The Twilight of the Idols - The Antichrist

Page 24 of 51

[Pg 121]


"Why so hard!"—said the diamond once unto the charcoal; "are we then not next of kin?"

"Why so soft? O my brethren; this is my question to you. For are ye not—my brothers?

"Why so soft, so servile and yielding? Why are your hearts so fond of denial and self-denial? How is it that so little fate looketh out from your eyes?

"And if ye will not be men of fate and inexorable, how can ye hope one day to conquer with me?

"And if your hardness will not sparkle, cut and divide, how can ye hope one day to create with me?

"For all creators are hard. And it must seem to you blessed to stamp your hand upon millenniums as upon wax,—

—Blessed to write upon the will of millenniums as upon brass,—harder than brass, nobler than brass.—Hard through and through is only the noblest.

This new table of values, O my brethren, I set over your heads: Become hard."

—"Thus Spake Zarathustra,

III., 29.

[Pg 125]


An Attempted Criticism of Christianity


This book belongs to the very few. Maybe not one of them is yet alive; unless he be of those who understand my Zarathustra. How can I confound myself with those who to-day already find a hearing?—Only the day after to-morrow belongs to me. Some are born posthumously.

I am only too well aware of the conditions under which a man understands me, and then necessarily understands. He must be intellectually upright to the point of hardness, in order even to endure my seriousness and my passion. He must be used to living on mountain-tops,—and to feeling the wretched gabble of politics and national egotism beneath him. He must have become indifferent; he must never inquire whether truth is profitable or whether it may prove fatal.... Possessing from strength a predilection for questions for which no one has enough courage nowadays; the courage for the forbidden; his predestination must be the labyrinth. The experience of seven solitudes. New ears for new music. New eyes for the most remote things. A new conscience for truths which hitherto have remained dumb. And the will to economy on a large scale: to husband his strength and his enthusiasm.... He must honour himself, he must love himself; he must be absolutely free with regard[Pg 126] to himself.... Very well then! Such men alone are my readers, my proper readers, my preordained readers: of what account are the rest?—the rest are simply—humanity.—One must be superior to humanity in power, in loftiness of soul,—in contempt.


[Pg 127]


Let us look each other in the face. We are hyperboreans,—we know well enough how far outside the crowd we stand. "Thou wilt find the way to the Hyperboreans neither by land nor by water": Pindar already knew this much about us. Beyond the north, the ice, and death—our life, our happiness.... We discovered happiness; we know the way; we found the way out of thousands of years of labyrinth. Who else would have found it?—Not the modern man, surely?—"I do not know where I am or what I am to do; I am everything that knows not where it is or what to do,"—sighs the modern man. We were made quite ill by this modernity,—with its indolent peace, its cowardly compromise, and the whole of the virtuous filth of its Yea and Nay. This tolerance and largeur de cur which "forgives" everything because it "understands" everything, is a Sirocco for us. We prefer to live amid ice than to be breathed upon by modern virtues and other southerly winds!... We were brave enough; we spared neither ourselves nor others: but we were very far from knowing whither to direct our bravery. We were becoming gloomy; people called us fatalists. Our fate—it was the abundance, the tension[Pg 128] and the storing up of power. We thirsted for thunderbolts and great deeds; we kept at the most respectful distance from the joy of the weakling, from "resignation." ... Thunder was in our air, that part of nature which we are, became overcast—for we had no direction. The formula of our happiness: a Yea, a Nay, a straight line, a goal.


What is good? All that enhances the feeling of power, the Will to Power, and power itself in man. What is bad?—All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness?—The feeling that power is increasing,—that resistance has been overcome.

Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but efficiency[1] (virtue in the Renaissance sense, virtu, free from all moralic acid). The weak and the botched shall perish: first principle of our humanity. And they ought even to be helped to perish.

What is more harmful than any vice?—Practical sympathy with all the botched and the weak—Christianity.


The problem I set in this work is not what will replace mankind in the order of living being! (—Man is an end—); but, what type of man must be reared, must be willed, as having the higher value, as being the most worthy of life and the surest guarantee of the future.

[Pg 129]

This more valuable type has appeared often enough already: but as a happy accident, as an exception, never as willed. He has rather been precisely the most feared; hitherto he has been almost the terrible in itself;—and from out the very fear he provoked there arose the will to rear the type which has how been reared, attained: the domestic animal, the gregarious animal, the sick animal man,—the Christian.


Mankind does not represent a development towards a better, stronger or higher type, in the sense in which this is supposed to occur to-day. "Progress" is merely a modern idea—that is to say, a false idea.[2] The modern European is still far below the European of the Renaissance in value. The process of evolution does not by any means imply elevation, enhancement and increasing strength.

On the other hand isolated and individual cases are continually succeeding in different places on earth, as the outcome of the most different cultures, and in these a higher type certainly manifests itself: something which by the side of mankind in general, represents a kind of superman. Such lucky strokes of great success have always been possible and will perhaps always be possible. And even whole races, tribes and nations may in certain circumstances represent such lucky strokes.[Pg 130]


We must not deck out and adorn Christianity: it has waged a deadly war upon this higher type of man, it has set a ban upon all the fundamental instincts of this type, and has distilled evil and the devil himself out of these instincts:—the strong man as the typical pariah, the villain. Christianity has sided with everything weak, low, and botched; it has made an ideal out of antagonism towards all the self-preservative instincts of strong life: it has corrupted even the reason of the strongest intellects, by teaching that the highest values of intellectuality are sinful, misleading and full of temptations. The most lamentable example of this was the corruption of Pascal, who believed in the perversion of his reason through original sin, whereas it had only been perverted by his Christianity.

Free Learning Resources