Die fröhliche Wissenschaft

Excerpted from Nietzsche:

The Desire for Suffering.—When I think of the desire to do something, how it continually tickles and stimulates millions of young Europeans, who cannot endure themselves and all their ennui,—I conceive that there must be a desire in them to suffer something, in order to derive from their suffering a worthy motive for acting, for doing something. Distress is necessary! Hence the cry of the politicians, hence the many false, trumped-up, exaggerated “states of distress” of all possible kinds, and the blind readiness to believe in them. This young world desires that there should arrive or appear from the outside—not happiness—but misfortune; and their imagination is already busy beforehand to form a monster out of it, so that they may afterwards be able to fight with a monster. If these distress-seekers felt the power to benefit themselves, to do something for themselves from internal sources, they would also understand how to create a distress of their own, specially their own, from internal sources. Their inventions might then be more refined, and their gratifications might sound like good music: while at present they fill the world with their cries of distress, and consequently too often with the feeling of distress in the first place! They do not know what to make of themselves—and so they paint the misfortune of others on the wall; they always need others! And always again other others!—Pardon me, my friends, I have ventured to paint my happiness on the wall.

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