The Echo of Desolation
“In the writings of a hermit we always hear something of the echo of desolation, something of the whispers and the timid gazing around of isolation; from his strongest words, even from his screaming, still resounds a new and dangerous kind of silence, of concealment. Whoever has sat down, year in and year out, day and night, alone in an intimate dispute and conversation with his soul, whoever has become a cave bear or digger for treasure or guardian of treasure and dragon in his own cavern – it can be a labyrinth but also a gold mine – such a man’s very ideas finally take on a distinct twilight colouring and smell as much of mould as they do of profundity, something incommunicable and reluctant, which blows cold wind over everyone passing by.
The hermit does not believe that a philosopher – assuming that a philosopher has always first been a hermit – has ever expressed his real and final opinion in his books. Don’t people write books expressly to hide what they have stored inside them? – In fact, he will have doubts whether a philosopher could generally have “real and final” opinions, whether in his case behind every cave there does not still lie, and must lie, an even deeper cavern – a more comprehensive, stranger, richer world beyond the surface, an abyss behind every reason, under every “foundation.” Every philosophy is a foreground-philosophy – that is the judgment of a hermit: “There is something arbitrary about the fact that he remained here, looked back, looked around, that at this point he set his shovel aside and did not dig more deeply – there is also something suspicious about it.” Every philosophy also hides a philosophy; every opinion is also a hiding place, every word is also a mask.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, “Beyond Good and Evil”, Part 9, aphorism 289 – quoted on Hermitary: http://www.hermitary.com/sayings/
“Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet and composer. He wrote several critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism.
Nietzsche’s key ideas include the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy, perspectivism, the Will to Power, the “death of God”, the Übermensch and eternal recurrence. One of the key tenets of his philosophy is the concept of “life-affirmation,” which embraces the realities of the world in which we live over the idea of a world beyond. It further champions the creative powers of the individual to strive beyond social, cultural, and moral contexts.
Nietzsche’s radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, and his influence remains substantial, particularly in the continental philosophical schools of existentialism, postmodernism, and post-structuralism. His ideas of individual overcoming and transcendence beyond structure and context have had a profound impact on late-twentieth and early-twenty-first century thinkers, who have used these concepts as points of departure in the development of their philosophies.”
See further: http://www.pitt.edu/~wbcurry/nietzsche.html