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   264. THE WITTY PERSON EITHER OVERVALUED OR UNDERVALUED   Next Section

THE WITTY PERSON EITHER OVERVALUED OR UNDERVALUED.  Unscientific but talented people value every mark of intelligence, whether it be on a true or a false track; above all, they want the person with whom they have intercourse to entertain them with his wit, to spur them on, to inflame them, to carry them away in seriousness and play, and in any case to be a powerful amulet to protect them against boredom.  Scientific natures, on the other hand, know that the gift of possessing all manner of notions should be strictly controlled by the scientific spirit: it is not that which shines, deludes and excites, but the often insignificant truth that is the fruit which he knows how to shake down from the tree of knowledge.  Like Aristotle, he is not permitted to make any distinction between the "bores "and the "wits” his daemon leads him through the desert as well as through tropical vegetation, in order that he may only take pleasure in the really actual, tangible, true.  In insignificant scholars this produces a general disdain and suspicion of cleverness, and, on the other hand, clever people frequently have an aversion to science, as have, for instance, almost all artists.  
 

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