Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Women and their Effect in the Distance.

Have I still ears?  Am I only ear, and nothing else besides?  Here I stand in the midst of the surging of the breakers, whose white flames fork up to my feet; from all sides there is howling, threatening, crying, and screaming at me, while in the lowest depths the old earth shaker sings his aria hollow like a roaring bull ; he beats such an earth shaker's measure thereto, that even the hearts of these weathered rock monsters tremble at the sound.  Then, suddenly, as if born out of nothingness, there appears before the portal of this hellish labyrinth, only a few fathoms distant, a great sailing ship gliding silently along like a ghost.  Oh, this ghostly beauty!  With what enchantment it seizes me!  What?  Has all the repose and silence in the world embarked here?  Does my happiness itself sit in this quiet place, my happier ego, my second immortalised self?  Still not dead, but also no longer living?  As a ghost like, calm, gazing, gliding, sweeping, neutral being?  Similar to the ship, which, with its white sails, like an immense butterfly, passes over the dark sea!  Yes!  Passing over existence!  That is it!  That would be it!  It seems that the noise here has made me a visionary?  All great noise causes one to place happiness in the calm and the distance.  When a man is in the midst of his hubbub, in the midst of the breakers of his plots and plans, he there sees perhaps calm, enchanting beings glide past him, for whose happiness and retirement he longs they are women.  He almost thinks that there with the women dwells his better self ; that in these calm places even the loudest breakers become still as death, and life itself a dream of life.  But still!  but still!  my noble enthusiast, there is also in the most beautiful sailing ship so much noise and bustling, and alas, so much petty, piti able bustling!  The enchantment and the most powerful effect of women is, to use the language of philosophers, an effect at a distance, an actio in distans ; there belongs thereto, however, primarily and above all, distance!  

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