Intellectual Aeronauts

We intellectual aeronauts!  —  All these hardy birds that fly the farthest —  surely when they can no longer go on, they perch somewhere or other on a mast or on the narrow ledge of a cliff— and are even grateful for this wretched accommodation! But who would conclude from this that a vast open space no longer lay before them, that they had flown as far as possible? In the end, all our great teachers and predecessors have come to rest, and it is not always with the noblest and most graceful gestures that exhaustion sets in: and so shall it be with us! But what difference does that make? Other birds will fly farther! This faith and insight of ours races upwards past them, rising above our own intellectual shortcomings, and from this height catches sight of flocks of far stronger birds in the distance flying on ahead of us, striving to reach what we too have striven to reach, where everything is still sea and nothing but sea!  —  And where do we want to go? Do we want to cross the sea? To where is this powerful longing drawing us, which we deem more worthy than any pleasure? Why are we drawn in just this direction, to where all of humanity’s suns have so far set? Will the tale someday be told of how once we too steered westward in hopes of reaching some India  —  but that it was our lot to founder on infinity? Or, my brothers? Or?  —

Nietzsche, Dawn §575 (trans. The Poseidonian)



One comment on “Intellectual Aeronauts

  1. […] of millions. We did those things, but that is behind us now. As Nietzsche says, in perhaps his most beautiful aphorism, “Other birds will fly father.” I hope they will remember more than our mistakes, will […]

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