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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If, as is currently accepted, only those actions are moral which are done solely for the sake of others, then there are no moral actions at all!  If, in accordance with another definition, only those actions are moral which arise from our own free will then there are no moral actions in this case either!  What is it then that we are referring to, which certainly exists and wishes as a consequence to be explained?  It is the effects of a few intellectual blunders; and supposing that we were able to free ourselves from these errors - what would then become of "moral actions "?  It is due to these errors that we have to date attributed to certain actions too high a value: we excluded from this category "egoistic "and "non—free "actions.  When we now admit them into the latter category - as we must do, we certainly reduce their value (their own estimate of value) even below its reasonable level because "egoistic "and "non—free "actions have up to the present been undervalued owing to their being profoundly and essentially different.  In future then will these very actions be performed less frequently since they will be less highly regarded?  Inevitably!  Or at all events for a fairly long time, as long as the balance of evaluation remains under the influence of former mistakes!  Yet we make some amends for this by giving back to men their good courage for the carrying out of actions that are now reputed to be selfish and thus restore their value—we relieve men's bad conscience!  And as to the present day egoistic actions have been by far the most frequent and will be so for all eternity we remove from the whole concept of these actions and of life its evil appearance!  This is a very significant result.  When man no longer believes himself to be evil he ceases to be so.  
 

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