Evening Conversation [209–210]

Younger Man: For it could be the case that even morality [die Moral], for its part, together with all the peculiar attempts to envision a world-order and make certain of a world-security for the national peoples [Völkern] by means of morality, are only a monstrous offspring of evil; just as the much-appealed-to “world’s general public,” in its essence and in its manner of emergence, presumably remains a construct and product of the process that we are calling the devastation.

Older Man: While I do not entirely see these interconnections, it seems to me that something similar concerning the origin of morality was said already by Nietzsche.1

Younger Man: And yet you also know the suspicion of his metaphysics that dwells in us. Nietzsche of course interpreted morality—that is to say, the Platonic-Christian ethical doctrine [Sittenlehre] together with its later secularized forms, for example the rational ethics of the Enlightenment and socialism—as appearances of the will to power. He situated his own thinking in a “beyond good and evil.” But Nietzsche did not recognize that this “beyond” or “thither side” [»Jenseits«]—as the realm of a pure will to power, that is, of a will to power that has come into its own—would have to remain only the counter-world to the Platonically thought world. Thus his doctrine of “discipline [210] and breeding” is also only the extreme affirmation of morality. Assuming, however, that the will itself is what is evil, then the realm of pure will to power is least of all a “beyond good and evil”—if there otherwise can at all be a beyond-evil.

Older Man: I see that it was careless of me to now mention the name Nietzsche. We have indeed often reflected on the fact that a thought about Nietzsche’s philosophy should only be expressed with the highest degree of rigor and from out of the richest and most far-reaching vision into the entirety of occidental thinking. Over against his philosophy, moral indignation and moral haughtiness are capable of just as little as they are with regard to the process of devastation.

Younger Man: And this devastation, after all, concerns our own essence and its world in a manner that we are only just now beginning to presage.

Older Man: Therefore I also feel that it is again and again necessary for me to speak of this devastation, even though the contrary will of an aversion [Widerwille] would rather stop me from doing so,

1. See Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, especially parts V and IX, and On the Genealogy of Morals, both in Basic Writings of Nietzsche, trans. and ed. Walter Kaufmann (New York: The Modern Library, 2000). See also Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, trans. Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale (New York: Vintage, 1967), especially the second part of book II (“Critique of Morality”), and book IV (“Discipline and Breeding”).—Tr.