Daybreak

21

'Observance of the law'.  If obedience to a moral precept produces a result different from the one promised and expected, and instead of the promised good fortune the moral man unexpectedly encounters ill fortune and misery, the conscientious and fearful Will always be able to recourse to saying: 'something was overlooked in the way it was performed'. In the worst event, a profoundly sorrowful and crushed mankind will even decree: 'it is impossible to perform the precept properly, we are weak and sinful through and through and in the depths of us incapable of morality, consequently we can lay no claim to success and good fortune. Moral precepts and promises are for better beings than we are.'

Friedrich NietzscheDaybreak: Book I - Aphorism #2170810 years, 7 months ago 

22

Works and faith.  Protestant teachers continue to propagate the fundamental error that all that matters is faith15, and that out of faith works must necessarily proceed. This is simply not true: but it has so seductive a sound it has confused other intelligences than Luther's (namely those of Socrates and Plato): even though the evidence of every experience of every day speaks against it. The most confident knowledge or faith cannot provide the strength or the ability needed for a deed, it cannot replace the employment of that subtle, manyfaceted mechanism which must first be set in motion if anything at all of an idea is to translate itself into action. Works, first and foremost! That is to say, doing, doing, doing! The 'faith' that goes with it will soon put in an appearance  you can be sure of that!

15. Protestant doctrine of faith: refers to one of the chief characteristics of all denominations of Protestantism: that justification before God comes by faith alone. Protestants hold that salvation is a gift, and since God has "acquitted" his creation, no one can "earn" it. God, on this view, has merely decided to bestow his grace.
Friedrich NietzscheDaybreak: Book I - Aphorism #2268610 years, 7 months ago 

23

What we are most subtle in.  Because for many thousands of years it was thought that things (nature, tools, property of all kinds) were also alive and animate, with the power to cause harm and to evade human purposes, the feeling of impotence has been much greater and much more common among men than it would otherwise have been: for one needed to secure oneself against things, just as against men and animals, by force, constraint, flattering, treaties, sacrifices  and here is the origin of most superstitious practices, that is to say, of a considerable, perhaps preponderant and yet wasted and useless constituent of all the activity hitherto pursued by man!  But because the feeling of impotence and fear was in a state of almost continuous stimulation so strongly and for so long, the feeling of power has evolved to such a degree of subtlety that in this respect man is now a match for the most delicate gold-balance. It has become his strongest propensity; the means discovered for creating this feeling almost constitute the history of culture.

Friedrich NietzscheDaybreak: Book I - Aphorism #2370710 years, 7 months ago 

24

The proof of a prescription.  In general, the validity or invalidity of a prescription  a prescription for baking bread, for example  is demonstrated by whether or not the result it promises is achieved, always presupposing it is carried out correctly. It is otherwise now with moral prescriptions: for here the results are either invisible or indistinct. These prescriptions rest on hypotheses of the smallest possible scientific value which can be neither demonstrated nor refuted from their results:  but formerly, when the sciences were at their rude beginnings and very little was required for a thing to be regarded as demonstrated  formerly, the validity or invalidity of a prescription of morality was determined in the same way as we now determine that of any other prescription: by indicating whether or not it has succeeded in doing what it promised. If the natives of Russian America have the prescription: you shall not throw an animal bone into the fire or give it to the dogs  its validity is demonstrated with: 'if you do so you will have no luck in hunting'. But one has almost always in some sense 'no luck in hunting'; it is not easy to refute the validity of the prescription in this direction, especially when a community and not an individual is regarded as suffering the punishment; some circumstance will always appear which seems to confirm the prescription.

Friedrich NietzscheDaybreak: Book I - Aphorism #2470710 years, 7 months ago 

25

Custom and beauty.  Among the things that can be said in favour of custom is this: when someone subjects himself to it completely, from the very heart and from his earliest years on, his organs of attack and defence  both bodily and spiritual  degenerate: that is to say, he grows increasingly beautiful! For it is the exercise of these organs and the disposition that goes with this exercise which keeps one ugly and makes one uglier. That is why the old baboon is uglier than the young one, and why the young female baboon most closely resembles man: is the most beautiful baboon, that is to say.  One could from this draw a conclusion as to the origin of the beauty of women!

Friedrich NietzscheDaybreak: Book I - Aphorism #2568610 years, 7 months ago