Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Earnestness for the Truth.

Earnest for the truth!  What different things men understand by these words!  Just the same opinions, and modes of demonstration and testing which a thinker regards as a frivolity in himself, to which he has succumbed with shame at one time or other, just the same opinions may give to an artist, who comes in contact with them and accepts them temporarily, the consciousness that the profoundest earnestness for the truth has now taken hold of him, and that it is worthy of admiration that, although an artist, he at the same time exhibits the most ardent desire for the opposite of the apparent.  It is thus possible that a person may, just by his pathos of earnestness, betray how superficially and sparingly his intellect has hitherto operated in the domain of knowledge.  And is not everything that we consider important our betrayer?  It shows where our motives lie, and where our motives are altogether lacking.  

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