Georg Brandes - Noble Quotes
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But what of the voice and judgment of conscience? The difficulty is that we have a conscience behind our conscience, an intellectual one behind the moral. … We can see quite well that our opinions of what is noble and good, our moral valuations, are powerful levers where action is concerned; but we must begin by refining these opinions and independently creating for ourselves new tables of values.
The oldest definition [of good] was this: the noble, the mightier, higher-placed and high-minded held themselves and their actions to be good of the first rank in contradistinction to everything low and low-minded. Noble, in the sense of the class-consciousness of a higher caste, is the primary concept from which develops good in the sense of spiritually aristocratic. The lowly are designated as bad (not evil). Bad does not acquire its unqualified depreciatory meaning till much later. In the mouth of the people it is a laudatory word; the German word schlecht is identical with schlicht (cf. schlechtweg and schlechterdings).