Thoughts Out of Season, Part II

By Friedrich Nietzsche

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with all their
strength: and there is an evil principle in nature that not one shall
find that which he cannot help seeking. But the man who looks for a
lie in everything, and becomes a willing friend to unhappiness, shall
have a marvellous disillusioning: there hovers near him something
unutterable, of which truth and happiness are but idolatrous images
born of the night; the earth loses her dragging weight, the events
and powers of earth become as a dream, and a gradual clearness widens
round him like a summer evening. It is as though the beholder of
these things began to wake, and it had only been the clouds of a
passing dream that had been weaving about him. They will at some time
disappear: and then will it be day.


But I have promised to speak of Schopenhauer, as far as my experience
goes, as an _educator_, and it is far from being sufficient to paint
the ideal humanity which is the "Platonic idea" in Schopenhauer;
especially as my representation is an imperfect one. The most
difficult task remains;--to say how a new circle of duties may spring
from this ideal, and how one can reconcile such a transcendent aim
with ordinary action; to prove, in short, that the ideal is
_educative_. One might otherwise think it to be merely the blissful
or intoxicating vision of a few rare moments, that leaves us
afterwards the prey of a deeper disappointment. It is certain that
the ideal begins to affect us in this way when we come suddenly to
distinguish light and darkness, bliss and abhorrence; this is an
experience that is as old as ideals themselves. But we ought not to
stand in the doorway for long; we should soon leave the first stages,
and ask the question, seriously and definitely, "Is it possible to
bring that incredibly high aim so near us, that it should educate us,
or 'lead us out,' as well as lead us upward?"--in order that the
great words of Goethe be not fulfilled in our case--"Man is born to a
state of limitation: he can understand ends that are simple, present
and definite, and is accustomed to make use of means that are near to
his hand; but as soon as he comes into the open, he knows neither
what he wishes nor what he ought to do, and it is all one whether he
be confused by the multitude of objects or set beside himself by
their greatness and importance. It is always his misfortune to be led
to strive after something which he cannot attain by any

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Page 103
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Page 104
Page 109
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Page 110
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Page 112
--Alas! we discover that our life is consecrated to knowledge and that we should throw it away, nay, that we should even have to throw it away if this consecration did not protect us from ourselves: we repeat this couplet, and not without deep emotion: Thee, Fate, I follow, though I fain would not, And yet I must, with many a sigh and groan! And then, in looking backwards over the course of our lives, we discover that there is one thing that cannot be restored to us: the wasted period of our youth, when our teachers did not utilise these ardent and eager years to lead us to the knowledge of things, but merely to this so-called "classical education"! Only think of this wasted youth, when we were inoculated clumsily and painfully with an imperfect knowledge of the Greeks and Romans as well as of their languages, contrary to the highest principle of all culture, which holds that we should not give food except to those who hunger for it! Think.
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plough, will rejoice in thee--all creatures will rejoice in thee.
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--Should the full bliss of love, which consists in unlimited confidence, ever have fallen to the lot of persons other than those who are profoundly suspicious, evil, and bitter? For such people enjoy in this bliss the gigantic, unlooked-for, and incredible _exception_ of their souls! One day they are seized with that infinite, dreamy sensation which is entirely opposed to the remainder of their private and public life, like a delicious enigma, full of golden splendour, and impossible to be described by mere words or similes.
Page 140
But the music has stopped again.
Page 153
In all cases where experience, precautions, and prudent steps are required, it is the innocent man who will be most thoroughly corrupted, for he has to drink with closed eyes the dregs and most secret poison of everything put before him.
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--Alas, if only the mere sight of it were sufficient! If only we could be misers.
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