The human soul and its limits, the range of inner human experiences reached so far, the heights, depths, and distances of these experiences, the whole history of the soul so far and its as yet unexhausted possibilities: that is the predestined hunting ground for a born psychologist and lover of the "great hunt." But how often he has to say to himself in despair: "One hunter! alas, only a single one! and look at this huge forest, this primeval forest!" And then he wishes he had a few hundred helpers and good, well-trained hounds that he could drive into the history of the human soul to round up his game. In vain: it is proved to him again and again, thoroughly and bitterly, how helpers and hounds for all the things that excite his curiosity cannot be found. What is wrong with sending scholars into new and dangerous hunting grounds, where courage, sense, and subtlety in every way are required, is that they cease to be of any use precisely where the "great hunt," but also the great danger, begins:—precisely there they lose their keen eye and nose. To figure out and determine, for example, what kind of a history the problem of science and conscience [Wissen und Gewissen: literally, knowledge and conscience] has so far had in the soul of homines religiosi [religious men] , one might perhaps have to be as profound, as wounded, as monstrous as Pascal's intellectual conscience was: and then one would still need that vaulting heaven of bright, malicious spirituality that would be capable of surveying from above, arranging, and forcing into formulas this swarm of dangerous and painful experiences.— But who would do me this service! But who would have time to wait for such servants!—they obviously grow too rarely, they are so improbable in any age! In the end one has to do everything oneself in order to know a few things oneself: that is, one has a lot to do!— But a curiosity of my type remains after all the most agreeable of all vices—sorry! I meant to say: the love of truth has its reward in heaven and even on earth. —
The faith demanded, and not infrequently attained, by original Christianity, in the midst of a skeptical and southern free-spirited world that looked back on, and still contained, a centuries-long fight between philosophical schools, besides the education for tolerance given by the imperium Romanum [Roman Empire]—this faith is not that ingenuous and bearlike subalterns' faith with which, say, a Luther or a Cromwell, or some other northern barbarian of the spirit, clung to his god and to Christianity; it is so much closer to the faith of Pascal, which resembles in a gruesome manner a continual suicide of reason—a tough, long-lived, wormlike reason that cannot be killed all at once and with a single stroke. From the start, the Christian faith is a sacrifice: a sacrifice of all freedom, all pride, all self-confidence of the spirit; at the same time, enslavement and self-mockery, self-mutilation. There is cruelty and religious Phoenicianism in this faith which is expected of an over-ripe, multiple, and much-spoiled conscience: it presupposes that the subjection of the spirit hurts indescribably; that the whole past and the habits of such a spirit resist the absurdissimum [height of absurdity] which "faith" represents to it. Modern men, obtuse to all Christian nomenclature, no longer feel the gruesome superlative that struck a classical taste in the paradoxical formula "god on the cross." Never yet and nowhere has there been an equal boldness in inversion, anything as horrible, questioning, and questionable as this formula: it promised a revaluation of all the values of antiquity.— It is the Orient, deep Orient, it is the Oriental slave who revenged himself in this way on Rome and its noble and frivolous tolerance, on the Roman "catholicity" of faith:—and it has always been not faith but the freedom from faith, that half-stoical and smiling unconcern with the seriousness of faith, that enraged slaves in their masters, against their masters. "Enlightenment" enrages: for the slave wants the unconditional, he understands only what is tyrannical, in morals, too, he loves as he hates, without nuance, to the depths, to the point of pain, of sickness—his abundant concealed suffering is enraged against the noble taste that seems to deny suffering. Nor was skepticism concerning suffering, at bottom merely a pose of aristocratic morality, the least cause of the origin of the last great slave rebellion which began with the French Revolution.
Wherever the religious neurosis has hitherto appeared on earth we find it tied to three dangerous dietary prescriptions: solitude, fasting and sexual abstinence—but without our being able to decide with certainty which is cause here and which effect, or whether any relation of cause and effect is involved here at all. The justification of the latter doubt is that one of the most frequent symptoms of the condition, in the case of savage and tame peoples, is the most sudden and most extravagant voluptuousness which is then, just as suddenly, reversed into a convulsion of penitence and a denial of world and will: both perhaps interpretable as masked epilepsy? [Cf. Francis Galton, Inquiries into human faculty and its development. London: Macmillan and Co., 1883, p. 45: "The phases of extreme piety and extreme vice, which so rapidly succeed one another in the same individual among the epileptics, are more widely separated among those who are simply insane."] But nowhere is it more necessary to renounce interpretations: around no other type has there grown up such an abundance of nonsense and superstition, none seems to have hitherto interested men, even philosophers, more—the time has come to cool down a little on this matter, to learn caution: better, to look away, to go away.— Still in the background of the most recent philosophy, the Schopenhauerian, there stands, almost as the problem in itself, this gruesome question mark of the religious crisis and awakening. How is denial of the will possible? How is the saint possible?—this really seems to have been the question over which Schopenhauer became a philosopher and set to work. And thus it showed a genuinely Schopenhauerian outcome that his most convinced adherent (perhaps also his last adherent, so far as Germany is concerned—), namely Richard Wagner, brought his own life's work to an end at precisely this point and at last introduced that dreadful and eternal type onto the stage as Kundry, type vécu [a type that has lived], just as it is, at the very time when the psychiatrists of almost all the nations of Europe had an opportunity of studying it at close quarters wherever the religious neurosis—or, as I call it, "the religious disposition"—staged its latest epidemic parade and outbreak as the "Salvation Army."— But if one asks what it has really been in this whole phenomenon of the saint that has interested men of all types and ages, even philosophers, so immoderately, then the answer is, beyond doubt, the appearance of the miraculous adhering to it, namely the direct succession of opposites, of morally antithetical states of soul: here it seemed a palpable fact that a "bad man" all at once became a "saint," a good man. Psychology has hitherto come to grief at this point: has it not been principally because it has acknowledged the dominion of morality, because it itself believed in antithetical moral values and saw, read, interpreted these antitheses into the text and the facts?— What? The "miracle" only an error of interpretation? A lack of philology? —
It seems that their Catholicism is much more an intrinsic part of the Latin races than the whole of Christianity in general is of us northerners; and that unbelief consequently signifies something altogether different in Catholic countries from what it does in Protestant—namely a kind of revolt against the spirit of the race, while with us it is rather a return to the spirit (or lack of spirit—) of the race. We northerners are undoubtedly descended from barbarian races also in respect of our talent for religion: we have little talent for it. We may except the Celts, who therefore supplied the best soil for the reception of the Christian infection in the north:—the Christian ideal came to blossom, so far as the pale northern sun permitted it, in France. How uncongenially pious are to our taste even these latest French skeptics when they have in them any Celtic blood! How Catholic, how un-German does Auguste Comte's sociology smell to us with its Roman logic of the instincts! How Jesuitical that clever and charming cicerone of Port-Royal, Sainte-Beuve, despite all his hostility towards the Jesuits! And even more so Ernest Renan: how inaccessible to us northerners is the language of a Renan, in whom every other minute some nothingness of religious tension topples a soul which is in a refined sense voluptuous and relaxed! Repeat these beautiful words of his—and what malice and high spirits are at once aroused in reply in our probably less beautiful and sterner, that is to say German, souls!—"disons donc hardiment que la religion est un produit de l'homme normal, que l'homme est le plus dans le vrai quand il est le plus religieux et le plus assuré d'une destinée infinie .... C'est quand il est bon qu'il veut que la vertu corresponde à un ordre éternelle, c'est quand il contemple les choses d'une manière désintéressée qu'il trouve la mort révoltante et absurde. Comment ne pas supposer que c'est dans ces moments-là, que l'homme voit le mieux? ...." ["So let us make bold to say that religion is a product of the normal man, that man is closest to the truth when he is most religious and most certain of an infinite destiny.... It is when he is good that he wants virtue to correspond to an eternal order; it is when he contemplates things in a disinterested manner that he finds death revolting and absurd. How can we but suppose that it is in moments like this that man sees best? ..." From Ernest Renan's essay "L'avenir religieux des sociétés modernes" in Questions contemporaines. Paris: Calman Lévy, 1868, 416.] These words are so totally antipodal to my ears and habits that when I discovered them my immediate anger wrote beside them "la niaiserie religieuse par excellence!" ["the height of religious nonsense!"]—until my subsequent anger actually began to like them, these words with their upside-down-truth! It is so pleasant, so distinguishing, to possess one's own antipodes!
What is amazing about the religiosity of the ancient Greeks is the enormous abundance of gratitude it exudes:—it is a very noble type of man that confronts nature and life in this way!— Later, when the rabble gained the upper hand in Greece, fear became rampant in religion, too; and the ground was prepared for Christianity. —
The passion for God: there is the peasant, truehearted and importunate kind, like Luther's—the whole of Protestantism lacks southern delicatezza [delicacy]. There is an oriental ecstatic kind, like that of a slave who has been undeservedly pardoned and elevated, as for example in the case of Augustine, who lacks in an offensive manner all nobility of bearing and desire. There is the womanly tender and longing kind which presses bashfully and ignorantly for a unio mystica et physica [mystical and physical union]: as in the case of Madame de Guyon [Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon (1648-1717): French mystic, advocate of Quietism]. In many cases it appears strangely enough as a disguise for the puberty of a girl or a youth; now and then even as the hysteria of an old maid, also as her final ambition:—the church has more than once canonized the woman in question.
So far the most powerful human beings have still bowed worshipfully before the saint as the riddle of self-conquest and deliberate final renunciation. Why did they bow? In him—and as it were behind the question mark of his fragile and miserable appearance—they sensed the superior force that sought to test itself in such a conquest, the strength of the will in which they recognized and honored their own strength and delight in domination: they honored something in themselves when they honored the saint. Moreover, the sight of the saint awakened a suspicion in them: such an enormity of denial, of anti-nature will not have been desired for nothing, they said to and asked themselves. There may be a reason for it, some very great danger about which the ascetic, thanks to his secret comforters and visitors, might have inside information. In short, the powerful of the world learned a new fear before him; they sensed a new power, a strange, as yet unconquered enemy:—it was the "will to power" that made them stop before the saint. They had to ask him — —
In the Jewish "Old Testament," the book of divine justice, there are human beings, things, and speeches in so grand a style that Greek and Indian literature have nothing to compare with it. With terror and reverence one stands before these tremendous remnants of what man once was, and will have sad thoughts about ancient Asia and its protruding little peninsula Europe, which wants by all means to signify as against Asia the progress of man. To be sure, whoever is himself merely a meager, tame domestic animal and knows only the needs of domestic animals (like our educated people of today, including the Christians of "educated" Christianity—) has no cause for amazement or sorrow among these ruins—the taste for the Old Testament is a touchstone for "great" and "small"—: perhaps he will find the New Testament, the book of grace, still rather more after his heart (it contains a lot of the real, tender, musty true-believer and small-soul smell). To have glued this New Testament, a kind of rococo of taste in every respect, to the Old Testament to make one book, as the "Bible," as "the book as such": that is perhaps the greatest audacity and "sin against the spirit" that literary Europe has on its conscience.
Why atheism today?— "The father" in God has been thoroughly refuted; likewise "the judge," "the rewarder." Also his "free will": he does not hear—and if he heard he still would not know how to help. Worst of all: he seems incapable of clear communication: is he unclear?— This is what I found to be causes for the decline of European theism, on the basis of a great many conversations, asking and listening; it seems to me that the religious instinct is indeed in the process of growing powerfully—but the theistic satisfaction it refuses with deep suspicion.
What, at bottom, is the whole of modern philosophy doing? Since Descartes—and indeed rather in spite of him than on the basis of his precedent—all philosophers have been making an assault on the ancient soul concept under the cloak of a critique of the subject-and-predicate concept—that is to say, an assault on the fundamental presupposition of Christian doctrine. Modern philosophy, as an epistemological skepticism, is, covertly or openly, anti-Christian: although, to speak to more refined ears, by no means anti-religious. For in the past one believed in "the soul" as one believed in grammar and the grammatical subject: one said "I" is the condition, "think" is the predicate and conditioned—thinking is an activity to which a subject must be thought of as cause. Then one tried with admirable artfulness and tenacity to fathom whether one could not get out of this net—whether the reverse was not perhaps true: "think" the condition, "I" conditioned; "I" thus being only a synthesis produced by thinking. Kant wanted fundamentally to prove that, starting from the subject, the subject could not be proved—nor could the object: the possibility of an apparent existence of the subject, that is to say of "the soul," may not always have been remote from him, that idea which, as the philosophy of the Vedanta, has exerted immense influence on earth before. [Cf. Paul Heinrich Widemann, Erkennen und Sein: Lösung des Problems des Idealen und Realen, zugleich eine Erörterung des richtigen Ausgangspunktes und der Principien der Philosophie. Karlsruhe; Leipzig: Reuther, 1885:5.]
There is a great ladder of religious cruelty, with many rungs; but three of these are the most important. Once one sacrificed human beings to one's god, perhaps precisely those whom one loved most: the sacrifices of the first-born in all prehistoric religions belong here, as well as the sacrifice of the Emperor Tiberius in the Mithras grotto of the isle of Capri, that most gruesome of all Roman anachronisms. Then, during the moral epoch of mankind, one sacrificed to one's god one's own strongest instincts, one's "nature"; this festive joy lights up the cruel eyes of the ascetic, the "anti-natural" enthusiast. Finally: what remained to be sacrificed? At long last, did one not have to sacrifice for once whatever is comforting, holy, healing; all hope, all faith in hidden harmony, in future blisses and justices? didn't one have to sacrifice God himself and, from cruelty against oneself, worship the stone, stupidity, gravity, fate, the nothing? To sacrifice God for the nothing—this paradoxical mystery of the final cruelty was reserved for the generation that is now coming up: all of us already know something of this.—
Whoever has endeavored with some enigmatic longing, as I have, to think pessimism through to its depths and to liberate it from the half-Christian, half-German narrowness and simplicity in which it has finally presented itself to our century, namely, in the form of Schopenhauer's philosophy; whoever has really, with an Asiatic and supra-Asiatic eye, looked into, down into the most world-denying of all possible ways of thinking—beyond good and evil and no longer, like the Buddha and Schopenhauer, under the spell and delusion of morality—, may just thereby, without really meaning to do so, have opened his eyes to the opposite ideal: the ideal of the most high-spirited, alive, and world-affirming human being who has not only come to terms and learned to get along with whatever was and is, but who wants to have just what was and is repeated into all eternity, shouting insatiably da capo [in music: "from the beginning"], not only to himself but to the whole play and spectacle, and not only to a spectacle but at bottom to him who needs precisely this spectacle—and who makes it necessary because again and again he needs himself—and makes himself necessary — — What? And this wouldn't be—circulus vitiosus deus? [A vicious circle made god? or: God as a vicious circle?]
With the strength of his spiritual eye and insight grows distance and, as it were, the space around man: his world becomes more profound; ever new stars, ever new riddles and images become visible for him. Perhaps everything on which the spirit's eye has exercised its acuteness and thoughtfulness was nothing but an occasion for this exercise, a playful matter, something for children and those who are childish. Perhaps the day will come when the most solemn concepts which have caused the most fights and suffering, the concepts "God" and "sin," will seem no more important to us than a child's toy and a child's pain seem to an old man—and perhaps "the old man" will then be in need of another toy and another pain—still child enough, an eternal child!
Has it been observed to what extent a genuine religious life (both for its favourite labour of microscopic self-examination and that gentle composure which calls itself "prayer" and which is a constant readiness for the "coming of God"—) requires external leisure or semi-leisure, I mean leisure with a good conscience, inherited, by blood, which is not altogether unfamiliar with the aristocratic idea that work degrades—that is to say, makes soul and body common? And that consequently modern, noisy, time-consuming, proud and stupidly proud industriousness educates and prepares precisely for "unbelief" more than anything else does? Among those in Germany for example who nowadays live without religion, I find people whose "free-thinking" is of differing kinds and origins but above all a majority of those in whom industriousness from generation to generation has extinguished the religious instincts: so that they no longer have any idea what religions are supposed to be for and as it were merely register their existence in the world with a kind of dumb amazement. They feel they are already fully occupied, these worthy people, whether with their businesses or with their pleasures, not to speak of the "fatherland" and the newspapers and "family duties": it seems that they have no time at all left for religion, especially as it is not clear to them whether it involves another business or another pleasure—for they tell themselves it is not possible that one goes to church simply to make oneself miserable. They are not opposed to religious usages; if participation in such usages is demanded in certain cases, by the state for instance, they do what is demanded of them as one does so many things—with patient and modest seriousness and without much curiosity and discomfort—it is only that they live too much aside and outside even to feel the need for any for or against in such things. The great majority of German middle-class Protestants can today be numbered among these indifferent people, especially in the great industrious centers of trade and commerce; likewise the great majority of industrious scholars and the entire university equipage (excepting the theologians, whose possibility and presence there provides the psychologist with ever more and ever subtler enigmas to solve). Pious or even merely church-going people seldom realize how much good will, one might even say willfulness, it requires nowadays for a German scholar to take the problem of religion seriously; his whole trade (and, as said above, the tradesmanlike industriousness to which his modern conscience obliges him) disposes him to a superior, almost good-natured merriment in regard to religion, sometimes mixed with a mild contempt directed at the "uncleanliness" of spirit which he presupposes wherever one still belongs to the church. It is only with the aid of history (thus not from his personal experience) that the scholar succeeds in summoning up a reverent seriousness and a certain shy respect towards religion; but if he intensifies his feelings towards it even to the point of feeling grateful to it, he has still in his own person not got so much as a single step closer to that which still exists as church or piety: perhaps the reverse. The practical indifference to religious things in which he was born and raised is as a rule sublimated in him into a caution and cleanliness which avoids contact with religious people and things; and it can be precisely the depth of his tolerance and humanity that bids him evade the subtle distress which tolerance itself brings with it.— Every age has its own divine kind of naïveté for the invention of which other ages may envy it—and how much naiveté, venerable, childlike and endlessly doltish naïveté there is in the scholar's belief in his superiority, in the good conscience of his tolerance, in the simple unsuspecting certainty with which his instinct treats the religious man as an inferior and lower type which he himself has grown beyond and above—he, the little presumptuous dwarf and man of the mob, the brisk and busy head- and handyman of "ideas," of "modern ideas"!
He who has seen deeply into the world knows what wisdom there is in the fact that men are superficial It is their instinct for preservation which teaches them to be fickle, light and false. Here and there, among philosophers as well as artists, one finds a passionate and exaggerated worship of "pure forms": let no one doubt that he who needs the cult of surfaces to that extent has at some time or other made a calamitous attempt to get beneath them. Perhaps there might even exist an order of rank in regard to these burnt children, these born artists who can find pleasure in life only in the intention of falsifying its image (as it were in a long-drawn-out revenge on life—): one could determine the degree to which life has been spoiled for them by the extent to which they want to see its image falsified, attenuated and made otherworldly and divine—one could include the homines religiosi [religious men] among the artists as their highest rank. It is the profound suspicious fear of an incurable pessimism which compels whole millennia to cling with their teeth to—a religious interpretation of existence: the fear born of that instinct which senses that one might get hold of the truth too soon, before mankind was sufficiently strong, sufficiently hard, sufficient of an artist .... Piety, the "life in God," would, viewed in this light, appear as the subtlest and ultimate product of the fear of truth, as the artist's worship of an intoxication before the most consistent of all falsifications, as the will to inversion of truth, to untruth at any price. Perhaps there has up till now been no finer way of making man himself more beautiful than piety: through piety man can become to so great a degree of art, surface, play of colors, goodness, that one no longer suffers at the sight of him. —
To love men for the sake of God—that has been the noblest and most remote feeling attained to among men up till now. That love of man without some sanctifying ulterior objective is one piece of stupidity and animality more, that the inclination to this love of man has first to receive its measure, its refinement, its grain of salt and drop of amber from a higher inclination whatever man it was who first felt and "experienced" this, however much his tongue may have faltered as it sought to express such a delicate thought, let him be holy and venerated to us for all time as the man who has soared the highest and gone the most beautifully astray!
The philosopher as we understand him, we free spirits—as the man of the most comprehensive responsibility who has the conscience for the collective evolution of mankind: this philosopher will make use of the religions for his work of education and breeding, just as he will make use of existing political and economic conditions. The influence on selection and breeding, that is to say the destructive as well as the creative and formative influence which can be exercised with the aid of the religions, is manifold and various depending on the kind of men placed under their spell and protection. For the strong and independent prepared and predestined for command, in whom the art and reason of a ruling race is incarnated, religion is one more means of overcoming resistance so as to be able to rule: as a bond that unites together ruler and ruled and betrays and hands over to the former the consciences of the latter, all that is hidden and most intimate in them which would like to exclude itself from obedience; and if some natures of such noble descent incline through lofty spirituality to a more withdrawn and meditative life and reserve to themselves only the most refined kind of rule (over select disciples or brothers), then religion can even be used as a means of obtaining peace from the noise and effort of cruder modes of government, and cleanliness from the necessary dirt of all politics. Thus did the Brahmins, for example, arrange things: with the aid of a religious organization they gave themselves the power of nominating their kings for the people, while keeping and feeling themselves aside and outside as men of higher and more than kingly tasks. In the meantime, religion also gives a section of the ruled guidance and opportunity for preparing itself for future rule and command; that is to say, those slowly rising orders and classes in which through fortunate marriage customs the strength and joy of the will, the will to self-mastery is always increasing—religion presents them with sufficient instigations and temptations to take the road to higher spirituality, to test the feelings of great self-overcoming, of silence and solitude—asceticism and puritanism are virtually indispensable means of education and ennobling if a race wants to become master over its origins in the rabble, and work its way up towards future rule. To ordinary men, finally, the great majority, who exist for service and general utility and who may exist only for that purpose, religion gives an invaluable contentment with their nature and station, manifold peace of heart, an ennobling of obedience, one piece of joy and sorrow more to share with their fellows, and some transfiguration of the whole everydayness, the whole lowliness, the whole half-bestial poverty of their souls. Religion and the religious significance of life sheds sunshine over these perpetual drudges and makes their own sight tolerable to them, it has the effect which an Epicurean philosophy usually has on sufferers of a higher rank, refreshing, refining, as it were making the most use of suffering, ultimately even sanctifying and justifying. Perhaps nothing in Christianity and Buddhism is so venerable as their art of teaching even the lowliest to set themselves through piety in an apparently higher order of things and thus to preserve their contentment with the real order, within which they live hard enough lives—and necessarily have to!
In the end, to be sure, to present the debit side of the account to these religions and to bring into the light of day their uncanny perilousness—it costs dear and terribly when religions hold sway, not as means of education and breeding in the hands of the philosopher, but in their own right and as sovereign, when they themselves want to be final ends and not means beside other means. Among men, as among every other species, there is a surplus of failures, of the sick, the degenerate, the fragile, of those who are bound to suffer; the successful cases are, among men too, always the exception, and. considering that man is the animal that has not yet been established, the rare exception. But worse still: the higher the type of man a man represents, the greater the improbability he will turn out well: chance, the law of absurdity in the total economy of mankind, shows itself in its most dreadful shape in its destructive effect on higher men, whose conditions of life are subtle, manifold and difficult to compute. Now what is the attitude of the above-named two chief religions towards this surplus of unsuccessful cases? They seek to preserve, to retain in life, whatever can in any way be preserved, indeed they side with it as a matter of principle as religions for sufferers, they maintain that all those who suffer from life as from an illness are in the right, and would like every other feeling of life to be counted false and become impossible. However highly one may rate this kindly preservative solicitude, inasmuch as, together with all the other types of man, it has been and is applied to the highest type, which has hitherto almost always been the type that has suffered most: in the total accounting the hitherto sovereign religions are among the main reasons the type "man" has been kept on a lower level they have preserved too much of that which ought to perish. We have inestimable benefits to thank them for; and who is sufficiently rich in gratitude not to be impoverished in face of all that the "spiritual men" of Christianity, for example, have hitherto done for Europe! And yet, when they gave comfort to the suffering, courage to the oppressed and despairing, a staff and stay to the irresolute, and lured those who were inwardly shattered and had become savage away from society into monasteries and houses of correction for the soul: what did they have to do in addition so as thus, with a good conscience, as a matter of principle, to work at the preservation of everything sick and suffering, which means in fact and truth at the corruption of the European race? Stand all evaluations on their head—that is what they had to do! And smash the strong, contaminate great hopes, cast suspicion on joy in beauty, break down everything autocratic, manly, conquering, tyrannical, all the instincts proper to the highest and most successful of the type "man," into uncertainty, remorse of conscience, self-destruction, indeed reverse the whole love of the earthly and of dominion over the earth into hatred of the earth and the earthly—that is the task the church set itself and had to set itself, until in its evaluation "unworldliness," "unsensuality," and "higher man" were finally fused together into one feeling. Supposing one were able to view the strangely painful and at the same time coarse and subtle comedy of European Christianity with the mocking and unconcerned eye of an Epicurean god, I believe there would be no end to one's laughter and amazement: for does it not seem that one will has dominated Europe for eighteen centuries, the will to make of man a sublime abortion? But he who, with an opposite desire, no longer Epicurean but with some divine hammer in his hand, approached this almost deliberate degeneration and stunting of man such as constitutes the European Christian (Pascal for instance), would he not have to cry out in rage, in pity, in horror: "O you fools, you presumptuous, pitying fools, what have you done! Was this a work for your hands! How you have bungled and botched my beautiful stone! What a thing for you to take upon yourselves!"— What I am saying is: Christianity has been the most fatal kind of self-presumption ever. Men not high or hard enough for the artistic refashioning of mankind; men not strong or farsighted enough for the sublime self-constraint needed to let the foreground law of thousandfold failure and perishing to prevail; men not noble enough to see the abysmal disparity in order of rank and abysm of rank between men and man—it is such men who, with their "equal before God," have hitherto ruled over the destiny of Europe, until at last a shrunken, almost ludicrous species, a herd animal, something full of good will, sickly and mediocre has been bred, the European of today ....