Nietzsche claimed in the Foreword to have written the book for a very limited readership. In order to understand the book, he asserted that the reader "... must be honest in intellectual matters to the point of hardness to so much as endure my seriousness, my passion." The reader should be above politics and nationalism. Also, the usefulness or harmfulness of truth should not be a concern. Characteristics such as "Strength which prefers questions for which no one today is sufficiently daring; courage for the forbidden" are also needed. Decadent values
Nietzsche expressed his dissatisfaction with modernity. He disliked the contemporary "lazy peace", "cowardly compromise", "tolerance", and "resignation". Nietzsche introduced his concept of will to power and defined the concepts of good, bad, and happiness in relation to the will to power. He blamed Christianity for demonizing strong, higher humans. Mankind, according to Nietzsche, is corrupt and its highest values are depraved. Christian pity
Nietzsche despises Christianity, as a religion of peace. Pity leads to depression, loss of vitality and strength, and is harmful to life. Pity also preserves that which should naturally be destroyed. For a noble morality, pity is a weakness, but for Christianity, it is a virtue. In Schopenhauer's philosophy, which was the most nihilistic and opposed to life, pity is the highest virtue of all. But, for Nietzsche, pity "... multiplies misery and conserves all that is miserable, and is thus a prime instrument of the advancement of decadence. Aristotle, on the other hand, recognized the unhealthiness of pity and prescribed tragedy as a purgative. "In our whole unhealthy modernity there is nothing more unhealthy than Christian pity." Theologians, priests, and philosophers
Theology and philosophy, practiced by priests and idealists, are antithetical to reality and actuality. They are supposed to represent a high, pure, and superior spirit that is above and has "... benevolent contempt for the 'understanding,' the 'senses,' 'honors,' 'good living,' and 'science' .." But, to Nietzsche, "Pure spirit is pure lie." Scientific method
Nietzsche considered a free spirit to be the embodiment of a trans valuation of all values. Prior to Nietzsche's time, he claimed, the scientific method of searching for truth and knowledge was met with scorn and derision. A quiet, cautious, modest manner was seen with contempt. Our present modesty compels us to recognize man's derivation from animals, not divinities. Also, we know that man is not superior to other animals. By reducing man to a mere machine, devoid of free will, we have learned much about his physiology. Will is now known to be a necessary reaction to a stimulus. Consciousness and spirit derive from instinct. Christian God
Nietzsche claimed that the Christian religion and its morality are based on imaginary fictions. The Christian God reflects Christianity's decadence. If Christians were naturally strong and confident, they would have a God who is destructive as well as good. A God who counsels love of enemy, as well as of friend, is a God of a people who feel them as perishing and without hope. Weak, decadent, and sick people, whose will to power has declined, will give themselves a God who is purely good, according to Nietzsche. They will then attribute evil and deviltry to their masters' God. Buddhism and Christianity
Although he considered both Christianity and Buddhism to be nihilistic, decadent religions, Nietzsche did consider Buddhism more realistic because it posed objective problems and did not use the concept of God. In all religious history, Nietzsche believed, Buddhism was the only positivistic religion because it struggles against actual suffering, which is experienced as fact or illusion (the concept of Maya) in various traditions of Buddhism. Christianity, on the contrary, struggles against sin, while suffering can have a...