So all respect to the good spirits that

So all respect to the good spirits that may govern in these historians of morality! But
it’s certainly a pity that they lack the historical spirit itself, that they’ve been left in
the lurch by all the good spirits of history! Collectively they all think essentially
unhistorically, in what is now the traditional manner of philosophers. Of that there is
no doubt. The incompetence of their genealogies of morals reveals itself at the very
beginning, where the issue is to determine the origin of the idea and of the judgment
“People,” so they proclaim, “originally praised unegoistic actions and called them
good from the perspective of those for whom they were done, that is, those for whom
such actions were useful. Later people forgot how this praise began, and because
unegoistic actions had, according to custom, always been praised as good, people then
simply felt them as good, as if they were something inherently good.”
We see right away that this initial derivation already contains all the typical
characteristics of the idiosyncrasies of English psychologists—we have “usefulness,”
“forgetting,” “habit,” and finally “error,” all as the foundation for an evaluation in
which the higher man up to this time has taken pride, as if it were a sort of privilege of
men generally. This pride should be humbled, this evaluation of worth emptied of
value. Has that been achieved?
Now, first of all, it’s obvious to me that from this theory the origin of the idea “good”
has been sought for and established in the wrong place: the judgment “good” did not
move here from those to whom “goodness” was shown! It is much more that case that
the “good people” themselves, that is, the noble, powerful, higher-ranking, and
higher-thinking people felt and set themselves and their actions up as good, that is to
say, of the first rank, in contrast to everything low, low-minded, common, and vulgar


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