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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THE ZONES OF CULTURE.  It may be figuratively said that the ages of culture correspond to the zones of the various climates, only that they lie one behind another and not beside each other like the geographical zones.  In comparison with the temperate zone of culture, which it is our object to enter, the past, speaking generally, gives the impression of a tropical climate.  Violent contrasts, sudden changes between day and night, heat and colour splendour, the reverence of all that was sudden, mysterious, terrible, the rapidity with which storms broke: everywhere that lavish abundance of the provisions of nature; and opposed to this, in our culture, a clear but by no means bright sky, pure but fairly unchanging air, sharpness, even cold at times; thus the two zones are contrasts to each other.  When we see how in that former zone the most raging passions are suppressed and broken down with mysterious force by metaphysical representations, we feel as if wild tigers were being crushed before our very eyes in the coils of mighty serpents; our mental climate lacks such episodes, our imagination is temperate, even in dreams there does not happen to us what former peoples saw waking.  But should we not rejoice at this change, even granted that artists are essentially spoiled by the disappearance of the tropical culture and find us non artists a little too timid?  In so far artists are certainly right to deny "progress” for indeed it is doubtful whether the last three thousand years show an advance in the arts.  In the same way, a metaphysical philosopher like Schopenhauer would have no cause to acknowledge progress with a regard to metaphysical philosophy and religion if he glanced back over the last four thousand years.  For us, however, the existence even of the temperate zones of culture is progress.  
 

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