But it is better said in this wise: "The discerning one walks among men as among animals."
Man himself is to the discerning one: the animal with red cheeks.
How has that happened to him? Is it not because he has had to be ashamed too oft?
O my friends! Thus speaks the discerning one: shame, shame, shame - that is the history of man!
And on that account does the noble one enjoin on himself not to abash: bashfulness does he enjoin himself in presence of all sufferers.
Truly, I like them not, the merciful ones, whose bliss is in their pity: too destitute are they of bashfulness.
If I must be pitiful, I dislike to be called so; and if I be so, it is preferably at a distance.
Preferably also do I shroud my head, and flee, before being recognized: and thus do I bid you do, my friends!
May my destiny ever lead unafflicted ones like you across my path, and those with whom I may have hope and repast and honey in common!
Truly, I have done this and that for the afflicted: but something better did I always seem to do when I had learned to enjoy myself better.
Since humanity came into being, man has enjoyed himself too little: that alone, my brothers, is our original sin!
And when we learn better to enjoy ourselves, then do we unlearn best to give pain to others, and to contrive pain.
Therefore do I wash the hand that has helped the sufferer; therefore do I wipe also my soul.
For in seeing the sufferer suffering - thereof was I ashamed on account of his shame; and in helping him, sorely did I wound his pride.
Great obligations do not make grateful, but revengeful; and when a small kindness is not forgotten, it becomes a gnawing worm.
"Be shy in accepting! Distinguish by accepting!" - thus do I advise those who have naught to bestow.
I, however, am a bestower: willingly do I bestow as friend to friends. Strangers, however, and the poor, may pluck for themselves the fruit from my tree: thus does it cause less shame.
Beggars, however, one should entirely do away with! Truly, it annoys one to give to them, and it annoys one not to give to them.
And likewise sinners and bad consciences! Believe me, my friends: the sting of conscience teaches one to sting.
The worst things, however, are the petty thoughts. Truly, better to have done evilly than to have thought pettily!
To be sure, you say: "The delight in petty evils spars one many a great evil deed." But here one should not wish to be sparing.
Like a boil is the evil deed: it itches and irritates and breaks forth - it speaks honorably.
"Behold, I am disease," says the evil deed: that is its honorableness.
But like infection is the petty thought: it creeps and hides, and wants to be nowhere - until the whole body is decayed and withered by the petty infection.
To him however, who is possessed of a devil, I would whisper this word in the ear: "Better for you to rear up your devil! Even for you there is still a path to greatness!"-
Ah, my brothers! One knows a little too much about every one! And many a one becomes transparent to us, but still we can by no means penetrate him.
It is difficult to live among men because silence is so difficult.
And not to him who is offensive to us are we most unfair, but to him who does not concern us at all.
If, however, you have a suffering friend, then be a resting-place for his suffering; like a hard bed, however, a camp-bed: thus will you serve him best.
And if a friend does you wrong, then say: "I forgive you what you have done to me; that you have done it to yourself, however - how could I forgive that!"
Thus speaks all great love: it surpasses even forgiveness and pity.
One should hold fast one's heart; for when one lets it go, how quickly does one's head run away!
Ah, where in the world have there been greater follies than with the pitiful? And what in the world has caused more suffering than the follies of the pitiful?
Woe to all loving ones who have not an elevation which is above their pity!
Thus spoke the devil to me, once on a time: "Even God has his hell: it is his love for man."
And lately, did I hear him say these words: "God is dead: of his pity for man has God died."-
So be you warned against pity: from thence there yet comes to men a heavy cloud! Truly, I understand weather-signs!
But attend also to this word: All great love is above all its pity: for it seeks - to create what is loved!
"Myself do I offer to my love, and my neighbor as myself" - such is the language of all creators.
All creators, however, are hard.