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But bold as this step was, it constituted but the first of a series, the next of which was to discover the type which had laid the foundations of the Christian ideal. If it could be proved that these Christian values had been created by a noble species with the object of perpetuating that species, then Christianity would come forth from the inquiry vindicated to the hilt, and fill the damage done to its dogma would not have deterred Nietzsche from standing by it and upholding it to his very last breath. Alas! Things turned out somewhat differently and Nietzsche was not by any means the least pained by the result. Pursuing the inquiry with his usual unflinching and uncompromising honesty, and avoiding no conclusion however unpleasant or fatal, Nietzsche, the scion of a profoundly religions house, the lover of order and tradition, with the blood of generations of earnest believers in his veins, finally found himself compelled to renounce and even to condemn, root and branch, the faith which had been the strength and hope of his forebears.

Before turning to the next chapter, where I shall explain how he came to regard this step as inevitable, it should be said concerning Nietzsche's philosophy in general, that it is essentially and through and through religious and almost prophetic in spirit. No careful reader of his works can doubt that Nietzsche was a deeply religious man. A glance at Thus Spake Zarathustra alone would convince any one of this; while in his constant references to religion throughout his works, as "a step to higher intellectuality,"[5] as "a means to invaluable contentedness,"[6] as "a measure of discipline,"[7] as a powerful social factor,[8] a more substantial confirmation of the fact is to be found.

It is well to bear in mind, however, throughout our study of Nietzsche, that he had a higher type always in view; that he was also well aware that this type could only be attained by the strict observance of a new morality, and that if he opposed other forms of morality—more particularly the Christian form—it was because he earnestly believed that they were rearing an undesirable and even despicable kind of man.

"Verily men have made for themselves all their good and evil. Verily they did not take it: they did not find it: it did not come down as a voice from heaven."[9]

"Behold, the good and just! Whom do they hate most? Him who breaketh up their tables of values; the breaker, the law-breaker: he, however, is the creator."[10]

"Verily a muddy stream is man. One must be at least a sea to be able to absorb a muddy stream without becoming unclean."

"Behold, I teach you Superman: he is that sea; in him your great contempt can sink."[11]

[1] See also D.D. Aph. 81.

[2] Z., p. 67.

[3] Z., p. 65.

[4] Z., p. 138.

[5] G. E., p. 81.

[6] G. E., p. 81.

[7] G. E., p. 80.

[8] G. M., 3rd Essay, Aph. l5.

[9] Z., p. 67.

[10] Z., p. 20.

[11] Z., p. 8.

Chapter III

Nietzsche the Moralist

Conceiving all forms of morality to be but weapons in the struggle for power, Nietzsche concluded that every species of man must at some time or other have taken to moralising, and must have called that "good" which its instincts approved, and that "bad" which its enemies instincts approved. In Beyond Good and Evil, however, he tells us that after making a careful examination "of the finer and coarser moralities which have hitherto prevailed or still prevail on earth," he found certain traits recurring so regularly together, and so closely connected with one another, that, finally, two primary types of morality revealed themselves to him. That is to say, after passing the known moralities of the world in review, he was able to classify them broadly into two types.

He observed that throughout human history there had been a continual and implacable war between two kinds of men; it must have begun in the remotest ages, and it continues to this day. It is the war between the powerful and the impotent, the strong and the weak, the givers and the takers, the healthy and the sick, the happy and the wretched. The powerful formed their concept of "good," and it was one which justified their strongest instincts. The impotent likewise acquired their view of the matter, which was often precisely the reverse of the former view.

In this way Nietzsche arrived at the following broad generalisation: that all the moralities of the world could be placed under one of two heads, Master Morality or Slave Morality.

In the first, the master morality, it is the oak which contends: I must reach the sun and spread broad brandies in so doing; this I call "good," and the herd that I shelter may also call it good. In the second, the slave morality, it is the shrub which says: I also want to reach the sun, these broad branches of the oak, however, keep the sun from me, therefore the oak's instincts are "bad."

It is obvious that these two points of view exist and have existed everywhere on earth. Apart from national and racial distinctions, mankind does fall into the two broad classes of master and slave, or ruler and subject. We also know that each of these classes must have developed its moral code, and must have tried to protect its conduct and life therewith. But, what we did not know until Nietzsche pointed the fact out to us, was: which morality is the more desirable and the more full of promise for the future? Admitting that the master and the slave moralities are struggling for supremacy still, which of them ought we to promote with every means in our power?—which of them is going to make life more attractive, more justifiable, and more acceptable on earth?

These are now questions of the utmost importance; because it is precisely now that pessimism, nihilism, and other desperate faiths are beginning to set their note of interrogation to human existence, and to shake our belief even in the desirability of our own survival.

It is now time for us to discover whence arises this contempt and horror of life, and to lay the blame for it either at the door of the master or of the slave morality.

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