Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays Collected Works, Volume Two

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 52

curse of Becoming?"

Not every kind of life may have been welcome to a man who put such
questions, whose upward-soaring thinking continually broke the empiric
ropes, in order to take at once to the highest, superlunary flight.
Willingly we believe tradition, that he walked along in especially
dignified attire and showed a truly tragic hauteur in his gestures
and habits of life. He lived as he wrote; he spoke as solemnly as he
dressed himself, he raised his hand and placed his foot as if this
existence was a tragedy, and he had been born in order to co-operate
in that tragedy by playing the _rôle_ of hero. In all that he was the
great model of Empedocles. His fellow-citizens elected him the leader
of an emigrating colony--perhaps they were pleased at being able to
honour him and at the same time to get rid of him. His thought also
emigrated and founded colonies; in Ephesus and in Elea they could not
get rid of him; and if they could not resolve upon staying at the spot
where he stood, they nevertheless knew that they had been led there by
him, whence they now prepared to proceed without him.

Thales shows the need of simplifying the empire of plurality, and
of reducing it to a mere expansion or disguise of the _one single_
existing quality, water. Anaximander goes beyond him with two steps.
Firstly he puts the question to himself: How, if there exists an
eternal Unity at all, is that Plurality possible? and he takes the
answer out of the contradictory, self-devouring and denying character
of this Plurality. The existence of this Plurality becomes a moral
phenomenon to him; it is not justified, it expiates itself continually
through destruction. But then the questions occur to him: Yet why has
not everything that has become perished long ago, since, indeed, quite
an eternity of time has already gone by? Whence the ceaseless current
of the River of Becoming? He can save himself from these questions
only by mystic possibilities: the eternal Becoming can have its origin
only in the eternal "Being," the conditions for that apostasy from
that eternal "Being" to a Becoming in injustice are ever the same, the
constellation of things cannot help itself being thus fashioned, that
no end is to be seen of that stepping forth of the individual being out
of the lap of the "Indefinite." At this Anaximander stayed; that is,
he remained within the deep shadows which like gigantic spectres were
lying on the mountain range of such a world-perception. The more one
wanted to approach the problem of

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Von der jämmerlichen Schönfärberei der Griechen in's Ideal, die der "klassisch gebildete" Jüngling als Lohn für seine Gymnasial-Dressur in's Leben davonträgt, kurirt Nichts so gründlich als Thukydides.
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