In this month's Brainpickings
, there's an interesting article
about the German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche, who was a rather clever bloke but not particularly modest, as shown in these quotes from one of his letters:
“It is my fate to have to be the first decent human being. I have a terrible fear that I shall one day be pronounced holy.”
“It seems to me that for a person to take a book of mine into his hands is one of the rarest distinctions that anyone can confer upon himself. I even assume that he removes his shoes when he does so — not to speak of boots.”
In between making statements about his own incredible importance, Nietzsche did make some interesting comments about life, people, morals and society. One point he made was that he thought it was vital
that people's lives contained hardship. This wasn't because of some streak of sadism. Instead, Nietzsche said the whole point
of life was to face and overcome difficulties. Each and every one of us, he believed, has
to encounter difficult challenges, agonising decisions, trial and tribulations throughout our lives. That is the only way that we can truly achieve and succeed. Nietzsche writes:
Examine the lives of the best and most fruitful people and peoples and ask yourselves whether a tree that is supposed to grow to a proud height can dispense with bad weather and storms; whether misfortune and external resistance, some kinds of hatred, jealousy, stubbornness, mistrust, hardness, avarice, and violence do not belong among the favourable conditions without which any great growth even of virtue is scarcely possible.
The philosopher Schopenhauer, who Nietzsche admired, thought that life's difficulties should be avoided. Schopenhauer recommended people hide away. Nietzsche had the opposite view. He said; 'take the challenges on! You need them! They'll make you a better person!'
Nietzsche is saying a very similar thing to my article
suggesting that life is really like Casablanca
, which is cool, as it means that a famous philosopher agrees with me. Yes! Unfortunately, it's also clear what I thought
was an exciting new idea has actually been around for nearly a century and it isn't new at all. Hey ho.