Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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The Origin of the Learned.

The learned man in Europe grows out of all the different ranks and social conditions, like a plant requiring no specific soil: on that account he belongs essentially and involuntarily to the partisans of democratic thought.  But this origin betrays itself.  If one has trained one s glance to some extent to recognise in a learned book or scientific treatise the intellectual idiosyncrasy of the learned man all of them have such idiosyncrasy, and if we take it by surprise, we shall almost always get a glimpse behind it of the "antecedent history" of the learned man and his family, especially of the nature of their callings and occupations.  Where the feeling finds expression, "That is at last proved, I am now done with it" it is commonly the ancestor in the blood and instincts of the learned man that approves of the "accomplished work" in the nook from which he sees things; the belief in the proof is only an indication of what has been looked upon for ages by a laborious family as "good work”.  Take an example: the sons of registrars and office clerks of every kind whose main task has always been to arrange a variety of material, distribute it in drawers, and systematise it generally, display, when they become learned men, an inclination to regard a problem as almost solved when they have systematised it.  There are philosophers who are at bottom nothing but systematising brains the formal part of the paternal occupation has become its essence to them.  The talent for classifications, for tables of categories, betrays something; it is not for nothing that a person is the child of his parents.  The son of an advocate will also have to be an advocate as investigator: he seeks as a first consideration, to carry the point in his case, as a second consideration, he perhaps seeks to be in the right.  One recognises the sons of Protestant clergymen and schoolmasters by the naive assurance with which as learned men they already assume their case to be proved, when it has but been presented by them staunchly and warmly: they are thoroughly accustomed to people believing in them, it belonged to their fathers "trade"!  A Jew, contrariwise, in accordance with his business surroundings and the past of his race, is least of all accustomed to people believing him.  Observe Jewish scholars with regard to this matter, they all lay great stress on logic, that is to say, on compelling assent by means of reasons; they know that they must conquer thereby, even when race and class antipathy is against them, even where people are unwilling to believe them.  For in fact, nothing is more democratic than logic: it knows no respect of persons, and takes even the crooked nose as straight.  In passing we may remark that in respect to logical thinking, in respect to cleaner intellectual habits, Europe is not a little indebted to the Jews; nobody more so than the Germans who are a lamentably deraisonnable race who to this day must always have their "heads washed" first.  Wherever the Jews have won influence they have taught men to analyse more subtly, to argue more acutely, to write more clearly and purely: their task was ever to bring a people "to listen to reason”.  

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