The Twilight of the Idols - The Antichrist

Page 10 of 51

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You are aware of my demand upon philosophers, that they should take up a stand Beyond Good and Evil,—that they should have the illusion of the moral judgment beneath them. This demand is the result of a point of view which I was the first to formulate: that there are no such things as moral facts. Moral judgment has this in common with the religious one, that it believes in realities which are not real. Morality is only an interpretation of certain phenomena: or, more strictly speaking, a misinterpretation of them. Moral judgment, like the religious one, belongs to a stage of ignorance in which even the concept of reality, the distinction between real and imagined things, is still lacking: so that truth, at such a stage, is applied to a host of things which to-day we call "imaginary." That is why the moral judgment must never be taken quite literally: as such it is sheer nonsense. As a sign code, however, it is invaluable: to him at least who knows, it reveals the most valuable facts concerning cultures and inner conditions, which did not know enough to "understand" themselves. Morality is merely a sign-language, simply symptomatology: one must already know what it is all about in order to turn it to any use.

[Pg 45]


Let me give you one example, quite provisionally. In all ages there have been people who wished to "improve" mankind: this above all is what was called morality. But the most different tendencies are concealed beneath the same word. Both the taming of the beast man, and the rearing of a particular type of man, have been called "improvement": these zoological termini, alone, represent real things—real things of which the typical "improver," the priest, naturally knows nothing, and will know nothing. To call the taming of an animal "improving" it, sounds to our ears almost like a joke. He who knows what goes on in menageries, doubts very much whether an animal is improved in such places. It is certainly weakened, it is made less dangerous, and by means of the depressing influence of fear, pain, wounds, and hunger, it is converted into a sick animal. And the same holds good of the tamed man whom the priest has "improved." In the early years of the Middle Ages, during which the Church was most distinctly and above all a menagerie, the most beautiful examples of the "blond beast" were hunted down in all directions,—the noble Germans, for instance, were "improved." But what did this "improved" German, who had been lured to the monastery look like after the process? He looked like a caricature of man, like an abortion: he had become a "sinner," he was caged up, he had been imprisoned behind a host of apparling notions. He now lay there, sick, wretched, malevolent even toward himself: full of hate for the[Pg 46] instincts of life, full of suspicion in regard to all that is still strong and happy. In short a "Christian." In physiological terms: in a fight with an animal, the only way of making it weak may be to make it sick. The Church undersood this: it ruined man, it made him weak,—but it laid claim to having "improved" him.


Now let us consider the other case which is called morality, the case of the rearing of a particular race and species. The most magnificent example of this is offered by Indian morality, and is sanctioned religiously as the "Law of Manu." In this book the task is set of rearing no less than four races at once: a priestly race, a warrior race, a merchant and agricultural race, and finally a race of servants—the Sudras. It is quite obvious that we are no longer in a circus watching tamers of wild animals in this book. To have conceived even the plan of such a breeding scheme, presupposes the existence of a man who is a hundred times milder and more reasonable than the mere lion-tamer. One breathes more freely, after stepping out of the Christian atmosphere of hospitals and prisons, into this more salubrious, loftier and more spacious world. What a wretched thing the New Testament is beside Manu, what an evil odour hangs around it!—But even this organisation found it necessary to be terrible,—not this time in a struggle with the animal-man, but with his opposite, the non-caste man, the hotch-potch man, the Chandala. And once again it had no other means of making him weak and harmless, than by making him sick,—it was the struggle with the greatest[Pg 47] "number." Nothing perhaps is more offensive to our feelings than these measures of security on the part of Indian morality. The third edict, for instance (Avadana-Sastra I.), which treats "of impure vegetables," ordains that the only nourishment that the Chandala should be allowed must consist of garlic and onions, as the holy scriptures forbid their being given corn or grain-bearing fruit, water and fire. The same edict declares that the water which they need must be drawn neither out of rivers, wells or ponds, but only out of the ditches leading to swamps and out of the holes left by the footprints of animals. They are likewise forbidden to wash either their linen or themselves since the water which is graciously granted to them must only be used for quenching their thirst. Finally Sudra women are forbidden to assist Chandala women at their confinements, while Chandala women are also forbidden to assist each other at such times. The results of sanitary regulations of this kind could not fail to make themselves felt; deadly epidemics and the most ghastly venereal diseases soon appeared, and in consequence of these again "the Law of the Knife,"—that is to say circumcision, was prescribed for male children and the removal of the small labia from the females. Manu himself says: "the Chandala are the fruit of adultery, incest, and crime (—this is the necessary consequence of the idea of breeding). Their clothes shall consist only of the rags torn from corpses, their vessels shall be the fragments of broken pottery, their ornaments shall be made of old iron, and their religion shall be the worship of evil spirits; without rest they shall wander from place to place.[Pg 48] They are forbidden to write from left to right or to use their right hand in writing: the use of the right hand and writing from left to right are reserved to people of virtue, to people of race."


These regulations are instructive enough: we can see in them the absolutely pure and primeval humanity of the Aryans,—we learn that the notion "pure blood," is the reverse of harmless. On the other hand it becomes clear among which people the hatred, the Chandala hatred of this humanity has been immortalised, among which people it has become religion and genius. From this point of view the gospels are documents of the highest value; and the Book of Enoch is still more so. Christianity as sprung from Jewish roots and comprehensible only as grown upon this soil, represents the counter-movement against that morality of breeding, of race and of privilege:—it is essentially an anti-Aryan religion: Christianity is the transvaluation of all Aryan values, the triumph of Chandala values, the proclaimed gospel of the poor and of the low, the general insurrection of all the down-trodden, the wretched, the bungled and the botched, against the "race,"—the immortal revenge of the Chandala as the religion of love.


The morality of breeding and the morality of taming, in the means which they adopt in order to prevail, are quite worthy of each other: we may lay down as a leading principle that in order to create morality a man must have the absolute will to[Pg 49] immorality. This is the great and strange problem with which I have so long been occupied: the psychology of the "Improvers" of mankind. A small, and at bottom perfectly insignificant fact, known as the "pia fraus," first gave me access to this problem: the pia fraus, the heirloom of all philosophers and priests who "improve" mankind. Neither Manu, nor Plato, nor Confucius, nor the teachers of Judaism and Christianity, have ever doubted their right to falsehood. They have never doubted their right to quite a number of other things To express oneself in a formula, one might say:—all means which have been used heretofore with the object of making man moral, were through and through immoral.

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