Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Genoa.  I have looked upon this city, its villas and pleasure grounds, and the wide circuit of its inhabited heights and slopes for a considerable time.  In the end I must say that I see countenances out of past generations - this district is strewn with the images of bold and autocratic men.  They have lived and have wanted to live on - they say so with their houses, built and decorated for centuries, and not for the passing hour: they were well disposed to life, however ill disposed they may often have been towards themselves.  I always see the builder, how he casts his eye on all that is built around him far and near, and likewise on the city, the sea, and the chain of mountains; how he expresses power and conquest with his gaze: all this he wishes to fit into his plan, and in the end make it his property, by its becoming a portion of the same.  The whole district is overgrown with this superb, insatiable egoism of the desire to possess and exploit; and as these men when abroad recognised no frontiers, and in their thirst for the new placed a new world beside the old, so also at home everyone rose up against everyone else, and devised some mode of expressing his superiority, and of placing between himself and his neighbour his personal infinity.  Each one established a home for himself by overpowering it with his architectural ideas and refashioning it into a house that was a feast for the eyes.  When we consider the north, one is impressed by the law, and the general delight in lawfulness and obedience that is apparent as one contemplates the way the cities are built.  One is led to guess at the ways in which people fundamentally regarded themselves as equal and subordinated themselves; that must have been what was dominant in the souls of the builders.  But what you find here upon turning any corner is a human being who knows the sea, adventure and the Orient; a human being who abhors the law and the neighbour as a kind of boredom and who measures everything old and established with envious eyes.  With the marvelous cunning of his imagination he would like to establish all of this anew – at least in thought – and put his hand and meaning to it – if only for the moments on a sunny afternoon when his insatiable and melancholy soul does for once feel satiated and only what is his and nothing alien appears to his eyes.  

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