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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" On n' est bon que par la pitie: il faut done qu'il y ait quelque pitie dans tous nos sentiments"—so says morality nowadays.  And how did this come about?  The fact that he man who performs sympathetic, disinterested and socially useful actions is now considered as a moral man: this is perhaps the most widespread impact and transformation that Christianity has produced in Europe; perhaps in spite of itself and not by any means because this was part of its essential doctrine.  Yet this was the residuum of those Christian feelings that prevailed at the time of the contrary and thoroughly Selfish faith in the "one thing needful" i.  e.  the absolute importance of eternal and personal salvation together with the dogmas - upon which this belief had rested were gradually receding and when the subsidiary beliefs in "love "and "love of one's neighbour" along with the extraordinary practice of charity by the Church were thereby thrust into prominence.  The more people gradually became separated from the dogmas the more did they seek some sort of justification for this separation in a cult of the love of humanity: not to fall short in this respect of the Christian ideal but to excel it if possible was the secret stimulus of all the French free—thinkers from Voltaire to Auguste Comte; and this latter with his famous moral formula "vivre pour autrui" has indeed out-christianised even Christianity!  It was Schopenhauer in Germany and John Stuart Mill in England who were the means of bringing into the greatest prominence this doctrine of sympathetic affections and of pity or utility to others as a principle of action; but these men themselves were only echoes.  From about the time of the French Revolution these doctrines have manifested themselves in various places with enormous force.  Since then they have shown themselves in their coarsest as well as their most subtle form and all Socialistic principles have almost involuntarily taken their stand on the common ground of this doctrine.  At the present time there is perhaps no more widely spread prejudice than this: that we know what really and truly constitutes morality.  Everyone now seems to feel great satisfaction that society is beginning to adapt the individual to the needs of the many and that it is at the same time the happiness and sacrifice of each one to consider himself as a useful member and instrument of the whole.  They have still however doubts as to the form in which this whole is to be looked for whether in a state already existing or in one which has yet to be established or in a nation or in an international brotherhood or in new and small economic communities.  There is still much reflection, doubt, controversy, excitement and passion on this subject; yet it is somewhat interesting to observe the unanimity with which the "ego "is called upon to practice self denial until by means of its adaptation to the many it once again secures its own firmly fixed sphere of rights and duties—until indeed it has become something quite new and different.  Nothing else is being attempted - whether admitted or not - than the complete transformation, even the weakening and suppression of the individual: the supporters of the majority never tire of enumerating and indicting all that is evil, hostile, lavish, expensive and luxurious in the individualism that has to date prevailed; they hope that society may be administered in a cheaper, less dangerous, more uniform and more harmonious way when nothing is left but large collective bodies and their members.  This drive for grouping men into bodies and memberships and its ancillary drives is felt to be good—this is the chief moral current of our time; individual sympathy and social feelings work hand in hand.  (Kant does not share these sentiments: he expressly teaches that we should be insensible to the sufferings of others if our benevolence is to have any moral value—a doctrine which Schopenhauer, in anger as may easily be imagined, described as the Kantian insipidity.)  
 

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