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   231. THE RISE OF GENIUS   Next Section

THE RISE OF GENIUS.  The ingenuity with which a prisoner seeks the means of freedom, the most cold blooded and patient employment of every smallest advantage, can teach us of what tools Nature sometimes makes use in order to produce Genius, a word which I beg will be understood without any mythological and religious flavour; she, Nature, begins it in a dungeon and excites to the utmost its desire to free itself.  Or to give another picture: someone who has completely lost his way in a wood, but who with unusual energy strives to reach the open in one direction or another, will sometimes discover a new path which nobody knew previously, thus arise geniuses, who are credited with originality.  It has already been said that mutilation, crippling, or the loss of some important organ, is frequently the cause of the unusual development of another organ, because this one has to fulfil its own and also another function.  This explains the source of many a brilliant talent.  These general remarks on the origin of genius may be applied to the special case, the origin of the perfect free spirit.  
 

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