Beyond Good and Evil


Philosophers habitually speak of the will as if it was the best-known thing in the world. Indeed, Schopenhauer let it be known that the will is the only thing really known to us, totally known, understood without anything taken away or added. But still, again and again it seems to me that Schopenhauer, too, in this case has only done what philosophers just do habitually - he's taken over and exaggerated a popular opinion. Willing seems to me, above all, something complicated, something which is unified only in the word - and popular opinion simply inheres in this one word, which has overmastered the always inadequate caution of philosophers. So if we are, for once, more careful, if we are "un-philosophical," then let's say, firstly, that in every act of willing there is, first of all, a multiplicity of feelings, namely, the feeling of the condition away from which, a feeling of the condition towards which, the feeling of this "away" and "towards" themselves, then again, an accompanying muscular feeling which comes into play through some kind of habit, without our putting our "arms and legs" into motion, as soon as we "will." Secondly, just as we acknowledge feelings, indeed many different feelings, as ingredients of willing, so we should also acknowledge thinking. In every act of will there is a commanding thought,- and people should not believe that this thought can be separated from the "will," as if then the will would still be left over! Thirdly, the will is not only a complex of feeling and thinking but, above all, an affect , and, indeed, an affect of the commander. What is called "freedom of the will" is essentially the feeling of superiority with respect to the one who has to obey: "I am free; 'he' must obey"- this awareness inheres in every will, just as much as that tense attentiveness inheres, that direct gaze fixed exclusively on one thing, that unconditional value judgment "Do this now - nothing else needs to be done," that inner certainty about the fact that obedience will take place, and everything else that accompanies the condition of the one issuing commands. A man who wills - gives orders to something in himself which obeys or which he thinks obeys. But now observe what is the strangest thing about willing - about this multifaceted thing for which the people have only a single word: insofar as we are in a given case the one ordering and the one obeying both at the same time and as the one obeying we know the feelings of compulsion, of pushing and pressing, resistance and movement, which habitually start right after the act of will, and insofar as we, by contrast, have the habit of disregarding this duality and deceiving ourselves, thanks to the synthetic idea of "I," a whole series of mistaken conclusions and, consequently, false evaluations of the will have attached themselves to the act of willing, in such a way that the person doing the willing believes in good faith that willing is sufficient for action. Because in the vast majority of cases a person only wills something where he may expect his command to take effect in obedience and thus in action, what is apparent has translated itself into a feeling, as if there might be some necessary effect. In short, the one who is doing the willing believes, with a reasonable degree of certainty, that will and action are somehow one thing - he ascribes his success, the carrying out of the will, to the will itself and, in the process, enjoys an increase in that feeling of power which all success brings with it. "Freedom of the will"- that's the word for that multifaceted condition of enjoyment in the person willing, who commands and at the same identifies himself with what is carrying out the order. As such, he enjoys the triumph over things which resist him, but in himself is of the opinion that it is his will by itself which really overcomes this resistance. The person doing the willing thus acquires the joyful feelings of the successful implements carrying out the order, the serviceable "under-wills" or under-souls - our body is, in fact, merely a social construct of many souls - in addition to his joyful feeling as the one who commands. L'effet c'est moi [the effect is I] . What happens here is what happens in every well-constructed and happy commonality - the ruling class identifies itself with the successes of the community. All willing is simply a matter of giving orders and obeying, on the basis, as mentioned, of a social construct of many "souls": for this reason a philosopher should arrogate to himself the right to include willing as such within the field of morality: morality, that is, understood as a doctrine of the power relationships under which the phenomenon "living" arises.

Friedrich NietzscheBeyond Good and Evil: Part I - Aphorism #1945713 years ago 


That individual philosophical ideas are not something spontaneous, not things which grow out of themselves, but develop connected to and in relationship with each other, so that, no matter how suddenly and arbitrarily they may appear to emerge in the history of thinking, they nevertheless belong to a system just as much as do the collective members of the fauna of a continent, that point finally reveals itself by the way in which the most diverse philosophers keep filling out again and again a certain ground plan of possible philosophies. Under an invisible spell they always run around the same orbit all over again: they may feel they are still so independent of each other with their critical or systematic wills, but something or other inside leads them, something or other drives them in a particular order one after the other, that very inborn taxonomy and relationship of ideas. Their thinking is, in fact, much less a discovery than a recognition, a remembering again, a journey back home into a distant primordial collective household of the soul, out of which those ideas formerly grew. To practise philosophy is to this extent a form of atavism of the highest order. The strange family similarity of all Indian, Greek, and German ways of practising philosophy can be explained easily enough. It's precisely where a relationship between languages is present that we cannot avoid the fact that, thanks to the common philosophy of grammar - I mean thanks to the unconscious mastery and guidance exercised by the same grammatical functions - everything has been prepared from the beginning for a similar development and order of philosophical systems, just as the road to certain other possibilities of interpreting the world seems sealed off. There will be a greater probability that philosophers from the region of the Ural-Altaic language (in which the idea of the subject is most poorly developed) will look differently "into the world" and will be found on other pathways than Indo-Germans or Muslims: the spell of particular grammatical functions is, in the final analysis, the spell of physiological judgments of value and racial conditions.- So much for the repudiation of Locke's superficiality in connection with the origin of ideas.13

13.. . . Locke : John Locke (1632-1704), a very influential English philosopher, proposed that the mind at birth was a blank slate, without innate ideas.
Friedrich NietzscheBeyond Good and Evil: Part I - Aphorism #2024013 years ago 


The causa sui [something being its own cause] is the best self-contradiction which has been thought up so far, a kind of logical rape and perversity. But the excessive pride of human beings has worked to entangle itself deeply and terribly with this very nonsense. The demand for "freedom of the will," in that superlative metaphysical sense, as it unfortunately still rules in the heads of the half-educated, the demand to bear the entire final responsibility for one's actions oneself and to relieve God, the world, ancestors, chance, and society of responsibility for it, is naturally nothing less than this very causa sui and an attempt to pull oneself into existence out of the swamp of nothingness by the hair, with more audacity than Munchhausen.14 Suppose someone in this way gets behind the boorish simplicity of this famous idea of the "free will" and erases it from his head, then I would invite him now to push his "enlightenment" still one step further and erase also the inverse of this incomprehensible idea of "free will" from his head: I refer to the "unfree will," which leads to an abuse of cause and effect. People should not mistakenly reify "cause" and "effect" the way those investigating nature do (and people like them who nowadays naturalize their thinking -), in accordance with the ruling mechanistic foolishness which allows causes to push and shove until they "have an effect." People should use "cause" and "effect" merely as pure ideas, that is, as conventional fictions to indicate and communicate,not as an explanation. In the "in itself" there is no "causal connection," no "necessity," no "psychological unfreedom," no "effect following from the cause"; no "law" holds sway. We are the ones who have, on our own, made up causes, causal sequences, for-one-another, relativity, compulsion, number, law, freedom, reason, and purpose, and when we fabricate this world of signs inside things as something "in itself," when we stir it into things, then we're once again acting as we have always done, namely, mythologically. The "unfree will" is a myth: in real life it's merely a matter of strong and weak wills.- It is almost always already a symptom of something lacking in a thinker himself when he senses in all "causal connections" and "psychological necessity" some purpose, necessity, inevitable consequence, pressure, and unfreedom. That very feeling is a telltale give away - the person is betraying himself. And if I have seen things correctly, the "unfreedom of the will" has generally been seen as a problem from two totally contrasting points of view, but always in a deeply personal way: some people are not willing at any price to let go of their "responsibility," their belief in themselves, their personal right to their credit (the vain races belong to this group -); the others want the reverse: they don't wish to be responsible for or guilty of anything, and demand, out of an inner self-contempt, that they can shift blame for themselves somewhere else. People in this second group, when they write books, are in the habit nowadays of taking up the cause of criminals; a sort of socialist pity is their most attractive disguise. And in fact, the fatalism of those with weak wills brightens up amazingly when it learns how to present itself as "la religion de la souffrance humaine" [the religion of human suffering] - that's its "good taste."

14. . . . Munchhausen : the hero of a book of tall tales.
Friedrich NietzscheBeyond Good and Evil: Part I - Aphorism #2133213 years ago 


People should forgive me, as an old philologist who cannot prevent himself from maliciously setting his finger on the arts of bad interpretation - but that "conformity to nature" which you physicists talk about so proudly, as if - it exists only thanks to your interpretation and bad "philology"- it is not a matter of fact, a "text." It is much more only a naively humanitarian emendation and distortion of meaning, with which you make concessions ad nauseam to the democratic instincts of the modern soul! "Equality before the law everywhere - in that respect nature is no different and no better than we are": a charming ulterior motive, in which once again lies disguised the rabble's hostility to everything privileged and autocratic, as well as a second and more sophisticated atheism. Ni dieu, ni maƮtre [neither god nor master] - that's how you want it, and therefore "Up with natural law!" Isn't that so? But, as mentioned, that is interpretation, not text, and someone could come along who had an opposite intention and style of interpretation and who would know how to read out of this same nature, with a look at the same phenomena, the tyrannically inconsiderate and inexorable enforcement of power claims - an interpreter who set right before your eyes the unexceptional and unconditional nature in all "will to power," in such a way that almost every word, even that word "tyranny," would finally appear unusable or an already weakening metaphor losing its force - as too human - and who nonetheless in the process finished up asserting the same thing about this world as you claim, namely, that it has a "necessary" and "calculable" course, but not because laws rule the world but because there is a total absence of laws, and every power draws its final consequence in every moment. Supposing that this also is only an interpretation - and you will be eager enough to raise that objection?- well, so much the better.

Friedrich NietzscheBeyond Good and Evil: Part I - Aphorism #2232713 years ago 


All psychology so far has remained hung up on moral prejudices and fears. It has not dared to go into the depths. To understand it as the morphology and doctrine of the development of the will to power - the way I understand it - no one in his own thinking has even touched on that, insofar, that is, as one is permitted to recognize in what has been written up to now a symptom of what people so far have kept silent about. The power of moral prejudices has driven deep into the most spiritual, the most apparently cool world, the one with the fewest assumptions, and, as is self-evident, damages, limits, blinds, and distorts that world. A true physical psychology has to fight against an unconscious resistance in the heart of the researcher. It has "the heart" against it. Even a doctrine of the mutual interdependence of the "good" and the "bad" drives creates, as a more refined immorality, distress and weariness in a still powerful and hearty conscience - even more so a doctrine of how all the good drives are derived from the bad ones. But assuming that someone takes the affects of hate, envy, greed, and ruling as the affects which determine life, as something that, in the whole household of life, have to be present fundamentally and essentially, and, as a result, still have to be intensified if life is still to be further intensified - he suffers from an orientation in his judgment as if he were seasick. Nevertheless, even this hypothesis is not nearly the most awkward or the strangest in this immense and still almost new realm of dangerous discoveries;- and, in fact, there are a hundred good reasons that everyone should stay away from it, anyone who can! On the other hand, if someone aboard ship ends up here at some point - well, then! Come on! Now's the time to keep one's teeth tightly clenched, the eyes open, and the hand firm on the tiller!- We're moving directly over and away from morality, and in the process we're overwhelming, perhaps smashing apart, what's left of our morality, as we dare make our way there - but what does that matter to us! Never before has a more profound world of insights revealed itself to daring travellers and adventurers: and the psychologist who in this manner "makes a sacrifice"- it is not the sacrifizio dell'intelletto [sacrifice of the intellect], quite the opposite - will for that reason at least be permitted to demand that psychology is recognized again as the mistress of the sciences, with the other sciences there to prepare things in her service. For from now on psychology is once more the route to fundamental problems.

Friedrich NietzscheBeyond Good and Evil: Part I - Aphorism #2332513 years ago