Nothing upsets the philosophical mind more than when he hears that from now on all philosophy is supposed to lie caught in the shackles of one system. Never has he felt greater than when he sees before him the infinitude of knowledge. The entire dignity of his science consists in the fact that it will never be completed. In that moment in which he would believe to have completed his system, he would become unbearable to himself. He would, in that moment, cease to be a creator, and would instead descend to being an instrument of his creation.
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There is no greatness without a continual solicitation to madness which, while it must be overcome, must never be completely lacking. One might profit by classifying men in this respect. The one kind are those in whom there is no madness at all ... and are so-called men of intellect whose works and deeds are nothing but cold works and deeds of the intellect.... But where there is no madness, there is, to be sure, also no real, active, living intellect. For wherein is intellect to prove itself but in the conquest, mastery, and ordering of madness?
That which Dante saw written on the door of the inferno must be written in a different sense also at the entrance to philosophy: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Those who look for true philosophy must be bereft of all hope, all desire, all longing. They must not wish for anything, not know anything, must feel completely bare and impoverished.