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Rather live amid the ice than among modern virtues and other such south-winds! We were brave enough; we spared neither ourselves nor others; but we were a long time finding out where to direct our courage. We grew dismal; they called us fatalists. Our fate — it was the fulness, the tension, the storing up of powers. There was thunder in our air; nature, as we embodied it, became overcast — for we had not yet found the way. The formula of our happiness: a Yea, a Nay, a straight line, a goal.
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See also the fourth book of Herodotus. The Hyperboreans were a mythical people beyond the Rhipaean mountains, in the far North. They enjoyed unbroken happiness and perpetual youth. Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but efficiency virtue in the Renaissance sense, virtu , virtue free of moral acid.
The weak and the botched shall perish: first principle of our charity. And one should help them to it. What is more harmful than any vice? The problem that I set here is not what shall replace mankind in the order of living creatures — man is an end — : but what type of man must be bred , must be willed , as being the most valuable, the most worthy of life, the most secure guarantee of the future.
This more valuable type has appeared often enough in the past: but always as a happy accident, as an exception, never as deliberately willed. Very often it has been precisely the most feared; hitherto it has been almost the terror of terrors; — and out of that terror the contrary type has been willed, cultivated and attained : the domestic animal, the herd animal, the sick brute-man — the Christian. Mankind surely does not represent an evolution toward a better or stronger or higher level, as progress is now understood.
The European of today, in his essential worth, falls far below the European of the Renaissance; the process of evolution does not necessarily mean elevation, enhancement, strengthening. True enough, it succeeds in isolated and individual cases in various parts of the earth and under the most widely different cultures, and in these cases a higher type certainly manifests itself; something which, compared to mankind in the mass, appears as a sort of superman. Such happy strokes of high success have always been possible, and will remain possible, perhaps, for all time to come.
Even whole races, tribes and nations may occasionally represent such lucky accidents. The most lamentable example: the corruption of Pascal, who believed that his intellect had been destroyed by original sin, whereas it was actually destroyed by Christianity! It is a painful and tragic spectacle that rises before me: I have drawn back the curtain from the rottenness of man. This word, in my mouth, is at least free from one suspicion: that it involves a moral accusation against humanity.
I call an animal, a species, an individual corrupt, when it loses its instincts, when it chooses, when it prefers , what is injurious to it. Life itself appears to me as an instinct for growth, for survival, for the accumulation of forces, for power : whenever the will to power fails there is disaster. Christianity is called the religion of pity. A man loses power when he pities. Through pity that drain upon strength which suffering works is multiplied a thousandfold.
Suffering is made contagious by pity; under certain circumstances it may lead to a total sacrifice of life and living energy — a loss out of all proportion to the magnitude of the cause — the case of the death of the Nazarene. This is the first view of it; there is, however, a still more important one. If one measures the effects of pity by the gravity of the reactions it sets up, its character as a menace to life appears in a much clearer light.
Pity thwarts the whole law of evolution, which is the law of natural selection. It preserves whatever is ripe for destruction; it fights on the side of those disinherited and condemned by life; by maintaining life in so many of the botched of all kinds, it gives life itself a gloomy and dubious aspect. Mankind has ventured to call pity a virtue — in every superior moral system it appears as a weakness — ; going still further, it has been called the virtue, the source and foundation of all other virtues — but let us always bear in mind that this was from the standpoint of a philosophy that was nihilistic, and upon whose shield the denial of life was inscribed.
Schopenhauer was right in this: that by means of pity life is denied, and made worthy of denial — pity is the technic of nihilism. This innocent rhetoric, from the realm of religious-ethical balderdash, appears a good deal less innocent when one reflects upon the tendency that it conceals beneath sublime words: the tendency to destroy life.
Schopenhauer was hostile to life: that is why pity appeared to him as a virtue. Aristotle, as every one knows, saw in pity a sickly and dangerous state of mind, the remedy for which was an occasional purgative: he regarded tragedy as that purgative. Petersburg to Paris, from Tolstoi to Wagner , that it may burst and be discharged. Nothing is more unhealthy, amid all our unhealthy modernism, than Christian pity. To be the doctors here , to be unmerciful here , to wield the knife here — all this is our business, all this is our sort of humanity, by this sign we are philosophers, we Hyperboreans!
It is necessary to say just whom we regard as our antagonists: theologians and all who have any theological blood in their veins — this is our whole philosophy. One must have faced that menace at close hand, better still, one must have had experience of it directly and almost succumbed to it, to realize that it is not to be taken lightly — the alleged free-thinking of our naturalists and physiologists seems to me to be a joke — they have no passion about such things; they have not suffered —.
The idealist, like the ecclesiastic, carries all sorts of lofty concepts in his hand — and not only in his hand! The pure soul is a pure lie. So long as the priest, that professional denier, calumniator and poisoner of life, is accepted as a higher variety of man, there can be no answer to the question, What is truth? Truth has already been stood on its head when the obvious attorney of mere emptiness is mistaken for its representative. Upon this theological instinct I make war: I find the tracks of it everywhere.
Whoever has theological blood in his veins is shifty and dishonourable in all things. Whatever a theologian regards as true must be false: there you have almost a criterion of truth. His profound instinct of self-preservation stands against truth ever coming into honour in any way, or even getting stated. Among Germans I am immediately understood when I say that theological blood is the ruin of philosophy.
The Protestant pastor is the grandfather of German philosophy; Protestantism itself is its peccatum originale. Definition of Protestantism: hemiplegic paralysis of Christianity — and of reason. The Suabians are the best liars in Germany; they lie innocently. Why all the rejoicing over the appearance of Kant that went through the learned world of Germany, three-fourths of which is made up of the sons of preachers and teachers — why the German conviction still echoing, that with Kant came a change for the better?
The theological instinct of German scholars made them see clearly just what had become possible again. Reason , the prerogative of reason, does not go so far. The success of Kant is merely a theological success; he was, like Luther and Leibnitz, but one more impediment to German integrity, already far from steady. A word now against Kant as a moralist. A virtue must be our invention; it must spring out of our personal need and defence. In every other case it is a source of danger. Quite the contrary is demanded by the most profound laws of self-preservation and of growth: to wit, that every man find his own virtue, his own categorical imperative.
A nation goes to pieces when it confounds its duty with the general concept of duty. The theological instinct alone took it under protection! What destroys a man more quickly than to work, think and feel without inner necessity, without any deep personal desire, without pleasure — as a mere automaton of duty? Kant became an idiot. This calamitous spinner of cobwebs passed for the German philosopher — still passes today! I forbid myself to say what I think of the Germans. When one recalls the fact that, among all peoples, the philosopher is no more than a development from the old type of priest, this inheritance from the priest, this fraud upon self , ceases to be remarkable.
When a man feels that he has a divine mission, say to lift up, to save or to liberate mankind — when a man feels the divine spark in his heart and believes that he is the mouthpiece of supernatural imperatives — when such a mission inflames him, it is only natural that he should stand beyond all merely reasonable standards of judgment. He feels that he is himself sanctified by this mission, that he is himself a type of a higher order! What has a priest to do with philosophy! He stands far above it!
Our objectives, our methods, our quiet, cautious, distrustful manner — all appeared to them as absolutely discreditable and contemptible. It was our modesty that stood out longest against their taste. How well they guessed that, these turkey-cocks of God! We have unlearned something. We have become more modest in every way. We regard him as the strongest of the beasts because he is the craftiest; one of the results thereof is his intellectuality.
On the other hand, we guard ourselves against a conceit which would assert itself even here: that man is the great second thought in the process of organic evolution. He is, in truth, anything but the crown of creation: beside him stand many other animals, all at similar stages of development. And even when we say that we say a bit too much, for man, relatively speaking, is the most botched of all the animals and the sickliest, and he has wandered the most dangerously from his instincts — though for all that, to be sure, he remains the most interesting!
Moreover, it is illogical to set man apart, as Descartes did: what we know of man today is limited precisely by the extent to which we have regarded him, too, as a machine. Under Christianity neither morality nor religion has any point of contact with actuality.
This explains everything. Who alone has any reason for living his way out of reality? The man who suffers under it. But to suffer from reality one must be a botched reality. A criticism of the Christian concept of God leads inevitably to the same conclusion. In him it does honour to the conditions which enable it to survive, to its virtues — it projects its joy in itself, its feeling of power, into a being to whom one may offer thanks.
He who is rich will give of his riches; a proud people need a god to whom they can make sacrifices. Religion, within these limits, is a form of gratitude. A man is grateful for his own existence: to that end he needs a god. But the castration, against all nature, of such a god, making him a god of goodness alone, would be contrary to human inclination. What would be the value of a god who knew nothing of anger, revenge, envy, scorn, cunning, violence?
No one would understand such a god: why should any one want him? He moralizes endlessly; he creeps into every private virtue; he becomes the god of every man; he becomes a private citizen, a cosmopolitan. Formerly he represented a people, the strength of a people, everything aggressive and thirsty for power in the soul of a people; now he is simply the good god.
The truth is that there is no other alternative for gods: either they are the will to power — in which case they are national gods — or incapacity for power — in which case they have to be good. No hint is needed to indicate the moments in history at which the dualistic fiction of a good and an evil god first became possible. The contrary actually stares one in the face. His earthly kingdom, now as always, is a kingdom of the underworld, a souterrain kingdom, a ghetto kingdom. Even the palest of the pale are able to master him — messieurs the metaphysicians, those albinos of the intellect.
They spun their webs around him for so long that finally he was hypnotized, and began to spin himself, and became another metaphysician. The Christian concept of a god — the god as the patron of the sick, the god as a spinner of cobwebs, the god as a spirit — is one of the most corrupt concepts that has ever been set up in the world: it probably touches low-water mark in the ebbing evolution of the god-type. God degenerated into the contradiction of life. Instead of being its transfiguration and eternal Yea!
In him war is declared on life, on nature, on the will to live! In him nothingness is deified, and the will to nothingness is made holy! The fact that the strong races of northern Europe did not repudiate this Christian god does little credit to their gift for religion — and not much more to their taste. A curse lies upon them because they were not equal to it; they made illness, decrepitude and contradiction a part of their instincts — and since then they have not managed to create any more gods. Two thousand years have come and gone — and not a single new god!
Instead, there still exists, and as if by some intrinsic right — as if he were the ultimatum and maximum of the power to create gods, of the creator spiritus in mankind — this pitiful god of Christian monotono-theism! In my condemnation of Christianity I surely hope I do no injustice to a related religion with an even larger number of believers: I allude to Buddhism. For the fact that he is able to compare them at all the critic of Christianity is indebted to the scholars of India.
Buddhism is the only genuinely positive religion to be encountered in history, and this applies even to its epistemology which is a strict phenomenalism. These physiological states produced a depression , and Buddha tried to combat it by hygienic measures. He encourages ideas that make for either quiet contentment or good cheer — he finds means to combat ideas of other sorts. He understands good, the state of goodness, as something which promotes health.
Prayer is not included, and neither is asceticism. There is no categorical imperative nor any disciplines, even within the walls of a monastery — it is always possible to leave —. These things would have been simply means of increasing the excessive sensitiveness above mentioned. And in all this he was right, for it is precisely these passions which, in view of his main regiminal purpose, are unhealthful. The things necessary to Buddhism are a very mild climate, customs of great gentleness and liberality, and no militarism; moreover, it must get its start among the higher and better educated classes.
Cheerfulness, quiet and the absence of desire are the chief desiderata, and they are attained. Buddhism is not a religion in which perfection is merely an object of aspiration: perfection is actually normal. Under Christianity the instincts of the subjugated and the oppressed come to the fore: it is only those who are at the bottom who seek their salvation in it. Here body is despised and hygiene is denounced as sensual; the church even ranges itself against cleanliness — the first Christian order after the banishment of the Moors closed the public baths, of which there were in Cordova alone.
Sombre and disquieting ideas are in the foreground; the most esteemed states of mind, bearing the most respectable names, are epileptoid; the diet is so regulated as to engender morbid symptoms and over-stimulate the nerves. And Christian is all hatred of the intellect, of pride, of courage, of freedom, of intellectual libertinage ; Christian is all hatred of the senses, of joy in the senses, of joy in general.
When Christianity departed from its native soil, that of the lowest orders, the underworld of the ancient world, and began seeking power among barbarian peoples, it no longer had to deal with exhausted men, but with men still inwardly savage and capable of self-torture — in brief, strong men, but bungled men. Here, unlike in the case of the Buddhists, the cause of discontent with self, suffering through self, is not merely a general sensitiveness and susceptibility to pain, but, on the contrary, an inordinate thirst for inflicting pain on others, a tendency to obtain subjective satisfaction in hostile deeds and ideas.
Christianity had to embrace barbaric concepts and valuations in order to obtain mastery over barbarians: of such sort, for example, are the sacrifices of the first-born, the drinking of blood as a sacrament, the disdain of the intellect and of culture; torture in all its forms, whether bodily or not; the whole pomp of the cult. Buddhism is a religion for peoples in a further state of development, for races that have become kind, gentle and over-spiritualized — Europe is not yet ripe for it — : it is a summons that takes them back to peace and cheerfulness, to a careful rationing of the spirit, to a certain hardening of the body.
Christianity appears before civilization has so much as begun — under certain circumstances it lays the very foundations thereof. Buddhism, I repeat, is a hundred times more austere, more honest, more objective. His mere instinct prompts him to deny his suffering altogether, or to endure it in silence. At the bottom of Christianity there are several subtleties that belong to the Orient.
In the first place, it knows that it is of very little consequence whether a thing be true or not, so long as it is believed to be true. Truth and faith : here we have two wholly distinct worlds of ideas, almost two diametrically opposite worlds — the road to the one and the road to the other lie miles apart. To understand that fact thoroughly — this is almost enough, in the Orient, to make one a sage. The Brahmins knew it, Plato knew it, every student of the esoteric knows it.
When, for example, a man gets any pleasure out of the notion that he has been saved from sin, it is not necessary for him to be actually sinful, but merely to feel sinful. But when faith is thus exalted above everything else, it necessarily follows that reason, knowledge and patient inquiry have to be discredited: the road to the truth becomes a forbidden road. Man must be sustained in suffering by a hope so high that no conflict with actuality can dash it — so high, indeed, that no fulfilment can satisfy it: a hope reaching out beyond this world.
Precisely because of this power that hope has of making the suffering hold out, the Greeks regarded it as the evil of evils, as the most malign of evils; it remained behind at the source of all evil. To satisfy the ardor of the woman a beautiful saint must appear on the scene, and to satisfy that of the men there must be a virgin.
These things are necessary if Christianity is to assume lordship over a soil on which some aphrodisiacal or Adonis cult has already established a notion as to what a cult ought to be. To insist upon chastity greatly strengthens the vehemence and subjectivity of the religious instinct — it makes the cult warmer, more enthusiastic, more soulful.
The force of illusion reaches its highest here, and so does the capacity for sweetening, for transfiguring. When a man is in love he endures more than at any other time; he submits to anything. The problem was to devise a religion which would allow one to love: by this means the worst that life has to offer is overcome — it is scarcely even noticed. Here I barely touch upon the problem of the origin of Christianity. The first thing necessary to its solution is this: that Christianity is to be understood only by examining the soil from which it sprung — it is not a reaction against Jewish instincts; it is their inevitable product; it is simply one more step in the awe-inspiring logic of the Jews.
The Jews are the most remarkable people in the history of the world, for when they were confronted with the question, to be or not to be, they chose, with perfectly unearthly deliberation, to be at any price : this price involved a radical falsification of all nature, of all naturalness, of all reality, of the whole inner world, as well as of the outer. They put themselves against all those conditions under which, hitherto, a people had been able to live, or had even been permitted to live; out of themselves they evolved an idea which stood in direct opposition to natural conditions — one by one they distorted religion, civilization, morality, history and psychology until each became a contradiction of its natural significance.
Precisely for this reason the Jews are the most fateful people in the history of the world: their influence has so falsified the reasoning of mankind in this matter that today the Christian can cherish anti-Semitism without realizing that it is no more than the final consequence of Judaism. The Judaeo—Christian moral system belongs to the second division, and in every detail. In order to be able to say Nay to everything representing an ascending evolution of life — that is, to well-being, to power, to beauty, to self-approval — the instincts of ressentiment , here become downright genius, had to invent an other world in which the acceptance of life appeared as the most evil and abominable thing imaginable.
The history of Israel is invaluable as a typical history of an attempt to denaturize all natural values: I point to five facts which bear this out. Originally, and above all in the time of the monarchy, Israel maintained the right attitude of things, which is to say, the natural attitude. Its Jahveh was an expression of its consciousness of power, its joy in itself, its hopes for itself: to him the Jews looked for victory and salvation and through him they expected nature to give them whatever was necessary to their existence — above all, rain.
Jahveh is the god of Israel, and consequently the god of justice: this is the logic of every race that has power in its hands and a good conscience in the use of it. In the religious ceremonial of the Jews both aspects of this self-approval stand revealed. The nation is grateful for the high destiny that has enabled it to obtain dominion; it is grateful for the benign procession of the seasons, and for the good fortune attending its herds and its crops.
But the people still retained, as a projection of their highest yearnings, that vision of a king who was at once a gallant warrior and an upright judge — a vision best visualized in the typical prophet i. The old god no longer could do what he used to do. He ought to have been abandoned.
But what actually happened? Simply this: the conception of him was changed — the conception of him was denaturized ; this was the price that had to be paid for keeping him. Once natural causation has been swept out of the world by doctrines of reward and punishment some sort of un -natural causation becomes necessary: and all other varieties of the denial of nature follow it.
A god who demands — in place of a god who helps, who gives counsel, who is at bottom merely a name for every happy inspiration of courage and self-reliance. What is Jewish, what is Christian morality? The concept of god falsified; the concept of morality falsified; — but even here Jewish priest-craft did not stop. The whole history of Israel ceased to be of any value: out with it! We would regard this act of historical falsification as something far more shameful if familiarity with the ecclesiastical interpretation of history for thousands of years had not blunted our inclinations for uprightness in historicis.
That there is a thing called the will of God which, once and for all time, determines what man ought to do and what he ought not to do; that the worth of a people, or of an individual thereof, is to be measured by the extent to which they or he obey this will of God; that the destinies of a people or of an individual are controlled by this will of God, which rewards or punishes according to the degree of obedience manifested. One observes him at work: under the hand of the Jewish priesthood the great age of Israel became an age of decline; the Exile, with its long series of misfortunes, was transformed into a punishment for that great age — during which priests had not yet come into existence.
What happened? The fact requires a sanction — a power to grant values becomes necessary, and the only way it can create such values is by denying nature. The priest depreciates and desecrates nature: it is only at this price that he can exist at all. Christianity sprang from a soil so corrupt that on it everything natural, every natural value, every reality was opposed by the deepest instincts of the ruling class — it grew up as a sort of war to the death upon reality, and as such it has never been surpassed.
The phenomenon is of the first order of importance: the small insurrectionary movement which took the name of Jesus of Nazareth is simply the Jewish instinct redivivus — in other words, it is the priestly instinct come to such a pass that it can no longer endure the priest as a fact; it is the discovery of a state of existence even more fantastic than any before it, of a vision of life even more unreal than that necessary to an ecclesiastical organization.
Christianity actually denies the church. This is what brought him to the cross: the proof thereof is to be found in the inscription that was put upon the cross. He died for his own sins — there is not the slightest ground for believing, no matter how often it is asserted, that he died for the sins of others. As to whether he himself was conscious of this contradiction — whether, in fact, this was the only contradiction he was cognizant of — that is quite another question. Here, for the first time, I touch upon the problem of the psychology of the Saviour.
My difficulties are quite different from those which enabled the learned curiosity of the German mind to achieve one of its most unforgettable triumphs. It is a long while since I, like all other young scholars, enjoyed with all the sapient laboriousness of a fastidious philologist the work of the incomparable Strauss. The histories of saints present the most dubious variety of literature in existence; to examine them by the scientific method, in the entire absence of corroborative documents , seems to me to condemn the whole inquiry from the start — it is simply learned idling.
Nietzsche here refers to it. What concerns me is the psychological type of the Saviour. This type might be depicted in the Gospels, in however mutilated a form and however much overladen with extraneous characters — that is, in spite of the Gospels; just as the figure of Francis of Assisi shows itself in his legends in spite of his legends.
It is not a question of mere truthful evidence as to what he did, what he said and how he actually died; the question is, whether his type is still conceivable, whether it has been handed down to us. But if there is anything essentially unevangelical, it is surely the concept of the hero. Every one is the child of God — Jesus claims nothing for himself alone — as the child of God each man is the equal of every other man.
Imagine making Jesus a hero! In the strict sense of the physiologist, a quite different word ought to be used here. We all know that there is a morbid sensibility of the tactile nerves which causes those suffering from it to recoil from every touch, and from every effort to grasp a solid object. The instinctive exclusion of all aversion, all hostility, all bounds and distances in feeling : the consequence of an extreme susceptibility to pain and irritation — so great that it senses all resistance, all compulsion to resistance, as unbearable anguish — that is to say, as harmful , as prohibited by the instinct of self-preservation , and regards blessedness joy as possible only when it is no longer necessary to offer resistance to anybody or anything, however evil or dangerous — love, as the only, as the ultimate possibility of life.
These are the two physiological realities upon and out of which the doctrine of salvation has sprung. I call them a sublime super-development of hedonism upon a thoroughly unsalubrious soil. What stands most closely related to them, though with a large admixture of Greek vitality and nerve-force, is epicureanism, the theory of salvation of paganism. I have already given my answer to the problem. The prerequisite to it is the assumption that the type of the Saviour has reached us only in a greatly distorted form.
This distortion is very probable: there are many reasons why a type of that sort should not be handed down in a pure form, complete and free of additions. The milieu in which this strange figure moved must have left marks upon him, and more must have been imprinted by the history, the destiny , of the early Christian communities; the latter indeed, must have embellished the type retrospectively with characters which can be understood only as serving the purposes of war and of propaganda. The prophet, the messiah, the future judge, the teacher of morals, the worker of wonders, John the Baptist — all these merely presented chances to misunderstand it.
Finally, let us not underrate the proprium of all great, and especially all sectarian veneration: it tends to erase from the venerated objects all its original traits and idiosyncrasies, often so painfully strange — it does not even see them. Nevertheless, the probabilities seem to be against it, for in that case tradition would have been particularly accurate and objective, whereas we have reasons for assuming the contrary.
The physiologists, at all events, are familiar with such a delayed and incomplete puberty in the living organism, the result of degeneration. To be sure, the accident of environment, of educational background gives prominence to concepts of a certain sort: in primitive Christianity one finds only concepts of a Judaeo—Semitic character — that of eating and drinking at the last supper belongs to this category — an idea which, like everything else Jewish, has been badly mauled by the church. But let us be careful not to see in all this anything more than symbolical language, semantics 6 an opportunity to speak in parables.
It is only on the theory that no work is to be taken literally that this anti-realist is able to speak at all. Set down among Hindus he would have made use of the concepts of Sankhya, 7 and among Chinese he would have employed those of Lao-tse 8 — and in neither case would it have made any difference to him. Denial is precisely the thing that is impossible to him.
The results of such a point of view project themselves into a new way of life , the special evangelical way of life. He offers no resistance, either by word or in his heart, to those who stand against him. He is angry with no one, and he despises no one. The life of the Saviour was simply a carrying out of this way of life — and so was his death. He no longer needed any formula or ritual in his relations with God — not even prayer. And thereby it has robbed conception of its immaculateness —.
His wife was Alcmene. During his absence she was visited by Zeus, and bore Heracles. It was a way of life that he bequeathed to man: his demeanour before the judges, before the officers, before his accusers — his demeanour on the cross. He does not resist; he does not defend his rights; he makes no effort to ward off the most extreme penalty — more, he invites it. And he prays, suffers and loves with those, in those, who do him evil. On the contrary, to submit even to the Evil One — to love him. Mankind was unspeakably far from our benevolent and cautious neutrality, from that discipline of the spirit which alone makes possible the solution of such strange and subtle things: what men always sought, with shameless egoism, was their own advantage therein; they created the church out of denial of the Gospels.
Quite to the contrary, the whole history of Christianity — from the death on the cross onward — is the history of a progressively clumsier misunderstanding of an original symbolism. With every extension of Christianity among larger and ruder masses, even less capable of grasping the principles that gave birth to it, the need arose to make it more and more vulgar and barbarous — it absorbed the teachings and rites of all the subterranean cults of the imperium Romanum , and the absurdities engendered by all sorts of sickly reasoning. It was the fate of Christianity that its faith had to become as sickly, as low and as vulgar as the needs were sickly, low and vulgar to which it had to administer.
A sickly barbarism finally lifts itself to power as the church — the church, that incarnation of deadly hostility to all honesty, to all loftiness of soul, to all discipline of the spirit, to all spontaneous and kindly humanity. There are days when I am visited by a feeling blacker than the blackest melancholy — contempt of man.
Let me leave no doubt as to what I despise, whom I despise: it is the man of today, the man with whom I am unhappily contemporaneous. The man of today — I am suffocated by his foul breath! But my feeling changes and breaks out irresistibly the moment I enter modern times, our times. Our age knows better. What was formerly merely sickly now becomes indecent — it is indecent to be a Christian today. And here my disgust begins.
All the ideas of the church are now recognized for what they are — as the worst counterfeits in existence, invented to debase nature and all natural values; the priest himself is seen as he actually is — as the most dangerous form of parasite, as the venomous spider of creation. Every one knows this, but nevertheless things remain as before. What has become of the last trace of decent feeling, of self-respect, when our statesmen, otherwise an unconventional class of men and thoroughly anti-Christian in their acts, now call themselves Christians and go to the communion-table?
A prince at the head of his armies, magnificent as the expression of the egoism and arrogance of his people — and yet acknowledging, without any shame, that he is a Christian! Whom, then, does Christianity deny? To this day such a life is still possible, and for certain men even necessary: genuine, primitive Christianity will remain possible in all ages.
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Not faith, but acts; above all, an avoidance of acts, a different state of being. States of consciousness, faith of a sort, the acceptance, for example, of anything as true — as every psychologist knows, the value of these things is perfectly indifferent and fifth-rate compared to that of the instincts: strictly speaking, the whole concept of intellectual causality is false. To reduce being a Christian, the state of Christianity, to an acceptance of truth, to a mere phenomenon of consciousness, is to formulate the negation of Christianity. In fact, there are no Christians.
In the world of ideas of the Christian there is nothing that so much as touches reality: on the contrary, one recognizes an instinctive hatred of reality as the motive power, the only motive power at the bottom of Christianity. What follows therefrom? That even here, in psychologicis , there is a radical error, which is to say one conditioning fundamentals, which is to say, one in substance.
Take away one idea and put a genuine reality in its place — and the whole of Christianity crumbles to nothingness! At the moment when their disgust leaves them — and us! Therefore, let us not underestimate the Christians: the Christian, false to the point of innocence , is far above the ape — in its application to the Christians a well-known theory of descent becomes a mere piece of politeness. Here everything must be accounted for as necessary; everything must have a meaning, a reason, the highest sort of reason; the love of a disciple excludes all chance.
Answer: dominant Judaism, its ruling class. Until then this militant, this nay-saying, nay-doing element in his character had been lacking; what is more, he had appeared to present its opposite. Obviously, the little community had not understood what was precisely the most important thing of all: the example offered by this way of dying, the freedom from and superiority to every feeling of ressentiment — a plain indication of how little he was understood at all!
All that Jesus could hope to accomplish by his death, in itself, was to offer the strongest possible proof, or example , of his teachings in the most public manner. But his disciples were very far from forgiving his death — though to have done so would have accorded with the Gospels in the highest degree; and neither were they prepared to offer themselves, with gentle and serene calmness of heart, for a similar death. On the contrary, it was precisely the most unevangelical of feelings, revenge , that now possessed them.
On the other hand, the savage veneration of these completely unbalanced souls could no longer endure the Gospel doctrine, taught by Jesus, of the equal right of all men to be children of God: their revenge took the form of elevating Jesus in an extravagant fashion, and thus separating him from themselves: just as, in earlier times, the Jews, to revenge themselves upon their enemies, separated themselves from their God, and placed him on a great height. At once there was an end of the gospels!
Sacrifice for sin, and in its most obnoxious and barbarous form: sacrifice of the innocent for the sins of the guilty! What appalling paganism! And not as a mere privilege! Paul even preached it as a reward. One now begins to see just what it was that came to an end with the death on the cross: a new and thoroughly original effort to found a Buddhistic peace movement, and so establish happiness on earth — real, not merely promised. What , indeed, has not this dysangelist sacrificed to hatred!
Above all, the Saviour: he nailed him to his own cross. The life, the example, the teaching, the death of Christ, the meaning and the law of the whole gospels — nothing was left of all this after that counterfeiter in hatred had reduced it to his uses. Surely not reality; surely not historical truth! Once more the priestly instinct of the Jew perpetrated the same old master crime against history — he simply struck out the yesterday and the day before yesterday of Christianity, and invented his own history of Christian beginnings.
Later on the church even falsified the history of man in order to make it a prologue to Christianity. The figure of the Saviour, his teaching, his way of life, his death, the meaning of his death, even the consequences of his death — nothing remained untouched, nothing remained in even remote contact with reality. At bottom, he had no use for the life of the Saviour — what he needed was the death on the cross, and something more.
To see anything honest in such a man as Paul, whose home was at the centre of the Stoical enlightenment, when he converts an hallucination into a proof of the resurrection of the Saviour, or even to believe his tale that he suffered from this hallucination himself — this would be a genuine niaiserie in a psychologist. Paul willed the end; therefore he also willed the means. What was the only part of Christianity that Mohammed borrowed later on? The vast lie of personal immortality destroys all reason, all natural instinct — henceforth, everything in the instincts that is beneficial, that fosters life and that safeguards the future is a cause of suspicion.
Why be public-spirited? Why take any pride in descent and forefathers? And yet Christianity has to thank precisely this miserable flattery of personal vanity for its triumph — it was thus that it lured all the botched, the dissatisfied, the fallen upon evil days, the whole refuse and off-scouring of humanity to its side. Nowadays no one has courage any more for special rights, for the right of dominion, for feelings of honourable pride in himself and his equals — for the pathos of distance.
Our politics is sick with this lack of courage! That which Paul, with the cynical logic of a rabbi, later developed to a conclusion was at bottom merely a process of decay that had begun with the death of the Saviour. The gospels, in fact, stand alone. The Bible as a whole is not to be compared to them. Here we are among Jews: this is the first thing to be borne in mind if we are not to lose the thread of the matter. The thing responsible is race.
Ecce Homo by Nietzsche, Friedrich
The whole of Judaism appears in Christianity as the art of concocting holy lies, and there, after many centuries of earnest Jewish training and hard practice of Jewish technic, the business comes to the stage of mastery. The Christian, that ultima ratio of lying, is the Jew all over again — he is threefold the Jew. The underlying will to make use only of such concepts, symbols and attitudes as fit into priestly practice, the instinctive repudiation of every other mode of thought, and every other method of estimating values and utilities — this is not only tradition, it is inheritance : only as an inheritance is it able to operate with the force of nature.
The whole of mankind, even the best minds of the best ages with one exception, perhaps hardly human — , have permitted themselves to be deceived. The gospels have been read as a book of innocence. I simply cannot endure the way they have of rolling up their eyes. In letting God sit in judgment they judge themselves; in glorifying God they glorify themselves; in demanding that every one show the virtues which they themselves happen to be capable of — still more, which they must have in order to remain on top — they assume the grand air of men struggling for virtue, of men engaging in a war that virtue may prevail.
Forced, like hypocrites, to be sneaky, to hide in corners, to slink along in the shadows, they convert their necessity into a duty : it is on grounds of duty that they account for their lives of humility, and that humility becomes merely one more proof of their piety. Ah, that humble, chaste, charitable brand of fraud! One may read the gospels as books of moral seduction: these petty folks fasten themselves to morality — they know the uses of morality! Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose! The whole disaster was only made possible by the fact that there already existed in the world a similar megalomania, allied to this one in race, to wit, the Jewish : once a chasm began to yawn between Jews and Judaeo—Christians, the latter had no choice but to employ the self-preservative measures that the Jewish instinct had devised, even against the Jews themselves, whereas the Jews had employed them only against non-Jews.
Christian morality is refuted by its fors : its reasons are against it — this makes it Christian.
An Introduction to the Work of Nietzsche
Mark viii, With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? An error , to put it mildly. A bit before this God appears as a tailor, at least in certain cases. It compares itself to the prophets. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy ; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Not many wise men after the flesh, not men mighty, not many noble are called : But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea , and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Paul was the greatest of all apostles of revenge. That one had better put on gloves before reading the New Testament. The presence of so much filth makes it very advisable. Neither has a pleasant smell. In it humanity does not even make the first step upward — the instinct for cleanliness is lacking. Only evil instincts are there, and there is not even the courage of these evil instincts.
It is all cowardice; it is all a shutting of the eyes, a self-deception. These petty bigots make a capital miscalculation. They attack, but everything they attack is thereby distinguished. Even the scribes and pharisees are benefitted by such opposition: they must certainly have been worth something to have been hated in such an indecent manner.
Strictly speaking, he has no alternative. The Christian, and particularly the Christian priest, is thus a criterion of values. Pilate, the Roman viceroy. To regard a Jewish imbroglio seriously — that was quite beyond him. One Jew more or less — what did it matter? We deny that God is God. As a matter of fact no man can be a philologian or a physician without being also Antichrist. No one, in fact, has understood it. Against boredom even gods struggle in vain. He creates man — man is entertaining. But then he notices that man is also bored. In the act he brought boredom to an end — and also many other things!
Woman was the second mistake of God.
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Ergo , she is also to blame for science. It was through woman that man learned to taste of the tree of knowledge. The old God was seized by mortal terror. Man himself had been his greatest blunder; he had created a rival to himself; science makes men godlike — it is all up with priests and gods when man becomes scientific! Science is the first of sins, the germ of all sins, the original sin. This is all there is of morality. For a long while this was the capital problem. Answer: Out of paradise with man! Happiness, leisure, foster thought — and all thoughts are bad thoughts!
Nevertheless — how terrible! War — among other things, a great disturber of science! Knowledge, deliverance from the priests , prospers in spite of war. At the opening of the Bible there is the whole psychology of the priest. Man must not look outward; he must look inward. He must not look at things shrewdly and cautiously, to learn about them; he must not look at all; he must suffer. And he must suffer so much that he is always in need of the priest. What is needed is a Saviour. On the contrary, one inspired by the most cowardly, the most crafty, the most ignoble of instincts!
An attack of priests! An attack of parasites! The vampirism of pale, subterranean leeches! My voice reaches even the deaf. But this is as far as we may go. Man has had to fight for every atom of the truth, and has had to pay for it almost everything that the heart, that human love, that human trust cling to.
Greatness of soul is needed for this business: the service of truth is the hardest of all services. Not , of course, to a priest: for his instincts prompt him to the lie that sickness is not sickness and lunatic asylums not lunatic asylums. Christianity finds sickness necessary , just as the Greek spirit had need of a superabundance of health — the actual ulterior purpose of the whole system of salvation of the church is to make people ill.
Once I ventured to designate the whole Christian system of training 22 in penance and salvation now best studied in England as a method of producing a folie circulaire upon a soil already prepared for it, which is to say, a soil thoroughly unhealthy. We others, who have the courage for health and likewise for contempt — we may well despise a religion that teaches misunderstanding of the body! The Christian movement, as a European movement, was from the start no more than a general uprising of all sorts of outcast and refuse elements — who now, under cover of Christianity, aspire to power.
It was not , as has been thought, the corruption of antiquity, of noble antiquity, which made Christianity possible; one cannot too sharply challenge the learned imbecility which today maintains that theory. At the time when the sick and rotten Chandala classes in the whole imperium were Christianized, the contrary type , the nobility, reached its finest and ripest development.
The majority became master; democracy, with its Christian instincts, triumphed. Christianity has the rancour of the sick at its very core — the instinct against the healthy , against health. Everything that is well-constituted, proud, gallant and, above all, beautiful gives offence to its ears and eyes.
We all hang on the cross, consequently we are divine.
We alone are divine. Christianity was thus a victory: a nobler attitude of mind was destroyed by it — Christianity remains to this day the greatest misfortune of humanity. Doubt is thus a sin from the start.