OFF THE BEATEN TRACK


too were silent and looked at him and were taken aback. At last he threw his lamp to the ground, so that it broke into pieces and went out. "I come too early," he said, then, "the time is not yet mine. The enormous event is still on the way, itinerant - it hasn't got as far as the cars of men. Thunder and lightning take time, the light from stars takes time, deeds take time even after they have been done, to be seen and heard. This deed is still farther from them than the farthest stars - and yet they have done it themselves!" It is told that on the same day the madman forced his way into different churches and started to sing his Requiem aeternam deo in them. Led out and questioned, he would only reply: "What else are these churches, then, if not the crypts and tombs of God?"

To the four books of La Gaya Scienza, Nietzsche appended a fifth in 1 886, four years later; he gave it the title "We the Fearless." The first section of this book (aphorism no. 343) is headed: "What Cheerfulness Is All About." It begins: "The greatest modem event - that 'God is dead,' that faith in the Christian God has become untenable - is already beginning to throw its first shadows across Europe."

It is clear from this sentence that Nietzsche, in speaking about the death of God, means the Christian God. But it is no less certain and no less to he kept in mind beforehand that Nietzsche uses the names "God" and "Christian God" to indicate the supersensory world in general. God is the name for the realm of ideas and the ideal. Since Plato, or more accurately, since the late Greek and the Christian interpretations of the Platonic philosophy, this realm of the supersensory has been considered the true and actually real world. In contrast to it, the sensory world is only the unreal this-worldly world, the changeable and therefore the merely apparent world. The this-worldly world is the vale of tears in contrast to the mountain of eternal bliss of the other side. If, as is still the case in Kant, we call the sensory world the physical world in the broadest sense, then the supersensory world is the metaphysical world.

"God is dead" means: the supersensory world has no effective power. It does not bestow life. Metaphysics, which for Nietzsche is Western philosophy understood as Platonism, is at an end. Nietzsche understands his own philosophy as the countermovement against metaphysics, i.e., for him, against Platonism.

As a mere countermovement, however, it necessarily remains trapped, like everything anti-, in the essence of what it is challenging. Since all it does is turn metaphysics upside down, Nietzsche's countermovement against metaphysics remains embroiled in it and has no way out; in fact it is embroiled in it to such a degree that it is sealed off from its essence and, as metaphysics, is unable ever to think its own essence. This is the reason that,


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Nietzsche's Word: “God Is Dead” (GA 5) by Martin Heidegger