Friedrich Nietzsche, Miscellaneous Maxims and opinions (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche).

Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions, the first supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1879.  A second supplement, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten) followed in 1880.

  

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Previous Section   5. A HEREDITARY SIN OF PHILOSOPHERS   Next Section

A Hereditary Sin of Philosophers.  Philosophers have at all times appropriated and corrupted the maxims of censors of men (moralists), by taking them over without qualification and trying to prove as necessary what the moralists only meant as a rough indication or as a truth suited to their fellow countrymen or fellow-townsmen for a single decade.  Moreover, the philosophers thought that they were thereby raising themselves above the moralists!  Thus it will be found that the celebrated teachings of Schopenhauer as to the supremacy of the will over the intellect, of the immutability of character, the negativity of pleasure — all errors, in the sense in which he understands them — rest upon principles of popular wisdom enunciated by the moralists.  Take the very word "will” which Schopenhauer twisted so as to become a common denotation of several human conditions and with which he filled a gap in the language (to his own great advantage, in so far as he was a moralist, for he became free to speak of the will as Pascal had spoken of it).  In the hands of its creator, Schopenhauer's "will” through the philosophic craze for generalisation, already turned out to be a bane to knowledge.  For this will was made into a poetic metaphor, when it was held that all things in nature possess will.  Finally, that it might be applied to all kinds of disordered mysticism, the word was misused by a fraudulent convention.  So now all our fashionable philosophers repeat it and seem to be perfectly certain that all things have a will and are in fact One Will.  According to the description generally given of this All-One-Will, this is much as if one should positively try to have the stupid Devil for one's God.  
 

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