Beyond Good and Evil1

My work for the years that followed was Prescribed as distinctly as possible. Now that the yea-saying part of my life-task was achieved, there came the turn of the negative portion, which was to deny both in word and in deed: the transvaluation of all previous values, the great war - the evocation of the day of the final decision. Now I had to look about me slowly for my peers, for those who, out of strength, would assist me in the work of destruction. Thenceforth all my writings are so much bait: perhaps I understand angling as well as any one? If nothing was caught, I was not to blame. There were simply no fish.


In all essential points, this book (1886) is A criticism of modernity, including modem science, modern art, even modern politics, along with some indicatins as to a contrasting type which would be as little like modern man as possible, a noble, a yea-saying type. In this latter sense the book as a school for gentlemen - the term here being used with a much more spiritual and radical significance than it has ever had before. Even to endure the idea one must be physically courageous, one must never have learned fear. All those things on which the age prides itself are felt as conflicting with the type mentioned; they are looked upon almost in the light of bad manners. Among these things are our far-famed "objectivity," "sympathy with all that suffers," "the historical sense," with its servility before foreign tastes, its lying-in-the-dust before petits faits - and finally the science mania - if you consider the fact that this book follows Zarathustra, you may perhaps guess to what dietetic r6gime it owes its life. The eye which has been vigorously compelled to see things at a great distance - Zarathustra is even more far-sighted than the Tsar - is here forced, on the contrary, to focus sharply on that which is close at hand, our own age and environment. In all the aphorisms and especially in the form, the reader will find the same voluntary rejection of those instincts which made a Zarathustra possible. Refinement in form, in aims, and in the art of keeping silent, are emphasized; psychology is handled with a deliberate hardness and cruelty - the book manages to get along without a single good-natured word. All this is invigorating. Who can conceive the kind of recreation made necessary by such an expenditure of goodness as is to be found in Zarathustra? Theologically speaking - pay close attention for I seldom speak as A theologian - it was God Himself who, at the end of His day's work, coiled Himself up in the form of a serpent at the foot of the tree of knowledge. It was thus that He recovered from being a God. . . . He had made everything too beautiful... The devil is simply God's moment of idleness at the end of that seventh day.

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