Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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After effect of the most Ancient Religiousness.

The thoughtless man thinks that the Will is the only thing that operates, that willing is something simple, manifestly given, underived, and comprehensible in itself.  He is convinced that when he does anything, for example, when he delivers a blow, it is he who strikes, and he has struck because he willed to strike.  He does not notice anything of a problem therein, but the feeling of willing suffices to him, not only for the acceptance of cause and effect, but also for the belief that he understands their relationship.  Of the mechanism of the occurrence, and of the manifold subtle operations that must be performed in order that the blow may result, and likewise of the incapacity of the Will in itself to effect even the smallest part of those operations he knows nothing.  The Will is to him a magically operating force; the belief in the Will as the cause of effects is the belief in magically operating forces.  In fact, whenever he saw anything happen, man originally believed in a Will as cause, and in personally willing beings operating in the background, the conception of mechanism was very remote from him.  Because, however, man for immense periods of time believed only in persons (and not in matter, forces, things, &c.)  , the belief in cause and effect has become a fundamental belief with him, which he applies everywhere when anything happens, and even still uses instinctively as a piece of atavism of remotest origin.  The propositions, "No effect without a cause, "and" Every effect again implies a cause," appear as generalisations of several less general propositions: "Where there is operation there has been willing?  "Operating is only possible on willing beings" "There is never a pure, resultless experience of activity, but every experience involves stimulation of the Will" (to activity, defence, revenge or retaliation).  But in the primitive period of the human race, the latter and the former propositions were identical, the first were not generalisations of the second, but the second were explanations of the first.  Schopenhauer, with his assumption that all that exists is something volitional, has set a primitive mythology on the throne; he seems never to have attempted an analysis of the Will, because he believed like everybody in the simplicity and immediateness of all volition: while volition is in fact such a cleverly practised mechanical process that it almost escapes the observing eye.  I set the following propositions against those of Schopenhauer: Firstly, in order that Will may arise, an idea of pleasure and pain is necessary.  Secondly, that a vigorous excitation may be felt as pleasure or pain, is the affair of the interpreting intellect, which, to be sure, operates thereby for the most part unconsciously to us, and one and the same excitation may be interpreted as pleasure or pain.  Thirdly, it is only in an intellectual being that there is pleasure, displeasure and Will; the immense majority of organisms have nothing of the kind.  
 

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