On Nietzsche and the Love of Life

(photo: bobistraveling)

[Originally posted in response to Ms. Kate's post]

"There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living: there is nothing that is harder to learn" (Seneca, On the Shortness of life)

Nietzsche's philosophy is the work of one who seeks to affirm life in the face of life's tragedy - a radical affirmation of life.

Say a sacred Yes to life and affirm it, not with Stoic resolve, but with joy and laughter; find joy even in the darkest places.

Have the strength to dance and laugh in the thin air of the mountains' heights.

Have the strength to dance and laugh in the darkest shadows.

Have the strength to dance and laugh.

It is in this context that "eternal recurrence" must be understood; this is NOT a belief in reincarnation.

What if every single moment of your life, good and bad, you were to repeat forever; would you feel cursed, or are you strong enough to feel blessed?

"What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.'"(Nietzsche, The Gay Science)

To affirm this curse as a blessing, to love your life, your fate, and willingly relive it ad infinitum Nietzsche calls "amor fati," love of fate.

"My formula for human greatness is amor fati: that one wants to have nothing different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely to bear the necessary, still less to conceal it--all idealism is mendaciousness before the necessary--but to love it." -Nietzsche

Not just stoic tolerance of one's lot in life, nor the utilitarian seeking to maximize pleasure, Nietzsche preaches total acceptance of fate.

This love of fate is a hard; Nietzsche never took the easy path: Freud said of Nietzsche, “In my youth he signified a nobility which I could not attain.”

Perhaps, but to love every single moment of one's life remains a worthy ideal worth striving for, 

Radical love of life...

lightness, weight, and everything in between.