Human, All-Too-Human: A Book For Free Spirits; Part II

Фридрих Вильгельм Ницше
Human, All-Too-Human: A Book For Free Spirits; Part II


Readers' Insults. – The reader offers a two-fold insult to the author by praising his second book at the expense of his first (or vice versa) and by expecting the author to be grateful to him on that account.


The Exciting Element in the History of Art. – We fall into a state of terrible tension when we follow the history of an art – as, for example, that of Greek oratory – and, passing from master to master, observe their increasing precautions to obey the old and the new laws and all these self-imposed limitations. We see that the bow must snap, and that the so-called “loose” composition, with the wonderful means of expression smothered and concealed (in this particular case the florid style of Asianism), was once necessary and almost beneficial.


To the Great in Art. – That enthusiasm for some object which you, O great man, introduce into this world causes the intelligence of the many to be stunted. The knowledge of this fact spells humiliation. But the enthusiast wears his hump with pride and pleasure, and you have the consolation of feeling that you have increased the world's happiness.


Conscienceless Æsthetes. – The real fanatics of an artistic school are perhaps those utterly inartistic natures that are not even grounded in the elements of artistic study and creation, but are impressed with the strongest of all the elementary influences of an art. For them there is no æsthetic conscience – hence nothing to hold them back from fanaticism.


How the Soul should be Moved by the New Music. – The artistic purpose followed by the new music, in what is now forcibly but none too lucidly termed “endless melody,” can be understood by going into the sea, gradually losing one's firm tread on the bottom, and finally surrendering unconditionally to the fluid element. One has to swim. In the previous, older music one was forced, with delicate or stately or impassioned movement, to dance. The measure necessary for dancing, the observance of a distinct balance of time and force in the soul of the hearer, imposed a continual self-control. Through the counteraction of the cooler draught of air which came from this caution and the warmer breath of musical enthusiasm, that music exercised its spell. – Richard Wagner aimed at a different excitation of the soul, allied, as above said, to swimming and floating. This is perhaps the most essential of his innovations. His famous method, originating from this aim and adapted to it – the “endless melody” – strives to break and sometimes even to despise all mathematical equilibrium of time and force. He is only too rich in the invention of such effects, which sound to the old school like rhythmic paradoxes and blasphemies. He dreads petrifaction, crystallisation, the development of music into the architectural. He accordingly sets up a three-time rhythm in opposition to the double-time, not infrequently introduces five-time and seven-time, immediately repeats a phrase, but with a prolation, so that its time is again doubled and trebled. From an easy-going imitation of such art may arise a great danger to music, for by the side of the superabundance of rhythmic emotion demoralisation and decadence lurk in ambush. The danger will become very great if such music comes to associate itself more and more closely with a quite naturalistic art of acting and pantomime, trained and dominated by no higher plastic models; an art that knows no measure in itself and can impart no measure to the kindred element, the all-too-womanish nature of music.


Poet and Reality. – The Muse of the poet who is not in love with reality will not be reality, and will bear him children with hollow eyes and all too tender bones.


Means and End. – In art the end does not justify the means, but holy means can justify the end.


The Worst Readers. – The worst readers are those who act like plundering soldiers. They take out some things that they might use, cover the rest with filth and confusion, and blaspheme about the whole.


Signs of a Good Writer. – Good writers have two things in common: they prefer being understood to being admired, and they do not write for the critical and over-shrewd reader.


The Mixed Species. – The mixed species in art bear witness to their authors' distrust of their own strength. They seek auxiliary powers, advocates, hiding-places – such is the case with the poet who calls in philosophy, the musician who calls in the drama, and the thinker who calls in rhetoric to his aid.


Shutting One's Mouth. – When his book opens its mouth, the author must shut his.


Badges of Rank. – All poets and men of letters who are in love with the superlative want to do more than they can.


Cold Books. – The deep thinker reckons on readers who feel with him the happiness that lies in deep thinking. Hence a book that looks cold and sober, if seen in the right light, may seem bathed in the sunshine of spiritual cheerfulness and become a genuine soul-comforter.


A Knack of the Slow-Witted. – The slow-witted thinker generally allies himself with loquacity and ceremoniousness. By the former he thinks he is gaining mobility and fluency, by the latter he gives his peculiarity the appearance of being a result of free will and artistic purpose, with a view to dignity, which needs slow movement.


Le Style Baroque. 11– He who as thinker and writer is not born or trained to dialectic and the consecutive arrangement of ideas, will unconsciously turn to the rhetoric and dramatic forms. For, after all, his object is to make himself understood and to carry the day by force, and he is indifferent whether, as shepherd, he honestly guides to himself the hearts of his fellow-men, or, as robber, he captures them by surprise. This is true of the plastic arts as of music: where the feeling of insufficient dialectic or a deficiency in expression or narration, together with an urgent, over-powerful impulse to form, gives birth to that species of style known as “baroque.” Only the ill-educated and the arrogant will at once find a depreciatory force in this word. The baroque style always arises at the time of decay of a great art, when the demands of art in classical expression have become too great. It is a natural phenomenon which will be observed with melancholy – for it is a forerunner of the night – but at the same time with admiration for its peculiar compensatory arts of expression and narration. To this style belongs already a choice of material and subjects of the highest dramatic tension, at which the heart trembles even when there is no art, because heaven and hell are all too near the emotions: then, the oratory of strong passion and gestures, of ugly sublimity, of great masses, in fact of absolute quantity per se (as is shown in Michael Angelo, the father or grandfather of the Italian baroque stylists): the lights of dusk, illumination and conflagration playing upon those strongly moulded forms: ever-new ventures in means and aims, strongly underscored by artists for artists, while the layman must fancy he sees an unconscious overflowing of all the horns of plenty of an original nature-art: all these characteristics that constitute the greatness of that style are neither possible nor permitted in the earlier ante-classical and classical periods of a branch of art. Such luxuries hang long on the tree like forbidden fruit. Just now, when music is passing into this last phase, we may learn to know the phenomenon of the baroque style in peculiar splendour, and, by comparison, find much that is instructive for earlier ages. For from Greek times onward there has often been a baroque style, in poetry, oratory, prose writing, sculpture, and, as is well known, in architecture. This style, though wanting in the highest nobility, – the nobility of an innocent, unconscious, triumphant perfection, – has nevertheless given pleasure to many of the best and most serious minds of their time. Hence, as aforesaid, it is presumptuous to depreciate it without reserve, however happy we may feel because our taste for it has not made us insensible to the purer and greater style.


The Value of Honest Books. – Honest books make the reader honest, at least by exciting his hatred and aversion, which otherwise cunning cleverness knows so well how to conceal. Against a book, however, we let ourselves go, however restrained we may be in our relations with men.


How Art makes Partisans. – Individual fine passages, an exciting general tenor, a moving and absorbing finale – so much of a work of art is accessible even to most laymen. In an art period when it is desired to win over the great majority of the laymen to the side of the artists and to make a party perhaps for the very preservation of art, the creative artist will do well to offer nothing more than the above. Then he will not be a squanderer of his strength, in spheres where no one is grateful to him. For to perform the remaining functions, the imitation of Nature in her organic development and growth, would in that case be like sowing seeds in water.


Becoming Great to the Detriment of History. – Every later master who leads the taste of art-lovers into his channel unconsciously gives rise to a selection and revaluation of the older masters and their works. Whatever in them is conformable and akin to him, and anticipates and foreshadows him, appears henceforth as the only important element in them and their works – a fruit in which a great error usually lies hidden like a worm.


How an Epoch becomes Lured to Art. – If we teach people by all the enchantments of artists and thinkers to feel reverence for their defects, their intellectual poverty, their absurd infatuations and passions (as it is quite possible to do); if we show them only the lofty side of crime and folly, only the touching and appealing element in weakness and flabbiness and blind devotion (that too has often enough been done): – we have employed the means for inspiring even an unphilosophical and inartistic age with an ecstatic love of philosophy and art (especially of thinkers and artists as personalities) and, in the worst case, perhaps with the only means of defending the existence of such tender and fragile beings.


Criticism and Joy. – Criticism, one-sided and unjust as well as intelligent criticism, gives so much pleasure to him who exercises it that the world is indebted to every work and every action that inspires much criticism and many critics. For criticism draws after it a glittering train of joyousness, wit, self-admiration, pride, instruction, designs of improvement. – The God of joy created the bad and the mediocre for the same reason that he created the good.


Beyond his Limits. – When an artist wants to be more than an artist – for example, the moral awakener of his people – he at last falls in love, as a punishment, with a monster of moral substance. The Muse laughs, for, though a kind-hearted Goddess, she can also be malignant from jealousy. Milton and Klopstock are cases in point.


A Glass Eye. – The tendency of a talent towards moral subjects, characters, motives, towards the “beautiful soul” of the work of art, is often only a glass eye put on by the artist who lacks a beautiful soul. It may result, though rarely, that his eye finally becomes living Nature, if indeed it be Nature with a somewhat troubled look. But the ordinary result is that the whole world thinks it sees Nature where there is only cold glass.


Writing and Desire for Victory. – Writing should always indicate a victory, indeed a conquest of oneself which must be communicated to others for their behoof. There are, however, dyspeptic authors who only write when they cannot digest something, or when something has remained stuck in their teeth. Through their anger they try unconsciously to disgust the reader too, and to exercise violence upon him – that is, they desire victory, but victory over others.


A Good Book Needs Time. – Every good book tastes bitter when it first comes out, for it has the defect of newness. Moreover, it suffers damage from its living author, if he is well known and much talked about. For all the world is accustomed to confuse the author with his work. Whatever of profundity, sweetness, and brilliance the work may contain must be developed as the years go by, under the care of growing, then old, and lastly traditional reverence. Many hours must pass, many a spider must have woven its web about the book. A book is made better by good readers and clearer by good opponents.


Extravagance as an Artistic Means. – Artists well understand the idea of using extravagance as an artistic means in order to convey an impression of wealth. This is one of those innocent wiles of soul-seduction that the artist must know, for in his world, which has only appearance in view, the means to appearance need not necessarily be genuine.


The Hidden Barrel-Organ. – Genius, by virtue of its more ample drapery, knows better than talent how to hide its barrel-organ. Yet after all it too can only play its seven old pieces over and over again.


The Name on the Title-Page. – It is now a matter of custom and almost of duty for the author's name to appear on the book, and this is a main cause of the fact that books have so little influence. If they are good, they are worth more than the personalities of their authors, of which they are the quintessences. But as soon as the author makes himself known on the title-page, the quintessence, from the reader's point of view, becomes diluted with the personal, the most personal element, and the aim of the book is frustrated. It is the ambition of the intellect no longer to appear individual.


The Most Cutting Criticism. – We make the most cutting criticism of a man or a book when we indicate his or its ideal.


Little or no Love. – Every good book is written for a particular reader and men of his stamp, and for that very reason is looked upon unfavourably by all other readers, by the vast majority. Its reputation accordingly rests on a narrow basis and must be built up by degrees. – The mediocre and bad book is mediocre and bad because it seeks to please, and does please, a great number.


Music and Disease. – The danger of the new music lies in the fact that it puts the cup of rapture and exaltation to the lips so invitingly, and with such a show of moral ecstasy, that even the noble and temperate man always drinks a drop too much. This minimum of intemperance, constantly repeated, can in the end bring about a deeper convulsion and destruction of mental health than any coarse excess could do. Hence nothing remains but some day to fly from the grotto of the nymph, and through perils and billowy seas to forge one's way to the smoke of Ithaca and the embraces of a simpler and more human spouse.


Advantage for Opponents. – A book full of intellect communicates something thereof even to its opponents.


Youth and Criticism. – To criticise a book means, for the young, not to let oneself be touched by a single productive thought therefrom, and to protect one's skin with hands and feet. The youngster lives in opposition to all novelty that he cannot love in the lump, in a position of self-defence, and in this connection he commits, as often as he can, a superfluous sin.


Effect of Quantity. – The greatest paradox in the history of poetic art lies in this: that in all that constitutes the greatness of the old poets a man may be a barbarian, faulty and deformed from top to toe, and still remain the greatest of poets. This is the case with Shakespeare, who, as compared with Sophocles, is like a mine of immeasurable wealth in gold, lead, and rubble, whereas Sophocles is not merely gold, but gold in its noblest form, one that almost makes us forget the money-value of the metal. But quantity in its highest intensity has the same effect as quality. That is a good thing for Shakespeare.


All Beginning is Dangerous. – The Poet can choose whether to raise emotion from one grade to another, and so finally to exalt it to a great height – or to try a surprise attack, and from the start to pull the bell-rope with might and main. Both processes have their danger – in the first case his hearer may run away from him through boredom, in the second through terror.


In Favour of Critics. – Insects sting, not from malice, but because they too want to live. It is the same with our critics – they desire our blood, not our pain.


Success of Aphorisms. – The inexperienced, when an aphorism at once illuminates their minds with its naked truth, always think that it is old and well known. They look askance at the author, as if he had wanted to steal the common property of all, whereas they enjoy highly spiced half-truths, and give the author to understand as much. He knows how to appreciate the hint, and easily guesses thereby where he has succeeded and failed.


The Desire for Victory. – An artist who exceeds the limit of his strength in all that he undertakes will end by carrying the multitude along with him through the spectacle of violent wrestling that he affords. Success is not always the accompaniment only of victory, but also of the desire for victory.


Sibi Scribere.– The sensible author writes for no other posterity than his own – that is, for his age – so as to be able even then to take pleasure in himself.


Praise of the Aphorism. – A good aphorism is too hard for the tooth of time, and is not worn away by all the centuries, although it serves as food for every epoch. Hence it is the greatest paradox in literature, the imperishable in the midst of change, the nourishment which always remains highly valued, as salt does, and never becomes stupid like salt.


The Art-Need of the Second Order. – The people may have something of what can be called art-need, but it is small, and can be cheaply satisfied. On the whole, the remnant of art (it must be honestly confessed) suffices for this need. Let us consider, for example, the kind of melodies and songs in which the most vigorous, unspoiled, and true-hearted classes of the population find genuine delight; let us live among shepherds, cowherds, peasants, huntsmen, soldiers, and sailors, and give ourselves the answer. And in the country town, just in the houses that are the homes of inherited civic virtue, is it not the worst music at present produced that is loved and, one might say, cherished? He who speaks of deeper needs and unsatisfied yearnings for art among the people, as it is, is a crank or an impostor. Be honest! Only in exceptional men is there now an art-need in the highest sense – because art is once more on the down-grade, and human powers and hopes are for the time being directed to other matters. – Apart from this, outside the populace, there exists indeed, in the higher and highest strata of society, a broader and more comprehensive art-need, but of the second order. Here there is a sort of artistic commune, which possibly means to be sincere. But let us look at the elements! They are in general the more refined malcontents, who attain no genuine pleasure in themselves; the cultured, who have not become free enough to dispense with the consolations of religion, and yet do not find its incense sufficiently fragrant; the half-aristocratic, who are too weak to combat by a heroic conversion or renunciation the one fundamental error of their lives or the pernicious bent of their characters; the highly gifted, who think themselves too dignified to be of service by modest activity, and are too lazy for real, self-sacrificing work; girls who cannot create for themselves a satisfactory sphere of duties; women who have tied themselves by a light-hearted or nefarious marriage, and know that they are not tied securely enough; scholars, physicians, merchants, officials who specialised too early and never gave their lives a free enough scope – who do their work efficiently, it is true, but with a worm gnawing at their hearts; finally, all imperfect artists – these are nowadays the true needers of art! What do they really desire from art? Art is to drive away hours and moments of discomfort, boredom, half-bad conscience, and, if possible, transform the faults of their lives and characters into faults of world-destiny. Very different were the Greeks, who realised in their art the outflow and overflow of their own sense of well-being and health, and loved to see their perfection once more from a standpoint outside themselves. They were led to art by delight in themselves; our contemporaries – by disgust of themselves.


The Germans in the Theatre. – The real theatrical talent of the Germans was Kotzebue. He and his Germans, those of higher as well as those of middle-class society, were necessarily associated, and his contemporaries should have said of him in all seriousness, “in him we live and move and have our being.” Here was nothing – no constraint, pretence, or half-enjoyment: what he could and would do was understood. Yes, until now the honest theatrical success on the German stage has been in the hands of the shamefaced or unashamed heirs of Kotzebue's methods and influence – that is, as far as comedy still flourishes at all. The result is that much of the Germanism of that age, sometimes far off from the great towns, still survives. Good-natured; incontinent in small pleasures; always ready for tears; with the desire, in the theatre at any rate, to be able to get rid of their innate sobriety and strict attention to duty and exercise; a smiling, nay, a laughing indulgence; confusing goodness and sympathy and welding them into one, as is the essential characteristic of German sentimentality; exceedingly happy at a noble, magnanimous action; for the rest, submissive towards superiors, envious of each other, and yet in their heart of hearts thoroughly self-satisfied – such were they and such was he. – The second dramatic talent was Schiller. He discovered a class of hearers which had hitherto never been taken into consideration: among the callow German youth of both sexes. His poetry responded to their higher, nobler, more violent if more confused emotions, their delight in the jingle of moral words (a delight that begins to disappear when we reach the thirties). Thus he won for himself, by virtue of the passionateness and partisanship of the young, a success which gradually reacted with advantage upon those of riper years. Generally speaking, Schiller rejuvenated the Germans. Goethe stood and still stands above the Germans in every respect. To them he will never belong. How could a nation in well-being and well-wishing come up to the intellectuality of Goethe? Beethoven composed and Schopenhauer philosophised above the heads of the Germans, and it was above their heads, in the same way, that Goethe wrote his Tasso, his Iphigenie. He was followed by a small company of highly cultured persons, who were educated by antiquity, life, and travel, and had grown out of German ways of thought. He himself did not wish it to be otherwise. – When the Romantics set up their well-conceived Goethe cult; when their amazing skill in appreciation was passed on to the disciples of Hegel, the real educators of the Germans of this century; when the awakening national ambition turned out advantageous to the fame of the German poets; when the real standard of the nation, as to whether it could honestly find enjoyment in anything, became inexorably subordinated to the judgment of individuals and to that national ambition, – that is, when people began to enjoy by compulsion, – then arose that false, spurious German culture which was ashamed of Kotzebue; which brought Sophocles, Calderon, and even the Second Part of Goethe's Faust on the stage; and which, on account of its foul tongue and congested stomach, no longer knows now what it likes and what it finds tedious. – Happy are those who have taste, even if it be a bad taste! Only by this characteristic can one be wise as well as happy. Hence the Greeks, who were very refined in such matters, designated the sage by a word that means “man of taste,” and called wisdom, artistic as well as scientific, “taste” (sophia).


Music as a Late-Comer in every Culture. – Among all the arts that are accustomed to grow on a definite culture-soil and under definite social and political conditions, music is the last plant to come up, arising in the autumn and fading-season of the culture to which it belongs. At the same time, the first signs and harbingers of a new spring are usually already noticeable, and sometimes music, like the language of a forgotten age, rings out into a new, astonished world, and comes too late. In the art of the Dutch and Flemish musicians the soul of the Christian middle ages at last found its fullest tone: their sound-architecture is the posthumous but legitimate and equal sister of Gothic. Not until Handel's music was heard the note of the best in the soul of Luther and his kin, the great Judæo-heroical impulse that created the whole Reformation movement. Mozart first expressed in golden melody the age of Louis xiv. and the art of Racine and Claude Lorrain. The eighteenth century – that century of rhapsody, of broken ideals and transitory happiness – only sang itself out in the music of Beethoven and Rossini. A lover of sentimental similes might say that all really important music was a swan-song. – Music is, in fact, not a universal language for all time, as is so often said in its praise, but responds exactly to a particular period and warmth of emotion which involves a quite definite, individual culture, determined by time and place, as its inner law. The music of Palestrina would be quite unintelligible to a Greek; and again, what would the music of Rossini convey to Palestrina? – It may be that our most modern German music, with all its pre-eminence and desire of pre-eminence, will soon be no longer understood. For this music sprang from a culture that is undergoing a rapid decay, from the soil of that epoch of reaction and restoration in which a certain Catholicism of feeling, as well as a delight in all indigenous, national, primitive manners, burst into bloom and scattered a blended perfume over Europe. These two emotional tendencies, adopted in their greatest strength and carried to their farthest limits, found final expression in the music of Wagner. Wagner's predilection for the old native sagas, his free idealisation of their unfamiliar gods and heroes, – who are really sovereign beasts of prey with occasional fits of thoughtfulness, magnanimity, and boredom, – his re-animation of those figures, to which he gave in addition the mediæval Christian thirst for ecstatic sensuality and spiritualisation – all this Wagnerian give-and-take with regard to materials, souls, figures, and words – would clearly express the spirit of his music, if it could not, like all music, speak quite unambiguously of itself. This spirit wages the last campaign of reaction against the spirit of illumination which passed into this century from the last, and also against the super-national ideas of French revolutionary romanticism and of English and American insipidity in the reconstruction of state and society. – But is it not evident that the spheres of thought and emotion apparently suppressed by Wagner and his school have long since acquired fresh strength, and that his late musical protest against them generally rings into ears that prefer to hear different and opposite notes; so that one day that high and wonderful art will suddenly become unintelligible and will be covered by the spider's web of oblivion? – In considering this state of affairs we must not let ourselves be led astray by those transitory fluctuations which arise like a reaction within a reaction, as a temporary sinking of the mountainous wave in the midst of the general upheaval. Thus, this decade of national war, ultramontane martyrdom, and socialistic unrest may, in its remoter after-effect, even aid the Wagnerian art to acquire a sudden halo, without guaranteeing that it “has a future” or that it has the future. It is in the very nature of music that the fruits of its great culture-vintage should lose their taste and wither earlier than the fruits of the plastic arts or those that grow on the tree of knowledge. Among all the products of the human artistic sense ideas are the most solid and lasting.


The Poet no longer a Teacher. – Strange as it may sound to our time, there were once poets and artists whose soul was above the passions with their delights and convulsions, and who therefore took their pleasure in purer materials, worthier men, more delicate complications and dénouements. If the artists of our day for the most part unfetter the will, and so are under certain circumstances for that very reason emancipators of life, those were tamers of the will, enchanters of animals, creators of men. In fact, they moulded, re-moulded, and new-moulded life, whereas the fame of poets of our day lies in unharnessing, unchaining, and shattering. – The ancient Greeks demanded of the poet that he should be the teacher of grown men. How ashamed the poet would be now if this demand were made of him! He is not even a good student of himself, and so never himself becomes a good poem or a fine picture. Under the most favourable circumstances he remains the shy, attractive ruin of a temple, but at the same time a cavern of cravings, overgrown like a ruin with flowers, nettles, and poisonous weeds, inhabited and haunted by snakes, worms, spiders, and birds; an object for sad reflection as to why the noblest and most precious must grow up at once like a ruin, without the past and future of perfection.


Looking Forward and Backward. – An art like that which streams out of Homer, Sophocles, Theocritus, Calderon, Racine, Goethe, as the superabundance of a wise and harmonious conduct of life – that is the true art, at which we grasp when we have ourselves become wiser and more harmonious. It is not that barbaric, if ever so delightful, outpouring of hot and highly coloured things from an undisciplined, chaotic soul, which is what we understood by “art” in our youth. It is obvious from the nature of the case that for certain periods of life an art of overstrain, excitement, antipathy to the orderly, monotonous, simple, logical, is an inevitable need, to which artists must respond, lest the soul of such periods should unburden itself in other ways, through all kinds of disorder and impropriety. Hence youths as they generally are, full, fermenting, tortured above all things by boredom, and women who lack work that fully occupies their soul, require that art of delightful disorder. All the more violently on that account are they inflamed with a desire for satisfaction without change, happiness without stupor and intoxication.

11In German Barockstil, i. e. the degenerate post-Renaissance style in art and literature, which spread from Italy in the seventeenth century. – Tr.
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