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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The Significance of Oblivion in Moral Sentiment.  The same actions that in primitive society first aimed at the common advantage were later on performed from other motives: from fear or reverence of those who demanded and recommended them; or from habit, because men had seen them done about them from childhood upwards; or from kindness, because the practising of them caused delight and approving looks on all sides; or from vanity, because they were praised.  Such actions, in which the fundamental motive, that of utility, has been forgotten, are then called moral; not, indeed, because they are done from those other motives, but because they are not done with a conscious purpose of utility.  Whence the hatred of utility that suddenly manifests itself here, and by which all praiseworthy actions formally exclude all actions for the sake of utility?  — Clearly society, the rallying point of all morality and of all maxims in praise of moral action, has had to battle too long and too fiercely with the selfishness and obstinacy of the individual not to rate every motive morally higher than utility.  Hence it looks as if morals had not sprung from utility, whereas in fact morals are originally the public utility, which had great difficulty in prevailing over the interests of the unit and securing a loftier reputation.  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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