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THE JOYFUL WISDOM, I

without design, may henceforth appear to be done by design, and may appeal to men as reason and ultimate command,—for that purpose the ethiculturist comes forward as the teacher of design in existence; for that purpose he devises a second and different existence, and by means of this new mechanism he lifts the old common existence off its old common hinges. No! he does not at all want us to laugh at existence, nor even at ourselves—nor at himself; to him an individual is always an individual, something first and last and immense, to him there are no species, no sums, no noughts. However foolish and fanatical his inventions and valuations may be, however much he may misunderstand the course of nature and deny its conditions—and all systems of ethics hitherto have been foolish and anti-natural to such a degree that mankind would have been ruined by any one of them had it got the upper hand,—at any rate, every time that "the hero" came upon the stage something new was attained: the frightful counterpart of laughter, the profound convulsion of many individuals at the thought, "Yes, it is worth while to live! yes, I am worthy to live!"—life, and thou, and I, and all of us together became for a while interesting to ourselves once more.—It is not to be denied that hitherto laughter and reason and nature have in the long run got the upper hand of all the great teachers of design: in the end the short tragedy always passed over once more into the eternal comedy of existence; and the "waves of innumerable laughters"—to use the expression of Æschylus—must also in the end beat over the great-