Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo:   How One Becomes What One Is.  Ecce homo: Wie man wird, was man ist.  

Written in 1888 and not published until 1908

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My work for the years that followed was clear.  Now that the affirmative part of my life task was accomplished there came the turn of the negating part both in word and deed: the revaluation of all existing values, the great war—the summoning of the day when the fatal outcome of the struggle would be decided.  Meanwhile I had slowly to look about me for my peers, for those who out of strength would offer me a helping hand in my work of destruction.  From that time onward all my writings are bait: maybe I understand as much about fishing as most people?  If nothing was caught it was not I who was at fault.  There were no fish.  


In all its essential points this book (1886) is a criticism of modernity embracing the modern sciences, arts, even polities together with indications as to a type which would be the antithesis of modern man or as little like him as possible; a noble and affirmative type.  In this last respect the book is a school for gentlemen—the term gentleman being understood here in a much more spiritual and radical sense than has been used before.  All those things of which the age is proud—as for instance its famed "objectivity”, "sympathy with all that suffers”, its "historical sense”, with its subjection to the tastes of others, with its prostration before petits faits and the rage for science—are shown to be contradictions of this type, to be almost as bad manners.  If you remember that this book comes after Zarathustra you may possibly guess to what dietetic regime it owes its life.  The eye which owing to tremendous compulsion has become accustomed to see at a great distance—Zarathustra is even more far-sighted than the Tsar—is here forced to focus sharply on that which is close at hand, on the present time, on the things that lie about us.  In all the content and more particularly in the form of this book the reader will find the same voluntary turning away from those instincts which made a Zarathustra possible.  Refinement in form, in its aims and in the art of keeping silent are its more obvious qualities; psychology is handled with deliberate harshness and cruelty—the whole book does not contain one single good natured word.  All this is a form of recuperation.  Who can guess the kind of recuperation that is necessary after such an expenditure of goodness as is to be found in Zarathustra?  From a theological standpoint—now pay heed; for it is rarely that I speak as a theologian—it was God himself who at the end of his great work coiled himself up in the form of a serpent at the foot of the tree of knowledge.  It was thus that he recuperated from being God.  He had made everything too beautiful.  

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