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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At Noontide.  He to whom an active and stormy morning of life is allotted, at the noontide of life feels his soul overcome by a strange longing for a rest that may last for months and years.  All grows silent around him, voices sound farther and farther in the distance, the sun shines straight down upon him.  On a hidden woodland sward he sees the great God Pan sleeping, and with Pan Nature seems to him to have gone to sleep with an expression of eternity on their faces.  He wants nothing, he troubles about nothing; his heart stands still, only his eye lives.  It is a death with waking eyes.  Then man sees much that he never saw before, and, so far as his eye can reach, all is woven into and as it were buried in a net of light.  He feels happy, but it is a heavy, very heavy kind of happiness.  Then at last the wind stirs in the trees, noontide is over, life carries him away again, life with its blind eyes, and its tempestuous retinue behind it — desire, illusion, oblivion, enjoyment, destruction, decay.  And so comes evening, more stormy and more active than was even the morning.  To the really active man these prolonged phases of cognition seem almost uncanny and morbid, but not unpleasant.  

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