5

Another step onward in convalescence. The free spirit again approaches life, slowly, of course, almost recalcitrantly, almost suspiciously. It grows warmer around him again, yellower, as it were; feeling and fellow?feeling gain depth; mild breezes of all kinds pass over him. He almost feels as if his eyes were only now open to what is near. He is amazed and sits motionless: where had he been, then? These near and nearest things, how they seem to him transformed! What magical fluff they have acquired in the meantime! He glances backward gratefully--grateful to his travels, to his severity and self?alienation, to his far?off glances and bird flights into coldheights. How good that he did not stay "at home," "with himself" the whole time, like a dull, pampered loafer! He was beside himself: there is no doubt about that. Only now does he see himself--and what surprises he finds there! What untried terrors! What happiness even in weariness, in the old illness, in the convalescent's relapses! How he likes to sit still, suffering, spinning patience, or to lie in the sun! Who understands as he does the happiness of winter, the sun spots on the wall! They are the most grateful animals in the world, the most modest, too, these convalescents and squirrels, turned halfway back to life again--there are those among them who let no day pass without hanging a little song of praise on its trailing hem. And to speak seriously, all pessimism (the inveterate evil of old idealists and liars, as we know) is thoroughly cured by falling ill in the way these free spirits do, staying ill for a good while, and then, for even longer, even longer, becoming healthy--I mean "healthier." There is wisdom, practical wisdom in it, when over a long period of time even health itself is administered only in small doses.

Friedrich Nietzsche - Human, All Too Human
Preface - Aphorism # 5

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