24 May 2009

Criminals Guilty of No Crimes, in Nietzsche, Will to Power, § 235

by Corry Shores
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Criminals Guilty of No Crimes

Friedrich Nietzsche

The Will to Power

§ 235
(Spring-Fall 1887; rev. (Spring-Fall 1888)

We cannot undo past deeds by regretting them. So we should not feel the shame, embarrassment, and guilt of remorse. In fact, we should always feel an extreme pride.
we immoralists prefer not to believe in "guilt." We hold instead that every action is of identical value at root.
Circumstances providing, any of us would commit a crime.
One should never say on that account: "You should not have done this or that," but always: "How strange that I should not have done that a hundred times before!"
Our actions are "merely reflexes that respond to a stimulus: long before the depths of our being are touched by it, consulted about it."

Often times we do something wrong and feel as though it was not we who did it. This is a "spiritual disorder, a form of hypnotism." We must resist it at all costs.

Nonetheless, society judges us according to single criminal deeds.
That stems from the fact that a spiritual disturbance follows every deed with unusual consequences, whether these consequences are good or ill. Observe a lover who has received a promise, or a poet applauded by an audience: so far as torpor intellectualis is concerned, they differ in no way from an anarchist confronted with a search warrant.
Some actions are below our worth. If they were typical of us, we would enter a lower class of men. But we are not worthy enough for certain other actions. These we might commit only very rarely when we are overflowing with happiness and health. Artists create works out of such actions. So we should not measure the artist himself against his best works. For they were the products of exceptional acts.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Will to Power. Ed. Walter Kaufmann. Transl Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale. New York: Random House Vintage Books, 1967.

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