Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Juxtapositions in us.

Must we not acknowledge to ourselves, we artists, that there is a strange discrepancy in us; that on the one hand our taste, and on the other hand our creative power, keep apart in an extraordinary manner, continue apart, and have a separate growth; I mean to say that they have entirely different gradations and tempi of age, youth, maturity, mellowness and rottenness?  So that, for example, a musician could all his life create things which contradicted all that his ear and heart, spoilt for listening, prized, relished and preferred: he would not even require to be aware of the contradiction!  As an almost painfully regular experience shows, a person s taste can easily outgrow the taste of his power, even without the latter being thereby paralysed or checked in its productivity.  The reverse, however, can also to some extent take place, and it is to this especially that I should like to direct the attention of artists.  A constant producer, a man who is a "mother" in the grand sense of the term, one who no longer knows or hears of anything except pregnancies and child beds of his spirit, who has no time at all to reflect and make comparisons with regard to himself and his work, who is also no longer inclined to exercise his taste, but simply forgets it, letting it take its chance of standing, lying or falling, perhaps such a man at last produces works on which he is then quite unfit to pass a judgment: so that he speaks and thinks foolishly about them and about himself.  This seems to me almost the normal condition with fruitful artists- nobody knows a child less well than its parents and the rule applies even (to take an immense example) to the entire Greek world of poetry and art : it never "knew" what it had done.  
 

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