What Nietzsche Taught

Page 23 of 74

What induces one man to use false weights, another[Pg 105] to set his house on fire after having insured it for more than its value, a third to take part in counterfeiting, while three-fourths of our upper classes indulge in legalised fraud, and suffer from the pangs of conscience that follow speculation and dealings on the Stock Exchange: what gives rise to all this? It is not real want,—for their existence is by no means precarious; perhaps they have even enough to eat and drink without worrying—but they are urged on day and night by a terrible impatience at seeing their wealth pile up so slowly, and by an equally terrible longing and love for these heaps of gold. In this impatience and love, however, we see re-appear once more that fanaticism of the desire for power which was stimulated in former times by the belief that we were in the possession of truth, a fanaticism which bore such beautiful names that we could dare to be inhuman with a good conscience (burning Jews, heretics, and good books, and exterminating entire cultures superior to ours, such as those of Peru and Mexico). The means of this desire for power are changed in our day, but the same volcano is still smouldering, impatience and intemperate love call for their victims, and what was once done "for the love of God" is now done for the love of money, i.e., for the love of that which at present affords us the highest feeling of power and a good conscience. 209-210

"Enthusiastic sacrifice," "self-immolation"—these are the catch-words of your morality.... In reality ... you only appear to sacrifice yourselves; for your imagination turns you into gods and you enjoy yourselves as such. 226-227

Ceremonies, official robes and court dresses, grave countenances, solemn aspects, the slow pace, involved speech—everything, in short, known as dignity—are all[Pg 106] pretences adopted by those who are timid at heart: they wish to make themselves feared (themselves or the things they represent). The fearless (i.e., originally those who naturally inspire others with awe) have no need of dignity and ceremonies.... 230

A strange thing, this punishment of ours! It does not purify the criminal; it is not a form of expiation; but, on the contrary, it is even more defiling than the crime itself. 235

When a vigorous nature has not an inclination towards cruelty, and is not always preoccupied with itself, it involuntarily strives after gentleness—this is its distinctive characteristic. Weak natures, on the other hand, have a tendency towards harsh judgments.... 236

Kindness has been best developed by the long dissimulation which endeavoured to appear as kindness: wherever great power existed the necessity for dissimulation of this nature was recognised—it inspires security and confidence, and multiplies the actual sum of our physical power. Falsehood, if not actually the mother, is at all events the nurse of kindness. In the same way, honesty has been brought to maturity by the need for a semblance of honesty and integrity: in hereditary aristocracies. The persistent exercise of such a dissimulation ends by bringing about the actual nature of the thing itself: the dissimulation in the long run suppresses itself, and organs and instincts are the unexpected fruits in this garden of hypocrisy. 242

Neither necessity nor desire, but the love of power, is the demon of mankind. You may give men everything possible—health, food, shelter, enjoyment—but they are and remain unhappy and capricious, for the demon waits and waits; and must be satisfied. 243

[Pg 107]

It is probable that there are no pure races, but only races which have become purified, and even these are extremely rare. 253

How many married men have some morning awakened to the fact that their young wife is dull, although she thinks quite the contrary! not to speak of those wives whose flesh is willing but whose intellect is weak! 255

Could there be anything more repugnant than the sentimentality which is shown to plants and animals—and this on the part of a creature who from the very beginning has made such ravages among them as their most ferocious enemy—and who ends by even claiming affectionate feelings from his weakened and mutilated victims! Before this kind of "nature" man must above all be serious, if he is any sort of a thinking being. 258

Among cowards it is thought bad form to say anything against bravery, for any expression of this kind would give rise to some contempt; and unfeeling people are irritated when anything is said against pity. 259

It is the most sensual men who find it necessary to avoid women and to torture their bodies. 261

A young man can be most surely corrupted when he is taught to value the like-minded more highly than the differently minded. 262

The general knowledge of mankind has been furthered to a greater extent by fear than by love. 267

The sum-total of those internal movements which come naturally to men, and which they can consequently set in motion readily and gracefully, is called the soul—men are looked upon as void of soul when they let it be seen that their inward emotions are difficult and painful to them. 268

[Pg 108]

All rules have this effect: they distract our attention from the fundamental aim of the rule, and make us more thoughtless. 273

We are most certain to find idealistic theories among unscrupulously practical men; for such men stand in need of the lustre of these theories for the sake of their reputation. They adopt them instinctively without by any means feeling hypocritical in doing so—no more hypocritical than Englishmen with their Christianity and their Sabbath-keeping. 277

It is not sufficient to prove a case, we must also tempt or raise men to it. 278

Asceticism is the proper mode of thinking for those who must extirpate their carnal instincts, because these are ferocious beasts,—but only for such people! 278

You refuse to be dissatisfied with yourselves or to suffer from yourselves, and this you call your moral tendency! Very well; another may perhaps call it your cowardice! One thing, however, is certain, and that is, that you will never take a trip round the world (and you yourselves are this world), and you will always remain in yourselves an accident and a clod on the face of the earth! 282

The first effect of happiness is the feeling of power, and this feeling longs to manifest itself, whether towards ourselves or other men, or towards ideas and imaginary beings. Its most common modes of manifestation are making presents, derision, and destruction—all three being due to a common fundamental instinct. 286

We approve of marriage in the first place because we are not yet acquainted with it, in the second place because we have accustomed ourselves to it, and in the third place because we have contracted it—that is to say, in[Pg 109] most cases. And yet nothing has been proved thereby in favour of the value of marriage in general. 287

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