Call this a sequel to my last post. I graduated yesterday, and have been busy moving, unpacking, and processing my final weeks. So I haven’t had much time to research or write anything new.
Still, in the midst of it, I’ve been reading Nietzsche. Along with his break with Wagner in 1876, Nietzsche took leave from his post at the University of Basel. With his freedom, Nietzsche wrote a series of aphoristic works, beginning with Human, All too Human and ending with The Gay Science.
I just finished reading excerpts from the set of them.
Before these works, Nietzsche wrote essays or reflections, The Birth of Tragedy being the main example. After, his work retained this aphoristic bent, even when he resumed a more traditional essay style, as in Beyond Good and Evil. The style may owe much to the German philosopher Schopenhauer and the French tradition that predated Nietzsche, which influenced his work a great deal, but he made it his own with his sharp wit, dynamic language, and unique philosophy.
Influenced by Nietzsche, I figured I’d share a few aphorisms I’ve gathered during college. I’ve heard some, borrowed others from books, and made up a number. In no particular order, here are a few:
1. Patience Sometimes you must take someone as they are, not as they should be, or how you want them to be.
2. Humility Humility isn’t about self deprecation. It’s about grounding yourself in the humus, the earth. You do not love yourself less, you just love the other more.
3. Good People You haven’t met all the good people yet (from Br. Kevin, a friar)
4. Love The more you love the more human you become (also from Br. Kevin).
5. Exorcism Writing is the best form of exorcism I know.
6. Kant Don’t treat people as means to ends, treat them as ends in themselves. Above all, strive to be real with them.
7. Greed A difference exists between greed and self-improvement, although many blur the line together.
8. Morality Most of us are angels with broken wings struggling to fly. We simply aren’t strong enough to do the right thing all the time.
9. Money Being rich is expensive.
10. And how about one from Nietzsche himself, particularly relevant for this time of graduation and change:
Star Friendship We were friends and have become estranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as if we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and course; our paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together, as we did — and then the good ships rested so quietly in one harbor and one sunshine that it may have looked as if they had reached their goal and as if they had one goal. But then the almighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never see one another again — perhaps we shall meet again but fail to recognize each other: our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us! That we have to become estranged is the law above us: by the same token we should also become more venerable for each other! And thus the memory of our former friendship should become more sacred! There is probably a tremendous but invisible stellar orbit in which our very different ways and goals may be included as small parts of this path — let us rise up to this thought! But our life is too short and our power of vision too small for us to be more than friends in the sense of this sublime possibility.