into thin air

We circle back ’round to Nietzsche, and Alain de Botton‘s last Consolations of Philosophy chapter, today in Intro. (Follow AdB on Twitter)

Nietzsche is not my favorite philosopher, though he was one of ’em back in the day– back in what I think of as my misanthropic pre-democratic early grad school phase. He’s still more fun to read than just about anyone, but I definitely wouldn’t want to be him. He was self-isolating, took himself much too seriously even before the syphilitic bug turned his brain to egocentric mush, and had much too little sympathy for his fellow mortals. And yet…

And yet there are times in every life when self-imposed hardship is better, healthier, than comfort and pleasure and ease. Self-overcoming is inseparable from self-actualization, and there are no more intoxicating moments for any of us than those at the peak of a long hard slog over difficult terrain. The air is thin up there, and bracing. And I happen to agree with him about  this: the best thoughts are indeed those that come while walking.

But for a German to renounce beer!

And maybe it is “stupid” to want to change the weather, as I do every February. It would have been this weekend, I’ll give him that much.

[slideshowDrunk on the groundbdayhammerMillDarwinNietzscheeternal recurrencemusicbeautyconsolationsunnyformula for happinessfree spiritlast manwanderer]

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