On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 64

it by praising me, deserves the answer that
the present system is a scandal and a disgrace, and that the man who
asks for warmth in the midst of ice and snow must indeed get angry if
he hears this referred to as an 'ideal desire.' The matter we are now
discussing is concerned with clear, urgent, and palpably evident
realities: a man who knows anything of the question feels that there
is a need which must be seen to, just like cold and hunger. But the
man who is not affected at all by this matter most certainly has a
standard by which to measure the extent of his own culture, and thus
to know what I call 'culture,' and where the line should be drawn
between that which is ruled from below upwards and that which is ruled
from above downwards."

The philosopher seemed to be speaking very heatedly. We begged him to
walk round with us again, since he had uttered the latter part of his
discourse standing near the tree-stump which had served us as a
target. For a few minutes not a word more was spoken. Slowly and
thoughtfully we walked to and fro. We did not so much feel ashamed of
having brought forward such foolish arguments as we felt a kind of
restitution of our personality. After the heated and, so far as we
were concerned, very unflattering utterance of the philosopher, we
seemed to feel ourselves nearer to him--that we even stood in a
personal relationship to him. For so wretched is man that he never
feels himself brought into such close contact with a stranger as when
the latter shows some sign of weakness, some defect. That our
philosopher had lost his temper and made use of abusive language
helped to bridge over the gulf created between us by our timid respect
for him: and for the sake of the reader who feels his indignation
rising at this suggestion let it be added that this bridge often leads
from distant hero-worship to personal love and pity. And, after the
feeling that our personality had been restored to us, this pity
gradually became stronger and stronger. Why were we making this old
man walk up and down with us between the rocks and trees at that time
of the night? And, since he had yielded to our entreaties, why could
we not have thought of a more modest and unassuming manner of having
ourselves instructed, why should the three of us have contradicted him
in such clumsy terms?

For now we saw how thoughtless, unprepared, and baseless were

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