Suggested Causes Of The Anarchy In Modern Art
It could only have been the unsatisfactory conditions, even in his time, that made Hegel regard Art as practically dead; for, as Croce and Monsieur Bénard rightly observe, Hegel's Vorlesungen über Æsthetik are Art's dirge. 1 Schopenhauer's extraordinary misunderstanding of Art, also, precisely like Plato's, 2 can be explained only by supposing that the examples of Art which he saw about him misled his otherwise penetrating judgment. Even Ruskin's vague and wholly confused utterances on the subject are evidence of his groping efforts to find his way in the disorder of his time. And, as to the voices of lesser men, their name is legion.
1 Benedetto Croce, Æsthetic (translated by Douglas Ainslie), p. 308, and Monsieur Bénard's critical survey of Hegel's Æsthetik in Cours d'Esthetique, Vol. V. p. 493.
2 On this point see Schelling, Sämmtliche Werke, Vol. V, "Vorlesungen über die Methode des akademischen Studiums," pp. 34647.
"I must in plain words say of the Decorative Arts, of all the arts, that it is not merely that we are inferior in them to all who have gone before us, but also that they are in a state of anarchy and disorganization, that makes a sweeping change necessary and certain." 1
There can be no doubt, therefore, that what Nietzsche saw was a plain fact to very many thinking men besides; but, in tracing the conditions to precise and definite causes, Nietzsche by far excelled any of his contemporaries.
Before proceeding, however, to examine the more general causes that he suggests, I should like to pause here a moment, in order to dispose of one particular cause which, although of tremendous importance for us moderns, can scarcely be regarded as having been active for a very long period. I refer to the manner in which Nietzsche accounts for a good deal that is incompetent and futile, in the Art of the present day only, by point-
1 The Decorative Arts, an address delivered before the Trades Guild of Learning, p. 11.
In Determinism he saw the philosophical abstract of this fact; in our novels and plays he saw its representation under the cloak of passion and emotion; in the Darwinian theory of the influence of environment, he saw it logged out in scientific garb, and in the modern artist's dependence upon an appeal to Nature for inspiration i. e. for a spur to react upon, he recognized its unhealthiest manifestation.
"The power of resisting stimuli is on the wane," he says; "the strength required in order to stop action, and to cease from reacting, is most seriously diseased." 2
1 G. E., p. 145.
2 W. P., Vol. I, p. 36.
Speaking of the modern artist, he refers to "the absurd irritability of his system, which makes a crisis out of every one of his experiences, and deprives him of all calm reflection," 2 and, while describing Europeans in general, he lays stress upon their "spontaneous and changeable natures." 3
In calling our attention to these things, Nietzsche certainly laid his finger on the root of a good deal for which the other more general causes which I shall adduce fail to account.
There can be no doubt that this irritability does exist, and that it causes large numbers of unrefined and undesirable men and women to enter the arts to-day, who are absolutely mistaken in their diagnosis of their condition. We are all only too ready to conceal our defects beneath euphemistic interpretations of them, and we most decidedly prefer, if we have the choice, to regard any morbid symptoms we may reveal, as the sign of strength rather than of weakness. There is some temptation, therefore, both for our friends and ourselves, to interpret our natures kindly and if possible flatteringly; and, if we suffer from a certain "sickly irritability and sensitiveness" in the presence of what we think beautiful, we prefer to ascribe this to an artistic temperament rather than to a debilitated will.
We are acquainted with the irascible nerve-
1 W. P., Vol. I, p. 63.
2 W. P., Vol. II, p; 258.
3 W. P., Vol. II, p. 339.
Our novels are full of such people with weak wills, so are our plays; so, too, unfortunately, are our Art Schools.
We know the Art student who, the moment he sees what he would call "a glorious view," or a "dramatic sunset or sunrise," hurls his materials together helter-skelter and dashes off, ventre à terre, to the most convenient spot whence he can paint it.
We have seen him seize the thing he calls an impression, his teeth clenched the while, and his nostrils dilated. But how often does it occur to us that such a creature has got a bad temper? How often do we realize that he is irritable, self-indulgent, sick in fact?
Only in an age like our own could this ridiculous travesty of an artist pass for an artist. It is only in our age that his neurotic touchiness could possibly be mistaken for strength and vigour; and yet there are hundreds of his kind among the painters and sculptors of the day.
"Slow is the experience of all deep wells," says Zarathustra. "Long must they wait ere they know what hath sunk into their depths." 1
But the people I have just described have only a skin, and any itch upon it they call Art.
No lasting good, no permanent value can come of these irascible people who will be avenged on all that they call beauty, "right away"; who will, so to speak, "pay beauty out," and who cannot contain themselves in its presence. They can but help to swell the ranks of the incompetent, and even if they are successful, as they sometimes are nowadays, all they do is to wreck the sacred calling in which they are but pathological usurpers.
Now, in turning to the more general causes, we find that in accounting for the prevailing anarchy in Europe and in countries like Europe, and particularly in England and in countries like England, Nietzsche pointed to the whole heritage of traditional thought which prevailed and still does prevail in the civilized parts of the Western world, and declared that it was in our most fundamental beliefs, in our most unquestioned dogmas, and in
1 Z., I, XII.
If Art had lost its prestige in our midst, and even its justification; and if individualism, incompetence, eccentricity, mediocrity and doubt were rife, we must seek the causes of all this neither in Diderot's somewhat disappointing essay on painting, nor in the slur that Rousseau had once cast upon the culture of man, nor in John Stuart Mill's arguments in favour of individualism, nor yet in Spencer's declaration that "the activities we call play are united with the æsthetic activities by the trait that neither subserves in any direct way the processes conducive to life." 1
All these things are merely symptomatic. Diderot, Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, and Spencer were only symptoms of still deeper influences which have been at work for centuries, and those influences are to be sought in the most vital values upon which our civilization is based.
1 The Principles of Psychology, Vol. II, p. 627.
Still, the greater part of this faulty guidance may, in itself, be but another outcome of the erroneous and rooted beliefs which lie even deeper in the heart of life than Art itself, and for these beliefs we must seek deep down in the foundations of European thought for the last two or three hundred years. In fact, we must ask ourselves what our heritage from by-gone ages has been.
Since Art is the subject of our inquiry, and "Art is the only task of life," 2 it seems moderately clear that everything that has tended to reduce the dignity of Art must, in the first place, have reduced the dignity of man.
1 W. P., Vol. II, p. 256.
2 Ibid., p. 292.
At the root of all our science, all our philosophy, and all our literature, the three fundamental doctrines of Christianity: the equality of all souls, the insuperable depravity of human nature, and the insistence upon Truth, are the ruling influences.
By means of the first and third doctrines equality was established in the spirit, and by means of the second it was established in the flesh. 1
By means of the first, each individual, great or small, was granted an importance 2 undreamt of
1 The Judaic story of the fall of man is at bottom an essentially democratic one. This absence of rank in sin had no parallel in the aristocratic Pagan world. Likewise, in the manner of the fall, there is a total absence of noble qualities. "Curiosity, beguilement, seductibility and wantonness in short, a whole series of pre-eminently feminine passions were regarded as the origin of evil." See B. T., pp. 78, 79.
2 Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. I, p. 33.
secondly, "Thou shalt have no other God before Me;" and thirdly,
But in each case, as I have pointed out, it was the higher men who suffered. Because they alone had something to lose. The first notion that of equality, threatened at once to make them doubt their own privileges and powers, to throw suspicion into the hearts of their followers, and to make all special, exceptional and isolated claims utterly void. The third the insistence upon a truth which could be general and absolute, denied their right to establish their own truths in the hearts of men, and to rise above the most general truth which was reality; while in the second the Semitic doctrine of general
1 A., Aph. 43 and 64.
2 Hymns Ancient and Modern, No. 435.
3 Ibid., No. 522.
At one stroke, not one or two human actions, but all human performances, inspirations and happy thoughts, had been stripped of their glory and condemned. Man could raise himself only by God's grace that is to say, by a miracle, otherwise he was but a fallen angel, aimlessly beating the air with his broken wings.
These three blows levelled at the head of higher men were fatal to the artist; for it is precisely in the value of human inspirations, in the efficiency of human creativeness, and in the irresistible power of human will, that he, above all, must and does believe. It is his mission to demand obedience and to procure reverence; for, as we shall see, every artist worthy the name is at heart a despot. 2
Fortunately, the Holy Catholic Church intervened, and by its rigorous discipline and its firm
1 W. P., Vol. II, p. 312: "When it occurs to inferior men to doubt that higher men exist, then the danger is great," etc. See, in fact, the whole of Aph. 874.
2 See A., Aph. 49: "The concept of guilt and punishment, inclusive of the doctrine of 'grace,' of 'salvation,' and of 'forgiveness' lies through and through, without a shred of psychological truth. Sin, . . . this form of human self-violation par excellence, was invented solely for the purpose of making all science, all culture, and every kind of elevation and nobility utterly impossible."
This favourable opportunity occurred in the person of Martin Luther. The Reformation, in addition to reinstating, with all their evil consequences, the three doctrines mentioned above, also produced a certain contempt for lofty things and an importunate individualism which has done nought but increase and spread from that day to this.
Individualism, on a large scale, of course, had been both tolerated and practised in Gothic architecture, and on this account the buildings of the Middle Ages might be said to breathe a more truly Christian spirit 1 than most of the sculpture and the painting of the same period, which are more hieratic. 2 But it was not until the Reformation
1 Ruskin, On the Nature of Gothic Architecture (p. 7), contrasting the classic and Gothic style, says: ". . . In the mediæval, or especially Christian, system of ornament, this slavery [i. e. the slavery imposed by the classic canon] is done away with altogether; Christianity having recognized, in small things as well as great, the individual value of every soul."
2 In a good deal of the painting and sculpture of the pre-Renaissance period, too, signs were not lacking which showed that the Christian ideal of truth was beginning to work its effects by leading to a realism which I have classified in Lecture II as Police Art. Of course, a good deal of this realism may also be accounted for by the
reasons which I suggest at the end of Part I of Lecture III; be this as it may, however, as it is difficult to decide the actual proportion of either of these influences, the weight of the Christian doctrine of Truth must not be altogether overlooked in such productions as Donatello's "Crucifixion" (Capella Bardi, S. Croce, Florence); Masolino's "Raising of Tabitha" (Carmine, Florence); Masaccio's Fresco (S. Maria del Carmine, Florence); Ucello's "Rout of S. Romano" (Uffizi); Andrea del Castagno's "Crucifixion" (in the Monastery of the Angeli, Florence); and the really beautiful statues of the Founders in the Cathedral of Naumburg.
1 W. P., Vol. II, p. 297: "The terrible consequences of 'freedom' in the end everybody thinks he has the right to every problem. All order of rank is banished."
2 Buckle, History of Civilization in England, Vol. II, p. 140: "Whatever the prejudices of some may suggest, it will be admitted, by all unbiassed judges, that the Protestant Reformation was neither more nor less than an open rebellion. Indeed, the mere mention of private judgment, on which it was avowedly based, is enough to substantiate this fact. To establish the right of private judgment was to appeal from the Church to individuals," etc. (See also p. 138 in the same volume.) Cambridge Modern History, Vol. II, p. 166: "In the Edict of Worms, Luther had been branded as a revolutionary, then as a heretic, and the burden of the complaints preferred against
Now, not only the immortal soul of every individual became important; but also every one of his proclivities, desires and aspirations. He was told that he could be his own priest if he chose, 3 and that Christ had obtained this prerogative for him. Megalomania, in fact, as Nietzsche declares, was made his duty. 4
"Let men so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." 5
him by the Catholic humanists was, that his methods of seeking a reformation would be fatal to all order, political or ecclesiastical. They painted him as the apostle of revolution, a second Catiline." And p. 174: "The most frequent and damaging charge levelled at Luther between 1520 and 1525 reproached him with being the apostle of revolution and anarchy, and predicted that his attacks on spiritual authority would develop into a campaign against civil order unless he were promptly suppressed."
1 A Treatise Touching the Libertie of a Christian, by Martyne Luther (translated from the Latin by James Bell, 1579. Edited by W. Bengo' Collyer, 1817), p. 17: "So that it is manifest that to a Christian man faith sufficeth only for all, and that he needeth no works to be justified by. Now, if he need no works, then also he needs not the law: if he have no need of the law, surely he is then free from the law. So this also is true. The law is not made for the righteous man, and this is the same Christian libertie."
2 Ibid., p. 3.
3 Ibid., p. 31.
4 W. P., Vol. II, p. 211.
5 I Cor. iv. 1.
"Even the Reformation," says Nietzsche, "was a movement for individual liberty; 'Every one his own priest' is really no more than a formula for libertinage. As a matter of fact, the words, 'Evangelical freedom' would have sufficed and all instincts which had reasons for remaining concealed broke out like wild hounds, the most brutal needs suddenly acquired the courage to show themselves, everything seemed justified." 2
Was it at all likely that the formula, "Every one his own priest," was going to lead to trouble only in ecclesiastical matters? As a matter of fact we know that Luther himself extended the principle still further in his own lifetime. By his radical alterations in the church service Luther gave the laity a much more prominent place in Divine worship than they had ever had before; for, in addition to the fact that the liturgy as compiled by him was written almost entirely in the native tongue, the special attention he gave to the singing of hymns 3 allowed the people an opportunity of
1 Cambridge Modern History, Vol. II, p. 201.
2 W. P., Vol. I, p. 75.
3 Emil Naumann, History of Music, Vol. II, p. 429: "With the Catholics, hymns in the mother tongue were only used at processions and on high festivals, and were then sung by the congregation only at Christmas, Easter, and certain other high feast days. With these exceptions, the Catholic congregational song consisted of short musical phrases chanted by the priests, to which the people either responded, or added their voices to the refrain sung by the choristers from the altar. The part assigned to the people then was but a very subordinate one." See also the Intro-
But these remarkable changes were only symbolic of the changes that followed elsewhere; for, once this spirit of individual liberty and judgment had invaded that department of life which theretofore had been held most sacred, what was there to prevent it from entering and defiling less sacred sanctuaries?
Bearing in mind the condition of the arts at the present day, and taking into account a fact which we all very well know; namely, that thousands upon thousands are now practising these arts who have absolutely no business to be associated with them in any way, we are almost inclined to forgive Protestantism and Puritanism their smashing of our images, and their material iconoclasm; so light does this damage appear, compared with the other indirect damage they have done to the spirit of Art, by establishing the fatal precedent of allowing everybody to touch and speak of everything however sacred.
We may argue with Buckle that the English spirit is of a kind which is essentially Protestant in temper; but this only seems to make the matter worse.
When Cardinal Newman and Matthew Arnold point, the one to the evils of Liberalism, and the other to the evils of anarchy, we know to what they
duction to C. von Winterfeld's Sacred Songs of Luther (Leipzig, 1840).
1 The Beginnings of Art, by Ernst Grosse, pp. 299, 300; and Cambridge Modern History, Vol. II, p. 201.
"May not every man in England say what he likes?" Matthew Arnold exclaims. "But," he continues, "the aspirations of culture, which is the study of perfection, are not satisfied, unless what men say, when they may say what they like, is worth saying. . . . Culture indefatigably tries, not to make what each raw person may like, the rule by which he fashions himself; but to draw ever nearer to a sense of what is indeed beautiful, graceful, and becoming, and to get the raw person to like that." 1
But what is fatal to culture is no less fatal to art, and thus we find Nietzsche saying
"Once spirit was God, then it became man, and now it becometh mob." 2
If in the Europe, and especially in the England of to-day, everybody has a right to every judgment and to every joy; if a certain slavish truthfulness to nature and reality, rawness and ruggedness, have well-nigh wrecked higher aspirations, and if everybody can press his paltry modicum of voice, of thought, of draughtsmanship, of passion and impudence to the fore, and thus spread his portion of mediocrity like dodder over the sacred field of Art; it is because the fundamental principles of the Christian faith are no longer latent or suppressed in our midst; but active and potent if not almighty.
1 Culture and Anarchy (Smith, Elder, 1909), pp. 11, 12.
2 Z. I, VII.
No one any longer claims the kind of freedom that Pope Paul III claimed for his protégé Benvenuto Cellini: 2 this would be too dangerous, because, in a trice, it would be applied to all. Therefore the insignificant majority get more freedom than is good for them, and the noble minority are deprived of their birthright.
"Thus do I speak unto you in parable," cries Zarathustra, "ye who make the soul giddy, ye preachers of equality! Tarantulas are ye unto me, and secretly revengeful ones!
"But I will soon bring your hiding-places to the light, therefore do I laugh in your faces my laughter of the height.
"And 'Will to Equality' that itself shall henceforth be the name of virtue; and against all that hath power will we raise an outcry!
"Ye preachers of equality, the tyrant frenzy of impotence crieth thus in you for 'equality': your
1 E. I., pp. 54, 55.
2 Sandro Botticelli, by Emile Gebhart (1907), p. 9: "Paul III âme très haute, répond aux personnes qui lui dénoncent les vices de son spirituel spadassin: 'Les hommes uniques dans leur art, comme Cellini, ne doivent pas être soumis aux lois, et lui moins que tout autre.'"
And now recapitulating a moment, what have we found our heritage to consist of, in the realm of the religious spirit?
In the first place: a certain universal acknowledgment and claim of liberty, which has no special purpose or direction, and which is too fair to some and unfair to many. Secondly, a devotion to a truth that could be general, which perforce has reduced us to vulgar reality; thirdly, a prevailing depression in the value and dignity of man, resulting from the suspicion that has been cast upon all authority and all loftiness; and fourthly, a wanton desecrating and befingering of all sanctuaries by anybody and everybody, which is the inevitable outcome of that amateur priesthood introduced and sanctified by Martin Luther.
1 Z., II, XXIX.
Universal liberty, without a purpose or a direction; the free and plebeian production of thoughts and theories divorced from all aim or ideal, after the style in which children are born in the slums; devotion to a truth that can be common to all; the depression of the value and dignity of man, and a certain lack of reverence for all things these four aspirations of Christianity and Protestantism have been the aspirations of science, and at the present moment they are practically attained.
Unfortunately, it is in the nature of human beings to imitate success, and England's success as a colonizing and constitutional nation has undoubtedly been a potent force in spreading not only her commercial, but also her philosophical views among all ambitious and aspiring Western nations, who guilelessly took the evil with the good.
1 It is important here to note, first, that Roger Bacon was an Aristotelian through his intimate study of the Arabian treatises on the Greek philosopher, and, secondly, that although Greek speculation was governed more by insight than experience, Aristotle forms a striking exception to this rule.
The Frenchmen, Helvetius, Voltaire, Rousseau, Maupertius, Condillac, Diderot, d'Alembert, La Mettrie and Baron Holbach, were quick to become infected, and in Germany, despite the essentially aristocratic influence of Leibnitz, 2 Kant was the first to follow suit.
Begun in this way, English philosophical speculation, as Dr. Max Schasler says, was forced to grow ever more and more materialistic 3 in character, and, if "Science has already come very
1 G. E., p. 210: "What is lacking in England, and has always been lacking, that half-actor and rhetorician knew well enough, the absurd muddle-head Carlyle, who sought to conceal under passionate grimaces what he knew about himself: namely, what was lacking in Carlyle real power of intellect, real depth of intellectual perception, in short, philosophy."
2 In reply to those who said, "Nothing exists in the intellect but what has before existed in the senses," Leibnitz replied: "Yes, nothing but the intellect."
3 Kritische Geschichte der Æsthetik (1872). Speaking of the English Æstheticians, he says (p. 285), "The fact that
Hence Nietzsche's cry, that "European ignobleness, the plebeian ism of modern ideas is England's work and invention." 2
But it is not alone in its vulgarization of the concept of knowledge, or in its materialistic tendency, that English influence has helped to reduce the dignity of man and to level his kind; the utilitarians from Bentham to John Stuart Mill and Sidgwick, by taking the greatest number as the norm, as the standard and measurement of all things, ably reflected the Christian principle, of the equality of souls, in their works, and, incidentally, by so doing, treated the greatest number exceedingly badly. For what is mediocre can neither be exalted nor charmed by values drawn from mediocrity, and is constantly in need of values drawn from super-mediocrity, for its joy, for its love of life, and for its reconciliation with drabby reality. 3
there is no decrease, but rather an increase of Materialism in their thought, no purification in their meditation from the coarseness of experience, but rather a gradual immersion in the same, may also be regarded as characteristic of the development of the English spirit in general."
1 Coventry Patmore, Principles in Art, p. 209.
2 G. K., p. 213.
3 Even J. S. Mill saw the flaw in his own teaching in
D. The Evolutionary Hypothesis.
A more utterly vulgar, mechanistic, and depressing conception of life and man cannot be conceived than this evolutionary hypothesis as it was presented to us by its two most famous exponents; and its immediate popularity and rapid success, alone, should have made it seem suspicious, even in the eyes of its most ardent adherents.
And yet it was acclaimed and embraced by almost everybody, save those, only, whose interests it assailed.
How much more noble was the origin of the world as described even in Genesis, Disraeli was one of the first to see and to declare; 1 and yet, so
this respect, and acknowledged it openly. See his Liberty, chapter "The Elements of Well-Being," paragraph 13.
1 See Froude's The Earl of Beaconsfield (9th Edition), pp. 176, 177: "The discoveries of science are not, we are told, consistent with the teachings of the Church. . . . It is of great importance when this tattle about science is mentioned, that we should attach to the phrase precise ideas. The function of science is the interpretation of nature, and the interpretation of the highest nature is the highest science. What is the highest nature? Man is the highest nature. But I must say that when I compare the interpretation of the highest nature by the most advanced, the most fashionable school of modern science with some other teaching
In its description of the prime motor of life as a struggle for existence; in its insistence upon adaptation to environment and mechanical adjustment to external influences; 1 in its deification of a blind and utterly inadequate force which was called Natural Selection; and above all in its unprincipled optimism, this new doctrine bore the indelible stamp of shallowness and vulgarity.
According to it, man was not only a superior monkey, but he was also a creature who sacrificed everything in order to live; he was riot only a slave of habit, but he was a yielding jelly, fashioned by his surroundings; he was not only a coward, but a cabbage; and, with it all, he was invoked to do nothing to assist the world process and his own improvement; for, he was told by his unscrupulous teachers, that "evil tended perpetually to disappear," 2 and that "progress was therefore not an accident, but a necessity." 3
with which we are familiar I am not prepared to admit that the lecture room is more scientific than the Church. What is the question now placed before society, with a glib assurance the most astounding? The question is this: Is man an ape or an angel? I, my Lord, I am on the side of the angels. I repudiate with indignation and abhorrence the contrary view, which I believe foreign to the conscience of humanity."
1 See p. 37.
2 Spencer, Social Statics (Ed. 1892), p. 27.
3 Ibid., p. 31.
"No," said the evolutionists, "we do not believe in a moral order of things, although our doctrine does indeed seem to be a reflection of such an order; neither do we believe in God: but we certainly pin our faith to our little idol Evolution, and feel quite convinced that it is going to make us muddle through to perfection somehow look at our proofs!"
And what are these proofs? On all sides they are falling to bits, and we are quickly coming to the conclusion that an assembly of facts can prove nothing save the inability of a scientist to play the role of a creative poet.
Nietzsche was one of the first to see, that if Becoming were a reliable hypothesis, it must be supported by different principles from those of the Darwinian school, and he spared no pains in sketching out these different principles. 2
"These English psychologists what do they really mean?" Nietzsche demands. "We always find them voluntarily or involuntarily at the same task of pushing to the front the partie honteuse of our inner world, and looking for the efficient, governing and decisive principle in that precise quarter where the intellectual self-respect of the race
1 Two Christian principles are concealed here: 1. The depravity of man. 2. Faith in a moral order of things.
2 I have discussed this question, with as much detail as the space would allow, in Nietzsche, his Life and Works, Chap. IV. (Constable's Philosophies Ancient and Modern). See also my letter, "Nietzsche and Science," in the Spectator of 8th January, 1910.
Not one of these advocates of mechanism, however, realized how profoundly he was degrading man, and how seriously he had therefore sullied all human achievement. In their scientific réchauffé of the Christian concept of man's depravity, they all had the most hearty faith, and, as there was little in their over-populated and industrial country to contradict their conclusions, they did not refrain from passing these conclusions into law.
We can detect nothing in this greatest scientific achievement of the last century which seriously resists or opposes our heritage in the realm of the religious spirit. In their fundamentals, the two are one; And when we take them both to task, and try to discover their influence upon the world, we wonder not so much why Art is so bad, but why Art has survived at all.
For, though for the moment we may exclude the influence of earlier English thought upon general artistic achievement, at least the degraded condition of Art at the present day cannot be divorced in this manner from more recent English speculation, for even Mr. Bosanquet counts Darwin and Lyell among those who have ushered in the new renaissance of art in England! 2
1 G. M., p. 17.
2 A History of Æsthetic, p. 445.
To-day, when all reverence has vanished, even before kings and gods, when to respect oneself overmuch is regarded with undisguised resentment, what can we hope from a quarter in which self-reverence and reverence in general are the first needs of all?
We can only hope to find what we actually see, and that, as we all very well know and cannot deny, is a condition of anarchy, incompetence, purposelessness and chaos.
"Culture . . . has a very important function to fulfil for mankind," said Matthew Arnold. "And this function is particularly important in our modern world, of which the whole civilization is, to a much greater degree than the civilization of Greece and Rome, mechanical and external, and tends constantly to become more so. But, above all, in our own country has culture a weighty part to perform, because, here, that mechanical character, which civilization tends to take everywhere, is shown in the most eminent degree. . . . The idea of perfection as an inward condition of the mind and spirit is at variance with the mechanical and material civilization in esteem with us, and nowhere, as I have said, so much in esteem as with us." 2
1 A., Aph. 43.
2 Culture and Anarchy (Smith, Elder, 1909), p. 10.
In any case Nietzsche did not write in utter despair. His words do not fall like faded autumn leaves announcing the general death that is imminent. On the contrary, he saw himself approaching a new century, this century, and he drew more than half his ardour from the hope that we might now renounce this heritage of the past, the deleterious effects of which he spent his lifetime in exposing.
"Awake and listen, ye lonely ones!" he says. "From the future winds are coming with a gentle beating of wings, and there cometh good tidings for fine ears.
"Ye lonely ones of to-day, ye who stand apart, ye shall one day be a people, and from you who. have chosen yourselves, a chosen people shall arise. "Verily a place of healing shall the earth become! And already a new odour lieth around it, an odour which bringeth salvation and a new hope." 1
1 Z., I, XXII.