Vengeance on Intellect, and other Backgrounds of Morality. Morality - where do you think it has its most dangerous and rancorous advocates? - There, for example, is an ill-constituted man, who does not possess enough of intellect to be able to take pleasure in it, and just enough of culture to be aware of the fact; bored, satiated, and a self-despiser; besides being cheated unfortunately by some hereditary property out of the last consolation, "blessing of labour," the self-forgetfulness in the "day’s work"; one who is thoroughly ashamed of his existence - perhaps also harbouring some vices, - and who on the other hand (by means of books to which he has no right, or more intellectual society than he can digest), cannot help vitiating himself more and more, and making himself vain and irritable: such a thoroughly poisoned man - for intellect becomes poison, culture becomes poison, possession becomes poison, solitude becomes poison, to such ill-constituted beings - gets at last into a habitual state of vengeance and inclination for vengeance.... What do you think he finds necessary, absolutely necessary in order to give himself the appearance in his own eyes of superiority over more intellectual men, so as to give himself the delight of perfect revenge, at least in imagination? It is always morality that he requires, one may wager on it; always the big moral words, always the high-sounding words: justice, wisdom, holiness, virtue; always the Stoicism of gestures (how well Stoicism hides what one does not possess!); always the mantle of wise silence, of affability, of gentleness, and whatever else the idealist-mantle is called, in which the incurable self-despisers and also the incurably conceited walk about. Let me not be misunderstood: out of such born enemies of the spirit there arises now and then the rare specimen of humanity who is honoured by the people under the name of saint or sage: it is out of such men that there arise those prodigies of morality that make a noise, and make history, - St Augustine was one of these men. Fear of the intellect, vengeance on the intellect - Oh! how often have these powerfully impelling vices become the root of virtues! Yea, virtue itself! - And asking the question among ourselves, even the philosopher’s pretension to wisdom, which has occasionally been made here and there on the earth, the maddest and most immodest of all pretensions, - has it not always been above all in India as well as in Greece, a means of concealment? Sometimes, perhaps, from the point of view of education which hallows so many lies, it is a tender regard for growing and evolving persons, for disciples who have often to be guarded against themselves by means of the belief in a person (by means of an error). In most cases, however, it is a means of concealment for a philosopher, behind which he seeks protection, owing to exhaustion, age, chilliness, or hardening; as a feeling of the approaching end, as the sagacity of the instinct which animals have before their death, - they go apart, remain at rest, choose solitude, creep into caves, become wise.... What? Wisdom a means of concealment of the philosopher from intellect?

Friedrich Nietzsche - The Gay Science
Book V - Aphorism # 359

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