A life lived intensely–what is this? Intensity of the kind we seek: never to be the heat of some internal passion, the upsurge of anger, the adamantine fist of stubbornness.
Intensity, more heat than light, flowing from the presence of the Good. Certainly my powers enhanced, yet certainly too the enhancement of my powers is owing to the propinquity of the Good. Approaching it? Yes, I can feel it. Drawing near? Yes.
Intensity is not explosiveness either for, as Nietzsche makes plain in The Will to Power, someone with strength may be able to wait, may hold off reacting until it is time and not, during that time, feel slack or weak, cowed.
Fiery power is not the sole possession of the Right, and the aspiration for human greatness needn’t be relegated to the past. To make one’s powers, like a whirling dervish, more and more intense is the first task. To raise those powers to the very pitch of beauty is the second.
Why should talk of human greatness elicit snickering from the bleachers? Because it is superannuated and quixotic? True, Achilles was once great, Alexander was once great, but, true also, heroic societies are now gone. Generals and commanders were once great too, yet–again–the arena of battle, particularly after WWI and WWII, has been drawn into question. Statesmen like Pericles were once great, but Obama is ground down into little pieces. Keep running through more cases, and the implicit thesis would turn out to be that greatness–in war, in politics, in art, in business, in philosophy–is no longer really possible since modern life is set up to produce small, nice, easily harmed people.
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