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   161. SELF OVERESTIMATION IN THE FAITH IN ARTISTS AND PHILOSOPHERS   Next Section

SELF OVERESTIMATION IN THE FAITH IN ARTISTS AND PHILOSOPHERS.  We all think that the goodness of a work of art or an artist is proven when it seizes and profoundly moves us.  And yet our own goodness in judging and feeling would first have to be proven—which is not the case.  Who in the realm of plastic art has moved and delighted us more than Bernini?  Who has had a more powerful effect than that post-Demosthenian orator8 who introduced the Asianic style and brought it to dominate during two centuries?  This dominance over whole centuries proves nothing about the goodness and enduring validity of a style; one should therefore not be too sure of his good faith in any artist; after all, such faith is not only faith in the reality of our feeling but also in the infallibility of our judgment; whereas judgment or feeling, or both, can themselves be too crude or too refined, too extreme or rough.  The blessings and raptures of a philosophy or a religion likewise prove nothing about their truth—as little as the happiness which the madman enjoys from his idée fixe proves anything about the rationality of his idea.  
 

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