Surplus Men

SURPLUS MEN. You, masters of yourselves! You, sovereign men! All whose nature is only an appurtenance, all those who cannot be counted, they are working for you, though it might not seem so from a superficial glance! These princes, these businessmen, these agriculturalists, these military men who perhaps think of themselves as high above you – they are only slaves who, according to an eternal necessity, do not work for themselves! There are never slaves without masters – and you others will always be these masters for whom they are working: in a later century, one will be able to see more clearly this presently indiscernible spectacle! Leave them, then, their ways of seeing and their illusions, through which they justify and deceive themselves about their servile work, don’t battle against opinions that constitute a remission for slaves! But always remember that this enormous effort, this sweat, this dust, this din of the labour of civilization is at the service of those who know how to use it all without participating in this work; that surplus men who are maintained by this universal surplus-labor are necessary, and that these men of surplus constitute the meaning and apology of all this fermentation! In the meantime, be millers and let these waters come to your watermills! Don’t worry about their struggles or the wild tumult of these tempests! Whatever forms of the State or societies might result from it, they will never be anything more than forms of slavery – and you will always be the sovereigns, for you alone belong to yourselves, and the others will never be anything more than accessories!

Friedrich Nietzsche, December 1881-January 1882