Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nietzsche on the Historical Flaneur

...modern man suffers from a weakened personality. Just as the Roman in the time of the Caesars became un-Roman with regard to the area of the earth standing at his disposal, as he lost himself among the foreigners streaming in and degenerated with the cosmopolitan carnival of gods, customs, and arts, so matters must go with the modern person who continually allows his historical artists to prepare the celebration of a world market fair. He has become a spectator, enjoying and wandering around, converted into a condition in which even great wars and huge revolutions are hardly able to change anything momentarily. The war has not yet ended, and already it is transformed on printed paper a hundred thousand times over; soon it will be promoted as the newest stimulant for the palate of those greedy for history. It appears almost impossible that a strong and full tone will be produced by the most powerful plucking of the strings. As soon as the sound appears again, already in the next moment it dies away, softly evaporating without force into history. To state the matter in moral terms: you do not manage to hold onto what is noble any more; your deeds are sudden bangs, not rolling thunder. If the very greatest and most wonderful thing is accomplished, it must nevertheless move to Hades without any fuss. For art runs away, when you instantly throw over your actions the roof of the historical marquee.
- Nietzsche, "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life"


walther said...

other posts about nietzsche :

Thersites said...

Nice blog, walther. :)