Beyond Good and Evil HTML version

become our instinctive calumniators and detractors, even when they still remain our
"friends."--Blessed are the forgetful: for they "get the better" even of their blunders.
218. The psychologists of France--and where else are there still psychologists
nowadays?--have never yet exhausted their bitter and manifold enjoyment of the betise
bourgeoise, just as though . . . in short, they betray something thereby. Flaubert, for
instance, the honest citizen of Rouen, neither saw, heard, nor tasted anything else in the
end; it was his mode of self-torment and refined cruelty. As this is growing wearisome, I
would now recommend for a change something else for a pleasure--namely, the
unconscious astuteness with which good, fat, honest mediocrity always behaves towards
loftier spirits and the tasks they have to perform, the subtle, barbed, Jesuitical astuteness,
which is a thousand times subtler than the taste and understanding of the middle-class in
its best moments--subtler even than the understanding of its victims:--a repeated proof
that "instinct" is the most intelligent of all kinds of intelligence which have hitherto been
discovered. In short, you psychologists, study the philosophy of the "rule" in its struggle
with the "exception": there you have a spectacle fit for Gods and godlike malignity! Or,
in plainer words, practise vivisection on "good people," on the "homo bonae voluntatis,"
219. The practice of judging and condemning morally, is the favourite revenge of the
intellectually shallow on those who are less so, it is also a kind of indemnity for their
being badly endowed by nature, and finally, it is an opportunity for acquiring spirit and
BECOMING subtle--malice spiritualises. They are glad in their inmost heart that there is
a standard according to which those who are over-endowed with intellectual goods and
privileges, are equal to them, they contend for the "equality of all before God," and
almost NEED the belief in God for this purpose. It is among them that the most powerful
antagonists of atheism are found. If any one were to say to them "A lofty spirituality is
beyond all comparison with the honesty and respectability of a merely moral man"--it
would make them furious, I shall take care not to say so. I would rather flatter them with
my theory that lofty spirituality itself exists only as the ultimate product of moral
qualities, that it is a synthesis of all qualities attributed to the "merely moral" man, after
they have been acquired singly through long training and practice, perhaps during a
whole series of generations, that lofty spirituality is precisely the spiritualising of justice,
and the beneficent severity which knows that it is authorized to maintain GRADATIONS
OF RANK in the world, even among things--and not only among men.
220. Now that the praise of the "disinterested person" is so popular one must--probably
not without some danger--get an idea of WHAT people actually take an interest in, and
what are the things generally which fundamentally and profoundly concern ordinary
men--including the cultured, even the learned, and perhaps philosophers also, if
appearances do not deceive. The fact thereby becomes obvious that the greater part of
what interests and charms higher natures, and more refined and fastidious tastes, seems
absolutely "uninteresting" to the average man--if, notwithstanding, he perceive devotion
to these interests, he calls it desinteresse, and wonders how it is possible to act
"disinterestedly." There have been philosophers who could give this popular
astonishment a seductive and mystical, other-worldly expression (perhaps because they