Evening Conversation [220–221]

Older Man: And nevertheless there was among many of us a genuine kind of youth. Like all genuine youths, at any given time they could have thought out beyond those who were older, if only they had been permitted to just be youths.

Younger Man: And that means, if they had been permitted to purely wait. To be sure, one says that youths are impetuous and incapable of waiting. Yet it seems to me that youthful impetuosity for what is coming arises only from a still-incompliant waiting and is its first blossoming, which those who are older should protect from untimely frost; they should do this by purifying the youth’s waiting and bringing it onto the path, instead of nipping it in the bud and falsifying it into mere expectations [Erwartungen] and then abusing it.

Older Man: The obsession of mere expecting and the greed of accumulating always cling only to what is purportedly necessary.

Younger Man: They make the eyes of our essence blind to the unnecessary.

Older Man: And to the fact that the unnecessary remains at all times the most necessary of all.

Younger Man: Only one who has learned to know the necessity of the unnecessary [221] can appreciate anything at all of the pain that arises when the human is barred from thinking.

Older Man: Thinking is thus the unnecessary, and yet you attribute to thinking a high rank of honor in the essence [Wesen] of the human.

Younger Man: Even the highest. You also know, of course, that occidental wisdom has since ancient times thought of the human as the thinking being [das denkende Wesen].

Older Man: I do indeed know this. But I do not really know the reason [Grund] for it. And I could never grasp why this wisdom hastily transposed—through a process that of course took centuries—the essence of thinking into ratio and into rationality [Vernünftigkeit].

Younger Man: It is as if the Occident was unable to wait until thinking could find its way into its originary essence, which perhaps consists in pure waiting and the ability to wait.

Older Man: Perhaps it is also precisely therefore that the essence of thinking is especially vulnerable and susceptible to all hastiness.

Younger Man: For we can only experience pure waiting, and preserve our essence in it, by waiting. To will to take hold of pure waiting in haste would be like trying to scoop water with a sieve.

Older Man: On this favorable opportunity, when you so are so clearly warning against hastiness, I would like to tell you something that has unsettled me for a long time.

Whenever we previously spoke about the essence of the human— and that means about the occidental determination of the essence

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