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   27. THE OBSCURANTISTS   Next Section

The Obscurantists.  The essential feature of the black art of obscurantism is not its intention of clouding the brain, but its attempt to darken the picture of the world and cloud our idea of existence.  It often employs the method of thwarting all illumination of the intellect, but at times it uses the very opposite means, seeking by the highest refinement of the intellect to induce a satiety of the intellect's fruits.  Hair splitting metaphysicians, who pave the way for scepticism and by their excessive acumen provoke a distrust of acumen, are excellent instruments of the more subtle form of obscurantism.  Is it possible that even Kant may be applied to this purpose?  Did he even intend something of the sort, for a time at least, to judge from his own notorious exposition: "to clear the way for belief by setting limitations to knowledge"?  Certainly he did not succeed, nor did his followers, on the wolf and fox tracks of this highly refined and dangerous form of obscurantism — the most dangerous of all, for the black art here appears in the garb of light.  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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