Posted by on Sep 12, 2010 in Featured, Philosophy

Every choice human being strives instinctively for a citadel and a secrecy where he is saved from the crowd, the many, the great majority—where he may forget ‘men who are the rule,’ being their exception—excepting only the one case in which he is pushed straight to such men by a still stronger instinct, as a seeker after knowledge in the great and exceptional sense. Anyone who. . . does not occasionally glisten in all the colors of distress, green and gray with disgust, satiety, sympathy, gloominess, and loneliness, is certainly not a man of elevated tastes; supposing, however, that he does not take all this burden and disgust upon himself voluntarily, that he persistently avoids it, and remains, as I said, quietly and proudly hidden in his citadel, one thing is certain: he was not made, he was not predestined, for knowledge. If he were, he would one day have to say to himself: ‘The devil take my good taste! but the rule is more interesting than the exception—than myself, the exception!’ And he would go down, and above all, he would go ‘inside.’”

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Nietzsche, 9-10

As I read this passage this morning, I was reminded of the two-ness, the duality that is modern experience:  That everything has at least two possible meanings, and often more.   That, for those who earnestly seek truth and knowledge and goodness, at least half the world often appears to be constantly in bad taste, in bad form; and most wallow in their own certainties to the point of seeming ridiculous and embarrassingly uninformed.  Yet it is the search for knowledge and truth that brings us all to these places.  And I, at least, have to try and understand that my identity is not extricable from that of the other.  We are, to borrow from a favorite philosopher and activist, bound up in the fate of all the others.  I am not who I often think I am without the idea of the average, without the great majority–that is probably the only thing that I can say with any certainty.



  1. Akbar Lightning
    September 12, 2010

    a beautiful selection…and a beautiful confession…

    this reminds me of the concept of the Bodhisattva…that enlightened one, who instead of resting in intellectual/spiritual bliss chooses to re-integrate with society in order to share the bounty with others, and so becomes more than a Buddha, becomes a human in the act of pure being…

    the world must be loved, warts and all, in order for the world to grow…just as a child has an innocent irreverence and mischief for which he/she cannot be blamed, but loved and guided, so too the world with its automatic horrors, it must be loved because of its purity, of its inexplicable beauty, in order to arouse that kind of enthusiasm necessary for unity.

  2. logocentric
    September 12, 2010

    beautifully said, AL–particularly for the wonderful applications to which your comments point. thanks for the encouragement. Lc

  3. universaltron
    September 13, 2010

    nice post and reading. i’ve been thinking about it today while at the Kennedy Space Center. this makes me think of the scare the media is putting out today as to what one should or should not be posting online. headline news at 11. Wait all day. Wait for it. Wait for it. “YOUR FUTURE BOSS COULD BE GOOGLING YOU RIGHT NOW.” Jeez. How about that. I had no idea that’s how the internet worked.

    The reason I say this is that I feel this is my Citadel. I come here for confessional. I download my all. I put my consciousness in XML format for the big upload in the sky. i believe there comes a point in a humans life where one should realized that pure sharing is freedom. Not holding back becomes strength. no secrets. all is told. It shapes ones consciousness as well. Allows one to say what others are only thinking. And through that you are speaking for the voiceless. You might take a black eye or two for it but you stand for truth through doing so and really… sharing is what these tools are for. all tools. language. the internet, etc. we are here to communicate.

    I’m glad you have come out of your place of solace to share once again. Globatron gains strength by bearing witness each day. The walls are strong and transparent. As Akbar mentioned the other day, we are the musicians playing as the Titantic is sinking. The show must go on.

  4. Infiniversal John
    September 15, 2010

    At first I read neat cheese quote and it landed as gibberish in my head, but then I played the audio and the speaker brought much clarity to the passage with his power of using pause and emphasis while speaking.


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