The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
by Nietzsche, Friedrich (2010)
Nietzsche called The Gay Science "the most personal of all my books." It was here that he first proclaimed the death of God—to which a large part of the book is devoted—and his doctrine of the eternal recurrence.Walter Kaufmann's commentary, with its many quotations from previously untranslated letters, brings to life Nietzsche as a human being and illuminates his philosophy. The book contains some of Nietzsche's most sustained discussions of art and morality, knowledge and truth, the intellectual conscience and the origin of logic.Most of the book was written just before Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the last part five years later, after Beyond Good and Evil. We encounter Zarathustra in these pages as well as many of Nietzsche's most interesting philosophical ideas and the largest collection of his own poetry that he himself ever published. Walter Kaufmann's English versions of Nietzsche represent one of the major translation enterprises of our time. He is the first philosopher to have translated Nietzsche's major works, and never before has a single translator given us so much of Nietzsche.
On the lack of noble manners.- Soldiers and leaders still have far better relationships with each other than workers and employers. So far at least, culture that rests on a military basis still towers above all so-called industrial culture: the latter in its present shape is altogether the most vulgar form of existence that has yet existed. Here one is at the mercy of brute need; one wants to live and has to sell oneself, but one despises those who exploit this need and buy the worker. Oddly, submission to powerful, frightening, even terrible persons, like tyrants and generals, is not experienced as nearly so painful as is this submission to unknown and uninteresting persons, which is what all the luminaries of industry are. What the workers see in the employer is usually only a cunning, bloodsucking dog of a man who speculates on all misery; and the employer's name, shape, manner, and reputation are a matter of complete indifference to them. The manufacturers and entrepreneurs of business probably have been too deficient so far in all those forms and signs of a higher race that alone make a person interesting. If the nobility of birth showed in their eyes and gestures, there might not be any socialism of the masses. For at bottom the masses are willing to submit to slavery of any kind, if only the higher-ups constantly legitimize themselves as higher, as born to command by having noble manners. The most common man feels that nobility cannot be improvised and that one has to honor in it the fruit of long periods of time. But the lack of higher manners and the notorious vulgarity of manufacturers with their ruddy, fat hands give him the idea that it is only accident and luck that have elevated one person above another. Well, then, he reasons: let us try accident and luck! let us throw the dice! And thus socialism is born. (p.260)
KeywordsNietzsche, Philosophy, Conscience, Manners, Nobility, Race, Socialism, Military
ThemesNietzsche Citations, Nietzsche Citations
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