Beyond Good and Evil

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 13

a smile and two notes of
interrogation in a philosopher nowadays. "Sir," the philosopher will
perhaps give him to understand, "it is improbable that you are not
mistaken, but why should it be the truth?"

17. With regard to the superstitions of logicians, I shall never tire
of emphasizing a small, terse fact, which is unwillingly recognized by
these credulous minds--namely, that a thought comes when "it" wishes,
and not when "I" wish; so that it is a PERVERSION of the facts of the
case to say that the subject "I" is the condition of the predicate
"think." ONE thinks; but that this "one" is precisely the famous old
"ego," is, to put it mildly, only a supposition, an assertion, and
assuredly not an "immediate certainty." After all, one has even gone too
far with this "one thinks"--even the "one" contains an INTERPRETATION of
the process, and does not belong to the process itself. One infers here
according to the usual grammatical formula--"To think is an activity;
every activity requires an agency that is active; consequently"... It
was pretty much on the same lines that the older atomism sought, besides
the operating "power," the material particle wherein it resides and out
of which it operates--the atom. More rigorous minds, however, learnt at
last to get along without this "earth-residuum," and perhaps some day we
shall accustom ourselves, even from the logician's point of view, to
get along without the little "one" (to which the worthy old "ego" has
refined itself).

18. It is certainly not the least charm of a theory that it is
refutable; it is precisely thereby that it attracts the more subtle
minds. It seems that the hundred-times-refuted theory of the "free will"
owes its persistence to this charm alone; some one is always appearing
who feels himself strong enough to refute it.

19. Philosophers are accustomed to speak of the will as though it were
the best-known thing in the world; indeed, Schopenhauer has given us
to understand that the will alone is really known to us, absolutely and
completely known, without deduction or addition. But it again and
again seems to me that in this case Schopenhauer also only did what
philosophers are in the habit of doing--he seems to have adopted a
POPULAR PREJUDICE and exaggerated it. Willing seems to me to be above
all something COMPLICATED, something that is a unity only in name--and
it is precisely in a name that popular prejudice lurks, which has got
the mastery over the inadequate precautions of philosophers in all ages.
So let us for once be more cautious, let us be "unphilosophical": let

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