in January 1889, the only real encouragement he is ever
known to have received in regard to his philosophical works came to
him from Copenhagen and Paris. In the latter city it was Taine who
committed himself by praising Nietzsche, and in the former it was Dr.
George Brandes, a clever and learned professor, who delivered a series
of lectures on the new message of the German philosopher. The news of
Brandes' success in Copenhagen in 1888 greatly brightened Nietzsche's
last year of authorship, and he corresponded with the Danish professor
until the end. It has been rightly observed that these lectures were
the dawn of Nietzscheism in Europe.

As the result of over-work, excessive indulgence in drugs, and a host
of disappointments and anxieties, Nietzsche's great mind at last
collapsed on the 2nd or 3rd of January 1889, never again to recover.

The last words he wrote, which were subsequently found on a slip of
paper in his study, throw more light upon the tragedy of his breakdown
than all the learned medical treatises that have been written about
his case. "I am taking narcotic after narcotic," he said, "in order to
drown my anguish; but still I cannot sleep. To-day I will certainly
take such a quantity as will drive me out of my mind."

From that time to the day of his death (25th August 1900) he lingered a
helpless and unconscious invalid, first in the care of his aged mother,
and ultimately, when Elizabeth returned a widow from Paraguay, as his
sister's beloved charge.

For an opinion of Nietzsche during his last phase I cannot do better
than quote Professor Henri Lichtenberger of Nancy, who saw the invalid
in 1898; and with this sympathetic Frenchman's valuable observations, I
shall draw this chapter to a close:--

"In the gradual wane of this enthusiastic lover of life, of this
apologist of energy, of this prophet of Superman there is something
inexpressibly sad--inexpressibly beautiful and peaceful. His brow is
still magnificent--his eyes, the light of which seems to be directed
inwards, have an expression which is indefinably and profoundly moving.
What is going on within his soul? Nobody can say. It is just possible
that he may have preserved a dim recollection of his life as a thinker
and a poet."

[1] Das Leben Friedrich Nietzsche's by Frau Förster-Nietzsche.

       *       *       *       *       *

Chapter II

Nietzsche the Amoralist

From a casual study of Nietzsche's life it might be gathered that he
had little time for private meditation or for any lonely brooding over
problems foreign to his school and university studies. Indeed, from
the very moment when it was decided that he should become a scholar,
to the day when the University of Leipzig granted him his doctor's
degree without examination, his existence seems to have been so wholly
occupied by strenuous application to the duties which his aspirations
imposed upon him that, even if he had had the will to do so, it would
seem that he could not have had the leisure to become engaged in
any serious thought outside his regular work. Nevertheless, if we
inquire into the matter more deeply, we find to our astonishment, that
during the whole of that arduous period--from his thirteenth to this
twenty-fourth year--his imagination did not once cease from playing
around problems of the highest import, quite unrelated to his school
and university subjects.

In the introduction to _The Genealogy of Morals_, he writes as follows:
--"... while but a boy of thirteen the problem of the origin of
evil haunted me: to it I dedicated, in an age when we have in
heart half-play, half-God, my first literary child-play, my first
philosophical composition; and, as regards my solution of the problem
therein, well, I gave, as is but fair, God the honour, and made
him _Father_ of evil."[1] And then he continues: "A little historical and
philological schooling, together with an inborn and delicate sense
regarding psychological questions, changed my problem in a very short
time into that other one: under what circumstances and conditions did
man invent the valuations good and evil? And what is their own specific

This problem, as stated here, seems stupendous enough; in fact, it
would be difficult, in the whole realm of human thought, to discover
a question of greater moment and intricacy; and yet we shall see that
Nietzsche was just as much born to attack and solve it as Cardinal
Newman seems, from the _Apologia pro Vita Sua_, to have been born to
the Roman Catholic Church.

If we reflect a moment, we find that "good" and "evil" are certainly
words that exercise a tremendous power in the world. To attach the
word "good" to any thing or deed is to give it the hall-mark of
desirability: on the other hand, to attach the word "evil" to it is
tantamount to proscribing it from existence. Even in the old English
proverb, "Give a dog a bad name and hang him," we have a suggestion of
the enormous force which has been compressed into the two monosyllables
"good" and "bad," and before we seriously take up the problem, it were
well to ponder a while over the really profound significance of these
two words.

Nietzsche, as we have already observed, was never in any doubt as to
their importance: his life passion was the desire to solve the meaning,
the origin, and the intrinsic value of the two terms; and he did not
rest until he had achieved his end.

Let us now examine what morality--what "good" and "evil"--means to
almost everybody to-day. In the minds of nearly all those people who
are neither students nor actual teachers of philosophy, there is a
superstition that "good" is a perfectly definite and absolute value,
and that "evil" is known unto all. Few seem to doubt that the meaning
of these words has been fixed once and for ever. The ordinary European
lives, reads, and sleeps, year in, year out, under the delusion that
all is quite clear in regard to right and wrong. Such a person is, of
course, somewhat abashed when you tell him that a certain people in the
East practise infanticide and call it good or that a certain people in
the West always separate at meals and eat apart and call _this_ good. He
usually gets over the difficulty, however, by saying that they know no
better, and when at last he is hard pressed, and is bound to admit that
views of good and bad, sometimes the reverse of his own, actually do
preserve and unite people in strange lands, he takes refuge in the hope
that all differences may one day be broken down and that the problem
will thus be solved.

No such facile shelving of the question, however, could satisfy
Nietzsche. From the very outset he freed himself from all national
and even racial prejudices, and could see no particular reason why
the kind of morality now prevailing in Europe, or countries like
Europe, must necessarily and ultimately overcome and supplant all
others. He therefore attacked the question with a perfectly open
mind, and asked himself whether he quite understood the part the
terms "good" and "evil" have played in human history.

Is morality--its justification in our midst and its mode of
action--comprehended at all?--He replies to this question so daringly
and so uprightly, that at first his clearness may only bewilder us.

These terms "good" and "evil," he tells us, are merely a means to the
acquisition of power. And, indeed, in the very resistance we offer
when he attempts to criticise our notions of morality, we tacitly
acknowledge that in this morality our strength does actually reside.
"No greater power on earth was found by Zarathustra than good and
evil"[2] "No people could live without first valuing; if a people
will maintain itself, however, it must not value as its neighbour

In the last sentence we have seized Nietzsche's clue to the whole
question. If you would maintain yourself, you cannot and must not
value as your neighbour values. Good and evil, then, are not permanent
absolute values; they are transient, relative values, serving an end
which can be explained in terms of biology and anthropology.

But now let us halt a moment, for the sake of clearness, and let us
inquire precisely how Nietzsche himself was led to this conclusion.

In the summer of 1864, when he was in his twentieth year, he was given
some home work to do which he was expected to have ready by the end of
the holidays. It was to consist of a Latin thesis upon some optional
subject, and he chose "Theognis, the Aristocratic Poet of Megara."

While preparing the work he was struck with the author's use of the
words "good" and "bad" as synonymous with aristocratic and plebeian,
and it was this valuable hint which first set him on the right track.
Theognis and his friends, being desirous of making their power prevail,
were naturally compelled to regard any force which assailed that power
as bad--"bad," in the sense of "dangerous to their order of power"; and
thus it came to pass that Theognis, as an aristocrat in the heat of a
struggle between an oligarchy and a democracy, spoke of the democratic
values as "bad" and of those of his own party as "good."

The writing of this essay had other consequences which I shall only be
able to refer to in the next chapter; but at present let it suffice
to say that, in recognising the arbitrary use made by Theognis of the
epithets good and bad in designating the oligarchy and the democracy
respectively, Nietzsche was first induced to look upon morality merely
as a weapon in the struggle for power, and he thus freed himself from
all the usual bias which belongs to the absolutist's standpoint. Hence
his claim to the surname "amoralist," and his use of the phrase "Beyond
Good and Evil," as the title of one of his greatest works.

Let us, however, remember that although Nietzsche did undoubtedly
take up a position beyond good and evil, in order to free himself
temporarily from the gyves of all tradition, still this attitude was no
more than a momentary one, and he ultimately became as rigid a moralist
as the most exacting could desire. It was a new morality, however, or
perhaps a forgotten one, which he ultimately preached, and with the
view of preparing the ground for it he was in a measure obliged to
destroy old idols. "He who hath to be a creator in good and evil," says
Zarathustra, "verily, he hath first to be a destroyer, and to break
values to pieces."[4]

Assuming the position of the relativist, then, Nietzsche observed
that, all morality, all use of the words "good" and "evil," is only an
artifice for acquiring power. Turning to the animal kingdom, he went
in search of support for his views, and very soon discovered that, in
biology at least, no fact was at variance with his general hypothesis.

In nature every species of organic being behaves as if its kind alone
ought ultimately to prevail on earth, and, whether it try to effect
this end by open aggression or cowardly dissimulation, the motive in
both cases is the same. The lion's good is the antelope's evil. If
the antelope believed the lion's good to be its good, it would go
and present itself without further ado before the lion's jaws. If
the lion believed the antelope's good to be its good it would adopt
vegetarianism forthwith and eschew its carnivorous habits for the rest
of its days. Again, no parasite could share the notions of good and
evil entertained by its victim, neither could the victims share the
notions of good and evil entertained by the parasite. Everywhere, then,
those modes of conduct are adopted and perpetuated by a species, which
most conduce to the prevalence and extension of their particular kind,
and that species which fails to discover the class of conduct best
calculated to preserve and strengthen it gets overcome in the war of
conduct which constitutes the incessant struggle for power.

Now, applying the knowledge to man, what did Nietzsche find? He found
there was also a war being waged between the different modes of conduct
which now prevail among men, and that what one man sets up as good is
called evil by another and _vice versâ_. But of this he soon became
convinced, that whenever and wherever good and evil had been set up as
absolute values, they had been thus elevated to power with the view of
preserving and multiplying one specific type of man.

All moralities, therefore, were but so many Trades Union banners flying
above the heads of different classes of men, woven and upheld by them
for their own needs and aspirations.

So far, so good. But then, if that were so, the character of a morality
must be determined by the class of men among whom it came into being.

We shall see that Nietzsche did not hesitate to accept this conclusion,
and that if for a moment he declared: "No one knoweth yet what is good
and what is evil!" the next minute he was asking himself this searching
question: "Is _our_ morality--that is to say, the particular table
of values which is gradually modifying us--compatible with an ideal
worthy of man's inheritance and past?"

If Nietzsche has been called dangerous, pernicious and immoral, it is
because people have deliberately overlooked this last question of his.
No thinker who states and honestly sets out to answer this question,
as Nietzsche did, deserves to be slandered, as he has been slandered,
by prejudiced and interested people intent on misunderstanding only
in order that they may fling mud more freely.

Nietzsche cast his critical eye very seriously around him, and the
sight of the modern world led him to ask these admittedly pertinent
questions: "Is that which we have for centuries held for good and evil,
really good and evil? Does our table of ethical principles seem to be
favouring the multiplication of a desirable type?"

In answering these two inquiries, Nietzsche unfortunately stormed
the most formidable strongholds of modern society--Christianity and
Democracy; and perhaps this accounts for the fact that his fight was so
uneven and so hopeless. The strength of modern Europe, if indeed there
be any strength in her, lies precisely on the side of Christianity and
Democracy, the grandmother and the mother of what is called "progress,"
"modernity"; and in assailing these, Nietzsche must have known that he
was engaging in a hand-to-hand struggle with stony-hearted adversaries
unaccustomed to giving quarter and unscrupulous in their methods.

Nietzsche clearly saw that if all moral codes are but weapons
protecting and helping to universalise distinct species of men,
then the Christian religion with its ethical principles could be no
exception to the rule. It must have been created at some time and in
some place by one who had the interests of a certain type of man at
heart, and who desired to make that type paramount. Now if that were
really so, the next question that occurred to Nietzsche's mercilessly
logical mind was this: "Is the Christian religion, with its morality,
tending to preserve and multiply a _desirable_ type of man?"

To this last question Nietzsche replies most emphatically "_No!_"

But, before going into the reasons of this flat negative, let us first
pause to consider the age and the circumstances in which our author
wrote and thought.

Long before Nietzsche had reached his prime David Strauss had published
his _Life of Jesus_; in 1863, when Nietzsche was still in his teens,
Renan published his _Vie de Jésus_, and in the meantime Charles Darwin
had given his _Origin of Species_ to the world. These books had
been read by a Europe that had already studied Hume and Lamarck, Kant
and Schopenhauer, and in all directions a fine ear could not help
hearing the falling timbers of Christian dogma.

In the midst of this general work of destruction it was almost
impossible for Nietzsche to remain unmoved or indifferent, and very
soon he found that he too was drawn into the general stream of European
thought; but only to prove how completely he was independent of it, and
in every way superior to it.

He contemplated the work of the destroyers for some time with amused
interest; and then it suddenly occurred to him to inquire whether
these zealous and well-meaning housebreakers were really doing any
lasting good, or whether all their efforts were not perhaps a little
misguided. True, they were pulling the embellishments from the walls
and were casting the most cherished idols of the Christian Faith into
the dust. But the walls themselves, the actual design of the edifice,
remained untouched and as strong as ever. A few broken stones, a few
complaints from the priestly archæologists who wished to preserve
them, and then all the noise subsided! Europe remained as it was before
--that is to say, still in possession of a stronghold of Christianity,
merely divested of its superfluous ornament.

Nietzsche soon perceived that, in spite of all the rubbish and refuse
which such people as Kant, Schopenhauer, Strauss, Renan and others had
made of Christian dogma, the essential core of Christianity, the vital
organ of its body--its morality--had so far remained absolutely intact.
Nay, he saw that it was actually being plastered up and restored
by scholars and men of science who vowed that they could proffer
reasonable, rationalistic, and logical grounds in support of it.

Just as Christian dogma and metaphysics had been rationalised and
philosophically proved by the scholars of the Middle Ages, and even
as late as Leibnitz; so, now, Christian morality was being presented
in a purely philosophical garb by the intellects of Europe. Having
relinquished the dogma as no longer tenable, all scholars and men of
science were trying with redoubled vigour to bolster up Christian
ethics with elaborate text-books and learned treatises. There were
some who accepted it all as if it were innate in human nature, and
attributed it to a "moral sense"; there were others--good-natured
biologists--who were likewise desirous of leaving it whole, and who
declared with conviction that it was the natural outcome of the
feelings of pleasure and pain; and there were yet others who assumed
that it must have been evolved quite automatically out of expediency
and non-expediency.

Not one of these would-be rationalists, however, halted at the
Christian terms "good" and "bad" themselves, in order to ask himself
whether, like all the other notions of good and evil prevailing
elsewhere under the shelter of other religions, these, the Christian
notions, might not have been invented at some particular time by
a certain kind of man, simply with the view of preserving and
universalising his specific type. Breathless from their efforts at
getting rid of the dogma, they did not dream that perhaps the most
important part of the work still remained to be done.

Nietzsche went to the very foundation of the Christian edifice.
He pointed to its morality and said: if we are going to measure the
value of this religion, let us cease our petty quarrels concerning
the truth or falsehood of such stories as the loss of the Gadarene
swine, or the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and let us throw the
whole of Christian morality into the scales and appraise its precise
worth as a system of ethics. Nietzsche would have scorned to quarrel
with the Church, as Huxley did; for much more important issues were at
stake. The worth of a religion is measured by its morality; because by
its morality it moulds and rears men and reveals the type of man who
ultimately wishes to prevail by means of it.

With the metaphysics and the dogma of Christianity in ruins all around
him, therefore, Nietzsche took a step very far in advance of the
rationalistic iconoclasts of his age. He attacked Christian morals,
and declared them to be, like all other morals, merely a weapon in the
hands of a certain type of man, with which that type struggled for

But bold as this step was, it constituted but the first of a series,
the next of which was to discover the type which had laid the
foundations of the Christian ideal. If it could be proved that these
Christian values had been created by a noble species with the object of
perpetuating that species, then Christianity would come forth from the
inquiry vindicated to the hilt, and fill the damage done to its dogma
would not have deterred Nietzsche from standing by it and upholding it
to his very last breath. Alas! Things turned out somewhat differently
and Nietzsche was not by any means the least pained by the result.
Pursuing the inquiry with his usual unflinching and uncompromising
honesty, and avoiding no conclusion however unpleasant or fatal,
Nietzsche, the scion of a profoundly religions house, the lover of
order and tradition, with the blood of generations of earnest believers
in his veins, finally found himself compelled to renounce and even to
condemn, root and branch, the faith which had been the strength and
hope of his forebears.

Before turning to the next chapter, where I shall explain how he
came to regard this step as inevitable, it should be said concerning
Nietzsche's philosophy in general, that it is essentially and through
and through religious and almost prophetic in spirit. No careful
reader of his works can doubt that Nietzsche was a deeply religious
man. A glance at _Thus Spake Zarathustra_ alone would convince any
one of this; while in his constant references to religion throughout
his works, as "a step to higher intellectuality,"[5] as "a means to
invaluable contentedness,"[6] as "a measure of discipline,"[7] as a
powerful social factor,[8] a more substantial confirmation of the fact
is to be found.

It is well to bear in mind, however, throughout our study of Nietzsche,
that he had a higher type always in view; that he was also well aware
that this type could only be attained by the strict observance of a
new morality, and that if he opposed other forms of morality--more
particularly the Christian form--it was because he earnestly believed
that they were rearing an undesirable and even despicable kind of man.

"Verily men have made for themselves all their good and evil. Verily
they did not take it: they did not find it: it did not come down as a
voice from heaven."[9]

"Behold, the good and just! Whom do they hate most? Him who breaketh up
their tables of values; the breaker, the law-breaker: he, however, is
the creator."[10]

"Verily a muddy stream is man. One must be at least a sea to be able to
absorb a muddy stream without becoming unclean."

"Behold, I teach you Superman: he is that sea; in him your great
contempt can sink."[11]

[1] See also D.D. Aph. 81.

[2] Z., p. 67.

[3] Z., p. 65.

[4] Z., p. 138.

[5] G. E., p. 81.

[6] G. E., p. 81.

[7] G. E., p. 80.

[8] G. M., 3rd Essay, Aph. 15.

[9] Z., p. 67.

[10] Z., p. 20.

[11] Z., p. 8.

       *       *       *       *       *

Chapter III

Nietzsche the Moralist

Conceiving all forms of morality to be but weapons in the struggle
for power, Nietzsche concluded that every species of man must at
some time or other have taken to moralising, and must have called
that "good" which its instincts approved, and that "bad" which its
enemies instincts approved. In Beyond Good and Evil, however, he
tells us that after making a careful examination "of the finer and
coarser moralities which have hitherto prevailed or still prevail on
earth," he found certain traits recurring so regularly together, and so
closely connected with one another, that, finally, two primary types
of morality revealed themselves to him. That is to say, after passing
the known moralities of the world in review, he was able to classify
them broadly into two types.

He observed that throughout human history there had been a continual
and implacable war between two kinds of men; it must have begun in the
remotest ages, and it continues to this day. It is the war between the
powerful and the impotent, the strong and the weak, the givers and
the takers, the healthy and the sick, the happy and the wretched. The
powerful formed their concept of "good," and it was one which justified
their strongest instincts. The impotent likewise acquired their view of
the matter, which was often precisely the reverse of the former view.

In this way Nietzsche arrived at the following broad generalisation:
that all the moralities of the world could be placed under one of two
heads, _Master Morality or Slave Morality_.

In the first, the master morality, it is the oak which contends: I
must reach the sun and spread broad brandies in so doing; this I call
"good," and the herd that I shelter may also call it good. In the
second, the slave morality, it is the shrub which says: I also want to
reach the sun, these broad branches of the oak, however, keep the sun
from me, therefore the oak's instincts are "bad."

It is obvious that these two points of view exist and have existed
everywhere on earth. Apart from national and racial distinctions,
mankind does fall into the two broad classes of master and slave, or
ruler and subject. We also know that each of these classes must have
developed its moral code, and must have tried to protect its conduct
and life therewith. But, what we did not know until Nietzsche pointed
the fact out to us, was: which morality is the more desirable and the
more full of promise for the future? Admitting that the master and the
slave moralities are struggling for supremacy still, which of them
ought we to promote with every means in our power?--which of them
is going to make life more attractive, more justifiable, and more
acceptable on earth?

These are now questions of the utmost importance; because it is
precisely now that pessimism, nihilism, and other desperate faiths are
beginning to set their note of interrogation to human existence, and to
shake our belief even in the desirability of our own survival.

It is now time for us to discover whence arises this contempt and
horror of life, and to lay the blame for it either at the door of the
master or of the slave morality.

In order that we may understand how to set forth upon this inquiry, let
us first form a mental image of the two codes as they must have been
evolved by their originators.

Nietzsche reminds us before we start, however,[1] that in most communities
the two moralities have become so confused and mingled, in order
to establish that compromise which is so dear to the hearts of the
peaceful, that it would be almost a hopeless task to seek any society
on earth in which they are now to be seen juxtaposed in sharp contrast.
Be this as it may, in order to recognise the blood of each when we come
across it, we have only to think of what must have occurred when the
ruling caste and the ruled class took to moralising.

Taking the ruling caste first, it is clear that in their
morality, all is _good_ which proceeds from strength, power, health,
well-constitutedness, happiness, and awfulness; for the motive force
behind the people who evolved it was simply the will to discharge
a plenitude, a superabundance, of spiritual and physical wealth. A
consciousness of high tension, of a treasure that would fain give and
bestow,--this is the mental attitude of the nobles. The antithesis
"good" and "bad" to this first class means the same as "noble" and
"despicable." "Bad" in the master morality must be applied to the
coward, to all acts that spring from weakness, to the man with "an eye
to the main chance," who would forsake everything in order to live.

The creator of the master morality was he who, out of the very fulness
of his soul, transfigured all he saw and heard, and declared it better,
greater, more beautiful than it appeared to the creator of the slave
morality. Great artists, great legislators, and great warriors belong
to the class that created master morality.

Turning now to the second class, we must bear in mind that it is the
product of a community in which the struggle for existence is the
prime life-motor. There, inasmuch as oppression, suffering, weariness,
and servitude are the general rule, all will be regarded as good that
tends to alleviate pain. Pity, the obliging hand, the warm heart,
patience, industry, and humility,--these are undoubtedly the virtues
we shall here find elevated to the highest places; because they are
_useful_ virtues; they make life endurable; they are helpful in the
struggle for existence. To this class, all that proceeds from strength,
superabundance of spiritual or bodily power, or great health, is looked
upon with loathing and mistrust, while that which is awful is the worst
and greatest evil. He is good who is amenable, kind, unselfish, meek,
and submissive; that is why, in all communities where slave morality is
in the ascendant, a "good fellow" always suggests a man in possession
of a fair modicum of foolishness and sentimentality.

The creator of slave-morality was one who, out of the poverty of his
soul, transfigured all he saw and heard, and declared it smaller,
meaner, and less beautiful than it appeared to the creator of the
master values. Great misanthropists, pessimists, demagogues, tasteless
artists, nihilists, spiteful authors and dramatists, and resentful
saints belong to the class that created slave-morality.

The first order of values are active, creative, Dionysiac. The
second are passive, defensive, venomous, subterranean; to them
belong "Adaptation," "adjustment," and "utilitarian relationship to

Now, seeing that mankind is undoubtedly moulded by the nature of the
values which prevail over it, it is manifestly of paramount importance
to the philosopher to know which order of values conduces to rear the
most desirable species of man, and then to advocate that order, with
all the art and science at his disposal.

Nietzsche saw two lines of life: an ascending and a descending line.
At the end of the one he pictured an ideal type, robust in mind and
body, rich enough in spirit and vigour to make giving and bestowing
a necessary condition of its existence; at the end of the other line
he already perceived degeneracy, poverty of blood and spirit, and a
sufficiently low degree of vitality to make parasitism a biological

He believed that the first, or noble morality, when it prevailed, made
for an ascending line of life and therefore favoured the multiplication
of a desirable type of man; and he was now equally convinced that
whenever ignoble or slave morality was supreme, life not only tended
to follow the descending line, but that the very men whose existence
it favoured were the least likely to stem the declining tide. Hence it
seemed to him that the most essential of all tasks was to ascertain
what kind of morality now prevailed, in order that we might immediately
transvalue our values, while there was still time, if we believed this
change to be necessary.

What then are our present values? Nietzsche replies most emphatically
--they are Christian values.

In the last chapter we saw that although Christian dogma was very
rapidly becoming mere wreckage, its most earnest opposers and
destroyers nevertheless clung with fanatical faith to Christian
morality. Thus, in addition to the vast multitude of those professing
the old religion, there was also a host of atheists, agnostics,
rationalists, and materialists, who, as far as Nietzsche was concerned,
could quite logically be classed with those who were avowedly
Christian. And, as for the remainder--a few indifferent and perhaps
nameless people,--what could they matter? Even they, perhaps, if hard
pressed, would have betrayed a sneaking, cowardly trust in Christian
ethics, if only out of a sense of security; and with these the total
sum of the civilised world was fully made up.

Perhaps to some this may appear a somewhat sweeping conclusion. To such
as doubt its justice, the best advice that can be given is to urge them
to consult the literature, ethical, philosophical, and otherwise, of
those writers whom they would consider most opposed to Christianity
before the publication of Nietzsche's works; and they will then realise
that, with very few exceptions, mostly to be found among uninfluential
and uncreative iconoclasts, the whole of the Western civilised world in
Nietzsche's time was firmly Christian in morals, and most firmly so,
perhaps, in those very quarters where the dogma of the religion of pity
was most honestly disclaimed.

It had therefore become in the highest degree necessary to put these
values under the philosophical microscope, and to discover to which
order they belonged. Was Christianity the purveyor of a noble or of
a slave morality? The reply to this question would reveal the whole
tendency of the modern world, and would also answer Nietzsche's
searching inquiry: "Are we on the right track?"

Pursuing Nietzsche's method as closely as we can, let us now turn to
Christianity, as we find it to-day, and see whether it is possible to
bring its values into line with one of the two broad classes spoken of
in this chapter.

In the first place, Nietzsche discovers that Christianity is not a
world-approving faith. The very pivot upon which it revolves seems to
be the slandering and depreciating of this world, together with the
praise and exaltation of a hypothetical world to come. To his mind it
seems to draw odious comparisons between the things of this earth and
the blessings of heaven. Finally, it gushes in a very unsportsmanlike
manner over an imaginary beyond, to the detriment and disadvantage of
a "here," of this earth, of this life, and posits another region--a
nether region--for the accommodation of its enemies.[2]

What, now, is the mental attitude of these "backworldsmen," as
Nietzsche calls them, who can see only the world's filth? Who is likely
to need the thought of a beyond, where he will live in bliss while
those he hates will writhe in hell? Such ideas occur only to certain
minds. Do they occur to the minds of those who, by the very health,
strength, and happiness that is in them, transfigure all the world
--even the ugliness in it--and declare it to be beautiful? Do they
occur to the powerful who can chastise their enemies while their blood
is still up? Admitting that the world may be surveyed from a hundred
different standpoints, is this particular standpoint which we now have
under our notice, that of a contented, optimistic, sanguine type, or
that of a discontented, pessimistic, anæmic one?

"To the pure all things are pure!--I, however, say unto you: To the
swine all things are swinish."[3]

Nietzsche's sensitive car caught curious notes in the daily dronings of
those around him--notes that made him suspicious of the whole melody
of modern life, and still more suspicions of the chorus executing it.

He heard to his astonishment: ... "the wretched alone are the good;
the poor, the impotent, the lowly alone are good; only the sufferers,
the needy, the sick, the ugly are pious only they are godly; them alone
blessedness awaits--but ye, the proud and potent, ye are for aye
and evermore the wicked, the cruel, the lustful, the insatiable, the
godless; ye will also be, to all eternity, the unblessed, the cursed,
and the damned."[4]

He continued listening intently, and, with his ear attuned anew, these
sentiments broke strangely upon his senses:--

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of

There was no time for brooding over stray thoughts; there was still
much to be seen and hoard. When you want to catch some one napping, you
keep your eye eagerly upon him, and turn neither to the right nor to
the left. Nietzsche, it must be remembered, was at this stage treading
softly towards Europe whom he believed to be "napping."

In his lonely hermit cell he was able to catch all the sounds that
rose from the city beneath him, and he heard perhaps more than the
inhabitants themselves.

He could see them all fighting and quarrelling, and he was cheered,
because he knew that where the great fight for power ceases, the
standard of life falls. But some he saw were wounded, others were
actually unfit for the battlefield, a large number looked tired and
listless, and there were yet others--a goodly multitude--who were
resentful at the sight of their superiors and who, like sulky children,
dropped their arms in a pet and declared that they would not play any
more. And what were all these feeble and less viable mortals doing?
They were crying aloud, and making their deepest wishes known. They
were elevating their desiderata to the highest places amongst earthly
virtues--and driving back the others with _words_! Nietzsche thought
of Reynard the Fox, who, at the very moment that he was about to be
hanged, and with the rope already round his neck, succeeded by his
dialectical skill in persuading the crowd to release him. For Nietzsche
could hear the weary, the wounded, and the incapable of the fight,
crying quite distinctly through their lips parched for rest: "Peace is
good! Love is good! Love for one's neighbour is good! Ay, and even love
for one's enemy is good!"[6]

And some cried: "It is God that avengeth me!" to those who oppressed
them, and others said: "The Lord avenge me!"[7]

Whereupon Nietzsche thought of the Jehovah of the Old Testament, the
God of revenge and thunderbolts; he recalled the sentiment: "Ye shall
chase your enemies and they shall fall fall before you by the sword,"
and he wondered how this had come to mean "love your enemies," in the
New Testament. Had another type of men perhaps made themselves God's

Yes, that must be so; for, in their holy book, he came across this
passage, ascribed to one of their greatest saints:

"Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew God, it
pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

"... Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many
noble _are called_:

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the
wise: and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the
things which are mighty:

"And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God
chosen, yea and things which are not, to bring to nought things that

Here, Nietzsche tells us, he began to hold his nose; but he still
listened; for there was yet more to be heard. From the smiles that were
breaking over the lips of those who read the above words, he gathered
that they must have overcome their unhappiness. Yes, indeed, they had.
But what did they call it? This was important--even the Christian view
of unhappiness seemed significant to Nietzsche in this inquiry.

Their unhappiness, their wretchedness, they called a trial, a gift, a
distinction! Not really? Yes indeed! As Nietzsche points out: "They
are wretched, no doubt, all these mumblers and underground forgers,
though warmly seated together. But they tell us their wretchedness is a
selection and distinction from God, that the dogs which are loved most
are whipped, that their misery may perhaps also be a preparation, a
trial, a schooling; perhaps even more--something which at some time to
come will be refuted and paid back with immense interest in gold. No!
in happiness. This they call 'blessedness.'"[9]

At this point Nietzsche declares that he could stand it no longer.
"Enough, enough! Bad air! Bad air!" he cried. "Methinks this workshop
of virtue positively reeks."

He had now realised in whose company he had been all this time.

These people who halted at nothing in order to elevate their weaknesses
to the highest place among the virtues, and to monopolise goodness on
earth--who called that good which was tame and soft and harmless,
because they themselves could only survive in litters of cotton wool;
who coloured the earth with the darkness _that_ was in their own bodies;
--who did not scruple to dub all manly and vital virtues odiously
sinful and wicked, and who preferred to set the life of the whole
world at stake, rather than acknowledge that it was precisely their
own second-rate, third-rate, or even fourth-rate, vitality which was
the greatest sin of all; who in one and the same breath preached their
utilitarian "universal love" to the powerful, and then sent them to
eternal damnation in another world: Nietzsche asks, are these people
the supporters of a noble or of a slave morality?

The answer is obvious, and we need not labour the point. But it was so
obvious to the lonely hermit, that the thought of it filled him with
horror and dread, and he was moved to leave his cell and to descend
into the plain, while there was yet time, with the object of urging us
to transvalue our values.

In Christian values, Nietzsche read nihilism, decadence, degeneration,
and death. They were calculated to favour the multiplication of the
least desirable on earth: and, as such, despite his antecedents,
and with his one desire, "the elevation of the type man," always
before him, he condemned Christian morality from top to bottom.
This magnificent attempt on the part of the low, the base, and the
worthless, to establish themselves as the most powerful on earth, must
be checked at all costs, and with terrible earnestness he exhorts us to
alter our values.

"O my brethren, with whom lieth the greatest danger to the whole human
future? Is it not with the good and the just?

"_Break up, break up, I pray you, the good and the just!_"

This condemnation of Christian values, as slave values--which
Nietzsche regarded as his greatest service to mankind--he says he
would write on all walls. He tells us he came just in the nick of time;
to-morrow might be too late.

"It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the
germ of his highest hope.

"His soil is still rich enough for that purpose. But that soil will one
day be too poor and exhausted, and no lofty tree will any longer be
able to grow thereon."[10]

[1] G. E., p. 227

[2] John xii. 25; 1 John ii. 15, 16; James iv. 4.

[3] Z., p. 249.

[4] G. M., 1st Essay, Aph. 7.

[5] Matthew v.

[6] Matthew xxiii. 39; Mark xiii. 31; Luke x. 27; Matthew v. 44.

[7] 2 Luke xviii. 7, 8; Romans xii. 19; Revelation vi. 10.

[8] I Corinthians i. 20, 21, 26, 27, 28.

[9] G. M., 1st Essay, Aph. 14. See also Epistle to the Hebrews xii. 6,
and Revelation iii. 19.

[10] Z., p. 12

       *       *       *       *       *

Chapter IV

Nietzsche the Evolutionist

"Transvalue your values or perish!" This was the message of the
hermit Nietzsche to the people inhabiting the valley into which he
had descended. "Transvalue your values!"--that is to say, make them
what they once were, noble, life-approving, virile! For two thousand
years the roll of the world-wheel had been reversed--Stendhal had
said that many years before Nietzsche lived--but it was left to
Nietzsche, Stendhal's admirer and pupil, to teach and prove this fact.
Stendhal, too, had cried out against the tameness, the lukewarmness,
the effeminacy of society; but Nietzsche took up this cry with a voice
more brazen than Stendhal's at a time when mankind was in much greater
need of it. Stendhal had pointed enthusiastically to the sun and to the
passion of the south, and had donned a moral respirator whenever he
turned to face the grey and depressing atmosphere of northern ideas and
northern tepidness. Nietzsche follows his master's hint with alacrity,
but in doing so converts Stendhal's clarion notes into thunder, and the
glint of Stendhal's rapier into strokes of lightning.[1]

When Nietzsche began to write Europe was suffering from the worst kind
of spiritual illness--weakness of will. Everywhere comfort and freedom
from danger were becoming the highest ideals; everywhere, too, virtue
was being confounded with those qualities which led to the highest
possible amount of security and tame, back-parlour pleasures; and man
was gradually developing into a harmless domesticated type of animal,
capable of performing a host of charming little drawing-room tricks
which rejoiced the hearts of his womenfolk.

Sleep seemed to be the greatest accomplishment. It had become all
important to have a good night's rest, and everything was done to
achieve this end. A man no longer asked his heart what it dictated,
when he stood irresolute before a daring deed, he simply consulted
Morpheus, who warned him that he could not promise him a soft pillow if
he did anything that was ever so slightly naughty. In the end, Morpheus
would prevail, and thus all Europe was beginning to snore peacefully
the whole night through, with marvellous regularity, while manliness
rotted and danger dwindled.[2]

Nietzsche protested against this state of affairs:--"What is good? ye
ask. To be brave is good. Let the little schoolgirls say: To be good is
sweet and touching at the same time. Ye say, a good cause will hallow
even war? I say unto you: a good war halloweth every cause. War and
courage have done greater things than love!"[3]

"I pass through this people and keep mine eyes open: they have
become _smaller_, and ever become smaller: _the reason thereof is their
doctrine of happiness and virtue_.

"For they are moderate also in virtue--because they want comfort. With
comfort, however, moderate virtue only is compatible.

"Of man there is little here: therefore do their women make themselves
manly. For only he who is man enough, will _save the woman_ in woman.

"In their hearts, they want simply one thing most of all: that no one
hurt them.

"That, however, is _cowardice_, though it be called virtue."[4]

Some there were, of course, who were conscious of the dreadful
condition of things, and who deplored it, without, however, being able
to put their finger on the root of the evil. Such people were most of
them pessimists, and, at the time that Nietzsche lived, Schopenhauer
was their leader.

Sensitive, noble-minded, artistic people, deprived by rationalistic
and atheistic teachers of the belief in God, felt the ignobleness of
European hopes and aspirations, and knowing of no better creed and
possessing the intelligence to see the hopelessness of things under the
rule of the values which then prevailed, they succumbed to a mood of
utter despair, subscribed to Schopenhauer's horror and loathing of the
world, and regarded the very optimism of childhood with suspicion and

For a while Nietzsche, too, was an ardent and devoted follower of
Schopenhauer. Godlessness was bad enough to endure: but Godlessness in
a world of un-pagan and effeminate manhood, was too much for the loving
student of classical antiquity, and he turned to Schopenhauer as to one
who, he thought, would understand how to steel his heart against life's

But this opiate did not maintain its sway over Nietzsche long. Our poet
was of a type too courageous and too vigorous to be able to surrender
himself so completely to sorrow and to Buddhistic consolations.
Gradually he began to regard the humble and resigned attitude of the
pessimist before life's hardships and modernity's greyness as unworthy
of a spirited and active man. Slowly it dawned upon him that the root
of the evil lay, not in the constitution of the earth, but in man
himself, and in man's actual values. If man could be roused to pursue
higher ideals; if he could be moved to kill the poisonous snake of
ignoble values that had crawled into his throat and choked him while
he was in slumber;[5] in fact, if man could surpass himself and regard
the reversal of the world's engines, for the last two thousand years,
as Stendhal had done--that is to say, as the grossest error and most
ridiculous _faux pas_ that had ever been made--then, Nietzsche thought,
pessimism and Schopenhauer might go to the deuce, and conscious,
sensitive, intellectual, and artistic Europe would once more be able
to smile instead of shuddering at the thought of mankind's former

Thus it was the condemnation of modern values, together with the
thought of man's being able to surpass himself, which gave Nietzsche
the grounds and the necessary strength for abandoning pessimism and
embracing that wise optimism which characterises the whole of his works
after _The Joyful Wisdom_.

True, God was dead; but that ought only to make man feel more
self-reliant, more creative, prouder. Undoubtedly God was dead: but
man could now hold himself responsible for himself. He could now seek
a goal in manhood, on earth, and one that was at least within the
compass of his powers. Long enough had he squinted heavenwards, with
the result, that he had neglected his task on earth.[6]

"Dead are all Gods!" Nietzsche cries, "now we will that Superman live!"[7]

We are now before Nietzsche the evolutionist, and we must define him,
relatively to those other evolutionists with whom we, as English
people, are already familiar.

To begin with, then, let us dispose of the fundamental question:
Nietzsche's concept of life. We have had life variously defined for
us by our own writers, and perhaps one among Nietzsche's greatest
contemporaries in England--Herbert Spencer--defined it in the
most characteristically English fashion. Spencer said: "Life is
activity," or "the continuous adjustment of internal relations to
external relations." Now there is absolutely nothing in either of
these definitions, no suggestion or hint, which would lead the most
suspicious to conjecture what life really is. (Activity) reveals
nothing of life's passions, its hate, its envy, its covetousness, its
hard, inexorable principles; the process of the continual adjustments
of internal relations to external relations might mean the serpent's
digestion of its prey, or the training of an opera singer's voice, and
it might also be a scientific formula for a "moral order of things."
Both definitions are delightfully unheroic and vague; though they do
not compromise the writer they compromise with everything else, and to
start out with them is to shelve the question in a way which allows of
our subsequently weaving all the romance and sweetness possible into
life, and of making it as pretty as a little nursery story.

Nietzsche, always eager for a practical and tangible idea, naturally
could not accept these two definitions as expressing anything profound
about life at all. Looking into the race of nature, and reading her
history from the amoeba with its predatory pseudo-podia, to the lion
with its murderous prehensile claws, he defined life practically,
uprightly, and bravely, as "appropriation, injury, conquest of the
strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusion of its own forms,
incorporation, and, at least, putting it mildest, exploitation."[8]

Thus, as we see, from the start Nietzsche closes his eyes at nothing,
he does not want life to be a pretty tale if it is not one. He wants
to know it as it is: for he is convinced that this is the only way of
arriving at sound principles as to the manner in which human existence
should be led.

"Appropriation," then, he takes as a fact: he does not argue it away,
any more than he tries to argue away "injury," "conquest of the strange
and weak," "suppression," and "incorporation." These things are only
too apparent, and he states them bravely in his definition. We know
life is all this; but how much more comfortable it is, when we are
sitting in our soft easy-chairs before our cheerful fires, to think
that life is merely activity!

To believe that there is a moral order in the universe is to believe
that these unpleasant things in Nietzsche's definition will one day
be overcome. This was the position Christianity assumed from the
start. Put, though it was excusable in a religion fighting for power,
and compelled to use nice and attractive words for its followers, to
suppose that all the misery on earth will one day be transformed by
God's wisdom into perfect bliss; such an attitude is quite unpardonable
in the case of a philosopher or even of a poet. When Browning chanted
smugly: "God's in His heaven: All's right with the world," he confessed
himself a mediocre spirit with one stroke of the pen. And when Spencer
wrote that the blind process of evolution "must inevitably favour all
changes of nature which increase life and augment happiness," he did
the same. We may now perhaps understand Nietzsche's impatience of his
predecessors and contemporaries, who refused to see precisely what he
saw in the face of nature.

But even in his extended definition of life, the modern biologist
brings himself no nearer to Nietzsche's honest standpoint, and for the
following reasons:--

The modern biologist says, this "activity" he speaks of has a precise
meaning. It connotes "the struggle for existence," or in other words
"self-defence." (Again he is looking at life through moral or Christian
glasses; because if every thing on earth is done in self-defence, even
the devil himself is argued out of existence, and God remains creator
of the "good" alone.) Nietzsche replies by denying this flatly. He says
that the definition is again inadequate. He warns us not to confound
Malthus with nature.[9] He admits that the struggle occurs, but only as
an exception. "The general aspect of life is not a state of want or
hunger; it is rather a state of opulence, luxuriance, and even absurd
prodigality--where there is a struggle, it is a struggle for power."
--Will to power and not will to live is the motive force of life.

"Wherever I found living matter," he says, "I found will to power, and
even in the servant I found the yearning to be master.

"Only where there is life, there is will: though a not will to live,
but thus I teach thee--WILL TO POWER."[10]

Is there no aggression without the struggle for existence? Is there
no voluptuousness in a position of power for us own sake? Of course
there is! And one wonders how these English biologists could ever have
been schoolboys without noticing these facts. As Nietzsche points out,
however, they are every one of them labouring under the Christian
ideal still--in spite of all their upsetting of the first chapter of
Genesis, and in spite of all their blasting of the miracles. Put, if
life is the supreme aim of all, how is it that many things are valued
higher than life by living beings? If the will to live sometimes
finds itself overpowered by another will--more particularly in great
warriors, great prophets, great artists, and great heroes--what is
this mightier force which thus overpowers it? We have heard what
Nietzsche calls it--it is the Will to Power.

"Psychologists should bethink themselves before putting down the
instinct of self-preservation as the cardinal instinct of an organic
being. A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength--life
itself is Will to Power; self-preservation is only one of the indirect
and most frequent results thereof."[11]

In spite of everything we have already said, Nietzsche's disagreement
with our own biologists may still seem to many but a play upon words.
A moment's meditation, however--more particularly over the passage
just quoted--will show that it is really much deeper than this. It is
one thing to regard an animal as a mere automaton, prowling around to
satisfy its hunger, and happy to remain inactive when the sensation of
hunger is appeased, and quite another to regard an animal as a battery
of accumulated forces which _must_ be discharged at all costs (and for
good or evil), with only temporary lapses of purely self-preservative
desires and self-preservative actions. All the different consequences
of these two views will occur to the thinker in an instant.

Upon this basis, then, the Will to Power, Nietzsche builds up a
cosmogony which also assumes that species have been evolved; but again,
in the processes of that evolution he is at variance with Darwin and
all the natural-selectionists.

Nietzsche cannot be persuaded that "mechanical adjustment to ambient
conditions," or "adaptation to environment"--both purely passive,
meek, and uncreative functions--should be given the importance,
as determining factors, which the English and German schools give
them. With Samuel Butler, he protests against this "pitchforking of
mind and spirit out of the universe," and points imperatively to
an inner creative will in living organisms, which ultimately makes
environment and natural conditions subservient and subject. In the
_Genealogy of Morals_[12] he makes it quite clear that he would ascribe
the greatest importance to a power in the organism itself, to "the
highest functionaries in the animal, in which the life-will appears
as an active and formative principle," and that even in the matter
of the mysterious occurrence of varieties (sports) he would seek for
inner causes. Darwin himself threw out only a hint in this direction;
that is why it is safe to suppose that, if Nietzsche and Darwin are
ever reconciled, it will probably be precisely on this ground. In
the _Origin of Species_, speaking of the causes of variability, Darwin
said: "... There are two factors, namely the nature of the organism,
and the nature of the conditions. _The former seem to be much the more
important_,[13] for nearly similar variations sometimes arise under, as
far as we can judge, dissimilar conditions; and on the other hand,
dissimilar variations arise under conditions which appear to be

Thus differing widely from the orthodox school of evolutionists,
Nietzsche nevertheless believed their hypothesis to be sound; but once
more he has an objection to raise. Why did they halt where they halted?

If the process is a fact, if things have become what they are, and
have not always been so; then why should we rest on our oars? If it
was possible for man to struggle up from barbarism, and still more
remotely from the lower Primates, and reach the zenith of his physical
development; why, Nietzsche asks, should he not surpass himself and
attain to Superman by evolving in the same decree volitionally and

"The most careful ask to-day: 'How is man preserved?' But Zarathustra
asketh as the only and first one: 'How is man surpassed?'[14]

"All beings (in your genealogical ladder) have created something beyond
themselves, and are ye going to be the ebb of this great tide?

"Behold I teach you Superman!"[15]

And now, again, at the risk of being monotonous, I must point to yet
another difference between Nietzsche and the prevailing school of
evolutionists. Whereas the latter, in their unscrupulous optimism,
believed that out of the chaotic play of blind forces something highly
desirable and "good" would ultimately be evolved; whereas they tacitly,
though not avowedly, believed that their "fittest" in the struggle
for existence would eventually prove to be the best--in fact that
we should "muddle through" to perfection somehow, and that something
really noble and important would be sure to result from John Brown's
contest with Harry Smith for the highest place in an insurance office,
for instance; Nietzsche disbelieved from the bottom of his heart in
this chance play of blind and meaningless tendencies. He said: Given
a degenerate, mean, and base environment and the fittest to survive
therein will be the man who is best adapted to degeneracy, meanness,
and baseness--therefore the worst kind of man. Given a community of
parasites, and it may be that the flattest, the slimiest, and the
softest, will be the fittest to survive. Such faith in blind forces
Nietzsche regarded merely as the survival of the old Christian belief
in the moral order of things, fogged out in scientific apparel to
suit modern tastes. He saw plainly, that if man were to be elevated
at all, no blind struggle in his present conditions would ever effect
that end; for the present conditions themselves make those the fittest
to survive in them who are persons of absolutely undesirable gifts
and propensities.

He declared (and here we are in the very heart of Nietzscheism)
that nothing but a total change in these conditions, a complete
transvaluation of all values, would ever alter man and make him more
worthy of his past. For it is values, values, and again values, that
mould men, and rear men, and create men; and ignoble values make
ignoble men, and noble values make noble men! Thus it was in the
beginning, is now, and ever shall be, truth without end--for men.

Nietzsche realised "all that could still be made out of man, through
a favourable accumulation and augmentation of human powers and
arrangements"; he knew "how unexhausted man still is for the greatest
possibilities, and how often in the past the type man has stood in
mysterious and dangerous crossways, and has launched forth upon the
right or the wrong road, impelled merely by a whim, or by a hint from
the giant Chance."[16] And now, he was determined that, whether man wished
to listen or not, at least he should be told of the ultimate disaster
that awaited him, if he continued in his present direction. For, there
was yet time!

It is to higher men that Nietzsche really makes his appeal, the leaders
and misleaders of the mob. He had no concern with the multitude and
they did not need him. The world had seen philosophies enough which had
advocated the cause of the "greatest number"--English libraries were
stacked with such works. What was required was, to convert those rare
men who give the direction--the heads of the various throngs--the

"Awake and listen, ye lonely ones! From the future, winds are coming
with a gentle beating of wings, and there cometh good tidings for fine

"Ye lonely ones of to-day, ye who stand apart, ye shall one day be a
people: from you, who have chosen yourselves, a chosen people shall
arise and from it Superman."[17]

[1] G. E., Aph. 254, 255, 256.

[2] See Schopenhauer on _The Vanity and Suffering of Life_.

[3] Z., p. 52.

[4] Z., pp. 204, 205, 206.

[5] Z., pp. 192, 193.

[6] See Z., p. 98 _et seq_.

[7] Z., p. 91.

[8] G. E., p. 226.

[9] Twilight of the Idols, Part 9, Aph. 14.

[10] Z., pp. 136, 137.

[11] G. E., p. 20.

[12] Second Essay, Aph. 12.

[13] The italics are mine.--A. M. L.

[14] Z., p. 351.

[15] Z., p. 6.

[16] G. E., p. 130.

[17] Z., p. 89.

       *       *       *       *       *

Chapter V

Nietzsche the Sociologist

For Nietzsche, as we are beginning to see, a fitting title is hard to
find. Unless we coin new names for things that have not yet been given
names, Nietzsche remains without a title among his fellow thinkers.
He has been called the "arch-anarchist," which he is not; he has been
called the "preacher of brutality," which he is not; he has been called
the "egoist," which he is not. But all these titles were conferred
upon him by people whose interest it was to reduce him in the public's
esteem. If he must be named, however, and we suppose he must, the best
title would obviously be that which would distinguish him most exactly
from his colleagues. Now, how does Nietzsche stand out from the ranks
of almost all other philosophers? By the fact that he was throughout
his life an "Advocate of Higher Man." Whereas other philosophers and
scholars had always thought they had some divine message to impart in
the cause of the "greatest number"; Nietzsche--the typical miner and
underminer--believed that his mission was to stand for a neglected
minority, for higher men, for the gold in the mass of quartz.

No title therefore could be more fair, and at the same time more
essentially descriptive, than the "Advocate of Higher Man," and in
giving this title to Nietzsche, we immediately outline him against that
assembly of his colleagues who were "Advocates of the Greatest Number."

It is of the first importance to humanity that its higher individuals
should be allowed to attain their full development, for only by means
of its heroes can the human race be led forward step by step to higher
and ever higher levels. In view of the fact that Nietzsche realised
this, some of his principles, when given general application, may
very naturally appear to be both iniquitous and subversive, and those
who read him with the idea that he is preaching a gospel for all are
perfectly justified if they turn away in horror from his works. The
mistake they make, however, is to suppose that he, like most other
philosophers with whom they are familiar, is an advocate of the
greatest number.

Let us take a single instance. In _The Honey Sacrifice_[1] the phrase
"Become what thou art," occurs. Now it is obvious that however
legitimate this command may be when applied to the highest and best, it
becomes dangerous and seditious when applied to each individual of the
mass of mankind. And this explains the number of errors that are rife
concerning Nietzsche's gospel. Whenever Nietzsche spoke esoterically,
his enemies declared that he was pronouncing maxims for the greatest
number; whenever he spoke for the greatest number, as he does again
and again in his allusions to the mediocre, he was accused of speaking
esoterically. How would any other philosophy have fared under such
misrepresentation and calumny?

Nietzsche could not believe in equality; for within him justice said
"men are not equal!" Those to whom it gives pleasure to think that men
are equal, he conjures not to confound pleasure with truth, and, like
Professor Huxley, he finds himself obliged to recognise "the natural
inequality of men."

But, far from deploring this fact, he would fain have accentuated
and intensified it. This inequality, to Nietzsche, is a condition to
be exploited and to be made use of by the legislator. The higher men
of a society in which gradations of rank are recognised as a natural
and desirable condition constitute the class in which the hopes of a
real elevation of humanity may be placed. The Divine Manu, Laotse,
Confucius, Muhammad, Jesus Christ--all these men, who in their sublime
arrogance actually converted man into a mirror in which they saw
themselves and their doctrines reflected, and who in thus converting
man into a mirror really made him feel happy in the function of
reflecting alone:--these leaders are the types Nietzsche refers to when
he speaks of higher men.

Ruling, like all other functions which require the great to justify
them, has fallen into disrepute, thanks to the incompetent amateurs
that have tried their hand at the game. As in the Fine Arts, so in
leading and ruling; it is the dilettantes that have broken our faith
in human performances. The really great ruler reaches his zenith in
dominating an epoch, a party, a nation or the world, to the best
advantage of each of these; but it does not follow that the motive
power propelling him should necessarily be the conscious pursuit of
the best advantage of those he rules,--this is merely a fortuitous
circumstance curiously associated with greatness in ruling,--generally
speaking, however, his only conscious motive is the gratification of
his inordinate will to power.

The innocent fallacy of democracy lies in supposing that by a mere
search, by a mere rummaging and fumbling among a motley populace, one
man or several men can be found, who are able to take the place of the
rare and ideal ruler. As if the mere fact of searching and rummaging
were not in itself a confession of failure,--a confession that this
man does not exist! For if he existed he would have asserted himself!
he would have needed no democratic exploration party to unearth him.

"There is no sorer misfortune in all human destiny, than when the
powerful of the earth are not at the same time the first men. Then
everything becometh false and warped and monstrous."[2]

"For, my brethren, the best shall rule: the best will rule! And where
the teaching is different, there--the best _is lacking_."[3]

Here we observe that Nietzsche advocated an aristocratic arrangement
of society. A firm believer in tradition, law, and order, and, in
spite of his opponents' accusations, an undaunted enemy of Anarchy and
_laisser-aller_, he saw in Socialism and Democracy nothing more than
two slave organisations for the raising of every individual to his
highest power, individuality made as general as possible; or, in other
words, Socialism and Democracy meant to Nietzsche the annihilation of
all higher aims and hopes. It meant valuing all the weeds and noble
plants alike, and with such a valuation, the noble plants, being in
the minority, must necessarily suffer and ultimately die out. Where
everybody is somebody, nobody is anybody. Socialism, _i.e._ organised
Individualism, seemed to Nietzsche merely the reflection in politics
of the Christian principle that all men are alike before God. Grant
immortality to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, and, in the end, every Tom,
Dick, or Harry will believe in equal rights before he can even hope
to reach Heaven, but to deny the privileges of rare men implies the
proscription from life of all high trees with broad brandies,--those
broad brandies that protect the herd from the rain, but which also keep
the sun from the envious and ambitious shrub,--and thus it would mean
that the world would gradually assume the appearance of those vast
Scotch moors of gorse and heather, where liberalism and mediocrity are
rampant, but where all loftiness is dead.

Nietzsche was a profound believer in the value of tradition, in the
value of general discipline lasting over long periods. He knew that all
that is great and lasting and intensely moving has been the result of
the law of castes or of the laws governing the individual members of a
caste throughout many generations.[4] This building up of the rare man, of
the great man (of the cultivated type in a Darwinian sense) as every
scientist is aware, is utterly frustrated by any thing in the way of
injudicious and careless cross-breeding (see Darwin on the degeneration
of the cultivated types of animals through the action of promiscuous
breeding), by democratic _mésalliances_ of all kinds, and by the laisser
aller which is one of the worst evils of that kind of freedom which
tends to prevail when the slaves of a community have succeeded in
asserting and expressing their insignificant and miserable little

Believing all this, Nietzsche could not help but advocate the rearing
of a select and aristocratic caste, and in none of his exhortations is
he more sincere than when he appeals to higher men to sow the seeds of
a nobility for the future.

"O my brethren, I consecrate you to be, and show unto you the way unto
a now nobility. Ye shall become procreators and breeders and sowers of
the future.

"Verily, ye shall not become a nobility one might buy, like shopkeepers
with shopkeepers' gold. For all that hath its fixed price is of little

"Not whence ye come be your honour in future, but whither ye go!" Your
will, and your foot that longeth to get beyond yourselves,--be that
your new honour!"

"Your children's land ye shall love (be this your new nobility), the
land undiscovered in the remotest sea! For it I bid you set sail and

"Every elevation of the type man," says Nietzsche, "has hitherto been
the work of an aristocratic society--and so will it always be--a
society believing in a long scale of gradations of rank and differences
of worth among human beings, and requiring slavery in some form or
other. Without the _pathos of distance_, such as grows out of the
incarnated differences of classes, out of the constant outlooking and
downlooking of the ruling caste on subordinates and instruments, and
out of their equally constant practice of obeying and commanding, of
keeping down and keeping at a distance that other more mysterious
pathos could never have arisen, the longing for an ever new widening
distance within the soul itself, the formation of ever higher, rarer,
further, more extended, more comprehensive states, in short, just the
elevation of the type 'man,' the continued 'self-surmounting of man,'
to use a moral formula in a super-moral sense."[6]

I cannot attempt to give a full account of the society Nietzsche would
fain have seen established on earth. It will be found exhaustively
described in Aph. 57 of the _Antichrist_: while in the book of _Manu_ (Max
Müller's "Sacred Books of the East," No. 25), similar sociological
prescriptions are to be found, correlated with all the imposing
machinery of divine revelation, supernatural authority, and religious

Briefly, Nietzsche says this:--

It is ridiculous to pretend to treat every one without regard to those
natural distinctions which are manifested by superior intellectuality,
or exceptional muscular strength, or mediocrity of spiritual and
bodily powers, or inferiority of both. He tells us that it is not the
legislator, but nature herself, who establishes these broad classes,
and to ignore them when forming a society would be just as foolish as
to ignore the order of rank among materials and structural principles
when building a monument. Though the base of a pyramid does not require
to be of the very finest marble, we know it must be both broad and
massive. Nietzsche declares that no society has any solidarity which
is not founded upon a broad basis of mediocrity. Though the stones
get fewer in the layers as we ascend to the top of the pyramid, we
know that their gradation is necessary if the highest point is to be
readied. Nietzsche believes in the long scale of gradations of rank
with the ascending line leading always to the highest--even if he be
only a single individual. Though the very uppermost point consists of a
single stone, it is around that single stone that the weather will rage
most furiously and the sun shine most gorgeously. That single stone
will be the first to cleave the heavy shower, and the first, for, to
meet the lightning. Nietzsche says: "Life always becomes harder towards
the _summit_,--the cold increases, responsibility increases."[7]

    "Saepius ventis agitatur ingens
    pinus, et celsae graviore casu
    decidunt turres, feriuntque summos
        fulgura montes."[8]--HORACE, _Carm_. II. X.

Thus he would have the intellectually superior, those who can bear
responsibility and endure hardships, at the head. Beneath them are
the warriors, the physically strong, who are "the guardians of right,
the keepers of order and security, the king above all as the highest
formula of warrior, judge, and keeper of the law. The second in rank
are the executive of the most intellectual." And below this caste are
the mediocre. "Handicraft, trade, agriculture, _science_, the greater
part of art, in a word, the whole _compass_ of business activity,
is exclusively compatible with an average amount of ability and
pretension." At the very base of the social edifice, Nietzsche sees
the class of man who thrives best when he is well looked after and
closely observed,--the man who is happy to serve, not because he must,
but because he is what he is,--the man uncorrupted by political and
religious lies concerning equality, liberty, and fraternity,--who is
half conscious of the abyss which separates him from his superiors, and
who is happiest when performing those acts which are not beyond his

He forestalls this sketch of his ideal society by enunciating the moral
code wherewith he would transvalue our present values, and I shall now
give this code without a single remark or comment, feeling quite sure
that the reader who has understood Nietzsche so far will not require
any assistance in seeing that it is the necessary and logical outcome
of the rest of his teaching.

       *        *        *        *        *

"What is good? All that increases the feeling of power, will to power,
power itself in man.

"What is bad?--All that proceeds from weakness.

"What is happiness?--The feeling that power _increases_, that resistance
is overcome.

"Not contentedness, but more power; not peace at any price, but
warfare; not virtue, but capacity (virtue in the Renaissance style,
virtù free from any moralic acid)."[9]

       *        *        *        *        *

I cannot well close this chapter on Nietzsche's sociological views
without touching upon two of the most important elements in modern
society, and his treatment of them. I refer to "altruism" and to
"pity." I am more particularly anxious to express myself clearly on
these two points, inasmuch as I know how many erroneous opinions
are current in regard to Nietzsche's attitude towards them. In all
gregarious communities, as is well known, altruism and pity have become
very potent life-preserving factors, and it would be hard to find
in Europe to-day, a city, a town, or a village, in which these two
qualities are not considered the most creditable of virtues. Now apart
from the fact that this excessive praise of compassion and selflessness
is a sign of slave values being in the ascendant, we must bear in
mind two things: (1) that under our present system of society, in
which cruelties are perpetrated far more brutal than any that could be
found in antiquity, a sort of maudlin sentimentality has arisen among
the oppressing classes, whereby they attempt to counterbalance their
deeds of oppression with lavish acts of charity. This sentimentality
is a sign that their conscience is no longer clean for the act of
oppressing; because in their heart of hearts they feel themselves
unworthy of being at the top: (2) that wherever two or three human
beings collect together, a certain modicum of altruism and compassion
is a prerequisite of their social unity.

Dismissing observation one as the mere expression of a regrettable
fact which scarcely requires substantiation, and which is responsible
for more than three-quarters of the anomalies that characterise
modern Western civilisation; and passing over the suggestion that the
excessive praise of compassion and selflessness denotes an ascendency
of slave values (for we have dealt with this question in Chapter III.),
let us turn to the more abstract proposition enunciated in observation
two and try to grasp Nietzsche's treatment of it.

In the first place, let us understand that there are two kinds of pity
and selflessness, just as there are two kinds of generosity. There
is the pity, the selflessness and the generosity which is preached
and praised as a virtue by him who urgently requires them because he
is ill-constituted, needy, and hungry; and there is the pity, the
selflessness and the generosity which suggests itself to the man
overflowing with health, trust in the future, and confidence in his
own powers. To such a man, pity, selflessness, and generosity are a
means of discharging a certain plenitude of power, and in his case
giving and bestowing are natural functions. In the first instance, the
three virtues are preached from a utilitarian standpoint which tends to
increase an undesirable type; in the second, they are the sign of the
existence of a desirable type.

Let us hear Nietzsche--

"A man who says: 'I like that, I take it for my own, and mean to guard
it and protect it from everyone'; and the man who can conduct a case,
carry out a resolution, remain true to an opinion, keep hold of a
woman, punish and overthrow insolence; a man who has his indignation
and his sword, and to whom the weak, the suffering, the oppressed, and
even the animals willingly submit and naturally belong; in short, a man
who is a master by nature--when such a man has sympathy, well! that
sympathy has value! But of what account is the sympathy of those who
suffer! or of those even who preach sympathy!"

Wherever we find anything akin to "pity," even in nature: the suckling
of the young, the maintenance of dependants (the lion's attitude
towards the jackal), the protection of the helpless young (as in many
fish and mammals), it is always the superabundance of the giver and his
Will to Power which creates the pitiful act.

But the pity which most of us understand as a virtue in Europe to-day,
is merely a sort of sickly sensitiveness and irritability towards pain,
an effeminate absence of control in the presence of suffering, which
has nothing whatever to do with our powers of alleviating the misery
we contemplate, and which is only compatible either with excessive
sentimentality or with weak and overstrained nerves. In that case all
it does is to add to the misery of this world, and to elevate to a
virtue that which is perhaps one of the saddest signs of the times. It
is then indiscriminate, rash, and short-sighted, and gives rise to more
evil than it tries to dispel.

"Ah, where in the world have there been greater follies than with the
pitiful? And what in the world hath caused more suffering than the
follies of the pitiful?

"Woe unto all loving ones who have not an elevation which is above
their pity!"[10]

The legislator or the leader (and it is to him, remember, that
Nietzsche appeals), is often obliged to leave dozens to die by the
wayside, and has to do so with a clean conscience. If the march he
is organising requires certain sacrifices, he must be ready to make
them; the slavish pity, then, which would sacrifice the greater to
the less, must have been overcome by him in his own heart., and he
must have learnt that hardness which is wider in its sympathies, more
presbyopic in its love, and less immediate in its effect. But he alone
can feel like this who has something to give to those he leads, _i.e._
his protection and guidance, his promise of a better land.

"Myself I would sacrifice to my design, and my neighbour as well--such
is the language of creators.

"All creators, however, are hard."[11]

Now turning to the question of egoism _cru et vert_, which, according to
some, is the very basis and core of Nietzscheism, what are the points
which strike us most in Nietzsche's standpoint? To begin with, in this
question, as in all others, his honesty is paramount, and we become
conscious of it the moment we read his first line on the subject.
Where Nietzsche discusses matters of which others are wont to speak
with heaving breasts, florid language, and tearful voices, he takes
particular pains to be clear, concise, calculating and cold--hence
perhaps the hatred he has provoked in those who depend for their effect
upon the impression of benevolence which their watery eyes, their
cracked, good-natured voices, and their high-falutin' words make upon a

Nietzsche puts his linger on the very centre of the question of egoism,
he simply says: "Not every one has the right to be an egoist. Whereas
in some egoism would be a virtue, in others it may be an insufferable
vice which should be stamped out at all costs."

In whom then is egoism a vice?

Obviously in him who is physiologically botched, below mediocrity in
spirit and body, mean, despicable, and even ugly.

Egoism in such a man means concentrating certain interests, and not
always the least valuable, upon the promotion and enhancement of
an undesirable element in society. The egoism of him who is below
mediocrity is a form of tyranny which leads to nothing, save, perhaps,
a Heaven where the _haute volée_ will consist of the whole scum and dross
of humanity. Such egoism leads humanity downwards: it practically says:
"I, the bungled and the botched, I the poor in spirit and body, I the
mean, despicable and ugly, want my kind to be all-important, paramount
and on the top--I the least desirable wish to prevail." But this
egoism would mean humanity's ruin, it would mean humanity's suicide and
annihilation: it would certainly mean humanity's degradation. When such
egoism says: "I will have all," the only decent retort is deafness.
When such egoism says: "I have as much right to live and flourish as
the well-constituted, the superior in spirit and body, the beautiful
and the happy," wisdom replies with a shrill of its shoulders. And when
such egoism preaches altruism--then! Then woe to all those who are
tempted to practise one virtue more! Woe to humanity! Woe to the whole

There is, on the other hand, a form of egoism, which is both virtuous
and noble. It is the egoism of him whose multiplication would make the
world better, more desirable, happier, healthier, superior in spirit
and body. Egoism in such a case is a moral duty; wherever, _in such a
case_, giving, bestowing--altruism in fact--is not compatible with
survival, then egoism becomes the highest principle of all, and it is
in such circumstances that altruism may become a vice.

Now let us hear Nietzsche's own words:--

"Selfishness," he says, "has as much value as the physiological value
of him who possesses it: it may be very valuable or it may be vile
and contemptible. Each individual may be looked at with respect to
whether he represents an ascending or a descending line of life. When
that is determined, we have a canon for determining the value of his
selfishness. If he represent the ascent in the line of life, his value
is in fact very great--and on account of the collective life which
in him makes a further step, the concern about his maintenance, about
providing his optimum of conditions, may even be extreme... If
he represent descending development, decay, chronic degeneration, or
sickening, he has little worth, and the greatest fairness would have
him _take away_ as little as possible from the well-constituted. He is
then no more than their parasite."[12]

This is all clear enough; but it is quite conceivable that a
misunderstanding of it might lead to the most perverted notions of what
Nietzsche actually stood for, and when I hear people inveighing against
the so-called egoism of his teaching, and declaring it poisonous on
that account, I often wonder whether they have really made any attempt
at all to comprehend the above passage, and whether there is not
perhaps something wrong with language itself, that a thought which to
some seems expressed so clearly and unmistakably, should still prove
confusing and incomprehensible to others.

Speaking once more to higher men, then, Nietzsche tells them, with
some reason on his side, that altruism may be their greatest danger,
that altruism may be even their greatest temptation, that there are
times when they must avoid it as they would avoid a plague. In periods
of gestation, when plans and dreams of plans for the elevation of
themselves and their fellows are taking shape in their minds, altruism
may lure them sideways, it may make them diverge from their path, and
it may make mankind one great thought the poorer. In this sense, and
in this sense alone, does our author deprecate the altruistic virtues;
but, again, I venture to remind readers that it is the simplest thing
on earth to awaken suspicion against him by declaring, as some have
declared, that his deprecation of altruism applies to all.

No greater nonsense could be talked about Nietzsche than to say that he
preached universal egoism. Universal egoism as opposed to select egoism
is behind all the noisiest movements to-day--it is behind Socialism,
Democracy, Anarchy, and Nihilism--but it is not behind Nietzscheism,
and nobody who reads him with care could ever think so.

With these observations in mind, we can read the following passages
from _Thus Spake Zarathustra_ without either surprise or indignation;
indeed we may even learn a new valuation from them which will alter our
whole outlook on life, though no such sudden revulsion of feeling need
necessarily follow a study of Nietzsche's doctrine. Only when we have
given his thoughts time to become linked up and co-ordinated in our
minds are we likely to find that our view of the world has become in
the least decree transformed.

        *        *        *        *        *        *

"Do I advise you to love your neighbour? leather do I advise you to
flee from your neighbour and to love the most remote.

"Higher than love to your neighbour is love unto the most remote future

"It is the more remote (your children and your children's children) who
pay for your love unto your neighbour.[13]

"Your children's land ye shall love (be this love your new nobility!),
the land undiscovered in the remotest sea! For it I bid your sails seek
and seek!

"In your children ye shall make amends for being the children of your
fathers: all the past shall ye thus redeem! This new table do I place
over you!"[14]

[1] Z., chap. lxi.

[2] Z., p. 299.

[3] Z., pp. 256, 257.

[4] G. E., Aph. 188.

[5] Z., pp. 247, 248.

[6] G. E., p. 223.

[7] Antichrist, Aph. 57.

[8] "The big pine is more often shaken by the winds: the higher a
tower, the heavier is the fall thereof, and it is the tops of the
mountains that the lightning strikes."

[9] _Antichrist_, Aph. 2.

[10] Z., pp. 104, 105.

[11] Z., p. 105.

[12] _The Twilight of the Idols_, Par. 10, Aph. 33.

[13] Z., pp. 69, 70.

[14] Z., p. 248.

       *       *       *       *       *


When we have done rubbing our eyes and ears at the dazzling and
startling novelty of all we have seen and heard, let us ask ourselves
calmly and dispassionately what sort of man this is who has led us thus
far into regions which, from their very unfamiliarity and exoticness,
may have seemed to us both unpleasant and forbidding.

This is no time for apologetics, or for pleading extenuating
circumstances. Even if Nietzsche's doctrines have been presented in a
form too undiluted to be inviting, it would scarcely mend matters, now,
to beg pardon fur them; and I have no intention of doing anything of
the sort. But these questions may be put without any fear of assuming
a penitential attitude, and I do not hesitate to put them: Was the
promise of Nietzsche's life fulfilled? Did the task he started out
with, "the elevation of the type man," receive his best strength, his
best endeavours, his sincerest application? However fundamentally
we may disagree with his conclusions, were they reached by means of
an upright attempt at grappling with the problems? To all of those
questions there is but one answer, and that answer clears Nietzsche of
all the slander and calumny to which he has been submitted for the last
thirty years.

However often we may think he has erred, it is nonsense any longer to
speak of him as an anarchist, an advocate of brutality, a supporter of
immorality in its worst modern sense, and a guardian saint of savage
passions. If I have led any readers to suspect that he was all this, I
can only entreat them to turn as soon as possible to the original works
themselves, and there they will find that it was I who was wrong.

Personally I believe, as Hippolyte Taine, Dr. George Brandes and Wagner
believed, that Nietzsche's work is greater than his own or the next
generation could ever suspect. Questions such as Art, the future of
Science, and the future of Religion, which Nietzsche treats with his
customary skill, I have been unable to find room for, in this work.
But in each of these departments, I believe (and in this belief I am
by no means alone) that Nietzsche's speculations may prove of the very
highest value.

Already in Biology there are signs that Nietzsche's conclusions are
gaining ground. In Art, as I hope to able to show elsewhere, his
doctrines are likely to effect a salutary revolution: while, in the
departments of history, psychology, jurisprudence and metaphysics,
specialists will doubtless arise who will attempt to make innovations
under his leadership.

For the present, though the outlook is brighter than it was,
Nietzscheism--that is to say: free-spiritedness, intellectual bravery;
the ability to stand alone when every one else has his arm linked in
something; the courage to face unpleasant, fatal, and disconcerting
truths,--has not much hope of very general acceptance, among those to
whom it really ought to appeal. Calumny, which had a long start, has
deafened many to the cause and will continue deafening a larger number
still, until the truth is ultimately known. Yet it is to be hoped that
readers may learn to be less satisfied than they have been heretofore
with second-hand accounts of what Nietzsche stood for, and that very
shortly everybody who is interested in the matter will be able to reply
to the slanderer with facts culled from Nietzsche's life and works.

       *        *        *        *        *        *

"Mine enemies have grown strong," says Zarathustra, "and I have
disfigured the face of my teaching, so that my dearest friends have to
blush for the gifts I gave them."[1]

"But like a wind I shall one day blow amidst them, and take away their
breath with my spirit; thus my future willeth it.

"Verily a strong wind is Zarathustra to all low lands; and his enemies
and everything that spitteth and speweth he counselleth with such
advice: Beware of spitting against the wind."[2]

[1] Z., pp. 95, 96.

[2] Z., p. 116.

Books Useful to the Student of Nietzsche


    _Das Leben Friedrich Nietzsche's_, by Mrs. Förster-Nietzsche.
    _Erinnerungen an Friedrich Nietzsche_, by Deussen.
    _Nietzsche, sein Leben und sein Werk_, by Raoul Richter.


    The complete works of Friedrich Nietzsche. Edited by Dr.
    Oscar Levy. (The first complete and authorised English
    Translation.) T. N. Foulis, 21 Paternoster Square.

    _Friedrich Nietzsche's Werke_. Library Edition 15
    vols.----Pocket Edition (very good) 10 vols.


    Bélart, _Nietzsche's Ethik._
    ------  _Nietzsche's Metaphysik._
    ------  _Nietzsche und Richard Wagner._
    Brandes, G., _Menschen und Werke._
    Common, Thos., _Nietzsche as Critic._
    Fouillée, A., _Nietzsche et l'Immoralisme._
    Gaultier, J., De Kant à Nietzsche.
    ------  _Nietzsche et la Réforme philosophique._
    Kennedy, J. M., _The Quintessence of Nietzsche._
    Lichtenberger, H., _La Philosophie de Nietzsche._
    Mügge, _Nietzsche His Life and Works._
    Sera, Leo, _On the Tracks of Life._
    Tienes, _Nietzsche's Stellung zu den Grundfragen der
        Ethik genetisch dargestellt_.
    Tille, A., _Von Darwin bis Nietzsche._
    Zeitler, J., _Nietzsche's Æsthetik._

NIETZSCHE'S WORKS: Authorised Version: edited by Dr. Oscar Levy.

    _Thoughts out of Season_. 2 vols.
    _The Birth of Tragedy_.
    _Thus Spake Zarathustra_.
    _Beyond Good and Evil_.
    _The Future of our Educational Institutions_.
    _Human, All too Human_. Vol. i.
    _The Will to Power_. 2 vols.
    _The Genealogy of Morals_.
    _The Case against Wagner_.
    _The Joyful Wisdom_.
    _The Dawn of Day_.

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