Ecce Homo Complete Works, Volume Seventeen

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 40

down from heights into which no bird has ever soared; I
know abysses into which no foot has ever slipped. People have told
me that it is impossible to lay down a book of mine--that I disturb
even the night's rest.... There is no prouder or at the same time more
subtle kind of books: they sometimes attain to the highest pinnacle
of earthly endeavour, cynicism; to capture their thoughts a man must
have the tenderest fingers as well as the most intrepid fists. Any
kind of spiritual decrepitude utterly excludes all intercourse with
them--even any kind of dyspepsia: a man must have no nerves, but he
must have a cheerful belly. Not only the poverty of a man's soul and
its stuffy air excludes all intercourse with them, but also, and to a
much greater degree, cowardice, uncleanliness, and secret intestinal
revengefulness; a word from my lips suffices to make the colour of
all evil instincts rush into a face. Among my acquaintances I have
a number of experimental subjects, in whom I see depicted all the
different, and instructively different, reactions which follow upon
a perusal of my works. Those who will have nothing to do with the
contents of my books, as for instance my so-called friends, assume an
"impersonal" tone concerning them: they wish me luck, and congratulate
me for having produced another work; they also declare that my writings
show progress, because they exhale a more cheerful spirit.... The
thoroughly vicious people, the "beautiful souls," the false from top to
toe, do not know in the least what to do with my books--consequently,
with the beautiful consistency of all beautiful souls, they regard
my work as beneath them. The cattle among my acquaintances, the mere
Germans, leave me to understand, if you please, that they are not
always of my opinion, though here and there they agree with me.... I
have heard this said even about _Zarathustra._ "Feminism," whether in
mankind or in man, is likewise a barrier to my writings; with it, no
one could ever enter into this labyrinth of fearless knowledge. To
this end, a man must never have spared himself, he must have been hard
in his habits, in order to be good-humoured and merry among a host of
inexorable truths. When I try to picture the character of a perfect
reader, I always imagine a monster of courage and curiosity, as well as
of suppleness, cunning, and prudence--in short, a born adventurer and
explorer. After all, I could not describe better than _Zarathustra_ has
done unto whom I really address myself: unto whom alone would he

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