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

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 19

or not to be," is
itself an illness, a sign of degeneracy, an idiosyncrasy.

The Nihilistic movement is only an expression of physiological


_To be understood_:--That every kind of decline and tendency to
sickness has incessantly been at work in helping to create general
evaluations: that in those valuations which now dominate, decadence
has even begun to preponderate, that we have not only to combat the
conditions which present misery and degeneration have brought into
being; but that all decadence, previous to that of our own times, has
been transmitted and has therefore remained an _active force_ amongst
us. A universal departure of this kind, on the part of man, from
his fundamental instincts, such universal decadence of the valuing
judgment, is the note of interrogation _par excellence,_ the real
riddle, which the animal "man" sets to all philosophers.


_The notion "decadence":--Decay, decline,_ and _waste,_ are, _per se,_
in no way open to objection; they are the natural consequences of life
and vital growth. The phenomenon of decadence is just as necessary to
life as advance or progress is: we are not in a position which enables
us to _suppress_ it. On the contrary, reason _would have it retain its

It is disgraceful on the part of socialist-theorists to argue that
circumstances and social combinations could be devised which would put
an end to all vice, illness, crime, prostitution, and poverty.... But
that is tantamount to condemning _Life_ ... a society is not at liberty
to remain young. And even in its prime it must bring forth ordure and
decaying matter. The more energetically and daringly it advances, the
richer will it be in failures and in deformities, and the nearer it
will be to its fall. Age is not deferred by means of institutions. Nor
is illness. Nor is vice.


Fundamental aspect of the nature of decadence: _what has heretofore
been regarded as its causes are its effects._

In this way, the whole perspective _of the problems of morality_ is

All the struggle of morals against vice, luxury, crime, and even
against illness, seems a _naïveté,_ a superfluous effort: there is no
such thing as "_improvement_" (a word against _repentance_).

Decadence itself is not a thing _that can be withstood_: it is
absolutely necessary and is proper to all ages and all peoples. That
which must be withstood, and by all means in our power, is the
spreading of the contagion among the sound parts of the organism.

Is that done? The very _reverse_ is done. It is precisely on this
account that one makes a stand on behalf of _humanity._

How do the _highest values_ created hitherto stand

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Text Comparison with Thoughts out of Season, Part I David Strauss, the Confessor and the Writer - Richard Wagner in Bayreuth.

Page 11
The wind--for there is a terrible wind blowing just now--is playing havoc with his long white Jew-beard, but this white Jew-beard of his is growing black again at the end, and even the sad eyes are still capable of quite youthful flashes, as may be noticed at this very moment.
Page 25
" What does our Culture-Philistinism say of these seekers? It regards them simply as discoverers, and seems to forget that they themselves only claimed to be seekers.
Page 28
This man was Hölderlin, and the aforementioned æsthete was therefore justified, under the circumstances, in speaking of the tragic souls who had foundered on "reality"--reality being understood, here, to mean Philistine reason.
Page 33
And I do indeed call this a result! The doctor, the drug, and the disease--everything forgotten! And the joyous laughter! The continual provocation to hilarity! You are to be envied, Sir; for you have founded the most attractive of all religions--one whose followers do honour to its founder by laughing at him.
Page 34
" "Here is our man!" cries the Philistine exultingly, who reads this: "for this is exactly how we live; it is indeed our daily life.
Page 35
433); so that we are led to regard these private little art-rooms as a kind of bath-rooms.
Page 41
As to Mozart, what Aristotle says of Plato ought really to be applied here: "Insignificant people ought not to be permitted even to praise him.
Page 63
No one would contend, I suppose, that Strauss is original, or that he is over-severe in his method; but the question is whether we can regard him as "master of his subject," and grant.
Page 67
The mask of genius falls from them too often, and the Master's expression is never more sour and his movements never stiffer than when he has just attempted to take the leap, or to glance with the fiery eye, of a genius.
Page 72
Out with it, then! let my colours be displayed that it may be seen whether they are genuine or not.
Page 76
No event is great in itself, even though it be the disappearance of whole constellations, the destruction of several nations, the establishment of vast empires, or the prosecution of wars at the cost of enormous forces: over things of this sort the breath of history blows as if they were flocks of wool.
Page 78
They who hold by gradual development as a kind of moral law must be somewhat shocked at the sight of one who, in the course of a single lifetime, succeeds in producing something absolutely new.
Page 98
" Now, in this world of forms and intentional misunderstandings, what purpose is served by the appearance of souls overflowing with music? They pursue the course of grand and unrestrained rhythm with noble candour--with a passion more than personal; they glow with the mighty and peaceful fire of music, which wells up to the light of day from their unexhausted depths--and all this to what purpose? By means of these souls music gives expression to the longing that it feels for the company of its natural ally, _gymnastics_--that is to say, its necessary form in the order of visible phenomena.
Page 99
If their innermost consciousness can perceive no new forms, but only the old ones belonging to the past, they may certainly achieve something for history, but not for life; for they are already dead before having expired.
Page 105
As the observer is apparently subject to Wagner's exuberant and prodigally generous nature, he partakes of its strength, and thereby becomes formidable _through him and to him_.
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Page 113
From that time forward he loved them and longed for them, as he longed for his art; for, alas! in them alone, in this fast disappearing, scarcely recognisable body, artificially held aloof, he now saw the only spectators and listeners worthy and fit for the power of his masterpieces, as he pictured them.
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his soul; they constituted his most urgent need:--in this way he was able to ascertain how like his sorrow was to that of the people, when they came into being, and how they must arise anew if _many Wagners_ are going to appear.
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Must not jealousy awaken the greatest talent, if the plastic artist ever compares the effect of his productions with that of Wagnerian music, in which there is so much pure and sunny happiness that he who hears it feels as though all previous music had been but an alien, faltering, and constrained language; as though in the past it had been but a thing to sport with in the presence of those who were not deserving of serious treatment, or a thing with which to train and instruct those who were not even deserving of play? In the case of.
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Others, more particularly the earlier ones, including "Opera and Drama," excite and agitate one; their rhythm is so uneven that, as prose they are bewildering.