Belief in inspiration.-Artists have an interest in our believing in sudden flashes of insight, in what we call inspirations; as if the idea for a work of art, for a poem, for the fundamental thought of a philosophy shone down like a gleam of grace from heaven. In truth, the imagination of a good artist or thinker continually produces good, mediocre, and bad things, but his power of judgement, highly sharpened and practiced, rejects, selects, ties together; thus, we now see from Beethoven's notebooks that he gradually gathered together the finest melodies and selected them, as it were, out of multiple beginnings. Someone who sorts things less rigorously and likes to give himself over to imitative recollection can in certain circumstances become a great improviser; but artistic improvisation stands low in relation to seriously and laboriously selected artistic thoughts. All the great artists were great workers, tireless not only in inventing, but also in rejecting, sifting, reshaping, ordering.
-Friedrich Nietzche, Human All too Human (155)
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