Friedrich Nietzsche. Human, All Too Human (1878)
Our own opinions. -- The first opinion that occurs to us when we are suddenly asked about something is usually not our own but only the customary one pertaining to our caste, station, origin; our own opinions rarely swim to the top.
Enemies of Truth. -- Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
Advocates of truth. -- Not when it is dangerous to tell the truth does truth lack advocates, but when it is boring to do so.
Truth. -- No one now dies of fatal truths: there are too many antidotes to them.
Fundamental insight. -- There is no pre-established harmony between the furtherance of truth and the well-being of mankind.
The life of one’s enemy. -- He who lives for the sake of combating an enemy has an interest in seeing that his enemy stays alive.
Value of tasteless opponents. -- Sometimes one stays faithful to a cause only because its opponents are unfailingly tasteless.
What is dangerous in independent opinions. -- Occasional indulgence in independent opinions is stimulating, like a kind of itch; if we proceed further in them we begin to scratch the spot; until in the end we produce an open wound, that is to say until our independent opinions begin to disturb and harass us in our situation in life and our human relationships.
Trick of the prophet. -- To divine in advance how ordinary people will act one has to assume that, when they are in an unpleasant situation, they always seek to get out of it with the smallest expenditure of intelligence.
Bad memory. -- The advantage of a bad memory is that one can enjoy the same good things for the first time several times.
Half-knowledge. -- He who speaks little of a foreign language gets more pleasure from it than he who speaks it well. Enjoyment is with the half knowers.
Dangerous readiness to help. -- There are people who want to make other people’s life harder for no other reason than to be able afterwards to offer them their recipe for alleviating life (for example their Christianity).
Miraculous vanity. -- He who has boldly foretold the weather three times and each time successfully believes a little in the depths of his soul that he is prophetically gifted. We accept the existence of the miraculous and irrational when it flatters our self-esteem.
Opinions and fish. -- One possesses one’s opinions in the way one possesses fish -insofar, that is, that one possesses a fishpond. One has to go fishing and be lucky -then one one has one’s own fish, one’s own opinions. I am speaking here of living opinions, of living fish. Others are content to possess a cabinet of fossils - and, in their heads, ‘convictions’.
Self-satisfaction. -- The golden fleece of self-satisfaction protects against blows but not against pinpricks.
Self-observation. -- Man is very well defended against himself, against being reconnoitered and besieged by himself, he is usually able to perceive of himself only his outer walls. The actual fortress is inaccessible, even invisible to him, unless his friends and enemies play the traitor and conduct him in by a secret path.