Ecce Homo How One Becomes What One Is Written 1888; Published 1908.
Translation by Walter Kaufmann © Random House 1968
Preface 1. Seeing that before long I must confront humanity with the most difficult demand ever made of it, it seems indispensable to me to say who I am. Really, one should know it, for I have not left myself "without testimony." But the disproportion between the greatness of my task and the smallness of my contemporaries has found expression in the fact that one has neither heard nor even seen me. I live on my own credit; is it perhaps a mere prejudice that I live? ... I need only to speak with one of the "educated" who come to the Upper Engadine for the summer, and I am convinced that I do not live ... Under these circumstances I have a duty against which my habits, even more the pride of my instincts, revolt at bottom, namely, to say: Hear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else! 2. I am, for example, by no means a bogey, or a moralistic monster,—I am actually the very opposite of the type of man who so far has been revered as virtuous. Between ourselves, it seems to me that precisely this is part of my pride. I am a disciple of the philosopher Dionysus, I should prefer to be even a satyr to being a saint. But one should really read this essay. Perhaps I have succeeded, perhaps this essay had no other meaning than to give expression to this contrast in a cheerful and philanthropic manner. The last thing I should promise would be to "improve" mankind. No new idols are erected by me; let the old ones learn what feet of clay mean. Overthrowing idols (my word for "ideals")—that comes closer to being part of my craft. One has deprived reality of its value, its meaning, its truthfulness, to precisely the extent to which one has mendaciously invented an ideal world ... The "true world" and the "apparent world"—in plain language: the mendaciously invented world and reality ... The lie of the ideal has so far been the curse on reality, on account of which mankind itself has become mendacious and false down to its most fundamental instincts to the point of worshipping the opposite values of those which alone would guarantee its health, its future, the lofty right to its future. 3. Those who can breath the air of my writings know that it is an air of the heights, a strong air. One must be made for it, otherwise there is no small danger that one may catch cold in it. The ice is near, the solitude tremendous—but how calmly all things lie in the light! how freely one breathes! how much one feels beneath oneself!— Philosophy, as I have so far understood and lived it, means living voluntarily among ice and high mountains—seeking out everything strange and questionable in existence, everything so far placed under a ban by morality. Long experience, acquired in the course of such wanderings in what is forbidden, taught me to regard
the causes that so far have prompted moralizing and idealizing in a very different light from what may seem desirable: the hidden history of the philosophers, the psychology of the great names, came to light for me.— How much truth does a spirit endure, how much truth does it dare? more and more that became for me the real measure of value. Error (—faith in the ideal—) is not blindness, error is cowardice ... Every attainment, every step forward in knowledge, follows from courage, from hardness against oneself, from cleanliness in relation to oneself ... I do not refute ideals, I merely put on gloves before them ... Nitimur in vetitum ["We strive for the forbidden": Ovid, Amores, III, 4, 17]: in this sign my philosophy will triumph one day, for what one has forbidden so far as a matter of principle has always been truth alone. — 4. 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. This book, with a voice bridging centuries, is not only the highest book there is, the book that is truly characterized by the air of the heights—the whole fact of man lies beneath it at a tremendous distance—, it is also the deepest, born out of the innermost wealth of truth, an inexhaustible well to which no pail descends without coming up again filled with gold and goodness. Here no "prophet" is speaking, none of those gruesome hybrids of sickness and will to power whom people call founders of religions. Above all, one must hear aright the tone that comes from this mouth, the halcyon tone, lest one should do wretched injustice to the meaning of its wisdom. "It is the stillest words that bring on the storm. Thoughts that come on doves' feet guide the world —" [Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 2, 22, "The Stillest Hour.] The figs are falling from the trees; they are good and sweet; and, as they fall, their red skin bursts. I am a north wind to ripe figs. Thus, like figs, these teachings fall to you, my friends: now consume their juice and their sweet meat! It is fall around us, and pure sky and afternoon — [Thus Spoke Zarathusta, 2, 2, "Upon the Blessed Isles."] Here no fanatic speaks, here there is no "preaching," here no faith is demanded: from an infinite abundance of light and depth of happiness falls drop upon drop, word upon word: the tempo of these speeches is a tender slowness. Such things reach only the most select; it is a privilege without equal to be a listener here; nobody is free to have ears for Zarathustra ... Is not Zarathustra in view of all this a seducer? ... But what does he himself say, as he returns again for the first time to his solitude? Precisely the opposite of everything that any "sage," "saint," "world-redeemer," or any other décadent would say in such a case ... Not only does he speak differently, he also is different ... Now I go alone, my disciples! You, too, go now, alone! Thus I want it.
Go away from me and resist Zarathustra! And even better: be ashamed of him! Perhaps he deceived you. The man of knowledge must not only love his enemies, he must also be able to hate his friends. One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil. And why do you not want to pluck at my wreath? You revere me: but what if your reverence tumbles one day? Beware lest a statue slay you! You say that you believe in Zarathustra? But what matters Zarathustra! You are my believers, but what matter all believers! You had not yet sought yourselves: then you found me. Thus do all believers; therefore all faith amounts to so little. Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only when you have all denied me will I return to you ... [Thus Spoke Zarathusta, 1, 22, "On the Gift-Giving Virtue."] FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE On this perfect day, when everything is ripening and not only the grape turns brown, the eye of the sun just fell upon my life: I looked back, I looked forward, and never saw so many and such good things at once. It was not for nothing that I buried my forty-fourth year today, I had the right to bury it,—whatever was life in it has been saved, is immortal. The Revaluation of All Values, the Dionysus Dithyrambs and, for recreation, the Twilight of the Idols,—all presents of this year, indeed of its last quarter! How could I fail to be grateful to my whole life?—and so I tell my life to myself. Why I Am So Wise 1. The good fortune of my existence, its uniqueness perhaps, lies in its fatality: expressing it in the form of a riddle, as my own father I am already dead, as my own mother I still live and grow old. This double origin, as it were from the highest and lowest rung of the ladder of life, at once décadent and beginning—this, if anything, explains that neutrality, that freedom from party in relation to the total problem of life, which perhaps distinguishes me. I have a subtler sense [Witterung: i.e., scent, as in a hunt] for the signs of ascent and descent than any man has ever had, I am the teacher par excellence for this—I know both, I am both.— My father died in his thirty-sixth year: he was delicate, kind, and morbid, like a being destined to pass by—more a gracious reminder of life than life itself. In the same year that his life declined mine also declined: in my thirty-sixth year of life I arrived at the lowest point of my vitality—I still lived,
but without being able to see three paces in front of me. At that time—it was 1879—I resigned my professorship at Basel, lived through the summer like a shadow in St. Moritz and the following winter, the most sunless of my life, as a shadow in Naumburg. This was my minimum: meanwhile, "The Wanderer and His Shadow" came into existence. Doubtless, I knew about shadows in those days ... In the following winter, my first winter in Genoa, that sweetening and spiritualization which is almost inseparable from an extreme poverty of blood and muscle, brought forth "The Dawn." The perfect brightness and cheerfulness, even exuberance of spirit, that is reflected in the said work, is in my case compatible not only with the most profound physiological weakness, but also with an excess of pain. In the midst of the torments brought on by an uninterrupted three-day headache accompanied by the laborious vomiting of phlegm,—I possessed a dialectician's clarity par excellence, and in utter cold blood I then thought out things, for which when I am in better health I am not enough of a climber, not refined, not cold enough. My readers perhaps know to what extent I consider dialectics as a symptom of décadence, for example, in the most famous case of all: in the case of Socrates.— All morbid disturbances of the intellect, even that semi-stupor which follows fever, have remained to this day totally unfamiliar things to me, on their nature and frequency I had first to instruct myself by scholarly methods. My blood flows slowly. No one has ever been able to detect fever in me. A doctor who treated me for some time as one suffering from a nervous disease, finally declared: "No! there's nothing wrong with your nerves; it is only I who am nervous." Any kind of local degeneration absolutely indemonstrable; no organically originating stomach ailment, however much I may have suffered from profound weakness of the gastric system as the result of general exhaustion. Even my eye trouble, though at times dangerously close to blindness, only consequence, not causal; so that with every increase in vitality my vision also increased.— Convalescence means with me a long, all too long succession of years,— unfortunately it also means relapse, deterioration, periods of a type of décadence. After all this, need I say that I am experienced in questions of décadence? I have spelled it out forwards and backwards. Even that filigree art of grasping and comprehending in general, that finger for nuances, that psychology of "looking around the corner" and whatever else characterizes me, was learned only then, is the actual gift of that time in which everything in me became more subtle, observation itself as well as all the organs of observation. To look from the perspective of the sick towards healthier concepts and values, and again conversely to look down from the the fullness and self-assurance of rich life into the secret labor of the instinct of décadence—this has been my actual experience, what I have practiced most, in this if in anything I am a master. Now I know how, have the know-how, to invert perspectives [Ich habe es jetzt in der Hand, ich habe die Hand dafür, Perspektiven umzustellen]: first reason why a "revaluation of all values" is perhaps possible at all for me alone.
2 Setting aside the fact that I am a décadent, I am also its antithesis. My proof for this is, among other things, that I always instinctively chose the right means against wretched states: while the décadent as such always chooses means that are disadvantageous for him. As summa summarum [overall] I was healthy, as niche, as specialty I was a décadent. That energy for absolute isolation and detachment from my accustomed circumstances, the way I compelled myself no longer to be cared for, served, doctored—that betrayed an unconditional certainty of instinct as to what at that
time was needful above all else. I took myself in hand, I made myself healthy again: the condition for this—every physiologist will admit it—is that one is fundamentally healthy. A typically morbid being cannot become healthy, still less make itself healthy; conversely, for one who is typically healthy being sick can even be an energetic stimulant to life, to more life. Thus in fact does that long period of sickness seem to me now: I discovered life as it were anew, myself included, I tasted all good and even petty things, as others cannot easily taste them,—I made out of my will to health, to life, my philosophy ... For pay heed to this: it was in the years of my lowest vitality that I ceased to be a pessimist: the instinct for self-recovery forbade to me a philosophy of indigence and discouragement ... And in what does one really recognize that someone has turned out well! In that a human being who has turned out well does our senses good: that he is carved out of wood at once hard, delicate and sweet-smelling. He has a taste only for what is beneficial to him; his pleasure, his joy ceases where the measure of what is beneficial is overstepped. He divines cures for injuries, he employs ill chances to his own advantage; what does not kill him makes him stronger. Out of everything he sees, hears, experiences he instinctively collects together his sum: he is a principle of selection, he rejects much. He is always in his company, whether he traffics with books, people or landscapes: he does honor when he chooses, when he admits, when he trusts. He reacts slowly to every kind of stimulus, with that slowness which a protracted caution and a willed pride have bred in him,—he tests an approaching stimulus, he is far from going out to meet it. He believes in neither "misfortune" nor in "guilt": he knows how to forget—he is strong enough for everything to have to turn out for the best for him.— Very well, I am the opposite of a décadent: for I have just described myself. 3 [Nietzsche wrote the inital version of this section in October 1888. Two months later, Nietzsche sent revisions to Ecce Homo to his publisher (C. G. Naumann). In July 1969, Mazzino Montinari discovered the revised text in the Nietzsche collection of the Goethe-Schiller Archive, among the papers of Heinrich Köselitz (Köselitz had copied Nietzsche's original manuscript before sending it to Nietzsche's mother and sister—who destroyed it). A detailed analysis of Ecce Homo can be found in KSA 14, 454-512. The two versions of Section 3 appear below.] First Version This dual series of experiences, this means of access to two worlds that seem so far asunder, finds an exact reflection in my own nature,—I am a Doppelgänger, I have a "second" face, as well as a first. And perhaps also a third ... The very nature of my origin allowed me an outlook transcending merely local, merely national and limited horizons, it cost me no effort to be a "good European." On the other hand, I am perhaps more German than modern Germans, mere citizens of the German Reich could possibly be,—I, the last anti-political German. And yet my ancestors were Polish noblemen: it is owing to them that I have so much race instinct in my blood, who knows? perhaps even the liberum veto. [Unrestricted veto.] When I think of how often I have been accosted as a Pole when traveling, even by Poles themselves, and how seldom I have been taken for a German, it seems to me as if I belonged to those who have but a sprinkling of German in them. But my mother, Franziska Oehler, is at any rate something very German; as is also my paternal grandmother, Erdmuthe Krause. The latter spent the whole of her youth in good old Weimar, not without coming into contact with Goethe's circle. Her brother,
Krause, professor of theology in Königsberg, was called to the post of general superintendent at Weimar after Herder's death. It is not unlikely that her mother, my great-grandmother, appears in young Goethe's diary under the name of "Muthgen." The husband of her second marriage was superintendent Nietzsche of Eilenburg; on the 10th of October, 1813, the year of the great war, when Napoleon with his general staff entered Eilenburg, she gave birth to a son. As a Saxon, she was a great admirer of Napoleon; perhaps I too am so still. My father, born in 1813, died in 1849. Before taking over the pastorship of the parish of Röcken, not far from Lützen, he had lived for some years in the castle of Altenburg, where he had charge of the education of the four princesses. His pupils are the Queen of Hanover, the Grand Duchess Constantine, the Grand Duchess of Oldenburg, and the Princess Therese of Saxe-Altenburg. He was full of pious respect for the Prussian king, Frederick William IV, from whom he obtained his living at Röcken; the events of 1848 caused him great sorrow. As I was born on the 15th of October, the birthday of the above-named king, I naturally received the Hohenzollern name Frederich Willhelm. There was at all events one advantage in the choice of this day: my birthday throughout my entire childhood was a public holiday.— I regard it as a great privilege to have had such a father: it even seems to me that this exhausts all that I can claim in the matter of privileges—life, the great Yes to life, excepted. What I owe to him above all is this, that I do not need any special intention, but merely patience, in order to enter involuntarily into a world of higher and finer things: there I am at home, there alone does my profoundest passion have free play. The fact that I almost paid for this privilege with my life, certainly does not make it a bad bargain.— In order to understand even a little of my Zarathustra, perhaps a man must be situated much as I am myself,—with one foot beyond life ... Revised Version I consider the fact that I had such a father as a great privilege: the peasants he preached to—for, after he had lived for several years at the court of Altenburg, he was a preacher in his last years—said that the angels must look like he did. And with this I touch on the question of race. I am a pure-blooded Polish nobleman, in whom there is no drop of bad blood, least of all German. When I look for my profoundest opposite, the incalculable pettiness of the instincts, I always find my mother and my sister—to be related to such canaille would be a blasphemy against my divinity. The treatment I have received from my mother and my sister, up to the present moment, fills me with inexpressible horror: there is an absolutely hellish machine at work here, operating with infallible certainty at the precise moment when I am most vulnerable—at my highest moments ... for then one needs all one's strength to counter such a poisonous viper ... physiological contiguity renders such a disharmonia praestabilita [preestablished disharmony] possible ... But I confess that the deepest objection to the "eternal recurrence," my real idea from the abyss, is always my mother and my sister.— However, even as a Pole I am an incredible atavism. One would have to go back centuries in order to find this noblest of races ever to exist on Earth exhibiting its instincts as pristinely as I exhibit them. Toward everything today that calls itself noblesse I possess a sovereign feeling of distinction,—I would not do the young German Kaiser [Wilhelm II] the honor of being my coachman. There is one single case in which I acknowledge my equal—I confess it with profound gratitude. Frau Cosima Wagner is the noblest nature by far, and, in order not to leave a single word unsaid, I say that Richard Wagner was by far the man most akin to me ... The rest is silence ... All prevailing concepts about degrees of consanguinity [Verwandtschafts-Grade] are utter physiological nonsense. Even today the Pope
insists on trafficking in such absurdity. One is least akin to one's parents: it would be the utmost mark of vulgarity to be related to one's parents. Higher natures have their origins infinitely farther back, from them a great deal had to be accumulated, saved, and hoarded over long periods of time. The great individuals are the oldest: I do not understand it, but Julius Caesar could be my father—or Alexander, this Dionysus incarnate ... At the very moment I am writing this, the mail brings me a Dionysus-head ... 4 I have never understood the art of predisposing people against me—this, too, I owe to my incomparable father—and even when it seemed highly desirable to me. However un-Christian this may seem, I am not even predisposed against myself. You can turn my life this way and that, you will rarely find traces, indeed only once, that someone felt ill will toward me,—but perhaps too many traces of goodwill ... Even my experiences with those with whom everybody has bad experiences, speak without exception in their favor; I tame every bear, I can make even buffoons behave well [sittsam]. During the seven years in which I taught Greek to the upper class of the Pädagogium in Basel, I never had occasion to administer a punishment; the laziest youths were diligent. I am always equal to accidents; I must be unprepared in order to be master of myself. Take any instrument, whatever it may be, even if it be as out of tune as only the instrument "man" can be—I should have to be sick if I should not succeed in getting out of it something worth hearing. And how often have I been told by the "instruments" themselves, that they had never heard themselves like that ... Most beautifully perhaps by Heinrich von Stein who died so unpardonably young, who once after having considerately requested permission, appeared for three days in Sils-Maria, explaining to everyone that he had not come because of the Engadine. This excellent human being, who with all the impetuous simplicity of a Prussian Junker, had waded deep into the Wagnerian morass (—and into that of Duhringism besides!), was during these three days like one transformed by a tempest of freedom, like one who has suddenly been lifted to his own height and acquired wings. I always said to him that this was due to the good air up here, that this happened to everybody, that one was not for nothing 6000 feet above Bayreuth,—but he would not believe me ... If, in spite of that, some small and great misdeeds have been committed against me, it was not because of "will," least of all ill will: sooner could I complain—as I have already suggested—of the goodwill which has done no small mischief in my life. My experiences gave me a right to feel suspicious in general of the so-called "selfless" drives, of all "neighborly love" that is ready to give advice and go into action. I deem it a weakness in itself, as a particular case of the inability to resist stimuli—pity is called a virtue only among décadents. I reproach those who are full of pity for easily losing a sense of shame, respect, the sensitivity for distances; in the twinkling of an eye, pity begins to smell of the mob and becomes scarcely distinguishable from bad manners—for pitying hands can interfere [hineingreifen] in a downright destructive manner in a great destiny, in the growing solitude of one wounded, in a privileged right to heavy guilt. The overcoming of pity I reckon among the noble virtues: as "Zarathustra's temptation" I invented a situation in which a great cry of distress reaches him, as pity assaults him like a final sin that would entice him away from himself. To remain the master at this point, to keep the eminence of one's task undefiled by the many lower and more short-sighted impulses that are at work in so-called selfless actions, that is the test, perhaps the ultimate test, which a Zarathustra must pass—his real proof of strength ... 5
In yet another respect I am merely my father once more and as it were his continued life after an all-too-early death. Like everyone who has never lived among his equals and to whom the concept of "retaliation" is just as inaccessible as say the concept of "equal rights," I forbid myself all countermeasures, all protective measures,—also, as is fair, any defense, any "justification" in cases when some small or very great folly is perpetrated against me. My kind of retaliation consists in following up the stupidity as fast as possible with a piece of prudence: by this means perhaps one may still overtake it. Expressed as a parable: I send a pot of jam in order to get rid of a sour affair ... One needs only to do me some wrong, I "repay" it, you may be sure of that: before long I find an opportunity for expressing my gratitude to the "offender" (sometimes even for the offense)—or to ask him for something, which can be more obliging than giving something ... It also seems to me that the rudest word, the rudest letter, are still more benign, honnetter [more decent], than silence. Those who remain silent are almost always lacking in refinement and courtesy of the heart; silence is an objection, swallowing things leads of necessity to a bad character,—it even upsets the stomach. All who remain silent are dyspeptic.— You see, I don't want rudeness to be underestimated, it is by far the most humane form of contradiction and, in the midst of modern effeminacy, one of our foremost virtues.— If one is rich enough for this, it is even a good fortune to be wrong. A god coming to earth must not do anything but wrong,—not to take the punishment upon oneself but the guilt would be just divine. 6 Freedom from ressentiment, enlightenment about ressentiment—who knows how much I am ultimately indebted in this respect as well to my long sickness! The problem is not exactly simple: one must have experienced it from strength as well as from weakness. If anything at all must be adduced against being sick and being weak, it is that man's really remedial instinct, his fighting instinct [Wehr- und Waffen-Instinkt] wears out. One does not know how to get rid of anything, how to get over anything, how to repel anything,—everything hurts. Men and things obtrude too closely, experiences strike too deep, memory is a festering wound. Sickness itself is a kind of ressentiment.— Against it the invalid has only one great remedy—I call it Russian fatalism, that fatalism without revolt with which the Russian soldier, when a campaign becomes too strenuous, finally lies down in the snow. No longer to accept anything at all, to take anything, to take anything in—to cease reacting altogether ... The great intelligence of this fatalism is not always merely the courage to die, since it can preserve life under the most perilous conditions by reducing the metabolism, slowing it down, as a kind of will to hibernate. Carrying this logic a few steps further, we have the fakir, who sleeps for weeks in a grave ... Because one would use oneself up too quickly, if one reacted at all, one no longer reacts at all: this is the logic. And nothing burns one up faster than the affects of ressentiment. Anger, pathological vulnerability, the impotence for revenge, the lust, the thirst for revenge, poison-mixing in any sense— for the exhausted that is surely the most disadvantageous way to react: it involves a rapid consumption of nervous energy, a pathological increase of harmful secretions, for example of the gall bladder into the stomach. Ressentiment is the forbidden as such for the sick man—it is his specific evil: unfortunately also his most natural inclination. This was comprehended by that profound physiologist Buddha. His "religion," which it would be better to call a system of hygiene, to avoid confounding it with so pitiful a thing as Christianity, depended for its effect upon the triumph over ressentiment: to liberate the soul from it—the first step towards recovery. "Not by enmity is enmity ended; by friendship enmity is ended": this stands at the beginning of Buddha's
doctrine—it is not morality that speaks thus, thus speaks physiology.— Ressentiment, born of weakness, is most harmful for the the weak themselves,—conversely, given a rich nature, it is a superfluous feeling, a feeling which, if one remains master of it, is almost a proof of riches. Whoever knows how seriously my philosophy has taken up the fight against feelings of revenge 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. During periods of décadence I forbade myself such feelings as harmful; as soon as my life was rich and proud enough again, I forbade myself them, as beneath me. That "Russian fatalism" of which I spoke manifested itself in me in such a way that for years I clung tenaciously to almost unbearable situations, places, apartments, society, once chance had placed them in my way—it was better than changing them, than feeling that they could be changed,—than rebelling against them ... He who disturbed this fatalism, who tried by force to awaken me, seemed to me then a mortal enemy:—in fact, it was mortally dangerous every time.— To take oneself as a destiny [ein Fatum], not to wish oneself "different"—that is in such cases great reason itself. 7 War is another matter. I am warlike by nature. Attacking is one of my instincts. To be able to be an enemy, to be an enemy—this, perhaps, presupposes a strong nature; in any case it belongs to every strong nature. It needs objects of resistance, hence it looks for what resists: the aggressive pathos belongs just as necessarily to strength as feelings of revenge and rancor belong to weakness. Woman, for example, is vengeful; that is due to her weakness, as much as her susceptibility to the distress of others.— The strength of those who attack can be measured in a way by the opposition they require; every growth betrays itself by a search for a mightier opponent—or problem: for a warlike philosopher challenges problems, too, to single combat. The task is not to dominate in general, but only those against whom one must pit all one's strength, suppleness, and fighting skill,—opponents who are our equals ... Equality before the enemy—first presupposition of an honest duel. Where one despises, one cannot wage war; where one commands, where one sees something beneath oneself, one has no business waging war [hat man nicht Krieg zu führen]. My practice of war is formulated in four principles: First: I only attack causes that are victorious,—I may even wait until they become victorious. Second: I only attack causes against which I would find no 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. Third: I never attack persons,—I avail myself of the person merely as a powerful magnifying-glass that allows one to make visible a general, but creeping and elusive calamity. In this way I attacked David Strauss, more precisely the success of a senile book with the "cultured" people in Germany,—I caught this culture in the act ... In this way I attacked Wagner, more precisely the falseness, the half-couth instincts [die Instinkt-Halbschlächtigkeit] of our "culture" which mistakes the subtle for the rich, the late for the great. Fourth: I only attack things when all personal differences are excluded, when any background of bad experiences is lacking. On the contrary, to attack is to me a proof of goodwill, sometimes even of gratitude. I honor, I distinguish therewith by associating my name with that of a cause or a person: for or against—that makes no difference to me at this point. When I wage war against Christianity, I am entitled to this because I have never experienced fatalities and difficulties [Fatalitäten und Hemmungen] from that quarter,—the most serious Christians have always been well disposed to
me. I myself, an opponent of Christianity de rigueur, am far from holding it against individuals for what is the disaster of millennia. 8 May I venture to indicate one last trait of my nature, which causes me no little difficulty in my contact with men? 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 ... This sensitivity has psychological antennae with which I feel and get a hold of every secret: the abundant hidden dirt at the bottom of many a character, perhaps the result of bad blood, but glossed over by education, enters my consciousness almost at the first contact. If my observation has been correct, such characters who offend my sense of cleanliness also sense from their side the reserve of my disgust: this does not make them smell any better ... As has always been my wont—extreme cleanliness in relation to me is the presupposition of my existence, I perish under unclean conditions, I constantly swim and bathe and splash, as it were, in water, in some perfectly transparent and resplendent element. That is why association with people is no small test of my patience; my humanity does not consist in feeling with men how they are, but in enduring that I feel with them ... My humanity is a constant self-overcoming.— But I need solitude, which is to say, recovery, return to myself, the breath of a free, light, playful air ... My whole Zarathustra is a dithyramb on solitude, or, if I have been understood, on cleanliness ... Fortunately not on "pure foolishness."— Those who have eyes for colors will call it diamonds.— Nausea over mankind, over the "rabble," was always my greatest danger ... Do you want to hear the words in which Zarathustra speaks of the redemption from nausea? What has happened to me? How did I redeem myself from nausea? Who rejuvenated my sight? How did I fly to the height, where no more rabble sits by the well? Did my nausea itself create wings for me and water-divining powers? Verily, I had to fly to the loftiest height, to find the fount of delight again!— Oh I found it, my brothers! Here on the loftiest height the fount of delight wells up for me! And here is a life of which the rabble does not drink! You flow for me almost too violently, fountain of delight! And often you empty the goblet again by wanting to fill it. And I must still learn to approach you more modestly: all too violently my heart still flows towards you: — my heart, upon which my summer burns, short, hot, melancholy, overblissful: how my summer heart longs for your coolness!
Gone, the lingering distress of my spring! Gone, the snowflakes of my malice in June! Summer have I become entirely, and summer noon! A summer on the loftiest height, with cold fountains and blissful stillness: oh, come, my friends, that the stillness may become more blissful! For this is our height and our home: too high and steep do we here dwell for all the unclean [Unreinen] and their thirst. Cast but your pure eyes into the well of my delight, my friends! How should that make it muddy? It shall laugh back at you in its own purity. On the tree Future we build our nest; in our solitude eagles shall bring us food in their beaks! Verily, no food of which the unclean [Unsaubere] might share! They would think they were devouring fire and would bum their mouths. Verily, no abodes do we here keep ready for the unclean [Unsaubere]! An ice-cave to their bodies would our happiness be, and to their spirits! And we want to live over them like strong winds, neighbors of the eagles, neighbors of the snow, neighbors of the sun: thus live strong winds. And like a wind will I one day blow amongst them and with my spirit take away the breath of their spirit: thus my future wills it. Verily, a strong wind is Zarathustra for all who are low: and this counsel I give to his enemies and all who spit and spew: "Beware of spitting against the wind!" ...
Why I am So Clever1 Why do I know more than other people? Why, in general, am I so clever? I have never pondered over questions that are not really questions. I have never wasted my strength. I have no experience, for instance, of actual religious difficulties. I am quite unfamiliar with the feeling of "sinfulness." Similarly I lack a reliable criterion for determining a prick of conscience: from what one hears, a prick of conscience does not seem to me anything very worthy of veneration. . . . I
dislike to leave an action of mine in the lurch; I prefer to omit utterly the bad result, the consequences, from any problem involving values. In the face of evil . consequences it is too easy to lose the proper standpoint from which to view an action. A prick of conscience seems to me a sort of "evil eye." Something that has failed should be all the more honored just because it has failed-this agrees much better with my morality.-"God," "the immortality of the soul," tcsalvation," a "beyond"-these are mere notions, to which I paid no attention, on which I never wasted any time, even as a child-though perhaps I was never enough of a child for that-I am quite unacquainted with atheism as a result, and still less as an event: with me it is instinctive. I am too inquisitive, too skeptical, too arrogant ', to let myself be satisfied with an obvious and crass solution of things. God is such an obvious and crass solution; a solution which is a sheer indelicacy to us thinkers-at bottom He is really nothing but a coarse commandment against us: ye shall not think! . . . I am much more interested in another question@n which the "salvation of humanity" depends much more than upon any piece of theological curiosity: the question of nutrition. For ordinary purposes, it may be formulated thus: "How precisely must thou nourish thyself in order to attain to thy maximum of power, or virt@ in the Renaissance style of virtue free from moralism?" Here my experiences -have been the worst possible; I am surprised that it took me so long to become aware of this question and to derive "understanding" from my experiences. Only the utter worthlessness of our German culture-its "idealism"-can to some extent explain how it was that precisely in this matter I was so baclzward that my ignorance was almost saintly. For this "culture" from first to last teaches one to lose sight of realities and instead to hunt after thoroughly problematic, so-called ideal goals, as, for instance, "classical culture"-as if we were not doomed from the start in our endeavor to unite "classical" and "German" in one concept! It is even a little comicaljust try to picture a "classically cultured" citizen of LeipziglIndeed, I confess that up to a very mature age, my food was quite bad@xpressed in moral terms, it was "impersonal," "selfless," "altruistic," to the glory of cooks and other fellow-Christians. For example, it was the Leipzig cookery, together with my first study of Schopenhauer (i865), that made me gravely renounce my "Will to Live." To become a malnutritient and to spoil one's stomach in the process-this problem seemed to me to be admirably solved by the abovementioned cookery. (It is said that the year i866 introduced changes into this department.) But as to German cookery in general-what has it not got on its conscience! Soup before the meal (still called alla tedesca in the sixteenth century Venetian cook-books; meat cooked till the flavor is gone, vegetables cooked with fat and flour; the degeneration of pastries into paper-weights! Add to this the utterly bestial postprandial habits of the ancients, not merely of the ancient Germans, and you will begin to understand where German intellect had its origin-in a disordered intestinal tract. . . . German intellect is indigestion; it can assimilate nothing. But even English, which, as against German, and indeed French, diet, seems to me to be a "return to Nature"-that is to say, to cannibalism-is basically repugnant to my own instincts. It seems to me that it gives the intellect heavy feet, Englishwomen's feet. . . . The best cooking is that of Piedmont. Alcohol does not agree with me; one glass of wine or beer a day is enough to turn life into a valley of tears for me; in Munich live my antipodes. Admitting that I came to understand this rationally rather late, yet I had experienced it as a mere child. As a boy I believed that wine-drinking and tobacco-smoking were at first but youthful vanities, and later simply bad habits. Perhaps the wine of Naumburg was partly responsible for this harsh judgment. To believe that wine was exhilarating, I should have had to be a Christian-in other words, I should have had to believe in what, for me, is an absurdity. Strangely enough, whereas small largely diluted quantities of alcohol depressed me, great quantities made me act almost like a sailor on shore leave. Even as a boy I showed my
bravado in this respect. To compose and transcribe a long Latin essay in one night, ambitious of emulating with my pen the austerity and terseness of my model, Sallust, and to sprinkle the exercise with a few strong hot toddiesthis procedure, while I was a pupil at the venerable old school of Pforta, did not disagree in the least with my physiology, nor perhaps with that of Sallust-however badly it may have agreed with dignified Pforta. Later on, towards the middle of my life, I grew more and more decisive in my opposition to spirituous drinks: 1, an opponent of vegetarianism from experience-like Richard Wagner, who reconverted in annot with sufficient earnest-ness advise all more spiritual natures to abstain absolutely from alcohol. Water answers the same purpose. I prefer those places where there are numerous opportunities of drinking from running brooks as at Nice, Turin, Sils, where water follows me wherever I turn. In vino veritas: it seems that here too I disagree with the rest of the world about the concept "Truth"-with me spirit moves on the face of the waters. Here are a few more bits of advice taken from my morality. A heavy meal is digested more easily than one that is too meager. The first condition of a good digestion is that the stomach should be active as a whole. Therefore a man ought to know the size of his stomach. For the sanae reasons I advise against all those interminable meals, which I call interrupted sacrificial feasts, and which are to be had at any table d'hdte. Nothing between meals, no coffee-coffee makes onLgloomy. Tea is advisable only in the morning-in small quantities, but very strong. It may be very harmful, and indispose you for the whole day, if it is the least bit too weak. Here each one has his own standard, often between the narrowest and most delicate limits. In a very enervating climate it is, inadvisable to begin the day with tea: an hour before, it is a good thing to have a cup of thick cocoa, free from oil. Remain seated as little as possible; trust no thought that is not born in the open, to the accompaniment of free bodily motion-nor one in which your very muscles do not celebrate a feast. All prejudices may be traced back to the intestines. A sedentary life, as I have already said elsewhere, is the real sin against the Holy Ghost. 2 The question of nutrition is closely related to that of locality and climate. None of us can live anywhere; and he who has great tasks to perform, which demand all his energy, has, in this respect, a very limited choice. The influence of climate upon the bodil functions, affecting their retardation or acceleration, is so great, that a blunder in the choice of locality and climate may not merely alienate a man from his duty, but may withhold it from him altogether, so that he never comes face to face with it. Animal vigor never preponderates in him to the extent that it lets him attain that exuberant freedom in which he may say to himself: I, alone, can do that. . . . The slightest torpidity of the intestines, once it has become a habit, is quite sufficient to turn a genius into something mediocre, something "German"; the climate of Germany, alone, is more than enough to discourage the strongest and most heroic intestines. Upon the tempo of the body's functions closely depend the agility or the slowness of the spirit's feet; indeed spirit itself is only a form of these bodily functions. Enumerate the places in which men of great intellect have been and are still found; where wit, subtlety, and malice are a part ,of happiness; where genius is almost necessarily athome: all of them have an unusually dry atmosphere. Paris, Provence, Florence, Jerusalem, Athens-these names prove this: that genius is dependent on dry air, on clear skies-in other words, on rapid organic functions, on the possibility of contenuously securing for one's self great and even s quantities of energy. I have a case in mind where a man of significant and independent mentality became a narrow, craven specialist, an d a crank, simply because he had no feeling for climate. I myself might have come to the same end, if illness had not forced me to reason, and to reflect upon reason realistically. Now long practice has taught me to read
the effects of climatic and meteorological influences, from self-observation, as though from a very delicate and reliable instrument, so that I can calculate the change in the degree of at MOSpheric moisture by means of this physiological selfobservation, even on so short a journey as that from Turin to Milan; accordingly I think with horror of the ghastly fact that my whole life, up to the last ten years-the most dangerous years-has always been spent in the wron- places, places that should have been precisely forbidden to me. Naumburg, Pforta, Thuringia in general, Leipzig, Basel, Venice -so many disastrous places for my constitution. if I have not a single happy memory of my childhood and youth, it would be foolish to account for this by so-called "moral" causes-as, for instance, the incontestable lack of sufficient companionship; f or this lack is present to-day as it was before and it does not prevent me from being cheerful and brave. But it was ignorance of physiology-that confounded "Idealism"-that was the real curse of my life, the superfluous and stupid element in it; from which nothing good could develop, for which there can be no settlement and no compensation. The consequences of this "Idealism" explain all the blunders, the great aberrations of instinct, and the modest specializations" which diverted me from my life-task; as, for instance, the fact that I became a philologist-why not at least a doctor or anything else that might have opened my eyes? During my stay at Basel, my whole intellectual routine, including my daily schedule, was an utterly senseless abuse of extraordinary powers, without any sort of compensation for the strength I spent, without even a thought of its exhaustion and the problem of replacement. I lacked that subtle egoism, the protection that an imperative instinct gives; I regarded all men as my equals, I was 4@disinterested," I forgot my distance from others-in short, I was in a condition for which I can never forgive myself. When I had almost reached the end, simply because I had almost reached it, I began to reflect upon the basic absurdity of my life-'tldealism.3) It was illness that first brought me to reason. 3 The choice of nutrition; the choice of climate and locality; the third thing in which one must not on any account make a blunder, concerns the method of recuperation or recreation. Here, again, according to the extent to which a spirit is sui generis, the limits of what is perrriitted-that is, beneficial to him-become more and more narrow. In my case, reading in general is one of my methods of recuperation; consequently it is a part of that which enables me to escape from myself, to wander in strange sciences and strange souls@f that, about which I am no longer in earnest. Indeed, reading allows me to recover from my earnestness. When I am deep in work, no books are to be seen near me; I carefully guard against allowing any one to speak or even to think in my presence. For that is what reading amounts to. . . . Has any one ever actually noticed, that, during that profound tension to which the state of pregnancy condemns the mind, and fundamentally, the whole organism, accident and every kind of external stimulus acts too vigorouslv and penetrates too deeply? One must avoid accident and external stimuli as far as possible: a sort of self-circumvallation is one of the first instinctive precautions of spiritual pregnancy. Shall I permit a strange thought to climb secretly over the wall? For that is just what reading would mean.The periods of work and productivity are followed by periods of recuperation: to me, ye pleasant, intellectual, intelligent books! Shall it be a German book? I must go back six months to catch myself with a book in my hand. What was it? An excellent study by Victor Brochard, Les Seeptiques Grecques, in reading which my Laertiana I was of great help to me. The skeptics! the only honorable types among that double-faced, aye, quintuple-faced race, the philosophers! . . . Otherwise I almost always take refuge in the same books, few in number, books exactly fitting my needs. Perhaps it is not in my nature to read much, or variously: a library makes me ill. Neither is it my nature to love much or many kinds of
things. Suspicion, even hostility towards new books is nearer to my instinct than "toleration," largeur de cteur, and other forms of "neighborly love." . . . Ultimately it is to a few old French authors that I return again and again; I believe only in French culture, and regard everything else in Europe which calls itself "culture" as pure misunderstanding. It is hardly necessary to speak of the German variety. . . . The few instances of higher culture I have encountered in Germany were all French in their origin, above all, Madame Cosima Wagner, who had by far the most superior judgment in matters of taste that I have ever heard. Even if I do not read, but literally love Pascal, as the most instructive sacrifice to Christianity, killing himself slowly, first in body, then in mind in accord with the logic of this most horrible form of inhuman cruelty; even if I have something of Montaigne's malice in my soul, and-who knows?-perhaps in my body, too; even if my artist's taste endeavors to protect the names of Moli6re, Comeille, and Racine, not without bitterness, against a wild genius like Shakespear -all this does not prevent me from regarding everr e the modem Frenchmen as charming companions also. I can imagine no century in history in which a netful of more inquisitive and at the same time more subtle psychologists could be drawn up to, gether than in present-day Paris. I will name a few at random-for their number is by no means small -Paul Bourget, Pierre Loti, Gyp, Meilhac, Anatole France, Jules LemoCitre; or, singling out one of strong race, a genuine Latin, of whom I am particularly fond, Guy de Maupassant. Between ourselves, I prefer this generation even to its great masters, all of whom were corrupted by German philosophy (Taine, for instance, by Hegel, whom he has to thank for his misunderstanding of great men and great ages). Wherever Germany penetrates, she corrupts culture. It was the war which first "redeemed" the spirit of France. . . . Stendhal is one of the happiest accidents of my life-for everything epochal in that life came to me by accident, never by recommendation-Stendhal is quite priceless, with his anticipatory psychologist's eye; with his grasp of facts, reminiscent of the greatest of all masters of facts (ex ungue Napoleoneum); and, last, but not least, as an honest atheist-a specimen both rare and difficult to discover in Francehonor to Prosper M6rim6e! . . . Perhaps I am even envious of Stendhal? He robbed me of the best atheistic joke I of all people could have made: "God's only excuse is that He does not exist." . . . I myself have said somewhere-What hitherto has been the greatest objection to Life?-God. . . 4 It was Heinrich Heine who gave me the highest -conception of a lyrical poet. I search vainly through the kingdoms of all the ages for anything to equal his sweet and passionate music. He possessed that divine wickedness, without which I cannot conceive ,of perfection; I value men and races, according to the necessity they have to imagine a god partaking of the nature of the satyr. And how masterfully he handles German! Some day men will declare of Heine and myself that we were by far the greatest of all artists in the German language; that we outstripped incalculably all that pure Germans could do with this language. I must be profoundly related to Byron's Manfred: I discovered all his abysses in my own soul-at thirteen I was ripe for this book. Words fail me, I have merely a glance of contempt for those who dare to mention Faust in the presence of Manfred. The Germans are incapable of a conception of greatness-witness Schuniann! Angry at this cloying Saxon, I once composed a counter-overture to Manfred, of which Hans von Billow declared he had never seen the like@ before on paper: it was a sheer violation of Euterpe. Seeking for my highest formula for Shakespeare, I invariably find only this: he conceived the type of CTsar. Such things a man cannot guess-he either is the thing, or he is not. The great poet draws only from his own experience-to such an extent that later he can no longer endure his own work. After glancing at my ZarathWtra, I pace to and fro in my room for a half hour, unable to control an unbearable fit of sobbing. I know of no more, heart-rending
reading than Shakespeare: what he must have suffered to be so much in need of playing the clown! Is Hamlet understood? Not doubt but certainty drives one mad. But to feel this,. one must be profound, abysmal, a philosopher.We all fear the truth. And, to make a confession: I feel instinctively certain that Lord Bacon is the originator, the self-torturer, of this most appalling literature: what do I care about the wretched gabble of American fools and half-wits? But the power for the greatest realism in vision is not only compatible with the greatest realism in deeds, with the monstrous, with crime-it actually presupposes the latter. . . . We hardly know enough about Lord Bacon-the first realist in the, highest sense of the word-to be sure of everything he did, everything he willed, and everything he experienced in himself. To the devil with the critics! Suppose I had christened my Zaratkustra with a name not my own-with Richard Wagner's, for instance -the insight of two thousand years would not have sufficed to guess that the author of Human, all-tooHuman was the visionary of Zaratkustra. 5 In speaking of the recreations of my life, I must express a word or two of gratitude for the one which has afforded me by far the greatest and heartiest refreshment. This was undoubtedly my intimate relationship with Richard Wagner. I pass over my other relationships with men quite lightly; but at no price would I have my life deprived of those days at Tribschen-days of confidence, of cheerfulness, of sublime flashes, and of profound moments. I know not what Wagner may have been for others; but no cloud ever obscured our sky. And this brings me back again to France-I have no quarrel with Wagnerites, and hoc genus omne, who think to honor Wagner by believing him to be like themselves; for such people I have only a contemptuous curl of my lip. With my nature, so alien to everything Teutonic that the mere presence of a German retards my digestion, my first contact with Wagner was also the first moment in my life in which I breathed freely: I felt him, I honored him, as a foreigner, as the antithesis of and incarnate protest against all "German virtues." We who as children breathed the marshy atmosphere of the fifties, are necessarily pessimists with regard to the idea "German"; we can be nothing else but revolutionaries-we can give our assent to no state of affairs in which a hypocrite is at the top. It is a matter of indifference to me whether this hypocrite acts in different colors to-day, whether he dresses in scarlet or dons the uniform of a hussar.' Very good, then! Wagner, too, was a revolutionary-he Red from the Germans. The artist has no home in Europe except in Paris; that subtlety of all the five senses which is the condition of Wagner's art, that sensitivity to the nuance, to psychological morbiditythese are to be found only in Paris. Nowhere else is there this passion for problems of form, this seriousness about the mise-en-sc@ne, which is the Parisian seriousness par excellence. In Germany one can have no notion of the tremendous ambition that lives in the soul of a Parisian artist. The German is good-natured. IVagner was by no means good-natured. . . . But I have already said enough on the subject of Wagner's attachments (see Be, yond Good and Evil, Aphorism 2 69), and about those to whom he is most closely related. He is one of the late French ronianticists, that high-soaring and heaven-aspiring band of artists, like Delacroix and Berlioz, who are essentially sick and incurable, pure fanatics of expression, virtuosos through and through. . . Who was the first intelligent follower of Wagner? Charles Baudelaire, the same man who was the first to understand Delacroix-that typical decadent, in whom a whole generation of artists has recognized itself; he was perhaps the last of them too. . . . What is it that I have never forgiven Wagner? The fact that he condescended to the Germans-that he became a German Imperialist. . . . IN'herever Germany spreads, she corrupts culture. 6
All things considered, I could never have survived my youth without Wagnerian music. For I seemed condemned to the society of Germans. If a man wishes to rid himself of a feeling of unbearable oppression., he may have to take to hashish. Well, I had to@ take to Wagner. Wagner is the counterpoison to everything essentially German-he is a poison, I do not, deny it. From the moment that Tristan was arranged for the piano-my compliments, Herr von Biilow!-I was a Wagnerite. I deemed Wagner's previous works beneath m@they were too common, too "German.77 . . . But to this day l,am still looking for a work to equal Tristan in dangerous fascination, that gruesome yet sweet quality of infinity; I seek among all the arts in vain. All the bizarreries of Leonardo da Vinci lose their charm with the first note of Tristan. It is absolutely Wagner's non plifs idtra; the Mastersingers and the Ring were mere relaxation to him. To become more healthy-this is a step backwards for a nature like Wagner's. I regard it as a firstclass bit of good luck to have lived at the right time, and to have lived precisely among Germans, in order to be ripe for this work: so strongly in me works the curiosity of the psychologist. The world must be a poor thing for him who has never been unhealthy enough for this "voluptuousness of Hell": it is allowable, it is even imperative, that one here employ a mystic formula. I suppose I know better than any one else the prodigies of which Wagner was capable, the fifty worlds of strange ecstasies to reach which no one but he had win,-s strong enough; and as I'am today sufficiently powerful to turn even the most dubious and dangerous things to my own advantage, and thus to grow more powerful, I name Wagner as the greatest benefactor of my life. The bond which unites us is the fact that we have suff ered greater agony, even at each other's hands, than most -men of this century are able to bear; and this will associate our names forever. For, just as Wagner is merely a misunderstanding among Germans, so surely am I, and ever will be. You must first have two centuries of psychological and artistic discipline, my dear countrymen! But you can never turn back the hands of the clock. 7 To the most exceptional of my readers I should like to say just a word as to what I really demand of music. It should be cheerful and yet profound, like an October afternoon. It should be unique, wanton, and tender, and like a dainty, sweet woman in roguishness and grace. . . . I shall never admit that a German can understand what music is. Those musicians, the greatest of them, who are called German, are all foreigners, Slavs, Croats, Italians, Dutchmen-or Jews; or else, like Heinrich Schiitz, Bach, and Hdndel, they are Germans of a strong race, a type now extinct. I myself have still enough of the Pole in me to let all other music go, if only Chopin is left to me. For three reasons I would except '"7agner's Siegfried Idyll, and perhaps also a few things of Liszt, who excelled all other musicians in the noble accent of his orchestration; and finally everything that has come from beyond the Alps-this side of the Alps. I would not know how to dispense with Rossini, and still less with my Southern counterpart in music, my Venetian maestro, Pietro Gasti. And when I say beyond the Alps, I really mean only Venice. Seeking to find another word for music, I inevitably come back to Venice. I do not know how to make a distinction between tears and music. I do not know how to think of joy, or of the south, without a shudder of fear. On the bridge I stood But lately, in the dark night. From far away came the sound of singing; In golden drops it rolled away
Over the glittering rim. Gondolas, lights, music Drunk, swam far out in the darkness... My soul, a stringed instrument, Invisibly moved, Sang a gondola song secretly, Gleaming in bright happiness. -Did any hearken? 8 In all these things-the choice of food, locality, climate, and recreation-the instinct of selfpreservation dominates, expressing itself with least ambiguity in the form of an instinct of selfdefense. To limit what one hears and sees, to detach one's self from many things-this is elementary prudence, the first proof that a man is not an accident but a necessity. The customary word for this instinct of self-defense is taste. It is imperative not only to say ig no" where "yes" would indicate "disinterestedness," but even to say "no" as seldom as Possible. One must separate from anything that forces one to repeat "no," again and again. The reason for this is that all expenditures of defensive energy, however slight, involve enormous and absolutely superfluous losses when they become regular and habitual. Our greatest expenditure of energy is comprised of these small frequent discharges of it. To preserve one's self intact, to hold things at a dis. tanc@o not deceive yourselves on this point!-is an expenditure of energy and one directed towards purely negative ends. The mere constant necessity of being on his guard may weaken a man so much that he can no longer defend himself. Suppose I were to step out of my house, and, instead of the quiet and aristocratic city of Turin, I were to find a German provincial town; my instinct would have to pull itself together to repel everything that would invade it from this downtrodden cowardly world. Or suppose I found a German y metropoli@that stru cture of vice in which nothing grows, but where every single thing, good or bad, is imported. Would I not have to become a hedgehog? ' But to have quills amounts to a squandering of strength; a twofold luxury, for, if we chose, we could dispense with them and open our hands instead. . . . Another form of prudence and self-defense consists in reacting as seldom as possible, and in detaching one's self from those circumstances and conditions which condemn one, as it were, to suspend one's "liberty" and initiative, and become a mere bundle of reactions. A good type of this is furnished by intercourse with books. The scholar who actually does little else than welter in @ sea of books-the average philologist may handle two hundred a da@finally loses completely the ability to think for himself. He cannot think unless he has a book in his hands. When he thinks, he responds to a stimulus (a thought he has read)-and finally all he does is react. The scholar devotes all his energy to affirming or denying or criticizing matter which has already been thought out-he no longer thinks himself. . . . In him the instinct of selfdefense has decayed, otherwise he would defend himself against books. The scholar is a decadent. With my own eyes I have seen gifted, richly-endowed, free-spirited natures already "read to pieces" at thirty-nothing but matches that have to be struck before they can emit any sparks-or "thoughts." To read a book early in the morning, at daybreak, in the vigor and dawn of one's strength -this is sheer viciousness! 9
At this point I can no longer evade a direct answer to the question, kow one becomes wkat one is. And here I touch upon the master stroke of the art of self-preservation-selfiskness. If we assume that one's life-task-the determination and the fate of one's life-task-appreciably surpasses the average measure, nothing would be more dangerous than to come face to face with one's self by the side of this life-task. The fact that one becomes what one is, presupposes that one has not the remotest suspicion ,of what one is. From this standpoint a unique meaning and value is given to even the blunders of one's life, the temporary deviations and aberrations, the hesitations, the timidities, the earnestness wasted upon tasks remote from the central one. In these matters there is opportunity for great wisdom, perhaps even the highest wisdom; in circumstances, where nosce teipsum would be the passport to ruin, the forgetting of one's self, the misunderstanding, the belittling, the narrowing and the mediocratizing of one's self, amount to reason itself. In moral terms: to love one's neighbor and to live,for others and for other thin-s may be the means of protection for the maintenance of the most rigorous egoism. This is the exceptional case in which I, contrary to my custom and conviction, take the side of the "selfless" tendencies, for here they are engaged in the service of selfishness and self-discipline. The whole surface of consciousness-for consciousness is a surface-must be kept free of any of the great imperatives. Beware even of every striking word, of every striking gesture! They all lead to the dangerous possibility that the instinct may "understand itself" too soon. Meanwhile the organizing "idea," destined to mastery, continues to grow in the depths-it begins to command, it leads you slowly back from your deviations and aberrations, it makes ready individual qualities and capacities, which will some day make themselves felt as indispensable to the whole of your task -gradually it cultivates all the serviceable faculties before it ever whispers a word concerning the dominant task, the "goal," the "purpose," and the "meaning." Viewed from this angle, my life is simply amazing. For the task of transvaluing values, more abilities were necessary perhaps than could ever be found combined in one individual; and above all, opposed abilities which must yet not be mutually inimical and destructive. An order of rank among capacities; distance; the art of separating without creating hostility; to confuse nothing; to reconcile nothing; to be tremendously various and yet to be the reverse of chaos-all this was the first condition, the long secret work and artistry of my instinct. Its superior guardianship manifested itself so powerfully that at no time did I have any intimation of what was growing within me-until suddenly all my capacities were ripe, and one day burst forth in full perfection. I can recall no instance of my ever having exerted myself, there is no evidence of struggle in my life; I am the reverse of a heroic nature. To "will" something, to "strive" after something, to have a "purpose" or a "desire" in my mind - I know none of these things from experience. At this very moment I look out upon my future-a broad future!-as upon a calm sea: no longing disturbs its serenity. I have not the slightest wish that anything should be, different than it is: I myself do not wish to be different. I have always been this way. I have never had a desire. A man who, after his forty-fourth year, can say that he has never troubled himself about honors, women, or money!not that they were lacking to me. . . . It was in this way, for example, that one day I became a University Professor-such an idea had never even entered my head, for I was hardly twenty-four. In the same way, two years before, I had one day become a philologist, in the sense that my first philological work,' my start in every way, was requested by my master, Ritschl, for publication in his Rheinisckes Museum. (Ritschl-I say it in all reverence-was the only genial scholar I have ever known. He possessed that engaging depravity which distinguishes us Thuringians, and which can make even a German sympathetic-even to arrive at truth we prefer roundabout ways. These words should not be taken as a deprecation in any sense of my Thuringian co-dweller, the intelligent Leopold von Ranke.
10 The question will be raised why I should actually have related all these trivial and, judged according to ordinary standards, insignificant details. I would seem to be hurting my own cause, more particularly if I am destined to assume great tasks. I rep ly that these trivial details-diet, locality, climate, recreation, the whole casuistry of self-love-are inconceivably more important than everything men have hitherto considered essential. It is just here that we must begin to learn afresh. All the things men have valued with such earnestness heretofore are not even realities; they are mere fantasies, or, more strictly speaking, lies arising from the evil instincts of diseased and, in the deepest sense, harmful natures-all the concepts, "God," "soul," "virtue, "sin," "Beyond," "truth," "eternal life." And yet men sought in them for the greatness of human nature, its "divinity. All questions of politics, of the social order, of education, have been falsified from top to bottom, because the most harmful men have been taken for great men, and because people were taught to despise the "details," more properly, the fundamentals of life. If I now compare myself with those creatures who have hitherto been honored as the first among men, the difference becomes obvious. I do not consider these so-called "first" men as human beings-for me they are the excrement of mankind, the products of disease and the instinct of revenge: they are so many monsters, rotten, utterly incurable, avenging themselves on life. . . . I would be their very opposite. It is my privilege to be extremely sensitive to any sign of healthy instincts. There is not a morbid trait in me; even in times of serious illness I have never become morbid; you will look in vain for a trace of fanaticism in my nature. No one can point out -I single moment of my life in which I have assumed either an arrogant or a pathetic attitude. Pathetic attitudes do not belong to greatness; he who needs attitudes is false. . . . Beware of all picturesque men t Life came most easily to me when it demanded the greatest labor from me. Whoever could have seen me during the seventy days of this autumn, when, without interruption, with a sense of responsibility to posterity, I performed so much work of the highest type-work no man did before or will do after m@would have noticed no sign of tension in me, but on the contrary exuberant freshness and gayety. Never have my meals been more enjoyable, never has my sleep been better. I know of no other manner of dealing with great tasks than as play: this, as a sign of greatness, is an essential prerequisite. The slightest constraint, a gloomy appearance, anv hard accent in the voice -all these things are objections to a man, but how much more to his work! . . . One must have no nerves. . . . Even to suffer from solitude is an objection-the only thing I have always suffered from is "multitude," the infinite variety of my own soul. At the absurdly tender age of seven, I already knew that no human speech would ever reach me: did any one ever see me disconsolate therefor? To-day I still possess the same affability towards everybody, I am even full of consideration for the humblest: in all this there is not an ounce of arrogance or contempt. He whom I despise divines the fact that I despise him; my mere existence angers those who have bad blood in their veins. My formula for greatness in man is amor fati: that a man should wish to have nothing altered, either in the future, the past, or for all eternity. Not only must he endure necessity, and on no account conceal it-all idealism is falsehood in the face of necessity-but he must love it. . . .