Human, All-Too-Human: A Book for Free Spirits, Part 1 Complete Works, Volume Six

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 7

is still; where has
he been? The near and nearest things, how changed they appear to
him! What a bloom and magic they have acquired meanwhile! He looks
back gratefully,--grateful to his wandering, his austerity and
self-estrangement, his far-sightedness and his bird-like flights
in cold heights. What a good thing that he did not always stay "at
home," "by himself," like a sensitive, stupid tenderling. He has been
_beside himself,_ there is no doubt. He now sees himself for the first
time,--and what surprises he feels thereby! What thrills unexperienced
hitherto! What joy even in the weariness, in the old illness, in the
relapses of the convalescent! How he likes to sit still and suffer, to
practise patience, to lie in the sun! Who is as familiar as he with the
joy of winter, with the patch of sunshine upon the wall! They are the
most grateful animals in the world, and also the most unassuming, these
lizards of convalescents with their faces half-turned towards life once
more:--there are those amongst them who never let a day pass without
hanging a little hymn of praise on its trailing fringe. And, speaking
seriously, it is a radical _cure_ for all pessimism (the well-known
disease of old idealists and falsehood-mongers) to become ill after
the manner of these free spirits, to remain ill a good while, and then
grow well (I mean "better") for a still longer period. It is wisdom,
practical wisdom, to prescribe even health for one's self for a long
time only in small doses.


6.

About this time it may at last happen, under the sudden illuminations
of still disturbed and changing health, that the enigma of that great
emancipation begins to reveal itself to the free, and ever freer,
spirit,--that enigma which had hitherto lain obscure, questionable,
and almost intangible, in his memory. If for a long time he scarcely
dared to ask himself, "Why so apart? So alone? denying everything that
I revered? denying reverence itself? Why this hatred, this suspicion,
this severity towards my own virtues?"--he now dares and asks the
questions aloud, and already hears something like an answer to them--
"Thou shouldst become master over thyself and master also of thine own
virtues. Formerly _they_ were thy masters; but they are only entitled
to be thy tools amongst other tools. Thou shouldst obtain power over
thy pro and contra, and learn how to put them forth and withdraw them
again in accordance with thy higher purpose. Thou shouldst learn how
to take the proper perspective of every valuation--the shifting,
distortion, and apparent teleology of the horizons and everything that
belongs to perspective; also

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