Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Two Kinds of Causes which are Confounded.

It seems to me one of my most essential steps and advances that I have learned to distinguish the cause of an action generally from the cause of an action in a particular manner, say, in this direction, with this aim.  The first kind of cause is a quantum of stored-up force, which waits to be used in some manner, for some purpose; the second kind of cause, on the contrary, is something quite unimportant in comparison with the first, an insignificant hazard for the most part, in conformity with .  which the quantum of force in question "discharges" itself in some unique and definite manner the match in relation to the barrel of gunpowder.  Among those insignificant hazards and matches I count all the so-called "aims” and similarly the still more so-called "occupations" of people: they are relatively optional, arbitrary, and almost indifferent in relation to the immense quantum of force which presses on, as we have said, to be used up in any way whatever.  One generally looks at the matter in a different manner: one is accustomed to see the impelling force precisely in the aim (object, calling, etc.)  , according to a primeval error, but it is only the directing force; the steersman and the steam have thereby been confounded.  And yet it is not even always a steersman, the directing force.  Is the "aim" the "purpose” not often enough only an extenuating pretext, an additional self-blinding of conceit, which does not wish it to be said that the ship follows the stream into which it has accidentally run?  That it "wishes" to go that way, because it must go that way?  That it has a direction, sure enough, but not a steersman?  We still require a criticism of the conception of "purpose".  

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