Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays Collected Works, Volume Two

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 69

of judgment on the part of the masses, glorified
by playful antinomies and praised as the acme of all knowledge was to
him a painful and incomprehensible experience.

Now he dived into the cold bath of his awful abstractions. That which
is true must exist in eternal presence, about it cannot be said "it
was," "it will be." The "Existent" cannot have become; for out of what
should it have become? Out of the "Non-Existent"? But that does not
exist and can produce nothing. Out of the "Existent"? This would not
produce anything but itself. The same applies to the Passing, it is
just as impossible as the Becoming, as any change, any increase, any
decrease. On the whole the proposition is valid: Everything about which
it can be said: "it has been" or "it will be" does not exist; about
the "Existent" however it can never be said "it does not exist." The
"Existent" is indivisible, for where is the second power, which should
divide it? It is immovable, for whither should it move itself? It
cannot be infinitely great nor infinitely small, for it is perfect and
a perfectly given infinitude is a contradiction. Thus the "Existent"
is suspended, delimited, perfect, immovable, everywhere equally
balanced and such equilibrium equally perfect at any point, like a
globe, but not in a space, for otherwise this space would be a second
"Existent." But there cannot exist several "Existents," for in order to
separate them, something would have to exist which was not existing, an
assumption which neutralises itself. Thus there exists only the eternal
Unity.

If now, however, Parmenides turned back his gaze to the world of
Becoming, the existence of which he had formerly tried to understand
by such ingenious conjectures, he was wroth at his eye seeing the
Becoming at all, his ear hearing it. "Do not follow the dim-sighted
eyes," now his command runs, "not the resounding ear nor the
tongue, but examine only by the power of the thought." Therewith he
accomplished the extremely important first critique of the apparatus
of knowledge, although this critique was still inadequate and proved
disastrous in its consequences. By tearing entirely asunder the
senses and the ability to think in abstractions, _i.e._ reason, just
as if they were two thoroughly separate capacities, he demolished
the intellect itself, and incited people to that wholly erroneous
separation of "mind" and "body" which, especially since Plato, lies
like a curse on philosophy. All sense perceptions, Parmenides judges,
cause only illusions and their chief illusion is their deluding us to
believe that even the "Non-Existent" exists, that even the Becoming has
a "Being." All

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Text Comparison with Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

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Well, I do not like it, that heaven of the superfluous! No, I do not like them, those animals tangled in the heavenly toils! Far from me also be the God who limpeth thither to bless what he hath not matched! Laugh not at such marriages! What child hath not had reason to weep over its parents? Worthy did this man seem, and ripe for the meaning of the earth: but when I saw his wife, the earth seemed to me a home for madcaps.
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1.
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Therefore do I here wait, crafty and scornful upon high mountains, no impatient one, no patient one; rather one who hath even unlearnt patience,--because he no longer "suffereth.
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time: it hath forgotten me perhaps? Or doth it sit behind a big stone and catch flies? And verily, I am well-disposed to mine eternal fate, because it doth not hound and hurry me, but leaveth me time for merriment and mischief; so that I have to-day ascended this high mountain to catch fish.
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" Thus spake Zarathustra to his heart and ran away.
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Already lieth as it were a shadow upon me.
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Ye would not believe how charmingly they sat there, when they did not dance, profound, but without thoughts, like little secrets, like beribboned riddles, like dessert-nuts-- Many-hued and foreign, forsooth! but without clouds: riddles which can be guessed: to please such maidens I then composed an after-dinner psalm.
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This is an example of a class of writing which may be passed over too lightly by those whom poetasters have made distrustful of poetry.
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I need hardly point out, therefore, how deeply.
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