very much afraid of
sorrow--men who are _certain of their power,_ and who represent with
conscious pride the state of strength to which man has attained.
How could such a man think of Eternal Recurrence?
_The Periods of European Nihilism._
_The Period of Obscurity_: all kinds of groping measures devised to
preserve old institutions and not to arrest the progress of new ones.
_The Period of Light_: men see that old and new are fundamental
contraries; that the old values are born of descending life, and that
the new ones are born of ascending life--_that all old ideals_ are
unfriendly to life (born of decadence and determining it, however
much they may be decked out in the Sunday finery of morality). We
_understand_ the old, but are far from being sufficiently strong for
_The Periods of the Three Great Passions_: contempt, pity, destruction.
_The Periods of Catastrophes_: the rise of a teaching which will sift
mankind ... which drives the weak to some decision and the strong also.
CONCERNING THE HISTORY OF EUROPEAN NIHILISM.
_(a)_ MODERN GLOOMINESS.
My friends, we had a hard time as youths; we even suffered from
youth itself as though it were a serious disease. This is owing to
the age in which we were born--an age of enormous internal decay and
disintegration which, with all its weakness and even with the best of
its strength, is opposed to the spirit of youth. Disintegration--that
is to say, uncertainty--is peculiar to this age: nothing stands on
solid ground or on a sound faith. People live for the morrow, because
the day-after-to-morrow is doubtful. All our road is slippery and
dangerous, while the ice which still bears us has grown unconscionably
thin: we all feel the mild and gruesome breath of the thaw-wind--soon,
where we are walking, no one will any longer _be able_ to stand!
If this is not an age of decay and of diminishing vitality, it is at
least one of indiscriminate and arbitrary experimentalising--and it is
probable that out of an excess of abortive experiments there has grown
this general impression, as of decay: and perhaps decay itself.
_Concerning the history of modern gloominess._
The state-nomads (officials, etc.): "homeless"--.
The break-up of the family.
The "good man" as a symptom of exhaustion.
Justice as Will to Power (Rearing).
Lewdness and neurosis.
Black music: whither has real music gone?
Contempt of man, loathing.
Most profound distinction: whether hunger or satiety is creative? The
first creates the _Ideals of Romanticism._
The need of Alcohol: the "need" of the working classes.
The slow advance and rise of the middle and lower classes (including
the lower kind of spirit
| .Page 2
Frivolous spendthrift! Thou art a reader after my own heart; for thou wilt be patient enough to accompany an author any distance, even though he himself cannot yet see the goal at which he is aiming,--even though he himself feels only that he must at all events honestly believe in a goal, in order that a future and possibly very remote generation may come face to face with that towards which we are now blindly and instinctively groping.Page 10
The day was a glorious one; the weather was of the kind which, in our climate at least, only falls to our lot in late summer: heaven and earth merged harmoniously with one another, and, glowing wondrously in the sunshine, autumn freshness blended with the blue expanse above.Page 17
The all too frequent exploitation of youth by the State, for its own purposes--that is to say, so that it may rear useful officials as quickly as possible and guarantee their unconditional obedience to it by means of excessively severe examinations--had remained quite foreign to our education.Page 22
Should he then elevate himself above the herd by means of his speciality, he still remains one of them in regard to all else,--that is to say, in regard to all the most important things in life.Page 27
, _cum taedio in infinitum_.Page 37
The splendid practice afforded by translating from one language into another, which so improves and fertilises one's artistic feeling for one's own tongue, is, in the case of German, never conducted with that fitting categorical strictness and dignity which would be above all necessary in dealing with an undisciplined language.Page 46
Another racks his brains as to why OEdipus was condemned by fate to perform such abominable deeds--killing his father, marrying his mother.Page 48
" "What I mean is," said the other, "it would depend upon whether a teacher of classical culture did _not_ confuse his Greeks and Romans with the other peoples, the barbarians, whether he could _never_ put Greek and Latin _on a level with_ other languages: so far as his classicalism is concerned, it is a matter of indifference whether the framework of these languages concurs with or is in any way related to the other languages: such a concurrence does not interest him at all; his real concern is with _what is not common to both_, with what shows him that those two peoples were not barbarians as compared with the others--in so far, of course, as he is a true teacher of culture and models himself after the majestic patterns of the classics.Page 49
This right to higher education has been taken so seriously by the most powerful of modern States--Prussia--that the objectionable principle it has adopted, taken in connection with the well-known daring and hardihood of this State, is seen to have a menacing and dangerous consequence for the true German spirit; for we see endeavours.Page 50
This is a new and quite original occurrence: the State assumes the attitude of a mystogogue of culture, and, whilst it promotes its own ends, it obliges every one of its servants not to appear in its presence without the torch of universal State education in their hands, by the flickering light of which they may again recognise the State as the highest goal, as the reward of all their strivings after education.Page 57
We have waited in vain; let us go.Page 59
Our course is only zig-zag as a rule.Page 60
I only see a resplendent file of the highest natures moving towards this goal; I can imagine over what abysses and through what temptations this procession travels.Page 63
And not those men alone! Indictments are pouring forth against you from every intellectual province: whether I look at the talents of our poets, philosophers, painters, or sculptors--and not only in the case of gifts of the highest order--I everywhere see immaturity, overstrained nerves, or prematurely exhausted energies, abilities wasted and nipped in the bud; I everywhere feel that 'resistance of the stupid world,' in other words, _your_ guiltiness.Page 67
out their life's task.Page 69
A coloured flame, making a crackling noise for a few seconds, attracted our attention from the direction of the Rhine; and immediately following upon this we heard a slow, harmonious call, quite in tune, although plainly the cry of numerous youthful voices.Page 70
cried "False time!" as our rhythm was suddenly interrupted: for, like a lightning flash, a shooting star tore its way across the clouds after the third report, and almost involuntarily our fourth and fifth shots were sent after it in the direction it had taken.Page 78
He looks into his own breast, analyses his faculties, and finds he is only peering into hollow and chaotic vacuity.Page 84
 Weber set one or two of Koerner's "Lyre and Sword" songs to music.