Thoughts Out of Season, Part II

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 20

that matters to education, and all who see it hope that the
education may not fail by being too indigestible. Imagine a Greek
meeting it; he would observe that for modern men "education" and
"historical education" seem to mean the same thing, with the
difference that the one phrase is longer. And if he spoke of his own
theory, that a man can be very well educated without any history at
all, people would shake their heads and think they had not heard
aright. The Greeks, the famous people of a past still near to us, had
the "unhistorical sense" strongly developed in the period of the
greatest power. If a typical child of this age were transported to
that world by some enchantment, he would probably find the Greeks
very "uneducated." And that discovery would betray the closely
guarded secret of modern culture to the laughter of the world. For we
moderns have nothing of our own. We only become worth notice by
filling ourselves to overflowing with foreign customs, arts,
philosophies, religions and sciences: we are wandering encyclopædias,
as an ancient Greek who had strayed into our time would probably call
us. But the only value of an encyclopædia lies in the inside, in the
contents, not in what is written outside, in the binding or the
wrapper. And so the whole of modern culture is essentially internal;
the bookbinder prints something like this on the cover: "Manual of
internal culture for external barbarians." The opposition of inner
and outer makes the outer side still more barbarous, as it would
naturally be, when the outward growth of a rude people merely
developed its primitive inner needs. For what means has nature of
repressing too great a luxuriance from without? Only one,--to be
affected by it as little as possible, to set it aside and stamp it
out at the first opportunity. And so we have the custom of no longer
taking real things seriously, we get the feeble personality on which
the real and the permanent make so little impression. Men become at
last more careless and accommodating in external matters, and the
considerable cleft between substance and form is widened; until they
have no longer any feeling for barbarism, if only their memories be
kept continually titillated, and there flow a constant stream of new
things to be known, that can be neatly packed up in the cupboards of
their memory. The culture of a people as against this barbarism, can
be, I think, described with justice as the "unity of artistic style
in every outward expression of the people's life." This must not

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_The Elder_: Friend, friend! Your words too are those of a fanatic! _Pyrrho_: You are right! I will be distrustful of all words.