History preserves something from any earlier forms of transmitting the past.
It is hard to determine what.
More than anything, history strikes one as a fixated vendetta of the masses,
of all masses, and that is exactly what condemns history.
It provides for the perpetuation of all religions, nations, classes.
For even the most peaceful among them have at some point drawn blood from someone, and history faithfully screams it to high heaven.
Much has been attempted against it, but we never escape.
History is the giant serpent that imprisons the world.
An age old vampire, it sucks blood from the brain of every young person.
It is not to be borne the way it commands exactly
the same thing in many different languages.
The most disgraceful forms of belief,
which everyone ought to be ashamed of, are kept alive by history as it proves their age.
No one has ever felt obligated to it except a few thin priests,
and they would have had an easier time without history.
One can object that history has brought the earth very close to unification,
but at what price, and is the world already at one with itself?
It seems to me as if history used to be better or ast least more innocuous in the days when it got lost from time to time.
Today it is shackled to itself with the chains of writing.
It offers to the future centuries the falsest, basest, and the most untruthful documents.
No one can sign a contract today without people knowing it a thousand years hence.
No one can come into the world unnoticed;
he is at least included in some statistic.
No one can think, no one can breathe,
history corrupts his pure breath and twists the words around in his brain.
How powerful the Heracles who could strangle it!
Even death will be overcome more easily than history,
and the first and only exploiter of a triumph over death
will once again be history.