What Nietzsche Taught

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Our duties are the claims which others have upon us. How did they acquire these claims? By the fact that they considered us as capable of making and holding[Pg 101] agreements and contracts, by assuming that we were their like and equals, and by consequently entrusting something to us, bringing us up, educating us, and supporting us. 110

My rights consist of that part of my power which others have not only conceded to me, but which they wish to maintain for me. 111

The desire for distinction is the desire to subject one's neighbor.... 113

On this mirror—and our intellect is a mirror—something is going on that indicates regularity: a certain thing is each time followed by another certain thing. When we perceive this and wish to give it a name, we call it cause and effect,—fools that we are! as if in this we had understood or could understand anything! For, of course, we have seen nothing but the images of causes and effects, and it is just this figurativeness which renders it impossible for us to see a more substantial relation than that of sequence!... 129

Pity, in so far as it actually gives rise to suffering—and this must be our only point of view here—is a weakness, like every other indulgence in an injurious emotion. It increases suffering throughout the world, and although here and there a certain amount of suffering may be indirectly diminished or removed altogether as a consequence of pity, we must not bring forward these occasional consequences, which are on the whole insignificant, to justify the nature of pity which, as has already been stated, is prejudicial. Supposing that it prevailed, even if only for one day, it would bring humanity to utter ruin. In itself the nature of pity is no better than that of any other craving; it is only where it is called for and praised—and this happens when people do not[Pg 102] understand what is injurious in it, but find in it a sort of joy—that a good conscience becomes attached to it; it is only then that we willingly yield to it, and do not shrink from acknowledging it. In other circumstances where it is understood to be dangerous, it is looked upon as a weakness; or, as in the case of the Greeks, as an unhealthy periodical emotion the danger of which might be removed by temporary and voluntary discharges. 144-145

You say that the morality of pity is a higher morality than that of stoicism? Prove it! But take care not to measure the "higher" and "lower" degrees of morality once more by moral yardsticks; for there are no absolute morals. So take your yardstick from somewhere else, and be on your guard!... 149

If, in accordance with the present definition, only those actions are moral which are done for the sake of others, and for their sake only, then there are no moral actions at all! If, in accordance with another definition, only those actions are moral which spring from our own free will, then there are no moral actions in this case either! What is it, then, that we designate thus, which certainly exists and wishes as a consequence to be explained? It is the result of a few intellectual blunders; and supposing that we were able to free ourselves from these errors, what would then become of "moral actions"? It is due to these errors that we have up to the present attributed to certain actions a value superior to what was theirs in reality: we separated them from "egoistic" and "non-free" actions. When we now set them once more in the latter categories, as we must do, we certainly reduce their value (their own estimate of value) even below its reasonable level, because "egoistic" and "non-free" actions have up to the present been[Pg 103] undervalued owing to that alleged profound and essential difference. 158-159

If I were a god, and a benevolent god, the marriages of men would cause me more displeasure than anything else. 162

We ought publicly to declare invalid the vows of lovers, and to refuse them permission to marry: and this because we should treat marriage itself much more seriously, so that in cases where it is now contracted it would not usually be allowed in future! Are not the majority of marriages such that we should not care to have them witnessed by a third party? And yet this third party is scarcely ever lacking—the child—and he is more than the witness; he is the whipping-boy and scapegoat. 163

Shame! You wish to form part of a system in which you must be a wheel, fully and completely, or risk being crushed by wheels! where it is understood that each one will be that which his superiors make of him! where the seeking for "connections" will form a part of one's natural duties! where no one feels himself offended when he has his attention drawn to some one with the remark, "He may be useful to you some time"; where people do not feel ashamed of paying a visit to ask for somebody's intercession, and where they do not even suspect that by such a voluntary submission to these morals, they are once and for all stamped as the common pottery of nature, which others can employ or break up of their free will without feeling in any way responsible for doing so,—just as if one were to say, "People of my type will never be lacking, therefore, do what you will with me! Do not stand on ceremony!" 169

In the glorification of "work" and the never-ceasing talk about the "blessing of labour," I see the same secret[Pg 104] arrire-pense as I do in the praise bestowed on impersonal acts of a general interest, viz., a fear of everything individual. 176

Behind the principle of the present moral fashion: "Moral actions are actions performed out of sympathy for others," I see the social instinct of fear, which thus assumes an intellectual disguise.... 177

Whatever may be the influence in high politics of utilitarianism and the vanity of individuals and nations, the sharpest spur which urges them onwards is their need for the feeling of power—a need which rises not only in the souls of princes and rulers, but also gushes forth from time to time from inexhaustible sources in the people. 186

As the aristocrat is able to preserve the appearance of being possessed of a superior physical force which never leaves him, he likewise wishes by his aspect of constant serenity and civility of disposition, even in the most trying circumstances, to convey the impression that his mind and soul are equal to all dangers and surprises....

This indisputable happiness of aristocratic culture, based as it is on the feeling of superiority, is now beginning to rise to ever higher levels; for now, thanks to the free spirits, it is henceforth permissible and not dishonourable for people who have been born and reared in aristocratic circles to enter the domain of knowledge, where they may secure more intellectual consecrations and learn chivalric services even higher than those of former times, and where they may look up to that ideal of victorious wisdom which as yet no age has been able to set before itself with so good a conscience as the period which is about to dawn. 203-205

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