On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 62

obtain the education you demand for
them, to what degree do they show that they have been nourished and
matured by basking in the sun of national education? And yet they are
seen to be possible, they have nevertheless become men whom we must
honour: yea, their works themselves justify the form of the
development of these noble spirits; they justify even a certain want
of education for which we must make allowance owing to their country
and the age in which they lived. How could Lessing and Winckelmann
benefit by the German culture of their time? Even less than, or at all
events just as little as Beethoven, Schiller, Goethe, or every one of
our great poets and artists. It may perhaps be a law of nature that
only the later generations are destined to know by what divine gifts
an earlier generation was favoured."

At this point the old philosopher could not control his anger, and
shouted to his companion: "Oh, you innocent lamb of knowledge! You
gentle sucking doves, all of you! And would you give the name of
arguments to those distorted, clumsy, narrow-minded, ungainly,
crippled things? Yes, I have just now been listening to the fruits of
some of this present-day culture, and my ears are still ringing with
the sound of historical 'self-understood' things, of over-wise and
pitiless historical reasonings! Mark this, thou unprofaned Nature:
thou hast grown old, and for thousands of years this starry sky has
spanned the space above thee--but thou hast never yet heard such
conceited and, at bottom, mischievous chatter as the talk of the
present day! So you are proud of your poets and artists, my good
Teutons? You point to them and brag about them to foreign countries,
do you? And because it has given you no trouble to have them amongst
you, you have formed the pleasant theory that you need not concern
yourselves further with them? Isn't that so, my inexperienced
children: they come of their own free will, the stork brings them to
you! Who would dare to mention a midwife! You deserve an earnest
teaching, eh? You should be proud of the fact that all the noble and
brilliant men we have mentioned were prematurely suffocated, worn out,
and crushed through you, through your barbarism? You think without
shame of Lessing, who, on account of your stupidity, perished in
battle against your ludicrous gods and idols, the evils of your
theatres, your learned men, and your theologians, without once daring
to lift himself to the height of that immortal flight for which he
was brought into the world. And what are

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