What is the meaning of ascetic ideals ?

What is the meaning of ascetic ideals ? In
artists, nothing, or too much ; in philosophers and
scholars, a kind of ” flair ” and instinct for the conditions most favourable to advanced intellectualism
;
in women, at best an additional seductive fascination, a little morbidezza on a fine piece of flesh, the angelhood of a fat, pretty animal ; in physiological failures and whiners (in the majority of
mortals), an attempt to pose as ” too good ” for this world, a holy form of debauchery, their chief weapon in the battle with lingering pain and
ennui ; in priests, the actual priestly faith, their best engine of power, and also the supreme authority
for power ; in saints, finally a pretext for hibernation, their novissima glories cupido, their peace in nothingness (” God “), their form of madness. But in the very fact that the ascetic ideal has meant so much to man, lies expressed the fundamental featare of man’s will, his horror vacui: he
needs a ^«’g/-^rr.^od.,ii will, sooner will Incinilngness dian not will at all.-^-Am I_J3ot__ understpoji ?^— Have I not been understood ?—” Certainly not,
sir ? “^^Wgll,Jet us begin. at-lhe-JaegJaning.
2. What is the meaning of ascetic ideals ? Or, to take an individual case in regard to which I have122 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
often been consulted, what is the meaning, for example, of an artist like Richard Wagner paying homage to chastity in his old age ? He had
always done so, of course, in a certain sense, but
it was not till quite the end, that he did so in an ascetic sense. What is the meaning of this
” change of attitude,” this radical revolution in his attitude—for that was what it was? Wagner
veered thereby straight round into his own opposite. What is the meaning of an artist veering round
into his own opposite? At this point (granted
that we do not mind stopping a little/Over this question), we immediately call to xamd the best, strongest, gayest, and boldest period, that there perhaps ever was in Wagner’s life : that was the period when he was genuinely and deeply occupied with the idea of ” Luther’s Wedding.” Who knows what chance is responsible for our now having the Meistersingers instead of this wedding music ? And how much in the latter is perhaps just an echo of the former ? But there
is no doubt but that the theme would have dealt with the praise of chastity. And certainly it would also have dealt with the praise of sensuality, and even so, it would seem quite in order, and
even so, it would have been equally Wagnerian. For there is no necessary antithesis between
chastity and sensuality : every j[ood rnarriagg, every authentic^ heart-felt love transcgnda this antithesis. Wagner wouI3, it seems to me, have ~3one well’lo have brought this pleasing reality home once again to his Germans, by means of a bold and graceful ” Luther Comedy,” for thereWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 1 23
were and are among the Germans many revilers of sensuality ; and perhaps Luther’s greatest merit
lies just in the fact of his having had the courage
of his sensuality (it used to be called, prettily enough, ” evangelistic freedom “). But even in those cases where that antithesis between chastity and sensuality does exist, there has fortunately been for some time no necessity for it to be in any way a tragic antithesis. This should, at any
rate, be the case with all beings who are sound
in mind and body, who are far from reckoning
their delicate balance between ” animal ” and
“angel,” as being on the face of it one of the
principles opposed to existence—the most subtle and brilliant spirits, such as Goethe, such as Hafiz, have even seen in this a further charm of life. Such ” conflicts ” actually allure one to life. On
the other hand, it is only too clear that when
once these ruined swine are reduced to worshipping
chastity—and there are such swine—they only
see and worship in it the antithesis to themselves,
the antithesis to ruined swine. Oh what a tragic grunting and eagerness ! You can just think of
it—they worship that painful and superfluous
contrast, which Richard Wagner in his latter days
undoubtedly wished to set to music, and to place on the stage ! ” For what purpose, forsooth f

as we may reasonably ask. What did the swine
matter to him ; what do they matter to us ?
3. At this point it is impossible to beg the
further question of what he really had to do with124 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
that manly (ah, so unmanly) country bumpkin,
that poor devil and natural, Parsifal, whom he
eventually made a Catholic by such fraudulent
devices. What? Was this Parsifal really meant
seriously “i One might be tempted to suppose
the contrary, even to wish it—that the Wagnerian Parsifal was meant joyously, like a concluding
play of a trilogy or satyric drama, in which Wagner the tragedian wished to take farewell of
us, of himself, above all of tragedy, and to do so in a manner that should be quite fitting and worthy,
that is, with an excess of the most extreme and
flippant parody of the tragic itself, of the ghastly earthly seriousness and earthly woe of old—
a
parody of that most crude phase in the unnatural- ness of the ascetic ideal, that had at length been overcome. That, as I have said, would have been
quite worthy of a great tragedian ; who like every
artist first attains the supreme pinnacle of his greatness when he can look down into himself and
his art, when he can laugh at himself. Is Wagner’s
Parsifal his secret laugh of superiority over
himself, the triumph of that supreme artistic freedom and artistic transcendency which he has
at length attained. We might, I repeat, wish it were so, for what can Parsifal, taken seriously, amount to? Is it really necessary to see in it (according to an expression once used against me)
the product of an insane hate of knowledge, mind, and flesh ? A curse on flesh and spirit in one breath of hate ? An apostasy and reversion to the morbid Christian and obscurantist ideals? And
finally a self-negation and self-elimination on theWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? 12$
part of an artist, who till then had devoted all the
strength of his will to the contrary, namely, the
highest artistic expression of soul and body. And
not only of his art ; of his life as well. Just remember with what enthusiasm Wagner followed
in the footsteps of Feuerbach. Feuerbach’s motto
of “healthy sensuality” rang in the ears of Wagner during the thirties and forties of the
century, as it did in the ears of many Germans
(they dubbed themselves ” Young Germans “), like the word of redemption. Did he eventually
change his mind on the subject ? For it seems at any rate that he eventually wished to change his
teaching on that subject . . . and not only is that the case with the Parsifal trumpets on the
stage : in the melancholy, cramped, and embarrassed lucubrations of his later years, there
are a hundred places in which there are manifestations of a secret wish and will, a despondent,
uncertain, unavowed will to preach actual retrogression, conversion, Christianity, mediaevalism, and to say to his disciples, ” All is vanity ! Seek
salvation elsewhere ! ” Even the ” blood of the Redeemer ” is once invoked.
Let me speak out my mind in a case like this, which has many painful elements—and it is a
typical case : it is certainly best to separate an
artist from his work so completely that he cannot be taken as seriously as his work. He is after all merely the presupposition of his work126 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
the womb, the soil, in certain cases the dung and
manure, on which and out of which it grows

and consequently, in most cases, something that must be forgotten if the work itself is to be en- joyed. The insight into the origin of a work is a matter for psychologists and vivisectors, but never either in the present or the future for the
aesthetes, the artists. The author and creator of Parsifal was as little spared the necessity of sinking and living himself into the terrible depths and foundations of medieval soul-contrasts, the necessity of a malignant abstraction from all intellectual elevation, severity, and discipline, the necessity of a kind of mental perversity (if the reader will pardon me such a word), as little as a pregnant woman is spared the horrors and
marvels of pregnancy, which, as I have said, must
be forgotten if the child is to be enjoyed. We
must guard ourselves against the confusion, into which an artist himself would fall only too easily
(to employ the English terminology) out of psychological ” contiguity “
; as though the artist himself actually were the object which he is able
to represent, imagine, and express. In point of fact, the position is that even if he conceived he were such an object, he would certainly not represent, conceive, express it. Homer would not have
created an Achilles, nor Goethe a Faust, if Homer
had been an Achilles or if Goethe had been a Faust. A complete and perfect artist is to all eternity separated from the ” real,” from the actual ; on
the other hand, it will be appreciated that he can
at times get tired to the point of despair of thisWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? 1 27
eternal ” unreality ” and falseness of his inner- most being — and that he then sometimes
attempts to trespass on to the most forbidden
ground, on reality, and attempts to have real
existence. With what success? The success will be guessed—it is the typical velleity of the artist
;
the same velleity to which Wagner fell a victim
in his old age, and for which he had to pay so
dearly and so fatally (he lost thereby his most
valuable friends). But after all, quite apart from
this velleity, who would not wish emphatically
for Wagner’s own sake that he had taken fare- well of us and of his art in a different manner,
not with a Parsifal, but in more victorious, more
self-confident, more Wagnerian style—a style
less misleading, a style less ambiguous with regard
to his whole meaning, less Schopenhauerian, less Nihilistic? . . .
What, then, is the meaning of ascetic ideals ? In’ the case of an artist we are getting to undersraflg^heir . iaeamiig_^:„J\7i2^g^ at all . . . or so much that it is as good as nothing at all. Indeed, what is the use of them ? Our artists have for a
long time past not taken up a sufficiently inde- . pendent attitude, either in the world or against it, to warrant their valuations and the changes in these valuations exciting interest. At all times
they have played the valet of some morality, philosophy, or religion, quite apart from the fact that unfortunately they have often enough been
the inordinately supple courtiers of their clients128 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
and patrons, and the inquisitive toadies of the powers that are existing, or even of the new
powers to come. To put it at the lowest, they always need a rampart, a support, an already
constituted authority : artists never stand by
themselves, standing alone is opposed to their deepest instincts. So, for example, did Richard Wagner take, ” when the time had come,” the philosopher Schopenhauer for his covering man
in front, for his rampart. Who would consider
it even thinkable, that he would have had the courage for an ascetic ideal, without the support
afforded him by the philosophy of Schopenhauer,
without the authority of Schopenhauer, which dominated Europe in the seventies ? (This is without consideration of the question whether an
artist without the milk * of an orthodoxy would have been possible at all.) This brings us to the more serious question : What is _ the meaning of a real philosopher paying homage to the ascetic
ideal, a really self-dependent intellect like Schcr-” penhauer, a man and knight with a glance of bronze, who has the courage to be himself, who
knows how to stand alone without first waiting
for men who cover him in front, and the nods of
his superiors ? Let us now consider at once the remarkable attitude of Schopenhauer towards art, an attitude which has even a fascination for certain types. For that is obviously the reason why Richard Wagner all at once went over to
* An allusion to the celebrated monologue in William
Tell.WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? 1 29
Schopenhauer (persuaded thereto, as one knows, by a poet, Herwegh), went over so completely that
there ensued the cleavage of a complete theoretic
contradiction between his earlier and his later
aesthetic faiths—the earlier, for example, being
expressed in Opera and Drama, the later in the
writings which he published from 1870 onwards.
In particular, Wagner from that time onwards (and
this is the volte-face which alienates us the most)
had no scruples about changing his judgment concerning the value and position of music itself. What did he care if up to that time he had made
of music a means, a medium, a ” woman,” that in order to thrive needed an end, a man—that is, the drama ? He suddenly realised that more could be
effected by the novelty of the Schopenhauerian
theory in majorem musiccsgloriam—that is to say, by means of the sovereignty of music, as Schopenhauer understood it ; music abstracted from and
opposed to all the other arts, music as the in- dependent art-in-itself, not like the other arts, affording reflections of the phenomenal world, but
rather the language of the will itself, speaking
straight out of the ” abyss ” as its most personal,
original, and direct manifestation. This extraordinary rise in the value of music (a rise which
seemed to grow out of the Schopenhauerian
philosophy) was at once accompanied by an unprecedented rise in the estimation in which the
musician himself was held : he became now an
oracle, a priest, nay, more than a priest, a kind of mouthpiece for the ” intrinsic essence of things,” a telephone from the other world—from hence-I30 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
forward he talked not only music, did this ventriloquist of God, he talked metaphysic
;
what wonder that one day he eventually talked
ascetic ideals.
Schopenhauer has made use of the Kantian treat- ment of the esthetic problem—though he certainly did not regard it with the Kantian eyes. Kant
thought that he showed honour to art when he
favoured and placed in the foreground those of the predicates of the beautiful, which constitute the honour of knowledge : impersonality and universality. This is not the place to discuss whether
this was not a complete mistake ; all that I wish
to emphasise is that Kant, just like other philo- sophers, instead of envisaging the esthetic prob- lem from the standpoint of the experiences of the artist (the creator), has only considered art and beauty from the standpoint of the spectator, and
has thereby imperceptibly imported the spectator himself into the idea of the ” beautiful ” ! But if only the philosophers of the beautiful had suffi- cient knowledge of this “spectator”!—Knowledge of him as a great fact of personality, as a great experience, as a wealth of strong and most
individual events, desires, surprises, and raptures
in the sphere of beauty ! But, as I feared, the contrary was always the case. And so we get from our philosophers, from the very beginning,
definitions on which the lack of a subtler personal experience squats like a fat worm of crass error, as it does on Kant’s famous definition of theWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 1 3
1
beautiful. ” That is beautiful,” says Kant, ” which
pleases without interesting.” Without interesting
!
Compare this definition with this other one, made
by a real ” spectator ” and ” artist “—by Stendhal, who once called the beautiful une promesse de
honheur. Here, at any rate, the one point which Kant makes prominent in the aesthetic position
is repudiated and eliminated

le desinteressement. Who is right, Kant or Stendhal ? When, forsooth, our aesthetes never get tired of throwing into the
scales in Kant’s favour the fact that under the magic of beauty men can look at even naked
female statues ” without interest,” we can certainly laugh a little at their expense :—in regard to this
ticklish point the experiences of artists are more
” interesting,” and at any rate Pygmalion was not
necessarily an ” unsesthetic man.” Let us think
all the better of the innocence of our aesthetes,
reflected as it is in such arguments ; let us, for instance, count to Kant’s honour the countryparson na’lvet^ of his doctrine concerning the
peculiar character of the sense of touch ! And
here we come back to Schopenhauer, who stood
in much closer neighbourhood to the arts than
did Kant, and yet never escaped outside the pale
of the Kantian definition ; how was that ? The
circumstance is marvellous enough : he interprets the expression, ” without interest,” in the most
personal fashion, out of an experience which must
in his case have been part and parcel of his regular routine. On few subjects does Schopenhauer speak with such certainty as on the working of aesthetic contemplation : he says of it that132 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
it simply counteracts sexual interest, like lupulin and camphor ; he never gets tired of glorifying
this escape from the ” Life-will ” as the great advantage and utility of the sesthetic state. In
fact, one is tempted to ask if his fundamental
conception of Will and Idea, the thought that there can only exist freedom from the ” will ” by means of ” idea,” did not originate in a generalisation from this sexual experience. (In all questions concerning the Schopenhauerian philosophy, one
should, by the bye, never lose sight of the consideration that it is the conception of a youth ol twenty-six, so that it participates not only in what is peculiar to Schopenhauer’s life, but in what is peculiar to that special period of his life.) Let us listen, for instance, to one of the most
expressive among the countless passages which he has written in honour of the aesthetic state
( World as Will and Idea, i. 231); let us listen to the tone, the suffering, the happiness, the gratitude, with which such words are uttered : ” This is the painless state which Epicurus praised as the highest good and as the state of the gods; we
are during that moment freed from the vile pres- sure of the will, we celebrate the Sabbath of the
will’s hard labour, the wheel of Ixion stands still.” What vehemence of language ! What images of anguish and protracted revulsion ! How almost
pathological is that temporal antithesis between
” that moment ” and everything else, the ” wheel
of Ixion,” ” the hard labour of the will,” ” the vile pressure of the will.” But granted that Schopen- hauer was a hundred times right for himselfWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 133
personally, how does that help our insight into the nature of the beautiful ? Schopenhauer has
described one effect of the beautiful,—the calming
of the will,—but is this effect really normal ? As has been mentioned, Stendhal, an equally
sensual but more happily constituted nature than
Schopenhauer, gives prominence to another effect of the ” beautiful.” ” The^ beautiful promises
happiness.” To him it is just the excitement “oT’the
“will “(tp “^interest “£j)j;;J^lJbeaHty ^tfiitLieisii” the essential fact. And does not Schopenhauer
ultimately lay himself open to the objection, that he is quite wrong in regarding himself as a Kantian
on this point, that he has absolutely failed to understand in a Kantian sense the Kantian
definition of the beautiful—;that the beautiful pleased him as well by means^ of_an interest, by
means, in fact, of the strongest and most personal
interest of all, that: of the victim of torture who
escapes ^from his torture?—And to come back
again to our first question, ” What is the meaning
of a philosopher paying homage to ascetic ideals ? ” We geFiiow, afany rate, a first hintj_he wishes to
escape from, a torture.
Let us beware of making dismal faces at the word ” torture “—there is certainly in this case enough to deduct, enough to discount—there is even something to laugh at. For we must
certainly not underestimate the fact that Schopenhauer, who in practice treated sexuality as a134 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
personal enemy (including its tool, woman, that
” instrumentum diaboli “), needed enemies to keep him in a good humour ; that he loved grim, bitter, blackish-green words ; that he raged for the sake of raging, out of passion ; that he would have grown ill, would have become a pessimist (for he was not a pessimist, however much he wished to be), without his enemies, without Hegel, woman,
sensuality, and the whole ” will for existence

” keeping on.” Without them Schopenhauer would not have ” kept on,” that is a safe wager ; he would have run away : but his enemies held him
fast, his enemies always enticed him back again to existence, his wrath was just as theirs’ was to the ancient Cynics, his balm, his recreation, his recompense, his remedium against disgust, his happiness. So much with regard to what is most
personal in the case of Schopenhauer ; on the other hand, there is still much which is typical
in him—and only now we come back to our problem. It is an accepted and indisputable fact, ^O long as thprp arp pTiilngnpliprc: jn^HT?|^ffff]7an? wherever philosophers have_existed (from India
fo England, to take the opposite poles of philo- sophic ability), that there exists a,..jcmlJrritatio»- andj:ancour on the part of philosoghas.towards_
sensyality^^ Schopenhauer is merely the most
eloquent, and if one has the ear for it, also the most fascinating and enchanting outburst. There
^
similarly exists a real philosophic bias and affection for the whole ascetic ideal; there should “”tjeTio illusions on this score. Both these feelingspas has been said, belong to the type ; if a philosopherWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? I35
lacks both of them, then he is—you may be
certain of it—never anything but a “pseudo.” What does this mean ? For this state of affairs must first be, interpreted : in itself it stands there
stupid, to all eternity, like any ” Thing-in-itself.” Every animal, includingY« hete pMlosophe,’&TL’ves
inslinctively after an optimum of favourable conditions^ un(ier which he can let his whole strength have play, and achieves his maximum conseiousness” of power ; witti equal instinctiveness, and
with a fine perceptive flair which is superior to any reason, every animal shudders mortally at every kind of disturbance and hindrance which
obstructs or could obstruct his way to ^zX optimum
(it is not his way to happiness of which I am
talking, but his way to power, to action, the most
powerful action, and in point of fact in many
cases his way to unhappiness). Similarly, the
philosopher shudders mortally at marriage, to^dCcv&t with all that could persuade him to it—marriage
as a fatal hindrance on the way to the optimum. Up to the present what great philosophers have
been married? Heracleitus, Plato, Descartes,
Spinoza, Leibnitz, Kant, Schopenhauer—they
were not married, and, further, one cannot im.agine them as married. A married philosopher belongs
to comedy, that is my rule ; as for that exception
of a Socrates—the malicious Socrates married
himself, it seems, ironice, just to prove this very
rule. Every philosopher would say, as Buddha
said, when the birth of a son was announced to him : ” R^houla has been born to me, a fetter has been forged for me” (Rahoula means here136 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
” a little demon “) ; there must come an hour of
reflection to every ” free spirit ” (granted that he has had previously an hour of thoughtlessness),
just as one came once to the same Buddha
:
” Narrowly cramped,” he reflected, ” is life in the house ; it is a place of uncleanness ; freedom is found in leaving the house.” Because he thought
like this, he left the house. So many bridges to independence are shown in the ascetic idea], that the philosopher cannot refrain from exultation and
clapping of hands when he hears the history of all those resolute ones, who on one day uttered a nay
to all servitude and went into some desert; even granting that they were only strong asses, and
the absolute opposite of strong minds. What,
then, does the ascetic ideal mean in a philosopher ? This is my answer—it will have been guessed long ago : when he sees this ideal the philosopher
smiles because he sees therein an optimum of the conditions of the highest and boldest intellectu- ality ; he does not thereby deny ” existence,” he
rather affirms thereby his existence and only his existence, and this perhaps to the point of not being far off the blasphemous w\^,pereat mundus,
fiat philosophia, fiat philosophus, fiant ! . . .
8.
These philosophers, you see, are by no means
uncorrupted witnesses and judges of the value of the ascetic ideal. They think of themselves—what
is the ” saint ” to them ? They think of that which
to them personally is most indisgensaBleT ofWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 1 37
freedCTiJrojm compulsion, disturbance, noise : free- donTlrom^ business,. duties, cares-^-Qfa clear b.ead ; ofthedance, spring, and flight of thoughts ; of good
air—rare, clear, free, dry, as is the air on the heights,
in which every animal creature becomes more intellectual and gains wings ; they think of peace in every cellar ; all the hounds neatly chained ; no
baying of enmity and uncouth rancour ; no remorse
of wounded ambition ; quiet and submissive in •
ternal organs, busy as mills, but unnoticed ; the
heart alien, transcendent, future, posthumous—to summarise, they mean by the ascetic ideal the joyous asceticism of a deified and newly fledged
animal, sweeping over life rather than resting. We
know what are the three great catch-words of the
ascetic ideal : poverty, humility, chastity ; and now
just look closely at the life of all the great fruitful inventive spirits—you will always find again and
again these three qualities up to a certain extent. Not for a minute, as is self-evident, as though, perchance, they were part of their virtues—what has
this type of man to do with virtues ?—but as the most essential and natural conditions of their best
existence, their finest fruitfulness. In this connection it is quite possible that their predominant
intellectualism had first to curb an unruly and
irritable pride, or an insolent sensualism, or that it had all its work cut out to maintain its wish for the
“desert” against perhaps an inclination to luxury
and dilettantism, or similarly against an extravagant
liberality of heart and hand. But their intellect did
effect all this, simply because it was the dominant
instinct, which carried through its orders in the case138 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
of all the other instincts. It effects it still ; if it ceased to do so, it would simply not be dominant. But there is not one iota of ” virtue ” in all this- Further, the desert, of which I just spoke, in which
the strong, independent, and well-equipped spirits retreat into their hermitage—oh, how different is it from the cultured classes’ dream of a desert ! In certain cases, in fact, the cultured classes themselves
are the desert. And it is certain that all the actors of the intellect would not endure this desert for a minute. It is nothing like romantic and Syrian enough for them, nothing like enough of a stage desert ! Here as well there are plenty of asses, but
at this point the resemblance ceases. But a desert nowadays is something like this—perhaps a de- liberate obscurity ; a getting-out-of the way of one’s
self; a fear of noise, admiration, papers, influence; a little office, a daily task, something that hides rather than brings to light ; sometimes associating with harmless, cheerful beasts and fowls, the sight of which refreshes ; a mountain for company, but not a dead one, one with eyes (that is, with lakes) ; in certain cases even a room in a crowded hotel where one can reckon on not being recognised, and on being able to talk with impunity to every one : here is the desert—oh, it is lonely enough, believe me ! I grant that when Heracleitus retreated to the courts and
cloisters of the colossal temple of Artemis, that
” wilderness ” was worthier ; why do we lack such temples ? (perchance we do not lack them : I just think of my splendid study in the Piazza di San
Marco, in spring, of course, and in the morning, between ten and twelve). But that which Herac-WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? 1 39
leitus shunned is still just what we too avoid nowadays: the noise and democratic babble of the
Ephesians, their politics, their news from the
” empire ” (I mean, of course, Persia), their markettrade in ” the things of to-day “—for there is one
thing from which we philosophers especially need
a rest—from the things of ” to-day.” We honour
the silent, the cold, the noble, the far, the past, everything, in fact, at the sight of which the soul is not bound to brace itself up and defend itself—something with which one can speak without speaking
aloud. Just listen now to the tone a spirit has when
it speaks ; every spirit has its own tone and loves
its own tone. That thing yonder, for instance, is bound to be an agitator, that is, a hollow head, a
hollow mug : whatever may go into him, everything comes back from him dull and thick, heavy with the echo of the great void. That spirit yonder nearly
always speaks hoarse : has he, perchance, thought
himself hoarse ? It may be so—ask the physiologists—but he who thinks in words, thinks as a
speaker and not as a thinker (it shows that he does
not think of objects or think objectively, but only of
his relations with objects—that, in point of fact, he
only thinks of himself and his audience). This third one speaks aggressively, he comes too near our body,
his breath blows on us—we shut our mouth involuntarily, although he speaks to us through a book : the
tone of his style supplies the reason—he has no
time, he has small faith in himself, he finds expression now or never. But a spirit who is sure of himself speaks softly ; he seeks secrecy, he lets himself be awaited, A philosopher is recognised by theI40 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
fact that he shuns three brilliant and noisy things

fame, princes, and women : which is not to say that they do not come to him. He shuns every glaring
light : therefore he shuns his time and its “daylight.” Therein he is as a shadow ; the deeper sinks the sun, the greater grows the shadow. As for his humility, he endures, as he endures darkness, a certain de- pendence and obscurity : further, he is afraid of the shock of lightning, he shudders at the insecurity of a tree which is too isolated and too exposed, on which every storm vents its temper, every temper
its storm. His ” maternal ” instinct, his secret love
for that which grows in him, guides him into states where he is relieved from the necessity of taking
care of himself, in the same way in which the
” mother ” instinct in woman has thoroughly maintained up to the present woman’s dependent position. After all, they demand little enough, do these philo- sophers, their favourite motto is, ” He who possesses
is possessed.” All this is noi, as I must say again and again, to be attributed to a virtue, to a meri- torious wish for moderation and simplicity; but because their supreme lord so demands of them, demands wisely and inexorably ; their lord who is eager only for one thing, for which alone he musters, and for which alone he hoards everything—time, strength, love, interest. This kind of man likes not to be disturbed by enmity, he likes not to be dis- turbed by friendship, it is a type which forgets or despises easily. It strikes him as bad form to play the martyr, ” to suffer for truth “—he leaves all that to the ambitious and to the stage-heroes of the
intellect, and to all those, in fact, who have timeWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? I4I
enough for such luxuries (they themselves, the
philosophers, have something to do for truth). They
make a sparing use of big words ; they are said to be adverse to the word “truth” itself: it has a
” high falutin’ ” ring. Finally, as far as the chastity
of philosophers is concerned, the fruitfulness of this type of mind is manifestly in another sphere than
that of children ; perchance in some other sphere,
too, they have the survival of their name, their little immortality (philosophers in ancient India would
express themselves with still greater boldness : ” Of
what use is posterity to him whose soul is the
world ? “). In this attitude there is not a trace of
chastity, by reason of any ascetic scruple or hatred
ofthe flesh, any more than it is chastity for an athlete
or a jockey to abstain from women ; it is rather the
will of the dominant instinct, at any rate, during the
period of their advanced philosophic pregnancy. Every artist knows the harm done by sexual inter- course on occasions of great mental strain and
preparation ; as far as the strongest artists and
those with the surest instincts are concerned, this is not necessarily a case of experience—hard experience—but it is simply their “maternal” instinct which, in order to benefit the growing work, disposes
recklessly (beyond all its normal stocks and supplies)
of the vigour of its animal life ; the greater power
then absorbs the lesser. Let us now apply this in- terpretation to gauge correctly the case of Schopenhauer, which we have already mentioned : in his
case, the sight of the beautiful acted manifestly like a resolving irritant on the chief power of his nature
(the power of contemplation and of intense pene-142 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
tration) ; so that this strength exploded and became
suddenly master of his consciousness. But this by no means excludes the possibility of that particular sweetness and fulness, which is peculiar to the
cEsthetic state, springing directly from the ingredient of sensuality (just as that ” idealism ” which is peculiar to girls at puberty originates in the same
source)—it may be, consequently, that sensuality is not removed by the approach of the aesthetic state, as Schopenhauer believed, but merely becomes
transfigured, and ceases to enter into the conscious- ness as sexual excitement. (I shall return once again to this point in connection with the more
delicate problems of the physiology of the cBsthetic, a subject which up to the present has been singularly untouched and unelucidated.)
9- A certain asceticism, a grimly gay whole-hearted
renunciation, is, as we have seen, one of the most
favourable conditions for the highest intellectualism, and, consequently, for the most natural corollaries of such intellectualism : we shall therefore be proof against any surprise at the philosophers in particular always treating the ascetic ideal with a
certain amount of predilection. A serious historical investigation shows the bond between tBe ascetic –
ideal and philosophy to be stiirmuch tighter and
still much stronger. It may be said that it was”
only in the leading strings of this ideal that philo- sophy really learnt to make its first steps and baby
paces—alas how clumsily, alas how crossly, alasWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 143
how ready to tumble down and lie on its stomach
was this shy little darling of a brat with its bandy
legs ! The early^history of^^hilosophy isjikejhat
of all goo3 things ;—for a long time they had not
the c6UfagS”tO “be themselves, they kept always
toalring roufid loTsee if no one would come to their
help7″fiarther, they were afraid of all who looked
at~’tliem. Just enumerate in order the particular tendencies and virtues of the philosopher—his tendency to doubt, his tendency to deny, his tendency to wait (to be ” ephectic “
), his tendency
to analyse, search, explore, dare, his tendency to
c’ompare and to equalise, his will to be neutral and
objective, his will for everything which is ” sine ira
et’studio “
:—has it yet been realised that for quite a lengthy period these tendencies went counter
to the first claims of morality and conscience ? (Tor~say nothing at all of Reason, which even
Luther chose to call Frau Kliiglin* the sly whore^ Has it been yet appreciated that a
philosopher, in the event of his arriving at self- consciousness, must needs feel himself an incarnate
” nitimur in vetitum”—and consequently guard
himself against ” his own sensations,” against self- consciousness ? It is, I repeat, just the same with
all good things, on which we now pride ourselves
;
even judged by the standard of the ancient Greeks,
our whole modern life, in so far as it is not weakness, but power and the consciousness of power,
appears pure ” Hybris ” and godlessness : for the
things which are the very reverse of those which
* Mistress Sly.—Tr.144 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
we honour to-day, have had for a long time conscience on their side, and God as their guardian. ” Hybris ” is our whole attitude to nature nowadays, our violation ol nature with the help of machinery, and all the unscrupulous ingenuity nf _^mg::gcregistrand ‘^^^^^^ attitude to Godj_thatJs, to some alleged teleological and ethical spider behind th.e„.pigslies of the great trap ofthejcausal_webJ Like Charles the Bold
“in his war with Louis the Eleventh, we may say, “je combats runiverselle araignie “
; ” Hybris ” is our
attitude tPJoursebjeaTr-for we experimeat’witliai}X:_ selvesin a way that we would not allow with any
animal, and with pleasure and curiosity open our soul in our living body : what matters now to us the ” salvation ” of the “soul ? We heal ourselves afterwards : being ill is instructive, we doubt it not, even more instructive than being well

inoculators of disease seem to us to-day even more
necessary than any medicine-men and ” saviours.” There is no doubt we do violence to ourselves “nowadays, we crackers “xrf ‘ the SDlifs’^WlTCtrwe
incarnate riddles, who are ever asking riddles, as though life were naught else than the cracking of a nut ; and even thereby must we necessarily become day by day more and more worthy to be asked questions and worthy to ask them, even thereby do we perchance also become worthier to—live? jp^ . . . All good things were once bad, things
;
from every original sin .has..growii,„aiL,OTigiaal virtuej Marriage, for example, seemed for a long time a sin against the rights of the community;
a man formerly paid a fine for the insolence ofWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? , 14S ‘
claiming one woman to himself (to this phase
belongs, for instance, the jus primes noctis, to-day
still in Cambodia the privilege of the priest, that guardian of the ” good old customs “). rrhe softr benevolent, yielding, sympathetic feel- ings—eventually valued sohigHlyTESTl^^^Kost”
became ” mtrinsjc_j[alues,””wCTe~for a very^long
time actually despised by their possessors : gentlehess wa’s then”a”subject for shame, just as hardness is~now (compare Beyond Good and Evzl^ Aph.
266). t iTie submission to law, oh, with what
qualms of conscience was it that the noble races throughout the world renounced the vendetta and
gave the law power over themselves ! Law was
long a vetitum, a blasphemy, an innovation ; it was
ilitrtfditced~wtth-force,~/»^i? a- force, to which men
only submitted witK’a ‘sense “Of personaT shame.
Every tiny step forward in tlie world was formerly made at the cost of mental and physical torEure. Nowa3ays the wKole of this point of view—” that
not only stepping forward, nay, stepping at~all7~ movement, change, air~~needed ‘their cou’ritTfess martyrs,”^ rings in our ears quite stirangely.
I have put it forward in the Dawn of Day,
Aph. 1 8. ” Nothing is purchased more dearly,”
says the same book a little later, ” than the modicum of human reason and freedom which is now our pride. JButJthat^ pride is the reason why
it is now almost impossible for us to”TeeI~ln sympathywitH” those ‘immense periods of”the

‘ Morality of Custom,’ which lie at the beginning”
of’ the ‘world’s history,’ constituting as they do
the real decisive historical principle which has146 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
fixed the character of humanity ; those periods,
I repeat, when throughout’ the world suffering passed for virtuTeT^crueTty’loF virtue, deceit for” virtue, revenge for virtue, repudiatioh’orthe^rM,sprr
for virtue ; and when, conversely, well-being passed current for danger, the desire for knowledge for danger, pity for danger, peace for danger, being
pitied for shame, work for shame, madness for divinity, and change for immorality and incarnate corruption !

10.
There is in the same book, Aph. 1 2, an explanation of the burden of unpopularity under which
the earliest race of contemplative men had to live —despised almost as widely as they were first feared 1 Contemplation first appeared on earth
in a disguised shape, in an ambiguous form, with an evil heart and often with an uneasy head : there
is no doubt about it. The inactive, brooding, un- warlike element in the instincts of contemplative men long invested them with a cloud of suspicion
:
the only way to combat this was to excite a definite fear. And the old Brahmans, for example, knew
to a nicety how to do this ! The oldest philo- sophers were well versed in giving to their very existence and appearance, meaning, firmness, back- ground, by reason whereof men learnt to fear them ; considered more precisely, they did this from an even more fundamental need, the need of inspiring in themselves fear and self-reverence. For they found even in their own souls all the valuations turned against themselves ; they had toWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 147
fight down every kind of suspicion and antagonism
against ” the philosophic element in themselves.” Being men of a terrible age, they did this with
terrible means: cruelty to themselves, ingenious
self-mortification—this was the chief method of
these ambitious hermits and intellectual revolutionaries, who were obliged to force down the gods
and the traditions of their own soul, so as to enable
themselves to believe in their own revolution. I remember the famous story of the King Vicvamitra,
who, as the result of a thousand years of self- martyrdom, reached such a consciousness of power
and such a confidence in himself that he undertook
to build a new heaven : the sinister symbol of the
oldest and newest history of philosophy in the whole world. Every one who has ever built any^
where a ” new heaven ” first found the power thereto
in his own hell. \. . . Let us compress the facts
into a short formula. The philosophic spirit had,
in order to be possible to any extent at all, to masquerade and disguise itself as one of the
previously fixed types of the contemplative man,
to disguise itself as priest, wizard, soothsayer, as a
religious man generally : the ascetic ideal has for a
~Iorig~ttme served the^ phil,os,ppher_as a superficial “formTas a condition which enabled him to exist. T”. . To be able to be a philosopher he had to exemplify the ideaTjJo exemplify it, lie. waa/Bound
io Jielieve~ va. it. The peculiarly etherealised
abstraction of philosophers, with their negation of
the world, their enmity to life, their disbelief in the
senses, which has been maintained up to the most
recent time, and has almost thereby come to be148 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
accepted as the ideal philosophic attitude—this abstraction is the result of those enforced conditions under which philosophy came into existence, and
continued to exist ; inasmuch as for quite a very long time philosophy would have been absolutely impossible in the world without an ascetic cloak and dress, without an ascetic self-misunderstanding. Expressed plainly and palpably, the ascetic priest has taken the repulsive and sinister form of the
caterpillar, beneath which and behind which alone philosophy could live and slink about. . . . Has all that really changed ? Has that flamboyant and dangerous winged creature, that
” spirit ” which that caterpillar concealed within
itself, has it, I say, thanks to a sunnier, warmer,
lighter world, really and finally flung off its hood and escaped into the light ? Can we to-day point
to enough pride, enough daring, enough courage, enough self-confidence, enough mental will, enough
will for responsibility, enough freedom of the will, to enable the philosopher to be now in the world
really

possible ?
II. And now, after we have caught sight of the
ascetic priest, let us tackle our problem. What is the meaning of the ascetic ideal ? It now first becomes serious—vitally serious. We are now
confronted with the real representatives of the
serious. ” What is the meaning of all seriousness ?,” This even more radical question is perchance
already on the tip of our tongue: a question,
fairly, for physiologists, but which we for the timeWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? I49
being skip. In that ideal the ascetic priest finds not only his faith.’^ut “alSo his will, his “pbwSr^ Ms
interestr His HgM to existence stands and falls with that ideaT ‘”‘What wonder that we here run
lip against a terrible opponent (on the supposition, of course, that we are the opponents of that ideal), an opponent fighting for his life against those who
repudiate that ideal ! … On the other hand, it
is from the outset improbable that such a biased
attitude towards our problem will do him any
particular good ; the ascetic priest himself will scarcely prove the happiest champion of his own
ideal (on the same principle on which a woman
usually fails when she wishes to champion
” woman “)—let alone proving the most objective critic and judge of the controversy now raised. We shall therefore—so much is already obvious

rather have actually to help him to defend himself
properly against ourselves, than we shall have to
fear being too well beaten by him. The idea, which is the subject of this dispute, is the value
of our life from the standpoint of the ascetic
priests : this life, then (together with the whole of which it is a part, ” Nature,” ” the world,” the whole sphere of becoming and passing away), is placed by them in relation to an existence of
quite another character, which it excludes and to which it is opposed, unless it deny its own self: ip this case, the case of an ascetic life, life is taken
as a bridge to another existence. The ascetic
treats life as a maze, in which one must walk
backwards till one comes to the place where it starts ; or he treats it as arj. error which. ‘oQ.e may,ISO THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
nay must, refute by action : for he demands that he should be followed ; he enforces, where hecan,
his valuation of existence. What does this mean ? Such a monstrous valuation is not an exceptional
case, or a curiosity recorded in human history:’ It
is one of the most general and persistent facts thaf there are’.” The rea3ing from the vantage ^f^a—-
distant sFar of the capital letters of our earthly
life, would perchance lead to the conclusion that /the earth was the especially ascetic planet, a den
of discontented, arrogant, and repulsive creatures, who never got rid of a deep disgust of themselves, of the world, of all life, and did themselves as much hurt as possible out of pleasure in hurt- ing—presumably their one and only pleasure! Let us consider how regularly, how universally; how practically at every single period the ascetic priest puts in his appearance : he belongs to” no
particular race ; he thrives everywhere ; he grows
out of all classes. Not that he perhaps bred this valuation by heredity and propagated it—the contrary is the case. It must be a necessity of the first order which makes this species, hostile, as
it is, to life, always grow again and always thrive again.

LtfejS^cSi must certainly have an interest in the continuance ofsuch alype of s^lfr^ntradifiltorn— ~F6r_3a_asj:etic life^ is a self-contradiction: here
rules resentment without parallel, the resentmenT” of an insatiate instinct and ambition, thai would
be master, not over some element in life, but over
life itself, over life’s deepest, strongest, inioermost conditions ; here is an attempt made to utilise power to dam the sources of power; here doesWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? I SI
the green eye of jealousy turn even against physiological well-being, especially against the expression of such well-being, beauty, joy ; while a sense
of pleasure is experienced and sought in abortion,
in decay, in pain, in misfortune, in ugliness, in voluntary punishment, in the exercising, flagellation, and sacrifice of the self. All this is in the
highest degree paradoxical : we are here confronted with a rift that wills itself to be a rift, which enjoys itself in this very suffering, and even
Ibecomes more and more certain of itself, more and
more triumphant, in proportion as its, ..Qjfo , presupposition, physiological vitality, decreases. ” The
triumph just in the supreme agony ” : under this extravagant emblem did the ascetic ideal fight from of old ; in this mystery of seduction, in this picture of rapture and torture, it recognised its brightest light, its salvation, its final victory. Crux, nux, lux—it has all these three in one.
12.
Granted that such an incarnate will for contradiction and unnaturalness is induced tophilosophise
;
on what will it vent its pet caprice? On that which has been felt with the greatest certainty to be true, to be real ; it will look for error in those
very places where the life instinct fixes truth with
the greatest positiveness. It will, for instance,
after the example of the ascetics of the Vedanta
Philosophy, reduce matter to an illusion, and
similarly; treat pain, multiplicity, the whole logical “contrast of^5«?^?r’arid”’ Olject”—errors, msthing-152 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
but errors ! To renounce the belief in one’s own
ego, to deny to one’s self one’s^own ”^reality “^^^ what a triumph ! and Here”already we haveXmilCh
higher kind of triumph, which is not merely a triumph over the senses, over the palpable, mJE~afr~
infliction of violence and cruelty on reason ;’~an&
this ecstasy culminates in the ascetic self-contempt, the ascetic scorn of one’s own “reason making this decree : there is a domain of truth and of^ife,, but” reason is specially excluded therefrom. … By
the bye, even in the Kantian idea of ” the intel- legible character of things ” there remains a trace of that schism, so dear to the heart of the ascetic, that schism which likes to turn reason against reason ; in fact, ” intelligible character ” means in Kant a kind of quality in things of which the
intellect comprehends this much, that for it, the
intellect, it is absolutely incomprehensible. After
all, let us, in our character of knowers, not be
ungrateful towards such determined reversals of the ordinary perspectives and values, with which
the mind had for too long raged against itself with an apparently futile sacrilege ! In the same way the very seeing of another vista, the”vBry-^ wishing to see another vista, is no little training and preparation of the intellect for its eternal
” Objectivity
“—objectivity being understood not
as ” contemplation without interest ” (for that is inconceivable and nonsensical), but as the ability to have the pros and cons in one’s fpwer a.ndJio switch them on and oif, so- as to get, to knovv_how
to utilise, for the advancement of knowledge, the

difference in the perspective and in the emoliona

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What is the meaning of ascetic ideals ?

What is the meaning of ascetic ideals ? In
artists, nothing, or too much ; in philosophers and
scholars, a kind of ” flair ” and instinct for the conditions most favourable to advanced intellectualism
;
in women, at best an additional seductive fascination, a little morbidezza on a fine piece of flesh, the angelhood of a fat, pretty animal ; in physiological failures and whiners (in the majority of
mortals), an attempt to pose as ” too good ” for this world, a holy form of debauchery, their chief weapon in the battle with lingering pain and
ennui ; in priests, the actual priestly faith, their best engine of power, and also the supreme authority
for power ; in saints, finally a pretext for hibernation, their novissima glories cupido, their peace in nothingness (” God “), their form of madness. But in the very fact that the ascetic ideal has meant so much to man, lies expressed the fundamental featare of man’s will, his horror vacui: he
needs a ^«’g/-^rr.^od.,ii will, sooner will Incinilngness dian not will at all.-^-Am I_J3ot__ understpoji ?^— Have I not been understood ?—” Certainly not,
sir ? “^^Wgll,Jet us begin. at-lhe-JaegJaning.
2. What is the meaning of ascetic ideals ? Or, to take an individual case in regard to which I have122 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
often been consulted, what is the meaning, for example, of an artist like Richard Wagner paying homage to chastity in his old age ? He had
always done so, of course, in a certain sense, but
it was not till quite the end, that he did so in an ascetic sense. What is the meaning of this
” change of attitude,” this radical revolution in his attitude—for that was what it was? Wagner
veered thereby straight round into his own opposite. What is the meaning of an artist veering round
into his own opposite? At this point (granted
that we do not mind stopping a little/Over this question), we immediately call to xamd the best, strongest, gayest, and boldest period, that there perhaps ever was in Wagner’s life : that was the period when he was genuinely and deeply occupied with the idea of ” Luther’s Wedding.” Who knows what chance is responsible for our now having the Meistersingers instead of this wedding music ? And how much in the latter is perhaps just an echo of the former ? But there
is no doubt but that the theme would have dealt with the praise of chastity. And certainly it would also have dealt with the praise of sensuality, and even so, it would seem quite in order, and
even so, it would have been equally Wagnerian. For there is no necessary antithesis between
chastity and sensuality : every j[ood rnarriagg, every authentic^ heart-felt love transcgnda this antithesis. Wagner wouI3, it seems to me, have ~3one well’lo have brought this pleasing reality home once again to his Germans, by means of a bold and graceful ” Luther Comedy,” for thereWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 1 23
were and are among the Germans many revilers of sensuality ; and perhaps Luther’s greatest merit
lies just in the fact of his having had the courage
of his sensuality (it used to be called, prettily enough, ” evangelistic freedom “). But even in those cases where that antithesis between chastity and sensuality does exist, there has fortunately been for some time no necessity for it to be in any way a tragic antithesis. This should, at any
rate, be the case with all beings who are sound
in mind and body, who are far from reckoning
their delicate balance between ” animal ” and
“angel,” as being on the face of it one of the
principles opposed to existence—the most subtle and brilliant spirits, such as Goethe, such as Hafiz, have even seen in this a further charm of life. Such ” conflicts ” actually allure one to life. On
the other hand, it is only too clear that when
once these ruined swine are reduced to worshipping
chastity—and there are such swine—they only
see and worship in it the antithesis to themselves,
the antithesis to ruined swine. Oh what a tragic grunting and eagerness ! You can just think of
it—they worship that painful and superfluous
contrast, which Richard Wagner in his latter days
undoubtedly wished to set to music, and to place on the stage ! ” For what purpose, forsooth f

as we may reasonably ask. What did the swine
matter to him ; what do they matter to us ?
3. At this point it is impossible to beg the
further question of what he really had to do with124 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
that manly (ah, so unmanly) country bumpkin,
that poor devil and natural, Parsifal, whom he
eventually made a Catholic by such fraudulent
devices. What? Was this Parsifal really meant
seriously “i One might be tempted to suppose
the contrary, even to wish it—that the Wagnerian Parsifal was meant joyously, like a concluding
play of a trilogy or satyric drama, in which Wagner the tragedian wished to take farewell of
us, of himself, above all of tragedy, and to do so in a manner that should be quite fitting and worthy,
that is, with an excess of the most extreme and
flippant parody of the tragic itself, of the ghastly earthly seriousness and earthly woe of old—
a
parody of that most crude phase in the unnatural- ness of the ascetic ideal, that had at length been overcome. That, as I have said, would have been
quite worthy of a great tragedian ; who like every
artist first attains the supreme pinnacle of his greatness when he can look down into himself and
his art, when he can laugh at himself. Is Wagner’s
Parsifal his secret laugh of superiority over
himself, the triumph of that supreme artistic freedom and artistic transcendency which he has
at length attained. We might, I repeat, wish it were so, for what can Parsifal, taken seriously, amount to? Is it really necessary to see in it (according to an expression once used against me)
the product of an insane hate of knowledge, mind, and flesh ? A curse on flesh and spirit in one breath of hate ? An apostasy and reversion to the morbid Christian and obscurantist ideals? And
finally a self-negation and self-elimination on theWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? 12$
part of an artist, who till then had devoted all the
strength of his will to the contrary, namely, the
highest artistic expression of soul and body. And
not only of his art ; of his life as well. Just remember with what enthusiasm Wagner followed
in the footsteps of Feuerbach. Feuerbach’s motto
of “healthy sensuality” rang in the ears of Wagner during the thirties and forties of the
century, as it did in the ears of many Germans
(they dubbed themselves ” Young Germans “), like the word of redemption. Did he eventually
change his mind on the subject ? For it seems at any rate that he eventually wished to change his
teaching on that subject . . . and not only is that the case with the Parsifal trumpets on the
stage : in the melancholy, cramped, and embarrassed lucubrations of his later years, there
are a hundred places in which there are manifestations of a secret wish and will, a despondent,
uncertain, unavowed will to preach actual retrogression, conversion, Christianity, mediaevalism, and to say to his disciples, ” All is vanity ! Seek
salvation elsewhere ! ” Even the ” blood of the Redeemer ” is once invoked.
Let me speak out my mind in a case like this, which has many painful elements—and it is a
typical case : it is certainly best to separate an
artist from his work so completely that he cannot be taken as seriously as his work. He is after all merely the presupposition of his work126 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
the womb, the soil, in certain cases the dung and
manure, on which and out of which it grows

and consequently, in most cases, something that must be forgotten if the work itself is to be en- joyed. The insight into the origin of a work is a matter for psychologists and vivisectors, but never either in the present or the future for the
aesthetes, the artists. The author and creator of Parsifal was as little spared the necessity of sinking and living himself into the terrible depths and foundations of medieval soul-contrasts, the necessity of a malignant abstraction from all intellectual elevation, severity, and discipline, the necessity of a kind of mental perversity (if the reader will pardon me such a word), as little as a pregnant woman is spared the horrors and
marvels of pregnancy, which, as I have said, must
be forgotten if the child is to be enjoyed. We
must guard ourselves against the confusion, into which an artist himself would fall only too easily
(to employ the English terminology) out of psychological ” contiguity “
; as though the artist himself actually were the object which he is able
to represent, imagine, and express. In point of fact, the position is that even if he conceived he were such an object, he would certainly not represent, conceive, express it. Homer would not have
created an Achilles, nor Goethe a Faust, if Homer
had been an Achilles or if Goethe had been a Faust. A complete and perfect artist is to all eternity separated from the ” real,” from the actual ; on
the other hand, it will be appreciated that he can
at times get tired to the point of despair of thisWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? 1 27
eternal ” unreality ” and falseness of his inner- most being — and that he then sometimes
attempts to trespass on to the most forbidden
ground, on reality, and attempts to have real
existence. With what success? The success will be guessed—it is the typical velleity of the artist
;
the same velleity to which Wagner fell a victim
in his old age, and for which he had to pay so
dearly and so fatally (he lost thereby his most
valuable friends). But after all, quite apart from
this velleity, who would not wish emphatically
for Wagner’s own sake that he had taken fare- well of us and of his art in a different manner,
not with a Parsifal, but in more victorious, more
self-confident, more Wagnerian style—a style
less misleading, a style less ambiguous with regard
to his whole meaning, less Schopenhauerian, less Nihilistic? . . .
What, then, is the meaning of ascetic ideals ? In’ the case of an artist we are getting to undersraflg^heir . iaeamiig_^:„J\7i2^g^ at all . . . or so much that it is as good as nothing at all. Indeed, what is the use of them ? Our artists have for a
long time past not taken up a sufficiently inde- . pendent attitude, either in the world or against it, to warrant their valuations and the changes in these valuations exciting interest. At all times
they have played the valet of some morality, philosophy, or religion, quite apart from the fact that unfortunately they have often enough been
the inordinately supple courtiers of their clients128 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
and patrons, and the inquisitive toadies of the powers that are existing, or even of the new
powers to come. To put it at the lowest, they always need a rampart, a support, an already
constituted authority : artists never stand by
themselves, standing alone is opposed to their deepest instincts. So, for example, did Richard Wagner take, ” when the time had come,” the philosopher Schopenhauer for his covering man
in front, for his rampart. Who would consider
it even thinkable, that he would have had the courage for an ascetic ideal, without the support
afforded him by the philosophy of Schopenhauer,
without the authority of Schopenhauer, which dominated Europe in the seventies ? (This is without consideration of the question whether an
artist without the milk * of an orthodoxy would have been possible at all.) This brings us to the more serious question : What is _ the meaning of a real philosopher paying homage to the ascetic
ideal, a really self-dependent intellect like Schcr-” penhauer, a man and knight with a glance of bronze, who has the courage to be himself, who
knows how to stand alone without first waiting
for men who cover him in front, and the nods of
his superiors ? Let us now consider at once the remarkable attitude of Schopenhauer towards art, an attitude which has even a fascination for certain types. For that is obviously the reason why Richard Wagner all at once went over to
* An allusion to the celebrated monologue in William
Tell.WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? 1 29
Schopenhauer (persuaded thereto, as one knows, by a poet, Herwegh), went over so completely that
there ensued the cleavage of a complete theoretic
contradiction between his earlier and his later
aesthetic faiths—the earlier, for example, being
expressed in Opera and Drama, the later in the
writings which he published from 1870 onwards.
In particular, Wagner from that time onwards (and
this is the volte-face which alienates us the most)
had no scruples about changing his judgment concerning the value and position of music itself. What did he care if up to that time he had made
of music a means, a medium, a ” woman,” that in order to thrive needed an end, a man—that is, the drama ? He suddenly realised that more could be
effected by the novelty of the Schopenhauerian
theory in majorem musiccsgloriam—that is to say, by means of the sovereignty of music, as Schopenhauer understood it ; music abstracted from and
opposed to all the other arts, music as the in- dependent art-in-itself, not like the other arts, affording reflections of the phenomenal world, but
rather the language of the will itself, speaking
straight out of the ” abyss ” as its most personal,
original, and direct manifestation. This extraordinary rise in the value of music (a rise which
seemed to grow out of the Schopenhauerian
philosophy) was at once accompanied by an unprecedented rise in the estimation in which the
musician himself was held : he became now an
oracle, a priest, nay, more than a priest, a kind of mouthpiece for the ” intrinsic essence of things,” a telephone from the other world—from hence-I30 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
forward he talked not only music, did this ventriloquist of God, he talked metaphysic
;
what wonder that one day he eventually talked
ascetic ideals.
Schopenhauer has made use of the Kantian treat- ment of the esthetic problem—though he certainly did not regard it with the Kantian eyes. Kant
thought that he showed honour to art when he
favoured and placed in the foreground those of the predicates of the beautiful, which constitute the honour of knowledge : impersonality and universality. This is not the place to discuss whether
this was not a complete mistake ; all that I wish
to emphasise is that Kant, just like other philo- sophers, instead of envisaging the esthetic prob- lem from the standpoint of the experiences of the artist (the creator), has only considered art and beauty from the standpoint of the spectator, and
has thereby imperceptibly imported the spectator himself into the idea of the ” beautiful ” ! But if only the philosophers of the beautiful had suffi- cient knowledge of this “spectator”!—Knowledge of him as a great fact of personality, as a great experience, as a wealth of strong and most
individual events, desires, surprises, and raptures
in the sphere of beauty ! But, as I feared, the contrary was always the case. And so we get from our philosophers, from the very beginning,
definitions on which the lack of a subtler personal experience squats like a fat worm of crass error, as it does on Kant’s famous definition of theWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 1 3
1
beautiful. ” That is beautiful,” says Kant, ” which
pleases without interesting.” Without interesting
!
Compare this definition with this other one, made
by a real ” spectator ” and ” artist “—by Stendhal, who once called the beautiful une promesse de
honheur. Here, at any rate, the one point which Kant makes prominent in the aesthetic position
is repudiated and eliminated

le desinteressement. Who is right, Kant or Stendhal ? When, forsooth, our aesthetes never get tired of throwing into the
scales in Kant’s favour the fact that under the magic of beauty men can look at even naked
female statues ” without interest,” we can certainly laugh a little at their expense :—in regard to this
ticklish point the experiences of artists are more
” interesting,” and at any rate Pygmalion was not
necessarily an ” unsesthetic man.” Let us think
all the better of the innocence of our aesthetes,
reflected as it is in such arguments ; let us, for instance, count to Kant’s honour the countryparson na’lvet^ of his doctrine concerning the
peculiar character of the sense of touch ! And
here we come back to Schopenhauer, who stood
in much closer neighbourhood to the arts than
did Kant, and yet never escaped outside the pale
of the Kantian definition ; how was that ? The
circumstance is marvellous enough : he interprets the expression, ” without interest,” in the most
personal fashion, out of an experience which must
in his case have been part and parcel of his regular routine. On few subjects does Schopenhauer speak with such certainty as on the working of aesthetic contemplation : he says of it that132 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
it simply counteracts sexual interest, like lupulin and camphor ; he never gets tired of glorifying
this escape from the ” Life-will ” as the great advantage and utility of the sesthetic state. In
fact, one is tempted to ask if his fundamental
conception of Will and Idea, the thought that there can only exist freedom from the ” will ” by means of ” idea,” did not originate in a generalisation from this sexual experience. (In all questions concerning the Schopenhauerian philosophy, one
should, by the bye, never lose sight of the consideration that it is the conception of a youth ol twenty-six, so that it participates not only in what is peculiar to Schopenhauer’s life, but in what is peculiar to that special period of his life.) Let us listen, for instance, to one of the most
expressive among the countless passages which he has written in honour of the aesthetic state
( World as Will and Idea, i. 231); let us listen to the tone, the suffering, the happiness, the gratitude, with which such words are uttered : ” This is the painless state which Epicurus praised as the highest good and as the state of the gods; we
are during that moment freed from the vile pres- sure of the will, we celebrate the Sabbath of the
will’s hard labour, the wheel of Ixion stands still.” What vehemence of language ! What images of anguish and protracted revulsion ! How almost
pathological is that temporal antithesis between
” that moment ” and everything else, the ” wheel
of Ixion,” ” the hard labour of the will,” ” the vile pressure of the will.” But granted that Schopen- hauer was a hundred times right for himselfWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 133
personally, how does that help our insight into the nature of the beautiful ? Schopenhauer has
described one effect of the beautiful,—the calming
of the will,—but is this effect really normal ? As has been mentioned, Stendhal, an equally
sensual but more happily constituted nature than
Schopenhauer, gives prominence to another effect of the ” beautiful.” ” The^ beautiful promises
happiness.” To him it is just the excitement “oT’the
“will “(tp “^interest “£j)j;;J^lJbeaHty ^tfiitLieisii” the essential fact. And does not Schopenhauer
ultimately lay himself open to the objection, that he is quite wrong in regarding himself as a Kantian
on this point, that he has absolutely failed to understand in a Kantian sense the Kantian
definition of the beautiful—;that the beautiful pleased him as well by means^ of_an interest, by
means, in fact, of the strongest and most personal
interest of all, that: of the victim of torture who
escapes ^from his torture?—And to come back
again to our first question, ” What is the meaning
of a philosopher paying homage to ascetic ideals ? ” We geFiiow, afany rate, a first hintj_he wishes to
escape from, a torture.
Let us beware of making dismal faces at the word ” torture “—there is certainly in this case enough to deduct, enough to discount—there is even something to laugh at. For we must
certainly not underestimate the fact that Schopenhauer, who in practice treated sexuality as a134 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
personal enemy (including its tool, woman, that
” instrumentum diaboli “), needed enemies to keep him in a good humour ; that he loved grim, bitter, blackish-green words ; that he raged for the sake of raging, out of passion ; that he would have grown ill, would have become a pessimist (for he was not a pessimist, however much he wished to be), without his enemies, without Hegel, woman,
sensuality, and the whole ” will for existence

” keeping on.” Without them Schopenhauer would not have ” kept on,” that is a safe wager ; he would have run away : but his enemies held him
fast, his enemies always enticed him back again to existence, his wrath was just as theirs’ was to the ancient Cynics, his balm, his recreation, his recompense, his remedium against disgust, his happiness. So much with regard to what is most
personal in the case of Schopenhauer ; on the other hand, there is still much which is typical
in him—and only now we come back to our problem. It is an accepted and indisputable fact, ^O long as thprp arp pTiilngnpliprc: jn^HT?|^ffff]7an? wherever philosophers have_existed (from India
fo England, to take the opposite poles of philo- sophic ability), that there exists a,..jcmlJrritatio»- andj:ancour on the part of philosoghas.towards_
sensyality^^ Schopenhauer is merely the most
eloquent, and if one has the ear for it, also the most fascinating and enchanting outburst. There
^
similarly exists a real philosophic bias and affection for the whole ascetic ideal; there should “”tjeTio illusions on this score. Both these feelingspas has been said, belong to the type ; if a philosopherWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? I35
lacks both of them, then he is—you may be
certain of it—never anything but a “pseudo.” What does this mean ? For this state of affairs must first be, interpreted : in itself it stands there
stupid, to all eternity, like any ” Thing-in-itself.” Every animal, includingY« hete pMlosophe,’&TL’ves
inslinctively after an optimum of favourable conditions^ un(ier which he can let his whole strength have play, and achieves his maximum conseiousness” of power ; witti equal instinctiveness, and
with a fine perceptive flair which is superior to any reason, every animal shudders mortally at every kind of disturbance and hindrance which
obstructs or could obstruct his way to ^zX optimum
(it is not his way to happiness of which I am
talking, but his way to power, to action, the most
powerful action, and in point of fact in many
cases his way to unhappiness). Similarly, the
philosopher shudders mortally at marriage, to^dCcv&t with all that could persuade him to it—marriage
as a fatal hindrance on the way to the optimum. Up to the present what great philosophers have
been married? Heracleitus, Plato, Descartes,
Spinoza, Leibnitz, Kant, Schopenhauer—they
were not married, and, further, one cannot im.agine them as married. A married philosopher belongs
to comedy, that is my rule ; as for that exception
of a Socrates—the malicious Socrates married
himself, it seems, ironice, just to prove this very
rule. Every philosopher would say, as Buddha
said, when the birth of a son was announced to him : ” R^houla has been born to me, a fetter has been forged for me” (Rahoula means here136 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
” a little demon “) ; there must come an hour of
reflection to every ” free spirit ” (granted that he has had previously an hour of thoughtlessness),
just as one came once to the same Buddha
:
” Narrowly cramped,” he reflected, ” is life in the house ; it is a place of uncleanness ; freedom is found in leaving the house.” Because he thought
like this, he left the house. So many bridges to independence are shown in the ascetic idea], that the philosopher cannot refrain from exultation and
clapping of hands when he hears the history of all those resolute ones, who on one day uttered a nay
to all servitude and went into some desert; even granting that they were only strong asses, and
the absolute opposite of strong minds. What,
then, does the ascetic ideal mean in a philosopher ? This is my answer—it will have been guessed long ago : when he sees this ideal the philosopher
smiles because he sees therein an optimum of the conditions of the highest and boldest intellectu- ality ; he does not thereby deny ” existence,” he
rather affirms thereby his existence and only his existence, and this perhaps to the point of not being far off the blasphemous w\^,pereat mundus,
fiat philosophia, fiat philosophus, fiant ! . . .
8.
These philosophers, you see, are by no means
uncorrupted witnesses and judges of the value of the ascetic ideal. They think of themselves—what
is the ” saint ” to them ? They think of that which
to them personally is most indisgensaBleT ofWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 1 37
freedCTiJrojm compulsion, disturbance, noise : free- donTlrom^ business,. duties, cares-^-Qfa clear b.ead ; ofthedance, spring, and flight of thoughts ; of good
air—rare, clear, free, dry, as is the air on the heights,
in which every animal creature becomes more intellectual and gains wings ; they think of peace in every cellar ; all the hounds neatly chained ; no
baying of enmity and uncouth rancour ; no remorse
of wounded ambition ; quiet and submissive in •
ternal organs, busy as mills, but unnoticed ; the
heart alien, transcendent, future, posthumous—to summarise, they mean by the ascetic ideal the joyous asceticism of a deified and newly fledged
animal, sweeping over life rather than resting. We
know what are the three great catch-words of the
ascetic ideal : poverty, humility, chastity ; and now
just look closely at the life of all the great fruitful inventive spirits—you will always find again and
again these three qualities up to a certain extent. Not for a minute, as is self-evident, as though, perchance, they were part of their virtues—what has
this type of man to do with virtues ?—but as the most essential and natural conditions of their best
existence, their finest fruitfulness. In this connection it is quite possible that their predominant
intellectualism had first to curb an unruly and
irritable pride, or an insolent sensualism, or that it had all its work cut out to maintain its wish for the
“desert” against perhaps an inclination to luxury
and dilettantism, or similarly against an extravagant
liberality of heart and hand. But their intellect did
effect all this, simply because it was the dominant
instinct, which carried through its orders in the case138 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
of all the other instincts. It effects it still ; if it ceased to do so, it would simply not be dominant. But there is not one iota of ” virtue ” in all this- Further, the desert, of which I just spoke, in which
the strong, independent, and well-equipped spirits retreat into their hermitage—oh, how different is it from the cultured classes’ dream of a desert ! In certain cases, in fact, the cultured classes themselves
are the desert. And it is certain that all the actors of the intellect would not endure this desert for a minute. It is nothing like romantic and Syrian enough for them, nothing like enough of a stage desert ! Here as well there are plenty of asses, but
at this point the resemblance ceases. But a desert nowadays is something like this—perhaps a de- liberate obscurity ; a getting-out-of the way of one’s
self; a fear of noise, admiration, papers, influence; a little office, a daily task, something that hides rather than brings to light ; sometimes associating with harmless, cheerful beasts and fowls, the sight of which refreshes ; a mountain for company, but not a dead one, one with eyes (that is, with lakes) ; in certain cases even a room in a crowded hotel where one can reckon on not being recognised, and on being able to talk with impunity to every one : here is the desert—oh, it is lonely enough, believe me ! I grant that when Heracleitus retreated to the courts and
cloisters of the colossal temple of Artemis, that
” wilderness ” was worthier ; why do we lack such temples ? (perchance we do not lack them : I just think of my splendid study in the Piazza di San
Marco, in spring, of course, and in the morning, between ten and twelve). But that which Herac-WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? 1 39
leitus shunned is still just what we too avoid nowadays: the noise and democratic babble of the
Ephesians, their politics, their news from the
” empire ” (I mean, of course, Persia), their markettrade in ” the things of to-day “—for there is one
thing from which we philosophers especially need
a rest—from the things of ” to-day.” We honour
the silent, the cold, the noble, the far, the past, everything, in fact, at the sight of which the soul is not bound to brace itself up and defend itself—something with which one can speak without speaking
aloud. Just listen now to the tone a spirit has when
it speaks ; every spirit has its own tone and loves
its own tone. That thing yonder, for instance, is bound to be an agitator, that is, a hollow head, a
hollow mug : whatever may go into him, everything comes back from him dull and thick, heavy with the echo of the great void. That spirit yonder nearly
always speaks hoarse : has he, perchance, thought
himself hoarse ? It may be so—ask the physiologists—but he who thinks in words, thinks as a
speaker and not as a thinker (it shows that he does
not think of objects or think objectively, but only of
his relations with objects—that, in point of fact, he
only thinks of himself and his audience). This third one speaks aggressively, he comes too near our body,
his breath blows on us—we shut our mouth involuntarily, although he speaks to us through a book : the
tone of his style supplies the reason—he has no
time, he has small faith in himself, he finds expression now or never. But a spirit who is sure of himself speaks softly ; he seeks secrecy, he lets himself be awaited, A philosopher is recognised by theI40 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
fact that he shuns three brilliant and noisy things

fame, princes, and women : which is not to say that they do not come to him. He shuns every glaring
light : therefore he shuns his time and its “daylight.” Therein he is as a shadow ; the deeper sinks the sun, the greater grows the shadow. As for his humility, he endures, as he endures darkness, a certain de- pendence and obscurity : further, he is afraid of the shock of lightning, he shudders at the insecurity of a tree which is too isolated and too exposed, on which every storm vents its temper, every temper
its storm. His ” maternal ” instinct, his secret love
for that which grows in him, guides him into states where he is relieved from the necessity of taking
care of himself, in the same way in which the
” mother ” instinct in woman has thoroughly maintained up to the present woman’s dependent position. After all, they demand little enough, do these philo- sophers, their favourite motto is, ” He who possesses
is possessed.” All this is noi, as I must say again and again, to be attributed to a virtue, to a meri- torious wish for moderation and simplicity; but because their supreme lord so demands of them, demands wisely and inexorably ; their lord who is eager only for one thing, for which alone he musters, and for which alone he hoards everything—time, strength, love, interest. This kind of man likes not to be disturbed by enmity, he likes not to be dis- turbed by friendship, it is a type which forgets or despises easily. It strikes him as bad form to play the martyr, ” to suffer for truth “—he leaves all that to the ambitious and to the stage-heroes of the
intellect, and to all those, in fact, who have timeWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? I4I
enough for such luxuries (they themselves, the
philosophers, have something to do for truth). They
make a sparing use of big words ; they are said to be adverse to the word “truth” itself: it has a
” high falutin’ ” ring. Finally, as far as the chastity
of philosophers is concerned, the fruitfulness of this type of mind is manifestly in another sphere than
that of children ; perchance in some other sphere,
too, they have the survival of their name, their little immortality (philosophers in ancient India would
express themselves with still greater boldness : ” Of
what use is posterity to him whose soul is the
world ? “). In this attitude there is not a trace of
chastity, by reason of any ascetic scruple or hatred
ofthe flesh, any more than it is chastity for an athlete
or a jockey to abstain from women ; it is rather the
will of the dominant instinct, at any rate, during the
period of their advanced philosophic pregnancy. Every artist knows the harm done by sexual inter- course on occasions of great mental strain and
preparation ; as far as the strongest artists and
those with the surest instincts are concerned, this is not necessarily a case of experience—hard experience—but it is simply their “maternal” instinct which, in order to benefit the growing work, disposes
recklessly (beyond all its normal stocks and supplies)
of the vigour of its animal life ; the greater power
then absorbs the lesser. Let us now apply this in- terpretation to gauge correctly the case of Schopenhauer, which we have already mentioned : in his
case, the sight of the beautiful acted manifestly like a resolving irritant on the chief power of his nature
(the power of contemplation and of intense pene-142 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
tration) ; so that this strength exploded and became
suddenly master of his consciousness. But this by no means excludes the possibility of that particular sweetness and fulness, which is peculiar to the
cEsthetic state, springing directly from the ingredient of sensuality (just as that ” idealism ” which is peculiar to girls at puberty originates in the same
source)—it may be, consequently, that sensuality is not removed by the approach of the aesthetic state, as Schopenhauer believed, but merely becomes
transfigured, and ceases to enter into the conscious- ness as sexual excitement. (I shall return once again to this point in connection with the more
delicate problems of the physiology of the cBsthetic, a subject which up to the present has been singularly untouched and unelucidated.)
9- A certain asceticism, a grimly gay whole-hearted
renunciation, is, as we have seen, one of the most
favourable conditions for the highest intellectualism, and, consequently, for the most natural corollaries of such intellectualism : we shall therefore be proof against any surprise at the philosophers in particular always treating the ascetic ideal with a
certain amount of predilection. A serious historical investigation shows the bond between tBe ascetic –
ideal and philosophy to be stiirmuch tighter and
still much stronger. It may be said that it was”
only in the leading strings of this ideal that philo- sophy really learnt to make its first steps and baby
paces—alas how clumsily, alas how crossly, alasWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 143
how ready to tumble down and lie on its stomach
was this shy little darling of a brat with its bandy
legs ! The early^history of^^hilosophy isjikejhat
of all goo3 things ;—for a long time they had not
the c6UfagS”tO “be themselves, they kept always
toalring roufid loTsee if no one would come to their
help7″fiarther, they were afraid of all who looked
at~’tliem. Just enumerate in order the particular tendencies and virtues of the philosopher—his tendency to doubt, his tendency to deny, his tendency to wait (to be ” ephectic “
), his tendency
to analyse, search, explore, dare, his tendency to
c’ompare and to equalise, his will to be neutral and
objective, his will for everything which is ” sine ira
et’studio “
:—has it yet been realised that for quite a lengthy period these tendencies went counter
to the first claims of morality and conscience ? (Tor~say nothing at all of Reason, which even
Luther chose to call Frau Kliiglin* the sly whore^ Has it been yet appreciated that a
philosopher, in the event of his arriving at self- consciousness, must needs feel himself an incarnate
” nitimur in vetitum”—and consequently guard
himself against ” his own sensations,” against self- consciousness ? It is, I repeat, just the same with
all good things, on which we now pride ourselves
;
even judged by the standard of the ancient Greeks,
our whole modern life, in so far as it is not weakness, but power and the consciousness of power,
appears pure ” Hybris ” and godlessness : for the
things which are the very reverse of those which
* Mistress Sly.—Tr.144 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
we honour to-day, have had for a long time conscience on their side, and God as their guardian. ” Hybris ” is our whole attitude to nature nowadays, our violation ol nature with the help of machinery, and all the unscrupulous ingenuity nf _^mg::gcregistrand ‘^^^^^^ attitude to Godj_thatJs, to some alleged teleological and ethical spider behind th.e„.pigslies of the great trap ofthejcausal_webJ Like Charles the Bold
“in his war with Louis the Eleventh, we may say, “je combats runiverselle araignie “
; ” Hybris ” is our
attitude tPJoursebjeaTr-for we experimeat’witliai}X:_ selvesin a way that we would not allow with any
animal, and with pleasure and curiosity open our soul in our living body : what matters now to us the ” salvation ” of the “soul ? We heal ourselves afterwards : being ill is instructive, we doubt it not, even more instructive than being well

inoculators of disease seem to us to-day even more
necessary than any medicine-men and ” saviours.” There is no doubt we do violence to ourselves “nowadays, we crackers “xrf ‘ the SDlifs’^WlTCtrwe
incarnate riddles, who are ever asking riddles, as though life were naught else than the cracking of a nut ; and even thereby must we necessarily become day by day more and more worthy to be asked questions and worthy to ask them, even thereby do we perchance also become worthier to—live? jp^ . . . All good things were once bad, things
;
from every original sin .has..growii,„aiL,OTigiaal virtuej Marriage, for example, seemed for a long time a sin against the rights of the community;
a man formerly paid a fine for the insolence ofWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? , 14S ‘
claiming one woman to himself (to this phase
belongs, for instance, the jus primes noctis, to-day
still in Cambodia the privilege of the priest, that guardian of the ” good old customs “). rrhe softr benevolent, yielding, sympathetic feel- ings—eventually valued sohigHlyTESTl^^^Kost”
became ” mtrinsjc_j[alues,””wCTe~for a very^long
time actually despised by their possessors : gentlehess wa’s then”a”subject for shame, just as hardness is~now (compare Beyond Good and Evzl^ Aph.
266). t iTie submission to law, oh, with what
qualms of conscience was it that the noble races throughout the world renounced the vendetta and
gave the law power over themselves ! Law was
long a vetitum, a blasphemy, an innovation ; it was
ilitrtfditced~wtth-force,~/»^i? a- force, to which men
only submitted witK’a ‘sense “Of personaT shame.
Every tiny step forward in tlie world was formerly made at the cost of mental and physical torEure. Nowa3ays the wKole of this point of view—” that
not only stepping forward, nay, stepping at~all7~ movement, change, air~~needed ‘their cou’ritTfess martyrs,”^ rings in our ears quite stirangely.
I have put it forward in the Dawn of Day,
Aph. 1 8. ” Nothing is purchased more dearly,”
says the same book a little later, ” than the modicum of human reason and freedom which is now our pride. JButJthat^ pride is the reason why
it is now almost impossible for us to”TeeI~ln sympathywitH” those ‘immense periods of”the

‘ Morality of Custom,’ which lie at the beginning”
of’ the ‘world’s history,’ constituting as they do
the real decisive historical principle which has146 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
fixed the character of humanity ; those periods,
I repeat, when throughout’ the world suffering passed for virtuTeT^crueTty’loF virtue, deceit for” virtue, revenge for virtue, repudiatioh’orthe^rM,sprr
for virtue ; and when, conversely, well-being passed current for danger, the desire for knowledge for danger, pity for danger, peace for danger, being
pitied for shame, work for shame, madness for divinity, and change for immorality and incarnate corruption !

10.
There is in the same book, Aph. 1 2, an explanation of the burden of unpopularity under which
the earliest race of contemplative men had to live —despised almost as widely as they were first feared 1 Contemplation first appeared on earth
in a disguised shape, in an ambiguous form, with an evil heart and often with an uneasy head : there
is no doubt about it. The inactive, brooding, un- warlike element in the instincts of contemplative men long invested them with a cloud of suspicion
:
the only way to combat this was to excite a definite fear. And the old Brahmans, for example, knew
to a nicety how to do this ! The oldest philo- sophers were well versed in giving to their very existence and appearance, meaning, firmness, back- ground, by reason whereof men learnt to fear them ; considered more precisely, they did this from an even more fundamental need, the need of inspiring in themselves fear and self-reverence. For they found even in their own souls all the valuations turned against themselves ; they had toWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? 147
fight down every kind of suspicion and antagonism
against ” the philosophic element in themselves.” Being men of a terrible age, they did this with
terrible means: cruelty to themselves, ingenious
self-mortification—this was the chief method of
these ambitious hermits and intellectual revolutionaries, who were obliged to force down the gods
and the traditions of their own soul, so as to enable
themselves to believe in their own revolution. I remember the famous story of the King Vicvamitra,
who, as the result of a thousand years of self- martyrdom, reached such a consciousness of power
and such a confidence in himself that he undertook
to build a new heaven : the sinister symbol of the
oldest and newest history of philosophy in the whole world. Every one who has ever built any^
where a ” new heaven ” first found the power thereto
in his own hell. \. . . Let us compress the facts
into a short formula. The philosophic spirit had,
in order to be possible to any extent at all, to masquerade and disguise itself as one of the
previously fixed types of the contemplative man,
to disguise itself as priest, wizard, soothsayer, as a
religious man generally : the ascetic ideal has for a
~Iorig~ttme served the^ phil,os,ppher_as a superficial “formTas a condition which enabled him to exist. T”. . To be able to be a philosopher he had to exemplify the ideaTjJo exemplify it, lie. waa/Bound
io Jielieve~ va. it. The peculiarly etherealised
abstraction of philosophers, with their negation of
the world, their enmity to life, their disbelief in the
senses, which has been maintained up to the most
recent time, and has almost thereby come to be148 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
accepted as the ideal philosophic attitude—this abstraction is the result of those enforced conditions under which philosophy came into existence, and
continued to exist ; inasmuch as for quite a very long time philosophy would have been absolutely impossible in the world without an ascetic cloak and dress, without an ascetic self-misunderstanding. Expressed plainly and palpably, the ascetic priest has taken the repulsive and sinister form of the
caterpillar, beneath which and behind which alone philosophy could live and slink about. . . . Has all that really changed ? Has that flamboyant and dangerous winged creature, that
” spirit ” which that caterpillar concealed within
itself, has it, I say, thanks to a sunnier, warmer,
lighter world, really and finally flung off its hood and escaped into the light ? Can we to-day point
to enough pride, enough daring, enough courage, enough self-confidence, enough mental will, enough
will for responsibility, enough freedom of the will, to enable the philosopher to be now in the world
really

possible ?
II. And now, after we have caught sight of the
ascetic priest, let us tackle our problem. What is the meaning of the ascetic ideal ? It now first becomes serious—vitally serious. We are now
confronted with the real representatives of the
serious. ” What is the meaning of all seriousness ?,” This even more radical question is perchance
already on the tip of our tongue: a question,
fairly, for physiologists, but which we for the timeWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS ? I49
being skip. In that ideal the ascetic priest finds not only his faith.’^ut “alSo his will, his “pbwSr^ Ms
interestr His HgM to existence stands and falls with that ideaT ‘”‘What wonder that we here run
lip against a terrible opponent (on the supposition, of course, that we are the opponents of that ideal), an opponent fighting for his life against those who
repudiate that ideal ! … On the other hand, it
is from the outset improbable that such a biased
attitude towards our problem will do him any
particular good ; the ascetic priest himself will scarcely prove the happiest champion of his own
ideal (on the same principle on which a woman
usually fails when she wishes to champion
” woman “)—let alone proving the most objective critic and judge of the controversy now raised. We shall therefore—so much is already obvious

rather have actually to help him to defend himself
properly against ourselves, than we shall have to
fear being too well beaten by him. The idea, which is the subject of this dispute, is the value
of our life from the standpoint of the ascetic
priests : this life, then (together with the whole of which it is a part, ” Nature,” ” the world,” the whole sphere of becoming and passing away), is placed by them in relation to an existence of
quite another character, which it excludes and to which it is opposed, unless it deny its own self: ip this case, the case of an ascetic life, life is taken
as a bridge to another existence. The ascetic
treats life as a maze, in which one must walk
backwards till one comes to the place where it starts ; or he treats it as arj. error which. ‘oQ.e may,ISO THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
nay must, refute by action : for he demands that he should be followed ; he enforces, where hecan,
his valuation of existence. What does this mean ? Such a monstrous valuation is not an exceptional
case, or a curiosity recorded in human history:’ It
is one of the most general and persistent facts thaf there are’.” The rea3ing from the vantage ^f^a—-
distant sFar of the capital letters of our earthly
life, would perchance lead to the conclusion that /the earth was the especially ascetic planet, a den
of discontented, arrogant, and repulsive creatures, who never got rid of a deep disgust of themselves, of the world, of all life, and did themselves as much hurt as possible out of pleasure in hurt- ing—presumably their one and only pleasure! Let us consider how regularly, how universally; how practically at every single period the ascetic priest puts in his appearance : he belongs to” no
particular race ; he thrives everywhere ; he grows
out of all classes. Not that he perhaps bred this valuation by heredity and propagated it—the contrary is the case. It must be a necessity of the first order which makes this species, hostile, as
it is, to life, always grow again and always thrive again.

LtfejS^cSi must certainly have an interest in the continuance ofsuch alype of s^lfr^ntradifiltorn— ~F6r_3a_asj:etic life^ is a self-contradiction: here
rules resentment without parallel, the resentmenT” of an insatiate instinct and ambition, thai would
be master, not over some element in life, but over
life itself, over life’s deepest, strongest, inioermost conditions ; here is an attempt made to utilise power to dam the sources of power; here doesWHAT IS THE MEANING OF ASCETIC IDEALS? I SI
the green eye of jealousy turn even against physiological well-being, especially against the expression of such well-being, beauty, joy ; while a sense
of pleasure is experienced and sought in abortion,
in decay, in pain, in misfortune, in ugliness, in voluntary punishment, in the exercising, flagellation, and sacrifice of the self. All this is in the
highest degree paradoxical : we are here confronted with a rift that wills itself to be a rift, which enjoys itself in this very suffering, and even
Ibecomes more and more certain of itself, more and
more triumphant, in proportion as its, ..Qjfo , presupposition, physiological vitality, decreases. ” The
triumph just in the supreme agony ” : under this extravagant emblem did the ascetic ideal fight from of old ; in this mystery of seduction, in this picture of rapture and torture, it recognised its brightest light, its salvation, its final victory. Crux, nux, lux—it has all these three in one.
12.
Granted that such an incarnate will for contradiction and unnaturalness is induced tophilosophise
;
on what will it vent its pet caprice? On that which has been felt with the greatest certainty to be true, to be real ; it will look for error in those
very places where the life instinct fixes truth with
the greatest positiveness. It will, for instance,
after the example of the ascetics of the Vedanta
Philosophy, reduce matter to an illusion, and
similarly; treat pain, multiplicity, the whole logical “contrast of^5«?^?r’arid”’ Olject”—errors, msthing-152 THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS.
but errors ! To renounce the belief in one’s own
ego, to deny to one’s self one’s^own ”^reality “^^^ what a triumph ! and Here”already we haveXmilCh
higher kind of triumph, which is not merely a triumph over the senses, over the palpable, mJE~afr~
infliction of violence and cruelty on reason ;’~an&
this ecstasy culminates in the ascetic self-contempt, the ascetic scorn of one’s own “reason making this decree : there is a domain of truth and of^ife,, but” reason is specially excluded therefrom. … By
the bye, even in the Kantian idea of ” the intel- legible character of things ” there remains a trace of that schism, so dear to the heart of the ascetic, that schism which likes to turn reason against reason ; in fact, ” intelligible character ” means in Kant a kind of quality in things of which the
intellect comprehends this much, that for it, the
intellect, it is absolutely incomprehensible. After
all, let us, in our character of knowers, not be
ungrateful towards such determined reversals of the ordinary perspectives and values, with which
the mind had for too long raged against itself with an apparently futile sacrilege ! In the same way the very seeing of another vista, the”vBry-^ wishing to see another vista, is no little training and preparation of the intellect for its eternal
” Objectivity
“—objectivity being understood not
as ” contemplation without interest ” (for that is inconceivable and nonsensical), but as the ability to have the pros and cons in one’s fpwer a.ndJio switch them on and oif, so- as to get, to knovv_how
to utilise, for the advancement of knowledge, the

difference in the perspective and in the emoliona

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