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the unholy, to the pure and the impure. The impure man renounces all "better feelings," all shame, even natural timidity, and follows only the appetite that rules him. The pure man renounces his natural relation to the world ("renounces the world") and follows only the "desire" which rules him. Driven by the thirst for money, the avaricious man renounces all admonitions of conscience, all feeling of honor, all gentleness and all compassion; he puts all considerations out of sight; the appetite drags him along. The holy man behaves similarly. He makes himself the "laughing-stock of the world," is hard-hearted and "strictly just"; for the desire drags him along. As the unholy man renounces himself before Mammon, so the holy man renounces himself before God and the divine laws. We are now living in a time when the shamelessness of the holy is every day more and more felt and uncovered, whereby it is at the same time compelled to unveil itself, and lay itself bare, more and more every day. Have not the shamelessness and stupidity of the reasons with which men antagonize the "progress of the age" long surpassed all measure and all expectation? But it must be so. The self-renouncers must, as holy men, take the same course that they do so as unholy men; as the latter little by little sink to the fullest measure of self-renouncing vulgarity and lowness, so the former must ascend to the most dishonorable exaltation. The mammon of the earth and the God of heaven both demand exactly the same degree of -- self-renunciation. The low man, like the exalted one, reaches out for a "good" -- the former for the material good, the latter for the ideal,
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the so-called "supreme good"; and at last both complete each other again too, as the "materially-minded" man sacrifices everything to an ideal phantasm, his vanity, and the "spiritually-minded" man to a material gratification, the life of enjoyment.
Those who exhort men to "unselfishness"* think they are saying an uncommon deal. What do they understand by it? Probably something like what they understand by "self-renunciation." But who is this self that is to be renounced and to have no benefit? It seems that you yourself are supposed to be it. And for whose benefit is unselfish self-renunciation recommended to you? Again for your benefit and behoof, only that through unselfishness you are procuring your "true benefit."
You are to benefit yourself, and yet you are not to seek your benefit.
People regard as unselfish the benefactor of men, a Francke who founded the orphan asylum, an O'Connell who works tirelessly for his Irish people; but also the fanatic who, like St. Boniface, hazards his life for the conversion of the heathen, or, like Robespierre," sacrifices everything to virtue -- like Körner, dies for God, king, and fatherland. Hence, among others, O'Connell's opponents try to trump up against him some selfishness or mercenariness, for which the O'Connell fund seemed to give them a foundation; for, if they were successful in casting suspicion on his "unselfishness," they would easily separate him from his adherents.
*[uneigennützigkeit, literally "un-self-benefitingness."]
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Yet what could they show further than that O'Connell was working for another end than the ostensible one? But, whether he may aim at making money or at liberating the people, it still remains certain, in one case as in the other, that he is striving for an end, and that his end; selfishness here as there, only that his national self-interest would be beneficial to others too, and so would be for the common interest.
Now, do you suppose unselfishness is unreal and nowhere extant? On the contrary, nothing is more ordinary! One may even call it an article of fashion in the civilized world, which is considered so indispensable that, if it costs too much in solid material, people at least adorn themselves with its tinsel counterfeit and feign it. Where does unselfishness begin? Right where an end ceases to be our end and our property, which we, as owners, can dispose of at pleasure; where it becomes a fixed end or a -- fixed idea; where it begins to inspire, enthuse, fantasize us; in short, where it passes into our stubbornness and becomes our -- master. One is not unselfish so long as he retains the end in his power; one becomes so only at that "Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise," the fundamental maxim of all the possessed; one becomes so in the case of a sacred end, through the corresponding sacred zeal.
I am not unselfish so long as the end remains my own, and I, instead of giving myself up to be the blind means of its fulfillment, leave it always an open question. My zeal need not on that account be slacker than the most fanatical, but at the same time I remain toward it frostily cold, unbelieving, and its
MEN OF THE OLD TIME AND THE NEW 79
most irreconcilable enemy; I remain its judge, because I am its owner.
Unselfishness grows rank as far as possessedness reaches, as much on possessions of the devil as on those of a good spirit; there vice, folly, etc.; here humility, devotion, etc.
Where could one look without meeting victims of self-renunciation? There sits a girl opposite me, who perhaps has been making bloody sacrifices to her soul for ten years already. Over the buxom form droops a deathly-tired head, and pale cheeks betray the slow bleeding away of her youth. Poor child, how often the passions may have beaten at your heart, and the rich powers of youth have demanded their right! When your head rolled in the soft pillow, how awakening nature quivered through your limbs, the blood swelled your veins, and fiery fancies poured the gleam of voluptuousness into your eyes! Then appeared the ghost of the soul and its eternal bliss. You were terrified, your hands folded themselves, your tormented eyes turned their look upward, you -- prayed. The storms of nature were hushed, a calm glided over the ocean of your appetites. Slowly the weary eyelids sank over the life extinguished under them, the tension crept out unperceived from the rounded limbs, the boisterous waves dried up in the heart, the folded hands themselves rested a powerless weight on the unresisting bosom, one last faint "Oh dear!" moaned itself away, and -- the soul was at rest. You fell asleep, to awake in the morning to a new combat and a new -- prayer. Now the habit of renunciation cools the heat of your desire, and the roses of your youth are
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growing pale in the -- chlorosis of your heavenliness. The soul is saved, the body may perish! O Lais, O Ninon, how well you did to scorn this pale virtue! One free grisette against a thousand virgins grown gray in virtue!
The fixed idea may also be perceived as "maxim," "principle," "standpoint," etc. Archimedes, to move the earth, asked for a standpoint outside it. Men sought continually for this standpoint, and every one seized upon it as well as he was able. This foreign standpoint is the world of mind, of ideas, thoughts, concepts, essences; it is heaven. Heaven is the "standpoint" from which the earth is moved, earthly doings surveyed and -- despised. To assure to themselves heaven, to occupy the heavenly standpoint firmly and for ever -- how painfully and tirelessly humanity struggled for this!
Christianity has aimed to deliver us from a life determined by nature, from the appetites as actuating us, and so has meant that man should not let himself be determined by his appetites. This does not involve the idea that he was not to have appetites, but that the appetites were not to have him, that they were not to become fixed, uncontrollable, indissoluble. Now, could not what Christianity (religion) contrived against the appetites be applied by us to its own precept that mind (thought, conceptions, ideas, faith) must determine us; could we not ask that neither should mind, or the conception, the idea, be allowed to determine us, to become fixed and inviolable or "sacred"? Then it would end in the dissolution of mind, the dissolution of all thoughts, of all concep-
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tions. As we there had to say, "We are indeed to have appetites, but the appetites are not to have us," so we should now say, "We are indeed to have mind, but mind is not to have us." If the latter seems lacking in sense, think e. g. of the fact that with so many a man a thought becomes a "maxim," whereby he himself is made prisoner to it, so that it is not he that has the maxim, but rather it that has him. And with the maxim he has a "permanent standpoint" again. The doctrines of the catechism become our principles before we find it out, and no longer brook rejection. Their thought, or -- mind, has the sole power, and no protest of the "flesh" is further listened to. Nevertheless it is only through the "flesh" that I can break tyranny of mind; for it is only when a man hears his flesh along with the rest of him that he hears himself wholly, and it is only when he wholly hears himself that he is a hearing or rational* being. The Christian does not hear the agony of his enthralled nature, but lives in "humility"; therefore he does not grumble at the wrong which befalls his person; he thinks himself satisfied with the "freedom of the spirit." But, if the flesh once takes the floor, and its tone is "passionate," "indecorous," "not well-disposed," "spiteful" (as it cannot be otherwise), then he thinks he hears voices of devils, voices against the spirit (for decorum, passionlessness, kindly disposition, and the like, is -- spirit), and is justly zealous against them. He could not be a Christian if he were willing to endure them. He listens only to morality,
*[vernünftig, derived from vernehmen, to hear.]
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and slaps unmorality in the mouth; he listens only to legality, and gags the lawless word. The spirit of morality and legality holds him a prisoner; a rigid, unbending master. They call that the "mastery of the spirit" -- it is at the same time the standpoint of the spirit.
And now whom do the ordinary liberal gentlemen mean to make free? Whose freedom is it that they cry out and thirst for? The spirit's! That of the spirit of morality, legality, piety, the fear of God. That is what the anti-liberal gentlemen also want, and the whole contention between the two turns on a matter of advantage -- whether the latter are to be the only speakers, or the former are to receive a "share in the enjoyment of the same advantage." The spirit remains the absolute lord for both, and their only quarrel is over who shall occupy the hierarchical throne that pertains to the "Viceregent of the Lord." The best of it is that one can calmly look upon the stir with the certainty that the wild beasts of history will tear each other to pieces just like those of nature; their putrefying corpses fertilize the ground for -- our crops.
We shall come back later to many another wheel in the head -- e. g., those of vocation, truthfulness, love, etc.
When one's own is contrasted with what is imparted to him, there is no use in objecting that we cannot have anything isolated, but receive everything as a part of the universal order, and therefore through the impression of what is around us, and that consequently
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we have it as something "imparted"; for there is a great difference between the feelings and thoughts which are aroused in me by other things and those which are given to me. God, immortality, freedom, humanity, etc. are drilled into us from childhood as thoughts and feelings which move our inner being more or less strongly, either ruling us without our knowing it, or sometimes in richer natures manifesting themselves in systems and works of art; but are always not aroused, but imparted, feelings, because we must believe in them and cling to them. That an Absolute existed, and that it must be taken in, felt, and thought by us, was settled as a faith in the minds of those who spent all the strength of their mind on recognizing it and setting it forth. The feeling for the Absolute exists there as an imparted one, and thenceforth results only in the most manifold revelations of its own self. So in Klopstock the religious feeling was an imparted one, which in the Messiad simply found artistic expression. If, on the other hand, the religion with which he was confronted had been for him only an incitation to feeling and thought, and if he had known how to take an attitude completely his own toward it, then there would have resulted, instead of religious inspiration, a dissolution and consumption of the religion itself. Instead of that, he only continued in mature years his childish feelings received in childhood, and squandered the powers of his manhood in decking out his childish trifles.
The difference is, then, whether feelings are imparted to me or only aroused. Those which are
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aroused are my own, egoistic, because they are not as feelings drilled into me, dictated to me, and pressed upon me; but those which are imparted to me I receive, with open arms -- I cherish them in me as a heritage, cultivate them, and am possessed by them. Who is there that has never, more or less consciously, noticed that our whole education is calculated to produce feelings in us, i.e. impart them to us, instead of leaving their production to ourselves however they may turn out? If we hear the name of God, we are to feel veneration; if we hear that of the prince's majesty, it is to be received with reverence, deference, submission; if we hear that of morality, we are to think that we hear something inviolable; if we hear of the Evil One or evil ones, we are to shudder. The intention is directed to these feelings, and he who e. g. should hear with pleasure the deeds of the "bad" would have to be "taught what's what" with the rod of discipline. Thus stuffed with imparted feelings, we appear before the bar of majority and are "pronounced of age." Our equipment consists of "elevating feelings, lofty thoughts, inspiring maxims, eternal principles," etc. The young are of age when they twitter like the old; they are driven through school to learn the old song, and, when they have this by heart, they are declared of age.
We must not feel at every thing and every name that comes before us what we could and would like to feel thereat; e. g. at the name of God we must think of nothing laughable, feel nothing disrespectful, it being prescribed and imparted to us what and how we are to feel and think at mention of that name.
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That is the meaning of the care of souls -- that my soul or my mind be tuned as others think right, not as I myself would like it. How much trouble does it not cost one, finally to secure to oneself a feeling of one's own at the mention of at least this or that name, and to laugh in the face of many who expect from us a holy face and a composed expression at their speeches. What is imparted is alien to us, is not our own, and therefore is "sacred," and it is hard work to lay aside the "sacred dread of it."
Today one again hears "seriousness" praised, "seriousness in the presence of highly important subjects and discussions," "German seriousness," etc. This sort of seriousness proclaims clearly how old and grave lunacy and possession have already become. For there is nothing more serious than a lunatic when he comes to the central point of his lunacy; then his great earnestness incapacitates him for taking a joke. (See madhouses.)
The historical reflections on our
Mongolism which I propose to insert episodically at this place
are not given with the claim of thoroughness, or even of approved
soundness, but solely because it seems to me that they may contribute
toward making the rest clear.
The history of the world, whose shaping properly belongs altogether to the Caucasian race, seems till now to have run through two Caucasian ages, in the first of which we had to work out and work off our
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innate negroidity; this was followed in the second by Mongoloidity (Chineseness), which must likewise be terribly made an end of. Negroidity represents antiquity, the time of dependence on things (on cocks' eating, birds' flight, on sneezing, on thunder and lightning, on the rustling of sacred trees, etc.); Mongoloidity the time of dependence on thoughts, the Christian time. Reserved for the future are the words, "I am the owner of the world of things, I am the owner of the world of mind."
In the negroid age fall the campaigns of Sesostris and the importance of Egypt and of northern Africa in general. To the Mongoloid age belong the invasions of the Huns and Mongols, up to the Russians.
The value of me cannot possibly be rated high so long as the hard diamond of the not-me bears so enormous a price as was the case both with God and with the world. The not-me is still too stony and indomitable to be consumed and absorbed by me; rather, men only creep about with extraordinary bustle on this immovable entity, on this substance, like parasitic animals on a body from whose juices they draw nourishment, yet without consuming it. It is the bustle of vermin, the assiduity of Mongolians. Among the Chinese, we know, everything remains as it used to be, and nothing "essential" or "substantial" suffers a change; all the more actively do they work away at that which remains, which bears the name of the "old," "ancestors," etc.
Accordingly, in our Mongolian age all change has been only reformatory or ameliorative, not destructive or consuming and annihilating. The substance, the
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object, remains. All our assiduity was only the activity of ants and the hopping of fleas, jugglers' tricks on the immovable tight-rope of the objective, corvée -service under the leadership of the unchangeable or "eternal." The Chinese are doubtless the most positive nation, because totally buried in precepts; but neither has the Christian age come out from the positive, i.e. from "limited freedom," freedom "within certain limits." In the most advanced stage of civilization this activity earns the name of scientific activity, of working on a motionless presupposition, a hypothesis that is not to be upset.
In its first and most unintelligible form morality shows itself as habit. To act according to the habit and usage (mores) of one's country -- is to be moral there. Therefore pure moral action, clear, unadulterated morality, is most straightforwardly practiced in China; they keep to the old habit and usage, and hate each innovation as a crime worthy of death. For innovation is the deadly enemy of habit, of the old, of permanence. In fact, too, it admits of no doubt that through habit man secures himself against the obtrusiveness of things, of the world, and founds a world of his own in which alone he is and feels at home, builds himself a heaven. Why, heaven has no other meaning than that it is man's proper home, in which nothing alien regulates and rules him any longer, no influence of the earthly any longer makes him himself alien; in short, in which the dross of the earthly is thrown off, and the combat against the world has found an end -- in which, therefore, nothing is any longer denied him. Heaven is the end of abnegation,
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it is free enjoyment. There man no longer denies himself anything, because nothing is any longer alien and hostile to him. But now habit is a "second nature," which detaches and frees man from his first and original natural condition, in securing him against every casualty of it. The fully elaborated habit of the Chinese has provided for all emergencies, and everything is "looked out for"; whatever may come, the Chinaman always knows how he has to behave, and does not need to decide first according to the circumstances; no unforeseen case throws him down from the heaven of his rest. The morally habituated and inured Chinaman is not surprised and taken off his guard; he behaves with equanimity (i. e., with equal spirit or temper) toward everything, because his temper, protected by the precaution of his traditional usage, does not lose its balance. Hence, on the ladder of culture or civilization humanity mounts the first round through habit; and, as it conceives that, in climbing to culture, it is at the same time climbing to heaven, the realm of culture or second nature, it really mounts the first round of the -- ladder to heaven.
If Mongoldom has settled the existence of spiritual beings -- if it has created a world of spirits, a heaven -- the Caucasians have wrestled for thousands of years with these spiritual beings, to get to the bottom of them. What were they doing, then, but building on Mongolian ground? They have not built on sand, but in the air; they have wrestled with Mongolism, stormed the Mongolian heaven, Tien. When will they at last annihilate this heaven? When will they at last become really Caucasians, and find themselves?
MEN OF THE OLD TIME AND THE NEW 89
When will the "immortality of the soul," which in these latter days thought it was giving itself still more security if it presented itself as "immortality of mind," at last change to the mortality of mind?
It was when, in the industrious struggle of the Mongolian race, men had built a heaven, that those of the Caucasian race, since in their Mongolian complexion they have to do with heaven, took upon themselves the opposite task, the task of storming that heaven of custom, heaven-storming* activity. To dig under all human ordinance, in order to set up a new and -- better one on the cleared site, to wreck all customs in order to put new and -- better customs in their place -- their act is limited to this. But is it thus already purely and really what it aspires to be, and does it reach its final aim? No, in this creation of a "better" it is tainted with Mongolism. It storms heaven only to make a heaven again, it overthrows an old power only to legitimate a new power, it only -- improves. Nevertheless the point aimed at, often as it may vanish from the eyes at every new attempt, is the real, complete downfall of heaven, customs, etc. -- in short, of man secured only against the world, of the isolation or inwardness of man. Through the heaven of culture man seeks to isolate himself from the world, to break its hostile power. But this isolation of heaven must likewise be broken, and the true end of heaven-storming is the -- downfall of heaven, the annihilation of heaven. Improving and reforming is the Mongolism of the Caucasian, because thereby he is al-
*[A German idiom for destructive radicalism.]
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ways getting up again what already existed -- to wit, a precept, a generality, a heaven. He harbors the most irreconcilable enmity to heaven, and yet builds new heavens daily; piling heaven on heaven, he only crushes one by another; the Jews' heaven destroys the Greeks', the Christians' the Jews', the Protestants' the Catholics', etc. -- If the heaven-storming men of Caucasian blood throw off their Mongolian skin, they will bury the emotional man under the ruins of the monstrous world of emotion, the isolated man under his isolated world, the paradisiacal man under his heaven. And heaven is the realm of spirits, the realm of freedom of the spirit.
The realm of heaven, the realm of spirits and ghosts, has found its right standing in the speculative philosophy. Here it was stated as the realm of thoughts, concepts, and ideas; heaven is peopled with thoughts and ideas, and this "realm of spirits" is then the true reality.
To want to win freedom for the spirit is Mongolism; freedom of the spirit is Mongolian freedom, freedom of feeling, moral freedom, etc.
We may find the word "morality" taken as synonymous with spontaneity, self-determination. But that is not involved in it; rather has the Caucasian shown himself spontaneous only in spite of his Mongolian morality. The Mongolian heaven, or morals,* remained the strong castle, and only by storming incessantly at this castle did the Caucasian show himself moral; if he had not had to do with morals at all
*[The same word that has been translated "custom" several times in this section.]
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any longer, if he had not had therein his indomitable, continual enemy, the relation to morals would cease, and consequently morality would cease. That his spontaneity is still a moral spontaneity, therefore, is just the Mongoloidity of it -- is a sign that in it he has not arrived at himself. "Moral spontaneity" corresponds entirely with "religious and orthodox philosophy," "constitutional monarchy," "the Christian State," "freedom within certain limits," "the limited freedom of the press," or, in a figure, to the hero fettered to a sick-bed.
Man has not really vanquished Shamanism and its spooks till he possesses the strength to lay aside not only the belief in ghosts or in spirits, but also the belief in the spirit.
He who believes in a spook no more assumes the "introduction of a higher world" than he who believes in the spirit, and both seek behind the sensual world a supersensual one; in short, they produce and believe another world, and this other world, the product of their mind, is a spiritual world; for their senses grasp and know nothing of another, a non-sensual world, only their spirit lives in it. Going on from this Mongolian belief in the existence of spiritual beings to the point that the proper being of man too is his spirit, and that all care must be directed to this alone, to the "welfare of his soul," is not hard. Influence on the spirit, so-called "moral influence," is hereby assured.
Hence it is manifest that Mongolism represents utter absence of any rights of the sensuous, represents non-sensuousness and unnature, and that sin and the
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consciousness of sin was our Mongolian torment that lasted thousands of years.
But who, then, will dissolve the spirit into its nothing? He who by means of the spirit set forth nature as the null, finite, transitory, he alone can bring down the spirit too to like nullity. I can; each one among you can, who does his will as an absolute I; in a word, the egoist can.
Before the sacred, people lose all
sense of power and all confidence; they occupy a powerless
and humble attitude toward it. And yet no thing is sacred
of itself, but by my declaring it sacred, by my declaration,
my judgment, my bending the knee; in short, by my -- conscience.
Sacred is everything which for the egoist is to be unapproachable, not to be touched, outside his power -- i.e. above him; sacred, in a word, is every matter of conscience, for "this is a matter of conscience to me" means simply, "I hold this sacred."
For little children, just as for animals, nothing sacred exists, because, in order to make room for this conception, one must already have progressed so far in understanding that he can make distinctions like "good and bad," "warranted and unwarranted"; only at such a level of reflection or intelligence -- the proper standpoint of religion -- can unnatural (i. e., brought into existence by thinking) reverence, "sacred dread," step into the place of natural fear. To this sacred dread belongs holding something outside oneself for mightier, greater, better warranted, better, etc.; i.e. the attitude in which one acknowl-
MEN OF THE OLD TIME AND THE NEW 93
edges the might of something alien -- not merely feels it, then, but expressly acknowledges it, i.e. admits it, yields, surrenders, lets himself be tied (devotion, humility, servility, submission). Here walks the whole ghostly troop of the "Christian virtues."
Everything toward which you cherish any respect or reverence deserves the name of sacred; you yourselves, too, say that you would feel a "sacred dread" of laying hands on it. And you give this tinge even to the unholy (gallows, crime, etc.). You have a horror of touching it. There lies in it something uncanny, that is, unfamiliar or not your own.
"If something or other did not rank as sacred in a man's mind, why, then all bars would be let down to self-will, to unlimited subjectivity!" Fear makes the beginning, and one can make himself fearful to the coarsest man; already, therefore, a barrier against his insolence. But in fear there always remains the attempt to liberate oneself from what is feared, by guile, deception, tricks, etc. In reverence,* on the contrary, it is quite otherwise. Here something is not only feared,** but also honored***: what is feared has become an inward power which I can no longer get clear of; I honor it, am captivated by it and devoted to it, belong to it; by the honor which I pay it I am completely in its power, and do not even attempt liberation any longer. Now I am attached to it with all the strength of faith; I believe. I and what I fear are one; "not I live, but the respected lives in me!" Because the spirit, the infinite, does not allow of com-
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ing to any end, therefore it is stationary; it fears dying, it cannot let go its dear Jesus, the greatness of finiteness is no longer recognized by its blinded eye; the object of fear, now raised to veneration, may no longer be handled; reverence is made eternal, the respected is deified. The man is now no longer employed in creating, but in learning (knowing, investigating, etc.), i.e. occupied with a fixed object, losing himself in its depths, without return to himself. The relation to this object is that of knowing, fathoming, basing, not that of dissolution (abrogation, etc.). "Man is to be religious," that is settled; therefore people busy themselves only with the question how this is to be attained, what is the right meaning of religiousness, etc. Quite otherwise when one makes the axiom itself doubtful and calls it in question, even though it should go to smash. Morality too is such a sacred conception; one must be moral, and must look only for the right "how," the right way to be so. One dares not go at morality itself with the question whether it is not itself an illusion; it remains exalted above all doubt, unchangeable. And so we go on with the sacred, grade after grade, from the "holy" to the "holy of holies."
Men are sometimes divided into two classes: cultured and uncultured. The former, so far as they were worthy of their name, occupied themselves with thoughts, with mind, and (because in the time since Christ, of which the very principle is thought, they were the ruling ones) demanded a servile respect for the thoughts recognized by them. State, emperor,
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church, God, morality, order, are such thoughts or spirits, that exist only for the mind. A merely living being, an animal, cares as little for them as a child. But the uncultured are really nothing but children, and he who attends only to the necessities of his life is indifferent to those spirits; but, because he is also weak before them, he succumbs to their power, and is ruled by -- thoughts. This is the meaning of hierarchy.
Hierarchy is dominion of thoughts, dominion of mind!
We are hierarchic to this day, kept down by those who are supported by thoughts. Thoughts are the sacred.
But the two are always clashing, now one and now the other giving the offence; and this clash occurs, not only in the collision of two men, but in one and the same man. For no cultured man is so cultured as not to find enjoyment in things too, and so be uncultured; and no uncultured man is totally without thoughts. In Hegel it comes to light at last what a longing for things even the most cultured man has, and what a horror of every "hollow theory" he harbors. With him reality, the world of things, is altogether to correspond to the thought, and no concept is to be without reality. This caused Hegel's system to be known as the most objective, as if in it thought and thing celebrated their union. But this was simply the extremest case of violence on the part of thought, its highest pitch of despotism and sole dominion, the triumph of mind, and with it the triumph of philosophy. Philosophy cannot hereafter achieve anything higher, for its
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highest is the omnipotence of mind, the almightiness of mind.*
Spiritual men have taken into their head something that is to be realized. They have concepts of love, goodness, etc., which they would like to see realized; therefore they want to set up a kingdom of love on earth, in which no one any longer acts from selfishness, but each one "from love." Love is to rule. What they have taken into their head, what shall we call it but -- fixed idea? Why, "their head is haunted." The most oppressive spook is Man. Think of the proverb, "The road to ruin is paved with good intentions." The intention to realize humanity altogether in oneself, to become altogether man, is of such ruinous kind; here belong the intentions to become good, noble, loving, etc.
In the sixth part of the Denkwürdigkeiten," p. 7, Bruno Bauer says: "That middle class, which was to receive such a terrible importance for modern history, is capable of no self-sacrificing action, no enthusiasm for an idea, no exaltation; it devotes itself to nothing but the interests of its mediocrity; i.e. it remains always limited to itself, and conquers at last only through its bulk, with which it has succeeded in tiring out the efforts of passion, enthusiasm, consistency -- through its surface, into which it absorbs a part of the new ideas." And (p. 6) "It has turned the revolutionary ideas, for which not it, but unselfish or impassioned men sacrificed themselves, solely to its own pro-
*[Rousseau, the Philanthropists; and others were hostile to culture and intelligence, but they overlooked the fact that this is present in all men of the Christian type, and assailed only learned and refined culture.
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fit, has turned spirit into money. -- That is, to be sure, after it had taken away from those ideas their point, their consistency, their destructive seriousness, fanatical against all egoism." These people, then, are not self-sacrificing, not enthusiastic, not idealistic, not consistent, not zealots; they are egoists in the usual sense, selfish people, looking out for their advantage, sober, calculating, etc.
Who, then, is "self-sacrificing?"* In the full sense, surely, he who ventures everything else for one thing, one object, one will, one passion. Is not the lover self-sacrificing who forsakes father and mother, endures all dangers and privations, to reach his goal? Or the ambitious man, who offers up all his desires, wishes, and satisfactions to the single passion, or the avaricious man who denies himself everything to gather treasures, or the pleasure-seeker, etc.? He is ruled by a passion to which he brings the rest as sacrifices.
And are these self-sacrificing people perchance not selfish, not egoist? As they have only one ruling passion, so they provide for only one satisfaction, but for this the more strenuously, they are wholly absorbed in it. Their entire activity is egoistic, but it is a one-sided, unopened, narrow egoism; it is possessedness.
"Why, those are petty passions, by which, on the contrary, man must not let himself be enthralled. Man must make sacrifices for a great idea, a great cause!" A "great idea," a "good cause," is, it may
*[Literally, "sacrificing"; the German word has not the prefix "self."]
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be, the honor of God, for which innumerable people have met death; Christianity, which has found its willing martyrs; the Holy Catholic Church, which has greedily demanded sacrifices of heretics; liberty and equality, which were waited on by bloody guillotines.
He who lives for a great idea, a good cause, a doctrine, a system, a lofty calling, may not let any worldly lusts, any self-seeking interest, spring up in him. Here we have the concept of clericalism, or, as it may also be called in its pedagogic activity, school-masterliness; for the idealists play the schoolmaster over us. The clergyman is especially called to live to the idea and to work for the idea, the truly good cause. Therefore the people feel how little it befits him to show worldly haughtiness, to desire good living, to join in such pleasures as dancing and gaming -- in short, to have any other than a "sacred interest." Hence, too, doubtless, is derived the scanty salary of teachers, who are to feel themselves repaid by the sacredness of their calling alone, and to "renounce" other enjoyments.
Even a directory of the sacred ideas, one or more of which man is to look upon as his calling, is not lacking. Family, fatherland, science, etc., may find in me a servant faithful to his calling.
Here we come upon the old, old craze of the world, which has not yet learned to do without clericalism -- that to live and work for an idea is man's calling, and according to the faithfulness of its fulfillment his human worth is measured.
This is the dominion of the idea; in other words, it
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is clericalism. Thus Robespierre and St. Just were priests through and through, inspired by the idea, enthusiasts, consistent instruments of this idea, idealistic men. So St. Just exclaims in a speech, "There is something terrible in the sacred love of country; it is so exclusive that it sacrifices everything to the public interest without mercy, without fear, without human consideration. It hurls Manlius down the precipice; it sacrifices its private inclinations; it leads Regulus to Carthage, throws a Roman into the chasm, and sets Marat, as a victim of his devotion, in the Pantheon."
Now, over against these representatives of ideal or sacred interests stands a world of innumerable "personal" profane interests. No idea, no system, no sacred cause is so great as never to be outrivaled and modified by these personal interests. Even if they are silent momentarily, and in times of rage, and fanaticism, yet they soon come uppermost again through "the sound sense of the people." Those ideas do not completely conquer till they are no longer hostile to personal interests, till they satisfy egoism.
The man who is just now crying herrings in front of my window has a personal interest in good sales, and, if his wife or anybody else wishes him the like, this remains a personal interest all the same. If, on the other hand, a thief deprived him of his basket, then there would at once arise an interest of many, of the whole city, of the whole country, or, in a word, of all who abhor theft; an interest in which the herring-seller's person would become indifferent, and in its place the category of the "robbed man" would come
100 THE EGO AND HIS OWN
into the foreground. But even here all might yet resolve itself into a personal interest, each of the partakers reflecting that he must concur in the punishment of the thief because unpunished stealing might otherwise become general and cause him too to lose his own. Such a calculation, however, can hardly be assumed on the part of many, and we shall rather hear the cry that the thief is a "criminal." Here we have before us a judgment, the thief's action receiving its expression in the concept "crime." Now the matter stands thus: even if a crime did not cause the slightest damage either to me or to any of those in whom I take an interest, I should nevertheless denounce it. Why? Because I am enthusiastic for morality, filled with the idea of morality; what is hostile to it I everywhere assail. Because in his mind theft ranks as abominable without any question, Proudhon, e. g., thinks that with the sentence "Property is theft" he has at once put a brand on property. In the sense of the priestly, theft is always a crime, or at least a misdeed.
Here the personal interest is at an end. This particular person who has stolen the basket is perfectly indifferent to my person; it is only the thief, this concept of which that person presents a specimen, that I take an interest in. The thief and man are in my mind irreconcilable opposites; for one is not truly man when one is a thief; one degrades Man or "humanity" in himself when one steals. Dropping out of personal concern, one gets into philanthropy, friendliness to man, which is usually misunderstood as if it was a love to men, to each individual, while it is
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