interpretations.,^ But let us, forsooth, my philo- sophic

interpretations.,^ But let us, forsooth, my philo- sophic colleagues, henceforward guard ourselves more carefully against this mythology of dangerous ancient ideas, which has set up a ” pure, willless, painless, timeless subject of knowledge ” ; let us guard ourselves from the tentacles of such
contradictory ideas as “‘ pure reason,” “absolute
spirituality,””” knowledge – in – itself” :—in these
theorres^” an “eye that cannot be thought of is required to think, an eye which ex hypothesi has no direction at all, an eye in which the active and
interpreting functions are cramped, are absent
those functions, I say, by means of which ” abstract”
seeing first became seeing something ; in these
theories consequently the absurd and the nonsensical is always demanded of the eye. There is only a seeing from a perspective, only a ” knowing ” from a perspective, and the more emotions we express over a thing, the more eyes, different
eyes, we train on the same thing, the more complete will be our ” idea ” of that thing, our ” objectivity.” But the elimination of the will altogether, the switching off of the emotions all and sundry,
granted that we could do so, what ! would not
that be called intellectual castration ?
13- But let us turn back. Such a self-contradiction, as apparently manifests itself among the
ascetics, ” Life turned against Life,” is—this much
is absolutely obvious—from the physiological and
not now from the psychological standpoint, simply154 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
nonsense. It can only be an apparent contf^- diction ; it must be a kind of provisional expression, an explanation, a formula, an adjustment, a psychological misunderstanding of something, whose real nature could not be understQQd_i2Li_
long time, and whose real essence covXd. not be
described; a mere word jamnied into—aaI3l5]” gap of human knowledge. To put briefly the
facts against its being real : the ascetic ideal springs from the prophylactic and self-preservative instincts which mark^^decadent life, which seeks by, every^ means in its power to maintain its position and
>fight for its existence; it points to “a partiat’ physiological depression and exhaustion, against which the most profound and intact life-instincts fight ceaselessly with new weapons and dis- coveries. The ascetic ideal is such a weapon
its position is consequentlv_^xact!y the reverse of that which the worshippers of the ideal imagine—life struggles in it and through ~tt~WTth- death and against death ; the ascetic”” ideal
is a dodge for the preservation of life. An
important fact is brought out in the extent to which, as history teaches, this ideal, coijld^rule and exercise power over man, especially in al! those places where the civilisation and taming
of man was completed : that fact is, the diseased
state of man up to the present, at any rate, of the man who has been tamed, the physiological struggle of man with death (more precisely, with
the disgust with life, with exhaustion, with the wish for the ” end “). The ascetic priest is the incarnate wish for an existence of another kind.WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? I 55
an existence on another plane,—he is, in fact, the
highest point of this wish, its official ecstasy and
passion : but it is the vety power of this wish
which is the fetter that binds him here ; it is just that which makes him into a tool that must
labour to create more favourable conditions for earthly existence, for existence on the human
plane—it is with this very power that he keeps
the whole” herd of failures, distortions, abortions,
unfortunates, sufferers from tlietnselves of every
kind, fast to existence, while he as the herdsnian
goes instinctively on in front. You understand me already : this ascetic priest, this apparent enemy of life, ^ thi5 jjenier-r^he . actually belongs,
to the really great conservative and affirmative
forces of life. . . | What does it come from, this diseased state? For man is more diseased, more
uncertain, more changeable, more unstable than any other animal, there is no doubt of it—he is the diseased animal : what does it spring from ? Certainly he has also dared, innovated, braved
more, challenged fate more than all the other
animals put together ; he, the great experimenter
with himself, the unsatisfied, the insatiate, who
struggles for the supreme mastery with beast, Nature, and gods, he, the as yet ever uncompelled,
the ever future, who finds no more any rest from
his own aggressive strength, goaded inexorably
on by the spur of the future dug into the flesh of the present :—how should not so brave and
rich an animal also be the most endangered,
the animal with the longest and deepest sickness among all sick animals ? . . . Man is sick of it, oft156 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
enough there are whole epidemics of this satiety
(as about i 348, the time of the Dance of Death)
but even this very nausea, this tiredness, this disgust with himself, all this is discharged from him with such force that it is immediately made
into a new fetter. His ” nay,” which he utters to life, brings to light as though by magic an abundance of graceful ” yeas ” ; even when he wounds himself, this master of destruction, of self- destruction, it is subsequently the wound itself that forces him to live.
14. The more normal is this sickliness in man

and we cannot dispute this normality—the higher honour should be paid to the rare cases of psychical and physical powerfulness, the windfalls of humanity, and the more strictly should
the sound be guarded from that worst of air, the
air of the sick-room. Is that done? \The sick are the greatest danger for the healthy ; it is not from the strongest that harm comes to the strong, but from the weakest. I Is that known ? Broadly
considered, it is not for a minute the fear of man, whose diminution should be wished for ; for this fear forces the strong to be strong, to be at times
terrible—it preserves in its integrity the sound
type of man. ( What is to be feared, what does work with a fatality found in no other fate, is not the great fear of, but the great nausea with, man
and equally so the great pity for man^ Supposing that both these things were one day toWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 157
espouse each other, then inevitably the maximum
of monstrousness would immediately come into
the world—the ” last will ” of man, his will for nothingness, Nihilism, ^d. in sooth, the way
is well paved thereto. iHe who not only has
his nose to smell with, but also has eyes and
ears, he sniffs almost wherever he goes to-day
an air something like that of a mad-house,
the air of a hospital—1 am speaking, as stands
to reason, of the cultured areas of mankind, of
every kind of ” Europe” that there is in fact in the world. | [The sick are the great danger of man, not the evil, not the ” beasts of prey.”^ They
who are from the outset botched, oppressed,
broken, those are they, the weakest are they, who
most undermine the life beneath the feet of man, who instil the most dangerous venom and
scepticism into our trust in life, in man, in ourselvejjj Where shall we escape from it, from that
covert look (from which we carry away a deep
sadness), from that averted look of him who is misborn from the beginning, that look which
betrays what such a man says to himself—that
look which is a groan ? ” Would that I were
something else,” so groans this look, “but there
is no hope. \1 am what I am : how could I ge^ away from myself? And, verily—/ am sick of, myself!” On such a soil of self-contempt, aj veritable swamp soil, grows that weed, that poisonous growth, and all so tiny, so hidden, so, ignoble, so sugary; ]] Here teem the worms of
revenge and vindictiveness ; here the air reeks
of things secret and unmentionable ; 


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