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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SORROW is KNOWLEDGE.  How greatly we should like to exchange the false assertions of the priests, that there is a god who desires good from us, a guardian and witness of every action, every moment, every thought, who loves us and seeks our welfare in all misfortune, how greatly we would like to exchange these ideas for truths which would be just as healing, pacifying and beneficial as those errors!  But there are no such truths; at most philosophy can oppose to them metaphysical appearances (at bottom also untruths).  The tragedy consists in the fact that we cannot believe those dogmas of religion and metaphysics, if we have strict methods of truth in heart and brain: on the other hand, mankind has, through development, become so delicate, irritable and suffering, that it has need of the highest means of healing and consolation; whence also the danger arises that man would bleed to death from recognised truth, or, more correctly, from discovered error.  Byron has expressed this in the immortal lines: Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth, The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.  For such troubles there is no better help than to recall the stately levity of Horace, at least for the worst hours and eclipses of the soul, and to say with him: .  quid seternis minorem consiliis animum fatigas?  cur non sub alta vel platano vel hac pinu jacentes.  But assuredly frivolity or melancholy of every degree is better than a romantic retrospection and desertion of the flag, an approach to Christianity in any form; for according to the present condition of knowledge it is absolutely impossible to approach it without hopelessly soiling our intellectual conscience and giving ourselves away to ourselves and others.  Those pains may be unpleasant enough, but we cannot become leaders and educators of mankind without pain; and woe to him who would wish to attempt this and no longer have that clear conscience!  
 

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