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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Being Ashamed of Wealth.  Our age endures only a single species of rich men — those who are ashamed of their wealth.  If we hear it said of any one that he is very rich, we at once feel a similar sentiment to that experienced at the sight of a repulsively swollen invalid, one suffering from diabetes or dropsy.  We must with an effort remember our humanity, in order to go about with this rich man in such a way that he does not notice our feeling of disgust.  But as soon as he prides himself at all on his wealth, our feelings are mingled with an almost compassionate surprise at such a high degree of human unreason.  We would fain raise our hands to heaven and cry, "Poor deformed and overburdened creature, fettered a hundredfold, to whom every hour brings or may bring something unpleasant, in whose frame twitches every event that occurs in scores of countries, how can you make us believe that you feel at ease in your position?  If you appear anywhere in public, we know that it is a sort of running the gauntlet amid countless glances that have for you only cold hate or importunity or silent scorn.  You may earn more easily than others, but it is only a superfluous earning, which brings little joy, and the guarding of what you have earned is now, at any rate, a more troublesome business than any toilsome process of earning.  You are continually suffering, because you are continually losing.  What avails it you that they are always injecting you with fresh artificial blood?  That does not relieve the pain of those cupping-glasses that are fixed, forever fixed, on your neck!  — But, to be quite fair to you, it is difficult or perhaps impossible for you not to be rich.  You must guard, you must earn more; the inherited bent of your character is the yoke fastened upon you.  But do not on that account deceive us — be honestly and visibly ashamed of the yoke you wear, as in your soul you are weary and unwilling to wear it.  This shame is no disgrace”.  

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