“Contempt priof to investigation” and The Intellectual Conscience: that other translation

Thirty lashes with a wet lasagna noodle—that should be my punishment for the crime of “contempt prior to investigation” with respect to that other translation that “I can’t recommend”: It think it is easier to understand! (I hesitate to declare that it is easier to understand as I was not reading that aphorism for the first time.) That other version, translated by Thomas Common, written by Friedrich Nietzsche, from The Joyful Wisdom, Book 1, aphorism 2:

2

The Intellectual Conscience. I have always the same experience over, again, and always make a new effort against it; for although it is evident to me I do not want to believe it: in the greater number of men the intellectual conscience is lacking; indeed, it would often seem to me that in demanding such a thing, one is as solitary in the largest cities as in the desert. Everyone looks at you with strange eyes and continues to make use of his scales, calling this good and that bad; and no one blushes for shame when you remark that these weights are not the full amount, – there is also no indignation against you; perhaps they laugh at your doubt, mean to say that the greater number of people do not find it contemptible to believe this or that, and live according to it, without having been previously aware of the ultimate and surest reasons for and against it, and without even giving themselves any trouble about such reasons afterwards, the most lifted men and the noblest women still belong to this “greater number.” But what is kind-heartedness, refinement and genius to me, if he who has these virtues harbours indolent sentiments in belief and judgment, if the longing for certainty does not rule in him, as his innermost desire and profoundest need – as that which separates higher from lower men! In certain pious people I have found a hatred of reason, and have been favourably disposed to them for it: their bad intellectual conscience at least still betrayed itself, in this manner! But to stand in the midst of this rerum concordia discors and all the marvellous uncertainty and ambiguity of existence, and not to question, not to tremble with desire and delight in questioning, not even to hate the questioner – perhaps even to make merry over him to the extent of weariness – that is what I regard as contemptible, and it is this sentiment which I first of all search for in every one, – some folly or other always persuades me anew that every man has this sentiment, as man. This is my special kind of unrighteousness.

The phrase, “contempt prior to investigation”, shall remain anonymous.

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