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   88. HOW ONE DIES IS INDIFFERENT   Next Section

How One Dies is Indifferent.  The whole way in which a man thinks of death during the prime of his life and strength is very expressive and significant for what we call his character.  But the hour of death itself, his behaviour on the death bed, is almost indifferent.  The exhaustion of waning life, especially when old people die, the irregular or insufficient nourishment of the brain during this last period, the occasionally violent pain, the novel and untried nature of the whole position, and only too often the ebb and flow of superstitious impressions and fears, as if dying were of much consequence and meant the crossing of bridges of the most terrible kind — all this forbids our using death as a testimony concerning the living.  Nor is it true that the dying man is generally more honest than the living.  On the contrary, through the solemn attitude of the bystanders, the repressed or flowing streams of tears and emotions, everyone is inveigled into a comedy of vanity, now conscious, now unconscious.  The serious way in which every dying man is treated must have been to many a poor despised devil the highest joy of his whole life and a sort of compensation and repayment for many privations.  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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