Astonishingly, Nietzsche employed the concept of irony only rarely, and when the term does occur in his writings, it usually has a negative nuance. According to the early treatise “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life,” for example, irony is the attitude of the “practical pessimists,” that is, of the historical scholars who adopt the stance of déjà vu, who “cannot bring [themselves] seriously to care” about the future. Led by “a presentiment of coming disaster,” they have become “indifferent to the wellbeing of others, and to [their] own as well,” and live according to the motto: “If only the ground will go on bearing us! And if it ceases to bear us, that too is very well” (HL 7). The “ironic existence” and the “ironic self-awareness” that emerge here are, for Nietzsche, signs of “the latecomers, the last pale offspring of mightier and happier races.” This irony has, for him, a “kind of inborn gray-hairedness” and it expresses itself in a “senile occupation,” namely, that of “looking back, of reckoning up, of closing accounts, of seeking consolation through remembering what has been, in short historical culture.” Further, this “ironical overview” of the past is coupled with a “presentiment that there is really nothing to rejoice about” and that “the merriment of historical knowledge will soon be over and done with” (HL 8). For the young Nietzsche, however, knowledge was “associated with pleasure,” and the reason was that, like gymnastic exercises, it lent us a sense of our power, because in it we “[go] beyond former conceptions and their advocates,” or at least we think we go beyond them. Admittedly, he thinks that, in view of its “origin,” everything, but especially all human affairs, deserves “to be viewed ironically.” But for this very reason he thinks “irony is so superfluous in the world” (HH I, 252).