Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays Collected Works, Volume Two

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 45

artist who succeeded in throwing a lentil
through the eye of a needle have sufficient, with a bushel of lentils,
to practise his acquired skill? One would like to put this question to
all scholars who do not know how to use the works of the Ancients any
better than that man used his lentils." It might be added in our case
that not one more word, anecdote, or date needed to be transmitted to
us than has been transmitted, indeed that even much less might have
been preserved for us and yet we should have been able to establish the
general doctrine that the Greeks justify philosophy.

A time which suffers from the so-called "general education" but has
no culture and no unity of style in her life hardly knows what to
do with philosophy, even if the latter were proclaimed by the very
Genius of Truth in the streets and market-places. She rather remains
at such a time the learned monologue of the solitary rambler, the
accidental booty of the individual, the hidden closet-secret or the
innocuous chatter between academic senility and childhood. Nobody
dare venture to fulfil in himself the law of philosophy, nobody
lives philosophically, with that simple manly faith which compelled
an Ancient, wherever he was, whatever he did, to deport himself as
a Stoic, when he had once pledged his faith to the Stoa. All modern
philosophising is limited politically and regulated by the police to
learned semblance. Thanks to governments, churches, academies, customs,
fashions, and the cowardice of man, it never gets beyond the sigh: "If
only!..." or beyond the knowledge: "Once upon a time there was..."
Philosophy is without rights; therefore modern man, if he were at all
courageous and conscientious, ought to condemn her and perhaps banish
her with words similar to those by which Plato banished the tragic
poets from his State. Of course there would be left a reply for her, as
there remained to those poets against Plato. If one once compelled her
to speak out she might say perhaps: "Miserable Nation! Is it my fault
if among you I am on the tramp, like a fortune teller through the land,
and must hide and disguise myself, as if I were a great sinner and ye
my judges? Just look at my sister, Art! It is with her as with me; we
have been cast adrift among the Barbarians and no longer know how to
save ourselves. Here we are lacking, it is true, every good right; but
the judges before whom we find justice judge you also and will tell
you: First acquire

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