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   280. MORE REVERENCE FOR THEM THAT KNOW   Next Section

More Reverence for Them that Know.  In the competition of production and sale the public is made judge of the product.  But the public has no special knowledge, and judges by the appearance of the wares.  In consequence, the art of appearance (and perhaps the taste for it) must increase under the dominance of competition, while on the other hand the quality of every product must deteriorate.  The result will be — so far as reason does not fall in value — that one day an end will be put to that competition, and a new principle will win the day.  Only the master of the craft should pronounce a verdict on the work, and the public should be dependent on the belief in the personality of the judge and his honesty.  Accordingly, no anonymous work!  At least an expert should be there as guarantor and pledge his name if the name of the creator is lacking or is unknown.  The cheapness of an article is for the layman another kind of illusion and deceit, since only durability can decide that a thing is cheap and to what an extent.  But it is difficult, and for a layman impossible, to judge of its durability.  Hence that which produces an effect on the eye and costs little at present gains the advantage — this being naturally machine made work.  Again, machinery — that is to say, the cause of the greatest rapidity and facility in production — favours the most saleable kind of article.  Otherwise it involves no tangible profit; it would be too little used and too often stand idle.  But as to what is most saleable, the public, as above said, decides: it must be the most exchangeable — in other words, the thing that appears good and also appears cheap.  Thus in the domain of labour our motto must also hold good: "More respect for those that know”!  

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