Something for the Laborious. - He who at present wants to make moral questions a subject of study has an immense field of labour before him. All kinds of passions must be thought about singly, and followed singly throughout periods, peoples, great and insignificant individuals; all their rationality all their valuations and elucidations of things, ought to come to light! Hitherto all that has given colour to existence has lacked a history: where would one find a history of love, of avarice, of envy, of conscience, of piety, of cruelty? Even a comparative history of law, as also of punishment, has hitherto been completely lacking. Have the different divisions of the day, the consequences of a regular appointment of the times for labour, feast, and repose, ever been made the object of investigation? Do we know the moral effects of the alimentary substances? Is there a philosophy of nutrition? (The ever-recurring outcry for and against vegetarianism proves that as yet there is no such philosophy!) Have the experiences with regard to communal living, for example, in monasteries, been collected? Has the dialectic of marriage and friendship been set forth? The customs of the learned, of trades-people, of artists, and of mechanics have they already found their thinkers? There is so much to think of thereon! All that up till now has been considered as the "conditions of existence," of human beings, and all reason, passion and superstition in this consideration have they been investigated to the end? The observation alone of the different degrees of development which the human impulses have attained, and could yet attain, according to the different moral climates, would furnish too much work for the most laborious; whole generations, and regular cooperating generations of the learned, would be needed in order to exhaust the points of view and the material here furnished. The same is true of the determining of the reasons for the differences of the moral climates ("on what account does this sun of a fundamental moral judgment and standard of highest value shine here and that sun there? "). And there is again a new labour which points out the erroneousness of all these reasons, and determines the entire essence of the moral judgments hitherto made. Supposing all these labours to be accomplished, the most critical of all questions would then come into the foreground: whether science is in a position to furnish goals for human action, after it has proved that it can take them away and annihilate them and then would be the time for a process of experimenting, in which every kind of heroism could satisfy itself, an experimenting for centuries, which would put into the shade all the great labours and sacrifices of previous history. Science has not hitherto built its Cyclopic structures; for that also the time will come.

Friedrich Nietzsche - The Gay Science
Book I - Aphorism # 7

« Prev - Random - Next »