themselves types of dissolution.
In practice, it means that moral judgments have been torn from the
conditions among which they grew and in which alone they had some
sense, from their Greek and GrÃ¦co-political soil, in order to be
_denaturalised_ under the cover of being _made sublime._ The great
concepts "good" and "just" are divorced from the first principles of
which they form a part, and, as "ideas" _become free,_ degenerate
into subjects for discussion. A certain truth is sought behind them;
they are regarded as entities or as symbols of entities: a world is
_invented_ where they are "at home," and from which they are supposed
_In short_: the scandal reaches its apotheosis in Plato.... And then it
was necessary to invent the _perfectly abstract_ man also:--good, just,
wise, and a dialectician to boot--in short, the _scarecrow_ of the
ancient philosopher: a plant without any soil whatsoever; a human race
devoid of all definite ruling instincts; a virtue which "justifies"
itself with reasons. The perfectly absurd "individual" _per se_! the
highest form of _Artificiality...._
Briefly, the denaturalisation of moral values resulted in the creation
of a degenerate _type of man_--"the good man," "the happy man,"
"the wise man."--Socrates represents a moment of the most _profound
perversity_ in the history of values.
_Socrates._--This veering round of Greek taste in favour of dialectics
is a great question. What really happened then? Socrates, the
_roturier_ who was responsible for it, was thus able to triumph over
a more noble taste, the taste of _the noble_:--the mob gets the upper
hand along with dialectics. Previous to Socrates dialectic manners
were repudiated in good society; they were regarded as indecent; the
youths were Warned against them. What was the purpose of this display
of reasons? Why demonstrate? Against others one could use authority.
One commanded, and that sufficed. Among friends, _inter pares,_ there
was tradition--_also_ a form of authority: and last but not least,
one understood each other. There was no room found for dialectics.
Besides, all such modes of presenting reasons were distrusted. All
honest things do not carry their reasons in their hands in such
fashion. It is indecent to show all the five fingers at the same time.
That which can be "demonstrated" is little worth. The instinct of
every party-speaker tells him that dialectics excites mistrust and
carries little conviction. Nothing is more easily wiped away than the
effect of a dialectician. It can only be a _last defence._ One must
be in an extremity; it is necessary to have to _extort_ one's rights;
otherwise one makes no use of dialectics. That is why the Jews were
dialecticians, Reynard the
Lack of the historical sense is the traditional defect in all philosophers.Page 11
Even were the existence of such a world absolutely established, it would nevertheless remain incontrovertible that of all kinds of knowledge, knowledge of such a world would be of least consequence--of even less consequence than knowledge of the chemical analysis of water would be to a storm tossed mariner.Page 23
After according this great triumph to justice, after we have corrected in so essential a respect the historical point of view which the age of learning brought with it, we may begin to bear still farther onward the banner of enlightenment--a banner bearing the three names: Petrarch, Erasmus, Voltaire.Page 29
35 =Advantages of Psychological Observation.Page 30
If Plutarch's heroes are enthusiastically imitated and a reluctance is experienced to looking too critically into the motives of their actions, not the knowledge but the welfare of human society is promoted thereby: psychological error and above all obtuseness in regard to it, help human nature forward, whereas knowledge of the truth is more promoted by means of the stimulating strength of a hypothesis; as La Rochefoucauld in the first edition of his "Sentences and Moral Maxims" has expressed it: "What the world calls virtue is ordinarily but a phantom created by the passions, and to which we give a good name in order to do whatever we please with impunity.Page 40
and openly is against us, therefore he speaks the truth.Page 41
He will not ask that eagerness for knowledge be interdicted and rooted out; but his single, all powerful ambition to _know_ as thoroughly and as fully as possible, will soothe him and moderate all that is strenuous in his circumstances.Page 44
"--In like manner will success prove an excellent substitute for a better argument.Page 45
=--How comes it that every execution causes us more pain than a murder? It is the coolness of the executioner, the painful preparation, the perception that here a man is being used as an instrument for the intimidation of others.Page 49
Thus, where there exists no demonstrable supremacy and a struggle leads but to mutual, useless damage, the reflection arises that an understanding would best be arrived at and some compromise entered into.Page 50
A still higher stage is attained when he regulates his conduct upon the basis of honor, by means of which he gains mastery of himself and surrenders his desires to principles; this lifts him far above the phase in which he was actuated only by considerations of personal advantage as he understood it.Page 52
97 =Delight in the Moral.Page 60
All is guiltlessness, and knowledge is the way to insight into this guiltlessness.Page 61
and in the same soil, and may, perhaps, in thousands of years be powerful enough to endow mankind with capacity to develop the wise, guiltless man (conscious of guiltlessness) as unfailingly as it now developes the unwise, irrational, guilt-conscious man--that is to say, the necessary higher step, not the opposite of it.Page 65
If the wells suddenly run dry, the first thought is of subterranean demons and their pranks.Page 72
The "presentiment" is not one step forward in the domain of certainty.Page 73
--This condition would not be found so bitter if the individual but compared himself freely with other men: for then he would have no reason to be discontented with himself in particular as he is merely bearing his share of the general burden of human discontent and incompleteness.Page 75
There still apparently remains that discouragement which is closely allied with fear of the punishment of worldly justice or of the contempt of one's fellow men.Page 80
They needed in the loneliness and the spiritual wilderness of their lives an ever living enemy, and a universally known enemy through whose conquest they might appear to the unsanctified as utterly incomprehensible and half unnatural beings.Page 81
To move, to inspire, to inspirit at any cost--is not this the freedom cry of an exhausted, over-ripe, over cultivated age? The circle of all the natural sensations had been gone through a hundred times: the soul had grown weary.