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Typos — p. 83: Muller's [= Müller's]

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Chapter V
Nietzsche the Sociologist

For Nietzsche, as we are beginning to see, a fitting title is hard to find. Unless we coin new names for things that have not yet been given names, Nietzsche remains without a title among his fellow thinkers. He has been called the "arch-anarchist," which he is not; he has been called the "preacher of brutality," which he is not; he has been called the "egoist," which he is not. But all these titles were conferred upon him by people whose interest it was to reduce him in the public's esteem. If he must be named, however, and we suppose he must, the best title would obviously be that which would distinguish him most exactly from his colleagues. Now, how does Nietzsche stand out from the ranks of almost all other philosophers? By the fact that he was throughout his life an "Advocate of Higher Man." Whereas other philosophers

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and scholars had always thought they had some divine message to impart in the cause of the "greatest number"; Nietzsche — the typical miner and underminer — believed that his mission was to stand for a neglected minority, for higher men, for the gold in the mass of quartz.
        No title therefore could be more fair, and at the same time more essentially descriptive, than the "Advocate of Higher Man," and in giving this title to Nietzsche, we immediately outline him against that assembly of his colleagues who were "Advocates of the Greatest Number."
        It is of the first importance to humanity that its higher individuals should be allowed to attain their full development, for only by means of its heroes can the human race be led forward step by step to higher and ever higher levels. In view of the fact that Nietzsche realised this, some of his principles, when given general application, may very naturally appear to be both iniquitous and subversive, and those who read him with the idea that he is preaching a gospel for all are perfectly justified if they turn away in horror from his works. The mistake they make, however, is to suppose that he, like most other philosophers with whom they are familiar, is an advocate of the greatest number.

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        Let us take a single instance. In The Honey Sacrifice 1 the phrase "Become what thou art," occurs. Now it is obvious that however legitimate this command may be when applied to the highest and best, it becomes dangerous and seditious when applied to each individual of the mass of mankind. And this explains the number of errors that are rife concerning Nietzsche's gospel. Whenever Nietzsche spoke esoterically, his enemies declared that he was pronouncing maxims for the greatest number; whenever he spoke for the greatest number, as he does again and again in his allusions to the mediocre, he was accused of speaking esoterically. How would any other philosophy have fared under such misrepresentation and calumny?
        Nietzsche could not believe in equality; for within him justice said "men are not equal!" Those to whom it gives pleasure to think that men are equal, he conjures not to confound pleasure with truth, and, like Professor Huxley, he finds himself obliged to recognise "the natural inequality of men."
        But, far from deploring this fact, he would fain have accentuated and intensified it. This inequality, to Nietzsche, is a condition to be

        1 Z., chap. lxi.

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exploited and to be made use of by the legislator. The higher men of a society in which gradations of rank are recognised as a natural and desirable condition constitute the class in which the hopes of a real elevation of humanity may be placed. The Divine Manu, Laotse, Confucius, Muhammad, Jesus Christ — all these men, who in their sublime arrogance actually converted man into a mirror in which they saw themselves and their doctrines reflected, and who in thus converting man into a mirror really made him feel happy in the function of reflecting alone:— these leaders are the types Nietzsche refers to when he speaks of higher men.
        Ruling, like all other functions which require the great to justify them, has fallen into disrepute, thanks to the incompetent amateurs that have tried their hand at the game. As in the Fine Arts, so in leading and ruling; it is the dilettantes that have broken our faith in human performances. The really great ruler reaches his zenith in dominating an epoch, a party, a nation or the world, to the best advantage of each of these; but it does not follow that the motive power propelling him should necessarily be the conscious pursuit of the best advantage of those he rules, — this is merely a fortuitous

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circumstance curiously associated with greatness in ruling, — generally speaking, however, his only conscious motive is the gratification of his inordinate will to power.
        The innocent fallacy of democracy lies in supposing that by a mere search, by a mere rummaging and fumbling among a motley populace, one man or several men can he found, who are able to take the place of the rare and ideal ruler. As if the mere fact of searching and rummaging were not in itself a confession of failure, — a confession that this man does not exist! For if he existed he would have asserted himself! he would have needed no democratic exploration party to unearth him.
        "There is no sorer misfortune in all human destiny, than when the powerful of the earth are not at the same time the first men. Then everything becometh false and warped and monstrous." 1
        "For, my brethren, the best shall rule: the best will rule! And where the teaching is different, there — the best is lacking." 2
        Here we observe that Nietzsche advocated an aristocratic arrangement of society. A firm believer in tradition, law, and order, and, in spite

        1 Z., p. 299.
        2 Z., p. 256, 257.

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of his opponents' accusations, an undaunted enemy of Anarchy and laisser-aller, he saw in Socialism and Democracy nothing more than two slave organisations for the raising of every individual to his highest power, individuality made as general as possible; or, in other words, Socialism and Democracy meant to Nietzsche the annihilation of all higher aims and hopes. It meant valuing all the weeds and noble plants alike, and with such a valuation, the noble plants, being in the minority, must necessarily suffer and ultimately die out. Where everybody is somebody, nobody is anybody. Socialism, i.e. organised Individualism, seemed to Nietzsche merely the reflection in politics of the Christian principle that all men are alike before God. Grant immortality to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, and, in the end, every Tom, Dick, or Harry will believe in equal rights before he can even hope to reach Heaven, but to deny the privileges of rare men implies the proscription from life of all high trees with broad brandies, — those broad brandies that protect the herd from the rain, but which also keep the sun from the envious and ambitious shrub, — and thus it would mean that the world would gradually assume the appearance of those vast Scotch moors of gorse

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and heather, where liberalism and mediocrity are rampant, but where all loftiness is dead.
        Nietzsche was a profound believer in the value of tradition, in the value of general discipline lasting over long periods. He knew that all that is great and lasting and intensely moving has been the result of the law of castes or of the laws governing the individual members of a caste throughout many generations. 1 This building up of the rare man, of the great man (of the cultivated type in a Darwinian sense) as every scientist is aware, is utterly frustrated by any thing in the way of injudicious and careless cross-breeding (see Darwin on the degeneration of the cultivated types of animals through the action of promiscuous breeding), by democratic mésalliances of all kinds, and by the laisser aller which is one of the worst evils of that kind of freedom which tends to prevail when the slaves of a community have succeeded in asserting and expressing their insignificant and miserable little individualities.
        Believing all this, Nietzsche could not help but advocate the rearing of a select and aristocratic caste, and in none of his exhortations is he more

        1 G. E., Aph. 188.

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sincere than when he appeals to higher men to sow the seeds of a nobility for the future.
        "O my brethren, I consecrate you to be, and show unto you the way unto a now nobility. Ye shall become procreators and breeders and sowers of the future.
        "Verily, ye shall not become a nobility one might buy, like shopkeepers with shopkeepers' gold. For all that hath its fixed price is of little worth.
        "Not whence ye come be your honour in future, but whither ye go!" Your will, and your foot that longeth to get beyond yourselves, — be that your new honour!"
        "Your children's land ye shall love (be this your new nobility), the land undiscovered in the remotest sea! For it I bid you set sail and seek!" 1
        "Every elevation of the type man," says Nietzsche, "has hitherto been the work of an aristocratic society — and so will it always be — a society believing in a long scale of gradations of rank and differences of worth among human beings, and requiring slavery in some form or other. Without the pathos of distance, such as grows out of the incarnated differences of classes, out of the constant outlooking and downlooking

        1 Z., pp. 247, 248.

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of the ruling caste on subordinates and instruments, and out of their equally constant practice of obeying and commanding, of keeping down and keeping at a distance — that other more mysterious pathos could never have arisen, the longing for an ever new widening distance within the soul itself, the formation of ever higher, rarer, further, more extended, more comprehensive states, in short,, just the elevation of the type 'man,' the continued 'self-surmounting of man,' to use a moral formula in a super-moral sense." 1
        I cannot attempt to give a full account of the society Nietzsche would fain have seen established on earth. It will be found exhaustively described in Aph. 57 of the Antichrist: while in the book of Manu (Max Muller's "Sacred Books of the East," No. 25), similar sociological prescriptions are to he found, correlated with all the imposing machinery of divine revelation, supernatural authority, and religious earnestness.
        Briefly, Nietzsche says this:—
        It is ridiculous to pretend to treat every one without regard to those natural distinctions which are manifested by superior intellectuality, or exceptional muscular strength, or mediocrity of spiritual and bodily powers, or inferiority of

        1 G. E., p. 223.

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both. He tells us that it is not the legislator, but nature herself, who establishes these broad classes, and to ignore them when forming a society would be just as foolish as to ignore the order of rank among materials and structural principles when building a monument. Though the base of a pyramid does not require to be of the very finest marble, we know it must be both broad and massive. Nietzsche declares that no society has any solidarity which is not founded upon a broad basis of mediocrity. Though the stones get fewer in the layers as we ascend to the top of the pyramid, we know that their gradation is necessary if the highest point is to be readied. Nietzsche believes in the long scale of gradations of rank with the ascending line leading always to the highest — even if he be only a single individual. Though the very uppermost point consists of a single stone, it is around that single stone that the weather will rage most furiously and the sun shine most gorgeously. That single stone will be the first to cleave the heavy shower, and the first, for, to meet the lightning. Nietzsche says: "Life always becomes harder towards the summit, — the cold increases, responsibility increases." 1

        1 Antichrist, Aph. 57.

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        "Saepius ventis agitatur ingens
        pinus, et celsae graviore casu
        decidunt turres, feriuntque summos
        fulgura montes." — HORACE, Carm. II. X.

        Thus he would have the intellectually superior, those who can bear responsibility and endure hardships, at the head. Beneath them are the warriors, the physically strong, who are "the guardians of right, the keepers of order and security, the king above all as the highest formula of warrior, judge, and keeper of the law. The second in rank are the executive of the most intellectual." And below this caste are the mediocre. "Handicraft, trade, agriculture, science, the greater part of art, in a word, the whole compass of business activity, is exclusively compatible with an average amount of ability and pretension." At the very base of the social edifice, Nietzsche sees the class of man who thrives best when he is well looked after and closely observed, — the man who is happy to serve, not because he must, but because he is what he is, — the man uncorrupted by political and religious lies concerning equality, liberty, and fraternity, — who is half conscious of the abyss which separates him from his superiors, and who

        1 "The big pine is more often shaken by the winds: the higher a tower, the heavier is the fall thereof, and it is the tops of the mountains that the lightning strikes."

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is happiest when performing those acts which are not beyond his limitations.
        He forestalls this sketch of his ideal society by enunciating the moral code wherewith he would transvalue our present values, and I shall now give this code without a single remark or comment, feeling quite sure that the reader who has understood Nietzsche so far will not require any assistance in seeing that it is the necessary and logical outcome of the rest of his teaching.

*        *        *        *        *

        "What is good? All that increases the feeling of power, will to power, power itself in man.
        "What is bad? — All that proceeds from weakness.
        "What is happiness? — The feeling that power increases, that resistance is overcome.
        "Not contentedness, but more power; not peace at any price, but warfare; not virtue, but capacity (virtue in the Renaissance style, virtù free from any moralic acid)." 1

*        *        *        *        *

        I cannot well close this chapter on Nietzsche's sociological views without touching upon two of the most important elements in modern society, and his treatment of them. I refer to "altruism"

        1 Antichrist, Aph. 2.

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and to "pity." I am more particularly anxious to express myself clearly on these two points, inasmuch as I know how many erroneous opinions are current in regard to Nietzsche's attitude towards them. In all gregarious communities, as is well known, altruism and pity have become very potent life-preserving factors, and it would be hard to find in Europe to-day, a city, a town, or a village, in which these two qualities are not considered the most creditable of virtues. Now apart from the fact that this excessive praise of compassion and selflessness is a sign of slave values being in the ascendant, we must bear in mind two things: (1) that under our present system of society, in which cruelties are perpetrated far more brutal than any that could be found in antiquity, a sort of maudlin sentimentality has arisen among the oppressing classes, whereby they attempt to counterbalance their deeds of oppression with lavish acts of charity. This sentimentality is a sign that their conscience is no longer clean for the act of oppressing; because in their heart of hearts they feel themselves unworthy of being at the top: (2) that wherever two or three human beings collect together, a certain modicum of altruism and compassion is a prerequisite of their social unity.

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        Dismissing observation one as the mere expression of a regrettable fact which scarcely requires substantiation, and which is responsible for more than three-quarters of the anomalies that characterise modern Western civilisation; and passing over the suggestion that the excessive praise of compassion and selflessness denotes an ascendency of slave values (for we have dealt with this question in Chapter III.), let us turn to the more abstract proposition enunciated in observation two and try to grasp Nietzsche's treatment of it.
        In the first place, let us understand that there are two kinds of pity and selflessness, just as there are two kinds of generosity. There is the pity, the selflessness and the generosity which is preached and praised as a virtue by him who urgently requires them because he is ill-constituted, needy, and hungry; and there is the pity, the selflessness and the generosity which suggests itself to the man overflowing with health, trust in the future, and confidence in his own powers. To such a man, pity, selflessness, and generosity are a means of discharging a certain plenitude of power, and in his case giving and bestowing are natural functions. In the first instance, the three virtues are preached from a utilitarian

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standpoint which tends to increase an undesirable type; in the second, they are the sign of the existence of a desirable type.
        Let us hear Nietzsche —
        "A man who says: 'I like that, I take it for my own, and mean to guard it and protect it from everyone'; and the man who can conduct a case, carry out a resolution, remain true to an opinion, keep hold of a woman, punish and overthrow insolence; a man who has his indignation and his sword, and to whom the weak, the suffering, the oppressed, and even the animals willingly submit and naturally belong; in short, a man who is a master by nature — when such a man has sympathy, well! that sympathy has value! But of what account is the sympathy of those who suffer! or of those even who preach sympathy!" 1
        Wherever we find anything akin to "pity," even in nature: the suckling of the young, the maintenance of dependants (the lion's attitude towards the jackal), the protection of the helpless young (as in many fish and mammals), it is always the superabundance of the giver and his Will to Power which creates the pitiful act.
        But the pity which most of us understand as

        1 G. E., p. 257.

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a virtue in Europe to-day, is merely a sort of sickly sensitiveness and irritability towards pain, an effeminate absence of control in the presence of suffering, which has nothing whatever to do with our powers of alleviating the misery we contemplate, and which is only compatible either with excessive sentimentality or with weak and overstrained nerves. In that case all it does is to add to the misery of this world, and to elevate to a virtue that which is perhaps one of the saddest signs of the times. It is then indiscriminate, rash, and short-sighted, and gives rise to more evil than it tries to dispel.
        "Ah, where in the world have there been greater follies than with the pitiful? And what in the world hath caused more suffering than the follies of the pitiful?
        "Woe unto all loving ones who have not an elevation which is above their pity!" 1
        The legislator or the leader (and it is to him, remember, that Nietzsche appeals), is often obliged to leave dozens to die by the wayside, and has to do so with a clean conscience. If the march he is organising requires certain sacrifices, he must be ready to make them; the slavish pity, then, which would sacrifice the greater to the less, must

        1 Z., pp. 104, 105.

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have been overcome by him in his own heart., and he must have learnt that hardness which is wider in its sympathies, more presbyopic in its love, and less immediate in its effect. But he alone can feel like this who has something to give to those he leads, i.e. his protection and guidance, his promise of a better land.
        "Myself [ would sacrifice to my design, and my neighbour as well — such is the language of creators.
        "All creators, however, are hard." 1
        Now turning to the question of egoism cru et vert, which, according to some, is the very basis and core of Nietzscheism, what are the points which strike us most in Nietzsche's standpoint? To begin with, in this question, as in all others, his honesty is paramount, and we become conscious of it the moment we read his first line on the subject. Where Nietzsche discusses matters of which others are wont to speak with heaving breasts, florid language, and tearful voices, he takes particular pains to be clear, concise, calculating and cold — hence perhaps the hatred he has provoked in those who depend for their effect upon the impression of benevolence which their watery eyes, their cracked, good-natured voices,

        1 Z., p. 105.

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and their high-falutin' words make upon a multitude.
        Nietzsche puts his linger on the very centre of the question of egoism, he simply says: "Not every one has the right to be an egoist. Whereas in some egoism would be a virtue, in others it may be an insufferable vice which should he stamped out at all costs."
        In whom then is egoism a vice?
        Obviously in him who is physiologically botched, below mediocrity in spirit and body, mean, despicable, and even ugly.
        Egoism in such a man means concentrating certain interests, and not always the least valuable, upon the promotion and enhancement of an undesirable element in society. The egoism of him who is below mediocrity is a form of tyranny which leads to nothing, save, perhaps, a Heaven where the haute volée will consist of the whole scum and dross of humanity. Such egoism leads humanity downwards: it practically says: "I, the bungled and the botched, I the poor in spirit and body, I the mean, despicable and ugly, want my kind to be all-important, paramount and on the top — I the least desirable wish to prevail." But this egoism would mean humanity's ruin, it would mean humanity's suicide and annihilation:

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it would certainly mean humanity's degradation. When such egoism says: "I will have all," the only decent retort is deafness. When such egoism says: "I have as much right to live and flourish as the well-constituted, the superior in spirit and body, the beautiful and the happy," wisdom replies with a shrill of its shoulders. And when such egoism preaches altruism — then! Then woe to all those who are tempted to practise one virtue more! Woe to humanity! Woe to the whole world!
        There is, on the other hand, a form of egoism, which is both virtuous and noble. It is the egoism of him whose multiplication would make the world better, more desirable, happier, healthier, superior in spirit and body. Egoism in such a case is a moral duty; wherever, in such a case, giving, bestowing — altruism in fact — is not compatible with survival, then egoism becomes the highest principle of all, and it is in such circumstances that altruism may become a vice.
        Now let us hear Nietzsche's own words:—
        "Selfishness," he says, "has as much value as the physiological value of him who possesses it: it may be very valuable or it may be vile and contemptible. Each individual may be looked at with respect to whether he represents an ascending or a descending line of life. When

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that is determined, we have a canon for determining the value of his selfishness. If he represent the ascent in the line of life, his value is in fact very great — and on account of the collective life which in him makes a further step, the concern about his maintenance, about providing his optimum of conditions, may even be extreme. . . . If he represent descending development, decay, chronic degeneration, or sickening, he has little worth, and the greatest fairness would have him take away as little as possible from the well-constituted. He is then no more than their parasite." 1
        This is all clear enough; but it is quite conceivable that a misunderstanding of it might lead to the most perverted notions of what Nietzsche actually stood for, and when I hear people inveighing against the so-called egoism of his teaching, and declaring it poisonous on that account, I often wonder whether they have really made any attempt at all to comprehend the above passage, and whether there is not perhaps something wrong with language itself, that a thought which to some seems expressed so clearly and unmistakably, should still prove confusing and incomprehensible to others.
        Speaking once more to higher men, then,

        1 The Twilight of the Idols, Par. 10, Aph. 33.

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Nietzsche tells them, with some reason on his side, that altruism may be their greatest danger, that altruism may be even their greatest temptation, that there are times when they must avoid it as they would avoid a plague. In periods of gestation, when plans and dreams of plans for the elevation of themselves and their fellows are taking shape in their minds, altruism may lure them sideways, it may make them diverge from their path, and it may make mankind one great thought the poorer. In this sense, and in this sense alone, does our author deprecate the altruistic virtues; but, again, I venture to remind readers that it is the simplest thing on earth to awaken suspicion against him by declaring, as some have declared, that his deprecation of altruism applies to all.
        No greater nonsense could be talked about Nietzsche than to say that he preached universal egoism. Universal egoism as opposed to select egoism is behind all the noisiest movements today — it is behind Socialism, Democracy, Anarchy, and Nihilism — but it is not behind Nietzscheism, and nobody who reads him with care could ever think so.
        With these observations in mind, we can read the following passages from Thus Spake Zara-

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thustra without either surprise or indignation; indeed we may even learn a new valuation from them which will alter our whole outlook on life, though no such sudden revulsion of feeling need necessarily follow a study of Nietzsche's doctrine. Only when we have given his thoughts time to become linked up and co-ordinated in our minds are we likely to find that our view of the world has become in the least decree transformed.

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        "Do I advise you to love your neighbour? leather do I advise you to flee from your neighbour and to love the most remote.
        "Higher than love to your neighbour is love unto the most remote future man.
        "It is the more remote (your children and your children's children) who pay for your love unto your neighbour. 1
        "Your children's land ye shall love (be this love your new nobility!), the land undiscovered in the remotest sea! For it I bid your sails seek and seek!
        "In your children ye shall make amends for being the children of your fathers: all the past shall ye thus redeem! This new table do I place over you!" 2

        1 Z., p. 69, 70.
        2 Z., p. 248.



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