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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 14:59:37
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Did he merely wish to affirm his independence? or did he wish to correct Wagner? It may be that he conceived the fantastic dream of influencing his master, purifying him, lifting him up to the height of the devotion which he inspired. He took a score of Brahms, whom he admired, and whom Wagner pursued with a jealousy that was comic at times, slipped it in his trunk, and, early in the first evening, put it well in view on the piano. It was bound in the most beautiful red. Wagner perceived it, and, without doubt, understood; he had the sense to say nothing. Next day, however, Nietzsche repeated the man?uvre. Then the great man exploded; he screamed, raged, and foamed; then dashed off, banging the doors behind him. He met Nietzsche's sister, who had come with her brother, and, suddenly laughing at himself, gaily related the anecdote.

His fault was graver yet, for he had consented to this abasement. The universe is evil, he had written in The Origin of Tragedy—cruel like a dissonance of notes, and the soul of man, dissonant like the universe, suffering from itself, would detach itself from life if it did not invent some illusion, some myth which deceives but appeases it and procures it a refuge of beauty. In truth, if we thus draw back, if we create our consolations for ourselves, whither will we not let ourselves be led? One hearkens to one's weakness; there is no cowardice that is not thus authorised. To accept is to deliver oneself over to the illusionist. Is it a noble or a vile illusion? How can we know if we are deceived, if we ask to be[Pg 158] deceived? Nietzsche felt his memories degraded, and his hopes discouraged by the bitterness of remorse.

Adieu, adieu!..."

The impression of the Christmas and New Year festivals, always strong in him, aggravated his melancholy. He fell ill in December, only to get up again in March. He was still weak.


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