His view cleared and he recognised that the masses are powerless, their agitations vain, their co-operation illusory. He had believed them capable of introducing into history a progress of culture. Now he saw that they could not collaborate towards the mere maintenance of a culture already acquired. They experience only such needs as are gross, elementary, and short-lived. For them all noble ends are unattainable. And the problem which reality obliges us to solve is this: how are we to contrive things so that the masses shall serve a culture which must always be beyond their comprehension, and serve it with zeal and love, even to the sacrifice of life? All politics are comprised within this question, which appears insoluble, and yet is not. Consider Nature: no one understands her ends; and yet all beings serve her. How does Nature obtain their adhesion to life? She deceives her creatures. She puts them in[Pg 77] hope of an immutable and ever-delayed happiness. She gives them those instincts which constrain the humblest of animals to lengthy sacrifices and voluntary pains. She envelops in illusion all living beings, and thus persuades them to struggle and to suffer with unalterable constancy.
Thence he received a piece of news which moved him: Rohde was appointed professor in the University of Leipsic. Nietzsche was happy for his friend, and congratulated him in exquisite terms. Nevertheless, he could not prevent himself from sadly drawing a personal moral. "At present," he wrote to Peter Gast, "the Faculty of Philosophy is half composed of my 'good friends' (Zarncke, Heinze, Leskien, Windisch, Rohde, &c.)." Suddenly he wished to depart; he wanted to see his mother, whom her two children had left; he wished to attend his old comrade's course; lastly, he wished to confront those famous publishers who printed twenty thousand volumes a year, and refused his own. He left Venice and went straight to Leipsic.
.... My health, thanks to an extraordinarily fine winter, to good nourishment, to long walks, has remained sufficiently good. Nothing is sick, but the poor soul. Besides, I will not conceal the fact that my winter has been very rich in spiritual acquisitions for my great work: so the mind is not sick; nothing is sick, but the poor soul."