For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future

by Nietzsche, Friedrich (2002)


Beyond Good and Evil is one of the most scathing and powerful critiques of philosophy, religion, science, politics and ethics ever written. In it, Nietzsche presents a set of problems, criticisms and philosophical challenges that continue both to inspire and to trouble contemporary thought. In addition, he offers his most subtle, detailed and sophisticated account of the virtues, ideas, and practices which will characterize philosophy and philosophers of the future. With his relentlessly energetic style and tirelessly probing manner, Nietzsche embodies the type of thought he wants to foster, while defining its historical role and determining its agenda. This edition offers a new and readable translation, by Judith Norman, of one of the most influential texts in the history of philosophy, together with an introduction by Rolf-Peter Horstmann that sets it in its historical and philosophical context.

Key Passage

Has anyone really noticed the extent to which being outwardly idle or half-idle is necessary for a genuinely religious life (and for its favorite job of microscopic self-examination just as much as for that tender state of composure which calls itself “prayer” and is a constant readiness for the “coming of God”)? – I mean an idleness with a good conscience, passed down over the ages, through the bloodline, an idleness that is not entirely alien to the aristocratic feeling that work is disgraceful, which is to say it makes the soul and the body into something base. And has anyone noticed that, consequently, it is the modern, noisy, time-consuming, self-satisfied, stupidly proud industriousness which, more than anything else, gives people an education and preparation in “un-belief ”? For example, among those in Germany today who have distanced themselves from religion, I find representatives of various types and extractions of “free-thinking”; but, above all, a majority whose industriousness has, over generations, dissolved any religious instinct, so that they no longer know what religion is good for, and only register its presence in the world with a type of dull amazement.  (p.51)


Nietzsche, Philosophy, Religion, Self, Idleness, Conscience, Industriousness


Nietzsche Citations

Links to Reference


Norman, J.



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