Jan 31, 2012 0
The best way to think of Nietzsche is as a blogger.
Most of his books are made up of bite-sized sections which are not obviously tied to each other, and which offer no general argument. Sometimes he’s talking about something he saw the other day, sometimes he’s giving his opinion on the world in general, sometimes he’s just ranting. (Like I say, a blogger.) Topics range from the nature of truth to the unattractiveness of small women, and the style is free and personal, full of rhetorical questions and idiosyncratic punctuation. Of all great philosophers, he is surely the king of exclamation marks.
While I write my first novel I often find myself thinking about my second one, a mad habit but one I can’t break (it makes me feel there’s life after number one). I was reading The Gay Spirit and saw this “blogpost”:
I believe that artists often do not know what they can do best because they are too vain and have set their minds on something prouder. Here is a musician who is master at the very small. But he doesn’t want to be! His character likes great walls and bold frescoes! It escapes him that his spirit has a different taste and disposition and likes best of all to sit quietly in the corners of collapsed houses – there, hidden, hidden from himself, he paints his real masterpieces, which are all very short, often only a bar long – only there does he become wholly good, great, and perfect, perhaps only there – But he doesn’t know it! He is too vain to know it.
For me, this describes Ian McEwan perfectly.
The Artist is a film on this topic.
But how do you know what you do best? How can you see yourself except through you character?
ps. While we’re on the subject, here’s a good Nietzsche blog.