Human, All Too Human II
The -wanderer and His Shadow
260 Error of the respectful. -Everyone believes that he is saying something respectful and agreeable to a thinker when he shows him how he came up with exactly the same idea and even the same expression on his own; and yet the thinker is only rarely pleased at hearing such information, while often distrusting his own idea and its expression: he privately decides to revise both. -If we want to show respect to someone, we must guard against any expression of agreement: it places us upon the same level. -In many cases, it is a matter of social decorum to listen to an opinion as if it were not ours, indeed, as if it went beyond our horizon: for example, when an old man with much experience takes the exceptional step of opening up the casket containing his knowledge.