The Gay Science


Two Kinds of Causes which are Confounded. It seems to me one of my most essential steps and advances that I have learned to distinguish the cause of an action generally from the cause of an action in a particular manner, say, in this direction, with this aim. The first kind of cause is a quantum of stored-up force, which waits to be used in some manner, for some purpose; the second kind of cause, on the contrary, is something quite unimportant in comparison with the first, an insignificant hazard for the most part, in conformity with which the quantum of force in question "discharges" itself in some unique and definite manner: the lucifer-match in relation to the barrel of gunpowder. Among those insignificant hazards and lucifer-matches I count all the so-called "aims," and similarly the still more so-called "occupations" of people: they are relatively optional, arbitrary, and almost indifferent in relation to the immense quantum of force which presses on, as we have said, to be used up in any way whatever. One generally looks at the matter in a different manner: one is accustomed to see the impelling force precisely in the aim (object, calling, etc.), according to a primeval error, - but it is only the directing force; the steersman and the stream have thereby been confounded. And yet it is not even always a steersman, the directing force.... Is the "aim," the "purpose," not often enough only an extenuating pretext, an additional self-blinding of conceit, which does not wish it to be said that the ship follows the stream into which it has accidentally run? That it "wishes" to go that way, because it must go that way? That it has a direction, sure enough, but not a steersman? We still require a criticism of the conception of "purpose."

Friedrich NietzscheThe Gay Science: Book V - Aphorism #36010067 years, 3 months ago 


The Problem of the Actor. The problem of the actor has disquieted me the longest; I was uncertain (and am sometimes so still) whether one could not get at the dangerous conception of "artist" - a conception hitherto treated with unpardonable leniency - from this point of view. Falsity with a good conscience; delight in dissimulation breaking forth as power, pushing aside, overflowing, and sometimes extinguishing the so-called "character"; the inner longing to play a role, to assume a mask, to put on an appearance; a surplus of capacity for adaptations of every kind, which can no longer gratify themselves in the service of the nearest and narrowest utility: all that perhaps does not pertain solely to the actor in himself?... Such an instinct would develop most readily in families of the lower class of the people, who have had to pass their lives in absolute dependence, under shifting pressure and constraint, who (to accommodate themselves to their conditions, to adapt themselves always to new circumstances) had again and again to pass themselves off and represent themselves as different persons, - thus having gradually qualified themselves to adjust the mantle to every wind, thereby almost becoming the mantle itself, as masters of the embodied and incarnated art of eternally playing the game of hide and seek, which one calls mimicry among the animals: - until at last this ability, stored up from generation to generation, has become domineering, irrational and intractable, till as instinct it begins to command the other instincts, and begets the actor and "artist" (the buffoon, the pantaloon, the Jack-Pudding, the fool, and the clown in the first place, also the classical type of servant, Gil Bias: for in such types one has the precursors of the artist, and often enough even of the "genius"). Also under higher social conditions there grows under similar pressure a similar species of men: only the histrionic instinct is there for the most part held strictly in check by another instinct, for example, among "diplomatists"; - for the rest, I should think that it would always be open to a good diplomatist to become a good actor on the stage, provided his dignity "allowed" it. As regards the Jews, however, the adaptable people par excellence, we should, in conformity to this line of thought, expect to see among them a world-wide historical institution at the very first, for the rearing of actors, a proper breeding-place for actors; and in fact the question is very pertinent just now: what good actor at present is not a Jew? The Jew also, as a born literary man, as the actual ruler of the European press, exercises this power on the basis of his histrionic capacity: for the literary man is essentially an actor, - he plays the part of "expert," of "specialist." Finally women. If we consider the whole history of women, are they not obliged first of all, and above all to be actresses? If we listen to doctors who have hypnotised women, or, finally, if we love them - and let ourselves be "hypnotised" by them, - what is always divulged thereby? That they "give themselves airs," even when they "give themselves."... Woman is so artistic...

Friedrich NietzscheThe Gay Science: Book V - Aphorism #36133347 years, 3 months ago 


My Belief in the Virilising of Europe. We owe it to Napoleon (and not at all to the French Revolution, which had in view the "fraternity" of the nations, and the florid interchange of good graces among people generally) that several warlike centuries, which have not had their like in past history, may now follow one another - in short, that we have entered upon the classical age of war, war at the same time scientific and popular, on the grandest scale (as regards means, talents and discipline), to which all coming millenniums will look back with envy and awe as a work of perfection: - for the national movement out of which this martial glory springs, is only the counter-shock against Napoleon, and would not have existed without him. To him, consequently, one will one day be able to attribute the fact that man in Europe has again got the upper hand of the merchant and the Philistine; perhaps even of "woman" also, who has become pampered owing to Christianity and the extravagant spirit of the eighteenth century, and still more owing to "modern ideas." Napoleon, who saw in modern ideas, and accordingly in civilisation, something like a personal enemy, has by this hostility proved himself one of the greatest continuators of the Renaissance: he has brought to the surface a whole block of the ancient character, the decisive block perhaps, the block of granite. And who knows but that this block of ancient character will in the end get the upper hand of the national movement, and will have to make itself in a positive sense the heir and continuator of Napoleon: - who, as one knows, wanted one Europe, which was to be mistress of the world.

Friedrich NietzscheThe Gay Science: Book V - Aphorism #3628247 years, 3 months ago 


How each Sex has its Prejudice about Love. Notwithstanding all the concessions which I am inclined to make to the monogamic prejudice, I will never admit that we should speak of equal rights in the love of man and woman: there are no such equal rights. The reason is that man and woman understand something different by the term love, - and it belongs to the conditions of love in both sexes that the one sex does not presuppose the same feeling, the same conception of "love," in the other sex. What woman understands by love is clear enough: complete surrender (not merely devotion) of soul and body, without any motive, without any reservation, rather with shame and terror at the thought of a devotion restricted by clauses or associated with conditions. In this absence of conditions her love is precisely a faith: woman has no other. - Man, when he loves a woman, wants precisely this love from her; he is consequently, as regards himself, furthest removed from the prerequisites of feminine love; granted, however, that there should also be men to whom on their side the demand for complete devotion is not unfamiliar, well, they are really - not men. A man who loves like a woman becomes thereby a slave; a woman, however, who loves like a woman becomes thereby a more perfect woman.... The passion of woman in its unconditional renunciation of its own rights presupposes in fact that there does not exist on the other side an equal pathos, an equal desire for renunciation: for if both renounced themselves out of love, there would result - well, I don't know what, perhaps a horror vacui? Woman wants to be taken and accepted as a possession, she wishes to be merged in the conceptions of "possession" and "possessed"; consequently she wants one who takes, who does not offer and give himself away, but who reversely is rather to be made richer in "himself" - by the increase of power, happiness and faith which the woman herself gives to him. Woman gives herself, man takes her. - I do not think one will get over this natural contrast by any social contract, or with the very best will to do justice, however desirable it may be to avoid bringing the severe, frightful, enigmatical, and unmoral elements of this antagonism constantly before our eyes. For love, regarded as complete, great, and full, is nature, and as nature, is to all eternity something "unmoral." - Fidelity is accordingly included in woman’s love, it follows from the definition thereof; with man fidelity may readily result in consequence of his love, perhaps as gratitude or idiosyncrasy of taste, and so-called elective affinity, but it does not belong to the essence of his love - and indeed so little, that one might almost be entitled to speak of a natural opposition between love and fidelity in man, whose love is just a desire to possess, and not a renunciation and giving away; the desire to possess, however, comes to an end every time with the possession.... As a matter of fact it is the more subtle and jealous thirst for possession in a man (who is rarely and tardily convinced of having this "possession"), which makes his love continue; in that case it is even possible that his love may increase after the surrender, - he does not readily own that a woman has nothing more to "surrender" to him.

Friedrich NietzscheThe Gay Science: Book V - Aphorism #36313797 years, 3 months ago 


The Anchorite Speaks. The art of associating with men rests essentially on one’s skilfulness (which presupposes long exercise) in accepting a repast, in taking a repast, in the cuisine of which one has no confidence. Provided one comes to the table with the hunger of a wolf everything is easy ("the worst society gives you experience" as Mephistopheles says); but one has not always this wolfs-hunger when one needs it! Alas! how difficult are our fellow-men to digest! First principle: to stake one’s courage as in a misfortune, to seize boldly, to admire oneself at the same time, to take one’s repugnance between one’s teeth, to cram down one’s disgust. Second principle: to "improve" one’s fellow-man, by praise for example, so that he may begin to sweat out his self-complacency; or to seize a tuft of his good or "interesting" qualities, and pull at it till one gets his whole virtue out, and can put him under the folds of it. Third principle: self-hypnotism. To fix one’s eye on the object of one’s intercourse as on a glass knob, until, ceasing to feel pleasure or pain thereat, one falls asleep unobserved, becomes rigid, and acquires a fixed pose - a household recipe used in married life and in friendship, well tested and prized as indispensable, but not yet scientifically formulated. Its proper name is - patience.

Friedrich NietzscheThe Gay Science: Book V - Aphorism #3648917 years, 3 months ago