Friedrich Nietzsche, The gay science
Book one – 26
What is life? Life-that is: continually shedding something that wants to die. Life-that is: being cruel and inexorable against everything about us that is growing old and weak-and not only about us. Life-that is, then: being without reverence for those who are dying, who are wretched, who are ancient? Constantly being a murderer? -And yet old Moses said: “Thou shalt not kill.”
Life for us human beings starts somewhere around the time we start to remember.
According to the Wiki page life is defined as: Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (they have died), or because they never had such functions and are classified as inanimate.
As far as we know we humans are the only beings that know that they are alive apposed to dead. We sing about it, write poems praising it and can have long conversations about it. Life for me is our capability to remember and think about these memories. Do you really live if you don’t know what happened a minute ago or don’t know who you are looking in the mirror, would life not be a mere stream of impressions that disappear if you cannot appreciate them afterwards?
So, life for me starts somewhere around the time you start to remember. Maybe somewhere around your second birthday you have some continues moments, I’m no expert in these things. I get some flashes of old memories when I see old pictures, but it can be flashbacks from earlier times when I have seen these same pictures, hard to tell, but I have memories from my youth and you only have to ask my mother how much of life I questioned.
Memories are necessary for life, but memories are also unreliable, memories die on you constantly. Memories deceive you, lure you away from your path. Memories are like our lives as they are life.
By Friedrich Nietzsche.
The four big mistakes.
8. What alone can be our doctrine? – Because no one gives man his qualities, neither God, nor society, nor his parents and ancestors, nor he himself (- the absurdity of this last idea has been rejected as “intelligible freedom” by Kant, perhaps even taught by Plato). No one is responsible for ensuring that he’s there, so and so constituted that he is that he is under these circumstances in this environment. The fatality of his nature is not disentangled from the fatality of all that was and what will be. It is not the result of an intention, a will, a purpose, not with him, an attempt is made to achieve an “ideal of man” or an “ideal of happiness” or an “ideal of morality,” – it is absurd his Being (Sein) in any way trying to pass a purpose. We have used the term “purpose” invented in the real world… lack of purpose it is necessary, it is a piece of calamity, one belongs to the whole, it is on the whole, – there is nothing that addressed our being, measure, compare, could condemn, because that would mean the whole set, measure, condemn, compare… But there is nothing out of the whole! – That will make no one more responsible, that the nature of existence can not be attributed primarily to a cause, that the world is neither as sensorium nor as ‘spirit’ is a unity, this is only the great liberation – thus only the innocence of becoming (Unschuld des Werdens) restored… The term “God” has been the greatest objection to existence (Dasein)… We deny God, we deny the responsibility in God: we only deliver to the world. – (Wir leugnen Gott, wir leugnen die Verantwortlichkeit in Gott: damit erst erlösen wir die Welt).
Twilight of the idols, Translation by Daniel Fidel Ferrer, 2013
The horizon, your future, is often clad in mist, is what people often say. I disagree, if I look to the future with my minds eye I don’t see a fog, a grayish wall of nothing, I see outlines extending from the present. I see some general direction and contours of what might be. I know off course that around the corner the road might turn another way, but I see a future and not a grey wall of doubt that leads you blindly to anxiety. The future might seem tough and overwhelming every now and then but remember, you wouldn’t have arrived at this point from the past if that road was impassible. Air out your brain, let the grey mist be blown away so you can see the outlines of your life and future, the things that matter and the facts you must obey. Life might not always seem fair but that’s just a misunderstanding, life does not know what is fair or unfair, those are just concepts we invented and why there is religion and faith. Life is just there and it is what we live with a few things we know and a lot that we don’t.
It is really popular In our modern culture to say that someone should “make up their own mind”. That you should trust your own feelings and don’t listen to what others say. If you understand that advice as just another platitude than there is not so much harm in it but if you take them literally than there is a big problem. The problem is that you assume that we can make up our own mind but the best we can do is to stick with an internal narrative that is for the most part plagiarized. Or do you think that every thought out of your mind comes from an internal well filled with virgin thoughts? Off course not! Think about your own upbringing, what if you were born in a totally different culture. Would that culture not have influenced you as the culture does that you are living in now? Are most of your thoughts and ideas not in line with most of the people around you? Think about your ideas about democracy, gay and woman rights and religion. Don’t you think that the people that grew up in America, Afghanistan, the Netherlands, or North-Korea al have different ideas about these topics. What people think of these topics is heavily influenced by the group of people they live with. In your mind you might have good reasons for why you believe in certain things, and it might feel that you thought of it yourself but that is of course only partly true. Look at the words you use to order your thoughts, those are not made up letters and words. You learned those by listening to your parents and other people around you just like you learned your first ideas about the world around you. Se that person on the tv? That is a good person. See those people there? Those are bad. And this goes on your whole life and out of this pool of impressions you make up your own ideas and sometimes you might be lucky and give birth to a unique perspective. But even that unique thought could not have been made without the underlying layer of shared knowledge. So, if people say, “that you have to follow your own mind” they actually say that you have to cling to that what you have and “feels” the best. And why is this important you might ask, because we have to much ego in the world and we all think we are the source of truth and are willing to fight for it. And what is the value of these words of mine? Well, there definitely not unique and come from all the (dead) people around (mostly books) me. I cannot even pretend to add something unique to it. It’s been mentioned by a lot of big names in philosophy and religion like Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Spinoza, Nietzsche and many more. It is kind of pointless for me to write it down because even these big names are no longer read and taken seriously, but this is my exercise and good deed.