(1844 - 1900)
Gay Science: 109
sublime one saw I today, a solemn one, a penitent of the
spirit: Oh, how my soul laughed at his ugliness! (thus
Let us be on our Guard. Let us be
on our guard against thinking that the world is a living being. Where
could it extend itself? What could it nourish itself with? How could it
grow and increase? We know tolerably well what the organic is; and we
are to reinterpret the emphatically derivative, tardy, rare and accidental,
which we only perceive on the crust of the earth, into the essential,
universal and eternal, as those do who call the universe an organism?
That disgusts me. Let us now be on our guard against believing that the
universe is a machine; it is assuredly not constructed with a view to
one end; we invest it with far too high an honor with the word "machine."Let
us be on our guard against supposing that anything so methodical as the
cyclic motions of our neighboring stars obtains generally and throughout
the universe; indeed a glance at the Milky Way induces doubt as to whether
there are not many cruder and more contradictory motions there, and even
stars with continuous, rectilinearly gravitating orbits, and the like.
The astral arrangement in which we live is an exception; this arrangement,
and the relatively long durability which is determined by it, has again
made possible the exception of exceptions, the formation of organic life.
The general character of the world, on the other hand, is to all eternity
chaos; not by the absence of necessity, but in the sense of the absence
of order, structure, form, beauty, wisdom, and whatever else our aesthetic
humanities are called. Judged by our reason, the unlucky casts are far
oftenest the rule, the exceptions are not the secret purpose; and the
whole musical box repeats eternally its air, which can never be called
a melody - and finally the very expression, "unlucky cast" is
already an anthropomorphizing which involves blame. But how could we presume
to blame or praise the universe? Let us be on our guard against ascribing
to it heartlessness and unreason, or their opposites; it is neither perfect,
nor beautiful, nor noble; nor does it seek to be anything of the kind,
it does not at all attempt to imitate man! It is altogether unaffected
by our aesthetic and moral judgments! Neither has it any self-preservative
instinct, nor instinct at all; it also knows no law. Let us be on our
guard against saying that there are laws in nature. There are only necessities:
there is no one who commands, no one who obeys, no one who transgresses.
When you know that there is no design, you know also that there is no
chance: for it is only where there is a world of design that the word
"chance" has a meaning. Let us be on our guard against saying
that death is contrary to life. The living being is only a species of
dead being, and if a very rare species. Let us be on our guard against
thinking that the world eternally creates the new. There are no eternally
enduring substances; matter is just another such error as the God of the
Eleatics. But when shall we be at an end with our foresight and precaution?
When will all these shadows of God cease to obscure us? When shall we
have nature entirely undeified? When shall we be permitted to naturalize
ourselves by means of the pure, newly discovered, newly redeemed nature?
qu'on fait n'est jamais compris mais seulement loué ou blâmé.
Nietzsche, Gay Science