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

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 94

a matter of fact, the Christian is an example of
exaggerated self-control: in order to tame his passions, he seems to
find it necessary to extirpate or crucify them.


Man did not know himself physiologically throughout the ages his
history covers; he does not even know himself now. The knowledge, for
instance, that man has a nervous system (but no "soul") is still the
privilege of the most educated people. But man is not satisfied, in
this respect, to say he does not know. A man must be very superior to
be able to say: "I do not know this,"--that is to say, to be able to
admit his ignorance.

Suppose he is in pain or in a good mood, he never questions that he
can find the reason of either condition if only he seeks.... In truth,
he cannot find the reason; for he does not even suspect where it
lies.... What happens?... He takes the _result_ of his condition for
its _cause_; for instance, if he should undertake some work (really
undertaken because his good mood gave him the courage to do so) and
carry it through successfully: behold, the work itself is the _reason_
of his good mood.... As a matter of fact, his success was determined by
the same cause as that which brought about his good mood--that is to
say, the happy co-ordination of physiological powers and functions.

He feels bad: _consequently_ he cannot overcome a care, a scruple,
or an attitude of self-criticism.... He really fancies that his
disagreeable condition is the result of his scruple, of his "sin," or
of his "self-criticism."

But after profound exhaustion and prostration, a state of recovery sets
in. "How is it possible that I can feel so free, so happy? It is a
miracle; only a God could have effected this change."--Conclusion: "He
has forgiven my sin." ...

From this follow certain practices: in order to provoke feelings of
sinfulness and to prepare the way for crushed spirits it is necessary
to induce a condition of morbidity and nervousness in the body. The
methods of doing this are well known. Of course, nobody suspects
the causal logic of the fact: the _maceration_ of the _flesh_ is
interpreted religiously, it seems like an end in itself, whereas it
is no more than a _means_ of bringing about that morbid state of
indigestion which is known as repentance (the "fixed idea" of sin, the
hypnotising of the hen by-means of the chalk-line "sin").

The mishandling of the body prepares the ground for the required range
of "guilty feelings"--that is to say, for that general state of pain

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