Men, says Spinoza, imagine that they do not constitute merely one of the elements or links of the chain which is called nature and pretend to form, in the bosom of nature, a kind of state within a state. Is not rather the contrary true? Would it not be more exact to say that men have the feeling of being only tiny, powerless wheels of an enormous machine, and that they have completely forgotten that the world was created for their sakes?
Every human being is by nature designated to become a thinker (all honor and praise to the God who created man in his image!). God is not to be faulted if habit and routine and lack of passion and affectation and chatter with neighbors right and left gradually corrupt most people, so that they become thoughtless — and their eternal happiness on one thing and another and a third something — and do not notice the secret that their talk about their eternal happiness is an affectation because it is devoid of passion, and there it might as well be built on matchstick arguments.
Johannes Climacus Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments (via sorensays)
For you must know, my dear ones, that each of us is undoubtedly guilty on behalf of all and for all on earth, not only because of the common guilt of the world, but personally, each one of us, for all people and for each person on this earth. This knowledge is the crown of the monk’s path, and of every man’s path on earth. For monks are not a different sort of men, but only such as all men on earth ought also to be. Only then will our hearts be moved to a love that is infinite, universal, and that knows no satiety. Then each of us will be able to gain the whole world by love and wash away the world’s sins with his tears.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (via clockocean)
Through immense periods of time, the intellect produced nothing but errors; some of them turned out to be useful and species-preserving; those who hit upon or inherited them fought their fight for themselves and their progeny with greater luck. Such erroneous articles of faith, which were passed on by inheritance further and further, and finally became almost part of the basic endowment of the species, are for example: that there are enduring things; that there are identical things; that there are things, kinds of material, bodies; that a things is what it appears to be; that our will is free; that what is good for me is also good in and for itself.
Public opinion in Germany seems strictly to forbid any allusion to the evil and dangerous consequences of a war, more particularly when the war in question has been a victorious one. Those writers, therefore, command a more ready attention who, regarding this public opinion as final, proceed to vie with each other in their jubilant praise of the war, and of the powerful influences it has brought to bear upon morality, culture, and art. Yet it must be confessed that a great victory is a great danger. Human nature bears a triumph less easily than a defeat; indeed, it might even be urged that it is simpler to gain a victory of this sort than to turn it to such account that it may not ultimately prove a serous rout.
Friedrich Nietzsche, David Strauss: The Confessor and the Writer
Passion has nothing to do with sheer desire. It is not a matter of the nerves, of ebullition and dissipation. All of that, no matter how excited its gestures, Nietzsche reckons as attrition of the will. Will is what it is only as willing out beyond itself, willing more. Great will shares with great passion that serenity of unhurried animation that is slow to answer and react, not out of insecurity and ponderousness, but out of the broadly expansive authority and inner buoyancy of what is superior.
Whereas objective thinking invests everything in the result and assists all humankind to cheat by copying and reeling off the results and answers, subjective thinking invests everything in the process of becoming and omits the result, partly because this belongs to him, since he possesses the way, partly because he as existing is continually in the process of becoming, as is every human being who has not permitted himself to be tricked into becoming objective, into inhumanly becoming speculative thought.
Whereas objective thinking is indifferent to the existing subject and his existence, the subjective thinker as existing is essentially interested in his own thinking, is existing in it. Therefore, his thinking has another kind of reflection, specifically, that of inwardness, of possession, whereby it belongs to the subject and to no one else.