Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak:  Reflections on Moral Prejudice. Morgenröte: Gedanken über die moralischen Vorurteile (also could be translated as The Dawn).

Written and published in 1881.

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The experience of sick men who have suffered long and terrible torture from illness and whose reason has nevertheless not been in any way affected is not without a certain amount of value in our search for knowledge—quite apart from the intellectual benefits which follow upon every deep solitude and every sudden and justified liberation from duties and habits.  The man who suffers severely looks out with terrible calmness from his state of suffering upon the outside: all those little lying enchantments surrounding the world of a healthy person have vanished for the sufferer; his own life even lies there before him stripped of all bloom and colour.  If by chance that up to then he has lived in some kind of dangerous fantasy, this extreme disenchantment through pain is the means and possibly the only means of bringing him out of it.  (It is just possible that this is what happened to the Founder of Christianity when hung on the Cross; for the bitterest words ever pronounced "My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me"!  If understood in their deepest sense, they ought to indicate a complete disillusionment and realisation of the deceptions of life: in that moment of supreme suffering Christ obtained a clear insight into himself just as in his text did the poor dying Don Quixote.  The tremendous tension of the intellect that is holding its own against pain shows everything in a new light and the inexpressible charm of this new light is often powerful enough to withstand all the seductiveness of suicide and to make the continuation of life seem very desirable t o the sufferer.  His mind is scornful of the warm and comfortable dream world which the healthy man thoughtlessly inhabits and he thinks with contempt of the noblest and most cherished illusions in which he himself formerly held.  He delights in conjuring up this contempt as if from the depths of hell and thus inflicting the bitterest sufferings upon his soul: this counter-weight helps him bear his physical suffering—he feels that such a counter-weight is now essential, in one terrible moment of clear-sightedness he says to himself "Be for once your own accuser and hangman; for once regard your suffering as a punishment which you have inflicted on yourself.  Enjoy your superiority as a judge: better still, enjoy your own will and pleasure, your tyrannical arbitrariness!  Raise yourself above your life as above your suffering and look down into the depths of reason and unreason!  Our pride revolts as it never did before, it experiences an incomparable charm in defending life against such a tyrant as suffering and against all the insinuations of this tyrant who would like to urge us to give take side against life—we are instead taking the part of life in defiance of this tyrant.  In this state of mind we take up a bitter stand against all pessimism so that it may not appear that we have been humiliated and conquered by our condition.  The charm of being just in our judgments was also never greater than now; for now this justice is a triumph over ourselves and over so irritated a state of mind that unfairness of judgment might be excused—but we do not want to be excused: more than ever we wish to show that we need no excuse.  We pass through downright convulsions of pride.  And now comes the first ray of relief, of recovery and one of its first effects is that we turn against the dominance of our pride: we call ourselves foolish and vain as if we had undergone some unique experience.  We denigrate the all powerful pride - the aid of which enabled us to endure the pain we suffered and we call vehemently for some antidote to this pride: we wish to become strangers to ourselves and to be freed from our own person after pain has forcibly made us personal - for too long.  "Away with this pride" we cry - "it was only another illness and convulsion!  "Once more we look longingly at men and nature and realise with a sorrowful smile that a veil has fallen, we regard many things concerning men in a new and different light—but we are refreshed by once more seeing life in a less harsh light - far from the fearfully harsh light in which we as sufferers saw things.  We do not unhappy when we see the charms of health resume their play and we contemplate the sight as if transformed, gentle and still weary.  In this state we cannot listen to music without weeping.  
 

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