Thoughts Out of Season, Part II

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 72

has fought. But the joyfulness one
finds here and there in the mediocre writers and limited thinkers
makes some of us miserable; I felt this, for example, with the
"joyfulness" of David Strauss. We are generally ashamed of such a
quality in our contemporaries, because they show the nakedness of our
time, and of the men in it, to posterity. Such _fils de joie_ do not
see the sufferings and the monsters, that they pretend, as
philosophers, to see and fight; and so their joy deceives us, and we
hate it; it tempts to the false belief that they have gained some
victory. At bottom there is only joy where there is victory: and this
applies to true philosophy as much as to any work of art. The
contents may be forbidding and serious, as the problem of existence
always is; the work will only prove tiresome and oppressive, if the
slip-shod thinker and the dilettante have spread the mist of their
insufficiency over it: while nothing happier or better can come to
man's lot than to be near one of those conquering spirits whose
profound thought has made them love what is most vital, and whose
wisdom has found its goal in beauty. They really speak: they are no
stammerers or babblers; they live and move, and have no part in the
_danse macabre_ of the rest of humanity. And so in their company one
feels a natural man again, and could cry out with Goethe--"What a
wondrous and priceless thing is a living creature! How fitted to his
surroundings, how true, and real!"

I have been describing nothing but the first, almost physiological,
impression made upon me by Schopenhauer, the magical emanation of
inner force from one plant of Nature to another, that follows the
slightest contact. Analysing it, I find that this influence of
Schopenhauer has three elements, his honesty, his joy, and his
consistency. He is honest, as speaking and writing for himself alone;
joyful, because his thought has conquered the greatest difficulties;
consistent, because he cannot help being so. His strength rises like
a flame in the calm air, straight up, without a tremor or deviation.
He finds his way, without our noticing that he has been seeking it:
so surely and cleverly and inevitably does he run his course, as if
by some law of gravitation. If any one have felt what it means to
find, in our present world of Centaurs and Chimæras, a single-hearted
and unaffected child of nature who moves unconstrained on his own
road, he will understand my joy and surprise in discovering
Schopenhauer: I knew in him

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