Nietzsche, the Bible, you?

by phil on Tuesday Apr 15, 2003 10:28 AM

Nietzsche's New Year's resolution is one of my favorite verses in the Gay Science:

For the New Year.— I still live, I still think: I still have to live, for I still have to think. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum [I am, therefore I think: I think, therefore I am.]. Today everybody permits himself the expression of his wish and his dearest thought: hence I, too, shall say what it is that I wish from myself today, and what was the first thought to run across my heart this year—what thought shall be for me the reason, warranty, and sweetness of all my life henceforth! I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things:—then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati [Love of fate.]: let that be my love from henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation! And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer! (Kaufmann, 233)

This goes back to a verse in the Bible (Luke I think) which says, "Thank God in everything." The emphasis is on everything which includes chocolate, sex, and Saddam Hussein.

In a theorotecial sense, this does make sense. There's the whole idea that rejecting one part of existence rejects entire existence because everything is all chained up in a intimately connected network of causation. There's also the religion argument that God made everything, even Satan, and since everything God makes is done for a reason, there must be a good in all.

But there's even a psychologically practical justification. if you completly write something off as bad, you reduce the number of positive features you will glean from it to zero. At least if you say yes to everything first, you will always reap a non-zero amount of positivity.

"Oh but Phil, I don't want to be evil. I don't want to sponsor the wrong!"

Please, at least give it a shot before writing it off, that is, after all, the point.

Isn't optimism worth the hassle?

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