Nietzsche taught me to distrust every optimistic theory. I knew that [the human] heart has constant need of consolation, a need to which that super-shrewd sophist the mind is constantly ready to minister. I began to feel that every religion which promises to fulfill human desires is simply a refuge for the timid, and unworthy of a true man. … We ought, therefore, to choose the most hopeless of world views, and if by chance we are deceiving ourselves and hope does exist, so much the better. At all events, in this way man’s soul will not be humiliated, and neither God nor the devil will ever be able to ridicule it by saying that it became intoxicated like a hashish-smoker and fashioned an imaginary paradise out of naivete and cowardice—in order to cover the abyss. The faith most devoid of hope seemed to me not the truest, perhaps, but surely the most valorous. I considered the metaphysical hope alluring bait which true men do not condescend to nibble. I wanted whatever was most difficult, in other words most worthy of man, of the man who does not whine, entreat, or go about begging.
I expect nothing. I fear no one. I am free.
How simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea… . All that is required to feel that here and now is happiness is a simple, frugal heart.
What a strange machine man is!
You fill him with bread, wine, fish, and radishes,
and out comes sighs, laughter, and dreams.
Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.
The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on all darkness.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Friedrich Nietzsche German Philosopher, Scholar
- Martin Heidegger German Existential Philosopher
- Pythagoras Greek Philosopher
- Johann Gottfried Herder German Poet, Literary Critic
- Arthur Schopenhauer German Philosopher
- Immanuel Kant Prussian German Philosopher
- Moses Mendelssohn German Jewish Philosopher
- Wilhelm von Humboldt German Statesman, Scholar
- Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi German Philosopher
- Immanuel Hermann Fichte German Philosopher