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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There is a defiance of self, to the sublimest manifestation of which belong many forms of asceticism.  Certain individuals have such great need of exercising their power and love of ruling that, in default of other objects, or because they have never succeeded otherwise, they finally excogitate the idea of tyrannising over certain parts of their own nature, portions or degrees of themselves.  Thus many a thinker confesses to views which' evidently do not serve either to increase or improve his reputation; many a one deliberately calls down the scorn of others when by keeping silence he could easily have remained respected; others contradict former opinions and do not hesitate to be called inconsistent on the contrary, they strive after this, and behave like reckless riders who like a horse best when it has grown wild, unmanageable, and covered with sweat.  Thus man climbs dangerous paths up the highest mountains in order that he may laugh to scoria his own fear and his trembling knees; thus the philosopher owns to views on asceticism, humility, holiness, in the brightness of which his own picture shows to the worst possible disadvantage.  This crushing of one's self, this scorn of one's own nature, this spernere se sperni, of which religion has made so much, is really a very high degree of vanity.  The whole moral of the Sermon on the Mount belongs here; man takes a genuine delight in doing violence to himself by these exaggerated claims, and afterwards idolising these tyrannical demands of his soul.  In every ascetic morality man worships one part of himself as a God, and is obliged, therefore, to diabolise the other parts.  
 

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