as to whether higher education ought to be historical
or not; but we may examine the second and ask: in how far is it classic?
On this point there are many widespread prejudices. In the first place
there is the prejudice expressed in the synonymous concept, "The study
of the humanities": antiquity is classic because it is the school of the
Secondly: "Antiquity is classic because it is enlightened----"
It is the task of all education to change certain conscious actions and
habits into more or less unconscious ones; and the history of mankind is
in this sense its education. The philologist now practises unconsciously
a number of such occupations and habits. It is my object to ascertain
how his power, that is, his instinctive methods of work, is the result
of activities which were formerly conscious, but which he has gradually
come to feel as such no longer: _but that consciousness consisted of
prejudices_. The present power of philologists is based upon these
prejudices, for example the value attached to the _ratio_ as in the
cases of Bentley and Hermann. Prejudices are, as Lichtenberg says, the
art impulses of men.
It is difficult to justify the preference for antiquity since it has
arisen from prejudices:
1. From ignorance of all non-classical antiquity.
2. From a false idealisation of humanitarianism, whilst Hindoos and
Chinese are at all events more humane.
3. From the pretensions of school-teachers.
4. From the traditional admiration which emanated from antiquity itself.
5. From opposition to the Christian church; or as a support for this
6. From the impression created by the century-long work of the
philologists, and the nature of this work. It must be a gold mine,
thinks the spectator.
7. The acquirement of knowledge attained as the result of the study. The
preparatory school of science.
In short, partly from ignorance, wrong impressions, and misleading
conclusions; and also from the interest which philologists have in
raising their science to a high level in the estimation of laymen.
Also the preference for antiquity on the part of the artists, who
involuntarily assume proportion and moderation to be the property of all
antiquity. Purity of form. Authors likewise.
The preference for antiquity as an abbreviation of the history of the
human race, as if there were an autochthonous creation here by which all
becoming might be studied.
The fact actually is that the foundations of this preference are being
removed one by one, and if this is not remarked by philologists
themselves, it is certainly being remarked as much as it can possibly be
by people outside their circle. First of all history had its effect, and
Gratitude continually flows forth, as if the most unexpected thing had happened, the gratitude of a convalescentâfor _convalescence_ was this most unexpected thing.Page 11
_ _A.Page 36
very numerous class of those opponents wherever interest teaches subjection, while repute and honour seem to forbid it.Page 45
_âNumberless things which humanity acquired in its earlier stages, but so weakly and embryonically that it could not be noticed that they were acquired, are thrust suddenly into light long afterwards, perhaps after the lapse of centuries: they have in the interval become strong and mature.Page 46
Perhaps they were demanded and presupposed; it was impossible to become great with them, for indeed there was also no danger of becoming insane and solitary with them.Page 74
Certainly not that he generally follows his passions; there are contemptible passions.Page 78
Then, suddenly, as if born out of nothingness, there appears before the portal of this hellish labyrinth, only a few fathoms distant,âa great sailing-ship gliding silently along like a ghost.Page 79
_âIt is not unknown to me that there is vulgarity in everything that pleases Southern Europeâwhether it be Italian opera (for example, Rossini's and Bellini's), or the Spanish adventure-romance (most readily accessible to us in the French garb of Gil Blas)âbut it does not offend me, any more than the vulgarity which one encounters in a walk through Pompeii, or even in the reading of every ancient book: what is the reason of this? Is it because shame is lacking here, and because the vulgar always comes forward just as sure and certain of itself as anything noble, lovely,.Page 94
_The Conceit of Artists.Page 135
_âAll that is akin to me in nature and history speaks to me, praises me, urges me forward and comforts meâ: other things are unheard by me, or immediately forgotten.Page 151
_What we Do.Page 153
_Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum.Page 154
The life of every day and of every hour seems to be anxious for nothing else but always to prove this proposition anew; let it be what it will, bad or good weather, the loss of a friend, a sickness, a calumny, the non-receipt of a letter, the spraining of one's foot, a glance into a shop-window, a counter-argument, the opening of a book, a dream, a deception:âit shows itself immediately, or very soon afterwards as something "not permitted to be absent,"âit is full of profound significance and utility precisely _for us_! Is there a more dangerous temptation to rid ourselves of the belief in the Gods of Epicurus, those careless, unknown Gods, and believe in some anxious and mean Divinity, who knows personally every little hair on our heads, and feels no disgust in rendering the most wretched services? WellâI mean in spite of all this! we want to leave the Gods alone (and the serviceable genii likewise), and wish to content ourselves with the assumption that our own practical and theoretical skilfulness in explaining and suitably arranging events has now reached its highest point.Page 158
men with their own holidays, their own work-days, and their own periods of mourning; accustomed to command with perfect assurance, and equally ready, if need be, to obey, proud in the one case as in the other, equally serving their own interests: men more imperilled, more productive, more happy! For believe me!âthe secret of realising the largest productivity and the greatest enjoyment of existence is _to live in danger_! Build your cities on the slope of Vesuvius! Send your ships into unexplored seas! Live in war with your equals and with yourselves! Be robbers and spoilers, ye knowing ones, as long as ye cannot be rulers and possessor! The time will soon pass when you can be satisfied to live like timorous deer concealed in the forests.Page 182
Thinking is done with a stop-watch, as dining is done with the eyes fixed on the financial newspaper; we live like men who are continually "afraid of letting opportunities slip.Page 238
Mankind! Was there ever a more hideous old woman among all old women (unless.Page 250
While beauty in my face is, Be piety my care, For God, you know, loves lasses, And, more than all, the fair.