Monday, 8 November 2010

A Dear Gift. — If upon men is stamped the understanding that the speaking of truth will bring them harm, either first of all through scolding and sneering, or, if that lacks to frighten, thence to threats against life and livelihood, then by that alone the bulk of them can be held under sway to untruth, all the more so in these times of faint-hearted swine-men. Here and now, in this fold of thoroughgoing falsehood and shadowy lies, a well-grounded truth may be smeared as dumbness and wickedness, such that to most men, who do not think much and are easily led to believe whatever is of behoof to them and not of bane, it seems to them to be clearly wrong, or at least something the uttering of which calls for a stout heart, which they do not have. As most men today are faint-hearted, and if a belief when uttered is likely to bring sneers and taunts and fun-poking, then so most men are likely to forgo it and fix upon a belief at odds with it or set far asunder from it. In holding such a belief, moreover, men also gain the fun of hounding others, for “it is a pleasure for all needy devils to scold: it gives a little rush of power” [1]. The freedom, nay, the goading, from their masters to scold, sneer, and scoff, and, if needs be, to scare and threaten, when upheld by the inbequeathed feeling that it is the right and reasonable thing to do, is to them a dear gift. It will not easily be pried from their grasp.

[1] [“es ist ein Vergnügen für alle armen Teufel, zu schimpfen, — es giebt einen kleinen Rausch von Macht.”] Friedrich Nietzsche, Götzen-Dämmerung, in Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, Bd.6 (München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1999), “Streifzüge eines Unzeitgemässen”, §.34, p.132.

1 comment:

Alrenous said...

To me it seems that few are in fact held in thrall to racism, to take an example, but rather are intimidated, exactly as you describe, into wearing a mask.

Certainly, when I myself have been intimidated, I produce answers all but identical to those who are, to casual observation, true believers. (Including such details as the timing and duration of pauses.) It would be unreasonable to conclude that similar behaviour stems from different thoughts.

Do you have a better explanation for my observations? I've only just started my studies in this, so it's likely my perspective is yet incomplete.