Selections from Nietzsche, The Gay Science (1882/1887)
from: New York: Vantage Books, 1974.
Aphorisms 2, 3, 116, 120, 122, 124, 125, 140, 141, 142, 143, 278, 283, 284, 285, 290, 329, 341, 343, 344, 345, 346, 352, 354, 356, 372, 373, 374, 377, 380, 382
Aph. 2 The intellectual conscience.I keep having the same experience and keep resisting it every time. I do not want to believe it although it is palpable: the great majority of people lacks an intellectual conscience. Indeed, it has often seemed to me as if anyone calling for an intellectual conscience were as lonely in the most densely populated cities as if he were in a desert. Everybody looks at you with strange eyes and goes right on handling his scales, calling this good and that evil. Nobody even blushes when you intimate that their weights are underweight; nor do people feel outraged; they merely laugh at your doubts. I mean: the great majority of people does not consider it contemptible to believe this or that and to live accordingly, without first having given themselves an account of the final and most certain reasons pro and con, and without even troubling themselves about such reasons afterward: the most gifted men and the noblest women still belong to this "great majority." But what is goodheartedness, refinement, or genius to me, when the person who has these virtues tolerates slack feelings in his faith and judgments and when he does not account the desire for certainty as his inmost craving and deepest distressas that which separates the higher human beings from the lower.
Among some pious people I found a hatred of reason and was well disposed to them for that; for this at least betrayed their bad intellectual conscience. But to stand in the midst of this rerum concordia discors [discordant concord of things] and of this whole marvelous uncertainty and rich ambiguity of existence without questioning, without trembling with the craving and the rapture of such questioning, without at least hating the person who questions, perhaps even finding him faintly amusingthat is what I feel /77/ to be contemptible, and this is the feeling for which I look first in everybody. Some folly keeps persuading me that every human being has this feeling, simply because he is human. This is my type of injustice.
Aph. 3 Noble and common.Common natures consider all noble, magnanimous feelings inexpedient and therefore first of all incredible. They blink when they hear of such things and seem to feel like saying: "Surely, there must be some advantage involved; one cannot see through everything." They are suspicious of the noble person, as if he surreptitiously sought his advantage. When they are irresistibly persuaded of the absence of selfish intentions and gains, they see the noble person as a kind of fool; they despise him in his joy and laugh at his shining eyes. "How can one enjoy being at a disadvantage? How could one desire with one's eyes open to be disadvantaged? Some disease of reason must be associated with the noble affection." Thus they think and sneer, as they sneer at the pleasure that a madman derives from his fixed idea. What distinguishes the common type is that it never loses sight of its advantage, and that this thought of purpose and advantage is even stronger than the strongest instincts; not to allow these instincts to lead one astray to perform inexpedient actsthat is their wisdom and pride.
Compared to them, the higher type is more unreasonable, for those who are noble, magnanimous, and self-sacrificial do succumb to their instincts, and when they are at their best, their reason pauses. An animal that protects its young at the risk of its life, or that during the mating period follows the female even into death, does not think of danger and death; its reason also pauses, because the pleasure in its young or in the female and the fear of being deprived of this pleasure dominate it totally: the animal becomes more stupid than usualjust like those who are noble and magnanimous. They have some feel- /78/ings of pleasure and displeasure that are so strong that they reduce the intellect to silence or to servitude: at that point their heart displaces the head, and one speaks of "passion." (Now and then we also encounter the opposite and, as it were, the "reversal of passion"; for example, somebody once laid his hand on Fontenelle's heart, saying to him, "What you have there, dear sir, is another brain.")
The unreason or counterreason of passion is what the common type despises in the noble, especially when this passion is directed toward objects whose value seems quite fantastic and arbitrary. One is annoyed with those who succumb to the passion of the belly, but at least one comprehends the attraction that plays the tyrant in such cases. But one cannot comprehend how anyone could risk his health and honor for the sake of a passion for knowledge. The taste of the higher type is for exceptions, for things that leave most people cold and seem to lack sweetness; the higher type has a singular value standard. Moreover, it usually believes that the idiosyncrasy of its taste is not a singular value standard; rather, it posits its values and disvalues as generally valid and thus becomes incomprehensible and impractical. Very rarely does a higher nature retain sufficient reason for understanding and treating everyday people as such; for the most part, this type assumes that its own passion is present but kept concealed in all men, and this belief even becomes an ardent and eloquent faith. But when such exceptional people do not see themselves as the exception, how can they ever understand the common type and arrive at a fair evaluation of the rule? Thus they, too, speak of the folly, inexpediency, and fantasies of humanity, stunned that the course of the world should be so insane, and puzzled that it won't own up to what "is needful."This is the eternal injustice of those who are noble.
/174/ Aph. 116 Herd instinct.Wherever we encounter a morality, we also encounter valuations and an order of rank of human impulses and actions. These valuations and orders of rank are always expressions of the needs of a community and herd: whatever benefits it mostand second most, and third mostthat is also considered the first standard for the value of all individuals. Morality trains the individual to be a function of the herd and to ascribe value to himself only as a function. The conditions for the preservation of different communities were very different; hence there were very different moralities. Considering essential changes in the forms of future herds and communi- /175/ ties, states and societies, we can prophesy that there will yet be very divergent moralities. Morality is herd instinct in the individual.
/176/ Aph. 120 Health of the soul.The popular medical formulation of morality that goes back to Ariston of Chios [a pupil of Zeno, the founder of Stoicism], "virtue is the health of the soul," would have to be changed to become useful, at least to read: "your virtue is the health of your soul." For there is no health as such, and all attempts to define a /177/ thing that way have been wretched failures. Even the determination of what is healthy for your body depends on your goal, your horizon, your energies, your impulses, your errors, and above all on the ideals and phantasms of your soul. Thus there are innumerable healths of the body; and the more we allow the unique and incomparable to raise its head again, and the more we abjure the dogma of the "equality of men," the more must the concept of a normal health, along with a normal diet and the normal course of an illness, be abandoned by medical men. Only then would the time have come to reflect on the health and illness of the soul, and to find the peculiar virtue of each man in the health of his soul. In one person, of course, this health could look like its opposite in another person.
Finally, the great question would still remain whether we can really dispense with illnesseven for the sake of our virtueand whether our thirst for knowledge and self-knowledge in particular does not require the sick soul as much as the healthy, and whether, in brief, the will to health alone, is not a prejudice, cowardice, and perhaps a bit of very subtle barbarism and backwardness.
/178/ Aph. 122 Moral skepticism in Christianity.Christianity, too, has made a great contribution to the enlightenment, and taught moral skepticism very trenchantly and effectively, accusing and embittering men, yet with untiring patience and subtlety; it destroyed the faith in his "virtues" in every single individual; it led to the disappearance from the face of the earth of all those paragons of virtue of whom there was no dearth in antiquitythose popular personalities who, imbued with faith in their own perfection, went about with the dignity of a great matador.
When we today, trained in this Christian school of skepticism, read the moral treatises of the ancientsfor example, Seneca and Epictetuswe have a diverting sense of superiority and feel full of secret insights and over-sights: we feel as embarrassed as if a child were talking before an old man, or an over-enthusiastic young beauty before La Rochefoucauld [French writer of the 17th century, famous for his unsentimental psychological insights]: we know better what virtue is.
In the end, however, we have applied this same skepticism also to all religious states and processes, such as sin, repentance, grace, sanctification, and we have allowed the worm to dig so deep that now we have the same sense of subtle superiority and insight when we read any Christian book: we also know religious feelings better! And it is high time to know them well and to describe them well, for the pious people of the old faith are dying out, too. Let us save their image and their type at least for knowledge.
/180/ Aph. 124 In the horizon of the infinite.We have left the land and have embarked. We have burned our bridges behind usindeed, we have gone farther and destroyed the land behind us. Now, little ship, look out! Beside you is the ocean: to be sure, it does not always roar, and at times it lies spread out like silk and gold and reveries of graciousness. But hours will come when you will realize that it is infinite and that there is nothing more awesome than infinity. Oh, the poor bird that felt free and now strikes the walls of this cage! Woe, when you feel /181/ homesick for the land as if it had offered more freedomand there is no longer any "land."
Aph. 125 The madman.Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!"As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated?Thus they yelled and laughed.
The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed himyou and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.
"How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after usfor the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."
Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the most distant stars and yet they have done it themselves."
It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"
/190/ Aph. 140 Too Jewish.If God wished to become an object of love, he should have given up judging and justice first of all; a judge, even a merciful judge, is no object of love. The founder of Christianity was not refined enough in his feelings at this pointbeing a Jew.
Aph. 141 Too Oriental.What? A god who loves men, provided only that they believe in him, and who casts an evil eye and threats upon anyone who does not believe in this love? What? A love encapsulated in if-clauses attributed to an almighty god? A love that has not even mastered the feelings of honor and vindictiveness? How Oriental this is! "If I love you, is that your concern?" [from Goethe, who refers to Spinoza's dictum, "Whoever loves God must not expect God to love him in return"] is a sufficient critique of the whole of Christianity.
/191/ Aph. 142. Frankincense.Buddha says: "Do not flatter your benefactor!" Repeat this saying in a Christian church: right away it clears the air of everything Christian.
Aph. 143. The greatest advantage of polytheism.For an individual to posit his own ideal and to derive from it his own law, joys, and rightsthat may well have been considered hitherto as the most outrageous human aberration and as idolatry itself. The few who dared as much always felt the need to apologize to themselves, usually by saying: "It wasn't I! Not I! But a god through me." The wonderful art and gift of creating godspolytheismwas the medium through which this impulse could discharge, purify, perfect, and ennoble itself; for originally it was a very undistinguished impulse, related to stubbornness, disobedience, and envy. Hostility against this impulse to have an ideal of one's own was formerly the central law of morality. There was only one norm, man; and every people thought that it possessed this one ultimate norm. But above and outside, in some distant overworld, one was permitted to behold a plurality of norms; one god was not considered a denial of another god, nor blasphemy against him. It was here that the luxury of individuals was first permitted; it was here that one first honored the rights of individuals. The invention of gods, heroes, and overmen of all kinds, as well as near-men and /192/ undermen, dwarfs, fairies, centaurs, satyrs, demons, and devils was the inestimable preliminary exercise for the justification of the egoism and sovereignty of the individual: the freedom that one conceded to a god in his relation to other godsone eventually also granted to oneself in relation to laws, customs, and neighbors.
Monotheism, on the other hand, this rigid consequence of the doctrine of one normal human typethe faith in one normal god beside whom there are only pseudo-godswas perhaps the greatest danger that has yet confronted humanity. It threatened us with the premature stagnation that, as far as we can see, most other species have long reached; for all of them believe in one normal type and ideal for their species, and they have translated the morality of mores definitively into their own flesh and blood. In polytheism the free-spiriting and many-spiriting of man attained its first preliminary formthe strength to create for ourselves our own new eyesand ever again new eyes that are even more our own: hence man alone among all the animals has no eternal horizons and perspectives.
/229/ Aph. 285 Excelsior [Ever upward]."You will never pray again, never adore again, never again rest in endless trust; you do not permit yourself to stop before any ultimate wisdom, ultimate goodness, ultimate power, while unharnessing your thoughts; you have no perpetual guardian and friend for your seven solitudes; you live without a view of mountains with snow on their peaks and fire in their hearts; there is no avenger for you any more nor /230/ any final improver; there is no longer any reason in what happens, no love in what will happen to you; no resting place is open any longer to your heart, where it only needs to find and no longer to seek; you resist any ultimate peace; you will the eternal recurrence of war and peace: man of renunciation, all this you wish to renounce? Who will give you the strength for that? Nobody yet has had this strength!"
There is a lake that one day ceased to permit itself to flow off; it formed a dam where it had hitherto flown off; and ever since this lake is rising higher and higher. Perhaps this very renunciation will also lend us the strength needed to bear this renunciation; perhaps man will rise ever higher as soon as he ceases to flow out into a god.
/232/ Aph. 290 One thing is needful.To "give style" to one's charactera great and rare art! It is practiced by those who survey all the strengths and weaknesses of their nature and then fit them into an artistic plan until every one of them appears as art and reason and even weaknesses delight the eye. Here a large mass of second nature has been added; there a piece of original nature has been removedboth times through long practice and daily work at it. Here the ugly that could not be removed is concealed; there it has been reinterpreted and made sublime. Much that is vague and resisted shaping has been saved and exploited for distant views; it is meant to beckon toward the far and immeasurable. In the end, when the work is finished, it becomes evident how the constraint of a single taste governed and formed everything large and small. Whether this taste was good or bad is less important than one might suppose, if only it was a single taste!
It will be the strong and domineering natures that enjoy their finest gaiety in such constraint and perfection under a law of their own; the passion of their tremendous will relents in the face of all stylized nature, of all conquered and serving nature. Even when they have to build palaces and design gardens they demur at giving nature freedom.
Conversely, it is the weak characters without power over /233/ themselves that hate the constraint of style. They feel that if this bitter and evil constraint were imposed upon them they would be demeaned; they become slaves as soon as they serve, they hate to serve. Such spiritsand they may be of the first rankare always out to shape and interpret their environment as free nature: wild, arbitrary, fantastic, disorderly, and surprising. And they are well advised because it is only in this way that they can give pleasure to themselves. For one thing is needful: that a human being should attain satisfaction with himself, whether it be by means of this or that poetry and art, only then is a human being at all tolerable to behold. Whoever is dissatisfied with himself is continually ready for revenge, and we others will be his victims, if only by having to endure his ugly sight. For the sight of what is ugly makes one bad and gloomy.
Aph. 341 The greatest weight.What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequenceeven this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!"
Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: "You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine." If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, "Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?" would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?
/279/ Aph. 343 The meaning of our cheerfulness. The greatest recent eventthat "God is dead,"' that the belief in the Christian god has become unbelievableis already beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe. For the few at least whose eyesthe suspicion in whose eyes is strong and subtle enough for this spectacle, some sun seems to have set and some ancient and profound trust has been turned into doubt; to them our old world must appear daily more like evening, more mistrustful, stranger, "older." But in the main one may say: The event itself is far too great, too distant, too remote from the multitude's capacity for comprehension even for the tidings of it to be thought of as having arrived as yet. Much less may one suppose that many people know as yet what this event really meansand how much must collapse now that this faith has been undermined because it was built upon this faith, propped up by it, grown into it; for example, the whole of our European morality. This long plenitude and sequence of breakdown, destruction, ruin, and cataclysm that is now impendingwho could guess enough of it today to be compelled to play the teacher and advance proclaimer of this monstrous logic of terror, the prophet of a gloom and an eclipse of the sun whose like has probably never yet occurred on earth?
Even we born guessers of riddles who are, as it were, waiting on the mountains, posted between today and tomorrow, stretched in the contradiction between today and tomorrow, we firstlings and premature births of the coming century, to whom the shadows that must soon envelop Europe really should have appeared by nowwhy is it that even we look forward to the /280/ approaching gloom without any real sense of involvement and above all without any worry and fear for ourselves? Are we perhaps still too much under the impression of the initial consequences of this eventand these initial consequences, the consequences for ourselves, are quite the opposite of what one might perhaps expect: They are not at all sad and gloomy but rather like a new and scarcely describable kind of light, happiness, relief, exhilaration, encouragement, dawn.
Indeed, we philosophers and "free spirits" feel, when we hear the news that "the old god is dead," as if a new dawn shone on us; our heart overflows with gratitude, amazement, premonitions, expectation. At long last the horizon appears free to us again, even if it should not be bright; at long last our ships may venture out again, venture out to face any danger; all the daring of the lover of knowledge is permitted again; the sea, our sea, lies open again; perhaps there has never yet been such an "open sea."
Aph. 344. How we, too, are still pious.In science convictions have no rights of citizenship, as one says with good reason. Only when they decide to descend to the modesty of hypotheses, of a provisional experimental point of view, of a regulative fiction, they may be granted admission and even a certain value in the realm of knowledgethough always with the restriction that they remain under police supervision, under the police of mistrust.But does this not mean, if you consider it more precisely, that a conviction may obtain admission to science only when it ceases to be a conviction? Would it not be the first step in the discipline of the scientific spirit that one would not permit oneself any more convictions?
Probably this is so; only we still have to ask: To make it possible for this discipline to begin, must there not be some prior convictioneven one that is so commanding and unconditional that it sacrifices all other convictions to itself? We see that science also rests on a faith; there simply is no science "without presuppositions." The question whether truth is needed must not only have been affirmed in advance, but affirmed to such a degree that the principle, the faith, the conviction finds expression: "Nothing is needed more than truth, and in relation to it everything else has only second-rate value."
This unconditional will to truthwhat is it? Is it the will not to allow oneself to be deceived? Or is it the will not to deceive? For the will to truth could be interpreted in the second way, tooif only the special case "I do not want to deceive myself" is subsumed under the generalization "I do not want to deceive." But why not deceive? But why not allow oneself to be deceived?
Note that the reasons for the former principle belong to an altogether different realm from those for the second. One does not want to allow oneself to be deceived because one assumes it is harmful, dangerous, calamitous to be deceived. In this sense, science would be a long-range prudence, a caution, a utility; but one could object in al fairness: How is that? Is wanting not to allow oneself to be deceived really less harmful, less langerous, less calamitous? What do you know in advance of the character of existence to be able to decide whether the greater advantage is on the side of the unconditional mistrust or of the unconditionally trusting? But if both should be required, much trust as well as much mistrust, from where would science then be permitted to take its unconditional faith or conviction on which it rests, that truth is more important than any other thing, including every other conviction? Precisely this conviction could never have come into being if both tuth and untruth constantly proved to be useful which is the case. Thusthe faith in science, which after all exists undniably, cannot owe its origin to such a calculus of utility; it must have originated in spite of the fact that the disutility and dangerousness of "the will to truth," of "truth at any price" is proved to it constantly. "At any price ': how well we understand these words once we have offered and slaughtered one faith after another on this altar!
Consequently, "will to truth" does not mean "I will not allow  myself to be deceived" butthere is no alternative"I will not deceive, not even myself"; and with that we stand on moral ground. For you only have to ask yourself carefully, "Why do you not want to deceive?" especially if it should seemand it does seem!as if life aimed at semblance, meaning error, deception, simulation, delusion, self-delusion, and when the great sweep of life has actually always shown itself to be on the side of the most unscrupulous polytropoi[refers to Homer's characterization of Odysseus: much travelled, versatile, wily, and manifold]. Charitably interpreted, such a resolve might perhaps be a quixotism,[referring to Don Quixote] a minor slightly mad enthusiasm; but it might also be something more serious, namely, a principle that is hostile to life and destructive."Will to truth"that might be a concealed will to death.
Thus the question "Why science?" leads back to the moral problem: Why have morality at all when life, nature, and history are "not moral"? No doubt, those who are truthful in that audacious and ultimate sense that is presupposed by the faith in science thus affirm another world than the world of life, nature, and history; and insofar as they affirm this "other  world"look, must they not by the same token negate its counterpart, this world, our world?But you will have gathered what I am driving at, namely, that it is still a metaphysical faith upon which our faith in science reststhat even we seekers after knowledge today, we godless anti-metaphysicians still take our fire, too, from the flame lit by a faith that is thousands of years old, that Christian faith which was also the faith of Plato, that God is the truth, that truth is divine.But what if this should become more and more incredible, if nothing should prove to be divine any more unless it were error, blindness, the lieif God himself should prove to be our most enduring lie?
Aph. 352. How morality is scarcely dispensable.A naked human being is generally a shameful sight. I am speaking of us Europeans (and not even of female Europeans!). Suppose that, owing to some magician's malice, the most cheerful company at table suddenly saw itself disrobed and undressed; I believe that not only their cheerfulness would vanish and that the strongest appetite would be discouragedit seems that we Europeans simply cannot dispense with that masquerade which one calls clothes.
Now consider the way "moral man" is dressed up, how he is veiled behind moral formulas and concepts of decencythe way our actions are benevolently concealed by the concepts of duty, virtue, sense of community, honorableness, self-denialshould the reasons for all this not be equally good? I am not suggesting that all this is meant to mask human malice and villainythe wild animal in us; my idea is, on the contrary, that it is precisely as tame animals that we are a shameful sight and in need of the moral disguise, that the "inner man" in Europe is not by a long shot bad enough to show himself without shame (or to be beautiful). The European disguises himself with morality because he has become a sick, sickly, crippled animal that has good reasons for being "tame"; for he is almost an abortion, scarce half made up, weak, awkward.
It is not the ferocity of the beast of prey that requires a moral disguise but the herd animal with its profound mediocrity, timidity, and boredom with itself. With morality the European /296/ dresses uplet us confess it!to look nobler, more important, more respectable, "divine"
/302/ Aph. 356 How things will become ever more "artistic" in Europe. Even today, in our time of transition when so many factors cease to compel men, the care to make a living still compels almost all male Europeans to adopt a particular role, their so-called occupation. A few retain the freedom, a merely apparent freedom, to choose this role for themselves; for most men it is chosen. The result is rather strange. As they attain a more advanced age, almost all Europeans confound themselves with their role; they become the victims of their own "good performance"; they themselves have forgotten how much accidents, moods, and caprice disposed of them when the question of their "vocation" was decidedand how many other roles they might perhaps have been able to play; for now it is too late. Considered more deeply, the role has actually become character; and art, nature.
There have been ages when men believed with rigid confidence, even with piety, in their predestination for precisely this occupation, precisely this way of earning a living, and simply refused to acknowledge the element of accident, role, and caprice. With the help of this faith, classes, guilds, and hereditary trade privileges managed to erect those monsters of social pyramids that distinguish the Middle Ages and to whose credit one can adduce at least one thing: durability (and duration is a first-rate value on earth). But there are opposite ages, really democratic, where people give up this faith, and a certain cocky faith and opposite point of view advance more and more into the foregroundthe Athenian faith that first becomes noticeable /303/ in the Periclean age, the faith of the Americans today that is more and more becoming the European faith as well: The individual becomes convinced that he can do just about everything and can manage almost any role, and everybody experiments with himself, improvises, makes new experiments, enjoys his experiments; and all nature ceases and becomes art.
After accepting this role faithan artist's faith, if you will the Greeks, as is well known, went step for step through a rather odd metamorphosis that does not merit imitation in all respects: They really became actors. As such they enchanted and overcame all the world and finally even "the power that had overcome the world" (for the Graeculus histrio [the little Greek actor] vanquished Rome, and not, as innocents usually say, Greek culture). But what I fear, what is so palpable that today one could grasp it with one's hands, if one felt like grasping it, is that we modern men are even now pretty far along on the same road; and whenever a human being begins to discover how he is playing a role and how he can be an actor, he becomes an actor.
With this a new human flora and fauna emerge that could never have grown in more solid and limited ages; or at least they would be left there "below" under the ban and suspicion of lacking honor. It is thus that the maddest and most interesting ages of history always emerge, when the "actors," all kinds of actors, become the real masters. As this happens, another human type is disadvantaged more and more and finally made impossible; above all, the great "architects": The strength to build becomes paralyzed; the courage to make plans that encompass the distant future is discouraged; those with a genius for organization become scarce: who would still dare to undertake projects that would require thousands of years for their completion? For what is dying out is the fundamental faith that would enable us to calculate, to promise, to anticipate the future in plans of such scope, and to sacrifice the future to themnamely, the faith that man has value and meaning only insofar as he is a stone in a great edifice; and to that end he must be solid first of all, a "stone"and above all not an actor! /304/ To say it briefly (for a long time people will still keep silent about it): What will not be built any more henceforth, and cannot be built any more, isa society in the old sense of that word; to build that, everything is lacking, above all the material. All of us are no longer material for a society; this is a truth for which the time has come. It is a matter of indifference to me that at present the most myopic, perhaps most honest, but at any rate noisiest human type that we have today, our good socialists, believe, hope, dream, and above all shout and write almost the opposite. Even now one reads their slogan for the future "free society" on all tables and walls. Free society? Yes, yes! But surely you know, gentlemen, what is required for building that? Wooden iron! The well-known wooden iron." And it must not even be wooden.
Aph. 373. "Science" as a prejudice.It follows from the laws of order of rankle that scholars, insofar as they belong to the spiritual middle class, can never catch sight of the really great problems and question marks; moreover, their courage and their eyes simply do not reach that farand above all, their needs which led them to become scholars in the first place, their inmost assumptions and desires that things might be such and such, their fears and hopes all come to rest and are satisfied too soon. Take, for example, that pedantic Englishman, Herbert Spencer. What makes him "enthuse" in his way and then leads him to draw a line of hope, a horizon of desirabilitythat eventual reconciliation of "egoism and altruism" about which he ravesalmost nauseates the likes of us; a human race that adopted such Spencerian perspectives as its ultimate perspectives would seem to us worthy of contempt, of annihilation! /335/ But the mere fact that he had to experience as his highest hope something that to others appears and may appear only as a disgusting possibility poses a question mark that Spencer would have been incapable of foreseeing.
It is no different with the faith with which so many materialistic natural scientists rest content nowadays, the faith in a world that is supposed to have its equivalent and its measure in human thought and human valuationsa "world of truth" that can be mastered completely and forever with the aid of our square little reason. What? Do we really want to permit existence to be degraded for us like thisreduced to a mere exercise for a calculator and an indoor diversion for mathematicians? Above all, one should not wish to divest existence of its rich ambiguity [multi-interpretable character; C.B.] that is a dictate of good taste, gentlemen, the taste of reverence for everything that lies beyond your horizon. That the only justifiable interpretation of the world should be one in which you are justified because one can continue to work and do research scientifically in your sense (you really mean, mechanistically?)an interpretation that permits counting, calculating, weighing, seeing, and touching, and nothing morethat is a crudity and naivete, assuming that it is not a mental illness, an idiocy.
Would it not be rather probable that, conversely, precisely the most superficial and external aspect of existencewhat is most apparent, its skin and sensualizationwould be grasped firstand might even be the only thing that allowed itself to be grasped? A "scientific" interpretation of the world, as you understand it, might therefore still be one of the most stupid of all possible interpretations of the world, meaning that it be one of the poorest in meaning. This thought is intended for the ears and consciences of our mechanists who nowadays like to pass as philosophers and insist that mechanics is the doctrine of the first and last laws on which all existence must be based as on a ground floor. But an essentially mechanical world would be an essentially meaningless world. Assum- /336/ ing that one estimated the value of a piece of music according to how much of it could be counted, calculated, and expressed in formulas: how absurd would such a "scientific" estimation of music be! What would one have comprehended, understood, grasped of it? Nothing, really nothing of what is "music" in it!
/342/ Aph. 380 "The wanderer" speaks.If one would like to see our European morality for once as it looks from a distance, and if, one would like to measure it against other moralities, past and future, then one has to proceed like a wanderer who wants to know how high the towers in a town are: he leaves the town. "Thoughts about moral prejudices,'' if they are not meant be prejudices about prejudices, presuppose a position outside morality, some point beyond good and evil to which one has to rise, climb, or flyand in the present case at least a point beyond our good and evil, a freedom from everything "European," by which I mean the sum of the imperious value judgments that have become part of our flesh and blood. That one wants to go precisely out there, up there, may be a minor madness, a peculiar and unreasonable "you must"for we seekers /343/ for knowledge also have our idiosyncrasies of "unfree will"the question is whether one really can get up there.
This may depend on manifold conditions. In the main the question is how light or heavy we arethe problem of our "specific gravity." One has to be very light to drive one's will to knowledge into such a distance and, as it were, beyond one's time, to create for oneself eyes to survey millennia and, moreover, clear skies in these eyes. One must have liberated oneself from many things that oppress, inhibit, hold down, and make heavy precisely us Europeans today. The human being of such a beyond who wants to behold the supreme measures of value of his time must first of all "overcome" this time in himselfthis is the test of his strengthand consequently not only his time but also his prior aversion and contradiction against this time, his suffering from this time, his un-timeliness, his romanticism.