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by Friedrich Nietzsche
1The will to truth which will still tempt us to many a venture, that famous truthfulness of which all philosophers so far have spoken with respect - what questions has this will to truth not laid before us! What strange, wicked, questionable questions! That is a long story even now - and yet it seems as if it had scarcely begun. Is it any wonder that we should finally become suspicious, lose patience, and turn away impatiently? that we should finally learn from this Sphinx to ask questions, too? Who is it really that puts questions to us here? What in us really wants "truth"?
Indeed we came to a long halt at the question about the cause of this will - until we finally came to a complete stop before a still more basic question. We asked about the value of this will. Suppose we want truth: why not rather untruth? and uncertainty? even ignorance?
The problem of the value of truth came before us - or was it we who came before the problem? Who of us is Oedipus here? Who the Sphinx? It is a rendezvous, it seems, of questions and question marks.
And though it scarcely seems credible, it finally almost seems to us as if the problem had never even been put so far - as if we were the first to see it, fix it with our eyes, and risk it. For it does involve a risk, and perhaps there is none that is greater.
This way of judging constitutes the typical prejudgment and prejudice which give away the metaphysicians of all ages; this kind of valuation looms in the background of all their logical procedures; it is on account of this "faith" that they trouble themselves about "knowledge," about something that is finally baptized solemnly as "the truth." The fundamental faith of the metaphysicians is the faith in opposite values. It has not even occurred to the most cautious among them that one might have a doubt right here at the threshold where it was surely most necessary - even if they vowed to themselves, "de ornnibus dubitandum."
For one may doubt, first, whether there are any opposites at all, and secondly whether these popular valuations and opposite values on which the metaphysicians put their seal, are not perhaps merely foreground estimates, only provisional perspectives perhaps even from some nook, perhaps from below, frog perspective as it were, to borrow an expression painters use. For all the value that the true, the truthful, the selfless may deserve, it would still be possible that a higher and more fundamental value for life might have to be ascribed to deception, selfishness, and lust. It might even be possible that what constitutes the value of these good and revered things is precisely that they are insidiously related, tied to and involved with these wicked, seemingly opposite things - maybe even one with them in essence. Maybe!
But who has the will to concern himself with such dangerous maybes? For that, one really has to wait for the advent of a new species of philosophers such as have somehow another and converse taste and propensity from those we have known so far - philosophers of the dangerous "maybe" in every sense.
And in all seriousness: I see such new philosophers coming up.
Behind all logic and its seeming sovereignty of movement, too, there stand valuations or, more clearly, physiological demands for the preservation of a certain type of life. For example, that the definite should be worth more than the indefinite, and mere appearance worth less than "truth" - such estimates might be, in spite of their regulative importance for us, nevertheless mere foreground estimates, a certain kind of niaiserie which may be necessary for the preservation of just such beings as we are. Supposing, that is, that not just man is the "measure of things."
The equally stiff and decorous Tartuffery of the old Kant as he lures us on the dialectical bypaths that lead to his "categorical imperative" - really lead astray and seduce - this spectacle makes us smile, as we are fastidious and find it quite amusing to watch closely the subtle tricks of old moralists and preachers of morals. Or consider the hocus-pocus of mathematical form with which Spinoza a clad his philosophy - really "the love of his wisdom," to render that word fairly and squarely - in mail and mask, to strike terror at the very outset into the heart of any assailant who should dare to glance at that invincible maiden and Pallas Athena: how much personal timidity and vulnerability this masquerade of a sick hermit betrays!
Indeed, if one would explain how the abstrusest metaphysical claims of a philosopher really came about, it is always well (and wise) to ask first: at what morality does all this (does he) aim? According, I do not believe that a "drive to knowledge" is the father of philosophy; but rather that another drive has, here as elsewhere employed understanding (and misunderstanding) as a mere instrument. But anyone who considers the basic drives of man to see to what extent they may have been at play just here as in inspiring spirits (or demons and kobolds) will find that all of them have done philosophy at some time - and that every single one of them would like only too well to represent just itself as the ultimate purpose of existence and the legitimate master of all the other drives. For every drive wants to be master - and it attempts to philosophize in that spirit.
To be sure: among scholars who are really scientific men things may be different -"better," if you like - there you may really find something like a drive for knowledge, some small independent clockwork that, once well wound, works on vigorously without any essential participation from all the other drives of the scholar. The real "interests" of the scholar therefore lie usually somewhere else - say, in his family, or in making money, or in politics. Indeed, it is almost a matter of total indifference whether his little machine is placed at this or that spot in science, and whether the "promising" young worker turns himself into a good philologist or an expert on fungi or a chemist: it does not characterize him that he becomes this or that. In the philosopher conversely, there is nothing whatever that is impersonal; and above all his morality bears decided and decisive witness to who he is - that is, in what order of rank the innermost drives of his nature stand in relation to each other.
It took a hundred years until Greece found out who this garden god, Epicurus, had been - did they find out?
Pulcher et fortissimus.
In truth, the matter is altogether different: while you pretend rapturously to read the canon of your law in nature, you want something opposite, you strange actors and self-deceivers! Your pride wants to impose your morality, your ideal, on nature - even on nature - and incorporate them in her; you demand that she be nature "according to the Stoa," and you would like all existence to exist only after your own image - as an immense eternal glorification and generalization of Stoicism. For all your love of truth, you have forced yourselves so long, so persistently, so rigidly-hypnotically to see nature the wrong way, namely Stoically, that you are no longer able to see her differently. And some abysmal arrogance finally still inspires you with the insane hope that because you know how to tyrannize yourselves - Stoicism is self tyranny - nature, too, lets herself be tyrannized: is not the Stoic - a piece of nature?
But this is an ancient, eternal story: what formerly happened with the Stoics still happens today, too, as soon as any philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise. Philosophy is this tyrannical drive itself, the most spiritual will to power, to the "creation of the world," to the causa prima.
It seems, however, to be otherwise with stronger and livelier thinkers who are still eager for life. When they side against appearance, and speak of "perspective," with a new arrogance; when they rank the credibility of their own bodies about as low as the credibility of the visual evidence that "the earth stands still," and thus, apparently in good humor, let their securest possession go (for in what does one at present believe more firmly than in one's body?) -who knows if they are not trying at bottom to win back something that was formerly an even securer possession, something of the ancient domain of the faith of former times, perhaps the "immortal soul," perhaps "the old God," in short, ideas by which one could live better, that is to say, more vigorously and cheerfully than by "modern ideas"? There is mistrust of these modern ideas in this attitude, a disbelief in all that has been constructed yesterday and today; there is perhaps some slight admixture of satiety and scorn, unable to endure any longer the bric-a-brac of concepts of the most diverse origin, which is the form in which so-called positivism offers itself on the market today; a disgust of the more fastidious taste at the village-fair motleyness and patchiness of all these reality-philosophasters in whom there is nothing new or genuine, except this motleyness. In this, it seems to me, we should agree with these skeptical anti-realists and knowledge microscopists of today: their instinct, which repels them from modern reality, is unrefuted - what do their retrograde bypaths concern us! The main thing about them is not that they wish to go back, but that they wish to get - away. A little more strength, flight, courage, and artistic power. and they would want to rise - not return!
Let us only understand this "could be"! He was proud of having discovered a new faculty in man, the faculty for synthetic judgments a priori. Suppose he deceived himself in this matter; the development and rapid flourishing of German philosophy depended nevertheless on his pride, and on the eager rivalry of the younger generation to discover, if possible, something still prouder - at all events "new faculties"!
But let us reflect; it is high time to do so. "How are synthetic judgments a priori possible?" Kant asked himself - and what really is his answer? "By virtue of a faculty" but unfortunately not in five words, but so circumstantially, venerably, and with such a display of German profundity and curlicues that people simply failed to note the comical niaiserie allemande involved in such an answer. People were actually beside themselves with delight over this new faculty, and the jubilation reached its climax when Kant further discovered a moral faculty in man - for at that time the Germans were still moral and not yet addicted to Realpolitik.
The honeymoon of German philosophy arrived. All the young theologians of the Tubingen seminary went into the bushes - all looking for "faculties." And what did they not find - in that innocent, rich, and still youthful period of the German spirit, to which romanticism, the malignant fairy, piped and sang, when one could not yet distinguish between "finding" and "inventing"! Above all, a faculty for the "surprasensible": Schelling christened it intellectual intuition, and thus gratified the most heartfelt cravings of the Germans, whose cravings were at bottom pious. One can do no greater wrong to the whole of this exuberant and enthushiastic movement, which was really youthfulness, however boldly it disguised itself in hoary and senile concepts, than to take it seriously or worse, to treat it with moral indignation. Enough, one grew older and the dream vanished. A time came when people scratched their heads, and they still scratch them today. One had been dreaming, and first and foremost - old Kant. "By virtue of a faculty" - he had said, or at least meant. But is that an answer? An explanation? Or is it not rather merely a repetition of the question? How does opium induce sleep? "By virtue of a faculty," namely the virtus dormitiva, replies the doctor in Moliere,
Quia est in eo virtus dormitiva,But such replies belong in comedy, and it is high time to replace the Kantian question, "How are synthetic judgments a priori possible?" by another question, "Why is belief in such judgments necassary?" - and to comprehend that such judgments must be believed to be true, for the sake of the preservation of creatures like ourselves; though they might, of course, be false judgments for all that! Or to speak more clearly and coarsely: synthetic judgments a priori should not "be possible" at all; we have no right to them; in our mouths they are nothing but false judgments. Only, of course, the belief in their truth is necessary, as a foreground belief and visual evidence belonging to the perspective optics of life.
Cujus est natura sensus assoupire.
Finally, to call to mind the enormous influence that "German philosophy" - I hope you understand its right to quotation marks - has exercised throughout the whole of Europe, there is no doubt that a certain virtus dormitiva had a share in it: it was a delight to the noble idlers, the virtuous, the mystics, artists, three-quarter Christians, and political obscurantists of all nations, to find, thanks to German philosophy, an antidote to the still predominant sensualism which overflowed from the last century into this, in short - "sensus assoupire."
One must, however, go still further. and also declare war, relentless war unto death, against the "atomistic need" which still leads a dangerous afterlife in places where no one suspects it, just like the more celebrated "metaphysical need": one must also, first of all, give the finishing stroke to that other and more calamitous atomism which Christianity has taught best and longest, the soul atomism. Let it be permitted to designate by this expression the belief which regards the soul as something indestructible. eternal, in divisible, as a monad, as an atomon: this belief ought to be expelled from science! Between ourselves, it is not at all necessary to get rid of "the soul" at the same time, and thus to renounce one of the most ancient and venerable hypotheses - as happens frequently to clumsy naturalists who can hardly touch on "the soul" without immediately losing it. But the way is open for new versions and refinements of the soul-hypothesis; and such conceptions as "mortal soul," and "soul as subjective multiplicity," and ''soul as social structure of the drives and affects want henceforth to have citizens' rights in science. When the new psychologist puts an end to the superstitions which have so far flourished with almost tropical luxuriance around the idea of the soul, he practically exiles himself into a new desert and a new suspicion - it is possible that the older psychologists had a merrier and more comfortable time of it; eventually, however, he finds that precisely thereby he also concerns himself to invention - and - who knows? - perhaps to discovery.
In short, here as everywhere else, let us beware of superfluous teleological principles - one of which is the instinct of self preservation (we owe it to Spinoza's inconsistency). Thus method, which must be essentially economy of principles, demands it.
What? And others even say that the external world is the work of our organs? But then our body, as a part of this external world, would be the work of our organs! But then our organs themselves would be the work of our organs! It seems to me that this is a complete reductio ad absurdum - assuming that the concept of a causa sui is something fundamentally absurd. Consequently, the external world is just the work of our organs - ?
Let the people suppose that knowledge means knowing things entirely; the philosopher must say to himself: When I analyze the process that is expressed in the sentence, "I think," I find a whole series of daring assertions that would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to prove; for example, that it is I who think, that there must neccssarily be something that thinks, that thinking is an activity and operation on the part of a being who is thought of as a cause, that there is an "ego," and, finally, that it is already determined what is to be designated by thinking - that I know what thinking is. For if I had not already decided within myself what it is, by what standard could I determine whether that which is just happening is not perhaps "willing" or "feeling"? In short, the assertion "I think" assumes that I compare my state at the present moment with other states of myself which I know, in order to determine what it is; on account of this retrospective connection with further "knowledge," it has, at any rate, no immediate certainty for me.
In place of the "immediate certainty" in which the people may believe in the case at hand, the philosopher thus finds a series of metaphysical questions presented to him, truly searching questions of the intellect; to wit: "From where do I get the concept of thing? Why do I believe in cause and effect? What gives me the right to speak of an ego, and even of an ego as cause, and finally ego as the cause of thought?" Whoever ventures to answer the metaphysical questions at once by an appeal to a sort of intuitive perception, like the person who says, "I think, and know that at least, is true, actual, and certain" - will encounter a smile and two question marks from a philosopher nowadays. "Sir," the philosopher will perhaps give him to understand, "it is improbable that you are not mistaken; but why insist on the truth?"
It was pretty much according to the same schema that the older atomism sought, besides the operating "power," that lump of matter in which it resides and out of which it operates - the atom. More rigorous minds, however, learned at last to get along without this "earth-residuum," and perhaps some day we shall accustom ourselves, including the logicians, to get along without the little "it" (which is all that is left of the honest little old ego).
Therefore just as sensations (and indeed many kinds of sensation) are to be recognized as ingredients of the will, so, secondly, should thinking also: in every act of the will there is a ruling thought - let us not imagine it possible to sever this thought from the "willing," as if any will would then remain over!
Third, the will is not only a complex of sensation and thinking, but it is above all an affect, and specifically the affect of the command. That which is termed "freedom of the will" is essentially the affect of superiority in relation to him who must obey: "I am free, 'he' must obey" - this consciousness is inherent in every will; and equally so the straining of the attention, the straight look that fixes itself exclusively on one aim, the unconditional evaluation that "thls and nothing else is necessary now," the inward certainty that obedience will be rendered - and whatever else belongs to the position of the commander. A man who wills commands something within himself that renders obedience, or that he believes renders obedience.
But now let us notice what is strangest about the will - this manifold thing for which the people have only one word: inasmuch as in the given circumstances we are at the same time the commanding and the obeying parties, and as the obeying party we know the sensations of constraint, impulsion, pressure, resistance and motion, which usually begin immediately after the act of will, inasmuch as, on the other hand, we are accustomed to disregard this duality, and to deceive ourselves about it by means of thc synthetic concept "I," a whole series of erroneous conclusions, and consequently of false evaluations of the will itself, has become attached to the act of willing - to such a degree that he who wills believes sincerely that willing suffices for action. Since in thc great majority of cases there has been exereise of will only when the effect of the command - that is, obedience; that is, the action - was to be expected, the appearance has translated itself into the feeling, as if there were a necessity of effect. In short, he who wills believes with a fair amount of certainty that will and action are somehow one; he ascribes the success, the carrying out of the willing, to the will itself, and thereby enjoys an increase of the sensation of power which accompanies all success.
"Freedom of the will" - that is the expression for the complex state of delight of the person exercising volition, who commands and at the same time identifies himself with the executor of the order - who, as such, enjoys also the triumph over obstacles, but thinks within himself that it was really his will itself that overcame them. In this way the person exercising volition adds the feeling of delight of his successful executive instruments, the useful "under-wills" or under-souls - indeed, our body is but a social structure composed of many souls - to his feelings of delight as commander L'effet c'est moi: what happens here is what happens in every well-constructed and happy commonwealth; namely, the governing class identifies itself with the successes of the commonwealth. In all willing it is absolutely a question of commanding and obeying, on the basis, as already said, of a social structure composed of many "souls." Hence a philosopher should claim the right to include willomg as such within the sphere of morals - morals being understood as the doctrine of the relations of supremacy under which the phemenon of "life" comes to be.
The strange family resemblance of all lndian, Greck, and German philosophizing is explained easily enough. Where there is affinity of languages, it cannot fail, owing to the common philosophy of grammar - I mean, owing to the unconscious domination and guidance by similar grammatical functions - that everything is prepared at the outset for a similar development and sequence of philosophical systems; just as the way seems barred against certain other possibilities of world-interpretation. It is highly probable that philosophers wlthin the domain of the Ural-Altaic languages (where the concept of the subject is least developed) look otherwise "into the world," and will be found on paths of thought different from those of the Indo-Germanic peoples and the Muslims: the spell of certain grammatical functions is ultimately also the spell of physiological valuations and racial conditions.
So much by way of rejecting Locke's superficiality regardinh the origin of ideas.
lt is almost always a symptom of what is lacking in himself when a thinker senses in every "causal connection" and "psychological necessity" something of constraint, need, compulsion to obey, pressure, and unfreedom; it is suspicious to have such feelings - that person betrays himself. And in general, if I have observed correctly, the "unfreedom of the will" is regarded as a problem from two entirely opposite standpoints, but always in a profoundly personal manner: some will not give up their "responsibility," their belief in themselves, the personal right to their merits at any price (the vain races belong to this class). Others, on the contrary, do not wish to be answerable for anything, or blamed for anything, and owing to an inward self-contempt, seek to lay the blame for them selves somewhere else. The latter, when they write books, are in the habit today of taking the side of criminals; a sort of socialist pity is thelr most attractive disguise. And as a matter of fact, the fatalism of the weak-willed embellishes itself surprisingly when it can pose as "la religion de la souffrance humaine"; that is its "good taste."
On the other hand, if one has once drifted there with one's bark, well! all right! let us clench our teeth! let us open our eyes and keep our hand firm on the helm! We sail right over morality, we crush, we destroy perhaps the remains of our own morality by daring to make our voyage there - but what matter are we! Never yet did a profounder world of insight reveal itself to daring travelers and adventurers, and the psychologist who thus "makes a sacrifice" - it is not the sacrifizio dell' intelletto, on the contrary! - will at least be entitled to demand in return that psychology shall be recognized again as the queen of the sciences, for whose service and preparation the other sciences exist. For psychology is now again the path to the fundamental problems.
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