The Will to Power, Book I and II An Attempted Transvaluation of all Values

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 12

from it as if it had been an _a priori_ and
_absolute fact_: "God" at the head, as the _given quantity_--Truth. "To
become like God," "to be absorbed into the Divine Being"--these were
for centuries the most ingenuous and most convincing desiderata (but
that which convinces is not necessarily true on that account: it is
_nothing more nor less than convincing._ An observation for donkeys).

The granting of a _personal-reality_ to this accretion of ideals
has been unlearned: people have become atheistic. But has the ideal
actually been abandoned? The latest metaphysicians, as a matter of
fact, still seek their true "reality" in it--the "thing-in-itself"
beside which everything else is merely appearance. Their dogma is, that
because our world of appearance is so obviously _not_ the expression
of that ideal, it therefore cannot be "true"--and at bottom does not
even lead back to that metaphysical world as cause. The unconditioned,
in so far as it stands for that highest degree of perfection, cannot
possibly be the reason of all the conditioned. Schopenhauer, who
desired it otherwise, was obliged to imagine this metaphysical basis as
the antithesis to the ideal, as "an evil, blind will": thus it could
be "that which appears," that which manifests itself in the world of
appearance. But even so, he did not give up that ideal absolute--he
circumvented it....

(Kant seems to have needed the hypothesis of "intelligible freedom,"[3]
in order to relieve the _ens perfectum_ of the responsibility of having
contrived this world as it is, in short, in order to explain evil:
scandalous logic for a philosopher!).


[Footnote 3: See Note on p. 11.]


18.

_The most general sign of modern times_: in his own estimation, man has
lost an infinite amount of _dignity._ For a long time he was the centre
and tragic hero of life in general; then he endeavoured to demonstrate
at least his relationship to the most essential and in itself most
valuable side of life--as all metaphysicians do, who wish to hold fast
to the _dignity of man,_ in their belief that moral values are cardinal
values. He who has let God go, clings all the more strongly to the
belief in morality.


19.

Every purely _moral_ valuation (as, for instance, the Buddhistic)
_terminates in Nihilism_: Europe must expect the same thing! It is
supposed that one can get along with a morality bereft of a religious
background; but in this direction the road to Nihilism is opened. There
is nothing in religion which compels us to regard ourselves as valuing
creatures.


20.

The question which Nihilism puts, namely, "to what purpose?" is the
outcome of a habit, hitherto, to regard the purpose

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