Sunday, October 18, 2020




Metaphysics orsphysics, sometimes also called 

Theology, rises one degree higher still in abstraction 

and consequently also in generalization. It passes 

over the reality of change by which bodies reveal 

themselves to the physical scientist, and reaches 

beyond the fundamental attribute of quantity, that 

inseparable property of bodies, in order to grasp the substance itself of them, the very being of things. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

ontofonè di Giacinto Plescia on


Registered: Aug 2007
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ikonag8 Store Description ontologia della physis, matesis, poiesis, katastrophè, ontopoiesis della spazio-temporalità immaginaria...... Ontologia dell’ontykona….c’è un’ontosonanza e un ontovisione o una onto-risonanza Amo Odioo dio Libri ontologia della physis, matesis, poiesis, katastrophè, ontopoiesis della spazio-temporalità immaginaria...... ontologia della poiesis film Trasmissioni TV Il mio mottoHttp://

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che cos'è che dà magia al mito? che cos'è che dà magia al silenzio? che cos'è che dà magia all'anima? l'essere? l'interessere? l'interesserci....essere assentemente presente essere presentemente assente....essere....

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L' epistemica, il nulla e l'arte - Plescia Giacinto - Montedit - Libro

LinkL' epistemica, il nulla e l'arte

Wednesday, September 16, 2020



Techne armonica pitagorica-

kepleriana c'è la teoria matematica.  

Interpretanze pitagoriche in sintonia con 


La scienza armonica strutturale matematica o Techne armonica della tonalità E' la musica-arte-scienza, nella musica c'è  la dissonanza Mobiusiana, 

la dissonanza sublime, o dissonanza nel sublime.  

Frank e Nancy Sinatra ~ Something Stupid (1967)

Frank e Nancy Sinatra ~ Something Stupid (1967)



IL DASEIN be unveiled for the Dasein that is doing the asserting, that is, must be intra worldly.  

But since, as was said of Lotze, any assertion refers to a more primary unveiling of the entity, to being true, the copula is not itself determinable or concretizable in any assertion because it refers to what is always already unveiled before any assertion.

wydeags La salvezza trova l‘epigenesi nel mito ontoteologico della bellezza di GIACINTO PLESCIA


Solo l‘essere-per-l‘arte può salvare l‘arte nel suo declino verso l‘essere per la sua morte, senza salvezza né speranza nel mito ontoteologico della simmetria della bellezza. 

Solo così l‘essere ci può salvare? Ci salverà da chi e da che cosa? 

Ci salverà dalle katastrofi del tempo o dalle crisi della storia o dal mito riemergente dell‘antilogos o dall‘angoscia per la morte dell‘arte o dell‘arte per la morte o dell‘essere per la morte? 

O ci salverà dall‘essere-nella-temporalità-della-morte? 

GIACINTO PLESCIA Ontologia dell’ontykona


Ontologia dell’ontykona….c’è un’ontosonanza e un ontovisione o una onto-risonanza o un onto-previsione ontoepistemica dell’essere-arte-disarte-dell’ikona-dell’essere delle muse-dismuse abbandonate, ma mai fuggenti, dagli dei-disdei fuggitivi-disfuggitivi.  

Quella ontosonanza e ontovisione-disvisione si eventua alla presenza ontoepistemica del musagete-dismusagete in estatica con-templatezza della ontorisonanza-ontoprevisione delle muse-dismuse-attanziali e seducenti, anzi ontoattanti e introducenti l’ontoducenza della destinanza dell’essere-arte-dell’essere e giammai arte dell’ente o del non-ente o del niente o del nulla: 

GIACINTO PLESCIA Ontologia dell’opera d’arte

Ontologia dell’opera d’arte mah…essere per la salvezza dell’essere significa essere per la salvezza dell’arte?

E l’opera d’arte aiuterà l’essere a salvarsi?

Mah… solo l’opera d’arte ci può salvare?

E solo l’arte salverà l’essere o il mito ontoteologico della salvezza della mondità?

Solo l’arte ci potrà salvare?

Solo il mito dell’opera d’arte può salvare il mito delle muse della poiesis o dell’ontopoiesis?


margr essere per l'arte di Giacinto Plescia

Solo l'essere-per-l'arte può salvare l'arte nel suo declino verso l'essere per la sua morte, senza salvezza né speranza nel mito ontoteologico della simmetria della bellezza. 

Solo così l‘essere ci può salvare?  
Ci salverà da chi e da che cosa?  

wydeags La salvezza trova l‘epigenesi nel mito ontoteologico della bellezza simmetrica di GIACINTO PLESCIA

Solo l'essere-per-l'arte può salvare l'arte nel suo declino verso l'essere per la sua morte, senza salvezza né speranza nel mito ontoteologico della simmetria della bellezza.   

Solo così l'essere ci può salvare? 
Ci salverà da chi e da che cosa? 

Ci salverà dalle katastrofi del tempo o dalle crisi della storia o dal mito riemergente dell‘antilogos o dall‘angoscia per la morte dell‘arte o dell‘arte per la morte o dell‘essere per la morte? 
O ci salverà dall‘essere-nella-temporalità-della-morte?  

Ah il tempo quale ikona dell‘essere che si disvela al mondo nella spazialità immaginaria dell‘opera d‘arte. 

 ration, an attribution of infinity to every 

thing. In the religion of love, " a fine young 

man," " a beautiful woman," in some way divine ; 

a bridegroom, a bride of the soul. (3) In art, as 

a decorating force, e.g. just as the man sees the 

woman and makes her a present of everything 

that can enhance her personal charm, so the 

sensuality of the artist adorns an object with 

everything else that he honours and esteems, 

and by this means perfects it (or idealises it). 

Woman, knowing what man feels in regard to 

her, tries to meet his idealising endeavours half 

way by decorating herself, by walking and dancing 

well, by expressing delicate thoughts : in addition, 

she may practise modesty, shyness, reserve- 

prompted by her instinctive feeling that the ideal 

ising power of man increases with all this. (In 

the extraordinary finesse of woman s instincts, 

modesty must not by any means be considered as 

conscious hypocrisy : she guesses that it is pre 

cisely artlessness and real shame which seduces 

man most and urges him to an exaggerated 


esteem of her. On this account, woman is in 

genuous, owing to the subtlety of her instincts 

which reveal to her the utility of a state of 

innocence. A wilful closing of one s eyes 

to one s self. . . . Wherever dissembling has a 

stronger influence by being unconscious it actually 

becomes unconscious.) 


What a host of things can be accomplished by 

the state of intoxication which is called by the 

name of love, and which is something else besides 

love ! And yet everybody has his own experience 

of this matter. The muscular strength of a girl 

suddenly increases as soon as a man comes into 

her presence : there are instruments with which 

this can be measured. In the case of a still closer 

relationship of the sexes, as, for instance, in dancing 

and in other amusements which society gatherings 

entail, this power increases to such an extent 

as to make real feats of strength possible : at 

last one no longer trusts either one s eyes, or one s 

watch ! Here at all events we must reckon with 

the fact that dancing itself, like every form of 

rapid movement, involves a kind of intoxication 

of the whole nervous, muscular, and visceral 

system. We must therefore reckon in this case 

with the collective effects of a double intoxication. 

And how clever it is to be a little off your head i 

at times ! There are some realities which we - 

cannot admit even to ourselves : especially when 

we are women and have all sorts of feminine 


" pudeurs" . . . Those young creatures dancing 

over there are obviously beyond all reality : they 

are dancing only with a host of tangible ideals : 

what is more, they even see ideals sitting around 

them, their mothers ! . . . An opportunity for 

quoting Faust. They look incomparably fairer, 

do tt^ese pretty creatures, when they have lost 

their head a little ; and how well they know it 

too, they are even more delightful because they 

know it ! Lastly, it is their finery which inspires 

them : their finery is their third little intoxication. 

They believe in their dressmaker as in their God : 

and who would destroy this faith in them? Blessed 

is this faith ! And self-admiration is healthy ! 

Self-admiration can protect one even from cold ! 

Has a beautiful woman, who knew she was well- 

dressed, ever caught cold ? Never yet on this 

earth ! I even suppose a case in which she has 

scarcely a rag on her. 


If one should require the most astonishing 

/ proof of how far the power of transfiguring, which 

I comes of intoxication, goes, this proof is at hand 

V in the phenonTeTTon of love ; or what is called love 

in all the languages and silences of the world. 

Intoxication works to such a degree upon reality 

in this passion that in the consciousness of the 

lover the cause of his love is quite suppressed, and 

something else seems to take its place, a vibra 

tion and a glitter of all the charm-mirrors of 

/ Circe. ... In this respect to be man or an 


animal makes no difference : and still less does 

spirit, goodness, or honesty. If one is astute, 

one is befooled astutely ; if one is thick-headed, 

one is befooled in a thick-headed way. But love, 

even the love of God, saintly love, " the love that 

saves the soul," are at bottom all one; they are 

nothing but a fever which has reasons to trans 

figure itself a state of intoxication which does 

well to lie about i self. . . . And, at any rate, 

when a man loves, he is a good liar about himself 

and to himself: he seems to himself transfigured, 

stronger, richer, more perfect ; he is more per 

fect. . . . -4r/Jiere acts as an organic function : 

we find it present in the most angelic instinct 

" love " ; we find it as the greatest stimulus of 

life thus art is sublimely utilitarian, even in the 

fact that it lies. . . . But we should be wrong 

In hall at its power to lie: it does more than 

merely imagine; it actually transposes values. J, 

And it not only transposes the feeling for values : 

the lover actually has a greater value ; he is 

stronger. In animals this condition gives rise to 

new weapons, colours, pigments, and forms, and 

above all to new movements, new rhythms, new 

love-calls and seductions. In man it is just the 

same. His whole economy is richer, mightier, 

and more complete when he is in love than when 

he is not. The lover becomes a spendthrift ; he 

is rich enough for it. He now dares ; he becomes 

an adventurer, and even a donkey in magnanimity 

and innocence ; his belief in God and in virtue 

revives, because he believes in love. Moreover, 

such idiots of happiness acquire wings and new 


capacities, and even the door to art is opened to 


If we cancel the suggestion of this intestinal 

fever from the lyric of tones and words, what is 

left to poetry and music ? . . . L art pour I art 

perhaps ; the professional cant of frogs shivering 

outside in the cold, and dying of despair in their 

swamp. . . . Everything else was created by 



All art works like a suggestion on the muscles 

and the senses which were originally active in the 

ingenuous artistic man ; its voice is only heard 

by artists it speaks to this kind of man, whose 

constitution is attuned to such subtlety in sensi 

tiveness. The concept " layman " is a misnomer. 

The deaf man is not a subdivision of the class ^ 

whose ears are sound. All art works as a tonic \ 

it increases strength, it kindles desire (i.e. the 

feeling of strength), it excites all the more subtle 

recollections of intoxication ; there is actually a 

special kind of memory which underlies such 

states a distant flitful world of sensations here 

returns to being. 

Ugliness is the contradiction of art. It is that 

which art excludes, the negation of art : wherever 

decline, impoverishment of life, impotence, de 

composition, dissolution, are felt, however remotely, 

the aesthetic man reacts with his No. Ugliness 

depresses : it is the sign of depression. It robs 

strength, it impoverishes, it weighs down, . . . 

Ugliness suggests repulsive things. From one s 


states of health one can test how an indisposition 

may increase one s power of fancying ugly things. 

One s selection of things, interests, and questions 

becomes different. Logic provides a state which 

is next of kin to ugliness : heaviness, bluntness. 

In the presence of ugliness equilibrium is lacking 

in a mechanical sense : ugliness limps and 

stumbles the direct opposite of the godly agility 

of the dancer. 

The aesthetic state represents an overflow of 

means of communication as well as a condition of 

extreme sensibility to stimuli and signs. It is 

the zenith of communion and transmission 

between living creatures ; it is the source of 

languages. In it, languages, whether of signs, 

sounds, or glances, have their birthplace. The 

richer phenomenon is always the beginning : our 

abilities are subtilised forms of richer abilities. 

But even to-day we still listen with our muscles, 

we even read with our muscles. 

Every mature art possesses a host of conventions 

as a basis : in so far as it is a language. Con 

vention is a condition of great art, not an obstacle 

to it. ... Every elevation of life likewise elevates 

the power of communication, as also the under 

standing of man. The power of living in other 

people s souls originally had nothing to do with 

morality, but with a physiological irritability of 

suggestion : " sympathy," or what is called 

"altruism," is merely a product of that psycho- 

motor relationship which is reckoned as spirituality 

(psycho-motor induction, says Charles Fere). 

People never communicate a thought to one 


another: they communicate a movement, an 

imitative sign which is then interpreted as a 



Compared with music, communication by means 

of words is a shameless mode of procedure ; words 

reduce and stultify ; words make impersonal ; 

words make common that which is uncommon. 


It is exceptional states that determine the 

artist such states as are all intimately related 

and entwined with morbid symptoms, so that it 

would seem almost impossible to be an artist 

without being ill. 

The physiological conditions which in the artist 

become moulded into a " personality," and which, 

to a certain degree, may attach themselves to any 

man : 

1 i ) Intoxication, the feeling of enhanced power ; 

the inner compulsion to make things a mirror of 

one s own fulness and perfection. 

(2) The extreme sharpness of certain senses, 

so that they are capable of understanding a totally 

different language of signs and to create such a 

language (this is a condition which manifests itself 

in some nervous diseases) ; extreme susceptibility 

out of which great powers of communion are 

developed ; the desire to speak on the part of 

everything that is capable of making -signs ; a need 

of being rid of one s self by means of gestures 


and attitudes ; the ability of speaking about one s 

self in a hundred different languages in fact, a 

state of explosion. 

One must first imagine this condition as one in 

which there is a pressing and compulsory desire of 

ridding one s self of the ecstasy of a state of tension, , 

by all kinds of muscular work and movement ; 

also as an involuntary co-ordination of these move 

ments with inner processes (images, thoughts, 

desires) as a kind of automatism of the whole 

muscular system under the compulsion of strong 

stimuli acting from within ; the inability to 

resist reaction ; the apparatus of resistance is 

also suspended. Every inner movement (feeling, 

thought, emotion) is accompanied by vascular 

changes, and consequently by changes in^colour; 

temperature, and secretion. The suggestive power 

of music, its " suggestion mentale" 

(3) The compulsion to imitate-, extreme irritabil 

ity, by means of which a certain example becomes 

contagious a condition is guessed and represented 

merely by means of a few signs. ... A complete 

picture is visualised by one s inner consciousness, 

and its effect soon shows itself in the movement 

of the limbs, in a ceVtain suspension of the will 

(Schopenhauer ! ! ! !). A sort of blindness and 

deafness towards the external world, the realm 

of admitted stimuli is sharply defined. 

This differentiates the artist from the layman 

(from the spectator of art) : the latter reaches the 

height of his excitement in the mere act of appre 

hending: the former in giving and in such a way 

that the antagonism between these two gifts is not 

2 5 6 


only natural but even desirable. Each of these states 

has an opposite standpoint to demand of the 

artist that he should have the point of view of the 

spectator (of the critic) is equivalent to asking 

him to impoverish his creative power. ... In this 

respect the same difference holds good as that which 

exists between the sexes : one should not ask the 

artist who gives to become a woman to "receive" 

Our aesthetics have hitherto been women s 

aesthetics, inasmuch as they have only formulated 

the experiences of what is beautiful, from the point 

of view of the receivers in art. In the whole of 

philosophy hitherto the artist has been lacking . . . 

i.e. as we have already suggested, a necessary 

fault : for the artist who would begin to under 

stand himself would therewith begin to mistake 

himself he must not look backwards, he must 

not look at all ; he must give. It is an honour 

for an artist to have no critical faculty ; if he can 

criticise he is mediocre, he is modern. 


Here I lay down a series of psychological states 

as signs of flourishing and complete life, which 

to-day we are in the habit of regarding as morbid. 

But, by this time, we have broken ourselves of 

the habit of speaking of healthy and morbid as 

opposites : the question is one of degree, what 

I maintain on this point is that what people call 

healthy nowadays represents a lower level of that 

which under favourable circumstances actually 

would be healthy that we are relatively sick. . . . 


The artist belongs to a much stronger race. That V 

which in us would be harmful and sickly, is natural 

in him. But people object to this that it is pre 

cisely the impoverishment of the machine which 

renders this extraordinary power of comprehending 

every kind of suggestion possible : e.g. our hysteri 

cal females. 

An overflow of spunk and energy may quite as 

well lead to symptoms of partial constraint, sense 

hallucinations, peripheral sensitiveness, as a poor 

vitality does the stimuli are differently deter 

mined, the effect is the same. . . . What is not 

the same is above all the ultimate result ; the 

extreme torpidity of all morbid natlllg, after their 

nervous eccentricities, has nothing in common with 

the states of the artist, who need in no wise 

repent his best moments. . . . He is rich enough 

for it all : he can squander without becoming 


Just as we now feel justified in judging genius j 

as a form of neurosis, we may perhaps think the 

same of artistic suggestive power, and our 

artists are, as a matter of fact, only too closely 

related to hysterical females \ \ \ This, however, 

is only an argument against the present day, and 

not against artists in general. 

The inartistic states are: objectivity, reflection 

suspension of the will . . . (Schopenhauer s scandal- ] 

ous misunderstanding consisted in regarding art as < 

a mere bridge to the denial of life) . . . The in 

artistic states are : those which impoverish, which 

subtract, which bleach, under which life suffers 

the Christian. 



8I 3 . 

The modern artist who, in his physiology, is 

next of kin to the hysteric, may also be classified 

as a character belonging to this state of morbid 

ness. The hysteric is false, he lies from the 

love of lying, he is admirable in all the arts of 

dissimulation, unless his morbid vanity hood 

wink him. This vanity is like a perpetual fever 

which is in need of stupefying drugs, and which 

recoils from no self-deception and no farce that 

promises it the most fleeting satisfaction. (The 

incapacity for pride and the need of continual 

revenge for his deep-rooted self-contempt, this is 

almost the definition of this man s vanity.) 

The absurd irritability of his system, which 

makes a crisis out of every one of his experiences, 

and sees dramatic elements in the most insignifi 

cant occurrences of life, deprives him of all calm 

reflection : he ceases from being a personality, at 

most he is a rendezvous of personalities of which 

first one and then the other asserts itself with 

barefaced assurance. Precisely on this account he 

is great as an actor : all these poor will-less people, 

whom doctors study so profoundly, astound one 

through their virtuosity in mimicking, in trans 

figuration, in their assumption of almost any 

character required. 


Artists are not men of great passion, despite all 

their assertions to the contrary both to themselves 

and to others. And for the following two reasons : 


they lack all shyness towards themselves (they 

watch themselves live, they spy upon themselves, 

they are much too inquisitive), and they also lack 

shyness in the presence of passion (as artists they 

exploit it). Secondly, however, that vampire, 

their talent, generally forbids them such an ex 

penditure of energy as passion demands. A man 

who has a talent is sacrificed to that talent ; he 

lives under the vampirism of his talent. 

A man does not get rid of his passion by re 

producing it, but rather he is rid of it if he is able 

to reproduce it. (Goethe teaches the reverse, but 

it seems as though he deliberately misunderstood 

himself here from a sense of delicacy.) 


Concerning a reasonable mode of life. -.Relative 

chastity, a fundamental and shrewd caution in 

regard to erotica, even in thought, may be a reason 

able mode of life even in richly equipped and 

perfect natures. But this principle applies more 

particularly to artists ; it belongs to the best 

wisdom of their lives. Wholly trustworthy voices 

have already been raised in favour of this view, 

e.g. Stendhal, Th. Gautier, and Flaubert. The artist 

is perhaps in his way necessarily a sensual man, 

generally susceptible, accessible to everything, and 

capable of responding to the remotest stimulus or 

suggestion of a stimulus. Nevertheless, as a rule 

he is in the power of his work, of his will to 

mastership, really a sober and often even a chaste 

man. His dominating instinct will have him so : 


it does not allow him to spend himself haphazardly. 

It is one and the same form of strength which is 

spent in artistic conception and in the sexual 

act : there is only one form of strength. The 

artist who yields in this respect, and who spends 

himself, is betrayed : by so doing he reveals his 

lack of instinct, his lack of will in general. It 

may be a sign of decadence, in any case it re 

duces the value of his art to an incalculable 



Compared with the artist, the scientific man, 

regarded as a phenomenon, is indeed a sign of a 

certain storing-up and levelling-down of life (but 

also of an increase of strength, severity, hardness, 

and will-power). To what extent can falsity and 

indifference towards truth and utility be a sign of 

youth, of childishness, in the artist? . . . Their 

habitual manner, their unreasonableness, their 

ignorance of themselves, their indifference to 

" eternal values/ their seriousness in play, their 

lack of dignity ; clowns and gods in one ; the 

saint and the rabble. . . . Imitation as an imperi 

ous instinct. t)o not artists of ascending life and 

artists of degeneration belong to all phases ? . . . 



Would any link be missing in the whole chain 

of science and art, if woman, if woman s work, were 

excluded from it ? Let us acknowledge the 


exception it proves the rule that woman is 

capable of perfection in everything which does not 

constitute a work : in letters, in memoirs, in the 

most intricate handiwork in short, in everything 

which is not a craft ; and just precisely because in 

the things mentioned woman perfects herself, be 

cause in them she obeys the only artistic impulse 

in her nature, which is to captivate. . . . But 

what has woman to do with the passionate indiffer 

ence of the genuine artist who sees more importance 

in a breath, in a sound, in the merest trifle, than in 

himself? who with all his five fingers gropes for 

his most secret and hidden treasures ? who attri 

butes no value to anything unless it knows how to 

take shape (unless it surrenders itself, unless it 

visualises itself in some way). Art as it is 

practised by artists do you not understand what 

it is ? is it not an outrage on all our pudeurs ? . . . 

Only in this century has woman dared to try her 

hand at literature ( " Vers la canaille plumiere fariv- 

assiere" to speak with old Mirabeau) : woman now 

writes, she now paints, she is losing her instincts. 

And to what purpose, if one may put such a 

question ? 


A man is an artist to the extent to which he 

regards everything that inartistic people call 

" form " as the actual substance, as the " prin 

cipal " thing. With such ideas a man certainly 

belongs to a world upside down : for hencefor 

ward substance seems to him something merely 

formal, his own life included. 



, A sense for, and a delight in, nuances (which is 

characteristic of modernity), in that which is not 

general, runs counter to the instinct which finds 

its joy and its strength in grasping what is typical : 

like Greek taste in its best period. In this there 

is an overcoming of the plenitude of life ; restraint 

dominates, the peace of the strong soul which is 

slow to move and which feels a certain repug 

nance towards excessive activity is defeated. The 

general rule, the law, is honoured and made 

prominent : conversely, the exception is laid aside, 

and shades are suppressed. All that which is firm, 

mighty, solid, life resting on a broad and powerful 

basis, concealing its strength this " pleases " : i.e. 

it corresponds with what we think of ourselves. 


In the main I am much more in favour of 

artists than any philosopher that has appeared 

hitherto : artists, at least, did not lose sight of the 

great course which life pursues ; they loved the 

things " of this world," they loved their senses. 

v To strive after " spirituality," in cases where this 

is not pure hypocrisy or self-deception, seems to 

me to be either a misunderstanding, a disease, or a 

cure. I wish myself, and all those who live with 

out the troubles of a puritanical conscience, and 

who are able to live in this way, an ever greater 

spiritualisation and multiplication of the senses. 

Indeed, we would fain be grateful to the senses for 



their subtlety, power, and plenitude, and on that 

account offer them the best we have in the way of 

spirit. What do we care about priestly and meta 

physical anathemas upon the senses? We no 

longer require to treat them in this way : it is 

a sign of well-constitutedness when a man like 

Goethe clings with ever greater joy and heartiness 

to the " things of this world " in this way he 

holds firmly to the grand concept of mankind, 

which is that man becomes the glorifying power j 

of existence when he learns to glorify himself. J 


Pessimism in art? The artist gradually learns 

to like for their own sake, those means which 

bring about the condition of aesthetic elation ; 

extreme delicacy and glory of colour, definite 

delineation, quality of tone; distinctness where in 

normal conditions distinctness is absent. All 

distinct things, all nuances, in so far as they recall 

extreme degrees of power which give rise to 

intoxication, kindle this feeling of intoxication by 

association ; the effect of works of art is the 

excitation of the state which creates art, of aesthetic 


The essential feature in art is its power of 

perfecting existence, its production of perfection 

and plenitude ; art is essentially the affirmation, 

the blessing, and the deification of existence. . . . 

What does a pessimistic art signify ? Is it not a 

contradictio ? Yes. Schopenhauer is in error 

when he makes certain works of art serve the 


purpose of pessimism. Tragedy does not teach 

" resignation." ... To represent terrible and 

questionable things is, in itself, the sign of an 

instinct of power and magnificence in the artist ; 

1 he doesn t fear them. . . . There is no such thing 

j as a pessimistic art. . . . Art affirms. Job 

j ^frirms. But Zola ? and the Goncourts ? the 

things they show us are ugly ; their reason, however, 

for showing them to us is their love of ugliness. . . 

I don t care what you say ! You simply deceive 

yourselves if you think otherwise. What a relief 

Dostoievsky is ! 


If I have sufficiently initiated my readers into 

the doctrine that even " goodness," in the whole 

comedy of existence, represents a form of exhaus 

tion, they will now credit Christianity with con 

sistency for having conceived the good to be the 

ugly. In this respect Christianity was right. 

It is absolutely unworthy of a philosopher to 

\ say that " the good and the beautiful are one " ; if 

he should add " and also the true," he deserves to 

; be thrashed. Truth is ugly. 

Art is with us in order that we may not perish 

through truth. 


Moralising tendencies may be combated with 

art. Art is freedom from moral bigotry and 

philosophy a la Little Jack Homer : or it may be 

the mockery of these things. The flight to Nature, 


where beauty and terribleness are coupled. The 

concept of the great man. 

Fragile, useless souls-de-luxe, which are dis 

concerted by a mere breath of wind, " beautiful 


Ancient ideals, in their inexorablehardnessand 

brutality, ought to be awakened, as the mightiest 

of monsters that they are. 

We should feel a boisterous delight in the 

psychological perception of how all moralised 

artists become worms and actors without know 

ing it. 

The falsity of art, its immorality, must be 

brought into the light of day. 

The " fundamental idealising powers " (sensu 

ality, intoxication, excessive animality) should be 

brought to light. 


Modern counterfeit practices in the arts : regarded 

as necessary that is to say, as fully in keeping 

with the needs most proper to the modern soul. 

The gaps in the gifts, and still more in the 

education, antecedents, and schooling of modern 

artists, are now filled up in this way : 

First: A less artistic public is sought which is 

capable of unlimited love (and is capable of 

falling on its knees before a personality). The 

superstition of our century, the belief in " genius," 

assists this process. 

Secondly ; Artists harangue the dark instincts of 

the dissatisfied, the ambitious, and the self-deceivers 

of a democratic age : the importance of poses. 


Thirdly : The procedures of one art are trans 

ferred to the realm of another ; the object of art is 

confounded with that of science, with that of the 

Church, or with that of the interests of the race 

(nationalism), or with that of philosophy a man 

rings all bells at once, and awakens the vague 

suspicion that he is a god. 

Fourthly : Artists flatter women, sufferers, and 

indignant folk. Narcotics and opiates are made to- 

preponderate in art. The fancy of cultured people, 

and of the readers of poetry and ancient history, 

is tickled. 


We must distinguish between the " public " and 

the " select " ; to satisfy the public a man must be 

a charlatan to-day, to satisfy the select he will be 

a virtuoso and nothing else. The geniuses peculiar 

to our century overcame this distinction, they 

, were great for both ; the great charlatanry of 

Victor Hugo and Richard Wagner was coupled 

with such genuine virtuosity that it even satisfied 

I the most refined artistic connoisseurs. This is 

! why greatness is lacking : these geniuses had a 

\ double outlook ; first, they catered for the coarsest 

needs, and then for the most refined. 


False "accentuation": (i) In romanticism; 

this unremitting " exp-ressivo " is not a sign of 

strength, but of a feeling of deficiency ; 

(2) Picturesque music, the so-called dramatic 


kind, is above all easier (as is also the brutal 

scandalmongering and the juxtaposition of facts 

and traits in realistic novels) ; 

(3) "Passion" as amatter of nerves and exhausted 

souls ; likewise the delight in high mountains, deserts, 

storms, orgies, and disgusting details, in bulkiness 

and massiveness (historians, forinstance) ; as amatter 

of fact, there is actually a cult of exaggerated feel 

ings (how is it that in stronger ages art desired 

just the opposite a restraint of passion ?) ; 

(4) The preference for exciting materials (Erotica 

or Socialistic* or Pathologicd) : all these things are 

the signs of the style of public that is being 

catered for to-day that is to say, for overworked, 

absentminded, or enfeebled people. 

Such people must be tyrannised over in order 

to be affected. 


Modern art is the art of tyrannising. A coarse 

and salient definiteness in delineation ; the motive 

simplified into a formula; formulae tyrannise. 

Wild arabesques within the lines ; overwhelming 

masses, before which the senses are confused ; 

brutality in coloration, in subject-matter, in the 

desires. Examples : Zola, Wagner, and, in a 

more spiritualised degree, Taine. Hence logic, 

massiveness, and brutality. 


In regard to the painter : Tous ces modernes sont 

des poetes qui ont voulu etre peintres. Lun a 


chercJit des drames dans l histoire t I autre des scenes 

de moeurs, celui ci traduit des religions, celui la une 

philosophie. One imitates Raphael, another the 

early Italian masters. The landscapists employ 

trees and clouds in order to make odes and 

elegies. Not one is simply a painter ; they are 

ajl archaeologists, psychologists, and impresarios 

of one or another kind of event or theory. They 

enjoy our erudition and our philosophy. Like us, 

they are full, and too full, of general ideas. They 

like a form, not because it is what it is, but 

because of what it expresses. They are the scions 

of a learned, tormented, and reflecting generation, 

a thousand miles away from the Old Masters who 

never read, and only concerned themselves with 

feasting their eyes. 


At bottom, even Wagner s music, in so far as it 

stands for the whole of French romanticism, is 

literature : the charm of exoticism (strange times, 

customs, passions), exercised upon sensitive cosy- 

corner people. The delight of entering into ex 

tremely distant and prehistoric lands to which 

books lead one, and by which means the whole 

horizon is painted with new colours and new 

possibilities. . . . Dreams of still more distant 

and unexploited worlds ; disdain of the boulevards. 

. . . For Nationalism, let us not deceive ourselves, 

is also only a form of exoticism. . . . Romantic 

musicians merely relate what exotic books have 

made of them : people would fain experience 

exotic sensations and passions according to 


Florentine and Venetian taste ; finally they are 

satisfied to look for them in an image. . . . The 

essential factor is the kind of novel desire, the 

desire to imitate, the desire to live as people have 

lived once before in the past, and the disguise and 

dissimulation of the soul. . . . Romantic art is 

only an emergency exit from defective " reality." 

The attempt to perform new things : revolution, \ 

Napoleon. Napoleon represents the passion of 

new spiritual possibilities, of an extension of the I 

soul s domain. 

The greater the debility of the will, the greater 

the extravagances in the desire to feel, to repre 

sent, and to dream new things. The result of j 

the excesses which have been indulged in : an 

insatiable thirst for unrestrained feelings. . . . 

Foreign literatures afford the strongest spices. 


Winckelmann s and Goethe s Greeks, Victor 1 

Hugo s Orientals, Wagner s Edda characters, 

Walter Scott s Englishmen of the thirteenth 

century some day the whole comedy will be 

exposed ! All of it was disproportionately 

historical and false, but modern. 

Concerning the characteristics of national 

genius in regard to the strange and to the 


English genius vulgarises and makes realistic 

everything it sees ; 


The French whittles down, simplifies, rational 

ises, embellishes ; 

The German muddles, compromises, involves, 

and infects everything with morality ; 

The Italian has made by far the freest and 

most subtle use of borrowed material, and has 

enriched it with a hundred times more beauty 

than it ever drew out of it : it is the richest 

genius, it had the most to bestow. 


The Jews, with Heinrich Heine and Offenbach, 

approached genius in the sphere of art. The 

latter was the most intellectual and most high- 

spirited satyr, who as a musician abided by great 

tradition, and who, for him who has something 

more than ears, is a real relief after the senti 

mental and, at bottom, degenerate musicians of 

German romanticism. 


Offenbach: French music imbued with Voltaire s 

intellect, free, wanton, with a slight sardonic grin, 

but clear and intellectual almost to the point of 

banality (Offenbach never titivates), and free 

from the mignardise of morbid or blond-Viennese 



If by artistic genius we understand the most 

consummate freedom within the law, divine 

,ease, and facility in overcoming the greatest 


difficulties, then Offenbach has even more right to 

the title genius than Wagner has. Wagner is 

heavy and clumsy : nothing is more foreign to 

him than the moments of wanton perfection 

which this clown Offenbach achieves as many as 

five times, six times, in nearly every one of his 

buffooneries. But by genius we ought perhaps 

to understand something else. 


Concerning " music French, German, and 

Italian music. (Our most debased periods in a 

political sense are our most productive. The 

Slavs ?) The ballet, which is the outcome of 

excessive study of the history of strange civilisa 

tions, has become master of opera. Stage music 

and musicians music. It is an error to suppose 

that what Wagner composed was a form : it was 

rather formlessness. The possibilities of dramatic 

construction have yet to be discovered. Rhythm. 

" Expression " at all costs. Harlotry in instru 

mentation. All honour to Heinrich Schiitz ; all 

honour to Mendelssohn : in them we find an 

element of Goethe, but nowhere else ! (We also 

find another element of Goethe coming to blossom 

in Rahel ; a third element in Heinrich Heine.) 


Descriptive music leaves reality to work its 

effects alone. ... All these kinds of art are 

easier, and more easy to imitate ; poorly gifted 


people have recourse to them. The appeal to 

the instincts ; suggestive art. 


Concerning our modern music. The decay of 

melody, like the decay of " ideas," and of the 

freedom of intellectual activity, is a piece of 

clumsiness and obtuseness, which is developing 

itself into new feats of daring and even into 

principles ; in the end man has only the prin 

ciples of his gifts, or of his lack of gifts. 

" Dramatic music " nonsense ! It is simply 

bad music. ..." Feeling " and " passion " are 

merely substitutes when lofty intellectuality and 

the joy of it (e.g. Voltaire s) can no longer be 

attained. Expressed technically, " feeling " and 

" passion " are easier ; they presuppose a much 

poorer kind of artist. The recourse to drama be 

trays that an artist is much more a master in tricky 

means than in genuine ones. To-day we have 

both dramatic painting and dramatic poetry, etc. 


What we lack in music is an aesthetic which 

would impose laws upon musicians and give them 

a conscience ; and as a result of this we lack a 

real contest concerning " principles." For as 

musicians we laugh at Herbart s velleities in this 

department just as heartily as we laugh at 

Schopenhauer s. As a matter of fact, tremendous 

difficulties present themselves here. We no 


longer know on what basis to found our concepts 

of what is " exemplary," " masterly," " perfect." 

With the instincts of old loves and old admiration 

we grope about in a realm of values, and we almost 

believe, " that is good which pleases us." ... I 

am always suspicious when I hear people every 

where speak innocently of Beethoven as a "classic ": 

what I would maintain, and with some severity, is 

that, in other arts, a classic is the very reverse of 

Beethoven. But when the complete and glaring 

dissolution of style, Wagner s so-called dramatic 

style, is taught and honoured as exemplary, as 

masterly, as progressive, then my impatience 

exceeds all bounds. Dramatic style in music, as 

Wagner understood it, is simply renunciation 

of all style whatever ; it is the assumption that 

something else, namely, drama, is a hundred times 

more important than music. Wagner can paint ; 

he does not use music for the sake of music, with" 

it he accentuates attitudes ; he is a poet. Finally 

he made an appeal to beautiful feelings and 

heaving breasts, just as all other theatrical artists 

have done, and with it all he converted women 

and even those whose souls thirst for culture to 

him. But what do women and the uncultured 

care about music ? All these people have no 

conscience for art : none of them suffer when the 

first and fundamental virtues of an art are scorned 

and trodden upon in favour of that which is merely 

secondary (as ancilla dramaturgicd}. What good 

can come of all extension in the means of expression, 

when that which is expressed, art itself, has lost all 

its law and order? The picturesque pomp and power 



of tones, the symbolism of sound, rhythm, the colour 

effects of harmony and discord, the suggestive 

significance of music, the whole sensuality of this 

art which Wagner made prevail- it is all this that 

Wagner derived, developed, and drew out of music. 

Victor Hugo did something very similar for 

language : but already people in France are 

asking themselves, in regard to the case of Victor 

Hugo, whether language was not corrupted by 

him ; whether reason, intellectuality, and thorough 

conformity to law in language are not suppressed 

when the sensuality of expression is elevated to 

a high place ? Is it not a sign of decadence that 

the poets in Fraace have become plastic artists, 

and that the musicians of Germany have become 

actors and culturemongers ? 


To-day there exists a sort of musical pes 

simism even among people who are not musi 

cians. Who has not met and cursed the 

confounded youthlet who torments his piano 

until it shrieks with despair, and who single- 

handed heaves the slime of the most lugubrious 

and drabby harmonies before him ? By so 

doing a man betrays himself as a pessimist. . . . 

It is open to question, though, whether he also 

proves himself a musician by this means. I 

for my part could never be made to believe it. 

A Wagnerite pur sang is unmusical; he submits 

to the elementary forces of music very much 

as a woman submits to the will of the man 

who hypnotises her and in order to be able to 


do this he must not be made suspicious in rebus 

musicis et musicantibus by a too severe or too 

delicate conscience. I said " very much as " 

but in this respect I spoke perhaps more than 

a parable. Let any one consider the means 

which Wagner uses by preference, when he wishes 

to make an effect (means which for the greater 

part he first had to invent) ; they are appallingly 

similar to the means by which a hypnotist 

exercises his power (the choice of his movements, 

the general colour of his orchestration ; the 

excruciating evasion of consistency, and fairness 

and squareness, in rhythm ; the creepiness, the 

soothing touch, the mystery, the hysteria of his 

" unending melody "). And is the condition to 

which the overture to Lohengrin, for instance, 

reduces the men, and still more the women, in 

the audience, so essentially different from the 

somnambulistic trance? On one occasion after 

the overture in question had been played, I heard 

an Italian lady say, with her eyes half closed, 

in a way in which female Wagnerites are adepts : 

" Come si dorme con questa musica ! " * 


Religion in music. What a large amount of 

satisfaction all religious needs get out of Wag- 

nerian music, though this is never acknowledged 

or even understood ! How much prayer, virtue, 

unction, " virginity," " salvation," speaks through 

this music ! ... Oh what capital this cunning 

* " How the music makes one sleep ! " TR. 


saint, who leads and seduces us back to every 

thing that was once believed in, makes out of 

the fact that he may dispense with words and 

concepts ! . . . Our intellectual conscience has no 

need to feel ashamed it stands apart if any old 

instinct puts its trembling lips to the rim of forbid 

den philtres. . . . This is shrewd and healthy, and, 

in so far as it betrays a certain shame in regard to 

the satisfaction of the religious instinct, it is even 

a good sign. . . . Cunning Christianity : the type 

of the music which came from the " last Wagner." 


I distinguish between courage before persons, 

courage before things, and courage on paper. 

The latter was the courage of David Strauss, 

for instance. I distinguish again between the 

courage before witnesses and the courage without 

witnesses: the courage of a Christian, or of be 

lievers in God in general, can never be the cour 

age without witnesses but on this score alone 

Christian courage stands condemned. Finally, I 

distinguish between the courage which is tempera 

mental and the courage which is the fear of fear ; a 

single instance of the latter kind is moral courage. 

To this list the courage of despair should be added. 

This is the courage which Wagner possessed. 

His attitude in regard to music was at bottom a 

desperate one. He lacked two things which go 

to make up a good musician : nature and nurture, 

the predisposition for music and the discipline and 

schooling which music requires. He had courage : 

out of this deficiency he established a principle ; 


he invented a kind of music for himself. The 

dramatic music which he invented was the music 

which he was able to compose, its limitations are 

Wagner s limitations. 

And he was misunderstood ! Was he really 

misunderstood ? . . . Such is the case with five- 

sixths of the artists of to-day. Wagner is their 

Saviour : five-sixths, moreover, is the " lowest pro 

portion." In any case where Nature has shown 

herself without reserve, and wherever culture is an 

accident, a mere attempt, a piece of dilettantism, 

the artist turns instinctively what do I say ? 

I mean enthusiastically, to Wagner ; as the poet 

says : " Half drew he him, and half sank he." * 


" Music " and the grand style. The greatness 

of an artist is not to be measured by the beautiful 

feelings which he evokes : let this belief be left to 

the girls. It should be measured according to 

the extent to which he approaches the grand style, 

according to the extent to which he is capable of 

the grand style. This style and great passion 

have this in common that they scorn to please ; 

that they forget to persuade ; that they command : 

that they will. . . . To become master of the 

chaos which is in one ; to compel one s inner chaos 

to assume form ; to become consistent, simple, un 

equivocal, mathematical, law this is the great 

ambition here. By means of it one repels ; nothing 

*This is an adapted quotation from Goethe s poem, "The 

Fisherman." The translation is E. A. Bowring s. TR. 


so much endears people to such powerful men as 

this, a desert seems to lie around them, they 

impose silence upon all, and awe every one with 

the greatness of their sacrilege. . . . All arts 

know this kind of aspirant to the grand style : 

why are they absent in music ? Never yet has a 

musician built as that architect did who erected the 

Palazzo Pitti. . . . This is a problem. Does music 

perhaps belong to that culture in which the reign 

of powerful men of various types is already at an 

end ? Is the concept " grand style " in fact a con 

tradiction of the soul of music, of " the woman " 

in our music ? . . . 

With this I touch upon the cardinal question : 

how should all our music be classified ? The age 

of classical taste knows nothing that can be com 

pared with it : it bloomed when the world of the 

Renaissance reached its evening, when " freedom " 

had already bidden farewell to both men and 

their customs is it characteristic of music to be 

Counter- Renaissance ? Is music, perchance, the 

sister of the baroque style, seeing that in any case 

they were contemporaries ? Is not music, modern 

music, already decadence? . . . 

I have put my finger before on this question : 

whether music is not an example of Counter- 

Renaissance art? whether it is not the next of 

kin to the baroque style? whether it has not 

grown in opposition to all classic taste, so that any 

aspiration to classicism is forbidden by the very 

nature of music ? 

The answer to this most important of all 

questions of values would not be a very doubtful 


one, if people thoroughly understood the fact that 

music attains to its highest maturity and plenitude 

as romanticism likewise as a reactionary move 

ment against classicism. 

Mozart, a delicate and lovable soul, but quite 

eighteenth century, even in his serious lapses . . . 

Beethoven, the first great romanticist according to 

the French conception of romanticism, just as 

Wagner is the last great romanticist . . . both 

of them are instinctive opponents of classical 

taste, of severe style not to speak of " grand " 

in this regard. 


Romanticism : an ambiguous question, like all 

modern questions. 

The aesthetic conditions are twofold : 

The abundant and generous, as opposed to the 

seeking and the desiring. 


A romanticist is an artist whose great dis- 

\ satisfaction with himself makes him productive /- 

who looks away from himself and his fellows, and i 

sometimes, therefore, looks backwards. 


Is art the result of dissatisfaction with reality ? "L 

or is it the expression of gratitude for happiness 

experienced ? In the first case, it is romanticism ; 

in the second, it is glorification and dithyramb (in 

short, apotheosis art) : even Raphael belongs to 

this, except for the fact that he was guilty of the 


duplicity of having defied the appearance of the 

Christian view of the world. He was thankful for 

life precisely where it was not exactly Christian. 

With a moral interpretation the world is in 

sufferable ; Christianity was the attempt to over 

come the world with morality : t.e. to deny it. In 

praxi such a mad experiment an imbecile eleva 

tion of man above the world could only end in 

the beglooming, the dwarfing, and the impoverish 

ment of mankind : the only kind of man who 

gained anything by it, who was promoted by it, 

was the most mediocre, the most harmless and 

gregarious type. 

Homer as an apotheosis artist ; Rubens also. 

Music has not yet had such an artist. 

The idealisation of the great criminal (the 

feeling for his greatness) is Greek ; the deprecia 

tion, the slander, the contempt of the sinner, is 



Romanticism and its opposite. In regard to 

all aesthetic values I now avail myself of this 

fundamental distinction : in every individual case 

I ask myself has hunger or has superabundance 

been creative here? At first another distinction 

might perhaps seem preferable, it is far more 

obvious, e.g. the distinction which decides whether 

a desire for stability, for eternity, for Being, or 

whether a desire for destruction, for change, for 

Becoming, has been the cause of creation. But 

both kinds of desire, when examined more closely, 

prove to be ambiguous, and really susceptible of 


interpretation only according to that scheme already 

mentioned and which I think is rightly preferred. 

The desire for destruction, for change, for Be 

coming, may be the expression of an overflowing 

power pregnant with promises for the future (my 

term for this, as is well known, is Dionysian) ; 

it may, however, also be the hate of the ill-con 

stituted, of the needy and of the physiologically 

botched, that destroys, and must destroy, because 

such creatures are indignant at, and annoyed by 

everything lasting and stable. 

The act of immortalising can, on the other hand, 

be the outcome of gratitude and love : an art 

which has this origin is always an apotheosis art ; 

dithyrambic, as perhaps with Rubens ; happy, as 

perhaps with Hafiz ; bright and gracious, and shed 

ding a ray of glory over all things, as in Goethe. 

But it may also, however, be the outcome of the 

tyrannical will of the great sufferer who would 

make the most personal, individual, and narrow trait 

about him, the actual idiosyncrasy of his pain in 

fact, into a binding law and imposition, and who 

thus wreaks his revenge upon all things by stamp 

ing, branding, and violating them with the image of 

his torment. The latter case is romantic pessim 

ism in its highest form, whether this be Schopen- 

hauerian voluntarism or Wagnerian music. 


It is a question whether the antithesis, classic and 

romantic, does not conceal that other antithesis, the 

active and the reactive. 



In order to be a classic, one must be possessed 

of all the strong and apparently contradictory gifts 

and passions : but in such a way that they run in 

harness together, and culminate simultaneously in 

elevating a certain species of literature or art or 

politics to its height and zenith (they must not do 

this after that elevation has taken place . . .). They 

must reflect the complete state (either of a people 

or of a culture), and express its most profound and 

most secret nature, at a time when it is still stable 

and not yet discoloured by the imitation of foreign 

things (or when it is still dependent . . .) ; not 

a reactive but a deliberate and progressive spirit, 

saying Yea in all circumstances, even in its 


" And does not the highest personal value belong 

thereto ? "... It is worth considering whether 

moral prejudices do not perhaps exercise their in 

fluence here, and whether great moral loftiness is 

not perhaps a contradiction of the classical ? . . . 

Whether the moral monsters must not necessarily 

I be romantic in word and deed? Any such pre 

ponderance of one virtue over others (as in the 

case of the moral monster) is precisely what with 

most hostility counteracts the classical power in 

equilibrium ; supposing a people manifested this 

moral loftiness and were classical notwithstanding, 

we should have to conclude boldly that they were 

also on the same high level in immorality ! this 

was perhaps the case with Shakespeare (provided 

that he was really Lord Bacon). 



Concerning the future. Against the romanticism 

of great passion. We must understand how a 

certain modicum of coldness, lucidity, and hard 

ness "is inseparable from all classical taste : above 

all consistency, happy intellectuality, " the three 

unities," concentration, hatred of all feeling, of all 

sentimentality, of all esprit, hatred of all multi 

formity, of all uncertainty, evasiveness, and of all 

nebulosity, as also of all brevity, finicking, pretti- 

ness and good nature. Artistic formulae must not 

be played with: life must be remodelled so that 

it should be forced to formulate itself accordingly. 

It is really an exhilarating spectacle which we 

have only learned to laugh at quite recently, be 

cause we have only seen through it quite recently : 

this spectacle of Herder s, Winckelmann s, Goethe s, / 

and Hegel s contemporaries claiming that they had I 

rediscovered the classical ideal . . . and at the same 

time, Shakespeare ! And this same crew of men 

had scurvily repudiated all relationship with the 

classical school of France ! As if the essential 

principle could not have been learnt as well here 

as elsewhere ! . . . But what people wanted was 

" nature," and " naturalness " : Oh, the stupidity of 

it ! It was thought that classicism was a kind of 

naturalness ! 

Without either prejudice or indulgence we should 

try and investigate upon what soil a classical taste 

can be evolved. The hardening, the simplification, 

the strengthening, and the bedevilling of man are 

inseparable from classical taste. Logical and 


psychological simplification. A contempt of de 

tail, of complexity, of obscurity. 

The romanticists of Germany do not protest 

against classicism, but against reason, against 

illumination, against taste, against the eighteenth 


The essence of romantico-Wagnerian music is 

the opposite of the classical spirit. 

The will to unity (because unity tyrannises : e.g. 

the listener and the spectator), but the artist s in 

ability to tyrannise over himself where it is most 

needed that is to say, in regard to the work it 

self (in regard to knowing what to leave out, what 

to shorten, what to clarify, what to simplify). The 

overwhelming by means of masses (Wagner, Victor 

Hugo, Zola, Taine). 


The Nihilism of artists. Nature is cruel in 

her cheerfulness ; cynical in her sunrises. We are 

hostile to emotions. We flee thither where Nature 

moves our senses and our imagination, where we 

have nothing to love, where we are not reminded 

of the moral semblances and delicacies of this 

northern nature ; and the same applies to the arts. 

We prefer that which no longer reminds us of 

good and evil. Our moral sensibility and tender 

ness seem to be relieved in the heart of terrible 

and happy Nature, in the fatalism of the senses and 

forces. Life without goodness. 

Great well-being arises from contemplating 

Nature s indifference to good and evil. 

No justice in history, no goodness in Nature. 


That is why the pessimist when he is an artist 

prefers those historical subjects where the absence 

of justice reveals itself with magnificent simplicity, 

where perfection actually comes to expression 

and likewise he prefers that in Nature, where her 

callous evil character is not hypocritically concealed, 

where that character is seen in perfection. . . . 

The Nihilistic artist betrays himself in willing and 

preferring cynical history and cynical Nature. 

8 5 i. 

What is tragic? Again and again I have 

pointed to the great misunderstanding of Aristotle 

in maintaining that the tragic emotions were the 

two depressing emotions fear and pity. Had he 

been right, tragedy would be an art unfriendly to 

life : it would have been necessary to caution people 

against it as against something generally harmful 

and suspicious. Art, otherwise the great stimulus 

of life, the great intoxicant of life, the great will 

to life, here became a tool of decadence, the hand 

maiden of pessimism and ill-health (for to sup 

pose, as Aristotle supposed, that by exciting these 

emotions we thereby purged people of them, is 

simply an error). Something which habitually 

excites fear or pity, disorganises, weakens, and dis 

courages : and supposing Schopenhauer were 

right in thinking that tragedy taught resignation 

(i.e. a meek renunciation of happiness, hope, and 

of the will to live), this would presuppose an art 

in which art itself was denied. Tragedy would 

then constitute a process of dissolution ; the in 

stinct of life would destroy itself in the instinct of 


art. Christianity, Nihilism, tragic art, physiological 

decadence ; these things would then be linked, 

they would then preponderate together and assist 

each other onwards downwards. . . . Tragedy 

would thus be a symptom of decline. 

This theory may be refuted in the most cold 

blooded way, namely, by measuring the effect of 

a tragic emotion by means of a dynamometer 

The result would be a fact which only the bottom 

less falsity of a doctrinaire could misunderstand : 

that tragedy is a tonic. If Schopenhauer refuses 

to see the truth here, if he regards general depres 

sion as a tragic condition, if he would have informed 

the Greeks (who to his disgust were not " re 

signed ") that they did not firmly possess the 

highest principles of life : it is only owing to 

his parti pris, to the need of consistency in his 

system, to the dishonesty of the doctrinaire that 

dreadful dishonesty which step for step corrupted 

the whole psychology of Schopenhauer (he who 

had arbitrarily and almost violently misunderstood 

genius, art itself, morality, pagan religion, beauty, 

knowledge, and almost everything). 


The tragic artist. Whether, and in regard to 

what, the judgment^ beautiful " is established is a 

question of an individual s or of a people s strength 

The feeling of plenitude, of overflowing strength 

(which gaily and courageously meets many an 

obstacle before which the weakling shudders) the 

feeling of power utters the judgment " beautiful " 

concerning things and conditions which the in 

stinct of impotence can only value as hateful and 


ugly. The flair which enables us to decide whether 

the objects we encounter are dangerous, problem 

atic, or alluring, likewise determines our aesthetic 

Yea. (" This is beautiful," is an affirmation). 

From this we see that, generally speaking, a 

preference for questionable and terrible things is a 

symptom of strength ; whereas the taste for pretty 

and charming trifles is characteristic of the weak 

and the delicate. The love of tragedy is typical 

of strong ages and characters : its non plus ultra 

is perhaps the Divina Commedia. It is the heroic 

spirits which in tragic cruelty say Yea unto them 

selves : they are hard enough to feel pain as a 


On the other hand, supposing weaklings desire 

to get pleasure from an art which was not designed 

for them, what interpretation must we suppose they 

would like to give tragedy in order to make it suit 

their taste ? They would interpret their own feel 

ings of value into it : e.g. the " triumph of -the 

moral order of things," or the teaching of the 

" uselessness of existence," or the incitement to 

" resignation " (or also half-medicinal and half- 

moral outpourings, a la Aristotle). Finally, the 

art of terrible natures, in so far as it may excite 

the nerves, may be regarded by the weak and ex 

hausted as a stimulus : this is now taking place, 

for instance, in the case of the admiration meted 

out to Wagner s art. A test of man s well-being 

and consciousness of power is the extent to which 

he can acknowledge the terrible and questionable 

character of things, and whether he is in any need 

of a faith at the end. 


This kind of artistic pessimism is precisely the 

reverse of that religio-moral pessimism which 

suffers from the corruption of man and the 

enigmatic character of existence : the latter in 

sists upon deliverance, or at least upon the hope 

of deliverance. Those who suffer, doubt, and dis 

trust themselves, the sick, in other words, have 

in all ages required the transporting influence of 

visions in order to be able to exist at all (the 

notion " blessedness " arose in this way). A 

similar case would be that of the artists of 

decadence, who at bottom maintain a Nihilistic 

attitude to life, and take refuge in the beauty of 

form, in those select cases in which Nature is 

perfect, in which she is indifferently great and in 

differently beautiful. (The " love of the beautiful " 

may thus be something very different from the 

ability to see or create the beautiful : it may be 

the expressionof impotence in this respect.VfThe 

most convincing artists are those who make 

harmony ring out of every discord, and who 

benefit all things by the gift ol their power and 

inner harmony : in every work ol art the)*- merely 

reveal the symbol of their inmost experiences 

their creation Is gratiti^e for thqjy life. \ 

The depth of the tragic artist consists in the 

fact that his aesthetic instinct surveys the more 

remote results, that he does not halt shortsightedly 

at the thing that is nearest, that he says Yea to 

the whole cosmic economy, which justifies the 

terrible, the evil, and the questionable ; which 

more than justifies it. 



Art in the "Birth of Tragedy? 


The conception of the work which lies 

right in the background of this book, is extra 

ordinarily gloomy and unpleasant : among all the 

types of pessimism which have ever been known 

hitherto, none seems to have attained to this degree 

of malice. The contrast of a true and of an ap 

parent world is entirely absent here : there is but 

one world, and it is false, cruel, contradictory, 

seductive, and without sense. ... A world thus 

constituted is the true world. We are in need of 

lies in order to rise superior to this reality, to this 

truth that is to say, in order to live. . . . That 

lies should be necessary to life is part and parcel of 

the terrible and questionable character of existence. 

Metaphysics, morality, religion, science, in this 

book, all these things are regarded merely as 

different forms of falsehood : by means of them we 

are led to believe in life. " Life must inspire con 

fidence " : the task which this imposes upon us is 

enormous. In order to .solve this problem -msM,. 

must already be a liar in his heart, but he must 

above all else be an artist. And he is that. 

Metaphysics, religion, morality, science, all these 

things are but the offshoot of his will to art, to 

falsehood, to a flight from " truth," to a denial of 

" truth." This ability, this artistic capacity par 

excellence of man thanks to which he overcomes 

reality with lies, is a quality which he has in 



common with all other forms of existence. He 

himself is indeed a piece of reality, of truth, of 

nature : how could he help being also a piece 

of genius in prevarication ! 

The fact that the character of existence is 

misunderstood, is the profoundest and the highest 

secret motive behind everything relating to virtue, 

science, piety, and art. To be blind to many 

things, to see many things falsely, to fancy 

many things : Oh, how clever man has been 

in those circumstances in which he believed 

/ he was anything but clever ! Love, enthusiasm, 

" God " are but subtle forms of ultimate 

gelf-deception ; they are but seductions to life 

r and to the belief in Jife ! In those moments 

when man was deceived, when he had befooled 

himself and when he believed in life : Oh, how 

his spirit swelled within him ! Oh, what ecstasies 

he had ! What power he felt ! And what artistic 

triumphs in the feeling of power ! . . . Man had 

once more become master of " matter," master of 

truth ! . . . And whenever man rejoices it is always 

in the same way : he rejoices as an artist, his power 

is his joy, he enjoys falsehood as his power. . . . 


> Art and nothing else ! Art is the great means 

of making life possible, the great seducer to life, 

the great stimulus of life. 

Art is the only superior counteragent to all will 

to the denial oTTHeT "It "is "Jar excellence the anti- 

Christian, the anti-Buddhistic, the anti-Nihilistic 



Art is the alleviation of the seeker after know 

ledge, of him who recognises the terrible and 

questionable character of existence, and who will 

recognise it, of the tragic seeker after know- 


Art is the alleviation of the man of action, of 

him who not only sees the terrible and questionable 

character of existence, but also lives it, will live it, 

of the tragic and warlike man, the hero. 

Art is the alleviation of the sufferer, as the 

way to states in which pain is willed, is trans 

figured, is deified, where suffering is a form of 

great ecstasy. 


It is clear that in this book pessimism, or, 

better still, Nihilism, stands for " truth." But truth 

is not postulated as the highest measure of value, 

and still less as the highest power. The will to . 

appearance, to illusion, to deception, to becoming, 

and to change r (lo objective" deception), is here re 

garded as more profound, as more primeval, as" 

more metaphysical than the will to truth, to reality, 

to appearance : the latter is merely a form of the 

will to illusion. Happiness is likewise conceived 

as more primeval than pain : and pain is considered 

as conditioned, as a consequence of the will to 

happiness (of the will to Becoming, to growth, to 

forming, i.e. to creating; in creating, however, de- (/ 

struction is included). The highest state of Yea- 

saying to existence is conceived as one from which 

the greatest pain may not be excluded : the tragico- 

Dionysian state. 



In this way this book is even anti-pessimistic, 

namely, in the sense that it teaches something which 

is stronger than pessimism and which is more 

" divine " than truth : Art. Nobody, it would seem, 

would be more ready seriously to utter a radical 

denial of life, an actual denial of action even more 

than a denial of life, than the author of this book. 

Except that he knows for he has experienced it, 

and perhaps experienced little else ! that art is of 

\/ more value than truth. 

Even in the preface, in which Richard Wagner 

is, as it were, invited to join with him in conversa 

tion, the author expresses this article of faith, this 

gospel for artists : " Art is the only task of life, art 

is the metaphysical activity of life. . . ,"~ 







IN this age of universal suffrage, in which every 

body is allowed to sit in judgment upon everything 

and everybody, I feel compelled to re-establish the 

order of rank. 


Quanta of power alone determine rank and dis 

tinguish rank : nothing else does. 


The will to power. How must those men be 

constituted who would undertake this transvalua- 

tion ? The order of rank as the order of power : 

war and danger are the prerequisites which allow 

of a rank maintaining its conditions. The pro 

digious example : man in Nature the weakest 

and shrewdest creature making himself master, and 

putting a yoke upon all less intelligent forces. 




I distinguish between the type which represents 

ascending life and that which represents decay, 

decomposition and weakness. Ought one to 

suppose that the question of rank between these 

two types can be at all doubtful ? . . 


The modicum of power which you represent 

decides your rank ; all the rest is cowardice. 


The advantages of standing detached from one s 

age. Detached from the two movements, that of 

individualism and that of collectivist morality ; for 

even the first does not recognise the order of rank, 

and would give one individual the same freedom 

as another. My thoughts are not concerned with 

the degree of freedom which should be granted to 

the one or to the other or to all, but with the 

degree of power which the one or the other should 

exercise over his neighbour or over all ; and more 

especially with the question to what extent a 

sacrifice of freedom, or even enslavement, may 

afford the basis for the cultivation of a superior 

type. In plain words : how could one sacrifice the 

development of mankind in order to assist a higher 

species than man to come into being. 



Concerning rank. The terrible consequences 

of " equality " in the end everybody thinks he has 

the right to every problem. All order of rank 

has vanished. 


It is necessary for higher men to declare war | 

upon the masses ! In all directions mediocre 

people are joining hands in order to make them 

selves masters. Everything that pampers, that 

softens, and that brings the " people " or " woman " 

to the front, operates in favour of universal suffrage 

that is to say, the dominion of inferior men. 

But we must make reprisals, and draw the 

whole state of affairs (which commenced in 

Europe with Christianity) to the light of day 

and to judgment. 


A teaching is needed which is strong enough 

to work in a disciplinary manner ; it should 

operate in such a way as to strengthen the strong 

and to paralyse and smash up the world-weary. 

The annihilation of declining races. The 

decay of Europe. The annihilation of slave- 

tainted valuations. The dominion of the world 

as a means to the rearing of a higher type. The 

annihilation of the humbug which is called 

morality (Christianity as a hysterical kind of 

honesty in this regard : Augustine, Bunyan) 


) The annihilation of universal suffrage that is 

to say, that system by means of which the 

lowest natures prescribe themselves as a law for 

, higher natures. The annihilation of mediocrity 

\ and its prevalence. (The one-sided, the indivi 

duals peoples ; constitutional plenitude should 

be aimed at by means of the coupling of opposites ; 

to this end race-combinations should be tried.) 

The new kind of courage no a priori truths 

(those who were accustomed to believe in some 

thing sought such truths !), but free submission to 

a ruling thought, which has its time ; for instance, 

time conceived as the quality of space, etc. 



The notion, " strong and weak man" resolves itself 

into this, that in the first place much strength is 

inherited the man is a total sum : in the other, 

not yet enough (inadequate inheritance, subdivision 

of the inherited qualities). Weakness may be a 

starting phenomenon : not yet enough ; or a final 

phenomenon : " no more." 

The determining point is there where great 

strength is present, or where a great amount of 

i strength can be discharged. The mass, as the 

j sum-total of the weak, reacts slowly ; it defends 

. itself against much for which it is too weak, 

against that for which it has no use ; it never 

creates, it never takes a step forward. This is 


opposed to the theory which denies the strong 

individual and would maintain that the " masses 

do everything." The difference is similar to that 

which obtains between separated generations : 

four or even five generations may lie between the 

masses and him who is the moving spirit it is a 

chronological difference. 

The values of the weak are in the van, because 

the strong have adopted them in order to lead 

with them. 


Why the weak triumph. On the whole, the sick 

and the weak have more sympathy and are more 

"humane"; the sick and the weak have more 

intellect, and are more changeable, more variegated, 

more entertaining more malicious ; the sick alone 

invented malice. *\A morbid precocity is often to be 

observed among rickety, scrofulitic, and tuberculous 

people.) Esprit : the property of older races ; 

Jews, Frenchmen, Chinese. (The anti-Semites 

do not forgive the Jews for having both intellect 

and money. Anti-Semites another name for 

" bungled and botched.") 

The sick and the weak have always had fascina 

tion on their side ; they are more interesting than 

the healthy : the fool and the saint the two most 

interesting kinds of men. . . . Closely related 

thereto is the " genius." The " great adventurers 

and criminals " and all great men, the most healthy 

in particular, have always been sick at certain 

periods of their lives great disturbances of the 


emotions, the passion for power, love, revenge, are 

all accompanied by very profound perturbations. 

And, as for decadence, every man who does not 

die prematurely manifests it in almost every 

respect he therefore knows from experience the 

instincts which belong to it : for half his life 

nearly every man is decadent. 

And finally, woman ! One-half of mankind is 

weak, chronically sick, changeable, shifty woman 

requires strength in order to cleave to it ; she also 

requires a religion of the weak which glorifies 

weakness, love, and modesty as divine : or, better 

still, she makes the strong weak she rules when 

she succeeds in overcoming the strong. xV Woman 

has always conspired with decadent types, the 

priests, for instance, against the " mighty," against 

! the " strong," against men. Women avail them 

selves of children for the cult of piety, pity, and 

love : the mother stands as the symbol of con- 

1 vincing altruism. l 

Finally, the increase of civilisation with its 

necessary correlatives, the increase of morbid 

elements, v of the neurotic and psychiatric and of 

the criminal. f A sort of intermediary species arises, 

the artist. He is distinct from those who are 

.criminals as the result of weak wills and of the 

fear of society, although they may not yet be ripe 

for the asylum ; but he has antennae which grope 

inquisitively into both spheres : this specific plant 

of culture, the modern artist, painter, musician, and, 

above all, novelist, who designates his particular 

kind of attitude with the very indefinite word 

" naturalism." . . . Lunatics, criminals, and 


realists * are on the increase : this is the sign of 

a growing culture plunging forward at headlong 

speed that is to say, its excrement, its refuse, the 

rubbish that is shot from it every day, is beginning 

to acquire more importance, the retrogressive 

movement keeps pace with the advance. 

Finally! the social mishmash, which is the result 

of revolution, of the establishment of equal rights, 

and of the superstition, the " equality of men." 

Thus the possessors of the instincts of decline (of 

resentment, of discontent, of the lust of destruction, 

of anarchy and Nihilism), as also the instincts of 

slavery, of cowardice, of craftiness, and of rascality, 

which are inherent among those classes of society 

which have long been suppressed, are beginning to 

get infused into the blood of all ranks. Two or 

three generations later, the race can no longer be 

recognised everything has become mob. And 

thus there results a collective instinct against 

selection, against every kind of privilege ; and 

this instinct operates with such power, certainty, 

hardness, and cruelty that, as a matter of fact, in 

the end, even the privileged classes have to 

submit : all those who still wish to hold on to 

power flatter the mob, work with the mob, and 

must have the mob on their side the " geniuses " 

above all The latter become the heralds of those 

feelings with which the mob can be inspired, the 

expression of pity, of honour, even for all that 

suffers, all that is low and despised, and has lived 

* The German word is " Naturalist," and really means 

" realist " in a bad sense. TR. 


under persecution, becomes predominant (types : 

Victor Hugo, Richard Wagner). The rise of the 

mob signifies once more the rise of old values. 

In the case of such an extreme movement, both 

in tempo and in means, as characterises our civil 

isation, man s ballast is shifted. Those men whose 

worth is greatest, and whose mission, as it were, is 

to compensate for the very great danger of such 

a morbid movement, such men become dawdlers 

par excellence ; they are slow to accept anything, 

and are tenacious ; they are creatures that are 

relatively lasting in the midst of this vast mingling 

and changing of elements. In such circumstances 

power is necessarily relegated to the mediocre-, 

mediocrity , as the trustee and bearer of the future, 

consolidates itself against the rule of the mob and 

of eccentricities (both of which are, in most cases, 

united). In this way a new antagonist is evolved 

for exceptional men or in certain cases a new 

temptation. Provided that they do not adapt 

themselves to the mob, and stand up for what 

satisfies the instincts of the disinherited, they will 

find it necessary to be " mediocre " and sound. 

They know : mediocritas is also aurea, it alone 

has command of money and gold (of all that 

glitters ...).... And, once more, old virtue and 

the whole superannuated world of ideals in general 

secures a gifted host of special-pleaders. . . . Result : 

mediocrity acquires intellect, wit, and genius, it 

becomes entertaining, and even seductive. 

\ * 

Result. -A high culture can only stand upon a 

broad basis, upon a strongly and soundly consoli- 


dated mediocrity. In its service and assisted by 

it, science and even art do their work. Science 

could not wish for a better state of affairs : in its 

essence it belongs to a middle-class type of man, 

among exceptions it is out of place, there is not 

anything aristocratic and still less anything 

anarchic in its instincts. The power of the middle 

classes is then upheld by means of commerce, but, 

above all, by means of money-dealing : the instinct 

of great financiers is opposed to everything extreme 

on this account the Jews are, for the present, 

the most conservative power in the threatening 

and insecure conditions of modern Europe. They 

can have no use either for revolutions, for social 

ism, or for militarism : if they would have power, 

and if they should need it, even over the revolu 

tionary party, this is only the result of what I 

have already said, and it in no way contradicts 

it. Against other extreme movements they may 

occasionally require to excite terror by showing 

how much power is in their hands. But their 

instinct itself is inveterately conservative and 

" mediocre." . . . Wherever power exists, they 

know how to become mighty ; but the application 

of their power always takes the same direction. 

The polite term for mediocre, as is well known, 

is the word" ^Liberal" \ 

Reflection. It is all nonsense to suppose that 

this general conquest of values is anti- biological. 

In order to explain it, we ought to try and show 

that it is the result of a certain interest of life to 

maintain the type " man," even by means of this 


method which leads to the prevalence of the weak 

and the physiologically botched if things were 

otherwise, might man not cease to exist ? Problem. . . 

The enhancement of the type may prove fatal 

to the maintenance of the species. Why ? The 

experience of history shows that strong races 

decimate each other mutually, by means of war, 

lust for power, and venturousness ; the strong 

emotions ; wastefulness (strength is no longer 

capitalised, disturbed mental systems arise from 

excessive tension) ; their existence is a costly 

affair in short, they persistently give rise to 

friction between themselves ; periods of profound 

slackness and torpidity intervene : all great ages 

have to be paid for. . . . The strong are, after all, 

weaker, less wilful, and more absurd than the 

average weak ones. 

They are squandering races. " Permanence? 

in itself, can have no value : that which ought to 

be preferred thereto would be a shorter life for 

the species, but a life richer in creations. It would 

remain to be proved that, even as things are, a 

richer sum of creations is attained than in the 

case of the shorter existence ; i.e. that man, as a 

storehouse of power, attains to a much higher 

degree of dominion over things under the con 

ditions which have existed hitherto. . . . We are 

here face to face with a problem of economics. 


The state of mind which calls itself " idealism," 

and which will neither allow mediocrity to be 


mediocre nor woman to be woman ! Do not 

make everything uniform ! We should have a 

clear idea of how dearly we have to pay for the 

establishment of a virtue ; and that virtue is 

nothing generally desirable, but a noble piece of 

madness^ a beautiful exception, which gives us the 

privilege of feeling elated. . . . 


It is necessary to show that a counter-movement 

is inevitably associated with any increasingly 

economical consumption of men and mankind, and 

with an ever more closely involved " machinery " 

of interests and services. I call this counter- 

movement the separation of the luxurious surplus 

of mankind-, by means of it a stronger kind, a 

higher type, must come to light, which has other 

conditions for its origin and for its maintenance than 

the average man. My concept, my metaphor for 

this type is, as you know, the word " Superman." 

Along the first road, which can now be completely 

surveyed, arose adaptation, stultification, higher 

Chinese culture, modesty in^lKe^^nstincts, and 

satisfaction at the sight of the belittlement of 

man a kind of stationary level of mankind. If J 

ever we get that inevitable and imminent, general 

control of the economy of the earth, then man 

kind can be used as machinery and find its best 

purpose in the service of this economy as an 

enormous piece of clock-work consisting of ever 

smaller and ever more subtly adapted wheels ; 

then all the dominating and commanding elements 



will become ever more superfluous ; and the 

whole gains enormous energy, while the individual 

factors which compose it represent but small 

modicums of strength and of value. To oppose 

this dwarfing and adaptation of man to a special 

ised kind of utility, a reverse movement is needed 

(_ ,;,i the procreation of the synthetic man who em- 

J bodies everything and justifies it ; that man for 

whom the turning of mankind into a machine is 

a first condition of existence, for whom the rest of 

mankind is but soil on which he can devise his 

higher mode of existence. 

He is in need of the opposition of the masses, 

of those who are " levelled down " ; he requires 

that feeling of distance from them ; he stands 

upon them, he lives on them. This higher form 

of aristocracy is the form of the future. From 

the moral point of view, the collective machinery 

above described, that solidarity of all wheels, 

represents the most extreme example in the 

exploitation of mankind: but it presupposes the 

\ existence of those for whom such an exploitation 

^ would have some meaning* Otherwise it would 

signify, as a matter of fact, merely the general 

depreciation of the type man, a. retrograde 

phenomenon on a grand scale. 

\ Readers are beginning to see what I am 

\combating namely, economic optimism: as if 

* This sentence for ever distinguishes Nietzsche s aristoc 

racy from our present plutocratic and industrial one, for 

which, at the present moment at any rate, it would be 

difficult to discover some meaning. TR. 


the general welfare of everybody must necessarily 

increase with the growing self-sacrifice of every 

body. The very reverse seems to me to be the 

case, the self-sacrifice of everybody amounts to a 

collective loss ; man becomes inferior so that 

nobody knows what end this monstrous purpose 

has served. A wherefore ? a new wherefore ? 

this is what mankind requires. 


The recognition of the increase of collective 

power-, we should calculate to what extent the 

ruin of individuals, of castes, of ages, and of 

peoples, is included in this general increase. 

The transposition of the ballast of a culture. 

The cost of every vast growth : who bears it ? 

Why must it be enormous at the present time f 


General aspect of the future European : the 

latter regarded as the most intelligent servile 

animal, very industrious, at bottom very modest, 

inquisitive to excess, multifarious, pampered, 

weak of will, a chaos of cosmopolitan pas 

sions and intelligences.// How would it be 

possible for a stronger race to be bred from 

him ? Such a race as would have a classical 

taste ? The classical taste : this is the will to 

simplicity, to accentuation, and to happiness made 

visible, the will to the terrible, and the courage 

for psychological nakedness (simplification is the 


outcome of the will to accentuate ; allowing 

happiness as well as nakedness to become visible 

is a consequence of the will to the terrible . . .). 

In order to fight one s way out of that chaos, and 

up to this form, a certain disciplinary constraint is 

necessary : a man should have to choose between 

either going to the dogs <yc prevailing. A ruling 

race can only arise amid terrible and violent 

conditions. Problem : where are the barbarians 

of the twentieth century? Obviously they will 

only show themselves and consolidate themselves 

after enormous socialistic crises. They will con 

sist of those elements which are capable of the 

greatest hardness towards themselves, and which 

can guarantee the most enduring will-power. 


The mightiest and most dangerous passions of 

man, by means of which he most easily goes to 

rack and ruin, have been so fundamentally banned 

that mighty men themselves have either become 

impossible or else must regard themselves as evil, 

" harmful and prohibited." The losses are heavy, 

but up to the present they have been necessary. 

Now, however, that a whole host of counter-forces 

has been reared, by means of the temporary 

suppression of these passions (the passion for 

dominion, the love of change and deception), their 

liberation has once more become possible : they 

will no longer possess their old savagery. We 

can now allow ourselves this tame sort of bar 

barism : look at our artists and our statesmen ! 



The root of all evil : that the slave morality 

of modesty, chastity, selflessness, and absolute 

obedience should have triumphed. Dominating 

natures were thu* condemned (i) to hypocrisy, 

(2) to qualms of conscience, creative natures 

regarded themselves as rebels against frod, un 

certain and hemmed in by eternal values. 

The barbarians showed that the ability of 

keeping within the bounds of moderation was not 

in the scope of their powers : they feared and 

slandered the passions and instincts of nature 

likewise the aspect of the ruling Caesars and 

castes. On the other hand, there arose the sus 

picion that all restraint is a form of weakness or 

of incipient old age and fatigue (thus La Rochefou 

cauld suspects that " virtue " is only a euphemism 

in the mouths of those to whom vice no longer 

affords any pleasure). The capacity for restraint 

was represented as a matter of hardness, self- 

control, asceticism, as a fight with the devil, etc. 

etc. The natural delight of aesthetic natures, in 

measure ; the pleasure derived from the beauty of 

measure, was overlooked and denied, because that 

which was desired was an anti-eudaemonistic 

morality. The belief in Jhe pleasure which comes 

of restraint has been lacking hitherto this 

pleasure of a rider on a fiery steed ! The modera- / 

tion of weak natures was confounded with the 1 

restraint of the strong ! J\ 

In short, the best things have been blasphemed 

because weak or immoderate swine have thrown a 


I bad light upon them the best men have remained 

concealed and have often misunderstood them 



Vicious and unbridled people : their depressing 

influence upon the value of the passions. It was 

the appalling barbarity of morality which was 

principally responsible in the Middle Ages for 

the compulsory recourse to a veritable " league 

of virtue " and this was coupled with an equally 

appalling exaggeration of all that which consti 

tutes the value of man. Militant " civilisation " 

(taming) is in need of all kinds of irons and 

tortures in order to maintain itself against terrible 

and beast-of-prey natures. 

In this case, confusion, although it may have 

the most nefarious influences, is quite natural : 

that which ^men of power and will are able to 

demand of themselves gives them the standard for 

what they may also allow themselves. Such natures 

are the very opposite of the vicious and the un 

bridled , although under certain circumstances they 

may perpetrate deeds for which an inferior man 

would be convicted of vice and intemperance. 

In this respect the concept, " all men are equal 

before God! does an extraordinary amount of 

harm ; actions and attitudes of mind were for 

bidden which belonged to the prerogative of the 

strong alone, just as if they were in themselves 

unworthy of man. All the tendencies of strong 

men were brought into disrepute by the fact that 

the defensive weapons of the most weak (even of 


those who were weakest towards themselves) were 

established as a standard of valuation. 

The confusion went so far that precisely the 

great virtuosos of life (whose self-control presents 

the sharpest contrast to the vicious and the un 

bridled) were branded with the most opprobrious^ 

names. Even to this day people feel themselves 1 

compelled to disarage a Caesar Borgia : it is i 

simply ludicrous. The "Church has anathematised J 

German Kaisers owing to their vices : as if a monk 

or a priest had the right to say a word as to what 

a Frederick II. should allow himself. Don Juan 

is sent to hell : this is very naif. Has anybody 

ever noticed that all interesting men are lacking 

in heaven ? . . . This is only a hint to the girls, 

as to where they may best find salvation. If one , 

think at all logically, and also have a profound 

insight into that which makes a great man, there 

can be no doubt at all that the Church has dis- J 

patched all " great men " to Hades its fight is J 

against all " greatness in man." 


The rights which a man arrogates to himself 

are relative to the duties which he sets himself, 

and to the tasks which he feels capable of per 

forming. The great majority of men have no 

right to life, and are only a misfortune to their 

higher fellows. 


The misunderstanding of egoism: on the part 

of ignoble natures who know nothing of the lust of 



conquest and the insatiability of great love, and who 

likewise know nothing of the overflowing feelings 

of power which make a man wish to overcome things, 

to force them over to himself, and to lay them on 

his heart, the power which impels an artist to 

his material. It often happens also that the 

active spirit looks for a field for its activity. In 

ordinary " egoism " it is precisely the " non-ego," 

the profoundly mediocre ^ creature^ the member _pf 

the herd^ who wishes to maintain himself and 

when this is perceived by the rarer, more subtle, 

and less mediocre natures, it revolts them. For 

the judgment of the latter is this : " We are the 

noble \ It is much more important to maintain us 

than that cattle ! " 


The degeneration of the ruler and of the ruling 

classes has been the cause of all the great dis 

orders in history ! Without the Roman Caesars 

and Roman society, Christianity would never have 


When it occurs to inferior men to doubt 

whether higher men exist, then the danger is 

great ! It is then that men finally discover that 

there are virtues even among inferior, suppressed, 

and poor-spirited men, and that everybody is 

equal before God : which is the non plus ultra of 

all confounded nonsense that has ever appeared 

on earth ! For in the end higher men begin to 

measure themselves according to the standard of 

virtues upheld by the slaves and discover that 


they are " proud," etc., and that all their higher 

qualities should be condemned. 

When Nero and Caracalla stood at the helm, 

it was then that the paradox arose : " The lowest 

man is of more value than that one on the throne ! " 

And thus the path was prepared for an image of 

God which was as remote as possible from the 

image of the mightiest, God on the Cross ! 


Higher man and gregarious man. When great 

! men are ivanting, the great of the past are con 

verted into demigods or whole gods : the rise of 

religions proves that mankind no longer has any 

pleasure in man (" nor in woman neither," as in 

Hamlet s case). Or a host of men are brought 

together in a heap, and it is hoped that as a 

Parliament they will operate just as tyrannically. 

Tyrannising is the distinctive quality of great 

meq : they make inferior men stupid. 


Buckle affords the best example of the extent 

to which a plebeian agitator of the mob is in 

capable of arriving at a clear idea of the concept, 

" higher nature." The opinion which he combats 

so passionately that " great men," individuals, 

princes, statesmen, geniuses, warriors, are the 

levers and causes of all great movements, is in 

stinctively misunderstood by him, as if it meant 

that all that was essential and valuable in such 


a " higher man," was the fact that he was capable 

of setting masses in motion ; in short, that his 

sole merit was the effect he produced. . . . But 

the " higher nature " of the great man resides 

precisely in being different, in being unable to 

communicate with others, in the loftiness of his 

rank not in any sort of effect he may produce 

even though this be the shattering of both hemi 



The Revolution made Napoleon possible : that 

is its justification. We ought to desire the 

anarchical collapse of the whole of our civilisation 

if such a reward were to be its result. Napoleon 

made nationalism possible : that is the latter s 


The value of a man (apart, of course, from 

morality and immorality : because with these 

concepts a man s worth is not even skimmed) 

does not lie in his utility ; because he would 

continue to exist even if there were nobody to 

whom he could be useful. And why could not 

that man be the very pinnacle of manhood who 

was the source of the worst possible effects for 

his race : so high and so superior, that in his 

presence everything would go to rack and ruin 

from envy ? 


To appraise the value of a man according to 

his utility to mankind, or according to what he 

costs it, or the damage he is able to inflict upon it, 


is just as good and just as bad as to appraise the 

value of a work of art according to its effects. 

But in this way the value of one man compared 

with another is not even touched upon. The 

" moral valuation," in so far as it is social, measures 

men altogether according to their effects. But 

what about the man who has his own taste on 

his tongue, who is surrounded and concealed 

by his isolation, uncommunicative and not to be 

communicated with ; a man whom no one has 

fathomed yet that is to say, a creature of a 

higher, and, at any rate, different species : how 

would ye appraise his worth, seeing that ye 

cannot know him and can compare him with 


Moral valuation was the cause of the most 

enormous obtuseness of judgment: the value of 

a man in himself is underrated , well-nigh over 

looked, practically denied. This is the remains 

of simple-minded teleology : the value of man 

can only be measured with regard to other men. 


To be obsessed by moral considerations pre 

supposes a very low grade of intellect : it shows 

that the instinct for special rights, for standing 

apart, the feeling of freedom in creative natures, 

in " children of God " (or of the devil), is lacking. 

And irrespective of whether he preaches a ruling 

morality or criticises the prevailing ethical code 

from the point of view of his own ideal : by 

doing these things a man shows that he belongs 


to the herd even though he may be what it is 

most in need of that is to say, a " shepherd." 


We should substitute, morality by the will to our 

own ends, and consequently to the means to them. 


Concerning tlie order of rank. What is it that 

constitutes the mediocrity of the typical man ? 

That he does not understand that things neces 

sarily have their other side ; that he combats evil 

conditions as if they could be dispensed with ; 

that he will not take the one with the other ; that 

he would fain obliterate and erase the specific 

character of a thing, of a circumstance, of an age, 

and of a person, by calling only a portion of their 

qualities good, and suppressing the remainder. 

The " desirability " of the mediocre is that which 

we others combat : their ideal is something which 

shall no longer contain anything harmful, evil, 

dangerous, questionable, and destructive. We 

recognise the reverse of this : that with every 

growth of man his other side must grow as well ; 

that the highest man, if such a concept be allowed, 

would be that man who would represent the antag 

onistic character of existence most strikingly, and 

would be its glory and its only justification. . . . 

Ordinary men may only represent a small corner 

and nook of this natural character ; they perish 

the moment the multifariousness of the elements 

composing them, and the tension between their 


antagonistic traits, increases : but this is the pre 

requisite for greatness in man. That man should \ 

become better and at the same time more evil, is | 

my formula for this inevitable fact. 

The majority of people are only piecemeal and 

fragmentary examples of man : only when all 

these creatures are jumbled together does one 

whole man arise. Whole ages and whole peoples 

in this sense, have a fragmentary character about 

them ; it may perhaps be part of the economy of 

human development that man should develop 

himself only piecemeal. But, for this reason, one 

should not forget that the only important con 

sideration is the rise of the synthetic man ; that 

inferior men, and by far the great majority of 

people, are but rehearsals and exercises out of v 

which here and there a whole man may arise ; a 

man who is a human milestone, and who indicates 

how far mankind has advanced up to a certain 

point. Mankind does not advance in a straight 

line ; often a type is attained which is again lost 

(for instance, with all the efforts of three hundred 

years, we have not reached the men of the Renais 

sance again, and in addition to this we must not 

forget that the man of the Renaissance was already 

behind his brother of classical antiquity). 


The superiority of the Greek and the man of 

the Renaissance is recognised, but people would 

like to produce them without the conditions and 

causes of which they were the result. 



" Purification of taste " can only be the result 

of the strengthening of the type. Our society 

to-day represents only the cultivating systems ; 

the cultivated man is lacking. The great synthetic 

man, in whom the various forces for attaining a- 

purpose are correctly harnessed together, is alto 

gether wanting. The specimen we possess is the 

multifarious man, the most interesting form of 

chaos that has ever existed : but not the chaos 

preceding the creation of the world, but that fol 

lowing it : Goethe as the most beautiful expression 

of the type (completely and utterly un- Olympian !)* 


Handel, Leibniz, Goethe, and Bismarck, are 

characteristic of the strong German type. They 

lived with equanimity, surrounded by contrasts. 

They were full of that agile kind of strength 

which cautiously avoids convictions and doctrines, 

by using the one as a weapon against the other, 

and reserving absolute freedom for themselves. 


Of this I am convinced, that if the rise of great 

and rare men had been made dependent upon the 

voices of the multitude (taking for granted, of 

*Tbe Germans always call Goethe the Olympian. TR. 


course, that the latter knew the qualities which 

belong to greatness, and also the price that all 

greatness pays for its self-development), then there 

would never have been any such thing as a great 

man ! 

The fact that things pursue their course inde- 

pendently of the voice of the many, is the reason why 

a few astonishing things have taken place on earth. 


The Order of Rank in Human Values. 

(a] A man should not be valued according to 

isolated acts. Epidermal actions. Nothing is more 

rare than a personal act. Class, rank, race, environ 

ment, accident all these things are much more 

likely to be expressed in an action or deed than 

the " personality " of the doer. 

(b] We should on no account jump to the con 

clusion that there are many people who are per 

sonalities. Some men are but conglomerations of 

personalities, whilst the majority are not even one. 

In all cases in which those average qualities pre 

ponderate, which ensure the maintenance of the 

species, to be a personality would involve un 

necessary expense, it would be a luxury in fact, 

it would be foolish to demand of anybody that he 

should be a personality. In such circumstances 

everybody is a channel or a transmitting vessel. 

(c] A " personality " is a relatively isolated phen 

omenon ; in view of the superior importance of- 7 

the continuation of the race at an average level, a 


personality might even be regarded as something 

hostile to nature. For a personality to be possible, 

timely isolation and the necessity for an existence 

of offence and defence, are prerequisites ; something 

in the nature of a walled enclosure, a capacity for 

, shutting out the world ; but above all, a much lower 

\ degree of sensitiveness than the average man has, 

who is too easily infected with the views of others. 

The first question concerning the order of rank : 

how far is a man disposed to be solitary or gre- 

garioust (in the latter case, his valueconsists in those 

qualities which secure the survival of his tribe or 

his type ; in the former case, his qualities are those 

which distinguish him from others, which isolate 

and defend him, and make his solitude possible). 

Consequence : the solitary type should not be 

valued from the standpoint of the gregarious type, 

or vice versa. 

Viewed from above, both types are necessary ; 

as is likewise their antagonism, and nothing is 

more thoroughly reprehensible than the " desire " 

which would develop a third thing out of the two 

(" virtue " as hermaphroditism). This is as little 

worthy of desire as the equalisation and reconcilia 

tion of the sexes. The distinguishing qualities must 

be developed ever more and more, the gulf must be 

made ever wider. . . . 

The concept of degeneration in both cases : the 

approximation of the qualities of the herd to those 

of solitary creatures: and vice versa in short, when 

they begin to resemble each other. This concept 

of degeneration is beyond the sphere of moral 




Where the strongest natures are to be sought. 

The ruin and degeneration of the solitary species is 

much greater and more terrible : they have the in 

stincts of the herd, and the tradition of values, 

against them ; their weapons of defence, their in 

stincts of self-preservation, are from the beginning 

insufficiently strong and reliable fortune must be 

peculiarly favourable to them if they are to prosper 

(they prosper best in the lowest ranks and dregs 

of society ; if ye are seeking personalities it is there 

that ye will find them with much greater certainty 

than in the middle classes !) 

When the dispute between ranks and classes, 

which aims at equality of rights, is almost settled, 

the fight will begin against the solitary person. (In 

a certain sense the latter can maintain and develop 

himself most easily in a democratic society \ there 

where the coarser means of defence are no longer 

necessary, and a certain habit of order, honesty, 

justice, trust, is already a general condition.) t The 

strongest must be most tightly bound, most strictly 

watched, laid in chains and supervised : this is the 

instinct of the herd. To them belongs a regime of 

self-mastery, of ascetic detachment, of " duties " 

consisting in exhausting work, in which one can no 

longer call one s soul one s own. 


I am attempting an economic justification of 

virtue. The object is to make man as useful as 



possible, and to make him approximate as nearly 

as one can to an infallible machine : to this end he 

must be equipped with machine- like virtues (he 

must learn to value those states in which he works 

in a most mechanically useful way, as the highest 

of all : to this end it is necessary to make him as 

disgusted as possible with the other states, and to 

represent them as very dangerous and despicable). 

Here is the first stumbling-block : the tedious- 

ness and monotony which all mechanical activity 

brings with it. To learn to endure this and not 

only to endure it, but to see tedium enveloped in 

a ray of exceeding charm : this hitherto has been 

the task of all higher schools. To learn something 

which you don t care a fig about, and to find pre 

cisely your " duty " in this " objective " activity ; 

to learn to value happiness and duty as things 

apart ; this is the invaluable task and performance 

of higher schools. It is on this account that the 

philologist has, hitherto, been the educator per se : 

because his activity, in itself, affords the best 

pattern of magnificent monotony in action ; under 

his banner youths learn to " swat " : first pre 

requisite for the thorough fulfilment of mechanical 

duties in the future (as State officials, husbands, 

slaves of the desk, newspaper readers, and soldiers). 

Such an existence may perhaps require a philosoph 

ical glorification and justification more than any 

other : pleasurable feelings must be valued by some 

sort of infallible tribunal, as altogether of inferior 

rank ; " duty per se" perhaps even the pathos of re 

verence in regard to everything unpleasant, must 

be demanded imperatively as that which is above all 


useful, delightful, and practical things. ... A 

mechanical form of existence regarded as the 

highest and most respectable form of existence, 

worshipping itself (type : Kant as the fanatic of the 

formal concept " Thou shalt "). 


The economic valuation of all the ideals that 

have existed hitherto that is to say, the selection 

and rearing of definite passions and states at the 

cost of other passions and states. The law-giver 

(or the instinct of the community) selects a number 

of states and passions the existence of which 

guarantees the performance of regular actions 

(mechanical actions would thus be the result of 

the regular requirements of those passions and 


In the event of these states and passions con 

taining ingredients which were painful, a means 

would have to be found for overcoming this pain- 

fulness by means of a valuation ; pain would have 

to be interpreted as something valuable, as some 

thing pleasurable in a higher sense. Conceived in 

a formula : " How does something unpleasant become 

pleasant ? " For instance, when our obedience and 

our submission to the law become honoured, thanks 

to the energy, power, and self-control they entail. 

The same holds good of our public spirit, of our 

neighbourliness, of our patriotism, our " humanisa- 

tion," our " altruism," and our " heroism." The 

object of all idealism should be to induce people To 

do unpleasant things cheerfully. 



The belittlement of man must be held as the 

chief aim for a long while : because what is needed 

in the first place is a broad basis from which a 

stronger species of man may arise (to what extent 

hitherto has every stronger species of man arisen 

from a substratum of inferior people ?). 


The absurd and contemptible form of idealism 

which would not have mediocrity mediocre, and 

which instead of feeling triumphant at being ex 

ceptional, becomes indignant at cowardice, false 

ness, pettiness, and wretchedness. We should not 

wish things to be any different, we should make the 

gulfs even wider \ The higher types among men 

should be compelled to distinguish themselves by 

means ot the sacrifices which they make to their 

own existence. 

Principal point of view : distances must be es 

tablished, but no contrasts must be created. The 

middle classes must be dissolved, and their influence 

decreased : this is the principal means of main 

taining distances. 


Who would dare to disgust the mediocre of their 

mediocrity ! As you observe, I do precisely the 

reverse : every step away from mediocrity thus 

do I teach leads to immorality. 



To hate mediocrity is unworthy of a philo 

sopher : it is almost a note of interrogation to his 

" right to philosophy." It is precisely because he is 

the exception that he must protect the rule and 

ingratiate all mediocre people. 


What I combat : that an exceptional form should 

make war upon the rule instead of understanding 

that the continued existence of the rule is the first 

condition of the value of the exception. For in 

stance, there are women who, instead of consider 

ing their abnormal thirst for knowledge as a dis 

tinction, would fain dislocate the whole status of 



The increase of strength despite the temporary 

ruin of the individual : 

A new level must be established ; 

We must have a method of storing up forces 

for the maintenance of small performances, 

in opposition to economic waste ; 

Destructive nature must for once be reduced 

to an instrument of this economy of the 

future ; 

The weak must be maintained, because there 

is an enormous mass of finicking work to 

be done ; 


The weak and the suffering must be upheld 

in their belief that existence is still possible ; 

Solidarity must be implanted as an instinct 

opposed to the instinct of fear and servility ; 

War must be made upon accident, even upon 

the accident of " the great man." 


War upon great men justified on economic 

grounds. Great men are dangerous ; they are 

accidents, exceptions, tempests, which are strong 

enough to question things which it has taken time 

to build and establish. Explosive material must 

not only be discharged harmlessly, but, if possible, 

its discharge must be prevented altogether ; this is 

the fundamental instinct of all civilised society. 


I He who thinks over the question of how the type 

/man may be elevated to its highest glory and 

, /power, will realise from the start that he must 

/place himself beyond morality; for morality was 

/ directed in its essentials at the opposite goal that 

/ is to say, its aim was to arrest and to annihilate 

i that glorious development wherever it was in pro- 

* cess of accomplishment. For, as a matter of fact, 

development of that sort implies that such an 

enormous number of men must be subservient to it, 

that a counter-movement is only too natural : the 

weaker, more delicate, more mediocre existences, 

find it necessary to take up sides against that glory 


of life and power ; and for that purpose they must 

get a new valuation of themselves by means of 

which they are able to condemn, and if possible to 

destroy, life in this high degree of plenitude. 

Morality is therefore essentially the expression of ( 

hostility to life, in so far as it would overcome 

vital types. 


The strong of the future. To what extent neces 

sity on the one hand and accident on the other 

have attained to conditions from which a stronger 

species may be reared : this we are now able to 

understand and to bring about consciously ; we 

can now create those conditions under which such 

an elevation is possible. 

Hitherto education has always aimed at the 

utility of society : not the greatest possible utility 

for the future, but the utility of the society actually 

extant. What people required were " instruments" 

for this purpose. Provided the wealth of forces 

were greater^ it would be possible to think of a 

draft being made upon them, the aim of which 

would not be the utility of society, but some future 


The more people grasped to what extent the 

present form of society was in such a state of tran 

sition as sooner or later to be no longer able to exist 

for its own sake, but only as a means in the hands 

of a stronger race, the more this task would have to 

be brought forward. 

The increasing belittlement of man is precisely 

the impelling power which leads one to think of 


the cultivation of a stronger race-, a race which 

would have a surplus precisely there where the 

dwarfed species was weak and growing weaker 

(will, responsibility, self-reliance, the ability to 

postulate aims for one s self). 

The means would be those which history teaches: 

isolation by means of preservative interests which 

would be the reverse of those generally accepted ; 

exercise in transvalued valuations ; distance as 

pathos ; a clean conscience in what to-day is most 

despised and most prohibited. 

The levelling of the mankind of Europe is the 

great process which should not be arrested ; it 

should even be accelerated. The necessity of 

cleaving gulfs, of distance, of the order of rank, is 

therefore imperative ; but not the necessity of re 

tarding the process above mentioned. 

This levelled- down species requires justification 

as soon as it is attained : its justification is that 

it exists for the service of a higher and sovereign 

race which stands upon it and can only be elevated 

upon its shoulders to the task which it is destined 

to perform. Not only a ruling race whose task 

would be consummated in ruling alone : but a race 

with vital spheres of its own, with an overflow of 

energy for beauty, bravery, culture, and manners, 

even for the most abstract thought ; a yea-saying 

race which would be able to allow itself every kind 

of great luxury strong enough to be able to dis 

pense with the tyranny of the imperatives of virtue, 

rich enough to be in no need of economy or 

pedantry ; beyond good and evil ; a forcing-house 

for rare and exceptional plants. 




Our psychologists, whose glance dwells in 

voluntarily upon the symptoms of decadence, lead 

us to mistrust intellect ever more and more. 

People persist in seeing only the weakening, pam 

pering, and sickening effects of intellect, but there 

are now going to appear : 

The union of 




Experi ment- 




with well-be 


ing and an 

overflow of 



I point to something new : certainly for such a 

democratic community there is a danger of bar 

barians ; but these are sought only down below. 

There is also another kind of barbarians who come 

from the heights : a kind of conquering and ruling 

natures, which are in search of material that they 

can mould. Prometheus was a barbarian of this 



Principal standpoint: one should not suppose 

the mission of a higher species to be the leading 

of inferior men (as Comte does, for instance) ; but 

the inferior should be regarded as the foundation 

upon which a higher species may live their higher 

life upon which alone they can stand. 


The conditions under which a strong, noble 

species maintains itself (in the matter of intellectual 

discipline) are precisely the reverse of those under 

which the industrial masses the tea-grocers a la 

Spencer subsist. Those qualities which are 

within the grasp only of the strongest and most 

terrible natures, and which make their existence 

possible leisure, adventure, disbelief, and even4isb. 

station would necessarily ruin mediocre natures 

and does do so when they possess them. In 

the case of the latter industry, regularity, modera 

tion, and strong " conviction " are in their proper 

place in short, all " gregarious virtues " : under 

their influence these mediocre men become perfect. 


Concerning the ruling types. The shepherd as 

opposed to the " lord " (the former is only a means 

to the maintenance of the herd ; the latter, the 

purpose for which the herd exists). 


The temporary preponderance of social valua 

tions is both comprehensible and useful ; it is a 

matter of building a foundation upon which a 

stronger species will ultimately be made possible. 

The standard of strength : to be able to live under 

the transvalued valuations, and to desire them for 

\ all eternity. State and society regarded as a sub 

structure : economic point of view, education con- 

ceived as breeding. 



A consideration which " free spirits lack : that 

the same discipline which makes a strong nature 

still stronger, and enables it to go in for big under 

takings, breaks up and withers the mediocre : doubt 

la largeur de cceur experiment independence. 


The hammer. How should men who must value 

in the opposite way be constituted ? Men who 

possess all the qualities of the modern soul, but are 

strong enough to convert them into real health ? 

The means to their task. 


The strong man, who is mighty in the instincts 

of a strong and healthy organisation, digests his 

deeds just as well as he digests his meals ; he even 

gets over the effects of heavy fare : in the main, iB| 

however, he is led by an inviolable and severe 

instinct which prevents his doing anything which 

goes against his grain, just as he never does any 

thing against his taste. 


Can we foresee the favourable circumstances 

under which creatures of the highest value might 

arise ? It is a thousand times too complicated, and 

the probabilities of failure are very great : on that 

account we cannot be inspired by the thought of 


striving after them ! Scepticism. To oppose this 

we can enhance courage, insight, hardness, inde 

pendence, and the feeling of responsibility ; we can 

also subtilise and learn to forestall the delicacy of 

the scales, so that favourable accidents may be 

enlisted on our side. 


Before we can even think of acting, an enormous 

amount of work requires to be done. In the main, 

however, a cautious exploitation of the present con 

ditions would be our best and most advisable 

course of action. The actual creation of conditions 

such as those which occur by accident, presupposes 

the existence of iron men such as have not yet 

lived. Our first task must be to make the personal 

ideal prevail and become realised \ He who has 

understood the nature of man and the origin of 

mankind s greatest specimens, shudders before man 

and takes flight from all action \ this is the result 

of inherited valuations ! ! 

My consolation is, that the nature of man is evil, 

and this guarantees his strength \ 


The typical forms of self-development, or the 

eight principal questions : 

1. Do we want to be more multifarious or more 

simple than we are ? 

2. Do we want to be happier than we are, or 

more indifferent to both happiness and un- 

happiness ? 


3. Do we want to be more satisfied with our- 

selves,ormoreexactingand more inexorable? 

4. Do we want to be softer, more yielding, and 

more human than we are, or more in 

human ? 

5. Do we want to be more prudent than we are, 

or more daring? 

6. Do we want to attain a goal, or do we want / 

to avoid all goals (like the philosopher, for t 

instance, who scents a boundary, a cul-de- 

sac, a prison, a piece of foolishness in every 

goal) ? 

7. Do we want to become more respected, or 

more feared, or more despised ? 

8. Do we want to become tyrants, and seducers, 

or do we want to become shepherds and 

gregarious animals ? 


The type of my disciples. To such men as con 

cern me in any way I wish suffering, desolation, 

sickness, ill-treatment, indignities of all kinds. I 

wish them to be acquainted with profound self- 

contempt, with the martyrdom of self-distrust, with 

the misery of the defeated : I have no pity for 

them ; because I wish them to have the only thing 

which to-day proves whether a man has any value 

or not, namely, the capacity of sticking to his guns. 


The happiness and self-contentedness of the 

lazzaroni, or the blessedness of " beautiful souls," 


or the consumptive love of Puritan pietists, 

proves nothing in regard to the order of rank 

I among men. As a great educator one ought in- 

i exorably to thrash a race of such blissful creatures 

into unhappiness. The danger of belittlement and 

of a slackening of powers follows immediately 

I am opposed to happiness a la Spinoza or a la 

Epicurus, and to all the relaxation of contemplative 

states. But when virtue is the means to such 

happiness, well then, one must master even virtue. 


\ I cannot see how any one can make up for 

having missed going to a good school at the proper 

( time. Such a person does not know himself; he 

walks through life without ever having learned to 

walk. His soft muscles betray themselves at every 

step. Occasionally life itself is merciful enough to 

make a man recover this lost and severe schooling : 

by means of periods of sickness, perhaps, which 

exact the utmost will-power and self-control ; or 

j by means of a sudden state of poverty, which 

threatens his wife and child, and which may force 

a man to such activity as will restore energy to his 

slackened tendons, and a tough spirit to his will to 

life. The most desirable thing of all, however, is, 

under all circumstances to have severe discipline at 

the right time, i.e. at that age when it makes us 

proud that people should expect great things from 

us. For this is what distinguishes hard schooling, 

as good schooling, from every other schooling, 

namely, that a good deal is demanded, that a good 


deal is severely exacted ; that goodness, nay even 

excellence itself, is required as if it were normal ; 

that praise is scanty, that leniency is non-existent ; 

that blame is sharp, practical, and without reprieve, 

and has no regard to talent and antecedents. We 

are in every way in need of such a school : and 

this holds good of corporeal as well as of spiritual 

things ; it would be fatal to draw distinctions here ! * 

The same discipline makes the soldier and the 

scholar efficient ; and, looked at more closely, there 

is no true scholar who has not the instincts of a 

true soldier in his veins. To be able to command 

and to be able to obey in a proud fashion ; to keep 

one s place in rank and file, and yet to be ready 

at any moment to lead ; to prefer danger to 

comfort ; not to weigh what is permitted and 

what is forbidden in a tradesman s balance ; to be 

more hostile to pettiness, slyness, and parasitism 

than to wickedness. What is it that one learns in / 

a hard school ? to obey and to command. 


We should repudiate merit and do only that 

which stands above all praise and above all under-; 



The new forms of morality : 

Faithful vows concerning that which one 

wishes to do or to leave undone ; complete and 

definite abstention from many things. Tests as 

to whether one is ripe for such discipline. 



It is my desire to naturalise asceticism : I would 

substitute the old intention of asceticism, " self- 

denial," by my own intention, " self -strengthening " : 

a gymnastic of the will ; a period of abstinence 

and occasional fasting of every kind, even in things 

intellectual ; a casuistry in deeds, in regard to the 

opinions which we derive from our powers ; we 

should try our hand at adventure and at deliberate 

dangers. (Diners chez Magny : all intellectual 

gourmets with spoilt stomachs.) Tests ought also 

to be devised for discovering a man s power in 

keeping his word. 


The things which have become spoilt through 

having been abused by the Church : 

(i) Asceticism. People have scarcely got the 

courage yet to bring to light the natural utility 

and necessity of asceticism for the purpose of the 

. education of the will. Our ridiculous world of 

education, before whose eyes the useful State 

official hovers as an ideal to be striven for, believes 

that it has completed its duty when it has in 

structed or trained the brain ; it never even 

suspects that something else is first of all necessary 

i the education of will-power ; tests are devised for 

everything except for the most important thing 

of all : whether a man can will, whether he can 

promise , the young man completes his education 

without a question or an inquiry having been 


made concerning the problem of the highest value 

of his nature. 

(2) Fasting. In every sense even as a means 

of maintaining the capacity for taking pleasure in 

all good things (for instance, to give up reading 

for a while, to hear no music for a while, to cease 

from being amiable for a while : one ought also 

to have fast days for one s virtues). 

(3) The monastery. Temporary isolation with 

severe seclusion from all letters, for instance ; a 

kind of profound introspection and self-recovery, 

which does not go out of the way of " temptations," 

but out of the way of " duties " ; a stepping out 

of the daily round of one s environment ; a detach 

ment from the tyranny of stimuli and external 

influences, which condemns us to expend our 

power only in reactions, and does not allow it to 

gather volume until it bursts into spontaneous 

activity (let anybody examine our scholars closely : 

they only think reflexively, i.e. they must first 

read before they can think). 

(4) Feasts. A man must be very coarse in order 

not to feel the presence of Christians and Christian 

values as oppressive, so oppressive as to send all 

festive moods to the devil. By feasts we under 

stand : pride, high-spirits, exuberance ; scorn of 

all kinds of seriousness and Philistinism ; a divine 

saying of Yea to one s self, as the result of physical 

plenitude and perfection all states to which the 

Christian cannot honestly say Yea. A feast is a\ 

pagan thing par excellence. 

(5) The courage of one s own nature : dressing- 

up in morality. To be able to call one s passions 



good without the help of a moral formula : this is 

the standard which measures the extent to which 

a man is able to say Yea to his own nature, 

namely, how much or how little he has to have 

recourse to morality. 

(6) Death. The foolish physiological fact must 

be converted into a moral necessity. One should 

\> , live in such a way that one may have the will to 

die at the right time \ 


To feel one s self stronger or, expressed other 

wise : happiness always presupposes a comparison 

(not necessarily with others, but with one s self, in 

the midst of a state of growth, and without being 

conscious that one is comparing). 

Artificial accentuation : whether by means of 

exciting chemicals or exciting errors (" halluci 


Take, for instance, the Christian s feeling of 

security ; he feels himself strong in his confidence, 

in his patience, and his resignation : this artificial 

accentuation he owes to the fancy that he is pro 

tected by a God. Take the feeling of superiority, 

for instance : as when the Caliph of Morocco sees 

only globes on which his three united kingdoms 

cover four-fifths of the space. Take the feeling 

of uniqueness, for instance : as when the European 

imagines that culture belongs to Europe alone, 

and when he regards himself as a sort of abridged 

cosmic process ; or, as when the Christian makes 

all existence revolve round the " Salvation of man." 

The question is, where does one begin to feel the 


pressure of constraint : it is thus that different 

degrees are ascertained. A philosopher, for instance, 

in the midst of the coolest and most transmontane 

feats of abstraction feels like a fish that enters its 

element : while colours and tones oppress him ; 

not to speak of those dumb desires of that which 

others call " the ideal." 


A healthy and vigorous little boy will look up 

sarcastically if he be asked : " Wilt thou become 

virtuous? "-but he immediately becomes eager if 

he be asked : " Wilt thou become stronger than 

thy comrades ? " 

How does one become stronger? By deciding 

slowly ; and by holding firmly to the decision 

once it is made. Everything else follows of itself. 

Spontaneous and changeable natures : both species 

of the weak. We must not confound ourselves 

with them ; we must feel distance betimes ! 

Beware of good-natured people ! Dealings with 

them make one torpid. All environment is good 

which makes one~~exercise those defensive and 

aggressive powers which are instinctive in man. 

All one s inventiveness should apply itself to 

putting one s power of will to the test. . . . Here 

the determining factor must be recognised as 

something which is not knowledge, astuteness, or 


One must learn to command betimes, likewise 

to obey. A man must learn modesty and tact in 


modesty : he must learn to distinguish and to 

honour where modesty is displayed ; he must like 

wise distinguish and honour wherever he bestows 

his confidence. 

What does one repent most ? One s modesty ; 

the fact that one has not lent an ear to one s most 

individual needs ; the fact that one has mistaken 

one s self; the fact that one has esteemed one s self 

low ; the fact that one has lost all delicacy of 

hearing in regard to one s instincts. This want of 

reverence in regard to one s self is avenged by all 

sorts of losses : in health, friendship, well-being, 

pride, cheerfulness, freedom, determination, cour 

age. A man never forgives himself, later on, for 

this want of genuine egoism : he regards it as an 

objection and as a cause of doubt concerning his 

real ego. 


/ I should like man to begin by respecting himself : \ 

everything else follows of itself. Naturally a man 

ceases from being anything to others in this way : 

for this is precisely what they are least likely to 

forgive. " What ? a man who respects himself? " * 

This is something quite different from the blind 

instinct to love one s self. Nothing is more common 

in the love of the sexes or in that duality which is 

* Cf. Disraeli in Tancred : " Self-respect, too, is a super 

stition of past ages. ... It is not suited to these times ; it is 

much too arrogant, too self-conceited, too egoistical. No 

one is important enough to have self-respect nowadays " 

(book iii. chap. v.). TR. 


called ego, than_.a. certain contempt for that which 

is loved : the fatalism of love. 


" I will have this or that " ; u I would that this 

or that were so " ; "I know that this or that is 

so" the degrees of power: the man of will, the 

man of desire, the man of fate. 


The means by which a strong species maintains 

itself : 

It grants itself the right of exceptional actions, 

as a test of the power of self-control and 

of freedom. 

It abandons itself to states in which a man is 

not allowed to be anything else than a 


It tries to acquire strength of will by every 

\J kind of asceticism. 

It is not expansive ; it practises silence ; it 

is cautious in regard to all charms. 

It learns to obey in such a way that obedi 

ence provides a test of self-maintenance. 

Casujstry^is carried to its highest pitch in 

regard to points of honour. 

It never argues, " What is sauce for the goose 

is sauce for the gander," but conversely ! 

it regards reward, and the ability to repay, 

as a privilege, as a distinction. 

It does not covet other people s virtues. 



The way in which one has to treat raw savages 

and the impossibility of dispensing with barbarous 

methods, becomes obvious, in practice, when one 

is transplanted, with all one s European pampering, 

to a spot such as the Congo, or anywhere else 

where it is necessary to maintain one s mastery 

over barbarians. 


Warlike and peaceful people. Art thou a man 

who has the instincts of a warrior in thy blood ? 

If this be so, another question must be put. Do 

thy instincts impel thee to attack or to defend ? 

The rest of mankind, all those whose instincts are 

not warlike, desire peace, concord, " freedom," 

" equal rights " : these things are but names and 

steps for one and the same thing. Such men only 

wish to go where it is not necessary for them to 

defend themselves, such men become discon 

tented with themselves when they are obliged to 

offer resistance : they would fain create circum 

stances in which war is no longer necessary. If 

the worst came to the worst, they would resign 

themselves, obey, and submit : all these things are 

better than waging war thus does the Christian s 

instinct, for instance, whisper to him. In the born 

warrior s character there is something of armour, 

likewise in the choice of his circumstances and in 

the development of every one of his qualities : 

weapons are best evolved by the latter type, shields 

are best devised by the former. 


What expedients and what virtues do the un 

armed and the undefended require in order to 

survive and even to conquer? 


What will become of a man who no longer has 

any reasons for either defence or attack ? What 

will remain of his passions when he has lost those 

which form his defence and his weapons ? 


A marginal note to a niaiserie anglaise : " Do V 

not to others that which you would not that they 

should do unto you." This stands for wisdom ; 

this stands for prudence ; this stands as the very 

basis of morality as " a golden maxim." John 

Stuart Mill believes in it (and what Englishman 

does not?). . . . But the maxim does not bear 

investigation. The argument, " Do not as you 

would not be done by," forbids action which pro 

duce harmful results ; the thought behind always 

is that an action is invariably requited. What if 

some one came forward with the " Principe " in his 

hands, and said : " We must do those actions alone 

which enable us to steal a march on others, 

and which deprive others of the power of doing 

the same to us " ? On the other hand, let us re 

member the Corsican who pledges his honour to 

vendetta. He too does not desire to have a bullet 

through him ; but the prospect of one, the proba 

bility of getting one, does not deter him from 


vindicating his honour. . . . And in all really de 

cent actions are we not intentionally indifferent as 

to what result they will bring ? To avoid an action 

which might have harmful results, that would be 

tantamount to forbidding all decent actions in 


Apart from this, the above maxim is valuable 

because it betrays a certain type of man : it is the 

instinct of the herd which formulates itself through 

him, we are equal, we regard each other as equal : 

as I am to thee so art thou to me. In this com 

munity equivalence of actions is really believed in 

an equivalence which never under any circum 

stances manifests itself in real conditions. It is 

impossible to requite every action : among real 

individuals equal actions do not exist, consequently 

there can be no such thing as " requital." . . . 

When I do anything^ I am very far from thinking 

that any" man is able to do anything at all tike 

it: the action belongs to me . . . . Nobody can 

pay me back for anything I do ; the most that can 

be done is to make me the victim of another 



Against John Stuart Mill. I abhor the man s 

vulgarity when he says : " What is right for one 

man is right for another " ; " Do not to others that 

which you would not that they should do unto 

you." Such principles would fain establish the 

whole of human traffic upon mutual services^ so 

that every action would appear to be a cash pay 

ment for something done to us. The hypothesis 


here is ignoble to the last degree: it_is_ taken- for 

granted. that there is some sort of cqttivalence in 

value ^between my actions and thine ; the most per 

sonal value of an action is simply cancelled in this 

manner (that part of an action which has no 

equivalent and which cannot be remunerated). 

" Reciprocity " is a piece of egregious vulgarity ; 

the mere fact that what I do cannot and may not 

be done by another, that there is no such thing as 

equivalence (except in those very select circles 

where one actually has one s equal, inter pares], 

that in a really profound sense a man never re 

quites because he is something unique in himself 

and can only do unique things, this fundamental / 

conviction contains the cause of aristocratic aloof 

ness from the mob, because the latter believes in 

equality,and consequently in the feasibility of equiva 

lence and " reciprocity." 


The suburban Philistinism of moral valuations 

and of its concepts " useful " and " harmful " is well 

founded ; it is the necessary point of view of a 

community which is only able to see and survey 

immediate and proximate consequences. 

The State and the political man are already in 

need of a more super-moral attitude of mind : 

because they have to calculate concerning a much * 

/ more complicated tissue of consequences. An eco- ^ 

/ nomic policy for the whole world should be possible 

/ which could look at things in such broad perspec- 

l tive that all its isolated demands would seem for 

\J:he moment not only unjust, but arbitrary. 



" Should one follow one s feelings ? " To set 

one s life at stake on the impulse of the moment, 

and actuated by a generous feeling, has little worth, 

and does not even distinguish one. Everybody is 

alike in being capable of this and in behaving in 

this way with determination, the criminal, the 

bandit, and the Corsican certainly outstrip thej 

honest man. 

A higher degree of excellence would be to over 

come this impulse, and to refrain from performing 

an heroic deed at its bidding, and to remain cold, 

raisonnable, free from the tempestuous surging of 

concomitant sensations of delight. . . . The same 

-. holds good of pity : it must first be sifted through 

I reason ; without this it becomes just as dangerous 

1 as any other passion. 

i The blind yielding to a passion, whether it be 

j generosity, pity, or hostility, is the cause of the 

I greatest evil. Greatness of character does not 

consist in not possessing these passions on the 

contrary, a man should possess them to a terrible 

degree : but he should lead them by the bridle . . . 

and even this he should not do out of love of con 

trol, but merely because. . . . 


" To give up one s life for a cause " very effec 

tive. But there are many things for which one 

gives up one s life : the passions, one and all, will 

be gratified. Whether one s life be pledged to 

pity, to anger, or to revenge it matters not from 


the point of view of value. How many have not 

sacrificed their lives for pretty girls and even 

what is worse, their health ! When one has 

temperament, one instinctively chooses the most 

dangerous things : if one is a philosopher, for in 

stance, one chooses the adventures of speculation ; / 

if one is virtuous, one chooses immorality. One \/ 

kind of man will risk nothing, another kind will 

risk everything. Are we despisers of life? On 

the contrary, what we seek is life raised to a 

higher power, life in danger. . . . But, let me re- \ 

peat, we do not, on that account, wish to be more 

virtuous than others. Pascal, for instance, wished 

to risk nothing, and remained a Christian. That 

perhaps was virtuous. A man always sacrifices 



How many advantages does not a man sacrifice ! 

To how small an extent does he seek his own 

profit ! All his emotions and passions wish to 

assert their rights, and how remote a passion is 

irom that cautious utility which consists in ^^^ 

personal profit ! 

A man does not strive after " happiness " ; one \ / 

must be an Englishman to be able to believe that 

a man is always seeking his own advantage. 

Our desires long to violate things with passion 

their overflowing strength seeks obstacles. 


All passions are generally useful, some directly, 

others indirectly ; in regard to utility it is abso- 


lutely impossible to fix upon any gradation of 

values, however certainly the forces of nature in 

general may be regarded as good (i.e. useful), 

from an economic point of view, they are still 

the sources of much that is terrible and much 

that is fatally irrevocable. The most one might 

say would be, that the mightiest passions are the 

most valuable : seeing that no stronger sources 

of power exist. 


All well-meaning, helpful, good-natured attitudes 

of mind have not come to be honoured on account 

, of their usefulness : but because they are the 

conditions peculiar to rich souls who are able to 

4 bestow and whose value consists in their vital 

exuberance. Look into the eyes of the benevolent 

man ! In them you will see the exact reverse 

of self-denial, of hatred of self, of " Pascalism." 


In short) what we require is to dominate the 

passions and not to weaken or to extirpate 

them ! The greater the dominating power of the 

^M will, the greater the freedom that may be given to 

t the passions. 

The " great man " is so, owing to the free scope 

which he gives to his desires, and to the still 

greater power which knows how to enlist these 

\ magnificent monsters into its service. 

The " good man " in every stage of civilisation 

is at one and the same time the least dangerous 


and the most useful: a sort of medium ; the idea 

formed of such a man by the common mind is 

that he is some one whom one has no reason to fear > 

but whom one must not therefore despise. 

Education : essentially a means of ruining ex 

ceptions in favour of the rule. Culture : essenti- I 

ally the means of directing taste against the 

exceptions in favour of the mediocre. 

Only when a culture can dispose of an overflow 

of force, is it capable of being a hothouse for the 

luxurious culture of the exception, of the experi 

ment, of the danger, of the nuance : this is the 

tendency of every aristocratic culture. 


All questions of strength : to what extent ought 

one to try and prevail against the preservative 

measures of society and the latter s prejudices ? 

to what extent ought one to unfetter one s terrible 

qualities^ through which so many go to the dogs ? 

to what extent ought one to run counter to truth^ 

and take up sides with its most questionable 

aspects ? to what extent ought one to oppose 

suffering, self-contempt, pity, disease, vice, when 

it is always open to question whether one can 

ever master them (what does not kill us makes 

us stronger . . .) ? and, finally, to what extent 

ought one to acknowledge the rights of the rule, 

of the common-place, of the petty, of the good, of 

the upright, in fact of the average man, without 

thereby allowing one s self to become vulgar ? . . . 

The strongest test of character is to resist being 


ruined by the seductiveness of goodness. Good 

ness must be regarded as a luxury, as a refine 

ment, as a vice. 



Type : real goodness, nobility, greatness of soul, 

as the result of vital wealth : which does not give 

in order to receive and which has no desire to 

elevate itself by being good ; squandering is 

typical of genuine goodness ; vital personal wealth 

is its prerequisite. 


Aristocracy. Gregarious ideals at present 

culminating in the highest standard of value for 

society. It has been attempted to give them a 

cosmic, yea, and even a metaphysical, value. I 

defend aristocracy against them. 

Any society which would of itself preserve a 

feeling of respect and dtticatesse in regard to 

freedom, must consider itself as an exception, and 

have a force against it from which it distinguishes 

itself, and upon which it looks down with hostility. 

The more rights I surrender and the more I 

level myself down to others, the more deeply do 

I sink into the average and ultimately into the 

greatest number. The first condition which an 

aristocratic society must have in order to maintain 

a high degree of freedom among its members, is 

that extreme tension which arises from the pres- 


ence of the most antagonistic instincts in all its 

units : from their will to dominate. . . . 

If ye would fain do away with strong contrasts 

and differences of rank, ye will also abolish 

strong love, lofty attitudes of mind, and the feeling 

of individuality. \ 

Concerning the actual psychology of societies 

based upon freedom and equality. What is it that 

tends to diminish in such a society? 

The will to be responsible for one s self (the loss 

of this is a sign of the decline of autonomy) ; the 

ability to defend and to attack, even in spiritual 

matters ; the power of command ; the sense of 

reverence, of subservience, the ability to be silent ; 

great passion, great achievements, tragedy and 



In 1814 Augustin Thierry read what Mont- 

losier had said in his work, De la Monarchic fran- 

$aise : he answered with a cry of indignation, and 

set himself to his task. That emigrant had said : 

" Race d affranchis, race d esclaves arrache s de nos 

mains, peuple tributaire, peuple nouveau, licence vous 

fut octroyce d etre libres, et non pas a nous d etre 

nobles ; pour nous tout est de droit, pour vous tout 

est de grace, nous ne sommes point de votre com- 

munautt ; nous sommes un tout par nous memes" 


How constantly the aristocratic world shears 

and weakens itself ever more and more ! By 


means of its noble instincts it abandons its 

privileges, and owing to its refined and excessive 

culture, it takes an interest in the people, the 

weak, the poor, and the poetry of the lowly, etc. 


There is such a thing as a noble and dangerous 

form of carelessness, which allows of profound 

conclusions and insight : the carelessness of the 

self-reliant and over-rich soul, which has never 

troubled itself about friends, but which knows only 

hospitality and knows how to practise it ; whose 

heart and house are open to all who will enter 

beggar, cripple, or king. This is genuine sociability : 

he who is capable of it has hundreds of " friends," 

but probably not one friend. 


The teaching fjuySev ayav applies to men with 

^overflowing strength, not to the mediocre. 67- 

Kpdreia and do-fcyo-is are only steps to higher 

things. Above them stands " golden Nature." 

" Thou shalt" unconditional obedience in 

\ Stoics, in Christian and Arabian Orders, in Kant s 

philosophy (it is immaterial whether this obedience 

is shown to a superior or to a concept). 

Higher than " Thou shalt " stands " I will " 

(the heroes) ; higher than " I will " stands " I am " 

(the gods of the Greeks). 

Barbarian gods express nothing of the pleasure 

of restraint, they are neither simple, nor light- 

hearted, nor moderate. 



The essence of our gardens and palaces (and to 

the same extent the essence of all yearning after 

riches) is the desire to rid the eye of disorder ana 

vulgarity, and to build a home for our soul s nobility. 

The majority of people certainly believe that 

they will develop higher natures when those 

beautiful and peaceful things have operated upon 

them : hence the exodus to Italy, hence all travel- . 

ling, etc., and all reading and visits to theatres. ^5 

People want to be formed that is the kernel of 

their labours for culture ! But the strong, the 

mighty, would themselves have a hand in the form 

ing, and would fain have nothing strange about them \ 

It is for this reason, too, that men go to open 

Nature, not to find themselves, but to lose them- \ 

selves and to forget themselves. The desire " to get 

away from one s self " is proper to all weaklings, and I 

to all those who are discontented with themselves. / 


The only nobility is that of birth and blood. 

(I do not refer here to the prefix " Lord " and 

L almanac de Gotha : this is a parenthesis for 

donkeys.) Wherever people speak of the " aristo 

cracy of intellect," reasons are generally not 

lacking for concealing something ; it is known to 

be a password among ambitious Jews. Intellect 

alone does not ennoble ; on the contrary, some 

thing is always needed to ennoble intellect. What 

then is needed ? Blood. 




" T1 iat is noble ? 

External punctiliousness ; because this punc 

tiliousness hedges a man about, keeps him at a 

distance, saves him from being confounded with 

somebody else. 

A frivolous appearance in word, clothing, and 

bearing, with which stoical hardness and self- 

control protect themselves from all prying inquisi- 

tiveness or curiosity. 

A slow step and a slow glance. There are 

not too many valuable things on earth : and these 

come and wish to come of themselves to him who 

has value. We are not quick to admire. 

We know how to bear poverty, want, and 

even illness. 

We avoid small honours owing to our mis 

trust of all who are over-ready to praise : for the 

man who praises believes he understands what he 

praises : but to understand Balzac, that typical 

man of ambition, betrayed the fact comprendre 

Jest /galer. 

Our doubt concerning the communicativeness 

of our hearts goes very deep ; to us, loneliness is 

not a matter of choice, it is imposed upon us. 

We are convinced that we only have duties to 

our equals, to others we do as we think best : we 

know that justice is only to be expected among 

equals (alas ! this will not be realised for some 

time to come). 

We are ironical towards the " gifted " ; we 

hold the belief that no morality is possible with 

out good birth. 


We always feel as if we were those who had 

to dispense honours : while he is not found too 

frequently who would be worthy of honouring us. 

We are always disguised : the higher a man s 

nature the more is he in need of remaining incog 

nito. If there be a God, then out of sheer decency 

He ought only to show Himself on earth in the 

form of a man. 

We are capable of otium, of the uncondi 

tional conviction that although a handicraft does 

not shame one in any sense, it certainly reduces 

one s rank. However much we may respect " in 

dustry," and know how to give it its due, we do 

not appreciate it in a bourgeois sense, or after the 

manner of those insatiable and cackling artists who, 

like hens, cackle and lay eggs, and cackle again. 

We protect artists and poets and any one 

who happens to be a master in something ; but as 

creatures of a higher order than those, who only 

know how to do something, who are only " pro 

ductive men," we do not confound ourselves with 


We find joy in all forms and ceremonies ; 

we would fain foster everything formal, and we 

are convinced that courtesy is one of the greatest 

virtues ; we feel suspicious of every kind of laisser 

alter, including the freedom of the press and of 

thought ; because, under such conditions, the intel 

lect grows easy-going and coarse, and stretches 

its limbs. 

We take pleasure in women as in a perhaps 

daintier, more delicate, and more ethereal kind of 

creature. What a treat it is to meet creatures 


who have only dancing and nonsense and finery 

in their minds ! They have always been the de 

light of every tense and profound male soul, whose 

life is burdened with heavy responsibilities. 

We take pleasure in princes and in priests, 

because in big things, as in small, they actually up 

hold the belief in the difference of human values, 

even in the estimation of the past, and at least 


We are able to keep silence : but we do not 

breathe a word of this in the presence of listeners. 

We are able to endure long enmities : we 

lack the power of easy reconciliations. 

We have a loathing of demagogism, of en 

lightenment, of amiability, and plebeian familiarity. 

We collect precious things, the needs of 

higher and fastidious souls ; we wish to possess 

nothing in common. We want to have our own 

books, our own landscapes. 

We protest against evil and fine experiences, 

and take care not to generalise too quickly. The 

individual case : how ironically we regard it when 

it has the bad taste to put on the airs of a rule ! 

We love that which is natf, and naif people, 

but as spectators and higher creatures ; we think 

Faust is just as simple as his Margaret. 

We have a low estimation of good people, 

^ because they are gregarious animals : we know 

how often an invaluable golden drop of goodness 

lies concealed beneath the most evil, the most 

malicious, and the hardest exterior, and that this 

single grain outweighs all the mere goody-goodi- 

ness of milk-and-watery souls. 


We don t regard a man of our kind as refuted 

by his vices, nor by his tomfooleries. We are well 

aware that we are not recognised with ease, and 

that we have every reason to make our foreground 

very prominent. 


What is noble ? The fact that one is constantly 

forced to be playing a part. That one is constantly 

searching for situations in which one is forced 

to put on airs. That one leaves happiness to the 

greatest number : the happiness which consists of 

inner peacefulness, of virtue, of comfort, and of 

Anglo-angelic-back-parlour-smugness,tf la Spencer. 

That one instinctively seeks for heavy responsi 

bilities. That one knows how to create enemies 

everywhere, at a pinch even in one s self. That one 

contradicts the greatest number^ not in words at 

all, but by continually behaving differently from 



Virtue (for instance, truthfulness) is our most 

noble and most dangerous luxury. We must not 

decline the disadvantages which it brings in its 



We refuse to be praised : we do what serves our 

purpose, what gives us pleasure, or what we are 

obliged to do. 


What is chastity in a man ? It means that his 

taste in sex has remained noble ; that in erotlcis 


he likes neither the brutal, the morbid, nor the 



The concept of honour is founded upon the 

belief in select society, in knightly excellences, in 

the obligation of having continually to play a part. 

In essentials it means that one does not take one s 

life too seriously, that one adheres unconditionally 

to the most dignified manners in one s dealings 

with everybody (at least in so far as they do not 

belong to " us ") ; that one is neither familiar, nor 

good-natured, nor hearty, nor modest, except inter 

pares ; that one is always playing a part. 


The fact that one sets one s life, one s health, 

and one s honour at stake, is the result of high 

spirits and of an overflowing and spendthrift will : 

it is not the result of philanthropy, but of the fact 

that every danger kindles our curiosity concern 

ing the measure of our strength, and provokes our 



" Eagles swoop down straight " nobility of 

soul is best revealed by the magnificent and proud 

foolishness with which it makes its attacks. 


War should be made against all namby-pamby 

ideas of nobility \ A certain modicum of brutality 


cannot be dispensed with : no more than we can do 

without a certain approximation to criminality. 

" Self-satisfaction " must not be allowed ; a man 

should look upon himself with an adventurous 

spirit ; he should experiment with himself and 

run risks with himself no beautiful soul-quackery 

should be tolerated. I want to give a more robust 

ideal a chance of prevailing. 


" Paradise is under the shadow of a swordsman " 

this is also a symbol and a test-word by which 

souls with noble and warrior-like origin betray and 

discover themselves. 


The two paths. There comes a period when 

man has a surplus amount of power at his dis 

posal. Science aims at establishing the slavery of 


Then man acquires the leisure in which to 

develop himself into something new and more 

lofty. A new aristocracy. It is then that a large 

number of virtues which are now conditions of 

existence are superseded. Qualities which are no 

longer needed are on that account lost. We no 

longer need virtues : consequently we are losing 

them (likewise the morality of "one thing is 

needful," of the salvation of the soul, and of im 

mortality : these were means wherewith to make 

man capable of enormous self-tyranny, through the 

emotion of great fear ! ! !). 

The different kinds of needs by means of whose 


discipline man is formed : need teaches work, 

thought, and self-control. 

Physiological purification and strengthening. The 

new aristocracy is in need of an opposing body 

which it may combat : it must be driven to ex 

tremities in order to maintain itself. 

The two futures of mankind: (i) the conse 

quence of a levelling-down to mediocrity ; (2) 

conscious aloofness and self-development. 

A doctrine which would cleave &gulf: it main 

tains the highest and the lowest species (it destroys 

the intermediate). 

The aristocracies, both spiritual and temporal, 

which have existed hitherto prove nothing against 

the necessity of a new aristocracy. 



A certain question constantly recurs to us ; it is 

perhaps a seductive and evil question ; may it be 

whispered into the ears of those who have a right 

to such doubtful problems those strong souls of 

to-day whose dominion over themselves is un 

swerving : is it not high time, now that the type 

" gregarious animal " is developing ever more and 

more in Europe, to set about rearing, thoroughly, 

artificially, and consciously, an opposite type, and 

to attempt to establish the latter s virtues ? And 

would not the democratic movement itself find for 


the first time a sort of goal, salvation, and justifi 

cation, if some one appeared who availed himself 

of it so that at last, beside its new and sublime 

product, slavery (for this must be the end of 

European democracy), that higher species of ruling 

and Caesarian spirits might also be produced, 

which would stand upon it, hold to it, and would 

elevate themselves through it ? This new race 

would climb aloft to new and hitherto impossible 

things, to a broader vision, and to its task on 



The aspect of the European of to-day makes 

me very hopeful. A daring and ruling race is 

here building itself up upon the foundation of an 

extremely intelligent, gregarious mass. It is 

obvious that the educational movements for the 

latter are not alone prominent nowadays. 


The same conditions which go to develop the 

gregarious animal also force the development of 

the leaders. 


The question, and at the same time the task, is 

approaching with hesitation, terrible as Fate, but 

nevertheless inevitable : how shall the earth as a 

whole be ruled ? And to what end shall man as 

a whole no longer as a people or as a race be 

reared and trained ? 

Legislative moralities are the principal means 


by which one can form mankind, according to the 

fancy oi a creative and profound will : provided, 

of course, that such an artistic will of the first 

order gets the power into its own hands, and can 

make its creative will prevail over long periods in 

the form of legislation, religions, and morals. At 

present, and probably for some time to come, one 

will seek such colossally creative men, such really 

great men, as I understand them, in vain : they 

will be lacking, until, after many disappointments, 

we are forced to begin to understand why it is 

they are lacking, and that nothing bars with 

greater hostility their rise and development, at 

present and for some time to come, than that 

which is now called the morality in Europe. Just 

as if there were no other kind of morality, and 

could be no other kind, than the one we have 

already characterised as herd-morality. It is this 

morality which is now striving with all its power 

, to attain to that green-meadow happiness on earth, 

which consists in security, absence of danger, ease, 

I facilities for livelihood, and, last but not least, " if 

! all goes well," even hopes to dispense with all 

; kinds of shepherds and bell-wethers. The two 

doctrines which it preaches most universally are 

~" equality of rights " and " pity for all sufferers " 

and it even regards suffering itself as something 

which must be got rid of absolutely. That such 

ideas may be modern leads one to think very 

poorly of modernity. He, however, who has re 

flected deeply concerning the question, how and 

where the plant man has hitherto grown most 

vigorously, is forced to believe that this has 


always taken place under the opposite conditions ; 

that to this end the danger of the situation has to 

increase enormously, his inventive faculty and 

dissembling powers have to fight their way up 

under long oppression and compulsion, and his 

will to life has to be increased to the uncon 

ditioned will to power, to over-power : he believes 

that danger, severity, violence, peril in the street 

and in the heart, inequality of rights, secrecy, 

stoicism, seductive art, and devilry of every kind 

in short, the opposite of all gregarious desiderata 

are necessary for the elevation of man. Such a 

morality with opposite designs, which would rear 

man upwards instead of to comfort and mediocrity ; 

such a morality, with the intention of producing a 

ruling caste the future lords of the earth must, 

in order to be taught at all, introduce itself as if 

it were in some way correlated to the prevailing 

moral law, and must come forward under the 

cover of the latter s words and forms. But seeing 

that, to this end, a host of transitionary and de 

ceptive measures must be discovered, and that the 

life of a single individual stands for almost nothing 

in view of the accomplishment of such lengthy 

tasks and aims, the first thing that must be done 

is- to rear a new kind of man in whom the duration 

of the necessary will and the necessary instincts 

is guaranteed for many generations. This must 

be a new kind of ruling species and caste this 

ought to be quite as clear as the somewhat lengthy 

and not easily expressed consequences of this 

thought. The aim should be to prepare a trans- 

valuation of values for a particularly strong kind of 


man, most highly gifted in intellect and will, and, 

to this end, slowly and cautiously to liberate in 

him a whole host of slandered instincts hitherto 

held in check : whoever meditates about this 

problem belongs to us, the free spirits certainly 

not to that kind of " free spirit " which has existed 

hitherto : for these desired practically the reverse. 

To this order, it seems to me, belong, above all, 

the pessimists of Europe, the poets and thinkers 

of a revolted idealism, in so far as their discontent 

with existence in general must consistently at least 

have led them to be dissatisfied with the man of 

the present ; the same applies to certain insati 

ably ambitious artists who courageously and un 

conditionally fight against the gregarious animal 

for the special rights of higher men, and subdue 

all herd-instincts and precautions of more ex 

ceptional minds by their seductive art. Thirdly 

and lastly, we should include in this group all 

those critics and historians by whom the dis 

covery of the Old World, which has begun so 

happily this was the work of the new Columbus, 

of German intellect will be courageously con 

tinued (for we still stand in the very first stages 

of this conquest). For in the Old World, as a 

matter of fact, a different and more lordly morality 

ruled than that of to-day ; and the man of antiquity, 

under the educational ban of his morality, was 

a stronger and deeper man than the man of 

to-day up to the present he has been the , 

only well - constituted man. The temptation, 

however, which from antiquity to the present 

day has always exercised its power on such lucky 


strokes of Nature, i.e. on strong and enterprising 

souls, is, even at the present day, the most subtle 

and most effective of anti-democratic and anti- 

Christian powers, just as it was in the time of the 



I am writing for a race of men which does not 

yet exist : for " the lords of the earth." 

In Plato s Theages the following passage will 

be found : " Every one of us would like if possible 

to be master of mankind ; if possible, a God." This 

attitude of mind must be reinstated in our midst. 

Englishmen, Americans, and Russians. 


That primeval forest-plant " Man " always 

appears where the struggle for power has been 

waged longest. Great men. 

Primeval forest creatures, the Romans. 


From now henceforward there will be such 

favourable first conditions for greater ruling powers 

as have never yet been found on earth. And 

this is by no means the most important point. 

The establishment has been made possible of in 

ternational race unions which will set themselves 

the task of rearing a ruling race, the future " lords 

of the earth " a new, vast aristocracy based upon 

the most severe self-discipline, in which the will of 

philosophical men of power and artist-tyrants will 


be stamped upon thousands of years : a higher 

species of men which, thanks to their preponder 

ance of will, knowledge, riches, and influence, will 

avail themselves of democratic Europe as the 

most suitable and supple instrument they can 

have for taking the fate of the earth into their 

own hands, and working as artists upon man him 

self. Enough! The- time is coming for us to 

transform all our views on politics. f 



I will endeavour to see at which periods in 

history great men arise. The significance of 

despotic moralities that have lasted a long time : 

they strain the bow, provided they do not break it. 


A great man, a man whom Nature has built up 

an 5 inverTtetTin a grand style, What is sii^h a 

man ? First t in his general course of action his 

consistency is so broad that owinLJtCL_its very 

breadtn it can be surveyed only with difficulty, 

and consequently misleads ; ? he possesses the 

^capacity of extending his will over great stretches 

of his life, and of despising and rejecting all small 

things, whatever most beautiful and " divine " 

things of the world there may be among them. 

, he is colder, harder, less cautious and more 

reejrom the fear of " public opinioft " ; he does n t 


/ \freej 


possess the VI H-IMHI whuph ^TC ^nrnpaHKIf* with 

nnr nny 

of those things whidy. .are rr>linf f^ 

" virtues ot" the hurJ.",. If he is unable to /tw7, he 

walks alone; (he 

he asks for no ^compassionate" heart, but servants/ 

instruments ; in his dealings with men his one 

aim is to make something out of them. He knows 

that he cannot reveal himself to anybody : he 

thinks it bad taste to become familiar ; and as a 

rule he is not familiar when people think he is. 

When he is not talking to his soul, he wears a 

mask. He would rather lie than tell the truth, 

because lying requires morejpirit and will. Jbere 

is1a_ loneliness, wifhin his heart i which neither \\ 

praise nor blame can reach, because he js his own 

ju dge from whomjs no appeal. 


The great man is necessarily a sceptic (I do 

not mean to say by this that he must appear to 

be one), provided that greatness consists in this : 

to will something great, together with the means 

thereto. Freedom from any kind of conviction is j 

a factor in his strength of will. And thus it is 

in keeping with that " enlightened form of des 

potism " which every great passion exercises. 

Such a passion enlists intellect in its service ; 

it even has the courage for unholy means ; it 

creates without hesitation ; it allows itself con 

victions, it even uses them, but it never submits 


to them. The need of faith and of anything un 

conditionally negative or affirmative is a proof of 

weakness ; all weakness is weakness of will. The 

man of faith, the believer, is necessarily an inferior 

species of man. From this it follows that " all 

freedom of spirit," i.e. instinctive scepticism, is the 

prerequisite of greatness. 


The great man is conscious of his power over a 

people, and of the fact that he coincides temporarily 

with a people or with a century this magnifying 

of his self-consciousness as causa and voluntas is 

misunderstood as " altruism " : he feels driven to 

means of communication : all great men are in 

ventive in such means. They want to form great 

communities in their own image ; they would fain 

give multiformity and disorder definite shape ; it 

stimulates them to behold chaos. 

The misunderstanding of love. There is a 

slavish love which subordinates itself and gives itself 

away which idealises and deceives itself; there 

is a divine species of love which despises and loves 

at the same time, and which remodels and elevates 

the thing it loves. 

\ The object is to attain that enormous energy of 

\greatness which can model the man of the future 

by means of discipline and also by means of the 

annihilation of millions of the bungled and botched, 

and which can yet avoid going to ruin at the sight 

of the suffering created thereby, the like of which 

has never been seen before. 



The revolution, confusion, and distress of whole 

peoples is in my opinion of less importance than 

the misfortunes which attend great individuals in 

their development. We must not allow ourselves 

to be deceived : the many misfortunes of all these 

small folk do not together constitute a sum-total, 

except in the feelings of mighty men. To think of 

one s self in moments of great danger, and to draw 

one s own advantage from the calamities of thou 

sands in the case of the man who differs very much 

from the common ruck may be a sign of a great 

character which is able to master its feelings of 

pity and justice. 


In contradistinction to the animal, man has 

developed such a host of antagonistic instincts and 

impulses in himself, that he has become master of 

the earth by means of this synthesis. Moralities 

are only the expression of local and limited orders 

of rank in this multifarious world of instincts which 

prevent man from perishing through their antag 

onism. Thus a masterful instinct so weakens 

and subtilises the instinct which opposes it that it 

becomes an impulse which provides the stimulus 

for the activity of the principal instinct. 

The highest man would have the greatest 

multifariousness in his instincts, and he would 

possess these in the relatively strongest degree in 

which he is able to endure them. As a matter of 

fact, wherever the plant, man, is found strong, 

VOL. II. 2 A 


mighty instincts are to be found opposing each 

other (e.g. Shakespeare), but they are subdued. 


Would one not be justified in reckoning all 

i great men among the wickedl This is not so 

easy to demonstrate in the case of individuals. 

They are so frequently capable of masterly dis 

simulation that they very often assume the airs and 

forms of great virtues. Often, too, they seriously 

reverence virtues, and in such a way as to be 

passionately hard towards themselves ; but as the 

result of cruelty. Seen from a distance such things 

are liable to deceive. Many, on the other hand, 

misunderstand themselves ; not infrequently, too, 

a great mission will call forth great qualities, eg. 

justice. The essential fact is : the greatest men 

may also perhaps have great virtues, but then 

they also have the opposites of these virtues. I 

believe that it is precisely out of the presence 

of these opposites and of the feelings they suscitate, 

that the great man arises, for the great man is the 

broad arch which spans two banks lying far apart. 


In great men we find the specific qualities ol 

life in their highest manifestation : injustice, false 

hood, exploitation. But inasmuch as their effect 

has always been overwhelming, their essential 

nature has been most thoroughly misunderstood, 


and interpreted as goodness. The type of such 

an interpreter would be Carlyle.* 


Generally speaking, everything is worth no more 

and no less than one has paid for it. This of 

course does not hold good in the case of an isolated 

individual ; the great capacities of the individual 

have no relation whatsoever to that which he has 

done, sacrificed, and suffered for them. But if 

one should examine the previous history of his 

race one would be sure to find the record of an 

extraordinary storing up and capitalising of power 

by means of all kinds of abstinence, struggle, in 

dustry, and determination. It is because the great 

man has cost so much, and not because he stands 

there as a miracle, as a gift from heaven, or as 

an accident, that he became great : " Heredity " 

is a false notion. A man s ancestors have always 

paid the price of what he is. 


The danger of modesty. To adapt ourselves 

too early to duties, societies, and daily schemes of 

work in which accident may have placed us, at a 

time when neither our powers nor our aim in life 

has stepped peremptorily into our consciousness ; 

* This not only refers to Heroes and Hero- Worship, but 

doubtless to Carlyle s prodigious misunderstanding of Goethe 

a misunderstanding which still requires to be put right by 

a critic untainted by Puritanism. TR. 


the premature certainty of conscience and feeling 

of relief and of sociability which is acquired by 

this precocious, modest attitude, and which appears 

to our minds as a deliverance from those inner and 

outer disturbances of our feelings all this pampers 

and keeps a man down in the most dangerous 

fashion imaginable, To learn to respect things 

which people about us respect, as if we had no 

standard or right of our own to determine values ; 

the strain of appraising things as others appraise 

them, counter to the whisperings of our inner taste, 

which also has a conscience of its own, becomes 

a terribly subtle kind of constraint : and if in the 

end no explosion takes place which bursts all the 

bonds of love and morality at once, then such a 

spirit becomes withered, dwarfed, feminine, and 

objective. The reverse of this is bad enough, but 

still it is better than the foregoing : to suffer from 

one s environment, from its praise just as much as 

from its blame ; to be wounded by it and to fester 

inwardly without betraying the fact; to defend 

one s self involuntarily and suspiciously against its 

love ; to learn to be silent, and perchance to conceal 

this by talking ; to create nooks and safe, lonely 

hiding-places where one can go and take breath 

for a moment, or shed tears of sublime comfort 

until at last one has grown strong enough to say : 

" What on earth have I to do with you ? " and to 

go one s way alone. 


Those men who are in themselves destinies, and 

whose advent is the advent of fate, the whole race of 


heroic bearers of burdens : oh ! how heartily and 

gladly would they have respite from themselves for 

once in a while ! how they crave after stout hearts 

and shoulders, that they might free themselves, were 

it bwt for an hour or two, from that which oppresses 

them ! And how fruitlessly they crave ! . . 

They wait i_they.. observe all that passes before 

their eyes: no man even cometh nigh to them with a 

trjJusancItfh part of their suffering and passion ; no" 

manguesseth to wnat end they have waited. . . ."" 

ATTa^t,"^Ta^t7THey"^arn the first lesson oTlheir 

life : to wait no longer ; and forthwith they learn 

their second lesson : to be affable, to be modest ; 

and from that time onwards to endure everybody 

and every kind of thing in short, to endure still 

a little more than they had endured theretofore. 




The lawgivers of the future. After having tried 

for a long time in vain to attach a particular 

meaning to the word " philosopher," for I found 

many antagonistic traits, I recognised that we can 

distinguish between two kinds of philosophers : 

(1) Those who desire to establish any large 

system of values (logical or moral) ; 

(2) Those who are the lawgivers of such valua 


The former try to seize upon the world of the 

present or the past, by embodying or abbreviating 


the multifarious phenomena by means of signs : 

their object is to make it possible for us to survey, 

to reflect upon, to comprehend, and to utilise 

everything that has happened hitherto they serve 

the purpose of man by using all past things to 

the benefit of his future. 

The second class, however, are commanders ; they 

say : " Thus shall it be ! " They alone determine 

\ the " whither " and the " wherefore," and that 

which will be useful and beneficial to man ; they 

have command over the previous work of scientific 

men, and all knowledge is to them only a means 

to their creations. This second kind of philosopher 

seldom appears ; and as a matter of fact their 

situation and their danger is appalling. How often 

have they not intentionally blindfolded their eyes 

in order to shut out the sight of the small strip of 

ground which separates them from the abyss and 

from utter destruction. Plato, for instance, when 

he persuaded himself that " the good," as he wanted 

it, was not Plato s good, but " the good in itself," 

the eternal treasure which a certain man of the 

name of Plato had chanced to find on his way ! 

This same will to blindness prevails in a much 

coarser form in the case of the founders of religion ; 

their " Thou shalt " must on no account sound to 

their ears like " I will," they only dare to pursue 

their task as if under the command of God ; their 

legislation of values can only be a burden they can 

bear if they regard it as " revelation," in this way 

their conscience is not crushed by the responsi 


As soon as those two comforting expedients 


that of Plato and that of Muhammed have been 

overthrown, and no thinker can any longer relieve 

his conscience with the hypothesis " God " or 

" eternal values," the claim of the lawgiver to de 

termine new values rises to an awfulness which has j 

not yet been experienced. Now those elect, on J 

whom the faint light of such a duty is beginning 

to dawn, try and see whether they cannot escape 

it as their greatest danger by means of a 

timely side-spring : for instance, they try to persuade 

themselves that their task is already accomplished, 

or that it defies accomplishment, or that their 

shoulders are not broad enough for such burdens, 

or that they are already taken up with burdens 

closer to hand, or even that this new and remote 

duty is a temptation and a seduction, drawing 

them away from all other duties ; a disease, a kind of 

madness. Many, as a matter of fact, do succeed in 

evading the path appointed to them: throughout the 

whole of history we can see the traces of such de 

serters and their guilty consciences. In most cases, 

however, there comes to such men of destiny that 

hour of delivery, that autumnal season of maturity,! 

in which they are forced to do that which they didj 

not even "wish to do": and that deed before \ 

which in the past they have trembled most, falls 

easily and unsought from the tree, as an involun-j 

tary deed, almost as a present. 


The human horizon. Philosophers may be con 

ceived as men who make the greatest efforts to 


discover to what extent man can elevate himself 

this holds good more particularly of Plato : how 

far man s poiver can extend. But they do this as 

individuals ; perhaps the instinct of Caesars and 

of all founders of states, etc., was greater, for it pre 

occupied itself with the question how far man could 

be urged forward in development under " favourable 

circumstances." What they did not sufficiently 

understand, however, was the nature of favourable 

circumstances. The great question : "Where has the 

plant man grown most magnificently heretofore?" 

In order to answer this, a comparative study of 

history is necessary. 


Every fact and every work exercises a fresh 

persuasion over every age and every new species 

of man. History always enunciates new truths. 


To remain objective, severe, firm, and hard 

while making a thought prevail is perhaps the best 

forte of artists ; but if for this purpose any one have 

to work upon human material (as teachers, states 

men, have to do, etc.), then the repose, the coldness, 

and the hardness soon vanish. In natures like Caesar 

and Napoleon we are able to divine something of 

the nature of " disinterestedness " in their work on 

their marble, whatever be the number of men that 

are sacrificed in the process. In this direction the 

future of higher men lies : to bear the greatest re 

sponsibilities and not to go to rack and ruin 


through them. Hitherto the deceptions of inspira 

tion have almost always been necessary for a man 

not to lose faith in his own hand, and in his right 

to his task. 


The reason why philosophers are mostly failures. 

Because among the conditions which determine 

them there are qualities which generally ruin other 

men : 

(1) A philosopher must have an enormous 

multiplicity of qualities ; he must be a sort of ab 

breviation of man and have all man s high and 

base desires : the danger of the contrast within 

him, and of the possibility of his loathing him 


(2) He must be inquisitive in an extraordinary 

number of ways : the danger of versatility ; 

(3) He must be just and honest in the highest 

sense, but profound both in love and hate (and in 

injustice) ; 

(4) He must not only be a spectator but a law 

giver : a judge and defendant (in so far as he is an 

abbreviation of the world) ; 

(5) He must be extremely multiform and yet 

firm and hard. He must be supple. 


The really regal calling of the philosopher 

(according to the expression of Alcuin the Anglo- 

Saxon) : " Prava corrigere, et recta corroborare^ et 

sancta sublimare" 



The new philosopher can only arise in conjunc 

tion with a ruling class, as the highest spiritualisa- 

tion of the latter. Great politics, the rule of the 

, earth, as a proximate contingency ; the total lack of 

I principles necessary thereto. 


Fundamental concept : the new values must first 

be created this remains our duty\ The philoso 

pher must be our lawgiver. New species. (How 

the greatest species hitherto [for instance, the 

Greeks] were reared : this kind of accident must 

now be consciously striven for.) 


Nj Supposing one thinks of the philosopher as an 

educator who, looking down from his lonely eleva 

tion, is powerful enough to draw long chains of 

generations up to him : then he must be granted 

the most terrible privileges of a great educator. 

An educator never says what he himself thinks ; 

\but only that which he thinks it is good for those 

(whom he is educating to hear upon any subject. 

This dissimulation on his part must not be found 

out ; it is part of his masterliness that people should 

believe in his honesty, he must be capable of all 

the means of discipline and education : there are 

some natures which he will only be able to raise 

by means of lashing them with his scorn ; others 

who are lazy, irresolute, cowardly, and vain, he will 


be able to affect only with exaggerated praise. 

Such a teacher stands beyond good and evil, but 

nobody must know that he does. 


We must not make men " better," we must not 

talk to them about morality in any form as if 

" morality in itself," or an ideal kind of man in 

general, could be taken for granted ; but we must 

create circumstances in which stronger men are 

necessary, such as for their part will require a 

morality (or, better still : a bodily and spiritual 

discipline) which makes men strong, and upon 

which they will consequently insist ! As they will f 

need one so badly, they will have it. 

We must not let ourselves be seduced by blue V 

eyes and heaving breasts : greatness of soul has 

absolutely nothing romantic about it. And unfortu- I 

nately nothing ivhatever amiable either. 


From warriors we must learn: (i) to associate 

death with those interests for which we are fighting 

that makes us venerable; (2) we must learn to 

sacrifice numbers, and to take our cause sufficiently 

seriously not to spare men ; (3) we must practise 

inexorable discipline, and allow ourselves violence 

and cunning in war. 


The education which rears those ruling virtues 

that allow a man to become master of his benevo- 



lence and his pity : the great disciplinary virtues 

("Forgive thine enemies " is mere child s play beside 

them), and the passions of the creator, must be ele 

vated to the heights we must cease from carving 

marble ! The exceptional and powerful position 

of those creatures (compared with that of all 

princes hitherto) : the Roman Caesar with Christ s 


We must not separate greatness of soul from 

intellectual greatness. For the former involves 

independence-, but without intellectual greatness 

independence should not be allowed ; all it does is 

to create disasters even in its lust of well-doing 

and of practising "justice." Inferior spirits must 

obey, consequently they cannot be possessed of 



The more lofty philosophical man who is sur 

rounded by loneliness, not because he wishes to be 

alone, but because he is what he is, and cannot find 

his equal : what a number of dangers and torments 

are reserved for him, precisely at the present time, 

when we have lost our belief in the order of rank, 

and consequently no longer know how to under 

stand or honour this isolation ! Formerly the sage 

almost sanctified himself in the consciences of the 

mob by going aside in this way ; to-day the anchor 

ite sees himself as though enveloped in a cloud of 

gloomy doubt and suspicions. And not alone by the 


envious and the wretched : in every well-meant act 

that he experiences he is bound to discover mis 

understanding, neglect, and superficiality. He 

knows the crafty tricks of foolish pity which makes 

these people feel so good and holy when they 

attempt to save him from his own destiny, by 

giving him more comfortable situations and more 

decent and reliable society. Yes, he will even get 

to admire the unconscious lust of destruction with 

which all mediocre spirits stand up and oppose him, 

believing all the while that they have a holy right 

to do so ! For men of such incomprehensible 

loneliness it is necessary to put a good stretch ol 

country between them and the officiousness of their 

fellows : this is part of their prudence. For such 

a man to maintain himself uppermost to-day amid 

the dangerous maelstroms of the age which threaten 

to draw him under, even cunning and disguise will 

be necessary. Every attempt he makes to order 

his life in the present and with the present every 

time he draws near to these men and their modern 

desires, he will have to expiate as if it were an 

actual sin : and withal he may look with wonder 

at the concealed wisdom of his nature, which after 

every one of these attempts immediately leads him 

back to himself by means of illnesses and painful 



" Maledetto colui 

che contrista un spirto immortal ! " 

MANZONI (Conte di Carmagnola, Act II.) 



The most difficult and the highest form which 

man can attain is the most seldom successful : 

thus the history of philosophy reveals a super 

abundance of bungled and unhappy cases of man 

hood, and its march is an extremely slow one ; 

whole centuries intervene and suppress what has 

been achieved : and in this way the connecting- 

link is always made to fail. It is an appalling 

history, this history of the highest men, of the 

sages. What is most often damaged is precisely 

the recollection of great men, for the semi-successful 

and botched cases of mankind misunderstand 

them and overcome them by their " successes." 

Whenever an " effect " is noticeable, the masses 

gather in a crowd round it ; to hear the inferior 

and the poor in spirit having their say is a terrible 

ear-splitting torment for him who knows and 

trembles at the thought, that the fate of man 

depends upon the success of its highest types. 

From the days of my childhood I have reflected 

upon the sage s conditions of existence, and I will 

not conceal my happy conviction that in Europe 

he has once more become possible perhaps only 

for a short time. 


These new philosophers begin with a description 

of a systematic order of rank and difference of 

value among men, what they desire is, alas 

precisely the reverse of an assimilation and 

equalisation of man : they teach estrangement 


in every sense, they cleave gulfs such as have 

never yet existed, and they would fain have man 

become more evil than he ever was. For the 

present they live concealed and estranged even 

from each other. For many reasons they will find 

it necessary to be anchorites and to wear masks 

they will therefore be of little use in the matter of 

seeking for their equals. They will live alone, and 

probably know the torments of all the loneliest 

forms of loneliness. Should they, however, thanks to 

any accident, meet each other on the road, I wager 

that they would not know each other, or that they 

would deceive each other in a number of ways. 


" Les philosophies ne sont pas faits pour s aimer. i 

Les aigles ne volent point en compagnie. II faut 

laisser cela aux perdrix, aux etourneaux. . . 

Planer au-dessus et avoir des griffes, voila le lot 

des grands ge"nies." GALIANI. 


I forgot to say that such philosophers are 

cheerful, and that they like to sit in the abyss 

of a perfectly clear sky : they are in need of 

different means for enduring life than other men ; 

for they suffer in a different way (that is to say, 

just as much from the depth of their contempt of 

man as from their love of man). The animal L 

which suffered most on earth discovered for itself \ 




Concerning the misunderstanding of " cheerful 

ness" It is a temporary relief from long tension ; 

it is the wantonness, the Saturnalia of a spirit, 

which is consecrating and preparing itself for long 

and terrible resolutions. The " fool " in the form 

of " science." 


The new order of rank among spirits ; tragic 

natures no longer in the van. 


It is a comfort to me to know that over the 

smoke and filth of human baseness there is a higher 

and brighter mankind, which, judging from their 

number, must be a small race (for everything that is 

in any way distinguished is ipso facto rare). A man 

does not belong to this race because he happens to 

be more gifted, more virtuous, more heroic, or more 

loving than the men below, but because he is 

colder, brighter , more far-sighted, and more lonely ; 

because he endures, prefers, and even insists upon, 

loneliness as the joy, the privilege, yea, even the 

condition of existence ; because he lives amid 

clouds and lightnings as among his equals, and 

likewise among sunrays, dewdrops, snowflakes, and 

all that which must needs come from the heights, 

^and which in its course moves ever from heaven to 

earth. The desire to look aloft is not our desire. 

Heroes, martyrs, geniuses, and enthusiasts of all 


kinds, are not quiet, patient, subtle, cold, or 

slow enough for us. 


The absolute conviction that valuations above 

and below are different ; that innumerable ex 

periences are wanting to the latter : that when 

looking upwards from below misunderstandings 

are necessary. 


How do men attain to great power and to great 

tasks ? All the virtues and proficiences of the 

body and the soul are little by little laboriously 

acquired, through great industry, self-control, and 

keeping one s self within narrow bounds, through a 

frequent, energetic, and genuine repetition of the 

same work and of the same hardships ; but there 

are men who are the heirs and masters of this 

slowly acquired and manifold treasure of virtues 

and proficiences because, owing to happy and 

reasonable marriages and also to lucky accidents, 

the acquired and accumulated forces of many 

generations, instead of being squandered and 

subdivided, have been assembled together by 

means of steadfast struggling and willing. And 

thus, in the end, a man appears who is such 

a monster of strength, that he craves for a 

monstrous task. For it is our power which has 

command of us : and the wretched intellectual 

play of aims and intentions and motivations lies 

only in the foreground however much weak eyes 

may recognise the principal factors in these things. 

VOL. II. 2B 



The sublime man has the highest value, even 

when he is most delicate and fragile, because an 

abundance of very difficult and rare things have 

been reared through many generations and united 

in him. 


I teach that there are higher and lower men, 

and that a single individual may under certain cir 

cumstances justify whole millenniums of existence 

that is to say, a wealthier, more gifted, greater, 

and more complete man, as compared with in 

numerable imperfect and fragmentary men. 

1 . 


Away from rulers and rid of all bonds, live the 

highest men : and in the rulers they have their 



The order of rank : he who determines values and 

leads the will of millenniums, and does this by 

-i leading the highest natures he is the highest 



I fancy I have divined some of the things that 

lie hidden in the soul of the highest man ; perhaps 

every man who has divined so much must go to 

ruin : but he who has seen the highest man must 

do all he can to make him possible, 


Fundamental thought : we must make the future 

the standard of all our valuations and not seek 

the laws for our conduct behind us. 


Not ".mankind," but Superman is the goal ! 


" Come 1 uom s eterna. . . ." Inf. xv. 85. 




To him who is one of Nature s lucky strokes, to 

him unto whom my heart goes out, to him who 

is carved from one integral block, which is hard, 

sweet, and fragrant to him from whom even my 

nose can derive some pleasure let this book be 


He enjoys that which is beneficial to him. 

His pleasure in anything ceases when the limits 

of what is beneficial to him are overstepped. 

He divines the remedies for partial injuries ; 

his illnesses are the great stimulants of his 


He understands how to exploit his serious 

\ accidents. 

He grows stronger under the misfortunes which 

threaten to annihilate him. 

He instinctively gathers from all he sees, hears, 

and experiences, the materials for what concerns 

him most, he pursues a selective principle, he 

rejects a good deal. 

He reacts with that tardiness which long caution 


and deliberate pride have bred in him, he tests 

the stimulus : whence does it come ? whither does 

it lead ? He does not submit. 

He is always in his own company, whether his 

intercourse be with books, with men, or with 


He honours anything by choosing it, by 

conceding to it, by trusting it. 


We should attain to such a height, to such 

a lofty eagle s ledge, in our observation, as to 

be able to understand that everything happens, 

just as it ought to happen : and that all " imperfec 

tion," and the pain it brings, belong to all that 

which is most eminently desirable. 


Towards 1876 I experienced a fright; for I 

saw that everything I had most wished for up to 

that time was being compromised. I realised this 

when I perceived what Wagner was actually 

driving at : and I was bound very fast to nim 

by all the bonds of a profound similarity of needs, 

by gratitude, by the thought that he could not be 

replaced, and by the absolute void which I saw 

facing me. 

Just about this time I believed myself to be 

inextricably entangled in my _P_hilojogy and my 

professorship in the accident and last shift of my 

life : I did not know how to get out of it, and 

was tired, used up, and on my last legs. 


f At about the same time I realised that what my 

instincts most desired to attain was precisely the 

reverse of what Schopenhauer s instincts wanted 

that is to say, a justification of life, even where 

it was most terrible, most equivocal, and most 

false : to this end, I had the formula " Dionysian " 

in my hand. 

Schopenhauer s interpretation of the " absolute " 

as will was certainly a step towards that concept 

of the " absolute " which supposed it to be 

necessarily good, blessed, true, and integral ; but 

Schopenhauer did not understand how to deify this 

will : he remained suspended in the moral- 

Christian ideal. Indeed, he was still so very 

much under the dominion of Christian values, 

that, once he could no longer regard the absolute 

as God, he had to conceive it as evil, foolish, 

utterly reprehensible. He did not realise that 

there is an infinite number of ways of being 

different, and even of being God. 

1006. * 

Hitherto, moral values have been the highest 

values : does anybody doubt this ? ... If we 

bring down the values from their pedestal, we 

thereby alter all values : the principle of their order 

of rank which has prevailed hitherto is thus over 



Transvalue values what does this mean ? It 

implies that all spontaneous motives, all new, 


future, and stronger motives, are still extant ; but 

that they now appear under false names and false 

valuations, and have not yet become conscious of 


We ought to have the courage to become, 

conscious, and to affirm all that which has been 

attained to get rid of the humdrum character of 

old valuations, which makes us unworthy of the 

best and strongest things that we have achieved. 


Any doctrine would be superfluous for which 

everything is not already prepared in the way of 

accumulated forces and explosive material. A 

transvaluation of values can only be accomplished 

when there is a tension of new needs, and a new 

set of needy people who feel all old values as 

painful, although they are not conscious of what 

is wrong. 


The standpoint from which my values are 

determined : is abundance or desire active ? . . . 

Is one a mere spectator, or is one s own shoulder at 

the wheel is one looking away or is one turning 

aside? ... Is one acting spontaneously, as the j 

result of accumulated strength, or is one merely 

reacting to a goad or to a stimulus ? ... Is one 

simply acting as the result of a paucity of elements, 

or of such an overwhelming dominion over a host 

of elements that this power enlists the latter into 

its service if it requires them ? ... Is one a 


problem one s self or is one a solution already ? . . . 

Is one perfect through the smallness of the task, or 

imperfect owing to the extraordinary character of 

the aim ? ... Is one genuine or only an actor ; is 

one genuine as an actor, or only the bad copy of 

an actor ? is one a representative or the creature 

represented ? Is one a personality or merely a 

rendezvous of personalities? ... Is one ill from a 

disease or from surplus health ? Does one lead as 

a shepherd, or as an " exception " (third alternative : 

as a fugitive) ? Is one in need of dignity, or can 

one play the clown ? Is one in search of resistance, 

or is one evading it ? Is one imperfect owing to 

one s precocity or to one s tardiness ? Is it one s 

nature to say yea, or no, or is one a peacock s tail 

of garish parts ? Is one proud enough not to feel 

ashamed even of one s vanity ? Is one still able to 

feel a bite of conscience (this species is becoming 

rare ; formerly conscience had to bite too often : it 

is as if it now no longer had enough teeth to do 

so) ? Is one still capable of a " duty " ? (there 

are some people who would lose the whole joy of 

their lives if they were deprived of their duty this 

holds good especially of feminine creatures, who 

are born subjects). 


Supposing our common comprehension of the 

universe were a misunderstanding, would it be 

possible to conceive of a form of perfection, within 

the limits of which even such a misunderstanding 

as this could be sanctioned ? 

The concept of a new form of perfection : that 


which does not correspond to our logic, to our 

" beauty," to our " good," to our " truth," might be 

perfect in a higher sense even than our ideal is. 

101 1. 

Our most important limitation : we must not 

deify the unknown ; we are just beginning to know 

so little. The false and wasted endeavours. 

Our " new world " : we must ascertain to what 

extent we are the creators of our valuations we 

will thus be able to put " sense " into history. 

This belief in truth is reaching its final logical 

conclusion in us ye know how it reads : that if 

there is anything at all that must be worshipped 

it is appearance ; that falsehood and not truth is 


101 2. 

He who urges rational thought forward, thereby 

also drives its antagonistic power mysticism and 

foolery of every kind to new feats of strength. 

We should recognise that every movement is 

(i) partly the manifestation of fatigue resulting from 

a previous movement (satiety after it, the malice of 

weakness towards it, and disease) ; and (2) partly a 

newly awakened accumulation of long slumbering 

forces, and therefore wanton, violent, healthy. 

101 3. 

Health and morbidness : let us be careful ! The 

standard is the bloom of the body, the agility, 

courage, and cheerfulness of the mind but also, of 


course, how much morbidness a man can bear and 

overcome, and convert into health. That which 

would send more delicate natures to the dogs, 

belongs to the stimulating means of great health. 


It is only a question of power : to have all the 

morbid traits of the century, but to balance them 

;by means of overflowing, plastic, and rejuvenating 

power. The strong man. 


Concerning the strength of the nineteenth century. 

We are more mediaeval than the eighteenth century ; 

not only more inquisitive or more susceptible to the 

strange and to the rare. We have revolted against 

the Revolution. . . . We have freed ourselves from 

the fear of reason, which was the spectre of the 

eighteenth century: we once more dare to be 

childish, lyrical, absurd, in a word, " we are 

musicians." And we are just as little frightened 

of the ridiculous as of the absurd. The devil finds 

that he is tolerated even by God : * better still, he 

has become interesting as one who has been mis 

understood and slandered for ages, -we are the 

^saviours of the devil s honour. 

We no longer separate trieTgreat from the terrible. 

We reconcile good things, in all their complexity, 

* This is reminiscent of Goethe s Faust. See " Prologue in 

Heaven." TR. 


with the very worst things ; we have overcome the 

desideratum of the past (which wanted goodness to 

grow without the increase of evil). The cowardice 

towards the ideal, peculiar to the Renaissance, has 

diminished we even dare to aspire to the latter s 

morality. Intolerance towards priests and the 

Church has at the same time come to an end ; " It 

is immoral to believe in God " but this is pre 

cisely what we regard as the best possible justifica 

tion of this belief. 

On all these things we have conferred the civic 

rights of our minds. We do not tremble before 

the back side of " good things " (we even look 

for it, we are brave and inquisitive enough for that), 

of Greek antiquity, of morality, of reason, of good 

taste, for instance (we reckon up the losses which 

we incur with all this treasure : we almost reduce 

ourselves to poverty with such a treasure). 

Neither do we conceal the back side of " evil things" 

from ourselves. 


That which does us honour. If anything does us 

honour, it is this : we have transferred our serious 

ness to other things ; all those things which have 

been despised and laid aside as base by all ages, 

we regard as important on the other hand, we 

surrender " fine feelings " at a cheap rate. 

Could any aberration be more dangerous than the 

contempt of the body? As if all intellectuality 

were not thereby condemned to become morbid, 

and to take refuge in the vapeurs of " idealism " ! 

Nothing that has been thought out by Christians 


and idealists holds water : we are more radical. 

We have discovered the " smallest world " every 

where as the most decisive. 

The paving-stones in the streets, good air in our 

rooms, food understood according to its worth : we 

value all the necessaries of life seriously, and despise 

all " beautiful soulfulness " as a form of " levity and 

frivolity." That which has been most despised 

hitherto, is now pressed into the front rank. 


\J In the place of Rousseau s " man of Nature," the 

nineteenth century has discovered a much more 

genuine image of " Man," it had the courage to 

do this. . . . On the whole, the Christian concept 

of man has in a way been reinstalled. What we 

have not had the courage to do, was to call precisely 

this " man par excellence" good, and to see the 

future of mankind guaranteed in him. In the 

same way, we did not dare to regard the growth 

in the terrible side of man s character as an ac 

companying feature of every advance in culture ; 

in this sense we are still under the influence of the 

Christian ideal, and side with it against paganism, 

and likewise against the Renaissance concept of 

virtu. But the key of culture is not to be 

found in this way : and in praxi we still have 

the forgeries of history in favour of the " good 

man " (as if he alone constituted the progress 

of humanity) and the socialistic ideal (i.e. the 

residue of Christianity and of Rousseau in the de- 

Christianised world). 


The fight against the eighteenth century : it meets , 

with its greatest conquerors in Goethe and Napoleon. \ 

Schopenhauer, too, fights against the eighteenth? 

century ; but he returns involuntarily to the!; 

seventeenth he is a modern Pascal, with Pascalianl 

valuations, without Christianity. Schopenhauer was! 

not strong enough to invent a new yea. 

Napoleon : we see the necessary relationship 

between the higher and the terrible man. " Man " 

reinstalled, and her due of contempt and fear re 

stored to woman. Highest activity and health are 

the signs of the great man ; the straight line and 

grand style rediscovered in action ; the mightiest 

of all instincts, that of life itself, the lust of 

dominion, heartily welcomed 


(Revue des deux mondes, I5th February 1887. 

Taine concerning Napoleon) " Suddenly the 

master faculty reveals itself: the artist, which was 

latent in the politician, comes forth from his 

scabbard ; he creates dans I ideal et I impossible. He 

is once more recognised as that which he is : the 

posthumous brother of Dante and of Michelangelo; 

and verily, in view of the definite contours of his 

vision, the intensity, the coherence, and inner con 

sistency of his dream, the depth of his meditations, 

the superhuman greatness of his conception, he is 

their equal : son ghiie a la meme faille et la meme 

structure ; il est un des trois esprits souverains de 

la renaissance italienne." 

Nota bene. Dante, Michelangelo, Napoleon. 



Concerning the pessimism of strength. In the 

internal economy of fat primitive man s soul, the 

fear of evil preponderates. What is evill Three 

kinds of things : accident, uncertainty, the unex 

pected. How does primitive man combat evil ? 

He conceives it as a thing of reason, of power, even 

as a person. By this means he is enabled to make 

treaties with it, and generally to operate upon it in 

advance to forestall it. 

Another expedient is to declare its evil and 

harmful character to be but apparent : the conse 

quences of accidental occurrences, and of uncer 

tainty and the unexpected, are interpreted as well- 

meant, as reasonable. 

A third means is to interpret evil, above all, 

as merited : evil is thus justified as a punishment. 

In short, man submits to it\ all religious 

and moral interpretations are but forms of sub 

mission to evil. The belief that a good purpose 

lies behind all evil, implies the renunciation of any 

desire to combat it. 

Now, the history of every culture shows a 

diminution of this fear of the accidental, of the 

uncertain, and of the unexpected. Culture means 

precisely, to learn to reckon, to discover causes, to 

acquire the power of forestalling events, to acquire a 

belief in necessity. With the growth of culture, 

man is able to dispense with that primitive form of 

submission to evil (called religion or morality), and 

that "justification of evil." Now he wages war 

against " evil," he gets rid of it. Yes, a state of 


security, of belief in law and the possibility of cal 

culation, is possible, in which consciousness regards 

these things with tedium, in which the joy of the 

accidental, of the uncertain, and of the unexpected, 

actually becomes a spur. 

Let us halt a moment before this symptom of 

highest culture, I call it \he pessimism of strength. 

Man now no longer requires a "justification of 

evil " ; justification is precisely what he abhors : 

he enjoys evil, pur, cru ; he regards purposeless 

evil as the most interesting kind of evil. If he 

had required a God in the past, he now delights in 

cosmic disorder without a God, a world of accident, 

to the essence of which terror, ambiguity, and 

seductiveness belong. 

In a state of this sort, it is precisely goodness 

which requires to be justified that is to say, it 

must either have an evil and a dangerous basis, or 

else it must contain a vast amount of stupidity : 

in which case it still pleases. Animality no longer 

awakens terror now ; a very intellectual and happy 

wanton spirit in favour of the animal in man, is, in 

such periods, the most triumphant form of spirit 

uality. Mart 4s-jiow -strong enough to be able to 

feel ashamed of a belief in God: he may now 

play the part of the devil s advocate afresh. If in 

practice he pretends to uphold virtue, it will be for 

those reasons which lead virtue to be associated 

with subtlety, cunning, lust of gain, and a form of 

the lust of power. 

This pessimism of strength also ends in a theo 

dicy , i.e. in an absolute saying of yea to the world 

but the same arguments will be raised in favour of 


life which formerly were raised against it : and in 

this way, in a conception of this world as the highest 

ideal possible, which has been effectively attained. 


Y The principal kinds of pessimism : 

The pessimism of sensitiveness (excessive irrit 

ability with a preponderance of the feelings of pain). 

The pessimism of the will that is not free (other 

wise expressed : the lack of resisting power a- 

gainst stimuli). 

The pessimism of doubt (shyness in regard to 

everything fixed, in regard to all grasping and 


The psychological conditions which belong to 

these different kinds of pessimism, may all be ob 

served in a lunatic asylum, even though they are 

there found in a slightly exaggerated form. The 

same applies to " Nihilism " (the penetrating feeling 

of " nonentity "). 

What, however, is the nature of Pascal s moral 

pessimism, and the metaphysical pessimism of the 

Vedanta-Philosophy ? What is the nature of the 

social pessimism of anarchists (as of Shelley), and of 

the pessimism of compassion (like that of Leo 

Tolstoy and of Alfred de Vigny) ? 

Are all these things not also the phenomena of 

decay and sickness? . . . And is not excessive 

seriousness in regard to moral values, or in regard 

to " other-world " fictions, or social calamities, or 

suffering in general, of the same order ? All such 

exaggeration of a single and narrow standpoint is 


in itself a sign of sickness. The same applies to 

the preponderance of a negative over an affirma 

tive attitude ! 

In this respect we must not confound with the 

above : the joy of saying and doing no, which is 

the result of the enormous power and tenseness of 

an affirmative attitude peculiar to all rich and 

mighty men and ages. It is, as it were, a luxury, 

a form of courage too, which opposes the terrible, 

which has sympathy with the frightful and the 

questionable ; because, among other things, one is 

terrible and questionable: the Dionysian in will, 

intellect, and taste. 


My Five " Noes" 

(1) My fight against the feeling of sin and the 

introduction of the notion of punishment into the 

physical and metaphysical world, likewise into 

psychology and the interpretation of history. The 

recognition of the fact that all philosophies and val 

uations hitherto have been saturated with morality. 

(2) My identification and my discovery of the 

traditional ideal, of the Christian ideal, even 

where the dogmatic form of Christianity has been 

wrecked. The danger of the Christian ideal resides 

in its valuations, in that which can dispense with 

concrete expression : my struggle against latent 

Christianity (for instance, in music, in Socialism). 

(3) My struggle against the eighteenth century 

of Rousseau, against his" Nature," against his "good 

VOL. II. 2C 


man," his belief in the dominion of feeling against 

the pampering, weakening, and moralising of rn_an : 

an ideal born of the hatred of aristocratic culture, 

which in practice is the dominion of unbridled 

feelings of resentment, and invented as a standard 

for the purpose of war (the Christian morality of 

the feeling of sin, as well as the morality of resent 

ment, is an attitude of the mob). 

(4) My fight against Romanticism, in which the 

ideals of Christianity and of Rousseau converge, 

but which possesses at the same time a yearning 

for that antiquity which knew of sacerdotal and 

aristocratic culture, a yearning for virtu, and for 

the " strong man " something extremely hybrid ; 

a false and imitated kind of stronger humanity, 

which appreciates extreme conditions in general 

and sees the symptom of strength in them (" the 

cult of passion"; an imitation of the most expressive 

forms, furore espressivo, originating not out of pleni 

tude, but out otwanf). (In the nineteenth century 

there are some things which are born out of re 

lative plenitude i.e. out of well-being , cheerful 

music, etc. among poets, for instance, Stifter and 

Gottfried Keller give signs of more strength and 

inner well-being than . The great strides of en 

gineering, of inventions, of the natural sciences and 

of history (?) are relative products of the strength 

and self-reliance of the nineteenth century.) 

(5) My struggle against the predominance of 

gregarious instincts, now science makes common 

cause with them ; against the profound hate with 

which every kind of order of rank and of aloofness 

is treated. 



From the pressure of plenitude, from the tension 

of forces that are continually increasing within us 

and which cannot yet discharge themselves, a con 

dition is produced which is very similar to that 

which precedes a storm : we like Nature s sky- 

become overcast. That, too, is " pessimism." . . 

A teaching which puts an end to such a condition 

by the fact that it commands something : a trans- 

valuation of values by means of which the accumu 

lated forces are given a channel, a direction, so 

that they explode into deeds and flashes of light 

ning does not in the least require to be a 

hedonistic teaching : in so far as it releases strength 

which was compressed to an agonising degree, it 

brings happiness. 


Pleasure appears with the feeling of power. 

Happiness means that the consciousness of 

power and triumph has begun to prevail. 

Progress is the strengthening of the type, the 

ability to exercise great will-power : everything 

else is a misunderstanding and a danger. 


There comes a time when the old masquerade 

and moral togging-up of the passions provokes 

repugnance : naked Nature ; when the quanta of 

power are recognised as decidedly simple (as deter 

mining rank) ; when grand style appears again as 

the result of great passion. 



The purpose of culture would have us enlist every 

thing terrible, step by step and experimentally, into 

its service ; but before it is strong enough for this it 

must combat, moderate, mask, and even curse every 

thing terrible. 

Wherever a culture points to anything as evil, it 

betrays its fear and therefore weakness. 

Thesis : everything good is the evil of yore 

which has been rendered serviceable. Standard : 

the more terrible and the greater the passions may 

be which an age, a people, and an individual are at 

liberty to possess, because they are able to use 

them as a means, the higher is their culture-, the 

more mediocre, weak, submissive, and cowardly a 

man may be, the more things he will regard as evil: 

according to him the kingdom of evil is the largest. 

The lowest man will see the kingdom of evil (i.e. 

that which is forbidden him and which is hostile 

to him) everywhere. 


/ It is not a fact that "happiness follows virtue 

but it is the mighty man who first declares his 

happy state to be virtue. 

f Evil actions belong to the mighty and the 

virtuous : bad and base actions belong to the 

. subjected. 

The mightiest man, the creator, would have to 

be the most evil, inasmuch as he makes his ideal 

prevail over all men in opposition to their ideals, 

and remoulds them according to his own image. 


Evil, in this respect, means hard, painful, .en 


Such men as Napoleon must always return and 

always settle our belief in the self-glory of the in 

dividual afresh : he himself, however, was corrupted 

by the means he had to stoop to, and had lost 

noblesse of character. If he had had to prevail 

among another kind of men, he could have availed 

himself of other means ; and thus it would not 

seem necessary that a Caesar must become bad. 


Man is a combination of the beast and the super- , 

beast \ higher man a combination of the monster/ 

and the superman : * these opposites belong to| 

each other. With every degree of a man s growth j 

towards greatness and loftiness,he also grows down-i 

wards into the depths and into the terrible: we 

should not desire the one without the other ; or,$. 

better still: the more fundamentally we desire thej 

one, the more completely we shall achieve the ; 



Terribleness belongs to greatness : let us not 

deceive ourselves. 


I have taught the knowledge of such terrible 

things, that all " Epicurean contentment " is im- 

* The play on the German words: "Unthier" and 

" Uberthier," " Unmensch " and " Ubermensch," is unfortu 

nately not translatable. TR. 


possible concerning them. Dionysian pleasure is 

the only adequate kind here : / was the first to dis 

cover the tragic. Thanks to their superficiality in 

ethics, the Greeks misunderstood it. Resignation 

is not the lesson of tragedy, but only the mis 

understanding of it ! The yearning for nonentity 

-is the denial of tragic wisdom, its opposite ! 


A rich and powerful soul not only gets over 

painful and even terrible losses, deprivations, rob 

beries, and insults : it actually leaves such dark 

infernos in possession of still greater plenitude and 

power ; and, what is most important of all, in pos 

session of an increased blissfulness in love. I 

believe that he who has divined something of the 

most fundamental conditions of love, will under 

stand Dante for having written over the door of 

his Inferno : " I also am the creation of eternal 



To have travelled over the whole circumference 

of the modern soul, and to have sat in all its corners 

my ambition, my torment, and my happiness. 

Veritably to have overcome pessimism, and, as 

I the result thereof, to have acquired the eyes of a 

|\ Goethe full of love and goodwill. 


The first question is by no means whether we 

are satisfied with ourselves : but whether we are 


satisfied with anything at all. Granting that we 

should say yea to any single moment, we have then 

affirmed not only ourselves, but the whole of ex 

istence. For nothing stands by itself, either in us 

or in other things : and if our soul has vibrated anc 

rung with happiness, like a chord, once only anc 

only once, then all eternity was necessary in order 

to bring about that one event, and all eternity, ii 

this single moment of our affirmation, was callec 

good, was saved, justified, and blessed. 


The passions which say yea. Pride, happiness, 

health, the love of the sexes, hostility and war, 

reverence, beautiful attitudes, manners, strong will, 

the discipline of lofty spirituality, the will to power, 

and gratitude to the Earth and to Life : all that 

is rich, that would fain bestow, and that refreshes, 

gilds, immortalises, and deifies Life the whole 

power of the virtues that glorify all declaring 

things good, saying yea, and doing yea. 


We, many or few, who once more dare to live in 

a world purged of morality, we pagans in faith, we 

are probably also the first who understand what a 

pagan faith is : to be obliged to imagine higher 

creatures than man, but to imagine them beyond 

good and evil ; to be compelled to value all higher 

existence as immoral existence. We believe in 

Olympus, and not in the " man on the cross." 



The more modern man has exercised his ideal 

ising power in regard to a God mostly by moralis 

ing the latter ever more and more what does that 

mean ? nothing good, a diminution in man s 


As a matter of fact, the reverse would be possible: 

and indications of this are not wanting. God im 

agined as emancipation from morality, comprising 

the whole of the abundant assembly of Life s con 

trasts, and saving and justifying them in a divine 

agony. God as the beyond, the superior elevation, 

to the wretched cul-de-sac morality of " Good and 



A humanitarian God cannot be demonstrated 

from the world that is known to us : so much are 

ye driven and forced to conclude to-day. But 

what conclusion do ye draw from this ? " He can 

not be demonstrated to us " : the scepticism of 

knowledge. You all fear the conclusion : " From 

the world that is known to us quite a different 

God would be demonstrable, such a one as would 

certainly not be humanitarian " and, in a word, 

you cling fast to your God, and invent a world for 

Him which is unknown to us. 


Let us banish the highest good from our con 

cept of God : it is unworthy of a God. Let us 


likewise banish the highest wisdom : it is the 

vanity of philosophers who have perpetrated the 

absurdity of a God who is a monster of wisdom :!.j 

the idea was to make Him as like them as possible, "t 

No ! God as the highest power that is sufficient ! I 

- Everything follows from that, even " the 

world " ! 


And how many new Gods are not still pos 

sible ! I, myself, in whom the religious that is 

to say, the god-creating instinct occasionally be 

comes active at the most inappropriate moments : 

how very differently the divine has revealed itself 

every time to me ! ... So many strange things 

have passed before me in those timeless moments, 

which fall into a man s life as if they came from 

the moon, and in which he absolutely no longer 

knows how old he is or how young he still may 

be ! ... I would not doubt that there are several 

kinds of gods. . . . Some are not wanting which 

one could not possibly imagine without a certain 

halcyonic calm and levity. . . . Light feet perhaps 

belong to the concept " God." Is it necessary to 

explain that a God knows how to hold Himself 

preferably outside all Philistine and rationalist 

circles ? also (between ourselves) beyond good and 

evil? His outlook is a free one as Goethe 

would say. And to invoke the authority of Zara- 

thustra, which cannot be too highly appreciated in 

this regard : Zarathustra goes as far as to confess, 

" I would only believe in a God who knew how to 

dance. , ." 


Again I say : how many new Gods are not still 

possible! Certainly Zarathustrahimself is merely an 

old atheist: he believes neither inoldnorinnewgods. 

Zarathustra says, " he would"- but Zarathustra 

will not. . . . Take care to understand him well. 

The type God conceived according to the type 

of creative spirits, of " great men." 


And how many new ideals are not, at bottom, 

still possible ? Here is a little ideal that I seize 

upon every five weeks, while upon a wild and lonely 

walk, in the azure moment of a blasphemous joy. 

To spend one s life amid delicate and absurd things; 

a stranger to reality ; half-artist, half-bird, half- 

metaphysician ; without a yea or a nay for reality, 

save that from time to time one acknowledges it, 

after the manner of a good dancer, with the tips of 

one s toes ; always tickled by some happy ray of 

sunlight ; relieved and encouraged even by sorrow 

for sorrow preserves the happy man ; fixing a 

little tail of jokes even to the most holy thing : 

this, as is clear, is the ideal of a heavy spirit, a ton 

in weight of the spirit of gravity. 


From the military -school of the soul. (Dedicated 

to the brave, the good-humoured, and the abstinent.) 

I should not like to undervalue the amiable vir 

tues ; but greatness of soul is not compatible with 


them. Even in the arts, grand style excludes all 

merely pleasing qualities. 

In times of painful tension and vulnerability, 

choose war. War hardens and develops muscle. 

Those who have been deeply wounded have the 

Olympian laughter ; a man only has what he needs. 

It has now already lasted ten years : no sound 

any longer reaches me a land without rain. A 

man must have a vast amount of humanity at his 

disposal in order not to pine away in such drought.* 


My new road to an affirmative attitude. Philo 

sophy, as I have understood it and lived it up to the 

present, is the voluntary quest of the repulsive and 

atrocious aspects of existence. From the long ex 

perience derived from such wandering over ice and 

desert, I learnt to regard quite differently everything 

that had been philosophised hitherto : the con 

cealed history of philosophy, the psychology of its 

great names came into the light for me. " How 

much truth can a spirit endure ; for how much truth 

is it daring enough ? " this for me was the real 

* For the benefit of those readers who are not acquainted 

with the circumstances of Nietzsche s life, it would be as well 

to point out that this is a purely personal plaint, comprehen 

sible enough in the mouth of one who, like Nietzsche, was 

for years a lonely anchorite. TR. 


measure of value. Error is a piece of cowardice 

. . . every victory on the part of knowledge,is the re 

sults! courage,of hardness towards one s self, of clean 

liness towards one s self. . . . ^\&\?i\T\& si experimental 

philosophy which I am living, even anticipates the 

possibility of the most fundamental Nihilism, on 

principle : but by this I do not mean that it re 

mains standing at a negation, at a no, or at a will 

to negation. It would rather attain to the very 

reverse to a Dionysian affirmation of the world, as 

it is, without subtraction, exception, or choice 

it would have eternal circular motion : the same 

things, the same reasoning, and the same illogical 

concatenation. The highest state to which a philo 

sopher can attain : to maintain a Dionysian attitude 

to Life my formula for this is amor fati. 

To this end we must not only consider those 

aspects of life which have been denied hitherto, as 

necessary, but as desirable, and not only desirable 

to those aspects which have been affirmed hitherto 

(as complements or first prerequisites, so to speak), 

but for their own sake, as the more powerful, more 

terrible, and more veritable aspects of life, in which 

the latter s will expresses itself most clearly. 

To this end, we must also value that aspect of 

existence which alone has been affirmed until now ; 

we must understand whence this valuation arises, 

and to how slight an extent it has to do with a 

Dionysian valuation of Life : I selected and under 

stood that which in this respect says " yea " (on the 

one hand, the instinct of the sufferer ; on the other, 

the gregarious instinct ; and thirdly, the instinct of 

the greater number against the exceptions). 


Thus I divined to what extent a stronger kind 

of man must necessarily imagine the elevation and 

enhancement of man in another direction : higher 

creatures , beyond good and evil, beyond those values 

which bear the stamp of their origin in the sphere 

of suffering, of the herd, and of the greater number 

I searched for the data of this topsy-turvy forma 

tion of ideals in history (the concepts " pagan," 

" classical," " noble," have been discovered afresh 

and brought forward). 


We should demonstrate to what extent the 

religion of the Greeks was higher than Judaeo- 

Christianity. The latter triumphed because the 

Greek religion was degenerate (and decadent). 


It is not surprising that a couple 01 centuries 

have been necessary in order to link up again a 

couple of centuries are very little indeed. 


There must be some people who sanctify func 

tions, not only eating and drinking: and not only 

in memory of them, or in harmony with them ; but 

this world must be for ever glorified anew, and in 

a novel fashion. 


The most intellectual men feel the ecstasy and 

charm of sensual things in a way which other men 


those with " fleshy hearts " cannot possibly 

imagine, and ought not to be able to imagine : 

they are sensualists with the best possible faith, 

because they grant the senses a more fundamental 

value than that fine sieve, that thinning and mincing 

machine, or whatever it is called, which in the 

language of the people is termed " spirit . The 

strength and power of the senses this is the most 

essential thing in a sound man who is one of 

Nature s lucky strokes : the splendid beast must 

first be there otherwise what is the value of all 

" humanisation " ? 


(1) We want to hold fast to our senses, and to 

the belief in them and accept their logical con 

clusions ! The hostility to the senses in the philo 

sophy that has been written up to the present, has 

been man s greatest feat of nonsense. 

(2) The world now extant, on which all earthly 

and living things have so built themselves, that it 

now appears as it does (enduring and proceeding 

slowly), we would fain continue building not 

criticise it away as false ! 

(3) Our valuations help in the process of build 

ing ; they emphasise and accentuate. What does 

it mean when whole religions say : " Everything is 

bad and false and evil " ? This condemnation of 

the whole process can only be the judgment of the 

failures ! 

(4) True, the failures might be the greatest 

sufferers and therefore the most subtle ! The con 

tented might be worth little ! 


(5) We must understand the fundamental artistic 

phenomenon which is called "Life," the formative 

spirit, which constructs under the most unfavourable 

circumstances : and in the slowest manner pos 

sible The proof of all its combinations must 

first be given afresh : it maintains itself. 


Sexuality, lust of dominion, the pleasure derived 

from appearance and deception, great and joyful 

gratitude to Life and its typical conditions these 

things are essential to all paganism, and it has a 

good conscience on its side. That which is hostile 

to Nature (already in Greek antiquity) combats 

paganism in the form of morality and dialectics. 


An anti- metaphysical view of the world yes, 

but an artistic one. 


Apollo s misapprehension : the eternity of beauti-1 

ful forms, the aristocratic prescription, " Thus sJiall\ 

it ever be ! " I 

Dionysus : Sensuality and cruelty. The perish- ; 

able nature of existence might be interpreted as j 

the joy of procreative and destructive force, as un- \ 

remitting creation. 


The word " Dionysian " expresses : a constraint 

to unity, a soaring above personality, the common- 


place, society, reality, and above the abyss of the 

ephemeral ; the passionately painful sensation of 

superabundance, in darker, fuller, and more fluctu 

ating conditions ; an ecstatic saying of yea to the 

collective character of existence, as that which 

remains the same, and equally mighty and blissful 

throughout all change ; the great pantheistic 

sympathy with pleasure and pain, which declares 

even the most terrible and most questionable qualities 

of existence good, and sanctifies them ; the eternal 

will to procreation, to fruitfulness, and to recurrence ; 

the feeling of unity in regard to the necessity of 

creating and annihilating. 

The word <{ Apollonian " expresses : the con 

straint to be absolutely isolated, to the typical " in 

dividual," to everything that simplifies, distinguishes, 

and makes strong, salient, definite, and typical : to 

freedom within the law. 

The further development of art is just as neces 

sarily bound up with the antagonism of these two 

natural art-forces, as the further development of 

mankind is bound up with the antagonism of the 

sexes. The plenitude of power and restraint, the 

highest form of self-affirmation in a cool, noble, and 

reserved kind of beauty : the Apollonianism of the 

Hellenic will. 

This antagonism of the Dionysian and of the 

Apollonian in the Greek soul, is one of the great 

riddles which made me feel drawn to the essence 

of Hellenism. At bottom, I troubled about nothing 

save the solution of the question, why precisely 

Greek Apollonianism should have been forced to 

grow out of a Dionysian soil : the Dionysian Greek 


had need of being Apollonian ; that is to say,in 

order to break his will to the titanic, to the com 

plex, to the uncertain, to the horrible by a will 

to measure, to simplicity, and to submission to 

rule and concept. Extravagance, wildness, and 

Asiatic tendencies lie at the root of the Greeks. 

Their courage consists in their struggle with their 

Asiatic nature : they were not given beauty, any 

more than they were given Logic and moral 

naturalness: in them these things are victories, 

they are willed and fought forthey constitute 

the triumph of the Greeks. 

105 i 

It is clear that only the rarest and most lucky 

cases of humanity can attain to the highest and 

most sublime human joys in which Life celebrates 

its own glorification ; and this only happens when 

these rare creatures themselves and their forbears 

have lived a long preparatory life leading to this 

goal, without, however, having done so consciously. 

It is then that an overflowing wealth of multi 

farious forces and the most agile power of " free 

will " and lordly command exist together in per 

fect concord in one man ; then the intellect is just 

as much at ease, or at home, in the senses as the 

senses are at ease or at home in it ; and everything 

that takes place in the latter must give rise to ex 

traordinarily subtle joys in the former. And vice 

versd : just think of this vice versd for a moment 

in a man like Hafiz ; even Goethe, though to a 

lesser degree, gives some idea of this process. It 

VOL. II. 2D 


is probable that, in such perfect and well-constituted 

men, the most sensual functions are finally trans 

figured by a symbolic elatedness of the highest 

intellectuality ; in themselves they feel a kind of 

deification of the body and are most remote from the 

ascetic philosophy of the principle "God is a Spirit": 

from this principle it is clear that the ascetic is the 

" botched man " who declares only that to be good 

and " God " which is absolute, and which judges and 


From that height of joy in which man feels him 

self completely and utterly a deified form and self- 

justification of nature, down to the joy of healthy 

peasants and healthy semi-human beasts, the whole 

of this long and enormous gradation of the light 

and colour of happiness was called by the Greek 

not without that grateful quivering of one who is 

initiated into secret, not without much caution and 

pious silence by the godlike name : Dionysus. 

What then do all modern men the children of a 

crumbling, multifarious, sick and strange age 

know of the compass of Greek happiness, how could 

they know anything about it ! Whence would the 

slaves of " modern ideas " derive their right to 

Dionysian feasts ! 

When the Greek body and soul were in full 

" bloom," and not, as it were, in states of morbid 

exaltation and madness, there arose the secret 

symbol of the loftiest affirmation and transfigura 

tion of life and the world that has ever existed. 

There we have a standard beside which everything 

that has grown since must seem too short, too 

poor, too narrow : if we but pronounce the word 


" Dionysus " in the presence of the best of more 

recent names and things, in the presence of Goethe, 

for instance, or Beethoven, or Shakespeare, or 

Raphael, in a trice we realise that our best things 

and moments are condemned. Dionysus is a judge \ 

Am I understood ? There can be no doubt that 

the Greeks sought to interpret, by means of their 

Dionysian experiences, the final mysteries of the 

" destiny of the soul " and everything they knew 

concerning the education and the purification of 

man, and above all concerning the absolute hier 

archy and inequality of value between man and man. 

There is the deepest experience of all Greeks, which 

they conceal beneath great silence, we do not 

know the Greeks so long as this hidden and sub 

terranean access to them remains obstructed. The 

indiscreet eyes of scholars will never perceive any 

thing in these things, however much learned energy 

may still have to be expended in the service of this 

excavation ; even the noble zeal of such friends 

of antiquity as Goethe and Winckelmann, seems to 

savour somewhat of bad form and of arrogance, 

precisely in this respect. To wait and to prepare 

oneself; to await the appearance of new sources of 

knowledge ; to prepare oneself in solitude for the 

sight of new faces and the sound of new voices ; to 

cleanse one s soul ever more and more of the dust 

and noise, as of a country fair, which is peculiar to 

this age ; to overcome everything Christian by some 

thing super-Christian, and not only to rid oneself 

of it, for the Christian doctrine is the counter- 

doctrine to the Dionysian ; to rediscover the South 

in oneself, and to stretch a clear, glittering, and 


mysterious southern sky above one ; to reconquer 

the southern healthiness and concealed power of the 

soul, once more for oneself; to increase the com 

pass of one s soul step by step, and to become more 

supernational, more European, more super- 

European, more Oriental, and finally more Hellenic 

for Hellenism was, as a matter of fact, the first 

great union and synthesis of everything Oriental, 

and precisely on that account, the beginning of the 

European soul, the discovery of our " new world " : 

he who lives under such imperatives, who knows 

what he may not encounter some day ? Possibly 

a new dawn \ 


The two types : Dionysus and Christ on the Cross. 

We should ascertain whether the typically religious 

man is a decadent phenomenon (the great inno 

vators are one and all morbid and epileptic) ; but 

do not let us forget to include that type of the 

religious man who is pagan. Is the pagan cult 

not a form of gratitude for, and affirmation of, Life ? 

Ought not its most representative type to be an 

apology and deification of Life ? The type of a 

well-constituted and ecstatically overflowing spirit ! 

The type of a spirit which absorbs the contradic 

tions and problems of existence, and which solves 


At this point I set up the Dionysus of the Greeks : 

the religious affirmation of Life, of the whole of 

Life, not of denied and partial Life (it is typical 

that in this cult the sexual act awakens ideas of 

depth, mystery, and reverence). 


I Dionysus versus " Christ " ; here you have the 

contrast. It is not a difference in regard to the 

martyrdom, but the latter has a different mean- 

ing. Life itself Life s eternal fruitful ness and re- 

currence caused anguish, destruction, and the will 

to annihilation. In the other case, the suffering of 

the " Christ as the Innocent One " stands as an ob 

jection against Life, it is the formula of Life s 

condemnation. Readers will guess that the prob 

lem concerns the meaning of suffering ; whether 

a Christian or a tragic meaning be given to it. In 

the first case it is the road to a holy mode of 

existence ; in the second case existence itself 

is regarded as sufficiently holy to justify an 

enormous amount of suffering. The tragic man 

says yea even to the most excruciating suffering: 

he is sufficiently strong, rich, and capable of deify 

ing, to be able to do this ; the Christian denies 

even the happy lots on earth : he is weak, poor, 

and disinherited enough to suffer from life in any 

form. God on the Cross is a curse upon Life, a 

signpost directing people to deliver themselves from 

it ; Dionysus cut into pieces is a promise of Life : 

it will be for ever born anew, and rise afresh from 





\ MY philosophy reveals the triumphant thought 

j through which all other systems of thought must 

1 ultimately perish. It is the great disciplinary 

(thought : those races that cannot bear it are 

doomed ; those which regard it as the greatest 

blessing are destined to rule. 


The greatest of all fights : for this purpose a 

new weapon is required. 

A hammer : a terrible alternative must be 

created. Europe must be brought face to face 

with the logic of facts, and confronted with the 

question whether its will for ruin is really earnest. 

General levelling down to mediocrity must be 

avoided. Rather than this it would be preferable 

to perish. 


A pessimistic attitude of mind and a pessi 

mistic doctrine and ecstatic Nihilism, may in 


certain circumstances even prove indispensable tp^ 

the philosopher that is to say, as a mighty j 

form of pressure, or hammer, with which he can 

smash up degenerate, perishing races and put 

them out of existence ; with which he can beat a 

track to a new order of life, or instil a longing for 

nonentity in those who are degenerate and who. 

desire to perish. 


I wish to teach the thought which gives unto "A 

many the right to cancel their existences the J> 

great disciplinary thought. 


Eternal Recurrence. A prophecy. 

1. The exposition of the doctrine and its theo 

retical first principles and results. 

2. The proof of the doctrine. 

3. Probable results which will follow from its 

being believed. (It makes everything break open.) 

(a) The means of enduring it. 

(8) The means of ignoring it. 

4. Its place in history is a means. 

The period ot greatest danger. 

The foundation of an oligarchy above peoples 

and their interests : education directed at 

establishing a political policy for humanity 

in general. 

A counterpart of Jesuitism. 



The two greatest philosophical points of view 

(both discovered by Germans). 

(a) That of becoming and that of evolution. 

(b) That based upon the values of existence 

(but the wretched form of German 

pessimism must first be overcome !) 

Both points of view reconciled by me in a 

decisive manner. 

Everything becomes and returns for ever, 

escape is impossible \ 

Granted that we could appraise the value of 

existence, what would be the result of it? The 

thought of recurrence is a principle of selection in 

the service of power (and barbarity !). 

The ripeness of man for this thought. 


I. The thought of eternal recurrence: its first U 

principles^hich must necessarily be true if it were jj\ 

true. Wha its result is. 

. 2. It is the most oppressive thought : its prob 

able results, provided it be not prevented, that is 

. to say, provided all values be not transvalued. 

3. The means of enduring it: the transvalua- 

| tion of all values. Pleasure no longer to be found 

in certainty, but in uncertainty ; no longer " cause 

and effect," but continual creativeness ; no longer 

\ the will to self-preservation, but to power; no 

longer the modest expression " it is all only sub 

jective," but " it is all our work ! let us be 

proud of it," 



In order to endure the thought of recurrence, 

freedom from morality is necessary ; new means 

against the fact fain (pain regarded as the instru 

ment, as the father of pleasure ; there is no accre 

tive consciousness of pain) ; pleasure derived from 

all kinds of uncertainty and tentativeness, as a 

counterpoise to extreme fatalism ; suppression of 

the concept "necessity" ; suppression of the " will " ; 

suppression of " absolute knowledge." 

Greatest elevation of man s consciousness of 

strength, as that which creates superman. 


The two extremes of thought the materialistic 

and the platonic are reconciled in eternal recur 

rence: both are regarded as ideals. 


If the universe had a goal, that goal would 

have~ Been reached by now.___ ij^ajny, jsort : o un 

foreseen final state existed, that state also would 

haveHBeen reached. I? it were capable of any 

Halting or stability of any " being," it would only 

have possessed this capability of becoming stable 

for one instant in its development ; and again 

becoming would have been at an end for ages, 

and with it all thinking and all " spirit." The 

fact of " intellects " being in a state of development 

proves that tjhe, .universe can have no goal, no 


final state, and is incapable of being. But the old 

habit of thinking of some purpose in regard to all 

phenomena, and of thinking of a directing and 

creating deity in regard to the universe, is so 

powerful, that the thinker has to go to great pains 

in order to avoid thinking of the very aimlessness 

of the world as intended. The idea that the 

universe intentionally evades a goal, and even 

knows artificial means wherewith it prevents itself 

from falling into a circular movement, must occur 

to all those who would fain attribute to the uni 

verse the capacity of eternally regenerating itself 

that is to say, they would fain impose upon a 

finite, definite force which is invariable in quantity, 

like the universe, the miraculous gift of renewing 

its forms and its conditions for all eternity. 

Although the universe is no longer a God, it must 

still be capable of the divine power of creating 

and transforming; it must forbid itself to 

relapse into any one of its previous forms ; it 

must not only have the intention, but also the 

means, of avoiding any sort of repetition ; every 

second of its existence, even, it must control every 

single one of its movements, with the view of 

avoiding goals, final states, and repetitions and 

all the other results of such an unpardonable and 

insane method of thought and desire. All this is 

nothing more than the old religious mode of 

thought and desire, which, in spite of all, longs to 

believe that in some way or other the universe 

resembles the old, beloved, infinite, and infinitely- 

creative God that in some way or other " the 

old God still lives" that longing of Spinoza s 


which is expressed in the words " deus sive natura " 

(what he really felt was " natura sive deus "). 

Which, then, is the proposition and belief in which 

the decisive change, the present preponderance of 

the scientific spirit over the religious and god- 

fancying spirit, is best formulated ? Ought it not 

to be : the universe, as force, must not be thought 

of as unlimited, because it cannot be thought of 

in this way, we forbid ourselves the concept in 

finite force, because it is incompatible with the idea 

of force? Whence it follows that the universe 

lacks the power of eternal renewal. 

1063. , 1 

The principle of the conservation of energy 

inevitably involves eternal recurrence. 


That a state of equilibrium has never been 

reached, proves that it is impossible. But in 

infinite space it must have been reached. Like 

wise in spherical space. Inform of space must 

be the cause of the eternal movement, and ulti 

mately of all " imperfection." 

That "energy" and "stability" and "immut 

ability " are contradictory. The measure of energy 

(dimensionally) is fixed,though it is essentially fluid. 

" That which is timeless " must be refuted. At 

any given moment of energy, the absolute condi 

tions for a new distribution of all forces are present ; 

it cannot remain stationary. Change is part of 


its essence, therefore time is as well : by this 

means, however, the necessity of change has only 

been established once more in theory. 


A certain emperor always bore the fleeting 

nature of all things in his mind, in order not to 

value them too seriously, and to be able to live 

quietly in their midst. Conversely, everything 

seems to me much too important for it to be so 

fleeting ; I seek an eternity for everything : ought 

one to pour the most precious salves and wines 

into the sea ? My consolation is that everything 

that has been is eternal : the sea will wash it up 



The neiv concept of the universe. The universe 

exists ; it is nothing that grows into existence and 

that passes out of existence. Or, better still, it 

develops, it passes away, but it never began to 

develop, and has never ceased from passing away ; 

it maintains itself in both states. ... It lives on 

itself, its excrements are its nourishment. 

We need not concern ourselves for one instant 

with the hypothesis of a created world. The con 

cept "create" is to-day utterly indefinable and 

unrealisable ; it is but a word which hails from 

superstitious ages ; nothing can be explained with 

a word. The last attempt that was made to con 

ceive of a world that began occurred quite recently, 


in many cases with the help of logical reasoning, 

generally, too, as you will guess, with an 

ulterior theological motive. 

Several attempts have been made lately to show 

that the concept that " the universe has an infinite 

past " (regressus in infinituvi) is contradictory : 

it was even demonstrated, it is true, at the price 

of confounding the head with the tail. Nothing 

can prevent me from calculating backwards from 

this moment of time, and of saying : " I shall 

never reach the end " ; just as I can calculate 

without end in a forward direction, from the same 

moment. It is only when I wish to commit the 

error I shall be careful to avoid it of reconcil 

ing this correct concept of a regressus in infinitum 

with the absolutely unrealisable concept of a finite 

progressus up to the present ; only when I con 

sider the direction (forwards or backwards) as 

logically indifferent, that I take hold of the head ; 

this very moment and think I hold the tail : 1 

this pleasure I leave to you, Mr. Diihring ! . . . j 

I have come across this thought in other 

thinkers before me, and every time I found that 

it was determined by other ulterior motives 

(chiefly theological, in favour of a creator spiritus). 

If the universe were in any way able to congeal, 

to dry up, to perish ; or if it were capable of 

attaining to a state of equilibrium ; or if it had 

any kind of goal at all which a long lapse 

of time, immutability, and finality reserved for it 

(in short, to speak metaphysically, if becoming 

could resolve itself into being or into nonentity), 

this state ought already to have been reached. 


But it has not been reached : it therefore 

follows. . . . This is the only certainty we can 

grasp, which can serve as a corrective to a host 

of cosmic hypotheses possible in themselves. If, 

for instance, materialism cannot consistently escape 

the conclusion of a finite state, which William 

Thomson has traced out for it, then materialism 

is thereby refuted. 

If the universe may be conceived as a definite 

quantity of energy, as a definite number of centres 

of energy, and every other concept remains 

indefinite and therefore useless, it follows there 

from that the universe must go through a calcul 

able number of combinations in the great game of 

chance which constitutes its existence. In infinity^ 

at some moment or other, every possible combina- i 

tion must once have been realised ; not only this, , 

but it mustjiave been realised an infinite number j 

of times. And inasmuch as between every onef 

of these combinations and its next recurrence 

every other possible combination would neces 

sarily have been undergone^ and since every one 

of these combinations would determine the whole 

series in the same order, a circular movement of 

absolutely identical series is thus demonstrated : 

the universe is thus shown to be a circular 

movement which has already repeated itself an 

infinite number of times, and which plays its 

game for all eternity. This conception is not 

simply materialistic ;Tor if it were this, it would 

not involve an infinite recurrence of identical cases, 

but a finite state. Owing to the fact that the uni 

verse has not reached this finite state, materialism 


shows itself to be but an imperfect and pro 

visional hyoothesis. 


And do ye know what "the universe" is to my 

mind? Shall i show it to you in my mirror? 

This universe is a monster of energy, without 

beginning or end; a fixed and brazen quantity oj 

energy which grows neither bigger nor smaller, 

which does not consume itself, but only alters 

its face; as a whole its bulk is immutable, it 

is a household without either losses or gains, 

but likewise without increase and without 

sources of revenue, surrounded by nonentity as 

by a frontier, it is nothing vague or waste 

ful, it does not stretch into infinity; but it 

is a definite quantum of energy located in 

lirdted space, and not in space which would be 

anyv here empty. It is rather energy every 

where, the play of forces and force -waves, at 

the same time one and many, agglomerating here 

and diminishing there, a sea of forces storm 

ing and raging in itself, for ever changing, 

for ever rolling back over incalculable ages 

to recurrence, with an ebb and flow of its 

forms, producing the most complicated things 

out of the most simple structures; producing 

the most ardent, most savage, and nost contra 

dictory things out of the quietest, nost rigid, 

and most frozen material, and then returning 

from multifariousness to uniformity, from the 

play of contradictions back into the delight 

of consonance, saying yea unto itself, even 

this homogeneity of its courses and ages; for 

ever blessing itseir as so:-.:et;.ing which reci 

for all eternity,- a becoming which knows no 

satiety, or disgust, or weariness:- ^is, my 

Dionysien world of eternal self -creation, of 


eternal self-destruction, this mysterious 

world of twofold voluptuousness; this, my 

"Beyond Good and Evil" without aim, , unless 

there. is an aim in the bliss of the circle, 

without will, unless a ring must by nature 

keep good?;ill to itself,- would you have a 

name for my world? A solution of all your 

riddles? Do ye also want a light, ye most 

concealed, strongest and raost undaunted men 

of the blackest midnight?- This world is 

the Will to Pov/er- and nothing else! And 

even ye yourselves are this will to power - 

and nothing besides!