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

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 77

to
the tonic passions which enhance the energy of the feeling of life:
its action is depressing. A man loses power when he pities. By
means of pity the drain on strength which suffering itself already
introduces into the world is multiplied a thousandfold. Through pity,
suffering itself becomes infectious; in certain circumstances it may
lead to a total loss of life and vital energy, which is absurdly
put of proportion to the magnitude of the cause (--the case of the
death of the Nazarene). This is the first standpoint; but there is a
still more important one. Supposing one measures pity according to
the value of the reactions it usually stimulates, its danger to life
appears in a much more telling light On the whole, pity thwarts the
law of development which is the law of selection. It preserves that
which is ripe for death, it fights in favour of the disinherited and
the condemned of life; thanks to the multitude of abortions of all
kinds which it maintains in life, it lends life itself a sombre and
questionable aspect. People have dared to call pity a virtue (--in
every _noble_ culture it is considered as a weakness--); people went
still further, they exalted it to _the_ virtue, the root and origin
of all virtues,--but, of course, what must never be forgotten is the
fact that this was done from the standpoint of a philosophy which
was nihilistic, and on whose shield the device _The Denial of Life_
was inscribed. Schopenhauer was right in this respect: by means of
pity, life is denied and made _more worthy of denial,_--pity is
the _praxis_ of Nihilism. I repeat, this depressing and infectious
instinct thwarts those instincts which aim at the preservation and
enhancement of the value life: by _multiplying_ misery quite as much
as by preserving all that is miserable, it is the principal agent in
promoting decadence,--pity exhorts people to nothing, to _nonentity!_
But they do not say "_nonentity_" they say "Beyond," or "God," or "the
true life"; or Nirvana, or Salvation, or Blessedness, instead. This
innocent rhetoric, which belongs to the realm of the religio-moral
idiosyncrasy, immediately appears to be _very much less innocent_ if
one realises what the tendency is which here tries to drape itself in
the mantle of sublime expressions--the tendency of hostility to life.
Schopenhauer was hostile to life: that is why he elevated pity to a
virtue.... Aristotle, as you know, recognised in pity a morbid and
dangerous state, of which it was wise to rid one's self from time to
time by a purgative: he regarded tragedy as a purgative. For

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