Brief notes on: Nietzsche, F. (1989)  On The Genealogy of Morals.Trans Walter Kauffman and RJ Hollingdale, edited anxd with a commentary by Walter Kauffman.New York: Vintage Books.

Dave Harris

[These notes very brief because it is very difficult to summarise in any detail this collection of essays.  They get increasingly like a hysterical rant as you read through them. They are very repetitive, and just really potty, with all sorts of ridiculous projects announced, such as finding physical causes for psychological beliefs.  The second main problem is that I just cannot relate to this material very well.  I suppose I've grown up thinking that Nietzsche is some kind of crypto fascist.  Despite the efforts of the translator, and, Deleuze, of course, I cannot shake off rumbling undercurrents of fascism.  There are the notorious phrases like the 'blond beast', who represents real, vigorous, manly men, and the increasing tendency to see the poor and resentful as threatening to contaminate the rest of us with their sickness.  I am aware that fans of Nietzsche want us to read these pieces differently: the blond beast is not meant to refer to the Nazi version of the Aryans; Nietzsche is critical of Germans as of anyone else, because they have also been corrupted by weakness [but then Hitler said pretty much the same, and with similar volkisch themes].  More generally, obviously the whole style is ludicrously exaggerated for polemical effect, and it is quite amusing to see Christianity or community activism rebuked like this].

This lack of sympathy (and experise) has had a particular effect of my notes.They express my rendition of Nietzsche's arguments in my words, not his,except for quotes. This is important if we know that these texts have been picked over and interpreted one word at a time. You will be in no position to argue what Nietzsche actually meant by his choice of individual words or phrases if you rely on these notes -- read the stuff for yourself, as always

The main themes for me, appearing quite reasonable in the first essay and then get more and more wacky, turn on what we currently take to be the basis of our morality, which is being kind to people less fortunate than ourselves, sacrificing ourselves for others, and generally insisting on our own humbleness in the face of god.  Nietzsche will have none of this.  He starts by saying that the ancient words for 'good' referred us to nobility, aristocracy, the honorable doings of great men.  The sea change, that these people are now culpable, and their victims the very repository of virtue,  indicates the extent to which resentment has developed.  Nietzsche uses the French spelling, of course -- ressentiment.

Of course, Christianity is one or the worst examples, but Nietzsche sees this as an offshoot of Judaism any way.  He is mixed about orthodox Judaism from what I can see, sometimes admiring its energy, and indeed attacks anti semites, including one Eugene During.  It is the Christian legacy [a trick played by Jews almost] which he objects to, which offered a message to the poor and oppressed - not to blame themselves, but to blame others for their plight. Some of the best barbs are directed again the religious , including Luther, whose critique was' fundamentally the attack of a lout who could not stomach the good etiquette of the church', keeping the voices of louts out (145). We find 'Humility and self-importance is plain that there is no trace of good breeding. How can one make such a fuss about one's little lapses...Who gives a damn? Certainly not God' (144). Ascetics generally get mocked, as does
anything that lacks moderation and thus opposes good manners. [Blond beasts doubtless had impeccable manners].

In the end 'nausea' awaits -- people are sick of themselves and their little lives [apparently the theme of Sartre's Nausea, Kauffman says]. In more modern times, social policy aimed at working with the poor can also be seen as based on resentment, and there is a psychological pleasure in helping people worse off than yourself in that it makes you feel slightly superior -- this provides the merest glimpse of the will to power, doing something useful (135) These people suffer from having Hegel's 'beautiful soul' --an idealized view that everyone is beautiful in the own way. Ultimately, community activity is only a way of deadening pain.

Science has also been corrupted by asceticism and become a 'means of self-narcosis', partaking of this claim to be rooted in suffering. Secularists of all stripes are the same -- too severe, too 'hectic', still having faith in a [limited] truth (150) . They can still affirm some world beyond the material or some other higher purpose -- but if that is a world created by God, they are mistaken [because God is dead]. The point is to explain the will to truth, which itself involves radical fearless critique. That is missing in modern science,which is actually a 'hiding place for every kind of discontent' (147).

Generally, the whole approach is psychologically appealing, Nietzsche argues, and there is no surprise that it caught on, but at the terrible expense of wanting to drag everything down to its own level, arguing that any sort of excellence in any field was suspicious, and had to be based on exploitation [so we can see several digs at Marxism as well]. There is no higher noble purpose to it all.  As a result, civilization itself was in peril, and no one dared to do anything anymore.  What we need is a return to rigour, proper manliness, which will make even women happy, critical thinking, daring to say that the emperor has no clothes, and 'fresh air'. We must desire suffering and its deeper philosophical meaning: the ascetic interpretation of suffering causes more suffering, and results in hatred of the human, a desire to escape from it all, a 'will to nothingness, an aversion to life' (163), but still a will: man would rather will nothingness than not will'.

OK - -some more detail:

The work was inspired by reading The Origin of Moral Sensations by Dr P Ree, an altruist. N opposed it root and branch, not to refute but to submit something better,more probable.It was tried out in Human All Too Human. It led him back to Schopenhauer who had also valued 'pity,self-abnegation,self-sacrifice' (19), a rejection of life.This was the 'great danger to mankind' , a morality of pity and nihilism.  By comparison, most philosophers did not think much of pity or its value [including Spinoza and Kant].  Once we start to think critically about this 'pernicious modern effeminacy of feeling' (20) we realize that this morality grows in particular conditions and circumstances, and can be their  'mask...  tartufferie'.  The new prospect opens to better morality offering 'the highest power and splendour actually possible'. The history of morality will help.  It needs to be approached with cheerfulness or 'gay science' (21).  It helps if people have read Zarathustra, but N expects to be misunderstood.

The first essay: good and evil, good and bad

The English psychologists are at least interesting, by bringing shame into the foreground and discussing its evolution, instead of covering up.  They may even be acting in a good spirit.  However, their approach is unhistorical, and their genealogy based on a false premise - that good originally meant altruistic, and that subsequently proved itself to have utility.  However, the good people, the nobles or the most powerful created the first conceptions of what was good as a result of the distance from the plebeian.  This had nothing to do with utility, more with feeling, tightly developed as linked to aristocratic value judgements.  Only when these declined did altruism come to the fore, more as a result of 'the herd instinct' (26), again originally seen as something opposite to morality. Spencer at least had a better idea, that good meant useful or practical in the first place.

This was wrong as well, but etymology came to the rescue, and showed that the terms for good were always associated with noble or aristocratic, privileged, and it is this that there has been overlooked in favour of 'the democratic prejudice' concerning origin.  Etymology shows us that the ability was associated with virtue and truth, someone who possesses reality, 'as distinct from the lying common man' (29) in the words of one classical Greek poet.  The Latin term malus was always associated with darker colour, black haired men,  pre-Aryan occupants of Italy.  The Gaelic also indicates that 'the Celts, by the way, were definitely a blond race'(30).  All over Europe, the oppressed race has regained the upper hand, and we can see the move towards democracy as 'a tremendous counter attack'.  Unfortunately the 'conqueror and master race, the Ayran' (31) is succumbing.

Given that the ruling caste was often a priestly caste, we see developing a religious sense of good and bad, pure and impure.  Purity originally meant simply someone who washes themselves and avoids contamination by food, blood or 'dirty women of the lower strata' (32), but these distinctions soon developed into something unhealthy, the physical decline of the priestly caste, and asceticism, 'the entirely antisensualist metaphysic', their valuing of nothingness  or union with god.  However the notion of the soul did at least help to distinguish man from animals.  Physicality separated priestly from warrior castes, the latter practicing 'a powerful physicality, a flourishing, abundant, even overflowing health, together with that which serves to preserve it: war, adventure, hunting, dancing, war games, and in general all that involves vigorous, free, joyful activity' (33).  Priests tried to build their power on impotence and hatred.

The Jews offer 'the most notable example' of priestliness which involved inverting the values of their enemies in 'an act of the most spiritual revenge' (34).  The Jews said in effect that only the wretched are good, only the suffering pious and blessed by god.  They are responsible for 'the slave revolt in morality' which has eventually completely triumphed.  That we have not seen so is because it took 2000 years to develop, and was disguised in terms of the growth of love.  That love grew out of Jewishness, 'by the same impulse that drove the roots of that hatred'(35).  Jesus of Nazareth offers a seductive form of Jewish values, permitting 'sublime vengefulness', 'part of the secret black art of truly grand politics of revenge', even claiming its offshoot as a mortal enemy. The people have won and overthrown their masters, but this victory is 'at the same time a blood poisoning (it has mixed the races together)' (36) It doesn't matter if we call this being 'Judaized, Christianized, mob-ized'.  Only lately has it attempted to hold back the more repellent aspects of modern taste.

The slave revolt is based in resentment -- ressentiment [Kauffman in his Editor's Introduction says that he uses the French term, partly as a matter of style, and it was subsequently taken up in psychology and philosophy].  The slave revolt is based on negation not affirmation, saying no to anything different, including anything outside.  It assumes 'a hostile external world', and it works by fundamental reaction.  Noble valuation, by contrast is affirmative, 'filled with life and passions through and through' (37).  Of course the noble valuation can lead to mistakes and misunderstandings, even be contemptuous, but it is still better than the serious falsifications of slave morality, 'submerged hatred, the vengefulness of the impotent'.  The ancient Greeks were positively benevolent about the lower orders, seeing them as just unhappy.  Their own happiness did not have to be established by contrast, nor did they divide happiness from action.  In slave morality, happiness is more 'essentially narcotic' (38) and passive.  The man of ressentiment 'is neither upright nor naive nor honest and straightforward with himself'.  They do honour cleverness as a means to importance, as opposed to 'unconscious instincts', or 'enthusiastic impulsiveness' which can produce recklessness.  However, the noble never take adversity or enmity seriously for very long.  The noble conception of good is acquired in advance and spontaneously before thinking of what is bad.  Slave morality thinks more of evil, as a matter of ressentiment.  All enemies are seen as evil. 

When the noble encounter something outside and strange they are 'not much better than uncaged beasts of prey' (40), free from all social constraints, acting with a freedom that compensates, but they can still return, showing an innocent conscience.  This combination makes them 'the splendid blond beast' at their core, with a need occasionally to go back to the wilderness and the animal.  [There is a concerted effort in the footnotes to deny that this meant the Nordic mythical races praised by the Nazis, Teutons.  It really relates to the lion in Zarathustra, Kauffman argues].  The noble races are responsible for the dualist concept of a barbarian, as in Pericles noting both Greek virtue and wickedness.  The display of such barbarism can be found among Romans, Arabs, Germans, Japanese nobility, the Homeric heroes and Scandinavian Vikings.  It explains indifference to security and safety, 'hair raising cheerfulness' (42).  There was also the 'raging of the blond Germanic beast' (42) [which undoes some of the apologetic stuff?]  some sort of memory of the goths or vandals perhaps, 'although between the old Germanic tribes and us Germans there exists hardly a conceptual relationship, let alone one of blood'.

Seeing culture as a reduction of the beast to a docile man would validate ressentiment as a good cultural device.  For N, however, this is 'the regression of mankind' (43) something itself oppressive, thirsting for revenge.  It is right to 'fear the blond beast at the core of all noble races', but that is better than admiring 'the repellent sight of the ill constituted, dwarfed, atrophied, and poisoned'.  Tame [middle class?] men already see themselves as the higher man, and we no longer fear him.  He is at least better than 'the surfeit of ill constituted, sickly, weary and exhausted people of which Europe is beginning to stink today'.  It is awful to contemplate these people, and to maintain hope: there is only 'a subterranean life of struggle', but it does at least yield moments in the light, even 'one glance of something perfect, wholly achieved, happy, mighty, triumphant, something still capable of arousing fear!' (44).  The 'diminution and leveling of European man is the greatest danger' , and it will get worse and worse 'more Chinese more Christian'.  We are weary of humanity: this is nihilism.

Of course the noble are predatory, but they should not be reproached for that any more than in nature.  Strength must be allowed to express itself, to overcome, to triumph.  Absurdly, weaknesses now seen as strength.  'Drive, will, effect' is what is crucial, not 'a"subject"', which is been falsely abstracted as a concept.  There is only 'doing, effecting, becoming; "the doer" is merely a fiction added to the deed'(45).  The notion of the subject persists even in scientific analysis of force or causes, as when the atom is treated as a subject, for example.  In political terms, the notion of the subject means that 'the strong man is free to be weak' and can be accountable or blamed if he is not.  To argue that the good man is someone who does no harm and desires little from life is in effect to argue that the weak should do 'nothing for which they are not strong enough'(46).  This is reasonable enough, but it now appears as a virtue, resignation, as a voluntary achievement, or 'meritorious act'.  It is necessary to believe in some independent subject for this, or the soul, and this accounts for the popularity of the ideas.

We need a proper account of how ideals are actually made.  The proper observer could see sweetness overlaying weaknesses and impotence, lowliness being transferred into humility, patience appearing as virtue, inability to act as unwillingness to act, a celebration of suffering and misery, as something which eventually will be rewarded.  This helps the lonely claim they are somehow better than the mighty and better off.  The whole thing 'stinks of so many lies' (47) there are also people who develop the arguments in for these transformations, themselves 'full of vengefulness and hatred', concealing their ressentiment, acting they say in the name of justice, not revenge, and praying for the last judgement.  Their day will come: they call it '"the kingdom of god"'(48).  It will offer eternal compensation and indemnity.  What looks like Christian love is really eternal hate: Aquinas promised the saved that they would be able to witness the punishment of the damned to increase their best.  There has always been cruelty as a part of Christianity [followed by a long quote from Tertullian on the delights of the last day, when kings and governors are burned, philosophers shamed, and non believers tormented].

Good and bad, good and evil have been at the heart of struggles for thousands of years, and although the weak have dominated,  there are still signs of the battleground.  In recent history, the big struggle is between Rome and Judea.  Jews were condemned as unnatural haters of humanity, and Roman aristocratic values were seen as counterposed to theirs  However, the Book of Revelations shows a delight in vengefulness by the Jews.  By some inversion, Christians came to see the Bible as the book of love.  The struggle is between the strong and noble, and those driven by a priestly ressentiment, admittedly equipped with 'an unequalled popular- moral genius' (53), which made the Jews a particularly gifted nation, at least when compared to the Chinese or the Germans.  [Classic ambiguity again here - is this admiration or an even stronger reason for hating them?  Is it enough to counterbalance the charge with despising the Germans?].  Eventually, Christianity was to conquer Rome.

The Renaissance helped to revive the classical ideal to some extent, and even 'Judeaized Rome'(54) revived itself a bit.  However, the reformation, the 'thoroughly plebeian (German and English) ressentiment movement' put paid to Roman catholic revival [oddly that is also seen as a triumph for Judea].  Judea triumphed in the French revolution, attacking 'the last political noblesse in Europe', driven by ressentiment, especially its 'mendacious slogan...  " supreme rights of the majority"'.  The only opposition came from the curious figure of Napoleon, a new noble ideal, a 'synthesis of the inhuman and superhuman'.

The struggle might still flare up again.  We must desire with all our might to go beyond good and evil [plug for his book].  In a note, N hopes that linguistics and etymology might be used more to explain the evolution of moral concepts.  So might physiology - every moral value 'requires first of all a physiological investigation and interpretation, rather than a psychological one' (55).  [The reasoning behind this cranky idea is that what survives as a useful moral principle is really helping to prolong the survival of a race, again an example of how popular opinion might be thwarted in advocating the well being of the majority].

Second essay: guilt and bad conscience

Human beings are able to make promises, but this also involves them in forgetting as a positive form of repression, which is responsible for us not noticing most of the things that we experience.  We must attempt to become aware of new things, especially the 'nobler functions and functionaries' (58) 'for our organism is an oligarchy'.  We need to forget in order to achieve any happiness, and if this repression is damaged, we 'cannot "have done" with anything'.  The opposing faculty is the memory, essential in particular to remember promises.  It involves active desire to continue to desire something, 'the real memory of the will'.  However, this also involves disattending to any distractions, being able to  think causally and anticipate, being regular, and calculable.  This explains the origin of responsibility.  It implies a system of 'morality of mores'(59), and this explains the prehistory of human being.  The culmination is 'the sovereign individual, like only to himself, liberated again from morality of custom, autonomous and supramoral', conscious of his own power and freedom, possessing a free will.  Such a man deserves respect and a feeling of superiority: he has mastered himself and this 'necessarily gives him mastery over circumstances' (60) [sounds like the headmaster at my old grammar school].  It lends him distinction.  He is confident that he can maintain his character in the face of accidents or fate.  This necessarily brings content for 'the feeble windbags...  the liar'.  This combination of power and responsibility has become instinct, and appears as conscience.

Conscience takes a variety of forms, however, and this sovereignty of the self is developed only late.  Earlier on, it had to be developed in ways that were 'not precisely gentle', like burning something into the memory, using pain to jog memory, developing cruel religious rites.  This is still effective.  This is the history of asceticism, making ideas unforgettable, repressing everything else.  Even the Germans, no longer cruel, used these techniques to breed their own nation of thinkers and civil trust, to 'master their basic mob - instinct and its brutal coarseness' (62) [some nasty examples are listed].  Current levels of reason and seriousness have been developed from these practices.

What about bad conscience, guilt?  These are actually worthless, something merely modern, not based on the past.  Guilt actually originates in the notion of debt [etymologically that is].  It is modern in the sense that it was not always possible to distinguish intentional from accidental practices.  The notion that criminals could act differently is 'an extremely late and subtle form of human judgment' (63), and punishment used to be imposed not because someone was personally guilty, but in the sense that injury must be paid back through its equivalent, the 'contractual relationship between creditor and debtor'.

These contractual relationships could take a repugnant form, to instil that kind of memory necessary for prices, to instil a sense of duty or obligation.  Creditors could torture the body of the debtor, cutting from it an equivalent to the debt, and there was even a system of legal evaluation of the value of different limbs or parts of the body.  What is actually gained for the creditor is pleasure at being able to 'vent his power freely upon one who is powerless' (65), the enjoyment of violation.  It is particularly satisfactory if the creditor is able to dominate someone of higher rank, to share for a while the right of the masters.

This is where all the apparently moral notions of guilt consciousness duty and so on have their beginnings, 'soaked in blood thoroughly and for a long time'.  Cruelty still abounds, even in Kant's categorical imperative.  Making someone suffer was pleasurable 'in the highest degree', often leading to a genuine festival.  Modern men like to resist such an analysis, but even Spinoza knew that malevolence was 'a normal quality of man', which did not trouble the conscience.  People were able to laugh at cruelty and thought that 'to see others suffer does one good' (67).  Life was more cheerful in that era of cruelty, and there was no shame 'at man' (67) or disgust with life.  These developed later following 'morbid softening  and moralization', so that life became repugnant, and a Pope even listed all the repellent aspects of the flesh [67].

Perhaps pain did not hurt as much then as it does now, and we can see this with doctors who have 'treated Negroes (taken as representatives of prehistoric man)' (68).  Susceptibility to pain seems to vary according to social class as well.  Animals might suffer, but this is 'negligible compared with one painful night of a single hysterical blue stocking'.  Suffering can be senseless, but there is a whole Christian mechanism to explain that it is really a sign of salvation.  So to abolish knowledge of suffering, men had to 'invent gods and genii', to justify it.  Life became 'an epistemological problem' to explain evil, perhaps as a demonstration of the power of the gods for the ancient Greeks, where human wars were festivals.  Later, those same gods saw suffering as involving moral struggle and heroism.  The notion of human free will provided additional spectacle, 'the idea that the interest of the gods in man, in human virtue, could never be exhausted'(69): full determinism would have been boring.

The relation between creditor and debtor represents some initial human relation, the first encounter [sounds like Locke now].  These relations were so important that they dominated thinking, and produced the first feelings of superiority in relation to other animals.  'Man designated himself as the creature that measures values' (70).  These basic rights got transferred into social complexes and customs, and gave thought a direction, proceeding to the 'great generalization "everything has its price; all things can be paid for"', and the notions of justice which emerged to produce settlements.  The earliest notions of community also emerged from this process, and with it, the first notion of the outsider.  Any breaking of promises to the community would invite repayment, irrespective of the actual harm caused: it was breaking the contract with the community that produced the problem and it would lead to being deprived of community benefits, exile or outlaw.  This mimics the rights of war over defeated enemies, and indeed, war 'provided all the forms that punishment has assumed throughout history' (72). As the power of communities grow, the threats from individuals are less serious, and the community takes on the role of mediator between criminal and victim, bringing with it the notion that some discharge of guilt is possible.  There is still internal isolation, but the general moderation of punishment, even to the extent of ignoring crimes like debt, in the name of mercy (which is still a privilege of the most powerful).

Ressentiment is less powerful as an origin of justice, and it 'blooms best today among anarchists and anti semites' (73), something hidden.  It can resurface by arguing that revenge is required in the name of justice, as a reactive affect.  This can be seen as rooted in biology.  Generally, ressentiment offers a 'nuance of scientific fairness' in the name of hatred, jealousy, or revenge.  However, such scientific detachment soon evaporates, especially with affects that are even more important biologically - lust for power, avarice.  Duhring bases his notion of justice on these reactive feelings.  However, far from originating justice, they are the last to be conquered by it.  But at the same time, the ideal of objective and indifferent justice should not be believed in too readily, and 'aggression malice or insinuation' (75) soon dispels it, even for the most 'upright'.  Indeed, active aggression and arrogance is closer to justice than just reacting, because no 'false and prejudiced view of the object' is required.  The aggressive man therefore has a better conscience, and the man of ressentiment has to operate with bad conscience.

Law has been administered best by the aggressive and strong rather than the merely reactive.  Only a strong commitment to justice can end 'the senseless raging of ressentiment among the weaker powers', and settlements can be imposed.  Mere 'grudges and rancour' are replaced by the administration of law in general.  This replaces personal feelings based on injury as technical offences against the law, in a more impersonal evaluation.  So it is the institution of laws are brings about the modern notions of justice.  Nothing is unjust in itself, since life itself features 'injury, assault, exploitation, destruction' (76).  Legal conditions are therefore exceptional to biology, and offer a partial restriction 'of the will of life, which is bent upon power'.  It can only prevail by creating 'greater units of power'.  Any legal order that prevented all forms of struggle [advocated by Duhring, apparently --is this the same one criticized by Engels?] would be 'hostile to life'.

The origin and purposes of punishment are separate.  The usual approach takes the purpose of punishment as its origin, and this is a general methodological flaw that prevents us from looking at 'the cause of the origin of a thing' (77) [you're not going to  get to it by ranting!].  Something, once it has appeared, is classically put to new ends, transformed 'by some power superior to it', subdued, and this applies 'to all events in the organic world'.  [N uses the term 'becoming master'].  Utility can not be used to deduce origins [we are close to deterritorialization here].  If something is a purpose or utility, this is a sign that 'a will to power has become master of something less powerful', and the signs may appear as chains, linked by what can look like 'purely chance' [so there is no chance for N?  Merely unexplained interpretation by the powerful?].  Evolution is not a matter of logical or real progress towards a goal, but a succession of subduings, resistance, and partial transformation.  It is hard to establish a central meaning for such fluidity.  This can applied to the evolution of organisms as well, including their partial destruction as a species, which is 'among the conditions of an actual progressus'(78), some will to greater power pursued at its expense.  The will to power replaces a historical mechanism, pure fortuitousness or mechanical senselessness.  It is senseless for us to oppose domination and to hate rule and government, even though this appears to take a spiritual form, and even to permeate objective science, including physiology.  What is missed is 'the fundamental concept... of activity', and its replacement by adaptation, 'an activity of the second rank, a mere reactivity' (79), as in Spencer.  The will to power is the essence of life, however, and 'spontaneous, aggressive, expansive, form-giving forces' are central.

Punishment has a relatively enduring element, a certain drama in its procedures but its meaning and purpose or expected outcome is more fluid.  Again we should suspect from our 'historical method',[ha! transcendental deduction at best]  that some deeper force lies beneath the procedures: these have not just been invented to enable modern forms of punishment.  Certainly the meaning of punishment has changed considerably, and now contains a synthesis: indeed, it is impossible to say why people are punished these days.  We could detect the original synthesizing and entanglement, and see how they have undergone shifts in value, for example when deterrence overcame all the other elements.  But there are still uncertain and even accidental meanings, which include a way of rendering someone harmless, offering recompense, restoring equilibrium, inspiring fear as a deterrent, exacting repayment, expelling a degenerate [the example is Chinese law apparently, where the aim is to preserve 'the purity of a race'], punishment as a festival, as a way of instilling memory, moderation of revenge, or a declaration of war.  Punishment is 'over determined by utilities' (81), meaning that utility alone cannot explain it.  The main value is to make the punished feel guilty, prolonging and extending the notion of bad conscience.  However, 'all conscientious observers are agreed' that prisons only make people 'hard and cold', alienated, rebellious.  If it leads to diminution of the vital energy altogether, that's even worse.  History tells us that punishment actually hinders the development of feelings of guilt, prevents criminals from reasoning about their own actions, especially if the state demonstrates the same kind of unthinking violence, or works by bribery and deception.

The bad conscience is a recent and imported development anyway, and the guilty persons were expected to experience pain only when encountering punishment.  Spinoza discuss the problems when thinking of the 'sting of conscience', having already proposed a kind of materialism which avoided notions of good and evil and the omnipotent god.  He saw the importance of an unexpected sadness, and this has been important for criminals in the past, who explained to themselves that something has gone wrong, not that their moral compass is faulty.  They submit to punishment just as the rest of us do to other misfortunes, with 'stout hearted fatalism' [the quality which the Russians apparently still have].  If anything, punishment heightened prudence and caution, as a kind of self criticism of earlier weakness.  Punishment tames people rather than making them better.  Luckily, it also makes people stupid.

The origin of the bad conscience to N is 'the serious illness that man was bound to contract under the stress of the most fundamental change' (84), that of living in society and at peace.  All previous instincts were devalued and suspended.  All orientations and guides failed, leaving only consciousness.  At the same time, the old instincts were still making demands, although they could rarely be humoured directly: instincts turned inwards, 'the internalization of man', the development of a soul.  This proceeded to the extent that external discharges were inhibited [sounds like Elias and the civilization thesis].  The  'instincts of wild, free, prowling man' (85) were turned against man himself.

Men reacted to this 'oppressive narrowness' of custom, like animals rubbing against the bars of the cage, 'this fool, this yearning and desperate prisoner became the inventor of the "bad conscience"', but this produced 'the gravest and uncanniest illness'.  Nevertheless, this new notion of the human soul provided so many contradictory possibilities that divine spectators were needed.  For the first time, men were 'included among the most unexpected and exciting lucky throws in the dice game' played by Zeus or chance.  Man becomes a source of potential and promise.

The change involved took place as a 'break, a leap, a compulsion' (86), even before the development of ressentiment.  Violence was always involved, not only in oppressing, but also in forming people.  The state is seen as 'some pack of blond beasts of prey', or master race, organized for war, able to impose its will on a populace.  The notion of some original contract is sentimental.  Command was always decided by violent mastery.  Such people appear 'as lightning appears, too terrible, too sudden, too convincing, too "different" even to be hated'.  They are able to impose something new and give it new meanings.  They do not operate with notions of guilt and responsibility, but rather with an artist's egoism.  However, bad conscience is an unintended consequence, something latent, arising from the repression of the instinct for freedom.

This is not to be totally condemned, because it is the same active force that we find in the form of the instinct for freedom '(in my language: the will to power)' (87), although applied to other men. [cf Foucault on the affirmative aspects of power]. This force involved contents and negativity, even joy in making people suffer, itself something that will produce further suffering as an active bad conscience.  The activity involved is also the source of 'all ideal and imaginative phenomena...  strange new beauty and affirmation' (88).  This is perceived as a delight by those with bad conscience, although, 'this delight is tied to cruelty'.  So altruism emerged only from bad conscience, itself the result of 'the will to self maltreatment'.

'The bad conscience is an illness', but only in the sense that pregnancy is an illness.  One implication of the original relationships between debtor and creditor has come to be interpreted in two notions of the relation between the present generation and its ancestors.  With 'the original tribal community', duty towards earlier generations was recognized, and the sacrifices and accomplishments of the ancestors had to be repaid with sacrifice and accomplishment.  As more people die, the debt grows greater, especially as the ancestors confer more and more benefits.  Sacrifice is never enough and eventually becomes excessive.  The fear of the ancestor increases, just as the power of the tribe does.  Conversely, social decline diminishes fear of the ancestors.  This produces division between the different tribes [some lunatic origin of stratification on the national or  racial level?  This is implied on page 90 where struggles between the gods are supposed to be worked out in terms of struggles between nations and races, with universal empires promoting universal divinities].  Soon the powerful ancestors will become gods, with no need for piety as a human instinct.  However, later noble tribes developed by reproducing the qualities that the gods themselves were supposed to possess.

Back in primeval times, communities developed 'on the basis of blood relationship' (90), and also developed orders of rank.  The burden of unpaid debt led to the development of 'dependent populations', including slaves, who acquired this 'guilty feeling of indebtedness' from their masters.  The Christian god is 'the maximum God attained so far' and therefore has the most indebtedness.  If Christianity declines further, so will all guilt feelings are, and atheism will eventually dispel these notions of guilt altogether and inaugurate 'a kind of second innocence' (91).  Yet this is far away, and current reality is still penetrated by the bad conscience.  As that develops, it aims at the impossibility of ever discharging debt.  As a result, this aim is also internalised in the form of the bad conscience and a duty, the notion of 'irredeemable penance'[Deleuze likes this bit and refers to it as 'the judgement of god' -- Artaud uses the actual phrase].  However the creditor too is burdened with a curse of original sin, or of evil nature, or of mere pointless existence, as in 'Buddhism and the like' (92).  The Christian idea that god sacrifices himself for our guilt, out of love, means that human repayment can never be sufficient.

The result is self torment and inward cruelty, driven to 'is most gruesome picture of severity and rigour', guilt about animal instincts, the sense of imperfection before God, a denial of self, 'God the Judge', torments without end.  Humans actually will to find themselves guilty, they will themselves to be unable ever to discharge the guilt, and will themselves to create an ideal in god, becoming 'this insane pathetic beast—man!' (93).  Prevented from accessing his real beastliness, he develops mental beastliness.  This is sickness, and 'Too long, the earth has been a madhouse!'.  This is how 'the "holy God" originated'.

There are better uses 'for the invention of gods', as we can see by looking at Greek gods, who reflect 'noble and autocratic men', with their real animal nature.  This led to rejoicing in freedom, staving off bad conscience.  They saw all human beings as led by 'foolishness,  not sin!'(94).  Evil behaviour resulted from being deluded by a god - the gods took on the guilt.

This could be seen as just knocking down ideals.  But ideals always cost: lies have to be sanctified, consciences disturbed.  One ideal has to be sacrificed if another is to flourish.  Modern men have long practiced self torture, seeing their natural inclinations as evil, and no one is strong enough to reverse all this.  Even the good men would oppose it, as well as 'the comfortable, the reconciled, the vain, the sentimental, the weary' (95).  Revealing the origins of all this gives offence, and it is much easier to go along with what the world does.  Opposing these conceptions requires 'a different kind of spirit', something unlikely in the present age.  It requires the experience of adventure and danger, 'the keen air of the heights', the 'self confident mischievousness in knowledge that goes with great health' (96).  Indeed, it is precisely a matter of health.  One day in the future a redeeming man might appear, able to confront reality not flee from it, able to redeem it from the curse of the bad conscience, a 'man of the future', abolishing the current ideal, and all it produces, 'the great nausea, the will to nothingness, nihilism'.  This man will be 'AntiChrist and antinihilist...  victor over god and nothingness'.  Nothing more can be said because only this man, Zarathustra [thank God -- I thought he meant Hitler!] has the right to speak, 'Zarathustra the godless'.

Third essay: ascetic ideals

The ascetic means different things, something spiritual, an additional charm in women who are otherwise 'a plump pretty animal' (97), or a licence for power in the case of priests, a lust for Glory.  It really arises from horror of the vacuum, in that human will needs a goal, even nothingness.  Let's take the example of Wagner who became chaste in his old age, but before combined chastity and sensuality [all seems to turn on the work he did on Luther's wedding].  There's always been a balance between animal and angel, but only 'swine who have come to grief' worship only chastity.  Why should Wagner celebrate such swine?  Perhaps it was a joke [Parsifal], a tragedian laughing at himself?  That is a better option than someone who has turned on the senses, or returns to 'morbid Christian and obscurantist ideals' (100). 

It is better to separate the artist from their work, seen as something that grows out of some dubious soil.  We should see artists as people of spirit, not as ordinary aesthetic men.  In artistic labour, just as in biological labour, there are repellent aspects.  Nor should artists be confused with their characters.  They operate instead separated from the real or the actual, and this can cause problems with their 'innermost existence' prompting a focus on the actual.  Perhaps it is that artists often display 'velleity' ['weak volition'].

Thus in artistic terms, asceticism is of no value and amounts to nothing.  Artists are too dependent on the world generally, and this reduces the value of their own stances, which are always affected by some existing 'morality, philosophy or religion' (102), or by the need to flatter their patrons and other powers.  Wagner had to prop up his position using Schopenhauer.  But what did Schopenhauer, and other philosophers, who are independent, get out of asceticism?  Schopenhauer had a particular stance towards art [in particular, he seemed to value music as something independent, 'not offering images of phenomenality as the other arts did, but speaking rather the language of the will itself' (103).] This helps the musician turn into some kind of priest, 'a kind of mouthpiece of the "in itself" of things, a telephone from the beyond'.  [Deleuze and Guattari seem rather guilty of this]  This will inevitably lead to asetic ideals.

Schopenhauer based his position on Kant on aesthetics, which originally included a prominent place for knowledge, impersonality and universality, taking the point of view of the spectator.  However, this assumed that the spectator would have possessed personal experience of , and 'surprises and delights' (104) in, the aesthetic.  However, normally the spectator is seen quite differently, as lacking such experience, and as possessing definite interests.  We can see this when considering Stendhal who suggested that spectators are always anticipating promised happiness, and thus are not disinterested.  The kantian position does seem absurd when men are expected to view statues without interest,  making Kant as naive as a ' country parson'.  Schopenhauer interpreted the notion of being without interest in a personal way, as a liberation from sexual interest, and from general considerations of merit and utility, a form of redemption from the will [to lust after women].  His position can be seen simply as 'a generalisation from...  sexual experience' (105), affected by prevailing social customs.  [N quotes from some of his work apparently showing a delight in being released from the torments of life].  Thus Schopenhauer was expressing a personal effect of the beautiful, in calming his particular will, but this should not have been generalised: Stendhal was just as sensual but perhaps better adjusted, and saw that beauty arouses the will.  The discussion shows how for some philosophers, the ascetic meant a release from torture [by the senses].Schopenhauer had to use exaggerated words like torture, to see women as instruments of the devil, because he needed enemies in order to keep up his spirits: he would not have persisted without them.  We could see happiness in this case taking the form of anger.

 This actually is fairly typical of philosophers who do display 'irritation at and rancour against sensuality' (106).  Every animal, including the philosophical animal, attempts to maximize favourable conditions in which they can expend their strength and achieve a feeling of power.  Everything that obstructs this attempt is abhored.  It is the search for power not happiness that is important.  Philosophers rarely marry, for example, and even Socrates 'married ironically'(107).  Family ties are seen as fetters, something oppressive; avoiding being  housebound, and entering the desert seems the sign of a strong spirit.  Asceticism is therefore the optimum state to allow philosophers to affirm their own existence above all.

Philosophers often attempt to free themselves from as much constraint as possible, including the 'gnawing worm of injured ambition' (108), and asceticism helps them float above life.  Poverty, humility and chastity are always associated not with virtues, but 'as the most appropriate and natural conditions of the best existence'.  The love of life and luxury was refused.  Philosophy still claims asceticism as a kind of 'dominating spirituality', but 'there is thus nothing of "virtue" in this' (109).  It is an imagined desert they seek, sometimes referring to themselves.  [Deleuze and Guattari take note] There are camels however [Kauffman tells us this is a joke, since a camel is a silly ass in German].  Being in the desert means avoiding all the distractions of noises, newspapers, even a job, preferring to associate with harmless beasts, even an ability to 'go unrecognized'[become imperceptible], and to talk to ordinary people.  Above all, it means avoiding 'everything to do with "today"', everything that does not require the soul to defend itself.  It is better not to speak aloud, since only orators do that, not thinkers, people who seek out audiences and are unsure of themselves.

Philosophers avoid 'fame, princes, and women' (110), and harsh daylight.  They want to to avoid having to think of themselves, as a kind of maternalism.  They subject themselves to a 'supreme lord'[philosophy].  They avoid enmities and friendships as distracting.  They do not wish to be martyrs.  They avoid big words [not the ones I read, matey!] for example 'truth' which 'sounds too grandiloquent' (111).  Chastity leads to the search for 'little immortality' elsewhere.  It is not real chastity any way, simply the result of their will and the need to devote all their energy to the work. We can see Schopenhauer in this light, with the beautiful releasing the energy of his will towards contemplation.  There might have been a little aesthetic or sensual pleasure, but the second is really the basis of the first, and so Schopenhauer has not risen above the sensual.  [At this point, N says he will be exploring the 'physiology of aesthetics' in more detail, but Kaufman tells us that he never did except in the form of hints].

So asceticism in a particular form seems to combine with will and spirituality, and this is why philosophers have always been fond of it.  Philosophy began initially as something unsure of itself.  All its acclaimed virtues - an ability to doubt, deny, suspend judgment, analyze, while remaining neutral - originally flouted morality and notions of reason.  Philosophy seemed to be something forbidden.  We could apply all this to the things of which we are proud today  - it can all be seen as hubris.  We use to hold as honorable the opposite of things we value today, such as our attitude to nature, the inventiveness of technicians, the concept of god 'as some alleged spider of purpose and morality behind the greater captious web of causality' (113).  We seem to enjoy even experimenting with ourselves, and even try to 'vivisect our souls' driven by a curiosity: in a strange way, those that make us sick are more necessary than those who cure us.

Everything is reversed.  Marriage was once seen as something selfish and antisocial, claiming a woman for yourself.  People used to be ashamed of mildness; they pursued the justice of the vendetta and had no time for the power of law, itself seen as something violent to which we had to submit .  Modern feelings of reason and freedom were paid with suffering and martyrdom.  But the earlier 'morality of mores' formed the human character [sic].

Contemplation was originally despised, and had to go in disguise.  This turned into a 'fear of oneself' (115) [making ordinary people fear philosophers was a strategy to both 'fear and reverence' the self].  The community distrusted them.  Earlier philosophers had to employ a cruelty towards themselves in order to overcome the traditions, going through hell to build a new heaven.  Disguise took the form of appearing as more acceptable or contemplative people, like priests.  Philosophers had to be ascetics, and to believe in asceticism, to pose as someone world-denying.  It is doubtful if this has changed in modern times.

Asceticism became associated with seriousness, but that needs to be investigated too, including by physiologists.  It is such a strong association that attacking asceticism runs risks.  However, ascetics find it difficult to defend themselves.  The key issue is the valuation to be placed on life with all its becoming and transitoriness.  The ascetic 'treats life as a wrong road' (117).  This has actually been widespread in our history [which seems to contradict the gloriously joyful affirmative life described just above?].  There has long been pleasure in disgust at oneself, pleasure in inflicting pain.  The ascetic priest appears everywhere, and so looks as if he is universal: asceticism is not confined to one class,  race or family.  Somehow, asceticism must be formed out of 'the interest of life itself', although it seems totally opposed to life, seeking power over life itself, a 'force to  block up the wells of force' (118).  It is a kind of perverted capacity for life, something paradoxical because the more it denies life itself, the more it achieves its own life goals.

If we force ascetics to justify themselves philosophically, they will identify error 'precisely where the instinct of life most unconditionally posits truth', downgrading physicality and any other aspect of reality [including the antithesis between subject and object].  It must end in a notion of the realm of truth which excludes reason.  Kant himself comes close to this since  the intellect is limited, and some things are simply incomprehensible.  However, it is valuable to gain 'a variety of perspectives and affective interpretations in the service of knowledge'(119), and we can at least reject some fictions such as the notion of a pure, timeless subject without will, and notions of pure reason or '"knowledge in itself"'.  These conceptions ignore 'the active and interpreting forces' which guide perception and knowledge.  'There is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective knowing', and we can gain complete grasp of the concept of the thing only by considering 'more affects...more eyes, different eyes'.  We can not simply eliminate the will altogether.

The apparent contradiction that asceticism is a life against life really means that the ascetic ideal relates to preserving a 'degenerating life'(120).  It is a struggle between this older form and everything that is new.  It is an expedient.  What is really happening is a struggle through death against death.  The popularity of asceticism shows the prevalence of the sickly or tamed man, their disgust with life, but also the struggle against exhaustion. Ascetic priests want to be different, in a different place, but this very desire makes them captive, and this leads to the ambition to construct the 'whole herd of the ill constituted, disgruntled, underprivileged, unfortunate' of whom they can be the shepherds.  In this way asceticism denies life but also conserves and creates it.

Everything depends on the prevalence of sickly men.  Man is restless and daring compared to all the other animals,  and his 'own restless energies never leave him in peace', and he is always oriented to the future.  Periodically, man indicates that he has had enough, become nauseous, weary, disgusted with himself [the example is the dance of death in the 14th century], but even this produces a new compulsion to live.  Sickliness is normal, and so we need to protect in particular those who can still demonstrate 'great power of soul and body' (121).  Strong men are not to be feared, but those that produce nausea or pity are.  If ever the two qualities were to unite, they would produce a will to nihilism, and there are some signs of this union developing, signs of the madhouse or the hospital in the cultural domain.  The weak undermine everything including trust, they burden us with sadness and a sense of failure.  Vengefulness and rancour thrive, secrets and concealment, conspiracy of the suffering against the well, hatred of the successful.  All this is disguised under a display of 'grand words and postures', false submissiveness and humility, claims to represent only justice, love and wisdom.  They claim to represent best virtue, claiming to be the good and the just, the only men of goodwill.  They tried to reproach others who are the healthy and strong as if they have done something wrong for which they will have to pay - and the weak 'crave to be hangmen' (123). They are only too ready to judge.  They often appear as beautiful souls.  They can display 'deformed sensuality', combined with purity, but they are 'moral masturbater and "self gratifers"'.  Sick women are especially dangerous: 'nothing can excel her in the wiles to dominate, oppress and tyrannise...  She will dig up the most deeply buried things'.

We see the struggle of the sick against the healthy everywhere, in families and in organizations.  Occasionally sickness appears as loud moral indignation, something pretending to be noble.  We find it even in science, as in the work of Duhring, 'the foremost moral big mouth today', (124) him and the other anti semites.  They all show ressentiment, they yearn for subterranean revenge, which they hope to gain by giving us all a bad conscience, making the fortunate ashamed.  This must be opposed, and the fortunate should not doubt the right to happiness.  The healthy should not be made sick.  Instead, the sick should be segregated from the healthy, in the interests of the future.  Above all we need fresh air and good company, 'our company!' (125).  The healthy should not even nurse the sick - they should be tended by 'doctors and nurses who are themselves sick'.

The ascetic priest offers dominion over suffering, he tends to the sick although he is sick himself, but must also be strong with his own will to power, so that he can organize the sick and defend them against the healthy.  He must naturally despise anything that looks 'rude, stormy, unbridled, hard, violent beast of prey, health and might' (126).  If he is to fight the beasts of prey, he has to represent a new kind of animal himself, animal ferocity.  Sometimes he will need to pass among the strong appearing to be like them, but possessing more mysterious powers so that he can sow discord where he can.  He cures the wounds of the sick, but infects them at the same time.  He even defends the herd against itself, struggling against anarchy and disintegration which ressentiment constantly causes.  He alters the direction of ressentiment. 

It is common to blame someone else in order to relieve the suffering.  This is the promise of ressentiment, helping to deaden pain by arousing affect.  This can be seen in defensive retaliation, but mainly in avoiding further pain, driving pain out of consciousness by replacing it with an even more violent emotion.  This trend to blame others might have a physiological origin too [with some quackery]. The sick themselves are inventive in this matter.  They've come to enjoy being mistrustful, dwelling on nasty deeds, scouring the past to deepen their suspicions and intoxicate themselves with malice.  The old wounds are opened.  Enemies are found everywhere.  What the priest does is to encourage them to eventually blame themselves, however.

This project requires the use of words such as guilt, sin, or damnation.  Self blame is useful [functional?] to prevent excessive social damage by the vengeful.  Of course this will not cure the sickness.  The sick will be concentrated and organized '(the word "church" is the most popular name for it)' (128), with the separation of the healthy, even a chasm between them.  It follows that sinfulness is not itself a factor but an interpretation of 'physiological depression' through the religious or moral perspective.  In particular, feeling guilty is no proof that you are right: convicted witches felt guilty.  Even psychological pain involves an interpretation of causes, not even physiological ones.  It is more a matter of being well constituted enough to deal with experiences, even tough ones: those who suffer have a kind of moral indigestion.  Although physiological processes are implicated, N still wants to be 'the sternest opponent of all materialism'(129).

Priests are actually poor physicians, because they do not address the real causes.  However, the religious perspective is extremely flexible, even a matter of genius, in the way in which it offers consolation in such variety and subtlety.  Religion generally arises because from time to time 'a feeling of physiological inhibition' (130) spreads among the populace, and remedy is sought in psychology or in morals.  The inhibition might arise 'from the crossing of races too different from one another (or of classes—classes always also express differences of origin and race'.  Mixed classes in particular explains the characteristic European Weltschmerz.  Emigrating to a foreign country can also produce it, so can 'exhaustion in the race', incorrect diet, or 'degeneration of the blood' (131) in malaria or syphilis.

General displeasure is resisted in several ways: first by reducing 'the feeling in life in general', reducing expectations, promoting abstinence, making oneself stupid.  This appears in moral terms of selflessness, and in physiological terms as hypnosis, something like hibernation.  This can work to really free yourself from depression, but at the price of 'spiritual disturbances' (132) such as experiences of inner light or hallucinations and so on.  These dubious explanations are enthusiastically propagated.  The final stage of redemption itself can produce repose at last.  It is treated as a great mystery, a liberation from illusion, truth, release from all nasty desires or actions, something beyond good and evil as in Buddhism.  In a way, these beliefs are true, realistic, because hypnosis works.  You can gain redemption through increasing your virtue, say in Indian philosophy, but N has less support for the notion of spiritual union as a dreamlike state [Indian religion is cited here quite a lot].  Nevertheless, a hypnotic absence of suffering obviously takes a positive value and can easily be seen as 'the positive as such' (134).

[Oh dear I am wearying of this ranting stuff.  Never mind.  Nearly through]

Intellectual stoicism is also a form of training against depression, which at least involves activity, as in work becoming a blessing [he doesn't mean nasty manual work of course].  You fill up your consciousness with mechanical activity, regularity, obedience, routine, a certain impersonality.  You can also engage in 'petty pleasure' as a medication (135), in the form of doing good to others helping your neighbour.  This is a typical activity of the ascetic priest, because this is is a life affirming drive in a way even if a cautious one - it is still 'the will to power' combined with feeling happy about slight superiority.  It is certainly better than hurting each other.  Christianity began like this in the Roman world, as a matter of mutual aid, assistance for the poor and the sick, attaining this petty pleasure.  Actually combining into a herd is the next step, a significant advance against depression, and the source of new interests for the individual so that they can get away from themselves.  Belonging to a herd overcomes a feeling of weakness, and this is realized by priests.  Coming together like this provides genuine enjoyment for the weak, unlike those actions of the strong which are strictly aimed at satisfying a will to power without organization: this is how oligarchies turn into tyrannies.

All the means of developing love of neighbour and herd instinct, can be seen as innocent means deployed by priests, but there are more guilty ones, usually in the form of 'an orgy of feeling' (136).  Priests build upon enthusiasm, but we should not deal with euphemism ['tartuffery'].  Innocence and moralized forms of speech often conceal mendaciousness, and proper psychologists [philosophers] have to face this even if it means a greater nausea.  In the future, we will see these modern developments as displaying 'moral mawkishness and falseness...innermost feminism that likes to call itself "idealism"' (137).  It is not that educated people actually tell lies, because this would insist that they distinguish the true and the false.  Instead, most people claiming to be good have to engage in dishonest mendaciousness.  We can see this with biography, and how difficult it is to write about oneself honestly.  We can also see catholic reactions to the reformation  [in Janssenism] as overly simple and bashful, apologetic about Luther.  Ranke [usually called a positivist historian] represents a classic type of a modern man, prudent and realistic. However, it is difficult to shake and mistrust of ourselves ['us psychologists', that is, 139], since we are still infected by contemporary morality.  For example we wrongly learn to mistrust first impulses. 

Now we can proceed to examine the real affects of the ascetic ideal in producing orgies of feeling, so intense as to alleviate all gloom and depression.  All the great affects can do this, and all have been pressed into service, under a religious interpretation and justification of course.  These orgies are always pursued with a good conscience, even though they usually lead to subsequent increases in depression.  The main technique involves playing on a sense of guilt, which gets exaggerated by priests into sin and given a religious interpretation, becoming so oppressive that men have to turn toward sorcerers or priests for counsel: the answer always is to seek the cause in themselves, which only confirms their dependence on the priest.

The invalid becomes a sinner, and they are everywhere, with no attempt to understand suffering, always with a bad conscience, which often becomes 'morbidly lascivious' (141), leading to punishment of the flesh.  People even seek more pain, hair shirts, torture chambers,  endlessly inventive punishment, all justifying the ascetic ideals of the priest.  It is doubtful if any of these are orgies of punishment actually benefited anybody, certainly not in the sense of improving people, more like taming them, emasculating them, making people even sicker, adding 'a shattered nervous system' to existing illness.  After waves of repentance, we get 'tremendous epileptic epidemics' like St Vitus's dance in the middle ages, hysterical outbursts, 'death seeking mass deliria', destruction.  'The religious neurosis appears as a form of evil'(143) because the asetic ideal and its moral cult produces orgies of feeling 'under the cover of holy intentions', and has left indelible marks.  This is 'the true calamity in the history of European health', as bad as alcoholism, which the Teutons have spread, or as bad as syphilis.

Health has been ruined and so has taste, for example in taking the Bible as the 'basic book of Christian literature'.  This book became promoted against all the old classics, and even claimed to be able to replace them, even the literature of the Greeks.  The new testament is actually dislikable, although this requires courage to say so.  The old testament is different, more heroic, a celebration of the strong heart.  In the new testament there is 'nothing but petty sectarianism,  mere rococo of the soul, mere involutions, nooks, queer things, the air of the conventicle not to forget an occasional whiff of bucolic mawkishness' (144).  It offers a combination of humility and self importance, vehemence rather than passion, 'embarrassing gesticulation; it is plain that there is no trace of good breeding'.  Why are routine petty lapses so important - 'who gives a damn?  Certainly not God.' Why do these  'little provincial people' want eternal life?  Does the 'Heart  of Being'really concern itself with them?  Can God really be invoked in the most petty troubles?  This is a sign of appalling taste, 'this perpetual familiarity with God!  This Jewish and not merely Jewish obtrusiveness of pawing and nuzzling God!'[Tell it like it is Friedrich!  Don't hold back mate!]. Some despicable pagan nations display more tact in reverence, not even sounding the name of their god.  Compare this with Luther the peasant and his tone on the saints of the church and the Pope, 'the attack of a lout' (145), wanting some typically German form of discourse with God, informal and direct. 

Asceticism has never produced good taste or good manners, because it lacks a sense of moderation.  Asceticism has ruined many other things, too many to enumerate.  It has come to power, it has been allowed to flourish and not resisted.  It should have been opposed by another will expressing an opposing ideal.  The ascetic ideal wants to become universal, denying or rejecting any other interpretation and submitting to no other power.  What can match it?  Science has been conquered by it, despite having the potential courage and will to oppose.  However, this is developed in a superficial way, and 'today the scientific conscience is an abyss' (147).  Practicing scientists actually do not believe in science[as a way of life] , and take the form of the ascetic ideal after all [as we see below] .  Scholars similarly tend to be only 'modest and worthy labourers', happy with their lives, 'content with things today' especially with science and its applications.  There is no overall goal or will.  If anything, science 'is a hiding place for every kind of discontent, disbelief...bad conscience'; it lacks ideals, and practice conceals this lack behind 'heedless industry'.  In this sense science becomes 'a means of self narcosis'. Scholars often are highly sensitive and easily wounded, posing as sufferers refusing to admit to themselves what is going on, refusing calls for them to regain consciousness.

But there are some counter idealists and unbelievers, although they still rely on a strong faith in something pretty improbable.  Of course they offer strength and support, but 'we deny that faith proves anything' (148), and any strong beliefs should be suspected.   [Kaufmann adds in a note that this refusal to question everything is what is objectionable to Nietzsche - but of course he has to accept some premises, even if it is only the benefits of questioning everything].  Intellectual cleanliness, severity, and abstinence is what characterises these atheists, sceptics and anti Christians [he also calls them ephetics, meaning people who suspend judgement].  Some can be redeemed because they do at least retain an intellectual conscience, [whereby they simply cannot believe things without good reason, and the most noble men and women still retain such conscience, as do the occasional free spirits].  However, even these free spirit still have faith in truth.  Much better were the order of assassins, who apparently believe that '"nothing is true, everything is permitted"' (150) [the everything here presumably includes rape and murder?], but few Europeans or Christians have ever got that far.  European free spirits remain unconditional in their faith in truth, and this makes them as rigid as anyone else.  Philosophical abstinence and intellectual stoicism expresses the  'desire to halt before the factual' (151), to indulge in petty fatalism [which can also be translated as powerlessness in the face of petty facts.  This comes over in French scholarship as 'general renunciation of all interpretation' underneath which is the asetic ideal, the belief in 'metaphysical value, the absolute value of truth'.

Science can never operate without presuppositions, but this makes it 'paralogical' (152) in that it must operate with some basic faith to direct it and give it the right to exist.  It would be absurd to place philosophy on a scientific basis for this reason.  That is why in Gay Science, there is a section that says that it is necessary to pursue scientific truth by affirming 'another world than that of life, nature and history', which in turn means denying the self sufficiency of this world [this would be good for Deleuze, though, to go beyond objectivism?], and embracing metaphysics.  It is necessary to question the very foundation of disbelief, especially if it involves faith in God.  Science certainly requires justification, and this is a difficult question and may have no solution.  Even the will to truth itself requires justification.  That this has been little explored so far shows the power of the asetic ideal with God as the ultimate source of truth.  Once we deny this, there is a major problem concerning the value of truth.  In particular, 'the value of truth must for once be experimentally called into question' (153).  This is argued further in Gay Science. So science is not the natural antagonist of asceticism, because it requires some notion of value itself, so that it can believe in itself in the service of some greater power.  Science opposes all the appearances and exteriors of asceticism, like its dogmas.  However, together, science and asceticism strengthen the same foundation, the overestimation of truth: 'they are necessarily allies' and must be called into question together.

With art, it is different, because there there is an open lie and will to deception, but with a good conscience.  The points have been already argued in the discussion of the opposition between Plato and Homer [in Birth of Tragedy].  Physiologically sciences and the ascetic ideal both embrace 'a certain impoverishment of life', with lower levels of affect, slowed down tempo, 'dialectics in place of instinct' (154), seriousness.  When scholars are at the forefront of social life, this is always a sign of exhaustion and decline, 'the predominance of mandarins always mean something is wrong; so do the advent of democracy, international courts...equal rights for women, the religion of pity'.  Science is the best ally of asceticism because it is unconscious and involuntary.  Both emphasize the poverty of spirit [both are called 'hectics', which Kaufmann tells us means consumptives].  Scientific victories, for example in astronomy, merely helps to make the asetic ideal more elusive, stronger, even more spiritual.[N thinks his own philosophy will escape? -- rather ironic in  the circumstances?]

Perhaps it is that as life itself becomes more 'arbitrary, beggarly, and dispensable' (155) in the current social order, the possibility of a transcendent solution to the problem of existence is less desirable.  Belief in the dignity of man, his 'irreplacability in the great chain of being' has been diminished and man has become a mere animal.  The acceleration into self belittlement is the 'straightest route to' asceticism.  All science, including non natural science ['the self critique of knowledge'] dissuades human beings from respecting themselves, seeing it as 'bizarre conceit' (156).  The self contempt produced by science no longer works against the ascetic ideal.  Philosophical victories over dogmatic theology [including Kant], have failed to budge transcendentalism.  They have actually provided a 'secret path' towards transcendentalism and asceticism, this time with scientific respectability, and placing the responsibility on personal initiative.

Agnostics are no better, since 'they now worship the question mark  Itself as god', admiring the unintelligible instead of just admitting that it might be unknown.  The argument is still  that everything in normal society and life both fails to satisfy desires, and even contradicts them.  However, the solution lies not in desire but in knowledge.  In effect, there is a nonsensical syllogism: '"there is no knowledge: consequently - there is a god"'.

What about modern historiography?  These days it rejects teleology, refrains from judgment, and 'considers this a sign of good taste' (157).  It puts description at its peak.  This is both ascetic and even nihilistic.  The historian surveys the past as an Arctic explorer surveys the wilderness.  More modern historians want to flirt both with life and with asceticism, posing as an artist.  They are worse than ascetics. Duhring gets it in the neck again for his display of the latest incarnation of the beautiful soul [advocates of which are further defined as an anarchic species 'within the educated proletariat'].  Contemplative armchair historians are worse [other popular historians of the time are cited].  These offer highly selective commendations of episodes in history, which offend both taste and patience and encourage voyeurism.  [With a sarcastic aside about the Greek poet who worshipped the wonderful limbs and organs of animals - Nietzsche says god also gave him a foot to kick out at this rubbish].  It is worse to conceal the asetic ideal with coquettishness, to generalize to infinity, to aspire to wisdom and objectivity.  People who do so are 'at bottom only tragic buffoons'(158).  They include anti semites, who use cheap rhetoric to rouse the 'horned beast elements in the people'with their moral attitudes and their 'Christian - Aryan - bourgeois manner'.

The German diet is dominated by 'newspapers, politics, beer and Wagnerian music' (159) and this leads to national vanity, belief in Deutschland uber alles, and paralyzing modern ideas.  Europe tday seems to need ever  better stimulants, 'this most potent brandy of the spirit', and this produces a 'repulsive, ill-smelling, mendacious, pseudo alcoholic air everywhere'.  All the quacks, forgers and sham idealists need to be exported to regain fresh air.  These ideas can even be made into a business, with the project of idealizing the the whole earth.  It would not even require courage.

Leaving aside these curiosities, the problem remains to deal with the ascetic ideal, and this is to be done in subsequent works including Will to Power.  At the moment, the only threat to the ascetic ideal comes from the comedians of it, who arouse mistrust.  Everywhere else it is triumphant.  It even masquerades as atheism, but that is simply a disguise of its ideals.  The kernel remains the will to truth: this is not some remnant from the past.  Proper 'unconditional honest atheism' (160) is not the antithesis of asceticism, but one phase in its evolution.  '2000 years of training in truthfulness' means it is deeply forbidden to deny a belief in god.  The same might be said for the development of Indian religion, where original challenges were made into a religion themselves [Nietzsche almost gets close to Weber here on the need to develop a practical work ethic,and again fails to foresee his own value for practical Nazism]

The only thing that can conquer the Christian god is found in Gay Science.  Here it is argued that Christian morality has penetrated all notions of thought, and so everything becomes interpreted as a sign of the goodness of god, the existence of a moral order.  However, such views are now clearly seen as belonging to the past, out of tune with modern conscience and experience, seeming these days increasingly as 'indecent, dishonest, mendacious, feminism, weaknesses, cowardice', at least to those with a more sensitive conscience.  We can rely on everything to end in its own destruction, to overcome itself, to see self-overcoming as in the nature of life itself.  There are always contradictions to be opened, for example in demanding that Christian leaders operate Christian ethics themselves.  Christian morality can destroy Christian dogma and will itself be overcome, once it properly articulates the question that is lurking: 'what is the meaning of all will to truth?' (161).  What would happen if this became a problem?  Morality as we know it would perish, and this is going to happen in Europe for the next two centuries, producing spectacles that are terrible but also perhaps the most hopeful.

The ascetic ideal gave man and meaning that raised him above animals.  Men could not answer the question of their own existence, since they lacked their own sense of will.  Asceticism filled the void.  It gave people answers and stopped them suffering from this particular uncertainty.  As a result, man even came to desire suffering, as long as it could be said to have a meaning.  The meaninglessness of suffering is the main problem confronting human beings, and asceticism offered a plausible meaning, the best one in the circumstance.  It helped people interpret suffering, offered a way out of 'suicidal nihilism'(162).  The interpretation brings additional suffering of its own, however, all the tortures produced by guilt.  Nevertheless, it appeared to save man by giving him a meaning, a sense: a will at least within limits.  The consequence was 'hatred of the human, and even more of the animal...horror of the senses, of reason itself, this fear of happiness and beauty, this longing to get away from all appearances, change, becoming...  a will to nothingness, an aversion to life'.  This only goes to illustrate that 'man would rather will nothingness than not will'(163

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