Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Unconscious Virtues.

All qualities in a man of which he is conscious and especially when he presumes that they are visible and evident to his environment also are subject to quite other laws of development than those qualities which are un known to him, or imperfectly known, which by their subtlety can also conceal themselves from the subtlest observer, and hide as it were behind nothing, as in the case of the delicate sculptures on the scales of reptiles (it would be an error to suppose them an adornment or a defence for one sees them only with the microscope; consequently, with an eye areificially strengthened to an extent of vision which similar animals, to which they might perhaps have meant adornment or defence, do not possess!)  Our visible moral qualities, and especially our moral qualities believed to be visible, follow their own course, and our invisible qualities of similar name, which in relation to others neither serve for adornment nor defence, also follow their own course: quite a different course probably, and with lines and refinements, and sculptures, which might perhaps give pleasure to a God with a divine microscope.  We have, for example, our diligence, our ambition, our acuteness: all the world knows about them, and besides, we have probably once more our diligence, our ambition, our acuteness; but for these our reptile scales the microscope has not yet been invented!  And here the adherents of instinctive morality will say, "Bravo!  He at least regards unconscious virtues as possible – and that suffices us!  Oh, ye who are easily satisfied!  
 

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