Consciousness. Consciousness is the last and latest development of

Consciousness. Consciousness is the last and latest development of the organic, and consequently also the most unfinished and least powerful of these developments. Innumerable mistakes originate out of consciousness, which, “in spite of fate,” as Homer says, cause an animal or a man to break down earlier than might be necessary. If the conserving bond of the instincts were not very much more powerful, it would not generally serve as a regulator: by perverse judging and dreaming with open eyes, by superficiality and credulity, in short, just by consciousness, mankind would necessarily have broken down: or rather, without the former there would long ago have been nothing more of the latter! Before a function is fully formed and matured, it is a danger to the organism: all the better if it be then thoroughly tyrannised over! Consciousness is thus thoroughly tyrannised over – and not least by the pride in it! It is thought that here is the quintessence of man; that which is enduring, eternal, ultimate, and most original in him! Consciousness is regarded as a fixed, given magnitude! Its growth and intermittences are denied! It is accepted as the “unity of the organism “! – This ludicrous overvaluation and misconception of consciousness has as its result the great utility that a too rapid maturing of it has thereby been hindered. Because men believed that they already possessed consciousness, they gave themselves very little trouble to acquire it and even now it is not otherwise! It is still an entirely new problem just dawning on the human eye, and hardly yet plainly recognisable: to embody knowledge in ourselves and make it instinctive, a problem which is only seen by those who have grasped the fact that hitherto our errors alone have been embodied in us, and that all our consciousness is relative to errors !

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