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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Earthly Infirmities AND their Main Cause.  If we look about us, we are always coming across men who have eaten eggs all their lives without observing that the oblong shaped taste the best; who do not know that a thunder storm is beneficial to the stomach; that perfumes are most fragrant in cold, clear air; that our sense of taste varies in different parts of our mouths; that every meal at which we talk well or listen well does harm to the digestion.  If we are not satisfied with these examples of defective powers of observation, we shall concede all the more readily that the everyday matters are very imperfectly seen and rarely observed by the majority.  Is this a matter of indifference?  — Let us remember, after all, that from this defect are derived nearly all the bodily and spiritual infirmities of the individual.  Ignorance of what is good and bad for us, in the arrangement of our mode of life, the division of our day, the selection of our friends and the time we devote to them, in business and leisure, commanding and obeying, our feeling for nature and for art, our eating, sleeping, and meditation; ignorance and lack of keen perceptions in the smallest and most ordinary details — this it is that makes the world "a vale of tears "for so many.  Let us not say that here as everywhere the fault lies with human unreason.  Of reason there is enough and to spare, but it is wrongly directed and artificially diverted from these little intimate things.  Priests and teachers, and the sublime ambition of all idealists, coarser and subtler, din it even into the child's ears that the means of serving mankind at large depend upon altogether different things — upon the salvation of the soul, the service of the State, the advancement of science, or even upon social position and property; whereas the needs of the individual, his requirements great and small during the twenty four hours of the day, are quite paltry or indifferent.  Even Socrates attacked with all his might this arrogant neglect of the human for the benefit of humanity, and loved to indicate by a quotation from Homer the true sphere and conception of all anxiety and reflection: "All that really matters” he said, "is the good and evil hap I find at home”.  

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