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Friday, July 10, 2009

the philosopher as traveler - Nietzsche

These go along with my other philosopher as traveler posts.
Always at home.— One day we reach our goal and now point with pride to the long travels we undertook to reach it. In fact, we were not even aware of traveling. But we got so far because we fancied at every point that we were at home.

Brief habits.— I love brief habits and consider them an inestimable means for getting to know many things and states, down to the bottom of their sweetness and bitternesses; my nature is designed entirely for brief habits, even in the needs of my physical health and altogether as far as I can see at all— from the lowest to the highest. I always believe that here is something that will give me lasting satisfaction—brief habits, too, have this faith of passion, this faith in eternity—and that I am to be envied for having found and recognized it; and now it nourishes me at noon and in the evening and spreads a deep contentment all around itself and deep into me so that I desire nothing else, without having any need for comparisons, contempt or hatred. But one day its time is up; the good things part from me, not as something that has come to nauseate me but peacefully and sated with me as I am with it—as if we had reason to be grateful to each other as we shook hands to say farewell. Even then something new is waiting at the door, along with my faith—this indestructible fool and sage!—that this new discovery will be just right, and that this will be the last time. That is what happens to me with dishes, ideas, human beings, cities, poems, music, doctrines, ways of arranging the day, and life styles.

Enduring habits I hate, and I feel as if a tyrant had come near me and as if the air I breathe had thickened when events take such a turn that it appears that they will inevitably give rise to enduring habits; for example, owing to an official position, constant association with the same people, a permanent domicile, or unique good health. Yes, at the very bottom of my soul I feel grateful to all my misery and bouts of sickness and everything about me that is imperfect, because this sort of thing leaves me with a hundred backdoors through which I can escape from enduring habits.

Most intolerable, to be sure, and the terrible par excellence would be for me a life entirely devoid of habits, a life that would demand perpetual improvisation. That would be my exile and my Siberia.

Nietzsche The Gay Science §253, §295
I also like Kaufmann's note on §295
This conclusion qualifies the resolve to live dangerously. But some stability and temporary equilibrium are needed to permit the concentration of all mental and emotional resources on the most important problems. One simply cannot question everything at once. The most one can do is to grant nothing permanent immunity.


Anonymous said...

I Love this blog it is so meaningful and deep.

Mike said...

Thanks anony mouse. Glad someone enjoys it.

Kevin O'Heron said...