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The power of pain

“Observe children who weep and wail in order that they shall be pitied, and therefore wait for the moment when their condition will be noticed; live among invalids and the mentally afflicted and ask yourself whether their eloquent moaning and complaining, their displaying of misfortune, does not fundamentally have the objective of hurting those who are with them: the pity which these then express is a consolation for the weak and suffering, inasmuch as it shows them that, all their weakness nothwithstanding, they posses at any rate one power: the power to hurt.  In this feeling of superiority of which the manifestation of pity makes him conscious, the unfortunate man gains a sort of pleasure; in the conceit of his imagination he is still of sufficient importance to cause affliction in the world.  The thirst for pity is thus a thirst for self-enjoyment, and that at the expense of one’s fellow men; it displays man in the whole ruthlessness of his own dear self.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human (emphasis in original; trans. Hollingdale)

Published inFriedrich NietzscheLit & CritPolitics & Law

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