For Tranquility.—But will not our philosophy become thus a tragedy? Will not truth prove the enemy of life, of betterment? A question seems to weigh upon our tongue and yet will not put itself into words: whether one can knowingly remain in the domain of the untruthful? or, if one must, whether, then, death would not be preferable? For there is no longer any ought (Sollen), morality; so far as it is involved "ought," is, through our point of view, as utterly annihilated as religion. Our knowledge can permit only pleasure and pain, benefit and injury, to subsist as motives. But how can these motives be distinguished from the desire for truth? Even they rest upon error (in so far, as already stated, partiality and dislike and their very inaccurate estimates palpably modify our pleasure and our pain). The whole of human life is deeply involved in untruth. [...] I believe the deciding influence, as regards the after-effect of knowledge, will be the temperament of a man; I can, in addition to this after-effect just mentioned, suppose another, by means of which a much simpler life, and one freer from disturbances than the present, could be lived; so that at first the old motives of vehement passion might still have strength, owing to hereditary habit, but they would gradually grow weaker under the influence of purifying knowledge. A man would live, at last, both among men and unto himself, as in the natural state, without praise, reproach, competition, feasting one's eyes, as if it were a play, upon much that formerly inspired dread. One would be rid of the strenuous element, and would no longer feel the goad of the reflection that man is not even [as much as] nature, nor more than nature. To be sure, this requires, as already stated, a good temperament, a fortified, gentle and naturally cheerful soul, a disposition that has no need to be on its guard against its own eccentricities and sudden outbreaks and that in its utterances manifests neither sullenness nor a snarling tone—those familiar, disagreeable characteristics of old dogs and old men that have been a long time chained up. Rather must a man, from whom the ordinary bondages of life have fallen away to so great an extent, so do that he only lives on in order to grow continually in knowledge, and to learn to resign, without envy and without disappointment, much, yes nearly everything, that has value in the eyes of men. He must be content with such a free, fearless soaring above men, manners, laws and traditional estimates of things, as the most desirable of all situations. He will freely share the joy of being in such a situation, and he has, perhaps, nothing else to share—in which renunciation and self-denial really most consist.

« After of the ending of absolute values, a life of tranquillity is the only solution (granted a man has the right temperament for it) »

A quote saved on April 5, 2015.


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