Thoughts Out of Season, Part II

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 60

who will give them this life?

No god and no man will give it--only their own _youth_. Set this
free, and you will set life free as well. For it only lay concealed,
in a prison; it is not yet withered or dead--ask your own selves!

But it is sick, this life that is set free, and must be healed. It
suffers from many diseases, and not only from the memory of its
chains. It suffers from the malady which I have spoken of, the
_malady of history_. Excess of history has attacked the plastic power
of life, that no more understands how to use the past as a means of
strength and nourishment. It is a fearful disease, and yet, if youth
had not a natural gift for clear vision, no one would see that it is
a disease, and that a paradise of health has been lost. But the same
youth, with that same natural instinct of health, has guessed how the
paradise can be regained. It knows the magic herbs and simples for
the malady of history, and the excess of it. And what are they
called?

It is no marvel that they bear the names of poisons:--the antidotes
to history are the "unhistorical" and the "super-historical." With
these names we return to the beginning of our inquiry and draw near
to its final close.

By the word "unhistorical" I mean the power, the art of _forgetting_,
and of drawing a limited horizon round one's self. I call the power
"super-historical" which turns the eyes from the process of becoming
to that which gives existence an eternal and stable character, to art
and religion. Science--for it is science that makes us speak of
"poisons"--sees in these powers contrary powers: for it considers
only that view of things to be true and right, and therefore
scientific, which regards something as finished and historical, not
as continuing and eternal. Thus it lives in a deep antagonism towards
the powers that make for eternity--art and religion,--for it hates
the forgetfulness that is the death of knowledge, and tries to remove
all limitation of horizon and cast men into an infinite boundless
sea, whose waves are bright with the clear knowledge--of becoming!

If they could only live therein! Just as towns are shaken by an
avalanche and become desolate, and man builds his house there in fear
and for a season only; so life is broken in sunder and becomes weak
and spiritless, if the avalanche of ideas started by science take
from man the foundation of his rest and security, the belief in what
is stable and eternal.

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