Nietzsche on the brain

March 31, 2011 Comments Off on Nietzsche on the brain


Inspired by a second screening of A Christmas Tale, I have Nietzsche on the brain:

We don’t know ourselves, we knowledgeable people —we are personally ignorant about ourselves. And there’s good reason for that. We’ve never tried to find out who we are—how could it happen that one day we’d discover ourselves? With justice it’s been said, “Where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also.”* Our treasure lies where the beehives of our knowledge stand. We are always busy with our knowledge, as born winged creatures and collectors of spiritual honey. In our hearts we are basically concerned with only one thing—to “bring something home.” As far as the rest of life is concerned, what people call “experience,”—which of us is serious enough for that? Or has enough time? In these matters, I fear, we’ve been “missing the point.” Our hearts have simply not been engaged with that—nor, for that matter, have our ears! We’ve been much more like someone divinely distracted and self-absorbed into whose ear the clock has just pealed the twelve strokes of noon with all its force and who all at once wakes up and asks himself “What exactly did that clock strike?”—so now and then we rub our ears afterwards and ask, totally surprised and completely embarrassed “What have we really just experienced?” And more: “Who are we really?” Then, as I’ve mentioned, we count—after the fact—all the twelve trembling strokes of the clock of our experience, of our lives, of our being — alas! in the process we keep losing the count . . . So we remain simply and necessarily strangers to ourselves, we do not understand ourselves, we must be confused about ourselves. For us this law holds for all eternity: “Each man is furthest from himself”—where we ourselves are concerned, we are not “knowledgeable people” . . .

(From On the Genealogy of Morals A Polemical Tract)

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