“Bleib nicht auf ebnem Feld!
Steig nicht zu hoch hinaus!
Am schönsten sieht die Welt
Von halber Höhe aus.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, Reclam, 2000, p. 16.
[Amateuristic English translation: “Don’t stay on the flat lands!Don’t climb too high!The most beautiful view of the world, can be seen from half-height.”]
[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dd. 08-11-2009. I think I’m getting bored with this, but I’ll finish the re-posting because I’m getting close to finishing it. At least it makes me see how pitiful I am (although the end is better than the start.]
I am running a serious risk of not taking myself seriously enough. It’s a risk that is well less known because the average person is well to the overly serious side. Still, one can go too far in the other direction, as Nietzsche probably did round about the time he wrote the book from which this quote is taken. Maybe, with rising average levels of learning, it will become the standard to be more like Wilde than like the village preacher (or village nut, if you prefer).
This would be good but in naming the Great One with Anal Preferences, you get my point or at least so I hope: you can only laugh so much with yourself, before it gets to points where it becomes really laughable. Not, mind you, that it’s a common risk to run (and you would be ill-advised to think you are running it) as in most cases people who find themselves poking fun at themselves really are making a shadow-move; so getting, said in passing, to an interesting non-intended irony allowing us – in all seriousness – to laugh heartily at their jokes (don’t get it? shame on you!).
Anyway, in my attempt to up the frequency on this here place a bit (trying to avoid a hitting-of-the-same-nail-over-and-over-again syndrome – and finishing something that is quite a bit bigger than a little post), where should be the harm in revisiting further some childhood favourites – setting some records straight whilst taking something of a rest, ‘pour mieux sauter’ so to speak.
This is Nietzsche’s book; the rest is better – by broad margins – than most, but the ‘fröhliche Wissenschaft’ is where he remained unaffected by the flat oceans of mediocrity surrounding him and hit it on the head and hit it well, without the great Babylonic assent: still funny, not yet sour.
Allow me a bit of paternalistic instincts: this is how my kids need to get to know him.
And besides, it does tie to my over-all project because you can only make sense if you are still connected to the everyday goins-on; but you can only really add value if you do jump and take the risk of telling something that is so new nobody understands it – heck, that you don’t quite ‘get it’ yourself (feeling frustrations of being uncertain yourself of whether you’re a genius or just everyday ludicrous).
That’s where it has to be possible to laugh at yourself with all strings attached – laugh with yourself, but feeling the pain of being ridiculed by others, on things that matter for you; not just laughing because it’s funny & relaxing & showing that you can take the vantage points that are the highest, that you can describe the lay of the land because you’ve discovered the best vista’s; no – feeling the ridicule of the classroom on things which are near and dear to you (a poem you meant, an opinion you believe strongly in), & inflicting thát ridicule on yourself, en plein public, inviting the others.
Not easy, heh! Much easier to take the high road, which is what most people looking down on the flatlanders do. The high road is in fact even easier than the safe paths of gradualism in art and litterature because the creation and risk is still real – although it’s lower and therefore also – in a non-romantic, non-overly-obsessive way – the reward is lower (it’s a simple law of artistic creation: the more understandable to this public of ‘now’, the more rapidly it will date since it will rapidly cease to be intelligble to the offspring, the offspring’s cultivation progressing too fast to keep a connection with what soon becomes folcloristic nostalgia, the friendly face of cultural pessimism, take opera for instance and its overly overt dramatism).
Getting too long again so let me share some quotes of mine to appear (maybe who knows?) soon elsewhere in real print: “When nobody understands you – you’ve said nothing. Being mainstream is as important as being independent. There is nothing mediocre about being like everybody else: to be special is not to be a little different in everything and from everybody, it suffices to be new in something.”
Great minds think alike 🙂
As you were.
[Whilst writing this I was listening to Beethoven, Piano Sonatas, Friedrich Gulda (Discs 7 & 8) – and I do admit that I checked in on the soccer results from time to time.]