‘What is there in this that is unbearable and beyond endurance?’ You would be ashamed to confess it! And then remind yourself that it is not the future or the past that afflicts you, but always the present…
A friend of mine posted on Facebook a graphic making fun of religious notions of morality as “handed down from God”. I responded: I think a lot of atheistic objections to religion are a reaction to a simple-minded concept of the Divine. Yes, many people do indeed think of Divinity as an all-powerful Man with a White Beard who has a bunch of rules, a bunch of demands, and a quick temper. But that vision does not fit with the more sublime and subtle Divinity that, for example, the deep spiritual mystics and sages throughout the millennia have talked about experiencing.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
Center of all centers, core of all cores,
almond self-enclosed and growing sweet–
all this universe, to the furthest stars
and beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.
I love this quote, which has been my email sig line for a few months now. I feel like it expresses nicely and succinctly the importance of a balanced between, on the one hand, self-love and taking care of oneself, and, on the other, love of others, generosity, and connection.
Though you and I struggle
against the deathly clutch of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:
All life is being lived.
Sigmund Freud evidently believed that Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche had a more “penetrating self-knowledge” than any other human being has ever had. If Freud’s analysis is accurate, perhaps it explains why Nietzsche’s written output so closely reflects aspect of the human psyche; like our minds, his philosophy is powerful but occasionally difficult to untangle, given apparent contradictions and complications. From among the strands of his thought, however, emerge coherent patterns. For example, although the ideas involved are convoluted, Nietzsche repeatedly asserted that a morality rooted in notions of good and evil originated in weakness, is destructive, and is arbitrary. Instead of morality, Nietzsche affirmed a value system that was based on embracing the worldly, the paradoxical, and the “evil” of noble strength and joyous independence.
“In healthy people only is there a good correlation between subjective delight in the experience, impulse to the experience, or wish for it, and “basic need” for the experience (it’s good for him, and society, in the long run). Only such people uniformly yearn for what is good for them and others. This unity, this network of positive intercorrelation falls apart, however, as the person gets psychologically sick. Then what he wants to do may be bad for him, and his is impulses, desires, and enjoyments then become a poor guide to living. So far as philosophical theory is concerned, many historical dilemmas and contradictions are resolved by this finding.”
In the cosmology of the ninetieth century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, the pure Will-in-itself, like the Christian God, the Hindu Brahman, or the Buddhist Nirvana, exists outside of space and time, beyond the realm of human comprehension or perception. It does, however, phenomenologically manifest itself, almost pantheistically, in our realm as both the unified totality of all of the objects of the physical universe, and as the will to exist and to act that propels these objects along their respective courses.