Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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A Fixed Reputation.  A fixed reputation was formerly a matter of the very greatest utility; and wherever society continues to be ruled by the herd instinct, it is still most suitable for every individual to give to his character and business the appearance of unalterableness, even when they are not so in reality.  "One can rely on him, he remains the same" that is the praise which has most significance in all dangerous conditions of society.  Society feels with satisfaction that it has a reliable tool ready at all times in the virtue of this one, in the ambition of that one, and in the reflection and passion of a third one, it honours this tool like nature, this self constancy, this unchangeableness in opinions, efforts, and even in faults, with the highest honours.  Such a valuation, which prevails and has prevailed everywhere simultaneously with the morality of custom, educates "characters," and brings all changing, re learning, and self transforming into disrepute.  Be the advantage of this mode of thinking ever so great otherwise, it is in any case the mode of judging which is most injurious to knowledge: for precisely the good will of the know ing one ever to declare himself unhesitatingly as opposed to his former opinions, and in general to be distrustful of all that wants to be fixed in him is here condemned and brought into disrepute.  The disposition of the thinker, as incompatible with a "fixed reputation," is regarded as dishonourable, while the petrifaction of opinions has all the honour to itself: we have at present still to live under the interdict of such rules!  How difficult it is to live when one feels that the judgment of many millenniums is around one and against one.  It is probable that for many millenniums knowledge was afflicted with a bad conscience, and there must have been much self contempt and secret misery in the history of the greatest intellects.  
 

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