The Fog That Keeps It Clear
Learn from history opportune


Work and boredom. — Looking for work in order to be paid; in civilized countries today almost all men are at one in doing that. For all of them work is a means and not an end in itself. Hence they are not very refined in their choice of work, if only it pays well. But there are, if only rarely, men who would rather perish than work without any pleasure in their work. They are choosy, hard to satisfy, and do not care for ample rewards. Artists and contemplative men of all kinds belong to this rare breed, but so do even those men of leisure who spend their lives hunting, traveling, or in love affairs and adventures. All of these desire work and misery if only it is associated with pleasure, and the hardest, most difficult work if necessary. Otherwise, their idleness is resolute, even if it spells impoverishment, dishonor, and danger to life and limb. They do not fear boredom as much as work without pleasure; they actually require a lot of boredom if their work is to succeed. For thinkers and all sensitive spirits, boredom is that disagreeable “windless calm” of the soul that precedes a happy voyage and cheerful winds. They have to bear it and must wait for its effect on them. Precisely this is what lesser natures cannot achieve by any means. To ward off boredom at any cost is vulgar, no less than work without pleasure. Perhaps Asians are distinguished above Europeans by a capacity for longer, deeper calm; even their opiates have a slow effect and require patience, as opposed to the disgusting suddenness of the European poison, alcohol.

From Nietzsche’s The Gay Science, Kaufmann, Trans.


The argument of growing solitude. — The reproaches of conscience are weak even in the most conscientious people compared to the feeling: “This or that is against the morals of your society.” A cold look or sneer on the face of those among whom and for whom one has been educated is feared even by the strongest. What is it that they are really afraid of? Growing solitude! This is the best argument that rebuts even the best arguments for a person or cause. — Thus the herd instinct speaks in us.

From Nietzsche’s The Gay Science, Kaufmann Trans.


Neither side is sacred–no one wants to win.
Feeling so sedated–and I just give in.
Eating medication–till my stomache’s full.
Feeling so sedated, when I’m in my home.

The grass is greener over here;
You’re the fog that keeps it clear.
Reinventing what we new;
Learn from history, and I’ll be true.
You’re the reason I feel pain;
Feels so good to feel again.