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

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 61

of education would insist upon at least one of
these instinct-systems being _paralysed_ beneath an iron pressure, in
order to allow others to assert their power, to grow strong, and to
dominate. At present, the only conceivable way of making the individual
possible would be to _prune_ him:--of making him possible--that is to
say, _whole._ The very reverse occurs. Independence, free development,
and _laisser aller_ are clamoured for most violently precisely by
those for whom no restraint _could be too severe_--this is true _in
politics,_ it is true in Art. But this is a symptom of decadence: our
modern notion of "freedom" is one proof the more of the degeneration of


_Where faith is necessary._--Nothing is more rare among moralists and
saints than uprightness; maybe they say the reverse is true, maybe
they even believe it. For, when faith is more useful, more effective,
more convincing than _conscious_ hypocrisy, by instinct that hypocrisy
forthwith becomes _innocent:_ first principle towards the understanding
of great saints. The same holds good of philosophers, that other order
of saints; their whole business compels them to concede only certain
truths--that is to say, those by means of which their particular trade
receives the _public_ sanction,--to speak "Kantingly": the truths of
_practical_ reason. They know what they _must_ prove; in this respect
they are practical,--they recognise each other by the fact that
they agree upon "certain truths."--"Thou shalt not lie"--in plain
English:--_Beware,_ Mr Philosopher, of speaking the truth....


_A quiet hint to Conservatives._--That which we did not know
formerly, and know now, or might know if we chose,--is the fact that
a _retrograde formation,_ a reversion in any sense or degree, is
absolutely impossible. We physiologists, at least, are aware of this.
But all priests and moralists have believed in it,--they wished to
drag and screw man back to a former standard of virtue. Morality has
always been a Procrustean bed. Even the politicians have imitated
the preachers of virtue in this matter. There are parties at the
present day whose one aim and dream is to make all things adopt the
_crab-march._ But not everyone can be a crab. It cannot be helped: we
must go forward,--that is to say step by step further and further into
decadence (--this is my definition of modern "progress"). We can hinder
this development, and by so doing dam up and accumulate degeneration
itself and render it more convulsive, more _volcanic:_ we cannot do


_My concept of Genius._--Great men, like great ages, are explosive
material, in which a stupendous amount of power is accumulated;
the first conditions of their existence are always historical and
physiological; they are the outcome

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Text Comparison with Beyond Good and Evil

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The angry and reverent spirit peculiar to youth appears to allow itself no peace, until it has suitably falsified men and things, to be able to vent its passion upon them: youth in itself even, is something falsifying.
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There is cruelty and religious Phoenicianism in this faith, which is adapted to a tender, many-sided, and very fastidious conscience, it takes for granted that the subjection of the spirit is indescribably PAINFUL, that all the past and all the habits of such a spirit resist the absurdissimum, in the form of which "faith" comes to it.
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And thus it was a genuine Schopenhauerian consequence, that his most convinced adherent (perhaps also his last, as far as Germany is concerned), namely, Richard Wagner, should bring his own life-work to an end just here, and should finally put that terrible and eternal type upon the stage as Kundry, type vecu, and as it loved and lived, at the very time that the mad-doctors in almost all European countries had an opportunity to study the type close at hand, wherever the religious neurosis--or as I call it, "the religious mood"--made its latest epidemical outbreak and display as the "Salvation Army"--If it be a question, however, as to what has been so extremely interesting to men of all sorts in all ages, and even to philosophers, in the whole phenomenon of the saint, it is undoubtedly the appearance of the miraculous therein--namely, the immediate SUCCESSION OF OPPOSITES, of states of the soul regarded as morally antithetical: it was believed here to be self-evident that a "bad man" was all at once turned into a "saint," a good man.
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To love mankind FOR GOD'S SAKE--this has so far been the noblest and remotest sentiment to which mankind has attained.
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The higher the type a man represents, the greater is the improbability that he will SUCCEED; the accidental, the law of irrationality in the general constitution of mankind, manifests itself most terribly in its destructive effect on the higher orders of men, the conditions of whose lives are delicate, diverse, and difficult to determine.
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In order to understand Stoicism, or Port Royal, or Puritanism, one should remember the constraint under which every language has attained to strength and freedom--the metrical constraint, the tyranny of rhyme and rhythm.
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" Granted even that there is already a little constant exercise of consideration, sympathy, fairness, gentleness, and mutual assistance, granted that even in this condition of society all those instincts are already active which are latterly distinguished by honourable names as "virtues," and eventually almost coincide with the conception "morality": in that period they do not as yet belong to the domain of moral valuations--they are still ULTRA-MORAL.
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It is by the loftiest and strongest instincts, when they break out passionately and carry the individual far above and beyond the average, and the low level of the gregarious conscience, that the self-reliance of the community is destroyed, its belief in itself, its backbone, as it were, breaks, consequently these very instincts will be most branded and defamed.
Page 65
If one could at all do away with danger, the cause of fear, one would have done away with this morality at the same time, it would no longer be necessary, it WOULD NOT CONSIDER ITSELF any longer necessary!--Whoever examines the conscience of the present-day European, will always elicit the same imperative from its thousand moral folds and hidden recesses, the imperative of the timidity of the herd "we wish that some time or other there may be NOTHING MORE TO FEAR!" Some time or other--the will and the way THERETO is nowadays called "progress" all over Europe.
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" 203.
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Honesty, granting that it is the virtue of which we cannot rid ourselves, we free spirits--well, we will labour at it with all our perversity and love, and not tire of "perfecting" ourselves in OUR virtue, which alone remains: may its glance some day overspread like a gilded, blue, mocking twilight this aging civilization with its dull gloomy seriousness! And if, nevertheless, our honesty should one day grow weary, and sigh, and stretch its limbs, and find us too hard, and would fain have it pleasanter, easier, and gentler, like an agreeable vice, let us remain HARD, we latest Stoics, and let us send to its help whatever devilry we have in us:--our disgust at the clumsy and undefined, our "NITIMUR IN VETITUM," our love of adventure, our sharpened and fastidious curiosity, our most subtle, disguised, intellectual Will to Power and universal conquest, which rambles and roves avidiously around all the realms of the future--let us go with all our "devils" to the help of our "God"! It is probable that people will misunderstand and mistake us on that account: what does it matter! They will say: "Their 'honesty'--that is their devilry, and nothing else!" What does it matter! And even if they were right--have not all Gods hitherto been such sanctified, re-baptized devils? And after all, what do we know of ourselves? And what the spirit that leads us wants TO BE CALLED? (It is a question of names.
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He will say: "There is something cruel in the tendency of my spirit": let the virtuous and amiable try to convince him that it is not so! In fact, it would sound nicer, if, instead of our cruelty, perhaps our "extravagant honesty" were talked about, whispered about, and glorified--we free, VERY free spirits--and some day perhaps SUCH will actually be our--posthumous glory! Meanwhile--for there is plenty of time until then--we should be least inclined to deck ourselves out in such florid and fringed moral verbiage; our whole former work has just made us sick of this taste and its sprightly exuberance.
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It flows broad and full: and suddenly there is a moment of inexplicable hesitation, like a gap that opens between cause and effect, an oppression that makes us dream, almost a nightmare; but already it broadens and widens anew, the old stream of delight--the most manifold delight,--of old and new happiness; including ESPECIALLY the joy of the artist in himself, which he refuses to conceal, his astonished, happy cognizance of.
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What a torture are books written in German to a reader who has a THIRD ear! How indignantly he stands beside the slowly turning swamp of sounds without tune and rhythms without dance, which Germans call a "book"! And even the German who READS books! How lazily, how reluctantly, how badly he reads! How many Germans know, and consider it obligatory to know, that there is ART in every good sentence--art which must be divined, if the sentence is to be understood! If there is a misunderstanding about its TEMPO, for instance, the sentence itself is misunderstood! That one must not be doubtful about the rhythm-determining syllables, that one should feel the breaking of the too-rigid symmetry as intentional and as a charm, that one should lend a fine and patient ear to every STACCATO and every RUBATO, that one should divine the sense in the sequence of the vowels and diphthongs, and how delicately and richly they can be tinted and retinted in the order of their arrangement--who among book-reading Germans is complaisant enough to recognize such duties and requirements, and to listen to so much art and intention in language? After all, one just "has no ear for it"; and so the most marked contrasts of style are not heard, and the most delicate artistry is as it were SQUANDERED on the deaf.
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There is an INSTINCT FOR RANK, which more than anything else is already the sign of a HIGH rank; there is a DELIGHT in the NUANCES of reverence which leads one to infer noble origin and habits.
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An evil huntsman was I? See how taut My bow was bent! Strongest was he by whom such bolt were sent-- Woe now! That arrow is with peril fraught, Perilous as none.