Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches), subtitled A Book for Free Spirits (Ein Buch für freie Geister).

First published in 1878.   A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten), followed in 1880.

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Previous Section   222. WHAT REMAINS OF ART   Next Section

WHAT REMAINS OF ART.  It is true that with certain metaphysical assumptions, art has a much greater value—if it is believed, for example, that one's character is unchangeable and that the essence of the world is continually expressed in all characters and actions.  Then the artist's work becomes the image of what endures eternally.  In our way of thinking, however, the artist can give his image validity only for a time, because man as a whole has evolved and is changeable,  and not even an individual is fixed or enduring.  The same is true of another metaphysical assumption: were our visible world only appearance, as metaphysicians assume, then art would come rather close to the real world; for there would be much similarity between the world of appearance and the artist's world of dream images; the remaining difference would actually enhance the meaning of art rather than the meaning of nature, because art would portray the symmetry, the types and models of nature.  But such assumptions are wrong: what place remains for art, then, after this knowledge?  Above all, for thousands of years, it has taught us to see every form of life with interest and joy, and to develop our sensibility so that we finally call out, "However it may be, life is good”.  This teaching of art-to have joy in existence and to regard human life as a part of nature, without being moved too violently, as something that developed through laws—this teaching has taken root in us; it now comes to light again as an all-powerful need for knowledge.  We could give art up, but in doing so we would not forfeit what it has taught us to do.  Similarly, we have given up religion, but not the emotional intensification and exaltation it led to.  As plastic art and music are the standard for the wealth of feeling really earned and won through religion, so the intense and manifold joy in life, which art implants in us, would still demand satisfaction were art to disappear.  The scientific man is a further development of the artistic man.  
 

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