Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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One Thing is Needful.  To "give style" to one's character that is a grand and a rare art!  He who surveys all that his nature presents in its strength and in its weakness, and then fashions it into an ingenious plan, until everything appears artistic and rational, and even the weaknesses enchant the eye exercises that admirable art.  Here there has been a great amount of second nature added, there a portion of first nature has been taken away: in both cases with long exercise and daily labour at the task.  Here the ugly, which does not permit of being taken away, has been concealed, there it has been re interpreted into the sublime.  Much of the vague, which refuses to take form, has been reserved and utilised for the perspectives: it is meant to give a hint of the remote and immeasurable.  In the end, when the work has been completed, it is revealed how it was the constraint of the same taste that organised and fashioned it in whole and in part: whether the taste was good or bad is of less importance than one thinks, it is sufficient that it was a taste!  It will be the strong imperious natures which experience their most refined joy in such constraint, in such confinement and perfection under their own law; the passion of their violent volition lessens at the sight of all disciplined nature, all conquered and ministering nature: even when they have palaces to build and gardens to lay out, it is not to their taste to allow nature to be free.  It is the reverse with weak characters who have not power over themselves, and hate the restriction of style: they feel that if this repugnant constraint were laid upon them, they would necessarily become vulgarised under it: they become slaves as soon as they serve, they hate service.  Such intellects they may be intellects of the first rank are always concerned with fashioning and interpreting themselves and their surroundings as free nature wild, arbitrary, fantastic, confused and surprising: and it is well for them to do so, because only in this manner can they please themselves!  For one thing is needful: namely, that man should attain to satisfaction with himself be it but through this or that fable and artifice: it is only then that man's aspect is at all endurable!  He who is dissatisfied with himself is continually ready for revenge and we others will be his victims, if only in having always to endure his ugly sight. For the sight of the ugly makes one bad and gloomy.  
 

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