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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We Were Not Built In A Day: Wisdom From Nietzsche Continued

He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying- Friedrich Nietzsche


It is hard to wait for what we want to do, accomplish or become. Patience is a virtue not easily come by. It often seems that the harder you try the further the goal seems to become.

I once heard a tale of a young man longing for enlightenment who went to a wise monk and asked the monk to teach him the path to it. The monk told the young man that he would teach him, "Starting tomorrow you will wash my dishes." The young man happily agreed and did so with great vigour, longing for his desired goal. Day after day, month after month he did so, until a year passed and with great frustration he asked the monk, "Why, after all this time have you not taught me the path to enlightenment!?" To this the wise monk replied, "I have, each and everyday you have had the opportunity to enlightenment." 

On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow. - Friedrich Nietzsche 

If you grasp for yourself, you will lose yourself. Lose yourself, and you will grasp yourself.  Our identity does not necessarily lie in a status, figure, or thought, but rather in the being, without any driving motivation to become something that you already are not. If we are not content with who we are now, then we will shall never be so, even when we have reached our desired goal. It is in understanding this that we become free to begin our process. It is in this that we become enlightened, for now we have allowed ourselves to, actually, be transformed. We have given ourselves over, relinquished our driving desires to be other then what we are, and now we begin. We must start with first things first.

 Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me shall save it. - Jesus bar-Joseph

Let me be clear, to lose oneself is not a denial of ones own identity or personality. Jesus does not call us to be likened unto a cult that desires for all to act, sound and think the same. No, we can not deny our identities, nor our personalities...nor our hearts. Nietzsche reminds us of this when he says,
One ought to hold onto one's heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too. - Friedrich Nietzsche
It is a call to deny our own self-will. A self-will that is often naive, destructive and often makes us ineffective. Doing so does not come easily, as we daily fight within ourselves. We are masters at fooling our own thoughts and feelings. Our guilts, angers, fears, disappointments and, perhaps most vicious, our low self-esteems will always challenge us not to give up those driving forces and to not think of ourselves as good enough as we are. We must be-rid ourselves of this menacing self-will. A self-will that hinders ourselves from being ourselves. 

Doing so, is not a one time thing, but a daily occurrence. The journey may seem long, daunting and exhausting, but it seems to me, that all things worth while... always are. 
When one does away with oneself one does the most estimable thing possible: one thereby almost deserves to live. - Friedrich Nietzsche 
 Cheers,

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay, that last comment confused me, as regarding his previous comment. So he's referring to our self-will when he says "does away with oneself"? And what of our positive self-will, that wills to reach out in positive connection with our deepest selves and with others? Is self-will only regarded as negative? Or is it considered outside of our will to reach for positive, better sides of human nature?
Very thought-provoking - thanks for posting!
Miriam

Philip A. said...

Miriam-
I guess this is were definitions come into play. What is its meaning, that which we say? In this scenario the self-will is defined as our selfish ambitions, goals etc.. Doing things unto our own glory and benefit as opposed to seeking the self. The self is what enables us to be more then what the self-will will ever allow, although the self-will would not have us think so. I guess to put it more simply: Self-will bad, Self good.
The self is the heart of the matter and the self-will its evil twin. The self-will disguises itself well in order that it may look as if it were the Self, so well that we often choose it rather then the self.

Anonymous said...

That's a great explanation! Thanks.
It's awesomely important to distinguish between those two parts of "self"; I guess that in Christianity it would have been described in the past as the "flesh" vs. the "spirit", which wasn't as helpful, because we obviously can't ignore all things of the "flesh", or we quickly get off-balance - so we need to embrace the parts of the flesh that build up our spirit; and recognize that the overlap of all these things is huge; and that we will at all times have only partial vision into ourselves or into the realities of life.
Miriam

Philip A. said...

Miriam-
Very true. I am a very strong advocate for the understanding of oneself. Without understanding oneself we are less equipped to help others and just simply be. I fully believe that we will, one day, be able to say along with the divine, "I am". For now, I am "I".
Thanks.