Human All-Too-Human, Part 1

Page 46 of 70

[1] This may remind one of Gobineau's more jocular saying: "Nous ne descendons pas du singe, mais nous y allons."—J.M.K.

[2] This refers to his essay, "Schopenhauer as Educator," in Thoughts Out of Season, vol. ii. of the English edition.—J.M.K.

[3] For it is when loving that mortal man gives of his best.—J.M.K.

[Pg 266]
[Pg 267]




Well-meant Dissimulation.—In intercourse with men a well-meant dissimulation is often necessary, as if we did not see through the motives of their actions.


Copies.—We not unfrequently meet with copies of prominent persons; and as in the case of pictures, so also here, the copies please more than the originals.


The Public Speaker.—One may speak with the greatest appropriateness, and yet so that everybody cries out to the contrary,—that is to say, when one does not speak to everybody.


Want of Confidence.—Want of confidence among friends is a fault that cannot be censured without becoming incurable.

[Pg 268]


The Art of Giving.—To have to refuse a gift, merely because it has not been offered in the right way, provokes animosity against the giver.


The Most Dangerous Partisan.—In every party there is one who, by his far too dogmatic expression of the party-principles, excites defection among the others.


Advisers of the Sick.—Whoever gives advice to a sick person acquires a feeling of superiority over him, whether the advice be accepted or rejected. Hence proud and sensitive sick persons hate advisers more than their sickness.


Double Nature of Equality.—The rage for equality may so manifest itself that we seek either to draw all others down to ourselves (by belittling, disregarding, and tripping up), or ourselves and all others upwards (by recognition, assistance, and congratulation).


Against Embarrassment.—The best way to relieve and calm very embarrassed people is to give them decided praise.

[Pg 269]


Preference For Certain Virtues.—We set no special value on the possession of a virtue until we perceive that it is entirely lacking in our adversary.


Why We Contradict.—We often contradict an opinion when it is really only the tone in which it is expressed that is unsympathetic to us.


Confidence and Intimacy.—Whoever proposes to command the intimacy of a person is usually uncertain of possessing his confidence. Whoever is sure of a person's confidence attaches little value to intimacy with him.


The Equilibrium of Friendship.—The right equilibrium of friendship in our relation to other men is sometimes restored when we put a few grains of wrong on our own side of the scales.


The Most Dangerous Physicians.—The most dangerous physicians are those who, like born actors, imitate the born physician with the perfect art of imposture.

[Pg 270]


When Paradoxes Are Permissible.—In order to interest clever persons in a theory, it is sometimes only necessary to put it before them in the form of a prodigious paradox.


How Courageous People Are Won Over.—Courageous people are persuaded to a course of action by representing it as more dangerous than it really is.


Courtesies.—We regard the courtesies show us by unpopular persons as offences.


Keeping People Waiting.—A sure way of exasperating people and of putting bad thoughts into their heads is to keep them waiting long. That makes them immoral.


Against the Confidential.—Persons who give us their full confidence think they hay thereby a right to ours. That is a mistake people acquire no rights through gifts.


A Mode of Settlement.—It often suffices to give a person whom we have injured an opportunity to make a joke about us to give him[Pg 271] personal satisfaction, and even to make him favourably disposed to us.


The Vanity of the Tongue.—Whether man conceals his bad qualities and vices, or frankly acknowledges them, his vanity in either case seeks its advantage thereby,—only let it be observed how nicely he distinguishes those from whom he conceals such qualities from those with whom he is frank and honest.


Considerate.—To have no wish to offend or injure any one may as well be the sign of a just as of a timid nature.


Requisite For Disputation.—He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of dispute.


Intercourse and Pretension.—We forget our pretensions when we are always conscious of being amongst meritorious people; being alone implants presumption in us. The young are pretentious, for they associate with their equals, who are all ciphers but would fain have a great significance.


Motives of an Attack.—One does not attack a person merely to hurt and conquer him, but perhaps merely to become conscious of one's own strength.

[Pg 272]


Flattery.—Persons who try by means of flattery to put us off our guard in intercourse with them, employ a dangerous expedient, like a sleeping-draught, which, when it does not send the patient to sleep, keeps him all the wider awake.


A Good Letter-writer.—A person who does not write books, thinks much, and lives in unsatisfying society, will usually be a good letter-writer.


The Ugliest of All.—It may be doubted whether a person who has travelled much has found anywhere in the world uglier places than those to be met with in the human face.

Free Learning Resources