The Metaphysics of Sexual Love
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"The whole metaphysics of love here dealt with stands in close connection with my metaphysics in general."
Metaphysik der Geschlechtsliebe (The Metaphysics of Sexual Love) is a text by Arthur Schopenhauer first published in 1844 in vol. 2 of the The World as Will and Representation as supplements to the fourth book. It is the 44th chapter of The World as Will and Representation.
An addendum to that text was a controversial essay on pederasty, see Schopenhauer on pederasty.
- Ye wise men, highly, deeply learned,
- Who think it out and know,
- How, when, and where do all things pair
- Why do they kiss and love ?
- Ye men of lofty wisdom, say
- What happened to me then ;
- Search out and tell me where, how, when,
- And why it happened thus."
THIS chapter is the last of four whose various reciprocal relations, by virtue of which, to a certain extent, they consitute a subordinate whole, the attentive reader will recognise without it being needful for me to interrupt my exposition by recalling them or referring to them.
We are accustomed to see poets principally occupied with describing the love of the sexes. This is as a rule the chief theme of all dramatic works, tragical as well as comical, romantic as well as classical, Indian as well as European. Not less is it the material of by far the largest part of lyrical and also of epic poetry, especially if we class with the latter the enormous piles of romances which for centuries every year has produced in all the civilised countries of Europe as regularly as the fruits of the earth. As regards their main contents, all these works are nothing else than many-sided brief or lengthy descriptions of the passion we are speaking of. Moreover, the most successful pictures of it such, for example, as Romeo and Juliet, La Nouvelle Heloise, and Werther have gained immortal fame. Yet, when Rochefoucauld imagines that it is the same with passionate love as with ghosts, of which every one speaks, but which no one has seen ; and Lichtenberg also in his essay, " Ueber die Macht der Liebe," disputes and denies the reality and naturalness of that passion, they are greatly in error. For it is impossible that something which is foreign and contrary to human nature, thus a mere imaginary caricature, could be unweariedly represented by poetic genius in all ages, and received by mankind with unaltered interest ; for nothing that is artistically beautiful can be without truth :
Certainly, however, it is also confirmed by experience, although not by the experience of every day, that that which as a rule only appears as a strong yet still controllable inclination may rise under certain circumstances to a passion which exceeds all others in vehemence, and which then sets aside all considerations, overcomes all obstacles with incredible strength and perseverance, so that for its satisfaction life is risked without hesitation, nay, if that satisfaction is still withheld, is given as the price of it. Werthers and Jacopo Ortis exist not only in romance, but every year can show at least half a dozen of them in Europe : Sed ignotis perierunt mortibus illi ; for their sorrows find no other chroniclers than the writers of official registers or the reporters of the newspapers. Yet the readers of the police news in English and French journals will attest the correctness of my assertion. Still greater, however, is the number of those whom the same passion brings to the madhouse. Finally, every year can show cases of the double suicide of a pair of lovers who are opposed by outward circumstances. In such cases, how ever, it is inexplicable to me how those who, certain of mutual love, expect to find the supremest bliss in the en joyment of this, do not withdraw themselves from all connections by taking the extremest steps, and endure all hardships, rather than give up with life a pleasure which is greater than any other they can conceive. As regards the lower grades of that passion, and the mere approaches to it, every one has them daily before his eyes, and, as long as he is not old, for the most part also in his heart.
So then, after what has here been called to mind, no one can doubt either the reality or the importance of the matter ; and therefore, instead of wondering that a philosophy should also for once make its own this constant theme of all poets, one ought rather to be surprised that a thing which plays throughout so important a part in human life has hitherto practically been disregarded by philosophers altogether, and lies before us as raw material. The one who has most concerned himself with it is Plato, especially in the "Symposium" and the "Phaedrus." Yet what he says on the subject is confined to the sphere of myths, fables, and jokes, and also for the most part concerns only the Greek love of youths. The little that Rousseau says upon our theme in the "Discours sur l'inégalité" (p. 96, ed. Bip.) is false and insufficient. Kant's explanation of the subject in the third part of the essay, " Ueber das Gefuhl des Schonen und Erhebenen" (p. 435 seq. of Rosenkranz s edition), is very superficial and without practical knowledge, therefore it is also partly incorrect. Lastly, Platner's treatment of the matter in his " Anthropology " (sect. 1347 seq.) every one will find dull and shallow. On the other hand, Spinoza s definition, on account of its excessive naivete", deserves to be quoted for the sake of amusement: "amor est titillatio, concomitante idea causæ externæ (Eth. iv., prop. 44, dem.} Accordingly I have no predecessors either to make use of or to refute. The subject has pressed itself upon me objectively, and has entered of its own accord into the connection of my consideration of the world. Moreover, least of all can I hope for approbation from those who are themselves under the power of this passion, and who accordingly seek to express the excess of their feelings in the sublimest and most ethereal images. To them my view will appear too physical, too material, however metaphysical and even transcendent it may be at bottom. Meanwhile let them reflect that if the object which to-day inspires them to write madrigals and sonnets had been born eighteen years earlier it would scarcely have won a glance from them.
For all love, however ethereally it may bear itself, is rooted in the sexual impulse alone, nay, it absolutely is only a more definitely determined, specialised, and indeed in the strictest sense individualised sexual impulse. If now, keeping this in view, one considers the important part which the sexual impulse in all its degrees and nuances plays not only on the stage and in novels, but also in the real world, where, next to the love of life, it shows itself the strongest and most powerful of motives, constantly lays claim to half the powers and thoughts of the younger portion of mankind, is the ultimate goal of almost all human effort, exerts an adverse influence on the most important events, interrupts the most serious occupations every hour, sometimes embarrasses for a while even the greatest minds, does not hesitate to intrude with its trash interfering with the negotiations of states men and the investigations of men of learning, knows how to slip its love letters and locks of hair even into ministerial portfolios arid philosophical manuscripts, and no less devises daily the most entangled and the worst actions, destroys the most valuable relationships, breaks the firmest bonds, demands the sacrifice sometimes of life or health, sometimes of wealth, rank, and happiness, nay, robs those who are otherwise honest of all conscience, makes those who have hitherto been faithful, traitors; accordingly, on the whole, appears as a malevolent demon [e/n...] that strives to pervert, confuse, and overthrow everything ; then one will be forced to cry, Wherefore all this noise ? Wherefore the straining and storming, the anxiety and want ? It is merely a question of every Hans finding his Grethe. 1 Why should such a trifle play so important a part, and constantly introduce disturbance and confusion into the well-regulated life of man ? But to the earnest investigator the spirit of truth gradually reveals the answer. It is no trifle that is in question here ; on the contrary, the importance of the matter is quite propor tionate to the seriousness and ardour of the effort. The ultimate end of all love affairs, whether they are played in sock or cothurnus, is really more important than all other ends of human life, and is therefore quite worthy of the profound seriousness with which every one pursues it. That which is decided by it is nothing less than the composition of the next generation. The dramatis personae who shall appear when we are withdrawn are here determined, both as regards their existence and their nature, by these frivolous love affairs. As the being, the existentia, of these future persons is absolutely conditioned by our sexual impulse generally, so their nature, essentia, is deter mined by the individual selection in its satisfaction, i.e., by sexual love, and is in every respect irrevocably fixed by this. This is the key of the problem : we shall arrive at a more accurate knowledge of it in its application if we go through the degrees of love, from the passing inclina tion to the vehement passion, when we shall also recognise that the difference of these grades arises from the degree of the individualisation of the choice.
The collective love affairs of the present generation taken together are accordingly, of the whole human race, the serious meditatio compositionis generationis futures, e qua iterum pendent innumerce generationes. This high importance of the matter, in which it is not a question of individual weal or woe, as in all other matters, but of the existence and special nature of the human race in future times, and therefore the will of the individual appears
1 I have not ventured to express myself distinctly here : the courteous reader must therefore translate the phrase into Aristophanic language.
at a higher power as the will of the species-this it is on which the pathetic and sublime elements in affairs of love depend, which for thousands of years poets have never wearied of representing in innumerable examples ; because no theme can equal in interest this one, which stands to all others which only concern the welfare of individuals as the solid body to the surface, because it concerns the weal and woe of the species. Just on this account, then, is it so difficult to impart interest to a drama without the element of love, and, on the other hand, this theme is never worn out even by daily use.
That which presents itself in the individual consciousness as sexual impulse in general, without being directed towards a definite individual of the other sex, is in itself, and apart from the phenomenon, simply the will to live. But what appears in consciousness as a sexual impulse directed to a definite individual is in itself the will to live as a definitely determined individual. Now in this case the sexual impulse, although in itself a subjective need, knows how to assume very skilfully the mask of an objective admiration, and thus to deceive our consciousness ; for nature requires this stratagem to attain its ends. But yet that in every case of falling in love, however objective and sublime this admiration may appear, what alone is looked to is the production of an individual of a definite nature is primarily confirmed by the fact that the essential matter is not the reciprocation of love, but possession, i.e., the physical enjoyment. The certainty of the former can therefore by no means console us for the want of the latter ; on the contrary, in such a situation many a man has shot himself. On the other hand, persons who are deeply in love, and can obtain no return of it, are contented with possession, i.e., with the physical enjoyment. This is proved by all forced marriages, and also by the frequent purchase of the favour of a woman, in spite of her dislike, by large presents or other sacrifices, nay, even by cases of rape. That this particular child shall be begotten is, although unknown to the parties con cerned, the true end of the whole love story ; the manner in which it is attained is a secondary consideration. Now, however loudly persons of lofty and sentimental soul, and especially those who are in love, may cry out here about the gross realism of my view, they are yet in error. For is not the definite determination of the in dividualities of the next generation a much higher and more worthy end than those exuberant feelings and super sensible soap bubbles of theirs? Nay, among earthly aims, can there be one which is greater or more important ? It alone corresponds to the profoundness with which passionate love is felt, to the seriousness with which it appears, and the importance which it attributes even to the trifling details of its sphere and occasion. Only so far as this end is assumed as the true one do the diffi culties encountered, the infinite exertions and annoyances made and endured for the attainment of the loved object, appear proportionate to the matter. For it is the future generation, in its whole individual determinateness, that presses into existence by means of those efforts and toils. Nay, it is itself already active in that careful, definite, and arbitrary choice for the satisfaction of the sexual impulse which we call love. The growing inclination of two lovers is really already the will to live of the new individual which they can and desire to produce; nay, even in the meeting of their longing glances its new life breaks out, and announces itself as a future individuality harmoniously and well composed. They feel the longing for an actual union and fusing together into a single being, in order to live on only as this ; and this longing receives its fulfilment in the child which is produced by them, as that in which the qualities transmitted by them both, fused and united in one being, live on. Conversely, the mutual, decided and persistent aversion between a man and a maid is a sign that what they could produce Would only be a badly organised, in itself inharmonious and unhappy being. Hence there lies a deeper meaning in the fact that Calderon, though he calls the atrocious Semiramis the daughter of the air, yet introduces her as the daughter of rape followed by the murder of the husband.
But, finally, what draws two individuals of different sex exclusively to each other with such power is the will to live, which exhibits itself in the whole species, and which here anticipates in the individual which these two can produce an objectification of its nature answering to its aims. This individual will have the will, or character, from the father, the intellect from the mother, and the corporisation from both; yet, for the most part, the figure will take more after the father, the size after the mother, according to the law which comes out in the breeding of hybrids among the brutes, and principally depends upon the fact that the size of the foetus must conform to the size of the uterus. Just as inexplicable as the quite special individuality of any man, which is exclusively peculiar to him, is also the quite special and individual passion of two lovers ; indeed at bottom the two are one and the same: the former is explicite what the latter was implicite. The moment at which the parents begin to love each other to fancy each other, as the very happy English expression has it is really to be regarded as the first appearance of a new individual and the true punctum saliens of its life, and, as has been said, in the meeting and fixing- of their longing glances there appears the first germ of the new being, which certainly, like all germs, is generally crushed out. This new individual is to a certain extent a new (Platonic) Idea ; and now, as all Ideas strive with the greatest vehemence to enter the phenomenal world, eagerly seizing for this end upon the matter which the law of causality divides among them all, so also does this particular Idea of a human individuality strive with the greatest eagerness and vehemence towards its realisation in the phenomenon. This eagerness and vehemence is just the passion of the two future parents for each other. It lias innumerable degrees, the two extremes of which may at any rate be described as Aphrodite pandemos and ourania; in its nature, however, it is everywhere the same. On the other hand, it will be in degree so mucL the more powerful the more individualised it is ; that is, the more the loved individual is exclusively suited, by virtue of all his or her parts and qualities, to satisfy the desire of the lover and the need established by his or her own individuality. What is really in question here will become clear in the further course of our exposition. Primarily and essentially the inclination of love is directed to health, strength, and beauty, consequently also to youth ; because the will first of all seeks to exhibit the specific character of the human species as the basis of all individuality : ordinary amorousness (Aphrodite ourania) does not go much further. To these, then, more special claims link themselves on, which we shall investigate in detail further- on, and with which, when they see satisfaction before them, the passion increases. But the highest degrees of this passion spring from that suitableness of two individualities to each other on account of which the will, i.e., the character, of the father and the intellect of the mother, in their connection, make up precisely that individual towards which the will to live in general which exhibits itself in the whole species feels a longing proportionate to this its magnitude, and which therefore exceeds the measure of a mortal heart, and the motives of which, in the same way, lie beyond the sphere of the individual intellect. This is thus the soul of a true and great passion. Now the more perfect is the mutual adaptation of two individuals to each other in each of the many respects which have further to be considered, the stronger will be their mutual passion. Since there do not exist two individuals exactly alike, there must be for each particular man a particular woman always with reference to what is to be produced who corresponds most perfectly. A really passionate love is as rare as the accident of these two meeting. Since, however, the possibility of such a love is present in every one, the representations of it in the works of the poets are comprehen sible to us. Just because the passion of love really turns about that which is to be produced, and its qualities, and because its kernel lies here, a friendship without any admixture of sexual love can exist between two young and good-looking persons of different sex, on account of the agreement of their disposition, character, and mental tendencies ; nay, as regards sexual love there may even be a certain aversion between them. The reason of this is to be sought in the fact that a child produced by them would have physical or mental qualities which were inharmonious; in short, its existence and nature would not answer the ends of the will to live as it exhibits itself in the species. On the other hand, in the case of difference of disposition, character, and mental tendency, and the dis like, nay, enmity, proceeding from this, sexual love may yet arise and exist ; when it then blinds us to all that ; and if it here leads to marriage it will be a very unhappy one.
Let us now set about the more thorough investigation of the matter. Egoism is so deeply rooted a quality of all individuals in general, that in order to rouse the activity of an individual being egoistical ends are the only ones upon which we can count with certainty. Cer tainly the species has an earlier, closer, and greater claim upon the individual than the perishable individuality itself. Yet when the individual has to act, and even make sacrifices for the continuance and quality of the species, the importance of the matter cannot be made so comprehensible to his intellect, which is calculated merely with regard to individual ends, as to have its propor tionate effect. Therefore in such a case nature can only attain its ends by implanting a certain illusion in the individual, on account of which that which is only a good for the species appears to him as a good for himself, so that when he serves the species he imagines he is serving himself; in which process a mere chimera, which vanishes immediately afterwards, floats before him, and takes the place of a real thing as a motive. This illusion is instinct. In the great majority of cases this is to be regarded as the sense of the species, which presents what is of benefit to it to the will. Since, however, the will has here become individual, it must be so deluded that it apprehends through the sense of the individual what the sense of the species presents to it, thus imagines it is following individual ends while in truth it is pur suing ends which are merely general (taking this word in its strictest sense). The external phenomenon of instinct we can best observe in the brutes where its role is most important ; but it is in ourselves alone that we arrive at a knowledge of its internal process, as of everything internal. Now it is certainly supposed that man has almost no instinct ; at any rate only this, that the new-born babe seeks for and seizes the breast of its mother. But, in fact, we have a very definite, distinct, and complicated instinct, that of the selection of another individual for the satisfaction of the sexual impulse, a selection which is so fine, so serious, and so arbitrary. With this satisfaction in itself, i.e., so far as it is a sensual pleasure resting upon a pressing want of the individual, the beauty or ugliness of the other individual has nothing to do. Thus the regard for this which is yet pursued with such ardour, together with the careful selection which springs from it, is evidently connected, not with the chooser himself although he imagines it is so but with the true end, that which is to be produced, which is to re ceive the type of the species as purely and correctly as possible. Through a thousand physical accidents and moral aberrations there arise a great variety of deteriorations of the human form ; yet its true type, in all its parts, is always again established: and this takes place under the guidance of the sense of beauty, which always directs the sexual impulse, and without which this sinks to the level of a disgusting necessity. Accordingly, in the first place, every one will decidedly prefer and eagerly desire the most beautiful individuals, i.e., those in whom the character of the species is most purely impressed ; but, secondly, each one will specially regard as beautiful in another individual those perfections which he himself lacks, nay, even those imperfections which are the opposite of his own. Hence, for example, little men love big women, fair persons like dark, &c. &c. The delusive ecstasy which seizes a man at the sight of a woman whose beauty is suited to him, and pictures to him a union with her as the highest good, is just the sense of the species, which, recognising the distinctly expressed stamp of the same, desires to perpetuate it with this individual. Upon this decided inclination to beauty depends the maintenance of the type of the species : hence it acts with such great power. We shall examine specially further on the considerations which it follows. Thus what guides man here is really an instinct which is directed to doing the best for the species, while the man himself imagines that he only seeks the heightening of his own pleasure. In fact, we have in this an instructive lesson concerning the inner nature of all instinct, which, as here, almost always sets the individual in motion for the good of the species. For clearly the pains with which an insect seeks out a particular flower, or fruit, or duno-, or flesh, or, as in the case of the ichneumonidae, the larva of another insect, in order to deposit its eggs there only, and to attain this end shrinks neither from trouble nor danger, is thoroughly analogous to the pains with which for his sexual satisfaction a man carefully chooses a woman with definite qualities which appeal to him individually, and strives so eagerly after her that in order to attain this end he often sacrifices his own happiness in life, contrary to all reason, by a foolish marriage, by love affairs which cost him wealth, honour, and life, even by crimes such as adultery or rape, all merely in order to serve the species in the most efficient way, although at the cost of the individual, in accordance with the will of nature which is everywhere sovereign. Instinct, in fact, is always an act which seems to be in accordance with the conception of an end, and yet is entirely without such a conception. Nature implants it wherever the acting individual is incapable of under standing the end, or would be unwilling to pursue it. Therefore, as a rule, it is given only to the brutes, and indeed especially to the lowest of them which have least understanding ; but almost only in the case we are here considering it is also given to man, who certainly could understand the end, but would not pursue it with the necessary ardour, that is, even at the expense of his individual welfare. Thus here, as in the case of all instinct, the truth assumes the form of an illusion, in order to act upon the will. It is a voluptuous illusion which leads the man to believe he will find a greater pleasure in the arms of a woman whose beauty appeals to him than in those of any other ; or which indeed, exclu sively directed to a single individual, firmly convinces him that the possession of her will ensure him excessive happiness. Therefore he imagines he is taking trouble and making sacrifices for his own pleasure, while he does so merely for the maintenance of the regular type of the species, or else a quite special individuality, which can only come from these parents, is to attain to existence. The character of instinct is here so perfectly present, thus an action which seems to be in accordance with the conception of an end, and yet is entirely without such a conception, that he who is drawn by that illusion often abhors the end which alone guides it, procreation, and would like to hinder it ; thus it is in the case of almost all illicit love affairs. In accordance with the character of the matter which has been explained, every lover will experience a marvellous disillusion after the pleasure he has at last attained [see petite mort, ed.], and will wonder that what was so longingly desired accomplishes nothing more than every other sexual satisfaction ; so that he does not see himself much benefited by it. That wish was related to all his other wishes as the species is related to the individual, thus as the infinite to the finite. The satisfaction, on the other hand, is really only for the benefit of the species, and thus does not come within the consciousness of the individual, who, inspired by the will of the species, here served an end with every kind of sacrifice, which was not his own end at all. Hence, then, every lover, after the ultimate consummation of the great work, finds him self cheated ; for the illusion has vanished by means of which the individual was here the dupe of the species. Accordingly Plato very happily says: "hedone hapanton alazonistaton" (voluptas omnium maxime vaniloqua), Phileb. 319.
But all this reflects light on the instincts and mechanical tendencies of the brutes. They also are, without doubt, involved in a kind of illusion, which deceives them with the prospect of their own pleasure, while they work so laboriously and with so much self-denial for the species, the bird builds its nest, the insect seeks the only suitable place for its eggs, or even hunts for prey which, unsuited for its own enjoyment, must be laid beside the eggs as food for the future larvae, the bees, the wasps, the ants apply themselves to their skilful dwellings and highly complicated economy. They are all guided with certainty by an illusion, which conceals the service of the species under the mask of an egotistical end. This is probably the only way to comprehend the inner or subjective process that lies at the foundation of the manifestations of instinct. Outwardly, however, or objectively, we find in those creatures which are to a large extent governed by instinct, especially in insects, a preponderance of the ganglion system, i.e., the subjective nervous system, over the objective or cerebral system; from which we must conclude that they are moved, not so much by objective, proper apprehension as by subjective ideas exciting desire, which arise from the influence of the ganglion system upon the brain, and accordingly by a kind of illusion ; and this will be the physiological process in the case of all instinct. For the sake of illustration I will men tion as another example of instinct in the human species, although a weak one, the capricious appetite of women who are pregnant. It seems to arise from the fact that the nourishment of the embryo sometimes requires a special or definite modification of the blood which flows to it, upon which the food which produces such a modification at once presents itself to the pregnant woman as an object of ardent longing, thus here also an illusion arises. Accordingly woman has one instinct more than man ; and the ganglion system is also much more developed in the woman. That man has fewer instincts than the brutes and that even these few can be easily led astray, may be explained from the great preponderance of the brain in his case. The sense of beauty which instinctively guides the selection for the satisfaction of sexual passion is led astray when it degenerates into the tendency to pederasty ; analogous to the fact that the blue-bottle (Musca vomitoria), instead of depositing its eggs, according to instinct, in putrefying flesh, lays them in the blossom of the Arum dracunculus, deceived by the cadaverous smell of this plant.
Now that an instinct entirely directed to that which is to be produced lies at the foundation of all sexual love will receive complete confirmation from the fuller analysis of it, which we cannot therefore avoid. First of all we have to remark here that by nature man is inclined to inconstancy in love, woman to constancy. The love of the man sinks perceptibly from the moment it has obtained satisfaction ; almost every other woman charms him more than the one he already possesses ; he longs for variety. The love of the woman, on the other hand, increases just from that moment. This is a consequence of the aim of nature which is directed to the maintenance, and therefore to the greatest possible increase, of the species. The man can easily beget over a hundred children a year; the woman, on the contrary, with however many men, can yet only bring one child a year into the world (leaving twin births out of account). Therefore the man always looks about after other women ; the woman, again, sticks firmly to the one man ; for nature moves her, instinctively and without reflection, to retain the nourisher and pro tector of the future offspring. Accordingly faithfulness in marriage is with the man artificial, with the woman it is natural, and thus adultery on the part of the woman is much less pardonable than on the part of the man, both objectively on account of the consequences and also subjectively on account of its unnaturalness.
But in order to be thorough and gain full conviction that the pleasure in the other sex, however objective it may seem to us, is yet merely disguised instinct, i.e., sense of the species, which strives to maintain its type, we must investigate more fully the considerations which guide us in this pleasure, and enter into the details of this, rarely as these details which will have to be mentioned here may have figured in a philosophical work before. These con siderations divide themselves into those which directly concern the type of the species, i.e., beauty, those which are concerned with physical qualities, and lastly, those which are merely relative, which arise from the requisite correction or neutralisation of the one-sided qualities and abnormities of the two individuals by each other. We shall go through them one by one.
The first consideration which guides our choice and inclination is age. In general we accept the age from the years when menstruation begins to those when it ceases, yet we give the decided preference to the period from the eighteenth to the twenty-eighth year. Outside of those years, on the other hand, no woman can attract us : an old woman, i.e., one who no longer menstruates, excites our aversion. Youth without beauty has still always attraction ; beauty without youth has none. Clearly the unconscious end which guides us here is the possibility of reproduction in general : therefore every individual loses attraction for the opposite sex in proportion as he or she is removed from the fittest period for begetting or con ceiving. The second consideration is that of health. Acute diseases only temporarily disturb us, chronic dis eases or cachexia repel us, because they are transmitted to the child. The third consideration is the skeleton, because it is the basis of the type of the species. Next to age and disease nothing repels us so much as a deformed figure ; even the most beautiful face cannot atone for it ; on the contrary, even the ugliest face when accompanied by a straight figure is unquestionably preferred. Further, we feel every disproportion of the skeleton most strongly ; for example, a stunted, dumpy, short-boned figure, and many such ; also a halting gait, where it is not the result of an extraneous accident. On the other hand, a strik ingly beautiful figure can make up for all defects : it enchants us. Here also comes in the great value which all attach to the smallness of the feet : it depends upon the fact that they are an essential characteristic of the species, for no animal has the tarsus and the metatarsus taken together so small as man, which accords with his upright walk ; he is a plantigrade. Accordingly Jesus Sirach also says (xxvi. 23, according to the revised trans lation by Kraus) : " A woman with a straight figure and beautiful feet is like columns of gold in sockets of silver." The teeth also are important ; because they are essential for nourishment and . quite specially hereditary. The fourth consideration is a certain fulness of flesh ; thus a predominance of the vegetative function, of plasticity ; because this promises abundant nourishment for the foetus ; hence great leanness repels us in a striking degree. A full female bosom exerts an exceptional charm upon the male sex; because, standing in direct connection with the female functions of propagation, it promises abundant nourishment to the new-born child. On the other hand, excessively fat women excite our disgust: the cause is that this indicates atrophy of the uterus, thus barrenness ; which is not known by the head, but by instinct. The last consideration of all is the beauty of the face. Here also before everything else the bones are considered ; therefore we look principally for a beautiful nose, and a short turned-up nose spoils everything. A slight inclina tion of the nose downwards or upwards has decided the happiness in life of innumerable maidens, and rightly so, for it concerns the type of the species. A small mouth, by means of small maxillae, is very essential as specifically characteristic of the human countenance, as distinguished from the muzzle of the brutes. A receding or, as it were cut-away chin is especially disagreeable, because mentum prominulum is an exclusive characteristic of our species. Finally comes the regard for beautiful eyes and forehead ; it is connected with the psychical qualities, especially the intellectual which are inherited from the mother.
The unconscious considerations which, on the other hand, the inclination of women follows naturally cannot be so exactly assigned. In general the following may be asserted : They give the preference to the age from thirty to thirty-five years, especially over that of youths who yet really present the height of human beauty. The reason is that they are not guided by taste but by instinct, which recognises in the age named the acme of reproductive power. In general they look less to beauty, especially of the face. It is as if they took it upon themselves alone to impart this to the child. They are principally won by the strength of the man, and the courage which is con nected with this ; for these promise the production of stronger children, and also a brave protector for them. Every physical defect of the man, every divergence from the type, may with regard to the child be removed by the woman in reproduction, through the fact that she herself is blameless in these respects, or even exceeds in the opposite direction. Only those qualities of the man have to be excepted which are peculiar to his sex, and which therefore the mother cannot give to the child: such are the manly structure of the skeleton, slender hips, straight bones, muscular power, courage, beard, &c. Hence it arises that women often love ugly men, but never an unmanly man, because they cannot neutralise his defects.
The second class of the considerations which lie at the foundation of sexual love are those which regard psychical qualities. Here we shall find that the woman is throughout attracted by the qualities of the heart or character in the man, as those which are inherited from the father. The woman is won especially by firmness of will, decision, and courage, and perhaps also by honesty and good-heartedness. On the other hand, intellectual gifts exercise no direct and instinctive power over her, just because they are not inherited from the father. Want of understanding does a man no harm with women; indeed extraordinary mental endowment, or even genius, might sooner influence them unfavorably as an abnormity. Hence one often sees an ugly, stupid and coarse fellow get the better of a cultured, able and amiable man with women. Also marriages from love are sometimes consummated between natures which are mentally very different: for example, the man is rough, powerful and stupid; the woman tenderly sensitive, delicately thoughtful, cultured, aesthetic, &c.; or the man is a genius and learned, the woman a goose:
- "Sic visum Veneri; cui placet impares
- Formas atque animos sub juga aenea
- Saevo mittere cum joco"
The reason is, that here quite other considerations than the intellectual predominate,- those of instinct. In marriage what is looked to is not intellectual entertainment, but the production of children: it is a bond of the heart, not of the head. It is a vain and absurd pretence when women assert that they have fallen in love with the mind of a man, or else it is the over-straining of a degenerate nature. Men, on the other hand, are not determined in their instinctive love by the qualities of the character of the woman; hence so many Socrateses have found their Xantippes; for example, Shakespeare, Albrecht Durer, Byron, &c. The intellectual qualities, however, certainly influence here, because they are inherited from the mother. Yet their influence is easily outweighed by that of physical beauty, which acts directly, as concerning a more essential point. However, it happens, either from the feeling or the experience of that influence, that mothers have their daughters taught the fine arts, languages, and so forth in order to make them attractive to men, whereby they wish to assist the intellect by artificial means, just as, in case of need, they assist the hips and the bosom. Observe that here we are speaking of that entirely immediate instinctive attraction from which alone love properly so called grows. That a woman of culture and understanding prizes understanding and intellect in a man, that a man from rational reflection should test and have regard to the character of his bride, has nothing to do with the matter with which we are dealing here. Such things lie at the bottom of a rational choice in marriage, but not of the passionate love, which is our theme.
Hitherto I have only taken account of the absolute considerations, i.e., those which hold good for every one: I come now to the relative considerations, which are individual, because in their case what is looked to is the rectification of the type of the species, which is already defectively presented, the correction of the divergencies from it which the chooser's person already bears in itself, and thus the return to the pure presentation of the type. Here, then, each one loves what he lacks. Starting from the individual constitution, and directed to the individual constitution, the choice which rests upon such relative considerations is much more definite, decided, and exclusive than that which proceeds merely from the absolute considerations ; therefore the source of really passionate love will lie, as a rule, in these relative con siderations, and only that of the ordinary and slighter inclination in the absolute considerations. Accordingly it is not generally precisely correct and perfect beauties that kindle great passions. For such a truly passionate inclination to arise something is required which can only be expressed by a chemical metaphor : two persons must neutralise each other, like acid and alkali, to a neutral salt. The essential conditions demanded for this are the following. First: all sex is one-sided. This one-sidedness is more distinctly expressed in one indivi dual than in another; therefore in every individual it can be better supplemented and neutralised by one than by another individual of the opposite sex, for each one requires a one-sidedness which is the opposite of his own to complete the type of humanity in the new individual that is to be produced, the constitution of which is always the goal towards which all tends. Phy siologists know that manhood and womanhood admit of innumerable degrees, through which the former sinks to the repulsive gynander and hypospadseus, and the latter rises to the graceful androgyne ; from both sides complete hermaphrodism can be reached, at which point stand those individuals who, holding the exact mean between the two sexes, can be attributed to neither, and conse quently are unfit to propagate the species. Accordingly, the neutralisation of two individualities by each other, of which we are speaking, demands that the definite degree of his manhood shall exactly correspond to the definite decree of her womanhood; so that the one-sidedness of each exactly annuls that of the other. Accordingly, the most manly man will seek the most womanly woman, and vice versd, and in the same way every individual will seek another corresponding to him or her in degree of sex.
Now how far the required relation exists between two individuals is instinctively felt by them, and, together with the other relative considerations, lies at the founda tion of the higher degrees of love. While, therefore, the lovers speak pathetically of the harmony of their souls, the heart of the matter is for the most part the agree ment or suitableness pointed out here with reference to the being which is to be produced and its perfection, and which is also clearly of much more importance than the harmony of their souls, which often, not long after the marriage, resolves itself into a howling discord. Now, here come in the further relative considerations, which depend upon the fact that every one endeavours to neutralise by means of the other his weaknesses, defects, and deviations from the type, so that they will not perpetuate themselves, or even develop into complete abnormities in the child which is to be produced. The weaker a man is as re gards muscular power the more will he seek for strong women ; and the woman on her side will do the same. But since now a less degree of muscular power is natural and regular in the woman, women as a rule will give the preference to strong men. Further, the size is an important consideration. Little men have a decided in clination for big women, and vice versa; and indeed in a little man the preference for big women will be so much the more passionate if he himself was begotten by a big father, and only remains little through the influence of his mother ; because he has inherited from his father the vascular system and its energy, which was able to supply a large body with blood. If, on the other hand, his father and grandfather were both little, that inclination will make itself less felt. At the foundation of the aversion of a big woman to big men lies the intention of nature to avoid too big a race, if with the strength which this woman could impart to them they would be too weak to live long. If, however, such a woman selects a big hus band, perhaps for the sake of being more presentable in society, then, as a rule, her offspring will have to atone for her folly. Further, the consideration as to the com plexion is very decided. Blondes prefer dark persons, or brunettes ; but the latter seldom prefer the former. The reason is, that fair hair and blue eyes are in themselves a variation from the type, almost an abnormity, analogous to white mice, or at least to grey horses. In no part of the world, not even in the vicinity of the pole, are they indigenous, except in Europe, and are clearly of Scandi navian origin. I may here express rny opinion in passing that the white colour of the skin is not natural to man, but that by nature he has a black or brown skin, like our forefathers the Hindus; that consequently a white man has never originally sprung from the womb of nature, and that thus there is no such thing as a white race, much as this is talked of, but every white man is a faded or bleached one. Forced into the strange world, where he only exists like an exotic plant, and like this requires in winter the hothouse, in the course of thousands of years man became white. The gipsies, an Indian race which immigrated only about four centuries ago, show the tran sition from the complexion of the Hindu to our own. 1 Therefore in sexual love nature strives to return to dark hair and brown eyes as the primitive type ; but the white colour of the skin has become a second nature, though not so that the brown of the Hindu repels us. Finally, each one also seeks in the particular parts of the body the corrective of his own defects and aberrations, and does so the more decidedly the more important the part is. Therefore snub-nosed individuals have an inexpressible liking for hook-noses, parrot-faces ; and it is the same with regard to all other parts. Men with excessively slim, long bodies and limbs can find beauty in a body which is even beyond measure stumpy and short. The considerations with regard to temperament act in an
1 The fuller discussion of this sub- vol ii. 92 of the first edition (second ject will be found in the "Parerga," edition, pp. 167-170).
analogous manner. Each will prefer the temperament opposed to his own ; yet only in proportion as his one is decided. Whoever is himself in some respect very per fect does not indeed seek and love imperfection in this respect, but is yet more easily reconciled to it than others : because he himself insures the children against great imperfection of this part. For example, whoever is him self very white will not object to a yellow complexion; but whoever has the latter will find dazzling whiteness divinely beautiful. The rare case in which a man falls in love with a decidedly ugly woman occurs when, besides the exact harmony of the degree of sex explained above, the whole of her abnormities are precisely the opposite, and thus the corrective, of his. The love is then wont to reach a high degree.
The profound seriousness with which we consider and ponder each bodily part of the woman, and she for her part does the same, the critical scrupulosity with which we inspect a woman who begins to please us, the capri- ciousness of our choice, the keen attention with which the bridegroom observes his betrothed, his carefulness not to be deceived in any part, and the great value which he attaches to every excess or defect in the essential parts, all this is quite in keeping with the importance of the end. For the new being to be produced will have to bear through its whole life a similar part. For example, if the woman is only a little crooked, this may easily impart to her son a hump, and so in all the rest. Consciousness of all this certainly does not exist. On the contrary, every one imagines that he makes that careful selection in the interest of his own pleasure (which at bottom can not be interested in it at all) ; but he makes it precisely as, under the presupposition of his own corporisation, is most in keeping with the interest of the species, to main tain the type of which as pure as possible is the secret task. The individual acts here, without knowing it, by order of something higher than itself, the species ; hence the importance which it attaches to things which may and indeed must be, indifferent to itself as such. There is something quite peculiar in the profound unconscious seriousness with which two young persons of opposite sex who see each other for the first time regard each other, in the searching and penetrating glance they cast at one another, in the careful review which all the fea tures and parts of their respective persons have to endure. This investigating and examining is the meditation of the genius of the species on the individual which is possible through these two and the combination of its qualities. According to the result of this meditation is the degree of their pleasure in each other and their yearning for each other. This yearning, even after it has attained a considerable degree, may be suddenly extinguished again by the discovery of something that had previously re mained unobserved. In this way, then, the genius of the species meditates concerning the coming race in all who are capable of reproduction. The nature of this race is the great work with which Cupid is occupied, unceasingly active, speculating, and pondering. In comparison with the importance of his great affair, which concerns the species and all coming races, the affairs of individuals in their whole ephemeral totality are very trifling ; therefore he is always ready to sacrifice these regardlessly. For he is related to them as an immortal to mortals, and his interests to theirs as infinite to finite. Thus, in the con sciousness of managing affairs of a higher kind than all those which only concern individual weal or woe, he carries them on sublimely, undisturbed in the midst of the tumult of war, or in the bustle of business life, or during the raging of a plague, and pursues them even into the seclusion of the cloister.
We have seen in the above that the intensity of love increases with its individualisation, because we have shown that the physical qualities of two individuals can be such that, for the purpose of restoring as far as possible the type of the species, the one is quite specially and perfectly the completion or supplement of the other, which therefore desires it exclusively. Already in this case a considerable passion arises, which at once gains a nobler and more sublime appearance from the fact that it is directed to an individual object, and to it alone ; thus, as it were, arises at the special order of the species. For the opposite reason, the mere sexual impulse is ignoble, be cause without individualisation it is directed to all, and strives to maintain the species only as regards quantity, with little respect to quality. But the individualising, and with it the intensity of the love, can reach so high a degree that without its satisfaction all the good things in the world, and even life itself, lose their value. It is then a wish which attains a vehemence that no other wish ever reaches, and therefore makes one ready for any sacrifice, and in case its fulfilment remains unalterably denied, may lead to madness or suicide. At the foundation of such an excessive passion there must lie, besides the considerations we have shown above, still others which we have not thus before our eyes. We must therefore assume that here not only the corporisation, but the will of the man and the intellect of the woman are specially suitable to each other, in consequence of which a perfectly definite individual can be produced by them alone, whose existence the genius of the species has here in view, for reasons which are inaccessible to us, since they lie in the nature of the thing in itself. Or, to speak more exactly, the will to live desires here to objectify itself in a perfectly definite individual, which can only be produced by this father with this mother. This metaphysical desire of the will in itself has primarily no other sphere of action in the series of existences than the hearts of the future parents, which accordingly are seized with this ardent longing, and now imagine themselves to desire on their own account what really for the present has only a purely metaphysical end, i.e., an end which lies outside the series of actually existing things. Thus it is the ardent longing to enter existence of the future individual which has first "become possible here, a longing which proceeds from the primary source of all being, and exhibits itself in the phenomenal world as the lofty passion of the future parents for each other, pay- in^ little regard to all that is outside itself ; in fact, as an unparalleled illusion, on account of which such a lover would give up all the good things of this world to enjoy the possession of this woman, who yet can really give him nothing more than any other. That yet it is just this possession that is kept in view here is seen from the fact that even this lofty passion, like all others, is extinguished in its enjoyment to the great astonishment of those who are possessed by it. It also becomes extinct when, through the woman turning out barren (which, according to Hufeland, may arise from nineteen accidental constitutional defects), the real metaphysical end is frustrated ; just as daily happens in millions of germs trampled under foot, in which yet the same metaphysical life principle strives for existence ; for which there is no other consolation than that an infinity of space, time, and matter, and consequently inexhaustible opportunity for return, stands open to the will to live.
The view which is here expounded must once have been present to the mind of Theophrastus Paracelsus, even if only in a fleeting form, though he has not handled this subject, and my whole system of thought was foreign to him ; for, in quite a different context and in his desultory manner, he wrote the following remarkable words : " Hi sunt, quos Deus copulavit, ut earn, quce fuit Urice et David ; quamvis ex diamttro (sic enim sibi humana tnens persuadebat) cum justo et legitimo matrimonio pugnaret hoc. . . . sed propter Safamoncm, QUI ALIUNDE NASGI NON POTUIT, nisi ex Bathseba, conjuncto David semine, qiiamvis meretrice, con- junxit eos Deus " (De vita longa, i. 5).
The longing of love, the himeros, which the poets of all ages are unceasingly occupied with expressing in innumerable forms, and do not exhaust the subject, nay, cannot do it justice, this longing, which attaches the idea of endless happiness to the possession of a particular woman, and un utterable pain to the thought that this possession cannot be attained, this longing and this pain cannot obtain their material from the wants of an ephemeral individual ; but they are the sighs of the spirit of the species, which sees here, to be won or lost, a means for the attainment of its ends which cannot be replaced, and therefore groans deeply. The species alone has infinite life, and therefore is capable of infinite desires, infinite satisfaction, and infinite pain. But these are here imprisoned in the narrow breast of a mortal. No wonder, then, if such a breast seems like to burst, and can find no expression for the intimations of in finite rapture or infinite misery with which it is filled. This, then, affords the materials for all erotic poetry of a sublime kind, which accordingly rises into transcendent metaphors, soaring above all that is earthly. This is the theme of Petrarch, the material for the St. Preuxs, Werthers, and Jacopo Ortis, who apart from it could not be understood nor explained. For that infinite esteem for the loved one cannot rest upon some spiritual excellences, or in general upon any objective, real qualities of hers ; for one thing, because she is often not sufficiently well known to the lover, as was the case with Petrarch. The spirit of the species alone can see at one glance what worth she has for it, for its ends. And great passions also arise, as a rule, at the first glance :
In this regard a passage in the romance of " Guzman de Alfarache" by Mateo Aleman, which has been famous for 250 years, is remarkable: "No es necessario, para que uno ame, quepase distancia de tiempo, que siga discurso, ni haga election, sino que, con aquella primera y sola vista, concurran jitntamente cierta correspondencia 6 consonancia, 6 lo que acd solemos vulgarmente decir, una confrontation de sangre, u que por particular influxo suelen mover las estrellas" (For one to love it is not necessary that much time should pass, that he should set about reflecting and make a choice; but only that at that first and only glance a certain correspondence and consonance should be encountered on both sides, or that which in common life we are wont to call a sympathy of the blood, and to which a special influence of the stars generally impels), P. ii. lib. iii. c. 5. Accordingly the loss of the loved one, through a rival, or through death, is also for the passionate lover a pain that surpasses all others, just because it is of a transcendental kind, since it affects him not merely as an individual, but attacks him in his essentia aeterna, in the life of the species into whose special will and service he was here called. Hence jealousy is such torment and so grim, and the sur render of the loved one is the greatest of all sacrifices. A hero is ashamed of all lamentations except the lamenta tion of love, because in this it is not he but the species that laments. In Calderon s " Zenobia the Great " there is in the first act a scene between Zenobia and Decius in which the latter says :
" Cielos, luego tu me quieres ? Perdiera cien mil victorias, Volvidrame," &c.
(Heaven ! then thou lovest me ? For this I would lose a thousand victories, would turn about, &c.)
Here, honour, which hitherto outweighed every interest, is beaten out of the field as soon as sexual love, i.e., the interest of the species, comes into play, and sees before it a decided advantage; for this is infinitely superior to every interest of mere individuals, however important it may be. Therefore to this alone honour, duty, and fidelity yield after they have withstood every other temptation, including the threat of death. In the same way we find in private life that conscientiousness is in no point so rare as in this: it is here sometimes set aside even by persons who are otherwise honest and just, and adultery is recklessly committed when, passionate love, i.e., the in terest of the species, has mastered them. It even seems as if in this they believed themselves to be conscious of a higher right than the interests of individuals can ever confer ; just because they act in the interest of the species. In this reference Chamfort's remark is worth noticing : " Quand un homme et une femme ont l'un pour l'autre une passion violente, il me semble toujours que, quels que soient les obstacles qui les séparent, un mari, des parents, etc., les deux amants sont l'un à l'autre de par la nature, qu'ils s'appartiennent de droit divin, malgré les lois et les conventions humaines." Whoever is inclined to be incensed at this should be referred to the remarkable indulgence which the Saviour shows in the Gospel to the woman taken in adultery, in that He also assumes the same guilt in the case of all present. From this point of view the greater part of the " Decameron " appears as mere mocking and jeering of the genius of the species at the rights and interests of individuals which it tramples under foot. Differences of rank and all similar circumstances, when they oppose the union of passionate lovers, are set aside with the same ease and treated as nothing by the genius of the species, which, pursuing its ends that concern in numerable generations, blows off as spray such human laws and scruples. From the same deep-lying grounds, when the ends of passionate love are concerned, every danger is willingly encountered, and those who are otherwise timorous here become courageous. In plays and novels also we see, with ready sympathy, the young persons who are fighting the battle of their love, i.e., the interest of the species, gain the victory over their elders, who are thinking only of the welfare of the individuals. For the efforts of the lovers appear to us as much more important, sublime, and therefore right, than anything that can be opposed to them, as the species is more important than the indivi dual. Accordingly the fundamental theme of almost all comedies is the appearance of the genius of the species with its aims, which are opposed to the personal interest of the individuals presented, and therefore threaten to undermine their happiness. As a rule it attains its end, which, as in accordance with poetical justice, satisfies the spectator, because he feels that the aims of the species are much to be preferred to those of the individual. There fore at the conclusion he leaves the victorious lovers quite confidently, because he shares with them the illusion that they have founded their own happiness, while they have rather sacrificed it to the choice of the species, against the will and foresight of their elders. It has been attempted in single, abnormal comedies to reverse the matter and bring about the happiness of the individuals at the cost of the aims of the species; but then the spectator feels the pain which the genius of the species suffers, and is not consoled by the advantages which are thereby assured to the individuals. As examples of this kind two very well-known little pieces occur to me: "La reine de 16 ans," and " Le marriage de raison." In tragedies containing love affairs, since the aims of the species are frustrated, the lovers who were its tools, generally perish also; for example, in "Romeo and Juliet," "Tancred," "Don Carlos," " Wallenstein," "The Bride of Messina," and many others.
The love of a man often affords comical, and sometimes also tragical phenomena; both because, taken possession of by the spirit of the species, he is now ruled by this, and no longer belongs to himself : his conduct thereby becomes unsuited to the individual. That which in the higher grades of love imparts such a tinge of poetry and sublimeness to his thoughts, which gives them even a transcendental and hyperphysical tendency, on account of which he seems to lose sight altogether of his real, very physical aim, is at bottom this, that he is now inspired by the spirit of the species whose affairs are infinitely more important than all those which concern mere individuals, in order to found under the special directions of this spirit the whole existence of an indefinitely long posterity with this individual and exactly determined nature, which it can receive only from him as father and the woman he loves as mother and which otherwise could never, as such, attain to exist ence, while the objectification of the will to live expressly demands this existence. It is the feeling that he is acting in affairs of such transcendent importance which raises the lover so high above everything earthly, nay, even above himself, and gives such a hyperphysical clothino- to his very physical desires, that love becomes a poetical episode even in the life of the most prosaic man ; in which last case the matter sometimes assumes a comical aspect. That mandate of the will which objectifies itself in the species exhibits itself in the consciousness of the lover under the mask of the anticipation of an infinite blessed ness which is to be found for him in the union with this female individual. Now, in the highest grades of love this chimera becomes so radiant that if it cannot be attained life itself loses all charm, and now appears so joyless, hollow, and insupportable that the disgust at it even overcomes the fear of death, so that it is then some times voluntarily cut short. The will of such a man has been caught in the vortex of the will of the species, or this has obtained such a great predominance over the indivi dual will that if such a man cannot be effective in the first capacity, he disdains to be so in the last. The indi- vidual is here too weak a vessel to be capable of endurin the infinite longing of the will of the species concentrated upon a definite object. In this case, therefore, the issue is suicide, sometimes the double suicide of the two lovers- unless, to save life, nature allows madness to intervene which then covers with its veil the consciousness of that hopeless state. No year passes without proving the reality of what has been expounded by several cases of all these kinds.
Not only, however, has the unsatisfied passion of love sometimes a tragic issue, but the satisfied passion also leads oftener to unhappiness than to happiness. For its demands often conflict so much with the personal welfare of him who is concerned that they undermine it, because they are incompatible with his other circumstances, and disturb the plan of life built upon them. Nay, not only with external circumstances is love often in contradiction, but even with the lover s own individuality, for it flings itself upon persons who, apart from the sexual relation, would be hateful, contemptible, and even abhorrent to the lover. But so much more powerful is the will of the species than that of the individual that the lover shuts his eyes to all those qualities which are repellent to him, overlooks all, ignores all, and binds himself for ever to the object of his passion so entirely is he blinded by that illusion, which vanishes as soon as the will of the species is satisfied, and leaves behind a detested companion for life. Only from this can it be explained that we often see very reasonable and excellent men bound to termagants and she-devils, and cannot conceive how they could have made such a choice. On this account the ancients repre sented love as blind. Indeed, a lover may even know distinctly and feel bitterly the faults of temperament and character of his bride, which promise him a miserable life, and yet not be frightened away :
- " I ask not, I care not,
- If guilt s in thy heart,
- I know that I love thee
- Whatever thou art."
For ultimately he seeks not his own things, but those of a third person, who has yet to come into being, although he is involved in the illusion that what he seeks is his own affair. But it is just this not seeking of one s own things which is everywhere the stamp of greatness, that gives to passionate love also a touch of sublimity, and makes it a worthy subject of poetry. Finally, sexual love is com patible even with the extremest hatred towards its object : therefore Plato has compared it to the love of the wolf for the sheep. This case appears when a passionate lover, in spite of all efforts and entreaties, cannot obtain a favour able hearing on any condition:
The hatred of the loved one which then is kindled some times goes so far that the lover murders her, and then him self. One or two examples of this generally happen every year; they will be found in the newspapers. Therefore Goethe s lines are quite correct :
" By all despised love ! By hellish element ! Would that I knew a worse, that I might swear by ! "
It is really no hyperbole if a lover describes the coldness of his beloved and the delight of her vanity, which feeds on his sufferings, as cruelty ; for he is under the influence of an impulse which, akin to the instinct of insects, compels him, in spite of all grounds of reason, to pursue his end unconditionally, and to undervalue everything else : he cannot give it up. Not one but many a Petrarch has there been who was compelled to drag through life the unsatis fied ardour of love, like a fetter, an iron weight at his foot, and breathe his sighs in lonely woods ; but only in the one Petrarch dwelt also the gift of poetry ; so that Goethe s beautiful lines hold good of him :
" And when in misery the man was dumb A god gave me the power to tell my sorrow."
In fact, the genius of the species wages war throughout with the guardian geniuses of individuals, is their pursuer and enemy, always ready relentlessly to destroy personal happiness in order to carry out its ends ; nay, the welfare of whole nations has sometimes been sacrificed to its humours. An example of this is given us by Shakspeare in " Henry VI.," pt. iii., act 3, sc. 2 and 3. All this depends upon the fact that the species, as that in which the root of our being lies, has a closer and earlier right to us than the individual ; hence its affairs take precedence. From the feeling of this the ancients personified the genius of the species in Cupid, a malevolent, cruel, and therefore ill- reputed god, in spite of his childish appearance ; a capricious, despotic demon, but yet lord of gods and men :
" 2u 5 w Gewv rvpavve (Tu, deorum hominumque tyranne, Amor I)
A deadly shot, blindness, and wings are his attributes. The latter signify inconstancy ; and this appears, as a rule, only with the disillusion which is the consequence of satisfaction.
Because the passion depended upon an illusion, which represented that which has only value for the species as valuable for the individual, the deception must vanish after the attainment of the end of the species. The spirit of the species which took possession of the individual sets it free again. Forsaken by this spirit, the individual falls back into its original limitation and narrowness, and sees with wonder that after such a high, heroic, and infinite effort nothing has resulted for its pleasure but what every sexual gratification affords. Contrary to expecta tion, it finds itself no happier than before. It observes that it has been the dupe of the will of the species. Therefore, as a rule, a Theseus who has been made happy will forsake his Ariadne. If Petrarch s passion had been satisfied, his song would have been silenced from that time forth, like that of the bird as soon as the eggs are laid.
Here let me remark in passing that however much my metaphysics of love will displease the very persons who are entangled in this passion, yet if rational considerations in general could avail anything against it, the fundamental truth disclosed by me would necessarily fit one more than anything else to subdue it. But the saying of the old comedian will, no doubt, remain true : " Quce res in se negue consilium, ncque modum halet ullum, earn consilio rcgere nori potes."
Marriages from love are made in the interest of the species, not of the individuals. Certainly the persons con cerned imagine they are advancing their own happiness ; but their real end is one which is foreign to themselves, for it lies in the production of an individual which is only possible through them. Brought together by this aim, they ought henceforth to try to get on together as well as possible. But very often the pair brought together by that instinctive illusion, which is the essence of pas sionate love, will, in other respects, be of very different natures. This comes to light when the illusion vanishes, as it necessarily must. Accordingly love marriages, as a rule, turn out unhappy; for through them the coming generation is cared for at the expense of the present. " Quien se casa por amores, ha de vivir con do! ores " (Who marries from love must live in sorrow), says the Spanish proverb. The opposite is the case with marriages con tracted for purposes of convenience, generally in accordance with the choice of the parents. The considerations prevail ing here, of whatever kind they may be, are at least real, and cannot vanish of themselves. Through them, however, the happiness of the present generation is certainly cared for, to the disadvantage of the coining generation, and not withstanding this it remains problematical. The man who in his marriage looks to money more than to the satisfac tion of his inclination lives more in the individual than in the species; which is directly opposed to the truth; hence it appears unnatural, and excites a certain con tempt. A girl who, against the advice of her parents, rejects the offer of a rich and not yet old man, in order, setting aside all considerations of convenience, to choose according to her instinctive inclination alone, sacrifices her individual welfare to the species. But just on this account one cannot withhold from her a certain approba tion; for she has preferred what is of most importance, and has acted in the spirit of nature (more exactly, of the species), while the parents advised in the spirit of indivi dual egoism. In accordance with all this, it appears as if in making a marriage either the individual or the interests of the species must come off a loser. And this is generally the case ; for that convenience and passionate love should go hand in hand is the rarest of lucky accidents. The physical, moral, or intellectual deficiency of the nature of most men may to some extent have its ground in the fact that mar riages are ordinarily entered into not from pure choice and inclination, but from all kinds of external considerations, and on account of accidental circumstances. If, however, besides convenience, inclination is also to a certain extent regarded, this is, as it were, an agreement with the genius of the species. Happy marriages are well known to be rare ; just because it lies in the nature of marriage that its chief end is not the present but the coming generation. However, let me add, for the consolation of tender, loving natures, that sometimes passionate sexual love associates itself with a feeling of an entirely different origin real friendship based upon agreement of disposition, which yet for the most part only appears when sexual love proper is extinguished in its satisfaction. This friendship will then generally spring from the fact that the supplementing and corresponding physical, moral, and intellectual qualities of the two individuals, from which sexual love arose, with reference to the child to be produced, are, with reference also to the individuals themselves, related to each other in a supplementary manner as opposite qualities of temperament and mental gifts, and thereby form the basis of a harmony of disposition.
The whole metaphysics of love here dealt with stands in close connection with my metaphysics in general, and the light which it throws upon this may be summed up as follows.
We have seen that the careful selection for the satisfaction of the sexual impulse, a selection which rises through innumerable degrees up to that of passionate love, de pends upon the highly serious interest which man takes in the special personal constitution of the next generation. Now this exceedingly remarkable interest confirms two truths which have been set forth in the preceding chapters, (1.) The indestructibility of the true nature of man, which lives on in that coming generation. For that interest which is so lively and eager, and does not spring from reflection and intention, but from the in most characteristics and tendencies of our nature, could not be so indelibly present and exercise such great power over man if he were absolutely perishable, and were merely followed in time by a race actually and entirely different from him. (2.) That his true nature lies more in the species than in the individual. For that interest in the special nature of the species, which is the root of all love, from the passing inclination to the serious passion, is for every one really the highest concern, the success or failure of which touches him most sensibly ; therefore it is called par excellence the affair of the heart. Moreover, when this interest has expressed itself strongly and decidedly, everything which merely concerns one s own person is postponed and necessarily sacrificed to it. Through this, then, man shows that the species lies closer to him than the individual, and he lives more immediately in the former than in the latter. Why does the lover hang with complete abandonment on the eyes of his chosen one, and is ready to make every sacrifice for her ? Because it is his immortal part that longs after her; while it is only his mortal part that desires everything else. That vehement or intense longing directed to a particular woman is accordingly an immediate pledge of the inde structibility of the kernel of our being, and of its continued existence in the species. But to regard this continued existence as something trifling and insufficient is an error which arises from the fact that under the conception of the continued life of the species one thinks nothing more than the future existence of beings similar to us, but in no regard identical with us; and this again because, starting from knowledge directed towards without, one takes into consideration only the external form of the species as we apprehend it in perception, and not its inner nature. But it is just this inner nature which lies at the foundation of our own consciousness as its kernel, and hence indeed is more immediate than this itself, and, as thing in itself, free from the principium individuationis, is really the same and identical in all individuals, whether they exist together or after each other. Now this is the will to live, thus just that which desires life and con tinuance so vehemently. This accordingly is spared and unaffected by death. It can attain to no better state than its present one ; and consequently for it, with life, the constant suffering and striving of the individuals is certain. To free it from this is reserved for the denial of the will to live, as the means by which the individual will breaks away from the stem of the species, and sur renders that existence in it. We lack conceptions for that which it now is ; indeed all data for such conceptions are wanting. We can only describe it as that which is free to be will to live or not. Buddhism denotes the latter case by the word Nirvana, the etymology of which was given in the note at the end of chapter 41. It is the point which remains for ever unattainable to all human knowledge, just as such.
If now, from the standpoint of this last consideration, we contemplate the turmoil of life, we behold all occupied with its want and misery, straining all their powers to satisfy its infinite needs and to ward off its multifarious sorrows, yet without daring to hope anything else than simply the preservation of this tormented existence for a short span of time. In between, however, in the midst of the tumult, we see the glances of two lovers meet longingly: yet why so secretly, fearfully, and stealthily? Because these lovers are the traitors who seek to perpetuate the whole want and drudgery, which would otherwise speedily reach an end ; this they wish to frustrate, as others like them have frustrated it before. This consideration already passes over into the subject of the following chapter.
[ J The appendix to this chapter was added only in the third edition of the German, and is meant to explain, in consistency with Schopenhauer s general principles, the wide prevalence of the practice of pederasty, among different nations and in different ages. It is omitted. Trs.]
Addendum on pederasty (1859) to the Metaphysics of Sexual Love (German)
Anhang zum vorstehenden Kapitel.
- Houtôs anaidôs exekinêsas tode
- to rhêma; kai pou touto pheuxesthai dokeis;
- Pepheuga; t' alêthes gar ischyron trephô.
- »So schamlos hast du auszusprechen dich erkühnt
- Ein solches Wort und glaubst der Strafe zu entgehn?«
- – »Entgangen bin ich; denn die Wahrheit zeugt für mich.«
Auf Seite 618 habe ich der Päderastie beiläufig erwähnt und sie als einen irre geleiteten Instinkt bezeichnet. Dies schien mir, als ich die zweite Auflage bearbeitete, genügend. Seitdem hat weiteres Nachdenken über diese Verirrung mich in derselben ein merkwürdiges Problem, jedoch auch dessen Lösung entdecken lassen. Diese setzt das vorstehende Kapitel voraus, wirft aber auch wieder Licht auf dasselbe zurück, gehört also zur Vervollständigung, wie zum Beleg der dort dargelegten Grundansicht.
An sich selbst betrachtet nämlich stellt die Päderastie sich dar als eine nicht bloß widernatürliche, sondern auch im höchsten Grade widerwärtige und Abscheu erregende Monstrosität, eine Handlung, auf welche allein eine völlig perverse, verschrobene und entartete Menschennatur irgend ein Mal hätte gerathen können, und die sich höchstens in ganz vereinzelten Fällen wiederholt hätte. Wenden wir nun aber uns an die Erfahrung; so finden wir das Gegentheil hievon: wir sehn nämlich dieses Laster, trotz seiner Abscheulichkeit, zu allen Zeiten und in allen Ländern der Welt, völlig im Schwange und in häufiger Ausübung. Allbekannt ist, daß dasselbe bei Griechen und Römern allgemein verbreitet war, und ohne Scheu und Schaam öffentlich eingestanden und getrieben wurde. Hievon zeugen alle alten Schriftsteller, mehr als zur Genüge. Zumal sind die Dichter sammt und sonders voll davon: nicht ein Mal der keusche Virgil ist auszunehmen (Ecl. 2). Sogar den Dichtern der Urzeit, dem Orpheus (den deshalb die Mänaden zerrissen) und dem Thamyris, ja, den Göttern selbst, wird es angedichtet. Ebenfalls reden die Philosophen viel mehr von dieser, als von der Weiberliebe: besonders scheint Plato fast keine andere zu kennen, und eben so die Stoiker, welche sie als des Weisen würdig erwähnen (Stob. ecl. eth., L. II, c. 7). Sogar dem Sokrates rühmt Plato, im Symposion, es als eine beispiellose Heldenthat nach, daß er den, sich ihm dazu anbietenden Alkibiades verschmäht habe. In Xenophons Memorabilien spricht Sokrates von der Päderastie als einer untadelhaften, sogar lobenswerthen Sache. (Stob. Flor., Vol. 1, p. 57.) Eben so in den Memorabilien (Lib. I, cap. 3, § 8), woselbst Sokrates vor den Gefahren der Liebe warnt, spricht er so ausschließlich von der Knabenliebe, daß man denken sollte, es gäbe gar keine Weiber. Auch Aristoteles (Pol. II, 9) spricht von der Päderastie als etwas Gewöhnlichem, ohne sie zu tadeln, führt an, daß sie bei den Kelten in öffentlichen Ehren gestanden habe, und bei den Kretern die Gesetze sie begünstigt hätten, als Mittel gegen Uebervölkerung, erzählt (c. 10) die Männerliebschaft des Gesetzgebers Philolaos u.s.w. Cicero sagt sogar: Apud Graecos opprobrio fuit adolescentibus, si amatores non haberent. Für gelehrte Leser bedarf es hier überhaupt keiner Belege: sie erinnern sich deren zu Hunderten: denn bei den Alten ist Alles voll davon. Aber selbst bei den roheren Völkern, namentlich bei den Galliern, war das Laster sehr im Schwange. Wenden wir uns nach Asien, so sehn wir alle Länder dieses Welttheils, und zwar von den frühesten Zeiten an, bis zur gegenwärtigen herab, von dem Laster erfüllt, und zwar ebenfalls ohne es sonderlich zu verhehlen: Hindu und Chinesen nicht weniger, als die Islamitischen Völker, deren Dichter wir ebenfalls viel mehr mit der Knaben-, als mit der Weiberliebe beschäftigt finden; wie denn z.B. im Gulistan des Sadi das Buch »von der Liebe« ausschließlich von jener redet. Auch den Hebräern war dies Laster nicht unbekannt; da Altes und Neues Testament desselben als strafbar erwähnen. Im Christlichen Europa endlich hat Religion, Gesetzgebung und öffentliche Meinung ihm mit aller Macht entgegenarbeiten müssen: im Mittelalter stand überall Todesstrafe darauf, in Frankreich noch im 16. Jahrhundert der Feuertod, und in England wurde noch während des ersten Drittels dieses Jahrhunderts die Todesstrafe dafür unnachläßlich vollzogen; jetzt ist es Deportation auf Lebenszeit. So gewaltiger Maaßregeln also bedurfte es, um dem Laster Einhalt zu thun; was denn zwar in bedeutendem Maaße gelungen ist, jedoch keineswegs bis zur Ausrottung desselben; sondern es schleicht, unter dem Schleier des tiefsten Geheimnisses, allezeit und überall umher, in allen Ländern und unter allen Ständen, und kommt, oft wo man es am wenigsten erwartet, plötzlich zu Tage. Auch ist es in den früheren Jahrhunderten, trotz allen Todesstrafen, nicht anders damit gewesen: dies bezeugen die Erwähnungen desselben und Anspielungen darauf in den Schriften aus allen jenen Zeiten. – Wenn wir nun alles Dieses uns vergegenwärtigen und wohl erwägen; so sehn wir die Päderastie zu allen Zeiten und in allen Ländern auf eine Weise auftreten, die gar weit entfernt ist von der, welche wir zuerst, als wir sie bloß an sich selbst betrachteten, also a priori, vorausgesetzt hatten. Nämlich die gänzliche Allgemeinheit und beharrliche Unausrottbarkeit der Sache beweist, daß sie irgendwie aus der menschlichen Natur selbst hervorgeht; da sie nur aus diesem Grunde jederzeit und überall unausbleiblich auftreten kann als ein Beleg zu dem
Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.
Dieser Folgerung können wir daher uns schlechterdings nicht entziehn, wenn wir redlich verfahren wollen. Ueber diesen Thatbestand aber hinwegzugehn und es beim Schelten und Schimpfen auf das Laster bewenden zu lassen, wäre freilich leicht, ist jedoch nicht meine Art mit den Problemen fertig zu werden; sondern, meinem angeborenen Beruf, überall der Wahrheit nachzuforschen und den Dingen auf den Grund zu kommen, auch hier getreu, erkenne ich zunächst das sich darstellende und zu erklärende Phänomen, nebst der unvermeidlichen Folgerung daraus, an. Daß nun aber etwas so von Grund aus Naturwidriges, ja, der Natur gerade in ihrem wichtigsten und angelegensten Zweck Entgegentretendes aus der Natur selbst hervorgehn sollte, ist ein so unerhörtes Paradoxon, daß dessen Erklärung sich als ein schweres Problem darstellt, welches ich jedoch jetzt, durch Aufdeckung des ihm zum Grunde liegenden Naturgeheimnisses lösen werde.
Zum Ausgangspunkt diene mir eine Stelle des Aristoteles in Polit., VII, 16. – Daselbst setzt er auseinander, erstlich: daß zu junge Leute schlechte, schwache, mangelhafte und klein bleibende Kinder zeugen; und weiterhin, daß das Selbe von den Erzeugnissen der zu alten gilt: ta gar tôn presbyterôn ekgona, kathaper ta tôn neôterôn, atelê gignetai, kai tois sômasi, kai tais dianoiais, ta de tôn gegêrakotôn asthenê (nam, ut juniorum, ita et grandiorum natu foetus inchoatis atque imperfectis corporibus mentibusque nascuntur: eorum vero, qui senio confecti sunt, suboles infirma et imbecilla est). Was nun dieserhalb Aristoteles als Regel für den Einzelnen, das stellt Stobäos als Gesetz für die Gemeinschaft auf, am Schlusse seiner Darlegung der peripatetischen Philosophie (Ecl. eth., L. II, c. 7 in fine): pros tên rômên tôn sômatôn kai teleiotêta dein mête neôterôn agan, mête presbyterôn tous gamous poieisthai, atelê gar gignesthai, kat' amphoteras tas hêlikias, kai teleiôs asthenê ta ekgona (oportet, corporum roboris et perfectionis causa, nec juniores justo, nec seniores matrimonio jungi, quia circa utramque aetatem proles fieret imbecillis et imperfecta). Aristoteles schreibt daher vor, daß, wer 54 Jahre alt ist, keine Kinder mehr in die Welt setzen soll; wiewohl er den Beischlaf noch immer, seiner Gesundheit, oder sonst einer Ursache halber, ausüben mag. Wie Dies zu bewerkstelligen sei, sagt er nicht: seine Meinung geht aber offenbar dahin, daß die in solchem Alter erzeugten Kinder durch Abortus wegzuschaffen sind; da er diesen, wenige Zeilen vorher, anempfohlen hat. – Die Natur nun ihrerseits kann die der Vorschrift des Aristoteles zum Grunde liegende Thatsache nicht leugnen, aber auch nicht aufheben. Denn, ihrem Grundsatz natura non facit saltus zufolge, konnte sie die Saamenabsonderung des Mannes nicht plötzlich einstellen; sondern auch hier, wie bei jedem Absterben, mußte eine allmälige Deterioration vorhergehn. Die Zeugung während dieser nun aber würde schwache, stumpfe, sieche, elende und kurzlebende Menschen in die Welt setzen. Ja, sie thut es nur zu oft: die in späterm Alter gezeugten Kinder sterben meistens früh weg, erreichen wenigstens nie das hohe Alter, sind, mehr oder weniger, hinfällig, kränklich, schwach, und die von ihnen Erzeugten sind von ähnlicher Beschaffenheit. Was hier von der Zeugung im deklinirenden Alter gesagt ist, gilt eben so von der im unreifen. Nun aber liegt der Natur nichts so sehr am Herzen, wie die Erhaltung der Species und ihres ächten Typus; wozu wohlbeschaffene, tüchtige, kräftige Individuen das Mittel sind: nur solche will sie. Ja, sie betrachtet und behandelt (wie Kapitel 41 gezeigt worden) im Grunde die Individuen nur als Mittel; als Zweck bloß die Species. Demnach sehn wir hier die Natur, in Folge ihrer eigenen Gesetze und Zwecke, auf einen mißlichen Punkt gerathen und wirklich in der Bedrängniß. Auf gewaltsame und von fremder Willkür abhängige Auskunftsmittel, wie das von Aristoteles angedeutete, konnte sie, ihrem Wesen zufolge, unmöglich rechnen, und eben so wenig darauf, daß die Menschen, durch Erfahrung belehrt, die Nachtheile zu früher und zu später Zeugung erkennen und demgemäß ihre Gelüste zügeln würden, in Folge vernünftiger, kalter Ueberlegung. Auf Beides also konnte, in einer so wichtigen Sache, die Natur es nicht ankommen lassen. Jetzt blieb ihr nichts Anderes übrig, als von zwei Uebeln das kleinere zu wählen. Zu diesem Zweck nun aber mußte sie ihr beliebtes Werkzeug, den Instinkt, welcher, wie in vorstehendem Kapitel gezeigt, das so wichtige Geschäft der Zeugung überall leitet und dabei so seltsame Illusionen schafft, auch hier in ihr Interesse ziehn; welches nun aber hier nur dadurch geschehn konnte, daß sie ihn irre leitete (lui donna le change). Die Natur kennt nämlich nur das Physische, nicht das Moralische: sogar ist zwischen ihr und der Moral entschiedener Antagonismus. Erhaltung des Individui, besonders aber der Species, in möglichster Vollkommenheit, ist ihr alleiniger Zweck. Zwar ist nun auch physisch die Päderastie den dazu verführten Jünglingen nachtheilig; jedoch nicht in so hohem Grade, daß es nicht von zweien Uebeln das kleinere wäre, welches sie demnach wählt, um dem sehr viel größern, der Depravation der Species, schon von Weitem auszuweichen und so das bleibende und zunehmende Unglück zu verhüten.
Dieser Vorsicht der Natur zufolge stellt, ungefähr in dem von Aristoteles angegebenen Alter, in der Regel, eine päderastische Neigung sich leise und allmälig ein, wird immer deutlicher und entschiedener, in dem Maaße, wie die Fähigkeit, starke und gesunde Kinder zu zeugen, abnimmt. So veranstaltet es die Natur. Wohl zu merken jedoch, daß von diesem eintretenden Hange bis zum Laster selbst noch ein sehr weiter Weg ist. Zwar wenn, wie im alten Griechenland und Rom, oder zu allen Zeiten in Asien, ihm kein Damm entgegengesetzt ist, kann er, vom Beispiel ermuthigt, leicht zum Laster führen, welches dann, in Folge hievon, große Verbreitung erhält. In Europa hingegen stehn demselben so überaus mächtige Motive der Religion, der Moral, der Gesetze und der Ehre entgegen, daß fast Jeder schon vor dem bloßen Gedanken zurückbebt, und wir demgemäß annehmen dürfen, daß unter etwan drei Hundert, welche jenen Hang spüren, höchstens Einer so schwach und hirnlos seyn wird, ihm nachzugeben; um so gewisser, als dieser Hang erst in dem Alter eintritt, wo das Blut abgekühlt und der Geschlechtstrieb überhaupt gesunken ist, und er andererseits an der gereiften Vernunft, an der durch Erfahrung erlangten Umsicht und der vielfach geübten Festigkeit so starke Gegner findet, daß nur eine von Haus aus schlechte Natur ihm unterliegen wird.
Inzwischen wird der Zweck, den die Natur dabei hat, dadurch erreicht, daß jene Neigung Gleichgültigkeit gegen die Weiber mit sich führt, welche mehr und mehr zunimmt, zur Abneigung wird und endlich bis zum Widerwillen anwächst. Hierin erreicht die Natur ihren eigentlichen Zweck um so sicherer, als, je mehr im Manne die Zeugungskraft abnimmt, desto entschiedener ihre widernatürliche Richtung wird. – Diesem entsprechend finden wir die Päderastie durchgängig als ein Laster alter Männer. Nur solche sind es, welche dann und wann, zum öffentlichen Skandal, darauf betroffen werden. Dem eigentlich männlichen Alter ist sie fremd, ja, unbegreiflich. Wenn ein Mal eine Ausnahme hievon vorkommt; so glaube ich, daß es nur in Folge einer zufälligen und vorzeitigen Depravation der Zeugungskraft seyn kann, welche nur schlechte Zeugungen liefern könnte, denen vorzubeugen, die Natur sie ablenkt. Daher auch richten die in großen Städten leider nicht seltenen Kinäden ihre Winke und Anträge stets an ältere Herren, niemals an die im Alter der Kraft stehenden, oder gar an junge Leute. Auch bei den Griechen, wo Beispiel und Gewohnheit hin und wieder eine Ausnahme von dieser Regel herbeigeführt haben mag, finden wir von den Schriftstellern, zumal den Philosophen, namentlich Plato und Aristoteles, in der Regel, den Liebhaber ausdrücklich als ältlich dargestellt. Insbesondere ist in dieser Hinsicht eine Stelle des Plutarch bemerkenswerth im Liber amatorius, c. 5: Ho paidikos erôs, opse gegonôs, kai par' hôran tô biô, nothos kai skotios, exelaunei ton gnêsion erôta kai presbyteron. (Puerorum amor, qui, quum tarde in vita et intempestive, quasi spurius et occultus, exstitisset, germanum et natu majorem amorem expellit.) Sogar unter den Göttern finden wir nur die ältlichen, den Zeus und den Herakles, mit männlichen Geliebten versehn, nicht den Mars, Apollo, Bakchus, Merkur. – Inzwischen kann im Orient der in Folge der Polygamie entstehende Mangel an Weibern hin und wieder gezwungene Ausnahmen zu dieser Regel veranlassen: eben so in noch neuen und daher weiberlosen Kolonien, wie Kalifornien u.s.w. – Dem entsprechend nun ferner, daß das unreife Sperma, eben so wohl wie das durch Alter depravirte, nur schwache, schlechte und unglückliche Zeugungen liefern kann, ist, wie im Alter, so auch in der Jugend eine erotische Neigung solcher Art zwischen Jünglingen oft vorhanden, führt aber wohl nur höchst selten zum wirklichen Laster, indem ihr, außer den oben genannten Motiven, die Unschuld, Reinheit, Gewissenhaftigkeit und Verschämtheit des jugendlichen Alters entgegensteht.
Aus dieser Darstellung ergiebt sich, daß, während das in Betracht genommene Laster den Zwecken der Natur, und zwar im Allerwichtigsten und ihr Angelegensten, gerade entgegenzuarbeiten scheint, es in Wahrheit eben diesen Zwecken, wiewohl nur mittelbar, dienen muß, als Abwendungsmittel größerer Uebel. Es ist nämlich ein Phänomen der absterbenden und dann wieder der unreifen Zeugungskraft, welche der Species Gefahr drohen: und wiewohl sie alle Beide aus moralischen Gründen pausiren sollten; so war hierauf doch nicht zu rechnen; da überhaupt die Natur das eigentlich Moralische bei ihrem Treiben nicht in Anschlag bringt. Demnach griff die, in Folge ihrer eigenen Gesetze, in die Enge getriebene Natur, mittelst Verkehrung des Instinkts, zu einem Nothbehelf, einem Stratagem, ja, man möchte sagen, sie bauete sich eine Eselsbrücke, um, wie oben dargelegt, von zweien Uebeln dem größern zu entgehn. Sie hat nämlich den wichtigen Zweck im Auge, unglücklichen Zeugungen vorzubeugen, welche allmälig die ganze Species depraviren könnten, und da ist sie, wie wir gesehn haben, nicht skrupulös in der Wahl der Mittel. Der Geist, in welchem sie hier verfährt, ist der selbe, in welchem sie, wie oben, Kapitel 27, angeführt, die Wespen antreibt, ihre Jungen zu erstechen: denn in beiden Fällen greift sie zum Schlimmen, um Schlimmerem zu entgehn: sie führt den Geschlechtstrieb irre, um seine verderblichsten Folgen zu vereiteln.
Meine Absicht bei dieser Darstellung ist zunächst die Lösung des oben dargelegten auffallenden Problems gewesen; sodann aber auch die Bestätigung meiner, im vorstehenden Kapitel ausgeführten Lehre, daß bei aller Geschlechtsliebe der Instinkt die Zügel führt und Illusionen schafft, weil der Natur das Interesse der Gattung allen andern vorgeht, und daß Dies sogar bei der hier in Rede stehenden, widerwärtigen Verirrung und Ausartung des Geschlechtstriebes gültig bleibt; indem auch hier, als letzter Grund, die Zwecke der Gattung sich ergeben, wiewohl sie, in diesem Fall, bloß negativer Art sind, indem die Natur dabei prophylaktisch verfährt. Diese Betrachtung wirft daher auf meine gesammte Metaphysik der Geschlechtsliebe Licht zurück. Ueberhaupt aber ist durch diese Darstellung eine bisher verborgene Wahrheit zu Tage gebracht, welche, bei aller ihrer Seltsamkeit, doch neues Licht auf das innere Wesen, den Geist und das Treiben der Natur wirft. Demgemäß hat es sich dabei nicht um moralische Verwarnung gegen das Laster, sondern um das Verständniß des Wesens der Sache gehandelt. Uebrigens ist der wahre, letzte, tief metaphysische Grund der Verwerflichkeit der Päderastie dieser, daß, während der Wille zum Leben sich darin bejaht, die Folge solcher Bejahung, welche den Weg zur Erlösung offen hält, also die Erneuerung des Lebens, gänzlich abgeschnitten ist. – Endlich habe ich auch, durch Darlegung dieser paradoxen Gedanken, den durch das immer weitere Bekanntwerden meiner von ihnen so sorgfältig verhehlten Philosophie jetzt sehr deconcertirten Philosophieprofessoren eine kleine Wohlthat zufließen lassen wollen, indem ich ihnen Gelegenheit eröffnete zu der Verläumdung, daß ich die Päderastie in Schutz genommen und anempfohlen hätte.