refractory and detracting. Nietzsche says: Revenge is the will's revulsion. We have since noted that "will," in the language of modern metaphysics, does not mean only human willing, but that "will" and "willing" are the name of the Being of beings as a whole. Nietzsche's description of revenge as "the will's revulsion" brings revenge into relatedness with the Being of beings. That this is so becomes fully clear when we note what it is that the will's revulsion turns against. Revenge is—the will's revulsion against time and its "It was."
At first and second reading, and even still at a third reading, this definition of the essential nature of revenge will strike us as surprising, incomprehensible, and ultimately arbitrary. In fact, it must. It must do so as long as we overlook, first, the direction which the word "will" indicates here, and then, what the term "time" here means. But Nietzsche himself gives an answer to the question how he conceives time's essential nature. He says: Revenge is "the will's revulsion against time and its 'It was.'" We must think through this statement of Nietzsche with as much care as if we were dealing with one of Aristotle. And as concerns the definition of the essential nature of time, we are indeed faced with a statement of Aristotle. Of course, Nietzsche did not have Aristotle in mind when he wrote down his statement. Nor do we mean to suggest that Nietzsche is beholden to Aristotle. A thinker is not beholden to a thinker—rather, when he is thinking, he holds on to what is to be thought, to Being. Only insofar as he holds on to Being can he be open to the influx of the thoughts which thinkers before him have thought. This is why it remains the exclusive privilege of the greatest thinkers to let themselves be influenced. The small thinkers, by contrast, merely suffer from constipated originality, and hence close themselves off against any influx coming from afar. Nietzsche says: Revenge is "the will's revulsion against time ..."