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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Of all the means of exaltation human sacrifices have at times done most to elevate man.  And perhaps the one powerful thought—the idea of self-sacrificing humanity—might be made to prevail over every other aspiration and achieve victory over even the most victorious of endevours.  Yet to whom should the sacrifice of humanity itself be made?  We may readily avow that if ever the constellation of such an idea appeared on the horizon the knowledge of truth would remain the single but enormous object commensurate with which such a sacrifice—because no sacrifice is too great for it.  In the meantime the problem has never been expounded as to how far humanity considered as a whole could take steps towards the advancement of knowledge; and even less as to what desire for knowledge could drive humanity to the point of sacrificing itself with the light of an anticipated wisdom in its eyes.  Perhaps one day with a view to the advancement of knowledge we are able to enter into communication with the inhabitants of other stars and when during thousands of years wisdom will have been carried from star to star the enthusiasm for knowledge may rise to such a dizzy height!  

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