Daybreak

26

Animals and morality.  The practices demanded in polite society: careful avoidance of the ridiculous, the offensive, the presumptuous, the suppression of one's virtues as well as of one's strongest inclinations, self-adaptation, self-deprecation, submission to orders of rank  all this is to be found as social morality in a crude form everywhere, even in the depths of the animal world  and only at this depth do we see the purpose of all these amiable precautions: one wishes to elude one's pursuers and be favoured in the pursuit of one's prey. For this reason the animals learn to master themselves and alter their form, so that many, for example, adapt their colouring to the colouring of their surroundings (by virtue of the socalled 'chromatic function'), pretend to be dead or assume the forms and colours of another animal or of sand, leaves, lichen, fungus (what English researchers designate 'mimicry'). Thus the individual hides himself in the general concept 'man', or in society, or adapts himself to princes, classes, parties, opinions of his time and place: and all the subtle ways we have of appearing fortunate, grateful, powerful, enamoured have their easily discoverable parallels in the animal world. Even the sense for truth, which is really the sense for security, man has in common with the animals: one does not want to let oneself be deceived, does not want to mislead oneself, one hearkens mistrustfully to the promptings of one's own passions, one constrains oneself and lies in wait for oneself; the animal understands all this just as man does, with it too self-control springs from the sense for what is real (from prudence). It likewise assesses the effect it produces upon the perceptions of other animals and from this learns to look back upon itself, to take itself 'objectively', it too has its degree of self-knowledge. The animal assesses the movements of its friends and foes, it learns their peculiarities by heart, it prepares itself for them: it renounces war once and for all against individuals of a certain species, and can likewise divine from the way they approach that certain kinds of animals have peaceful and conciliatory intentions. The beginnings of justice, as of prudence, moderation, bravery  in short, of all we designate as the Socratic virtues, are animal: a consequence of that drive which teaches us to seek food and elude enemies. Now if we consider that even the highest human being has only become more elevated and subtle in the nature of his food and in his conception of what is inimical to him, it is not improper to describe the entire phenomenon of morality as animal.

Friedrich NietzscheDaybreak: Book I - Aphorism #2678711 years, 7 months ago 

27

The value of belief in suprahuman passions.  The institution of marriage obstinately maintains the belief that love, though a passion, is yet capable of endurance; indeed, that enduring, lifelong love can be established as the rule. Through tenaciously adhering to a noble belief, despite the fact that it is very often and almost as a general rule refuted and thus constitutes a pia fraus16, marriage has bestowed upon love a higher nobility. All institutions which accord to a passion belief in its endurance and responsibility for its endurance, contrary to the nature of passion, have raised it to a new rank: and thereafter he who is assailed by such a passion no longer believes himself debased or endangered by it, as he formerly did, but enhanced in his own eyes and those of his equals. Think of institutions and customs which have created out of the fiery abandonment of the moment perpetual fidelity, out of the enjoyment of anger perpetual vengeance, out of despair perpetual mourning, out of a single and unpremeditated word perpetual obligation. This transformation has each time introduced a very great deal of hypocrisy and lying into the world: but each time too, and at this cost, it has introduced a new suprahuman concept which elevates mankind.

16. pia fraus: "a pious (noble) lie": a deception practiced from the holiest of motives.
Friedrich NietzscheDaybreak: Book I - Aphorism #2766911 years, 7 months ago 

28

Mood as argument.  'What is the cause of a cheerful resolution for action?'  mankind has been much exercised by this question. The oldest and still the most common answer is: 'God is the cause; it is his way of telling us he approves of our intention.' When in former times one consulted the oracle over something one proposed to do, what one wanted from it was this feeling of cheerful resolution; and anyone who stood in doubt before several possible courses of action advised himself thus: 'I shall do that which engenders this feeling.' One thus decided, not for the most reasonable course, but for that course the image of which inspired the soul with hope and courage. The good mood was placed on the scales as an argument and outweighed rationality: it did so because it was interpreted superstitiously as the effect of a god who promises success and who in this manner gives expression to his reason as the highest rationality. Now consider the consequences of such a prejudice when clever and power-hungry men availed themselves  and continue to avail themselves  of it! 'Create a mood!'  one will then require no reasons, and conquer all objections!

Friedrich NietzscheDaybreak: Book I - Aphorism #2867011 years, 7 months ago 

29

The actors of virtue and sin.  Among the men of antiquity famed for their virtue there were, it appears, a countless number who play-acted before themselves: the Greeks especially, as actors incarnate, will have done this quite involuntarily and have approved it. Everyone, moreover, was with his virtue in competition with the virtue of another or of all others: how should one not have employed every kind of art to bring one's virtue to public attention, above all before oneself, even if only for the sake of practice! Of what use was a virtue one could not exhibit or which did not know how to exhibit itself!  Christianity put paid to these actors of virtue: in their place it invented the repellent flaunting of sin, it introduced into the world sinfulness one has lyingly made up (to this very day it counts as 'good form' among good Christians).

Friedrich NietzscheDaybreak: Book I - Aphorism #2969711 years, 7 months ago 

30

Refined cruelty as virtue.  Here is a morality which rests entirely on the drive to distinction  do not think too highly of it! For what kind of a drive is that and what thought lies behind it? We want to make the sight of us painful to another and to awaken in him the feeling of envy and of his own impotence and degradation; by dropping on to his tongue a drop of our honey, and while doing him this supposed favour looking him keenly and mockingly in the eyes, we want to make him savour the bitterness of his fate. This person has become humble and is now perfect in his humility  seek for those whom he has for long wished to torture with it! you will find them soon enough! That person is kind to animals and is admired on account of it  but there are certain people on whom he wants to vent his cruelty by this means. There stands a great artist: the pleasure he anticipated in the envy of his defeated rivals allowed his powers no rest until he had become great  how many bitter moments has his becoming great not cost the souls of others! The chastity of the nun: with what punitive eyes it looks into the faces of women who live otherwise! how much joy in revenge there is in these eyes!  The theme is brief, the variations that might be played upon it might be endless but hardly tedious  for it is still a far too paradoxical and almost paininducing novelty that the morality of distinction is in its ultimate foundation pleasure in refined cruelty. In its ultimate foundation  in this case that means: in its first generation. For when the habit of some distinguishing action is inherited, the thought that lies behind it is not inherited with it (thoughts are not hereditary, only feelings): and provided it is not again reproduced by education, even the second generation fails to experience any pleasure in cruelty in connection with it, but only pleasure in the habit as such. This pleasure, however, is the first stage of the 'good'.

Friedrich NietzscheDaybreak: Book I - Aphorism #3073011 years, 7 months ago