The Genealogy of Morals The Complete Works, Volume Thirteen, edited by Dr. Oscar Levy.

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 48

fiendi_ of the punishment, and--they have done the trick. But
the patching up of a history of the origin of law is the last use to
which the "End in Law"[4] ought to be put. Perhaps there is no more
pregnant principle for any kind of history than the following, which,
difficult though it is to master, _should_ none the less be _mastered_
in every detail.--The origin of the existence of a thing and its final
utility, its practical application and incorporation in a system of
ends, are _toto cœlo_ opposed to each other--everything, anything,
which exists and which prevails anywhere, will always be put to new
purposes by a force superior to itself, will be commandeered afresh,
will be turned and transformed to new uses; all "happening" in the
organic world consists of _overpowering_ and dominating, and again all
overpowering and domination is a new interpretation and adjustment,
which must necessarily obscure or absolutely extinguish the subsisting
"meaning" and "end." The most perfect comprehension of the utility
of any physiological organ (or also of a legal institution, social
custom, political habit, form in art or in religious worship) does not
for a minute imply any simultaneous comprehension of its origin: this
may seem uncomfortable and unpalatable to the older men,--for it has
been the immemorial belief that understanding the final cause or the
utility of a thing, a form, an institution, means also understanding
the reason for its origin: to give an example of this logic, the eye
was made to see, the hand was made to grasp. So even punishment was
conceived as invented with a view to punishing. But all ends and all
utilities are only _signs_ that a Will to Power has mastered a less
powerful force, has impressed thereon out of its own self the meaning
of a function; and the whole history of a "Thing," an organ, a custom,
can on the same principle be regarded as a continuous "sign-chain"
of perpetually new interpretations and adjustments, whose causes, so
far from needing to have even a mutual connection, sometimes follow
and alternate with each other absolutely haphazard. Similarly, the
evolution of a "thing," of a custom, is anything but its _progressus_
to an end, still less a logical and direct _progressus_ attained
with the minimum expenditure of energy and cost: it is rather the
succession of processes of subjugation, more or less profound, more
or less mutually independent, which operate on the thing itself; it
is, further, the resistance which in each case invariably displayed
this subjugation, the Protean wriggles by way of defence and reaction,
and, further, the results of successful

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Text Comparison with Homer and Classical Philology

Page 0
It may even be added that it likewise conceals within itself an artistic element, one which, on aesthetic and ethical grounds, may be called imperatival--an element that acts in opposition to its purely scientific behaviour.
Page 1
Whilst philology as a whole is looked on with jealous eyes by these two classes of opponents, there are numerous and varied hostilities in other directions of philology; philologists themselves are quarrelling with one another; internal dissensions are caused by useless disputes about precedence and mutual jealousies, but especially by the differences--even enmities--comprised in the name of philology, which are not, however, by any means naturally harmonised instincts.
Page 2
When, however, even the friends of antiquity, possessed of such doubts and hesitations, point to our present classical philology as something questionable, what influence may we not ascribe to the outbursts of the "realists" and the claptrap of the heroes of the passing hour? To answer the latter on this occasion, especially when we consider the nature of the present assembly, would be highly injudicious; at any rate, if I do not wish to meet with the fate of that sophist who, when in Sparta, publicly undertook to praise and defend Herakles, when he was interrupted with the query: "But who then has found fault with him?".
Page 3
But if the centre of a scientific question is rightly seen to be where the swelling tide of new views has risen up, i.
Page 4
The zenith of the historico-literary studies of the Greeks, and hence also of their point of greatest importance--the Homeric question--was reached in the age of the Alexandrian grammarians.
Page 5
, in the naive concession he made to the public opinion that considered Homer as the author of the original of all comic epics, the _Margites_.
Page 6
Let us imagine ourselves as living in the time of Pisistratus: the word "Homer" then comprehended an abundance of dissimilarities.
Page 7
If, however, this construction was not clearly seen, this fault was due to the way the poems were handed down to posterity and not to the poet himself--it was the result of retouchings and interpolations, owing to which the original setting of the work gradually became obscured.
Page 8
All these schools of thought start from the assumption that the problem of the present form of these epics can be solved from the standpoint of an aesthetic judgment--but we must await the decision as to the authorised line of demarcation between the man of genius and the poetical soul of the people.
Page 9
We are thus confronted with the task of distinguishing that which can have originated only in a single poetical mind from that which is, so to speak, swept up by the tide of oral tradition, and which is a highly important constituent part of.
Page 10
People now study biographical details, environment, acquaintances, contemporary events, and believe that by mixing all these ingredients together they will be able to manufacture the wished-for individuality.
Page 11
The majority contend that a single individual was responsible for the general design of a poem such as the _Iliad_, and further that this individual was Homer.
Page 12
Those, therefore, who look for the "original and perfect design" are looking for a mere phantom; for the dangerous path of oral tradition had reached its end just as the systematic arrangement appeared on the scene; the disfigurements which were caused on the way could not have affected the design, for this did not form part of the material handed down from generation to generation.
Page 13
And that wonderful genius to whom we owe the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_ belongs to this thankful posterity: he, too, sacrificed his name on the altar of the primeval father of the Homeric epic, Homeros.
Page 14
And there is a second fact which I should like to recall to the memory of those friends of antiquity who turn their dissatisfied backs on classical philology.
Page 15
great homogeneous views alone remain.