Paranoia at TOO

Rejection of a paradigm means basically recognizing that our parents and ancestors got their Weltanschauung and moral grammar (axiology) all wrong.

This is not the case of white nationalists. Yesterday at The Occidental Observer for example, some commenters blamed everything but Christian axiology for the deranged altruism of Pope Francis. According to them, the pope is either a “Marrano” (i.e., a crypto-Jew), a “freemason” or a “Marxist.” Other commenter opined that “Jews, Marxists, Freemasons and homosexuals are over represented within the Vatican machinery.” Another wrote: “Whites have been hypnotized by jews into committing suicide through immigration and race-mixing.” And still others agreed that: “it’s motivated by a need for approval.”

This is paranoia. These white nationalists can speculate on everything except the most parsimonious explanation: Pope Francis I is simply using St Francis as his inspiring saint! Deranged altruism à la Camp of the Saints is nothing but the Jesus message undiluted!

nml_warg_wagAfter more than a week I have received zero comments about my previous sticky post, Solitude.” I give up and have just removed it from its privileged place at the top of this page. But I must say that I believe such “solitude” is related to my complete apostasy from Christianity (and my inner drive to make a difference in the real world): something that apparently racialists are unwilling to do…


Below, my comments of the ten threads about Nietzsche’s
prologue to Thus Spoke Zarathustra in a single entry:


Visitors will be surprised to learn that a Spanish edition has more detailed endnotes than the academic English translation of Nietzsche’s magnum opus.

This is because Spaniards are fed up of Catholicism. North Americans have a few centuries experimenting with Christianity. Spain has more than a millennium and a half, and our parents’ religion is on its last dying breaths there.

Andrés Sánchez-Pascual’s scholarly translation of Nietzsche’s books since the early 1970s became so popular that over the decades he has received hundreds of letters from his Spanish-speaking readers. The book’s edition of Así Habló Zaratustra that I purchased this month for example (I lost the old copies that I used to read sporadically in the 1970s and 80s) is its twentieth edition.

So fed up of Catholicism are Spain’s thinking classes that, again, the copies I bought of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums which introduction appears in my compilation The Fair Race’s Darkest Hour, were translated to Spanish for an audience unexpectedly avid of this sort of extraordinarily scholarly material (Deschner’s maximum opus has yet to be translated to English).

Another example. Manu Rodríguez, who has had a place of high honor in this site and in The Fair Race, is also an avid reader of Sánchez-Pascual’s translations of Nietzsche. Thanks to his revaluation of Christian values, Rodríguez overcame his original prejudice against National Socialism in his later posts of La Respuesta de Europa. With the exception of non-Christian geniuses like Revilo Oliver and William Pierce, I have not seen such a metamorphosis of the mind in most of the English-speaking racialists.


“Could it be possible! This old saint in his woods has not yet heard the news that God is dead!

This is one of the most quoted passages of Nietzsche’s literature. I abandoned theism long ago. Presently I don’t believe in the existence of a personal god, let alone in the existence of the Jewish god (which would be absolutely dead in the heart of any fanatic of the 14 words if the white nationalist “movement” was not all bluff). That doesn’t mean that I’m an atheist, as Hegel and other philosophers of Classic German Idealism developed a new understanding of God: panentheistic views that I am not prepared to dismiss.

The theological issues of Zarathustra’s encounter with the old hermit aside, I’d rather say something about the soliloquy in the previous post of this fictional character, something related to the very meaning of this blogsite.

The darkest hour is just before the dawn. In the endnotes about the opening soliloquy in Nietzsche’s book, Andrés Sánchez-Pascual interpreted the term Untergehen as follows: “By sinking into his decline, like the sun, Zarathustra moves to the other side. ‘Passing to the other side’ means surpassing oneself and becoming the Overman.”

This is what nationalists have failed to do, and was the message of the last pages of my compilation The Fair Race’s Darkest Hour: white nationalism as a handy rock at the middle of a river, not as the promised land itself which is beyond the rapid waters.

That was my metaphor.

As to Nietzsche’s metaphor, we could say that today’s whites, including Christian and libertarian white nationalists, have yet to “sink themselves into their sunsets.” Some force may be with them but they’re not overmen yet; they have not surpassed themselves as Hitler’s SS men did (always keep in mind my “Where are the Syssitias?”).

The purpose of this blogsite is to prepare a few metamorphosing men, those in the process of “passing to the other side” (Übergang) from the soul’s darkest night into the coming dawn of the fair race.


I don’t claim to have reread the Zarathustra since my adolescent infatuation with Nietzsche. But these are surely the words that made a very powerful impression in my mind since my first reading:

“I teach you the Overman. Human being is something that must be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?

What is the ape to a human? A laughing stock or a painful embarrassment. And that is precisely what the human shall be to the Overman: a laughing stock or a painful embarrassment.

You have made your way from worm to human, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now a human is still more ape than any ape.

Behold, I teach you the Overman!

The Overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the Overman shall be the meaning of the earth!”

The passage “…and you want to be the ebb of this great flood and would even rather go back to animals than overcome humans?” nails perfectly contemporary whites.

This is exactly what they are doing to themselves—white nationalists included, so reluctant to fight (or preparing to fight by saving precious metals before the dollar crashes). As Jack Frost has asked the clueless, feminized males of The Occidental Observer more than once, “Where’s the resistance?” to the anti-white, exterminationist System. Where are the cells for would-be soldiers that treasure William Pierce’s three books as their New Tablets?

I see none of it. And many Jew-wise nationalists are themselves etnosuicidal because they simply ignore that Christianity inverted healthy values—negative values that they themselves subscribe! Cowardice similar to this in the 19th century explains why Nietzsche’s Zarathustra gives the biblical verse an antithetical sense from the original.


Now Zarathustra looked at the people and he was amazed. Then he spoke thus: “Mankind is a rope fastened between animal and Overman – a rope over an abyss. What is great about human beings is that they are a bridge and not a purpose: what is lovable about human beings is that they are a crossing over and a going under.”

Again, this brings in mind my metaphor of the bridge. This is what I wrote in the final essay of The Fair Race: “White nationalism is only a stone at the middle of the rapid-flowing waters of a dangerous river; an over-the-water large stone that can help us in our endeavor to jump to the other side. I myself used that stone during my crossing from Christianity and Liberalism to National Socialism. In fact, I could even write such a spiritual odyssey in a text that might be titled ‘From St Francis to Himmler’.” But no American white nationalist today is prepared to wear a T-shirt of Herr Himmler, not even in the privacy of their homes.

“I love the great despisers, because they are the great venerators and arrows of longing for the other shore. I love those who do not first seek behind the stars for a reason to go under and be a sacrifice, who instead sacrifice themselves for the earth, so that the earth may one day become the Overman’s. I love the one who lives in order to know, and who wants to know so that one day the Overman may live. And so he wants his going under.” [sinking in his sunset according to Sánchez-Pascual]

This cannot contrast more with today’s white nationalists, so reluctant to sacrifice themselves as Rockwell did. They want it both ways: enjoy their homely comfort zones and try to “save” the race from the ongoing extermination.


In Ecce Homo Nietzsche wrote:

In this sense Zarathustra first calls the good “the last men”… He finds them the most harmful kind of man, because they secure their existence at the expense of truth just as they do at the expense of the future.

Do “the last men” sound like contemporary whites overwhelmed with guilt? But white nationalists are the Overman’s “last men” too. Think for example of the voices from those self-righteous, Christian and atheist nationalists who recently called a lone wolf “an evil sociopath” in Dixie, basically subscribing the meme “black lives matter.”

White- or Southern nationalism is phony, was phony and will be phony until societal collapse forces the survivors to grow a hairy pair. This is Pierce’s Diaries: “His forehead was then marked with an indelible dye, and he was turned out and could be readmitted permanently only by bringing back the head of a freshly killed Black or other non-White.”


Just for the record, about 150,000 copies of a specially durable wartime Zarathustra were distributed to the German troops during the First World War.


“A nice catch of fish Zarathustra has today! No human being did he catch, but a corpse instead!” looks like me trying to convey Nietzsche’s message to a dead race!


“I want to teach humans the meaning of their being, which is the Overman, the lightning from the dark cloud ‘human being’.”

For some unfathomable causes, this sentence from the previous section, Prologue §7, reminded me my identification with the art of the pre-Raphaelites and Maxfield Parrish (cf. my Facebook page). One of the inner realities that distances me from white nationalists is that they don’t seem to love this 14-words art (“That the beauty of…”) as much as I do.


“It dawned on me: I need companions, and living ones – not dead companions and corpses that I carry with me wherever I want.”

Just what happened to me during my experience in counter-jihad: after these guys didn’t want to hear about the Jewish problem it was like I had to get rid of their corpses—dead companions. But it also happened to me in white nationalism! After these guys didn’t want to hear about the Christian problem it was like I had to get rid of their corpses.

“It dawned on me: let Zarathustra speak not to the people, but instead to companions!”

Pierce did something similar after the catastrophe of Rockwell’s murder: instead of speaking to the masses he predicated to a smaller group of companions.

“Look at the good and the just! Whom do they hate most? The one who breaks their tablets of values, the breaker, the lawbreaker – but he is the creative one.”

Hitler was the creative one. Read his table talks.

“Companions the creative one seeks and not corpses, nor herds and believers. Fellow creators the creative one seeks, who will write new values on new tablets.”

Less than a handful visitors of this blog share the moral grammar on my New Tablets…

“Fellow creators seeks Zarathustra, fellow harvesters and fellow celebrators Zarathustra seeks: what need does he have of herds and shepherds and corpses!”

…but still no one wants to become a priest of the 14 words in a latter-day “Syssitia” (like the one Rockwell had).

“I do not want to even speak again with the people – for the last time have I spoken to a dead person.”

Occasionally I still comment at The Occidental Observer but even that has to end—with the exception of a commenter mentioned above, the commentariat and even the authors are clueless that Christian axiology enabled the Jewish problem and the Negro problem and the Mestizo problem and even the more recent empowerment of Asia.

“I shall join the creators, the harvesters, the celebrators: I shall show them the rainbow and all the steps to the Overman.”

Hitler and Pierce showed this rainbow but who among us really follows their revaluated axiology? Most white nationalists follow the Old Tablets; atheist nationalists share also the Christian moral grammar and even the neonazis have not really broken the Tablets.

“I want to go to my goal, and I go my own way; over the hesitating and dawdling I shall leap. Thus let my going be their going under!”

This describes me…


And so Nietzsche’s literary prologue ends. Below, some snippets from the Cambridge introduction by Robert B. Pippin:

Zarathustra leaves his cave to revisit the human world because he wants both to prophesy and help hasten the advent of something like a new “attempt” on the part of mankind, a post “beyond” or “over the human” (Übermensch) aspiration. Such a goal would be free of the psychological dimensions that have led the human type into a state of some crisis (made worse by the fact that most do not think a crisis has occurred or that any new attempt is necessary).

The problem, then, that Zarathustra must address, the problem of “nihilism,” is a kind of collective failure of desire…

Nietzsche clearly thinks we cannot understand such a possibility, much less be both shamed and inspired by it, except by a literary and so “living” treatment of such an existential possibility. And Nietzsche clearly thinks he has such a chance, in the current historical context of crisis, collapse, boredom, and confusion, a chance of shaming and cajoling us away from commitments that will condemn us to a “last man” or “pale atheist” sort of existence, and of inspiring a new desire, a new “tension” of the spirit…

As noted, the problem Zarathustra confronts seems to be a failure of desire; nobody wants what he is offering, and they seem to want very little other than a rather bovine version of happiness. It is that sort of failure that proves particularly difficult to address, and that cannot be corrected by thinking up a “better argument” against such a failure.

The events that are narrated are also clearly tied to the question of what it means for Zarathustra to have a teaching, to try to impart it to an audience suffering in this unusual way, suffering from complacency or dead desire. Only at the very beginning, in the Prologue, does he try to “lecture publicly,” one might say, and this is a pretty unambiguous failure.

The reminder here of the Prologue appears to indicate that Zarathustra himself had portrayed his own teaching in a comically inadequate way, preaching to the multitudes as if people could simply begin to overcome themselves by some revolutionary act of will…

He had shifted from market place preaching to conversations with disciples in Part I, and at the end of that Part I he decides to forgo even that and to go back to his cave alone.


Zarathustra’s prologue, 9

Revilo Oliver’s texts on Aryan ethnosuicide and the need to create a religion of hate have moved me to translate some explanatory notes of Thus Spoke Zarathustra at the bottom of this entry (see also my first post in the comments section).


Long Zarathustra slept, and not only the dawn passed over his face but the morning as well. At last, however, he opened his eyes: amazed Zarathustra looked into the woods and the silence, amazed he looked into himself. Then he stood up quickly, like a seafarer who all at once sees land, and he rejoiced, for he saw a new truth.[1] And thus he spoke to his heart:

“It dawned on me: I need companions, and living ones – not dead companions and corpses that I carry with me wherever I want.

Instead I need living companions who follow me because they want to follow themselves – wherever I want.

It dawned on me: let Zarathustra speak not to the people, but instead to companions! Zarathustra should not become the shepherd and dog of a herd!

To lure many away from the herd – for that I came. The people and herd shall be angry with me: Zarathustra wants to be called a robber by shepherds.

Shepherds I say, but they call themselves the good and the just. Shepherds I say: but they call themselves the faithful of the true faith.

Look at the good and the just! Whom do they hate most? The one who breaks their tablets of values, the breaker, the lawbreaker[2] – but he is the creative one.

Look at the faithful of all faiths! Whom do they hate most? The one who breaks their tablets of values, the breaker, the lawbreaker – but he is the creative one.

Companions the creative one seeks and not corpses, nor herds and believers. Fellow creators the creative one seeks, who will write new values on new tablets.

Companions the creative one seeks, and fellow harvesters; for to him everything stands ready for harvest.[3] But he lacks the hundred scythes, and so he plucks out spikes and is angry.

Companions the creative one seeks, and those who know how to whet their scythes. They shall be called annihilators and despisers of good and evil. But they are the harvesters and the celebrators. Fellow creators seeks Zarathustra, fellow harvesters and fellow celebrators Zarathustra seeks: what need does he have of herds and shepherds and corpses!

And you, my first companion, take care! I buried you well in your tree, I concealed you well from the wolves.

But I am leaving you, the time is up. Between dawn and dawn a new truth came to me.

I shall not be a shepherd, nor a gravedigger. I do not want to even speak again with the people – for the last time have I spoken to a dead person.

I shall join the creators, the harvesters, the celebrators: I shall show them the rainbow and all the steps to the Overman.

I shall sing my song to lonesome and twosome hermits[4], and for him who still has ears for the unheard of, I shall make his heart heavy with my happiness.

I want to go to my goal, and I go my own way; over the hesitating and dawdling I shall leap. Thus let my going be their going under!”



The above German-English translation by Adrian del Caro is taken from Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Cambridge University Press, 2006). This Cambridge edition lacks the more detailed notes by Andrés Sánchez-Pascual in Así Habló Zaratustra (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2014), translated below.


[1] In the fourth part, §1, “On the Higher Man,” Zarathustra would remember this “new truth.”

[2] Pun of the German words Brecher (destroyer, breaker) and Verbrecher (offender, criminal). Moses also breaks the tablets; see Exodus 32,19: “And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.” In this work Zarathustra uses numerous times this opposition.

[3] A reminiscence of the Gospel of Matthew 9:37: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.”

[4] Play of German words Einsiedler (hermits) and Zweisiedler (the latter term created by Nietzsche refers to marriage, that is, the “solitude of two in company”).

Zarathustra’s prologue, 1

Revilo Oliver’s texts on Aryan ethnosuicide and the need to create a religion of hate have moved me to translate some explanatory notes of Thus Spoke Zarathustra at the bottom of this entry (see also my first post in the comments section).



When Zarathustra was thirty years old[2] he left his home and the lake of his home and went into the mountains. Here he enjoyed his spirit and his solitude and for ten years he did not tire of it. But at last his heart transformed, – one morning he arose with the dawn, stepped before the sun and spoke thus to it:

“You great star! What would your happiness be if you had not those for whom you shine![3]

For ten years you have come up here to my cave: you would have tired of your light and of this route without me, my eagle and my snake.[4]

But we awaited you every morning, took your overflow from you and blessed you for it.

Behold! I am weary of my wisdom, like a bee that has gathered too much honey. I need hands that reach out.

I want to bestow and distribute until the wise among human beings have once again enjoyed their folly, and the poor once again their wealth.

For this I must descend into the depths, as you do evenings when you go behind the sea and bring light even to the underworld, you super-rich star!

Like you, I must go down[5] as the human beings say, to whom I want to descend.

So bless me now, you quiet eye that can look upon even an all too great happiness without envy!

Bless the cup that wants to flow over, such that water flows golden from it and everywhere carries the reflection of your bliss!

Behold! This cup wants to become empty again, and Zarathustra wants to become human again.”

– Thus began Zarathustra’s going under.[6]



The above German-English translation by Adrian del Caro is taken from Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Cambridge University Press, 2006). This Cambridge edition lacks the more detailed notes by Andrés Sánchez-Pascual in Así Habló Zaratustra (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2014). Thus, I have translated Sánchez-Pascual’s notes to English. Page numbers refer to that edition in Spanish.


[1] This § 1 of Thus Spake Zarathustra literally reproduces the aphorism 342 of The Gay Science. Only the “Lake Urmi” that appears there is here replaced by “the lake of his home.” The aforementioned aphorism is entitled “Incipit tragædia” (Tragedy begins) and is the last of the fourth book of The Gay Science, entitled “Sanctus Januarius” (St. January).

[2] This is the age at which Jesus begins his preaching. See the gospel of Luke, 3, 23: “Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work.” In the sought antagonism between Zarathustra and Jesus, this is the first of the confrontations. As can be seen throughout the work, Zarathustra is partly Jesus’ anti-figure. And so, the age when Jesus begins preaching is the same in which Zarathustra withdrew to the mountains in order to prepare for his task. Immediately after, a second contrast between the two becomes apparent: Jesus spent only forty days in the wilderness; Zarathustra spent ten years in the mountains.

[3] Zarathustra will pronounce the same invocation to the sun at the end of the work. See, in the fourth part, “The Sign.” [Note of the Ed.: Precisely the chapter mentioned by the end of my 2012 essay, “Dies irae”]

[4] The two heraldic animals of Zarathustra respectively represent his will and his wit. They will provide company on numerous occasions and even act as his conversational partners, especially in the very important chapter of the third part entitled, “The Convalescent.”

[5] “Untergehen.” It is one of the key words that illustrate the figure of Zarathustra. This German verb contains several nuances that hardly may be held simultaneously in the Spanish translation. Untergehen is primarily, and literally, “walk (gehen) down (unter).” Zarathustra, in effect, gets down from the mountains. Secondly the term usually designate the “sunset,” and Zarathustra makes it clear that he wants to act like the sun at sunset. Thirdly, Untergehen and the substantive Untergang are used to mean sinking, destruction, decay; thus the title of the famous work of Spengler’s, Der Untergang des Abendlandes (translated as The Decline of the West). Zarathustra also declines in his task and fails. His task, he says several times, destroys him. As a Castilian terminus technicus of Untergehen, here it has been adopted “hundirse en su ocaso” [Note of the Ed.: literally, “sinking into his sunset”—contrast it with the Cambdridge translation, “go down”] which seems to retain the three senses. However, Nietzsche plays countless times with this German compound word and also in contrast to other compounds. For example, he contrasts and joins Untergang and Übergang. Übergang is “passing to the other side” over something, but it also means “transition.” Man, Zarathustra would say, is “a transit and a sunset.” That is, by sinking into his decline, like the sun, he moves to the other side (of the earth, it is understood, according to the old belief). And “passing to the other side” means surpassing oneself and becoming the Overman.

[6] This same phrase is repeated later, on page 62. The “sunset” of Zarathustra ends towards the end of the third part, in the chapter entitled “The Convalescent” which states: “Thus – ends Zarathustra’s going under!”

The seventh solitude


A great man is pushed and hustled and
martyrized until he withdraws into solitude.


Nietzsche lived in many different towns; he travelled into countless realms of the mind; frequently he endeavoured to escape from solitude by crossing a frontier into a foreign land; but always his journeyings brought him back to solitude, heartsore, weary, disillusioned.

His solitude had become complete isolation, the final, the seventh, solitude, wherein one is not merely alone but also forsaken. A void surrounded him, an awe-inspiring silence; no hermit or anchorite in the desert was ever more abandoned. They, at least, still had their God whose shade dwelt in their huts. But he, “the murderer of God,” had neither God nor man to companion him. To the extent that he drew nearer to himself, he receded from the world; and, as his voyages extended, “the desert widened” around him.

Generally the works conceived and written in loneliness gain more and more ascendancy upon the minds of men; by a magnetic force they attract increasing numbers of admirers into the invisible circle of their influence. But Nietzsche’s books alienated even his friends. In Germany no publisher would any longer accept his manuscripts. During his twenty years of production, his manuscripts accumulated in a cellar and came to weigh many hundredweight. He had to draw upon his own slender resources in order to get his books printed. Not only did nobody buy the few volumes that were issued, but he found no readers when he gave them away. So vast was the chasm between this man’s genius and the pettiness of the time.

Practically no reviewer or critic took the slightest notice of Zarathustra, which the author described as “the greatest gift ever bestowed upon men.” One day he lamented: “After such an appeal as my Zarathustra, a cry that came from my heart, it is terrible not to hear a responsive word, to hear nothing, absolutely nothing, to be surrounded by silence, to be a thousand times more isolated than heretofore. This is a situation exceeding all others in horror; even the strongest might die under the strain… And I am far from being the strongest. Sometimes it seems to me as though I were indeed wounded unto death.” This gnawed at his vitals, undermining his proper pride, inflaming his self-assertive impulse, consuming his soul. Lack of recognition was the shaft which poisoned his isolation, and raised his temper to fever-heat.

“Prolonged silence has exasperated my pride.” At all costs he wanted response, sending letter upon letter, telegram upon telegram. Blindly and wildly he flung his missiles far and wide, never looking to see if they hit the mark. Since he had slain the gods, he set himself up as a divinity. “Must we not become gods if we are to be worthy of such deeds?” Having overthrown all the altars, he built an altar for himself in order to praise himself, seeing that no one else would acknowledge him. He chanted his own dirge with enthusiasm and exultation, mingling it with songs celebrating his deeds and his victories. To begin with, a twilight covered the landscape of his mind as when black clouds stalk up from the horizon and distant thunder growls; then a strident laugh rent the sultry air, a mad, violent, and wicked laugh full of despair, heartbreaking: this was the pæan of Ecce Homo.

As the book develops, its cadences become increasingly spasmodic, the yells of laughter are more shrill amid the glacial silence; he is, as it were, outside himself. His hands are raised, his feet stamp rhythmically; he breaks into a dance, a dance over the abyss, the abyss of his own annihilation.

Flight into music


For many years music remained a private amusement to which Nietzsche delivered himself up in a spirit of irresponsible pleasure, with the pure delight of an amateur, a pastime altogether outside his main “mission” in life. Music flooded his being only after the philological crust had been removed, only when his erudite objectivity of outlook had become disintegrated, when his cosmos had been shattered as if by a volcanic eruption.

Precisely because he had pent up these primal springs of his nature for so long behind the damns of philology, erudition, and indifference, did they gush forth so vehemently and penetrate into every crevice, irradiating and liquefying his literary style. It was as if his tongue, which had hitherto sought to explain tangible things, had suddenly refused its allotted task and insisted upon expressing itself in terms of music. Even his punctuation—unspoken speech—his dashes, his italics, could find equivalents in the terminology of the elements of music.

The details of each work are vibrant with music, and the works as a whole read like symphonies. They no longer belong to the realm of architecture, of intellectual and objective creations, but are the direct outcome of musical inspiration. Of Thus Spake Zarathustra he himself says that it was written “in the spirit of the first phrase of the Ninth Symphony.” And how better can I describe the opening of Ecce Homo than as a magnificent organ prelude destined to be played in some vast cathedral? “Song of Night” and “Gondolier’s Chanty” resemble the croonings of primitive men in the midst of an infinite solitude. When was his inspiration more joyous and dancing, more heroic, more like a lilting cadence of the Grecian music of antiquity, than in the pæan indited during his ultimate outburst of happiness, in the Dionysian rhapsody? Illuminated from on high by the pellucid skies of the South, soaked from beneath by the waters of music, his language became as it were a wave, restless and immense.

Music, limpid, freedom-giving, and light, became the dearest solace of Nietzsche’s agitated mind. “Life without music is nothing but fatigue and error.” “Was a man ever so athirst for music as I?” He, the solitary wanderer cast out by the gods desired only that they should not rob him of this one consolation, this nectar, this ambrosia which eternally refreshed and reinvigorated the soul. “Art, nothing but art! Art was given us that we might not be slain by truth.”

The world had forsaken him; his friends had long since gone their ways and ignored his existence; his thoughts strayed forth on interminable pilgrimages. Music alone walked by his side, accompanying him into his final, his seventh, solitude.

When in the end he fell into the abyss, she watched over his obliterated mind. Overbeck, coming into the room after the catastrophe, found the unhappy madman sitting at the piano, his fingers fumbling the keys in a vain effort to find the harmonies so dear to him.

Discovery of the south


Since my object is to portray Nietzsche’s life, not as a biography but as a tragedy of the spirit, as a work of dramatic art, for me his true work began when the artist in the man was released and became conscious of enfranchisement. So long as Nietzsche remained in his professional chrysalis he was nothing more than a problem for professorial brains to cudgel themselves over. But the winged being, “the aeronaut of the mind,” belongs to the realm of creative intelligence.

Goethe’s impression of Italy was a mental and æsthetic affair, whereas Nietzsche’s was vital in the extreme: the former brought home with him an artistic style, whilst the latter discovered in the land of the sun a style of life. Goethe was merely fecundated, whereas Nietzsche was completely uprooted, transplanted, renewed.

“Among the many laudable things I have learned in the course of this journey is the fact that it is impossible for me to live alone and away from my own country” [Goethe]. Turn this dictum the other way about and we get substantially the effect the South produced upon Nietzsche. His conclusions are diametrically opposed to Goethe’s, since he finds that henceforward he can live only in solitude and away from his native land. Goethe, after making an instructive and interesting journey, returns to the exact point whence he took his departure, carrying in his boxes, his heart, and his brain things precious and delightful for a home, for his home in particular. But Nietzsche expatriates himself and finds his true self, the “outlawed prince,” happy at having no home, no possessions, cut off for ever from the “parochial interests of a fatherland” and released from “patriotic strangulation.”

Once a freeman, always a freeman. Having felt the limpid Italian sky over his head, Nietzsche could no longer bear a suggestion of “obscurity,” whether proceeding from the clouds or from a professorial chair, from the Church or from the army. Never again, so far as Nietzsche was concerned, would Germany be free enough and light enough as nourisher of the mind. The halcyon skies are limpidly radiant.

It seems to me that in no other German author was the style of his writing so swiftly and completely renewed. Certainly none other was so flooded with sunshine, or ever became so enfranchised, so essentially southern, so divinely light of foot, so full of a good vintage, so pagan.

To find a change as rapid we have to turn to a painter in search of a comparison. A similar miracle, wrought likewise by the sun of the South, took place in van Gogh. The passage from the lugubrious tints in brown and grey of his Dutch canvases to the violet, crude, and strident colours splashed so generously upon his pictures of Provence was just as eruptive a transition. Van Gogh’s sudden mania for sunlight, his sudden and complete transference from one style of painting to another, is the only analogy that comes to my mind in the least comparable with the illumination the South brought to Nietzsche’s entire being. These two fanatical lovers of change were intoxicated with light, absorbed light with the vampire lust of passion, gulped down light in rapid and inconceivable large doses.

Not satisfied with light, Nietzsche desired “super-light”; clarity must be “super-clarity.” He wanted to be burned by the sun, not merely to be illuminated by it. Language, in its turn, became too narrow a medium, too material, too ponderous. A new element was required for the Dionysian dance that had begun within him; he needed more far-reaching liberties than could be offered while he remained a thrall to the written tongue. He therefore turned back to his first love, to music.

Transformation in search of the true self

A snake which cannot slough its skin is
doomed to perish. So likewise, a mind
which is prevented from changing its
opinion ceases to be a mind.

der_kampf_mit_dem_daemonGoethe’s life expanded around a fixed point, just as year by year a circle invisible to the outer world is added to the trunk of a tree. Patiently, thanks to an active though stubborn concentration of his energies, Goethe attained his maturity; he resolutely guarded his ego while defending his proper growth.

Nietzsche, the changeable, was perpetually obliged to destroy himself that he might reconstruct himself wholly.

Each of Nietzsche’s spiritual earthquakes destroyed the whole edifice of his convictions, and the philosopher was obliged to start building anew from the foundations. Nothing even grew quietly and imperceptibly and naturally with him; his inner being was never given a chance to develop and extend by a process of stealthy labor. Invariably he is struck “as if by lightning”; always his universe must be annihilated in order that the new cosmos may emerge.

“My books tell the story of the victories I have gained over myself.” They relate his manifold transformation, his spiritual pregnancies and lyings-in, his deaths and resurrections; they are tales of the merciless warfare he carried on against himself, the punishments and summary executions he inflicted upon his own being; they are the biographies of all the creatures Nietzsche impersonated during the twenty years of his mental existence.

What makes Nietzsche’s transformations so peculiar is that they seem retrogressive. If we take Goethe as the prototype of an organic nature in harmony with the forward march of the universe, we perceive that this development is symbolical of the various ages of life. In youth he was fiery and enthusiastic; as a man in his prime he was actively reflective; age brought him the utmost lucidity of mind. His mental rhythm corresponded in every point with the temperature of his blood. As with most young men, he began in chaos and ended his career in orderly fashion, as is seemly with the old. After going through a revolutionary period he turned conservative, after a phase of lyricism he became a man of science, after being prodigal of himself he learned how to be reserved.

Nietzsche took the opposite course. Instead of aspiring to an even more complete integration of his ego, he desired complete disintegration. As he advanced in years he became increasingly impatient, vehement, revolutionary, and chaotic. His outward aspect was in strident opposition to the customary evolution of a man.

While his university companions were still delighting in the usual horseplay of undergraduates, Nietzsche, though but twenty-four years old, was already a professor, aspirant to the chair of philology at Basel, that famous seat of learning. At twenty-four, Nietzsche’s intimates were men of fifty and sixty years of age, sages such as Jakob Burckhardt and Ritschl, while his closest friend was the most celebrated artist of the day—Richard Wagner. He deliberately put the brake upon his poetical aspirations and upon his love of music. Like any other pedant, he sat over his Greek texts, revising pandects, and compiling erudite indexes. From the outset, Nietzsche’s eyes were turned towards the dead past. Old before his time, a confirmed bachelor, he had no true joy in life. Professorial dignity swamped his cheerfulness, dimming what should have been his natural exuberance. He was wholly immersed in printed texts and in dryasdust problems.

His first book, The Birth of Tragedy, was completed when he was twenty-seven. Herein he breached into the present, though his face was still wearing the mask of a philologist.

At the age of thirty, when most men are starting life, when Goethe became a minister of the State, and when Kant and Schiller were full-fledged professors, Nietzsche had kicked over the traces of his official duties and, with a sigh of relief, had quitted the chair of philology at Basel University. Now at last he came to grips with himself, seeking to penetrate into his personal universe, undergoing an initial transformation, rupturing old ties, and making his début as an artist. This initial step into the realm of the present was the moment when the real Nietzsche was born.

By the time he had reached his thirty-six year, Nietzsche had become an outlaw, an amoralist, a sceptic, a poet, a musician. He had regained “a better youth.” Such a course of rejuvenation is almost unprecedented. Having reached his fourth decade, Nietzsche’s language and his thoughts, his whole being, indeed, possess a freshness, a colour, a fearlessness, a passion, and a music he had never known as a lad of seventeen. The recluse of Sils-Maria had a lighter touch, his words soared on freer opinions, his feet danced more joyously through his works than had those of the prematurely old professor of twenty-four summers.

He could find no halting-place for his restless mind. Hardly had he settled down somewhere when he felt his “skin chapped and rent.” He himself felt as if he were confronting a ghost when someone referred to “Professor Friedrich Nietzsche of Basel”; it was hard enough even to remember that he had been such a person twenty years before. Has any human being, before him, made so trenchant a cleavage between past and present? Does not this severance account for the terrible solitude of his latter days? He had broken all the links which attached him to the past, and the furious rhythm of his life and of his ultimate transformations was too ardent for him to create new ties.

His ruthless amputation of the Wagner complex proved to be an extremely perilous surgical intervention, one that was almost fatal, because it came so very close to the heart. For, precisely at the moment when the form of his being was stretched to the utmost, his mental tensions culminated in disruption. The primitive and daimonic power exploded, annihilating the superb series of incorporations which he had created form his own blood and out of his own life while storming the hidden battlements of the infinite.

Twofold portrait


To obtain a real likeness of the man, we need to see him in his actual surroundings. What were they? A dinning-room in some modest boarding-house, quarters in an equally modest hotel among the Swiss mountains or on the Italian Riviera; insignificant fellow-boarders, for the most part elderly females, experts in small talk.

Quietly and even timidly he sought the place reserved to him at the table, and he remained shrouded in an uncanny silence during the meal. One felt that this was a man who dwelt among the shadows, a man beyond the pale of human society and conversation, one who winced at the slightest noise. He would bow courteously to his fellow-guests, wishing them politely “God day”; and in return his fellow-guests would with equal polite indifference greet “the German professor.” There was never any wine or beer or coffee served where he sat; he smoked neither cigar nor cigarette after meals.

Immediately the meal was ended he would retire to his room, a typical chambre garnie, exiguous and chilly and dowdy. The table was usually littered with sheets of manuscript, with jottings on scraps of paper, with proofs. Not a flower, not an ornament, hardly a book, seldom a letter would be found.

One fine day he might take a stroll, but he would invariably go alone, alone with his thoughts. Never did he encounter a soul to cheer him, never did he have a companion, never did he meet an acquaintance. He hated gray weather, rain, snow which dazzled his eyes; and during such inclement days he would remain a prisoner in his dingy room. He never paid calls, never came in touch with other human beings. Of an evening he supped on a few biscuits and very weak tea, which having swallowed, he would resume his endless communing with his thoughts. A gulp of chloral or another soporific, and he would snatch at sleep, a sleep which is the facile boon of those who do not think overmuch and who are not perpetually harassed by the daimons.

Everywhere he went, the chambre garnie was the same. The names of the towns he visited changed from Sorrento to Turin, from Venice to Nice or Marienbad, but the chambre garnie remained identical, a rented room, a room totally lacking in any feeling of home.

During all the years of his pilgrimage he never once put up in friendly and cheerful surroundings, never at night felt the warm body of a woman pressing against him; never did the sun rise to see him famous, after a thousand nights of dark and silent labour. How immeasurably vaster was Nietzsche’s loneliness than is the picturesque highland of Sils-Maria where between luncheon and tea our tourists wander in the hope of capturing some of the glamour that clings to a spot sanctified by his presence. Nietzsche’s solitude was as wide as the world; it spread over the whole of his life until the very end. Conversation wearied and irritated him who constantly gnawed at his own vitals and whose hunger for himself, and himself alone, was never satiated.


Chechar’s note:

Of course: these are only excerpts of a chapter of The Struggle with the Daimon, as in earlier or later installments of this series. A new edition of Zweig’s book, with syntax modified for readers of our century (I prefer the 1930 edition that I quote by direct typing from the text), is now available in the market.

A one-man drama


The tragedy of Friedrich Nietzsche’s life was that it happened to be a one-man show, a monodrama wherein no other actor entered upon the stage: not a soul is at his side to succour him; no woman is there to soften by her ever-present sympathy the stresses of the atmosphere. Every action takes its birth in him, and its repercussions are felt by him alone. Not one person ventures to enter wholeheartedly into the innermost sanctum of Nietzsche’s destiny; the poet-philosopher is doomed to speak, to struggle, to suffer alone. He converses with no one, and no one has anything to say to him. What is even more terrible is that none hearken to his voice.

In this unique tragedy, Friedrich Nietzsche had neither fellow-actors nor audience, neither stage nor scenery nor costume; the drama ran its course in a spaceless realm of thought. Basel, Naumburg, Nice, Sorrento, Sils-Maria, Genoa, and so forth are so many names serving as milestones on his life’s road; they were never abiding-places, never a home. The scene having once been set, it remained the same till the curtain was rung down; it was composed of isolation, of solitude, of that agonizing loneliness which Nietzsche’s own thoughts gathered around him and with which he was entrapped as by an impenetrable bell-glass, a solitude wherein there were no flowers or colours or music or beasts or men, a solitude whence even God was excluded, the dead and petrified solitude of some primeval world which existed long ago or may come into being æons hence.

At first, while he was professor of Basel University and could speak his mind from the professorial chair, and while Wagner’s friendship thrust him into the limelight, Nietzsche’s words drew attentive listeners; but the more he delved into his own mind, the more he plunged into the depths of time, the less did he find responsive echoes. One by one his friends, and even strangers, rose to their feet and withdrew affrighted at the sound of his monologue, which became wilder and more ecstatic as the philosopher warmed to his task. Thus was he left terribly alone, upon the stage of his fate. Gradually the solitary actor grew disquieted by the fact that he was talking into the void; he raised his voice, shouted, gesticulated, hoping to find a response even if it were no better than a contradiction.

Thus the drama was played to a finish before empty seats, and no one guessed that the mightiest tragedy of the nineteenth century was unrolling itself before men’s eyes. Such was Friedrich Nietzsche’s tragedy, and it had its roots in his utter loneliness. Unexampled was the way in which an inordinate wealth of thought and feeling confronted a world monstrously void and impenetrably silent. The daimon within him hounded him out of his world and his day, chasing him to the uttermost marge of his own being.

Nietzsche never tried to evade the demands of the monster whose grip he felt. The harder the blows, the more resonantly did the unflawed metal of his will respond. And upon this anvil, brought to red heat by passion, the hammer descended with increased vigour, forging the slogan which was ultimately to steel his mind to every attack. “The greatness of man; amor fati; never desiring to change what has happened in the past; what will happen in the future and throughout eternity; not merely to bear the inevitable, still less to mask it, but to love it.”

This fervent love-song to the Powers smothers the cry of his heart. Thrown to earth, oppressed by the mutism of the world, gnawed by the bitterness and sorrow, he never once raised his hands to implore a respite. Quite otherwise! He demanded to be yet further tortured, to become yet more isolated, to be granted yet deeper trials; the greatest to which mortal man can be put. “O will of my soul that I call fate, thou who art in me and above me, take care of me and preserve me for a great destiny.”


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