The Twilight of the Idols - The Antichrist Complete Works, Volume Sixteen

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 15

as logic.


The other idiosyncrasy of philosophers is no less dangerous; it
consists in confusing the last and the first things. They place that
which makes its appearance last--unfortunately! for it ought not
to appear at all!--the "highest concept," that is to say, the most
general, the emptiest, the last cloudy streak of evaporating reality,
at the beginning as the beginning. This again is only their manner of
expressing their veneration: the highest thing must not have grown out
of the lowest, it must not have grown at all.... Moral: everything
of the first rank must be _causa sui._ To have been derived from
something else, is as good as an objection, it sets the value of a
thing in question. All superior values are of the first rank, all the
highest concepts--that of Being, of the Absolute, of Goodness, of
Truth, and of Perfection; all these things cannot have been evolved,
they must therefore be _causa sui._ All these things cannot however be
unlike one another, they cannot be opposed to one another. Thus they
attain to their stupendous concept "God." The last, most attenuated and
emptiest thing is postulated as the first thing, as the absolute cause,
as _ens realissimum._ Fancy humanity having to take the brain diseases
of morbid cobweb-spinners seriously!--And it has paid dearly for having
done so.


--Against this let us set the different manner in which we (--you
observe that I am courteous enough to say "we") conceive the problem of
the error and deceptiveness of things. Formerly people regarded change
and evolution in general as the proof of appearance, as a sign of the
fact that something must be there that leads us astray. To-day, on
the other hand, we realise that precisely as far as the rational bias
forces us to postulate unity, identity, permanence, substance, cause,
materiality and being, we are in a measure involved in error, driven
necessarily to error; however certain we may feel, as the result of a
strict examination of the matter, that the error lies here. It is just
the same here as with the motion of the sun: In its case it was our
eyes that were wrong; in the matter of the concepts above mentioned it
is our language itself that pleads most constantly in their favour.
In its origin language belongs to an age of the most rudimentary
forms of psychology: if we try to conceive of the first conditions of
the metaphysics of language, _i.e._ in plain English, of reason, we
immediately find ourselves in the midst of a system of fetichism. For
here, the doer and his deed are

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_Two Kinds of Causes which are Confounded.
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