Friedrich Nietzsche (1886)
On the Prejudices of Philosophers1
The will to truth which will still tempt us to many a venture, that famous Truthfulness of which all philosophers so far have spoken with respect - what questions has this will to truth not laid before us! What strange, wicked, questionable questions! That is a long story even now - and yet it seems as if it had scarcely begun. Is it any wonder that we should finally become suspicious, lose patience, and turn away impatiently? That we should finally learn from this Sphinx to ask questions, too? Who is it really that puts questions to us here? What in us really wants "truth"?
Indeed we came to a long halt at the question about the cause of this will - until we finally came to a complete stop before a still more basic question. We asked about the value of this will. Suppose we want truth: why not rather untruth? and uncertainty? even ignorance?
The problem of the value of truth came before us - or was it we who came before the problem? Who of us is Oedipus here? Who the Sphinx? It is a rendezvous, it seems, of questions and question marks.
And though it scarcely seems credible, it finally almost seems to us as if the problem had never even been put so far - as if we were the first to see it, fix it with our eyes, and risk it. For it does involve a risk, and perhaps there is none that is greater.
"How could anything originate out of its opposite? For example, truth out of error? Or the will to truth out of the will to deception? Or selfless deeds out of selfishness? Or the pure and sunlike gaze of the sage out of lust? Such origins are impossible; whoever dreams of them is a fool, indeed worse; the things of highest value must have another, peculiar origin of their own - they cannot be derived from this transitory, seductive, deceptive, paltry world, from this turmoil of delusion and lust! Rather from the lap of Being, the intransitory, the hidden god, the 'thing-in-itself' - there must be their basis, and nowhere else!"
This way of judging constitutes the typical prejudice which gives away the metaphysicians of all ages; this kind of valuation looms in the background of all their logical procedures; it is on account of this "faith" that they trouble themselves about "knowledge," about something that is finally baptized solemnly as "the truth." The fundamental faith of the metaphysicians is the faith in oppositions of values. It has not even occurred to the most cautious among them that one might have a doubt right here at the threshold where it was surely most necessary - even if they vowed to themselves, "de omnibus dubitandum." [doubting all things]
For one may doubt, first, whether there are any opposites at all, and second, whether these popular valuations and opposite values on which the metaphysicians put their seal, are not perhaps merely foreground estimates, only provisional perspectives, perhaps even from some nook, perhaps from below, frog perspective as it were, to borrow an expression painters use? For all the value that the true, the truthful, the selfless may deserve, it would still be possible that a higher and more fundamental value for life might have to be ascribed to the will to deception, selfishness, and lust. It might even be possible that what constitutes the value of these good and revered things is precisely that they are insidiously related, tied to and involved with these wicked, seemingly opposite things - maybe even one with them in essence. Maybe!
But who has the will to concern himself with such dangerous Maybes? For that, we have to await the advent of a new species of philosophers who somehow have a different and reverse taste and propensity from those we have known so far - philosophers of the dangerous Maybe in every sense.
And in all seriousness: I see such new philosophers coming up.
After having kept a sharp eye long enough on the philosophers' fingers, and looked between their lines, I say to myself: by far the greatest part of "conscious" thinking must still be included among instinctive activities, and that goes even for philosophical thinking. We have to relearn here, as one has had to relearn about heredity and what is "innate." As the act of birth deserves no consideration in the whole process and procedure of heredity, so "being conscious" is not in any decisive sense the opposite of what is instinctive: most of the conscious thinking of a philosopher is secretly guided and forced into certain channels by his instincts.
Behind all logic and its seeming sovereignty of movement, too, there stand valuations or, more clearly, physiological demands for the preservation of a certain type of life. For example, that the definite should be worth more than the indefinite, and mere appearance worth less than "truth" - such estimates might be, in spite of their regulative importance for us, nevertheless mere foreground estimates, a certain kind of niaiserie [folly, stupidity, silliness] which may be necessary for the preservation of just such beings as we are. Supposing, that is, that not just man is the "measure of things"......
The falseness of a judgment is for us not necessarily an objection to a judgment; in this respect our new language may sound strangest. The question is to what extent it is life-promoting, life serving, species-preserving, perhaps even species-cultivating. And we are fundamentally inclined to claim that the falsest judgments (which include the synthetic judgments a priori) are the most indispensable for us; that without accepting the fictions of logic, without measuring reality against the purely invented world of the unconditional and self-identical, without a constant falsification of the world by means of numbers, man could not live - that renouncing false judgments would mean renouncing life and a denial of life. To recognize untruth as a condition of life - that certainly means resisting accustomed value feelings in a dangerous, way; and a philosophy that risks this would by that token alone place itself beyond good and evil.
What provokes one to look at all philosophers half suspiciously, half mockingly, is not that one discovers again and again how innocent they are - how often and how easily they make mistakes and go astray, in short, their childishness and childlikeness - but that they are not honest enough in their work; although they make a lot of virtuous noise when the problem of truthfulness is touched even remotely. They all pose as if they had discovered and reached their real opinions through the self-development of a cold, pure, divinely unconcerned dialectic (as opposed to the mystics of every rank, who are more honest and doltish - and talk of "inspiration"): while at bottom it is an assumption, a hunch, indeed a kind of "inspiration", most often a desire of the heart that has been filtered and made abstract that they defend with reasons they have sought after the fact. They are all advocates who resent that name, and for the most part even wily spokesmen for their prejudices which they baptize "truths" - and very far from having the courage of the conscience that admits this, precisely this, to itself; very far from having the good taste of the courage which also lets this be known, whether to warn an enemy or friend, or, from exuberance, to mock itself.
The equally stiff and decorous Tartuffery [hypocritical priest, in Moliere's 'Tartuffe'] of the old Kant as he lures us on the dialectical bypaths that lead to his "categorical imperative" - really lead astray and seduce - this spectacle makes us smile, as we are fastidious and find it quite amusing to watch closely the subtle tricks of old moralists and preachers of morals. Or consider the hocus-pocus of mathematical form with which Spinoza a clad his philosophy - really "the love of his wisdom," to render that word fairly and squarely - in mail and mask, to strike terror at the very outset into the heart of any assailant who should dare to glance at that invincible maiden and Pallas Athena: how much personal timidity and vulnerability this masquerade of a sick hermit betrays!
Gradually it has become clear to me what every great philosophy so far has been: namely, the personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir; also that the moral (or immoral) intentions in every philosophy constituted the real germ of life from which the whole plant had grown.
Indeed, if one would explain how the abstrusest metaphysical claims of a philosopher really came about, it is always well (and wise) to ask first: at what morality does all this (does he....) aim? Accordingly, I do not believe that a "drive to knowledge" is the father of philosophy; but rather that another drive has, here as elsewhere employed knowledge (and mis-knowledge!) as a mere instrument. But anyone who considers the basic drives of man to see to what extent they may have been at play just here as in inspiring spirits (or demons and kobolds) will find that all of them have done philosophy at some time - and that every single one of them would like only too well to represent just itself as the ultimate purpose of existence and the legitimate dominator of all the other drives. For every drive is domineering - and it attempts to philosophize in that spirit.
To be sure: among scholars who are really scientific men things may be different -"better," if you like - there you may really find something like a drive for knowledge, some small independent clockwork that, once well wound, works on vigorously without any essential participation from all the other drives of the scholar. The real "interests" of the scholar therefore lie usually somewhere else - say, in his family, or in making money, or in politics. Indeed, it is almost a matter of total indifference whether his little machine is placed at this or that spot in science, and whether the "promising" young worker turns himself into a good philologist or an expert on fungi or a chemist: it does not characterize him that he becomes this or that. In the philosopher conversely, there is nothing whatever that is impersonal; and above all his morality bears decided and decisive witness to who he is - that is, in what order of rank the innermost drives of his nature stand in relation to each other.
How malicious philosophers can be! I know of nothing more venomous than the joke Epicurus permitted himself against Plato and the Platonists; he called them Dionysiokolakes. That means literally - and this is the foreground meaning -"flatterers of Dionysius," in other words, tyrant's baggage and lickspittles; but addition to this he also wants to say, "they are all actors, there is nothing genuine about them" (for Dionysokolax was a popular name for an actor). And the latter is really the malice that Epicurus aimed at Plato: he was peeved by the grandiose manner, the mise en scene at which Plato and his disciples were so expert - at which Epicurus was not an expert - he, that old schoolmaster from Samos who sat, hidden away, in his little garden at Athens and wrote three hundred books - who knows? Perhaps from rage and ambition against Plato? It took a hundred years until Greece found out who this garden god, Epicurus, had been. Did they find out?
There is a point in every philosophy when the philosopher's "conviction" appears on the stage - or to use the language of an ancient Mystery:
Pulcher et fortissimus.
[Made its entrance, the ass,
Fair and so very strong.]
You want to live "according to nature" ? O you noble Stoics, what deceptive words these are! Imagine a being like nature, wasteful beyond measure, indifferent beyond measure, without purposes and consideration, without mercy and justice, fertile and desolate and uncertain at the same time; imagine indifference itself as a power - how could you live according to this indifference?
Living - Is that not precisely wanting to be other than this nature? Is not living - estimating, preferring, being unjust, being limited - wanting to be different? And supposing your imperative "live according to nature" meant at bottom as much as "live according to life," how could you not do that? Why make a principle of what you yourselves are and must be?
In truth, the matter is altogether different: while you pretend rapturously to read the canon of your law in nature, you want something opposite, you strange actors and self-deceivers! Your pride wants to impose your morality, your ideal, on nature - even on nature - and incorporate them in nature; you demand that nature be "according to the Stoa," and you would like all existence to exist only after your own image - as an immense eternal glorification and generalization of Stoicism! For all your love of truth, you have forced yourselves so long, so persistently, so rigidly-hypnotically to see nature the wrong way, namely Stoically, that you are no longer able to see it differently. And some abysmal arrogance finally still inspires you with the insane hope that because you know how to tyrannize yourselves - Stoicism is self-tyranny - nature, too, lets itself be tyrannized: is not the Stoic - a piece of nature?.......
But this is an ancient, eternal story: what formerly happened with the Stoics still happens today, too, as soon as any philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise. Philosophy is this tyrannical drive itself, the most spiritual will to power, to the "creation of the world," to the causa prima.
The eagerness and subtlety - I might even say, shrewdness - with which the problem of "the real and the apparent world" is today attacked all over Europe makes one think and wonder; and anyone who hears nothing in the background except a "will to truth," certainly does not have the best of ears. In rare and particular instances it may really be the case that such a will to truth, some extravagant and adventurous courage, a metaphysician's ambition to hold a hopeless position, may participate and ultimately prefer even a handful of "certainty" to a whole carload of beautiful possibilities; there may actually be puritanical fanatics of conscience who even prefer to lie down and die on a certain nothing to an uncertain something. But this is nihilism and the sign of a despairing, mortally weary soul - however courageous the gestures of such a virtue may look.
It seems, however, to be otherwise with stronger and livelier thinkers who are still eager for life. When they side against appearance, and speak of "perspective," with a new arrogance; when they rank the credibility of their own bodies about as low as the credibility of the visual evidence that "the earth stands still," and thus, apparently in good humor, let their securest possession go (for in what does one at present believe more firmly than in one's body?) - who knows if they are not trying at bottom to win back something that was formerly an even securer possession, something of the ancient domain of the faith of former times, perhaps the "immortal soul," perhaps "the old God," in short, ideas by which one could live better, that is to say, more vigorously and cheerfully than by "modern ideas"? There is mistrust of these modern ideas in this attitude, a disbelief in all that has been constructed yesterday and today; there is perhaps some slight admixture of satiety and scorn, unable to endure any longer the bric-a-brac of concepts of the most diverse origin, which is the form in which so-called positivism offers itself on the market today; a disgust of the more fastidious taste at the village-fair motleyness and patchiness of all these reality-philosophasters [allusion to Eugen Duhring] in whom there is nothing new or genuine, except this motleyness. In this, it seems to me, we should agree with these skeptical anti-realists and knowledge microscopists of today: their instinct, which repels them from modern reality, is unrefuted - what do their retrograde bypaths concern us! The main thing about them is not that they wish to "go back", but that they wish to get - away. A little more strength, flight, courage, and artistic power: and they would want to rise - and not return!
It seems to me that today attempts are made everywhere to divert attention from the actual influence Kant exerted on German philosophy, and especially to ignore prudently the value he set upon himself. Kant was first and foremost proud of his table of categories; with that in his hand he said: "This is the most difficult thing that could ever be undertaken on behalf of metaphysics."
Let us only understand this "could be"! He was proud of having discovered a new faculty in man, the faculty for synthetic judgments a priori. Suppose he deceived himself in this matter; the development and rapid flourishing of German philosophy depended nevertheless on his pride, and on the eager rivalry of the younger generation to discover, if possible, something still prouder - at all events "new faculties"!
But let us reflect; it is high time to do so. "How are synthetic judgments a priori possible ?" Kant asked himself - and what really is his answer? "By virtue of a faculty" but unfortunately not in five words, but so circumstantially, venerably, and with such a display of German profundity and curlicues that people simply failed to note the comical niaiserie allemande [German foolishness] involved in such an answer. People were actually beside themselves with delight over this new faculty, and the jubilation reached its climax when Kant further discovered a moral faculty in man - for at that time the Germans were still moral and not yet addicted to Realpolitik [reality politics (Otto von Bismarck)] .
The honeymoon of German philosophy arrived. All the young theologians of the Tubingen seminary went into the bushes - all looking for "faculties." And what did they not find - in that innocent, rich, and still youthful period of the German spirit, to which romanticism, the malignant fairy, piped and sang, when one could not yet distinguish between "finding" and "inventing"! Above all, a faculty for the "surprasensible": Schelling christened it intellectual intuition, and thus gratified the most heartfelt cravings of the Germans, whose cravings were at bottom pious. One can do no greater wrong to the whole of this exuberant and enthusiastic movement, which was really youthfulness, however boldly it disguised itself in hoary and senile concepts, than to take it seriously, or worse - to treat it with moral indignation. Enough, one grew older and the dream vanished. A time came when people scratched their heads, and they still scratch them today. One had been dreaming, and first and foremost - old Kant. "By virtue of a faculty" - he had said, or at least meant. But is that an answer? An explanation? Or is it not rather merely a repetition of the question? How does opium induce sleep? "By virtue of a faculty," namely the virtus dormitiva, replies the doctor in Moliere,
Quia est in eo virtus dormitiva,
Cujus est natura sensus assoupire.
[Because there is in it a dormitive virtue,
whose nature it is to send the senses to sleep.]
But such replies belong in comedy, and it is high time to replace the Kantian question, "How are synthetic judgments a priori possible?" by another question, "Why is belief in such judgments necassary?" - in effect, to realise such judgments must be believed to be true, for the sake of the preservation of creatures like ourselves; though they might, of course, be false judgments! Or, speaking more plainly: 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. Only, of course, the belief in their truth is necessary, as a foreground belief and visual evidence belonging to the perspective view of life.
Finally, to call to mind the enormous influence that "German philosophy" - I hope you understand its right to quotation marks (goosefeet?) - has exercised throughout the whole of Europe, there is no doubt that a certain virtus dormitiva had a share in it: it was a delight to the noble idlers, the virtuous, the mystics, artists, three-quarter Christians, and political obscurantists of all nations, to find, thanks to German philosophy, an antidote to the still predominant sensualism which overflowed from the last century into this, in short - "sensus assoupire"......
As for materialistic atomism, it is one of the best refuted theories there are, and in Europe there is perhaps no one in the learned world so unscholarly as to attach serious significance to it, except for for convenient household use (as an abbreviation of the means of expression) - thanks chiefly to the Dalmatian Boscovich and the Pole Corpernicus who have been the greatest and most successful opponents of visual evidence so far. For while Copernicus has persuaded us to believe, contrary to all the senses, that the earth does not stand fast, Boscovich has taught us to abjure the belief in the last part of the earth that "stood fast" - the belief in substance," in "matter," in the earth-residuum and particle-atom: it is the greatest triumph over the senses that has been gained on earth so far.
One must, however, go still further. and also declare war, relentless war unto death, against the "atomistic need" which still leads a dangerous afterlife in places where no one suspects it, just like the more celebrated "metaphysical need": one must also, first of all, give the finishing stroke to that other and more calamitous atomism which Christianity has taught best and longest, the soul atomism. Let it be permitted to designate by this expression the belief which regards the soul as something indestructible, eternal, indivisible, as a monad, as an atomon: this belief ought to be expelled from science! Between ourselves, it is not at all necessary to get rid of "the soul" at the same time, and thus to renounce one of the most ancient and venerable hypotheses - as happens frequently to clumsy naturalists who can hardly touch on "the soul" without immediately losing it. But the way is open for new versions and refinements of the soul-hypothesis; and such conceptions as "mortal soul," and "soul as subjective multiplicity," and "soul as social structure of the drives and affects" want henceforth to have citizens' rights in science. When the new psychologist puts an end to the superstitions which have so far flourished with almost tropical luxuriance around the idea of the soul, he practically exiles himself into a new desert and a new suspicion - it is possible that the older psychologists had a merrier and more comfortable time of it; eventually, however, he finds that precisely thereby he is also condemned to invent - and - who knows? - perhaps to discover the new.
Physiologists should think before putting down the instinct of self-preservation as the cardinal instinct of an organic being. A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength - life itself is will to power; self-preservation is only one of the indirect and most frequent results.
In short, here as everywhere else, let us beware of superfluous teleological principles! - one of which is the instinct of self preservation (we owe it to Spinoza's inconsistency). Thus, method, which must essentially be economy of principles, demands it.
It is perhaps just dawning on five or six minds that physics, too, is only an interpretation and exegesis of the world (to suit us, if I may say so!) and not a world-explanation; but insofar as it is based on belief in the senses, it is regarded as more, and for a long time to come must be regarded as more - namely, as an explanation. Eyes and fingers speak in its favor, visual evidence and palpableness do, too: this strikes an age with fundamentally plebian tastes as fascinating, persuasive, and convincing - after all, it follows instinctively the canon of truth of eternally popular sensualism. What is clear, what is "explained"? Only what can be seen and felt - every problem has to be pursued to that point.
Conversely, the charm of the Platonic way of thinking, which was a noble way of thinking, consisted precisely in resistance to obvious sense-evidence - perhaps among men who enjoyed even stronger and more demanding senses than our contemporaries, but who knew how to find a higher triumph in remaining masters of their senses - and this by means of pale, cold, gray concept nets which they threw over the motley whirl of the senses - the mob of the senses, as Plato said. In this overcoming of the world and interpreting of the world in the manner of Plato, there was an enjoyment different from that which the physicists of today offer us - and also the Darwinists and anti-teleologists among the workers in physiology, with their principle of the "smallest possible force" and the greatest possible stupidity. "Where man cannot find anything to see or to grasp, he has no further business" - that is certainly an imperative different from the Platonic one, but it may be the right imperative for a tough, industrious race of machinists and bridge-builders of the future, who have nothing but rough work to do.
To study physiology with a clear conscience, one must insist that the sense organs are not phenomena in the sense of idealistic philosophy; as such they could not be causes! Sensualism, therefore, at least as a regulative hypothesis, if not as a heuristic principle.
What? And others even say that the external world is the work of our organs? But then our body, as a part of this external world, would be the work of our organs! But then our organs themselves would be the work of our organs! It seems to me that this is a complete reductio ad absurdum - assuming that the concept of a causa sui is something fundamentally absurd. Consequently, the external world is not the work of our organs - ?
There are still harmless self-observers who believe that there are "immediate certainties"; for example, "I think," or as the superstition of Schopenhauer put it, "I will"; as though knowledge here got hold of its object purely and nakedly as "the thing in itself" without any falsification on the part of either the subject or the object. But that "immediate certainty," as well as "absolute knowledge" and the "thing in itself," involve a contradictio adjecto. [contradiction in terms] I shall repeat a hundred times; we really ought to free our selves from the seduction of words!
Let the people suppose that knowledge means knowing things entirely; the philosopher must say to himself: "When I analyze the process that is expressed in the sentence, 'I think,' I find a whole series of daring assertions that would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to prove; for example, that it is I who think, that there must neccssarily be something that thinks, that thinking is an activity and operation on the part of a being who is thought of as a cause, that there is an 'ego,' and, finally, that it is already determined what is to be designated by thinking - that I know what thinking is. For if I had not already decided within myself what it is, by what standard could I determine whether that which is just happening is not perhaps 'willing' or 'feeling'? In short, the assertion 'I think' assumes that I compare my state at the present moment with other states of myself which I know, in order to determine what it is; on account of this retrospective connection with further 'knowledge,' it has, at any rate, no immediate certainty for me."
In place of the "immediate certainty" in which the people may believe in the case at hand, the philosopher thus finds a series of metaphysical questions presented to him, truly searching questions of the intellect; to wit: "From where do I get the concept of thinking? Why do I believe in cause and effect? What gives me the right to speak of an ego, and even of an ego as cause, and finally of an ego as the cause of thought?" Whoever ventures to answer the metaphysical questions at once by an appeal to a sort of intuitive perception, like the person who says, "I think, and know that at least, is true, actual, and certain" - will encounter a smile and two question marks from a philosopher nowadays. "Sir," the philosopher will perhaps give him to understand, "it is improbable that you are not mistaken; but why insist on the truth?".......
With regard to the superstitions of logicians, I shall never tire of emphasizing a small terse fact, which these superstitious minds hate to concede - namely, that a thought comes when "it" wishes, and not when "I" wish, so that it is a falsification of the facts of the case to say that the subject "I" is the condition of the predicate "think." It thinks; but that this "it" is precisely the famous old "ego" is, to put it mildly, only a supposition, an assertion. and assuredly not an "immediate certainty." After all, one has even gone too far with this "it thinks" - even the "it" contains an interpretation of the process, and does not belong to the process itself. One infers here according to the grammatical habit: "Thinking is an activity; every activity requires an agent; consequently....." It was pretty much according to the same schema that the older atomism sought, besides the operating "power," that lump of matter in which it resides and out of which it operates - the atom. More rigorous minds, however, learned at last to get along without this "earth-residuum," and perhaps some day we shall accustom ourselves, including the logicians, to get along without the little "it" (which is all that is left of the honest little old ego).
It is certainly not the least charm of a theory that it is refutable; it is precisely thereby that it attracts subtler minds. It seems that the hundred-times-refuted theory of a "free will" owes its persistence to this charm alone; again and again someone comes along who feels he is strong enough to refute it.
Philosophers are accustomed to speak of the will as if it were the best-known thing in the world; indeed, Schopenhauer has given us to understand that the will alone is really known to us, absolutely and completely known, without subtraction or addition. But again and again it seems to me that in this case, too, Schopenhauer only did what philosophers are in the habit of doing - he adopted a popular prejudice and exaggerated it. Willing seems to me to be above all something complicated, something that is a unit only as a word - and it is precisely in this one word that the popular prejudice lurks, which has defeated the always inadequate caution of philosophers. So let us for once be more cautious, let us be "unphilosophical" - let us say: in all willing there is, first, a plurality of sensations, namely, the sensation of the state "away from which" the sensation of the state "towards which," the sensation of this "from and towards" themselves, and then also an accompanying muscular sensation, which, even without our putting into motion "arms and legs," begins its action by force of habit as soon as we "will" anything.
Therefore just as sensations (and indeed many kinds of sensation) are to be recognized as ingredients of the will, so, secondly, should thinking also: in every act of the will there is a ruling thought - let us not imagine it possible to sever this thought from the "willing," as if any will would then remain over!
Third, the will is not only a complex of sensation and thinking, but it is above all an affect, and specifically the affect of the command. That which is termed "freedom of the will" is essentially the affect of superiority in relation to him who must obey: "I am free, 'he' must obey" - this consciousness is inherent in every will; and equally so the straining of the attention, the straight look that fixes itself exclusively on one aim, the unconditional evaluation that "this and nothing else is necessary now," the inward certainty that obedience will be rendered - and whatever else belongs to the position of the commander. A man who wills---, commands something within himself that renders obedience, or that he believes renders obedience.
But now let us notice what is strangest about the will - this manifold thing for which the people have only one word: inasmuch as in the given circumstances we are at the same time the commanding and the obeying parties, and as the obeying party we know the sensations of constraint, impulsion, pressure, resistance and motion, which usually begin immediately after the act of will - inasmuch as, on the other hand, we are accustomed to disregard this duality, and to deceive ourselves about it by means of the synthetic concept "I" - a whole series of erroneous conclusions, and consequently of false evaluations of the will itself, has become attached to the act of willing, to such a degree that he who wills believes sincerely that willing suffices for action. Since in the great majority of cases there has been exereise of will only when the effect of the command - that is, obedience; that is, the action - was to be expected, the appearance has translated itself into the feeling, as if there were a necessity of effect. In short, he who wills believes with a fair amount of certainty that will and action are somehow one; he ascribes the success, the carrying out of the willing, to the will itself, and thereby enjoys an increase of the sensation of power which accompanies all success.
"Freedom of the will" - that is the expression for the complex state of delight of the person exercising volition, who commands and at the same time identifies himself with the executor of the order - who, as such, enjoys also the triumph over obstacles, but thinks within himself that it was really his will itself that overcame them. In this way the person exercising volition adds the feeling of delight of his successful executive instruments, the useful "under-wills" or under-souls - indeed, our body is but a social structure composed of many souls - to his feelings of delight as commander. L'effet c'est moi [I am the effect] : what happens here is what happens in every well-constructed and happy commonwealth; namely, the governing class identifies itself with the successes of the commonwealth. In all willing it is absolutely a question of commanding and obeying, on the basis, as already said, of a social structure composed of many "souls." Hence a philosopher should claim the right to include willing as such within the sphere of morals - morals being understood as the doctrine of the relations of supremacy under which the phemenon of "life" comes to be......
That individual philosophical concepts are not anything capricious or autonomously evolving, but grow up in connection and relationship with each other; that, however suddenly and arbitrarily they seem to appear in the history of thought, they nevertheless belong just as much to a system as all the members of the fauna of a continent - is betrayed in the end also by the fact that the most diverse philosophers keep filling in a definite fundamental scheme of possible philosophies. Under an invisible spell, they always revolve once more in the same orbit; however independent of each other they may feel themselves with their critical or systematic wills, something within them leads them, something impels them in a definite order, one after the other - to wit, the innate systematic structure and relationship of their concepts. Their thinking is, in fact, far less a discovery than a recognition, a remembering, a return and a homecoming to a remote, primordial, an inclusive household of the soul, out of which those concepts grew originally: philosophizing is to this extent a kind of atavism of the highest order.
The strange family resemblance of all lndian, Greck, and German philosophizing is explained easily enough. Where there is affinity of languages, it cannot fail, owing to the common philosophy of grammar - I mean, owing to the unconscious domination and guidance by similar grammatical functions - that everything is prepared at the outset for a similar development and sequence of philosophical systems; just as the way seems barred against certain other possibilities of world-interpretation. It is highly probable that philosophers within the domain of the Ural-Altaic languages (where the concept of the subject is least developed) look otherwise "into the world," and will be found on paths of thought different from those of the Indo-Germanic peoples and the Muslims: the spell of certain grammatical functions is ultimately also the spell of physiological valuations and racial conditions.
So much by way of rejecting Locke's superficiality regarding the origin of ideas.
The causa sui [cause of itself] is the best self-contradiction that has been conceived so far, it is a sort of rape and perversion of logic; but the extravagant pride of man has managed to entangle itself profoundly and frightfully with just this nonsense. The desire for "freedom of the will" in the superlative metaphysical sense, which still holds sway, unfortunately, in the minds of the half-educated; the desire to bear the entire and ultimate responsibility for one's actions oneself, and to absolve God, the world, ancestors, chance, and society, involves nothing less than to be precisely this causa sui and, with more than Munchhausen's audacity, to pull oneself up into existence by the hair, out of the swamps of nothingness. Suppose someone were thus to see through the boorish simplicity of this celebrated concept of "free will" and put it out of his head altogether, I beg of him to carry his "enlightenment" a step further, and so put out of his head the contrary of this monstrous conception of "free will": I mean "unfree will," which amounts to a misuse of cause and effect. One should not wrongly reify "cause" and "effect" as the natural scientists do (and whoever, like them, now "naturalizes" in his thinking), according to the prevailing mechanical doltishness which makes the cause press and push until it "effects" its end; one should use "cause" and "effect" only as pure concepts, that is to say, as conventional fictions for the purpose of designation and communication - not for explanation. In the "in itself" there is nothing of "causal connections," of "necessity," or of "psychological non-freedom"; there the effect does not follow the cause, there is no rule of "law." It is we alone who have devised cause, sequence, for-each-other, relativity, constraint, number, law, freedom, motive, and purpose; and when we project and mix this symbol world into things as if it existed "in itself," we act once more as we have always acted - namely, mythologically. The "unfree will" is mythology; in real life it is only a matter of strong and weak wills.
lt is almost always a symptom of what is lacking in himself when a thinker senses in every "causal connection" and "psychological necessity" something of constraint, need, compulsion to obey, pressure, and unfreedom; it is suspicious to have such feelings - that person betrays himself. And in general, if I have observed correctly, the "unfreedom of the will" is regarded as a problem from two entirely opposite standpoints, but always in a profoundly personal manner: some will not give up their "responsibility," their belief in themselves, the personal right to their merits at any price (the vain races belong to this class). Others, on the contrary, do not wish to be answerable for anything, or blamed for anything, and owing to an inward self-contempt, seek to lay their blame somewhere else. The latter, when they write books, are in the habit today of taking the side of criminals; a sort of socialist pity is thelr most attractive disguise. And as a matter of fact, the fatalism of the weak-willed embellishes itself surprisingly when it can pose as "la religion de la souffrance humaine" [the religion of human suffering] - that is its "good taste."
Forgive me as an old philologist who cannot desist from the malice of putting his finger on bad modes of interpretation: but "nature's conformity to law," of which you physicists talk so proudly as though - why, it exists only owing to your interpretion and bad "philology" - it is no matter of fact, no "text," but rather only a naively humanitarian emendation and perversion of meaning, with which you make abundant concessions to the democratic instincts of the modern soul! "Everywhere equality bcfore the law; nature is no different in that respect, no better off than we are" - a fine instance of ulterior motivation, in which the plebian antagonism to everything privileged and autocratic as well as a second and more refined atheism are disguised once more. "Ni Dieu, ni maitre" [Neither God, nor master] - that is what you, too, want; and therefore "cheers for the law of nature!" - is it not so? But as said above, that is interpretation, not text; and somebody might come along who, with opposite intentions and modes of interpretation, could read out of the same "nature" and with regard to the same phenomena rather the tyrannically inconsiderate and relentless enforcement of claims of power - an interpreter who would picture the unexceptional and unconditional aspects of all "will to power" so vividly that almost every word, even the word "tyranny" itself, would eventually sound unsuitable, or a weakening and attenuating metaphor - being too human - but he might, nevertheless, end by asserting the same about this world as you do, namely, that it has a "necessary'' and "calculable" course, not because laws obtain in it, but because they are absolutely lacking, and every power draws its ultimate consequences at every moment. Supposing that this also is only interpreation - and you will be eager enough to make this objection? - well then, so much the better.
All psychology so far has got stuck in moral prejudices and fears; it has not dared to descend into the depths. To understand it as morphology and the doctrine of the development of the will to power, as I do - nobody has yet come close to doing this even in thought - insofar as it is permissible to recognize in what has been written so far a symptom of what has so far been kept silent. The power of moral prejudices has penetrated deeply into the most spiritual world, which would seem to be the coldest and most devoid of presuppositions, and has obviously operated in an injurious, inhibiting, blinding, and distorting manner. A proper physio-psychology has to contend with unconscious resistance in the heart of the investigator, it has "the heart" against it: even a doctrine of thc reciprocal dependence of the "good' and the "wicked' drives, causes (as refined immorality) distress and aversion in a still hale and hearty conscience - still more so, a doctrine of the derivation of good impulses from wicked ones. If, however, a person should regard even the affects of hatred, envy, covetousness, and the lust to rule as conditions of life, as factors which, fundamentally and essentially must be present in the general economy of life (and must, there, be further enhanced if life is to be further enhanced) - he will suffer from such a view of things as from seasickness. And yet even this hypothesis is far from being the strangest and most painful in this immense and almost new domain of dangerous insights; and there are in fact a hundred good reasons why everyone should keep away from it who - can!
On the other hand, if one has once drifted there with one's bark, well! all right! let us clench our teeth! let us open our eyes and keep our hand firm on the helm! We sail right over morality, we crush, we destroy perhaps the remains of our own morality by daring to make our voyage there - but what matter are we! Never yet did a profounder world of insight reveal itself to daring travelers and adventurers, and the psychologist who thus "makes a sacrifice" - it is not the sacrifizio dell' intelletto, on the contrary! - will at least be entitled to demand in return that psychology shall be recognized again as the queen of the sciences, for whose service and preparation the other sciences exist. For psychology is now again the path to the fundamental problems.
The Free Spirit24
O sancta simplicitas! In what strange simplification and falsification man lives! One can never cease wondering once one has acquired eyes for this marvel! How we have made everything around us clear and free and easy and simple! How we have been able to give our senses a passport to everything superficial, our thoughts a divine desire for wanton leaps and wrong inferences! How from the beginning we have contrived to retain our ignorance in order to enjoy an almost inconceivable freedom, lack of scruple and caution, heartiness, and gaiety of life - in order to enjoy life! And only on this now solid, granite foundation of ignorance could knowledge rise so far - the will to knowledge on the foundation of a far more powerful will: the will to no knowledge, to uncertainty, to the untruth! Not as its opposite, but as its refinement! Even if language, here as elsewhere, will not get over its awkwardness, and will continue to talk of opposites where there are only degrees and many subtleties of gradation; even if the inveterate Tartuffery of morals, which now belongs to our unconquerable "flesh and blood," infects the words even of those of us who know better: here and there we understand it and laugh at the way in which precisely science at its best seeks most to keep us in this simplified, thoroughly artificial, suitably constructed and suitably falsified world - at the way in which, willy-nilly, it loves error, because, being alive--- it loves life.
After such a cheerful commencement, a serious word would like to be heard; it appeals to the most serious. Take care, philosophers and friends, of knowledge, and beware of martyrdom! Of suffering "for the truth's sake"! Even of defending yourselves! Spoils all the innocence and fine neutrality of your conscience, makes you headstrong against objections and red rags; it stupefies, animalizes, and brutalizes when in the struggle with danger, slander, suspicion, expulsion, and even worse consequences of hostility, you have to pose as protectors of truth upon earth - as though "the truth" were such an innocuous and incompetent creature as to require protectors! and you of all people, you knights of the most sorrowful countenances, my dear loafers and cobweb-spinners of the spirit! After all, you know well enough that it cannot be of any consequence if you of all people are proved right; you know that no philosopher so far has been proved right, and that there might be a more laudable truthfulness in every little question mark that you place after your special words and favorite doctrines (and occasionally after yourselves) than in all the solemn gestures and trumps before accusers and law courts. Rather, go away! Flee into concealment! And have your masks and subtlety, that you may be mistaken for what you are not, or feared a little! And don't forget the garden, the garden with golden trelliswork! And have around you who are as a garden - or like music on the waters at evening, when the day is turning into memories: choose the good solitude, the free, playful, light solitude that gives you, too, the right, to remain good in some sense! How poisonous, how crafty, how bad, does every long war make one, that cannot be waged in the open! How personal does a long fear make one, long watching of enemies, of possible enemies! These outcasts of society, these long-pursued, wickedly persecuted ones - also enforced hermits, the Spinozas or Giordano Brunos always come in the end, even under the most spiritual masquerade, perhaps without being themselves aware of it, sophisticated vengeance-seekers and poison-brewers (let someone lay bare the foundation of Spinoza's ethics and theology!) --- not to speak of the stupidity of moral indignation, which is the unfailing sign in a philosopher that his philosophical sense of humor has left him. The martyrdom of the philosopher, his "sacrifice for the sake of truth," forces into the light whatever of the agitator and actor lurks in him; and if one has so far contemplated him only with artistic curiosity, with regard to many a philosopher it is easy to understand the dangerous desire to see him also in his degeneration (degenerated into a "martyr," into a stage- and tribunal-bawler). Only, that it is necessary with such a desire to be clear what spectacle one will see in any case - merely a satyr play, merely an epilogue farce, merely the continued proof that the long, real tragedy is at an end, assuming that every philosophy, in its genesis, was a long tragedy........
Every choice human being strives instinctively for a citadel and a secrecy where he is freed from the crowd, the multitude, the majority, where he may forget "men who are the rule," being their exception: - excepting only the one case in which he is pushed straight to such men by a still stronger instinct, as a seeker after knowledge in the great and exceptional sense. Anyone who, in intercourse with men, does not occasionally glisten in all the colors of distress, green and gray with disgust, satiety, sympathy, gloominess, loneliness, is certainly not a man of higher tastes; supposing, however, that he does not take all this burden and disgust upon himself voluntarily, that he persistently avoids it, and remains, as I said, quietly and proudly hidden in his citadel, one thing is certain: he was not made, he was not predestined, for knowledge. For if he were, he would one day have to say to himself: "To hell with my good taste! but the rule is more interesting than the exception - than myself, the exception!" And he would go down and above all, he would go "inside." The long and serious study of the average man, and consequently much disguise, self-overcoming, familiarity, and bad contact --- all contact is bad contact except with one's equals --- this constitutes a necessary part of the life-history of every philosopher, perhaps the most disagreeable, odious, and disappointing part. If he is fortunate, however, as a favorite child of knowledge should be, he will encounter suitable shortcuts and helps for his task - I mean so-called cynics, those who simply recognize the animal, the commonplace, and "the rule" in themselves, and at the same time still have that degree of spirituality and that itch which makes them talk of themselves and their likes before witnesses - sometimes they even wallow in books, as on their own dung. Cynicism is the only form in which common souls approach honesty; and the higher man must listen closely to every coarse or subtle cynicism, and congratulate himself when a clown without shame or a scientific satyr speaks out precisely in front of him. There are even cases where enchantment mixes with the disgust - namely, where by a freak of nature genius is tied to some such indiscreet billygoat and ape, as in the case of the Abbe Galiani, [Ferdinando Galiani] the profoundest, most clear-sighted, and perhaps also filthiest man of his century - he was far profounder than Voltaire and consequently also a good deal more taciturn. It happens more frequently, as has been hinted, that a scientific head is placed on an ape's body, a subtle exceptional understanding in a base soul, an occurrence by no means rare, especially among doctors and physiologists of morality. And whenever anyone speaks without bitterness, quite innocently, of man as a belly with two different requirements, and a head with one; whenever anyone sees, seeks, and wants to see only hunger, sexual lust, and vanity as the real and only motives of human actions; in short, when anyone speaks "badly" about man --- and not even wickedly --- the lover of knowledge should listen subtly land diligently; he should altogether have an open ear wherever people talk without indignation. For the indignant and whoever, with his own teeth, perpetually tears and lacerates himself (or as a substitute, the world, or God, or society) may indeed, morally speaking, stand higher than the laughing and self-satisfied satyr, but in every other sense they are a more ordinary, more indifferent, and less instructive case. And no one lies as much as the indignant do.
It is hard to be understood, especially when one thinks and lives gangasrotagati [as the current of the Ganges moves] among men who think and live differently namely, kurmagati, [as the tortoise moves] or at best "the way frogs walk," mandukagati - have I done all I can, to become hard to understand? - and one should be cordially grateful for the good will to some subtlety of interpretation. But as regards "the good friends," who are always too lazy and think that as friends they have a right to relax, one does well to grant them from the outset some leeway and romping place for misunderstanding: then one can even laugh; - or get rid of them altogether, these good friends - and also laugh about that, too!
What is most difficult to render from one language into another is the tempo of its style, which has its basis in the character of the race, or to speak more physiologically, in the average tempo of its metabolism. There are well-intended translations that, as involuntary vulgarizations, are almost falsifications of the original, merely because its bold and merry tempo (which leaps over an obviates all dangers in things and words) could not be translated. A German is almost incapable of presto in his language; thus also as may be reasonably inferred, of many of the most delightful and daring nuances of free, free-spirited thought. And just as the buffo [comic actor, buffoon] and satyr are foreign to him in body and conscience, so Aristophanes and Petronius are untranslatable for him. Everything ponderous, viscous, and solemnly clumsy, all long-winded and boring types of style are developed in profuse variety among German - forgive me the fact that even Goethe's prose, in its mixture of stiffness and elegance, is no exception, being a reflection of the "good old time" to which it belongs, and a reflection of German taste at a time when there still was a "German taste" - a roccoco taste in moribus et artibus. [in morals and arts] Lessing is an exception, owing to his histrionic nature which understood much and understood how to do many things: he was not the translator of Bayle for nothing and liked to flee to the neighborhood of Diderot and Voltaire, and better yet, that of the Roman comedy writers. In tempo, too, Lessing loved free thinking and escape from Germany. But how could the German language, even in the prose of a Lessing, imitate the tempo of Machiavelli, who in his Principe [The Prince] lets us breathe the dry, refined air of Florence and cannot help presenting the most serious matters in a boisterous allegrissimo, perhaps not without a malicious artistic sense of the contrast he risks - long, difficult, hard, dangerous thoughts and the tempo of the gallop and the very best, most capricious humor? Who, finally, could venture on a German translation of Petronius, who, more than any great musician so far, was a master of presto in invention, ideas, and words: - what do the swamps of the sick, wicked world, even the "ancient world," matter in the end, when one has the feet of a wind as he did, the rush, the breath, the liberating scorn of a wind that makes everything healthy by making everything run! And as for Aristopbanes - that transfiguring, complementary spirit for whose sake one forgives everything Hellenic for having existed, provided one has understood in its full profundity what needs to be forgiven and transfigured here - there is nothing that has caused me to meditate more on Plato's secrecy and sphinx nature than the happily preserved petit fait that under the pillow of his deathbed there was found no "Bible," nor anything Egyptian, Pythagorean, or Platonic - but a volume of Aristophanes. How could even Plato have endured life - a Greek life he repudiated - without an Aristophanes?
Independence is for the very few; it is a privilege of the strong. And whoever attempts it even with the best right, but without need, proves that he is probably not only strong, but also daring to the point of recklessness. He enters into a labyrinth, he multiplies a thousandfold the dangers which life brings with it in any case, not the least of which is that no one can see how and where he loses his way, becomes lonely, and is torn piecemeal by some minotaur of conscience. Supposing one like that comes to grief, this happens so far from the comprehension of men that they neither feel it nor sympathize. And he cannot go back any longer. Nor can he go back to the pity of men.
Our highest insights must - and should! - sound like follies and sometimes like crimes when they are heard without permission by those who are not predisposed and predestined for them. The difference between the exoteric and the esoteric, formerly known to philosophers among the Indians as among the Greeks, Persians, and Muslims, in short, wherever one believed in an order of rank and not in equality and equal rights, does not so much consist in that the exoteric approach comes from outside and sees, estimates, measures, and judges from the outside, not the inside: what is much more essential is that the exoteric approach sees things from below - the esoteric looks down from above. There are heights of the soul from which even tragedy ceases to look tragic; and rolling together all the woe of the world - who could dare to decide whether its sight would necessarily seduce us and compel us to feel pity and thus double this woe? What serves the higher type of men as nourishment or delectation must almost be poison for a very different and inferior type. The virtues of the common man might perhaps signify vices and weaknesses in a philosopher; it could be possible that a man of a high type, when degenerating and perishing, might only at that point acquire qualities that would require those in the lower sphere into which he had sunk to begin to venerate him like a saint. There are books that have opposite values for soul and health, depending on whether the lower soul, the lower vitality, or the higher and more vigorous ones turn to them: in the former case, these books are dangerous and lead to crumbling and disintegration; in the latter, heralds' cries that call the bravest to their courage. Books for all the world are always foul-smelling books: the smell of small people clings to them. Where the people eat and drink, even where they venerate, it usually stinks. One should not go to church if one wants to breathe pure air.
When one is young, one venerates and despises without that art of nuance which constitutes the best gain of life, and it is only fair that one has to pay dearly for having assaulted men and things in this manner with Yes and No. Everything is arranged so that the worst of tastes, the taste for the unconditional, should be cruelly fooled and abused until a man learns to put a little art into his feelings and rather to risk trying even what is artificial - as the real artists of life do. The wrathful and reverent attitudes characteristic of youth do not seem to permit themselves any rest until they have forged men and things in such a way that these attitudes may be vented on them - after all, youth in itself has something of forgery and deception. Later, when the young soul, tortured by all kinds of disappointments, finally turns suspiciously against itself, still hot and wild, even in its suspicion and pangs of conscience - how wroth it is with itself now! How it tears itself to pieces, impatiently, how it takes revenge for its long self-delusion, just as if it had been a deliberate blindness! In this transition one punishes oneself with mistrust against one's own feelings; one tortures one's own enthusiasm with doubts; indeed, one experiences even a good conscience as a danger, as if it were a way of wrapping oneself in veils and the exhaustion of subtler honesty - and above all one takes sides, takes sides on principle, against "youth." Ten years later one comprehends that all this, too - was still youth.
During the longest part of human history - so-called prehistorical times - the value or disvalue of an action was derived from its consequences. The action itself was considered as little as its origin: it was rather the way a distinction or disgrace still reaches back today from a child to its parents, in China, it was the retroactive force of success or failure that led men to think well or ill of an action. Let us call this period the pre-moral period of mankind: the imperative "know thyself!" was as yet unknown. In the last ten thousand years, however, one has reached the point, step by step, in a few large regions on the earth, where it is no longer the consequences but the origin of an action that one allows to decide its value. On the whole this is a great event which involves a considerable refinement of vision and standards; it is the unconscious aftereffect of the rule of aristocratic values and the faith in "descent" - the sign of a period that one may call moral in the narrower sense. It involves the first attempt at self-knowledge. Instead of the consequences, the origin: indeed a reversal of perspective! Surely, a reversal achieved only after long struggles and vacillations. To be sure, a calamitous new superstition, an odd narrowness of interpretation, thus become dominant: the origin of an action was interpreted in the most definite sense as origin in an intention; one came to agree that the value of an action lay in the value of the intention. The intention as the whole origin and prehistory of an action - almost to the present day this prejudice dominated moral praise, blame, judgment, and philosophy on earth. But today - shouldn't we have reached the necessity of once more resolving on a reversal and fundamental shift in values, owing to another self-examination of man, another growth in profundity? Don't we stand at the threshold of a period which should be designated negatively, to begin with, as extra-moral ? After all, today at least we immoralists have the suspicion that the decisive value of an action lies precisely in what is unintentional in it, while everything about it that is intentional, everything about it that can be seen, known, "conscious," still belongs to its surface and skin - which, like every skin, betrays something but conceals even more. In short, we believe that the intention is merely a sign and symptom that still requires interpretation - moreover, a sign that means too much and therefore, taken by itself alone, almost nothing. We believe that morality in the traditional sense, the morality of intentions, was a prejudice, precipitate and perhaps provisional - something on the order of astrology and alchemy - but in any case something that must be overcome. The overcoming of morality, in a certain sense even the self-overcoming of morality - let this be the name for that long secret work which has been saved up for the finest and most honest, also the most malicious, consciences of today, as living touchstones of the soul.......
There is no other way: the feelings of devotion, self-sacrifice for one's neighbor, the whole morality of self-denial must be questioned mercilessly and taken to court - no less than the aesthetics of "contemplation devoid of all interest" which is used today as a seductive guise for the emasculation of art, to give it a good conscience. There is too much charm and sugar in these feelings of "for others," "not for myself," for us not to need to become doubly suspicious at this point and to ask: "are these not perhaps - seductions ?" That they please those, who have them, and them, who enjoy their fruits, and also the exposed spectator - this does not yet constitute an argument in their favor but rather invites caution. So let us be cautious!
Whatever philosophical standpoint one may adopt today, from every point of view the erroneousness of the world in which we think we live is the surest and firmest fact that we can lay eyes on: we find reasons upon reasons for it, which would like to lure us to hypotheses concerning a deceptive principle in "the essence of things." But whoever holds that our thinking itself, in other words, "the spirit" responsible for the falseness of the world - an honorable way out which is chosen by every conscious or unconscious advocatus dei [advocate of god] - whoever takes this world, along with space, time, form, movement, to be falsely inferred; anyone like that would at least have ample reason to learn to be suspicious at long last of all thinking. Wouldn't thinking have put over on us the biggest hoax yet? And what warrant would there be that it would not continue to do what it has always done? In all seriousness: the innocence of our thinkers is somehow touching and evokes reverence, when today they still step before consciousness with the request that it should please give them honest answers; for example, whether it is "real," and why it so resolutely keeps the external world at a distance, and other questions of that kind. The faith in "immediate certainties" is a moral naivete that reflects honor on us philosophers; but - after all we should not be "merely moral" men. Apart from morality, this faith is a stupidity that reflects little honor on us! In bourgeois life ever-present suspicion may be considered a sign of "bad character" and hence belong among things imprudent; here, among us, beyond the bourgeois world and its Yes and No - what should prevent us from being imprudent and saying: a philosopher has nothing less than a right to "bad character," as the being who has so far always been fooled best on earth, he has a duty to suspicion today, to squint maliciously out of every abyss of suspicion. Forgive me the joke of this sombre mask and tone; for I learned long ago to think differently regarding deceiving and being deceived, and I keep in reserve at least a couple of ribbings for the blind rage that philosophers use to resist being deceived. Why not ? It is no more than a moral prejudice that truth is worth more than mere appearance; it is even the worst proved assumption there is in the world. Let at least this much be admitted: there would be no life at all if not on the basis of perspective estimates and appearances; and if, with the virtuous enthusiasm and clumsiness of some philosophers, one wanted to abolish the "apparent world" altogether - well, supposing you could do that, at least nothing would be left of your "truth" either. Indeed, what forces us at all to suppose that there is an essential opposition of "true" and "false"? Is it not sufficient to assume degrees of apparentness and, as it were, lighter and darker shadows and shades of appearance - different "valeurs," to use the language of painters? Why couldn't the world that concerns us be a fiction? And if somebody asked, "but to a fiction there surely belongs an author?" - couldn't one answer simply: why ? Doesn't this "belongs" perhaps belong to the fiction, too? Is it not permitted to be a bit ironical about the subject no less than the predicate and object? Shouldn't philosophers be permitted to rise above faith in grammar? All due respect for governesses - but hasn't the time come for philosophy to renounce the faith of governesses?
O Voltaire! O humaneness! O nonsense! There is something about "truth," about the search for truth; and when a human being is too human about it - "il ne cherche le vrai que pour faire le bien" [ he searches for the true that he may do the good ] - I bet he finds nothing!
Suppose nothing else were "given" as real except our world of desires and passions, and we could not get down, or up, to any other "reality" besides the reality of our drives - for thinking is merely relating these drives to each other - is it not permitted to make the experiment and to ask the question whether this "given" would not be sufficient for also understanding on the basis of this kind of thing the so-called mechanistic (or "material") world? I mean, not as a deception, as "mere appearance," an "idea" (in the sense of Berkeley and Schopenhauer) but as holding the same rank of reality as our affect - as a more primitive form of the world of affects in which everything still lies contained in a powerful unity before it undergoes ramifications and developments in the organic process (and, as is only fair, also becomes tenderer and weaker) - as a kind of instinctive life in which all organic functions are still synthetically intertwined along with self-regulation, assimilation, nourishment, excretion, and metabolism - as a pre-form of life. In the end, not only is it permitted to make this experiment; the conscience of method demands it. Not to assume several kinds of causality until the experiment of making do with a single one has been pushed to its utmost limit (to the point of nonsense, if I may say so) - that is a moral of method which one may not shirk today - it follows "from its definition," as a mathematician would say. The question is in the end whether we really recognize the will as efficient, whether we believe in the causality of the will: if we do - and at bottom our faith in this is nothing less than our faith in causality itself - then we have to make the experiment of positing the causality of the will hypothetically as the only one. "Will," of course, can affect only "will" - and not "matter" (not "nerves," for example). In short, one has to risk the hypothesis whether will affects will wherever "effects" are recognized - and whether all mechanical occurrences are, insofar as a force is active in them, will-force, effects of will. Suppose, finally, we succeeded in explaining our entire instinctive life as the development and ramification of one basic form of the will - namely, of the will to power, as my proposition has it - suppose all organic functions could be traced back to this will to power and one could also find in it the solution of the problem of procreation and nourishment - it is one problem - then one would have gained the right to determine all efficient force unambiguously as - will to power. The world viewed from inside, the world defined and determined according to its "intelligible character" - it would be "will to power" and nothing else. -
"What? Doesn't this mean, to speak with the vulgar: God is refuted, but the devil is not?" On the contrary! On the contrary, my friends. And, the devil - who forces you to speak with the vulgar?
What happened most recently, in the broad daylight of modern times, in the case of the French Revolution - that gruesome and, considered closely, quite superfluous, farce - noble and enthusiastic spectators from all over Europe contemplated it from a distance and interpreted it according to their own indignations and enthusiasms for so long, and so passionately, that the text finally disappeared under the interpretation; this could happen once more as a noble posterity might misunderstand the whole past and in that way alone make it tolerable to look at. Or rather: isn't this what has happened even now? Haven't we ourselves been this "noble posterity"? And isn't now precisely the moment when, insofar as we comprehend this, it is all over?
Nobody is very likely to consider a doctrine true merely because it makes people happy or virtuous - except perhaps the lovely "idealists" who become effusive about the good, the true, and the beautiful and allow all kinds of motley, clumsy, and benevolent desireablenesses to swim around in utter confusion in their pond. Happiness and virtue are no arguments. But people like to forget - even sober spirits - that making unhappy and evil are no counterarguments. Something might be true, while being harmful and dangerous in the highest degree. Indeed, it might be a basic characteristic of existence that those who would know it completely would perish - in which case the strength of a spirit should be measured according to how much of the "truth" one could still barely endure or to put it more clearly, to what degree one would require it to be thinned down, shrouded, sweetened, blunted, falsified.
But there is no doubt at all that the evil and unhappy are more favored when it comes to the discovey of certain parts of truth, and that the probability of their success here is greater - not to speak of the evil who are happy, a species that the moralists bury in silence. Perhaps hardness and cunning furnish more favorable conditions for the origin of the strong, independent spirit and philosopher than that gentle, fine, conciliatory good-naturedness and art of taking things lightly which people prize, and prize rightly, in a scholar. Assuming first of all that the concept "philosopher" is not restricted to the philosopher who writes books - or makes books of his philosophy! A final trait for the image of the free-spirited philosopher is contributed by Stendhal whom, considering German taste, I do not want to fail to stress - for he goes against the German taste. "Pour etre bon philosopher" says this last great psychologist, "il faut etre sec, clair, sans illusion. Un banquier, qui a fait fortune, a une partie du caractere requis pour faire des dicouvertes en philosophie, c'est-ti-dire pour voir clair dans ce qui est." [ To be a good philosopher, one must be dry, clear, without illusion. A banker, who has made a fortune, has one character trait required to make discoveries in philosophy, that is, to see clearly into what is. ]
Whatever is profound loves masks; what is most profound even hates image and parable. Might not nothing less than the antithesis be the proper disguise for the shame of a god walking abroad? A questionable question: it would be odd if some mystic had not risked something to that effect in his mind. There are occurrences of such a delicate nature that one does well to cover them up with some rudeness to conceal them; there are actions of love and extravagant generosity after which nothing is more advisable than to take a stick and give any eyewitness a sound thrashing: that would muddle his memory. Some know how to muddle and abuse their own memory in order to have their revenge at least against this only witness: shame is inventive. It is not the worst things that cause the worst shame: there is not only guile behind a mask - there is so much graciousness in cunning. I could imagine that a human being who had to guard something precious and vulnerable might roll through life, rude and round as an old green wine cask with heavy hoops: the refinement of his shame would want it that way. A man whose sense of shame is profound encounters his destinies and delicate decisions, too, on paths which few ever reach and of whose mere existence his closest intimates must not know: his mortal danger is concealed from their eyes, and so is his regained sureness of life. Such a concealed man who instinctively needs speech for silence and for concealment and who is inexhaustible in his evasion of communication, wants and sees to it that a mask of him roams in his place through the hearts and heads of his friends. And supposing he did not want it, he would still realize some day that in spite of that a mask of him is there - and that this is well. Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is growing continually, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow, interpretation of every word, every step, every sign of life he gives.
One has to test oneself to see that one is destined for independence and command - and do it at the right time. One should not dodge one's tests, though they may be the most dangerous game one could play and are tests that are taken in the end before no witness or judge but ourselves. Not to remain stuck to a person - not even the most loved - every person is a prison, also a nook. Not to remain stuck to a fatherland - not even if it suffers most and needs help most - it is less difficult to sever one's heart from a victorious fatherland. Not to remain stuck to some pity - not even for higher men into whose rare torture and helplessness some accident allowed us to look. Not to remain stuck to a science - even if it should lure us with the most precious finds that seem to have been saved up precisely for us. Not to remain stuck to one's own detachment, to that voluptuous remoteness and strangeness of the bird who flees ever higher to see ever more below him - the danger of the flier. Not to remain stuck to our own virtues and become as a whole the victim of some detail in us, such as our hospitality, which is the danger of dangers for superior and rich souls who spend themselves lavishly, almost indifferently, and exaggerate the virtue of generosity until it becomes a vice. One must know how to conserve oneself: the hardest test of independence.
A new species of philosophers is coming up: I venture to baptize them with a name that is not free of danger. As I unriddle them, insofar as they allow themselves to be unriddled - for it belongs to their nature to want to remain riddles at some point - these philosophers of the future may have a right, it might also be a wrong, to be called attempters. This name itself is in the end a mere attempt and, if you will, a tentation.
Are these coming philosophers new friends of "truth"? That is probable enough, for all philosophers so far have loved their truths. But they will certainly not be dogmatists. It must offend their pride, also their taste, if their truth is supposed to be a truth for every man - which has so far been the secret wish and hidden meaning of all dogmatic aspirations. "My judgment is my judgment": no one else is easily entitled to it - that is what such a philosopher of the future may perhaps say of himself. One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. "Good" is no longer good when one's neighbor mouths it. And how should there be a "common good"! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.
Need I still say expressly after all this that they, too, will be free, very free spirits, these philosophers of the future - though just as certainly they will not be merely free spirits but something more, higher, greater, and thoroughly different that does not want to be misunderstood and mistaken for something else. But saying this I feel an obligation - almost as much to them as to ourselves who are their heralds and precursors, we free spirits! - to sweep away a stupid old prejudice and misunderstanding about the lot of us: all too long it has clouded the concept "free spirit" like a fog. In all the countries of Europe, and in America, too, there now is something that abuses this name: a very narrow, imprisoned, chained type of spirit who wants just about the opposite of what accords with our intentions and instincts - not to speak of the fact that regarding the new philosophers who are coming up they must assuredly be closed windows and bolted doors. They belong, briefly and sadly, among the levellers - these falsely so-called "free spirits" - being eloquent and prolifically scribbling slaves of the democratic taste and its "modern ideas"; they are all human beings without solitude, without their own solitude, clumsy good fellows whom one should not deny either courage or respectable decency - only they are unfree and ridiculously superficial, above all in their basic inclination to find the cause of all human misery and failure in the forms of the old society as it has existed so far just about - which is a way of standing truth happily upon her head! What they would like to strive for with all their powers is the universal green-pasture happiness of the herd, with security, lack of danger, comfort, and an easier life for everyone; the two songs and doctrines which they repeat most often are: "equality of rights" and "sympathy for all that suffers" - and suffering itself they take for something that must be abolished. We opposite men, having opened our eye and conscience to the question where and how the plant "man" has so far grown most vigorously to a height - we think that this has happened every time under the opposite conditions, that to this end the dangerousness of his situation must first grow to the point of enormity, his power of invention and simulation (his "spirit") had to develop under prolonged pressure and constraint into refinement and audacity, his life-will had to be enhanced into an unconditional power-will. We think that hardness, forcefulness, slavery, danger in the alley and the heart, life in hiding, stoicism, the art of temptation and devilry of every kind, that everything evil, terrible, tyrannical in man, everything in him that is kin to beasts of prey and serpents, serves the enhancement of the species "man" as much as its opposite does. Indeed, we do not even say enough when we say only that much; and at any rate we are at this point, in what we say and keep silent about, at the other end from all modem ideology and herd desireableness - as their antipodes perhaps? Is it any wonder that we "free spirits" are not exactly the most communicative spirits? that we do not want to betray in every particular from what a spirit can liberate himself and to what he may then be driven?
And as for the meaning of the dangerous formula "beyond good and evil," with which we at least guard against being mistaken for others: we are something different from "librespenseurs," "liberi pensatori," "Freidenker", and whatever else all these goodly advocates of "modern ideas" like to call themselves. At home, or at least having been guests, in many countries of the spirit; having escaped again and again from the musty agreeable nooks into which preference and prejudice, youth, origin, the accidents of people and books or even exhaustion from wandering seemed to have banished us; full of malice against the lures of dependence that lie hidden in honors, or money, or offices, or enthusiasms of the senses; grateful even to need and vacillating sickness because they always rid us from some rule and its "prejudice," grateful to god, devil, sheep, and worm in us; curious to the point of vice, investigators to the point of cruelty, with uninhibited fingers for the unfathomable, with teeth and stomachs for the most indigestible, ready for every feat that requires a sense of acuteness and acute senses, ready for every venture, thanks to an excess of "free will," with fore- and back-souls into whose ultimate intentions nobody can look so easily, with fore- and backgrounds which no foot is likely to explore to the end; concealed under cloaks of light, conquerors even if we look like heirs and prodigals, arrangers and collectors from morning till late, misers of our riches and our crammed drawers, economical in learning and forgetting, inventive in schemas, occasionally proud of tables of categories, occasionally pedants, occasionally night owls of work even in broad daylight; yes, when it is necessary even scarecrows - and today it is necessary; namely, insofar as we are born, sworn, jealous friends of solitude, of our own most profound, most midnightly, most middaily solitude: that is the type of man we are, we free spirits! And perhaps you have something of this, too, you that are coming? you new philosophers?