What Nietzsche Taught

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Morality and religion are completely and utterly parts of the psychology of error: in every particular case cause and effect are confounded. 41

At present we no longer have any mercy upon the concept "free-will": we know only too well what it is—the most egregious theological trick that has ever existed for the purpose of making mankind "responsible" in a theological manner—that is to say, to make mankind dependent upon theologians. 41

The doctrine of the will was invented principally for the purpose of punishment,—that is to say, with the intention of tracing guilt. The whole of ancient psychology, or the psychology of the will, is the outcome of the fact that its originators, who were the priests at the head of ancient communities, wanted to create for themselves a right to administer punishments—or the right for God to do so. Men were thought of as "free" in order that they might be held guilty.... 42

The fact that no one shall any longer be made responsible, that the nature of existence may not be traced to a causa prima, that the world is an entity neither as a sensorium nor as a spirit—this alone is the great deliverance,—thus alone is the innocence of Becoming restored.... The concept "God" has been the greatest objection to existence hitherto.... We deny God, we deny responsibility in God: thus alone do we save the world. 43

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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.... 44

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 appalling notions. He now lay there, sick, wretched, malevolent even toward himself: full of hate for the 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 understood this: it ruined man, it made him weak,—but it laid claim to having "improved" him. 45-46

All means which have been used heretofore with the object of making man moral, were through and through immoral. 49

My impossible people—Seneca, or the toreador of virtue.—Rousseau, or the return to nature, in impuris naturalibus.—Schiller, or the Moral Trumpeter of Sckingen.—Dante, or the hyna that writes poetry in tombs.—Kant, or cant as an intelligible character.—Victor Hugo,[Pg 242] or the lighthouse on the sea of nonsense.—Liszt, or the school of racing—after women.—George Sand, or lactea ubertas, in plain English: the cow with plenty beautiful milk.—Michelet, or enthusiasm in its shirt sleeves.—Carlyle, or Pessimism after undigested meals.—John Stuart Mill, or offensive lucidity.—The brothers Goncourt, or the two Ajaxes fighting with Homer. Music by Offenbach.—Zola, or the love of stinking. 60

For art to be possible at all—that is to say, in order that an sthetic mode of action and of observation may exist, a certain preliminary physiological state is indispensable: ecstasy. This state of ecstasy must first have intensified the susceptibility of the whole machine: otherwise, no art is possible. All kinds of ecstasy, however differently produced, have this power to create art, and above all the state dependent upon sexual excitement—this most venerable and primitive form of ecstasy. The same applies to that ecstasy which is the outcome of all great desires, all strong passions; the ecstasy of the feast, of the arena, of the act of bravery, of victory, of all extreme action; the ecstasy of cruelty; the ecstasy of destruction; the ecstasy following upon certain meteorological influences, as for instance that of springtime, or upon the use of narcotics; and finally the ecstasy of will, that ecstasy which results from accumulated and surging will-power. 68-68

What is the meaning of the antithetical concepts Apollonian and Dionysian which I have introduced into the vocabulary of sthetic, as representing two distinct modes of ecstasy?—Apollonian ecstasy acts above all as a force stimulating the eye, so that it acquires the power of vision. The painter, the sculptor, the epic poet are essentially visionaries. In the Dionysian state, on the other[Pg 243] hand, the whole system of passions is stimulated and intensified, so that it discharges itself by all the means of expression at once, and vents all its power of representation, of imitation, of transfiguration, of transformation, together with every kind of mimicry and histrionic display at the same time. 67-68

As to the famous "struggle for existence," it seems to me, for the present, to be more of an assumption than a fact. It does occur, but as an exception. The general condition of life is not one of want or famine, but rather of riches, of lavish luxuriance, and even of absurd prodigality,—where there is a struggle, it is a struggle for power. 71

The most intellectual men, provided they are also the most courageous, experience the most excruciating tragedies: but on that very account they honour life, because it confronts them with its more formidable antagonism. 73

When the anarchist, as the mouthpiece of the decaying strata of society, raises his voice in splendid indignation for "right," "justice," "equal rights," he is only groaning under the burden of his ignorance, which cannot understand why he actually suffers,—what his poverty consists of—the poverty of life. 86

To bewail one's lot is always despicable: it is always the outcome of weakness. Whether one ascribes one's afflictions to others or to one's self, it is all the same. The socialist does the former, the Christian, for instance, does the latter. That which is common to both attitudes, or rather that which is equally ignoble in them both, is the fact that somebody must be to blame if one suffers—in short that the sufferer drugs himself with the honey of revenge to allay his anguish. 86

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Why a Beyond, if it be not a means of splashing mud over a "Here," over this world? 87

An "altruistic" morality, a morality under which selfishness withers, is in all circumstances a bad sign. This is true of individuals and above all of nations. The best are lacking when selfishness begins to be lacking. Instinctively to select that which is harmful to one, to be lured by "disinterested" motives,—these things almost provide the formula for decadence. "Not to have one's own interests at heart"—this is simply a moral fig-leaf concealing a very different fact, a physiological one, to wit:—"I no longer know how to find what is to my interest.".... Disintegration of the instincts!—All is up with man when he becomes altruistic. 87

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