To breed an animal that is entitled to

To breed an animal that is entitled to make promises—surely that is the essence of the
paradoxical task nature has set itself where human beings are concerned? Isn’t that the
real problem of human beings? The fact that this problem has largely been resolved
must seem all the more astonishing to a person who knows how to appreciate fully the
power which works against this promise-making, namely forgetfulness. Forgetfulness
is not merely a vis interiae [a force of inertia], as superficial people think. Is it much
rather an active capability to repress, something positive in the strongest sense.
We can ascribe to forgetfulness the fact what while we are digesting what we alone
live through and experience and absorb (we might call the process mental ingestion
[Einverseelung]), we are conscious of what is going on as little as we are with the
thousand-fold process which our bodily nourishment goes through (so-called physical
ingestion [Einverleibung]). The doors and windows of consciousness are shut from
time to time, so that it stays undisturbed by the noise and struggle with which the
underworld of our functional organs keeps working for and against one another—a
small quiet place, a little tabula rasa [blank slate] of the consciousness, so that there
will again be room for something new, above all, for the nobler functions and
officials, for ruling, thinking ahead, determining what to do (for our organism


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