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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Origin of the Doctrine of Free Will.  Necessity sways one man in the shape of his passions, another as a habit of hearing and obeying, a third as a logical conscience, a fourth as a caprice and a mischievous delight in evasions.  These four, however, seek the freedom of their will at the very point where they are most securely chained. It is as if the silkworm sought freedom of will in spinning. What is the reason?  It is as if the silkworm sought freedom of will in spinning.  What is the reason?  Clearly this, that everyone thinks himself most free where his vitality is strongest; hence, as I have said, now in passion, now in duty, now in knowledge, now in caprice.  A man unconsciously imagines that where he is strong, where he feels most thoroughly alive, the element of his freedom must lie.  He thinks of dependence and apathy, independence and vivacity as forming inevitable pairs.  Thus an experience that a man has undergone in the social and political sphere is wrongly transferred to the ultimate metaphysical sphere.  There the strong man is also the free man, there the vivid feeling of joy and sorrow, the high hopes, the keen desires, the powerful hates are the (attributes of the ruling, independent natures, while the thrall and the slave live in a state of dazed oppression.  The doctrine of free will is an invention of the ruling classes.  

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