Friday, December 31, 2010

Nietzsche’s New Year's Resolution

Probably written on New Year's Day 1880 or 1881, and published in 1882's Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft (The Joyful Wisdom), my favorite of Nietzsche's books, this resolution beautifully sums up the internal struggles of a notorious nay-sayer who also aspires to be, and is, a yea-sayer -- a side of this alleged nihilist that's too often overlooked. Nietzsche has always struck me as the most human of the major philosophers. Here his humanity peeks out from behind the armoured exterior.

Nietzsche's New Year's Resolution:

"Today everybody permits himself the expression of his wish and his dearest thought; hence I, too, shall say what it is that I wish from myself today, and what was the first thought to run across my heart this year - what thought shall be for me the reason, warranty, and sweetness of my life henceforth. I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer."


RedGorilla said...

Calling Nietzsche human would insult him.

Anonymous said...

@Red Gorilla:

Maybe. It would kind of depend on what you meant by the term. If you meant "All too Human," then yes. But if you meant "human" in the sense of not being the kind of "hunchback" scholar he detested, which -- I take it -- was Sean's meaning, I don't think Nietzsche'd be insulted at the notion of being "human" in this sense, as opposed to being complimented in general, which is anybody's guess.