Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches), subtitled A Book for Free Spirits (Ein Buch für freie Geister).

First published in 1878.   A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten), followed in 1880.

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JUDGE NOT.  In considering earlier periods, care must be taken not to fall into unjust abuse.  The injustice in slavery, the cruelty in the suppression of persons and nations, is not to be measured by our standard.  For the instinct of justice was not then so far developed.  Who dares to reproach the Genevese Calvin with the burning of the physician Servet?  It was an action following and resulting from his convictions, and in the same way the Inquisition had a good right; only the ruling views were false, and produced a result which seems hard to us because those views have now grown strange to us.  Besides, what is the burning of a single individual compared with eternal pains of hell for almost all!  And yet this idea was universal at that time, without essentially injuring by its dreadfulness the conception of a God.  With us, too, political sectarians are hardly and cruelly treated, but because one is accustomed to believe in the necessity of the State, the cruelty is not so deeply felt here as it is where we repudiate the views.  Cruelty to animals in children and Italians is due to ignorance, i.  e.  the animal, through the interests of Church teaching, has been placed too far behind man.  Much that is dreadful and inhuman in history, much that one hardly likes to believe, is mitigated by the reflection that the one who commands and the one who carries out are different persons, the former does not behold the right and therefore does not experience the strong impression on the imagination; the latter obeys a superior and therefore feels no responsibility.  Most princes and military heads, through lack of imagination, easily appear hard and cruel without really being so.  Egoism is not evily because the idea of the "neighbour" the word is of Christian origin and does not represent the truth is very weak in us; and we feel ourselves almost as free and irresponsible towards him as towards plants and stones.  We have yet to learn that others suffer, and this can never be completely learnt.  
 

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