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Title: Untimely meditations on religion and morality: Extracts from The Will to Power
Post by: σα(ρε)μαλι on 02 Mar, 2006, 00:57:23
Πολλοί μυωπικοί κι εμπαθείς τον κατηγόρησαν ως φασίστα. Η σφυρηλάτηση εργαλείων για την ολιστική κριτική κατά της υποκρισίας του δυτικού πολιτισμού, όμως, διαφέρει ριζικά από την άρνηση της νεωτερικότητας και τη σωτηρία του καπιταλισμού.


I. Critique of Religion

1. Genesis of Religions

142 (Jan.-Fall 1888)

Toward a critique of the law-book of Manu.-- The whole book is founded on the holy lie. Was the well-being of mankind the inspiration of this system? Was this species of man, who believes in the interestedness of every action, interested or not in imposing this system? To improve mankind--how is this intention inspired? Where is the concept of improvement derived from?

We find a species of man, the priestly, which feels itself to be the norm, the high point and the supreme expression of the type man: this species derives the concept "improvement" from itself. It believes in its own superiority, it wills itself to be superior in fact: the origin of the holy lie is the will to power--

Establishment of rule: to this end, the rule of those concepts that place a non plus ultra of power with the priesthood. Power through the lie--in the knowledge that one does not possess it physically, militarily--the lie as a supplement to power, a new concept of "truth."

It is a mistake to suppose an unconscious and naive development here, a kind of self-deception-- Fanatics do not invent such carefully thought-out systems of oppression-- The most cold-blooded reflection was at work here; the same kind of reflection as a Plato applied when he imagined his "Republic." "He who wills the end must will the means"--all lawgivers have been clear in their minds regarding this politician's insight.

We possess the classic model in specifically Aryan forms: we may therefore hold the best-endowed and most reflective species of man responsible for the most fundamental lie that has ever been told-- That lie has been copied almost everywhere: Aryan influence has corrupted all the world--

143 (March-June 1888)

A lot is said today about the Semitic spirit of the New Testament: but what is called Semitic is merely priestly--and in the racially purest Aryan law-book, in Manu, this kind of "Semitism," i.e., the spirit of the priest, is worse than anywhere else.

The development of the Jewish priestly state is not original: they learned the pattern in Babylon: the pattern is Aryan. When, later on, the same thing became dominant in a Europe with a preponderance of Germanic blood, this was in accordance with the spirit of the ruling race: a great atavism. The Germanic Middle Ages aimed at a revival of the Aryan order of castes.

Mohammedanism in turn learned from Christianity: the employment of the "beyond" as an instrument of punishment.

The pattern of an unchanging community with priests at its head--this oldest of the great cultural products of Asia in the realm of organization--was bound to invite reflection and imitation in every respect. Again Plato: but above all the Egyptians.

144 (1885)

Moralities and religions are the principal means by which one can make whatever one wishes out of man, provided one possesses a superfluity of creative forces and can assert one's will over long periods of time--in the form of legislation, religions, and customs.

145 (1884-1888)

What an affirmative Aryan religion, the product of the ruling class, looks like: the law-book of Manu. (The deification of the feeling of power in Brahma: interesting that it arose among the warrior caste and was only transferred to the priests.)

What an affirmative Semitic religion, the product of the ruling class, looks like: the law-book of Mohammed, the older parts of the Old Testament. (Mohammedanism, as a religion for men, is deeply contemptuous of the sentimentality and mendaciousness of Christianity--which it feels to be a woman's religion.)

What a negative Semitic religion, the product of an oppressed class, looks like: the New Testament (--in Indian-Aryan terms: a chandala religion).

What a negative Aryan religion looks like, grown up among the ruling orders: Buddhism.

It is quite in order that we possess no religion of oppressed Aryan races, for that is a contradiction: a master race is either on top or it is destroyed.

151 (1885-1886)

Religions are destroyed by belief in morality. The Christian moral God is not tenable: hence "atheism"--as if there could be no other kinds of god.

Similarly, culture is destroyed by belief in morality. For when one discovers the necessary conditions out of which alone it can grow, one no longer wants it (Buddhism).

2. History of Christianity

168 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)

--The church is precisely that against which Jesus preached--and against which he taught his disciples to fight--

169 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)

A god who died for our sins: redemption through faith; resurrection after death--all these are counterfeits of true Christianity for which that disastrous wrong-headed fellow [Paul] must be held responsible.

The exemplary life consists of love and humility; in a fullness of heart that does not exclude even the lowliest; in a formal repudiation of maintaining one's rights, of self-defense, of victory in the sense of personal triumph; in faith in blessedness here on earth, in spite of distress, opposition and death; in reconciliation; in the absence of anger; not wanting to be rewarded; not being obliged to anyone; the completest spiritual-intellectual independence; a very proud life beneath the will to a life of poverty and service.

After the church had let itself be deprived of the entire Christian way of life and had quite specifically sanctioned life under the state, that form of life that Jesus had combatted and condemned, it had to find the meaning of Christianity in something else: in faith in unbelievable things, in the ceremonial of prayers, worship, feasts, etc. The concept "sin," "forgiveness," "reward"--all quite unimportant and virtually excluded from primitive Christianity--now comes into the foreground.

An appalling mishmash of Greek philosophy and Judaism; asceticism; continual judging and condemning; order of rank, etc.

191 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)

Christians have never put into practice the acts Jesus prescribed for them, and the impudent chatter about "justification by faith" and its unique and supreme significance is only the consequence of the church's lack of courage and will to confess the works which Jesus demanded.

The Buddhist acts differently from the non-Buddhist; the Christian acts as all the world does and possesses a Christianity of ceremonies and moods.

The profound and contemptible mendaciousness of Christianity in Europe--: we really are becoming the contempt of the Arabs, Hindus, Chinese-- Listen to the speeches of German's first statesman on what has really occupied Europe for forty years now--listen to the language, the court-chaplain Tartuffery.

3. Christian Ideals

II. Critique of Morality

1. Origin of Moral Valuations

2. The Herd

3. General Remarks on Morality

4. How Virtue is Made to Dominate

5. The Moral Ideal

A. Critique of Ideals

338 (Jan.-Fall 1888)

What is the counterfeiting aspect of morality?-- It pretends to know something, namely what "good and evil" is. That means wanting to know why mankind is here, its goal, its destiny. That means wanting to know that mankind has a goal, a destiny--

339 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)

The very obscure and arbitrary idea that mankind has a single task to perform, that it is moving as a whole towards some goal, is still very young. Perhaps we shall be rid of it again before it becomes a "fixed idea"--

This mankind is not a whole: it is an inextricable multiplicity of ascending and descending life-processes--it does not have a youth followed by maturity and finally by old age; the strata are twisted and entwined together--and in a few millennia there may still be even younger types of man than we can show today. Decadence, on the other hand, belongs to all epochs of mankind: refuse and decaying matter are found everywhere; it is one of life's processes to exclude the forms of decline and decay.


When Christian prejudice was a power, this question did not exist: meaning lay in the salvation of the individual soul; whether mankind could endure for a long or a short time did not come into consideration. The best Christians desired that it should end as soon as possible--concerning that which was needful to the individual there was no doubt--

The task of every present individual was the same as for a future individual in any kind of future: value, meaning, domain of values were fixed, unconditional, eternal, one with God-- That which deviated from this eternal type was sinful, devilish, condemned--

For each soul, the gravitational center of valuation was placed within itself: salvation or damnation! The salvation of the immortal soul! Extremest form of personalization-- For every soul there was only one perfecting; only one ideal; only one way to redemption-- Extremest form of equality of rights, tied to an optical magnification of one's own importance to the point of insanity-- Nothing but insanely important souls, revolving about themselves with a frightful fear--

No man believes now in this absurd self-inflation: and we have sifted our wisdom through a sieve of contempt. Nevertheless, the optical habit of seeking the value of man in his approach to an ideal man remains undisturbed: fundamentally, one upholds the perspective of personalization as well as equality of rights before the ideal. In summa: one believes one knows what the ultimate desideratum is with regard to the ideal man--

This belief, however, is only the consequence of a dreadful deterioration through the Christian ideal: as one at once discovers with every careful examination of the "ideal type." One believes one knows, first that an approach to one type is desirable; secondly, that one knows what this type is like; thirdly, that every deviation from this type is a regression, an inhibition, a loss of force and power in man--

To dream of conditions in which this perfect man will be in the vast majority: even our socialists, even the Utilitarians have not gone farther than this.--

In this way a goal seems to have entered the development of mankind: at any rate, the belief in progress towards the ideal is the only form in which a goal in history is thought of today. In summa: one has transferred the arrival of the "kingdom of God" into the future, on earth, in human form--but fundamentally one has held fast to the belief in the old ideal--

B. Critique of the "Good Man," the Saint, etc.

352 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)

The concept of power, whether of a god or of a man, always includes both the ability to help and the ability to harm. Thus it is with the Arabs; thus with the Hebrews. Thus with all strong races.

It is a fateful step when one separates the power for the one from the power for the other into a dualism-- In this way, morality becomes the poisoner of life--

C. Disagreement of the So-Called Evil Qualities

377 (1883-1888)

Falsity.--Every sovereign instinct has the others for its tools, retainers, flatterers: it never lets itself be called by its ugly name: and it countenances no praise in which it is not also praised indirectly. All praise and blame in general crystallizes around every sovereign instinct to form a rigorous order and etiquette. This is one of the causes of falsity.

Every instinct that struggles for mastery but finds itself under a yoke requires for itself, as strengthening and as support for its self-esteem, all the beautiful names and recognized values: so, as a rule, it ventures forth under the name of the "master" it is combatting and from whom it wants to get free (e.g., the fleshly desires or the desires for power under the dominion of Christian values).-- This is the other cause of falsity.

Perfect naïveté reigns in both cases: the falsity does not become conscious. It is a sign of a broken instinct when man sees the driving force and its "expression" ("the mask") as separate things--a sign of self-contradiction, and victorious far less often. Absolute innocence in bearing, word, affect, a "good conscience" in falsity, the certainty with which one grasps the greatest and most splendid words and postures--all this is necessary for victory.

In the other case: when one has extreme clear-sightedness one needs the genius of the actor and tremendous training in self-control if one is to achieve victory. That is why priests are the most skillful conscious hypocrites; then princes, whom rank and ancestry have endowed with a kind of acting ability. Thirdly, men of society, diplomats. Fourthly, women.

Basic idea: falsity seems so profound, so omnisided, the will so clearly opposed to direct self-knowledge and the calling of things by their right names, that it is very highly probable that truth, will to truth is really something else and only a disguise. (The need for faith is the greatest brake-shoe on truthfulness.)

380 (Spring-Fall 1887)

1. Systematic falsification of history; so that it may provide the proof of moral valuation:

a. decline of a people and corruption;
b. rise of a people and virtue;
c. zenith of a people ("its culture") as a consequence of moral elevation.

2. Systematic falsification of great human beings, the great creators, the great epochs:

one desires that faith should be the distinguishing mark of the great: but slackness, skepticism, "immorality," the right to throw off a faith, belong to greatness (Caesar, also Homer, Aristophanes, Leonardo, Goethe). One always suppresses the main thing, their "freedom of will"--

382 (Spring-Fall 1887; rev. Spring-Fall 1888)

Schopenhauer interpreted high intellectuality as liberation from the will; he did not want to see the freedom from moral prejudice which is part of the emancipation of the great spirit, the typical immorality of the genius; he artfully posited the only thing he held in honor, the moral value of "depersonalization," as the condition of spiritual activity, of "objective" viewing. "Truth," even in art, appears after the withdrawal of the will--

I see a fundamentally different valuation cutting across all the moral idiosyncrasies: I know nothing of such an absurd distinction between "genius" and the moral and immoral world of the will. The moral man is a lower species than the immoral, a weaker species; indeed--he is a type in regard to morality, but not a type in himself; a copy, a good copy at best--the measure of his value lies outside him. I assess a man by the quantum of power and abundance of his will: not by its enfeeblement and extinction; I regard a philosophy which teaches denial of the will as a teaching of defamation and slander-- 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 account the evil and painful character of existence a reproach to it, but hope rather that it will one day be more evil and painful than hitherto--

The high point of the spirit imagined by Schopenhauer was to attain to the recognition that there is no meaning in anything, in short, to recognize what the good man already instinctively does-- He denies the possibility of a higher kind of intellect--he took his insight for a non plus ultra. Here spirituality is placed much lower than goodness; its highest value (e.g., as art) would be to urge and prepare moral conversion: absolute domination of moral values.--

Beside Schopenhauer I would characterize Kant: nothing Greek, absolutely antihistorical (his passage on the French Revolution) and a moral fanatic (Goethe's passage on radical evil). Saintliness was in the background in his case, too.

I need a critique of the saint--

Hegel's value. "Passion."--

Shopkeeper's philosophy of Mr. Spencer; complete absence of an ideal, except that of the mediocre man.

Fundamental instinctive principle of all philosophers and historians and psychologists: everything of value in man, art, history, science, religion, technology must be proved to be of moral value, morally conditioned, in aim, means and outcome. Everything understood in the light of the supreme value: e.g., Rousseau's question concerning civilization: "Does man become better through it?"--an amusing question, since the reverse is obvious and is precisely that which speaks in favor of civilization.

383 (March-June 1888)

Religious morality.-- Affect, great desire, the passion for power, love, revenge, possessions--: moralists want to extinguish and uproot them, to "purify" the soul of them.

The logic is: the desires often produce great misfortune--consequently they are evil, reprehensible. A man must free himself from them: otherwise he cannot be a good man--

This is the same logic as: "if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out.: In the particular case in which that dangerous "innocent from the country," the founder of Christianity, recommended this practice to his disciples, the case of sexual excitation, the consequence is, unfortunately, not only the loss of an organ but the emasculation of a man's character-- And the same applies to the moralist's madness that demands, instead of the restraining of the passions, their extirpation. Its conclusion is always: only the castrated man is a good man.

Instead of taking into service the great sources of strength, those impetuous torrents of the soul that are so often dangerous and overwhelming, and economizing them, this most shortsighted and pernicious mode of thought, the moral mode of thought, wants to make them dry up.

384 (1885-1886)

Overcoming of the affects?-- No, if what is implied is their weakening and extirpation. But putting them into service: which may also mean subjecting them to a protracted tyranny (not only as an individual, but as a community, race, etc.). At last they are confidently granted freedom again: they love us as good servants and go voluntarily wherever our best interests lie.

385 (Spring-Fall 1887)

Moral intolerance is an expression of weakness in a man: he is afraid of his own "immorality," he must deny his strongest drives because he does not yet know how to employ them. Thus the most fruitful regions of the earth remain uncultivated the longest:-- the force is lacking that could here become master--

386 (Spring-Fall 1887)

There are very naive people and men who believe that continual fine weather is something desirable: even today they believe, in rebus moralibus, [Moral matters.] that the "good man," and nothing but the "good man," is something desirable--and that the course of human evolution is directed toward the survival of the "good man" only (and that one must bend all one's efforts in that direction--). This is in the highest degree an uneconomic thought and, as stated, the acme of naïveté, nothing but the expression of the pleasing effect produced by the "good man" (he arouses no fear, he permits one to relax, he gives what one is able to take).

From a superior viewpoint one desires the contrary: the ever-increasing dominion of evil, the growing emancipation of man from the narrow and fear-ridden bonds of morality, the increase of force, in order to press the mightiest natural powers--the affects--into service.

387 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)

The whole conception of an order of rank among the passions: as if the right and normal thing were for one to be guided by reason--with the passions as abnormal, dangerous, semi-animal, and, moreover, so far as their aim is concerned, nothing other than desires for pleasure--

Passion is degraded (1) as if it were only in unseemly cases, and not necessarily and always, the motive force; (2) in as much as it has for its object something of no great value, amusement--

The misunderstanding of passion and reason, as if the latter were an independent entity and not rather a system of relations between various passions and desires; and as if every passion did not possess its quantum of reason--

388 (Spring-Fall 1887)

How, under the impress of the ascetic morality of depersonalization, it was precisely the affects of love, goodness, pity, even those of justice, magnanimity, heroism, that were necessarily misunderstood:

It is richness in personality, abundance in oneself, overflowing and bestowing, instinctive good health and affirmation of oneself, that produce great sacrifice and great love: it is strong and godlike selfhood from which these affects grow, just as surely as did the desire to become master, encroachment, the inner certainty of having a right to everything. What according to common ideas are opposite dispositions are rather one disposition; and if one is not firm and brave within oneself, one has nothing to bestow and cannot stretch our one's hand to protect and support--

How was one able so to transform these instincts that man thought valuable that which was directed against his self? when he sacrificed his self to another self. Oh the psychological wretchedness and mendaciousness that has hitherto laid down the law in the church and in church-infected philosophy!

If man is sinful through and through, then he ought only to hate himself. Fundamentally, he would have to treat his fellow men on the same basis as he treats himself; charity needs to be justified--its justification lies in the fact that God has commanded it.-- It follows from this, that all the natural instincts of man (the instinct of love, etc.) appear to be forbidden in themselves and only after they have been denied are they restored to their rights on the basis of obedience to God--Pascal, the admirable logician of Christianity, went so far! consider his relations to his sister. "Not to make oneself love" seemed Christian to him.
Title: God is dead
Post by: spiros on 02 Mar, 2006, 01:09:17

"God is dead" (German: "Gott ist tot") is a widely quoted phrase by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). It was first written in The Gay Science, section 108 (New Struggles), and then in section 125 (The Madman) but is also found in Nietzsche's classic work Also sprach Zarathustra, which is most responsible for popularizing the phrase. The full quote is as follows:

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it?
– Nietzsche, The Gay Science

God is dead is perhaps one of the most commonly misunderstood phrases in all of 19th century literature. The phrase should not be taken literally, as in, "God is now physically dead," or, "Jesus, both the son of God and God himself, died on the cross"; rather, it is Nietzsche's controversial way of saying that God has ceased to be a reckoning force in the people's lives, even if they don't recognize it. After all, the philosopher is famous for his "punning" writing style that can be easily perceived as ambiguous. Thus, according to Nietzsche, it is time to transcend both the concept of God and the "good vs. evil" dichotomy found within most religions. The phrase is also commonly misunderstood as an exultation, whereas it is clear from the full context that it is instead a lament.

The death of God is a way of saying that humans are no longer able to believe in a cosmic order. The death of God will lead, Nietzsche says, not only to the rejection of a belief of cosmic/physical order but also to a rejection of absolute values themselves— to the rejection of belief in an objective and universal moral law. This leads to nihilism, and it is what Nietzsche worked to find a solution for by re-evaluating the foundations of human values. This meant, to Nietzsche, looking for foundations that went deeper than the Christian values most people refuse to look beyond.

Nietzsche believed that a natural ground for morality should be sought in order to avoid this calamity. He believed that the majority of men did not recognize (or refused to acknowledge) this death out of the deepest-seated fear. Therefore, when the death did begin to become widely acknowledged, people would despair and nihilism would become rampant, as well as the relativistic belief that human will is a law unto itself— anything goes and all is permitted. This is partly why Nietzsche saw Christianity as nihilistic. Only by having the foresight to re-establish human values on a new, natural basis could this nightmare future be avoided.

Nietzsche believed there could be positive possibilities for humans without God. Relinquishing the belief in God opens the way for human's creative abilities to fully develop. The Christian God, with his arbitrary commands and prohibitions, would no longer stand in the way, so human beings might stop turning their eyes toward a supernatural realm and begin to acknowledge the value of this world. The recognition that "God is dead" would be like a blank canvas. It is a freedom to become something new, different, creative— a freedom to be something without being forced to accept the baggage of the past. Like an open sea, this can be both exhilarating and terrifying. It would be a tremendous responsibility, and, Nietzsche believed, many would not be up to it. Most people rely on rules and authorities to tell them what to do, what to value, how to live. The people who eventually learn to create their lives anew will represent a new stage in human transformation, that is, as Nietzsche advocated, an increasing measure to cultivate human qualities that continually strive for mastery and refinement in all matters, thus extolling existence.

It is widely believed that Nietzsche himself "proclaimed" the "death of God", but it should be acknowledged that in Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (The Gay Science) he put the words into the mouth of a "madman". In this passage, the man is described running through a marketplace shouting, "God is dead! God is dead!" He arouses some amusement; no one takes him seriously. Frustrated, the madman smashes his lantern on the ground, crying out that he has come too soon: people cannot yet see that they have killed God. He goes on to say, "This prodigious event is still on its way, and is traveling— it has not yet reached men's ears. Lightning and thunder need time, the light of the stars needs time, deeds need time, even after they are done, to be seen and heard." He does, however, also have his protagonist in the opening to Thus spake Zarathustra speak the words, commenting to himself after visiting a hermit who, every day, sings songs and lives to glorify his god:

"And what doeth the saint in the forest?” asked Zarathustra. The saint answered: “I make hymns and sing them; and in making hymns I laugh and weep and mumble: thus do I praise God. With singing, weeping, laughing, and mumbling do I praise the God who is my God. But what dost thou bring us as a gift?” When Zarathustra had heard these words, he bowed to the saint and said: “What should I have to give thee! Let me rather hurry hence lest I take aught away from thee!”- And thus they parted from one another, the old man and Zarathustra, laughing like schoolboys.When Zarathustra was alone, however, he said to his heart: “Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that God is dead!”

– Thus Spake Zarathustra, Zarathustra's Prologue, 2.

Coming across in a hymn of Martin Luther what Hegel described as the cruel words, the harsh utterance, namely, God is dead, the latter was perhaps the first great philosopher to develop the theme of God's death according to whom, to one form of experience God is dead. Commenting on Kant's first Critique, Heinrich Heine spoke of a dying God. Heine influenced Nietzsche. Since Heine and Nietzsche the phrase Death of God became popular. (K Satchidananda Murty, The Realm of Between, IIAS,1973)