Dear Nietzsche (h2so4 17)

Dear Nietzsche,

Tell me how I can use my will to power to get more stuff done. My ability can’t keep up with my ambition. —IMOK

Dear IMOK,

RUOK? You, for whom life is furious work and unrest—are you not weary of life? Are you not very ripe for the preaching of death? All of you to whom furious work is dear, and whatever is fast, new and strange—you find it hard to bear yourselves; your industry is escape and the will to forget yourselves. If you believed more in life you would fling yourselves less to the moment. But you do not have contents enough in yourselves for waiting—and not even for idleness.


Friedrich Nietzsche

Dear Nietzsche,

I always seem to be one to two steps away from a real happiness, and that, to me, is heartbreak. What will change that for me? —Susie

Dear S—

Zarathustra has said:

“Oh happiness, how little is sufficient for happiness!” Thus I once spoke and seemed clever to myself. But it was a blasphemy: that I have learned now. Clever fools speak better. Precisely the least, the softest, the lightest, a lizard’s rustling, a breath, a breeze, a moment’s glance—it is little that makes the best happiness.

And after such perfect happiness, the heart must break, because of its fullness. To desire otherwise means not to know love.


Dear Nietzsche,

What should the Catholic Church do about its priestly pederasty problem? —Ernie

Dear Ernest,

Can it be that you have not heard? God is dead.

Not a few who wanted to drive out their devil have themselves entered into swine. Those for whom chastity is difficult should be counseled against it, lest it become their road to hell. Do I speak of dirty things? That is not the worst that could happen. It is not when truth is dirty, but when it is shallow, that the lover of knowledge is reluctant to step into its waters.


Dear Nietzsche,

I was saying that you would be the last person from whom to ask for marriage advice. But Felix said otherwise. So tell me, if I am to marry, what should I know? —Anne Senhal

Dear Ms. Senhal,

Your wedlock: see to it that it not be a bad lock. If you lock it too quickly, there follows wedlock-breaking: adultery. And better even such wedlock-breaking than wedlock-picking, wedlock-tricking. Thus said a woman to me: “Indeed I committed adultery and broke my wedlock, but first my wedlock broke me!”

The worst among the vengeful I always find to be the ill-matched: they would make all the world pay for it that they no longer live singly. Therefore I would have those who are honest say to each other, “We love each other; let us see to it that we remain in love. Or shall our promise be a mistake?” and “Give us probation and a little marriage, so that we may see whether we are fit for a big marriage. It is a big thing always to be two.”

Marriage: thus I name the will of two to create something that is more than those who created it. Reverence for each other, as for those willing with such a will, is what I name marriage.

But that which the all-too-many call marriage—alas, what should I name that? Alas, this poverty of the soul in pair, this wretched contentment in pair. What child would not have cause to weep over its parents? Many brief follies—that is what you call love. And your marriage concludes many brief follies as a long stupidity.

But even your best love is merely an ecstatic parable and a painful ardor. It is a torch that should light up higher paths for you. Over and beyond yourselves you shall love one day. Thus learn first to love.



Dear Nietzsche,

What is a book of ideas that no one reads? If I have thoughts that can’t be made known to a significant number of eyes, ears and minds, what have I accomplished? Has anything changed? Have I changed anything? —Anxious and unfamous

Dear Infamous,

Where solitude ceases the marketplace begins; and where the marketplace begins the noise of the great actors and the buzzing of the poisonous flies begins too. Take note.

In the world even the best things amount to nothing without someone to make a show of them: the people call these showers showmen. Little do people comprehend great things. But they have a mind for all showmen and actors of great things.

And yet around the inventors of new values the world revolves: invisibly it revolves. But around the actors revolve the people and fame: that is “the way of the world.”

The actor has spirit but little conscience of the spirit. Always he has faith in that with which he inspires the most faith—faith in himself. Tomorrow he will have a new faith, and the day after tomorrow a newer one. He has quick senses, like the people, and capricious moods. To overthrow—that means to him: to prove. To drive to frenzy—that means to him: to persuade. And blood is to him the best of all reasons. A truth that slips into delicate ears alone he calls a lie and nothing. Verily, he believes only in gods who make a big noise in the world!

Full of solemn jesters is the market place—and the people pride themselves on their great men, their masters of the hour. But the hour presses them; so they press you. And from you too they want a Yes or No. Do you want to place your chair between pro and con?

Do not be jealous of these unconditional, pressing men, you lover of truth! Never yet has truth hung on the arm of the unconditional. On account of these sudden men, go back to your security: it is only in the market place that one is assaulted with Yes and No. Yet slow is the experience of all deep wells: long must they wait before they know what fell into their depth.

Far from the market place and from fame happens all that is great. In the market place the people hum around you with their Yes and their No, and their praise, too. Obtrusiveness is their praise. Often they affect charm. But that has always been the cleverness of cowards. Indeed, cowards are clever! They think a lot about you with their petty souls—you always seem problematic to them. Everything that one thinks about a lot becomes problematic.

The people punish you for all your virtues. They forgive you entirely your mistakes. You, however, know better. Flee, my friend, away from the market place, into your solitude!