Ponderings XII [17–18]

instituted and planned structure of the “lived experience” and “enjoyment” of the masses. Such wildness leads at the same time to a hardening whose hardness is not “strength” (as a consequence of sovereignty) but is instead | the blunting of all drives. This brutalization (understood not in the sense of the book of etiquette or some theory of morals—but metaphysically) which arises from power in its overpowering and is instituted in the human masses leads to a point whereby it becomes the condition of the possibility of Godlessness. Godlessness does not here refer to the renunciation and suppression of God—instead, it means something more essential: the metaphysical incapacity for a leap into a decisional domain in which the divinity of God can first of all appropriate a lighted space-time. The characterization of the age also includes this: one now encounters more frequently a human type which drudges about entirely in the day before yesterday (human being as “I” and “we,” as “consciousness” and “body”; nihilism and loss of belief in God), tracks down all indications of a convulsing but finds quick countermeasures, keeps for itself too little, and “analyzes” everything—without regions of meditation and sufficient power for historical experience.

People of this sort, who naturally read “Hölderlin” and “Nietzsche,” take note of Spengler and Jünger, are acquainted with Rilke, feel romantic leanings | toward the Catholic Church, make Pascal timely, and do not forget what is populist [volkhaft], could be called existentiell literati. Often precocious people endowed with an astounding aptitude for language, but without growth and short-winded, people who are untimely in a timely way and lack all originary necessity. Following behind them and their productions are all the peevish individuals and those Christians who could never let themselves also be given out as “modern.” What comes together in this way seems to be “spiritual” and fully responsible for the “highest values”; in truth, only a disfigurement of the spirit of the age proceeds from here, and this disfigurement tones down the “brutalitas” of the age and thereby impedes the great decisions—but also prematurely brings every path of meditation back to a standpoint which is supposed to offer a foothold and a solution to all questions.


To reflect—and to be a thinker [Nachdenken—und Denker-sein] are always distinct. Indeed the distinction is concealed precisely to reflection, which is acquainted with thinkers only as ones who engage in thinking, who carry out thinking. Thinking has long been