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

By Friedrich Nietzsche

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Nothing is
strong enough: every one is in _need_ of the mediation and the services
of priests. They establish themselves as indispensable _intercessors._
The conditions of their existence are: (1) That people believe in the
absolute superiority of their god, in fact believe in _their god_';
(2) that there is no other access, no direct access to god, save
through them. The _second_ condition alone gives rise to the concept
"heterodoxy"; the _first_ to the concept "disbelievers" (that is to
say, he who believes in another god).


_A Criticism of the Holy Lie._--That a lie is allowed in pursuit
of holy ends 'is a principle which belongs to the theory of all
priestcraft, and the object of this inquiry is to discover to what
extent it belongs to its practice.

But philosophers, too, whenever they intend taking over the leadership
of mankind, with the ulterior motives of priests in their minds, have
never failed to arrogate to themselves the right to lie: Plato above
all. But the most elaborate of lies is the double lie, developed
by the typically Arian philosophers of the Vedanta: two systems,
contradicting each other in all their main points, but interchangeable,
complementary, and mutually expletory, when educational ends were in
question. The lie of the one has to create a condition in which the
truth of the other can alone become _intelligible...._

How _far_ does the holy lie of priests and philosophers go?--The
question here is, what hypotheses do they advance in regard to
education, and what are the dogmas they are compelled to _invent_ in
order to do justice to these hypotheses?

First: they must have power, authority, and absolute credibility on
their side.

Secondly: they must have the direction of the whole of Nature, so that
everything affecting the individual seems to be determined by their law.

Thirdly: their domain of power must be very extensive, in order that
its control may escape the notice of those they subject: they must know
the penal code of the life beyond--of the life "after death,"--and, of
course, the means whereby the road to blessedness may be discovered.
They have to put the notion of a natural course of things out of sight,
but as they are intelligent and thoughtful people, they are able to
_promise_ a host of effects, which they naturally say are conditioned
by prayer or by the strict observance of their law. They can, moreover,
_prescribe_ a large number of things which are exceedingly reasonable
--only they must not point to experience or empiricism as the source
of this wisdom, but to revelation or to the fruits of the "most severe
exercises of

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Blow away all clouds of sadness, Till our heaven clear we see; Let me hold thy hand, best fellow, Till my joy like tempest bellow! Freest thou of spirits free! When thou partest, take a token Of the joy thou hast awoken, Take our wreath and fling it far; Toss it up and catch it never, Whirl it on before thee ever, Till it reach the farthest star.
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Inserted by permission of the editor of the _Nation_, in which it appeared on April 17, 1909.