BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
[This document, which has been prepared by Ian Johnston of Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC, has certain copyright restrictions. For information, please consult Copyright. Editorial comments and translations in square brackets and italics are by Ian Johnston; comments in normal brackets are from Nietzsche’s text. Last revised in December 2013]
APHORISMS AND INTERLUDES
Whoever is fundamentally a teacher takes all things seriously only in relation to his students —including even himself.
“Knowledge for its own sake,”—that is the ultimate snare which morality sets: with that one gets fully entangled once again in morality.
The charm of knowledge would be slight, if there were not so much embarrassment to overcome on the route to knowledge.
Man is most dishonest in relation to his god: he is not permitted to sin!
The inclination to diminish oneself, to let oneself be robbed, deceived, and exploited could be the shame of a god among men.
Love of one person is a barbarity: for it is practised at the expense of all the rest. Also the love of God.
“I have done that” says my memory. “I could not have done that” says my pride and remains implacable. Finally—my memory gives up.
One has watched life badly if one has not also seen the hand which, in a considerate manner—kills.
If a person has character, he still has his typical experience, which always repeats itself.
The wise man as astronomer: so long as you still feel the stars as something “above you,” you still lack the eye of a man who knows.
It’s not the strength but the duration of the lofty sensation that makes lofty people.
Whoever attains his ideal, in the act of doing just that goes beyond it.
Many peacocks hide their peacock’s tails from all eyes—and call that their pride.
A man with genius is unendurable if he does not possess at least two things in addition: gratitude and cleanliness.
The degree and type of the sexuality in a man extend all the way to the ultimate peak of his spirit.
Under conditions of peace the warlike man attacks himself.
With their principles people want to tyrannize their habits or justify them or honour them or abuse them or hide them:—two men with the same principles probably want them for fundamentally different things.
Anyone who despises himself nonetheless still respects himself as the one doing the despising.
A soul which knows that it is loved but does not itself love reveals its bottom layers—its lowest stuff comes up.
A matter which is explained ceases to concern us.—What did that god mean who advised “Know thyself”? Does that not perhaps mean “Stop being concerned about yourself! Become objective!”—And Socrates? —And the “scientific man”?—
It is dreadful to die of thirst in the sea. Must you then salt your truth so much that it can no longer—quench thirst?
“Pity for everyone”—that would hard and tyrannical for you, my neighbour!
Instinct—when the house is burning, people forget even their noonday meal.—Indeed, but people later haul it out of the ashes.
Woman learns to hate to the extent that she forgets how to enchant.
The same emotions in men and women have, nonetheless, a different tempo. That’s the reason man and woman do not cease misunderstanding each other.
Behind all personal vanity women themselves always have their impersonal contempt—for “woman.”
Bound heart, free spirit.—When one binds one’s heart firmly and keeps it imprisoned, one can provide one’s spirit many freedoms: I have said that already once. But people do not believe me, provided that they do not already know it. . . .
We begin to mistrust very clever people when they become embarrassed.
Dreadful experiences lead one to wonder whether the person who undergoes them is not something dreadful.
Heavy, melancholy men become lighter precisely through what makes other people heavy, through hate and love, and for a while they come to their surface.
So cold, so icy that we burn our fingers on him! Every hand that grasps him pulls back!—And for that very reason many assume he is glowing hot.
For the sake of his good reputation who has not once—sacrificed himself?
In affability there is no hatred for humanity, but for that very reason there is too much contempt for humanity.
Maturity in a man: that means having found once again the seriousness which man had as a child, in play.
For someone to be ashamed of his immorality: that is a step on the staircase at the end of which he is also ashamed of his morality.
People should depart from life in the way Odysseus separated from Nausikaa—blessing it rather than in love with it.1
What? A great man? I always see only the actor of his own ideal.
If we train our conscience, it will kiss us at the very moment it bites us.
The disappointed man speaks:—”I listened for the echo, and I heard only praise—”
We all present ourselves to ourselves as more simple than we are: in this way we give ourselves a rest from our fellow human beings.
Today a man with knowledge might easily feel like god transformed into an animal.
To discover that one is loved in return should really bring the lover down about his beloved.“How’s that? Is this person modest enough to love even you? Or stupid enough? Or—or—. . .”
The danger in happiness—”Now everything is turning out the best for me; now I love every destiny:—Who feels like being my destiny?”
It is not their love of humanity but the impotence of their love of humanity that prevents today’s Christians—from burning us.
For the free spirit, the “pious man of discovery”—the pia fraus [pious fraud] is even more contrary to his taste (against his “piety”) than the impia fraus [impious fraud]. Hence his deep lack of understanding of the church, the sort associated with the type “free spirit,”—as his lack of freedom.
Thanks to music even the passions enjoy themselves.
Once the decision has been made, to shut your ears even to the best counter-arguments: a sign of a strong character. Hence, an occasional will to stupidity.
There are no moral phenomena at all, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena. . . .
The criminal is often enough not equal to his action: he diminishes and disparages it.
The lawyers for a criminal are rarely sufficiently artistic to turn the beautiful terror of his action to the benefit of the person who did it.
Our vanity is most difficult to injure at the very point when our pride has just been hurt.
Anyone who feels himself predestined to observe and not to believe finds all those who believe too noisy and pushy: he fends them off.
“Do you want to win him over for yourself? Then make yourself embarrassed in front of him.—”
The immense expectation concerning sexual love and the shame in this expectation ruin all perspective in women from the beginning.
Where the game involves neither love nor hate, woman plays indifferently.
The great epochs of our lives occur when we acquire the courage to rename our evil quality our best quality.
The will to overcome an emotion is, in the final analysis, only the will of another emotion or of several other emotions.
There is an innocence in admiration: such innocence belongs to the man who does not yet have any idea that he, too, could at some point be admired.
The disgust with filth can be so great that it prevents us from cleansing ourselves—from “justifying” ourselves.
Sensuality often makes the growth of love too fast, so that the root remains weak and easy to rip out.
There’s something fine about the fact that God learned Greek when He wanted to become a writer—and that he did not learn it better.
To be happy over praise is with some men only a courtesy of the heart—and exactly the opposite of vanity of the spirit.
Even concubinage has been corrupted—by marriage.
The man who still rejoices while being burned at the stake is not triumphing over the pain but over the fact that he feels none of the pain where he expected to. A parable.
When we have to change our minds about anyone, we hold the awkwardness which he has thus created for us very much against him.
A people is nature’s detour to produce six or seven great men.—Yes, and then to get around them.
Science offends the modesty of all real women. With it they feel as if someone wanted to peek under their skin—or even worse, under their dress and finery.
The more abstract the truth you wish to teach, the more you must still seduce the senses to it.
The devil has the widest perspectives for God; that’s why he keeps himself so far away from Him—for the devil is the oldest friend of knowledge.
What someone is begins to show itself when his talent subsides—when he stops showing what he can do. Talent is also finery, and finery is also a hiding place.
The sexes deceive themselves about each other: this happens because basically they honour and love only themselves (or, to put the matter more pleasantly, only their own ideal—). Hence, the man wants the woman to be peaceful—but woman, like a cat, is essentially not peaceful, however much she may have practised an appearance of peacefulness.
People are best punished for their virtues.
The man who does not know how to find the way to his own ideal lives more carelessly and impudently than the man without an ideal.
All credibility, all good conscience, all appearance of the truth come only from the senses.
Pharisaism is not degeneration in a good man: a good part of it is rather the condition of all being-good [Gut-sein].2
One man seeks a midwife for his ideas; another seeks someone he can help: that’s how a good conversation arises.
By associating with scholars and artists one easily makes mistakes in reverse directions: behind a remarkable scholar we not infrequently find a mediocre human being, and be-hind a mediocre artist we often find—a very remarkable human being.
We act while awake as we do in a dream: we invent and fabricate the person with whom we associate—and then we immediately forget the fact.
In revenge and love woman is more barbaric than man.
Advice as riddle:—”If the bond is not to break—you must first bite down on it.”
The lower abdomen is the reason man does not so easily consider himself a god.
The most demure saying I have ever heard: “In true love it’s the soul that envelops the body.”3
What we do best our vanity wishes to count as the thing that is most difficult for us. On the origin of many a morality.
When a woman has scholarly inclinations, then something is usually wrong with her sexuality. Infertility itself tends to encourage a certain masculinity of taste, for man is, if I may say so, “the infertile animal.”
In comparing man and woman in general, we can say that woman would not have the genius for finery if she did not have the instinct for the secondary role.
Anyone who fights with monsters should make sure that he does not in the process become a monster himself. And when you look for a long time into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.
From old Florentine novels, and in addition from life: buona femmina e mala femmina vuol bastone [the good woman and the bad woman want a stick]. Sacchetti, Nov. 86.4
To seduce a neighbour into a good opinion and, beyond that, to believe faithfully in this opinion of one’s neighbour: who can match women in performing this trick?—
What an age finds evil is commonly an anachronistic echo of what previously was found to be good—the atavism of an older ideal.
Around the hero everything becomes a tragedy, around the demi-god everything becomes a satyr play, and around God everything becomes—what? Perhaps a “world”?—
Having a talent is not enough: one must also have your permission to have it—isn’t that so, my friends?
“Where the tree of knowledge stands is always paradise”: that’s what the oldest and the most recent serpents declare.
What is done out of love always happens beyond good and evil.
Objection, evasion, cheerful mistrust, and love of mockery are indications of health: everything absolute belongs to pathology.
A sense of tragedy ebbs and flows with sensuality.
With individuals madness is something rare—but with groups, parties, peoples, and ages it’s the rule.
The thought of suicide is a strong consolation: with it people get through many a bad night.
Not only our reason but also our conscience submits to our strongest drive, the tyrant in us.
People must repay good and bad things, but why directly to the person who did good or bad things to us?
We no longer love our knowledge enough, once we have communicated it.
Poets are shameless about their experiences: they exploit them.
“Our neighbour [Nächster] is not our neighbour [Nachbar] but our neighbour’s neighbour”—that’s how every nation thinks.5
Love brings to light the high and the hidden characteristics of the person who loves—what is rare and exceptional about him: to that extent it easily misleads us about what is normal in him.
Jesus said to his Jews: “The law was for slaves—love God as I love him, as his son! What do we sons of God have to do with morality!”’
Concerning every party: a shepherd always needs to have a bellwether—or he himself must from time to time be a wether.
People do lie with their mouths, but by the way they distort their mouths in doing so they nonetheless still speak the truth.
With hard people intimacy is shameful thing—and something precious.
Christianity gave Eros poison to drink—but he didn’t die from that. Instead he degenerated into a vice.
To talk a lot about oneself can also be a means of hiding oneself.
In praise there is more pushiness than in blame.
Pity in a man of knowledge seems almost laughable, like soft hands on a Cyclops.6
From love of humanity people sometimes embrace anyone (because they cannot embrace everyone): but that’s something they cannot reveal to this anyone. . . .
A man does not hate so long as his assessments are still low, but only when his assessments are equal or higher.
You utilitarians, even you love everything utile [useful] only as a cart to carry your inclinations—and don’t you really find the noise of its wheels unbearable?
Ultimately one loves one’s desire and not the object one desires.
The vanity of others goes against our taste only when it offends our vanity.
Concerning what “truthfulness” is, perhaps no one has yet been sufficiently truthful.
We do not believe in the foolishness of clever men: what a loss of human rights!
The consequences of our actions grab us by the hair, extremely indifferent to whether we have “improved” in the meantime.
There is an innocence in lying which indicates good faith in a cause.
It is inhuman to bless where one is cursed.
The familiarity of a superior person embitters, because it cannot be returned.
“What has shaken me is not that you lied to me but that I no longer believe you.”—
There is a high-spirited goodness which looks like malice.
“I dislike him.”—Why?—”I’m no match for him.”—Has a person ever answered in this way?
1Nausikaa: a young princess in Homer’s Odyssey. [Back to Text]
2Pharisaism: hypocritical observance of religious or moral laws. [Back to Text]
3Nietzsche quotes the French: “Dans le véritable amour c’est l’âme, qui enveloppe le corps.” [Back to Text]
4Franco Sacchetti (c. 1335-c.1400), Florentine writer. [Back to Text]
5This enigmatic sentence seems to mean that our neighbour in a religious sense (“Love thy neighbour as thyself”) is not the person nearest to us (i.e., our literal neighbour) but rather the neighbour of someone else living close beside us. [Back to Text]
6Cyclops: in Greek mythology a giant, one-eyed monster. [Back to Text]