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   252. THE PLEASURE IN DISCERNMENT   Next Section

THE PLEASURE IN DISCERNMENT.  Why is discernment, that essence of the searcher and the philosopher, connected with pleasure?  Firstly, and above all, because thereby we become conscious of our strength, for the same reason that gymnastic exercises, even without spectators, are enjoyable.  Secondly, because in the course of knowledge we surpass older ideas and their representatives, and become, or believe ourselves to be, conquerors.  Thirdly, because even a very little new knowledge exalts us above everyone, and makes us feel we are the only ones who know the subject aright.  These are the three most important reasons of the pleasure, but there are many others, according to the nature of the discerner.  A not inconsiderable index of such is given, where no one would look for it, in a passage of my parenetic work on Schopenhauer, with the arrangement of which every experienced servant of knowledge may be satisfied, even though he might wish to dispense with the ironical touch that seems to pervade those pages.  For if it be true that for the making of a scholar "a number of very human impulses and desires must be thrown together” that the scholar is indeed a very noble but not a pure metal, and "consists of a confused blending of very different impulses and attractions” the same thing may be said equally of the making and nature of the artist, the philosopher and the moral genius and whatever glorified great names there may be in that list.  Everything human deserves ironical consideration with respect to its origin, therefore irony is so superfluous in the world.  
 

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