Friedrich Nietzsche Full Text EBook
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1My demand of the philosopher is well known: that he take his stand beyond good and evil and treat the illusion of moral judgment as beneath him. This demand follows from an insight that I was the first to articulate: that there are no moral facts. Moral and religious judgments are based on realities that do not exist. Morality is merely an interpretation of certain phenomena — more precisely, a misinterpretation. Moral judgments, like religious ones, belong to a stage of ignorance in which the very concept of the real, and the distinction between what is real and imaginary, are still lacking. "Truth" at this stage designates all sorts of things that we today call "figments of the imagination." Moral judgments are therefore never to be taken literally: so understood, they are always merely absurd. Semiotically, however, they remain invaluable: they reveal, at least for those who can interpret them, the most valuable realities of cultures and psychologies that did not know how to "understand" themselves. Morality is only a language of signs, a group of symptoms: one must know how to interpret them correctly to be able to profit from them.
2A first, tentative example: at all times morality has aimed to "improve" men — this aim is above all what was called morality. Under the same word, however, the most divergent tendencies have been concealed. But "improvement" has meant both taming the beast called man, and breeding a particular kind of man. Such zoological concepts are required to express the realities — realities of which the typical "improver," the priest, admittedly neither knows anything nor wants to know anything. To call the taming of an animal its "improvement" sounds almost like a joke to our ears. Whoever knows what goes on in kennels doubts that dogs are "improved" there. They are weakened, they are made less harmful, and through the depressive effect of fear, through pain, through wounds, and through hunger, they become sickly beasts. It is no different with the tamed man whom the priest has "improved." In the early Middle Ages, when the church was indeed, above all, a kennel, the most perfect specimens of the "blond beast" were hunted down everywhere; and the noble Teutons, for example, were "improved." But how did such an "improved" Teuton look after he had been drawn into a monastery? Like a caricature of man, a miscarriage: he had become a "sinner," he was stuck in a cage, tormented with all sorts of painful concepts. And there he lay, sick, miserable, hateful to himself, full of evil feelings against the impulses of his own life, full of suspicion against all that was still strong and happy. In short, a "Christian." Physiologically speaking: in the struggle with beasts, making them sick may be the only way to make them weak. The church understood this: it sickened and weakened man — and by so doing "improved" him.
3Let us consider the other method for "improving" mankind, the method of breeding a particular race or type of man. The most magnificent example of this is furnished by Indian morality, sanctioned as religion in the form of "the law of Manu." Here the objective is to breed no less than four races within the same society: one priestly, one warlike, one for trade and agriculture, and finally a race of servants, the Sudras. Obviously, we are no longer dealing with animal tamers: a man that is a hundred times milder and more reasonable is the only one who could even conceive such a plan of breeding. One breathes a sigh of relief at leaving the Christian atmosphere of disease and dungeons for this healthier, higher, and wider world. How wretched is the New Testament compared to Manu, how foul it smells! Yet this method also found it necessary to be terrible — not in the struggle against beasts, but against their equivalent — the ill-bred man, the mongrel man, the chandala. And again the breeder had no other means to fight against this large group of mongrel men than by making them sick and weak. Perhaps there is nothing that goes against our feelings more than these protective measures of Indian morality. The third edict, for example (Avadana-Sastra I), "on impure vegetables," ordains that the only nourishment permitted to the chandala shall be garlic and onions, seeing that the holy scripture prohibits giving them grain, fruit with grains, water or fire. The same edict orders that the water they drink may not be taken from rivers or wells, nor from ponds, but only from the approaches to swamps and from holes made by the footsteps of animals. They are also prohibited from washing their laundry and from washing themselves, since the water they are conceded as an act of grace may be used only to quench thirst. Finally, Sudra women are prohibited from assisting chandala women in childbirth, just as chandala women are prohibited from midwifing to each other. The success of such sanitary police measures was inevitable: murderous epidemics, ghastly venereal diseases, and thereupon again "the law of the knife," ordaining circumcision for male children and the removal of the internal labia for female children. Manu himself says: "The chandalas are the fruit of adultery, incest, and rape (crimes that follow from the fundamental concept of breeding). For clothing they shall have only rags from corpses; for dishes, broken pots; for adornment, old iron; for divine services, only evil spirits. They shall wander without rest from place to place. They are prohibited from writing from left to right, and from using the right hand in writing: the use of the right hand and of from-left-to-right is reserved for the virtuous, for the people of pure blood."
4These regulations are instructive enough: we encounter Aryan humanity at its purest and most primordial; we learn that the concept of "pure blood" is very far from being a harmless concept. On the other hand, it becomes obvious in which people the chandala hatred against this Aryan "humaneness" has has become a religion, eternalized itself, and become genius — primarily in the Gospels, even more so in the Book of Enoch. Christianity, sprung from Jewish roots and comprehensible only as a growth on this soil, represents the counter-movement to any morality of breeding, of race, privilege: it is the anti-Aryan religion par excellence. Christianity — the revaluation of all Aryan values, the victory of chandala values, the gospel preached to the poor and base, the general revolt of all the downtrodden, the wretched, the failures, the less favored, against "race": the undying chandala hatred is disguised as a religion of love.
5The morality of breeding, and the morality of taming, are, in the means they use, entirely worthy of each other: we may proclaim it as a supreme principle that to make men moral one must have the unconditional resolve to act immorally. This is the great, the uncanny problem which I have been pursuing the longest: the psychology of the "improvers" of mankind. A small, and at bottom modest, fact — that of the so-called pia fraus [holy lie] — offered me the first insight into this problem: the pia fraus, the heirloom of all philosophers and priests who "improved" mankind. Neither Manu nor Plato nor Confucius nor the Jewish and Christian teachers have ever doubted their right to lie. They have not doubted that they had very different rights too. Expressed in a formula, one might say: all the means by which one has so far attempted to make mankind moral were through and through immoral.