Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak:  Reflections on Moral Prejudice. Morgenröte: Gedanken über die moralischen Vorurteile (also could be translated as The Dawn).

Written and published in 1881.

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In the Great Silence Here is the sea here may we forget the town.  It is true that its bells are still ringing the Angelus—that solemn and foolish yet sweet sound at the junction between day and night—but one moment more!  Now all is silent.  Yonder lies the ocean pale and brilliant; it cannot speak.  The sky is glistening with its eternal mute evening hues red yellow and green: it cannot speak.  The small cliffs and rocks which stretch out into the sea as if each one of them were endeavouring to find the loneliest spot—they too are dumb.  Beautiful and awful indeed is this vast silence which so suddenly overcomes us and makes our heart swell.  Alas!  What deceit lies in this dumb beauty!  How well could it speak and how evilly too if it wished!  Its tongue tied up and fastened and its face of suffering happiness—all this is but malice mocking at your sympathy: be it so!  I do not feel ashamed to be the plaything of such powers!  Yet I pity thee Oh, nature because thou must be silent even though it be only malice that binds thy tongue: nay I pity thee for the sake of thy malice!  Alas!  The silence deepens and once again my heart swells within me: it is startled by a fresh truth—it too is dumb; it likewise sneers when the mouth calls out something to this beauty; it also enjoys the sweet malice of its silence.  I begin to hate speech; to hate even thinking.  Behind every word I utter do I not hear the mocking laughter of error, of imagination, of delusion?  Must I not laugh at my pity and mock my own mockery?  O sea, O evening; you are bad teachers!  You teach man how to cease to be a man.  Is he to give himself up to you?  Shall he become as you now are pale brilliant dumb immense reposing calmly upon himself?  Exalted above himself?  


For whom the Truth Exists Up to the present time errors have been the power most fruitful in consolations: we now expect the same effects from accepted truths and we have been waiting rather too long for them.  What if these truths could not give us this consolation we are looking for?  Would that be an argument against them?  What have these truths in common with the sick condition of suffering and degenerate men that they should be useful to them?  It is of course no proof against the truth of a plant when it is clearly established that it does not contribute in any way to the recovery of sick people.  Formerly however people were so convinced that man was the ultimate end of nature that they believed that knowledge could reveal nothing that was not beneficial and useful to man—nay there could not, should not be any other things in existence.  Perhaps all this leads to the conclusion that truth as an entity and a coherent whole exists only for those natures who like Aristotle are at once powerful and harmless joyous and peaceful: just as none but these would be in a position to seek such truths; for the others seek remedies for themselves—however proud they may be of their intellect and its freedom they do not seek truth.  Hence it comes about that these others take no real joy in science but reproach it for its coldness dryness and inhumanity.  This is the judgment of sick people about the games of the healthy.  Even the Greek gods were unable to administer consolation; and when at length the entire Greek world fell ill this was a reason for the destruction of such gods.  


We Gods in Exile Owing to errors regarding their descent their uniqueness their mission and by claims based upon these errors men have again and again "surpassed themselves"; but through these same errors the world has been filled with unspeakable suffering mutual persecution suspicion misunderstanding and an even greater amount of individual misery.  Men have become suffering creatures in consequence of their morals and the sum—total of what they have obtained by those morals is simply the feeling that they are far too good and great for this world and that they are enjoying merely a transitory existence on it.  As yet the "proud sufferer" is the highest type of mankind.  


The Colour—Blindness of Thinkers How differently from us the Greeks must have viewed nature since as we cannot help admitting they were quite colourblind in regard to blue and green believing the former to be a deeper brown and the latter to be yellow.  Thus for instance they used the same word to describe the colour of dark hair of the cornflower and the southern sea; and again they employed exactly the same expression for the colour of the greenest herbs the human skin honey and yellow raisins: whence it follows that their greatest painters reproduced the world they lived in only in black white red and yellow.  How different and how much nearer to mankind therefore must nature have seemed to them since in their eyes the tints of mankind predominated also in nature and nature was as it were floating in the coloured ether of humanity!  (Blue and green more than anything else dehumanise nature).  It is this defect which developed the playful facility that characterised the Greeks of seeing the phenomena of nature as gods and demi-gods—that is to say as human forms.  Let this however merely serve as a simile for another supposition.  Every thinker paints his world and the things that surround him in fewer colours than really exist and he is blind to individual colours.  This is something more than a mere deficiency.  Thanks to this nearer approach and simplification he imagines he sees in things those harmonies of colours which possess a great charm and may greatly enrich nature.  Perhaps indeed it was in this way that men first learnt to take delight in viewing existence owing to its being first of all presented to them in one or two shades and consequently harmonised.  They practised these few shades so to speak before they could pass on to any more.  And even now certain individuals endeavour to get rid of a partial colour-blindness that they may obtain a richer faculty of sight and discernment in the course of which they find that they not only discover new pleasures but are also obliged to lose and give up some of their former ones.  


The Embellishment of Science In the same way that the feeling that "nature is ugly wild tedious—we must embellish it"!  (embellir la nature).  This brought about rococo horticulture so does the view that "science is ugly difficult dry dreary and weary we must embellish it" invariably gives rise to something called philosophy.  This philosophy sets out to do what all art and poetry endeavour to do viz.  giving amusement above all else; but it wishes to do this in conformity with its hereditary pride in a higher and more sublime fashion before an audience of superior intellects.  It is no small ambition to create for these intellects a kind of horticulture the principal charm of which—like that of the usual gardening—is to bring about an optical illusion (by means of temples perspective grottos winding walks and waterfalls to speak in similes) exhibiting science in a condensed form and in all kinds of strange and unexpected illuminations infusing into it as much indecision irrationality and dreaminess as will enable us to walk about in it "as in savage nature" but without trouble and boredom.  Those who are possessed of this ambition even dream of making religion superfluous—religion which among men of former times served as the highest kind of entertainment.  All this is now running its course and will one day attain its highest tide.  Even now hostile voices are being raised against philosophy exclaiming: "Return to science to nature and the naturalness of science"!  and thus an age may begin which may discover the most powerful beauty precisely in the "savage and ugly" domains of science just as it is only since the time of Rousseau that we have discovered the sense for the beauty of high mountains and deserts.  


Two Kinds of Moralists To see a law of nature for the first time and to see it whole (for example the law of gravity or the reflection of light and sound) and afterwards to explain such a law are two different things and concern different classes of minds.  In the same way those moralists who observe and exhibit human laws and habits—moralists with discriminating ears noses and eyes—differ entirely from those who interpret their observations.  These latter must above all be inventive and must possess an imagination untrammelled by sagacity and knowledge.  


The new Passion Why do we fear and dread a possible return to barbarism?  Is it because it would make people less happy than they are now?  Certainly not!  the barbarians of all ages possessed more happiness than we do: let us not deceive ourselves on this point!  Yet our impulse towards knowledge is too widely developed to allow us to value happiness without knowledge or the happiness of a strong and fixed delusion: it is painful to us even to imagine such a state of things!  Our restless pursuit of discoveries and divinations has become for us as attractive and indispensable as hapless love to the lover which on no account would he exchange for indifference—nay perhaps we too are hapless lovers!  Knowledge within us has developed into a passion which does not shrink from any sacrifice and at bottom fears nothing but its own extinction.  We sincerely believe that all humanity weighed down as it is by the burden of this passion are bound to feel more exalted and comforted than formerly when they had not yet overcome the longing for the coarser satisfaction which accompanies barbarism.  It may be that mankind may perish eventually from this passion for knowledge!  Yet even that does not daunt us.  Did Christianity ever shrink from a similar thought?  Are not love and death brother and sister?  Yes we detest barbarism—we all prefer that humanity should perish rather than that knowledge should enter into a stage of retrogression.  And finally if mankind does not perish through some passion it will perish through some weakness: which would we prefer?  This is the main question.  Do we wish its end to be in fire and light or in the sands?  


Likewise Heroic To do things of the worst possible odour things of which we scarcely dare to speak but which are nevertheless useful and necessary is also heroic.  The Greeks were not ashamed of numbering even the cleansing of a stable among the great tasks of Hercules.  


The Opinions of Opponents In order to measure the natural subtlety or weakness of even the cleverest heads we must consider the manner in which they take up and reproduce the opinions of their adversaries for the natural measure of any intellect is thereby revealed.  The perfect sage involuntarily idealises his opponent and frees his inconsistencies from all defects and accidents: he only takes up arms against him when he has thus turned his opponent into a god with shining weapons.  


Investigator and Attempter There is no exclusive method of knowing in science.  We must deal with things tentatively treating them by turns harshly or justly passionately or coldly.  One investigator deals with things like a policeman another like a confessor and yet a third like an inquisitive traveller.  We force something from them now by sympathy and now by violence: the one is urged onward and led to see clearly by the veneration which the secrets of the things inspire in him and the other again by the indiscretion and malice met with in the explanation of these secrets.  We investigators like all conquerors, explorers, navigators and adventurers are men of a daring morality and we must put up with our liability to be in the main looked upon as evil.  


Seeing with new Eyes Presuming that by the term "beauty in art" is always implied the imitation of something that is happy—and this I consider to be true—according as an age or a people or a great autocratic individuality represents happiness: what then is disclosed by the so-called realism of our modern artists in regard to the happiness of our epoch?  It is undoubtedly its type of beauty which we now understand most easily and enjoy best of any.  As a consequence we are induced to believe that this happiness which is now peculiar to us is based on realism on the sharpest possible senses and on the true concept of the actual—that is to say not upon reality but upon what we know of reality.  The results of science have already gained so much in depth and extent that the artists of our century have involuntarily become the glorifiers of scientific "blessings" per se.  


Intercession Unpretentious regions are subjects for great landscape painters; remarkable and rare regions for inferior painters: for the great things of nature and humanity must intercede in favour of their little mediocre and vain admirers—whereas the great man intercedes in favour of unassuming things.  


Not to perish unnoticed It is not only once but continuously that our excellence and greatness are constantly crumbling away; the weeds that grow among everything and cling to everything ruin all that is great in us—the wretchedness of our surroundings which we always try to overlook and which is before our eyes at every hour of the day the innumerable little roots of mean and petty feelings which we allow to grow up all about us in our office among our companions or our daily labours.  If we permit these small weeds to escape our notice we shall perish through them unnoticed!  And if you must perish then do so immediately and suddenly; for in that case you will perhaps leave proud ruins behind you!  And not as is now to be feared merely molehills covered with grass and weeds—these petty and miserable conquerors as humble as ever and too wretched even to triumph.  


Casuistic We are confronted with a very bitter and painful dilemma for the solution of which not everyone's bravery and character are equal: when as passengers on board a steamer we discover that the captain and the helmsman are making dangerous mistakes and that we are their superiors in nautical science—and then we ask ourselves: "What would happen if we organised a mutiny against them and made them both prisoners?  Is it not our duty to do so in view of our superiority?  Would not they in their turn be justified in putting us in irons for encouraging disobedience?  "This is a simile for higher and worse situations; and the final question to be decided is what guarantees our superiority and our faith in ourselves in such a case?  Success?  Yet in order to do that we must do the very thing in which all the danger lies—not only dangerous for ourselves but also for the ship.  


Privileges The man who really owns himself that is to say he who has finally conquered himself regards it as his own right to punish to pardon or to pity himself: he need not concede this privilege to any one though he may freely bestow it upon someone else—a friend for example—but he knows that in doing this he is conferring a right and that rights can only be conferred by one who is in full possession of power.  


Man and Things Why does the man not see the things?  He himself is in the way: he conceals the things.  


Characteristics of Happiness There are two things common to all sensations of happiness: a profusion of feelings accompanied by animal spirits so that like the fishes we feel ourselves to be in our element and play about in it.  Good Christians will understand what Christian exuberance means.  


Never Renounce Renouncing the world without knowing it like a nun results in a fruitless and perhaps melancholy solitude.  This has nothing in common with the solitude of the vita contemplativa of the thinker: when he chooses this form of solitude he wishes to renounce nothing; but he would on the contrary regard it as a renunciation a melancholy destruction of his own self if he were obliged to continue in the vita practica.  He forgoes this latter because he knows it because he knows himself.  So he jumps into his water and thus gains his cheerfulness.  


Why the nearest Things become ever more distant for Us The more we give up our minds to all that has been and will be the paler will become that which actually is.  When we live with the dead and participate in their death what are our "neighbours" to us?  We grow lonelier simply because the entire flood of humanity is surging round about us.  The fire that burns within us and glows for all that is human is continually increasing—and hence we look upon everything that surrounds us as if it had become more indifferent more shadowy—but our cold glance is offensive.  


The Rule "The rule always appears to me to be more interesting than the exception"— whoever thinks thus has made considerable progress in knowledge and is one of the initiated.  


On Education I have gradually come to see daylight in regard to the most general defect in our methods of education and training: nobody learns, nobody teaches, nobody wishes to endure solitude.  


Surprise at Resistance Because we have reached the point of being able to see through a thing we believe that henceforth it can offer us no further resistance—and then we are surprised to find that we can see through it and yet cannot penetrate through it.  This is the same kind of foolishness and surprise as that of the fly on a pane of glass.  


Where the Noblest are Mistaken We give someone at length our dearest and most valued possession and then love has nothing more to give: but the recipient of the gift will certainly not consider it as his dearest possession and will consequently be wanting in that full and complete gratitude which we expect from him.  


Hierarchy First and foremost there are the superficial thinkers and secondly the profound thinkers—such as dive into the depths of a thing—thirdly the thorough thinkers who get to the bottom of a thing—which is of much greater importance than merely diving into its depths—and finally those who leap head foremost into the marsh: though this must not be looked upon as indicating either depth or thoroughness!  These are the lovers of obscurity.  


Master and Pupil By cautioning his pupils against himself the teacher shows his humanity.  


Honouring Reality How can we look at this exulting multitude without tears and acquiescence?  At one time we thought little of the object of their exultation and we should still think so if we ourselves had not come through a similar experience.  And what may these experiences lead us to!  what are our opinions!  In order that we may not lose ourselves and our reason we must fly from experiences.  It was thus that Plato fled from actuality and wished to contemplate things only in their pale mental concepts: he was full of sensitiveness and knew how easily the waves of this sensitiveness would drown his reason.  Must the sage therefore say "I will honour reality but I will at the same time turn my back to it because I know and dread it"?  Ought he to behave as certain African tribes do in the presence of their sovereign whom they approach backwards thus showing their reverence at the same time as their dread?  


Where are the poor in Spirit ?  Oh, how greatly it goes against my grain to impose my own thoughts upon others!  How I rejoice over every mood and secret change within me as the result of which the thoughts of others are victorious over my own!  Yet from time to time I enjoy an even greater satisfaction when I am allowed to give away my intellectual possessions like the confessor sitting in his box and anxiously awaiting the arrival of some distressed person who stands in need of consolation and will be only too glad to relate the full misery of his thoughts so that the listener's hand and heart will once again be filled and the troubled soul eased!  Not only has the confessor no desire for renown: he would fain shun gratitude as well for it is obtrusive and does not stand in awe of solitude or silence.  Yet to live without a name and even to be slightly sneered at; too obscure to arouse envy or enmity; with a head free from fever a handful of knowledge and a pocketful of experience; a physician as it were of the poor in spirit helping this one or that one whose head is troubled with opinions without the latter perceiving who has actually helped him!  Without any desire to appear to be in the right in the presence of his patient or to carry off a victory.  To speak to him in such a way that after a short and almost imperceptible hint or objection the listener may find out for himself what is right and proudly walk away!  To be like an obscure and unknown inn which turns no one away who is in need but which is afterwards forgotten and laughed at!  To be without any advantages over others—neither possessing better food nor purer air nor a more cheerful mind—but always to be giving away returning communicating and becoming poorer!  To know how to be humble in order to be accessible to many people and humiliating to none!  To take a great deal of injustice on his shoulders and creep through the cracks and crannies of all kinds of errors in order that we may reach many obscure souls on their secret paths!  Ever in possession of some kind of love and some kind of egoism and self-enjoyment!  in possession of power and yet at the same time hidden and resigned!  Constantly basking in the sunshine and sweetness of grace and yet knowing that quite near to us stands the ladder leading to the sublime!  That would be life!  That would indeed be a reason for a long life!  


The Temptations of Knowledge A glance through the gate of science acts upon passionate spirits as the charm of charms: they will probably become dreamers or in the most favourable cases poets so great is their desire for the happiness of the man who can discern.  Does it not enter into all your senses this note of sweet temptation by which science has announced its joyful message in a thousand ways and in the thousand and first way the noblest of all "Begone illusion!  For then 'Woe is me' also vanished and with it woe itself is gone"(Marcus Aurelius).  


For whom a Court Jester is needful Those who are very beautiful very good and very powerful scarcely ever learn the full and naked truth about anything—for in their presence we involuntarily lie a little because we feel their influence and in view of this influence convey a truth in the form of an adaptation (by falsifying the shades and degrees of facts by omitting or adding details and withholding that which is insusceptible of adaptation).  If however in spite of all this people of this description insist upon hearing the truth they must keep a court jester—a being with the madman's privilege of being unable to adapt himself.  


Impatience There is a certain degree of impatience in men of thought and action which in cases of failure at once drives them to the opposite camp induces them to take a great interest in it and to give themselves up to new undertakings—until here again the slowness of their success drives them away.  Thus they rove about like so many reckless adventurers through the practices of many kingdoms and natures; and in the end as the result of their wide knowledge of men and things acquired by their unheard of travel and practice and with a certain moderation of their craving they become powerful practical men.  Hence a defect in character may become the school of genius.  


A Moral Interregnum Who is now in a position to describe that which will one day supplant moral feelings and judgments!  however certain we may be that these are founded on error and that the building erected upon such foundations cannot be repaired: their obligation must gradually diminish from day to day in so far as the obligation of reason does not diminish!  To carry out the task of re-establishing the laws of life and action is still beyond the power of our sciences of physiology, medicine, society and solitude: though it is only from them that we can borrow the foundation—stones of new ideals (but not the ideals themselves).  Thus we live a preliminary or after existence according to our tastes and talents and the best we can do in this interregnum is to be as much as possible our own "reges" and to establish small experimental states.  We are experiments: let us also want to be so!  


A Digression A book like this is not intended to be read through at once or to be read aloud.  It is intended more particularly for reference especially on our walks and travels: we must take it up and put it down again after a short reading and more especially we ought not to be amongst our usual surroundings.  


The Primary Nature As we are now brought up we begin by acquiring a secondary nature and we possess it when the world calls us mature of age efficient.  A few have sufficient of the serpent about them to cast this skin some day when their primary nature has come to maturity under it.  Yet in the majority of people the germ of it withers away.  


A Virtue in Process of Becoming Such assertions and promises as those of the ancient philosophers on the unity of virtue and felicity or that of Christianity "Seek you first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" have never been made with absolute sincerity but always without a bad conscience nevertheless.  People were in the habit of boldly laying down principles—which they wished to be true—exactly as if they were truth itself in spite of all appearances to the contrary and in doing this they felt neither religious nor moral compunction; for it was in honorem maiorem of virtue or of God that one had gone beyond truth without however any selfish intention!  Many good people still act up to this degree of truthfulness: when they feel unselfish they think it permissible to treat truth more lightly.  Let it be remembered that the word honesty is neither to be found among the Socratic nor the Christian virtues: it is one of our most recent virtues not yet quite mature frequently misconstrued and misunderstood scarcely conscious of itself—something in embryo which we may either promote or check according to our inclination.  


Final Taciturnity There are some men who fare like the digger after hidden treasures: they quite accidentally discover the carefully preserved secrets of another's soul and as a result come into the possession of knowledge which it is often a heavy burden to bear.  In certain circumstances we may know the living and the dead and sound their inmost thoughts to such an extent that it becomes painful to us to speak to others about them: at every word we utter we are afraid of being indiscreet.  I can easily imagine a sudden silence on the part of the wisest historian.  


The Great Prize There is a very rare thing but a very delightful one viz.  the man with a nobly-formed intellect who possesses at the same time the character and inclinations and even meets with the experiences suited to such an intellect.  


The Magnanimity of the Thinker Both Rousseau and Schopenhauer were proud enough to inscribe upon their lives the motto Vitam impendere vera.  And how they both must have suffered in their pride because they could not succeed in verum impendere vitae!  verum such as each of them understood it—when their lives ran side by side with their knowledge like an uncouth bass which is not in tune with the melody.  Knowledge however would be in a bad way if it were measured out to every thinker only in proportion as it can be adapted to his own person.  And thinkers would be in a bad way if their vanity were so great that they could only endure such an adaptation for the noblest virtue of a great thinker is his magnanimity which urges him on in his search for knowledge to sacrifice himself and his life unshrinkingly often shamefacedly and often with sublime scorn and smiling.  


Utilising our Hours of Danger Those men and conditions whose every movement may mean danger to our possessions honour and life or death and to those most dear to us we shall naturally learn to know thoroughly.  Tiberius for instance must have meditated much more deeply on the character and methods of government of the Emperor Augustus and must have known far more about them than even the wisest historian.  At the present day we all live relatively speaking in a security which is much too great to make us true psychologists: some survey their fellow-men as a hobby others out of ennui and others again merely from habit; but never to the extent they would do if they were told "Discern or perish"!  As long as truths do not cut us to the quick we assume an attitude of contempt towards them: they still appear to us too much like the "winged dreams" as if we could or could not have them at our discretion as if we could likewise be aroused from these truths as from a dream!  


Hic Rhodus Hic Salta Our music which can and must change into everything because like the demon of the sea it has no character of its own: this music in former times devoted its attention to the Christian savant and transposed his ideals into sounds: why cannot it likewise find those brighter more cheerful and universal sounds which correspond to the ideal thinker?  A music which could rock itself at ease in the vast floating vaults of the soul?  So far our music has been so great and so good; nothing seemed impossible to its powers.  May it therefore prove possible to create these three sensations at one time: sublimity deep and warm light and rapture of the greatest possible consistency!  


Slow Cures Chronic illnesses of the soul like those of the body are very rarely due to one gross offence against physical and mental reason but as a general rule they arise from innumerable and petty negligences of a minor order.  A man for example whose breathing becomes a trifle weaker every day and whose lungs by inhaling too little air are deprived of their proper amount of exercise will end by being struck down by some chronic disease of the lungs.  The only remedy for cases like these is a countless number of minor exercises of a contrary tendency—making it a rule for example to take a long and deep breath every quarter of an hour lying flat on the ground if possible.  For this purpose a clock which strikes the quarters should be chosen as a lifelong companion.  All these remedies are slow and trifling; but yet the man who wishes to cure his soul will carefully consider a change even in his least important habits.  Many a man will utter a cold and angry word to his surroundings ten times a day without thinking about it and he will forget that after a few years it will have become a regular habit with him to put his surroundings out of temper ten times a day.  Yet he can also acquire the habit of doing good to them ten times.  


On the Seventh Day "You praise this as my creation?  Yet I have only put aside what was a burden to me!  My soul is above the vanity of creators.  You praise this as my resignation?  Yet I have only stripped myself of what had become burdensome!  My soul is above the vanity of the resigned ones"!  


The Donor's Modesty There is such a want of generosity in always posing as the donor and benefactor and showing one's face when doing so!  Yet to give and bestow and at the same time to conceal one's name and favour!  or not to have a name at all like nature in whom this fact is more refreshing to us than anything else—here at last we no more meet with the giver and bestower no more with a "gracious countenance.  "—It is true that you have now forfeited even this comfort for you have placed a God in this nature-and now everything is once again fettered and oppressed!  Well?  Are we never to have the right of remaining alone with ourselves?  are we always to be watched guarded surrounded by leading strings and gifts?  If there is always someone round about us the best part of courage and kindness will ever remain impossible of attainment in this world.  Are we not tempted to fly to hell before this continual obtrusiveness of heaven this inevitable supernatural neighbour?  Never mind it was only a dream; let us wake up!  


At a Meeting A.  What are you looking at?  You have been standing here for a very long time.  B.  Always the new and the old over again!  the helplessness of a thing urges me on to plunge into it so deeply that I end by penetrating to its deepest depths and perceive that in reality it is not worth so very much.  At the end of all experiences of this kind we meet with a kind of sorrow and stupor.  I experience this on a small scale several times a day.  


A Loss OF Renown What an advantage it is to be able to speak as a stranger to mankind!  When they take away our anonymity and make us famous the gods deprive us of "half our virtue".  


Doubly Patient "By doing this you will hurt many people.  "—I know that and I also know that I shall have to suffer for it doubly: in the first place out of pity for their suffering and secondly from the revenge they will take on me.  Yet in spite of this I cannot help doing what I do.  


The Kingdom of Beauty is Greater We move about in nature cunning and cheerful in order that we may surprise everything in the beauty peculiar to it; we make an effort whether in sunshine or under a stormy sky to see a distant part of the coast with its rocks bays and olive and pine trees under an aspect in which it achieves its perfection and consummation.  Thus also we should walk about among men as their discoverers and explorers meting out to them good and evil in order that we may unveil the peculiar beauty which is seen with some in the sunshine in others under thunder-clouds or with others again only in twilight and under a rainy sky.  Are we then forbidden to enjoy the evil man like some savage landscape which possesses its own bold and daring lines and luminous effects while this same man so long as he behaves well and in conformity with the law appears to us to be an error of drawing and a mere caricature which offends us like a defect in nature?  Yes this is forbidden: for as yet we have only been permitted to seek beauty in anything that is morally good—and this is sufficient to explain why we have found so little and have been compelled to look for beauty without either flesh or bones!  in the same way as evil men are familiar with innumerable kinds of happiness which the virtuous never dream of we may also find among them innumerable types of beauty, many of them as yet undiscovered.  


The Inhumanity of the Sage The heavy and grinding progress of the sage who in the words of the Buddhist song "Wanders lonely like the rhinoceros" now and again stands in need of proofs of a conciliatory and softened humanity and not only proofs of those accelerated steps those polite and sociable witticisms; not only of humour and a certain self-mockery but likewise of contradictions and occasional returns to the predominating inconsistencies.  In order that he may not resemble the heavy roller that rolls along like fate the sage who wishes to teach must take advantage of his defects and utilise them for his own adornment; and when saying "despise me "he will implore permission to be the advocate of a presumptuous truth This sage wishes to lead you to the mountains and he will perhaps endanger your life: therefore as the price of his enjoyment he willingly authorises you to take your revenge either before or afterwards on such a guide.  Do you remember what thoughts came into your head when he once led you to a gloomy cavern over a slippery path?  Your distrustful heart beat rapidly and said inwardly "This guide might surely do something better than crawl about here!  he is one of those idle people who are full of curiosity—is it not doing him too much honour to appear to attach any value at all to him by following him?  " 470.  Many at the Banquet How happy we are when we are fed like the birds by the hand of someone who throws them their crumbs without examining them too closely or inquiring into their worthiness!  To live like a bird which comes and flies away and does not carry its name on its beak!  I take great pleasure in satisfying my appetite at the banquet of the many.  


Another type of Love for one's Neighbour Everything that is agitated noisy fitful and nervous forms a contrast to the great passion which glowing in the heart of man like a quiet and gloomy flame and gathering about it all that is flaming and ardent gives to man the appearance of coldness and indifference and stamps a certain impassiveness on his features.  Such men are occasionally capable of showing their love for their neighbour but this love is different from that of sociable people who are anxious to please.  It is a mild contemplative and calm amiability: these people as it were look out of the windows of the castle which serves them as a stronghold and consequently as a prison; for the outlook into the far distance the open air and a different world is so pleasant for them!  


Not Justifying Oneself A.  Yet why are you not willing to justify yourself?  B.  I could do it in this instance as in dozens of others; but I despise the pleasure which lies in justification for all that matters little to me and I would rather bear a stained reputation than give those petty folks the spiteful pleasure of saying "He takes these things very seriously".  This is not true.  Perhaps I ought to have more consideration for myself and look upon it as a duty to rectify erroneous opinions about myself—I am too indifferent and too indolent regarding myself and consequently also regarding everything that is brought about through my agency.  


Where to Build one's House If you feel great and productive in solitude society will belittle and isolate you and vice versa.  A powerful mildness such as that of a father:—wherever this feeling takes possession of you there build your house whether in the midst of the multitude or on some silent spot.  Ubi pater sum ibi patria.  


The only Means "Dialectic is the only means of reaching the divine essence and penetrating behind the veil of appearance".  This declaration of Plato in regard to dialectic is as solemn and passionate as that of Schopenhauer in regard to the contrary of dialectic— and both are wrong.  For that to which they wish to point out the way to us does not exist.  And so far have not all the great passions of mankind been passions for something non-existent?  And all their ceremonies—ceremonies for something non-existent also?  


Becoming Heavy You know him not: whatever weights he may attach to himself he will nevertheless be able to raise them all with him.  Yet you judging from the weak flapping of your own wings come to the conclusion that he wishes to remain below merely because he does burden himself with those weights.  


At the Harvest Thanksgiving of the Intellect There is a daily increase and accumulation of experiences events opinions upon these experiences and events and dreams upon these opinions—a boundless and delightful display of wealth!  its aspect dazzles the eyes: I can no longer understand how the poor in spirit can be called blessed!  Occasionally however I envy them when I am tired: for the superintendence of such vast wealth is no easy task and its weight frequently crushes all happiness.  Alas if only the mere sight of it were sufficient!  If only we could be misers of our knowledge!  


Freed from Scepticism A.  Some men emerge from a general moral scepticism bad-tempered and feeble, corroded, worm-eaten and even partly consumed—but I on the other hand more courageous and healthier than ever and with my instincts conquered once more.  Where a strong wind blows, where the waves are rolling angrily and where more than usual danger is to be faced, there I feel happy.  I did not become a worm although I often had to work and dig like a worm.  B.  You have just ceased to be a sceptic; for you deny!  A.  And in doing so I have learnt to affirm again.  


Let us pass by Spare him!  Leave him in his solitude!  Do you wish to crush him down entirely?  He became cracked like a glass into which some hot liquid was poured suddenly—and he was such a precious glass!  


Love and Truthfulness Through our love we have become dire offenders against truth and even habitual dissimulators and thieves who give out more things as true than seem to us to be true.  On this account the thinker must from time to time drive away those whom he loves (not necessarily those who love him) so that they may show their sting and wickedness and cease to tempt him.  Consequently the kindness of the thinker will have its waning and waxing moon.  


Inevitable No matter what your experience may be anyone who does not feel well disposed towards you will find in this experience some pretext for disparaging you!  You may undergo the greatest possible revolutions of mind and knowledge and at length with the melancholy smile of the convalescent you may be able to step out into freedom and bright stillness and yet someone will say: "This fellow looks upon his illness as an argument and takes his impotence to be a proof of the impotence of all others—he is vain enough to fall ill that he may feel the superiority of the sufferer".  And again if somebody were to break the chains that bound him down and wounded himself severely in doing so someone else would point at him mockingly and cry: "How awkward he is!  There is a man who had got accustomed to his chains and yet he is fool enough to burst them asunder"!  


Two Germans If we compare Kant and Schopenhauer with Plato, Spinoza, Pascal, Rousseau, and Goethe, with reference to their souls and not their intellects we shall see that the two first-named thinkers are at a disadvantage: their thoughts do not constitute a passionate history of their souls—we are not led to expect in them romance crises catastrophies or death struggles.  Their thinking is not at the same time the involuntary biography of a soul but in the case of Kant merely of a head; and in the case of Schopenhauer again merely the description and reflection of a character ("the invariable") and the pleasure which this reflection causes that is to say the pleasure of meeting with an intellect of the first order.  Kant when he shimmers through his thoughts appears to us as an honest and honourable man in the best sense of the words but likewise as an insignificant one: he is wanting in breadth and power; he had not come through many experiences and his method of working did not allow him sufficient time to undergo experiences.  Of course in speaking of experiences I do not refer to the ordinary external events of life but to those fatalities and convulsions which occur in the course of the most solitary and quiet life which has some leisure and glows with the passion for thinking.  Schopenhauer has at all events one advantage over him; for he at least was distinguished by a certain fierce ugliness of disposition which showed itself in hatred, desire, vanity and suspicion: he was of a rather more ferocious disposition and had both time and leisure to indulge this ferocity.  Yet he lacked "development" which was also wanting in his range of thought: he had no "history.  " 482.  Seeking one's Company Are we then looking for too much when we seek the company of men who have grown mild agreeable to the taste and nutritive like chestnuts which have been put into the fire and taken out just at the right moment?  Of men who expect little from life and prefer to accept this little as a present rather than as a merit of their own as if it were carried to them by birds and bees?  Of men who are too proud ever to feel themselves rewarded and too serious in their passion for knowledge and honesty to have time for or pleasure in fame?  Such men we should call philosophers; but they themselves will always find some more modest designation.  


Satiated with Mankind A.  Seek for knowledge!  Yes!  Yet always as a man!  What?  Must I always be a spectator of the same comedy and always play a part in the same comedy without ever being able to observe things with other eyes than those?  And yet there may be countless types of beings whose organs are better adapted for knowledge than ours!  At the end of all their searching for knowledge what will men at length come to know?  Their organs!  Which perhaps is as much as to say: the impossibility of knowledge!  Misery and disgust!  B.  This is a bad attack you have—reason is attacking you!  Tomorrow however you will again be in the midst of knowledge and hence of irrationality—that is to say delighted about all that is human.  Let us go to the sea!  


Going our own Way When we take the decisive step and make up our minds to follow our own path a secret is suddenly revealed to us: it is clear that all those who had to date been friendly to us and on intimate terms with us judged themselves to be superior to us and are offended now.  The best among them are indulgent and are content to wait patiently until we once more find the "right path"— they know it apparently.  Others make fun of us and pretend that we have been seized with a temporary attack of mild insanity or spitefully point out some seducer.  The more malicious say we are vain fools and do their best to blacken our motives; while the worst of all see in us their greatest enemy someone who is thirsting for revenge after many years of dependence—and are afraid of us.  What then are we to do?  My own opinion is that we should begin our sovereignty by promising to all our acquaintances in advance a whole year's amnesty for sins of every kind.  


Distant Perspectives A.  Yet why this solitude?  B.  I am not angry with anybody.  Yet when I am alone it seems to me that I can see my friends in a clearer and rosier light than when I am with them; and when I loved and felt music best I lived far from it.  It would seem that I must have distant perspectives in order that I may think well of things.  


Gold and Hunger Here and there we meet with a man who changes into gold everything that he touches.  Yet some fine evil day he will discover that he himself must starve through this gift of his.  Everything around him is brilliant superb and unapproachable in its ideal beauty and now he eagerly longs for things which it is impossible for him to turn into gold—and how intense is this longing!  Like that of a starving man for a meal!  What will he reach for?  


Shame Look at that noble steed pawing the ground snorting longing for a ride and loving its accustomed rider—but shameful to relate the rider cannot mount today he is tired.  Such is the shame felt by the weary thinker in the presence of his own philosophy!  


Against the Waste of Love Do we not blush when we surprise ourselves in a state of violent aversion?  Well then we should also blush when we find ourselves possessed of strong affections on account of the injustice contained in them.  More: there are people who feel their hearts weighed down and oppressed when someone gives them the benefit of his love and sympathy to the extent that he deprives others of a share.  The tone of his voice reveals to us the fact that we have been specially selected and preferred!  Yet alas!  I am not thankful for being thus selected: I experience within myself a certain feeling of resentment against him who wishes to distinguish me in this way—he shall not love me at the expense of others!  I shall always try to look after myself and to endure myself and my heart is often filled to overflowing and with some reason.  To such a man nothing ought to be given of which others stand so greatly in need.  


Friends in Need We may occasionally remark that one of our friends sympathises with another more than with us.  His delicacy is troubled thereby and his selfishness is not equal to the task of breaking down his feelings of affection: in such a case we should facilitate the separation for him and estrange him in some way in order to widen the distance between us.  This is also necessary when we fall into a habit of thinking which might be detrimental to him: our affection for him should induce us to ease his conscience in separating himself from us by means of some injustice which we voluntarily take upon ourselves.  


Those petty Truths " You know all that but you have never lived through it—so I will not accept your evidence.  Those 'petty truths'—you deem them petty because you have not paid for them with your blood!  "— But are they really great simply because they have been bought at so high a price?  Blood is always too high a price!  "Do you really think so?  How stingy you are with your blood"!  


Solitude therefore!  A.  So you wish to go back to your desert?  B.  I am not a quick thinker; I must wait for myself a long time—it is always later and later before the water from the fountain of my own ego spurts forth and I have often to go thirsty longer than suits my patience.  That is why I retire into solitude in order that I may not have to drink from the common cisterns.  When I live in the midst of the multitude my life is like theirs and I do not think like myself; but after some time it always seems to me as if the multitude wished to banish me from myself and to rob me of my soul.  Then I get angry with all these people and afraid of them; and I must have the desert to become well disposed again.  


Under the South Wind A.  I can no longer understand myself!  It was only yesterday that I felt myself so tempestuous and ardent and at the same time so warm and sunny and exceptionally bright!  Yet today!  Now everything is calm wide oppressive and dark like the lagoon at Venice.  I wish for nothing and draw a deep breath and yet I feel inwardly indignant at this "wish for nothing"—so the waves rise and fall in the ocean of my melancholy.  B.  You describe a petty agreeable illness.  The next wind from the north-east will blow it away.  A.  Why so?  


On One's own Tree A.  No thinker's thoughts give me so much pleasure as my own: this of course proves nothing in favour of their value; but I should be foolish to neglect fruits which are tasteful to me only because they happen to grow on my own tree!  And I was once such a fool.  B.  Others have the contrary feeling: which likewise proves nothing in favour of their thoughts nor yet is it any argument against their value.  


The Last Argument of the Brave Man There are snakes in this little clump of trees.  — Very well I will rush into the thicket and kill them.  — But by doing that you will run the risk of falling a victim to them and not they to you—But what do I matter?  


Our Teachers During our period of youth we select our teachers and guides from our own times and from those circles which we happen to meet with: we have the thoughtless conviction that the present age must have teachers who will suit us better than any others and that we are sure to find them without having to look very far.  Later on we find that we have to pay a heavy penalty for this childishness: we have to expiate our teachers in ourselves and then perhaps we begin to look for the proper guides.  We look for them throughout the whole world including even present and past ages—but perhaps it may be too late and at the worst we discover that they lived when we were young—and that at that time we lost our opportunity.  


The Evil Principle.  Plato has marvellously described how the philosophic thinker must necessarily be regarded as the essence of depravity in the midst of every existing society: for as the critic of all its morals he is naturally the antagonist of the moral man and unless he succeeds in becoming the legislator of new morals he lives long in the memory of men as an instance of the "evil principle".  From this we may judge to how great an extent the city of Athens although fairly liberal and fond of innovations abused the reputation of Plato during his lifetime.  What wonder then that he—who as he has himself recorded had the "political instinct" in his body—made three different attempts in Sicily where at that time a united Mediterranean Greek State appeared to be in process of formation?  It was in this State and with its assistance that Plato thought he could do for the Greeks what Mohammed did for the Arabs several centuries later: viz.  establishing both minor and more important customs and especially regulating the daily life of every man.  His ideas were quite practicable just as certainly as those of Mohammed were practicable; for even much more incredible ideas- those of Christianity proved themselves to be practicable!  A few hazards less and a few hazards more-and then the world would have witnessed the Platonisation of Southern Europe; and if we suppose that this state of things had continued to our own days we should probably be worshipping Plato now as the "good principle".  But he was unsuccessful and so his traditional character remains that of a dreamer and a Utopian—stronger epithets than these passed away with ancient Athens.  


The Purifying Eye We have the best reason for speaking of "genius "in men—for example Plato Spinoza and Goethe—whose minds appear to be but loosely linked to their character and temperament like winged beings which easily separate themselves from them and then rise far above them.  On the other hand those who never succeeded in cutting themselves loose from their temperament and who knew how to give to it the most intellectual lofty and at times even cosmic expression (Schopenhauer for instance) have always been very fond of speaking about their genius.  These geniuses could not rise above themselves but they believed that fly where they would they would always find and recover themselves—this is their "greatness" and this can be greatness!  The Others who are entitled to this name possess the pure and purifying eye which does not seem to have sprung out of their temperament and character but separately from them and generally in contradiction to them and looks out upon the world as on a God whom it loves.  Yet even people like these do not come into possession of such an eye all at once: they require practice and a preliminary school of sight and he who is really fortunate will at the right moment also fall in with a teacher of pure sight.  


Never Demand!  You do not know him!  it is true that he easily and readily submits both to men and things and that he is kind to both—his only wish is to be left in peace—but only in so far as men and things do not demand his submission.  Any demand makes him proud bashful and warlike.  


The Evil One "Only the solitary are evil!  "—thus spake Diderot and Rousseau at once felt deeply offended.  Thus he proved that Diderot was right.  Indeed in society or amid social life every evil instinct is compelled to restrain itself to assume so many masks and to press itself so often into the Procrustean bed of virtue that we are quite justified in speaking of the martyrdom of the evil man.  In solitude however all this disappears.  The evil man is still more evil in solitude—and consequently for him whose eye sees only a drama everywhere be is also more beautiful.  


Against the Grain A thinker may for years at a time force himself to think against the grain: that is not to pursue the thoughts that spring up within him but instead those which he is compelled to follow by the exigencies of his office an established division of time or any arbitrary duty which he may find it necessary to fulfil.  In the long run however he will fall ill; for this apparently moral self-command will destroy his nervous system as thoroughly and completely as regular debauchery.  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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