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The Project Gutenberg EBook of
The Twilight of the Idols - The Antichrist, by
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

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almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
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Title: The Twilight of the Idols - The Antichrist
   Complete Works, Volume Sixteen

Author class: Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Editor: Oscar Levy

Translator: Anthony M. Ludovici

Release Date: June 7, 2016 [EBook #52263]

Language: English

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THE TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS

BY

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

Or, How to Philosophise with the Hammer


THE ANTICHRIST

_NOTES TO ZARATHUSTRA, AND ETERNAL RECURRENCE_


TRANSLATED BY

ANTHONY M. LUDOVICI


The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche

The First Complete and Authorised English Translation

Edited by Dr Oscar Levy

Volume Sixteen

T.N. FOULIS

13 & 15 FREDERICK STREET

EDINBURGH: AND LONDON

1911



  CONTENTS

  TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS

  TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
  PREFACE
  MAXIMS AND MISSILES
  THE PROBLEM OF SOCRATES
  "REASON" IN PHILOSOPHY
  HOW THE "TRUE WORLD" ULTIMATELY BECAME A FABLE
  MORALITY AS THE ENEMY OF NATURE
  THE FOUR GREAT ERRORS
  THE "IMPROVERS" OF MANKIND
  THINGS THE GERMANS LACK
  SKIRMISHES IN A WAR WITH THE ACT
  THINGS I OWE TO THE ANCIENTS

  THE ANTICHRIST

  ETERNAL RECURRENCE

  NOTES TO ZARATHUSTRA




TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE


_The Twilight of the Idols_ was written towards the end of the summer
of 1888, its composition seems to have occupied only a few days,--so
few indeed that, in _Ecce Homo_ (p. 118), Nietzsche says he hesitates
to give their number; but, in any case, we know it was completed on the
3rd of September in Sils Maria. The manuscript which was dispatched to
the printers on the 7th of September bore the title: "_Idle Hours of a
Psychologist_"; this, however, was abandoned in favour of the present
title, while the work was going through the press. During September
and the early part of October 1888, Nietzsche added to the original
contents of the book by inserting the whole section entitled "Things
the Germans Lack," and aphorisms 32-43 of "Skirmishes in a War with the
Age"; and the book, as it now stands, represents exactly the form in
which Nietzsche intended to publish it in the course of the year 1889.
Unfortunately its author was already stricken down with illness when
the work first appeared at the end of January 1889, and he was denied
the joy of seeing it run into nine editions, of one thousand each,
before his death in 1900.

Of _The Twilight of the Idols,_ Nietzsche says in _Ecce Homo_ (p.
118):--"If anyone should desire to obtain a rapid sketch of how
everything before my time was standing on its head, he should begin
reading me in this book. That which is called 'Idols' on the title-page
is simply the old truth that has been believed in hitherto. In plain
English, _The Twilight of the Idols_ means that the old truth is on its
last legs."

Certain it is that, for a rapid survey of the whole of Nietzsche's
doctrine, no book, save perhaps the section entitled "Of Old and New
Tables" in _Thus Spake Zarathustra,_ could be of more real value than
_The Twilight of the Idols._ Here Nietzsche is quite at his best. He
is ripe for the marvellous feat of the transvaluation of all values.
Nowhere is his language--that marvellous weapon which in his hand
became at once so supple and so murderous--more forcible and more
condensed. Nowhere are his thoughts more profound. But all this does
not by any means imply that this book is the easiest of Nietzsche's
works. On the contrary, I very much fear that, unless the reader is
well prepared, not only in Nietzscheism, but also in the habit of
grappling with uncommon and elusive problems, a good deal of the
contents of this work will tend rather to confuse than to enlighten
him in regard to what Nietzsche actually wishes to make clear in these
pages.

How much prejudice, for instance, how many traditional and deep-seated
opinions, must be uprooted, if we are to see even so much as an
important note of interrogation in the section entitled "The Problem
of Socrates"--not to speak of such sections as "Morality as the Enemy
of Nature," "The Four Great Errors," &c. The errors exposed in these
sections have a tradition of two thousand years behind them; and only a
fantastic dreamer could expect them to be eradicated by a mere casual
study of these pages. Indeed, Nietzsche himself looked forward only to
a gradual change in the general view of the questions he discussed; he
knew only too well what the conversion of "light heads" was worth, and
what kind of man would probably be the first to rush into his arms;
and, grand psychologist that he was, he guarded himself beforehand
against bad company by means of his famous warning:--"The first
adherents of a creed do not prove anything against it."

To the aspiring student of Nietzsche, however, it ought not to be
necessary to become an immediate convert in order to be interested in
the treasure of thought which Nietzsche here lavishes upon us. For
such a man it will be quite difficult enough to regard the questions
raised in this work as actual problems. Once, however, he has succeeded
in doing this, and has given his imagination time to play round these
questions _as_ problems, the particular turn or twist that Nietzsche
gives to their elucidation, may then perhaps strike him, not only as
valuable, but as absolutely necessary.

With regard to the substance of _The Twilight of the Idols,_ Nietzsche
says in _Ecce Homo_ (p. 119):--"There is the waste of an all-too-rich
autumn in this book: you trip over truths. You even crush some to
death, there are too many of them."

And what are these truths? They are things that are not yet held to
be true. They are the utterances of a man who, as a single exception,
escaped for a while the general insanity of Europe, with its blind
idealism in the midst of squalor, with its unscrupulous praise of
so-called "Progress" while it stood knee-deep in the belittlement
of "Man," and with its vulgar levity in the face of effeminacy and
decay;--they are the utterances of one who voiced the hopes, the
aims, and the realities of another world, not of an ideal world, not
of a world beyond, but of a real world, of _this_ world regenerated
and reorganised upon a sounder, a more virile, and a more orderly
basis,--in fact, of a perfectly _possible_ world, one that has already
existed in the past, and could exist again, if only the stupendous
revolution of a transvaluation of all values were made possible.

This then is the nature of the truths uttered by this one sane man in
the whole of Europe at the end of last century; and when, owing to his
unequal struggle against the overwhelming hostile forces of his time,
his highly sensitive personality was at last forced to surrender itself
to the enemy and become one with them--that is to say, insane!--at
least the record of his sanity had been safely stored away, beyond the
reach of time and change, in the volumes which constitute his life-work.

   *   *   *   *   *

Nietzsche must have started upon the "Antichrist," immediately after
having dispatched the "Idle Hours of a Psychologist" to the printers,
and the work appears to have been finished at the end of September
1888. It was intended by Nietzsche to form the first book of a large
work entitled "The Transvaluation of all Values"; but, though this work
was never completed, we can form some idea from the substance of the
"Antichrist" and from the titles of the remaining three books, which
alas! were never written, of what its contents would have been. These
titles are:--Book II. The Free Spirit. A Criticism of Philosophy as a
Nihilistic Movement. Book III. The Immoralist. A Criticism of the most
Fatal Kind of Ignorance,--Morality. Book IV. Dionysus. The Philosophy
of Eternal Recurrence.

Nietzsche calls this book "An Attempted Criticism of Christianity."
Modest as this sub-title is, it will probably seem not quite modest
enough to those who think that Nietzsche fell far short of doing
justice to their Holy Creed. Be this as it may, there is the solution
of a certain profound problem in this book, which, while it is the key
to all Nietzscheism, is also the justification and the sanctification
of Nietzsche's cause. The problem stated quite plainly is this: "_To
what end_ did Christianity avail itself of falsehood?"

Many readers of this amazing little work, who happen to be acquainted
with Nietzsche's doctrine of Art and of Ruling, will probably feel
slightly confused at the constant deprecation of falsehood, of
deception, and of arbitrary make-believe, which seems to run through
this book like a litany in praise of a certain Absolute Truth.

Remembering Nietzsche's utterance in volume ii. (p. 26) of the _Will
to Power,_ to wit:--"The prerequisite of all living things and of
their lives is: that there should be a large amount of faith, that
it should be possible to pass definite judgments on things, and
that there should be no doubt at all concerning values. Thus it is
necessary that something should be assumed to be true, _not_ that it
is true;"--remembering these words, as I say, the reader may stand
somewhat aghast before all those passages in the second half of this
volume, where the very falsehoods of Christianity, its assumptions, its
unwarrantable claims to Truth, are declared to be pernicious, base and
corrupt.

Again and again, if we commit the error of supposing that Nietzsche
believed in a truth that was absolute, we shall find throughout his
works reasons for charging him with apparently the very same crimes
that he here lays at the door of Christianity. What then is the
explanation of his seeming inconsistency?

It is simple enough. Nietzsche's charge of falsehood against
Christianity is not a moral one,--in fact it may be taken as a general
rule that Nietzsche scrupulously avoids making moral charges, and that
he emains throughout faithful to his position Beyond Good and Evil
(see, for instance Aph. 6 (Antichrist) where he repudiates all moral
prejudice in charging humanity with corruption). A man who maintained
that "truth is that form of error which enables a particular species to
prevail," could not make a _moral_ charge of falsehood against any one,
or any institution; but he could do so from another standpoint He could
well say, for instance, "falsehood is that kind of error which causes a
particular species to degenerate and to decay."

Thus the fact that Christianity "lied" becomes a subject of alarm
to Nietzsche, not owing to the fact that it is immoral to lie, but
because in this particular instance, the lie was harmful, hostile to
life, and dangerous to humanity; for "a belief might be false and yet
life-preserving" (_Beyond Good and Evil,_ pp. 8, 9).

Suppose, therefore, we say with Nietzsche that there is no absolute
truth, but that all that has been true in the past which has been
the means of making the "plant man flourish best"--or, since the
meaning of "best" is open to some debate, let us say, flourish in a
Nietzschean sense, that is to say, thanks to a mastery of life, and
to a preponderance of all those qualities which say yea to existence,
and which suggest no flight from this world and all its pleasure and
pain. And suppose we add that, wherever we may find the plant man
flourishing, in this sense, we should there suspect the existence of
truth?--I If we say this with Nietzsche, any sort of assumption or
arbitrary valuation which aims at a reverse order of things, becomes a
dangerous lie in a super-moral and purely physiological sense.

With these preparatory remarks we are now prepared to read aphorism
56 with a complete understanding of what Nietzsche means, and
to recognise in this particular aphorism the key to the whole of
Nietzsche's attitude towards Christianity. It is at once a solution of
our problem, and a justification of its author's position. Naturally,
it still remains open to Nietzsche's opponents to argue, if they
choose, that man has flourished best under the sway of nihilistic
religions--religions which deny life,--and that consequently the
falsehoods of Christianity are not only warrantable but also in the
highest degree blessed; but, in any case, the aphorism in question
completely exonerates Nietzsche from a charge of inconsistency in the
use of the terms "truth" and "falsehood" throughout his works, and
it moreover settles once and for all the exact altitude from which
our author looked down upon the religions of the world, not only to
criticise them, but also to _place_ them in the order of their merit as
disciplinary systems aiming at the cultivation of particular types of
men.

Nietzsche says in aphorism 56:--"After all, the question is, to what
end are falsehoods perpetrated? The fact that, in Christianity, 'holy'
ends are entirely absent, constitutes _my_ objection to the means it
employs. Its ends are only _bad_ ends: the poisoning, the calumniation
and the denial of life, the contempt of the body, the degradation and
self-pollution of man by virtue of the concept sin,--consequently its
means are bad as well."

Thus, to repeat it once more, it is not because Christianity availed
itself of all kinds of lies that Nietzsche condemns it; for the Book
of Manu--which he admires--is just as full of falsehood as the Semitic
Book of Laws; but, in the Book of Manu the lies are calculated to
preserve and to create a strong and noble type of man, whereas in
Christianity the opposite type was the aim,--an aim which has been
achieved in a manner far exceeding even the expectations of the
faithful.

This then is the main argument of the book and its conclusion; but, in
the course of the general elaboration of this argument, many important
side-issues are touched upon and developed, wherein Nietzsche reveals
himself as something very much more valuable than a mere iconoclast.
Of course, on every page of his philosophy,--whatever his enemies may
maintain to the contrary,--he never once ceases to construct, since he
is incessantly enumerating and emphasising those qualities and types
which he fain would rear, as against those he fain would see destroyed;
but it is in aphorism 57 of this book that Nietzsche makes the
plainest and most complete statement of his actual taste in Sociology,
and it is upon this aphorism that all his followers and disciples will
ultimately have to build, if Nietzscheism is ever to become something
more than a merely intellectual movement.

ANTHONY M. LUDOVICI.




PREFACE


To maintain a cheerful attitude of mind in the midst of a gloomy and
exceedingly responsible task, is no slight artistic feat. And yet, what
could be more necessary than cheerfulness? Nothing ever succeeds which
exuberant spirits have not helped to produce. Surplus power, alone,
is the proof of power.--A _transvaluation of all values,_--this note
of interrogation which is so black, so huge, that it casts a shadow
even upon him who affixes it,--is a task of such fatal import, that
he who undertakes it is compelled every now and then to rush out into
the sunlight in order to shake himself free from an earnestness that
becomes crushing, far too crushing. This end justifies every means,
every event on the road to it is a windfall. Above all _war._ War has
always been the great policy of all spirits who have penetrated too
far into themselves or who have grown too deep; a wound stimulates the
recuperative powers. For many years, a maxim, the origin of which I
withhold from learned curiosity, has been my motto:

_  increscunt animi, virescit volnere virtus._

At other times another means of recovery which is even more to my
taste, is to cross-examine idols. There are more idols than realities
in the world: this constitutes my "evil eye" for this world: it is
also my "evil ear." To put questions in this quarter with a hammer, and
to hear perchance that well-known hollow sound which tells of blown-out
frogs,--what a joy this is for one who has cars even behind his cars,
for an old psychologist and Pied Piper like myself in whose presence
precisely that which would fain be silent, _must betray itself._

Even this treatise--as its title shows--is above all a recreation,
a ray of sunshine, a leap sideways of a psychologist in his leisure
moments. Maybe, too, a new war? And are we again cross-examining new
idols? This little work is a great declaration of war; and with regard
to the cross-examining of idols, this time it is not the idols of the
age but eternal idols which are here struck with a hammer as with
a tuning fork,--there are certainly no idols which are older, more
convinced, and more inflated. Neither are there any more hollow. This
does not alter the fact that they are believed in more than any others,
besides they are never called idols,--at least, not the most exalted
among their number.

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE.

TURIN, the 30th _September_ 1888.
  on the day when the first
  book of the Transvaluation
  of all Values was finished.





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--- OBJECT INSTANCES [0]

TOPICS


AUTH


BOOKS


CHAPTERS

1.01_-_MAXIMS_AND_MISSILES
1.02_-_THE_PROBLEM_OF_SOCRATES
1.03_-_.REASON._IN_PHILOSOPHY
1.04_-_HOW_THE_.TRUE_WORLD._ULTIMATELY_BECAME_A_FABLE
1.05_-_MORALITY_AS_THE_ENEMY_OF_NATURE
1.06_-_THE_FOUR_GREAT_ERRORS
1.07_-_THE_.IMPROVERS._OF_MANKIND
1.08_-_THINGS_THE_GERMANS_LACK
1.09_-_SKIRMISHES_IN_A_WAY_WITH_THE_AGE
1.10_-_THINGS_I_OWE_TO_THE_ANCIENTS
2.0_-_THE_ANTICHRIST
3.0_-_THE_ETERNAL_RECURRENCE
4.0_-_NOTES_TO_ZARATHUSTRA

--- PRIMARY CLASS


book

--- SEE ALSO


--- SIMILAR TITLES [0]


Twilight of the Idols
select ::: Being, God, injunctions, media, place, powers, subjects,
favorite ::: cwsa, everyday, grade, mcw, memcards (table), project, project 0001, Savitri, the Temple of Sages, three js, whiteboard,
temp ::: consecration, experiments, knowledge, meditation, psychometrics, remember, responsibility, temp, the Bad, the God object, the Good, the most important, the Ring, the source of inspirations, the Stack, the Tarot, the Word, top priority, whiteboard,

--- DICTIONARIES (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



--- QUOTES [2 / 2 - 7 / 7] (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



KEYS (10k)

   2 Friedrich Nietzsche

NEW FULL DB (2.4M)

   4 Friedrich Nietzsche
   2 Friedrich Nietzsche


1:Without music, life would be a mistake. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols ,
2:To call the taming of an animal its "improvement" is in our ears almost a joke. Whoever knows what goes on in menageries is doubtful whether the beasts in them are "improved". They are weakened, they are made less harmful, they become sickly beasts through the depressive emotion of fear, through pain, through injuries, through hunger. - It is no different with the tamed human being. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols ,

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:Without music, life would be a mistake.
   ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols,
2:One is fruitful only at the cost of being rich in contradictions. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
3:Nietzsche turned the question into a cornerstone of his philosophy. His Twilight of the Idols states: ‘In every age the wisest have passed the identical judgment on life: it is Worthless … Everywhere and always their mouths have uttered the same sound – a sound full of doubt, full of melancholy, full of weariness with life, full of opposition to life’ (p. 29). ~ Susan Neiman
4:To call the taming of an animal its "improvement" is in our ears almost a joke. Whoever knows what goes on in menageries is doubtful whether the beasts in them are "improved". They are weakened, they are made less harmful, they become sickly beasts through the depressive emotion of fear, through pain, through injuries, through hunger. - It is no different with the tamed human being. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols,
5: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 first book of the Revaluation of All Values, the Songs of Zarathustra, the Twilight of the Idols, my attempt to philosophize with a hammer—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. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
6:After an eventful journey - it was even life-threatening because of flooding in Como, which I only reached late at night - I arrived in Turin on the afternoon of the 21st, my proven place, my residence from then on. I took the same apartment that I had in the spring, via Carlo Alberto 6, III, across from the enormous Palazzo Carignano where Vittore Emanuele was born, with a view of the Piazza Carlo Alberto and the hills beyond. I went back to work without delay: only the last quarter of the work was left to be done. Great victory on 30 September; the conclusion of the Revaluation; the leisure of a god walking along the river Po. That same day, I wrote the Preface to Twilight of the Idols: I had corrected the manuscript for it in September, as my recuperation. - I never experienced an autumn like this before, I never thought anything like this could happen on earth, - a Claude Lorrain projected out to infinity, every day having the same tremendous perfection. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
7:THE STILLEST HOUR

What happened to me, my friends? You see me distracted, driven away, unwillingly obedient, prepared to
go-alas, to go away from you. Indeed, Zarathustra
must return once more to his solitude; but this time
the bear goes back to his cave without joy. What happened to me? Who ordered this? Alas, my angry mistress wants it, she spoke to me; have I ever yet
mentioned her name to you? Yesterday, toward evening,
there spoke to me my stillest hour: that is the name of
my awesome mistress. And thus it happened; for I must
tell you everything lest your hearts harden against me
for departing suddenly.
Do you know the fright of him who falls asleep? He
is frightened down to his very toes because the ground
gives under him and the dream begins. This I say to
you as a parable. Yesterday, in the stillest hour, the
ground gave under me, the dream began. The hand
moved, the clock of my life drew a breath; never had
I heard such stillness around me: my heart took fright.
Then it spoke to me without voice: "You know it,
Zarathustra?" And I cried with fright at this whispering,
and the blood left my face; but I remained silent.
Then it spoke to me again without voice: "You know
it, Zarathustra, but you do not say itl" And at last I
answered defiantly: "Yes, I know it, but I do not want
to say itl"
Then it spoke to me again without voice: "You do
not want to, Zarathustra? Is this really true? Do not
hide in your defiance." And I cried and trembled like
a child and spoke: "Alas, I would like to, but how can
I? Let me off from this! It is beyond my strength!"
Then it spoke to me again without voice: "What do
146
you matter, Zarathustra? Speak your word and break"
And I answered: "Alas, is it my word? Who am l?
I await the worthier one; I am not worthy even of being
broken by it."
Then it spoke to me again without voice: "What do
you matter? You are not yet humble enough for me.
Humility has the toughest hide." And I answered:
'
at the foot of my height. How high are my peaks? No
one has told me yet. But my valleys I know well."
Then it spoke to me again without voice: "O Zarathustra, he who has to move mountains also moves
valleys and hollows." And I answered: "As yet my
words have not moved mountains, and what I said did
not reach men. Indeed, I have gone to men, but as yet
I have not arrived."
Then it spoke to me again without voice: "What do
you know of that? The dew falls on the grass when the
night is most silent." And I answered: "They mocked
me when I found and went my own way; and in truth
my feet were trembling then. And thus they spoke to
me: 'You have forgotten the way, now you have also
forgotten how to walk.'"
Then it spoke to me again without voice: "What
matters their mockery? You are one who has forgotten
how to obey: now you shall command. Do you not
know who is most needed by all? He that commands
great things. To do great things is difficult; but to
comm and great things is more difficult. This is what
is most unforgivable in you: you have the power, and
you do not want to rule." And I answered: "I lack the
lion's voice for commanding."
Then it spoke to me again as a whisper: "It is the
stillest words that bring on the storm. Thoughts that
come on doves' feet guide the world. 0 Zarathustra, you
147
shall go as a shadow of that which must come: thus you
will comm and and, commanding, lead the way." And I
answered: "I am ashamed."
Then it spoke to me again without voice: "You must
yet become as a child and without shame. The pride of
youth is still upon you; you have become young late;
but whoever would become as a child must overcome
his youth too." And I reflected for a long time and
trembled. But at last I said what I had said at first; "I
do not want to."
Then laughter surrounded me. Alas, how this laughter tore my entrails and slit open my heart! And it
spoke to me for the last time: "O Zarathustra, your
fruit is ripe, but you are not ripe for your fruit. Thus
you must return to your solitude again; for you must
yet become mellow." And again it laughed and fled;
then it became still around me as with a double stillness. But I lay on the ground and sweat poured from
my limbs.
Now you have heard all, and why I must return to
my solitude. Nothing have I kept from you, my friends.
But this too you have heard from me, who is still the
most taciturn of all men-and wants to be. Alas, my
friends, I still could tell you something, I still could
give you something. Why do I not give it? Am I stingy?
But when Zarathustra had spoken these words he was
overcome by the force of his pain and the nearness of
his parting from his friends, and he wept loudly; and
no one knew how to comfort him. At night, however,
he went away alone and left his friends.
148

Thus Spoke Zarathustra: Third Part
You look up when you feel the need for elevation.
And I look down because I am elevated. Who
among you can laugh and be elevated at the same
time? Whoever climbs the highest mountains
laughs at all tragic plays and tragic seriousness.
(Zarathustra, "On Reading and Writing," I, p.
40)
TRANSLATOR S NOTES

1. The Wanderer: The contrast between Zarathustra's sentimentality and his praise of hardness remains characteristic
of the rest of the book.
2. On the Vision and the Riddle: Zarathustra's first account
of the eternal recurrence (see my Nietzsche, .i, II) is
followed by a proto-surrealistic vision of a triumph over
nausea.
3. On Involuntary Bliss: Zarathustra still cannot face the
thought of the eternal recurrence.
4. Before Sunrise: An ode to the sky. Another quotation
from Zweig's essay on Nietzsche seems pertinent: "His
nerves immediately register every meter of height and
every pressure of the weather as a pain in his organs, and
they react rebelliously to every revolt in nature. Rain or
gloomy skies lower his vitality ('overcast skies depress me
deeply'), the weight of low clouds he feels down into his
very intestines, rain 'lowers the potential,' humidity debilitates, dryness vivifies, sunshine is salvation, winter is a kind
of paralysis and death. The quivering barometer needle of
his April-like, changeable nerves never stands still-most
nearly perhaps in cloudless landscapes, on the windless tablelands of the Engadine." In this chapter the phrase "beyond
good and evil" is introduced; also one line, slightly varied,
of the "Drunken Song" (see below). Another important
149
theme in Nietzsche's thought: the praise of chance and "a
little reason" as opposed to any divine purpose.
5. On Virtue That Makes Small: "Do whatever you will,
but . . .": What Nietzsche is concerned with is not casuistry but character, not a code of morals but a kind of man,
not a syllabus of behavior but a state of being.
6. Upon the Mount of Olives: "'The ice of knowledge will
yet freeze him to death!' they moan." Compare Stefan
George's poem on the occasion of Nietzsche's death (my
Nietzsche, Prologue, II): "He came too late who said to thee
imploring: There is no way left over icy cliffs."
7. On Passing By: Zarathustra's ape, or "grunting swine,"
unintentionally parodies Zarathustra's attitude and style.
His denunciations are born of wounded vanity and vengefulness, while Zarathustra's contempt is begotten by love;
and "where one can no longer love, there one should pass
by."
8. On Apostates: Stylistically, Zarathustra is now often little
better than his ape. But occasional epigrams show his old
power: the third paragraph in section 2, for instance.
9. The Return Home: "Among men you will always seem
wild and strange," his solitude says to Zarathustra. But
"here all things come caressingly to your discourse and flatter
you, for they want to ride on your back. On every parable
you ride to every truth." The discipline of communication might have served the philosopher better than the
indiscriminate flattery of his solitude. But in this respect
too, it was not given to Nietzsche to live in blissful
ignorance: compare, for example, "The Song of Melancholy" in Part Four.
io. On the Three Evils: The praise of so-called evil as an
ingredient of greatness is central in Nietzsche's thought,
from his early fragment, Homer's Contest, to his Antichrist.
There are few problems the self-styled immoralist pursued
so persistently. Whether he calls attention to the element
of cruelty in the Greek agon or denounces Christianity for
vilifying sex, whether he contrasts sublimation and extirpation or the egoism of the creative and the vengeful: all
these are variations of one theme. In German, the three
evils in this chapter are Wollust, Herrschsucht, Selbstsucht.
For the first there is no exact equivalent in English. In
this chapter, "lust" might do in some sentences, "voluptuousness" in others, but each would be quite inaccurate
half the time, and the context makes it imperative that
the same word be used throughout. There is only one
word in English that renders Nietzsche's meaning perfectly
in every single sentence: sex. Its only disadvantage: it is,
to put it mildly, a far less poetic word than Wollust, and
hence modifies the tone though not Nietzsche's meaning.
But if we reflect on the three things which, according to
Nietzsche, had been maligned most, under the influence of
Christianity, and which he sought to rehabilitate or revaluate-were they not selfishness, the will to power, and sex?
Nietzsche's early impact was in some ways comparable to
that of Freud or Havelock Ellis. But prudery was for him
at most one of three great evils, one kind of hypocrisy, one
aspect of man's betrayal of the earth and of himself.
i1. On the Spirit of Gravity: It is not only the metaphor
of the camel that points back to the first chapter of Part
One: the dead weight of convention is a prime instance of
what is meant by the spirit of gravity; and the bird that
outsoars tradition is, like the child and the self-propelled
wheel at the beginning of the book, a symbol of creativity.
The creator, however, is neither an "evil beast" nor an
"evil tamer of beasts"-neither a profligate nor an ascetic:
he integrates what is in him, perfects and lavishes himself, and says, "This is my way; where is yours?" Michelangelo and Mozart do not offer us "the way" but a challenge and a promise of what is possible.
12. On Old and New Tablets: Attempt at a grand summary,
full of allusions to, and quotations from, previous chapters
Its unevenness is nowhere more striking than in section 12,
with its puns on "crusades." Such sections as 5, 7, and 8,
on the other hand, certainly deserve attention. The despot
in section ii, who has all history rewritten, seems to point
forward in time to Hitler, of whose racial legislation it
151
could indeed be said: "with the grandfa ther, however,
time ends." Section 15 points back to Luther. Section zo
exposes in advance Stefan George's misconception when he
ended his second poem on Nietzsche (my Nietzsche, p.
iil):
"The warner went-the wheel that downward rolls /
To emptiness no arm now tackles in the spokes." The
penultimate paragraph of this section is more "playful"
in the original: Ein Vorspiel bin ich besserer Spieler, oh
meine Braiderl Ein Beispiell In section 25 the key word is
Versuch, one of Nietzsche's favorite words, which means
experiment, attempt, trial. Sometimes he associates it with
suchen, searching. (In Chapter 2, "On the Vision and
the Riddle," Sucher, Versucher has been rendered "searchers, researchers.") Section 29, finally, is used again, with
minute changes, to conclude Twilight of the Idols.
13. The Convalescent: Zarathustra still cannot face the
thought of the eternal recurrence but speaks about human
speech and cruelty. In the end, his animals expound the
eternal recurrence.
14 On the Great Longing: Hymn to his soul: Zarathustra
and his soul wonder which of them should be grateful to
the other.
15. The Other Dancing Song: Life and wisdom as women
again; but in this dancing song, life is in complete control,
and when Zarathustra's imagination runs away with him
he gets his face slapped. What he whispers into the ear
of life at the end of section 2 is, no doubt, that after his
death he will yet recur eternally. The song at the end,
punctuated by the twelve strokes of the bell, is interpreted
in "The Drunken Song" in Part Four.
i6. The Seven Seals: The eternal recurrence of the small
man no longer nauseates Zarathustra. His affirmation now is
boundless and without reservation: "For I love you, 0
eternity."
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, THE STILLEST HOUR


--- IN CHAPTERS (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



0

   3 Philosophy
   1 Psychology
   1 Poetry


   3 Friedrich Nietzsche


   2 Twilight of the Idols


--- WEBGEN

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