On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 12

to the lofty trees at our feet, we were unable
to catch a glimpse of the valley of the Rhine below. The peacefulness
of the spot seemed only to intensify the loudness of our
pistol-shots--and I had scarcely fired my second barrel at the
pentagram when I felt some one lay hold of my arm and noticed that my
friend had also some one beside him who had interrupted his loading.

Turning sharply on my heels I found myself face to face with an
astonished old gentleman, and felt what must have been a very powerful
dog make a lunge at my back. My friend had been approached by a
somewhat younger man than I had; but before we could give expression
to our surprise the older of the two interlopers burst forth in the
following threatening and heated strain: "No! no!" he called to us,
"no duels must be fought here, but least of all must you young
students fight one. Away with these pistols and compose yourselves. Be
reconciled, shake hands! What?--and are you the salt of the earth,
the intelligence of the future, the seed of our hopes--and are you
not even able to emancipate yourselves from the insane code of honour
and its violent regulations? I will not cast any aspersions on your
hearts, but your heads certainly do you no credit. You, whose youth is
watched over by the wisdom of Greece and Rome, and whose youthful
spirits, at the cost of enormous pains, have been flooded with the
light of the sages and heroes of antiquity,--can you not refrain from
making the code of knightly honour--that is to say, the code of folly
and brutality--the guiding principle of your conduct?--Examine it
rationally once and for all, and reduce it to plain terms; lay its
pitiable narrowness bare, and let it be the touchstone, not of your
hearts but of your minds. If you do not regret it then, it will merely
show that your head is not fitted for work in a sphere where great
gifts of discrimination are needful in order to burst the bonds of
prejudice, and where a well-balanced understanding is necessary for
the purpose of distinguishing right from wrong, even when the
difference between them lies deeply hidden and is not, as in this
case, so ridiculously obvious. In that case, therefore, my lads, try
to go through life in some other honourable manner; join the army or
learn a handicraft that pays its way."

To this rough, though admittedly just, flood of eloquence, we replied
with some irritation, interrupting each other continually in so doing:
"In

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