Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Two Happy Ones.  Certainly this man, notwithstanding his youth, understands the improvisation of life, and astonishes even the acutest observers.  For it seems that he never makes a mistake, although he constantly plays the most hazardous games.  One is reminded of the improvising masters of the musical art, to whom even the listeners would fain ascribe a divine infallibility of the hand, notwithstanding that they now and then make a mistake, as every mortal is liable to do.  But they are skilled and inventive, and always ready in a moment to arrange into the structure of the score the most accidental tone (where the jerk of a finger or a humour brings it about), and to animate the accident with a fine meaning and soul.  Here is quite a different man: everything that he intends and plans fails with him in the long run.  That on which he has now and again set his heart has already brought him several times to the abyss, and to the very verge of ruin; and if he has as yet got out of the scrape, it certainly has not been merely with a "black eye."  Do you think he is unhappy over it?  He resolved long ago not to regard his own wishes and plans as of so much importance.  "If this does not succeed with me," he says to himself, "perhaps that will succeed; and on the whole I do not know but that I am under more obligation to thank my failures than any of my successes.  Am I made to be headstrong, and to wear the bull's horns?  That which constitutes the worth and the sum of life for me, lies somewhere else; I know more of life, because I have been so often on the point of losing it; and just on that account I have more of life than any of you!"  
 

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