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Title: The Will to Power: An Attempted Transvaluation of All Values. Book III and IV

Author: Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Editor: Oscar Levy

Translator: Anthony M. Ludovici

Release date: August 28, 2016 [eBook #52915]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Marc D'Hooghe Free Literature (back online
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The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche

The First Complete and Authorised English Translation

Edited by Dr Oscar Levy

Volume Seventeen



Third Book. the Principles of a New Valuation.

I. The Will to Power in Science—

(a) The Method of Investigation     3
(b) The Starting-Point of Epistemology     5
(c) The Belief in the "Ego." Subject   12
(d) Biology of the Instinct of Knowledge. Perspectivity   20
(e) The Origin of Reason and Logic   26
(f) Consciousness   38
(g) Judgment. True—False   43
(h) Against Causality   53
(i) The Thing-in-Itself and Appearance   62
(k) The Metaphysical Need   74
(l) The Biological Value of Knowledge   96
(m) Science   99

II. The Will to Power in Nature—

1. The Mechanical Interpretation of the World 109
2. The Will to Power as Life—
(a) The Organic Process 123
(b) Man 132
3. Theory of the Will to Power and of Valuations 161

III. The Will to Power As Exemplified in Society and
in the Individual

1. Society and the State 183
2. The Individual 214

IV. The Will to Power in Art 239

Fourth Book. Discipline and Breeding.

I. The Order of Rank—

1. The Doctrine of the Order of Rank 295
2. The Strong and the Weak 298
3. The Noble Man 350
4. The Lords of the Earth 360
5. The Great Man 366
6. The Highest Man as Lawgiver of the Future 373

II. Dionysus 388

III. Eternal Recurrence 422

[Pg vii]


For the history of the text constituting this volume I would refer readers to my preface to The Will to Power, Books I, and II., where they will also find a brief explanation of the actual title of the complete work.

In the two books before us Nietzsche boldly carries his principle still further into the various departments of human life, and does not shrink from showing its application even to science, to art, and to metaphysics.

Throughout Part I. of the Third Book we find him going to great pains to impress the fact upon us that science is as arbitrary as art in its mode of procedure, and that the knowledge of the scientist is but the outcome of his inexorable will to power interpreting facts in the terms of the self-preservative conditions of the particular order of human beings to which he belongs. In Aphorisms 515 and 516, which are typical of almost all the thought expressed in Part I., Nietzsche says distinctly: "The object is not 'to know,' but to schematise,—to impose as much regularity and form upon chaos as our practical needs require."

Unfamiliarity, constant change, and the inability to reckon with possibilities, are sources of great[Pg viii] danger: hence, everything must be explained, assimilated, and rendered capable of calculation, if Nature is to be mastered and controlled.

Schemes for interpreting earthly phenomena must be devised which, though they do not require to be absolute or irrefutable, must yet favour the maintenance of the kind of men that devises them. Interpretation thus becomes all important, and facts sink down to the rank of raw material which must first be given some shape (some sense—always anthropocentric) before they can become serviceable.

Even the development of reason and logic Nietzsche consistently shows to be but a spiritual development of the physiological function of digestion which compels an organism to make things "like" (to "assimilate") before it can absorb them (Aph. 510). And seeing that he denies that hunger can be a first motive (Aphs. 651-656), and proceeds to show that it is the amœba's will to power which makes it extend its pseudopodia in search of what it can appropriate, and that, once the appropriated matter is enveloped, it is a process of making similar which constitutes the process of absorption, reason itself is by inference acknowledged to be merely a form of the same fundamental will.

An interesting and certainly inevitable outcome of Nietzsche's argument appears in Aph. 516, where he declares that even our inability to deny and affirm one and the same thing is not in the least necessary, but only a sign of inability.

The whole argument of Part I. tends to draw[Pg ix] science ever nearer and nearer to art (except, of course, in those cases in which science happens to consist merely of an ascertainment of facts), and to prove that the one like the other is no more than a means of gaining some foothold upon the slippery soil of a world that is for ever in flux.

In the rush and pell-mell of Becoming, some milestones must be fixed for the purposes of human orientation. In the torrent of evolutionary changes pillars must be made to stand, to which man can for a space hold tight and collect his senses. Science, like art, accomplishes this for us, and it is our will to power which "creates the impression of Being out of Becoming" (Aph. 517).

According to this standpoint, then, consciousness is also but a weapon in the service of the will to power, and it extends or contracts according to our needs (Aph. 524). It might disappear altogether (Aph. 523), or, on the other hand, it might increase and make our life more complicated than it already is. But we should guard against making it the Absolute behind Becoming, simply because it happens to be the highest and most recent evolutionary form (Aph. 709). If we had done this with each newly acquired characteristic, sight itself, which is a relatively recent development, would also have required to have been deified.

Pantheism, Theism, Unitarianism—in fact all religions in which a conscious god is worshipped, are thus aptly classed by Nietzsche as the result of man's desire to elevate that which is but a new and wonderful instrument of his will to power, to the chief place in the imaginary world beyond[Pg x] (eternal soul), and to make it even the deity itself (God Omniscient).

With the question of Truth we find Nietzsche quite as ready to uphold his thesis as with all other questions. He frankly declares that "the criterion of truth lies in the enhancement of the feeling of power" (Aph. 534), and thus stands in diametrical opposition to Spencer, who makes constraint or inability the criterion of truth. (See Principles of Psychology, new edition, chapter ix.... "the unconceivableness of its negation is the ultimate test of the truth of a proposition.")

However paradoxical Nietzsche's view may seem, we shall find that it is actually substantiated by experience; for the activity of our senses certainly convinces us more or less according to the degree to which it is provoked. Thus, if we walked for long round a completely dark room, and everything yielded, however slightly, to our touch, we should remain quite unconvinced that we were in a room at all, more particularly if—to suppose a still more impossible case—the floor yielded too. What provokes great activity in the bulbs of our fingers, then, likewise generates the sensation of truth.

From this Nietzsche proceeds to argue that what provokes the strongest sentiments in ourselves is also true to us, and, from the standpoint of thought, "that which gives thought the greatest sensation of strength" (Aph. 533).

The provocation of intense emotion, and therefore the provocation of that state in which the body is above the normal in power, thus becomes[Pg xi] the index to truth; and it is a very remarkable thing that two prominent English thinkers should, at the very end of their careers, have practically admitted this, despite the fact that all their philosophical productions had been based upon a completely different belief. I refer, of course, to Spencer and Buckle, who both upheld the view that in a system of thought the emotional factor is of the highest importance.

It follows from all this, that lies and false doctrines may quite conceivably prove to be even more preservative to species than truth itself, and although this is a view we have already encountered in the opening aphorisms of Beyond Good and Evil, in Aph, 538 this volume we find it further elucidated by Nietzsche's useful demonstration of the fact that "the easier way of thinking always triumphs over the more difficult way"; and that logic, inasmuch as it facilitated classification and orderly thought, ultimately "got to act like truths."

Before leaving Part I., with which it would be impossible to deal in full, a word or two ought to be said in regard to Nietzsche's views concerning the belief in "cause and effect." In the Genealogy of Morals (1st Essay, Aph. 13), we have already read a forecast of our author's more elaborate opinions on this question, and the aphorism in question might be read with advantage in conjunction with the discussion on the subject found in this book (Aphs. 545-555).

The whole of Nietzsche's criticism, however, resolves itself into this, that the doctrine of causality[Pg xii] begins with an unnecessary duplication of all that happens. Language, and its origin among a people uneducated in thoughts and concepts, is at the root of this scientific superstition, and Nietzsche traces its evolution from the primeval and savage desire always to find a "doer" behind every deed: to find some one who is responsible and who, being known, thus modifies the unfamiliarity of the deed which requires explaining. "The so-called instinct of causality [of which Kant speaks with so much assurance] is nothing more than the fear of the unfamiliar."

In Aph. 585 (A), we have a very coherent and therefore valuable exposition of much that may still seem obscure in Nietzsche's standpoint, and we might almost regard this aphorism as the key to the epistemology of the Will to Power. When we find the "will to truth" defined merely as "the longing for a stable world," we are in possession of the very leitmotiv of Nietzsche's thought throughout Part I., and most of what follows is clearly but an elaboration of this thought.

In Part II. Nietzsche reveals himself as utterly opposed to all mechanistic and materialistic interpretations of the Universe. He exalts the spirit and repudiates the idea that mere pressure from without—naked environment—is to be held responsible (and often guilty!) for all that materialistic science would lay at its door. Darwin again comes in for a good deal of sharp criticism; and, to those who are familiar with the nature of Nietzsche's disagreement with this naturalist, such aphorisms as Nos. 643, 647, 649, 651, 684, 685,[Pg xiii] will be of special interest. There is one question of great moment, which all Nietzsche's perfectly sincere and profoundly serious deprecation of the Darwinian standpoint ought to bring home to all Englishmen who have perhaps too eagerly endorsed the conclusions of their own British school of organic evolution, and that is, to what extent were Malthus, and afterwards his disciple Darwin, perhaps influenced in their analysis of nature by preconceived notions drawn from the state of high pressure which prevailed in the thickly-populated and industrial country in which they both lived?

It is difficult to defend Darwin from the fundamental attack which Nietzsche directs at the very root of his teaching, and which turns upon the question of the motive of all Life's struggle. To assume that the motive is always a "struggle for existence" presupposes the constant presence of two conditions—want and over-population,—an assumption which is absolutely non-proven, and it likewise lends a peculiarly ignoble and cowardly colouring to the whole of organic life, which not only remains unsubstantiated in fact, but which the struggle for power completely escapes. In Part III., which, throughout, is pretty plain sailing, Aphorism 786 contains perhaps the most important statements. Here morality is shown to be merely an instrument, but this time it is the instrument of the gregarious will to power. In the last paragraph of this aphorism Nietzsche shows himself quite antagonistic to Determinism, because of its intimate relation to, and its origin in, a mechanistic interpretation of the Universe.[Pg xiv] But we should always remember that, inasmuch as Nietzsche would distribute beliefs, just as others distribute bounties—that is to say, according to the needs of those whom he has in view, we must never take for granted that a belief which he deprecates for one class of man ought necessarily, according to him, to be denied another class.

Hard as it undoubtedly is to bear this in mind, we should remember that his appeal is almost without interruption made to higher men, and that doctrines and creeds which he condemns for them he would necessarily exalt in the case of people who were differently situated and otherwise constituted. Christianity is a case in point (see Will to Power, vol. i. Aph. 132).

We now come to Part IV., which is possibly the most important part of all, seeing that it treats of those questions which may be regarded as Nietzsche's most constant concern from the time when he wrote his first book.

The world as we now see and know it, with all that it contains which is beautiful, indifferent, or ugly, from a human standpoint, is, according to Nietzsche, the creation of our own valuing minds. Perhaps only a few people have had a hand in shaping this world of values. Maybe their number could be counted on the fingers of two hands; but still, what Nietzsche insists upon is, that it is human in its origin. Our whole outlook, everything that gives us joy or pain, must at one time or other have been valued for us, and in persisting in these valuations we, as the acclimatised herd, are indebted to our artists, to our higher men, to all those in[Pg xv] history, who at some time or other have dared to stand up and to declare emphatically that this was ugly and that that was beautiful, and to fight, and if necessary to die, for their opinion.

Religion, morality, and philosophy, while they all aim at so-called universal Truth, tend to depreciate the value of life in the eyes of exceptional men. Though they establish the "beautiful" for the general stock, and in that way enhance the value of life for that stock, they contradict higher men's values, and, by so doing, destroy their innocent faith in the world. For the problem here is not, what value is true?—but, what value is most conducive to the highest form of human life on earth?

Nietzsche would fain throw all the burden of valuing upon the Dionysian artist him who speaks about this world out of the love and plenitude of power that is in his own breast, him who, from the very health that is within him, cannot look out upon life without transfiguring it, hallowing it, blessing it, and making it appear better, bigger, and more beautiful. And, in this view, Nietzsche is quite consistent; for, if we must accept his conclusion that our values are determined for us by our higher men, then it becomes of the highest importance that these valuers should be so constituted that their values may be a boon and not a bane to the rest of humanity.

Alas! only too often, and especially in the nineteenth century, have men who lacked this Dionysian spirit stood up and valued the world; and it is against these that Nietzsche protests. It[Pg xvi] is the bad air they have spread which he would fain dispel.

An to what art means to the artist himself, apart from its actual effect on the world, Nietzsche would say that it is a manner of discharging his will to power. The artist tries to stamp his opinion of what is desirable, and of what is beautiful or ugly, upon his contemporaries and the future; it is in this valuing that his impulse to prevail finds its highest expression. Hence the instinctive economy of artists in sex matters—that is to say, in precisely that quarter whither other men go when their impulse to prevail urges them to action. Nietzsche did not of course deny the sensual nature of artists (Aph. 815); all he wished to make plain was this, that an artist who was not moderate, in eroticis, while engaged upon his task, was open to the strongest suspicion.

In the Fourth Book Nietzsche is really at his very best. Here, while discussing questions such as "The Order of Rank," he is so thoroughly in his exclusive sphere, that practically every line, even if it were isolated and taken bodily from the context, would bear the unmistakable character of its author. The thought expressed in Aphorism 871 reveals a standpoint as new as it is necessary. So used have we become to the practice of writing and legislating for a mass, that we have forgotten the rule that prevails even in our own navy—that the speed of a fleet is measured by its slowest vessel.

On the same principle, seeing that all our philosophies and moralities have hitherto been directed[Pg xvii] at a mass and at a mob, we find that their elevation must of necessity be decided by the lowest of mankind. Thus all passions are banned, because base men do not know how to enlist them in their service. Men who are masters of themselves and of others, men who understand the management and privilege of passion, become the most despised of creatures in such systems of thought, because they are confounded with the vicious and licentious; and the speed of mankind's elevation thus gets to be determined by humanity's slowest vessels.

Aphorisms 881, 882, 886 fully elucidate the above considerations, while in 912, 916, 943, and 951 we have plans of a constructive teaching which the remainder of Part I. elaborates.

And now, following Nietzsche carefully through Part II. (Dionysus), what is the inevitable conclusion of all we have read? This analysis of the world's collective values and their ascription to a certain "will to power" may now seem to many but an exhaustive attempt at a new system of nomenclature, and little else. As a matter or fact it is very much more than this. By mean? of it Nietzsche wishes to show mankind how much has lain, and how much still lies, in man's power By laying his finger on everything and declaring to man that it was human will that created it. Nietzsche wished to give man the courage of this will, and a clean conscience in exercising it. For it was precisely this very will to power which had been most hated and most maligned by everybody up to Nietzsche's time.

[Pg xviii]

Long enough, prompted by the fear of attributing any one of his happiest thoughts to this hated fundamental will, had man ascribed all his valuations and all his most sublime inspirations to something outside himself,—whether this something were a God, a principle, or the concept Truth. But Nietzsche's desire was to show man how human, all too human, have been the values that have appeared heretofore; he wished to prove, that to the rare sculptors of values, the world, despite its past, is still an open field of yielding clay, and in pointing to what the will to power has done until now, Nietzsche suggests to these coming sculptors what might still be done, provided they fear nothing, and have that innocence and that profound faith in the fundamental will which others hitherto have had in God, Natural Laws, Truth, and other euphemistic fictions.

The doctrine of Eternal Recurrence, to which Nietzsche attached so much importance that it may be regarded almost as the inspiration which led to his great work, Thus Spake Zarathustra, ought to be understood in the light of a purely disciplinary and chastening creed. In one of his posthumous works we find Nietzsche saying: "The question which thou shalt have to answer before every deed that thou doest;—is this such a deed as I am prepared to perform an incalculable number of times,—is the best ballast." Thus it is obvious that, feeling the need of something in his teaching which would replace the metaphysics of former beliefs, he applied the doctrine of Eternal Recurrence to this end. Seeing, however,[Pg xix] that even among Nietzscheans themselves there is considerable doubt concerning the actual value of the doctrine as a ruling belief, it does not seem necessary to enter here into the scientific justification which he claims for it. Suffice it to say that, as knowledge stands at present, the statement that the world will recur eternally in small things as in great, is still a somewhat daring conjecture—a conjecture, however, which would have been entirely warrantable if its disciplinary value had been commensurate with its daring.


[Pg xx]
[Pg xxi]



[Pg 2]
[Pg 3]



(a) The Method of Investigation.


The distinguishing feature of our nineteenth century is not the triumph of science, but the triumph of the scientific method over science.


The history of scientific methods was regarded by Auguste Comte almost as philosophy itself.


The great Methodologists: Aristotle, Bacon, Descartes, Auguste Comte.


The most valuable knowledge is always discovered last: but the most valuable knowledge consists of methods.

[Pg 4]

All methods, all the hypotheses on which the science of our day depends, were treated with the profoundest contempt for centuries: on their account a man used to be banished from the society of respectable people—he was held to be an "enemy of God," a reviler of the highest ideal, a madman.

We had the whole pathos of mankind against us,—our notion of what "truth" ought to be, of what the service of truth ought to be, our objectivity, our method, our calm, cautious and distrustful manner were altogether despicable.... At bottom, that which has kept men back most, is an æsthetic taste: they believed in the picturesque effect of truth; what they demanded of the scientist was, that he should make a strong appeal to their imagination.

From the above, it would almost seem as if the very reverse had been achieved, as if a sudden jump had been made: as a matter of fact, the schooling which the moral hyperboles afforded, gradually prepared the way for that milder form of pathos which at last became incarnate in the scientific man....

Conscientiousness in small things, the self-control of the religious man, was a preparatory school for the scientific character, as was also, in a very pre-eminent sense, the attitude of mind which makes a man take problems seriously, irrespective of what personal advantage he may derive from them....

[Pg 5]

(b) The Starting-point of Epistemology.>


Profound disinclination to halt once and for all at any collective view of the world. The charm of the opposite point of view: the refusal to relinquish the stimulus residing in the enigmatical.


The hypothesis that, at bottom, things proceed in such a moral fashion that human reason must be right, is a mere piece of good-natured and simple-minded trustfulness, the result of the belief in Divine truthfulness—God regarded as the Creator of all things.—These concepts are our inheritance from a former existence in a Beyond.


The contradiction of the so-called "facts of consciousness." Observation a thousand times more difficult, error is perhaps the absolute condition of observation.


The intellect cannot criticise itself, simply because it can be compared with no other kind of intellect, and also because its ability to know would only reveal itself in the presence of "actual reality"; that is to say, because, in order to criticise the intellect, we should have to be higher[Pg 6] creatures with "absolute knowledge." This would presuppose the existence of something, a "thing-in-itself," apart from all the perspective kinds of observation and senso-spiritual perception. But the psychological origin of the belief in things, forbids our speaking of "things in themselves."


The idea that a sort of adequate relation exists between subject and object, that the object is something which when seen from inside would be a subject, is a well-meant invention which, I believe, has seen its best days. The measure of that which we are conscious of, is perforce entirely dependent upon the coarse utility of the function of consciousness: how could this little garret-prospect of consciousness warrant our asserting anything in regard to "subject" and "object," which would bear any relation to reality!


Criticism of modern philosophy: erroneous starting-point, as if there were such things as "facts of consciousness"—and no phenomenalism in introspection.


"Consciousness"—to what extent is the idea which is thought of, the idea of will, or the idea of a feeling (which is known by us alone), quite superficial? Our inner world is also "appearance."

[Pg 7]


I am convinced of the phenomenalism of the inner world also: everything that reaches our consciousness is utterly and completely adjusted, simplified, schematised, interpreted, the actual process of inner "perception," the relation of causes between thoughts, feelings, desires, between subject and object, is absolutely concealed from us, and may be purely imaginary. This "inner world of appearance" is treated with precisely the same forms and procedures as the "outer" world. We never come across a single "fact": pleasure and pain are more recently evolved intellectual phenomena....

Causality evades us; to assume the existence of an immediate causal relation between thoughts, as Logic does, is the result of the coarsest and most clumsy observation. There are all sorts of passions that may intervene between two thoughts: but the interaction is too rapid—that is why we fail to recognise them, that is why we actually deny their existence....

"Thinking," as the epistemologists understand \r it, never takes place at all: it is an absolutely gratuitous fabrication, arrived at by selecting one element from the process and by eliminating all the rest—an artificial adjustment for the purpose of the understanding....

The "mind," something that thinks: at times, even, "the mind absolute and pure"—this concept is an evolved and second result of false introspection, which believes in "thinking": in the first[Pg 8] place an act is imagined here which does not really occur at all, i.e. "thinking"; and, secondly, a subject-substratum is imagined in which every process of this thinking has its origin, and nothing else—that is to say, both the action and the agent are fanciful.


Phenomenalism must not be sought in the wrong quarter: nothing is more phenomenal, or, to be more precise, nothing is so much deception, as this inner world, which we observe with the "inner sense."

Our belief that the will is a cause was so great, that, according to our personal experiences in general, we projected a cause into all phenomena (i.e. a certain motive is posited as the cause of all phenomena).

We believe that the thoughts which follow one upon the other in our minds are linked by some sort of causal relation: the logician, more especially, who actually speaks of a host of facts which have never once been seen in reality, has grown accustomed to the prejudice that thoughts are the cause of thoughts.

We believe—and even our philosophers believe it still—that pleasure and pain are the causes of reactions, that the very purpose of pleasure and pain is to occasion reactions. For hundreds of years, pleasure and pain have been represented as the motives for every action. Upon reflection, however, we are bound to concede that everything would have proceeded in exactly the same way, according to precisely the same sequence of cause[Pg 9] and effect, if the states "pleasure" and "pain" had been entirely absent; and that we are simply deceived when we believe that they actually cause anything:—they are the attendant phenomena, and they have quite a different purpose from that of provoking reactions; they are in themselves effects involved in the process of reaction which takes place.

In short: Everything that becomes conscious is a final phenomenon, a conclusion—and is the cause of nothing; all succession of phenomena in consciousness is absolutely atomistic.—And we tried to understand the universe from the opposite point of view—as if nothing were effective or real, save thinking, feeling, willing! ...


The phenomenalism of the "inner world!" A chronological inversion takes place, so that the cause reaches consciousness as the effect.—We know that pain is projected into a certain part of the body although it is not really situated there; we have learnt that all sensations which were ingenuously supposed to be conditioned by the outer world are, as a matter of fact, conditioned by the inner world: that the real action of the outer world never takes place in a way of which we can become conscious.... That fragment of the outer world of which we become conscious, is born after the effect produced by the outer world has been recorded, and is subsequently interpreted as the "cause" of that effect....

[Pg 10]

In the phenomenalism of the "inner world," the chronological order of cause and effect is inverted. The fundamental fact of "inner experience" is, that the cause is imagined after the effect has been recorded.... The same holds good of the sequence of thoughts: we seek for the reason of a thought, before it has reached our consciousness; and then the reason reaches consciousness first, whereupon follows its effect. All our dreams are the interpretation of our collective feelings with the view of discovering the possible causes of the latter; and the process is such that a condition only becomes conscious, when the supposed causal link has reached consciousness.[1]

The whole of "inner experience" is founded on this: that a cause is sought and imagined which accounts for a certain irritation in our nerve-centres, and that it is only the cause which is found in this way which reaches consciousness; this cause may have absolutely nothing to do with the real cause—it is a sort of groping assisted by former "inner experiences," that is to say, by memory. The memory, however, retains the habit of old interpretations,—that is to say, of erroneous causality,—so that "inner experience" comprises in itself all the results of former erroneous fabrications of causes. Our "outside world," as we conceive it every instant, is indissolubly bound up with the[Pg 11] old error of cause: we interpret by means of the schematism of "the thing," etc.

"Inner experience" only enters consciousness when it has found a language which the individual can understand—that is to say, a translation of a certain condition into conditions with which he is familiar; "understand" means simply this: to be able to express something new in the terms of something old or familiar. For instance, "I feel unwell"—a judgment of this sort presupposes a very great and recent neutrality on the part of the observer: the simple man always says, "This and that make me feel unwell,"—he begins to be clear concerning his indisposition only after he has discovered a reason for it.... This is what I call a lack of philological knowledge; to be able to read a text, as such, without reading an interpretation into it, is the latest form of "inner experience,"—it is perhaps a barely possible form....

[1] When in our dream we hear a bell ringing, or a tapping at our door, we scarcely ever wake before having already accounted for the sound, in the terms of the dream-world we were in.—TR.


There are no such things as "mind," reason, thought, consciousness, soul, will, or truth: they all belong to fiction, and can serve no purpose. It is not a question of "subject and object," but of a particular species of animal which can prosper only by means of a certain exactness, or, better still, regularity in recording its perceptions (in order that experience may be capitalised)....

Knowledge works as an instrument of power. It is therefore obvious that it increases with each advance of power....

[Pg 12]

The purpose of knowledge: in this case, as in the case of "good" or "beautiful," the concept must be regarded strictly and narrowly from an anthropocentric and biological standpoint. In order that a particular species may maintain and increase its power, its conception of reality must contain enough which is calculable and constant to allow of its formulating a scheme of conduct. The utility of preservation—and not some abstract or theoretical need to eschew deception—stands as the motive force behind the development of the organs of knowledge; ... they evolve in such a way that their observations may suffice for our preservation. In other words, the measure of the desire for knowledge depends upon the extent to which the Will to Power grows in a certain species: a species gets a grasp of a given amount of reality, in order to master it, in order to enlist that amount in its service.

(c) The Belief in the "Ego." Subject.


In opposition to Positivism, which halts at phenomena and says, "These are only facts and nothing more," I would say: No, facts are precisely what is lacking, all that exists consists of interpretations. We cannot establish any fact "in itself": it may even be nonsense to desire to do such a thing. "Everything is subjective," ye say: but that in itself is interpretation. The subject is nothing given, but something superimposed by fancy, something[Pg 13] introduced behind.—Is it necessary to set an interpreter behind the interpretation already to hand? Even that would be fantasy, hypothesis.

To the extent to which knowledge has any sense at all, the world is knowable: but it may be interpreted differently, it has not one sense behind it, but hundreds of senses.—"Perspectivity."

It is our needs that interpret the world; our instincts and their impulses for and against. Every instinct is a sort of thirst for power; each has its point of view, which it would fain impose upon all the other instincts as their norm.


Where our ignorance really begins, at that point from which we can see no further, we set a word; for instance, the word "I," the word "do," the word "suffer"—these concepts may be the horizon lines of our knowledge, but they are not "truths."


Owing to the phenomenon "thought," the ego is taken for granted; but up to the present everybody believed, like the people, that there was something unconditionally certain in the notion "I think," and that by analogy with our understanding of all other causal reactions this "I" was the given cause of the thinking. However customary and indispensable this fiction may have become now, this fact proves nothing against the imaginary[Pg 14] nature of its origin; it might be a life-preserving belief and still be false.


"Something is thought, therefore there is something that thinks": this is what Descartes' argument amounts to. But this is tantamount to considering our belief in the notion "substance" as an "a priori" truth:—that there must be something "that thinks" when we think, is merely a formulation of a grammatical custom which sets an agent to every action. In short, a metaphysico-logical postulate is already put forward here—and it is not merely an ascertainment of fact.... On Descartes' lines nothing absolutely certain is attained, but only the fact of a very powerful faith.

If the proposition be reduced to "Something is thought, therefore there are thoughts," the result is mere tautology; and precisely the one factor which is in question, the "reality of thought," is not touched upon,—so that, in this form, the apparitional character of thought cannot be denied. What Descartes wanted to prove was, that thought not only had apparent reality, but absolute reality.


The concept substance is an outcome of the concept subject, and not conversely! If we surrender the concept soul, the subject, the very conditions for the concept "substance" are lacking. Degrees of Being are obtained, but Being is lost.

[Pg 15]

Criticism of "reality": what does a "plus or minus of reality" lead to, the gradation of Being in which we believe?

The degree of our feeling of life and power (the logic and relationship of past life) presents us with the measure of "Being," "reality," "non-appearance."

Subject i this is the term we apply to our belief in an entity underlying all the different moments of the most intense sensations of reality; we regard this belief as the effect of a cause,—and we believe in our belief to such an extent that, on its account alone, we imagine "truth," "reality," "substantiality."—a "Subject" is the fiction which would fain make us believe that several similar states were the effect of one substratum: but we it was who first created the "similarity" of these states; the similising and adjusting of them is the fact—not their similarity (on the contrary, this ought rather to be denied).


One would have to know what Being is, in order to be able to decide whether this or that is real (for instance, "the facts of consciousness"); it would also be necessary to know what certainty and knowledge are, and so forth.—But, as we do not know these things, a criticism of the faculty of knowledge is nonsensical: how is it possible for an instrument to criticise itself, when it is itself that exercises the critical faculty. It cannot even define itself!

[Pg 16]


Should not all philosophy ultimately disclose the first principles on which the reasoning processes depend?—that is to say, our belief in the "ego" as a substance, as the only reality according to which, alone, we are able to ascribe reality to things? The oldest realism at length comes to light, simultaneously with man's recognition of the fact that his whole religious history is no more than a history of soul-superstitions. Here there is a barrier; our very thinking, itself, involves that belief (with its distinctions—substance, accident, action, agent, etc.); to abandon it would mean to cease from being able to think.

But that a belief, however useful it may be for the preservation of a species, has nothing to do with the truth, may be seen from the fact that we must believe in time, space, and motion, without feeling ourselves compelled to regard them as absolute realities.


The psychological origin of our belief in reason.—The ideas "reality," "Being," are derived from our subject-feeling.

"Subject," interpreted through ourselves so that the ego may stand as substance, as the cause of action, as the agent.

The metaphysico-logical postulates, the belief in substance, accident, attribute, etc. etc., draws its convincing character from our habit of regarding all our actions as the result of our will: so that[Pg 17] the ego, as substance, does not vanish in the multiplicity of changes.—But there is no such thing as will. We have no categories which allow us to separate a "world as thing-in-itself," from "a world of appearance." All our categories of reason have a sensual origin: they are deductions from the empirical world. "The soul," "the ego"—the history of these concepts shows that here, also, the oldest distinction ("spiritus," "life") obtains....

If there is nothing material, then there can be nothing immaterial. The concept no longer means anything.

No subject-"atoms." The sphere of a subject increasing or diminishing unremittingly, the centre of the system continually displacing itself, in the event of the system no longer being able to organise the appropriated mass, it divides into two. On the other hand, it is able, without destroying it, to transform a weaker subject into one of its own functionaries, and, to a certain extent, to compose a new entity with it. Not a "substance," but rather something which in itself strives after greater strength; and which wishes to "preserve" itself only indirectly (it wishes to surpass itself).


Everything that reaches consciousness as an entity is already enormously complicated: we never have anything more than the semblance of an entity.

The phenomenon of the body is the richer, more[Pg 18] distinct, and more tangible phenomenon: it should be methodically drawn to the front, and no mention should be made of its ultimate significance.


The assumption of a single subject is perhaps not necessary, it may be equally permissible to assume a plurality of subjects, whose interaction and struggle lie at the bottom of our thought and our consciousness in general. A sort of aristocracy of "cells" in which the ruling power is vested? Of course an aristocracy of equals, who are accustomed to ruling co-operatively, and understand how to command?

My hypotheses. The subject as a plurality. Pain intellectual and dependent upon the judgment harmful, projected. The effect always "unconscious": the inferred and imagined cause is projected, it follows the event. Pleasure is a form of pain. The only kind of power that exists is of the same nature as the power of will: a commanding of other subjects which thereupon alter themselves. The unremitting transientness and volatility of the subject. "Mortal soul." Number as perspective form.


The belief in the body is more fundamental than the belief in the soul: the latter arose from[Pg 19] the unscientific observation of the agonies of the body. (Something which leaves it. The belief in the truth of dreams)


The body and physiology the starting-point: why?—We obtain a correct image of the nature of our subject-entity, that is to say, as a number of regents at the head of a community (not as "souls" or as "life-forces") as also of the dependence of these regents upon their subjects, and upon the conditions of a hierarchy, and of the division of labour, as the means ensuring the existence of the part and the whole. We also obtain a correct image of the way in which the living entities continually come into being and expire, and we see how eternity cannot belong to the "subject"; we realise that the struggle finds expression in obeying as well as in commanding, and that a fluctuating definition of the limits of power is a factor of life. The comparative ignorance in which the ruler is kept, of the individual performances and even disturbances taking place in the community, also belong to the conditions under which government may be carried on. In short, we obtain a valuation even of want-of-knowledge, of seeing-things-generally-as-a-whole, of simplification, of falsification, and of perspective. What is most important, however, is, that we regard the ruler and his subjects as of the same kind, all feeling, willing, thinking—and that wherever we see or suspect movement in a body, we conclude that there is[Pg 20] co-operative-subjective and invisible life. Movement as a symbol for the eye; it denotes that something has been felt, willed, thought.

The danger of directly questioning the subject concerning the subject, and all spiritual self-reflection, consists in this, that it might be a necessary condition of its activity to interpret itself erroneously. That is why we appeal to the body and lay the evidence of sharpened senses aside: or we try and see whether the subjects themselves cannot enter into communication with us.

(d) Biology of the Instinct of Knowledge. Perspectivity.


Truth is that kind of error without which a certain species of living being cannot exist. The value for Life is ultimately decisive.


It is unlikely that our "knowledge" extends farther than is exactly necessary for our self-preservation. Morphology shows us how the senses and the nerves as well as the brain evolve in proportion as the difficulties of acquiring sustenance increase.


If the morality of "Thou shalt not lie" be refuted, the sense for truth will then have to justify[Pg 21] itself before another tribunal—as a means to the preservation of man, as Will to Power.

Likewise our love of the beautiful: it is also the creative will. Both senses stand side by side; the sense of truth is the means wherewith the power is appropriated to adjust things according to one's taste. The love of adjusting and reforming—a primeval love! We can only take cognisance of a world which we ourselves have made.


Concerning the multifariousness of knowledge. The tracing of its relation to many other things (or the relation of kind)—how should "knowledge" be of another? The way to know and to investigate is in itself among the conditions of life; that is why the conclusion that there could be no other kind of intellect (for ourselves) than the kind which serves the purpose of our preservation is an excessively hasty one: this actual condition may be only an accidental, not in the least an essential; one.

Our apparatus for acquiring knowledge is not adjusted for knowledge.


The most strongly credited a priori "truths" are, to my mind, mere assumptions pending further investigation; for instance, the law of causation is[Pg 22] a belief so thoroughly acquired by practice and so completely assimilated, that to disbelieve in it would mean the ruin of our kind. But is it therefore true? What an extraordinary conclusion! As if truth were proved by the mere fact that man survives!


To what extent is our intellect also a result of the conditions of life?—We should not have it did we not need to have it, and we should not have it as we have it, if we did not need it as we need it—that is to say, if we could live otherwise.


Thinking in a primitive (inorganic) state is to persevere in forms, as in the case of the crystal.—In our thought, the essential factor is the harmonising of the new material with the old schemes (= Procrustes' bed), the assimilation of the unfamiliar.


The perception of the senses projected outwards: "inwards" and "outwards"—does the body command here?

The same equalising and ordering power which rules in the idioplasma, also rules in the incorporation of the outer world: our sensual perceptions are already the result of this process of adaptation[Pg 23] and harmonisation in regard to all the past in us; they do not follow directly upon the "impression."


All thought, judgment, perception, regarded as an act of comparing[2] has as a first condition the act of equalising, and earlier still the act of "making equal." The process of making equal is the same as the assimilation by the amœba of the nutritive matter it appropriates.

"Memory" late, in so far as the equalising instinct appears to have been subdued: the difference is preserved. Memory—a process of classification and collocation; active—who?

[2] The German word vergleichen, meaning "to compare," contains the root "equal" (gleich) which cannot be rendered in English. TR.


In regard to the memory, we must unlearn a great deal: here we meet with the greatest temptation to assume the existence of a "soul," which, irrespective of time, reproduces and recognises again and again, etc. What I have experienced, however, continues to live "in the memory"; I have nothing to do with it when memory "comes," my will is inactive in regard to it, as in the case of the coming and going of a thought. Something happens, of which I become conscious: now something similar comes—who has called it forth? Who has awakened it?

[Pg 24]


The whole apparatus of knowledge is an abstracting and simplifying apparatus—not directed at knowledge, but at the appropriation of things: "end" and "means" are as remote from the essence of this apparatus as "concepts" are. By the "end" and the "means" a process is appropriated (—a process is invented which may be grasped), but by "concepts" one appropriates the "things" which constitute the process.


Consciousness begins outwardly as co-ordination and knowledge of impressions,—at first it is at the point which is remotest from the biological centre of the individual; but it is a process which deepens and which tends to become more and more an inner function, continually approaching nearer to the centre.


Our perceptions, as we understand them—that is to say, the sum of all those perceptions the consciousness whereof was useful and essential to us and to the whole organic processes which preceded us: therefore they do not include all perceptions (for instance, not the electrical ones);—that is to say, we have senses only for a definite selection of perceptions—such perceptions as concern us with a view to our self-preservation. Consciousness extends so far only as it is useful. There can be no doubt that all our sense-perceptions are entirely permeated[Pg 25] by valuations (useful or harmful—consequently, pleasant or painful). Every particular colour; besides being a colour, expresses a value to us (although we seldom admit it, or do so only after it has affected us exclusively for a long time, as in the case of convicts in gaol or lunatics). Insects likewise react in different ways to different colours: some like this shade, the others that. Ants are a case in point.


In the beginning images how images originate in the mind must be explained. Then words, applied to images. Finally concepts, possible only when there are words—the assembling of several pictures into a whole which is not for the eye but for the ear (word). The small amount of emotion which the "word" generates,—that is, then, which the view of the similar pictures generates, for which one word is used,—this simple emotion is the common factor, the basis of a concept. That weak feelings should all be regarded as alike, as the same, is the fundamental fact. There is therefore a confusion of two very intimately associated feelings in the ascertainment of these feelings;—but who is it that ascertains? Faith is the very first step in every sensual impression: a sort of yea-saying is the first intellectual activity! A "holding-a-thing-to-be-true" is the beginning. It were our business, therefore, to explain how the "holding-of-a-thing-to-be-true" arose! What sensation lies beneath the comment "true"?

[Pg 26]


The valuation, "I believe that this and that is so," is the essence of "truth." In all valuations, the conditions of preservation and of growth find expression. All our organs and senses of knowledge have been developed only in view of the conditions of preservation and growth. The trust in reason and its categories, the trust in dialectics, and also the valuation of logic, prove only that experience has taught the usefulness of these things to life: not their "truth." The prerequisites of all living things and of their lives is: that there should be a large amount of faith, that it should be possible to pass definite judgments on things, and that there should be no doubt at all concerning all essential values. Thus it is necessary that something should be assumed to be true, not that it is true.

"The real world and the world of appearance"— I trace this contrast to the relation of values. We have posited our conditions of existence as the attributes of being in general. Owing to the fact that, in order to prosper, we must be stable in our belief, we developed the idea that the real world was neither a changing nor an evolving one, but a world of being.

(e) The Origin of Reason and Logic.


Originally there was chaos among our ideas. Those ideas which were able to stand side by side[Pg 27] remained over, the greater number perished—and are still perishing.


The kingdom of desires out of which logic grew: the gregarious instinct in the background. The assumption of similar facts is the first condition for "similar souls." For the purpose of mutual understanding and government.


Concerning the origin of logic. The fundamental proneness to equalise things and to see them equal, gets to be modified, and kept within bounds, by the consideration of what is useful or harmful—in fact, by considerations of success: it then becomes adapted in suchwise as to be gratified in a milder way, without at the same time denying life or endangering it. This whole process corresponds entirely with that external and mechanical process (which is its symbol) by which the protoplasm continually assimilates, makes equal to itself, what it appropriates, and arranges it according to its own forms and requirements.


Likeness and Similarity.

1. The coarser the organ the more apparent likenesses it sees;

2. The mind will have likeness—that is to say, the identification of one sensual impression with others already experienced: just as the body assimilates inorganic matter.

[Pg 28]

For the understanding of Logic:—

The will which tends to see likeness everywhere is the will to power—the belief that something is so and so (the essence of a judgment), is the result of a will which would fain have it as similar as possible.


Logic is bound up with the proviso: granted that identical cases exist. As a matter of fact, before one can think and conclude in a logical fashion, this condition must first be assumed. That is to say, the will to logical truth cannot be consummated before a fundamental falsification of all phenomena has been assumed. From which it follows that an instinct rules here, which is capable of employing both means: first, falsification; and secondly, the carrying out of its own point of view: logic does not spring from a will to truth.


The inventive force which devised the categories, worked in the service of our need of security, of quick intelligibility, in the form of signs, sounds, and abbreviations.—"Substance," "subject," "object," "Being," "Becoming," are not matters of metaphysical truth. It was the powerful who made the names of things into law, and, among the powerful, it was the greatest artists in abstraction who created the categories.


A moral—that is to say, a method of living which long experience and experiment have tested and[Pg 29] proved efficient, at last enters consciousness as a law, as dominant.... And then the whole group of related values and conditions become part of it: it becomes venerable, unassailable, holy, true; a necessary part of its evolution is that its origin should be forgotten.... That is a sign that it has become master. Exactly the same thing might have happened with the categories of reason: the latter, after much groping and many trials, might have proved true through relative usefulness.... A stage was reached when they were grasped as a whole, and when they appealed to consciousness as a whole,—when belief in them was commanded,—that is to say, when they acted as if they commanded.... From that time forward they passed as a priori, as beyond experience, as irrefutable. And, possibly, they may have been the expression of no more than a certain practicality answering the ends of a race and a species,—their usefulness alone is their "truth."


The object is, not "to know," but to schematise,—to impose as much regularity and form upon chaos, as our practical needs require. In the formation of reason, logic, and the categories, it was a need in us that was the determining power: not the need "to know," but to classify, to schematise, for the purpose of intelligibility and calculation. (The adjustment and interpretation of all similar and equal things,—the same process, which every sensual impression[Pg 30] undergoes, is the development of reason!) No pre-existing "idea" had anything to do with it: but utility, which teaches us that things can be reckoned with and managed, only when we view them roughly as equal.... Finality in reason is an effect, not a cause: Life degenerates with every other form of reason, although constant attempts are being made to attain to those other forms of reason;—for Life would then become too obscure, too unequal.

The categories are "truths" only in the sense that they are the conditions of our existence, just as Euclid's Space is a conditional "truth." (Between ourselves, as no one will maintain that men are absolutely necessary, reason, as well as Euclid's Space, are seen to be but an idiosyncrasy of one particular species of animals, one idiosyncrasy alone among many others....)

The subjective constraint which prevents one from contradicting here, is a biological constraint: the instinct which makes us see the utility of concluding as we do conclude, is in our blood, we are almost this instinct.... But what simplicity it is to attempt to derive from this fact that we possess an absolute truth! ... The inability to contradict anything is a proof of impotence but not of "truth."


We are not able to affirm and to deny one and the same thing: that is a principle of subjective experience—which is not in the least "necessary," but only a sign of inability.

[Pg 31]

If, according to Aristotle, the principium contradictionis is the most certain of all principles; if it is the most ultimate of all, and the basis of every demonstration; if the principle of every other axiom lie within it: then one should analyse it all the more severely, in order to discover how many assumptions already lie at its root. It either assumes something concerning reality and Being, as if these had become known in some other sphere—that is to say, as if it were impossible to ascribe the opposite attributes to it; or the proposition means: that the opposites should not be ascribed to it. In that case, logic would be an imperative, not directed at the knowledge of truth, but at the adjusting and fixing of a world which must seem true to us.

In short, the question is a debatable one: are the axioms of logic adequate to reality, or are they measures and means by which alone we can, create realities, or the concept "reality"?... In order to affirm the first alternative, however, one would, as we have seen, require a previous knowledge of Being; which is certainly not the case. The proposition therefore contains no criterion of truth, but an imperative concerning that which should pass as true.

Supposing there were no such thing as A identical with itself, as every logical (and mathematical) proposition presupposes, and that A is in itself an appearance, then logic would have a mere world of appearance as its first condition. As a matter of fact, we believe in that proposition, under the influence of an endless[Pg 32] empiricism which seems to confirm it every minute. The "thing"—that is the real substratum of A; our belief in things is the first condition of our faith in logic. The A in logic is, like the atom, a reconstruction of the thing.... By not understanding this, and by making logic into a criterion of real being, we are already on the road to the classification of all those hypostases, substance, attribute, object, subject, action, etc., as realities—that is to say, the conception of a metaphysical world or a "real world" (—this is, however, once more the world of appearance...).

The primitive acts of thought, affirmation, and negation, the holding of a thing for true, and the holding of a thing for not true,—in so far as they do not only presuppose a mere habit, but the very right to postulate truth or untruth at all,—are already dominated by a belief, that there is such a thing as knowledge for us, and that judgments can really hit the truth: in short, logic never doubts that it is able to pronounce something concerning truth in itself (—that is to say, that to the thing which is in itself true, no opposite attributes can be ascribed).

In this belief there reigns the sensual and coarse prejudice that our sensations teach us truths concerning things,—that I cannot at the same moment of time say of one and the same thing that it is hard and soft. (The instinctive proof, "I cannot have two opposite sensations at once," is quite coarse and false.)

That all contradiction in concepts should be[Pg 33] forbidden, is the result of a belief, that we are able to form concepts, that a concept not only characterises but also holds the essence of a thing.... As a matter of fact, logic (like geometry and arithmetic) only holds good of assumed existences which we have created. Logic is the attempt on our part to understand the actual world according to a scheme of Being devised by ourselves; or, more exactly, it is our attempt at making the actual world more calculable and more susceptible to formulation, for our own purposes....


In order to be able to think and to draw conclusions, it is necessary to acknowledge that which exists: logic only deals with formulæ for things which are constant. That is why this acknowledgment would not in the least prove reality: "that which is" is part of our optics. The ego regarded as Being (not affected by either Becoming or evolution).

The assumed world of subject, substance, reason, etc., is necessary, an adjusting, simplifying falsifying, artificially-separating power resides in us. "Truth" is the will to be master over the manifold sensations that reach consciousness; it is the will to classify phenomena according to definite categories. In this way we start out with a belief in the "true nature" of things (we regard phenomena as real).

The character of the world in the process of Becoming is not susceptible of formulation; it is "false" and "contradicts itself." Knowledge and[Pg 34] the process of evolution exclude each other. Consequently, knowledge must be something else: it must be preceded by a will to make things knowable, a kind of Becoming in itself must create the illusion of Being.


If our "ego" is the only form of Being, according to which we make and understand all Being: very good! In that case it were very proper to doubt whether an illusion of perspective were not active here—the apparent unity which everything assumes in our eyes on the horizon-line. Appealing to the body for our guidance, we are confronted by such appalling manifoldness, that for the sake of method it is allowable to use that phenomenon which is richer and more easily studied as a clue to the understanding of the poorer phenomenon.

Finally: admitting that all is Becoming, knowledge is only possible when based on a belief in Being.


If there is "only one form of Being, the ego," and all other forms of Being are made in its own image,—if, in short, the belief in the "ego," together with the belief in logic, stands and falls with the metaphysical truth of the categories of reason: if, in addition, the "ego" is shown to be something that is evolving: then——[Pg 35]


The continual transitions that occur, forbid our speaking of the "individual," etc.; the "number" of beings itself fluctuates. We should know nothing of time or of movement, if, in a rough way, we did not believe we saw things "standing still" behind or in front of things moving. We should also know just as little about cause and effect, and without the erroneous idea of "empty space" we should never have arrived at the concept of space at all. The principle of identity is based on the "fact of appearance" that there are some things alike. Strictly speaking, it would not be possible to "understand" and "know" an evolving world; something which is called "knowledge" exists only in so far as the "understanding" and "knowing" intellect already finds an adjusted and rough world to hand, fashioned out of a host of mere appearances, but become fixed to the extent in which this kind of appearance has helped to preserve life; only to this extent is "knowledge" possible—that is to say, as a measuring of earlier and more recent errors by one another.


Concerning logical appearance.—The concept "individual" and the concept "species" are equally false and only apparent. "Species" only expresses the fact that an abundance of similar creatures come forth at the same time, and that the speed of their further growth and of their[Pg 36] further transformation has been made almost imperceptible for a long time: so that the actual and trivial changes and increase of growth are of no account at all (—a stage of evolution in which the process of evolving is not visible, so that, not only does a state of equilibrium seem to have been reached, but the road is also made clear for the error of supposing that an actual goal has been reached—and that evolution had a goal...).

The form seems to be something enduring, and therefore valuable; but the form was invented merely by ourselves; and however often "the same form is attained," it does not signify that it is the same form,—because something new always appears; and we alone, who compare, reckon the new with the old, in so far as it resembles the latter, and embody the two in the unity of "form." As if a type had to be reached and were actually intended by the formative processes.

Form, species, law, idea, purpose—the same fault is made in respect of all these concepts, namely, that of giving a false realism to a piece of fiction: as if all phenomena were infused with some sort of obedient spirit—an artificial distinction is here made between that which acts and that which guides action (but both these things are only fixed in order to agree with our metaphysico-logical dogma: they are not "facts").

We should not interpret this constraint in ourselves, to imagine concepts, species, forms, purposes, and laws ("a world of identical cases") as if we were in a position to construct a real world; but as[Pg 37] a constraint to adjust a world by means of which our existence will be ensured: we thereby create a world which is determinable, simplified, comprehensible, etc., for us.

The very same constraint is active in the functions of the senses which support the reason—by means of simplification, coarsening, accentuation, and interpretation; whereon all "recognition," all the ability of making one's self intelligible rests. Our needs have made our senses so precise, that the "same world of appearance" always returns, and has thus acquired the semblance of reality.

Our subjective constraint to have faith in logic, is expressive only of the fact that long before logic itself became conscious in us, we did nothing save introduce its postulates into the nature of things: now we find ourselves in their presence,—we can no longer help it,—and now we would fain believe that this constraint is a guarantee of "truth." We it was who created the "thing," the "same thing," the subject, the attribute, the action, the object, the substance, and the form, after we had carried the process of equalising, coarsening, and simplifying as far as possible. The world seems logical to us, because we have already made it logical.


Fundamental solution.—We believe in reason: this is, however, the philosophy of colourless concepts. Language is built upon the most naïf prejudices.

[Pg 38]

Now we read discord and problems into things, because we are able to think only in the form of language—we also believe in the "eternal truth" of "wisdom" (for instance, subject, attribute, etc.).

We cease from thinking if we do not wish to think under the control of language; the most we can do is to attain to an attitude of doubt concerning the question whether the boundary here really is a boundary.

Rational thought is a process of interpreting according to a scheme which we cannot reject.

(f) Consciousness.


There is no greater error than that of making psychical and physical phenomena the two faces, the two manifestations of the same substance. By this means nothing is explained: the concept "substance" is utterly useless as a means of explanation. Consciousness may be regarded as secondary, almost an indifferent and superfluous thing, probably destined to disappear and to be superseded by perfect automatism—

When we observe mental phenomena we may be likened to the deaf and dumb who divine the spoken word, which they do not hear, from the movements of the speaker's lips. From the appearance of the inner mind we draw conclusions concerning invisible and other phenomena, which we could ascertain if our powers of observation were adequate for the purpose.

[Pg 39]

For this inner world we have no finer organs, and that is why a complexity which is thousandfold reaches our consciousness as a simple entity, and we invent a process of causation in it, despite the fact that we can perceive no cause either of the movement or of the change—the sequence of thoughts and feelings is nothing more than their becoming visible to consciousness. That this sequence has anything to do with a chain of causes is not worthy of belief: consciousness never communicates an example of cause and effect to us.


The part "consciousness" plays,—It is essential that one should not mistake the part that "consciousness plays" it is our relation to the outer world; it was the outer world that developed it. On the other hand, the direction—that is to say, the care and cautiousness which is concerned with the inter-relation of the bodily functions, does not enter into our consciousness any more than does the storing activity of the intellect: that there is a superior controlling force at work in these things cannot be doubted—a sort of directing committee, in which the various leading desires make their votes and their power felt. "Pleasure" and "pain" are indications which reach us from this sphere: as are also acts of will and ideas.

In short: That which becomes conscious has causal relations which are completely and absolutely concealed from our knowledge—the sequence of thoughts, feelings, and ideas, in consciousness, does[Pg 40] not signify that the order in which they come is a causal order: it is so apparently, however, in the highest degree. We have based the whole of our notion of intellect, reason, logic, etc., upon this apparent truth (all these things do not exist: they are imaginary syntheses and entities), and we then projected the latter into and behind all things!

As a rule consciousness itself is understood to be the general sensorium and highest ruling centre; albeit, it is only a means of communication: it was developed by intercourse, and with a view to the interests of intercourse.... "Intercourse" is understood, here, as "relation," and is intended to cover the action of the outer world upon us and our necessary response to it, as also our actual influence upon the outer world. It is not the conducting force, but an organ of the latter.


My principle, compressed into a formula which savours of antiquity, of Christianity, Scholasticism, and other kinds of musk: in the concept, "God is spirit," God as perfection is "denied...."


Wherever people have observed a certain unity in the grouping of things, spirit has always been regarded as the cause of this co-ordination: an assumption for which reasons are entirely lacking. Why should the idea of a complex fact be one of the conditions of that fact? Or why should[Pg 41] the notion of a complex fact have to precede it as its cause?

We must be on our guard against explaining finality by the spirit: there is absolutely no reason whatever for ascribing to spirit the peculiar power of organising and systematising. The domain of the nervous system is much more extensive: the realm of consciousness is superadded. In the collective process of adaptation and systematising, consciousness plays no part at all.


Physiologists, like philosophers, believe that consciousness increases in value in proportion as it gains in clearness: the most lucid consciousness and the most logical and impassive thought are of the first order. Meanwhile—according to what standard is this value determined?—In regard to the discharge of will-power the most superficial and most simple thought is the most useful—it might therefore, etc. etc. (because it leaves few motives over).

Precision in action is opposed to the far-sighted and often uncertain judgments of caution: the latter is led by the deeper instinct.


The chief error of psychologists: they regard the indistinct idea as of a lower kind than the distinct; but that which keeps at a distance from our consciousness and which is therefore obscure, may on[Pg 42] that very account be quite clear in itself. The fact that a thing becomes obscure is a question of the perspective of consciousness.


The great misapprehensions:—

(1) The senseless overestimation of consciousness, its elevation to the dignity of an entity: "a spirit," "a soul," something that feels, thinks, and wills;

(2) The spirit regarded as a cause, especially where finality, system, and co-ordination appear;

(3) Consciousness classed as the highest form attainable, as the most superior kind of being, as "God";

(4) Will introduced wherever effects are observed;

(5) The "real world" regarded as the spiritual world, accessible by means of the facts of consciousness;

(6) Absolute knowledge regarded as the faculty of consciousness, wherever knowledge exists at all.


Every step forward consists of a step forward in consciousness; every step backwards is a step into unconsciousness (unconsciousness was regarded as a falling-back upon the passions and senses—as a state of animalism ....)

Man approaches reality and real being through dialectics: man departs from them by means of instincts, senses, and automatism....

To convert man into a spirit, would mean to make a god of him: spirit, will, goodness—all one.

[Pg 43]

All goodness must take its root in spirituality, must be a fact of consciousness.

Every step made towards something better can be only a step forward in consciousness.

(g) Judgment. True—false.


Kant's theological bias, his unconscious dogmatism, his moral outlook, ruled, guided, and directed him.

The πρῶτον ψεῡδος: how is the fact knowledge possible? Is knowledge a fact at all? What is knowledge? If we do not know what knowledge is, we cannot possibly reply to the question, Is there such a thing as knowledge? Very fine! But if I do not already "know" whether there is, or can be, such a thing as knowledge, I cannot reasonably ask the question, "What is knowledge?" Kant believes in the fact of knowledge: what he requires is a piece of naïveté: the knowledge of knowledge!

"Knowledge is judgment." But judgment is a belief that something is this or that! And not knowledge! "All knowledge consists in synthetic judgments" which have the character of being universally true (the fact is so in all cases, and does not change), and which have the character of being necessary (the reverse of the proposition cannot be imagined to exist).

The validity of a belief in knowledge is always taken for granted; as is also the validity of the feelings which conscience dictates. Here moral ontology is the ruling bias.

[Pg 44]

The conclusion, therefore, is: (1) there are propositions which we believe to be universally true and necessary.

(2) This character of universal truth and of necessity cannot spring from experience.

(3) Consequently it must base itself upon no experience at all, but upon something else, it must be derived from another source of knowledge!

Kant concludes (1) that there are some propositions which hold good only on one condition; (2) this condition is that they do not spring from experience, but from pure reason.

Thus, the question is, whence do we derive our reasons for believing in the truth of such propositions? No, whence does our belief get its cause? But the origin of a belief, of a strong conviction, is a psychological problem: and very limited and narrow experience frequently brings about such a belief! It already presupposes that there are not only "data a posteriori" but also "data a priori"— that is to say, "previous to experience." Necessary and universal truth cannot be given by experience: it is therefore quite clear that it has come to us without experience at all?

There is no such thing as an isolated judgment!

An isolated judgment is never "true," it is never knowledge; only in connection with, and when related to, many other judgments, is a guarantee of its truth forthcoming.

What is the difference between true and false belief? What is knowledge? He "knows" it, that is heavenly! Necessary and universal truth cannot be given[Pg 45] by experience! It is therefore independent of experience, of all experience! The view which comes quite a priori, and therefore independent of all experience, merely out of reason, is "pure knowledge"!

"The principles of logic, the principle of identity and of contradiction, are examples of pure knowledge, because they precede all experience."—But these principles are not cognitions, but regulative articles of faith.

In order to establish the a priori character (the pure rationality) of mathematical axioms, space must be conceived as a form of pure reason.

Hume had declared that there were no a priori synthetic judgments. Kant says there are—the mathematical ones! And if there are such judgments, there may also be such things as metaphysics and a knowledge of things by means of pure reason!

Mathematics is possible under conditions which are not allowed to metaphysics. All human knowledge is either experience or mathematics.

A judgment is synthetic—that is to say, it co-ordinates various ideas. It is a priori—that is to say, this co-ordination is universally true and necessary, and is arrived at, not by sensual experience, but by pure reason.

If there are such things as a priori judgments, then reason must be able to co-ordinate: co-ordination is a form. Reason must possess a formative faculty.


Judging is our oldest faith; it is our habit of believing this to be true or false, of asserting or[Pg 46] denying, our certainty that something is thus and not otherwise, our belief that we really "know"—what is believed to be true in all judgments?

What are attributes?—We did not regard changes in ourselves merely as such, but as "things in themselves," which are strange to us, and which we only "perceive"; and we did not class them as phenomena, but as Being, as "attributes"; and in addition we invented a creature to which they attach themselves—that is to say, we made the effect the working cause, and the latter we made Being. But even in this plain statement, the concept "effect" is arbitrary: for in regard to those changes which occur in us, and of which we are convinced we ourselves are not the cause, we still argue that they must be effects: and this is in accordance with the belief that "every change must have its author";—but this belief in itself is already mythology; for it separates the working cause from the cause in work. When I say the "lightning flashes," I set the flash down, once as an action and a second time as a subject acting; and thus a thing is fancifully affixed to a phenomenon, which is not one with it, but which is stable, which is, and does not "come."—To make the phenomenon the working cause, and to make the effect into a thing—into Being: this is the double error, or interpretation, of which we are guilty.


The Judgment—that is the faith: "This and this is so. In every judgment, therefore, there lies[Pg 47] the admission that an "identical" case has been met with: it thus takes some sort of comparison for granted, with the help of the memory. Judgment does not create the idea that an identical case seems to be there. It believes rather that it actually perceives such a case; it works on the hypothesis that there are such things as identical cases. But what is that much older function called, which must have been active much earlier, and which in itself equalises unequal cases and makes them alike? What is that second function called, which with this first one as a basis, etc. etc, "That which provokes the same sensations as another thing is equal to that other thing": but what is that called which makes sensations equal, which regards them as equal?—There could be no judgments if a sort of equalising process were not active within all sensations: memory is only possible by means of the underscoring of all that has already been experienced and learned. Before a judgment can be formed, the process of assimilation must already have been completed: thus, even here, an intellectual activity is to be observed which does not enter consciousness in at all the same way as the pain which accompanies a wound. Probably the psychic phenomena correspond to all the organic functions—that is to say, they consist of assimilation, rejection, growth, etc.

The essential thing is to start out from the body and to use it as the general clue. It is by far the richer phenomenon, and allows of much more accurate observation. The belief in the body is much more soundly established than the belief in spirit.

[Pg 48]

"However strongly a thing may be believed, the degree of belief is no criterion of its truth." But what is truth? Perhaps it is a form of faith, which has become a condition of existence? Then strength would certainly be a criterion; for instance, in regard to causality.


Logical accuracy, transparency, considered as the criterion of truth ("omne illud verum est, quod clare et distincte percipitur."—Descartes): by this means the mechanical hypothesis of the world becomes desirable and credible.

But this is gross confusion: like simplex sigillum veri. Whence comes the knowledge that the real nature of things stands in this relation to our intellect? Could it not be otherwise? Could it not be this, that the hypothesis which gives the intellect the greatest feeling of power and security, is preferred, valued, and marked as true—The intellect sets its freest and strongest faculty and ability as the criterion of what is most valuable, consequently of what is true....

"True"—from the standpoint of sentiment—is that which most provokes sentiment ("I");

from the standpoint of thought—is that which gives thought the greatest sensation of strength;

from the standpoint of touch, sight, and hearing—is that which calls forth the greatest resistance.

[Pg 49]

Thus it is the highest degrees of activity which awaken belief in regard to the object, in regard to its "reality." The sensations of strength, struggle, and resistance convince the subject that there is something which is being resisted.


The criterion of truth lies in the enhancement of the feeling of power.


According to my way of thinking, "truth" does not necessarily mean the opposite of error, but, in the most fundamental cases, merely the relation of different errors to each other: thus one error might be older, deeper than another, perhaps altogether ineradicable, one without which organic creatures like ourselves could not exist; whereas other errors might not tyrannise over us to that extent as conditions of existence, but when measured according to the standard of those other "tyrants," could even be laid aside and "refuted." Why should an irrefutable assumption necessarily be "true"? This question may exasperate the logicians who limit things according to the limitations they find in themselves: but I have long since declared war with this logician's optimism.


Everything simple is simply imaginary, but not "true." That which is real and true is, however, neither a unity nor reducible to a unity.

[Pg 50]


What is truth?—Inertia; that hypothesis which brings satisfaction, the smallest expense of intellectual strength, etc.


First proposition. The easier way of thinking always triumphs over the more difficult way;—dogmatically: simplex sigillum veri.—Dico: to suppose that clearness is any proof of truth, is absolute childishness. . . .

Second proposition. The teaching of Being, of things, and of all those constant entities, is a hundred times more easy than the teaching of Becoming and of evolution. . .

Third proposition. Logic was intended to be a method of facilitating thought: a means of expression, —not truth. . . . Later on it got to act like truth. . . .


Parmenides said: "One can form no concept of the non-existent";—we are at the other extreme, and say, "That Of which a concept can be formed, is certainly fictional."


There are many kinds of eyes. Even the Sphinx has eyes—therefore there must be many kinds of "truths," and consequently there can be no truth.

[Pg 51]


Inscriptions over the porch of a modern lunatic asylum.

"That which is necessarily true in thought must be necessarily true in morality."—HERBERT SPENCER.

"The ultimate test of the truth of a proposition is the inconceivableness of its negation,"—HERBERT SPENCER.


If the character of existence were false,:—and this would be possible,—what would truth then be, all our truth? ... An unprincipled falsification of the false? A higher degree of falseness? ...


In a world which was essentially false, truthfulness would be an anti-natural tendency: its only purpose would be to provide a means of attaining to a higher degree of falsity. For a world of truth and Being to be simulated, the truthful one would first have to be created (it being understood that he must believe himself to be "truthful").

Simple, transparent, not in contradiction with himself, lasting, remaining always the same to himself, free from faults, sudden changes, dissimulation, and form: such a man conceives a world of Being as "God" in His own image.

In order that truthfulness may be possible, the[Pg 52] whole sphere in which man moves must be very tidy, small, and respectable: the advantage in every respect must be with the truthful one.—Lies, tricks, dissimulations, must cause astonishment.


"Dissimulation" increases in accordance with the rising order of rank among organic beings. In the inorganic world it seems to be entirely absent. There power opposes power quite roughly —ruse begins in the organic world; plants are already masters of it. The greatest men, such as Cæsar and Napoleon (see Stendhal's remark concerning him),[3] as also the higher races (the Italians), the Greeks (Odysseus); the most supreme cunning, belongs to the very essence of the elevation of man. ... The problem of the actor. My Dionysian ideal.... The optics of all the organic functions, of all the strongest vital instincts: the power which will have error in all life; error as the very first principle of thought itself. Before "thought" is possible, "fancy" must first have done its work; the picturing of identical cases, of the seemingness of identity, is more primeval than the cognition of identity.

[3] The reference to Stendhal here, seems to point to a passage in his Life of Napoleon (Preface, p. xv) of which Nietzsche had made a note in another place, and which reads: "Une croyance presque instinctive chez moi c'est que tout homme puissant ment quand il parle et à plus forte raison quand il écrit."

[Pg 53]

(h) Against Causality.


I believe in absolute space as the basis of force, and I believe the latter to be limited and formed. Time, eternal. But space and time as things in themselves do not exist. "Changes" are only appearances (or mere processes of our senses to us); if we set recurrence, however regular, between them, nothing is proved beyond the fact that it has always happened so. The feeling that post hoc is propter hoc, is easily explained as the result of a misunderstanding, it is comprehensible. But appearances cannot be "causes"!


The interpretation of a phenomenon, either as an action or as the endurance of an action (that is to say, every action involves the suffering of it), amounts to this: every change, every differentiation, presupposes the existence of an agent and somebody acted upon, who is "altered."


Psychological history of the concept subject. The body, the thing, the "whole," which is visualised by the eye, awakens the thought of distinguishing between an action and an agent; the idea that the agent is the cause of the action, after having been repeatedly refined, at length left the "subject" over.

[Pg 54]


Our absurd habit of regarding a mere mnemonic sign or abbreviated formula as an independent being, and ultimately as a cause; as, for instance, when we say of lightning that it flashes, even the little word "I." A sort of double-sight in seeing which makes sight a cause of seeing in itself: this was the feat in the invention of the "subject" of the "ego."


"Subject," "object," "attribute"—these distinctions have been made, and are now used like schemes to cover all apparent facts. The false fundamental observation is this, that I believe it is I who does something, who suffers something, who "has" something, who "has" a quality.


In every judgment lies the whole faith in subject, attribute, or cause and effect (in the form of an assumption that every effect is the result of activity, and that all activity presupposes an agent), and even this last belief is only an isolated case of the first, so that faith remains as the most fundamental belief! there are such things as subjects, everything that happens is related attributively to a subject of some sort.

I notice something, and try to discover the reason of it: originally this was, I look for an intention behind it, and, above all, I look for one who has an intention, for a subject, an agent:[Pg 55] every phenomenon is an action, formerly intentions were seen behind all phenomena, this is our oldest habit. Has the animal also this habit? As a living organism, is it not also compelled to interpret things through itself. The question why? is always a question concerning the causa finalis, and the general "purpose" of things. We have no sign of the "sense of the efficient cause"; in this respect Hume is quite right, habit (but not only that of the individual) allows us to expect that a certain process, frequently observed, will follow upon another, but nothing more! That which gives us such an extraordinarily firm faith in causality, is not the rough habit of observing the sequence of processes, but our inability to interpret a phenomenon otherwise than as the result of design. It is the belief in living and thinking things, as the only agents of causation; it is the belief in will, in design—the belief that all phenomena are actions, and that all actions presuppose an agent; it is the belief in the "subject." Is not this belief in the concepts subject and object an arrant absurdity?

Question: Is the design the cause of a phenomenon? Or is that also illusion? Is it not the phenomenon itself?


A criticism of the concept "cause."—We have absolutely no experience concerning cause, viewed psychologically we derive the whole concept from the subjective conviction, that we ourselves are causes—that is to say, that the arm moves.... But[Pg 56] that is an error. We distinguish ourselves, the agents, from the action, and everywhere we make use of this scheme—we try to discover an agent behind every phenomenon. What have we done? We have misunderstood a feeling of power, tension, resistance, a muscular feeling, which is already the beginning of the action, and posited it as a cause; or we have understood the will to do this or that, as a cause, because the action follows it. There is no such thing as "Cause," in those few cases in which it seemed to be given, and in which we projected it out of ourselves in order to understand a phenomenon, it has been shown to be an illusion. Our understanding of a phenomenon consisted in our inventing a subject who was responsible for something happening, and for the manner in which it happened. In our concept "cause" we have embraced our feeling of will, our feeling of "freedom," our feeling of responsibility and our design to do an action: causa efficiens and causa finalis are fundamentally one.

We believed that an effect was explained when we could point to a state in which it was inherent. As a matter of fact, we invent all causes according to the scheme of the effect: the latter is known to us.... On the other hand, we are not in a position to say of any particular thing how it will "act." The thing, the subject the will, the design—all inherent in the conception "cause." We try to discover things in order to explain why something has changed. Even the "atom" is one of these fanciful inventions like the "thing" and the "primitive subject."...

[Pg 57]

At last we understand that things—consequently also atoms—effect nothing: because they are non-existent; and that the concept causality is quite! useless. Out of a necessary sequence of states, the latter's causal relationship does not follow (that would be equivalent to extending their active principle from 1 to 2, to 3, to 4, to 5). There is no such thing as a cause or an effect. From the standpoint of language we do not know how to rid ourselves of them. But that does not matter. If I imagine muscle separated from its "effects," I have denied it....

In short: a phenomenon is neither effected nor capable of effecting. Causa is a faculty to effect something, superadded fancifully to what happens....

The interpretation of causality is an illusion.... A "thing" is the sum of its effects, synthetically united by means of a concept, an image. As a matter of fact, science has robbed the concept causality of all meaning, and has reserved it merely as an allegorical formula, which has made it a matter of indifference whether cause or effect be put on this side or on that. It is asserted that in two complex states (centres of force) the quantities of energy remain constant.

The calculability of a phenomenon does not lie in the fact that a rule is observed, or that a necessity is obeyed, or that we have projected a law of causality into every phenomenon: it lies in the recurrence of "identical cases."

There is no such thing as a sense of causality, as Kant would have us believe. We are aghast,[Pg 58] we feel insecure, we will have something familiar, which can be relied upon.... As soon as we are shown the existence of something old in a new thing, we are pacified. The so-called instinct of causality is nothing more than the fear of the unfamiliar, and the attempt at finding something in it which is already known.—It is not a search for causes, but for the familiar.


To combat determinism and teleology.—From the fact that something happens regularly, and that its occurrence may be reckoned upon, it does not follow that it happens necessarily. If a quantity of force determines and conducts itself in a certain way in every particular case, it does not prove that it has "no free will." "Mechanical necessity" is not an established fact: it was we who first read into the nature of all phenomena. We interpreted the possibility of formularising phenomena as a result of the dominion of necessary law over all existence. But it does not follow, because I do a determined thing, that I am bound to do it. Compulsion cannot be demonstrated in things: all that the rule proves is this, that one and the same phenomenon is not another phenomenon. Owing to the very fact that we fancied the existence of subjects "agents" in things, the notion arose that all phenomena are the consequence of a compulsory force exercised over the subject—exercised by whom? once more by an "agent." The concept "Cause and Effect" is a dangerous one,[Pg 59] so long as people believe in something that causes, and a something that is caused.

(a) Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation.


(b) When it is understood that the "subject" is nothing that acts, but only a thing of fancy, there is much that follows.

Only with the subject as model we invented thingness and read it into the pell-mell of sensations. If we cease from believing in the acting subject, the belief in acting things, in reciprocal action, in cause and effect between phenomena which we call things, also falls to pieces.

In this case the world of acting atoms also disappears: for this world is always assumed to exist on the pre-determined grounds that subjects are necessary.

Ultimately, of course, the "thing-in-itself" also disappears: for at bottom it is the conception of a "subject-in-itself." But we have seen that the subject is an imaginary thing. The antithesis "thing-in-itself" and "appearance" is untenable; but in this way the concept "appearance" also disappears.


(c) If we abandon the idea of the acting subject, we also abandon the object acted upon. Duration, equality to self, Being, are inherent neither in what is called subject, nor in what is called object: they are complex phenomena, and in regard to other phenomena are apparently durable—they are[Pg 60] distinguishable, for instance, by the different tempo with which they happen (repose—movement, fixed —loose: all antitheses which do not exist in themselves and by means of which differences of degree only are expressed; from a certain limited point of view, though, they seem to be antitheses. There are no such things as antitheses; it is from logic that we derive our concept of contrasts—and starting out from its standpoint we spread the error over all things).


(d) If we abandon the ideas "subject" and "object"; then we must also abandon the idea "substance"—and therefore its various modifications too; for instance: "matter," "spirit," and other hypothetical things, "eternity and the immutability of matter," etc. We are then rid of materiality.


From a moral standpoint the world is false. But inasmuch as morality itself is a part of this world, morality also is false. The will to truth is a process of establishing things, it is a process of making things true and lasting, a total elimination of that false character, a transvaluation of it into being. Thus, "truth" is not something which is present and which has to be found and discovered; it is something which has to be created and which gives its name to a process, or, better still, to the Will to overpower, which in itself has no purpose: to introduce truth is a processus in infinitum, an active determining—it is not a process of[Pg 61] becoming conscious of something, which in itself is fixed and determined. It is merely a word for "The Will to Power."

Life is based on the hypothesis of a belief in stable and regularly recurring things, the mightier it is, the more vast must be the world of knowledge and the world called being. Logicising, rationalising, and systematising are of assistance as means of existence.

Man projects his instinct of truth, his "aim," to a certain extent beyond himself, in the form of a metaphysical world of Being, a "thing-in-itself," a world already to hand. His requirements as a creator make him invent the world in which he works in advance; he anticipates it: this anticipation (this faith in truth) is his mainstay.


All phenomena, movement, Becoming, regarded as the establishment of relations of degree and of force, as a contest....


As soon as we fancy that some one is responsible for the fact that we are thus and thus, etc. (God, Nature), and that we ascribe our existence, our happiness, our misery, our destiny, to that some one, we corrupt the innocence of Becoming for ourselves. We then have some one who wishes to attain to something by means of us and with us.


The "welfare of the individual" is just as fanciful as the "welfare of the species": the first is not sacrificed to the last; seen from afar, the species[Pg 62] is just as fluid as the individual. "The preservation of the species" is only a result of the growth of the species—that is to say, of the overcoming of the species on the road to a stronger kind.


Theses:—The apparent conformity of means to end ("the conformity of means to end which far surpasses the art of man) is merely the result of that "Will to Power" which manifests itself in all phenomena:—To become stronger involves a process of ordering, which may well be mistaken for an attempted conformity of means to end:—The ends which are apparent are not intended but, as soon as a superior power prevails over an inferior power, and the latter proceeds to work as a function of the former, an order of rank is established, an organisation which must give rise to the idea that there is an arrangement of means and ends.

Against apparent "necessity":—

This is only an expression for the fact that a certain power is not also something else.

Against the apparent conformity of means to ends":—

The latter is only an expression for the order among the spheres of power and their interplay.

(i) The Thing-in-Itself and Appearance.


The foul blemish on Kant's criticism has at last become visible even to the coarsest eyes: Kant[Pg 63] had no right to his distinction "appearance" and "thing-in-itself,"—in his own writings he had deprived himself of the right of differentiating any longer in this old and hackneyed manner, seeing that he had condemned the practice of drawing any conclusions concerning the cause of an appearance from the appearance itself, as unallowable in accordance with his conception of the idea of causality and its purely intraphenomenal validity, and this conception, on the other hand, already anticipates that differentiation, as if the "thing in itself" were not only inferred but actually given.


It is obvious that neither things-in-themselves nor appearances can be related to each other in the form of cause and effect: and from this it follows that the concept "cause and effect" is not applicable in a philosophy which believes in things-in-themselves and in appearances. Kant's mistake—... As a matter of fact, from a psychological standpoint, the concept "cause and effect" is derived from an attitude of mind which believes it sees the action of will upon will everywhere, which believes only in living things, and at bottom only in souls (not in things). Within the mechanical view of the world (which is logic and its application to space and time) that concept is reduced to the mathematical formula with which—and this is a fact which cannot be sufficiently emphasised—nothing is ever understood, but rather defined—deformed.

[Pg 64]


The greatest of all fables is the one relating to knowledge. People would like to know how things-in-themselves are constituted: but behold, there are no things-in-themselves! But even supposing there were an "in-itself," an unconditional thing, it could on that very account not be known! Something unconditioned cannot be known: otherwise it would not be unconditioned! Knowing, however, is always a process of "coming into relation with something"; the knowledge-seeker, on this principle, wants the thing, which he would know, to be nothing to him, and to be nothing to anybody at all: and from this there results a contradiction,—in the first place, between this will to know, and this desire that the thing to be known should be nothing to him (wherefore know at all then?); and secondly, because something which is nothing to anybody, does not even exist, and therefore cannot be known. Knowing means: "to place one's self in relation with something," to feel one's self conditioned by something and one's self conditioning it under all circumstances, then, it is a process of making stable or fixed, of defining, of making conditions conscious (not a process of sounding things, creatures, or objects in-themselves).


A "thing-in-itself" is just as absurd as a "sense-in-itself," a "meaning-in-itself." There is no such[Pg 65] thing as a "fact-in-itself," for a meaning must always be given to it before it can become a fact.

The answer to the question, "What is that?" is a process of fixing a meaning from a different standpoint. The "essence" the "essential factor," is something which is only seen as a whole in perspective, and which presupposes a basis which is multifarious. Fundamentally the question is "What is that for me?" (for us, for everything that lives, etc. etc.).

A thing would be defined when all creatures had asked and answered this question, "What is that?" concerning it. Supposing that one single creature, with its own relations and standpoint in regard to all things, were lacking, that thing would still remain undefined.

In short: the essence of a thing is really only an opinion concerning that "thing." Or, better still; "it is worth" is actually what is meant by "it is" or by "that is."

One may not ask: "Who interprets, then?" for the act of interpreting itself as a form of the Will to Power, manifests itself (not as "Being," but as a process, as Becoming) as a passion.

The origin of "things" is wholly the work of the idealising, thinking, willing, and feeling subject. The concept thing as well as all its attributes.—Even "the subject" is a creation of this order, a "thing" like all others: a simplification, aiming at a definition of the power that fixes, invents, and thinks, as such, as distinct from all isolated fixing, inventing, and thinking. Thus a capacity defined or distinct from all other individual capacities; at[Pg 66] bottom action conceived collectively in regard to all the action which has yet to come (action and the probability of similar action).


The qualities of a thing are its effects upon other "things."

If one imagines other "things" to be non-existent, a thing has no qualities.

That is to say; there is nothing without other things.

That is to say; there is no "thing-in-itself."


The thing-in-itself is nonsense. If I think all the "relations," all the "qualities" all the "activities" of a thing, away, the thing itself does not remain: for "thingness" was only invented fancifully by us to meet certain logical needs—that is to say, for the purposes of definition and comprehension (in order to correlate that multitude of relations, qualities, and activities).


"Things which have a nature in themselves"—a dogmatic idea, which must be absolutely abandoned.


That things should have a nature in themselves, quite apart from interpretation and subjectivity, is a perfectly idle hypothesis: it would presuppose[Pg 67] that interpretation and the act of being subjective are not essential, that a thing divorced from all its relations can still be a thing.

Or, the other way round: the apparent objective character of things; might it not be merely the result of a difference of degree within the subject perceiving?—could not that which changes slowly strike us as being objective, lasting, Being, "in-itself"?—could not the objective view be only a false way of conceiving things and a contrast within the perceiving subject?


If all unity were only unity as organisation. But the "thing" in which we believe was invented only as a substratum to the various attributes. If the thing "acts," it means: we regard all the other qualities which are to hand, and which are momentarily latent, as the cause accounting for the fact that one individual quality steps forward—that is to say, we take the sum of its qualities—x—as the cause of the quality x; which is obviously quite absurd and imbecile!

All unity is only so in the form of organisation and collective action: in the same way as a human community is a unity—that is to say, the reverse of atomic anarchy; thus it is a body politic, which stands for one, yet is not one.


"At some time in the development of thought, a point must have been reached when man became conscious of the fact that what he called[Pg 68] the qualities of a thing were merely the sensations of the feeling subject: and thus the qualities ceased from belonging to the thing." The "thing-in-itself" remained over. 'The distinction between the thing-in-itself and the thing-for-us, is based upon that older and artless observation which would fain grant energy to things: but analysis revealed that even force was only ascribed to them by our fancy, as was also—substance. "The thing affects a subject?" Thus the root of the idea of substance is in language, not in things outside ourselves! The thing-in-itself is not a problem at all!

Being will have to be conceived as a sensation which is no longer based upon anything quite devoid of sensation.

In movement no new meaning is given to feeling. That which is, cannot be the substance of movement: it is therefore a form of Being.

N.B.—The explanation of life may be sought, in the first place, through mental images of phenomena which precede it (purposes);

Secondly, through mental images of phenomena which follow behind it (the mathematico-physical explanation).

The two should not be confounded. Thus: the physical explanation, which is the symbolisation of the world by means of feeling and thought, cannot in itself make feeling and thinking originate again and show its derivation: physics must rather construct the world of feeling, consistently without feeling or purpose right up to the highest man. And teleology is only a history of purposes, and is never physical.

[Pg 69]


Our method of acquiring "knowledge" is limited to a process of establishing quantities, but we can by no means help feeling the difference of quantity as differences of quality. Quality is merely a relative truth for us; it is not a "thing-in-itself."

Our senses have a certain definite quantum as a mean, within the limits of which they perform their functions—that is to say, we become conscious of bigness and smallness in accordance with the conditions of our existence. If we sharpened or blunted our senses tenfold, we should perish—that is to say, we feel even proportions as qualities in regard to our possibilities of existence.


But could not all quantities be merely tokens of qualities? Another consciousness and scale of desires must correspond to greater power in fact, another point of view; growth in itself is the expression of a desire to become more; the desire for a greater quantum springs from a certain quale, in a purely quantitative world, everything would be dead, stiff, and motionless.—The reduction of all qualities to quantities is nonsense: it is discovered that they can only stand together, an analogy—


Qualities are our insurmountable barriers; we cannot possibly help feeling mere differences of quantity as something fundamentally different from quantity—that is to say, as qualities, which we[Pg 70] can no longer reduce to terms of quantity. But everything in regard to which the word "knowledge" has any sense at all, belongs to the realm of reckoning, weighing, and measuring, to quantity whereas, conversely, all our valuations (that is to say, our sensations) belong precisely to the realm of qualities, i.e. to those truths which belong to us alone and to our point of view, and which absolutely cannot be "known." It is obvious that every one of us, different creatures, must feel different qualities, and must therefore live in a different world from the rest. Qualities are an idiosyncrasy proper to human nature; the demand that these our human interpretations and values, should be general and perhaps real values, belongs to the hereditary madnesses of human pride.


The "real world," in whatever form it has been conceived hitherto—was always the world of appearance over again.


The world of appearance, i.e. a world regarded in the light of values; ordered, selected according to values—that is to say, in this case, according to the standpoint of utility in regard to the preservation and the increase of power of a certain species of animals.

It is the point of view, then, which accounts for the character of "appearance." As if a world could remain over, when the point of view is cancelled! By such means relativity would also be cancelled!

[Pg 71]

Every centre of energy has its point of view of the whole of the remainder of the world—that is to say, its perfectly definite valuation, its mode of action, its mode of resistance. The "world of appearance" is thus reduced to a specific kind of action on the world proceeding from a centre.

But there is no other kind of action: and the "world" is only a word for the collective play of these actions. Reality consists precisely in this particular action and reaction of every isolated factor against the whole.

There no longer remains a shadow of a right to speak here of "appearance." ...

The specific way of reacting is the only way of reacting; we do not know how many kinds and what sort of kinds there are.

But there is no "other," no "real," no essential being,—for thus a world without action and reaction would be expressed....

The antithesis: world of appearance and real world, is thus reduced to the antitheses "world" and "nonentity."


A criticism of the concept "real and apparent world."—Of these two the first is a mere fiction, formed out of a host of imaginary things.

Appearance itself belongs to reality: it is a form of its being; i.e. in a world where there is no such thing as being, a certain calculable world of identical cases must first be created through appearance; a tempo in which observation and comparison is possible, etc.

[Pg 72]

"Appearance" is an adjusted and simplified world, in which our practical instincts have worked: for us it is perfectly true: for we live in it, we can live in it: this is the proof of its truth as far as we are concerned....

The world, apart from the fact that we have to live in it—the world, which we have not adjusted to our being, our logic, and our psychological prejudices—does not exist as a world "in-itself"; it is essentially a world of relations: under certain circumstances it has a different aspect from every different point at which it is seen: it presses against every point, and every point resists it—and these collective relations are in every case incongruent.

The measure of power determines what being possesses the other measure of power: under what form, force, or constraint, it acts or resists.

Our particular case is interesting enough: we have created a conception in order to be able to live in a world, in order to perceive just enough to enable us to endure life in that world....


The nature of our psychological vision is determined by the fact—

(1) That communication is necessary, and that for communication to be possible something must be stable, simplified, and capable of being stated precisely (above all, in the so-called identical case). In order that it may be communicable, it must be felt as something adjusted, as "recognisable." The material of the senses, arranged by the understanding,[Pg 73] reduced to coarse leading features, made similar to other things, and classified with its like. Thus: the indefiniteness and the chaos of sense-impressions are, as it were, made logical.

(2) The phenomenal world is the adjusted world which we believe to be real, Its "reality" lies in the constant return of similar, familiar, and related things, in their rationalised character, and in the belief that we are here able to reckon and determine.

(3) The opposite of this phenomenal world is not "the real world," but the amorphous and unadjustable world consisting of the chaos of sensations—that is to say, another kind of phenomenal; world, a world which to us is "unknowable."

(4) The question how things-in-themselves are constituted, quite apart from our sense-receptivity and from the activity of our understanding, must be answered by the further question: how were we able to know that things existed? "Thingness" is one of our own inventions. The question is whether there are not a good many more ways of creating such a world of appearance—and whether this creating, rationalising, adjusting, and falsifying be not the best-guaranteed reality itself: in short, whether that which "fixes the meaning of things" is not the only reality: and whether the "effect of environment upon us" be not merely the result of such will-exercising subjects.... The other "creatures" act upon us; our adjusted world of appearance is an arrangement and an overpowering of its activities: a sort of defensive measure. The subject alone is demonstrable; the hypothesis might be advanced that subjects are all that exist,—that[Pg 74] "object" is only a form of action of subject upon subject ... a modus of the subject.

(k) The Metaphysical Need.


If one resembles all the philosophers that have gone before, one can have no eyes for what has existed and what will exist—one sees only what is. But as there is no such thing as Being; all that the philosophers had to deal with was a host of fancies, this was their "world."


To assert the existence as a whole of things concerning which we know nothing, simply because there is an advantage in not being able to know anything of them, was a piece of artlessness on Kant's part, and the result of the recoil-stroke of certain needs—especially in the realm of morals and metaphysics.


An artist cannot endure reality; he turns away or back from it: his earnest opinion is that the worth of a thing consists in that nebulous residue of it which one derives from colour, form, sound, and thought; he believes that the more subtle, attenuated, and volatile, a thing or a man becomes, the more valuable he becomes: the less real, the greater the worth. This is Platonism: but Plato was guilty of yet further audacity in the matter of[Pg 75] turning tables—he measured the degree of reality according to the degree of value, and said: The more there is of "idea" the more there is of Being. He twisted the concept "reality" round and said: "What ye regard as real is an error, and the nearer we get to the 'idea' the nearer we are to 'truth.'"—Is this understood? It was the greatest of all rechristenings: and because Christianity adopted it, we are blind to its astounding features. At bottom, Plato, like the artist he was, placed appearance before Being! and therefore lies and fiction before truth! unreality before actuality!—He was, however, so convinced of the value of appearance, that he granted it the attributes of "Being," "causality," "goodness," and "truth," and, in short, all those things which are associated with value.

The concept value itself regarded as a cause: first standpoint.

The ideal granted all attributes, conferring honour: second standpoint.


The idea of the "true world" or of "God" as absolutely spiritual, intellectual, and good, is an emergency measure to the extent to which the antagonistic instincts are all-powerful....

Moderation and existing humanity is reflected exactly in the humanisation of the gods. The Greeks of the strongest period, who entertained no fear whatever of themselves, but on the contrary were pleased with themselves, brought down their gods to all their emotions.

[Pg 76]

The spiritualisation of the idea of God is thus very far from being a sign of progress: one is heartily conscious of this when one reads Goethe—in his works the vaporisation of God into virtue and spirit is felt as being upon a lower plane.


The nonsense of all metaphysics shown to reside in the derivation of the conditioned out of the unconditioned.

It belongs to the nature of thinking that it adds the unconditioned to the conditioned, that it invents it—just as it thought of and invented the "ego" to cover the multifariousness of its processes i it measures the world according to a host of self-devised measurements—according to its fundamental fictions "the unconditioned," "end and means," "things," "substances," and according to logical laws, figures, and forms.

There would be nothing which could be called knowledge, if thought did not first so re-create the world into "things" which are in its own image. It is only through thought that there is untruth.

The origin of thought, like that of feelings, cannot be traced: but that is no proof of its primordiality or absoluteness! It simply shows that we cannot get behind it, because we have nothing else save thought and feeling.


To know is to point to past experience: in its nature it is a regressus in infinitum. That which[Pg 77] halts (in the face of a so-called causa prima or the unconditioned, etc.) is laziness, weariness.


Concerning the psychology of metaphysics—the influence of fear. That which has been most feared, the cause of the greatest suffering (lust of power, voluptuousness, etc.), has been treated with the greatest amount of hostility by men, and eliminated from the "real" world. Thus the passions have been step by step struck out, God posited as the opposite of evil—that is to say, reality is conceived to be the negation of the passions and the emotions (i.e. nonentity).

Irrationality, impulsive action, accidental action, is, moreover, hated by them (as the cause of incalculable suffering). Consequently they denied this element in the absolute, and interpreted it as absolute "rationality" and "conformity of means to ends."

Change and perishability were also feared; and by this fear an oppressed soul is revealed, full of distrust and painful experiences (the case with Spinoza: a man differently constituted would have regarded this change as a charm).

A nature overflowing and playing with energy, would call precisely the passions, irrationality and change, good in a eudemonistic sense, together with their consequences: danger, contrast, ruin, etc.


Against the value of that which always remains the same (remember Spinoza's artlessness and[Pg 78] Descartes' likewise), the value of the shortest and of the most perishable, the seductive flash of gold on the belly of the serpent vita——


Moral values in epistemology itself:

The faith in reason—why not mistrust?

The "real world" is the good world—why?

Appearance, change, contradiction, struggle, regarded as immoral: the desire for a world which knows nothing of these things.

The transcendental world discovered, so that a place may be kept for "moral freedom" (as in Kant).

Dialectics as the road to virtue (in Plato and Socrates: probably because sophistry was held to be the road to immorality).

Time and space are ideal: consequently there is unity in the essence of things; consequently no sin, no evil, no imperfection, a justification of God.

Epicurus denied the possibility of knowledge, in order to keep the moral (particularly the hedonistic) values as the highest.

Augustine does the same, and later Pascal ("corrupted reason"), in favour of Christian values.

Descartes' contempt for everything variable; likewise Spinoza's.


Concerning the psychology of metaphysics.—This world is only apparent: therefore there must be a[Pg 79] real world;—this world is conditioned: consequently there must be an unconditioned world;—this world is contradictory: consequently there is a world free from contradiction;—this world is evolving: consequently there is somewhere a static world:—a host of false conclusions (blind faith in reason: if A exists, then its opposite B must also exist). Pain inspires these conclusions: at bottom they are withes that such a world might exist; the hatred of a world which leads to suffering is likewise revealed by the fact that another and better world is imagined: the resentment of the metaphysician against reality is creative here.

The second series of questions: wherefore suffer? ... and from this a conclusion is derived concerning the relation of the real world to our apparent, changing, suffering, and contradictory world: (1) Suffering as the consequence of error: how is error possible? (2) Suffering as the consequence of guilt: how is guilt possible? (A host of experiences drawn from the sphere of nature or society, universalised and made absolute.) But if the conditioned world be causally determined by the unconditioned, then the freedom to err, to be sinful, must also be derived from the same quarter: and once more the question arises, to what purpose? ... The world of appearance, of Becoming, of contradiction, of suffering, is therefore willed; to what purpose?

The error of these conclusions; two contradictory concepts are formed—because one of them corresponds to a reality, the other "must" also correspond to a reality. "Whence" would one otherwise[Pg 80] derive its contradictory concept? Reason is thus a source of revelation concerning the absolute.

But the origin of the above contradictions need not necessarily be a supernatural source of reason: it is sufficient to oppose the real genesis of the concepts, this springs from practical spheres, from utilitarian spheres, hence the strong faith it commands (one is threatened with ruin if one's conclusions are not in conformity with this reason; but this fact is no "proof" of what the latter asserts).

The preoccupation of metaphysicians with pain, is quite artless. "Eternal blessedness": psychological nonsense. Brave and creative men never make pleasure and pain ultimate questions—they are incidental conditions: both of them must be desired when one will attain to something. It is a sign of fatigue and illness in these metaphysicians and religious men, that they should press questions of pleasure and pain into the foreground. Even morality in their eyes derives its great importance only from the fact that it is regarded as an essential condition for abolishing pain.

The same holds good of the preoccupation with appearance and error the cause of pain. A superstition that happiness and truth are related (confusion: happiness in "certainty," in "faith").


To what extent are the various epistemological positions (materialism, sensualism, idealism) consequences of valuations? The source of the highest[Pg 81] feelings of pleasure ("feelings of value") may also judge concerning the problem of reality!

The measure of positive knowledge is quite a matter of indifference and beside the point; as witness the development of Indici.

The Buddhistic negation of reality in general (appearance pain) is perfectly consistent: undemonstrability, inaccessibility, lack of categories, not only for an "absolute world," but a recognition of the erroneous procedures by means of which the whole concept has been reached. "Absolute reality," "Being in itself," a contradiction. In a world of Becoming, reality is merely a simplification for the purpose of practical ends, or a deception resulting from the coarseness of certain organs, or a variation in the tempo of Becoming.

The logical denial of the world and Nihilism is a consequence of the fact that we must oppose nonentity with Being, and that Becoming is denied. ("Something" becomes.)


Being and Becoming.—"Reason" developed upon a sensualistic basis upon the prejudices of the senses—that is to say, with the belief in the truth of the judgment of the senses.

"Being," as the generalisation of the concept "Life" (breath), "to be animate," "to will," "to act upon," "become."

The opposite is: "to be inanimate," "not to become," "not to will." Thus: "Being" is not opposed to "not-Being," to "appearance," nor is[Pg 82] it opposed to death (for only that can be dead which can also live).

The "soul," the "ego," posited as primeval facts; and introduced wherever there is Becoming.


Being—we have no other idea of it than that which we derive from "living."—How then can everything "be" dead?



I see with astonishment that science resigns itself to-day to the fate of being reduced to the world of appearance: we certainly have no organ of knowledge for the real world—be it what it may.

At this point we may well ask: With what organ of knowledge is this contradiction established?...

The fact that a world which is accessible to our organs is also understood to be dependent upon these organs, and the fact that we should understand a world as subjectively conditioned, are no proofs of the actual possibility of an objective world. Who urges us to believe that subjectivity is real or essential?

The absolute is even an absurd concept: an "absolute mode of existence" is nonsense, the concept "being," "thing," is always relative to us.

[Pg 83]

The trouble is that, owing to the old antithesis "apparent" and "real," the correlative valuations "of little value" and "absolutely valuable" have been spread abroad.

The world of appearance does not strike us as a "valuable" world; appearance is on a lower plane than the highest value. Only a "real" world can be absolutely "valuable"....

Prejudice of prejudices! It is perfectly possible in itself that the real nature of things would be so unfriendly, so opposed to the first conditions of life, that appearance is necessary in order to make life possible.... This is certainly the case in a large number of situations—for instance, marriage.

Our empirical world would thus be conditioned, even in its limits to knowledge, by the instinct of self-preservation, we regard that as good, valuable, and true, which favours the preservation of the species....

(a) We have no categories which allow us to distinguish between a real and an apparent world. (At the most, there could exist a world of appearance, but not our world of appearance.)

(b) Taking the real world for granted, it might still be the less valuable to us; for the quantum of illusion might be of the highest order, owing to its value to us as a preservative measure. (Unless appearance in itself were sufficient to condemn anything?)

(c) That there exists a correlation between the degrees of value and the degrees of reality (so that the highest values also possessed the greatest[Pg 84] degree of reality), is a metaphysical postulate which starts out with the hypothesis that we know the order of rank among values; and that this order is a moral one. It is only on this hypothesis that truth is necessary as a definition of all that is of a superior value.


It is of cardinal importance that the real world should be suppressed. It is the most formidable inspirer of doubts, and depredator of values, concerning the world which we are: it was our most dangerous attempt heretofore on the life of Life.

War against all the hypotheses upon which a real world has been imagined. The notion that moral values are the highest values, belongs to this hypothesis.

The superiority of the moral valuation would be refuted, if it could be shown to be the result of an immoral valuation—a specific case of real immorality: it would thus reduce itself to an appearance, and as an appearance it would cease from having any right to condemn appearance.


Then the "Will to Truth" would have to be examined psychologically: it is not a moral power, but a form of the Will to Power. This would have to be proved by the fact that it avails itself of every immoral means there is; above all, of the metaphysicians.

[Pg 85]

At the present moment we are face to face with the necessity of testing the assumption that moral values are the highest values, Method in research is attained only when all moral prejudices have been overcome: it represents a conquest over morality....


The aberrations of philosophy are the outcome of the fact that, instead of recognising in logic and the categories of reason merely a means to the adjustment of the world for utilitarian ends (that is to say, especially, a useful falsification), they were taken to be the criterion of truth—particularly of reality. The "criterion of truth" was, as a matter of fact, merely the biological utility of a systematic falsification of this sort, on principle: and, since a species of animals knows nothing more important than its own preservation, it was indeed allowable here to speak of "truth." Where the artlessness came in, however, was in taking this anthropocentric idiosyncrasy as the measure of things, as the canon for recognising the "real" and the "unreal": in short, in making a relative thing absolute. And behold, all at once, the world fell into the two halves, "real" and "apparent": and precisely that world which man's reason had arranged for him to live and to settle in, was discredited. Instead of using the forms as mere instruments for making the world manageable and calculable, the mad fancy of philosophers intervened, and saw that in these categories the concept of that world is given which[Pg 86] does not correspond to the concept of the world in which man lives.... The means were misunderstood as measures of value, and even used as a condemnation of their original purpose....

The purpose was, to deceive one's self in a useful way: the means thereto was the invention of forms and signs, with the help of which the confusing multifariousness of life could be reduced to a useful and wieldy scheme.

But woe! a moral category was now brought into the game: no creature would deceive itself, no creature may deceive itself—consequently there is only a will to truth. What is "truth"?

The principle of contradiction provided the scheme: the real world to which the way is being sought cannot be in contradiction with itself, cannot change, cannot evolve, has no beginning and no end.

That is the greatest error which has ever been committed, the really fatal error of the world: it was believed that in the forms of reason a criterion of reality had been found—whereas their only purpose was to master reality, by misunderstanding it intelligently....

And behold, the world became false precisely owing to the qualities which constitute its reality, namely, change, evolution, multifariousness, contrast, contradiction, war. And thenceforward the whole fatality was there.

1. How does one get rid of the false and merely apparent world? (it was the real and only one).

2. How does one become one's self as remote[Pg 87] as possible from the world of appearance? (the concept of the perfect being as a contrast to the real being; or, more correctly still, as the contradiction of life....).

The whole direction of values was towards the slander of life; people deliberately confounded ideal dogmatism with knowledge in general: so that the opposing parties also began to reject science with horror.

Thus the road to science was doubly barred: first, by the belief in the real world; and secondly, by the opponents of this belief. Natural science and psychology were (1) condemned in their objects, (2) deprived of their artlessness....

Everything is so absolutely bound and related to everything else in the real world, that to condemn, or to think away anything, means to condemn and think away the whole. The words "this should not be," "this ought not to be," are a farce.... If one imagines the consequences, one would ruin the very source of Life by suppressing everything which is in any sense whatever dangerous or destructive. Physiology proves this much better!

We see how morality (a) poisons the whole concept of the world, (b) cuts off the way to science, (c) dissipates and undermines all real instincts (by teaching that their root is immoral).

We thus perceive a terrible tool of decadence at work, which succeeds in remaining immune, thanks to the holy names and holy attitudes it assumes.

[Pg 88]


The awful recovery of our consciousness: not of the individual, but of the human species. Let us reflect; let us think backwards; let us follow the narrow and broad highway.


Man seeks "the truth": a world that does not contradict itself, that does not deceive, that does not change, a real world—a world in which there is no suffering: contradiction, deception, variability—-the causes of suffering! He does not doubt that there is such a thing as a world as it ought to be; he would fain find a road to it. (Indian criticism: even the ego is apparent and not real.)

Whence does man derive the concept of reality? —Why does he make variability, deception, contradiction, the origin of suffering; why not rather of his happiness? ...

The contempt and hatred of all that perishes, changes, and varies: whence comes this valuation of stability? Obviously, the will to truth is merely the longing for a stable world.

The senses deceive; reason corrects the errors: therefore, it was concluded, reason is the road to a static state; the most spiritual ideas must be nearest to the "real world."—It is from the senses that the greatest number of misfortunes come they are cheats, deluders, and destroyers.

Happiness can be promised only by Being: change and happiness exclude each other. The[Pg 89] loftiest desire is thus to be one with Being. That is the formula for the way to happiness.

In summa: The world as it ought to be exists; this world in which we live is an error—this our world should not exist.

The belief in Being shows itself only as a result: the real primum mobile is the disbelief in Becoming, the mistrust of Becoming, the scorn of all Becoming....

What kind of a man reflects in this way? An unfruitful, suffering kind, a world-weary kind. If we try and fancy what the opposite kind of man would be like, we have a picture of a creature who would not require the belief in Being; he would rather despise it as dead, tedious, and indifferent....

The belief that the world which ought to be, is, really exists, is a belief proper to the unfruitful, who do not wish to create a world as it should be. They take it for granted, they seek for means and ways of attaining to it. "The will to truth"—is the impotence of the will to create.

To recognise that something}Antagonism in
is thus or thus:}the degrees of
To act so that something will}energy in
be thus or thus:}various natures.

The fiction of a world which corresponds to our desires; psychological artifices and interpretations calculated to associate all that we honour and regard as pleasant, with this real world.

"The will to truth" at this stage is essentially the art of interpretation: to which also belongs that interpretation which still possesses strength.

[Pg 90]

The same species of men, grown one degree poorer, no longer possessed of the power to interpret and to create fictions, produces the Nihilists. A Nihilist is the man who says of the world as it is, that it ought not to exist, and of the world as it ought to be, that it does not exist. According to this, existence (action, suffering, willing, and feeling) has no sense: the pathos of the "in vain" is the Nihilist's pathos—and as pathos it is moreover an inconsistency on the part of the Nihilist.

He who is not able to introduce his will into things, the man without either will or energy, at least invests them with some meaning, i.e. he believes that a will is already in them.

The degree of a man's will-power may be measured from the extent to which he can dispense with the meaning in things, from the extent to which he is able to endure a world without meaning: because he himself arranges a small portion of it.

The philosophical objective view of things may thus be a sign of poverty both of will and of energy. For energy organises what is closest and next; the "scientists," whose only desire is to ascertain what exists, are such as cannot arrange things as they ought to be.

The artists, an intermediary species, they at least set up a symbol of what should exist,—they are productive inasmuch as they actually alter and transform; not like the scientists, who leave everything as it is.

The connection between philosophers and the pessimistic religions; the same species of man[Pg 91] (they attribute the highest degree of reality to the things which are valued highest).

The connection between philosophers and moral men and their evaluations (the moral interpretation of the world as the sense of the world: after the collapse of the religious sense).

The overcoming of philosophers by the annihilation of the world of being: intermediary period of Nihilism; before there is sufficient strength present to transvalue values, and to make the world of becoming, and of appearance, the only world to be deified and called good.


Nihilism as a normal phenomenon may be a symptom of increasing strength or of increasing weakness:—

Partly owing to the fact that the strength to create and to will has grown to such an extent, that it no longer requires this collective interpretation and introduction of a sense ("present duties," state, etc.);

Partly owing to the fact that even the creative power necessary to invent sense, declines, and disappointment becomes the ruling condition. The inability to believe in a sense becomes "unbelief."

What is the meaning of science in regard to both possibilities?

(1) It is a sign of strength and self-control; it shows an ability to dispense with healing, consoling worlds of illusion.

(2) It is also able to undermine, to dissect, to disappoint, and to weaken.

[Pg 92]


The belief in truth, the need of holding to something which is believed to be true: psychological reduction apart from the valuations that have existed hitherto. Fear and laziness.

At the same time unbelief: Reduction. In what way does it acquire a new value, if a real world does not exist at all (by this means the capacity of valuing, which hitherto has been lavished upon the world of being, becomes free once more).


The real and the "apparent" world.


The erroneous concepts which proceed from this concept are of three kinds:—

(a) An unknown world:—we are adventurers, we are inquisitive,—that which is known to us makes us weary (the danger of the concept lies in the fact it suggests that "this" world is known to us....);

(b) Another world, where things are different:—something in us draws comparisons, and thereby our calm submission and our silence lose their value—perhaps all will be for the best, we have not hoped in vain.... The world where things are different—who knows?—where we ourselves will be different....

(c) A real world:—that is the most singular[Pg 93] blow and attack which we have ever received; so many things have become encrusted in the word "true," that we involuntarily give these to the "real world"; the real world must also be a truthful world, such a one as would not deceive us or make fools of us; to believe in it in this way is to be almost forced to believe (from convention, as is the case among people worthy of confidence).


The concept, "the unknown world," suggests that this world is known to us (is tedious);

The concept, "the other world," suggests that this world might be different, it suppresses necessity and fate (it is useless to submit and to adapt one's self);

The concept, the true world, suggests that this world is untruthful, deceitful, dishonest, not genuine, and not essential, and consequently not a world calculated to be useful to us (it is unadvisable to become adapted to it; better resist it).


Thus we escape from "this" world in three different ways:——

(a) With our curiosity—as though the interesting part was somewhere else;

(b) With our submission—as though it was not necessary to submit, as though this world was not an ultimate necessity;

(c) With our sympathy and respect—as though this world did not deserve them, as though it was mean and dishonest towards us....

In summa: we have become revolutionaries in[Pg 94] three different ways; we have made x our criticism of the "known world."


The first step to reason: to understand to what extent we have been seduced,—for it might be precisely the reverse:

(a) The unknown world could be so constituted as to give us a liking for "this" world—it may be a more stupid and meaner form of existence.

(b) The other world, very far from taking account of our desires which were never realised here, might be part of the mass of things which this world makes possible for us; to learn to know this world would be a means of satisfying us,

(c) The true world: but who actually says that the apparent world must be of less value than the true world? Do not our instincts contradict this judgment? Is not man eternally occupied in creating an imaginative world, because he will have a better world than reality? In the first place, how do we know that our world is not the true world? ... for it might be that the other world is the world of "appearance" (as a matter of fact, the Greeks, for instance, actually imagined a region of shadows, a life of appearance, beside real existence). And finally, what right have we to establish degrees of reality, as it were? That is something different from an unknown world—that is already the will to know something of the unknown. The "other," the "unknown" world—good! but to speak of the "true world" is as[Pg 95] good as "knowing something about it,"—that is the contrary of the assumption of an x-world....

In short, the world x might be in every way a more tedious, a more inhuman, and a less dignified world than this one.

It would be quite another matter if it were assumed that there were several x-worlds—that is to say, every possible kind of world besides our own. But this has never been assumed....


Problem: why has the image of the other world always been to the disadvantage of "this" one—that is to say, always stood as a criticism of it; what does this point to?—

A people that are proud of themselves, and who are on the ascending path of Life, always; picture another existence as lower and less valuable than theirs; they regard the strange unknown world as their enemy, as their opposite; they feel no curiosity, but rather repugnance in regard to what is strange to them.... Such a body of men would never admit that another people were the "true people"....

The very fact that such a distinction is possible,—that this world should be called the world of appearance, and that the other should be called the true world,—is symptomatic.

The places of origin of the idea, of "another world":

The philosopher who invents a rational world where reason and logical functions are[Pg 96] adequate:—this is the root of the "true" world.

The religious man who invents a "divine world";—this is the root of the "denaturalised" and the "anti-natural" world.

The moral man who invents a "free world":—this is the root of the good, the perfect, the just, and the holy world.

The common factor in the three places of origin: psychological error, physiological confusion.

With what attributes is the "other world," as it actually appears in history, characterised? With the stigmata of philosophical, religious, and moral prejudices.

The "other world" as it appears in the light of these facts, is synonymous with not-Being, with not-living, with the will not to live....

General aspect: it was the instinct of the fatigue of living, and not that of life, which created the "other world."

Result: philosophy, religion, and morality are symptoms of decadence.

(l) The Biological Value of Knowledge.


It might seem as though I had evaded the question concerning "certainty". The reverse is true: but while raising the question of the criterion of certainty, I wished to discover the weights and measures with which men had weighed heretofore—and to show that the question[Pg 97] concerning certainty is already in itself a dependent question, a question of the second rank.


The question of values is more fundamental than the question of certainty: the latter only becomes serious once the question of values has been answered.

Being and appearance, regarded psychologically, yield no "Being in itself," no criterion for reality, but only degrees of appearance, measured according to the strength of the sympathy which we feel for appearance.

There is no struggle for existence between ideas and observations, but only a struggle for supremacy—the vanquished idea is not annihilated, but only driven to the background or subordinated. There is no such thing as annihilation in intellectual spheres.


"End and means"
"Cause and effect"
"Subject and object"
"Action and suffering"
"Thing-in-itself and

As interpretations (not as established facts)—and in what respect were they perhaps necessary interpretations? (as "preservative measures")—all in the sense of a Will to Power.

[Pg 98]


Our values are interpreted into the heart of things.

Is there, then, any sense in the absolute?

Is not sense necessarily relative-sense and perspective?

All sense is Will to Power (all relative senses may be identified with it).


The desire for "established facts"—Epistemology: how much pessimism there is in it!


The antagonism between the "true world," as pessimism depicts it, and a world in which it were possible to live—for this the rights of truth must be tested. It is necessary to measure all these "ideal forces" according to the standard of life, in order to understand the nature of that antagonism: the struggle of sickly, desperate life, cleaving to a beyond, against healthier, more foolish, more false, richer, and fresher life. Thus it is not "truth" struggling with Life, but one kind of Life with another kind.—But the former would fain be the higher kind!—Here we must prove that some order of rank is necessary,—that the first problem is the order of rank among kinds of Life.


The belief, "It is thus and thus," must be altered into the will, "Thus and thus shall it be."

[Pg 99]

(m) Science.


Science hitherto has been a means of disposing of the confusion of things by hypotheses which "explain everything"—that is to say, it has been the result of the intellect's repugnance to chaos. This same repugnance takes hold of me when I contemplate myself; I should like to form some kind of representation of my inner world for myself by means of a scheme, and thus overcome intellectual confusion. Morality was a simplification of this sort: it taught man as recognised, as known,—Now we have annihilated morality—we have once more grown completely obscure to ourselves! I know that I know nothing about myself. Physics shows itself to be a boon for the mind: science (as the road to knowledge) acquires a new charm after morality has been laid aside—and owing to the fact that we find consistency here alone, we must order our lives in accordance with it so that it may help us to preserve it. This results in a sort of practical meditation concerning the conditions of our existence as investigators.


Our first principles: no God: no purpose: limited energy. We will take good care to avoid thinking out and prescribing the necessary lines of thought for the lower orders.

[Pg 100]


No "moral education" of humanity: but the disciplinary school of scientific errors is necessary, because truth disgusts and creates a dislike of life, provided a man is not already irrevocably launched upon his way, and bears the consequences of his honest standpoint with tragic pride.


The first principle of scientific work: faith in the union and continuance of scientific work, so that the individual may undertake to work at any point, however small, and feel sure that his efforts will not be in vain.

There is a great paralysing force: to work in vain, to struggle in vain.


The periods of hoarding, when energy and power are stored, to be utilised later by subsequent periods: Science as a half-way house, at which the mediocre, more multifarious, and more complicated beings find their most natural gratification and means of expression: all those who do well to avoid action.


A. philosopher recuperates his strength in a way quite his own, and with other means: he does it, for instance, with Nihilism. The belief that there is no such thing as truth, the Nihilistic belief, is a tremendous relaxation for one who, as[Pg 101] a warrior of knowledge, is unremittingly struggling with a host of hateful truths. For truth is ugly.


The "purposelessness of all phenomena": the belief in this is the result of the view that all interpretations hitherto have been false, it is a generalisation on the part of discouragement and weakness—it is not a necessary belief.

The arrogance of man: when he sees no purpose, he denies that there can be one!


The unlimited ways of interpreting the world: every interpretation is a symptom of growth or decline.

Unity (monism) is a need of inertia; Plurality in interpretation is a sign of strength. One should not desire to deprive the world of its disquieting and enigmatical nature.


Against the desire for reconciliation and peaceableness. To this also belongs every attempt on the part of monism.


This relative world, this world for the eye, the touch, and the ear, is very false, even when adjusted to a much more sensitive sensual[Pg 102] apparatus. But its comprehensibility, its clearness, its practicability, its beauty, will begin to near their end if we refine our senses, just as beauty ceases to exist when the processes of its history are reflected upon: the arrangement of the end is in itself an illusion. Let it suffice, that the more coarsely and more superficially it is understood, the more valuable, the more definite, the more beautiful and important the world then seems. The more deeply one looks into it, the further our valuation retreats from our view,-senselessness approaches! We have created the world that has any value! Knowing this, we also perceive that the veneration of truth is already the result of illusion—and that it is much more necessary to esteem the formative, simplifying, moulding, and romancing power.

"All is false—everything is allowed!"

Only as the result of a certain bluntness of vision and the desire for simplicity does the beautiful and the "valuable" make its appearance: in itself it is purely fanciful.


We know that the destruction of an illusion does not necessarily produce a truth, but only one more piece of ignorance; it is the extension of our "empty space," an increase in our "waste."


Of what alone can knowledge consist?—"Interpretation," the introduction of a sense into[Pg 103] things, not "explanation" (in the majority of cases a new interpretation of an old interpretation which has grown incomprehensible and little more than a mere sign). There is no such thing as an established fact, everything fluctuates, everything, is intangible, yielding; after all, the most lasting of all things are our opinions.


The ascertaining of "truth" and "untruth," the ascertaining of facts in general, is fundamentally different from the creative placing, forming, moulding, subduing, and willing which lies at the root of philosophy. To give a sense to things—this duty always remains over, provided no sense already lies in them. The same holds good of sounds, and also of the fate of nations they are susceptible of the most varied interpretations and turns, for different purposes.

A higher duty is to fix a goal and to mould facts according to it: that is, the interpretation of action, and not merely a transvaluation of concepts.


Man ultimately finds nothing more in things than he himself has laid in them—this process of finding again is science, the actual process of laying a meaning in things, is art, religion, love, pride. In both, even if they are child's play, one should show good courage and one should plough ahead; on the one hand, to find again, on the other,—we are the other,—to lay a sense in things.

[Pg 104]


Science: its two sides:—

In regard to the individual;

In regard to the complex of culture ("levels of culture")

—antagonistic valuation in regard to this and that side.


The development of science tends ever more to transform the known into the unknown: its aim, however, is to do the reverse, and it starts out with the instinct of tracing the unknown to the known.

In short, science is laying the road to sovereign ignorance, to a feeling that "knowledge" does not exist at all, that it was merely a form of haughtiness to dream of such a thing; further, that we have not preserved the smallest notion which would allow us to class knowledge even as a possibility that "knowledge" is a contradictory idea. We transfer a primeval myth and piece of human vanity into the land of hard facts: we can allow a thing-in-itself as a concept, just as little as we can allow "knowledge-in-itself." The misleading influence of "numbers and logic," the misleading influence of "laws."

Wisdom is an attempt to overcome the perspective valuations (i.e. the "will to power"): it is a principle which is both unfriendly to Life, and also decadent; a symptom in the case of the Indians, etc.; weakness of the power of appropriation.

[Pg 105]


It does not suffice for you to see in what ignorance man and beast now live; you must also have and learn the desire for ignorance. It is necessary that you should know that without this form of ignorance life itself would be impossible, that it is merely a vital condition under which, alone, a living organism can preserve itself and prosper: a great solid belt of ignorance must stand about you.


Science—the transformation of Nature into concepts for the purpose of governing Nature—that is part of the rubric means.

But the purpose and will of mankind must grow in the same way, the intention in regard to the whole.


Thought is the strongest and most persistently exercised function in all stages of life—and also in every act of perception or apparent experience! Obviously it soon becomes the mightiest and most exacting of all functions, and in time tyrannises over other powers. Ultimately it becomes "passion in itself."


The right to great passion must be reclaimed for the investigator, after self-effacement and the cult of "objectivity" have created a false order of rank in this sphere. Error reached its zenith[Pg 106] when Schopenhauer taught: in the release from passion and in will alone lay the road to "truth," to knowledge; the intellect freed from will could not help seeing the true and actual essence of things. The same error in art: as if everything became beautiful the moment it was regarded without will.


The contest for supremacy among the passions, and the dominion of one of the passions over the intellect.


To "humanise" the world means to feel ourselves ever more and more masters upon earth.


Knowledge, among a higher class of beings, will also take new forms which are not yet necessary.


That the worth of the world lies in our interpretations (that perhaps yet other interpretations are possible somewhere, besides mankind's); that the interpretations made hitherto were perspective valuations, by means of which we were able to survive in life, i.e. in the Will to Power and in the growth of power; that every elevation of man involves the overcoming of narrower interpretations; that every higher degree of strength or power attained, brings new views in its train, and teaches a belief in new horizons—these doctrines lie[Pg 107] scattered through all my works. The world that concerns us at all is false—that is to say, is not a fact; but a romance, a piece of human sculpture, made from a meagre sum of observation; it is "in flux"; it is something that evolves, a great revolving lie continually moving onwards and never getting any nearer to truth—for there is no such thing as "truth."



To stamp Becoming with the character of Being—this is the highest Will to Power.

The twofold falsification, by the senses on the one hand, by the intellect on the other, with the view of maintaining a world of being, of rest, of equivalent cases, etc.

That everything recurs, is the very nearest approach of a world of Becoming to a world of Being, the height of contemplation.

It is out of the values which have been attributed to Being, that the condemnation of, and dissatisfaction with, Becoming, have sprung: once such a world of Being had been invented.

The metamorphoses of Being (body, God, ideas, natural laws, formulæ, etc.).

"Being" as appearance the twisting round of values: appearance was that which conferred the values.

Knowledge in itself in a world of Becoming is impossible; how can knowledge be possible at all, then? Only as a mistaking of one's self, as will to power, as will to deception.

[Pg 108]

Becoming is inventing, willing, self-denying, self-overcoming; no subject but an action, it places things, it is creative, no "causes and effects."

Art is the will to overcome Becoming, it is a process of eternalising, but short-sighted, always according to the perspective, repeating, as it were in a small way, the tendency of the whole.

That which all life shows, is to be regarded as a reduced formula for the collective tendency: hence the new definition of the concept "Life" as "will to power."

Instead of "cause and effect," the struggle of evolving factors with one another, frequently with the result that the opponent is absorbed; no constant number for Becoming.

The uselessness of old ideals for the interpretation of all that takes place, once their bestial origin and utility have been recognised, they are, moreover, all hostile to life.

The uselessness of the mechanical theory—it gives the impression that there can be no purpose.

All the idealism of mankind, hitherto, is on the point of turning into Nihilism—may be shown to be a belief in absolute worthlessness, i.e. purposelessness.

The annihilation of ideals, the new desert waste the new arts which will help us to endure it—amphibia that we are!

First principles, bravery, patience, no "stepping-back," not too much ardour to get to the fore. (N.B.—Zarathustra constantly maintaining an attitude of parody towards all former values, as the result of his overflowing energy.)

[Pg 109]



1. The Mechanical Interpretation of the World.


Of all the interpretations of the world attempted heretofore, the mechanical one seems to-day to stand most prominently in the front. Apparently it has a clean conscience on its side; for no science believes inwardly in progress and success unless it be with the help of mechanical procedures. Every one knows these procedures: "reason" and "purpose" are allowed to remain out of consideration as far as possible; it is shown that, provided a sufficient amount of time be allowed to elapse, everything can evolve out of everything else, and no one attempts to suppress his malicious satisfaction, when the "apparent design in the fate" of a plant or of the yolk of an egg, may be traced to stress and thrust in short, people are heartily glad to pay respect to this principle of profoundest stupidity, if I may be allowed to pass a playful remark concerning these serious matters. Meanwhile, among the most select intellects to be found in this movement,[Pg 110] some presentiment of evil, some anxiety is noticeable, as if the theory had a rent in it, which sooner or later might be its last: I mean the sort of rent which denotes the end of all balloons inflated with such theories.

Stress and thrust themselves cannot be "explained," one cannot get rid of the actio in distans. The belief even in the ability to explain is now lost, and people peevishly admit that one can only describe, not explain that the dynamic interpretation of the world, with its denial of "empty space" and its little agglomerations of atoms, will soon get the better of physicists: although in this way Dynamis is certainly granted an inner quality.


The triumphant concept "energy" with which our physicists created God and the world, needs yet to be completed: it must be given an inner will which I characterise as the "Will to Power"—that is to say, as an insatiable desire to manifest power; or the application and exercise of power as a creative instinct, etc. Physicists cannot get rid of the "actio in distans" in their principles; any more than they can a repelling force (or an attracting one). There is no help for it, all movements, all "appearances," all "laws" must be understood as symptoms of an inner phenomenon, and the analogy of man must be used for this purpose. It is possible to trace all the instincts of an animal to the will to power; as also all the functions of organic life to this one source.

[Pg 111]


Has anybody ever been able to testify to a force! No, but to effects, translated into a completely strange language. Regularity in sequence has so spoilt us, that we no longer wonder at the wonderful process.


A force of which we cannot form any idea, is an empty word, and ought to have no civic rights in the city of science: and the same applies to the purely mechanical powers of attracting and repelling by means of which we can form an image of the world—no more!


Squeezes and kicks are something incalculably recent, evolved and not primeval. They presuppose something which holds together and can press and strike! But how could it hold together?


There is nothing unalterable in chemistry: this is only appearance, a mere school prejudice. We it was who introduced the unalterable, taking it from metaphysics as usual, Mr. Chemist. It is a mere superficial judgment to declare that the diamond, graphite, and carbon are identical. Why? Simply because no loss of substance can be traced in the scales! Well then, at least they have something in common; but the work of the molecules in the[Pg 112] process of changing from one form to the other, an action we can neither see nor weigh, is just exactly what makes one material something different—with specifically different qualities.


Against the physical atom.—In order to understand the world, we must be able to reckon it up; in order to be able to reckon it up, we must be aware of constant causes; but since we find no such constant causes in reality, we invent them for ourselves and call them atoms. This is the origin of the atomic theory.

The possibility of calculating the world, the possibility of expressing all phenomena by means of formulæ—is that really "understanding"? What would be understood of a piece of music, if all that were calculable in it and capable of being expressed in formulas, were reckoned up?—Thus "constant causes", things, substances, something "unconditioned," were therefore invented;—what has been attained thereby?


The mechanical concept of "movement" is already a translation of the original process into the language of symbols of the eye and the touch.

The concept atom, the distinction between the "seat of a motive force and the force itself," is a language of symbols derived from our logical and physical world.

It does not lie within our power to alter our[Pg 113] means of expression: it is possible to understand to what extend they are but symptomatic. To demand an adequate means of expression is nonsense: it lies at the heart of a language, of a medium of communication, to express relation only.... The concept "truth" is opposed to good sense. The whole province of truth—falseness only applies to the relations between beings, not to an "absolute." There is no such thing as a "being in itself" (relations in the first place constitute being), any more than there can be "knowledge in itself."


"The feeling of force cannot proceed from movement: feeling in general cannot proceed from movement."

"Even in support of this, an apparent experience is the only evidence: in a substance (brain) feeling is generated through transmitted motion (stimuli). But generated? Would this show that the feeling did not yet exist there at all? so that its appearance would have to be regarded as the creative act of the intermediary—motion? The feelingless condition of this substance is only an hypothesis! not an experience! Feeling, therefore is the quality of the substance: there actually are substances that feel."

"Do we learn from certain substances that they have no feeling? No, we merely cannot tell that they have any. It is impossible to seek the origin of feeling in non-sensitive substance."—Oh what hastiness!

[Pg 114]


"To attract" and "to repel", in a purely mechanical sense, is pure fiction: a word. We cannot imagine an attraction without a purpose.— Either the will to possess one's self of a thing, or the will to defend one's self from a thing or to repel it—that we "understand"; that would be an interpretation which we could use.

In short, the psychological necessity of believing in causality lies in the impossibility of imagining a process without a purpose: but of course this says nothing concerning truth or untruth (the justification of such a belief)! The belief in causæ collapses with the belief in τέλει (against Spinoza and his causationism).


It is an illusion to suppose that something is known, when all we have is a mathematical formula of what has happened; it is only characterised, described; no more!


If I bring a regularly recurring phenomenon into a formula, I have facilitated and shortened my task of characterising the whole phenomenon, etc. But I have not thereby ascertained a "law," I have only replied to the question: How is it that something recurs here? It is a supposition that the formula corresponds to a complex of really unknown forces and the discharge of forces; it is[Pg 115] pure mythology to suppose that forces here obey a law, so that, as the result of their obedience, we have the same phenomenon every time.


I take good care not to speak of chemical "laws": to do so savours of morality. It is much more a question of establishing certain relations of power: the stronger becomes master of the weaker, in so far as the latter cannot maintain its degree of independence,—here there is no pity, no quarter, and, still less, any observance of "law."


The unalterable sequence of certain phenomena does not prove any "law," but a relation of power between two or more forces. To say, "But it is precisely this relation that remains the same!" is no better than saying, "One and the same force cannot be another force."—It is not a matter of sequence, but a matter of interdependence, a process in which the procession of moments do not determine each other after the manner of cause and effect....

The separation of the "action" from the "agent"; of the phenomenon from the worker of that phenomenon: of the process from one that is not process, but lasting, substance, thing, body, soul, etc.; the attempt to understand a life as a sort of shifting of things and a changing of places; of a sort of "being" or stable entity: this ancient mythology[Pg 116] established the belief in "cause and effect," once it had found a lasting form in the functions of speech and grammar.


The "regularity" of a sequence is only a metaphorical expression, not a fact, just as if a rule were followed here! And the same holds good of "conformity to law." We find a formula in order to express an ever-recurring kind of succession of phenomena: but that does not show that we have discovered a law; much less a force which is the cause of a recurrence of effects. The fact that something always happens thus or thus, is interpreted here as if a creature always acted thus or thus as the result of obedience to a law or to a lawgiver: whereas apart from the "law" it would be free to act differently. But precisely that inability to act otherwise might originate in the creature itself, it might be that it did not act thus or thus in response to a law, but simply because it was so constituted. It would mean simply: that something cannot also be something else; that it cannot be first this, and then something quite different; that it is neither free nor the reverse, but merely thus or thus. The fault lies in thinking a subject into things.


To speak of two consecutive states, the first as "cause," and the second as "effect," is false. The first state cannot bring about anything, the second has nothing effected in it.

[Pg 117]

It is a question of a struggle between two elements unequal in power: a new adjustment is arrived at, according to the measure of power each possesses. The second state is something fundamentally different from the first (it is not its effect): the essential thing Is, that the factors which engage in the struggle leave it with different quanta of power.


A. criticism of Materialism.—Let us dismiss the two popular concepts, Necessity and Law, from this idea: the first introduces a false constraint, the second a false liberty into the world. "Things" do not act regularly, they follow no rule: there are no things (that is our fiction); neither do they act in accordance with any necessity. There is no obedience here: for, the fact that something is as it is, strong or weak, is not the result of obedience or of a rule or of a constraint....

The degree of resistance and the degree of superior power—this is the question around which all phenomena turn: if we, for our own purposes and calculations, know how to express this in formulas and "laws," all the better for us! But that does not mean that we have introduced any "morality" into the world, just because we have fancied it as obedient.

There are no laws: every power draws its last consequence at every moment. Things are calculable precisely owing to the fact that there is no possibility of their being otherwise than they are.

A quantum of power is characterised by the[Pg 118] effect it produces and the influence it resists. The adiaphoric state which would be thinkable in itself, is entirely lacking. It is essentially a will to violence and a will to defend one's self against violence. It is not self-preservation: every atom exercises its influence over the whole of existence—it is thought out of existence if one thinks this radiation of will-power away. That is why I call it a quantum of "Will to Power"; with this formula one can express the character which cannot be abstracted in thought from mechanical order, without suppressing the latter itself in thought.

The translation of the world of effect into a visible world—a world for the eye—is the concept "movement." Here it is always understood that something has been moved,—whether it be the fiction of an atomic globule or even of the abstraction of the latter, the dynamic atom, something is always imagined that has an effect—that is to say, we have not yet rid ourselves of the habit into which our senses and speech inveigled us. Subject and object, an agent to the action, the action and that which does it separated: we must not forget that all this signifies no more than semeiotics and—nothing real. Mechanics as a teaching of movement is already a translation of phenomena into man's language of the senses.


We are in need of "unities" in order to be able to reckon: but this is no reason for supposing that "unities" actually exist. We borrowed the[Pg 119] concept "unity" from our concept "ego,"—our very oldest article of faith. If we did not believe ourselves to be unities we should never have formed the concept "thing." Now—that is to say, somewhat late in the day, we are overwhelmingly convinced that our conception of the concept "ego" is no security whatever for a real entity. In order to maintain the mechanical interpretation of the world theoretically, we must always make the reserve that it is with fictions that we do so: the concept of movement (derived from the language of our senses) and the concept of the atom (= entity, derived from our psychical experience) are based upon a sense-prejudice and a psychological prejudice.

Mechanics formulates consecutive phenomena, and it does so semeiologically, in the terms of the senses and of the mind (that all influence is movement; that where there is movement something is at work moving): it does not touch the question of the causal force.

The mechanical world is imagined as the eye and the sense of touch alone could imagine a world (as "moved"),—in such a way as to be calculable,—as to simulate causal entities "things" (atoms) whose effect is constant (the transfer of the false concept of subject to the concept atom).

The mixing together of the concept of numbers, of the concept of thing (the idea of subject), of the concept of activity (the separation of that which is the cause, and the effect), of the concept of movement: all these things are phenomenal; our eye and our psychology are still in it all.

If we eliminate these adjuncts, nothing remains[Pg 120] over but dynamic quanta, in a relation of tension to all other dynamic quanta: the essence of which resides in their relation to all other quanta, in their "influence" upon the latter. The will to power, not Being, not Becoming, but a pathos—is the elementary fact, from these first results a Becoming, an influencing....


The physicists believe in a "true world" after their own kind; a fixed systematising of atoms to perform necessary movements, and holding good equally of all creatures, so that, according to them, the "world of appearance" reduces itself to the side of general and generally-needed Being, which is accessible to every one according to his kind (accessible and also adjusted,—made "subjective"). But here they are in error. The atom which they postulate is arrived at by the logic of that perspective of consciousness; it is in itself therefore a subjective fiction. This picture of the world which they project is in no way essentially different from the subjective picture: the only difference is, that it is composed simply with more extended senses, but certainly with our senses.... And in the end, without knowing it, they left something out of the constellation: precisely the necessary perspective factor, by means of which every centre of power—and not man alone—constructs the rest of the world from its point of view—that is to say, measures it, feels it, and moulds it according to its degree of strength.... They forgot to reckon with this perspective-fixing power,[Pg 121] in "true being,"—or, in school-terms, subject-being. They suppose that this was "evolved" and added;—but even the chemical investigator needs it: it is indeed specific Being, which determines action and reaction according to circumstances.

Perspectivity is only a complex form, of specificness. My idea is that every specific body strives to become master of all space, and to extend its power (its will to power), and to thrust back everything that resists it. But inasmuch as it is continually meeting the same endeavours on the part of other bodies, it concludes by coming to terms with those (by "combining" with those) which are sufficiently related to it—and thus they conspire together for power. And the process continues.


Even in the inorganic world all that concerns an atom of energy is its immediate neighbourhood: distant forces balance each other. Here is the root of perspectivity, and it explains why a living organism is "egoistic" to the core.


Granting that the world disposed of a quantum of force, it is obvious that any transposition of force to any place would affect the whole system—thus, besides the causality of sequence, there would also be a dependence, contiguity, and coincidence.

[Pg 122]


The only possible way of upholding the sense of the concept "God" would be: to make Him not the motive force, but the condition of maximum power, an epoch; a point in the further development of the Will to Power; by means of which subsequent evolution just as much as former evolution—up to Him—could be explained.

Viewed mechanically, the energy of collective Becoming remains constant; regarded from the economical standpoint, it ascends to its zenith and then recedes therefrom in order to remain eternally rotatory. This "Will to Power" expresses itself in the interpretation in the manner in which the strength is used.—The conversion of energy into life; "life in its highest power" thenceforward appears as the goal. The same amount of energy, at different stages of development, means different things.

That which determines growth in Life is the economy which becomes ever more sparing and methodical, which achieves ever more and more with a steadily decreasing amount of energy.... The ideal is the principle of the least possible expense....

The only thing that is proved is that the world is not striving towards a state of stability. Consequently its zenith must not be conceived as a state of absolute equilibrium....

The dire necessity of the same things happening in the course of the world, as in all other things, is not an eternal determinism reigning over all phenomena, but merely the expression of the fact[Pg 123] that the impossible is not possible; that a given force cannot be different from that given force; that a given quantity of resisting force does not manifest itself otherwise than in conformity with its degree of strength;—to speak of events as being necessary is tautological.

2. The Will to Power as Life.

(a) The Organic Process.


Man imagines that he was present at the generation of the organic world: what was there to be observed, with the eyes and the touch, in regard to these processes? How much of it can be put into round numbers? What rules are noticeable in the movements? Thus, man would fain arrange all phenomena as if they were for the eye and for the touch, as if they were forms of motion: he will discover formules wherewith to simplify the unwieldy mass of these experiences.

The reduction of all phenomena to the level of men with senses and with mathematics. It is a matter of making an inventory of human experiences: granting that man, or rather the human eye and the ability to form concepts, have been the eternal witnesses of all things.


A plurality of forces bound by a common nutritive process we call "Life." To this nutritive[Pg 124] process all so-called feeling, thinking, and imagining belong as means—that is to say, (1) in the form of opposing other forces; (2) in the form of an adjustment of other forces according to mould and rhythm; (3) the form of a valuation relative to assimilation and excretion.


The bond between the inorganic and the organic world must lie in the repelling power exercised by every atom of energy. "Life" might be defined as a lasting form of force-establishing processes, in which the various contending forces, on their part, grow unequally. To what extent does counter-strife exist even in obedience? Individual power is by no means surrendered through it. In the same way, there exists in the act of commanding, an acknowledgment of the fact that the absolute power of the adversary has not been overcome, absorbed, or dissipated. "Obedience," and "command," are forms of the game of war.


The Will to Power interprets (an organ in the process of formation has to be interpreted): it defines, it determines gradations, differences of power. Mere differences of power could not be aware of each other as such: something must be there which will grow, and which interprets all other things that would do the same, according to the value of the latter. In sooth, all interpretation[Pg 125] is but a means in itself to become master of something. (Continual interpretation is the first principle of the organic process.)


Greater complexity, sharp differentiation, the contiguity of the developed organs and functions, with the disappearance of intermediate members—if that is perfection, then there is a Will to Power apparent in the organic process by means of whose dominating, shaping, and commanding forces it is continually increasing the sphere of its power, and persistently simplifying things within that sphere, it grows imperatively.

"Spirit" is only a means and an instrument in the service of higher life, in the service of the elevation of life.


"Heredity," as something quite incomprehensible, cannot be used as an explanation, but only as a designation for the identification of a problem. And the same holds good of "adaptability." As a matter of fact, the account of morphology, even supposing it were perfect, explains nothing, it merely describes an enormous fact. How a given organ gets to be used for any particular purpose is not explained. There is just as little explained in regard to these things by the assumption of causæ finales as by the assumption of causæ efficientes. The concept "causa" is only a means of expression, no more; a means of designating a thing.

[Pg 126]


They are analogies; for instance, our memory may suggest another kind of memory which makes itself felt in heredity, development, and forms. Our inventive and experimentative powers suggest another kind of inventiveness in the application of instruments to new ends, etc.

That which we call our "consciousness" is quite guiltless of any of the essential processes of our preservation and growth; and no human brain could be so subtle as to construct anything more than a machine—to which every organic process is infinitely superior.


Against Darwinism.—The use of an organ does not explain its origin, on the contrary! During the greater part of the time occupied in the formation of a certain quality, this quality does not help to preserve the individual; it is of no use to him, and particularly not in his struggle with external circumstances and foes.

What is ultimately "useful"? It is necessary to ask, "Useful for what"?

For instance, that which promotes the lasting powers of the individual might be unfavourable to his strength or his beauty; that which preserves him might at the same time fix him and keep him stable throughout development. On the other hand, a deficiency, a state of degeneration, may be of the greatest possible use, inasmuch as it acts as a stimulus to other organs. In the same way,[Pg 127] a state of need may be a condition of existence, inasmuch as it reduces an individual to that modicum of means which, though it keeps him together, does not allow him to squander his strength.—The individual himself is the struggle of parts (for nourishment, space, etc.): his development involves the triumph, the predominance, of isolated parts; the wasting away, or the "development into organs," of other parts.

The influence of "environment" is nonsensically overrated in Darwin, the essential factor in the process of life is precisely the tremendous inner power to shape and to create forms, which merely uses, exploits "environment."

The new forms built up by this inner power are not produced with a view to any end; but, in the struggle between the parts, a new form does not exist long without becoming related to some kind of semi-utility, and, according to its use, develops itself ever more and more perfectly.


"Utility" in respect of the acceleration of the speed of evolution, is a different kind of "utility" from that which is understood to mean the greatest possible stability and staying power of the evolved creature.


"Useful" in the sense of Darwinian biology means: that which favours a thing in its struggle with others. But in my opinion the feeling of[Pg 128] being surcharged, the feeling accompanying an increase in strength, quite apart from the utility of the struggle, is the actual progress: from these feelings the will to war is first derived.


Physiologists 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: "self-preservation" is only one of the results thereof.—Let us beware of superfluous teleological principles!—one of which is the whole concept of "self-preservation."[4]

[4] See Beyond Good and Evil, in this edition, Aph. 13.


The most-fundamental—and most primeval activity of a protoplasm cannot be ascribed to a will to self-preservation, for it absorbs an amount of material which is absurdly out of proportion with the needs of its preservation: and what is more, it does not "preserve itself" in the process, but actually falls to pieces.... The instinct which rules here, must account for this total absence in the organism of a desire to preserve itself: hunger is already an interpretation based upon the observation of a more or less complex organism (hunger is a specialised and later form of the instinct; it is an expression of the system of divided labour, in the service of a higher instinct which rules the whole).

[Pg 129]


It is just as impossible to regard hunger as the primum mobile, as it is to take self-preservation to be so. Hunger, considered as the result of insufficient nourishment, means hunger as the result of a will to power which can no longer dominate It is not a question of replacing a loss, it is only later on, as the result of the division of labour, when the Will to Power has discovered other and quite different ways of gratifying itself, that the appropriating lust of the organism is reduced to hunger—to the need of replacing what has been lost.


We can but laugh at the false "Altruism" of biologists: propagation among the amœbæ appears as a process of jetsam, as an advantage to them. It is an excretion of useless matter.


The division of a protoplasm into two takes place when its power is no longer sufficient to subjugate the matter it has appropriated: procreation is the result of impotence.

In the cases in which the males seek the females and become one with them, procreation is the result of hunger.


The weaker vessel is driven to the stronger from a need of nourishment; it desires to get under it,[Pg 130] if possible to become one with it. The stronger, on the contrary, defends itself from others; it refuses to perish in this way; it prefers rather to split itself into two or more parts in the process of growing. One may conclude that the greater the urgency seems to become one with something else, the more weakness in some form is present. The greater the tendency to variety, difference, inner decay, the more strength is actually to hand.

The instinct to cleave to something, and the instinct to repel something, are in the inorganic as in the organic world, the uniting bond. The whole distinction is a piece of hasty judgment.

The will to power in every combination of forces, defending itself against the stronger and coming down unmercifully upon the weaker, is more correct.

N. B. All processes may be regarded as "beings".


The will to power can manifest itself only against obstacles; it therefore goes in search of what resists it—this is the primitive tendency of the protoplasm when it extends its pseudopodia and feels about it. The act of appropriation and assimilation is, above all, the result of a desire to overpower, a process of forming, of additional building and rebuilding, until at last the subjected creature has become completely a part of the superior creature's sphere of power, and has increased the latter.—If this process of incorporation does not succeed, then the whole organism falls to pieces; and the separation occurs as the result of the will to power: in order to prevent the escape of that[Pg 131] which has been subjected, the will to power falls into two wills (under some circumstances without even abandoning completely its relation to the two).

"Hunger" is only a more narrow adaptation, once the fundamental instinct of power has won power of a more abstract kind.


What is "passive"?

To be hindered in the outward movement of grasping: it is thus an act of resistance and reaction.

What is "active"?

To stretch out for power.


Is only a derived phenomenon; the primitive form of it was the will to stuff everything inside one's own skin.


Only derived; originally, in those cases In which one will was unable to organise the collective mass it had appropriated, an opposing will came into power, which undertook to effect the separation and establish a new centre of organisation, after a struggle with the original will.

[Pg 132]


Is a feeling of power (presupposing the existence of pain).


(1) The organic functions shown to be but forms of the fundamental will, the will to power,—and buds thereof.

(2) The will to power specialises itself as will to nutrition, to property, to tools, to servants (obedience), and to rulers: the body as an example.—The stronger will directs the weaker. There is no other form of causality than that of will to will. It is not to be explained mechanically.

(3) Thinking, feeling, willing, in all living organisms. What is a desire if it be not: a provocation of the feeling of power by an obstacle (or, better still, by rhythmical obstacles and resisting forces)—so that it surges through it? Thus in all pleasure pain is understood.—If the pleasure is to be very great, the pains preceding it must have been very long, and the whole bow of life must have been strained to the utmost.

(4) Intellectual functions. The will to shaping, forming, and making like, etc.

(b) Man.


With the body as clue.—Granting that the "soul" was only an attractive and mysterious thought,[Pg 133] from which philosophers rightly, but reluctantly, separated themselves—that which they have since learnt to put in its place is perhaps even more attractive and even more mysterious. The human body, in which the whole of the most distant and most recent past of all organic life once more becomes living and corporal, seems to flow through, this past and right over it like a huge and inaudible torrent; the body is a more wonderful thought than the old "soul." In all ages the body, as our actual property, as our most certain being, in short, as our ego, has been more earnestly believed in than the spirit (or the "soul," or the subject, as the school jargon now calls it). It has never occurred to any one to regard his stomach as a strange or a divine stomach; but that there is a tendency and a predilection in man to regard all his thoughts as "inspired," all his values as "imparted to him by a God," all his instincts as dawning activities—this is proved by the evidence of every age in man's history. Even now, especially among artists, there may very often be noticed a sort of wonder, and a deferential hesitation to decide, when the question occurs to them, by what means they achieved their happiest work, and from which world the creative thought came down to them: when they question in this way, they are possessed by a feeling of guilelessness and childish shyness. They dare not say: "That came from me; it was my hand which threw that die." Conversely, even those philosophers and theologians, who in their logic and piety found the most imperative reasons for regarding their body as a[Pg 134] deception (and even as a deception overcome and disposed of), could not help recognising the foolish fact that the body still remained: and the most unexpected proofs of this are to be found partly in Pauline and partly in Vedantic philosophy. But what does strength of faith ultimately mean? Nothing!—A strong faith might also be a foolish faith!—There is food for reflection.

And supposing the faith in the body were ultimately but the result of a conclusion; supposing it were a false conclusion, as idealists declare it is, would it not then involve some doubt concerning the trustworthiness of the spirit itself which thus causes us to draw wrong conclusions?

Supposing the plurality of things, and space, and time, and motion (and whatever the other first principles of a belief in the body may be) were errors—what suspicions would not then be roused against the spirit which led us to form such first principles? Let it suffice that the belief in the body is, at any rate for the present, a much stronger belief than the belief in the spirit, and he who would fain undermine it assails the authority of the spirit most thoroughly in so doing!


The Body as an Empire.

The aristocracy in the body, the majority of the rulers (the fight between the cells and the tissues).

Slavery and the division of labour: the higher type alone possible through the subjection of the lower to a function.

[Pg 135]

Pleasure and pain, not contraries. The feeling of power.

"Nutrition" only a result of the insatiable lust of appropriation in the Will to Power.

"Procreation": this is the decay which supervenes when the ruling cells are too weak to organise appropriated material.

It is the moulding force which will have a continual supply of new material (more "force"). The masterly construction of an organism out of an egg.

"The mechanical interpretation": recognises only quantities: but the real energy is in the quality. Mechanics can therefore only describe processes; it cannot explain them.

"Purpose." We should start out from the "sagacity" of plants.

The concept of "meliorism": not only greater complexity, but greater power (it need not be only greater masses).

Conclusion concerning the evolution of man: the road to perfection lies in the bringing forth of the most powerful individuals, for whose use the great masses would be converted into mere tools (that is to say, into the most intelligent and flexible tools possible).


Why is all activity, even that of a sense, associated with pleasure? Because, before the activity was possible, an obstacle or a burden was done away with. Or, rather, because all action is a process of overcoming, of becoming master of, and of increasing the feeling of power? The pleasure[Pg 136] of thought. Ultimately it is not only the feeling of power, but also the pleasure of creating and of contemplating the creation: for all activity enters our consciousness in the form of "works."


Creating is an act of selecting and of finishing the thing selected. (In every act of the will, this is the essential element.)


All phenomena which are the result of intentions may be reduced to the intention of increasing power.


When we do anything, we are conscious of a feeling of strength; we often have this sensation before the act—that is to say, while imagining the thing to do (as, for instance, at the sight of an enemy, of an obstacle, which we feel equal to): it is always an accompanying sensation. Instinctively we think that this feeling of strength is the cause of the action, that it is the "motive force." Our belief in causation is the belief in force and its effect; it is a transcript of our experience: in which we identify force and the feeling of force.—Force, however, never moves things; the strength which is conscious "does not set the muscles moving." "Of such a process we have no experience, no idea." "We experience as little concerning[Pg 137] force as a motive power, as concerning the necessity of a movement." Force is said to be the constraining element! "All we know is that one thing follows another;—we know nothing of either compulsion or arbitrariness in regard to the one following the other. Causality is first invented by thinking compulsion into the sequence of processes. A certain "understanding" of the thing is the result—that is to say, we humanise the process a little, we make it more "familiar"; the familiar is the known habitual fact of human compulsion associated with the feeling of force.


I have the intention of extending my arm; taking it for granted that I know as little of the physiology of the human body and of the mechanical laws of its movements as the man in the street, what could there be more vague, more bloodless, more uncertain than this intention compared with what follows it? And supposing I were the astutest of mechanics, and especially conversant with the formulæ which are applicable in this case, I should not be able to extend my arm one whit the better. Our "knowledge" and our "action" in this case lie coldly apart: as though in two different regions.—Again: Napoleon carries out a plan of campaign—what does that mean? In this case, everything concerning the consummation of the campaign is known, because everything must be done through words of command: but even here subordinates are taken for granted, who apply[Pg 138] and adapt the general plan to the particular emergency, to the degree of strength, etc.


For ages we have always ascribed the value of an action, of a character, of an existence, to the intention, to the purpose for which it was done, acted, or lived: this primeval idiosyncrasy of taste ultimately takes a dangerous turn provided the lack of intention and purpose in all phenomena comes ever more to the front in consciousness. With it a general depreciation of all values seems to be preparing: "All is without sense."—This melancholy phrase means: "All sense lies in the intention, and if the intention is absolutely lacking, then sense must be lacking too." In conformity with this valuation, people were forced to place the value of life in a a life after death, or in the progressive development of ideas, or of mankind, or of the people, or of man to superman; but in this way the progressus in infinitum of purpose had been reached: it was ultimately necessary to find one's self a place in the process of the world (perhaps with the disdæmonistic outlook, it was a process which led to nonentity).

In regard to this point, "purpose" needs a somewhat more severe criticism: it ought to be recognised that an action is never caused by a purpose; that an object and the means thereto are interpretations, by means of which certain points in a phenomena are selected and accentuated, at the cost of other, more numerous, points, that every[Pg 139] time something is done for a purpose, something fundamentally different, and yet other things happen; that in regard to the action done with a purpose, the case is the same as with the so-called purposefulness of the heat which is radiated from the sun: the greater part of the total sum is squandered; a portion of it, which is scarcely worth reckoning, has a "purpose," has "sense"; that an "end" with its "means" is an absurdly indefinite description, which indeed may be able to command as a precept, as "will," but presupposes a system of obedient and trained instruments, which, in the place of the indefinite, puts forward a host of determined entities (i.e. we imagine a system of clever but narrow intellects who postulate end and means, in order to be able to grant our only known "end," the rôle of the "cause of an action,"—a proceeding to which we have no right: it is tantamount to solving a problem by placing its solution in an inaccessible world which we cannot observe).

Finally, why could not an "end" be merely an accompanying feature in the series of changes among the active forces which bring about the action—a pale stenographic symbol stretched in consciousness beforehand, and which serves as a guide to what happens, even as a symbol of what happens, not as its cause?—But in this way we criticise will itself: is it not an illusion to regard that which enters consciousness as will-power, as a cause? Are not all conscious phenomena only final phenomena—the lost links in a chain, but apparently conditioning one another in their[Pg 140] sequence within the plane of consciousness? This might be an illusion.


Science does not inquire what impels us to will: on the contrary, it denies that willing takes place at all, and supposes that something quite different has happened—in short, that the belief in "will" and "end" is an illusion. It does not inquire into the motives of an action, as if these had been present in consciousness previous to the action, but it first divides the action up into a group of phenomena, and then seeks the previous history of this mechanical movement—but not in the terms of feeling, perception, and thought; from this quarter it can never accept the explanation: perception is precisely the matter of science, which has to be explained.—The problem of science is precisely to explain the world, without taking perceptions as the cause: for that would mean regarding perceptions themselves as the cause of perceptions. The task of science is by no means accomplished.

Thus: either there is no such thing as will,—the hypothesis of science,—or the will is free. The latter assumption represents the prevailing feeling, of which we cannot rid ourselves, even if the hypothesis of science were proved.

The popular belief in cause and effect is founded on the principle that free will is the cause of every effect: thereby alone do we arrive at the feeling of causation. And thereto belongs also the feeling that every cause is not an effect, but always onl[Pg 141]y a cause—if will is the cause. "Our acts of will are not necessary"—this lies in the very concept of "will." The effect necessarily comes after the cause—that is what we feel. It is merely a hypothesis that even our willing is compulsory in every case.


"To will" is not "to desire," to strive, to aspire to; it distinguishes itself from that through the passion of commanding.

There is no such thing as "willing," but only the willing of something: the aim must not be severed from the state—as the epistemologists sever it. "Willing," as they understand it, is no more possible than "thinking": it is a pure invention.

It is essential to willing that something should be commanded (but that does not mean that the will is carried into effect).

The general state of tension, by virtue of which a force seeks to discharge itself, is not "willing."


"Pain" and "pleasure" are the most absurd means of expressing judgments, which of course does not mean that the judgments which are enunciated in this way must necessarily be absurd. The elimination of all substantiation and logic, a yes or no in the reduction to a passionate desire to have or to reject, an imperative abbreviation, the utility of which is irrefutable: that is pain and pleasure. Its origin is in the central sphere[Pg 142] of the intellect; its prerequisite is an infinitely accelerated process of perceiving, ordering, co-ordinating, calculating, concluding: pleasure and pain are always final phenomena, they are never causes.

As to deciding what provokes pain and pleasure, that is a question which depends upon the degree of power: the same thing, when confronted with a small quantity of power, may seem a danger and may suggest the need of speedy defence, and when confronted with the consciousness of greater power, may be a voluptuous stimulus and may be followed by a feeling of pleasure.

All feelings of pleasure and pain presuppose a measuring of collective utility and collective harmfulness: consequently a sphere where there is the willing of an object (of a condition) and the selection of the means thereto. Pleasure and pain are never "original facts."

The feelings of pleasure and pain are reactions of the will (emotions) in which the intellectual centre fixes the value of certain supervening changes as a collective value, and also as an introduction of contrary actions.


The belief in "emotions"—Emotions are a fabrication of the intellect, an invention of causes which do not exist. All general bodily sensations which we do not understand are interpreted intellectually—that is to say, a reason is sought why we feel thus or thus among certain people or in certain[Pg 143] experiences. Thus something disadvantageous dangerous, and strange is taken for granted, as if it were the cause of our being indisposed; as a matter of fact, it gets added to the indisposition, so as to make our condition thinkable.—Mighty rushes of blood to the brain, accompanied by a feeling of suffocation, are interpreted as anger: the people and things which provoke our anger are a means of relieving our physiological condition. Subsequently, after long habituation, certain processes and general feelings are so regularly correlated that the sight of certain processes provokes that condition of general feeling, and induces vascular engorgements, the ejection of seminal fluid, etc.: we then say that the "emotion is provoked by propinquity."

Judgments already inhere in pleasure and pain: stimuli become differentiated, according as to whether they increase or reduce the feeling of power.

The belief in willing. To believe that a thought may be the cause of a mechanical movement is to believe in miracles. The consistency of science demands that once we have made the world thinkable for ourselves by means of pictures, we should also make the emotions, the desires, the will, etc., thinkable—that is to say, we should deny them and treat them as errors of the intellect.


Free will or no free will?—There is no such thing as "Will": that is only a simplified[Pg 144] conception on the part of the understanding, like "matter."

All actions must first be prepared and made possible mechanically before they can be willed. Or, in most cases the "object" of an action enters the brain only after everything is prepared for its accomplishment. The object is an inner "stimulus"—nothing more.


The most proximate prelude to an action relates to that action: but further back still there lies a preparatory history which covers a far wider field: the individual action is only a factor in a much more extensive and subsequent fact. The shorter and the longer processes are not reported.


The theory of chance: the soul is a selecting and self-nourishing being, which is persistently extremely clever and creative (this creative power is commonly overlocked! it is taken to be merely passive).

I recognised the active and creative power within the accidental.—Accident is in itself nothing more than the clashing of creative impulses.


Among the enormous multiplicity of phenomena to be observed in an organic being, that part which becomes conscious is a mere means: and the particle of "virtue," "self abnegation,"[Pg 145] and other fanciful inventions, are denied in a most thoroughgoing manner by the whole of the remaining phenomena. We would do well to study our organism in all its immorality....

The animal functions are, as a matter of fact, a million times more important than all beautiful states of the soul and heights of consciousness: the latter are an overflow, in so far as they are not needed as instruments in the service of the animal functions. The whole of conscious life: the spirit together with the soul, the heart, goodness, and virtue; in whose service does it work? In the greatest possible perfection of the means (for acquiring nourishment and advancement) serving the fundamental animal functions: above all, the ascent of the line of Life.

That which is called "flesh" and "body" is of such incalculably greater importance, that the rest is nothing more than a small appurtenance. To continue the chain of life so that it becomes ever more powerful—that is the task.

But now observe how the heart, the soul, virtue, and spirit together conspire formally to thwart this purpose: as if they were the object of every endeavour! ... The degeneration of life is essentially determined by the extraordinary fallibility of consciousness, which is held at bay least of all by the instincts, and thus commits the gravest and profoundest errors.

Now could any more insane extravagance of vanity be imagined than to measure the value of existence according to the pleasant or unpleasant feelings of this consciousness? It is obviously only[Pg 146] a means: and pleasant or unpleasant feelings are also no more than means.

According to what standard is the objective value measured? According to the quantity of increased and more organised power alone.


The value of all valuing.—My desire would be to see the agent once more identified with the action, after action has been deprived of all meaning by having been separated in thought from the agent; I should like to see the notion of doing something, the idea of a "purpose," of an "intention," of an object, reintroduced into the action, after action has been made insignificant by having been artificially separated from these things.

All "objects," "purposes," "meanings," are only manners of expression and metamorphoses of the one will inherent in all phenomena; of the will to power. To have an object, a purpose, or an intention, in fact to will generally, is equivalent to the desire for greater strength, for fuller growth, and for the means thereto in addition.

The most general and fundamental instinct in all action and willing is precisely on that account the one which is least known and is most concealed; for in practice we always follow its bidding, for the simple reason that we are in ourselves its bidding....

All valuations are only the results of, and the narrow points of view in servings this one will: valuing in itself is nothing save this, —will to power.

[Pg 147]

To criticise existence from the standpoint of any one of these values is utter nonsense and error. Even supposing that a process of annihilation follows from such a value, even so this process is in the service of this will.

The valuation of existence itself! But existence is this valuing itself!—and even when we say "no," we still do what we are.

We ought now to perceive the absurdity of this pretence at judging existence; and we ought to try and discover what actually takes place there. It is symptomatic.


Concerning the Origin of our Valuations.

We are able to analyse our body, and by doing so we get the same idea of it as of the stellar system, and the differences between organic and inorganic lapses. Formerly the movements of the stars were explained as the effects of beings consciously pursuing a purpose: this is no longer required, and even in regard to the movements of the body and its changes, the belief has long since been abandoned that they can be explained by an appeal to a consciousness which has a determined purpose. By far the greater number of movements have nothing to do with consciousness at all: neither have they anything to do with sensation. Sensations and thoughts are extremely rare and insignificant things compared with the innumerable phenomena occurring every second.

On the other hand, we believe that a certain[Pg 148] conformity of means to ends rules over the very smallest phenomenon, which it is quite beyond our deepest science to understand; a sort of cautiousness, selectiveness, co-ordination, and repairing process, etc. In short, we are in the presence of an activity to which it would be necessary to ascribe an incalculably higher and more extensive intellect than the one we are acquainted with. We learn to think less of all that is conscious: we unlearn the habit of making ourselves responsible for ourselves, because, as conscious beings fixing purposes, we are but the smallest part of ourselves.

Of the numerous influences taking effect every second, for instance, air, electricity, we feel scarcely anything at all. There might be a number of forces, which, though they never make themselves felt by us, yet influence us continually. Pleasure and pain are very rare and scanty phenomena, compared with the countless stimuli with which a cell or an organ operates upon another cell or organ.

It is the phase of the modesty of consciousness. Finally, we can grasp the conscious ego itself, merely as an instrument in the service of that higher and more extensive intellect: and then we may ask whether all conscious willing, all conscious purposes, all valuations, are not perhaps only means by virtue of which something essentially different is attained, from that which consciousness supposes. We mean: it is a question of our pleasure and pain but pleasure and pain might be the means whereby we had something to do which lies outside our consciousness.

[Pg 149]

This is to show how very superficial all conscious phenomena really are; how an action and the image of it differ; how little we know about what precedes an action; how fantastic our feelings, "freewill," and "cause and effect" are; how thoughts and images, just like words, are only signs of thoughts; the impossibility of finding the grounds of any action; the superficiality of all praise and blame; how essentially our conscious life is composed of fancies and illusion; how all our words merely stand for fancies (our emotions too), and how the union of mankind depends upon the transmission and continuation of these fancies: whereas, at bottom, the real union of mankind by means of procreation pursues its unknown way. Does this belief in the common fancies of men really alter mankind? Or is the whole body of ideas and valuations only an expression in itself of unknown changes? Are there really such things as will, purposes, thoughts, values? Is the whole of conscious life perhaps no more than mirage? Even when values seem to determine the actions of a man, they are, as a matter of fact, doing something quite different! In short, granting that a certain conformity of means to end might be demonstrated in the action of nature, without the assumption of a ruling ego: could not our notion of purposes, and our will, etc., be only a symbolic language standing for something quite different—that is to say, something not-willing and unconscious? only the thinnest semblance of that natural conformity of means to end in the organic world, but not in any way different therefrom?

[Pg 150]

Briefly, perhaps the whole of mental development is a matter of the body: it is the consciously recorded history of the fact that a higher body is forming. The organic ascends to higher regions. Our longing to know Nature is a means by virtue of which the body would reach perfection. Or, better still, hundreds of thousands of experiments are made to alter the nourishment and the mode of living of the body: the body's consciousness and valuations, its kinds of pleasure and pain, are signs of these changes and experiments. In the end, it is not a question concerning man; for he must be surpassed.


To what Extent are all Interpretations of the World Symptoms of a Ruling Instinct.

The artistic contemplation of the world: to sit before the world and to survey it. But here the analysis of æsthetical contemplation, its reduction to cruelty, its feeling of security, its judicial and detached attitude, etc., are lacking. The artist himself must be taken, together with his psychology (the criticism of the instinct of play, as a discharge of energy, the love of change, the love of bringing one's soul in touch with strange things, the absolute egoism of the artist, etc.). What instincts does he sublimate?

The scientific contemplation of the world: a criticism of the psychological longing for science, the desire to make everything comprehensible; the desire to make everything practical, useful, capable of being exploited—to what extent this is[Pg 151] anti-æsthetic. Only that value counts, which may be reckoned in figures. How it happens that a mediocre type of man preponderates under the influence of science. It would be terrible if even history were to be taken possession of in this way—the realm of the superior, of the judicial. What instincts are here sublimated!

The religious contemplation of the world: a criticism of the religious man. It is not necessary to take the moral man as the type, but the man who has extreme feelings of exaltation and of deep depression, and who interprets the former with thankfulness or suspicion without, however, seeking their origin in himself (nor the latter either). The man who essentially feels anything but free, who sublimates his conditions and states of submission.

The moral contemplation of the world. The feelings peculiar to certain social ranks are projected into the universe: stability, law, the making of things orderly, and the making of things alike, are sought in the highest spheres, because they are valued most highly,—above everything or behind everything.

What is common to all: the ruling instincts wish to be regarded as the highest values in general, even as the creative and ruling powers. It is understood that these instincts either oppose or overcome each other (join up synthetically, or alternate in power). Their profound antagonism is, however, so great, that in those cases in which they all insist upon being gratified, a man of very thorough mediocrity is the outcome.

[Pg 152]


It is a question whether the origin of our apparent "knowledge" is not also a mere offshoot of our older valuations, which are so completely assimilated that they belong to the very basis of our nature. In this way only the more recent needs engage in battle with results of the oldest needs.

The world is seen, felt, and interpreted thus and thus, in order that organic life may be preserved with this particular manner of interpretation. Man is not only an individual, but the continuation of collective organic life in one definite line. The fact that man survives, proves that a certain species of interpretations (even though it still be added to) has also survived; that, as a system, this method of interpreting has not changed. "Adaptation."

Our "dissatisfaction," our "ideal," etc., may possibly be the result of this incorporated piece of interpretation, of our particular point of view: the organic world may ultimately perish owing to it just as the division of labour in organisms may be the means of bringing about the ruin of the whole, if one part happen to wither or weaken. The destruction of organic life, and even of the highest form thereof, must follow the same principles as the destruction of the individual.


Judged from the standpoint of the theory of descent, individuation shows the continuous breaking[Pg 153] up of one into two, and the equally continuous annihilation of individuals for the sake of a few individuals, which evolution bears onwards; the greater mass always perishes ("the body").

The fundamental phenomena: innumerable individuals are sacrificed for the sake of a few, in order to make the few possible.—One must not allow one's self to be deceived; the case is the same with peoples and races: they produce the "body" for the generation of isolated and valuable individuals, who continue the great process.


I am opposed to the theory that the individual studies the interests of the species, or of posterity, at the cost of his own advantage: all this is only apparent.

The excessive importance which he attaches to the sexual instinct is not the result of the latter's importance to the species, for procreation is the actual performance of the individual, it is his greatest interest, and therefore it is his highest expression of power (not judged from the standpoint of consciousness, but from the very centre of the individual).


The fundamental errors of the biologists who have lived hitherto: it is not a matter of the species, but of rearing stronger individuals (the many are only a means).

Life is not the continuous adjustment of internal[Pg 154] relations to external relations, but will to power, which, proceeding from inside, subjugates and incorporates an ever-increasing quantity of "external" phenomena.

These biologists continue the moral valuations ("the absolutely higher worth of Altruism," the antagonism towards the lust of dominion, towards war, towards all that which is not useful, and towards all order of rank and of class).


In natural science, the moral depreciation of the ego still goes hand in hand with the overestimation of the species. But the species is quite as illusory as the ego: a false distinction has been made. The ego is a hundred times more than a mere unit in a chain of creatures; it is the chain itself, in every possible respect, and the species is merely an abstraction suggested by the multiplicity and partial similarity of these chains. That the individual is sacrificed to the species, as people often say he is, is not a fact at all: it is rather only an example of false interpretation.


The formula of the "progress"-superstition according to a famous physiologist of the cerebral regions:—

"L'animal ne fait jamais de progrès comme espèce. L'homme seul fait de progrès comme espèce."


[Pg 155]


Anti-Darwin.—The domestication of man: what definite value can it have, or has domestication in itself a definite value?—There are reasons for denying the latter proposition.

Darwin's school of thought certainly goes to great pains to convince us of the reverse: it would fain prove that the influence of domestication may be profound and fundamental. For the time being, we stand firmly as we did before; up to the present no results save very superficial modification or degeneration have been shown to follow upon domestication. And everything that escapes from the hand and discipline of man, returns almost immediately to its original natural condition. The type remains constant, man cannot "dénaturer la nature."

Biologists reckon upon the struggle for existence, the death of the weaker creature and the survival of the most robust, most gifted combatant; on that account they imagine a continuous increase in the perfection of all creatures. We, on the contrary, have convinced ourselves of the fact, that in the struggle for existence, accident serves the cause of the weak quite as much as that of the strong; that craftiness often supplements strength with advantage; that the prolificness of a species is related in a remarkable manner to that species chances of destruction....

Natural Selection is also credited with the power of slowly effecting unlimited metamorphoses: it is believed that every advantage is[Pg 156] transmitted by heredity, and strengthened in the course of generations (when heredity is known to be so capricious that ...); the happy adaptations of certain creatures to very special conditions of life, are regarded as the result of surrounding influences. Nowhere, however, are examples of unconscious selection to be found (absolutely nowhere). The most different individuals associate one with the other; the extremes become lost in the mass. Each vies with the other to maintain his kind; those creatures whose appearance shields them from certain dangers, do not alter this appearance when they are in an environment quite devoid of danger.... If they live in places where their coats or their hides do not conceal them, they do not adapt themselves to their surroundings in any way.

The selection of the most beautiful has been so exaggerated, that it greatly exceeds the instincts for beauty in our own race! As a matter of fact, the most beautiful creature often couples with the most debased, and the largest with the smallest. We almost always see males and females taking advantage of their first chance meeting, and manifesting no taste or selectiveness at all.—Modification through climate and nourishment—but as a matter of fact unimportant.

There are no intermediate forms.—

The growing evolution of creatures is assumed. All grounds for this assumption are entirely lacking. Every type has its limitations: beyond these evolution cannot carry it.

[Pg 157]

My general point of view. First proposition: Man as a species is not progressing. Higher specimens are indeed attained; but they do not survive. The general level of the species is not raised.

Second proposition: Man as a species does not represent any sort of progress compared with any other animal. The whole of the animal and plant world does not develop from the lower to the higher.... but all simultaneously, haphazardly, confusedly, and at variance. The richest and most complex forms—and the term "higher type" means no more than this—perish more easily: only the lowest succeed in maintaining their apparent imperishableness. The former are seldom attained, and maintain their superior position with difficulty, the latter are compensated by great fruitfulness.—In the human race, also, the superior specimens, the happy cases of evolution, are the first to perish amid the fluctuations of chances for and against them. They are exposed to every form of decadence: they are extreme, and, on that account alone, already decadents.... The short duration of beauty, of genius, of the Cæsar, is sui generis: such things are not hereditary. The type is inherited, there is nothing extreme or particularly "happy" about a type——It is not a case of a particular fate, or of the "evil will" of Nature, but merely of the concept "superior type": the higher type is an example of an incomparably greater degree of complexity a greater sum of co-ordinated elements: but on this account disintegration becomes a thousand times more[Pg 158] threatening. "Genius" is the sublimest machine in existence—hence it is the most fragile.

Third propositio:: The domestication (culture) of man does not sink very deep. When it does sink far below the skin it immediately becomes degeneration (type: the Christian). The wild man (or, in moral terminology, the evil man) is a reversion to Nature—and, in a certain sense, he represents a recovery, a cure from the effects of "culture." ...


Anti-Darwin.—What surprises me most on making a general survey of the great destinies of man, is that I invariably see the reverse of what to-day Darwin and his school sees or will persist in seeing: selection in favour of the stronger, the better-constituted, and the progress of the species. Precisely the reverse of this stares one in the face: the suppression of the lucky cases, the uselessness of the more highly constituted types, the inevitable mastery of the mediocre, and even of those who are below mediocrity. Unless we are shown some reason why man is an exception among living creatures, I incline to the belief that Darwin's school is everywhere at fault. That will to power, in which I perceive the ultimate reason and character of all change, explains why it is that selection is never in favour of the exceptions and of the lucky cases: the strongest and happiest natures are weak when they are confronted with a majority ruled by organised gregarious instincts and the[Pg 159] fear which possesses the weak. My general view of the world of values shows that in the highest values which now sway the destiny of man, the happy cases among men, the select specimens do not prevail: but rather the decadent specimens,—perhaps there is nothing more interesting in the world than this unpleasant spectacle....

Strange as it may seem, the strong always have to be upheld against the weak; and the well-constituted against the ill-constituted, the healthy against the sick and physiologically botched. If we drew our morals from reality, they would read thus: the mediocre are more valuable than the exceptional creatures, and the decadent than the mediocre; the will to nonentity prevails over the will to life—and the general aim now is, in Christian, Buddhistic, Schopenhauerian phraseology: "It is better not to be than to be."

I protest against this formulating of reality into a moral: and I loathe Christianity with a deadly loathing, because it created sublime words and attitudes in order to deck a revolting truth with all the tawdriness of justice, virtue, and godliness....

I see all philosophers and the whole of science on their knees before a reality which is the reverse of "the struggle for life," as Darwin and his school understood it—that is to say, wherever I look, I see those prevailing and surviving, who throw doubt and suspicion upon life and the value of life.—The error of the Darwinian school became a problem to me: how can one be so blind as to make this mistake?

[Pg 160]

That species show an ascending tendency, is the most nonsensical assertion that has ever been made: until now they have only manifested a dead level. There is nothing whatever to prove that the higher organisms have developed from the lower. I see that the lower, owing to their numerical strength, their craft, and ruse, now preponderate,—and I fail to see an instance in which an accidental change produces an advantage, at least not for a very long period: for it would be necessary to find some reason why an accidental change should become so very strong.

I do indeed find the "cruelty of Nature" which is so often referred to; but in a different place: Nature is cruel, but against her lucky and well-constituted children; she protects and shelters and loves the lowly.

In short, the increase of a species' power, as the result of the preponderance of its particularly well-constituted and strong specimens, is perhaps less of a certainty than that it is the result of the preponderance of its mediocre and lower specimens ... in the case of the latter, we find great fruitfulness and permanence: in the case of the former, the besetting dangers are greater, waste is more rapid, and decimation is more speedy.


Man as he has appeared up to the present is the embryo of the man of the future; all the formative powers which are to produce the latter, already lie in the former: and owing to the fact that[Pg 161] they are enormous, the more promising for the future the modern individual happens to be, the more suffering falls to his lot. This is the profoundest concept of suffering. The formative powers clash.—The isolation of the individual need not deceive one—as a matter of fact, some uninterrupted current does actually flow through all individuals, and does thus unite them. The fact that they feel themselves isolated, is the most powerful spur in the process of setting themselves the loftiest of aims: their search for happiness is the means which keeps together and moderates the formative powers, and keeps them from being mutually destructive.


Excessive intellectual strength sets itself new goals; it is not in the least satisfied by the command and the leadership of the inferior world, or by the preservation of the organism, of the "individual."

We are more than the individual: we are the whole chain itself, with the tasks of all the possible futures of that chain in us.

3. Theory of the Will to Power and of Valuations.


The unitary view of psychology.—We are accustomed to regard the development of a vast number of forms as compatible with one single origin.

My theory would be: that the will to power[Pg 162] is the primitive motive force out of which all other motives have been derived;

That it is exceedingly illuminating to substitute power for individual "happiness" (after which every living organism is said to strive): "It strives after power, after more power";—happiness is only a symptom of the feeling of power attained, a consciousness of difference (it does not strive after happiness: but happiness steps in when the object is attained, after which the organism has striven: happiness is an accompanying, not an actuating factor);

That all motive force is the will to power; that there is no other force, either physical, dynamic, or psychic.

In our science, where the concept cause and effect is reduced to a relationship of complete equilibrium, and in which it seems desirable for the same quantum of force to be found on either side, all idea of a motive power is absent: we only apprehend results, and we call these equal from the point of view of their content of force....

It is a matter of mere experience that change never ceases: at bottom we have not the smallest grounds for assuming that any one particular change must follow upon any other. On the contrary, any state which has been attained would seem almost forced to maintain itself intact if it had not within itself a capacity for not desiring to maintain itself.... Spinoza's proposition concerning "self-preservation" ought as a matter of fact to put a stop to change. But the proposition is false; the contrary is true. In all living organisms it can[Pg 163] be clearly shown that they do everything not to remain as they are, but to become greater....


"Will to power" and causality.—From a psychological point of view the idea of "cause" is our feeling of power in the act which is called willing—our concept effect is the superstition that this feeling of power is itself the force which moves things....

A state which accompanies an event and is already an effect of that event is deemed "sufficient cause" of the latter; the tense relationship of our feeling of power (pleasure as the feeling of power) and of an obstacle being overcome—are these things illusions?

If we translate the notion "cause" back into the only sphere which is known to us, and out of which we have taken it, we cannot imagine any change in which the will to power is not inherent. We do not know how to account for any change which is not a trespassing of one power on another.

Mechanics only show us the results, and then only in images (movement is a figure of speech); gravitation itself has no mechanical cause, because it is itself the first cause of mechanical results.

The will to accumulate force is confined to the phenomenon of life, to nourishment, to procreation, to inheritance, to society, states, customs, authority. Should we not be allowed to assume that this will is the motive power also of chemistry?—and of the cosmic order?

Not only conservation of energy, but the minimum amount of waste; so that the only reality is[Pg 164] this: the will of every centre of power to become stronger—not self-preservation, but the desire to appropriate, to become master, to become more, to become stronger.

Is the fact that science is possible a proof of the principle of causation—"From like causes, like effects"—"A permanent law of things"—"Invariable order"? Because something is calculable, is it therefore on that account necessary?

If something happens thus, and thus only, it is not the manifestation of a "principle," of a "law," of "order." What happens is that certain quanta of power begin to operate, and their essence is to exercise their power over all other quanta of power. Can we assume the existence of a striving after power without a feeling of pleasure and pain, i.e. without the sensation of an increase or a decrease of power? Is mechanism only a language of signs for the concealed fact of a world of fighting and conquering quanta of will-power? All mechanical first-principles, matter, atoms, weight, pressure, and repulsion, are not facts in themselves, but interpretations arrived at with the help of psychical fictions.

Life, which is our best known form of being, is altogether "will to the accumulation of strength"—all the processes of life hinge on this: everything aims, not at preservation, but at accretion and accumulation. Life as an individual case (a hypothesis which may be applied to existence in general) strives after the maximum feeling of power; life is essentially a striving after more power; striving itself is only a straining after more power;[Pg 165] the most fundamental and innermost thing of all is this will. (Mechanism is merely the semeiotics of the results.)


The thing which is the cause of the existence of development cannot in the course of investigation be found above development; it should neither be regarded as "evolving" nor as evolved ... the "will to power" cannot have been evolved.


What is the relation of the whole of the organic process towards the rest of nature?—Here the fundamental will reveals itself.


Is the "will to power" a kind of will, or is it identical with the concept will? Is it equivalent to desiring or commanding; is it the will which Schopenhauer says is the essence of things?

My proposition is that the will of psychologists hitherto has been an unjustifiable generalisation, and that there is no such thing as this sort of will, that instead of the development of one will into several forms being taken as a fact, the character of will has been cancelled owing to the fact that its content, its "whither," was subtracted from it: in Schopenhauer this is so in the highest degree; what he calls "will" is merely an empty word. There is even less plausibility in the will to live: for life is simply one of the manifestations of the will to power; it is quite arbitrary and ridiculous[Pg 166] to suggest that everything is striving to enter into this particular form of the will to power.


If the innermost essence of existence is the will to power; if happiness is every increase of power, and unhappiness the feeling of not being able to resist, of not being able to become master: may we not then postulate happiness and pain as cardinal facts? Is will possible without these two oscillations of yea and nay? But who feels happiness? ... Who will have power? ... Nonsensical question! If the essence of all things is itself will to power, and consequently the ability to feel pleasure and pain! Albeit: contrasts and obstacles are necessary, therefore also, relatively, units which trespass on one another.


According to the obstacles which a force seeks with a view of overcoming them, the measure of the failure and the fatality thus provoked must increase, and in so far as every force can only manifest itself against some thing that opposes it, an element of unhappiness is necessarily inherent in every action. But this pain acts as a greater incitement to life, and increases the will to power.


If pleasure and pain are related to the feeling of power, life would have to represent such an increase in power that the difference, the "plus,"[Pg 167] would have to enter consciousness. A dead level of power, if maintained, would have to measure its happiness in relation to depreciations of that level, i.e. in relation to states of unhappiness and not of happiness.... The will to an increase lies in the essence of happiness: that power is enhanced, and that this difference becomes conscious.

In a state of decadence after a certain time the opposite difference becomes conscious, that is decrease: the memory of former strong moments depresses the present feelings of happiness in this state comparison reduces happiness.


It is not the satisfaction of the will which is the cause of happiness (to this superficial theory I am more particularly opposed—this absurd psychological forgery in regard to the most simple things), but it is that the will is always striving to overcome that which stands in its way. The feeling of happiness lies precisely in the discontentedness of the will, in the fact that without opponents and obstacles it is never satisfied. "The happy man": a gregarious ideal.


The normal discontent of our instincts—for instance, of the instinct of hunger, of sex, of movement—contains nothing which is in itself depressing; it rather provokes the feeling of life, and, whatever the pessimists may say to us, like all[Pg 168] the rhythms of small and irritating stimuli, it strengthens. Instead of this discontent making us sick of life, it is rather the great stimulus to life.

(Pleasure might even perhaps be characterised as the rhythm of small and painful stimuli.)


Kant says: "These lines of Count Verri's (Sull' indole del piacere e del dolore; 1781) I confirm with absolute certainty: 'Il solo principio motore dell' uomo è il dolore. Il dolore precede ogni piacere. Il piacere non è un essere positivo.'"[5]

[5] On the Nature of Pleasure and Pain. "The only motive force of man is pain. Pain precedes every pleasure. Pleasure is not a positive thing."—Tr.


Pain is something different from pleasure—I mean it is not the latter's opposite.

If the essence of pleasure has been aptly characterised as the feeling of increased power (that is to say, as a feeling of difference which presupposes comparison), that does not define the nature of pain. The false contrasts which the people, and consequently the language, believes in, are always dangerous fetters which impede the march of truth. There are even cases where a kind of pleasure is conditioned by a certain rhythmic sequence of small, painful stimuli: in this way a very rapid growth of the feeling of power and of the feeling[Pg 169] of pleasure is attained. This is the case, for instance, in tickling, also in the sexual tickling which accompanies the coitus: here we see pain acting as the ingredient of happiness. It seems to be a small hindrance which is overcome, followed immediately by another small hindrance which once again is overcome—this play of resistance and resistance overcome is the greatest excitant of that complete feeling of overflowing and surplus power which constitutes the essence of happiness.

The converse, which would be an increase in the feeling of pain through small intercalated pleasurable stimuli, does not exist: pleasure and pain are not opposites.

Pain is undoubtedly an intellectual process in which a judgment is inherent—the judgment harmful, in which long experience is epitomised. There is no such thing as pain in itself. It is not the wound that hurts, it is the experience of the harmful results a wound may have for the whole organism, which here speaks in this deeply moving way, and is called pain. (In the case of deleterious influences which were unknown to ancient man, as, for instance, those residing in the new combination of poisonous chemicals, the hint from pain is lacking, and we are lost.)

That which is quite peculiar in pain is the prolonged disturbance, the quivering subsequent to a terrible shock in the ganglia of the nervous system. As a matter of fact, nobody suffers from the cause of pain (from any sort of injury, for instance), but from the protracted disturbance of his equilibrium which follows upon the shock. Pain is a[Pg 170] disease of the cerebral centres—pleasure is no disease at all.

The fact that pain may be the cause of reflex actions has appearances and even philosophical prejudice in its favour. But in very sudden accidents, if we observe closely, we find that the reflex action occurs appreciably earlier than the feeling of pain. I should be in a bad way when I stumbled if I had to wait until the fact had struck the bell of my consciousness, and until a hint of what I had to do had been telegraphed back to me. On the contrary, what I notice as clearly as possible is, that first, in order to avoid a fall, reflex action on the part of my foot takes place, and then, after a certain measurable space of time, there follows quite suddenly a kind of painful wave in my forehead. Nobody, then, reacts to pain. Pain is subsequently projected into the wounded quarter—but the essence of this local pain is nevertheless not the expression of a kind of local wound, it is merely a local sign, the strength and nature of which is in keeping with the severity of the wound, and of which the nerve centres have taken note. The fact that as the result of this shock the muscular power of the organism is materially reduced, does not prove in any way that the essence of pain is to be sought in the lowering of the feeling of power.

Once more let me repeat: nobody reacts to pain: pain is no "cause" of action. Pain itself is a reaction; the reflex movement is another and earlier process—both originate at different points....

[Pg 171]


The message of pain: in itself pain does not announce that which has been momentarily damaged, but the significance of this damage for the individual as a whole.

Are we to suppose that there are any pains which "the species" feel, and which the individual does not?


"The sum of unhappiness outweighs the sum of happiness: consequently it were better that the world did not exist"—"The world is something which from a rational standpoint it were better did not exist, because it occasions more pain than pleasure to the feeling subject"—this futile gossip now calls itself pessimism!

Pleasure and pain are accompanying factors, not causes; they are second-rate valuations derived from a dominating value,—they are one with the feeling "useful," "harmful," and therefore they are absolutely fugitive and relative. For in regard to all utility and harmfulness there are a hundred different ways of asking "what for?"

I despise this pessimism of sensitiveness: it is in itself a sign of profoundly impoverished life.


Man does not seek happiness and does not avoid unhappiness. Everybody knows the famous prejudices I here contradict. Pleasure and pain are mere results, mere accompanying phenomena—that which every man, which every tiny particle of a[Pg 172] living organism will have, is an increase of power. In striving after this, pleasure and pain are encountered; it is owing to that will that the organism seeks opposition and requires that which stands in its way.... Pain as the hindrance of its will to power is therefore a normal feature, a natural ingredient of every organic phenomenon; man does not avoid it, on the contrary, he is constantly in need of it: every triumph, every feeling of pleasure, every event presupposes an obstacle overcome.

Let us take the simplest case, that of primitive nourishment; the protoplasm extends its pseudopodia in order to seek for that which resists it,—it does not do so out of hunger, but owing to its will to power. Then it makes the attempt to overcome, to appropriate, and to incorporate that with which it comes into contact—what people call "nourishment" is merely a derivative, a utilitarian application, of the primordial will to become stronger.

Pain is so far from acting as a diminution of our feeling of power, that it actually forms in the majority of cases a spur to this feeling,—the obstacle is the stimulus of the will to power.


Pain has been confounded with one of its subdivisions, which is exhaustion: the latter does indeed represent a profound reduction and lowering of the will to power, a material loss of strength—that is to say, there is (a) pain as the stimulus to an increase or power, and (b) pain following[Pg 173] upon an expenditure of power; in the first case it is a spur, in the second it is the outcome of excessive spurring.... The inability to resist is proper to the latter form of pain: the provocation of that which resists is proper to the former.... The only happiness which is to be felt in the state of exhaustion is that of going to sleep; in the other case, happiness means triumph.... The great confusion of psychologists consisted in the fact that they did not keep these two kinds of happiness—that of falling asleep, and that of triumph—sufficiently apart. Exhausted people will have repose, slackened limbs, peace and quiet—and these things constitute the bliss of Nihilistic religions and philosophies, the wealthy in vital strength, the active, want triumph, defeated opponents, and the extension of their feeling of power over ever wider regions. Every healthy function of the organism has this need,—and the whole organism constitutes an intricate complexity of systems struggling for the increase of the feeling of power....


How is it that the fundamental article of faith in all psychologies is a piece of most outrageous contortion and fabrication? "Man strives after happiness," for instance—how much of this is true? In order to understand what life is, and what kind of striving and tenseness life contains, the formula should hold good not only of trees and plants, but of animals also. "What does the plant strive after?"—But here we have already invented a[Pg 174] false entity which does not exist,—concealing and denying the fact of an infinitely variegated growth, with individual and semi-individual starting-points, if we give it the clumsy title "plant" as if it were a unit. It is very obvious that the ultimate and smallest "individuals" cannot be understood in the sense of metaphysical individuals or atoms; their sphere of power is continually shifting its ground: but with all these changes, can it be said that any of them strives after happiness?—All this expanding, this incorporation and growth, is a search for resistance; movement is essentially related to states of pain: the driving power here must represent some other desire if it leads to such continual willing and seeking of pain.—To what end do the trees of a virgin forest contend with each other? "For happiness"?—For power! ...

Man is now master of the forces of nature, and master too of his own wild and unbridled feelings (the passions have followed suit, and have learned to become useful)—in comparison with primeval man, the man of to-day represents an enormous quantum of power, but not an increase in happiness! How can one maintain, then, that he has striven after happiness?..


But while I say this I see above me, and below the stars, the glittering rat's-tail of errors which hitherto has represented the greatest inspiration of man: "All happiness is the result of virtue all virtue is the result of free will"!

[Pg 175]

Let us transvalue the values: all capacity is the outcome of a happy organisation, all freedom is the outcome of capacity (freedom understood here as facility in self-direction. Every artist will understand me).


"The value of life."—Every life stands by itself; all existence must be justified, and not only life,—the justifying principle must be one through which life itself speaks.

Life is only a means to something: it is the expression of the forms of growth in power.


The "conscious world" cannot be a starting-point for valuing: an "objective" valuation is necessary.

In comparison with the enormous and complicated antagonistic processes which the collective life of every organism represents, its conscious world of feelings, intentions, and valuations, is only a small slice. We have absolutely no right to postulate this particle of consciousness as the object, the wherefore, of the collective phenomena of life: the attainment of consciousness is obviously only an additional means to the unfolding of life and to the extension of its power. That is why it is a piece of childish simplicity to set up happiness, or intellectuality, or morality, or any other individual sphere of consciousness, as the highest value: and maybe to justify "the world" with it.

[Pg 176]

This is my fundamental objection to all philosophical and moral cosmologies and theologies, to all wherefores and highest values that have appeared in philosophies and philosophic religions hitherto. A kind of means is misunderstood as the object itself: conversely life and its growth of power were debased to a means.

If we wished to postulate an adequate object of life it would not necessarily be related in any way with the category of conscious life; it would require rather to explain conscious life as a mere means to itself....

The "denial of life" regarded as the object of life, the object of evolution! Existence—a piece of tremendous stupidity! Any such mad interpretation is only the outcome of life's being measured by the factors of consciousness (pleasure and pain, good and evil). Here the means are made to stand against the end—the "unholy," absurd, and, above all, disagreeable means: how can the end be any use when it requires such means? But where the fault lies is here—instead of looking for the end which would explain the necessity of such means, we posited an end from the start which actually excludes such means, i.e. we made a desideratum in regard to certain means (especially pleasurable, rational, and virtuous) into a rule, and then only did we decide what end would be desirable....

Where the fundamental fault lies is in the fact that, instead of regarding consciousness as an instrument and an isolated phenomenon of life in general, we made it a standard, the highest value in life: it is the faulty standpoint of a parte ad[Pg 177] totum,—and that is why all philosophers are instinctively seeking at the present day for a collective consciousness, a thing that lives and wills consciously with all that happens, a "Spirit," a "God." But they must be told that it is precisely thus that life is converted into a monster; that a "God" and a general sensorium would necessarily be something on whose account the whole of existence would have to be condemned.... Our greatest relief came when we eliminated the general consciousness which postulates ends and means—in this way we ceased from being necessarily pessimists.... Our greatest indictment of life was the existence of God.


Concerning the value of "Becoming."—If the movement of the world really tended to reach a final state, that state would already have been reached. The only fundamental fact, however, is that it does not tend to reach a final state: and every philosophy and scientific hypothesis (e.g. materialism) according to which such a final state is necessary, is refuted by this fundamental fact.

I should like to have a concept of the world which does justice to this fact. Becoming ought to be explained without having recourse to such final designs. Booming must appear justified at every instant (or it must defy all valuation: which has unity as its end); the present must not under any circumstances be justified by a future, nor must the past be justified for the sake of the[Pg 178] present. "Necessity" must not be interpreted in the form of a prevailing and ruling collective force or as a prime motor; and still less as the necessary cause of some valuable result. But to this end it is necessary to deny a collective consciousness for Becoming,—a "God," in order that life may not be veiled under the shadow of a being who feels and knows as we do and yet wills nothing: "God" is useless if he wants nothing; and if he do want something, this presupposes a general sum of suffering and irrationality which lowers the general value of Becoming. Fortunately any such general power is lacking (a suffering God overlooking everything, a general sensorium and ubiquitous Spirit, would be the greatest indictment of existence).

Strictly speaking nothing of the nature of Being must be allowed to remain,—because in that case Becoming loses its value and gets to be sheer and superfluous nonsense.

The next question, then, is: how did the illusion Being originate (why was it obliged to originate);

Likewise: how was it that all valuations based upon the hypothesis that there was such a thing as Being came to be depreciated.

But in this way we have recognised that this hypothesis concerning Being is the source of all the calumny that has been directed against the world (the "Better world," the "True world" the "World Beyond," the "Thing-in-itself").

(1) Becoming has no final state, it does not tend towards stability.

[Pg 179]

(2) Becoming is not a state of appearance, the world of Being is probably only appearance.

(3) Becoming is of precisely the same value at every instant; the sum of its value always remains equal: expressed otherwise, it has no value; for that according to which it might be measured, and in regard to which the word value might have some sense, is entirely lacking. The collective value of the world defies valuation; for this reason philosophical pessimism belongs to the order of farces.


We should not make our little desiderata the judges of existence! Neither should we make culminating evolutionary forms (e.g. mind) the "absolute" which stands behind evolution!


Our knowledge has become scientific to the extent in which it has been able to make use of number and measure. It might be worth while to try and see whether a scientific order of values might not be constructed according to a scale of numbers and measures representing energy.... All other values are matters of prejudice, simplicity, and misunderstanding. They may all be reduced to that scale of numbers and measures representing energy. The ascent in this scale would[Pg 180] represent an increase of value, the descent a diminution.

But here appearance and prejudice are against one (moral values are only apparent values compared with those which are physiological).


Why the standpoint of "value" lapses:—

Because in the "whole process of the universe" the work of mankind does not come under consideration; because a general process (viewed in the light of a system) does not exist.

Because there is no such thing as a whole; because no depreciation of human existence or human aims can be made in regard to something that does not exist.

Because "necessity," "causality," "design," are merely useful "semblances."

Because the aim is not "the increase of the sphere of consciousness," but the increase of power; in which increase the utility of consciousness is also contained; and the same holds good of pleasure and pain.

Because a mere means must not be elevated to the highest criterion of value (such as states of consciousness like pleasure and pain, if consciousness is in itself only a means).

Because the world is not an organism at all, but a thing of chaos; because the development of "intellectuality" is only a means tending relatively to extend the duration of an organisation.

Because all "desirability" has no sense in regard to the general character of existence.

[Pg 181]


"God" is the culminating moment: life is an eternal process of deifying and undeifying. But withal there is no zenith of values, but only a zenith of power.

Absolute exclusion of mechanical and materialistic interpretations. they are both only expressions of inferior states, of emotions deprived of all spirit (of the "will to power").

The retrograde movement front the zenith of development (the intellectualisation of power on some slave-infected soil) may be shown to be the result of the highest degree of energy turning against itself, once it no longer has anything to organise, and utilising its power in order to disorganise.

(a) The ever-increasing suppression of societies, and the latter's subjection by a smaller number of stronger individuals.

(b) The ever-increasing suppression of the privileged and the strong, hence the rise of democracy, and ultimately of anarchy, in the elements.


Value is the highest amount of power that a man can assimilate—a man, not mankind! Mankind is much more of a means than an end. It is a question of type: mankind is merely the experimental material; it is the overflow of the ill-constituted—a field of ruins.

[Pg 182]


Words relating to values are merely banners planted on those spots where a new blessedness was discovered—a new feeling.


The standpoint of "value" is the same as that of the conditions of preservation and enhancement, in regard to complex creatures of relative stability appearing in the course of evolution.

There are no such things as lasting and ultimate entities, no atoms, no monads: here also "permanence" was first introduced by ourselves (from practical, utilitarian, and other motives).

"The forms that rule"; the sphere of the subjugated is continually extended; or it decreases or increases according to the conditions (nourishment) being either favourable or unfavourable.

"Value" is essentially the standpoint for the increase or decrease of these dominating centres (pluralities in any case; for "unity" cannot be observed anywhere in the nature of development).

The means of expression afforded by language are useless for the purpose of conveying any facts concerning "development": the need of positing a rougher world of stable existences and things forms part of our eternal desire for preservation. We may speak of atoms and monads in a relative sense: and this is certain, that the smallest world is the most stable world .... There is no such thing as will: there are only punctuations of will, which are constantly increasing and decreasing their power.

[Pg 183]



1. Society and the State.


We take it as a principle that only individuals feel any responsibility. Corporations are invented to do what the individual has not the courage to do. For this reason all communities are vastly more upright and instructive, as regards the nature of man, than the individual who is too cowardly to have the courage of his own desires.

All altruism is the prudence of the private man. societies are not mutually altruistic. The commandment, "Thou shalt love thy next-door neighbour," has never been extended to thy neighbour in general. Rather what Manu says is probably truer: "We must conceive of all the States on our own frontier, and their allies, as being hostile, and for the same reason we must consider all of their neighbours as being friendly to us."

The study of society is invaluable, because man in society is far more childlike than man[Pg 184] individually. Society has never regarded virtue as anything else than as a means to strength, power, and order. Manu's words again are simple and dignified: "Virtue could hardly rely on her own strength alone. Really it is only the fear of punishment that keeps men in their limits, and leaves every one in peaceful possession of his own."


The State, or unmorality organised, is from within—the police, the penal code, status, commerce, and the family; and from without, the will to war, to power, to conquest and revenge.

A multitude will do things an individual will not, because of the division of responsibility, of command and execution; because the virtues of obedience, duty, patriotism, and local sentiment are all introduced; because feelings of pride, severity, strength, hate, and revenge in short, all typical traits are upheld, and these are characteristics utterly alien to the herd-man.


You haven't, any of you, the courage either to kill or to flog a man. But the huge machinery of the State quells the individual and makes him decline to be answerable for his own deed (obedience, loyalty, etc.).

Everything that a man does in the service of the State is against his own nature. Similarly, everything he learns in view of future service of the[Pg 185] State. This result is obtained through division of labour (so that responsibility is subdivided too):—

The legislator—and he who fulfils the law.

The teacher of discipline—and those who have grown hard and severe under discipline.


A division of labour among the emotions exists inside society, making individuals and classes produce an imperfect, but more useful, kind of soul. Observe how every type in society has become atrophied with regard to certain emotions with the view of fostering and accentuating other emotions.

Morality may be thus justified:—

Economically,—as aiming at the greatest possible use of all individual power, with the view of preventing the waste of exceptional natures.

Æsthetically,—as the formation of fixed types, and the pleasure in one's own.

Politically,—as the art of bearing with the severe divergencies of the degrees of power in society.

Psychologically, as an imaginary preference for the bungled and the mediocre, in order to preserve the weak.


Man has one terrible and fundamental wish; he desires power, and this impulse, which is called freedom, must be the longest restrained. Hence[Pg 186] ethics has instinctively aimed at such an education as shall restrain the desire for power; thus our morality slanders the would-be tyrant, and glorifies charity, patriotism, and the ambition of the herd.


Impotence to power, how it disguises itself and plays the hypocrite, as obedience, subordination, the pride of duty and morality, submission, devotion, love (the idolisation and apotheosis of the commander is a kind of compensation, and indirect self-enhancement). It veils itself further under fatalism and resignation, objectivity, self-tyranny, stoicism, asceticism, self-abnegation, hallowing. Other disguises are: criticism, pessimism, indignation, susceptibility, beautiful soul, virtue, self—deification, philosophic detachment, freedom from contact with the world (the realisation of impotence disguises itself as disdain).

There is a universal need to exercise some kind of power, or to create for one's self the appearance of some power, if only temporarily, in the form of intoxication.

There are men who desire power simply for the sake of the happiness it will bring; these belong chiefly to political parties. Other men have the same yearning, even when power means visible disadvantages, the sacrifice of their happiness, and well-being; they are the ambitious. Other men, again, are only like dogs in a manger, and will have power only to prevent its falling into the hands of others on whom they would then be dependent.

[Pg 187]


If there be justice and equality before the law, what would thereby be abolished?—Suspense, enmity, hatred. But it is a mistake to think that you thereby increase happiness; for the Corsicans rejoice in more happiness than the Continentals.


Reciprocity and the expectation of a reward is one of the most seductive forms of the devaluation of mankind. It involves that equality which depreciates any gulf as immoral.


Utility is entirely dependent upon the object to be attained,—the wherefore? And this wherefore, this purpose, is again dependent upon the degree of power. Utilitarianism is not, therefore, a fundamental doctrine; it is only a story of sequels, and cannot be made obligatory for all.


Of old, the State was regarded theoretically as a utilitarian institution; it has now become so in a practical sense. The time of kings has gone by, because people are no longer worthy of them. They do not wish to see the symbol of their ideal in a king, but only a means to their own ends. That's the whole truth.

[Pg 188]


I am trying to grasp the absolute sense of the communal standard of judgment and valuation, naturally without any intention of deducing morals.

The degree of psychological falsity and denseness required in order to sanctify the emotions essential to preservation and expansion of power, and to create a good conscience for them.

The degree of stupidity required in order that general rules and values may remain possible (including education, formation of culture, and training).

The degree of inquisitiveness, suspicion, and intolerance required in order to deal with exceptions, to suppress them as criminals, and thus to give them bad consciences, and to make them sick with their own singularity.


Morality is essentially a shield, a means of defence; and, in so far, it is a sign of the imperfectly developed man (he is still in armour; he is still stoical).

The fully developed man is above all provided with weapons: he is a man who attacks.

The weapons of war are converted into weapons of peace (out of scales and carapaces grow feathers and hair).


The very notion, "living organism", implies that there must be growth,—that there must be a[Pg 189] striving after an extension of power, and therefore a process of absorption of other forces. Under the drowsiness brought on by moral narcotics, people speak of the right of the individual to defend himself; on the same principle one might speak of his right to attack: for both—and the latter more than the former—are necessities where all living organisms are concerned: aggressive and defensive egoism are not questions of choice or even of "free will," but they are fatalities of life itself.

In this respect it is immaterial whether one have an individual, a living body, or "an advancing society" in view. The right to punish (or society's means of defence) has been arrived at only through a misuse of the word "right": a right is acquired only by contract, but self-defence and self-preservation do not stand upon the basis of a contract. A people ought at least, with quite as much justification, to be able to regard its lust of power, either in arms, commerce, trade, or colonisation, as a right the right of growth, perhaps.... When the instincts of a society ultimately make it give up war and renounce conquest, it is decadent: it is ripe for democracy and the rule of shopkeepers. In the majority of cases, it is true, assurances of peace are merely stupefying draughts.


The maintenance of the military State is the last means of adhering to the great tradition of the past; or, where it has been lost, to revive it. By means of it the superior or strong type of[Pg 190] man is preserved, and all institutions and ideas which perpetuate enmity and order of rank in States, such as national feeling, protective tariffs, etc., may on that account seem justified.


In order that a thing may last longer than a person (that is to say, in order that a work may outlive the individual who has created it), all manner of limitations and prejudices must be imposed upon people. But how? By means of love, reverence, gratitude towards the person who created the work, or by means of the thought that our ancestors fought for it, or by virtue of the feeling that the safety of our descendants will be secured if we uphold the work—for instance, the polis. Morality is essentially the means of; making something survive the individual, because it makes him of necessity a slave. Obviously the aspect from above is different from the aspect from below, and will lead to quite different interpretations. How is organised power maintained?—By the fact that countless generations sacrifice themselves to its cause.


Marriage, property, speech, tradition, race, family, people, and State, are each links in a chain—separate parts which have a more or less high or low origin. Economically they are justified by the surplus derived from the advantages of uninterrupted work and multiple production, as[Pg 191] weighed against the disadvantages of greater expense in barter and the difficulty of making things last. (The working parts are multiplied, and yet remain largely idle. Hence the cost of producing them is greater, and the cost of maintaining them by no means inconsiderable.) The advantage consists in avoiding interruption and incident loss. Nothing is more expensive than a start. "The higher the standard of living, the greater will be the expense of maintenance, nourishment, and propagation, as also the risk and the probability of an utter fall on reaching the summit."


In bourgeois marriages, naturally in the best sense of the word marriage, there is no question whatsoever of love any more than there is of money. For on love no institution can be founded. The whole matter consists in society giving leave to two persons to satisfy their sexual desires under conditions obviously designed to safeguard social order. Of course there must be a certain attraction between the parties and a vast amount of good nature, patience, compatibility, and charity in any such contract. But the word love should not be misused as regards such a union. For two lovers, in the real and strong meaning of the word, the satisfaction of sexual desire is unessential; it is a mere symbol. For the one side, as I have already said, it is a symbol of unqualified submission: for the other, a sign of condescension—a sign of the appropriation of[Pg 192] property. Marriage, as understood by the real old nobility, meant the breeding forth of the race (but are there any nobles nowadays? Quaeritur),—that is to say, the maintenance of a fixed definite type of ruler, for which object husband and wife were sacrificed. Naturally the first consideration here had nothing to do with love; on the contrary! It did not even presuppose that mutual sympathy which is the sine qua non of the bourgeois marriage. The prime consideration was the interest of the race, and in the second place came the interest of a particular class. But in the face of the coldness and rigour and calculating lucidity of such a noble concept of marriage as prevailed among every healthy aristocracy, like that of ancient Athens, and even of Europe during the eighteenth century, we warm-blooded animals, with our miserably oversensitive hearts, we "moderns," cannot restrain a slight shudder. That is why love as a passion, in the big meaning of this word, was invented for, and in, an aristocratic community—where convention and abstinence are most severe.


Concerning the future of marriage. A super-tax on inherited property, a longer term of military service for bachelors of a certain minimum age within the community.

Privileges of all sorts for fathers who lavish boys upon the world, and perhaps plural votes as well.

[Pg 193]

A medical certificate as a condition of any marriage, endorsed by the parochial authorities, in which a series of questions addressed to the parties and the medical officers must be answered ("family histories").

As a counter-agent to prostitution, or as its ennoblement, I would recommend leasehold marriages (to last for a term of years or months), with adequate provision for the children.

Every marriage to be warranted and sanctioned by a certain number of good men and true, of the parish, as a parochial obligation.


Another commandment of philanthropy.—There are cases where to have a child would be a crime—for example, for chronic invalids and extreme neurasthenics. These people should be converted to chastity, and for this purpose the music of Parsifal might at all events be tried. For Parsifal himself, that born fool, had ample reasons for not desiring to propagate. Unfortunately, however, one of the regular symptoms of exhausted stock is the inability to exercise any self-restraint in the presence of stimuli, and the tendency to respond to the smallest sexual attraction. It would be quite a mistake, for instance, to think of Leopardi as a chaste man. In such cases the priest and moralist play a hopeless game: it would be far better to send for the apothecary. Lastly, society here has a positive duty to fulfil, and of all the demands that are made on it, there are few more[Pg 194] urgent and necessary than this one. Society as the trustee of life, is responsible to life for every botched life that comes into existence, and as it has to atone for such lives, it ought consequently to make it impossible for them ever to see the light of day: it should in many cases actually prevent the act of procreation, and may, without any regard for rank, descent, or intellect, hold in readiness the most rigorous forms of compulsion and restriction, and, under certain circumstances, have recourse to castration. The Mosaic law, "Thou shalt do no murder," is a piece of ingenuous puerility compared with the earnestness of this forbidding of life to decadents, "Thou shalt not beget"!!! ... For life itself recognises no solidarity or equality of rights between the healthy and unhealthy parts of an organism. The latter must at all cost be eliminated, lest the whole fall to pieces. Compassion for decadents, equal rights for the physiologically botched—this would be the very pinnacle of immorality, it would be setting up Nature's most formidable opponent as morality itself!


There are some delicate and morbid natures, the so-called idealists, who can never under any circumstances rise above a coarse, immature crime: yet it is the great justification of their anæmic little existence, it is the small requital for their lives of cowardice and falsehood to have been for one instant at least—strong. But they generally collapse after such an act.

[Pg 195]


In our civilised world we seldom hear of any but the bloodless, trembling criminal, overwhelmed by the curse and contempt of society, doubting even himself, and always belittling and belying his deeds—a misbegotten sort of criminal; that is why we are opposed to the idea that all great men have been criminals (only in the grand style, and neither petty nor pitiful), that crime must be inherent in greatness (this at any rate is the unanimous verdict of all those students of human nature who have sounded the deepest waters of great souls). To feel one's self adrift from all questions of ancestry, conscience, and duty—this is the danger with which every great man is confronted. Yet this is precisely what he desires: he desires the great goal, and consequently the means thereto.


In times when man is led by reward and punishment, the class of man which the legislator has in view is still of a low and primitive type: he is treated as one treats a child. In our latter-day culture, general degeneracy removes all sense from reward and punishment. This determination of action by the prospect of reward and punishment presupposes young, strong, and vigorous races. In effete races impulses are so irrepressible that a mere idea has no force whatever. Inability to offer any resistance to a stimulus, and the feeling that one must react to it: this[Pg 196] excessive susceptibility of decadents makes all such systems of punishment and reform altogether senseless.

The idea "amelioration" presupposes a normal and strong creature whose action must in some way be balanced or cancelled if he is not to be lost and turned into an enemy of the community.


The effect of prohibition. Every power which forbids and which knows how to excite fear in the person forbidden creates a guilty conscience. (That is to say, a person has a certain desire but is conscious of the danger of gratifying it, and is consequently forced to be secretive, underhand, and cautious.) Thus any prohibition deteriorates the character of those who do not willingly submit themselves to it, but are constrained thereto.


"Punishment and reward."—These two things stand or fall together. Nowadays no one will accept a reward or acknowledge that any authority should have the power to punish. Warfare has been reformed. We have a desire: it meets with opposition: we then see that we shall most easily obtain it by coming to some agreement—by drawing up a contract. In modern society where every one has given his assent to a certain[Pg 197] contract, the criminal is a man who breaks that contract. This at least is a clear concept. But in that case, anarchists and enemies of social order could not be tolerated.


Crimes belong to the category of revolt against the social system, A rebel is not punished, he is simply suppressed. He may be an utterly contemptible and pitiful creature; but there is nothing intrinsically despicable about rebellion in fact, in our particular society revolt is far from being disgraceful. There are cases in which a rebel deserves honour precisely because he is conscious of certain elements in society which cry aloud for hostility; for such a man rouses us from our slumbers. When a criminal commits but one crime against a particular person, it does not alter the fact that all his instincts urge him to make a stand against the whole social system. His isolated act is merely a symptom.

The idea of punishment ought to be reduced to the concept of the suppression of revolt, a weapon against the vanquished (by means of long or short terms of imprisonment). But punishment should not be associated in any way with contempt. A criminal is at all events a man who has set his life, his honour, his freedom at stake; he is therefore a man of courage. Neither should punishment be regarded as penance or retribution, as though there were some recognised rate of exchange between crime and punishment. Punishment[Pg 198] does not purify, simply because crime does not sully.

A criminal should not be prevented from making his peace with society, provided he does not belong to the race of criminals. In the latter case, however, he should be opposed even before he has committed an act of hostility. (As soon as he gets into the clutches of society the first operation to be performed upon him should be that of castration.) A criminal's bad manners and his low degree of intelligence should not be reckoned against him. Nothing is more common than that he should misunderstand himself (more particularly when his rebellious instinct—the rancour of the unclassed—has not reached consciousness simply because he has not read enough). It is natural that he should deny and dishonour his deed while under the influence of fear at its failure. All this is quite distinct from those cases in which, psychologically speaking, the criminal yields to an incomprehensible impulse, and attributes a motive to his deed by associating it with a merely incidental and insignificant action (for example, robbing a man, when his real desire was to take his blood).

The worth of a man should not be measured by any one isolated act. Napoleon warned us against this. Deeds which are only skin-deep are more particularly insignificant. If we have no crime—let us say no murder—on our conscience; why is it? It simply means that a few favourable circumstances have been wanting in our lives. And supposing we were induced to commit such a crime[Pg 199] would our worth be materially affected? As a matter of fact, we should only be despised, if we were not credited with possessing the power to kill a man under certain circumstances. In nearly every crime certain qualities come into play without which no one would be a true man. Dostoievsky was not far wrong when he said of the inmates of the penal colonies in Siberia, that they constituted the strongest and most valuable portion of the Russian people. The fact that in our society the criminal happens to be a badly nourished and stunted animal is simply a condemnation of our system. In the days of the Renaissance the criminal was a flourishing specimen of humanity, and acquired his own virtue for himself,—Virtue in the sense of the Renaissance—that is to say, virtù; free from moralic acid.

It is only those whom we do not despise that we are able to elevate. Moral contempt is a far greater indignity and insult than any kind of crime.


Shame was first introduced into punishment when certain penalties were inflicted on persons held in contempt, such as slaves. It was a despised class that was most frequently punished, and thus it came to pass that punishment and contempt were associated.


In the ancient idea of punishment a religious concept was immanent, namely, the retributive power[Pg 200] of chastisement. Penalties purified; in modern society, however, penalties degrade. Punishment is a form of paying off a debt: once it has been paid, one is freed from the deed for which one was so ready to suffer. Provided belief in the power of punishment exist, once the penalty is paid a feeling of relief and lightheartedness results, which is not so very far removed from a state of convalescence and health. One has made one's peace with society, and one appears to one's self more dignified pure.... To-day, however, punishment isolates even more than the crime; the fate behind the sin has become so formidable that it is almost hopeless. One rises from punishment still an enemy of society. Henceforward it reckons yet another enemy against it. The jus talionis may spring from the spirit of retribution (that is to say, from a sort of modification of the instinct of revenge); but in the Book of Manu, for instance, it is the need of having some equivalent in order to do penance, or to become free in a religious sense.


My pretty radical note of interrogation in the case of all more modern laws of punishment is this: should not the punishment fit the crime?—for in your heart of hearts thus would you have it. But then the susceptibility of the particular criminal to pain would have to be taken into account. In other words, there should be no such thing as a preconceived penalty for any crime—no fixed penal code. But as it would be no[Pg 201] easy matter to ascertain the degree of sensitiveness of each individual criminal, punishment would have to be abolished in practice? What a sacrifice! Is it not? Consequently ...


Ah! and the philosophy of jurisprudence! That is a science which, like all moral sciences, has not even been wrapped in swaddling-clothes yet. Even among jurists who consider themselves liberal, the oldest and most valuable significance of punishment is still misunderstood—it is not even known. So long as jurisprudence does not build upon a new foundation—on history and comparative anthropology—it will never cease to quarrel over the fundamentally false abstractions which are fondly imagined to be the "philosophy of law," and which have nothing whatever to do with modern man. The man of to-day, however, is such a complicated woof even in regard to his legal valuation that he allows of the most varied interpretation.


An old Chinese sage once said he had heard that when mighty empires were doomed they began to have numberless laws.


Schopenhauer would have all rapscallions castrated, and all geese shut up in convents. But from[Pg 202] what point of view would this be desirable? The rascal has at least this advantage over other men—that he is not mediocre; and the fool is superior to us inasmuch as he does not suffer at the sight of mediocrity. It would be better to widen the gulf—that is to say, roguery and stupidity should be increased. In this way human nature would become broader ... but, after all, this is Fate, and it will happen, whether we desire it or not. Idiocy and roguery are increasing: this is part of modern progress.


Society, to-day, is full of consideration, tact, and reticence, and of good-natured respect for other people's rights—even for the exactions of strangers. To an even greater degree is there a certain charitable and instinctive depreciation of the worth of man as shown by all manner of trustful habits. Respect for men, and not only for the most virtuous, is perhaps the real parting of the ways between us and the Christian mythologists also have our good share of irony even when listening to moral sermons. He who preaches morality to us debases himself in our eyes and becomes almost comical. Liberal-mindedness regarding morality is one of the best signs of our age. In cases where it is most distinctly wanting, we regard it as a sign of a morbid condition (the case of Carlyle in England, of Ibsen in Norway, and Schopenhauer's pessimism throughout Europe). If there is anything which can reconcile us to our own age, it is precisely the amount of immorality which it allows itself without[Pg 203] falling in its own estimation—very much the reverse! In what, then, does the superiority of culture over the want of culture consist—of the Renaissance, for instance, over the Middle Ages? In this alone: the greater quantity of acknowledged immorality. From this it necessarily follows that the very zenith of human development must be regarded by the moral fanatic as the non plus ultra of corruption (in this connection let us recall Savonarola's judgment of Florence, Plato's indictment of Athens under Pericles, Luther's condemnation of Rome, Rousseau's anathemas against the society of Voltaire, and Germany's hostility to Goethe).

A little more fresh air, for Heaven's sake! This ridiculous condition of Europe must not last any longer. Is there a single idea behind this bovine nationalism? What possible value can there be in encouraging this arrogant self-conceit when everything to-day points to greater and more common interests?—at a moment when the spiritual dependence and denationalisation, which are obvious to all, are paving the way for the reciprocal rapprochements and fertilisations which make up the real value and sense of present-day culture! ... And it is precisely now that "the new German Empire" has been founded upon the most thread-bare and discredited of ideas—universal suffrage and equal right for all.

Think of all this struggling for advantage among conditions which are in every way degenerate: of[Pg 204] this culture of big cities, of newspapers, of hurry and scurry, and of "aimlessness"! The economic unity of Europe must necessarily come—and with it, as a reaction, the pacivist movement.

A pacivist party, free from all sentimentality, which forbids its children to wage war; which forbids recourse to courts of justice; which forswears all fighting, all contradiction, and all persecution: for a while the party of the oppressed, and later the powerful party:—this party would be opposed to everything in the shape of revenge and resentment.

There will also be a war party, exercising the same thoroughness and severity towards itself, which will proceed in precisely the opposite direction.


The princes of Europe should really consider whether as a matter of fact they can dispense with our services—with us, the immoralists. We are to-day the only power which can win a victory without allies: and we are therefore far and away the strongest of the strong. We can even do without lying, and let me ask what other power can dispense with this weapon? A strong temptation fights for us; the strongest, perhaps, that exists—the temptation of truth.... Truth? How do I come by this word? I must withdraw it: I must repudiate this proud word. But no. We do not even want it—we shall be quite able to achieve our victory of power without its help. The real charm which fights for us, the eye of Venus which our[Pg 205] opponents themselves deaden and blind—this charm is the magic of the extreme. The fascination which everything extreme exercises: we immoralists—we are in every way the extremists.


The corrupted ruling classes have brought ruling into evil odour. The State administration of justice is a piece of cowardice, because the great man who can serve as a standard is lacking. At last the feeling of insecurity becomes so great that men fall in the dust before any sort of will-power that commands.


"The will to power" is so loathed in democratic ages that the whole of the psychology of these ages seems directed towards its belittlement and slander. The types of men who sought the highest honours are said to have been Napoleon! Cæsar! and Alexander!—as if these had not been precisely the greatest scorners of honour.

And Helvetius would fain show us that we strive after power in order to have those pleasures which are at the disposal of the mighty—that is to say, according to him, this striving after power is the will to pleasure—hedonism!


According as to whether a people feels: "the rights, the keenness of vision, and the gifts of leading, etc., are with the few" or "with the many"—[Pg 206]it constitutes En oligarchic or a democratic community.

Monarchy represents the belief in a man who is completely superior a leader, a saviour, a demigod.

Aristocracy represents the belief in a chosen few—in a higher caste.

Democracy represents the disbelief in all great men and in all elite societies: everybody is everybody else's equal, "At bottom we are all herd and mob."


I am opposed to Socialism because it dreams ingenuously of goodness, truth, beauty, and equal rights (anarchy pursues the same ideal, but in a more brutal fashion).

I am opposed to parliamentary government and the power of the press, because they are the means whereby cattle become masters.


The arming of the people means in the end the arming of the mob.


Socialists are particularly ridiculous in my eyes, because of their absurd optimism concerning the "good man" who is supposed to be waiting in their cupboard, and who will come into being when the present order of society has been overturned and has made way for natural instincts. But the[Pg 207] opposing party is quite as ludicrous, because it will not see the act of violence which lies beneath every law, the severity and egoism inherent in every kind of authority. "I and my kind will rule and prevail. Whoever degenerates will be either expelled or annihilated."—This was the fundamental feeling of all ancient legislation. The idea of a higher order of man is hated much more profoundly than monarchs themselves. Hatred of aristocracy always uses hatred of monarchy as a mask.


How treacherous are all parties! They bring to light something concerning their leaders which the latter, perhaps, have hitherto kept hidden beneath a bushel with consummate art.


Modern Socialism would fain create a profane counterpart to jesuitism: everybody a perfect instrument. But as to the object of it all, the purpose of it—this has not yet been ascertained.


The slavery of to-day: a piece of barbarism. Where are the masters for whom these slaves work? One must not always expect the simultaneous appearance of the two complementary castes of society.

Utility and pleasure are slave theories of life.

[Pg 208]

"The blessing of work" is an ennobling phrase for slaves. Incapacity for leisure.


There is no such thing as a right to live, a right to work, or a right to be happy: in this respect man is not different from the meanest worm.


We must undoubtedly think of these things as uncompromisingly as Nature does: they preserve the species.


We should look upon the needs of the masses with ironic compassion: they want something which we have got—Ah!


European democracy is only in a very slight degree the manifestation of unfettered powers. It represents, above all, the unfettering of laziness, fatigue, and weakness.


Concerning the future of the workman—Workmen men should learn to regard their duties as soldiers do. They receive emoluments, incomes, but they do not get wages!

There is no relationship between work done and money received; the individual should,[Pg 209] according to his kind, be so placed as to perform the highest that is compatible with his powers.


Noblemen ought one day to live as the bourgeois do now—but above them, distinguishing themselves by the simplicity of their wants—the superior caste will then live in a poorer and simpler way and yet be in possession of power.

For lower orders of mankind the reverse valuations hold good: it is a matter of implanting "virtues" in them. Absolute commands, terrible compulsory methods, in order that they may rise above mere ease in life. The remainder may obey, but their vanity demands that they may feel themselves dependent, not upon great men, but upon principles.


"The Atonement of all Sin?"

People speak of the profound injustice of the social arrangement, as it the fact that one man is born in favourable circumstances and that another is born in unfavourable ones—or that one should possess gifts the other has not, were on the face of it an injustice. Among the more honest of these opponents of society this is what is said: "We, with all the bad, morbid, criminal qualities which we acknowledge we possess, are only the inevitable result of the oppression for[Pg 210] ages of the weak by the strong"; thus they insinuate their evil natures into the consciences of the ruling classes. They threaten and storm and curse. They become virtuous from sheer indignation—they don't want to have become bad men and canaille for nothing. The name for this attitude, which is an invention of the last century, is, if I am not mistaken, pessimism; and even that pessimism which is the outcome of indignation. It is in this attitude of mind that history is judged, that it is deprived of its inevitable fatality, and that responsibility and even guilt is discovered in it. For the great desideratum is to find guilty people in it. The botched and the bungled, the decadents of all kinds, are revolted at themselves, and require sacrifices in order that they may not slake their thirst for destruction upon themselves (which might, indeed, be the most reasonable procedure). But for this purpose they at least require a semblance of justification, i.e. a theory according to which the fact of their existence, and of their character, may be expiated by a scapegoat. This scapegoat may be God,—in Russia such resentful atheists are not wanting,—or the order of society, or education and upbringing, or the Jews, or the nobles, or, finally, the well-constituted of every kind. "It is a sin for a man to have been born in decent circumstances, for by so doing he disinherits the others, he pushes them aside, he imposes upon them the curse of vice and of work.... How can I be made answerable for my misery; surely some one must be responsible for it, or I could not bear to live."...

[Pg 211]

In short, resentful pessimism discovers responsible parties in order to create a pleasurable sensation for itself—revenge.... "Sweeter than honey"—thus does even old Homer speak of revenge.


The fact that such a theory no longer meets with understanding—or rather, let us say, contempt is accounted for by that particle of Christianity which still circulates in the blood of every one of us; it makes us tolerant towards things simply because we scent a Christian savour about them.... The Socialists appeal to the Christian instincts; this is their really refined piece of cleverness.... Thanks to Christianity, we have now grown accustomed to the superstitious concept of a soul—of an immortal soul, of soul monads, which, as a matter of fact, hails from somewhere else, and which has only become inherent in certain cases—that is to say, become incarnate in them—by accident: but the nature of these cases is not altered, let alone determined by it. The circumstances of society, of relationship, and of history are only accidents for the soul, perhaps misadventures: in any case, the world is not their work. By means of the idea of soul the individual is made transcendental; thanks to it, a ridiculous amount of importance can be attributed to him.

As a matter of fact, it was Christianity which first induced the individual to take up this position of judge of all things. It made megalomania almost his duty: it has made everything temporary and limited subordinate to eternal rights! What[Pg 212] is the State, what is society, what are historical laws, what is physiology to me? Thus speaks something from beyond Becoming, an immutable entity throughout history: thus speaks something immortal, something divine—it is the soul!

Another Christian, but no less insane, concept has percolated even deeper into the tissues of modern ideas: the concept of the equality of all souls before God. In this concept the prototype of all theories concerning equal rights is to be found. Man was first taught to stammer this proposition religiously: later, it was converted into a moral; no wonder he has ultimately begun to take it seriously, to take it practically!—that is to say, politically, socialistically, resento-pessimistically.

Wherever responsible circumstances or people have been looked for, it was the instinct of revenge that sought them. This instinct of revenge obtained such an ascendancy over man in the course of centuries that the whole of metaphysics, psychology, ideas of society, and, above all, morality, are tainted with it. Man has nourished this idea of responsibility to such an extent that he has introduced the bacillus of vengeance into everything. By means of it he has made God Himself ill, and killed innocence in the universe, by tracing every condition of things to acts of will, to intentions, to responsible agents. The whole teaching of will, this most fatal fraud that has ever existed in psychology hitherto, was invented essentially for the purpose of punishment. It was the social utility of punishment that lent this concept its dignity, its power, and its truth.[Pg 213] The originator of that psychology, that we shall call volitional psychology, must be sought in those classes which had the right of punishment in their hands; above all, therefore, among the priests who stood on the very pinnacle of ancient social systems: these people wanted to create for themselves the right to wreak revenge—they wanted to supply God with the privilege of vengeance. For this purpose; man was declared "free": to this end every action had to be regarded as voluntary, and the origin of every deed had to be considered as lying in consciousness. But by such propositions as these ancient psychology is refuted.

To-day, when Europe seems to have taken the contrary direction; when we halcyonians would fain withdraw, dissipate, and banish the concept of guilt and punishment with all our might from the world; when our most serious endeavours are concentrated upon purifying psychology, morality, history, nature, social institutions and privileges, and even God Himself, from this filth; in whom must we recognise our most mortal enemies? Precisely in those apostles of revenge and resentment, in those who are par excellence pessimists from indignation, who make it their mission to sanctify their filth with the name of "righteous indignation."... We others, whose one desire is to reclaim innocence on behalf of Becoming, would fain be the missionaries of a purer thought, namely, that no one is responsible for man's qualities; neither God, nor society, nor his parents, nor his ancestors, nor himself—in fact,[Pg 214] that no one is to blame for him ... The being who might be made responsible for a man's existence, for the fact that he is constituted in a particular way, or for his birth in certain circumstances and in a certain environment, is absolutely lacking.—And it is a great blessing that such a being is non-existent .... We are not the result of an eternal design, of a will, of a desire: there is no attempt being made with us to attain to an "ideal of perfection," to an "ideal of happiness," to an "ideal of virtue,"—and we are just as little the result of a mistake on God's part in the presence of which He ought to feel uneasy (a thought which is known to be at the very root of the Old Testament). There is not a place nor a purpose nor a sense to which we can attribute our existence or our kind of existence. In the first place, no one is in a position to do this: it is quite impossible to judge, to measure, or to compare, or even to deny the whole universe! And why?—For five reasons, all accessible to the man of average intelligence: for instance, because there is no existence outside the universe ... and let us say it again, this is a great blessing, for therein lies the whole innocence of our lives.

2. The Individual.


Fundamental errors: to regard the herd as an aim instead of the individual! The herd is only a means and nothing more! But nowadays[Pg 215] people are trying to understand the herd as they would an individual, and to confer higher rights upon it than upon isolated personalities. Terrible mistake!! In addition to this, all that makes for gregariousness, e.g. sympathy, is regarded as the more valuable side of our natures.


The individual is something quite new, and capable of creating new things. He is something absolute, and all his actions are quite his own. The individual in the end has to seek the valuation for his actions in himself: because he has to give an individual meaning even to traditional words and notions. His interpretation of a formula is at least personal, even if he does not create the formula itself: at least as an interpreter he is creative.


The "ego" oppresses and kills. It acts like an organic cell. It is predatory and violent. It would fain regenerate itself—pregnancy. It would fain give birth to its God and see all mankind at its feet.


Every living organism gropes around as far as its power permits, and overcomes all that is weaker than itself: by this means it finds pleasure in its own existence. The increasing "humanity" of this tendency consists in the fact that we are beginning to feel ever more subtly how difficult[Pg 216] it is really to absorb others: while we could show our power by injuring him, his will estranges him from us, and thus makes him less susceptible of being overcome.


The degree of resistance which has to be continually overcome in order to remain at the top, is the measure of freedom, whether for individuals or for societies: freedom being understood as positive power, as will to power. The highest form of individual freedom, of sovereignty, would, according to this, in all probability be found not five feet away from its opposite—that is to say, where the danger of slavery hangs over life, like a hundred swords of Damocles. Let any one go through the whole of history from this point of view: the ages when the individual reaches perfect maturity, i.e. the free ages, when the classical type, sovereign man, is attained to—these were certainly not humane times!

There should be no choice: either one must be uppermost or nethermost—like a worm, despised, annihilated, trodden upon. One must have tyrants against one in order to become a tyrant, i.e. in order to be free. It is no small advantage to have a hundred swords of Damocles suspended over one: it is only thus that one learns to dance, it is only thus that one attains to any freedom in one's movements.


Man more than any other animal was originally altruistic—hence his slow growth (child) and lofty[Pg 217] development. Hence, too, his extraordinary and latest kind of egoism.—Beasts of prey are much more individualistic.


A criticism of selfishness. The involuntary ingenuousness of La Rochefoucauld, who believed that he was saying something bold, liberal, and paradoxical (in his days, of course, truth in psychological matters was something that astonished people) when he said. "Les grandes âmes ne sont pas celles qui ont moins de passions et plus de vertus que les âmes communes, mais seulement celles qui ont de plus grands desseins." Certainly, John Stuart Mill (who calls Chamfort the noble and philosophical La Rochefoucauld of the eighteenth century) recognises in him merely an astute and keen-sighted observer of all that which is the result of habitual selfishness in the human breast, and he adds: "A noble spirit is unable to see the necessity of a constant observation of baseness and contemptibility, unless it were to show against what corrupting influences a lofty spirit and a noble character were able to triumph."


The Morphology of the Feelings of Self.

First standpoint—To what extent are sympathy or communal feelings, the lower or preparatory states, at a time when personal self-esteem and initiative in valuation, on the part of individuals, are not yet possible?

[Pg 218]

Second standpoint.—To what extent is the zenith of collective self-esteem, the pride in the distinction of the clan, the feeling of inequality and a certain abhorrence of mediation, of equal rights and of reconciliation, the school for individual self-esteem? It may be this in so far as it compels the individual to represent the pride of the community —he is obliged to speak and act with tremendous self-respect, because he stands for the community And the same holds good when the individual regards himself as the instrument or speaking-tube of a godhead.

Third standpoint.—To what extent do these forms of impersonality invest the individual with enormous importance? In so far as higher powers are using him as an intermediary: religious shyness towards one's self is the condition of prophets and poets.

Fourth standpoint.—To what extent does responsibility for a whole educate the individual in foresight, and give him a severe and terrible hand, a calculating and cold heart, majesty of bearing and of action—things which he would not allow himself if he stood only for his own rights?

In short, collective self-esteem is the great preparatory school for personal sovereignty. The noble caste is that which creates the heritage of this faculty.


The disguised forms of will to power:—

(1) The desire for freedom, for independence for equilibrium, for peace, for co-ordination. Also[Pg 219] that of the anchorite, the "Free-Spirit." In its lowest form, the will to live at all costs—the instinct of self-preservation.

(2) Subordination, with the view of satisfying the will to power of a whole community; submissiveness, the making of one's self indispensable and useful to him who has the power; love, a secret path to the heart of the powerful, in order to become his master.

(3) The feeling of duty, conscience, the imaginary comfort of belonging to a higher order than those who actually hold the reins of power; the acknowledgment of an order of rank which allows of judging even the more powerful, self-depreciation; the discovery of new codes of morality (of which the Jews are a classical example).


Praise and gratitude as forms of will to power.—Praise and gratitude for harvests, for good weather, victories, marriages, and peace—all festivals need a subject on which feeling can be outpoured. The desire is to make all good things that happen to one appear as though they had been done to one: people will have a donor. The same holds good of the work of art: people are not satisfied with it alone, they must praise the artist.—What, then, is praise? It is a sort of compensation for benefits received, a sort of giving back, a manifestation of our power—for the man who praises assents to, blesses, values, judges. he arrogates to himself the right to give his consent to a thing, to be able to[Pg 220] confer honours. An increased feeling of happiness or of liveliness is also an increased feeling of power, and it is as a result of this feeling that a man praises (it is as the outcome of this feeling that he invents a donor, a "subject"). Gratitude is thus revenge of a lofty kind: it is most severely exercised and demanded where equality and pride both require to be upheld—that is to say, where revenge is practised to its fullest extent.


Concerning the Machiavellism of Power.

The will to power appears:—

(a) Among the oppressed and slaves of all kinds, in the form of will to "freedom": the mere fact of breaking loose from something seems to be an end in itself (in a religio-moral sense: "One is only answerable to one's own conscience"; "evangelical freedom," etc. etc.),

(b) In the case of a stronger species, ascending to power, in the form of the will to overpower. If this fails, then it shrinks to the "will to justice"—that is to say, to the will to the same measure of rights as the ruling caste possesses.

(c) In the case of the strongest, richest, most independent, and most courageous, in the form of "love of humanity," of "love of the people," of the "gospel," of "truth" of "God," of "pity," of self sacrifice," etc. etc.; in the form of overpowering, of deeds of capture, of imposing service on some one, of an instinctive reckoning of one's self as part of a great mass of power to which one attempts to give[Pg 221] a direction: the hero, the prophet, the Cæsar, the Saviour, the bell-wether. (The love of the sexes also belongs to this category, it will overpower something, possess it utterly, and it looks like self-abnegation. At bottom it is only the love of one's instrument, of one's "horse"—the conviction that things belong to one because one is in a position to use them.)

"Freedom," "Justice," "Love"!!!


Love.—Behold this love and pity of women—what could be more egoistic? ... And when they do sacrifice themselves and their honour or reputation, to whom do they sacrifice themselves? To the man? Is it not rather to an unbridled desire? These desires are quite as selfish, even though they may be beneficial to others and provoke gratitude. ... To what extent can such a hyperfœtation of one valuation sanctify everything else!!


"Senses," "Passions.".—When the fear of the senses and of the passions and of the desires becomes so great as to warn us against them, it is already a symptom of weakness: extreme measures always characterise abnormal conditions. That which is lacking here, or more precisely that which is decaying, is the power to resist an impulse: when one feels instinctively that one must yield,—that is to say, that one must react,—then it is an excellent thing to avoid opportunities (temptations).

[Pg 222]

The stimulation of the senses is only a temptation in so far as those creatures are concerned whose systems are easily swayed and influenced: on the other hand, in the case of remarkable constitutional obtuseness and hardness, strong stimuli are necessary in order to set the functions in motion. Dissipation can only be objected to in the case of one who has no right to it; and almost all passions have fallen into disrepute thanks to those who were not strong enough to convert them to their own advantage.

One should understand that passions are open to the same objections as illnesses: yet we should not be justified in doing without illnesses, and still less without passions. We require the abnormal; we give life a tremendous shock by means of these great illnesses.

In detail the following should be distinguished:—

(1) The dominating passion, which may even bring the supremest form of health with it: in this case the co-ordination of the internal system and its functions to perform one task is best attained,—but this is almost a definition of health.

(2) The antagonism of the passions the double, treble, and multiple soul in one breast:[6] this is very unhealthy; it is a sign of inner ruin and of disintegration, betraying and promoting an internal dualism and anarchy—unless, of course, one passion becomes master. Return to health.

[Pg 223]

(3) The juxtaposition of passions without their being either opposed or united with one another. Very often transitory, and then, as soon as order is established, this condition may be a healthy one. A most interesting class of men belong to this order, the chameleons; they are not necessarily at loggerheads with themselves, they are both happy and secure, but they cannot develop—their moods lie side by side, even though they may seem to lie far apart. They change, but they become nothing.

[6] This refers to Goethe's Faust. In Part I., Act I., Scene 11., we find Faust exclaiming in despair: "Two souls, alas! within my bosom throne!" See Theodore Martin's Faust, translated into English verse.—Tr.


The quantitative estimate of aims and its influence upon the valuing standpoint, the great and the small criminal. The greatness or smallness of the aims will determine whether the doer feels respect for himself with it all, or whether he feels pusillanimous and miserable.

The degree of intellectuality manifested in the means employed may likewise influence our valuation. How differently the philosophical innovator, experimenter, and man of violence stands out against robbers, barbarians, adventurers!—There is a semblance of disinterestedness in the former.

Finally, noble manners, bearing, courage, self-confidence,—how they alter the value of that which is attained by means of them!


Concerning the optics of valuation:—

The influence of the greatness or smallness of the aims.

[Pg 224]

The influence of the intellectuality of the means. The influence of the behaviour in action. The influence of success or failure. The influence of opposing forces and their value. The influence of that which is permitted and that which is forbidden.


The tricks by means of which actions, measures, and passions are legitimised, which from an individual standpoint are no longer good form or even in good taste.—

Art, which allows us to enter such strange worlds, makes them tasteful to us.

Historians prove its justification and reason; travels, exoticism, psychology, penal codes, the lunatic asylum, the criminal, sociology.

Impersonality (so that as media of a collective whole we allow ourselves these passions and action—the Bar, juries, the bourgeois, the soldier, the minister, the prince, society, "critics") makes us feel that we are sacrificing something.


Preoccupations concerning one's self and one's eternal salvation are not expressive either of a rich or of a self-confident nature, for the latter lets all questions of eternal bliss go to the devil,—it is not interested in such matters of happiness it is all power, deeds, desires; it imposes itself upon things; it even violates things. The Christian[Pg 225] is a romantic hypochondriac who does not stand firmly on his legs.

Whenever hedonistic views come to the front, one can always presuppose the existence of pain and a certain ill-constitutedness.


"The growing autonomy of the individual"—Parisian philosophers like M. Fouillée talk of such things: they would do well to study the race moutonnière for a moment; for they belong to it. For Heaven's sake open your eyes, ye sociologists who deal with the future! The individual grew strong under quite opposite conditions: ye describe the extremest weakening and impoverishment of man; ye actually want this weakness and impoverishment, and ye apply the whole lying machinery of the old ideal in order to achieve your end. Ye are so constituted that ye actually regard your gregarious wants as an ideal! Here we are in the presence of an absolute lack of psychological honesty.


The two traits which characterise the modern European are apparently antagonistic individualism and the demand for equal rights: this I am at last beginning to understand. The individual is an extremely vulnerable piece of vanity: this vanity, when it is conscious of its high degree of susceptibility to pain, demands that every one should be made equal; that the individual should only stand inter pares. But in this way a social[Pg 226] race is depicted in which, as a matter of fact, gifts and powers are on the whole equally distributed. The pride which would have loneliness and but few appreciators is quite beyond comprehension: really "great" successes are only attained through the masses—indeed, we scarcely understand yet that a mob success is in reality only a small success; because pulchrum est paucorum hominum.

No morality will countenance order of rank among men, and the jurists know nothing of a communal conscience. The principle of individualism rejects really great men, and demands the most delicate vision for, and the speediest discovery of, a talent among people who are almost equal; and inasmuch as every one has some modicum of talent in such late and civilised cultures (and can, therefore, expect to receive his share of honour), there is a more general buttering-up of modest merits to-day than there has ever been. This gives the age the appearance of unlimited justice. Its want of justice is to be found not in its unbounded hatred of tyrants and demagogues, even in the arts; but in its detestation of noble natures who scorn the praise of the many. The demand for equal rights (that is to say, the privilege of sitting in judgment on everything and everybody) is anti-aristocratic.

This age knows just as little concerning the absorption of the individual, of his mergence into a great type of men who do not want to be personalities. It was this that formerly constituted the distinction and the zeal of many lofty natures (the greatest poets among them); or of the desire[Pg 227] to be a polis, as in Greece; or of Jesuitism, or of the Prussian Staff Corps, and bureaucracy; or of apprenticeship and a continuation of the tradition of great masters: to all of which things, non-social conditions and the absence of petty vanity are necessary.


Individualism is a modest and still unconscious form of will to power; with it a single human unit seems to think it sufficient to free himself from the preponderating power of society (or of the State or Church). He does not set himself up in opposition as a personality, but merely as a unit; he represents the rights of all other individuals as against the whole. That is to say, he instinctively places himself on a level with every other unit: what he combats he does not combat as a person, but as a representative of units against a mass.

Socialism is merely an agitatory measure of individualism: it recognises the fact that in order to attain to something, men must organise themselves into a general movement—into a "power." But what the Socialist requires is not society as the object of the individual, but society as a means of making many individuals possible: this is the instinct of Socialists, though they frequently deceive themselves on this point (apart from this, however, in order to make their kind prevail, they are compelled to deceive others to an enormous extent). Altruistic moral preaching thus enters into the service of individual egoism,—one of[Pg 228] the most common frauds of the nineteenth century.

Anarchy is also merely an agitatory measure of Socialism; with it the Socialist inspires fear, with fear he begins to fascinate and to terrorise: but what he does above all is to draw all courageous and reckless people to his side, even in the most intellectual spheres.

In spite of all this, individualism is the most modest stage of the will to power.


When one has reached a certain degree of independence, one always longs for more: separation in proportion to the degree of force; the individual is no longer content to regard himself as equal to everybody, he actually seeks for his peer—he makes himself stand out from others. Individualism is followed by a development in groups and organs; correlative tendencies join up together and become powerfully active: now there arise between these centres of power, friction, war, a reconnoitring of the forces on either side, reciprocity, understandings, and the regulation of mutual services. Finally, there appears an order of rank.


1. The individuals emancipate themselves.

2. They make war, and ultimately agree concerning equal rights (justice is made an end in itself).

3. Once this is reached, the actual differences in degrees of power begin to make themselves felt, and to a greater extent than before (the reason being that on the whole peace is established, and innumerable small centres of power begin to create[Pg 229] differences which formerly were scarcely noticeable). Now the individuals begin to form groups, these strive after privileges and preponderance, and war starts afresh in a milder form.

People demand freedom only when they have no power. Once power is obtained, a preponderance thereof is the next thing to be coveted; if this is not achieved (owing to the fact that one is still too weak for it), then "justice" i.e. "equality of power" become the objects of desire.


The rectification of the concept "egoism."—When one has discovered what an error the "individual" is, and that every single creature represents the whole process of evolution (not alone "inherited," but in "himself"), the individual then acquires an inordinately great importance. The voice of instinct is quite right here. When this instinct tends to decline, i.e. when the individual begins to seek his worth in his services to others, one may be sure that exhaustion and degeneration have set in. An altruistic attitude of mind, when it is fundamental and free from all hypocrisy, is the instinct of creating a second value for one's self in the service of other egoists. As a rule, however, it is only apparent—a circuitous path to the preservation of one's own feelings of vitality and worth.


The History of Moralisation and Demoralisation.

Proposition one.—There are no such things as[Pg 230] moral actions: they are purely imaginary. Not only is it impossible to demonstrate their existence (a fact which Kant and Christianity, for instance, both acknowledged) but they are not even possible. Owing to psychological misunderstanding, a man invented an opposite to the instinctive impulses of life, and believed that a new species of instinct was thereby discovered: a primum mobile was postulated which does not exist at all. According to the valuation which gave rise to the antithesis "moral" and "immoral," one should say: There is nothing else on earth but immoral intentions and actions.

Proposition two.——The whole differentiation, "moral" and "immoral," arises from the assumption that both moral and immoral actions are the result of a spontaneous will—in short, that such a will exists; or in other words, that moral judgments can only hold good with regard to intuitions and actions that are free. But this whole order of actions and intentions is purely imaginary: the only world to which the moral standard could be applied does not exist at all: there is no such thing as a moral or an immoral action.

The psychological error out of which the antithesis "moral" and "immoral" arose is: "selfless," "unselfish," "self-denying"—all unreal and fantastic.

A false dogmatism also clustered around the concept "ego"; it was regarded as atomic, and falsely opposed to a non-ego; it was also liberated[Pg 231] from Becoming, and declared to belong to the sphere of Being. The false materialisation of the ego: this (owing to the belief in individual immortality) was made an article of faith under the pressure of religio-moral discipline. According to this artificial liberation of the ego and its transference to the realm of the absolute, people thought that they had arrived at an antithesis in values which seemed quite irrefutable—the single ego and the vast non-ego. It seemed obvious that the value of the individual ego could only exist in conjunction with the vast non-ego, more particularly in the sense of being subject to it and existing only for its sake. Here, of course, the gregarious instinct determined the direction of thought: nothing is more opposed to this instinct than the sovereignty of the individual. Supposing, however, that the ego be absolute, then its value must lie in self-negation.

Thus: (1) the false emancipation of the "individual" as an atom;

(2) The gregarious self-conceit which abhors the desire to remain an atom, and regards it as hostile.

(3) As a result: the overcoming of the individual by changing his aim.

(4) At this point there appeared to be actions that were self-effacing: around these actions a whole sphere of antitheses was fancied.

(5) It was asked, in what sort of actions does man most strongly assert himself? Around these (sexuality, covetousness, lust for power, cruelty, etc. etc.) hate, contempt, and anathemas were heaped: it was believed that there could be such[Pg 232] things as selfless impulses. Everything selfish was condemned, everything unselfish was in demand.

(6) And the result was: what had been done? A ban had been placed on the strongest, the most natural, yea, the only genuine impulses, henceforward, in order that an action might be praiseworthy, there must be no trace in it of any of those genuine impulses—monstrous fraud in psychology. Every kind of "self-satisfaction" had to be remodelled and made possible by means of misunderstanding and adjusting one's self sub specie boni. Conversely: that species which found its advantage in depriving mankind of its self-satisfaction, the representatives of the gregarious instincts, e.g. the priests and the philosophers, were sufficiently crafty and psychologically astute to show how selfishness ruled everywhere. The Christian conclusion from this was: "Everything is sin, even our virtues. Man is utterly undesirable. Selfless actions are impossible." Original sin. In short, once man had opposed his instincts to a purely imaginary world of the good, he concluded by despising himself as incapable of performing "good" actions.

N.B. In this way Christianity represents a step forward in the sharpening of psychological insight: La Rochefoucauld and Pascal. It perceived the essential equality of human actions, and the equality of their values as a whole (all immoral).


Now the first serious object was to rear men in whom self-seeking impulses were extinguished.[Pg 233] priests, saints. And if people doubted that perfection was possible, they did not doubt what perfection was.

The psychology of the saint and of the priest and of the "good" man, must naturally have seemed purely phantasmagorical. The real motive of all action had been declared bad: therefore, in order to make action still possible, deeds had to be prescribed which, though not possible, had to be declared possible and sanctified. They now honoured and idealised things with as much falsity as they had previously slandered them.

Inveighing against the instincts of life came to be regarded as holy and estimable. The priestly ideal was: absolute chastity, absolute obedience, absolute poverty! The lay ideal: alms, pity, self-sacrifice, renunciation of the beautiful, of reason, and of sensuality, and a dark frown for all the strong qualities that existed.


An advance is made: the slandered instincts attempt to re-establish their rights (e.g. Luther's Reformation, the coarsest form of moral falsehood under the cover of "Evangelical freedom"), they are rechristened with holy names.

The calumniated instincts try to demonstrate that they are necessary in order that the virtuous instincts may be possible. Il faut vivre, afin de vivre pour autrui: egoism as a means to an end.[7]

[Pg 234]

But people go still further: they try to grant both the egoistic and altruistic impulses the right to exist—equal rights for both—from the utilitarian standpoint.

People go further: they see greater utility in placing the egoistic rights before the altruistic—greater utility in the sense of more happiness for the majority, or of the elevation of mankind, etc. etc. Thus the rights of egoism begin to preponderate, but under the cloak of an extremely altruistic standpoint—the collective utility of humanity.

An attempt is made to reconcile the altruistic mode of action with the natural order of things. Altruism is sought in the very roots of life. Altruism and egoism are both based upon the essence of life and nature.

The disappearance of the opposition between them is dreamt of as a future possibility. Continued adaptation, it is hoped, will merge the two into one.

At last it is seen that altruistic actions are merely a species of the egoistic—and that the degree to which one loves and spends one's self is a proof of the extent of one's individual power and personality. In short, that the more evil man can be made, the better he is, and that one cannot be the one without the other. At this point the curtain rises which concealed the monstrous fraud of the psychology that has prevailed hitherto.


Results.—There are only immoral intentions and actions; the so-called moral actions must be shown[Pg 235] to be immoral. All emotions are traced to a single will, the will to power, and are called essentially equal. The concept of life: in the apparent antithesis good and evil, degrees of power in the instincts alone are expressed. A temporary order of rank is established according to which certain instincts are either controlled or enlisted in our service. Morality is justified: economically, etc.


Against proposition two.—Determinism: the attempt to rescue the moral world by transferring it to the unknown.

Determinism is only a manner of allowing ourselves to conjure our valuations away, once they have lost their place in a world interpreted mechanistically. Determinism must therefore be attacked and undermined at all costs: just as our right to distinguish between an absolute and phenomenal world should be disputed.

[7] Spencer's conclusion in the Data of Ethics.—Tr.


It is absolutely necessary to emancipate ourselves from motives: otherwise we should not be allowed to attempt to sacrifice ourselves or to neglect ourselves! Only the innocence of Becoming gives us the highest courage and the highest freedom.


A clean conscience must be restored to the evil man—has this been my involuntary endeavour all[Pg 236] the time? for I take as the evil man him who is strong (Dostoievsky's belief concerning the convicts in prison should be referred to here).


Our new "freedom." What a feeling of relief there is in the thought that we emancipated spirits do not feel ourselves harnessed to any system of teleological aims. Likewise that the concepts reward and punishment have no roots in the essence of existence! Likewise that good and evil actions are not good or evil in themselves, but only from the point of view of the self-preservative tendencies of certain species of humanity! Likewise that our speculations concerning pleasure and pain are not of cosmic, far less then of metaphysical, importance! (That form of pessimism associated with the name of Hartmann, which pledges itself to put even the pain and pleasure of existence into the balance, with its arbitrary confinement in the prison and within the bounds of pre-Copernican thought, would be something not only retrogressive, but degenerate, unless it be merely a bad joke on the part of a "Berliner."[8])

[8] "Berliner"—The citizens of Berlin are renowned in Germany for their poor jokes.—Tr.


If one is clear as to the "wherefore" of one's life, then the "how" of it can take care of itself.

[Pg 237]

It is already even a sign of disbelief in the wherefore and in the purpose and sense of life—in fact, it is a sign of a lack of will—when the value of pleasure and pain step into the foreground, and hedonistic and pessimistic teaching becomes prevalent; and self-abnegation, resignation, virtue, "objectivity," may, at the very least, be signs that the most important factor is beginning to make its absence felt.


Hitherto there has been no German culture. It is no refutation of this assertion to say that there have been great anchorites in Germany (Goethe, for instance); for these had their own culture. But it was precisely around them, as though around mighty, defiant, and isolated rocks, that the remaining spirit of Germany, as their antithesis, lay that is to say, as a soft, swampy, slippery soil, upon which every step and every footprint of the rest of Europe made an impression and created forms. German culture was a thing devoid of character and of almost unlimited yielding power.


Germany, though very rich in clever and well-informed scholars, has for some time been so excessively poor in great souls and in mighty minds, that it almost seems to have forgotten what a great soul or a mighty mind is; and to-day mediocre and even ill-constituted men place themselves in the market square without the suggestion of a conscience-prick or a sign of embarrassment, and declare[Pg 238] themselves great men, reformers, etc. Take the case of Eugen Dühring, for instance, a really clever and well-informed scholar, but a man who betrays with almost every word he says that he has a miserably small soul, and that he is horribly tormented by narrow envious feelings; moreover, that it is no mighty overflowing, benevolent, and spendthrift spirit that drives him on, but only the spirit of ambition! But to be ambitious in such an age as this is much more unworthy of a philosopher than ever it was: to-day, when it is the mob that rules, when it is the mob that dispenses the honours.


My "future": a severe polytechnic education. Conscription; so that as a rule every man of the higher classes should be an officer, whatever else he may be besides.

[Pg 239]




Our religion, morality, and philosophy are decadent human institutions. The counter-agent. Art.


The Artist-philosopher. A higher concept of art. Can man stand at so great a distance from his fellows as to mould them? (Preliminary exercises thereto:—

1. To become a self-former, an anchorite.

2. To do what artists have done hitherto, i.e. to reach a small degree of perfection in a certain medium.)


Art as it appears without the artist, i.e. as a body, an organisation (the Prussian Officers' Corps, the Order of the Jesuits). To what extent is the artist merely a preliminary stage? The world regarded as a self-generating work of art.

[Pg 240]


The phenomenon, "artist," is the easiest to see through: from it one can look down upon the fundamental instincts of power, of nature, etc., even of religion and morality.

"Play," uselessness—as the ideal of him who is overflowing with power, as the ideal of the child. The childishness of God, παῑς παίζων.


Apollonian, Dionysian. There are two conditions in which art manifests itself in man even as a force of nature, and disposes of him whether he consent or not: it may be as a constraint to visionary states, or it may be an orgiastic impulse. Both conditions are to be seen in normal life, but they are then somewhat weaker: in dreams and in moments of elation or intoxication.[9]

But the same contrast exists between the dream state and the state of intoxication; both of these states let loose all manner of artistic powers within us, but each unfetters powers of a different kind. Dreamland gives us the power of vision, of association, of poetry: intoxication gives us the power of grand attitudes, of passion, of song, and of dance.

[9] German: "Rausch."—There is no word in English for the German expression "Rausch." When Nietzsche uses it, he means a sort of blend of our two words: intoxication and elation.—Tr.

[Pg 241]


Sexuality and voluptuousness belong to the Dionysiac intoxication: but neither of them is lacking in the Apollonian state. There is also a difference of tempo between the states.... The extreme peace of certain feelings of intoxication (or, more strictly, the slackening of the feeling of time, and the reduction of the feeling of space) is wont to reflect itself in the vision of the most restful attitudes and states of the soul. The classical style essentially represents repose, simplification, foreshortening, and concentration—the highest feeling of power is concentrated in the classical type. To react with difficulty: great consciousness: no feeling of strife.


The feeling of intoxication is, as a matter of fact, equivalent to a sensation of surplus power: it is strongest in seasons of rut: new organs, new accomplishments, new colours, new forms. Embellishment is an outcome of increased power. Embellishment is merely an expression of a triumphant will, of an increased state of co-ordination, of a harmony of all the strong desires, of an infallible and perpendicular equilibrium. Logical and geometrical simplification is the result of an increase of power: conversely, the mere aspect of such a simplification increases the sense of power in the beholder.... The zenith of development: the grand style.

Ugliness signifies the decadence of a type:[Pg 242] contradiction and faulty co-ordination among the inmost desires—this means a decline in the organising power, or, psychologically speaking, in the will. The condition of pleasure which is called intoxication is really an exalted feeling of power. ... Sensations of space and time are altered; inordinate distances are traversed by the eye, and only then become visible; the extension of the vision over greater masses and expanses; the refinement of the organ which apprehends the smallest and most elusive things; divination, the power of understanding at the slightest hint, at the smallest suggestion; intelligent sensitiveness; strength as a feeling of dominion in the muscles, as agility and love of movement, as dance, as levity and quick time; strength as the love of proving strength, as bravado, adventurousness, fearlessness, indifference in regard to life and death.... All these elated moments of life stimulate each other; the world of images and of imagination of the one suffices as a suggestion for the other: in this way states finally merge into each other, which might do better to keep apart, e.g. the feeling of religious intoxication and sexual irritability (two very profound feelings, always wonderfully co-ordinated. What is it that pleases almost all pious women, old or young? Answer: a saint with beautiful legs, still young, still innocent). Cruelty in tragedy and pity (likewise normally correlated). Spring-time, dancing, music, —all these things are but the display of one sex before the other,—as also that "infinite yearning of the heart" peculiar to Faust.

[Pg 243]

Artists when they are worth anything at all are men of strong propensities (even physically), with surplus energy, powerful animals, sensual; without a certain overheating of the sexual system a man like Raphael is unthinkable.... To produce music is also in a sense to produce children; chastity is merely the economy of the artist, and in all creative artists productiveness certainly ceases with sexual potency.... Artists should not see things as they are; they should see them fuller, simpler, stronger: to this end, however, a kind of youthfulness, of vernality, a sort of perpetual elation, must be peculiar to their lives.


The states in which we transfigure things and make them fuller, and rhapsodise about them, until they reflect our own fulness and love of life back upon us: sexuality, intoxication, post-prandial states, spring, triumph over our enemies, scorn, bravado, cruelty, the ecstasy of religious feeling. But three elements above all are active: sexuality, intoxication, cruelty; all these belong to the oldest festal joys of mankind, they also preponderate in budding artists.

Conversely: there are things with which we meet which already show us this transfiguration and fulness, and the animal world's response thereto is a state of excitement in the spheres where these states of happiness originate. A blending of these very delicate shades of animal well-being and desires is the æsthetic state. The[Pg 244] latter only manifests itself in those natures which are capable of that spendthrift and overflowing fulness of bodily vigour; the latter is always the primum mobile. The sober-minded man, the tired man, the exhausted and dried-up man (e.g. the scholar), can have no feeling for art, because he does not possess the primitive force of art, which is the tyranny of inner riches: he who cannot give anything away cannot feel anything either.

"Perfection"—In these states (more particularly in the case of sexual love) there is an ingenuous betrayal of what the profoundest instinct regards as the highest, the most desirable, the most valuable, the ascending movement of its type; also of the condition towards which it is actually striving. Perfection: the extraordinary expansion of this instinct's feeling of power, its riches, its necessary overflowing of all banks.


Art reminds us of states of physical vigour: it may be the overflow and bursting forth of blooming life in the world of pictures and desires; on the other hand, it may be an excitation of the physical functions by means of pictures and desires of exalted life—an enhancement of the feeling of life, the latter's stimulant.

To what extent can ugliness exercise this power? In so far as it may communicate something of the triumphant energy of the artist who has become master of the ugly and the repulsive;[Pg 245] or in so far as it gently excites our lust of cruelty (in some circumstances even the lust of doing harm to ourselves, self-violence, and therewith the feeling of power over ourselves).


"Beauty" therefore is, to the artist, something which is above all order of rank, because in beauty contrasts are overcome, the highest sign of power thus manifesting itself in the conquest of opposites; and achieved without a feeling of tension: violence being no longer necessary, everything submitting and obeying so easily, and doing so with good grace; this is what delights the powerful will of the artist.


The biological value of beauty and ugliness. That which we feel instinctively opposed to us æsthetically is, according to the longest experience of mankind, felt to be harmful, dangerous, and worthy of suspicion: the sudden utterance of the æsthetic instinct, e.g. in the case of loathing, implies an act of judgment. To this extent beauty lies within the general category of the biological values, useful, beneficent, and life-promoting: thus, a host of stimuli which for ages have been associated with, and remind us of, useful things and conditions, give us the feeling of beauty, i.e. the increase of the feeling of power (not only things, therefore, but the sensations which are associated with such things or their symbols).[Pg 246] In this way beauty and ugliness are recognised as determined by our most fundamental self-preservative values. Apart from this, it is nonsense to postulate anything as beautiful or ugly. Absolute beauty exists just as little as absolute goodness and truth. In a particular case it is a matter of the self-preservative conditions of a certain type of man: thus the gregarious man will have quite a different feeling for beauty from the exceptional or super-man.

It is the optics of things in the foreground which only consider immediate consequences, from which the value beauty (also goodness and truth) arises.

All instinctive judgments are short-sighted in regard to the concatenation of consequences: they merely advise what must be done forthwith. Reason is essentially an obstructing apparatus preventing the immediate response to instinctive judgments: it halts, it calculates, it traces the chain of consequences further.

Judgments concerning beauty and ugliness are short-sighted (reason is always opposed to them): but they are convincing in the highest degree; they appeal to our instincts in that quarter where the latter decide most quickly and say yes or no with least hesitation, even before reason can interpose.

The most common affirmations of beauty stimulate each other reciprocally; where the æsthetic impulse once begins to work, a whole host of other and foreign perfections crystallise around the "particular form of beauty." It is[Pg 247] impossible to remain objective, it is certainly impossible to dispense with the interpreting, bestowing, transfiguring, and poetising power (the latter is a stringing together of affirmations concerning beauty itself). The sight of a beautiful woman....

Thus (1) judgment concerning beauty is short-sighted; it sees only the immediate consequences.

(2) It smothers the object which gives rise to it with a charm that is determined by the association of various judgments concerning beauty, which, however, are quite alien to the essence of the particular object. To regard a thing as beautiful is necessarily to regard it falsely (that is why incidentally love marriages are from the social point of view the most unreasonable form of matrimony).


Concerning the genesis of Art. That making perfect and seeing perfect, which is peculiar to the cerebral system overladen with sexual energy (a lover alone with his sweetheart at eventide transfigures the smallest details: life is a chain of sublime things, "the misfortune of an unhappy love affair is more valuable than anything else"); on the other hand, everything perfect and beautiful operates like an unconscious recollection of that amorous condition and of the point of view peculiar to it—all perfection, and the whole of the beauty of things, through contiguity, revives aphrodisiac bliss. (Physiologically it is the creative instinct of the artist and the distribution[Pg 248] of his semen in his blood.) The desire for art and beauty is an indirect longing for the ecstasy; of sexual desire, which gets communicated to the brain. The world become perfect through "love."


Sensuality in its various disguises.—(1) As idealism (Plato), common to youth, constructing a kind of concave-mirror in which the image of the beloved is an incrustation, an exaggeration, a transfiguration, an attribution of infinity to everything. (2) In the religion of love, "a fine young man," "a beautiful woman," in some way divine; a bridegroom, a bride of the soul. (3) In art, as a decorating force, e.g. just as the man sees the woman and makes her a present of everything that can enhance her personal charm, so the sensuality of the artist adorns an object with everything else that he honours and esteems, and by this means perfects it (or idealises it). Woman, knowing what man feels in regard to her, tries to meet his idealising endeavours half-way by decorating herself, by walking and dancing well, by expressing delicate thoughts: in addition, she may practise modesty, shyness, reserve—prompted by her instinctive feeling that the idealising power of man increases with all this, (In the extraordinary finesse of woman's instincts, modesty must not by any means be considered as conscious hypocrisy: she guesses that it is precisely artlessness and real shame which seduces man most and urges him to an exaggerated[Pg 249] esteem of her. On this account, woman is ingenuous, owing to the subtlety of her instincts which reveal to her the utility of a state of innocence. A wilful closing of one's eyes to one's self.... Wherever dissembling has a stronger influence by being unconscious it actually becomes unconscious.)


What a host of things can be accomplished by the state of intoxication which is called by the name of love, and which is something else besides love!—And yet everybody has his own experience of this matter. The muscular strength of a girl suddenly increases as soon as a man comes into her presence: there are instruments with which this can be measured. In the case of a still closer relationship of the sexes, as, for instance, in dancing and in other amusements which society gatherings entail, this power increases to such an extent as to make real feats of strength possible: at last one no longer trusts either one's eyes, or one's watch! Here at all events we must reckon with the fact that dancing itself, like every form of rapid movement, involves a kind of intoxication of the whole nervous, muscular, and visceral system. We must therefore reckon in this case with the collective effects of a double intoxication.—And how clever it is to be a little off your head at times! There are some realities which we cannot admit even to ourselves: especially when; we are women and have all sorts of feminine,[Pg 250] "pudeurs."...Those young creatures dancing over there are obviously beyond all reality: they are dancing only with a host of tangible ideals: what is more, they even see ideals sitting around them, their mothers!... An opportunity for quoting Faust. They look incomparably fairer, do these pretty creatures, when they have lost their head a little; and how well they know it too, they are even more delightful because they know it! Lastly, it is their finery which inspires them; their finery is their third little intoxication. They believe in their dressmaker as in their God: and who would destroy this faith in them? Blessed is this faith! And self-admiration is healthy! Self-admiration can protect one even from cold! Has a beautiful woman, who knew she was well-dressed, ever caught cold? Never yet on this earth! I even suppose a case in which she has scarcely a rag on her.


If one should require the most astonishing proof of how far the power of transfiguring, which comes of intoxication, goes, this proof is at hand in the phenomenon of love; or what is called love in all the languages and silences of the world. Intoxication works to such a degree upon reality in this passion that in the consciousness of the lover the cause of his love is quite suppressed, and something else seems to take its place,—a vibration and a glitter of all the charm-mirrors of Circe.... In this respect to be man or an[Pg 251] animal makes no difference: and still less does spirit, goodness, or honesty. If one is astute, one is befooled astutely; if one is thick-headed, one is befooled in a thick-headed way. But love, even the love of God, saintly love, "the love that saves the soul," are at bottom all one; they are nothing but a fever which has reasons to transfigure itself—a state of intoxication which does well to lie about itself.... And, at any rate, when a man loves, he is a good liar about himself and to himself: he seems to himself transfigured, stronger, richer, more perfect; he is more perfect.... Art here acts as an organic function: we find it present in the most angelic instinct "love"; we find it as the greatest stimulus of life—thus art is sublimely utilitarian, even in the fact that it lies.... But we should be wrong to halt at its power to lie: it does more than merely imagine; it actually transposes values. And it not only transposes the feeling for values: the lover actually has a greater value; he is stronger. In animals this condition gives rise to new weapons, colours, pigments, and forms, and above all to new movements, new rhythms, new love-calls and seductions. In man it is just the same. His whole economy is richer, mightier, and more complete when he is in love than when he is not. The lover becomes a spendthrift; he is rich enough for it. He now dares; he becomes an adventurer, and even a donkey in magnanimity and innocence; his belief in God and in virtue revives, because he believes in love. Moreover, such idiots of happiness acquire wings and new[Pg 252] capacities, and even the door to art is opened to them.

If we cancel the suggestion of this intestinal fever from the lyric of tones and words, what is left to poetry and music? ... L'art pour l'art perhaps; the professional cant of frogs shivering outside in the cold, and dying of despair in their swamp.... Everything else was created by love.


All art works like a suggestion on the muscles and the senses which were originally active in the ingenuous artistic man; its voice is only heard by artists—it speaks to this kind of man, whose constitution is attuned to such subtlety in sensitiveness. The concept "layman" is a misnomer. The deaf man is not a subdivision of the class, whose ears are sound. All art works as a tonic; it increases strength, it kindles desire (i.e. the feeling of strength), it excites all the more subtle recollections of intoxication; there is actually a special kind of memory which underlies such states—a distant flitful world of sensations here returns to being.

Ugliness is the contradiction of art. It is that which art excludes, the negation of art: wherever decline, impoverishment of life, impotence, decomposition, dissolution, are felt, however remotely, the æsthetic man reacts with his No. Ugliness depresses: it is the sign of depression. It robs strength, it impoverishes, it weighs down, ... Ugliness suggests repulsive things. From one's[Pg 253] states of health one can test how an indisposition may increase one's power of fancying ugly things. One's selection of things, interests, and questions becomes different. Logic provides a state which is next of kin to ugliness: heaviness, bluntness. In the presence of ugliness equilibrium is lacking in a mechanical sense: ugliness limps and stumbles—the direct opposite of the godly agility of the dancer.

The æsthetic state represents an overflow of means of communication as well as a condition of extreme sensibility to stimuli and signs. It is the zenith of communion and transmission between living creatures; it is the source of languages. In it, languages, whether of signs, sounds, or glances, have their birthplace. The richer phenomenon is always the beginning: our abilities are subtilised forms of richer abilities. But even to-day we still listen with our muscles, we even read with our muscles.

Every mature art possesses a host of conventions as a basis: in so far as it is a language. Convention is a condition of great art, not an obstacle to it.... Every elevation of life likewise elevates the power of communication, as also the understanding of man. The power of living in other people's souls originally had nothing to do with morality, but with a physiological irritability of suggestion: "sympathy," or what is called "altruism," is merely a product of that psycho-motor relationship which is reckoned as spirituality (psycho-motor induction, says Charles Féré). People never communicate a thought to one[Pg 254] another: they communicate a movement, an imitative sign which is then interpreted as a thought.


Compared with music, communication by means of words is a shameless mode of procedure; words reduce and stultify; words make impersonal; words make common that which is uncommon.


It is exceptional states that determine the artist—such states as are all intimately related and entwined with morbid symptoms, so that it would seem almost impossible to be an artist without being ill.

The physiological conditions which in the artist become moulded into a "personality," and which, to a certain degree, may attach themselves to any man:—

(1) Intoxication, the feeling of enhanced power; the inner compulsion to make things a mirror of one's own fulness and perfection.

(2) The extreme sharpness of certain senses, so that they are capable of understanding a totally different language of signs—and to create such a language (this is a condition which manifests itself in some nervous diseases); extreme susceptibility out of which great powers of communion are developed; the desire to speak on the part of everything that is capable of making-signs; a need of being rid of one's self by means of gestures[Pg 255] and attitudes; the ability of speaking about one's self in a hundred different languages—in fact, a state of explosion.

One must first imagine this condition as one in which there is a pressing and compulsory desire of ridding one's self of the ecstasy of a state of tension, by all kinds of muscular work and movement; also as an involuntary co-ordination of these movements with inner processes (images, thoughts, desires)—as a kind of automatism of the whole muscular system under the compulsion of strong stimuli acting from within; the inability to resist reaction; the apparatus of resistance is also suspended. Every inner movement (feeling, thought, emotion) is accompanied by vascular changes, and consequently by changes in colour, temperature, and secretion. The suggestive power of music, its "suggestion mentale."

(3) The compulsion to imitate: extreme irritability, by means of which a certain example becomes contagious—a condition is guessed and represented merely by means of a few signs.... A complete picture is visualised by one's inner consciousness, and its effect soon shows itself in the movement of the limbs,—in a certain suspension of the will (Schopenhauer!!!!). A sort of blindness and deafness towards the external world,—the realm of admitted stimuli is sharply defined.

This differentiates the artist from the layman (from the spectator of art): the latter reaches the height of his excitement in the mere act of apprehending: the former in giving—and in such a way that the antagonism between these two gifts is not[Pg 256] only natural but even desirable. Each of these states has an opposite standpoint—to demand of the artist that he should have the point of view of the spectator (of the critic) is equivalent to asking him to impoverish his creative power.... In this respect the same difference holds good as that which exists between the sexes: one should not ask the artist who gives to become a woman—to "receive."

Our æsthetics have hitherto been women's æsthetics, inasmuch as they have only formulated the experiences of what is beautiful, from the point of view of the receivers in art. In the whole of philosophy hitherto the artist has been lacking ... i.e. as we have already suggested, a necessary fault: for the artist who would begin to understand himself would therewith begin to mistake himself—he must not look backwards, he must not look at all; he must give.—It is an honour for an artist to have no critical faculty; if he can criticise he is mediocre, he is modern.


Here I lay down a series of psychological states as signs of flourishing and complete life, which to-day we are in the habit of regarding as morbid. But, by this time, we have broken ourselves of the habit of speaking of healthy and morbid as opposites: the question is one of degree, what I maintain on this point is that what people call healthy nowadays represents a lower level of that which under favourable circumstances actually would be healthy—that we are relatively sick....

[Pg 257]

The artist belongs to a much stronger race. That which in us would be harmful and sickly, is natural in him. But people object to this that it is precisely the impoverishment of the machine which renders this extraordinary power of comprehending every kind of suggestion possible: e.g. our hysterical females.

An overflow of spunk and energy may quite as well lead to symptoms of partial constraint, sense hallucinations, peripheral sensitiveness, as a poor vitality does—the stimuli are differently determined, the effect is the same.... What is not the same is above all the ultimate result; the extreme torpidity of all morbid natures, after their nervous eccentricities, has nothing in common with the states of the artist, who need in no wise repent his best moments.... He is rich enough for it all: he can squander without becoming poor.

Just as we now feel justified in judging genius as a form of neurosis, we may perhaps think the same of artistic suggestive power,—and our artists are, as a matter of fact, only too closely related to hysterical females!!! This, however, is only an argument against the present day, and not against artists in general.

The inartistic states are: objectivity, reflection suspension of the will ... (Schopenhauer's scandalous misunderstanding consisted in regarding art as a mere bridge to the denial of life)... The inartistic states are: those which impoverish, which subtract, which bleach, under which life suffers—the Christian.

[Pg 258]


The modern artist who, in his physiology, is next of kin to the hysteric, may also be classified as a character belonging to this state of morbidness. The hysteric is false,—he lies from the love of lying, he is admirable in all the arts of dissimulation,—unless his morbid vanity hood-wink him. This vanity is like a perpetual fever which is in need of stupefying drugs, and which recoils from no self-deception and no farce that promises it the most fleeting satisfaction. (The incapacity for pride and the need of continual revenge for his deep-rooted self-contempt, this is almost the definition of this man's vanity.)

The absurd irritability of his system, which makes a crisis out of every one of his experiences, and sees dramatic elements in the most insignificant occurrences of life, deprives him of all calm reflection; he ceases from being a personality, at most he is a rendezvous of personalities of which first one and then the other asserts itself with barefaced assurance. Precisely on this account he is great as an actor i all these poor will-less people, whom doctors study so profoundly, astound one through their virtuosity in mimicking, in transfiguration, in their assumption of almost any character required.


Artists are not men of great passion, despite all their assertions to the contrary both to themselves and to others. And for the following two reasons:[Pg 259] they lack all shyness towards themselves (they watch themselves live, they spy upon themselves, they are much too inquisitive), and they also lack shyness in the presence of passion (as artists they exploit it). Secondly, however, that vampire, their talent, generally forbids them such an expenditure of energy as passion demands.—A man, who has a talent is sacrificed to that talent; he lives under the vampirism of his talent.

A man does not get rid of his passion by reproducing it, but rather he is rid of it if he is able to reproduce it. (Goethe teaches the reverse, but it seems as though he deliberately misunderstood himself here—from a sense of delicacy.)


Concerning a reasonable mode of life.—.Relative, chastity, a fundamental and shrewd caution in regard to erotica, even in thought, may be a reasonable mode of life even in richly equipped and perfect natures. But this principle applies more particularly to artists; it belongs to the best wisdom of their lives. Wholly trustworthy voices have already been raised in favour of this view, e.g. Stendhal, Th. Gautier, and Flaubert. The artist is perhaps in his way necessarily a sensual man, generally susceptible, accessible to everything, and capable of responding to the remotest stimulus or suggestion of a stimulus. Nevertheless, as a rule he is in the power of his work, of his will to mastership, really a sober and often even a chaste man. His dominating instinct will have him so:[Pg 260] it does not allow him to spend himself haphazardly. It is one and the same form of strength which is spent in artistic conception and in the sexual act: there is only one form of strength. The artist who yields in this respect, and who spends himself, is betrayed: by so doing he reveals his lack of instinct, his lack of will in general. It may be a sign of decadence,—in any case it reduces the value of his art to an incalculable degree.


Compared with the artist, the scientific man, regarded as a phenomenon, is indeed a sign of a certain storing-up and levelling-down of life (but also of an increase of strength, severity, hardness, and will-power). To what extent can falsity and indifference towards truth and utility be a sign of youth, of childishness, in the artist? ... Their habitual manner, their unreasonableness, their ignorance of themselves, their indifference to "eternal values," their seriousness in play, their lack of dignity; clowns and gods in one; the saint and the rabble.... Imitation as an imperious instinct.—Do not artists of ascending life and artists of degeneration belong to all phases? ... Yes!


Would any link be missing in the whole chain of science and art, if woman, if woman's work, were excluded from it? Let us acknowledge the[Pg 261] exception—it proves the rule—that woman is capable of perfection in everything which does not constitute a work: in letters, in memoirs, in the most intricate handiwork—in short, in everything which is not a craft; and just precisely because in the things mentioned woman perfects herself, because in them she obeys the only artistic impulse in her nature,—which is to captivate.... But what has woman to do with the passionate indifference of the genuine artist who sees more importance in a breath, in a sound, in the merest trifle, than in himself?—who with all his five fingers gropes for his most secret and hidden treasures?—who attributes no value to anything unless it knows how to take shape (unless it surrenders itself, unless it visualises itself in some way). Art as it is practised by artists—do you not understand what it is? is it not an outrage on all our pudeurs? ... Only in this century has woman dared to try her hand at literature ("Vers la canaille plumière écrivassière," to speak with old Mirabeau): woman now writes, she now paints, she is losing her instincts. And to what purpose, if one may put such a question?


A man is an artist to the extent to which he regards everything that inartistic people call "form" as the actual substance, as the "principal" thing. With such ideas a man certainly belongs to a world upside down: for henceforward substance seems to him something merely formal,—his own life included.

[Pg 262]


A sense for, and a delight in, nuances (which is characteristic of modernity), in that which is not general, runs counter to the instinct which finds its joy and its strength in grasping what is typical: like Greek taste in its best period. In this there is an overcoming of the plenitude of life; restraint dominates, the peace of the strong soul which is slow to move and which feels a certain repugnance towards excessive activity is defeated. The general rule, the law, is honoured and made prominent, conversely, the exception is laid aside, and shades are suppressed. All that which is firm, mighty, solid, life resting on a broad and powerful basis, concealing its strength this pleases: i.e. it corresponds with what we think of ourselves.


In the main I am much more in favour of artists than any philosopher that has appeared hitherto: artists, at least, did not lose sight of the great course which life pursues; they loved the things "of this world,"—they loved their senses. To strive after "spirituality," in cases where this is not pure hypocrisy or self-deception, seems to me to be either a misunderstanding, a disease, or a cure, I wish myself, and all those who live without the troubles of a puritanical conscience, and who are able to live in this way, an ever greater spiritualisation and multiplication of the senses. Indeed, we would fain be grateful to the senses for[Pg 263] their subtlety, power, and plenitude, and on that account offer them the best we have in the way of spirit. What do we care about priestly and metaphysical anathemas upon the senses? We no longer require to treat them in this way: it is a sign of well-constitutedness when a man like Goethe clings with ever greater joy and heartiness to the "things of this world"—in this way he holds firmly to the grand concept of mankind, which is that man becomes the glorifying power of existence when he learns to glorify himself.


Pessimism in art?—The artist gradually learns to like for their own sake, those means which bring about the condition of æsthetic elation; extreme delicacy and glory of colour, definite delineation, quality of tone; distinctness where in normal conditions distinctness is absent. All distinct things, all nuances, in so far as they recall extreme degrees of power which give rise to intoxication, kindle this feeling of intoxication by association;—the effect of works of art is the excitation of the state which creates art, of æsthetic intoxication.

The essential feature in art is its power of perfecting existence, its production of perfection and plenitude; art is essentially the affirmation, the blessing, and the deification of existence.... What does a pessimistic art signify? Is it not a contradictio?—Yes.—Schopenhauer is in error when he makes certain works of art serve the[Pg 264] purpose of pessimism. Tragedy does not teach "resignation." ... To represent terrible and questionable things is, in itself, the sign of an instinct of power and magnificence in the artist; he doesn't fear them.... There is no such thing as a pessimistic, art.... Art affirms. Job affirms. But Zola? and the Goncourts?—the things they show us are ugly, their reason, however, for showing them to us is their love of ugliness ... I don't care what you say! You simply deceive yourselves if you think otherwise.—What a relief Dostoievsky is!


If I have sufficiently initiated my readers into the doctrine that even "goodness," in the whole comedy of existence, represents a form of exhaustion, they will now credit Christianity with consistency for having conceived the good to be the ugly. In this respect Christianity was right.

It is absolutely unworthy of a philosopher to say that "the good and the beautiful are one"; if he should add "and also the true," he deserves to be thrashed. Truth is ugly.

Art is with us in order that we may not perish through truth.


Moralising tendencies may be combated with art. Art is freedom from moral bigotry and philosophy à la Little Jack Horner: or it may be the mockery of these things. The flight to Nature,[Pg 265] where beauty and terribleness are coupled. The concept of the great man.

—Fragile, useless souls-de-luxe, which are disconcerted by a mere breath of wind, "beautiful souls."

—Ancient ideals, in their inexorable hardness and brutality, ought to be awakened, as the mightiest of monsters that they are.

—We should feel a boisterous delight in the psychological perception of how all moralised artists become worms and actors without knowing it.

—The falsity of art, its immorality, must be brought into the light of day.

—The "fundamental idealising powers" (sensuality, intoxication, excessive animality) should be brought to light.


Modern counterfeit practices in the arts: regarded as necessary—that is to say, as fully in keeping with the needs most proper to the modern soul.

The gaps in the gifts, and still more in the education, antecedents, and schooling of modern artists, are now filled up in this way:—

First: A less artistic public is sought which is capable of unlimited love (and is capable of falling on its knees before a personality). The superstition of our century, the belief in "genius," assists this process.

Secondly; Artists harangue the dark instincts of the dissatisfied, the ambitious, and the self-deceivers of a democratic age: the importance of poses.

[Pg 266]

Thirdly: The procedures of one art are transferred to the realm of another; the object of art is confounded with that of science, with that of the Church, or with that of the interests of the race (nationalism), or with that of philosophy—a man rings all bells at once, and awakens the vague suspicion that he is a god.

Fourthly: Artists flatter women, sufferers, and indignant folk. Narcotics and opiates are made to preponderate in art. The fancy of cultured people, and of the readers of poetry and ancient history, is tickled.


We must distinguish between the "public" and the "select"; to satisfy the public a man must be a charlatan to-day, to satisfy the select he will be a virtuoso and nothing else. The geniuses peculiar to our century overcame this distinction, they were great for both; the great charlatanry of Victor Hugo and Richard Wagner was coupled with such genuine virtuosity that it even satisfied the most refined artistic connoisseurs. This is why greatness is lacking: these geniuses had a double outlook; first, they catered for the coarsest needs, and then for the most refined.


False "accentuation": (1) In romanticism, this unremitting "expressivo" is not a sign of strength, but of a feeling of deficiency;

(2) Picturesque music, the so-called dramatic[Pg 267] kind, is above all easier (as is also the brutal scandalmongering and the juxtaposition of facts and traits in realistic novels);

(3) "Passion" as a matter of nerves and exhausted souls; likewise the delight in high mountains, deserts, storms, orgies, and disgusting details,—in bulkiness and massiveness (historians, for instance); as a matter of fact, there is actually a cult of exaggerated feelings (how is it that in stronger ages art desired just the opposite—a restraint of passion?);

(4) The preference for exciting materials (Erotica or Socialistica or Pathologica): all these things are the signs of the style of public that is being catered for to-day—that is to say, for overworked, absentminded, or enfeebled people.

Such people must be tyrannised over in order to be affected.


Modern art is the art of tyrannising. A coarse and salient definiteness in delineation; the motive simplified into a formula; formulæ tyrannise. Wild arabesques within the lines; overwhelming masses, before which the senses are confused; brutality in coloration, in subject-matter, in the desires. Examples: Zola, Wagner, and, in a more spiritualised degree, Taine. Hence logic, massiveness, and brutality.


In regard to the painter: Tous ces modernes sont des poètes qui ont voulu être peintres, L'un a[Pg 268] cherché des drames dans l'histoire, l'autre des scènes de mœurs, celui ci traduit des religions, celui là une philosophie. One imitates Raphael, another the early Italian masters. The landscapists employ trees and clouds in order to make odes and elegies. Not one is simply a painter; they are all archæologists, psychologists, and impresarios of one or another kind of event or theory. They enjoy our erudition and our philosophy. Like us, they are full, and too full, of general ideas. They like a form, not because it is what it is, but because of what it expresses. They are the scions of a learned, tormented, and reflecting generation, a thousand miles away from the Old Masters who never read, and only concerned themselves with feasting their eyes.


At bottom, even Wagner's music, in so far as it stands for the whole of French romanticism, is literature: the charm of exoticism (strange times, customs, passions), exercised upon sensitive cosy-corner people. The delight of entering into extremely distant and prehistoric lands to which books lead one, and by which means the whole horizon is painted with new colours and new possibilities.... Dreams of still more distant and unexploited worlds; disdain of the boulevards. ... For Nationalism, let us not deceive ourselves, is also only a form of exoticism.... Romantic musicians merely relate what exotic books have made of them: people would fain experience exotic sensations and passions according to[Pg 269] Florentine and Venetian taste; finally they are satisfied to look for them in an image.... The essential factor is the kind of novel desire, the desire to imitate, the desire to live as people have lived once before in the past, and the disguise and dissimulation of the soul.... Romantic art is only an emergency exit from defective "reality."

The attempt to perform new things: revolution, Napoleon. Napoleon represents the passion of new spiritual possibilities, of an extension of the soul's domain.

The greater the debility of the will, the greater the extravagances in the desire to feel, to represent, and to dream new things.—The result of the excesses which have been indulged in: an insatiable thirst for unrestrained feelings.... Foreign literatures afford the strongest spices.


Winckelmann's and Goethe's Greeks, Victor Hugo's Orientals, Wagner's Edda characters, Walter Scott's Englishmen of the thirteenth century—some day the whole comedy will be exposed! All of it was disproportionately historical and false, but—modern.


Concerning the characteristics of national genius in regard to the strange and to the borrowed—

English genius vulgarises and makes realistic everything it sees;

[Pg 270]

The French whittles down, simplifies, rationalises, embellishes;

The German muddles, compromises, involves, and infects everything with morality;

The Italian has made by far the freest and most subtle use of borrowed material, and has enriched it with a hundred times more beauty than it ever drew out of it: it is the richest genius, it had the most to bestow.


The Jews, with Heinrich Heine and Offenbach, approached genius in the sphere of art. The latter was the most intellectual and most high-spirited satyr, who as a musician abided by great tradition, and who, for him who has something more than ears, is a real relief after the sentimental and, at bottom, degenerate musicians of German romanticism.


Offenbach; trench music imbued with Voltaire's intellect, free, wanton, with a slight sardonic grin, but clear and intellectual almost to the point of banality (Offenbach never titivates), and free from the mignardise of morbid or blond-Viennese sensuality.


If by artistic genius we understand the most consummate freedom within the law, divine ease, and facility in overcoming the greatest[Pg 271] difficulties, then Offenbach has even more right to the title genius than Wagner has. Wagner is heavy and clumsy: nothing is more foreign to him than the moments of wanton perfection which this clown Offenbach achieves as many as five times, six times, in nearly every one of his buffooneries. But by genius we ought perhaps to understand something else.


Concerning "music."—French, German, and Italian music. (Our most debased periods in a political sense are our most productive. The Slavs?)—The ballet, which is the outcome of excessive study of the history of strange civilisations, has become master of opera.—Stage music and musicians music.—It is an error to suppose that what Wagner composed was a. form: it was rather formlessness. The possibilities of dramatic construction have yet to be discovered.—Rhythm. "Expression" at all costs. Harlotry in instrumentation.—All honour to Heinrich Schütz; all honour to Mendelssohn: in them we find an element of Goethe, but nowhere else! (We also find another element of Goethe coming to blossom in Rahel; a third element in Heinrich Heine.)


Descriptive music leaves reality to work its effects alone.... All these kinds of art are easier, and more easy to imitate; poorly gifted[Pg 272] people have recourse to them. The appeal to the instincts; suggestive art.


Concerning our modern music.—The decay of melody, like the decay of "ideas," and of the freedom of intellectual activity, is a piece of clumsiness and obtuseness, which is developing itself into new feats of daring and even into principles;—in the end man has only the principles of his gifts, or of his lack of gifts.

"Dramatic music"—nonsense! It is simply bad music.... "Feeling" and "passion" are merely substitutes when lofty intellectuality and the joy of it (e.g. Voltaire's) can no longer be attained. Expressed technically, feeling and "passion" are easier; they presuppose a much poorer kind of artist. The recourse to drama betrays that an artist is much more a master in tricky means than in genuine ones. To-day we have both dramatic painting and dramatic poetry, etc.


What we lack in music is an æsthetic which would impose laws upon musicians and give them a conscience; and as a result of this we lack a real contest concerning "principles."—For as musicians we laugh at Herbart's velleities in this department just as heartily as we laugh at Schopenhauer's. As a matter of fact, tremendous difficulties present themselves here. We no[Pg 273] longer know on what basis to found our concepts of what is exemplary, masterly, perfect. With the instincts of old loves and old admiration we grope about in a realm of values, and we almost believe, "that is good which pleases us".... I am always suspicious when I hear people everywhere speak innocently of Beethoven as a "classic"; what I would maintain, and with some seventy, is that, in other arts, a classic is the very reverse of Beethoven. But when the complete and glaring dissolution of style, Wagner's so-called dramatic style, is taught and honoured as exemplary, as masterly, as progressive, then my impatience exceeds all bounds. Dramatic style in music, as Wagner understood it, is simply renunciation of all style whatever; it is the assumption that something else, namely, drama, is a hundred times more important than music. Wagner can paint; he does not use music for the sake of music, with it he accentuates attitudes; he is a poet. Finally he made an appeal to beautiful feelings and heaving breasts, just as all other theatrical artists have done, and with it all he converted women and even those whose souls thirst for culture to him. But what do women and the uncultured care about music? All these people have no conscience for art: none of them suffer when the first and fundamental virtues of an art are scorned and trodden upon in favour of that which is merely secondary (as ancilla dramaturgica). What good can come of all extension in the means of expression, when that which is expressed, art itself, has lost all its law and order? The picturesque pomp and power[Pg 274] of tones, the symbolism of sound, rhythm, the colour effects of harmony and discord, the suggestive significance of music, the whole sensuality of this art which Wagner made prevail—it is all this that Wagner derived, developed, and drew out of music. Victor Hugo did something very similar for language: but already people in France are asking themselves, in regard to the case of Victor Hugo, whether language was not corrupted by him, whether reason, intellectuality, and thorough conformity to law in language are not suppressed when the sensuality of expression is elevated to a high place? Is it not a sign of decadence that the poets in France have become plastic artists, and that the musicians of Germany have become actors and culturemongers?


To-day there exists a sort of musical pessimism even among people who are not musicians. Who has not met and cursed the confounded youthlet who torments his piano until it shrieks with despair, and who single-handed heaves the slime of the most lugubrious and drabby harmonies before him? By so doing a man betrays himself as a pessimist.... It is open to question, though, whether he also proves himself a musician by this means. I for my part could never be made to believe it. Wagnerite pur sang is unmusical, he submits to the elementary forces of music very much as a woman submits to the will of the man who hypnotises her—and in order to be able to[Pg 275] do this he must not be made suspicious in rebus musicis et musicantibus by a too severe or too delicate conscience. I said "very much as"—but in this respect I spoke perhaps more than a parable. Let any one consider the means which Wagner uses by preference, when he wishes to make an effect (means which for the greater part he first had to invent), they are appallingly similar to the means by which a hypnotist exercises his power (the choice of his movements, the general colour of his orchestration; the excruciating evasion of consistency, and fairness and squareness, in rhythm; the creepiness, the soothing touch, the mystery, the hysteria of his "unending melody"). And is the condition to which the overture to Lohengrin, for instance, reduces the men, and still more the women, in the audience, so essentially different from the somnambulistic trance? On one occasion after the overture in question had been played, I heard an Italian lady say, with her eyes half closed, in a way in which female Wagnerites are adepts: "Come si dorme con questa musica!"[10]

[10] "How the music makes one sleep!"—Tr.


Religion in music.—What a large amount of satisfaction all religious needs get out of Wagnerian music, though this is never acknowledged or even understood! How much prayer, virtue, unction, virginity, salvation, speaks through this music!... Oh what capital this cunning[Pg 276] saint, who leads and seduces us back to everything that was once believed in, makes out of the fact that he may dispense with words and concepts! ... Our intellectual conscience has no need to feel ashamed—it stands apart—if any old instinct puts its trembling lips to the rim of forbidden philtres.... This is shrewd and healthy, and, in so far as it betrays a certain shame in regard to the satisfaction of the religious instinct, it is even a good sign.... Cunning Christianity: the type of the music which came from the "last Wagner."


I distinguish between courage before persons, courage before things, and courage on paper. The latter was the courage of David Strauss, for instance. I distinguish again between the courage before witnesses and the courage without witnesses: the courage of a Christian, or of believers in God in general, can never be the courage without witnesses—but on this score alone Christian courage stands condemned. Finally, I distinguish between the courage which is temperamental and the courage which is the fear of fear; a single instance of the latter kind is moral courage. To this list the courage of despair should be added.

This is the courage which Wagner possessed. His attitude in regard to music was at bottom a desperate one. He lacked two things which go to make up a good musician: nature and nurture, the predisposition for music and the discipline and schooling which music requires. He had courage: out of this deficiency he established a principle;[Pg 277] he invented a kind of music for himself. The dramatic music which he invented was the music which he was able to compose,—its limitations are Wagner's limitations.

And he was misunderstood!—Was he really misunderstood?... Such is the case with five-sixths of the artists of to-day. Wagner is their Saviour: five-sixths, moreover, is the "lowest proportion." In any case where Nature has shown herself without reserve, and wherever culture is an accident, a mere attempt, a piece of dilettantism, the artist turns instinctively—what do I say?—I mean enthusiastically, to Wagner; as the poet says: "Half drew he him, and half sank he."[11]

[11] This is an adapted quotation from Goethe's poem, "The Fisherman." The translation is E. A. Bowring's.—Tr.


"Music" and the grand style. The greatness of an artist is not to be measured by the beautiful feelings which he evokes: let this belief be left to the girls. It should be measured according to the extent to which he approaches the grand style, according to the extent to which he is capable of the grand style. This style and great passion have this in common—that they scorn to please; that they forget to persuade; that they command: that they will.... To become master of the chaos which is in one; to compel one's inner chaos to assume form; to become consistent, simple, unequivocal, mathematical, law this is the great ambition here. By means of it one repels; nothing[Pg 278] so much endears people to such powerful men as this,—a desert seems to lie around them, they impose silence upon all, and awe every one with the greatness Of their sacrilege.... All arts know this kind of aspirant to the grand style: why are they absent in music? Never yet has a musician built as that architect did who erected the Palazzo Pitti.... This is a problem. Does music perhaps belong to that culture in which the reign of powerful men of various types is already at an end? Is the concept "grand style" in fact a contradiction of the soul of music,—of "the Woman" in our music? ...

With this I touch upon the cardinal question: how should all our music be classified? The age of classical taste knows nothing that can be compared with it: it bloomed when the world of the Renaissance reached its evening, when "freedom" had already bidden farewell to both men and their customs—is it characteristic of music to be Counter-Renaissance? Is music, perchance, the sister of the baroque style, seeing that in any case they were contemporaries? Is not music, modern music, already decadence? ...

I have put my finger before on this question: whether music is not an example of Counter-Renaissance art? whether it is not the next of kin to the baroque style? whether it has not grown in Opposition to all classic taste, so that any aspiration to classicism is forbidden by the very nature of music?

The answer to this most important of all questions of values would not be a very doubtful[Pg 279] one, if people thoroughly understood the fact that music attains to its highest maturity and plenitude as romanticism—likewise as a reactionary movement against classicism.

Mozart, a delicate and lovable soul, but quite eighteenth century, even in his serious lapses ... Beethoven, the first great romanticist according to the French conception of romanticism, just as Wagner is the last great romanticist ... both of them are instinctive opponents of classical taste, of severe style—not to speak of "grand" in this regard.


Romanticism: an ambiguous question, like all modern questions.

The æsthetic conditions are twofold:—

The abundant and generous, as opposed to the seeking and the desiring.


A romanticist is an artist whose great dissatisfaction with himself makes him productive—; who looks away from himself and his fellows, and sometimes, therefore, looks backwards.


Is art the result of dissatisfaction with reality? or is it the expression of gratitude for happiness experienced? In the first case, it is romanticism; in the second, it is glorification and dithyramb (in short, apotheosis art): even Raphael belongs to this, except for the fact that he was guilty of the[Pg 280] duplicity of having defied the appearance of the Christian view of the world. He was thankful for life precisely where it was not exactly Christian.

With a moral interpretation the world is insufferable; Christianity was the attempt to overcome the world with morality: i.e. to deny it. In praxi such a mad experiment—an imbecile elevation of man above the world—could only end in the beglooming, the dwarfing, and the impoverishment of mankind: the only kind of man who gained anything by it, who was promoted by it, was the most mediocre, the most harmless and gregarious type.

Homer as an apotheosis artist; Rubens also. Music has not yet had such an artist.

The idealisation of the great criminal (the feeling for his greatness) is Greek; the depreciation, the slander, the contempt of the sinner, is Judæo-Christian.


Romanticism and its opposite. In regard to all æsthetic values I now avail myself of this fundamental distinction: in every individual case I ask myself has hunger or has superabundance been creative here? At first another distinction might perhaps seem preferable, it is far more obvious,—e.g. the distinction which decides whether a desire for stability, for eternity, for Being, or whether a desire for destruction, for change, for Becoming, has been the cause of creation. But both kinds of desire, when examined more closely, prove to be ambiguous, and really susceptible of[Pg 281] interpretation only according to that scheme already mentioned and which I think is rightly preferred.

The desire for destruction, for change, for Becoming, may be the expression of an overflowing power pregnant with promises for the future (my term for this, as is well known, is Dionysian); it may, however, also be the hate of the ill-constituted, of the needy and of the physiologically botched, that destroys, and must destroy, because such creatures are indignant at, and annoyed by everything lasting and stable.

The act of immortalising can, on the other hand, be the outcome of gratitude and love: an art which has this origin is always an apotheosis art; dithyrambic, as perhaps with Rubens, happy, as perhaps with Hafiz; bright and gracious, and shedding a ray of glory over all things, as in Goethe. But it may also, however, be the outcome of the tyrannical will of the great sufferer who would make the most personal, individual, and narrow trait about him, the actual idiosyncrasy of his pain—in fact, into a binding law and imposition, and who thus wreaks his revenge upon all things by stamping, branding, and violating them with the image of his torment. The latter case is romantic pessimism in its highest form, whether this be Schopenhauerian voluntarism or Wagnerian music.


It is a question whether the antithesis, classic and romantic, does not conceal that other antithesis, the active and the reactive.

[Pg 282]


In order to be a classic, one must be possessed of all the strong and apparently contradictory gifts and passions: but in such a way that they run in harness together, and culminate simultaneously in elevating a certain species of literature or art or politics to its height and zenith (they must not do this after that elevation has taken place ...). They must reflect the complete state (either of a people or of a culture), and express its most profound and most secret nature, at a time when it is still stable and not yet discoloured by the imitation of foreign things (or when it is still dependent ...); not a reactive but a deliberate and progressive spirit, saying Yea in all circumstances, even in its hate.

"And does not the highest personal value belong thereto?" It is worth considering whether moral prejudices do not perhaps exercise their influence here, and whether great moral loftiness is not perhaps a contradiction of the classical? ... Whether the moral monsters must not necessarily be romantic in word and deed? Any such preponderance of one virtue over others (as in the case of the moral monster) is precisely what with most hostility counteracts the classical power in equilibrium, supposing a people manifested this moral loftiness and were classical notwithstanding, we should have to conclude boldly that they were also on the same high level in immorality! this was perhaps the case with Shakespeare (provided that he was really Lord Bacon).

[Pg 283]


Concerning the future. Against the romanticism of great passion.—We must understand how a certain modicum of coldness, lucidity, and hardness is inseparable from all classical taste: above all consistency, happy intellectuality, "the three unities," concentration, hatred of all feeling, of all sentimentality, of all esprit, hatred of all multiformity, of all uncertainty, evasiveness, and of all nebulosity, as also of all brevity, finicking, prettiness and good nature. Artistic formulæ must not be played with: life must be remodelled so that it should be forced to formulate itself accordingly.

It is really an exhilarating spectacle which we have only learned to laugh at quite recently, because we have only seen through it quite recently: this spectacle of Herder's, Winckelmann's, Goethe's, and Hegel's contemporaries claiming that they had rediscovered the classical ideal ... and at the same time, Shakespeare! And this same crew of men had scurvily repudiated all relationship with the classical school of France! As if the essential principle could not have been learnt as well here as elsewhere! ... But what people wanted was "nature," and "naturalness": Oh, the stupidity of it! It was thought that classicism was a kind of naturalness!

Without either prejudice or indulgence we should try and investigate upon what soil a classical taste can be evolved. The hardening, the simplification, the strengthening, and the bedevilling of man are inseparable from classical taste. Logical and[Pg 284] psychological simplification. A contempt of detail, of complexity, of obscurity.

The romanticists of Germany do not protest against classicism, but against reason, against illumination, against taste, against the eighteenth century.

The essence of romantico-Wagnerian music is the opposite of the classical spirit.

The will to unity (because unity tyrannises. e.g. the listener and the spectator), but the artist's inability to tyrannise over himself where it is most needed—that is to say, in regard to the work itself (in regard to knowing what to leave out, what to shorten, what to clarify, what to simplify). The overwhelming by means of masses (Wagner, Victor Hugo, Zola, Taine).


The Nihilism of artists.—Nature is cruel in her cheerfulness; cynical in her sunrises. We are hostile to emotions. We flee thither where Nature moves our senses and our imagination, where we have nothing to love, where we are not reminded of the moral semblances and delicacies of this northern nature; and the same applies to the arts. We prefer that which no longer reminds us of good and evil. Our moral sensibility and tenderness seem to be relieved in the heart of terrible and happy Nature, in the fatalism of the senses and forces. Life without goodness.

Great well-being arises from contemplating Nature's indifference to good and evil.

No justice in history, no goodness in Nature.[Pg 285] That is why the pessimist when he is an artist prefers those historical subjects where the absence of justice reveals itself with magnificent simplicity, where perfection actually comes to expression—and likewise he prefers that in Nature, where her callous evil character is not hypocritically concealed, where that character is seen in perfection.... The Nihilistic artist betrays himself in willing and preferring cynical history and cynical Nature.


What is tragic?—Again and again I have pointed to the great misunderstanding of Aristotle in maintaining that the tragic emotions were the two depressing emotions—fear and pity. Had he been right, tragedy would be an art unfriendly to life: it would have been necessary to caution people against it as against something generally harmful and suspicious. Art, otherwise the great stimulus of life, the great intoxicant of life, the great will to life, here became a tool of decadence, the hand-maiden of pessimism and ill-health (for to suppose, as Aristotle supposed, that by exciting these emotions we thereby purged people of them, is simply an error). Something which habitually excites fear or pity, disorganises, weakens, and discourages: and supposing Schopenhauer were right in thinking that tragedy taught resignation (i.e. a meek renunciation of happiness, hope, and of the will to live), this would presuppose an art in which art itself was denied. Tragedy would then constitute a process of dissolution; the instinct of life would destroy itself in the instinct of[Pg 286] art. Christianity, Nihilism, tragic art, physiological decadence; these things would then be linked, they would then preponderate together and assist each other onwards—downwards.... Tragedy would thus be a symptom of decline.

This theory may be refuted in the most cold-blooded way, namely, by measuring the effect of a tragic emotion by means of a dynamometer The result would be a fact which only the bottomless falsity of a doctrinaire could misunderstand: that tragedy is a tonic. If Schopenhauer refuses to see the truth here, if he regards general depression as a tragic condition, if he would have informed the Greeks (who to his disgust were not "resigned") that they did not firmly possess the highest principles of life: it is only owing to his parti pris, to the need of consistency in his system, to the dishonesty of the doctrinaire—that dreadful dishonesty which step for step corrupted the whole psychology of Schopenhauer (he who had arbitrarily and almost violently misunderstood genius, art itself, morality, pagan religion, beauty, knowledge, and almost everything).


The tragic artist.—Whether, and in regard to what, the judgment "beautiful" is established is a question of an individual's or of a people's strength The feeling of plenitude, of overflowing strength (which gaily and courageously meets many an obstacle before which the weakling shudders)—the feeling of power utters the judgment "beautiful" concerning things and conditions which the instinct of impotence can only value as hateful and[Pg 287] ugly. The flair which enables us to decide whether the objects we encounter are dangerous, problematic, or alluring, likewise determines our æsthetic Yea. ("This is beautiful," is an affirmation).

From this we see that, generally speaking, a preference for questionable and terrible things is a symptom of strength; whereas the taste for pretty and charming trifles is characteristic of the weak and the delicate. The love of tragedy is typical of strong ages and characters: its non plus ultra is perhaps the Divina Commedia. It is the heroic spirits which in tragic cruelty say Yea unto themselves: they are hard enough to feel pain as a pleasure.

On the other hand, supposing weaklings desire to get pleasure from an art which was not designed for them, what interpretation must we suppose they would like to give tragedy in order to make it suit their taste? They would interpret their own feeling of value into it: e.g. the "triumph of the moral order of things," or the teaching of the "uselessness of existence," or the incitement to "resignation" (or also half-medicinal and half-moral outpourings, à la Aristotle). Finally, the art of terrible natures, in so far as it may excite the nerves, may be regarded by the weak and exhausted as a stimulus: this is now taking place, for instance, in the case of the admiration meted out to Wagner's art. A test of man's well-being and consciousness of power is the extent to which he can acknowledge the terrible and questionable character of things, and whether he is in any need of a faith at the end.

[Pg 288]

This kind of artistic pessimism is precisely the reverse of that religio-moral pessimism which suffers from the corruption of man and the enigmatic character of existence: the latter insists upon deliverance, or at least upon the hope of deliverance. Those who suffer, doubt, and distrust themselves,—the sick, in other words,—have in all ages required the transporting influence of visions in order to be able to exist at all (the notion "blessedness" arose in this way). A similar case would be that of the artists of decadence, who at bottom maintain a Nihilistic attitude to life, and take refuge in the beauty of form,—in those select cases in which Nature is perfect, in which she is indifferently great and indifferently beautiful. (The "love of the beautiful" may thus be something very different from the ability to see or create the beautiful: it may be the expression of impotence in this respect.) The most convincing artists are those who make harmony ring out of every discord, and who benefit all things by the gift of their power and inner harmony: in every work of art they merely reveal the symbol of their inmost experiences—their creation is gratitude for life.

The depth of the tragic artist consists in the fact that his æsthetic instinct surveys the more remote results, that he does not halt shortsightedly at the thing that is nearest, that he says Yea to the whole cosmic economy, which justifies the terrible, the evil, and the questionable; which more than justifies it.

[Pg 289]


Art in the "Birth of Tragedy."


The conception of the work which lies right in the background of this book, is extraordinarily gloomy and unpleasant: among all the types of pessimism which have ever been known hitherto, none seems to have attained to this degree of malice. The contrast of a true and of an apparent world is entirely absent here: there is but one world, and it is false, cruel, contradictory, seductive, and without sense. A world, thus constituted is the true world. We are in need of lies in order to rise superior to this reality, to this truth—that is to say, in order to live.... That lies should be necessary to life is part and parcel of the terrible and questionable character of existence.

Metaphysics, morality, religion, science, in this book, all these things are regarded merely as different forms of falsehood: by means of them we are led to believe in life. "Life, must inspire confidence"; the task which this imposes upon us is enormous. In order to solve, this problem man must already be a liar in his heart, but he must above all else be an artist. And he is that. Metaphysics, religion, morality, science, all these things are but the offshoot of his will to art, to falsehood, to a flight from "truth," to a denial of "truth." This ability, this artistic capacity par excellence of man—thanks to which he overcomes reality with lies,—is a quality which he has in[Pg 290] common with all other forms of existence. He himself is indeed a piece of reality, of truth, of nature: how could he help being also a piece of genius in prevarication!

The fact that the character of existence is misunderstood, is the profoundest and the highest secret motive behind everything relating to virtue, science, piety, and art. To be blind to many things, to see many things falsely, to fancy many things: Oh, how clever man has been in those circumstances in which he believed he was anything but clever! Love, enthusiasm, "God"—are but subtle forms of ultimate Self-deception; they are but seductions to life and to the belief in life! In those moments when man was deceived, when he had befooled himself and when he believed in life: Oh, how his spirit swelled within him! Oh, what ecstasies he had! What power he felt! And what artistic triumphs in the feeling of power! ... Man had once more become master of "matter,"—master of truth! ... And whenever man rejoices it is always in the same way: he rejoices as an artist, his power is his joy, he enjoys falsehood as his power....


Art and nothing else! Art is the great means of making life possible, the great seducer to life, the great stimulus of life.

Art is the only superior counter-agent to all will to the denial of life; it is par excellence the anti-Christian, the anti-Buddhistic, the anti-Nihilistic force.

[Pg 291]

Art is the alleviation of the seeker after knowledge,—of him who recognises the terrible and questionable character Of existence, and who will recognise it,—of the tragic seeker after knowledge.

Art is the alleviation of the man of action,—of him who not only sees the terrible and questionable character of existence, but also lives it, will live it,—of the tragic and warlike man, the hero. Art is the alleviation of the sufferer,—as the way to states in which pain is willed, is transfigured, is deified, where suffering is a form of great ecstasy.


It is clear that in this book pessimism, or, better still, Nihilism, stands for "truth." But truth is not postulated as the highest measure of value, and still less as the highest power. The will to appearance, to illusion, to deception, to becoming, and to change (to objective deception), is here regarded as more profound, as more primeval, as more metaphysical than the will to truth, to reality, to appearance: the latter is merely a form of the will to illusion. Happiness is likewise conceived as more primeval than pain: and pain is considered as conditioned, as a consequence Of the will to happiness (of the will to Becoming, to growth, to forming, i.e. to creating; in creating, however, destruction is included). The highest state of Yea-saying to existence is conceived as one from which the greatest pain may not be excluded: the tragico-Dionysian state.

[Pg 292]


In this way this book is even anti-pessimistic, namely, in the sense that it teaches something which is stronger than pessimism and which is more "divine" than truth: Art. Nobody, it would seem, would be more ready seriously to utter a radical denial of life, an actual denial of action even more than a denial of life, than the author of this book. Except that he knows—for he has experienced it, and perhaps experienced little else!—that art is of more value than truth.

Even in the preface, in which Richard Wagner is, as it were, invited to join with him in conversation, the author expresses this article of faith, this gospel for artists; "Art is the only task of life, art is the metaphysical activity of life...."

[Pg 293]



[Pg 294]
[Pg 295]



1. The Doctrine of the Order of Rank.


In this age of universal suffrage, in which everybody is allowed to sit in judgment upon everything and everybody, I feel compelled to re-establish the order of rank.


Quanta of power alone determine rank and distinguish rank: nothing else does.


The will to power.—How must those men be constituted who would undertake this transvaluation? The order of rank as the order of power: war and danger are the prerequisites which allow of a rank maintaining its conditions. The prodigious example: man in Nature—the weakest and shrewdest creature making himself master, and putting a yoke upon all less intelligent forces.

[Pg 296]


I distinguish between the type which represents ascending life and that which represents decay, decomposition and weakness. Ought one to suppose that the question of rank between these two types can be at all doubtful?


The modicum of power which you represent decides your rank; all the rest is cowardice.


The advantages of standing detached from one's age.—Detached from the two movements, that of individualism and that of collectivist morality; for even the first does not recognise the order of rank, and would give one individual the same freedom as another. My thoughts are not concerned with the degree of freedom which should be granted to the one or to the other or to all, but with the degree of power which the one or the other should exercise over his neighbour or over all; and more especially with the question to what extent a sacrifice of freedom, or even enslavement, may afford the basis for the cultivation, of a superior type. In plain words: how could one sacrifice the development of mankind in order to assist a higher species than man to come into being.

[Pg 297]


Concerning rank.—The terrible consequences of "equality"—in the end everybody thinks he has the right to every problem. All order of rank has vanished.


It is necessary for higher men to declare war upon the masses! In all directions mediocre people are joining hands in order to make themselves masters. Everything that pampers, that softens, and that brings the "people" or "woman" to the front, operates in favour of universal suffrage,—that is to say, the dominion of inferior men. But we must make reprisals, and draw the whole state of affairs (which commenced in Europe with Christianity) to the light of day and to judgment.


A teaching is needed which is strong enough to work in a disciplinary manner; it should operate in such a way as to strengthen the strong and to paralyse and smash up the world-weary.

The annihilation of declining races. The decay of Europe. The annihilation of slave-tainted valuations. The dominion of the world as a means to the rearing of a higher type. The annihilation of the humbug which is called morality (Christianity as a hysterical kind of honesty in this regard: Augustine, Bunyan.)[Pg 298] The annihilation of universal suffrage—that is to say, that system by means of which the lowest natures prescribe themselves as a law for higher natures. The annihilation of mediocrity and its prevalence. (The one-sided, the individuals—peoples; constitutional plenitude should be aimed at by means of the coupling of opposites; to this end race-combinations should be tried.) The new kind of courage—no a priori truths (those who were accustomed to believe in something sought such truths!), but free submission to a ruling thought, which has its time; for instance, time conceived as the quality of space, etc.

2. The Strong and the Weak.


The notion, "strong and weak man" resolves itself into this, that in the first place much strength is inherited—the man is a total sum; in the other, not yet enough (inadequate inheritance, subdivision of the inherited qualities). Weakness may be a starting phenomenon: not yet enough; or a final phenomenon: "no more."

The determining point is there where great strength is present, or where a great amount of strength can be discharged. The mass, as the sum-total of the weak, reacts slowly; it defends itself against much for which it is too weak,—against that for which it has no use; it never creates, it never takes a step forward. This is[Pg 299] opposed to the theory which denies the strong individual and would maintain that the "masses do everything." The difference is similar to that which obtains between separated generations: four or even five generations may lie between the masses and him who is the moving spirit—it is a chronological difference.

The values of the weak are in the van, because the strong have adopted them in order to lead with them.


Why the weak triumph.—On the whole, the sick and the weak have more sympathy and are more "humane"; the sick and the weak have more intellect, and are more changeable more variegated, more entertaining—more malicious; the sick alone invented malice. (A morbid precocity is often to be observed among rickety, scrofulitic, and tuberculous people.) Esprit: the property of older races; Jews, Frenchmen, Chinese. (The anti-Semites do not forgive the Jews for having both intellect—and money. Anti-Semites—another name for "bungled and botched.")

The sick and the weak have always had fascination on their side; they are more interesting than the healthy: the fool and the saint—the two most interesting kinds of men.... Closely related thereto is the "genius." The "great adventurers and criminals" and all great men, the most healthy in particular, have always been sick at certain periods of their lives—great disturbances of the[Pg 300] emotions, the passion for power, love, revenge, are all accompanied by very profound perturbations. And, as for decadence, every man who does not die prematurely manifests it in almost every respect—he therefore knows from experience the instincts which belong to it: for half his life nearly every man is decadent.

And finally, woman! One-half of mankind is weak, chronically sick, changeable, shifty woman requires strength in order to cleave to it; she also requires a religion of the weak which glorifies weakness, love, and modesty as divine: or, better still, she makes the strong weak—she rules when she succeeds in overcoming the strong. Woman has always conspired with decadent types,—the priests, for instance, against the mighty, against the "strong," against men. Women avail themselves of children for the cult of piety, pity, and love:—the mother stands as the symbol of convincing altruism.

Finally, the increase of civilisation with its necessary correlatives, the increase of morbid elements, of the neurotic and psychiatric and of the criminal. A sort of intermediary species arises, the artist. He is distinct from those who are criminals as the result of weak wills and of the fear of society, although they may not yet be ripe for the asylum; but he has antennas which grope inquisitively into both spheres, this specific plant of culture, the modern artist, painter, musician, and, above all, novelist, who designates his particular kind of attitude with the very indefinite word "naturalism."... Lunatics, criminals, and[Pg 301] realists[1] are on the increase: this is the sign of a growing culture plunging forward at headlong speed—that is to say, its excrement, its refuse, the rubbish that is shot from it every day, is beginning to acquire more importance, the retrogressive movement keeps pace with the advance.

Finally, the social mishmash, which is the result of revolution, of the establishment of equal rights, and of the superstition, the "equality of men." Thus the possessors of the instincts of decline (of resentment, of discontent, of the lust of destruction, of anarchy and Nihilism), as also the instincts of slavery, of cowardice, of craftiness, and of rascality, which are inherent among those classes of society which have long been suppressed, are beginning to get infused into the blood of all ranks. Two or three generations later, the race can no longer be recognised—everything has become mob. And thus there results a collective instinct against selection, against every kind of privilege, and this instinct operates with such power, certainty, hardness, and cruelty that, as a matter of fact, in the end, even the privileged classes have to submit: all those who still wish to hold on to power flatter the mob, work with the mob, and must have the mob on their side—the "geniuses" above all. The latter become the heralds of those feelings with which the mob can be inspired,—the expression of pity, of honour, even for all that suffers, all that is low and despised, and has lived[Pg 302] under persecution, becomes predominant (types: Victor Hugo, Richard Wagner).—The rise of the mob signifies once more the rise of old values.

In the case of such an extreme movement, both in tempo and in means, as characterises our civilisation, man's ballast is shifted. Those men whose worth is greatest, and whose mission, as it were, is to compensate for the very great danger of such a morbid movement,—such men become dawdlers par excellence; they are slow to accept anything, and are tenacious; they are creatures that are relatively lasting in the midst of this vast mingling and changing of elements. In such circumstances power is necessarily relegated to the mediocre: mediocrity, as the trustee and bearer of the future, consolidates itself against the rule of the mob and of eccentricities (both of which are, in most cases, united). In this way a new antagonist is evolved for exceptional men—or in certain cases a new temptation. Provided that they do not adapt themselves to the mob, and stand up for what satisfies the instincts of the disinherited, they will find it necessary to be "mediocre" and sound. They know: mediocritas is also aurea,—it alone has command of money and gold (of all that glitters ...).... And, once more, old virtue and the whole superannuated world of ideals in general secures a gifted host of special-pleaders.... Result: mediocrity acquires intellect, wit, and genius, it becomes entertaining, and even seductive.


Result.—A high culture can only stand upon a broad basis, upon a strongly and soundly consolidated[Pg 303] mediocrity. In its service and assisted by it, science and even art do their work. Science could not wish for a better state of affairs: in its essence it belongs to a middle-class type of man,—among exceptions it is out of place,—there is not anything aristocratic and still less anything anarchic in its instincts.—The power of the middle classes is then upheld by means of commerce, but, above all, by means of money-dealing: the instinct of great financiers is opposed to everything extreme—on this account the Jews are, for the present, the most conservative power in the threatening and insecure conditions of modern Europe. They can have no use either for revolutions, for socialism, or for militarism: if they would have power, and if they should need it, even over the revolutionary party, this is only the result of what I have already said, and it in no way contradicts it. Against other extreme movements they may occasionally require to excite terror by showing how much power is in their hands. But their instinct itself is inveterately conservative and "mediocre, ... Wherever power exists, they know how to become mighty; but the application of their power always takes the same direction. The polite term for mediocre, as is well known, is the word "Liberal."

Reflection.—It is all nonsense to suppose that this general conquest of values is anti-biological. In order to explain it, we ought to try and show that it is the result of a certain interest of life to maintain the type "man," even by means of this[Pg 304] method which leads to the prevalence of the weak and the physiologically botched—if things were otherwise, might man not cease to exist? Problem ...

The enhancement of the type may prove fatal to the maintenance of the species. Why?—The experience of history shows that strong races decimate each other mutually, by means of war, lust for power, and venturousness; the strong emotions; wastefulness (strength is no longer capitalised, disturbed mental systems arise from excessive tension); their existence is a costly affair in short, they persistently give rise to friction between themselves; periods of profound slackness and torpidity intervene: all great ages have to be paid for.... The strong are, after all, weaker, less wilful, and more absurd than the average weak ones.

They are squandering races. "Permanence," in itself, can have no value: that which ought to be preferred thereto would be a shorter life for the species, but a life richer in creations. It would remain to be proved that, even as things are, a richer sum of creations is attained than in the case of the shorter existence; i.e. that man, as a storehouse of power, attains to a much higher degree of dominion over things under the conditions which have existed hitherto.... We are here face to face with a problem of economics.

[1] The German word is "Naturalist," and really means "realist" in a bad sense.—Tr.


The state of mind which calls itself "idealism," and which will neither allow mediocrity to be[Pg 305] mediocre nor woman to be woman! Do not make everything uniform! We should have a clear idea of how dearly we have to pay for the establishment of a virtue; and that virtue is nothing generally desirable, but a noble piece of madness, a beautiful exception, which gives us the privilege of feeling elated....


It is necessary to show that a counter-movement is inevitably associated with any increasingly economical consumption of men and mankind, and with an ever more closely involved "machinery" of interests and services. I call this counter-movement the separation of the luxurious surplus of mankind: by means of it a stronger kind, a higher type, must come to light, which has other conditions for its origin and for its maintenance than the average man. My concept, my metaphor for this type is, as you know, the word "Superman." Along the first road, which can now be completely surveyed, arose adaptation, stultification, higher Chinese culture, modesty in the Instincts, and satisfaction at the sight of the belittlement of man—a kind of stationary level of mankind. If ever we get that inevitable and imminent, general control of the economy of the earth, then mankind can be used as machinery and find its best purpose in the service of this economy—as an enormous piece of clock-work consisting of ever smaller and ever more subtly adapted wheels; then all the dominating and commanding elements[Pg 306] will become ever more superfluous; and the whole gains enormous energy, while the individual factors which compose it represent but small modicums of strength and of value. To oppose this dwarfing and adaptation of man to a specialised kind of utility, a reverse movement is needed -the procreation of the synthetic man who embodies everything and justifies it; that man for whom the turning of mankind into a machine is a first condition of existence, for whom the rest of mankind is but soil on which he can devise his higher mode of existence.

He is in need of the opposition of the masses, of those who are "levelled down"; he requires that feeling of distance from them; he stands upon them, he lives on them. This higher form of aristocracy is the form of the future. From the moral point of view, the collective machinery above described, that solidarity of all wheels, represents the most extreme example in the exploitation of mankind: but it presupposes the existence of those for whom such an exploitation would have some meaning.[2] Otherwise it would signify, as a matter of fact, merely the general depreciation of the type man,—a retrograde phenomenon on a grand scale.

Readers are beginning to see what I am combating—namely, economic optimism: as if[Pg 307] the genera] welfare of everybody must necessarily increase with the growing self-sacrifice of everybody. The very reverse seems to me to be the case, the self-sacrifice of everybody amounts to a collective loss; man becomes inferior—so that nobody knows what end this monstrous purpose has served. A wherefore? a new wherefore?—this is what mankind requires.

[2] This sentence for ever distinguishes Nietzsche's aristocracy from our present plutocratic and industrial one, for which, at the present moment at any rate, it would be difficult to discover some meaning.—Tr.


The recognition of the increase of collective power: we should calculate to what extent the ruin of individuals, of castes, of ages, and of peoples, is included in this general increase.

The transposition of the ballast of a culture. The cost of every vast growth: who bears it? Why must it be enormous at the present time?


General aspect of the future European: the latter regarded as the most intelligent servile animal, very industrious, at bottom very modest, inquisitive to excess, multifarious, pampered, weak of will,—a chaos of cosmopolitan passions and intelligences. How would it be possible for a stronger race to be bred from him?—Such a race as would have a classical taste? The classical taste: this is the will to simplicity, to accentuation, and to happiness made visible, the will to the terrible, and the courage for psychological nakedness (simplification is the[Pg 308] outcome of the will to accentuate; allowing happiness as well as nakedness to become visible is a consequence of the will to the terrible ...). In order to fight one's way out of that chaos, and up to this form, a certain disciplinary constraint is necessary: a man should have to choose between either going to the dogs or prevailing. A ruling race can only arise amid terrible and violent conditions. Problem: where are the barbarians of the twentieth century? Obviously they will only show themselves and consolidate themselves after enormous socialistic crises. They will consist of those elements which are capable of the greatest hardness towards themselves, and which can guarantee the most enduring will-power.


The mightiest and most dangerous passions of man, by means of which he most easily goes to rack and ruin, have been so fundamentally banned that mighty men themselves have either become impossible or else must regard themselves as evil, "harmful and prohibited." The losses are heavy, but up to the present they have been necessary. Now, however, that a whole host of counter-forces has been reared, by means of the temporary suppression of these passions (the passion for dominion, the love of change and deception), their liberation has once more become possible: they will no longer possess their old savagery. We can now allow ourselves this tame sort of barbarism: look at our artists and our statesmen!

[Pg 309]


The root of all evil: that the slave morality of modesty, chastity, selflessness, and absolute obedience should have triumphed. Dominating natures were thus condemned (1) to hypocrisy, (2) to qualms of conscience,—creative natures regarded themselves as rebels against God, uncertain and hemmed in by eternal values.

The barbarians showed that the ability of keeping within the bounds of moderation was not in the scope of their powers: they feared and slandered the passions and instincts of nature—likewise the aspect of the ruling Cæsars and castes. On the other hand, there arose the suspicion that all restraint is a form of weakness or of incipient old age and fatigue (thus La Rochefoucauld suspects that "virtue" is only a euphemism in the mouths of those to whom vice no longer affords any pleasure). The capacity for restraint was represented as a matter of hardness, self-control, asceticism, as a fight with the devil, etc. etc. The natural delight of æsthetic natures, in measure; the pleasure derived from the beauty of measure, was overlooked and denied, because that which was desired was an anti-eudæmonistic morality. The belief in the pleasure which comes of restraint has been lacking hitherto—this pleasure of a rider on a fiery steed! The moderation of weak natures was confounded with the restraint of the strong!

In short, the best things have been blasphemed because weak or immoderate swine have thrown a[Pg 310] bad light upon them—the best men have remained concealed—and have often misunderstood themselves.


Vicious and unbridled people: their depressing influence upon the value of the pussions. It was the appalling barbarity of morality which was principally responsible in the Middle Ages for the compulsory recourse to a veritable "league of virtue"—and this was coupled with an equally appalling exaggeration of all that which constitutes the value of man. Militant "civilisation" (taming) is in need of all kinds of irons and tortures in order to maintain itself against terrible and beast-of-prey natures.

In this case, contusion, although it may have the most nefarious influences, is quite natural: that which men of power and will are able to demand of themselves gives them the standard for what they may also allow themselves. Such natures are the very opposite of the vicious and the unbridled; although under certain circumstances they may perpetrate deeds for which an inferior man would be convicted of vice and intemperance.

In this respect the concept, "all men are equal before God" does an extraordinary amount of harm; actions and attitudes of mind were forbidden which belonged to the prerogative of the strong alone, just as if they were in themselves unworthy of man. All the tendencies of strong men were brought into disrepute by the fact that the defensive weapons of the most weak (even of[Pg 311] those who were weakest towards themselves) were established as a standard of valuation.

The confusion went so far that precisely the great virtuosos of life (whose self-control presents the sharpest contrast to the vicious and the unbridled) were branded with the most opprobrious names. Even to this day people feel themselves compelled to disparage a Cæsar Borgia: it is simply ludicrous. The Church has anathematised German Kaisers owing to their vices: as if a monk or a priest had the right to say a word as to what a Frederick II. should allow himself. Don Juan is sent to hell: this is very naïf. Has anybody ever noticed that all interesting men are lacking in heaven? ... This is only a hint to the girls, as to where they may best find salvation. If one think at all logically, and also have a profound insight into that which makes a great man, there, can be no doubt at all that the Church has dispatched all "great men" to Hades—its fight is against all "greatness in man."


The rights which a man arrogates to himself are relative to the duties which he sets himself, and to the tasks which he feels capable of performing. The great majority of men have no right to life, and are only a misfortune to their higher fellows.


The misunderstanding of egoism: on the part of ignoble natures who know nothing of the lust of[Pg 312] conquest and the insatiability of great love, and who likewise know nothing of the overflowing feelings of power which make a man wish to overcome things, to force them over to himself, and to lay them on his heart, the power which impels an artist to his material. It often happens also that the active spirit looks for a field for its activity. In ordinary "egoism" it is precisely the ... "non-ego," the profoundly mediocre creature, the member of the herd, who wishes to maintain himself—and when this is perceived by the rarer, more subtle, and less mediocre natures, it revolts them. For the judgment of the latter is this: "We are the noble! It is much more important to maintain us than that cattle!"


The degeneration of the ruler and of the ruling classes has been the cause of all the great disorders in history! Without the Roman Cæsars and Roman society, Christianity would never have prevailed.

When it occurs to inferior men to doubt whether higher men exist, then the danger is great I It is then that men finally discover that there are virtues even among inferior, suppressed, and poor-spirited men, and that everybody is equal before God: which is the non plus ultra of all confounded nonsense that has ever appeared on earth! For in the end higher men begin to measure themselves according to the standard of virtues upheld by the slaves—and discover that[Pg 313] they are "proud," etc., and that all their higher qualities should be condemned.

When Nero and Caracalla stood at the helm, it was then that the paradox arose: "The lowest man is of more value than that one on the throne!" And thus the path was prepared for an image of God which was as remote as possible from the image of the mightiest,—God on the Cross!


Higher man and gregarious man.—When great men are wanting, the great of the past are converted into demigods or whole gods: the rise of religions proves that mankind no longer has any pleasure in man ("nor in woman neither," as in Hamlet's case). Or a host of men are brought together in a heap, and it is hoped that as a Parliament they will operate just as tyrannically.

Tyrannising is the distinctive quality of great men; they make inferior men stupid.


Buckle affords the best example of the extent to which a plebeian agitator of the mob is incapable of arriving at a clear idea of the concept, "higher nature." The opinion which he combats so passionately—that "great men," individuals, princes, statesmen, geniuses, warriors, are the levers and causes of all great movements, is instinctively misunderstood by him, as if it meant that all that was essential and valuable in such[Pg 314] a "higher man," was the fact that he was capable of setting masses in motion; in short, that his sole merit was the effect he produced.... But the "higher nature" of the great man resides precisely in being different, in being unable to communicate with others, in the loftiness of his rank—not in any sort of effect he may produce even though this be the shattering of both hemispheres.


The Revolution made Napoleon possible: that is its justification. We ought to desire the anarchical collapse of the whole of our civilisation if such a reward were to be its result. Napoleon made nationalism possible: that is the latter's excuse.

The value of a man (apart, of course, from morality and immorality: because with these concepts a man's worth is not even skimmed) does not lie in his utility; because he would continue to exist even if there were nobody to whom he could be useful. And why could not that man be the very pinnacle of manhood who was the source of the worst possible effects for his race: so high and so superior, that in his presence everything would go to rack and ruin from envy?


To appraise the value of a man according to his utility to mankind, or according to what he costs it, or the damage he is able to inflict upon it,[Pg 315] is just as good and just as bad as to appraise the value of a work of art according to its effects. But in this way the value of one man compared with another is not even touched upon. The "moral valuation," in so far as it is social measures men altogether according to their effects. But what about the man who has his own taste on his tongue, who is surrounded and concealed by his isolation, uncommunicative and not to be communicated with; a man whom no one has fathomed yet—that is to say, a creature of a higher, and, at any rate, different species, how would ye appraise his worth, seeing that ye cannot know him and can compare him with nothing?

Moral valuation was the cause of the most enormous obtuseness of judgment: the value of a man in himself is underrated, well-nigh overlooked, practically denied. This is the remains of simple-minded teleology: the value of man can only be measured with regard to other men.


To be obsessed by moral considerations presupposes a very low grade of intellect: it shows that the instinct for special rights, for standing apart, the feeling of freedom in creative natures, in "children of God" (or of the devil), is lacking. And irrespective of whether he preaches a ruling morality or criticises the prevailing ethical code from the point of view of his own ideal: by doing these things a man shows that he belongs[Pg 316] to the herd—even though he may be what it is most in need of—that is to say, a "shepherd."


We should substitute morality by the will to our own ends, and consequently to the means to them.


Concerning the order of rank.—What is it that constitutes the mediocrity of the typical man? That he does not understand that things necessarily have their other side; that he combats evil conditions as if they could be dispensed with, that he will not take the one with the other; that he would fain obliterate and erase the specific character of a thing, of a circumstance, of an age, and of a person, by calling only a portion of their qualities good, and suppressing the remainder. The "desirability" of the mediocre is that which we others combat: their ideal is something which shall no longer contain anything harmful, evil, dangerous, questionable, and destructive. We recognise the reverse of this: that with every growth of man his other side must grow as well; that the highest man, if such a concept be allowed, would be that man who would represent the antagonistic character of existence most strikingly, and would be its glory and its only justification.... Ordinary men may only represent a small corner and nook of this natural character; they perish the moment the multifariousness of the elements composing them, and the tension between their[Pg 317] antagonistic traits, increases: but this is the prerequisite for greatness in man. That man should become better and at the same time more evil, is my formula for this inevitable fact.

The majority of people are only piecemeal and fragmentary examples of man: only when all these creatures are jumbled together does one whole man arise Whole ages and whole peoples in this sense, have a fragmentary character about them; it may perhaps be part of the economy of human development that man should develop himself only piecemeal. But, for this reason, one should not forget that the only important consideration is the rise of the synthetic man; that inferior men, and by far the great majority of people, are but rehearsals and exercises out of which here and there a whole man may arise; a man who is a human milestone, and who indicates how far mankind has advanced up to a certain point. Mankind does not advance in a straight line,—often a type is attained which is again lost (for instance, with all the efforts of three hundred years, we have not reached the men of the Renaissance again, and in addition to this we must not forget that the man of the Renaissance was already behind his brother of classical antiquity).


The superiority of the Greek and the man of the Renaissance is recognised, but people would like to produce them without the conditions and causes of which they were the result.

[Pg 318]


"Purification of taste" can only be the result of the strengthening of the type. Our society to-day represents only the cultivating systems, the cultivated man is lacking. The great synthetic man, in whom the various forces for attaining a purpose are correctly harnessed together, is altogether wanting. The specimen we possess is the multifarious man, the most interesting form of chaos that has ever existed: but not the chaos preceding the creation of the world, but that following it: Goethe as the most beautiful expression of the type (completely and utterly un-Olympian!)[3]

[3] The Germans always call Goethe the Olympian.—Tr.


Handel, Leibniz, Goethe, and Bismarck, are characteristic of the strong German type. They lived with equanimity, surrounded by contrasts. They were full of that agile kind of strength which cautiously avoids convictions and doctrines, by using the one as a weapon against the other, and reserving absolute freedom for themselves.


Of this I am convinced, that if the rise of great and rare men had been made dependent upon the voices of the multitude (taking for granted, of[Pg 319] course, that the latter knew the qualities which belong to greatness, and also the price that all greatness pays for its self-development), then there would never have been any such thing as a great man!

The fact that things pursue their course independently of the voice of the many, is the reason why, a few astonishing things have taken place on earth.


The Order of Rank in Human Values.

(a) A man should not be valued according to isolated acts. Epidermal actions. Nothing is more rare than a personal act. Class, rank, race, environment, accident—all these things are much more likely to be expressed in an action or deed than the "personality" of the doer.

(b) We should on no account jump to the conclusion that there are many people who are personalities. Some men are but conglomerations of personalities, whilst the majority are not even one. In all cases in which those average qualities preponderate, which ensure the maintenance of the species, to be a personality would involve unnecessary expense, it would be a luxury in fact, it would be foolish to demand of anybody that he should be a personality. In such circumstances everybody is a channel or a transmitting vessel.

(c) A "personality" is a relatively isolated phenomenon; in view of the superior importance of the continuation of the race at an average level, a[Pg 320] personality might even be regarded as something hostile to nature. For a personality to be possible, timely isolation and the necessity for an existence of offence and defence, are prerequisites; something in the nature of a walled enclosure, a capacity for shutting out the world; but above all, a much lower degree of sensitiveness than the average man has, who is too easily infected with the views of others.

The first question concerning the order of rank: how far is a man disposed to be solitary or gregarious? (in the latter case, his value consists in those qualities which secure the survival of his tribe or his type; in the former case, his qualities are those which distinguish him from others, which isolate and defend him, and make his solitude possible).

Consequence: the solitary type should not be valued from the standpoint of the gregarious type, or vice versâ.

Viewed from above, both types are necessary; as is likewise their antagonism,—and nothing is more thoroughly reprehensible than the "desire" which would develop a third thing out of the two ("virtue" as hermaphroditism). This is as little worthy of desire as the equalisation and reconciliation of the sexes. The distinguishing qualities must be developed ever more and more, the gulf must be made ever wider....

The concept of degeneration in both cases: the approximation of the qualities of the herd to those of solitary creatures: and vice versâ—in short, when they begin to resemble each other. This concept of degeneration is beyond the sphere of moral judgments.

[Pg 321]


Where the strongest natures are to be sought. The ruin and degeneration of the solitary species is much greater and more terrible: they have the instincts of the herd, and the tradition of values, against them; their weapons of defence, their instincts of self-preservation, are from the beginning insufficiently strong and reliable—fortune must be peculiarly favourable to them if they are to prosper (they prosper best in the lowest ranks and dregs of society; if ye are seeking personalities it is there that ye will find them with much greater certainty than in the middle classes!)

When the dispute between ranks and classes, which aims at equality of rights, is almost settled, the fight will begin against the solitary person. (In a certain sense the latter can maintain and develop himself most easily in a democratic society: there where the coarser means of defence are no longer necessary, and a certain habit of order, honesty, justice, trust, is already a general condition.) The strongest must be most tightly bound, most strictly watched, laid in chains and supervised: this is the instinct of the herd. To them belongs a régime of self-mastery, of ascetic detachment, of "duties" consisting in exhausting work, in which one can no longer call one's soul one's own.


I am attempting an economic justification of virtue. The object is to make man as useful as[Pg 322] possible, and to make him approximate as nearly as one can to an infallible machine: to this end he must be equipped with machine-like virtues (he must learn to value those states in which he works in a most mechanically useful way, as the highest of all: to this end it is necessary to make him as disgusted as possible with the other states, and to represent them as very dangerous and despicable).

Here is the first stumbling-block: the tediousness and monotony which all mechanical activity brings with it. To learn to endure this—and not only to endure it, but to see tedium enveloped in a ray of exceeding charm: this hitherto has been the task of all higher schools. To learn something which you don't care a fig about, and to find precisely your "duty" in this "objective" activity; to learn to value happiness and duty as things apart; this is the invaluable task and performance of higher schools. It is on this account that the philologist has, hitherto, been the educator per se: because his activity, in itself, affords the best pattern of magnificent monotony in action; under his banner youths learn to "swat": first prerequisite for the thorough fulfilment of mechanical duties in the future (as State officials, husbands, slaves of the desk, newspaper readers, and soldiers). Such an existence may perhaps require a philosophical glorification and justification more than any other: pleasurable feelings must be valued by some sort of infallible tribunal, as altogether of inferior rank; "duty per se" perhaps even the pathos of reverence in regard to everything unpleasant,—must be demanded imperatively as that which is above all[Pg 323] useful, delightful, and practical things.... A mechanical form of existence regarded as the highest and most respectable form of existence, worshipping itself (type: Kant as the fanatic of the formal concept "Thou shalt").


The economic valuation of all the ideals that have existed hitherto—that is to say, the selection and rearing of definite passions and states at the cost of other passions and states. The lawgiver (or the instinct of the community) selects a number of states and passions the existence of which guarantees the performance of regular actions (mechanical actions would thus be the result of the regular requirements of those passions and states).

In the event of these states and passions containing ingredients which were painful, a means would have to be found for overcoming this painfulness by means of a valuation; pain would have to be interpreted as something valuable, as something pleasurable in a higher sense. Conceived in a formula: "How does something unpleasant become pleasant?" For instance, when our obedience and our submission to the law become honoured, thanks to the energy, power, and self-control they entail. The same holds good of our public spirit, of our neighbourliness, of our patriotism, our "humanisation," our "altruism," and our "heroism." The object of all idealism should, be to induce people to do unpleasant things cheerfully.

[Pg 324]


The belittlement of man must be held as the chief aim for a long while: because what is needed in the first place is a broad basis from which a stronger species of man may arise (to what extent hitherto has every stronger species of man arisen from a substratum of inferior people?).


The absurd and contemptible form of idealism which would not have mediocrity mediocre, and which instead of feeling triumphant at being exceptional, becomes indignant at cowardice, falseness, pettiness, and wretchedness. We should not wish things to be any different, we should make the gulfs even wider!—The higher types among men should be compelled to distinguish themselves by means of the sacrifices which they make to their own existence.

Principal point of view; distances must be established, but no contrasts must be created. The middle classes must be dissolved, and their influence decreased: this is the principal means of maintaining distances.


Who would dare to disgust the mediocre of their mediocrity! As you observe, I do precisely the reverse: every step away from mediocrity—thus do I teach—leads to immorality.

[Pg 325]


To hate mediocrity is unworthy of a philosopher: it is almost a note of interrogation to his "right to philosophy." It is precisely because he is the exception that he must protect the rule and ingratiate all mediocre people.


What I combat: that an exceptional form should make war upon the rule—instead of understanding that the continued existence of the rule is the first condition of the value of the exception. For instance, there are women who, instead of considering their abnormal thirst for knowledge as a distinction, would fain dislocate the whole status of womanhood.


The increase of strength despite the temporary ruin of the individual:—

A new level must be established;

We must have a method of storing up forces for the maintenance of small performances, in opposition to economic waste;

Destructive nature must for once be reduced to an instrument of this economy of the future;

The weak must be maintained, because there is an enormous mass of finicking work to be done;

[Pg 326]

The weak and the suffering must be upheld in their belief that existence is still possible;

Solidarity must be implanted as an instinct opposed to the instinct of fear and servility;

War must be made upon accident, even upon the accident of "the great man."


War upon great men justified on economic grounds. Great men are dangerous; they are accidents, exceptions, tempests, which are strong enough to question things which it has taken time to build and establish. Explosive material must not only be discharged harmlessly, but, if possible, its discharge must be prevented altogether, this is the fundamental instinct of all civilised society.


He who thinks over the question of how the type man may be elevated to its highest glory and power, will realise from the start that he must place himself beyond morality; for morality was directed in its essentials at the opposite goal—that is to say, its aim was to arrest and to annihilate that glorious development wherever it was in process of accomplishment. For, as a matter of fact, development of that sort implies that such an enormous number of men must be subservient to it, that a counter-movement is only too natural: the weaker, more delicate, more mediocre existences, find it necessary to take up sides against that glory[Pg 327] of life and power; and for that purpose they must get a new valuation of themselves by means of which they are able to condemn, and if possible to destroy, life in this high degree of plenitude. Morality is therefore essentially the expression of hostility to life, in so far as it would overcome vital types.


The strong of the future.—To what extent necessity on the one hand and accident on the other have attained to conditions from which a stronger species may be reared: this we are now able to understand and to bring about consciously; we can now create those conditions under which such an elevation is possible.

Hitherto education has always aimed at the utility of society: not the greatest possible utility for the future, but the utility of the society actually extant. What people required were "instruments" for this purpose. Provided the wealth of forces were greater, it would be possible to think of a draft being made upon them, the aim of which would not be the utility of society, but some future utility.

The more people grasped to what extent the present form of society was in such a state of transition as sooner or later to be no longer able to exist for its own sake, but only as a means in the hands of a stronger race, the more this task would have to be brought forward.

The increasing belittlement of man is precisely the impelling power which leads one to think of[Pg 328] the cultivation of a stronger race: a race which would have a surplus precisely there where the dwarfed species was weak and growing weaker (will, responsibility, self-reliance, the ability to postulate aims for one's self).

The means would be those which history teaches: isolation by means of preservative interests which would be the reverse of those generally accepted; exercise in transvalued valuations; distance as pathos; a clean conscience in what to-day is most despised and most prohibited.

The levelling of the mankind of Europe is the great process which should not be arrested; it should even be accelerated. The necessity of cleaving gulfs, of distance, of the order of rank, is therefore imperative; but not the necessity of retarding the process above mentioned.

This levelled-down species requires justification as soon as it is attained: its justification is that it exists for the service of a higher and sovereign race which stands upon it and can only be elevated upon its shoulders to the task which it is destined to perform. Not only a ruling race whose task would be consummated in ruling alone: but a race with vital spheres of its own, with an overflow of energy for beauty, bravery, culture, and manners, even for the most abstract thought; a yea-saying race which would be able to allow itself every kind of great luxury—strong enough to be able to dispense with the tyranny of the imperatives of virtue, rich enough to be in no need of economy or pedantry; beyond good and evil; a forcing-house for rare and exceptional plants.

[Pg 329]


Our psychologists, whose glance dwells involuntarily upon the symptoms of decadence, lead us to mistrust intellect ever more and more. People persist in seeing only the weakening, pampering, and sickening effects of intellect, but there are now going to appear:—

New barbarians    CynicsThe union of intellectual
Experimentalists    superiority with well-being
Conquerorsand an overflow of strength.


I point to something new: certainly for such a democratic community there is a danger of barbarians; but these are sought only down below. There is also another kind of barbarians who come from the heights: a kind of conquering and ruling natures, which are in search of material that they can mould. Prometheus was a barbarian of this stamp.


Principal standpoint: one should not suppose the mission of a higher species to be the leading of inferior men (as Comte does, for instance); but the inferior should be regarded as the foundation upon which a higher species may live their higher life—upon which alone they can stand.[Pg 330] The conditions under which a strong, noble species maintains itself (in the matter of intellectual discipline) are precisely the reverse of those under which the industrial masses—the tea-grocers à la Spencer—subsist. Those qualities which are within the grasp only of the strongest and most terrible natures, and which make their existence possible leisure, adventure, disbelief, and even dissipation—would necessarily ruin mediocre natures —and does do so—when they possess them. In the case of the latter industry, regularity, moderation, and strong "conviction" are in their proper place—in short, all "gregarious virtues": under their influence these mediocre men become perfect.


Concerning the ruling types. The shepherd as opposed to the "lord" (the former is only a means to the maintenance of the herd; the latter, the purpose for which the herd exists).


The temporary preponderance of social valuations is both comprehensible and useful; it is a matter of building a foundation upon which a stronger species will ultimately be made possible. The standard of strength: to be able to live under the transvalued valuations, and to desire them for all eternity. State and society regarded as a sub-structure: economic point of view, education conceived as breeding.

[Pg 331]


A consideration which "free spirits" lack: that the same discipline which makes a strong nature still stronger, and enables it to go in for big undertakings, breaks up and withers the mediocre: doubt —la largeur de cœur—experiment—independence.


The hammer. How should men who must value in the opposite way be constituted?—Men who possess all the qualities of the modern soul, but are strong enough to convert them into real health? The means to their task.


The strong man, who is mighty in the instincts of a strong and healthy organisation, digests his deeds just as well as he digests his meals; he even gets over the effects of heavy fare: in the main, however, he is led by an inviolable and severe instinct which prevents his doing anything which goes against his grain, just as he never does anything against his taste.


Can we foresee the favourable circumstances under which creatures of the highest value might arise? It is a thousand times too complicated, and the probabilities of failure are very great: on that account we cannot be inspired by the thought of[Pg 332] striving after them! Scepticism.—To oppose this we can enhance courage, insight, hardness, independence, and the feeling of responsibility; we can also subtilise and learn to forestall the delicacy of the scales, so that favourable accidents may be enlisted on our side.


Before we can even think of acting, an enormous amount of work requires to be done. In the main, however, a cautious exploitation of the present conditions would be our best and most advisable course of action. The actual creation of conditions such as those which occur by accident, presupposes the existence of iron men such as have not yet lived. Our first task must be to make the personal ideal prevail and become realised! He who has understood the nature of man and the origin of mankind's greatest specimens, shudders before man and takes flight from all action: this is the result of inherited valuations!!

My consolation is, that the nature of man is evil, and this guarantees his strength!


The typical forms of self-development, or the eight principal questions:

1. Do we want to be more multifarious or more simple than we are?

2. Do we want to be happier than we are, or more indifferent to both happiness and unhappiness?

[Pg 333]

3. Do we want to be more satisfied with ourselves, or more exacting and more inexorable?

4. Do we want to be softer, more yielding, and more human than we are, or more inhuman?

5. Do we want to be more prudent than we are, or more daring?

6. Do we want to attain a goal, or do we want to avoid all goals (like the philosopher, for instance, who scents a boundary, a cul-de-sac, a prison, a piece of foolishness in every goal)?

7. Do we want to become more respected, or more feared, or more despised?

8. Do we want to become tyrants, and seducers, or do we want to become shepherds and gregarious animals?


The type of my disciples.—To such men as concern vie in any way I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities of all kinds. I wish them to be acquainted with profound self-contempt, with the martyrdom of self-distrust, with the misery of the defeated: I have no pity for them; because I wish them to have the only thing which to-day proves whether a man has any value or not, namely, the capacity of sticking to his guns.


The happiness and self-contentedness of the lazzaroni, or the blessedness of "beautiful souls,"[Pg 334] or the consumptive love of Puritan pietists, proves nothing in regard to the order of rank among men. As a great educator one ought inexorably to thrash a race of such blissful creatures into unhappiness. The danger of belittlement and of a slackening of powers follows immediately I am opposed to happiness à la Spinoza or à la Epicurus, and to all the relaxation of contemplative states. But when virtue is the means to such happiness, well then, one must master even virtue.


I cannot see how any one can make up for having missed going to a good school at the proper time. Such a person does not know himself; he walks through life without ever having learned to walk. His soft muscles betray themselves at every step. Occasionally life itself is merciful enough to make a man recover this lost and severe schooling: by means of periods of sickness, perhaps, which exact the utmost will-power and self-control; or by means of a sudden state of poverty, which threatens his wife and child, and which may force a man to such activity as will restore energy to his slackened tendons, and a tough spirit to his will to life. The most desirable thing of all, however, is, under all circumstances to have severe discipline at the right time, i.e. at that age when it makes us proud that people should expect great things from us. For this is what distinguishes hard schooling, as good schooling, from every other schooling, namely, that a good deal is demanded, that a good[Pg 335] deal is severely exacted; that goodness, nay even excellence itself, is required as if it were normal; that praise is scanty, that leniency is non-existent; that blame is sharp, practical, and without reprieve, and has no regard to talent and antecedents. We are in every way in need of such a school: and this holds good of corporeal as well as of spiritual things; it would be fatal to draw distinctions here! The same discipline makes the soldier and the scholar efficient; and, looked at more closely, there is no true scholar who has not the instincts of a true soldier in his veins. To be able to command and to be able to obey in a proud fashion; to keep one's place in rank and file, and yet to be ready at any moment to lead; to prefer danger to comfort; not to weigh what is permitted and what is forbidden in a tradesman's balance; to be more hostile to pettiness, slyness, and parasitism than to wickedness. What is it that one learns in a hard school?—to obey and to command.


We should repudiate merit—and do only that which stands above all praise and above all understanding.


The new forms of morality:—

Faithful vows concerning that which one wishes to do or to leave undone; complete and definite abstention from many things. Tests as to whether one is ripe for such discipline.

[Pg 336]


It is my desire to naturalise asceticism: I would substitute the old intention of asceticism, "self-denial," by my own intention, self-strengthening: a gymnastic of the will; a period of abstinence and occasional fasting of every kind, even in things intellectual; a casuistry in deeds, in regard to the opinions which we derive from our powers; we should try our hand at adventure and at deliberate dangers. (Dîners chez Magny: all intellectual gourmets with spoilt stomachs.) Tests ought also to be devised for discovering a man's power in keeping his word.


The things which have become spoilt through having been abused by the Church:—

(1) Asceticism.—People have scarcely got the courage yet to bring to light the natural utility and necessity of asceticism for the purpose of the education of the will. Our ridiculous world of education, before whose eyes the useful State official hovers as an ideal to be striven for, believes that it has completed its duty when it has instructed or trained the brain; it never even suspects that something else is first of all necessary —the education of will-power; tests are devised for everything except for the most important thing of all: whether a man can will, whether he can promise; the young man completes his education without a question or an inquiry having been[Pg 337] made concerning the problem of the highest value of his nature.

(2) Fasting:—In every sense—even as a means of maintaining the capacity for taking pleasure in all good things (for instance, to give up reading for a while, to hear no music for a while, to cease from being amiable for a while: one ought also to have fast days for one's virtues).

(3) The monastery.—Temporary isolation with severe seclusion from all letters, for instance; a kind of profound introspection and self-recovery, which does not go out of the way of "temptations," but out of the way of "duties"; a stepping out of the daily round of one's environment; a detachment from the tyranny of stimuli and external influences, which condemns us to expend our power only in reactions, and does not allow it to gather volume until it bursts into spontaneous activity (let anybody examine our scholars closely: they only think reflexively, i.e. they must first read before they can think).

(4) Feasts.—A man must be very coarse in order not to feel the presence of Christians and Christian values as oppressive, so oppressive as to send all festive moods to the devil. By feasts we understand: pride, high-spirits, exuberance; scorn of all kinds of seriousness and Philistinism; a divine saying of Yea to one's self, as the result of physical plenitude and perfection—all states to which the Christian cannot honestly say Yea. A feast is a pagan thing par excellence.

(5) The courage of ones own nature: dressing-up in morality,—To be able to call one's passions[Pg 338] good without the help of a moral formula: this is the standard which measures the extent to which a man is able to say Yea to his own nature, namely, how much or how little he has to have recourse to morality.

(6) Death.—The foolish physiological fact must be converted into a moral necessity. One should live in such a way that one may have the will to die at the right time!


To feel ones self stronger or, expressed otherwise: happiness always presupposes a comparison (not necessarily with others, but with one's self, in the midst of a state of growth, and without being conscious that one is comparing).

Artificial accentuation: whether by means of exciting chemicals or exciting errors ("hallucinations.")

Take, for instance, the Christian's feeling of security; he feels himself strong in his confidence, in his patience, and his resignation: this artificial accentuation he owes to the fancy that he is protected by a God. Take the feeling of superiority, for instance: as when the Caliph of Morocco sees only globes on which his three united kingdoms cover four-fifths of the space. Take the feeling of uniqueness, for instance: as when the European imagines that culture belongs to Europe alone, and when he regards himself as a sort of abridged cosmic process; or, as when the Christian makes all existence revolve round the "Salvation of man."

The question is, where does one begin to feel the[Pg 339] pressure of constraint: it is thus that different degrees are ascertained. A philosopher for instance, in the midst of the coolest and most transmontane feats of abstraction feels like a fish that enters its element: while colours and tones oppress him; not to speak of those dumb desires—of that which others call "the ideal."


A healthy and vigorous little boy will look up sarcastically if he be asked: "Wilt thou become virtuous?"—but he immediately becomes eager if he be asked: "Wilt thou become stronger than thy comrades?"


How does one become stronger?—By deciding slowly; and by holding firmly to the decision once it is made. Everything else follows of itself. Spontaneous and changeable natures: both species of the weak. We must not confound ourselves with them; we must feel distance—betimes!

Beware of good-natured people!. Dealings with them make one torpid. All environment is good which makes one exercise those defensive and; aggressive powers which are instinctive in man. All one's inventiveness should apply itself to putting one's power of will to the test.... Here the determining factor must be recognised as something which is not knowledge, astuteness, or wit.

One must learn to command betimes,—likewise to obey. A man must learn modesty and tact in[Pg 340] modesty: he must learn to distinguish and to honour where modesty is displayed; he must likewise distinguish and honour wherever he bestows his confidence.

What does one repent most? One's modesty; the fact that one has not lent an ear to one's most individual needs; the fact that one has mistaken one's self; the fact that one has esteemed one's self low; the fact that one has lost all delicacy of hearing in regard to one's instincts.—This want of reverence in regard to one's self is avenged by all sorts of losses: in health, friendship, well-being, pride, cheerfulness, freedom, determination, courage. A man never forgives himself, later on, for this want of genuine egoism: he regards it as an objection and as a cause of doubt concerning his real ego.


I should like man to begin by respecting himself: everything else follows of itself. Naturally a man ceases from being anything to others in this way: for this is precisely what they are least likely to forgive. "What? a man who respects himself?"[4] This is something quite different from the blind instinct to love one's self. Nothing is more common in the love of the sexes or in that duality which is[Pg 341] called ego, than a certain contempt for that which is loved the fatalism of love.

[4] Cf. Disraeli in Tancred: "Self-respect, too, is a superstition of past ages.... It is not suited to these times; it is much too arrogant, too self-conceited, too egoistical. No one is important enough to have self-respect nowadays" (book iii. chap. v.).—Tr.


"I will have this or that"; "I would that this or that were so"; "I know that this or that is so the degrees of power: the man of will, the man of desire, the man of fate.


The means by which a strong species maintains itself:—

It grants itself the right of exceptional actions, as a test of the power of self-control and of freedom.

It abandons itself to states in which a man is not allowed to be anything else than a barbarian.

It tries to acquire strength of will by every kind of asceticism.

It is not expansive, it practises silence; it is cautious in regard to all charms.

It learns to obey in such a way that obedience provides a test of self-maintenance. Casuistry is carried to its highest pitch in regard to points of honour.

It never argues, "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,"—but conversely! it regards reward, and the ability to repay, as a privilege, as a distinction.

It does not covet other people's virtues.

[Pg 342]


The way in which one has to treat raw savages and the impossibility of dispensing with barbarous methods, becomes obvious, in practice, when one is transplanted, with all one's European pampering, to a spot such as the Congo, or anywhere else where it is necessary to maintain one's mastery over barbarians.


Warlike and peaceful people.—Art thou a man who has the instincts of a warrior in thy blood? If this be so, another question must be put. Do thy instincts impel thee to attack or to defend? The rest of mankind, all those whose instincts are not warlike, desire peace, concord, freedom, "equal rights": these things are but names and steps for one and the same thing. Such men only wish to go where it is not necessary for them to defend themselves,—such men become discontented with themselves when they are obliged to offer resistance: they would fain create circumstances in which war is no longer necessary. If the worst came to the worst, they would resign themselves, obey, and submit: all these things are better than waging war—thus does the Christian's instinct, for instance, whisper to him. In the born warrior's character there is something of armour, likewise in the choice of his circumstances and in the development of every one of his qualities, weapons are best evolved by the latter type, shields are best devised by the former.

[Pg 343]

What expedients and what virtues do the unarmed and the undefended require in order to survive—and even to conquer?


What will become of a man who no longer has any reasons for either defence or attack? What will remain of his passions when he has lost those which form his defence and his weapons?


A marginal note to a niaiserie anglaise: "Do not to others that which you would not that they should do unto you." This stands for wisdom; this stands for prudence; this stands as the very basis of morality as "a golden maxim." John Stuart Mill believes in it (and what Englishman does not?).... But the maxim does not bear investigation. The argument, Do not as you would not be done by, forbids action which produce harmful results; the thought behind always is that an action is invariably requited. What if some one came forward with the "Principe" in his hands, and said: "We must do those actions alone which enable us to steal a march on others,—and which deprive others of the power of doing the same to us"?—On the other hand, let us remember the Corsican who pledges his honour to vendetta. He too does not desire to have a bullet through him; but the prospect of one, the probability of getting one, does not deter him from[Pg 344] vindicating his honour.... And in all really decent actions are we not intentionally indifferent as to what result they will bring? To avoid an action which might have harmful results,—that would be tantamount to forbidding all decent actions in general.

Apart from this, the above maxim is valuable because it betrays a certain type of man: it is the instinct of the herd which formulates itself through him,—we are equal, we regard each other as equal: as I am to thee so art thou to me.—In this community equivalence of actions is really believed in—an equivalence which never under any circumstances manifests itself in real conditions. It is impossible to requite every action: among real individuals equal actions do not exist, consequently there can be no such thing as "requital." ... When I do anything, I am very far from thinking that any man is able to do anything at all like it: the action belongs to me.... Nobody can pay me back for anything I do; the most that can be done is to make me the victim of another action.


Against John Stuart Mill.—I abhor the man's vulgarity when he says: "What is right for one man is right for another"; "Do not to others that which you would not that they should do unto you. Such principles would fain establish the whole of human traffic upon mutual services, so that every action would appear to be a cash payment for something done to us. The hypothesis[Pg 345] here is ignoble to the last degree: it is taken for granted that there is some sort of equivalence in value between my actions and thine; the most personal value Of an action is simply cancelled in this manner (that part of an action which has no equivalent and which cannot be remunerated). "Reciprocity" is a piece of egregious vulgarity; the mere fact that what I do cannot and may not be done by another, that there is no such thing as equivalence (except in those very select circles where one actually has one's equal, inter pares), that in a really profound sense a man never requites because he is something unique in himself and can only do unique things,—this fundamental conviction contains the cause of aristocratic aloofness from the mob, because the latter believes in equality, and consequently in the feasibility of equivalence and "reciprocity."


The suburban Philistinism of moral valuations and of its concepts "useful" and "harmful" is well founded; it is the necessary point of view of a community which is only able to see and survey immediate and proximate consequences. The State and the political man are already in need of a more super-moral attitude of mind: because they have to calculate concerning a much more complicated tissue of consequences. An economic policy for the whole world should be possible which could look at things in such broad perspective that all its isolated demands would seem for the moment not only unjust, but arbitrary.

[Pg 346]


"Should one follow one's feelings?"—To set one's life at stake on the impulse of the moment, and actuated by a generous feeling, has little worth, and does not even distinguish one. Everybody is alike in being capable of this—and in behaving in this way with determination, the criminal, the bandit, and the Corsican certainly outstrip the honest man.

A higher degree of excellence would be to overcome this impulse, and to refrain from performing an heroic deed at its bidding—and to remain cold, raisonnable, free from the tempestuous surging of concomitant sensations of delight.... The same holds good of pity: it must first be sifted through reason; without this it becomes just as dangerous as any other passion.

The blind yielding to a passion, whether it be generosity, pity, or hostility, is the cause of the greatest evil. Greatness of character does not consist in not possessing these passions—on the contrary, a man should possess them to a terrible degree: but he should lead them by the bridle.. and even this he should not do out of love of control, but merely because....


"To give up one's life for a cause"—very effective. But there are many things for which one gives up one's life: the passions, one and all, will be gratified. Whether one's life be pledged to pity, to anger, or to revenge—it matters not from[Pg 347] the point of view of value. How many have not sacrificed their lives for pretty girls—and even what is worse, their health! When one has temperament, one instinctively chooses the most dangerous things: if one is a philosopher, for instance, one chooses the adventures of speculation; if one is virtuous, one chooses immorality. One kind of man will risk nothing, another kind will risk everything. Are we despisers of life? On the contrary, what we seek is life raised to a higher power, life in danger.... But, let me repeat, we do not, on that account, wish to be more virtuous than others, Pascal, for instance, wished to risk nothing, and remained a Christian. That perhaps was virtuous.——A man always sacrifices something.


How many advantages does not a man sacrifice! To how small an extent does he seek his own profit! All his emotions and passions wish to assert their rights, and how remote a passion is From that cautious utility which consists in personal profit!

A man does not strive after "happiness"; one must be an Englishman to be able to believe that a man is always seeking his own advantage. Our desires long to violate things with passion—their overflowing strength seeks obstacles.


All passions are generally useful, some directly, others indirectly; in regard to utility it is absolutely[Pg 348] impossible to fix upon any gradation of values,—however certainly the forces of nature in general may be regarded as good (i.e. useful), from an economic point of view, they are still the sources of much that is terrible and much that is fatally irrevocable. The most one might say would be, that the mightiest passions are the most valuable: seeing that no stronger sources of power exist.


All well-meaning, helpful, good-natured attitudes of mind have not come to be honoured on account of their usefulness: but because they are the conditions peculiar to rich souls who are able to bestow and whose value consists in their vital exuberance. Look into the eyes of the benevolent man! In them you will see the exact reverse of self-denial, of hatred of self, of Pascalism.


In short, what we require is to dominate the passions and not to weaken or to extirpate them!—The greater the dominating power of the will, the greater the freedom that may be given to the passions.

The "great man" is so, owing to the free scope which he gives to his desires, and to the still greater power which knows how to enlist these magnificent monsters into its service.

The "good man" in every stage of civilisation is at one and the same time the least dangerous[Pg 349] and the most useful: a sort of medium; the idea formed of such a man by the common mind is that he is some one whom one has no reason to fear, but whom one must not therefore despise.

Education: essentially a means of ruining exceptions in favour of the rule. Culture: essentially the means of directing taste against the exceptions in favour of the mediocre.

Only when a culture can dispose of an overflow of force, is it capable of being a hothouse for the luxurious culture of the exception, of the experiment, of the danger, of the nuance: this is the tendency of every aristocratic culture.


All questions of strength: to what extent ought one to try and prevail against the preservative measures of society and the latter's prejudices?—to what extent ought one to unfetter one's terrible qualities, through which so many go to the dogs?—to what extent ought one to run counter to truth, and take up sides with its most questionable aspects?—to what extent ought one to oppose suffering, self-contempt, pity, disease, vice, when it is always open to question whether one can ever master them (what does not kill us makes us stronger....)?—and, finally, to what extent ought one to acknowledge the rights of the rule, of the common-place, of the petty, of the good, of the upright, in fact of the average man, without thereby allowing one's self to become vulgar? ... The strongest test of character is to resist being[Pg 350] ruined by the seductiveness of goodness. Goodness must be regarded as a luxury, as a refinement, as a vice.

3. The Noble Man.


Type. real goodness, nobility, greatness of soul, as the result of vital wealth: which does not give in order to receive—and which has no desire to elevate itself by being good, squandering is typical of genuine goodness, vital personal wealth is its prerequisite.


Aristocracy.—Gregarious ideals at present culminating in the highest standard of value for society. It has been attempted to give them a cosmic, yea, and even a metaphysical, value.—I defend aristocracy against them.

Any society which would of itself preserve a feeling of respect and délicatesse in regard to freedom, must consider itself as an exception, and have a force against it from which it distinguishes itself, and upon which it looks down with hostility.

The more rights I surrender and the more I level myself down to others, the more deeply do I sink into the average and ultimately into the greatest number. The first condition which an aristocratic society must have in order to maintain a high degree of freedom among its members, is that extreme tension which arises from the presence[Pg 351] of the most antagonistic instincts in all its units: from their will to dominate....

If ye would fain do away with strong contrasts and differences of rank, ye will also abolish, strong love, lofty attitudes of mind, and the feeling of individuality.


Concerning the actual psychology of societies based upon freedom and equality.—What is it that tends to diminish in such a society?

The will to be responsible for ones self (the loss of this is a sign of the decline of autonomy); the ability to defend and to attack, even in spiritual matters; the power of command; the sense of reverence, of subservience, the ability to be silent, great passion, great achievements, tragedy and cheerfulness.


In 1814 Augustin Thierry read what Montlosier had said in his work, De la Monarchie française: he answered with a cry of indignation, and set himself to his task. That emigrant had said:

"Race d'affranchis, race d'esclaves arrachés de nos mains, peuple tributaire, peuple nouveau, licence vous fut octroyée d'être libres, et non pas à nous d'être nobles; pour nous tout est de droit, pour vous tout est de grâce, nous ne sommes point de votre communauté; nous sommes un tout par nous mêmes."


How constantly the aristocratic world shears and weakens itself ever more and more! By[Pg 352] means of its noble instincts it abandons its privileges, and owing to its refined and excessive culture, it takes an interest in the people, the weak, the poor, and the poetry of the lowly, etc.


There is such a thing as a noble and dangerous form of carelessness, which allows of profound conclusions and insight: the carelessness of the self-reliant and over-rich soul, which has never troubled itself about friends, but which knows only hospitality and knows how to practise it; whose heart and house are open to all who will enter—beggar, cripple, or king. This is genuine sociability: he who is capable of it has hundreds of "friends," but probably not one friend.


The teaching μηδὲν ἄγαν applies to men with overflowing strength,—not to the mediocre, ἐγκράτεια and ἄσκησις are only steps to higher things. Above them stands "golden Nature."

"Thou shalt"—unconditional obedience in Stoics, in Christian and Arabian Orders, in Kant's philosophy (it is immaterial whether this obedience is shown to a superior or to a concept).

Higher than "Thou shalt" stands "I will" (the heroes); higher than "I will" stands "I am" (the gods of the Greeks).

Barbarian gods express nothing of the pleasure of restraint,—they are neither simple, nor light-hearted, nor moderate.

[Pg 353]


The essence of our gardens and palaces (and to the same extent the essence of all yearning after riches) is the desire to rid the eye of disorder and vulgarity, and to build a home for our soul's nobility.

The majority of people certainly believe that they will develop higher natures when those beautiful and peaceful things have operated upon them: hence the exodus to Italy, hence all travelling, etc., and all reading and visits to theatres. People want to be formed—that is the kernel of their labours for culture! But the strong, the mighty, would themselves have a hand in the forming, and would fain have nothing strange about them!

It is for this reason, too, that men go to open Nature, not to find themselves, but to lose themselves and to forget themselves. The desire "to get away from one's self" is proper to all weaklings, and to all those who are discontented with themselves.


The only nobility is that of birth and blood. (I do not refer here to the prefix "Lord" and L'almanac de Gotha: this is a parenthesis for donkeys.) Wherever people speak of the "aristocracy of intellect," reasons are generally not lacking for concealing something, it is known to be a password among ambitious Jews. Intellect alone does not ennoble; on the contrary, something is always needed to ennoble intellect.—What then is needed?—Blood.

[Pg 354]


What is noble?

—External punctiliousness; because this punctiliousness hedges a man about, keeps him at a distance, saves him from being confounded with somebody else.

A frivolous appearance in word, clothing, and bearing, with which stoical hardness and self-control protect themselves from all prying inquisitiveness or curiosity.

—A slow step and a slow glance. There are not too many valuable things on earth: and these come and wish to come of themselves to him who has value. We are not quick to admire.

—We know how to bear poverty, want, and even illness.

—We avoid small honours owing to our mistrust of all who are over-ready to praise: for the man who praises believes he understands what he praises: but to understand—Balzac, that typical man of ambition, betrayed the fact comprendre c'est égaler.

—Our doubt concerning the communicativeness of our hearts goes very deep; to us, loneliness is not a matter of choice, it is imposed upon us.

—We are convinced that we only have duties to our equals, to others we do as we think best: we know that justice is only to be expected among equals (alas! this will not be realised for some time to come),

—We are ironical towards the "gifted"; we hold the belief that no morality is possible without good birth.

[Pg 355]

—We always feel as if we were those who had to dispense honours: while he is not found too frequently who would be worthy of honouring us.

—We are always disguised: the higher a man's nature the more is he in need of remaining incognito. If there be a God, then out of sheer decency He ought only to show Himself on earth in the form of a man.

—We are capable of otium, of the unconditional conviction that although a handicraft does not shame one in any sense, it certainly reduces one's rank. However much we may respect "industry," and know how to give it its due, we do not appreciate it in a bourgeois sense, or after the manner of those insatiable and cackling artists who, like hens, cackle and lay eggs, and cackle again.

—We protect artists and poets and any one who happens to be a master in something; but as creatures of a higher order than those, who only know how to do something, who are only "productive men," we do not confound ourselves with them.

—We find joy in all forms and ceremonies; we would fain foster everything formal, and we are convinced that courtesy is one of the greatest virtues; we feel suspicious of every kind of laisser aller, including the freedom of the press and of thought; because, under such conditions, the intellect grows easy-going and coarse, and stretches its limbs.

—We take pleasure in women as in a perhaps daintier, more delicate, and more ethereal kind of creature. What a treat it is to meet creatures[Pg 356] who have only dancing and nonsense and finery in their minds! They have always been the delight of every tense and profound male soul, whose life is burdened with heavy responsibilities.

—We take pleasure in princes and in priests, because in big things, as in small, they actually uphold the belief in the difference of human values, even in the estimation of the past, and at least symbolically.

—We are able to keep silence i but we do not breathe a word of this in the presence of listeners.

—We are able to endure long enmities: we lack the power of easy reconciliations.

—We have a loathing of demagogism, of enlightenment, of amiability, and plebeian familiarity.

—We collect precious things, the needs of higher and fastidious souls; we wish to possess nothing in common. We want to have our own books, our own landscapes.

—We protest against evil and fine experiences, and take care not to generalise too quickly. The individual case: how ironically we regard it when it has the bad taste to put on the airs of a rule!

—We love that which is naïf, and naïf people, but as spectators and higher creatures; we think Faust is just as simple as his Margaret.

—We have a low estimation of good people, because they are gregarious animals: we know how often an invaluable golden drop of goodness lies concealed beneath the most evil, the most malicious, and the hardest exterior, and that this single grain outweighs all the mere goody-goodiness of milk-and-watery souls.

[Pg 357]

—We don't regard a man of our kind as refuted by his vices, nor by his tomfooleries. We are well aware that we are not recognised with ease, and that we have every reason to make our foreground very prominent.


What is noble?—The fact that one is constantly forced to be playing a part. That one is constantly searching for situations in which one is forced to put on airs. That one leaves happiness to the greatest number: the happiness which consists of inner peacefulness, of virtue, of comfort, and of Anglo-angelic-back-parlour-smugness, à la Spencer. That one instinctively seeks for heavy responsibilities. That one knows how to create enemies everywhere, at a pinch even in one's self. That one contradicts the greatest number, not in words at all, but by continually behaving differently from them.


Virtue (for instance, truthfulness) is our most noble and most dangerous luxury. We must not decline the disadvantages which it brings in its train.


We refuse to be praised: we do what serves our purpose, what gives us pleasure, or what we are obliged to do.


What is chastity in a man? It means that his taste in sex has remained noble; that in eroticis[Pg 358] he likes neither the brutal, the morbid, nor the clever.


The concept of honour is founded upon the belief in select society, in knightly excellences, in the obligation of having continually to play a part. In essentials it means that one does not take one's life too seriously, that one adheres unconditionally to the most dignified manners in one's dealings with everybody (at least in so far as they do not belong to "us"); that one is neither familiar, nor good-natured, nor hearty, nor modest, except inter pares; that one is always playing a part.


The fact that one sets one's life, one's health, and one's honour at stake, is the result of high spirits and of an overflowing and spendthrift will: it is not the result of philanthropy, but of the fact that every danger kindles our curiosity concerning the measure of our strength, and provokes our courage.


Eagles swoop down straight nobility of soul is best revealed by the magnificent and proud foolishness with which it makes its attacks.


War should be made against all namby-pamby ideas of nobility!—A certain modicum of brutality[Pg 359] cannot be dispensed with: no more than we can do without a certain approximation to criminality. "Self-satisfaction" must not be allowed; a man should look upon himself with an adventurous spirit; he should experiment with himself and run risks with himself—no beautiful soul-quackery should be tolerated. I want to give a more robust ideal a chance of prevailing.


"Paradise is under the shadow of a swordsman"—this is also a symbol and a test-word by which souls with noble and warrior-like origin betray and discover themselves.


The two paths.—There comes a period when man has a surplus amount of power at his disposal. Science aims at establishing the slavery of nature.

Then man acquires the leisure in which to develop himself into something new and more lofty. A new aristocracy. It is then that a large number of virtues which are now conditions of existence are superseded.—Qualities which are no longer needed are on that account lost. We no longer need virtues: consequently we are losing them (likewise the morality of "one thing is needful," of the salvation of the soul, and of immortality: these were means wherewith to make man capable of enormous self-tyranny, through the emotion of great fear!!!).

The different kinds of needs by means of whose[Pg 360] discipline man is formed: need teaches work, thought, and self-control.


Physiological purification and strengthening. The new aristocracy is in need of an opposing body which it may combat: it must be driven to extremities in order to maintain itself.

The two futures of mankind: (1) the consequence of a levelling-down to mediocrity, (2) conscious aloofness and self-development.

A doctrine which would cleave a gulf: it maintains the highest and the lowest species (it destroys the intermediate).

The aristocracies, both spiritual and temporal, which have existed hitherto prove nothing against the necessity of a new aristocracy.

4. The Lords of the Earth.


A certain question constantly recurs to us; it is perhaps a seductive and evil question; may it be whispered into the ears of those who have a right to such doubtful problems—those strong souls of to-day whose dominion over themselves is unswerving: is it not high time, now that the type "gregarious animal" is developing ever more and more in Europe, to set about rearing, thoroughly, artificially, and consciously, an opposite type, and to attempt to establish the latter's virtues? And would not the democratic movement itself find for[Pg 361] the first time a sort of goal, salvation, and justification, if some one appeared who availed himself of it—so that at last, beside its new and sublime product, slavery (for this must be the end of European democracy), that higher species of ruling and Cæsarian spirits might also be produced, which would stand upon it, hold to it, and would elevate themselves through it? This new race would climb aloft to new and hitherto impossible things, to a broader vision, and to its task on earth.


The aspect of the European of to-day makes me very hopeful. A daring and ruling race is here building itself up upon the foundation of an extremely intelligent, gregarious mass. It is obvious that the educational movements for the latter are not alone prominent nowadays.


The same conditions which go to develop the gregarious animal also force the development of the leaders.


The question, and at the same time the task, is approaching with hesitation, terrible as Fate, but nevertheless inevitable: how shall the earth as a whole be ruled? And to what end shall man as a whole—no longer as a people or as a race—be reared and trained?

Legislative moralities are the principal means[Pg 362] by which one can form mankind, according to the fancy of a creative and profound will: provided, of course, that such an artistic will of the first order gets the power into its own hands, and can make its creative will prevail over long periods in the form of legislation, religions, and morals. At present, and probably for some time to come, one will seek such colossally creative men, such really great men, as I understand them, in vain: they will be lacking, until, after many disappointments, we are forced to begin to understand why it is they are lacking, and that nothing bars with greater hostility their rise and development, at present and for some time to come, than that which is now called the morality in Europe. Just as if there were no other kind of morality, and could be no other kind, than the one we have already characterised as herd-morality. It is this morality which is now striving with all its power to attain to that green-meadow happiness on earth, which consists in security, absence of danger, ease, facilities for livelihood, and, last but not least, "if all goes well," even hopes to dispense with all kinds of shepherds and bell-wethers. The two doctrines which it preaches most universally are "equality of rights" and "pity for all sufferers"—and it even regards suffering itself as something which must be got rid of absolutely. That such ideas may be modern leads one to think very poorly of modernity. He, however, who has reflected deeply concerning the question, how and where the plant man has hitherto grown most vigorously, is forced to believe that this has[Pg 363] always taken place under the opposite conditions; that to this end the danger of the situation has to increase enormously, his inventive faculty and dissembling powers have to fight their way up under long oppression and compulsion, and his will to life has to be increased to the unconditioned will to power, to over-power: he believes that danger, severity, violence, peril in the street and in the heart, inequality of rights, secrecy, stoicism, seductive art, and devilry of every kind—in short, the opposite of all gregarious desiderata—are necessary for the elevation of man. Such a morality with opposite designs, which would rear man upwards instead of to comfort and mediocrity; such a morality, with the intention of producing a ruling caste—the future lords of the earth—must, in order to be taught at all, introduce itself as if it were in some way correlated to the prevailing moral law, and must come forward under the cover of the latter's words and forms. But seeing that, to this end, a host of transitionary and deceptive measures must be discovered, and that the life of a single individual stands for almost nothing in view of the accomplishment of such lengthy tasks and aims, the first thing that must be done is to rear a new kind of man in whom the duration of the necessary will and the necessary instincts is guaranteed for many generations. This must be a new kind of ruling species and caste—this ought to be quite as clear as the somewhat lengthy and not easily expressed consequences of this thought. The aim should be to prepare a transvaluation of values for a particularly strong kind of[Pg 364] man, most highly gifted in intellect and will, and, to this end, slowly and cautiously to liberate in him a whole host of slandered instincts hitherto held in check: whoever meditates about this problem belongs to us, the free spirits—certainly not to that kind of "free spirit" which has existed hitherto: for these desired practically the reverse. To this order, it seems to me, belong, above all, the pessimists of Europe, the poets and thinkers of a revolted idealism, in so far as their discontent with existence in general must consistently at least have led them to be dissatisfied with the man of the present; the same applies to certain insatiably ambitious artists who courageously and unconditionally fight against the gregarious animal for the special rights of higher men, and subdue all herd-instincts and precautions of more exceptional minds by their seductive art. Thirdly and lastly, we should include in this group all those critics and historians by whom the discovery of the Old World, which has begun so happily—this was the work of the new Columbus, of German intellect—will be courageously continued (for we still stand in the very first stages of this conquest). For in the Old World, as a matter of fact, a different and more lordly morality ruled than that of to-day; and the man of antiquity, under the educational ban of his morality, was a stronger and deeper man than the man of to-day—up to the present he has been the only well-constituted man. The temptation, however, which from antiquity to the present day has always exercised its power on such lucky[Pg 365] strokes of Nature, i.e. on strong and enterprising souls, is, even at the present day, the most subtle and most effective of anti-democratic and anti-Christian powers, just as it was in the time of the Renaissance.


I am writing for a race of men which does not yet exist: for "the lords of the earth."

In Plato's Theages the following passage will be found: "Every one of us would like if possible to be master of mankind; if possible, a God!" This attitude of mind must be reinstated in our midst.

Englishmen, Americans, and Russians.


That primeval forest-plant Man always appears where the struggle for power has been waged longest. Great men.

Primeval forest creatures, the Romans.


From now henceforward there will be such favourable first conditions for greater ruling powers as have never yet been found on earth. And this is by no means the most important point. The establishment has been made possible of international race unions which will set themselves the task of rearing a ruling race, the future "lords of the earth"—a new, vast aristocracy based upon the most severe self-discipline, in which the will of philosophical men of power and artist-tyrants will[Pg 366] be stamped upon thousands of years: a higher species of men which, thanks to their preponderance of will, knowledge, riches, and influence, will avail themselves of democratic Europe as the most suitable and supple instrument they can have for taking the fate of the earth into their own hands, and working as artists upon man himself. Enough! The time is coming for us to transform all our views on politics.

5. The Great Man.


I will endeavour to see at which periods in history great men arise. The significance of despotic moralities that have lasted a long time: they strain the bow, provided they do not break it.


A great man,—a man whom Nature has built up and invented in a grand style,—What is such a man? First, in his general course of action his consistency is so broad that owing to its very breadth it can be surveyed only with difficulty, and consequently misleads; he possesses the capacity of extending his will over great stretches of his life, and of despising and rejecting all small things, whatever most beautiful and "divine" things of the world there may be among them. Secondly, he is colder, harder, less cautious and more free from the fear of "public opinion"; he does not[Pg 367] possess the virtues which are compatible with respectability and with being respected, nor any of those things which are counted among the "virtues of the herd." If he is unable to lead, he walks alone; he may then perchance grunt at many things which he meets on his way. Thirdly, he asks for no "compassionate" heart, but servants, instruments; in his dealings with men his one aim is to make something out of them. He knows that he cannot reveal himself to anybody: he thinks it bad taste to become familiar; and as a rule he is not familiar when people think he is. When he is not talking to his soul, he wears a mask. He would rather lie than tell the truth, because lying requires more spirit and will. There is a loneliness within his heart which neither praise nor blame can reach, because he is his own judge from whom is no appeal.


The great man is necessarily a sceptic (I do not mean to say by this that he must appear to be one), provided that greatness consists in this: to will something great, together with the means thereto. Freedom from any kind of conviction is a factor in his strength of will. And thus it is in keeping with that "enlightened form of despotism" which every great passion exercises. Such a passion enlists intellect in its service; it even has the courage for unholy means; it creates without hesitation; it allows itself convictions, it even uses them, but it never submits[Pg 368] to them. The need of faith and of anything unconditionally negative or affirmative is a proof of weakness; all weakness is weakness of will. The man of faith, the believer, is necessarily an inferior species of man. From this it follows that "all freedom of spirit," i.e. instinctive scepticism, is the prerequisite of greatness.


The great man is conscious of his power over a people, and of the fact that he coincides temporarily with a people or with a century—this magnifying of his self-consciousness as causa and voluntas is misunderstood as "altruism": he feels driven to means of communication: all great men are inventive in such means. They want to form great communities in their own image; they would fain give multiformity and disorder definite shape; it stimulates them to behold chaos.

The misunderstanding of love. There is a slavish love which subordinates itself and gives itself away—which idealises and deceives itself; there is a divine species of love which despises and loves at the same time, and which remodels and elevates the thing it loves.

The object is to attain that enormous energy of greatness which can model the man of the future by means of discipline and also by means of the annihilation of millions of the bungled and botched, and which can yet avoid going to ruin at the sight of the suffering created thereby, the like of which has never been seen before.

[Pg 369]


The revolution, confusion, and distress of whole peoples is in my opinion of less importance than the misfortunes which attend great individuals in their development. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived: the many misfortunes of all these small folk do not together constitute a sum-total, except in the feelings of mighty men.—To think of one's self in moments of great danger, and to draw ones own advantage from the calamities of thousands in the case of the man who differs very much from the common ruck—may be a sign of a great character which is able to master its feeling of pity and justice.


In contradistinction to the animal, man has developed such a host of antagonistic instincts and impulses in himself, that he has become master of the earth by means of this synthesis.—Moralities are only the expression of local and limited orders of rank in this multifarious world of instincts which prevent man from perishing through their antagonism. Thus a masterful instinct so weakens and subtilises the instinct which opposes it that it becomes an impulse which provides the stimulus for the activity of the principal instinct.

The highest man would have the greatest multifariousness in his instincts, and he would possess these in the relatively strongest degree in which he is able to endure them. As a matter of fact, wherever the plant, man, is found strong,[Pg 370] mighty instincts are to be found opposing each other (e.g. Shakespeare), but they are subdued.


Would one not be justified in reckoning all great men among the wicked? This is not so easy to demonstrate in the case of individuals. They are so frequently capable of masterly dissimulation that they very often assume the airs and forms of great virtues. Often, too, they seriously reverence virtues, and in such a way as to be passionately hard towards themselves; but as the result of cruelty. Seen from a distance such things are liable to deceive. Many, on the other hand, misunderstand themselves; not infrequently, too, a great mission will call forth great qualities, e.g. justice. The essential fact is: the greatest men may also perhaps have great virtues, but then they also have the opposites of these virtues. I believe that it is precisely out of the presence of these opposites and of the feelings they suscitate, that the great man arises,—for the great man is the broad arch which spans two banks lying far apart.


In great men we find the specific qualities of life in their highest manifestation: injustice, falsehood, exploitation. But inasmuch as their effect has always been overwhelming, their essential nature has been most thoroughly misunderstood,[Pg 371] and interpreted as goodness. The type of such an interpreter would be Carlyle.[5]

[5] This not only refers to Heroes and Hero-Worship, but doubtless to Carlyle's prodigious misunderstanding of Goethe a misunderstanding which still requires to be put right by a critic untainted by Puritanism.—Tr.


Generally speaking, everything is worth no more and no less than one has paid for it. This of course does not hold good in the case of an isolated individual; the great capacities of the individual have no relation whatsoever to that which he has done, sacrificed, and suffered for them. But if one should examine the previous history of his race one would be sure to find the record of an extraordinary storing up and capitalising of power by means of all kinds of abstinence, struggle, industry, and determination. It is because the great man has cost so much, and not because he stands there as a miracle, as a gift from heaven, or as an accident, that he became great: "Heredity" is a false notion. A man's ancestors have always paid the price of what he is.


The danger of modesty. To adapt ourselves too early to duties, societies, and daily schemes of work in which accident may have placed us, at a time when neither our powers nor our aim in life has stepped peremptorily into our consciousness;[Pg 372] the premature certainty of conscience and feeling of relief and of sociability which is acquired by this precocious, modest attitude, and which appears to our minds as a deliverance from those inner and outer disturbances of our feelings—all this pampers and keeps a man down in the most dangerous fashion imaginable. To learn to respect things which people about us respect, as if we had no standard or right of our own to determine values; the strain of appraising things as others appraise them, counter to the whisperings of our inner taste, which also has a conscience of its own, becomes a terribly subtle kind of constraint: and if in the end no explosion takes place which bursts all the bonds of love and morality at once, then such a spirit becomes withered, dwarfed, feminine, and objective. The reverse of this is bad enough, but still it is better than the foregoing: to suffer from one's environment, from its praise just as much as from its blame; to be wounded by it and to fester inwardly without betraying the fact; to defend one's self involuntarily and suspiciously against its love; to learn to be silent, and perchance to conceal this by talking; to create nooks and safe, lonely hiding-places where one can go and take breath for a moment, or shed tears of sublime comfort—until at last one has grown strong enough to say: "What on earth have I to do with you?" and to go one's way alone.


Those men who are in themselves destinies, and whose advent is the advent of fate, the whole race of[Pg 373] heroic bearers of burdens: oh! how heartily and gladly would they have respite from themselves for once in a while!—how they crave after stout hearts and shoulders, that they might free themselves, were it but for an hour or two, from that which oppresses them! And how fruitlessly they crave! ... They wait; they observe all that passes before their eyes: no man even cometh nigh to them with a thousandth part of their suffering and passion, no man guesseth to what end they have waited.... At last, at last, they learn the first lesson of their life: to wait no longer; and forthwith they learn their second lesson: to be affable, to be modest; and from that time onwards to endure everybody and every kind of thing—in short, to endure still a little more than they had endured theretofore.

6. The Highest Man as Lawgiver of the Future.


The lawgivers of the future.—After having tried for a long time in vain to attach a particular meaning to the word "philosopher,"—for I found many antagonistic traits, I recognised that we can distinguish between two kinds of philosophers:—

(1) Those who desire to establish any large system of values (logical or moral);

(2) Those who are the lawgivers of such valuations.

The former try to seize upon the world of the present or the past, by embodying or abbreviating[Pg 374] the multifarious phenomena by means of signs: their object is to make it possible for us to survey, to reflect upon, to comprehend, and to utilise everything that has happened hitherto—they serve the purpose of man by using all past things to the benefit of his future.

The second class, however, are commanders; they say: "Thus shall it be!" They alone determine the "whither" and the "wherefore," and that which will be useful and beneficial to man; they have command over the previous work of scientific men, and all knowledge is to them only a means to their creations. This second kind of philosopher seldom appears; and as a matter of fact their situation and their danger is appalling. How often have they not intentionally blindfolded their eyes in order to shut out the sight of the small strip of ground which separates them from the abyss and from utter destruction. Plato, for instance, when he persuaded himself that "the good," as he wanted it, was not Plato's good, but "the good in itself," the eternal treasure which a certain man of the name of Plato had chanced to find on his way! This same will to blindness prevails in a much coarser form in the case of the founders of religion; their "Thou shalt" must on no account sound to their ears like "I will,"—they only dare to pursue their task as if under the command of God; their legislation of values can only be a burden they can bear if they regard it as "revelation," in this way their conscience is not crushed by the responsibility.

As soon as those two comforting expedients—[Pg 375]that of Plato and that of Muhammed—have been overthrown, and no thinker can any longer relieve his conscience with the hypothesis "God" or "eternal values," the claim of the lawgiver to determine new values rises to an awfulness which has not yet been experienced. Now those elect, on whom the faint light of such a duty is beginning to dawn, try and see whether they cannot escape it—as their greatest danger—by means of a timely side-spring: for instance, they try to persuade themselves that their task is already accomplished, or that it defies accomplishment, or that their shoulders are not broad enough for such burdens, or that they are already taken up with burdens closer to hand, or even that this new and remote duty is a temptation and a seduction, drawing them away from all other duties; a disease, a kind of madness. Many, as a matter of fact, do succeed in evading the path appointed to them: throughout the whole of history we can see the traces of such deserters and their guilty consciences. In most cases,, however, there comes to such men of destiny that hour of delivery, that autumnal season of maturity, in which they are forced to do that which they did not even "wish to do": and that deed before which in the past they have trembled most, falls easily and unsought from the tree, as an involuntary deed, almost as a present.


The human horizon.—Philosophers may be conceived as men who make the greatest efforts to[Pg 376] discover to what extent man can elevate himself—this holds good more particularly of Plato: how far man's power can extend. But they do this as individuals; perhaps the instinct of Cæsars and of all founders of states, etc., was greater, for it preoccupied itself with the question how far man could be urged forward in development under "favourable circumstances." What they did not sufficiently understand, however, was the nature of favourable circumstances. The great question: "Where has the plant 'man' grown most magnificently heretofore? In order to answer this, a comparative study of history is necessary.


Every fact and every work exercises a fresh persuasion over every age and every new species of man. History always enunciates new truths.


To remain objective, severe, firm, and hard while making a thought prevail is perhaps the best forte of artists; but if for this purpose any one have to work upon human material (as teachers, statesmen, have to do, etc.), then the repose, the coldness, and the hardness soon vanish. In natures like Cæsar and Napoleon we are able to divine something of the nature of "disinterestedness" in their work on their marble, whatever be the number of men that are sacrificed in the process. In this direction the future of higher men lies: to bear the greatest responsibilities and not to go to rack and ruin[Pg 377] through them.—Hitherto the deceptions of inspiration have almost always been necessary for a man not to lose faith in his own hand, and in his right to his task.


The reason why philosophers are mostly failures. Because among the conditions which determine them there are qualities which generally ruin other men:—

(1) A philosopher must have an enormous multiplicity of qualities; he must be a sort of abbreviation of man and have all man's high and base desires: the danger of the contrast within him, and of the possibility of his loathing himself;

(2) He must be inquisitive in an extraordinary number of ways: the danger of versatility;

(3) He must be just and honest in the highest sense, but profound both in love and hate (and in injustice);

(4) He must not only be a spectator but a lawgiver: a judge and defendant (in so far as he is an abbreviation of the world);

(5) He must be extremely multiform and yet firm and hard. He must be supple.


The really regal calling of the philosopher (according to the expression of Alcuin the Anglo-Saxon): "Prava corrigere, et recta corroborare, et sancta sublimare."

[Pg 378]


The new philosopher can only arise in conjunction with a ruling class, as the highest spiritualisation of the latter. Great politics, the rule of the earth, as a proximate contingency, the total lack of principles necessary thereto.


Fundamental concept: the new values must first be created—this remains our duty! The philosopher must be our lawgiver. New species. (How the greatest species hitherto [for instance, the Greeks] were reared: this kind of accident must now be consciously striven for.)


Supposing one thinks of the philosopher as an educator who, looking down from his lonely elevation, is powerful enough to draw long chains of generations up to him: then he must be granted the most terrible privileges of a great educator. An educator never says what he himself thinks; but only that which he thinks it is good for those whom he is educating to hear upon any subject. This dissimulation on his part must not be found out; it is part of his masterliness that people should believe in his honesty, he must be capable of all the means of discipline and education: there are some natures which he will only be able to raise by means of lashing them with his scorn; others who are lazy, irresolute, cowardly, and vain, he will[Pg 379] be able to affect only with exaggerated praise. Such a teacher stands beyond good and evil, but nobody must know that he does.


We must not make men "better," we must not talk to them about morality in any form as if "morality in itself," or an ideal kind of man in general, could be taken for granted; but we must create circumstances in which stronger men are necessary, such as for their part will require a morality (or, better still: a bodily and spiritual discipline) which makes men strong, and upon which they will consequently insist! As they will need one so badly, they will have it.

We must not let ourselves be seduced by blue eyes and heaving breasts: greatness of soul has absolutely nothing romantic about it. And unfortunately nothing whatever amiable either.


From warriors we must learn: (1) to associate death with those interests for which we are fighting—that makes us venerable; (2) we must learn to sacrifice numbers, and to take our cause sufficiently seriously not to spare men; (3) we must practise inexorable discipline, and allow ourselves violence and cunning in war.


The education which rears those ruling virtues that allow a man to become master of his benevolence[Pg 380] and his pity: the great disciplinary virtues ("Forgive thine enemies" is mere child's play beside them), and the passions of the creator, must be elevated to the heights—we must cease from carving marble! The exceptional and powerful position of those creatures (compared with that of all princes hitherto): the Roman Cæsar with Christ's soul.


We must not separate greatness of soul from intellectual greatness. For the former involves independence; but without intellectual greatness independence should not be allowed; all it does is to create disasters even in its lust of well-doing and of practising "justice." Inferior spirits must obey, consequently they cannot be possessed of greatness.


The more lofty philosophical man who is surrounded by loneliness, not because he wishes to be alone, but because he is what he is, and cannot find his equal: what a number of dangers and torments are reserved for him, precisely at the present time, when we have lost our belief in the order of rank, and consequently no longer know how to understand or honour this isolation! Formerly the sage almost sanctified himself in the consciences of the mob by going aside in this way; to-day the anchorite sees himself as though enveloped in a cloud of gloomy doubt and suspicions. And not alone by the[Pg 381] envious and the wretched: in every well-meant act that he experiences he is bound to discover misunderstanding, neglect, and superficiality. He knows the crafty tricks of foolish pity which makes these people feel so good and holy when they attempt to save him from his own destiny, by giving him more comfortable situations and more decent and reliable society. Yes, he will even get to admire the unconscious lust of destruction with which all mediocre spirits stand up and oppose him, believing all the while that they have a holy right to do so! For men of such incomprehensible loneliness it is necessary to put a good stretch of country between them and the officiousness of their fellows: this is part of their prudence. For such a man to maintain himself uppermost to-day amid the dangerous maelstroms of the age which threaten to draw him under, even cunning and disguise will be necessary. Every attempt he makes to order his life in the present and with the present, every time he draws near to these men and their modern desires, he will have to expiate as if it were an actual sin: and withal he may look with wonder at the concealed wisdom of his nature, which after every one of these attempts immediately leads him back to himself by means of illnesses and painful accidents.


"Maledetto colui
che contrista, un spirto immortal!"
MANZONI (Conte di Carmagnola, Act II.)

[Pg 382]


The most difficult and the highest form which man can attain is the most seldom successful: thus the history of philosophy reveals a superabundance of bungled and unhappy cases of manhood, and its march is an extremely slow one; whole centuries intervene and suppress what has been achieved: and in this way the connecting-link is always made to fail. It is an appalling history, this history of the highest men, of the sages.—What is most often damaged is precisely the recollection of great men, for the semi-successful and botched cases of mankind misunderstand them and overcome them by their "successes." Whenever an "effect" is noticeable, the masses gather in a crowd round it; to hear the inferior and the poor in spirit having their say is a terrible ear-splitting torment for him who knows and trembles at the thought, that the fate of man depends upon the success of its highest types. From the days of my childhood I have reflected upon the sage's conditions of existence, and I will not conceal my happy conviction that in Europe he has once more become possible—perhaps only for a short time.


These new philosophers begin with a description of a systematic order of rank and difference of value among men,—what they desire is, alas precisely the reverse of an assimilation and equalisation of man: they teach estrangement[Pg 383] in every sense, they cleave gulfs such as have never yet existed, and they would fain have man become more evil than he ever was. For the present they live concealed and estranged even from each other. For many reasons they will find it necessary to be anchorites and to wear masks—they will therefore be of little use in the matter of seeking for their equals. They will live alone, and probably know the torments of all the loneliest forms of loneliness. Should they, however, thanks to any accident, meet each other on the road, I wager that they would not know each other, or that they would deceive each other in a number of ways.


"Les philosophes ne sont pas faits pour s'aimer. Les aigles ne volent point en compagnie. Il faut laisser cela aux perdrix, aux étourneaux ... Planer au-dessus et avoir des griffes, voila le lot des grands génies."—GALIANI.


I forgot to say that such philosophers are cheerful, and that they like to sit in the abyss of a perfectly clear sky: they are in need of different means for enduring life than other men; for they suffer in a different way (that is to say, just as much from the depth of their contempt of man as from their love of man).—The animal which suffered most on earth discovered for itself —laughter.

[Pg 384]


Concerning the misunderstanding of "cheerfulness." —It is a temporary relief from long tension; it is the wantonness, the Saturnalia of a spirit, which is consecrating and preparing itself for long and terrible resolutions. The "fool" in the form of "science."


The new order of rank among spirits; tragic natures no longer in the van.


It is a comfort to me to know that over the smoke and filth of human baseness there is a higher and brighter mankind, which, judging from their number, must be a small race (for everything that is in any way distinguished is ipso facto rare). A man does not belong to this race because he happens to be more gifted, more virtuous, more heroic, or more loving than the men below, but because he is colder, brighter, more far-sighted, and more lonely; because he endures, prefers, and even insists upon, loneliness as the joy, the privilege, yea, even the condition of existence; because he lives amid clouds and lightnings as among his equals, and likewise among sunrays, dewdrops, snowflakes, and all that which must needs come from the heights, and which in its course moves ever from heaven to earth. The desire to look aloft is not our desire.—Heroes, martyrs, geniuses, and enthusiasts of all[Pg 385] kinds, are not quiet, patient, subtle, cold, or slow enough for us.


The absolute conviction that valuations above and below are different; that innumerable experiences are wanting to the latter: that when looking upwards from below misunderstandings are necessary.


How do men attain to great power and to great tasks? All the virtues and proficiences of the body and the soul are little by little laboriously acquired, through great industry, self-control, and keeping one's self within narrow bounds, through a frequent, energetic, and genuine repetition of the same work and of the same hardships; but there are men who are the heirs and masters of this slowly acquired and manifold treasure of virtues and proficiences because, owing to happy and reasonable marriages and also to lucky accidents, the acquired and accumulated forces of many generations, instead of being squandered and subdivided, have been assembled together by means of steadfast struggling and willing. And thus, in the end, a man appears who is such a monster of strength, that he craves for a monstrous task. For it is our power which has command of us: and the wretched intellectual play of aims and intentions and motivations lies only in the foreground—however much weak eyes may recognise the principal factors in these things.

[Pg 386]


The sublime man has the highest value, even when he is most delicate and fragile, because an abundance of very difficult and rare things have been reared through many generations and united in him.


I teach that there are higher and lower men, and that a single individual may under certain circumstances justify whole millenniums of existence —that is to say, a wealthier, more gifted, greater, and more complete man, as compared with innumerable imperfect and fragmentary men.


Away from rulers and rid of all bonds, live the highest men: and in the rulers they have their instruments.


The order of rank: he who determines values and leads the will of millenniums, and does this by leading the highest natures—he is the highest man.


I fancy I have divined some of the things that lie hidden in the soul of the highest man; perhaps every man who has divined so much must go to ruin: but he who has seen the highest man must do all he can to make him possible.[Pg 387] Fundamental thought: we must make the future the standard of all our valuations—and not seek the laws for our conduct behind us.


Not "mankind," but Superman is the goal!


"Come l'uom s'eterna...."—Inf. xv. 85.

[Pg 388]




To him who is one of Nature's lucky strokes, to, him unto whom my heart goes out, to him who is carved from one integral block, which is hard, sweet, and fragrant—to him from whom even my nose can derive some pleasure—let this book be dedicated.

He enjoys that which is beneficial to him.

His pleasure in anything ceases when the limits of what is beneficial to him are overstepped.

He divines the remedies for partial injuries; his illnesses are the great stimulants of his existence.

He understands how to exploit his serious accidents.

He grows stronger under the misfortunes which threaten to annihilate him.

He instinctively gathers from all he sees, hears, and experiences, the materials for what concerns him most,—he pursues a selective principle,—he rejects a good deal.

He reacts with that tardiness which long caution[Pg 389] and deliberate pride have bred in him,—he tests the stimulus: whence does it come? whither does it lead? He does not submit.

He is always in his own company, whether his intercourse be with books, with men, or with Nature.

He honours anything by choosing it, by conceding to it, by trusting it.


We should attain to such a height, to such a lofty eagle's ledge, in our observation, as to be able to understand that everything happens, just as it ought to happen: and that all "imperfection," and the pain it brings, belong to all that which is most eminently desirable.


Towards 1876 I experienced a fright; for I saw that everything I had most wished for up to that time was being compromised. I realised this when I perceived what Wagner was actually driving at: and I was bound very fast to him—by all the bonds of a profound similarity of needs, by gratitude, by the thought that he could not be replaced, and by the absolute void which I saw facing me.

Just about this time I believed myself to be inextricably entangled in my philology and my professorship—in the accident and last shift of my life: I did not know how to get out of it, and was tired, used up, and on my last legs.

[Pg 390]

At about the same time I realised that what my instincts most desired to attain was precisely the reverse of what Schopenhauer's instincts wanted—that is to say, a justification of life, even where it was most terrible, most equivocal, and most false: to this end, I had the formula "Dionysian" in my hand.

Schopenhauer's interpretation of the "absolute" as will was certainly a step towards that concept of the "absolute" which supposed it to be necessarily good, blessed, true, and integral, but Schopenhauer did not understand how to deify this will: he remained suspended in the moral-Christian ideal. Indeed, he was still so very much under the dominion of Christian values, that, once he could no longer regard the absolute as God, he had to conceive it as evil, foolish, utterly reprehensible. He did not realise that there is an infinite number of ways of being different, and even of being God.


Hitherto, moral values have been the highest values: does anybody doubt this? If we bring down the values from their pedestal, we thereby alter all values; the principle of their order of rank which has prevailed hitherto is thus overthrown.


Transvalue values—what does this mean? It implies that all spontaneous motives, all new,[Pg 391] future, and stronger motives, are still extant; but that they now appear under false names and false valuations, and have not yet become conscious of themselves.

We ought to have the courage to become, conscious, and to affirm all that which has been attained—to get rid of the humdrum character of old valuations, which makes us unworthy of the best and strongest things that we have achieved.


Any doctrine would be superfluous for which everything is not already prepared in the way of accumulated forces and explosive material. A transvaluation of values can only be accomplished when there is a tension of new needs, and a new set of needy people who feel all old values as painful,—although they are not conscious of what is wrong.


The standpoint from which my values are determined: is abundance or desire active? ... Is one a mere spectator, or is one's own shoulder at the wheel—is one looking away or is one turning aside? ... Is one acting spontaneously, as the result of accumulated strength, or is one merely reacting to a goad or to a stimulus? ... Is one simply acting as the result of a paucity of elements, or of such an overwhelming dominion over a host of elements that this power enlists the latter into its service if it requires them? ... Is one a[Pg 392] problem one's self or is one a solution already? ... Is one perfect through the smallness of the task, or imperfect owing to the extraordinary character of the aim? ... Is one genuine or only an actor; is one genuine as an actor, or only the bad copy of an actor? is one a representative or the creature represented? Is one a personality or merely a rendezvous of personalities? ... Is one ill from a disease or from surplus health? Does one lead as a shepherd, or as an "exception" (third alternative: as a fugitive)? Is one in need of dignity, or can one play the clown? Is one in search of resistance, or is one evading it? Is one imperfect owing to one's precocity or to one's tardiness? Is it one's nature to say yea, or no, or is one a peacock's tail of garish parts? Is one proud enough not to feel ashamed even of one's vanity? Is one still able to feel a bite of conscience (this species is becoming rare; formerly conscience had to bite too often: it is as if it now no longer had enough teeth to do so)? Is one still capable of a "duty"? (there are some people who would lose the whole joy of their lives if they were deprived of their duty—this holds good especially of feminine creatures, who are born subjects).


Supposing our common comprehension of the universe were a misunderstanding, would it be possible to conceive of a form of perfection, within the limits of which even such a misunderstanding as this could be sanctioned?

The concept of a new form of perfection: that[Pg 393] which does not correspond to our logic, to our "beauty," to our "good," to our "truth," might be perfect in a higher sense even than our ideal is.


Our most important limitation: we must not deify the unknown; we are just beginning to know so little. The false and wasted endeavours.

Our "new world": we must ascertain to what extent we are the creators of our valuations—we will thus be able to put "sense" into history.

This belief in truth is reaching its final logical conclusion in us—ye know how it reads: that if there is anything at all that must be worshipped it is appearance; that falsehood and not truth is—divine.


He who urges rational thought forward, thereby also drives its antagonistic power—mysticism and foolery of every kind—to new feats of strength.

We should recognise that every movement is (1) partly the manifestation of fatigue resulting from a previous movement (satiety after it, the malice of weakness towards it, and disease); and (2) partly a newly awakened accumulation of long slumbering forces, and therefore wanton, violent, healthy.


Health and morbidness: let us be careful! The standard is the bloom of the body, the agility, courage, and cheerfulness of the mind—but also, of[Pg 394] course, how much morbidness a man can bear and overcome,—and convert into health. That which would send more delicate natures to the dogs, belongs to the stimulating means of great health.


It is only a question of power: to have all the morbid traits of the century, but to balance them I by means of overflowing, plastic, and rejuvenating power. The strong man.


Concerning the strength of the nineteenth century.—We are more mediæval than the eighteenth century; not only more inquisitive or more susceptible to the strange and to the rare. We have revolted against the Revolution, ... We have freed ourselves from the fear of reason, which was the spectre of the eighteenth century: we once more dare to be childish, lyrical, absurd, in a word, we are musicians. And we are just as little frightened of the ridiculous as of the absurd. The devil finds that he is tolerated even by God:[6] better still, he has become interesting as one who has been misunderstood and slandered for ages,—we are the saviours of the devil's honour.

We no longer separate the great from the terrible. We reconcile good things, in all their complexity,[Pg 395] with the very worst things; we have overcome the desideratum of the past (which wanted goodness to grow without the increase of evil). The cowardice towards the ideal, peculiar to the Renaissance, has diminished—we even dare to aspire to the latter's morality. Intolerance towards priests and the Church has at the same time come to an end; "It is immoral to believe in God"—but this is precisely what we regard as the best possible justification of this belief.

On all these things we have conferred the civic rights of our minds. We do not tremble before the back side of "good things" (we even look for it, we are brave and inquisitive enough for that), of Greek antiquity, of morality, of reason, of good taste, for instance (we reckon up the losses which we incur with all this treasure: we almost reduce ourselves to poverty with such a treasure). Neither do we conceal the back side of "evil things" from ourselves.

[6] This is reminiscent of Goethe's Faust, See "Prologue in Heaven."—Tr.


That which does us honour.—If anything does us honour, it is this: we have transferred our seriousness to other things; all those things which have been despised and laid aside as base by all ages, we regard as important—on the other hand, we surrender "fine feelings" at a cheap rate.

Could any aberration be more dangerous than the contempt of the body? As if all intellectuality were not thereby condemned to become morbid, and to take refuge in the vapeurs of "idealism"!

Nothing that has been thought out by Christians[Pg 396] and idealists holds water: we are more radical. We have discovered the "smallest world" everywhere as the most decisive.

The paving-stones in the streets, good air in our rooms, food understood according to its worth: we value all the necessaries of life seriously, and despise all "beautiful soulfulness" as a form of "levity and frivolity." That which has been most despised hitherto, is now pressed into the front rank.


In the place of Rousseau's "man of Nature," the nineteenth century has discovered a much more genuine image of "Man,"—it had the courage to do this.... On the whole, the Christian concept of man has in a way been reinstalled. What we have not had the courage to do, was to call precisely this "man par excellence," good, and to see the future of mankind guaranteed in him. In the same way, we did not dare to regard the growth in the terrible side of man's character as an accompanying feature of every advance in culture; in this sense we are still under the influence of the Christian ideal, and side with it against paganism, and likewise against the Renaissance concept of virtù. But the key of culture is not to be found in this way: and in praxi we still have the forgeries of history in favour of the "good man" (as if he alone constituted the progress of humanity) and the socialistic ideal (i.e. the residue of Christianity and of Rousseau in the de-Christianised world).

[Pg 397]

The fight against the eighteenth century: it meets with its greatest conquerors in Goethe and Napoleon. Schopenhauer, too, fights against the eighteenth century; but he returns involuntarily to the seventeenth—he is a modern Pascal, with Pascalian valuations, without Christianity. Schopenhauer was not strong enough to invent a new yea.

Napoleon: we see the necessary relationship between the higher and the terrible man. "Man" reinstalled, and her due of contempt and fear restored to woman. Highest activity and health are the signs of the great man; the straight line and grand style rediscovered in action; the mightiest of all instincts, that of life itself,—the lust of dominion,—heartily welcomed.


(Revue des deux mondes, 15th February 1887. Taine concerning Napoleon) "Suddenly the master faculty reveals itself: the artist, which was latent in the politician, comes forth from his scabbard; he creates dans l'idéal et l'impossible. He is once more recognised as that which he is: the posthumous brother of Dante and of Michelangelo; and verily, in view of the definite contours of his vision, the intensity, the coherence, and inner consistency of his dream, the depth of his meditations, the superhuman greatness of his conception, he is their equal: son génie a la même taille et la même structure; il est un des trois esprits souverains de la renaissance italienne."

Nota bene. Dante, Michelangelo, Napoleon.

[Pg 398]


Concerning the pessimism of strength. In the internal economy of the primitive man's soul, the fear of evil preponderates. What is evil! Three kinds of things: accident, uncertainty, the unexpected. How does primitive man combat evil?—He conceives it as a thing of reason, of power, even as a person. By this means he is enabled to make treaties with it, and generally to operate upon it in advance—to forestall it.

—Another expedient is to declare its evil and harmful character to be but apparent: the consequences of accidental occurrences, and of uncertainty and the unexpected, are interpreted as well-meant, as reasonable.

—A third means is to interpret evil, above all, as merited: evil is thus justified as a punishment.

—In short, man submits to in all religious and moral interpretations are but forms of submission to evil.—The belief that a good purpose lies behind all evil, implies the renunciation of any desire to combat it.

Now, the history of every culture shows a diminution of this fear of the accidental, of the uncertain, and of the unexpected. Culture means precisely, to learn to reckon, to discover causes, to acquire the power of forestalling events, to acquire a belief in necessity. With the growth of culture, man is able to dispense with that primitive form of submission to evil (called religion or morality), and that "justification of evil." Now he wages war against "evil,"—he gets rid of it. Yes, a state of[Pg 399] security, of belief in law and the possibility of calculation, is possible, in which consciousness regards these things with tedium,—in which the joy of the accidental, of the uncertain, and of the unexpected, actually becomes a spur.

Let us halt a moment before this symptom of highest culture, I call it the pessimism of strength. Man now no longer requires a "justification of evil"; justification is precisely what he abhors: he enjoys evil, pur, cru; he regards purposeless evil as the most interesting kind of evil. If he had required a God in the past, he now delights in cosmic disorder without a God, a world of accident, to the essence of which terror, ambiguity, and seductiveness belong.

In a state of this sort, it is precisely goodness which requires to be justified—that is to say, it must either have an evil and a dangerous basis, or else it must contain a vast amount of stupidity: in which case it still pleases. Animality no longer awakens terror now; a very intellectual and happy wanton spirit in favour of the animal in man, is, in such periods, the most triumphant form of spirituality. Man is now strong enough to be able to feel ashamed of a belief in God: he may now play the part of the devil's advocate afresh. If in practice he pretends to uphold virtue, it will be for those reasons which lead virtue to be associated with subtlety, cunning, lust of gain, and a form of the lust of power.

This pessimism of strength also ends in a theodicy, i.e. in an absolute saying of yea to the world—but the same arguments will be raised in favour of[Pg 400] life which formerly were raised against it: and in this way, in a conception of this world as the highest ideal possible, which has been effectively attained.


The principal kinds of pessimism:—

The pessimism of sensitiveness (excessive irritability with a preponderance of the feelings of pain).

The pessimism of the will that is not free (otherwise expressed: the lack of resisting power against stimuli).

The pessimism of doubt (shyness in regard to everything fixed, in regard to all grasping and touching).

The psychological conditions which belong to these different kinds of pessimism, may all be observed in a lunatic asylum, even though they are there found in a slightly exaggerated form. The same applies to "Nihilism" (the penetrating feeling of nonentity).

What, however, is the nature of Pascal's moral pessimism, and the metaphysical pessimism of the Vedânta-Philosophy? What is the nature of the social pessimism of anarchists (as of Shelley), and of the pessimism of compassion (like that of Leo Tolstoy and of Alfred de Vigny)?

Are all these things not also the phenomena of decay and sickness?... And is not excessive seriousness in regard to moral values, or in regard to "other-world" fictions, or social calamities, or suffering in general, of the same order? All such exaggeration of a single and narrow standpoint is[Pg 401] in itself a sign of sickness. The same applies to the preponderance of a negative over an affirmative attitude!

In this respect we must not confound with the above: the joy of saying and doing no, which is the result of the enormous power and tenseness of an affirmative attitude—peculiar to all rich and mighty men and ages. It is, as it were, a luxury, a form of courage too, which opposes the terrible, which has sympathy with the frightful and the questionable, because, among other things, one is terrible and questionable: the Dionysian in will, intellect, and taste.


My Five "Noes."

(1) My fight against the feeling of sin and the introduction of the notion of punishment into the physical and metaphysical world, likewise into psychology and the interpretation of history. The recognition of the fact that all philosophies and valuations hitherto have been saturated with morality.

(2) My identification and my discovery of the traditional ideal, of the Christian ideal, even where the dogmatic form of Christianity has been wrecked. The danger of the Christian ideal resides in its valuations, in that which can dispense with concrete expression: my struggle against latent Christianity (for instance, in music, in Socialism).

(3) My struggle against the eighteenth century of Rousseau, against his "Nature," against his "good[Pg 402] man," his belief in the dominion of feeling—against the pampering, weakening, and moralising of man: an ideal born of the hatred of aristocratic culture, which in practice is the dominion of unbridled feelings of resentment, and invented as a standard for the purpose of war (the Christian morality of the feeling of sin, as well as the morality of resentment, is an attitude of the mob).

(4) My fight against Romanticism, in which the ideals of Christianity and of Rousseau converge, but which possesses at the same time a yearning for that antiquity which knew of sacerdotal and aristocratic culture, a yearning for virtù, and for the "strong man"—something extremely hybrid; a false and imitated kind of stronger humanity, which appreciates extreme conditions in general and sees the symptom of strength in them ("the cult of passion"; an imitation of the most expressive forms, furore espressivo, originating not out of plenitude, but out of want).—(In the nineteenth century there are some things which are born out of relative plenitude—i.e. out of well-being; cheerful music, etc.—among poets, for instance, Stifter and Gottfried Keller give signs of more strength and inner well-being than—. The great strides of engineering, of inventions, of the natural sciences and of history (?) are relative products of the strength and self-reliance of the nineteenth century.)

(5) My struggle against the predominance of gregarious instincts, now science makes common cause with them; against the profound hate with which every kind of order of rank and of aloofness is treated.

[Pg 403]


From the pressure of plenitude, from the tension of forces that are continually increasing within us and which cannot yet discharge themselves, a condition is produced which is very similar to that which precedes a storm: we—like Nature's sky—become overcast. I hat, too, is "pessimism.".. A teaching which puts an end to such a condition by the fact that it commands something: a transvaluation of values by means of which the accumulated forces are given a channel, a direction, so that they explode into deeds and flashes of lightning-does not in the least require to be a hedonistic teaching: in so far as it releases strength which was compressed to an agonising degree, it brings happiness.


Pleasure appears with the feeling of power.

Happiness means that the consciousness of power and triumph has begun to prevail.

Progress is the strengthening of the type, the ability to exercise great will-power, everything else is a misunderstanding and a danger.


There comes a time when the old masquerade and moral togging-up of the passions provokes repugnance: naked Nature; when the quanta of power are recognised as decidedly simple (as determining rank); when grand style appears again as the result of great passion.

[Pg 404]


The purpose of culture would have us enlist everything terrible, step by step and experimentally, into its service; but before it is strong enough for this it must combat, moderate, mask, and even curse everything terrible.

Wherever a culture points to anything as evil, it betrays its fear and therefore weakness.

Thesis: everything good is the evil of yore which has been rendered serviceable. Standard: the more terrible and the greater the passions may be which an age, a people, and an individual are at liberty to possess, because they are able to use them as a means, the higher is their culture: the more mediocre, weak, submissive, and cowardly a man may be, the more things he will regard as evil: according to him the kingdom of evil is the largest. The lowest man will see the kingdom of evil (i.e. that which is forbidden him and which is hostile to him) everywhere.


It is not a fact that "happiness follows virtue"—but it is the mighty man who first declares his happy state to be virtue.

Evil actions belong to the mighty and the virtuous: bad and base actions belong to the subjected.

The mightiest man, the creator, would have to be the most evil, inasmuch as he makes his ideal prevail over all men in opposition to their ideals, and remoulds them according to his own image.

[Pg 405]

Evil, in this respect, means hard, painful, enforced.

Such men as Napoleon must always return and always settle our belief in the self-glory of the individual afresh: he himself, however, was corrupted by the means he had to stoop to, and had lost noblesse of character. If he had had to prevail among another kind of men, he could have availed himself of other means; and thus it would not seem necessary that a Cæsar must become bad.


Man is a combination of the beast and the super-beast; higher man a combination of the monster and the superman:[7] these opposites belong to each other. With every degree of a man's growth towards greatness and loftiness, he also grows downwards into the depths and into the terrible: we should not desire the one without the other;—or, better still: the more fundamentally we desire the one, the more completely we shall achieve the other.

[7] The play on the German words: "Unthier" and "Überthier," "Unmensch" and "Übermensch," is unfortunately not translatable.—Tr.


Terribleness belongs to greatness: let us not deceive ourselves.


I have taught the knowledge of such terrible things, that all "Epicurean contentment" is[Pg 406] impossible concerning them. Dionysian pleasure is the only adequate kind here: I was the first to discover the tragic. Thanks to their superficiality in ethics, the Greeks misunderstood it. Resignation is not the lesson of tragedy, but only the misunderstanding of it! The yearning for nonentity is the denial of tragic wisdom, its opposite!


A rich and powerful soul not only gets over painful and even terrible losses, deprivations, robberies, and insults: it actually leaves such dark infernos in possession of still greater plenitude and power; and, what is most important of all, in possession of an increased blissfulness in love. I believe that he who has divined something of the most fundamental conditions of love, will understand Dante for having written over the door of his Inferno: "I also am the creation of eternal love."


To have travelled over the whole circumference of the modern soul, and to have sat in all its corners—my ambition, my torment, and my happiness.

Veritably to have overcome pessimism, and, as the result thereof, to have acquired the eyes of a Goethe—full of love and goodwill.


The first question is by no means whether we are satisfied with ourselves; but whether we are[Pg 407] satisfied with anything at all. Granting that we should say yea to any single moment, we have then affirmed not only ourselves, but the whole of existence. For nothing stands by itself, either in us or in other things: and if our soul has vibrated and rung with happiness, like a chord, once only and only once, then all eternity was necessary in order to bring about that one event,—and all eternity, in this single moment of our affirmation, was called good, was saved, justified, and blessed.


The passions which say yea. I ride, happiness, health, the love of the sexes, hostility and war, reverence, beautiful attitudes, manners, strong will, the discipline of lofty spirituality, the will to power, and gratitude to the Earth and to Life: all that is rich, that would fain bestow, and that refreshes, gilds, immortalises, and deifies Life—the whole power of the virtues that glorify—all declaring things good, saying yea, and doing yea.


We, many or few, who once more dare to live in a world purged of morality, we pagans in faith, we are probably also the first who understand what a pagan faith is: to be obliged to imagine higher creatures than man, but to imagine them beyond good and evil; to be compelled to value all higher existence as immoral existence. We believe in Olympus, and not in the "man on the cross."

[Pg 408]


The more modern man has exercised his idealising power in regard to a God mostly by moralising the latter ever more and more—what does that mean?—nothing good, a diminution in man's strength.

As a matter of fact, the reverse would be possible: and indications of this are not wanting. God imagined as emancipation from morality, comprising the whole of the abundant assembly of Life's contrasts, and saving and justifying them in a divine agony. God as the beyond, the superior elevation, to the wretched cul-de-sac morality of "Good and Evil."


A humanitarian God cannot be demonstrated from the world that is known to us: so much are ye driven and forced to conclude to-day. But what conclusion do ye draw from this? "He cannot be demonstrated to us": the scepticism of knowledge. You all fear the conclusion: "From the world that is known to us quite a different God would be demonstrable, such a one as would certainly not be humanitarian"—and, in a word, you cling fast to your God, and invent a world for Him which is unknown to us.


Let us banish the highest good from our concept of God: it is unworthy of a God. Let us[Pg 409] likewise banish the highest wisdom: it is the vanity of philosophers who have perpetrated the absurdity of a God who is a monster of wisdom: the idea was to make Him as like them as possible. No! God as the highest power—that is sufficient!—Everything follows from that, even—"the world"!


And how many new Gods are not still possible! I, myself, in whom the religious—that is to say, the god-creating instinct occasionally becomes active at the most inappropriate moments: how very differently the divine has revealed itself every time to me! ... So many strange things have passed before me in those timeless moments, which fall into a man's life as if they came from the moon, and in which he absolutely no longer knows how old he is or how young he still may be! ... I would not doubt that there are several kinds of gods.... Some are not wanting which one could not possibly imagine without a certain halcyonic calm and levity.... Light feet perhaps belong to the concept "God". Is it necessary to explain that a God knows how to hold Himself preferably outside all Philistine and rationalist circles? also (between ourselves) beyond good and evil? His outlook is a free one—as Goethe would say.—And to invoke the authority of Zarathustra, which cannot be too highly appreciated in this regard: Zarathustra goes as far as to confess, "I would only believe in a God who knew how to dance ..."

[Pg 410]

Again I say: how many new Gods are not still possible! Certainly Zarathustra himself is merely an old atheist: he believes neither in old nor in new gods. Zarathustra says, "he would"—but Zarathustra will not.... Take care to understand him well.

The type God conceived according to the type of creative spirits, of "great men."


And how many new ideals are not, at bottom, still possible? Here is a little ideal that I seize upon every five weeks, while upon a wild and lonely walk, in the azure moment of a blasphemous joy. To spend one's life amid delicate and absurd things; a stranger to reality, half-artist, half-bird, half-metaphysician; without a yea or a nay for reality, save that from time to time one acknowledges it, after the manner of a good dancer, with the tips of one's toes; always tickled by some happy ray of sunlight; relieved and encouraged even by sorrow —for sorrow preserves the happy man; fixing a little tail of jokes even to the most holy thing: this, as is clear, is the ideal of a heavy spirit, a ton in weight of the spirit of gravity.


From the military-school of the soul. (Dedicated to the brave, the good-humoured, and the abstinent.)

I should not like to undervalue the amiable virtues; but greatness of soul is not compatible with[Pg 411] them. Even in the arts, grand style excludes all merely pleasing qualities.


In times of painful tension and vulnerability, choose war. War hardens and develops muscle.


Those who have been deeply wounded have the Olympian laughter; a man only has what he needs.


It has now already lasted ten years: no sound any longer reaches me—a land without rain. A man must have a vast amount of humanity at his disposal in order not to pine away in such drought.[8]

[8] For the benefit of those readers who are not acquainted with the circumstances of Nietzsche's life, it would be as well to point out that this is a purely personal plaint, comprehensible enough in the mouth of one who, like Nietzsche, was for years a lonely anchorite.—Tr.


My new road to an affirmative attitude.—Philosophy, as I have understood it and lived it up to the present, is the voluntary quest of the repulsive and atrocious aspects of existence. From the long experience derived from such wandering over ice and desert, I learnt to regard quite differently everything that had been philosophised hitherto: the concealed history of philosophy, the psychology of its great names came into the light for me. "How much truth can a spirit endure; for how much truth is it daring enough?"—this for me was the real[Pg 412] measure of value. Error is a piece of cowardice ... every victory on the part of knowledge, is the result of courage, of hardness towards one's self, of cleanliness towards one's self.... The kind of experimental philosophy which I am living, even anticipates the possibility of the most fundamental Nihilism, on principle: but by this I do not mean that it remains standing at a negation, at a no, or at a will to negation. It would rather attain to the very reverse—to a Dionysian affirmation of the world, as it is, without subtraction, exception, or choice—it would have eternal circular motion: the same things, the same reasoning, and the same illogical concatenation. The highest state to which a philosopher can attain: to maintain a Dionysian attitude to Life—my formula for this is amor fati.

To this end we must not only consider those aspects of life which have been denied hitherto, as: necessary, but as desirable, and not only desirable to those aspects which have been affirmed hitherto (as complements or first prerequisites, so to speak), but for their own sake, as the more powerful, more terrible, and more veritable aspects of life, in which the latter's will expresses itself most clearly.

To this end, we must also value that aspect of existence which alone has been affirmed until now; we must understand whence this valuation arises, and to how slight an extent it has to do with a Dionysian valuation of Life: I selected and understood that which in this respect says "yea" (on the one hand, the instinct of the sufferer; on the other, the gregarious instinct; and thirdly, the instinct of the greater number against the exceptions).

[Pg 413]

Thus I divined to what extent a stronger kind of man must necessarily imagine—the elevation and enhancement of man in another direction: higher creatures, beyond good and evil, beyond those values which bear the stamp of their origin in the sphere of suffering, of the herd, and of the greater number—I searched for the data of this topsy-turvy formation of ideals in history (the concepts "pagan," "classical," "noble," have been discovered afresh and brought forward).


We should demonstrate to what extent the religion of the Greeks was higher than Judæo-Christianity. The latter triumphed because the Greek religion was degenerate (and decadent).


It is not surprising that a couple of centuries have been necessary in order to link up again—a couple of centuries are very little indeed.


There must be some people who sanctify functions, not only eating and drinking, and not only in memory of them, or in harmony with them; but this world must be for ever glorified anew, and in a novel fashion.


The most intellectual men feel the ecstasy and charm of sensual things in a way which other men[Pg 414] —those with "fleshy hearts"—cannot possibly imagine, and ought not to be able to imagine: they are sensualists with the best possible faith, because they grant the senses a more fundamental value than that fine sieve, that thinning and mincing machine, or whatever it is called, which in the language of the people is termed "spirit" The strength and power of the senses—this is the most essential thing in a sound man who is one of Nature's lucky strokes: the splendid beast must first be there—otherwise what is the value of all "humanisation"?


(1) We want to hold fast to our senses, and to the belief in them—and accept their logical conclusions! The hostility to the senses in the philosophy that has been written up to the present, has been man's greatest feat of nonsense.

(2) The world now extant, on which all earthly and living things have so built themselves, that it now appears as it does (enduring and proceeding slowly), we would fain continue building—not criticise it away as false!

(3) Our valuations help in the process of building; they emphasise and accentuate. What does it mean when whole religions say: "Everything is bad and false and evil"? This condemnation of the whole process can only be the judgment of the failures!

(4) True, the failures might be the greatest sufferers and therefore the most subtle! The contented might be worth little!

[Pg 415]

(5) We must understand the fundamental artistic phenomenon which is called "Life,"—the formative spirit, which constructs under the most unfavourable circumstances: and in the slowest manner possible——The proof of all its combinations must first be given afresh: it maintains itself.


Sexuality, lust of dominion, the pleasure derived from appearance and deception, great and joyful gratitude to Life and its typical conditions—these things are essential to all paganism, and it has a good conscience on its side.—That which is hostile to Nature (already in Greek antiquity) combats paganism in the form of morality and dialectics.


An anti-metaphysical view of the world—yes, but an artistic one.


Apollo's misapprehension: the eternity of beautiful forms, the aristocratic prescription, "Thus shall it ever be!"

Dionysus. Sensuality and cruelty. The perishable nature of existence might be interpreted as the joy of procreative and destructive force, as unremitting creation.


The word "Dionysian" expresses: a constraint to unity, a soaring above personality, the common-place,[Pg 416] society, reality, and above the abyss of the ephemeral, the passionately painful sensation of superabundance, in darker, fuller, and more fluctuating conditions; an ecstatic saying of yea to the collective character of existence, as that which remains the same, and equally mighty and blissful throughout all change, the great pantheistic sympathy with pleasure and pain, which declares even the most terrible and most questionable qualities of existence good, and sanctifies them; the eternal will to procreation, to fruitfulness, and to recurrence; the feeling of unity in regard to the necessity of creating and annihilating.

The word "Apollonian" expresses: the constraint to be absolutely isolated, to the typical "individual," to everything that simplifies, distinguishes, and makes strong, salient, definite, and typical to freedom within the law.

The further development of art is just as necessarily bound up with the antagonism of these two natural art-forces, as the further development of mankind is bound up with the antagonism of the sexes. The plenitude of power and restraint, the highest form of self-affirmation in a cool, noble, and reserved kind of beauty: the Apollonianism of the Hellenic will.

This antagonism of the Dionysian and of the Apollonian in the Greek soul, is one of the great riddles which made me feel drawn to the essence of Hellenism. At bottom, I troubled about nothing save the solution of the question, why precisely Greek Apollonianism should have been forced to grow out of a Dionysian soil: the Dionysian Greek[Pg 417] had need of being Apollonian; that is to say in order to break his will to the titanic, to the complex, to the uncertain, to the horrible by a will to measure, to simplicity, and to submission to rule and concept. Extravagance, wildness, and Asiatic tendencies lie at the root of the Greeks. Their courage consists in their struggle with their Asiatic nature: they were not given beauty, any more than they were given Logic and moral! naturalness: in them these things are victories, they are willed and fought for—they constitute the triumph of the Greeks.


It is clear that only the rarest and most lucky cases of humanity can attain to the highest and most sublime human joys in which Life celebrates its own glorification; and this only happens when these rare creatures themselves and their forbears have lived a long preparatory life leading to this goal, without, however, having done so consciously. It is then that an overflowing wealth of multifarious forces and the most agile power of "free will" and lordly command exist together in perfect concord in one man; then the intellect is just as much at ease, or at home, in the senses as the senses are at ease or at home in it; and everything that takes place in the latter must give rise to extraordinarily subtle joys in the former. And vice versâ: just think of this vice versâ for a moment in a man like Hafiz; even Goethe, though to a lesser degree, gives some idea of this process. It[Pg 418] is probable that, in such perfect and well-constituted men, the most sensual functions are finally transfigured by a symbolic elatedness of the highest intellectuality; in themselves they feel a kind of deification of the body and are most remote from the ascetic philosophy of the principle "God is a Spirit": from this principle it is clear that the ascetic is the "botched man" who declares only that to be good and "God" which is absolute, and which judges and condemns.

From that height of joy in which man feels himself completely and utterly a deified form and self-justification of nature, down to the joy of healthy peasants and healthy semi-human beasts, the whole of this long and enormous gradation of the light and colour of happiness was called by the Greek—not without that grateful quivering of one who is initiated into secret, not without much caution and pious silence—by the godlike name: Dionysus. What then do all modern men—the children of a crumbling, multifarious, sick and strange age know of the compass of Greek happiness, how could they know anything about it! Whence would the slaves of "modern ideas" derive their right to Dionysian feasts!

When the Greek body and soul were in full "bloom," and not, as it were, in states of morbid exaltation and madness, there arose the secret symbol of the loftiest affirmation and transfiguration of life and the world that has ever existed. There we have a standard beside which everything that has grown since must seem too short, too poor, too narrow: if we but pronounce the word[Pg 419] "Dionysus" in the presence of the best of more recent names and things, in the presence of Goethe, for instance, or Beethoven, or Shakespeare, or Raphael, in a trice we realise that our best things and moments are condemned. Dionysus is a judge! Am I understood? There can be no doubt that the Greeks sought to interpret, by means of their Dionysian experiences, the final mysteries of the "destiny of the soul" and everything they knew concerning the education and the purification of man, and above all concerning the absolute hierarchy and inequality of value between man and man. There is the deepest experience of all Greeks, which they conceal beneath great silence,—we do not know the Greeks so long as this hidden and sub-terranean access to them remains obstructed. The indiscreet eyes of scholars will never perceive anything in these things, however much learned energy may still have to be expended in the service of this excavation—; even the noble zeal of such friends of antiquity as Goethe and Winckelmann, seems to savour somewhat of bad form and of arrogance, precisely in this respect. To wait and to prepare oneself; to await the appearance of new sources of knowledge; to prepare oneself in solitude for the sight of new faces and the sound of new voices; to cleanse one's soul ever more and more of the dust and noise, as of a country fair, which is peculiar to this age; to overcome everything Christian by something super-Christian, and not only to rid oneself of it,—for the Christian doctrine is the counter-doctrine to the Dionysian; to rediscover the South in oneself, and to stretch a clear, glittering, and[Pg 420] mysterious southern sky above one; to reconquer the southern healthiness and concealed power of the soul, once more for oneself; to increase the compass of one's soul step by step, and to become more supernational, more European, more super-European, more Oriental, and finally more Hellenic—for Hellenism was, as a matter of fact, the first great union and synthesis of everything Oriental, and precisely on that account, the beginning of the European soul, the discovery of our "new world":—he who lives under such imperatives, who knows what he may not encounter some day? Possibly—a new dawn!


The two types; Dionysus and Christ on the Cross. We should ascertain whether the typically religious man is a decadent phenomenon (the great innovators are one and all morbid and epileptic); but do not let us forget to include that type of the religious man who is pagan. Is the pagan cult not a form of gratitude for, and affirmation of, Life? Ought not its most representative type to be an apology and deification of Life? The type of a well-constituted and ecstatically overflowing spirit! The type of a spirit which absorbs the contradictions and problems of existence, and which solves them!

At this point I set up the Dionysus of the Greeks: the religious affirmation of Life, of the whole of Life, not of denied and partial Life (it is typical that in this cult the sexual act awakens ideas of depth, mystery, and reverence).

[Pg 421]

Dionysus versus "Christ"; here you have the contrast. It is not a difference in regard to the martyrdom,—but the latter has a different meaning. Life itself—Life s eternal fruitfulness and recurrence caused anguish, destruction, and the will to annihilation. In the other case, the suffering of the "Christ as the Innocent One" stands as an objection against Life, it is the formula of Life's condemnation.—Readers will guess that the problem concerns the meaning of suffering; whether a Christian or a tragic meaning be given to it. In the first case it is the road to a holy mode of existence; in the second case existence itself is regarded as sufficiently holy to justify an enormous amount of suffering. The tragic man says yea even to the most excruciating suffering: he is sufficiently strong, rich, and capable of deifying, to be able to do this; the Christian denies even the happy lots on earth: he is weak, poor, and disinherited enough to suffer from life in any form. God on the Cross is a curse upon Life, a signpost directing people to deliver themselves from it;—Dionysus cut into pieces is a promise of Life: it will be for ever born anew, and rise afresh from destruction.

[Pg 422]




My philosophy reveals the triumphant thought through which all other systems of thought must ultimately perish. It is the great disciplinary thought: those races that cannot bear it are doomed; those which regard it as the greatest blessing are destined to rule.


The greatest of all fights: for this purpose a new weapon is required.

A hammer: a terrible alternative must be created. Europe must be brought face to face with the logic of facts, and confronted with the question whether its will for ruin is really earnest.

General levelling down to mediocrity must be avoided. Rather than this it would be preferable to perish.


A pessimistic attitude of mind and a pessimistic doctrine and ecstatic Nihilism, may in[Pg 423] certain circumstances even prove indispensable to the philosopher—that is to say, as a mighty form of pressure, or hammer, with which he can smash up degenerate, perishing races and put them out of existence; with which he can beat a track to a new order of life, or instil a longing for nonentity in those who are degenerate and who desire to perish.


I wish to teach the thought which gives unto many the right to cancel their existences—the great disciplinary thought.


Eternal Recurrence. A prophecy.

1. The exposition of the doctrine and its theoretical first principles and results.

2. The proof of the doctrine.

3. Probable results which will follow from its being believed. (It makes everything break open.)

(a) The means of enduring it.

(b) The means of ignoring it.

4. Its place in history is a means.

The period of greatest danger. The foundation of an oligarchy above peoples and their interests: education directed at establishing a political policy for humanity in general.

A counterpart of Jesuitism.

[Pg 424]


The two greatest philosophical points of view (both discovered by Germans).

(a) That of becoming and that of evolution.

(b) That based upon the values of existence (but the wretched form of German pessimism must first be overcome!)—

Both points of view reconciled by me in a decisive manner.

Everything becomes and returns for ever, escape is impossible!

Granted that we could appraise the value of existence, what would be the result of it? The thought of recurrence is a principle of selection in the service of power (and barbarity!).

The ripeness of man for this thought.


1. The thought of eternal recurrence: its first principles which must necessarily be true if it were true. What its result is.

2. It is the most oppressive thought: its probable results, provided it be not prevented, that is to say, provided all values be not transvalued.

3. The means of enduring it: the transvaluation of all values. Pleasure no longer to be found in certainty, but in uncertainty; no longer "cause and effect," but continual creativeness; no longer the will to self-preservation, but to power; no longer the modest expression "it is all only subjective," but "it is all our work! let us be proud of it."

[Pg 425]


In order to endure the thought of recurrence, freedom from morality is necessary; new means against the fact pain (pain regarded as the instrument, as the father of pleasure; there is no accretive consciousness of pain); pleasure derived from all kinds of uncertainty and tentativeness, as a counterpoise to extreme fatalism; suppression of the concept "necessity"; suppression of the "will"; suppression of "absolute knowledge."

Greatest elevation of man's consciousness of strength, as that which creates superman.


The two extremes of thought—the materialistic and the platonic—are reconciled in eternal recurrence: both are regarded as ideals.


If the universe had a goal, that goal would have been reached by now. If any sort of unforeseen final state existed, that state also would have! been reached. If it were capable of any halting or stability of any being, it would only have possessed this capability of becoming stable for one instant in its development; and again becoming would have been at an end for ages, and with it all thinking and all "spirit." The fact of "intellects" being in a state of development proves that the universe can have no goal, no[Pg 426] final state, and is incapable of being. But the old habit of thinking of some purpose in regard to all phenomena, and of thinking of a directing and creating deity in regard to the universe, is so powerful, that the thinker has to go to great pains in order to avoid thinking of the very aimlessness of the world as intended. The idea that the universe intentionally evades a goal, and even knows artificial means wherewith it prevents itself from falling into a circular movement, must occur to all those who would fain attribute to the universe the capacity of eternally regenerating itself—that is to say, they would fain impose upon a finite, definite force which is invariable in quantity, like the universe, the miraculous gift of renewing its forms and its conditions for all eternity. Although the universe is no longer a God, it must still be capable of the divine power of creating and transforming; it must forbid itself to relapse into any one of its previous forms; it must not only have the intention, but also the means, of avoiding any sort of repetition, every second of its existence, even, it must control every single one of its movements, with the view of avoiding goals, final states, and repetitions and all the other results of such an unpardonable and insane method of thought and desire. All this is nothing more than the old religious mode of thought and desire, which, in spite of all, longs to believe that in some way or other the universe resembles the old, beloved, infinite, and infinitely-creative God—that in some way or other "the old God still lives"—that longing of Spinoza's[Pg 427] which is expressed in the words "deus sive natura" (what he really felt was "natura sive deus"). Which, then, is the proposition and belief in which the decisive change, the present preponderance of the scientific spirit over the religious and god-fancying spirit, is best formulated? Ought it not to be: the universe, as force, must not be thought of as unlimited, because it cannot be thought of in this way,—we forbid ourselves the concept infinite force, because it is incompatible with the idea of force? Whence it follows that the universe lacks the power of eternal renewal.


The principle of the conservation of energy inevitably involves eternal recurrence.


That a state of equilibrium has never been reached, proves that it is impossible, but in infinite space it must have been reached. Likewise in spherical space. The form of space must be the cause of the eternal movement, and ultimately of all imperfection. That "energy" and "stability" and "immutability" are contradictory. The measure of energy (dimensionally) is fixed though it is essentially fluid.

"That which is timeless" must be refuted, any given moment of energy, the absolute conditions for a new distribution of all forces are present, it cannot remain stationary. Change is part of[Pg 428] its essence, therefore time is as well; by this means, however, the necessity of change has only been established once more in theory.


A certain emperor always bore the fleeting nature of all things in his mind, in order not to value them too seriously, and to be able to live quietly in their midst. Conversely, everything seems to me much too important for it to be so fleeting, I seek an eternity for everything: ought one to pour the most precious salves and wines into the sea? My consolation is that everything that has been is eternal: the sea will wash it up again.


The new concept of the universe. The universe exists; it is nothing that grows into existence and that passes out of existence. Or, better still, it develops, it passes away, but it never began to develop, and has never ceased from passing away; it maintains itself in both states. It lives on itself, its excrements are its nourishment.

We need not concern ourselves for one instant with the hypothesis of a created world. The concept create is to-day utterly indefinable and unrealisable; it is but a word which hails from superstitious ages, nothing can be explained with a word. The last attempt that was made to conceive of a world that began occurred quite recently,[Pg 429] in many cases with the help of logical reasoning,—generally, too, as you will guess, with an ulterior theological motive.

Several attempts have been made lately to show that the concept that "the universe has an infinite past (regressus in infinitum) is contradictory, it was even demonstrated, it is true, at the price of confounding the head with the tail. Nothing can prevent me from calculating backwards from this moment of time, and of saying: "I shall never reach the end"; just as I can calculate without end in a forward direction, from the same moment. It is only when I wish to commit the error—I shall be careful to avoid it—of reconciling this correct concept of a regressus in infinitum with the absolutely unrealisable concept of a finite progressus up to the present; only when I consider the direction (forwards or backwards) as logically indifferent, that I take hold of the head—this very moment—and think I hold the tail: this pleasure I leave to you, Mr. Dühring!...

I have come across this thought in other thinkers before me, and every time I found that it was determined by other ulterior motives (chiefly theological, in favour of a creator spiritus). If the universe were in any way able to congeal, to dry up, to perish; or if it were capable of attaining to a state of equilibrium; or if it had any kind of goal at all which a long lapse of time, immutability, and finality reserved for it (in short, to speak metaphysically, if becoming could resolve itself into being or into nonentity), this state ought already to have been reached.

[Pg 430]

But it has not been reached: it therefore follows.... This is the only certainty we can grasp, which can serve as a corrective to a host of cosmic hypotheses possible in themselves. If, for instance, materialism cannot consistently escape the conclusion of a finite state, which William Thomson has traced out for it, then materialism is thereby refuted.

If the universe may be conceived as a definite quantity of energy, as a definite number of centres of energy,—and every other concept remains indefinite and therefore useless,—it follows therefrom that the universe must go through a calculable number of combinations in the great game of chance which constitutes its existence. In infinity, at some moment or other, every possible combination must once have been realised; not only this, but it must have been realised an infinite number of times. And inasmuch as between every one of these combinations and its next recurrence every other possible combination would necessarily have been undergone, and since every one of these combinations would determine the whole series in the same order, a circular movement of absolutely identical series is thus demonstrated: the universe is thus shown to be a circular movement which has already repeated itself an infinite number of times, and which plays its game for all eternity.—This conception is not simply materialistic; for if it were this, it would not involve an infinite recurrence of identical cases, but a finite state. Owing to the fact that the universe has not reached this finite state, materialism[Pg 431] shows itself to be but an imperfect and provisional hypothesis.


And do ye know what "the universe" is to my mind? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This universe is a monster of energy, without beginning or end; a fixed and brazen quantity o; energy which grows neither bigger nor smaller, which does not consume itself, but only alters its face; as a whole its bulk is immutable, it is a household without either losses or gains, but likewise without increase and without sources of revenue, surrounded by nonentity as by a frontier, it is nothing vague or wasteful, it does not stretch into infinity; but it is a definite quantum of energy located in limited space, and not in space which would be anywhere empty. It is rather energy everywhere, the play of forces and force-waves, at the same time one and many, agglomerating here and diminishing there, a sea of forces storming and raging in itself, for ever changing, for ever rolling back over in calculable ages to recurrence, with an ebb and flow of its forms, producing the most complicated things out of the most simple structures; producing the most ardent, most savage, and most contradictory things out of the quietest, most rigid, and most frozen material, and then returning from multifariousness to uniformity, from the play of contradictions back into the delight of consonance, saying yea unto itself, even in this homogeneity of its courses and ages; for ever blessing itself as something which recurs for all eternity,—a becoming which knows not satiety, or disgust, or weariness:—this, my Dionysian world of eternal self-creation, of[Pg 432] eternal self-destruction, this mysterious world of twofold voluptuousness; this, my "Beyond Good and Evil" without aim, unless there is an aim in the bliss of the circle, without will, unless a ring must by nature keep goodwill to itself,—would you have a name for my world? A solution of all your riddles? Do ye also want a light, ye most concealed, strongest and most undaunted men of the blackest midnight?—This world is the Will to Power—and nothing else! And even ye yourselves are this will to power—and nothing besides!