Thoughts Out of Season, Part II

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 30

justice is seldom present, more seldom known,
and almost always mortally hated. On the other hand a throng of sham
virtues has entered in at all times with pomp and honour.

Few in truth serve truth, as only few have the pure will for justice;
and very few even of these have the strength to be just. The will
alone is not enough: the impulse to justice without the power of
judgment has been the cause of the greatest suffering to men. And
thus the common good could require nothing better than for the seed
of this power to be strewn as widely as possible, that the fanatic
may be distinguished from the true judge, and the blind desire from
the conscious power. But there are no means of planting a power of
judgment: and so when one speaks to men of truth and justice, they
will be ever troubled by the doubt whether it be the fanatic or the
judge who is speaking to them. And they must be pardoned for always
treating the "servants of truth" with special kindness, who possess
neither the will nor the power to judge and have set before them the
task of finding "pure knowledge without reference to consequences,"
knowledge, in plain terms, that comes to nothing. There are very many
truths which are unimportant; problems that require no struggle to
solve, to say nothing of sacrifice. And in this safe realm of
indifference a man may very successfully become a "cold demon of
knowledge." And yet--if we find whole regiments of learned inquirers
being turned to such demons in some age specially favourable to them,
it is always unfortunately possible that the age is lacking in a
great and strong sense of justice, the noblest spring of the
so-called impulse to truth.

Consider the historical virtuoso of the present time: is he the
justest man of his age? True, he has developed in himself such a
delicacy and sensitiveness that "nothing human is alien to him."
Times and persons most widely separated come together in the concords
of his lyre. He has become a passive instrument, whose tones find an
echo in similar instruments: until the whole atmosphere of a time is
filled with such echoes, all buzzing in one soft chord. Yet I think
one only hears the overtones of the original historical note: its
rough powerful quality can be no longer guessed from these thin and
shrill vibrations. The original note sang of action, need, and
terror; the overtone lulls us into a soft dilettante sleep. It is as
though the heroic symphony had been arranged for

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