From Essential Selections in 19th and 20th Century Philosophy, by James Fieser


Copyright 2014, updated 5/1/2015




Apollonian and Dionysian Aspects of Art

798 (The Will to Power). Apollonian, Dionysian. There are two conditions in which art manifests itself in man even as a force of nature, and influences him whether he consents or not: it may be as a constraint to visionary states, or it may be a wild impulse. Both conditions are to be seen in normal life, but they are then somewhat weaker: in dreams and in moments of elation or intoxication.

            But the same contrast exists between the dream state and the state of elation: both of these states let loose all manner of artistic powers within us, but each unfetters powers of a different kind. Dreamland gives us the power of vision, of association, of poetry: elation gives us the power of grand attitudes, of passion, of song, and of dance.

            1 (Birth of Tragedy). We shall have gained much for the science of aesthetics, when once we have perceived not only by logical inference, but by the immediate certainty of intuition, that the continuous development of art is bound up with the duality of the Apollonian and the Dionysian: in like manner as procreation is dependent on the duality of the sexes, involving perpetual conflicts with only periodically intervening reconciliations. These names we borrow from the Greeks, who disclose to the intelligent observer the profound mysteries of their view of art, not indeed in concepts, but in the impressively clear figures of their world of deities. It is in connection with Apollo and Dionysus, the two art-deities of the Greeks, that we learn that there existed in the Grecian world a wide antithesis, in origin and aims, between the visual art of the shaper, the Apollonian, and the non-visual art of music, that of Dionysus: both these so heterogeneous tendencies run parallel to each other, for the most part openly at variance, and continually inciting each other to new and more powerful births, to perpetuate in them the strife of this antithesis, which is but seemingly bridged over by their mutual term “Art “; till at last, by a metaphysical miracle of the Hellenic will, they appear paired with each other, and through this pairing eventually generate the equally Dionysian and Apollonian art-work of Attic tragedy.

            In order to bring these two tendencies within closer range, let us conceive them first of all as the separate art-worlds of dreamland and drunkenness; between which physiological phenomena a contrast may be observed analogous to that existing between the Apollonian and the Dionysian. . . .

            16. Many are intent on deriving the arts from one exclusive principle, as the necessary vital source of every work of art. In contrast to this, I keep my eyes fixed on the two artistic deities of the Greeks, Apollo and Dionysus, and recognize in them the living and prominent representatives of two worlds of art [i.e., visual art and music] which differ in their intrinsic essence and in their highest aims. Apollo stands before me as the transfiguring genius of the principle of individuation [i.e., Schopenhauer’s notion of the a priori forms of space and time] through which alone the redemption in appearance is to be truly attained. At the same time, through the mystical cheer of Dionysus the spell of individuation is broken, and the way lies open to the Mothers of Being [i.e., a mystical real in Goethe’s Faust], to the innermost heart of things. This extraordinary antithesis, which opens up yawningly between visual art as the Apollonian and music as the Dionysian art, has become manifest to only one of the great thinkers [i.e., Schopenhauer], to such an extent that, even without this key to the symbolism of the Hellenic divinities, he allowed to music a different character and origin in advance of all the other arts, because, unlike them, it is not a copy of the phenomenon, but a direct copy of the will itself and therefore represents the metaphysical of everything physical in the world, the thing-in-itself of every phenomenon.


Christianity vs. Dionysus

24 (Birth of Tragedy).  My friends, you who believe in Dionysian music, you know also what tragedy means to us. There we have tragic myth, born anew from music, and in this latest birth you can hope for everything and forget what is most afflicting. What is most afflicting to all of us, however, is the prolonged degradation in which the German genius has lived estranged from house and home in the service of malignant dwarfs [i.e., Christian priests]. You understand my allusion as you will also, in conclusion, understand my hopes.

            Appendix. Throughout the whole book [there is] a deep hostile silence on Christianity: it is neither Apollonian nor Dionysian; it negatives all aesthetic values (the only values recognized by the Birth of Tragedy), it is in the widest sense nihilistic, whereas in the Dionysian symbol the utmost limit of affirmation is reached. Once or twice the Christian priests are alluded to as a “malignant kind of dwarfs”, as “subterraneans.”

            1052 (The Will to Power). Dionysus versus “Christ “; here you have the contrast. It is not a difference in regard to the martyrdom, — but the latter has a different meaning. Life itself — Life’s eternal fruitfulness and recurrence caused anguish, destruction, and the will to annihilation. In the other case, the suffering of the “Christ as the Innocent One” stands as an objection against Life, it is the formula of Life’s condemnation. — Readers will guess that the problem concerns the meaning of suffering; whether a Christian or a tragic meaning is given to it. In the first case it is the road to a holy type of existence; in the second case existence itself is regarded as sufficiently holy to justify an enormous amount of suffering. The tragic man says yes even to the most excruciating suffering: he is sufficiently strong, rich, and capable of deifying, to be able to do this; the Christian denies even the happy lots on earth: he is weak, poor, and disinherited enough to suffer from life in any form. God on the Cross is a curse upon Life, a signpost directing people to deliver themselves from it; — Dionysus cut into pieces is a promise of Life: it will be forever born anew  and rise afresh from destruction.




Eternal Recurrence Explained by a Demon (Joyful Wisdom)

341. What if a demon’ crept after you into your loneliest loneliness some day or night, and said to you: “This life, as you live it at present, and have lived it, you must live it once more, and also innumerable times; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh, and all the unspeakably small and great in your life must come to you again, and all in the same series and sequence — and similarly this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and similarly this moment, and I myself. The eternal sand-glass of existence will ever be turned once more, and you with it, you speck of dust!” — Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth, and curse the demon that so spoke? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment in which you would answer him:” You are a God, and never did I hear anything so divine!” If that thought acquired power over you as you are, it would transform you, and perhaps crush you. The question with regard to all and everything: “Do you want this once more, and also for innumerable times?” would lie as the heaviest burden upon your activity! Or, how would you have to become favorably inclined to yourself and to life, so as to long for nothing more ardently than for this last eternal sanctioning and sealing? 


Eternal Recurrence Explained by Physics (Eternal Recurrence)


25. The world of energy suffers no diminution: otherwise with eternal time it would have grown weak and finally have perished altogether. The world of energy suffers no stationary state, otherwise this would already have been reached, and the clock of the universe would be at a standstill. The world of energy does not therefore reach a state of equilibrium; for no instant in its career has it had rest; its energy and its movement have been the same for all time. Whatever state this world could have reached must before now have been attained, and not only once but an incalculable number of times. This applies to this very moment. It has already been here once before, and several times, and will recur in the same way, with all forces distributed as they are today: and the same holds good of the moment of time which bore the present and of that which shall be the child of the present. Fellow man! Your whole life, like a sandglass, will always be reversed and will ever run out again, - a long minute of time will elapse until all those conditions out of which you were evolved return in the wheel of the cosmic process. And then you will find every pain and every pleasure, every friend and every enemy, every hope and every error, every blade of grass and every ray of sunshine once more, and the whole fabric of things which make up your life. This ring in which you are but a grain will glitter afresh forever. And in every one of these cycles of human life there will be one hour where, for the first time one man, and then many, will perceive the mighty thought of the eternal recurrence of all things:- and for mankind this is always the hour of Noon.


The Moral Consequences of the Eternal Recurrence

26. How can we give weight to our inner life without making it evil and fanatical towards people who think otherwise. Religious belief is declining and man is beginning to regard himself as temporary and unessential, a point of view which is making him weak; he does not exercise so much effort in striving or enduring. What he wants is momentary enjoyment He would make things light for himself, - and a good deal of his spirit gets squandered in this endeavor.

            27. The political mania at which I smile just as merrily as my contemporaries smile at the religious mania of former times is above all Materialism, a belief in the world, and the repudiation of a “Beyond,” of a “back-world.” The object of those who believe in the latter is the well-being of the temporary individual: that is why Socialism is its fruit; for with Socialism temporary individuals wish to secure their happiness by means of socialization. They have no reason to wait, as those men had who believed in eternal souls, in eternal development and eternal amelioration. My doctrine is: Live so that you may desire to live again, - that is your duty, — for in any case you will live again! He to whom striving is the greatest happiness, let him strive; he to whom peace is the greatest happiness, let him rest; he to whom subordination, following, obedience, is the greatest happiness, let him obey. All that is necessary is that he should know what it is that gives him the highest happiness, and to fight for it without restraint. Eternity is at stake!


Exercising Freedom in the Face of the Eternal Recurrence

28.”But if everything is necessary, what control have I over my actions?” Thought and faith are a form of ballast which burden you in addition to other burdens you may have, and which are even weightier than the latter. You say that nutrition, the land of your birth, air, and society change you and determine you. Well, your opinions do this to a much greater degree, for they even advise your nourishment, your land of adoption, your atmosphere, and your society for you. — If you ever assimilate the thought of the thoughts it will also alter you. The best ballast is the question which you will have to answer before every action that you perform: “is this an action that I am prepared to perform an incalculable number of times?”

            29. The mightiest of all thoughts absorbs a good deal of energy which formerly stood at the disposal of other aspirations, and in this way it exercises a modifying influence; it creates new laws of motion in energy, though no new energy. But it is precisely in this respect that there lies some possibility of determining new emotions and new desires in men.

            30. Let us try and discover how the thought that something gets repeated has affected mankind hitherto (the year, for instance, or periodical illnesses, waking and sleeping, etc.). Even supposing the recurrence of the cycle is only a probability or a possibility, even a thought, even a possibility, can shatter us and transform us. It is not only feelings and definite expectations to do this! See what effect the thought of eternal damnation has had!


How the Doctrine will Transform the World

31. From the moment when this thought begins to prevail all colors will change their hue and a new history will begin.

            32. The history of the future: this thought will tend to triumph ever more and more, and those who disbelieve in it will be forced, according to their nature, ultimately to die out.

            He, alone, who will regard his existence as capable of eternal recurrence will remain over: but among such as these a state will be possible of which the imagination of no utopist has ever dreamt!

            33. You imagine that you will have a long rest before your second birth takes place, —  but do not deceive yourselves! Between your last moment of consciousness and the first ray of the dawn of your new life no time will elapse, — as a flash of lightning will the space go by, even though living creatures think it is billions of years, and are not even able to reckon it. Timelessness and immediate rebirth are compatible, once intellect is eliminated!

            34. You feel that you must soon take your leave perhaps - and the sunset glow of this feeling pierces through your happiness. Give heed to this sign: it means that you love life and yourself, and life as it has hitherto affected you and molded you, — and that you crave for its eternity - Non alia sed haec vita sempiterna [i.e., “no other but this everlasting life]!

            Know also, that transiency sings its short song forever afresh and that at the sound of the first verse you wilt almost die of longing when you think that it might be for the last time.

            35. Let us stamp the impress of eternity upon our lives! This thought contains more than all the religions which taught us to condemn this life as a temporary thing, and told us to squint upwards to another and indefinite existence.

            36. We must not strive after distant and unknown states of bliss and blessings and acts of grace, but we must live so that we would gladly live again and live forever so, to all eternity! - Our duty is present with us every instant.


The Doctrine as a Moral Code and Religion

37. The leading tendencies: (1) We must implant the love of life, the love of every man’s own life in every conceivable way! However each individual may understand this love of self his neighbor will acquiesce, and will have to learn great tolerance towards it: however much it may often run counter to his taste, — provided the individual in question really helps to increase his joy in his own life!

            (2) We must all be one in our hostility towards everything and everybody who tends to cast a slur upon the value of life: towards all gloomy, dissatisfied and brooding natures. We must prevent these from procreating! But our hostility itself must be a means to our joy! Thus we shall laugh; we shall mock and we shall eliminate without bitterness! Let this be our mortal combat.

            This life is your eternal life!

            38. What was the cause of the downfall of the Alexandrian culture? With all its useful discoveries and its desire to investigate the nature of this world, it did not know how to lend this life to its ultimate importance, the thought of a Beyond was more important to it! To teach anew in this regard is still the most important thing of all; — perhaps if metaphysics are applied to this life in the most emphatic way, — as in the case of my doctrine!

            39. This doctrine is lenient towards those who do not believe in it. It speaks of no hells and it contains no threats. He who does not believe in it has but a fleeting life in his consciousness.

            40. It would be terrible if we still believed in sin, but whatever we may do, however often we may repeat it, it is all innocent. If the thought of the eternal recurrence of all things does not overwhelm you, then it is not your fault: and if it does overwhelm you, this does not stand to your merit either. — We think more leniently of our forebears than they themselves thought of themselves; we mourn over the errors which were to them constitutional; but we do not mourn over their evil.

            41. Let us guard against teaching such a doctrine as if it were a suddenly discovered religion! It must percolate through slowly, and whole generations must build on it and become fruitful through it, — in order that it may grow into a large tree which will shelter all posterity. What are the two thousand years in which Christianity has maintained its sway? For the mightiest thought of all many millenniums will be necessary, — long, long, long will it have to remain puny and weak!

            For this thought we do not require thirty years of glory with drums and fifes, and thirty years of grave-digging followed by an eternity of morbid stillness, as is the case with so many other famous thoughts.

            Simple and nearly barren as it is, this thought must not even require eloquence to uphold it.

            43. Are you now prepared? You must have experienced every form of skepticism and you must have wallowed with voluptuousness in ice-cold baths, — otherwise you have no right to this thought; I wish to protect myself against those who are over-ready to believe, likewise against those who gush over anything! I would defend my doctrine in advance. It must be the religion of the freest, most cheerful and most sublime souls, a delightful pastureland somewhere between golden ice and pure heaven!




The Death of God Explained (Joyful Wisdom)

108.  After Buddha was dead people showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a cave, — an immense frightful shadow. God is dead: — but as the human race is constituted, there will perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which people will show his shadow. — And we — we have still to overcome his shadow!

            125. Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: “I seek God! I seek God!” — As there were many people standing about who did not believe in God, he caused a great deal of amusement. Why, is he lost? said one. Has he strayed away like a child? said another. Or does he keep himself hidden? Is he afraid of us? Has he taken a sea voyage? Has he emigrated? — the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub.

            The insane man jumped into their midst and transfixed them with his glances. “Where has God gone?” he called out. “I mean to tell you! We have killed him, — you and I! We are all his murderers! But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? To where does it now move? To where do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in the morning? Do we not hear the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we not smell the divine putrefaction? — For even Gods putrefy! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console ourselves, the most murderous of all murderers? The holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed, has bled to death under our knife, — who will wipe the blood from us? With what water could we cleanse ourselves? What lustrums [i.e. purification period], what sacred games shall we have to devise? Is not the magnitude of this deed too great for us? Shall we not ourselves have to become Gods, merely to seem worthy of it? There never was a greater event, — and on account of it, all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history previously!”

            Here the madman was silent and looked again at his hearers; they also were silent and looked at him in surprise. At last he threw his lantern on the ground so that it broke in pieces and was extinguished. “I came too early,” he then said, “ I am not yet at the right time. This extraordinary event is still on its way, and is travelling, — it has not yet reached men’s ears. Lightning and thunder need time, the light of the stars needs time, deeds need time, even after they are done, to be seen and heard. This deed is as yet further from them than the furthest star, — and yet they have done it!’’

            It is further stated that the madman made his way into different churches on the same day, and there chanted his Requiem aeternam deo [i.e., “eternal rest to God”]. When led out and called to account, he always gave the reply: “What are these churches now, if they are not the tombs and monuments of God?”


The Difficulty of Accepting it and What Comes Next

343. The most important of more recent events — that “God is dead,” that the belief in the Christian God has become unworthy of belief — already begins to cast its first shadows over Europe. To the few at least whose eye, whose suspecting glance is strong enough and subtle enough for this drama, some sun seems to have set, some old, profound confidence seems to have changed into doubt: our old world must seem to them daily more darksome, distrustful, strange and “old.” On the whole, however, one may say that the event itself is far too great, too remote, too much beyond most people’s power of apprehension, for one to suppose that so much as the report of it could have reached them; not to speak of many who already knew what had taken place, and what must all collapse now that this belief had been undermined. For, so much was built upon it,  so much rested on it, and had become one with it: for example, our entire European morality.

            This lengthy, vast and uninterrupted process of crumbling, destruction, ruin and overthrow which is now imminent: who has realized it sufficiently today to have to stand up as the teacher and herald of such a tremendous logic of terror, as the prophet of a period of gloom and eclipse, the like of which has probably never taken place on earth before? Even we, the born riddle-readers, who wait as it were on the mountains posted between today and tomorrow, and encircled by their contradiction, we, the first-born and premature children of the coming century, into whose sight especially the shadows which must forthwith envelop Europe should already have come — how is it that even we, without genuine sympathy for this period of gloom, contemplate its advent without any personal solicitude or fear? Are we still, perhaps, too much under the immediate effects of the event — and are these effects, especially as regards ourselves, perhaps the reverse of what was to be expected — not at all sad and depressing, but rather like a new and indescribable variety of light, happiness, relief, enlivenment, encouragement, and dawning day?  In fact, we philosophers and “free spirits” feel ourselves illumined as by a new dawn by the report that the “old God is dead”; our hearts overflow with gratitude, astonishment, presentiment and expectation. At last the horizon seems open once more, granting even that it is not bright. Our ships can finally be put out to sea in face of every danger; every hazard is again permitted to the discerner; the sea, our sea, again lies open before us; perhaps never before did such an “open sea” exist.



THE SUPERMAN (Thus Spoke Zarathustra)


The Mob rejects the Doctrine of the Superman

1.3. When Zarathustra arrived at the nearest town which adjoins the forest, he found many people assembled in the marketplace; for it had been announced that a rope-dancer would give a performance. And Zarathustra spoke so to the people:

            I teach you the Superman. Man is something that is to be surpassed. What have you done to surpass man?

            All beings formerly have created something beyond themselves: and you want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than surpass man?

            What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame.

            You have made your way from the worm to man, and much within you is still worm. Once were you apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than any of the apes.

            Even the wisest among you is only a disharmony and hybrid of plant and phantom. But do I tell you to become phantoms or plants?

            Observe, I teach you the Superman!

            The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Superman shall be the meaning of the earth!

            I summon you, my brothers, remain true to the earth, and believe not those who speak to you of super-earthly hopes! They are Poisoners, whether they know it or not.

            They are Despisers of life, decaying ones and poisoned ones themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so away with them!

            Once blasphemy against God was the greatest blasphemy; but God died, and then also those blasphemers. To blaspheme the earth is now the most dreadful sin, and to rate the heart of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth!

            Once the soul looked contemptuously on the body, and then that contempt was the supreme thing: — the soul wished the body meager, ghastly, and famished. So it thought to escape from the body and the earth.

            Oh, that soul was itself meager, ghastly, and famished; and cruelty was the delight of that soul!

            But you, also, my brothers, tell me: What does your body say about your soul? Is your soul not poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency?

            To be sure, a polluted stream is man. One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.

            So you see, I teach you the Superman: he is that sea; in him can your great contempt be submerged.

            What is the greatest thing you can experience? It is the hour of great contempt. The hour in which even your happiness becomes loathsome to you, and so also your reason and virtue.

            The hour when you say: “What good is my happiness! It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency. But my happiness should justify existence itself!”

            The hour when you say: “What good is my reason! Does it long for knowledge as the lion for his food? It is poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency!”

            The hour when you say: “What good is my virtue! As yet it has not made me passionate. How weary I am of my good and my bad! It is all poverty and pollution and wretched self-complacency!”

            The hour when you say: “What good is my justice! I do not see that I am fervor and fuel. The just, however, are fervor and fuel!”

            The hour when you say: “What good is my pity! Is not pity the cross on which he is nailed who loves man? But my pity is not a crucifixion.”

            Have you ever spoken so? Have you ever cried so? Ah! would that I had heard you crying so!

            It is not your sin — it is your self-satisfaction that cries to heaven; your very sparingness in sin cries to heaven!

            Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where is the frenzy with which you should be inoculated?

            So you see, I teach you the Superman: he is that lightning, he is that frenzy! — 

            When Zarathustra had so spoken, one of the people called out: “We have now heard enough of the rope-dancer; it is time now for us to see him!” And all the people laughed at Zarathustra. But the rope-dancer, who thought the words applied to him, began his performance. 


Zarathustra Rejects the Marketplace Mob

73.1. When I came to men for the first time, I commit folly of a recluse, the great folly: I appeared on the marketplace.

            And when I spoke to everyone, I spoke to no one. In the evening, however, rope-dancers were my companions, and corpses; and I myself almost a corpse.

            With the new morning, however, a new truth came to me, for I learned to say: “Of what relevance to me are the marketplace, the mob, the mob-noise, and the long mob-ears!”

            You higher men, learn this from me: In the marketplace no one believes in higher men. But if you will speak there, very well! The mob, however, blinks: “We are all equal.”

            “You higher men,” — so blinks the populace — “there are no higher men, we are all equal; man is man, before God we are all equal!”

            Before God! — Now, however, this God has died. Before the mob, however, we will not be equal. You higher men, away from the marketplace!

            2. Before God! — Now however this God has died! You higher men, this God was your greatest danger.

            Only since he lay in the grave have you again arisen. Now only comes the great noontide, now only does the higher man become master!

            Have you understood this word, O my brothers? You are frightened: do your hearts turn giddy? Does the abyss here yawn for you? Does the hell-hound here bark at you?

            Well! Take heart, you higher men! Now only travails the mountain of the human future. God has died: now do we desire the Superman to live.

            3. The most careful ask today: “How is man to be maintained?” Zarathustra however asks, as the first and only one: “How is man to be surpassed?”

            The Superman, I have at heart; that is the first and only thing to me, and not man: not the neighbor, not the poorest, not the sorriest, not the best.


HERD MENTALITY (Beyond Good and Evil)


Herd Mentality Explained

199. Inasmuch as in all ages, as long as mankind has existed, there have also been human herds (family alliances, communities, tribes, peoples, states, churches), and always a great number who obey in proportion to the small number who command. Therefore, in view of the fact that obedience has been most practiced and fostered among mankind previously, one may reasonably suppose that, generally speaking, the need thereof is now innate in everyone, as a kind of formal conscience which gives the command “Thou shalt unconditionally do something, unconditionally refrain from something”, in short, “Thou shalt”. This need tries to satisfy itself and to fill its form with a content, according to its strength, impatience, and eagerness, it at once seizes as an omnivorous appetite with little selection, and accepts whatever is shouted into its ear by all sorts of commanders — parents, teachers, laws, class prejudices, or public opinion. The extraordinary limitation of human development, the hesitation, delay, frequent retrogression, and turning thereof, is attributable to the fact that the herd-instinct of obedience is transmitted best, and at the cost of the art of command.


The Moral Hypocrisy of the Commanding Class

If one imagine this instinct increasing to its greatest extent, commanders and independent individuals will finally be lacking altogether, or they will suffer inwardly from a bad conscience, and will have to impose a deception on themselves in the first place in order to be able to command just as if they also were only obeying. This condition of things actually exists in Europe at present — I call it the moral hypocrisy of the commanding class. They know no other way of protecting themselves from their bad conscience than by playing the role of executors of older and higher orders (of predecessors, of the constitution, of justice, of the law, or of God himself), or they even justify themselves by maxims from the current opinions of the herd, as “first servants of their people,” or “instruments of the public weal”.

            On the other hand, the sociable European man nowadays assumes an air as if he were the only kind of man that is allowable, he glorifies his qualities, such as public spirit, kindness, deference, industry, temperance, modesty, indulgence, sympathy, by virtue of which he is gentle, endurable, and useful to the herd, as the peculiarly human virtues. In cases, however, where it is believed that the leader and bellwether cannot be dispensed with, attempt after attempt is made nowadays to replace commanders by the summing together of clever sociable men all representative constitutions, for example, are of this origin. In spite of all, what a blessing, what a deliverance from a weight becoming unendurable, is the appearance of an absolute ruler for these sociable Europeans — of this fact the effect of the appearance of Napoleon was the last great proof the history of the influence of Napoleon is almost the history of the higher happiness to which the entire century has attained in its worthiest individuals and periods.


The Herding-Animal Morality in European Socialism

202 . . . . Morality in Europe at present is herding-animal morality, and therefore, as we understand the matter, only one kind of human morality, beside which, before which, and after which many other moralities, and above all higher moralities, are or should be possible. Against such a “possibility,” against such a “should be,” however, this morality defends itself with all its strength, it says obstinately and inexorably “I am morality itself and nothing else is morality!” Indeed, with the help of a religion which has humored and flattered the sublimest desires of the herding-animal, things have reached such a point that we always find a more visible expression of this morality even in political and social arrangements. The democratic movement is the inheritance of the Christian movement. That its tempo, however, is much too slow and sleepy for the more impatient ones, for those who are sick and distracted by the herding-instinct, is indicated by the increasingly furious howling, and always less disguised teeth-gnashing of the anarchist dogs, who are now roving through the highways of European culture.

            The socialists appear to be in opposition to the peacefully industrious democrats and Revolution-ideologues, and still more so to the awkward dabblers in philosophy and brotherhood fanatics who call themselves Socialists and want a “free society.” But the socialists are really at one in their thorough and instinctive hostility to every form of society other than that of the autonomous herd (to the extent even of repudiating the notions “master” and “servant”— “neither God nor master”, says a socialist formula); at one in their tenacious opposition to every special claim, every special right and privilege (this means ultimately opposition to every right, for when all are equal, no one needs “rights” any longer); at one in their distrust of punitive justice (as though it were a violation of the weak, unfair to the necessary consequences of all former society). . . .

            203 . . . The universal degeneracy of mankind to the level of the “man of the future”—as idealized by the socialistic fools and simpletons — this degeneracy and dwarfing of man to an absolutely herding animal (or as they call it, to a man of “free society”), this animalizing of man into a dwarf animal with equal rights and claims, is undoubtedly possible! He who has thought out this possibility to its ultimate conclusion knows another loathing unknown to the rest of mankind — and perhaps also a new mission!


God replaced by the Herd Instinct (Will to Power)

275. . . . Now, admitting that faith in God is dead: the question arises once more: “who speaks?” My answer, which I take from biology and not from metaphysics, is: “the herd instinct speaks”. It wills to be master: hence its “thou shalt!”: it will allow the individual to exist only as a part of a whole, only in favor of the whole, it hates those who detach themselves from everything it turns the hatred of all individuals against him.

            276. The whole of the morality of Europe is based upon the values which are useful to the herd.


MASTER-SLAVE MORALITY (Beyond Good and Evil)


Master-Slave Morality Explained

260. In a tour through the many finer and coarser moralities which have previously prevailed or still prevail on the earth, I found certain traits recurring regularly together, and connected with one another, until finally two primary types revealed themselves to me, and a radical distinction was brought to light. There is master-morality and slave-morality. I would at once add, however, that in all higher and mixed civilizations, there are also attempts at the reconciliation of the two moralities, but one finds still oftener the confusion and mutual misunderstanding of them, indeed sometimes their close association — even in the same man, within one soul. The distinctions of moral values have either originated in a ruling caste, pleasantly conscious of being different from the ruled — or among the ruled class, the slaves and dependents of all sorts.


When Masters determine Morality

In the first case, when it is the rulers who determine the conception “good,” it is the exalted, proud disposition which is regarded as the distinguishing feature, and that which determines the order of rank. The noble type of man separates from himself the beings in whom the opposite of this exalted, proud disposition displays itself he despises them. Let it at once be noted that in this first kind of morality the antithesis “good” and “bad” means practically the same as “noble” and “despicable”, — the antithesis “good” and “evil” is of a different origin. The cowardly, the timid, the insignificant, and those thinking merely of narrow utility are despised; moreover, also, the distrustful, with their constrained glances, the self- abasing, the dog-like kind of men who let themselves be abused, the mendicant flatterers, and above all the liars: — it is a fundamental belief of all aristocrats that the common people are untruthful. “We truthful ones” — the nobility in ancient Greece called themselves.

            It is obvious that everywhere the designations of moral value were at first applied to men; and were only derivatively and at a later period applied to actions; it is a gross mistake, therefore, when historians of morals start with questions like, “Why have sympathetic actions been praised?” The noble type of man regards himself as a determiner of values; he does not require to be approved of; he passes the judgment: “What is injurious to me is injurious in itself;” he knows that it is he himself only who confers honor on things; he is a creator of values. He honors whatever he recognizes in himself: such morality equals self-glorification. In the foreground there is the feeling of plenitude, of power, which seeks to overflow, the happiness of high tension, the consciousness of a wealth which would gladly give and bestow: — the noble man also helps the unfortunate, but not — or scarcely — out of pity, but rather from an impulse generated by the super-abundance of power.

            The noble man honors in himself the powerful one, him also who has power over himself, who knows how to speak and how to keep silence, who takes pleasure in subjecting himself to severity and hardness, and has reverence for all that is severe and hard. “Wotan placed a hard heart in my breast,” says an old Scandinavian Saga: it is thus rightly expressed from the soul of a proud Viking. Such a type of man is even proud of not being made for sympathy; the hero of the Saga therefore adds warningly: “He who has not a hard heart when young, will never have one.” The noble and brave who think thus are the furthest removed from the morality which sees precisely in sympathy, or in acting for the good of others, or in desinteressement, the characteristic of the moral; faith in oneself, pride in oneself, a radical enmity and irony towards “selflessness,” belong as definitely to noble morality, as do a careless scorn and precaution in presence of sympathy and the “warm heart.”—

            It is the powerful who know how to honor, it is their art, their domain for invention. The profound reverence for age and for tradition — all law rests on this double reverence, —  the belief and prejudice in favor of ancestors and unfavourable to newcomers, is typical in the morality of the powerful; and if, reversely, men of “modern ideas” believe almost instinctively in “progress” and the “future,” and are more and more lacking in respect for old age, the ignoble origin of these “ideas” has complacently betrayed itself thereby.

            A morality of the ruling class, however, is more especially foreign and irritating to present-day taste in the sternness of its principle that one has duties only to one’s equals; that one may act towards beings of a lower rank, towards all that is foreign, just as seems good to one, or “as the heart desires,” and in any case “beyond good and evil”: it is here that sympathy and similar sentiments can have a place. The ability and obligation to exercise prolonged gratitude and prolonged revenge — both only within the circle of equals, —  artfulness in retaliation, raffinement of the idea in friendship, a certain necessity to have enemies (as outlets for the emotions of envy, quarrelsomeness, arrogance — in fact, in order to be a good friend): all these are typical characteristics of the noble morality, which, as has been pointed out, is not the morality of “modern ideas,” and is therefore at present difficult to realize, and also to unearth and disclose.—


When Slaves determine Morality

It is otherwise with the second type of morality, slave-morality. Supposing that the abused, the oppressed, the suffering, the unemancipated, the weary, and those uncertain of themselves should moralize, what will be the common element in their moral estimates? Probably a pessimistic suspicion with regard to the entire situation of man will find expression, perhaps a condemnation of man, together with his situation. The slave has an unfavorable eye for the virtues of the powerful; he has a skepticism and distrust, a refinement of distrust of everything “good” that is there honored — he would gladly persuade himself that the very happiness there is not genuine. On the other hand, those qualities which serve to alleviate the existence of sufferers are brought into prominence and flooded with light; it is here that sympathy, the kind, helping hand, the warm heart, patience, diligence, humility, and friendliness attain to honor; for here these are the most useful qualities, and almost the only means of supporting the burden of existence. Slave-morality is essentially the morality of utility. Here is the seat of the origin of the famous antithesis “good” and “evil”: —power and dangerousness are assumed to reside in the evil, a certain dreadfulness, subtlety, and strength, which do not admit of being despised. According to slave-morality, therefore, the “evil” man arouses fear; according to master-morality, it is precisely the “good” man who arouses fear and seeks to arouse it, while the bad man is regarded as the despicable being.

            The contrast attains its maximum when, in accordance with the logical consequences of slave-morality, a shade of depreciation — it may be slight and well-intentioned — at last attaches itself to the “good” man of this morality; because, according to the servile mode of thought, the good man must in any case be the safe man: he is good-natured, easily deceived, perhaps a little stupid, un bonhomme. Everywhere that slave- morality gains the ascendancy, language shows a tendency to approximate the significations of the words “good” and “stupid.”- -A last fundamental difference: the desire for freedom, the instinct for happiness and the refinements of the feeling of liberty belong as necessarily to slave-morals and morality, as artifice and enthusiasm in reverence and devotion are the regular symptoms of an aristocratic mode of thinking and estimating. —  Hence we can understand without further detail why love as a passion — it is our European specialty — must absolutely be of noble origin; as is well known, its invention is due to the Provencal poet-cavaliers, those brilliant, ingenious men of the “gai saber,” to whom Europe owes so much, and almost owes itself.




Transvaluation Explained (Will to Power)

1006. Previously, moral values have been the highest values: does anybody doubt this?  If we bring down the values from their pedestal, we thereby alter all values: the principle of their order of rank which has prevailed hitherto is thus over-thrown.

            1007. Transvalue values — what does this mean? It implies that all spontaneous motives, all new, future, and stronger motives, are still extant; but that they now appear under false names and false valuations, and have not yet become conscious of themselves.

            We ought to have the courage to become, conscious, and to affirm all that which has been attained — to get rid of the humdrum character of old valuations, which makes us unworthy of the best and strongest things that we have achieved.

            1008. Any doctrine would be superfluous for which everything is not already prepared in the way of accumulated forces and explosive material. A transvaluation of values can only be accomplished when there is a tension of new needs, and a new set of needy people who feel all old values as painful, — although they are not conscious of what is wrong.


Power as Good, Weakness as Evil (The Antichrist)

2. What is good?—Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself, in man.

            What is evil?—Whatever springs from weakness.

             What is happiness?—The feeling that power increases—that resistance is overcome.

            Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but efficiency (virtue in the Renaissance sense, virtu, virtue free of moral acid).

            The weak and the botched shall perish: first principle of our charity. And one should help them to it.

            What is more harmful than any vice?—Practical sympathy for the botched and the weak—Christianity.


Intentionally Creating Higher and Stronger People

3. The problem that I set here is not what shall replace mankind in the order of living creatures (man is an end): but what type of man must be bred, must be willed, as being the most valuable, the most worthy of life, the most secure guarantee of the future.

            This more valuable type has appeared often enough in the past: but always as a happy accident, as an exception, never as deliberately willed. Very often it has been precisely the most feared; hitherto it has been almost the terror of terrors;—and out of that terror the contrary type has been willed, cultivated and attained: the domestic animal, the herd animal, the sick brute-man—the Christian.

            4.  Mankind surely does not represent an evolution toward a better or stronger or higher level, as progress is now understood. This “progress” is merely a modern idea, which is to say, a false idea. The European of today, in his essential worth, falls far below the European of the Renaissance; the process of evolution does not necessarily mean elevation, enhancement, strengthening.

            True enough, it succeeds in isolated and individual cases in various parts of the earth and under the most widely different cultures, and in these cases a higher type certainly manifests itself; something which, compared to mankind in the mass, appears as a sort of superman. Such happy strokes of high success have always been possible, and will remain possible, perhaps, for all time to come. Even whole races, tribes and nations may occasionally represent such lucky accidents.


Christianity advocates Weakness, and condemns Power

5. We should not deck out and embellish Christianity: it has waged a war to the death against this higher type of man, it has put all the deepest instincts of this type under its ban, it has developed its concept of evil, of the Evil One himself, out of these instincts—the strong man as the typical reprobate, the “outcast among men.” Christianity has taken the part of all the weak, the low, the botched; it has made an ideal out of antagonism to all the self-preservative instincts of sound life; it has corrupted even the faculties of those natures that are intellectually most vigorous, by representing the highest intellectual values as sinful, as misleading, as full of temptation. The most lamentable example: the corruption of Pascal, who believed that his intellect had been destroyed by original sin, whereas it was actually destroyed by Christianity!

            6. It is a painful and tragic spectacle that rises before me: I have drawn back the curtain from the rottenness of man. This word, in my mouth, is at least free from one suspicion: that it involves a moral accusation against humanity. It is used—and I wish to emphasize the fact again—without any moral significance: and this is so far true that the rottenness I speak of is most apparent to me precisely in those quarters where there has been most aspiration, hitherto, toward “virtue” and “godliness.” As you probably surmise, I understand rottenness in the sense of decadence: my argument is that all the values on which mankind now fixes its highest aspirations are decadence-values.

            I call an animal, a species, an individual corrupt, when it loses its instincts, when it chooses, when it prefers, what is injurious to it. A history of the “higher feelings,” the “ideals of humanity”—and it is possible that I’ll have to write it—would almost explain why man is so degenerate. Life itself appears to me as an instinct for growth, for survival, for the accumulation of forces, for power: whenever the will to power fails there is disaster. My contention is that all the highest values of humanity have been emptied of this will—that the values of decadence, of nihilism, now prevail under the holiest names.


Christianity a Religion of Pity

7. Christianity is called the religion of pity.—Pity stands in opposition to all the tonic passions that augment the energy of the feeling of aliveness: it is a depressant. A man loses power when he pities. Through pity that drain upon strength which suffering works is multiplied a thousandfold. Suffering is made contagious by pity; under certain circumstances it may lead to a total sacrifice of life and living energy—a loss out of all proportion to the magnitude of the cause (—the case of the death of the Nazarene). This is the first view of it; there is, however, a still more important one. If one measures the effects of pity by the gravity of the reactions it sets up, its character as a menace to life appears in a much clearer light. Pity thwarts the whole law of evolution, which is the law of natural selection. It preserves whatever is ripe for destruction; it fights on the side of those disinherited and condemned by life; by maintaining life in so many of the botched of all kinds, it gives life itself a gloomy and dubious aspect. . . .

            9. Upon this theological instinct I make war: I find the tracks of it everywhere. Whoever has theological blood in his veins is shifty and dishonorable in all things. The pathetic thing that grows out of this condition is called faith: in other words, closing one’s eyes upon one’s self once for all, to avoid suffering the sight of incurable falsehood. People erect a concept of morality, of virtue, of holiness upon this false view of all things; they ground good conscience upon faulty vision; they argue that no other sort of vision has value any more, once they have made theirs sacrosanct with the names of “God,” “salvation” and “eternity.” I unearth this theological instinct in all directions: it is the most widespread and the most subterranean form of falsehood to be found on earth. Whatever a theologian regards as true must be false: there you have almost a criterion of truth. His profound instinct of self-preservation stands against truth ever coming into honor in any way, or even getting stated. Wherever the influence of theologians is felt there is a transvaluation of values, and the concepts “true” and “false” are forced to change places: whatever is most damaging to life is there called “true,” and whatever exalts it, intensifies it, approves it, justifies it and makes it triumphant is there called “false.” When theologians, working through the “consciences” of princes (or of peoples—), stretch out their hands for power, there is never any doubt as to the fundamental issue: the will to make an end, the nihilistic will exerts that power.

            13. Let us not underestimate this fact: that we ourselves, we free spirits, are already a “transvaluation of all values,” a visualized declaration of war and victory against all the old concepts of “true” and “not true.” The most valuable intuitions are the last to be attained; the most valuable of all are those which determine methods. All the methods, all the principles of the scientific spirit of today, were the targets for thousands of years of the most profound contempt; if a man inclined to them he was excluded from the society of “decent” people—he passed as “an enemy of God,” as a scoffer at the truth, as one “possessed.” As a man of science, he belonged to the Chandala [i.e., untouchable Hindu caste].


Renaissance Transvaluation of Christianity Thwarted by Protestantism

61. Here it becomes necessary to call up a memory that must be a hundred times more painful to Germans. The Germans have destroyed for Europe the last great harvest of civilization that Europe was ever to reap—the Renaissance. Is it understood at last, will it ever be understood, what the Renaissance was? The transvaluation of Christian values,—an attempt with all available means, all instincts and all the resources of genius to bring about a triumph of the opposite values, the more noble values. This has been the one great war of the past; there has never been a more critical question than that of the Renaissance—it is my question too—; there has never been a form of attack more fundamental, more direct, or more violently delivered by a whole front upon the center of the enemy! To attack at the critical place, at the very seat of Christianity, and there enthrone the more noble values—that is to say, to insinuate them into the  instincts, into the most fundamental needs and appetites of those sitting there. I see before me the possibility of a perfectly heavenly enchantment and spectacle:—it seems to me to scintillate with all the vibrations of a fine and delicate beauty, and within it there is an art so divine, so infernally divine, that one might search in vain for thousands of years for another such possibility; I see a spectacle so rich in significance and at the same time so wonderfully full of paradox that it should arouse all the gods on Olympus to immortal laughter—Cæsar Borgia as pope! Am I understood?

            Well then, that would have been the sort of triumph that I alone am longing for today— by it Christianity would have been swept away!—What happened? A German monk, Luther, came to Rome. This monk, with all the vengeful instincts of an unsuccessful priest in him, raised a rebellion against the Renaissance in Rome. Instead of grasping, with profound thanksgiving, the miracle that had taken place: the conquest of Christianity at its capital—instead of this, his hatred was stimulated by the spectacle. A religious man thinks only of himself.—Luther saw only the depravity of the papacy at the very moment when the opposite was becoming apparent: the old corruption, the peccatum originale [i.e., original sin] Christianity itself, no longer occupied the papal chair! Instead there was life! Instead there was the triumph of life! Instead there was a great yea to all lofty, beautiful and daring things! And Luther restored the church: he attacked it. The Renaissance—an event without meaning, a great futility!—Ah, these Germans, what they have not cost us! Futility—that has always been the work of the Germans.—The Reformation; Leibniz; Kant and so-called German philosophy; the war of “liberation”; the empire—every time a futile substitute for something that once existed, for something irrecoverable. These Germans, I confess, are my enemies: I despise all their uncleanliness in concept and valuation, their cowardice before every honest yea and nay. For nearly a thousand years they have tangled and confused everything their fingers have touched; they have on their conscience all the half-way measures, all the three-eighths-way measures, that Europe is sick of,—they also have on their conscience the uncleanest variety of Christianity that exists, and the most incurable and indestructible—Protestantism. If mankind never manages to get rid of Christianity the Germans will be to blame.


A New Transvaluation of Christianity is Needed

62. With this I come to a conclusion and pronounce my judgment. I condemn Christianity; I bring against the Christian church the most terrible of all the accusations that an accuser has ever had in his mouth. It is, to me, the greatest of all imaginable corruptions; it seeks to work the ultimate corruption, the worst possible corruption. The Christian church has left nothing untouched by its depravity; it has turned every value into worthlessness, and every truth into a lie, and every integrity into baseness of soul. Let anyone dare to speak to me of its “humanitarian” blessings! Its deepest necessities range it against any effort to abolish distress; it lives by distress; it creates distress to make itself immortal. For example, the worm of sin: it was the church that first enriched mankind with this misery!—The “equality of souls before God”—this fraud, this pretext for the rancunes of all the base-minded—this explosive concept, ending in revolution, the modern idea, and the notion of overthrowing the whole social order —this is Christian dynamite. The “humanitarian” blessings of Christianity forsooth! To breed out of humanitas a self-contradiction, an art of self-pollution, a will to lie at any price, an aversion and contempt for all good and honest instincts! All this, to me, is the “humanitarianism” of Christianity!—Parasitism as the only practice of the church; with its anemic and “holy” ideals, sucking all the blood, all the love, all the hope out of life; the beyond as the will to deny all reality; the cross as the distinguishing mark of the most subterranean conspiracy ever heard of,—against health, beauty, well-being, intellect, kindness of soul—against life itself.

            This eternal accusation against Christianity I shall write upon all walls, wherever walls are to be found—I have letters that even the blind will be able to see. I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret, subterranean and small enough,—I call it the one immortal blemish upon the human race.

            And mankind reckons time from the dies nefastus [i.e., a day in ancient Rome when secular activities were forbidden] when this fatality befell—from the first  day of Christianity!—Why not rather from its last?From today?—The transvaluation of all values!


PERSPECTIVISM (The Will to Power)


Knowledge not Absolute, but only an Instrument of Preservation and Power

480. There are no such things as "mind," reason, thought, consciousness, soul, will, or truth: they all belong to fiction, and can serve no purpose. It is not a question of " subject and object," but of a particular species of animal which can prosper only by means of a certain exactness, or, better still, regularity in recording its perceptions (in order that experience may be capitalized). . . .           Knowledge works as an instrument of power. It is therefore obvious that it increases with each advance of power. . . . The purpose of “knowledge": in this case, as in the case of "good" or "beautiful," the concept must be regarded strictly and narrowly from an anthropocentric and biological standpoint. In order that a particular species may maintain and increase its power, its conception of reality must contain enough which is calculable and constant to allow of its formulating a scheme of conduct. The utility of preservation — and not some abstract or theoretical need to eschew deception — stands as the motive force behind the development of the organs of knowledge; . . . they evolve in such a way that their observations may suffice for our preservation. In other words, the measure of the desire for knowledge depends upon the extent to which the Will to Power grows in a certain species: a species gets a grasp of a given amount of reality, in order to master it in order to enlist that amount in its service.


Perspectivism Explained: No Facts, only Interpretations

481. Positivism stops at phenomena and says, “These are only facts and nothing more.” In opposition to this I would say: No, facts are precisely what is lacking, all that exists consists of interpretations. We cannot establish any fact “in itself”: it may even be nonsense to desire to do such a thing. “Everything is subjective” you say; but that in itself is interpretation. The “subject” is nothing given, but something superimposed by imagination, something introduced behind. Is it necessary to set an interpreter behind the interpretation already to hand? Even that would be fantasy, hypothesis.

            To the extent to which knowledge has any sense at all, the world is knowable. But it may be interpreted differently, it has not one sense behind it, but hundreds of senses. “Perspectivity.” It is our needs that interpret the world; our instincts and their impulses for and against. Every instinct is a sort of thirst for power; each has its point of view, which it would gladly impose upon all the other instincts as their norm.


Perspectivism in Science

636. The physicists believe in a “true world” after their own kind; a fixed systematizing of atoms to perform necessary movements, and holding good equally of all creatures, — so that, according to them, the “world of appearance” reduces itself to the side of general and generally-needed Being, which is accessible to everyone according to his kind (accessible and also adjusted, — made “subjective”). But here they are in error. The atom which they postulate is arrived at by the logic of that perspective of consciousness; it is in itself therefore a subjective fiction. This picture of the world which they project is in no way essentially different from the subjective picture: the only difference is, that it is composed simply with more extended senses, but certainly with our senses. . . . And in the end, without knowing it, they left something out of the constellation: precisely the necessary perspective factor by means of which every center of power — and not man alone — constructs the rest of the world from its point of view — that is to say, measures it, feels it, and molds it according to its degree of strength. . . . They forgot to reckon with this perspective-fixing power, in “true being,” — or, in school-terms, subject- being. They suppose that this was “evolved” and added; — but even the chemical investigator needs it: it is indeed specific Being, which determines action and reaction according to circumstances.

            Perspectivity is only a complex form of specificness. My idea is that every specific body strives to become master of all space, and to extend its power (its will to power), and to thrust back everything that resists it. But inasmuch as it is continually meeting the same endeavors on the part of other bodies, it concludes by coming to terms with those (by “combining” with those) which are sufficiently related to it — and thus they conspire together for power. And the process continues.

            637. Even in the inorganic world all that concerns an atom of energy is its immediate neighborhood: distant forces balance each other. Here is the root of perspectivity, and it explains why a living organism is “egoistic” to the core.


Source: The Birth of Tragedy (1872) 1, 24, appendix, tr. William A. Haussmann; The Joyful Wisdom (1882) 125, 341, tr. Thomas Common; Eternal Recurrence (composed around 1881), 25-43, tr. Anthony M. Ludovici; Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-1891), prologue 3, 3.73, tr. Thomas Common; Beyond Good and Evil (1886) 199, 202, 260 tr. Helen Zimmern; The Antichrist (1888) 2-7, 9, 13, 61, 62, tr. H. L. Mencken; The Will to Power, 275, 481, 798, 1052, 1060, 1065, 1067, tr. Anthony M. Ludovici.


Questions for Review

1. What, for Nietzsche, are the Apollonian and Dionysian Aspects of art?

2. What, for Nietzsche, is the eternal recurrence and what is the moral code that follows from it?

3. Explain Nietzsche’s notions of the Death of God and the Superman.

4. Explain Nietzsche’s notions of the herd mentality and the master-slave morality.

5. Explain Nietzsche’s notions of the transvaluation of values, Christian weakness, and the Renaissance attempt to transvalue Christianity.

6. Explain Nietzsche’s notion of perspectivism and how it appears even in science.


Questions for Analysis

1. Consider the following quote from Heidegger: "Nietzsche's fundamental metaphysical position is captured in his doctrine of the eternal return of the same. . . . Its arid and oppressive quality leaps immediately to our eyes. We therefore reject it as soon as we hear it. We close ourselves off from it all the more when we learn that nobody can 'prove' it in in the way we generally like to have our 'proofs' demonstrated" (Nietzsche, Vol. 2). Explain Nietzsche’s view of the eternal return and discuss whether its lack of proof prohibits us from taking it seriously.

2. Nietzsche has a recurring theme of higher persons: the superman, the ruler, the master morality, the will to power. Discuss whether there is a common theme to all of these and what it might be.

3. George Santayana made the following criticism of Nietzsche's concept of the Will to Power: "Nietzsche confuses his biological insight, that all life is the assertion of some sort of power -- the power to breathe, for instance -- with the admiration he felt for a masterful egotism. But even if we identify life or any kind of existence with the exertion of strength, the kinds of strength exerted will be heterogeneous and not always compatible. The strength of Lucifer does not insure victory in war; it points rather to failure in a world peopled by millions of timid, pious, and democratic persons" (Egotism in German Philosophy, 1915). Develop Santayana's criticism and discuss how Nietzsche might respond.

4. Richard Rorty makes the following criticism of Nietzsche’s view of Christianity and the slave mentality: “I am most offended by the passages in which Nietzsche expresses contempt for weakness, and especially by the passages which argue that there is something wrong with Christianity because it originated among slaves. So it did, but those slaves had a good idea: namely, that the ideal human community would be one in which love is the only law. So it would. One can separate this Christian ideal from the ressentiment characteristic of the ascetic priests, but Nietzsche never made that distinction” ( Discuss Rorty’s criticism and how Nietzsche might respond.

5. Peter Bergman makes the following comment on Nietzsche’s notion of the Death of God: “Nietzsche's atheism was couched in the language of regret: God is dead; we have killed him; nihilism, alas, is our fate; let us be strong and go forward, etc. It was coupled with the sense that the eclipse of Christian culture was creating a vacuum that would breed new fanaticisms” ( Develop and discuss Bergman’s comment.

6. Teodor Münz criticizes Nietzsche's view of conception of morality as follows: "I cannot identify with his emphasis on physical violence, ruthlessness, lies, systematic selection of humanity, with his thesis that the 'majority of people have no right to existence, but are a burden for the higher', or with his racism and with other 'virtues' such as the means for achieving the power of strong individuals over the weak. I think that these views are key to, and representative of, his conception of morality and politics" ( Defend Nietzsche against this charge.

7. Jan Sokol writes the following about Nietzsche and Nihilism: “To regard Nietzsche as a nihilist is a mistake, an unobservant reading. He was rather an excessively sensitive person horrified by a world where nothing has rules and stands for nothing. Indeed, a ‘nihilist’ is a curse word thrown at others. Nietzsche occasionally calls even himself a nihilist, but for an entirely different reason: everybody has a mouth full of values, but in reality they all behave like cattle, like a well-fed ‘herd’” ( Develop and discuss Sokol’s point.