This is what distinguishes the artist from laymen (those susceptible to art): the latter reach the highpoint of their susceptibility when they receive; the former as they give—so that an antagonism between these two gifts is not only natural but desirable. The perspectives of these two states are opposite: to demand of the artist that he should practice the perspective of the audience (of the critic—) means to demand that he should impoverish himself and his creative power—It is the same here as with the difference between the sexes: one ought not to demand of the artist, who gives, that he should become a woman—that he should receive.
Artists are not men of great passion, despite all their assertions to the contrary both to themselves and to others. And for the following two reasons: they lack all shyness towards themselves (they watch themselves live, they spy upon themselves, they are much too inquisitive), and they also lack shyness in the presence of passion (as artists they exploit it). Secondly, however, that vampire, their talent, generally forbids them such an expenditure of energy as passion demands. A man who has a talent is sacriﬁced to that talent; he lives under the vampirism of his talent. A man does not get rid of his passion by producing it, but rather he is rid of it if he is able to reproduce it.
The Rationale of life.—the relative chastity, a prudent caution on principle regarding erotic matters, even in thought, can belong to the grand rationale of life even in richly endowed and complete natures. This principle applies especially to the artists, it is part of their best wisdom of life. Completely non-suspect voices have lent support to this opinion: I name Stendhal and Th. Gautier, also Flaubert. The artist is perhaps necessarily a sensual man, generally excitable, susceptible, susceptible in every sense to stimuli, meeting the very suggestion of a stimulus halfway even from afar. This notwithstanding, he is on the average, under the pressure of his task, of his will to mastery, actually moderate, often even chaste. His dominant instinct demands this of him: it does not permit him to expend himself in any casual way. The force that one expends in artistic conception is the same as that expended in the sexual act: there is only one kind of force. An artist betrays himself if he succumbs here, if he squanders himself there: it betrays a lack of instinct, of will in general; it can be a sign of decadence—in any case, it devalues his art to an incalculable degree.