Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Nietzsche, Whitman, and Thoreau

Whitman and Thoreau were living, breathing examples of what Nietzsche was later to term the "strong human being ... [from] the wilderness, a somehow freer and more dangerous environment and form of existence, where everything that is weapons and armor in the instinct of the strong human being has its rightful place, ... a natural human being, who comes from the mountains or from the adventures of the sea. ... the scientific character, the artist, the genius, the free spirit, the actor, the merchant, the great discoverer. ..." [Twilight of the Idols, 45]

"For believe me," says Nietzsche, "the secret of the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment of existence is: to live dangerously! Build your cities under Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors, as long as you cannot be rulers and owners, you lovers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be satisfied to live like shy deer, hidden in the woods!" [The Gay Science, 283]


"Not suitable as a party member. Whoever thinks much is not suitable as a party member: he soon thinks himself right through the party."

Nietzsche, Human, All-Too-Human, 579.

I now rephrase a few key words to make this more applicable to the modern age: Whoever thinks much is not suitable as a church-member: he soon thinks himself right through the church. I know this certainly happened in my own case. 'Church' dogma is so flimsy and wobbly that I sometimes wonder that more people do not pierce through it, and see it for the sham that it really is, than actually do. Doesn't say too much for the human race at large, generally speaking, does it? But then again, not much ever does.

16 February, 2003.
(See also Twilight of the Idols, 2).