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Beyond Good and Evil

Beyond Good and Evil

Author:Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche


1. The Will to Truth, which is to tempt us to many a hazardous enterprise, the famous Truthfulness of which all philosophers have hitherto spoken with respect, what questions has this Will to Truth not laid before us! What strange, perplexing, questionable questions! It is already a long story; yet it seems as if it were hardly commenced. Is it any wonder if we at last grow distrustful, lose patience, and turn impatiently...
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  1. The Will to Truth, which is to tempt us to many a hazardousenterprise, the famous Truthfulness of which all philosophers havehitherto spoken with respect, what questions has this Will to Truth notlaid before us! What strange, perplexing, questionable questions! It isalready a long story; yet it seems as if it were hardly commenced. Isit any wonder if we at last grow distrustful, lose patience, and turnimpatiently away? That this Sphinx teaches us at last to ask questionsourselves? WHO is it really that puts questions to us here? WHAT reallyis this "Will to Truth" in us? In fact we made a long halt at thequestion as to the origin of this Will--until at last we came to anabsolute standstill before a yet more fundamental question. We inquiredabout the VALUE of this Will. Granted that we want the truth: WHY NOTRATHER untruth? And uncertainty? Even ignorance? The problem of thevalue of truth presented itself before us--or was it we who presentedourselves before the problem? Which of us is the Oedipus here? Whichthe Sphinx? It would seem to be a rendezvous of questions and notes ofinterrogation. And could it be believed that it at last seems to us asif the problem had never been propounded before, as if we were the firstto discern it, get a sight of it, and RISK RAISING it? For there is riskin raising it, perhaps there is no greater risk.

  2. "HOW COULD anything originate out of its opposite? For example, truthout of error? or the Will to Truth out of the will to deception? or thegenerous deed out of selfishness? or the pure sun-bright vision of thewise man out of covetousness? Such genesis is impossible; whoever dreamsof it is a fool, nay, worse than a fool; things of the highestvalue must have a different origin, an origin of THEIR own--in thistransitory, seductive, illusory, paltry world, in this turmoil ofdelusion and cupidity, they cannot have their source. But rather inthe lap of Being, in the intransitory, in the concealed God, in the'Thing-in-itself--THERE must be their source, and nowhere else!"--Thismode of reasoning discloses the typical prejudice by whichmetaphysicians of all times can be recognized, this mode of valuationis at the back of all their logical procedure; through this "belief" oftheirs, they exert themselves for their "knowledge," for something thatis in the end solemnly christened "the Truth." The fundamental belief ofmetaphysicians is THE BELIEF IN ANTITHESES OF VALUES. It never occurredeven to the wariest of them to doubt here on the very threshold

wheredoubt, however, was most necessary

; though they had made a solemnvow, "DE OMNIBUS DUBITANDUM." For it may be doubted, firstly, whetherantitheses exist at all; and secondly, whether the popular valuationsand antitheses of value upon which metaphysicians have set theirseal, are not perhaps merely superficial estimates, merely provisionalperspectives, besides being probably made from some corner, perhaps frombelow--"frog perspectives," as it were, to borrow an expression currentamong painters. In spite of all the value which may belong to the true,the positive, and the unselfish, it might be possible that a higherand more fundamental value for life generally should be assigned topretence, to the will to delusion, to selfishness, and cupidity. Itmight even be possible that WHAT constitutes the value of those good andrespected things, consists precisely in their being insidiouslyrelated, knotted, and crocheted to these evil and apparently opposedthings--perhaps even in being essentially identical with them. Perhaps!But who wishes to concern himself with such dangerous "Perhapses"!For that investigation one must await the advent of a new order ofphilosophers, such as will have other tastes and inclinations, thereverse of those hitherto prevalent--philosophers of the dangerous"Perhaps" in every sense of the term. And to speak in all seriousness, Isee such new philosophers beginning to appear.

  3. Having kept a sharp eye on philosophers, and having read betweentheir lines long enough, I now say to myself that the greater part ofconscious thinking must be counted among the instinctive functions, andit is so even in the case of philosophical thinking; one has here tolearn anew, as one learned anew about heredity and "innateness." Aslittle as the act of birth comes into consideration in the whole processand procedure of heredity, just as little is "being-conscious" OPPOSEDto the instinctive in any decisive sense; the greater part of theconscious thinking of a philosopher is secretly influenced by hisinstincts, and forced into definite channels. And behind all logic andits seeming sovereignty of movement, there are valuations, or to speakmore plainly, physiological demands, for the maintenance of a definitemode of life For example, that the certain is worth more than theuncertain, that illusion is less valuable than "truth" such valuations,in spite of their regulative importance for US, might notwithstanding beonly superficial valuations, special kinds of _niaiserie_, such as maybe necessary for the maintenance of beings such as ourselves. Supposing,in effect, that man is not just the "measure of things."

  4. The falseness of an opinion is not for us any objection to it: it ishere, perhaps, that our new language sounds most strangely. Thequestion is, how far an opinion is life-furthering, life-preserving,species-preserving, perhaps species-rearing, and we are fundamentallyinclined to maintain that the falsest opinions

to which the syntheticjudgments a priori belong

, are the most indispensable to us, thatwithout a recognition of logical fictions, without a comparison ofreality with the purely IMAGINED world of the absolute and immutable,without a constant counterfeiting of the world by means of numbers,man could not live--that the renunciation of false opinions would bea renunciation of life, a negation of life. TO RECOGNISE UNTRUTH AS ACONDITION OF LIFE; that is certainly to impugn the traditional ideas ofvalue in a dangerous manner, and a philosophy which ventures to do so,has thereby alone placed itself beyond good and evil.

  5. That which causes philosophers to be regarded half-distrustfullyand half-mockingly, is not the oft-repeated discovery how innocent theyare--how often and easily they make mistakes and lose their way, inshort, how childish and childlike they are,--but that there is notenough honest dealing with them, whereas they all raise a loud andvirtuous outcry when the problem of truthfulness is even hinted at inthe remotest manner. They all pose as though their real opinions hadbeen discovered and attained through the self-evolving of a cold, pure,divinely indifferent dialectic

in contrast to all sorts of mystics,who, fairer and foolisher, talk of "inspiration"

, whereas, in fact, aprejudiced proposition, idea, or "suggestion," which is generallytheir heart's desire abstracted and refined, is defended by them witharguments sought out after the event. They are all advocates who do notwish to be regarded as such, generally astute defenders, also, of theirprejudices, which they dub "truths,"--and VERY far from having theconscience which bravely admits this to itself, very far from havingthe good taste of the courage which goes so far as to let this beunderstood, perhaps to warn friend or foe, or in cheerful confidenceand self-ridicule. The spectacle of the Tartuffery of old Kant, equallystiff and decent, with which he entices us into the dialecticby-ways that lead

more correctly mislead

to his "categoricalimperative"--makes us fastidious ones smile, we who find no smallamusement in spying out the subtle tricks of old moralists and ethicalpreachers. Or, still more so, the hocus-pocus in mathematical form, bymeans of which Spinoza has, as it were, clad his philosophy in mail andmask--in fact, the "love of HIS wisdom," to translate the term fairlyand squarely--in order thereby to strike terror at once into the heartof the assailant who should dare to cast a glance on that invinciblemaiden, that Pallas Athene:--how much of personal timidity andvulnerability does this masquerade of a sickly recluse betray!

  6. It has gradually become clear to me what every great philosophy uptill now has consisted of--namely, the confession of its originator, anda species of involuntary and unconscious auto-biography; and moreoverthat the moral

or immoral

purpose in every philosophy has constitutedthe true vital germ out of which the entire plant has always grown.Indeed, to understand how the abstrusest metaphysical assertions of aphilosopher have been arrived at, it is always well

and wise

to firstask oneself: "What morality do they

or does he

aim at?" Accordingly,I do not believe that an "impulse to knowledge" is the father ofphilosophy; but that another impulse, here as elsewhere, has only madeuse of knowledge

and mistaken knowledge!

as an instrument. But whoeverconsiders the fundamental impulses of man with a view to determininghow far they may have here acted as INSPIRING GENII

or as demons andcobolds

, will find that they have all practiced philosophy at one timeor another, and that each one of them would have been only too glad tolook upon itself as the ultimate end of existence and the legitimateLORD over all the other impulses. For every impulse is imperious, and asSUCH, attempts to philosophize. To be sure, in the case of scholars, inthe case of really scientific men, it may be otherwise--"better," ifyou will; there there may really be such a thing as an "impulse toknowledge," some kind of small, independent clock-work, which, when wellwound up, works away industriously to that end, WITHOUT the rest ofthe scholarly impulses taking any material part therein. The actual"interests" of the scholar, therefore, are generally in quite anotherdirection--in the family, perhaps, or in money-making, or in politics;it is, in fact, almost indifferent at what point of research his littlemachine is placed, and whether the hopeful young worker becomes agood philologist, a mushroom specialist, or a chemist; he is notCHARACTERISED by becoming this or that. In the philosopher, on thecontrary, there is absolutely nothing impersonal; and above all,his morality furnishes a decided and decisive testimony as to WHO HEIS,--that is to say, in what order the deepest impulses of his naturestand to each other.

  7. How malicious philosophers can be! I know of nothing more stingingthan the joke Epicurus took the liberty of making on Plato and thePlatonists; he called them Dionysiokolakes. In its original sense,and on the face of it, the word signifies "Flatterers ofDionysius"--consequently, tyrants' accessories and lick-spittles;besides this, however, it is as much as to say, "They are all ACTORS,there is nothing genuine about them"

for Dionysiokolax was a popularname for an actor

. And the latter is really the malignant reproach thatEpicurus cast upon Plato: he was annoyed by the grandiose manner, themise en scene style of which Plato and his scholars were masters--ofwhich Epicurus was not a master! He, the old school-teacher of Samos,who sat concealed in his little garden at Athens, and wrote threehundred books, perhaps out of rage and ambitious envy of Plato, whoknows! Greece took a hundred years to find out who the garden-godEpicurus really was. Did she ever find out?

  8. There is a point in every philosophy at which the "conviction" ofthe philosopher appears on the scene; or, to put it in the words of anancient mystery:

  Adventavit asinus, Pulcher et fortissimus.

  9. You desire to LIVE "according to Nature"? Oh, you noble Stoics, whatfraud of words! Imagine to yourselves a being like Nature, boundlesslyextravagant, boundlessly indifferent, without purpose or consideration,without pity or justice, at once fruitful and barren and uncertain:imagine to yourselves INDIFFERENCE as a power--how COULD you livein accordance with such indifference? To live--is not that justendeavouring to be otherwise than this Nature? Is not living valuing,preferring, being unjust, being limited, endeavouring to be different?And granted that your imperative, "living according to Nature," meansactually the same as "living according to life"--how could you doDIFFERENTLY? Why should you make a principle out of what you yourselvesare, and must be? In reality, however, it is quite otherwise with you:while you pretend to read with rapture the canon of your law in Nature,you want something quite the contrary, you extraordinary stage-playersand self-deluders! In your pride you wish to dictate your morals andideals to Nature, to Nature herself, and to incorporate them therein;you insist that it shall be Nature "according to the Stoa," and wouldlike everything to be made after your own image, as a vast, eternalglorification and generalism of Stoicism! With all your love for truth,you have forced yourselves so long, so persistently, and with suchhypnotic rigidity to see Nature FALSELY, that is to say, Stoically,that you are no longer able to see it otherwise--and to crown all, someunfathomable superciliousness gives you the Bedlamite hope thatBECAUSE you are able to tyrannize over yourselves--Stoicism isself-tyranny--Nature will also allow herself to be tyrannized over: isnot the Stoic a PART of Nature?... But this is an old and everlastingstory: what happened in old times with the Stoics still happens today,as soon as ever a philosophy begins to believe in itself. It alwayscreates the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise; philosophyis this tyrannical impulse itself, the most spiritual Will to Power, thewill to "creation of the world," the will to the causa prima.

  10. The eagerness and subtlety, I should even say craftiness, withwhich the problem of "the real and the apparent world" is dealt with atpresent throughout Europe, furnishes food for thought and attention; andhe who hears only a "Will to Truth" in the background, and nothing else,cannot certainly boast of the sharpest ears. In rare and isolatedcases, it may really have happened that such a Will to Truth--a certainextravagant and adventurous pluck, a metaphysician's ambition of theforlorn hope--has participated therein: that which in the end alwaysprefers a handful of "certainty" to a whole cartload of beautifulpossibilities; there may even be puritanical fanatics of conscience,who prefer to put their last trust in a sure nothing, rather than in anuncertain something. But that is Nihilism, and the sign of a despairing,mortally wearied soul, notwithstanding the courageous bearing such avirtue may display. It seems, however, to be otherwise with strongerand livelier thinkers who are still eager for life. In that they sideAGAINST appearance, and speak superciliously of "perspective," inthat they rank the credibility of their own bodies about as low as thecredibility of the ocular evidence that "the earth stands still," andthus, apparently, allowing with complacency their securest possessionto escape

for what does one at present believe in more firmly thanin one's body?

,--who knows if they are not really trying to win backsomething which was formerly an even securer possession, somethingof the old domain of the faith of former times, perhaps the "immortalsoul," perhaps "the old God," in short, ideas by which they could livebetter, that is to say, more vigorously and more joyously, than by"modern ideas"? There is DISTRUST of these modern ideas in this modeof looking at things, a disbelief in all that has been constructedyesterday and today; there is perhaps some slight admixture of satietyand scorn, which can no longer endure the BRIC-A-BRAC of ideas of themost varied origin, such as so-called Positivism at present throws onthe market; a disgust of the more refined taste at the village-fairmotleyness and patchiness of all these reality-philosophasters, in whomthere is nothing either new or true, except this motleyness. Therein itseems to me that we should agree with those skeptical anti-realists andknowledge-microscopists of the present day; their instinct, which repelsthem from MODERN reality, is unrefuted... what do their retrogradeby-paths concern us! The main thing about them is NOT that they wishto go "back," but that they wish to get AWAY therefrom. A little MOREstrength, swing, courage, and artistic power, and they would be OFF--andnot back!

  11. It seems to me that there is everywhere an attempt at present todivert attention from the actual influence which Kant exercised onGerman philosophy, and especially to ignore prudently the value whichhe set upon himself. Kant was first and foremost proud of his Table ofCategories; with it in his hand he said: "This is the most difficultthing that could ever be undertaken on behalf of metaphysics." Let usonly understand this "could be"! He was proud of having DISCOVERED anew faculty in man, the faculty of synthetic judgment a priori. Grantingthat he deceived himself in this matter; the development and rapidflourishing of German philosophy depended nevertheless on his pride, andon the eager rivalry of the younger generation to discover if possiblesomething--at all events "new faculties"--of which to be stillprouder!--But let us reflect for a moment--it is high time to do so."How are synthetic judgments a priori POSSIBLE?" Kant asks himself--andwhat is really his answer? "BY MEANS OF A MEANS


"--butunfortunately not in five words, but so circumstantially, imposingly,and with such display of German profundity and verbal flourishes, thatone altogether loses sight of the comical niaiserie allemande involvedin such an answer. People were beside themselves with delight over thisnew faculty, and the jubilation reached its climax when Kant furtherdiscovered a moral faculty in man--for at that time Germans were stillmoral, not yet dabbling in the "Politics of hard fact." Then camethe honeymoon of German philosophy. All the young theologians of theTubingen institution went immediately into the groves--all seeking for"faculties." And what did they not find--in that innocent, rich, andstill youthful period of the German spirit, to which Romanticism, themalicious fairy, piped and sang, when one could not yet distinguishbetween "finding" and "inventing"! Above all a faculty for the"transcendental"; Schelling christened it, intellectual intuition,and thereby gratified the most earnest longings of the naturallypious-inclined Germans. One can do no greater wrong to the whole ofthis exuberant and eccentric movement

which was really youthfulness,notwithstanding that it disguised itself so boldly, in hoary and senileconceptions

, than to take it seriously, or even treat it with moralindignation. Enough, however--the world grew older, and the dreamvanished. A time came when people rubbed their foreheads, and they stillrub them today. People had been dreaming, and first and foremost--oldKant. "By means of a means


"--he had said, or at least meant tosay. But, is that--an answer? An explanation? Or is it not rather merelya repetition of the question? How does opium induce sleep? "By means ofa means


," namely the virtus dormitiva, replies the doctor inMoliere,

  Quia est in eo virtus dormitiva,Cujus est natura sensus assoupire.

  But such replies belong to the realm of comedy, and it is high timeto replace the Kantian question, "How are synthetic judgments a PRIORIpossible?" by another question, "Why is belief in such judgmentsnecessary?"--in effect, it is high time that we should understandthat such judgments must be believed to be true, for the sake of thepreservation of creatures like ourselves; though they still mightnaturally be false judgments! Or, more plainly spoken, and roughly andreadily--synthetic judgments a priori should not "be possible" at all;we have no right to them; in our mouths they are nothing but falsejudgments. Only, of course, the belief in their truth is necessary, asplausible belief and ocular evidence belonging to the perspective viewof life. And finally, to call to mind the enormous influence which"German philosophy"--I hope you understand its right to inverted commas


?--has exercised throughout the whole of Europe, there isno doubt that a certain VIRTUS DORMITIVA had a share in it; thanks toGerman philosophy, it was a delight to the noble idlers, the virtuous,the mystics, the artiste, the three-fourths Christians, and thepolitical obscurantists of all nations, to find an antidote to the stilloverwhelming sensualism which overflowed from the last century intothis, in short--"sensus assoupire."...

  12. As regards materialistic atomism, it is one of the best-refutedtheories that have been advanced, and in Europe there is now perhapsno one in the learned world so unscholarly as to attach serioussignification to it, except for convenient everyday use

as anabbreviation of the means of expression

--thanks chiefly to the PoleBoscovich: he and the Pole Copernicus have hitherto been the greatestand most successful opponents of ocular evidence. For while Copernicushas persuaded us to believe, contrary to all the senses, that the earthdoes NOT stand fast, Boscovich has taught us to abjure the belief in thelast thing that "stood fast" of the earth--the belief in "substance," in"matter," in the earth-residuum, and particle-atom: it is the greatesttriumph over the senses that has hitherto been gained on earth. Onemust, however, go still further, and also declare war, relentless warto the knife, against the "atomistic requirements" which still lead adangerous after-life in places where no one suspects them, like the morecelebrated "metaphysical requirements": one must also above all givethe finishing stroke to that other and more portentous atomism whichChristianity has taught best and longest, the SOUL-ATOMISM. Let it bepermitted to designate by this expression the belief which regards thesoul as something indestructible, eternal, indivisible, as a monad,as an atomon: this belief ought to be expelled from science! Betweenourselves, it is not at all necessary to get rid of "the soul" thereby,and thus renounce one of the oldest and most venerated hypotheses--ashappens frequently to the clumsiness of naturalists, who can hardlytouch on the soul without immediately losing it. But the way is openfor new acceptations and refinements of the soul-hypothesis; and suchconceptions as "mortal soul," and "soul of subjective multiplicity,"and "soul as social structure of the instincts and passions," wanthenceforth to have legitimate rights in science. In that the NEWpsychologist is about to put an end to the superstitions which havehitherto flourished with almost tropical luxuriance around the idea ofthe soul, he is really, as it were, thrusting himself into a new desertand a new distrust--it is possible that the older psychologists had amerrier and more comfortable time of it; eventually, however, he findsthat precisely thereby he is also condemned to INVENT--and, who knows?perhaps to DISCOVER the new.

  13. Psychologists should bethink themselves before putting down theinstinct of self-preservation as the cardinal instinct of an organicbeing. A living thing seeks above all to DISCHARGE its strength--lifeitself is WILL TO POWER; self-preservation is only one of the indirectand most frequent RESULTS thereof. In short, here, as everywhere else,let us beware of SUPERFLUOUS teleological principles!--one of whichis the instinct of self-preservation

we owe it to Spinoza'sinconsistency

. It is thus, in effect, that method ordains, which mustbe essentially economy of principles.

  14. It is perhaps just dawning on five or six minds that naturalphilosophy is only a world-exposition and world-arrangement

accordingto us, if I may say so!

and NOT a world-explanation; but in so far asit is based on belief in the senses, it is regarded as more, and for along time to come must be regarded as more--namely, as an explanation.It has eyes and fingers of its own, it has ocular evidence andpalpableness of its own: this operates fascinatingly, persuasively, andCONVINCINGLY upon an age with fundamentally plebeian tastes--in fact, itfollows instinctively the canon of truth of eternal popular sensualism.What is clear, what is "explained"? Only that which can be seen andfelt--one must pursue every problem thus far. Obversely, however, thecharm of the Platonic mode of thought, which was an ARISTOCRATIC mode,consisted precisely in RESISTANCE to obvious sense-evidence--perhapsamong men who enjoyed even stronger and more fastidious senses than ourcontemporaries, but who knew how to find a higher triumph in remainingmasters of them: and this by means of pale, cold, grey conceptionalnetworks which they threw over the motley whirl of the senses--themob of the senses, as Plato said. In this overcoming of the world, andinterpreting of the world in the manner of Plato, there was an ENJOYMENTdifferent from that which the physicists of today offer us--and likewisethe Darwinists and anti-teleologists among the physiological workers,with their principle of the "smallest possible effort," and the greatestpossible blunder. "Where there is nothing more to see or to grasp, thereis also nothing more for men to do"--that is certainly an imperativedifferent from the Platonic one, but it may notwithstanding be the rightimperative for a hardy, laborious race of machinists and bridge-buildersof the future, who have nothing but ROUGH work to perform.

  15. To study physiology with a clear conscience, one must insist onthe fact that the sense-organs are not phenomena in the sense of theidealistic philosophy; as such they certainly could not be causes!Sensualism, therefore, at least as regulative hypothesis, if not asheuristic principle. What? And others say even that the external worldis the work of our organs? But then our body, as a part of this externalworld, would be the work of our organs! But then our organs themselveswould be the work of our organs! It seems to me that this is acomplete REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM, if the conception CAUSA SUI is somethingfundamentally absurd. Consequently, the external world is NOT the workof our organs--?

  16. There are still harmless self-observers who believe that there are"immediate certainties"; for instance, "I think," or as the superstitionof Schopenhauer puts it, "I will"; as though cognition here got holdof its object purely and simply as "the thing in itself," without anyfalsification taking place either on the part of the subject or theobject. I would repeat it, however, a hundred times, that "immediatecertainty," as well as "absolute knowledge" and the "thing in itself,"involve a CONTRADICTIO IN ADJECTO; we really ought to free ourselvesfrom the misleading significance of words! The people on their part maythink that cognition is knowing all about things, but the philosophermust say to himself: "When I analyze the process that is expressed inthe sentence, 'I think,' I find a whole series of daring assertions, theargumentative proof of which would be difficult, perhaps impossible:for instance, that it is _I_ who think, that there must necessarily besomething that thinks, that thinking is an activity and operation on thepart of a being who is thought of as a cause, that there is an 'ego,'and finally, that it is already determined what is to be designated bythinking--that I KNOW what thinking is. For if I had not already decidedwithin myself what it is, by what standard could I determine whetherthat which is just happening is not perhaps 'willing' or 'feeling'? Inshort, the assertion 'I think,' assumes that I COMPARE my state at thepresent moment with other states of myself which I know, in order todetermine what it is; on account of this retrospective connection withfurther 'knowledge,' it has, at any rate, no immediate certainty forme."--In place of the "immediate certainty" in which the people maybelieve in the special case, the philosopher thus finds a series ofmetaphysical questions presented to him, veritable conscience questionsof the intellect, to wit: "Whence did I get the notion of 'thinking'?Why do I believe in cause and effect? What gives me the right to speakof an 'ego,' and even of an 'ego' as cause, and finally of an 'ego'as cause of thought?" He who ventures to answer these metaphysicalquestions at once by an appeal to a sort of INTUITIVE perception, likethe person who says, "I think, and know that this, at least, istrue, actual, and certain"--will encounter a smile and two notes ofinterrogation in a philosopher nowadays. "Sir," the philosopher willperhaps give him to understand, "it is improbable that you are notmistaken, but why should it be the truth?"

  17. With regard to the superstitions of logicians, I shall never tireof emphasizing a small, terse fact, which is unwillingly recognized bythese credulous minds--namely, that a thought comes when "it" wishes,and not when "I" wish; so that it is a PERVERSION of the facts of thecase to say that the subject "I" is the condition of the predicate"think." ONE thinks; but that this "one" is precisely the famous old"ego," is, to put it mildly, only a supposition, an assertion, andassuredly not an "immediate certainty." After all, one has even gone toofar with this "one thinks"--even the "one" contains an INTERPRETATION ofthe process, and does not belong to the process itself. One infers hereaccording to the usual grammatical formula--"To think is an activity;every activity requires an agency that is active; consequently"... Itwas pretty much on the same lines that the older atomism sought, besidesthe operating "power," the material particle wherein it resides and outof which it operates--the atom. More rigorous minds, however, learnt atlast to get along without this "earth-residuum," and perhaps some day weshall accustom ourselves, even from the logician's point of view, toget along without the little "one"

to which the worthy old "ego" hasrefined itself


  18. It is certainly not the least charm of a theory that it isrefutable; it is precisely thereby that it attracts the more subtleminds. It seems that the hundred-times-refuted theory of the "free will"owes its persistence to this charm alone; some one is always appearingwho feels himself strong enough to refute it.

  19. Philosophers are accustomed to speak of the will as though it werethe best-known thing in the world; indeed, Schopenhauer has given usto understand that the will alone is really known to us, absolutely andcompletely known, without deduction or addition. But it again andagain seems to me that in this case Schopenhauer also only did whatphilosophers are in the habit of doing--he seems to have adopted aPOPULAR PREJUDICE and exaggerated it. Willing seems to me to be aboveall something COMPLICATED, something that is a unity only in name--andit is precisely in a name that popular prejudice lurks, which has gotthe mastery over the inadequate precautions of philosophers in all ages.So let us for once be more cautious, let us be "unphilosophical": letus say that in all willing there is firstly a plurality of sensations,namely, the sensation of the condition "AWAY FROM WHICH we go," thesensation of the condition "TOWARDS WHICH we go," the sensation of this"FROM" and "TOWARDS" itself, and then besides, an accompanying muscularsensation, which, even without our putting in motion "arms and legs,"commences its action by force of habit, directly we "will" anything.Therefore, just as sensations

and indeed many kinds of sensations

areto be recognized as ingredients of the will, so, in the second place,thinking is also to be recognized; in every act of the will there isa ruling thought;--and let us not imagine it possible to sever thisthought from the "willing," as if the will would then remain over!In the third place, the will is not only a complex of sensation andthinking, but it is above all an EMOTION, and in fact the emotion of thecommand. That which is termed "freedom of the will" is essentially theemotion of supremacy in respect to him who must obey: "I am free, 'he'must obey"--this consciousness is inherent in every will; and equallyso the straining of the attention, the straight look which fixes itselfexclusively on one thing, the unconditional judgment that "this andnothing else is necessary now," the inward certainty that obediencewill be rendered--and whatever else pertains to the position of thecommander. A man who WILLS commands something within himself whichrenders obedience, or which he believes renders obedience. But now letus notice what is the strangest thing about the will,--this affair soextremely complex, for which the people have only one name. Inasmuch asin the given circumstances we are at the same time the commanding ANDthe obeying parties, and as the obeying party we know the sensations ofconstraint, impulsion, pressure, resistance, and motion, which usuallycommence immediately after the act of will; inasmuch as, on the otherhand, we are accustomed to disregard this duality, and to deceiveourselves about it by means of the synthetic term "I": a whole seriesof erroneous conclusions, and consequently of false judgments about thewill itself, has become attached to the act of willing--to such a degreethat he who wills believes firmly that willing SUFFICES for action.Since in the majority of cases there has only been exercise of willwhen the effect of the command--consequently obedience, and thereforeaction--was to be EXPECTED, the APPEARANCE has translated itself intothe sentiment, as if there were a NECESSITY OF EFFECT; in a word, he whowills believes with a fair amount of certainty that will and action aresomehow one; he ascribes the success, the carrying out of the willing,to the will itself, and thereby enjoys an increase of the sensationof power which accompanies all success. "Freedom of Will"--that is theexpression for the complex state of delight of the person exercisingvolition, who commands and at the same time identifies himself withthe executor of the order--who, as such, enjoys also the triumph overobstacles, but thinks within himself that it was really his own willthat overcame them. In this way the person exercising volition adds thefeelings of delight of his successful executive instruments, the useful"underwills" or under-souls--indeed, our body is but a social structurecomposed of many souls--to his feelings of delight as commander. L'EFFETC'EST MOI. what happens here is what happens in every well-constructedand happy commonwealth, namely, that the governing class identifiesitself with the successes of the commonwealth. In all willing it isabsolutely a question of commanding and obeying, on the basis, asalready said, of a social structure composed of many "souls", on whichaccount a philosopher should claim the right to include willing-as-suchwithin the sphere of morals--regarded as the doctrine of the relationsof supremacy under which the phenomenon of "life" manifests itself.

  20. That the separate philosophical ideas are not anything optional orautonomously evolving, but grow up in connection and relationship witheach other, that, however suddenly and arbitrarily they seem to appearin the history of thought, they nevertheless belong just as much toa system as the collective members of the fauna of a Continent--isbetrayed in the end by the circumstance: how unfailingly the mostdiverse philosophers always fill in again a definite fundamental schemeof POSSIBLE philosophies. Under an invisible spell, they always revolveonce more in the same orbit, however independent of each other theymay feel themselves with their critical or systematic wills, somethingwithin them leads them, something impels them in definite order theone after the other--to wit, the innate methodology and relationshipof their ideas. Their thinking is, in fact, far less a discovery than are-recognizing, a remembering, a return and a home-coming to a far-off,ancient common-household of the soul, out of which those ideas formerlygrew: philosophizing is so far a kind of atavism of the highest order.The wonderful family resemblance of all Indian, Greek, and Germanphilosophizing is easily enough explained. In fact, where there isaffinity of language, owing to the common philosophy of grammar--I meanowing to the unconscious domination and guidance of similar grammaticalfunctions--it cannot but be that everything is prepared at the outsetfor a similar development and succession of philosophical systems,just as the way seems barred against certain other possibilities ofworld-interpretation. It is highly probable that philosophers within thedomain of the Ural-Altaic languages

where the conception of the subjectis least developed

look otherwise "into the world," and will befound on paths of thought different from those of the Indo-Germans andMussulmans, the spell of certain grammatical functions is ultimatelyalso the spell of PHYSIOLOGICAL valuations and racial conditions.--Somuch by way of rejecting Locke's superficiality with regard to theorigin of ideas.

  21. The CAUSA SUI is the best self-contradiction that has yet beenconceived, it is a sort of logical violation and unnaturalness; but theextravagant pride of man has managed to entangle itself profoundly andfrightfully with this very folly. The desire for "freedom of will"in the superlative, metaphysical sense, such as still holds sway,unfortunately, in the minds of the half-educated, the desire to bearthe entire and ultimate responsibility for one's actions oneself, andto absolve God, the world, ancestors, chance, and society therefrom,involves nothing less than to be precisely this CAUSA SUI, and, withmore than Munchausen daring, to pull oneself up into existence by thehair, out of the slough of nothingness. If any one should find out inthis manner the crass stupidity of the celebrated conception of "freewill" and put it out of his head altogether, I beg of him to carryhis "enlightenment" a step further, and also put out of his head thecontrary of this monstrous conception of "free will": I mean "non-freewill," which is tantamount to a misuse of cause and effect. Oneshould not wrongly MATERIALISE "cause" and "effect," as the naturalphilosophers do

and whoever like them naturalize in thinking atpresent

, according to the prevailing mechanical doltishness which makesthe cause press and push until it "effects" its end; one should use"cause" and "effect" only as pure CONCEPTIONS, that is to say, asconventional fictions for the purpose of designation and mutualunderstanding,--NOT for explanation. In "being-in-itself" there isnothing of "casual-connection," of "necessity," or of "psychologicalnon-freedom"; there the effect does NOT follow the cause, there "law"does not obtain. It is WE alone who have devised cause, sequence,reciprocity, relativity, constraint, number, law, freedom, motive,and purpose; and when we interpret and intermix this symbol-world,as "being-in-itself," with things, we act once more as we have alwaysacted--MYTHOLOGICALLY. The "non-free will" is mythology; in real lifeit is only a question of STRONG and WEAK wills.--It is almost alwaysa symptom of what is lacking in himself, when a thinker, in every"causal-connection" and "psychological necessity," manifests somethingof compulsion, indigence, obsequiousness, oppression, and non-freedom;it is suspicious to have such feelings--the person betrays himself. Andin general, if I have observed correctly, the "non-freedom of the will"is regarded as a problem from two entirely opposite standpoints, butalways in a profoundly PERSONAL manner: some will not give up their"responsibility," their belief in THEMSELVES, the personal right toTHEIR merits, at any price

the vain races belong to this class

; otherson the contrary, do not wish to be answerable for anything, or blamedfor anything, and owing to an inward self-contempt, seek to GET OUT OFTHE BUSINESS, no matter how. The latter, when they write books, arein the habit at present of taking the side of criminals; a sort ofsocialistic sympathy is their favourite disguise. And as a matter offact, the fatalism of the weak-willed embellishes itself surprisinglywhen it can pose as "la religion de la souffrance humaine"; that is ITS"good taste."

  22. Let me be pardoned, as an old philologist who cannot desist fromthe mischief of putting his finger on bad modes of interpretation, but"Nature's conformity to law," of which you physicists talk so proudly,as though--why, it exists only owing to your interpretation and bad"philology." It is no matter of fact, no "text," but rather just anaively humanitarian adjustment and perversion of meaning, with whichyou make abundant concessions to the democratic instincts of the modernsoul! "Everywhere equality before the law--Nature is not different inthat respect, nor better than we": a fine instance of secret motive,in which the vulgar antagonism to everything privileged andautocratic--likewise a second and more refined atheism--is once moredisguised. "Ni dieu, ni maitre"--that, also, is what you want; andtherefore "Cheers for natural law!"--is it not so? But, as has beensaid, that is interpretation, not text; and somebody might come along,who, with opposite intentions and modes of interpretation, could readout of the same "Nature," and with regard to the same phenomena, justthe tyrannically inconsiderate and relentless enforcement of the claimsof power--an interpreter who should so place the unexceptionalness andunconditionalness of all "Will to Power" before your eyes, that almostevery word, and the word "tyranny" itself, would eventually seemunsuitable, or like a weakening and softening metaphor--as being toohuman; and who should, nevertheless, end by asserting the same aboutthis world as you do, namely, that it has a "necessary" and "calculable"course, NOT, however, because laws obtain in it, but because they areabsolutely LACKING, and every power effects its ultimate consequencesevery moment. Granted that this also is only interpretation--and youwill be eager enough to make this objection?--well, so much the better.

  23. All psychology hitherto has run aground on moral prejudices andtimidities, it has not dared to launch out into the depths. In so faras it is allowable to recognize in that which has hitherto been written,evidence of that which has hitherto been kept silent, it seems as ifnobody had yet harboured the notion of psychology as the Morphologyand DEVELOPMENT-DOCTRINE OF THE WILL TO POWER, as I conceive of it.The power of moral prejudices has penetrated deeply into the mostintellectual world, the world apparently most indifferent andunprejudiced, and has obviously operated in an injurious, obstructive,blinding, and distorting manner. A proper physio-psychology has tocontend with unconscious antagonism in the heart of the investigator,it has "the heart" against it even a doctrine of the reciprocalconditionalness of the "good" and the "bad" impulses, causes

asrefined immorality

distress and aversion in a still strong and manlyconscience--still more so, a doctrine of the derivation of all goodimpulses from bad ones. If, however, a person should regard eventhe emotions of hatred, envy, covetousness, and imperiousnessas life-conditioning emotions, as factors which must be present,fundamentally and essentially, in the general economy of life

whichmust, therefore, be further developed if life is to be furtherdeveloped

, he will suffer from such a view of things as fromsea-sickness. And yet this hypothesis is far from being the strangestand most painful in this immense and almost new domain of dangerousknowledge, and there are in fact a hundred good reasons why every oneshould keep away from it who CAN do so! On the other hand, if one hasonce drifted hither with one's bark, well! very good! now let us set ourteeth firmly! let us open our eyes and keep our hand fast on the helm!We sail away right OVER morality, we crush out, we destroy perhaps theremains of our own morality by daring to make our voyage thither--butwhat do WE matter. Never yet did a PROFOUNDER world of insight revealitself to daring travelers and adventurers, and the psychologist whothus "makes a sacrifice"--it is not the sacrifizio dell' intelletto,on the contrary!--will at least be entitled to demand in return thatpsychology shall once more be recognized as the queen of the sciences,for whose service and equipment the other sciences exist. For psychologyis once more the path to the fundamental problems.