Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer and His Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten).

The Wanderer and his Shadow, the second supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1880.


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Previous Section   185. OF REASONABLE DEATH   Next Section

Of Reasonable Death.  Which is more reasonable, to stop the machine when the works have done the task demanded of them, or to let it run on until it stands still of its own accord — in other words, is destroyed?  Is not the latter a waste of the cost of upkeep, a misuse of the strength and care of those who serve?  Are men not here throwing away that which would be sorely needed elsewhere?  Is not a kind of contempt of the machines propagated, in that many of them are so uselessly tended and kept up?  — I am speaking of involuntary (natural) and voluntary (reasonable) death.  Natural death is independent of all reason and is really an irrational death, in which the pitiable substance of the shell determines how long the kernel is to exist or not; in which, accordingly, the stunted, diseased and dull witted jailer is lord, and indicates the moment at which his distinguished prisoner shall die.  Natural death is the suicide of nature — in other words, the annihilation of the most rational being through the most irrational element that is attached thereto.  Only through religious illumination can the reverse appear; for then, as is equitable, the higher reason (God) issues its orders, which the lower reason has to obey.  Outside religious thought natural death is not worth glorifying.  The wise dispensation and disposal of death belongs to that now quite incomprehensible and immoral sounding morality of the future, the dawn of which it will be an ineffable delight to behold.  

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