"Blond Beast"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The influence of Nietzsche upon certain areas of twentieth century thought has been considerable. Although students of his work have divided his development into three periods, his underlying ideas remained much the same and his changes lay in his consideration of them. His third, or ethical, period is usually considered most important; in it he seeks to define the ultimate good. To Nietzsche there are two standards of good and evil, one for the masters and one for the slaves. According to the first standard, whatever expresses the will of the individual or forms a part of him is good; all else is evil. Under the second standard, anything painful is bad and whatever makes life more endurable is good. Western standards are at present those of the slaves; Nietzsche blames this state of affairs on a plot by the Jews. Self-assertion is his moral ideal: the will to power lies at the root of all things, and power is the sole good which can be gained. In connection with this idea may be mentioned the concept most often associated with him–the doctrine of the superman. Nietzsche believed that man will evolve into a higher species. He also believed in External Recurrence, an old theory that history is a great cycle and repeats itself in every detail. To it he added the idea that life is good because of suffering, not in spite of it. He believed the ultimate good in art is a mixture of dream and intoxication evoking an underlying truth, a goal most nearly achieved in Wagnerian opera. A number of his ideas were incorporated into the ideology of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. Nietzsche's writing style is somewhat incoherent; much of his life was spent in a struggle against the insanity which destroyed his mind in 1889. In the following selection Nietzsche, who has been discussing the cramped and cowardly outlook of the servile mentality, contrasts with it his ideal man–the lusty and amoral young savage:

. . . those very men, who by manners, reverence, usage, gratitude, and still more by mutual superintendence, by jealousy interpares are rigorously held within bounds, and who, on the other hand, in their conduct among one another prove themselves so inventive in regardfulness, self-restraint, delicacy, faith, pride and friendship,–these same men are towards that which is without, which to them is foreign, a foreign land, not much better than so many disengaged beasts of prey. Here they enjoy liberty from all social restraint; the wilderness must compensate them for the tension produced by a long incarceration and impalement in the "peace" of society; they step back into the innocence of the conscience of the beast of prey, as exultant monsters, which, perhaps, walk away from an abominable sequence of murder, burning down, violation, torture, with such wantonness and equanimity, as if merely some student-trick had been accomplished; with the conviction, that now for a long time again the poets will have something to celebrate and sing of. At the ground of all these noble races, the beast of prey, the splendid, blond beast, lustfully roving in search of spoils and victory, cannot be mistaken. An outlet is necessary from time to time for this hidden ground; the animal must come out again, must go back into wilderness: Roman, Arabian, Germanic, Japanese nobility, Homeric heroes, Scandinavian vikings–in this need they all are one. It is the noble races, that left the concept "barbarian" on every trace, wherever they passed; even in their highest civilisation the consciousness of this fact is visible and even a certain pride in it. . . .