in perplexity before certain
passages in the book before us, and wonder what they mean. Now, it is
with the view of giving a little additional help to all those who find
themselves in this position that I proceed to put forth my own personal
interpretation of the more abstruse passages in this work.
In offering this little commentary to the Nietzsche student, I should
like it to be understood that I make no claim as to its infallibility or
indispensability. It represents but an attempt on my part--a very feeble
one perhaps--to give the reader what little help I can in surmounting
difficulties which a long study of Nietzsche's life and works has
enabled me, partially I hope, to overcome.
Perhaps it would be as well to start out with a broad and rapid sketch
of Nietzsche as a writer on Morals, Evolution, and Sociology, so that
the reader may be prepared to pick out for himself, so to speak, all
passages in this work bearing in any way upon Nietzsche's views in those
three important branches of knowledge.
(A.) Nietzsche and Morality.
In morality, Nietzsche starts out by adopting the position of the
relativist. He says there are no absolute values "good" and "evil";
these are mere means adopted by all in order to acquire power to
maintain their place in the world, or to become supreme. It is the
lion's good to devour an antelope. It is the dead-leaf butterfly's
good to tell a foe a falsehood. For when the dead-leaf butterfly is in
danger, it clings to the side of a twig, and what it says to its foe is
practically this: "I am not a butterfly, I am a dead leaf, and can be
of no use to thee." This is a lie which is good to the butterfly, for
it preserves it. In nature every species of organic being instinctively
adopts and practises those acts which most conduce to the prevalence
or supremacy of its kind. Once the most favourable order of conduct is
found, proved efficient and established, it becomes the ruling morality
of the species that adopts it and bears them along to victory. All
species must not and cannot value alike, for what is the lion's good is
the antelope's evil and vice versa.
Concepts of good and evil are therefore, in their origin, merely a means
to an end, they are expedients for acquiring power.
Applying this principle to mankind, Nietzsche attacked Christian
moral values. He declared them to be, like all other morals, merely
an expedient for protecting a certain type of man. In the case
Pessimism regarded as collapse--_in what sense?_ In the sense of its being a softening influence, a sort of cosmopolitan befingering, a "tout comprendre," and historical spirit.Page 21
All such tremendous _exaggeration_ of the value of men, of the value of evil, etc.Page 53
Personal and _manly_ capacity, bodily capacity recovers its value, valuations.Page 82
peaceable and afflicted with great intellectual weariness.Page 90
On the other hand, I do not rest until I am quite clear concerning the _immorality_ of any particular thing which happens to come under my notice.Page 127
_The "interested nature" of the morality of ordinary people.Page 130
This is the well-known case of TannhÃ¤user.Page 142
But far from understanding these facts, this valuation dreams rather of returning to the wholeness, oneness, and strengthfulness of Life: it actually believes that a state of blessedness will be reached when the inner anarchy and state of unrest which result from these opposed impulses is brought to an end.Page 158
Criticism and history have no charm for us _in this_ respect: what is their charm, then? 416.Page 178
_Solution_: Greek philosophers stand upon the same fundamental fact of their inner experiences as Socrates does; five feet from excess, from anarchy and from dissolution--all decadent men.Page 182
Against what powers are they actually defending themselves? Against dutifulness, against obedience to law, against the compulsion of going hand in hand--I believe this is what is called _Freedom.Page 185
_his_ type as the highest.