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   32. THE SO-CALLED "REAL REALITY”   Next Section

The So-called "Real Reality”.  When the poet depicts the various callings — such as those of the warrior, the silk-weaver, the sailor — he feigns to know all these things thoroughly, to be an expert.  Even in the exposition of human actions and destinies he behaves as if he had been present at the spinning of the whole web of existence.  In so far he is an impostor.  He practises his frauds on pure ignoramuses, and that is why he succeeds.  They praise him for his deep, genuine knowledge, and lead him finally into the delusion that he really knows as much as the individual experts and creators, yes, even as the great world-spinners themselves.  In the end, the impostor becomes honest, and actually believes in his own sincerity.  Emotional people say to his very face that he has the "higher" truth and sincerity — for they are weary of reality for the time being, and accept the poetic dream as a pleasant relaxation and a night's rest for head and heart.  The visions of the dream now appear to them of more value, because, as has been said, they find them more beneficial, and mankind has always held that what is apparently of more value is more true, more real.  All that is generally called reality, the poets, conscious of this power, proceed with intention to disparage and to distort into the uncertain, the illusory, the spurious, the impure, the sinful, sorrowful, and deceitful.  They make use of all doubts about the limits of knowledge, of all sceptical excesses, in order to spread over everything the rumpled veil of uncertainty.  For they desire that when this darkening process is complete their wizardry and soul-magic may be accepted without hesitation as the path to "true truth" and "real reality”.  
 

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