The causa sui [something being its own cause] is the best self-contradiction which has been thought up so far, a kind of logical rape and perversity. But the excessive pride of human beings has worked to entangle itself deeply and terribly with this very nonsense. The demand for "freedom of the will," in that superlative metaphysical sense, as it unfortunately still rules in the heads of the half-educated, the demand to bear the entire final responsibility for one's actions oneself and to relieve God, the world, ancestors, chance, and society of responsibility for it, is naturally nothing less than this very causa sui and an attempt to pull oneself into existence out of the swamp of nothingness by the hair, with more audacity than Munchhausen.14 Suppose someone in this way gets behind the boorish simplicity of this famous idea of the "free will" and erases it from his head, then I would invite him now to push his "enlightenment" still one step further and erase also the inverse of this incomprehensible idea of "free will" from his head: I refer to the "unfree will," which leads to an abuse of cause and effect. People should not mistakenly reify "cause" and "effect" the way those investigating nature do (and people like them who nowadays naturalize their thinking -), in accordance with the ruling mechanistic foolishness which allows causes to push and shove until they "have an effect." People should use "cause" and "effect" merely as pure ideas, that is, as conventional fictions to indicate and communicate,not as an explanation. In the "in itself" there is no "causal connection," no "necessity," no "psychological unfreedom," no "effect following from the cause"; no "law" holds sway. We are the ones who have, on our own, made up causes, causal sequences, for-one-another, relativity, compulsion, number, law, freedom, reason, and purpose, and when we fabricate this world of signs inside things as something "in itself," when we stir it into things, then we're once again acting as we have always done, namely, mythologically. The "unfree will" is a myth: in real life it's merely a matter of strong and weak wills.- It is almost always already a symptom of something lacking in a thinker himself when he senses in all "causal connections" and "psychological necessity" some purpose, necessity, inevitable consequence, pressure, and unfreedom. That very feeling is a telltale give away - the person is betraying himself. And if I have seen things correctly, the "unfreedom of the will" has generally been seen as a problem from two totally contrasting points of view, but always in a deeply personal way: some people are not willing at any price to let go of their "responsibility," their belief in themselves, their personal right to their credit (the vain races belong to this group -); the others want the reverse: they don't wish to be responsible for or guilty of anything, and demand, out of an inner self-contempt, that they can shift blame for themselves somewhere else. People in this second group, when they write books, are in the habit nowadays of taking up the cause of criminals; a sort of socialist pity is their most attractive disguise. And in fact, the fatalism of those with weak wills brightens up amazingly when it learns how to present itself as "la religion de la souffrance humaine" [the religion of human suffering] - that's its "good taste."

14. . . . Munchhausen : the hero of a book of tall tales.
Friedrich Nietzsche - Beyond Good and Evil
Part I - Aphorism # 21

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