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   58. WHAT ONE MAY PROMISE   Next Section

WHAT ONE MAY PROMISE.  One may promise actions, but no sentiments, for these are involuntary.  Whoever promises to love or hate a person, or be faithful to him forever, promises something which is not within his power; he can certainly promise such actions as are usually the results of love, hate, or fidelity, but which may also spring from other motives; for many ways and motives lead to one and the same action.  The promise to love someone for ever is, therefore, really: So long as I love you I will act towards you in a loving way; if I cease to love you, you will still receive the same treatment from me, although inspired by other motives, so that our fellow men will still be deluded into the belief that our love is unchanged and ever the same.  One promises, therefore, the continuation of the semblance of love, when, without self deception, one speaks vows of eternal love.  
 

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