Thoughts Out of Season, Part II

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 82

the step-mother's plot to
conceal his genius from him was foiled. And now he could turn a
fearless eye towards the question, "What is the real worth of life?"
without having any more to weigh a bloodless and chaotic age of doubt
and hypocrisy. He knew that there was something higher and purer to
be won on this earth than the life of his time, and a man does bitter
wrong to existence who only knows it and criticises it in this
hateful form. Genius, itself the highest product of life, is now
summoned to justify life, if it can: the noble creative soul must
answer the question:--"Dost thou in thy heart say 'Yea!' unto this
existence? Is it enough for thee? Wilt thou be its advocate and its
redeemer? One true 'Yea!' from thy lips, and the sorely accused life
shall go free." How shall he answer? In the words of Empedocles.


IV.

The last hint may well remain obscure for a time: I have something
more easy to explain, namely how Schopenhauer can help us to educate
ourselves _in opposition_ to our age, since we have the advantage of
really knowing our age, through him;--if it be an advantage! It may
be no longer possible in a couple of hundred years. I sometimes amuse
myself with the idea that men may soon grow tired of books and their
authors, and the savant of to-morrow come to leave directions in his
will that his body be burned in the midst of his books, including of
course his own writings. And in the gradual clearing of the forests,
might not our libraries be very reasonably used for straw and
brushwood? Most books are born from the smoke and vapour of the
brain: and to vapour and smoke may they well return. For having no
fire within themselves, they shall be visited with fire. And possibly
to a later century our own may count as the "Dark age," because our
productions heated the furnace hotter and more continuously than ever
before. We are anyhow happy that we can learn to know our time; and
if there be any sense in busying ourselves with our time at all, we
may as well do it as thoroughly as we can, so that no one may have
any doubt about it. The possibility of this we owe to Schopenhauer.

Our happiness would of course be infinitely greater, if our inquiry
showed that nothing so hopeful and splendid as our present epoch had
ever existed. There are simple people in some corner of the earth
to-day--perhaps in Germany--who are disposed to

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Text Comparison with Thoughts out of Season, Part I David Strauss, the Confessor and the Writer - Richard Wagner in Bayreuth.

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in mind that the soul of music now wishes to acquire a body, that, by means of you all, it would find its way to visibleness in movements, deeds, institutions, and customs!" There are some men who understand this summons, and their number will increase; they have also understood, for the first time, what it means to found the State upon music.
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