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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Before we examine the further consequences of this mental state, let us acknowledge that it is not through his "guilt" and "sin" that man has got into this condition, but through a series of errors of reason; that it was the fault of the mirror if his image appeared so dark and hateful to him, and that that mirror was his work, the very imperfect work of human imagination and power of judgment.  In the first place, a nature that is only capable of purely unegoistic actions is more fabulous than the phoenix; it cannot even be clearly imagined, just because, when closely examined, the whole idea "unegoistic action" vanishes into air.  No man ever did a thing which was done only for others and without any personal motive; how should he be able to do anything which had no relation to himself, and therefore without inward obligation (which must always have its foundation in a personal need)?  How could the ego act without egol A God who, on the contrary, is all love, as such a one is often represented, would not be capable of a single unegoistic action, whereby one is reminded of a saying of Lichtenberg's which is certainly taken from a lower sphere: "We cannot possibly feel for others, as the saying is; we feel only for ourselves.  This sounds hard, but it is not so really if it be rightly understood.  We do not love father or mother or wife or child, but the pleasant sensations they cause us;" or, as Rochefoucauld says: "Si on croit aimer sa maitresse pour l’amour d’elle, on est bien trompe" To know the reason why actions of love are valued more than others, not on account of their nature, namely, but of their usefulness, we should compare the examinations already mentioned, On the Origin of Moral Sentiments.  But should a man desire to be entirely like that God of Love, to do and wish everything for others and nothing for himself, the latter is impossible for the reason that he must do very much for himself to be able to do something for the love of others.  Then it is taken for granted that the other is sufficiently egoistic to accept that sacrifice again and again, that living for him, so that the people of love and sacrifice have an interest in the continuance of those who are loveless and incapable of sacrifice, and, in order to exist, the highest morality would be obliged positively to compel the existence of un morality (whereby it would certainly annihilate itself).  Further: the conception of a God disturbs and humbles so long as it is believed in; but as to how it arose there can no longer be any doubt in the present state of the science of comparative ethnology; and with a comprehension of this origin all belief falls to the ground.  The Christian who compares his nature with God's is like Don Quixote, who undervalued his own bravery because his head was full of the marvellous deeds of the heroes of the chivalric romances, the standard of measurement in both cases belongs to the domain of fable.  But if the idea of God is removed, so is also the feeling of "sin" as a trespass against divine laws, as a stain in a creature vowed to God.  Then, perhaps, there still remains that dejection which; is intergrown and connected with the fear of the punishment of worldly justice or of the scorn of men; the dejection of the pricks of conscience, the sharpest thorn in the consciousness of sin, is always removed if we recognise that though by our own deed we have sinned against human descent, human laws and ordinances, still that we have not imperilled the "eternal salvation of the Soul" and its relation to the Godhead.  And if man succeeds in gaining philosophic conviction of the absolute necessity of all actions and their entire irresponsibility, and absorbing this into his flesh and blood, even those remains of the pricks of conscience vanish.  
 

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