The first stimulus to publish something of my

The first stimulus to publish something of my hypothesis concerning the origin of
morality was given to me by a lucid, tidy, clever, even precocious little book in which
for the first time I clearly ran into a topsy-turvy and perverse type of genealogical
hypothesis—a genuinely English style. It drew me with that power of attraction which
everything opposite, everything antipodal contains. The title of this booklet was The
Origin of the Moral Feelings. Its author was Dr Paul Rée, and it appeared in the year
1877. It’s likely I have never read anything which I would have denied, statement by
statement, conclusion by conclusion, as I did with this book, but without any sense of
annoyance or impatience.
In the work I mentioned above, on which I was working at the time, I made opportune
and inopportune references to statements in Dr. Rée’s book, not in order to prove them
wrong (what have I to do with preparing such refutations!) but, as is appropriate to a
positive spirit, to put in the place of something unlikely something more likely, in the
place of some error in detail some other error.
At that time, as I said, for the first time I brought into the light of day my hypotheses
about genealogy, to which these essays have been dedicated—but clumsily (as I will
be the last to deny), still fettered, still without my own language for these concerns of
mine, and with all sorts of retreating and vacillating. For particular details, you should
compare what I said in Human, All-too Human, on p. 51, about the double nature of
the prehistory of good and evil (that is, in the spheres of the nobility and the slaves);
similarly, pages 119 ff concerning the worth and origin of ascetic morality, as well as
pages 78, 82, and 2.35 concerning the “Morality of Custom,” that much older and
more primitive style of morality, which lies an enormous distance from the altruistic
way of valuing (which Dr. Rée, like all English genealogists of morality, sees as the
very essence of moral evaluation); similarly, p. 74 of the Wanderer, and p. 99 of The
Dawn concerning the origin of justice as a compromise between approximately equal
powers (equality as a precondition of all contracts and therefore of justice); likewise
concerning the origin of punishment in Wanderer, p 25, 34, for which an intent to
terrify is neither the essential thing nor the origin (as Dr. Rée claims—it is far more
likely first brought in under a specific set of conditions and always as something
incidental, something additional)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s