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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People speak of a "conflict of motives" but they designate by this expression a combat which is not of motives at all.  What I mean is that in our reflective consciousness the consequences of different actions which we think we are able to carry out present themselves successively one after the other and we compare these consequences.  We think we have come to a decision concerning an action after we have established to our own satisfaction that the consequences of this action will be favourable.  Before we arrive at this conclusion however we often torment ourselves because of the great difficulties we experience in guessing what the consequences are likely to be, their implications and ensuring that all angles have been covered—and after all this we must still expect chance elements to come into play.  Then comes the chief difficulty: all the consequences which we have with such difficulty determined must one by one must be weighed on some scales against each other; and it only too often comes about that owing to the difference in the quality of all the consequences both scales and weights are lacking for this casuistry of advantage.  Even supposing however that in this case we are able to overcome the difficulty and that mere chance has placed in our scales results which permit of being measured on an common basis we have now in the image of the consequences of a particular action a motive for performing this very action - but only one motive!  When we have finally decided to act however we are often influenced by another order of motives than those of the "image of the consequences".  What brings this about may be the habitual working of our inner machinery or some little encouragement on the part of a person whom we fear or honour or love or the love of comfort which prefers to do that which is closest to hand; or some stirring of the imagination provoked at the decisive moment by some event of trifling importance; or some physical influence which manifests itself quite unexpectedly; a mere whim brings it about; some emotion or other by chance suddenly leaps forth—in a word motives operate which we do not understand very well or even at all and which we can never take account of in advance.  It is probable that a contest is going on among these motives too; a battling to and fro, a rising and falling of relative weighings and it is this which would be the real "conflict of motives" - something quite invisible and unknown to our consciousness.  I have calculated the consequences and the outcomes and in doing so have set a one very necessary motive in the battle line—but I have not set up this battle line: I cannot even see the battle itself nor the victory as such; for I certainly learn what I finally did but I cannot know what motive has in the end proved to be the victor.  We are not accustomed to take all these unconscious phenomena into account, we only include in the preliminary stages of an action the conscious part: thus we mistake the conflict of motives for the comparison of the possible consequences of different actions—a mistake that brings with it most important consequences and ones that are most fatal to the evolution of morality.  

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