Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reading Nietzsche on my 31st birthday

Reading section 31 of Beyond Good and Evil on my 31st birthday....
trans. Marianne Cowan


When one is young one accords honor or contempt without the art of the nuance which constitutes the best profit to be had from life. And, as is quite just, one must do heavy penance for having attacked people and things with "yes" and "no," as it were. Everything is arranged in such a fashion that the worst of all tastes, the taste for the absolute, is cruelly teased and abused until finally man learns to incorporate some art into his feelings and to prefer, if necessary, to experiment with artificiality, like the real virtuosos of life. The anger and reverence that characterize youth seem not to rest until they can discharge themselves against them. The very essence of youth is falsification and deception. Then later, when the young soul, tortured by nothing but disappointments, finally turns on itself in suspicion (still hot and wild, even while suspicious and conscience-stricken)--how angry it is now at itself, how impatiently it rends itself, how it takes revenge for its long self-deception as though it had been a voluntary blindness! In this transition period one punishes oneself by mistrusting one's own feelings; one tortures one's enthusiasms by doubt; one goes so far as to consider one's good conscience a danger, one thinks of it as a self-obfuscation and a tiring of a more refined candor. But above all, one takes sides--basically and in principle--against "youth."--A decade later one comprehends that that stage too was--youth!

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