Thoughts Out of Season, Part II

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 109

his way is the more
troublesome and dangerous; and they try to entice him over. If the
two ways cross, he is ill-treated, cast aside or left alone. What
significance has any particular form of culture for these several
travellers? The enormous throng that press to their end on the first
road, understand by it the laws and institutions that enable them to
go forward in regular fashion and rule out all the solitary and
obstinate people who look towards higher and remoter objects. To the
small company on the other road it has quite a different office: they
wish to guard themselves, by means of a strong organisation, from
being swept away by the throng, to prevent their individual members
from fainting on the way or turning in spirit from their great task.
These solitary men must finish their work; that is why they should
all hold together; and those who have their part in the scheme will
take thought to prepare themselves with ever-increasing purity of aim
for the birth of the genius, and ensure that the time be ripe for
him. Many are destined to help on the labour, even among the
second-rate talents, and it is only in submission to such a destiny
that they can feel they are living for a duty, and have a meaning and
an object in their lives. But at present these talents are being
turned from the road their instinct has chosen by the seductive tones
of the "fashionable culture," that plays on their selfish side, their
vanities and weaknesses; and the time-spirit ever whispers in their
ears its flattering counsel:--"Follow me and go not thither! There
you are only servants and tools, over-shadowed by higher natures with
no scope for your own, drawn by threads, hung with fetters, slaves
and automatons. With me you may enjoy your true personality, and be
masters, your talents may shine with their own light, and yourselves
stand in the front ranks with an immense following round you; and the
acclamation of public opinion will rejoice you more than a wandering
breath of approval sent down from the cold ethereal heights of
genius." Even the best men are snared by such allurements, and the
ultimate difference comes not so much from the rarity and power of
their talent, as the influence of a certain heroic disposition at the
base of them, and an inner feeling of kinship with genius. For there
are men who feel it as their own misery when they see the genius in
painful toil and struggle, in danger of self-destruction, or
neglected by the short-sighted selfishness of

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