I. Order of Rank

1. The Doctrine of Order of Rank

858 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)

What determines your rank is the quantum of power you are: the rest is cowardice.

862 (1884)

A doctrine is needed powerful enough to work as a breeding agent: strengthening the strong, paralyzing and destructive for the world-weary.

The annihilation of the decaying races. Decay of Europe.-- The annihilation of slavish evaluations.-- Dominion over the earth as a means of producing a higher type.-- The annihilation of the tartuffery called "morality" (Christianity as a hysterical kind of honesty in this: Augustine, Bunyan).-- The annihilation of suffrage universel; i.e., the system through which the lowest natures prescribe themselves as laws for the higher.-- The annihilation of mediocrity and its acceptance. (The one-sided, individuals--peoples; to strive for fullness of nature through the pairing of opposites: race mixture to this end).-- The new courage--no a priori truths (such truths were sought by those accustomed to faith!), but a free subordination to a ruling idea that has its time: e.g., time as a property of space, etc.

2. The Strong and the Weak

871 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)

The victorious and unbridled: their depressive influence on the value of the desires. It was the dreadful barbarism of custom that, especially in the Middle Ages, compelled the creation of a veritable "league of virtue"--together with an equally dreadful exaggeration of that which constitutes the value of man. Struggling "civilization" (taming) needs every kind of irons and torture to maintain itself against terribleness and beast-of-prey natures.

Here a confusion is quite natural, although its influence has been fatal: that which men of power and will are able to demand of themselves also provides a measure of that which they may permit themselves. Such natures are the antithesis of the vicious and unbridled: although they may on occasion do things that would convict a lesser man of vice and immoderation.

Here the concept of the "equal value of men before God" is extraordinarily harmful; one forbade actions and attitudes that were in themselves among the prerogatives of the strongly constituted--as if they were in themselves unworthy of men. One brought the entire tendency of the strong into disrepute when one erected the protective measures of the weakest (those who were weakest also when confronting themselves) as a norm of value.

Confusion went so far that one branded the very virtuosi of life (whose autonomy offered the sharpest antithesis to the vicious and unbridled) with the most opprobrious names. Even now one believes one must disapprove of a Cesare Borgia; that is simply laughable. The church has excommunicated German emperors on account of their vices: as if a monk or priest had any right to join in a discussion about what a Frederick II may demand of himself. A Don Juan is sent to hell: that is very naive. Has it been noticed that in heaven all interesting men are missing?-- Just a hint to the girls as to where they can best find their salvation.-- If one reflects with some consistency, and moreover with a deepened insight into what a "great man" is, no doubt remains that the church sends all "great men" to hell--it fights against all "greatness of man."

877 (Spring-Fall 1887; rev. Spring-Fall 1888)

The revolution made Napoleon possible: that is its justification. For the sake of a similar prize one would have to desire the anarchical collapse of our entire civilization. Napoleon made nationalism possible: that is its excuse.

The value of a man (apart from his morality or immorality, naturally; for with these concepts the value of a man is not even touched) does not reside in his utility; for it would continue to exist even if there were no one to whom he could be of any use. And why could not precisely that man who produced the most disastrous effects be the pinnacle of the whole species of man: so high, so superior that everything would perish from envy of him?

893 (Spring-Fall 1887)

Hatred of mediocrity is unworthy of a philosopher: it is almost a question mark against his "right to philosophy." Precisely because he is an exception he has to take the rule under his protection, he has to keep the mediocre in good heart.

898 (Spring-Fall 1887)

The strong of the future.-- That which partly necessity, partly chance has achieved here and there, the conditions for the production of a stronger type, we are now able to comprehend and consciously will: we are able to create the conditions under which such an elevation is possible.

Until now, "education" has had in view the needs of society: not the possible needs of the future, but the needs of the society of the day. One desired to produce "tools" for it. Assuming the wealth of force were greater, one could imagine forces being subtracted, not to serve the needs of society but some future need.

Such a task would have to be posed the more it was grasped to what extent the contemporary form of society was being so powerfully transformed that at some future time it would be unable to exist for its own sake alone, but only as a tool in the hands of a stronger race.

The increasing dwarfing of man is precisely the driving force that brings to mind the breeding of a stronger race--a race that would be excessive precisely where the dwarfed species was weak and growing weaker (in will, responsibility, self-assurance, ability to posit goals for oneself).

The means would be those history teaches: isolation through interests in preservation that are the reverse of those which are average today; habituation to reverse evaluations; distance as a pathos; a free conscience in those things that today are most undervalued and prohibited.

The homogenizing of European man is the great process that cannot be obstructed: one should even hasten it. The necessity to create a gulf, distance, order of rank, is given eo ipso--not the necessity to retard the process.

As soon as it is established, this homogenizing species requires a justification: it lies in serving a higher sovereign species that stands upon the former and can raise itself to its task only by doing this. Not merely a master race whose sole task is to rule, but a race with its own sphere of life, with an excess of strength for beauty, bravery, culture, manners to the highest peak of the spirit; an affirming race that may grant itself every great luxury--strong enough to have no need of the tyranny of the virtue-imperative, rich enough to have no need of thrift and pedantry, beyond good and evil; a hothouse for strange and choice plants.

899 (1885)

Our psychologists, whose glance lingers involuntarily on symptoms of decadence alone, again and again induce us to mistrust the spirit. One always sees only those effects of the spirit that make men weak, delicate, and morbid; but now there are coming

new barbarians { cynics
} union of spiritual superiority with well-being and an excess of strength.


900 (1885)

I point to something new: certainly for such a democratic type there exists the danger of the barbarian, but one has looked for it only in the depths. There exists also another type of barbarian, who comes from the heights: a species of conquering and ruling natures in search of material to mold. Prometheus was this kind of barbarian.

909 (Jan.-Fall 1888)

The typical forms of self-formation. Or: the eight principal questions.

1. Whether one wants to be more multifarious or simpler?
2. Whether one wants to become happier or more indifferent to happiness and unhappiness?
3. Whether one wants to become more contented with oneself or more exacting and inexorable?
4. Whether one wants to become softer, more yielding, more human, or more "inhuman"?
5. Whether one wants to become more prudent or more ruthless?
6. Whether one wants to reach a goal or to avoid all goals (as, e.g., the philosopher does who smells a boundary, a nook, a prison, a stupidity in every goal)?
7. Whether one wants to become more respected or more feared? Or more despised?
8. Whether one wants to become tyrant or seducer or shepherd or herd animal?

910 (Spring-Fall 1887)

Types of my disciples.-- To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities--I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not--that one endures. [The note continues in Nietzsche's MS: "I have not yet got to know any idealist, but many liars--—"]

916 (1884; rev. Spring-Fall 1888)

What has been ruined by the church's misuse of it:

1. asceticism: one has hardly the courage so far to display its natural utility, its indispensability in the service of the education of the will. Our absurd pedagogic world, before which the "useful civil servant" hovers as a model, thinks it can get by with "instruction," with brain drill; it has not the slightest idea that something else is needed first--education of will power; one devises tests for everything except for the main thing: whether one can will, whether one may promise; the young man finishes school without a single question, without any curiosity even, concerning this supreme value-problem of his nature;

2. fasting: in every sense--even as a means of preserving the delicacy of one's ability to enjoy all good things (e.g., occasionally to stop reading, listening to music, being pleasant; one must have fast days for one's virtues, too);

3. the "monastery": temporary isolation, accompanied by strict refusal, e.g., of letters; a kind of most profound self-reflection and self-recovery that desires to avoid, not "temptations," but "duties": an escape from the daily round; a detachment from they tyranny of stimuli and influences that condemns us to spend our strength in nothing but reactions and does not permit the accumulation to the point of spontaneous activity (one should observe our scholars from close up: they think only reactively; i.e., they have to read before they can think);

4. feasts: One has to be very coarse in order not to feel the presence of Christians and Christian values as an oppression beneath which all genuine festive feelings go to the devil. Feasts include: pride, exuberance, wantonness; mockery of everything serious and Philistine; a divine affirmation of oneself out of animal plenitude and perfection--one and all states which the Christian cannot honestly welcome. The feast is paganism par excellence;

5. courage confronted with one's own nature: dressing up in "moral costumes.-- That one has no need of moral formulas in order to welcome an affect; standard: how far we can affirm what is nature in us--how much or how little we need to have recourse to morality;

6. death-- One must convert the stupid physiological fact into a moral necessity. So to live that one can also will at the right time to die!

918 (Jan.-Fall 1888)

One would make a fit little boy stare if one asked him: "Would you like to become virtuous?"-- but he will open his eyes wide if asked: "Would you like to become stronger than your friends?"--

3. The Noble Man

941 (Summer-Fall 1883)

The meaning of our gardens and palaces (and to this extent also the meaning of all desire for riches) is to remove disorder and vulgarity from sight and to build a home for nobility of soul.

The majority, to be sure, believe they will acquire higher natures when, those beautiful, peaceful objects have operated upon them: hence the rush to go to Italy and on travels, etc.; all reading and visits to theaters. They want to have themselves formed--that is the meaning of their cultural activity! But the strong, the mighty want to form and no longer to have anything foreign about them!

Thus men also plunge into wild nature, not to find themselves but to lose and forget themselves in it. "To be outside oneself" as the desire of all the weak and the self-discontented.

942 (1885)

There is only nobility of birth, only nobility of blood. (I am not speaking here of the little word "von" or of the Almanach de Gotha [Genealogy reference book of the royal families of Europe.]: parenthesis for asses.) When one speaks of "aristocrats of the spirit," reasons are usually not lacking for concealing something; as is well known, it is a favorite term among ambitious Jews. For spirit alone does not make noble; rather, there must be something to ennoble the spirit.-- What then is required? Blood.

949 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)

That one stakes one's life, one's health, one's honor, is the consequence of high spirits and an overflowing, prodigal will: not from love of man but because every great danger challenges our curiosity about the degree of our strength and our courage.

4. The Masters of the Earth

958 (1884)

I write for a species of man that does not yet exist: for the "masters of the earth."

Religions, as consolations and relaxations, dangerous: man believes he has a right to take his ease.

In Plato's Theages it is written: "Each one of us would like to be master over all men, if possible, and best of all God." This attitude must exist again.

Englishmen, Americans, and Russians--—

960 (1885-1886)

From now on there will be more favorable preconditions for more comprehensive forms of dominion, whose like has never yet existed. And even this is not the most important thing; the possibility has been established for the production of international racial unions whose task will be to rear a master race, the future "masters of the earth";--a new, tremendous aristocracy, based on the severest self-legislation, in which the will of philosophical men of power and artist-tyrants will be made to endure for millennia--a higher kind of man who, thanks to their superiority in will, knowledge, riches, and influence, employ democratic Europe as their most pliant and supple instrument for getting hold of the destinies of the earth, so as to work as artists upon "man" himself. Enough: the time is coming when politics will have a different meaning.

5. The Great Human Being

966 (1884)

In contrast to the animals, man has cultivated an abundance of contrary drives and impulses within himself: thanks to this synthesis, he is master of the earth.-- Moralities are the expression of locally limited orders of rank in his multifarious world of drives, so man should not perish through their contradictions. Thus a drive as master, its opposite weakened, refined, as the impulse that provides the stimulus for the activity of the chief drive.

The highest man would have the greatest multiplicity of drives, in the relatively greatest strength that can be endured. Indeed, where the plant "man" shows himself strongest one finds instincts that conflict powerfully (e.g., in Shakespeare), but are controlled.

6. The Highest Man as Legislator of the Future

981 (Spring-Fall 1887)

Not to make men "better," not to preach morality to them in any form, as if "morality in itself," or any ideal kind of man, were given; but to create conditions that require stronger men who for their part need, and consequently will have, a morality (more clearly: a physical-spiritual discipline) that makes them strong!

Not to allow oneself to be misled by blue eyes or heaving bosoms: greatness of soul has nothing romantic about it. And unfortunately nothing at all amiable.

984 (1884)

Greatness of soul is inseparable from greatness of spirit. For it involves independence; but in the absence of spiritual greatness, independence ought not to be allowed, it causes mischief, even through its desire to do good and practice "justice." Small spirits must obey--hence cannot possess greatness.

II. Dionysus

1003 (Jan.-Fall 1888)

To him who has turned out well, who does my heart good, carved from wood that is hard, gentle, and fragrant--in whom even the nose takes pleasure--this book is dedicated.

He enjoys the taste of what is wholesome for him;

his pleasure in anything ceases when the bounds of the wholesome are crossed;

he divines the remedies for partial injuries; he has illnesses as great stimulants of his life;

he knows how to exploit ill chances;

he grows stronger through the accidents that threaten to destroy him;

he instinctively gathers from all that he sees, hears, experiences, what advances his main concern--he follows a principle of selection--he allows much to fall through;

he reacts with the slowness bred by a long caution and a deliberate pride--he tests a stimulus for its origin and its intentions, he does not submit;

he is always in his own company, whether he deals with books, men, or landscapes;

he honors by choosing, by admitting, by trusting.

1007 (Spring-Fall 1887)

To revalue values--what would that mean? All the spontaneous--new, future, stronger--movements must be there; but they still appear under false names and valuations and have not yet become conscious of themselves.

A courageous becoming-conscious and affirmation of what has been achieved--a liberation from the slovenly routine of old valuations that dishonor us in the best and strongest things we have achieved.

1017 (Spring-Fall 1887)

In place of the "natural man" of Rousseau, the nineteenth century has discovered a truer image of "man"--it has had the courage to do so.-- On the whole, the Christian concept "man" has thus been reinstated. What one has not had the courage for is to call this "man in himself" good and to see in him the guarantee of the future. Neither has one dared to grasp that an increase in the terribleness of man is an accompaniment of every increase in culture; in this, one is still subject to the Christian ideal and takes its side against paganism, also against the Renaissance concept of virtù. But the key to culture is not to be found in this way: and in praxis one retains the falsification of history in favor of the "good man" (as if he alone constituted the progress of man) and the socialist ideal (i.e., the residue of Christianity and of Rousseau in the de-Christianized world).

The struggle against the eighteenth century: its supreme overcoming by Goethe and Napoleon. Schopenhauer, too, struggles against it; but he involuntarily steps back into the seventeenth century--he is a modern Pascal, with Pascalian value judgments without Christianity. Schopenhauer was not strong enough for a new Yes.

Napoleon: insight that the higher and the terrible man necessarily belong together. The "man" reinstated; the woman again accorded her due tribute of contempt and fear. "Totality" as health and highest activity; the straight line, the grand style in action rediscovered; the most powerful instinct, that of life itself, the lust to rule, affirmed.

1023 (March-June 1888)

Pleasure appears where there is the feeling of power.

Happiness: in the triumphant consciousness of power and victory.

Progress: the strengthening of the type, the ability for great willing; everything else is misunderstanding, danger.

1026 (Summer-Fall 1883)

Not "happiness follows virtue"--but the more powerful man first designates his happy state as virtue.

Evil actions belong to the powerful and virtuous: bad, base ones to the subjected.

The most powerful man, the creator, would have to be the most evil, in as much as he carries his ideal against the ideals of other men and remakes them in his own image. Evil here means: hard, painful, enforced.

Such men as Napoleon must come again and again and confirm the belief in the autocracy of the individual: but he himself was corrupted by the means he had to employ and lost noblesse of character. If he had had to prevail among a different kind of man he could have employed other means; and it would thus not seem to be a necessity for a Caesar to become bad.

1028 (Spring-Fall 1887)

Terribleness is part of greatness: let us not deceive ourselves.

1038 (March-Fall 1888)

--And how many new gods are still possible! As for myself, in whom the religious, that is to say god-forming, instinct occasionally becomes active at impossible times--how differently, how variously the divine has revealed itself to me each time!

So many strange things have passed before me in those timeless moments that fall into one's life as if from the moon, when one no longer has any idea how old one is or how young one will yet be--I should not doubt that there are many kinds of gods-- There are some one cannot imagine without a certain halcyon and frivolous quality in their makeup-- Perhaps light feet are even an integral part of the concept :god-- Is it necessary to elaborate that a god prefers to stay beyond everything bourgeois and rational? and, between ourselves, also beyond good and evil? His prospect of free--in Goethe's words.-- And to call upon the inestimable authority of Zarathustra in this instance: Zarathustra goes so far as to confess: "I would believe only in a God who could dance"--

To repeat: how many new gods are still possible! Zarathustra himself, to be sure, is merely an old atheist: he believes neither in old nor in new gods. Zarathustra says he would; but Zarathustra will not-- Do not misunderstand him.

The type of God after the type of creative spirits, of "great men."

1049 (1885-1886)

Apollo's deception: the eternity of beautiful forms; the aristocratic legislation, "thus shall it be for ever!"

Dionysus: sensuality and cruelty. Transitoriness could be interpreted as enjoyment of productive and destructive force, as continual creation.

III. The Eternal Recurrence

1053 (1884)

My philosophy brings the triumphant idea of which all other modes of thought will ultimately perish. It is the great cultivating idea: the races that cannot bear it stand condemned; those who find it the greatest benefit are chosen to rule.

1054 (1885-1886)

The greatest of struggles: for this a new weapon is needed.

The hammer: to provoke a fearful decision, to confront Europe with the consequences: whether its will "wills" destruction.

Prevention of reduction to mediocrity. Rather destruction!

1055 (1885)

A pessimistic teaching and way of thinking, an ecstatic nihilism, can under certain conditions be indispensable precisely to the philosopher--as a mighty pressure and hammer with which he breaks and removes degenerate and decaying races to make way for a new order of life, or to implant into that which is degenerate and desires to die a longing for the end.

1056 (1884)

I want to teach the idea that gives many the right to erase themselves--the great cultivating idea.

1057 (1883-1888)

The eternal recurrence. A prophecy. [In the MS: "A Book of Prophecy." In the so-called Grossoktav edition of 1911, p. 514, this section represents the plan for a book, The Eternal Recurrence.]

1. Presentation of the doctrine and its theoretical presuppositions and consequences.

2. Proof of the doctrine.

3. Probable consequences of its being believed (it makes everything break open).
a) Means of enduring it;
b) Means of disposing it.

4. Its place in history as a mid-point.
Period of greatest danger.
Foundation of an oligarchy above peoples and their interests: education to a universally human politics.
Counterpart of Jesuitism.

1058 (1883-1888)

The two great philosophical points of view (devised by Germans):

a) that of becoming, of development.
b) that according to the value of existence (but the wretched form of German pessimism must first be overcome!)--both brought together by me in a decisive way.

Everything becomes and recurs eternally--escape is impossible!-- Supposing we could judge value, what follows? The idea of recurrence as a selective principle, in the service of strength (and barbarism!!).

Ripeness of man for this idea.

1059 (1884)

1. The idea [of the eternal recurrence]: the presuppositions that would have to be true if it were true. Its consequences.

2. As the hardest idea: its probable effect if it were not prevented, i.e., if all values were not revalued.

3. Means of enduring it: the revaluation of all values. No longer joy in certainty but uncertainty; no longer "cause and effect" but the continually creative; no longer will to preservation but to power; no longer the humble expression, "everything is merely subjective," but "it is also our work!-- Let us be proud of it!"

1060 (1884)

To endure the idea of the recurrence one needs: freedom from morality; new means against the fact of pain (pain conceived as a tool, as the father of pleasure; there is no cumulative consciousness of displeasure); the enjoyment of all kinds of uncertainty, experimentalism, as a counterweight to this extreme fatalism; abolition of the concept of necessity; abolition of the "will"; abolition of "knowledge-in-itself."

Greatest elevation of the consciousness of strength in man, as he creates the overman.

1061 (1887-1888)

The two most extreme modes of thought--the mechanistic and the Platonic--are reconciled in the eternal recurrence: both as ideals.

1062 (1885)

If the world had a goal, it must have been reached. If there were for it some unintended final state, this also must have been reached. If it were in any way capable of a pausing and becoming fixed, of "being," then all becoming would long since have come to an end, along with all thinking, all "spirit." The fact of "spirit" as a form of becoming proves that the world has no goal, no final state, and is incapable of being.

The old habit, however, of associating a goal with every event and a guiding, creative God with the world, is so powerful that it requires an effort for a thinker not to fall into thinking of the very aimlessness of the world as intended. This notion--that the world intentionally avoids a goal and even knows artifices for keeping itself from entering into a circular course--must occur to all those who would like to force on the world the ability for eternal novelty, i.e., on a finite, definite, unchangeable force of constant size, such as the world is, the miraculous power of infinite novelty in its forms and states. The world, even if it is no longer a god, is still supposed to be capable of the divine power of creation, the power of infinite transformations; it is supposed to consciously prevent itself from returning to any of its old forms; it is supposed to possess not only the intention but the means of every one of its movements at every moment so as to escape goals, final states, repetitions--and whatever else may follow from such an unforgivably insane way of thinking and desiring. It is still the old religious way of thinking and desiring, a kind of longing to believe that in some way the world is after all like the old beloved, infinite, boundlessly creative God--that in some way "the old God still lives"--that longing of Spinoza which was expressed in the words "deus sive natura" [God or nature.] (he even felt "natura sive deus").

What, then, is the law and belief with which the decisive change, the recently attained preponderance of the scientific spirit over the religious, God-inventing spirit, is most clearly formulated? Is it not: the world, as force, may not be thought of as unlimited, for it cannot be so thought of; we forbid ourselves the concept of an infinite force as incompatible with the concept "force." Thus--the world also lacks the capacity for eternal novelty.

1063 (1887-1888)

The law of the conservation of energy demands eternal recurrence.

1064 (1885)

That a state of equilibrium is never reached proves that it is not possible. But in an indefinite space it would have to have been reached. Likewise in a spherical space. The shape of space must be the cause of eternal movement, and ultimately of all "imperfection."

That "force" and "rest," "remaining the same," contradict one another. The measure of force (as magnitude) as fixed, but its essence in flux. [The MS continues: "in tension, compelling."]

"Timelessness" to be rejected. At any precise moment of a force, the absolute conditionality of a new distribution of all its forces is given: it cannot stand still. "Change" belongs to the essence, therefore also temporality: with this, however, the necessity of change has only been posited once more conceptually.

1065 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)

A certain emperor always bore in mind the transitoriness of all things so as not to take them too seriously and to live at peace among them. To me, on the contrary, everything seems far too valuable to be so fleeting: I seek an eternity for everything: ought one to pour the most precious salves and wines into the sea?-- My consolation is that everything that has been is eternal: the sea will cast it up again.

1066 (March-June 1888)

The new world-conception.-- The world exists; it is not something that becomes, not something that passes away. Or rather: it becomes, it passes away, but it has never begun to become and never ceased from passing away--it maintains itself in both.-- It lives on itself: its excrements are its food.

We need not worry for a moment about the hypothesis of a created world. The concept "create" is today completely indefinable [This word is illegible.], unrealizable; merely a word, a rudimentary survival from the ages of superstition; one can explain nothing with a mere word. The last attempt to conceive a world that had a beginning has lately been made several times with the aid of logical procedures--generally, as one may divine, with an ulterior theological motive.

Lately one has sought several times to find a contradiction in the concept "temporal infinity of the world in the past" (regressus in infinitum): one has even found it, although at the cost of confusing the head with the tail. Nothing can prevent me from reckoning backward from this moment and saying "I shall never reach the end"; just as I can reckon forward from the same moment into the infinite. Only if I made the mistake--I shall guard against it--of equating this correct concept of a regressus in infinitum with an utterly unrealizable concept of a finite progressus up to this present, only if I suppose that the direction (forward or backward) is logically a matter of indifference, would I take the head--this moment--for the tail: I shall leave that to you, my dear Herr Dühring!--

I have come across this idea in earlier thinkers: every time it was determined by other ulterior considerations (--mostly theological, in favor of the creator spiritus). If the world could in any way become rigid, dry, dead, nothing, or if it could reach a state of equilibrium, or if it had any kind of goal that involved duration, immutability, the once-and-for-all (in short, speaking metaphysically: if becoming could resolve itself into being or into nothingness), then this state must have been reached: from which it follows--

This is the sole certainty we have in our hands to serve as a corrective to a great host of world hypotheses possible in themselves. If, e.g., the mechanistic theory cannot avoid the consequence, drawn for it by William Thomson [First Baron Kelvin (1824-1907), British physicist and mathematician who introduced the Kelvin or Absolute Scale of temperature.], of leading to a final state, then the mechanistic theory stands refuted.

If the world may be thought of as a certain definite quantity of force and as a certain definite number of centers of force--and every other representation remains indefinite and therefore useless--it follows that, in the great dice game of existence, it must pass through a calculable number of combinations. In infinite time, every possible combination would at some time or another be realized; more: it would be realized an infinite number of times. And since between every combination and its next recurrence all other possible combinations would have to take place, and each of these combinations conditions the entire sequence of combinations in the same series, a circular movement of absolutely identical series is thus demonstrated: the world as a circular movement that has already repeated itself infinitely often and plays its game in infinitum.

This conception is not simply a mechanistic conception; for if it were that, it would not condition an infinite recurrence of identical cases, but a final state. Because the world has not reached this, mechanistic theory must be considered an imperfect and merely provisional hypothesis.

1067 (1885)

And do you know what "the world" is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income; enclosed by "nothingness" as by a boundary; not something blurry or wasted, not something endlessly extended, but set in a definite space as a definite force, and not a sphere that might be "empty" here or there, but rather as force throughout, as a play of forces and waves of forces, at the same time one and many, increasing here and at the same time decreasing there; a sea of forces flowing and rushing together, eternally changing, eternally flooding back, with tremendous years of recurrence, with an ebb and a flood of its forms; out of the simplest forms striving toward the most complex, out of the stillest, most rigid, coldest forms toward the hottest, most turbulent, most self-contradictory, and then again returning home to the simple out of this abundance, out of the play of contradictions back to the joy of concord, still affirming itself in this uniformity of its courses and its years, blessing itself as that which must return eternally, as a becoming that knows no satiety, no disgust, no weariness: this, my Dionysian world of the eternally self-creating, the eternally self-destroying, this mystery world of the twofold voluptuous delight, my "beyond good and evil," without goal, unless the joy of the circle is itself a goal; without will, unless a ring feels good will toward itself--do you want a name for this world? A solution for all its riddles? A light for you, too, you best-concealed, strongest, most intrepid, most midnightly men?-- This world is the will to power--and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power--and nothing besides!


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