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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OF CHRISTIAN ASCETICISM AND HOLINESS.  As greatly as isolated thinkers have endeavoured to depict as a miracle the rare manifestations of morality, which are generally called asceticism and holiness, miracles which it would be almost an outrage and sacrilege to explain by the light of common sense, as strong also is the inclination towards this outrage.  A mighty impulse of nature has at all times led to a protest against those manifestations; science, in so far as it is an imitation of nature, at least allows itself to rise against the supposed inexplicableness and unapproachableness of these objections.  So far it has certainly not succeeded: those appearances are still unexplained, to the great joy of the above mentioned worshippers of the morally marvellous.  For, speaking generally, the unexplained must be absolutely inexplicable, the inexplicable absolutely unnatural, supernatural, wonderful, thus runs the demand in the souls of all religious and metaphysical people (also of artists, if they should happen to be thinkers at the same time); whilst the scientist sees in this demand the "evil principle "in itself.  The general, first probability upon which one lights in the contemplation of holiness and asceticism is this, that their nature is a complicated one, for almost everywhere, within the physical world as well as in the moral, the apparently marvellous has been successfully traced back to the complicated, the many conditioned.  Let us venture, therefore, to isolate separate impulses from the soul of saints and ascetics, and finally to imagine them as intergrown.  
 

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