Nietzsche's Philosophy

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Nietzsche's Philosophy EUGEN FINK Translated by Goetz Richter \ O N D O N • NEW YORK A W Lcontinuum .

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Nietzsche's philosophy behind masks 2. Concerning truth and falsity in the extra-moral sense 5. The perspective of The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music 3. 'Socratism' against tragic wisdom. Culture and Genius. Untimely Meditations. The will to power 4. All Too Human 2. The fundamental equation of being and value.Contents Translator's Foreword vii Chapter One: The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' 1. The psychology of unmasking and the scientific perspective. Form. style and structure of Thus spoke Zarathustra 2. Philosophy in the tragic age of the Greeks 1 1 7 13 20 27 Chapter Two: Nietzsche's Enlightenment 1. The eternal return: Of the vision and the riddle. The overman and the death of God 3. The psychology of art and art as cognition of the world 4. Before Sunrise 51 51 57 65 72 . The philosophy of the morning (Dawn and The Gay Science) 34 34 42 Chapter Three: The Proclamation 1. Human.

Beyond Good and Evil 2. The ontological idea and the moral ideal Contents 5. The Antichrist and The Twilight of the Idols 4. The negative ontology of the thing 7. The posthumous work The Will to Power. Zarathustra and the Higher Man Chapter Four: The Destruction of the Western Tradition 1. The cosmic concept of play as an extra-metaphysical question Notes Index 80 89 98 107 107 114 121 129 137 145 154 164 164 175 182 . The transcendental creation of value. The problem of nihilism 6. The Genealogy of Morals 114 3. The recurrence of the same 6.the Dionysian world Chapter Five: Nietzsche's Relationship to Metaphysics as Imprisonment and Liberation 1. The eternal return: the cosmological conception of the problem of morality. The eternal recurrence: The Seven Seals. The eternal recurrence: Of the Great Yearning 7. Discipline and Breeding . The four transcendental dimensions of the problem of being and the basic principles of Nietzsche's philosophy.

) have been directly translated and may only be appreciated if the reader engages with Heidegger or Fink beyond this book. . Fink frequently refers to the view that philosophy is not just an academic discipline.Translator's Foreword Eugen Fink (1905-75) taught philosophy at the University in Freiburg from 1946 to 1971. Offenheit or 'openness'. Like any spoken language the text contains redundancies. The ontological difference between Being itself (das Seiri) and being (das Seiende) and the corresponding distinction between ontological and ontic considerations form an important background to Fink's own thought. Fink's close association and engagement with Heidegger has made certain questions and concepts an integral part of his own thinking. The thought and language of a philosopher with this demanding vision of philosophy is somewhat difficult to translate. Fink's German text tends to be complex. Fink's phenomenological method relies on a direct connection between thinking and expression that often discovers its own highly individual style of language. neologisms and some grammatical errors. He was a close associate of the German phenomenologists Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger and his thinking and language is influenced considerably by these two major thinkers of the twentieth century. It attempts to articulate visions of Nietzsche and his philosophical thinking in a personal and engaged manner. For Fink serious philosophical engagement transcends historical curiosity and intellectual interest. His lectures on Nietzsche demand a radical commitment to thinking that embraces the existence of the thinking person. certain difficult concepts (such as Lichtung or 'clearing'. etc. Rather than following the tradition of some Heidegger translations that create a peculiar English Heidegger-jargon. Even though. In addition. the present translation has made the attempt to rely on context to elucidate these meanings. In addition it lacks a degree of detachment from Nietzsche that results in Fink's occasional emulation of Nietzsche's prophetic style. The translation has made the attempt to preserve Fink's idiosyncrasies in a literal sense and has not necessarily simplified seeming rhetoric complexities or smoothed over any apparent roughness created by redundancies.

1 I am much indebted to Dr Ted Sadler (Sydney) for his inspiration and guidance in relation to philosophy in general and the work of Nietzsche. On occasion. Fink's Nietzsche lectures were written before the current critical Nietzsche edition came into existence. Fink frequently uses this term by itself and without article in the endeavour perhaps to avoid a simple and reifying understanding of it. Fink accordingly discusses an edited version of Nietzsche's posthumous aphorisms that is known as The Will to Power. October 2002 . some standard English translations of Nietzsche's works by Kaufmann and Hollingdale were consulted. The term is closely related to Heidegger's 'Being'. His illuminating interpretations and his generous critical review of large sections of this translation have been invaluable. The present translation makes use of the two terms 'cosmos' and 'world' and retains them as a reference wherever Fink refers to a related term.viii Translator's Foreword Fink's own philosophical focus (also evident in these lectures) is the concept of 'world' (Welt). The present translation copies Fink's text and referencing in this regard and translates his citations from Nietzsche's works. Dr Jeanell Carrigan (Sydney) has provided the most essential support at times when this translation appeared too difficult to complete. I should also like to thank Mr Georg Seifert (Winsen) for his early assistance and for inspiring me to pursue the English language to a point where I was able to adopt it as a voluntary exile. Eugen Fink and Martin Heidegger in particular. Goetz Richter Sydney.

and an appeal to a radical reversal. Hegel's enormous conceptual labours reflect and integrate all human modes of ontological understanding and all opposing motifs of the history of metaphysics in one system bringing this very history to an end. European man arrives at a crossroad. science and morality. ontological thought. fateful characters in the history of western spirit. He mobilizes all weapons at his disposal in his struggle: his refined psychology. his cutting wit.CHAPTER ONE The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' 1. With Nietzsche. which reflects upon . Both are influenced by early Greek thinkers and return to origins. Nietzsche presents an absolute. Hegel and Nietzsche relate to one another like absolute affirmation to absolute negation. Nietzsche is a symbol for the suspicion that this path was a wrong track. He rejects the concept and opposes . Hegel and Nietzsche have a historical consciousness in common. Hegel made the tremendous attempt to grasp the entire history of the spirit as a process in which all preceding steps are assimilated yet nevertheless relevant in their own right. the same history is only the history of the longest error. 'good' and 'true' is required. but he neither engages in a conceptual destruction of metaphysics nor does he demolish metaphysics through a method of conceptual. Both are Heracliteans. decisive rejection of the past. Hegel considered himself able to evaluate the history of European man positively. He is a fated person who demands final decisions and a terrifying question mark on the path of European man. and above all his style. He attacks it with unbounded passion and rhetoric resonating with tension and suspicion. NIETZSCHE'S PHILOSOPHY BEHIND MASKS Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the great. philosophy. Nietzsche attacks with full commitment. an overturning of all traditions. his ardour. shaped by the heritage of classical antiquity and two thousand years of Christendom. with fervent hatred and bitter mockery. that man has lost his way and that a reversal and a rejection of everything which hitherto had been considered 'holy'. with the wit and sly malice of a propagandist. Nietzsche stands for a radical critique of religion.and evaluates western history as a whole. For Nietzsche.

Nietzsche. He is a prophet of European is perhaps still not understood and awaits adequate interpretation. Considering Nietzsche's increasing influence. Nietzsche's critique of culture can easily conceal the more fundamental fact that he is essentially only concerned with a philosophical polemic against western metaphysics. the following important question poses itself: Is Nietzsche's influence based on his philosophy or on subsidiary features of his works? Is it perhaps even the result of a seduction by compelling stylistic features of his sharp mind? Our answer might be disappointing. His struggle takes the form of a comprehensive critique of culture. but makes a positive decision. his political abuse is no argument against him unless it can be shown that the objectionable political practice derives from a genuine understanding of his real philosophy. He does not believe in 'progress'. To be sure. It accordingly shows a kind of pettiness and poverty of spirit if we attempt to enclose a thinker who embraces our entire history and who projects a design of life over centuries. The works of great systematic thinkers such as Aristotle. to portray him as a characteristic 'advocate' of violence. Kant. an agenda and an ideal. is concealed by the cultural critic.2 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' rationalism with its conceptual violation of reality. Nietzsche entices and fascinates with the directness of his discourse. no idealist wishing to make the world a happier and better place. which appears to have become omnipresent . But he is no Utopian. but also with traditional religion and morality. with the fundamental interrogation of our occidental origins Nietzsche distinguishes himself immediately from the fashionable. he has a will to the future. With this comprehensive approach into the past. His masks . He does not only approach the past critically. He does not only take issue with traditional philosophy. Nietzsche predicts the advent of nihilism 'within the next two centuries'. Revaluing western values. by the mysterious. Nietzsche's philosophy is actually hardly influential . are perhaps less exposed to crude misunderstandings than Nietzsche. He exudes an aesthetic charm and confounds us with an aura of excess. the philosopher. His historical consciousness extends far into the future.not only in is even in the process of 'overcoming' it. in our limited. The splendour of his style and its aphoristic form captivates and attracts us. Hegel. Leibniz. This feature is of utmost importance. The attempts to drag Nietzsche into current political debate. as a Teutonic warrior who runs amok against the values of Mediterranean culture must be strongly rejected. of German imperialism. eloquent prophet. He makes sombre predictions about the future. Everyone knows that and discusses it . Although Nietzsche cannot escape the fate of any philosophy to be vulgarized and trivialized. contemporary context and interpret him from this perspective. moralizing critics of the nineteenth century. Nietzsche struggles with the entire past. Nietzsche subjects the entire cultural past to his devastating criticism. who seems to be more accessible on account of his style.

He assumes as many disguising as revealing 'roles': perhaps no other philosopher conceals his philosophy behind so much sophistry. his anti-moralism by the unconditional honesty of his critique of morality. enigmatic psychology or of a high art of conjecture and interpretation. Nietzsche is a poet. with a tremendous richness of intuition.Nietzsche's philosophy behind masks 3 conceal his substance. is now applied to himself. infernal hatred against Christianity is apparently explained by his simple inability to come to terms with it. the hidden meanings of any spiritual expression and to other countless ambiguities. It seems as if his shimmering. He appeared to be an artist. with a fertile imagination and with visionary powers. Nietzsche once said about himself: 'I am the most concealed of all the concealed. He was the founder of the 'philosophy of life' (Lebensphilosophie). Nietzsche's 'psychological achievements' are extraordinary: he has opened our eyes to the ambiguities. our view of Nietzsche has undergone a characteristic change in the last decades. Now we can observe an inverted tendency. an eloquent poet and a prophet. interpretation created an artistic fiction. vigorous life. Nietzsche is an artist with the sensitivity of a Mimosa. Quite the contrary. Combining biography and work. The wild. masquerade and the pose of the jester. Nietzsche was largely portrayed as the ingenious diagnostician of the decline of culture and as the creator of an ambiguous. Nietzsche was praised as the keen investigator of 'resentment' and 'decadence' with an evil eye for all that is morbid and decayed. He has an uncanny desire for deceit.' Perhaps we understand the philosopher with such great difficulty because he is the genuine Nietzsche. No doubt. At the beginning of the century. His technique of psychological analysis is highly sophisticated. Peripheral aspects of his work determine this image of Nietzsche more than its philosophical substance. yet it still remains out of touch with his philosophy. Nevertheless. unsteady being was unable to find a clear and determinate . he can read the signs of the future and can even predict it. Nietzsche is looked at with fewer illusions. Without doubt. Nietzsche invested the word 'life' (as Scheler put it) with a golden sound. Nietzsche is blessed with an uncanny instinct for historical processes. The Nietzsche interpretations of recent times are characterized by a stronger sense of reality. Without doubt. Concealing himself became a passion for Nietzsche. The approach is often biographical and attempts are made to understand the work through the life which created it. Our century testifies to a diverse preoccupation with these masks. crushed and forsaken by life. He appears as deeply suffering. the Great Health and the man of power by needs arising from the privations of a suffering person. The Nietzsche cult increased with the ignorance about Nietzsche. Nietzsche was made into a legendary figure or stylized to a symbol. He is not seen as the Overman proclaimed in the Zarathustra. Without doubt. the shrewd psychology of unmasking. which Nietzsche developed with greatest virtuosity. his glorification of abundant.

his illness and his taste.4 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' expression. as if he played too many roles. his passion and his messianic claims. is this desire for the mask? Is it merely a literary device. a safe method to advocate a position without being committed to it? Is this feature ultimately the result of Nietzsche's absence of any roots. All his books are written in the manner of confessions. wishing to conjure up a secure basis for himself and others? Psychological information will never be able to solve this enigma within Nietzsche's being. sublime sounds as well as blazing fanfares. He has a developed sense for the natural melody of language. constructing a long-winded sentence as an artful period. There is a great deal of affectation. of seduction and magic in Nietzsche's style. but speaks in an almost unbearable manner about himself. Nietzsche's style is intentionally affected. a mystification of the public. captivating sentence that hits like lightning. the outrageous pathos with which he postures. where thinking comes into the genuine closeness of poetry we also encounter great profundity. There is a further reason for the usual approach to Nietzsche. he safeguards himself through many false tracks.all these tempt us again and again to look to the person rather than the work. Nietzsche himself is the exemplary man in a labyrinth. appealing to the irrational forces of the human soul in a virtuosic manner. the interpretation of Nietzsche suffers from the fact. that biography is used as a key. tempts us repeatedly to look back from the work to the author who is reflected in his work in so many ways. create tender. But the extraordinary nature of his fate. is this relevant to us? In general. However. His analysis of Wagner's music applies to his own style. However. Nietzsche seduces us. He also commands the staccato rhythm of the short. What. The secret of his being cannot be wrestled from him. This aristocratic pathos stimulates and interests. his spiritual experiences. confuses and fascinates . Zarathustra. The brilliance of Nietzsche's style. of his suspension over an abyss. Nietzsche uses the audacity of such an imposition on the reader as an artistic device and literary delicacy. with a flight that puts every word just right. As an author he does not remain in the background. In a metaphor full of symbolism. angers. Nietzsche is sophisticated. As a writer. Nietzsche speaks of the 'labyrinth': for him man is essentially a labyrinth from which no one has escaped and where all heroes have perished. the 'Prince Vogelfrei'. They include the 'free spirit' from the time of Human. It takes a peculiar arrogance to burden the reader with the personality of the author and to imply at the same time that all his books are essentially only monologues. he is able to pull out all stops. through his many disguises and characters. A few works . its extreme subjectivity. and his final self-identification with Dionysos. His style teems with the scintillating electricity of spiritual tension. he secures himself a following just because he repels. Nietzsche's life is more concealed than his work. that the work is approached through the personality. with the timing of the accelerando. however. All Too Human.

Nietzsche. rather. however. it would be presumptuous if one were to explain his aphoristic style simply through this affliction. persuade and aesthetically charm be it through conscious provocation or extreme. surprising formulation without need for any justifications. he must concern us. No two books of Nietzsche resemble each other. Nietzsche is a threat to everyone. If he is. possessing extraordinary powers of concretization. The aphorism. Nietzsche's highly poetical quality and the aphoristic form of his books are disadvantageous to the exposition of his philosophy. conceptions of a planned path of thought only in the posthumous writings. They resemble cut stones. someone who spiritually safeguards our humanity and the truth of our existence. They are collections of aphorisms. each has its own pace. The more one becomes sensitive to this. However. each book has its own unique spiritual mood which is found in all aphorisms. reflects the character of Nietzsche's thought. Nietzsche is a master of composition. categorizing it as a virtue arising from a need. by accumulating reports about him and by having recourse to the most penetrating psychology. We find systematic sketches. As a thinker he is intuitive and imaginative. He would not be a fateful figure. It allows the short. It appears that Nietzsche thinks in flashes. whether we like it or not. Nietzsche concealed rather than revealed his philosophy through a style which equally intended to attract attention. Only the reflection of his philosophical thought can experience where Nietzsche is located in the history of western thought and gains a glimpse of the seriousness of his questions. but form sequences and (within the unity of a book) a unique whole. Nietzsche's aphorisms are very succinct. always withdrew from organizing his thought within a systematic conceptual framework. eristic exaggeration. . At the same time. the wonder grows why Nietzsche. a great individual who deserves our moderate admiration. a philosopher. his abysmal suspicion and his art of psychological seduction. Does Nietzsche share the responsibility for the kind of modern mankind we are? Where does he stand as a thinker? We can never find an answer to this question by focusing intently on Nietzsche's personality. not only to the young person who is defencelessly exposed to his scepticism.Nietzsche's philosophy behind masks 5 aside. whose poor eyesight prevented him from spending long hours at his writing desk. its own unmistakable individual sound. Even if we diligently and honestly strive for this understanding we find ourselves in danger. i. Nietzsche's books generally do not follow one train of thought or progressively unfold a path of thought. not in a cumbersome way of conceptually developing long sequences of thought.e. developed the aphorism into an art form. And yet they do not just stand on their own. We would not have to bother about Nietzsche if his work merely articulated the particular existential experience of an extremely tormented person. but an interesting person. the greater becomes one's awe about his artistic achievements. however. who gave so much to his books.

his seductive stylistic power. Nietzsche is the philosopher who places the entire history of philosophy in question and who sees in this philosophy a 'deeply negative movement'. finally and most importantly.6 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' Nietzsche is not only dangerous because he is a pied piper. we must immerse ourselves in his work. which Nietzsche is challenging. This question cannot be answered briefly and decisively. he is not 'naive'. Nietzsche does not follow the path broken by centuries of fundamental thinking. Do they show the features of a metaphysical inquiry or not? This will prepare the question about Nietzsche's new ontological understanding. Nietzsche questions this path and attacks metaphysics in a way that differs from the affirmation of everyday life or from the sciences. which could guide us into the labyrinth of Nietzsche's thought. He is dangerous rather because of the uncanny mixture of philosophy and sophistry. However. His attack on metaphysics does not proceed from a pre-philosophical sphere of being. In his battle against western metaphysics he still remains tied to it. We are not searching blindly and without guidance nor do we rely on the assurances of the author about his understanding of 'philosophy'. Following the paths of Nietzsche's thought. Nietzsche returns to Heraclitus. We will then pose the question how these fundamental features relate to the basic questions of traditional philosophy. the thread of Ariadne. before we look for his philosophy we must obviously already have a preconception of what philosophy is. We are looking for the philosophy of Nietzsche. which passionately questions an entire historical age. of original thought and radical scepticism of thinking against itself. Nietzsche's thinking. After 25 centuries of a metaphysical approach to being Nietzsche searches for a new beginning. With what legitimation do we speak about 'philosophy' if Nietzsche casts off an entire tradition? Should we not invent and coin a new word to designate whatever Nietzsche's philosophy is? However. we may have lost the thread.that of metaphysics. We attempt a preliminary interpretation. the question which is posed in this book is whether Nietzsche is merely the inverted metaphysician or whether a new ontological understanding announces itself through him. In Nietzsche thinking itself turns against metaphysics. However. We must rather engage in a long and involved reflection. which is concealed in his writings by his dazzling language. In searching for Nietzsche's philosophy. The preconception that guides us all is . and behind the fascinating personality which repeatedly demands attention. because the music of his language is so persuasive. We find ourselves in a peculiar situation. we must argue with him. his unique aphorisms. His battle begins with the accordance with our historical origins . against Plato and the metaphysical tradition . does not deny the origins of occidental philosophy. In a concentrated journey through Nietzsche's writings we will firstly expose the fundamental features of Nietzsche's thought. and. he only 'inverts metaphysics'.

as he expresses it in Ecce Homo. or is it only an arrogant prejudice? His attacks on occidental philosophy from Parmenides and Plato onwards are certainly not the expression of a radicalism that finds the ontological question of metaphysics wanting or that wishes to overcome this philosophy because it does not pose the question of being in a sufficiently decisive manner.a crisis without equal on earth. Nietzsche rejects metaphysics and its . painful self-examination. It is distorted by the immoderate subjectivity of the author. I know my fate. After 2500 years a repetition of Heraclitus occurs accompanied by the tremendous assertion to wipe out and oppose the extended reflection of an entire tradition formed in the meantime and to show humanity a new yet ancient path. I am dynamite. who often gets caught by the resentment of thinking against itself. THE FUNDAMENTAL EQUATION OF BEING AND VALUE.The fundamental equation of being and value 7 originating from him. Is Nietzsche's disdain for metaphysics really to be taken seriously. One day my name will be associated with the memory of something tremendous . a decision that was conjured up against everything that had been believed. It is overshadowed by his 'literary trickery' which is acquainted with every device of charm and seduction. hallowed so far. the most beloved. and by a never ending. by his psychology. there is a peculiar tension between the utterance. and the philosophical thought. beneath the manifold roles and characters he plays. and it is concealed beneath Nietzsche's masks. To be sure philosophy is hardly ever objectively present and accessible to everyone in its literary form. The primordial origin of Nietzsche's philosophy remains Heraclitus. demanded. I am no man. This stance towards history illustrates Nietzsche's exaggerated missionary consciousness. Rather. It is obscured by his cultural critique. revere this fate with divine honour and sacrifice to it the best. it is hidden in a work appearing under many guises. the most profound collision of conscience. the common meaning of the words. Nietzsche. does not just show aspects of such concealment.2 Nietzsche's fateful existence is respected most if we search for his philosophy in the labyrinth of his work. his feeling of destiny. states on one occasion: If thinking is your fate. Nietzsche's 'philosophy'. however. Accordingly. by his poetry. THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE BIRTH OF TRAGEDY FROM THE SPIRIT OF MUSIC Nietzsche's philosophy is hidden rather than evident in his work.1 2.

Richard Wagner in Bayreuth in 1876. not ontologically. the four parts of Zarathustra between 1883 and 1885. namely David least not in the traditional way. The Twilight of the Idols. Nietzsche's own unreflected basic presupposition must become an explicit topic of our interpretation. Schopenhauer as Educator still in 1874. A life which no longer feels at home in the sense-world invents itself an 'otherworld' beyond appearance. the Confessor and Writer in 1873. Human. Miscellaneous Beliefs and Sayings in 1879. The Wanderer and his Shadow. The Antichrist. who had been professor of classical philology at the University of Basle for two years. The philosophical significance of Nietzsche's categories. All Too Human in 1878. his production has an eruptive character. his main concepts of cultural critique. but sees them merely as symptoms of vital tendencies. Metaphysics is understood as a process of life which Nietzsche assesses according to its value. Daybreak appears in 1881.8 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' concept of philosophy from a quite different perspective. can only be understood if their foundation. Nietzsche himself passes over the ontological question of value and poses questions about the unclear basis of the phenomenon of value. In less than twenty years Nietzsche pours out his works. one . All Too Human. For Nietzsche metaphysics is a process of life in which above all 'value judgements' assert themselves. which was later combined (1886) together with Miscellaneous Beliefs and Sayings as the second volume of Human. Beyond Good and Evil in 1886. On many occasions attempts have been made to order Nietzsche's literary work chronologically to show an evolution within his thought. the interpretation of being as 'value'. The Gay Science in 1882. The 27-year-old Nietzsche. He views metaphysics through the 'perspective of life'. Metaphysics is understood 'morally'. In other words. The question of being gives way to the question of value. The Case of Wagner. wrote his first work The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music in 1871. Accordingly. subjugating. On the Genealogy of Morals in 1887. he does not himself pose the question of being . Nietzsche's breakdown in 1888 propelled him into darkness. in particular The Will to Power. On the Use and Abuse History in Regard to Life in 1874. Ecce Homo and Nietzsche contra Wagner in 1888. is clarified. The extent of Nietzsche's literary work was only possible through a remarkable productivity that created works in quick succession. The distinction between appearance and thing-initself expresses a declining passion for life. In order to arrive at an interpretation we intend to present the work of Nietzsche in a compressed overview and highlight its basic features. psychology and aesthetics. a movement in which crippling. life-denying 'values' achieve supremacy. the first Untimely Meditation. Nietzsche considers the ontological reflections of metaphysics in respect of their symptomatic importance. A range of important treatises was finally published from his posthumous writings. Nietzsche does not examine or evaluate the ontological representations of the metaphysical tradition.

which then finds its first fulfilment in the fourth period of the Zarathustra. the non-poetical. Although Nietzsche follows the classical ontological insight that the beautiful is a mode of being. Art and tragic poetry become the keys that unlock the essence of the world. at best. in which Nietzsche closely approaches positivism. The true nature of reality is seen through the phenomenon of the tragic. A path of life is conceivable in which a thinker falls down from an achieved height. The concept can. With Dawn and The Gay Science a new existential sentiment announces itself. This is followed by a critical. Art becomes the instrument of philosophy. by confusing the understanding of the Greeks with the phenomenon of Wagner. which operates mainly with biographical concepts presenting the spiritual history of his life. We start with The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music. follow it. ontological grasp of the phenomenon of the . These books supposedly express an expectant mood and return towards himself. a sign of decline. as the most primordial form of understanding. Later in life Nietzsche's judgement about the book became quite severe: it seemed to him spoilt by a 'reliance on Wagnerism'. The fifth period (Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morals) again forms a preparation to a final period (The Will to Power). Nietzsche experiences an 'advent'. an interpretation of his musical drama as an all-inclusive work of art comparable to the classical drama. most authentic approach. Accordingly. shrinks back from his own audacity or sinks to his knees. Nietzsche's later re-evaluation of his first book is indeed fitting. Nietzsche's understanding of tragedy is based on a fundamentally new view of the classical world. The glorification of the Wagner opera overshadows the basic feature of the book. He formulates his philosophy within aesthetic categories. The value of such a schema. which is characterized by The Birth of Tragedy and the Untimely Meditations.The fundamental equation of being and value 9 often speaks of Nietzsche's romantic period. demotes it so to speak to a preliminary reflection. This developmental schema does not establish if the temporally later is necessarily also substantially more important. The aesthetic motif assumes the position of a basic ontological principle. he expresses at any rate the central concern of his philosophy for the first time through it. a phenomenon which was by no means a 'symptom of ascent' but rather the opposite. is doubtful. This book is firstly an act of homage to Richard Wagner. It is understood as the deepest. Understanding becomes immediate only where it commits itself to the more profound vision of art and reflects its creative experience. The genuine problem is Nietzsche's essential conception of the tragic. Regardless of whether Nietzsche portrays the classical tragedy correctly. reflective completion and final form of Nietzsche's philosophy. we would like to focus on Nietzsche's works outside their biographical context and investigate their basic features. more sober period. he does not achieve a conceptual.

In this tragic view of the world. Where one ascends. Already at the start of his philosophical path the tragic pathos puts Nietzsche in an irresolvable conflict with Christianity. Tragic art grasps the tragic essence of the world. The world is understood through art and in relation to it. as reckless courage. It knows only the inexorable law of universal decline of the individual existence and of everything that has been severed from the teeming All-life. which possesses this quality. the ascent and decline of all finite beings. embrace each other. He discovers Peras and Apeiron. However. 'the genuine metaphysical activity of man'. any salvation of the finite being from its finitude. wrong to interpret this as a heroic attitude. Nietzsche calls it a 'metaphysics of the artist'. The tragic is Nietzsche's first fundamental formula for his ontological vision. the other must descend. The tragic pathos understands the identity of Hades and Dionysos. Tragic affirmation (including even the affirmation of one's own destruction) is based on the realization that all finite manifestations are just temporal waves in a great flood of life. however. Where the one steps into the light the other sinks into the night. Only the perspective of art allows the thinker to look into the heart of the world. the classical tragedy. The tragic world does not know any redemption. life and death are fundamentally related and embraced by a mysterious circle. Art achieves supremacy. the basic mood of his life and of his experience of reality. For him. but. the way up and down are one and the same. are only aspects of one wave of life. This lends a romantic character to The Birth of Tragedy. It is. According to Heraclitus. a metaphysical revelation of being in its entirety. However. Nietzsche discovers the playful encounter of form and the amorphous flux of life in the classical tragedy.10 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' aesthetic. On the contrary: Nietzsche expresses his fundamental vision of being in aesthetic categories. The tragic pathos lives through the knowledge that 'all is one'. that the destruction of finite being is not simply an annihilation. Christian dogma with its necessary idea of redemption does not only contradict Nietzsche's instincts. The tragic sentiment of life is rather a yes-saying to life. life and death. finite being consecrated to decay in the infinite ground and the abyss itself which brings forth ever new . all forms emerge through the destruction of others. reality is the conflict of primordial opposites. light and night. it contradicts his basic sentiment. In this context art is not only. as Nietzsche puts it. The tragic pathos is no passive pessimism: Nietzsche is struck by this and it prevents him from being a mere successor to Schopenhauer. appearance and the shadow of the underworld. of death and decay. but a return to the ground of life from which all individual beings ascend. a joyous affirmation even of the terrible and horrible. Nietzsche grounds the authentic nature of art in the tragic. more importantly. it is essentially tragic art. ascent and decline.

Towards the end of Nietzsche's development the Apollonian is grasped as an aspect of the Dionysian. which in turn has the form of a psychology of art. the advent of 'logic'. of this deepest view of the cosmic essence. It cannot be ignored without ignoring Nietzsche on the whole. confirming his position as an outsider in a distant historical past? Or is Nietzsche the medium of a new ontological experience? To begin with. rank-order or relevance this 'intuition' has. since Nietzsche has already included it in the concept of the Dionysian. Nietzsche deals with this distinction in a genuinely antithetical manner. He calls this antagonism the opposition between the Apollonian and the Dionysian. The aesthetic values. creating and destroying them. this original antithesis is grasped in a more radical way through the inclusion of the Apollonian itself into the Dionysian. as if the Apollonian and the Dionysian were simply opposed.The fundamental equation of being and value II forms. it must remain undecided what value. Nietzsche expresses it as a theory of art. The opposite phenomenon of the tragic world view. One can pose the following question: Did Nietzsche not damage his philosophical problem through the aestheticpsychological approach in this first work much more than through 'Wagnerism'? This is indeed so. It is his basic. the advent of rationality without a vision for the 'life' teeming behind appearances. Later on. We find here a most informative comment: I had discovered the only parable and parallel of my intimate intuition in history. but it is no mistake which could be counted against him. Perhaps all human philosophy is a finite patchwork where fundamental assumptions always remain obscure. . .. The basic equation 'being equals value' characterizes his philosophy. as stated further in Ecce Homo. are 'the only values recognized in The Birth of Tragedy'*. In the Attempt at a Self-Criticism drafted in 1886. Looking back at The Birth of Tragedy in Ecce Homo (1888). operative presupposition. In The Birth of Tragedy. The playful antithesis between Dionysos and Apollo is grasped as a complex unity.3 Is this only an 'intimate' existential experience of Nietzsche. is not the Apollonian. Nietzsche erases all the 'Wagnerism' and places the emphasis on the discovery of the Dionysian and its opposing phenomenon. however. the person. The latter. a psychological analysis of mutually opposing artistic drives combining in the unity of the tragic art-work. Infinite life itself is the building and creative force which produces forms and destroys them again. is Socratism. as well as in Ecce Homo. Nietzsche interprets the discovery of the 'marvellous phenomenon of the Dionysian' as the decisive feature of his first work.

the dialectics.6 Such an inquiry into science is not self-evident. by the tragic revelation. Nietzsche states that in The Birth of Tragedy science is posed as a problem. is grasped. as the so-called 'scientific' relation to being. It becomes problematic and suspect when it is contrasted with the different truth of the tragedy. across the metaphysical and scientific centuries back to his kinship with Heraclitus: . Nietzsche asks. Apollo and Dionysos. the Socratism of morality. tragedy . it is not a problem which science poses itself. nevertheless a new problem: today I would say that it was the problem of science itself .science for the first time made problematic. science as a whole (with all its problems) becomes worthy of questioning. of the anarchical dissolution of the instincts?'5 Just like tragic pathos. which sees through all appearance and superficiality to discover the creative and destructive play of life called Dionysos. now? Might not this very Socratism be a symptom of decline.e. the antithetical play of the fundamental powers of the world.And again: that which killed tragedy. their most courageous period? And the tremendous phenomenon of the Dionysian .what might they signify? . and refers. In Ecce Homo he calls himself the first tragic philosopher. 'is the significance of the tragic myth for the Greeks in their best.12 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' 'What'. His reliance on Darwin is not to be taken seriously.and. weariness. Looking back after fifteen years. a problem with horns. and even says in 1888 about The Birth of Tragedy that it provided the first psychological analysis of the tragic poet. Nietzsche understands Socratism as a fundamental human stance. It is only comprehensible if the concept of life remains primarily guided by the tragic experience. we must recognize that in reality he is concerned with something entirely different. worthy of questioning. All too often and for mainly polemic reasons Nietzsche himself conceals his deep and abysmal concept of life beneath a biological concept. Although Nietzsche also operates within aesthetic and psychological categories. With the title 'perspective of life' we refer to a fundamental characteristic throughout Nietzsche's entire thought. with an ontology which is merely concealed by psychology and aesthetic theory. something terrifying and dangerous. by an ontological understanding of tragedy. What I grasped then. He is concerned with a primordial experience of Being. their strongest. and art in turn from the perspective of life. of infection. For Nietzsche. not necessarily a bull. His concept of'life' is only understood if his key-concept of the 'tragic'. born from it. frugality. by the knowledge of the nothingness of all finite beings and the infinity of the Dionysian world-ground. Nietzsche thus approaches science from the perspective of art. and cheerfulness of theoretical man .

saying Yes to opposition and war. This concealment is maintained for some time. . a strange voice. Nietzsche reveals his 'intimate intuition'. Nietzsche has a vision of the cosmos as tragic play. The aesthetic occurrence of the birth of tragedy out of the spirit of music reflects the primordial event of the birth of the anthropocentric world. In outlining a theory about the origin of the Attic tragedy. Accordingly his thinking hides itself behind aesthetics and psychology.. Since all of Nietzsche's aesthetic-psychological concepts resonate as it were with the energy of philosophical inquiry. In his tragic vision of this cosmic essence. I retained some doubt in the case of Heraclitus. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ART AND ART AS COGNITION OF THE WORLD From the start. one who concealed himself for the time being under the scholar's hood. indeed must dispense. '. in whose proximity I feel altogether warmer and better than anywhere else. which is the decisive feature of a Dionysian philosophy. . He projects himself into the .'8 The Birth of Tragedy displays a strange methodological character which is difficult to comprehend.and not spoken. . The 'tragic' is understood as a cosmic principle. It should have sung this "new soul" . unfolding from the chaotic. exaggerated and deceptive. almost macnadic soul .The psychology of art and art as cognition of the world 13 Before me.7 3. .. The affirmation of passing away and destroying. under the gravity and dialectical ill humour of the German. he refers to the tragic artwork as just that 'key' that unlocks and opens up its true understanding. of those in the two centuries before Socrates.all this is clearly more closely related to me than anything else thought to date. Nietzsche's distinctive approach unfolds as part of an aesthetic and psychological problem. along with a radical repudiation of the very concept of being . ontological reflection ensures that Nietzsche dispenses. A fundamental philosophical thought is disguised in psychologizing aesthetics and turns aesdietics at the same time into an instrument of philosophy. even under the bad manners of the Wagnerian . a mystical. they are also overloaded.I have looked in vain for signs of it even amongst the great Greek philosophers. The aesthetic theory of the classical tragedy discloses in this way the essence of being in its entirety. What I had to say then . primordial ground into a multitude of forms. with the tools and methods of classical philosophy.too bad that I did not dare say it as a poet: Perhaps I had the ability. becoming. this transposition of the Dionysian into a philosophical pathos did not exist: the tragic wisdom was absent . 'What found expression here was anyway'. Nietzsche says fifteen years later. A strong feeling of alienation from the tradition of conceptual. the disciple of a still "unknown God".

The rejection of Nietzsche's treatise by traditional philologists is in some degree justified. However. What looks like a prelude is the heart of the treatise. He recognizes himself (not personally. remains a feature of Nietzsche's entire oeuvre despite its significant later developments. but through his tragic cognition of the world) in the Greeks of the tragic age. and that the continued development of art is connected to the dualism of the . it rests on the misunderstanding provoked by Nietzsche himself. Since he does not engage historically with metaphysical concepts. They show the projected outline. but it is in reality Nietzsche's first tentative attempt to articulate his philosophical understanding of the world. For Nietzsche. namely that he was concerned with a philological question. which already characterizes his first work. that he had more arrows in his quiver. there is a kinship between his mythical divination and speculative thinking in so far as both 'leap ahead' of the phenomena to be brought into view. In Nietzsche's first treatise this 'leap-ahead' is very obvious. However. It lends a provocative ambiguity. affirmed and they obtain a kind of confirmation through their powers of illumination. This flaw. ignorance and insufficient love of truth'. that it would be a gain for an 'aesthetic science' if it reached the 'immediate certainty of intuition'. Nietzsche is subject to the powers of thinking and poetry. However. For Nietzsche intuition is an instant view of an essence. he is torn apart by their antagonism. it does not sound convincing when this proud and self-conscious mind implies with a prophetical smile that he concealed on purpose. Nietzsche's first treatise shows some distinctive characteristics of his thinking with striking clarity. His most fundamental insights always have the character of illuminations. Nietzsche begins by stating. psychological and philological problems. It appears to deal with aesthetic. a mysterious aura and unfathomable depth to his works. It is divination. that this inadequacy was 'intended' in order to address those with ears to hear and those able to read between the lines. This is not meant in a derogatory sense. Nietzsche distances himself from any speculation. No less than Wilamowitz-Mollendorf led a sharp attack against the treatise.14 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' Greek world and interprets himself from that perspective. yet refuted (and had to refute) them through his new fundamental intuition. The presentation of this treatise differs in all respects from the level of its actual conception. In The Birth of Tragedy the fundamental thoughts are expressed thetically. They are asserted. intuition is always primary. The phenomena become illuminated and comprehensible through them. or rather. the inner plan and structure of things. which he accused of 'a dreamy ingenuity and impertinence. His thinking emerges from a fundamental experience that is poetical and symbolic. and since furthermore his conceptual identification of 'logical' with 'abstract' and 'inanimate' makes him unable to conceptualize his thinking adequately he becomes diverted and has to philosophize in the guise of an aesthetic theory.

in concepts. Apollo symbolizes the formative drive. he demands for his inquiry an 'immediate certainty of intuition'. of shape. Nietzsche purports to formulate insights of a science of aesthetics. The antithesis is restated in the understanding of dream and intoxication. . He proclaims a divine intuition and at the same time alludes to it in a mythical metaphor. is the prerequisite of all plastic a r t . Aesthetics appears to be the context of his inquiry. not. was recognized by the Greeks as the power creating the imaginary worlds of man's dreams. The dream. as it were. The classical work of art becomes the key to the classical world view. in the creation of which every man is truly an artist.10 he states now. but in the intensely clear figures of their gods. Dionysos is the God of night. is an unconscious and imaginative human power: The beautiful illusion of the dream he puts it . who . We already find all the relevant elements in this first sentence. . through whose gestures and eyes all the joy and wisdom of . It conjures up the beautiful semblance blessing the soul with a particular vision. the God of form. should be called 'the glorious divine image of the principiium individuationis. Initially Apollo and Dionysos are merely metaphors for the opposite artistic drives of the Greeks. a formative force. of light. which man usually takes to be reality. To further clarify the opposition between these artistic drives Nietzsche refers to a 'physiological' antithesis in human life. Dionysos on the other hand is the God of unbounded chaos. The dream creates the world of images.'9 The 'profound mysteries' of classical art are now brought into view. The mythical symbol is borrowed from the Greeks. Nietzsche says.'disclose to the discerning mind the profound mysteries of their view of art. in contrast to the image-rich Apollo. of sexual frenzy. and. which creates images over and over again. the so-called aesthetic theory is extended to include an understanding of the cosmos supposedly revealed by Greek art. He crosses over into psychology. however.e. of the teeming flood of life. he is the God of clarity. for the antagonism between image and music. the dream is a creative vision. states Nietzsche. Apollo. of the strict domesticated kind that is merely a 'Dorian architecture of sounds'. of the disproportionate. The Apollonian and the Dionysian are initially revealed as aspects of the artistic drives of Hellenic man. but also the world of images. But he is an even more powerful force. Furthermore. but of the seductive. the God of music not. And here Nietzsche suddenly leaps out of the psychological interpretation of dreams: Apollo creates not only the world of images in human dreams. the scene of appearances and characters. Regardless how arbitrary its plot. of beautiful proportion. evocative music which releases all passions.The psychology of art and art as cognition of the world 15 Apollonian and the Dionysian comparable to the reliance of procreation on the duality of the sexes. to be sure. of measure. Apollo. i.

become unified with all being. The dream of human imagination is comparable to the ontological power creating appearances and images called Apollo. Individuation and separation are an Apollonian mirage. It transcends all finitude and individuation.'12 Intoxication is a cosmic ecstasy. He thus extrapolates a finding from the psychology of human artistic drives to a principle of the world summoning Schopenhauer as a crown witness for this view. Nietzsche thinks analogically here. This illusion is the world of appearance which we encounter through the subjective forms of space and time. In truth all is one. rips apart. as 'thing-in-itself is not dispersed into a multiplicity. Space and time join and divide at the same time. yet jointly gathered in space and Nietzsche following Schopenhauer believes. Initially it is regarded as a human phenomenon.16 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' "illusion". It is the great elan of life. But it suddenly assumes a cosmic significance: Man 'is no longer an artist. The two competing fundamental forces of being reveal themselves through art as it were. It is of utmost importance to remember that Nietzsche's point of departure is Schopenhauer's distinction between thing-in-itself and appearance. a unified flux. In this analogy psychology is transformed into a peculiar metaphysics. This power of beautiful semblance creates the world of appearance. What was initially a human tendency becomes an ontological power. is caught in an illusion . Art becomes a symbol. It is unwittingly misled by the veil of the Maja. What we commonly call things or beings is an incalculable manifold of all that is differentiated and detached. as that ecstatic condition in which we feel that all confines fall away and we step out of ourselves. between will and representation. speak to us. a mere appearance. Nietzsche follows Schopenhauer particularly in the remarkable leap from the human dream to the dream of primordial being itself at the beginning of The Birt Tragedy. Interpreted psychologically this distinction resurfaces as the one between dream and intoxication mentioned above.'n How is this to be understood? The principiium individuationis is the basis of the individual separation of all beings. In one unified. The world as it really is. its multiplicity and separation. The Birth of Tragedy is indeed a 'metaphysics of the artist'. together with its beauty. The same analogy applies to intoxication. an aesthetic interpretation of the world in its entirety. he has become a work of art: in these paroxysms of intoxication the artistic power of all nature reveals itself to the highest gratification of the primordial unity. The world-view which affirms the division of being. Things are in space and time. They are collectively in space and time precisely because they are separated from each other: wherever one ends the other begins. The multiplicity of being is an illusion. a bacchantic frenzy which explodes. flow and sink into one infinite sea. but is an undifferentiated life. magnificent and autonomous vision . assimilates all appearances.

The psychology of art and art as cognition of the world 17 Nietzsche's art-metaphysics introduces itself complete in its basic form already at the beginning of the book. Lyric poetry resounds from the depth of the world beyond all appearances for Nietzsche. Nietzsche does not in any way assess and scrutinize Schopenhauer's fundamental distinction between world as will and world as representation. is also a peculiar harmony. the firmness of appearance . he conjures up mythical symbols and interprets Greek art through them as a key to the essence of the world. A critical and suspicious spirit such as Nietzsche displays an astonishing degree of naivety in the area of ontological reflection. There is a hostility between these opposing powers: they displace and battle each other. The Apollonian struggles with the Dionysian and vice versa. who believes himself to have created it. he had to interpose between himself and life the radiant dream-birth of the Olympians. but (and this is Nietzsche's profound insight) neither can exist without the other. the preference for measure and harmony rests on the suppressed ground of titanic formlessness which nevertheless remains present. The cosmic ground itself searches for 'redemption' from the frenzied restlessness. No attempt is made to demonstrate the path leading to these assertions. One is amazed at Nietzsche's uncritical reliance on Schopenhauer. which acts through man and makes him receptive to its forces. but the ground of the world itself. The Greek knew and felt the terror and horror of existence. Nietzsche contrasts the naive poet Homer.13 Apollo. the dreamer of the great Apollonian dream of the Olympic Gods. He has no assessment criteria for it. avarice and 'eagerness' of a restless 'will' precisely in the deception of beautiful semblance. Music and lyric poetry make clear that the true subject of art is not man. the Dionysian counter-feature to epic imagery. This is a modern concept totally inappropriate in this context. He does not think in a speculative way himself. Lyric poetry is the original musical element of art. Beyond the world of beautiful appearance lies the Gorgo. Their contest. But he fills Schopenhauer's questionable framework with unprecedented life. That he might endure this terror at all. their dispute. The Dionysian is the foundation on which the visible world is based. cannot live without Dionysos. They are bound together as contestants. however. the seeming eternity of form. The Apollonian world of the Greek culture. with Archilochos. in regard to fundamental ontological concepts. At no point do we encounter a reflection if the underlying ontological conception is justified or not. The lyric poetry of Archilochos has nothing to do with 'subjectivity'. Furthermore Nietzsche describes the development of classical Greek culture influenced by the great forces of art. The Olympian 'Magic Mountain' has its roots in the Tartarous.

artistic drives to establish an analogy for the ontological powers of dream and intoxication (or Apollo and Dionysos) as cosmic principles. The primordial Dionysian ground casts itself repeatedly into appearance. He rather searches for the highest unification and interpenetration of the Dionysian and the Apollonian and finds this in the classical tragedy. Beautiful semblance . nor does he refer just to their mutual dependency in which one necessitates and at the same time opposes the other. The world of appearance is. There can be no redemption in a tragic view of the world. as it 'artistic comedy'. In truth. human artistic endeavour is a play in which humans themselves are only characters and appearances. one thing above all must be clear to us. In becoming receptive to the fundamental power of Dionysos and Apollo through art man becomes the medium and location of a cosmic event. .viewed metaphysically . Eternal form. the limelight of the great stage on which things appear in space and time . Nietzsche is not satisfied with the opposition of both cosmic and artistic principles.this illumination of the abysmal night is its 'redemption' 'for it is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that existence and the world are eternally justified. the Apollonian presentation of the Dionysian itself. he employs them for a process which belongs to the world and contributes to its ontological constitution.14 With this view Nietzsche inverts his original approach. The entire comedy of art is neither performed for our betterment or education nor are we the true authors of this art world. Thus all our knowledge of art is basically quite illusory.. the beautiful dream of the cosmic spirit. but. as the sole author and spectator of this comedy of art. From a human perspective art is . prepares a perpetual entertainment for itself. Nietzsche arrives at metaphysical principles of the world through the human artistic drive. the absurd and abysmal character of being. For to our humiliation and exaltation.. the happy dream satisfies and art transfigures for Nietzsche the severity and heaviness.18 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' and the proportionate harmony of things. He departed originally from the human. For him this is not an art form which exhausts and looses itself in beautiful semblance. because as knowing beings we are not one and identical with that being which. these are concepts which are initially familiar to us through the doctrine of Christianity. However. Nietzsche uses for this the concepts of 'redemption' and 'justification'. Its emergence into appearance is transfigured in the phenomenon of art. to express it paradoxically. like the indeterminate yearning presenting itself on the stage of the world. Nietzsche transforms the concepts of redemption and justification. the beauty of the created appearance. and he now interprets human art itself as a cosmic event.'15 Like a dark urge redeeming itself in the image. What served as a starting point is now reinterpreted through the attained result.

Oedipus and Prometheus are masks of this God. It almost has the dubious character of an 'Other-world'. namely 'the fundamental knowledge of the oneness of everything existent. Based on this view of the tragedy as an Apollonian-Dionysian artwork.'16 The tragedy is music and image. Appearance is recognized as such which means at the same time that it is exposed. Nietzsche develops a theory of the historical development of the Attic tragedy. Apollo and Dionysos form a 'brotherhood'. Nietzsche is convinced that all tragedies reveal one mysterious truth. more precisely the disclosure of the cosmic essence. What matters is that Nietzsche gives an interpretation of the world and constructs a schema of being in its entirety in his theory of tragedy. 'Appearance' is transparent for. Nietzsche adopts Schopenhauer's term 'will' while taking over his distinction between essence (thing-in-itself) and appearance. the essence behind the manifold of beings. as Nietzsche calls it: 'Dionysos speaks the language of Apollo. of the primordial One and of the living One. form and chaos. But the ground of this world of appearance. He expresses the primordial One18 through ever new images and metaphors: he speaks of the core of being. dream and intoxication. The vagueness of Nietzsche's concept of the Dionysian ground is largely responsible for the difficulty in understanding The Birth of Tragedy rather than the unclear methods. All this is of minor importance.17 Nietzsche's hypothesis about the development of tragic poetry may be questionable. and Apollo finally the language of Dionysos. appearance and essence.The psychology of art and art as cognition of the world 19 here resonates with the raging power of the depth it conceals. being-itself beyond it and light reveals the shadows of the night. His interpretation of the chorus or his identification of Wagner's opera and Greek tragedy may be problematic or his psychology concerning the associative connection between music and image may be spurious. is more easily grasped given that we live in a world where things and human beings are individuated. . the principium individuationis. remains peculiarly foggy. The dimension of Dionysos is mystically intuited rather than conceptually grasped. Tragedy contains both elements: the abyss of the primordial One (Ur-eine) which discloses itself only in music and the luminous dream world of appearances. which is entirely concerned with the sufferings of Dionysos. A philological profession may reject it. and of art as the joyous hope that the spell of individuation may be broken in augury of a restored oneness'. The music of the chorus creates the vision of the dramatic scene. of the bearers of being. The meaning of the Apollonian. the conception of individuation as the primal cause of evil. The beautiful image reveals the wave which devours it. such as the use of analogy as a tool of knowledge. He postulates music as its basic feature. light and night. as it were. which he finds in the chorus.

insinuates and remains silent. He psychologizes and exaggerates psychological concepts to cosmic dimensions. The ancient motif of the strife between darkness and light dominates Nietzsche's fundamental conception. Nietzsche's interpretation of tragedy already relies on a tragic understanding of . Yet. Then the world seemed to me the dream and fiction of a God. formless foundation of life and the domain of light forming the appearances. it is so to speak overambitious. like all afterworlds-men. alldevouring. Nietzsche's first work appears to be a symbol. It is the grasp of the dismemberment of being as a whole20 into the opposites of night (in which all is one) and day (where all appears individually). 'SOCRATISM' AGAINST TRAGIC WISDOM. Dionysian wisdom. ait becomes the instrument of philosophy. between the thing-itself and the appearance. A thinker makes his debut as a philologist with a questionable interpretation of the stylistic elements of Greek tragedy from a new view of classical antiquity. coloured vapour before the eyes of a discontented God.19 4. When he later attributes his revelation to Zarathustra. In The Birth of Tragedy. CONCERNING TRUTH AND FALSITY IN THE EXTRA-MORAL SENSE The Birth of Tragedy is a peculiar book. between dream and intoxication. the intuition of the strife between the all-bearing. this is not only necessary because this Persian must be the first to revoke his own moral dualism. it pays remarkably little attention to its most important concern.based on Schopenhauer's philosophy . a phenomenon of the present.20 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' For this reason. the essential understanding of the primordial strife between the opposing principles of Dionysos and Apollo. For him philosophy is tragic wisdom. He proclaims . It expresses and conceals. Art is not only the theme of philosophical interpretation but its instrument and method. Nietzsche could say in Thus spoke Zarathustra (alluding to The Birth of Tragedy): Once Zarathustra too cast his deluded fancy beyond mankind. but because Nietzsche's Zarathustra remains true to the original Persian motif of the strife between darkness and light in his alternative sentiment of life and attempts to interpret Richard Wagner. Then the world seemed to me the work of a suffering and tormented God. The book wishes to achieve too much at once. Or in other words: Philosophy is the grasp of the eternal discord between all-unity and individuation. through reference to the most distant past of classical antiquity. However the case may be. It seems as if Nietzsche is not yet able to articulate his insights directly so that he needs to take roundabout ways.

looses its mythical knowledge about the unity of life and death. Perhaps Nietzsche foresaw that we are concerned here with a change in our ontological understanding. Socrates marks the end of the tragic age and introduces the age of reason and of the theoretical man. his interpretation exhausts itself in psychological terms. who is driven by an enormous need and characterized by a complete lack of 'instinctive wisdom'. which indeed can hardly be overestimated. yet supposedly enlightened. From this perspective he sees the enemy and opponent of the tragedy: Socratic reason which killed . Pythia and Dionysos. logical and thinkable. With this he introduced a new type. According to Nietzsche this involves an enormous loss of his words . rejects Homer. but even more relevantly the ground of its life. a new ideal and seduced the Greek youth and in particular the magnificent Greek adolescent Plato. Phidias. Socrates was the inventor of the 'theoretical man'. psychological characteristics. Nietzsche's intuition and his astute perception recognize the enormous historical importance of Socrates. Socrates did not possess a mystical organ. Pericles. trapped in the appearances. Pindar. only the logical and rational side of the spirit was developed excessively. However it seems that this rejection of Greek tradition originates from some extreme.'Socratism' against tragic wisdom 21 the world. Human existence looses its sensitivity for the dark aspect of life. According to Nietzsche Socrates denies the Greek essence. a human being in whom all desire and passion was sublimated into a will for rational structure and domination of being. Socrates created the delusion that thinking according to the principle of causality could reach into the most unfathomable depth of being. The philosophical perspective is accordingly redirected away from the ruling entirety of the cosmos to inner-worldly (ontical) being for the next 2000 years.the classical Greek tragedy. which Nietzsche extracts from his psychological analysis of Socrates. He uses the 'perspective of art'. However. Nietzsche recognizes the key position of Socrates but he grasps it within psychological concepts. The theoretical cognition of the world. For Nietzsche Socrates is a world-historic figure of a Greek enlightenment in which the classical existence did not only loose its remarkable instinctive reliability. Socrates appears to Nietzsche as a paradigmatic example of an unauthentic Greek. Aeschylus. Nietzsche alleges. He was the original non-mystic.21 Socrates appears thus to be a rational demon. individual. that in the disputes between the sophists and Socrates western thinking was turning towards anthropology and metaphysics and that this constitutes an event. In Socrates. However. but Nietzsche alleges that the absolute domination of 'theory' constitutes a hidden assertion of a tendency of . looses the tension between individuation and the primordial unity of the ground of life and becomes superficial. he was obsessed by the drive to change everything into something rational. its mythical depth. does not only function as a contrast to an artistic mode of life.

who likens the world creative power with the power of a child who moves stones and builds sandcastles only to destroy them again'. The assumed absolute identification between the Socratic and Platonic concept of 'theoria' and a general scientific tendency in the modern sense is even more questionable. the ugly. In art. The tragic reality consists in the fact that we desire 'to simultaneously perceive and yearn for a transcendence of perception' just as in musical dissonance we 'listen and yearn beyond listening'. The realm of individuation. perceives itself through the images of beings.considered as a whole . basic development. the world as a whole is at play. between dream and intoxication is understood as a unity of an antithetical. but not vice versa. Existence can only be justified as an aesthetic phenomenon. Nietzsche approaches this riddle through the phenomenon of dissonance. 'an artful play.23 Being in its entirety. the appearance of the many individual things in their distinctive beauty and horror is . the dark.24 . A theory. The theoretical cognition of the world is based on a weak and impotent artistic drive. Not only the beautiful in its ordinary understanding. The logical concept is as it were the withered and dried leaf which once grew as metaphor on life's 'golden tree'. between thing itself and appearance. which the will plays with itself for its own infinite fullness of pleasure'.a beautiful semblance perceived by the tragic vision. The antagonism between Apollo and Dionysos.22 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' art. The interpretation of the tragedy reaches its climax towards the end of the book which understands the tragic myth's mode of existence. Nietzsche writes that 'in the logical schematism the Apollonian tendency has disguised itself22. According to Nietzsche. as Nietzsche puts it. This encounter 'continuously reveals the playful creation and destruction of the individual world as flowing from a primordial desire. Nietzsche believes that in dissonance and tragic myth we encounter analogical Dionysian phenomena. comparable to the comment by Heraclitus. the primordial ground of being encounters itself. Nietzsche conflates essentially two different entities: classical theory and nuova scienza. the horror of existence are moved towards a splendid transformation. but also the terrifying. or. theory and science are comprehensible from the perspective of art. Art transforms being. a conceptual fiction can be interpreted from the perspective of art because it conceals an artistic drive despite the fact that it is removed from its antithetical tension with the Dionysian and consequently increasingly impotent. Nietzsche's view of Socrates is not only problematic because of his psychological approach. The way in which Nietzsche describes the decline of the tragedy brought on by Socratic rationality and the way in which he attributes the victory of the logical over the mythical drive to Euripides appear irrelevant to our main concern.

space and time. The will must alienate itself in order to own itself and reunite itself from this alienation in order to realize its self-consciousness. the will. the primordial ground does not only play with creation but also with destruction. The crucial characteristic of this basic conception is firstly Nietzsche's transformation of Schopenhauer's schema. is the only true reality. the essence of being is conceived through art. one may even be justified to say that the will comes to itself.'Socratism' against tragic wisdom 23 The ontological distinction between 'will' and 'representation'. The tragic play achieves the cosmic realization of being itself. In Ecce Homo Nietzsche remarked much later about this characteristic of cosmic self-consciousness in The Birth of Tragedy that it smelled 'offensively Hegelian'.25 The second characteristic factor of this book is the exposure of primordial reality through the metaphor of play. Tragic art becomes an ontological symbol for Nietzsche. For Schopenhauer. have no metaphysical reality but are only at home in the human spirit. The pleasure of death and decay resonates in the pleasure of generation and love. The . Yes. Ultimately. What is meant by play and how it is to be ontologically determined or conceptualized in more than a witty metaphor is not yet obvious. The primordial ground plays the world. is only a reflection. The primordial ground itself playfully creates the world of appearance. the creative ground of the world achieves a temporary repose and rest through the beautiful semblance of the manifold appearances of finite beings. The appearance is accordingly necessary to ensure the selfconsciousness of the will. Nietzsche's concept of play unifies the opposition of Dionysos and Apollo and constitutes the reluctant synthesis of two fundamental powers. The world as representation exists accordingly only for man. takes possession of itself through consciousness and redeems itself in beautiful 'semblance'. the blind drive towards life. The unity of opposites is articulated but is not grasped adequately in any ontological conception. it creates the manifold of the individual things like artists creating artworks. However. The world as representation only exists for the human mind. The metaphor of the 'world as play' remains at first a grand intuition. The subjective forms of intuition. Nietzsche distances himself from this conception. The seed of decline is already implanted in all becoming. Nietzsche assigns tragic art to the realm in which true Being gains selfconsciousness. Like man the re-creative artist is redeemed in his creativity through the work of art. becomes conscious of itself. Nietzsche discloses a central and fundamental concept of his philosophy that reaches back to Heraclitus already here. a poor replication of the original poeisis of cosmic life. thing itself and appearance which Nietzsche borrows from Schopenhauer is not taken as a demarcation of two distinct realms but is interpreted as a dynamic and as a creative process. the creative process. The reality. This world is a product of its artistic drive and a way to encounter and affirm itself. Or better: the activity of the artist. Like the beautiful semblance of an art-work that transfigures suffering and ugliness alike.

of suffering from the oppressive opposites within itself. . From Nietzsche's posthumously published work we know the treatise Concerning Truth and Deception in the extramoral sense written. he writes in 1886. that in his aesthetic vision of the primordial reality of 'becoming' he seems so certain about his intuition. the extent to which it aims at real truth are different matters. The 'deception' of the rational mind is grounded in the inability to understand the metaphysical rather than the biological concept of life. this external biological view is only an intellectual way of discussing the intellect. With a kind of cruel irony Nietzsche presents the pitiful. shimmeringly dispersed solar systems there was once a planet on which clever animals invented cognition. for a view of the world which opposes all Christian and moral interpretations. At the same time .'. Yet. Nietzsche does not fall into the traps of the natural scientist.. It was the most arrogant and untruthful moment of world history. who wishes to become conscious of his own magnificence and pleasure through generation and destruction.. but certainly only an entirely questionable and immoral god of the artist. . contemptible and superficial characteristics of human cognition. Perhaps the mind with all its pursuit of truth is more radically false. He cites as it were a nature-historical aspect: In some remote corner of the universe of innumerable. Moral truth and untruth are determined within an understanding of the world in the human mind. through good and evil. The treatise deals with the role of the intellect in the world. from which perspective does Nietzsche intend to judge the truth and untruth of the mind? Does he occupy a place outside the mind from which he could view it? It is remarkable that Nietzsche never poses this question. This book practises the art of suspicion in the attack on Socratism. 27 . Truth and deception do not refer to any conscious human behaviour but to a moral issue. 'Indeed'. It also introduces the fundamental concept of play .26 The Birth of Tragedy contains almost all elements of Nietzsche's philosophy. However. develops the perspective of art and the perspective of life derived from it and displays an anthropomorphic metaphysics which looks at first sight strange and arbitrary. is redeemed from the need of fullness and plentifulness. However. 'the entire book only knows an artist's sense and double-meaning beyond all appearance. a God if you like.24 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' concept of play becomes for Nietzsche later in retrospect a first formula for his 'innocence of becoming'. for a holistic view of being beyond good and evil. but not published in 1873. For the first time and with the appeal to an original and fresh intuition it develops the contrast between the Dionysian and the Apollonian. who world-creating. the extent to which the mind itself is true.reminding us of Heraclitus.

creates derives. Nietzsche's theory of language or concepts are not relevant but we need to focus on what is responsible for the 'deception' of language. The concept is the empty shell of a metaphor once inspired by intuition. that is sensual encounter of man with a dazzling world. This tendency attains its fulfilment in man where the art of deception reaches its climax. artistic mind. Reason serves the will to live. if not from cloud-cuckoo land. certainly not from the essence of the things themselves. However. One basic aspect emerges in this approach for the first time which is going to be crucial later.'Socratism' against tragic wisdom 25 Nietzsche interprets the role of cognition pragmatically. Nietzsche refers here sarcastically to the futile play of the many human vanities. to the flattery. 'Truths are illusions of which one has forgotten that they are illusions. the forgotten history of their dubious development. how does the sign or the word relate to the thing itself? Are they true? Nietzsche denies this: The development of language has no logical determinants. the philosopher works. The most universal characteristic of reason is deception. The logical commitment to truth is . It is based on a life-preserving illusion.'29 The subconscious use of words and concepts. He poses the question how in such a context the genuine. pure drive for truth could emerge. According to Nietzsche language essentially conceptualizes conventions and constitutes agreement about henceforth valid significations. Nietzsche tries to reflect beyond this distinction here and tries to substantiate that the drive towards truth flows from the instinct towards disguise. the scholar.deception understood in the extra-moral sense. The former has retreated into a shell and believes that . However. Language is seen as a convention which occurs when a peace pact is made in the battle of all against all. lies and deceptions and the pretences about oneself and others. Nietzsche proceeds from language. is the condition for an honest. scientific commitment to truth. Although the development is still elementary at this point it is at the same time clear in its original intention. The entire material within and with which the human being. Normally we perceive this irreconcilable contradiction: reason is an instrument of clever cunning or vain pretence is opposed to the integrity of the will to truth. For now. the 'deception' of the concepts .28 This conception of language may seem questionable. a clever cunning which assists the survival of the fittest. i. The scientist uses concepts without being aware any longer that concepts are only empty metaphors devoid of sense.e. Nietzsche contrasts the scientific man who remains blind to the falsity of the concept with the intuitive. The arrogance of the cognitive animal convinces it of its existence and seduces it towards it.only the withered remnant of an originally artistic.according to Nietzsche .

This has nothing to do with social arrogance. creatively to reality creating its images. the abstractions.32 Nietzsche thus portrays culture in two small fragments (from the time of The Birth of Tragedy) entitled Greek State and The Greek Woman with an almost inhuman bluntness. The essence of culture is the genius. He considers the 'breathtaking' thought 'that the will (in Schopenhauer's sense) perhaps manifests itself in these worlds. Compared to the logician and the scientist the intuitive person or the artist is the higher type for Nietzsche. Wherever an intuitive man uses his weapons more powerfully and victoriously than his enemy (as in classical Greece) a culture may be formed by itself at best to create the domination of art over life. He is no longer guided by 'concepts but by intuition'. Nietzsche judges in favour of the artist and against the 'theoretical' man.31 For Nietzsche culture is intimately connected with the striving of the cosmic will to reach self-consciousness in the tragic human work of art. Nietzsche's concept of culture is grounded in a fundamental understanding that the world is tragic. . The genius is a human being who has become the focus for a justification of being in the beautiful appearance of an aesthetic phenomenon. For Nietzsche he constantly attacks conceptual conventions. . bodies and atoms in order to come to art'. but he relates freely. Art seems to be the true method of philosophy because the primordial ground of being itself playfully creates the world like a 'primordial artist'. He formulates the 'cruel sounding truth'. man becomes silent when he sees them .or speaks in all sorts of forbidden metaphors and unheard of conceptual constructs in order to at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful intuition created by a destruction and a ridicule of the old conceptual limits. that 'the essence of culture demands slavery'33 that is the sacrifice of the majority to serve the creation of the genius.34 Nietzsche's concept of culture and the metaphysics of the genius underpinning it are inseparably linked to his metaphysics of the artist.. stars.26 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' concepts are the things themselves.30 Does Nietzsche's discussion of truth and deception make any proper sense given that he as it were inquires into the truth of the human cognition and thus questions a kind of meta-truth? His fictional theory of cognition serves really only as an illustration for Socratism. From these intuitions no regular path leads into the land of the ghostly schemata. The latter knows the untruth of all concepts and metaphors. For these the word is not made. .

This tension in the concept of the human being remains always alive in the development of Nietzsche's philosophy. The genius is not the great human being which is quantitatively distinguished from his fellow humans through a number of steps. This conception of the genius as a mouthpiece of a cosmic tendency and of culture. The genius can not be understood by its merely human characteristics. Without this basic connection of the genius to a cosmic tendency Nietzsche's conception of culture would be inhuman and absurd. UNTIMELY MEDITATIONS.Untimely Meditations. no ideal type. the genius and the herd member and a more profound conception of humanity. The pathos of distance. Nietzsche's cult of the genius often assimilates traces of a hero worship. Truth here does not refer to scientific cognition but to the tragic intuition of the cosmic ground. primordial will of the world is almost obscured by the emphasis on a 'greatness' which portrays itself as a human achievement. For the early Nietzsche the concept of genius is a forerunner of the overman. as an interpretation of life and world that is accomplished in a unified artistic style by the genius. which transcends humanism and understands man through his cosmic mission in which he becomes the medium of universal truth. but rather a human being that is subject to the superhuman and to a cosmic mission. CULTURE AND GENIUS. simplifying heroism of the genius. Like his concept of the overman. which reflects and represents its own essence in the artistic creation. He finds it confirmed in the two passionately revered figures of Schopenhauer and Wagner. He is torn between a purely anthropocentric conception distinguishing the extremes of the creative and impotent type. The genius is an instrument of the creative ground of life. Although he inquires into the 'great man' whenever he wishes to express the essence of humanity his exposition of human greatness vacillates within the mentioned ambiguity. We have identified here an essential feature of Nietzsche: his concept of the human being is ambiguous. of social rank order determines the theory of culture on the surface. In Nietzsche's first period however. PHILOSOPHY IN THE TRAGIC AGE OF THE GREEKS The concept of the genius accompanies Nietzsche's intimate intuition of cosmic truth. 'Greatness' is primarily a mode of truth. It is not the most developed type. Culture and Genius 27 5. His superhuman understanding of genius and his function in a unified. Nietzsche's concept of the genius must ultimately be understood and interpreted via the human dedication to truth. it is clear that his metaphysics of the genius is firmly based on the general . The 'great' human being is only understood through that which manifests itself in it. a human being yet a destiny. appearance and music. this conception is repeatedly concealed by Nietzsche himself through the superficial. It opens up the reality of the Dionysian play and its manifestations of word.

28 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' artistic-metaphysics of the cosmos. without aim. His polemic treatise against David Straufi establishes a contrast to true culture and shows that true culture can not and is not meant to exist. without substance. The historical development of culture is the human response to the reality of the Being as play as disclosed by the genius.although an illusion . This work is concerned with a critique of'historical meaning' as an indication of the decline of culture. Nietzsche's subsequent comment becomes true in retrospect: he only attacks things which are victorious. It is more: it is an attack on the complacent and self-satisfied German culture. The first corresponds to a preserving and reverential kind of person or to a humanity which lives entirely in the past and takes its lead from .as he puts it in Ecce Homo . Nietzsche also distinguishes himself from Schopenhauer in his conception of appearance which he interprets as an Appollinian expression (rather than as a mere fiction of the human intellect) which is established and created by the cosmic. Time does not only exist for the intellect but designates a mode of being of the cosmic ground. Because it is rooted in the cosmic ground time is significant for the realm of appearance. its self-representation in the tragic work of art give his thought its direction followed further by the Untimely Meditations. its comprehensive artistic style. Dionysian ground. After the war of 1870-71 and the success of the new German empire and its emerging culture. The first Untimely Meditation. that the concept of culture is firmly based on the tragic world-view. Concerning the advantage and disadvantage of history in regard to life. His portrayal of the 'tragic age' of the Greeks with its 'mythical groundedness'. Even as a cultural critic Nietzsche can only be understood through interpreting these concealed ontological and fundamental thoughts. is not only an attack of an 'educational philistine'. with the exaggerated turn to the past which erodes the vitality of a culture. The critique is poignant and cutting. a mere public opinion'36. His concern for cultural regeneration should be understood from this aspect.with merciless contempt appears to him devoid of 'meaning. The latter is . The hidden theme of the book is human historicity. A more fundamental critique also dominates the Untimely Meditation. the critical and the monumental history. The Birth of Tragedy unfolds his understanding of the cosmos and establishes a central concept of culture. This is the fundamental horizon of Nietzsche's philosophy of history. David Strauss. A further distinguishing mark is a more significant understanding of time. Despite its foundation on Schopenhauer's dogma. the German Bildung*^ which he regards . The critique of culture engages with the decay of historical meaning. The Dionysian play is pure becoming.not nothing. Nietzsche distinguishes three possible modes of historical engagement: the antiquarian. Nietzsche positions himself already against it. Nietzsche's theory of culture is at once a diagnosis and a programme. the Confessor and Writer. its creative productivity.

Where the vital plan. Plato used Socrates in similar ways to express himself. In the other two Untimely Meditations. his 'wrist is dangerously loose'. The futility of all plans and the life which is no longer sustained by intentions to create its own future escapes into the past and seeks to forget its own emptiness in the remote richness of a past life. However. The approach of monumental history projects itself into the future. The basic attitude of critical history on the other hand opens itself to the present and makes this the standard for the past judging history from the horizon of the presence. Culture and Genius 29 a tradition. This work is not only important because it exposes the dangers of an excessively historical culture. He is feverishly ready to attack and fight.Untimely Meditations. Life becomes essentially a remembrance and a recollection. The metaphysics of the artist underpin them even though this remains implicit. The visions of the past reveal themselves only to those with a determined will to a future. The human being is not merely ready to hand in the dimensions of past. but because it interprets the temporality of human existence.38 This is a clear example how Nietzsche's writing and his desire for the spectacular endangers his philosophy. Schopenhauer and Wagner refer to 'Nietzsche. silent metaphysics of the genius expressed so clearly in The Birth of Tragedy. A life which sets itself great aims has a sense for comparably audacious attempts of the past. Nietzsche's Untimely Meditations belong to his first period. In addition Nietzsche seeks an argument. In discussing 'culture' Nietzsche does not betray his original. the meaning of the essays is not exhausted by Nietzsche's psychological identifications. On the whole. The cosmic and instrumental function of the genius remains seemingly obscure. the projection of life into the future declines the assembly of historical knowledge becomes a burden or even a danger for life itself. On the whole the presentation of culture remains within the domain of the 'merely human'. Nietzsche depicts his vision of a future culture in the way in which he depicted the possibility of the greatest culture of history in The Birth of Tragedy. In retrospect37 Nietzsche comments that Schopenhauer and Wagner only served as 'occasions' in these two essays 'to make a few more formulas. These dimensions are rather horizons which are kept open by the human being itself in different ways. Schopenhauer as Educator and Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. . As a result a superficial reading gains the impression of an extraordinary idolization of the genius. The ambivalence which overshadows all Untimely Meditations is created by the implied. by the allegorical use of two figures. Nietzsche portrays the genius which symbolizes the central essence of a culture. He does not simply refer to the present culture (the genius is 'untimely' in relation to his respective contemporary culture) but rather to a future culture. In this case man only learns to surrender in the face of history. present and future like other things. in one word'. signs and means of expression available'. He wishes to assault the 'democratic' levelling tendencies of the time.

vision with dialectic. an important traditional source for Greek philosophies. the location of its revelation. Nietzsche's engagement with Greek philosophy is rather peculiar. However. The genius is the caretaker of the truth of the primordial cosmic ground. he does not express clearly what constitutes this rift. when this change should perhaps be understood more profoundly as a change of truth itself to which humanity reacts and which humanity follows. artistic intuition is contrasted with the assembly of concepts. tragic pessimism is contrasted with an optimistic confidence. Thus Nietzsche attributes a change of view and method to human influence here. Are they tragic because they lived and thought in the age of tragedy or are they themselves inspired by (what Nietzsche calls) the brotherhood of Dionysos and Apollo in the tragedy? Does the tragic understanding of the world determine their thinking? The philosophy of the tragic age disappeared because of the dialectic of Socrates akin to the tragedy itself which disappeared because of the Socratism of Euripides' 'rational' muses. He is almost blind to them. Nietzsche's uncanny instinct for the tragedies of the spirit senses a deep rift here. he compiled different sketches made between 1872 and 1875 (including the small essay Philosophy in the tragic age of the Greeks written in the spring of 1873) into a 'book on philosophy'. Furthermore. often psychological categories. In his profession as a classical philologist Nietzsche already engaged with Greek philosophy extensively. Nietzsche's characterization of the difference between Pre-Socratic and classical Greek philosophy occurs entirely within anthropological. The contrast between Nietzsche's intuition of this difference and its interpretation is very peculiar. Nietzsche's first period sketched here from its metaphysical aspect and its concept of culture is essentially determined by Nietzsche's view of the problems of Greek culture and philosophy.30 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' metaphysical approach and his debt to Schopenhauer. Nevertheless Nietzsche's concept of play is radically distinct from Heraclitus. He is influenced most by Heraclitus and identifies the essence of the primordial ground in accordance with Heraclitus as 'play'. It is most important that Nietzsche perceives a historical break between Socrates and Plato and the thinkers preceding these. the artist. The philosophers preceding Plato and Socrates are called 'tragic'. Its fundamental ontological problems do not seem to concern him. Although his approach has a human focus this is not an anthropology removed from metaphysics as we encounter it in Nietzsche's second period. Culture is not merely a human product. He also gave repeated lectures on the 'Pre-platonic Philosophers' and further an 'Introduction to the study of Plato's dialogues' during his time in Basle. The saint. He did not only write a treatise on Diogenes Laertius. They are the instruments of a divine power which the cosmic ground creates in order to encounter itself. the leader and the human genius influence and form a culture. The heroic. In other words. We can also sense this contrast in his .

Anaximander. Nietzsche questions these philosophers about their judgements of the value of existence. He was supposedly 'the first Greek to capture the complexity of the deepest ethical problem in a daring grasp'. Nietzsche interprets the great allegories of Thales. Nietzsche feels its unique importance. . Culture and Genius 31 relationship to Greek philosophy as a whole. Nietzsche finds 'metaphors'. immediate intuitions spoilt by reflection in the great thoughts of the Pre-Socratics. He does not believe in the truth of their systems. Nietzsche talks about his spiritual idols. Whoever enjoys . The idolized portrait of every thinker whom he describes includes an aspect of his own life. These judgements are more important to him than any judgement from enlightened times as they are based on the tragic experience. a colour. great men at all also enjoys such systems even if they are wholly mistaken: they have some point which is completely irrefutable. a new mode of existence manifesting itself in manifold and fundamentally distinct ways. one can use it to gain an image of the philosopher . Parmenides and Anaxagoras. He interprets the history of these thinkers as a 'profound spiritual dialogue': 'A giant calls the other through the desolate intervals of the ages. thus occupy a role akin to his own in regard to German culture. Anaximander is interpreted morally. They create the sage. in which the guilt for the existence of being is determined. the rigorous demand for autonomous thinking in all respects and the re-evaluation of the importance and value of Being. but he understands it in a way which obliterates the ontological questions entirely. . Dike and Adikia are interpreted as fundamental moral concepts. he only accepts these as evidence for their rich lives. He sees the classical spirits as 'great men' or as 'personalities' of unique stature. It is particularly obvious here how Nietzsche transforms (and perhaps must transform) all ontological questions .Untimely Meditations. For Nietzsche. .'40 In particular. Did the classical thinkers use their 'personality' perhaps to think the essence of being? Nietzsche tells the story of these philosophers in a 'simplified manner'. Heraclitus. feels the greatness of its origins. they heal and purify Greek culture. . . a personal mood.and yet his work is characterized by a peculiar aura. The centre of the work is the exposition of Heraclitus. Thales had a vision of the unity of being and expresses this vision in the symbol of water. He appears to have an aesthetic interest in them. He sees the richness of intuition. Parmenides is emphasized strikingly to provide a contrast.3<i Nietzsche uses the system to sketch the image of the creative personality. He simplifies and obliterates subtleties and distorts unbearably . The Greeks symbolise the daring courage to lead the radical philosophical life and make it visible even in the style of their dress.

'Being' is only an abstract term for a fiction of human imagination. this building and destruction. immovable. builds and destroys innocently . He is also sensitive to the polarized tension between the opposites within the temporal flux. Nietzsche has made no attempt to overcome the common dichotomy and .'44 Nietzsche establishes a contrast to this view of Heraclitus which in its opposition is equally revealing. the eternally living fire plays. are from now on eternal visions.42 Nietzsche's interpretation of Heraclitus thus focuses on the fragment 52 (Diels): 'Aion Pais esti Paizon. He feels a kinship with him in the 'fundamental aesthetic conception of the world at play'.The world is the play of Zeus or expressed physically. lifeless and opposed to becoming for him. .41 Heraclitus illustrates the transformation of one fire into the manifoldness of things in a 'sublime metaphor'. petteuon. paidos he besileie. he revealed the greatest spectacle. recognizes becoming and the flow of time as the true dimensions of 'reality'. solely remaining possibility for Heraclitus: what he found here is rare even in the area of the mystically unbelievable and the unexpected cosmic metaphors. More specifically he finds an interpretation of a reluctant unity of opposition in the fundamental concept of play. the play of fire with itself. 'What he saw' . in eternally identical innocence. playing draughts: the kingdom is a child's'43. How can the One exist concurrently with the many? Nobody with dialectical intuition can guess or seemingly calculate the third. Nietzsche does not understand Parmenides' originality because he fails to see the speculative depth of the ontological problem altogether. without any moral responsibility. like life to death. for an ideal object without corresponding reality for him. Nietzsche believes he encounters his own questions in Heraclitus.Nietzsche says with greatest sincerity . And just like the child and the artist.'the doctrine of the law within becoming and of the play within necessity. rigid. Nietzsche writes: In this world only the play of the artist or the child compare with this becoming and decay. like logical concept to intuition. the one is only in this sense concurrently the many. Heraclitus' concept of play becomes Nietzsche's deepest intuition for the grandly symbolic and metaphorical nature of the cosmos. Heraclitus denies constant being.32 The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' into questions of value. Parmenides relates to Heraclitus like ice to fire. Nietzsche believes that the Heraclitean opposites are precursors to his own opposition between Dionysos and Apollo.and in this eternity itself is at play./Etermty is a child at play. Being is something fixed.

45 This is how Nietzsche views Parmenides. Culture and Genius 33 to think the opposition between being and becoming from within the ontological problem.. most empty concept of being. But nobody tackles such terrifying abstractions as 'Being' and 'Non-Being' without punishment. He draws an unprecedented caricature of highest symptomatic significance.Untimely Meditations. Accordingly. Truth is now supposed to live only in the most pale. . A Greek was able in those days to flee from an excessive reality as if from a mere pretentious schematism of imagination into the rigid deadly calm of the coldest. he interprets Parmenides as a thinker who is frozen in his lifeless abstractions. the blood curdles if one touches them.. . He invokes all kinds of colourful metaphors to illustrate the distance between mere concept and life. .introducing with this a reorientation that leads to his second period .may be this very denial of an ontological concept. most abstract generalities. A main reason why Nietzsche does not carry his intuition of the Dionysian and Apollonian play beyond a poetic image . Nietzsche opposes the Eleatic already sharply in his first period where he attempts to think metaphysically and where he constructs his metaphysics of art on the basis of Schopenhauer's philosophy. in the empty shells of the most indeterminate concepts like in a house of cobwebs. . And the philosopher sits next to such truth similarly bloodless like an abstraction and trapped in formulas..

or whether it constitutes a more profound development of thought. It hosts the inner separation from Wagner and the turn away from Schopenhauer. he already had expressed a different sentiment of life and a different existential mood on the basis of Schopenhauer's metaphysics and had replaced passive pessimism with a tragic attitude overcoming the flight from the world with the transfiguration of the world through art. individual expression. Biographically. Nietzsche awakes from the romantic dream of his hero worship. On the other hand Nietzsche engages more . A cooler. opposing world-view of the thinker extinguishing the earlier motives of his thought. The appearance is the Apollonian dream of the Dionysian ground of the world. To be sure. and he becomes emancipated to become himself. However. a deep or possibly irreconcilable rift.CHAPTER TWO Nietzsche's Enlightenment 1. But he also changes Schopenhauer's ontological conception. ALL TOO HUMAN Human. that is a farewell to the 'heroes' of his youth that he worshipped with burning enthusiasm and in whose name he only succeeded to articulate his new conceptions. that is the unfolding of an original intuition. We only indicate our concern about the usual. To be sure. He discards the cliches of Schopenhauer's metaphysics and Wagner's worship of art and searches for a new. His positions seem to be inverted. The primordial One immerses itself in the appearance. Nietzsche appears to deny everything he has asserted so far. HUMAN. colder atmosphere surrounds him. firstly through tracing 'appearance' back to a cosmic tendency. All Too Human and to a certain extent also Dawn and The Gay Science represent Nietzsche's second period. This commences suddenly and appears to be a sudden interruption of the original path of thought or even a radical turn. biographical interpretation of Nietzsche's thought with this question. He destroys what he worshipped and worships what he destroyed. Nietzsche's second period constitutes a biographical break. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF UNMASKING AND THE SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE. he gains a distance to his idols. it is a question whether the second period signifies as it were simply a new.

All Too Human. Nietzsche lifts the tone of the spiritual biography . He remained engaged in sophistry. Every book talks about his life. Systems would be mere manifestations of 'personalities' in which the 'great man' reveals himself. an existential interpretation for this sudden 'break' and change in his philosophy on numerous occasions. expressions and symptoms of a psychological history. They would have little to do with truth. his loneliness or his self-doubts. When Nietzsche sends the book to Wagner he receives . We regard this as a wrong approach. His anthropological approach remained infinitely distant from the Pre-Socratics. All Too Human has an important place in Nietzsche's spiritual history. He . Church Councillor'. the emancipation from Wagner. The inner confrontation with Schopenhauer and Wagner leaves a concealed and hidden stage and comes to an obvious. Nietzsche attempted to understand the Pre-Socratic thinkers in this way. acute crisis in Human. his experience. dazzling mixture of confession and posture which can be equally interesting and disgusting. Did it not sound as if two swords were crossed? In any case both of us felt that way.'through a miracle of significant chance' a copy of Parsival with the dedication: 'to his valued friend Friedrich Nietzsche from Richard Wagner. Time is not just an intellectual form of intuition but the mode in which the primordial cosmic ground is at play for Nietzsche. In Ecce Homo he refers to this work retrospectively as the 'monument of a crisis'. the change from a reverential tendency to a self-assertion or the temporary influence of his friend Ree the reasons for his intellectual change? If this were the case then thoughts would be mere reflexes.The psychology of unmasking and the scientific perspective 35 profoundly with the essence of time than Schopenhauer. He did not develop sophistry as the art of disputation. He understands this to refer to a liberation from the bounds of reverence which held him captive for too long and prevented him from seeing the individual and autonomous mission of his own life. a peculiar. This crossing of the two books .It seemed to me as if I heard an ominous sound. but would be mainly traces. Nietzsche himself gives a biographical account. One may be tempted to apply the biographical method to Nietzsche himself and to use it as the key to detect the changes in his thinking. Nietzsche is two-headed: he is a philosopher and a sophist.and even more so that of the autobiography. not on the rhetorical he puts it . Are the biographical motif of self-realization.1 Human. Like perhaps no other philosopher. because we both remained silent. Nietzsche understood and interpreted himself almost exclusively biographically. Sometimes one has the feeling of attending an enormous self-exhibition and self-display. documents.

36 Nietzsche's Enlightenment developed it as a prophetic art. Metaphysics. This human focus is accompanied by a change in the concept of life. Nietzsche's thinking turns into anthropology. Schopenhauer and Wagner were the trinity of true understanding for the early Nietzsche. Life is no longer understood metaphysically or mystically as universal life transcending the appearances but it is interpreted as the human life and furthermore as a biological concept. However and very importantly. methodical critique assume the leading roles now. His argument is directed at this difference. religion and art become subjected to their judgement. the theoretical man. Nietzsche's enlightened stance focuses its attention and its questions on the human being. Socratism. by Schopenhauer and Wagner and the conception of an intelligible world-as-such beyond the appearances. Purely superficially Nietzsche's second period appears to be an inversion of the first. Nietzsche practised an 'existential sophistry' with much virtuosity. pure cognition and anything else Nietzsche ridiculed mercilessly in The Birth of Tragedy. they are revealing symbols of an existence. the thing itself and the appearances. And now all this is inverted. Nietzsche becomes a champion of 'enlightenment'. now appear of the essence and determine the pathos of the entire book. Religion (understood in the Greek sense). The Greeks. The latter contained a fundamental distinction between the primordial ground and the realm of appearance. In Human. He even dedicates the first edition to Voltaire. Thoughts are no longer primarily true or false. It only tries to challenge our complacency in regard to a biographical approach. however. Science. All Too Human the aggressive attitude against the two worlds and against 'otherworldliness' already resonates through the enlightened pathos. Now he denies this distinction between a primordial One. he was not merely a sophist but also a thinker and if a question assumed the power over him to guide his life then any changes in his thinking would need to be grasped in a more profound way. Does it simply constitute a return to the domination by the world of appearance? Can Nietzsche simply forget his metaphysics of the artist and return to an innocent perspective? Surely not! His enlightenment is after all a battle against his very own approach determined by the tragic age of the Greeks. They would need to be related back to the demands of the subject matter itself which asserts itself in Nietzsche's philosophical thinking. Here we find . If. 'one of the greatest liberators of the spirit'. They appear to be no longer the fundamental modes of truth but illusions in need of destruction. This change in Nietzsche's basic view is initially incomprehensible. This is initially a demand. It is no longer primarily a contemplative expression of universal truth and the resulting human condition but it focuses on the human condition first and interprets being from this aspect. metaphysics and art were considered as ways to approach the essence of the cosmos and as infinitely superior to all science. critical reflection. they are symptoms of life.

etc. After all. He does not use any particular methods of any particular science but his tools are analysis and history in general. approximate type of inquiry and critical examination. however. It includes the infinite resolution of the threads of a web. This is often regarded as a great achievement. Strictly speaking he does not refer to any of the positive sciences but to a general. that is through his own peculiar sophistry. religion. Nietzsche believes that the traditional philosophical approach suffers from a genetic defect. we can not just ignore it as unimportant because Nietzsche generally expresses his philosophy through psychology. It is not readily available like a tool which one can just use. As in The Birth of Tragedy he uses psychology as a conceptual method. To us it seems to be a truly sophistic and an unphilosophical aspect of his works. Its inner workings are not easily understood. that is the product of historical conditions. He analyses the great . However. Nietzsche believes that he can expose these scientifically through a psychological analysis of illusion. It occurs as an unmasking. of morality. Its enlightened rhetoric conceals rather than clarifies it. art and morality. Nevertheless. The vagueness of Nietzsche's continuous reference to science is remarkable. metaphysics and art. Philosophy is supposed to become analytical and historical and in summary: 'scientific'. science does not refer to an inquiry into any region of reality but to the exposition of the deceptive characteristics of those human attitudes identified by him in his first period as the primordially true approaches to the universal essence. On this occasion. Nietzsche demands a 'historical' philosophy which refuses to believe readily in 'eternal facts' and 'absolute truths' but understands man as the product of history. 'Analysis' includes the critical deconstruction of a seemingly simple phenomenon into a complex formation of multiple levels of relationships. of truth from a deceptive. Nietzsche has the questionable honour to be the inventor of a particular. He will use it to examine and judge the claims of religion. it is not a speculative but rather a destructive and an unmasking psychology. he envisages a critique of traditional philosophy. traditional philosophy only considers the human being of the last four thousand years. The basic characteristic of his psychological analysis is the assertion of a 'genealogy' of the ideal derived from its opposite. sophistical psychology which explains matters ab inferiorf. illusionary instinct and of holiness from the very unholy basis of vengeful drives and instincts. Nietzsche's change comes as a surprise to all. Science is essentially critical for Nietzsche. namely of the derivation of right from common utility. the patient and disciplined pursuit of a well-concealed subject and the investigation of the surface to the point of transparency.The psychology of unmasking and the scientific perspective 37 prototypal expressions of what he will call later the apology of man and the death of God. Nietzsche now proclaims the supremacy of science. Accordingly. religion. This examination takes a peculiar form.

pleasurable was created by passion. If one exposes these methods as the foundations of all actual religions and metaphysical systems one has refuted them. all-too-human things. In Ecce Homo he writes about it: 'Wherever you see ideals. suspiciously and vengefully and exposes them as 'higher forgeries' or in brief as 'idealism'. a cutting and indeed a cynical rejection of any form of idealism. an all-too-human need. All Too Human is directed against Schopenhauer's firm distinction of thing itself and appearance which in turn is a very rough rendition of a Kantian conception. art and morality from the largely concealed. Contrary to the view of the metaphysician. The psychological destruction of metaphysics which Nietzsche undertakes primarily in Human. One can merely question the entire style of such a psychology of suspicion. I see human. subconscious instincts and desires of man. The book is a sharp. But anything that has made metaphysical assumptions valuable. error and self-deception. as if it was concerned with weakness.'3 Accordingly. No argument can be successful against this approach because any contradiction can be 'unmasked' and thus overcome.38 Nietzsche's Enlightenment human sentiments critically. This interestedness or this yearning for redemption lead Nietzsche to the immediate conclusion that the metaphysical will to cognition is merely a disguised desire. Its basic theme is rather the so called 'super-human' which is in truth only an all-too-human illusion. terrifying. with pettiness or with the insignificant machinations of human vanities.4 Nietzsche leads his battle with the psychological exposition of the evolution of metaphysics. He does not examine the truth of religion or metaphysics. The worst means of cognition. This question is dismissed at the mere possibility that the search for truth is based on motivations within life which are not disinterested but aim for redemption or the like. We regard all things through the human mind and cannot eliminate this mind. A psychological clarification constitutes already a refutation for him. For example: Altruism is merely the disguised form of a subconscious egoism. Nietzsche's psychological attack is accordingly . the title should not be trivialised. Nietzsche's psychological interpretations have an element of cunning: the unmasking and the revelation of disguises and masks allow him to expose any contrary evidence simply as deceptive. The psychology of the hidden motivations can bring anything hidden to light. religion. not the best have compelled us to believe them. the human being cannot grasp the heart of the world. He cannot recognize the thing itself because the belief in a thing itself which exists beyond the appearances (and is initially concealed from our view although disclosed through philosophy) is a metaphysical superstition.

art and morality will make metaphysics trivial. substance and freedom of will. Perhaps it conceals more than a 'psychological unmasking'.Nietzsche says most emphatically . He has lost the great inspiration and he does not live through one fundamental experience. To experience himself more irresponsibly and to find at the same time everything more interesting . as if they were basic truths'. 'Never has any religion' .this is for him a double delight which he owes to metaphysics. yes.The psychology of unmasking and the scientific perspective 39 directed against a crude form of metaphysics and does not meet the enemy in his strongest position. Man becomes the basis of all questions. be it allegorical or literal is rejected from the start.even such concepts as thing. psychological interpretations of the metaphysical need for consolation. Its claim to truth. He likens it to the romanticism of the adolescents who value metaphysical explanations because they expose a deeper meaning even in the deplorable and unpleasant aspects of life: if he is dissatisfied with himself.'neither mediately nor immediately. Religion is interpreted similarly as well. On its own. boring in future. a dream invented by man or a living lie with which he consoles himself and through which he copes with finitude and gives his existence an absolute meaning. He has become 'critical'. How does this affect metaphysics? Metaphysics appears to be an enormous fiction.can be called 'the science which deals with the basic human errors.Nietzsche says . perhaps Nietzsche's enlightenment is a surface phenomenon which hides a deeper truth? Coming to Nietzsche from his first period one tends to be at first profoundly disappointed about his turn. And yet. metaphysics becomes a meaningless repetition of unfounded reflection.6 Metaphysics becomes consequently a spiritual release valve and nothing else. Nietzsche believes that the psychological analysis of religion. Nietzsche sees metaphysics now only as a tool of life or as a way of deceptive self-interpretation. It is only of vital significance if it remains related to the basic concerns of the human heart and provides these with a conceptual framework. narrow-minded and all too trivial. we should not underestimate this attack. neither as doctrine nor as . Despite all the sophistic psychology his thinking seems peculiarly 'shallow'. His method assumes the characteristics of a universal argumentatio ad hominem. engages in a sobering analysis of man and limits his view to the human perspective.5 Nietzsche gives a number of subtle. Metaphysics . however. He intends to show how human needs and yearnings underpin all metaphysical concepts . this sentiment is relieved if he recognizes the inner cosmic riddle or cosmic suffering in that which he rejects within himself.

One feels immediately that this method is dangerous and questionable. It transforms and even solidifies them.' He gives a similar psychological explanation of the saint. It is no longer a mode of profound cosmic understanding. Nietzsche argues polemically against his own earlier view in which the genius had a cosmic . it sneaked into our life through false paths of reason.'8 The role of the genius is also perceived differently and more soberly. If the belief in these truths. He has an almost heroic desire to deny. Soon one recognizes the illusion which dominates this sobriety. Inspiration is no longer viewed as a flash of deepest insight into the heart of the world but as a kind of spiritual burst. which is often all too easily understood as a 'miracle' and a manifestation of a strange power. Metaphysics and religion can only exist so long as man does not know himself and remains alienated from himself. as a release with a highly complex and to innocent minds hardly transparent structure. the vital illusion which seduces us towards life. namely the enlightened belief that all 'striving for the super-human is an idealistic self-deception'. He demands a human return from the cloud-cuckoo-land of the ideal in a number of variations. One does not admit it without deep regret that the most inspired artists of all times just elevated those representations to a divine transfiguration that we have recognized to be false: They glorify human religious and philosophical errors and they could not have existed without believing their truth. the sick aspect of his character with its combination of spiritual poverty. According to Nietzsche art. is in the grip of metaphysics and religious illusions. This example already shows Nietzsche's style of analysis and psychological explanation. such art can never flourish again. The spirits disappear with the psychological understanding of the self. eroded health. It is primarily the selfexhibition of the artist. He invents a psychology of metaphysical and religious need for consolation which could hardly be more sceptical and more suspicious. exhausted nerves'7. through a desire for pretentiousness and in particular through the misconception that others have about this failed person. of the ascetic whom he explains through a lust for power and tyranny against himself. Nietzsche demands a philosophy of consistent and active disappointment. through a desire for revenge. Because religion is born from fear and need.40 Nietzsche's Enlightenment allegory contained any truth. Compared to the first period even art is now interpreted differently. to profane and to attack any human ideals. through an enjoyment of great sentiments. They do not see 'the eccentric. as a sudden release of long-stored energies. bad understanding. the rainbow colours surrounding the extreme boundaries of human cognition and aspiration decline. Nietzsche seems to have lost the sense for human greatness.

artistic. Thus Nietzsche's two early periods have something in common here. Nevertheless. to the light-footed dancer and to the peaceful gaiety and relaxation of Zarathustra. . Nietzsche is conscious of the dichotomy between life and science and he now opts for the latter. dominated in his first period by the tragic pathos is now strongly characterized by the dissonance of human life resulting from the tension between innocence and critical knowledge. These are allegedly concealed instincts. that is as a task of humanity liberated from illusions. Nietzsche invents its marvellous characteristics far removed from the common and clumsy free-spiritedness of the traditional enlightenment and from the deadly serious belief in reason. the artist and the genius who remain the human mystery. he even ranks them higher since they are not deceived by metaphysical delusions.The psychology of unmasking and the scientific perspective 41 function and his education remained the purpose of any culture.'9 Critical knowledge becomes a power which attacks life itself and destroys its security and its misleading illusions. Man is understood through his great aspirations. The latter views art from the perspective of science. However. He has a daring. However. The existential sentiment. He has a seductive. daring courage. He practises a psychology of secrecy and ambiguity and brings more than one background to the fore. moral and cultural illusions. This decision shows itself in the character of the 'free spirit'. However. The problem of culture is now posed more critically and not in the context of a glorification of the Greeks but as a merely future human aim. the scientist on a same level with the artist. He experiments with himself. Man is understood as an animal with ideals. in both cases we find the perspective of life. least of all for those things that are valued by the world. He has the icy coolness of a relentless thought which 'cuts into life's flesh' and which pursues truth directly even when this could be deadly. ruthless spirit. He is a precursor to the Prince Vogelfrei. wishful projections and yearnings. Even in its sobering psychological unmasking Nietzsche's main topic remains the human greatness. Nietzsche's free spirit has a distance to himself. Nietzsche's second period is an inversion of the first in almost all respects: the former viewed the theoretical approach of science from the perspective of art. it is always the philosopher. the concept of life is understood in two different ways: firstly cosmologically and metaphysically and now psychologically and biologically. He puts the scholar. He is suspicious like no one else. with the world and with God. He has no inhibitions and no respect. the saint. He has a sixth sense for the hidden path of the ideal. religious. 'We are from the start irrational and therefore unjust creatures and can recognise this: this is one of the greatest and most irreconcilable dissonances of human existence. the main human psychology is always a psychology of his many metaphysical. He is a hunter pursuing many traces. He rejects such things as 'superstition'. He challenges everything and disregards even the most revered things. indeed.

which expresses itself in these peculiar writings by Nietzsche and which we have just summarized under the heading of a second developmental period (i. to a dawn of a demystified world no longer hidden behind a mystical veil or beyond the metaphysical clouds yet nevertheless itself only provisional and transitional. however. It gives expression to a first tempting clarity. Dawn and The Gay Science) is a strange philosophy indeed with hidden depths that do not become readily transparent. It is the hunting ground of the 'free spirit'. who are at home in the mountains. gay expression . in Human. THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE MORNING (DAWN AND THE GAY SCIENCE) The philosophy of the morning. It is a transitional figure. the presents of all those free spirits. they wonder how the day between the tenth and twelfth hours can have such a pure. All Too Human.10 2. Yet at the same time it has already gained an ironic distance to science and harbours exuberant suspicions against suspicion itself. The book is filled with a peculiar mood of suspense.they are searching for the philosophy of the morning. Nietzsche liberated himself spiritually in Human. ethereal. It just pretends to be scepticism and deep suspicion. in all human self-transcendence merely the 'human. the object and aim of his liberation are not easy to see or to conceptualize clearly. Born from the secrets of sunrise. It just pretends to be a critique which has become immune to deceptions. not of a static and fixed one. He unmasks only all the idealism and discovers. but it expresses as it were a dynamic transition. it pretends to be purely prosaic and lucidly clear. Despite its entire coolness of the dawn one senses the rising sun. It is a monument of a crisis.e.42 Nietzsche's Enlightenment Nietzsche's character of the 'free spirit' must not be understood as a fixed or static attitude. The turn away from Schopenhauer and Wagner is not an event in his life but rather and more authentically a turn in his thinking. in one word: it just pretends to be science. who is a 'wanderer' and a 'departure on all gates' . To be sure. Despite its entire cool and scientific attitude it is gay. however. all-too-human'. All Too Human. However. transfigured. . Does he merely break with all metaphysics? Does he break away from a path leading through the centuries? The fact that he develops no positive scientific research programme anywhere indicates also that his newly sung praise of 'science' must be regarded with some caution. as he believes.who freely receives many good and light things. It articulates a strange philosophy. the forest and in the solitude and who are wanderers and philosophers like him with an occasionally gay or contemplative manner.

It is free because it uses science to free itself from the existential imprisonment in the ideals by breaking the domination of religion. The scepticism directed against religion. The divine is only an illusion of something human. to the creative risk or to the projections of one's own aims. metaphysics and morality uncovers . metaphysics and morality are the forms of his servitude. fuller light of the midday. with understanding and he unmasks. he does not forget that science itself is also a problem. in progress and in science with dead-seriousness. At first one does not realize that he is himself intoxicated. The free spirit is not free because it lives according to a scientific experience. adjusts his entire life in accordance with it and forgets that it is man himself who puts the Gods in his own divine heaven. metaphysical and moral universe which man has erected beyond his existence. they precisely conceal this ambiguity. metaphysics and Nietzsche believes their roots and exposes their timidly concealed and forgotten foundations scientifically.The philosophy of the morning 43 Nietzsche's second period is perhaps most difficult to understand. that the wisdom of this spirit is a bird's wisdom which transcends all fixed determinations. Life is an experiment. He refers repeatedly and variedly to the experimental character of life. it triggers a human conversion. an external mirage of the creative powers of man. He operates with the cunning of the snake. Nietzsche's philosophy of the morning is documented in a number of ambiguous books. The second phase appears to be largely transitional. Nietzsche's enlightenment is enlightened about itself. It does not only turn away from the first. a change of man's fundamental stance. metaphysics and morals. The 'free spirit' seems to be an enlightened mind. It does not believe in reason. an evolution of his existence. It does not only intend to 'unmask' and to demonstrate the falseness of religion. One does not realize that his coldness and his suspicion symbolise a negation which will be replaced by affirmation. art and morality and to transform the latter into 'question marks'. An affirmation of Nietzsche's true philosophy slowly rises from the negation of enlightenment. More importantly. but it uses science as a way to question religion. if in a concealed and mysterious manner. Man worships his own creations. He selects so to speak a 'scientific perspective' because this corresponds to the fundamental mood which dominates the entire second phase of Nietzsche. Whenever Nietzsche's 'free spirit' sings the praise of science. Man must not search for transcendental aims but must . The leading thought guiding this unmasking asserts that man has lost himself. The sobering revelation of the all-too-human foundations of all 'ideals' thus does not only lead to a collapse of the religious. but it turns towards a third period. All the important. basic thoughts are becoming recognizable and appear on the horizon. They illuminate the attitude of the free-spirited enlightenment with the deeper. Man worships the divine. He has succumbed to the super-human. Religion. However. metaphysics.

metaphysics and morality. Man understands that existence includes a risk. entirely free to do anything and required to determine its own aim and path. He uses the methods regarded by him as scientific to destroy religion.La Goya Scienza. which hovers no longer above man as the God. self-imposed servitude to seemingly strange ideals. it is no longer controlled by moral precepts. Life no longer has a pre-given meaning. He experiments scientifically. dawn is the symbol for the power of his type of science. Nietzsche actualizes the experimental style of human existence himself. It is not constricted by any superhuman powers.. However. He plays with the scientific pathos and distils this pathos into the character of the 'free spirit'. The science of the 'free spirit' is 'gay' . not the conceptual rigidity or the clear engagement with the concealment of being. this is precisely what Nietzsche does. It does not have a heavy. Nietzsche summons this mood of departure or of the highest risk in many ways. He is no scholar. For Nietzsche. it is no longer bound. He steers the human ship into new waters. it is no longer led by a divine will. because such a person . it is no longer determined by a metaphysical world transcending the world of appearance. but he does not experiment with science itself. you rain cloud leaper Sadness killer. but it has become free. In doing this he already has some distance to such a 'science'. An entirely new existential sentiment becomes possible in the form of the greatest spiritual boldness which is dependant on nothing.44 Nietzsche's Enlightenment search inside himself. as the moral law or as the thing itself. Nietzsche's fundamental mood expresses itself in the songs of the Prince Vogelfrei which conclude The Gay Science. no researcher.and attuned to the radical emancipation of man from the age-old. heaven sweeper How I love you when you roar! Were we two not generated In one womb. in particular in the dancing song 'To the mistraF. He is inspired by . He leaves all shores behind to voyage towards eternity itself. It clears away the clouds. The natural scientist is absorbed by science. He compares himself more than once to Christopher Columbus from Genoa. the deceptions of'superhuman' powers from the human sky. Eternity is now discovered within man himself. We quote just two verses: Mistral wind. The human being can transcend itself.unless he philosophizes . The heavenly constellations of idealism are only the projections of this self-transcendence. solemn seriousness. predestinated For one lot forever more . He experiments with the existence of a scientist.lives in the thematic engagement with his science. Life becomes possible as an experiment.

The next step is the Zarathustra. Similarly. All Too Human. However. Nietzsche swiftly passes through positivism. between saint and whore give rise to the dance.The philosophy of the morning 45 Let us break from every flower One fine blossom for our power And two leaves to wind a wreath! Let us dance like troubadours Between holy men and whores Between God and world beneath!11 Unmasking the saint and reducing him to all-too-human needs and misunderstandings in his own 'scientific' way and with his revealing psychology enables Nietzsche to reconcile the difference between saint and whore within the one human dimension. The characteristics of the daring and adventurous type of person who experiments with life become more pronounced. The methodical attitude of the positive sciences and the critical and historical perspective seem strongest in Human. This remains a fateful burden for his thinking as it turns towards sophistry. All his books are ambiguous. His exposition uses a genealogy ab inferiori. Nietzsche fights like a sophist but he is nevertheless a philosopher. God and man are no longer separated. a joyful prophecy. Nietzsche uses it to perfect a style of suspicion and a sophisticated polemic. And yet. the figure of the free spirit becomes further and further removed from the image of the cold-blooded investigator. The distance between God and world. The essence of his thought lies elsewhere. the ideal through instinct or the greatness of existence through commonness. Whatever seemed divine or whatever seemed to transcend man and earth is merely a creation of human existence. Nietzsche thus offers us many opportunities to argue against him. Dawn already brings a change which gains momentum in The Gay Science. Greatness and baseness of human existence are embraced by the one arch. namely the expression of a new human thinking which has become conscious of his own freedom. the positivistic period has some consequences. Nietzsche's second period is characterized by the fact that 'science' becomes increasingly more 'gay' and by an increasing transformation of the sceptical investigation into a new. To distinguish both aspects is difficult and the real challenge of any Nietzsche . takes sacrilegious pleasure in explaining the higher through the lower. One should not be misled by his aggressive style. One should not take his battle slogans too seriously because his strife loves strong expressions. the knockout and the poisoned arrow. Both are always connected. He perfects a high art of unsubstantiated allegations and unmasking. one does not overcome Nietzsche if one can refute his psychology of unmasking. gross simplifications. However. of emancipation from the traditions for him. It is only a means of liberation. his sophistry and his philosophy do not exist separately.

Dawn and The Gay Science undeniably dissolves the human image derived through the unmasking psychology. morality and metaphysics. the free spirit assumes the characteristics of the Prince Vogelfrei. this cheap. his cool scientific scepticism towards all ideals. It is rather a being who understands the super-human as a hidden dimension of his own existence and who becomes accordingly an 'overman'.46 Nietzsche's Enlightenment interpretation. while the transcendental meaning of human greatness is denied. In Human. With it the view of human greatness returns and the profanation. the possibility of selftranscendence is not denied and man is not reduced to trivial instincts. This leads to a human profanation. as the adventurous existence which experiments with a freedom without God. He sees the biological foundations of all 'ideals'. The most basic and elementary instincts supposedly generate the selftranscendence of man and the 'greatness' of his existence. towards transcendence and any divinity argues in a sophistical manner it is nevertheless guided by more profound philosophical thoughts. Increasingly. The disguise of cold-blooded science conceals a new enthusiasm. all-toocheap unmasking recedes. science becomes a conscious experiment and a means of emancipation. Common needs generate morality. The human emancipation from the servitude to transcendental ideals (God. The transcendental urges are put aside as mere obsessions. metaphysically conceived otherworld) occurs on the one hand as a psychological unmasking. morality. On the other hand. He has an evil eye. he is inadequately understood as a mere instinctive being which under certain particular and complex. He illuminates the other-world of the divine. Increasingly. The greatness of existence is now conceived as an attitude of daring projections. The scientific perspective replaces the perspective of art dominating in the first phase. of truth and the Good and exposes peculiar things. Basically we have to distinguish two forms of one fundamental characteristic in Nietzsche. towards all 'idealistic swindle' and 'otherworldliness'. All Too Human the mask of science appears still firm. Although Nietzsche's philosophy of the morning. This is no longer a being who bows to and worships superhuman powers. who kneels in front of God or who submits to the moral law and reflects and inquires beyond the appearances. and proportionally to the experience of science as a temporary disguise. It profanes humanity. however. instinctive conditions develops into the preposterous figures of the saint. the artist and the sage. Instead . As long as Nietzsche's concept of science remains guided by positivism the result is enormously sobering. A new image of man emerges from the disillusionment. The 'free spirit' is the great sceptic who doubts whatever man has so far trusted most. It introduces a new attitude. repressed and misdirected instincts and needs create the saint and subconscious deceptions create the philosopher. however. that is man is mutilated.

one wishes to make them feel the . At first his arguments are hardly bearable. a temporal and serpentine wisdom. the moral sense does not relate to those experiences themselves but to the age. But it shows itself differently to us. One aphorism speaks for many: Here is a morality. Nietzsche does not show why and whence such concealment occurs. his rejection of positivism more decisive.however. which rests solely on the drive for recognition . We find the method of profanation in many aphorisms of Dawn and The Gay Science. And they are just mixed and connected in Nietzsche and can only be separated with some difficulty. The two ways to view man. if somewhat indirectly expressed at this point. They are on the way towards the Zarathustra. One can as it were recognize the device which Nietzsche employs in his profaning perspective. it makes us not think too highly of it. for example when he deduces morality from the human experiences of the useful and harmful. He soon starts to remove it. Although he does not neglect these apparent characteristics he interprets them away. Nietzsche's decisive and fundamental thoughts are initially. His science becomes 'gay'. that is as profane or as 'preserving the hero in his soul' relate to each other like sophistry and philosophy. Positivism is only a guise behind which Nietzsche conceals himself for a while. His thesis is this: morality is formed entirely by assembling experiences in relation to advantage and disadvantage. the sanctity. a feeling of impotence and inferiority in them. the unquestionability of morals. The phenomena conceal the utilitarian character of morality. Morality signifies the experiences of early man in regard to what is supposedly useful and harmful . but the basic attitude of these two books is different. this moral sense combats new experiences and the correction of customs. And with this. That is morality suppresses the development of new and better customs. namely as a human self-alienation or as a projection beyond itself in which man forgets that he is responsible for the projection. morality is supposedly sublimated cruelty. This distinction is of fundamental importance. namely as an ancient tradition of the supposedly holy and venerable. What is this drive and what is its deeper meaning? One wishes that our presence hurts others and inspires their envy. He becomes increasingly fond of parables and more poetical. Why do these stored experiences of advantage and disadvantage disguise themselves in a venerable aura? A similar deduction of morality ab inferiori reduces the former to an instinct for cruelty.12 This short aphorism is telling. The light of noon falls upon his philosophy of morning.The philosophy of the morning 47 the greatness of human existence remains but it is interpreted differently. According to this.

the artist. The free spirit. . Although these are existential modes of human greatness their existence is a form of self-alienation. The others have become humble and are most perfect in their humility . indeed strictly speaking not even man is the natural object of his psychology. with being as presence or with the constitution of many bitter moments in other souls did this greatness cost! The celibacy of the nun: How punishing are her looks when she encounters the faces of the women who lead other lives. which dominates Nietzsche's second phase is not the counter image of the saint. It is their inversion. They regard morality as an external..he searches for those whom he has meant to torture for a long time in turn! You are certain to find them. The three basic human characters are not just put on trial by the positive sciences and Nietzsche does not arbitrarily leap into a new perspective. binding moral law and devalue the real world as an appearance of the more essential. One shows pity towards animals and is admired for this . How much pleasure for revenge is in these eyes! . The free spirit is the saint. of the sage and of the artist. free spirit. He does not deal with things. This alone makes the free spirit philosophically important. The free spirit is the truth of the . its critical objectivity. of the saint. and the metaphysical philosopher with a 'self-consciousness'. its radical dedication to truth and its intellectual rigour. of asceticism and of artistry here. the great man assumes now the form of the enlightened. They rely on the fact that man does not become conscious of his secret creativity and that man believes God to be elsewhere. The free spirit is rather a development of the saint.48 Nietzsche's Enlightenment bitterness of their fate in dripping on their tongue a drop of the honey and looking into their eyes in a straight and triumphant manner when committing this act of charity. the revelation that all modesty should be nothing but hubris. However. The fact that immodesty can disguise itself as humility is beyond doubt. However. nothing but the drive for recognition and cruelty against others misses the point.but there are people on whom he just wanted to exercise his cruelty: The intuitive pleasure about rivals defeated by envy did not let his powers rest until he has become great . He emulates the scientific pathos. It is the return of these figures from their alienation. the artist or the metaphysical sage. he does not deal with the same things as a positive scientist. In almost all respects Nietzsche's second phase is characterized by a profaning demolition of the three basic forms of human greatness. He only seems initially and superficially to have the characteristics of the positive scientist and Nietzsche tries hard to reinforce this appearance. They are only possible where man forgets his own role in creating his idols. of the artist and of the sage. The great man is not just a disguised and concealed small man. transcendental one.13 Nietzsche completely neglects the difference between the genuine and the false type of humility. However.

It is amplified further when Nietzsche turns from the merely critically-suspicious. On the contrary: they believe in transcendence. But from this it does not follow that these living characters would understand themselves subjectively as free spirits. The free spirit stands for a radical contemplation of these characters. Nietzsche's 'free spirit' is the self-consciousness of the saint. . or at least have remembered that we have bestowed these attributes on them . The approach towards a philosophy of value belongs essentially to the development of the saint. to a 'gay science'. the transcendence of the Good. the evil itself do not exist. One has reflected and finally realized that the Good as such.14 Human emancipation occurs thus through contemplation of the fact that the essence. Hegel calls self-consciousness only this step of the dialectic. The free spirit is the human emancipation towards an autonomous life. All three modes of human greatness bound by their servitude to an apparent transcendence are approached through the concept of 'idealism'. the beautiful and the holy are just appearances created and forgotten as such by the human being itself. It is the human self-empowerment. the recovery of the self from its transcendental overcoming and oblivion. The 'free spirit' inverts the human self-forgetting in tracing the 'values themselves' back to the positing of value. It implies rather the overcoming of the most profound oblivion and the recovery of the transcendental tendencies of life into life itself. This contemplation is no simple thought. the artist and the sage into the free spirit. from the ice-cold destruction of moral sentiments to an experimental existential attitude and to the daring lightness of the Prince Vogelfrei. It has some similarity with Hegel's concept of self-consciousness. This insight gives rise to the possibility to revalue and newly create all values. bend their heads and submit to it. This also implies that the free spirit is no attitude that one could assume and attain. The free spirit discovers himself as positing values. We have withdrawn these attributes. the sublime itself. It is rather a change of existence. It stands for the emergence of human freedom within these all and for a gaining of a creative self-determination which is no longer reactive to the designs of a creation.we must beware that this insight does not rob us of our ability to bestow. Dawn had the subtitle: 'Thoughts about the moral prejudices'. This perspective of life remains Nietzsche's basic concern and is developed in various and radical ways.The philosophy of the morning 49 alienated existence oblivious to itself. however there are psychological states in which we give the external and internal things such attributes. beauty itself. ontological thinking in which the I or the subject recognizes itself in the object and in which the separation between both is sublated. the artist and the philosopher.

He is given thus the utmost freedom of a bold mission. The feeling that only the end of idealism provides the great human possibilities occupies Nietzsche and constitutes his gaya scienza. the eternal return and the overman. In the first case. Man is conceived as a self-transcending being and idealism is inverted. Man recovers all transcendental attributes. They constitute the deeper meaning of these works: the death of God. It is rather denied. In the second case. the destruction of religion. . leading thoughts of Nietzsche's philosophy are already obvious in Dawn and The Gay Science.50 Nietzsche's Enlightenment He accepts the inversion of idealism as his mission. It is the joyful message which increasingly finds its first careful expressions in Dawn and The Gay Science. The destruction of an idealistic world-view. human existence retains its 'greatness'. The fundamental. idealism is not really inverted. of the moral and metaphysical other-world is attempted once in Nietzsche's psychological destruction. the will to power. It is attempted again in a more profound and philosophically more important sense by inverting the human self-alienation. They come fully to the fore in Zarathustra.

It was already prepared in the adventurous characteristics of the 'free spirit'. Zarathustra does not suddenly erupt as an entirely new form of expression in response to a positivistic period.CHAPTER THREE The Proclamation 1. To the untrained eye this work appears to be a distinct break with . burden and determine man externally and to give human freedom a new scope in which it constitutes itself radically and completely and in which it progresses towards new experiments in life. there they are seemingly concealed beneath the concepts of Schopenhauer's metaphysics or beneath those of 'scientific' positivism.his previous writings. morality and transcendence which enclose. The time after Zarathustra is merely an unfolding or an exposition of whatever is expressed there. Their motifs are recognizable within his previous works. It constitutes a great turn in his life. STYLE AND STRUCTURE OF THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA The third. The hidden tendency of Nietzsche's 'philosophy of the morning' already endeavours to return man to freedom. Following the romantic approach of his earlier writings and the critical.and an attack on . however. The spirit of the daring risk and of an experimenting life resonates already through the 'free spirit'. Zarathustra exposes the crucial fundamental thoughts. in the songs of the Prince Vogelfrei and in the . It introduces the noon of his thinking in which his spiritual powers reach their climax. Nietzsche's thinking finds its authentic expression in Zarathustra. blurring its definition and corrupting the scientific attitude. From now on Nietzsche knows his goal. however. to throw off his oppressive weights such as God. scientific turn a new identity is established. definite phase of Nietzsche's philosophy commences with Zamthustra. not in an unexpected or surprising manner. FORM. How is it possible that the most insistent proclamation of this strict scientific attitude with its repeated demand for soberness and cool critique is followed by such a passionate eruption embracing an entire spectrum of spiritual moods with all-encompassing and increasing pathos? Whatever remained submerged in Dawn and The Gay Science erupts with primal force in Zarathustra.

What is it? Is it philosophy disguised as poetry or poetry disguised as philosophy? Is it a religious or pseudo-religious prophecy or a world-view full of pathos? Does it contain sayings of profoundest meaning or jests and spiritual clowneries? Is it a new myth or Nietzsche's glorification of himself? These questions have often been posed. His poetry does not erupt suddenly. He does not shrink from comparing it to those of the greatest western poets even with the implication to have surpassed these in Ecce Homo: That a Goethe. artistic and metaphysical genius or the key concept of his early romantic 'metaphysics of the artist' then the Zarathustra is the completion of the 'free spirit'.this is the least and does not give us an idea of the distance and the bluish solitude in which this work resides. or his poetical talent and musical inspiration which had allegedly carried him away here. they are meant to protect us from the all too easy interpretations of Zarathustra which use Nietzsche. Perhaps the thinking which attempts to leave the path of metaphysical ontology requires a closeness to poetry? Perhaps the style of Nietzsche's Zarathustra is a result of a deep nonconceptual perplexity of a thinking blinded by the light of a new question of being? These are questions and question marks and not yet hypotheses. However. a world ruling spirit. If the 'free spirit' is the self-consciousness of the great human existence. taking the place given emphatically to science so far by Nietzsche. a fate . The yes-saying part of his philosophy is for him a poem of high or even highest quality. that Dante is merely a believer compared to Zarathustra and not someone who creates truth in the first place.52 The Proclamation hidden indications which contribute to the suspense in Dawn and The Gay Science.that the Vedic poets are priests and not even allowed to loosen Zarathustra's bootlaces . The work with the title Thus spoke Zarathustra is already difficult to formally define. the person. Nietzsche refers to himself repeatedly as the 'poet of Zarathustra' and at the same time to the work as the 'yes-saying part' of his philosophy. a loss of perspective or a mad overestimation of himself? Or does this only seem so since Nietzsche compares the Zarathustra with something . that is the essential truth of the religious. Shakespeare would not for one moment be able to breathe in the tremendous passion and height.1 One can only listen to such a statement with bewilderment. Nietzsche himself does not believe that Zarathustra requires further qualification through a theoretical exposition. Genius. More questionable however is whether these alternatives are comprehensive in themselves and whether one can decide such an 'either-or'. all too readily available categories. In retrospect it seems to him in Ecce Homo that this part has been completed and that his aims have been fulfilled in this positive part. It eludes ready. Does this express a lack of standard. free spirit and Zarathustra are aspects of the same idea.

He writes in Ecce Homo'. The image becomes a metaphor. The poet is already close to the thinker.Form. A new 'perspective of art' shows itself here. Zarathustra's literary quality is certainly not as high as Nietzsche believes. However. For Nietzsche the poet is someone whose Poeisis aims towards primordial truth or towards the emergence of a new cosmic conception. He does not use art as a tool. He moves within concrete images and not within speculative concepts which seem to him empty abstractions. Despite this the book does not seem to be a mere fiction. but he philosophizes artistically and he thinks poetically. the final assertion of Nietzsche's authentic philosophical individuality takes the form of a volcanic eruption or of a revelation. Formally. through his interpretation of classical art and Wagner's music. His deepest thoughts assume a concrete shape and form. Zarathustra is something between reflection and poetry. Image and thought remain mostly separated in Zarathustra. Does anyone at the end of the nineteenth century have any idea what the poets of the vital ages called inspiration? If not. Zarathustra cannot be denied some literary greatness. At times the exposition becomes an unbearable parody of the Bible with countless flaws in which the excessive style suddenly comes to grief. but this rests with its parables. Nietzsche does not continue to theorize about art. indeed. Nietzsche sees their closeness in the original creation of a new revelation of being in its entirety. style and structure of Thus spoke Zarathustra 53 that it cannot be compared with anyway? The above quote contains the peculiar statement that the genuine poet is a creator of truth. I will describe it. They solidify into the Zarathustra character. The character of Zarathustra was not just invented by Nietzsche as an alternative to the traditional views of man. Zarathustra is neither poetry nor philosophy as long as these are understood traditionally as conceptually opposite poles characterized by thinking and poeticizing. It contains too much effect.this mysterious coincidence between the particular and the universal. word play and conscious effort. Only the occasional symbol . And then there are sections of impeccable beauty. After expressing his thoughts through the metaphysics of art. this presence of a cosmically universal power . His thinking as such occurs in the form of images and visions. Nietzsche expresses his intuitions in a flood of images and in countless parables which he often interprets himself successful. With Nietzsche the duality and dichotomy of the essential understanding of the cosmos becomes questionable. it is not even clearly posed. Although the previous writings prepared its basic themes. If one had . 'He surprised me' he writes in Ecce Homo. the question of the relationship between poetry and philosophy or the dual character of poetic reflection and reflective poetry is not addressed. It is rather driven by a strong force and it is conceived through this driving power.

A corresponding passage may be found in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. Nietzsche expresses the pure essence of an ontological experience in autobiographical form.grotesque boastfulness. a perception of something. the ontological structure of the world becomes questionable after having been valid for more than two thousand years. with the force of necessity and without hesitation — I never had any choice. a sudden flash like inspiration in which all things and the thinker alike are changed. The necessity of the image. I do not doubt that one has to go back thousands of years to find someone who may also say: This is mine also. If he questions and challenges western metaphysics as a whole. of necessity. The conviction of having this genuine experience however. The term revelation used in the sense of a sudden.54 The Proclamation the slightest degree of superstition one could hardly reject the idea to be an incarnation. . against the blood of the martyrs in Zarathustra: Blood is the worst evidence for truth. Nietzsche characterizes here with unprecedented lucidity an emerging new conception of the cosmos. if it is driven by a genuinely philosophical impulse and not by the vain desire to criticize while admiring itself in the role of a radical thinker and waiting for a position to emerge on which it can exercise its critical playfulness . such an attack is not just an empty. One hears without seeking to. then it already emerges from an intuition of a new cosmic emergence of being itself. Everything offers itself as the closest. . It really seems as if the things themselves come close and offer themselves as metaphors . Blood poisons the purest doctrine and turns it into an obsession and towards hateful hearts. meaningless suspicion. of divinity. the most perfect and most simple expression. one takes without questioning the one may perhaps be inclined to think . indescribable. One no longer knows what is the metaphor and what is the image.if the scepticism is genuine in other words. Zarathustra is the original expression of a 'revelation' rich in image and parable . . And if Nietzsche talks in millennia this is not . This is my experience of use an example from Zarathustra. however. which shatters and moves one deeply describes this phenomenon simply. does not decide the question of its truth. moved and overwhelmed. And what if someone .2 Is this merely a psychological statement by Nietzsche about his creative style? This famous statement about inspiration is often not exactly understood. a voice. of power. A thought appears like a flash. of this metaphor is most peculiar. Nietzsche himself argues against existential evidence. Everything happens to the highest degree without free choice but through a tempest of liberating least this is how Nietzsche experiences it. If. a medium of superhuman force. certain and subtle vision.

Nietzsche calls them 'ten day works'. the increasing dramatism of the work cannot be missed.Form. The first two parts culminate in the third as a climax which contains most of the profound speeches. is his work. In total it took barely a year from its conception to its writing. there are big differences between these parts. A long period of conception had passed including the famous and much discussed. style and structure of Thus spoke Zarathustra 55 went through the fire for a doctrine. In this regard the parts appear similar. the mouth of the greatest a-moralist . Regarding the name. one should have asked me what is the meaning of Zarathustra in my mouth. what does that show? It is more likely that the doctrine is produced by the destruction of the individual . It will be impossible to interpret all speeches. Nietzsche left different drafts for a continuation and alternative conclusion of Zarathustra which . this question would really be the answer already. however. it seems to me equally impossible to talk about Zarathustra without at least attempting to interpret some sections.although highly suggestive to any particular interpretation . fragmentary character of his fundamental philosophical experience.the transformation of morality into metaphysics through power. The image is no easier to understand than the concept but it seems rather otherwise which tends to mislead us. Each one contains many thoughts and also some weaker speeches. purpose as such. He writes in Ecce Homo: One did not ask me. It falls into four parts which are each created within the one tempestuous spirit. cause. The conceptual structure of the work is not simple.point somehow to the closed. Zarathustra created this fatal . Zarathustra was the first to see the real cog in the wheel of the things in the struggle between Good and Evil . the metaphorical expression created in a twilight zone of poetry and conceptual thinking makes it difficult to follow Nietzsche's path although one might rather expect the opposite. Purely superficially Zarathustra appears to be a weak fable holding together a chain of parables. almost mystical experience at the rock near Silvaplana and Surlei in the Engadine 18 months ago where the thought of the eternal return took hold in his mind '6000 feet beyond man and time'. The style of Zarathustra. .since the immense uniqueness of this Persian in history is based on precisely the opposite. His thoughts had already been germinating in many guises such as the artist's metaphysics and his positivism. However. we should briefly note that Nietzsche intended to refer to a historical turn with the allusion to the figure of Zarathustra. However.. The fourth part constitutes a steep decline in which an allegorical and mythical type of exposition takes over and affects us often embarrassingly. However. Nietzsche can only be a challenge for us which is met in the attempt to follow his central thoughts.

who no longer design the future and who are tired of the game because they are saturated with history. the thinker also overcomes the 'higher man' although he celebrates the sacrilegiously mocking 'eucharist'. Zarathustra creates the image of his hopes in the market-place. It is a possibility. At the cosmic hour of the last man the time has come to create the overman and to reach out to it as the highest hope. among the people who have lost their idealism and their power of self-transcendence and of people who risk nothing.. that is of those who constitute the 'remnants of God' . the great disgust. Accordingly he must be the first one to recognize it. of the great tiredness' and the nihilist. He does not present any challenge to . He returns again and makes a second set of allegorical speeches to his disciples. that is among the last men. the symbols of strength and gentleness.into me . The overman is not yet concrete at all.. into the solitude and with this into an essential closeness to the things. It deals with the overman and with the last man.3 The basic plot . This is the man of a passive nihilism who believes in told quickly: At the age of 30 (the age in which the corresponding figure of Jesus of Nazareth begins his teaching) the thinker commences his descent after withdrawing for another ten years into the mountains. a hope whose reality is the last man. The book closes with the departure into the unknown which is perhaps its strongest if least intended parable. wish nothing. He descends to the people to teach his doctrine proclaiming it firstly in the market-place and then to individuals. It is more important that Zarathustra is more truthful than any other thinker. their ears are neither open nor receptive to his message. namely the thought of the eternal return of the same. The first part opens with a prologue including Zarathustra's double-sided portray of man. These are not two rough extremes which exist side by side.the idealists whose ideal heaven has collapsed and who now experience a great emptiness: 'all those people of the great yearning. But when his time comes he leaves 'his cave.this means in my mouth the name essence a short fable . glowingly and strong like a morning sun which comes from the dark mountains'4 with the lion and the dove. However. yet he hesitates to proclaim his most abysmal thought. .56 The Proclamation mistake: morality. Not only does he have more and a longer experience of it than any other thinker. the self-overcoming of the moralist into its opposite . And thus he returns a third time to find himself and the central essence of his thought. the self-overcoming of morality through truthfulness. The fourth.. However. declining part shows the attempt to live the life of the 'higher person'. Nietzsche conceals this relationship by inverting their succession.. His creative human powers are extinguished and burnt out and despite his extensive education he vegetates. His doctrine alone designated truthfulness as the highest virtue .

'Beware! The time comes in which man no longer aims the arrow of his yearnings beyond himself and in which the sinew of his bow has ceased to know how to swirl. THE OVERMAN AND THE DEATH OF GOD On his descent towards the world of men following his decade-long solitude in the mountains Zarathustra encounters the saint in the forest. the hermit who withdrew from a life among men to dedicate himself to God. that is the demise of all transcendental 'ideality'. but one respects one's health. The teacher of the overman turns into the 'light of the world' which replaces God. 'One has the pleasures for the day and the pleasures for the night. With the death of God the true human expression is no longer the address of the Gods and the divine but the dialogue between men. we who need the seductions of mass entertainment and the organized leisure in order to escape the temptation of boredom of a life which does not aim for anything or which aims for 'nothing'. The death of God is accordingly the starting point for Zarathustra's teaching. It seems merely a prelude. They are first indicators of the path of thinking which Nietzsche follows in Zarathustra. Neither the overman nor the last man exist concretely. The thinker Zarathustra compares himself to the sun. This is the small man without any further burning fire of enthusiasm in his soul. an upbeat to his philosophical attempt to understanding man's essence anew through the basic truth of the will to power and through the eternal return of the same. He must teach if he wishes to say anything meaningful. The death of God. His essential discourse is the prayer or the human address of God. He does not care about men and has no wisdom for them. He leads his dialogue with Him.' .The overman and the death of God 57 himself. Their existential characterization has a preparatory importance. His isolated existence reaches towards God.'6 Nietzsche's doctrine of the overman and of the last man contains aspects of a prologue. We are all the last man. of objective transcendence and the destruction of the heavenly stars above the living human . The articulation of the highest human possibility is now the doctrine of the overman. 2. Nietzsche illustrates Zarathustra's teaching with the help of a 'parable of the sun': Happiness for the sun is that its plentiful light is absorbed by the things for which it shines. The hermit Zarathustra who says to himself: 'Should it be possible? This old saint has not heard in his forest that God is dead. The time which Nietzsche foresaw and whose visions frightened him deeply has arrived.This hermit without a dialogue with the divine must precisely lecture to men.'5 Nietzsche portrays modern life with astute accuracy. we who believe in God on Sundays.

they live audaciously with brief pleasures and do not conceive any aims beyond a day. as the transcendental God and His revealed orders . And now they deny all high hopes. in particular songs such as the The Night Song. Nietzsche writes in Ecce Homo: What language will such a spirit speak if it speaks to itself? The language of the dithyramb. The last man and the overman are the two human possibilities following the death of God. However.58 The Proclamation world.'who lost their highest hopes. life becomes enlightened. rational and common. Nietzsche himself takes over one part passionately: he teaches the overman by illustrating the profoundly deplorable nature of the last man. Of the Great Yearning. The Seven Seals (The Yes-and-Amen Song). Alternatively the idealistic tendency remains. One should hear how Zarathustra speaks to himself before dawn. such a divine tenderness has never been previously expressed.7 Strictly speaking.says Zarathustra . 'Oh. Before Dawn. imitates his existential mood and his most direct experience. Zarathustra's speeches to the people and to his disciples are parables filled with the strongest pathos. Idealistic tendencies wither away. Since Nietzsche attempts this universal appeal.the idealistic tendency becomes conscious of its creative essence and creates now consciously new and humanly created 'ideals'. creates the danger of a tremendous impoverishment of humanity or of a dreadful trivialization if agnosticism becomes common and morality becomes absent. Zarathustra's poetical form can ultimately not be understood through Nietzsche's effort to express the inspiration of a new. but more so through his dithyrambic monologues where he portrays the kind of overman. only Zarathustra's monologue is dithyrambic. such a turquoise happiness. And his teaching does not have the coolness of a theoretical exposition. But through my love and hope I beseech you: Do not expel the hero from your soul! Keep your highest hope sacred!'8 It is important to retain the heroic character of human existence even after the death of God and to incorporate into life what seemed as transcendent and as remote as a divinity. inverted idealism and to call fervently for a greatness of existence. The Grave Song. It does not loose itself by worshipping the self created as something alien. Now. since he aims to create a mood of human heroism and greatness in addition to facing the destruction of an 'ideal heaven' Zarathustra is overloaded with exaggerated . It vibrates with emotion and aims to inspire Zarathustra's speech to reach a hymn-like enthusiasm. I knew noblemen' . Nietzsche does not only teach through Zarathustra's sermons.

' However this is also generally. The realization of the will to power implies the recognition of the death of God and vice versa. The overman is conscious of the death of God and of the end of an idealism connected to transcendence. Denying the earth he abused it.The overman and the death of God 59 pathos. The 'prologue' sketches a brief image of the overman. He returns what is borrowed and stolen from it to it. Both thoughts have an inner connection. Asceticism. his desire and his representations with which he furnished the transcendental realm of eternal light and of the imperishable ideas. He recognizes the ideal otherworld as an Utopian reflection of the earth. Man is a selfovercoming being because the universal essence of life as such. His freedom is no longer a freedom towards God or towards nonbeing but towards the earth. He farewells all transcendental dreams and turns to the earth with the same commitment which previously attached itself to the dream world. God is for Nietzsche the essence of all transcendental ideality. to value the insides of the unknowable more than the meaning of the earth. The hymn-like character of the language in Zarathustra does not simplify the approach to it but on the contrary makes it rather difficult. with appeals and mood flashes and with demands and aversions. The highest pinnacle of human freedom turns towards the great mother. the broad-breasted earth and finds in it the boundary and weight which balances all ideals. If one has once sensed it one marvels at the consistency of its structure.9 Nietzsche starts directly with the transcendental characteristics of man: 'Man is something that must be overcome. biologically expressed: 'All beings so far created something beyond themselves and you wish to be the low tide of this great flood and rather turn back towards the animal than overcome man?'10 Does this ultimately resemble Darwinism? Is Nietzsche's metaphysics based on a scientific hypothesis? Not at all! The thinker merely refers to common. Man returns to the earth and grounds his freedom on the earth. the source of all that emanates in the light and the time and endures in time and space. has so far only transcended himself towards the divine. Man. contempt for the body. But God died and with this the sinners. The inner structure of the work and its path of thought cannot be detected easily beneath the many parables and speeches. And yet it is there. With it the human being gains a position despite all the risks. familiar ideas to capture his problem. To sin on earth is now the most terrifying. He is the 'essence of the earth'. Once upon a time the divine sin was the greatest sin. this self-transcending being. Ignoring the death of God. self-overcoming aims at a transcendental world. From this he took his colours. Man has used and abused the earth to beautify the image of the otherworld. overcoming . The earth replaces the God of a self-alienated humanity. the will to power becomes conscious in him and conscious of itself.

falling separately from a dark cloud which hovers above men. those with depth of spirit.60 The Proclamation of the finite or the sensual are a betrayal of the earth: 'But whoever is even the wisest among you is only a mixture and hybrid of plant and spirit. He despises the body to which his soul is chained. the persecutors of God. They present a conscious contrast to humility and the 'poverty of spirit' for which the wisdom of the world turns into foolishness.'12 The image of the overman remains initially undefined. the wasteful of the soul. They are anti-Christian. One could show . All speeches must be related back to this essential focus of the death of God. The choice of pride and cleverness is intentional. that is. unhappy being. I love all those who are like heavy drops. I am a prophet of lightning and a heavy drop in the sky. of the sensual and the spiritual. It means the reconciliation in which the separation of body and soul is sublated. The unfaithfulness to the earth splits man into a duality of sense and spirit. into an opposition of body and soul. The spiritual is Utopian. the disciples. Zarathustra's first series of prophecies aims to invert idealism. gives an approximation by describing the premises and precursors of this perfect and complete human being which he calls the overman. the apologists of the entire future and past. the over-rich or the free spirits.'11 What does this mean? He is torn by the opposites of the here and the beyond. the bashful of happiness. They mix poison whether they realize this or not. The sensual is seemingly ignored by the spirit and has an animalistic. the eagle and the snake. They announce the coming of the lightning and they perish as prophets. 'I beseech you my brothers. He wants to escape from diis prison. the lightning is called the overman. See. with pride and cleverness and commences his 'descent'.14 Zarathustra starts his speeches to his companions with his animals. The central theme of the first part of Zarathustra is the 'death of God'. Nietzsche. He thus determines the overman further indirectly and by inference: 'What is great about man is that he is a bridge and no aim itself. The overman focuses and prepares himself in any of these precursors. What can be loved about man is that he is a transition and a decline. the workers and inventors.'13 The precursors identified by Nietzsche are the bridge between man and the overman: the great despisers. remain faithful to the earth and do not believe those who speak about transcendental hopes. The inversion of idealism in the conception of the overman cures this rift which splits man and separates him. removed from the earth and fantastic. however. Idealism makes man a twofold. plant-like presence. diose who love their virtue and perish through it. however what remains separated in these types is synthesized in him. who sacrifice themselves to the earth. Nietzsche takes his honey from many rare flowers of the human garden.

Morality refutes itself through truthfulness and idealism is inverted by ideal motivations.for this my brothers the lion is required.. 'I name three metamorphoses of spirit.' However. no creative. The respectful and complicit spirit turns into a lion. he seeks to obey God and submit himself to the meaning of life which is imposed on him. so that I carry it and enjoy my strength. He sinks to his knee and carries great weights willingly. The spirit becomes a camel. He wills his duty and. The lion confronts the 'thou shalt' which dominates the camel with its own masterful 'I will'. And he struggles now against the thousand year old dragon and against apparently objective values. the objectivity of morals and the metaphysical thing in itself as mere illusions of idealistic self-alienation is not final. honoured values or rather more accurately the denial of the transcendence of these values or the liberation of human existence from this self-alienation is no new initiative. freedom from but not freedom to. there is much opposition and .The overman and the death of God 61 this convincingly through a detached and continuous interpretation of the individual speeches. He struggles with his 'last God'. who submits to the superior powers of God and to the supremacy of the moral law. this negative lion freedom which denies God. 'To create freedom and a holy No also from duty ." The human being burdened by the weight of transcendence. We concentrate on a few central aspects. man creates his freedom. namely the determination of life through a given meaning of life which must be merely accepted. changes from a camel to a lion and finally from a lion into the child. It implies the person of great respect. He uncovers his own latent freedom and overcomes his position of radical slavery. 'What is the heaviest. the human being of idealism resembles the camel of Zarathustra's speeches. namely objective morality and he recognizes his previous self-alienation. Imprisoned by a firm world of values he submits willingly and submissively to the commands of the 'thou shalt'. In the lion-fight against the morality of idealism and its transcendental basis.. He despises the weightlessness of everyday. constructive productivity of a liberated humanity.' The camel already implies the possible greatness of human existence. its 'intelligible world' and its divine will. However. The camel which stands with its load in the desert experiences its change into a lion. He longs to fulfil stringent and arduous duties. prosaic life. furthermore.the enduring spirit asks. He does not want an easy life. It is only a negative freedom. however. the denial of the old. that is he throws off the weights which oppress and suppress him from 'outside'. The first speech entitled 'On the three metamorphoses'I5 indicates the basic concern: the transformation of the human being following the death of God that is the change from a self-alienation to a creative freedom of self-consciousness. you heroes . Idealism destroys itself. He longs instead for challenges. which are difficult for us and which burden us heavily. The submissive spirit finds its own greatness in obedience and submission.

62 The Proclamation effort in this 'I will' and much defiance and spite. questionable. The death of God reveals the playful. they are in some ways steps of Nietzsche's path of thought. a holy yes-saying/ Yes to the play of creation. After the death of God. not as the primordial ground which constitutes and destroys the world of appearance. a wheel turning through itself. a new beginning. Like the transcendence of values. At the same time the message of the 'speech' is far removed from an autobiographical exposition. The genius. however. The fact that Nietzsche's own life went through stations and transformations which he demands for man himself only shows the seriousness and consistency of his thought. the yes-saying spirit who posits new values corresponds to the playing child. primordial essence of freedom as a creation of new values and realms of value is addressed in the metaphor of the play. my brothers. however. The new will is itself still willed. corresponds to the lion. such a distinction is superfluous. of mundus sensibilis and mundus inteUigibilis or of this world and the other world. These cited characters correspond to the order in which Nietzsche articulates his understanding of himself. a play. The play of creative valuation. unknown shores. Human creativity is play. The play is not yet the entire Dionysian world in this speech by Zarathustra. a world is gained by the one lost in the world. a first motion. the lion and the child do not only present essential transformations of the freedom which comes to itself and thus generates the overman. the most subservient human being who becomes the medium of a superhuman power corresponds to the camel. its retrieval from a self-alienation and the free emergence of the character of play. The metaphors of the camel. And Zarathustra himself. Innocence is the child and forgetting. It does not have the true ease of a creative will or of a new creation of values. This only belongs to the child. Play is here understood as the playful design of the worlds of value. Play is the essence of positive freedom. The radical existential change expressing itself in . risky dimension of human existence. makes the entire metaphysical structure of sensible and spiritual. we require a sacred affirmation: The spirit wills its will now. He leads an existence of a thinker who lives his thought and reflects on his life. The progress from man towards the overman is not an evolutionary leap of a biological kind in which a new kind of living being appears beyond the homo sapiens. The true. the transcendence of metaphysics is based on a living God. The free spirit. It must be pointed out that Nietzsche takes up the concept of play already in this first period in the attempted continuation of Heraclitus and uses it to focus on the fundamental concept of the Dionysian. the critic and revolutionary and the daring explorer of distant. This progress is the development of finite freedom.

The overman and the death of God 63 the first speech remains the condition of all subsequent transformations. 'Tiredness. The earth becomes the final measure. your eye must announce: Free to do what? The decisive. The teachers of virtue preach a sleep or the self-oblivion of freedom at play. Man is regarded abstractly as the creator. an ail-too pure and hungry one. the metaphysical thought of an 'otherworld' has a worldly origin for Nietzsche. Truly. a poor. it is pure self-sacrifice. war. Being oneself is no static preservation and assertion of self. final speech of the first part Of the Giving Virtue19 expresses the genuine human existence and the liberation which commences with the knowledge of the death of God. Since God is dead all is seen differently. but complete and sacred I call this egoism. And similarly. It excludes us totally from living communities. which attempts to steal all the time . The examination of human things must be true to it. self-transcending activity. The egoism of the creator does not have the characteristics of the small. friendship and love: all human fundamental concerns are revalued. The path of the creator leads to extreme solitude. The same view engages in an interpretation of death. from society and from love and pity. Are you one that was allowed to escape from a yoke? There are many that threw their last value away when they threw away their servitude. There is another egoism. However.the egoism of the sick. Solitude isolates us within ourselves. The knowledge of the death of God expresses itself in a tripartite view of virtue. this created all Gods and other-worlds. in which he is caught in the appearance of transcendence and in which he forgets his own creative existence. It is a playful. the sick egoism. which does not even will any longer. 'The path of the creator' is the title of one speech17 which again takes up the issue of an existential change. You call yourself free? I would like to hear your leading thought and not that you have escaped from a yoke. not everyone has the right to such a search and desire for the self. examined and judged anew. Free to do what? What concern is this to Zarathustra! Clearly however. petty egoism. which aims to reach the ultimate with one leap. otherworld and contempt for the body. From this perspective he can characterize the understanding of virtue as it occurs before such transformations as a sleep of life in which man has not yet awoken to himself. It is as it were merely a dream which seeks redemption from suffering. a robber of values must such giving love become. with one deadly leap. .'16 In the idealistic contempt for the body Nietzsche sees consequently an unenlightened will for decline. This time the measure for existence is not in God's hand. ignorant tiredness.

The basic manner in which the creative. of increasing. Not only the reason of thousands of years . The insanity of millennia is for Nietzsche the idealistic interpretation of man and world. this search of the self for ever new self-overcoming and selftranscendence is the true mode of a human existence and of a creator who is liberated from God. akin to a stream. Yes. He puts the earth into the place of the Christian God and of the Platonic realm of ideas.' The possibilities of freedom are infinite if God no longer limits man. .even its madness shows itself in us. Only this will show the free human possibilities: 'There are a thousand paths. be it moral. and if your will commands all things as the will of the lover. This drive of life. Perhaps this is also an ancient Goddess. a thousand healths and hidden islands of life. that is the thought of the 'will to power'. Man and the human earth are still untouched and undiscovered. if this insurmountable wall no longer blocks the ascending human path and if the gigantic shadow of the master no longer falls on the human land. Idealism. The insanity of idealism is to be inverted precisely into the insight that God is dead.' . Nietzsche concludes the first book with a dedication of the parting Zarathustra to his disciples: 'All Gods are dead: Now let us wish that the overman lives . The will to power is basically still conceived from a human perspective. Oh how much ignorance and error do we embody. metaphysical or religious.this may be our last wish at the great noon. but an abstract one without concrete form which is 'near but hard to grasp'. swelling life for more power and empowerment. generous egoism does not intend possession but transformation into a richer. He does not deify and worship finite existence.. man was an attempt. A hundredfold did the spirit and virtue alike attempt and fail so far. then you have the source of your virtue. overflowing existence which searches for a supreme empowerment of life is determined here already indicates the basic thinking which will dominate the second part of Zarathustra. a blessing and danger to your neighbours. seems to be the great human error. If your heart flows broadly and fully. namely as a creative self-transcendence of a freely creative existence. It is dangerous to be an heir . If you stand above praise and reprimand. which have not been used. This is the origin of your virtue. fuller and more powerful life or a life which overflows and shares its riches.64 The Proclamation The rich. Nietzsche does not place man within God's plan.

Time is devalued. 'And what you called world. He posits new standards and values.The will to power 65 3. who sets values and to the person focused on a great will who has created an aim for himself and who courageously risks a new vision. this you are supposed to have firstly created. The fundamental thought is now the doctrine of the will to power. but the omnipresent power of the all. that is creatively. However. the metaphysical.'20 This statement by Zarathustra is not intended to be blasphemous . that is not the power of an individuated. If time is ultimately not real.'19 This radical. He is the genuine and authentic man. 'If there were Gods how could I bear not to be a God. It is committed to time. THE WILL TO POWER The second part of Zamthustm reveals explicitly the cosmic force within the realm of human freedom. The creator does not recognize the existence of any ready-made world of sense perception to which he adapts or which he accepts. he re-invents human life and he exists in the most authentic sense 'historically'. The creative person knows himself to be in harmony with the creative power of the earth in his creation. Nietzsche does not leap to a new thought. He develops it from previous material. transcendental conception of God presupposes a transcendence of space and time in which time does not really exist and is a mere appearance. The freedom of the creative person cannot be restricted by divine freedom. But who would drink all the pain of this assumption without dying? Is faith to be taken away from the creator and the love for distance from the eagle?'21 However. The childlike. it is related to temporality. Freedom would be defined through instructions. Because creation as such is essentially historical. the thought of God is not the only restriction of human freedom on its path towards the open. history is meaningless. your love are to become this. your will. It is excluded from true reality. separate being. It anticipates time in its intentions and its highest hopes precede it. hitherto unknown possibilities. this is not introduced suddenly. The only limit which is acceptable to the creative person is the earth. your reason. The idealistic approach of the Christian transcendental conception denies the reality of time and constitutes for Nietzsche a deadly devaluation of the creator's will to a future. However. but to the one who plays creatively. transfigured man has become the creator. 'God is an assumption. man's path in time and his projected aims make no sense. laws and prohibitions. It projects itself into the future. creative stance would be limited and restricted if there are God and Gods. The 'creator' does not refer to the human being at work of course. your images. God stands in opposition to human freedom. If it is properly understood the latter can no longer allow the thought of God. The death of God .it is rather conceived from a perspective which contrasts finite freedom and the divine will.

They are to be praises and apologies for all finitude. accepts finitude and with it his own demise. metaphysical representations. He has his ethereal home in the finite and the earthly.this is taught by Zarathustra. 'Willing liberates: This is the true doctrine of the will and of freedom . omnipresent. The creative person reveals the essence of finite being purified from all transcendental.'22 The true. We are by no means dealing with an uncritical application of anthropocentric categories to being as such. The creative person transcends himself through time. the inversion of the idealistic negation of time. He does not only live within time. destroys what he was and searches for what he is not yet. continuously self-transcending aims of the will establishes the humansuperhuman freedom of the creative person. the temporal. which exorcized time from being. Placing himself within time. 'Yes. in the turn towards the earthly dimension of all things. You are consequently the advocates and apologists of finitude.66 The Proclamation implies accordingly for Nietzsche the demise of the denial of time and the recognition that time is an essential dimension of all being. And the poets lie too much. the ascent and decline of the things. not. all-encompassing time. 'I call it evil and anti-human. As opposed to idealism. He is the 'playing child' (Pais Paizori) of Heraclitus. temporally directed will of finite. The creative person who gains a radical freedom through the death of God and who discovers the earth. though an ascetic. The commitment to time. The essence of creation is always an overcoming. there must be much bitter death in your life.'25 Looking at the ontology of creation. The here and now of the world in space . All these doctrines of the one. His creation is itself created and destroyed. places himself consciously and intentionally within time. Nietzsche discovers as it were the characteristics of life itself. of the full and immovable and the self-sufficient and the eternal. the eternal change or the rapid decline of all finite things is the only path for the creative person. Nietzsche reinstates time within being as 'earth' and recognizes the fundamental relation between being and time. he participates in the play of cosmic time. All eternity is only a symbol. you creators.'23 The freedom of the creative person establishes itself through the vision of temporally finite possibilities or in other words through the will.'24 The creative person is always on the way between ascent and decline. The human transformation resulting from the experience that God is dead leads to the ascent of the earth which had been obscured and disfigured by misleading idealistic interpretations for too long. a vision of finite aims and their overcoming. the overman experiences and accepts his finitude: 'But the best metaphors are to report to us about time and becoming. We must see the connections much clearer here. world negating overcoming of time and life but the overcoming of finite steps and of finite intentions.

however. The stone. redundant and inauthentic appearance. In the following chapters he takes a position (from the perspective of the creator) against the compassionate. as poieisis. not to leave it behind but to rely on it as the sustaining ground for all finite being.and with this into the cosmic principle of all things . He does not arbitrarily equate the creative person with the pebble. The concept of the earth as it shows itself in Nietzsche's thinking is hard to grasp. The earth. of those who have missed out on greatness and well-being in life. The chapter entitled On the Tarantulas exposes this argument more clearly and prepares the important message of this second part. Nietzsche uses the metaphor of the tarantulas to characterize the spirit of revenge. Nietzsche does not obliterate these differences. the animal and the human being are certainly not identical. Only the inversion of idealism presents Nietzsche with the possibility to identify humanity and being as such and to find the key to life and even to all being in the human essence.from the perspective of human creativity. against the priests and against the virtuous and against the riff-raff. The true world is no longer found beyond space and time in the thing-in-itself. Nietzsche accordingly gains an insight into the creative nature of earth . The earth is omnipresent but not near or distant like things. There are differences of what-ness and that-ness. Nietzsche thinks earth as a creative force. The thing or the existing individual has already emerged from the earth. is not just the present stuff and not just the mere totality of things. the essential human characteristics are conceived as creativity and creative freedom. We can merely indicate that Nietzsche does not think of earth as merely present-at-hand but as that which allows emergence. Nietzsche does not ignore the obvious differences between the diverse ontological modalities of things in the world. We are no citizens of an intelligible world and no members of a spiritual realm. in the realm of the ideas. It is always present but never itself an object. We are wholly and totally earthbound. nature and duration to the manifold of individuated and contingent being. The body or the earthly manifestation of our existence is the only reality. in God and the divine sphere. The impotence of their life takes . however.The will to power 67 and time that is the realm of life is no longer devalued as a superficial. He rather links them in a deeper sense: Despite their difference of appearance they are similar in so far as they are 'forces' or 'products' of the earth. The second part of Zarathustra sketches the image of the creator and his relationship to time and his inevitable atheism in the chapter On the blessed islands. The tarantulas are the preachers of equality. Nietzsche invents for this the comparison which is frequently perceived to be objectionable that spirit and soul are only physical. Spirit and freedom return to the earth in the existential transformation of man into overman and recognizes itself as part of the earth and as united with the earth. And similarly. as the bearer of all things or as the dynamic of bearing lending shape.

life itself: It wishes to enjoy a distant view and view blessed beauties .these are to be weapons and resounding characteristics that life must always overcome itself anew.notwithstanding the frequent accusation .68 The Proclamation revenge at all powerful and accordingly unequal forms of life. All things. Life as organic life is merely a part of being. creative or influential a life. It cannot yield insights into essential characteristics of all things. that is the move to the will to power. that is against the French Revolution. the animal and man. Earth lives. rich and poor. The more powerful. And yet . It builds itself up with pillars and steps. Nietzsche attempts to reveal here that the apparent idea of justice is merely a frustrated will to power concealing itself while abusing the appearance of virtue and moral honesty in order to succeed. The main relation is that between earth and life. However. Nietzsche's fundamental conception of life is not very developed conceptually. The will to equality is accordingly only the impotent yearning of the weak for power.that is why it needs height! And because it requires height it needs steps and conflict between the steps and its climbers. Good and evil. Rousseau. Nietzsche places himself in distinct opposition to western tradition and to the traditional views of justice. the more it will assimilate the inequality of men into its own system of values and posit a hierarchy and a spiritual aristocracy. It will view greatness as a crime against equality and it will attempt to take revenge at those who are powerful and well adjusted in life. Nietzsche points here already to the big theme of a 'master and slave morality' which is going to play a central role following Zarathustm. Life here does not mean the essence of organic life as in the plant. It is described in ever changing images.26 Earth is addressed as 'life' in its absence and as the generating force. The ordinary notions of justice harbour revenge. but equally against Christianity with its understanding of human equality in the face of God. Earth grants presence to all beings. The tarantula weaves its web and chokes life in it. the more it will insist on equality attempting to drag the exceptional individual person down to an average. Life wishes to climb and to overcome itself in climbing. And vice-versa: the more impotent and powerless a life. Life has to be conceived in a multi-dimensional context. The crucial point is Nietzsche's move from the battle of value systems or from the battle between the ideas of good and evil to the battle of life itself. or even simple stones are children of the earth and . mediocre level. high and low and all kinds of values . this difference which remains a human one or these different conceptions of 'justice' are not the essential point. socialism and democracy.he is far from vague or nebulous. Nietzsche's central intuition does not succeed in becoming conceptualized. humans or animals. Nietzsche does not only argue here polemically against modern trends.

Night appears to be feminine or to be Ariadne. This is the suffering of a God. never before been felt. However. . Hail thee my will! And only where graves are can there be resurrections.'30 Love. Zarathustra's 'wild wisdom' is a woman and is somehow infinite life itself. .'27 In Ecce Homo Nietzsche comments on the night song: 'This has never before been written. Nietzsche states that precisely this is a will to power. never before been endured. The answer to such a dithyramb of solar solitude in the light would be Ariadne . now all bubbling fountains speak. a song of yearning of the solitary thinker who longs for the night. infinity and grave . 'Yes.' Life appears in the form of a woman: 'But I am only fickle and wild and a woman in all respects . The Dancing Song..' And it were . with the thinker and with the creator of value. The thinker organizes being through concepts. The framework of words and concepts casts .a net into the river of time and only catches fishes after all which it had released itself into it in the form of substance. . it appears to be a pure.all this is implied in the songlike address of the feminine. arrests the flow of becoming and solidifies what does not essentially remain static.. Nietzsche interrupts the internal train of thought moving towards a conception of the will to power with three songs: The Night Song. of Dionysos. they are found at a decisive point of the work and they are more than existential confessions. the abyss and the shelter in the sunlight of his understanding. It may be that such experiences have given Zarathustra's songs a certain colour and atmosphere. Are they expressing moods and is it in fact futile to investigate their deeper meaning? The Night Song is a love song.29 In The Grave Song Zarathustra remembers the graves of his youth or of the past life and he experiences the pain of finitude against which he summons his 'rock-shattering' will. you are still the destroyer of graves. In the chapter On self-overcoming the basic characteristic of the second part is exposed. giving life. However. 'Into your eye I looked recently. however. disinterested human attention to Being itself.The will to power 69 generated from its bearing. on the earth's will to power itself from the point of view of human creativity. Nietzsche reflects on creativity itself. causality. 'It is night. Thinking appears to be free of any will to power.and not a virtuous one either . addresses life. Nietzsche commences again with man. The meaning of these songs is not easily established. of the woman of all women or of the all-bearing earth. and my soul is also a bubbling fountain/ It is night: only now the songs of all lovers awake. etc.night. The Dancing Song and The Grave Song. And this life of the earth is .for Nietzsche . One has been tempted to interpret these songs as expressing Nietzsche's personal experiences.the will to power. the will to make Being conceivable. o life! And I seemed to disappear into the infinite. death and lust . And my soul too is a song of a lover. who knows except for me who Ariadne is!'28 The Night Song sings of the light's yearning for the night.

' Nietzsche departs again from the human will to power and proceeds to a universal will to power determining all being. it said.its life. It creates forms of power and never comes to rest in itself. Nietzsche turns explicitly against Schopenhauer: 'Whoever coined the phrase of the "will to being" did certainly not hit the truth. The play of life contains the difference which limits and creates a disharmony between the particular things. . It is rather the permanent struggle and the conflict of all individual beings with each other. but it is always the will to overpower and to transcend power. its limits are not fixed as the one attempts to overcome the other. However. It is existential excitation and motion. Every achieved position becomes the starting point for a further ascent. It constitutes so to speak the opposing poles in which all struggles with all and yet all embraces all. . It rather resembles an enormous and ever-growing tower. It does not resemble the play of the waves in which form is created and destroyed. that it contains a risk and a danger. I found the will to power. This is your entire will . but the valuing exposes this the will to power. all-embracing life but the things are driven towards opposition and strife. This will does not exist.70 The Proclamation 'You wish to make Being conceivable because you are rightly suspicious if it is already thinkable. even though you may talk about good and evil and about values. Nietzsche characterizes life with it.. but precisely not a linear motion which would not transcend itself. the totality of things does not merely disappear and dissolve in an amorphous. Nietzsche conceives with it the constitution of all finite things and their dynamic: the interplay of opposition and strife. Life is no all-embracing flood. and this secret life itself confided to me: see. However.for the sake of power .' The fundamental ontological meaning of the will to power is not explicated by the Zarathustra. . and a gambling with death. is no mere biological category which defines the 'animated' as opposed to the dead matter. And as the smaller submits to the larger so that this may have enjoyment and use of the smaller: so the larger submits itself and looses . Life has the tendency to 'climb'. 'Wherever I find life. The second part of Zarathustra . I am that which needs to continuously overcome itself. But because Nietzsche progresses from human life to life itself in the wisest of men. however.. This is the dedication of the greatest. the basic conceptual importance of the will to power is not easily understood. The living value many things more than life itself. Will to power is not the attempt to remain within a position of power once achieved. And even in the will of the servant I found the will to be master.' Self-overcoming does not refer on this occasion to an ascetic meaning but to the precise opposite of this. as a will to power. Life.

It appears doubtful that that there can be an infinite overoverman or an overman of infinite potency. Does the will to power merely need to accept the higher power of time. And life itself is now again brought into view as the aspiring human life. Zarathustra moves among men as among 'human fragments and husks'. progress of life cannot lead to a self-transcendence into infinity. 'The will cannot turn back. Can the game of overcoming and ascending be continued into infinity? Does an infinite tower of the self-overcoming life not contradict the essence of time? In thinking the will to power. All human fragmentation appears justified to him by the future and is consequently 'redeemed'. his form of redemption. which manifests itself in the determinations of the past to achieve the reconciliation with time? Can the will only progress infinitely and never turn back? The chapter Of redemption ends with the indication of this problem. The question here is this: Is time really a succession of moments where the past is completely determined and only the . He accordingly lives in the will to the future. but he shows that the deeper issue is the relationship between the future when the overman is realized and the presence or between the presence and the past. It wills the possible or the not yet realized.The will to power 71 leads from the creator to the fundamental concept of the will to power. The creative spirit is only possible in a serious relationship to time. Nietzsche arrives at a major riddle. against it. The present and the past are its limits. The aspiring will to life is not only limited by the unchangeable past. In the chapter Of redemption Nietzsche does not only turn with scathing sharpness against the idea of Christian redemption. How does this ever increasing and continuously self-overcoming will to power relate to time? This is obviously a serious question. There has to be a more radical reflection about 'will to power' and time. The will to power is the principle of the ambitious life. It can also not progress into infinity. He would not be able to live if he was not the seer of the future and if he did not live with a hope for the overman. This is at first conceived in the will to power. against metaphysics itself which he conceives as a rejection of the concrete world and places the overman. It can only progress not regress. Life ascends to ever-higher forms of power in the flow of time. However. Every step already prepares the next. The will to a complete and unified human being or to the overman condenses into one what is presently 'a fragment and a riddle and a terrifying chance'. Within this context a solution would need to oppose all Christian and metaphysical conceptions of a transcendental world and of a negation of time itself. Nietzsche views redemption within the context of power and time. in a tension towards the future which drives him on.that is the most isolated regret of the will. That he cannot overcome time and the desire of time .' The absolute character of time limits any power of the will. infinitely overcoming itself. He finds the present and past human being most unbearable and rejects him in the creative will to the overman. this will can only redeem in the future. The aspiring.

however. The parable does not merely serve to enrich a seemingly monotonous collection of doctrines. This knowledge of time which forms the basis for any relation between time and will to power is the fundamental thought of Zarathustra and at the same time the climax of the entire book: the doctrine of the eternal return of the same. This obviously implies a rank order of his . the clocks chime and the sand flows quietly through the hourglass . It is so quiet because it reveals the conditions of all sound and noise. concealed truth. the stylistic and formal elements are not unimportant or arbitrary. It is intended to be more important. his speech is couched in riddles.' But what does he know? What seems to exceed his powers driving him back onto his solitude and separating him from his disciples is the new and secret knowledge of the essence of time which no longer holds fast to the inevitable difference between past and future. His speech is essentially not directed at others but constitutes a monologue. The quietest hour reveals time in its essence. Although he addresses the sailors who carry him across the sea.72 The Proclamation future is subject to the will? Is time comparable to an infinite line which is split into two heterogeneous parts by the present. Zarathustra experiences the call of this intimate. He addresses the 'buffoon' of the great city which he passes in more than one way. Nietzsche does not just use them to make the story more interesting or exciting. into pasts and future? Is it true that the past can never be the future and vice-versa? Or is there a 'deeper understanding' of time? Zarathustra has such an understanding . Zarathustra speaks about the overman to all. its powerful mistress speaks to Zarathustra: 'You know it. 4. THE ETERNAL RETURN: OF THE VISION AND THE RIDDLE.time is the quietest. Following the proclamation on the doctrine of the overman in the market-place and the teaching of the 'death of God' and the 'will to power' to his disciples the third part does not constitute a teaching doctrine. The story certainly builds up consciously towards the third part. on the way to his last and highest solitude where he confronts his most abysmal thought which leads to his last transformation. about the death of God and the will to power to fewer and about the eternal return of the same really only to himself. The forests hum. it is not yet a conceptual understanding. However. The silent hours. In the chapter The quietest hour which concludes the second part31.he has a premonition of it at least. the trains rattle. Zarathustra is on the way to his cave in the mountains. BEFORE SUNRISE The third part of Zarathustra is the centre and heart of the work not only in the formal sense and in relation to its composition. It is rather his most intimate thought.

states) and again things like number and shape. this highest formula of affirmation which can be reached at all. Only the focus on the ontological dynamic of becoming and passing away or of ascent and decay referred to in the concept of 'life' by Nietzsche leads to an understanding of the will to power. investigates the immanent constitution of life and discovers the will to power. It is bound to the passage of time. The will to power is grounded in the passage of time. animals and humans. As the dynamic and as the directed temporality of all being the will to power is subject to the determination of time which opens the possibilities of the future and closes any possibilities of an already determined past. As long as one looks towards difference from the aspect of difference in appearance one will be unable to bring the will to power into view.The eternal return 73 fundamental thoughts. living plants. We are used to distinguishing different kinds according to their difference in observable appearance inanimate stones. Existing things appear to be highly different to us. as overpowering and as progress. For Nietzsche. constitutes the path of the will to power which extends into the future. morality and the other world are dimensions of human self-alienation.' And the death of God itself. The overman depends on the death of God. the inversion of idealism can occur and Zarathustra can state: 'All Gods are dead.'32 This seems to identify the eternal return decisively and explicitly as his essential concern. All being is will to power in so far as it is temporal. Considered as a whole. it must progress and it cannot regress. the will to power is the ontological substance. the thought of the eternal return. fundamental connection between Nietzsche's four basic thoughts. we will now that the overman may live. The temporality as struggle and strife for power. Only when it is recognized that the transcendental God. Nietzsche says about Zarathustra in Ecce Homo: T am now relating the story to Zarathustra. The sequence of Nietzsche's fundamental thoughts is not arbitrary. It rather refers to subsisting in the literal sense or to an ontological dynamic. the static formation of the appearance or of the image or idea. Substance is here not understood to mean 'essential'. The formal structure of Zarathustra's story emphasizes this. we find a peculiar. The death of God depends on the will to power and the will to power depends . their sequence of development cannot be reversed. The will to power wills essentially the future. This cannot be observed as such. the possible and the yet undetermined. the insight that the ideal does not exist is in turn only possible because Zarathustra questions life. All being is will to power. Although they are related and mutually explicative overall. houses. The basic conception of the work. The will cannot turn back. It has to conform to the latter. Alternatively we distinguish the things which exist through themselves and those created things (tools. belongs to the August of 1881 . The overman which is initially only posited as a human possibility is intimately dependent on the death of God.

A superficial reading could easily and erroneously assume that the eternal return represents the central and essential topic of the third part of Zarathustm. In thinking the deepest thought Zarathustra comes to his highest height: Where do the highest mountains come from? This is what I once asked. In essence his reflection defies the word. Perhaps he escapes thus initially from the metaphysical path and finds his place without any path and in a state of perplexity in a new dimension. The direction of the second part which closes with Zarathustra's most silent hour in which the abysmal thought and knowledge of temporality approaches him is continued: Zarathustra returns. Initially we find peculiar indications and hints. Nietzsche appears almost afraid to articulate it. He ascends into even higher regions of the mountains and draws circles and divine boundaries around himself. you have to ascend beyond yourself. this remains my final summit. however. Go on. It seems as if it is only one among many aspects holding the balance with equally important ones such as Of old and new laws and Of the three evils. He turns from man and God via the becoming of all things to the cosmos as a whole. Nietzsche's thought has the character of a peculiar rereflection or of a remarkable return. the eternal return is its only concern. Zarathustra's ascent to his last summit is at the same time paradoxically the steepest descent. that only is my summit. wanted to see the ground and background of all things. I learnt that they come from the sea/ this testimony is written into their rock . however. In truth. This thought is more implied than truly explicated. Zarathustra. Yes. Nietzsche hesitates and conceals his secret behind increasing walls because his most profound intuition eludes a conceptual grasp. He conceives the totality of the cosmos as the thought of the eternal return of the same. His progress reflecting about inner-worldly being to the embracing and circumscribing world itself distinguishes him perhaps most from the metaphysical tradition. He is on the way to his last summit.33 The climax of Zarathustra's thinking is reached where even the self-overcoming and the will to power are transcended and where the conditions of the latter become conscious. The substance of the revaluation of values is re-examined through it. You. It is a secret understanding. We attempt to follow the inner structure of the third part. The secret of his fundamental thought remains for him itself in mysterious darkness. ascend until you even leave your stars beneath you. to look down upon myself and even upon my stars.74 The Proclamation on the flow of time. He has to become loneliest in order to see into the heart of the world.

All power exhausts itself in it. The spirit of heaviness prevents the genuine exposition of the human being to the openness of the cosmos. Time dominates the strongest will and it breaks the back of the most powerful hopes. because this is prevented by infinite time. his superhuman greatness consists in the conception of the all-embracing ground. Zarathustra reports the 'intuition of the hermit' to the 'daring searchers and seducers' or to the seafarers and to those enjoying riddles. He ascends to defy this spirit and despite the weight of his thoughts which are heavy like drops of lead. But can this continue ever further and higher? Can the creator ascend continuously beyond itself and yet never reach an end? The spirit of heaviness whispers the defeating thought to Zarathustra which breaks all will to the future: 'O Zarathustra.The eternal return 75 and into the walls of their summits. This tension between solitude and the world in its entirety dominates the highest reflection of Zarathustra. You threw yourself too high . The dwarf jumps off . of the creative will which always projects itself ahead of itself. the ascent to the highest humanity or to the overman. It is the path of the creator. you sling-stone. all risk becomes wasted and all greatness shrinks.but every stone once thrown must fall. Zarathustra's ascent is the human path. The view into the abyss of time and accordingly into the futility of all hopes. half dwarf. In view of infinite time all meaning becomes meaningless. He relates a metaphorical experience: once upon a time he climbed a mountain. This ascent is accomplished against the resistance of the spirit of heaviness. Zarathustra summons his courage against the paralysing thought of the dwarf to conceive the 'most abysmal thought'. Whatever hopes the spirit of heaviness attracts he converts them to fall. The chapter Of the vision and the riddl^5 contains the first metaphoric expression of the eternal return. you stone of wisdom. Empty infinity repels.34 This means: Zarathustra's last transformation. half mole. Only the lonely man is exposed to the vastness of the universe and relates to it in the 'great yearning'. The highest gains its height from the deepest. This courage kills death and facing life itself expresses a will to repetition.' All human projections must finally sink. The most individual thinks the most unusual. you destroyer of stars. Just like gravity which exhausts the finite power of the thrower and destroys it ultimately. An infinite ascent is not possible. Zarathustra tells his vision to the sailors. The greatness of the overman is based on the understanding of the sea of time. The loneliest man has a vision and intuition of the eternal return. paralyses and creates a 'dizziness' in the thinker who reflects upon the greatest human possibilities. the infinite power of time exhausts and destroys all the powers of human self-overcoming which follow its path. On his shoulders sat the spirit of heaviness. Against the lead drops of thinking by the dwarf he proposes the most courageous human thought.

The essentially different paths continue into infinity from this elusive. The gateway 'moment' is a junction between two long paths. However. A given moment is preceded by an infinite sequence of moments in the past and followed by a similarly infinite sequence of future moments. The difference of these paths is initially characterized with striking clarity. Time is conceived as a sequence of moments. He is redeemed from the spirit of heaviness. What does 'eternal' mean in reference to 'eternity' and the unfathomable past and the inconceivable future? Do we really have a conception of 'eternity'? Or do we merely imply here an ordinary notion of an infinite sequence? The answer from the dwarf is from Nietzsche's point of view correct. One can merely 'accept' it and affirm its inevitability in particular. They contradict each other. One can change one's will to sublate that which cannot be changed. These extend forward and backward into unfathomable infinity. In the dialogue with the dwarf Zarathustra argues from the basis of a new understanding of time against the dwarf. This question implies if the conception of temporality which is based on the two paths of time is the last and decisive truth about time. Schiller has expressed this idea as the reconciliation of fate and freedom. immovably fixed past is not subject to any effort of the will. the future is as yet undetermined. as we have seen. In this respect it is possible after all to take an intentional attitude towards the past. One can sublate the deterministic aspects of the fact through an intentional acceptance of the fact and achieve thus a reconciliation of freedom and necessity by submitting freely to necessity.76 The Proclamation his shoulder. The incompatibles meet at their borders. They oppose each other where and when they meet. The past is determined. They present an 'eternity' in the past and a future infinity. The determined. however. And yet they meet in the present moment. Past and future are fundamentally different. who. withdrawing border of the now. does this sequence really extend into infinity? Do both temporal paths really extend into opposite directions? Is every distant past preceded by a more distant past and so on ad infinitum? And how about the future? Is the furthest future followed by an even more distant future? Is human thought not utterly destroyed by such dimensions? Is such an infinity of time really conceivable? Zarathustra asks the dwarf if the two opposing paths of time contradict each other for ever. And finally the conversation about the flow of time can take place between them. One can only will the future. represents a particular understanding of time which Zarathustra in fact uses as his premise. and this is the crucial question. One may remember that the will to power was limited by the path of time. it is also much too . It becomes clear that Zarathustra approaches time immanently. on a fundamental level Schiller's idea is not even vaguely approximate to Nietzsche's novel conception of time. However.

The completion of the totality of time and similarly an infinite. The infinity of the past demands that the possible has already occurred. Nietzsche himself continuously falls into the mode of thought of the dwarf and into metaphors which are borrowed from the sequence of time. eternal future demand the future realization of all inner-temp oral events. All our concepts of time have an inner-worldly perspective. It is indicated and implied in a preliminary way. All things. If the depth of the past contains an infinity of actual events nothing can any longer be excluded from it and any possibility must have already become actuality. as a cycle of moments of time. all truth is crooked. In the chapter Of the vision and the riddle the thought of the eternal return is not fully developed. If there is an infinite past then all that can happen must have happened and nothing can be a mere possibility or future any further. In other words: an infinite past is not conceivable as an infinite chain of ever-new this not paradoxical? Nietzsche's Zarathustra is led to the doctrine of the eternal return of the same. Twice the same tune . This however distorts an important meaning of the thought of the eternal return. An eternal past cannot remain incomplete. whispering together. Everything must have occurred and must occur again: And this slow spider. If any moment is preceded by an eternity then all 'the things which have run must already have run this path once before'. We do not think of time in its entirety because this is an essential aspect of the world as a whole. all inner-temporal things and anything temporal have already occurred and must occur again if past and future are supposedly totalities. which crawls in the moonlight and this moonlight itself and you and I on the gateway. Past and future are connected inconceivably like a snake which bites its own tail. He expresses the eternal return through the image of the ring. The eternal return of the same is based on the infinity of time. It is important that the issue is approached from within an ordinary understanding of time. But perhaps it is impossible to do otherwise since we have initially no concepts or representations which belong to time itself. Zarathustra exposes the difference of the paths of past and future within this horizon and refers to their infinity in order to question the opposition and exclusivity of these two kinds of eternity. muttered the dwarf. What does it mean to speak about infinity of time or about an eternity of the past and future time? Zarathustra draws a conclusion from the twofold eternity of time which contradicts all common conceptions. whispering about eternal . time itself is a circle. The circle of time is conceived as an ontic round.The eternal return 77 simple: 'All straightness is a lie. Perhaps the conception of the entirety of time is as it were only possible in a permanent rejection of an inner-temporal conception. The conception that the past and the future are eternities necessarily includes the totality of both possible temporal events.' What is too easy here? Time is circular.

It does not only determine the foreseeable future but also the future of future recurrences. we will need to decide over and over again. It can be viewed primarily from the perspectives of the past or from that of the future. Just like the worldly existence determines the transcendental fate of the soul in the Christian conception. This means: the thought of the eternal return crawls into the human throat to provoke a disgusting convulsion.78 The Proclamation things . whatever we decide now. Every moment has an importance which extends beyond any individual life. All doing. However.have we not already been there and come again . this long. If all events are merely repetitions of the past. There is truly nothing new under the sun . All risk appears wasted. the worldly decisions of the moment determine all unforeseeable recurrences of the worldly existence. It is a suffocating thought. Nietzsche refers frequently to the thought that the moment determines eternity .' The endurance and the acceptance of the thought of eternal return effects a decisive existential transformation. all risk is senseless and futile since everything is already determined. The thought of the eternal return has seemingly two aspects. Zarathustra calls upon the shepherd to bite the snake's head off in his mouth: 'No longer shepherd. But one could equally say this: all is still to be done. The thought of the eternal return sublates the difference between past and future or better it imbues the past with the open possibilities of the future and the future with the determinations of the past. The past shares the characteristics of the future . Never before did man laugh as he laughed. terrifying path .the predetermined future unfolds itself inevitably. Even more than before the spirit of heaviness. the future is obviously also already determined. The steep path towards the overman is a senseless folly because the small. It results in a transformation of all seriousness and heaviness into a lightness or into the superhuman lightness of laughing. If everything recurs. a transcended being who laughs. contemptible man returns we not have to eternally recur? When Zarathustra progresses so far he hears a scream and fiends a shepherd who has swallowed a snake. no longer man . the fatalism and the weight of eternity on the decision of the moment. both aspects. Strictly speaking. The importance of eternity rests on the moment. have become questionable.that the doctrine of the eternal return poses a new centre of gravity for human existence. the thought of the eternal return contradict the will to power and the selfovercoming of life. this only seems so. human efforts are futile. It merely repeats what has already occurred. they are already decided and they need to still be decided.and run the other path ahead in front of us.a transformed. Both characteristics blend together in a peculiar way: events in time are on the one hand already determined and on the other hand not yet determined.

Before sunrise Zarathustra encounters the abyss of light. Time loses its unambiguous direction. Wherever the cosmos with its space and time opens itself up to reflection the realm of the transcendental spirit is dissolved and the moral and metaphysical interpretation of being collapses. Wherever the world is conceived. Nietzsche's images are always symbols of his thoughts. 'To throw myself into your light . This is the centre of time where time reveals itself. the shimmering and open expanse of the cosmos. where all-embracing time which constitutes a dimension for all being becomes itself openly exposed. the heaven of exuberance. We tend to find this all very confusing. it is close.' Cosmic time and the temporal cosmos are the heaven which transcends all things. But this would be a severe misunderstanding. unifies and collects the manifold individuals. However. the great noon. human words darkening the pure sky like clouds disappear and the wrath of the Gods and their governance of the cosmos disappears. To hide myself in your purity . One could see it as a lyrical expression or as an ecstatic jubilation of the soul transfigured by the silent beauty of the morning sky. the heaven of approximation. 'guilt' and 'punishment' disappear.' The thinker becomes attuned to the vast heaven of light. Ouranos in its splendour. The will cannot only wish to progress now. The firm characteristics of the ordinary understanding of time are being shifted. 'Since all things are baptized at the well of eternity and beyond good and evil . The reflection in the third part of Zarathustra has a peculiar form. We cannot yet grasp if Nietzsche only thinks a fanciful thought which dissolves any understanding of time or if he gains a more profound understanding of time and the world as a whole or if he conceives time essentially according to the unambiguous path of the cosmic direction of becoming or if he transcends this dimension altogether.' The 'noon' is the proclamation of the eternal return.this is my depth. 'All things are surpassed by the heaven of chance.this is my innocence. . The above mentioned chapter Of the vision and the riddle seemingly interrupts the proclamation of the eternal return. which lends visibility to all things beneath it and circumscribes. As Zarathustra predicts in several chapters: 'See it will come. but in willing progress it also wills regress. 'Innocence' of being .Good and evil are themselves only intermediary shadows and damp and sad trickles and clouds. this interruption only leads to emphasize the importance. The profundity of his thinking depends on the extent to which he succeeds to expose himself to the openness of the light which transcends all things within the light.' Things are described as baptized at the well of eternity not because they have a supernatural essence over and above their earthly significance and finite being or because they are 'things-in-themselves'.The eternal return 79 and the future those of the past. the heaven of innocence. The chapter Before sunrise^ is of utmost importance.this is for him the light which the cosmos throws on all things.

80 The Proclamation Eternity and temporality are not different. is accordingly beyond good and evil and close to the whole. distant heaven! This is your purity to me.that you are my dance floor for divine coincidences. that you are my divine fable for divine dice and gamblers. metaphysics and religion. he can question the heaven: 'Are you not the light to my fire? Do you not have the sister-soul for my insight?' Zarathustra's cosmic attunement is not a mere mood which comes to him by chance. however. It seems that the thought lacks a clear conceptual definition and form. you pure. expresses itself to him and concerns him. It is essentially a fundamental attunement. 5. And vice versa one could perhaps say in Nietzsche's sense: If human understanding is blind to the cosmos and if it is captured by the urgency of being. Time is eternal as the eternal return. It will also be more likely to misunderstand the essence of time and to conceive it as a linear. Nietzsche's most abysmal thought appears to be ambiguous. however. however. It is the ordinary way of encountering objects through an objectifying thought and within a vast horizon in which objects are encountered. His vision of the abyss of time expresses itself in a riddle. dual formation with a distinct difference between an unchangeable past and a not yet determined future. 'O heaven above me. they are truly one. The entire problem of the revaluation of values is in this third part dominated by a leading fundamental thought which attempts to question the character of time as the eternal return of the same. It rather resembles a sombre prophecy or an oracular and mystical revelation than a rational conception. moral importance or rationality of the cosmic unfolding within time and to interpret this unfolding as a 'dance' or as a round in which everything connects and turns. It is the way in which the world itself approaches the thinker. This. that there are no spider and cobweb of reason . THE RECURRENCE OF THE SAME The 'eternal return of the same'. THE ETERNAL RETURN: THE COSMOLOGICAL CONCEPTION OF THE PROBLEM OF MORALITY. if it fails to expose itself and to be exposed to the light-heaven above all things. it will be more likely to succumb to the spirit of heaviness and its creations of morality. he does not really teach it. Zarathustra is the teacher of the 'eternal return'. the attunement to the cosmos is a precondition of understanding the eternal return more primordially. who is exposed to the expanse of the heavens of light and to the expanse of the cosmos. is no ambiguous enjoy- . Perhaps.' The play of being is here understood to be divine and the thinker. To see being in the light of the world means to divest the latter from all categories such as 'divine premonition'. he merely indicates it. Yes.

His inability to develop the doctrine of the eternal return conceptually is no individual shortcoming but that of the philosophical tradition to which Nietzsche is bound. Although he opposes traditional metaphysics. It progresses to sublating this distinction by questioning the infinity of time and its eternity in a novel and peculiar manner. because he attempts to reflect beyond the things and beyond inner-worldly being his cosmic conception remains trapped within the realm which he wishes to transcend. Zarathustra fails to clarify the eternal return adequately. The interpretation of being or the interpretation of things in the world remains his main focus. However. his opposition is still dependent on it. Nietzsche's doctrine of the eternal return commences with linear time. Nietzsche's conception of the eternal return stretches the limits of expression. the death of God and the will to power) are now considered and reflected upon from the perspective of the eternal return. namely with the temporal sequence and its firm distinction between the past and the future. it is still conceived from an ontic perspective even though this might be done negatively. Nietzsche's doctrine of the eternal return turns on this conception of eternity. as the eternity of time and as the eternal temporal existence of the world.The eternal return 81 ment of the mask and of concealment and disguise leading him to speak in riddles. Cosmic harmony and the cosmic stance of human existence become the scale which measures everything now. of reason and of method. the limits of the logos. The world as such is understood as the totality of time. He opens himself towards the unsayable and still-nameless. Wherever world is thought as transcending things. whoever is first will be sacrificed. Human greatness depends on its measure of . One must yet ask and show if he means by eternity just the infinite continuation of the temporal sequence or if he articulates a substantial understanding about the nature of the world. only two chapters out of sixteen deal with it directly. all other chapters avoid the eternal return. 'Oh my brothers. The first one is Of the vision and the riddle and the other one is The recovery. His backwardlooking struggle against Platonism.'37 Nietzsche is the explorer of a thought which attempts to grasp the world beyond all things. as surpassing and embracing all being. All aspects (the overman. He inverts it and he thinks anti-idealistically and yet still uses metaphysical and conceptual methods. Nietzsche is an ambiguous figure. With the eternal return Nietzsche questions the world in its entirety. The fact that there are no concepts. However. Christianity and slave-morality or against an interpretation based on human self-alienation follows largely a path of metaphysical categories and inverted modes of thought. However. The thought of the eternal return dominates the entire third part of Zarathustra. Nietzsche looks ahead. He conceives it temporally. that he remains truly suspended above the abyss only means that he is innovative.

Nietzsche contrasts again the man poor of world with the man open to the world. Only from this perspective does it make sense that the chapter Before sunrise. If man accommodates himself in the near and nearest or if he limits himself to attend only to the finite and the presence. It is for him a symbol of the great one may be inclined to assume tackle the issue of morality now. It does not seek warmth from the 'neighbour' and it does not shelter in mutual brotherly love. He rather approaches the problem of morality cosmologically. Human existence approaches the overman the more it is torn away from the concrete presence and the more it is open to the abyss of light. The life most exposed to the world has the highest rank. The overman exposes himself most to the entirety of the world and understands this entirety as a temporal infinity or as the eternal return of the same. This mediocrity is understood as a 'shrinking'. It rather endures the vast. No yearning tears and drives him into the terrifying eeriness. With its possibility to expose itself to the vastness of the world and to experience and think the eternity the human being can also close itself to it and can seemingly shrink and become small. Open to the world he is also truly autonomous and full of character. It opens itself widely. cosy. The big city is just a metaphor for an extreme loss of world. finite warmth like silence to noise and like the great man who lives within the breath of the world to the small man who is no longer exposed to infinity. is followed by the chapter 'Of the diminishing virtue'. The great man can merely pass by such poverty. if he only desires the little happiness. The chapter Of passing39 does not only contain Zarathustra's rejection of the big city. You round-eyed white head above me! You divine symbol of my soul and its desire!' Zarathustra conceives himself as the opposing possibility of the 'smoky. The vastness of this realm relates to the limited. his contentment and comfort or if he lowers himself and arranges himself in a familiar realm or if he becomes weak and tame he has done so because the expanse of the world no longer resonates through his life. Exposing itself to the vastness of the world does not extinguish the self. silent winter's sky. dead and resentful souls'. 'You snow-bearded. He sees that the common notions of morality contain a loss of world. used. which expresses cosmic transcendence metaphorically as the ether of light. Nietzsche does not loose the problem. The 'diminishing virtue' is a symptom of the world-poverty of human existence. Quite the opposite! Both belong fundamentally together. Zarathustra's decisive rejection of . in the house or the city or in the business of comforting company. In the chapter On the olive mountain36 Zarathustra praises the silent wintry sky. he does not abandon the path of reflecting on the cosmos and does not even . icy realm which surrounds all warmth and closeness. Zarathustra remains in the stream of the cosmos.82 The Proclamation openness to the world. who cowers and cringes and hides in his living room.

They live too much in the foreground. In the solitude of the mountains Zarathustra is embraced by the great 'blissful silence'. Nietzsche examines lust. How do desire. the clouds in the sky and the eeriness of the night. hunger for power and egotism. He examines whether they are modes of existence in which the human being opens or closes itself towards the world. but he is also guided by the question if and in what . The focus of the entire third part is the question of the world. 'One misunderstands man if one lives amongst them. We usually fail to grasp the essence of home when we think it is only the closest realm of experience such as for example the small realm of house and garden and of childhood. The life of the child does not only experience the close and immediate things. in this we misconstrue home and childhood. Home is earthy ground or the familiar closeness to the earth within the openness of the world. Beneath him among the many men dwells a noise. However. which reaches into the universal realm and searches for the man with the greatest openness to the world and for the man with the knowledge of the eternal return. What use are far-sighted and far-reaching eyes?' Zarathustra has a yearning vision or a vision of the great yearning. The world resonates in it. However. However. hunger for power and egoism relate to the world? One could answer that these three evils are traditionally considered to be aspects of a 'secular attitude' as opposed to a transcendental and ascetic one. humility and altruism. We require yearning eyes as well in order to see this. The chapter Of the three evils*0. However. that is essential closeness to the things and trusting love for the earth exists when human existence is granted an immediacy from the vastness of the cosmos. which discusses and dissects everything and which does not allow the silence of the world to come forth in which human existence prepares itself for its purpose. which appears initially to be dealing with moral questions. Nietzsche profoundly understands that home is not only where there is world. but not as the All which embraces all being. examines the three most condemned things critically. In an existential sense world would be just one aspect of human existence. this analytical examination is guided in a hidden manner and tacitly by the problem of the world. We need to approach this chapter through the argument of the third part.The eternal return 83 all kinds of world-poor humanity causes the return to his freedom in the mountains and to his home in solitude. hunger for power and egoism according to their cosmic relevance. but also the shimmering distance. Man is not at home in the human hustle and bustle of the big city. the ball and the doll. this would conceive the cosmos merely as a human orientation or as a tendency and an instinctive delusion. Not only does Nietzsche oppose the traditional Christian values of chastity. Home. which in retrospect appears so small and insignificant. Nietzsche addresses Zarathustra's solitude as his home. namely bodily lust. He has no home among the mediocre and the weak. among the selfless and those poor of world.

What perhaps had been earlier the enthusiasm or the oneness with God or the idealistic dissolution in a merely fictional other-world becomes for Nietzsche the profound and real human relationship with the cosmos. the worldliness of human existence can experience a peculiar perversion .' All three reveal for Zarathustra a mode of essential engagement with the world if they are not understood in a vulgar sense. hunger for power. Nietzsche summarizes here seemingly all negative aspects of the human existence which closes itself to the cosmos. This becomes even clearer in the following chapter Of the spirit of heaviness*1. With this it refers towards the openness and towards the unpredictable. The finite moment includes time in its entirety. The desire for the self is no desperate egoism of a petty life. 'Lust. It exists in the wholeness of time although it appears to perish in the ecstasy of the moment. The hunger for power seems to be the historical force for Zarathustra which aims to reach beyond any rest and pause. Zarathustra sees himself as the enemy of the spirit of heaviness for whom he is the 'original. However. but a generous virtue of an overflowing soul and of a soul which needs the world and finds a ground and basis if it is surrounded by the harmony of the most distant worlds. He elevates himself. He is the person of the cosmic transcendence. It never stops. It is the opposite of the diminishing virtue and of all modesty and satisfaction. The highest immanence of life is the immanence in the world. All three evils contain an explicit relationship to the world. These three I wish to debate well from the human point of view. Dominance does not loose itself in what becomes familiar by being achieved. The spirit of heaviness is the tendency to limit human existence and to chain it to being and the inner-worldly things with the consequence of forgetting the world. If one wishes to speak of a 'revaluation of all values' here it must be clear that the principle of this revaluation implies only the greatness or smallness of the relationship to the cosmos. There can be no absolute loss of world because man is essentially in the world. Dominance is the driving and hunting aspect and it is time as history. the excess of future gratitude for the now'. egoism: These three have hitherto been at best cursed and at worst misrepresented and falsified. Lust is as it were the natural existence in the entirety of time or the excess of gratitude of the entire future or of all time. Lust elevates the individual existence beyond itself towards the infinite chain of sexes. Lust is for him 'the pleasure of the earthly garden. It is the principle of restlessness that stirs up individuals and people and pushes them on to the path of history. Every epoch transcends itself towards ever further distances and futures in the desire for dominance. he transcends himself and he exposes himself to the universe. deadly archenemy'. Zarathustra's character is that of a bird.84 The Proclamation respect they reveal an openness to the world or a transcendence towards the whole.

All limits will be blown up. other-world and religion like a camel. It carries itself pompously with an expression of sombre seriousness. the chapter Of old and new tables*2 goes even further. self-realisation and the cosmos. Zarathustra approaches the difference between two value systems now from the aspect of the relationship between human existence and the cosmos. His cosmically open wisdom reflects on the dance of becoming in which the world abandons itself and returns to itself. when his existence extends and expands into infinity and when he transcends finitude towards infinity. He addresses the human forgetting of the cosmos like a tempest: 'Whoever teaches man to fly moves all border stones.' Flying becomes the symbol of world-transcendence and of the exposition of the self to the spatio-temporal expanse of the universe. Gravity becomes the symbol of an oppressed life for which everything is heavy and which carries the burden of morality. The connection between man and the cosmos is exposed in a fundamental way. a thing-itself or a God. The existence which forgets world is at the same time 'selfless'. Zarathustra's wisdom is 'wild'. There can only be forgetting of world where world belongs to the ontological mode of existence. an other-world. a 'great winged yearning'. The contrast of the light and heavy life. The more open to the world the more man realizes himself. this is not a metaphysical infinity. The fulfilment of the self is achieved in an excessive existence of freedom and creativity. The world is the infinite which embraces all finite things. Zarathustra contradicts the spirit of heaviness with an extreme passion. However. The spirit of heaviness contrasts with all of these. the earth will be renamed as "the light one". burdens him with the weight of a transcendental God and morality and chains him to the ontic world. The stone is not blind since it lacks the possibility to see. Life and earth seem light to the creative person. Their infinity is not beyond them and it does not transcend the things. The new . The metaphysical infinity is a denial of finitude. of realization and loss of self. of opening to and forgetting of the world becomes now the distinctive principle between 'old and new tables'.The eternal return 85 with a cosmic denial which is only possible for a cosmic being. It condemns man to self-alienation. Blindness is a personal mode of being. The forgetting of world and the loss of self correspond to their opposites. Nietzsche sees the essential connection between lightness. However. The limits dividing finite things from each other and the opposition of good and evil created by the spirit of heaviness are drawn into a vortex as soon as man senses the cosmos. Man liberates himself through creativity from the weight and load which commonly oppresses him. World and self are related in an overarching tension. It is immanent within them and embraces them. The space. The explicit relationship with the world leads to an overcoming of all ontic distinctions and separations. the realisation of the self and its openness to the world. time and light of the world grant appearance to the things. creative excess.

. . the soul which loves itself best. their low and high tide . What could this mean? All things are transfigured through their appearance in the light of the world. Zarathustra wishes to confront his most abysmal thought finally in his solitude. . However. Nietzsche develops an even more profound understanding of the existence open to the world in the chapter Of the great yearning. The animals. Zarathustra experiences the godless world in seven days. thematic exposition of the doctrine of the eternal return precedes it in the chapter entitled The recovery*3. He has learnt how to fly and he is flying. The soul is not the highest kind of being because it is more powerful or richer than other beings. And now all is transfigured. It appears in a context of repetition as that which occurs always again in the eternal return. Nietzsche is indeed unable to articulate his most radical thought directly. the most necessary one which takes pleasure in plunging itself into chance. this does not occur. . Everything that is there is present at hand. It does not dissolve his individuality. All limits are removed. Zarathustra insists on the human solitude even though he grasps the eternal return. The abyss must speak. God created the world in seven days. The soul is seen as the highest kind of being 'with the longest ladder and which descends the furthest. given and is elevated from the burden of its individual concreteness. light and dancing character. On the contrary. . present and future are no longer irrevocably separated and divested from each other. The moment contains the entire time in so far as it is the infinitely repeated moment. time has a suspended. In his discussion with the animals however. The most expansive soul which can run the furthest and err and roam. it is no mere stylistic decision adding tension to the plot. The past. Zarathustra is struck down for seven days. The thinker of the eternal return chokes with deepest disgust. articulate the true content. In so far as it is understood as the eternal return.. The power of the spirit of heaviness is broken. Here too we find a submerged form of exposition. All things flow in it because it is conscious of the eternal return. According to the Christian account of creation.'. He summons it.86 The Proclamation tables contain those of love for the farthest and those of the creative yearning for the overman. in which all things have their flow and counter-flow. The second. He can just indicate it and he can only articulate it indirectly and by reference. the living soul which dives into becoming. not Zarathustra.. The possessive soul which wills the will and the desire . Man is suspended within a suspended time. appearing to be dead. It is the most embracing being because it is open to the existence of the world. The earth appears as a garden to him. However.. The future has already occurred and the past has yet to occur. One may be tempted to view this event as a kind of dramatic trick designed to emphasize its importance. yearning and love for the world. Such a knowledge does not dissolve into a universal sympathy. They are tables of value created by excess. The animals speak of being itself which circles within time.

decays and is formed anew . There is no first life which is not itself a repetition and which could form the original basis for all repetitions. Everything dies and everything flowers and the age of being is eternal. an infinite number of such years must have occurred and must still occur.' The eternal return is revealed differently to the animals than to humans.all this is conceived finitely. everything welcomes itself again and the ring of being remains true to itself eternally. The temporal within time is finite. 'Every soul owns a different world. It is not the case that from now on our life and the generation of things are repeated eternally. Everything moves. Everything parts. Everything decays. they do not play against it like man. The relation of immanent temporality to time or the immanence of temporal being within time are now the topic. They are embraced by change and do not confront it. The middle is everywhere. Or in other words: recurrence is not generated in time. It is time itself. In every now being commences. Although the manifold of being is inconceivable it is nevertheless not infinite. The transition of the things through time is a year of being. that is. everything is newly formed and being builds the same house forever. And hence the sequence must recur after all events have occurred. Every 'here' captures the ball 'there'. What does this speech of the animals say? What does it aim at? It does not mention time itself but rather its path. Whatever the animals themselves say about the eternal return is seen from the aspect of being itself. everything returns and eternally the wheel of being turns. However. because the smallest distance is hardest to cross. The path of eternity is crooked. They are involved in the play of being. While time runs through our ringers and we realize the unique and the fleeting transition of our existence our experience of decay conceals the premonition of eternity. dies and flourishes. The character of repetitiveness is not found within time.The eternal return 87 he only finds himself through it. Everything that comes and goes. The most similar is best betrayed by semblance. not through the repetition of a primordial event. Strictly speaking Nietzsche does not believe in unique or concrete time precisely because the acquaintance with the present time in which we live does not reflect a true consciousness of time. Nietzsche attributes a deeper dimension to time over and above its phenomenal uniqueness and factuality. Time itself however. It must recur and it must have recurred an infinite number of times and it must repeat itself ad infinhum. within which all things occur is not finite. Our present life has already been repeated. He attempts to conceive of time and . The path of time is brought into view as the path of the things within time. Nietzsche's doctrine of the eternal return implies great conceptual difficulties. Every soul considers any other soul to be an other-world.

. which has been overcome. it is the beginning and ending itself. Zarathustra accepts the presentation of the eternal recurrence given by the animals conditionally: 'Oh you cunning jesters and hurdy gurdies. . To Zarathustra's deeper perspective they are one: 'The centre is everywhere. These are driven by the current of time. We use the same linguistic expressions for our requests. not he himself. Zarathustra replies . He has aims. We do not utter the same sounds but always different ones. between the 'here' and the 'there'. the sounds of our speech. These sentences do not just state the recurrence but they state the recurrence of the same. ideas and he is his own task. An apparently singular event is already an infinite recurrence. You teach that there is a great year of becoming. Although man himself too is subject to time like any being. Zarathustra's highest achievement is his reconciliation of freedom and necessity. the path on which all things begin and end. Man's fate resembles that of Sysiphos. Time is the power of letting be and it is simultaneously constructive and destructive. is going to return and will need to be overcome again. we know what you teach. that all things recur eternally and we too and that we have already been present eternally and all things with us. dissolve and form. Unlike man. the different sounds. What do we usually mean by the recurrence of the same? For example: we repeat the same request. how you know what had to fulfil itself in seven days. that is.' And yet there is an essential distinction between him and his animals.88 The Proclamation eternity as a unity and to attribute eternal characteristics to time. The apparently linear direction of time is circular. The multiple requests with their identical . the past and the future. The human task is the overman. so that we too remain the same in every great year in the greatest and smallest sense. Temporal individuality of a moment is merely an appearance. The animals call him the teacher of the eternal recurrence and they. The fear gripping the human conception of the eternal recurrence as the temporality of the world is the premonition that everything. have the same meaning. we express it repeatedly. express the doctrine: See. However. This must turn eternally around like an hourglass so that it continues to flow. The superficial perspective separates the distinctions between the present. In the face of all recurrent being he retains the will to will.' Time however is not only the realm. they have no aim. so that all these years resemble each other in the biggest and smallest way. Nietzsche has finally separated the thought of the eternal return from a metaphysical framework. he relates to it. It is the Dionysian play of the world. a monstrous great year. This makes Nietzsche's thought even more difficult and obscure or more paradoxical so to speak.

The eternal recurrence 89 meanings are distinguished from each other. temporal difference. The thought of the eternal recurrence. The sequence of the repeated turns of the hourglass requires time in itself. as it were. He focuses on the given moment as the gateway between the two long temporal paths with opposing characteristics.or flight from . The flow of the sand is a temporal occurrence which can be repeated infinitely ad libitum. It occurs within an embracing temporality which consists of temporal extensions measured by the hourglass. as it were. precisely destroys this distinction. The crucial problem is that a thinking which turns from the dimension of temporality to the temporality of the world itself can do so only in a constant rejection of. Does Nietzsche believe that the recurrence of the great year of being or the passing of the things in time occurs in an embracing time? Does he believe. There is no longer a difference between the three dimensions of time. It is not surprising that the reflections of the third part of Zarathustra express the relation between the human existence and the world and its attunement to the world in a language resonanting with a passion for distance. the other the first repetition. Identity of meaning is not the same as numerical identity. however. When Nietzsche uses the parable of the hourglass he borrows it initially from an ordinary conception of time. No possibility remains unrealized. If every temporal event is finite then an infinite past must have already passed the entire ontic past. as it were. The first one occurs first. The others are repetitions. the original. And accordingly we cannot conceive the recurrence of the same within a linear time. An ordinary understanding of recurrence presupposes a direction in time. that there is a time in which the cosmic years pass? The answer to this is not easy to find. One is the first. The repetition of the same presupposes a real.the concepts of ontic temporality. Any future can only unfold as an infinite . however. It is. The problems emerge through the question of the relation between the finite temporal content and time itself as Nietzsche defines the extension of these paths as eternity and eternity itself as infinite temporality. however. 6. Nietzsche approaches it through the common understanding of time. Accordingly. This is most evident in a chapter which is perhaps the most beautiful of the entire work: 'Of the great yearning'. at different points in time. an infinite recurrence. the next the second repetition of the 'same'. THE ETERNAL RECURRENCE: OF THE GREAT YEARNING The doctrine of the eternal recurrence of the same is not developed beyond a meagre exposition of basic concepts in Zarathustra. everything concrete at any moment is essentially a recurrence and. We distinguish that which is sooner from that which is later.

It will re-create me. if every event is finite and if time transcends any temporality is it a necessary conclusion that the temporal sequence or the entirety of the temporal events is also finite? For Nietzsche 'all possible events' has a finite meaning. The temporality of being is called the great year. 'recurrence'. 'All that can endure' commences in a now and endures for a sequence of moments. However. The souls are as mortal as the bodies. No actual year is a recurrence of n +1 potency. the knot of causes in which I am tied recurs .90 The Proclamation future in continuous recurrence. All finite succession of events however can only occur in an infinite time as a recurrence. it must have been preceded by a past. with this snake . Is it not circular when Nietzsche infers the finitude of the entire temporal content from the finitude of all temporal being? All events and facts commence and terminate in time. One has rather the impression that Nietzsche attempts to express a tremendous inner vision which oppresses him and which trembles through the terror of its experience. Eternity is within time. Time as it were is larger than any inter-temporal becoming. Does an eternal recurrence contradict itself? Can one speak about recurrence even in this context? The obscurity of concepts such as 'eternity'. in all greatest and smallest respects so that I again teach the eternal recurrence of all things. The recurrence of the great year also recurs itself. The years are countless. Time itself transcends any given temporal content. The guiding interpretation pervading all his thought of the connection between temporality and time is itself perhaps most questionable. the creation and decay. not only does the sequence of events. however.I recur in this very same life. However. If it is to commence. I recur. I myself am a cause of the eternal return. There is no explicit elucidation of any concept of time. together with this earth. The possible consists of a tremendously large but nevertheless finite number of constellations. But since Nietzsche clings to the classical conception of being as presence despite his inverted Platonism and since all being threatens to disappear in the receding time he can think presence just as an eternal recurrence of decay and generation. All events have their duration. the unfolding and destruction of being recur. path of time and temporality in Zarathustra make Nietzsche's doctrine of the eternal recurrence questionable and ambiguous.44 . there are no longer two distinct eternities of the past and the future since the conception of eternity as an eternal repetition of a temporal content sublates the difference between past and future altogether. However. However.not to a new life or to a better life or to a similar life . The limited amount of sand in the hourglass can only continue to flow if the latter is constantly turned around. not beyond time. In the recurrence of the great year the same returns or the recurrence of the same occurs. with this eagle. the coming and going. The great year is the finite totality of all events.

The 'this-there'. We are here and now: in this one. the uniquely individual and simple point is in precisely this time and at this point in space simply not repeatable. All his concepts that he uses in the development of the doctrine of the eternal return sublate each other. singular path which we travel in the light. It shows that every word and every expression in Zarathustra is meaningful and it shows that Nietzsche's metaphorical language is everywhere full of important thoughts. It is luminously clear and it radiates through almost all the chapters of the third part that Nietzsche refers to the world by referring to eternity which transcends all temporal events. and loquacious voice rich in metaphor or if one is not able to translate the metaphors into thoughts. We may . We do not feel yearning for that which is in front of our hands and eyes or for that which we can see and touch. Everything that happens is unique and is inevitably lost in the flow of time. not. This provides man conscious of transience with an intense attention towards his own life. He rather conceives of time as eternal in positing transience as permanence and singularity as recurrence. Recurrence is not supposed to oppose singularity but to eternalize it and to give it concrete and factual existence and an infinite dimension. An eternal return which has no original that recurs is just as paradoxical a conception as a recurrence of singularity with the recurrent characteristics of singularity. We all understand this human emotion. Nietzsche's intuitive and visionary style is usually not received very congenially. Everywhere we find the resonance of an aura of distance which only grounds the essential closeness of being. namely a desire for something absent. Spatio-temporal being (that is being in the openness of the world) occurs only once. Nietzsche attempts to conceive the eternity of the transient. however. We will need to work hard to understand the powerful images of his thoughts in his language. As long as one understands the thought of the eternal recurrence as an unrelenting repetition like the great records of all possible events being played over and over again or as a never-ending perpetuum mobile of infinite monotony and boredom the paradoxical aspect of Nietzsche's conception is not recognized. occurrences and facts and transcends all finite temporality infinitely. To cite an earlier example: I can repeat the same request using the same words and the same manner of expression but not the identical sounds of language. Birth and death are the boundaries of the unique. by pointing to an eternity beyond time following death and by reducing time to a mere appearance. This is most obvious in the chapter 'Of the great yearning'45. The chapter to which we are going to turn now deals with the great yearning. It refers quite obviously to a desire. One has not read the Zamthustra if one has merely heard an opulent.The eternal recurrence 91 Here Nietzsche augments the recurrence to include the recurrence of the presence and thus achieves a complete paradox. The eternal recurrence is Nietzsche's doctrine of the entirety of being. unique life which appears to be so short compared to the immense expanse of time. overloaded.

is an attitude which accepts distance itself. yesterday and once-upon-a-time are separated and divided. The desiderium is not fulfilled by finite objects. however. Yearning implies an active waiting for distant realms and times. Whatever is here for one person is 'there' for another. there and that. It has a mysterious and hidden tendency to keep the object of yearning at the same time out of our actual reach. A rock endures a long time. They are the three dimensions of time. We yearn for the distant lover. for the days of childhood and for death. It exists differently in time than a short event. Augustine states 'inquietum cor nostrum . the difference between here and there is relative to the perspective of the observer.92 The Proclamation desire whatever is present and desire it perhaps vehemently and passionately but we do not yearn for it. presence and future are distinctly and definitely separated from each other. they cannot loose their distinctness. Yearning liberates us from the present context and from its limited aims and purposes. . The chapter deals with the cosmic openness in so far as it has the character of an understanding of the eternal recurrence of the same. The presence is separated from the past and from the future. The great yearning. All existing things are dispersed through different spatial realms and have particular locations. for example a flash of lightning.' God is the object of his yearning. Just like time. space is separable: here and there are in different realms. But independently of these two modes of temporal existence it is clear that past. with the soul's yearning for the distance or with the gaze towards the open sea. We are also all familiar with the yearning for the indefinite and with a yearning without aim. It does not only permeate distance. Yearning does not imply the desire to concretely fulfil itself. If something exists today then it has ceased to exist yesterday or in the distant past. it reaches for distance itself. For Nietzsche this distance is no longer the divine Christian creator who transcends the visible and created realm but the distance which embraces all that is visible and tangible as the distance of space and time of the cosmos that grants all closeness. Only the infinite God can fulfil the yearning of the human hearts. The great yearning is the human exposure to space and time or his openness to the world. The small yearning is a desire for being which reaches into the distance. I taught you to say "now" like "once upon a time" and "in the past" and to dance over all here. To be sure. The desiderium implies that the distance is kept intuitively at a distance. Zarathustra converses with his soul: 'O my soul. We are far removed from all oppressive closeness.. Yearning implies the extension of the desire into the distance.' The common human ontological understanding conceives being within the horizon of time in such a way that today. are in a way removed like Iphigenie who looks yearningly across the sea on the beach of Tauris and searches with her soul for the land of the Greeks. The fact however that here and there apply in a definite sense is not based on its relation to any particular situation .

The soul which is thus enlightened can dance beyond the ontic determinations of spatial location and realms because it dwells in an universal realm. It exposes itself to the presence of the all in which the differences of the temporal dimensions disappear. the spiders and the twilight from you . If the human existence does not truly transcend itself this shadow appears in the form of a transcendent. The soul exists in the entirely of time if it 'devalues' the irrelevant differences of events. according to Nietzsche. As long as the soul is subject to an ordinary understanding of space and time or to a defined situation it is tied to an ego. According to Zarathustra man has to face the sun 'naked'. He demonstrates how the doctrine of the eternal recurrence does not limit freedom but liberates the soul from the inevitable past. of here and there seriously in order to free himself from the spirit of heaviness which creates all such limitations.' And Zarathustra continues to converse with his soul. The true human spirit resembles the tempest which clears all clouds. It is found in the body.'. Zarathustra. however. clings to the given and obvious and only as long as it hides itself. can the dark knowledge of the cosmos remain concealed in a divine belief. other-worldly God and with it the entire interpretation of life as guilt. All basic concepts of the Christian tradition are like clouds. sin and shame. I gave you the right to negate like the tempest and affirm like the open sky. the yesterday and the once-upon-a-time as identical. God is. you remain silent like the light and you pass through negating tempests. the differences between today. yesterday and once-upon-a-time. The soul which has extended itself into the universal realm and yearns for the great yearning now stands within the open light and finds itself under the heaven of'innocence and chance'. other-world and cosmic empowerment eventuates. Only as long as the human soul closes itself to the world. How are these identical? They are identical to the thought of the eternal return. Wherever the exposure towards the open realm and the yearning extension into the deep cosmic dimensions of space and time occurs the tempest of the human spirit rages and the human liberation from God. 'Oh my soul. Clouds conceal the luminous expanse of the heavens. In a sense it acquires omnipresence. He taught it to see the today. If the eternal recurrence is the essence of time then the difference between past and future collapses.The eternal recurrence 93 but on the real spatial location. has taught his soul (in the doctrine of the eternal recurrence of the same) not to take the fixed differences between space and time. . the shadow of a world where human existence is diminished and does not dare to expose itself. If the entire past is also the entire future the soul . I removed the dust. are based on a basic human stance which forgets and is blind to the world. as it were. . It is placed among the things and is itself a kind of object. I liberated you from all corners. 'Oh my soul. The future is then also always the past and vice-versa. like dark shadows which.

He is the most loved and the most condemned as a path to the overman. All human servitude ends. indeed. submission and worship of a lord. the great.94 The Proclamation has the freedom to determine the 'created and uncreated'. The person conscious of the eternal recurrence is elevated above the attachment to and immersion in ontic being. is given free reign like never before. The overman. however. Here again we see Nietzsche's desire for paradoxical expressions.' Such contempt is no dismissive ignorance. He has become necessary because the difference between will and necessity has become superfluous. Indeed. He approaches the cosmos through a paradoxical sublation of ontic contrasts. This contempt 'does not arrive like an infestation of worms. however. he returns from the open cosmos to the things. even constructs the sculptured image of the transcendental God or because he is not what he could be. freedom is included in necessity and necessity within freedom. Man has been liberated because he dwells in the freedom and openness of the cosmic play itself. The soul itself is 'fate' for Zarathustra. Just like the past acquiring characteristics of the future and the future characteristics of the past. fails to expose himself truly to infinity and remains rather distant to infinity. I gave you the name "turn of need" and "fate". it has a secret connection with the creative and forming essence of the world which lets a being be in the eternal return of the same. this is not the acceptance of a predetermined will for Nietzsche. Transcending ontic being he reencounters them in a primordial sense. he is contemptible to Zarathustra yet at the same time also lovable. Because man mostly hides away. is nothing but the human being in the mode of the great yearning. Man is the finite being who has a premonition of the infinite. Nietzsche conceives a completely different concept of fate. In the understanding of the eternal return human existence joins into the play of the world and becomes a participant of the great game. As long as destiny is understood like this. 'Oh my soul I took from you all obedience.' If man is transformed into the overman through the understanding of the eternal return and exists yearningly in the cosmos as a whole. for this torso and this pitiful cross between nothingness and infinity. The human being which is tied to ontic being can become conscious of this attachment and can feel contempt for itself as a servant to the things. The creativity of the creator.' . I gave you new names and coloured toys. However. man cannot identify himself with it. And Zarathustra speaks about contempt. the loving contempt loves most where it despises most. The separation between freedom and necessity is sublated. He feels contempt for man as he is now. The last and the greatest will is to will the necessary. I called you "fate" and "circles of circles" and "umbilical cord of time" and "azure bell". He loves in man the ideal of the overman. because whatever is willed must be realized anyway through the eternal recurrence. 'Oh my soul. the mirage of a God to which he has to submit disappears. that is the human creativity.

The soul has become overripe. The infinity of the world confronts him with his own finitude. Nietzsche conjures up some basic mythical ideas which are as old as mankind. in an all-embracing light or in a light of an all-pervasive game in which all ontic being receives its form. This is no longer primarily an understanding of being in its being. 'Oh my soul. You grew for me like a vine. 'Your richness gazes across the roaring seas and searches and wants. Where is the future and the past joined closer than in you?' However. Such suffering creates the song to the world or the reflective poetic song.' All cosmic yearning waits. It has to sing . Zarathustra's soul has to sing unless it wishes to perish in the suffering of the great yearning. It embraces the world in its ecstatic yearning. The human soul which is transfigured through the eternal recurrence resembles the vine which grows from the earth towards the light. I poured all suns on you and all nights and all silences and all yearning. Like the world it is in some respects the 'circle of circles'. more embracing and more embraced. its duration and direction. Man stands between heaven and earth. It can no longer bear its excess riches and its worldliness in a calm way. its appearance. The lonely earth supporting all things lies beneath the blue sky embracing all being. is ambiguous. Understanding the infinite he remains trapped in the finite. Exposed to the all-embracing play of the world. the soul itself. which carries fruit and which is a joint creation of heaven and earth. Precisely the ecstatic openness to the world throws him back towards the things. thrown into this cosmic marriage by the great yearning itself. but an understanding of being in the light of the world. the soul itself becomes cosmic and becomes similar to the world. there is no soul anywhere which was more loving. It is like the azure sphere of the sky above all things. Heavy with a yearning the soul resembles the vine. Like all other ontic things.The eternal recurrence 95 What is the point of such metaphorical language? The change to the human existence created by the thought of the eternal recurrence also changes the entire ontological understanding. the old sacrifice and the old sacrament. The fatherly ether embraces mother earth eternally. It exposes itself and waits for space and time. They are no finite limits. It is itself related to all-pervasive. Called upon by the whole cosmos man nevertheless remains among the things. with all the energy of its yearning thus open to the cosmos the soul expresses a melancholy. Similarly.' The primordial opposition and marriage of heaven and earth created all things that endure on earth and come forth into the light. 'Oh my soul. the human being exists within the world and yet it is able to expose itself yearningly towards that which is further afar than any thing could ever be. Heaven and earth are the farthest ends and distances of the soul's yearning reach. Having become as deep as the world it resembles the vine heavy with golden-brown grapes. It is sky and earth in one. It is the 'umbilical cord of time'. universal time like the child to the mother.

Zarathustra's soul has come home. it is no God that appears in finite form among the ontic beings within the world. This is the ultimate centre of being. is Dionysos. appears itself the arrival of the world has occurred. the golden wonder. Wherever the Dionysian. He is the master of all becoming. of love and of death and the God of play. Yearning for cosmic expansion. 'The heart of the earth is made of gold' an earlier chapter stated. Your melancholy rests already in the bliss of future songs. It gives and takes. He is the cut of time itself. however. All things dance around this boat like dolphins around a boat. is the winemaker who waits with the diamond-studded knife . He brings all being into presence and absence. He has no epiphany in any defined form. which takes all that it has used. however. Dionysos is the donor and thief of the eternal recurrence. the master of the tragic and at the same time of the light-hearted cosmic play. He liberates the vine from oppression with the redemption of the knife. . It is the God of tragedy and comedy. yearning seas. You great reliever.until the boat floats across all calm. Although Dionysos' name is not mentioned here. the eternal recurrence is in itself Nietzsche's Zarathustra expresses only through song.for whom future songs need to yet find names. He cuts with the hardest knife. you are dreaming already. oh my soul. the free boat and towards its master. That which is conceived within the yearning reach is to arrive by itself. mysterious things . the gold being surrounded by the dance of the evil. However.also many great and small animals and all that has miraculous feet so that it can tread on paths lined with blue pansies towards the golden miracle. the master of all things changing in time. which reigns and rules all change. . however. Dionysos is the answer to the great human yearning. you are drinking from all deep wells of comfort.96 The Proclamation with roaring song. good. This.. so that they attend to your yearning . yearning seas encounters the boat which floats on the water of becoming. with a pruning knife made of diamonds. builds and destroys. Dionysos is Nietzsche's last word. The eternal recurrence is not final. What. the knife indicates the master .. The soul which reaches patiently across the silent. He is a formless creator and the play of Being itself. The doctrine of the eternal return knows time as eternal recurrence. The centre of being is addressed in a metaphor of a golden miracle.. creates and decays. The great human yearning which understands the eternal recurrence as the cosmic essence and exposes itself receptively is to be fulfilled. the nameless . The master of the boat. until all seas become calm. And he is the God of vine or Dionysos Bacchus. the god of intoxication. You are glowing already.

Time becomes a problem in such a way that the depth of the world is recognized. We are usually immersed in time. The description of it as an abyss and a labyrinth is the decisive feature here: 'I recently looked into your eyes. however. my heart stood still with such lust. It is the air we breathe but we are not conscious of this. The suffering of the world is deep. O life. . the seductive witch 'right into the midst of her tangled. we can make a guess. It does not only emphasize the contrasting aspect of the passing' time.' After such a conversation Zarathustra strikes the bell of time twelve times. however. We live in it like a dream. the medium of our life. To understand transience is to understand the deep suffering of the world. answers .The eternal recurrence 97 of the vineyard.' Zarathustra appears to sing a maenadic song about life. The Other Dancing Song*6 is a peculiarly suspended hymn to life in its concealment and obscurity. Suffering sees only the passing of time. we can wake from such a dream and suddenly startle at midnight. as it were. I know that you are planning to leave me soon.what nobody knows. If Zarathustra intends to die soon he has to continuously return an infinite number of times in the ring of eternal recurrence.' The Dionysian song occurs in the last two chapters of the third part of Zarathustra. That I made you sing. more mysterious and more questionable to us where it supports us. Perhaps the style is less successful than Nietzsche believes. It is the path of our existence. Everything is devoured by it. is more profound. Pleasure. Wherever anything flourishes death already lurks in the wings. The arrival of Dionysos rather than his actual presence is proclaimed. But Nietzsche contrasts the suffering of the world with pleasure and its greater depth. . You are not true enough to me! . whereas the noise of the day with its colourful. However. usually. it . silly plaits of hair'. He does not reveal what he says. We hear the silent passing of time. Everything perishes and nothing seems to endure. It is not at all possible to leave life in any absolute sense. If we reflect upon time. O Zarathustra . . the world must appear deeper. At the same time Nietzsche's reticence is very important. In particular the attempts to rhyme disturb in the first third of the chapter. now I gave you all and even my last and all my hands are empty for you. However. says to Zarathustra: ' . if we awake and do not sleep the ordinary sleep. His understanding of time is expressed through the number of strokes of the bell. that was the ultimate. Life appears in the seductive guise of a woman who is a witch and a snake or a tempest and an abysmal night. I saw gold shimmering in your dark eyes.' And Zarathustra whispers into the ear of life. The dream perishes. The human being open to the cosmos is supposed to approach this ultimate goal in song: 'Oh my soul. . the decay of being in time. in the silence of the night. 'You know that. intoxicating appearances hardly allows us to understand the eerie breeze of transience. He remains the nameless of any future songs.

Hedone is the blessedness of the dust and the blessedness of man. Man disappears and decays in time but experiences pure. The Buddhist or Christian interpretation of the cosmos and also Schopenhauer's pessimistic metaphysics are based on the notion of suffering. deep eternity! 7. I slept/ from deep dreams did I awake/ Deep is the suffering/ Pleasure deeper than heartfelt suffering/ Suffering says: perish!/ But all pleasure desires eternity. He recognizes it. Nothing can endure. It devours its children. to the excitement or to the sensual stimulation. time and eternity are here thought in a connection. unquestionable and unchallengeable being in the . Nietzsche does not ignore and he does not neglect the elegiac conception of time provided to us by heartfelt suffering. Pleasure provides him with a deeper insight.98 The Proclamation recognizes the eternal return of the same or the eternity within the nature of time. pleasure. The Other Dancing Song closes with the chimes of the bell. world. It constitutes decay. Nothing can resist it. O man. of course. desires deep. but he takes it to be limited and contingent. Nietzsche's thinking surrounds the unsayable and still nameless which is the harmony of the open. It experiences absence and the nothingness of all being in time. by the temporal extension or by ontological time itself. Time shows itself to Nietzsche in two ways. fundamental experience of transience. Suffering or hurt does not refer here to the encounter with pain or unhappiness. It is a mode of excessive understanding. All is subject to the erosion of change. but refers to a basic structure of human existence. full and complete. The focus on suffering regards time only as the inevitable loss. It should have become clear from our interpretative attempts that the cosmos resonates through the third part of Zarathustra. For Nietzsche suffering is also an essential experience of the essence of time. Pleasure is a way in which man opens himself to the world. take care/ what speaks the deep midnight/1 slept. Pleasure does not refer here to the petty entertainment. On the one hand we view time from the aspect of suffering. THE ETERNAL RECURRENCE: THE SEVEN SEALS. ZARATHUSTRA AND THE HIGHER MAN The development of our preliminary interpretation of the eternal recurrence was guided by the question whether Nietzsche's understanding of time is informed by ontic time. the disappearance of the presence. Time removes. Suffering. luminous distance of the heavens and the closure of the earth and which grants space and time to all being. the departure and the path into nothingness. The heartfelt hurt is the elegiac. The mountains erode and the heavenly fires extinguish.

However transient the things may be in the flux of time the earth endures. deep eternity. Even in the dull and blunt way of everyday life we are always standing between two seas. pleasure provides a deeper insight into time. He wills the great will. It does not will what he desires. however. for deep. 'Since all pleasure strives for eternity. Pleasure is cosmic pleasure or the trembling experience of eternity. Inspired by the eternal return both seas are not different to him. And yet they do not flow into one. We do not eat bread and drink wine as if these were separate things. is yet undetermined. it wills what must occur. embodied existence of the things and of the firm rootedness of being on the earth. the eternal recurrence and the eternal return of the same. Eating bread he tastes the calm and enduring earth in which the wheat ripens in the wind in which all things have their own place. Cosmic pleasure is the fundamental stance of the thinker who is 'full of this prophetic spirit. It even realizes. We constantly celebrate the sacrament of our belonging to the earth. who wanders on the high mountain path between two seas'. Bread and wine are body and blood of the great mother. However.' The question whether Nietzsche was guided by a knowledge of the permanence of the earth which is the stage and dimension of all transience when he attributes a deeper understanding of time to pleasure will have to remain open. The pleasures of food and sexual love were seen as symbolic experiences revealing the permanence within transience and passing away. long must the heavy weather . This carries the heading The Seven Seals (or: The Yes-and-Amen Song)". He does not only live within the path of time he shapes time. he can experience the moment more profoundly and significantly. Precisely because he knows the eternal significance of the moment. All seven seals with which Nietzsche intends to seal his book giving it an esoteric character are addresses of the cosmos and its eternity. They understood the reference of these finite things to the infinity of the earth. Is the eternity of the eternal return accordingly to be approached through this knowledge of the earth or does he merely dogmatically assert a paradoxical view on the eternity of time? Nietzsche's understanding of pleasure is revealed in the last chapter of the third part.The eternal recurrence 99 embrace. It is no stimulation of the senses and of sensuality but the experience of the concrete. not in a blind hope for a distant past which. Human pleasure is not merely the enjoyment of perceptions. He stands high above two seas. We live in the present moment with an unforeseeable future ahead and an infinite past behind us. 'Truly. albeit in a subconscious manner. The mystery cults of antiquity understood the symbolism of bread and wine. They show how the earth resists in the wind of time and how despite the transience life itself remains indestructible. we are not on a high yoke like Zarathustra here. The highest will joins with necessity itself. They grant us revelation of Demeter's silent peace. For Nietzsche.

The transcendence of the existence which yearns for the world is expressed with almost uncanny metaphorical precision and imagination: 'if my rejoicing ever . This thinking transcends finitude and opposition towards the all-comprising whole and towards the' great fusion which joins all opposites. The second seal relates the death of God to the thought of the eternal return. This creative dynamic has its deeper root in the desire for the world. The eternal Gods must die so that finite man can understand his finitude as eternity and as eternal recurrence. Human and cosmic infinity cannot tolerate a separate divine infinity. They do not express an uprising of human prophets against any divine domination. The desire for the world kills God. Only when the transcendental. with the creativity of the creator. precisely the long and difficult will to the future understands the latter not as a realm of possibilities but as necessity. If we think beyond the obvious and firm opposition or if we understand that opposites relate to each other like the tension of bow and lyre in Heraclitus' grand metaphor we understand the existence of the cosmos.100 The Proclamation remain in the mountains that is to illuminate the future in times to come. with 'the divine need. I love even the churches and the graves of God. transient world. These words do not express a mad. The world unifies and combines all. The melting pot is an ancient symbol for the world. which even overcomes chance in order to dance starry rounds'. The fifth seal invokes the image of the sea. eternal God dies or when he is killed the reflection of eternity can appear in this concrete. The disappearance of God enables the divination of man. loving the world next to the monuments of those who renounced the world. The strongest and most beautiful expression of achieving cosmic openness through pleasure is given in the last three seals. unrestrained hatred of God. When I sit jubilantly where old Gods are buried. 'God' was the expression for any attempt to elevate the infinite beyond real time. The cosmic desire is a 'yearning desire which sails towards the unknown' like the desire of the sailor. if the heavens become clearly visible through their broken roofs. blessing the world. Man becomes divine through creativity. This highest form of the will and the path towards a new humanity create and excite an infinite cosmic pleasure. unites the opposites and provides the good with the taste of evil and vice versa. The creative will to the future burns with the passion for the eternal return. I sit with pleasure on the broken churches like grass and red poppy.' However. And the third seal commences with the divine human characteristics. The fourth seal refers to the melting pot into which all things are thrown. Man can say: the 'earth is a divine table and shaking with new creative words and divine inventions'.

The pleasure of distance and infinity resonates with the cosmic splendour or space and time.' Nietzsche does not praise the happy soul who leads a carefree and easygoing life. The turn towards the world is. I have not found the woman who I love.time as well. The radiance of the luminous openness reveals the essence of space and time more originally than the limitations of the things within space and time. that all heavy things are light.' We live ordinarily in a manner in which the vastness of the world remains obscure.The eternal recurrence 101 cried: "the coast is disappearing now my last chain is falling off . We do not think about the open expanse of the cosmos. within self-limitation. The space around us is always denned. The seventh seal explicitly speaks about the way in which human existence turns towards the world. The open sea is only the distant horizon for us. We do not usually think about space and time which are more primordial than their determinations. space and time glow far beyond" . with whom 1 would like children. however. not for an infinity beyond the world or not for an other-worldly infinity. because I love you. All things dance for it because it itself dances above the wide expanse of the world: 'And if this is my alphabet. His lightness is only achieved where life is seized by a thought of and by a desire for the world. but for the infinity of the world itself. We live within the limitations of finitude. that all bodies become dancers and that all spirits become birds . And where we dare to venture outside into the open we stay close to the coast. . always a love for infinity for Nietzsche.the ring of the eternal return. 'If I ever suspended quiet heavens above me and flew with my own wings into my own heaven/ If I swam playfully in deep reaches of light and came to the freedom of my bird's wisdom . The love for infinity is compared to erotic love.' The self-expansion of human existence towards its own heavens and towards its farthest reaches of light is a way of turning towards the world. . who I love. Zarathustra speaks about the lightness of an existence which is at home in the openness of the world in the sixth seal.and I tell you this is my alphabet.infinity thunders around me. . where the coast and the limitations disappear and space and time shine into the distance. Is this just accidental? Does Nietzsche use a metaphor which could easily be replaced? Or does the love for eternity compare with erotic love? Does this metaphor perhaps indicate that similar to earlier . . All seven seals conclude thus: 0 how would I not lust for eternity and the wedding ring of marriage . Infinity is a woman. however. Space is limited and measured . limited and separated by boundaries. unless it is this woman. It transcends all boundaries like a bird and knows no up and down. O eternity. the ring of eternal return is a wedding ring.

it would display a logical unity and style. just this fails and it remains a mere posture. The philosophical concept does not reach the complete dimension of this oldest of myths. The chapter The Recovery concluded with the view of the animals that the proclamation of the eternal return was the end of their master: 'Thus concludes Zarathustra's descent. The Night Song and The Grave Song. The thought of the eternal return is the foundation for Nietzsche's main thoughts. which only repeat themselves within it. This passion would appear extremely strange if it constituted no more than a view of time. victorious. like a satire. The fourth part is attached to this work which reveals a new and tragic view of the world.102 The Proclamation occasions. The fourth part.' If Nietzsche had finished the book with the third part. The fable which was merely a superficial thread running through the first three parts and is only developed in so far as it is addressed to all. perhaps. This part would be a natural end of the book. so to speak. It was meant to portray Zarathustra's greatness in relation to the traditional forms of human greatness and to show his superiority over all kinds of 'higher beings'. kind and confident among all the . introduces new stylistic elements. however. On the whole the fourth part is a failure. of heaven to earth and of the light to the sealed ground? Does it refer to the mythical dimension of a union between Ouranos and Gaza? Is this the real source for the marriage ring of rings or the ring of eternal return? This question does not have a ready and simple answer.this fable becomes further and even oppressively emphasized. The poeticphilosophical vision appears to be somewhat exhausted. which contradicted all pre-theoretical experiences and also the traditional conceptual analysis of time but failed to reach itself a rigourous conceptual level of analysis of time. The immense passion with which Nietzsche clings to this thought makes it central to the Zarathustra and develops it accordingly into a central thought of his philosophy. Nietzsche refers here to the woman of all women or the mother earth when he refers to eternity? Does this highest and deepest thought not invoke ancient myth? Is the eternal recurrence of the same only explicable. Perhaps this is a task for the future? It may be that Nietzsche's theory of the cosmos would gain a meaning then that is far removed from the hypothesis of infinite time and the finite temporal occurrences. There are some terrible and embarrassing mistakes. The parable proclaims a new basic philosophical theory. The Zarathustra reaches its climax in the third part. He is portrayed as magnanimous. the death of God and the overman. However. These are the doctrine of the will to power. It concludes a gradual development of Nietzsche's central thoughts. through a reflection on the essence of time? Or does this question refer to the puzzling. namely in The Dancing Song. Nietzsche originally intended it to be so as well. obscure relation of time and space. then to fewer and finally only to Zarathustra himself in the soliloquy and song of his soul .

A peculiar society assembles there: the soothsayer of the great tiredness. they only despise this falsity. genuine existence. They despise the false representation of a power which is no longer real. His hair has turned white. The fourth part commences after many years have passed. His thrust amounts to nothing. 'the most evil of all human pied-pipers' still waits on his high mountain peak. he. Man still wishes to transcend himself. While man projected his yearning and his innermost longing beyond itself the death of God did not kill the yearning and longing human heart. private happiness and with his mountain freedom. They too suffer from a falseness of life. The pedant of the spirit suffers from this falsity as . They are screaming for help. the old pope who lost his job when God died. He baits the human fishes with the sweetness of his silent. The nothingness still inspires these higher men. These higher men are the 'remnants of God' on earth. the two kings. Zarathustra has been living in solitude for some time. the ugly man. Yet. The existence of Zarathustra. And yet he is only waiting for his hour . from false concepts of power and mastery valid in modern life. the pedant of the spirit.the hour of his last and final descent to mankind. They are not yet truly transformed like Zarathustra. they have no will to power and they are no warriors. of the hermit who endures the solitude or of the atheist who can live without God tempts the 'higher men' or the men of the great disgust who can no longer live among the mass of their small and oppressive fellow men and who can no longer endure the spiritual divide and emptiness of modern life. However. The magician is the artist who has become an actor. The soothsayer of the great tiredness is the prophet of a future nihilism. Nietzsche does not succeed to show how this being lives with its knowledge of the death of God. God has been replaced by the silence of nothingness. He is keen to act. His art to portray existential moods and stances fails here. of the will to power and of the eternal return. They are all searching for Zarathustra. The scream of the highest men lures Zarathustra from his cave and roaming through his territory he finds many types of higher men whom he sends up to his cave. to ascend to him. Zarathustra's character does not gain significant depth or existential clarity through its superiority over the higher beings. but the direction in which he attempts this is now empty. The two kings are tired of the false character of their royalty. negative character. they do not achieve a new truth. Zarathustra eludes Nietzsche's psychology as a thinker of new thoughts. They are the late grandchildren of warriors. He has no genuine life and no truth. the voluntary beggar and Zarathustra's shadow. except this has now an uncanny. They are not masters. They are still trapped within a kind of self-alienation. the magician. They are searching for Zarathustra who preaches war and for whom the will to power is the essence of life.The eternal recurrence 103 fragmented existences which form the higher being. He merely imitates truth and lives with a mask of a former. He does not enjoy the solitude and its blessings.

Zarathustra's 'shadow' is the 'free spirit' who daringly and recklessly abandons all safety. Nietzsche declares thus that the limitations of the positive sciences are a sacrifice and an indication of the necessary and true knowledge of the whole. . He only researches one thing. He is Nietzsche's symbol for the positive sciences that have lost the connection with the whole and have sunk into an extreme specialization while refusing to know anything where one can only appear to know. There is no position. a broken back . really knowing anything truly. Only the self-satisfied man. however. A similar thing can be said about the voluntary beggar and Zarathustra's shadow. He researches only the brain of the leech. He allows the leeches to suck his arm. He even loves the dead God and grieves for him in sadness. All genuine knowledge eats into the flesh of life. he has no firm base on which he could stand. The pedant of the spirit despises the knowledge which does not flow from a real sacrifice and risk of understanding. . he lives experimentally and even searches for evil and danger. He negates and attacks.48 Nietzsche's characterization of Zarathustra's shadow is a .'. For Zarathustra even the strongest attacks and the most determined and stubborn denials flow from a personal and rooted view of existence. collects and gathers it in many communicable forms without. who is no longer driven and who has lost hope and dissatisfaction is the last man. As long as the fragmented and the twisted aspects of human existence are clear or as long as man suffers from himself and desires to transcend himself he retains a trace of greatness. The beggar who voluntarily gives up all his possessions and goes around as the preacher of the mountain preaching gentleness and forgiveness is also searching and yearning. no substance and no halt beyond his negation. The grief makes his life great although he is unable to transform it into an existence liberated from God. The old pope is the venerable man who embodies blessedness and veneration even though he knows that the being in whose name he blesses is dead. The pedant prefers to remain ignorant rather than pretend to know or know falsely. He rather prefers to remain limited but precise than deceived by seemingly higher knowledge. The eternal nihilist is only Zarathustra's shadow. A profound respect expresses itself in this one-sided attitude.his shadow is not. The person who grieves for God has a higher rank than the worms of every day who accept the death of God readily and who pursue their little pleasures. a wandering will. The ugliest man symbolizes the disgust of man with himself. He despises the falsity of apparent knowledge. flapping wings. The pedant distrusts all theological and metaphysical hypotheses that merely pretend to connect objects of knowledge. something highly specialized or even something particular within the particular. He is homeless and a wanderer and ultimately destroyed by his homelessness: 'What have I got left? A tired and daring heart. the entire Alexandrian culture of learning which enjoys knowledge. Zarathustra is rooted . however.104 The Proclamation well. He is homeless and without a home.

'31 Zarathustra's advice is only partially understood.learn to laugh. merely a poet'. Compared to the mob they are great men. The higher men are characters in whom he conceals himself. He honours the higher men as a bridge to the overman.The eternal recurrence 105 constant danger for his own substance: the daring free-spiritedness. which sees the comedy of human life in the light of the beauty of the overman. I declare laughter to be holy you higher men . the will to power and the eternal return. A step-towards and a bridge are not yet the essence.I throw this crown to you my brothers. However. 'And rather despair .or at least Nietzsche's suffering. Zarathustra is by no means the only representative for one should laugh. His pity for them is his sin. They are all desperate. The higher men are higher because they are distinguished from the mob. However.what does it matter? How much is still possible. You higher men . the crown of thorns . this can only be the case because Zarathustra suffers with the higher men and because their suffering is in some ways also his suffering .52 This song of melancholy throws a dark shadow on Zarathustra's soul. Learn to laugh about each other . a song of melancholy in which he tries to ridicule himself.are you not all failures? Have courage . They are addicted and yearning .than give up. And truly. the issue here is not only the tragi-comic nature of art which pretends to be truthful and is in reality only a blissful vision of a fool and poet who is 'banished from all truth. The higher men receive hope and joy in Zarathustra's cave in the face of the one upright person who overcame the death of God. Nietzsche makes the higher man a mouthpiece for his own message to articulate things that apply to himself. Zarathustra talks to them and invites them to eat but he does not receive them as equals.'50 Human greatness reveals itself as a failure. Zarathustra advises these failures to liberate themselves through laughter. The old magician sings a sombre song. Paying homage to the higher men. The entire set of the 'higher men' shows a common aspect. you higher men. Zarathustra loves them because he can no longer live in today's age of the mob.however they are failures if one compares them to the overman. It is no accident that the higher men are Zarathustra's 'last sin'.'49 'The higher the kind.he however stands on the earth. I love you because you are unable to love these days. The higher men learn only slowly and painfully to make fun of themselves. the rarer its success. 'This crown of the laughing. The higher men are accordingly not just contrasting characters designed to clarify . Zarathustra's knowledge of the death of God is no melancholy or sombre grief for a lost meaning of life.he says to the higher men . Zarathustra distinguishes himself from them. They are searching for Zarathustra who has overcome human desperation and for whom God is dead. merely a fool. His knowledge is joyful because it is conscious of the overman. the uncanny desire for a lack of commitment. The higher men in Zarathustra's care are all failures .

106 The Proclamation the character of Zarathustra. the work looses in quality. He becomes weak where he speaks about Zarathustra. perhaps possibilities which have been overcome. The pathos of the work is exhausted and this does not permit a powerful. This concludes the book. that is. The Zarathustra is powerful and possesses an original power of language and thought as long as Nietzsche philosophizes. Nietzsche is awesome where he thinks. In overcoming his pity for the higher men Zarathustra achieves his last and highest maturity. speaks and teaches like Zarathustra. the laughing lion and the flock of doves and he commences his task. Where he. while he develops his thoughts of the overman. It is a strange ending which leaves behind a peculiar void. He is not sufficiently of a poet for this. He leaves the cave 'glowing and strong like the morning sun which shines from dark mountains'53. His sign arrives. One remains uncertain whether Zarathustra embarks on new revelations of his doctrines or on the fulfilment of a great deed. . They are all concealed shadows of Zarathustra's psychic possibilities. of the will to power and of the eternal return. however. Nietzsche made a number of different sketches of this end which remained unrealized. of the death of God. develops an existential vision as in the fourth part in order to make the persona of Zarathustra come to concrete existence. logical end to follow the fourth part.

Nietzsche's Zarathustra is an existential philosophy in the form of a preliminary way of expressing thoughts which elude traditional concepts. The destructive critique of concrete man is the bitter path to the future. If the Zarathustra is the constructive part of his philosophy. THE TRANSCENDENTAL CREATION OF VALUE. the stone conceals an image. religion and morality with the blows of his critical hammer. that it has to slumber in the hardest and ugliest stone!/ My hammer rages . Oh. Oh you humans. the will to power and the eternal return more accurately and profoundly. the works following it are its destructive part.CHAPTER FOUR The Destruction of the Western Tradition 1. It is innovative where it achieves the highest level and does not degenerate into philosophical chatter.'the yes-saying aspect of his task. BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL In thinking critically about western metaphysics and in denying the traditional conceptual forms of thinking Nietzsche does not achieve to overcome metaphysics himself conceptually.'1 It is certainly not the case that the time following Zarathustra is dedicated to a theoretical analysis of its aspects in order to determine the death of God. Not even the late and last unpublished work The Will to Power extends Nietzsche's ideas beyond those of Zarathustra significantly. he sidesteps the issue and choses an existential expression in the Zarathustra. This detour via a thought embodied in the lived life is in Nietzsche's case accompanied by a re-interpretation of all ontological questions and questions of value. 'It is' . The image of the overman slumbers within he says in Ecce Homo . He attacks traditional philosophy. Existentialism is a sign of a profound conceptual need. Just like the chisel of the artist which rages against the stone to uncover the image which slumbers in the block of marble. the hammer of critique rages against man as he is and as he understands himself. Nietzsche did not venture beyond Zarathustra. He wishes to destroy and annihilate these disciplines in order to put the creative existence onto a new path. the image of all images. The time following Zarathustra is dedicated to the 'denying and rejecting half of Nietzsche's task. He realizes the philosophy of the hammer here. Instead.

he believes . This means that he does not overcome his real enemy. If the overman who is conscious of the death of God. Nietzsche. If the human being lives within a coherent system of values. the values become relative to the . is based on a psychological transformation of all ontological questions into questions of value. however.108 The Destruction of the Western Tradition cruelly against its prison. morality and Christianity. It is only questionable how he does this. If Christianity is God's own revelation no philosophy can harm it. The denial and rejection take shape as a 'revaluation of all values' and this occurs through a psychological analysis. He does not overcome Christianity because he attacks a caricature of Christianity. Only when the community dissolves within a system of value and the final stages of an extreme individuation become evident. implies a more radical revaluation. This requires a relentless attack on Platonism and Christianity. It is not questionable that Nietzsche attacks Christianity. His sophistry. His subtle. However. He does not overcome metaphysics because he does not question its truth conceptually but simply accuses it. cunning and clever psychology destroys the tradition. the humanity of the western tradition must be destroyed. The 'denying. Nietzsche believes that he can support and establish his by discrediting and dissolving the traditional system of values. If the 'gates of hell' themselves could not overcome it any finite human wisdom is doomed to fail at the word of God's son. However. values are things as such. the peculiar manner in which Nietzsche leads this attack is highly questionable.what do I care!/1 wish to complete it because a shadow appeared to me . History may have seen many revaluations of value. Assuming that philosophy was required to advance against traditional metaphysics. its considerable quality makes it more dangerous. This .makes a new value path and a new start to life possible. the will to power and the eternal return is to appear and is to become the future of humanity (as 'our great Hazar1. If values are universally and eternally binding they are 'objective'. he refers to a change of value as such. It ought not to include psychological suspicion of the enemy but it should solely show the falsity of the metaphysical and the Christian world-view. that is his psychological analysis. rejecting part' of Nietzsche's project is mainly rhetorical.the quietest and lightest of all things came to me!/ The beauty of the overman came to me as a shadow. It may have seen the destruction of value tables and the establishment of new ones. this battle would have to be fought on its own ontological terms and without armour. He battles with psychological means. as 'Zarathustra's empire of 1000 years'3). Firstly. What do I care about the Gods now?2 Nietzsche's approach is basically consistent. Splinters fly from the stone . He attacks a psychological fiction of Christianity.

It means the liberation towards a higher self-consciousness of life and an awakening from the theoretical dogmatism of value. A universal critique of traditional systems of value could be undertaken to throw light on the projection of value which created them in the first place. Revaluation of value means thus sublating the self-alienation of human existence. a people or culture all have 'a priori values' or a basic valuation which establishes it within being and life. In most cases it forgets its posits. Nietzsche believes that so-called objectivity is precisely nothing but an invention of the human being which has been forgotten as such. His philosophy is thus an ultimate turning point. Nietzsche intends to discover the subconscious productivity of a life which creates values and value tables. This 'a priori'. for the first time the apparent objectivity of value and its dependence on value-positing life. Nietzsche intends to radically suspend value theoretical dogmatism. Are these values not all of a similar rank? Are they not simply ways with which life experiments temporally? Or is there a . transcendental invention of human existence. is not a firm. Man does not awaken from the slumber of dogmatism if he becomes a discerning individual who lives according to his whim and 'values' things highly individually. which presupposes and directs all individual acts of valuation. as he states. because it uncovers. Man transcends himself in positing value and encounters his invention as a foreign object imbued with all properties of venerable being as such. genetically fixed knowledge of value but it has its own dynamic and history. This appears to him as the will to power which returns eternally in the circle of time. Nietzsche's theory of the subjectivity of value is far removed from a cheap relativism based on individual choice. One may even say that his theory of subjectivity does not deny the phenomenal objectivity of values but discloses this as a forgotten. The posited is encountered as the binding power of the moral law. Human life implies the positing of value. All values are based on the great game of life itself. Humanity. It breaks the dogmatic slumber which usually envelops the creative powers of human existence. This would criticize these values for their naivety and inauthenticity. the great noon. Doubt and subjectivity threaten the unquestioned basis of social life. Human existence transcends itself where it projects the aspects of value ahead of its existence under which it then only encounters the things. however. the centre of time. Nietzsche does not consider the individual act of valuing but the creative one. Nietzsche believes that the real segments of world history are subject to changing transcendental creations of value. Nietzsche arrives at a view of life itself against the self-alienation of life and by returning to the forgotten creation underpinning all value systems. Nietzsche's philosophical reflection on value goes further: it targets the transcendental positing of value which occurs normally subconsciously.The transcendental creation of value 109 relevant subjects.

Nietzsche uses these common biological concepts in a completely new manner. dreadfully beautiful abyss of existence. this reflection about the way in which values are posited does not negate the values themselves. does not only deny the objectivity of Christian values. In this context everything is will to power including the heroic-tragic attitude and the Christian morality. he now attempts to land his most fatal blow. He uses all weapons. that is. He has always been a master of aggression. One may imagine a critique of Christianity. He turns away. Weakness and sickness. Nietzsche. but he continues with a substantial and a material interpretation of life. The return to life as value-giving becomes the new principle for creating values because he implicitly judges life itself according to its 'strength' and 'weakness'. He is not satisfied with a philosophical reflection of the transcendental projection of value by the human being where life takes the final responsibility and risk in regard to any value. It seems initially peculiar that Nietzsche returns to a critique of modernity. he also denies their substance. imposed on the human being through external demands. The questionable and ambiguous approach determines the writings after Zarathustra. Nietzsche launches an attack. On the one hand he sees the will to power as the fundamental drive in the unfolding of all finite being. Nietzsche's unreflected conceptual ambiguity is dangerous. by disease and by a decline of life. imply that man avoids the terrifying. However. however. of the present and the all-too-topical after the overview of the future of humanity in the . Strength of life rests in the knowledge of the will to power and weakness in the avoidance of it.110 The Destruction of the Western Tradition possibility to judge systems of value themselves? We encounter a decisive move in Nietzsche here. he avoids the fight and the war and he searches for peace. However. He appears to be able to distinguish systems of value substantially which are consistent with the essence of life and systems which deny life . where both are affirmed and where the constructive and the destructive power or the Dionysian play is experienced as will to power and eternal return. On the other hand he takes a more substantive approach to the 'will to power' and sees in it a heroic mode of existence. for calm. The difference between the systems of values which are based on the unauthentic alienation and the authentic empowerment of life and those which are derived through a strength or weakness of life become intermingled. This move is perhaps one of the most contentious aspects of Nietzsche's philosophy. of Christian morality which criticizes the foundation of all values in the existence of God in so far as this makes all values a given. He does not overcome this ambiguity. fights with desperate passion and with diabolical hatred. for brotherly love and security. It is conceivable to criticize this morality as a kind of inauthentic life. however. Strength and health of life seem to him to be present where there is a simultaneous consciousness of both the dreadful and the beautiful aspects of existence.moral systems created by weakness. The justification for the values would merely differ.

It is a symbol for a denial of the world even if it takes a modern approach like Kantianism. It comprises the books Beyond Good and Evil. of history and the scientific spirit in Ecce Homo. He views it through the perspective of life and as a sign of a particular attitude towards life. It is important that Nietzsche takes up the basic theme of Human. However. I realized gradually what all philosophy has so far been. Nietzsche who chose the free spirit as a persona and as a mask offers now in the later life a more intense free spirit. blinded and perverted it. namely. that is. inhibited. It appears in 1886. Nietzsche contrasts his vision of the future with man's destiny so far. Nietzsche polemically ridicules the uncritical belief in the ego. The Twilight of the Idols. Traditional philosophy is for him essentially a flight from the real and concrete world towards a 'true' world. In some ways it represents a re-engagement with ideas from Human. Nietzsche perceives that the ultimate epistemological phenomena. the selfrevelation of its creator and a kind of unintentional and unconscious memory. of objectivity. this is only partially accurate. positivism or Cartesian fundamentalism. He rejects traditional . Philosophers are all unconsciously subject to particular moral decisions. in logic with its supposed rigour and other so-called 'immediate certainties'. the psychology is applied with unashamed toughness and cruelty'4 he even states about the last period of his work. 'The power of moral prejudice has deeply penetrated the most spiritual. a Ecce Homo (in addition to two smaller essays which deal once again with Wagner). Philosophy is a symptom for him. a more daring wandering and a more courageous experimentation of possibilities. of modern ideas. . He embarks on the indirect way of a psychological destruction: ' . In this context the past is a false track.The transcendental creation of value I II Zarathustra. the moral (and immoral) intentions of a philosophy form their true living seed from which the whole plant has always grown. All Too Human. the Ego. And he discovers within philosophy the worship of the life-denying instincts. Furthermore. .'6 Nietzsche objects to this perversion and damage of life. On the Genealogy of Morals. Nietzsche does not attempt to show the errors of this wrong path through an explicit examination of its stated truths. However. Beyond Good and Evil is the book following Zarathustra. formations of the will to power. All Too Human on a higher level: he develops a critique of religion. the will and the ability to synthesize are nothing but 'power relationships of life'. The Antichrist. philosophy and morality.and has (this goes without saying) damaged. the most sober and the most presuppositionless sphere .5 Nietzsche sees in all traditional philosophy what he does himself: reducing the ontological questions to questions of value: he investigates them all according to their implicit value judgements. Nietzsche describes the work as a critique of modernity.

Because psychology is now again the way towards the fundamental questions. They would find it tasteless if their truth were a truth for anyone. He uses it as a 'punitive and didactic device'.'9 Nietzsche conceives the free spirit in a more concealed.'7 It is hardly possible to state more clearly that Nietzsche's psychology takes over the role of metaphysics. the abysmal ones for the profound. of health and sickness of life. Christianity leads the classical world towards the orient.anything rare for anyone rare. 'Whatever is deep loves the mask.on the whole and in brief. The free spirit appears to be more abysmal. From this point of view Nietzsche finds some commendable aspects of religion: 'Asceticism and Puritanism are almost indispensable means of the education and improvement . His history of philosophy is sophistical because it declares a psychology which operates with ambiguous notions of strength and weakness. the tender ones for the sophisticated and . He experiments with it in his creation and manipulation of man which is directed by the will to power. Nietzsche uses psychology to establish this.he states at the end of the paragraph . A greater and more determined scepticism awakens against the moral prejudice within the will to truth. Nietzsche rejects Christianity on the basis of its plebeian character and on the basis of the supremacy claimed by the values of the masses. They would dare to gather knowledge in dangerous ways and they would have secrets.I 12 The Destruction of the Western Tradition philosophy because it dominates through moral prejudice even where it appears to be completely pure cognition. All Too Human.'10 The chapter 'The religious existence' reveals a critique which contains those critical aspects hurled against Christianity with a fiery eloquence already earlier. the deepest things even hate the image and the metaphor. 'Never before have daring travellers and adventurers gained a deeper insight into the world of the "prejudices of philosophy" ' . It is the simple inversion of the noble Roman and Greek values. mysterious and peculiar manner than he had in Human. to be the decisive judge. Unlike Descartes. Nietzsche calls them 'experimenters'. It is the uprising of the oriental slave against his master. As an alternative to the morally dominated traditional philosophers Nietzsche demands 'philosophers of the future' who admit that the 'falsification of the world' is still the 'most certain and secure'8 aspect available to us. more nocturnal. The free spirit regards religion in any case only ever as an instrument of the will to power. A religion is an instrument with which he plays independently and aesthetically. 'In the end things must be as they always were: The great things remain reserved for the great people.'and the psychologist must at least be able to demand that psychology is again recognized as the master of the sciences and that the other sciences are serving it and are preparatory to it. these philosophers do not need the truthfulness of God in order to recognize the transcendental things. The pathos of truthfulness is no longer stated naively and directly. It is a religious neurosis and a sickness of life.

Anything low is bad. Eighteen hundred years of Christianity have turned European man according to Nietzsche into a sublime cripple. on a revolution against rank order and on a will for equality.n However. It is a morality of rank order. Outrage and disgust. do not just refer to life-promoting and life-weakening aspects. The two opposing kinds of morality. is based on a levelling tendency. The slave morality. Buddhism and Christianity. The hero and the warrior are good. They may be promoting or weakening life.'13 In the chapter 'What is noble' he finally introduces the essential distinction between the morality of the master and the morality of the slave.'. The two greatest religions. . In the chapter 'On the natural history of morality' Nietzsche interprets morality as a 'sign language of the affects'. The slave morality is different. are religions of the suffering. furthermore. between the morality of timidness and the morality as a self-discipline of a daring and powerful will. It intends to level everything. elevated spiritual condition. the love of kin and the love of peace. the sick and the poor of spirit.The transcendental creation of value I 13 if a race wishes to conquer its fate of being derived from the mob . Whatever elevates the individual and leads it towards its own life and authenticity is good. The master morality is first and foremost a morality of war. All systems of moral value conceal a rank order of life-dominating instincts. The master morality operates with the distinction between 'good' and 'bad'. These notions are often criticized as signs of unbelievable and unjustified arrogance and of an impertinence which has the audacity to call itself moral. This includes the great brotherhood of mankind. however. however. However. All present instance of the great life. He believes that the appearance of Napoleon is a 'beneficial deed' and a 'liberation from an ever-more oppressive need': Napoleon was the 'unconditional master' of the 'herd-animals of Europe'. about Caesar and about Frederick the Great.12 The same could be said about Alcibiades. Slave-morality uses the distinctions between good and evil. It ostracizes the exception and judges it to be immoral. . It is inspired by the instinct for revenge against higher forms of life. these instruments are lethal if they are not controlled by the philosopher but operate autonomously. the sick and the weak. all the lower minded people who follow their ordinary desires and no longer extend themselves. Nietzsche distinguishes particularly between individual morality and the morality of the herd. It glorifies whatever makes life bearable for the poor. A new focus is added. In conclusion Nietzsche states: 'Today's morality is the morality of the herd. the noble and the ignoble. It respects members of a community in which the superior person is among equals and those of equal rank. It is a chivalrous morality. clarify little. Whatever makes human existence noble and great is good. The masterful life which is conscious of its power and ability is . The noble master-morality grows from the pathos of distance and from a proud. it despises all lower ranks.

. The ontological nature of value itself does not become problematic. not because it is inferior. Just like anyone who has been away and abroad from childhood on. This points the entire distinction ultimately towards a distinction between existential self-alienation and self-determination within a context of a system of values. The genius of the heart. One important detail is that the noble morality creates and posits values.I 14 The Destruction of the Western Tradition dangerous and evil for the slave. the last disciple and initiated of the God Dionysos.secretly guided by considerations of value. This connection. whose mastery includes his ability to appear. who has encountered many strange and dangerous spirits along the way . In the meantime I have learnt much. Wherever the philosophy of the past pursued ontology this is . whose voice knows how to descend to any soul of the underworld.. as possessed by the great concealed.. who does not cast a look without sensitivity and trace of temptation. is not made explicitly and it adds a further dimension of ambiguity to Nietzsche's already ambiguous works following Zarathustra.I.. This means initially that Nietzsche thinks along clearly defined lines which are themselves no longer subject to an inquiry. the truth of the sciences and the truth of metaphysics which concerns the foundation of being. this great ambivalent God of temptation to whom I dedicated once upon a time in all secret and awe my first-born. Nietzsche draws a detailed picture of these two opposing moralities. none other than the God Dionysos. The truth whose value he questions is the truth of things. Evil is despised because it is a fearful and a hateful danger. masterful life and the powerful existence which exhausts itself in an allegorical manner. however.14 2. All philosophical questions are questions of value for him. THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS All the writings following Zarathustra are dominated by the thought of the 'revaluation of all values'.. He calls it the 'genius of the heart'. It wishes to escape from 'becoming'. Nietzsche overcomes the open question of the truth of value with the seemingly more radical one of the value of truth. Towards the end Nietzsche expresses the essence of the noble. too much about the philosophy of this God and as stated from mouth to mouth . Truth as . the latter reactive.according to Nietzsche . who does not say a word. The slave morality accepts values. . by the God of temptation and the born pied-piper of conscience. it values the firm and enduring higher and considers it more valuable than the original. In this it is crucial that he uses a limited notion of truth which remains primarily guided by objective-scientific knowledge.among those in particular the one just mentioned and always that one. The former is active.

the basis for Nietzsche's universal perspective of value and can itself not be a phenomenon of value. Here we find the struggle for power and super-power. At the same time the ambiguity of the notion of the will to power is never overcome by Nietzsche. Anything organic behaves in essence like auxesis and phthisis. animals and humans. like growth and decay and the creation of one costs the destruction of the other. All morals are formations of power.The Geneotogy of Morals 115 the revelation of the teeming life. It refers for Nietzsche to the ontological dynamic of being. of the truth of the will to power and of the eternal return hides Nietzsche's ambiguous position towards metaphysics. is not limited to the region of organic nature. that is. The essence of the truth which underpins his own philosophy is not completely clarified. Values exist only because they are posited by life. however. as will to power and as eternal return is. Power can thus have characteristics of strong drives. It conceals a profound doubt if he is a part of metaphysics or if he has transcended it. The will to power has so to speak a twofold appearance as power and lack of power. of uninhibited aggressive instincts or of high vitality. The quality of morality is determined according to Nietzsche by its truth. The ontic model for this ontological conception is found by Nietzsche within organic nature. This is not accidental and no limitation that could be explained biographically. Man relates to himself either authentically (adopting the mastermorality) or unauthentically (adopting the slave-morality). The ambiguity in the essence of the truth of 'life'. to plants. The lack . power and its opposite are understood in the ontic sense. Here we find the drive towards self-realization. The being of beings is a drive towards overpowering. towards assimilation and domination of the other. There are morals of a flourishing or of a powerful life and morals of a declining or of a powerless life. This means that the question of morality is in the final analysis also a question of truth for Nietzsche or a question how relevant the will to power is as the essence of life. The human creation of values within life is a manifestation of the will to power. The will to power. in relation to morality in so far as he uses the concept of power in a shadowy way both as an ontological universal and also as an ontic model. however. It appears to be a peculiar spectacle that Nietzsche explains all traditional conceptions of truth through the will to power and its perspectives of value but fails in return to clarify the truthfulness of the will to power itself. The will to power is conceived ontologically here. Nietzsche remains highly ambiguous. The will to power is primarily an ontological concept which refers to the way in which all things are in flux. however.. Nietzsche gains an insight into life as the basis of all value by sublating the self-alienation of the human existence. that is by the way in which it uses the will to power as a measure and recognizes it as a principle of value-judgements. Power and powerlessness are conceived here through an ontic model. Wherever this opposition is mentioned within the context of the will to power.

The difference between master. It is the result of the 'fear of God'.and slave-morality has only a preparatory importance for Nietzsche. of the sick. Nietzsche had already embarked on developing a critique of religion. However. And similarly. The supremacy of the master is now grounded in the knowledge of the will to power and the eternal return. philosophy and morality in the second stage. sober science or later the experiment of life itself with metaphysical dreams and turned towards the concrete presence in a positivistic move. the elite. strong and vibrant masters.and slave-morality exists for times immemorial. All Too Human. Human. One should remember this context if one wishes to understand the disputations and writings after Zarathustra. overflowing and richly oozing life and attributes which are the result of the need and the suffering of those whose life has not been favoured.and slave-morality remains so to speak 'blind' within the traditional history of morality. this difference between the master. After Zarathustra the . The Zarathustra is the implied foundation of all subsequent treatises. Under the cover of the night he is abducted by the God whose disciple and apostle he was. the warriors and the aristocracy 'do not know who they are'. but they also surrender to God. The new view of the slave-morality reveals that human servitude consists in the idea of a God. Zarathustra rejected positivism and thought about the 'here and now' more profoundly. Dawn and The Gay Science were largely enlightening critiques which contrast the pathos of a rigorous. The master-morality is the value system of the overman. The overman and the man who worships God are now the two opposites. Nietzsche wages a war. the suffering and the burdened. However. The historically conceived interpretation of master. real mastery and true master-morality possible. The life within the new morality of the master realizes the death of God. There are attitudes of judgement which flow from an excessive. unreflected and subconscious. Only Nietzsche's value-theoretical reflection about the transcendental source of the apparent objectivity of all values makes genuine governance. his Great War against all kinds of self-alienation and enslaved human existence. They must not be understood (as frequently the case) as Nietzsche's new ideal and counter-ideal. He intends to struggle for human liberation.I 16 The Destruction of the Western Tradition of power can likewise assume the appearance of a loss of drive. Their mastery is innocent. of a loss of instinct and of a bloodlessness. the servitude of the servant and the real longing for servitude in humans are understood more radically. During this struggle he collapses. Not only do they reveal a lack of instinct. The noble. the weak. a lack of blood and a lack of power and vitality. Power and lack of power are explained through biological categories. His central issue is the articulation of the historical opposition between masters and slaves within in the context of a highly polarized antagonism between the atheism of the overman and any form of divine worship.

religion and morality as we know them pollute life. this method of proof can always be increased and overcome.The Genea/ogy of Morals I 17 critique of religion. metaphysics and ethics. the death of God and the eternal return of the same are the product of his psychology. as a horrific monstrosity. They are his philosophical thoughts. with more substance and richness through his subtle and sublime the slave-morality. However. Nietzsche believes that he can endow his thoughts with better clarity and differentiation. Nietzsche believes that the 'Jews' are the indirect manifestation of . Philosophy. Nietzsche is struck by a terrifying insight. He shows that the traditional philosophers are led by moral prejudices and that the believers are neurotic and moralists full of revenge. It commences with the well known distinction between master. The first is a psychology of Christianity. . intended to choke the strong and inspire their bad conscience and to take away the confidence and trust in their drives and instincts? Beyond Good and Evil is written from the perspective of this suspicion. However. philosophy and morality assumes a more radical meaning. Neurosis can be disguised as religious belief. The traditional ontological interpretation with its religion. appears to the ontological experience as a single massive error. Vengefulness can find its way into morality. . suffering and deformed against the warriors. healthy and strong life but rather the work of a powerless hatred of death intended to make life bearable for the weak. The priest invents the 'spirit'. they are also the most spirited haters'. Priests are 'the really great haters of world history . That means his thinking is determined by the new conception of life without being objectively and critically examined. This book falls into three parts. The most dreadful suspicion has taken hold of him. Was the traditional interpretation of life not the work of an essentially unified. The warrior possesses the virtues of the body. For Nietzsche himself at least Zarathustra is the beginning of a new ontological experience. as an interpretation which violates life and as the greatest lie and untruth. The priests are the defeated masters who mobilize the weak. It is no longer part of an 'enlightened' attitude but a struggle for life or death. It is characteristic for Nietzsche's method that the suspicion does not only dominate it instrumentally but that its presence justifies itself.15 The rivalry between the casts of the warriors and priests gives birth to the change from the master. It corrupts because it generalizes the understanding of particular cases.and slave-morality and refers to a subdivision of master-morality into a warrior-like and a priest-like one. But this does not mean that all religion is neurosis and all morality vengeful. His basic assumptions of the will to power. He believes that he can prove his philosophy through a sophistical method. One might just as well ask what it means if someone finds only revenge in the morality of brotherly love and only neurosis in divine worship? Is such a residual psychology itself the sign of a crippled and valueless life? Nietzsche intends to clarify Beyond Good and Evil in On the Genealogy of Morals.

impotent.16 The inversion of all noble values creates the slave uprising of morality.. They are the masters of revenge for Nietzsche. Among this raging uprising of the mob only Napoleon ('this synthesis of overman and monster'19) embodies for a brief historical moment the great.. It occupies Rome in the form of Christianity. The entire inner world which is originally thin as if stretched between two skins. the suffering. Christianity is just the most striking symptom of something more universal. This is the decisive reason for his struggle against it. The second treatise contains a psychology of conscience. where the human being is externally inhibited. receives depth. Nietzsche is no anti-Semite. An even more decisive victory of slave-morality in Europe is the French Revolution. It creates the birth of Christianity. for Nietzsche. noble person. He merely believes that the Jews are the 'priestly people' and lead the revolution against anything masterful and noble. 'Immanence' is the result of a perversion of instincts: 'All instincts which do not relieve themselves externally become internalized. 'due to the radically plebeian (German and English) movements ofressentiment called reformation'18 soon returns to th 'old peace of the grave of classical Rome'. height. the miserable alone are good. not as a doctrine and not as a divine revelation.17 Defeated and subjugated by Rome Judaism rises against Rome and inverts the values of antiquity. short-changed. The Renaissance appears to him to be a brief awakening of the classical values which.. What is meant by 'external' which supposedly exists before any opposition between external and internal? Nietzsche clarifies his psychological preconceptions and the structure of the psyche itself nowhere clearly. low . The Jews have dared to invert with awe-inspiring logic the aristocratic equation of values (good = noble = powerful = beautiful = happy = beloved by God) and have clung with their teeth of abysmal hatred (the hatred of impotence) to this: Namely.. Christianity is slave morality. sick. Here too. ugly..I 18 The Destruction of the Western Tradition spiritual power. Nietzsche does not start with an analysis of the phenomenon of conscience but jumps straight to a psychological explanation. He understands it primarily as a system of values. Nietzsche simplifies the history of western culture incredibly. Nietzsche believes that through Judaism 'resentment becomes creative and creates values'. the poor. however. He rather throws an ingenious thought into the field. Neither the immanent way of the existential experience of the self nor the nature of the call of conscience come into view. this triumph of mediocrity and the birth of modern ideas. Nietzsche believes that Christianity suffuses even the most secular phenomena. width. into this .'20 It remains unclear how the immanence constitutes itself as a consequence and dimension of inhibited instincts.

However. Cruelty is a hidden foundation of human culture. it flows from 'the protective and regenerative instincts of a degenerate life'. It does not stand in opposition to life. Even the punitive practices of a cultured society conceal the instinct for cruelty.. The case is different and highly dubious in the case of the ascetic ideal of the priest. a place of torture. murky field of psychology which despite all its subtlety remains unable to grasp the ontological character of the human soul. startles himself. to a pleasure to see and produce suffering and to a pleasure which is an aspect of the joy of life of strong and natural people. Here. Man imprisoned by the oppressive confines and regularity of customs lacks external enemies and resistance and impatiently rips himself apart. Nietzsche's hypothesis about the origin of conscience is as follows: It is only the instinct for cruelty which has been prevented to release itself externally and turns inward. mauls himself. this yearning and desperate prisoner became the inventor of the 'bad conscience'. who had to make himself into an adventure. this suffering person destroyed by its yearning for the desert. Nietzsche's psychology is substantially richer than its conceptual structure. It seems to him to belong to human nature. in the case of the philosopher it is the creative impulse of life which constrains the person. It has to . He develops thus in this second treatise an insight into the nature and importance of cruelty.. Man is always a beast. an unsafe and dangerous wilderness . 'A certain asceticism . a tough and joyful renunciation of best intention belongs to the most productive conditions of highest spirituality. It asks 'What are the ascetic ideals?' Ascetic ideals can imply a form of self-discipline and economy of powers as in the philosopher for example.The Genealogy of Morals 119 obscure. A long-term interest in thinking or a perspective stretching over years or even decades requires self-discipline and strength. either externally or internally through the self-torture of conscience. this animal which has wounded itself on the bars of its cage because one wishes to tame it. persecutes himself. Nietzsche refers in an obscure and general manner to drives and further to the masking of drives because he argues rhetorically against the Ego and its function and against the conception of a psychic substance without developing a philosophical alternative to the reifying psychological conception of man.21 Nietzsche interprets what is really only a kind of submerged bestiality as an ideal bestiality.23 Asceticism is itself a way in which the weak and the sick life survives. Philosophers have certain ascetic experiences. abuses himself.this fool. The third treatise contains a psychology of the priest.'22 It is for this reason that Nietzsche believes that philosophy has never completely recognized ascetic ideals as a pollution of the sources of life. to a basic instinct.

For Nietzsche the priest is the 'false doctor and healer' who prolongs the lower. however. He comforts him and sells him the ascetic ideals. The will was a will for nothing or a nihilistic tendency of life. So far. He must erect ideals which refer beyond himself. An infinite hiatus opens itself which provides a path to the .120 The Destruction of the Western Tradition refrain from an explosion of the passions and the great sentiments. the earthly life and the lived life. death. One can simply not conceal what is expressed by the will as a whole which had been directed by the ascetic ideal. a rejection of life. Wherever man transcends the simple. All stars. He cannot merely vegetate. it is and remains a will. The human being. All historical ideas have been ascetic. . change. This desire to leave appearance. However. more so against the animate. . He must see the stars shine. have hitherto been transcendental. There has never been one in conformity with nature. he confronts his instincts with his will. however is free. It denies the here and now. more so against the material. They constituted a tough path of the will which gained its highest power through its tension with nature within the human being and became complete will. Nietzsche thus combines will and ascetic ideal. They have been inventions of priests and ideals opposed to nature. This disdain for the senses. pitiful and short-sighted life or the suffering life in its suffering and who heals the wounds of such a shortchanged life while poisoning it at the same time to create an eternally open wound. a will for nothingness. In some way all will implies asceticism. Nietzsche believes that the priest 'redirects resentment'. He convinces the sick person that he is responsible for his own sickness.26 This means. It wills the transcendental nothingness or the nothing of the other-world and of the moral ideas. this was the only ideal. animalistic instinctive formation. The difference between reality and ideality becomes only possible in the opposition to nature. that is. . desire itself behind . It must subjugate the passions if it wishes to scrape through. However. This fear of happiness and of beauty. an uprising against the basic conditions of life. wish. that so far there has never been an alternative to the ascetic ideal which denies nature. wherever he desires. This hatred against humanity. .25 The ascetically charged will wills nothing. for reason itself.this all implies . He wills against them. what did the will intend if it pursued ascetic ideals? Nietzsche's answer is: nothingness. becoming. he must will where he awakens from the a-historical peace with nature towards history.24 Nietzsche answers the question of the power of the ascetic ideals as follows.'. Where does this fascination with the nothing come from? Nietzsche states: 'Man would rather will nothing than not will at all .

The Antichrist and The Twilight of the Idols


will. From this point of view the ascetic ideal has even a tremendously positive meaning. It firstly creates a rift and chasm which the will attempts to overcome. The human being becomes a bridge. Nietzsche inverts this existential tension now. He is, however, not concerned to reject the ideal but to identify it closer with life. Man becomes the bridge to the overman. Ideality must be understood anew through the self-overcoming of life and through the gradual progress of the will to power. The ascetic ideal was so far the only ideal. The Zarathustra proposes an alternative. Nietzsche places himself into a radical, determined and burning opposition to anything considered 'valuable' so far. However, his choice is not an expression of stubbornness, pleasure for resentment or an arbitrary oppositional attitude. It follows from a thinking which grasps the essence of value in a fundamentally new way as an expression of the power of life and as a positing of value by the will to power. Rethinking the nature of value gives Nietzsche the reasons to invert the table of values and to bless what has been cursed so far and to curse what has been blessed. The 'revaluation of values' remains fatefully burdened by the thought of an 'inversion'.

In the book The Antichrist (An attempt at a Critique of Christianity) Nietzsche struggles with unprecedented hate and hurls a flood of insults and suspicions against Christianity. His virtuosity to fight with all means excels. The lack of measure, however, is self-defeating. One does not persuade if one foams at the mouth. The book does not offer anything substantially new. Nietzsche summarizes what he has already stated about the morality of pity and the psychology of the priest. However, he now articulates his thoughts with an unprecedented sharpness. He intends to hurt, intends to hit out at tradition and intends to 'revalue' in anti-Christian ways. Christianity seems to him to be the 'deadly war against the higher kind of man'. It is simply corrupt, namely the corruption of the human instincts. It is an unnatural religion and the seducer of European philosophy which now has theological blood in its veins. The Christian concept of God is one of the most corrupt concepts of God on earth: It presents perhaps the lowest form of a concept of God in the declining development of divinities. God is degenerated into an enemy of life instead of being its transfiguration and its eternal affirmation. To declare war on life, on nature, on the will to life with the help of God! God, the formula for any insult of the 'concrete presence', the formula for any lie of a 'beyond'. God sanctifies nothingness and declares the will to nothingness to be holy.27


The Destruction of the Western Tradition

This quote shows particularly what underpins Nietzsche's critique of Christianity. Christianity is for him only the spiritually most significant symptom of a European error of the instinct which shows itself as the invention of an ideal, transcendental world and with this devalues the real, concrete world. Christianity is an objectionable form of Platonism for Nietzsche. Nietzsche presupposes atheism. He no longer even questions this presupposition of his critique of Christianity. He avoids the Christian claim to be the revelation not only of the human son but also of the son of God. Let us assume firstly that Christianity did not invent God through a human, all-too-human tendency of life, through the sick, resentful and declining life which opposes a life full of power and secure instincts. Let us further assume that God himself served the low and the fallen, the despised, the burdened and the suffering and those who are pure of heart. Let us suppose that he selected those who had been rejected by the world to be the vehicles of his revelation to turn the wisdom of the world into foolishness. Based on these assumptions, a critique of the tendencies of life could never touch Christianity. Nietzsche's atheistic prejudice prevents him from considering this possibility at all and excludes it without further thought from the beginning. Atheism is selfjustifying for him. He does not consider it appropriate to even doubt it for a moment. However, this means that he has lost sight of religion altogether. Nietzsche's critique of Christianity is not met by showing the strong, courageous aspects of Christianity or by asserting that Nietzsche only considered a weak, pietistic and moralistic form of a Christianity of pity. His dogmatic atheism or his fundamental conception of the death of God have to be questioned. Only if these are justified then all religions are indeed concealed tendencies of life and nothing else. And if they are not justified no religion can be touched by a critique of an existential ideal constructed according to the standards of the will to power. Religion and in particular Christianity is for Nietzsche a particular way of life, a relationship towards existence and an attitude towards life. Christ is not the Son of God for him. He does not take this seriously at all. He is the great weakling, the gentle person and the 'saint'. His instincts are weak. He carries the heavenly paradise in his heart, in his gentle and weak heart. However, this redeemer is no founder of a church, quite the contrary. He is the plain denial of any organization, of any culture and of any work. He only carries the message of salvation, the message of peace, gentleness and forgiveness. Jesus of Nazareth is a new way of life. He rejects the hierarchical structures of Judaism. He denies any structure and organization of life. He is the extreme introversion of the immanence of the soul which does not require any institution because it carries the kingdom of God within itself. Nietzsche thus contrasts the evangelical Jesus with the church-founding Paulus. Christianity is even more the work of Paul than that of Jesus. Jesus is no fanatic. He is an innocent person.

The Antichrist and The Twilight of the Idols 123


The joyful message is just this, that there are no differences any longer. The heavenly kingdom belongs to the children. The belief which becomes evident here is nothing that has been achieved. It is simply there from the beginning. It is, as it were, a spiritual naivety.... Such a belief is never furious, it does not criticize, it does not defend itself. It does not bring the sword. It does not suspect how much it may once separate. It does not prove itself neither through miracles, nor through rewards, nor through promises or even 'through the book'. It is itself its own miracle, its own reward, its own proof, its 'kingdom of God'.28 Nietzsche thus constructs Jesus as a kind of harmless salvation-army guy who goes through life with a gentle and concilliatory smile on his face. On this background of the evangelical Jesus Paul becomes the intentional misunderstanding of Christianity. Paul changes the pure-hearted way of life into a church with miracles, with priests and with a system of rewards and punishments. He changes Jesus into the Son of God who sacrifices himself for the sins of the world and invents the other-world, final judgement, resurrection and any other so-called 'ultimate matter'. Paul magically removes the only reality of Christianity, the blessedness, the kingdom of God within the gentle soul, that is, the joy of gentleness. He shifts human blessedness to the life after death to make it a future reward. Paul is the victory of Orthodox Judaism. He is the victory of the Jewish priest over Jesus of Nazareth. 'The joyful message was immediately followed by the worst one: that of Paul. Paul embodies a contrasting type to the type of "joyful messenger", the genius of hatred, a vision of hatred with an untiring logic ofhatred.'29 Paul is the creator of the doctrine of judgement. It was his way to form a herd and to establish again and more radically than before the tyranny of the priests. Paul concluded the demise of Christianity which commenced with the death of the Messiah with the logical cynicism of a rabbi. Paul represents the dominance of all decaying values in the name of God. The Christian concept of sin is the greatest human self-mutilation. It is an attack by the priest and by the parasite on life itself. Nietzsche sees in Paul the simultaneous uprising of the priests and the decline of all values. Priests assume power where life declines. Christian and nihilist rhyme, he thinks, and they do not only rhyme but form a necessary connection. Christianity brought about the end of the classical world not just historically, though, but also by destroying a noble way and value of life. This is fateful. Nietzsche's pathos is nourished by the belief that his philosophy is similarly fateful as it is the reconstruction of values in accordance with life which Christianity had completely perverted and ruined. Anti-Christianity is accordingly the revaluation of all values in the form of an opposition against the millennia of a decline of life. In the court of life, which is conceived as will to power,

the thought of another world with its denial of any reality. 'true' and the real world as a preliminary or unauthentic appearance. God only represents the transcendentality of values. It poisons life with the thought of sin. is as he calls it an 'inverted Platonism'33. / And one establishes the calendar according to the dies nefastus who brought about this fate. spirit.' Nietzsche concludes his diatribe: I intend to write this constant accusation of Christianity on to walls wherever there are any. Man idealizes his highest . however..124 The Destruction of the Western Tradition Nietzsche raises 'the most terrifying accusations which have come across the lips of any accuser'. against beauty. their essence and objectivity which is ultimately grounded in God as the highest existing Good or as the summum ens. secretive. Nietzsche passionately attacks primarily metaphysics and a way of judgement in Christianity. against life itself. fitness and courage. He attacks Christianity in the final analysis because it is a 'Platonism for the people'32. I call it the one immortal embarrassment of mankind. I call Christianity the one great curse. It stands for the set of western ontological values which interprets the sensual. His philosophy. the one great internal perversion and the one great instinct for revenge to whom no mean is poisonous. the concretely experienced in the light of the ideas and in the light of the transcendental. The revaluation of all values is more profound than an 'anti-Christianity' or an anti-Platonism. He calls Christianity 'a form of parasitism which lives from the emergencies in the human soul . I have letters which can even make the blind see.against health. the here-and-now. . it is a common form of metaphysics. He refers to this as 'Platonism'. One will have to keep this context in mind to see the limitations and the importance of Nietzsche's final works.. This is Nietzsche's entire interpretation of religion. the cross as the symbolic identification for the most hidden conspiracy ever . morality and metaphysics are for Nietzsche connected. historical manifestation of such metaphysics. He is. Religion. not just another metaphysics or any set of values. Christianity represents something universal. They do not have a separate or an independent relationship to man. generosity. concealed and small enough.According to the first day of Christianity. not concerned with religion in the genuine sense.30 For him Christianity is the worst of all conceivable corruptions with its revaluation of any value into a non-value and of all truth into a lie and viceversa. Why not according to its last? According to today? Revaluation of all values!31 One may find Nietzsche's sacrilegiously ranting language peculiar. however. destroys real rank order through the 'equality of the souls in the face of God' thus providing the explosive material for the mob-uprisings of European history. Christianity represents a factual..

that is it is will to power and 'nothing beyond'34. This becomes clear in the treatise with the title The Twilight of the Idols. And yet. What is regarded as essentially existing is nothing. living and moving world which is driven by the will to power does not know fastness. despite all the shortcomings of his ontological speculations he nevertheless has an incredible instinct for the deep and genuine questions akin to his intuition of the importance of the Pre-Socratics whom he interpreted entirely inadequately.The Antichrist and The Twilight of the Idols 125 values through God and through the Gods and imbues them with personal existence. The real heart of The Twilight of the Idols is the section 'Reason within . The transcendental God who condemns the natural instincts and drives of life as sins is the outcome. namely affirmative and idealizing Gods. There is no being beyond space and time. this only. everyday meaning. What has been regarded so far to be nothing is the only truly real being. His basic formula is this: traditional metaphysical ontology regards as 'being' what is in truth merely an illusion and a fiction and rejects non-being as unauthentic existence when it is in truth the only effectively real being. But he simplifies on the way in a very dubious manner. Yet. If affirmative values dominate the way of life the Gods are accordingly like Greek Gods. as a 'precursor'.the earth beneath the heaven with its infinite manifold things 'beneath heaven and earth'. The death of God thus means for Nietzsche the revocation of the transcendental nature of value and the discovery that values are human creations. then God becomes crucified. We find the interpretation of his fundamental thoughts derived from a particular ontological conception. however. no intelligible realm of things as such and no world of eternal ideas. as a messenger of a future philosophical path and as a prophet of the 'change of being' Nietzsche is more important and greater than as a thinker who completes conceptual work. Nietzsche's universal perspective of values or his thought of the revaluation of values is perhaps still connected to the metaphysics against which it turns. becoming alone is. Although Nietzsche shows off results of his sophistic psychological investigation he surpasses them in substance. As a facilitator. real. Although this had been frequently indicated he clearly and unmistakably articulates it here. the leading values are derived from impotence. There is only a sensually experienced world which reveals itself within space and time . He uses the simplest contrast between being and becoming without developing these concepts at any stage properly and without elevating them above their common. It is dynamic. it is time and space and nothing else. 'Being' as opposed to 'becoming' is not. The inverted Platonism is indeed still a form of Platonism. calmness and foundations. If. active. Nietzsche inverts the foundations of the entire traditional metaphysics. We find in it the most important fundamental ontological thoughts.

However. that is such a confusion of instinct requiring the rule of reason itself can only mean that 'death itself becomes the healer'. Metaphysical philosophy is Egyptian in more than one Nietzsche says . This spell was the discovery of dialectic. The Greeks must have needed reason since they committed to it so absolutely.become ugly internally as well since the Greeks were intoxicated by beauty and regarded ugliness as a refutation. And he is ugly. Nietzsche alludes to his frequent assertion that Plato was seduced by the Egyptian priests and estranged from the true Hellenic nature. It is the home of a denial of temporality.36 'To fight against the instincts .126 The Destruction of the Western Tradition Philosophy'. However. Nietzsche combines aspects of his image of Socrates with a sophisticated sophistry. Rationality takes the place of secure instincts. This wisest of the Greeks knows that such a sickness. they are pseudo-Greek. They are tools of Greek decadence. The Egyptianism of the philosophers is 'their aversion against the idea of becoming': . It would otherwise become the victim of an anarchy of conflicting drives which are no longer ruled by a leading instinct. This appears to demonstrate the decay of the Greek instincts. Nietzsche believes that the 'Socratic identification of reason = virtue = happiness' is 'the most bizarre identification there is and one which in particular contradicts all instincts of the earlier Hellenic culture'. they are anti-Greek. a competitive art. He is externally a monster and had to . a new Agon . Philosophical moralism is an Egyptian legacy. The ugly person could never win over the beautiful admirers if he did not fascinate them with something incredible.33 Before attacking Platonic ontology he attacks Socrates as a Platonic existence. that logic stimulates and that the search for reasons and the refutation of apparent reasons becomes a new pleasurable exercise.'37 He even interprets the death of Socrates as a will to selfdestruction. Socrates merely accelerates what had already begun.38 Following this portrayal of the Socratic existence with its inversion of a traditional understanding Nietzsche commences his real attack on metaphysics.this fact by itself shows that Greek existence has lost its 'natural quality'. the fact that dialectic can seduce. Socrates is a commoner and plebeian by birth and in spirit.this is the formula of decadence: As long as life ascends happiness equals instinct. It is preceded by an interpretation of Socrates which is a brilliant example of Nietzsche's sophistry: I myself realized this fatal dishonesty that the great characters are instances of decline in one particular case which contrasts especially with the learned and unlearned prejudice: I recognized that Socrates and Plato are symptoms of decay. this disintegrating life needs reason more than it needs a tyrant.

He does not analyse the abstraction itself. Concepts are in general something questionable for Nietzsche with only limited application to reality. moving. It is accordingly opposed to the senses and their evidence. . the concrete presence. infinite and a-temporal being. They take the place of past intuitions. He merely asserts it. however... They kill.. that is a trace and a postscript. Nietzsche believes. that is he separates being and time. He interprets being as constant. Nietzsche thus believes that ontological concepts are 'abstractions' and 'abstract concepts'. Death.The Antichrist and The Twilight of the Idols 127 For thousands of years philosophers have only handled conceptual mummies. immovable and timeless and becoming as passing on.. This conception conceals a short-sighted theory of the concept and a considerable misunderstanding of metaphysical concepts in particular.. concepts are images which have become empty or symbols which have become pale. It distrusts the senses because they show the transitory and it views the senses and sensuality as such as an enemy of thinking and a 'deceiver' which fools us. The second basic mistake of traditional philosophy is a confusion of the first and last principle.. has devalued the true. Being does not become. Concepts such as 'being' are for him utmost abstractions and manifold copies of reality. resting. to deny that becoming truly exists and to keep being itself free of any form of becoming in return. . It is a kind of thinking in empty concepts. Nietzsche means here the dependence of metaphysics on highest and universal principles. Philosophical concepts appear to him to be 'the final vapour of a condensing reality'40. He does not clarify his opinion. In Nietzsche's view. However. This opposition between being and becoming remains a basic model he uses and the one he simply inverts. aging as well as procreation and growth are exceptions to them. at the same time they interpret reality. Metaphysics. the changing reality and with intuition not with the concept. Metaphysics becomes a reflection of an intelligible world with transcendental predicates of eternal. they preserve. metaphysics is the inverted world and it is even proud of . change. temporal. these gentlemen who worship the idols of the concept where they worship. The words which allow us to see and hear something are originally images and metaphors. Contrary to the metaphysical method one should commence with the senses.39 This means that in Nietzsche's view the history of metaphysics is dominated from the beginning by the attempt to expel becoming from being.. becoming does not exist. spatio-temporal world of appearance and pretends that a merely ideal world or a figment of the imagination is the true one. This separation appears to him to be a dual world theory reflecting the difference between the world of appearance and the world as such or the 'other-world'. Nietzsche interprets ontological concepts as mere abstractions.

While the reasons for his objections are frequently not valid. this refutation of Nietzsche's critique does not completely hit the mark. He cannot express his true intentions because language itself is metaphysical. his struggle against metaphysics is often more serious than the stated reasons suggest.42 The decisive aspect of traditional philosophy is for Nietzsche the much-varied appearance of the difference between 'true' and 'apparent' world. between empirical world of appearance and the conceptual. substance. He states: Indeed. however. the perfect'. that is the intelligibly accessible 'true world'. causality. However. the infinite. Nietzsche attempts to attack metaphysics with unsatisfactory means. more importantly. Nietzsche refers here critically to a number of transcendental concepts which conceptualize the highest universals transcending abstractions of any kind. to be sure. However. authentic and untrue. It has in his own words a 'crude and fetishistic nature'41 since it determines act and activity. And any rank . 'Reason' within language: O. This means that being does not exist in any unqualified sense but distinguishes itself by grades and steps. It distinguishes itself according to an ontological rank order. It is supported by every word itself. What is this peculiar difference between being and appearance? This difference contains a dichotomy within the being of beings and between authentic and unauthentic forms of existence. He inverts metaphysics and he inverts the traditionally conceived relationship between becoming and being. by every sentence itself which we speak! . 'Being' divides itself into true. unauthentic being or into 'essence' and 'appearance'. He turns metaphysics on its head. to his intention to do so.. what a deceptive old woman! I fear we are not going to get rid of God. This means for Nietzsche that it is rilled with fiction and with grammatical concepts that have become misinterpreted as entities. Language contains an ontological conception. He interprets it frequently inadequately but his attack does find a target of sorts. he only refers. It relies on 'highest' and at the same time necessarily obscure concepts such as 'being. as it were. However. He does not just avoid the concrete critical analysis but. empirically given thing and subject it to abstractions.128 The Destruction of the Western Tradition it. he lacks the language for its destruction. nothing so far has had a more naive power of persuasion than the error of being as it was for example articulated by the Eleatics. yet again he fails to reflect on the quality of this transcendental universality itself. because we still believe in His grammar. between sensual and conceptual.. He neglects the fundamental difference between concepts derived through abstraction and concepts which we rely on in order to experience a concrete. He objects to the foundations of metaphysics and to its dual structure as the question of being as such and as the search for the highest being or for God. will and being. the Good. the true.

the Agathon or the Bonum. Being is itself differently conceived depending on its relationship to the highest-ranking Bonum. This difference creates the problem of ontology and the realm of its questions. immovable and a-temporal being is an invention or a mere theoretical construct. To put it more simply. He intends to unhinge metaphysics by refuting the ontological dualism of a real and an apparent world implied by the ens qua bonum that is the fundamental error of metaphysics. a more authentic being free from non-being and an unauthentic being that accommodates non-being have been conceived. The being of the highest ontological value is the 'Good'. The origin of western philosophy is grounded in the ontological difference between authentic and unauthentic being. philosophy starts with the destruction of a common understanding which only knows the alternatives of being and non-being and excludes the concept of being from any gradation. he also objects to the ontological conception of a ranked structure of being. Heraclitus. spatio-temporally apparent world. Approaching the question of being through the question of value he nevertheless does not leave the path of an identification of ens with bonum. THE ONTOLOGICAL IDEA AND THE MORAL IDEAL Ever since its beginning philosophy thinks about the ontological difference. as eon. Philosophy is the acute and explicit challenge to the indifference of human ontological understanding. Nietzsche objects to this devaluation with his idea of a revaluation of the values. There is no other world than our concrete. It thinks about the being of the many things (the polio) as a being mixed with nothingness and contrasts this with a more essential Being either as physis. Depending on this relativity it is itself a Bonum. However. the whole and indivisible . More accurately. Since then being has been conceived within the horizon of a rank order and being and nothingness have been intermingled. 4. Ever since the days of Anaximander. Omne ens est bonum. Wherever philosophy commences this occurs by opening an inner difference within the beingness of being itself. from the beginning philosophy exposes the ontological problem through a question about the one. Parmenides and Plato the essential thinking has been directed against the indifference of the human ontological understanding for which all existence of being 'amounts to the same'. In other words. Nietzsche does not only object to the Christian understanding of this proposition. metaphysics always judges this world in relation to a transcendental world. The 'otherworld' of an intelligible. as apeiron or as the idea.The ontological idea and the moral ideal 129 is relative to its distance from the highest ranking with the highest being commonly called the 'Absolute' or 'God'.

The many finite things are regarded as unauthentic while providing at the same time the basic distinction between infinite and finite. And the heaven. the dimensions in which they change and move. This provides it with the measure for any determination of ontological value. timegiving. Plato calls the defining power of light. The 'earth' which supports all things and from which all things are made does not decay. which provides the form to all things. It is not generated and it does not decay provided we do not conceive it short-sightedly as the day following the night. the dimensions of space and time are not themselves generated and do not themselves decay. of heaven and earth or with one word: the realm-giving. with a structure and with an appearance. provided we do not interpret this to refer to the little planet on which we keep ourselves busy but as the one closed ground from which all things come into being and into appearance. The ideas pervade the world. A philosophy which no longer identifies all modes of being and which is conceived as an awakening from the indifference of existence transcends the value of the individual. These are constantly changing and moving. They are present throughout any formation and yet separate from that which they form. existing world or Being itself which contains 'becoming' within itself? Or does true Being exist beyond the world as an other-world of eternal things of which the concrete finite things are only appearances? It is difficult and beyond our scope to establish how the original interpretation of western philosophy conceives the essence of Being (as apeiron in Anaximander. the one and true 'Being' as simply present at hand. namely that of light which lends all things their appearance and moulds them into the definition of a form. What is the one. We never encounter the whole. that is Eidos and idea. The primordial one is regarded as true. The realm of the concrete things is indefinite. We do encounter things. finite and limited being. We do not encounter it as an 'object'. the opposing unity of revelation and concealment. The dimension of the question is the connection between the one and the many or between the Hen and the Polla. They are the defining powers of any revelation and they shape all individuated. they increase and decrease and are generated and decay. as a finite thing with a firm shape. At the same time it exposes the ontological problem through the question of the ontological mode of unauthentic being. as eon in Parmenides) and how this conception of the cosmos changes in Plato into an absolute concept with one aspect.130 The Destruction of the Western Tradition 'real-being' free of any non-being. All ideas are united and joined in the idea of the 'Good' or the Agathon. of the manifold of the many. the essence. its power to provide the appearance and the image itself appearance and image. limited by their shape. They are united . However. as physis in Heraclitus. individuated and spatio-temporally dispersed things. limited and finite being through reflection and reaches beyond the realm of the sensually given. what is 'Being'? Is it physis. by their spatial form and by their temporal duration. the light too.

Being equals light is a basic Platonic equation. It is precisely not a critique of Plato. These construct a schema of two be sure. Ordinary Platonism. a difference between created things and the creating God. The original conception of the cosmos changes into something existent. omnipotence. supersensual ideas beyond space and time or universals and the finite. The idea is seen to be some kind of object . which already existed during antiquity. that is in the methexsis or the participation of the ideas in the individual things. apparently real things in this world into a difference between infinite. yet separate ontological realms: the realm of the ideas and the realm of the appearances. A second. that is in the ontic realm. They do not become or decay and they do not exist within space and time. divine . whole and real world and the many finite. The original ontological difference between authentic and unauthentic being becomes a 'theological difference'. This is a decision of worldhistorical importance. his anti-Platonism has to be understood more radically than he himself expressed. etc. into God with the supposed attributes of infinity. attributes which articulate the ontology of the world .The ontological idea and the moral ideal 131 like the rays of light in the sun. but it is the beginning of a dissolution of an original cosmological conception. Plato's philosophy is more complex. not as stable as the appearances.a theion. This schema already prevents an understanding of the Platonic issues. In the final analysis. real world emerges beyond the world of appearance.. Beyond the physical world arises the metaphysical world. Thus the standard of being becomes finally something 'absolute'. thus locates the difference between authentic and unauthentic being in the realm of the things. The reason for the difficulty and ambiguity of Platonic ontology is its interpretation of the relationship of the appearances to the ideas and that of the spatial matter (chord) or of the 'earth' to the power of the idea. individual things within time and space. It is the task of an interpretation of Plato to understand the metamorphosis of the cosmological problem through \h&para-ousia of the ideas within the things of appearance. which makes him the founding father of a moralistic interpretation of being. Beyond the finite things we find an infinite God. mysterious and profound than common interpretations suggest which continue to refer to a Platonic dualism. Either relationship is interpreted through a relationship between authentic and unauthentic being. The ideas are true being for Plato. To state it in the form of a thesis: Plato changes the primordial cosmological difference between a one. It is possible that Nietzsche saw this beginning of a wrong track or perhaps he suspected it only. It provides the measure for everything. At the same time the common view of a Platonic dualism in the sense of a two world theory (which Nietzsche himself had fallen prey to frequently) is not tenable. They are the ontos on whereas the definite things of appearance are only the unauthentic mean. eternal.

The idea of a true world. Through it all things are one separate bonum. It is supposed to be the Good itself in relation to which all things achieve their measure. becoming to being. of the Gnosis and of Christianity. and promotes the indifference of existence or the equality of value which is no longer unsettled by a merely imagined difference. At first sight it seems that he opposes the real. imagined and merely abstract a-temporal being.all this within an inverted ontological and also moral valuation.132 The Destruction of the Western Tradition directly. The 'authentic'. the unmoved and the ideas are also the Good. It presents a fateful renunciation of reality which occurs in the name of truth. It misleads more than the naive reliance on the senses. the idea of the reality of the divine Absolute is for him the most dangerous threat to humanity. Nietzsche's view is terrifyingly simplistic. the 'existing being' becomes a highest being or a summum ens. God thus refers for Nietzsche not primarily to a religious power but to a particular ontology which articulates itself as a particular and life-threatening morality. to certain aspects of NeoPlatonism. He nevertheless is one of the first to see a fundamental issue here. It has to be cleaned from the fungus of the sick minds and sick bodies which infects it. The attention to the ideas. The philosophical invention of a 'true world' (and with it that of an apparent one) has to be abolished. The desire for truth thus becomes a terrifying human deception. unchanging being and all temporal being as unauthentic. rather more to the common traditional interpretations of Plato. God stands for the devaluation of concrete existence and of the sensual evidence of the things. the difference between authentic and unauthentic. His critique of Plato does not really apply to the historical Plato but to a particular aspect of western history. the elevation above the sensual and the contemplation of the ideas is the true human morality. This robs the temporal things of their real existence and authentic being. that is. The goal of the revaluation of all values is to liberate being itself . as it were a second and profoundly justified naivety and innocence of life. the more abstract and intelligible. The infinite. the more moral. The thought of God is a vampire of life. The interpretation of the concrete world as a mere appearance has to be removed. It refers to a moralizing ontology and to an ontological morality. the concrete to the universal and the 'body' to the 'spirit' . Nietzsche opposes 'God'. changing things to the intelligible ideas. At the same time it stands for a rejection of pleasurable and instinctive life as 'evil' and posits an Absolute in the form of a fanciful. This is an ens and also the summum. Nietzsche particularly objects to the connection between the ontological idea and the moral ideal in the term of 'God'. One may say that Nietzsche's ontology intends to invert traditional ontology or at least the ontology which conceives the real existence as a-temporal.

the end of the longest error'. spatially and temporally limited things. His thinking is also speculative. Nietzsche does not refer to a disappearance of the shadow but to the shortest shadow.The ontological idea and the moral ideal 133 from moral ontology and ontological morality. as he states. Metaphysically conceived being is exactly what Nietzsche opposes in the concept of'God'. Even where he attacks the Jewish God and Jesus of Nazareth. He does not simply stop with the contrast to the allegedly 'true world'.43 The parable of the 'shortest shadow' is revealing. the things. It is no essence distinguished from appearance or beyond appearance but it is the existing essence of that which is concrete. Will to power and eternal return are not just simply present but are only revealed by a radical thinking transcending the appearances. In these fundamental thoughts. We must understand that Nietzsche attacks a form of ontology when he refers to God and that the passion of his dispute with Christianity is not fuelled by a soul which refuses itself to God out of hatred against God but by a changed ontological conception. the moment of the shortest shadow. with the individual. The abolition of the ontological difference of authentic and unauthentic or of'true world' and apparent world is. decline and return which creates all risks and brings all things into play. We must understand that he does not oppose the 'God of Abram and Jacob' but the 'God of the philosophers'. He does not make the realm of the finite things absolute but he inquires in a new way into their depth in interpreting the change of all finite being as the will to power and temporality itself as the eternal return of the same. Does Nietzsche indeed deny the above ontological difference as such or does he retain it in a new yet extremely ancient way? Nietzsche opposes the theological form of the ontological difference and attempts to conceive it cosmologically. finite and transitory. the speculation follows a different path than the reflection of metaphysics which posits an authentic. something like the will to power and the eternal return do not reside in a transcendental realm. However. of dawn. This contains a reference to the Platonic interpretation of sensual things that are generated and decay as a 'shadow' of the 'idea' or as an image of the eternal idea. with the senses. Nietzsche does not reflect about an 'other-world' but about the existence of the world itself and about the great process of generation and destruction. However. the crucified. The abolition of transcendence is the active consequence of the death of God. The death of God can accordingly become the dawn of the earth as in Zamthustra. the coming and going of things and their changes. This is a reference to the allegory of the cave in the seventh book of The Republic. true and real existence beyond nature (physis). with . However. Does this not mean that he opposes the great division of the idea and the sensual thing but retains a trace of this division nevertheless while locating it in a completely different context? This is the central issue of any interpretation of Nietzsche. the 'climax of humanity' and the 'noon.

'Because semblance refers to reality anew. the tragic artist is no pessimist. be it in the manner of Christianity or in the manner of Kant (a cunning Christian after all) is merely a trick of decadence . he is has constructed the true world in contradiction to the real world: An apparent world indeed in so far as it is only a moral-optic illusion. What had been considered to be an appearance is truly real. only in a selection. . The appearance of the artist is different and more real than the appearance of a pure. But the semblance which is created by the artist and which he worships as the divine power of the beautiful is no transcendental world and no image which abstracts the concrete existence from nature like a vampire but the contrary. The characteristics which have been assigned to 'true being' are the characteristics of nothingness. Nietzsche refers explicitly to the tragic artist.he affirms all questionable and terrifying things. Nietzsche believes that his original intention is directed towards an inversion of traditional ontology and values. the temporal and the things in the flux of becoming. To babble about 'another' world than this one does not make any sense. It is absolutely impossible to prove a different reality. diminution and suspicion of life. of the nothing.'44 This reference to the artist is not incidental. In the latter case we take revenge on life with a fiction of 'another'. In using this difference which he wishes to sublate to achieve the very sublation of the difference itself he indicates that this difference may after all make some sense which is not affected by the inversion. namely the sensual. eternal and pure being is merely a thing of the mind and nothing else. To separate the world into a 'true' and an 'apparent' one. The reasons why this world is considered to be apparent are rather the reasons for its reality. that is the atemporal. And Nietzsche refers immediately to a justifiable difference of this kind in the artist. 2. The Twilight of the Idols reveals his conceptual weapon of equating God with the transcendental world of true being in principle. The appearance of art transfigures life itself. What had been so far considered to be truly existing. 4. . Whatever is concrete is authentic and whatever is metaphysical is merely an appearance or a mere illusion. He attributes a higher value to semblance. conceptual thinking.134 The Destruction of the Western Tradition utmost vehemence. the naive artist remains trapped in his Apollonian world of dreams and the tragic one breaks through all the appearances to the dreadful . However. It is a crucial hint. . this attack is aimed at a moral ontology or an ontological morality. 'better' life. however. 3. He condenses his 'new insight' into four points on which he places greatest importance: 1. emphasis or correction. provided that we are not subject to an instinct of insult.a symptom of declining life . . in this inversion he uses the difference that he opposes.

He believes that it entails a massive rearrangement of and change to the subject matter itself. Kant and others are all combined judgements which formulate objectives but do not truly prove them. Does tragic. It rather understands the 'twilight of the idols' as a historical human task. This shows itself in many ways. The systematic person is either infinitely naive or dishonest according to Nietzsche. Nowhere does he destroy the traditional ontological conception. The edited version of the work falls into four books. proofs and his evidence. This philosophy remains open to the terrifying beauty and to the mysterious ambiguity of all existence. tragic art was an instrument of philosophy. Nietzsche's thoughts are always (and this is their fundamental validity) deeper and more profound than his arguments. ambiguous and mysterious than any human would know.The ontological idea and the moral ideal 135 truth which requires illusion as a form of consolation. Yet. He senses a new dimension but he is unable to explicate it adequately. They do not have the concise and precise character of the later writings. presenting it with a violating schema. does not achieve a systematic development of his thoughts. Nietzsche only indicates aspects of the history of the longest error.'45 Nietzsche does not have a genuine relationship with systematicity. The editors have finally selected a sketch of 1887 and have ordered the aphorisms accordingly. The book does not have a particular pace and no individual style. The book available to us today is thus no longer Nietzsche's book but an edited version following mere sketches. Even his main posthumous work which he had frequently announced as the 'most independent book of mankind'. His attacks on Plato. On the whole Nietzsche deals with terrible simplifications about Plato and Kant. unfathomable and unconceivable woman. It is not afraid of the 'famous hollow sound' and it is not discouraged. The Will to Power. Nietzsche admits that he despises the system. Nietzsche made a number of sketches of The Will to Power. It endures the death of God and probes all cherished beliefs and truths and all idols of tradition with a hammer. Not only is truth a woman who will hardly be conquered by the clumsy attempts of a philosopher but life itself is a mysterious. The aphorisms are not as polished as usual. He is rather committed to the proposition that the enigmatic character of reality cannot be captured in a system and that life is always more puzzling. his critique is not countered if one attacks the vagueness and obscurity of his generalizing conceptions. Already in Nietzsche's first work. The first . Its structure contains again Nietzsche's four basic thoughts but the sections are less clear. 'He pretends to be more stupid than he is. Dionysian wisdom which renews the distinction between being and appearance and yet does not deny and renounce the earth? The turn of reflection towards the will to power and the eternal return breaks through the surface of the phenomena to a depth of a tough philosophy without illusions. Dionysian art not require a tragic. perplexing.

however. However. We find ourselves within the final phase. However. The 'starry heaven' of the moral ideals is extinguished. In the problem of nihilism Nietzsche identifies our historical situation. In the second book. God is dead for us. we live in its advent. It is already from the start nihilistic. our fate and evil inheritance. that is the moral and ontological interpretation of being in the tradition of western metaphysics has lost its commitment for us. The coming nihilism refers to the process of self-annihilation of Christian morality and to the self-destruction of the distinction between transcendental. We are no longer supported. this is no event that has burst in on man vehemently. He is the end of the spiritual and moral development of the last two thousand years. It sublates itself. The aim is absent. concrete world. within diis eschatology of metaphysics and in the midst of the death of God. What. 'However. the end of metaphysical philosophy and Christianity and the end of a system of values.'48 Nietzsche's basic belief here is that traditional morality was not finished by an arbitrary event or by a new living impulse but came to an end historically while it completed its original destiny. among the powers reared by morality there was truthfulness. hidden from the beginning in the moralistic interpretation of the world. Morality poisons itself. History brings the hidden seed of selfdestruction. Nietzsche becomes active as a thinker. The death of God is firstly a historic interpretation of the condition of . suddenly or inexplicably. Metaphysical ontology completes itself historically. to be the audacity to eliminate the conception of God (in the way in which he sees it moral-ontologically) and to deal the dying God the final blow according to Zarathustra's instruction: 'whatever falls should even be pushed'. He understands his own task to be the active completion of the death of God. why does Nietzsche dedicate two books to the death of God? Is this not a unified subject? The idea takes on a peculiar character. we are suspended without foundation above empty space. true world and apparent. Why should the end of this path become visible only now? Who has stopped man in his tracks? Nietzsche's answer is as follows: the 'eeriest of all guests'46. Critique of the highest values so far. We are in a peculiar situation. the third with the will to power and the fourth with the overman and the eternal return. The death of God is a double-headed event.136 The Destruction of the Western Tradition two deal with the death of God. It is rather the result of a long rule of natural morality and otherworldly metaphysics. This finally turns against morality. Nihilism is on the rise. history must run its course. It has no stars that guide its path. there is no answer to a why?'47 Human existence has become aimless. Nietzsche interprets modern man as an end. to light. However. 'European nihilism' which already throws a dark shadow across man's path to arrest his foot and stop him in his tracks. is nihilism? "That the highest values are devalued. It is an event which has occurred and one which still presents us with future tasks. albeit in a concealed manner.

dreadful and terrifyingly beautiful. Nietzsche himself believed to have acted in conformity with fate. Whatever is necessary is always also that which changes the need and it is the turning point of need. The problem of nihilism 137 modern man who faces the advent of nihilism and further a radical critique of religion.and also their slow and sudden disappearance. Nietzsche experiences the need of the times as an end-time. the house of morality and the citadel of ontological thinking. We know the phenomenon of a sudden invasion of a new spirit of life into history. It seems that we are familiar with such 'cultural-historic changes'. the maturity. since we are historically 'educated' and possess a rich museum of 'preserved human goods'. These are times in which the impulses of life which have directed western history for more than two thousand years and have manifested themselves in the philosophy. there is a definite question whether we actually experience its fate within this view. towards a tragic view of the world. THE POSTHUMOUS WORK THE WILL TO POWER. the age and the decline of cultures. We possess much material about changes to the Babylonian and Egyptian culture. that is. He does not burn down a holy temple. namely Christian religion and morality. In some respects we are familiar with the transition of 'world-views' and 'habits'. And in particular. THE PROBLEM OF NIHILISM Nietzsche's greatness as a thinker is based on his diversion from a path which has guided western thinking for many centuries. not as an adventure and not because he finds pleasure in what is new and outrageous. the emergence of original impulses . We know about the fresh innocence. We know about the decline of many an Inca culture. We can refer to many 'changes of the spirit of the times' and to many a decline in the history of culture or in ethnology. morality and philosophy in the age of metaphysics. This very critique attempts to finish the drama of the death of God to open the view towards something new. It does not occur out of crazy vanity like Herostratus who burnt down the temple of Diana in Ephesus to gain fame. Such an 'ending' process is no vital process that one could simply understand with ready-made categories. However. The world is a field of cultural ruins and a wonderful treasure trove for scientific excavations. however. out of historical necessity. There are yet many fragments in its ancient ground and much blood that was spilled to honour Gods who have long gone. His path leads into unchartered territory. 5.The Will to Power. are coming to an end. we are able to look upon our own culture from the point of view of a museum. We do not experience how God dies if we turn away and look towards other people and strange times and acknowledge a twilight of the Gods there or a .

Everything that elevated man beyond himself.138 The Destruction of the Western Tradition death of Gods in whom we do not believe. It has to assert itself in order to gain transparency. The latter destroys itself. We live in an end-time because all traditional values 'arrive at their final conclusions'. Nietzsche calls this the arrival of nihilism. values are concealed and obscure in their direction. tender and gentle lives and this opposition of strong lives is in reality an attack on life itself. which inform its aims and according to which it designs its own mission. it is the active and explicit revaluation. the 'critique of all highest values to date'. His interpretation of our end-time should not be understood with the help of a uncanny matter. nourished by Christian morality. turns itself against this very morality. traditional morality and metaphysical philosophy are 'nihilistic tendencies'. Only the historical realization develops their hidden aims. It does not only come into existence once Christianity and its values have lost their validity. Christianity. Such a programme is not necessarily transparent to itself. Nihilism is already present within Christianity. The frightening part about the traditional values is that they destroy themselves in their historic mission. They are inventions to which life commits itself. they are the human paths. everything he cherished and worshipped with his inner soul and everything that made him human at all and distinguished him from the animals and mere animality . this salvation of the weak. Nietzsche maintains. Truthfulness. Nietzsche's concept of the death of God must not be trivialized. Nihilism is hidden within them. Secondly. Thus a morality can appear for a long time to aim to realize the higher form of life such as a life of modesty. Nietzsche believes that a total set of values is a programme of life or one attempt to live. What appears to be supporting life becomes a denial of life through the dominance of the poverty of life. The death of God becomes a dual subject in the posthumous work The Witt to Power. Values are historical extensions into the future. The wine of life becomes poisoned by bitter yeast. Firstly. They are directions of life towards 'non-being' even where they conceal this 'non-being' for a long time as the summum ens or as God. it is the event of the self-devaluation of religion.even for Nietzsche himself . However.every star which has illuminated the landscape of his life for over 20 centuries . We do not understand how our God dies even if we search through the entire department of dead Gods in our museum. It thus saves many lives who would have perished under the tougher conditions of a warrior-like morality. brotherly love or purity. At first. It is most important that Nietzsche does not regard the nihilistic devaluation of traditional values as a consequence of an opposing spirit of life but as a consequence of the values themselves. morality and metaphysics. It is their hidden dowry from the beginning. The arrival of nihilism is . Values are first and foremost programmes of life.suddenly reveals a dark backside and exposes an uncanny and frightening foundation. The hidden .

Judgement is not a behaviour of choice which is .'49 This means that while nihilism is a new insight it still depends on old values. that is. is no longer. Nietzsche's moral interpretation of God and of the metaphysical 'otherworld' allows him to speak of an unmasking of God. of the hidden 'nihil' in the summum ens. the metaphysical conception which understands becoming through finding a meaning or an aim of its history lead to nihilism. Morality reveals its mysterious intentions because it draws conclusions from its entire past: its path is a path leading nowhere. nihilism is also the feeling to be exposed to an unfathomable. when the differences between being as such and being for itself have disappeared and when it has achieved being itself and being for itself. it appears to be a 'worthless' residue. the shock that it is impossible to discover a kind of rule and a structural unity of the whole and to understand the structure of the cosmos and man's position within it. Nihilism is a new pathological transition. metaphysically conceived 'true world': ' From this point of view the reality of becoming is admissible as the only reality. the history of the spirit is finished when it owns itself. If the tragic knowledge of the human Oedipus-condition is experienced and if this experience is cast into a negative form of a failure of a unified conception of the world which understands the role of man through the overall context. a transitional age in which one age comes to an end and a new one emerges. Since the transcendental world. However. that is. then it turns into a nihilistic renunciation: nothing has any meaning any more if the human position in the cosmos is unknowable. It is pathological because it carries with it the change of the human existence which appears to be a great sickness. Nihilism is thus essentially a transitional state or a bridge. Thirdly. Nietzsche distinguishes three psychological kinds: firstly. puzzling world without knowledge of where we are going and whence we came. Then. even the cosmological concepts such as 'purpose' and 'unity' of the cosmic history. Man judges in so far as he is human. Any secret passage to the other world and to the false divinities is forbidden however. that is. It is overcome if the here and now are seen as a godless and godforsaken world following the death of God and if this godless world starts to reflect the light of a new ontological experience. God was the mask of nonbeing. And similarly discouraging is the insight into the untenable. which had hitherto been the focus of all value. It is the paralysing feeling of an utmost homelessness and of a stifling lack of answers within an impenetrable situation in which we find ourselves like Oedipus who killed the father and entered the bed of the mother.The Will to Power. The problem of nihilism 139 directions have come to the surface after being at work within these values for a long time. Perhaps this is in general the end of any historical epoch if the mystery sustaining life overtakes life and becomes fully conscious of itself. this world is not bearable although one does not wish to deny it. For Hegel too. desperation as the outcome of the futile endeavours to discover the meaning or the final aim of becoming.

no thing as such. we do not cease to judge but we judge according to an uncanny standard: the leading value is 'nothing'. The nihilistic mode of thought is divine. The former accuses life since life is cruel. It has become pathological. Human life is guided by ideals even though we usually fall short of these in daily life. however. which.140 The Destruction of the Western Tradition exercised here and there. there is no absolute constitution of the things. Nihilism is the devaluation of all traditional. However. Nietzsche distinguishes here again between a pessimism of weakness on the one hand and a pessimism of strength on the other. The transcendence of values is a fantasy. that is. the secret intuitions of morality and metaphysics and religion have been brought to light and have lead to an end of this history of value. Nietzsche calls an extreme nihilism the view that 'there is no truth. The latter does not admit the idealization of life or euphemisms but confronts the abyss of life yet nevertheless affirms it and human fate. It posits the value of things precisely in denying a reality to these values. higher values. it is nothing. excessive and loves becoming thus connecting love and death. Strictly speaking. Man already occupies a fundamental position. The hidden. On the other hand nihilism already announces a new view. to the denial of a metaphysically conceived true world as a 'divine mode of thought'. And he refers suddenly to the death of God. secret values. does not yet have . This draws a final conclusion from the traditional values themselves. He says about this nihilism: If we are disappointed we are not so in regard to life. not because it belongs to God but because it belongs to a humanity that has liberated itself from the burden of servitude to the Gods and has gained itself a kind of divine status. then life becomes abnormal. We simply despise ourselves only because we are unable to suppress the absurd desire called 'idealism' at any time. We attend to the 'ideal' with mocking fury. but because our eyes have been opened to the 'desirables' of all kinds. a simplification to assist life. They are merely symptoms of the power of those who posit the value. Man exists as a human being within a realm of values.51 The problem of nihilism is without doubt regarded only 'morally' in this work. This type of nihilism is the opposite of the decline of life which Nietzsche terms decadence. Pessimism is in this understanding for example a precursor to nihilism. Nietzsche distinguishes many kinds of nihilism that do not simply coexist but present different stages in the transition from a past interpretation of existence to the new and tragic experience of the world that Nietzsche intends to proclaim. And if that valuing behaviour is transformed in its entirety so that nothing counts and nothing matters or if everything appears to be meaningless and worthless. man's existence is judgement.'50 Here Nietzsche refers even to his doctrine of the transcendental invention of values as nihilism.

The Will to Power.52 One knows about the irreconcilable contrast but has not yet found a new path. It is a time of change and need and a time when change is needed. He believes to stand outside all chance and accidental individuality. Human history changes with Friedrich Nietzsche. However. Nihilism leads to a disaster turning mankind around through a new doctrine which gains power over man: this doctrine is the doctrine of the eternal return. Man attacks himself. He merely fulfils what has been prepared in European nihilism. the good and the wise are made in the 'modern' spirit. It erupts if the hollowness of the doctrine of the established Gods is recognized. In truth. Nietzsche always views it as an ambivalent time of decline and assent. He believes in the future power of philosophy. This interim time is our time. such attempts to preserve the great ideals of the pious.and are up to this doctrine. it shows up a long and venerable tradition as decadence. namely the disappearance of the meaning of life and the devaluation of the traditionally highest values. because he is decadent himself and has converted to its opposite. The Will to Power provides an essential new aspect of the importance attributed here to the problem of nihilism. new values from emerging life'. In the first period we may experience the devaluation of traditional values. However his own grandeur does not achieve this. Following this time of failed attempts to rescue western civilisation a 'period of clarity' occurs. pity and destruction. However. The problem of nihilism 141 confidence in itself. One attempts to reconcile contradictions. He is able to see the decadence of the modern world so clearly because he experiences it himself. One 'understands that old and new are fundamental opposites. it casts an immense shadow on all traditional ideals when a new sun rises on the distant horizon. Nihilism is a sign of decadence and of a decline of life more precisely. And finally. because he endured nihilism and lived ahead of his time like the first-born who is sacrificed. when it rules man. Nietzsche believes that the power of this doctrine is the heart of history. The old values are born from decline. According to Nietzsche the next period is characterized by the three great affects of contempt. morality and metaphysics diminishes and serious men attempt to resist change and to revive religion and Christianity with new impulses. Nietzsche believes that this interim time has four large periods. The power of religion. This means that the time in which he proclaims his own doctrine is not the 'heart' but the future time in which this doctrine comes to power. the time of the catastrophe. Nihilism is thus the interim period where end and beginning are locked together or the time of need where old stars have faded and new ones are not yet visible. He sees himself as a fate and as a historical necessity. when it 'selects' because only the strongest characters can stand up . The substantial determinations of nihilism are not the only important aspects accompanied by insights into the historicity of mankind . this contains Nietzsche's entire philosophy of history.

He attempts to conceive the death of God as a consequence of precisely the history that created God. He must become a destroyer of the moral and meta- . Nihilism is contained from the start within metaphysical philosophy. He must become explicitly and intentionally the assassin of the Gods. within Christian morality and religion. He analyses the modern darkness and points to the ambivalent characteristics of our time. that is. Everything is ambiguous and ambivalent. One cannot simply view them as symptoms. This is no string of sequential events but the completion of a projection into the future. The ambivalent character of our modern world .53 The modern world is ambivalent because it is both decadent and at the same time a new period of growth. It is clearly visible in Nietzsche's interpretation of nihilism as a consequence of the traditional value-judgement of human existence that temporal human existence has the ontological modality of a 'history'. the cosmology of the moral metaphysics and the metaphysical morality. all forms and all kinds of life and all attitudes to life possess a profound ambivalence.just the identical symptoms can imply decline and strength. The sophisticated intuition of the psychologist too no longer has a straightforward expression for the symptoms of modern life. It remains concealed for long and emerges as the 'mystery' of the combined powers of history whenever the process of self-empowerment and selfrealization of life concludes. Following the general characterization of nihilism and a sketch of its many possibilities Nietzsche proceeds towards an interpretation of the last centuries. of accomplished maturity can be misunderstood as a weakness on account of a conventional (residual) devaluation of sentiment. at least from afar. It can be a sign of decline and decadence but it also can be a sign of a new life and of a strengthening life.142 The Destruction of the Western Tradition and being which is understood here as value. Precisely because he lives in an 'intermediate time'. And the symptoms of strength. In brief. Man is supposed to achieve his true potential. the sentiment for value is out of touch with the times. It seems to me that Nietzsche gains a deep insight with this that points to a limitation within his sophistical psychology as well. The second book of the posthumous work also deals with the death of God with the difference that this is understood as a human challenge. In his view and his premonition of the coming nihilism Nietzsche understands his historical situation and attempts a historical philosophy of cosmic dimensions. It is the end of an era and a first dawn of a new age. in a transitional period. The consequence is eschatological. Nietzsche tackles a grand vision within the concept of nihilism. This psychology pretends to understand the language of the symptoms with certainty.

turn man into the essential or the highest being. Nietzsche does not know a rank order among the things and no accumulation of things towards a highest thing or a transcendent being.The Will to Power. artist and creator of values. morality and philosophy that are ways of human self-alienation. The murder of God liberates man by uncovering the creative powers of human existence. The finite human existence refers to the infinite divine existence. as a God. is Nietzsche's central thought which clarifies the inversion of the metaphysical modes of thought. Nietzsche inverts this conceptual motif. poet. that is a theodicy. as power . There is no ontological dimension which would be genuinely 'more existing' than another. limited and determined being which does not only require justification in so far as it has the freedom to turn against God and which can choose evil but also in so far as it itself exists at all. but he conceives the human essence through his creativity and through his finite creativity. that he admired and worshipped and hid himself. that it was him who created that which he admires. as man's most beautiful apology.the source of all Being and all value and the possibility of evil as the possibility of a free decision even against God . Within metaphysics the human rank is ascertained through the relation towards the highest being. Man requires a justification by the thinker because he created the Gods and submitted himself to the servitude of his own inventions.O. self-denial and self-forgetting constitutes a human apology on account of the destruction of these attitudes. The radical critique of religion. as a poet. He does not ignore human finitude.requires a cognitive justification. The more creative man is and the more original he is as a thinker. The apology of man. The fundamental meaning of his critique and of the highest values so far is expressed by Nietzsche in a beautiful and clear way in the foreword to his critique of religion: I intend to demand back all the beauty and sublimity which we have given to the real and invented things as the human property and product. Man is a finite. be it the Absolute or more concretely God. his hearts and his thoughts. however. Man as a thinker. Because anything that we usually address as existing and that metaphysics conceives basically in its basic design as the . God . the higher is his rank among human beings. The problem of nihilism 143 physical beyond and he must sublate the theologically conceived difference between essence and appearance or between being and appearance. as love.54 Man is that being which remains ignorant of itself and who conceals his creativity in order to worship the products of his hands. The human justification takes the place of a theodicy. This was his greatest selflessness so far. however. this royal generosity with which he has graced the things in order to impoverish himself and to make himself feel miserable. He does not. It is existentially carried by the Absolute.

Is 'being' conceivable as light or does this imply a one-sided . questionable affair? Does the cognitive human being not recognize himself forever in the fate of Oedipus who chooses blindness to no longer witness the terrifying aspects of an uncovered reality? Nietzsche attempts a most extreme form of scepticism. The things are only fictions or only illusions behind which there is a specific quantity of power and force. There is no rank order of the things as such but only a rank order in the human realm according to the creative power which asserts itself in a particular person or people. There are occasionally some wonderful remarks which throw new light on known thoughts. He does not doubt the truth of this or that. The value of truth has become questionable to him. he doubts truth itself and as such. the unsteady and always changing life is the only reality whereas all finite and limited things are only fictions. Perhaps life is in danger if it trusts a 'truth'. Nietzsche does not only distrust other-worldly metaphysics which is fettered by moral prejudice.144 The Destruction of the Western Tradition structure of substance . We encounter here too a fundamental reinterpretation of religion and philosophy according to principles of morality. Flooding life that permeates the will to power. One has frequently the impression that the editors included in these passages some fragments that were substantially already contained in The Antichrist. he is even suspicious towards his own philosophy in particular. It is for this reason that Nietzsche believes that all things are similar. It contains a rather less obvious tendency which. Perhaps Nietzsche takes up the issue of rank order within the human context with such a passion because he abandons the ontological rank order? Whatever Nietzsche believes to be the 'apology of man' in detail.all this does in truth not exist for Nietzsche. He is fundamentally distrustful of philosophizing in general. it is the return to a planning existence and the return from an attitude of value or from transcendental values to a creation of values. None are more existent than any other. The critique of philosophy is essentially a polemic critique of the moral denial of the world through metaphysics. Why do we need truth? What is the use and disadvantage for our life? Why do we need to illuminate human existence and why do we need clarity and understanding? Why should we not just vegetate in a subconscious happiness. In regard to the substance of the critique there appears to be hardly any new aspects that are not already contained in the late writings. If he recognizes himself as the creator of his values he has gained the possibility to explicitly set new values and to embark on a new design of value. in The Twilight of the Idols and in Ecce Homo. enveloped in the comfort of profound obscurity? Is the will to truth as such not an uncanny. appears to be very important. Nietzsche's critique of morality is a critique of Christian morality. indeed. however. He despairs over it and he views it as an uncanny and questionable thing. In such a return to a forgotten and concealed creativity man comes to himself and conquers the most essential aspect of his existence.

The negative ontology of the thing


interpretation? Is the world perhaps 'conceived deeper than the day' as it says in Zarathustra's 'intoxicated song'? Especially in regard to this latter conclusion of philosophy we are not merely dealing with a critique based on a newly discovered truth, we are dealing with a submerged and extreme scepticism against truth itself. Philosophy is for Nietzsche rather a practice of life than a theoretical truth. 'One searches for the image of the world within that philosophy which liberates our spirit most, that is, in which our most powerful instinct is free to act. This will also be the case for me.' This statement about traditional philosophy is already expressed more precisely and more sensitively in The Twilight of the Idols. One even finds there frequently some prototypical expressions. From this aspect the collection of the editors is not terribly successful. Nietzsche's attitude towards philosophy in this book oscillates in a peculiar manner between a contrast of metaphysical and Dionysian philosophy on the one hand and a conflict of philosophy itself (including his own) and the innocent night of life that rejects truth altogether on the other hand. Thus he can state: I understand 'freedom of spirit' very specifically. To be one hundred times more superior to the philosophers and disciples of truth through a strictness against oneself.... I treat all traditional philosophers as despicable libertarians disguised under the hood of the woman of 'truth'.55 And he continues to refer to the three great naiveties that believe that insight is a path to happiness, towards virtue and mastery of life. In all its critical acumen evident here he puts the German philosophy next to the classical one. He places himself next to Hegel. He writes: 'The importance of German philosophy: Hegel to conceive a pantheism in which evil, error and suffering are no argument against divinity.'56 That means, he recognizes in Hegel a kind of Dionysian truth. This is a very profound insight. He also knows and emphasizes that German philosophy is in its greatest manifestations a yearning for the Greek world - like his own philosophy. It is for this reason that he can say: 'What I wish is this: that the true concept of philosophy is not ruined in Germany. There are so many half-beings in Germany who wish to hide their deformity beneath such a noble name.'57

The third book of The Will to Power engages with the theme of the work's title. However, even here we do not find a direct ontological analysis that would expose the will to power as an essential characteristic of being. We are not


The Destruction of the Western Tradition

invited to participate in a development of the fundamental thought. Nietzsche does not show a path that justifies his fundamental 'truths' of the will to power and the eternal return. This critical thinker who inclines to any form of scepticism displays at the heart of his reflection a peculiar immediacy free of any critical reflection. The will to power is not exposed as a basic character of the phenomena through their investigation. It is presupposed; it forms the basis of a critical and extremely suspicious interpretation of the phenomena. Nietzsche uses the will to power to achieve an ontological interpretation. However, the operating presupposition is justified in no other way than through this 'interpretation'. Is the conception of the will to power more than a hypothesis and more than a heuristic principle which is assessed according to its usefulness to understand a chaotic world with its countless contrasts through a unifying principle? The amoral conception beyond good and evil has the advantage over the moral value interpretations that it can view life with all its contrasts through one basic aspect. The will to power operates perhaps in a disguised form but nevertheless in all appearances and even in the life forms which appear to be its opposite such as the morality of altruism. It is here the will to power of the powerless, of those who have been disadvantaged in life and of those who disguise their resentments. In exposing the hidden enemy and the hidden meaning in all phenomena that appear to contradict superficially the principle of the will to power, Nietzsche achieves a unified interpretation. The danger of such a method has already been pointed out repeatedly. It is most dangerous, not for others but for the thinker himself who uses it. The 'reversal' which 'unmasks' the presupposed aspects of the interpretative foundation and eliminates any contradiction excludes the interpreter in some way from the autonomy of the phenomena. He becomes a prisoner of his method and becomes trapped in it. He is unable to leave his own perspective. The contained perspective, however, is not overcome as is naively believed by an approach of the phenomena without prejudices or by the thinker who observes and describes them in a descriptive phenomenology and lets the 'things speak for themselves'. There are no such 'things as such' nor is there a thinking which faces being without presuppositions. Thinking is no spiritual introspection. Thinking does not face being like the ass faces the haystack. Thinking has already been at work where we find being, things and properties of the things at hand. Things themselves only exist where in some ways the substantiality of the thing is prereflected. Being exists only in the horizon of an ontological conception and interpretation. Our critique of Nietzsche that accuses him of operating with a conception of the will to power without elucidating this fundamental concept implies that we also miss an explicit exposition of this central theoretical aspect in the work which carries its title. Nietzsche is unable to clarify his own intimate ontological

The negative ontology of the thing


experience with a corresponding ontological theory that could be achieved in an engagement with the ontology of metaphysics. 'Will to power' and 'eternal return' are his main intentions for which he is not only unable to find refined concepts but which he also does not clearly distinguish from the fundamental principles of metaphysics. Ontology has assumed the shape of a philosophy of value. The will to power is introduced as 'the principle of a new positing of values'. After dealing with nihilism as the experienced devaluation of all values and following a critique of all traditional higher values, that is, after the active destruction of the traditional realm of values, the third book gives us the real revaluation and the new valuation according to the standard of life which is understood in its essence as the will to power. The book falls into the chapters: 'The will to power as cognition', 'The will to power in nature', 'The will to power as society and individual' and 'The will to power as art'. What does this structure imply? Cognition, nature, society, the individual and art? Are these different realms of existence? Nature and the socio-historical realm are obvious fundamental dimensions of reality, but what is the point of including 'cognition' and even 'art' in this structure? This schema of a division into metaphysica generate and metaphysica specialis hides the clarification of traditional metaphysics as it is applied for example in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in a seemingly concealed way. Metaphysica generalis is concerned with being as existing. Metaphysica sepecialis is concerned with being as nature, man and God. 'The will to power as cognition' is not an epistemology as is often assumed. The section contains Nietzsche's negative ontology of the thing. And finally, the section on art is nothing else than his 'theology'. This is a theology without God, that is, without a Christian God and without a creator of the universe. It is a theology that justifies existence as an aesthetic phenomenon and recognizes the wholeness of the world in the appearance of beauty, the art religion of the playing God Dionysos. These are at first simply assertions; however, they are made from the beginning to indicate the fundamental structure of this third book which is the centre of the entire work. The cognition of the will to power commences with the cognition of the will to power within cognition. The will to power is at work in that which we ordinarily call cognition. This does not only mean that the desire to understand is an instinct of power or a drive to possess and conquer but even more that understanding is subject to the determinations of the will to power. To put it differently: what we ordinarily call cognition is not a suitable device to understand the will to power. Such understanding is already itself formed by the will to power. As the forming element the will to power is not grasped itself by that which it forms, namely by 'cognition'. However, how does Nietzsche know this? He only relies on his philosophical intuition which is different from all ontological intuition of any kind. This intuition flows from a receptivity for the


The Destruction of the Western Tradition

flow of becoming, for the forming and destroying 'life' and for the force of the will to power. Only the knowledge of tragic wisdom breaks through the structure of power and gains an insight into the power of life. Tragic wisdom becomes critical for all ordinary cognition. What does Nietzsche mean here by 'cognition'? Nothing else than the cognition of being! This is on the one hand an empirical cognition but on the other also an a priori cognition, that is, the essential concept of the categories according to which we think being as one thing, as a separate thing which exists for itself as a substance with properties and as an individual thing with a universal essence. Nietzsche's thesis is this: in truth there are no things, there are no substances, there is no 'being'. There is only the wavering flood of life, only the stream of becoming and the incessant up and down of its waves. Nothing endures, stays and persists and all is in flux. But our cognition forges its reality and changes the flow falsely into the being of enduring things which endure in the change and which persist during the change of their states. The 'thing' or the substance is a fiction. It is a structure created by the will to power which violates the reality. It arrests, forges and grasps becoming and subjects it to the concept. It subsequently forgets this act of violence to the point where it believes to have grasped reality itself in the created concepts of substance and causality. Man believes in the things but none exist. He believes in being, but being is his own creation and his own net of concepts which he casts repeatedly into the stream of becoming. The world is no sum of different and separate things for Nietzsche, which coexist in connection with each other. It does not consist of things at all; it is one single stream of life, one 'sea' in which there are waves but nothing that endures. The appearances obviously contradict this intuition. We see things after all. We distinguish ourselves as a thing from others. In terms of appearance the world is present to us as an infinite manifold of the many things. We do not abstract from the things what they are. Quite the contrary: we always live already in a pre-understanding of objectivity if we record something empirically about the particular things. However, this a priori construct of the things conceived within categories is a forgery and a law made by cognition in order to enable itself to become the cognition of being. This means: at the beginning of cognition is the primordial sin or the lie of the categorical interpretation. True reality is becoming, however not a becoming of something already existent which merely changes in respect of its existence but pure becoming, a constant stream and a perennial dynamic. It is namely 'life' which is present everywhere, in the rocky walls of the mountains as much as in the thundering wild rivers, in the grass of the meadow as much as in the eagle which circles high above, in the stars of the night sky as in the shepherd whose soul is moved by them. What we believe to be things conceals our view of the infinite, indeterminate

The negative ontology of the thing


and unlimited whole. The things obscure the world to us. However, we cannot live in the flooding, universal sea of pure becoming. We need to distort reality. Becoming is for us inconceivable. It is that which makes our spirit turn dizzy and drags it into a vortex where it is overcome by a dizziness which announces the world. This distortion is a biological necessity for us. Necessity breeds invention. The need to live in a world in which everything constantly changes, recedes, passes and spins has created the concepts and the categories which make this incomprehensible change comprehensible and fixes it, underpinning the events with a basis. It posits something firm within change such as 'substance' which is, as it were, the lifeline for us and that gains some security and orientation in a predictable world. The categories represent a humanization of the world and they are the anthropocentric interpretation which 'fixes us up' in positing a fixity. The categories do not possess objective validity, they are fictions. The thing is a human invention of the mind - nothing else. Man projects himself into everything. And even then, the conception he has of himself is an error, an illusion which remains obscure to him. He calls himself'I'. The I appears to be a fixed, consistent entity within the changing and subjective set of experiences. However, the I is precisely a fiction according to Nietzsche. It is the paradigm of our illusions, because we apply this I and its supposed fixity to the things. The things are created after our own image. Substances refer to their properties as the I to its actions. The concept of substance is a result of the concept of the ego. Man has projected . . . the will, the spirit, the I from within himself. He firstly took over the concept of being from the concept of the I. He posited the 'things' as existing after his own image, after the image of the I as the cause . . ,58 The deception of the mind is the powerful aspect of cognition. The mind needs to deceive if it wishes to cognize anything at all, that is it needs to determine the predication of the substances. It needs to state about being that it is such and such. The deception is thus a function of the categories used by the mind. Its means of cognition are already faulty. The basic concepts contain the deception, not those things that are understood with the help of these basic concepts. Nietzsche transforms the traditional question of the categories. The basic propositions about being as such are 'exposed as deceptions' or as lies in the extra-moral sense. There is no cognition of the beingness of being which metaphysics aspires to because there are no finite things that might persist in their finitude. Nietzsche does not conceive being as the being of beings but as becoming or as the Dionysian truth of the cosmic interplay of universal production and destruction. One misunderstands the extent of the polemic against the categories


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if one sees it merely as a fictional epistemology. Nietzsche does not progress from a critical analysis of the faculty of cognition arriving at a rejection of the categories in which the thingness of the thing is conceived as substance according to the ideal of the ego. He rather starts with a primordial intuition of his Heraclitean philosophy that relies on becoming as the only truth. Since the categorical concepts cannot grasp becoming, since they arrest it, forge it and base it on something persisting, they are deceptions. He denies finite and individual being with his fundamental conception of being as becoming. Being does not exist because there is no individuation. More precisely, Nietzsche does not deny the phenomenon of individuated being but only its objective significance. What looks like a separate thing is only a wave in the stream of life and temporary quantum and conglomeration of power which only presents a phase in the dynamic of the cosmic interplay. Nietzsche's fictional epistemology which understands the will to power as the deceiving and violating power of the intellect is in its important aspects a negative ontology of things: there are no things. His critique does not target all cognition but only the cognition of being, empirical cognition and particularly a priori cognition, that is the ontological interpretation in accordance with the categories. His intuition or his philosophical vision of becoming is not affected by his critique of cognition. It is rather the presupposition that enables this critique in the first place. In other words, if and only if this intuition is true does this critique of ontic and categorical cognition make sense and have validity. Nietzsche himself does not distinguish clearly enough between the truth of becoming and the truth of being. The former is intuitive and the latter is conceptual. However, this antithesis does not grasp the essence. The truth of becoming is a revelation of the existing cosmos that presents its creative dynamism as the will to power. The truth of being implies a belief in the fictions of substance and Ego. It opens itself towards an inner-worldly existence obscured by 'becoming'. The real distinction is thus not one between any intuition and any concept but between cosmic intuition and the categorical concept. One often criticizes Nietzsche for using a circular argument. He connects cognition on the one hand with an instinct for deception but proclaims on the other hand a new philosophy which is obviously a new form of cognition. He believes that cognition is an expression of the will to power and yet claims cognition of this very will to power itself. This critique misses the point because the cognition of becoming which leads to a critical rejection of all categorical cognition destroying the authenticity of becoming is not itself subject to the criticized concept of cognition. The truth of becoming has a completely different nature than ordinary understanding of truth which is only achieved on the basis of the deceptive, fixed concepts. What we 'ordinarily' call being, the individual things and structures, are for Nietzsche 'illusions'. Illusion, however, is not nothing. It is something real; it is

If we read it as an epistemology these thoughts remain quite questionable and . For Nietzsche. There are no things. Man forges the world. We do not engage with Nietzsche's many attempts of a psychological analysis nor with his thesis intended to expose the fictional nature of all categories. Nietzsche radicalizes a Kantian aspect. more specifically an ontological thinking of the entire metaphysical tradition starting with Parmenides.The negative ontology of the thing 151 the formation of the will to power at work. Nietzsche's suspicion and doubt about the categorical interpretation of being through substances. is not based on an extreme scepticism but is rather an almost dogmatic view about the ultimate reality of becoming. are deceptive. This rejection of thinking. It is the interplay of opposing waves. If reason is deceptive and if man invents the deception of the categories he must have a true individual existence as the deceiving being. It is only an idiomatic expression to speak about human fictions. He turns the problem of the categories purely negatively around into an uncovering of deception. Thinking and not the senses are the subjective source of appearance. Ordinarily. Man is a fiction to himself. In this conception Nietzsche turns away from the traditional ontology of being. underpins his aggression against tradition and transcendentalism. more precisely of ontological thinking. however. the thing or the belief in the thing is an illusion which makes life possible. He surrounds himself with fictions in which he is imprisoned as a separate thing among other things. of substance and causality. Things are figments of reason that are nowhere and never real. of concentrations of power and quanta of will which are immediately dissolved like the waves of the sea. Not everything can be the same in the cosmic interplay of the will to power. The will to power is at work in these fictions and creates the finite living form of the human being. Only the cosmic intuition of becoming makes genuine truth possible. To be sure. In the final analysis he is no absolute individual. The substance of the thing is 'subjective'. For Kant. etc. because he thinks. Nietzsche sees this conclusion.">59 An alternative argument against Nietzsche's position perhaps directs our attention to the contradiction that is concealed by the hypothesis of a deceiving power of the human intellect. the categorically conceived substance enables us to experience the object. We even call this very appearance being. The stream of life is no homogenous flux. in the way that metaphysics since Plato and Aristotle conceives it. Man has separated and alienated himself from reality in so far as he relies on the categories for cognition. we succumb to the deception of this appearance. Reason invents the fictions of the Ego. Life itself creates fictions. because he invents the categories and the structure of the thing and pre-conceives the blueprint of the things and all experience. The intellect and thinking.we are at the other end and in another state and say: "Whatever can be thought must most certainly be a fiction. He states with disarming precision: 'Parmenides said "one does not think whatever does not exist" .

he affirms it. if being is viewed in relation to the existence of things and ideas. However. Nietzsche appears to represent seemingly a turning point at which he rejects on the one hand the ontological understanding of the metaphysical tradition. Nietzsche does not only object to the ontological categories but he is passionately committed to becoming and to dynamism: 'Against the value of the ever-enduring "he posits" the value of the shortest and most finite. and on the other hand has already a fundamental conception of 'being' of a kind which must no longer be understood in opposition to . If the concept of being includes the aspects of permanence. Nietzsche discards this concept. This is meant by the 'pinnacle of contemplation' because it reconciles the opposition between being and becoming. he does not refer here to a will to power of deception but to a will to power of the greatest cosmic truth. opposing becoming to being and yet always struggling for conceptual unity of these opposing concepts. the philosophical meaning does not rest here with a theory of cognition but with a negative ontology of the things which does not only affirm the falsity of the concept of the thing but rather denies the 'reality' of things as such. 'The eternal recurrence is the most extreme approximation of a world of becoming to that of being . the seductive flash of gold in the belly of the snake vita. 'To impose the characteristics of being on becoming . as life. If however. that is.this is the greatest will to power'62 he states. The knowledge of the eternal return does not arrest and determine becoming but affirms becoming as becoming. endurance or fixedness. Being is in time and time is within being. being is understood as truth.'64 Men cannot live in the turmoil of the cosmos and in the blowing winds of time in which nothing remains consistent and all is in flux. The insight into the fictional character of the categorial ontology is . He means with this the greatest will to power within cognition and as cognition.we have no other conception of this than "life". The value for life is ultimately decisive. They need to surround themselves with fictions of finite things and need to dismember the entirety of the cosmos into dissected separate entities. the categories. as a dynamic and as the will to power.'60 And elsewhere: 'Being .becoming. They must commit a deception out of biological necessity in order to live and arrange themselves.'63 This truth of the eternal return is exempt from his statement about the truth of things: 'Truth is a kind of error without which a particular kind of living creature could not live. Nietzsche's fictional epistemology can be characterized as follows: (1) It is not a general scepticism.pinnacle of contemplation. Yet. How can the dead exist then?'61 Nietzsche always remains within the opposition of being and becoming in a way that prevents him from capturing the inner dialectic of these ontological concepts and separates itself.but is inclusive of.152 The Destruction of the Western Tradition even in parts very primitive with occasional digressions into the simplest form of positivism.

. but a negative ontology of the thing. it is ripe for democracy and petty government. We do not realize how the will to power asserts itself. He does not command a differentiated intuition to analyse the essence of such basic realms and to perhaps discover a variation of the one cosmic principle of the will to power.65) He perceives the manifestations of power in institutions such as marriage. (2) The will to power is at work in the cognition of things as deception and violation and as the power of 'semblance'. Only if we turn towards the cosmos and not towards the things do we find true Being or the flux of becoming. It sometimes seems as if Nietzsche wishes to use the presence of power within the phenomena to show that the will to power underpins the phenomena and is the truly real and significant.'.The negative ontology of the thing 153 grounded in an indubitable philosophical insight of the will to power. Perhaps this is no accident. In the final analysis it appears generally doubtful if a principle of cosmic ontology. We humans are usually trapped within differences and within limits and separations. Nietzsche also says very little in terms of the quantity about the will to power in the inorganic and organic nature. We do not see the articulating power and the existence of the difference itself. of the flux of the creating-destroying becoming can be 'proven' within the realm of things and if it manifests itself in the phenomena. Here the references to the phenomena of power relations and transfers of power are confused with a philosophical transcendence of the realm of phenomena. that is. He captured a problem here even if the biological and pragmatic mode of expression obscures the meaning of his thoughts somewhat. of becoming as ultimate truth and of the eternal return. We do not see the primordial one in its self-alienation or in the way in which it posits and sublates the difference. He interprets the state as a power structure and objects to the democratic trivialization of the state that attempts to make it into a moral institution. The attempt to illustrate the will to power 'within nature' is considerably weaker. Nietzsche attempted to show this primarily in regard to cognition. He opts for marriage as the expression of a tribal power that intends to extend its . The same applies to the interpretation of organic nature. The will to power is the primordial event which symbolizes the dissolution of the unity of life. Being as being or as On He On is merely a fiction. Nietzsche never worked out a regional ontology relevant to nature or history.. the interplay of generation and decline and the construction of apparent formations of power which are dissolved as soon as they are created. (Example: 'A society which irrevocably and instinctively rejects wars and conquering is in decline. Even in the sphere of 'society and the individual' Nietzsche's project to find evidence for his basic thoughts remains peculiarly fruitless. His critique of mechanism and its concept of power remain inadequate although some essential thoughts are specifically indicated. (3) The decisive point here is not a biological epistemology.

the hero' and he calls it the 'redemption of those who suffer. its existence as will to power . Tragic art is thus for Nietzsche the answer to the decline of religion. The third book deals with the will to power. of those who see. Nietzsche creates a new theology of the master of the tragic and concealed play. Like the state. warrior-like human. not just a human. however in a way that is still influenced by the concealed division of metaphysics into metaphysica generate and metaphysica specialis. It does not only connect the aspects of the overman and the eternal return . Whoever stands out from the masses does not represent the higher moral value but simply a greater power of life. 7. Art is no phenomenon which is simply present in the artist and in his work. stony face of life within appearance. It even experiences the abyss of suffering as a profound pleasure. as an overflowing power of life. The fourth book relates all these foundational thoughts to each other. it is a transcendence of appearance and a profound view into the heart of the world and at the same time a justification of semblance. He also sees 'power' in the judicial structures of a state and in the whole system of punishment and guilt. deify suffering where suffering becomes a form of great delight'. It falls into three parts: 'Rank Order'.' He calls it the redemption of the actor of 'the tragic.67The threefold redemption of art is. morality and metaphysics. who want to see the terrifying and questionable dimension of existence. It does not flee from the terror into a beautiful semblance but transfigures the dreadful. Tragic art even affirms the uncanny and the deceitful. He thinks the epiphany of Dionysos. Art is tragic art in its highest form. 'Dionysos' and "The Eternal Return'.154 The Destruction of the Western Tradition possessions and its children and he explicitly rejects a marriage based on love. Nietzsche gains some ground only in the fourth section 'The will to power as art'. all-too-human affair. he finds traces of the will to power in the great individual. DISCIPLINE AND BREEDING THE DIONYSIAN WORLD The final book of The Will to Power carries the heading Discipline and Breeding. The play of the artist reflects the primordial play of the world. The death of God was the topic of the first two books of this posthumous work. however. Tragic art flows from the highest human power and reveals also the dreadful aspect in the appearance of beauty.or as Nietzsche puts it: 'The world as a self-creating work of art.'66 In addition to the psychological interpretation of artistic creativity as an increased eras. danger and evil. Nietzsche calls art 'the redemption of those who cognize. more precisely. etc. a path to states which will transform. but it constitutes the advent of a redeemer. there is a more profound interpretation of tragic art as a kind of cognition of the will to power. It 'redeems' differently than Christianity. of tragic understanding.

The usual distinction between theory and practice is here completely inappropriate. recognizing contradiction and opposition and recognizing the 'war' as the father and ruler of all finite existence.the Dionysian world 155 with each other. He intends to 'act' although he is a philosopher. Zarathustra addresses a humanity that rejects all transcendental worlds and turns decisively towards the earth.Discipline and Breeding . However. the new human creation of value becomes an unavoidable necessity. For Nietzsche human self-discipline is the only possible way to overcome nihilism. of the noble. the great and the highest man. Here. His philosophy of the will to power aspires to gain itself power according to its own ontological experience and conception. Since the meaning of life has changed with God man must give life a new meaning. Following the devaluation of all traditional values. It aspires to power not just in the form of a general recognition but as a doctrine of life for the few who are predestined to rule and as an ontological understanding of the masters of the earth. this self-discipline is for him neither a discipline with a reverence for moral laws nor an arbitrary commitment to any aims in order to escape from the desert of meaninglessness and aimlessness. in the fourth book of The Will to Power the character of the overman experiences a peculiar metamorphosis. The overman becomes a concrete goal for Nietzsche. The god-less man is no longer the subject of a divine authority. Nietzsche is tremendously ambitious in this last book. God punishes those he loves. however. He becomes his own authority unless he wishes to sink into chaos or to vegetate in dull animality on the deserted steps of the temples. It would. The decisive point is the existential exposure of the death of God. It also relates nihilism. If the essence of being is the will . The central topic of the fourth book is thus a humanity which endures the death of God. be intuitively wrong to regard this as a careful application of philosophical insights for life. To put it differently: the revelation of being becomes a topic. Nietzsche speaks about the strong human being. Human self-discipline remains within truth. At the same time it recognizes the infinity of all finite being in the eternal circle of time with the creation of the overman. He does not just wish to articulate insights. he intends to prepare world-historical decisions and to change mankind. We are not dealing with a practice following a theory. the revaluation of the values and the murder of God that is committed by a humanity under the influence of the will to power. The demise of the religious and moral laws liberates human freedom to embrace nothingness. The issue is the hierarchy of power. It is subject to the enlightenment through philosophical intuition. of the will to power and of the eternal return. What was originally a seemingly distant ideal of the future has now become a progressive historical path. which knows that the will to power is the essence of being and which experiences the infinity of existence in the eternal return. The approaching nihilism is the irrelevance of all traditional laws. The great danger is a lack of authority. It is the goal of man's self-realization.

As Nietzsche sees him future man wills a great will which defines itself and others as far as possible to give it a clear form. Nietzsche's view of the human being is double headed. In so far as he wills this he excludes other things. He is someone who has a clearly defined day and yet he is rooted in the night where all is one. It conceives it as the flux of life which manifests itself on the one hand always in finite forms but sublates these forms again on the other hand as the infinite itself. The eternal return. The eternal return destroys form. Within the openness of the eternal return he knows of the final meaninglessness of his intended meaning. he wills something particular or a finite aim. conceives time as an infinite circle which digests and returns all forms. However. Man is the master of the earth because he is empowered to such a human existence by the earth when he recognizes it as the great mother. Will to power and eternal return are opposed in a peculiar manner. as the source of all things and as that which gives and takes. The will seems to be a creative force which aims to create form. then the autonomous human existence must also be determined by the will to power. Only in the context of Nietzsche's view of this human ambiguity can one judge the relevance of the ideas of discipline and creation. One must realize this antithetical tension between Nietzsche's two main thoughts if one wishes to understand the view of the human being portrayed here. that is. This contradiction does not refute their truth but is rather a fundamental truth of life itself. The will to power projects itself into the future. Nietzsche does not proclaim an absolute human domination when he refers to the masters of the earth. Nietzsche's future human being is . The ruling human being returns to the earth if his will to dominate is conscious of the eternal return. the person who wills realizes the limitations and the finitude of his will. however. is characterized by a tragic pathos and by a dual and contrasting tension. On the other hand this determination must occur within the temporal understanding of the eternal return. The mastery of the earth is not a technical dominance over the world and not the selfsatisfaction of an absolute will to power that reifies all being and reduces it to a material to be used. The eternal return transforms all future into a repetition and thus into a past. A humanity that subjects itself to the discipline. The will to power wills form. A will always makes things finite. that is. It would be highly naive if we overlooked the hidden double meaning that Nietzsche introduces into all his visions of the future human world.156 The Destruction of the Western Tradition to power. Such a conception is one-sided and considers as it were the aspect of the will to power alone. He is similarly at home in the dual realm of light and concealment. Future man is a man of will and yet realizes the futility of the will. to the insight of the two truths of the will to power and the eternal return. This has a peculiarly contradictory meaning. He is autonomous yet yearns for the amorphous ground of life.

however. it also drives them into the arena of an opposing strife. flooding life into finite forms. The will to power is the negation within being itself. but it is also the negation of a negation. We experience eternal life. does not stop here at the end of this path and with this seemingly rigid dualism. however. It is the forming principle and the creative power. The eternal return thinks the primordial existence of the cosmos. rather. implies the presence of infinity for and within all finite being. of difference. that is it negates them again. so to speak. Nietzsche thinks radically within the categories of the will to power and the eternal return. The individual and finite thing reflects the eternity of the cosmos. the principle of finitude does not only achieve the simple existence of the finite things but it is also the principle of their unsteadiness. It creates the ontological illusion called being which is in truth the being of appearance. Reality is the will to power and it is the eternal return. They take. of war. like finitude to infinity and like being to the cosmos.the Dionysian world 157 ambivalent because truth itself has a dual nature. They are no things.not simply a negation which dissects and separates the one life. Nietzsche thinks the flux of things. in other words it is whatever separates the primordial one. history and art. He is the God of the overflowing . Nietzsche. Only becoming and life are real. However. The will to power and the eternal return relate to each other like the Apollonian and the Dionysian. in the depth of the gaping abyss of time. The will to power as cognition arrests becoming in the realms of nature. He conceives cosmologically what he had already formulated in his first essay aesthetically as the opposition of the two principles of art. finite and individual human quote Hegel . but he combines the two ambivalent aspects in his concept of Dionysos. shapes and structures created by the limited. It is . It is unified in the name of the God Dionysos who is according to traditional myth an ambiguous God. the dualism of Nietzsche's early metaphysics of the artist to its conclusion. All forms of the will to power are really 'semblances'. Understanding all forms as repetitions makes concrete and historical existence timeless. The will to power is the cosmic principle of finitude and also the cosmic principle of opposition. more precisely the flux which seems to solidify into things. of their opposing struggle and of their struggle for power in which they overcome each other and ascend and in which one lives through the death of the other. The will to power and the eternal return relate to each other like the principle of limit to the principle of infinity. He is mysteriously identical to Apollo in whose temple he is worshipped in Delphi.Discipline and Breeding . forms. like peiras to apeiron. The will to power does not only create the finite forms. The eternal return. The original contrast between two artistic principles radicalizes itself to become a contrast between the will to power and the eternal return. the cosmic time which grants temporality and the sea where the 'forms' are merely waves through the eternal return. It disappears.

'73 Realizing that humans are not equal Nietzsche demands that the rule of the . The high existential tension characteristic of a higher humanity cannot be part of everyday life.'72 It is economically prudent for life to create the mass of average people as the basis for the higher type of man. The only true order of rank is that corresponding to the only true power. of those levellers. The existence of the masses implies itself a protection of the higher man from his kind and from its own acts of violence.158 The Destruction of the Western Tradition excess of life. Houtos de aides kai dionysos . He is exposed to the dawn of a new divine mythos of the and the same are Hades and Dionyos. 'A declaration of war by the higher being to the masses is required' he writes71 provocatively.68 Nietzsche does not only refer to a mythical memory when he intends to articulate his ambivalent yet unified fundamental understanding of life. The 'Dionysos' chapter is followed by the humanity illuminated by the eternal return. the feeling of distance to them. Phallic songs are addressed to him and he is the God of death. He stands on them. the human truth of Dionysos remains its central concern. Human discipline is twofold. Even the masters of the earth are still subject to the rule of the lord Dionysos. 'All great times have their price. It is preceded by Nietzsche's doctrine of rank order. He calls the latter the 'ultimate nonsense known so far on earth'.70 Rank order is an order of power. Nietzsche states: 'He needs the opposition to the masses. Rank is determined as Nietzsche puts it accordingly 'solely through the quantities of power and nothing else besides'. he lives from them. corresponding to the power of life and to human vitality. Men are subject to the will to power with its necessary distinction between steps and those who climb them. However. Although this fourth book is primarily an interpretation of a humanity formed by Nietzsche's new truths. that is human existence is interpreted in the light of the will to power. that is. Nietzsche's doctrine of rank order argues polemically against the Christian idea of the equality of man vis-a-vis God and not only against modern levelling. states Heraclitus.69 Men are not equal. The great man is a kind of luxury and an exception violating the rule but still determined by it. He is also the dismembered and dissected God torn apart by the Maenads. This dual and contradictory educating discipline is ultimately the divine life of the cosmos. If one has only understood that 'Dionysos' is Nietzsche's name for creative and destructive being itself and that it thus refers to the will to power and the eternal return together without destroying their opposition it also becomes clear why the fourth book of The Will to Power focuses on Dionysos. The higher man must deal with the masses through the strategies of war. such a declaration does not intend to extinguish the masses (something altogether impossible) but to use them as a condition of higher forms of humanity or to use it but not to succumb to it. It is subject to the experience of the will to power and the eternal return.

This ruling caste of the future is for Nietzsche the condition of the new philosopher. which Nietzsche encounters here with a cynical naivety. betrayal and forgery: A morality which wishes to breed man to be higher rather than comfortable and mediocre. . .76 The greatest power is the establishment and the creative design of a value system. He demands the use of all means including deception. has already become a fatal issue for our own century. Would it not be appropriate to attempt the radical. those strong souls of today who rule themselves. the thought of breeding is much more radical and profound. Nietzsche understands the creation of elites as the aim of human breeding.'. These thoughts have become suspect through the disastrous attempts which have themselves arisen through the masses. One cannot breed the masters of the earth with the zoological methods of horse breeders. For Nietzsche. in order to be teachable. perhaps.15 This means.must be introduced through the existing moral law.Discipline and Breeding -the Dionysian world 159 strong be organized aristocratically to use the masses in the age of the masses. One question poses itself continuously to us.74 It must invent many 'means and deception'. The issue.the future masters of the earth . Let us whisper it into the ears of those who have a right to hear such doubtful questions. The will to power establishes its own conditions of struggle and the . namely open and secret ones. This aristocracy would form a conspiring association of higher men who guide the masses and rule them with two types of aims. that the humanity which exists on the basis of the truth of the will to power is completed in the explicit knowledge of the will to power. with its words and under its guise. I recognized finally that there are two types of philosophers: (1) Those who wish to identify a particularly important fact about value judgements and (2) those who are the creators of such value judgements. conscious and artificial breeding of a counter-type with corresponding virtues given the advance of a type of herd animal in Europe today? Nietzsche does not fear consequences that horrify any moralist. 'The new philosopher can only exist in connection with the ruling cast as its highest spirituality . a tempting and terrible question. a morality with the intention to breed a governing caste . Nietzsche conceives the nature of the philosopher anew: After trying for a long time and without success to connect the term 'philosopher' with a particular concept.

no summum ens and no God of fixed shape or form. that is the Apollonian tendency and of the eternal return. It would be a difficult interpretation to find the precise border between Zarathustra's atheism. and his own. From a Christian point of view suffering is the path towards a sacred existence beyond the world.'77 Nietzsche thinks of the philosopher here as the greatest man.160 The Destruction of the Western Tradition dimension of its war in so far as it is human. to the joy of healthy peasants and healthy half-human animals: This complete and immense spectrum of the light and the colour of happiness was identified by the Greeks not without a grateful shudder of those who are initiated into a mystery and not without much care and holy silence in the name of the God Dionysos. The unity which unites the will to power and the eternal return is identified by Nietzsche but he does not characterize this unity itself although he moves towards a characterization of 'play' at all decisive points in his thinking. It is the great 'disciplining thought' condemning the weak races who cannot .81 Dionysos is the unity of the will to power. However. this is no God. In the next section entitled Dionysos it is difficult to recognize to what extent Nietzsche has a new religious vision or to what extent he merely uses the name 'Dionysos' as a label for the divinity of the cosmos. It is regarded as a human challenge to human discipline.80 From this climax of joy. that is the Dionysian temporal depth of all finite things. It is 'open like the heavens'79 in whose light all things appear and it is immediate like the sealed earth to whom all created being returns. Nietzsche contrasts the Greek Dionysos with the Christian martyr and opposes their respective conception of suffering. where man perceives himself and himself entirely as a divine form and justification of nature. Dionysos is the holiness of being itself. however not like Plato or Aristotle who saw his highest rank in theoreia but in his creation of value and in his creative freedom. intuitive and god-creating instinct. 'Whoever determines the values and directs the will of millennia by directing the most important characters is the greatest man. It is the inconceivable God of being and of the existing cosmos. which he summons here yet again. as he calls it. The final section deals with the eternal return. however in no greater detail than in the Zarathustra. no being and not even the highest being.78 Whoever has learnt to look around here and to perceive the connotations will be able to recognize the hesitant revelation of a new God in Nietzsche's last and fragmentary work. Only when we succeed to understand Dionysos as the God of play can the divine play of the cosmos in the realm between heaven and earth be understood profoundly. From a Greek perspective 'being is sacred enough to justify a morality of suffering'.

The final section closes with the grand aphorism 1067 that exists in two versions. The world has no beginning and no end and yet it has a fixed form. to the will to power and the eternal return and to the unity of both within the concept of play which separates itself into opposites and reunites after this separation. Thus the thought of the eternal return becomes the greatest anchor of human existence. that which becomes.the Dionysian world 161 endure it and elevating the strong races. however. And since the world is no vessel in which the things are present. This directs the entire cosmos towards the path of an ontological interpretation of being as an Ergon which Aristotle questions in the discussion of dynamis and energeia.'82 The peculiar persistence of the world and its eternity within the transitory change of the things is clearly and especially identified in this quote. it is nothing. Everything comes together here. he nevertheless deviates from the path of this tradition. And yet this aphorism contains the entire history of western thought. . towards leadership. since it exists in all things all things have the cosmic property of eternal existence notwithstanding their temporal transience. that is it returns for ever. He makes reference to all aspects of his thinking. it passes away. to the fundamental connection between the Dionysian and the Apollonian. Nietzsche's 'cosmos' is understood as a Leviathan of power. it has never commenced to become and never ceased to pass away . Its cosmological categories are identical with those of Parmenides of the Eon of being or of the primordial one. they will continue to repeat eternally and persists in both. who perceive it as highly beneficial. 'The world exists. He identifies clearly a new path of thinking through which he opposes and rejects the tradition. The philosophical importance appears to be the conception of inner-worldly being through the inexhaustible space-time of the cosmos.Discipline and Breeding . The importance for life and the disciplining power of the doctrine of the eternal return are connected in the fact that all transience is only an appearance of a unique transience and is in truth infinite. In Parmenidean terms: the Eon is ateleston and telesmenon. And whatever else Nietzsche identifies within the mysterious concept of 'life' is explicitly conceived as the world or as the cosmic interplay of being. Power is conceived as play reviving a tradition from Heraclitus to Hegel. Leibniz in the concept of the monad and Hegel in the fundamental category of power. Although Nietzsche approaches the eternal return through an interpretation of life it is clear that this is a new cosmology.93 Furthermore. nothing that which passes away. It can not be decided with certainty if this is to be understood in a concrete sense and if our existence repeats itself an infinite number of times just like the sand running through the hourglass or if Nietzsche starts to approach for the first time the existence of the cosmos which provides all things and remains unexhausted in the giving and taking. Whatever they do now. Or rather: It becomes. And although one can only understand Nietzsche's philosophical language if one hears the resonance of the two-thousand-year-old western tradition in it.

Reason is a part and an aspect of the cosmos. This view which we will still need to deal with properly because it is the Nietzsche interpretation of some of the greatest living thinkers perhaps only reaches the metaphysical aspects of Nietzsche and his reluctant dependence on history which he intends to overcome. The cosmos is not comprehensible through reason or through a relationship with an 'ideal' and transcendental cosmos but rather the opposite. it is also the concealment of being. Reason is no property which could be added to the cosmos from somewhere outside.162 The Destruction of the Western Tradition The world is seemingly conceived as the all-embracing being in which all things come and go. however. And do you know what the world is for me? Do you want me to show you it in my mirror? This world. its idea tou agathon grants it the character of reason. However. The cosmos is 'rational'. It is not just revelation (Lichtungf*. It is divine in absorbing all references even to God or to the devil. Although the aphorism refers to the will to power as the 'key to all puzzles' and thus emphasizes this aspect especially. should be cited despite its length. he uses the image of the Agathan. of the idea of the Good which contains all ideas. In the Timaios even Plato had thought of the cosmos as a great thing. this leviathan of power. the conceptual thrust of the entire thought shows the contrast of the will to power to the infinity of the eternal return. The cosmos has no meaning and no purpose. It is not divine in the sense that this divinity retains a reference outside itself. in which all movement occurs and which remains eternal in its change. As a reflection of the Agathon the cosmos contains the many things like the Agathon the many ideas. because all its meaning and all its purpose are immanent. his cosmic vision. . The image-character of the cosmos. But it does not reach the will to power and its inner relationship to the eternal return. to light and night and to good and evil. The cosmos itself is beyond purpose. namely the will to power and the eternal return. which summarizes all aspects of this. of beginning. of end. in a remarkable way. not like an eternally present material but rather like time itself which endures despite the passing of the temporal events. meaning. Both opposing aspects have their unity and centre in Dionysos. Nietzsche explicates his two fundamental thoughts of his positive philosophy. Since the will to power has been conceived in opposition to the eternal return and vice-versa. it is a limited view to see in the will to power Nietzsche's basic ontological formula and to view this as an extreme position of contemporary subjective metaphysics which conceives the beingness of being as an object of representation and thus as a product of a representative power. It is profound in all its intricacies and full of a deep meaning that eludes an exhaustive conceptualization perhaps for some time to come yet. The concluding aphorism. This is different for Nietzsche. It rests in the light of being. The heavenly notions of the stars reveal the reason of the universe as it were. good and evil. The rationale of all things follows from an aspect of the cosmos itself. a firm.

Discipline and Breeding - the Dionysian world


iron edifice of power which does not increase or diminish, which does not exhaust itself but only changes, remains in its entirety constant, a budget without expenses and income, but also without increase, without profit, is embraced by 'nothing' like a border, - nothing vague, nothing wasted, nothing infinitely extended, but a denned power embedded in a denned space and not in an 'empty' space, but rather as power everywhere, as a play of powers and waves of power at once one and many, increasing here and diminishing there at the same time, a sea of internally storming and flooding powers, eternally changing, eternally recurring with immense years of recurrence, with an ebb and flood of forms, expelling the simplest towards the most diverse, from the most silent, most fixed, coldest towards the hotest, wildest, most self-contradictory and then again returning from the fullness home to simplicity, from the interplay of contradiction back to the pleasure of harmony, to affirm itself even in this uniformity of its paths and years, to bless itself as that, which has to return eternally, as a becoming, which knows no satisfaction, no weariness and no fatigue: This, my Dionysian world, of the eternally-self-creating, of the eternally-self-destroying, this mysterious world of the double desires, this, my beyond of good and evil without purpose, unless there is a happiness of the circle in the purpose of no will, unless there is a ring which wills itself- do you want a name for this world? A solution to all its puzzles? A light even for you, you most hidden, you strongest, most courageous, darkest? - This world is the will to power - and nothing else! And even you are the will to power - and nothing else!85 Is Nietzsche's cosmic vision only the end of metaphysics or is he the passionate herald of a new ontological experience?


Nietzsche's Relationship to Metaphysics as

Imprisonment and Liberation

1. THE FOUR TRANSCENDENTAL DIMENSIONS OF THE PROBLEM OF BEING AND THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF NIETZSCHE'S PHILOSOPHY. THE COSMIC CONCEPT OF PLAY AS AN EXTRA-METAPHYSICAL QUESTION It is now particularly important to emphasize the question more strongly that underpins the representation of Nietzsche's philosophy. Does Nietzsche belong to the history of philosophy as one thinker among many, as one more or less relevant figure in the long succession of ontological interpretations, which have pursued a persistent basic question ever since the Eleatics or is he indeed an innovator, a pioneer, a precursor, a 'herald and cock crow' of a new cosmic age, the dawn of a new, gay science which perhaps still stammers and searches for its own voice in the 'drinking song'? Is he a thinker who has experienced impotence and admits to be 'merely a fool, merely a poet' and who identifies himself with Zarathustra 'full of prophetic spirit, on the high yoke travelling between the seas'? We have attempted to uncover the fundamental aspects of Nietzsche's thinking in a journey through Nietzsche's writings. His basic ontological equation of being and value, his doctrine of the will to power, of the eternal return, of the death of God and of the overman. We have been unable to engage truthfully and comprehensively with the fateful thinker who also determines our life whether we choose to or not. However, we are not prepared for this anyhow. A true engagement would need to go further than a mere critique which detects mistaken interpretations of traditional philosophies in this dazzling, in every sense of the word, dazzling spirit, which criticizes his sophistry, which reveals his art of detection and which finds his inability for conceptualization and his presumptuous divination suspicious. A true engagement could and would have to occur in a pre-conceptual way grasping that which Nietzsche fails to grasp and which broke the will to power of his intellectual passion. He resembles the mythical figure of Tantalous. The sole object worthy of thought, namely the cosmic All and aim of the 'great yearning' eludes his grasp. At the end of his path of thinking he addresses the self-contradictory and ambiguous essence of

The four transcendental dimensions of the problem of being


the All in the mythical image of Dionysos. For Nietzsche this is the formlesslyforming, creatively-destroying God whose face is the mask, whose appearance is concealed and who is one and many, overflowing life and the simple calmness of the underworld. Nietzsche's dithyrambs to Dionysos resonate with a tantalic pain within the magic circle of a language growing poetical through resignation and impotence at its most pure perhaps in the poem The sun is setting which refers in its final stanza to the 'golden boat' of Dionysos approached by the boat of the poet: 'Seventh Solitude/1 never sensed it/ closer to me sweet certainty/ warmer the face of the sun/ Does the ice of my peaks still glow?/ Silvery, light like a fish/ my boat glides into the distance ...'.' Poetry becomes the preliminary salvation of a pre-conceptual cosmic intuition beyond language that distinguishes itself from metaphysics. In the context of the spiritual richness, experience, intuition and most sophisticated psychology and existential experience of Nietzsche's philosophy, the categorization of his philosophy into four basic aspects may appear as an impermissible simplification. And yet, in their relation and interdependence these aspects make up the essential and basic structure of Nietzsche's thinking. Only with the knowledge of the death of God, that is with the decline of the idealistic other-world can the will to power life come into view as constitutive for life. And in so far as time is seen as a path for the will to power the eternal return can become visible and the overman can appear as that human being with the tragic truth. Nietzsche proclaims his fundamental doctrine in a conscious and explicit contrast to tradition. He struggles against western metaphysics. However, does he really find a new ground or does he remain dependent on metaphysics in this struggle against metaphysics? This question of alternatives is put too simply. The rule of traditional metaphysics is not yet broken if one renounces it. Here too, not everyone is free who ridicules his chains. The deviation from the path of metaphysics is not just a new method or mode of thought, something that man could accomplish through himself. It is rather and more primordially an event which captures man or a fate which he experiences. In Ecce Homo Nietzsche finds the language for the consciousness of his fate. One understands little about the greatness of this thinker if one merely detects here the tone of an immense hubris or of a mad self-overestimation. Nietzsche is struck by lightning. He is burnt by a light of a new dawn of the truth of being in its entirety. He says there among other things: The discovery of Christian morality has no equal. It is a real catastrophe. Whoever understands it is a force majeure, a fate. He breaks the history of man into two parts. One lives before him, one lives after him. The lightning stroke of truth struck precisely that which was the highest so far.2

a philosophical tradition focusing on the order of inner-worldly things rather than the existing all-comprising cosmos. ontological horizon this does not bring die ontological dimensionality itself into view. It investigates being as such. Wherever we encounter 'being' we encounter a hidden horizon of nothing. Things. die highest being and the revelation of being. of becoming. He concludes Ecce Homo with the aggressive sentence in which not only two religions collide. The statement 'Dionysos against the Crucified' places a caesura into the history of the world. being and appearance and being and diinking. How do his four basic doctrines relate to die horizons of a metaphysical ontology? Metaphysics is the thinking which determines being in its beingness. the deeply suffering and profoundly pleasurable. diat is on the manifold. Metaphysics focuses basically on die existing diings. The metaphysical approach is inner-worldly and fourfold. however die suffering Dionysos is always sublated by the dark pleasure of procreation of which he is the master as he is the master of death. the creative and destructive cosmic life in which we are at home in a questionable way and which shelters but also exposes us. The uncanny symbolism of this sentence is not easily comprehended. that is. the totality of being. of appearance and of thinking. Such an intuition has the character of a lightning strike. We already distinguish normally being and nodiing. If this is taken to be the thing.166 Nietzsche's Relationship to Metaphysics as Imprisonment and Liberation One could hardly describe the essence of a new cosmic intuition more succinctly and more convincingly. In being a . We have just established how Nietzsche uses the contrast between being and becoming and makes it the pivotal point of his philosophy. which are themselves finite things in respect of time and space. It is based on the dimensions of die concept of being itself. resurrection and return. The Crucified. meet us from the open realm of the cosmos. In Nietzsche's words: revaluation of all values. The reason for this fourfold division is difficult to clarify. being and becoming. is for Nietzsche a symbol of great suffering renouncing the concrete world and referring beyond itself as the great leader towards a transcendental life. In Nietzsche's view die Crucified represents a morality which is foreign to life and a Utopian religious and metaphysical ideal. While it is crucial that philosophy relies on the four-dimensional. It reflects about being. How can Nietzsche's relationship to metaphysics be determined? We do not mean with this question his own opinion about metaphysics but we ask how we can and need to characterize this relationship. The limit is a boundary towards nothingness. The Crucified is for him not only the symbol of Christianity but He also symbolizes Plato and Socrates. Dionysos is the God of suffering like the Crucified. die individual or die finite tiling tiien being already shelters nodiingness since it is limited. Suffering. finite and limited beings or on things. The highest is destroyed: everything is inverted. death and decline are always merely the other sides of pleasure. Dionysos is life itself. however.

the thing is also not something else. Metaphysics thinks the ontological structure of the things in an existence of a thing hollowed by nothingness. Bonum. What appears to be a defined and individual thing is merely a transient formation of the will to power or a quantum of power which does not remain constant but is rather in motion. Plato sees an intimate connection between the ontological explication of being and nothingness with that of being and becoming. the question of the highest being is posed. immovable and most constant existing entities belonging to thinking. medieval and modern philosophy in their own characteristic way. All things are struggling. a desire by the strong to rule the weak and an eternal struggle for . finite things. one and only aspect of the manifold yet homogenous being. If the things are investigated in the light of their authenticity or unauthenticity. Agathon.The four transcendental dimensions of the problem of being 167 defined thing. Hen. Omnis determinatio est negatio. namely On. they are also exposed to generation and decline and unauthentic and only apparently existing. Strictly speaking he does not (as we have already seen) recognize firm. We ask independently: does Nietzsche's fourfold division of his fundamental questions have an immanent connection with this metaphysical division? Does his attempt to invert metaphysics remain within the realm of metaphysical questions? The doctrine of the will to power is Nietzsche's doctrine of the existence of being. It thinks the On He On. created and destroyed things of appearance and the being of the things shows itself in their participation in the ideas. Plato interprets being through a fixed. Appearances are not only not real. For Aristotle this is the character of a categorical interpretation of Ousia on the one hand and an interpretation of the thing as a work. Alethes or Ens. If the context is the relationship between being and becoming the attention is focused on motion and the totality of all the tilings in motion. The will to power drives and urges all living things forward. If the tension between being and thinking becomes predominant the truth of being and accordingly the human relevance of this truth is brought into view. however it does not absolutely sublate limitation as such but moves limits in an unstable way. Unum. being and appearance and being and thinking. They do not belong to thinking but to opinion whereas the ideas are the truly existing. Verum. The non-existence of the things shows itself in the unsteadiness of the future. It is a struggle for overcoming. The being of all finite being is a never-ending destruction of limits. it is no other thing. To put it simply: these four ontological horizons correspond to the four transcendentals which define classical. as an Ergon in the realm of dynamis and energeia. The fourfold schema of traditional metaphysics could perhaps be developed only properly in an analysis of the history and origins of metaphysical ideas. We can indicate this much: Wherever the ontological interpretation relies on the context and connection between being and nothing the attention is directed towards being as such.

Totality is not primarily set as a spatial totality and not as a sum or a heap of things. All finite things are something unformed and restless which merely assumes a form under the influence of power. This matter is completely different if all temporal events are understood to be repetitions in principle. however? Our common understanding of time presupposes that time itself is basically incomplete. Since it is a temporal totality it precedes immanent temporal change. The things are still changing. The doctrine of the will to power is Nietzsche's answer to the metaphysical question of being as such. artful creations of beautiful semblance' which are created and destroyed. And finally the doctrine of the overman . time has not yet run out and it still is continuing into the future. Firstly he sees being through the perspective of value and secondly he takes up this distinction again in the phenomenon of art. This makes it possible to conceive time as a totality or to conceive the totality of time. Thinking about the death of God is thinking about the issue of being and appearance for Nietzsche. Christian or Kantian conception of this difference. however. The Ontos On is no idea for him and it is no God. Will to power is being and nothingness in their original relation to motion. It is the future already. All finite beings are seen as 'formations of the shaping will to power. How can the totality of time precede an individual extension of time. All events are transcended and embraced by time itself because they are repetitions. The death of God implies a denial of the traditional distinction between being and appearance. as the limit of the latter but as a movement of this limit and as the existence of the difference which is created by life within itself and which continues to rage in the creations of this struggle negating their limits and causing them to move forward.168 Nietzsche's Relationship to Metaphysics as Imprisonment and Liberation power. Nietzsche remains trapped in it. concrete world and a real. What. The totality of being can only make sense as a totality of change since the thing is primarily interpreted in respect of the change effected by the will to power. Despite his rejection of the Platonic. which inhabits being. Time is no longer the infinitely incomplete which is only realized fully in the future. metaphysical and transcendent realm. made and demolished by the primordial artist. which envelops and transcends the unsteady development of their struggle for power cannot be a result of the change to the limitation of the things. Nietzsche thus does not conceive the existence of things as an enduring form. He objects to the opinion of an illusory. unchanging things the totality cannot imply a concept of resting things which are present. It is his verdict in the case of being against nothingness. namely the Dionysian and Apollonian life itself. is his intellectual focus in the doctrine of the eternal return? Nietzsche conceives in this the totality of motion itself. The whole which embraces all changing things. It is no summum ens which could be approached as the highest ranking Absolute or as an Agathon and thus as the measure of all things. He does not conceive the nothing. Since he denies fixed.

Nietzsche's philosophy is in this sense ontologically as tame as the tradition from which he wishes to distinguish himself.unsayable. This thinking takes the form of an insight or an intuition. Nietzsche remains within the ontological dimensions of nothing. As that which grants being.The four transcendental dimensions of the problem of being 169 is more than an instruction to lead a 'dangerous life' or the pathos of the Zarathustra — character is (despite the fact that he uses these formulas) more than a Caesare Borgia or a 'Caesar with a Christian soul'. Just like the sun that lends visibility to all things in the realm of vision and grants them growth. It is the Aletheia of a cosmically open existence. To be sure the Good. Finally he grasps the truth of all this in so far as it is human through the overman. Thus even in his rejection of the discursive concept and with the conception of the highest truth as a 'showing' Nietzsche still remains on the ground of a tradition which he intends to overcome. He remains within the spell of metaphysics even where he already celebrates his victory over it. the Agathon combines cognizance and identity of existence to all ideas. He is a prisoner of metaphysics in a further sense since he predominantly interprets being as value. All things appear in the light of the Agathon and thus every finite thing that is exposed to this light is in some ways . being in its entirety as the eternal return of the same. it is also more real than the enduring ideas.beyond all being. that is the idea of the ideas. becoming. Nietzsche's questions correspond to the structure of western metaphysics. the greatest thing worthy of knowledge and the target of all education of the philosopher-king in The Republic is for Plato no value but the essence of the ideas. In summary. He relies on these dimensions but does not bring their role explicitly or radically into view itself.even for Plato the heart of philosophy is guarded by silence. It eludes the concept and remains perhaps inexpressible. the Agathon which Plato calls megiston mathema.the account of being through a dialogue with friends or within the soul itself . He thinks the beingness of being as the will to power. This implies however no immediate sense perception of the given for Nietzsche. Nietzsche does not believe that this human truth of the cosmos realizes itself in an abstract or conceptual thinking. the Good is Epikeina Tes Ousias . but the divinatory intuition of the essence of the cosmos which cannot be expressed in common everyday language. appearance and thinking like the metaphysical tradition that he opposes. the highest being on the one hand negatively as the death of God and then again positively as the Apollonian-Dionysian play which creates all things as products of appearance like an artist and the work of art. the will to power and the eternal return. Even the origin of this identification is found already in Plato. The overman is humanity that has realized the death of God. It is Arrheton . Such is the essence of the Platonic Good. The Agathon is not only more existent than the things of sense perception. Even for Plato for whom philosophy is otherwise dialegesthai . This inexpressible quality may find its voice possibly only through poetry.

Every being has value because the will to power flows through and permeates the motion of things. is complete or if he somehow transcends it. In the fourfold structure of his question and in the basic value-philosophical approach Nietzsche remains indebted to metaphysics. Life itself or the world itself has no value. Nietzsche essentially concludes modern metaphysics and thinks it through to its end. however. Heidegger believes that Nietzsche is a prisoner of metaphysics in so far as he completes its basic aspects in a particular way. which he nevertheless passionately opposes. Values correspond to value judgements. Heidegger's interpretation is predominantly guided by the will to power. The eternal return establishes a spatial and temporal dimension for the expansion of the will to power. The openness towards things.'3 Having value is a fundamental ontological determination which Nietzsche attributes to finite being. Nietzsche's basic approach is this: the ontological value follows from the modern metamorphosis of the classical relation between On and Agathon. This does not imply a negative evaluation of life and world. For modernity truth gains the character of certitude following the Platonic conception of truth as an adequate view or vision of the ideas. it remains a central question of any interpretation of Nietzsche whether this dependency on metaphysics. towards their mere simple presence is already a matter of certain perspectives of value. They are no aspects of objects . Antiquity understands truth as uncovery of being (Aletheia) or as the lighting in which all things appear and show themselves. Since according to Nietzsche the essence of things is the will to power values are presupposed and projected by the will to power as 'conditions of survival and growth'. that is to determine it as value. the .170 Nietzsche's Relationship to Metaphysics as Imprisonment and Liberation 'good'. they are in the cosmos. Such a projection establishes the directions and aims of the will to power. For modernity and especially for Kant the transcendental ontological characteristics become necessarily relative to the subject for which all objects are since Kant determines being through objects. 'The total value of the world cannot be estimated. For Nietzsche all values are within life. The goodness is a transcendental character of being. Absence of value. but the realization of the impossibility to evaluate them since they are the whole in which all values occur and all valuing takes place. And this enables Nietzsche to determine the goodness of all things accordingly through a relativity of all things to man. Heidegger's interpretation of Nietzsche as contained in Holzzvege denies that Nietzsche essentially succeeds to break through towards a free cosmic vision. Modernity commences with an essential change towards truth. This doctrine establishes precisely the meaninglessness and valuelessness of that whole in which all evaluation occurs. is a basic characteristic of the entirety of being or becoming in accordance with the thought of the eternal least not in the sense that the things exist first and receive added predicates of value later. Truth becomes a way in which man. they always exist for someone. However. Values do not exist as such.

The subject's own experience of itself becomes the ontological essence. Even the early writings indicate the mysterious dimension of play including the metaphysics of the artist. the playing cosmic child. Schelling and Hegel referred often to the connection between imagination. Being is essentially conceived as an object that is as a thing. Only where the cosmic play comes into view. the playing of the child and the artist into a key concept for the universe. Representation as such is a violating will to power.and this concurrently not separately or successively. Heidegger's Nietzsche interpretation is essentially based on Heidegger's summary and insight into the history of being and in particular on his interpretation of the metaphysics of modernity. which is what it is by revealing itself to a subject. The overman is interpreted thus by Heidegger through the human being who is ready to will the will to power and who takes over the rule of the earth. Everything is will to power.The four transcendental dimensions of the problem of being 171 conscious subject. Nevertheless. While the idealism of Kant. This does not mean that the human ontological modality is uncritically applied to being in its entirety. reaches certainty about being. his Heracliteanism with Zeus. Nietzsche makes the human playing. Nietzsche brings this hidden basis into view. The driving force of the representation is the will. Rather vice versa: the human essence can only be conceived and determined through play if man is conceived in its ecstatic openness towards the existing world and not simply as a thing among other things within the cosmos distinguished by the faculties of mind and reason. The subject is will and representation. Even if Nietzsche comes frequently close to Hegel who says at one point that the play in its indifference and its 'ultimate recklessness is at the same time the most sublime and only true seriousness'. the Pais Paizon. There is a non-metaphysical originality in his cosmological philosophy of 'play'. the question remains open whether Nietzsche does not already leave the metaphysical dimensions of any problems essentially and intentionally behind in his conception of the cosmos. time. Heidegger interprets the will to power through a modern conception of substance which for Leibniz is the monad and both appetitus and perceptio and which is ontologically determined as power. It becomes a cosmic metaphor. where the conceptual view breaks through the Apollonian illusion and sees through the constructs of finite appearance to perceive the . freedom and play. It is thus not something that will occur as a completely new form of existence at some stage but it is inherent in our human and indeterminate subjectivity even if it is not yet developed to gigantic excess. it referred to primordial being as will and spirit. With his doctrine of the will to power Nietzsche completes in Heidegger's view the metaphysics of modernity which conceives substance through power and through the self. The subjective perception of being or the perceptio on the other hand is a drive which represents or a representation which is driven . Representation is an objectification.4 Nietzsche refers to their joint root Heraclitus and not to the metaphysician Hegel.

The posthumous work contains a late statement: Tragic art. as the dice game of divine chance. Man has the tremendous possibility to grasp illusion as illusion and to immerse himself in the great cosmic play through his own playing and to experience himself in this immersion as the participant of the cosmic play.'7 However. and the destruction even of the most beautiful appearance drives the Dionysian happiness to its highest climax. Taking the perspective of a tragicDionysian worldview. is described as a reconciliation of Apollo and Dionysos. man can experience himself in his playful productivity as connected to the life of the All. Nietzsche . This ecstatic happiness of Dionysian transcendence is already expressed in the fragment by Heraclitus which refers to the cosmos as a scattered rubbish heap.. the realm of a metaphysical conception of being as being is the dimension of that which forgets itself. productive and destructive 'life' itself. temporal forms is experienced as a dance and a round. the realm of a pretended. all-providing and all-eliminating play-time of the world. the will to power has no longer the characteristics of reifying being for a conscious subject but it has the character of Apollonian formation. The name for the fathomless all-power of play is Dionysos. illusory world of play. the playing man who remains ecstatically exposed to the formless and forming God Dionysos does not live in the wandering wilfulness of absolute freedom.172 Nietzsche's Relationship to Metaphysics as Imprisonment and Liberation creative.. weaving death and life into one beyond good and evil and beyond all value because any value only appears within the play. It plays the Dionysian ground which gives birth to the Apollonian illusion of the existing forms and which drives the finite things 'with the whip to the fields'. covered by the innocent and careless heavens. The eternal return of the same on the other hand conceives the all-embracing. rich in both experiences.6 The climactic Dionysian happiness is found in a frightening experience that reveals the emptiness of all individual formations and reclaims all individuality for the process of the individuating play. Where Nietzsche conceives being and becoming as play he no longer remains within the boundaries of metaphysics.where the ascent and decline of the finite. Similarly. The halcyon aspect of the vision of the overman refers to the player not to the violent aggressor or the technical giant. He is a participant in the play of the cosmos and wills profoundly that which is necessary. the deepest importance is given to appearance by Dionysos: And this appearance is even denied and denied with pleasure . as embedded in the great play of the birth and the death of all things and as immersed in the tragedy and comedy of universal being. In Ecce Homo Nietzsche states: 'I know no other way to deal with great tasks than the play: This is as an indication for greatness and an essential pre-condition. The cosmos plays.5 It plays joining and separating.

.The four transcendental dimensions of the problem of being 173 uses the formula 'amorfatf for this will which does not just resign itself to a fate but which participates in the cosmic play. O eternity!'8 . The Dionysian dithyramb Fame and Eternity expresses Nietzsche's essential and existential experience of his thought and poetry as the cosmic harmony between man and world in the play of necessity: ' . shield of necessity!/ Highest stars of being!/ no wish reaches you/ no denial can tarnish you/ eternal yes to being/1 am forever your yes/ because I love you. .

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Nietzsche. Ed. 3. Inc. Friedrich. Ecce Homo. New York: Random House. I.. New York: Random House. Walter Kaufrnann. Friedrich. 7. Random House. 20. p. Walter Kaufrnann. Trans. Citations used in this translation are those used by Fink (Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche) and translated. Thus spoke Zarathustra. 1967. 3. 2. I. 326. Friedrich. Nietzsche. Hollingdale. 5. XI. p. p. Trans. 3. I. I. R. 10. 2. pp 3-144. 62.. 20. The psychology of Art and Art as Cognition of the World 8. p. XV. The fundamental equation of being and value 2. Nietzsche. 1961. The Birth of Tragedy and The Case of Wagner. Ecce Homo. 4. J. XV. Inc. Inc. Fink cites Nietzsche from an edition of Nietzsche's works published by Kroner. 6. Nietzsche's philosophy behind masks 1. 63. p. XV. Harmondsworth: Penguin.: New York. Chapter One: The 'Metaphysics of the Artist' 1.Notes Translator's Foreword 1. Walter Kaufrnann. 5. . 65. Nietzsche. Werke. Nietzsche. As far as could be established this edition is identical with the edition prepared by Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche in 1905. p. 9. Trans. 1967. 'The Birth of Tragedy'. p. I. p. p. 19. p.

47. p. XV. IX. X.pp. 57. Notes 4. 38. VI. p. 168. 40. 31. 16. 17. 41.5. 13. ontological Being) is distinguished from 'das Seiende im Ganzen' (being in its entirety. 23. 45. p. 205. 41. XV. X. 102. 24. 42. p. X. X. Early Greek Philosophy. 43. p. 'Das Ganze des Seins' (Being as a whole. I. 8. Untimely Meditations. 'education'. 68. p.X. p. 13. 37. 68. 99. 62. 169. X. p. Barnes. p.p. I. 52. footnote I. Culture and Genius 35. p. 189. 44. 14. I. 36. 29. 44. 18. 21. X. 194. I. 74. 153. p. Jonathan. 'Ur-Eine'.p. 19. 33. I. I.p. 30.206. 151. XV. 45. 32.p. 27.p. It appears that the context for Fink's terminology ('das Ganze des Seins') is Heidegger's ontological difference. 'Socratism' against tragic wisdom 20. 25. p. 196. p. X. 170. I. p. p. 34. 26. 'Ur-Wesen'.176 11. 'Urgrund'. p. I. 22.p. 72. IX. 24. 15. XV. p. I. p. I. 39. ontic being). I.p. p. 12. p. X. 95. 37. X. cf. p. X. 5. p. 23. p. 31. 28. I. .41.

p.Notes Chapter Two: Nietzsche's Enlightenment 1. VI. 177 2. 10. VI. VI. p. The overman and the death of God 7. 15. p. p. VI. p. 33. 19. p. p. 9. 3. 4. p. p. The psychology of unmasking and the scientific perspective 1. The philosophy of the morning (Dawn and The Gay Science) 11. VI. 79. 42. p. IV. 73. 24. 6. 36. . 62. VI. 13. p. 8. V pp. p. VI. II. p. 91. II. VI. 3. 16. 94. p. p. XV. 13. p. 28. II. p. XV. 2. style and structure of Thus spoke Zarathustra 1. 12. 14. VI. VI. 17. p. 10. 6. 151. p. 118. IV. XV. p. 8. 90. 12. 476. Chapter Three: The Proclamation 1. 'through/ from the inferior'. 4. p. 5. 14. VI. XV. 49. VI. II. p. 5. 2. IV. 18. p. 13. n. 7. p. Form. 97. 11. 200. 213. VI. 34. 109. 13. 20. 13. 13. II. 414. p. XV. II. 9. p. VI. 360-361. p. 18. XV. p. 2. p. p. 16. 36.

28. p. VI. p. 228. 274. 34. 292. 30. 42. The eternal recurrence: Of the Great Yearning 44. VI. 40. 124. 124. 224. 125. VI. VI. 281. 23. VI. 41. p. p. XV. 85. . p. VI. The recurrence of the same 37. Zarathustra and the Higher Man 47. p. p. 258. Before Sunrise 32. 125. 31. 21. p. 334. p. VI. p. 324. 4. p. VI. 27. The eternal return: the cosmological conception of the problem of morality. 100. p. 226. 43. 203. VI. p. 240. VI. 35. p. VI. p. 24. p. VI. 38. 322. 125. 125. The Will to Power 19. p. 153. VI. XV. 157. 314. VI. p. VI. 398. p. 328. VI. VI. 20. p. 29. 6. 253. VI. 5. The eternal return: Of the vision and the riddle. 48. p. VI. 163. VI. 7. The eternal recurrence: The Seven Seals. VI. p. 46. VI. 22. 25. p. 287. p. VI. VI. 26. 33. VI. p. VI. 45. p. 36. VI. p. 39. 149. p. 124. VI.178 Notes 3. p. p.

3. VIII. 24. 52. 3. VII. p. p.p. p. 2. 2. XV. 30. VII. 483. 31. p. 102. 426. p. 60. 135.p. 419. 4. p. 235. VI. p. VII. p. 337.' VIII. p. p. 23. 9. VIE. 312. 317. p. p. 472. VII. 179 VI. p. 270.Notes 49. VII. 63. 53. 313. VI. VII. 419. p. 103. 336. 17. p. p. 25. 436. 430. p. 51. p. 11. p. 256. VII. The transcendental creation of value. 101. 6. VII. VII. p. VII. p. 28. 13. VH. p. p. 271. 484. 50.p. 14. VIII. . p. 21. 14. 347. 22. 10. p. 16. p. 12. XV. p. 36. Chapter Four: The Destruction of the Western Tradition 1. 130. p. VII. 19. VHI. VII. VI. p. VII. Beyond Good and Evil 1. 7. 20. 18.36. 29. p. 54. p. 379. VII. The Genealogy of Morals 15. VII. 313. 380. VH. VII. 437. VII. VII. p. VII. 430. VI. VI. 26. 8. 312. 5. VII. 87. The Antichrist and The Twilight of the Idols 27. p. XV.

XV. 19. 64. 83. 353. VIII. VIII. 402. 60. 44. p. VHI. 62. 54. 101. 51. 141. VII. 101. Vm. VIII. p. XVI. p. VIII. 59. p. p. The negative ontology of the thing 58. XV. 53. The posthumous work The Will to Power. VIII. IX. p. 152. 36. p. p. 442. XV. p. p. XV. 78. VIII. p. 34. XV. 446. 50. p. 45. 225. 57. 75. p. p. XV. 41. 5.p. . p. 47. 272. p.180 32. The problem of nihilism 49. 79. 46. p. 52. 179. p. p. XVI. 33. XIV. XV. 187. 150. 37. 80. 146. The ontological idea and the moral ideal 43. 47. XV. p. 153. 73. 55. p. XVI. XVI. 70. p. 74. p. XV. p. 65. XV. XVI. 39. p. 77. XV. p. p. VHI. 40. 6. 42. 68. 94. 63. XVI. 145. 489. VIII. 35. p. 61. 67. XVI. 222. p. 5. XVI. 66. 56. p. XV. 190. 81. XVI. 38. p. 76. 241. VIII. p. p. p. Notes 4. p. XVI. 48.

Diels-Kranz. p. p. XVI. p. XVI. p. p. Erste Druckschriften (Lasson 1928). 76. 84. p. p. F. 70. XVI. 74. XVI. 128. XVI. The four transcendental dimensions of the problem of being and the basic principles of Nietzsche's philosophy 1. XVI. 277. p. XVI. 85. Discipline and Breeding . XVI. Diels-Kranz. 351. 47. 8. 181 Chapter Five: Nietzsche's Relationship to Metaphysics as Imprisonment and Liberation 1. Fragment B 8. 125. p. 83. XVI. 399. 336. 73. XVI. 82. p. In Heidegger translations this is frequently referred to as 'Lighting'. 401. XVI. p. 386. 428. p. 168. 69. 79. 77. 285. XVI. VIII. 389. 80. Heraclitus. XVI. p. 72. p. p. XIV. XV. 279. XVI. 81. p. 436. 347. Fragment B 15. 6. 3. p. XVI. Hegel. 292. p. 78. 2. 359. Hoelderlin. 391. VTII. XV.the Dionysian world 68. 7. . 4. 71. In lieblicherBlaeue. 75. 365. p. p. 5. 338. Fragment B 11 (Diels-Kranz). p.Notes 7.4: 42. 60.15. 169 tragic 23.15- 158.168.69. 30. 58.79-82.92-5. 96. 172 Dionysos 10.169 decadence 140-2 Descartes 112 Dionysian 11-13.172 dream 15.158.14-20. 50.114. 138.168. 88. 114.87. 34.102-8.119. 134.161. 74. 55.117. eternal return 50.116.17-23.130.70. 148-50.136. see also world creator.172 egoism 63.17.83 eternal recurrence. artist 26. creativity 63. 38.26.41. 92.171. 28.138-40. 165.154. 69.28.66. 50- The 8 categories 149-51 Christianity.85.160 Attempt at a Self-Criticism 11 Augustine 92 becoming 24.137 Daybreak 8.28. 172 Apollonian 11.102. 57. 125.18.157. 111. 105- Aristotle . 162.45-7.168. 121. cognition 147-51.44.33. 20.Index affirmation 10. 73.150.96-103. 32.169.22. 72. 62.127.160 Ecce Homo 7. 139. 53. 66. 155. 57-9. The 8.164-72 question of 52. 145.127.42. 88.119 cosmos 21.140. 169 Concerning Truth and Deception in the extramoral sense 24 conscience 118.110. 56.16. 108. 81. 155. 66.153. The 8.143-53.128.165. 43. earth 59. 33. 101.67.135. 81. 62.154.154 concept 25.94. 63-9. 172 Being 12. 34. 172 appearance 16. Caesar 113 Case of Wagner.157.166. 118. 62.22.95. 96.98.164. 139.79. 134 atheism 134. 109. 117 Birth of Tragedy.160.167 art 9.144 aphorism 5 Apollo 12.160. 110. Beyond Good and Evil 157.166. 100.19.155. 53.116 death of God 37. 170.125 altruism 146 Antichrist.128. 9.168.82- 86-94.157.171. 117.15. 130 being 19.132. 102. culture 26-30.22. 85. 73.161.125-7.134. 90. Christian 10.166.166. 9. 81. 65.153.160. 135.122. 117.

94. The (Agathori) 46.78-82. 120.81. 131. 145. 122.76.158. 130. 78. 73.108.153. All too Human 8. music 17 Napoleon 113. 141. 147.135.136-40.171 herd 113. 124. 152- good and evil 55. 49.143.44. of Nietzsche 3 intoxication 18.160. 172 eternity 44.134.27. 93. 8. 62.40. 147. Heraclitus 6. homeless. 58.48.138. 103. 34. 155. 85. 137. 115-18 metaphysics 6.120. 50. 43.63-5. 49.30-32. 75.81. Miscellaneous Beliefs and Sayings 8 morality 38. 154-7.85.46. 123.46-8. 139.66. 54. 55.32-34. 164.85. 102.115.172 lust 84 lyric poetry 17 master-slave (morality) 68. 100. idea 130. 104.52.36-40.146.37. nihilist 2.65.129. 41. 102. 59-61. 151. 99. 147.29.115. ascetic ideal 58.151. 161 Paul.155.107.101 otherworld. 64. 45-7.99. 45.109- Philosophy in the tragic age of the Greeks 30 Plato 6.133.143. 114. 85. 100. 56. 141. 169.9. inverted Platonism 81.136. 51.147. 80.171 language 166.151.155 non-being.84. 125.123. 42.151. 97. higher man God Parmenides 32.162.Paulus 123 pessimism 104.11924.24. 104. justice 68 183 Kant 134.124- openness 83. (the Crucified) 166 56.24. evil 55.153 Nietzsche Contra Wagner 8 nihilism.161.77. homelessness 83. 157. 59. 128. 140 inverted 58.144.118 necessity 88.94 Gay Science.136.129. 44.147.166-9 Platonism.136.136.154 existence (human) 46.157.50. nihilistic. ideal.46. 125. 82. 54.26.165-7.87- 73.46. 100-2.61. 142. 111. 54.22 Introduction to the study of Plato's dialogues 30 intuition 14. 66-71.92-4.171 Heidegger 170.98.93. life 12.170.159 history 28.95. 116.81. 169. 150.33. 139 overman 27.120.160-2.129-33.121.Index eternal recurrence.121. 165.114.169 Jesus. 105-8. 90.128 last man 56-8.132.165. free spirit 41-4.131 . 64. 61.139.164. 93. 104.103. 56. 131- inspiration 54 interpretations.49.173 negative ontology 150.30-2. 117 ontological difference 129.170.116 genius 121 idealism 38.62.42. 139 Human. 165. 85.159 Highermen 103.22. 148.63.71-3.62 see also overman.123. 117. 59.147. 123. 168.138. 56. 55. 82.104.67 infinity 75.30. 129.172 Good.76.154. 50. 66.165.112 freedom 88.168 On the Genealogy of Morals 8.56-8. 38.74. other-world 46.95. 136- home.126.169 Hegel 1. 80.92. eternal return (continued) 100.145. The 8. nothing (see also being) 125.

85.100. 106. 166 Socratism 11.142.29 Untimely Meditation (Schopenhauer as Educator) Twilight of the Idols.18. 123-5. 67.108. 107. 90.125 Prince Vogelfrei 41.112. thing in itself 22.22 thing. 85. revaluation 49.92. Pre-Socratic 30.112.140. 124. 118.108. 54. 166-168 Thus spoke Zaraihustra 8.17.172 pleasure (hedone) 98 positivism 45-7. 103-5.86.104- truth 24-7. 81.44.98 science 12. 166 spirit of heaviness 84- the question of 108. 32.121 .103.168 tragedy 9. 36 soul resentment 121.100.143. 85. 91.171 redemption 10. 119. rank order 27.23.110. 59. 160. The 8. 108 play 24.157 theory 21. 151. 69. 60. pathos 12.161. 112. 167-71 Will to Power. 73.76-8. 101. 86.40. 68-74.13. 88.57. 111.156 transience 97.62.135. 80.29.111. tragic .152 Schiller 76 Schopenhauer 10. 64.51 psychological analysis 3 psychology 16. style 2.121.122 space 16. 87.102. 101. 32. 162.70.46. 117.114- 113-15. 89. 81.27. 103.114 Wagner 4. 65.91-6. self tragic experience.126.87. 26-30. 50.122. 155-7.150-65.28 Untimely Meditation (Richard Wagner in Bayreuth) 8.157. 154 Ree. 94.16.41-6. 75- scientist 26. 141.53 Wanderer and his Shadow.55. 30. 168-70. 131. 116.102. the Confessor and Writer) 150-2.171 will to power 50.27. temporality 85.49.166 revenge 67.45.92. 96. thing itself. 64.151. 79. 30. 112.95-9.28 Untimely Meditation (On the Use and Abuse of History) 8. 61. 72. 144-8.114. 161- 62. The 8.134 scepticism 6.76. 62. 80. 78.80.125. 9. 145 Untimely Meditation (David Strauss.184 Index time 16.26.120. The 8 Wilamowitz-Moellendorf 14 will 23. 115-17. 166. 145 world 14.143.138. 83. 18.85. 67.110.153 Socrates 13. 95. 62. 54. 94.125. 125.161. 173 see also cosmos yearning 83. 107.137. thing as such.12. 171 self-alienation 48.41. 68. 147. 86. 89.135. 66.111.22. 93. 90.68. Zarathustra 20.74. Paul 35 religion 36- tragic view.130. 151.131. 141.158 reason 25.29 value 11.34-6. 141. 88.

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