Thoughts Out of Season, Part II

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 71

figure, his slinking or strutting gait. And
again his rough and rather grim soul leads us not so much to miss as
to despise the suppleness and courtly grace of the excellent
Frenchmen; and no one will find in him the gilded imitations of
pseudo-gallicism that our German writers prize so highly. His style
in places reminds me a little of Goethe, but is not otherwise on any
German model. For he knows how to be profound with simplicity,
striking without rhetoric, and severely logical without pedantry: and
of what German could he have learnt that? He also keeps free from the
hair-splitting, jerky and (with all respect) rather un-German manner
of Lessing: no small merit in him, for Lessing is the most tempting
of all models for prose style. The highest praise I can give his
manner of presentation is to apply his own phrase to himself:--"A
philosopher must be very honest to avail himself of no aid from
poetry or rhetoric." That honesty is something, and even a virtue, is
one of those private opinions which are forbidden in this age of
public opinion; and so I shall not be praising Schopenhauer, but only
giving him a distinguishing mark, when I repeat that he is honest,
even as a writer; so few of them are, that we are apt to mistrust
every one who writes at all. I only know a single author that I can
rank with Schopenhauer, or even above him, in the matter of honesty;
and that is Montaigne. The joy of living on this earth is increased
by the existence of such a man. The effect on myself, at any rate,
since my first acquaintance with that strong and masterful spirit,
has been, that I can say of him as he of Plutarch--"As soon as I open
him, I seem to grow a pair of wings." If I had the task of making
myself at home on the earth, I would choose him as my companion.

Schopenhauer has a second characteristic in common with Montaigne,
besides honesty; a joy that really makes others joyful. "Aliis lætus,
sibi sapiens." There are two very different kinds of joyfulness. The
true thinker always communicates joy and life, whether he is showing
his serious or comic side, his human insight or his godlike
forbearance: without surly looks or trembling hands or watery eyes,
but simply and truly, with fearlessness and strength, a little
cavalierly perhaps, and sternly, but always as a conqueror: and it is
this that brings the deepest and intensest joy, to see the conquering
god with all the monsters that he

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