The Restriction of Being • 173

The opposite is true. The inception is what is most uncanny and mightiest. What follows is not a development, but flattening down as mere widening out; it is the inability to hold on to the inception, it makes the inception innocuous and exaggerates it into a perversion of what is great, into greatness and extension purely in the sense of number and mass. The uncanniest is what it is because it harbors such an inception in which, from overabundance, everything breaks out at once into what is overwhelming and challenges us to conquer it <das Überwältigende, Zubewältigende>.

The inexplicability of this inception is no defect, no failure of our knowledge of history. Instead, the genuineness and greatness of historical knowing lie in understanding the character of this inception as a mystery. Knowing a primal history is not ferreting out the primitive and collecting bones. It is neither half nor whole natural science, but, if it is anything at all, it is mythology.—

The first strophe and antistrophe name the sea, the earth, the animal as the overwhelming that the violence-doer allows to break into openness in all its excessive violence.

The second strophe outwardly passes from a portrayal of the sea, the earth, the animals to the characterization of the human being. But just as little as the first strophe and antistrophe speak only of nature in the narrower sense does the second strophe speak only of the human being.

Instead, what is to be named now, language, understanding, mood, passion, and building, are no less a part of the overwhelming violence than sea and earth and animal. The difference is only that the latter envelop humans in their sway and sustain, beset, and inflame them, whereas what is to be named now pervades them in its sway as that which they have to take over expressly as the beings that they themselves are.

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