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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OBJECTION.  Or should there be a counter reckoning to that theory that places psychological observation amongst the means of charming, curing, and relieving existence?  Should one have sufficiently convinced one's self of the unpleasant consequences of this art to divert from it designedly the attention of him who is educating himself in it?  As a matter of fact, a certain blind belief in the goodness of human nature, an innate aversion to the analysis of human actions, a kind of shamefacedness with respect to the nakedness of the soul may really be more desirable for the general wellbeing of a man than that quality, useful in isolated cases, of psychological sharp sightedness; and perhaps the belief in goodness, in virtuous men and deeds, in an abundance of impersonal goodwill in the world, has made men better inasmuch as it has made them less distrustful.  When one imitates Plutarch's heroes with enthusiasm, and turns with disgust from a suspicious examination of the motives for their actions, it is not truth which benefits thereby, but the welfare of human society; the psychological mistake and, generally speaking, the insensibility on this matter helps humanity forwards, while the recognition of truth gains more through the stimulating power of hypothesis than La Rochefoucauld has said in his preface to the first edition of his "Sentences et maximes morales”.  "Ce que le monde nomme vertu n’est d’ordinaire qu'un fantome forme par nos passions, a qui on donne un nom honnete pour faire impunement ce qu'on veut" La Rochefoucauld and those other French masters of soul examination (who have lately been joined by a German, the author of Psychological Observations) resemble good marksmen who again and again hit the bull's eye; but it is the bull's eye of human nature.  Their art arouses astonishment; but in the end a spectator who is not led by the spirit of science, but by humane intentions, will probably execrate an art which appears to implant in the soul the sense of the disparagement and suspicion of mankind.  
 

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