The Twilight of the Idols and the Anti-Christ: or How to Philosophize with a Hammer (Penguin Classics)
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'One must be superior to mankind in force, in loftiness of soul—in contempt’
In these two devastating works, Nietzsche offers a sustained and often vitriolic attack on the morality and the beliefs of his time, in particular those of Hegel, Kant and Schopenhaur. Twilight of the Idols is a ‘grand declaration of war’ on reason, psychology and theology that combines highly charged personal attacks on his contemporaries with a lightning tour of his own philosophy. It also paves the way for The Anti-Christ, Nietzche’s final assault on institutional Christianity, in which he identifies himself with the ‘Dionysian’ artist and confronts Christ; the only opponent he feels worthy of him.
In his introduction Michael Tanner discussed the themes of Nietzche’s argument and places the works in their historical and philosophical context.
of ‘sin’, the girl of her love. 6 The entire realm of morality and religion falls under this concept of imaginary causes. – ‘Explanation’ of unpleasant general feelings. They arise from beings hostile to us (evil spirits: most celebrated case – hysterics misunderstood as witches). They arise from actions we cannot approve of (the feeling of ‘sin’, of ‘culpability’ foisted upon a physiological discomfort – one always finds reasons for being discontented with oneself). They arise as
precisely not to ‘will’, the ability to defer decision. All unspir-ituality, all vulgarity, is due to the incapacity to resist a stimulus – one has to react, one obeys every impulse. In many instances, such a compulsion is already morbidity, decline, a symptom of exhaustion – almost everything which unphilosophical crudity designates by the name ‘vice’ is merely this physiological incapacity not to react – A practical application of having learned to see: one will have become slow, mistrustful,
not differ from other years in the total number of deaths. 37 Whether we have grown more moral. – As was only to be expected, the whole ferocity of the moral stupidity which, as is well known, is considered morality as such in Germany, has launched itself against my concept ‘beyond good and evil’: I could tell some pretty stories about it. Above all, I was invited to reflect on the ‘undeniable superiority’ of our age in moral judgement, our real advance in this respect: compared with us, a
manifest itself: something which in relation to collective mankind is a sort of superman. Such chance occurrences of great success have always been possible and perhaps always will be possible. And even entire races, tribes, nations can under certain circumstances represent such a lucky hit. 5 One should not embellish or dress up Christianity: it has waged a war to the death against this higher type of man, it has excommunicated all the fundamental instincts of this type, it has distilled
with whom I am fatefully contemporary. The man of today – I suffocate of his impure breath.… With regard to the past I am, like all men of knowledge, of a large tolerance, that is to say a magnanimous self-control: I traverse the madhouse-world of entire millennia, be it called ‘Christianity’, ‘Christian faith’, ‘Christian Church’, with a gloomy circumspection – I take care not to make mankind responsible for its insanities. But my feelings suddenly alter, burst forth, immediately I enter the