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Fate and History

English
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Easter Vacation 1862

If we could look upon Christian doctrines and church-history in a free and impartial way, we would have to express several views that oppose those that are generally accepted. But confined as we are from our earliest days under the yoke of custom and prejudice and inhibited in the natural development of our spirit, determined in the formation of our temperament by the impressions of our childhood, we believe ourselves compelled to view it virtually as a transgression if we adopt a freer standpoint from which to make a judgment on religion and Christianity that is impartial and appropriate to our time.

Such an attempt is not the work of a few weeks, but of a lifetime.

How could one destroy the authority of two millennia and the security of the most perceptive men of all time as a consequence of youthful pondering? How could one dismiss all the sorrows and blessings of a religious development so deeply influential on world history by means of fantasies and immature ideas?

It is entirely impertinent to want to solve philosophical problems over which a conflict of opinion has waged for many millennia; to contest views that, according to the faith of ingenious men, first raised man to the level of true man; to unify natural science with philosophy without even knowing the fundamentals of either; or, finally, to construct a system of reality out of natural science and history even though the unity of world history and its most elementary foundations have not yet been revealed to the spirit. It is folly and doom for undeveloped heads to venture out into the sea of doubt without compass and guide: most will be driven off course by storms; only very few discover new lands.

Out in the middle of the immense ocean of ideas one often longs to return to firm land. How often has the longing for natural science and history crept over me in the course of my fruitless speculations!

History and natural science, the wonderful legacies of our past, the harbingers of our future: They alone are the secure foundation upon which we can build the tower of our speculation.

Friedrich Nietzsche - Фридрих Ницше - فريدريش نيتشه

Friedrich Nietzsche · English

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