Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, Fragment 970

Danger in modesty – To adapt ourselves too early to the tasks, societies, everyday life and everyday work, in which chance has placed us, at a time when neither our strength nor our goal has yet entered our consciousness with the force of law; the all-too-early certainty of consciousness, comfortableness, sociability thus achieved, this premature resignation that insinuates itself into our feelings as a release from inner and outer unrest, pampers and holds one back in the most dangerous fashion. To learn to feel respect after the fashion of “those like us,” as if we ourselves had no measure in us and no right to determine values; the effort to evaluate as others do, against the inner voice of our taste, which is also a form of conscience, becomes a terrible, subtle constraint: if there is not finally an explosion, with a sudden bursting asunder of all the bonds of love and morality, then such a spirit becomes withered, petty, effeminate, and factual.

The opposite is bad enough, but better nonetheless: to suffer from one’s environment, from its praise as well as from its blame, wounded by it and festering inwardly without betraying the fact; to defend oneself with involuntary mistrust against its love, to learn silence, perhaps concealing it behind speech, to create for oneself nooks and undiscoverable solitudes for moments of relief, of tears, of sublime consolation – until one is finally strong enough to say, “what do I have to do with you?” and go one’s own way.


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