“Whoever proceeds on his own path meets nobody …”

Indeed, my indulgent friends, I will tell you – here, in this late preface, which might easily have become an obituary or a funeral oration – what I sought in the depths below: for I have come back, and – I have escaped. Think not that I will urge you to run the same perilous risk! or that I will urge you on even to the same solitude! For whoever proceeds on his own path meets nobody: this is the feature of one’s “own path.” No one comes to help him in his task: he must face everything quite alone – danger, bad luck, wickedness, foul weather. He goes his own way; and, as is only right, meets with bitterness and occasional irritation because he pursues this “own way” of his: for instance, the knowledge that not even his friends can guess who he is and whither he is going, and that they ask themselves now and then : “Well? Is he really moving at all? Has he still … a path before him? ” – At that time I had undertaken something which could not have been done by everybody: I went down into the deepest depths; I tunnelled to the very bottom; I started to investigate and unearth an old faith which for thousands of years we philosophers used to build on as the safest of all foundations – which we built on again and again although every previous structure fell in: I began to undermine our faith in morals. But ye do not understand me?  – Nietzsche in ‘Daybreak’ (1881).

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