19 August 2013

The Most Comical of Comedies

Friedrich Nietzsche, "We Philologists" (§12), tr. J. M. Kennedy, in The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Vol. 8 (New York: Macmillan, 1911), p. 116:
Most men are obviously in the world accidentally: no necessity of a higher kind is seen in them. They work at this and that; their talents are average. How strange! The manner in which they live shows that they think very little of themselves: they merely esteem themselves in so far as they waste their energy on trifles (whether these be mean or frivolous desires, or the trashy concerns of their everyday calling). In the so-called life's calling, which everyone must choose, we may perceive a touching modesty on the part of mankind. They practically admit in choosing thus: "We are called upon to serve and to be of advantage to our equals — the same remark applies to our neighbour and to his neighbour; so everyone serves somebody else; no one is carrying out the duties of his calling for his own sake, but always for the sake of others: and thus we are like geese which support one another by the one leaning against the other. When the aim of each one of us is centred in another, then we have all no object in existing; and this 'existing for others' is the most comical of comedies."