Why I Am a Fatality

(or A Destiny)


I know my fate. One day my name will be associated with the memory of something tremendous—a crisis without equal on earth, the most profound collision of conscience, a decision that was conjured up against everything that had been believed, demanded, hallowed so far. I am no man, I am dynamite.— Yet for all that, there is nothing in me of a founder of a religion—religions are affairs of the rabble; I find it necessary to wash my hands after I have come into contact with religious people.— I want no "believers"; I think I am too malicious to believe in myself; I never speak to masses.— I have a terrible fear that one day I will be pronounced holy: you will guess why I publish this book before; it shall prevent people from doing mischief with me.

I do not want to be a holy man; sooner even a buffoon.— Perhaps I am a buffoon.— Yet in spite of that—or rather not in spite of it, because so far nobody has been more mendacious than holy men—the truth speaks out of me.— But my truth is terrible; for so far one has called lies truth.

Revaluation of all values: that is my formula for an act of supreme self-examination on the part of humanity, become flesh and genius in me. It is my fate that I have to be the first decent human being; that I know myself to stand in opposition to the mendaciousness of millennia.— I was the first to discover the truth by being the first to experience lies as lies—smelling them out.— My genius is in my nostrils.

I contradict as has never been contradicted before and am nevertheless the opposite of a No-saying spirit. I am a bringer of glad tidings like no one before me; I know tasks of such elevation that any notion of them has been lacking so far; only beginning with me are there hopes again. For all that, I am necessarily also the man of calamity. For when truth enters into a fight with the lies of millennia, we shall have upheavals, a convulsion of earthquakes, a moving of mountains and valleys, the like of which has never been dreamed of. The concept of politics will have merged entirely with a war of spirits; all power structures of the old society will have been exploded—all of them are based on lies: there will be wars the like of which have never yet been seen on earth. It is only beginning with me that the earth knows great politics.


You want a formula for such a destiny become man? That is to be found in my Zarathustra:

"And whoever wants to be a creator in good and evil, must first be an annihilator and break values. Thus the highest evil belongs to the greatest goodness: but this is—being creative." [Thus Spoke Zarathustra, II, 34.]

I am by far the most terrible human being that has existed so far; this does not preclude the possibility that I shall be the most beneficial. I know the pleasure in destroying to a degree that accords with my powers to destroy—in both respects I obey my Dionysian nature which does not know how to separate doing No from saying Yes. I am the first immoralist: that makes me the annihilator par excellence.


I have been asked, as I should have been asked, what the name of Zarathustra means in my mouth, the mouth of the first immoralist: [....] the self-overcoming of morality, out of truthfulness; the self-overcoming of the moralist, into his opposite—into me—that is what the name of Zarathustra means in my mouth.


Fundamentally, my term immoralist involves two negations. For one, I negate a type of man that has so far been considered supreme: the good, the benevolent, the beneficent. And then I negate a type of morality that has become prevalent and predominant as morality itself—the morality of decadence or, more concretely, Christian morality. It would be permissible to consider the second contradiction the more decisive one, since I take the overestimation of goodness and benevolence on a large scale for a consequence of decadence, for a symptom of weakness, irreconcilable with an ascending, Yes-saying life: negating and destroying are conditions of saying Yes.

Let me tarry over the psychology of the good human being. To estimate what a type of man is worth, one must calculate the price paid for his preservation—one must know the conditions of his existence. The condition of the existence of the good is the lie: put differently, not wanting to see at any price how reality is constituted fundamentally—namely, not in such a way as to elicit benevolent instincts at all times, and even less in such a way as to tolerate at all times the interference of those who are myopically good-natured. To consider distress of all kinds as an objection, as something that must be abolished, is the niaiserie [folly] par excellence and, on a large scale, a veritable disaster in its consequences, a nemesis [Schicksal] of stupidity—almost as stupid as would be the desire to abolish bad weather—say, from pity for poor people.

In the great economy of the whole, the terrible aspects of reality (in affects, in desires, in the will to power) are to an incalculable degree more necessary than that form of petty happiness which people call "goodness"; one actually has to be quite lenient to accord the latter any place at all, considering that it presupposes an instinctive mendaciousness. I shall have a major occasion to demonstrate how the historical consequences of optimism, this abortion of the homines optimi [best men], have been uncanny beyond measure. Zarathustra, who was the first to grasp that the optimist is just as decadent as the pessimist, and perhaps more harmful, says: "Good men never speak the truth."
[Thus Spoke Zarathustra, III, 56, 7.]

"False coasts and assurances the good have taught you; in the lies of the good you were hatched and huddled. Everything has been made fraudulent and has been twisted through and through by the good."
[Thus Spoke Zarathustra, III, 56, 28.]

Fortunately, the world has not been designed with a view to such instincts that only good-natured herd animals could find their narrow happiness in it: to demand that all should become "good human beings," herd animals, blue-eyed, benevolent, "beautiful souls"—or as Mr. Herbert Spencer would have it, altruistic—would deprive existence of its great character and would castrate men and reduce them to the level of desiccated Chinese stagnation.— And this has been attempted!Precisely this has been called morality.

In this sense, Zarathustra calls the good, now "the last men,"
[Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Prologue, 5.] now "the beginning of the end"; above all, he considers them the most harmful type of man because they prevail at the expense of truth and at the expense of the future.

"The good are unable to create; they are always the beginning of the end; they crucify him who writes new values on new tablets; they sacrifice the future to themselves—they sacrifice all man's future."

"The good have always been the beginning of the end."

"And whatever harm those do who slander the world, the harm done by the good is the most harmful harm." [Thus Spoke Zarathustra, III, 56, 26.]


Zarathustra, the first psychologist of the good, is—consequently—a friend of the evil. when a decadent type of man ascended to the rank of the highest type, this could only happen at the expense if its countertype, the type of man that is strong and sure of life. When the herd animal is irradiated by the glory of the purest virtue, the exceptional man must have been devaluated into evil. When the mendaciousness at any price monopolizes the word "truth" for its perspective, the really truthful man is bound to be branded with the worst names. Zarathustra leaves no doubt at this point: he says that it was his insight precisely into the good, the "best," that made him shudder at man in general; that it was from this aversion that he grew wings "to soar off into distant futures"; he does not conceal the fact that his type of man, a relatively superhuman type, is superhuman precisely in its relation to the good—that the good and the just would call his overman devil.

"You highest men whom my eyes have seen, this is my doubt about you and my secret laughter: I guess that you would call my overman—devil."

"What is great is so alien to your souls that the overman would be terrifying to you in his goodness." [Thus Spake Zarathustra, II, 43.]

It is here and nowhere else that one must make a start to comprehend what Zarathustra wants: this type of man that he conceives, conceives reality as it is, being strong enough to do so; this type is not estranged or removed from reality but is reality itself and exemplifies all that is terrible and questionable in it—only in that way can man attain greatness.


There is yet another sense, however, in which I have chosen the word immoralist as a symbol and badge of honor for myself; I am proud of having this word which distinguishes me from the whole of humanity. Nobody yet has felt Christian morality to be beneath him: that requires a height, a view of distances, a hitherto altogether unheard-of psychological depth and profundity. Christian morality has been the Circe of all thinkers so far—they stood in her service.— Who before me climbed into the caverns from which the poisonous fumes of this type of ideal—slander of the world—are rising? Who even dared to suspect that they are caverns? Who among philosophers was a psychologist at all before me, and not rather the opposite, a "higher swindler" and "idealist"? There was no psychology at all before me.— To be the first here may be a curse; it is at any rate a destiny: for one is also the first to despise.Nausea at man is my danger.


Have I been understood?— What defines me, what sets me apart from the whole rest of humanity is that I uncovered Christian morality. That is why I needed a word that had the meaning of a provocation for everybody. That they did not open their eyes earlier at this point, I regard as the greatest uncleanliness that humanity has on its conscience; as self-deception become instinctive; as a fundamental will not to see any event, any causality, any reality; as counterfeiting in psychologicis to the point of criminality. Blindness to Christianity is the crime par excellence—the crime against life.

[....] The Christian has so far been the "moral being"—a matchless curiosity—and as the "moral being" he was more absurd, mendacious, vain, frivolous, and more disadvantageous for himself than even the greatest despiser of humanity could imagine in his dreams. Christian morality—the most malignant form of the will to lie, the real Circe of humanity—that which corrupted humanity. It is not error as error that horrifies me at this sight—not the lack, for thousands of years, of "good will," discipline, decency, courage in matters of the spirit, revealed by its victory: it is the lack of nature, it is the utterly gruesome fact that antinature itself received the highest honors as morality and was fixed over humanity as law and categorical imperative.— To blunder to such an extent, not as individuals, not as a people, but as humanity!— That one taught men to despise the very first instincts of life, sexuality, as something unclean; that one looks for the evil principle in what is most profoundly necessary for growth, in severe self-love [Selbstsucht: the word is pejorative, like "selfishness."] (this very word constitutes slander); that, conversely, one regards the typical signs of decline and contradiction of the instincts, the "selfless," the loss of a center of gravity, "depersonalization" and "neighbor love" (addiction to the neighbor) as the higher value—what am I saying?—the absolute value!

What? Is humanity itself decadent? Was it always?— What is certain is that it has been taught only decadence values as supreme values. The morality that would un-self man is the morality of decline par excellence—the fact, "I am declining," transposed into the imperative, "all of you ought to decline"—and not only into the imperative.— This only morality that has been taught so far, that of un-selfing, reveals a will to the end; fundamentally, it negates life.

This would still leave open the possibility that not humanity is degenerating but only that parasitical type of man—that of the priest—which has used morality to raise itself mendaciously to the position of determining human values—finding in Christian morality the means to come to power.— Indeed, this is my insight: the teachers, the leaders of humanity, theologians all of them, were also, all of them, decadents: hence the revaluation of all values into hostility to life, hence morality—

Definition of morality: Morality—the idiosyncrasy of decadents, with the ulterior motive of revenging oneself against life—successfully. I attach value to this definition.


Have I been understood?— I have not said one word here that I did not say five years ago through the mouth of Zarathustra.

The uncovering of Christian morality is an event without parallel, a real catastrophe. He that is enlightened about that, is a force majeure, a destiny—he breaks the history of mankind in two. One lives before him, or one lives after him.

The lightning bolt of truth struck precisely what was the highest so far: let whoever comprehends what has here been destroyed see whether anything is left in his hands, Everything that has hitherto been called "truth" has been recognized as the most harmful, insidious, and subterranean form of lie; the holy pretext of "improving" mankind, as the ruse for sucking the blood of life itself. Morality as vampirism.

Whoever uncovers morality also uncovers the disvalue of all values that are and have been believed; he no longer sees anything venerable in the most venerated types of man, even in those pronounced holy; he considers them the most calamitous type of abortion—calamitous because they exerted such fascination.

The concept of "God" invented as a counterconcept of life—everything harmful, poisonous, slanderous, the whole hostility unto death against life synthesized in this concept in a gruesome unity! The concept of the "beyond," the "true world" invented in order to devaluate the only world there is—in order to retain no goal, no reason, no task for our earthly reality! The concept of the "soul," the "spirit," finally even "immortal soul," invented in order to despise the body, to make it sick, "holy"; to oppose with a ghastly levity everything that deserves to be taken seriously in life, the questions of nourishment, abode, spiritual diet, treatment of the sick, cleanliness, and weather.

In place of health, the "salvation of the soul"—that is, a folie circulaire [manic-depressive insanity] between penitential convulsions and hysteria about redemption. The concept of "sin" invented along with the torture instrument that belongs with it, the concept of "free will," in order to confuse the instincts, to make mistrust of the instincts second nature. In the concept of the "selfless," the "self-denier," the distinctive sign of decadence, feeling attracted by what is harmful, being unable to find any longer what profits one, self-destruction is turned into the sign of value itself, into "duty," into "holiness," into what is "divine" in man. Finally—this is what is most terrible of all—the concept of the good man signifies that one sides with all that is weak, sick, failure, suffering of itself—all that ought to perish: the principle of selection is crossed—an ideal is fabricated from the contradiction against the proud and well-turned-out human being who says Yes, who is sure of the future, who guarantees the future—and he is now called evil.— And all this was believed, as morality!Ecrasez l'infame!—— [Voltaire's motto: "Crush the infamy!"]


Have I been understood?—Dionysus versus the Crucified.