Typos p. 83: Muller's [= Müller's]
Nietzsche the Sociologist
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
"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.
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.
1 Antichrist, Aph. 57.
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."
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.
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
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.
"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.
"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.
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:
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
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.
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-
"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.