On the Future of our Educational Institutions

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 80

in the journalistic corruption of the people, how else than
by the acknowledgment that their learning must fill a want of their
own similar to that filled by novel-writing in the case of others:
_i.e._ a flight from one's self, an ascetic extirpation of their
cultural impulses, a desperate attempt to annihilate their own
individuality. From our degenerate literary art, as also from that
itch for scribbling of our learned men which has now reached such
alarming proportions, wells forth the same sigh: Oh that we could
forget ourselves! The attempt fails: memory, not yet suffocated by the
mountains of printed paper under which it is buried, keeps on
repeating from time to time: 'A degenerate man of culture! Born for
culture and brought up to non-culture! Helpless barbarian, slave of
the day, chained to the present moment, and thirsting for
something--ever thirsting!'

"Oh, the miserable guilty innocents! For they lack something, a need
that every one of them must have felt: a real educational institution,
which could give them goals, masters, methods, companions; and from
the midst of which the invigorating and uplifting breath of the true
German spirit would inspire them. Thus they perish in the wilderness;
thus they degenerate into enemies of that spirit which is at bottom
closely allied to their own; thus they pile fault upon fault higher
than any former generation ever did, soiling the clean, desecrating
the holy, canonising the false and spurious. It is by them that you
can judge the educational strength of our universities, asking
yourselves, in all seriousness, the question: What cause did you
promote through them? The German power of invention, the noble German
desire for knowledge, the qualifying of the German for diligence and
self-sacrifice--splendid and beautiful things, which other nations
envy you; yea, the finest and most magnificent things in the world, if
only that true German spirit overspread them like a dark thundercloud,
pregnant with the blessing of forthcoming rain. But you are afraid of
this spirit, and it has therefore come to pass that a cloud of another
sort has thrown a heavy and oppressive atmosphere around your
universities, in which your noble-minded scholars breathe wearily and
with difficulty.

"A tragic, earnest, and instructive attempt was made in the present
century to destroy the cloud I have last referred to, and also to turn
the people's looks in the direction of the high welkin of the German
spirit. In all the annals of our universities we cannot find any trace
of a second attempt, and he who would impressively demonstrate what is
now necessary for us will never find a better example. I refer

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Text Comparison with Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays Collected Works, Volume Two

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