I am having a very hard time lately. Though my life is good, I have many issues in my life. In general, I am simply dissatisfied with the current situation. I find that life has changed somewhat drastically for me since I began reading Nietzsche. It turns out that much of his perspective is accurate and healthy. The foremost of it is courage. Courage is all. You can only become who you are. Become yourself by overcoming yourself. This requires courage and nothing else will accomplish it without courage.
Unfortunately, you and everyone else reading this is probably a coward. Cowardly being the opposite of courageous. Although a small percentage of people are courageous, the vast majority are not and are miserable as a result. I wonder now, since I am dissatisfied, is it because I am shying away from what requires my courage?
Nietzsche speaks much about the ‘will’. He calls it various things and it’s been called many more things over the years. The survival dynamic, spirit, soul, drive. I don’t know. Lots of things. But all attempts are made to address the same issue – what is our driving force of life? Certainly life is not the most precious and respected and desired value. People don’t value life worth shit. People kill for money, vengeance, drugs, hate. They kill kill kill. In some prisons and neighborhoods you’ll get killed for looking at someone the wrong way. So much for valuing life.
So, what do people value? Money, sex, power. It really all comes down to power, it seems. Power. And since people don’t have personal power (that requires courage), they instead seek to have power elsewhere in this world. Power over others. Money, which can purchase pleasure and praise, gives power to the beholder over those who have not. A man with $1,000,000 in the bank is certainly more powerful than a man with $20 living paycheck to paycheck. The millionaire can do whatever he wants and pay others to do all kinds of stuff for him. The poor man can barely feed his family. Who has the power?
A lot of people use sex for power too. They get off on pleasing themselves with another person, and it’s never really about giving pleasure. It’s about getting pleasure. Sometimes they’ll give just cause that makes it more enjoyable for themselves. And often, without realizing it, they enjoy sex just because having sex makes them feel powerful. It’s arousing to know that you can go and have your pick.
So, what about love? Isn’t love the all-inclusive meaningful experience in our world? I wish. Love is overrated, according to Nietzsche. But he never comes out and says it’s bad. In fact, when you really get his gist, you can see that any self-actualized person will really be a loving, non-violent, peaceful, compassionate and caring person after all. Once in tune with who you really are, you will ultimately find that that’s who you are. We are all the same and at our core we are all that way. It is life’s challenge to become ourselves, and although we may end up as loving individuals, that doesn’t necessarily mean that loving all the time is the solution to getting there.
Nietzsche forcefully declares that there is no right and wrong, a conclusion I came to many years ago, although I didn’t comprehend it quite as thoroughly as he at the time. Now I get it. It’s a major effort to look at things this way at first for most people, and many will never even grasp the meaning of this because they are so simple and small minded. Those people have already decided that they know right and wrong, and are therefore helpless to grow past themselves. They are severely limiting themselves to their current experience of the world of right vs. wrong. But if you are able to think about it, Nietzsche was correct. It is impossible for any one person to know what is right for another person. This comes up sometimes in Psychiatry.
So, a patient comes with a dilemma. Get divorced or stay together? Move out or stay? Change jobs, careers, friends? What’s the right thing to do? Some say that the psychiatrist is qualified to say what the patient should do. “Well, Mr. Jones, based on your history and your symptoms, you should definitely leave your wife and find someone else. And don’t quit your job, even though you hate it because that’s what’s best for you.” To me that sounds like the most ridiculous statement in the world, but it happens every day. People are quick to hand over their personal power to another so they will not have to hold themselves accountable for the misery in their lives.
I never give direct advice. It’s up to the patient to decide his own life. If you are unhappy, it is because of your own choices. No exceptions. If you want to change something, then do it. Stop wasting your time here on earth trying to find a way to be less miserable in a situation you will never be happy with. By subscribing to the belief that there is an objective right and wrong, you limit yourself to experiencing the world as such. You eliminate all the gray areas of our world. And by the way, the world is 100% gray areas. The light and dark are only the very, very limited extremes. It’s like seeing the world as a football field of options, but you only believe in the last .001 inch at either end of the field. Good luck self-actualizing.
Once you get over the right-wrong paradigm, you can see that everything depends on context. This is extremely important because everything changes with context. Here’s a simple example. If lying is always wrong, then what do you do in this situation? A military officer of the invading army says he has come to take all the women and children away to be raped 100 times then killed. Your wife and 5 lovely daughters are hiding upstairs. He asks you, “Where are they?” Hmmmm. What’s right? Since it’s wrong to lie, you will have to say, “They’re upstairs.” Or in other words – Help yourself to them.
I disagree that lying is inherently wrong. It is a social tool that we must learn to use appropriately and not abuse or use to harm others. But it is NOT wrong to lie. Anyone in his right mind would agree that it’s best to lie to protect his family. So, then is it ok to lie when someone is evil like that officer? Hmmm. Not always. You see, there is no all-or-nothing answer here. You will never find one. Because our world is 100% gray area. Context. When people spread the 10 commandments, they were good general advice to follow to be more or less in tune with your deeper morals. They are NOT a good list of what is officially right and wrong. People who believe in the 10 commandments so strictly are fools. But not much worse than everyone else who believes in the right and wrong paradigm.
Get it out of your head. There is no right. There is no wrong. Instead, think of yourself this way. You arrived in this world utterly alone and you will die the same way. What is right is what YOU choose is right for you at any given moment in any given situation. Go ahead and try it. What will happen, you wonder? I’ll tell you what will happen. You will have to hold yourself responsible 100% for your actions. You will quickly learn what actions make you feel better or worse about yourself. You will soon learn to do the things you find are right by you, and you will consequently experience an enormous amount of personal power. Your whole life will begin to change around you and you will possibly end up changing friends, relationships and careers.
People avoid change like it’s the plague. But, in case you haven’t heard, the only thing that never changes is that everything always changes. Paradox, eh? Yeah, welcome to our universe. I hope you enjoy your stay. Paradoxes are all we’ve got. Gray areas. Contexts.
So, stop thinking inside the box that the world has constructed around you. You probably don’t even think you are in a box, but I assure you, you are. We all are, just to different degrees. Show me someone completely outside the box and I’ll show you the Buddha or Jesus Christ. You are living in a box. I am living in a box, only mine is probably less restricted than yours. Previously I used the word fantasy to describe this, but a box is the same thing. Fantasy is probably a better word.
You are living in a fantasy world. You think the world is what you think it is, but your experience is clouded by your perception, and the world is actually something much, MUCH larger than your current view of this little world where you go to work, get your paper money and get only 2 days off per week. Good luck with that fantasy. It works for no one. I just hope you wake up and decide to start living more fully so that you may be fulfilled. After all, only you can change you and your world. But that takes courage and nothing will but courage will do.
Look into your soul and find your courageous spirit and endeavor to grow and become who you ARE. If you are not growing, you are stagnant, and stagnation is decrepitus and death. Everything in our universe changes. It’s the only universal law. If you are unchanging, you are going against the universe and you will suffer for it. In fact, you probably already are.