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

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 25

of values.


If Nature have no pity on the degenerate, it is not therefore
immoral: the growth of physiological and moral evils in the human
race, is rather the _result_ of _morbid and unnatural morality._ The
sensitiveness of the majority of men is both morbid and unnatural.

Why is it that mankind is corrupt in a moral and physiological respect?
The body degenerates if one organ is _unsound._ The _right of altruism_
cannot be traced to physiology, neither can the right to help and
to the equality of fate: these are all premiums for degenerates and

There can be no _solidarity_ in a society containing unfruitful,
unproductive, and destructive members, who, by the bye, are bound to
have offspring even more degenerate than they are themselves.


Decadence exercises a profound and perfectly unconscious influence,
even over the ideals of science: all our sociology is a proof of this
proposition, and it has yet to be reproached with the fact that
it has only the experience of _society in the process of decay,_
and inevitably takes its own decaying instincts as the basis of
sociological judgment.

The _declining_ vitality of modern Europe formulates its social ideals
in its decaying instincts: and these ideals are all so like those of
_old and effete_ races, that they might be mistaken for one another.

The _gregarious instinct,_ then,--now a sovereign power,--is something
totally different from the instinct of an _aristocratic society_: and
the value of the sum depends upon the value of the units constituting
it.... The whole of our sociology knows no other instinct than that
of the herd, _i.e.,_ of a _multitude of mere ciphers_--of which every
cipher has "equal rights," and where it is a virtue to be----naught....

The valuation with which the various forms of society are judged to-day
is absolutely the same with that which assigns a higher place to peace
than to war: but this principle is contrary to the teaching of biology,
and is itself a mere outcome of decadent life. Life is a result of war,
society is a means to war.... Mr. Herbert Spencer was a decadent in
biology, as also in morality (he regarded the triumph of altruism as a


After thousands of years of error and confusion, it is my good fortune
to have rediscovered the road which leads to a Yea and to a Nay.

I teach people to say Nay in the face of all that makes for weakness
and exhaustion.

I teach people to say Yea in the face of all that makes for strength,
that preserves strength, and justifies the feeling of strength.

Up to the present, neither

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Birth of Tragedy; or, Hellenism and Pessimism

Page 2
When, however, Stanislas Leszcysski the Pole became king, our supposed ancestor became involved in a conspiracy in favour of the Saxons and Protestants.
Page 5
He did not, however, forget to discriminate among them, but tested and criticised the currents of thought he encountered, and selected accordingly.
Page 16
And what then, physiologically speaking, is the meaning of that madness, out of which comic as well as tragic art has grown, the Dionysian madness? What? perhaps madness is not necessarily the symptom of degeneration, of decline, of belated culture? Perhaps there are--a question for alienists--neuroses of _health_? of folk-youth and youthfulness? What does that synthesis of god and goat in the Satyr point to? What self-experience what "stress," made the Greek think of the Dionysian reveller and primitive man as a satyr? And as regards the origin of the tragic chorus: perhaps there were endemic ecstasies in the eras when the Greek body bloomed and the Greek soul brimmed over with life? Visions and hallucinations, which took hold of entire communities, entire cult-assemblies? What if the Greeks in the very wealth of their youth had the will _to be_ tragic and were pessimists? What if it was madness itself, to use a word of Plato's, which brought the _greatest_ blessings upon Hellas? And what if, on the other hand and conversely, at the very time of their dissolution and weakness, the Greeks became always more optimistic, more superficial, more histrionic, also more ardent for logic and the logicising of the world,--consequently at the same time more "cheerful" and more "scientific"? Ay, despite all "modern ideas" and prejudices of the democratic taste, may not the triumph of _optimism,_ the _common sense_ that has gained the upper hand, the practical and theoretical _utilitarianism,_ like democracy itself, with which it is synchronous--be symptomatic of declining vigour, of approaching age, of physiological weariness? And _not_ at all--pessimism? Was Epicurus an optimist--because a _sufferer_?.
Page 19
Of course, apart from all precipitate hopes and faulty applications to matters specially modern, with which I then spoiled my first book, the great Dionysian note of interrogation, as set down therein, continues standing on and on, even with reference to music: how must we conceive of a music, which is no longer of Romantic origin, like the German; but of _Dionysian_?.
Page 21
Upon a real perusal of this essay, such readers will, rather to their surprise, discover how earnest is the German problem we have to deal with, which we properly place, as a vortex and turning-point, in the very midst of German hopes.
Page 32
In his _Transfiguration,_ the lower half, with the possessed boy, the despairing bearers, the helpless, terrified disciples, shows to us the reflection of eternal primordial pain, the sole basis of the world: the "appearance" here is the counter-appearance of eternal Contradiction, the father of things.
Page 33
Because of his Titan-like love for man, Prometheus had to be torn to pieces by vultures; because of his excessive wisdom, which solved the riddle of the Sphinx, Œdipus had to plunge into a bewildering vortex of monstrous crimes: thus did the Delphic god interpret the Grecian past.
Page 39
_Melody is therefore primary and universal,_ and as such may admit of several objectivations, in several texts.
Page 46
Here, in this extremest danger of the will, _art_ approaches, as a saving and healing enchantress; she alone is able to transform these nauseating reflections on the awfulness or absurdity of existence into representations wherewith it is possible to live: these are the representations of the _sublime_ as the artistic subjugation of the awful, and the _comic_ as the artistic delivery from the nausea of the absurd.
Page 57
[14] This is thy world, and what a world!--_Faust.
Page 66
The poet of the dramatised epos cannot completely blend with his pictures any more than the epic rhapsodist.
Page 73
itself to him who "hath but little wit"; consequently not to the philosopher: a twofold reason why it should be avoided.
Page 81
Page 85
In spite of fear and pity, we are the happy living beings, not as individuals, but as the _one_ living being, with whose procreative joy we are blended.
Page 86
that the previously mentioned lesson of Hamlet is to be gathered not from his words, but from a more profound contemplation and survey of the whole.
Page 95
It is now a matter of indifference to us that the humanists of those days combated the old ecclesiastical representation of man as naturally corrupt and lost, with this new-created picture of the paradisiac artist: so that opera may be understood as the oppositional dogma of the good man, whereby however a solace was at the same time found for the pessimism to which precisely the seriously-disposed men of that time were most strongly incited, owing to the frightful uncertainty of all conditions of life.
Page 98
Out of the Dionysian root of the German spirit a power has arisen which has nothing in common with the primitive conditions of Socratic culture, and can neither be explained nor excused thereby, but is rather regarded by this culture as something terribly inexplicable and overwhelmingly hostile,--namely, _German music_ as we have to understand it, especially in its vast solar orbit from Bach to Beethoven, from Beethoven to Wagner.
Page 99
It may at last, after returning to the primitive source of its being, venture to stalk along boldly and freely before all nations without hugging the leading-strings of a Romanic civilisation: if only it can.
Page 108
He beholds the transfigured world of the stage and nevertheless denies it.
Page 113
All our hopes, on the contrary, stretch out longingly towards the perception that beneath this restlessly palpitating civilised life and educational convulsion there is concealed a glorious, intrinsically healthy, primeval power, which, to be sure, stirs vigorously only at intervals in stupendous moments, and then dreams on again in view of a future awakening.