Reading19-Nietzsche-SelectionsGayScience

Reading19-Nietzsche-SelectionsGayScience - Boole Three...

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Unformatted text preview: Boole Three infer from his words that he places science above art — strange as this may be for such a friend of the arts — in the end it is nothing but politeness when he does not speak of what he, too, places high above all science: ‘revealed truth’ and the ‘eternal salvation of the soul’. Com— pared to that, what are ornaments, pride, entertainment, and the security of life to him! ‘Science is something second—class; nothing ultimate, unconditional; not an object of passion’ — this judgement was held back in Leo’s soul: the truly Christian judgement about science! In antiquity the dignity and recognition of science were diminished by the fact that even among her most zealous disciples the striving for virtue took first place, and that one thought one had given knowledge one’s highest praise when one celebrated it as the best means to virtue. It is something new in history that knowledge wants to be more than a means. 124 In the horizon of the infinite. — We have forsaken the land and gone to sea! We have destroyed the bridge behind us — more so, we have demolished the land behind us! Now, little ship, look out! Beside you is the ocean; it is true, it does not always roar, and at times it lies there like silk and gold and dreams of goodness. But there will be hours when you realize that it is infinite and that there is nothing more awesome than infinity. Oh, the poor bird that has felt free and now strikes against the walls of this cage! Woe, when homesickness for the land overcomes you, as if there had been more freedom there — and there is no more ‘land’! 125 The madman. — Haven’t you heard of that madman who in the bright morning lit a lantern and ran around the marketplace crying incessantly, ‘I’m looking for God! I’m looking for God!’ Since many of those who did not believe in God were standing around together just then, he caused great laughter. Has he been lost, then? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone to sea? Emigrated? — Thus they shouted and laughed, one interrupting the other. The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. ‘Where is God?’ he cried; ‘I’ll tell you! We 119 The Gay Science have leilled him —— you and I! We are all his murderers. But how did we do this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Where is it moving to now? Where are we moving to? Away from all suns? Are we not continually falling? And backwards, sidewards, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an up and a down? Aren’t we straying as though through an infinite nothing? Isn’t empty space breathing at us? Hasn’t it got colder? Isn’t night and more night coming again and again? Don’t lanterns have to be lit in the morning? Do we still hear nothing of the noise of the grave—diggers who are burying God? Do we still smell nothing of the divine decomposi— tion? — Gods, too, decompose! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How can we console ourselves, the murderers of all murderers! The holiest and the mightiest thing the world has ever possessed has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood from us? With what water could we clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what holy games will we have to invent for ourselves? Is the magnitude of this deed not too great for us? Do we not ourselves have to become gods merely to appear worthy of it? There was never a greater deed — and whoever is born after us will on account of this deed belong to a higher history than all history up to now!’ Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; they too were silent and looked at him disconcertedly. Finally he threw his lantern on the ground so that it broke into pieces and went out. ‘I come too early’, he then said; ‘my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder need time; the light of the stars needs time; deeds need time, even after they are done, in order to be seen and heard. This deed is still more remote to them than the remotest stars — and yet they have done it themselves.” It is still recounted how on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there started singing his requiem aetemam deo.10 Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but, ‘What then are these churches now if not the tombs and sepulchres of God?’ 10 ‘Grant God eternal rest.’ A transformation of that part of the service for the dead which reads ‘Requiem aeternam dona eis [scilicet, mortuis], Domine’ (‘Lord, grant them [the dead] eternal rest’) I20 30016 F our: S tjanuarius have learned it this way — there is no other way. Love, too, must be learned. 335 Long live physics! — So, how many people know how to observe? And of these few, how many to observe themselves? ‘Everyone is farthest from himself ’25 — every person who is expert at scrutinizing the inner life of others knows this to his own chagrin; and the saying, ‘Know thyself’, addressed to human beings by a god, is near to malicious.26 That self— observation is in such a bad state, however, is most clearly confirmed by the way in which nearly everyone speaks of the nature of a moral act — that quick, willing, convinced, talkative manner, with its look, its smile, its obliging eagerness! People seem to be wanting to say to you, ‘But my dear fellow, that is precisely my subject! You are directing your question to the person who is competent to answer it: there is, as it happens, nothing I am wiser about. So: when man judges “that is right” and infers “hence it must come about! ” and then does what he thus has recognized to be right and described as necessary — then the nature of his act is moral !’ But, my friend, you are speaking of three acts instead of one: even the judgement ‘that is right’, for example, is an act. Wouldn’t it be possible for a person to make a judgement in a way that would be moral or immoral? Why do you take this and specifically this to be right? ‘Because my conscience tells me so; conscience never speaks immorally, since it determines what is to count as moral!’ But why do you listen to the words of your conscience? And what gives you the right to consider such a judgement true and infallible? For this belief — is there no conscience? Do you know nothing of an intellectual conscience? A conscience behind your ‘conscience’? Your judgement, ‘that is right’ has a prehistory in your drives, inclinations, aversions, experiences, and what you have failed to experience; you have to ask, ‘how did it emerge there?’ and then also, ‘what is really impelling me to listen to it?’ You can listen to its commands like a good soldier who heeds the command of his officer. Or like a woman who loves the one who commands. Or like a flatterer and coward who fears the commander. Or like a fool who 25 Reversal of common German expression ‘Everyone is closest to himself’; cf. Andria Win by the Roman comedy—writer Terence (second century B C). 2" Motto inscribed over the entrance to the oracle of Apollo at Delphi I87 The Gay Science obeys because he can think of no objection. In short, there are a hundred ways to listen to your conscience. But that you hear this or that judgement as the words of conscience, i.e. that you feel something to be right may have its cause in your never having thought much about yourself and in your blindly having accepted what has been labelled right since your childhood; or in the fact that fulfilling your duties has so far brought you bread and honours — and you consider it right because it appears to you as your own ‘condition of existence’ (and that you have a right to existence seems irrefutable to you). For all that, the firmness of your moral judgement could be evidence of your personal wretchedness, of lack of a personality; your ‘moral strength’ might have its source in your stubbornness — or in your inability to envisage new ideals. And, briefly, had you reflected more subtly, observed better, and studied more, you would never continue to call this ‘duty’ of yours and this ‘conscience’ of yours duty and conscience. Your insight into how such things as moral judgements coula’ ever have come into existence would spoil these emotional words for you, as other emotional words, for example, ‘sin’, ‘salvation of the soul’, and ‘redemption’ have been spoiled for you. And now don’t bring up the categorical imperative, my friend! The term tickles my ear and makes me laugh despite your very serious presence. I am reminded of old Kant, who helped himself to (erschlichen) the ‘thing in itself’ — another very ridiculous thing! — and was punished for this when the ‘categorical imperative’ crept into (heschlichen) his heart and made him stray back to ‘God’, ‘soul’, ‘freedom’, ‘immortality’, like a fox who strays back into his cage. Yet it had been his strength and cleverness that had broken open the cage!27 What? You admire the categorical imperative within you? This ‘firmness’ of your so—called moral judgement? This absoluteness of the feeling, ‘here everyone must judge as I do’? Rather admire your selfishness here! And the blindness, pettiness, and simplicity of your selfishness! For it is selfish to consider one’s own judgement a universal law, and this selfishness is blind, petty, 27 In the Critique of Pure Reason (I781) Kant argued that the great concepts of traditional speculation — God, the soul, freedom — did not designate objects about which it was even in principle possible for us to know anything. This seemed to spell the end of traditional metaphysics and theology. In the Critique of Practical Reason (1788), however, Kant seemed to argue that the morality required us to accept as ‘postulates of pure practical reason’ a number of principles such as the existence of God and the continuation of some form of life after death. This was thought by many to reintroduce the possibility of a version of the theology it had been the great glory of his earlier work to terminate. ‘The categorical imperative’ is Kant’s fundamental principle of morality. I88 Boole Four: S tjanuarius and simple because it shows that you haven’t yet discovered yourself or created for yourself an ideal of your very own — for this could never be someone else’s, let alone everyone’s, everyone’s! No one who judges, ‘in this case everyone would have to act like this’ has yet taken five steps towards self—knowledge. For he would then know that there neither are nor can be actions that are all the same; that every act ever performed was done in an altogether unique and unrepeatable way, and that this will be equally true of every future act; that all prescriptions of action (even the most inward and subtle rules of all moralities so far) relate only to their rough exterior; that these prescriptions may yield an appearance of sameness, but only just an appearance; that as one observes or recollects any action, it is and remains impenetrable; that our opinions about ‘good’ and ‘noble’ and ‘great’ can never be proven true by our actions because every act is unknowable; that our opinions, valua— tions, and tables of what is good are certainly some of the most powerful levers in the machinery of our actions, but that in each case, the law of its mechanism is unprovable. Let us therefore limit ourselves to the purification of our opinions and value judgements and to the creation of tables of what is good that are new and all our own: let us stop brooding over the ‘moral value of our actions’! Yes, my friends, it is time to feel nauseous about some people’s moral chatter about others. Sitting in moral judgement should offend our taste. Let us leave such chatter and such bad taste to those who have nothing to do but drag the past a few steps further through time and who never live in the present — that is, to the many, the great majority! We, however, want to become who we are — human beings who are new, unique, incomparable, who give themselves laws, who create themselves! To that end we must become the best students and discoverers of everything lawful and necessary in the world: we must become physicists in order to be creators in this sense — while hitherto all valuations and ideals have been built on ignorance of physics or in contradiction to it. So, long live physics! And even more long live what compels us to it — our honesty! 336 Nature’s stinginess. — Why has nature been so miserly towards humans that it did not allow them to shine — one more brightly, the other less so, each according to his inner magnitude of light? Why are great human 189 ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/02/2012 for the course PHIL 203 taught by Professor Errinclark during the Fall '11 term at MO St. Louis.

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Reading19-Nietzsche-SelectionsGayScience - Boole Three...

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