Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Why we can hardly Dispense with Morality.

The naked man is generally an ignominious spectacle I speak of us European males (and by no means of European females)!  If the most joyous company at table suddenly found themselves stripped and divested of their garments through the trick of an enchanter, I believe that not only would the joyousness be gone and the strongest appetite lost; it seems that we Europeans cannot at all dispense with the masquerade that is called clothing.  But should not the disguise of " moral men” the screening under moral formulae and notions of decency, the whole kindly concealment of our conduct under conceptions of duty, virtue, public sentiment, honourableness, and disinterestedness, have just as good reasons in support of it?  Not that I mean hereby that human wickedness and baseness, in short, the evil wild beast in us, should be disguised; on the contrary, my idea is that it is precisely as tame animals that we are an ignominious spectacle and require moral disguising, that the "inner man" in Europe is far from having enough of intrinsic evil "to let himself be seen" with it (to be beautiful with it).  The European disguises himself in morality because he has become a sick, sickly, crippled animal, who has good reasons for being "tame” because he is almost an abortion, scarce half made up, a weak and clumsy thing.  It is not the ferocity of the beast of prey that requires a moral disguise but the herd animal with its profound mediocrity, timidity and boredom with itself.  Morality dresses up the European let us acknowledge it!  In more distinguished, more important, more conspicuous guise - in "divine" guise.  
 

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