Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When I Went to Hades...

The Journey to Hades.--I, too, have been in the underworld, like Odysseus, and shall be there often yet; and not only rams have I sacrificed to be able to speak with a few of the dead, but I have not spared my own blood. Four pairs it was that did not deny themselves to my sacrifice: Epicurus and Montaigne, Goethe and Spinoza, Plato and Rousseau, Pascal and Schopenhauer. With these I must come to terms when I have long wandered alone; they may call me right and wrong; to them will I listen when in the process they call each other right and wrong. Whatsoever I say, resolve, or think up for myself and others--on these eight I fix my eyes and see their eyes fixed on me.

May the living forgive me that occasionally they appear to me as shades, so pale and somber, so restless and, alas, so lusting for life--while those men then seem so alive to me as if now, after death, they could never again grow weary of life. But eternal aliveness is what counts: what matters is "eternal life" or any life!

(Nietsche, Mixed Opinions and Maxims, #408; trans. Walter Kaufmann)

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