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On the Pathos of Truth

English
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Is fame actually nothing but the tastiest morsel of our self-love? Yet the eager desire for it has been linked to the rarest of men and to their rarest moments. These are moments of sudden illumination, moments in which the person stretches out his commanding arm as if to create a universe, draws up light from within himself and shines forth. At such a moment he is pierced by a certainty which fills him with happiness, the certainty that that which exalted him and carried him into the farthest regions – and thus the height of this unique feeling – should not be allowed to remain withheld from all posterity. In the eternal need, which all future generations have for these rarest illuminations, such a person recognizes the necessity of his own fame. From now on humanity needs him. And since this moment of illumination is the epitome and embodiment of his inmost nature, he believes himself to be immortal as the man of this moment, while he casts from himself all the other moments of his life as dross, decay, vanity, brutishness, or pleonasm and hands them over to mortality.

We observe every passing away and perishing with dissatisfaction, often with astonishment, as if we witnessed therein something fundamentally impossible. We are displeased when a tall tree breaks, and a crumbling mountain distresses us. Every New Year’s Eve enables us to feel the mysterious contradiction of being and becoming. But what offends the moral man most of all is the thought that an instant of supreme universal perfection should vanish like a gleam of light, as it were, without posterity and heirs. His imperative demands rather, that whatever once served to propagate more beautifully the concept “man” must be eternally present. The fundamental idea of culture is that the great moments form a chain, like a chain of mountains which unites mankind across the centuries, that the greatest moments of a past age is still great for me, and that the prescient faith of those who desire fame will be fulfilled.

Friedrich Nietzsche - Фридрих Ницше - فريدريش نيتشه

Friedrich Nietzsche · English

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