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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Previous Section   157. THE GENIUS'S SORROWS AND THEIR VALUE   Next Section

THE GENIUS'S SORROWS AND THEIR VALUE.  The artistic genius wants to give pleasure, but if his work is on a very high level, he may easily lack people to appreciate it; he offers them food, but no one wants it.  That gives him a sometimes ludicrously touching pathos; for basically he has no right to force pleasure on men.  His pipe sounds, but no one wants to dance.  Can that be tragic?  Perhaps it can.  Ultimately, he has as compensation for this privation more pleasure in creating than other men have in all other kinds of activity.  One feels his sorrows excessively, because the sound of his lament is louder, his tongue more eloquent.  And sometimes his sorrows really are very great, but only because his ambition, his envy, are so great.  The learned genius like Kepler and Spinoza, is usually not so desirous, and raises no such fuss about his really greater sorrows and privations.  He can count with greater certainty on posterity and dismiss the present while an artist who does this is always playing a desperate game, at which his heart must ache.  In very rare cases—when the genius of skill and understanding merges with the moral genius in the same individual—we have, in addition to the above-mentioned pains, those pains that must be seen as the exceptions in the world: the extra-personal, transpersonal feelings, in sympathy with a people, mankind, all civilization, or all suffering existence; these feelings acquire their value through association with especially difficult and remote perceptions (pity per se is not worth much).  But what measure, what scale is there for their authenticity?  Is it not almost imperative to be distrustful of anyone who speaks about having feelings of this kind?  
 

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