Thoughts Out of Season, Part II

By Friedrich Nietzsche

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would be the man
without any power to forget, who is condemned to see "becoming"
everywhere. Such a man believes no more in himself or his own
existence, he sees everything fly past in an eternal succession, and
loses himself in the stream of becoming. At last, like the logical
disciple of Heraclitus, he will hardly dare to raise his finger.
Forgetfulness is a property of all action; just as not only light but
darkness is bound up with the life of every organism. One who wished
to feel everything historically, would be like a man forcing himself
to refrain from sleep, or a beast who had to live by chewing a
continual cud. Thus even a happy life is possible without
remembrance, as the beast shows: but life in any true sense is
absolutely impossible without forgetfulness. Or, to put my conclusion
better, there is a degree of sleeplessness, of rumination, of
"historical sense," that injures and finally destroys the living
thing, be it a man or a people or a system of culture.

To fix this degree and the limits to the memory of the past, if it is
not to become the gravedigger of the present, we must see clearly how
great is the "plastic power" of a man or a community or a culture; I
mean the power of specifically growing out of one's self, of making
the past and the strange one body with the near and the present, of
healing wounds, replacing what is lost, repairing broken moulds.
There are men who have this power so slightly that a single sharp
experience, a single pain, often a little injustice, will lacerate
their souls like the scratch of a poisoned knife. There are others,
who are so little injured by the worst misfortunes, and even by their
own spiteful actions, as to feel tolerably comfortable, with a fairly
quiet conscience, in the midst of them,--or at any rate shortly
afterwards. The deeper the roots of a man's inner nature, the better
will he take the past into himself; and the greatest and most
powerful nature would be known by the absence of limits for the
historical sense to overgrow and work harm. It would assimilate and
digest the past, however foreign, and turn it to sap. Such a nature
can forget what it cannot subdue; there is no break in the horizon,
and nothing to remind it that there are still men, passions, theories
and aims on the other side. This is a universal law; a living thing
can only be healthy, strong and productive within a certain horizon:
if it be

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Text Comparison with Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

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prudent, and often enough shipwrecked and brought to grief, nevertheless dangerously healthy, always healthy again,--it would seem as if, in recompense for it all, that we have a still undiscovered country before us, the boundaries of which no one has yet seen, a beyond to all countries and corners of the ideal known hitherto, a world so over-rich in the beautiful, the strange, the questionable, the frightful, and the divine, that our curiosity as well as our thirst for possession thereof, have got out of hand--alas! that nothing will now any longer satisfy us!-- "How could we still be content with THE MAN OF THE PRESENT DAY after such outlooks, and with such a craving in our conscience and consciousness? Sad enough; but it is unavoidable that we should look on the worthiest aims and hopes of the man of the present day with ill-concealed amusement, and perhaps should no longer look at them.
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Zarathustra rejoiced on account of the staff, and supported himself thereon; then spake he thus to his disciples: Tell me, pray: how came gold to the highest value? Because it is uncommon, and unprofiting, and beaming, and soft in lustre; it always bestoweth itself.
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XXVII.
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THE DANCE-SONG.
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How many things are now called the worst wickedness, which are only twelve feet broad and three months long! Some day, however, will greater dragons come into the world.
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I honour him, that bad guest, but gladly leave him alone.
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1.
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And he who ever "thrasheth straw," why should he be allowed to rail at thrashing! Such a fool one would have to muzzle! Such persons sit down to the table and bring nothing with them, not even good hunger:--and then do they rail: "All is vain!" But to eat and drink well, my brethren, is verily no vain art! Break up, break up for me the tables of the never-joyous ones! 14.
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O my brethren! With whom lieth the greatest danger to the whole human future? Is it not with the good and just?-- --As those who say and feel in their hearts: "We already know what is good and just, we possess it also; woe to those who still seek thereafter! And whatever harm the wicked may do, the harm of the good is the harmfulest harm! And whatever harm the world-maligners may do, the harm of the good is the harmfulest harm! O my brethren, into the hearts of the good.
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" Towards himself man is the cruellest animal; and in all who call themselves "sinners" and "bearers of the cross" and "penitents," do not overlook the voluptuousness in their plaints and accusations! And I myself--do I.
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I love everything that looketh bright and speaketh honestly.
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And all his guests also were silent, and stood still and confounded: except only that the old soothsayer made signs with his hands and his gestures.
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They find new words, soon will their spirits breathe wantonness.
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At this place in the litany, however, Zarathustra could no longer control himself; he himself cried out YE-A, louder even than the ass, and sprang into the midst of his maddened guests.
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Doth not the true sage willingly walk on the crookedest paths? The evidence teacheth it, O Zarathustra,--THINE OWN evidence!" --"And thou thyself, finally," said Zarathustra, and turned towards the ugliest man, who still lay on the ground stretching up his arm to the ass (for he gave it wine to drink).
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Meanwhile one after another had gone out into the open air, and into the cool, thoughtful night; Zarathustra himself, however, led the ugliest man by the hand, that he might show him his night-world, and the great round moon, and the silvery water-falls near his cave.
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Chapter XLIV.
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The Will to Power is this force, "the instinct of self-preservation is only one of the indirect and most frequent results thereof.
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At length he can withstand him no longer, and, on the plea that the higher man is on his ground and therefore under his protection, Zarathustra departs in search of him, leaving Schopenhauer--a higher man in Nietzsche's opinion--in the cave as a guest.
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grades of society.