Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Previous Section   292. The Preachers of Morality   Next Section

The Preachers of Morality.  I do not mean to moralise but to those who do, I would give this advice : if you mean ultimately to deprive the best things and states of all all honour and worth then continue to talk about them as you have been doing!  Put them at the head of your morality and speak from morning till night of the happiness of virtue, of composure of the soul, of justice and immanent retribution.  The way you go about it all these good things will finally acquire a popularity and the favour of the streets for themselves: but then all the gold on them will also be worn off, and more besides: all the gold in them will have changed into lead.  Truly, you understand the reverse art of alchemy, the devalution of the most valuable things!  Try, just for once, another recipe, in order not to realise as before the opposite of what you mean to acheive: deny those good things, withdraw from them the applause of the populace and discourage the spread of them, make them once more the concealed chastity of solitary souls, and say: morality is something forbidden!  Perhaps you will thus attract to your cause the sort of men who matter, I mean the heroic.  But then there must be something formidable in it, and not as hitherto something disgusting!  Might one not be inclined to say at present with reference to morality what Master Eckardt says: "I pray God to rid me of God!"  
 

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