On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 18

out, I think,
that in the eyes of the present age, which is so intolerant of
anything that is not useful, such purposeless enjoyment of the moment,
such a lulling of one's self in the cradle of the present, must seem
almost incredible and at all events blameworthy. How useless we were!
And how proud we were of being useless! We used even to quarrel with
each other as to which of us should have the glory of being the more
useless. We wished to attach no importance to anything, to have strong
views about nothing, to aim at nothing; we wanted to take no thought
for the morrow, and desired no more than to recline comfortably like
good-for-nothings on the threshold of the present; and we did--bless
us!

--That, ladies and gentlemen, was our standpoint then!--

Absorbed in these reflections, I was just about to give an answer to
the question of the future of _our_ Educational Institutions in the
same self-sufficient way, when it gradually dawned upon me that the
"natural music," coming from the philosopher's bench had lost its
original character and travelled to us in much more piercing and
distinct tones than before. Suddenly I became aware that I was
listening, that I was eavesdropping, and was passionately interested,
with both ears keenly alive to every sound. I nudged my friend who was
evidently somewhat tired, and I whispered: "Don't fall asleep! There
is something for us to learn over there. It applies to us, even
though it be not meant for us."

For instance, I heard the younger of the two men defending himself
with great animation while the philosopher rebuked him with ever
increasing vehemence. "You are unchanged," he cried to him,
"unfortunately unchanged. It is quite incomprehensible to me how you
can still be the same as you were seven years ago, when I saw you for
the last time and left you with so much misgiving. I fear I must once
again divest you, however reluctantly, of the skin of modern culture
which you have donned meanwhile;--and what do I find beneath it? The
same immutable 'intelligible' character forsooth, according to Kant;
but unfortunately the same unchanged 'intellectual' character,
too--which may also be a necessity, though not a comforting one. I ask
myself to what purpose have I lived as a philosopher, if, possessed as
you are of no mean intelligence and a genuine thirst for knowledge,
all the years you have spent in my company have left no deeper
impression upon you. At present you are behaving as if you had not
even heard the cardinal principle of all culture,

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FOULIS 13 & 15 FREDERICK STREET EDINBURGH: & LONDON 1910 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Printed at THE DARIEN PRESS, _Edinburgh_.
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