Nishitani On Ancestry

Nietzsche stresses a sense of responsibility toward the ancestors, a “thinking through the succession of the generations,” and bearing the accumulation of every possible spiritual nobility of the past. His nihilism, a radical confrontation with history, was backed up by responsibility toward the ancestors to redeem what is noble in the tradition. His standpoint calls for a returning to the ancestors in order to face the future, or to put it the other way around, a prophesying toward the tradition. Without a will toward the future, the confrontation with the past cannot be properly executed; nor is there a true will toward the future without responsibility toward the ancestors. For us Japanese now, the recovery of this primordial will represents our most fundamental task. It is here that European nihilism will begin to reveal its fundamental significance for us.”

– Keiji Nishitani, The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism (1990)

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