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The Will to Truth, which still tempts us to take so many risks, that famous truthfulness of which all philosophers so far have spoken with respect: what questions has this will to truth already laid before us! What strange, perplexing, questionable questions! That is a long story even now, — and yet it seems as if it has scarcely begun? Is it any wonder if we at last grow distrustful, lose patience, and turn impatiently away? That on our part we should at last learn from this Sphinx to ask questions? Who is it really that puts questions to us here? what in us really wants this “truth”? — Indeed we came to a long halt at the question about the cause of this will — until before a yet more fundamental question we finally came to an absolute standstill. We asked about the value of this will. Granted we did want the truth: why not rather untruth? And uncertainty? Even ignorance? The problem of the value of truth presented itself before us — or was it we who presented ourselves before the problem? Which of us is the Oedipus here? Who the Sphinx? It is a rendezvous, it seems, of questions and question marks. And though it scarcely seems credible, it finally also seems to us as if the problem had never even been offered for consideration before — as if we were to see it for the first time, get a sight of it, dared it? For there is risk in raising it, and perhaps there is no greater risk than that.
The will to truth, which is still going to tempt us to many a daring exploit, that celebrated truthfulness of which all philosophers up to now have spoken with respect, what questions this will to truth has already set down before us! What strange, serious, dubious questions! There is already a long history of that—and yet it seems that this history has scarcely begun. Is it any wonder that at some point we become mistrustful, lose patience and, in our impatience, turn ourselves around, that we learn from this sphinx to ask questions for ourselves? Who is really asking us questions here? What is it in us that really wants “the truth”? In fact, we paused for a long time before the question about the origin of this will—until we finally remained completely and utterly immobile in front of an even more fundamental question. We asked about the value of this will. Suppose we want truth. Why should we not prefer untruth? And uncertainty? Even ignorance? The problem of the value of truth stepped up before us—or were we the ones who stepped up before the problem? Who among us here is Oedipus? Who is the Sphinx? It seems to be a tryst between questions and question marks. And could one believe that we are finally the ones to whom it seems as if the problem has never been posed up to now, as if we were the first ones to see it, to fix our eyes on it, and to dare confront it? For there is a risk involved in this—perhaps there is no greater risk.
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