207

No matter how gratefully we may accommodate ourselves to the objective spirit - and who has never been sick to death of everything subjective and its damnably excessive obsession with itself [Ipsissimosit├Ąt]! - we must ultimately also learn caution concerning this gratitude and stop the exaggeration with which in recent years we have celebrated the depersonalizing of the spirit, emptying the self from the spirit, as if that were the goal in itself, redemption and transfiguration. That's what tends to happen, for example, in the pessimism school, which, for its part, has good reasons for awarding highest honour to "disinterested knowledge." The objective man who no longer curses and grumbles like the pessimist, the ideal scholar, in whom the scientific instinct after thousands of total and partial failures all of a sudden comes into bloom and keeps flowering to the end, is surely one of the most valuable of implements there are, but he belongs in the hands of someone more powerful. He is only a tool, we say. He is a mirror - he is no "end in himself." The objective man is, in fact, a mirror: accustomed to submit before everything which wishes to be known, without any delight other than that available in knowing and "mirroring back" - he waits until something comes along and then spreads himself out tenderly so that light footsteps and the spiritual essences slipping past are not lost on his surface and skin. What is still left of his "person" seems to him accidental, often a matter of chance, even more often disruptive, so much has he become a conduit and reflection for strange shapes and experiences. He reflects about "himself" with effort and is not infrequently wrong. He readily gets himself confused with others. He makes mistakes concerning his own needs, and it's only here that he is coarse and careless. Perhaps he gets anxious about his health or about the pettiness and stifling atmosphere of wife and friend or about the lack of companions and society - indeed, he forces himself to think about his anxieties: but it's no use! His thoughts have already wandered off to some more general example, and tomorrow he knows as little as he knew yesterday about how he might be helped. He has lost seriousness for himself - as well as time. He is cheerful, not from any lack of need, but from a lack of fingers and handles for his own needs. His habitual concessions concerning all things and all experiences, the sunny and uninhibited hospitality with which he accepts everything which runs into him, his kind of thoughtless good will and dangerous lack of concern about Yes and No - alas, there are enough cases where he must atone for these virtues of his! - and as a human being he generally becomes far too easily the caput mortuum [worthless residue] of these virtues. If people want love and hate from him - I mean love and hate the way God, women, and animals understand the terms - he'll do what he can and give what he can. But we should not be amazed when it doesn't amount to much - when he reveals himself in these very matters as inauthentic, fragile, questionable, and rotten. His love is forced, his hate artificial, more a tour de force, a tiny vanity and exaggeration. He is genuine only as long as he is permitted to be objective: only in his cheerful comprehensiveness [Totalismus] is he still "Nature" and "natural." His mirror soul, always smoothing itself out, no longer knows how to affirm or to deny. He does not command, and he does not destroy. "Je ne m├ęprise presque rien" [there is almost nothing I despise] - he says with Leibnitz: We should not fail to hear and should not underestimate that presque [almost]!3 Moreover, he is no model human being. He does not go ahead of anyone or behind. He places himself in general too far away to have a reason to take sides between good and evil. When people confused him for such a long time with the philosopher, with the Caesar-like breeder and cultural power house, they held him in much too high honour and overlooked the most essential thing about him - he is an instrument, something of a slave, although certainly the most sublime form of slave, but in himself nothing - presque rien [almost nothing]! The objective man is an instrument, an expensive, easily damaged and blunted tool for measurement and an artful arrangement of mirrors, something we should take care of and respect. But he is no goal, no way out or upward, no complementary human being in whom the rest of existence is justified, no conclusion - and even less a beginning, a procreation and first cause. He is nothing strong, powerful, self-assured, something which wants to be master. He is much rather merely a delicate, finely blown mobile pot for forms, which must first wait for some content and meaning or other, in order to "give himself a shape" consistent with it - usually a man without form and content, a "selfless" man. And thus also nothing for women, in parenthesi [in parenthesis].-

3. . . . Leibnitz : Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz (1646-1716), German philosopher, diplomat, and mathematician.
Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil
Part VI - Aphorism # 207

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