Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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To be harmful with what is best in us.

Our strong points sometimes drive us so far forward that we cannot any longer endure our weaknesses, and we perish by them: we also perhaps see this result beforehand, but nevertheless do not want it to be otherwise.  We then become hard towards that which desires to be spared in us, and our pitilessness is also our greatness.  Such an experience, which must in the end cost us our life, is a symbol of the collective effect of great men upon others and upon their epoch: it is just with their best abilities, with that which only they can do, that they destroy much that is weak, uncertain, evolving, and willing, and are thereby injurious.  Indeed, the case may happen in which, taken on the whole, they only do injury, because their best is accepted and drunk up as it were solely by those who lose their understanding and their egoism by it, as by too strong a beverage; they become so intoxicated that they go breaking their limbs on all the wrong roads where their drunkenness drives them.  
 

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