Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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In Honour of Priestly Natures.

I think that philosophers have always felt themselves very remote from that which the people (in all classes of society nowadays) take for wisdom: the prudent, bovine placidity, piety, and country parson meekness, which lies in the meadow and gazes at life seriously and ruminatingly: this is probably because philosophers have not had sufficiently the taste of the "people" or of the country parson, for that kind of wisdom.  Philosophers will also perhaps be the last to acknowledge that the people should understand something of that which lies furthest from them, something of the great passion of the thinker, who lives and must live continually in the storm-cloud of the highest problems and the heaviest responsibilities (consequently, not gazing at all, to say nothing of doing so indifferently, securely, objectively).  The people venerate an entirely different type of men when on their part they form the ideal of a "sage” and they are a thousand times justified in rendering homage with the highest eulogies and honours to precisely that type of men namely, the gentle, serious, simple, chaste, priestly natures and those related to them, it is to them that the praise falls due in the popular veneration of wisdom.  And to whom should the multitude have more reason to be grateful than to these men who pertain to its class and rise from its ranks, but are persons consecrated, chosen, and sacrificed for its good they themselves believe themselves sacrificed to God, before whom every one can pour forth his heart with impunity, by whom he can get rid of his secrets, cares, and worse things (for the man who "communicates himself" gets rid of himself, and he who has "confessed" forgets).  Here there exists a great need: for sewers and pure cleansing waters are required also for spiritual filth, and rapid currents of love are needed, and strong, lowly, pure hearts, who qualify and sacrifice themselves for such service of the non-public health-department for it is a sacrificing, the priest is, and continues to be, a human sacrifice.  The people regard such sacrificed, silent, serious men of "faith" as "wise” that is to say, as men who have become sages, as "reliable" in relation to their own unreliability.  Who would desire to deprive the people of that expression and that veneration?  But as is fair on the other side, among philosophers the priest also is still held to belong to the "people” and is not regarded as a sage, because, above all, they themselves do not believe in "sages” and they already smell "the common people" in this very belief and superstition.  It was modesty which invented in Greece the word "philosopher” and left to the play actors of the spirit the superb arrogance of assuming the name "wise" the modesty of such monsters of pride and self-glorification as Pythagoras and Plato.  
 

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