The twofold struggle against an ill. – When we are assailed by an ill we can dispose of it either by getting rid of its cause or by changing the effect it produces on our sensibilities: that is to say by reinterpreting the ill into a good whose good effects will perhaps be perceptible only later. Religion and art (and metaphysical philosophy too) endeavor to bring about a change of sensibility, partly through changing our judgment as to the nature of our experiences (for example with the aid of the proposition: ‘whom God loveth he chastiseth’), partly through awakening the ability to take pleasure in pain, in emotion in general (from which the art of tragedy takes its starting-point). The more a man inclines towards reinterpretation, the less attention he will give to the cause of the ill and to doing away with it; the momentary amelioration and narcoticizing, such as is normally employed for example in a case of toothache, suffices him in the case of more serious sufferings too. The more the domination of the religions and all the arts of narcosis declines, the stricter attention men pay to the actual abolition of the ill: which is, to be sure, a bad lookout for the writers of tragedies – for there is less and less material for tragedy, because the realm of inexorable, implacable destiny is growing narrower and narrower – but an even worse one for the priests: for these have hitherto lived on the narcoticizing of human ills.
Human, All Too Human book 1, paragraph 108