It’s been over a decade now since Nietzsche got seriously introduced in my life, a period in which I read several of his books, my favorite remaining The Gay Science. Of all his thoughts, the one from which I benefited the most, the one which has affected me mostly and which has remained with me throughout is this one: the idea and hence the will of affirming life, of affirming the being you are now, at this moment, in this infinitely complex web of becoming. What would it take, then, to make such a leap of affirmation? It would require a human being to look into her past, and to behold the most difficult and painful events through which she has lived, and to accept them, embrace them, and even love them because they are part of the intricate makeup that constitutes her current self, because without them she would not be who she is at this moment. Nietzsche would say that she would have to will them again, want to live through them again and again out of an infinite love and affirmation for the person she has become. In fact the web of events that Nietzsche has in mind extends far beyond the person in question, the particular subjectivity, to encompass the world and its history; so the person now looks at the most painful and questionable events in history and existence and out of an infinite love of life wills them again because she wills its present and future, hers and life’s, because in her heart a powerful Yes! is resounding, a powerful emotion that acts like a loop through which everything that has ever lived wants to be again, is in love with itself. And to complete the circle Nietzsche then devised the idea of eternal recurrence. The person now stands at the crux of the moment and asks herself if, living this moment the way she is living it, she is ready to live it again and again for an infinite number of times in the exact same way. To will this moment once is then to will it for an eternal number of times, recurring through the fabric of existence, so, obviously, you would want to will it in the best way possible, or the way that is most in harmony with your strength and heart. Ultimately, you must say Yes! to living your life in the exact same way again and again for an infinite number of times; you affirm existence in your person, and through you existence entire is justified. All of this, however, must be contemplated truly and not just in abstraction, its truth must be felt taking hold of the whole heart. Nothing is more difficult. Yet the difficult is something we love, because we love life.
You become worthy of the object of your desire, be it a lover, a poem, or a way of life, once you are able to let go of the numerous bits and pieces, the distractions, in order to dedicate yourself to it entirely, down to your heart and soul, to the truth of your life. Otherwise you’re just fooling around and passing time, and nothing great will come out of your life because you have not aspired to anything great.
I remember the fear in my sister’s eyes as she laid in her deathbed. I felt so helpless and powerless, and this feeling kills me to this day, cuts into me with a pain I cannot describe. It haunts my dreams at night. I could not ward off death and save the being I love most in the world. They tell me to get over my guilt, that the responsibility was not my own, and though that is true, you cannot not be or feel responsible, and hence powerless. I do not know how to get over this feeling, this incredible pain, but maybe I do not need to…
I also remember the light in her face, a light that became so clear to me towards the end. I don’t exactly know what this light is or why it shun with such clarity, or why her dreams became bathed in white as death approached. Was it her soul, getting ready to leave her body? Was it the beauty of her heart, a beauty that was there her whole life but that became more visible to me as I saw into who she truly was, beyond and inside the flesh and form. I don’t know, but this light! God, this light. As though I was beholding her essence, and it reduced me to tears.
I remember being haunted by this question (and I still am): Will I ever see her again? I will see her again and again as I bring her to life through me in my daily life. I will meet her around the corners of my life, as I live out more and more my own heart, love, and essence, as I become truer to the great love that bound us, that will forever bind us. But the question remains: Will I ever see you again, Sarah? You will come to me in the moments of my life, but at the moment of my death, will you be there with me? Will I feel the press of your hand in mine as you welcome me into the eternity of light of which you are now part.
Cursed be this life! Yet infinitely blessed for having allowed us to share this love even if for such a small period of time.
Like a tight bud I closed in upon myself, but that was only the outward appearance of it; in truth it was an inward motion, a closing in upon the self that is an opening up of an inward world, the inward world, the world of the soul; and the most precious thing this gave me? (and this I call poetry, the self-expressive, the inwardly reflexive) — the ability to withstand my solitude so I could deepen myself and give myself back to the world through my heart and from the depth of my soul.
I know of no more depressive fact about our daily life than its lack of the element of greatness, of belonging to something great.
A man who is in a gravely ill condition refuses to go see a doctor despite the many advises he is given. Days go on and his illness grows worse until, at last, he falls out of consciousness and an ambulance is called in to rush him to the hospital. If he survives the damage he suffered will not be reversible, and he will be forced to live on in a diminished existence.
Man, the rational animal, will not do the one rational thing that ensures his future survival, the survival of humanity. Could it be that, after all, man is irrational? Rationality — if we believe his claim, that he is rational — has been a tool at work against his survival — rationality as his greatest stupidity; its progress and advancement leading to his extinction.
Man, the animal with no control over his impulses and will, ultimately wills his own end.
There is no life after death, but there is an eternity. Being rooted in it it no longer matters if there is a life after death — or, said from the opposite bank, death achieves its purpose and opens us to eternity, not to an afterlife, but to a here-and-now eternity. Death itself becomes its white flower, its most fragrant sigh, its sigh of overflowing gratitude.