Or he may reason as follows: “That there is something exrtaordinary about this person—even if one reserves the right, both one’s own and that of common sense, to refrain from venturing any opinion as to his claim of being God—about that there is really little doubt. Rather, one might be indignant at Providence’s having entrusted such a person with these powers—a person who does the very opposite what he himself bids us do: that we shall not cast our pearls before the swine; for which reason he will, as he himself predicts, come to grief by their turning about and trampling him under their feet. One may always expect this of swine; but, on the other hand, one would not expect that he who had himself called attention to this likelihood, himself would do precisely[12] what he knows one should not do. If only there were some means of cleverly stealing his wisdom—for I shall gladly leave him in indisputed possession of that very peculiar thought of his that he is God—if one could but rob his wisdom without, at the same time, becoming his disciple! If one could only steal up to him at night and lure it from him; for I am more than equal to editing and publishing it, and better than he, if you please. I undertake to astonish the whole world by getting something altogether different out of it; for I clearly see there is something wondrously profound in what he says, and the misfortune is only that he is the man he is. But perhaps, who knows, perhaps it is feasible, anyway, to fool him out of it. Perhaps in that respect too he is good—natured and simple enough to communicate it quite freely to me. It is not impossible; for it seems to me that the wisdom he unquestionably possesses, evidently has been entrusted to a fool, seeing there is so much contradiction in his life.—But as to joining his company and becoming his disciple—no indeed, that would be the same as becoming a fool oneself.”

Or he might reason as follows: “If this person does indeed mean to further what is good and true (I do not venture to decide this), he is helpful at least, in this respect, to Youths and inexperienced people. For they will be benefited, in this serious life of ours, by learning, the sooner the better, and very thoroughly—he opens the eyes even of the blindest to this—that all this pretense of wishing to live only for goodness and truth contains a considerable admixture of the ridiculous. He proves how right the poets of our times are when they let truth and goodness be represented by some half-witted fellow, one who is so stupid that you can knock down a wall with him. The idea of exerting one’s self, as this man does, of renouncing everything but pains and trouble, to be at beck and call all day long, more eager than the busiest family physician—and pray why? Because he makes a living by it? No, not in the very least; it has never occurred to him, as far as I can see, to want somethg in in return. Does he earn any money by it? No, not a red cent—he has not a red cent to his name, and if he did he would forthwith give it away. Does he, then, aspire to a position of honor and dignity in the state? On the contrary, he loathes all worldly honor. And he who, as I said, condemns all worldly honor, and practices the art of living on nothing; he who, if any one, seems best fitted to pass his life in a most comfortable dolce far niente—which is not such a bad thing—: he lives under a greater strain than any government official who is rewarded by honor and dignity, lives under a greater strain than any business man who earns money like sand. Why does he exert himself thus, or (why this question about a matter not open to question ?) why should any one exert himself thus—in order to attain to the happiness of being ridiculed, mocked, and so forth? To be sure, a peculiar kind of pleasure! That one should push one’s way through a crowd to reach the spot where money, honor, and glory are distributed—why, that is perfectly understandable; but to push forward to be whipped: how exalted, how Christian, how stupid!”