Beyond Good and Evil Author: Friedrich Nietzsche – Translator: Helen Zimmern
BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
SUPPOSING that Truth is a woman what then?
Is there not ground for suspecting that all philosophers, in so far as they have been dogmatists, have failed to understand women that the terrible seriousness and clumsy importunity with which they have usually paid their addresses to Truth have been unskilled and unseemly methods for winning a woman?
Certainly, she has never allowed herself to be won; and at present every kind of dogma stands with sad and discouraged mien, indeed, it stands at all! For there are scoffers who maintain that it has fallen, that all dogma lies on the ground nay more, that it is at its last gasp.
But to speak seriously, there are good grounds for hoping that all dogmatizing in philosophy, whatever solemn, whatever conclusive and decided airs it has assumed, may have been only a noble puerilism and tyronism;
and probably the time is at hand when it will be once and again understood WHAT has actually sufficed for the basis of such imposing and absolute philosophical edifices as the dogmatists have hitherto reared:
perhaps some popular superstition of immemorial time (such as the soul-superstition, which, in the form of subject- and ego-superstition, has not yet ceased doing mischief): perhaps some play upon words, a deception on the part of grammar, or an audacious generalization of very restricted, very personal, very human all-too-human facts.
The philosophy of the dogmatists, it is to be hoped, was only a promise for thousands of years afterwards, as was astrology in still earlier times, in the service of which probably more labour, gold, acuteness, and patience have been spent than on any actual science hitherto: we owe to it, and to its “super-terrestrial” pretensions in Asia and Egypt, the grand style of architecture.
It seems that in order to inscribe themselves upon the heart of humanity with everlasting claims, all great things have first to wander about the earth as enormous and awe-inspiring caricatures: dogmatic philosophy has been a caricature of this kind, for instance, the Vedanta doctrine in Asia, and Platonism in Europe.
Let us not be ungrateful to it, although it must certainly be confessed that the worst, the most tiresome, and the most dangerous of errors hitherto has been a dogmatist error namely, Plato’s invention of Pure Spirit and the Good in Itself.
But now when it has been surmounted, when Europe, rid of this nightmare, can again draw breath freely and at least enjoy a healthier sleep, we, WHOSE DUTY IS WAKEFULNESS ITSELF, are the heirs of all the strength which the struggle against this error has fostered. It amounted to the