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   18. FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS OF METAPHYSICS   Next Section

FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS OF METAPHYSICS.  When the history of the rise of thought comes to be written, a new light will be thrown on the following statement of a distinguished logician: "The primordial general law of the cognisant subject consists in the inner necessity of recognising every object in itself in its own nature, as a thing identical with itself, consequently self existing and at bottom remaining ever the same and unchangeable: in short, in recognising everything as a substance".  Even this law, which is here called "primordial” has evolved: it will someday be shown how gradually this tendency arises in the lower organisms, how the feeble mole eyes of their organisations at first see only the same thing, how then, when the various awakenings of pleasure and displeasure become noticeable, various substances are gradually distinguished, but each with one attribute, i.  e.  one single relation to such an organism.  The first step in logic is the judgment, the nature of which, according to the decision of the best logicians, consists in belief.  At the bottom of all belief lies the sensation of the pleasant or the painful in relation to the sentient subject.  A new third sensation as the result of two previous single sensations is the judgment in its simplest form.  We organic beings have originally no interest in anything but its relation to us in connection with pleasure and pain.  Between the moments (the states of feeling) when we become conscious of this connection, lie moments of rest, of non feeling; the world and everything is then without interest for us, we notice no change in it (as even now a deeply interested person does not notice when any one passes him).  To the plant, things are as a rule tranquil and eternal, everything like itself.  From the period of the lower organisms man has inherited the belief that similar things exist (this theory is only contradicted by the matured experience of the most advanced science).  The primordial belief of everything organic from the beginning is perhaps even this, that all the rest of the world is one and immovable.  The point furthest removed from those early beginnings of logic is the idea of Causality, indeed we still really think that all sensations and activities are acts of the free will; when the sentient individual contemplates himself, he regards every sensation, every alteration as something isolated, that is to say, unconditioned and disconnected, it rises up in us without connection with anything foregoing or following.  We are hungry, but do not originally think that the organism must be nourished; the feeling seems to make itself felt without cause and purpose, it isolates itself and regards itself as arbitrary.  Therefore, belief in the freedom of the will is an original error of everything organic, as old as the existence of the awakenings of logic in it; the belief in unconditioned substances and similar things is equally a primordial as well as an old error of everything organic.  But inasmuch as all metaphysics has concerned itself chiefly with substance and the freedom of will, it may be designated as the science which treats of the fundamental errors of mankind, but treats of them as if they were fundamental truths.  

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