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Electronic Elasticity

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The World is Deep

I finished reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra, by Friedrich Nietzsche this morning on the way to work. At the end of the piece, Zarathustra comes to realize that there is too much in the world for daylight to properly express, and that in fact, the night is a more apt time in which to truly "see" the beauty of life, because one is not deceived by night, it will hide all things equally:

He says: "The World is deep, deeper than day can comprehend!" (330)

And we are presented with an amazing problem at the end of the book, when Zarathustra discourses on Woe and Joy, and explains that like a ripe vine, everything that is perfect wants to die, thus to recur as is and remain forever perfect. But everything that suffers wants to live, to ripen to perfection.

"I want heirs, thus speaks everything that suffers... I want children, I do not want myself." "Woe says: Fade! Go!"
"Joy, however, does not want heirs or children, joy wants itself, wants eternity, wants recurrence, wants everything eternally the same."

By saying Yes to one Joy, you must say Yes to all Woe. This is the problem of the eternal recurrence. If ever you wanted to re-live one moment of your life, some amazing instant, then you must want to re-live your entire life, because, like it or not, you will.
So the "super" man or happy man of this entire story is the one that can genuinely want to re-live each instant of his entire life again, by Willing it so. Quite the conundrum, and it was great to read a book of philosophy that for once chose an entertaining medium: poetry. Or, kind of a lilting half-song, half-prose approach. Free-verse.

I definitely recommend this one. Don't heed the whole "Nietzsche was used by Nazis!" thing either, that is stupid. The Bible was used by the Inquisition, right?
Zarathustra is most definitely not Jesus, and he and God are mutually exclusive, so the comparison ends superficially.



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