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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Man is not equally moral at all hours, this is well known.  If his morality is judged to be the capability for great self sacrificing resolutions and self denial (which, when continuous and grown habitual, are called holiness), he is most moral in the passions the higher emotion provides him with entirely new motives, of which he, sober and cold as usual, perhaps does not even believe himself capable.  How does this happen?  Probably because of the proximity of everything great and highly exciting; if man is once wrought up to a state of extraordinary suspense, he is as capable of carrying out a terrible revenge as of a terrible crushing of his need for revenge.  Under the influence of powerful emotion, he desires in any case the great, the powerful, the immense; and if he happens to notice that the sacrifice of himself satisfies him as well as, or better than, the sacrifice of others, he chooses that.  Actually, therefore, he only cares about discharging his emotion; in order to ease his tension he seizes the enemy's spears and buries them in his breast.  That there was something great in self denial and not in revenge had to be taught to mankind by long habit; a Godhead that sacrificed itself was the strongest, most effective symbol of this kind of greatness.  As the conquest of the most difficult enemy, the sudden mastering of an affection- thus this denial appears; and so far it passes for the summit of morality.  In reality it is a question of the confusion of one idea with another, while the temperament maintains an equal height, an equal level.  Temperate men who are resting from their passions no longer understand the morality of those moments; but the general admiration of those who had the same experiences upholds them; pride is their consolation when affection and the understanding of their deed vanish.  Therefore, at bottom even those actions of self denial are not moral, inasmuch as they are not done strictly with regard to others; rather the other only provides the highly strung temperament with an opportunity of relieving itself through that denial.  
 

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