HYPERBOREA was a fabulous realm of eternal spring located in the far north beyond the land of winter. Its people were a blessed, long-lived race free of war, hard toil, and the ravages of old age and disease.
But happiness in the “all-too-human” English sense, concerned to maximize the common flourishing of the greatest number, is not what Nietzschean Hyperboreans are seeking. Their happiness, is a harder colder thing, something most of us might find difficult to distinguish from monomania, intolerance, and incivility.
Better to live among ice than among modern virtues and other south winds! … We were brave enough, we spared neither ourselves nor others: but for long we did not know where to apply our courage. We became gloomy, we were called fatalists. Our fatality — was the plenitude, the tension, the blocking-up of our forces. We thirsted for lightning and action, of all things we kept ourselves furthest from the happiness of the weaklings, from ‘resignation’…
Nietzsche never shakes fatalism, so far as I can tell, but combined with his stoicism it becomes for him a great “gift” of affirmation and the source of “our happiness.” Eternal recurrence in Hyperborea is not my idea of the good life, but Nietzsche’s popularity endures with a small but assertive few for whom “a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal” is the road from here to there. Perhaps we can tolerate them.
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