Ecce Homo

Page 20 of 30

"Whither have ye fled, the tears of mine eyes and the bloom of my heart? Oh, the solitude of all givers! Oh, the silence of all beacons!

"Many are the suns that circle in barren space; to all that is dark do they speak with their light—to me alone are they silent.

"Alas, this is the hatred of light for that which shineth: pitiless it runneth its course.

[Pg 112]

"Unfair in its inmost heart to that which shineth; cold toward suns,—thus doth every sun go its way.

"Like a tempest do the suns fly over their course: for such is their way. Their own unswerving will do they follow: that is their coldness.

"Alas, it is ye alone, ye creatures of gloom, ye spirits of the night, that take your warmth from that which shineth. Ye alone suck your milk and comfort from the udders of light.

"Alas, about me there is ice, my hand burneth itself against ice!

"Alas, within me is a thirst that thirsteth for your thirst!

"It is night: woe is me, that I must needs be light! And thirst after darkness! And loneliness!

"It is night: now doth my longing burst forth like a spring,—for speech do I long.

"It is night: now do all gushing springs raise their voices. And my soul too is a gushing spring.

"It is night: now only do all lovers burst into song. And my soul too is the song of a lover."


Such things have never been written, never been felt, never been suffered: only a God, only Dionysus suffers in this way. The reply to such a dithyramb on the sun's solitude in light would be Ariadne. ... Who knows, but I, who Ariadne is! To all such riddles no one heretofore had ever found an answer; I doubt even whether any one had ever seen a riddle here. One day Zarathustra severely[Pg 113] determines his life-task—and it is also mine. Let no one misunderstand its meaning. It's a yea-saying to the point of justifying, to the point of redeeming even all that is past.

"I walk among men as among fragments of the future: of that future which I see.

"And all my creativeness and effort is but this, that I may be able to think and recast all these fragments and riddles and dismal accidents into one piece.

"And how could I bear to be a man, if man were not also a poet, a riddle reader, and a redeemer of chance!

"To redeem all the past, and to transform every 'it was' into 'thus would I have it'—that alone would be my salvation!"

In another passage he defines as strictly as possible what to him alone "man" can be,—not a subject for love nor yet for pity—Zarathustra became master even of his loathing of man: man is to him a thing unshaped, raw material, an ugly stone that needs the sculptor's chisel.

"No longer to will, no longer to value, no longer to create! Oh, that this great weariness may never be mine!

"Even in the lust of knowledge, I feel only the joy of my will to beget and to grow; and if there be innocence in my knowledge, it is because my procreative will is in it.

"Away from God and gods did this will lure me: what would there be to create if there were gods?

"But to man doth it ever drive me anew, my[Pg 114] burning, creative will. Thus driveth it the hammer to the stone.

"Alas, ye men, within the stone there sleepeth an image for me, the image of all my dreams! Alas, that it should have to sleep in the hardest and ugliest stone!

"Now rageth my hammer ruthlessly against its prison. From the stone the fragments fly: what's that to me?

"I will finish it: for a shadow came unto me—the stillest and lightest thing on earth once came unto me!

"The beauty of the Superman came unto me as a shadow. Alas, my brethren! What are the—gods to me now?"

Let me call attention to one last point of view. The line in italics is my pretext for this remark. A Dionysian life-task needs the hardness of the hammer, and one of its first essentials is without doubt the joy even of destruction. The command, "Harden yourselves!" and the deep conviction that all creators are hard, is the really distinctive sign of a Dionysian nature.




My work for the years that followed was prescribed as distinctly as possible. Now that the yea-saying part of my life-task was accomplished,[Pg 115] there came the turn of the negative portion, both in word and deed: the transvaluation of all values that had existed hitherto, the great war,—the conjuring-up of the day when the fatal outcome of the struggle would be decided. Meanwhile, I had slowly to look about me for my peers, for those who, out of strength, would proffer me a helping hand in my work of destruction. From that time onward, all my writings are so much bait: maybe I understand as much about fishing as most people? If nothing was caught, it was not I who was at fault There were no fish to come and bite.


In all its essential points, this book (1886) is a criticism of modernity, embracing the modern sciences, arts, even politics, together with certain indications as to a type which would be the reverse of modern man, or as little like him as possible, a noble and yea-saying type. In this last respect the book is a school for gentlemen—the term gentleman being understood here in a much more spiritual and radical sense than it has implied hitherto. All those things of which the age is proud,—as, for instance, far-famed "objectivity," "sympathy with all that suffers," "the historical sense," with its subjection to foreign tastes, with its lying-in-the-dust before petits faits, and the rage for science,—are shown to be the contradiction of the type recommended, and are regarded as almost ill-bred. If you remember that this book follows upon Zarathustra, you may possibly guess to what system of diet it owes its life. The eye which,[Pg 116] owing to tremendous constraint, has become accustomed to see at a great distance,—Zarathustra is even more far-sighted than the Tsar,—is here forced to focus sharply that which is close at hand, the present time, the things that lie about him. In all the aphorisms and more particularly in the form of this book, the reader will find the same voluntary turning away from those instincts which made a Zarathustra a possible feat. Refinement in form, in aspiration, and in the art of keeping silent, are its more or less obvious qualities; psychology is handled with deliberate hardness and cruelty,—the whole book does not contain one single good-natured word.... All this sort of thing refreshes a man. Who can guess the kind of recreation that is necessary after such an expenditure of goodness as is to be found in Zarathustra? From a theological standpoint—now pay ye heed; for it is but on rare occasions that I speak as a theologian—it was God Himself who, at the end of His great work, coiled Himself up in the form of a serpent at the foot of the tree of knowledge. It was thus that He recovered from being a God.... He had made everything too beautiful.... The devil is simply God's moment of idleness, on that seventh day.


The three essays which constitute this genealogy are, as regards expression, aspiration, and the art[Pg 117] of the unexpected, perhaps the most curious things that have ever been written. Dionysus, as you know, is also the god of darkness. In each case the beginning is calculated to mystify; it is cool, scientific, even ironical, intentionally thrust to the fore, intentionally reticent. Gradually less calmness prevails; here and there a flash of lightning defines the horizon; exceedingly unpleasant truths break upon your ears from out remote distances with a dull, rumbling sound,—until very soon a fierce tempo is attained in which everything presses forward at a terrible degree of tension. At the end, in each case, amid fearful thunderclaps, a new truth shines out between thick clouds. The truth of the first essays the psychology of Christianity: the birth of Christianity out of the spirit of resentment, not, as is supposed, out of the "Spirit,"—in all its essentials, a counter-movement, the great insurrection against the dominion of noble values. The second essay contains the psychology of conscience: this is not, as you may believe, "the voice of God in man"; it is the instinct of cruelty, which turns inwards once it is unable to discharge itself outwardly. Cruelty is here exposed, for the first time, as one of the oldest and most indispensable elements in the foundation of culture. The third essay replies to the question as to the origin of the formidable power of the ascetic ideal, of the priest ideal, despite the fact that this ideal is essentially detrimental, that it is a will to nonentity and to decadence. Reply: it flourished not because God was active behind the priests, as is generally believed, but because it was[Pg 118] a faute de mieux—from the fact that hitherto it has been the only ideal and has had no competitors. "For man prefers to aspire to nonentity than not to aspire at all." But above all, until the time of Zarathustra there was no such thing as a counter-ideal. You have understood my meaning. Three decisive overtures on the part of a psychologist to a Transvaluation of all Values.—This book contains the first psychology of the priest.



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