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

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 22

humbugs. And to this end they denied the world! No slight
form of insanity! No modest form of immodesty! Morality, in so far it
condemns _per se,_ and _not_ out of any aim, consideration or motive of
life, is a specific error, for which no one should feel any mercy, a
degenerate idiosyncrasy, that has done an unutterable amount of harm.
We others, we immoralists, on the contrary, have opened our hearts
wide to all kinds of comprehension, understanding and approbation.[1]
We do not deny readily, we glory in saying yea to things. Our eyes
have opened ever wider and wider to that economy which still employs
and knows how to use to its own advantage all that which the sacred
craziness of priests and the morbid reason in priests, rejects; to
that economy in the law of life which draws its own advantage even out
of the repulsive race of bigots, the priests and the virtuous,--what
advantage?--But we ourselves, we immoralists, are the reply to this
question.

[1] _Cf._ Spinoza, who says in the _Tractatus politico_ (1677), Chap.
I, § 4: "_Sedulo curavi, humanas actiones non ridere, non tugert,
negue detestari, sed intelligere"_ ("I have carefully endeavoured not
to deride, or deplore, or detest human actions, but to understand
them.").--TR.




THE FOUR GREAT ERRORS



1

_The error of the confusion of cause and effect.--_There is no more
dangerous error than to confound the effect with the cause: I call
this error the intrinsic perversion of reason. Nevertheless this error
is one of the most ancient and most recent habits of mankind. In one
part of the world it has even been canonised; and it bears the name of
"Religion" and "Morality." Every postulate formulated by religion and
morality contains it Priests and the promulgators of moral laws are the
promoters of this perversion of reason.--Let me give you an example.
Everybody knows the book of the famous Cornaro, in which he recommends
his slender diet as the recipe for a long, happy and also virtuous
life. Few books have been so widely read, and to this day many thousand
copies of it are still printed annually in England. I do not doubt that
there is scarcely a single book (the Bible of course excepted) that
has worked more mischief, shortened more lives, than this well-meant
curiosity. The reason of this is the confusion of effect and cause.
This worthy Italian saw the cause of his long life in his diet: whereas
the prerequisites of long life, which are exceptional slowness of
molecular change, and a low rate of expenditure in energy, were the
cause of his meagre diet He

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Text Comparison with The Joyful Wisdom Complete Works, Volume Ten

Page 2
In the other more usual case, however, when states of distress occupy themselves with philosophy (as is the case with all sickly thinkers--and perhaps the sickly thinkers preponderate in the history of philosophy), what will happen to the thought itself which is brought under the _pressure_ of sickness? This is the important question for psychologists: and here experiment is possible.
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3.
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Have the different divisions of the day, the consequences of a regular appointment of the times for labour, feast, and repose, ever been made the object of investigation? Do we know the moral effects of the alimentary substances? Is there a philosophy of nutrition? (The ever-recurring outcry for and against vegetarianism proves that as yet there is no such philosophy!) Have the experiences with regard to communal living, for example, in monasteries, been collected? Has the dialectic of marriage and friendship been set forth? The customs of the learned, of trades-people, of artists, and of mechanics--have they already found their thinkers? There is so much to think of thereon! All that up till now has been considered as the "conditions of existence," of human beings, and all reason, passion and superstition in this consideration--have they been investigated to the end? The observation alone of the different degrees of development which the human impulses have attained, and could yet.
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Formerly these rare qualities were usual, and were consequently regarded as common: they did not distinguish people.
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_ The fact, however, that these individuals feel and "taste" differently, has usually its origin in a peculiarity of their mode of life, nourishment, or digestion, perhaps in a surplus or deficiency of the inorganic salts in their blood and brain, in short in their _physis;_ they have, however, the courage to avow their physical constitution, and to lend an ear even to the most delicate tones of its requirements: their æsthetic and moral judgments are those "most delicate tones" of their _physis.
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_--Ye sober beings, who feel yourselves armed against passion and fantasy, and would gladly make a pride and an ornament out of your emptiness, ye call yourselves realists, and give to understand that the world is actually constituted as it appears to you; before you alone reality stands unveiled, and ye yourselves would perhaps be the best part of it,--oh, ye dear images of Sais! But are not ye also in your unveiled condition still extremely passionate and dusky beings compared with the fish, and still all too like an enamoured artist?[1]--and what is "reality" to an enamoured artist! Ye still carry about with you the valuations of things which had their origin in the passions and infatuations of earlier centuries! There is still a secret and ineffaceable drunkenness embodied in your sobriety! Your love of "reality," for example--oh, that is an old, primitive "love"! In every feeling, in every sense-impression, there is a portion of this old love: and similarly also some kind of fantasy, prejudice, irrationality, ignorance, fear, and whatever else has become mingled and woven into it.
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Oh, those men of former times understood how to _dream,_ and did not need first to go to sleep!--and we men of the present day also still understand it too well, with all our good-will for wakefulness and daylight! It suffices to love, to hate, to desire, and in general to feel _immediately_ the spirit and the power of the dream come over us, and we ascend, with open eyes and indifferent to all danger, the most dangerous paths, to the roofs and towers of fantasy, and without any giddiness, as persons born for climbing--we the night-walkers by day! We artists! We concealers of naturalness! We moon-struck and God-struck ones! We death-silent, untiring wanderers on heights which we do not see as heights, but as our plains, as our places.
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_Women and their Effect in the Distance.
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_--I fear that women who have grown old are more sceptical in the secret recesses of their hearts than any of the men; they believe in the superficiality of existence as in its essence, and all virtue and profundity is to them only the disguising of this "truth," the very desirable disguising of a _pudendum,_--an affair, therefore, of decency and modesty, and nothing more! 65.
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According as the formula is pronounced with literal and rhythmical correctness, it determines the future: the formula, however, is the invention of Apollo, who as the God of rhythm, can also determine the goddesses of fate--Looked at and investigated as a whole, was there ever anything _more serviceable_ to the ancient superstitious species of human being than rhythm? People could do everything with it: they could make labour go on magically; they could compel a God to appear, to be near at hand, and listen to them; they could arrange the future for themselves according to their will; they could unburden their own souls of any kind of excess (of anxiety, of mania, of sympathy, of revenge), and not only their own souls, but the souls of the most evil spirits,--without verse a person was nothing, by means of verse a.
Page 81
The living being is only a species of dead being, and a very rare species.
Page 97
For, comparatively speaking, no people was ever more Christian than the Germans at the time of Luther; their Christian culture was just about to burst into bloom with a hundred-fold splendour,--one night only was still lacking; but that night brought the storm which put an end to all.
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_--When the gratitude of many to one casts aside all shame, then fame originates.
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_--We want to carry the refinement and rigour of mathematics into all the sciences, as far as it is in any way possible, not in the belief that we shall apprehend things in this way, but in order thereby to _assert_ our human relation to things.
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_Stoic and Epicurean.
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_--I have given a name to my pain, and call it "a dog,"--it is just as faithful, just as importunate and shameless, just as entertaining, just as wise, as any other dog--and I can domineer over it, and vent my bad humour on it, as others do with their dogs, servants, and wives.
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_ Ah, how little you know of the _happiness_ of man, you comfortable and good-natured ones!--for happiness and misfortune are brother and sister, and twins, who grow tall together, or, as with you, _remain small_ together! But now let us return to the first question.
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_The Dying Socrates.
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This error had its last expression in modern Pessimism; an older and stronger manifestation in the teaching of Buddha; but Christianity also contains it, more dubiously, to be sure, and more ambiguously, but none the less seductive on that account.
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Buddha, in like manner, found the same type of man,--he found it in fact dispersed among all the classes and social ranks of a people who were good and kind (and above all inoffensive), owing to indolence, and who likewise owing to indolence, lived abstemiously, almost without requirements.