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

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 70

it with the Kantian eyes.
Kant thought that he showed honour to art when he favoured and placed
in the foreground those of the predicates of the beautiful, which
constitute the honour of knowledge: impersonality and universality.
This is not the place to discuss whether this was not a complete
mistake; all that I wish to emphasise is that Kant, just like other
philosophers, instead of envisaging the æsthetic problem from the
standpoint of the experiences of the artist (the creator), has only
considered art and beauty from the standpoint of the spectator, and
has thereby imperceptibly imported the spectator himself into the idea
of the "beautiful"! But if only the philosophers of the beautiful had
sufficient knowledge of this "spectator"!--Knowledge of him as a great
fact of personality, as a great experience, as a wealth of strong and
most individual events, desires, surprises, and raptures in the sphere
of beauty! But, as I feared, the contrary was always the case. And so
we get from our philosophers, from the very beginning, definitions
on which the lack of a subtler personal experience squats like a fat
worm of crass error, as it does on Kant's famous definition of the
beautiful. "That is beautiful," says Kant, "which pleases without
interesting." Without interesting! Compare this definition with this
other one, made by a real "spectator" and "artist"--by Stendhal, who
once called the beautiful _une promesse de bonheur_. Here, at any rate,
the one point which Kant makes prominent in the æsthetic position is
repudiated and eliminated--_le désintéressement_. Who is right, Kant
or Stendhal? When, forsooth, our æsthetes never get tired of throwing
into the scales in Kant's favour the fact that under the magic of
beauty men can look at even naked female statues "without interest,"
we can certainly laugh a little at their expense:--in regard to this
ticklish point the experiences of _artists_ are more "interesting,"
and at any rate Pygmalion was not necessarily an "unæsthetic man." Let
us think all the better of the innocence of our æsthetes, reflected
as it is in such arguments; let us, for instance, count to Kant's
honour the country-parson naïveté of his doctrine concerning the
peculiar character of the sense of touch! And here we come back to
Schopenhauer, who stood in much closer neighbourhood to the arts
than did Kant, and yet never escaped outside the pale of the Kantian
definition; how was that? The circumstance is marvellous enough: he
interprets the expression, "without interest," in the most personal
fashion, out of an experience which must in his case have been part and
parcel of his regular routine. On few subjects does

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