It was always at myself, first and foremost that I aimed the shaft

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I suspected that the man was ailing, ailing in the spirit in some way, or in his temperament or character, and I shrank from him with the instinct of the healthy.

This shrinking was in course of time replaced by a sympathy inspired by pity for one who had suffered so long and deeply, and whose loneliness and inward death I witnessed.

In course of time I was more and more conscious, too, that this affliction was not due to any defects of nature, but rather to a profusion of gifts and powers which had not attained to harmony.

I saw that he was a genius of suffering and that in the meaning of many sayings of Nietzsche he had created within himself with positive genius a boundless and frightful capacity for pain.

I saw at the same time that the root of his pessimism was not world-contempt but self-contempt; for however mercilessly he might annihilate institutions and persons in his talk he never spared himself.

It was always at himself first and foremost that he aimed the shaft,

himself first and foremost whom he hated and despised.


Photo: Hermann Hesse

Content: Hermann Hesse, from the novel, Steppenwolf

 

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