Friedrich Nietzsche, Miscellaneous Maxims and opinions (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche).

Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions, the first supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1879.  A second supplement, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten) followed in 1880.

  

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Previous Section   179. HAPPINESS OF THE AGE   Next Section

Happiness of the Age.  In two respects our age is to be accounted happy.  With respect to the past, we enjoy all cultures and their productions, and nurture ourselves on the noblest blood of all periods.  We stand sufficiently near to the magic of the forces from whose womb these periods are born to be able in passing to submit to their spell with.  pleasure and terror; whereas earlier cultures could only enjoy themselves, and never looked beyond themselves, but were rather overarched by a bell of broader or narrower dome, through which indeed light streamed down to them, but which their gaze could not pierce.  With respect to the future, there opens out to us for the first time a mighty, comprehensive vista of human and economic purposes engirdling the whole inhabited globe.  At the same time, we feel conscious of a power ourselves to take this new task in hand without presumption, without requiring supernatural aids.  Yes, whatever the result of our enterprise, however much we may have overestimated our strength, at any rate we need render account to no one but ourselves, and mankind can henceforth begin to do with itself what it will.  There are, it is true, peculiar human bees, who only know how to suck the bitterest and worst elements from the chalice of every flower.  It is true that all flowers contain something that is not honey, but these bees may be allowed to feel in their own way about the happiness of our time, and continue to build up their hive of discomfort.  
 

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