Some Backward Steps.—One very forward step in education is taken when man emerges from his superstitious and religious ideas and fears and, for instance, no longer believes in the dear little angels or in original sin, and has stopped talking about the salvation of the soul: when he has taken this step to freedom he has, nevertheless, through the utmost exertion of his mental power, to overcome metaphysics. Then a backward movement is necessary: he must appreciate the historical justification, and to an equal extent the psychological considerations, in such a movement. He must understand that the greatest advances made by mankind have resulted from such a course and that without this very backward movement the highest achievements of man hitherto would have been impossible.—With regard to philosophical metaphysics I see ever more and more who have arrived at the negative goal (that all positive metaphysic is a delusion) but as yet very few who go a few steps backward: one should look out over the last rungs of the ladder, but not try to stand on them, that is to say. The most advanced as yet go only far enough to free themselves from metaphysic and look back at it with an air of superiority: whereas here, no less than in the hippodrome, it is necessary to turn around in order to reach the end of the course.

« We must appreciate the historical justification of our wrong metaphysical beliefs »

A quote saved on April 5, 2015.


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