We aeronauts of the spirit! All those brave birds which fly out into the distance, into the farthest distance it is certain! somewhere or other they will be unable to go on and will perch on a mast or a bare cliffface and they will even be thankful for this miserable accommodation! But who could venture to infer from that, that there was not an immense open space before them, that they had flown as far as one could fly! All our great teachers and predecessors have at last come to a stop and it is not with the noblest or most graceful of gestures that weariness comes to a stop: it will be the same with you and me! But what does that matter to you and me! Other birds will fly farther! This insight and faith of ours vies with them in flying up and away; it rises above our heads and above our impotence into the heights and from there surveys the distance and sees before it the flocks of birds which, far stronger than we, still strive whither we have striven, and where everything is sea, sea, sea! And whither then would we go? Would we cross the sea? Whither does this mighty longing draw us, this longing that is worth more to us than any pleasure? Why just in this direction, thither where all the suns of humanity have hitherto gone down? Will it perhaps be said of us one day that we too, steering westward, hoped to reach an India but that it was our fate to be wrecked against infinity? Or, my brothers. Or?

Anyone know what this is implying?

  • I would say it echoes this from TSZ: "What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an OVER-GOING and a DOWN-GOING. "I love those that know not how to live except as down-goers, for they are the over-goers." – CriglCragl Dec 7 '20 at 21:08

great teachers and predecessors

points to this being a metaphor about learning, and it indicates that people will continue to aspire to learn more and more, in due course coming to the end of their capability, but this will not mean the ending of learning where they stop, as others will build on their knowledge.

And whither then would we go? Would we cross the sea?

This indicates a change in tone, as he discusses how the increase of knowledge necessarily indicates a lack of knowledge about where it will all end.

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