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   375. POSTHUMOUS FAME   Next Section

POSTHUMOUS FAME.  It makes sense to hope for recognition in a distant future only if one assumes that mankind will remain essentially unchanged and that all greatness must be perceived as great, not for one time only, but for all times.  However, this is a mistake; in all its perceptions and judgments of what is beautiful and good, mankind changes very greatly; it is fantasy to believe of ourselves that we have a mile's head start and that all mankind is following our path.  Besides, a scholar who goes unrecognized may certainly count on the fact that other men will also make the same discovery he did, and that in the best case a historian will later acknowledge that he already knew this or the other thing but was not capable of winning belief for his theory.  Posterity always interprets lack of recognition as a lack of strength.  In short, one should not speak so quickly in favor of arrogant isolation.  Incidentally, there are exceptions; but usually it is our errors, weaknesses, or follies that keep our great qualities from being recognized.  
 

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