Let us not underestimate this fact: that we ourselves, we free spirits, are already a ‘transvaluation of all values,’ a visualised declaration of war and victory against all the old concepts of ‘true’ and ‘not true.’ The most valuable intuitions are the last to be attained; the most valuable of all are those which determine methods. All the methods, all the principles of the scientific spirit of today, were the targets for thousands of years of the most profound contempt; if a man inclined to them he was excluded from the society of ‘decent’ people – he passed as ‘an enemy of God….’
As a man of science, he belonged to the chandala…. We have had the whole pathetic stupidity of mankind against us – their every notion of what the truth ought to be, of what the service of the truth ought to be, their every ‘thou shalt’ was launched against us….Our objectives, our methods, our quiet, cautious, distrustful manner – all appeared to them as absolutely discreditable and contemptible. Looking back, one may almost ask one’s self with reason if it was not actually an aesthetic sense that kept men blind so long.
What they demanded of the truth was picturesque effectiveness, and of the learned a strong appeal to their senses. It was our modesty that stood out longest against their taste…
We have unlearned something. We have become more modest in every way. We no longer derive man from the ‘spirit,’ from the ‘godhead’; we have dropped him back among the beasts. We regard him as the strongest of the beasts because he is the craftiest; one of the results thereof is his intellectuality. On the other hand, we guard ourselves against a conceit which would assert itself even here: that man is the great second thought in the process of organic evolution. He is, in truth, anything but the crown of creation: beside him stand many other animals, all at similar stages of development…. And even when we say that, we say a bit too much, for man, relatively speaking, is the most botched of all the animals… and he has wandered the most dangerously from his instincts – though for all that, to be sure, he remains the most interesting….
Formerly we accorded to man, as his inheritance from some higher order of beings, what was called ‘free will’; now we have taken even this will from him, for the term no longer describes anything that we can understand….
Here again we have thought out the thing better: to us consciousness, or ‘the spirit,’ appears as a symptom of a relative imperfection of the organism, as an experiment…. The ‘pure spirit’ is a piece of pure stupidity: take away the nervous system and the senses, the so-called ‘mortal shell,’ and the rest is miscalculation – that is all!
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper