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Metaphysical Explanation.—Man, when he is young, prizes metaphysical explanations, because they make him see matters of the highest import in things he found disagreeable or contemptible: and if he is not satisfied with himself, this feeling of dissatisfaction is soothed when he sees the most hidden world-problem or world-pain in that which he finds so displeasing in himself. To feel himself more unresponsible and at the same time to find things (Dinge) more interesting—that is to him the double benefit he owes to metaphysics. Later, indeed, he acquires distrust of the whole metaphysical method of explaining things: he then perceives, perhaps, that those effects could have been attained just as well and more scientifically by another method: that physical and historical explanations would, at least, have given that feeling of freedom from personal responsibility just as well, while interest in life and its problems would be stimulated, perhaps, even more

The Fundamental Problems of Metaphysics.—If a history of the development of thought[42] is ever written, the following proposition, advanced by a distinguished logician, will be illuminated with a new light: "The universal, primordial law of the apprehending subject consists in the inner necessity of cognizing every object by itself, as in its essence a thing unto itself, therefore as self-existing and unchanging, in short, as a substance." Even this law, which is here called "primordial," is an evolution: it has yet to be shown how gradually this evolution takes place in lower organizations: how the dim, mole eyes of such organizations see, at first, nothing but a blank sameness: how later, when the various excitations of desire and aversion manifest themselves, various substances are gradually distinguished, but each with an attribute, that is, a special relationship to such an organization. The first step towards the logical is judgment, the essence of which, according to the best logicians, is belief. At the foundation of all beliefs lie sensations of pleasure or pain in relation to the apprehending subject. A third feeling, as the result of two prior, single, separate feelings, is judgment in its crudest form. We organic beings are primordially interested by nothing whatever in any thing (Ding) except its relation to ourselves with reference to pleasure and pain. Between the moments in which we are conscious of this relation, (the[43] states of feeling) lie the moments of rest, of not-feeling: then the world and every thing (Ding) have no interest for us: we observe no change in them (as at present a person absorbed in something does not notice anyone passing by). To plants all things are, as a rule, at rest, eternal, every object like itself. From the period of lower organisms has been handed down to man the belief that there are like things (gleiche Dinge): only the trained experience attained through the most advanced science contradicts this postulate. The primordial belief of all organisms is, perhaps, that all the rest of the world is one thing and motionless.—Furthest away from this first step towards the logical is the notion of causation: even to-day we think that all our feelings and doings are, at bottom, acts of the free will; when the sentient individual contemplates himself he deems every feeling, every change, a something isolated, disconnected, that is to say, unqualified by any thing; it comes suddenly to the surface, independent of anything that went before or came after. We are hungry, but originally we do not know that the organism must be nourished: on the contrary that feeling seems to manifest itself without reason or purpose; it stands out by itself and seems quite independent. Therefore: the belief in the freedom of the will is a primordial error of everything organic[44] as old as the very earliest inward prompting of the logical faculty; belief in unconditioned substances and in like things (gleiche Dinge) is also a primordial and equally ancient error of everything organic. Inasmuch as all metaphysic has concerned itself particularly with substance and with freedom of the will, it should be designated as the science that deals with the fundamental errors of mankind as if they were fundamental truths

Number.—The invention of the laws of number has as its basis the primordial and prior-prevailing delusion that many like things exist (although in point of fact there is no such thing is a duplicate), or that, at least, there are things (but there is no "thing"). The assumption of plurality always presupposes that something exists which manifests itself repeatedly, but just here is where the delusion prevails; in this very matter we feign realities, unities, that have no existence. Our feelings, notions, of space and time are false for they lead, when duly tested, to logical contradictions. In all scientific demonstrations we always unavoidably base our calculation upon some false standards [of duration or measurement] but as these standards[45] are at least constant, as, for example, our notions of time and space, the results arrived at by science possess absolute accuracy and certainty in their relationship to one another: one can keep on building upon them—until is reached that final limit at which the erroneous fundamental conceptions, (the invariable breakdown) come into conflict with the results established—as, for example, in the case of the atomic theory. Here we always find ourselves obliged to give credence to a "thing" or material "substratum" that is set in motion, although, at the same time, the whole scientific programme has had as its aim the resolving of everything material into motions [themselves]: here again we distinguish with our feeling [that which does the] moving and [that which is] moved,11 and we never get out of this circle, because the belief in things12 has been from time immemorial rooted in our nature.—When Kant says "the intellect does not derive its laws from nature, but dictates them to her" he states the full truth as regards the idea of nature which we form (nature = world, as notion, that is, as error) but which is merely the synthesis of a host of errors of the intellect. [46]To a world not [the outcome of] our conception, the laws of number are wholly inapplicable: such laws are valid only in the world of mankind

11 Wir scheiden auch hier noch mit unserer Empfindung Bewegendes und Bewegtes

12 Glaube an Dinge

Some Backward Steps.—One very forward step in education is taken when man emerges from his superstitious and religious ideas and fears and, for instance, no longer believes in the dear little angels or in original sin, and has stopped talking about the salvation of the soul: when he has taken this step to freedom he has, nevertheless, through the utmost exertion of his mental power, to overcome metaphysics. Then a backward movement is necessary: he must appreciate the historical justification, and to an equal extent the psychological considerations, in such a movement. He must understand that the greatest advances made by mankind have resulted from such a course and that without this very backward movement the highest achievements of man hitherto would have been impossible.—With regard to philosophical metaphysics I see ever more and more who have arrived at the negative goal (that all positive metaphysic is a delusion) but as yet very few who go a few steps backward: one should look out over the last rungs of the ladder, but not try to stand on[47] them, that is to say. The most advanced as yet go only far enough to free themselves from metaphysic and look back at it with an air of superiority: whereas here, no less than in the hippodrome, it is necessary to turn around in order to reach the end of the course

Presumable [Nature of the] Victory of Doubt.—Let us assume for a moment the validity of the skeptical standpoint: granted that there is no metaphysical world, and that all the metaphysical explanations of the only world we know are useless to us, how would we then contemplate men and things? [Menschen und Dinge]. This can be thought out and it is worth while doing so, even if the question whether anything metaphysical has ever been demonstrated by or through Kant and Schopenhauer, be put altogether aside. For it is, to all appearances, highly probable that men, on this point, will be, in the mass, skeptical. The question thus becomes: what sort of a notion will human society, under the influence of such a state of mind, form of itself? Perhaps the scientific demonstration of any metaphysical world is now so difficult that mankind will never be free from a distrust of it. And when there is formed a feeling of distrust[48] of metaphysics, the results are, in the mass, the same as if metaphysics were refuted altogether and could no longer be believed. In both cases the historical question, with regard to an unmetaphysical disposition in mankind, remains the same

Disbelief in the "monumentum aere perennius".13—A decided disadvantage, attending the termination of metaphysical modes of thought, is that the individual fixes his mind too attentively upon his own brief lifetime and feels no strong inducement to aid in the foundation of institutions capable of enduring for centuries: he wishes himself to gather the fruit from the tree that he plants and consequently he no longer plants those trees which require centuries of constant cultivation and are destined to afford shade to generation after generation in the future. For metaphysical views inspire the belief that in them is afforded the final sure foundation upon which henceforth the whole future of mankind may rest and be built up: the individual promotes his own salvation; when, [49]for example, he builds a church or a monastery he is of opinion that he is doing something for the salvation of his immortal soul:—Can science, as well, inspire such faith in the efficacy of her results? In actual fact, science requires doubt and distrust as her surest auxiliaries; nevertheless, the sum of the irresistible (that is all the onslaughts of skepticism, all the disintegrating effects of surviving truths) can easily become so great (as, for instance, in the case of hygienic science) as to inspire the determination to build "eternal" works upon it. At present the contrast between our excitated ephemeral existence and the tranquil repose of metaphysical epochs is too great because both are as yet in too close juxtaposition. The individual man himself now goes through too many stages of inner and outer evolution for him to venture to make a plan even for his life time alone. A perfectly modern man, indeed, who wants to build himself a house feels as if he were walling himself up alive in a mausoleum

13 Monument more enduring than brass: Horace, Odes III:XXX

Age of Comparison.—The less men are bound by tradition, the greater is the inner activity of motives, the greater, correspondingly, the outer restlessness, the promiscuous flow of humanity, the polyphony of strivings. Who now feels any[50] great impulse to establish himself and his posterity in a particular place? For whom, moreover, does there exist, at present, any strong tie? As all the methods of the arts were copied from one another, so were all the methods and advancements of moral codes, of manners, of civilizations.—Such an age derives its significance from the fact that in it the various ideas, codes, manners and civilizations can be compared and experienced side by side; which was impossible at an earlier period in view of the localised nature of the rule of every civilization, corresponding to the limitation of all artistic effects by time and place. To-day the growth of the aesthetic feeling is decided, owing to the great number of [artistic] forms which offer themselves for comparison. The majority—those that are condemned by the method of comparison—will be allowed to die out. In the same way there is to-day taking place a selection of the forms and customs of the higher morality which can result only in the extinction of the vulgar moralities. This is the age of comparison! That is its glory—but also its pain. Let us not, however shrink from this pain. Rather would we comprehend the nature of the task imposed upon us by our age as adequately as we can: posterity will bless us for doing so—a posterity that knows itself to be [developed] through and above the narrow,[51] early race-civilizations as well as the culture-civilization of comparison, but yet looks gratefully back upon both as venerable monuments of antiquity

Possibility of Progress.—When a master of the old civilization (den alten Cultur) vows to hold no more discussion with men who believe in progress, he is quite right. For the old civilization14 has its greatness and its advantages behind it, and historic training forces one to acknowledge that it can never again acquire vigor: only intolerable stupidity or equally intolerable fanaticism could fail to perceive this fact. But men may consciously determine to evolve to a new civilization where formerly they evolved unconsciously and accidentally. They can now devise better conditions for the advancement of mankind, for their nourishment, training and education, they can administer the earth as an economic power, and, particularly, compare the capacities of men and select them accordingly. This new, conscious civilization is killing the other which, on the whole, has led but an unreflective [52]animal and plant life: it is also destroying the doubt of progress itself—progress is possible. I mean: it is hasty and almost unreflective to assume that progress must necessarily take place: but how can it be doubted that progress is possible? On the other hand, progress in the sense and along the lines of the old civilization is not even conceivable. If romantic fantasy employs the word progress in connection with certain aims and ends identical with those of the circumscribed primitive national civilizations, the picture presented of progress is always borrowed from the past. The idea and the image of progress thus formed are quite without originality

14 Cultur, culture, civilisation etc., but there is no exact English equivalent

Private Ethics and World Ethics.—Since the extinction of the belief that a god guides the general destiny of the world and, notwithstanding all the contortions and windings of the path of mankind, leads it gloriously forward, men must shape oecumenical, world-embracing ends for themselves. The older ethics, namely Kant's, required of the individual such a course of conduct as he wishes all men to follow. This evinces much simplicity—as if any individual could determine off hand what course of conduct would conduce to the welfare of humanity, and what course of conduct is preëminently desir[53]able! This is a theory like that of freedom of competition, which takes it for granted that the general harmony [of things] must prevail of itself in accordance with some inherent law of betterment or amelioration. It may be that a later contemplation of the needs of mankind will reveal that it is by no means desirable that all men should regulate their conduct according to the same principle; it may be best, from the standpoint of certain ends yet to be attained, that men, during long periods should regulate their conduct with reference to special, and even, in certain circumstances, evil, objects. At any rate, if mankind is not to be led astray by such a universal rule of conduct, it behooves it to attain a knowledge of the condition of culture that will serve as a scientific standard of comparison in connection with cosmical ends. Herein is comprised the tremendous mission of the great spirits of the next century

Reaction as Progress.—Occasionally harsh, powerful, impetuous, yet nevertheless backward spirits, appear, who try to conjure back some past era in the history of mankind: they serve as evidence that the new tendencies which they oppose, are not yet potent enough, that there[54] is something lacking in them: otherwise they [the tendencies] would better withstand the effects of this conjuring back process. Thus Luther's reformation shows that in his century all the impulses to freedom of the spirit were still uncertain, lacking in vigor, and immature. Science could not yet rear her head. Indeed the whole Renaissance appears but as an early spring smothered in snow. But even in the present century Schopenhauer's metaphysic shows that the scientific spirit is not yet powerful enough: for the whole mediaeval Christian world-standpoint (Weltbetrachtung) and conception of man (Mensch-Empfindung)15 once again, notwithstanding the slowly wrought destruction of all Christian dogma, celebrated a resurrection in Schopenhauer's doctrine. There is much science in his teaching although the science does not dominate, but, instead of it, the old, trite "metaphysical necessity." It is one of the greatest and most priceless advantages of Schopenhauer's teaching that by it our feelings are temporarily forced back to those old human and cosmical standpoints to which no other path could conduct us so easily. The gain for history and justice is very great. I believe that without Schopenhauer's aid it would be no easy matter for [55]anyone now to do justice to Christianity and its Asiatic relatives—a thing impossible as regards the christianity that still survives. After according this great triumph to justice, after we have corrected in so essential a respect the historical point of view which the age of learning brought with it, we may begin to bear still farther onward the banner of enlightenment—a banner bearing the three names: Petrarch, Erasmus, Voltaire. We have taken a forward step out of reaction

15 Literally man-feeling or human outlook

A Substitute for Religion.—It is supposed to be a recommendation for philosophy to say of it that it provides the people with a substitute for religion. And in fact, the training of the intellect does necessitate the convenient laying out of the track of thought, since the transition from religion by way of science entails a powerful, perilous leap,—something that should be advised against. With this qualification, the recommendation referred to is a just one. At the same time, it should be further explained that the needs which religion satisfies and which science must now satisfy, are not immutable. Even they can be diminished and uprooted. Think, for instance, of the christian soul-need, the sighs over[56] one's inner corruption, the anxiety regarding salvation—all notions that arise simply out of errors of the reason and require no satisfaction at all, but annihilation. A philosophy can either so affect these needs as to appease them or else put them aside altogether, for they are acquired, circumscribed needs, based upon hypotheses which those of science explode. Here, for the purpose of affording the means of transition, for the sake of lightening the spirit overburdened with feeling, art can be employed to far better purpose, as these hypotheses receive far less support from art than from a metaphysical philosophy. Then from art it is easier to go over to a really emancipating philosophical science

Discredited Words.—Away with the disgustingly over-used words optimism and pessimism! For the occasion for using them grows daily less; only drivelers now find them indispensably necessary. What earthly reason could anyone have for being an optimist unless he had a god to defend who must have created the best of all possible worlds, since he is himself all goodness and perfection?—but what thinking man has now any need for the hypothesis that there is a god?—There is also no occasion whatever for[57] a pessimistic confession of faith, unless one has a personal interest in denouncing the advocate of god, the theologian or the theological philosopher, and maintaining the counter proposition that evil reigns, that wretchedness is more potent than joy, that the world is a piece of botch work, that phenomenon (Erscheinung) is but the manifestation of some evil spirit. But who bothers his head about the theologians any more—except the theologians themselves? Apart from all theology and its antagonism, it is manifest that the world is neither good nor bad, (to say nothing about its being the best or the worst) and that these ideas of "good" and "bad" have significance only in relation to men, indeed, are without significance at all, in view of the sense in which they are usually employed. The contemptuous and the eulogistic point of view must, in every case, be repudiated

Intoxicated by the Perfume of Flowers.—The ship of humanity, it is thought, acquires an ever deeper draught the more it is laden. It is believed that the more profoundly man thinks, the more exquisitely he feels, the higher the standard he sets for himself, the greater his distance from the other animals—the more he[58] appears as a genius (Genie) among animals—the nearer he gets to the true nature of the world and to comprehension thereof: this, indeed, he really does through science, but he thinks he does it far more adequately through his religions and arts. These are, certainly, a blossoming of the world, but not, therefore, nearer the roots of the world than is the stalk. One cannot learn best from it the nature of the world, although nearly everyone thinks so. Error has made men so deep, sensitive and imaginative in order to bring forth such flowers as religions and arts. Pure apprehension would be unable to do that. Whoever should disclose to us the essence of the world would be undeceiving us most cruelly. Not the world as thing-in-itself but the world as idea16 (as error) is rich in portent, deep, wonderful, carrying happiness and unhappiness in its womb. This result leads to a philosophy of world negation: which, at any rate, can be as well combined with a practical world affirmation as with its opposite

16 Vorstellung: this word sometimes corresponds to the English word "idea", at others to "conception" or "notion."

Evil Habits in Reaching Conclusions.—The most usual erroneous conclusions of men [59]are these: a thing17 exists, therefore it is right: Here from capacity to live is deduced fitness, from fitness, is deduced justification. So also: an opinion gives happiness, therefore it is the true one, its effect is good, therefore it is itself good and true. Here is predicated of the effect that it gives happiness, that it is good in the sense of utility, and there is likewise predicated of the cause that it is good, but good in the sense of logical validity. Conversely, the proposition would run: a thing17 cannot attain success, cannot maintain itself, therefore it is evil: a belief troubles [the believer], occasions pain, therefore it is false. The free spirit, who is sensible of the defect in this method of reaching conclusions and has had to suffer its consequences, often succumbs to the temptation to come to the very opposite conclusions (which, in general, are, of course, equally erroneous): a thing cannot maintain itself: therefore it is good; a belief is troublesome, therefore it is true

17 Sache, thing but not in the sense of Ding. Sache is of very indefinite application (res)

The Illogical is Necessary.—Among the things which can bring a thinker to distraction is the knowledge that the illogical is necessary [60]to mankind and that from the illogical springs much that is good. The illogical is so imbedded in the passions, in language, in art, in religion and, above all, in everything that imparts value to life that it cannot be taken away without irreparably injuring those beautiful things. Only men of the utmost simplicity can believe that the nature man knows can be changed into a purely logical nature. Yet were there steps affording approach to this goal, how utterly everything would be lost on the way! Even the most rational man needs nature again, from time to time, that is, his illogical fundamental relation (Grundstellung) to all things

Being Unjust is Essential.—All judgments of the value of life are illogically developed and therefore unjust. The vice of the judgment consists, first, in the way in which the subject matter comes under observation, that is, very incompletely; secondly in the way in which the total is summed up; and, thirdly, in the fact that each single item in the totality of the subject matter is itself the result of defective perception, and this from absolute necessity. No practical knowledge of a man, for example, stood he never so near to us, can be complete—so that[61] we could have a logical right to form a total estimate of him; all estimates are summary and must be so. Then the standard by which we measure, (our being) is not an immutable quantity; we have moods and variations, and yet we should know ourselves as an invariable standard before we undertake to establish the nature of the relation of any thing (Sache) to ourselves. Perhaps it will follow from all this that one should form no judgments whatever; if one could but merely live without having to form estimates, without aversion and without partiality!—for everything most abhorred is closely connected with an estimate, as well as every strongest partiality. An inclination towards a thing, or from a thing, without an accompanying feeling that the beneficial is desired and the pernicious contemned, an inclination without a sort of experiential estimation of the desirability of an end, does not exist in man. We are primordially illogical and hence unjust beings and can recognise this fact: this is one of the greatest and most baffling discords of existence

Error Respecting Living for the Sake of Living Essential.—Every belief in the value and worthiness of life rests upon defective thinking;[62] it is for this reason alone possible that sympathy with the general life and suffering of mankind is so imperfectly developed in the individual. Even exceptional men, who can think beyond their own personalities, do not have this general life in view, but isolated portions of it. If one is capable of fixing his observation upon exceptional cases, I mean upon highly endowed individuals and pure souled beings, if their development is taken as the true end of world-evolution and if joy be felt in their existence, then it is possible to believe in the value of life, because in that case the rest of humanity is overlooked: hence we have here defective thinking. So, too, it is even if all mankind be taken into consideration, and one species only of impulses (the less egoistic) brought under review and those, in consideration of the other impulses, exalted: then something could still be hoped of mankind in the mass and to that extent there could exist belief in the value of life: here, again, as a result of defective thinking. Whatever attitude, thus, one may assume, one is, as a result of this attitude, an exception among mankind. Now, the great majority of mankind endure life without any great protest, and believe, to this extent, in the value of existence, but that is because each individual decides and determines alone, and never comes out of his own personality[63] like these exceptions: everything outside of the personal has no existence for them or at the utmost is observed as but a faint shadow. Consequently the value of life for the generality of mankind consists simply in the fact that the individual attaches more importance to himself than he does to the world. The great lack of imagination from which he suffers is responsible for his inability to enter into the feelings of beings other than himself, and hence his sympathy with their fate and suffering is of the slightest possible description. On the other hand, whosoever really could sympathise, necessarily doubts the value of life; were it possible for him to sum up and to feel in himself the total consciousness of mankind, he would collapse with a malediction against existence,—for mankind is, in the mass, without a goal, and hence man cannot find, in the contemplation of his whole course, anything to serve him as a mainstay and a comfort, but rather a reason to despair. If he looks beyond the things that immediately engage him to the final aimlessness of humanity, his own conduct assumes in his eyes the character of a frittering away. To feel oneself, however, as humanity (not alone as an individual) frittered away exactly as we see the stray leaves frittered away by nature, is a feeling transcending all feeling. But who is capable of it? Only[64] a poet, certainly: and poets always know how to console themselves

For Tranquility.—But will not our philosophy become thus a tragedy? Will not truth prove the enemy of life, of betterment? A question seems to weigh upon our tongue and yet will not put itself into words: whether one can knowingly remain in the domain of the untruthful? or, if one must, whether, then, death would not be preferable? For there is no longer any ought (Sollen), morality; so far as it is involved "ought," is, through our point of view, as utterly annihilated as religion. Our knowledge can permit only pleasure and pain, benefit and injury, to subsist as motives. But how can these motives be distinguished from the desire for truth? Even they rest upon error (in so far, as already stated, partiality and dislike and their very inaccurate estimates palpably modify our pleasure and our pain). The whole of human life is deeply involved in untruth. The individual cannot extricate it from this pit without thereby fundamentally clashing with his whole past, without finding his present motives of conduct, (as that of honor) illegitimate, and without opposing scorn and contempt to the ambitions[65] which prompt one to have regard for the future and for one's happiness in the future. Is it true, does there, then, remain but one way of thinking, which, as a personal consequence brings in its train despair, and as a theoretical [consequence brings in its train] a philosophy of decay, disintegration, self annihilation? I believe the deciding influence, as regards the after-effect of knowledge, will be the temperament of a man; I can, in addition to this after-effect just mentioned, suppose another, by means of which a much simpler life, and one freer from disturbances than the present, could be lived; so that at first the old motives of vehement passion might still have strength, owing to hereditary habit, but they would gradually grow weaker under the influence of purifying knowledge. A man would live, at last, both among men and unto himself, as in the natural state, without praise, reproach, competition, feasting one's eyes, as if it were a play, upon much that formerly inspired dread. One would be rid of the strenuous element, and would no longer feel the goad of the reflection that man is not even [as much as] nature, nor more than nature. To be sure, this requires, as already stated, a good temperament, a fortified, gentle and naturally cheerful soul, a disposition that has no need to be on its guard against its own eccentricities and sudden outbreaks[66] and that in its utterances manifests neither sullenness nor a snarling tone—those familiar, disagreeable characteristics of old dogs and old men that have been a long time chained up. Rather must a man, from whom the ordinary bondages of life have fallen away to so great an extent, so do that he only lives on in order to grow continually in knowledge, and to learn to resign, without envy and without disappointment, much, yes nearly everything, that has value in the eyes of men. He must be content with such a free, fearless soaring above men, manners, laws and traditional estimates of things, as the most desirable of all situations. He will freely share the joy of being in such a situation, and he has, perhaps, nothing else to share—in which renunciation and self-denial really most consist. But if more is asked of him, he will, with a benevolent shake of the head, refer to his brother, the free man of fact, and will, perhaps, not dissemble a little contempt: for, as regards his "freedom," thereby hangs a tale.18

18 den mit dessen "Freiheit" hat es eine eigene Bewandtniss

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