few from Nietzsche's Genealogy

Some of the salient passages from GM:

1. Every animal, including la bête philosophe, strives instinctively for the optimum conditions under which it may release its powers. Every animal, instinctively and with a subtle flair that leaves reason far behind, abhors all interference that might conceivably block its path to that optimum. (3.VII)

2. It is easy to tell a philosopher: he avoids three shiny, loud things--fame, princes, and women; which is not to say that they won't seek him out. (3.VIII)

3. Even measured by the Greek standard, our whole modern existence, insofar as it is not weakness but power and the consciousness of power, looks like sheer hubris and impiety: things exactly contrary to the ones we reverence today had for the longest time conscience on their side and God for their guardian. Our whole attitude toward nature, our violation of nature with the help of machines and the heedless ingenuity of technicians and engineers, is hubris; so is our attitude to God as some putative spider weaving purposes and ethics behind a vast web of causation... so is our attitude toward ourselves, upon whom we perform experiments which we would never perform on any animal, cheerfully and curiously splitting open the soul, while the body still breathes. What do we care any longer for the "salvation" of the soul? (3.X)

4. An observer viewing our terrestrial existence from another planet might easily be persuaded that this earth is strictly an ascetic star, the habitation of disgruntled, proud, repulsive creatures, unable to rid themselves of self-loathing, hatred of the earth and of all living things, who inflict as much pain as possible on themselves, solely out of pleasure in giving pain--perhaps the only kind of pleasure they know. (3.XI)

5. Let us, from now on, be on our guard against the hallowed philosophers' myth of a "pure, will-less, painless, timeless knower"; let us beware of the tentacles of such contradictory notions as "pure reason," "absolute knowledge," "absolute intelligence." All these concepts presuppose an eye such as no living being can imagine, an eye required to have no direction, to abrogate its active and interpretive powers--precisely those powers that alone make of seeing, seeing something. All seeing is essentially perspective, and so is all knowing. The more emotions we allow to speak in a given matter, the more different eyes we can put on in order to view a given spectacle, the more complete will be our conception of it, the greater our "objectivity." But to eliminate the will, to suspend the emotions altogether, provided it could be done--surely this would be to castrate the intellect, would it not? (3.XII)

6. The real danger lies in our loathing of man and our pity of him. If these two emotions should one day join forces, they would beget the most sinister thing ever witnessed on earth: man's ultimate will, his will to nothingness, nihilism. (3.XIV)
Written on July 7, 2009