Beyond Good and Evil

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 88

motleyness, this
medley of the most delicate, the most coarse, and the most artificial,
with a secret confidence and cordiality; we enjoy it as a refinement
of art reserved expressly for us, and allow ourselves to be as little
disturbed by the repulsive fumes and the proximity of the English
populace in which Shakespeare's art and taste lives, as perhaps on
the Chiaja of Naples, where, with all our senses awake, we go our way,
enchanted and voluntarily, in spite of the drain-odour of the lower
quarters of the town. That as men of the "historical sense" we have
our virtues, is not to be disputed:--we are unpretentious, unselfish,
modest, brave, habituated to self-control and self-renunciation, very
grateful, very patient, very complaisant--but with all this we are
perhaps not very "tasteful." Let us finally confess it, that what is
most difficult for us men of the "historical sense" to grasp, feel,
taste, and love, what finds us fundamentally prejudiced and almost
hostile, is precisely the perfection and ultimate maturity in every
culture and art, the essentially noble in works and men, their moment
of smooth sea and halcyon self-sufficiency, the goldenness and coldness
which all things show that have perfected themselves. Perhaps our great
virtue of the historical sense is in necessary contrast to GOOD taste,
at least to the very bad taste; and we can only evoke in ourselves
imperfectly, hesitatingly, and with compulsion the small, short, and
happy godsends and glorifications of human life as they shine here and
there: those moments and marvelous experiences when a great power has
voluntarily come to a halt before the boundless and infinite,--when a
super-abundance of refined delight has been enjoyed by a sudden checking
and petrifying, by standing firmly and planting oneself fixedly on still
trembling ground. PROPORTIONATENESS is strange to us, let us confess it
to ourselves; our itching is really the itching for the infinite, the
immeasurable. Like the rider on his forward panting horse, we let the
reins fall before the infinite, we modern men, we semi-barbarians--and
are only in OUR highest bliss when we--ARE IN MOST DANGER.

225. Whether it be hedonism, pessimism, utilitarianism, or eudaemonism,
all those modes of thinking which measure the worth of things according
to PLEASURE and PAIN, that is, according to accompanying circumstances
and secondary considerations, are plausible modes of thought and
naivetes, which every one conscious of CREATIVE powers and an artist's
conscience will look down upon with scorn, though not without sympathy.
Sympathy for you!--to be sure, that is not sympathy as you understand
it: it is not sympathy for social "distress," for "society" with its
sick and misfortuned,

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