Is it a secret, malicious, common instinct (perhaps

Is it a secret, malicious, common instinct (perhaps one which is self-deceiving) for
belittling humanity? Or something like a pessimistic suspicion, the mistrust of
idealists who’ve become disappointed, gloomy, venomous, and green. Or a small
underground hostility and rancour towards Christianity (and Plato), which perhaps has
never once managed to cross the threshold of consciousness? Or even a lecherous
taste for what is odd or painfully paradoxical, for what in existence is questionable
and ridiculous? Or finally a bit of all of these—a little vulgarity, a little gloominess, a
little hostility to Christianity, a little thrill, and a need for pepper? . . .
But people tell me that these men are simply old, cold, boring frogs, who creep and
hop around people as if they were in their own proper element, that is, in a swamp. I
resist that idea when I hear it. What’s more, I don’t believe it. And if one is permitted
to hope where one cannot know, then I hope from my heart that the situation with
these men could be reversed, that these investigators peering at the soul through their
microscopes could be thoroughly brave, generous, and proud animals, who know how
to control their hearts and their pain and who have educated themselves to sacrifice
everything desirable for the sake of the truth, for the sake of every truth, even the
simple, the bitter, the hateful, the repellent, the unchristian, the unmoral truth. . . . For
there are such truths.—


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