web analytics
Friedrich Nietzsche Vincent van Gogh


against the Cross, 18

Nietzsche had very little time left with a lucid mind, something he was well aware of, as we saw from Paul Deussen’s testimony about his visit to Sils-Maria. Therefore, working frantically in Turin in 1888, Nietzsche left no less than six works ready for printing: The Case of Wagner, Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, Ecce homo, Dithyrambs to Dionysus and Nietzsche contra Wagner! The frenzy of his writing, which as I said reminds me of Van Gogh’s frenzy those very same months under the splendid sun of Arles—which brought out the colours like few other places in the French countryside!—brings to mind Stefan Zweig’s metaphor: the daimon wanted to get out of those bodies using maximum artistic works before they were both burnt by their inner fires (one committed suicide, the other ended up mad).

When the frenzy of writing about everything he had in mind began, Nietzsche was forty-three years old, and in his letters, he admits that his new invective against Wagner was only ‘a distraction’, and that the main work was The Will to Power. But before his magnum opus, now that the muse was visiting him every day without mercy or respite, he wanted to publish a ‘compendium’ of his philosophy: so he rips up the material accumulated for his projected capital work, tears out pages here and there, and shortly sends the compendium to the publisher.

It is essential to know the letters Nietzsche wrote at that time to find out exactly what was going on in his frenetic mind. On 12 September 1888, he told Peter Gast about the compendium: ‘The writing can serve as a kind of initiation, as an appetizer for my Transvaluation of Values’. By this time Nietzsche had already changed the title of his main work, The Will to Power, to Transvaluation of Values. To George Brandes, his discoverer in Copenhagen, he wrote the next day; and to Deussen, the day after that:

Dear friend…

There is already in the hands of my publisher another manuscript, containing a very rigorous and subtle expression of all my philosophical heterodoxy—hidden under much grace and malignity. It is called: A Psychologist’s Idleness. —Ultimately, these two writings [i.e., The Case of Wagner and A Psychologist’s Idleness] are but mere recreations amid an inordinately grave and decisive task, which, if understood, will split the history of mankind into two halves. The meaning of it is stated in five words: Transvaluation of all values.

Around this time he also writes to his old and very understanding friend, the theologian Overbeck:

Dear friend…

To my surprise, the first book of The Transvaluation of All Values is now ready, in its final form, up to the middle. Its energy and transparency are such that perhaps no philosopher has ever achieved them before. It seems to me as if I had suddenly learned to write.

As far as the content or the passion of the problem is concerned, this work splits the millennia—the first book is called, let it be clear between us, The Antichrist, and I would swear that all that has hitherto been thought and said to criticise Christianity is futile childishness in comparison with it. —Such an enterprise makes necessary, even from a hygienic point of view, deep pauses and distractions. One of them will reach you in about ten days: it is called The Case of Wagner: A Musician’s Problem. It’s an all-out declaration of war…

Also, a second manuscript, completely ready for printing, is already in the hands of Mr G.G. Naumann. However, we shall wait a little longer. It is entitled A Psychologist’s Idleness and is very dear to me because it expresses my essential philosophical heterodoxy in a very brief (perhaps also witty) way. Otherwise, it is very ‘tempting’: I say my ‘finesses’ about countless thinkers and artists of today.

Next post I will give some amusing examples of the latter.

Peter Gast’s letter to Nietzsche contained a sentence that led to the title being changed from A Psychologist’s Idleness to Twilight of the Idols. Gast wrote: ‘Ah, I beg you if it is unlawful for an unfit man to beg: a more brilliant, more splendid title!’ Nietzsche replied on 27 September:

Dear friend…

As far as the title was concerned, my own reservations had anticipated your very human objection: I finally found in the words of the prologue the formula which will perhaps also satisfy the need felt by you.

What you write about ‘heavy artillery’ I simply have to accept, being as I am about to finish the first book of the Transvaluation. It really ends with horrible detonations: I don’t think that in all literature you will find anything parallel to this first book as far as orchestral sonority (including cannon fire) is concerned. —The new title (which brings with it very minor modifications in three or four passages) will be:

Twilight of the Idols
How to Philosophise with the Hammer

Proofreading was completed at the beginning of November, and on the 25th of the same month, Nietzsche received the first copies of the work. It would be the last of his writings to reach his hands while he was still lucid (Twilight of the Idols would go on sale at the beginning of the following year).

Friedrich Nietzsche Vincent van Gogh


against the Cross, 6

Friedrich Nietzsche in 1867.

Before saying a thing or two about the social impact on the educated sectors of Germany of Nietzsche’s first book, I would like to collect in this and the next entry some revealing anecdotes from the years outlined in the previous entry.

Given that the Nietzsche who would become popular was the philosopher—the hermit Nietzsche, taciturn, myopic and sullen—it is difficult to imagine him cheerful in 1867 when he enjoyed, as he put it, a ‘strong march on foot’ with his faithful friend Rhode: a march in the woods and mountains of Bohemia and Bavaria. Nietzsche had procured sturdy double-soled boots and the experience, which freed him at least for a few days from his academic duties, had Munich and Salzburg as their destination, although they made their way as far as Nuremberg, mostly on foot.

It is also difficult to imagine the philologist gunner whistling Offenbach tunes in the morning, or that the chronic ailments I spoke of vanished that happy season, despite the horse accident as mentioned earlier. The medical examination deduced that he had torn his pectoral muscles, and during therapy, several cups were filled with pus; the sternum was affected and Nietzsche confesses that he had to learn to walk again. Nietzsche’s volume of notes during his convalescence covers many pages, where the philosophical concerns that were to take possession of his soul are absent.

As a professor of classical philology, Nietzsche now earned a decent salary at the University of Basel. For someone born in a humble village, this was like winning the lottery. His mother wrote to him euphorically:

My dear Fritz:

Professor of 800 thalers’ salary! It was too much, my good son and I could not calm my heart in any other way than by immediately sending a telegram to Volkmann in Pforta.

Then I wrote to the good mother, the guardian, the Sidonchen, the Ehrenbergs, Miss von Grimmenstein and the Schenks in Weimar. In the meantime, Mrs Wenkel and Mrs Pinder came to congratulate us, at about 6 p.m. I took my letters to the post office, 25 pages in all, and communicated my joy first of all to the Luthers, who burst into shouts of joy; they called the old privy councillor, and all burst into tears, and heartily congratulated you, as well as Mrs. Haarseim, Mrs. Keil, Mrs. Grohmann with her daughter, Mrs. privy councillor Lepsius, who always shouted: My good son Fritz, as well as Mrs. Von Busch.

And what a beautiful city, said the Keils, the Pinders and old Luther: the university at the top and the Rhine below.

The dream of Nietzsche’s father, who saw it as a prodigy that his firstborn would be born when the king’s birthday bells were ringing, seemed fulfilled. His academic success reinforced the fantasy that Nietzsche would be a genius and probably contributed to that familiar wine going to his head over the years.

And what did his mentor Ritschl have to say? He wrote a eulogy in his reply letter to Wilhelm Vischer, who was envious of the uncouth, medium-sized, light-brown-haired colleague who did not yet dress elegantly. Ritschl wrote:

The man doesn’t even have a doctorate, but only because the obligatory five-year period since completing the baccalaureate (incidentally, taken at Schulpforta) has not yet fully elapsed. Otherwise, he would already have had one. I want to formulate my judgement in a few words, and neither you nor Büchler, Ribbeck, Bernays, Usener [all disciples of Ritschl] or tutti quanti should take it badly.

With as many young people as, for more than thirty-nine years, I have seen being trained before my eyes I have never met, nor have I tried to promote in my speciality according to my possibilities, a lad who so early and so young was as mature as this Nietzsche. The papers for the Rheinisches Museum he wrote in the second and third year of his academic three-year term! He is the first one I have accepted in collaboration while still a student. God willing, he will live a long life. I prophesy that one day he will be at the forefront of German philology.

He is only twenty-four years old; he is strong, vigorous, healthy, bizarre in body and character, made to please similar temperaments. Moreover, he possesses an enviable facility for calm as well as skilful and clear exposition in free expression. He is the idol and unwitting guide of the whole world of young philologists here in Leipzig, quite numerous, who cannot wait to hear him as a teacher.

You will say that I am describing a kind of phenomenon. Well, he is, and a kind and modest one at that. Also, a talented musician, which is irrelevant here. But I have not yet met any active authority who in a similar case has dared to go beyond the formal inadequacy, and I offer my entire philological and scholarly reputation as a guarantee that the thing will have a happy outcome.

No matter how much of a nose for academic talent Professor Ritschl might boast, he never imagined that his protégée was a time bomb that would blow apart the cloistering he had been suffering from since childhood. Instead of the grey monotony of Pforta that continued in Bonn, Leipzig and now Basel, Nietzsche would end his last sane days singing to the God Dionysus. The very intense blue sky seen in the islands of ancient Hellas, to which Nietzsche always aspired, evokes another flight from the gloomy skies of the north to the limpid south.

Vincent van Gogh, who lived within Nietzsche’s lifespan, was also the son of an austere and humble, though Dutch, Protestant pastor.

Unlike Nietzsche, Vincent would become a Protestant pastor for a time, at the age of twenty-six, and go as a missionary to a mining region of Belgium in search of the crucified of the time: a sort of St. Francis in a Protestant version. Only after prolonged self-mortifications would Brother Vincent abandon this black period of his life—literally black, as he watched the poor miners leaving the mines covered in charcoal—and flee in search of the enlightened landscapes of Arles (Nietzsche would do something similar, but not in the South of France but in Italy).

Chris Martenson Racial right Vincent van Gogh

Catastrophic loss of self-esteem

(Left, Old Man in Sorrow, a painting by Vincent van Gogh.) In Chris Martenson’s latest video, this über-normie interviews a black man. It never ceases to amaze me how a person who can predict a Malthusian crisis (regarding peak oil) can be so grotesquely normie on other matters.

But Richard Spencer is no slouch. He recently allowed himself to be interviewed at length by a woman on Odysee: a woman who then, within her programme, passed the mic to a black man to ask critical questions of Spencer. (One can imagine a German National Socialist getting defensive with a black interlocutor in the last century!) From that I vowed never to watch or listen to another podcast with Spencer.

What is going on in the minds of contemporary racialists? The mere fact of putting oneself at the mercy of a woman, or a thousand times worse a non-white, cannot but mean that the self-image of the Aryan male has collapsed to its nadir, something never seen in the history of yesteryear.

Likewise, in four separate posts, I quoted Mauricio’s recent comments on my Twitter account. But apparently these thoughts are too much even for the toughest racists on Twitter. No likes, no retweets, no comments: the eternal problem with white nationalists.

But let’s not waste any more time on such people. This day I must resume my reading of the pamphlets published by the Third Reich when the Aryan reached his zenith in self-esteem…

Deranged altruism Vincent van Gogh

Brother Vincent

To those who are still skeptical that today’s suicidal ethos throughout the West is related to the deranged altruism in the gospels let me remind them that, between 1879 and 1880, in the miserable industrial district of Borinage in Belgium, Vincent van Gogh, apparently imitating Jesus and St Francis, lived a kind of primitive and communal Christian life; gave his clothes to the poor sharing with them the food and even made their beds: all of which undermined his health to such an extent that he never again recovered completely.


Staggering and with mental health issues, in 1883 he returned to test this doctrine of charity. In The Hague, where he engaged at the time the study of art, brother Vincent took a sick prostitute to live with him with one of her five children; then the woman became pregnant again by one of her clients. Brother Vincent took care of her, paid the medical expenses, shared his food and hunger, and wanted to make the prostitute his wife…

Why should we wonder when this “imitation of Christ” reaches levels of insanity such as bringing masses of non-white immigrants into our homelands (see e.g., my Christmas post)?

Art My pinacoteca Vincent van Gogh

The Red Vineyard

The Red Vineyard

Painting of the day:

Vincent van Gogh
The Red Vineyard
~ 1890
Pushkin Museum

Friedrich Nietzsche Stefan Zweig Vincent van Gogh

Discovery of the south


Since my object is to portray Nietzsche’s life, not as a biography but as a tragedy of the spirit, as a work of dramatic art, for me his true work began when the artist in the man was released and became conscious of enfranchisement. So long as Nietzsche remained in his professional chrysalis he was nothing more than a problem for professorial brains to cudgel themselves over. But the winged being, “the aeronaut of the mind,” belongs to the realm of creative intelligence.

Goethe’s impression of Italy was a mental and æsthetic affair, whereas Nietzsche’s was vital in the extreme: the former brought home with him an artistic style, whilst the latter discovered in the land of the sun a style of life. Goethe was merely fecundated, whereas Nietzsche was completely uprooted, transplanted, renewed.

“Among the many laudable things I have learned in the course of this journey is the fact that it is impossible for me to live alone and away from my own country” [Goethe]. Turn this dictum the other way about and we get substantially the effect the South produced upon Nietzsche. His conclusions are diametrically opposed to Goethe’s, since he finds that henceforward he can live only in solitude and away from his native land. Goethe, after making an instructive and interesting journey, returns to the exact point whence he took his departure, carrying in his boxes, his heart, and his brain things precious and delightful for a home, for his home in particular. But Nietzsche expatriates himself and finds his true self, the “outlawed prince,” happy at having no home, no possessions, cut off for ever from the “parochial interests of a fatherland” and released from “patriotic strangulation.”

Once a freeman, always a freeman. Having felt the limpid Italian sky over his head, Nietzsche could no longer bear a suggestion of “obscurity,” whether proceeding from the clouds or from a professorial chair, from the Church or from the army. Never again, so far as Nietzsche was concerned, would Germany be free enough and light enough as nourisher of the mind. The halcyon skies are limpidly radiant.

It seems to me that in no other German author was the style of his writing so swiftly and completely renewed. Certainly none other was so flooded with sunshine, or ever became so enfranchised, so essentially southern, so divinely light of foot, so full of a good vintage, so pagan.

To find a change as rapid we have to turn to a painter in search of a comparison. A similar miracle, wrought likewise by the sun of the South, took place in van Gogh. The passage from the lugubrious tints in brown and grey of his Dutch canvases to the violet, crude, and strident colours splashed so generously upon his pictures of Provence was just as eruptive a transition. Van Gogh’s sudden mania for sunlight, his sudden and complete transference from one style of painting to another, is the only analogy that comes to my mind in the least comparable with the illumination the South brought to Nietzsche’s entire being. These two fanatical lovers of change were intoxicated with light, absorbed light with the vampire lust of passion, gulped down light in rapid and inconceivable large doses.

Not satisfied with light, Nietzsche desired “super-light”; clarity must be “super-clarity.” He wanted to be burned by the sun, not merely to be illuminated by it. Language, in its turn, became too narrow a medium, too material, too ponderous. A new element was required for the Dionysian dance that had begun within him; he needed more far-reaching liberties than could be offered while he remained a thrall to the written tongue. He therefore turned back to his first love, to music.