Thoughts Out of Season, Part II

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 80

reason": or through the constant search
for the "pros and cons" of things, he may go astray from the truth
and live without courage or confidence, in doubt, denial and
discontent, and the slender hope that waits on disillusion: "No dog
could live long thus!"

The third danger is a moral or intellectual hardening: man breaks the
bond that united him to his ideal: he ceases to be fruitful and
reproduce himself in this or that province, and becomes an enemy or a
parasite of culture. The solitude of his being has become an
indivisible, unrelated atom, an icy stone. And one can perish of this
solitude as well as of the fear of it, of one's self as well as one's
self-sacrifice, of both aspiration and petrifaction: and to live is
ever to be in danger.

Beside these dangers to which Schopenhauer would have been
constitutionally liable, in whatever century he had lived, there were
also some produced by his own time; and it is essential to
distinguish between these two kinds, in order to grasp the typical
and formative elements in his nature. The philosopher casts his eye
over existence, and wishes to give it a new standard value; for it
has been the peculiar task of all great thinkers to be law-givers for
the weight and stamp in the mint of reality. And his task will be
hindered if the men he sees near him be a weakly and worm-eaten
growth. To be correct in his calculation of existence, the
unworthiness of the present time must be a very small item in the
addition. The study of ancient or foreign history is valuable, if at
all, for a correct judgment on the whole destiny of man; which must
be drawn not only from an average estimate but from a comparison of
the highest destinies that can befall individuals or nations. The
present is too much with us; it directs the vision even against the
philosopher's will: and it will inevitably be reckoned too high in
the final sum. And so he must put a low figure on his own time as
against others, and suppress the present in his picture of life, as
well as in himself; must put it into the background or paint it over;
a difficult, and almost impossible task. The judgment of the ancient
Greek philosophers on the value of existence means so much more than
our own, because they had the full bloom of life itself before them,
and their vision was untroubled by any felt dualism between their
wish for freedom and beauty on the grand scale, and

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