Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Smart guy hexed me (and just before lunch)

this comes from a tee shirt
I'm reading (and perhaps you have or will) Nietzsche's essay Schopenhauer As Educator. I've "read it" several times, I enjoy it each time (needless to say, this pattern may not be eternal).

There's this beautiful section in which Nietzsche examines the three types of modern Man: Rousseau's, Goethe's, and Schopenhauer's. The Nietzsche writes, hilariously:
Of these, the first image possesses the greatest fire and is sure of producing the greatest popular effect; the second is intended only for the few, for the contemplative natures in the grand style, and is misunderstood by the crowd. The third demands contemplation and frightens away the crowd.
After examining Rousseau's and Goethe's Man, he comes to Schopenhauer and breaks the (bad?) news about being truthful: 'He will, to be sure, destroy his earthly happiness through his courage; he will have to be an enemy to those he loves and to the institutions which have produced him; he may not spare men or things, even though he suffers when the suffer; he will be misunderstood and for long thought an ally of powers he abhors; however much he may strive after justice he is bound, according to the human limitations of is insight, to be unjust; but he many console himself with the words once employed by his great teacher, Schopenhauer:'
A happy life is impossible: the highest that man can attain to is a heroic one. He leads it who, in whatever shape or form, struggles against great difficulties for something that is to the benefit of all and in the end is victorious, but who is ill-rewarded for it or not rewarded at all. Then, when he has done, he is turned to stone, like the prince in Gozzi's Re corvo, but stands in a noble posture and with generous gestures. He is remembered and celebrated as a hero; his will, mortified a whole life long by effort and labour, ill success and the world's ingratitude, is extinguished in Nirvana.
What comes next is one of the more challenging passages I have had the good fortune to encounter: I think I understand, but I don't know what to make of it. But, I might not understand, in which case I still might be able to make something of it.

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