“But, my dear sir, what in the world is romantic if your book isn’t? Can deep hatred against “the Now,” against “reality” and “modern ideas” be pushed further than you pushed it in your artists’ metaphysics? believing sooner in the Nothing, sooner in the devil than in “the Now”? Is it not a deep bass of wrath and the lust for destruction that we hear humming underneath all of your contrapuntal art and seduction of the ear, a furious resolve against everything that is “now,” a will that is not too far removed from practical nihilism and seems to say: “sooner let nothing be true than that you should be right, than that your truth should be prove right!” Listen yourself, my dear pessimist and art-deifier, but with open ears, to a single passage chosen from your book—to the not ineloquent dragon-slayer passage which may have an insidious pied-piper sound for young ears and hearts. How now? Isn’t this the typical creed of the romantic of 1830, masked by the pessimism of 1850? Even the usual romantic finale is sounded—break, breakdown, return and collapse before an old faith, before the old God … How now? Is your pessimists’ book not itself a piece of anti-Hellenism and romanticism? Is it not itself something “equally intoxicating and befogging,” in any case a narcotic, even a piece of music, German music? But listen:
“Let us imagine a coming generation with such intrepidity of vision, with such a heroic penchant for the tremendous; let us imagine the bold stride of these dragon-slayers, the proud audacity with which they turn their back on all the weakling’s doctrines of optimism in order to ‘live resolutely’ in wholeness and fullness: would it not be necessary for the tragic man of such a culture, in view of his self-education for seriousness and terror, to desire a new art, the art of metaphysical comfort, and to exclaim with Faust:
Should not my longing overleap the distance
And draw the fairest form into existence?"
[Quoted from Section 18]
“Would it not be necessary?” ... No, thrice no! you young romantics: it would not be necessary! But it is highly probable that it will end that way—namely, “comforted,” as it is written, in spite of all self-education for seriousness and terror, “comforted metaphysically”—in sum, as romantics end, as Christians..... No! You ought to learn the art of this-worldly comfort first—you ought to learn to laugh, my young friends, if you are hell-bent on remaining pessimists; then perhaps, as laughers, you may some day dispatch all metaphysical comforts to the devil—metaphysics in front! Or, to say in the language of that Dionysian monster who bears the name of Zarathustra:
“Raise up your hearts, my brothers, high, higher! And don’t forget your legs! Raise up your legs too, good dancers; and still better: stand on your heads!
“This crown of the laugher, this rose-wreath crown: I crown myself with this crown; I myself pronounced holy my laughter. I did not find anyone else today strong enough for that.
“Zarathustra, the dancer; Zarathustra, the light one who beckons with his wings, preparing for a flight, beckoning to all birds, ready and heady, blissfully lightheaded:—
“Zarathustra, the soothsayer; Zarathustra, the sooth-laugher; not impatient; not unconditional; one who loves leaps and side-leaps: I crown myself with this crown.
“This crown of the laugher, this rose-wreath crown: to you, my brothers, I throw this crown. Laughter I have pronounced holy: you higher men, _learn_—to laugh!”