The everlasting and exclusive coming-to-be, the impermanence of everything actual, which constantly acts and comes-to-be but never is, as Heraclitus teaches it, is a terrible, paralyzing thought. Its impact on men can most nearly be likened to the sensation during an earthquake when one loses one’s familiar confidence in a firmly grounded earth. It takes astonishing strength to transform this reaction into its opposite, into sublimity and the feeling of blessed astonishment.

Remain true to the earth, my brethren, with the power of your virtue! Let your bestowing love and your knowledge be devoted to be the meaning of the earth! . . . Let it not fly away from the earthly and beat against eternal walls with its wings. . . . Lead, like me, the flown-away virtue back to the earth-yes, back to body and life: that it may give to the earth its meaning, a human meaning!

To be sure, it takes a stronger gaze and a better will to further that which is evolving and imperfect, rather than to penetrate its imperfection and reject it.

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