What does, Nietzsche in Beyond Good and Evil, mean exactly when he states:

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

I don’t believe the question has been satisfactorily answered yet. By anyone. My own thought is that the “monster” is hate. And that in combating “hate” you become hate, naturally, as you hate the thing that hates you. In doing so you easily justify your own actions, even as they mirror those of the thing you hate, see Dresden in WWII. So, broadly speaking, in murdering the murderer, you are simply becoming him, in that you’re killing the thing you hate, as he did before you. You hate him for the “right” reasons. You murder him in the “name of justice”, but, in the end you’re murdering him because he murdered yours. You hate him for murdering yours, so you murder him and his in hate. Justice? Idk. Maybe. But what then is justice? Is it an eye for an eye? Works great in the short term, but does it in the long term? As to the Abyss. The abyss is where the black things lay. The evil things. In the end, the abyss is profound truth. Unadulterated. Nothing is as true as true unadulterated hate and evil. I wouldn’t even call it evil. More simple animal survival. It’s not the truth of the “good”, which can be veiled in so many layers of “justice” and thought mechanics, but the raw, animal, truth. The “you must die so that I can live” truth. The real truth of “an eye for an eye”. Beware it seeing you, seeing into you, and accepting you.

Am I wrong? So many arguments go, he’s saying kill, just don’t kill too much. I think he’s saying the impossible thing, be killed, but do not kill at all. Or et al. I never know the distinction. Lol.

  • 1
    You can love goodness and still hate evil. In fact that is taught in the holy scriptures, and I believe that is also what Nietsche meant here. I used to be pro-death penalty, but not anymore. I believe we should do whatever we must to protect ourselves and our loved ones from evil. But we must never become evil in the process. So self-defense is justifiable, prison may be justifiable in many cases. But never cruel or unusual punishments. I wouldn't trust any individual or society that engages in it.
    – Bread
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 1:34
  • 4
    This is a multiple duplicate, see Why, according to Nietzsche, is becoming a monster by fighting to overthrow monsters a bad thing?
    – Conifold
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 6:07


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