Ecce Homo - How To Become What You Are

Friedrich Nietzsche

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  1. 00 - Translators Introduction
  2. 01 - Why I Am So Wise
  3. 02 - Why I Am So Clever
  4. 03 - Why I Write Such Excellent Books
  5. 04 - Why I Am a Fatality

00 - Translators Introduction


'And so I tell myself my life'

Nietzsche wrote Ecce Homo at the very end of his intellectual career, in the late autumn of 1888, just a few weeks before his catastrophic collapse into insanity at the beginning of January 1889. It was his last original work, 1 and the last of his philosophical works to be published when it eventually appeared in 1908, under the general editorship of his sister. It is customary to describe Ecce Homo as 'Nietzsche's autobiography' - indeed this was the spurious subtitle used for the first English translation 2 - and it is a typical autobiography in that it presents the reader with what its author considers to be the most salient features of his life so far, explaining their significance, but it is an atypical autobiography in most other respects. If, as a reader, you come to the book in the expectation of finding anything like a balanced, comprehensive, and objective account of the philosopher's life, usable for reference purposes, then you will be sorely disappointed. It gives readers a few milestone dates from which to take their bearings, but these are relatively few and unevenly dispersed: there are major chronological gaps in the narrative, and a great deal of basic information which one might legitimately expect to be provided in a biographical account is missing. To take one noteworthy example, Nietzsche never even tells us directly when he was born, and instead leaves it to us to reconstruct the date (15 October 1844) from partial information.


In view of the fact that I will shortly have to confront humanity with the heaviest demand ever made of it, it seems to me essential to say who I am. People ought really to know already: for I have not failed to 'bear witness' to myself But the mismatch between the greatness of my task and the smallness of my contemporaries has been evident in the fact that I have not been heard or even just seen. I am living on my own credit; perhaps it is merely a prejudice that I am alive at all?... I need only talk with one or other of the 'educated people' who come to the Upper Engadine in the summer to convince myself that I am not alive... Under these circumstances there is a duty against which my habit, and even more so the pride of my instincts, fundamentally rebels, namely to say: listen to me! for I am such and such. Above all, don 't mistake me!

I am, for instance, definitely no bogeyman, no moral monster - I am by nature even the opposite of the type of person who has been admired as virtuous till now. Between ourselves, it seems to me that that is precisely something I can be proud of. I am a disciple of the philosopher Dionysus; I would prefer to be a satyr rather than a saint. But just read this work. Perhaps I have managed to express this contrast in a cheerful and benevolent way, perhaps that was the only point of this work. The last thing would promise would be to 'improve' humanity. I do not set up any new idols; let the old ones learn what it means to have legs of clay. Toppling idols (my word for 'ideals') - that is more my kind of handiwork. Reality has been robbed of its value, its sense, its truthfulness insofar as an ideal world was faked up. . . The 'real world' and the 'apparent world' - in plain words: the fake world and reality. . . The lie of the ideal has till now been the curse on reality; on its account humanity itself has become fake and false right down to its deepest instincts - to the point of worshipping values opposite to the only ones which would guarantee it a flourishing, a future, the exalted right to a future.

Ecce Homo - Anyone who knows how to breathe the air of my writings knows that it is an air of the heights, a bracing air. You must be made for it, or else you are in no little danger of catching cold in it. The ice is near, the solitude is immense - but how peacefully everything lies in the light! how freely you breathe! how much you feel to be beneath you! - Philosophy, as I have understood and lived it so far, is choosing to live in ice and high mountains - seeking out everything alien and questionable in existence, everything that has hitherto been excluded by morality. From the long experience which such a wandering in the forbidden gave me, I learnt to view the reasons people have moralized and idealized so far very differently from what may be wished: the hidden history of philosophers, the psychology of their great names came to light for me. - How much truth can a spirit stand, how much truth does it dare} - for me that became more and more the real measure of value. Error (belief in the ideal) is not blindness, error is cowardice. . . Every achievement, every step forwards in knowledge is the consequence of courage, of toughness towards oneself, of sincerity towards oneself. . . I do not refute ideals, I just put gloves on to protect myself against them. . . Nitimur in vetitum: under this sign my philosophy will triumph one day, for the only thing that has been altogether forbidden so far is the truth. -

- Among my writings my Zarathustra stands alone. With it I have given humanity the greatest gift it has ever been given. This book, with a voice that stretches over millennia, is not only the most exalted book there is, the real book of the mountain air - the entire fact of man lies at a vast distance beneath it - it is also the most profound book, born of the innermost richness of the truth, an inexhaustible well into which no bucket descends that does not come back up filled with gold and goodness. Here speaks no 'prophet', none of those gruesome hybrids of sickness and will to power called founders of religions. Above all you have to hear properly the tone that comes out of this mouth, this halcyon tone, if you are not to be pitifully unjust towards the meaning of its wisdom. 'It is the stillest words that bring on the storm; thoughts that come on doves' feet direct the world - '

The figs are falling from the trees, they are good and sweet: and as they fall, their red skins burst. A north wind am I to all ripe figs.

And thus, like figs, these teachings fall to you, my friends: now drink their juice and their sweet flesh! Autumn is all around and clear sky and afternoon -

These are not the words of a fanatic, this is not 'preaching', no faith is being demanded here: drop after drop, word upon word falls from an infinite abundance of light and depth of happiness - the tempo of these speeches is a delicate slowness. The like of this reaches only the most select; it is a peerless privilege to be a listener here; no one is at liberty to have ears for Zarathustra. . . Is Zarathustra with all that not a seducer}. . . But what does he himself say when he returns to his solitude for the first time? Precisely the opposite of what some 'sage', 'saint', 'world-redeemer', or other decadent would say in such a situation... He not only speaks differently, he is just different. . .

Alone I go now, my disciples! You too must go away now, and alone! Thus I will it.

Go away from me and guard yourselves against Zarathustra! And better still: be ashamed of him! Perhaps he has deceived you.

The man of understanding must be able not only to love his enemies, but also to hate his friends.

One repays a teacher poorly if one always remains only a student. And why would you not pluck at my wreath?

You revere me: but what if your reverence should some day collapse? Be careful lest a statue fall and kill you!

You say you believe in Zarathustra? But what does Zarathustra matter! You are my believers, but what do any believers matter!

You had not yet sought yourselves: then you found me. Thus do all believers; that is why all belief is worth so little.

Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only when you have all denied me will I return to you. . .

Friedrich Nietzsche

On this perfect day, when everything is ripening and not only the grapes are turning brown, a shaft of sunlight has just fallen on my life: I looked backwards, I looked ahead, I never saw so much and such good things all at once. Not for nothing have I buried my forty-fourth year today; I was entitled to bury it - all the life that was in it is saved, is immortal. The Revaluation of All Values the Dionysus Dithyrambs, and, by way of recuperation, the Twilight of the Idols - all of them gifts of this year, even of its last quarter! How should I not be grateful to my whole life? And so I tell myself my life.


The fortunate thing about my existence, perhaps its unique feature, is its fatefulness: to put it in the form of a riddle, as my father I have already died, as my mother I am still alive and growing old. This twofold provenance, as it were from the top and bottom rungs on the ladder of life, both decadent and beginning - this, if anything, explains the neutrality, the freedom from bias in relation to the overall problem of life, that perhaps distinguishes me. I have a finer nose for the signs of ascent and descent than any man has ever had; I am the teacher par excellence in such matters - I know both, I am both. - My father died at the age of 36: he was delicate, kindly, and morbid, like a being destined only to pass by - more a gracious remembrance of life than life itself. In the same year as his life declined, mine declined, too: in the thirty-sixth year of my life I reached the nadir of my vitality - I was still alive, but could not see three steps ahead of me. At that point - it was 1879 - I resigned my professorship in Basle, lived through the summer like a shadow in St Moritz and the following winter, the least sunny of my life, as a shadow in Naumburg. This was my minimum: The Wanderer and his Shadow was produced while it was going on. Without a doubt I was an expert in shadows in those days. . . The following winter, my first in Genoa, the sweetening and spiritualization that are more or less bound to result from extreme anaemia and atrophying of the muscles produced Daybreak. The consummate brightness and cheerfulness, even exuberance of spirit which this same work reflects can coexist in me not only with the most profound physiological debility, but even with an excessive feeling of pain. Amid the torments brought on by three days of unremitting headache accompanied by the arduous vomiting of phlegm, I possessed a dialectician's clarity par excellence and very cold-bloodedly thought through things for which, in healthier circumstances, I am not enough of a climber, not cunning, not cold enough. My readers perhaps know how much I consider dialectics to be a symptom of decadence, for example in the most famous case of all, the case of Socrates.

- All sickly disorders of the intellect, even that half-dazed state which follows a fever, have remained to this day totally alien to me, and I had to teach myself about their nature and frequency in an academic manner. My blood runs slowly. No one has ever managed to detect a fever in me. A doctor who treated me for quite a while for a nervous disease ended up saying: 'No! your nerves are not the problem; I'm the one who's nervous.' No sign at all of any kind of local degeneration; no stomach complaint for organic reasons, however much the gastric system is profoundly weakened as a result of general exhaustion. Even the eye complaint, at times verging dangerously on blindness, just a consequence, not causal: so that with every increase in vitality the eyesight has picked up again, too. - A long, all-too-long succession of years mean in my case convalescence - unfortunately they also mean lapsing, relapsing, periodically a kind of decadence. Do I need say, after all that, that in questions of decadence I am experienced} I have spelt it out forwards and backwards. Even that filigree art of grasping and comprehending in general, those fingers for nuances, that psychology of 'seeing round the corner', and whatever else is characteristic of me, was learnt only then and is the true gift of that time when everything in me was being refined, observation itself as well as all the organs of observation. Looking from the perspective of the sick towards healthier concepts and values, and conversely looking down from the fullness and self-assuredness of rich life into the secret workings of the decadence instinct - this is what I practised longest, this was my true experience; if I became master of anything then it was of this. I have my hand in now, I am handy at inverting perspectives: the foremost reason why for me alone perhaps a 'revaluation of values' is even possible. -

Aside from being a decadent, then, I am also the opposite. My proof of this is, among other things, that I always instinctively chose the right means of dealing with unfavourable conditions: while the decadent as such always chooses the means that are harmful to him.

As summa summarum I was healthy, as nook, as speciality I was decadent. That energy to achieve absolute isolation and release from routine circumstances, the pressure on myself forcing me not to let myself be taken care of, waited on, doctored with any longer - they betray an absolute instinctual certainty about what, above all, was required at that stage. I took myself in hand, I made myself healthy again: the prerequisite for this - as every physiologist will concede - is that one is basically healthy. A typically morbid being cannot become healthy, still less make itself healthy; for a typical healthy person, conversely, being ill can even be an energetic stimulant to living, to living more. This, indeed, is how that long period of illness appears to me now: it was as if I discovered life anew, myself included; I tasted all the good things, even the small ones, as no other could easily taste them - I turned my will to health, to life, into my philosophy. . . For take note: the years when my vitality was at its lowest were when I stopped being a pessimist: the instinct for self-recovery forbade me a philosophy of poverty and discouragement. . . And basically how do you tell if someone has turned out well! By the fact that someone who has turned out well is good for our senses: the stuff he is made of is at once hard, delicate, and fragrant. Only what he finds conducive is to his taste; his pleasure, his enjoyment stops when the mark of what is conducive is overstepped. He guesses correctly what will heal harm, he exploits strokes of bad luck to his advantage; what does not kill him makes him stronger. Instinctively he gathers together from everything he sees, hears, experiences, his aggregate: he is a selective principle, he lets a great deal go. He is always in his kind of company, whether he is dealing with books, people, or landscapes: he honours by choosing, by granting admission, by trusting. He reacts to every kind of stimulus slowly, with the slowness which years of caution and a willed pride have cultivated in him - he examines the stimulus as it approaches and has no intention of going to meet it. He does not believe in either 'misfortune' or 'guilt': he copes, with himself and with others, he knows how to forget - he is strong enough for everything to have to turn out for the best with him. - Well then, I am the opposite of a decadent: for I have just been describing myself.

I consider it a great privilege to have had such a father: the farmers to whom he preached - for after he had lived several years at the Altenburg court, in his last years he was a preacher - said that that was how an angel must look. - And with this I touch on the question of pedigree. I am a Polish nobleman pur sang with which not a drop of bad blood is mixed, least of all German blood. When I look for my profoundest opposite, ineradicable vulgarity of the instincts, I always find my mother and sister - to think of myself as related to such canaille would be a blasphemy against my divinity. The treatment I have experienced at the hands of my mother and sister, right up to this moment, fills me with unspeakable horror: here a perfectly infernal machine is at work, unerringly sure of the moment when a bloody wound can be inflicted on me - in my most exalted moments. . . for at such times one lacks all power to defend oneself against poisonous vermin. . . Physiological contiguity makes such a disharmonia praestabilita possible... But I confess that the most profound objection against the 'eternal recurrence', my truly abyssal thought, is always mother and sister. - But even as a Pole I am a tremendous atavism. You would have to go back centuries to find this race, the noblest there has ever been on earth, quite so instinctually pure as I represent it. I have a sovereign feeling of distinction compared to everything that is nowadays called noblesse - I would not grant the young German Kaiser the honour of being my coachman. There is but one instance where I acknowledge an equal - I confess it with profound gratitude. Frau Cosima Wagner is by far the noblest of natures; and so as not to say a word too little, I say that Richard Wagner was the man who was by far the most closely related to me. . . The rest is silence. . . All the prevailing notions about degrees of relatedness are the most outrageous kind of physiological nonsense. The Pope is even today trading on such nonsense. You are least related to your parents: it would be the most extreme sign of vulgarity to be related to one's parents. The higher natures have their origin infinitely further back; they have had to be collected, saved, accumulated for, for the longest time. The great individuals are the oldest: I do not understand it, but Julius Caesar could be my father - or Alexander, that Dionysus incarnate... At this moment, as I am writing this, the postman brings me a Dionysus head. . .

I have never understood the art of taking against me - I have my incomparable father to thank for that, too - and even when it seemed of great value to me. I have never even taken against myself - however unchristian that may seem. Examine my life from any angle you like, and you will find no trace (excepting that one instance) of anyone having had any ill will towards me - but perhaps rather too many traces of good will. . . My experiences even with those of whom everyone else has bad experiences speak without exception in their favour; I tame every bear, I make even the buffoons mind their manners. In the seven years when I taught Greek to the top class of the grammar school in Basle, I never had occasion to impose a punishment; the laziest worked hard for me. I am always a match for a chance occurrence; I need to be unprepared to be master of myself. Whatever the instrument - even if it is as out of tune as only the instrument 'man' can go out of tune - I would have to be ill not to succeed in getting something listenable-to out of it. And how often have I heard from the 'instruments' themselves that they have never heard themselves sounding like that. . . The finest example of this was perhaps Heinrich von Stein, who died unforgivably young: once, after carefully obtaining permission, he turned up in Sils-Maria for three days, explaining to everyone that he had not come for the Engadine. For those three days it was as though this splendid man, who had waded with all the impetuous naivety of a Prussian junker into the Wagnerian swamp ( - and the Duhringian one, too!), had been transformed by a storm- wind of freedom, like someone who is suddenly raised up to his height and given wings. I always told him it was the good air up there that was doing it and everyone was affected in the same way - we were not 6,000 feet above Bayreuth for nothing - but he wouldn't believe me...

If nonetheless many a misdeed, large and small, has been perpetrated against me, it was not because of 'the will', least of all any ill will: as I just indicated, I should rather have to complain about the good will that has caused me no little trouble in my life. My experiences give me a right to be thoroughly mistrustful of the socalled 'selfless' drives, of all 'brotherly love' ready with word and deed. In itself it strikes me as a weakness, a specific instance of the inability to resist stimuli - only decadents call compassion a virtue. I hold it against the compassionate that they easily lose sight of shame, reverence, sensitivity to distances, that in a trice compassion smells of plebs and looks for all the world like bad manners - that compassionate hands may even wreak utter destruction as they plunge into a great destiny, an isolation among wounds, a right to a heavy burden of guilt. I count the overcoming of compassion among the noble virtues: I wrote about one instance as 'The Temptation of Zarathustra', when a great cry of distress reaches him and compassion, like one last sin, wants to ambush him and lure him away from himself. Keeping control here, keeping the heights of his task untainted by the much baser and more short-sighted impulses at work in the so-called selfless actions, this is the test, perhaps the last test, a Zarathustra has to pass - the real proof oi his strength. . .

In another respect, too, I am just being my father once again and, as it were, his continuing life after an all-too-early death. Like anyone who has never lived among his equals and who has as little purchase on the concept of 'retaliation' as, for instance, on the concept of 'equal rights', in cases where a minor or very great act of folly is committed against me I forbid myself any countermeasure, any protective measure - likewise, as is only proper, any defence, any 'justification'. My kind of retaliation consists in sending something clever to chase after stupidity as quickly as possible: that way you may just catch it up. Metaphorically speaking: I send a pot of preserves to get rid of a sour story. . . One need only do something bad to me and I will 'repay' it, of that one can be sure: presently I will find an opportunity to express my thanks to the 'wrongdoer' (occasionally even for the wrongdoing) - or to ask him for something, which can be more obliging than giving something. . . It seems to me, furthermore, that even the rudest word, the rudest letter is more good-natured, more honourable than silence. Those who keep quiet almost always lack refinement and heartfelt courtesy; silence is an objection, swallowing things necessarily makes for a bad character - it even ruins the stomach. The silent are all dyspeptic. - You can see that I would not want rudeness to be underestimated; it is by far the most humane form of contradiction and, in the midst of modern mollycoddling, one of our foremost virtues. - If you are rich enough to deal with it, it is even a stroke of luck to be wrong. If a god came to earth, he should do nothing but wrong: assuming not the punishment but the guilt - that would be divine.

Freedom from resentment, enlightenment about resentment - who knows what great debt of gratitude I ultimately owe my long illness in this respect, too! The problem is not exactly simple: you need to have experienced it from a position of strength and from one of weakness. If anything at all needs to be counted against being ill, being weak, then it is the fact that in that state the true healing instinct, in other words the instinct for defence and weapons in man, is worn down. You cannot get rid of anything, you cannot cope with anything, you cannot fend anything off - everything hurts you. People and things get intrusively close, experiences affect you too deeply, memory is a festering wound. Being ill is a kind of resentment itself. - The invalid has only one great remedy for it - I call it Russian fatalism, that fatalism without rebellion with which a Russian soldier who starts finding the campaign too hard finally lies down in the snow. Not taking, taking on, taking in anything at all any more - no longer reacting at all. . . The great good sense about this fatalism (which is not always just courage unto death), what makes it life-preserving amidst the most lifethreatening of circumstances, is the reduction of the metabolism, the slowing of its rate, a kind of will to hibernation. Take this logic a few steps further and you have the fakir sleeping in a tomb for weeks on end. . .

Since you would exhaust yourself too quickly z/you reacted at all, you no longer react in any way: such is the logic. And nothing burns you up faster than the emotions of resentment. Anger, sickly vulnerability, powerlessness to take revenge, the lust, the thirst for revenge, every kind of poisonous troublemaking - for the exhausted this is certainly the most detrimental way of reacting: it brings on a rapid consumption of nervous strength, a sickly intensification of harmful excretions, for example of bile in the stomach. For the invalid, resentment is the absolute forbidden - his evil: unfortunately his most natural inclination, too. - This is what that profound physiologist Buddha understood. His 'religion', which ought rather to be called a hygiene so as not to conflate it with such wretched things as Christianity, made its effect conditional on defeating resentment: liberating the soul from that - first step towards recovery. 'Not through enmity does enmity come to an end; enmity comes to an end through friendship': this stands at the beginning of Buddha's teaching - this is not morality speaking, but physiology. - Resentment, born of weakness, harms no one more than the weak person himself - or else, when a rich nature is the premise, it is a superfluous feeling, and to retain mastery over it is practically the proof of richness. Anyone who knows how seriously my philosophy has taken up the fight against feelings of revenge and reaction, right down to the doctrine of 'free will' - the fight against Christianity is just a specific instance - will understand why I am disclosing at this point in particular my personal conduct, my instinctual certainty in practice. In times of decadence I forbade myself them as harmful; as soon as life was rich and proud enough once again, I forbade myself them as beneath me. That 'Russian fatalism' of which I was speaking came to the fore in my own case in that for years I doggedly stuck by almost unbearable situations, places, lodgings, groups of people, once I had chanced upon them - it was better than changing them, than feeling them to be changeable, than rebelling against them. . . If I was disturbed in this fatalism, violently awakened, I was mortally offended in those days - in truth it was indeed deadly dangerous every time. - Treating oneself as a fate, not wanting oneself to be 'otherwise' - in such circumstances this is great good sense itself.

Another thing is war. I am naturally warlike. Attacking is one of my instincts. Being able to be an enemy, being an enemy - these require a strong nature, perhaps; in any case every strong nature presupposes them. It needs resistances, so it seeks resistance: aggressive pathos is just as integrally necessary to strength as the feeling of revenge and reaction is to weakness. Woman, for instance, is vengeful: that is a condition of her weakness, as is her sensitivity to other people's afflictions. - The strength of an attacker can in a way be gauged by the opposition he requires; all growth makes itself manifest by searching out a more powerful opponent - or problem: for a philosopher who is warlike challenges problems to duels, too. The task is not to master all resistances, but only those against which one has to pit one's entire strength, suppleness, and mastery-at-arms - opponents who are equal... Equality before the enemy - first precondition for an honest duel. If you despise, you cannot wage war; if you command, if you look down on something, you do not need to wage war. - My practice of war can be summed up in four propositions. First: I attack only causes that are victorious - on occasion, I wait till they are victorious. Second: I attack causes only when there are no allies to be found, when I am standing alone - when I am compromising myself alone. . . I have never made a move in public that was not compromising: this is my criterion for right action. Third: I never attack people - I make use of a person only as a kind of strong magnifying glass with which one can make visible some general but insidious and quite intangible exigency. This is how I attacked David Strauss, or more precisely the success of a decrepit book among the 'educated' in Germany - I caught this education red-handed. . . This is how I attacked Wagner, or more precisely the falsity, the instinctual indistinction of our 'culture', which mistakes the sophisticated for the rich, the late for the great. Fourth: I attack things only when all personal disagreement is ruled out, when there is no background of bad experiences. On the contrary, attacking is for me a proof of benevolence, even of gratitude. By linking my name with that of a cause or a person - whether for or against is indifferent to me - I honour them, I set them apart. When I wage war on Christianity, I am entitled to do so because I have not experienced any fatalities or hindrances from that quarter - the most earnest Christians have always been favourably disposed towards me. I myself, an opponent of Christianity de rigueur have no intention of holding against an individual what has been the disaster of millennia. -

May I make so bold as to intimate one last trait of my nature which causes me no little trouble in my dealings with people? I have an instinct for cleanliness that is utterly uncanny in its sensitivity, which means that I can physiologically detect - smell - the proximity or (what am I saying?) the innermost aspect, the 'innards' of every soul. . . I have psychological feelers attached to this sensitivity, with which I test every secret by touch and get a grip on it: almost on first contact, I am already conscious of the large amount of concealed dirt at the bottom of many a nature, perhaps occasioned by bad blood but whitewashed over by upbringing. If my observations were correct, natures like this which are unconducive to my cleanliness feel the circumspection of my disgust on their part, too: it does not make them smell any more pleasant. . . As has always been my custom - extreme honesty with myself is the prerequisite of my existence; impure conditions are the death of me - I am constantly swimming and bathing and splashing in water, as it were, in some perfectly transparent and sparkling element. This makes dealing with people quite a trial of my patience; my humaneness consists not in sympathizing with someone, but in putting up with the fact that I sympathize with them... My humaneness is a constant self-overcoming. - But I need solitude, in other words convalescence, a return to myself, the breath of free, light, playful air. . . The whole of my Zarathustra is a dithyramb to solitude, or, if I have been understood, to purity. . .

Thankfully not to pure folly . - Those who have eyes for colours will call it adamantine. - Disgust at man, at the 'riff-raff, has always been my greatest danger. . . Do you want to hear the words Zarathustra uses to speak of deliverance from disgust?

Yet what happened to me? How did I redeem myself from disgust? Who rejuvenated my eye? How did I fly to heights where no more rabble sits at the well?

Did my disgust itself create wings for me and water-divining powers? Verily, into the highest heights I had to fly, that I might find again the fount of pleasure! -

And find it I did, my brothers! Here in the heights the fount of pleasure wells up for me! And there is a life at which no rabble drinks too!

Almost too violently you stream for me, spring of pleasure! And often you empty the cup again, through wanting so much to fill it.

And still must I learn to approach you more moderately: all too violently does my heart still stream toward you:

- my heart, upon which my summer burns, short, hot, heavy-hearted, over-blissful: how my summer-heart craves your coolness!

Gone the hesitant sorrow of my spring! Passed on the snowflakes of my wickedness in June! Summer have I become entirely, and summer-midday -

- a summer in the highest heights, with cold springs and blissful stillness: oh come, my friends, that the stillness might become even more blissful!

For these are our heights and our home: too high and boldly we live here for all unclean creatures and their thirst.

Just cast your clear eyes into the fount of my pleasure, you friends! How could that make it turbid! It shall laugh back to you with its own clarity.

In the tree called Future we build our nests; eagles shall bring to us lonely ones victuals in their beaks!

Verily, no victuals that the unclean might share with us! They would think that they were eating fire and would burn their mouths.

Verily, no homes do we hold ready here for the unclean! To their bodies our happiness would be an ice-cave, and to their spirits too!

And like strong winds we would live above them, neighbours to eagles, neighbours to snow, neighbours to the sun: thus do strong winds always live.

And like a wind I would blow them asunder one day and with my spirit take their spirit's breath away: thus my future wills it.

Verily, a strong wind is Zarathustra to all low-lying lands; and this counsel does he give to his enemies and to all that spits and spews: beware of spitting into the wind!. . .


- Why do I know a thing or two more} Why am I generally so clever? I have never thought about questions that are not real ones - I have not squandered myself. - I have no personal experience, for example, of true religious difficulties. I am entirely at a loss to know how 'sinful' I am supposed to be. Likewise I have no reliable criterion for what a pang of conscience is: from what one hears about it, a pang of conscience seems to me unworthy of respect. . . I would not want to abandon an action after the event; I would prefer to leave the bad outcome, the consequences out of the question of value altogether. If the outcome is bad, it is all too easy to lose the correct perspective on what you have done: a pang of conscience seems to me a kind of 'evil eye'. Cherishing something that goes wrong all the more because it went wrong - that is more my kind of morality. - 'God', 'immortality of the soul', 'redemption', 'hereafter': all of them concepts to which I have never paid any attention, or given any time, even as a child - perhaps I was never childish enough for them? - Atheism is not at all familiar to me as a result, still less as an event: it is self-evident to me from instinct. I am too curious, too dubious, too high-spirited to content myself with a rough-and-ready answer. God is a roughand-ready answer, an indelicacy against us thinkers - basically even just a rough-and-ready prohibition on us: you shall not think!. . . In a quite different way I am interested in a question on which the 'salvation of humanity' depends more than on any curio of the theologians: the question of nutrition. For ease of use, one can put it in the following terms: 'how do you personally have to nourish yourself in order to attain your maximum of strength, of virtu in the Renaissance style, of moraline-free virtue?' - In this respect my experiences are as bad as can be; I am amazed at how late I heard this question, how late I learnt from these experiences to see 'reason'. Only the complete worthlessness of our German education - its 'idealism' - can go some way towards explaining to me why I lagged behind in this of all respects, to the point of holiness.

This 'education', which teaches you to lose sight of realities from the outset, so as to hare off after utterly problematic, so-called 'ideal' goals, for example 'classical education' - as if combining 'classical' and 'German' in one concept were not doomed from the outset! It is even funny - just think of a 'classically educated' Leipziger! - In actual fact, till my most mature years I only ever ate badly - in moral terms, 'impersonally', 'selflessly', 'altruistically', for the good of cooks and other fellow-Christians. Through Leipzig cooking, for example, and at the same time my first study of Schopenhauer (1865), I was very seriously denying my 'will to life'. How to ruin one's stomach, too, for the sake of insufficient nutrition - said cooking seemed to me to solve this problem with astonishing success. (They say that 1866 was a turning point in this regard - .) But German cooking in general - what does it not have on its conscience! Soup before the meal (called ''alia tedesca' 1 even in sixteenth-century Venetian cookbooks), overcooked meat, greasy, mealy vegetables, pastries degenerating into paperweights! If you add on top of all this the positively swinish way older Germans - but by no means just the older ones - need to wash everything down, then you can also understand where the German spirit comes from - from distressed intestines... The German spirit is a case of indigestion - it can never be done with anything. - But the English diet, too - which, in comparison with the German, even the French, is a kind of 'return to nature', in other words to cannibalism - is profoundly at odds with my own instinct; it seems to me that it gives the spirit heavy feet - the feet of Englishwomen. . . The best cooking is the Piedmontese - Alcoholic drinks are bad for me; a single glass of wine or beer in the course of the day is quite enough to make my life a 'vale of tears' - Munich is where my antipodes live. I may have grasped this rather late, but I have actually been experiencing it since childhood. When I was a boy I used to think that drinking wine, like smoking tobacco, was at first just a young man's vanitas, then a bad habit. Perhaps the Naumburg wine bears its share of the blame for this harsh judgement. To believe that wine cheers you up I would need to be a Christian, in other words believe what to me especially is an absurdity.

Strangely enough, given how extremely easily I am upset by small, heavily diluted doses of alcohol, I practically turn into a sailor when it comes to strong doses. Even when I was a boy this was my form of bravery. Writing a long Latin composition, and then even copying it out, in a single all-night sitting, my pen filled with the ambition to imitate the stringency and concision of my model Sallust, and steeping my Latin in some of the highest-strength grog - when I was a pupil at the venerable Schulpforta this did not contradict my physiology in the slightest, nor even perhaps that of Sallust, for all that it contradicted the venerable Schulpforta. . . Later on, towards the middle of my life, I of course set my face more and more strictly against all 'spirituous' drinks: an opponent of vegetarianism from experience - just like Richard Wagner, who converted me - I cannot recommend strongly enough to all more spiritual natures absolute abstinence from alcoholic drinks. Water does the job. . . I prefer places which give you the opportunity everywhere to draw water from running fountains (Nice, Turin, Sils); a little glass follows me around like a dog. In vino Veritas it seems even here I disagree with everyone else once again about the concept of 'truth' - in my case the spirit moves over water... A few more hints from my morality. A big meal is easier to digest than one that is too small. The first prerequisite of good digestion is that the stomach as a whole should be actively involved. You must know the size of your stomach. Inadvisable for the same reason are those long-drawn-out meals which I call sacrificial feasts with intermissions, meals at the table d'hote. - No snacks, no coffee: coffee makes you gloomy. Tea beneficial only in the morning. A little, but strong; tea is very harmful and makes you feel sickly all day if it is just slightly too weak. Everyone has his own level here, often between the tightest and most delicate limits. In a very agafant climate it is inadvisable to begin with tea: one should lead off with a cup of thick, oil-less cocoa an hour beforehand. - Sit as little as possible; do not believe any idea that was not born in the open air and of free movement - in which the muscles do not also revel. All prejudices emanate from the bowels. - Sitting still (I said it once already) - the real sin against the holy ghost. -

Intimately related to the question of nutrition is the question of place and climate. No one is at liberty to live everywhere, and anyone who has to perform great tasks that call for all his strength has indeed a very limited choice in this respect. The influence of climate on the metabolism - slowing it down, speeding it up - is so extensive that a mistake over place and climate can not only alienate someone from their task but can keep it from them entirely: they never get to see it. They never have enough animal vigour to achieve the freedom that overflows into the most spiritual realm, when someone realizes 'Only I can do that'. . . Once even a little sluggishness of the bowels becomes a bad habit, it is quite enough to turn a genius into something mediocre, something 'German'; the German climate alone is sufficient to discourage strong, even heroically disposed bowels. The tempo of the metabolism stands in precise relation to the agility or lameness of the spirit's y^?; the 'spirit' itself is, after all, just a mode of this metabolism. Make a list for yourself of the places where intelligent people are and have been, where wit, cunning, malice made people happy, where genius was almost obliged to make its home: all of them have outstandingly dry air. Paris, the Provence, Florence, Jerusalem, Athens - these names prove something: genius depends on dry air, on clear skies - in other words on rapid metabolism, on the possibility of supplying oneself with great, even enormous quantities of strength time and again. I can recall a case where, merely for want of instinctual subtlety in matters climatic, an eminent and freely disposed spirit became constricted, crabbed, a specialist and sourpuss. And I myself might ultimately have gone the same way, had illness not forced me to see sense, to reflect on the good sense in reality. Now that, after long years of practice, I can read off the effects climate and meteorology have on me as if I were a very finely calibrated and reliable instrument, and on even a short journey, such as from Turin to Milan, register the change in humidity through my own physiology, I am horrified to think of the uncanny fact that my life up till ten years ago - the years of deadly danger - always only played itself out in places that were wrong and practically forbidden to me.

Naumburg, Schulpforta, Thuringia in general, Leipzig, Basle - so many hapless haunts for my physiology. If I have not a single welcome memory of my entire childhood and youth, it would be foolish to ascribe this to so-called 'moral' causes - such as the indisputable lack of adequate company: for this lack is there today as it always was, but it does not stop me being cheerful and brave. No, ignorance in physiologicis - that confounded 'idealism' - is the real disaster in my life, the superfluous and stupid part of it, something from which nothing good has grown, which cannot be compensated for, cannot be offset. I count as consequences of this 'idealism' all my mistakes, all the great instinctual aberrations and 'modesties' deviating from the task of my life, for instance my becoming a philologist - why not a doctor, at least, or something else eye-opening? In my time in Basle my entire spiritual diet, including my daily schedule, was an utterly senseless abuse of extraordinary energies, without a supply of energies in any way covering the consumption, without even any reflection on consumption and replacement. There was a complete lack of the subtler kind of selfishness, of a commanding instinct's care; it was treating oneself as equivalent to everyone else, a 'selflessness', a forgetting of one's distance - something I will never forgive myself. When I was almost done for - because I was almost done for - I started to reflect on this absurdity fundamental to my life - 'idealism'. Illness was what made me see reason. -

One's choice in nutrition, one's choice of climate and place - the third area in which one must avoid a mistake at all costs is in the choice of one's kind of relaxation. Here, too, the limits on what a spirit is allowed, in other words what is useful to it, become tighter and tighter the more sui generis it is. In my case all reading is a relaxation: hence it is one of those things that release me from myself, that let me stroll among alien sciences and souls - that I stop taking seriously. For reading is a release from my seriousness. When I am deep in hard work there are no books to be seen around me: I would take care not to let anyone near me speak or even think. And that is what reading is. . .

Has anyone actually noticed that in that state of profound tension to which pregnancy condemns the spirit and basically the whole organism, a chance occurrence, any kind of external stimulation has too violent an effect, 'sinks in' too deep? You have to avoid chance occurrences, external stimuli as much as possible; a kind of self-immurement is one of the foremost instinctual ruses of spiritual pregnancy. Shall I allow an alien thought to climb secretly over the wall? - And that is what reading is. . . After the periods of work and fruitfulness comes the period of relaxation: out you come, you pleasant, intellectually stimulating books I have been shying away from! - Will they be German books?... I have to go back half a year to catch myself with a book in my hand. What was it, though? - An excellent study by Victor Brochard, Les Sceptiques grecs, which puts even my Laertiana to good use. The Sceptics - the only honourable type among the ever-so multiply ambiguous tribe of the philosophers!. . . Otherwise I resort almost always to the same books - basically a small number, of those books which have proved themselves for me in particular. It is perhaps not my nature to read much and widely: reading-rooms make me ill. It is also not my nature to love much or widely. Circumspection, even hostility towards new books is more of an instinct with me than 'tolerance', 'largeur du coeur', and other kinds of 'brotherly love'... A small number of older Frenchmen are basically the ones I return to again and again: I believe only in French education and consider everything else that calls itself 'education' in Europe a misunderstanding, not to speak of German education. . . The few cases of advanced education I discovered in Germany were all of French extraction, above all Frau Cosima Wagner, by far the foremost voice in questions of taste that I have heard. . .

The fact that I don't read Pascal but love him, as Christianity's most instructive sacrifice - slowly murdered, first physically, then psychologically, the whole logic of this most gruesome form of inhuman cruelty - the fact that I have something of Montaigne's mischief in my spirit - who knows? perhaps in my body, too - the fact that my artist's taste stands up for the names of Moliere, Corneille, and Racine not without indignation against a wild genius like Shakespeare: in the last resort this does not stop me finding even the very latest Frenchmen charming company. I quite fail to see in what century in history one could fish out such curious yet delicate psychologists as in the Paris of today: I can name, to take a few examples - for they are by no means small in number - Messrs Paul Bourget, Pierre Loti, Gyp, Meilhac, Anatole France, Jules Lemaitre, or to highlight one of the strong race, a true Latin of whom I am especially fond, Guy de Maupassant. Just between ourselves, I even prefer this generation to their great teachers, every last one of whom has been ruined by German philosophy: Mr Taine, for example, by Hegel, to whom he owes his misunderstanding of great people and periods. Everywhere Germany extends it ruins culture. Not till the War was the spirit 'redeemed' in France. . . Stendhal, one of the most beautiful coincidences in my life - for everything momentous in it was always propelled in my direction by chance, never by a recommendation - is utterly invaluable with his psychologist's anticipatory eye, with his grasp of what is real that reminds you of the proximity of that most real of men (ex ungue Napoleonem - ); finally, not least as an honest atheist, a rare species in France and almost impossible to find (Prosper Merimee be praised). . . Perhaps I am even a little envious of Stendhal? He robbed me of the best atheist joke, which was just made for me to tell: 'God's only excuse is that he doesn't exist'... I myself said somewhere: what has been the greatest objection to existence so far? God...

I was given the most exalted conception of the lyric poet by Heinrich Heine. I seek in vain across all the realms of millennia for a music that is as sweet and passionate. He possessed that divine malice without which I am incapable of conceiving perfection - I measure the value of people and races according to how necessary it is for them to conceive of god and satyr as inseparable. - And how he handles German! Some day people will say that Heine and I were by far the foremost artists of the German language - incalculably far beyond everything mere Germans have done with it. - I must be intimately related to Byron 's Manfred: I found all these abysses in myself - at 13 I was ripe enough for this work. I have no words, just a look for those who, in the presence of Manfred, can dare to utter the word 'Faust'. The Germans are incapable of any conception of greatness: witness Schumann. I myself, incensed at this sugary Saxon, composed a counter-overture to Manfred, on which Hans von Biilow commented that he had never seen the like on manuscript paper, that it was a rape of Euterpe. - If I seek my highest formula for Shakespeare, then I only ever find this: that he conceived the type of Caesar. You cannot just guess that kind of thing - you either are it or you aren't. The great poet creates only by drawing on his own reality - to the point where he can no longer stand his work afterwards... Once I have cast a glance at my Zarathustra, I walk up and down the room for half an hour, overpowered by unbearable cramps brought on by sobbing. - I know of no more heart-rending reading-matter than Shakespeare: what must a person have suffered if he needs to be a clown that badly! - Is Hamlet understood} It is not doubt but certainty that drives you mad. . . But you need to be profound, abyss, philosopher to feel that way. . . We are all afraid of the truth. . . And, to make no bones about it: I am instinctively sure and certain that Lord Bacon is the originator, the animal-self-tormentor of this uncanniest kind of literature: what do / care about the pitiable prattle of American muddle-heads and blockheads? But the strength to achieve the most powerful realization of one's vision is not only compatible with the most powerful strength to act, to act monstrously, to commit crime - it positively requires it. . . We know far from enough about Lord Bacon, the first realist in every great sense of the word, to know what all the things he did were, what he wanted, what he experienced... And the devil take you, my dear critics! Assuming I had baptized my Zarathustra with another's name, for instance that of Richard Wagner, then it would have taken more than two millennia's worth of acumen to guess that the author of Human, All Too Human is the visionary of Zarathustra. . .

Now that I am speaking of the relaxations in my life, I need to say a word to express my gratitude for what has been by far my most profound and cordial relaxation. Without a shadow of doubt this was my intimate association with Richard Wagner. It would cost me little to forsake the rest of my human relationships, but not at any price would I part with the Tribschen days from my life, days of trust, of cheerfulness, of sublime coincidences - of profound moments. . . I do not know what experiences others have had with Wagner: never a cloud passed across our skies. - And with this I return to France once again - I have no reasons, just a contemptuous corner of my mouth left over for Wagnerians et hoc genus omne who think they are doing Wagner an honour by finding that he resembles them... The way I am - alien to everything German in my most profound instincts, so that even having a German near me slows down my digestion - my first contact with Wagner was also the first sigh of relief in my life: I felt and honoured him as a foreign land, as an opposite, as a protest against all 'German virtues' incarnate. We who were children in the miasma of the fifties are necessarily pessimistic about the concept 'German'; we can be nothing else but revolutionaries - we will never acknowledge a state of affairs where the hypocrites are on top. It is a matter of complete indifference to me whether they go under different guises nowadays, dress in scarlet and wear hussars' uniforms... Well then! Wagner was a revolutionary - he escaped from the Germans. . . As an artist one can have no other home in Europe than Paris; the delicatesse in all five artistic senses which Wagner's art presupposes, the finger for nuances, the psychological morbidity, is only to be found in Paris. Nowhere else has this passion in questions of form, this seriousness in mise-en-scene - it is the Parisian seriousness par excellence. No one in Germany has any idea of the immense ambition that lives in the soul of a Parisian artist. Germans are good-natured - Wagner was not in the least good-natured. . .

But I have already said quite enough (in Beyond Good and Evil, 256) about where Wagner belongs, who are his closest relations: they are the late Romantics in France, that high-flown and high-blown kind of artist like Delacroix, like Berlioz, with a fond of sickness, of incurability in their being, downright fanatics of expressivity, virtuosos through and through. . . Who was the very first intelligent follower of Wagner? Charles Baudelaire, who was also the first to understand Delacroix, that typical decadent in whom a whole generation of artists recognized themselves - he was perhaps also the last... What have I never forgiven Wagner? That he condescended to the Germans - that he became Reich German. . . Everywhere Germany extends it ruins culture. -

All things considered, I could not have endured my youth without Wagner's music. For I was condemned to live among Germans. To escape from unbearable pressure you need hashish. Well then, I needed Wagner. Wagner is the counter-poison par excellence for everything German - but still a poison, I don't deny. . . From the moment there was a piano score of Tristan - my compliments, Herr von Biilow! - I was a Wagnerian. Wagner's earlier works I saw as beneath me - still too vulgar, too 'German'... But even today I am searching for a work that is as dangerously fascinating, as terribly and sweetly infinite as Tristan - in all the arts I search in vain. All the strangenesses of Leonardo da Vinci lose their mystique when the first note of Tristan is sounded. This work is unquestionably Wagner's non plus ultra; he recovered from it with the Mastersingers and the Ring Getting healthier - with a nature like Wagner that is a retrograde step. . . I consider it a first-rate stroke of luck to have lived at the right time and to have lived precisely among Germans, in order to be ripe for this work: so pronounced is the psychologist's curiosity in me. The world is poor for anyone who has never been sick enough for this 'hellish ecstasy': it is permitted, it is almost imperative to use a mystical formulation here. - I think I know better than anyone else the immensity of what Wagner can achieve, the fifty worlds of strange delights which no one but he had the wings to reach; and the way I am - strong enough to turn even the most dubious and dangerous things to my advantage and thus grow stronger - I call Wagner the greatest benefactor of my life. What makes us related, the fact that we have suffered more profoundly - from each other, too - than people of this century could possibly suffer, will for ever reconcile our names; and just as surely as Wagner is a mere misunderstanding among Germans, so am I and always will be. - Two centuries of psychological and artistic discipline first, my dear Teutons!. . . But that can't be caught up. -

- Let me say a little more for the most select of ears: what /really want from music. That it should be cheerful and profound, like an October afternoon. That it should be independent, lively, tender, a sweet little woman of treachery and grace. . . I shall never grant that a German could know what music is. What are called German musicians, the greatest in the van, are foreigners, Slavs, Croats, Italians, Dutchmen - or Jews; otherwise Germans of the strong race, extinct Germans like Heinrich Schiitz, Bach, and Handel. I myself am still enough of a Pole to give up the rest of music for Chopin: for three reasons I would make an exception of Wagner's Siegfried Idyll perhaps Liszt too, who is ahead of all other musicians when it comes to noble orchestral accents, and lastly everything that has grown up beyond the Alps - this side. . . I would not know how to do without Rossini, still less my musical south, the music of my Venetian maestro Pietro Gasti. And when I say beyond the Alps, I am really only saying Venice. Whenever I look for another word for music, I always find only the word 'Venice'. I can make no distinction between tears and music; I do not know how to imagine happiness, the south, without a shudder of timidity.

By the bridge stood I 
Lately in the dusky night.
From afar came singing:
In golden drops it welled up
Across the quivering expanse.
Gondolas, lights, music -

Drunkenly they swam out into the gloaming. . .

My soul, a stringed instrument,
Sang to itself, invisibly touched,
A barcarole in secret accompaniment,
Quivering in mottled bliss.
- Was anyone listening?. . .

In all this - in the choice of nourishment, place and climate, relaxation - an instinct of self-preservation is in command, expressed most unambiguously as an instinct of self-defence. Not seeing many things, not hearing them, not allowing them to approach you - first ruse, first proof that you are no accident but a necessity. The current term for this instinct of self-defence is taste. Its imperative commands you not only to say 'no' where a 'yes' would be an act of 'selflessness', but to say 'no ' as little as possible, too. To part with, depart from anything which requires you to say 'no' time and again. The sense in this is that expenditure on defence, even small amounts, when it becomes the rule, a habit, entails an extraordinary and utterly needless impoverishment. Our great expenditures are the most frequent little amounts. Fending off, not allowing to approach, is an expense - let us make no mistake about this - a strength wasted on negative purposes. Just by needing always to fend things off, you can grow so weak that you cannot defend yourself any more. - Let us say I stepped out of the house and found, instead of tranquil and aristocratic Turin, small- town Germany: my instinct would have to close itself off so as to repress everything forcing itself on it from this flattened and cowardly world. Or if I found big-city Germany, this edifice of vice where nothing grows, where everything, good and bad, is dragged in. Would it not mean I would have to become a hedgehog} - But having quills is a waste, in fact a double luxury when you are free to have no quills at all, but to be o^w-handed. . .

Another ruse and self-defence consists in reacting as rarely as possible and withdrawing from situations and conditions in which one would be condemned to hang one's 'freedom', one's initiative out to dry, so to speak, and become a mere reagent. Let me take as an analogy one's dealings with books. The scholar, who basically just 'skims' books - on a moderate day the classicist gets through roughly 200 - ends up completely losing the ability to think for himself. If he does not skim, he does not think. He responds to a stimulus ( - an idea he has read) when he thinks - he ends up just reacting. The scholar expends all his strength in saying 'yes' and 'no', in critiquing what has already been thought - he himself no longer thinks. . . The instinct for self-defence has been worn down in him; otherwise he would defend himself against books. The scholar - a decadent. - I have seen it with my own eyes: gifted, rich, and freely disposed natures 'read to rack and ruin' even in their thirties, just matches that need rubbing to emit sparks - 'thoughts'. - In the early morning at break of day, when you are at your freshest, at the dawning of your strength, to read a book - that is what I call depraved!

At this point I can no longer avoid giving the actual answer to the question of how to become what you are. And with this I touch on the master-stroke in the art of self-preservation - of egoism. . . For if you assume that your task, your destiny, the fate of your task lies considerably beyond the average measure, then no danger would be greater than facing up to yourself with this task. Becoming what you are presupposes that you have not the slightest inkling what you are. From this point of view even life's mistakes have their own sense and value, the temporary byways and detours, the delays, the 'modesties', the seriousness wasted on tasks which lie beyond the task. Here a great ruse, even the highest ruse can be expressed: where nosce te ipsum would be the recipe for decline, then forgetting yourself, misunderstanding yourself, belittling, constricting, mediocritizing yourself becomes good sense itself.

In moral terms: brotherly love, living for other people and things can be a preventative measure for maintaining the harshest selfishness. This is the exception, when - against my habit and conviction - I side with the 'selfless' drives: in this case they labour in the service of egoism, self-discipline - You need to keep the whole surface of consciousness - consciousness is a surface - untainted by any of the great imperatives. Beware even every great phrase, every great pose! With all of them the instinct risks 'understanding itself too soon Meanwhile, in the depths, the organizing 'idea' with a calling to be master grows and grows - it begins to command, it slowly leads you back out of byways and detours, it prepares individual qualities and skills which will one day prove indispensable as means to the whole - it trains one by one all the ancillary capacities before it breathes a word about the dominant task, about 'goal', 'purpose', 'sense'. - Seen from this angle my life is simply miraculous. The task of revaluing values required perhaps more capacities than have ever dwelt together in one individual, above all contradictory capacities, too, without them being allowed to disturb or destroy one another. Hierarchy of capacities; distance; the art of separating without creating enemies; not conflating, not 'reconciling' anything; an immense multiplicity which is nevertheless the opposite of chaos - this was the precondition, the long, secret labour and artistry of my instinct. Its higher concern was so pronounced that I never even suspected what was growing within me - that all my abilities would one day suddenly spring forth ripe, in their ultimate perfection. I lack any memory of ever having exerted myself - there is no trace of a struggle evident in my life, I am the opposite of a heroic nature. 'Wanting' something, 'striving' for something, having in view a 'purpose', a 'wish' - I know nothing of this from experience. Even now, I look towards my future - a distant future! - as if it were a smooth sea: not a ripple of a desire. I have not the slightest wish for anything to be other than it is; I myself do not want to be different. But this is how I have always lived. I have never wished for anything. Someone who can say after forty-four years that he has never striven for honours, for women, for money - Not that I lacked them...

Thus one day, for example, I was a university professor - never for one moment had I thought of anything like this, as I was only just 24. In the same way, two years earlier, I found I was a philologist one day: in the sense that my teacher Ritschl wanted to have my first philological work, my beginning in every sense, to print in his Rheinisches Museum (Ritschl - I say this in admiration - the only scholar of genius I have ever set eyes on to this day. He possessed that agreeable corruption that distinguishes us Thuringians and makes even a German likeable - even to reach the truth we still prefer the roundabout routes. With these words I do not mean at all to underestimate my close compatriot, clever Leopold von Ranke. . .)

At this point a great stock-taking is needed. People will ask me why I have talked about all these little and, according to conventional opinion, trivial things; they will argue that I am doing myself no favours, all the more so if I am destined to fulfil great tasks. Answer: these little things - nourishment, place, climate, relaxation, the whole casuistry of egoism - are incomparably more important than anything that has been considered important hitherto. This is precisely where one must start relearning. What humanity has hitherto deemed important are not even realities, but merely illusions, more strictly speaking lies born of the bad instincts of sick natures that are in the most profound sense harmful - all the concepts 'God', 'soul', 'virtue', 'sin', 'hereafter', 'truth', 'eternal life'. . . But people have looked for the greatness of human nature, its 'divinity', in them. . . All questions of politics, of social ordering, of upbringing have been thoroughly falsified because the most harmful people were considered great - because people were taught to despise the 'petty' things, by which I mean the fundamental matters of life itself. . . Our contemporary culture is ambivalent to the highest degree. . . The German Kaiser making a pact with the Pope, as if the Pope did not represent mortal enmity against life!. . . What is being built today will not be standing in three years' time. -

If I measure myself against what I can do, not to speak of what follows in my wake, an unprecedented overturning and rebuilding, then I can stake more of a claim than any other mortal to the word 'greatness'. If I now compare myself with those who have hitherto been honoured as foremost among men, then the difference is palpable. I do not even count these so-called 'foremost' as men at all - for me they are humanity's rejects, hideous combinations of illness and vindictive instincts: they are nothing but disastrous, fundamentally incurable monsters taking their revenge on life. . . I want to be the opposite of this: it is my privilege to have the highest sensitivity for all the signs of healthy instincts. There is not a single sickly trait in my character; even in times of grave illness I did not become sickly; you will not find a trace of fanaticism in my being. There is not one moment in my life where you will find any evidence of a presumptuous or histrionic attitude. The pathos of posturing has no part in greatness; anyone who needs postures at all is false. . . Beware of all picturesque people! - I found life easy, easiest, when it demanded the most difficult things of me. Anyone who saw me in the seventy days of this autumn, when, without interruption, I did nothing but first-rate things which no one will do after me - or before me - with a sense of responsibility for all the millennia after me, will have noticed not a trace of tension in me, but rather an overflowing freshness and cheerfulness. I never felt more agreeable about eating, I never slept better. - I know of no other way of dealing with great tasks than by playing: as a sign of greatness this is an important precondition. The slightest constraint, a gloomy expression, some harsh tone in the throat - these are all objections to a person, so how much more do they count against his work!... You must have no nerves... Suffering from solitude is an objection, too - I have only ever suffered from 'multitude'... At an absurdly young age, when I was 7, 1 already knew that no human word would ever get through to me: did anyone ever see me distressed at this? - Nowadays I am still as affable to everyone, I am even full of praise for the lowliest: in all of this there is not a jot of arrogance, of secret contempt. Anyone I despise senses that he is despised by me: by my mere existence.

I infuriate anything that has bad blood in its body. . . My formula for human greatness is amor fati: not wanting anything to be different, not forwards, not backwards, not for all eternity. Not just enduring what is necessary, still less concealing it - all idealism is hypocrisy in the face of what is necessary - but loving it. . .


I am one thing, my writings are another. - At this point, before I speak of the writings themselves, let me touch on the question of their being understood or not understood. I'll do so as casually as is somehow appropriate: for this question is not at all timely. I myself am not yet timely; some are born posthumously. - One day there will be a need for institutions in which people live and teach as I understand living and teaching; then, perhaps, they will even set up university chairs dedicated to the interpretation of Zarathustra. But I would be completely contradicting myself if today already I expected ears and hands for my truths: that people today don't hear, that people today don't know how to take from me, is not only comprehensible, it even seems to me to be right. I don't want to be mistaken for anyone - so I mustn't mistake myself. - To say it again, there is little evidence in my life of 'ill will'; I scarcely know any case of literary 'ill will' to talk of, either. But there's too much evidence of pure folly... It strikes me as one of the rarest distinctions anyone can bestow on themselves when they pick up a book of mine; I am even assuming they take their shoes off to do so - not to speak of boots... Once, when Dr Heinrich von Stein was complaining in all honesty that he didn't understand a word of my Zarathustra, I told him that that was as it should be: understanding - in other words experiencing - six sentences of it, raises you up to a higher level of mortals than 'modern' men could ever reach. With this feeling of distance, how could I even just want the 'moderns' I know to - read me! My triumph is precisely the opposite of Schopenhauer's - I say 'kow legor, non legar - Not that I would want to underestimate the pleasure I often had from the innocence with which people said 'no' to my writings. Just this summer, at a time when with my weighty, over-weighty literature I was perhaps capable of throwing off balance all the rest of literature, a professor from Berlin University kindly gave me to understand that I really should use another form: no one reads that kind of thing. - In the end it wasn't Germany but Switzerland that has provided the two extreme cases. An essay by Dr V. Widmann in Bund, on Beyond Good and Evil, entitled 'Nietzsche's Dangerous Book', and a review article on all my books by Karl Spitteler, again in Bund are a maximum in my life - of what, I am careful not to say. . . The latter treated my Zarathustra, for example, as a 'higher stylistic exercise', and wished that I might later see to the content, too; Dr Widmann expressed his respect for the courage with which I was striving to abolish all decent feelings. - By a little quirk of chance every sentence here, with a logical consistency I admired, was a truth turned on its head: basically all you had to do was 'revalue all the values' to hit the nail on the head about me in a quite remarkable way - instead of hitting my head with a nail... All the more reason to attempt an explanation. - Ultimately no one can hear in things - books included - more than he already knows. If you have no access to something from experience, you will have no ear for it. Now let us imagine an extreme case, where a book tells only of experiences which it is quite impossible to have often or even just rarely - where it is the Jirst to speak for a new series of experiences. In this case simply nothing will be heard, with the acoustic illusion that where nothing is heard nothing is there, either. . . Ultimately this is my average experience and, if you will, the originality of my experience. Those who thought they understood me have turned me into something else, in their own image - not uncommonly into an opposite of me, for instance an 'idealist'; those who understood nothing of me denied I was even worth considering. - The word 'overman' as a designation for the type that has turned out best, by contrast with 'modern' men, 'good' men, Christians and other nihilists - a word which, in the mouth of a Zarathustra, the destroyer of morality, becomes a very thoughtprovoking word - has been understood almost everywhere, in all innocence, in the sense of those values whose opposite was made manifest in the figure of Zarathustra, in other words as the 'idealistic' type of a higher kind of man, half 'saint', half 'genius'...

It has led some scholarly blockheads to suspect me of Darwinism; people have recognized in it even the 'hero cult' of that great unknowing and reluctant counterfeiter, Carlyle, which I have been so malicious as to reject. If I whispered in someone's ear that they should look around for a Cesare Borgia rather than a Parsifal, they didn't believe their ears. - You will have to forgive me for not being in the slightest curious about reviews of my books, especially in newspapers. My friends, my publishers know about this and don't talk to me of such things. In one particular case I once set eyes on all the sins that had been committed against a specific book - it was Beyond Good and Evil - I'd have some charming things to report about that. Can you believe it, that the Nationalzeitung - a Prussian newspaper, let us note for my foreign readers; I myself, with respect, read only the Journal des Debats - thought fit to see the book, in all seriousness, as a 'sign of the times', as the true and authentic Junker philosop hy, for which the Kreuzzeitung lacked only the courage?. . .

That was said for the benefit of Germans: for I have readers everywhere else - nothing but the choicest intelligences, proven characters raised in high positions and duties; I even have true geniuses among my readers. In Vienna, in St Petersburg, in Stockholm, in Copenhagen, in Paris and New York - I have been discovered everywhere: except in Europe's flatland Germany. . . And, to admit it openly, I am even more pleased about my non-readers, those who have never heard my name or the word 'philosophy'; but wherever I come to, here in Turin for instance, everyone's face lights up and softens when they see me. What I have found most flattering so far is that old women pedlars don't rest till they have found their sweetest grapes for me. That's how far you need to take being a philosopher. . . Not for nothing are the Poles called the French among the Slavs. Not for a moment will a charming Russian woman get confused over where I belong. I just can't be solemn - it's as much as I can manage to be embarrassed. . . Thinking in a German way, feeling in a German way - I can do anything, but that is beyond me. . . My old teacher Ritschl went so far as to claim that I conceived even my philological treatises as a Parisian romancier would - in an absurdly exciting manner. In Paris itself people are astounded at 'toutes mes audaces et finesses' (the expression is from Monsieur Taine) I am afraid that you will find mixed into my writings, right up to the most exalted forms of the dithyramb, a little of that salt that never turns stupid, 'German' - esprit... I can do no other. God help me! Amen. - We all know what a long-ears is, some even know it from experience. Well then, I make so bold as to assert that I have the tiniest ears. This is of no little interest to the little women - it seems to me that they feel better understood by me?. . . I am the anti-ass par excellence and hence a world-historic monster - I am, in Greek, and not only in Greek, the Antichrist. . .

I know my prerogatives as a writer to some extent; in certain cases I even have evidence of how much it 'ruins' people's taste if they get used to my writings. They simply can no longer stand other books, least of all philosophy books. It is an unparalleled distinction to step into this noble and delicate world - for which you must not on any account be a German; ultimately it is a distinction you need to have earned. But anyone who is related to me through the loftiness of their willing experiences true ecstasies of learning when they do: for I come from heights to which no bird has yet flown, I know abysses into which no foot has yet strayed. I have been told it is not possible to let a book of mine out of one's hands - that I even disturb people's sleep... There is definitely no prouder and at the same time more refined kind of book: here and there they achieve the highest thing that can be achieved on earth, cynicism; you must tackle them with the most delicate fingers as well as with the bravest fists. Every infirmity of the soul rules you out, once and for all, even every attack of indigestion: you must have no nerves, you must have a cheerful abdomen. Not only the poverty of a soul but its cramped air rules you out, and all the more so anything cowardly, unclean, secretly vengeful in the intestines: one word from me drives out all the bad instincts.

I have several guinea-pigs among my acquaintances who allow me to indulge myself in the various - very instructively various - reactions to my writings. Those who want nothing to do with their contents, for example my so-called friends, become 'impersonal': they congratulate me on having 'done it' again - and they claim I have made progress with my more cheerful tone. . . The utterly depraved 'spirits', the 'beautiful souls', the hypocritical through and through, have absolutely no idea where to begin with these books - so they consider them to be beneath them, the beautiful logical consistency of all 'beautiful souls'. The blockheads among my acquaintances - mere Germans, if you'll excuse my saying so - give me to understand that they don't always share my opinion, but now and then, for example. . . I have heard this said even about Zarathustra. . . Likewise any 'femininism' in people, including men, bars the way to me: they will never enter this labyrinth of daring knowledge. You must never have spared yourself, you must have become accustomed to harshness to feel high-spirited and cheerful among nothing but harsh truths. If I conjure up the image of a perfect reader, it always turns into a monster of courage and curiosity, and what's more something supple, cunning, cautious, a born adventurer and discoverer. Ultimately if I am to say who are basically the only people I am speaking to, I can't put it any better than did Zarathustra. Who are the only people he wants to tell his riddle to?

To you, bold searchers, tempters, experimenters, and whoever has embarked with cunning sails upon terrifying seas -

to you, who are drunk with riddles, glad of twilight, whose souls are lured with flutes to every confounding chasm:

- for you do not want to grope along a thread with cowardly hand; and, where you can guess, you hate to deduce. . .

At the same time I'll say something about my art of style in general. Communicating a state, an inner tension of pathos through signs, including the tempo of these signs - that is the point of every style; and considering that in my case the multiplicity of inner states is extraordinary, in my case there are many stylistic possibilities - altogether the most multifarious art of style anyone has ever had at their disposal. Every style is good that really communicates an inner state, that makes no mistake with signs, with the tempo of signs, with gestures - all laws governing the rhetorical period are an art of gesture. Here my instinct is infallible. - Good style in itself - pure folly mere 'idealism' like, for instance, the 'beautiful in itself like the 'good in itself like the 'thing in itself . . Always assuming that there are ears - that there are those who are capable and worthy of such a pathos, that those to whom one may communicate oneself are not lacking. - My Zarathustra, for example, is still looking for such people in the meantime - oh, he will need to look for a long time yet! - You must be worthy of hearing him. . . And till then there will be no one to understand the art that has been squandered here: no one has ever had more new, unprecedented artistic means to squander - means really created only for this purpose. That such a thing was possible in German, of all languages, remained to be proven: I myself would have denied it beforehand in the harshest possible terms. Before me, people did not know what can be done with the German language - what can be done with language tout court. - The art of grand rhythm, the grand style of the period expressing an immense rise and fall of sublime, superhuman passion was first discovered by me; with a dithyramb like the last in the Third Part of Zarathustra, entitled 'The Seven Seals', I flew a thousand miles beyond what had hitherto been called poetry.

- The fact that from my writings there speaks a psychologist beyond compare, this is perhaps the first insight a good reader achieves - a reader such as I deserve, who reads me as good old philologists used to read their Horace. The principles which in essence are commonly agreed upon by all - not to speak of the common or garden philosophers, the moralists and other hollow-pots, cabbage-heads - appear in my writings as naive misconceptions: for example the belief that 'unegoistic' and 'egoistic' are opposites, when the ego itself is just a 'higher swindle', an 'ideal'. . . There are no egoistic or unegoistic actions: both concepts are psychological absurdities. Or the principle 'man strives for happiness'. . . Or the principle 'happiness is virtue's reward'. . . Or the principle 'pleasure and displeasure are opposites'... The Circe of humanity, morality, has falsified beyond recognition - infected - all psychological right down to that ghastly nonsense, that love should be something 'unegoistic'. . . You have to be sure oi yourself you have to be standing bravely on your own two feet, otherwise you simply cannot love. The little women know that only too well, after all: they don't give a damn about selfless, merely objective men. . . May I venture the supposition, by the by, that I know the little women? That is an aspect of my Dionysian dowry. Who knows? perhaps I am the foremost psychologist of the eternal feminine. They all love me - an old story: excluding the botched little women, the 'emancipated' ones, who are incapable of producing children. - Fortunately I am not willing to let myself be torn apart: the perfect woman tears apart when she loves... I know these charming maenads. . . Ah, what dangerous, insidious, subterranean little predators! And so pleasant with it!... A little woman running after her revenge would run down fate itself. - Woman is unutterably more wicked than man, and cleverer; goodness in a woman is already a form of degeneration. . . Deep down inside all so-called 'beautiful souls' there is a physiological illness - I shan't say any more, to avoid becoming medicynical. The struggle for equal rights is even a symptom of illness: every doctor knows that. - The more womanly a woman is, the more she fights tooth and nail to defend herself against any kind of rights: the natural state, the eternal war between the sexes puts her in first place by a wide margin, after all. - Did anyone have ears for my definition of love? it is the only one worthy of a philosopher. Love - war in its means, at bottom the deadly hatred of the sexes. - Did anyone hear my answer to the question of how you cure - 'redeem' - a woman? You get her pregnant. Woman needs children, man is always just a means: thus spoke Zarathustra. - 'Emancipation of woman' - this is the instinctual hatred of the botched, i.e. infertile woman against the woman who turned out well - the struggle against 'men' is always just a means, a pretext, a tactic. By raising themselves up - as 'woman in herself, as 'higher woman', as 'idealist' of a woman - they want to bring down the general level of woman's standing; nothing is more guaranteed to achieve this than high-school education, trousers, and the right to vote like political cattle. The emancipated ones are basically the anarchists in the world of the 'eternal feminine', the ones who turned out badly, whose nethermost instinct is for revenge... An entire species of the most malignant 'idealism' - which can be found, incidentally, in men, too, for example in Henrik Ibsen, that typical old maid - aims to poison the good conscience, what is natural in sexual love. . . And so as to leave no doubts about my views, which in this respect are as honourable as they are strict, I want to share one more principle from my moral code against vice: with the word 'vice' I am combating every kind of anti-nature or, if you like pretty words, idealism. The principle runs thus: 'preaching chastity is a public incitement to perversity. All despising of the sexual life, all besmirching of it by calling it "impure" is the crime of crimes against life - it is the true sin against the holy spirit of life.' -

To give an idea of myself as psychologist, I'll take a curious piece of psychology that appears in Beyond Good and Evil - incidentally I forbid any speculation as to whom I am describing here. 'The genius of the heart, a heart of the kind belonging to that great secretive one, the tempter god and born Pied Piper of the conscience whose voice knows how to descend into the underworld of every soul, who does not utter a word or send a glance without its having a crease and aspect that entices, whose mastery consists in part in knowing how to seem - and seem not what he is, but rather what those who follow him take as one more coercion to press ever closer to him, to follow him ever more inwardly and completely. . . The genius of the heart that silences everything loud and self-satisfied and teaches it how to listen; that smooths out rough souls and gives them a taste of a new longing (to lie still, like a mirror, so that the deep sky can mirror itself upon them). . . The genius of the heart, that teaches the foolish and over-hasty hand to hesitate and to grasp more daintily; that guesses the hidden and forgotten treasure, the drop of kindness and sweet spirituality lying under thick, turbid ice and is a divining rod for every speck of gold that has long lain buried in some dungeon of great mud and sand. . . The genius of the heart, from whose touch everyone goes forth the richer, neither reprieved nor surprised, not as if delighted or depressed by another's goodness, but rather richer in themselves, newer than before, opened up, breathed upon and sounded out by a warm wind, more unsure, perhaps, more brooding, breakable, broken, but full of hopes that still remain nameless, full of new willing and streaming, full of new not-willing and back-streaming. . .'

The Birth of Tragedy

To be fair to The Birth of Tragedy (1872), several things will have to be forgotten. It owed its impact and even its fascination to what was wrong with it - its tactical use of Wagnerism, as if that were a symptom of ascent. This is precisely why the work was an event in Wagner's life: only then did Wagner's name start to conjure up great hopes. People still remind me of it even today, maybe in the midst of Parsifal: blaming me for the fact that such a high opinion of the cultural value of this movement gained the ascendancy. - Several times I have found the work cited as The Rebirth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music: people had ears only for a new formulation of Wagner's art, his aim, his task - and thus they failed to hear the fundamentally valuable things the work was hiding. Hellenism and Pessimism: that would have been a more unambiguous title: in other words as the first explanation of how the Greeks coped with pessimism - by what means they overcame it. . . Tragedy is precisely the proof that the Greeks were no pessimists: Schopenhauer was wrong about this, as he was wrong about everything. - If you pick up The Birth of Tragedy with some degree of neutrality, it looks very untimely: you would never dream that it was begun amidst the thunder of the Battle of Woerth. I thought through these problems outside the walls of Metz, on cold September nights, in the midst of serving as a medical orderly; you might easily think the work was fifty years older. It is politically indifferent - 'un-German' in today's parlance - it smells offensively Hegelian, and in just a few phrases it is tainted with the doleful scent of Schopenhauer. An 'idea' - the Dionysian/ Apollonian opposition - translated into metaphysics, history itself as the development of this 'idea'; in tragedy the opposition sublated to become a unity; from this point of view things that had never looked each other in the face before suddenly juxtaposed, illuminated, and understood in the light of each other. . . Opera, for instance, and revolution. . . The book's two decisive innovations are, on the one hand, its understanding of the Dionysian phenomenon among the Greeks - it provides the first psychology of it and sees it as the single root of all Greek art - and on the other hand its understanding of Socratism: Socrates recognized for the first time as the instrument of Greek dissolution, as a typical decadent. 'Rationality' against instinct. 'Rationality' at any price as a dangerous, life-undermining power! - Profound, hostile silence about Christianity throughout the book. It is neither Apollonian nor Dionysian; it negates all aesthetic values - the only values The Birth of Tragedy recognizes - it is in the most profound sense nihilistic, whereas in the Dionysian symbol the outermost limit of affirmation is reached. At one point there is an allusion to Christian priests as a 'spiteful kind of dwarves', of 'subterraneans'. . .

This beginning is utterly remarkable. I had discovered the only analogy for and counterpart to my innermost experience that history has to offer - at the same time I was the first to understand the marvellous phenomenon of the Dionysian. Likewise my recognizing Socrates as a decadent provided wholly unambiguous proof of how little the assuredness of my psychological grasp was in danger from any moral idiosyncrasy - morality itself as a symptom of decadence is an innovation, a first-rate one-off in the history of knowledge. With these two things, how high had I leapt above the pitiful blockhead-chatter of optimism versus pessimism! - I was the first to see the real opposition - degenerating instinct turning against life with subterranean venge fulness ( - its typical forms Christianity, the philosophy of Schopenhauer, to a certain extent the philosophy of Plato already, all idealism) and a formula, born of abundance, superabundance, for the highest affirmation, a yes-saying without reservation, even to suffering, even to guilt, even to everything questionable and alien about existence. . . This latter, the most joyful, most effusively high-spirited 'yes' to life, is not only the highest insight, it is also the most profound, the one which is most rigorously confirmed and sustained by truth and science. Nothing that is can be discounted, nothing can be dispensed with - indeed, the aspects of existence that are rejected by Christians and other nihilists occupy an infinitely higher place in the hierarchy of values than what the decadence instinct has seen fit to sanction, to call 'good'. To understand this requires courage and, as its prerequisite, a surplus of strength: for one comes only so close to truth as one's strength allows one's courage to dare advance. Knowledge, saying 'yes' to reality, is just as much a necessity for the strong as are, for the weak (inspired by weakness), cowardice and flight from reality - the 'ideal'. . . They are not free to know: decadents need the lie, it is one of the conditions of their preservation. - Anyone who not only understands the word 'Dionysian' but understands himself in the word 'Dionysian' has no need for a refutation of Plato or Christianity or Schopenhauer - he can smell the decay. . .

The extent to which, with this, I had found the concept of 'tragic', the ultimate knowledge of what the psychology of tragedy is, was given expression recently in Twilight of the Idols: 'Saying yes to life, even in its strangest and hardest problems; the will to life rejoicing in the sacrifice of its highest types to its own inexhaustibility - this is what I called Dionysian, this is what I understood as a bridge to the psychology of the tragic poet. Not freeing oneself from terror and pity, not purging oneself of a dangerous emotion through a vehement discharge - such was Aristotle's misunderstanding of it - but, over and above terror and pity, being oneself the eternal joy of becoming, that joy which also encompasses the joy of destruction. . .' In this sense I have the right to see myself as the first tragic philosopher - which means the polar opposite and antipodes of a pessimistic philosopher. Before me one doesn't find this transformation of the Dionysian into a philosophical pathos: tragic wisdom is lacking - I have looked in vain for signs of it even among the great philosophical Greeks, those who lived in the two centuries before Socrates I had a lingering doubt about Heraclitus, in whose vicinity I feel altogether warmer, better disposed than anywhere else. The affirmation of transience and destruction, the decisive feature of any Dionysian philosophy, saying 'yes' to opposition and war, becoming, with a radical rejection of even the concept of 'being' - in this I must in any event acknowledge ideas that are more closely related to mine than any that have hitherto been thought. The doctrine of the 'eternal recurrence', in other words of the unconditional and infinitely repeated circulation of all things - ultimately this doctrine of Zarathustra's could also have been taught already by Heraclitus. At least the Stoics, who inherited almost all their fundamental ideas from Heraclitus, show traces of it. -

Out of this work speaks an immense hope. Ultimately I have no reason to retract my hope in a Dionysian future for music. Let us glance ahead a century, and let us suppose that my attack on two millennia of perversity and defilement of the human has been successful. That new party of life which takes in hand the greatest of all tasks, the breeding of a higher humanity, including the ruthless destruction of everything degenerating and parasitic, will make possible again that excess of life on earth from which the Dionysian state, too, must arise once again. I promise a tragic age: the highest art of saying 'yes' to life, tragedy, will be reborn once humanity has put behind it the awareness of the harshest but most necessary wars, without suffering from it. . . A psychologist might add that what I heard in Wagnerian music in my youth has nothing whatsoever to do with Wagner; that when I was describing Dionysian music I was describing what / had heard - that I instinctively had to translate and transfigure everything into the new spirit I bore inside me. The proof of this, as strong a proof as any can be, is my work Wagner in Bayreuth: in all the psychologically decisive passages it speaks of me alone - one can ruthlessly put my name or the word 'Zarathustra' wherever the text has the word 'Wagner'. The whole picture of the dithyrambic artist is the picture of the Zarathustra poet pre-existing, sketched in with abyssal profundity and without even touching on the Wagnerian reality for a moment. Wagner himself had an inkling of this; he failed to recognize himself in the work. - Likewise 'the Bayreuth idea' had been transformed into something which will be no mystery to those who know my Zarathustra: into that great noon-day when the most select dedicate themselves to the greatest of all tasks - who knows? the vision of a celebration I have yet to experience. . . The pathos of the opening pages is world-historic; the gaze which is mentioned on page 7 is the true gaze of Zarathustra; Wagner, Bayreuth, all the petty German wretchedness is a cloud in which an unending fata morgana of the future is reflected. Even psychologically all the decisive traits of my own nature are invested in Wagner's - the juxtaposition of the most lucid and most fateful energies, the will to power such as no man has ever possessed it, ruthless bravery in intellectual matters, boundless energy to learn without it stifling the will to act. Everything about this work is anticipatory: the closeness of the return of the Greek spirit, the necessity of Anti-Alexanders to retie the Gordian knot of Greek culture after it was undone. . . Just listen to the world-historic emphasis with which, on page 30, the concept of 'tragic cast of mind' is introduced: there are nothing but world-historic emphases in this work. This is the strangest kind of 'objectivity' there can be: an absolute certainty about what I am was projected onto a chance reality - the truth about myself spoke from a terrifying depth. On page 71 Zarathustra's style is described and anticipated with trenchant assuredness; and you will never find a more magnificent expression of the event that is Zarathustra, the immense act of purifying and consecrating humanity, than is found on pages 43-6. -

The Untimelies

The four Untimelies are thoroughly warlike. They prove that I was no daydreamer with his head in the clouds, that it gives me pleasure to draw my rapier - perhaps also that I am dangerously dexterous. The first attack (1873) was aimed at German education, which at that stage I was already looking down on with merciless contempt. No point, no substance, no goal: mere 'public opinion'. No more pernicious misunderstanding than to think that the Germans' great military success provided any evidence at all in favour of this education - let alone its victory over France. . . The second Untimely (1874) highlights what is dangerous about our kind of scientific endeavour, what there is in it that gnaws away at life and poisons it - life made z//by this dehumanized machinery and mechanism, by the '/^personality' of the worker, by the false economy of the 'division of labour'. The end, culture, is lost - the means, modern scientific endeavour, barbarizes. . . In this essay the 'historical sense', in which this century takes pride, was recognized for the first time as an illness, as a typical sign of decay. - In the third and fourth Untimelies however, as hints towards a higher conception of culture, towards the restoration of the concept 'culture', two images of the harshest egoism, self-discipline are set up, untimely types par excellence, full of sovereign contempt for everything around them called 'Reich', 'education', 'Christianity', 'Bismarck', 'success' - Schopenhauer and Wagner or, in one word, Nietzsche. . .

Of these four attacks the first was extraordinarily successful. The uproar it prompted was in every sense magnificent. I had touched on a triumphant nation's sore point - that its triumph was not a cultural event but perhaps, perhaps, something quite different. . .

The response came from all sides and by no means just from the old friends of David Strauss, whom I had ridiculed as the type of German-educated philistinism and smugness, in short as the author of his barstool-gospel of the 'old faith and the new' ( - the phrase 'educated philistine' entered the language through my essay). These old friends, Wurttembergers and Swabians whom I had dealt a mortal blow by finding their weird and wonderful animal Strauss funny, responded as worthily and coarsely as I could have wished; the Prussian retorts were cleverer - they had more 'Prussian blue' in them. The greatest indecency was perpetrated by a Leipzig paper, the infamous Grenzboten; I had difficulty preventing the outraged Baselers from taking steps. Only a few old men came out unequivocally on my side, for various and to some extent inscrutable reasons. Among them was Ewald in Gottingen, who intimated that my attack had been the death of Strauss. Likewise the old Hegelian Bruno Bauer, who from then on was one of my most attentive readers. In his last years he loved making references to me, for example giving Herr von Treitschke, the Prussian historian, a tip about whose work he could turn to to find out about the concept of 'culture', which had escaped him. The most thoughtful and also the most extensive comments on the work and its author came from a former pupil of the philosopher von Baader, a Professor Hoffmann in Wiirzburg. He foresaw in the work a great destiny for me - ushering in a kind of crisis and highest decision for the problem of atheism, whose most instinctive and ruthless type he guessed I was. Atheism was what led me to Schopenhauer. - By far the best heard, the most bitterly felt was an extraordinarily strong and brave recommendation from the otherwise so unassuming Karl Hillebrand, the last humane German to wield a pen. His essay was read in the Augsburger Zeitung; you can read it today, in a somewhat more cautious form, in his collected writings. Here the work was presented as an event, a turning-point, a first self-contemplation, the best sign of all, as a real return of German seriousness and German passion in spiritual matters. Hillebrand was full of high praise for the form of the work, for its mature taste, for its perfect tact in distinguishing man and matter: he marked it out as the best polemical work ever written in German - in the art of polemic which for Germans above all is so dangerous, so inadvisable. Unreservedly affirmative, even intensifying what I had dared say about the linguistic dilapidation in Germany ( - nowadays they are playing the purists and can no longer construct a sentence - ) , with the same contempt for the 'premier writers' of this nation, he ended by expressing his admiration for my courage - that 'highest form of courage that puts the very darlings of a people in the dock'... The after-effects of this piece have been absolutely invaluable in my life. No one has yet picked a quarrel with me. In Germany people keep quiet, they treat me with a gloomy caution: for years I have made use of an absolute freedom of speech for which no one nowadays, least of all in the 'Reich', has a free enough hand. For me, paradise is 'beneath the shade of my sword'... Basically I had put into practice one of Stendhal's maxims: his advice is to make one's entry into society with a duel. And what an opponent I had chosen for myself! the first German free-thinker!. . . In fact a completely new kind of free-thinking was finding its first expression here: to this day nothing is more alien and unrelated to me than the whole European and American species of 'libres penseurs'. I am even more profoundly at odds with these incorrigible blockheads and buffoons, with their 'modern ideas', than I am with any of their opponents. They, too, want to 'improve' humanity in their way, in their image; they would wage implacable war on what I am, what I want, if they only understood it - to a man they all still believe in the 'ideal'. . . I am the first immoralist -

I would not want to claim that the two Untimelies that bear the names of Schopenhauer and Wagner might be any particular help in understanding or even just psychologically questioning the two cases - except in one or two respects, as is only proper. Thus, for example, with a profound instinctual assuredness what is elemental in Wagner's nature is already described here as a histrionic talent which is simply being logically consistent in its means and aims. With these works I basically wanted to do something quite different from psychology - an unparalleled problem of education, a new concept of self-discipline, of self-defence to the point of harshness, a path to greatness and to world-historic tasks was clamouring for its first expression. Broadly speaking I seized two famous and still utterly undetermined types with both hands, as you seize an opportunity with both hands, in order to express something, to have a few more formulations, signs, linguistic means in hand. After all, with quite uncanny sagacity the third Untimely also indicates this on p. 93. This is how Plato used Socrates, as a semiotic for Plato. - Now that I am looking back from some distance on the circumstances to which these works bear witness, I would not want to deny that they basically speak only of me. The work Wagner in Bayreuth is a vision of my future, while Schopenhauer as Educator bears my innermost history, my becoming inscribed within it. Above all my vowl. . . What I am today, where I am today - at a height where I no longer speak with words but with lightning bolts - oh how far away I still was then! - But I could see the land - not for one moment did I deceive myself about the path, sea, danger - and success! The great calmness in promising, this blessed peering out into a future which is not to remain a mere promise! - Here every word is experienced, profound, inward; there is no lack of the most painful things, there are words in here that are positively bloodthirsty. But a wind of great freedom blows across everything; even the wound does not serve as an objection. - How I understand the philosopher, as a terrible explosive which puts everything in danger, how I set my concept of 'philosopher' miles apart from a concept which includes even a Kant, not to speak of the academic 'ruminants' and other professors of philosophy: this work gives invaluable instruction in all this, even granted that it is basically not 'Schopenhauer as Educator' but his opposite, 'Nietzsche as Educator', who is given a chance to speak here. - Considering that mine was a scholar's trade at the time, and perhaps that I understood my trade, too, then an austere aspect of the psychology of the scholar that suddenly comes to light in this work is not without significance: it expresses the feeling of distance, the profound certainty about what in me can be my task, what merely my means, intermission, and incidental accomplishment. It is my kind of cleverness to have been many things and in many places, so as to be able to become one thing - to be able to come to one thing. I had to be a scholar, too, for a while. -

Human, All Too Human

With Two Continuations

Human, All Too Human is the monument to a crisis. It calls itself a book for free spirits: practically every sentence in it expresses a victory - with it I liberated myself from what in my nature did not belong to me. Idealism does not belong to me: the title says 'where you see ideal things, / see - human, oh just all-too-human things!'... I know man better... - There is no other way for the phrase 'free spirit' to be understood here: a spirit that has become free, that has seized possession of itself again. The tone, the timbre is completely different: people will find the book clever, cool, perhaps harsh and mocking. A certain intellectuality of noble taste seems to be continually keeping the upper hand over a more passionate current beneath it. In this context it makes sense that it is actually the hundredth anniversary of the death of Voltaire which provides the excuse, so to speak, for the publication of this book as early as 1878. For Voltaire, in contrast with everyone who wrote after him, is above all a grandseigneur of the spirit: precisely what I am, too. - The name Voltaire on a work of mine - that really was progress - towards myself. . . If you look more closely, then you discover a merciless spirit who knows all the hiding-places where the ideal has its home - where it has its dungeons and its last safe retreat, as it were. With a torch in its hands casting an unwavering light, with piercing brightness it illuminates this underworld of the ideal. It is war, but war without powder or smoke, with no warlike poses, no pathos or contorted limbs - all this would itself still be 'idealism'. One error after another is calmly put on ice; the ideal is not refuted - it dies of exposure. . . Here, for example, 'the genius' is freezing; a long way further on freezes 'the saint'; beneath a thick icicle 'the hero' is freezing; in the end 'belief, so-called 'conviction' freezes, even 'pity' is growing considerably cooler - almost everywhere 'the thing in itself is freezing to death. . .

The beginnings of this book can be found amid the weeks of the first Bayreuth Festival; a profound sense of alienation from everything that surrounded me there was one of its preconditions. Anyone who has an idea of the kind of visions that had already crossed my path by that stage can guess how I felt when I woke up one day in Bayreuth. Just as if I was dreaming. . . But where was I? I recognized nothing, I hardly recognized Wagner. I leafed through my memories in vain. Tribschen - a distant isle of the blest: not the slightest similarity. The incomparable days of the laying of the foundation stone, the little group who belonged there, who celebrated it and on whom you did not have first to wish the fingers for delicate things: not the slightest similarity. What had happened? - They had translated Wagner into German! The Wagnerian had become master over Wagner! - German art! the German master! German beer!... We others, who know only too well the refined artists, the cosmopolitanism of taste to which only Wagner's art speaks, were beside ourselves at finding Wagner decked out with German 'virtues'. - I think I know the Wagnerian, I have 'experienced' three generations, starting with the late Brendel, who confused Wagner with Hegel, and going right up to the 'idealists' of the Bayreuther Blatter who confuse Wagner with themselves - I have heard all kinds of confessions of 'beautiful souls' about Wagner. A kingdom for one sensible word! - A truly hair-raising group! Nohl, Pohl, Kohl with grace ad infinitum! No deformity lacking from their number, not even the anti-Semite. - Poor Wagner! Where had he ended up! - If he had only gone among swine, at least! But among Germans!... For the instruction of posterity they ought finally to stuff a genuine Bayreuther, better still embalm him in spirit, for spirit is what's lacking - with the caption: this is what the 'spirit' looked like on which the 'Reich' was founded. . . Enough: in the midst of all this I headed off for a few weeks, very suddenly, despite the fact that a charming Parisian woman tried to console me; I made my excuses to Wagner with just a fatalistic telegram. In a spot buried away deep in the Bavarian Forest, Klingenbrunn, I carried my melancholy and contempt for Germans around with me like an illness - and wrote a sentence in my notebook from time to time, under the general heading of 'The Ploughshare', nothing but harsh psychologica, which can perhaps still be rediscovered in Human, All Too Human.

The decision that was taking shape in me at that time was not just a break with Wagner - I was registering a general aberration of my instinct, and individual mistakes, whether Wagner or my professorship in Basle, were only a sign. I was overcome by an impatience with myself; I realized it was high time to reflect on myself. All at once it became terribly clear to me how much time had already been wasted - how useless, how arbitrary my whole philologist's existence appeared when set against my task. I was ashamed of this false modesty. . . Ten years behind me when quite simply the nourishment of my spirit had been at a standstill, when I had learnt nothing more that was usable, when I had forgotten a ridiculous amount about a hotchpotch of fusty erudition. Crawling through ancient metricians with meticulous precision and bad eyes - things had got that bad with me! - With a look of pity I saw how utterly emaciated I was, how I had wasted away: realities were entirely lacking within my knowledge, and the 'idealities' were worth damn all! - I was gripped by a really burning thirst: from then on, indeed, I pursued nothing but physiology, medicine, and natural science - I returned even to truly historical studies only when my task compelled me imperiously to do so. That was also when I first guessed the connection between an activity chosen contrary to one's instinct, a so-called 'profession', to which one is called last of all and that need to have one's feeling of emptiness and hunger anaesthetized through narcotic art - for example through Wagnerian art. When I looked around me more carefully I discovered that a large number of young men face the same crisis: one perversity positively compels a second. In Germany, in the 'Reich', to be quite explicit, all too many are doomed to make up their minds inopportunely and then, beneath a burden they can no longer shed, waste away. . . They demand Wagner like an opiate - they forget themselves, they lose themselves for a moment. . . What am I saying! for five or six hours -

At that stage my instinct decided implacably against yet more giving way, going along with things, mistaking myself. Any kind of life, the most unfavourable conditions, illness, poverty - anything seemed to me preferable to that unworthy 'selflessness' which I had entered into at first from ignorance, from youth, and in which I later got bogged down from inertia, so-called 'feelings of obligation'. - Now that bad inheritance from my father's side came to my assistance in a way I cannot admire enough, and just at the right time - basically a predestination to an early death. Illness slowly released me: it saved me from making any break, from taking any violent, offensive step. I lost no one's good-will at that point, and indeed gained many people's. Likewise illness gave me the right to completely overturn all my habits; it allowed me, compelled me to forget; it bestowed on me the gift of having to lie still, remain idle, wait, and be patient. . . But that is what thinking is!. . . All by themselves my eyes put an end to all bookwormery, otherwise known as philology: I was released from the 'book', and read nothing more for years - the greatest favour I have ever done myself! - That nethermost self, as if buried alive, as if made mute beneath the constant need to pay heed to other selves ( - which is what reading is!) awoke slowly, shyly, hesitantly - but finally it spoke again. I have never been so happy with myself as in my life's periods of greatest illness and pain: you need only take a look at Daybreak or The Wanderer and His Shadow to understand what this 'return to myself was: the highest kind of recuperation]... The other kind simply followed on from this. -

Human, All Too Human, that monument to a rigorous self-discipline, with which I swiftly dispatched all the 'higher swindle', 'idealism', 'fine feeling', and other femininities I had brought in, was written down in all essentials in Sorrento; it was finished off and given its final form during a winter in Basle under much less favourable circumstances than those in Sorrento. Basically it is Mr Peter Gast, at that time studying at Basle University and very devoted to me, who has the book on his conscience. I dictated, my head bandaged up and in pain; he copied out and made corrections, too - basically he was the actual writer, while I was just the author. When I finally got my hands on the finished book - to the great amazement of a seriously ill man - I sent two copies to Bayreuth among other places. By a miraculously meaningful coincidence a beautiful copy of the text of Parsifal reached me at the same time, with Wagner's dedication to me, 'his dear friend Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Church Councillor'. - This crossing of the two books - it seemed to me as if I heard them make an ominous sound. Did it not sound like the clash of rapiers?. . . At any rate that is how we both felt: for we both said nothing. - Around this time the first Bayreuther Blatter appeared: I realized what it had been high time for. - Incredible! Wagner had become pious. . .

How I was thinking about myself at that time (1876), with what immense assuredness I had my task and its world-historic aspects in hand, the whole book bears testimony to this, but in particular one very explicit passage: except that here, too, with my instinctive cunning, I avoided using the little word T and this time illuminated with world-historic glory not Schopenhauer or Wagner but one of my friends, the excellent Dr Paul Ree - fortunately much too refined an animal to. . . Others were less refined: I could always tell the hopeless cases among my readers, for instance the typical German professor, by the fact that on the basis of this passage they thought they had to understand the whole book as higher Reealism. . . In truth it contained the contradiction of five or six sentences of my friend's: for this, read the Preface to On the Genealogy of Morals. - The passage reads: 'but what is the main principle that has been arrived at by one of the boldest and coolest thinkers, the author of the book On the Origin of Moral Sensations (lisez: Nietzsche, the first immoralist), by means of his incisive and penetrating analyses of human behaviour? "The moral individual is no closer to the intelligible world than to the physical one - for there is no intelligible world. . ." This principle, hardened and sharpened under the hammer blows of historical knowledge (lisez: revaluation of all values), may perhaps at some future point - 1890! - serve as the axe which will be applied to the roots of humanity's "metaphysical need" - whether more as a blessing or a curse on humanity, who can say? But in any event as a principle with the most significant consequences, at once fruitful and fearful, and looking into the world with the double vision that all great insights have'...


Thoughts on Morality as Prejudice

With this book my campaign against morality begins. Not that it has the slightest whiff of gunpowder about it: provided you have some sensitivity in your nostrils you will smell something quite different and much sweeter about it. No big guns or even small ones: if the book's effect is negative, then its means are so much less so, these means from which the effect follows like a conclusion, not like a cannon shot. The fact that you take your leave of the book shyly wary of everything that has hitherto been honoured and even worshipped under the name of morality is perfectly consistent with the fact that there is not a negative word to be found in the entire book, no attack, no malice - that instead it lies in the sun, plump, happy, like a sea creature sunning itself among rocks. Ultimately I was myself this sea creature: practically every sentence in the book was conceived, hatched in that riot of rocks near Genoa, where I was on my own and still had secrets to share with the sea. Even now, if I encounter the book by chance, practically every sentence becomes a tip with which I can pull up something incomparable from the depths once again: its whole hide quivers with the tender shudders of recollection. It excels at the not inconsiderable art of making things which dart by lightly and noiselessly, moments I call divine lizards, stay still a little - not, though, with the cruelty of that young Greek god who simply skewered the poor little lizard, but nevertheless with something sharp, with my pen. . . 'There are so many dawns that have not yet broken' - this Indian motto is inscribed on the door to this book. Where does its originator seek that new morning, that still undiscovered delicate blush with which another day - ah, a whole series, a whole world of new days! - sets in? In a revaluation of all values, in freeing himself from all moral values, in saying 'yes' to and placing trust in everything that has hitherto been forbidden, despised, condemned. This yes-saying book pours out its light, its love, its delicacy over nothing but bad things, it gives them back their 'soul', their good conscience, the lofty right and prerogative of existence. Morality is not attacked, it just no longer comes into consideration... This book closes with an 'Or?' - it is the only book to close with an 'Or?'. . .

My task, that of preparing the way for a moment of highest selfcontemplation on humanity's part, a great noon-day when it will look back and look ahead, when it will step out from under the dominance of chance and the priests and for the first time ask the question 'why?' 'what for?' as a whole - this task follows necessarily from the insight that humanity has not found the right way by itself, that it is definitely not divinely ruled but that precisely among its holiest conceptions of value the instinct of negation, of corruption, the decadence instinct has seductively held sway. This is why the question of the origin of moral values is for me a question of the utmost importance, because it determines the future of humanity. The requirement to believe that everything is basically in the best hands and that one book, the Bible, gives conclusive reassurance about the divine direction and wisdom in the destiny of humanity is, if you translate it back to reality, the will to suppress the truth about the pitiful opposite, namely that humanity has so far been in the worst hands, that it has been ruled by those who turned out badly, the cunningly vindictive, the so-called 'saints', these world-slanderers and humanity-defilers. The crucial sign that the priest ( - including those hidden priests, the philosophers) has become dominant not just within a particular religious community but overall, that decadence morality, the will to the end, passes for morality as such, is the absolute value bestowed on what is unegoistic and the hostility faced everywhere by what is egoistic. I consider anyone who does not agree with me on this point to be infected. . . But the whole world disagrees with me. . . Such a clash of values leaves a physiologist in no doubt whatsoever. Once the most minor organ in an organism so much as begins to neglect to pursue its self-preservation, its energy renewal, its 'egoism' with perfect assuredness, then the whole thing degenerates. The physiologist demands that the degenerating part be excised, he denies any solidarity with what is degenerating, he is at the furthest remove from sympathizing with it. But the degeneration of the whole, of humanity, is precisely what the priest wants: this is why he preserves what is degenerating - this is the price he pays for dominating it. What is the point of those mendacious concepts, morality's ancillary concepts 'soul', 'spirit', 'free will', 'God', if not to bring about humanity's physiological ruin?. . . If you distract from the seriousness of the self-preservation, the energy increase of the body, in other words of life, if you construct an ideal out of anaemia, 'the salvation of the soul' out of contempt for the body, what else is that if not a recipe for decadence - Loss of weightiness, resistance to natural instincts, in one word 'selflessness' - this is what has been called morality till now. . . With Daybreak I first took up the struggle against the morality of unselfing oneself. -

The Gay Science

('la gay a scienza')

Daybreak is a yes-saying book, profound but bright and generous. The same is true once again and to the highest degree of the gay a scienza: in almost every sentence here profundity and mischief go tenderly hand in hand. A verse which expresses gratitude for the most marvellous month of January I have ever experienced - the whole book is its gift - reveals only too well the depths from which 'science' has become gay here:

You who with your flaming spear
Splinter the ice in my soul,
So that it now rushes headlong
To the sea of its highest hope:
Ever brighter, ever healthier,
Free in the most loving necessity -
Thus does it praise your miracles,
Fairest Januarius!

Who can have any doubts about what is meant here by 'highest hope' when they see the adamantine beauty of Zarathustra's first words shining out at the conclusion of the fourth book? - Or when they read, at the end of the third book, the granite sentences with which a destiny for all time is first formulated? - The 'Songs of Prince Vogelfrei', for the most part composed in Sicily, quite explicitly call to mind the Provencal notion of 'gaya scienza', that unity of singer, knight, and free-thinker which distinguishes the marvellous early culture of the Provencal people from all ambiguous cultures; the very last poem in particular, 'To the Mistral', a boisterous dancing song which - if I may! - dances above and beyond morality, is a perfect Provencalism. -

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

A Book for Everyone and Nobody

Now I shall relate the story of Zarathustra. The basic conception of the work - the thought of eternal recurrence, this highest attainable formula of affirmation - belongs to the August of 1881: it was dashed off on a sheet of paper with the caption '6,000 feet beyond man and time'. On that day I was walking through the woods by Lake Silvaplana; not far from Surlei I stopped next to a massive block of stone that towered up in the shape of a pyramid. Then this thought came to me. - If I think back a few months from this day, I find, as an omen, a sudden and profoundly decisive alteration in my taste, in music above all. Zarathustra as a whole may perhaps be counted as music - certainly a rebirth of the art of listening was a prerequisite for it. In a small mountain spa town not far from Vicenza, Recoaro, where I spent the spring of 188 1, I discovered, together with my maestro and friend Peter Gast, likewise 'born again', that the phoenix of music flew past us with lighter and more radiant plumage than ever before. If, however, I think forwards from that day, as far as the sudden onset of delivery in the most improbable circumstances in February 1883 - the final section, a few sentences of which I quoted in the Foreword, was completed at precisely the sacred hour when Richard Wagner died in Venice - then the result is eighteen months for the pregnancy. This figure of exactly eighteen months ought to suggest, to Buddhists at least, that I am actually a female elephant. - The interval includes the ^gaya scienza which gives a hundred indications that something incomparable is near; latterly it gives the opening of Zarathustra itself, and in the penultimate section of the fourth book it gives Zarathustra's fundamental thought. This interval likewise includes the Hymn to Life (for mixed choir and orchestra), the score of which was published two years ago by E. W. Fritzsch in Leipzig: a perhaps not insignificant symptom of my condition that year, when the affirmative pathos par excellence, which I call the tragic pathos, dwelt in me to the highest degree. Some time in the future people will sing it in memory of me. - The text, to be quite explicit, since there is a misconception about it in circulation, is not by me: it is the astonishing inspiration of a young Russian woman with whom I was friendly at the time, Miss Lou von Salome. Anyone who can extract any sense at all from the final words of the poem will guess why I favoured and admired it: they have greatness about them. Pain is not seen as an objection to life: 'If you have no happiness left to give me, well then! you still have your pain...'' Perhaps my music has greatness about it in this passage, too. (Last oboe note C sharp, not C natural. Printer's error.) - The following winter I lived not far from Genoa on the delightfully tranquil Bay of Rapallo, carved out between Chiavari and the foothills of Porto Fino. My health was not of the best; the winter cold and exceptionally rainy; a little albergo right by the sea, with the high sea at night making it impossible to sleep, offered in more or less all respects the opposite of what was desirable. Nevertheless, and almost as a proof of my principle that everything crucial occurs 'nevertheless', it was in this winter and these unfavourable circumstances that my Zarathustra was produced. - In the mornings I would head south, along the splendid road towards Zoagli, and climb up high past pine trees, overlooking the sea for miles; in the afternoon, as often as my health permitted, I walked around the whole bay from Santa Margherita over to Porto Fino. This place and this landscape have grown even further in my affection because of the great love which the unforgettable German Kaiser Friedrich IIP felt for them; by chance I was on this coast again in the autumn of 1886, when he visited this little forgotten world of happiness for the last time. - On these two routes the whole first part of Zarathustra came to me, especially Zarathustra himself, as a type: or rather, he ambushed me. . .

To understand this type you first need to be clear about its physiological precondition, which is what I call great health.

I know of no better, no more personal way to explicate this concept than the way in which I already have done, in one of the final paragraphs of the fifth book of the 'gaya scienza '. There it says: 'We who are new, nameless, hard to understand, we premature births of a yet unproven future, we require for a new end a new means, too, namely a new health, one that is stronger, craftier, tougher, bolder, merrier than all healths have been so far. Anyone whose soul thirsts to have experienced the entire compass of previous values and desiderata and to have circumnavigated the entire coastline of this "Mediterranean" of the ideal, anyone who wants to know from the adventures of his ownmost experience how it feels to be a conqueror and discoverer of the ideal, likewise to be an artist, a saint, a legislator, a sage, a scholar, a pious man, an old-style religious hermit: for this he is in need of one thing above all else, great health - of the kind you not only have but also still constantly acquire and have to acquire because time and again you give it up, have to give it up... And now that we have long been under way in this fashion, we Argonauts of the ideal, more courageous perhaps than is sensible and often enough shipwrecked and damaged but, to repeat, healthier than we might be permitted to be, dangerously healthy, time and again healthy - it appears to us that, as a reward, we have an as yet undiscovered land ahead of us, whose borders no man has yet descried, a land beyond all previous lands and corners of the ideal, a world so over-rich in what is beautiful, alien, questionable, terrible, and divine that our curiosity as well as our thirst for possession are beside themselves - ah, henceforth we are insatiable!. . . How could we, after such prospects and with such a ravenous hunger in our knowledge and conscience, still be satisfied with present-day man} It is bad enough, but unavoidable, that we now observe his most worthy objectives and hopes with a seriousness that is difficult to maintain, and perhaps no longer even look. . . A different ideal runs on ahead of us, a wondrous, tempting ideal rich in dangers, which we would not want to persuade anyone to adopt, because we grant no one the right to it so easily: the ideal of a spirit who plays naively, in other words without deliberation and from an overflowing plenitude and powerfulness, with everything that has hitherto been called holy, good, untouchable, divine; for whom the highest thing which the people naturally enough take as their yardstick of value would mean something like danger, decay, abasement, or at least recuperation, blindness, temporary self-forgetting; the ideal of a human-over-human well-being and benevolence which will often enough appear inhuman, for instance when it sets itself up beside all previous earthly seriousness, beside all previous solemnity in gesture, word, tone, glance, morality, and task as the very incarnation of its unintentional parody - and with which, in spite of all that, perhaps the great seriousness at last begins, the true question-mark is at last set down, the destiny of the soul changes direction, the hand on the clock moves round, the tragedy begins. . .'

- Does anyone, at the end of the nineteenth century, have a clear idea of what poets in strong ages called inspiration} If not, then I'll describe it. - With the slightest scrap of superstition in you, you would indeed scarcely be able to dismiss the sense of being just an incarnation, just a mouthpiece, just a medium for overpowering forces. The notion of revelation - in the sense that suddenly, with ineffable assuredness and subtlety, something becomes visible, audible, something that shakes you to the core and bowls you over - provides a simple description of the facts of the matter. You hear, you don't search; you take, you don't ask who is giving; like a flash of lightning a thought flares up, with necessity, with no hesitation as to its form - I never had any choice. A rapture whose immense tension is released from time to time in a flood of tears, when you cannot help your step running on one moment and slowing down the next; a perfect being-outside-yourself with the most distinct consciousness of myriad subtle shudders and shivers right down to your toes; a depth of happiness where the most painful and sinister things act not as opposites but as determined, as induced, as a necessary colour within such a surfeit of light; an instinct for rhythmic conditions that spans wide spaces of forms - length, the need for a rhythm with a wide span is practically the measure of the power of the inspiration, a kind of compensation for its pressure and tension. . . Everything happens to the highest degree involuntarily, but as if in a rush of feeling free, of unconditionality, of power, of divinity. . . The involuntariness of images and analogies is the most remarkable thing; you lose your sense of what is an image, what an analogy; everything offers itself as the nearest, most correct, most straightforward expression. It really seems - to recall a phrase of Zarathustra's - as though the things themselves were stepping forward and offering themselves for allegorical purposes ( - 'here all things come caressingly to your discourse and flatter you: for they want to ride on your back. On every allegory you ride here to every truth. Here the words and word-shrines of all Being spring open for you; all Being wants to become word here, all Becoming wants to learn from you how to talk - '). This is my experience of inspiration; I have no doubt that you need to go back millennia in order to find someone who can say to me 'it is mine, too'. -

Afterwards I lay ill for a few weeks in Genoa. This was followed by a melancholy spring in Rome, when I put up with life - it was not easy. Basically I was irritated beyond measure by this most unconducive place on earth for the poet of Zarathustra, which I had not chosen voluntarily; I tried to get away - I wanted to go to Aquila, the counter-concept to Rome, founded out of enmity towards Rome, as I shall one day found a place in memory of an atheist and enemy of the church comme ilfaut one who is most closely related to me, the great Hohenstaufen emperor Friedrich II. But there was a fatality about all this: I had to come back again. In the end I contented myself with the Piazza Barberini, after my efforts to find an anti-Christian locality had tired me out. I am afraid that once, so as to avoid bad smells as much as possible, I even asked at the Palazzo del Quirinale whether they might not have a quiet room for a philosopher. - On a loggia high above the said piazza, from which you look out over all Rome and hear the fontana playing far below, that loneliest ever song was composed, the 'Night-Song'; around this time I was always accompanied by a melody of ineffable melancholy, whose refrain I recognized in the words 'dead from immortality. . .'. In the summer, returning home to the sacred spot where the first lightning-bolt of the thought of Zarathustra had flashed before me, I found the Second Part of Zarathustra. Ten days were enough; in no case - whether with the first or with the third and last part - did I need more. The following winter, beneath the halcyon sky of Nice, which shone into my life for the first time at that stage, I found the Third Part of Zarathustra - and was finished. Scarcely a year needed for the whole. Many hidden spots and high-spots from the landscape of Nice have been consecrated for me by unforgettable moments; that crucial part which bears the title 'On Old and New Tablets' was composed during the most laborious ascent from the station to the wonderful Moorish mountain lair of Eza - my muscular agility has always been at its greatest when my creative energy is flowing most abundantly. The body is inspired: let's leave the 'soul' out of it. . . I could often be seen dancing; in those days I could be walking around on mountains for seven or eight hours without a trace of tiredness. I slept well and laughed a lot - I was the epitome of sprightliness and patience.

Aside from these works often days the years during and, above all, after Zarathustra were ones of unparalleled crisis. You pay dearly for being immortal: it means you die numerous times over the course of your life. - There is something I call the rancune of the great: everything great, be it a work or a deed, once it has been accomplished, immediately turns against whoever did it. By virtue of having done it, he is now weak - he can no longer endure his deed, can no longer face up to it. To have something behind you that you should never have wanted, something that constitutes a nodal point in the destiny of humanity - and from then on to have it on top of you].. . It almost crushes you... The rancune of the great! - Another thing is the terrible silence you hear around you. Solitude has seven skins; nothing gets through any more. You come to people, you greet friends: a new wilderness; no one greets you with their gaze any more. At best a kind of revolt. I experienced such a revolt, to very varying degrees but from almost everyone close to me; it seems that nothing causes more profound offence than suddenly letting a distance be remarked - the noble natures who do not know how to live without honouring are rare. - A third thing is the absurd sensitivity of the skin to little stings, a kind of helplessness in the face of every little thing. This seems to me to result from the immense squandering of all one's defensive energies which every creative deed, every deed that derives from one's ownmost, innermost depths has as its precondition. This means that the little defensive capacities are, in a manner of speaking, suspended; no energy flows to them any more. - I might yet venture to suggest that one's digestion is worse, one moves about unwillingly, one is all too exposed to frosty feelings and mistrust, too - which in many cases is merely an aetiological error. In such a state I once sensed the proximity of a herd of cows even before I saw it, prompted by the return of milder, more philanthropic thoughts: they have a warmth about them. . .

This work stands entirely on its own. Let us leave the poets aside: absolutely nothing has ever been achieved, perhaps, from a comparable surfeit of strength. My concept of 'Dionysian' became the highest deed here; measured against it, all the rest of human action appears poor and limited. The fact that a Goethe, a Shakespeare would not be able to breathe for a moment in this immense passion and height, that Dante, compared with Zarathustra, is just one of the faithful and not one who first creates the truth, a world-governing spirit, a destiny - that the poets of the Veda are priests and not even worthy of unfastening a Zarathustra's shoe-latches, this is all the very least that can be said and it gives no conception of the distance, the azure blue solitude in which this work lives. Zarathustra has an eternal right to say: 'I draw circles around myself and sacred boundaries; fewer and fewer climb with me upon ever higher mountains - I build a mountain-range from ever more sacred mountains.' If you roll into one the spirit and the goodness of all great souls, all of them together would not be capable of producing a single speech of Zarathustra's. Immense is the ladder on which he climbs up and down; he has seen further, willed further, achieved further than any man. He contradicts with every word, this most affirmative of all spirits; in him all opposites are fused together into a new unity. The highest and the lowest powers of human nature, that which is sweetest, airiest, and most fearsome pours forth from a single spring with immortal assuredness. Till that point people do not know what height and depth are; still less do they know what is truth. There is not a moment in this revelation of truth that might already have been anticipated or guessed by one of the greatest. There is no wisdom, no soul-study, no art of speaking before Zarathustra; what is nearest, most everyday speaks here of unprecedented things. Aphorisms quivering with passion; eloquence become music; lightning-bolts hurled on ahead towards hitherto unguessed-at futures. The mightiest power of analogy that has yet existed is feeble fooling compared to this return of language to its natural state of figurativeness. - And how Zarathustra descends and says the kindest things to everyone! How he tackles even his adversaries, the priests, with delicate hands and suffers from them with them! - Here man is overcome at every moment; the concept of 'overman' has become the highest reality here - everything that has hitherto been called great about man lies at an infinite distance below him. The halcyon tone, the light feet, the omnipresence of malice and high spirits and everything else that is typical of the type Zarathustra has never been dreamed of as essential to greatness. Precisely in this extent of space, in this ability to access what is opposed, Zarathustra feels himself to be the highest of all species of being; and when we hear how he defines it, we will dispense with searching for his like.

- the soul that has the longest ladder and so reaches down deepest,

the most comprehensive soul, that can run and stray and roam the farthest within itself,

the most necessary soul, that with pleasure plunges itself into chance,

the being soul, that wills to enter Becoming; the having soul, that wills to enter willing and longing -

that flees from itself and retrieves itself in the widest circles,

the wisest soul, which folly exhorts most sweetly,

the soul that loves itself the most, in which all things have

their streaming and counter-streaming and ebb and flood

But that is the concept of Dionysus himself. - This is precisely the direction in which a further consideration also leads. The psychological problem about the type of Zarathustra is how one who to an unprecedented degree says 'no', does 'no' to everything people previously said 'yes' to, can nevertheless be the opposite of a no-saying spirit; how the spirit that bears the weightiest of destinies, a fatality of a task, can nevertheless be the lightest and most otherworldly - Zarathustra is a dancer - how one who has the harshest, most terrible insight into reality, who has thought the 'most abyssal thought', nevertheless finds in it no objection to existence, or even to the eternal recurrence of existence - but rather yet another reason to be himself the. eternal 'yes' to all things, 'the enormous and unbounded Yea- and Amen-saying'. . . 'Into all abysses I carry my blessing Yea-saying'. . . But that is the concept of Dionysus once again.

- What language will such a spirit speak when it talks to itself alone? The language of the dithyramb. I am the inventor of the dithyramb. Just listen to how Zarathustra talks to himself 'Before the Sunrise': no tongue before me had such emerald happiness, such divine delicacy. Even the most profound melancholy of such a Dionysus is still turned into a dithyramb; I will take, as an indication, the 'Night-Song', his immortal lament at being condemned not to love by the superabundance of light and power, by his sunlike nature.

Night it is: now all springing fountains talk more loudly. And my soul too is a springing fountain.

Night it is: now all songs of lovers at last awaken. And my soul too is the song of a lover.

Something unstilled, unstillable is within me, that wants to become loud. A desire for love is within me, that itself talks in the language of love.

Light am I: ah, would that I were night! But this is my solitude, that I am girded round with light.

Ah, would that I were dark and night-like! How I would suckle at the breasts of light!

And you yourselves would I yet bless, you little twinkling stars and fireflies up above! - and be blissful from your light-bestowals.

But I live in my very own light, I drink back the flames that break out from within me.

I know none of the happiness of him who takes; and often have I dreamed that stealing must be more blessed than taking. This is my poverty, that my hand never rests from bestowing; this is my envy, that I see expectant eyes and illumined nights of yearning.

Oh the wretchedness of all who bestow! Oh the eclipse of my sun! Oh the desire for desiring! Oh the ravenous hunger in satiety!

They take from me: but do I yet touch their souls? A chasm there is between taking and giving; and the smallest chasm is the last to be bridged.

A hunger grows from my beauty: I should like to cause pain to those I illumine, should like to rob those upon whom I have bestowed - thus do I hunger after wickedness.

Withdrawing the hand when another hand reaches out for it; like the waterfall, which hesitates even in plunging - thus do I hunger after wickedness.

Such revenge my fullness devises, such spite wells up from my solitude.

My joy in bestowing died away through bestowing, my virtue grew weary of itself in its overflow!

He who always bestows is in danger of losing his sense of shame; he who always distributes has hands and heart calloused from sheer distributing.

My eye no longer brims over at the shame of those who beg; my hand has grown too hard for the trembling of hands that are filled.

Where has the tear gone from my eye and the soft down from my heart? Oh the solitude of all who bestow! Oh the reticence of all who shine forth!

Many suns circle in barren space: to all that is dark they speak with their light - to me they are silent.

Oh this is the enmity of light toward that which shines: mercilessly it pursues its courses.

Unjust in its inmost heart toward that which shines, cold toward suns - thus wanders every sun.

Like a storm the suns wander along their courses; their inexorable will they follow, that is their coldness.

Oh, it is only you, dark ones, and night-like, who create warmth from that which shines! Oh, it is only you who drink milk and comfort from the udders of light!

Ah, ice is around me, my hand is burned on what is icy! Ah, thirst is within me, and it languishes after your thirst.

Night it is: ah, that I must be light! And thirst for the nightlike! And solitude!

Night it is: now like a spring my desire flows forth from me - I am desirous of speech.

Night it is: now all springing fountains talk more loudly. And my soul too is a springing fountain.

Night it is: now all songs of lovers awaken. And my soul too is the song of a lover. -

Nothing like this has ever been composed, ever been felt, ever been suffered: this is how a god suffers, a Dionysus. The answer to such a dithyramb of solar solitude in the light would be Ariadne. . . Who knows apart from me what Ariadne is!. . . To all such riddles no one has yet had the solution; I doubt anyone has ever even seen riddles here. - At one point Zarathustra strictly specifies his task - it is mine, too - so that no one can be mistaken about its sense: he is yessaying to the point of justifying, of redeeming even all that is past. I walk among human beings as among fragments of the future: that future which I envisage.

And this is all my composing and striving, that I compose into one and bring together what is fragment and riddle and cruel coincidence.

And how could I bear to be human if the human being were not also a composer-poet and riddle-guesser and the redeemer of coincidence?

To redeem that which has passed away and to re-create all 'It was' into a 'Thus I willed it!' - that alone should I call redemption.

Elsewhere he specifies as strictly as possible what 'man' can be for him alone - not an object of love, let alone of pity - Zarathustra has even gained mastery over his great disgust at man: man to him is a formless material, an ugly stone in need of a sculptor.

Willing-no-more and valuing-no-morc and creating-no-morc: oh, that such great weariness might remain ever far from me!

In understanding, too, I feel only my will's joy in begetting and becoming; and if there be innocence in my understanding, that is because the will to beget is in it.

Away from God and Gods this will has lured me: what would there be to create if Gods - existed?

But to the human being it drives me again and again, my fervent creating-will; thus is the hammer driven to the stone.

Ah, you humans, in the stone there sleeps an image, the image of images! Ah, that it must sleep in the hardest, ugliest stone!

Now my hammer rages fiercely against the prison. Fragments fly from the stone: what is that to me!

I want to perfect it, for a shadow came to me - of all things the stillest and lightest once came to me!

The beauty of the Overhuman came to me as a shadow: what are the Gods to me now!. . .

I will emphasize one final point, prompted by the highlighted verse. For a Dionysian task the hardness of the hammer, the pleasure even in destroying are crucial preconditions. The imperative 'Become hard!', the deepest conviction that all creators are hard, is the true badge of a Dionysian nature. -

Beyond Good and Evil

Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future

The task for the years that now followed was marked out as strictly as possible. Now that the yes-saying part of my task was solved, it was the turn of the no-saying, no-doing half: the revaluation of previous values itself, the great war - the conjuring up of a day of decision. Included here is the slow look around for related people, for those who from strength would lend me a hand in destroying. - From then on all my writings are fish-hooks: perhaps I am as good as anyone at fishing?. . . If nothing was caught, then I am not to blame. There weren 't any fish. . .

This book (1886) is in all essentials a critique of modernity, not excluding the modern sciences, the modern arts, even modern politics, together with pointers towards an opposing type, as unmodern as possible, a noble, yes-saying type. In the latter sense the book is a school for the gentilhomme this concept understood more spiritually and more radically than ever before. You must have courage in your body to be able just to endure it, you mustn't have learnt to fear. . . All the things the age is proud of are felt as contradictions of this type, almost as bad manners, for example the famous 'objectivity', the 'sympathy with all that suffers', the 'historical sense' with its toadying to foreign taste, its grovelling to petits faits the 'scientificity'. - If you consider that the book follows after Zarathustra, then perhaps you will also guess the dietary regime without which it could not have come into being. The eye, indulged by a tremendous compulsion to see into the distance - Zarathustra is even more far-sighted than the Tsar - is forced here to focus on what is closest, the present, what is around us. In all aspects, and especially in its form, you will find the same capricious turning away from the instincts which made a Zarathustra possible. Refinement in form, in intention, in the art of silence is in the foreground; psychology is handled with avowed harshness and cruelty - the book is devoid of any good-natured word... All this aids recuperation: after all, who could guess just what a recuperation is called for by such a squandering of goodness as is Zarathustra?. . . Theologically speaking - and listen well, for I rarely speak as a theologian - it was God himself who lay down in the form of a serpent under the Tree of Knowledge when his days' work was done: that was his way of recuperating from being God. . . He had made everything too beautiful. . . The Devil is just God being idle on that seventh day. . .

Genealogy of Morals

A Polemic

The three essays that make up this genealogy are perhaps, as regards their expression, intention, and art of surprise, the uncanniest thing yet written. Dionysus, as is well known, is also the god of darkness. - Each time a beginning that is intended to lead astray, cool, scientific, even ironic, intentionally foreground, intentionally off-putting. Gradually more agitation; patches of sheet lightning; very unpleasant truths growing louder from afar with a muffled drone - till finally a tempo feroce is reached, when everything drives forward with immense excitement. At the end each time, among absolutely terrible detonations, a new truth visible between thick clouds. - The truth of the Jirst essay is the psychology of Christianity: the birth of Christianity out of the spirit of resentment, not, as is commonly believed, out of the 'spirit' - essentially a counter-movement, the great revolt against the dominance of noble values. The second essay gives the psychology of conscience: this is not, as is commonly believed, 'the voice of God in man' - it is the instinct of cruelty turned back on itself when it can no longer discharge itself outwards. Cruelty brought to light here for the first time as one of the oldest and most entrenched of cultural foundations. The third essay gives the answer to the question of where the immense power of the ascetic ideal, the priestly ideal, springs from, even though it is the harmful ideal par excellence, a will to the end, a decadence ideal. Answer: not because God is at work behind the priests, as is commonly believed, hut faute de mieux - because it was the only ideal till now, because it had no competition. 'For man will rather will nothingness than not will'. . . Above all there was no counter-ideal - till Zarathustra. - I have been understood. Three decisive preliminary works of a psychologist towards a revaluation of all values. - This book contains the first psychology of the priest.

Twilight of the Idols

How to Philosophize with a Hammer

This work of not even 1 50 pages, cheerful and fateful in tone, a demon that laughs - the product of so few days that I hesitate to say how many - is the absolute exception among books: there is nothing richer in substance, more independent, more subversive - more wicked. Anyone who wants to get a quick idea of how topsyturvy everything was before I came along should make a start with this work. What the title-page calls idol is quite simply what till now has been called 'truth'. Twilight of the Idols - in plain words: the old truth is coming to an end. . .

There is no reality, no 'ideality' that is not touched on in this work ( - 'touched on': what a cautious euphemism!...) Not just the eternal idols, but also the most recent of all, hence the most doddery. 'Modern ideas', for example. A great wind blows through the trees, and all around fruits drop down - truths. It has in it the profligacy of an all-too-rich autumn: you trip over truths, you even trample some to death - there are too many of them. . . But what you lay your hands on is nothing still doubtful, rather decisions. I am the first to have the yardstick for 'truths' in my hand, I am the first to be able to decide. As if a second consciousness had grown within me, as if 'the will' had lit a light within me to shine on the wrong path which it had been heading down so far. . . The wrong path - people called it the way to 'truth'. . . All 'dark stress' is over with; it was precisely the good man who had the least idea about the right way. . . And in all seriousness, no one before me knew the right way, the way upwards: only after me are there hopes, tasks, paths to prescribe to culture once again - / am their evangelist. . . And that is why I am also a destiny.

Immediately after finishing the aforementioned work and without wasting so much as a day I set about the immense task of the Revaluation with a sovereign feeling of pride to which nothing else comes close, every moment sure of my immortality and engraving sign after sign in tablets of bronze with the certainty of a destiny. The preface was produced on 3 September 1888: that morning, after I had written it down, I stepped outside and found before me the most beautiful day the Upper Engadine has ever shown me - limpid, aglow with colour, containing within itself all opposites, all gradations between ice and south. - Not until 20 September did I leave Sils-Maria, detained by floods till in the end I was long since the only visitor in this wonderful place, on which my gratitude wants to bestow the gift of an immortal name. After a journey beset by incident, even life-threatening danger from the floods in Como, which I did not reach till deep into the night, I arrived on the afternoon of the 21st in Turin, my proven place, my residence from now on. I took the same apartment again as I had had in the spring, via Carlo Alberto 6, III, opposite the mighty Palazzo Carignano, where Vittore Emanuele was born, looking out onto the Piazza Carlo Alberto and the hills beyond. Without hesitating and without letting myself be distracted for a moment, I went to work again: just the last quarter of the work was still to be polished off. On 30 September a great triumph; completion of the Revaluation; a god at his leisure beside the Po. That same day, moreover, I wrote the foreword to Twilight of the Idols, correcting the proofs of which had been my relaxation in September. - I have never experienced such an autumn, never even thought such a thing possible on earth - a Claude Lorrain imagined into infinity, every day of the same unbridled perfection. -

The Wagner Case

A Musician's Problem

To do this work justice you need to be suffering from the fate of music as if from an open wound. - What do I suffer from when I suffer from the fate of music? The fact that music has been robbed of its world-transfiguring, yes-saying character - that it is decadence music and no longer the flute of Dionysus. . . But assuming that you feel for the cause of music in this way as if it were your own cause, the history of your own suffering, then you will find this work full of considerations and excessively mild. In such cases being cheerful and good-naturedly mocking oneself as well - ridendo dicere severum where verum dicere would justify any amount of harshness - is humaneness itself. Does anyone really doubt that, as an old artillerist, I am able to bring up my big guns against Wagner? - I kept to myself everything decisive in this matter - I loved Wagner. - Ultimately my task's purpose and path contains an attack on a more subtle 'unknown', not easily guessed by anyone else - oh, I have still to expose 'unknowns' quite different from a Cagliostro of music - still more, of course, an attack on the German nation, which in spiritual matters is becoming ever more sluggish and poorer in instinct, ever more honest, and which with an enviable appetite continues to nourish itself on opposites and gulps down 'faith' as well as scientificity, 'Christian charity' as well as anti-Semitism, the will to power (to the 'Reich') as well as the evangile des humbles without troubling its digestion... What impartiality between opposites! what gastric neutrality and 'selflessness'! What a sense of fairness the German palate has, giving everything equal rights - finding everything to its taste. . . Without a shadow of a doubt, the Germans are idealists. . . The last time I visited Germany I found German taste striving to grant equal rights to Wagner and the Trumpeter of Sackingen; I myself witnessed at first hand the founding in Leipzig, in honour of Master Heinrich Schiitz - one of the most genuine and German of musicians, German in the old sense of the word, not just a Reich German - of a Liszt Association, with the aim of preserving and promoting wily church music. . . Without a shadow of a doubt, the Germans are idealists. . .

But at this point nothing will prevent me becoming coarse and telling the Germans a few harsh truths: who else will do it? - I am talking about their indecency in historicis Not only have German historians entirely lost the broad view of the course, the values of culture and are, to a man, buffoons of politics (or of the Church - ): this broad view is even proscribed by them. You must first be 'German', have a 'pedigree', then you can decide on all values and non-values in historicis - you establish them... 'German' is an argument, 'Deutschland, Deutschland iiber Alles' a principle, the Teutons are the 'ethical world order' in history; in comparison to the imperium romanum they are the bearers of freedom, in comparison to the eighteenth century the restorers of morality, of the 'categorical imperative'. . . There is a Reich German kind of historiography; there is, I fear, even an anti-Semitic kind - there is a court historiography and Herr von Treitschke is not ashamed. . . Recently an idiotic judgement in historicis, a statement by the fortunately deceased aesthetically minded Swabian Vischer, did the rounds of the German newspapers as a 'truth' with which every German would have to agree: 'The Renaissance and the Reformation, only the two together make a whole - the aesthetic rebirth and the ethical rebirth.' - With such statements my patience runs out and I feel the desire, even the duty to tell the Germans once and for all just what they have on their consciences. They have on their consciences all the great cultural crimes of four centuries!. . . And always for the same reason, because of their innermost cowardice in the face of reality, which is also a cowardice in the face of truth, because of the untruthfulness that has become instinctual with them, because of 'idealism'. . . The Germans robbed Europe of the harvest, the meaning of the last great period, the Renaissance period, at the point when a higher order of values, when the noble, life-affirming, future-confirming values had achieved a victory at the seat of the opposing values, the values of decline - and had reached right into the instincts of those sitting there! Luther, that disaster of a monk, restored the Church, and, what is a thousand times worse, Christianity, at the very point when it was succumbing. . . Christianity, this denial of the will to life made into a religion!... Luther, an impossible monk who, for reasons of his 'impossibility', attacked the Church and - consequently! - restored it... The Catholics would have good reason to celebrate Luther festivals, compose Luther plays... Luther - and 'ethical rebirth'! The devil take all psychology! Without a doubt, the Germans are idealists. - Just when an honest, unambiguous, perfectly scientific mentality had been achieved, through immense bravery and self-overcoming, the Germans were twice able to find ways to creep back to the old 'ideal', to reconcile truth and 'ideal', basically formulas for a right to reject science, for a right to lie. Leibniz and Kant - the two greatest impediments to Europe's intellectual honesty! - Finally, when & force majeure of genius and will came into view on the bridge between two centuries of decadence, strong enough to forge Europe into a unity, a political and economic unity, for the purpose of ruling the world, the Germans with their 'Wars of Liberation' robbed Europe of the meaning, the miracle of meaning in the existence of Napoleon - so they have on their consciences everything that came about and exists today: nationalism, the most anticultural illness and unreason there is, the nevrose nationale that ails Europe, the perpetuation of Europe's petty-statery, of petty politics: they have even robbed Europe of its meaning, its reason - they have led it up a blind alley. - Does anyone beside me know a way out of this blind alley?. . . A task great enough to bind together the nations again?. . .

- And in the end, why should I not put my suspicion into words? Even in my case the Germans will once again try everything to turn the labour of an immense destiny into the birth of a mouse.

They have compromised themselves over me thus far, and I doubt they will do any better in future. - Ah, how I yearn to be a bad prophet in this respect!. . . At present my natural readers and listeners are Russian, Scandinavian, and French - will they always be so? - The Germans are inscribed in the history of knowledge with nothing but ambiguous names; they have only ever produced 'unconscious' counterfeiters ( - Fichte, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Hegel, Schleiermacher deserve to be called this just as much as Kant and Leibniz; they are all just veil-makers - ): they shall never have the honour of seeing the first honest spirit in the history of spirit, the spirit in which the truth comes to pass judgement on four millennia of counterfeiting, conflated with the German spirit. The 'German spirit' is my bad air: I have difficulty breathing when near the uncleanliness in psychologicis become instinct which a German's every word, every expression betrays. They never went through a seventeenth century of harsh self-examination like the French; a La Rochefoucauld, a Descartes are a hundred times superior to the foremost Germans in honesty - to this day they have never had a psychologist. But psychology is practically the yardstick of a race's cleanliness or uncleanliness. . . And if you are not even cleanly, how can you be profound} A German is almost like a woman in that you can never get to the bottom of him: he doesn't have one, that is all. But that doesn't even make you shallow. - What they call 'profound' in Germany is precisely this instinctual uncleanliness towards oneself which I am now talking about: people don't want to be clear about themselves. Should I not suggest the word 'German' as an international coinage for this psychological depravity? - At the moment, for example, the German Kaiser is calling it his 'Christian duty' to free the slaves in Africa: we other Europeans, then, would call that just 'German'... Have the Germans produced even one single book that was profound? They lack even the concept of what is profound in a book. I have known scholars who considered Kant profound; at the Prussian court, I fear, they consider Herr von Treitschke profound. And when I occasionally praise Stendhal as a profound psychologist, I have come across university professors who had me spell the name. . .

- And why should I not go right to the limit? I love clearing the decks. It is even a part of my ambition to be known as the despiser of the Germans par excellence. I expressed my mistrust of the German character when I was as young as 26 (third Untimely, p. 71) - for me, the Germans are impossible. If I imagine a kind of man who runs counter to all my instincts, then the result is always a German. The first thing I check when testing a man's kidney is whether he has a feeling for distance in his body, whether he sees rank, degree, order between man and man everywhere, whether he distinguishes: that is what makes for a gentilhomme; anything else and you fall irredeemably under the charitable, oh so good-natured concept of canaille. But the Germans are canaille - oh! they are so good-natured. . . You demean yourself by associating with Germans: the German makes things equal. . . If I leave aside my association with a few artists, above all with Richard Wagner, then I have not spent a single pleasant hour with Germans. . . If the most profound spirit in all millennia were to appear among Germans, then some saviour of the Capitol would fondly imagine that her highly un-beautiful soul ought at least to be taken into consideration, too... I cannot stand this race with which one is always in bad company, which has no fingers for nuances - woe is me! I am a nuance - which has no esprit in its feet and cannot even walk. . . In the end the Germans have no feet at all, they just have legs. . . The Germans have no idea how vulgar they are, but that is the height of vulgarity - they are not even ashamed of being just Germans... They have a view on everything and even think their view decisive; I fear they have even decided about me. . . - My whole life is the strictest proof of these statements. In vain do I scan it for a sign of tactfulness, of delicatesse towards me. From Jews, yes, but never yet from Germans. It is in my nature to be mild-mannered and benevolent towards everyone - I have a right not to make any distinctions - this does not stop me keeping my eyes open. I make exception for no one, least of all my friends - in the end I hope that this has not detracted from my humaneness towards them! There are five or six things which have always been matters of honour to me. - Nevertheless it remains the case that for years I have felt almost every letter that has reached me to be an act of cynicism: there is more cynicism in the benevolence I am shown than in any amount of hatred. . . I tell each of my friends to their face that they have never thought it worth the trouble studying any of my writings; I can tell from the slightest signs that they don't even know what's in them. And as for my Zarathustra, who of my friends has seen in it anything more than an unwarranted and thankfully entirely trivial presumption?... Ten years - and no one in Germany has had enough of a guilty conscience to defend my name against the absurd silence under which it lay buried: it was a foreigner, a Dane, who was the first to have enough subtlety of instinct and courage to do so, and who was outraged by my supposed friends. . . At which university in Germany would it be possible nowadays to lecture on my philosophy as Dr Georg Brandes did last spring in Copenhagen, thus proving himself to be even more of a psychologist? I myself have never suffered from any of this; what is necessary does me no harm; amorfati is my innermost nature. But this does not stop me from loving irony, even world-historic irony. And so, roughly two years before the shattering lightning-bolt of the Revaluation, which will have the earth in convulsions, I sent The Wagner Case out into the world: the Germans should entirely fail to understand me once again and thus immortalize themselves! there's still time! - Has it happened? - Exquisitely so, my dear Teutons! My compliments to you!. . . Not forgetting my friends: an old friend has just written to me to say that she now laughs at me. . . And this at a moment when I bear an ineffable responsibility - when no word can be too tender, no look reverent enough towards me. For I am carrying the destiny of humanity on my shoulders. -


I know my lot. Some day my name will be linked to the memory of something monstrous, of a crisis as yet unprecedented on earth, the most profound collision of consciences, a decision conjured up against everything hitherto believed, demanded, hallowed. I am not a man, I am dynamite. - And for all that, there is nothing in me of a founder of religions - religions are for the rabble; I need to wash my hands after contact with religious people... I don't want any 'disciples'; I think I am too malicious to believe in myself; I never address crowds. . . I have a terrible fear of being declared holy one day: you can guess why I am publishing this book beforehand - it should prevent any mischief-making with me. . . I don't want to be a saint, and would rather be a buffoon. . . Perhaps I am a buffoon. . . And nevertheless - or rather not nevertheless, for till now there has never been anyone more hypocritical than saints - the truth speaks from me. - But my truth is terrifying, for lies were called truth so far. - Revaluation of all values: that is my formula for the highest act of self-reflection on the part of humanity, which has become flesh and genius in me. My lot wills it that I must be the first decent human being, that I know I stand in opposition to the hypocrisy of millennia. . . I was the first to discover the truth, by being the first to sense - smell - the lie as a lie... My genius is in my nostrils. . . I contradict as no one has ever contradicted before and yet am the opposite of a no-saying spirit. I am an evangelist the like of which there has never been; I know tasks so lofty that there has not yet been a concept for them; I am the first to give rise to new hopes. Bearing all this in mind, I am necessarily also the man of impending disaster. For when the truth squares up to the lie of millennia, we will have upheavals, a spasm of earth- quakes, a removal of mountain and valley such as have never been dreamed of. The notion of politics will then completely dissolve into a spiritual war, and all configurations of power from the old society will be exploded - they are all based on a lie: there will be wars such as there have never yet been on earth. Only since I came on the scene has there been great politics on earth. -

Do you want a formula for a destiny like that, which becomes man} - You will find it in my Zarathustra.

- And whoever wants to he a creator in good and evil: verily, he must first be an annihilator and shatter values.

Thus does the highest evil belong to the highest good: but this latter is the creative

I am by far the most terrifying human being there has ever been; this does not prevent me from being the most benevolent in future. I know the pleasure in destroying to an extent commensurate with my power to destroy - in both I obey my Dionysian nature, which is incapable of separating no-doing from yes-saying. I am the first immoralist: hence I am the destroyer par excellence. -

I have not been asked - I ought to have been asked - what precisely in my mouth, in the mouth of the first immoralist, the name Zarathustra means: for what makes that Persian incredibly unique in history is precisely the opposite of it. Zarathustra was the first to see in the struggle of good and evil the true driving-wheel in the machinery of things - the translation of morality into the metaphysical, as strength, cause, goal in itself, is his doing. But in principle this question would already be the answer. Zarathustra created the disastrous error that is morality: thus he must also be the first to acknowledge the mistake. It is not just that he has had longer and more experience of this than any other thinker - after all, the whole of history is the experimental refutation of the principle of the so-called 'moral world order' - more importantly, Zarathustra is more truthful than any other thinker. His teaching and it alone has as its highest virtue truthfulness - in other words the opposite of the cowardice of the 'idealist', who takes flight from reality; Zarathustra has more bravery in his body than all the other thinkers put together. Tell the truth and shoot arrows well, that is Persian virtue. - Am I understood?. . . The self-overcoming of morality out of truthfulness, the self-overcoming of the moralist into his opposite - me - this is what the name of Zarathustra means in my mouth.

At root my term Smmoralisf incorporates two denials. On the one hand I am denying a type of human being who has hitherto been considered the highest type - the good, the benevolent, the beneficent; on the other hand I am denying a kind of morality that has achieved validity and predominance as morality in itself - decadence morality, or to put it more concretely, Christian morality. The second contradiction could be seen as the more decisive, since, broadly speaking, the overestimation of goodness and benevolence strikes me as already a consequence of decadence, as a symptom of weakness, as irreconcilable with an ascendant and yes-saying life: denying and destroying are the preconditions for yes-saying. - Let me stay for a moment with the psychology of the good man. In order to judge what a type of human being is worth, you have to calculate how much it costs to maintain it - you have to know its conditions of existence. The condition of existence of the good is lying - put differently, not wanting at any price to see how reality is constituted, which is not in a manner so as to challenge benevolent instincts at every turn, still less so as to permit the intrusion of short-sighted, good-natured hands at every turn. Considering emergencies of every kind as an objection, as something to be abolished, is niaiserie par excellence, broadly speaking, a real disaster in its consequences, a destiny of stupidity - practically as stupid as the will to abolish bad weather - out of sympathy with the poor, perhaps... In the great economy of the whole the awfulness of reality (in the affects, in the desires, in the will to power) is incalculably more necessary than is that form of petty happiness, so-called 'goodness'; indeed you have to be indulgent to even give it house-room, such is its instinctual hypocrisy. I shall have a great opportunity to demonstrate for the whole of history the exceptionally uncanny consequences of optimism, this monstrous product of the homines optimi Zarathustra, the first to understand that the optimist is just as much a decadent as the pessimist and possibly more noxious, says: good men never tell the truth. False coasts and securities the good have taught you; in the lies of the good you were born and bred. Everything has been lied about and twisted around down to its ground by the good Fortunately the world is not constructed for the benefit of instincts, so that merely good-natured herd animals find their circumscribed happiness in it; demanding that everything should become 'good man', herd animal, blue-eyed, benevolent, 'beautiful soul' - or, as Mr Herbert Spencer would have it, altruistic - would mean depriving existence of its great character, castrating humanity and reducing it to a wretched chinoiserie. - And this has been attempted!. . . This is precisely what people have called morality. . . It is in this sense that Zarathustra calls the good at times 'the last men', at times the 'beginning of the end'; above all he senses they are the most harmful kind of human being, because they ply their existence both at the expense of the truth and at the expense of the future.

The good - they cannot create: they are always the beginning of the end - they crucify him who writes new values on new tablets, they sacrifice the future to themselves, they crucify all human future!

The good - they have always been the beginning of the end. . .

And whatever harm the world-slanderers may do, the harm done by the good is the most harmful harm

Zarathustra, the first psychologist of the good, is - consequently - a friend of the evil. When a decadence kind of man rises to the rank of the highest kind, this could only happen at the expense of the opposite kind, the strong man assured in life. When the herd animal beams in the gleam of the purest virtue, the exceptional man must have been devalued to become evil. When hypocrisy at any price lays claim to the perspective of 'truth', the really truthful man must go by the worst of names. Zarathustra leaves no room for doubt here: he says that it was precisely knowing the good people, the 'best' people, that made him shudder before humanity as a whole; it was this revulsion that gave him the wings 'on which to soar into distant futures' - he makes no secret of the fact that his type of man, a relatively superhuman type, is superhuman precisely in relation to the good, that the good and the just would call his overman a devil. . .

You highest humans that my eye has encountered! This is my doubt concerning you, and my secret laughter: I suspect that you would call my Overhuman - Devil!

So foreign are your souls to what is great, that the Overhuman would terrify you with his goodness. . .

It is here and nowhere else that one must make a start in order to understand what Zarathustra wants: the kind of man that he conceives, conceives reality as it is: it is strong enough for that - it is not alienated from it, not at one remove from it, it is reality itself, it has all its terrible and questionable aspects, too; that is the only way man can have greatness. . .

- But there is another reason, too, why I have chosen the word Hmmoralisf as my emblem, my badge of honour: I am proud to have this word that sets me apart from the whole of humanity. No one has yet felt Christian morality to be beneath them: for that you need an elevation, a far-sightedness, a hitherto quite unprecedented psychological depth and bottomlessness. Christian morality has hitherto been the Circe of all thinkers - they were in its service. - Who before me has climbed into the caves from which the poisonous fug of this kind of ideal - world-denial! - emanates? Who has dared even to suppose that they are caves? Who was there among philosophers before me who was a psychologist and not rather the opposite, a 'higher swindler', an 'idealist'? There just was no psychology before me. - Being the first here can be a curse, at any rate it is a destiny: for you are also the first to despise. . . Disgust at man is my danger...

Have I been understood? - What sets me apart and aside from all the rest of humanity is having discovered Christian morality. This is why I was in need of a word that has the sense of a challenge to everyone. Not to have opened one's eyes here earlier strikes me as the greatest uncleanliness that humanity has on its conscience, as self-deception become instinct, as a fundamental will not to see everything that happens, every causality, every reality, as coun- terfeiting in psychologicis to the point of criminality. Blindness in the face of Christianity is the crime par excellence - the crime against life. . . The millennia, the nations, the first and the last, the philosophers and the old women - with the exception of five or six moments in history, with myself as a seventh - on this point they are all worthy of one-another. Hitherto the Christian was the 'moral being', an unparalleled curiosity - and as a 'moral being' more absurd, hypocritical, vain, thoughtless, detrimental to himself than the greatest despiser of humanity could ever dream of being. Christian morality - the most malignant form of the will to falsehood, the true Circe of humanity: the thing that ruined it. It is not the mistake as such that incenses me about this sight, not the millenniaold lack of 'good will', of discipline, of decency, of bravery in spiritual matters that its victory betrays - it is the lack of nature, it is the utterly dreadful fact that anti-nature itself has been receiving the highest honours as morality and as law, as categorical imperative, has been hanging above humanity!... To misunderstand oneself so badly, not as an individual, not as a people, but as humanity!. . . The fact that people taught how to despise the primordial instincts of life, that people lyingly invented a 'soul', a 'spirit' so as to make the body shameful, the fact that people teach how to feel there is something impure about the prerequisite for life, sexuality, that people look for the principle of evil in that which is most profoundly necessary to flourishing, strict self-discipline ( - the very word is slanderous! - ), that, conversely, people see in the typical emblem of decline and instinctual contradictoriness, in the 'selfless', in the loss of weightiness, in 'depersonalization' and 'brotherly love' ( - brotherly dependency!) higher value, what I am saying! value in itself I... What? Might humanity itself be in decadence? has it always been? - What is incontrovertible is that it has been taught only decadence values as the highest values. The morality of unselfmg oneself is the morality of decline par excellence, the fact that 'I am being destroyed' translated into the imperative: 'you should all be destroyed' - and not only into the imperative!. . . The sole morality that has hitherto been taught, the morality of unselfmg oneself, betrays a will to the end; at the most fundamental level it denies life. - Here the possibility might remain open that it is not humanity that is degenerating, but only that parasitic kind of man, the priest, who through morality has lied his way up to being the determiner of humanity's values - who realized that Christian morality was his means to power. . . And indeed this is my insight: the teachers, the leaders of humanity, theologians to a man, were also all decadents: hence the revaluation of all values into that which is hostile to life; hence morality. . . Definition of morality: morality - the idiosyncrasy of decadents, with the ulterior motive of avenging themselves on life - and succeeding. I set store by this definition. -

- Have I been understood? - I have not said a word just now that I might not have said five years ago through the mouth of Zarathustra. The discovery of Christian morality is an event without parallel, a real catastrophe. Anyone who raises awareness about it is a force majeure, a destiny - he breaks the history of humanity in two. You live before him or you live after him. . . The lightning-bolt of truth has struck precisely what stood highest hitherto: anyone who understands what has been destroyed there should look to see if he has anything left in his hands. Everything called 'truth' so far has been recognized as the most harmful, malicious, subterranean form of lie; the holy pretext of 'improving' humanity recognized as a ruse to drain dry life itself and make it anaemic. Morality as vampirism . . . Anyone who discovers morality discovers at the same time the valuelessness of all the values that are or have been believed in; in the most revered types of man, even those pronounced holy, he no longer sees anything venerable, but sees in them the most disastrous kind of deformity, disastrous because fascinating. . . The concept 'God' invented as a counter-concept to life - bringing together into one dreadful unity everything harmful, poisonous, slanderous, the whole mortal enmity against life! The concept 'hereafter', 'true world' invented in order to devalue the only world there is - so as to leave no goal, no reason, no task for our earthly reality! The concepts 'soul', 'spirit', ultimately even 'immortal soul' invented so as to despise the body, to make it sick - 'holy' - so as to approach with terrible negligence all the things in life that deserve to be taken seriously, questions of food, accommodation, spiritual diet, the treatment of the sick, cleanliness, weather! Instead of health the 'salvation of the soul' - in other words zfolie circulaire between penitential cramps and redemption hysteria! The concept 'sin' invented along with its accompanying torture instrument, the concept 'free will', so as to confuse the instincts and make mistrust of the instincts into second nature! In the concept of the 'selfless', the 'self-denying', the true emblem of decadence that turns being enticed by what is harmful, no longer being able to find what is in one's interest, self-destruction, into the badge of value itself, into 'duty', 'holiness', 'divinity' in man! Ultimately - and this is the most terrible thing - in the concept of the good man siding with everything weak, sick, misshapen, suffering from itself, everything that ought to perish - the law of selection crossed, an ideal made out of the contradiction to the proud man who turned out well, to the yes-saying, future-assured, futureconfirming man - who is called evil from now on. . . And all this was believed in as morality] - Ecrasez I'infdme!

- Have I been understood? - Dionysus against the crucified one...

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