THE ANTICHRIST
By
Friedrich Nietzsche
Translation: H.L. Mencken

59.

The whole labour of the ancient world gone for naught: I have no word to describe the feelings that such an enormity arouses in me.--And, considering the fact that its labour was merely preparatory, that with adamantine self-consciousness it laid only the foundations for a work to go on for thousands of years, the whole meaning of antiquity disappears! . . To what end the Greeks? to what end the Romans?--All the prerequisites to a learned culture, all the methods of science, were already there; man had already perfected the great and incomparable art of reading profitably--that first necessity to the tradition of culture, the unity of the sciences; the natural sciences, in alliance with mathematics and mechanics, were on the right road,--the sense of fact, the last and more valuable of all the senses, had its schools, and its traditions were already centuries old! Is all this properly understood? Every essential to the beginning of the work was ready;--and the most essential, it cannot be said too often, are methods, and also the most difficult to develop, and the longest opposed by habit and laziness. What we have to day reconquered, with unspeakable self-discipline, for ourselves--for certain bad instincts, certain Christian instincts, still lurk in our bodies--that is to say, the keen eye for reality, the cautious hand, patience and seriousness in the smallest things, the whole integrity of knowledge--all these things were already there, and had been there for two thousand years! More, there was also a refined and excellent tact and taste! Not as mere brain-drilling! Not as "German" culture, with its loutish manners! But as body, as bearing, as instinct--in short, as reality. . . All gone for naught! Overnight it became merely a memory !--The Greeks! The Romans! Instinctive nobility, taste, methodical inquiry, genius for organization and administration, faith in and the will to secure the future of man, a great yes to everything entering into the imperium Romanum and palpable to all the senses, a grand style that was beyond mere art, but had become reality, truth, life . . --All overwhelmed in a night, but not by a convulsion of nature! Not trampled to death by Teutons and others of heavy hoof! But brought to shame by crafty, sneaking, invisible, anemic vampires! Not conquered,--only sucked dry! . . . Hidden vengefulness, petty envy, became master! Everything wretched, intrinsically ailing, and invaded by bad feelings, the whole ghetto-world of the soul, was at once on top!--One needs but read any of the Christian agitators, for example, St. Augustine, in order to realize, in order to smell, what filthy fellows came to the top. It would be an error, however, to assume that there was any lack of understanding in the leaders of the Christian movement:--ah, but they were clever, clever to the point of holiness, these fathers of the church! What they lacked was something quite different. Nature neglected--perhaps forgot--to give them even the most modest endowment of respectable, of upright, of cleanly instincts. . . Between ourselves, they are not even men. . . . If Islam despises Christianity, it has a thousandfold right to do so: Islam at least assumes that it is dealing with men. . . .

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