Some Quotes on the Horizon

Friedrich Nietszche — On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life (1874)

“What such a nature cannot master it knows how to forget; it no longer exists, the horizon is closed and whole, and nothing can serve as a reminder that beyond this horizon there remain men, passions, doctrines and purposes. And this is a general law: every living thing can become healthy, strong and fruitful only within a horizon; if it is incapable of drawing a horizon around itself or, on the other hand, too selfish to restrict its vision to the limits of a horizon drawn by another, it will wither away feebly or overhastily to its early demise. Cheerfulness, clear conscience, the carefree deed, faith in the future, all this depends, in the case of an individual as well as of a people, on there being a line which distinguishes what is clear and in full view from the dark and unilluminable; it depends on one’s being able to forget at the right time as well as to remember at the right time; on discerning with strong instinctual feelings when there is need to experience historically and when unhistorically.” FN, 10

“Everyone will have made the following observation: a man’s historical knowledge and perception may be very limited, his horizon as restricted as that of a resident of an alpine valley, into every judgement he may introduce an injustice, into every experience the error of being the first to have that experience—and despite all injustice and all error he stands firmly in indefatigable health and vigour, a pleasure to behold; while right beside him the man of greater justice and learning deteriorates and crumbles because the lines of his horizon restlessly shift again and again, because he cannot extricate himself from the much more delicate network of his justice and truths in order to engage in rude willing and desiring. We have seen, however, that the animal, which is quite unhistorical and lives within a horizon which is almost a point,” FN, 11

“A certain excess of history is capable of all of this, we have seen it: through a continuous displacement of horizonperspectives, through the elimination of an enveloping atmosphere it no longer permits man to feel and act unhistorically.  From an infinite horizon he then retreats into himself, into the smallest egoistic region, and there must wither and dry up: probably he will attain to cleverness: never to wisdom.” FN, 57


Hito Steryl — “In Freefall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective” (2011)

“Our traditional sense of orientation—and, with it, modern concepts of time and space—are based on a stable line: the horizon line.”

“The stable horizon mostly remained a projection, until artificial horizons were eventually invented in order to create the illusion of stability.”

“Thus, linear perspective is based on an abstraction, and does not correspond to any subjective perception. Instead, it computes a mathematical, flattened, infinite, continuous, and homogenous space, and declares it to be reality.”

“The tyranny of the photographic lens, cursed by the promise of its indexical relation to reality, has given way to hyperreal representations—not of space as it is, but of space as we can make it—for better or worse.”

“The stable horizon mostly remained a projection, until artificial horizons were eventually invented in order to create the illusion of stability.”