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

  Friedrich Nietzsche Full Text EBook  
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With this book begins my campaign against morality.  Not that it has at all the whiff of gunpowder—you will find quite other and much nicer smells in it provided that you have any keenness in your nostrils.  There is nothing either of light or of heavy artillery in its composition and if the general effect be a negative one its means are not so—means out of which the end follows like a logical conclusion not like a cannon-shot.  And if the reader takes leave of this book with a feeling of reserve in regard to everything which has hitherto been honoured and even worshipped under the name of morality it does not alter the fact that there is not one negative word, not one attack and not one single piece of malice in the whole work—on the contrary it lies in the sunshine smooth and happy like a marine animal basking in the sun amongst rocks.  For after all I was this marine animal: almost every sentence in the book was thought out or rather caught among that medley of rocks in the neighbourhood of Genoa where I lived quite alone and shared secrets with the ocean.  Even to this day, when by chance I happen to turn over the leaves of this book almost every sentence seems to me like a hook by means of which I draw something incomparable out of the depths; its whole skin quivers with delicate shudders of recollection.  This book is conspicuous it’s considerable art in gently catching things which whisk rapidly and silently away, moments which I call divine lizards—not with the cruelty of that young Creek god who simply impaled the poor little beast; but nevertheless with something pointed—with a pen.  "There are so many daybreaks which have not yet shed their light—this Indian maxim is written over the doorway of this book.  Where does its author seek that new dawn, that delicate rosy-coloured sky as yet undiscovered with which another day—ah, a whole series of days, a whole world of new days!  —will begin?  In the Revaluation of all Values, in a liberation from all moral values, in an affirmation of and trust in all that has hitherto been forbidden, despised and damned.  This affirmative book projects its light, its love, its tenderness over all evil things, it restores to them their "soul”, their clear conscience and their exalted right and privilege to exist on earth.  Morality is not attacked, it simply ceases to be considered.  This book closes with an "or”?  —it is the only book which closes with an "or”?  


My life-task is to prepare for humanity one supreme moment of coming to itself, a Great Noontide in which it will look backwards and forwards, in which it will free itself from the yoke of accident and of priests and for the first time set the question of the Why and to what end of humanity as a whole—this life-task naturally follows out of the conviction that mankind is not on the right road of its own accord, that it is by no means divinely guided but rather that it is precisely under the cover of its most holy values that the instinct of negation, of corruption and of degeneration has established such a seductive influence.  The question concerning the origin of moral valuations is therefore a matter of the highest importance to me because it determines the future of mankind.  The demand made upon us to believe that everything is really in the best hands, that a certain book— the Bible, gives us the definite and comforting assurance that there is a Providence that wisely rules the fate of man—when translated back into reality amounts simply to this, that the will to stifle the truth which demonstrates the reverse of all this, which is that hitherto man has been in the worst possible hands and that he has been governed by the physiologically defective, the men of cunning and burning vengefulness and the so-called "saints”—those slanderers of the world and desecraters of humanity.  The definite proof of the fact that the priest (including the priest in disguise, the philosopher) has become master not only within a certain limited religious community but everywhere and that the morality of decadence, the will to selflessness has become morality per se is to be found in this: that altruism is now an absolute value and egoism is regarded with hostility everywhere.  He who disagrees with me on this point I regard as infected. But the entire world disagrees with me.  But the entire world disagrees with me.  To a physiologist such an antagonism of values admits of no doubt.  If the most insignificant organ within the body neglects however slightly to assert with absolute certainty its self preservative powers, its recuperative rights and its egoism the whole system degenerates.  The physiologist insists upon the removal of degenerated parts, he denies all regard for such parts and has not the smallest feeling of pity for them.  But the desire of the priest is precisely the degeneration of the whole of mankind; hence his preservation of that which is degenerate—this is what his dominion costs humanity.  What meaning have those lying concepts, those attendants of morality ‘Soul”, "Spirit”, "Free will”, "God” if their aim is not the physiological ruin of mankind?  When due importance is diverted from the instincts that aim at self-preservation and an increase of bodily energy i.  e.  at an increase of life; when sickness is raised to an ideal and the contempt of the body is construed as "the salvation of the soul”, what is all this if it is not a recipe for decadence?  Loss of the essential balance, resistance offered to natural instincts, selflessness in fact—this is what has hitherto been known as morality.  With Daybreak I first engaged in a struggle against the morality of self-abnegation.  

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