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

189: The industrious races find it extremely difficult to tolerate idleness: it was a stroke of genius on the part of the English instinct to spend Sundays in tedium with a te deum so that the English people would unconsciously lust for their week- and workdays. It is the same type of cleverly invented, cleverly interpolated period of fasting that you find all over the ancient world (although there, as is often the case with southern peoples, it is not exactly associated with work –). There need to be many types of fasts; and wherever powerful drives and habits rule, the law-makers have to be sure to put in leap days when these drives are chained up and made to relearn what hunger feels like. Entire generations or epochs, emerging in the grips of some moral fanaticism or another, seem (from a higher viewpoint) to be just such interposed periods of compulsion and fasting, the times when a drive learns to cower and submit, but also to keep itself clean and sharp. Some philosophical sects can be interpreted in this way as well (like the Stoa in the midst of a Hellenistic culture whose air had become heavy and lascivious with the fragrance of aphrodisiacs). – This also suggests an explanation for the paradox of why it was precisely during Europe’s Christian period and only under the pressure of Christian value judgments that the sex drive sublimated itself into love (amour-passion).  (p.79)


Nietzsche, Philosophy, Industriousness, Idleness, Laziness, Christianity, Law


Nietzsche Citations

Links to Reference


Norman, J.



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