Beyond Good and Evil


Do you want to live "according to nature"? O you noble Stoics, what a verbal swindle! Imagine a being like nature - extravagant without limit, indifferent without limit, without purposes and consideration, without pity and justice, simultaneously fruitful, desolate, and unknown - imagine this indifference itself as a power - how could you live in accordance with this indifference?8 Living - isn't that precisely a will to be something different from what this nature is? Isn't living appraising, preferring, being unjust, being limited, wanting to be different? And if your imperative "live according to nature" basically means what amounts to "live according to life"- why can you not just do that? Why make a principle out of what you yourselves are and must be? The truth of the matter is quite different: while you pretend to be in raptures as you read the canon of your law out of nature, you want something which is the reverse of this, you weird actors and self-deceivers! Your pride wants to prescribe to and incorporate into nature, this very nature, your morality, your ideal. You demand that nature be "in accordance with the stoa ," and you'd like to make all existence merely living in accordance with your own image of it - as a huge and eternal glorification and universalizing of stoicism! With all your love of truth, you have forced yourselves for such a long time and with such persistence and hypnotic rigidity to look at nature falsely, that is, stoically, until you're no long capable of seeing nature as anything else - and some abysmal arrogance finally inspires you with the lunatic hope that, because you know how to tyrannize over yourselves - Stoicism is self-tyranny - nature also allows herself to be tyrannized. Is the Stoic then not a part of nature?.... But this is an ancient eternal story: what happened then with the Stoics is still happening today, as soon as a philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates a world in its own image. It cannot do anything different. Philosophy is this tyrannical drive itself, the spiritual will to power, to a "creation of the world," to the causa prima [first cause].

8. . . . you noble Stoics : The Stoics were a Greek philosophical school teaching patient endurance and repression of the emotions.
Friedrich NietzscheBeyond Good and Evil: Part I - Aphorism #917096 years ago 


The enthusiasm and the delicacy - I might even say the cunning - with which people everywhere in Europe today go at the problem "of the true and the apparent world" make one think and listen - and whoever hears only a "will to truth" in the background and nothing else certainly doesn't enjoy the keenest hearing. In single rare cases such a will to truth, some extravagant and adventurous spirit, a metaphysical ambition to hold an isolated post, may really be involved, something which in the end still prefers a handful of "certainty" to an entire wagon full of beautiful possibilities. There may even be Puritan fanatics of conscience who still prefer to lie down and die on a certain nothing than on an uncertain something. But this is nihilism and the indication of a puzzled, deathly tired soul, no matter how brave the gestures of such virtue may look. But among stronger thinkers, more full of life, still thirsty for life, it appears to be something different. When they take issue with appearances and already in their arrogance mention the word "perspective," when they determine that the credibility of their own bodies is about as low as they rank the credibility of appearances which asserts that "the earth stands still," and, as result, in an apparently good mood, let go of their surest possession (for nowadays what do we think is more secure than our bodies?), who knows whether they don't, at bottom, want to win back something which people previously possessed with even more certainty , something or other of the old ownership of an earlier faith, perhaps "the immortal soul," perhaps "the old god," in short, ideas according to which life could be lived better, that is, more powerfully and more cheerfully than according to "modern ideas"? It's a mistrust of these modern ideas; it's a lack of faith in everything which has been built up yesterday and today; it's perhaps a slight mixture of excess and scorn, which can no longer tolerate the bric-á-brac of ideas coming from different places, of the sort so-called positivism brings to market these days, a disgust of the discriminating taste with the fairground colourful patchiness of all these pseudo-philosophers of reality, in whom there is nothing new or genuine, other than these motley colours. In my view, we should, in these matters, side with today's sceptical anti-realists and microscopists of knowledge: their instinct, which forces them away from modern reality, is irrefutable - what do we care about their retrogressive secret paths! The fundamental issue with them is not that they want to go "back," but that they want to go away .With some more power, flight, courage, and artistry they'd want to move up - and not backwards.

Friedrich NietzscheBeyond Good and Evil: Part I - Aphorism #1010076 years ago 


It strikes me that nowadays people everywhere are trying to direct their gaze away from the real influence which Kant exercised on German philosophy, that is, cleverly to slip away from the value which he ascribed to himself. Above everything else, Kant was first and foremost proud of his table of categories. With this table in hand, he said, "That is the most difficult thing that ever could be undertaken on behalf of metaphysics."- But people should understand this "could be"! He was proud of the fact that he had discovered a new faculty in human beings, the ability to make synthetic judgments a priori. Suppose that he deceived himself here. But the development and quick blood of German philosophy depend on this pride and on the competition among all his followers to discover, if possible, something even prouder - at all events "new faculties"! But let's think this over. It's time we did. "How are synthetic judgments a priori possible?" Kant asked himself. And what did his answer essentially amount to? Thanks to a faculty [Vermöge eines Vermögens]. However, unfortunately he did not answer in three words, but so labouriously, venerably, and with such an expenditure of German profundity and flourishes that people failed to hear the comical niaiserie allemande [German stupidity] inherent in such an answer. People even got really excited about this new faculty, and the rejoicing reached its height when Kant discovered yet another additional faculty - a moral faculty - in human beings, for then the Germans were still moral and not yet at all "political realists." Then came the honeymoon of German philosophy. All the young theologians of the Tubingen seminary went off right away into the bushes - all looking for "faculties." And what didn't they find - in that innocent, rich, still youthful time of the German spirit, in which Romanticism, that malicious fairy, played her pipes and sang, a time when people did not yet know how to distinguish between "finding" and "inventing"! Above all, a faculty for the "super-sensory." Schelling christened this intellectual contemplation and, in so doing, complied with the most heartfelt yearnings of his Germans, whose cravings were basically pious.9 - The most unfair thing we can do to this entire rapturously enthusiastic movement, which was adolescent, no matter how much it boldly dressed itself up in gray and antique ideas, is to take it seriously and treat it with something like moral indignation. Enough - people grew older - the dream flew away. There came a time when people rubbed their foreheads. People are still rubbing them today. They had dreamed: first and foremost - the old Kant. "By means of a faculty," he had said, or at least meant. But is that an answer? An explanation? Or is it not rather a repetition of the question? How does opium make people sleep? "By means of a faculty," namely, the virtus dormitiva [sleeping virtue], answered that doctor in Moliere.

Because it has the sleeping virtue

whose nature makes the senses sleep.10

But answers like that belong in comedy, and the time has finally come to replace the Kantian question "How are synthetic judgments a priori possible?" with another question, "Why is the belief in such judgments necessary?"- that is, to understand that for the purposes of preserving beings of our type we must believe that such judgments are true, although, of course, they could still be false judgments! Or to speak more clearly, crudely, and fundamentally: synthetic judgments a priori should not "be possible" at all: we have no right to them. In our mouths they are nothing but false judgments. Of course, it's true that a belief in their truth is necessary as a foreground belief and appearance which belong in the perspective optics of living. In order finally to recall the immense influence which "German philosophy"- you understand, I hope, its right to quotation marks?- has exercised throughout Europe, there should be no doubt that a certain virtus dormitiva [virtue of making people sleep] was a part of that: people - among them noble loafers, the virtuous, the mystics, artists, three-quarter Christians, and political obscurantists of all nations - were delighted to have, thanks to German philosophy, an antidote to the still overpowering sensuality which flowed over from the previous century into this one, in short - to have a "sensus assoupire " [way of putting the senses to sleep].

9. . . . Schelling : Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775-1854), a German philosopher.

10. . . . the senses sleep : Nietzsche quotes the Latin: "Quia est in eo virtus dormitiva/ Cujus est natura sensus assoupire."

Friedrich NietzscheBeyond Good and Evil: Part I - Aphorism #1115676 years ago 


So far as the materialistic atomism is concerned, it belongs with the most effectively refuted things we have, and perhaps nowadays in Europe no scholar remains so unscholarly that he still ascribes a serious meaning to it other than for convenient hand-and-household use (that is, as an abbreviated way of expressing oneself) - thanks primarily to that Pole Boscovich, who, together with the Pole Copernicus, has so far been the greatest and most victorious opponent of appearances. For while Copernicus convinced us to believe, contrary to all our senses, that the earth did not stand still, Boscovich taught us to renounce the belief in the final thing which made the earth "stand firm,"the belief in "stuff," in "material," in what was left of the earth, in atomic particles. It was the greatest triumph over the senses which has ever been achieved on earth so far.11 But we must go even further and also declare war, a relentless war to the bitter end, against the "atomistic need," which still carries on a dangerous afterlife in places where no one suspects, like that celebrated "metaphysical need."- We must at the start also get rid of that other and more disastrous atomism, which Christianity has taught best and longest, the atomism of the soul. With this phrase let me be permitted to designate the belief which assumes that the soul is something indestructible, eternal, indivisible - like a monad, like an atomon . We should rid scientific knowledge of this belief! Just between us, it is not at all necessary to get rid of "the soul" itself and to renounce one of the oldest and most venerable hypotheses, as habitually happens with the clumsiness of the naturalists, who hardly touch upon "the soul" without losing it. But the way to new versions and refinements of the hypothesis of the soul stands open: and ideas like "mortal soul"' and "soul as the multiplicity of the subject" and "soul as the social structure of drives and affects" from now on want to have civil rights in scientific knowledge. While the new psychologist is preparing an end to superstition, which so far has flourished with an almost tropical lushness in the way the soul has been imagined, at the same time he has naturally pushed himself, as it were, into a new desert and a new mistrust - it may be the case that the older psychologists had a more comfortable and happier time -; finally, however, he knows that in that very process he himself is condemned also to invent , and - who knows?- perhaps to discover .

11. . . . Boscovich : Roger Boscovich (1711-1787), a Jesuit philosopher and an important scientific thinker, denied material substance to atoms. His ethnic identity is contested. Copernicus: Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), Polish monk and astronomer, offered a scientific theory for a sun-centred solar system.

Friedrich NietzscheBeyond Good and Evil: Part I - Aphorism #1210896 years ago 


Physiologists should think carefully about setting up the drive to preserve the self as the cardinal drive in an organic being. Above everything else, something living wants to release its power - living itself is will to power. Self-preservation is only one of the indirect and most frequent consequences of that. In short, here as everywhere, beware of extraneous teleological principles! The drive for self-preservation is one such principle (we have Spinoza's inconsistency to thank for it -). For the essential principle of economy must hold - that's what method demands.

Friedrich NietzscheBeyond Good and Evil: Part I - Aphorism #138116 years ago