Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Science as a prejudice.

It follows from the laws of the order of rank that scholars insofar as they belong to the spiritual middle class can never catch sight of the really big problems and question marks; moreover, their courage and their eyes simply do not reach that far – and above all, their needs that led them to become scholars in the first place, their innermost assumptions and desire that things night be such and such, their fears and hopes all come to rest and are satisfied too soon.  Take for example the pedantic Englishman Herbert Spencer What makes him "enthuse” in his way and then leads him to draw a line of hope, a horizon of desirability – that eventual reconciliation of "egoism and altruism” above which he raves – almost nauseates the likes of us; a human race that adopted such Spencerian perspectives as its ultimate perspectives would seem to us worthy of contempt, of annihilation.  But the mere fact that he had to experience as his highest hope something that to others appears and may only appear as a disgusting possibility poses a question mark that Spencer would have been incapable of forseeing.  It is no different with the faith that so many materialistic natural scientists rest content nowadays, the faith in a world that is supposed to have its equivalent and its measure in human thinking and human valuations, a " world of truth " at which we might be able ultimately to arrive with the help of our insignificant, four-cornered human reason!  What?  Do we actually wish to have existence debased in that fashion to a ready-reckoner exercise and calculation for stay at home mathematicians?  We should not, above all, seek to divest existence of its rich ambiguity: good taste forbids it, gentlemen, the taste of reverence for everything that lies beyond your horizon!  That a world-interpretation is alone right by which you maintain your position, by which investigation and work can go on scientifically in your sense (you really mean mechanically?)  an interpretation which acknowledges numbering, calculating, weighing, seeing and handling, and nothing more - such an idea is a piece of grossness and naivety, provided it is not lunacy and idiocy.  Would the reverse not be quite probable, that the most superficial and external characters of existence its most apparent quality, its outside, its embodiment should let themselves be apprehended first?  Perhaps alone allow themselves to be apprehended?  A "scientific" interpretation of the world as you understand it might consequently still be one of the stupidest, that is to say, the most destitute of significance, of all possible world-interpretations: I say this in confidence to my friends the Mechanicians, who today like to hobnob with philosophers, and absolutely believe that mechanics is the teaching of the first and last laws upon which, as upon a ground-floor, all existence must be built.  But an essentially mechanical world would be an essentially meaningless world!  Supposing we valued the worth of a music with reference to how much it could be counted, calculated, or formulated how absurd such a "scientific" estimate of music would be!  What would one have apprehended, understood, or discerned in it!  Nothing, absolutely nothing of what is really "music" in it!  

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