Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Refracted Light.  We are not always brave, and when we are weary, people of our stamp are liable to lament occasionally in this wise: "It is so hard to cause pain to men oh, that it should be necessary!  What good is it to live concealed, when we do not want to keep to ourselves that which causes vexation?  Would it not be more advisable to live in the madding crowd, and compensate individuals for sins that are committed, and must be committed, against mankind in general?  Foolish with fools, vain with the vain, enthusiastic with enthusiasts?  Would that not be reasonable when there is such an inordinate amount of divergence in the main?  When I hear of the malignity of others against me is not my first feeling that of satisfaction?  It is well that it should be so!  I seem to myself to say to them I am so little in harmony with you, and have so much truth on my side: see henceforth that you be merry at my expense as often as you can!  Here are my defects and mistakes, here are my illusions, my bad taste, my confusion, my tears, my vanity, my owlish concealment, my contradictions!  Here you have something to laugh at!  Laugh then, and enjoy yourselves!  I am not averse to the law and nature of things, which is that defects and errors should give pleasure!  To be sure, there were once more glorious times, when as soon as any one got an idea, however moderately new it might be, he would think himself so indispensable as to go out into the street with it, and call to everybody: Behold!  the kingdom of heaven is at hand!  I should not miss myself, if I were a wanting.  We are none of us indispensable!  "As we have said, however, we do not think thus when we are brave; we do not think about it at all.  

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