The individual must be consecrated to something higher than himself–that is the meaning of tragedy; he must be free of the terrible anxiety which death and time evoke in the individual: for at any moment, in the briefest atom of his life’s course, he may encounter something holy that endlessly outweighs all his struggle and his distress–this is what it means to have a sense for the tragic. And if the whole of humanity is destined to die out–and who dares doubt that?–so the goal is set for it that is its supreme task, so to grow together in one and in common that it sets out as a whole to meet its coming demise with a sense for the tragic. All the ennoblement of humanity is enclosed in this supreme task; the definite rejection of this task would be the saddest picture imaginable to a friend of humanity. This is my view of things!
-Nietzsche (Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, 1876)