Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches), subtitled A Book for Free Spirits (Ein Buch für freie Geister).

First published in 1878.   A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten), followed in 1880.

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Previous Section   45. THE TWOFOLD EARLY HISTORY OF GOOD AND EVIL   Next Section

THE TWOFOLD EARLY HISTORY OF GOOD AND EVIL.  The conception of good and evil has a twofold early history, namely, once in the soul of the ruling tribes and castes.  Whoever has the power of returning good for good, evil for evil, and really practises requital, and who is, therefore, grateful and revengeful, is called good; whoever is powerless, and unable to requite, is reckoned as bad.  As a good man one is reckoned among the "good”- a community which has common feelings because the single individuals are bound to one another by the sense of requital.  As a bad man one belongs to the "bad” to a party of subordinate, powerless people who have no common feeling.  The good are a caste, the bad are a mass like dust.  Good and bad have for a long time meant the same thing as noble and base, master and slave.  On the other hand, the enemy is not looked upon as evil, he can requite.  In Homer the Trojan and the Greek are both good.  It is not the one who injures us, but the one who is despicable, who is called bad.  Good is inherited in the community of the good; it is impossible that a bad man could spring from such good soil.  If, nevertheless, one of the good ones does something which is unworthy of the good, refuge is sought in excuses; the guilt is thrown upon a god, for instance; it is said that he has struck the good man with blindness and madness.  -Then in the soul of the oppressed and powerless.  Here every other man is looked upon as hostile, inconsiderate, rapacious, cruel, cunning, be he noble or base; evil is the distinguishing word for man, even for every conceivable living creature, e.  g.  for a god; human, divine, is the same thing as devilish, evil.  The signs of goodness, helpfulness, pity, are looked upon with fear as spite, the prelude to a terrible result, stupefaction and outwitting, in short, as refined malice.  With such a disposition in the individual a community could hardly exist, or at most it could exist only in its crudest form, so that in all places where this conception of good and evil obtains, the downfall of the single individuals, of their tribes and races, is at hand.  Our present civilisation has grown up on the soil of the ruling tribes and castes.  

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