more precisely, that which is still to be. For the "modern age" is in no way at an end. Rather, it is just entering the beginning of its presumably long-drawn-out consummation. And Nietzsche's thought? Part of what is thought-provoking is that Nietzsche's thought has still not been found. Part of what is most thought-provoking is that we are not in the least prepared truly to lose what is found, rather than merely pass it over and by-pass it. Bypassing of this sort is often done in an innocent form—by offering an overall exposition of Nietzsche's philosophy. As though there could be an exposition that is not necessarily, down in its remotest nook and cranny, an interpretation. As though any interpretation could escape the necessity of taking a stand or even, simply by its choice of starting point, of being an unspoken rejection and refutation. But no thinker can ever be overcome by our refuting him and stacking up around him a literature of refutation. What a thinker has thought can be mastered only if we refer everything in his thought that is still unthought back to its originary truth. Of course, the thoughtful dialogue with the thinker does not become any more comfortable that way; on the contrary, it turns into a disputation of rising acrimony. Meantime, however, Nietzsche goes on being bravely refuted. This industry, as we shall see, had early reached the point where thoughts were fabricated and ascribed to him which are the exact opposite of those he really thought, those in which his thinking finally consumed itself.

Summary and Transition

The way of our question "what is called thinking?" has brought us to the question: what is this anyway—to form an idea? So far, an answer has suggested itself only in vague outline: the forming of ideas could even be the universally