the endless rush of events not bring satiety, surfeit, loathing? So
the boldest of us is ready perhaps at last to say from his heart with
Giacomo Leopardi: "Nothing lives that were worth thy pains, and the
earth deserves not a sigh. Our being is pain and weariness, and the
world is mud--nothing else. Be calm."
But we will leave the super-historical men to their loathings and
their wisdom: we wish rather to-day to be joyful in our unwisdom and
have a pleasant life as active men who go forward, and respect the
course of the world. The value we put on the historical may be merely
a Western prejudice: let us at least go forward within this prejudice
and not stand still. If we could only learn better to study history
as a means to life! We would gladly grant the super-historical people
their superior wisdom, so long as we are sure of having more life
than they: for in that case our unwisdom would have a greater future
before it than their wisdom. To make my opposition between life and
wisdom clear, I will take the usual road of the short summary.
A historical phenomenon, completely understood and reduced to an item
of knowledge, is, in relation to the man who knows it, dead: for he
has found out its madness, its injustice, its blind passion, and
especially the earthly and darkened horizon that was the source of
its power for history. This power has now become, for him who has
recognised it, powerless; not yet, perhaps, for him who is alive.
History regarded as pure knowledge and allowed to sway the intellect
would mean for men the final balancing of the ledger of life.
Historical study is only fruitful for the future if it follow a
powerful life-giving influence, for example, a new system of culture;
only, therefore, if it be guided and dominated by a higher force, and
do not itself guide and dominate.
History, so far as it serves life, serves an unhistorical power, and
thus will never become a pure science like mathematics. The question
how far life needs such a service is one of the most serious
questions affecting the well-being of a man, a people and a culture.
For by excess of history life becomes maimed and degenerate, and is
followed by the degeneration of history as well.
The fact that life does need the service of history must be as
clearly grasped as that an excess of history hurts it; this will be
proved later. History is necessary to the living man in three ways:
in relation to
The Hegelian School, especially Zeller, has shown what an important place is held by the earlier thinkers in the history of Greek thought and how necessary a knowledge of their work is for all who wish to understand Plato and Aristotle.Page 12
I should like to think the warlike man to be a _means_ of the military genius and his labour again only a tool in the hands of that same genius; and not to him, as absolute man and non-genius, but to him as a means of the genius--whose pleasure also can be to choose his tool's destruction as a mere pawn sacrificed on the strategist's chessboard--is due a degree of dignity, of that dignity namely, _to have been deemed worthy of being a means of the genius.Page 13
THE GREEK WOMAN (Fragment, 1871) Just as Plato from disguises and obscurities brought to light the innermost purpose of the State, so also he conceived the chief cause of the position of the _Hellenic Woman_ with regard to the State; in both cases he saw in what existed around him the image of the ideas manifested to him, and of these ideas of course the actual was only a hazy picture and phantasmagoria.Page 17
even a clearly represented action to the pure language of tones, although the latter, being self-sufficient, needs no help; so that our perceiving and reflecting intellect, which does not like to be quite idle, may meanwhile have light and analogous occupation also.Page 19
What a perverted world! A task that appears to my mind like that of a son wanting to create his father! Music can create metaphors out of itself, which will always however be but schemata, instances as it were of her intrinsic general contents.Page 23
What we had to observe in the last movement of the Ninth, _i.Page 42
In their intercourse, as already in their personalities, they express distinctly the great features of Greek genius of which the whole of Greek history is a shadowy impression, a hazy copy, which consequently speaks less clearly.Page 43
Something quite new begins with Plato; or it might be said with equal justice that in comparison with that Republic of Geniuses from Thales to Socrates, the philosophers since Plato lack something essential.Page 51
The thus labelled Primordial-being is superior to all Becoming and for this very reason it guarantees the eternity and unimpeded course of Becoming.Page 53
" Heraclitus has as his royal property the highest power of intuitive conception, whereas towards the other mode of conception which is consummated by ideas and logical combinations, that is towards reason, he shows himself cool, apathetic, even hostile, and he seems to derive a.Page 55
According to Heraclitus honey is at the same time sweet and bitter, and the world itself an amphora whose contents constantly need stirring up.Page 60
He is not compelled to take cognisance of the _Logos_ simply because he is a human being.Page 63
He spoke with disdain of such questioning, collecting, in short "historic" men.Page 64
This fatherly regard, even though an error should have crept in through it, is a remainder of human feeling, in a nature quite petrified by logical rigidity and almost changed into a thinking-machine.Page 66
Parmenides, like Heraclitus, looks at the general Becoming and Not-remaining and explains to himself a Passing only thus, that the "Non-Existent" bore the guilt.Page 75
But if the "Appearance" is denied and a belief in it made untenable, by means of that question as to the Whence? of the "Appearance," if the stage of the so-called Becoming, of change, our many-shaped, restless, coloured and rich Existence is protected from the Parmenidean rejection, then it is necessary to characterise this world of change and alteration as a _sum_ of such really existing Essentials, existing simultaneously into all eternity.Page 84
In other words: experience teaches, that continually the like is added to the like, _e.Page 85
Anaxagoras had by the assumption of his Chaos at least so much to his advantage, that he was not compelled to deduce the Many from the One, the Becoming out of the "Existent.Page 107
There are ages, when the rational and the intuitive man stand side by side, the one full of fear of the intuition, the other full of scorn for the abstraction; the latter just as irrational as the former is inartistic.Page 108
Of course when he _does_ suffer, he suffers more: and he even suffers more frequently since he cannot learn from experience, but again and again falls into the same ditch into which he has fallen before.