I’m rereading the book Human all too Human from Friedrich Nietzsche. I have read the book before, and if I look at it I can clearly see the evidence of that. In this book Nietzsche writes in aphorisms, short pieces that are mostly self-contained, they are not clearly linked together. The advantage of this is that you can read one aphorism and think about it separated from the rest of the book. I have been doing that for the last week, but because I also wanted to write about the aphorisms and tried to analyze them, I used more time than I thought. It made me wonder how much I really understood them when I read them for the first time 15 years ago and read the book in a couple of weeks. Maybe I am so much slower now. Or was I less critical in the past and skipped over the bits that made no sense to me back then?
I have read many books about Nietzsche. So many that I can’t tell where my opinion and knowledge of him comes from. I have read books about him with all kinds of opinions and insights, and I read most of the books he has written himself. I have some knowledge of his work, his life and off course his philosophy but it’s more of a feeling. I can tell about his philosophy but it’s not like in a prepared lecture, it’s more like a sport you have practiced over and over. After a while you do the moves without thinking of them. That’s what I have with philosophy and in particular with Nietzsche, you forget why you know what you know.
Now I am reading one aphorism a day and analyze it. I realize now that what I know of Nietzsche is only from looking at a blurry picture. Now I have a magnifier and see so much more, I suddenly understand what others meant with their enthusiasm about his writing. Before, I liked his writing to but more superficial, now I’m starting to understand why he is regarded as such a great writer and philosopher.
Well, this is not so surprising off course. Diving in deeper and you find more. The main thing I got from this week is the realization that this whole thing that we call our life is merely built out of a paper-thin assumption that would collapse if we look closer? I was comfortable with my knowledge of Nietzsche, but now I realize that behind the knowledge I think I have lies a whole other world. How many other worlds are there?