Human all too human II
Mixed opinion and maxims
382 The final lesson of history. -“Ah, if only I had lived at that time!” -these are the words of foolish and frivolous human beings. We will instead, with regard to every bit of history that we have seriously considered, though it may be the most highly praised land of the past, cry out in the end: “anything rather than back there again! The spirit of that age would press down upon you with the weight of a hundred atmospheres, you would not enjoy what is good and beautiful about it, and you would not be able to digest what is bad.” -It is certain that the world to come will judge our age in the same way: it must have been unbearable, life in it has become unlivable. -And yet everyone puts up with his own age?-Yes, and precisely because the spirit of his age not only lies upon him, but is also within him. The spirit of the age offers its own resistance to itself and bears itself up.