Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer and His Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten).

The Wanderer and his Shadow, the second supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1880.


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Previous Section   171. THE EMPLOYEES OF SCIENCE AND THE OTHERS   Next Section

The Employees of Science and the Others.  Really efficient and successful men of science might be collectively called "The Employees”.  If in youth their acumen is sufficiently practised, their memory is full, and hand and eye have acquired sureness, they are appointed by an older fellow craftsman to a scientific position where their qualities may prove useful.  Later on, when they have themselves gained an eye for the gaps and defects in their science, they place themselves in whatever position they are needed.  These persons all exist for the sake of science.  But there are rarer spirits, spirits that seldom succeed or fully mature — "for whose sake science exists "— at least, in their view.  They are often unpleasant, conceited, or cross grained men, but almost always prodigies to a certain extent.  They are neither employees nor employers; they make use of what those others have worked out and established, with a certain princely carelessness and with little and rare praise — just as if the others belonged to a lower order of beings.  Yet they possess the same qualities as their fellow workers, and that sometimes in a less developed form.  Moreover, they have a peculiar limitation, from which the others are free; this makes it impossible to put them into a place and to see in them useful tools.  They can only live in their own air and on their own soil.  This limitation suggests to them what elements of a science "are theirs"— in other words, what they can carry home into their house and atmosphere: they think that they are always collecting their scattered "property”.  If they are prevented from building at their own nest, they perish like shelterless birds.  The loss of freedom causes them to wilt away.  If they show, like their colleagues, a fondness for certain regions of science, it is always only regions where the fruits and seeds necessary to them can thrive.  What do they care whether science, taken as a whole, has untilled or badly tilled regions?  They lack all impersonal interest in a scientific problem.  As they are themselves personal through and through, all their knowledge and ideas are remoulded into a person, into a living complexity, with its parts interdependent, overlapping, jointly nurtured, and with a peculiar atmosphere and scent as a whole.  Such natures, with their system of personal knowledge, produce the illusion that a science (or even the whole of philosophy) is finished and has reached its goal.  The life in their system works this magic, which at times has been fatal to science and deceptive to the really efficient workers above described, and at other times, when drought and exhaustion prevailed, has acted as a kind of restorative, as if it were the air of a cool, refreshing resting place.  These men are usually called philosophers.  

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