[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib

Highlight Words

Friedrich Nietzsche, Fighter for Freedom

Friedrich Nietzsche: Part 1.1: The Character

Part 1

Friedrich Nietzsche, A Fighter Against his Time


  Preface to the First German Edition, 1895
i The Character
ii The Superman
iii Nietzsche's Path of Development




RIEDRICH NIETZSCHE characterizes himself as a lonely ponderer and friend of riddles, as a personality not made for the age in which he lived. The one who follows such paths as his, “meets no one; this is a part of going one's own way. No one approaches to help him; all that happens to him of danger, accidents, evil and bad weather, he must get along with alone,” he says in the preface of the second edition of his Morgenröte, Dawn. But it is stimulating to follow him into his loneliness. In the words in which he expressed his relationship to Schopenhauer, I would like to describe my relationship to Nietzsche: “I belong to those readers of Nietzsche who, after they have read the first page, know with certainty that they will read all pages, and listen to every word he has said. My confidence in him was there immediately ... I understood him as if he had written just for me, in order to express all that I would say intelligibly but immediately and foolishly.” One can speak thus and yet be far from acknowledging oneself as a “believer” in Nietzsche's world conception. But Nietzsche himself could not be further from wishing to have such “believers.” Did he not put into Zarathustra's mouth these words:

“You say you believe in Zarathustra, but of what account is Zarathustra? You are my believer, but of what account are all believers?

“You have not searched for yourselves as yet; there you found me. Thus do all believers, but, for that reason, there is so little in all believing.

“Now I advise you to forsake me and to find yourselves; and only when all of you have denied me will I return to you.”

Nietzsche is no Messianic founder of a religion; therefore he can wish for friends who support his opinion, but he cannot wish for confessors to his teaching, who give up their own selves to find his.

In Nietzsche's personality are found instincts which are contrary to the complete gamut of the ideas of his contemporaries. With instinctive aversion he rejects most of the important cultural ideas of those amid whom he developed himself and, indeed, not as one rejects an assertion in which one has discovered a logical contradiction, but rather as one turns away from a color which causes pain to the eye. The aversion starts from the immediate feeling to begin with, conscious thinking does not come into consideration at all. What other people feel when such thoughts as guilt, conscience, sin, life beyond, ideal happiness, fatherland, pass through their heads, works unpleasantly upon Nietzsche. The instinctive manner of rejection of these ideas also differentiates Nietzsche from the so-called “free thinkers” of the present. The latter know all the intellectual objections to “the old illusionary ideas,” but how rarely is one found who can say that his instincts no longer depend upon them! It is precisely the instincts which play bad tricks upon the free thinkers of the present time. The thinking takes on a character independent of the inherited ideas, but the instincts cannot adapt themselves to the changed character of the intellect. These “free thinkers” put just any belief of modern science in place of an old idea, but they speak about it in such a way that one realizes that the intellect goes another way from that of the instincts. The intellect searches in matter, in power, in the laws of nature, for the origin of phenomena; but the instincts misguide so that one has the same feeling toward this being that others have toward their personal God. Intellects of this type defend themselves against the accusation of the denial of God, but they do not do this because their world conception leads them to something which is in harmony with any form of God, but rather because from their forefathers they have inherited the tendency to feel an instinctive shudder at the expression, “the denial of God.” Great natural scientists emphasize that they do not wish to banish such ideas as God and immortality, but rather that they wish to transform them, in the sense of modern science. Their instincts simply have remained behind their intellect.

A large number of these “free spirits” are of the opinion that the will of man is unfree. They say that under certain circumstances man must behave as his character and the conditions working upon him force him to act. But if we look at the opponents of the theory of “free will,” we shall find that the instincts of these “free spirits” turn away from a doer of an “evil” deed with exactly the same aversion as do the instincts of those who represent the opinion that according to its desires the “free will” could turn itself toward good or toward evil.

The contradiction between intellect and instinct is the mark of our “modern spirits.” Within the most liberal thinkers of the present age the implanted instincts of Christian orthodoxy also still live. Exactly opposite instincts are active in Nietzsche's nature. He does not need first to reflect whether there are reasons against the acceptance of a personal world leader. His instinct is too proud to bow before such a one; for this reason he rejects such a representation. He says in his Zarathustra, “But that I may reveal to you my heart, to you, my friends: if there were Gods, how could I stand it not to be a God! Therefore, there are no Gods.” Nothing in his inner being compels him to accuse either himself or another as “guilty” of a committed action. To consider such a “guilty” action as unseemly, he needs no theory of “free” or “unfree” will.

The patriotic feelings of his German compatriots are also repugnant to Nietzsche's instincts. He cannot make his feelings and his thinking dependent upon the circles of the people amid whom he was born and reared, nor upon the age in which he lives. “It is so small-townish,” he says in his Schopenhauer als Erzieher, Schopenhauer as Educator, “to make oneself duty-bound to opinions which no longer bind one a few hundred miles away. Orient and Occident are strokes of chalk which someone draws before our eyes to make fools of our timidity. I will make the attempt to come to freedom, says the young soul to itself; and then should it be hindered because accidentally two nations hate and fight each other, or because an ocean lies between two parts of the earth, or because there a religion is taught which did not exist a few thousand years previously?” The soul experiences of the Germans during the War of 1870 found so little echo in his soul that “while the thunder of battle passed from Wörth over Europe,” he sat in a small corner of the Alps, “brooding and puzzled, consequently most grieved, and at the same time not grieved,” and wrote down his thoughts about the Greeks. And, a few weeks later, as he found himself “under the walls of Metz,” he still was not freed from the questions which he had concerning the life and art of the Greeks. (See Versuch einer Selbstkritik, Attempt at a Self-Critique, in the 2nd edition of his Geburt der Tragödie, Birth of Tragedy.) When the war came to an end, he entered so little enthusiasm of his German contemporaries over the decisive victory that in the year 1873 in his writing about David Strauss he spoke about “the bad and dangerous consequences” of the victorious struggle. He even represented it as insanity that German culture should have been victorious in this struggle, and he described this insanity as dangerous because if it should become dominant within the German nation, the danger would exist of transforming the victory into complete defeat; a defeat, yes, an extirpation of the German spirit in favor of “the German realm.” This was Nietzsche's attitude at a time when the whole of Europe was filled with national fanaticism. It is the thinking of a personality not in harmony with his time, of a fighter against his time. Much more could be added to what has been said to show that Nietzsche's life of feeling and reflection was completely different from that of his contemporaries.



Nietzsche is no “thinker” in the usual sense of the word. For the deeply penetrating and valid questions which he had to ask in regard to the world and life, mere thinking was not sufficient. For these questions, all the forces of human nature must be unchained; intellectual thinking alone is not sufficient for the task. Nietzsche has no confidence in merely intellectually conceived reasons for an opinion. “There is a mistrust in me for dialectic, even for proofs” he writes to Georg Brandes on the 2nd of December 1887 (see his Menschen und Werke, Men and Works, p. 212). For those who would ask the reasons for his opinions, he is ready with the answer of Zarathustra, “You ask why? I do not belong to those of whom one may ask their why.” For him, a criterion was not that an opinion could be proved logically, but rather if it acted upon all forces of the human personality in such a way that it had value for life. He grants validity to a thought only if he finds it will add to the development of life. To see man as healthy as possible, as powerful as possible, as creative as possible, is his desire. Truth, beauty, all ideals, have value and concern the human being only to the extent that they foster life.

The question about the value of truth appears in several of Nietzsche's writings. In the most daring form it is asked in his Jenseits von Gut und Böse, Beyond Good and Evil. “The will for truth which has misled us into so many hazards, that famous truthfulness, about which all philosophers have spoken with awe: what questions this will for truth has already put before us! What marvelous, difficult, worthy questions! This is already a long story, yet it seems that it has barely begun. Is it any wonder that we finally become mistrustful, lose patience, turn about impatiently? Is it any wonder that from the Sphinx we ourselves also learn to ask questions? Then who is it who asks questions here? What is it in us that really wants to penetrate ‘to truth?’ In fact, we had to stand for a long time before the question about the cause of will — until we finally remained completely still before a yet more fundamental question. We asked about the value of willing. That is, provided we want truth; why not rather untruth?”

This is a thought of a boldness hardly to be surpassed. If one places beside it what another daring “ponderer and friend of riddles,” Johann Gottlieb Fichte, said about the striving after truth, then one realizes for the first time from what depths of human nature Nietzsche brings forth his ideas. “I am destined,” said Fichte, “to bear witness to truth; upon my life and my destiny, nothing depends; upon the effects of my life, infinitely much depends. I am a priest of truth; I am in its debt; for it I have bound myself to do all, to dare all, and to suffer all.” (Fichte, Über die Bestimmung des Gelehrten, On the Task of the Scholar, Lecture 4). These words describe the relationship of the most noble spirits of the newer Western culture to truth. In the face of all of Nietzsche's cited expressions, they appear superficial. Against them one can ask, Is it not possible that untruth has more valuable effects upon life than truth? Is it impossible that truth harms life? Has Fichte himself posed these questions? Have others done it who have borne “witness to truth?”

But Nietzsche poses these questions. And he believes that he can become clear only when he treats this striving after truth not merely as an intellectual matter, but seeks the instincts which bring forth this striving. For it could well have been that these instincts make use of truth only as a medium to accomplish something which stands higher than truth. Nietzsche thinks after he has “looked at the philosophers long enough between the lines and upon the fingers,” that “most thinking of philosophers is secretly led by their instincts, and forced along definite ways.” The philosophers consider that the final impulse to action is the striving after truth. They believe this because they are unable to look into the depths of human nature. In reality, this striving after truth is guided by the will to power. With the help of truth, this power and fullness of life should be increased for the personality. The conscious thinking of the philosopher is of the opinion that the recognition of truth is a final goal; the unconsicous instinct that motivates this thinking strives toward the fostering of life. From this instinct, “the falsity of a judgment is no real objection toward a judgment;” for him only the question comes into consideration, “to what extent is it life furthering, life supporting, species supporting, perhaps even species cultivating.” (Jenseits von Gut und Böse, Beyond Good and Evil, ¶ 4.)

“Do you call will to truth, you wisest ones, that which impels you and makes you ardent?

“Will for the conceivableness of all being: thus do I name your will!

“All being would you first make conceivable, because you doubt with good reason whether it is already thinkable.

“But it shall yield to you and bend itself to you! So wills your will. Smooth shall it become, and subject to the spirit, as its mirror and reflection.

“That is your entire will, you wisest ones, a Will to Power.” (Zarathustra, second part, The Self Surpassing.)

Truth is to make the world subservient to the spirit, and thereby serve life. Only as a life necessity has it value. But can one not go further and ask, what is this life worth in itself? Nietzsche considers such a question to be impossible. That everything alive wants to live as powerfully, as meaningfully as possible, he accepts as a fact about which he ponders no further. Life instincts ask no further about the value of life. They ask only what possibilities there are to increase the strength of its bearers. “Judgments, evaluations of life, either for or against, can never be true, in the final analysis; they have value only as symptoms, they come into consideration only as symptoms, and in themselves such judgments are nonsense. One must absolutely stretch out one's fingers and try to comprehend the astonishing finesse in the fact that the value of life cannot be measured. It cannot be measured by a living person because he partakes of it; indeed, for him it is even an object of strife: therefore he is no judge; neither can it be appraised by a dead person, for another reason. For a philosopher to see a problem in the value of life remains, so to speak, an accusation against him, a question concerning his wisdom and lack of wisdom.” (Götzendämmerung, Das Problem des Sokrates, The Twilight of Idols, The Problem of Socrates.) The question about the value of life exists only for a poorly educated, sick personality. A well-rounded personality lives without asking how much his life is worth.

Because Nietzsche has the point of view described above, he places such little weight upon logical proofs for a judgment. It is of little account to him that a judgment lets itself be proved logically; he is interested in whether one can live well under its influence. Not alone the intellect, but the whole personality of the human being must be satisfied. The best thoughts are those which bring all forces of human nature into an activity adapted to the person.

Only thoughts of this nature have interest for Nietzsche. He is not a philosophical brain, but a “gatherer of honey of the intellect” who searches for “honey baskets” of knowledge, and tries to bring home what benefits life.



In Nietzsche's personality, those instincts rule which make man a dominating, controlling being. Everything pleases him which manifests might; everything displeases him which discloses weakness. He feels happy only so long as he finds himself in conditions of life which heighten his power. He loves hindrances, obstacles against his activity, because he becomes aware of his own power by overcoming them. He looks for the most difficult paths which the human being can take. A fundamental trait of his character is expressed in the verse which he has written on the title page of the second edition of his Fröhliche Wissenschaft, Joyful Wisdom:

“I live in my own house,
Have never copied anything from anyone,
And have ridiculed every master
Who has not ridiculed himself.”

Every kind of subordination to a strange power Nietzsche feels as weakness. And he thinks differently about that which is a “strange power” than many a one who considers himself to be “an independent, free spirit.” Nietzsche considers it a weakness when the human being; subordinates his thinking and his doing to so-called “eternal, brazen” laws of the intellect. Whatever the uniformly developed personality does, it does not allow it to be prescribed by a moral science, but only by the impulses of its own self. Man is already weak at the moment he searches for laws and rules according to which he shall think and act. Out of his own being the strong individual controls his way of thinking and doing.

Nietzsche expresses this opinion in the crudest form in sentences, because of which narrow-minded people have characterized him as a downright dangerous spirit: “When the Christian Crusaders in the East came into collision with that invincible order of assassins, those orders of free thinking spirits, par excellence, whose lowest order lived in a state of discipline such as no order of monks ever attained, in some way or other they managed to get an inkling of that symbol and motto that was reserved for the highest grade alone, as their secret: ‘Nothing is true, everything is permissible!’ ... Truly, that was freedom of the spirit; thereby faith itself was giving notice to truth.” (Genealogie der Moral, Genealogy of Morals, 3rd Section, ¶ 24.) That these sentences are the expression of feelings of an aristocratic, of a master nature, which will not permit the individual to live freely according to his own laws, with no regard to the eternal truths and rules of morality, those people do not feel who by nature are adjusted to subordination. A personality such as Nietzsche cannot bear those tyrants who appear in the form of abstract moral commandments. I determine how I am to think, how I am to act, says such a nature.

There are people who base their justification for calling themselves “free thinkers” upon the fact that in their thinking and acting they do not subject themselves to those laws which are derived from other human beings, but only to “the eternal laws of the intellect,” the “incontrovertible concepts of duty,” or “the Will of God.” Nietzsche does not regard such people as really strong personalities. For they do not think and act according to their own nature, but according to the commands of a higher authority. Whether the slave follows the arbitrariness of his master, the religious the revealed verities of a God, or the philosopher the demands of the intellect, this changes nothing of the fact that they are all obeyers. What does the commanding is of no importance; the deciding factor is that there is commanding, that the human being does not give his own direction for his acting, but thinks that there is a power which delineates this direction.

The strong, truly free human being will not receive truth, he will create it; he will not let something “be permitted” him; he will not obey. “The real philosophers are commanders and law givers; they say, ‘Thus shall it be,’ they first decide the ‘why’ and ‘wherefore’ and thereby dispose of the preliminary labor of all philosophical workers, all conquerors of the past; they grasp at the future with creative hands and all that is and was becomes for them a means, a tool, a hammer. Their ‘knowing’ is creating, their creating is a law-giving, their will to truth is Will to Power. Are there such philosophers today? Were there once such philosophers? Must there not be such philosophers?” (Jenseits von Gut und Böse, Beyond Good and Evil, ¶ 211.)



Nietzsche sees a special indication of human weakness in every type of belief in a world beyond, in a world other than that in which man lives. According to him, one can do no greater harm to life than to order one's existence in this world according to another life in a world beyond. One cannot give oneself over to greater confusion than when one assumes the existence of beings behind the phenomena of this world, beings which are not approachable by human knowledge, and which are to be considered as the real basis, as the decisive factor in all existence. By such an assumption one ruins for oneself the joy in this world. One degrades it to illusion, to a mere reflection of the inaccessible. One interprets the world known to us, the world which for us is the only real one, as a futile dream, and attributes true reality to an imaginary, fictitious other world. One interprets the human senses as deceivers, who give us only illusory pictures instead of realities.

Such a point of view cannot stem from weakness. For the strong person who is deeply rooted in reality, who has joy in life, will not let it enter his head to imagine another reality. He is occupied with this world and needs no other. But the suffering, the ill, those dissatisfied with this life, take refuge in the yonder. What this life has taken away from them, the world beyond is to offer them. The strong, healthy person who has well developed senses fitted to search for the causes of this world in this world itself, requires no causes or beings of the world beyond for the understanding of the appearances within which he lives. The weak person, who perceives reality with crippled eyes and ears, needs causes behind the appearances.

Out of suffering and sick longing, the belief in the yonder world is born. Out of the inability to penetrate the real world all acceptances of “things in themselves” have originated.

All who have reason to deny the real life say Yes to an imaginary one. Nietzsche wants to be an affirmer in face of reality. He will explore this world in all directions; he will penetrate into the depths of existence; of another life he wants to know nothing. Even suffering itself cannot provoke him to say No to life, for suffering also is a means to knowledge. “Like a traveler who plans to awaken at a certain hour, and then peacefully succumbs to sleep, we philosophers surrender ourselves to sickness, provided that we have become ill for a time in body and soul; we also close our eyes. And as the traveler knows that somewhere something does not sleep, that something counts the hours and will awaken him, so we also know that the decisive moment will find us awake — that then something will spring forth and catch the spirit in the act; I mean, in the weakness or the turning back or the surrendering or the hardening or the beclouding, as all the many sick conditions of the spirit are called, which in days of health had the pride of spirit against them. After such a self-questioning, self-examination, one learns to look with a finer eye at everything which had been philosophized about until now.” (Preface to the second edition of Fröhliche Wissenschalt, Joyful Wisdom.)



Nietzsche's friendly attitude toward life and reality shows itself also in his point of view in regard to men and their relationships with each other. In this field Nietzsche is a complete individualist. Each human being is for him a world in itself, a unicum. “This marvelously colorful manifoldness which is unified to a ‘oneness’ and faces us as a certain human being, no accident, however strange, could shake together in a like way a second time.” (Schopenhauer als Erzieher, Schopenhauer as Educator, ¶ 1.) Very few human beings, however, are inclined to unfold their individualities, which exist but once. They are in terror of the loneliness into which they are forced because of this. It is more comfortable and less dangerous to live in the same way as one's fellow men; there one always finds company. The one who arranges his life in his own way is not understood by others, and finds no companions. Loneliness has a special attraction for Nietzsche. He loves to search for secrets within his own self. He flees from the community of human beings. For the most part, his ways of thought are attempts to search for treasures which lie deeply hidden within his personality. The light which others offer him, he despises; the air one breathes where the “community of human beings,” the “average man” lives, he will not breathe. Instinctively he strives toward his “citadel and privacy” where he is free from the crowds, from the many, from the majority. (Jenseits van Gut und Böse, Beyond Good and Evil, ¶ 26). In his Fröliche Wissenschaft, Joyful Wisdom, he complains that it is difficult for him to “digest” his fellow men; and in Jenseits van Gut und Böse, Beyond Good and Evil, ¶ 282, he discloses that at the least he carried away dangerous intestinal disturbances when he sat down at the table where the diet of “ordinary human beings” was served. Human beings must not come too close to Nietzsche if he is to stand them.



Nietzsche grants validity to a thought, a judgment, in the form to which the free-reigning life instincts give their assent. Attitudes which are decided by life he does not allow to be removed by logical doubt. For this reason his thinking has a firm, free swing. It is not confused by reflections as to whether an assumption is also true “objectively,” whether it does not go beyond the boundaries, of the possibilities of human knowledge, etc. When Nietzsche has recognized the value of a judgment for life, he no longer asks for a further “objective” meaning and validity. And he does not worry about the limits of knowledge. It is his opinion that a healthy thinking creates what it is able to create, and does not torment itself with the useless question, what can I not do?

The one who wishes to determine the value of a judgment by the degree to which it furthers life, can, of course, only do this on the basis of his own personal life impulses and instincts. He can never wish to say more than, Insofar as my own life instincts are concerned, I consider this particular judgment to be valuable. And Nietzsche never wishes to say anything else when he expresses a point of view. It is just this relationship of his to his thought world which works so beneficially upon the reader who is orientated toward freedom. It gives Nietzsche's writings a character of unselfish, modest dignity. In comparison, how repellent and immodest it sounds when other thinkers believe their person to be the organ by which eternal, irrefutable verities are made known to the world. One can find sentences in Nietzsche's works which express his strong ego-consciousness, for example, “I have given to mankind the deepest book which it possesses, my Zarathustra; soon I shall give it the most independent.” (Götzendämmerung, Twilight of Idols, ¶ 51.) But what do these words indicate? I have dared to write a book whose content is drawn from lower depths of a personality than is usual in similar books, and I shall offer a book which is more independent of every strange judgment than other philosophical writings, for I shall speak about the most important things only in the way they relate to my personal instincts. That is dignified modesty. It would of course go against the taste of those whose lying humility says, I am nothing, my work is everything; I bring nothing of my personal feelings into my books, but I express only what the pure intellect allows me to express. Such people want to deny their person in order to assert that their expressions are those of a higher spirit. Nietzsche considers his thoughts to be the results of his own person and nothing more.



The specialist philosophers may smile about Nietzsche, or give us their impressions about the “dangers” of his “world conception” as best they can. Of course, many of these spirits, who are nothing but animated textbooks of logic, are not able to praise Nietzsche's creations, which spring from the most mighty, most immediate life impulses.

In any case, with his bold thought Nietzsche leaps and hits upon deeper secrets of human nature than many a logical thinker with his cautious creeping. Of what use is all logic if it catches only worthless content in its net of concepts? When valuable thoughts are communicated to us, we rejoice in them alone, even if they are not tied together with logical threads. The salvation of life does not depend upon logic alone, but also upon the production of thoughts. At present our specialized philosophy is sufficiently unproductive, and it could very well use the stimulation of the thoughts of a courageous, bold writer like Nietzsche. The power of development of their specialized philosophy is paralyzed through the influence which the thinking of Kant has made upon them. Through this influence it has lost all originality, all courage. From the academic philosophy of his time Kant has taken over the concept of truth which originates from “pure reason,” He has tried to show that through such truth we cannot learn to know things which lie beyond our experience of “things in themselves.” During the last century, infinite, immeasurable cleverness was expended to penetrate into these thoughts of Kant's from all directions, The results of this sharp thinking are unfortunately rather meager and trivial, Should one translate the banalities of many a current philosophical book from academic formulae into healthy speech, such content would compare rather poorly with many a short aphorism of Nietzsche's, In view of present-day philosophy, the latter could speak the proud sentence with a certain justice, “It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in one book — what every other person does not say in one book ...”



As Nietzsche does not want to express anything but the results of his personal instincts and impulses, so to him strange points of view are nothing more than symptoms from which he draws conclusions about the ruling instincts of individual human beings or whole peoples, races, and so on. He does not occupy himself with discussions or arguments over strange opinions. But he looks for the instincts which are expressed in these opinions. He tries to discover the character of the personalities or people from their attitudes. Whether an attitude indicates the dominance of instincts for health, courage, dignity, joy, and life, or whether it originates from unhealthy, slavish, tired instincts, inimical to life, all this interests him. Truths in themselves are indifferent to him; he concerns himself with the way people develop their truths according to their instincts, and how they further their life goals through them. He looks for the natural causes of human attitudes.

Nietzsche's striving, of course, is not according to the tendencies of those idealists who attribute an independent value to truth, who want to give it “a purer, higher origin” than that of the instincts. He explains human views as the result of natural forces, just as the natural scientist explains the structure of the eye from the cooperation of natural causes. He recognizes an explanation of the spiritual development of mankind out of special moral purposes, or ideals out of a moral world order, as little as the natural scientist of today recognizes the explanation that nature has built the eye in a certain way for the reason that nature had the intention to create an organ of seeing for the organism. In every ideal Nietzsche sees only the expression of an instinct which looks toward satisfaction in a definite form, just as the modern natural scientist sees in the intentional arrangement of an organ, the result of organic formative laws. If at present there still exist natural scientists and philosophers who reject all purposeful creating in nature, but, who stop short before moral idealism, and see in history the realization of a divine will, an ideal order of things, this belief is an incompleteness of the instinct. Such people lack the necessary perspective for the judging of spiritual happenings, while they have it for the observation of natural happenings. When a human being thinks he is striving toward an ideal which does not derive from reality, he thinks this only because he does not recognize the instinct from which this ideal stems.

Nietzsche is an anti-idealist in that sense in which the modern natural scientist opposes the assumption of purposes which nature is to materialize. He speaks just as little about moral purposes as the natural scientist speaks about natural purposes. Nietzsche does not consider it wiser to say, Man should materialize a moral ideal, than to explain that the bull has horns so that he may gore with them. He considers the one as well as the other expression to be a product of a world explanation which speaks about “divine providence,” “wise omnipotence,” instead of natural causes.

This world clarification is a check to all sound thinking; it produces a fictitious fog of ideals which prevents that natural power of seeing, orientated to the observation of reality, that ability to fathom world events; finally, it completely dulls all sense for reality.



When Nietzsche engages in a spiritual battle he doesn't wish to contradict foreign opinions as such, but he does so because these opinions point to instincts harmful and contrary to nature, against which he wishes to fight. In this regard his intention is similar to that of someone who attacks a harmful natural phenomenon or destroys a dangerous creature. He does not count on the “convincing” power of truth, but on the fact that he will conquer his opponent because the latter has unsound, harmful instincts, while he himself has sound, life-furthering instincts. He looks for no further justification for such a battle when his instinct considers his opponent to be harmful. He does not believe that he has to fight as the representative of an idea, but he fights because his instincts compel him to do so. Of course, it is the same with any spiritual battle, but ordinarily the fighters are as little aware of the real motivations as are the philosophers of their “Will to Power,” or the followers of a moral world order of the natural causes of their moral ideals. They believe that only opinions fight opinions, and they disguise their true motives by cloaks of concepts. They also do not mention the instincts of the opponents which are unsympathetic to them; indeed, perhaps these do not enter their consciousness at all. In short, these forces which are really hostile toward each other do not come out into the open at all. Nietzsche mentions unreservedly those instincts of his opponents which are disagreeable to him, and he also mentions the instincts with which he opposes them. One who wishes to call this cynicism may well do so. But he must be certain not to overlook the fact that never in all human activity has there existed anything other than such cynicism, and that all idealistic, illusory webs are spun by this cynicism.

Last Modified: 15-Nov-2017
The Rudolf Steiner Archive is maintained by:
The e.Librarian: elibrarian@elib.com