289

In the writings of a hermit we always hear something of the echo of desolation, something of the whispers and the timid gazing around of isolation; from his strongest words, even from his screaming, still resounds a new and dangerous kind of silence, of concealment. Whoever has sat down, year in and year out, day and night, alone in an intimate dispute and conversation with his soul, whoever has become a cave bear or digger for treasure or guardian of treasure and dragon in his own cavern - it can be a labyrinth but also a gold mine - such a man's very ideas finally take on a distinct twilight colouring and smell as much of mould as they do of profundity, something incommunicable and reluctant, which blows cold wind over everyone passing by. The hermit does not believe that a philosopher - assuming that a philosopher has always first been a hermit - has ever expressed his real and final opinion in his books. Don't people write books expressly to hide what they have stored inside them? - In fact, he will have doubts whether a philosopher could generally have "real and final" opinions, whether in his case behind every cave there does not still lie, and must lie, an even deeper cavern - a more comprehensive, stranger, richer world beyond the surface, an abyss behind every reason, under every "foundation." Every philosophy is a foreground-philosophy - that is the judgment of a hermit: "There is something arbitrary about the fact that he remained here, looked back, looked around, that at this point he set his shovel aside and did not dig more deeply - there is also something suspicious about it." Every philosophy also hides a philosophy; every opinion is also a hiding place, every word is also a mask.

Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil
Part IX - Aphorism # 289

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