from Will to power

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377 (1883-1888)

Falsity.–Every sovereign instinct has the others for its tools, retainers, flatterers: it never lets itself be called by its ugly name: and it countenances no praise in which it is not also praised indirectly. All praise and blame in general crystallizes around every sovereign instinct to form a rigorous order and etiquette. This is one of the causes of falsity.

Every instinct that struggles for mastery but finds itself under a yoke requires for itself, as strengthening and as support for its self-esteem, all the beautiful names and recognized values: so, as a rule, it ventures forth under the name of the ”master” it is combatting and from whom it wants to get free (e. g., the fleshly desires or the desires for power under the dominion of Christian values).– This is the other cause of falsity.

Perfect naïveté reigns in both cases: the falsity does not become conscious. It is a sign of a broken instinct when man sees the driving force and its ”expression” (”the mask”) as separate things–a sign of self-contradiction, and victorious far less often. Absolute innocence in bearing, word, affect, a ”good conscience” in falsity, the certainty with which one grasps the greatest and most splendid words and postures–all this is necessary for victory.

In the other case: when one has extreme clear-sightedness one needs the genius of the actor and tremendous training in self-control if one is to achieve victory. That is why priests are the most skillful conscious hypocrites; then princes, whom rank and ancestry have endowed with a kind of acting ability. Thirdly, men of society, diplomats. Fourthly, women.

Basic idea: falsity seems so profound, so omnisided, the will so clearly opposed to direct self-knowledge and the calling of things by their right names, that it is very highly probable that truth, will to truth is really something else and only a disguise. (The need for faith is the greatest brake-shoe on truthfulness.)

Posted in: Philosophy