Mummified Concepts

Mummified Concepts April 27, 2018

From Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols, on “reason” in philosophy:

“You ask me what all idiosyncrasy is in philosophers? . . . For instance their lack of the historical sense, their hatred even of the idea of Becoming, their Egyptianism. They imagine that they do honour to a thing by divorcing it from history sub specie æterni,—when they make a mummy of it. All the ideas that philosophers have treated for thousands of years, have been mummied concepts; nothing real has ever come out of their hands alive. These idolaters of concepts merely kill and stuff things when they worship,—they threaten the life of everything they adore. Death, change, age, as well as procreation and growth, are in their opinion objections,—even refutations. That which is cannot evolve; that which evolves is not. Now all of them believe, and even with desperation, in Being. But, as they cannot lay hold of it, they try to discover reasons why this privilege is withheld from them. ‘Some merely apparent quality, some deception must be the cause of our not being able to ascertain the nature of Being: where is the deceiver?’ ‘We have him,’ they cry rejoicing, ‘it is sensuality!’ These senses, which in other things are so immoral, cheat us concerning the true world. Moral: we must get rid of the deception of the senses, of Becoming, of history, of falsehood.—History is nothing more than the belief in the senses, the belief in falsehood. Moral: we must say ‘no’ to everything in which the senses believe to all the rest of mankind: all that belongs to the ‘people.’ Let us be philosophers, mummies, monotono-theists, grave-diggers!—And above all, away with the body, this wretched idée fixe of the senses, infected with all the faults of logic that exist, refuted, even impossible, although it be impudent enough to pose as if it were real!”

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