Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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The Origin of our Concept of "Knowledge" I take this explanation from the street.

I heard one of the people saying that "he knew me”.  I asked myself: what do the common people really understand by knowledge? What do they want when they want "knowledge"?  Nothing more than this : that something strange is to be reduced to something familair.  And we philosophers have we really understood anything more by knowledge?  The known, that is to say, what we are accustomed to so that we no longer marvel at it, the common place, any kind of rule to which we are habituated, all and everything in which we know ourselves to be at home: what?  Is our need of knowing not just this need of the known?  The will to discover in everything strange, unusual, or questionable, something which no longer disquiets us?  Is it not possible that it should be the instinct of fear which enjoins upon us to know?  Is it not possible that the rejoicing of the discerner should be just his rejoicing in the regained feeling of security?  One philosopher imagined the world "known" when he had traced it back to the "idea": alas, was it not because the idea was so known, so familiar to him?  Because he had so much less fear of the "idea" Oh, this moderation of the discerners!  Let us but look at their principles and at their solutions of the riddle of the world in this connection!  When they again find aught in things, among things, or behind things that is unfortunately very well known to us, for example, our multiplication table, or our logic, or our willing and desiring, how happy they immediately are!  For "what is known is understood": they are unanimous as to that.  Even the most circumspect among them think that the known is at least more easily understood than the strange; that for example, it is methodically ordered to proceed outward from the "inner world” from "the facts of consciousness" because it is the world which is better known to us!  Error of errors!  The known is the accustomed, and the accustomed is the most difficult of all to "understand” that is to say, to perceive as a problem, to perceive as strange, distant, "outside of us”.  The great certainty of the natural sciences in comparison with psychology and the criticism of the elements of consciousness unnatural sciences, as one might almost be entitled to call them rests precisely on the fact that they take what is strange as their object: while it is almost like something contradictory and absurd to wish to take generally what is not strange as an object.  

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