Of all the great minds in history, few more quoted…and misunderstood…as Friedrich Nietzsche. That in which beckons us back to his words time after time, is also that which paves the path to the wild approximations of his meaning. Nietzsche was a herald of bombast, unbridled by temperance or fear. Those quotes that in which made him infamous are devilishly designed to burrow the point deep into the subconscious, where they take root thanks to his scathing wit.
“You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.”
“He who delights in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”
“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”
“The man of knowledge must be able to not only love his enemies but also to hate his friends.”
“I am the first immoralist: I am therewith the destroyer par excellence.”
“God is dead, but considering the state the species of man is in, there will be perhaps caves, for ages yet, in which his shadow will be shown.”
While many delight or are laid aghast by his gaudy intellectual assault, it is all too easy to lose oneself in the spectacle. Thus Nietzsche’s great strength is that which most vexes his legacy, for beyond the bombast is some of the most daring and insightful contemplation of the human condition in the history of human thought. The concept that rightfully earns Nietzsche is not, “God is dead”, but rather:
“It has gradually become clear to me what every great philosophy up till now has consisted of- namely, the confession of its originator , and a species of involuntary and unconscious autobiography…”
Such a simple notion but one that rings truth to every common man, that the philosopher’s quest to “solve” the world is a fundamentally indulgent and absurd. There is no objectivist outlook to apply on to subjective concepts. Love, hope, truth are not natural states, rather a desperate attempt to assign meaning where there is none, objectively speaking. Indeed there is meaning but that meaning is created in the minds of those searching for it.
In essence, the practice of philosophy more accurately articulates the world view of whom speaks it as opposed to any grand inherit meaning. The world is larger than any single philosophy or philosopher.
“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way…it does not exist.”
Behind all that bombast was a truly open mind, capable of seeing the world beyond its own ego. With this idea the world is large enough to accommodate us all, and perhaps more importantly, it provides us room enough to grow and change. The only true constant in life is change. Though philosophers imagine their words and opinions as etching in stone, they too change with time. Do not chain yourself to a false notion of constancy in your search for truth, nor justify your ego with certainty. Allow yourself to doubt and then you may become truly wise.