§2. The Possessed

Have you ever seen a spirit? “No, not I, but my grandmother.” Now, you see, it’s just so with me too; I myself haven’t seen any, but my grandmother had them running between her feet all sorts of ways, and out of confidence in our grandmothers’ honesty we believe in the existence of spirits.

But had we no grandfathers then, and did they not shrug their shoulders every time our grandmothers told about their ghosts? Yes, those were unbelieving men who have harmed our good religion much, those rationalists! We shall feel that! What else lies at the bottom of this warm faith in ghosts, if not the faith in “the existence of spiritual beings in general,” and is not this latter itself disastrously unsettled if saucy men of the understanding may disturb the former? The Romanticists were quite conscious what a blow the very belief in God suffered by the laying aside of the belief in spirits or ghosts, and they tried to help us out of the baleful consequences not only by their reawakened fairy world, but at last, and especially, by the “intrusion of a higher world,” by their somnambulists of Prevorst, etc. The good believers and fathers of the church did not suspect that with the belief in ghosts the foundation of religion was withdrawn, and that since then it had been floating in the air. He who no longer believes in any ghost needs only to travel on consistently in his unbelief to see that there is no separate being at all concealed behind things, no ghost or — what is naively reckoned as synonymous even in our use of words — no “spirit.”

“Spirits exist!” Look about in the world, and say for yourself whether a spirit does not gaze upon you out of everything. Out of the lovely little flower there speaks to you the spirit of the Creator, who has shaped it so wonderfully; the stars proclaim the spirit that established their order; from the mountain-tops a spirit of sublimity breathes down; out of the waters a spirit of yearning murmurs up; and — out of men millions of spirits speak. The mountains may sink, the flowers fade, the world of stars fall in ruins, the men die — what matters the wreck of these visible bodies? The spirit, the “invisible spirit,” abides eternally!

Yes, the whole world is haunted! Only is haunted? Nay, it itself “walks,” it is uncanny through and through, it is the wandering seeming-body of a spirit, it is a spook. What else should a ghost be, then, than an apparent body, but real spirit? Well, the world is “empty,” is “naught,” is only glamorous “semblance”; its truth is the spirit alone; it is the seeming-body of a spirit.

Look out near or far, a ghostly world surrounds you everywhere; you are always having “apparitions” or visions. Everything that appears to you is only the phantasm of an indwelling spirit, is a ghostly “apparition”; the world is to you only a “world of appearances,” behind which the spirit walks. You “see spirits.”

Are you perchance thinking of comparing yourself with the ancients, who saw gods everywhere? Gods, my dear modern, are not spirits; gods do not degrade the world to a semblance, and do not spiritualize it.

But to you the whole world is spiritualized, and has become an enigmatical ghost; therefore do not wonder if you likewise find in yourself nothing but a spook. Is not your body haunted by your spirit, and is not the latter alone the true and real, the former only the “transitory, naught” or a “semblance”? Are we not all ghosts, uncanny beings that wait for “deliverance” — to wit, “spirits”?

Since the spirit appeared in the world, since “the Word became flesh,” since then the world has been spiritualized, enchanted, a spook.

You have spirit, for you have thoughts. What are your thoughts? “Spiritual entities.” Not things, then? “No, but the spirit of things, the main point in all things, the inmost in them, their — idea.” Consequently what you think is not only your thought? “On the contrary, it is that in the world which is most real, that which is properly to be called true; it is the truth itself; if I only think truly, I think the truth. I may, to be sure, err with regard to the truth, and fail to recognize it; but, if I recognize truly, the object of my cognition is the truth.” So, I suppose, you strive at all times to recognize the truth? “To me the truth is sacred. It may well happen that I find a truth incomplete and replace it with a better, but the truth I cannot abrogate. I believe in the truth, therefore I search in it; nothing transcends it, it is eternal.”

Sacred, eternal is the truth; it is the Sacred, the Eternal. But you, who let yourself be filled and led by this sacred thing, are yourself hallowed. Further, the sacred is not for your senses — and you never as a sensual man discover its trace — but for your faith, or, more definitely still, for your spirit; for it itself, you know, is a spiritual thing, a spirit — is spirit for the spirit.

The sacred is by no means so easily to be set aside as many at present affirm, who no longer take this “unsuitable” word into their mouths. If even in a single respect I am still upbraided as an “egoist,” there is left the thought of something else which I should serve more than myself, and which must be to me more important than everything; in short, somewhat in which I should have to seek my true welfare,[Heil] something — “sacred.”[heiling] However human this sacred thing may look, though it be the Human itself, that does not take away its sacredness, but at most changes it from an unearthly to an earthly sacred thing, from a divine one to a human.

Sacred things exist only for the egoist who does not acknowledge himself, the involuntary egoist, for him who is always looking after his own and yet does not count himself as the highest being, who serves only himself and at the same time always thinks he is serving a higher being, who knows nothing higher than himself and yet is infatuated about something higher; in short, for the egoist who would like not to be an egoist, and abases himself (i.e. combats his egoism), but at the same time abases himself only for the sake of “being exalted,” and therefore of gratifying his egoism. Because he would like to cease to be an egoist, he looks about in heaven and earth for higher beings to serve and sacrifice himself to; but, however much he shakes and disciplines himself, in the end he does all for his own sake, and the disreputable egoism will not come off him. On this account I call him the involuntary egoist.

His toil and care to get away from himself is nothing but the misunderstood impulse to self-dissolution. If you are bound to your past hour, if you must babble today because you babbled yesterday,[14] if you cannot transform yourself each instant, you feel yourself fettered in slavery and benumbed. Therefore over each minute of your existence a fresh minute of the future beckons to you, and, developing yourself, you get away “from yourself,” i. e., from the self that was at that moment. As you are at each instant, you are your own creature, and in this very “creature” you do not wish to lose yourself, the creator. You are yourself a higher being than you are, and surpass yourself. But that you are the one who is higher than you, i. e., that you are not only creature, but likewise your creator — just this, as an involuntary egoist, you fail to recognize; and therefore the “higher essence” is to you — an alien [fremd] essence. Every higher essence, e.g. truth, mankind, etc., is an essence over us.

Alienness is a criterion of the “sacred.” In everything sacred there lies something “uncanny,” i.e. strange,[fremde.g. we are not quite familiar and at home in. What is sacred to me is not my own; and if, e.g.,, the property of others was not sacred to me, I should look on it as mine, which I should take to myself when occasion offered. Or, on the other side, if I regard the face of the Chinese emperor as sacred, it remains strange to my eye, which I close at its appearance.

Why is an incontrovertible mathematical truth, which might even be called eternal according to the common understanding of words, not — sacred? Because it is not revealed, or not the revelation of, a higher being. If by revealed we understand only the so-called religious truths, we go far astray, and entirely fail to recognize the breadth of the concept “higher being.” Atheists keep up their scoffing at the higher being, which was also honored under the name of the “highest” or Être suprême, and trample in the dust one “proof of his existence” after another, without noticing that they themselves, out of need for a higher being, only annihilate the old to make room for a new. Is “Man” perchance not a higher essence than an individual man, and must not the truths, rights, and ideas which result from the concept of him be honored and —counted sacred, as revelations of this very concept? For, even though we should abrogate again many a truth that seemed to be made manifest by this concept, yet this would only evince a misunderstanding on our part, without in the least degree harming the sacred concept itself or taking their sacredness from those truths that must “rightly” be looked upon as its revelations. Man reaches beyond every individual man, and yet — though he be “his essence” — is not in fact his essence (which rather would be as single [einzig] as he the individual himself), but a general and “higher,” yes, for atheists “the highest essence.”[“the supreme being”] And, as the divine revelations were not written down by God with his own hand, but made public through “the Lord’s instruments,” so also the new highest essence does not write out its revelations itself, but lets them come to our knowledge through “true men.” Only the new essence betrays, in fact, a more spiritual style of conception than the old God, because the latter was still represented in a sort of embodiedness or form, while the undimmed spirituality of the new is retained, and no special material body is fancied for it. And withal it does not lack corporeity, which even takes on a yet more seductive appearance because it looks more natural and mundane and consists in nothing less than in every bodily man — yes, or outright in “humanity” or “all men.” Thereby the spectralness of the spirit in a seeming body has once again become really solid and popular.

Sacred, then, is the highest essence and everything in which this highest essence reveals or will reveal itself; but hallowed are they who recognize this highest essence together with its own, i.e. together with its revelations. The sacred hallows in turn its reverer, who by his worship becomes himself a saint, as Likewise what he does is saintly, a saintly walk, saintly thoughts and actions, imaginations and aspirations.

It is easily understood that the conflict over what is revered as the highest essence can be significant only so long as even the most embittered opponents concede to each other the main point — that there is a highest essence to which worship or service is due. If one should smile compassionately at the whole struggle over a highest essence, as a Christian might at the war of words between a Shiite and a Sunnite or between a Brahman and a Buddhist, then the hypothesis of a highest essence would be null in his eyes, and the conflict on this basis an idle play. Whether then the one God or the three in one. whether the Lutheran God or the Être suprême or not God at all, but “Man,” may represent the highest essence, that makes no difference at all for him who denies the highest essence itself, for in his eyes those servants of a highest essence are one and all-pious people, the most raging atheist not less than the most faith-filled Christian.

In the foremost place of the sacred,[heilig] then, stands the highest essence and the faith in this essence, our “holy [heilig] faith.”

The Spook

With ghosts we arrive in the spirit-realm, in the realm of essences.

What haunts the universe, and has its occult, “incomprehensible” being there, is precisely the mysterious spook that we call highest essence. And to get to the bottom of this spook, to comprehend it, to discover reality in it (to prove “the existence of God”) — this task men set to themselves for thousands of years; with the horrible impossibility, the endless Danaid-labor, of transforming the spook into a non-spook, the unreal into something real, the spirit into an entire and corporeal person — with this they tormented themselves to death. Behind the existing world they sought the “thing in itself,” the essence; behind the thing they sought the un-thing.

When one looks to the bottom of anything, i.e. searches out its essence, one often discovers something quite other than what it seems to be; honeyed speech and a lying heart, pompous words and beggarly thoughts, etc. By bringing the essence into prominence one degrades the hitherto misapprehended appearance to a bare semblance, a deception. The essence of the world, so attractive and splendid, is for him who looks to the bottom of it — emptiness; emptiness is = world’s essence (world’s doings). Now, he who is religious does not occupy himself with the deceitful semblance, with the empty appearances, but looks upon the essence, and in the essence has — the truth.

The essences which are deduced from some appearances are the evil essences, and conversely from others the good. The essence of human feeling, e.g., is love; the essence of human will is the good; that of one’s thinking, the true, etc.

What at first passed for existence, e.g. the world and its like, appears now as bare semblance, and the truly existent is much rather the essence, whose realm is filled with gods, spirits, demons, with good or bad essences. Only this inverted world, the world of essences, truly exists now. The human heart may be loveless, but its essence exists, God, “who is love”; human thought may wander in error, but its essence, truth, exists; “God is truth,” and the like.

To know and acknowledge essences alone and nothing but essences, that is religion; its realm is a realm of essences, spooks, and ghosts.

The longing to make the spook comprehensible, or to realize non-sense, has brought about a corporeal ghost, a ghost or spirit with a real body, an embodied ghost. How the strongest and most talented Christians have tortured themselves to get a conception of this ghostly apparition! But there always remained the contradiction of two natures, the divine and human, i. e., the ghostly and sensual; there remained the most wondrous spook, a thing that was not a thing. Never yet was a ghost more soul torturing, and no shaman, who pricks himself to raving fury and nerve-lacerating cramps to conjure a ghost, can endure such soul-torment as Christians suffered from that most incomprehensible ghost.

But through Christ the truth of the matter had at the same time come to light, that the veritable spirit or ghost is — man. The corporeal or embodied spirit is just man; he himself is the ghostly being and at the same time the being’s appearance and existence. Henceforth man no longer, in typical cases, shudders at ghosts outside him, but at himself; he is terrified at himself. In the depth of his breast dwells the spirit of sin; even the faintest thought (and this is itself a spirit, you know) may be a devil, etc. — The ghost has put on a body, God has become man, but now man is himself the gruesome spook which he seeks to get back of, to exorcise, to fathom, to bring to reality and to speech; man is — spirit. What matter if the body wither, if only the spirit is saved? Everything rests on the spirit, and the spirit’s or “soul’s” welfare becomes the exclusive goal. Man has become to himself a ghost, an uncanny spook, to which there is even assigned a distinct seat in the body (dispute over the seat of the soul, whether in the head, etc.).

You are not to me, and I am not to you, a higher essence. Nevertheless a higher essence may be hidden in each of us, and call forth a mutual reverence. To take at once the most general, Man lives in you and me. If I did not see Man in you, what occasion should I have to respect you? To be sure, you are not Man and his true and adequate form, but only a mortal veil of his, from which he can withdraw without himself ceasing; but yet for the present this general and higher essence is housed in you, and you present before me (because an imperishable spirit has in you assumed a perishable body, so that really your form is only an “assumed” one) a spirit that appears, appears in you, without being bound to your body and to this particular mode of appearance — therefore a spook. Hence I do not regard you as a higher essence but only respect that higher essence which “walks” in you; I “respect Man in you.” The ancients did not observe anything of this sort in their slaves, and the higher essence “Man” found as yet little response. To make up for this, they saw in each other ghosts of another sort. The People is a higher essence than an individual, and, like Man or the Spirit of Man, a spirit haunting the individual — the Spirit of the People. For this reason they revered this spirit, and only so far as he served this or else a spirit related to it (e.g. the Spirit of the Family) could the individual appear significant; only for the sake of the higher essence, the People, was consideration allowed to the “member of the people.” As you are hallowed to us by “Man” who haunts you, so at every time men have been hallowed by some higher essence or other, like People, Family, and such. Only for the sake of a higher essence has any one been honored from of old, only as a ghost has he been regarded in the light of a hallowed, i.e., protected and recognized person. If I cherish you because I hold you dear, because in you my heart finds nourishment, my need satisfaction, then it is not done for the sake of a higher essence, whose hallowed body you are, not on account of my beholding in you a ghost, i.e. an appearing spirit, but from egoistic pleasure; you yourself with your essence are valuable to me, for your essence is not a higher one, is not higher and more general than you, is unique[einzig] like you yourself, because it is you.

But it is not only man that “haunts”; so does everything. The higher essence, the spirit, that walks in everything, is at the same time bound to nothing, and only — “appears” in it. Ghosts in every corner!

Here would be the place to pass the haunting spirits in review, if they were not to come before us again further on in order to vanish before egoism. Hence let only a few of them be particularized by way of example, in order to bring us at once to our attitude toward them.

Sacred above all, e.g., is the “holy Spirit,” sacred the truth, sacred are right, law, a good cause, majesty, marriage, the common good, order, the fatherland, etc.

Wheels in the Head

Man, your head is haunted; you have wheels in your head! You imagine great things, and depict to yourself a whole world of gods that has an existence for you, a spirit-realm to which you suppose yourself to be called, an ideal that beckons to you. You have a fixed idea!

Do not think that I am jesting or speaking figuratively when I regard those persons who cling to the Higher, and (because the vast majority belongs under this head) almost the whole world of men, as veritable fools, fools in a madhouse. What is it, then, that is called a “fixed idea”? An idea that has subjected the man to itself. When you recognize, with regard to such a fixed idea, that it is a folly, you shut its slave up in an asylum. And is the truth of the faith, say, which we are not to doubt; the majesty of (e.g.) the people, which we are not to strike at (he who does is guilty of — lese-majesty); virtue, against which the censor is not to let a word pass, that morality may be kept pure; — are these not “fixed ideas”? Is not all the stupid chatter of (e.g.) most of our newspapers the babble of fools who suffer from the fixed idea of morality, legality, Christianity, etc., and only seem to go about free because the madhouse in which they walk takes in so broad a space? Touch the fixed idea of such a fool, and you will at once have to guard your back against the lunatic’s stealthy malice. For these great lunatics are like the little so-called lunatics in this point too — that they assail by stealth him who touches their fixed idea. They first steal his weapon, steal free speech from him, and then they fall upon him with their nails. Every day now lays bare the cowardice and vindictiveness of these maniacs, and the stupid populace hurrahs for their crazy measures. One must read the journals of this period, and must hear the Philistines talk, to get the horrible conviction that one is shut up in a house with fools. “Thou shalt not call thy brother a fool; if thou dost — etc.” But I do not fear the curse, and I say, my brothers are arch-fools. Whether a poor fool of the insane asylum is possessed by the fancy that he is God the Father, Emperor of Japan, the Holy Spirit, etc., or whether a citizen in comfortable circumstances conceives that it is his mission to be a good Christian, a faithful Protestant, a loyal citizen, a virtuous man — both these are one and the same “fixed idea.” He who has never tried and dared not to be a good Christian, a faithful Protestant, a virtuous man, etc., is possessed and prepossessed [gefangen und befangen, literally “imprisoned and prepossessed”] by faith, virtuousness, etc. Just as the schoolmen philosophized only inside the belief of the church; as Pope Benedict XIV wrote fat books inside the papist superstition, without ever throwing a doubt upon this belief; as authors fill whole folios on the State without calling in question the fixed idea of the State itself; as our newspapers are crammed with politics because they are conjured into the fancy that man was created to be a zoon politicon — so also subjects vegetate in subjection, virtuous people in virtue, liberals in humanity, without ever putting to these fixed ideas of theirs the searching knife of criticism. Undislodgeable, like a madman’s delusion, those thoughts stand on a firm footing, and he who doubts them — lays hands on the sacred! Yes, the “fixed idea,” that is the truly sacred!

Is it perchance only people possessed by the devil that meet us, or do we as often come upon people possessed in the contrary way — possessed by “the good,” by virtue, morality, the law, or some “principle” or other? Possessions of the devil are not the only ones. God works on us, and the devil does; the former “workings of grace,” the latter “workings of the devil.” Possessed [besessene] people are set [versessen] in their opinions.

If the word “possession” displeases you, then call it prepossession; yes, since the spirit possesses you, and all “inspirations” come from it, call it — inspiration and enthusiasm. I add that complete enthusiasm — for we cannot stop with the sluggish, half-way kind — is called fanaticism.

It is precisely among cultured people that fanaticism is at home; for man is cultured so far as he takes an interest in spiritual things, and interest in spiritual things, when it is alive, is and must be fanaticism; it is a fanatical interest in the sacred (fanum). Observe our liberals, look into the Sächsischen Vaterlandsblätter, hear what Schlosser says:[15] “Holbach’s company constituted a regular plot against the traditional doctrine and the existing system, and its members were as fanatical on behalf of their unbelief as monks and priests, Jesuits and Pietists, Methodists, missionary and Bible societies, commonly are for mechanical worship and orthodoxy.”

Take notice how a “moral man” behaves, who today often thinks he is through with God and throws off Christianity as a bygone thing. If you ask him whether he has ever doubted that the copulation of brother and sister is incest, that monogamy is the truth of marriage, that filial piety is a sacred duty, then a moral shudder will come over him at the conception of one’s being allowed to touch his sister as wife also, etc. And whence this shudder? Because he believes in those moral commandments. This moral faith is deeply rooted in his breast. Much as he rages against the pious Christians, he himself has nevertheless as thoroughly remained a Christian — to wit, a moral Christian. In the form of morality Christianity holds him a prisoner, and a prisoner under faith. Monogamy is to be something sacred, and he who may live in bigamy is punished as a criminal; he who commits incest suffers as a criminal. Those who are always crying that religion is not to be regarded in the State, and the Jew is to be a citizen equally with the Christian, show themselves in accord with this. Is not this of incest and monogamy a dogma of faith? Touch it, and you will learn by experience how this moral man is a hero of faith too, not less than Krummacher, not less than Philip II. These fight for the faith of the Church, he for the faith of the State, or the moral laws of the State; for articles of faith, both condemn him who acts otherwise than their faith will allow. The brand of “crime” is stamped upon him, and he may languish in reformatories, in jails. Moral faith is as fanatical as religious faith! They call that “liberty of faith” then, when brother and sister, on account of a relation that they should have settled with their “conscience,” are thrown into prison. “But they set a pernicious example.” Yes, indeed: others might have taken the notion that the State had no business to meddle with their relation, and thereupon “purity of morals” would go to ruin. So then the religious heroes of faith are zealous for the “sacred God,” the moral ones for the “sacred good.”

Those who are zealous for something sacred often look very little like each other. How the strictly orthodox or old-style believers differ from the fighters for “truth, light, and justice,” from the Philalethes, the Friends of Light, the Rationalists, and others. And yet, how utterly unessential is this difference! If one buffets single traditional truths (i.e. miracles, unlimited power of princes), then the Rationalists buffet them too, and only the old-style believers wail. But, if one buffets truth itself, he immediately has both, as believers, for opponents. So with moralities; the strict believers are relentless, the clearer heads are more tolerant. But he who attacks morality itself gets both to deal with. “Truth, morality, justice, light, etc.,” are to be and remain “sacred.” What any one finds to censure in Christianity is simply supposed to be “unchristian” according to the view of these rationalists, but Christianity must remain a “fixture,” to buffet it is outrageous, “an outrage.” To be sure, the heretic against pure faith no longer exposes himself to the earlier fury of persecution, but so much the more does it now fall upon the heretic against pure morals.

* * *

Piety has for a century received so many blows, and had to hear its superhuman essence reviled as an “inhuman” one so often, that one cannot feel tempted to draw the sword against it again. And yet it has almost always been only moral opponents that have appeared in the arena, to assail the supreme essence in favor of — another supreme essence. So Proudhon, unabashed, says:[16] “Man is destined to live without religion, but the moral law is eternal and absolute. Who would dare today to attack morality?” Moral people skimmed off the best fat from religion, ate it themselves, and are now having a tough job to get rid of the resulting scrofula. If, therefore, we point out that religion has not by any means been hurt in its inmost part so long as people reproach it only with its superhuman essence, and that it takes its final appeal to the “spirit” alone (for God is spirit), then we have sufficiently indicated its final accord with morality, and can leave its stubborn conflict with the latter lying behind us. It is a question of a supreme essence with both, and whether this is a superhuman or a human one can make (since it is in any case an essence over me, a super-mine one, so to speak) but little difference to me. In the end the relation to the human essence, or to “Man,” as soon as ever it has shed the snake-skin of the old religion, will yet wear a religious snake-skin again.

So Feuerbach instructs us that, “if one only inverts speculative philosophy, i.e. always makes the predicate the subject, and so makes the subject the object and principle, one has the undraped truth, pure and clean.”[17] Herewith, to be sure, we lose the narrow religious standpoint, lost the God, who from this standpoint is subject; but we take in exchange for it the other side of the religious standpoint, the moral standpoint. Thus we no longer say “God is love,” but “Love is divine.” If we further put in place of the predicate “divine” the equivalent “sacred,” then, as far as concerns the sense, all the old comes back-again. According to this, love is to be the good in man, his divineness, that which does him honor, his true humanity (it “makes him Man for the first time,” makes for the first time a man out of him). So then it would be more accurately worded thus: Love is what is human in man, and what is inhuman is the loveless egoist. But precisely all that which Christianity and with it speculative philosophy (i.e., theology) offers as the good, the absolute, is to self-ownership simply not the good (or, what means the same, it is only the good). Consequently, by the transformation of the predicate into the subject, the Christian essence (and it is the predicate that contains the essence, you know) would only be fixed yet more oppressively. God and the divine would entwine themselves all the more inextricably with me. To expel God from his heaven and to rob him of his “transcendence” cannot yet support a claim of complete victory, if therein he is only chased into the human breast and gifted with indelible immanence. Now they say, “The divine is the truly human!”

The same people who oppose Christianity as the basis of the State, i.e. oppose the so-called Christian State, do not tire of repeating that morality is “the fundamental pillar of social life and of the State.” As if the dominion of morality were not a complete dominion of the sacred, a “hierarchy.”

So we may here mention by the way that rationalist movement which, after theologians had long insisted that only faith was capable of grasping religious truths, that only to believers did God reveal himself, and that therefore only the heart, the feelings, the believing fancy was religious, broke out with the assertion that the “natural understanding,” human reason, was also capable of discerning God. What does that mean but that the reason laid claim to be the same visionary as the fancy?[dieselbe Phantastin wie die Phantasie.] In this sense Reimarus wrote his Most Notable Truths of Natural Religion. It had to come to this — that the whole man with all his faculties was found to be religious; heart and affections, understanding and reason, feeling, knowledge, and will — in short, everything in man — appeared religious. Hegel has shown that even philosophy is religious. And what is not called religion today? The “religion of love,” the “religion of freedom,” “political religion” — in short, every enthusiasm. So it is, too, in fact.

To this day we use the Romance word “religion,” which expresses the concept of a condition of being bound. To be sure, we remain bound, so far as religion takes possession of our inward parts; but is the mind also bound? On the contrary, that is free, is sole lord, is not our mind, but absolute. Therefore the correct affirmative translation of the word religion would be “freedom of mind”! In whomsoever the mind is free, he is religious in just the same way as he in whom the senses have free course is called a sensual man. The mind binds the former, the desires the latter. Religion, therefore, is boundness or religion with reference to me — I am bound; it is freedom with reference to the mind — the mind is free, or has freedom of mind. Many know from experience how hard it is on us when the desires run away with us, free and unbridled; but that the free mind, splendid intellectuality, enthusiasm for intellectual interests, or however this jewel may in the most various phrase be named, brings us into yet more grievous straits than even the wildest impropriety, people will not perceive; nor can they perceive it without being consciously egoists.

Reimarus, and all who have shown that our reason, our heart, etc., also lead to God, have therewithal shown that we are possessed through and through. To be sure, they vexed the theologians, from whom they took away the prerogative of religious exaltation; but for religion, for freedom of mind, they thereby conquered yet more ground. For, when the mind is no longer limited to feeling or faith, but also, as understanding, reason, and thought in general, belongs to itself the mind — when therefore, it may take part in the spiritual [The same word as “intellectual”, as “mind” and “spirit” are the same.] and heavenly truths in the form of understanding, as well as in its other forms — then the whole mind is occupied only with spiritual things, i. e., with itself, and is therefore free. Now we are so through-and-through religious that “jurors,” i.e. “sworn men,” condemn us to death, and every policeman, as a good Christian, takes us to the lock-up by virtue of an “oath of office.”

Morality could not come into opposition with piety till after the time when in general the boisterous hate of everything that looked like an “order” (decrees, commandments, etc.) spoke out in revolt, and the personal “absolute lord” was scoffed at and persecuted; consequently it could arrive at independence only through liberalism, whose first form acquired significance in the world’s history as “citizenship,” and weakened the specifically religious powers (see “Liberalism” below). For, when morality not merely goes alongside of piety, but stands on feet of its own, then its principle lies no longer in the divine commandments, but in the law of reason, from which the commandments, so far as they are still to remain valid, must first await justification for their validity. In the law of reason man determines himself out of himself, for “Man” is rational, and out of the “essence of Man” those laws follow of necessity. Piety and morality part company in this — that the former makes God the law-giver, the latter Man.

From a certain standpoint of morality people reason about as follows: Either man is led by his sensuality, and is, following it, immoral, or he is led by the good, which, taken up into the will, is called moral sentiment (sentiment and prepossession in favor of the good); then he shows himself moral. From this point of view how, e.g., can Sand’s act against Kotzebue be called immoral? What is commonly understood by unselfish it certainly was, in the same measure as (among other things) St. Crispin’s thieveries in favor of the poor. “He should not have murdered, for it stands written, Thou shalt not murder!” Then to serve the good, the welfare of the people, as Sand at least intended, or the welfare of the poor, like Crispin — is moral; but murder and theft are immoral; the purpose moral, the means immoral. Why? “Because murder, assassination, is something absolutely bad.” When the Guerrillas enticed the enemies of the country into ravines and shot them down unseen from the bushes, do you suppose that was assassination? According to the principle of morality, which commands us to serve the good, you could really ask only whether murder could never in any case be a realization of the good, and would have to endorse that murder which realized the good. You cannot condemn Sand’s deed at all; it was moral, because in the service of the good, because unselfish; it was an act of punishment, which the individual inflicted, an — execution inflicted at the risk of the executioner’s life. What else had his scheme been, after all, but that he wanted to suppress writings by brute force? Are you not acquainted with the same procedure as a “legal” and sanctioned one? And what can be objected against it from your principle of morality? — “But it was an illegal execution.” So the immoral thing in it was the illegality, the disobedience to law? Then you admit that the good is nothing else than — law, morality nothing else than loyalty. And to this externality of “loyalty” your morality must sink, to this righteousness of works in the fulfillment of the law, only that the latter is at once more tyrannical and more revolting than the old-time righteousness of works. For in the latter only the act is needed, but you require the disposition too; one must carry in himself the law, the statute; and he who is most legally disposed is the most moral. Even the last vestige of cheerfulness in Catholic life must perish in this Protestant legality. Here at last the domination of the law is for the first time complete. “Not I live, but the law lives in me.” Thus I have really come so far to be only the “vessel of its glory.” “Every Prussian carries his gendarme in his breast,” says a high Prussian officer.

Why do certain opposition parties fail to flourish? Solely for the reason that they refuse to forsake the path of morality or legality. Hence the measureless hypocrisy of devotion, love, etc., from whose repulsiveness one may daily get the most thorough nausea at this rotten and hypocritical relation of a “lawful opposition.” — In the moral relation of love and fidelity a divided or opposed will cannot have place; the beautiful relation is disturbed if the one wills this and the other the reverse. But now, according to the practice hitherto and the old prejudice of the opposition, the moral relation is to be preserved above all. What is then left to the opposition? Perhaps the will to have a liberty, if the beloved one sees fit to deny it? Not a bit! It may not will to have the freedom, it can only wish for it, “petition” for it, lisp a “Please, please!” What would come of it, if the opposition really willed, willed with the full energy of the will? No, it must renounce will in order to live to love, renounce liberty — for love of morality. It may never “claim as a right” what it is permitted only to “beg as a favor.” Love, devotion. etc., demand with undeviating definiteness that there be only one will to which the others devote themselves, which they serve, follow, love. Whether this will is regarded as reasonable or as unreasonable, in both cases one acts morally when one follows it, and immorally when one breaks away from it. The will that commands the censorship seems to many unreasonable; but he who in a land of censorship evades the censoring of his book acts immorally, and he who submits it to the censorship acts morally. If some one let his moral judgment go, and set up e.g. a secret press, one would have to call him immoral, and imprudent in the bargain if he let himself be caught; but will such a man lay claim to a value in the eyes of the “moral”? Perhaps! — That is, if he fancied he was serving a “higher morality.”

The web of the hypocrisy of today hangs on the frontiers of two domains, between which our time swings back and forth, attaching its fine threads of deception and self-deception. No longer vigorous enough to serve morality without doubt or weakening, not yet reckless enough to live wholly to egoism, it trembles now toward the one and now toward the other in the spider-web of hypocrisy, and, crippled by the curse of halfness, catches only miserable, stupid flies. If one has once dared to make a “free” motion, immediately one waters it again with assurances of love, and — shams resignation; if, on the other side, they have had the face to reject the free motion with moral appeals to confidence, immediately the moral courage also sinks, and they assure one how they hear the free words with special pleasure, etc.; they — sham approval. In short, people would like to have the one, but not go without the other; they would like to have a free will, but not for their lives lack the moral will. Just come in contact with a servile loyalist, you Liberals. You will sweeten every word of freedom with a look of the most loyal confidence, and he will clothe his servilism in the most flattering phrases of freedom. Then you go apart, and he, like you, thinks “I know you, fox!” He scents the devil in you as much as you do the dark old Lord God in him.

A Nero is a “bad” man only in the eyes of the “good”; in mine he is nothing but a possessed man, as are the good too. The good see in him an arch-villain, and relegate him to hell. Why did nothing hinder him in his arbitrary course? Why did people put up with so much? Do you suppose the tame Romans, who let all their will be bound by such a tyrant, were a hair the better? In old Rome they would have put him to death instantly, would never have been his slaves. But the contemporary “good” among the Romans opposed to him only moral demands, not their will; they sighed that their emperor did not do homage to morality, like them; they themselves remained “moral subjects,” till at last one found courage to give up “moral, obedient subjection.” And then the same “good Romans” who, as “obedient subjects,” had borne all the ignominy of having no will, hurrahed over the nefarious, immoral act of the rebel. Where then in the “good” was the courage for the revolution, that courage which they now praised, after another had mustered it up? The good could not have this courage, for a revolution, and an insurrection into the bargain, is always something “immoral,” which one can resolve upon only when one ceases to be “good” and becomes either “bad” or — neither of the two. Nero was no viler than his time, in which one could only be one of the two, good or bad. The judgment of his time on him had to be that he was bad, and this in the highest degree: not a milksop, but an arch-scoundrel. All moral people can pronounce only this judgment on him. Rascals e.g. he was are still living here and there today (see e.g. the Memoirs of Ritter von Lang) in the midst of the moral. It is not convenient to live among them certainly, as one is not sure of his life for a moment; but can you say that it is more convenient to live among the moral? One is just as little sure of his life there, only that one is hanged “in the way of justice,” but least of all is one sure of his honor, and the national cockade is gone before you can say Jack Robinson. The hard fist of morality treats the noble nature of egoism altogether without compassion.

“But surely one cannot put a rascal and an honest man on the same level!” Now, no human being does that oftener than you judges of morals; yes, still more than that, you imprison as a criminal an honest man who speaks openly against the existing constitution, against the hallowed institutions, and you entrust portfolios and still more important things to a crafty rascal. So in praxi you have nothing to reproach me with. “But in theory!” Now there I do put both on the same level, as two opposite poles — to wit, both on the level of the moral law. Both have meaning only in the “moral world, just as in the pre-Christian time a Jew who kept the law and one who broke it had meaning and significance only in respect to the Jewish law; before Jesus Christ, on the contrary, the Pharisee was no more than the “sinner and publican.” So before self-ownership the moral Pharisee amounts to as much as the immoral sinner.

Nero became very inconvenient by his possessedness. But a self-owning man would not sillily oppose to him the “sacred,” and whine if the tyrant does not regard the sacred; he would oppose to him his will. How often the sacredness of the inalienable rights of man has been held up to their foes, and some liberty or other shown and demonstrated to be a “sacred right of man!” Those who do that deserve to be laughed out of court — as they actually are — were it not that in truth they do, even though unconsciously, take the road that leads to the goal. They have a presentiment that, if only the majority is once won for that liberty, it will also will the liberty, and will then take what it will have. The sacredness of the liberty, and all possible proofs of this sacredness, will never procure it; lamenting and petitioning only shows beggars.

The moral man is necessarily narrow in that he knows no other enemy than the “immoral” man. “He who is not moral is immoral!” and accordingly reprobate, despicable, etc. Therefore the moral man can never comprehend the egoist. Is not unwedded cohabitation an immorality? The moral man may turn as he pleases, he will have to stand by this verdict; Emilia Galotti gave up her life for this moral truth. And it is true, it is an immorality. A virtuous girl may become an old maid; a virtuous man may pass the time in fighting his natural impulses till he has perhaps dulled them, he may castrate himself for the sake of virtue as St. Origen did for the sake of heaven: he thereby honors sacred wedlock, sacred chastity, as inviolable; he is — moral. Unchastity can never become a moral act. However indulgently the moral man may judge and excuse him who committed it, it remains a transgression, a sin against a moral commandment; there clings to it an indelible stain. As chastity once belonged to the monastic vow, so it does to moral conduct. Chastity is a — good. — For the egoist, on the contrary, even chastity is not a good without which he could not get along; he cares nothing at all about it. What now follows from this for the judgment of the moral man? This: that he throws the egoist into the only class of men that he knows besides moral men, into that of the — immoral. He cannot do otherwise; he must find the egoist immoral in everything in which the egoist disregards morality. If he did not find him so, then he would already have become an apostate from morality without confessing it to himself, he would already no longer be a truly moral man. One should not let himself be led astray by such phenomena, which at the present day are certainly no longer to be classed as rare, but should reflect that he who yields any point of morality can as little be counted among the truly moral as Lessing was a pious Christian when, in the well-known parable, he compared the Christian religion, as well as the Mohammedan and Jewish, to a “counterfeit ring.” Often people are already further than they venture to confess to themselves. For Socrates, because in culture he stood on the level of morality, it would have been an immorality if he had been willing to follow Crito’s seductive incitement and escape from the dungeon; to remain was the only moral thing. But it was solely because Socrates was — a moral man. The “unprincipled, sacrilegious” men of the Revolution, on the contrary, had sworn fidelity to Louis XVI, and decreed his deposition, yes, his death; but the act was an immoral one, at which moral persons will be horrified to all eternity.

Yet all this applies, more or less, only to “civic morality,” on which the freer look down with contempt. For it (like civism, its native ground, in general) is still too little removed and free from the religious heaven not to transplant the latter’s laws without criticism or further consideration to its domain instead of producing independent doctrines of its own. Morality cuts a quite different figure when it arrives at the consciousness of its dignity, and raises its principle, the essence of man, or “Man,” to be the only regulative power. Those who have worked their way through to such a decided consciousness break entirely with religion, whose God no longer finds any place alongside their “Man,” and, as they (see below) themselves scuttle the ship of State, so too they crumble away that “morality” which flourishes only in the State, and logically have no right to use even its name any further. For what this “critical” party calls morality is very positively distinguished from the so-called “civic or political morality,” and must appear to the citizen like an “insensate and unbridled liberty.” But at bottom it has only the advantage of the “purity of the principle,” which, freed from its defilement with the religious, has now reached universal power in its clarified definiteness as “humanity.”

Therefore one should not wonder that the name “morality” is retained along with others, like freedom, benevolence, self-consciousness, and is only garnished now and then with the addition, a “free” morality — just as, though the civic State is abused, yet the State is to arise again as a “free State,” or, if not even so, yet as a “free society.”

Because this morality completed into humanity has fully settled its accounts with the religion out of which it historically came forth, nothing hinders it from becoming a religion on its own account. For a distinction prevails between religion and morality only so long as our dealings with the world of men are regulated and hallowed by our relation to a superhuman being, or so long as our doing is a doing “for God’s sake.” If, on the other hand, it comes to the point that “man is to man the supreme being,” then that distinction vanishes, and morality, being removed from its subordinate position, is completed into — religion. For then the higher being who had hitherto been subordinated to the highest, Man, has ascended to absolute height, and we are related to him as one is related to the highest being, i.e. religiously. Morality and piety are now as synonymous as in the beginning of Christianity, and it is only because the supreme being has come to be a different one that a holy walk is no longer called a “holy” one, but a “human” one. If morality has conquered, then a complete — change of masters has taken place.

After the annihilation of faith Feuerbach thinks to put in to the supposedly safe harbor of love. “The first and highest law must be the love of man to man. Homo homini Deus est — this is the supreme practical maxim, this is the turning point of the world’s history.”[18] But, properly speaking, only the god is changed — the deus; love has remained: there love to the superhuman God, here love to the human God, to homo as Deus. Therefore man is to me — sacred. And everything “truly human” is to me — sacred! “Marriage is sacred of itself. And so it is with all moral relations. Friendship is and must be sacred for you, and property, and marriage, and the good of every man, but sacred in and of itself.[19] “Haven’t we the priest again there? Who is his God? Man with a great M! What is the divine? The human! Then the predicate has indeed only been changed into the subject, and, instead of the sentence “God is love,” they say “love is divine”; instead of “God has become man,” “Man has become God,” etc. It is nothing more or less than a new — religion. “All moral relations are ethical, are cultivated with a moral mind, only where of themselves (without religious consecration by the priest’s blessing) they are counted religious.” Feuerbach’s proposition, “Theology is anthropology,” means only “religion must be ethics, ethics alone is religion.”

Altogether Feuerbach accomplishes only a transposition of subject and predicate, a giving of preference to the latter. But, since he himself says, “Love is not (and has never been considered by men) sacred through being a predicate of God, but it is a predicate of God because it is divine in and of itself,” he might judge that the fight against the predicates themselves, against love and all sanctities, must be commenced. How could he hope to turn men away from God when he left them the divine? And if, as Feuerbach says, God himself has never been the main thing to them, but only his predicates, then he might have gone on leaving them the tinsel longer yet, since the doll, the real kernel, was left at any rate. He recognizes, too, that with him it is “only a matter of annihilating an illusion”;[20] he thinks, however, that the effect of the illusion on men is “downright ruinous, since even love, in itself the truest, most inward sentiment, becomes an obscure, illusory one through religiousness, since religious love loves man [Literally “the man”] only for God’s sake, therefore loves man only apparently, but in truth God only.” Is this different with moral love? Does it love the man, this man for this man’s sake, or for morality’s sake, and so — for homo homini Deus — for God’s sake?

* * *

The wheels in the head have a number of other formal aspects, some of which it may be useful to indicate here.

Thus self-renunciation is common to the holy with 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, 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”[uneigennützigkeit, literally “un-self-benefitingness”] 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 yourbenefit 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.

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 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 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 conceptions. 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[vernünftig, derived from vernehmen, to hear] 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, 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 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 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.

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.)

§3. The Hierarchy

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 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 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 positivei.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, 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? 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 [A German idiom for destructive radicalism] 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 always 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,[The same word that has been translated “custom” several times in this section] 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 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 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 acknowledges 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,[Ehrfurcht] on the contrary, it is quite otherwise. Here something is not only feared,[gefürchtet] but also honored [geehrt]: 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 coming 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, 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 highest is the omnipotence of mind, the almightiness of mind.[21]

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 profit, 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?”[Literally, “sacrificing”; the German word has not the prefix “self.”] 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 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 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 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 nothing but a love of Man, the unreal concept, the spook. It is not tous anthropous, men, but ton anthropon, Man, that the philanthropist carries in his heart. To be sure, he cares for each individual, but only because he wants to see his beloved ideal realized everywhere.

So there is nothing said here of care for me, you, us; that would be personal interest, and belongs under the head of “worldly love.” Philanthropy is a heavenly, spiritual, a — priestly love. Man must be restored in us, even if thereby we poor devils should come to grief. It is the same priestly principle as that famous fiat justitia, pereat mundus; man and justice are ideas, ghosts, for love of which everything is sacrificed; therefore, the priestly spirits are the “self-sacrificing” ones.

He who is infatuated with Man leaves persons out of account so far as that infatuation extends, and floats in an ideal, sacred interest. Man, you see, is not a person, but an ideal, a spook.

Now, things as different as possible can belong to Man and be so regarded. If one finds Man’s chief requirement in piety, there arises religious clericalism; if one sees it in morality, then moral clericalism raises its head. On this account the priestly spirits of our day want to make a “religion” of everything, a “religion of liberty,” “religion of equality,” etc., and for them every idea becomes a “sacred cause,” e.g. even citizenship, politics, publicity, freedom of the press, trial by jury, etc.

Now, what does “unselfishness” mean in this sense? Having only an ideal interest, before which no respect of persons avails!

The stiff head of the worldly man opposes this, but for centuries has always been worsted at least so far as to have to bend the unruly neck and “honor the higher power”; clericalism pressed it down. When the worldly egoist had shaken off a higher power (e.g. the Old Testament law, the Roman pope, etc.), then at once a seven times higher one was over him again, e.g. faith in the place of the law, the transformation of all laymen into divines in place of the limited body of clergy, etc. His experience was like that of the possessed man into whom seven devils passed when he thought he had freed himself from one.

In the passage quoted above, all ideality is denied to the middle class. It certainly schemed against the ideal consistency with which Robespierre wanted to carry out the principle. The instinct of its interest told it that this consistency harmonized too little with what its mind was set on, and that it would be acting against itself if it were willing to further the enthusiasm for principle. Was it to behave so unselfishly as to abandon all its aims in order to bring a harsh theory to its triumph? It suits the priests admirably, to be sure, when people listen to their summons, “Cast away everything and follow me,” or “Sell all that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Some decided idealists obey this call; but most act like Ananias and Sapphira, maintaining a behavior half clerical or religious and half worldly, serving God and Mammon.

I do not blame the middle class for not wanting to let its aims be frustrated by Robespierre, i.e. for inquiring of its egoism how far it might give the revolutionary idea a chance. But one might blame (if blame were in place here anyhow) those who let their own interests be frustrated by the interests of the middle class. However, will not they likewise sooner or later learn to understand what is to their advantage? August Becker says:[22] “To win the producers (proletarians) a negation of the traditional conception of right is by no means enough. Folks unfortunately care little for the theoretical victory of the idea. One must demonstrate to them ad oculos how this victory can be practically utilized in life.” And (p.32): “You must get hold of folks by their real interests if you want to work upon them.” Immediately after this he shows how a fine looseness of morals is already spreading among our peasants, because they prefer to follow their real interests rather than the commands of morality.

Because the revolutionary priests or schoolmasters served Man, they cut off the heads of men. The revolutionary laymen, those outside the sacred circle, did not feel any greater horror of cutting off heads, but were less anxious about the rights of Man than about their own.

How comes it, though, that the egoism of those who affirm personal interest, and always inquire of it, is nevertheless forever succumbing to a priestly or schoolmasterly (i. e. an ideal) interest? Their person seems to them too small, too insignificant — and is so in fact — to lay claim to everything and be able to put itself completely in force. There is a sure sign of this in their dividing themselves into two persons, an eternal and a temporal, and always caring either only for the one or only for the other, on Sunday for the eternal, on the work-day for the temporal, in prayer for the former, in work for the latter. They have the priest in themselves, therefore they do not get rid of him, but hear themselves lectured inwardly every Sunday.

How men have struggled and calculated to get at a solution regarding these dualistic essences! Idea followed upon idea, principle upon principle, system upon system, and none knew how to keep down permanently the contradiction of the “worldly” man, the so-called “egoist.” Does not this prove that all those ideas were too feeble to take up my whole will into themselves and satisfy it? They were and remained hostile to me, even if the hostility lay concealed for a considerable time. Will it be the same with self-ownership? Is it too only an attempt at mediation? Whatever principle I turned to, it might be to that of reason, I always had to turn away from it again. Or can I always be rational, arrange my life according to reason in everything? I can, no doubt, strive after rationality, I can love it, just as I can also love God and every other idea. I can be a philosopher, a lover of wisdom, as I love God. But what I love, what I strive for, is only in my idea, my conception, my thoughts; it is in my heart, my head, it is in me like the heart, but it is not I, I am not it.

To the activity of priestly minds belongs especially what one often hears called “moral influence.”

Moral influence takes its start where humiliation begins; yes, it is nothing else than this humiliation itself, the breaking and bending of the temper [Muth] down to humility.[Demuth] If I call to some one to run away when a rock is to be blasted, I exert no moral influence by this demand; if I say to a child “You will go hungry if you will not eat what is put on the table,” this is not moral influence. But, if I say to it, “You will pray, honor your parents, respect the crucifix, speak the truth, for this belongs to man and is man’s calling,” or even “this is God’s will,” then moral influence is complete; then a man is to bend before the calling of man, be tractable, become humble, give up his will for an alien one which is set up as rule and law; he is to abase himself before something higher : self-abasement. “He that abaseth himself shall be exalted.” Yes, yes, children must early be made to practice piety, godliness, and propriety; a person of good breeding is one into whom “good maxims” have been instilled and impressed, poured in through a funnel, thrashed in and preached in.

If one shrugs his shoulders at this, at once the good wring their hands despairingly, and cry: “But, for heaven’s sake, if one is to give children no good instruction, why, then they will run straight into the jaws of sin, and become good-for-nothing hoodlums!” Gently, you prophets of evil. Good-for-nothing in your sense they certainly will become; but your sense happens to be a very good-for-nothing sense. The impudent lads will no longer let anything be whined and chattered into them by you, and will have no sympathy for all the follies for which you have been raving and driveling since the memory of man began; they will abolish the law of inheritance; they will not be willing to inherit your stupidities as you inherited them from your fathers; they destroy inherited sin.[23] If you command them, “Bend before the Most High,” they will answer: “If he wants to bend us, let him come himself and do it; we, at least, will not bend of our own accord.” And, if you threaten them with his wrath and his punishment, they will take it like being threatened with the bogie-man. If you are no more successful in making them afraid of ghosts, then the dominion of ghosts is at an end, and nurses’ tales find no — faith.

And is it not precisely the liberals again that press for good education and improvement of the educational system? For how could their liberalism, their “liberty within the bounds of law,” come about without discipline? Even if they do not exactly educate to the fear of God, yet they demand the fear of Man all the more strictly, and awaken “enthusiasm for the truly human calling” by discipline.

* * *

A long time passed away, in which people were satisfied with the fancy that they had the truth, without thinking seriously whether perhaps they themselves must be true to possess the truth. This time was the Middle Ages. With the common consciousness — i.e. the consciousness which deals with things, that consciousness which has receptivity only for things, or for what is sensuous and sense-moving — they thought to grasp what did not deal with things and was not perceptible by the senses. As one does indeed also exert his eye to see the remote, or laboriously exercise his hand till its fingers have become dexterous enough to press the keys correctly, so they chastened themselves in the most manifold ways, in order to become capable of receiving the supersensual wholly into themselves. But what they chastened was, after all, only the sensual man, the common consciousness, so-called finite or objective thought. Yet as this thought, this understanding, which Luther decries under the name of reason, is incapable of comprehending the divine, its chastening contributed just as much to the understanding of the truth as if one exercised the feet year in and year out in dancing, and hoped that in this way they would finally learn to play the flute. Luther, with whom the so-called Middle Ages end, was the first who understood that the man himself must become other than he was if he wanted to comprehend truth — must become as true as truth itself. Only he who already has truth in his belief, only he who believes in it, can become a partaker of it; i.e. only the believer finds it accessible and sounds its depths. Only that organ of man which is able to blow can attain the further capacity of flute-playing, and only that man can become a partaker of truth who has the right organ for it. He who is capable of thinking only what is sensuous, objective, pertaining to things, figures to himself in truth only what pertains to things. But truth is spirit, stuff altogether inappreciable by the senses, and therefore only for the “higher consciousness,” not for that which is “earthly-minded.”

With Luther, accordingly, dawns the perception that truth, because it is a thought, is only for the thinking man. And this is to say that man must henceforth take an utterly different standpoint, to wit, the heavenly, believing, scientific standpoint, or that of thought in relation to its object, the — thought — that of mind in relation to mind. Consequently: only the like apprehend the like. “You are like the spirit that you understand.”[24]

Because Protestantism broke the medieval hierarchy, the opinion could take root that hierarchy in general had been shattered by it, and it could be wholly overlooked that it was precisely a “reformation,” and so a reinvigoration of the antiquated hierarchy. That medieval hierarchy had been only a weakly one, as it had to let all possible barbarism of unsanctified things run on uncoerced beside it, and it was the Reformation that first steeled the power of hierarchy. If Bruno Bauer thinks:[25] “As the Reformation was mainly the abstract rending of the religious principle from art, State, and science, and so its liberation from those powers with which it had joined itself in the antiquity of the church and in the hierarchy of the Middle Ages, so too the theological and ecclesiastical movements which proceeded from the Reformation are only the consistent carrying out of this abstraction of the religious principle from the other powers of humanity,” I regard precisely the opposite as correct, and think that the dominion of spirits, or freedom of mind (which comes to the same thing), was never before so all-embracing and all-powerful, because the present one, instead of rending the religious principle from art, State, and science, lifted the latter altogether out of secularity into the “realm of spirit” and made them religious.

Luther and Descartes have been appropriately put side by side in their “He who believes in God” and “I think, therefore I am” (cogito, ergo sum). Man’s heaven is thought — mind. Everything can be wrested from him, except thought, except faith. Particular faith, like faith of Zeus, Astarte, Jehovah, Allah, may be destroyed, but faith itself is indestructible. In thought is freedom. What I need and what I hunger for is no longer granted to me by any grace, by the Virgin Mary. by intercession of the saints, or by the binding and loosing church, but I procure it for myself. In short, my being (the sum) is a living in the heaven of thought, of mind, a cogitare. But I myself am nothing else than mind, thinking mind (according to Descartes), believing mind (according to Luther). My body I am not; my flesh may suffer from appetites or pains. I am not my flesh, but I am mind, only mind.

This thought runs through the history of the Reformation till today.

Only by the more modern philosophy since Descartes has a serious effort been made to bring Christianity to complete efficacy, by exalting the “scientific consciousness.” to be the only true and valid one. Hence it begins with absolute doubt, dubitare, with grinding common consciousness to atoms, with turning away from everything that “mind,” “thought,” does not legitimate. To it Nature counts for nothing; the opinion of men, their “human precepts,” for nothing: and it does not rest till it has brought reason into everything, and can say “The real is the rational, and only the rational is the real.” Thus it has at last brought mind, reason, to victory; and everything is mind, because everything is rational, because all nature, as well as even the most perverse opinions of men, contains reason; for “all must serve for the best,” i. e., lead to the victory of reason.

Descartes’s dubitare contains the decided statement that only cogitare, thought, mind — is. A complete break with “common” consciousness, which ascribes reality to irrational things! Only the rational is, only mind is! This is the principle of modern philosophy, the genuine Christian principle. Descartes in his own time discriminated the body sharply from the mind, and “the spirit ‘tis that builds itself the body,” says Goethe.

But this philosophy itself, Christian philosophy, still does not get rid of the rational, and therefore inveighs against the “merely subjective,” against “fancies, fortuities, arbitrariness,” etc. What it wants is that the divine should become visible in everything, and all consciousness become a knowing of the divine, and man behold God everywhere; but God never is, without the devil.

For this very reason the name of philosopher is not to be given to him who has indeed open eyes for the things of the world, a clear and undazzled gaze, a correct judgment about the world, but who sees in the world just the world, in objects only objects, and, in short, everything prosaically as it is; but he alone is a philosopher who sees, and points out or demonstrates, heaven in the world, the supernal in the earthly, the — divine in the mundane. The former may be ever so wise, there is no getting away from this:

What wise men see not by their wisdom’s art

Is practiced simply by a childlike heart.[26]

It takes this childlike heart, this eye for the divine, to make a philosopher. The first-named man has only a “common” consciousness, but he who knows the divine, and knows how to tell it, has a “scientific” one. On this ground Bacon was turned out of the realm of philosophers. And certainly what is called English philosophy seems to have got no further than to the discoveries of so-called “clear heads,” e.g. Bacon and Hume. The English did not know how to exalt the simplicity of the childlike heart to philosophic significance, did not know how to make — philosophers out of childlike hearts. This is as much as to say, their philosophy was not able to become theological or theology, and yet it is only as theology that it can really live itself out, complete itself. The field of its battle to the death is in theology. Bacon did not trouble himself about theological questions and cardinal points.

Cognition has its object in life. German thought seeks, more than that of others, to reach the beginnings and fountain-heads of life, and sees no life till it sees it in cognition itself. Descartes’s cogito, ergo sum has the meaning “One lives only when one thinks.” Thinking life is called “intellectual life”! Only mind lives, its life is the true life. Then, just so in nature only the “eternal laws,” the mind or the reason of nature, are its true life. In man, as in nature, only the thought lives; everything else is dead! To this abstraction, to the life of generalities or of that which is lifeless, the history of mind had to come. God, who is spirit, alone lives. Nothing lives but the ghost.

How can one try to assert of modern philosophy or modern times that they have reached freedom, since they have not freed us from the power of objectivity? Or am I perhaps free from a despot when I am not afraid of the personal potentate, to be sure, but of every infraction of the loving reverence which I fancy I owe him? The case is the same with modern times. They only changed the existing objects, the real ruler, into conceivedobjects, i.e. into ideas, before which the old respect not only was not lost, but increased in intensity. Even if people snapped their fingers at God and the devil in their former crass reality, people devoted only the greater attention to their ideas. “They are rid of the Evil One; evil is left.”[27] The decision having once been made not to let oneself be imposed on any longer by the extant and palpable, little scruple was felt about revolting against the existing State or overturning the existing laws; but to sin against the idea of the State, not to submit to the idea of law, who would have dared that? So one remained a “citizen” and a “law-respecting,” loyal man; yes, one seemed to himself to be only so much more law-respecting, the more rationalistically one abrogated the former defective law in order to do homage to the “spirit of the law.” In all this the objects had only suffered a change of form; they had remained in their preponderance and pre-eminence; in short, one was still involved in obedience and possessedness, lived in reflection, and had an object on which one reflected, which one respected, and before which one felt reverence and fear. One had done nothing but transform the things into conceptions of the things, into thoughts and ideas, whereby one’s dependence became all the more intimate and indissoluble. So, e.g., it is not hard to emancipate oneself from the commands of parents, or to set aside the admonitions of uncle and aunt, the entreaties of brother and sister; but the renounced obedience easily gets into one’s conscience, and the less one does give way to the individual demands, because he rationalistically, by his own reason, recognizes them to be unreasonable, so much the more conscientiously does he hold fast to filial piety and family love, and so much the harder is it for him to forgive himself a trespass against the conception which he has formed of family love and of filial duty. Released from dependence as regards the existing family, one falls into the more binding dependence on the idea of the family; one is ruled by the spirit of the family. The family consisting of John, Maggie, etc., whose dominion has become powerless, is only internalized, being left as “family” in general, to which one just applies the old saying, “We must obey God rather than man,” whose significance here is this: “I cannot, to be sure, accommodate myself to your senseless requirements, but, as my ‘family,’ you still remain the object of my love and care”; for “the family” is a sacred idea, which the individual must never offend against. — And this family internalized and desensualized into a thought, a conception, now ranks as the “sacred,” whose despotism is tenfold more grievous because it makes a racket in my conscience. This despotism is broken when the conception, family, also becomes a nothing to me The Christian dicta, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?”[28] “I am come to stir up a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother,”[29] and others, are accompanied by something that refers us to the heavenly or true family, and mean no more than the State’s demand, in case of a collision between it and the family, that we obey its commands.

The case of morality is like that of the family. Many a man renounces morals, but with great difficulty the conception, “morality.” Morality is the “idea” of morals, their intellectual power, their power over the conscience; on the other hand, morals are too material to rule the mind, and do not fetter an “intellectual” man, a so-called independent, a “freethinker.”

The Protestant may put it as he will, the “holy [heilig] Scripture,” the “Word of God,” still remains sacred [heilig] for him. He for whom this is no longer “holy” has ceased to — be a Protestant. But herewith what is “ordained” in it, the public authorities appointed by God, etc., also remain sacred for him. For him these things remain indissoluble, unapproachable, “raised above all doubt”; and, as doubt, which in practice becomes a buffeting, is what is most man’s own, these things remain “raised” above himself. He who cannot get away from them will — believe; for to believe in them is to be boundto them. Through the fact that in Protestantism the faith becomes a more inward faith, the servitude has also become a more inward servitude; one has taken those sanctities up into himself, entwined them with all his thoughts and endeavors, made them a “matter of conscience”, constructed out of them a “sacred duty” for himself. Therefore what the Protestant’s conscience cannot get away from is sacred to him, and conscientiousness most clearly designates his character.

Protestantism has actually put a man in the position of a country governed by secret police. The spy and eavesdropper, “conscience,” watches over every motion of the mind, and all thought and action is for it a “matter of conscience,” i. e., police business. This tearing apart of man into “natural impulse” and “conscience” (inner populace and inner police) is what constitutes the Protestant. The reason of the Bible (in place of the Catholic “reason of the church”) ranks as sacred, and this feeling and consciousness that the word of the Bible is sacred is called — conscience. With this, then, sacredness is “laid upon one’s conscience.” If one does not free himself from conscience, the consciousness of the sacred, he may act unconscientiously indeed, but never consciencelessly.

The Catholic finds himself satisfied when he fulfills the command; the Protestant acts according to his “best judgment and conscience.” For the Catholic is only a layman; the Protestant is himself a clergyman.[Geistlicher, literally “spiritual man”] Just this is the progress of the Reformation period beyond the Middle Ages, and at the same time its curse — that the spiritual became complete.

What else was the Jesuit moral philosophy than a continuation of the sale of indulgences? Only that the man who was relieved of his burden of sin now gained also an insight into the remission of sins, and convinced himself how really his sin was taken from him, since in this or that particular case (casuists) it was so clearly no sin at all that he committed. The sale of indulgences had made all sins and transgressions permissible, and silenced every movement of conscience. All sensuality might hold sway, if it was only purchased from the church. This favoring of sensuality was continued by the Jesuits, while the strictly moral, dark, fanatical, repentant, contrite, praying Protestants (as the true completers of Christianity, to be sure) acknowledged only the intellectual and spiritual man. Catholicism, especially the Jesuits, gave aid to egoism in this way, found involuntary and unconscious adherents within Protestantism itself, and saved us from the subversion and extinction of sensuality. Nevertheless the Protestant spirit spreads its dominion farther and farther; and, as, beside it the “divine,” the Jesuit spirit represents only the “diabolic” which is inseparable from everything divine, the latter can never assert itself alone, but must look on and see how in France, e.g., the Philistinism of Protestantism wins at last, and mind is on top.

Protestantism is usually complimented on having brought the mundane into repute again, e.g. marriage, the State, etc. But the mundane itself as mundane, the secular, is even more indifferent to it than to Catholicism, which lets the profane world stand, yes, and relishes its pleasures, while the rational, consistent Protestant sets about annihilating the mundane altogether, and that simply by hallowing it. So marriage has been deprived of its naturalness by becoming sacred, not in the sense of the Catholic sacrament, where it only receives its consecration from the church and so is unholy at bottom, but in the sense of being something sacred in itself to begin with, a sacred relation. Just so the State, also. Formerly the pope gave consecration and his blessing to it and its princes, now the State is intrinsically sacred, majesty is sacred without needing the priest’s blessing. The order of nature, or natural law, was altogether hallowed as “God’s ordinance.” Hence it is said e.g. in the Augsburg Confession, Art. II: “So now we reasonably abide by the saying, as the jurisconsults have wisely and rightly said: that man and woman should be with each other is a natural law. Now, if it is a natural law, then it is God’s ordinance, therefore implanted in nature, and therefore a divine law also.” And is it anything more than Protestantism brought up to date, when Feuerbach pronounces moral relations sacred, not as God’s ordinance indeed, but, instead, for the sake of the spirit that dwells in them? “But marriage as a free alliance of love, of course — is sacred of itself, by the nature of the union that is formed here. Thatmarriage alone is a religious one that is a true one, that corresponds to the essence of marriage, love. And so it is with all moral relations. They are ethical, are cultivated with a moral mind, only where they rank as religious of themselves. True friendship is only where the limits of friendship are preserved with religious conscientiousness, with the same conscientiousness with which the believer guards the dignity of his God. Friendship is and must be sacred for you, and property, and marriage, and the good of every man, but sacred in and of itself.”[30]

That is a very essential consideration. In Catholicism the mundane can indeed be consecrated or hallowed, but it is not sacred without this priestly blessing; in Protestantism, on the contrary, mundane relations are sacred of themselves, sacred by their mere existence. The Jesuit maxim, “the end hallows the means,” corresponds precisely to the consecration by which sanctity is bestowed. No means are holy or unholy in themselves, but their relation to the church, their use for the church, hallows the means. Regicide was named as such; if it was committed for the church’s behoof, it could be certain of being hallowed by the church, even if the hallowing was not openly pronounced. To the Protestant, majesty ranks as sacred; to the Catholic only that majesty which is consecrated by the pontiff can rank as such; and it does rank as such to him only because the pope, even though it be without a special act, confers this sacredness on it once for all. If he retracted his consecration, the king would be left only a “man of the world or layman,” an “unconsecrated” man, to the Catholic.

If the Protestant seeks to discover a sacredness in the sensual itself, that he may then be linked only to what is holy, the Catholic strives rather to banish the sensual from himself into a separate domain, where it, like the rest of nature, keeps its value for itself. The Catholic church eliminated mundane marriage from its consecrated order, and withdrew those who were its own from the mundane family; the Protestant church declared marriage and family ties to be holy, and therefore not unsuitable for its clergymen.

A Jesuit may, as a good Catholic, hallow everything. He needs only, e.g., to say to himself: “I as a priest am necessary to the church, but serve it more zealously when I appease my desires properly; consequently I will seduce this girl, have my enemy there poisoned, etc.; my end is holy because it is a priest’s, consequently it hallows the means.” For in the end it is still done for the benefit of the church. Why should the Catholic priest shrink from handing Emperor Henry VII the poisoned wafer for the — church’s welfare?

The genuinely churchly Protestants inveighed against every “innocent pleasure,” because only the sacred, the spiritual, could be innocent. What they could not point out the holy spirit in, the Protestants had to reject — dancing, the theatre, ostentation (e.g. in the church), and the like.

Compared with this puritanical Calvinism, Lutheranism is again more on the religious, spiritual, track — is more radical. For the former excludes at once a great number of things as sensual and worldly, and purifies the church; Lutheranism, on the contrary, tries to bring spirit into all things as far as possible, to recognize the holy spirit as an essence in everything, and so to hallow everything worldly. (“No one can forbid a kiss in honor.” The spirit of honor hallows it.) Hence it was that the Lutheran Hegel (he declares himself such in some passage or other: he “wants to remain a Lutheran”) was completely successful in carrying the idea through everything. In everything there is reason, i.e. holy spirit, or “the real is rational.” For the real is in fact everything; as in each thing, e.g., each lie, the truth can be detected: there is no absolute lie, no absolute evil, etc.

Great “works of mind” were created almost solely by Protestants, as they alone were the true disciples and consummators of mind.

* * *

How little man is able to control! He must let the sun run its course, the sea roll its waves, the mountains rise to heaven. Thus he stands powerless before the uncontrollable. Can he keep off the impression that he is helpless against this gigantic world? It is a fixed law to which he must submit, it determines his fate. Now, what did pre-Christian humanity work toward? Toward getting rid of the irruptions of the destinies, not letting oneself be vexed by them. The Stoics attained this in apathy, declaring the attacks of nature indifferent, and not letting themselves be affected by them. Horace utters the famous Nil admirari, by which he likewise announces the indifference of the other, the world; it is not to influence us, not to rouse our astonishment. And that impavidum ferient ruinae expresses the very same imperturbability as Ps. 46.3: “We do not fear, though the earth should perish.” In all this there is room made for the Christian proposition that the world is empty, for the Christian contempt of the world.

The imperturbable spirit of “the wise man,” with which the old world worked to prepare its end, now underwent an inner perturbation against which no ataraxia, no Stoic courage, was able to protect it. The spirit, secured against all influence of the world, insensible to its shocks and exalted above its attacks, admiring nothing, not to be disconcerted by any downfall of the world — foamed over irrepressibly again, because gases (spirits) were evolved in its own interior, and, after the mechanical shock that comes from without had become ineffective, chemical tensions, that agitate within, began their wonderful play.

In fact, ancient history ends with this — that I have struggled till I won my ownership of the world. “All things have been delivered to me by my Father” (Matt. 11. 27). It has ceased to be overpowering, unapproachable, sacred, divine, for me; it is undeified, and now I treat it so entirely as I please that, if I cared, I could exert on it all miracle-working power, i. e., power of mind — remove mountains, command mulberry trees to tear themselves up and transplant themselves into the sea (Luke 17.6), and do everything possible, thinkable : “All things are possible to him who believes.”[31] I am the lord of the world, mine is the “glory.” [Herrlichkeit, which, according to its derivation, means “lordliness”] The world has become prosaic, for the divine has vanished from it: it is my property, which I dispose of as I (to wit, the mind) choose.

When I had exalted myself to be the owner of the world, egoism had won its first complete victory, had vanquished the world, had become worldless, and put the acquisitions of a long age under lock and key.

The first property, the first “glory,” has been acquired!

But the lord of the world is not yet lord of his thoughts, his feelings, his will: he is not lord and owner of the spirit, for the spirit is still sacred, the “Holy Spirit,” and the “worldless” Christian is not able to become “godless.” If the ancient struggle was a struggle against the world, the medieval (Christian) struggle is a struggle against self, the mind; the former against the outer world, the latter against the inner world. The medieval man is the man “whose gaze is turned inward,” the thinking, meditative

All wisdom of the ancients is the science of the world, all wisdom of the moderns is the science of God.

The heathen (Jews included) got through with the world; but now the thing was to get through with self, the spirit, too; i.e. to become spiritless or godless.

For almost two thousand years we have been working at subjecting the Holy Spirit to ourselves, and little by little we have torn off and trodden under foot many bits of sacredness; but the gigantic opponent is constantly rising anew under a changed form and name. The spirit has not yet lost its divinity, its holiness, its sacredness. To be sure, it has long ceased to flutter over our heads as a dove; to be sure, it no longer gladdens its saints alone, but lets itself be caught by the laity too; but as spirit of humanity, as spirit of Man, it remains still an alien spirit to me or you, still far from becoming our unrestricted property, which we dispose of at our pleasure. However, one thing certainly happened, and visibly guided the progress of post-Christian history: this one thing was the endeavor to make the Holy Spirit more human, and bring it nearer to men, or men to it. Through this it came about that at last it could be conceived as the “spirit of humanity,” and, under different expressions like “idea of humanity, mankind, humaneness, general philanthropy,” appeared more attractive, more familiar, and more accessible.

Would not one think that now everybody could possess the Holy Spirit, take up into himself the idea of humanity, bring mankind to form and existence in himself?

No, the spirit is not stripped of its holiness and robbed of its unapproachableness, is not accessible to us, not our property; for the spirit of humanity is not my spirit. My ideal it may be, and as a thought I call it mine; the thought of humanity is my property, and I prove this sufficiently by propounding it quite according to my views, and shaping it today so, tomorrow otherwise; we represent it to ourselves in the most manifold ways. But it is at the same time an entail, which I cannot alienate nor get rid of.

Among many transformations, the Holy Spirit became in time the “absolute idea”, which again in manifold refractions split into the different ideas of philanthropy, reasonableness, civic virtue, etc.

But can I call the idea my property if it is the idea of humanity, and can I consider the Spirit as vanquished if I am to serve it, “sacrifice myself” to it? Antiquity, at its close, had gained its ownership of the world only when it had broken the world’s overpoweringness and “divinity,” recognized the world’s powerlessness and “vanity.”

The case with regard to the spirit corresponds. When I have degraded it to a spook and its control over me to a cranky notion, then it is to be looked upon as having lost its sacredness, its holiness, its divinity, and then I use it, as one uses nature at pleasure without scruple.

The “nature of the case,” the “concept of the relationship,” is to guide me in dealing with the case or in contracting the relation. As if a concept of the case existed on its own account, and was not rather the concept that one forms of the case! As if a relation which we enter into was not, by the uniqueness of those who enter into it, itself unique! As if it depended on how others stamp it! But, as people separated the “essence of Man” from the real man, and judged the latter by the former, so they also separate his action from him, and appraise it by “human value.” Concepts are to decide everywhere, concepts to regulate life, concepts to rule. This is the religious world, to which Hegel gave a systematic expression, bringing method into the nonsense and completing the conceptual precepts into a rounded, firmly-based dogmatic. Everything is sung according to concepts, and the real man, i.e. I, am compelled to live according to these conceptual laws. Can there be a more grievous dominion of law, and did not Christianity confess at the very beginning that it meant only to draw Judaism’s dominion of law tighter? (“Not a letter of the law shall be lost!”)

Liberalism simply brought other concepts on the carpet; human instead of divine, political instead of ecclesiastical, “scientific” instead of doctrinal, or, more generally, real concepts and eternal laws instead of “crude dogmas” and precepts.

Now nothing but mind rules in the world. An innumerable multitude of concepts buzz about in people’s heads, and what are those doing who endeavor to get further? They are negating these concepts to put new ones in their place! They are saying: “You form a false concept of right, of the State, of man, of liberty, of truth, of marriage, etc.; the concept of right, etc., is rather that one which we now set up.” Thus the confusion of concepts moves forward.

The history of the world has dealt cruelly with us, and the spirit has obtained an almighty power. You must have regard for my miserable shoes, which could protect your naked foot, my salt, by which your potatoes would become palatable, and my state-carriage, whose possession would relieve you of all need at once; you must not reach out after them. Man is to recognize the independence of all these and innumerable other things: they are to rank in his mind as something that cannot be seized or approached, are to be kept away from him. He must have regard for it, respect it; woe to him if he stretches out his fingers desirously; we call that “being light-fingered!”

How beggarly little is left us, yes, how really nothing! Everything has been removed, we must not venture on anything unless it is given us; we continue to live only by the grace of the giver. You must not pick up a pin, unless indeed you have got leave to do so. And got it from whom? From respect! Only when this lets you have it as property, only when you can respect it as property, only then may you take it. And again, you are not to conceive a thought, speak a syllable, commit an action, that should have their warrant in you alone, instead of receiving it from morality or reason or humanity. Happy unconstraint of the desirous man, how mercilessly people have tried to slay you on the altar of constraint!

But around the altar rise the arches of a church, and its walls keep moving further and further out. What they enclose is sacred. You can no longer get to it, no longer touch it. Shrieking with the hunger that devours you, you wander round about these walls in search of the little that is profane, and the circles of your course keep growing more and more extended. Soon that church will embrace the whole world, and you be driven out to the extreme edge; another step, and the world of the sacred has conquered: you sink into the abyss. Therefore take courage while it is yet time, wander about no longer in the profane where now it is dry feeding, dare the leap, and rush in through the gates into the sanctuary itself. If you devour the sacred, you have made it your own! Digest the sacramental wafer, and you are rid of it!

III. The Free

The ancients and the moderns having been presented above in two divisions, it may seem as if the free were here to be described in a third division as independent and distinct. This is not so. The free are only the more modern and most modern among the “moderns,” and are put in a separate division merely because they belong to the present, and what is present, above all, claims our attention here. I give “the free” only as a translation of “the liberals,” but must with regard to the concept of freedom (as in general with regard to so many other things whose anticipatory introduction cannot be avoided) refer to what comes later.

§1. Political Liberalism

After the chalice of so-called absolute monarchy had been drained down to the dregs, in the eighteenth century people became aware that their drink did not taste human — too clearly aware not to begin to crave a different cup. Since our fathers were “human beings” after all, they at last desired also to be regarded as such.

Whoever sees in us something else than human beings, in him we likewise will not see a human being, but an inhuman being, and will meet him as an unhuman being; on the other hand, whoever recognizes us as human beings and protects us against the danger of being treated inhumanly, him we will honor as our true protector and guardian.

Let us then hold together and protect the man in each other; then we find the necessary protection in our holding together, and in ourselves, those who hold together, a fellowship of those who know their human dignity and hold together as “human beings.” Our holding together is the State; we who hold together are the nation.

In our being together as nation or State we are only human beings. How we deport ourselves in other respects as individuals, and what self-seeking impulses we may there succumb to, belongs solely to our private life; our public or State life is a purely human one. Everything un-human or “egoistic” that clings to us is degraded to a “private matter” and we distinguish the State definitely from “civil society,” which is the sphere of “egoism’s” activity.

The true man is the nation, but the individual is always an egoist. Therefore strip off your individuality or isolation wherein dwells discord and egoistic inequality, and consecrate yourselves wholly to the true man — the nation or the State. Then you will rank as men, and have all that is man’s; the State, the true man, will entitle you to what belongs to it, and give you the “rights of man”; Man gives you his rights!

So runs the speech of the commonalty.

The commonalty[32] is nothing else than the thought that the State is all in all, the true man, and that the individual’s human value consists in being a citizen of the State. In being a good citizen he seeks his highest honor; beyond that he knows nothing higher than at most the antiquated — “being a good Christian.”

The commonalty developed itself in the struggle against the privileged classes, by whom it was cavalierly treated as “third estate” and confounded with the canaille. In other words, up to this time the State had recognized caste.[Man hatte im Staate “die ungleiche Person angesehen,” there had been “respect of unequal persons” in the State] The son of a nobleman was selected for posts to which the most distinguished commoners aspired in vain. The civic feeling revolted against this. No more distinction, no giving preference to persons, no difference of classes! Let all be alike! No separate interest is to be pursued longer, but the general interest of all. The State is to be a fellowship of free and equal men, and every one is to devote himself to the “welfare of the whole,” to be dissolved in the State, to make the State his end and ideal. State! State! so ran the general cry, and thenceforth people sought for the “right form of State,” the best constitution, and so the State in its best conception. The thought of the State passed into all hearts and awakened enthusiasm; to serve it, this mundane god, became the new divine service and worship. The properly political epoch had dawned. To serve the State or the nation became the highest ideal, the State’s interest the highest interest, State service (for which one does not by any means need to be an official) the highest honor.

So then the separate interests and personalities had been scared away, and sacrifice for the State had become the shibboleth. One must give up himself, and live only for the State. One must act “disinterestedly,” not want to benefit himself, but the State. Hereby the latter has become the true person. before whom the individual personality vanishes; not I live, but it lives in me. Therefore, in comparison with the former self-seeking, this was unselfishness and impersonality itself. Before this god — State — all egoism vanished, and before it all were equal; they were without any other distinction — men, nothing but men.

The Revolution took fire from the inflammable material of property. The government needed money. Now it must prove the proposition that it is absolute, and so master of all property, sole proprietor; it must take to itself its money, which was only in the possession of the subjects, not their property. Instead of this, it calls States-general, to have this money granted to it. The shrinking from strictly logical action destroyed the illusion of an absolute government; he who must have something “granted” to him cannot be regarded as absolute. The subjects recognized that they were real proprietors, and that it was their money that was demanded. Those who had hitherto been subjects attained the consciousness that they were proprietors. Bailly depicts this in a few words: “If you cannot dispose of my property without my assent, how much less can you of my person, of all that concerns my mental and social position? All this is my property, like the piece of land that I till; and I have a right, an interest, to make the laws myself.” Bailly’s words sound, certainly, as if every one was a proprietor now. However, instead of the government, instead of the prince, the — nationnow became proprietor and master. From this time on the ideal is spoken of as — “popular liberty” — “a free people,” etc.

As early as July 8, 1789, the declaration of the bishop of Autun and Barrere took away all semblance of the importance of each and every individual in legislation; it showed the complete powerlessness of the constituents; the majority of the representatives has become master. When on July 9 the plan for division of the work on the constitution is proposed, Mirabeau remarks that “the government has only power, no rights; only in the people is the source of all right to be found.” On July 16 this same Mirabeau exclaims: “Is not the people the source of all power?” The source, therefore, of all right, and the source of all — power![Gewalt, a word which is also commonly used like the English “violence,” denoting especially unlawful violence] By the way, here the substance of “right” becomes visible; it is — power. “He who has power has right.”

The commonalty is the heir of the privileged classes. In fact, the rights of the barons, which were taken from them as “usurpations,” only passed over to the commonalty. For the commonalty was now called the “nation.” “Into the hands of the nation” all prerogatives were given back. Thereby they ceased to be “prerogatives”:[Vorrechte] they became “rights.”[Rechte] From this time on the nation demands tithes, compulsory services; it has inherited the lord’s court, the rights of vert and venison, the — serfs. The night of August 4 was the death-night of privileges or “prerogatives” (cities, communes, boards of magistrates, were also privileged, furnished with prerogatives and seigniorial rights), and ended with the new morning of “right,” the “rights of the State,” the “rights of the nation.”

The monarch in the person of the “royal master” had been a paltry monarch compared with this new monarch, the “sovereign nation.” This monarchywas a thousand times severer, stricter, and more consistent. Against the new monarch there was no longer any right, any privilege at all; how limited the “absolute king” of the ancien regime looks in comparison! The Revolution effected the transformation of limited monarchy into absolute monarchy. From this time on every right that is not conferred by this monarch is an “assumption”; but every prerogative that he bestows, a “right.” The times demanded absolute royalty, absolute monarchy; therefore down fell that so-called absolute royalty which had so little understood how to become absolute that it remained limited by a thousand little lords.

What was longed for and striven for through thousands of years — to wit, to find that absolute lord beside whom no other lords and lordlings any longer exist to clip his power — the bourgeoisie has brought to pass. It has revealed the Lord who alone confers “rightful titles,” and without whose warrant nothing is justified. “So now we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other god save the one.”[33]

Against right one can no longer, as against a right, come forward with the assertion that it is “a wrong.” One can say now only that it is a piece of nonsense, an illusion. If one called it wrong, one would have to set up another right in opposition to it, and measure it by this. If, on the contrary, one rejects right as such, right in and of itself, altogether, then one also rejects the concept of wrong, and dissolves the whole concept of right (to which the concept of wrong belongs).

What is the meaning of the doctrine that we all enjoy “equality of political rights”? Only this — that the State has no regard for my person, that to it I, like every other, am only a man, without having another significance that commands its deference. I do not command its deference as an aristocrat, a nobleman’s son, or even as heir of an official whose office belongs to me by inheritance (as in the Middle Ages countships, etc., and later under absolute royalty, where hereditary offices occur). Now the State has an innumerable multitude of rights to give away, e.g. the right to lead a battalion, a company, etc.; the right to lecture at a university, and so forth; it has them to give away because they are its own, i.e., State rights or “political” rights. Withal, it makes no difference to it to whom it gives them, if the receiver only fulfills the duties that spring from the delegated rights. To it we are all of us all right, and — equal — one worth no more and no less than another. It is indifferent to me who receives the command of the army, says the sovereign State, provided the grantee understands the matter properly. “Equality of political rights” has, consequently, the meaning that every one may acquire every right that the State has to give away, if only he fulfills the conditions annexed thereto — conditions which are to be sought only in the nature of the particular right, not in a predilection for the person (persona grata): the nature of the right to become an officer brings with it, e.g. the necessity that one possess sound limbs and a suitable measure of knowledge, but it does not have noble birth as a condition; if, on the other hand, even the most deserving commoner could not reach that station, then an inequality of political rights would exist. Among the States of today one has carried out that maxim of equality more, another less.

The monarchy of estates (so I will call absolute royalty, the time of the kings before the revolution) kept the individual in dependence on a lot of little monarchies. These were fellowships (societies) like the guilds, the nobility, the priesthood, the burgher class, cities, communes. Everywhere the individual must regard himself first as a member of this little society, and yield unconditional obedience to its spirit, the esprit de corps, as his monarch. More, e.g. than the individual nobleman himself must his family, the honor of his race, be to him. Only by means of his corporation, his estate, did the individual have relation to the greater corporation, the State — as in Catholicism the individual deals with God only through the priest. To this the third estate now, showing courage to negate itself as an estate, made an end. It decided no longer to be and be called an estate beside other estates, but to glorify and generalize itself into the “nation.” Hereby it created a much more complete and absolute monarchy,’ and the entire previously ruling principle of estates, the principle of little monarchies inside the great, went down. Therefore it cannot be said that the Revolution was a revolution against the first two privileged estates. It was against the little monarchies of estates in general. But, if the estates and their despotism were broken (the king too, we know, was only a king of estates, not a citizen-king), the individuals freed from the inequality of estate were left. Were they now really to be without estate and “out of gear,” no longer bound by any estate, without a general bond of union? No, for the third estate had declared itself the nation only in order not to remain an estate beside other estates, but to become the sole estate. This sole estate is the nation, the “State.” What had the individual now become? A political Protestant, for he had come into immediate connection with his God, the State. He was no longer, as an aristocrat, in the monarchy of the nobility; as a mechanic, in the monarchy of the guild; but he, like all, recognized and acknowledged only — one lord, the State, as whose servants they all received the equal title of honor, “citizen.”

The bourgeoisie is the aristocracy of DESERT; its motto, “Let desert wear its crowns.” It fought against the “lazy” aristocracy, for according to it (the industrious aristocracy acquired by industry and desert) it is not the “born” who is free, nor yet I who am free either, but the “deserving” man, the honest servant (of his king; of the State; of the people in constitutional States). Through service one acquires freedom, i. e., acquires “deserts,” even if one served — mammon. One must deserve well of the State, i.e. of the principle of the State, of its moral spirit. He who serves this spirit of the State is a good citizen, let him live to whatever honest branch of industry he will. In its eyes innovators practice a “breadless art.” Only the “shopkeeper” is “practical,” and the spirit that chases after public offices is as much the shopkeeping spirit as is that which tries in trade to feather its nest or otherwise to become useful to itself and anybody else.

But, if the deserving count as the free (for what does the comfortable commoner, the faithful office-holder, lack of that freedom that his heart desires?), then the “servants” are the — free. The obedient servant is the free man! What glaring nonsense! Yet this is the sense of the bourgeoisie, and its poet, Goethe, as well as its philosopher, Hegel, succeeded in glorifying the dependence of the subject on the object, obedience to the objective world. He who only serves the cause, “devotes himself entirely to it,” has the true freedom. And among thinkers the cause was — reason, that which, like State and Church, gives — general laws, and puts the individual man in irons by the thought of humanity. It determines what is “true,” according to which one must then act. No more “rational” people than the honest servants, who primarily are called good citizens as servants of the State.

Be rich as Croesus or poor as Job — the State of the commonalty leaves that to your option; but only have a “good disposition.” This it demands of you, and counts it its most urgent task to establish this in all. Therefore it will keep you from “evil promptings,” holding the “ill-disposed” in check and silencing their inflammatory discourses under censors’ canceling-marks or press-penalties and behind dungeon walls, and will, on the other hand, appoint people of “good disposition” as censors, and in every way have a moral influence exerted on you by “well-disposed and well-meaning” people. If it has made you deaf to evil promptings, then it opens your ears again all the more diligently to good promptings.

With the time of the bourgeoisie begins that of liberalism. People want to see what is “rational,” “suited to the times,” etc., established everywhere. The following definition of liberalism, which is supposed to be pronounced in its honor, characterizes it completely: “Liberalism is nothing else than the knowledge of reason, applied to our existing relations.”[34] Its aim is a “rational order,” a “moral behavior,” a “limited freedom,” not anarchy, lawlessness, selfhood. But, if reason rules, then the person succumbs. Art has for a long time not only acknowledged the ugly, but considered the ugly as necessary to its existence, and takes it up into itself; it needs the villain. In the religious domain, too, the extremest liberals go so far that they want to see the most religious man regarded as a citizen — i. e., the religious villain; they want to see no more of trials for heresy. But against the “rational law” no one is to rebel, otherwise he is threatened with the severest penalty. What is wanted is not free movement and realization of the person or of me, but of reason — i.e. a dominion of reason, a dominion. The liberals are zealots, not exactly for the faith, for God, but certainly for reason, their master. They brook no lack of breeding, and therefore no self-development and self- determination; they play the guardian as effectively as the most absolute rulers.

“Political liberty,” what are we to understand by that? Perhaps the individual’s independence of the State and its laws? No; on the contrary, the individual’s subjection in the State and to the State’s laws. But why “liberty”? Because one is no longer separated from the State by intermediaries, but stands in direct and immediate relation to it; because one is a — citizen, not the subject of another, not even of the king as a person, but only in his quality as “supreme head of the State.” Political liberty, this fundamental doctrine of liberalism, is nothing but a second phase of — Protestantism, and runs quite parallel with “religious liberty.”[35] Or would it perhaps be right to understand by the latter an independence of religion? Anything but that. Independence of intermediaries is all that it is intended to express, independence of mediating priests, the abolition of the “laity,” and so, direct and immediate relation to religion or to God. Only on the supposition that one has religion can he enjoy freedom of religion; freedom of religion does not mean being without religion, but inwardness of faith, unmediated intercourse with God. To him who is “religiously free” religion is an affair of the heart, it is to him his own affair, it is to him a “sacredly serious matter.” So, too, to the “politically free” man the State is a sacredly serious matter; it is his heart’s affair, his chief affair, his own affair.

Political liberty means that the polis, the State, is free; freedom of religion that religion is free, as freedom of conscience signifies that conscience is free; not, therefore, that I am free from the State, from religion, from conscience, or that I am rid of them. It does not mean my liberty, but the liberty of a power that rules and subjugates me; it means that one of my despots, like State, religion, conscience, is free. State, religion, conscience, these despots, make me a slave, and their liberty is my slavery. That in this they necessarily follow the principle, “the end hallows the means,” is self-evident. If the welfare of the State is the end, war is a hallowed means; if justice is the State’s end, homicide is a hallowed means, and is called by its sacred name, “execution”; the sacred State hallows everything that is serviceable to it.

“Individual liberty,” over which civic liberalism keeps jealous watch, does not by any means signify a completely free self-determination, by which actions become altogether mine, but only independence of persons. Individually free is he who is responsible to no man. Taken in this sense — and we are not allowed to understand it otherwise — not only the ruler is individually free, i.e.irresponsible toward men (“before God,” we know, he acknowledges himself responsible), but all who are “responsible only to the law.” This kind of liberty was won through the revolutionary movement of the century — to wit, independence of arbitrary will, or tel est notre plaisir. Hence the constitutional prince must himself be stripped of all personality, deprived of all individual decision, that he may not as a person, as an individual man, violate the “individual liberty” of others. The personal will of the ruler has disappeared in the constitutional prince; it is with a right feeling, therefore, that absolute princes resist this. Nevertheless these very ones profess to be in the best sense “Christian princes.” For this, however, they must become a purely spiritual power, as the Christian is subject only to spirit (“God is spirit”). The purely spiritual power is consistently represented only by the constitutional prince, he who, without any personal significance, stands there spiritualized to the degree that he can rank as a sheer, uncanny “spirit,” as an idea. The constitutional king is the truly Christian king, the genuine, consistent carrying-out of the Christian principle. In the constitutional monarchy individual dominion — i.e. a real ruler that wills — has found its end; here, therefore, individual liberty prevails, independence of every individual dictator, of everyone who could dictate to me with a tel est notre plaisir. It is the completed Christian State-life, a spiritualized life.

The behavior of the commonalty is liberal through and through. Every personal invasion of another’s sphere revolts the civic sense; if the citizen sees that one is dependent on the humor, the pleasure, the will of a man as individual (i.e. as not as authorized by a “higher power”), at once he brings his liberalism to the front and shrieks about “arbitrariness.” In fine, the citizen asserts his freedom from what is called orders (ordonnance): “No one has any business to give me — orders!” Orders carries the idea that what I am to do is another man’s will, while law does not express a personal authority of another. The liberty of the commonalty is liberty or independence from the will of another person, so-called personal or individual liberty; for being personally free means being only so free that no other person can dispose of mine, or that what I may or may not do does not depend on the personal decree of another. The liberty of the press, e.g., is such a liberty of liberalism, liberalism fighting only against the coercion of the censorship as that of personal wilfulness, but otherwise showing itself extremely inclined and willing to tyrannize over the press by “press laws”; i.e. the civic liberals want liberty of writing for themselves; for, as they are law-abiding, their writings will not bring them under the law. Only liberal matter, i.e. only lawful matter, is to be allowed to be printed; otherwise the “press laws” threaten “press-penalties.” If one sees personal liberty assured, one does not notice at all how, if a new issue happens to arise, the most glaring unfreedom becomes dominant. For one is rid of orders indeed, and “no one has any business to give us orders,” but one has become so much the more submissive to the — law. One is enthralled now in due legal form.

In the citizen-State there are only “free people,” who are compelled to thousands of things (e.g. to deference, to a confession of faith, etc.). But what does that amount to? Why, it is only the — State, the law, not any man, that compels them!

What does the commonalty mean by inveighing against every personal order, i.e. every order not founded on the “cause,” on “reason”? It is simply fighting in the interest of the “cause”[Sache, which commonly means thing]. against the dominion of “persons”! But the mind’s cause is the rational, good, lawful, etc.; that is the “good cause.” The commonalty wants an impersonal ruler.

Furthermore, if the principle is this, that only the cause is to rule man — to wit, the cause of morality, the cause of legality, etc., then no personal balking of one by the other may be authorized either (as formerly, e.g. the commoner was balked of the aristocratic offices, the aristocrat of common mechanical trades, etc.); free competition must exist. Only through the thing[Sache] can one balk another (e.g. the rich man balking the impecunious man by money, a thing), not as a person. Henceforth only one lordship, the lordship of the State, is admitted; personally no one is any longer lord of another. Even at birth the children belong to the State, and to the parents only in the name of the State, which e.g. does not allow infanticide, demands their baptism etc.

But all the State’s children, furthermore, are of quite equal account in its eyes (“civic or political equality”), and they may see to it themselves how they get along with each other; they may compete.

Free competition means nothing else than that every one can present himself, assert himself, fight, against another. Of course the feudal party set itself against this, as its existence depended on an absence of competition. The contests in the time of the Restoration in France had no other substance than this — that the bourgeoisie was struggling for free competition, and the feudalists were seeking to bring back the guild system.

Now, free competition has won, and against the guild system it had to win. (See below for the further discussion.)

If the Revolution ended in a reaction, this only showed what the Revolution really was. For every effort arrives at reaction when it comes to discreet reflection, and storms forward in the original action only so long as it is an intoxication, an “indiscretion.” “Discretion” will always be the cue of the reaction, because discretion sets limits, and liberates what was really wanted, i. e., the principle, from the initial “unbridledness” and “unrestrainedness.” Wild young fellows, bumptious students, who set aside all considerations, are really Philistines, since with them, as with the latter, considerations form the substance of their conduct; only that as swaggerers they are mutinous against considerations and in negative relations to them, but as Philistines, later, they give themselves up to considerations and have positive relations to them. In both cases all their doing and thinking turns upon “considerations,” but the Philistine is reactionary in relation to the student; he is the wild fellow come to discreet reflection, as the latter is the unreflecting Philistine. Daily experience confirms the truth of this transformation, and shows how the swaggerers turn to Philistines in turning gray.

So, too, the so-called reaction in Germany gives proof that it was only the discreet continuation of the warlike jubilation of liberty.

The Revolution was not directed against the established, but against the establishment in question, against a particular establishment. It did away with this ruler, not with the ruler — on the contrary, the French were ruled most inexorably; it killed the old vicious rulers, but wanted to confer on the virtuous ones a securely established position, i. e., it simply set virtue in the place of vice. (Vice and virtue, again, are on their part distinguished from each other only as a wild young fellow from a Philistine.) Etc.

To this day the revolutionary principle has gone no farther than to assail only one or another particular establishment, i.e. be reformatory. Much as may be improved, strongly as “discreet progress” may be adhered to, always there is only a new master set in the old one’s place, and the overturning is a — building up. We are still at the distinction of the young Philistine from the old one. The Revolution began in bourgeois fashion with the uprising of the third estate, the middle class; in bourgeois fashion it dries away. It was not the individual man — and he alone is Man — that became free, but the citizen, the citoyen, the political man, who for that very reason is not Man but a specimen of the human species, and more particularly a specimen of the species Citizen, a free citizen.

In the Revolution it was not the individual who acted so as to affect the world’s history, but a people; the nation, the sovereign nation, wanted to effect everything. A fancied I, an idea, e.g. the nation is, appears acting; the individuals contribute themselves as tools of this idea, and act as “citizens.”

The commonalty has its power, and at the same time its limits, in the fundamental law of the State, in a charter, in a legitimate [or “righteous.” German rechtlich] or “just” [gerecht] prince who himself is guided, and rules, according to “rational laws,” in short, in legality. The period of the bourgeoisie is ruled by the British spirit of legality. An assembly of provincial estates, e.g. is ever recalling that its authorization goes only so and so far, and that it is called at all only through favor and can be thrown out again through disfavor. It is always reminding itself of its — vocation. It is certainly not to be denied that my father begot me; but, now that I am once begotten, surely his purposes in begetting do not concern me a bit and, whatever he may have called me to, I do what I myself will. Therefore even a called assembly of estates, the French assembly in the beginning of the Revolution, recognized quite rightly that it was independent of the caller. It existed, and would have been stupid if it did not avail itself of the right of existence, but fancied itself dependent as on a father. The called one no longer has to ask “what did the caller want when he created me?” but “what do I want after I have once followed the call?” Not the caller, not the constituents, not the charter according to which their meeting was called out, nothing will be to him a sacred, inviolable power. He is authorized for everything that is in his power; he will know no restrictive “authorization,” will not want to be loyal. This, if any such thing could be expected from chambers at all, would give a completely egoistic chamber, severed from all navel-string and without consideration. But chambers are always devout, and therefore one cannot be surprised if so much half-way or undecided, i. e., hypocritical, “egoism” parades in them.

The members of the estates are to remain within the limits that are traced for them by the charter, by the king’s will, etc. If they will not or can not do that, then they are to “step out.” What dutiful man could act otherwise, could put himself, his conviction, and his will as the first thing? Who could be so immoral as to want to assert himself, even if the body corporate and everything should go to ruin over it? People keep carefully within the limits of their authorization; of course one must remain within the limits of his power anyhow, because no one can do more than he can. “My power, or, if it be so, powerlessness, be my sole limit, but authorizations only restraining — precepts? Should I profess this all-subversive view? No, I am a — law-abiding citizen!”

The commonalty professes a morality which is most closely connected with its essence. The first demand of this morality is to the effect that one should carry on a solid business, an honourable trade, lead a moral life. Immoral, to it, is the sharper, the, demirep, the thief, robber, and murderer, the gamester, the penniless man without a situation, the frivolous man. The doughty commoner designates the feeling against these “immoral” people as his “deepest indignation.”

All these lack settlement, the solid quality of business, a solid, seemly life, a fixed income, etc.; in short, they belong, because their existence does not rest on a secure basis to the dangerous “individuals or isolated persons,” to the dangerous proletariat; they are “individual bawlers” who offer no “guarantee” and have “nothing to lose,” and so nothing to risk. The forming of family ties, e.g.binds a man: he who is bound furnishes security, can be taken hold of; not so the street-walker. The gamester stakes everything on the game, ruins himself and others — no guarantee. All who appear to the commoner suspicious, hostile, and dangerous might be comprised under the name “vagabonds”; every vagabondish way of living displeases him. For there are intellectual vagabonds too, to whom the hereditary dwelling-place of their fathers seems too cramped and oppressive for them to be willing to satisfy themselves with the limited space any more: instead of keeping within the limits of a temperate style of thinking, and taking as inviolable truth what furnishes comfort and tranquillity to thousands, they overlap all bounds of the traditional and run wild with their impudent criticism and untamed mania for doubt, these extravagating vagabonds. They form the class of the unstable, restless, changeable, i.e. of the prolétariat, and, if they give voice to their unsettled nature, are called “unruly fellows.”

Such a broad sense has the so-called proletariat, or pauperism. How much one would err if one believed the commonalty to be desirous of doing away with poverty (pauperism) to the best of its ability! On the contrary, the good citizen helps himself with the incomparably comforting conviction that “the fact is that the good things of fortune are unequally divided and will always remain so — according to God’s wise decree.” The poverty which surrounds him in every alley does not disturb the true commoner further than that at most he clears his account with it by throwing an alms, or finds work and food for an “honest and serviceable” fellow. But so much the more does he feel his quiet enjoyment clouded by innovating and discontentedpoverty, by those poor who no longer behave quietly and endure, but begin to run wild and become restless. Lock up the vagabond, thrust the breeder of unrest into the darkest dungeon! He wants to “arouse dissatisfaction and incite people against existing institutions” in the State — stone him, stone him!

But from these identical discontented ones comes a reasoning somewhat as follows: It need not make any difference to the “good citizens” who protects them and their principles, whether an absolute king or a constitutional one, a republic, if only they are protected. And what is their principle, whose protector they always “love”? Not that of labor; not that of birth either. But, that of mediocrity, of the golden mean: a little birth and a little labor, i. e., an interest-bearing possession. Possession is here the fixed, the given, inherited (birth); interest-drawing is the exertion about it (labor); laboring capital, therefore. Only no immoderation, no ultra, no radicalism! Right of birth certainly, but only hereditary possessions; labor certainly, yet little or none at all of one’s own, but labor of capital and of the — subject laborers.

If an age is imbued with an error, some always derive advantage from the error, while the rest have to suffer from it. In the Middle Ages the error was general among Christians that the church must have all power, or the supreme lordship on earth; the hierarchs believed in this “truth” not less than the laymen, and both were spellbound in the like error. But by it the hierarchs had the advantage of power, the laymen had to suffer subjection. However, as the saying goes, “one learns wisdom by suffering”; and so the laymen at last learned wisdom and no longer believed in the medieval “truth.” — A like relation exists between the commonalty and the laboring class. Commoner and laborer believe in the “truth” of money; they who do not possess it believe in it no less than those who possess it: the laymen, therefore, as well as the priests.

“Money governs the world” is the keynote of the civic epoch. A destitute aristocrat and a destitute laborer, as “starvelings,” amount to nothing so far as political consideration is concerned; birth and labor do not do it, but money brings consideration [das Geld gibt Geltung]. The possessors rule, but the State trains up from the destitute its “servants,” to whom, in proportion as they are to rule (govern) in its name, it gives money (a salary).

I receive everything from the State. Have I anything without the State’s assent? What I have without this it takes from me as soon as it discovers the lack of a “legal title.” Do I not, therefore, have everything through its grace, its assent?

On this alone, on the legal title, the commonalty rests. The commoner is what he is through the protection of the State, through the State’s grace. He would necessarily be afraid of losing everything if the State’s power were broken.

But how is it with him who has nothing to lose, how with the proletarian? As he has nothing to lose, he does not need the protection of the State for his “nothing.” He may gain, on the contrary, if that protection of the State is withdrawn from the protégé.

Therefore the non-possessor will regard the State as a power protecting the possessor, which privileges the latter, but does nothing for him, the non-possessor, but to — suck his blood. The State is a — commoners’ State, is the estate of the commonalty. It protects man not according to his labor, but according to his tractableness (“loyalty”) — to wit, according to whether the rights entrusted to him by the State are enjoyed and managed in accordance with the will, i. e., laws, of the State.

Under the regime of the commonalty the laborers always fall into the hands of the possessors, of those who have at their disposal some bit of the State domains (and everything possessible in State domain, belongs to the State, and is only a fief of the individual), especially money and land; of the capitalists, therefore. The laborer cannot realize on his labor to the extent of the value that it has for the consumer. “Labor is badly paid!” The capitalist has the greatest profit from it. — Well paid, and more than well paid, are only the labors of those who heighten the splendor and dominion of the State, the labors of high State servants. The State pays well that its “good citizens,” the possessors, may be able to pay badly without danger; it secures to itself by good payment its servants, out of whom it forms a protecting power, a “police” (to the police belong soldiers, officials of all kinds, e.g. those of justice, education, etc. — in short, the whole “machinery of the State”) for the “good citizens,” and the “good citizens” gladly pay high tax-rates to it in order to pay so much lower rates to their laborers.

But the class of laborers, because unprotected in what they essentially are (for they do not enjoy the protection of the State as laborers, but as its subjects they have a share in the enjoyment of the police, a so-called protection of the law), remains a power hostile to this State, this State of possessors, this “citizen kingship.” Its principle, labor, is not recognized as to its value; it is exploited,[ausgebeutet] a spoil [Kriegsbeute] of the possessors, the enemy.

The laborers have the most enormous power in their hands, and, if they once became thoroughly conscious of it and used it, nothing would withstand them; they would only have to stop labor, regard the product of labor as theirs, and enjoy it. This is the sense of the labor disturbances which show themselves here and there.

The State rests on the — slavery of labor. If labor becomes free. the State is lost.

§2. Social Liberalism

We are freeborn men, and wherever we look we see ourselves made servants of egoists! Are we therefore to become egoists too! Heaven forbid! We want rather to make egoists impossible! We want to make them all “ragamuffins”; all of us must have nothing, that “all may have.”

So say the Socialists.

Who is this person that you call “All”? — It is “society”! — But is it corporeal, then? — We are its body! — You? Why, you are not a body yourselves — you, sir, are corporeal to be sure, you too, and you, but you all together are only bodies, not a body. Accordingly the united society may indeed have bodies at its service, but no one body of its own. Like the “nation of the politicians, it will turn out to be nothing but a “spirit,” its body only semblance.

The freedom of man is, in political liberalism, freedom from persons, from personal dominion, from the master; the securing of each individual person against other persons, personal freedom.

No one has any orders to give; the law alone gives orders.

But, even if the persons have become equal, yet their possessions have not. And yet the poor man needs the rich, the rich the poor, the former the rich man’s money, the latter the poor man’s labor. So no one needs another as a person, but needs him as a giver, and thus as one who has something to give, as holder or possessor. So what he has makes the man. And in having, or in “possessions,” people are unequal.

Consequently, social liberalism concludes, no one must have, as according to political liberalism no one was to give ordersi.e. as in that case the State alone obtained the command, so now society alone obtains the possessions.

For the State, protecting each one’s person and property against the other, separates them from one another; each one is his special part and has his special part. He who is satisfied with what he is and has finds this state of things profitable; but he who would like to be and have more looks around for this “more,” and finds it in the power of other persons. Here he comes upon a contradiction; as a person no one is inferior to another, and yet one person has what another has not but would like to have. So, he concludes, the one person is more than the other, after all, for the former has what he needs, the latter has not; the former is a rich man, the latter a poor man.

He now asks himself further, are we to let what we rightly buried come to life again? Are we to let this circuitously restored inequality of persons pass? No; on the contrary, we must bring quite to an end what was only half accomplished. Our freedom from another’s person still lacks the freedom from what the other’s person can command, from what he has in his personal power — in short, from “personal property.” Let us then do away with personal property. Let no one have anything any longer, let every one be a — ragamuffin. Let property be impersonal, let it belong to — society.

Before the supreme ruler, the sole commander, we had all become equal, equal persons, i. e., nullities.

Before the supreme proprietor we all become equal — ragamuffins. For the present, one is still in another’s estimation a “ragamuffin,” a “have-nothing”; but then this estimation ceases. We are all ragamuffins together, and as the aggregate of Communistic society we might call ourselves a “ragamuffin crew.”

When the proletarian shall really have founded his purposed “society” in which the interval between rich and poor is to be removed, then he will be a ragamuffin, for then he will feel that it amounts to something to be a ragamuffin, and might lift “Ragamuffin” to be an honourable form of address, just as the Revolution did with the word “Citizen.” Ragamuffin is his ideal; we are all to become ragamuffins.

This is the second robbery of the “personal” in the interest of “humanity.” Neither command nor property is left to the individual; the State took the former, society the latter.

Because in society the most oppressive evils make themselves felt, therefore the oppressed especially, and consequently the members of the lower regions of society, think they found the fault in society, and make it their task to discover the right society. This is only the old phenomenon — that one looks for the fault first in everything but himself, and consequently in the State, in the self-seeking of the rich, etc., which yet have precisely our fault to thank for their existence.

The reflections and conclusions of Communism look very simple. As matters lie at this time — in the present situation with regard to the State, therefore — some, and they the majority, are at a disadvantage compared to others, the minority. In this state of things the former are in a state of prosperity, the latter in state of need. Hence the present state of things, i.e. the State itself, must be done away with. And what in its place? Instead of the isolated state of prosperity — a general state of prosperity, a prosperity of all.

Through the Revolution the bourgeoisie became omnipotent, and all inequality was abolished by every one’s being raised or degraded to the dignity of a citizen : the common man — raised, the aristocrat — degraded; the third estate became sole estate, viz., namely, the estate of — citizens of the State. Now Communism responds: Our dignity and our essence consist not in our being all — the equal children of our mother, the State, all born with equal claim to her love and her protection, but in our all existing for each other. This is our equality, or herein we are equal, in that we, I as well as you and you and all of you, are active or “labor” each one for the rest; in that each of us is a laborer, then. The point for us is not what we are for the State(citizens), not our citizenship therefore, but what we are for each other, that each of us exists only through the other, who, caring for my wants, at the same time sees his own satisfied by me. He labors e.g. for my clothing (tailor), I for his need of amusement (comedy-writer, rope-dancer), he for my food (farmer), I for his instruction (scientist). It is labor that constitutes our dignity and our — equality.

What advantage does citizenship bring us? Burdens! And how high is our labor appraised? As low as possible! But labor is our sole value all the same: that we are laborers is the best thing about us, this is our significance in the world, and therefore it must be our consideration too and must come to receive consideration. What can you meet us with? Surely nothing but — labor too. Only for labor or services do we owe you a recompense, not for your bare existence; not for what you are for yourselves either, but only for what you are for us. By what have you claims on us? Perhaps by your high birth? No, only by what you do for us that is desirable or useful. Be it thus then: we are willing to be worth to you only so much as we do for you; but you are to be held likewise by us. Services determine value, — i.e. those services that are worth something to us, and consequently labors for each other, labors for the common good. Let each one be in the other’s eyes a laborer. He who accomplishes something useful is inferior to none, or — all laborers (laborers, of course, in the sense of laborers “for the common good,” i. e., communistic laborers) are equal. But, as the laborer is worth his wages,[36] let the wages too be equal.

As long as faith sufficed for man’s honor and dignity, no labor, however harassing, could be objected to if it only did not hinder a man in his faith. Now, on the contrary, when every one is to cultivate himself into man, condemning a man to machine-like labor amounts to the same thing as slavery. If a factory worker must tire himself to death twelve hours and more, he is cut off from becoming man. Every labor is to have the intent that the man be satisfied. Therefore he must become a master in it too, i.e. be able to perform it as a totality. He who in a pin factory only puts on the heads, only draws the wire, works, as it were, mechanically, like a machine; he remains half-trained, does not become a master: his labor cannot satisfy him, it can only fatigue him. His labor is nothing by itself, has no object in itself, is nothing complete in itself; he labors only into another’s hands, and is used (exploited) by this other. For this laborer in another’s service there is no enjoyment of a cultivated mind, at most, crude amusements: culture, you see, is barred against him. To be a good Christian one needs only to believe, and that can be done under the most oppressive circumstances. Hence the Christian-minded take care only of the oppressed laborers’ piety, their patience, submission, etc. Only so long as the downtrodden classes were Christians could they bear all their misery: for Christianity does not let their murmurings and exasperation rise. Now the hushing of desires is no longer enough, but their sating is demanded. The bourgeoisie has proclaimed the gospel of the enjoyment of the world, of material enjoyment, and now wonders that this doctrine finds adherents among us poor: it has shown that not faith and poverty, but culture and possessions, make a man blessed; we proletarians understand that too.

The commonalty freed us from the orders and arbitrariness of individuals. But that arbitrariness was left which springs from the conjuncture of situations, and may be called the fortuity of circumstances; favoring .fortune. and those “favored by fortune,” still remain.

When, e.g., a branch of industry is ruined and thousands of laborers become breadless, people think reasonably enough to acknowledge that it is not the individual who must bear the blame, but that “the evil lies in the situation.” Let us change the situation then, but let us change it thoroughly, and so that its fortuity becomes powerless and a law! Let us no longer be slaves of chance! Let us create a new order that makes an end of fluctuations. Let this order then be sacred!

Formerly one had to suit the lords to come to anything; after the Revolution the word was “Grasp fortune!” Luck-hunting or hazard-playing, civil life was absorbed in this. Then, alongside this, the demand that he who has obtained something shall not frivolously stake it again.

Strange and yet supremely natural contradiction. Competition, in which alone civil or political life unrolls itself, is a game of luck through and through, from the speculations of the exchange down to the solicitation of offices, the hunt for customers, looking for work, aspiring to promotion and decorations, the second-hand dealer’s petty haggling, etc. If one succeeds in supplanting and outbidding his rivals, then the “lucky throw” is made; for it must be taken as a piece of luck to begin with that the victor sees himself equipped with an ability (even though it has been developed by the most careful industry) against which the others do not know how to rise, consequently that — no abler ones are found. And now those who ply their daily lives in the midst of these changes of fortune without seeing any harm in it are seized with the most virtuous indignation when their own principle appears in naked form and “breeds misfortune” as — hazard-playing. Hazard-playing, you see, is too clear, too barefaced a competition, and, like every decided nakedness, offends honourable modesty.

The Socialists want to put a stop to this activity of chance, and to form a society in which men are no longer dependent on fortune, but free.

In the most natural way in the world this endeavor first utters itself as hatred of the “unfortunate” against the “fortunate,” i.e., of those for whom fortune has done little or nothing, against those for whom it has done everything. But properly the ill- feeling is not directed against the fortunate, but against fortune, this rotten spot of the commonalty.

As the Communists first declare free activity to be man’s essence, they, like all work-day dispositions, need a Sunday; like all material endeavors, they need a God, an uplifting and edification alongside their witless “labor.”

That the Communist sees in you the man, the brother, is only the Sunday side of Communism. According to the work-day side he does not by any means take you as man simply, but as human laborer or laboring man. The first view has in it the liberal principle; in the second, illiberality is concealed. If you were a “lazy-bones,” he would not indeed fail to recognize the man in you, but would endeavor to cleanse him as a “lazy man” from laziness and to convert you to the faith that labor is man’s “destiny and calling.”

Therefore he shows a double face: with the one he takes heed that the spiritual man be satisfied, with the other he looks about him for means for the material or corporeal man. He gives man a twofold post — an office of material acquisition and one of spiritual.

The commonalty had thrown open spiritual and material goods, and left it with each one to reach out for them if he liked.

Communism really procures them for each one, presses them upon him, and compels him to acquire them. It takes seriously the idea that, because only spiritual and material goods make us men, we must unquestionably acquire these goods in order to be man. The commonalty made acquisition free; Communism compels to acquisition, and recognizes only the acquirer, him who practices a trade. It is not enough that the trade is free, but you must take it up.

So all that is left for criticism to do is to prove that the acquisition of these goods does not yet by any means make us men.

With the liberal commandment that every one is to make a man of himself, or every one to make himself man, there was posited the necessity that every one must gain time for this labor of humanization, i. e., that it should become possible for every one to labor on himself.

The commonalty thought it had brought this about if it handed over everything human to competition, but gave the individual a right to every human thing. “Each may strive after everything!”

Social liberalism finds that the matter is not settled with the “may,” because may means only “it is forbidden to none” but not “it is made possible to every one.” Hence it affirms that the commonalty is liberal only with the mouth and in words, supremely illiberal in act. It on its part wants to give all of us the means to be able to labor on ourselves.

By the principle of labor that of fortune or competition is certainly outdone. But at the same time the laborer, in his consciousness that the essential thing in him is “the laborer,” holds himself aloof from egoism and subjects himself to the supremacy of a society of laborers, as the commoner clung with self-abandonment to the competition-State. The beautiful dream of a “social duty” still continues to be dreamed. People think again that society gives what we need, and we are under obligations to it on that account, owe it everything.[37] They are still at the point of wanting to serve a “supreme giver of all good.” That society is no ego at all, which could give, bestow, or grant, but an instrument or means, from which we may derive benefit; that we have no social duties, but solely interests for the pursuance of which society must serve us; that we owe society no sacrifice, but, if we sacrifice anything, sacrifice it to ourselves — of this the Socialists do not think, because they — as liberals — are imprisoned in the religious principle, and zealously aspire after — a sacred society, e.g. the State was hitherto.

Society, from which we have everything, is a new master, a new spook, a new “supreme being,” which “takes us into its service and allegiance!”

The more precise appreciation of political as well as social liberalism must wait to find its place further on. For the present we pass this over, in order first to summon them before the tribunal of humane or critical liberalism.

§3. Humane Liberalism

3. Humane Liberalism

As liberalism is completed in self-criticizing, “critical”[38] liberalism — in which the critic remains a liberal and does not go beyond the principle of liberalism, Man — this may distinctively be named after Man and called the “humane.”

The laborer is counted as the most material and egoistical man. He does nothing at all for humanity, does everything for himself, for his welfare.

The commonalty, because it proclaimed the freedom of Man only as to his birth, had to leave him in the claws of the un-human man (the egoist) for the rest of life. Hence under the regime of political liberalism egoism has an immense field for free utilization.

The laborer will utilize society for his egoistic ends as the commoner does the State. You have only an egoistic end after all, your welfare, is the humane liberal’s reproach to the Socialist; take up a purely human interest, then I will be your companion. “But to this there belongs a consciousness stronger, more comprehensive, than a laborer-consciousness”. “The laborer makes nothing, therefore he has nothing; but he makes nothing because his labor is always a labor that remains individual, calculated strictly for his own want, a labor day by day.”[39] In opposition to this one might, e.g., consider the fact that Gutenberg’s labor did not remain individual, but begot innumerable children, and still lives today; it was calculated for the want of humanity, and was an eternal, imperishable labor.

The humane consciousness despises the commoner-consciousness as well as the laborer-consciousness: for the commoner is “indignant” only at vagabonds (at all who have “no definite occupation”) and their “immorality”; the laborer is “disgusted” by the idler (“lazy-bones”) and his “immoral,” because parasitic and unsocial, principles. To this the humane liberal retorts: The unsettledness of many is only your product, Philistine! But that you, proletarian, demand the grind of all, and want to make drudgery general, is a part, still clinging to you, of your pack-mule life up to this time. Certainly you want to lighten drudgery itself by all having to drudge equally hard, yet only for this reason, that all may gain leisure to an equal extent. But what are they to do with their leisure? What does your “society” do, that this leisure may be passed humanly? It must leave the gained leisure to egoistic preference again, and the very gain that your society furthers falls to the egoist, as the gain of the commonalty, the masterlessness of man, could not be filled with a human element by the State, and therefore was left to arbitrary choice.

It is assuredly necessary that man be masterless: but therefore the egoist is not to become master over man again either, but man over the egoist. Man must assuredly find leisure: but, if the egoist makes use of it, it will be lost for man; therefore you ought to have given leisure a human significance. But you laborers undertake even your labor from an egoistic impulse, because you want to eat, drink, live; how should you be less egoists in leisure? You labor only because having your time to yourselves (idling) goes well after work done, and what you are to while away your leisure time with is left to chance.

But, if every door is to be bolted against egoism, it would be necessary to strive after completely “disinterested” action, total disinterestedness. This alone is human, because only Man is disinterested, the egoist always interested.

* * *

If we let disinterestedness pass unchallenged for a while, then we ask, do you mean not to take an interest in anything, not to be enthusiastic for anything, not for liberty, humanity, etc.? “Oh, yes, but that is not an egoistic interest, not interestedness, but a human, i.e. a — theoretical interest, to wit, an interest not for an individual or individuals (‘all’), but for the idea, for Man!”

And you do not notice that you too are enthusiastic only for your idea, your idea of liberty?

And, further, do you not notice that your disinterestedness is again, like religious disinterestedness, a heavenly interestedness? Certainly benefit to the individual leaves you cold, and abstractly you could cry fiat libertas, pereat mundus. You do not take thought for the coming day either, and take no serious care for the individual’s wants anyhow, not for your own comfort nor for that of the rest; but you make nothing of all this, because you are a — dreamer.

Do you suppose the humane liberal will be so liberal as to aver that everything possible to man is human? On the contrary! He does not, indeed, share the Philistine’s moral prejudice about the strumpet, but “that this woman turns her body into a money-getting machine”[40] makes her despicable to him as “human being.” His judgment is, the strumpet is not a human being; or, so far as a woman is a strumpet, so far is she unhuman, dehumanized. Further: The Jew, the Christian, the privileged person, the theologian, etc., is not a human being; so far as you are a Jew, etc., you are not a human being. Again the imperious postulate: Cast from you everything peculiar, criticize it away! Be not a Jew, not a Christian, but be a human being, nothing but a human being. Assert your humanity against every restrictive specification; make yourself, by means of it, a human being, and free from those limits; make yourself a “free man” — i.e. recognize humanity as your all-determining essence.

I say: You are indeed more than a Jew, more than a Christian, etc., but you are also more than a human being. Those are all ideas, but you are corporeal. Do you suppose, then, that you can ever become a “human being as such?” Do you suppose our posterity will find no prejudices and limits to clear away, for which our powers were not sufficient? Or do you perhaps think that in your fortieth or fiftieth year you have come so far that the following days have nothing more to dissipate in you, and that you are a human being? The men of the future will yet fight their way to many a liberty that we do not even miss. What do you need that later liberty for? If you meant to esteem yourself as nothing before you had become a human being, you would have to wait till the “last judgment,” till the day when man, or humanity, shall have attained perfection. But, as you will surely die before that, what becomes of your prize of victory?

Rather, therefore, invert the case, and say to yourself, I am a human being! I do not need to begin by producing the human being in myself, for he belongs to me already, like all my qualities.

But, asks the critic, how can one be a Jew and a man at once? In the first place, I answer, one cannot be either a Jew or a man at all, if “one” and Jew or man are to mean the same; “one” always reaches beyond those specifications, and — let Isaacs be ever so Jewish — a Jew, nothing but a Jew, he cannot be, just because he is this Jew. In the second place, as a Jew one assuredly cannot be a man, if being a man means being nothing special. But in the third place — and this is the point — I can, as a Jew, be entirely what I — can be. From Samuel or Moses, and others, you hardly expect that they should have raised themselves above Judaism, although you must say that they were not yet “men.” They simply were what they could be. Is it otherwise with the Jews of today? Because you have discovered the idea of humanity, does it follow from this that every Jew can become a convert to it? If he can, he does not fail to, and, if he fails to, he — cannot. What does your demand concern him? What the call to be a man, which you address to him?

* * *

As a universal principle, in the “human society” which the humane liberal promises, nothing “special” which one or another has is to find recognition, nothing which bears the character of “private” is to have value. In this way the circle of liberalism, which has its good principle in man and human liberty, its bad in the, egoist and everything private, its God in the former, its devil in the latter, rounds itself off completely; and, if the special or private person lost his value in the State (no personal prerogative), if in the “laborers’ or ragamuffins’ society” special (private) property is no longer recognized, so in “human society” everything special or private will be left out of account; and, when “pure criticism” shall have accomplished its arduous task, then it will be known just what we must look upon as private, and what, “penetrated with a sense of our nothingness,” we must — let stand.

Because State and Society do not suffice for humane liberalism, it negates both, and at the same time retains them. So at one time the cry is that the task of the day is “not a political, but a social, one,” and then again the “free State” is promised for the future. In truth, “human society” is both — the most general State and the most general society. Only against the limited State is it asserted that it makes too much stir about spiritual private interests (e.g. people’s religious belief), and against limited society that it makes too much of material private interests. Both are to leave private interests to private people, and, as human society, concern themselves solely about general human interests.

The politicians, thinking to abolish personal will, self-will or arbitrariness, did not observe that through property[Eigentum, “owndom”] our self-will[Eigenwille “own-will”] gained a secure place of refuge.

The Socialists, taking away property too, do not notice that this secures itself a continued existence in self-ownership. Is it only money and goods, then, that are a property. or is every opinion something of mine, something of my own?

So every opinion must be abolished or made impersonal. The person is entitled to no opinion, but, as self-will was transferred to the State, property to society, so opinion too must be transferred to something general, “Man,” and thereby become a general human opinion.

If opinion persists, then I have my God (why, God exists only as “my God,” he is an opinion or my “faith”), and consequently my faith, my religion, my thoughts, my ideals. Therefore a general human faith must come into existence, the “fanaticism of liberty.” For this would be a faith that agreed with the “essence of man,” and, because only “man” is reasonable (you and I might be very unreasonable!), a reasonable faith.

As self-will and property become powerless, so must self-ownership or egoism in general.

In this supreme development of “free man” egoism, self-ownership, is combated on principle, and such subordinate ends as the social “welfare” of the Socialists, etc., vanish before the lofty “idea of humanity.” Everything that is not a “general human” entity is something separate, satisfies only some or one; or, if it satisfies all, it does this to them only as individuals, not as men, and is therefore called “egoistic.”

To the Socialists welfare is still the supreme aim, as free rivalry was the approved thing to the political liberals; now welfare is free too, and we are free to achieve welfare, just as he who wanted to enter into rivalry (competition) was free to do so.

But to take part in the rivalry you need only to be commoners; to take part in the welfare, only to be laborers. Neither reaches the point of being synonymous with “man.” It is “truly well” with man only when he is also “intellectually free!” For man is mind: therefore all powers that are alien to him, the mind — all superhuman, heavenly, unhuman powers — must be overthrown and the name “man” must be above every name.

So in this end of the modern age (age of the moderns) there returns again, as the main point, what had been the main point at its beginning: “intellectual liberty.”

To the Communist in particular the humane liberal says: If society prescribes to you your activity, then this is indeed free from the influence of the individual, i.e. the egoist, but it still does not on that account need to be a purely human activity, nor you to be a complete organ of humanity. What kind of activity society demands of you remains accidental, you know; it might give you a place in building a temple or something of that sort, or, even if not that, you might yet on your own impulse be active for something foolish, therefore unhuman; yes, more yet, you really labor only to nourish yourself, in general to live, for dear life’s sake, not for the glorification of humanity. Consequently free activity is not attained till you make yourself free from all stupidities, from everything non-human, i.e., egoistic (pertaining only to the individual, not to the Man in the individual), dissipate all untrue thoughts that obscure man or the idea of humanity: in short, when you are not merely unhampered in your activity, but the substance too of your activity is only what is human, and you live and work only for humanity. But this is not the case so long as the aim of your effort is only your welfare and that of all; what you do for the society of ragamuffins is not yet anything done for “human society.”

Laboring does not alone make you a man, because it is something formal and its object accidental; the question is who you that labor are. As far as laboring goes, you might do it from an egoistic (material) impulse, merely to procure nourishment and the like; it must be a labor furthering humanity, calculated for the good of humanity, serving historical (i.e. human) evolution — in short, a human labor. This implies two things: one, that it be useful to humanity; next, that it be the work of a “man.” The first alone may be the case with every labor, as even the labors of nature, e.g. of animals, are utilized by humanity for the furthering of science, etc.; the second requires that he who labors should know the human object of his labor; and, as he can have this consciousness only when he knows himself as man, the crucial condition is — self-consciousness.

Unquestionably much is already attained when you cease to be a “fragment-laborer,”[41] yet therewith you only get a view of the whole of your labor, and acquire a consciousness about it, which is still far removed from a self-consciousness, a consciousness about your true “self” or “essence,” Man. The laborer has still remaining the desire for a “higher consciousness,” which, because the activity of labor is unable to quiet it, he satisfies in a leisure hour. Hence leisure stands by the side of his labor, and he sees himself compelled to proclaim labor and idling human in one breath, yes, to attribute the true elevation to the idler, the leisure-enjoyer. He labors only to get rid of labor; he wants to make labor free, only that he may be free from labor.

In fine, his work has no satisfying substance, because it is only imposed by society, only a stint, a task, a calling; and, conversely, his society does not satisfy, because it gives only work.

His labor ought to satisfy him as a man; instead of that, it satisfies society; society ought to treat him as a man, and it treats him as — a rag-tag laborer, or a laboring ragamuffin.

Labor and society are of use to him not as he needs them as a man, but only as he needs them as an “egoist.”

Such is the attitude of criticism toward labor. It points to “mind,” wages the war “of mind with the masses,”[42] and pronounces communistic labor unintellectual mass-labor. Averse to labor as they are, the masses love to make labor easy for themselves. In literature, which is today furnished in mass, this aversion to labor begets the universally-known superficiality, which puts from it “the toil of research.”[43]

Therefore humane liberalism says: You want labor; all right, we want it likewise, but we want it in the fullest measure. We want it, not that we may gain spare time, but that we may find all satisfaction in it itself. We want labor because it is our self-development.

But then the labor too must be adapted to that end! Man is honored only by human, self-conscious labor, only by the labor that has for its end no “egoistic” purpose, but Man, and is Man’s self-revelation; so that the saying should be laboro, ergo sum, I labor, therefore I am a man. The humane liberal wants that labor of the mind which works up all material; he wants the mind, that leaves no thing quiet or in its existing condition, that acquiesces in nothing, analyzes everything, criticises anew every result that has been gained. This restless mind is the true laborer, it obliterates prejudices, shatters limits and narrownesses, and raises man above everything that would like to dominate over him, while the Communist labors only for himself, and not even freely, but from necessity, — in short, represents a man condemned to hard labor.

The laborer of such a type is not “egoistic,” because he does not labor for individuals, neither for himself nor for other individuals, not for private men therefore, but for humanity and its progress: he does not ease individual pains, does not care for individual wants, but removes limits within which humanity is pressed, dispels prejudices which dominate an entire time, vanquishes hindrances that obstruct the path of all, clears away errors in which men entangle themselves, discovers truths which are found through him for all and for all time; in short — he lives and labors for humanity.

Now, in the first place, the discoverer of a great truth doubtless knows that it can be useful to the rest of men, and, as a jealous withholding furnishes him no enjoyment, he communicates it; but, even though he has the consciousness that his communication is highly valuable to the rest, yet he has in no wise sought and found his truth for the sake of the rest, but for his own sake, because he himself desired it, because darkness and fancies left him no rest till he had procured for himself light and enlightenment to the best of his powers.

He labors, therefore, for his own sake and for the satisfaction of his want. That along with this he was also useful to others, yes, to posterity, does not take from his labor the egoistic character.

In the next place, if he did labor only on his own account, like the rest, why should his act be human, those of the rest unhuman, i. e., egoistic? Perhaps because this book, painting, symphony, etc., is the labor of his whole being, because he has done his best in it, has spread himself out wholly and is wholly to be known from it, while the work of a handicraftsman mirrors only the handicraftsman, i.e. the skill in handicraft, not “the man?” In his poems we have the whole Schiller; in so many hundred stoves, on the other hand, we have before us only the stove-maker, not “the man.”

But does this mean more than “in the one work you see me as completely as possible, in the other only my skill?” Is it not me again that the act expresses? And is it not more egoistic to offer oneself to the world in a work, to work out and shape oneself, than to remain concealed behind one’s labor? You say, to be sure, that you are revealing Man. But the Man that you reveal is you; you reveal only yourself, yet with this distinction from the handicraftsman — that he does not understand how to compress himself into one labor, but, in order to be known as himself, must be searched out in his other relations of life, and that your want, through whose satisfaction that work came into being, was a — theoretical want.

But you will reply that you reveal quite another man, a worthier, higher, greater, a man that is more man than that other. I will assume that you accomplish all that is possible to man, that you bring to pass what no other succeeds in. Wherein, then, does your greatness consist? Precisely in this, that you are more than other men (the “masses”), more than men ordinarily are, more than “ordinary men”; precisely in your elevation above men. You are distinguished beyond other men not by being man, but because you are a “unique” [“einziger”] man. Doubtless you show what a man can do; but because you, a man, do it, this by no means shows that others, also men, are able to do as much; you have executed it only as a unique man, and are unique therein.

It is not man that makes up your greatness, but you create it, because you are more than man, and mightier than other — men.

It is believed that one cannot be more than man. Rather, one cannot be less!

It is believed further that whatever one attains is good for Man. In so far as I remain at all times a man — or, like Schiller, a Swabian; like Kant, a Prussian; like Gustavus Adolfus, a near-sighted person — I certainly become by my superior qualities a notable man, Swabian, Prussian, or near-sighted person. But the case is not much better with that than with Frederick the Great’s cane, which became famous for Frederick’s sake.

To “Give God the glory” corresponds the modern “Give Man the glory.” But I mean to keep it for myself.

Criticism, issuing the summons to man to be “human,” enunciates the necessary condition of sociability; for only as a man among men is one companionable. Herewith it makes known its social object, the establishment of “human society.”

Among social theories criticism is indisputably the most complete, because it removes and deprives of value everything that separates man from man: all prerogatives, down to the prerogative of faith. In it the love-principle of Christianity, the true social principle, comes to the purest fulfillment, and the last possible experiment is tried to take away exclusiveness and repulsion from men: a fight against egoism in its simplest and therefore hardest form, in the form of singleness,[“Einzigkeit”] exclusiveness, itself.

“How can you live a truly social life so long as even one exclusiveness still exists between you?”

I ask conversely, How can you be truly single so long as even one connection still exists between you? If you are connected, you cannot leave each other; if a “tie” clasps you, you are something only with another, and twelve of you make a dozen, thousands of you a people, millions of you humanity.

“Only when you are human can you keep company with each other as men, just as you can understand each other as patriots only when you are patriotic!”

All right; then I answer, Only when you are single can you have intercourse with each other as what you are.

It is precisely the keenest critic who is hit hardest by the curse of his principle. Putting from him one exclusive thing after another, shaking off churchliness, patriotism, etc., he undoes one tie after another and separates himself from the churchly man, from the patriot, till at last, when all ties are undone, he stands — alone. He, of all men, must exclude all that have anything exclusive or private; and, when you get to the bottom, what can be more exclusive than the exclusive, single person himself!

Or does he perhaps think that the situation would be better if all became “man” and gave up exclusiveness? Why, for the very reason that “all” means “every individual” the most glaring contradiction is still maintained, for the “individual” is exclusiveness itself. If the humane liberal no longer concedes to the individual anything private or exclusive, any private thought, any private folly; if he criticises everything away from him before his face, since his hatred of the private is an absolute and fanatical hatred; if he knows no tolerance toward what is private, because everything private is unhuman — yet he cannot criticize away the private person himself, since the hardness of the individual person resists his criticism, and he must be satisfied with declaring this person a “private person” and really leaving everything private to him again.

What will the society that no longer cares about anything private do? Make the private impossible? No, but “subordinate it to the interests of society, and, e.g., leave it to private will to institute holidays as many as it chooses, if only it does not come in collision with the general interest.”[44] Everything private is left freei.e., it has no interest for society.

“By their raising barriers against science the church and religiousness have declared that they are what they always were, only that this was hidden under another semblance when they were proclaimed to be the basis and necessary foundation of the State — a matter of purely private concern. Even when they were connected with the State and made it Christian, they were only the proof that the State had not yet developed its general political idea, that it was only instituting private rights — they were only the highest expression for the fact that the State was a private affair and had to do only with private affairs. When the State shall at last have the courage and strength to fulfil its general destiny and to be free; when, therefore, it is also able to give separate interests and private concerns their true position — then religion and the church will be free as they have never been hitherto. As a matter of the most purely private concern, and a satisfaction of purely personal want, they will be left to themselves; and every individual, every congregation and ecclesiastical communion, will be able to care for the blessedness of their souls as they choose and as they think necessary. Every one will care for his soul’s blessedness so far as it is to him a personal want, and will accept and pay as spiritual caretaker the one who seems to him to offer the best guarantee for the satisfaction of his want. Science is at last left entirely out of the game.”[45]

What is to happen, though? Is social life to have an end, and all affability, all fraternization, everything that is created by the love or society principle, to disappear?

As if one will not always seek the other because he needs him; as if one must accommodate himself to the other when he needs him. But the difference is this, that then the individual really unites with the individual, while formerly they were bound together by a tie; son and father are bound together before majority, after it they can come together independently; before it they belonged together as members of the family, after it they unite as egoists; sonship and fatherhood remain, but son and father no longer pin themselves down to these.

The last privilege, in truth, is “Man”; with it all are privileged or invested. For, as Bruno Bauer himself says, “privilege remains even when it is extended to all.”[46]

Thus liberalism runs its course in the following transformations: “First, the individual is not man, therefore his individual personality is of no account: no personal will, no arbitrariness, no orders or mandates!

“Second, the individual has nothing human, therefore no mine and thine, or property, is valid.

“Third, as the individual neither is man nor has anything human, he shall not exist at all: he shall, as an egoist with his egoistic belongings, be annihilated by criticism to make room for Man, ‘Man, just discovered.’”

But, although the individual is not Man, Man is yet present in the individual, and, like every spook and everything divine, has its existence in him. Hence political liberalism awards to the individual everything that pertains to him as “a man by birth,” as a born man, among which there are counted liberty of conscience, the possession of goods, etc. — in short, the “rights of man”; Socialism grants to the individual what pertains to him as an active man, as a “laboring” man; finally. humane liberalism gives the individual what he has as “a man,” i. e., everything that belongs to humanity. Accordingly the single one [“Einzige”] has nothing at all, humanity everything; and the necessity of the “regeneration” preached in Christianity is demanded unambiguously and in the completest measure. Become a new creature, become “man!”

One might even think himself reminded of the close of the Lord’s Prayer. To Man belongs the lordship (the “power” or dynamis); therefore no individual may be lord, but Man is the lord of individuals; — Man’s is the kingdomi.e. the world, consequently the individual is not to be proprietor, but Man, “all,” command the world as property — to Man is due renown, glorification or “glory” (doxa) from all, for Man or humanity is the individual’s end, for which he labors, thinks, lives, and for whose glorification he must become “man.”

Hitherto men have always striven to find out a fellowship in which their inequalities in other respects should become “nonessential”; they strove for equalization, consequently for equality, and wanted to come all under one hat, which means nothing less than that they were seeking for one lord, one tie, one faith (“‘Tis in one God we all believe”). There cannot be for men anything more fellowly or more equal than Man himself, and in this fellowship the love-craving has found its contentment: it did not rest till it had brought on this last equalization, leveled all inequality, laid man on the breast of man. But under this very fellowship decay and ruin become most glaring. In a more limited fellowship the Frenchman still stood against the German, the Christian against the Mohammedan, etc. Now, on the contrary, man stands against men, or, as men are not man, man stands against the un-man.

The sentence “God has become man” is now followed by the other, “Man has become I.” This is the human 1. But we invert it and say: I was not able to find myself so long as I sought myself as Man. But, now that it appears that Man is aspiring to become I and to gain a corporeity in me, I note that, after all, everything depends on me, and Man is lost without me. But I do not care to give myself up to be the shrine of this most holy thing, and shall not ask henceforward whether I am man or un-man in what I set about; let this spirit keep off my neck!

Humane liberalism goes to work radically. If you want to be or have anything especial even in one point, if you want to retain for yourself even one prerogative above others, to claim even one right that is not a “general right of man,” you are an egoist.

Very good! I do not want to have or be anything especial above others, I do not want to claim any prerogative against them, but — I do not measure myself by others either, and do not want to have any right whatever. I want to be all and have all that I can be and have. Whether others are and have anything similar, what do I care? The equal, the same, they can neither be nor have. I cause no detriment to them, as I cause no detriment to the rock by being “ahead of it” in having motion. If they could have it, they would have it.

To cause other men no detriment is the point of the demand to possess no prerogative; to renounce all “being ahead,” the strictest theory of renunciation. One is not to count himself as “anything especial,” e.g. a Jew or a Christian. Well, I do not count myself as anything especial, but as unique.[“einzig”] Doubtless I have similarity with others; yet that holds good only for comparison or reflection; in fact I am incomparable, unique. My flesh is not their flesh, my mind is not their mind. If you bring them under the generalities “flesh, mind,” those are your thoughts, which have nothing to do with my flesh, my mind, and can least of all issue a “call” to mine.

I do not want to recognize or respect in you any thing, neither the proprietor nor the ragamuffin, nor even the man, but to use you. In salt I find that it makes food palatable to me, therefore I dissolve it; in the fish I recognize an aliment, therefore I eat it; in you I discover the gift of making my life agreeable, therefore I choose you as a companion. Or, in salt I study crystallization, in the fish animality, in you men, etc. But to me you are only what you are for me — to wit, my object; and, because my object, therefore my property.

In humane liberalism ragamuffinhood is completed. We must first come down to the most ragamuffin-like, most poverty-stricken condition if we want to arrive at ownness, for we must strip off everything alien. But nothing seems more ragamuffin-like than naked — Man.

It is more than ragamuffinhood, however, when I throw away Man too because I feel that he too is alien to me and that T can make no pretensions on that basis. This is no longer mere ragamuffinhood: because even the last rag has fallen off, here stands real nakedness, denudation of everything alien. The ragamuffin has stripped off ragamuffinhood itself, and therewith has ceased to be what he was, a ragamuffin.

I am no longer a ragamuffin, but have been one.

* * *

Up to this time the discord could not come to an outbreak, because properly there is current only a contention of modern liberals with antiquated liberals, a contention of those who understand “freedom” in a small measure and those who want the “full measure” of freedom; of the moderate and measureless, therefore. Everything turns on the question, how free must man be? That man must be free, in this all believe; therefore all are liberal too. But the un-man[47] who is somewhere in every individual, how is he blocked? How can it be arranged not to leave the un-man free at the same time with man?

Liberalism as a whole has a deadly enemy, an invincible opposite, as God has the devil: by the side of man stands always the un-man, the individual, the egoist. State, society, humanity, do not master this devil.

Humane liberalism has undertaken the task of showing the other liberals that they still do not want “freedom.”

If the other liberals had before their eyes only isolated egoism and were for the most part blind, radical liberalism has against it egoism “in mass,” throws among the masses all who do not make the cause of freedom their own as it does, so that now man and un-man rigorously separated, stand over against each other as enemies, to wit, the “masses” and “criticism”;[48] namely, “free, human criticism,” as it is called (Judenfrage, p. 114), in opposition to crude, that is, religious criticism.

Criticism expresses the hope that it will be victorious over all the masses and “give them a general certificate of insolvency.”[49] So it means finally to make itself out in the right, and to represent all contention of the “faint-hearted and timorous” as an egoistic stubbornness,[Rechthaberei, literally the character of always insisting on making one’s self out to be in the right] as pettiness, paltriness. All wrangling loses significance, and petty dissensions are given up, because in criticism a common enemy enters the field. “You are egoists altogether, one no better than another!” Now the egoists stand together against criticism.

Really the egoists? No, they fight against criticism precisely because it accuses them of egoism; they do not plead guilty of egoism. Accordingly criticism and the masses stand on the same basis: both fight against egoism, both repudiate it for themselves and charge it to each other.

Criticism and the masses pursue the same goal, freedom from egoism, and wrangle only over which of them approaches nearest to the goal or even attains it.

The Jews, the Christians, the absolutists, the men of darkness and men of light, politicians, Communists — all, in short — hold the reproach of egoism far from them; and, as criticism brings against them this reproach in plain terms and in the most extended sense, all justify themselves against the accusation of egoism, and combat — egoism, the same enemy with whom criticism wages war.

Both, criticism and masses, are enemies of egoists, and both seek to liberate themselves from egoism, as well by clearing or whitewashing themselvesas by ascribing it to the opposite party.

The critic is the true “spokesman of the masses” who gives them the “simple concept and the phrase” of egoism, while the spokesmen to whom the triumph is denied were only bunglers. He is their prince and general in the war against egoism for freedom; what he fights against they fight against. But at the same time he is their enemy too, only not the enemy before them, but the friendly enemy who wields the knout behind the timorous to force courage into them.

Hereby the opposition of criticism and the masses is reduced to the following contradiction: “You are egoists!” “No, we are not!” “I will prove it to you!” “You shall have our justification!”

Let us then take both for what they give themselves out for, non-egoists, and what they take each other for, egoists. They are egoists and are not.

Properly criticism says: You must liberate your ego from all limitedness so entirely that it becomes a human ego. I say: Liberate yourself as far as you can, and you have done your part; for it is not given to every one to break through all limits, or, more expressively: not to every one is that a limit which is a limit for the rest. Consequently, do not tire yourself with toiling at the limits of others; enough if you tear down yours. Who has ever succeeded in tearing down even one limit for all men? Are not countless persons today, as at all times, running about with all the “limitations of humanity?” He who overturns one of his limits may have shown others the way and the means; the overturning of their limits remains their affair. Nobody does anything else either. To demand of people that they become wholly men is to call on them to cast down all human limits. That is impossible, because Man has no limits. I have some indeed, but then it is only mine that concern me any, and only they can be overcome by me. A human ego I cannot become, just because I am I and not merely man.

Yet let us still see whether criticism has not taught us something that we can lay to heart! I am not free if I am not without interests, not man if I am not disinterested? Well, even if it makes little difference to me to be free or man, yet I do not want to leave unused any occasion to realize myself or make myself count. Criticism offers me this occasion by the teaching that, if anything plants itself firmly in me, and becomes indissoluble, I become its prisoner and servant, i.e. a possessed man. An interest, be it for what it may, has kidnapped a slave in me if I cannot get away from it, and is no longer my property, but I am its. Let us therefore accept criticism’s lesson to let no part of our property become stable, and to feel comfortable only in — dissolving it.

So, if criticism says: You are man only when you are restlessly criticizing and dissolving! then we say: Man I am without that, and I am I likewise; therefore I want only to be careful to secure my property to myself; and, in order to secure it, I continually take it back into myself, annihilate in it every movement toward independence, and swallow it before it can fix itself and become a “fixed idea” or a “mania.”

But I do that not for the sake of my “human calling,” but because I call myself to it. I do not strut about dissolving everything that it is possible for a man to dissolve, and, e.g., while not yet ten years old I do not criticize the nonsense of the Commandments, but I am man all the same, and act humanly in just this — that I still leave them uncriticized. In short, I have no calling, and follow none, not even that to be a man.

Do I now reject what liberalism has won in its various exertions? Far be the day that anything won should be lost! Only, after “Man” has become free through liberalism, I turn my gaze back upon myself and confess to myself openly: What Man seems to have gained, I alone have gained.

Man is free when “Man is to man the supreme being.” So it belongs to the completion of liberalism that every other supreme being be annulled, theology overturned by anthropology, God and his grace laughed down, “atheism” universal.

The egoism of property has given up the last that it had to give when even the “My God” has become senseless; for God exists only when he has at heart the individual’s welfare, as the latter seeks his welfare in him.

Political liberalism abolished the inequality of masters and servants: it made people masterless, anarchic. The master was now removed from the individual, the “egoist,” to become a ghost — the law or the State. Social liberalism abolishes the inequality of possession, of the poor and rich, and makes people possessionless or propertyless. Property is withdrawn from the individual and surrendered to ghostly society. Humane liberalism makes people godless, atheistic. Therefore the individual’s God, “My God,” must be put an end to. Now masterlessness is indeed at the same time freedom from service, possessionlessness at the same time freedom from care, and godlessness at the same time freedom from prejudice: for with the master the servant falls away; with possession, the care about it; with the firmly-rooted God, prejudice. But, since the master rises again as State, the servants appears again as subject; since possession becomes the property of society, care is begotten anew as labor; and, since God as Man becomes a prejudice, there arises a new faith, faith in humanity or liberty. For the individual’s God the God of all, viz., “Man,” is now exalted; “for it is the highest thing in us all to be man.” But, as nobody can become entirely what the idea “man” imports, Man remains to the individual a lofty other world, an unattained supreme being, a God. But at the same time this is the “true God,” because he is fully adequate to us — to wit, our own “self”; we ourselves, but separated from us and lifted above us.

* * *


The foregoing review of “free human criticism” was written by bits immediately after the appearance of the books in question, as was also that which elsewhere refers to writings of this tendency, and I did little more than bring together the fragments. But criticism is restlessly pressing forward, and thereby makes it necessary for me to come back to it once more, now that my book is finished, and insert this concluding note.

I have before me the latest (eighth) number of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung of Bruno Bauer.

There again “the general interests of society” stand at the top. But criticism has reflected, and given this “society” a specification by which it is discriminated from a form which previously had still been confused with it: the “State,” in former passages still celebrated as “free State,” is quite given up because it can in no wise fulfil the task of “human society.” Criticism only “saw itself compelled to identify for a moment human and political affairs” in 1842; but now it has found that the State, even as “free State,” is not human society, or, as it could likewise say, that the people is not “man.” We saw how it got through with theology and showed clearly that God sinks into dust before Man; we see it now come to a clearance with politics in the same way, and show that before Man peoples and nationalities fall: so we see how it has its explanation with Church and State, declaring them both unhuman, and we shall see — for it betrays this to us already — how it can also give proof that before Man the “masses,” which it even calls a “spiritual being,” appear worthless. And how should the lesser “spiritual beings” be able to maintain themselves before the supreme spirit? “Man” casts down the false idols.

So what the critic has in view for the present is the scrutiny of the “masses,” which he will place before “Man” in order to combat them from the standpoint of Man. “What is now the object of criticism?” “The masses, a spiritual being!” These the critic will “learn to know,” and will find that they are in contradiction with Man; he will demonstrate that they are unhuman, and will succeed just as well in this demonstration as in the former ones, that the divine and the national, or the concerns of Church and of State, were the unhuman.

The masses are defined as “the most significant product of the Revolution, as the deceived multitude which the illusions of political Illumination, and in general the entire Illumination movement of the eighteenth century, have given over to boundless disgruntlement.” The Revolution satisfied some by its result, and left others unsatisfied; the satisfied part is the commonalty (bourgeoisie, etc.), the unsatisfied is the — masses. Does not the critic, so placed, himself belong to the “masses”?

But the unsatisfied are still in great mistiness, and their discontent utters itself only in a “boundless disgruntlement.” This the likewise unsatisfied critic now wants to master: he cannot want and attain more than to bring that “spiritual being,” the masses, out of its disgruntlement, and to “uplift” those who were only disgruntled, i.e. to give them the right attitude toward those results of the Revolution which are to be overcome; — he can become the head of the masses, their decided spokesman. Therefore he wants also to “abolish the deep chasm which parts him from the multitude.” From those who want to “uplift the lower classes of the people” he is distinguished by wanting to deliver from “disgruntlement,” not merely these, but himself too.

But assuredly his consciousness does not deceive him either, when he takes the masses to be the “natural opponents of theory,” and foresees that, “the more this theory shall develop itself, so much the more will it make the masses compact.” For the critic cannot enlighten or satisfy the masses with his presupposition, Man. If over against the commonalty they are only the “lower classes of the people,” politically insignificant masses, over against “Man” they must still more be mere “masses,” humanly insignificant — yes, unhuman — masses, or a multitude of un-men.

The critic clears away everything human; and, starting from the presupposition that the human is the true, he works against himself, denying it wherever it had been hitherto found. He proves only that the human is to be found nowhere except in his head, but the unhuman everywhere. The unhuman is the real, the extant on all hands, and by the proof that it is “not human” the critic only enunciates plainly the tautological sentence that it is the unhuman.

But what if the unhuman, turning its back on itself with resolute heart, should at the same time turn away from the disturbing critic and leave him standing, untouched and unstung by his remonstrance? “You call me the unhuman,” it might say to him, “and so I really am — for you; but I am so only because you bring me into opposition to the human, and I could despise myself only so long as I let myself be hypnotized into this opposition. I was contemptible because I sought my ‘better self’ outside me; I was the unhuman because I dreamed of the ‘human’; I resembled the pious who hunger for their ‘true self’ and always remain ‘poor sinners’; I thought of myself only in comparison to another; enough, I was not all in all, was not — unique.[“einzig”] But now I cease to appear to myself as the unhuman, cease to measure myself and let myself be measured by man, cease to recognize anything above me: consequently — adieu, humane critic! I only have been the unhuman, am it now no longer, but am the unique, yes, to your loathing, the egoistic; yet not the egoistic as it lets itself be measured by the human, humane, and unselfish, but the egoistic as the — unique.”

We have to pay attention to still another sentence of the same number. “Criticism sets up no dogmas, and wants to learn to know nothing but things.”

The critic is afraid of becoming “dogmatic” or setting up dogmas. Of course: why, thereby he would become the opposite of the critic — the dogmatist; he would now become bad, as he is good as critic, or would become from an unselfish man an egoist, etc. “Of all things, no dogma!” This is his — dogma. For the critic remains on one and the same ground with the dogmatist — that of thoughts. Like the latter he always starts from a thought, but varies in this, that he never ceases to keep the principle-thought in the process of thinking, and so does not let it become stable. He only asserts the thought-process against the thought-faith, the progress of thinking against stationariness in it. From criticism no thought is safe, since criticism is thought or the thinking mind itself.

Therefore I repeat that the religious world — and this is the world of thought — reaches its completion in criticism, where thinking extends its encroachments over every thought, no one of which may “egoistically” establish itself. Where would the “purity of criticism,” the purity of thinking, be left if even one thought escaped the process of thinking? This explains the fact that the critic has even begun already to gibe gently here and there at the thought of Man, of humanity and humaneness, because he suspects that here a thought is approaching dogmatic fixity. But yet he cannot decompose this thought till he has found a — “higher” in which it dissolves; for he moves only — in thoughts. This higher thought might be enunciated as that of the movement or process of thinking itself, i.e. as the thought of thinking or of criticism, for example.

Freedom of thinking has in fact become complete hereby, freedom of mind celebrates its triumph: for the individual, “egoistic” thoughts have lost their dogmatic truculence. There is nothing left but the — dogma of free thinking or of criticism.

Against everything that belongs to the world of thought, criticism is in the right, i. e., in might: it is the victor. Criticism, and criticism alone, is “up to date.” From the standpoint of thought there is no power capable of being an overmatch for criticism’s, and it is a pleasure to see how easily and sportively this dragon swallows all other serpents of thought. Each serpent twists, to be sure, but criticism crushes it in all its “turns.”

I am no opponent of criticism, i.e. I am no dogmatist, and do not feel myself touched by the critic’s tooth with which he tears the dogmatist to pieces. If I were a “dogmatist,” I should place at the head a dogma, i.e. a thought, an idea, a principle, and should complete this as a “systematist,” spinning it out to a system, a structure of thought. Conversely, if I were a critic, viz., an opponent of the dogmatist, I should carry on the fight of free thinking against the enthralling thought, I should defend thinking against what was thought. But I am neither the champion of a thought nor the champion of thinking; for “I,” from whom I start, am not a thought, nor do I consist in thinking. Against me, the unnameable, the realm of thoughts, thinking, and mind is shattered.

Criticism is the possessed man’s fight against possession as such, against all possession: a fight which is founded in the consciousness that everywhere possession, or, as the critic calls it, a religious and theological attitude, is extant. He knows that people stand in a religious or believing attitude not only toward God, but toward other ideas as well, like right, the State, law; i.e. he recognizes possession in all places. So he wants to break up thoughts by thinking; but I say, only thoughtlessness really saves me from thoughts. It is not thinking, but my thoughtlessness, or I the unthinkable, incomprehensible, that frees me from possession.

A jerk does me the service of the most anxious thinking, a stretching of the limbs shakes off the torment of thoughts, a leap upward hurls from my breast the nightmare of the religious world, a jubilant Hoopla throws off year-long burdens. But the monstrous significance of unthinking jubilation could not be recognized in the long night of thinking and believing.

“What clumsiness and frivolity, to want to solve the most difficult problems, acquit yourself of the most comprehensive tasks, by a breaking off!”

But have you tasks if you do not set them to yourself? So long as you set them, you will not give them up, and I certainly do not care if you think, and, thinking, create a thousand thoughts. But you who have set the tasks, are you not to be able to upset them again? Must you be bound to these tasks, and must they become absolute tasks?

To cite only one thing, the government has been disparaged on account of its resorting to forcible means against thoughts, interfering against the press by means of the police power of the censorship, and making a personal fight out of a literary one. As if it were solely a matter of thoughts, and as if one’s attitude toward thoughts must be unselfish, self-denying, and self-sacrificing! Do not those thoughts attack the governing parties themselves, and so call out egoism? And do the thinkers not set before the attacked ones the religious demand to reverence the power of thought, of ideas? They are to succumb voluntarily and resignedly, because the divine power of thought, Minerva, fights on their enemies’ side. Why, that would be an act of possession, a religious sacrifice. To be sure, the governing parties are themselves held fast in a religious bias, and follow the leading power of an idea or a faith; but they are at the same time unconfessed egoists, and right here, against the enemy, their pent-up egoism breaks loose: possessed in their faith, they are at the same time unpossessed by their opponents’ faith, i.e. they are egoists toward this. If one wants to make them a reproach, it could only be the converse — to wit, that they are possessed by their ideas.

Against thoughts no egoistic power is to appear, no police power etc. So the believers in thinking believe. But thinking and its thoughts are not sacred to me, and I defend my skin against them as against other things. That may be an unreasonable defense; but, if I am in duty bound to reason, then I, like Abraham, must sacrifice my dearest to it!

In the kingdom of thought, which, like that of faith, is the kingdom of heaven, every one is assuredly wrong who uses unthinking force, just as every one is wrong who in the kingdom of love behaves unlovingly, or, although he is a Christian and therefore lives in the kingdom of love, yet acts un-Christianly; in these kingdoms, to which he supposes himself to belong though he nevertheless throws off their laws, he is a “sinner” or “egoist.” But it is only when he becomes a criminal against these kingdoms that he can throw off their dominion.

Here too the result is this, that the fight of the thinkers against the government is indeed in the right, namely, in might — so far as it is carried on against the government’s thoughts (the government is dumb, and does not succeed in making any literary rejoinder to speak of), but is, on the other hand, in the wrong, to wit, in impotence, so far as it does not succeed in bringing into the field anything but thoughts against a personal power (the egoistic power stops the mouths of the thinkers). The theoretical fight cannot complete the victory, and the sacred power of thought succumbs to the might of egoism. Only the egoistic fight, the fight of egoists on both sides, clears up everything.

This last now, to make thinking an affair of egoistic option, an affair of the single person,[“des Einzigen”] a mere pastime or hobby as it were, and, to take from it the importance of “being the last decisive power”; this degradation and desecration of thinking; this equalization of the unthinking and thoughtful ego; this clumsy but real “equality” — criticism is not able to produce, because it itself is only the priest of thinking, and sees nothing beyond thinking but — the deluge.

Criticism does indeed affirm, e.g. that free criticism may overcome the State, but at the same time it defends itself against the reproach which is laid upon it by the State government, that it is “self-will and impudence”; it thinks, then, that “self-will and impudence” may not overcome, it alone may. The truth is rather the reverse: the State can be really overcome only by impudent self-will.

It may now, to conclude with this, be clear that in the critic’s new change of front he has not transformed himself, but only “made good an oversight,” “disentangled a subject,” and is saying too much when he speaks of “criticism criticizing itself”; it, or rather he, has only criticized its “oversight” and cleared it of its “inconsistencies.” If he wanted to criticize criticism, he would have to look and see if there was anything in its presupposition.

I on my part start from a presupposition in presupposing myself; but my presupposition does not struggle for its perfection like “Man struggling for his perfection,” but only serves me to enjoy it and consume it. I consume my presupposition, and nothing else, and exist only in consuming it. But that presupposition is therefore not a presupposition at all: for, as I am the Unique, I know nothing of the duality of a presupposing and a presupposed ego (an “incomplete” and a “complete” ego or man); but this, that I consume myself, means only that I am. I do not presuppose myself, because I am every moment just positing or creating myself, and am I only by being not presupposed but posited, and, again, posited only in the moment when I posit myself; i. e., I am creator and creature in one.

If the presuppositions that have hitherto been current are to melt away in a full dissolution, they must not be dissolved into a higher presupposition again — i.e. a thought, or thinking itself, criticism. For that dissolution is to be for my good; otherwise it would belong only in the series of the innumerable dissolutions which, in favor of others (e.g. this very Man, God, the State, pure morality, etc.), declared old truths to be untruths and did away with long-fostered presuppositions.

Part Second: I

At the entrance of the modern time stands the “God-man.” At its exit will only the God in the God-man evaporate? And can the God-man really die if only the God in him dies? They did not think of this question, and thought they were through when in our days they brought to a victorious end the work of the Illumination, the vanquishing of God: they did not notice that Man has killed God in order to become now — “sole God on high.” The other world outside us is indeed brushed away, and the great undertaking of the Illuminators completed; but the other world in us has become a new heaven and calls us forth to renewed heaven-storming: God has had to give place, yet not to us, but to — Man. How can you believe that the God-man is dead before the Man in him, besides the God, is dead?