03 September 2009

More Nietzsche

379 The fool interrupts – The writer of this book is no misanthrope; today one pays too dearly for hatred of man. If one would hate the way man was hated formerly, Timonically, wholly, without exception, with a full heart, with the whole love of hatred, then one would have to renounce contempt. And how much fine joy, how much patience, how much graciousness do we owe precisely to our contempt! Moreover, it makes us the 'elect of God': refined contempt is our taste and privilege, our art, our virtue perhaps, as we are the most modern of moderns.

Hatred, on the other hand, places people on a par, vis-a-vis; in hatred there is honour; finally, in hatred there is fear, a good and ample amount of fear. We fearless ones, however, we more spiritual human beings of this age, we know our own advantage well enough to live without fear in this age precisely because we are more spiritual. We shall hardly be decapitated, imprisoned, or exiled; not even our books will be banned or burned. The age loves the spirit; it loves and needs us, even if we should have to make clear to it that we are virtuosos of contempt; that every association of human beings makes us shudder slightly; that for our mildness, patience, geniality, and politeness, we cannot persuade our nose to give up its prejudice against the proximity of a human being; that we love nature the less humanly it behaves, and art when it is the artist's escape from man, or the artist's mockery of man, or the artist's mockery of himself.

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