The Twilight of the Idols - The Antichrist Complete Works, Volume Sixteen

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 62

of the fact that for long ages
energy has been collected, hoarded up, saved up and preserved for their
use, and that no explosion has taken place. When, the tension in the
bulk has become sufficiently excessive, the most fortuitous stimulus
suffices in order to call "genius," "great deeds," and momentous
fate-into the world. What then is the good of all environment,
historical periods, "_Zeitgeist_" (Spirit of the age) and "public
opinion"?--Take the case of Napoleon. France of the Revolution,
and still more of the period preceding the Revolution, would have
brought forward a type which was the very reverse of Napoleon: it
actually _did_ produce such a type. And because Napoleon was something
different, the heir of a stronger, more lasting and older civilisation
than that which in France was being smashed to atoms he became master
there, he was the only master there. Great men are necessary, the age
in which they appear is a matter of chance; the fact that they almost
invariably master their age is accounted for simply by the fact that
they are stronger, that they are older, and that power has been stored
longer for them. The relation of a genius to his age is that which
exists between strength and weakness and between maturity and youth:
the age is relatively always very much younger, thinner, less mature,
less resolute and more childish. The fact that the general opinion in
France at the present day, is utterly different on this very point (in
Germany too, but that is of no consequence); the fact that in that
country the theory of environment--a regular neuropathic notion--has
become sacrosanct and almost scientific, and finds acceptance even
among the physiologists, is a very bad, and exceedingly depressing
sign. In England too the same belief prevails: but nobody will be
surprised at that. The Englishman knows only two ways of understanding
the genius and the "great man": either _democratically_ in the style
of Buckle, or religiously after the manner of Carlyle.--The danger
which great men and great ages represent, is simply extraordinary;
every kind of exhaustion and of sterility follows in their wake. The
great man is an end; the great age--the Renaissance for instance,--is
an end. The genius--in work and in deed,--is necessarily a squanderer:
the fact that he spends himself constitutes his greatness. The instinct
of self-preservation is as it were suspended in him; the overpowering
pressure of out-flowing energy in him forbids any such protection and
prudence. People call this "self-sacrifice," they praise his "heroism,"
his indifference to his own well-being, his utter devotion to an idea,
a great cause, a father-land: All misunderstandings....

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And as regards sickness, should we not be almost tempted to ask whether we could in general dispense with it? It is great pain only which is the ultimate emancipator of the spirit; for it is the teacher of the _strong suspicion_ which makes an X out of every U[1], a true, correct X, _i.
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_The Chosen People.
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" 164.
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_Lack of Reserve.
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all the unspeakably small and great in thy life must come to thee again, and all in the same series and sequence--and similarly this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and similarly this moment, and I myself.
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-- 346.
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Page 163
One sees what has really gained the victory over the Christian God--, Christian morality itself, the conception of veracity, taken ever more strictly, the confessional subtlety of the Christian conscience, translated and sublimated to the scientific conscience, to intellectual purity at any price.
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