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   371. ASSUMING THE COLOURS OF THE ENVIRONMENT   Next Section

ASSUMING THE COLOURS OF THE ENVIRONMENT.  Why are likes and dislikes so contagious that we can hardly live near a very sensitive person without being filled, like a hogshead, with his fors and againsts?  In the first place, complete forbearance of judgment is very difficult, and sometimes absolutely intolerable to our vanity; it has the same appearance as poverty of thought and sentiment, or as timidity and unmanliness; and so we are, at least, driven on to take a side, perhaps contrary to our environment, if this attitude gives greater pleasure to our pride.  As a rule, however, and this is the second point, we are not conscious of the transition from indifference to liking or disliking, but we gradually accustom ourselves to the sentiments of our environment, and because sympathetic agreement and acquiescence are so agreeable, we soon wear all the signs and party colours of our surroundings.  
 

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