Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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The Intellectual Conscience.

I have the same experience over and over again and always try to resist it for although it is evident to me I still do not want to believe it: in the greater number of men the intellectual conscience is lacking; indeed, it would often seem to me that when demanding such a thing, one is as solitary in the largest cities as if you were in the desert.  Everyone looks at you with strange eyes and continues to use of his scales, calling this good and that bad; and no one blushes for shame when you remark that these weights are under-weight - people do not feel indignant; they merely laugh at your doubt.  I mean to say that the greater number of people does not find it contemptible to believe this or that, and live according to it, without having been previously aware of the ultimate and surest reasons for and against it, and without even giving themselves any trouble about such reasons afterwards, the most gifted men and the noblest women still belong to this "greater number."  But what is kindheartedness, refinement and genius to me, if he who has these virtues harbours lazy sentiments in his faith and judgments, if the longing for certainty does not rule in him, as his innermost desire and profoundest distress - as that which separates higher from lower men!  In certain pious people I have found a hatred of reason, and have been favourably disposed to them for it: their bad intellectual conscience was at least exposed by that!  But to stand in the midst of this rerum concordia discors and all the marvellous uncertainty and ambiguity of existence, and not to question, not to tremble with desire and delight in questioning, not even to hate the questioner- perhaps even finding him amusing - that is what I regard as contemptible, and it is this sentiment which I first of all search for in every one.  Some folly or other always persuades me anew that every man has this feeling, simply because he is human.  This is my special kind of injustice.  
 

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