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

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 58

reason of these ancestors never ceasing in their subsequent life as
potent spirits to secure by their power new privileges and advantages
to the race. Gratis, perchance? But there is no gratis for that raw
and "mean-souled" age. What return can be made?--Sacrifice (at first,
nourishment, in its crudest sense), festivals, temples, tributes of
veneration, above all, obedience--since all customs are, _quâ_ works of
the ancestors, equally their precepts and commands--are the ancestors
ever given enough? This suspicion remains and grows: from time to time
it extorts a great wholesale ransom, something monstrous in the way of
repayment of the creditor (the notorious sacrifice of the first-born,
for example, blood, human blood in any case). The _fear_ of ancestors
and their power, the consciousness of owing debts to them, necessarily
increases, according to this kind of logic, in the exact proportion
that the race itself increases, that the race itself becomes more
victorious, more independent, more honoured, more feared. This, and not
the contrary, is the fact. Each step towards race decay, all disastrous
events, all symptoms of degeneration, of approaching disintegration,
always _diminish_ the fear of the founders' spirit, and whittle away
the idea of his sagacity, providence, and potent presence. Conceive
this crude kind of logic carried to its climax: it follows that the
ancestors of the _most powerful_ races must, through the growing fear
that they exercise on the imaginations, grow themselves into monstrous
dimensions, and become relegated to the gloom of a divine mystery that
transcends imagination--the ancestor becomes at last necessarily
transfigured into a _god_. Perhaps this is the very origin of the gods,
that is, an origin from _fear_! And those who feel bound to add, "but
from piety also," will have difficulty in maintaining this theory,
with regard to the primeval and longest period of the human race. And
of course this is even more the case as regards the _middle_ period,
the formative period of the aristocratic races--the aristocratic
races which have given back with interest to their founders, the
ancestors (heroes, gods), all those qualities which in the meanwhile
have appeared in themselves, that is, the aristocratic qualities. We
will later on glance again at the ennobling and promotion of the gods
(which of course is totally distinct from their "sanctification"): let
us now provisionally follow to its end the course of the whole of this
development of the consciousness of "owing."


According to the teaching of history, the consciousness of owing
debts to the deity by no means came to an end with the decay of the
clan organisation of society; just as mankind has inherited the
ideas of "good"

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