Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Out of the Distance.

This mountain makes the whole district which it dominates charming in every way, and full of significance.  After we have said this to ourselves for the hundredth time, we are so irrationally and so gratefully disposed towards it, as the giver of this charm, that we fancy it must itself be the most charming thing in the district and so we climb it, and are undeceived.  All of a sudden, both it and the landscape around us and under us, are as it were disenchanted; we had forgotten that many a great ness, like many a goodness, wants only to be seen at a certain distance, and entirely from below, not from above, it is thus only that it operates.  Perhaps you know men in your neighbourhood who can only look at themselves from a certain distance to find themselves at all endurable, or attractive and enlivening; they are to be dissuaded from self knowledge.  
 

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