BLTC Press Titles


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The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


A genealogy of morals

by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Excerpt:

1 There is no reason to assume that aryan ever meant the rich; <?<r0X6s cannot possibly be derived from the Aryan copula, the 6 and the circumstance that the copula does not form derivations in any Aryan language excluding this etymology; malus cannot be identical with /ue'Xos; bonus cannot be duonus, because the form of the root dui as in Ms (older duis) would have to appear in an adjective derived from the number two, and the existence of such an adjective is, besides, very unlikely; the words good and god have no relation to the name of the Goths, the different /-sounds occurring in these words in Gothic being irreconcilable.

The Second Essay has for its object some local developments of guilt, bad conscience, and the like. A revival of the old theory that guilt and debt are originally identical gives the starting point. According to Nietzsche's opinion, in recompense for material loss suffered, the unpaid creditor received a claim to exercise some cruelty on the debtor, which was later on felt to be some punishment. As regards punishment, Nietzsche arrives at conclusions similar to those which a great English philosopher reached twenty years ago though he published them so late as 1894,' and as to bad conscience Nietzsche is quite at one with Mr. Stuart Glennie's theories on the origin of civilisation.

The most remarkable part of the Volume is Essay III, which tries to answer the question: what do ascetic ideals mean? In this sense ascetic ideals are identical with the ideals of slave-morality, and more especially with the ideals of poverty, humility (or unrestricted obedience), and chastity. Except a few sects and orders, Christendom has never lived according to these ideals, the realisation of which leads with absolute certainty to the economic ruin of whole peoples. And not only to economic ruin, but to the disappearance of a people from the surface of the earth. For the means of subsistence are an unavoidable presupposition for the existence of human beings who are so imperfect as to be compelled to live on food. In recent times the neighbourmorality has declared its own bankruptcy in Malthusianism and Neomalthusianism. The demand not to produce any more progeny, in order that the neighbour may be able to produce some, can only be surpassed by the other demand not to eat any more but to die of hunger in order that the neighbour may be able to live and feed. It is, however, not the consequences of the realisation of these ascetic ideals to which Nietzsche directs his attention, but the state of mind from which they proceed, and in this respect he arrives at the result that they are a necessary accompaniment of decadence, the gospel of all who are mentally or bodily inferior and who, by means of them, take revenge on the well-constituted and superior.

1 F. H. Bradley, Some Remarks on Punishment. International Journal of Ethics. April 1894. pp. 269-284.

Besides A Genealogy of Morals the present volume contains Nietzsche's Poems, i.e., that part of his poetry which he did not choose to incorporate in any of his larger writings as he eRd with the Collections he placed at the beginning and end of his Joyful Science or with the single poems to which he gave a place in his Zarathustra, in Beyond Good and Evil, etc. The Poems cover the time from 1871 till 1888 (the years 1878 till 1881 and 1886 till 1887 having yielded no contributions) and are chiefly didactic and dithyrambic.

ALEXANDER TILLE.

FOREWORD

We are strangers to ourselves, we perceivers — we ourselves to ourselves; for this there is reason enough. We have never sought for ourselves,—how, then, could it happen, that some day we should find ourselves? Rightly has it been said: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Our treasure is where the bee-hives of our knowledge are. We are ever on the road thither, as born hymenoptera and honeygatherers of the spirit; we care at bottom but for this — to "bring something home." As regards life otherwise, so-called "experience," — who among us has even earnestness enough for it? Or time enough? On such matters, I fear, we were never really "by the matter;" for our heart is not there — and not even our ear! Nay, rather like one divinely-distracted and absorbed in himself, into whose ear the bell with powerful clang has sounded its twelve strokes of noonday, and who thereupon suddenly awakes and asks himself: "What is it that the clock has struck?" Once in a while, we rub our ears afterwards asking, quite amazed, quite perplexed: "What is it we have experienced? ay: who are we?" and recount, afterwards, all the palpitating twelve bell-strokes of our experience, our life, our being—alas! and count amiss in doing so .... We must remain strangers to ourselves; we do not understand ourselves; we must mistake ourselves; for us, the saying holds to all eternity "each one is the greatest stranger to himself," — for ourselves, we are no "perceivers ". . . .


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