Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Brush up on Nietzsche Essay

Yet another brush-up of my essay on Nietzsche.






What would my perfection,

my gifts and givings,

my loss and winnings,

my loves and lovers,

my sisters and brothers,

be without you to thank?

--I thank you, oh Fate!


What would my distress,

my musings and rusings,

my self abusings,

my hells and wells,

my thunders and bells,

my maddened depression,

my loss in degressions,

be without you to love?

--I thank you, oh fate!


Lashings and kisses,

Tortures and wishes,

Freedoms and fights,

Wrongings and rights,

All have carved me perfect

because of you, my dear,

How could I wish you different?

--I thank you, oh fate!

My favorite philosopher

            Nietzsche is my darling. He cured me of my life’s greatest depression, Christianity, and demonstrated the beauty of nonfiction prose. He is my constant friend in bleak times. Every time I sustain a depression—always a sign of gestation—I pick up Nietzsche and am cheered by his charming arrogance, audacity, masterly style, and critical optimism. Never has such a critic existed, and one who balances his condemnation with inhaling optimism.

            I have been told that my style is Nietzschesque. Perhaps. You are what you eat, as any materialist will tell you. It is only the broadness of my omniverous diet that saves me from sectarianism: I balance my diet with hundreds of others. Yet he is my prized. He is my beloved. Nietzsche is my favorite philosopher.

            I picked him up to be openminded as a Christian. Browsing through his “Antichrist” gave me nausea. The writing made me literally sick. Yet I was curious, and moved.

            Since then, I have discovered that Nietzsche is easy to read lightly. He writes an easy style; to get deep you must break the spell. You must engage him in agon.

            Nietzsche, like Emerson, was a national original. And yet he was a critic, like lemon juice to milk. See how the people follow him now, without even knowing his name.

            “God is dead,” Nietzsche announced. The Echoes mutter, “The author is dead” “art is dead” “architecture is dead” “Dead White Men,”—such nasty resenters feed from his hand.

            A great man may exaggerate, and exaggerates to hide his subtleties. Reading Nietzsche you might forget this. Exagerrations are most easy to see: monsters become religions. The profoundest beauty is the subtlest, is invisible to the crowd.


            Nietzsche’s central idea, as he himself noted many times, was the “revaluation of all values.” Indeed so, and his primary expression of this was his idea of the power of the noble soul. The revaluation makes sense only in regard to this.

            I have called Nietzsche the world’s greatest critic, and indeed I find him such, but it is his optimism that drums my heart. He never rails without righting a way. Why then is he such a thorough and devastating critic to his predessesors?

            He was trained as a philologist. In this, he is the rightful Father of Poormodernism—an age of literary criticims if anything. He understands knowledge as language, and, above all things, knows how to read. This intense training in the study of language paired well with his invigorating style.

            After forming morality itself as a problem, and thinking upon it since he was thirteen years of age, Nietzsche says that he:

“Therupon I discovered and ventured divers answers; I distinguished between ages, peoples, degrees of rank among individuals; I departmentalized my problem; out of my answers grew new questions, inquiries, conjectures, probabilities—until at length I had a country of my own, a soil of my own, an entire discrete thriving, floushing world, like a secret garden the existence of which no one suspected.—Oh how fortunate we are, we men of knowledge, provided only that we know how to keep silient long enough.” (Geneology of Morals).

Nietzsche says that, “After a long meditation of deep ideas, an insight breaks forth, and thereafter, every object we experience seems connected to the next like a chain.”

This is characteristic of what I call “psychosis” which is the moment when we see deeper realities and no longer see surface facts. Great minds see this way, but they must work to achieve it: drugs cheat the system and give no full bonus.



His own

            Nietzsche was famously lonely. He constantly called for equals and sequals. The personal address of equals charms us like-minded readers.

            He speaks of the alienating effect of his unique viewpoints, how he needed rest from his truthfulness:

“Thus I invented, when I needed them, the “free spirits” too…there are no such “free spirits”—but as I said, I needed their company at the time, to be of good cheer in the midst of bad things (illness, isolation, foreigness, sloth, inactivity) as brave fellows and specters to chat and laugh with, when one feels like chatting and laughing, and whom one sends  to hell when they get boring—as repartion for lacking friends.”

In his Geneology of Morals, he begins

“We are unknown to ourselves, we men of knowledge,”

and continues to say that

“Present experience has, I am afraid, always found us ‘absent-minded’: we cannot give our heart to it—not even our ears! We are divinely preoccupied and immersed in ourselves.”

And adds:

“I had reasons to look about me for scholarly, bold, and industious comrades (I am still looking).”

“For cheerfulness—or in my own language gay science—is a reward of a long, brave, industrious, and subterranean seriousness, of which, to be sure, not everyone is capable.”

            Kaufmann, the late professor currently popular for translating Nietzsche into English, made it his his life mission to justify the ways of Nietzsche to man. Nietzsche thereby became more popular to Kaufmann’s fellow professors. So much the worse for Nietzche. Kaufmann mocks at Nietzsche’s loneliness, as if he understood it—a university professor! He is akin to Bloom, who also never understood Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, nor even his own favorite idol, Emerson, since he calls Emerson’s “Self Reliance” terrifying—the very opposite of the proper American response: invigoration!

            I hate writers who tell me what I will and will not find in Nietzsche, Emerson, James, Rand, Derrida. The fools know not how to read. I spit in the professor’s faces. If any of them had read Nietzsche in the spirit Nietzsche wrote, they too would cast off the “Alma Mater,” as he did. They are like the Christian who reads his Bible fifty times, but never reads it once.

            We must never say that Nietzsche was miserable, lonely, unhappy, as if we were justified in comparing him to some standard, ideal, or norm, or even by his own opinion. One must look at his genetic and cultural determinants, and see what higher potential he achieved despite this. Two men may look very similar, but only one is truly happy, and the other, an underachiever.

            Nietzsche is such an author that unlike those who introduce terms or a few ideas, his ideas magnetize all terms, nor can we see or guess at the widespread of his incluence, though his is the greatest influence in the world of his generation. Despite all appearances, Nietzsche was a hundred times too modest, too self-assured that he was the hinge of history, to bother self-promoting.



“One thing is needful.—To “give style” to one’s character—a great and rare art! It is practiced by those who survey all the strength and weaknesses of their nature and then fit them into an artistic paln until every one of tham appears as art and reason and even weaknesses delight the eye. Here a large mass of second nature has been added; there a piece of original nautre has been removed—both times through long practice and daily work. Here the ugly that could not be removed is concealed there it has been reinterpreted and made sublime. Much that is vague and resisted shaping has been saved and exploited for distant views; it is meant to beckon toward the far and immearable. In the end, when the work is finished, it becomes evident how the constraint of a singl taste governed and formed everything large and small. Whether this taste was good or bad is less important than one might suppose, if only it was a single taste! It will be the strong and domineering natures that enjoy their finest gaiety in such constraint and perfection under a law of their ownl the passion of their tremendous will relents in the face of all stylized nature, of all conquered and serving nature. Even when the have to build palaces and design gardens they demur at giving nature freedom. Conversely, it is the weak characters without power over themselves that hate the constraint of style. They feel that if this bitter and evil constraint were imposed upon them they would be demeaned; they become slaves as soon as they serve; they hate to serve. Such spirits—and they may be of the first rank—are always out to shape and interpret their environment as free nature: wild, arbitrary, fantastic, disorderly, and surprising. And they are well advised because it is only in this way that they can give pleasure to themselves. For one thing is needful: that a human being should attain satisfaction with himself, whether it be by means of this or that poetry and art; only then is a human being at all tolerable to behold. Whoever is dissatisfied with himself is coninually ready for revenge, and we others will be his victims, if only by having to endure his ugly sight. For the sight of what is ugly makes one bad and gloomy.

            Nietzsche was, by Christian standards, a Saint. That is, he never drank, never lusted, remained a virgin, without making a disgraceful arrogant deal out of it like so many other Saints, doesn’t seem to even have struggled with any vice whatsoever, lived a spotless life. He never bragged about it; at best he recommended it: “Don’t drink if you want to write,” nothing more. He is everything Augustine wished he could be, without the hypocrisy. For while Luther, Paul, Augustine were self-admitted hypocrites, Nietzsche was never the hypocrite. Which is to say: Nietzsche was an innocent, unlike any Christian I have ever heard of. Is this because the devil didn’t bother tempting Nietzsche, since people like Paul and Augustine were much more dangerious to His agenda? Or is it because Nietzsche was at last self-honest—“The man who understood himself the best” Freud praises him—unlike any Saint yet invented?

            Unlike Aquinas, he didn’t repudiate his own work. This is the greatest sin: to damn one’s own children. One has to be God to do this, and even he can’t do it in good conscience. But here is Aquinas quitting his Summa and even spitting on it in the name of God. And yet he is called a Saint? Atrosity! He outrages the child! Nothing is worse than this. Yet Nietzsche was as proud as life over his Zarathustra, and never damns him. Learn well.

            “Sublimate your instincts,” Nietzsche adviced, as if he hadn’t read Emerson his entire life, to be able to say: “the innermost is already sublime!”

            It could be argued that Nietzsche was harsh to Plato for reasons other than his undisputed originality. My enemies might be good examples for a lot of things I like, but if I use them for illustrations, this might lead to confusion.

            At one point he calles Shakespeare a “wild genius” that he reads French authors to escape. Nietzsche rarely had “simple” feelings for a predecessor or opponent. He seemed to use a lot of writers and thinker as “magnifying glasses” to get at ideas, and sometimes he wrestled with them in ways that lead him to in no means attempt to be “objective.” For instance, Shophenhaur, Emerson, and Wagner are, I think, never fully explored for what they did for him. It is hard to speak of what is so close…it is almost like speaking fairly of a sibling, parent, or spouse. What you say is very real, and yet…personalized. Nietzsche was not a biographer, he was a poetosopher.

* *

            I have long since ceased to care about Jesus, historical or mythological – I have exhausted his worth to me, I can see nothing worth saving. But I find Nietzsche’s conception of Jesus illuminating about the nature of --- Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s Jesus, whether it shines any light on the mythological or historical person, is much more valuable as a figure Nietzsche carefully formulated, and Jesus as Nietzsche formulated him is the SHADOW of Nietzsche. The two passages that interest me the most are from beyond good and evil, and the few sections on the psychology of the redeemer, in his book the AntiChrist. Though apparently contradictory, remember that there are no contradictions, only wellmarkers: dig deeper!

This Jesus Nietzsche formulated – whether accurate or not (such a thing matters not at all!) perfectly formulates the SHADOW of Nietzsche, the repressable, hateable, throw in the corner, “antiNietzche.”

(The Shadow is a Jungian idea, meaning that we pretend to ourselves that the things we hate about ourselves are not part of ourselves at all. Since they are shoved out of conscious sight, they are also freed from conscious control, and gain a sort of autonomy and personality of their own.)



Beyond Good and Evil, from section 269

It is possible that beneath the sacred story and disguise of the life of Jesus there lies hidden one of the most painful examples of the martyrdom of knowledge about love: the martyrdom of the most innocent and most desiring heart, which was never satisfied with any human love, which demanded love, to be loved and nothing else, with hardness, with madness, with fearful outbreaks against those who denied him love; the history of a poor man unsatisfied and insatiable with love, who had to invent hell in order to send there those who did not wish to love him—and who finally, having grown to understand human love, had to invent a God who is entirely love, who is capable of total love—who takes pity on human love because it is so pathetic, so unknowing! Anyone who feels this way, who knows about love in this way—seeks death.—But why dwell on such painful things? Assuming we don’t have to.—




I can only repeat that I set myself against all efforts to intrude the fanatic into the figure of the Saviour: the very word imperieux, used by Renan, is alone enough to annul the type. What the "glad tidings" tell us is simply that there are no more contradictions; the kingdom of heaven belongs to children; the faith that is voiced here is no more an embattled faith--it is at hand, it has been from the beginning, it is a sort of recrudescent childishness of the spirit. The physiologists, at all events, are familiar with such a delayed and incomplete puberty in the living organism, the result of degeneration. A faith of this sort is not furious, it does not denounce, it does not defend itself: it does not come with "the sword"--it does not realize how it will one day set man against man. It does not manifest itself either by miracles, or by rewards and promises, or by "scriptures": it is itself, first and last, its own miracle, its own reward, its own promise, its own "kingdom of God." This faith does not formulate itself--it simply lives, and so guards itself against formulae. To be sure, the accident of environment, of educational background gives prominence to concepts of a certain sort: in primitive Christianity one finds only concepts of a Judaeo--Semitic character (--that of eating and drinking at the last supper belongs to this category--an idea which, like everything else Jewish, has been badly mauled by the church). But let us be careful not to see in all this anything more than symbolical language, semantics an opportunity to speak in parables. It is only on the theory that no work is to be taken literally that this anti-realist is able to speak at all. Set down among Hindus he would have made use of the concepts of Sankhya, and among Chinese he would have employed those of Lao-tse --and in neither case would it have made any difference to him.--With a little freedom in the use of words, one might actually call Jesus a "free spirit"--he cares nothing for what is established: the word killeth, a whatever is established killeth. 'The idea of "life" as an experience, as he alone conceives it, stands opposed to his mind to every sort of word, formula, law, belief and dogma. He speaks only of inner things: "life" or "truth" or "light" is his word for the innermost--in his sight everything else, the whole of reality, all nature, even language, has significance only as sign, as allegory. --Here it is of paramount importance to be led into no error by the temptations lying in Christian, or rather ecclesiastical prejudices: such a symbolism par excellence stands outside all religion, all notions of worship, all history, all natural science, all worldly experience, all knowledge, all politics, all psychology, all books, all art--his "wisdom" is precisely a pure ignorance of all such things. He has never heard of culture; he doesn't have to make war on it--he doesn't even deny it. . . The same thing may be said of the state, of the whole bourgeoise social order, of labour, of war--he has no ground for denying" the world," for he knows nothing of the ecclesiastical concept of "the world" . . . Denial is precisely the thing that is impossible to him.--In the same way he lacks argumentative capacity, and has no belief that an article of faith, a "truth," may be established by proofs (--his proofs are inner "lights," subjective sensations of happiness and self-approval, simple "proofs of power"--). Such a doctrine cannot contradict: it doesn't know that other doctrines exist, or can exist, and is wholly incapable of imagining anything opposed to it. . . If anything of the sort is ever encountered, it laments the "blindness" with sincere sympathy--for it alone has "light"--but it does not offer objections . . .


In the whole psychology of the "Gospels" the concepts of guilt and punishment are lacking, and so is that of reward. "Sin," which means anything that puts a distance between God and man, is abolished--this is precisely the "glad tidings." Eternal bliss is not merely promised, nor is it bound up with conditions: it is conceived as the only reality--what remains consists merely of signs useful in speaking of it.

The results of such a point of view project themselves into a new way of life, the special evangelical way of life. It is not a "belief" that marks off the Christian; he is distinguished by a different mode of action; he acts differently. He offers no resistance, either by word or in his heart, to those who stand against him. He draws no distinction between strangers and countrymen, Jews and Gentiles ("neighbour," of course, means fellow-believer, Jew). He is angry with no one, and he despises no one. He neither appeals to the courts of justice nor heeds their mandates ("Swear not at all") . He never under any circumstances divorces his wife, even when he has proofs of her infidelity.--And under all of this is one principle; all of it arises from one instinct.--

The life of the Saviour was simply a carrying out of this way of life--and so was his death. . . He no longer needed any formula or ritual in his relations with God--not even prayer. He had rejected the whole of the Jewish doctrine of repentance and atonement; he knew that it was only by a way of life that one could feel one's self "divine," "blessed," "evangelical," a "child of God."Not by "repentance,"not by "prayer and forgiveness" is the way to God: only the Gospel way leads to God--it is itself "God!"--What the Gospels abolished was the Judaism in the concepts of "sin," "forgiveness of sin," "faith," "salvation through faith"--the whole ecclesiastical dogma of the Jews was denied by the "glad tidings."

The deep instinct which prompts the Christian how to live so that he will feel that he is "in heaven" and is "immortal," despite many reasons for feeling that he is not "in heaven": this is the only psychological reality in "salvation."--A new way of life, not a new faith.


If I understand anything at all about this great symbolist, it is this: that he regarded only subjective realities as realities, as "truths"--that he saw everything else, everything natural, temporal, spatial and historical, merely as signs, as materials for parables. The concept of "the Son of God" does not connote a concrete person in history, an isolated and definite individual, but an "eternal" fact, a psychological symbol set free from the concept of time. The same thing is true, and in the highest sense, of the God of this typical symbolist, of the "kingdom of God," and of the "sonship of God." Nothing could he more un-Christian than the crude ecclesiastical notions of God as a person, of a "kingdom of God" that is to come, of a "kingdom of heaven" beyond, and of a "son of God" as the second person of the Trinity. All this--if I may be forgiven the phrase--is like thrusting one's fist into the eye (and what an eye!) of the Gospels: a disrespect for symbols amounting to world-historical cynicism. . . .But it is nevertheless obvious enough what is meant by the symbols "Father" and "Son"--not, of course, to every one--: the word "Son" expresses entrance into the feeling that there is a general transformation of all things (beatitude), and "Father" expresses that feeling itself--the sensation of eternity and of perfection.--I am ashamed to remind you of what the church has made of this symbolism: has it not set an Amphitryon story at the threshold of the Christian "faith"? And a dogma of "immaculate conception" for good measure? . . --And thereby it has robbed conception of its immaculateness--

The "kingdom of heaven" is a state of the heart--not something to come "beyond the world" or "after death." The whole idea of natural death is absent from the Gospels: death is not a bridge, not a passing; it is absent because it belongs to a quite different, a merely apparent world, useful only as a symbol. The "hour of death" is not a Christian idea--"hours," time, the physical life and its crises have no existence for the bearer of "glad tidings." . . .

The "kingdom of God" is not something that men wait for: it had no yesterday and no day after tomorrow, it is not going to come at a "millennium"--it is an experience of the heart, it is everywhere and it is nowhere. . . .


This "bearer of glad tidings" died as he lived and taught--not to "save mankind," but to show mankind how to live. It was a way of life that he bequeathed to man: his demeanour before the judges, before the officers, before his accusers--his demeanour on the cross. He does not resist; he does not defend his rights; he makes no effort to ward off the most extreme penalty--more, he invites it. . . And he prays, suffers and loves with those, in those, who do him evil . . . Not to defend one's self, not to show anger, not to lay blames. . . On the contrary, to submit even to the Evil One--to love him. . . .


--We free spirits--we are the first to have the necessary prerequisite to understanding what nineteen centuries have misunderstood--that instinct and passion for integrity which makes war upon the "holy lie" even more than upon all other lies. . . Mankind was unspeakably far from our benevolent and cautious neutrality, from that discipline of the spirit which alone makes possible the solution of such strange and subtle things: what men always sought, with shameless egoism, was their own advantage therein; they created the church out of denial of the Gospels. . . .

Whoever sought for signs of an ironical divinity's hand in the great drama of existence would find no small indication thereof in the stupendous question-mark that is called Christianity. That mankind should be on its knees before the very antithesis of what was the origin, the meaning and the law of the Gospels--that in the concept of the "church" the very things should be pronounced holy that the "bearer of glad tidings" regards as beneath him and behind him--it would be impossible to surpass this as a grand example of world-historical irony—




            Could the overman have written Nietzsche’s philosophy? By favoring brawn over brains, he does himself an injustice (example: he recommends sterilizing the mentally ill). We must always take the writer himself as the ideal, and what he presents as an exagerration of that.

            Nietzsche was far too subtle, too clever, too deep to be an ubermansch. He is not only “over” but also “under.” He is comprehensive.

            Nietzsche says that kindness produced a slight sense of superiority. This is why religion proscribes it to the masses. But here he is off by a degree. Benifiting another can render a large sense of superiority. Ask a psychiatrist or doctor, who are by nature arrogant. The joy of kindness, for most people, is more empowering than the joy of cruelty.

            Emerson’s set of essays “conduct of life” is Nietzsche most consistently read book, from ages 13-breakdown. His most heavily annotated book, and this despite that his first copy of the book was stolen!

            No other author taught him more on style.

"Actual philosophers, however, are commanders and law givers: they say 'thus it shall be!,' it is they who determine the Wherefore and Whither of mankind, and they possess for this task the preliminary work of all the philosophical laborers, of all those who have subdued the past — they reach for the future with creative hand, and everything that is or has been becomes for them a means, an instrument, a hammer. Their 'knowing' is creating, their creating is a law-giving, their will to truth is — will to power.— Are there such philosophers today? Have there been such philosophers? Must there not be such philosophers? ...."





“God is dead” –Nietzsche

“Nietzsche is dead” –spokesman for God

“Some men are born posthumously” –Nietzsche

“Woe to those who laugh now, for they will wail” –God

“He who laughs best also laughs last” –Nietsche

“…” –God

“Hahaha” –Nietsche

* *

“The aphorism in which I am the first master among Germans, are the forms of "eternity"; my ambition is to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book - what everyone else does not say in a book.” 

            Nietzsche, like Emerson and Derrida, but unlike Rand—four of the authors I have read the most—is brilliant in that his over-all message is expressed exactly by the form of his words as well as the content of his words (form is always merely another content, its all content, and there is no unformed content). Necessity is the mother of invention, therefore to invent more we need to invent more necessities, to let ourselves feel the life-deep urge of near-needfulness. This is Nietzsche, who felt the pains, the possibilities of death so closely, that he became th most inventive German to date.

            Aphorisms communicate something unique. Each aphorism is a world, as rich as.

            Nietzsche’s images are chaotic. They do not coalesce inot one great vista. What we feel in them is the creative will beneath them.

            Nietzsche asks, “What if truth is a woman” which is weird. Truth a woman? Whatever would she do with herself? Beauty is a woman, or, if you are Greek, call her Helen, to start a war, or a sculpture of a horse, to end it. For here at least the Greeks knew that Troy coveted the Hellenistic beauty, and would not refuse it, though within all Greek beauty violence awaited. We see this in Helen, Pandora, her jar, the gift horse we are still told not to look into its mouth, and of course and always, the Gods themselves.

            So what did Nietzsche mean when he insinuated that truth might be a woman? For his aphorisms reveal it. His aphorisms are gossip about ideas. Nothing is ever defined—of course! That was what Socrates was about: “This sounds beautiful, but let’s see how beautiful it is when we vivisect it with definitions!” Nietzsche gossips by setting little stages, minidramas for ideas, little parodies of the believer in these ideas. Is he ever wrong? Do we even want him to be? Just as when we give ear to the gossip, feel guilty for this indulgence, yet we wonder,“is it really true?” And the unheard voice a little deeper within us says, “I sure hope so!”

            Thus, Nietzsche says, “The will to a system is a lack of integrity”—such an obvious oxymoron that he could only intend it. Rephrased we should say, “the will to integrate is disintegrated.” That is to say exactly the same thing with different words, to “paraphrase”—and sometimes a good paraphrase is necessary to get the joke.

            Someday mankind will realize that Nietzsche was the hinge of history, the third Adam, the second coming of Christ, the great disintegrator of mankind, to prepare, finally, for the incredible world structuring the begins with us now.

            His aphorisms are little stories. Collectively, they dissolved Europe, just as Emerson’s catalogued sentences made a great democracy.

            Within each aphorism grows a kernal. That kernal can always be reduced to an X=Y, or an XàY. That basic idea, the situation of an X, is the vanishing point of the painting, which gives spatiality to the entire platform.

Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves? 

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. 

I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage. 

I do not know what the spirit of a philosopher could more wish to be than a good dancer. For the dance is his ideal, also his fine art, finally also the only kind of piety he knows, his "divine service." 

I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance. 

In music the passions enjoy themselves. 

It is always consoling to think of suicide: in that way one gets through many a bad night. 

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory. 

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. 

Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.

It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book. 

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. 

The press, the machine, the railway, the telegraph are premises whose thousand-year conclusion no one has yet dared to draw. 

The true man wants two things: danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything. 

There is not enough love and goodness in the world to permit giving any of it away to imaginary beings. 

            The thing about some books is that they say too few ideas too widely. Sometimes a dense volume of hundreds of pages is conjured to make an idea felt that could very easily be summed up in ten words, but would never, as ten words, be accepted. Such a book wants to pull the thread as taut as possible, so that you never know what you are getting yourself into, until it has fully gotten inside of you. By keeping your eye open that long, you have uncritically accepted the full view by virtue of your critical apparatus.

            Nietzsche’s aphorisms, therefore, and especially his formulations of other philosophers and thinkers, were a means to accurately sum up such a long trick, and into ten words, so that it could be seen fully for what it was at a glance. A rare feat: I admire him on this. Perhaps I have even learned a little on how to do this, I don’t know! See what fun he has at summing up Kant:

But let us reflect; it is high time to do so. “how are synthetic judgments a priori possible?” Kant asked himself—and what really is his answer? “By means of a means” – but unfortunately not in five words, but so circumstantially, venerably, and with such a display of German profundity and curlicues that /people simply failed to note the comical niaiserie allemande involved in such an answer. People were actually beside themselves with delight over this new faculty, and the jubiliation reached its climax when Kant futehr discovered a moral faculty in man – for at that time the Germans were still moral and not yet addicted to Realpolitik.




Nietzsche’s Tree of Knowledge

“Fertilizer” is the nickname I give to Nietzsche’s aphoristic books, Human all-to-human, The Dawn, The Gay Science. The seed of Birth of Tragedy, clapped shut in the shell of the Untimely Mediations, grew finally into the the tree Thus Spoke Zarathustra, a central branch from which the twin branches were Beyond Good and Evil, Geneology of Morals, whose leaves were his letters and notes  of Will to Power, and whose fruits were Twilight of the Idols—springing from Beyond Good and Evil, the AntiChrist springing from Geneology of Morals, and Ecce Homo and Nietzsche Contra Wagner—springing from Zarathustra.

Zarathustra is pure ejaculation, and as a mix of seeds for Venus, requires Psyche’s ants to sort them all out. Fortunately, this work was not edited, giving us a raw Nietzschean creative flourish. Ecce Homo, which is written in the same spirit as Zarathustra, is insanely hyperbolic, and yet, eventually, proven to be in fact modestly true. Beyond Good and Evil is only about Willful Intepretation. Who is beyond good and evil? The Good European Superman who must learn to willfully interpret—the last two books are the reason the work was written. Every other topic and nuance is mere parable and underscore for its method on how to interpret. The methods of interpretation, as created in Beyond, derived from the aphoristic fertilizer of the fertilizer works, are implied in strict illustration in Geneology of Morals, which is above all a demonstration, and finally a superlative fury of Wotan in the Antichrist, in which every pretense of Christianity is outraged.


Scholastic Essays -- Seeds

Untimely Meditations

Birth of Tragedy

Aphoristic Manure

            Nietzsche’s aphoristic works overwhelm me. I have never read one straight through. Most of it is in poor translation. Kaufmann’s translations are burdened by his inhibitory “critical apparatus” which disfigure the text, although generally his style is lucid. He didn’t translate most of the aphoristic material. Hollingdale’s translations are mostly atrocious. I want to edit it away, this akward painful mass.

Human all to human

            Human all to human is a beginning for Nietzsche. Here he moves from his scholary writings to his aphoristic works. These purely aphoristic works are the literary manure from which he derived a decade of insights. For instance, in his Geneology of Morals, he refers back to Human.

            Human all too human cuts ties with Schopenhaur and Wagner, hitherto Nietzsche’s spiritual friends. Thus, we find a highly personal and a highly painful introduction. Like most of his prefaces, he calls forth the philosophers of the future. Down to the antichrist he will talk consistently of the kind of scholars he requires, the kind of society he needs.

            Here (in his preface written ten years later) he explicitly calls the free-spirits his imaginary friends, to cure his loneliness. For indeed, he has elected to go it alone, to become completely free from convention, love, duty, obligation, even “truth” so that he might ask his own questions. He calls for matchless individuality in seeing the world for himself. Thus his tone is sad. But as the titles suggest, he perks up with the Dawn and the Gay Science.

            To begin with, he addresses his practice of reversalism, but does little more than acknowledge it, as he acknowledges the charges of pessemism against him, which he has net yet the optimism to blast.

            He identifies the decisive event for the freespirit as “The great seperation” from duty—from friendship, obligation, from the university, even from readers. It is a self certainty: let those who follow him try.

            Here his remarks proclaims himself lonely even in being lonely: “but who today knows what loneliness is?” He announces his plan to “live experimentally,”and  to capitolize on a feeling of convalescence, and finally, mysteriously, arrives at the fruit of the free spirit, “the problem of heirarchy, which we may call our problem.

            That preface tapped into his sense of world-mission, his sense of his own work.

            The first section emphasizes the prejudices of philosopher, especially in light of a scientific, mostly nonmetaphysical science. Nietzsche’s independence begins with a strike at conceptualizing: the binaries themselves are full of prejudice. What if evil is the mother of good? A historical philosophy is needed to see how ideas really evolve. This theme becomes the manure from which his Beyond Good and Evil, and Geneology of Morals will sprout.

            Aside from the AntiChrist, which is ostensibly polemic, never is Nietzsche so emphatically critical of previous traditions as he is here. His main concern is to psychoanalyze metaphysics, show it to be nothing to do with “truth” per se, and more to do with changing human needs.

            One of his favorite rhetorical turns is to take an idea that is taken for granted—ie the categorical imperative—and not so much criticize it, as rather to list a series of alternative views, by inducing doubt. He says that perhaps what is best for all people is not that everybody do the same sort of thing, that perhaps the species would be improved by evil people as well. This style pervades his whole work. He offers a series of alternatives to bend the mind, and yet not to lead to an opposite conclusion from the original prejudice.

            Prejudice is this book’s focus, philosophical prejudice especially. He wishes not merely to reverse it—which he describes as a mere temptation—but to suggest a series of alternatives, and then finally hit to the vital issue: we need a new science, we need a new philosophy, we need a new mind.

            Human all too human is in my eyes an ugly book, at least compartively to his other work. Section 33 of book one describes how horrible experience is for mankind when looked at as a whole. The only reason we approve of existence is by blinding ourselves. This is the exact opposite of the Yes saying spirit that Nietzsche becomes through the Gay Science and Zarathustra. But remember that Nietzsches greatest Yes was to say No to all that had come before, and, if he is to affirm, he affirms according to Life and not according to Truth.

            The very binary of Life versus Truth is the central insight of Nietzsche, more than anything else. What is truth and what is the value of truth? Questions of values is Nietzsche’s greatest question mark of all. The strange equilibrium of truth=death=freedom is the insoluble chain that Nietzsche must hammer into a breastpeace.




Childish – ignorant of human nature




Senile – loss of knowledge of human nature

Love thy neighbor as thyself




the ego is always hateful


The dawn

            At last the disease of influence is shrugged off: Wagner and Schopenhair are shed, and now we find Nietzsche in convalescence. That Nietzsche was bipolar between sickness and health gave constant energy to his work. It was because Nietzsche was diseased that he became so optimistic, just as it was because Schopenhaur was so healthy that he preached pessimism.

            Nietzsche would reject the word “optimistic” because he was too close to its origin in the work of Leibnitz, in which optimism is the mockable theory that we live in the best of all possible worlds. But when we use the word “optimism,” we mean exactly Nietzsche when he called himself a “Yes-saying spirit.”

            The very tone and posture in between Human all to human and the Dawn shine apparent. Human all too human is spiteful, rebellous, negative: here Nietzcshe fights. But in the Dawn, though it begins with Nietzche mining human psychology, by the last two aphorisms he is a winged soul courting the sun. The dawn was a new day for Nietzsche.

            And what a questionable book! In no other of Nietzsche’s books does Nietszsche pose so many riddles. Especially in the second half of the book, many aphorisms are riddling illustrations without giving clues as to what they are illustrating. His short and playful aphorisms are the lightest and most quirking of all his work; only in his interludes in the Geneology of Morals and in the first book of Twilight of the Idols will he smirk again his stone-skipping grin.(Just flipping through this book, I seeI have littered it with question marks, such as the riddles of 308, 401, 402.)

            His main concern here is ostensibly morality. His greatest insight is to realize that all morality is itself immoral, or to state it unparodoxically, it is in matters of morality that we have forbidden ourselves the due skepticism of truth. In another place, he calls morality “the means to lead men around by the nose”

The Gay Science

Masterpieces—Trunk and Branches

Beyond Good and Evil


Paraphrased Exerpts.


Platonism has long bestrode the earth in monstrous form, and now is finally incarnating into a subtle beauty. In Europe, the tension between Platonism and Materialism is the greatest tension yet achieved on earth, for us it is felt as a tension of need and desire: we good Europeans and very free spirits feel this need of the spirit and the use and goal to shoot with so tense a bow.

Part One


The will to truth, what is it truly a will towards? And what is the value of truth?


Some dangerous maybe’s to consider: maybe things originate from their opposite. Maybe there are no opposites values at all. Perhaps what is most valuable to life is deception, selfishness, and lust. New philosophers with a new taste for philosophy are called for to handle these questions.


Most of the conscious thinking of a philosopher is secretly guided and forced into certain channels by his instincts, from the type of life-form he is.


Untruth is a condition for life. Such as number and belief in causality.


For all their mooning over the truth, philosopher start with an “inspiration” of the heart, and then rationalize reasons to support it. They should be more exuberant and learn to mock themselves. Amuse yourselves at the hocus pocus and intellectual forms they clap over their prejudices!


The moral aim of a philosophy is the clue to the rest, all the ontological claims. And the moral aim is the voice of some drive that is master of the philosopher, which learns to philosophize to instate its will to power. Unlike the scientist, the philosopher is nothing impersonal. His morality is central to him, and this is determined by what order of rank the innermost drives of his nature have been stood in relation to each other.


Philosophy is mostly play-acting.

As in the stoics, who want to tyrannize even nature by imposing their morality upon her. This is an ancient eternal story: what formally happened with the Stoics still happens today, too, as soon as any philosophy because to believe in itself  it will always create the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise. Philosophy is this tyrannical drive itself, the most spiritual will to power to the “creation of the world,” to the cause prima.


What philosopher prefers even a  handful of “certainty” to a whole carload of beautiful possibilities? The nihilist, the weary soul. Perhaps he is even trying to win back the intellectual right to belief in an immortal soul? Or other ideas that are more cheerful than “modern ideas.” The positivist makes motley ideas…but what they aim for is good enough. They ought not return to the old seductive ideas, but to new better ones beyond modernism.


Kant philosophized with profundity and curlicues to hide the inanity of his ideas.

Instead of asking how “a priori judgments were possible?” he should have asked “why are they necessary?”


Materialistic atomism is waging victory over the senses. As in Boscovich who defined atoms as centers of force. We ought to get rid of the idea of soul as atom. What about new ideas such as “mortal soul” “soul as subjective multiplicity,” “soul as social structure of the drives and feelings.”


Living things don’t seek to exist, but only secondarily; they actually wish to discharge their strength: life itself is a will to power. Beware superfluous teleological principles. Let your method be more economical.


Plato was noble because he wanted to discover hidden matters not sensual. He was resistant to obvious sense-evidence, unlike Physics. His was a higher triumph of the masters, and so also a higher enjoyment than the physicians. However, love of atomism is good for technicians.


Immediate certainties only appear so till you dissect them. Such as Descartes “I think therefore I am.” What the “I” and what “thinking” are is by no means self-evident or even immediate.


The theory of free will is charming because every new philosopher likes to refute it.


Will is complex, and therefore also not an immediate certainty. It is a unity only as a word. It stands for various things such as habit, body sensations, the joy of commanding, even the sensation of being commanded. It is a complex state of delight, but to prove a causality from it is presumptuous. Underwills and undersouls must be there in the body to be commanded. The will is a social structure. When it is an aristocracy, the willer sees its happiness as proof that society is successful.

Hence, a philosopher should claim the right to include willing as such within the spheres of morals—morals being understood as the doctrine of the relations of supremacy under which the phenomenon of “life” comes to be.


Individual philosophical concepts evolve as part of a great ecosystem, cannot be understand individually, and torque the mind of the philosopher who uses them. All philosophy is alike because it uses the same words, the same philosophical grammar, which, owing to the unconscious domination and guidance by similar grammatical functions, determines what a philosopher will discover.


The words for cause and effect: “number, freedom, motive, purpose” are a symbol world that cannot be imposed on the things of experience, or ,if so, only mythologically. There is no free will nor unfree will, but only a strong will and a weak will.

Those who want responsibility for all their actions are the vain races. Those who want to blame something else, and sympathize even with criminals, are the self-contemptuous.


Talk of “the laws of nature” is poor interpretation. We might as well say “the tyranny of nature without laws.” for that is interpretation each a likely fit to the text of facts.


We need a new psychology of the will to power. Moral prejudice has sunk too deep into the spiritual world, so that unconsciously these investigators see wrongly.

PART 2 The Free Spirit.

            Love of Error grants Freedom.

            Martyrdom for truth spoils innocence and nuetrality of conscience.

            Choose good solitude of playful, freedom, rightness.

            Avoid becoming a solitude of poison brewing.

            You must be clean when you go down and into the crowd and study normal human beings.

            Use light cyncism to distance yourself from feeling disgust for common men.

            Tempo is soul. Read according to tempo.

            Tempo is health.

            Read great books esoterically, as from the height. Exoteric is for the low people, who stick to common books which stink of commonness.

            Instincts, breeding, and the unconscious mind determine interpretation. What is moral or immoral about a person is the nature of his unconscious.

            Be cautious in understanding moral matters.

            Immediate certainties are only apparently so, and require a subtle supsicion.

            Seek a deeper innocence than faith in grammer and grammaticl proofs of psychological realities.

            Thinking is a wrestling of the drives.

            In history, the text disappears under the interpretation.

            Pleasure is no argument of truth.

            Be dry, clear, and without illusion.

            You must see past the masks profundity hides beyind. A God hides behind his opposite. Nobility hides his beauty for shame, shame of being seen by low people. Every profound sirit needs a mask.

            Moral: to test your independence at the rigth time, and destine yourself for command.

            I foresee a new species of philosophers: attempters, who want to remain riddles.

            There is no common good, what is great for gods is death for sheep.

            Freespirits may appear in many quizzical masks.

            Listen, I will say a word about estoric readings, but first I would know what you even know of such a thing,

            And answer my why Nietzsche spends most of his "The Free Spirit" winking, nudging, and writing in mirror script when he should be a thousand times more subtle about his so called "esoteric" reading. I call it the tyranny of loneliness, and that's the truth, and perhaps it is the only indecency I know in the man.

            He uses the familiar ruses: my medicine is a poison to the weak, much akin to Blakes "One law for lion and ox is tyranny. What's good for the ghost is no good for the gangerer.

            Beware of snags. If he wrote the perfect text, you would regard it as the sun -- good light, a fair-weather friend, but too perfect to love, to indecently perfect. He must be sensetive to catch a snag where everybody sees ease and matter-of-course.You must know how to problematize what is obviously not a problem. And not for the sake of others: keep it to yourself. Learn to keep your wisest council in your own head only.

            And so the snag is the rift in the veil, and without that rift you wouldn't even know its a veil. A millisecond arch of the brow---that's it! Was it even there?

            How unnerving to look into the dark having heard a breath. It was the wind. And then you see that there are eyes looking right at you out of the dead of night! Relief: it is only a statue, not a man. And then! The state narrows his eyes. This is the esoteric reading.

            Nietzsche speaks against the stink of common books, but here he is being playful. Take the commonest pieces of dirt, Adam. A man who chooses death instead of ignorance, fully knowing the consequences, and gains the knowledge that he is beautiful and that God has been lusting after his naked body. So he fashions clothes and claims Shame. But I am being as parabular as Newton.

            Now we are ready to place Beyond Good and Evil.

            The book would be more accurately titled, Willing Interpretation. Every particle of this work is mere parable, somewhat direct deception, to seduce us of us who could be so seducted to be the new philosopher, the exacting philoligist, the fellow reader Nietzsche sought. No fact in this book matters at all, no racism or criticism matters in itself.

            This book is of the three central branches of Nietzsche’s work, growing from the soil of years of aphoristic books (human, all too human, the dawn the gay science) and sprouting into Beyond Good and Evil, or the will of interpretation, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, or the mythopoeticism of higher philosophy, and Geneology of Morals, which is an illustration of the interpretive art told in parable here. The final fruits include the antichrist, which grows from the branch of good and evil, ecce homo, which grows from Beyond Good and Evil, and Twilight of the Idols, which grows from Zarathustra.

            Let us therefore write alternative titles to the table of contents.

Beyond Good and Evil or Will Interpreting

On the Prejudices of Philosophers or differentiating text from interpretation

The Free Spirit or independence in interpreting

What Is Religious or the counterexample to the free spirit

Epigrams and Interludes or riddles of preparation

Natural History of Marlas

We Scholars

Our Virtues

Peoples And Fatherlands or the creation of a master race over Europe

What is Noble



            I am reading section 8 twice, and will respond to your essay after that; I would like to be more accurate and less sloppy then I normally am when I address your ideas. I am suspicious when he seems to outrage Germany merely to outrage them; he sometimes praises unlikely candidates, and I question his motives.  Does not a jealous husband praise is his sister-in-law merely to outrage his wife? And is that a trustworthy thing?

            Anyway, I will write something smart over night or tomorrow (I am off to work shortly).

            My own opinion is that we ought to identify with our state, our country, our race, our religion, whatever, insofar as this gives us personal power, but not insofar as it takes our power from us to give to the larger group.

            The American saying “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” seems as wrong-headed as possible.

            Most of my reading is gliding, skating, and skimming. I have read certain books a dozen times and still have not pressed beyond surfaces. After reading Section 8 of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil three consecutive times, I have a clearer understanding of how it holds together, and how the book as a whole holds together.

            Section eight, taken on the first two readings, was a range of opinions and ideas about Europe. But once the thread of it became bare, I comprehended it: Nietzsche is determined to allow and support the unification of Europe under a new Master Race. His task as master philosopher is to will this goal, the unification of Europe under the new Master race, and those who will such a thing are “good Europeans.”

            Once this key is known, the rest of the section falls into place with a canny logic rather then the sporadic seeming of a preliminary reading.





Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Geneology of Morals

Final Fruits

            I had begun this book (the Perfect Idius) before I picked up Nietzsche, and yet you will see his style has electrified both myself and this, and the first electric shock came from the Antichrist, which alongside Twilight and Ecce Homo, are the great joys of my reading. Perhaps one day mankind will again learn to joy of grandiosity?

            This style of writing—nevermind the content!—appeared to me much superior to anything I had ever read, especially the Bible, which till than had been my most read book. There lived a spirit in this writing which stirred me and lead me on: write, Daniel! Write! And though I was stil a Christian at the time, I now came to realize what great writing sounded like, what excellent style looked like. I felt happy, finally, to be myself. Other writers were apt at making me distressed to be myself, to escape it, to aspire to be somebody better, somebody else. This style alone made me happy that of all people, I was Daniel June.

            This was in the spring: that summer I wrote the first draft of this book (8 years ago at this point). Perhaps we are subtle in the same way, Emerson and I, like the finely marked calligraphy in microscopic precision you might fail to notice webbing over the the broad face of Mjollnir.

Twilight of the Idols


Ecce Homo

How one becomes what he is

Let us finally consider how naive it is altogether to say: "Man ought to be such and such!" Reality shows us an enchanting wealth of types, the abundance of a lavish play and change of forms--and some wretched loafer of a moralist comments: "No! Man ought to be different." He even knows what man should be like, this wretched bigot and prig: he paints himself on the wall and comments, "Ecce homo!" But even when the moralist addresses himself only to the single human being and says to him, "You ought to be such and such!" he does not cease to make himself ridiculous. The single human being is a piece of fatum from the front and from the rear, one law more, one necessity more for all that is yet to come and to be. To say to him, "Change yourself!" is to demand that everything be changed, even retroactively. And indeed there have been consistent moralists who wanted man to be different, that is, virtuous--they wanted him remade in their own image, as a prig: to that end, they negated the world! No small madness! No modest kind of immodesty! (Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols)


1. Every attainment, every step forward in knowledge, follows from courage, from hardness against oneself, from cleanliness in relation to oneself.

Now the man is thought to be proud who thinks himself worthy of great things, being worthy of them. Pride is the crown of the virtues, enhances them all, will not be found without them. Therefore, it is hard to be truly proud, for it is impossible without nobility and goodness of character. (Aristotle, Ethics)

2. Among my writings my Zarathustra stands to my mind by itself. With that I have given mankind the greatest present that has ever been made to it so far, an inexhaustible well to which no pail descends without coming up again filled with gold and goodness, from an infinite abundance of light and the depth of happiness falls drop upon drop, word upon word: the tempo of these speeches is a tender adagio.

3. In my forty-fourth year now…having just written in the last quarter of this year the Antichrist and Twilight of the Idols: How could I fail to be grateful to my whole life?

I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.


I loaf and invite my soul,

I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,

Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,

Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,

I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,

Nature without check with original energy.

(Whitman, Leaves of Grass)



1. I have a subtler sense of smell for the signs of ascent and declining that any other human being before me.

2. In my darkest days, those fingers for nuances, that psychology of “looking around the corner,” and whatever else is characteristic of me, was learned only then, is the true present of those days in which everything in me became subtler….Looking from the perspective of the sick towards healthier concepts and values, and conversely, looking again from the fullness of self-assurance of a rich life down into the secret work of the instinct of decadence—in this I have had the longest training, my truest experience; if in anything I became master in this. Now I know how, have the know-how, to reverse perspectives: the first reason why a “revaluation of values” is perhaps possible for me alone.

A man must take himself for better, for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he known until he has tried it. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact, makes much impression on him, and another none….The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray….

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a  protected corner, nor cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark. (Emerson, “Self-Reliance”)

3. I have always instinctively chosen the right means against wretched states…to choose absolute solitude and leave the life to which I was accustomed; the insistence on not allowing myself any longer to be cared for, waited on, and doctored. I took myself in hand, I made myself healthy again. I turned my will to health, to life, into a philosophy.

MANFRED. I could not tame my nature down; for he

Must serve who fain would sway-- and soothe, and sue,

And watch all time, and pry into all place,

And be a living lie, who would become

A mighty thing amongst the mean, and such                120

The mass are; I disdain'd to mingle with

A herd, though to be leader-- and of wolves.

The lion is alone, and so am I.

(Byron, Manfred)

4. A man who has turned out well exploits bad accidents to his advantage; what does not kill him makes him stronger. Instinctively, he collects from everything he sees, hears, lives through, his sum: he is a principle of selection, he discards much. He is always in his own company, whether he associates with books, human beings, or landscapes; he honors by choosing, by admitting, by trusting. He reacts slowly to all kinds of stimuli, with that slowness which long caution and deliberate pride have bred in him….everything must turn out for his best.

SPIRIT. Yet, see, he mastereth himself, and makes

His torture tributary to his will.                       530

Had he been one of us, he would have made

An awful spirit.

(Byron, Manfred)

“One thing is needful.—To “give style” to one’s character—a great and rare art! It is practiced by those who survey all the strength and weaknesses of their nature and then fit them into an artistic plan until every one of them appears as art and reason and even weaknesses delight the eye. Here a large mass of second nature has been added; there a piece of original nature has been removed—both times through long practice and daily work.(Nietzsche, the Gay Science).

5. This dual series of experiences, this access to apparently separate worlds, is repeated in my nature in every respect.

6. I am always equal to accidents; I have to be unprepared to be master of myself.


1. Pity entices a man away from himself. To remain the master at this point, to keep the eminence of one’s task undefiled.

A sympathetic person is placed in a dilemma of a swimmer among drowning men, who all catch at him, and if he give so such as a leg or a finger, they will drown him. They wish to be saved from the mischiefs of their vices, but not from their vices. Charity would be wasted on his poor waiting on the symptoms. A wise and hardy physician will say, COME OUT OF THAT, as the first condition of advice. (Emerson, “Experience”)

2. Whoever knows how seriously my philosophy has pursued the fight against vengefulness and rancor, even into the doctrine of “free will”—the fight against Christianity is merely a special case of this—will understand why I am making such a point of my own behavior, my instinctive sureness in practice against resentment.

3. I accept myself as if fated, not wishing myself “different.”

Great men, great nations, have not been boaster and buffoons, but perceivers of the terror of life, and have manned themselves to face it…with that dignity they felt that the weight of the Universe held them down to their place…We cannot trifle with reality….No picture of life can have any veracity that does not admit the odious facts. A man’s power is hooped in by a necessity which, by many experiments, he touches on every side, until he learns the arc….’Tis the best use of Fate to teach a fatal courage….instinctive and heroic races are proud believers in Destiny. They conspire with it….When a strong will appears it usually results from a certain unity of organization, as if the whole energy of body and mind flowed in one direction. The one serious and formidable thing in nature is a will. Society is servile from want of will, and therefore the world wants saviors and religions….Nature magically suits the man to his fortunes, by making these the fruit of his character. (Emerson, “Fate”)


1. I am warlike by nature. Attacking is in my instinct.

A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belong to him who rules, and it is of such force that it not only upholds those who are born princes, but it often enables men to rise from a private station to that rank. He ought never, therefore, to have out of his thoughts this subject of war, and in peace he should addict himself more to its exercise than in war; and this he can do in two ways, the one action, the other study. (Machiavelli, The Prince).

2. I need objects of resistance; hence I look for what resist: the aggressive pathos belongs just as necessarily to strength as vengefulness and rancor belong to weakness.

War is the father of all and king of all, and some he shows as gods, others as humans; some he makes slaves, others free. (Heraclitus).

3. The strength of those who attack can be measured in a way by the opposition they require: every growth is indicated by the search for a mighty opponent—or problem; for a walking philosophy challenges problems, too, to single combat. The task in not simply to master what happens to resist, but what requires us to stake all our strength, suppleness, and fighting skill—opponents that are our equals.

4. Equality before the enemy: the first presupposition of an honest duel. Where one feels contempt, one cannot wage war.

Prometheus: I risked the bold attempt, and saved mankind from stark destruction and the road to hell….Moreover, number, the most excellent of all inventions, I for man devised, and game them writing that retained all, the serviceable mother of the muse….Mistake me not; I would not, I f I might, change my misfortune for thy vassalage…I hate all the Gods, because having received good at my hands, they have rewarded me with evil. (Aeschylus).

5. First: I only attack causes that are victorious; I may even wait until they become victorious.

6. Second: I only attack causes against which I would not find allies, so that I stand alone—so that I compromise myself alone.—I have never taken a step publicly that did not compromise me: that is my criterion of doing right.

7. Third: I never attack persons; I merely avail myself of the person as of a strong magnifying glass that allows one to make visible a general but creeping and elusive calamity.

8. Fourth: I only attack things when every personal quarrel is excluded, when any background of bad experience is lacking. On the contrary, attack is in my case a proof of good will, sometimes even a gratitude. I honor, I distinguish by associating my name with that of a cause or a person: pro or con—that makes no different to me at this point.

9. I myself, an opponent of Christianity de rigeur, am far from blaming individuals for the calamity of millennia.


1. My instinct for cleanliness is characterized by a perfectly uncanny sensitivity so that the proximity or—what am I saying?—the inmost parts, the “entrails” of every soul are physiologically perceived by me—smelled.

2. This sensitivity furnishes me with psychological antennae with which I feel and get a hold of ever secret: the abundant hidden dirt at the bottom of many a character.

3. Extreme cleaning in relation to me is the presupposition of my existence; I perish under unclean conditions—I constantly swim and bath and splash, as it were, in water—in some perfectly transparent and resplendent element.

4. My humanity does not consist in feeling with men how they are, but in enduring that I feel with them.

5. My humanity is a constant self-overcoming.

6. But I need solitude—which is to say, recovery, return to myself, the breath of a free, light, playful air.

Tis very certain that Plato, Plotinus, Archimedes, Hermes, Newton, Milton, Wordsworth, did not live in a crowd, but descended into it from time to time as benefactors. (Emerson, “Culture”)

7. My whole Zarathustra is a dithyramb on solitude or, if I have been understood, on cleanliness.

MANFRED. Look on me! there is an order

Of mortals on the earth, who do become

Old in their youth, and die ere middle age,              140

Without the violence of warlike death;

Some perishing of pleasure, some of study,

Some worn with toil, some of mere weariness,

Some of disease, and some insanity,

And some of wither'd or of broken hearts;

For this last is a malady which slays

More than are number'd in the lists of Fate,

Taking all shapes, and bearing many names.

Look upon me! for even of all these things

Have I partaken; and of all these things,               150

One were enough; then wonder not that I

Am what I am, but that I ever was,

Or, having been, that I am still on earth.


I'll die as I have lived-- alone.               350

(Byron, Manfred)

8. To hold in honor in one’s heart even more what has failed, because it has failed—that would go better with my morality.


1. Why do I know a few things more? Why am I altogether so clever? I have never reflected on questions that are none—I have not wasted myself.

2. Really religious difficulties, for example, I don’t know from experience. It has escaped me altogether in what way I was supposed to be “sinful.” Likewise, I lack any reliable criterion of recognizing the bite of conscience.

MANFRED: Thou didst not tempt me, and thou couldst not tempt me;

I have not been thy dupe nor am thy prey,

But was my own destroyer, and will be

My own hereafter.-- Back, ye baffled fiends!          400

The hand of death is on me-- but not yours!

(Byron, Manfred)

3. “God,” “immortality of the soul” “redemption,” “beyond” – without exception, concepts to which I never devoted any attention, or time; not even as a child.

4. I do not by any means know atheist as a result; even less as an event: it is a matter of course with me, from instinct. I am too inquisitive, too questionable, too exuberant to stand for any gross answer. God is a gross answer, an indelicacy against us thinkers--- at bottom merely a gross prohibition for us; you shall not think!


1. The “salvation of humanity” depends more upon nutrition, than on any theologians’ curio. How do you, among all people, have to eat to attain your maximum of strength, of virtu, in the Renaissance style of moraline-free virtue?”

2. A hearty meal is easier to digest than one that is too small. That the stomach as a whole becomes active is the first presupposition of a good digestion.

3. Sit as little as possible; give no credence to any thought that was not born outdoors while .one moved about freely—in which the muscles are not celebrating a feast. All prejudices come from the intestines. The sedentary life—as I have once said before==s the real sin against the holy spirit.

Every kind of contempt for sex, every impurification of it by means of the concept ‘impure,’ is the crime par excellence against life—is the real sin against the holy spirit of life.” (Nietzsche, later in this essay).

Let the Priests of the Raven of dawn, no longer in deadly black, with hoarse note cure the sons of joy. Nor his accepted brethren whom, tyrant, he calls free; lay the bound or build the roof. Nor pale religious lechery call that virginity, that wishes but acts not!

For every thing that lives is Holy.

(Blake, Marriage of Heaven and Hell)

4. Nobody is free to live anywhere; and whoever has to solve great problems that challenge all his strength actually has a very restricted choice in the matter.

5. You animal vigor must become great enough for you to attain that freedom which overflows into the most spiritual regions and allows one to recognize: this only I can do.

6. The tempo of the metabolism is strictly proportionate to the mobility or lameness of the spirit’s feet; the “spirit” itself is after all merely an aspect of the metabolism.

7. Genius depends on dry air, on clear skies—that is, on a rapid metabolism on the possibility of drawing again and again on great, even tremendous quantities of strength.


1. The third point at which one must not commit a blunder at any price is that of one’s own kind of recreation. Here, too, depending on the degree to which a spirit is sui generis, the limits of what is permitted to him, that is, profitable to him, are narrow, quite narrow.

2. During periods when I am hard at work you will not find me surrounded by books: I’d beware of letting anyone near me talk, much less think. And that is what reading would mean.

I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. (Emerson, Nature)

3. Has it been noted that in that profound tension to which pregnancy condemns the spirit, and at bottom the whole organism, chance and any kind of stimulus from the outside have too vehement an effect and strike too deep? One must avoid chance and outside stimuli as much as possible; a kind of walling oneself in belongs among the foremost instinctive precautions of spiritual pregnancy. Should I permit an alien thought to scale the wall secretly? – And that is what reading would mean.



1. Otherwise I almost always seek refuge with the same books—actually a small number—books proved to me. Perhaps it is not my way to read much, or diverse things: a reading room makes me sick. Nor is it my way to love much, or diverse things. Caution, even hostility against new books, comes closer to my instincts than “tolerance, “largeur du coeur,” and other “neighbor love.”

2. [My taste, which may be the opposite of a  tolerant taste, is in this case too far from saying Yes indiscriminately: it does not like to say Yes; rather even No; but bet of all, nothing. that applies to whole cultures, it applies to books, also to places and landscapes. At bottom ,it is a very small number of ancient books that count in my life. My sense of style, for the epigram as a style, was awakened almost instantly when I came into contact with Sallust. Compact, severe, wish as much substance as possible, a cold sarcasm against “beautiful words” and “beautiful sentiments”—here I found myself.

3. Nor was my experience any different in my first contact with Horace. To this day, no other poet has given me the same artistic delight that a Horatian ode gave me from the first. This mosaic of words, in which every word—as sound, as place, as concept—pours out its strength right and left and over the whole, this minimus in the extent and number of the signs, and the maximum thereby attained in the energy of the signs—all that is Roman, and if one will believe me, noble par excellence. All the rest of poetry becomes, in contrast, something too popular—a mere garrulity of feeling.

4. Plato, it seems to me, throws all stylistic forms together and is thus a first-rate decadent in style. to be attracted by the Platonic dialogue, this horribly self-satisfied. (from Twilight of the Idols)]

5. The highest concept of the lyrical poet was given to me by Heinrich Heine. I seek in vain in all the realms of history for an equally sweet and passionate music. He possessed that divine malice without which I cannot imagine perfection: I estimate the value of men, of races, according to the necessity by which they cannot conceive the god apart from the satyr.

6. I must be profoundly related to Byron’s Manfred: all these abysses I found in myself; at the age of thirteen I was ripe for this work. I have no word, only a glance, for those who dare to pronounce the word “Faust” in the presence of Manfred. The Germans are incapable of any notion of greatness.

7. [Emerson with his essays has been a good friend and cheered me up even in black periods: he contains so much skepsis, so many “possibilities” that even virtue achieves esprit in his writing. A unique case! Even as a boy I enjoyed listening to him.

Emerson: The author richest in thought this century.

Emerson, I have never felt so at home, and in my home, in a book as—I cannot praise it, I stands too near.

I experience Emerson as a twin-soul.

Such a fantastically great being, rich in soul and spirit.

Four very strange and truly poetic human beings in this century have attained mastery in prose, for which this century was not made otherwise—for lack of poetry, as I have suggested. Not included Goethe, who may fairly be claimed by the century that produced him, I regard only Giaomo Leopardi, Prosper Merimee, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Water Savage Landor, the author of Imaginary Conversations, as worthy of being called masters of prose.

Emerson. Much more enlightened, more roving, more manifold, subtler than Carlyle; above all, happier. One who instinctively nourishes himself only on ambrosia, leaving behind what is indigestible in things. A man of taste. Emerson has that graciousness and clever cheerfulness which discourages all seriousness. His spirit always finds reasons for being satisfied and even grateful….which at times touches on cheerful transcendency.

(Nietzsche, various sources)

8. Tristam Shandy also belongs to my earliest favorites.

9. Of all books, one of my strongest impressions is that exuberant Provencal, Petronius, who composes the last Satura Menippea. Such sovereign freedom from “morality,” from “seriousness,” from his own sublime taste; such subtlety in his mixture of vulgar and “educated” Latin; such indomitable good spirits that leap with grace and malice over all anomalies of the ancient “soul”—I could not name any book that makes an equally liberating impression on me: the effect is Dionysian.]


1. In self-defense, not to see many things, not to hear many things, not to permit many things to come close—first imperative of prudence first proof that one is no mere accident but a necessity. The usual word for this instinct of self-defense is taste.

2. To detach oneself from anything that would make it necessary to keep saying No.

3. Merely through the constant need to ward off, one can become weak enough to be unable to defend oneself any longer.

4. Another counsel of prudence and self-defense is to react as rarely as possible, and to avoid situations and relationships that would condemn one to suspect, as it were, one’s “freedom and initiative and to become a mere reagent.

5. Those who read too many books—ultimately lose entirely their capacity to think for themselves. When they don’t thumb, they don’t think. They respond to a stimulus (a thought they have read) whenever they think—in the end they do nothing but react.

6. The instinct of self-defense has become worn-out in them: otherwise they would resist books. The scholar—a decadent.

7. Because of my sickness I was delivered from the “book”’ for years I did not read a thing—the greatest benefit I ever conferred on myself.


1. To communicate a state, an inward tension of pathos, by means of signs, including the tempo of these signs—that is the meaning of every style; and considering that the multiplicity of inward states is exceptionally large ,in my case, I have many stylistic possibilities—the most multifarious art of style that has ever been at the disposal of on man. Good is any style that really communicates an inward state, that makes no mistake about the signs, the tempo of the signs, the gestures—all the laws about long periods are concerned with the art of gestures. Here my instinct is infallible.

For it is not metres, but a meter-making argument, that makes a poem, --a thought so passionate and alive, that, like the spirit of a plant or an animal, it has an architecture of its own, and adorns nature with a new thing. (Emerson, Poetry)

2. Nobody ever was in a position to squander more new, unheard-of artistic devices that had actually been created only for this purpose.

What is most difficult to render from one language into an other is the tempo of its style, which has its basis in the character of the race, or to speak more physiologically, in the average temp of its metabolism. There are honestly meant translations that, a involuntary vulgarizations, are almost falsifications of the original merely because its bold and merry tempo (which leaps over an obviates all dangers in things and words) could not be translated. A German is almost incapable of presto in his language; thus also as may be reasonably inferred, of many of the most delightful and daring nuances of free, free-spirited thought. And just as the buffoon and satyr are foreign to him in body and conscience, so Aristophanes and Petronius are untranslatable for him. Everything ponderous, viscous, and solemnly clumsy, all long-winded and boring types of style are developed in profuse variety among German - forgive me the fact that even Goethe's prose, in its mixture of stiffness and elegance, is no exception, being a reflection of the "good old time" to which it belongs, and a reflection of German taste at a time when there still was a "German taste" - a rococo taste in moribus et artibus. Lessing is an exception, owing to his histrionic nature which understood much and understood how to do many things. He was not the translator of Bayle for nothing and liked to flee to the neighborhood of Diderot and Voltaire, and better yet - that of the Roman comedy writers. In tempo, too, Lessing loved free thinking and escape from Germany.

But how could the German language, even in the prose of a Lessing, imitate the tempo of Machiavelli, who in his Principe [The Prince] lets us breathe the dry, refined air of Florence and cannot help presenting the most serious matters in a boisterous allegrissimo, perhaps not without a malicious artistic sense of the contrast he risks - long, difficult, hard, dangerous thoughts and the tempo of the gallop and the very best, most capricious humor? Who, finally, could venture on a German translation of Petronius, who, more than any great musician so far, was a master of presto in invention, ideas, and words? What do the swamps of the sick, wicked world, even the "ancient world," matter in the end, when one has the feet of a wind as he did, the rush, the breath, the liberating scorn of a wind that makes everything healthy by making everything run! And as for Aristophanes - that transfiguring, complementary spirit for whose sake one forgives everything Hellenic for having existed, provided one has understood in its full profundity all that needs to be forgiven and transfigured here - there is nothing that has caused me to meditate more on Plato's secrecy and sphinx nature than the happily preserved petit fait that under the pillow of his deathbed there was found no "Bible," nor anything Egyptian, Pythagorean, or Platonic - but a volume of Aristophanes. How could even Plato have endured life - a Greek life he repudiated - without an Aristophanes?

(Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil)

My recreation, my preference, my cure, from all Platonism ahs always been Thucydides. Thucydides and, perhaps, Machiavelli’s Principe are most closely related to myself by the unconditional will not to gull oneself to see reason in reality—not in “”reason,” still less in “morality.” One must follow him line by line and read no less clearly between the lines: there are few thinkers who say so much between the lines. With him the culture of the Sophists, by which I mean the culture of the realists, reaches its perfect expression—this inestimable movement amid the moralistic and idealistic swindle set loose on all sides by the Socratic schools. Thucydides: the great sum, the last revelation of the strong, severe, hard factuality which was instinctive with the older Hellenes. In the end, it is courage in the face of reality that distinguishes a man like Thucydides from Plato: Plato is a coward before reality consequently he flees in to the ideal; Thucydides has control of himself, consequently he also maintains control over things.

(Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols)

3. The art of great rhythm, the great style of long periods to express a tremendous up and down of sublime, of superhuman passion, was discovered [in the German language] only by me: with a dithyramb like the last one in the third part of Zarathustra, entitled “the Seven Seals,” I soared a thousand miles beyond what was called poetry hitherto.





If I am the soothsayer full of that soothsaying spirit which wanders a high ridge between two seas, wandering like a heaven cloud between past and future, an enemy of all sultry plains of all that is weary and can neither die nor live—in its dark bosom ready for lightening and the redemptive flash, pregnant with lightning bolts that say YES! that laugh YES! soothsaying bolts of lightening—blessed is he who is so pregnant! And verily, long must he hang on the mountains like a dark cloud, who shall one day kindle the light of the future: Oh! how should I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of return?

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wished children, unless it be this woman of my love: for I love you, O eternity.



If ever my wrath burst tombs, budged boundary stones, and rolled old tablets, broken into steep depths; if every my mockery blew moldy words into the wind, and I swept as a broom across the cross-marked spiders and burst as a sweeping gust to old musty tomb chambers; if ever I perched jubilating where old god lied buried, world-blessing, world-loving, beside the monument of world-slanders—for I love even churches and tombs of gods, once the sky gazes through their broken roofs with his pure eyes, and like grass and red poppies, I love to perch on broken churches: Oh! how should I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of return?

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wished children, unless it be this woman of my love: for I love you, O eternity.



If ever one breath I breathed from the creative breath and of that heavenly need that constrains even accidents to dance star-dances; if ever I laughed the laughter of creative lightning, followed with grumbling obedience by the long thunder of the dead; if ever I played dice with gods at gods’ table, earth, till earth quaked and burst and snorted floods of fire—for the earth is a table for gods and trembles with creative new words and throws of gods: Oh! how should I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of return?

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wished children, unless it be this woman of my love: for I love you, O eternity.



If ever I drank full drafts from that foaming spice-blend mug in which are all things, blended; if my hand ever poured the farthest to the near, and fire to spirit, and joy to pain, and most wicked to he most gracious; if I myself am a grain of that redeeming salt which blends all things well in that spice-blend mug—for there is a salt that unites good with evil; and even the greatest evil is worthy of use for spice for the great foaming over: Oh! how should I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of return?

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wished children, unless it be this woman of my love: for I love you, O eternity.



If I am fond of sea and all that is of sea’s kind, and fondest when her fury scolds me; if that delight in searching which drives the sails toward the undiscovered is in me, if a seafarer’s delight is in my delight; if ever my jubilation cried, “The coast has vanished, now the last chain has fallen from me; the boundless roars about me, far abound glisten space and time; be of good cheer, old heart!” Oh! how should I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of return?

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wished children, unless it be this woman of my love: for I love you, O eternity.



If my virtue is the dancer’s virtue, and I have often jumped both feet into golden-emerald delight; if my sarcasm is laughing sarcasm, at home under rose slopes and hedges of lilies—for in laughter all that is evil comes together, and pronounced holy absolved by its own bliss; and if this is my alpha omega, that all called heavy and grave becomes light; all that is body, dancer; all that is spirit, bird—and verily, that is my alpha omega: Oh! how should I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of return?

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wished children, unless it be this woman of my love: for I love you, O eternity.



If every I spread tranquil skies upon myself and soared my wings into my sky; if I swam playfully in the deep light-distance, and my freedom’s bird-wisdom came—but bird-wisdom speaks thus: “Behold, there is no above, no below! Throw yourself around, out, back, you who are light! Sing! speak no more! Are not all words made for the heavy and grave? Are not all words lies to those who are light? Sing! Speak no more!” Oh! how should I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of return?

Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wished children, unless it be this woman of my love: for I love you, O eternity.


4. The concept for revelation—in the sense that suddenly, with indescribable certainty and subtlety, something becomes visible, audible, something that shakes one to the last depths and throws one down—that merely describes the facts. Like lightening, a thought flashes up, with necessity, without hesitation regarding its form—I never had any choice.

MANFRED. Think'st thou existence doth depend on time?

It doth; but actions are our epochs: mine

Have made my days and nights imperishable

Endless, and all alike, as sands on the shore

Innumerable atoms; and one desart

Barren and cold, on which the wild waves break,

But nothing rests, save carcases and wrecks,

Rocks, and the salt-surf weeds of bitterness.

(Byron, Manfred)

The Apollonian frenzy excites the eye above all, so that it gains the power of vision. The painter, the sculptor, the epic poet are visionaries par excellence. In the Dionysian state on the other hand, the whole affective system is excited and enhanced: so that it discharges all its means of expression at once and drives forth simultaneously the power of representation, imitation, transfiguration, and every kind of mimicking and actings. The essential feature here remains the ease of metamorphosis, the inability to not to react )similar to certain hysterical types who also, upon any suggestion, enter into any role). It is impossible for the Dionysian type not to understand any suggestion; he does not overlook any sign of an affect; he possesses the insight of understanding and guessing in the highest degree, just as he commands the art of communication in the highest degree. He enters into any skin, into any affect: he constantly transforms himself.


5. A rapture whose tremendous tension occasionally discharges itself in a flood of tears—now the pace quickens involuntarily now it become slow.

6. The involuntariness of image and metaphor is strangest of all; one no longer has any notion of what is an image or a metaphor: everything offers itself as the nearest, most obvious, simplest expression. It actually seems, to allude to something Zarathustra says, as if the things themselves approached and offered themselves as metaphors (“Here all things come caressingly to your discourse and flatter you; for they want to ride on your back. On every metaphor you ride to every truth….Here the words and word-shrines of all being open up before you; here all being wishes to become a word, all becoming wishes to learn from you how to speak.)

It is a great thing, indeed, to make a proper use of poetical forms, as also of compounds and strange words. But the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. It is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others; and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars. (Aristotle, Poetics)



1. At this point the real answer to the question, how one becomes what one is, can no longer be avoided. And thus I touch on the masterpiece of the art of self-preservation—of selfishness. For let us assume that the task, the destiny, the fate of the task transcends the average very significantly: in that case, nothing could be more dangerous than catching sight of oneself with this task. To become what one is, one must have not have the faintest notion what one is.

2. The whole surface of consciousness—consciousness is a surface—must be kept clear of all great imperatives. Beware even of every great word, every great pose! So many dangers that the instinct comes too soon to “understand itself”---. Meanwhile the organizing “idea” that is destined to rule keeps growing deep down—it begins to command; slowly it leads us back from side roads and wrong roads; it prepares single qualities and fitnesses that will one day prove to be indispensable as means toward a whole—one by one, it trains all subservient capacities before giving any hint of the dominant task, “goal,” “aim,” or “meaning.”

3. Considered in this way, my life is simply wonderful. For the task of a revaluation of all values more capacities may have been needed than have ever dwelt together in a single individual—above all, even contrary capacities that had to be kept from disturbing, destroying each other. An order of rank among these capacities; distance; the art of separating without setting against one another; to mix nothing, to “reconcile” nothing; a tremendous variety that is nevertheless the opposite of chaos—this was the precondition, the long, secret work and artistry of my instinct. Its higher protection manifested itself to such a high degree that I never even suspected what was growing in me—and one day all my capacities, suddenly ripe, leaped forth in their ultimate perfection. I cannot remember that I ever tried hard—no trace of struggle can be demonstrated in my life; I am the opposite of a heroic nature. “Willing” something, “striving” for something, envisaging a “purpose” a “wish”—I know none of this from experience. At this very moment I still look upon my future—an ample future!—as upon calm seas: there is no ripple of desire. I do not want in the least that anything should be different than it is; I myself do not want to become different.

What concerns me is the psychological type of the Savior. This type might be depicted in the Gospels, in however mutilated a form and however much overladen with extraneous characters—that is, in spite of the Gospels; just as the figure of Francis of Assisi shows itself in his legends in spite of his legends. It is not a question of mere truthful evidence as to what he did, what he said and how he actually died; the question is, whether his type is still conceivable, whether it has been handed down to us.—All the attempts that I know of to read the history of a “soul” in the Gospels seem to me to reveal only a lamentable psychological levity. M. Renan, that mountebank in psychologicus, has contributed the two most unseemly notions to this business of explaining the type of Jesus: the notion of the genius and that of the hero (“héros”). But if there is anything essentially unevangelical, it is surely the concept of the hero. What the Gospels make instinctive  is precisely the reverse of all heroic struggle, of all taste for conflict: the very incapacity for resistance is here converted into something moral: (“resist not evil!”—the most profound sentence in the Gospels, perhaps the true key to them), to wit, the blessedness of peace, of gentleness, the inability to be an enemy. What is the meaning of “glad tidings”?—The true life, the life eternal has been found—it is not merely promised, it is here, it is in you; it is the life that lies in love free from all retreats and exclusions, from all keeping of distances. Every one is the child of God—Jesus claims nothing for himself alone—as the child of God each man is the equal of every other man.... Imagine making Jesus a hero!—And what a tremendous misunderstanding appears in the word “genius”! Our whole conception of the “spiritual,” the whole conception of our civilization, could have had no meaning in the world that Jesus lived in. In the strict sense of the physiologist, a quite different word ought to be used here.... We all know that there is a morbid sensibility of the tactile nerves which causes those suffering from it to recoil from every touch, and from every effort to grasp a  solid object. Brought to its logical conclusion, such a physiological habitus becomes an instinctive hatred of all reality, a flight into the “intangible,” into the “incomprehensible”; a distaste for all formulae, for all conceptions of time and space, for everything established—customs, institutions, the church—; a feeling of being at home in a world in which no sort of reality survives, a merely “inner” world, a “true” world, an “eternal” world.... “The Kingdom of God is within you”.... (Nietzsche, Antichrist).

Such a spirit as Goethe, who disciplines himself to wholeness, who created himself…becomes free, stands amid the cosmos with a joyous and trusting fatalism, in the faith that only the particular is loathsome, and that all is redeemed and affirmed in the whole—he does not negate any more. Such a faith however, is the highest of all possible faiths: I have baptized it with the name of Dionysus. (Nietzsche, Twilight)


1. The pathos of poses does not belong to greatness; whoever needs poses at all is false.—Beware all picturesque men!

2. I do not know any other way of associating with greater tasks than play: as a sign of greatness, this is an essential presupposition. The least compulsion, a gloomy mien, or any harsh tone in the throat are all objections to a man; how much more against his work!—One must not have any nerves.—Suffering from solitude is also an objection—I have suffered only from “multitudes.”

3. At an absurdly early age, at seven, I already knew that no human word would ever reach me.


From my youth upwards

My spirit walk'd not with the souls of men, 

Nor look'd upon the earth with human eyes;

The thirst of their ambition was not mine;

The aim of their existence was not mine;

My joys, my griefs, my passions, and my powers,

Made me a stranger; though I wore the form,        150

I had no sympathy with breathing flesh,

Nor midst the creatures of clay that girded me

Was there but one who-- but of her anon.


I said with men, and with the thoughts of men,

I held but slight communion; but instead,

My joy was in the Wilderness, to breathe

The difficult air of the iced mountain's top,

Where the birds dare not build, nor insect's wing

Flit o'er the herbless granite; or to plunge

Into the torrent, and to roll along                160

On the swift whirl of the new breaking wave

Of river-stream, or ocean, in their flow.

In these my early strength exulted; or

To follow through the night the moving moon,

The stars and their development, or catch

The dazzling lightnings till my eyes grew dim;

Or to look, list'ning, on the scatter'd leaves,

While Autumn winds were at their evening song.

These were my pastimes, and to be alone;

For if the beings, of whom I was one,--            170

Hating to be so,-- cross'd me in my path,

I felt myself degraded back to them,

And was all clay again.

(Byron, Manfred)

4. I have had since my youth the undeniable lack of adequate company: for this lack persist today as it has always persisted, without preventing me from being cheerful and brave.


1. To me it seems one of the rarest distinctions that a man can accord himself if he takes one of my books into his hands—I even suppose that he first takes off his shoes, not to speak of boots.

2. Ultimately, nobody can get more out of things, including books, than he already knows. for what one lacks access to from experience one will have no ear. Now let us imagine an extreme case: that a book speaks of nothing but events that lie altogether beyond the possibility of any frequent or even rare experience—that is the first language for a new series of experiences. In that case, simply nothing will be heard, but there will be the acoustic illusion that where nothing is heard, nothing is there.

“Every scripture is to be interpreted in the same spirit which gave it forth”—is the fundamental law of criticism. A life in harmony with nature, the love of truth and virtue, will purge the eyes to understand her text. by degrees we may come to know the primitive sense of the permanent objects of nature, so that the world shall be to us an open book, and every form significant of its hidden life and final cause. (Emerson, Nature).

3. Whoever thought he had understood something of me had made up something out of me after his own image—not uncommonly an antithesis to me.

4. Altogether, there is no prouder and at the same time subtler type of book: here and there they achieve the highest thing achievable on earth, cynicism; they have to be conquered with the most delicate fingers as well as the bravest fists.

5. One must never have spared oneself, one must have acquired hardness as a habit to be cheerful and in good spirits in the midst of nothing but hard truths. when I imagine a perfect reader, he always turns into a monster of courage and curiosity; moreover, supple, cunning, cautious; a born adventurer and discoverer.


1. One has to sit firmly upon oneself, one must stand bravely on one’s own two legs, otherwise one is simply incapable of loving. Ultimately, women know that only too well: they don’t give a damn about selfless, merely objective men.

2. [My writings are difficult; I hope this is not considered an objection? to understand the most abbreviated language ever spoken by a philosopher—and also the one poorest in formulas, most alive, most artistic—one must follow the opposite producer of that generally required of philosophical literature. Usually one must condense, or upset one’s digestion; I have to be diluted, liquefied, mixed with water, else one upsets one’s digestion. Silence is as much of an instinct with me as is garrulity with our dear philosophers. I am brief; my readers themselves must become long and comprehensive in order to bring up and together all that I have thought, and thought deep down.]

3. Fortunately, I am not willing to be torn to pieces: the perfect woman tears to pieces when she loves. –I know these charming maenads. Woman is indescribably more evil than man; also cleverer: good nature is in a woman a form of degeneration.

4. Love—in its means, war; at bottom, the deadly hatred of the sexes.


1. My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati; that one wants nothing to b different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary—but love it.

MANFRED: The mind which is immortal makes itself

Requital for its good or evil thoughts,                390

Is its own origin of ill and end,

And its own place and time; its innate sense,

When stripp'd of this mortality, derives

No colour from the fleeting things without,

But is absorb'd in sufferance or in joy,

Born from the knowledge of its own desert.

(Byron, Manfred)

2. The time of me hasn’t come yet: some are born posthumously. Some day institutions will be needed in which men live and teach as I conceive of living and teaching; it might even happen that a few chairs will then be set aside for the interpretation of Zarathustra.



1. I know my fate. One day my name will be associated with eh memory of something tremendous—a crisis without equal on earth, the most profound collision of conscience, a decision that was conjured up against everything that has been believed, demanded, hallowed, so far. I am no man, I am dynamite.—Yet for all that there is nothing in me of a founder of a religion—religions are affairs of the rabble; I find it necessary to wash my hands after I have come into contact with religious people.

2. Revaluation of all values: that is my formula for an act of supreme self-examination on the part of humanity, become flesh and genius in me. I was the first to discover the truth by being the first to experience lies as lies—smelling them out.—My genius is in my nostrils.

3. I contradict as has never been contradicted before and am nevertheless the opposite of a No-saying spirit.

4. I am by far the most terrible human being that has existed so far; this does not preclude the possibility that I shall be the most beneficial.

5. The self-overcoming of the moralist into his opposite—into me—that is what the name of Zarathustra means in my mouth.

6. Everything has been made fraudulent and has been twisted through and through by the good.

7. The morality that would un-self man is the morality of decline par excellence—the fact, “I am declining,” transposed into the imperative, “all of you ought to decline”—and not only into the imperative. This is the only morality that has been taught so far, that of un-selfing reveals a will to the end; fundamentally, it negates life.

8. The uncovering of Christian morality is an event without parallel, a real catastrophe. He that is enlightened about that, is a force majeure, a destiny—he breaks the history of man in two. One lives before him, or one lives after him.

9. Have I been understood?—Dionysus versus the Crucified.—

10. [Since the old God is abolished, I am prepared to rule the world—]








Perfection Is Easy


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