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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THE ENNOBLING OF REALITY.  Because men once took the aphrodisiacal drive to be a godhead, showing worshipful gratitude when they felt its effect, that emotion has in the course of time been permeated with higher kinds of ideas, and thus in fact greatly ennobled.  By virtue of this idealizing art, some peoples have turned diseases into great beneficial forces of culture— the Greeks, for example, who in earlier centuries suffered from widespread nervous epidemics (similar to epilepsy and the St.  Vitus Dance) and created the glorious prototype of the bacchante from them.  For the health of the Greeks was not at all robust; their secret was to honor illness like a god, too, if only it were powerful.  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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