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LATE NIETZSCHE'S VIEW ON SOCRATES

The Problem of Socrates

"Socrates was a misunderstanding; the whole improvement-morality, including the Christian,


was a misunderstanding. The most blinding daylight; rationality at any price; life, bright, cold,
cautious, conscious, without instinct, in opposition to the instincts--all this too was a mere
disease, another disease, and by no means a return to "virtue," to "health," to happiness. To
have to fight the instincts--that is the formula of decadence: as long as life is ascending,
happiness equals instinct."

Twilight of the Idols, The Problem of Socrates,


11

"I tried to show, on the other hand, what instincts have been active behind all these pure
theoreticians--how they have all, under the spell of their instincts, gone fatalistically for
something that was "truth" for them--for them and only for them."

The Will to Power, 423

As we already have seen, the reason is not something independent to life,1 as tradition used to
consider it, but conditioned by body and life. There is no something as pure spirit, or reason-in-itself,
neither its postulates are criteria of truth. The seduction of logic that convinced us that we are
capable to know something, has its prehistory in the sphere of instincts, in the interpretation of our
own species of life: logic is a particular valuation, just as moral is, in the service of life, a particular
type of life, embodied in a particular type of body. Because of that, all our philosophy and all our
moral are a big misunderstanding, the misunderstanding of body, which has its prehistory in the
instincts, inclinations and disgusts of the philosopher or the moralist, or, to more precisely, of the
philosopher-moralist, personified in the dogmatic philosopher, in his strengths and weakness, in ups
and downs of his physical energy, in the truths and deceptions of his life-type.

Similarly, the history of philosophy, as the history of a deception, which Nietzsche sketches in
"Twilight of Idols" has its prehistory in a seduction, personified in Socrates.2 The evil Socrates
seduced the aristocratic Plato; that is the prehistory of two fundamental deceptions of dogmatists;
namely, seduced by Socrates, Plato invented the pure reason and the Good in itself, which, as we
already have seen in the previous chapter, "it meant standing truth on her head and denying
perspective, the basic condition of all life".3

In Socrates, Nietzsche sees the great nihilistic turn, with which starts philosophy as the history of a
deception, this "great nihilistic counterfeiting through artful misuse of moral values";4 with Socrates
starts the dogmatic value of truthfulness as inseparable from a particular moral. In Socrates,
Nietzsche sees the highest symbol of body, the sick body that practice philosophy, the anarchic play
of instincts which starts to create its own philosophy. Socrates is the first Nietzsche's example, and
the chronologically first example in the history of philosophy, of a sick philosophical beast, of "la
bête philosophe", which

"instinctively strives for the optimal beneficial conditions in which it can let out all its power and
attain the strongest feeling of its strength".5 With Socrates starts philosophy as a misunderstanding,
a misunderstanding of the sick body which starts to practice philosophy and to seduce. With
Socrates starts the relationship between philosophy and moral, which have ruled for two thousand
years.

In Socrates, Nietzsche sees the first example of Nietzsche's new psychology of the philosopher,
which uncovers the great stories and the great concepts of philosophy, all the shrines which even
the most suspicious philosopher didn't dare to consider as something conditioned, dictated by the
instincts of the sick body, conditioned by the will to nothing. With Socrates starts the
misunderstanding fundamental for philosophy, which is an overvaluation of the reason as an organ
of knowledge, an overvaluation of the knowledge as a way to morality, to virtue, an overvaluation of
virtue as a way to happiness; in general, an overvaluation of truth and truthfulness. Even the young
Nietzsche realized that: "The utterance of the truth at any price is something Socratic."6 And this
drive for truth at any price has led the history of thinking.

1
cf. Stegmaier, W., Nietzsche's New Determination of the Truth, Theoria, 3-4/1982, p. 101.
2
The Gay Science,335
3
Beyond The Good and Evil, Preface
4
The Will to Power, 379
5
On the Geneology of Morals, III, 7
6
Philosophy and Truth, The Philosopher, 73
With Socrates starts the virtue of truthfulness, truthfulness as a virtue, this will to truth that will
determine the whole history of philosophy until Nietzsche and which is nothing more than "the
unconscious disguise of physiological needs under the cloaks of the objective, ideal, purely spiritual"7
With Socrates begins the connection between knowledge and morality, i.e. Socrates' faith that we
are able to comprehend the general and necessary principles of our action, that the moral and the
comprehensible are the same. These presumptions are moral fundaments of our knowledge. That is
the point in which the misunderstanding starts, moral as a misunderstanding and philosophy as a
misunderstanding; the sick body "fated to act in this or that fashion wanted to justify itself, by
dictating its norm as the universal norm."8

With Socrates starts a fatal faith, a fatal, in essence moral faith of science and philosophy that
comprehension is possible as the removing of illusion, as the penetration through deception.
Although Socrates was against science. Nietzsche sees Socrates as the founder of the theoretical
optimism and its madness, which the most sublime form is the modern science. Namely, both
Socrates and scientists aspire to certainty. Socrates, "with his faith that the nature of things can be
fathomed, ascribes to knowledge and insight the power of a panacea, while understanding error as
the evil par excellence."9 These are the fundaments of the theoretical optimism, which believes that
is possible "to fathom the depths" and that " true knowledge" is worthiest than "appearance and
error".

The alliance between Socrates and science is a symbol of the alliance between the powerless
degenerated man and the powerless ordinary man; by means of this alliance, degenerated,
powerless, and ill-fated (i.e. the majority of the mankind), ruled the religion, moral, science and
metaphysics. With Socrates faith in reason, in the small geometrical reason, begins the epoch of the
objective man and the castrated intellect;10a futile man, incapable to create anything, becomes a
higher kind of man. The faith in reason instructs us that we should not rely on passions in our acting,
but on reason and knowledge, which are something different that body and passions. But what is
that in Socrates and in scientists that wants truth? – That is a sick body. Or, rather, what is a value of
that will to truth, what is it valuable for? The answer is: for life. But for what kind of life? – For a
decadent life?

Will to truth has its origin in the will to deception, in an interpretation? But in which kind of
interpretation, in whose interpretation? – In the interpretation of passions. But of which passions? –
Of he anarchical passions, the passions of a decadent life that wants to impose the norms of its self-
preservation as universal, of a vindictive life, which no longer fill well and which would negate itself.
With Socrates starts a pleiad of the wisest, which are also the most decadent, starts the wisdom on
earth, the wisdom that is as "as a raven, inspired by a little whiff of carrion".11 It starts a demand to
certainty as a will to death, which is in fact a will to rest and a sign of the instinct of weakness or of
the weakened instincts, a sign of the weakness of will, common both to the moralists and the
religions from one side, and to the metaphysicians and the scientists on the other side. With
Socrates starts this "superfetation of logic and of clarity of reason"12 that leads to a hypertrophy "of a
single point of view and feeling"13

This demand for certainty is a particular moral valuation, an interpretation of unconsciousness will to
power, which desires to rule the whole life and which negates life condemning deception, since life is
based on uncertainty, lie, deception, illusion, forgery. Will to truth, therefore, manifests itself as a
disguised will to death: "To live--that means to be sick a long time: I owe Asclepius the Savior a
rooster."14 In the other words, it is an experience of life as sickness. And there is only a step
between the condemning deception and hypertrophy of clarity of reason and the fabrication of
being, of the true world on the other side, which starts with Plato and ends with Nietzsche.

The anarchical instincts have been speaking up here; after the instinctive sureness of action had
been lost, the passions have begun to tyrannize. This is a symptom of a tired life, of a weary life, a
symptom of decadence, and the periods of decadence, decline, decay are a normal side effect of life,
life which is an eternal circulation, the natural consequences of life and growth.15 And, according to
Nietzsche, we should not fight against that. To fight against the decadent instincts, by the
extermination the instincts, affects and passions, it is itself a sign of decadence. Such a fight does
not lead to the extermination of the decadence, but only to its expanding and deepening.

Nietzsche considers Socrates as a typical decadent who found a cure against the passions that lost
their moderation in the rationality, in the clarity of reason, in its reasons and counter-reasons.16 But
Socrates' case was not alone, decadence in Athens became universal, "old Athens was coming to an
end"17 And the whole Athens reached Socrates' cure:

7
The Gay Science,Preface
8
The Will to Power, 423
9"

10
On the Genealogy of Morals, III, 12
11
Twilight of the Idols, The Problem of Socrates, 1
12
The Will to Power, 433
13
The Gay Science, 347
14
Twilight of the Idols, The Problem of Socrates, 1
15
Cf. The Will to Power, 40: "The concept of decadence.- Waste, decay, elimination need not be condemned; they are
necessary consequence of life, of the growth of life. The phenomenon of decadence is as necessary as any increase and
advance of life; one is in no position to abolish it."
16
According to Nietzsche, moderation is, above all, a feature of a strong life, characterized by a strong hierarchy of
instincts, not by a wild anarchy of passions. But, until know, the moralists have defamed moderation by praising and
recommending it and confusing it with weakness. Cf. The Will to Power, 870.
17
Twilight of the Idols, The Problem of Socrates, 9
"The fanaticism with which all Greek reflection throws itself upon rationality betrays a desperate
situation; there was danger, there was but one choice: either to perish or--to be absurdly rational.
The moralism of the Greek philosophers from Plato on is pathologically conditioned; so is their
esteem of dialectics. Reason-virtue-happiness, that means merely that one must imitate Socrates
and counter the dark appetites with a permanent daylight--the daylight of reason. One must be
clever, clear, bright at any price: any concession to the instincts, to the unconscious, leads
downward."18

Socrates' trust in reason reveals, as we already have seen, its moral origins. Socrates was sure that
our thinking contains necessary and universal principles of action. And dialectics is a way toward
those principles, a way toward virtue. Where is this need for dialectics from? It is symptomatic that it
is based on the opposition of reason, thinking, to instincts, passions.

Contrary to the sophists, Socrates assumed that we cannot follow passions, but we need to ground
our action according to the principles which are the same for everyone and universally valid; the
Good becomes the Good-in-itself, the purpose of our action, which thinking can acquire in a
dialectical process; it is necessary to justify it by reasons.19 Socrates comprehends the Good as
something utilitarian,20 and happiness as a purpose of the action. As Hegel says about Socrates in his
"Lectures on the history of philosophy", that nothing has value and truth if thought has not justified
that first: "what spirit derives from itself must come from it as from the spirit which acts in a
universal manner, and — not from its passions, likings, and arbitrary desires." The rational becomes
now "something inward which is “implanted in us by nature"."21 On the place of the sophistic
relativism (which is a forerunner of Nietzschean perspectivism, or Nietzsche at least assumes so22),
according to which the man, as a changeable, passionate and sensible being is the measure of
everything, Socrates posits the consciousness. With Socrates man becomes the consciousness, and
the consciousness, as the conceptual thought, becomes the measure of everything, the measure of
the Good, Just and Beautiful, in itself. As Nietzsche would express that, the Good becomes the good
for everyone: "Positing proofs as the presupposition for personal excellence in virtue signified
nothing less than the disintegration of Greek instincts. They are themselves types of disintegration,
all these great "virtuous men" and word-spinners. In praxi, this means that moral judgments are torn
from their conditionality, in which they have grown and alone possess any meaning, from their Greek
and Greek-political ground and soil, to be denaturalized under the pretense of sublimation. The great
concepts "good" and "just" are severed from the presuppositions to which they belong and, as
liberated "ideas," become objects of dialectic."23

Behind the impersonal, objective virtue, which the same as knowledge, and general as knowledge,
hides a fatal misunderstanding; the good is not the good-in-itself, but what is good for Socrates and
to Athens, which begun to show the symptoms of Socrates sickness, he seemed to be a savior. From
this Good-in-itself does not speak up a pure, clear and cold consciousness, but the instincts of the
weak, which wants to revenge to the strong and privileged, trying to impose upon them the norms of
their own self-preservation.

Here speaks up a moral that negates the will to power, affirming it at the same time, which is itself,
as a negation of the will to power, the will to power: "All the drives and powers that morality praises
seen to me to be essentially the same as those it defames and rejects: e.g., justice as will to power,
will to truth as a tool of the will to power."24 This moral rejects the right of the stronger25 and this
rejection affirms as the good-in-itself and the just-in-itself. Dialectics, as a justification of the
decadent moral, as a way of knowing virtue, as a way of improving oneself, hiding the decadence
under the cloak of the objective moral, is opposed to sophistry, which Socrates and Plato consider as
a way to immorality.26 But the sophists, unlike Socrates, had courage to admit their immorality and
to advocate the right of the stronger. With sophist starts the first critique of morality, the precursors
of Nietzsche's critique,27they realized the same thing that Nietzsche has realized: that there is no a
"moral-in-itself", a "good-in-itself', that something as a general '"truth" of morality does not exist.
The sophists emphasize the relativity of all the values, the relativity of knowledge, its sensuality and
passion, preparing thus Nietzsche's insight into the will to power. Namely, according to Nietzsche's
opinion, the sophists showed that every moral is a sophistry, a perspective and could be dialectically
justified and the whole history of philosophy as the moral ontology, from Plato to Kant, confirmed
that. Nietzsche considers the sophists as an expression of strength, just as Socrates' dialectics is a
sign of sickness.

18
Twilight of the Idols, The Problem of Socrates, 10
19
But Nietzsche himself, suspected once that the character of Socrates, depicted in Plato's dialogues, is falsified. In
Beyond The Good and Evil, 190, Nietzsche described Plato's Socrates as "prosthe Platõn opithen to Platõn messē te
chimaira (Plato ahead, Plato from behind, in-between - a chimera)" In Beyond The Good and Evil, 191, it seems that he
sees in Socrates his forerunner. He obviously has in mind Socrates' motto "I know that I do not know anything".
Nietzsche believed that Socrates "he had seen through the irrational aspect of moral judgement". Socrates has not been
considered here only as a founder of the formula "reason=virtue=happiness" that would influence the whole
philosophical development. Nietzsche recognized in Socrates his own insight that it is not possible to justify the reasons
of one's action.
20
Beyond The Good and Evil, 190
21
Hegel,G.W.F, Lectures on the History of Philosophy, The Principle of the Good, a
22
The Will to Power, 428
23
The Will to Power, 430
24
The Will to Power, 375
25
Cf. the corresponding parts of Plato's dialogues "Gorgias" and "The Republic"
26
The Will to Power, 578
27
The Will to Power, 428
With Socrates starts the profoundest perversity in the history of values,28 a reversal of the values of
the strong and the noble, the same reversal that is characteristic for Christianity, which arose as a
reactive, not as a creative act, which instituted itself by negating of the values of the powerful, in
order to revenge to them, in an act of the most spiritual revenge, imposing its values as universally
valid. Also, with Socrates' faith in reason begins an anti-life tendency that is characteristic for the
whole history of philosophy. This faith in reason and its concepts finally shows its anti-life potentials
in Plato's philosophy. If the general concepts was only an object of the practical knowledge in
Socrates' teaching, with Plato they gain the ontological dignity, they become truth and being, they
become a part of a world, unchangeable and eternal which is a negation of this world: "One looks for
truth in them, one takes them for entities or signs of entities: one invents a world where they are at
home, where they originate".29 And thus starts the history of philosophy, as a history of a
misunderstanding; the faith in truth thus has

28
The Will to Power, 430
29
The Will to Power, 430
Nietzsche's Critique of Moral Ontology

The places of origin of the notion of "another world": the philosopher, who invents a world of
reason, where reason and the logical functions are adequate: this is the origin of the "true"
world; the religious man, who invents a "divine world": this is the origin of the "denaturalized,
anti- natural" world; the moral man, who invents a "free world": this is the origin of the "good,
perfect, just, holy" world. What the three places of origin have in common: the psycho logical
blunder, the physiological confusions. By what attributes is the "other world," as it actually
appears in history, distinguished? By the stigmata of philosophical, religious, moral prejudice.
The "other world," as illumined by these facts, as a synonym for nonbeing, nonliving, not
wanting to live. - General insight: it is the instinct of life-weariness, and not that of life, which
has created the "other world." Consequence: philosophy, religion, and morality are symptoms
of decadence.

The Will to Power, 586


V
Chapter 1

Plato's understanding of the "pure spirit" and the wise man

What, then, is regressive in the philosopher? – That he teaches that his qualities are the
necessary and sole qualities for the attainment of the "highest good" (e.g., dialectic, as with
Plato). That he orders men of all kind gradatim up to his type as the highest. That he despises
what is generally esteemed – that he opens up a gulf between priestly values and worldly
values. That he knows what is true, what God is, what the goal is, what the way is –

The typical philosopher is here and absolute dogmatist; - if he has need of skepticism, it is so
as to be able to speak dogmatically about his main interest.

The Will to Power, 446

Nietzsche places Plato at the beginning of the history of philosophy as the history of a
misunderstanding, a dogmatic misunderstanding. In Plato's discovery of "the pure spirit and the
good as such", Nietzsche sees the nucleus of the dogmatic philosophy and its "standing truth on her
head and denying perspective, the basic condition of all life".30 In Plato's philosophy Nietzsche sees
this decadent trend which started to practice philosophy and which gives the theological stamp to
the future philosophy. This trend will get its full form in Christianity which Nietzsche thence calls
"Platonism for the people".31

Socratic formula "reason= virtue=happiness" shows in its true light in Plato's philosophy: as an
instrument of decadence, as a negation of life. As cognition, reason, virtue and happiness are
something not only different from passions but opposed to passions and that negation of passions
leads to the negation of life, characteristic for Plato's philosophy. It denies passions as the movers of
the action and considers them as an obstacle to the fulfillment of the highest purpose of soul, i.e.
cognition of the being. Similarly, it negates senses as the fundament of knowledge. In that regard,
Socrates and Plato are opposed to the sophistic relativism which denies absolute validity of
knowledge and moral norms. According to Plato, knowledge should be universal, just as virtue, just
as justice, truth, and beauty, which should be universal, virtue as such. Platonism begins as a denial of the
sophistic relativism, just as Nietzsche's perspectivism begins as a denial of the platonic tradition

In opposition to Plato and its primacy of spirit, concerning both cognition and valuation, Nietzsche
starts form passions. In his opinion, negation of passions means negation of the fundamental
assumption of life; from the moral based on the denial of passions speaks up a life which,
paradoxically, turns against itself, in order to preserve itself. When "such a living desire for
contradiction and hostility to nature is used to practice philosophy", such a philosophy will deny
"something it perceives, with the greatest certainty, as something real", "will seek out error precisely
where the essential instinct for life has established its most unconditional truth"32 It will deny senses,
corporality, multitude, transitoriness, becoming. As such, the faith in spirit, in reason is the faith in
the universally valid knowledge, in the "universal and necessary truth".

The same instinct Nietzsche recognizes in the faith in some "good as such". Starting from his
perspectivistic, psychological insight into the will to power, into the shameful origin of our depths
and virtues, denies both the universality and necessity of truth and the universality and necessity of
moral norms, i.e. the existence of some "good as such". Namely, what is good for us cannot be good
for the others, there is no universal goodness. In Nietzsche's opinion, there are different types of life,
different orders of instincts, there are only their interpretations which its own conditions of self-
preservations set up as its tablets of values. A misunderstanding, i.e. moral as a misunderstanding
arisen when a certain type of life, "a species fated to act in this or that fashion wanted to justify
itself, by dictating its norm as the universal norm".33 It leads then to the "tyranny of the good man";
moral "has employed the means to a quiet distinct kind of life to exclude all other forms of life".34
The instinct of decadency unites here with the herd instinct which judges that its own good should
be good for everyone. 35Those two species of life united against the powerful, the strong and the
happy, which life-conditions are different. This connection between the understanding of good as
something as itself and the "tyranny of the good man" find its first expression in Socrates'
repudiation of the right of the stronger, which is the last consequence of Socrates understanding
virtue as knowledge, i.e. as knowledgeable, rational, as something which, as concept, has an
universal form.

We have seen that Socrates' equalization of virtue and knowledge is grounded on the anarchical
instincts of a weary, degenerated life, which discovered in reason the counter-tyrant of passions,
which found in reason the directives of action, once the instinctive certainty of action had been lost.
30
Beyond Good and Evil, Preface
31
Beyond Good and Evil, Preface
32
On the Genealogy of Morals, III, 13
33
The Will to Power, 423
34
The Will to Power, 354
35
With regards to the herd instinct, cf. The Will to Power, 400, 4001, 247,277
In that sense Socrates was able to equalize virtue and knowledge. But Socrates also equalized virtue
and knowledge with happiness, understood as blissfulness. And such a desire for blissfulness
Nietzsche interprets as an expression of tiredness, as a desire for death, as a desire to rest from life,
from every symbol of life – from passions, affects, irrationality, arbitrariness, accidentality,
transitoriness, change, war, multitude, contradiction, which a tired life sees as causes of suffering. 36
Rationality here is considered as a means to remove suffering and gain blissfulness. This
identification of knowledge with happiness, blissfulness, discloses a desire for another world, the
world of truth, the rational world, which would be the highest embodiment of concepts and logical
functions37 and also a denial of this world life. And now we can see that there is only a step between
Socrates conception of virtue as universal and Plato's conception of the true world as the other
world.

Socrates is an antecedent of Plato's invention of "the pure spirit". Plato was seduced by Socrates
faith in the general and necessary principles of action, accessible by our thinking, his faith in the
general concepts as good in itself, beautiful in itself, just in itself, fundamental for those principles.
Plato follows Socrates and also Parmenides and with his combination of Socrates and Parmenides
begins the philosophical dogmatism. Thus begins the philosophical faith in the pure spirit, in reason
as such that discovers the true reality, unchangeable and eternal, being, the world of truth or the
"true world" which guarantee the possibility of the universality and necessity of our knowledge and
which existence explains the fact that we have the universal concepts.38 Thenceforth truth, as
unchangeable, general and necessary has been identified with being, also unchangeable, general
and necessary. With Plato, truth becomes God, the true being, "an essential truth-principle at the
bottom of things"39 His faith in the possibility of knowledge which is, as we have seen on Socrates'
example, inseparable form the prejudices of a certain moral, Plato grounds on the doctrine about a
supersensory world and the immortality of the soul.

In Nietzsche's opinion, Socrates removed traditional concepts of good and just from "their ground
and soil", denaturalized them, severed them "from the presuppositions to which they belong and, as
liberated "ideas," become objects of dialectic".40 Now Plato invents a world to which dialectic, based
on those concepts, leads and from which dialectics and those concepts originate,41 a world which
would guarantee their truth. Socrates' transformation of good into good as such, the transformation
of the virtue that is "in the service of the species (or of the race or polis)42 into an abstract,
universally valid virtue, already meant the separation from this world; the mera fact that virtue
became the object of universally valid knowledge already was a sign of decadence, of a sick life
longing for death. Plato's philosophy appears as a preparation for death and for the other word; his
will to truth reveals as the will to death;43 it assumes that this life is less valuable, because the
appearance and delusion fundamental for life are considered as less valuable that truth. The
axiological presumption of Plato's philosophy is the morbid repudiation of life and the correspondent
valuation. The very condemnation of appearance is based on the valuation of a tired life which
demands certainty,44 on a moral which condemns passion and passionate interpretation, which
condemns life itself. It is not strange then that Nietzsche considers Plato's identification of being, of
the true world with the Good (which is the highest idea) as a symptom and interpretation of a certain
moral, even though in Plato's philosophy the Good is not the realization of the highest moral
values45, as it was being or the God in Christianity, or the thing-in-itself as a free world in Kant's
philosophy (that was, according Nietzsche's opinion, only a subtle kind of Christianity). Whereas this
extrasensory world is simultaneously the highest guarantee of the possibility of knowledge, it is not
strange that Nietzsche sees this Plato's faith "in an essential truth-principle at the bottom of things)
as "a rude non-plus ultra of a moralistic truthfulness".46

Therefore, with Plato begins the rejection of life, so characteristic for philosophy. In Plato's
philosophy is clearly delineated the way from the aspiration to truth to the establishment of "the true
world" and denial of life. This trend already started with Parmenides. Namely, Parmenides opposes
senses to mind and logic, or, more accurately, he proclaimed the principle of identity fundamental
for our thinking, for the criterion of reality, of being. According to Parmenides, being exists and non-
being does not exist, being does not become and pass away, it is eternal unchangeable, unmovable,
finished, one. We should not follow the testimony of our senses: they deceive us, trying to represent
us something transient, in the eternal becoming and change, in the other words, non-being as such,
as reality and being itself. Plato follows Parmenides separating senses and proclaiming the world of
senses for the apparent one. Plato's philosophy starts from Parmenides assumption "that thinking is
a measure of actuality"47: "The prelude in Parmenides' philosophy is played with ontology as its
theme. Experience nowhere offered him being as he imagined it, but he concluded its existence from
the fact that he was able to think it. This is a conclusion which rests on the assumption that we have
an organ of knowledge which reaches into the essence of things and is independent of experience.
The content of our thinking, according to Parmenides, is not present in sense perception but is an

36
Cf. The Will to Power, 576, 578, 579, 584
37
Cf. T he Will to Power, 450: "The three great naiveties: Knowledge as a means to happiness (as if-), as a means to
virtue (as if-), as a means to "denial of life" – to the extent that it is a means to disappointment – (as if-)". Cf. also The
Will to Power, 451
38
Cf. The Will to Power, 436, 470
39
The Will to Power, 436
40
The Will to Power, 430
41
The Will to Power, 436
42
The Will to Power, 428
43
The Gay Science, 344
44
The Gay Science, 347
45
Cf. Heidegger, M.: Introduction to Nietzsche, p. 28,29
46
The Will to Power, 436
47
The Will to Power, 436
additive from somewhere else, from an extra-sensory world to which we have direct access by
means of our thinking."48

For Parmenides, thinking and being is the same, or as Nietzsche would say: "one cannot think of
what is not".49 Here we can find the germs of Plato's faith in the extrasensory world as the true
world, the world of being, the only existing reality, in the capability of mind to discover such a world.
The Eleatic sage is a precursor of the Platonic sage, to whom the true world is accessible, of "the
sage with perfect mind" which is able to grasp being by his abstract knowledge. As Plato "turns truth
on its head and denies perspective, the main condition of life itself", the Eleatic sage believed in
reason, which something able to win the natural delusions and crucially different from them. Both
the Eleatic sage and the Platonic pure theorist think that they are above life, denying "the role of the
impulses in knowledge; and quite generally they had to conceive of reason as a completely free and
spontaneous activity".50 Nietzsche unmasks such pure theorists, showing that there is no such a
thing as the pure spirit, spirit as such, spirit which is something higher that sensuality, passion,
instincts and their illusion. Nietzsche's psychology shows spirit as a physiological fact, as a pale
stamp of the life functions, and its measures do not consider as the criteria of truth, but as a
valuations that enables us to survive. The same is a case for the spirituality of philosophers, for their
"cold, pure, divine undisturbed dialectic"; behind spirit and its criteria, which become criteria of
reality in philosophy, he does not see a free and spontaneous activity, but the fatalism of instincts,51
an interpretation of a decadent life, "a misunderstanding of the body",52 a sickness. The sage is not
an exception from the general mendacity; Nietzsche made their life and judgment dependent on
"these primeval basic errors"53. Neither the spirit of the philosopher, neither the spirit as such, as a
power to forge, schematize, appropriate and conquer54 is not something different form life itself,
which "is essentially appropriation, injury, conquest of the strange and weak, suppression, severity,
obtrusion of peculiar forms, incorporation, and at the least, putting it mildest, exploitation" 55 – the
spirit of the philosopher is, just as life itself, the will to power, and nothing else. According to
Nietzsche's psychology of the philosopher, the spirit of philosopher is the will to power of a powerless
life, which would pose its norms and values to whole life, which revenges to life in an act of the most
spiritually revenge; it negates life in thought, denies life in the name of truth; nothing can be
compared with the immorality of the metaphysicians.56 Because he slanders senses, passions,
appearance, opinion, interpretation – the fundamental conditions of life – and "he invents a world so
as to be able to slander and bespatter this world"57

But unlike Parmenides, Plato was an artist,58 his adoring of the pure forms was very similar to those
artists, embodied in homines religiosi, which revenge to life falsifying and slandering its picture: "one
could determine the degree to which life has been spoiled for them by the extent to which they want
to see its image falsified, attenuated and made otherworldly and divine - one could include the
homines religiosi among the artists as their highest rank."59 This art of forgery makes Plato the
precursor of Christianity.

Plato, as an artist, as "a man of overexcitable sensuality and enthusiasm" 60 adorned the concept
(which Socrates established as an object of knowledge) as an ideal form. In order to feast his "eyes
on the unblemished unbreakable archetypes", he invented "the land of eternal ideas", "the workshop
of the world-creator".61

Plato's Socrates established the general concept as an object and fundament of knowledge,
knowledge in the sense of knowledge of the principles of or action, of the virtue which is cognizable,
established concept as genera, as a common essential feature of many different things. But Plato
invented the world whence those concepts originate; ideas, like object of conceptual knowledge, as
object of dialectics now represent the true reality, different form the sensual world, which is only an
apparent, relative reality. Plato didn't believe in senses in a degree in which he believed in the
possibility of truth as generally valid knowledge, in the possibility of our reason to cognate things.
Just as Parmenides realized that what we are able to think it should exist, Plato believed that the
reality correspondent to our concepts should exist, that it is the true reality, the true being, in
contrast to this world, the world of becoming and passing away, which Heraclites extolled.

Plato pursues the following logic: if concepts provide us with the real knowledge, this knowledge
should be knowledge about something existent, i.e. ideas which we cognate by concepts should be
the real being.62 And the real being is unchangeable; it does not become nor passes away. Therefore,
our senses, testifying about this transient world may only hinder the cognition of the true world. If
virtue is knowledge (that formula is a reason good enough for Nietzsche to examine which moral
hides beyond the truthfulness, which was thus given a moral value) that is to say that senses are not
a way to gain virtue, that they are immoral: "These senses, which are so immoral in other ways too,

48
Philosophy During the Tragic Age of the Greeks, On Parmenides
49
The Will to Power, 539
50
The Gay Science, 110
51
The Will to Power, 423
52
The Gay Science, Preface,2
53
The Gay Science, 110
54
Cf. Beyond Good and Evil, 230;The Will to Power, 423
55
Beyond Good and Evil, 259
56
The Will to Power, 583 B
57
The Will to Power,461
58
The Will to Power, 572
59
Beyond Good and Evil, 59
60
The Will to Power, 431
61
Philosophy During the Tragic Age of the Greeks, On Parmenides
62
Cf. Djuric, M., History of Hellenic Ethics, p. 335
deceive us concerning the true world."63 I f virtue is knowledge, then appearance and transitivity of
this world hinder us to reach virtue, so Nietzsche can say: "appearance, change, contradiction,
struggle devalued as immoral; desire for a world in which these things are missing". 64 If this formula
is a moral maxim of a decadent life, then the "true world" about which testifies reason and its
general concepts, which is unchangeable and uncontradictory, beyond appearance, must be the
good world? Therefore Nietzsche may wonder: "trust in reason-why not mistrust? the "true world" is
supposed to be the good world-why?"65

Nietzsche thus sees Plato as a forefather of something that will with regard to Kant call the moral
ontology; a weary life proclaims its highest preferences for being, giving them the ontological
dignity. Plato's mistrust in senses and the blind trust in reason speak about a moral that deny life,
about mistrust in life which Plato even does not try to hide, considering this life as apparent and less
valuable and philosophy as a preparation for dying. The will to truth is here "the longing for the
unchangeable world", for the world which is negation of our life, based on change and appearance;
will to truth, which the highest form is philosophy as theory, is will to death.

Life is considered as apparent and appearance as less valuable. The true world is not contradictory,
is not changeable, is not deceivable. But Nietzsche does not see here any true world: he sees a
certain type of life which in transition, passions, and irrationality sees the cause of suffering; tired
from suffering, it invented an unchangeable, extrasensory, rational world, without pain, the world of
eternal serenity.66 A weary life used the postulates of reason which should help us to survive in this
world, in order to deny this world. And in the logical principal of identity it sees a criterion of the true
world: the true world "cannot contradict itself, cannot change, cannot become, has no beginning and
no end.”67 Reason, as a way to this stable world, has been deified, spirit is considered as the most
valuable, divine element in man. And it is clear now that truthfulness, deified, as a virtue, in and the
longing for the other side world, the longing for death. In Plato's philosophy becomes obvious the
tendency that starts with Socrates and which will be fully developed later, with Christianity, when
philosophy becomes only a hidden form of theology.

In Plato's philosophy, truth has been established as being, as the real world, as God, as the highest
purpose, as the Good. Platonism thus set up fundaments on which Christianity will build further. But
in Plato this extrasensory world was accessible to the sage in this world. The sage is one which
reaches the true world due to his virtues, or rather, due to his virtue – dialectics. In Christianity the
true world is only a promise, a promise to the believers and is accessible only after death.

But Plato made the right conditions for banishing truth to the other side: In Plato idea becomes the
true world and in this world it is accessible to the sage, which is considered as the pure spirit. But
Nietzsche thinks that Plato his own ability extols as the highest quality and in this case, it is possible
to say for the sage: "I, Plato, am the truth." 68 Plato posed himself as a criterion of truth, a measure to
distinguish philosopher from the curious one, from non-philosopher. In the period that follows, the
truth is no longer Plato but becomes a women and philosophy, as dogmatism, develops in its full
form.

With religion begins the madness that imposes the monotheism of truth. The truth is no longer Plato;
now is imposed one, narrow perspective as a general truth. And since then begins philosophy as a
poorness of will and futility.

63
Twilight of Idols, "Reason" in Philosophy, 1
64
The Will to Power, 578
65
The Will to Power, 578
66
The Will to Power, 586 A
67
The Will to Power,584
68
Twilight of the Idols, How the "True World" Finally Became a Fable, 1.