Category Archives: Nietzsche

Knowledge and ignorance

Our knowledge will take its revenge on us, just as ignorance exacted its revenge during the Middle Ages.

— Nietzsche

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Some kind of whole

The eternal formula, the key to this world and the beyond. (Oh, Robert, why do you use, for things that are so indifferent to you, such highly charged words!). Did Kant, did any other discover it? Can anyone ever find it?!I have never finished reading Kant but I don’t let that keep me awake at night, nor do I feel that I shall die with shame because another man has already grasped the world in its entirety.

There are truths but no truth. I can quite well assert two totally antithetical things and in both cases be right. It’s not permissible to weigh ideas, one against the other — each has a life of its own. Cf. Nietzsche. What a fiasco it is if one tries to discover any system in his work except for the spirit which the wise man chooses as his guide.

Another species is made up of those who loved greatly — Christ, Buddha, Goethe — myself, in those days of autumn when I was in love with Valerie.

These do not seek after any truth, but they feel that something within them is coming together into some kind of whole.

This has something purely human about it — a natural process.

And such people can balance one idea against the other, for that new thing which grows within them has fastidious roots.

— Robert Musil (quoted in Letters from a Librarian)

Many good inventions

Either you look at the universe as a very poor creation out of which no one can make anything or you look at your own life and your own part in the universe as infinitely rich, full of inexhaustible interest, opening out into infinite further possibilities for study and contemplation and interest and praise.

— Thomas Merton

There standeth the boat — thither goeth it over, perhaps into vast nothingness — but who willeth to enter into this “Perhaps”?

None of you want to enter into the death-boat! How should ye then be WORLD-WEARY ones!

World-weary ones! And have not even withdrawn from the earth! Eager did I ever find you for the earth, amorous still of your own earth-weariness!

Not in vain doth your lip hang down: — a small worldly wish still sitteth thereon! And in your eye — floateth there not a cloudlet of unforgotten earthly bliss?

There are on the earth many good inventions, some useful, some pleasant: for their sake is the earth to be loved.

And many such good inventions are there, that they are like woman’s breasts: useful at the same time, and pleasant.

Ye world-weary ones, however! Ye earth-idlers! You, shall one beat with stripes! With stripes shall one again make you sprightly limbs.

For if ye be not invalids, or decrepit creatures, of whom the earth is weary, then are ye sly sloths, or dainty, sneaking pleasure-cats. And if ye will not again RUN gaily, then shall ye — pass away!

— Nietzsche

Sketches of life

Each individual thing is only a sketch of the specific perfection planned for its kind. Why should we ask it to be anything more?

— Thomas Merton

What is great in the human is that it is a bridge and not a goal: what can be loved in the human is that it is a going-over and going-under.

— Nietzsche