UCB The Concept of Bad and Evil According to Nietzsche Discussion


I. Describe the difference (according to Nietzsche) between bad and evil. 
A. Why does Nietzsche think the respective histories of these concepts are necessary for understanding the concepts themselves? 
B. How do these different histories give rise to different senses of good? 
II. In your own view, does Nietzsche’s historical approach to the study of morality suggest that human existence precedes human essence? Why or why not?

Translated by Walter Kaufmann and RJ Hollingdale
Ecce Homo
Translated by Walter Kaufmann
Edited, with Commentary, by
A Polemic l
Sine Streltschri/t.
Weare unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge-and with
good reason. We have never sought ourselves-how could it happen that we should ever find ourselves? It has rightly been said:
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”;l our treasure is where the beehives of our knowledge are. We are constantly
making for them, being by nature winged creatures and honeygatherers of the spirit; thereis one thing alone we really care about
from the heart-“bringing something home.” Whatever else there
is in life, so-called “experiences”-which of us has sufficient earnestness for them? Or sufficient time? Present experience has, lam
afraid, always found US “absent-minded”: we cannot give our
hearts to it-not even our ears! Rather, as one divinely preoccupied
and immersed in himself into whose
the bell has just boomed
with all its strength the twelve beats of noon suddenly starts up and
asks himself: “what really was that which just struck?” so we
sometimes rub our ears afterward and ask, utterly surprised and
disconcerted, “what really was that which we have just experienced?” and moreover: “who are we really?” and, afterward as
aforesaid, count the twe]ve trembling bell-strokes of our experience, our life, our being-and alas! miscount them.-So we are
necessarily strangers to ourselves, we do not comprehend ourselves, we have to misunderstand ourselves, for us the law “Each is
furthest from himselr· applies to aU eternity-we are not “men of
knowledge” with respect to ourselves.
My ideas on the origin of our moral prejudices-for this is the
subject of this polemic-received their first, brief, and provisional
Matthew 6:21.
expression in the collection of aphorisms that bears the title Human. All-Tao-Human. A Book lor Free Spirits. This book was begun in Sorrento during a winter when it was given to me to pause as
a wanderer pauses and look back across the broad and dangerous
country my spirit had traversed up to that time. This was in th.e
winter of 1876-77; the ideas themselves are older. They were aI-‘
ready in essentials the same ideas that I take up again in the present treatises-let us hope the loog interval has done them good, that
they have become riper, clearer, stronger, more perfectI That I still
cleave to them today, however, that they have become in the meantime more and more firmly attached to one another, indeed entwined and interlaced with one another, strengthens my joyful assurance that they might have arisen in me from the first not as
isolated, capricious, or sporadic things but from a common root,
from a fundamental will of knowledge, pointing imperiously into
the depths, speaking more and more precisely, demanding greater
and greater precision. For this alone is fitting for a philosopher. We
have no right to isolated acts of any kind: we may not make isolated errors or hit upon isolated truths. Rather do our ideas, our
values, our yeas and nays, our ifs and buts,’ grow out of us with the
necessity with whicba tree bears fruit-related and each with an
affinity to each, and evidence of one will, one health, one soil. one
sun.–Whether you like them, these fruits of ours?–But what is
that to the trees! What is that to us. to us philosophers!
Because of a scruple peculiar to me that I am loth to admit
to-for it is concerned with morality. with all that has hitherto
been celebrated on earth as morality-a scruple that entered my
life so ear1y, so uninvited, so irresistib1y, so much in conflict with
my environment, age, precedents, and descent that I might almost
have the right to call it my “a priori”-my curiosity as well as my
suspicions were bound to halt quite soon at the question of where
our good and evil really originated. In fact, the problem of the
origin of evil pursued me even as a boy of thirteen: at an age in
which you have “half childish trifles, half God in your heart.” 2 I
Goethe’s Fawt,lincs 378lf.
devoted to it my first childish literary trifle, my first philosophical
effort-and as for the “solution” of the problem I posed at that
time, well, I gave the honor to God, as was only fair, and made him
the father of evil. Was that what my “a priori” demanded of me?
that new immoral, or at least unmoralistic Ita priori” and the alasl
so anti-Kantian, enigmatic “categorical imperative” which spoke
through it and to which,l have since listened more and more closely,
and not merely listened?
Fortunately I learned early to separate theological prejudice
from moral prejudice and ceased to look for the origin of evil behind the world. A certain amount of historical and philological
schooling, together with an inborn fastidiousness of taste in respect to psychological questions in general, soon transformed my
problem into another one: under what conditions did man devise
these value judgments good and evil? and what value do they themselves possess? Have they hitherto hindered or furthered human
prosperity? Are they a· sign of distress, of impoverishment, of the
degeneration of life? Or is there revealed in them, on the contrary,
the plenitude, force. and will of life, its courage. certainty. future?
Thereupon I discovered and ventured divers answers; I distinguished between ages, peoples, degrees of rank among indi11iduals;
I departmentalized my problem; out of my answers there grew new
questions, inquiries”
probabilities-until at length I
had a country of my own, a soil of my own, an entire discrete,
thriving, flourishing world, like a secret garden the existence of
which no one suspected.-Oh how fortunate we are, we men of
knowledge, provided only that we know how to keep silent long
The first impulse to publish something of my hypotheses con..
cerning the origin of morality was given me by a clear, tidy, and
shrewd—also precocious-little book in which I encountered dis..
tincUy for the first time an upside-down and perverse species of
genealogical hypothesis, the genuinely English
that attracted
me-with that power of attraction which everything contrary,
everything antipodal possesses. The title of the little book was The
Origin of the Moral Sensations,’ its author Dr. Paul Ree; the year in
which it appeared 1877. Perhaps I have never read anything to
which I would have said to myself -No, proposition by proposition,
conclusion by conclusion, to the extent that I did to this book: yet
quite without ill-humor or impatience. In the above-mentioned
work, on which I was then engaged, I made opportune and inopportune reference to the propositions of that book, not in order to
refute them-what have I to do with refutations!-but, as becomes
to replace the improbable with the more probable,
a positive
possibly one error with another. It was then, as I have said, that I
advanced for the first time those genealogical hypotheses to which
this treatise is devoted-ineptly, as I should be the last to deny,
still constrained, still lacking my own language for my own things
and with much backsliding and vacillation. One should compare in ‘
particular what I say in Human, All-Too-Human, section 45, on
the twofold prehistory of good and evil (namely, in the sphere of
the noble and in that of the slaves); likewise, section 136, on the
value and origin of the morality of asceticism; likewise, sections 96
and 99 and volume II, section 89, on the “morality of mores,” that
much older and more. primitive species of morality which differs
toto caeloB from···the altruistic mode of evaluation (in which Dr.
Ree, like aU English moral genealogists, sees moral evaluation as
$uch); likewise, section 92, The Wanderer; section 26, and Dawn,
section 112, on the origin of justice as an agreement between two
approximately equal powers (equality as the presupposition of aU
compacts, consequently of all law) ; likewise The Wanderer, sections 22 and 33, on the origin of punishment, of which the aim of
intimidation is neither the essence nor the source (as Dr. Ree
thinks-it is rather only introduced, under certain definite ci-rcumstances, and always as an incidental, as something added),·
Diametrically: literally, by the whole heavens.
Nietzsche always gives page references to the first editions. I have substituted section numbers, which are the same in all editions and translations;
and in an appendix most of the sections cited are offered in my translations.
For Nietzsche’s relation to Ree, see Rudolph Binion, Frau Lou, Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1968.
Even then my real concern was something much more important than hypothesis-mongering, whether my own or other people’s,
on the
of moraUty (or more precisely: the latter concerned
me solely for the sake of a goal to which it was only one means
among many). What was at stake was the value of morality-and
over this I had to come to terms almost exclusively with my great
teacher Schopenhauer, to whom that book of mine, the passion and
the concealed contradiction of that book, addressed itself as if to a
contemporary (-for that book, too, was a “polemic”). What was
especially at stake was the value of the “unegoistic,” the instincts
of pity, self-abnegation, se]f;;;sacrificc, which Schopenhauer had
gilded, deified, and projected into a beyond for so long that at last
they became for him ”value-in..itself,” on the basis of which he said
No t() life and to himself. But it was against precisely these instincts
that there spoke from me an ever more fundamental mistrust, an
ever more corrosive skepticisml It was precisely here that I saw the
great danger to mankind, its sublimest enticement and seductionbut to what? to nothingfiess?–it was precisely here that I saw the
beginning of the end, the dead stop, a retrospective weariness, the
will turning against life, the tender and sorrowful signs of the ultimate illness: I understood the ever spreading morality of pity that
had seized even on philosophers and made them ill, as the most
sinister symptom of a European culture that had itself become
sinister, perhaps as its by-pass to a new Buddhism? to a Buddhism
for Europeans? to-nihilism?
For this overestimation of and predilection for pity on the
part of modem philosophers is something new: hitherto philosophers have been at one as to
worthlessness of pity. I name only
Plato, Spinoza, La Rochefoucauld and Kant-four spirits as different from one another as possible, but united in one thing: in their
low estimation of pity.
J1tis problem of the value of pity and of the morality of pity
(-I am opposed to the pernicious modern effeminacy of feeling-) seems at first to be merely something detached. an isolated
question mark; but whoever sticks with it and learns how to ask
questions here will experience what I experienced-a tremendous
new prospect opens up for him, a new possibility comes over him
like a vertigo. every kind of mistrust, suspicion, fear leaps up, his
belief in morality, in all morality, falters-finally a new demand
becomes audible. Let us articulate this new demand: we need a
critique of moral values, the value oj these values themselves must
first be called in question-and for that there is needed a knowledge of the conditions arid circumstances in which they grew. under
which they evolved and changed (morality as consequence, as
symptom, as mask; as tartufferie. as illness, as misunderstanding;
but also morality as cause, as remedy. as stimulant, as restraint, as
poison), a knowledge of a kind that has’ never yet existed or even
been desired. One has taken the value of these “values” as given; as
factual, as beyond all question; one has hitherto never dOUbted or
hesitated in the slightest degree in supposing “the good man” to be
of greater value than “the evil man,’· of greater value in the sense
of furthering tbe advancement and prosperity of man in general
(the future of man included). But what if the reverse were true?
What if a symptom of regression were inherent in the “good,” likewise a danger, a seduction, a poison, a narcotic, through which the
present was possibly living at the expense of the future? Perhaps
more comfortably, Jess dangerously, but at the same time in a
meaner style, more basely?- So that precisely morality would be to
blame if the highest power and splendor actually possible to the
type man was never in fact attained? So that precisely morality was
the danger of dangers?
Let it suffice that, after this prospect had opened up before
me, I had reasons to look about me for scholarly, bold, and industrious comrades (I am still looking) . The project is to traverse with
quite novel questions, and as though with new eyes, the enormous,
distant, and so well hidden land of morality-of morality that has
actually existed, actually been lived j and does this not mean virtually to discover this land for the first time?
If I considered in this connection the above-mentioned Dr.
Ree, among others, it was because I had no doubt that the very
nature of his inquiries would compel him to adopt a better method
for reaching answers. Have I deceived myself in this? My desire, at
any rate, was to point out to so sharp and disinterested an eye as
his a better direction in which to look, in the direction of an actual
history of morality, and to warn him in time against gazing around
haphazardly in the blue after the English fashion. For it must be
obvious which color is a hundred times more vital for a genealogist
of morals than blue: namely gray, that is, what is documented,
what can actual1y be confirmed and has actually existed, in short
long hieroglyphic record, so hard to decipher, of the
moral past of mankind!
This was unknown to Dr. Ree; but he had read Darwin-so
that in his hypotheses, and after a fashion that is at least entertaining, the Darwinian beast and the ultramodern unassuming moral
milksop who “no longer bites” politely link hands, the latter wearing an expression of a certain good-natured and refined indolence,
with which is mingled even a grain of pessimism and weariness, as
if all these things-the problems of morality-were really not
worth taking quite so seriously.
to me, on the contrary. there
seems to be nothing more worth taking seriously, among the rewards for it being that some day one will perhaps be allowed to
take them cheer/ully. For cheerfulness-or in my own language
gay science-is a reward: the reward of a long, brave, industrious,
and subterranean seriousness, of which, to be sure, not everyone is
capable. But on the day we can say with all our hearts, “Onwards!
our old morality too is part of the comedy!” we shall have discovered a new complication and possibility for the Dionysian drama of
“The Destiny of the Sour’-and one can wager that the grand old
eternal comic poet of our existence will be quick to make use of it!
If this book is incomprehensible to anyone and jars on his
ears, the fault, it seems to me, is not necessarily mine. It is clear
enough, assuming, as I do assume, that one has first read my earlier
writings and has not spared some trouble in doing so: for they are,
indeed, not easy to penetrate. 1I Regarding my Zarathustra, for example, I do not allow that anyone knows that book who has not at
some time been profoundly wounded and at some time profoundly
delighted by every word in it; for only then may he enjoy the privilege of reverentially sharing in the halcyon element out of which
that book was born and in its sunlight clarity, remoteness, breadth,
and certainty. In other cases, people find difficulty with the aphoris5 See also the end of Nietzsche’s Preface to the new edition of The Dawn,
written in the fall of 1886: ” .•. to read well, that means reading slowly,.
deeply, with consideration and caution .. ,” The last four words do not ade.
quately render ruck. u1Id vorsichtig. which can also mean, looking backward
and forward-i.e., with a regard for the context, including also the writer’s
earlier and later works. Cf. Beyond Good and Evil, my note on section 250.
Yet Arthur Danto voices a very common assumption when he says on
the first page of the first chapter of his Nietzsche as Philosopher (New York.
Macmillan, 1965): UNo one of them [i.e., Nietzsche’s books1 presupposes an
acquaintance with any other . , . his writings may be read in pretty much
any order. without this greatly impeding the comprehension of his ideas.”
This is as wrong as Danto’s claim on the same page that Uit would be diffi·
cult even for a close reader to tell the difference between those works he
[Nietzsche] saw through the press [e.g.• the Genealogy] and those [sic] pieced
together by his editors [i.e., The Will to Power],” Indeed. Danto, like most
readers, approaches Nietzsche as if “any given aphorism or essay might as
easily have been placed in one volume as in
he bases his discussions
on short snippets, tom from their context, and frequently omits phrases with·
out indicating that he has done so; and he does not bother to consider: all or
most of the passages that are relevant to the topics he discusses.
This is one of the few books in English that deal with Nietzsche as a
philosopher, and Danto’s standing as a philosopher inspires confidence; but
bis account of Nietzsche’s moral and epistemological ideas unfortunately depends on this untenable approach. See also the first footnote to the second
essay. below.
tic fonn: this arises from the fact that today this form is not taken
seriously enough. An aphorism, properly stamped and molded, has
-not been udeciphered” when it has simply been read; rather, one
has then to begin its exegesis, for which is required an art of exege..
sis. I have offered in the third essay of the present book an example
of what I regard as “exegesis” in such a case–an aphorism is
fixed to this essay, the essay itself is a commentary on it. To be
sure, one thing is necessary above all if one is to practice reading as
an art in this way something that has been unlearned most thor..
oughly· nowadays-and therefore it will be some time before my
writings are “readable”-something for which one has almost to be
a cow and in any case not a umodern man”: rumination.
Sils-Maria, Upper Engadine,
July 1887
First Essay
“Good and Evil,” “Good and Bad”
These English psychologists, whom one has also to thank for the
only attempts hitherto to arrive at a history of the origin of morality-they themselves are no easy riddle; I confess that, as living
riddles, they even possess one essential advantage over their books
-they ore interesting! These English psychologists-what do they
really want? One always discovers them voluntarily or involuntarily at the same task, namely at dragging the partie honteuse1 of our
inner world into the foreground and seeking the truly effective and
directing agent, that which has been decisive in its evolution, in just
that place where the intellectual pride of man would least desire to
find it (in the vis inertiae2 of habit, for example, or in forgetfulness,
or in a blind and chance mechanistic hooking-together of ideas, or
in something purely passive, automatic, reflexive, molecular, and
thoroughly stupid)-what is it really that always drives these psychologists in just this direction? Is it a secret, malicious, wlgar,
perhaps self-deceiving instinct for belittling man? Or possibly a
pessimistic suspicion, the mistrustfulness of disappointed idealists
grown spiteful and gloomy? Or a petty subterranean hostility and
rancor toward Christianity (and Plato) that has perhaps not even
crossed the threshold of consciousness? Or even a lascivious taste
for the grotesque, the painfully paradoxical, the questionable and
absurd in existence? Or finally-something of each of them, a little
vulgarity, a little gloominess, a little anti-Christianity, a little itching and need for spice?
But I am told they are simply old, cold, and tedious frogs,
creeping around men and into men as if in their own proper ele1
2 Inertia.
ment, that is, in a swamp. I rebel at that idea; more, I do not believe
it; and if one may be aHowed to hope where one does not know,
then I hope from my heart they may be the reverse of this-that
these investigators and microscopists of the soul may be fundamentally brave, proud, and magnanimous animals, who know how to
keep their hearts as well as their sufferings in bounds and have
trained themselves to sacrifice all desirability to truth, every truth,
even plain, harsh, ugly, repellent, unchristian, immoral truth.-For
such truths do
All respect then for the good spirits that may rule in these
historians of moralityl But it is, unhappily, certain that the historical spirit itse1f is Jacking in them, that precisely al1 the good spirits
of history itself have left them in the lurch! As is the hallowed
custom with philosophers, the thinking of all of them is by nature
unhistorical; there is no doubt about that. The way they have bungled their moral genealogy comes to light at the very beginning,
where the task is to investigate the origin of the concept and judgment “good.” “Originally”-so they decree–uone approved unegoistic actions and called them good from the point of view of
those to whom they were done, that is to say, those to whom they
were useful; later one forgot how this approval originated and, simply because unegoistic actions were always habitually praised 8S
goodi one also felt them to be good-as if they were something good
in themselves.” One sees straightaway that this primary derivation
already contains all the typical traits of the idiosyncrasy of the English psychologists-we have “utility,” “forgetting,” “habit,” and
final1y “error,” all as the basis of an evaluation of which the higher
man has hitherto been proud as though it were a kind of prerogative
of man as such. This pride has to be humbled, this evaluation disvalued: has that end been achieved?
Now it is plain to me, first of all, that in this theory the source
of the concept “good” has been sought and established in the
wrong place: the judgment “good” did not originate with those to
whom “goodness” was shown! Rather it was “the good” them..
selves, that is to say, the noble, ‘powerful, high-stationed and highminded, who felt and established themselves and their actions as
good, that is, of the first rank, in contradistinction to aU the low,
low-minded, common and plebeian. It was out of this pathos of distancet that they first seized the right to create values and to coin
names for values: what had they to do with utility! The viewpoint
of utility is as remote and inappropriate as it possibly could be in
face of such a burning eruption of the highest rank-ordering, rankdefining value judgments: for here feeling has attained the antithesis of that low degree of warmth which any calculating prudence,
any calculus of utility, presupposes-and not for once only, not for
an exceptional hOUl, but for good. The pathos of nobility and distance, as aforesaid, the protracted and domineering fundamental
total feeling on the part of a higher ruling order in relation to a
lower order, to a “below”-that is the origin of the antithesis
“good” and “bad,n (The lordly fight of giving names extends so far
that one should allow oneself to conceive the origin of language
itself as an expression of power on the part of the rulers: they say
“this is this and this,” they seal every thing and event with a sound
and, as it were, take possession of it.) It follows from this origin
that the word “good” was definitely not linked from the first and by
necessity to “un egoistic” actions, as the superstition of these genealogists of morality would have it. Rather it was only when
cratic value judgments declined that the whole antithesis “egoistic”
“unegoisticU obtruded itself more and more on the human
science-it is, to speak in my own language, the herd instinct that
through this antithesis at last gets its word (and its words) in. And
even then it was a iong time before that instinct attained such dominion that moral evaluation was actually stuck and halted at this
antithesis (as, for example, is the case in contemporary Europe:
the prejudice that takes “moral,” “unegoistic,” ttdesinteresse” as
concepts of equivalent value already rules today with the force of a
“fixed idea” and brain-sickness).
Cf. Beyond Good and Evil, section 257.
In the second place, however: quite apart from the historical
untenability of this hypothesis regarding the origin of the value
it suffers from an inherent psychological absurdity. The utility of the unegoistic action is supposed to be the source
of the approval accorded it, and this source is supposed to have
been forgotten-but how is this forgetting possible? Has the utility
of such actions corne to an end at some time or other? The opposite
is the case: this utility has rather been an everyday experience at
all times, therefore something that has been underlined again and
again: consequently, instead of fading from consciousness, instead
of becoming easily forgotten, It must have been impressed on the
consciousness more and more c1early. How much more reasonab1e
is that opposing theory (it is not for that reason more true-)
Which Herbert Spencer,l for example, espoused: that the concept
“good” is essentially identical with the concept “useful,u “practi..
cal,” so that in the judgments “good” and “bad” mankind has
summed up and sanctioned precisely its unforgotten and un/orgettable experiences regarding what is useful-practical and what is
harmful-impractical. According to this theory, that which has always proved itself useful is good: therefore it may claim to be “val..
uab1e in the highest degree,” uvaluable in
This road to an
explanation is, as aforesaid, also a wrong one, but at least the explanation is in itself reasonable and psychologically tenable.
The signpost to the right road was for me the question: what
was the real etymological significance of the designations for
“good” coined in the various languages? I found they allIed back
to the same conceptual transformation-that everywhere “noble,”
“aristocratic” in the social sense, is the basic concept from which
1 Herbert
Spencer (1820-1903) was probably the most widely read English
philosopher of his time. He appJied the principle of evolution to many fields,
including sociology and ethics.
“good” in the sense of “with aristocratic soul,” unoble,” “with a
soul of a high order,” “with a privileged soul” necessarily developed: a development which always runs parallel with that other in
which “common'” “plebeian,” “low” are finally transformed into
the concept “bad. n The most convincing example of the latter is the
German word schlecht [bad] itself: which is identical with schlicht
[plain, simple]-compare schlechtweg [plainly], schlechterdings
[simply]-and orginally designated the plain, the common man;
as yet with no inculpatory implication and simply in contradistinc-tion to the nobility. About the time of the Thirty Years’ War, late
enough therefore, this meaning changed into the one now customary.l

With regard to a moral genealogy this seetns to me a fundamental insight; that it has been arrived at so late is the fault of the
retarding influence exercised by the democratic prejudice in the
modern world toward all questions of origin. And this is so even
in the apparently quite objective domain of natural science and
phYSiology, as I shall merely hint here. But what mischief this
prejudice is capabJe of doing, especially to morality and history,
once it has been unbridled to the point of hatred is shown by the
notorious case of Buckle;2 here the plebeianism of the modem
spirit, which is of English origin, erupted once again on its native
soil, as violently as a mud volcano and with that salty, noisy, vulgar
eloquence with which all volcanos have spoken hitherto.-
With regard to our problem, which may on good grounds be
called a quiet problem and one which fastidiously directs itself to
few ears, it is of no small interest to ascertain that through those
words and roots which designate “good” there frequently still
shines the most important nuance by virtue of which the noble
felt themselves to be men of a higher rank. Granted that, in the
1 Cf. Dawn.
section 231. included in the present volume.
Henry Thomas Buckle (1821-1862) t English historian. is known chiefly for
his History of Civilization (18S7ff.). The suggestion in tbe text is developed
more fully in section 876 of The Will to Power.
majority of cases, they designate themselves simply by their superiority in power ( as “the powerful,” “the masters,.” “the commanders”) or by the most clearly visible signs of this superiority, for
example, as “the rich,” “the possessors” (this is the meaning of
arya; and of corresponding words in Iranian and Slavic). But they
also do it by a typical character trait: and this is the case that
concerns us here. They call themselves, for instance, “the truthful”;
this is so above aU of the Greek nobility, whose mouthpiece is the
Megarian poet Theognis.1 The root of the word coined for this,
esthlos,2 signifies one who is, who possesses reality, who is actual,
who is true; then, with a subjective tum, the true as the truthful: in
this phase of conceptual transformation it becomes a slogan and
catchword of the nobility and passes over entirely into the sense of
“noble,” as distinct from the lying common man, which is what
NietzSche’s first publication, in 1867 when he was still a student at the Uni..
versity of Leipzig, was an article in a leading classical journal, Rheinisches
Museum, on the history of the collection of the maxims of Theognis CC’Zur
Geschichte der Theognideischen Spruchsammlung”). Theognis of Megara
Jived in the sixth century B.C.
2 Greek: good, brave. Readers who are not classical philologists may wonder
read this sec:tion how well taken Nietzsche’s points about the Greek.s
this Ronnection one coulg obviously
literature, but ill this
brief commentary it will be sufficient to quote Professor Gerald F. Else’s
monumental study Aristotle’s Poetics: The Argumetlt (Cambridge, Mass.,
work equally notable for its paUent and
thorough scholarship and its spirited defense of some controversial interpretations. On the points at issue here, Else’s comments are not, I think, controversial; 811d that is the reason for citing them here.
“The dichotomy is mostly taken for granted in Homer: there are not
many occasions when the heaven-wide gulf between heroes and commoners
even has to be mentioned.3o [30 Still, one finds ‘good’ (esthloi) and ‘bad’
(kakoi) explicitly contrasted a fair number of times: B366, Z489, 1319, .••J
In the • • . seventh and sixth centuries, on the other hand, the antithesis
grows commoD. In Theognis it amounts to an obsession . . . Greek thinking begins with and for a long time holds to the proJlosition that mankind is
divided into ‘good’ and ‘bad j ‘ and these terms are qUite as much social. poUt..
ieal, and economic 8S they are moral. • • . The dichotomy is absolute and
exclusive for a simple reason: it began as the aristocrats’ view of society and
reftects their idea of the gulf between themselves and the ‘others.’ In the
minds of a comparatively sma)) and close-knit group like the Greek aristocracy there are only two kinds of people, ‘we’ and ‘they’; and of course ‘wet
are the good people, the proper, decent, good-looking, right-thinking ones,
while. ‘they’ are the rascals, the poltroons. the good-for-nothings • • • Aristotle knew and sympathized with this older aristocratic, ‘practical’ ideal, not
as superior to the contemplative, but at least as next best to it” (p. 75).
Theognis takes him to be and how he describes him-until finally,
after the decline of the nobility, the word is left to designate nobility of soul and becomes as it were ripe and sweet. In the word
kakos, 8 as in
(the plebeian in contradistinction to the agathos 5 ), cowardice is emphasized: this perhaps gives an indication in
which direction one should seek the etymological origin of agathos,
which is susceptible of several interpretations. The Latin malus6
(beside which I set melas7 ) may designate the common man as the
dark-colored, above all as the black-haired man (“hie niger estfL-tt) ,
as the pre-Aryan occupant of the soil of Italy who was distinguished
most obviously from the blond, that is Aryan, conqueror race by
his color; Gaelic, at any rate, offers us a precisely sitnilar casefin (for example in the name Fin..Gal), the distinguishing word for
nobility, finally for the good, noble, pure, orginally meant the blondheaded, in contradistinction to the dark, black-haired aboriginal
The Celts, by the way, Were definitely a blond race; it is wrong
to associate traces of an essentially dark-haired people which appear on the more careful ethnographical maps of Germany with
any sort of Celtic origin or blood-mixture, as Virchow·still does: it
is rather the pre-Aryan people of Germany who emerge in these
places. (The same is true of virtually all Europe: the suppressed
race has gradually recovered the upper hand again, in coloring,
shortness of skull, perhaps even in the intellectual and social inGreek: bad, ugly, ill-born, mean, craveD.
Greek: cowardly, worthless, \lile, wretched.
Ii Greek: good, well-horn, gentle, brave, capable.
7 Greek: black, dark.
8 Quoted from Horace’s Satires, 1.4, line 85: “He that backbites an absent
friend ••. and cannot keep secrets, is black, 0 Roman, beware!” Niger.
originally “black,” also came to mean unlucky and, as in this quotation,
wicked. Conversely. candidus means white, bright, beautiful, pure, guileless,
candid. honest, happy, fortunate. And in Satires. 1.5, 41, Horace speaks of
lithe whitest souls earth ever bore” (anlmae qualis neque candidiores terra
• Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902) was one of the greatest German pathologists,
as well as a liberal politician, a member of the German Reichstag (parliament), and an opponent of Bismarck.
stincts: who can say whether modem democracy, even more modem anarchism and especially that inclination for ucommune,” for
the most primitive form of society, which is now shared by all the
socialists of Europe, does not signify in the main a tremendous
counterattack-and that the conqueror and master race,10 the
Aryan, is not succumbing physiologically, too?
I believe I may venture to interpret the Latin bonusll as “the
warrior,” provided I am right in tracing bonus back to an earlier
duonus12 (compare bellum
duel/um = duen-lum, which seems to
me to contain duonus). Therefore bonus as the man of strife, of
dissention (duo), as the man of war: one sees what constituted the
“goodness” of a man in ancient Rome. Our German gut [good]
even: does it not signify “the godlike,” the man of “godlike race”?
And is it not identical with the popular (originally noble) name of
the Goths? The grounds for this conjecture cannot be dealt with
To this rule that a concept denoting political superiority always resolves itself into a concep’t denoting superiority of soul
it is not necessari]y an exception (although it provides occasions
for exceptions) when the highest caste is at the same time the
priestly caste and therefore emphasizes in its total description of
itself a predicate that calls to mind its priestly function. It is then,
for example, that “pure” and “impure” confront one another
for the first time as designations of station; and here too there
evo]ves a “good” and a “bad” in a sense no longer referring to
station. One should be warned, moreover, against taking these concepts “pure” and “impure” too ponderously or broadly; not to say
symbolically: all the concepts of ancient man were rather at first
10 For a detailed discussion both of this concept and of Nietzsche’s attitude
toward the Jews and anti-Semitism. see Kaufmann’s Nietzsche, Chapter 10:
“The Master·Race.”
11 Good.
12 Listed in Harper’s Latin Dictionary as the old form of bonus, with the
comment: “for duonu” cf. bel/urn.” And duel/urn is identified as an early and
poetic form of bellum (war).
incredibly uncouth, coarse, external, narrow, straightforward, and
altogether unsymbolical in meaning to a degree that we can
scarcely conceive. The “pure one” is from the beginning merely a
man who washes himself, who forbids himself certain foods that
produce skin ailments, who does not sleep with the dirty women of
the lower strata, who has an aversion to blood-no more, bardly
morel On the other hand, to be sure, it is clear from the whole
nature of an essentially priestly aristocracy why antithetical
valuations could in precisely this instance soon become danger…
oU81y deepened, sharpened, and internalized; and indeed they
finally tore chasms between man and man that a very Achilles of a
free spirit would not venture to leap without a shudder. There is
from the first something unhealthy in such priestly aristocracies
and in the habits ruling in them ‘which tum them away from action
and alternate between brooding and emotional explosions, habits
which seem to have as their almost invariable consequence that
intestinal morbidity and neurasthenia which has afflicted priests at
all times; but as to that which they themselves devised as a remedy
for this morbidity-must one not assert that it has ultimately
proved itself a hundred times more dangerous in its effects than the
sickness it was supposed to cure? Mankind itself is still ill with the
effects of this priestly naivete in medicine! Think, for example, of
certain forms of diet (abstinence from meat), of fasting, of sexual
continence, of flight “into the wilderness” (the Weir Mitchell isola…
tion curel-without, to be sure, the subsequent fattening and overfeeding which constitute the most effective remedy for the hysteria
induced by the ascetic ideal): add to these the entire antisensualistic metaphysic of the priests that makes men indolent and overrefined, their autohypnosis in the manner of fakirs and Brahmins
-Brahm a used in the shape of a glass knob and a fixed idea-and
finally the onJy…too-comprehensible satiety with aU this, together
with the radical cure for it, nothingness (or God-the desire for a
uroo mystica with God is the desire of the Buddhist for nothing…
ness, Nirvana-and no more!). For with the priests everything be-comes more dangerous, not only cures and remedies, but also arroI1be cure developed by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell (1829-1914, American)
in isolation, confinement to bed, dieting, and massage.
gance, revenge, acuteness, profligacy” Jove, lust to rule, virtue,
disease-but it is only fair to add that it was on the soil of this
essentially dangerous form of human existence, the priestly form,
that man first became an interesting animal, that only here did the
human soul in a higher sense acquire depth and become evil-and
these are the two basic respects in which man has hitherto been
superior to other beasts!
One will have divined already how easily the priestly mode
of valuation can branch off from the knightly-aristocratic and then
develop into its opposite; this is particularly likely when the priestly
caste and the warrior caste are in jealous opposition to one another
and are unwilling to come to terms. The knightly-aristocratic value
judgments presupposed a powerful physicality, a flourishing, abundant, even overflowing health, together with that which serves to
preserve it: war, adventure, hunting, dancing, war games, and in
general all that involves vigorous, free, joyful activity. The priestlynoble mode of valuation presupposes, as we have seen, other
things: it is disadvantageous for it when it comes to war! As iswell
known, the priests are the most evil enemies-but why? Because they are the most impotent. It is because of their impotence
that in them hatred grows to monstrous and uncanny proportions,
to the most spiritual and poisonous kind of hatred. The truly great
haters in world history have always been priests; likewise the most
ingenious 1 haters: other kinds of spirit 2 hardly come into consideration when compared with the spirit of priestly vengefulness.
Human history would be altogether too stupid a thing without the
spirit that the impotent have introduced into it-let us take at once
the most notable example. All thaLhas been done on earth against
“the noble/’ “the powerful,” “the masters,” “the rulers:’ fades into
nothing compared with what the Jews have done against them; the
Jews, that priestly people, who in opposing their enemies and conquerors were ultimately satisfied with nothing less than a radical
revaluation of their enemies’ values, that is to say, an act of the
most spiritual revenge. For this alone was appropriate to a priestly
people, the people embodying the most deeply repressed 3 priestly
vengefulness. It was the Jews who, with awe-inspiring consistency,
dared to invert the aristocratic value-equation (good noble
powerful = beautiful happy = beloved of God) and to hang on
to this inversion with their teeth, the teeth of the most abysmal
hatred (the hatred of impotence), saying “the wretched alone are
the good; the poor, impotent, lowly alone are the good; the suffering, deprived, sick, ugly alone are pious, alone are blessed by God,
blessedness is for them alone-and you, the powerful and noble,
are on the contrary the evil, the cruel, the lustful, the insatiable, the
godless to all eternity; and you shall be in all eternity the unblessed,
accursed, and damned!” . . . One knows who inherited this Jewish revaluation . • . In connection with the tremendous and
immeasurably fateful initiative provided by the Jews through this
most fundamental of all declarations of war, I recall the proposi…
tion I arrived at on a previous occasion (Beyond Good and Evil,
section 195) “-that with the Jews there begins the slave revolt in
morality: that revolt which has a history of two thousand years
behind it and which we no longer see because it-has been victorious.
But you do not comprehend this? You are incapable of seeiog
something that required two thousand years to achieve victory?There is nothing to wonder at in that: all protracted things are hard
to see, to see whole. That, however, is what has happened: from
the trunk of that tree of vengefulness and hatred, Jewish hatredthe profoundest and sublimest kind of hatred, capable of creating
ideals and reversing values, the like of which has never existed on
earth before-there grew something equally incomparable, a new
love, the profoundest and sublimest kind of love-and from what
other trunk could it have grown?
8 Zuruckgetretensten .
.. See my commentary on that section in Beyond Good and Evil (New York,
Vintage Books, 1966), section 195, note 11.
One should not imagine it grew up as the denial of that thirst
for revenge, as the opposite of Jewish hatred! No, the reverse is
true! That love grew out of it as its crown, as its triumphant crown
spreading itself farther and farther into the purest brightness and
sunlight, driven as it were into the domain of light and the heights in
pursuit of the goals of that
spoil, and seductionby the same impulse that drove the roots of that hatred deeper and
deeper and more and more covetously into all that was profound
and evil. This Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnate gospel of love, this
“Redeemer” who brought blessedness and victory to the poor; the
sick, and the sinners-was he not this seduction in its most uncanny and irresistible form, a seduction and bypath to precisely
those Jewish values and new ideals? Did Israel not attain the ultimate goal of its sublime vengefulness precisely through the bypath
of this “Redeemer,” this ostensible opponent and disintegrator of
Israel? Was it not part of the secret black art of truly grand politics
of revenge, of a farseeing, subterranean,. slowly advancing, and
premeditated revenge, that Israel must itself deny the real instrument
of its revenge before all the world as a mortal enemy and nail
it to the cross, so that “all the world,” namely all the opponents
of Israel, could unhesitatingly swallow just this bait? And could
spiritual subtlety imagine any more
bait than this? Anything to equal the enticing, intoxicating, overwhelming t and undermining power of that symbol of the “holy cross,” that ghastly paradox of a “God on the cross,” that mystery of an unimaginable
ultimate cruelty and self-crucifixion of God for the salvation of
What is certain, at least, is that sub hoc signol Israel, with its
vengefulness and revaluation of all values, has hitherto triumphed
again and again over all other ideals, over all nobler ideals.-9
“But why are you talking about nobler ideals! Let us stick to
the facts: the people have won-or ‘the slaves’ or ‘the mob’ or ‘the
herd’ or whatever you like to call them-if this has happened
Under this sign.
through the Jews, very well! in that case no people ever had a more
world-historic mission. ‘The masters’ have been disposed of; the
morality of the common man has won. One may conceive of this
victory as at the same time a hlood-poisoning (it has mixed the
races together)-I shan’t contradict; but this in-toxication has
undoubtedly been successful. The ‘redemption’ of the human race
(from ‘the masters,’ that is) is going forward; everything is visibly
becoming Judaized, Christianized, mob-ized (what do the words
matter! ). The progress of this poison through the entire body of
mankind seems irresistible, its pace and tempo may from now on
even grow slower, subtler, less audible, more cautious-there is
plenty of time.- To this end, does the church today still have any
necessary role to play? Does it still have the right to exist? Or
could one do without it? QuaeriturJl It seems to hinder rather than
hasten this progress. But perhaps that is its usefulness.- Certainly
it bas, over the years, become something crude and boorish, something repellent to a more delicate intellect, to a truly modem taste.
Ought it not to become at least a little more refined?- Today it
alienates rather than seduces.- Which of us would be a free spirit
if the church did not exist? It is the church, and not its poison, that
repels us.- Apart from the church, we, too, love the poison.-”
This is the epilogue. of a “free spirit” to my speech; an honest
animal, as he has abundantly revealed, and a
he had been 1istening to me till then and could not endure to listen
to my silence. For at this point I have much to be silent about.
The slave revolt in morality begins when ressentiment1 itself
becomes creative and gives birth to values: the ressentiment of
natures that are denied the true reaction, that of deeds, and compensate themselves with an imaginary revenge. While every noble
from a triumphant affirmation of itself, slave
morality from the outset says No to what is “outside,” what is
“different,” what is “not itself’; and this No is its creative deed.
This inversion of the value-positing eye-this need to direct one’s
One asks.
Resentment. The term is discussed above, in section 3 of the Introduction.
view outward instead of back to oneself-is of the essence of ressentiment: in order to exist, slave morality always first needs a
hostile external world; it needs, physiologically speaking, external
stimuli in order to act at all-its action is fundamentally reaction.
The reverse is the case with the noble mode of valuation: it
acts and grows spontaneously, it seeks its opposite only so as to
affirm itself more gratefully and triumphantly-its negative concept
“low,” “common,” “bad” is only a subsequently-invented pale,
contrasting image in relation to its positive. basic concept-filled
with life and passion through and through-“we noble ones, we
good, beautiful, happy onesl” When the noble mode of valuation
blunders and sins against reality, it does soin respect to the sphere
with which it is not sufficiently familiar, against a real knowledge of
which it has indeed inflexibly guarded itself: in some circumstances
it misunderstands the sphere it
that of the common man,
of the lower orders; on the other hand, one should remember that,
even supposing that the affect of contempt, of looking down from a
superior height, falsifies the image of that which it despises, it will
at any rate still bea much less serious falsification than that perpetrated on its opponent-in effigie of course-by the submerged hatred, the vengefulness of the impotent. There is indeed too much
carelessness, too much taking lightly, too much looking away and
impatience involved in contempt, even too much joyfulness, for it
to be able to transform its object into a real caricature and monster.
One should not overlook the almost benevolent nuances that
the Greek nobility, for example, bestows on all the words it. employs to distinguish the lower orders from itself; how they are ,continuously mingled and sweetened with a kind of pity, consideration,
and forbearance, so that finally almost all the words referring to the
common man have remained as expressions signifying “unhappy,”
“pitiable” (campore deilos,2 deilaios,3 poneros,4 mochtheros,rJ the
All of the footnoted words in this section are Greek. The first four mean
wretched, but each has a separate note to suggest some of its other connota-
tions. Dei/os: cowardly, worthless, vile.
.. Oppressed by toils, good for nothing, worthless, knavish, base, cowardly.
15 Suffering hardship, knavish.
last two of which properly designate the common man as workslave and beast of burden)-and how on the other hand “bad,”
“low,” “unhappy” have never ceased to sound to the Greek ear as
one note with a tone-color in which “unhappy” preponderates: this
as an inheritance from the ancient nobler aristocratic mode of evaluation, which does not belie itself even in its contempt ( ……..philologists should recall the sense in which oi’zyros,6 anolbos,7 tlemon,8
dystycheirt,1) -xymphora 10 are employed). The “well-born” felt
themselves to be the “happylt; they did not have to establish their
happiness artificially by examining their enemies, or to persuade
themselves, deceive themselves, that they were happy (as all men
of ressentiment are in the habit of doing); and they likewise knew,
as rounded men replete with energy and therefore necessarily active, that happiness should riot be sundered from action……..being active was with them necessarily a part of happiness (whence eu prattein ll takes its origin )-all very much the opposite of “happiness”
at the level of the impotent, the oppressed, and those in whom
poisonous and inimical feelings are festering, with whom it appears
as essentially narcotic, drug, rest, peace, “sabbath,” slackening of
tension and relaxing of limbs, in short passively.
While the noble man Uves in trust and openness with himself
(gennaios1 2 “of noble descent” underlines the nuance “upright” and
probably also .”na’ive” ), the man of ressentiment is neither upright
nor naive nor honest and straightforward with himself. His soul
squints; his spirit loves hiding places, secret paths and back doors,
everything covert entices him as his world, his security, his refreshment; he understands how to keep silent, how not to forget,
how to wait, how to be provisionally se1f-deprecating and humble.
A race of such men of ressentiment is bound to become eventually
cleverer than any noble race; it will also honor cleverness to a far
greater degree: namely, as a condition of existence of the first imWoeful, miserable. toilsome; wretch,
Unblest, wretched, luckless, poor.
S Wretched, miserable.
G To be unlucky. unfortunate.
10 Misfortune.
11 To do well in the sense of faring well.
12 High.born, noble. high-minded.
partance; while with noble men cleverness can easily acquire a
subtle flavor of lUXUry and subtlety-for here it is far less essential than the perfect functioning of the regulating unconscious instincts or even than a certain imprudence, perhaps a bold recklessness whether in the face of danger or of the enemy, or that
enthusiastic impulsiveness in anger, love, reverence, gratitude, and
revenge by which noble souls have at aU times recognized one another. Ressentiment itself, if it should appear in the noble man,
consummates and exhausts itself in an immediate reaction, and
therefore does not poison: on the other hand, it fails to appear at
aU on countless occasions on which it inevitably appears in the
weak and impotent.
To be incapable of taking one’s enemies, one’s accidents; even
one’s misdeeds seriously for very long-that is the sign of strong,
full natures in whom there is an excess of the power to form, to
mold, to recuperate and to forget (a good example of this in modem times is Mirabeau,J3 who had no memory for insults and vile
actions done him and was unable to forgive simply because heforgot). Such a man shakes off with a single shrug many vermin
that eat deep into others; here alone genuine “love of one’s enemies” is possible-supposing it to be possible at all on earth. How
much reverence has a noble man for his enemies!–and such reverence is a bridge to love.- For he desires his enemy for himself,
as his mark of distinction; he can endure no other enemy than one
in whom there is nothing to despise and very much to honor! In
contraSt to this, picture “the enemy” as the man of ressentiment
conceives him-and here precisely is his deed, his creation: he has
conceived “the evil enemy,” lithe Evil One,” and this in fact is his
basic concept, from which he then evolves, as an afterthought and
pendant, a “good one”-himself!
This, then, is quite the contrary of what the noble mfUl does,
who conceives the basi.c concept “good” in advance and spontaneously out of himself and only then creates for himself an idea of
Honore Gabriel Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau (1749-1791), was a cole.
brated French Revolutionary statesman and writer.
Ubad”! This “bad” of noble origin and that “evil” out of the caul..
dron of unsatisfied hatred-the former an after-production, a side
issue, a contrasting shade, the latter on the contrary the original
thing, the beginning, the distinctive deed in the conception of a
slave moraHty-how different these words “bad” and “evil” are,
although they are both apparently the opposite of the same concept
“good.” But it is not the same concept “good”: one should ask
rather precisely who is “evil” in the sense of the morality of ressentiment. The answer, in all strictness, is: precisely the “good
man” of the other morality, precisely the noble, powerful man, the
ruler; but dyed in another color, interpreted in another fashion, seen
in another way by the venomous eye of ressentiment.
Here there is one thing we shall be the last to deny: he who
knows these “good men” only as enemies knows only evil enemies, and the same men who are held so sternly in check inter
parest by custom, respect, usage, gratitude, and even more by mutual suspicion and jealousy, and who on the other hand in their
relations with one another show themselves so resourceful in consideration, self-control. delicacy, loyalty, pride, and friendshiponce they go outside; where the strange, the stranger is found, they
are not much better than uncaged beasts of prey. There they savor
a freedom from all social constraints, they compensate themselves
in the wilderness for the tension engendered by protracted confinement and enclosure within the peace of society, they go back to the
innocent conscience of the beast of prey, as triumphant monsters
who perhaps emerge from a disgusting2 procession of murder, ar..
son, rape, and torture, exhilarated and undisturbed of soul, as if it
were no more than a students’ prank, convinced they have provided
the poets with a lot more material for song and praise. One cannot
fail to see at the bottom of all these noble races the beast of prey,
the splendid blond beastS prowling about avidly in search of spoil
1 Among equals.
8 This
is the first appearance in Nietzsche’s writings of the notorious “blond
beast.” It is encountered twice more in the present section; a variant appears
in section 17 of the second essay; and then the blonde Beslie appears once
more in Twilight. “The ‘Improvers’ of Mankind,” section 2 (Portable Nieluche, p. S02). That is all. For a detailed discussion of these passages sec
and victory; this hidden core needs to erupt from time to time, the
animal has to get out again and go back to the wilderness: the
Roman, Arabian, Germanic, Japanese nobility, the Homeric
heroes, the Scandinavian Vikings-they all shared this need.
I t is the noble races that have left behind them the concept
“barbarian” wherever they have gone; even their highest culture
betrays a consciousness of it and even a pride in it (for example,
when Pericles says to
Athenians in his famous funeral oration
“our boldness has gained access to every land and sea, everywhere
raising imperishable monuments to its goodness and wickedness”).
This “boldness” of noble races, mad, absurd, and sudden in its expression, the incalculability, even incredibility of their undertakings
-Pericles specially commends the rhathymia4 of the AtheniansKa,ufmann’s Nietzsche, Cba:eter 7, section
” ..• The ‘blond beast’ is not
a racial concept and does not refer to the ‘Nordic race’ of which the Nazis
later made So much. Nietzsche specifically refers to Arabs and Japanese • • .
-and the ‘blond ness’ presumably refers to the
the lion.”
in his free translation of the
blond beast three times out of four; only where it appears the second time in
be has “the blond Teutonic beast.” This helps to corrobothe original
r8:te the myth that the
refers to the Teutons. ‘Yithout the image of
the lion, however, we lose not only some of Nietzsche’s poetry as well as any
chance to understand one of his best known
we aJsolose an echo of
the crucIal first chapter of Zafathustra, Where. the lion represents the second
Metamorphoses” of
spirit-above the obedient camel
stage in “The
but below the creative child (Portable NietZlcne, pp. 138f.).
Arthur Danto has suggested that if lions were black and Nietzsche had
written “Black Beast,” the expression would “provide support for African instead of German nationalists” (Nietzsche as Philosopher. New York, Macmillan, 1965, p. 170). Panthers are black and magnificent animals, but anyone calling Negroes black beasts and associating them with “”a disgusting procession of muri:ler, arson, rape, and torture,” adding that “the animal has to
get out again and go back to the wilderness,” and then going on to speak of
“their hair-raising cheerfuIness and profound joy in all destruction,” would
scarcely be taken to I’provide support for ••. nadonatists.” On the contrary,
he would be taken for a highly prejudiced critic of the Negro.
No other German writer of comparable
has been a more ex..
treme critic of German nationalism than Nietzsche. For all that, it is plain
that in this section he sought to describe the behavior of the ancient Greeks
and Romans, the Goths and the Vandals, not that of nineteenth-century
4 Thucydides, 2.39. In A His/orical Commentary on Thucydides, vol. II (Oxford, Clarendon Press. 1956; corrected
of 1966), p. 118, A. W.
Gomme comments on this word: “in its origmal sense, ‘ease of mind.’ ‘without anxiety’ • • . But ease of mind can in certain circumstances become
their indifference to and contempt for security, body, life, comfort,
their hair-raising5 cheerfulness and profound joy in aU destruction,
in all the voluptuousness of victory and cruelty-all this came together, in the minds of those who suffered from it, in the image of
the “barbarian,” the “evil enemy,” perhaps as the “Goths,” the
“Vandals.” The deep and icy mistrust the German still arouses tO
day whenever he gets into a position of power is an echo of that
inextinguishable horror with which Europe observed for centuries
that raging of the blond Germanic beast (although between the old
Germanic tribes and us Germans there “exists hardly a conceptual
relationship, let alone one of blood) .
I once drew attention to the dilemma in which Hesiod found
himself when he concocted his succession of cultural epochs and
sought to express them in terms of gold, silver, and bronze: he
knew no way of handling the contradiction presented by the glorious but at the same time terrible and violent world of Homer except by dividing one epoch into two epochs, which he then placed
one behind the
……..first the epoch of the heroes and demigods
of Troy and Thebes, the form in which that world had survived in
the memory of the noble races Who were those heroes’ true descendants; then the bronze epoch, the form in which that same
world appeared to the descendants of the downtrodden, pillaged,
mistreated, abducted, enslaved: an epoch of bronze, as aforesaid,
hard, cold, cruel, devoid of feeling or conscience, destructive and
Supposing that what is at any rate believed to be the “truth”
really is true, and the meaning of all culture is the reduction of the
beast of prey “man” to a tame and civilized animal, a domestic
animal, then one would undoubtedly have to regard aU those instincts of reaction and ressentiment through whose aid the noble
races and their ideals were finally confounded and overthrown as
the actual instruments of culture; which is not tOI say that the bearers of these instincts themselves represent culture. Rather is the
reverse not merely probable-not today it is palpable! These beara
carelessness, remissness, frivo1ity: Demosthenes often accused the Athenians
of rhathymia . • ,”
A Entsetdiche.
ers of the oppressive instincts that thirst for reprisal, the descendants of every kind of European and non-European slavery, and
especially of the entire pre-Aryan populace-they represent the
regression of mankind! These Uinstruments of culture” are a disgrace to man and rather an accusation and counterargument against
“culture” in general! One may be quite justified in continuing to
fear the blond beast at the core of all noble races and in being on
one’s guard against it: but who would not a hundred times sooner
fear where one can also admire than not fear but be permanently
condemned to the repellent sight of the ill-constituted, dwarfed,
atrophied, and poisoned? 6 And is that not our fate? What today
constitutes our antipathy to “man”?-for we suDer from man, beyond doubt.
Not fear; rather that we no longer have anything left to fear in
man; that the maggot1 “man” is swarming in the foreground; that
the “tame man,” the hopelessly mediocre and insipid8 man, has
already learned to feel himself as the goal and zenith, as the meaning of history, as “higher man”-that he has indeed a certain right
to feel thus, insofar as he feels himself elevated above the surfeit of
ill-constituted, sickly, weary and exhausted people of which Europe is beginning to stink today, as something at least relatively
well-constituted, at least 8ti11 capable of living, at least affirming
At this point I cannot suppress a sigh and a last hope. What is
it that I especially find utterly unendurable? That I cannot cope
with, that makes me choke and faint? Bad air! Bad air! The apIf the present section is not clear enough to any reader, he might turn to
Zarathustra”s contrast of the overman and the last man (Prologue, sections
3-5) and, for good measure, read also the first chapter or two of Part One.
Then he will surely see how Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George
Orwell’s 1984-but especially the former-are developments of Nietzsche’s
theme. Huxley. in his novel, uses Shakespeare as a foil; Nietzsche, in the passage above, Homer .
., Gewurm suggests wormlike animals; wimmelt can mean swarm or crawl
but is particularly associated with maggots-in a cheese. for example.
S Unerquicklich.
proach of some ill-constituted thing; that I have to smell the entrails of some ill-constituted soul!
How much one is able to endure: distress, want, bad weather,
sickness, toil, solitude. Fundamentally one can cope with everything else. born as one is to a subterranean life of struggle; one
emerges again and again into the light, one experiences again and
again one’s golden hour of victory-and then one stands forth as
one was born, unbreakable, tensed,. ready for new, even harder,
remoter things, like a bow that distress only serves to draw tauter.
But grant me from time to time-if there are divine goddesses
in the realm beyond good and evil–grant me the sight, but one
glance of something perfect, wholly achieved, happy, mighty, triumphant, something still capable of arousing fear! Of a man who justifies man, of a complementary and redeeming lucky hit on the part
of man for the sake of which one may still believe in man!
For this is how things are: the diminution and leveling of European man constitutes our greatest danger, for the sight of him
makes us weary.- We can see nothing today that wants to grow
greater, we suspect that things will continue to go down, down, to
become thinner, more good-natured, more prudent, more comfortable, more mediocre, more
more Chinese, more Christian-there is no doubt that man is getting “better” all the time.
Here precisely is what has become a fatality for Europe-together with the fear of man we have also lost our love of him, our
reverence for him, our hopes for him, even the will to him. The
sight of man now makes us weary-what is nihilism today if it is
not that?- We are weary Of man.
But let us return: the problem of the other origin of the
“good,” of the good as conceived by the man of ressentiment, demands its solution.
That lambs dislike great birds of prey does not seem strange:
only it gives no ground for reproaching these birds of prey for bearing off little lambs. And if the lambs say among themselves: “these
birds of prey are evil; and whoever is least like a bird of prey, but
rather its opposite, a Jamb–wouJd he not be good?” there is no
reason to find fault with this institution of an ideal, except perhaps
that the birds of prey might view it a little ironically and say: “we
don’t dislike them at aU, these good little lambs; we even love
them: nothing is more tasty than a tender lamb.”
To demand of strength that it should not express itself as
strength, that it should not be a desire to overcome, a desire to
throw down, a desire to become master, a thirst for enemies and
resistances and triumphs, is just as absurd as to demand of weakness that it should express itself as strength. A quantum of force is
equivaJent to a quantum of drive,
effect-more, it is nothing
other than precisely this very driving, willing, effecting, and only
owing to the seduction of language (and of the fundamental errors
of reason that are petrified in it) which conceives and misconceives
all effects as conditioned by something that causes effects, by a
“subject,” can it appear otherwise. For just as the popular mind
separates the lightning from its flash and takes the latter for an
action, for the operation of a subject called lightning, so popular
morality also separates strength from expressions of strength, as if
there were a neutral substratum behind the strong man, which was
free to express strength or not to do so. But there is no such substratum; there is no “being” behind doing, effecting, becoming;
“the doer” is merely a fiction added to the deed-the deed is everything. The popular mind in fact doubles the deed; when it sees
the lightning flash, it is the deed of a deed: it posits the same event
first as cause and then a second time as its effect. Scientists do no
better when they say “force moves,” “force causes.” and the likeall its coolness, its freedom from emotion notwithstanding, our entire science still lies under the misleading influence of language and
has not disposed of that litt1e changeling, the Clsubject”. (the atom,
for example, is such a changeling, as is the Kantian ”thing-initselr’); no wonder if the submerged, darkly glowering emotions of
vengefulness and hatred exploit this belief for their own ends and
in fact maintain no belief more ardently than the belief that the
strong man ;s free to be weak and the bird of prey to be a lambfor thus they gain the right to make the bird of prey accountable
for being a bird of prey.
When the oppressed, downtrodden, outraged exhort one an..
other with the vengeful cunning of impotence: “let us be different
from the evil, namely good! And he is good who does not outrage,
who harms nobody, who does not attack, who does not requite,
who keeps himself hidden as we do,
who leaves revenge to
who avoids evil and desires little from life, like us, the patient, humble, and just”-this, listened to caJmly and without previous bias,
really amounts to no more than: “we weak ones are, after all, weak;
it would be good if we did nothing for which we are not strong
enough”; but this dry matter of fact, this prudence of the lowest
order which even insects possess (posing as dead, when in great
danger, so as not to do “too much”), has, thanks to the counterfeit
and self-deception of impotence, clad itself in the ostentatious garb
of the virtue of quiet, calm resignation, just as if the weakness of the
weak-that is to say, their essence. their effects, their sole ineluctable, irremovable reality-were a voluntary achievement, willed,
chosen, a deed, a meritorious act. This type of man needs to believe in a neutral independent “subject,” prompted by an instinct
for self-preservation and self;..affirmation in which every lie is sane-tifted. The subject (or, to use a more popular expression, the soul)
has perhaps been believed in hitherto more firmly than anything
else on earth because it makes possible to the majority of mortals,
the weak and oppressed of every kind, the sublime self-deception
that interprets weakness as freedom, and their being thus-and-thus
as a merit.
Would anyone like to take a look into the secret of how ideals
are made on earth? Who has the courage?- Very well! Here is
a point we can see through into this dark workshop. But wait a
moment or two, Mr. Rash and Curious: your eyes must first get
used to this false iridescent light.— All right! Now speak! What is
going on down there? Say what you see, man of the most perilous
kiI1d of inquisitiveness-now I am the one who is listening.-“I see nothing, but I hear the more. There is a soft, wary,
malignant muttering and whispering coming from all the comers
and nooks. It seems to me one is lying; a saccharine sweetness
clings to every sound. Weakness is being lied into something meritorious, no doubt of it-so it is just as you said”-Goonl
-“and impotence which does not requite into ‘goodness of
heart’; anxious lowliness into ‘humility’; subjection to those one
hates into ‘obedience’ (that is, to one of whom they say he commands this subjection-they call him God). The inoffensiveness of
the weak man, even the cowardice of which he has so much, his
lingering at the doort his being ineluctably compelled to wait, here
acquire flattering names, such as ‘patience,’ and are even called virtue itself; his inability for revenge is called unwillingness to revenge,
perhaps even forgiveness (‘for they know not what they do-we
alone know what they do!’). They also speak of ‘loving one’s enemies’- and sweat as they do so,”
—Goon! ‘
-“They are miserable, no doubt of it, all these mutterers and
nook counterfeiters, although they crouch warmly together-but
they tell me their misery is a sign of being chosen by God; one
beats the dogs one likes best; perhaps this misery is also a preparation, a testing, a schooling, perhaps it is even more-something that
will one day be made good and recompensed with interest, with
huge payments of gold, no! of happiness. This they call ‘bliss.'”
-“Now they give me to understand that they are not merely
better than the mighty, the lords of the earth whose spittle they
have to lick (not from fear, not at all from fear! but because God
has commanded them to obey the authorities) “-that they are not
merely better but are also ‘better off,’ or at least will be better off
someday. But enough! enough! I can’t take any more. Bad air! Bad
air! This workshop where ideals are manufactured-it seems to
me it stinks of so many lies.”
-No! Wait a moment! You have said nothing yet of the masterpiece of these b1ack magicians, who make whiteness, milk, and
innocence of every blackness-haven’t you noticed their perfection
Allusion to Romans 13:1-2.
of refinement, their boldest, subtlest, most ingenious, most mendacious artistic stroke? Attend to theml These cellar rodents full of
vengefUlness and hatred-what have they made of revenge and hatred? Have you heard these words uttered? If you trusted simply to
their words, would you suspect you were among men of ressentiment? ••.
-“I understand; I’ll open my ears again (ohl ohl ohl and
close my nose). Now I can really hear what they have been saying
aU along: ‘We good men-we are the just’-what they desire they
call, not retaliation, but ‘the triumph of justice’,’ what they hate is
not their enemy, nol they hate ‘injustice,’ they hate ‘godlessness’;
what they believe in and hope for is not the hope of revenge, the
intoxication of sweet revenge (-‘sweeter than honey’ Homer
called it), but the victory of Ood, of the just God, over the godless;
what there is left for them to love on earth is not their brothers in
hatred but their ‘brothers in love,’ as they put it, all the good and
just on earth.”
-And what do they call that which serves to console them
for all the suffering of life-their phantasmagoria of anticipated
future bliss?
-“What? Do I hear aright? They call that ‘the Last Judgment,’ the coming of their kingdom, of the ‘Kingdom of God’meanwhile, however, they live ‘in faith,’ ‘in love,’ ‘in hope.'”
-Enough! Enoughl
In faith in what? In love of what? In hope of what?- These
weak people-some day or other they too intend to be the strong,
there is no doubt of that. some day their “kingdom” too shall come
-they term it “the kingdom of God,” of course. as aforesaid: for
one is so very humble in all things! To experience that one needs to
live a long time, beyond death-indeed one needs etema1life, so as
to be eternally indemnified in tbe “kingdom of God” for this earthly
life “in faith, in love, in hope.” Indemnified for what? How indemnified?
Dante, I think, committed a crude blunder when; with a terror-
inspiring ingenuity, he placed above the gateway of his hell the
inscription “I too was created by etemal1ove”-at any rate, there
would be more justification for placing above the gateway to the
Christian Paradise and its “eternal bliss” the inscription “I too was
created by eternal hate”-provided a truth may be placed above
the gateway to a lief For what is it that constitutes the bliss of this
We might even guess, but it is better to have it expressly described for us by an authority not to be underestimated in such matters, Thomas Aquinas, the great teacher and saint. “Beati in regno
coelesti,” he says, meek as a lamb, “videbunt poenas damnatorum,
ut beatitudo nus magis complaceat.” 1 Or if one would like to hear
it in a stronger key, perhaps from the mouth of a triumphant Church
Father, adjuring his Christians to avoid the cruel pleasures of the
public games-but why? “For the faith offers us much moreu-he
says,.De Spectaculis, chs. 29f.-“something much stronger; thanks
to the Redemption, quite other joys are at our command; in
athletes we have our martyrs; if we crave .blood, we have the blood
of Christ • . . But think of what awaits us on the day of his return,
the day of his triumph!”-and then he goes on, the enraptured visionary.a “At en;m supersunt alia spectacula, Ule ultimus et per- .
1 The
blessed in the kingdom of heaven will see the punishments of the
damned, in order that their bliss be more delight/ul for them.-To be precise,
what we find in Summa Thealog/at, III, Supplementum. Q. 94, Art. I. is
this: “In order that the bliss of the saints may be more delightful for them
and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, it is given to
them to see perfectly the punishment of the damned.” Vt beatituda sane·
torum eis magis complaceat, et de ea uberiores gratias Deo agant. datur els
ut poenam impiorum per/eete intueantu,..
2 Nietzsche quotes TertuUian in the original Latin. This footnote offers, first,
an English translation, and then some discussion.
“Yes. and there are other sights: that last day of jUdgment, with its everlasting issues; that day unlooked for by the nations, the theme of their derision, when the world hoary with age. and all its many products. shall be consumed in one great flame! How vast a spectacle then bursts upon the eye!
What there excites my admiration? what my derision? Which sight gives me
joy? which rouses me to exullation?-as I see so many illustrious monarchs.
whose reception into the heavens was publicly announced, groaning now in
the lowest darkness with great Jove himself, and those, too, who bore witness
of their exultation; governors of provinces. too, who persecuted the Christian
name. in fires more fierce than those with which in the days of their pride
they raged against the followers of Christ. What world”s wise men besides,
petuus judicii dies, iIIe nationibus insperatus, iIle derisus, cum tanta
saeculi vetustas et tot ejus nativitates uno igne hau1ientur. Quae
tunc spectaculi latituda! Quid admirer! Quid rideam! Ubi gaudeam!
Ubi exultem, spectans tot et tantas reges, qui in coelum recepti
nuntiabantur, cum ipso Jove et ipsis suis testibus in imis tenebris
congemescentes! Item praesides” (the provincial governors)
secutores dominici nominis saevioribus quam ipsi flammis saevierunt insultantibus contra Christianos liquescentes! Quos praeterea
sapientes ilfos philosophos coram discipulis suis una conflagrantibus
erubtscentes. quibus nihil ad deum pertinere suadebant, qUibus animas aut nullas aut non in pristina corpora redituras .afJirmabant!
Etiam poetas non ad Rhadamanti nee ad Minois, sed ad inopinati
Christi tribunal pulpitantes! TUnc magis tragoedi audiendi, magis
the very philosophers. in fact, who taught their foHowers that God had no
concern in aught that is sublunary, and were wont to assure them that either
they had no souls, or that they would never ret\lrn to the bodies which at
death they had left, now covered with shame before the poor deluded ones,
as one fire consumes them! Poets also, trembling not before the judgmentseat of Rhadamanthus or Minos, but of the unexpected Christ! I shall have a
better opportunity then of hearing the tragedians, louder-voiced in their own
calamity; of viewing the play-actors, much more
[another translation has “much lither of limbll ] in the dissolving flame; of Jooking upon the
charioteer, all glowing in his chariot of fire; of beholding the wrestlers. not in
their gymnasia, but tossing in the fiery billows;
even then I shall not
care to attend to such ministers of sin, in my eager wish rather to fix a gaze
insatiable on those whose fury vent.ed itself against the Lord. ‘This,’ I shall
say, ‘this is that carpenteris or hireling’s son, that Sabbath-breaker, that Samaritan and devil-possessed! This is He whom you purchased from Judas!
[Quaestuar;a means prostitute, not carpenter: see Nietzsche’s parenthesis
above.] This is He whom you struck with reed and fist, whom you contemptuously spat upon, to Whom you gave gall and vinegar to drink! This is He
whom HIs disciples secretly stole away, that it might be said He had risen
again, or the gardener abstracted, that his lettuces might come to no harm
from the crowds of visitants!’ What quaestor or priest in his munificence will
bestow on you the favour of seeing and exultillg ;11 such things as these? And
yet even now we in a measure have them by faith in the picturings of imagination. But what are the things which eye has not seen, ear has not heard, and
which have not so much as dimly dawned upon the human heart? Whatever
they are, they are nobler, I believe, than circus, and both theatres, and e’o’ery
race-course.” [Translation by the Rev. S. Thelwall.] There are two standard
translations of Tertullian’s De SpectQcu/is. One is by the Rev. S. Thelwall in
The Ante-N’icene Fathers: Translations 01 The Writings of the Fathers down
to A.D. 325. edited by the Rev. Alexander Roberts, D.O. and James Donaldson, LL.D., in volume III: Latin Christianity: lis Foulrder, Tertullian (American Reprint of the Edinburgh Edition, Grand Rapids, Mich., Wm. B. Eerd-
scilicet vocalestl (in better voice, yet worse screamers) “in sua propria calamitate; tunc histriones cognoscendi, solutiores multo per
ignem,· tunc spectandus auriga in flammea rota totus rubens, tunc
xystici contemplandi non ,in gymnasiis, sed in igne jaculati, nisi
quod ne tunc quidem iIlos velim vivos, ut qui maUm ad eos potius
conspectum insatiabilem conferre, qui in dominum desaevierunt.
-Hic est ille,’ dican:’, ‘fabr; aut quaestuariae filius’ n (what follows,
and especially this term for the mother of Jesus, which is found in
the Talmud, shows that from here on Tertullian is referring to the
Jews), It ‘sabbati destructor, Samarites et daemonillm habens. Hie
est, quem a Juda redemistis, hie est iIle arundine et colaphis diverberatus, sputamentis dedecoratus, felle et aceto potatus. Hie est,
quem clam discentes subripuerunt, ut resurrexisse dicatur vel hormans Publishing Company, 1957). The other tranSlation is by Rudolph
.• Ph.D., Fordham University, in The Fathers of the
Church: A New Translation,in the volume entitled Tertullian: Disciplinary,
Moral and Ascetical Works (New York, Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1959,
Imprimatur Francis Cardinal Spellman).
In the former edition we are told a footnote to the title that although
there has been some dispute 8S to whether the work was written before or
after Tertullian’s “Iapsell from orthodoxy to Montanism, “8 work so colourless that doctors can disagree about even its shading, must be regarded as
practically orthodox. Exaggerated expressions are but the characteristics of
the author’s genius. We find the like in all writers of strongly marked individuality. Neander dates this treat:se circa A.D, 19″7.” And in a footnote to the
last sentence quoted by Nietzsche, which concludes the last chapter of the
treatise, We read: ”This concluding chapter, which Gibbon delights to censure, because its fervid rhetoric so fearfully depicts the punishments of
Christ’s enemies. ‘appears to Dr. Neander to contain a beautiful specimen
of lively faith and Christian confidence.’ It
In the latter edition we are informed that “De Spectaculis is one of TertUllian’s most interesting and original works” (p. 38). And chapter 30, which
Nietzsche quotes almost in its entirety, omitting only the first four lines, is
introduced by a footnote that begins (and it continues in the same vein):
“TertulHan gives here a colorful description of the millennium, picturing the
feverish expectation of an early return of Christ .•.”
It is noteworthy that the Protestant edition finds the work “so colourless,” while the Roman Catholic edition considers it “colorful”-and neither
of them evinces any sensitivity to what outraged Nietzsche or Gibbon.
Edward Gibbon’s comments are found in Chapter XV of The History 01
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: “The condemnation of the
wisest and most virtuous of the Pagans, on account of their ignorance or
disbelief of the divine truth, seems to offend the reason lind the humanity of
the present age. But the primitive church, whose faith was of a much firmer
consistence. delivered over, without hesitation. to eternal torture the far
turanus detraxit, ne lactueae
frequentia commeantium /aederentur.’ Ut lalia SpeCieS, ut talibus exultes, quis libi praetor aut
consul aut guaestor aut sacerdos de sua liberalitate praestabil? Et
tamen haec jam habemus quodammodo per fidem spiritu imaginante
repraesentata. Ceterum qualia ilIa sunt, quae nee oculus vidit nee
auris audivit nee in cor hominis ascenderunt?” (l Cor. 2,9.) “Credo
circo et utraque cavea” (first and fourth rank or, according to others, the comic and tragic stage) “et omni stadio gratiora.” -Per
fidem: thus is it written.
Let us conclude. The two opposing values “good and bad,”
“good and evil” have been engaged in a fearful struggle on earth
for thousands of years; and though the latter value has certainly
been on top for a long time, there are still p1aces where the struggle
is as yet undecided. One might even say that it has risen ever higher
and thus become more and more profound and spiritual: so that
today there is perhaps no more decisive mark of a “higher nature.”
a more spiritual nature, than that of being divided in this sense and
a genuine battleground of these opposed values.1
The symbol of this struggle, inscribed in letters legible across
all human history, is “Rome against 1udea, Judea against Rome”:
-there has hitherto been no greater event’than this struggle, this
question, this deadly contradiction. Rome felt the 1ew to be someitself, its antipodal monstrosity as it were: in
thing like
greater part of the human species. . . . These rigid sentiments, which had
been unknown to the ancient world, appear to have infused a spirit of bitterness into a system of love and harmony..•• The Christians, who, in this
world, found themselves oppressed by the power of the Pagans, were sometimes seduced by resentment and spiritual pride to delight in the prospect of
their future triumph. ‘You are fond of spectacles,’ exclaims the stern TertulIian; ‘except the greatest of all spectacles, the last and eternal judgment of the
universe. How shall I admire, how laugh …'”
1 This remark which recalls Beyond Good and Evil. section 200, is entirely
in keeping with the way in which the contrast of master and slave morality is
introduced in Beyond Good and Evf/, section 260; and it ought not to be
overlooked. It sheds a good deal of light not only on this contrast but also
on Nietzsche’s amor lati. his love of fate. Those who ignore all this material
are bound completely to misundcrstand Nietzschc’s moral philosophy.
Rome the Jew stood Itconvicted of hatred for the whole human
race”; and rightly, provided one has a right to link the salvation
and future of the human race with the unconditional dominance of
aristocratic values, Roman values.
How, on the other hand, did the Jews feel about Rome? A
thousand signs teU us; but it suffices to recall the Apocalypse of
John, the most wanton of all literary outbursts that vengefulness has
on its conscience. (One should not underestimate the profound
consistency of the Christian instinct when it signed this book of hate
with the name of the disciple of love, the same disciple to whom it
attributed that amorouseenthusiastic Gospel: there is a piece of
truth in this, however much literary counterfeiting might have been
required to produce it.) For the Romans were the strong and
noble, and nobody stronger and nobler has yet existed on earth or
even been dreamed of: every remnant of them, every inscription
gives delight, if only one divines what it was that was there at
work. The Jews, on the contrary, were the priestly nation of ressentiment par excellence, in whom there dwelt an unequaled popugellius: one only has to compare similarly gifted nations
-the Chinese or the Germans, for instance-with the Jews, to
sense which is of the first and which of the fifth rank. 2
Which of them has won for the present, Rome or Judea? But
there can be no doubt: consider to whom one bows down in Rome
itself today, as if they were the epitome of all the highest values-and not only in Rome but over almost half the earth, everywhere
that man has become tame or desires to become tame: three Jews.
as is known, and one Jewess (Jesus of Nazareth, the fisherman
Peter, the rug weaver Paul, and the mother of the aforementioned
Jesus, named Mary). This is very remarkable: Rome bas been de..
feated beyond all doubt.
There was, to be sure, in the Renaissance an uncanny and
glittering reawakening of the classical ideal, of the noble mode of
evaluating all things; Rome itself, oppressed by the new superimposed Judaized Rome that presented the aspect of an ecumenical
2 Having said things that can easily be misconstrued as grist to the mill of the
Gennan anti·Semites, Nietzsche goes out of his way, as usual, to express his
admiration for the Jews and his disdain for the Germans.
synagogue and was caned the “church,” stirred like one awakened
from seeming death: but Judea immediately triumphed again,
thanks to that thoroughly plebeian (German and English) ressentiment movement called the Reformation, and to that which was
bound to arise from it, the restoration of the church-the restoration too of the ancient sepulchral repose of classical Rome.
With the French Revolution, Judea once again triumphed
over the classical ideal, and this time in an even more profound and
decisive sense: the last political noblesse in Europe, that of the
French seventeenth and eighteenth century, collapsed beneath the
popular instincts of ressentiment-greater rejoicing, more uproarious enthusiasm had never been heard on earth! To be sure, in the
midst of it there occurred the most tremendous, the most unexpected thing: the ideal of antiquity itself stepped incarnate and in
splendor before the eyes and conscience of mankindand once again, in opposition to the mendacious slogan of ressenti. .
ment, “supreme rights of the majority,” in opposition to the will to
the lowering, the abasement, the leveling and the decline and twilight of mankind, there sounded stronger, simpler, and more insistently than ever the terrible and rapturous counterslogan “supreme
rights of the few”! Like a last signpost to the other path, Napoleon
appeared, the most isolated and late-born roan there has even been,
and in him the problem of the noble ideal as such made tlesh–one might well ponder what kind of problem it is: Napoleon, this
synthesis of the inhuman and superhuman.
Was that the end of it? Had that greatest of all conflicts of
ideals been placed ad acla l for all time? Or only adjourned, indefinitely adjourned?
Must the ancient fire not some day flare up much more terribly, after much longer preparation? More: must one not desire it
with all one’s might? even will it? even promote it?
Whoever begins at this point, like my readers, to reflect and
1 Disposed
pursue his train of thought will not soon come to the end of itreason enough for me to come to an end, assuming it has long
since been abundantly clear what my aim is, what the aim of that
dangerous slogan is that is inscribed at the head of my last book
Beyond Good and Evil.- At least this does not mean “Beyond
Good and Bad.”-··-
Note. 2 I take the opportunity provided by this treatise to express
publicly and formally a desire I have previously voiced only in occasional conversation with scholars; namely, that some philosophical faculty might advance historical studies of morality through a
this present book will
series of academic
serve to provide a powerful impetus in this direction. In case this
idea should be implemented, I suggest the following question: it ‘
deserves the attention of philologists and historians as well as that
of professional philosophers:
“What light does linguistics, and especially the study of etymology, throw on the history oj the evolution oj moral concepts?”
On the other hand, it is equally necessary to engage the interest of physiologists and doctors in these problems (of the value of
existing evaluations); it may be left to academic philosophers to
act as advocates and mediators in this matter too, after they have
on the whole succeeded in the past in transforming the originally so
reserved and mistrustful relations between philosophy, physiology,
and medicine into the most amicable and fruitful exchange. Indeed,
every table of values, every “thou shalt” known to history or eth..
no!ogy, requires first a physiological investigation and interpretation, rather than a psychological one; and everyone of them needs
a critique on the part of medical science. The question: what is the
value of this or that table of values and “morals”? should be
viewed from the most divers perspectives; for the problem “value
for what?” cannot be examined too subtly. Something, for example, that possessed obvious value in relation to the longest possible
survival of a race (or to the enhancement of its power of ad apt a2
tion to a particular climate or to the preservation of the greatest
number) would by no means possess the same value if it were a
question, for instance, of producing a stronger type. The wellabeing
of the majority and the well-being of the few are opposite viewpoints of value: to consider the former a priori of higher value may
be left to the naivete of English biologists.- All the sciences have
from now on to prepare the way for the future task of the philosQa
phers: this task understood as the solution of the problem 0/ value,
the determination of the order of rank among values.

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