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   221. THE DANGER OF ENLIGHTENMENT   Next Section

The Danger of Enlightenment.  All the half insane, theatrical, bestially cruel, licentious, and especially sentimental and self intoxicating elements which go to form the true revolutionary substance, and became flesh and spirit, before the revolution, in Rousseau — all this composite being, with factitious enthusiasm, finally set even "enlightenment" upon its fanatical head, which thereby began itself to shine as in an illuminating halo.  Yet, enlightenment is essentially foreign to that phenomenon, and, if left to itself, would have pierced silently through the clouds like a shaft of light, long content to transfigure individuals alone, and thus only slowly transfiguring national customs and institutions as well.  But now, bound hand and foot to a violent and abrupt monster, enlightenment itself became violent and abrupt.  Its danger has therefore become almost greater than its useful quality of liberation and illumination, which it introduced into the great revolutionary movement.  Whoever grasps this will also know from what confusion it has to be extricated, from what impurities to be cleansed, in order that it may then by itself continue the work of enlightenment and also nip the revolution in the bud and nullify its effects.  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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