Nietzsche on the Life Lived Most Intensely

Lucy Ferry cogently on Nietzsche:

In short, in this [Nietzschean] morality of grandeur, it is intensity that has primacy; the will to power carries the day against all other considerations: “There is nothing to life that has value except the degree of power!” This does not mean that there is no such thing as value. Quite the contrary. We also need to comprehend, as is clear in Nietzsche’s critique of the Socratic cure and of romanticism, that genuine intensity has nothing in common with unleashed passions or the emancipation of bodies; it resides in the harmonious and classical integration of the vital forces; in the serenity, the calm, but also the lightness that oppose Mozart and Schubert to Schumann and Wagner. Like one skilled in the martial arts, the man of the grand style moves in elegance, at a thousand leagues from anything that seems laborious. He does not perspire, and if he moves mountains, it is serenely, without apparent effort. (What is the Good Life?, p. 93)

Nietzsche urges us first to recruit our active forces, making them more and more intense. But this recruitment is not possible for those who are full of reactive forces, only able to oppose Life. They are the nasty refusers, and they surround us, have burrowed into us, have largely become us. What is our soft culture but the continual refusal to do anything but go against the very fiber and grain of Life?

These ignoble restrainers who do nothing but diffuse and dissipate Life, bloodletting it. Beside the restrainers, the supreme negaters of power, are the gushers, the romantics who simply unleash their passions and who welcome us to do the same. MFA-ers. New Agers.

Worse yet are the vile ones who wreak brutal violence by being nothing more than organs of terrible destruction. In the first camp: compassion-ites. In the second: smarmy human potential disciples. In the third: brutes and bullies.

To withdraw from compassion-ites, self-expression acolytes, and brutes instilling terror in their objects, we must find a novel starting point. It is Nietzsche’s.

Begin with finding one’s source of power. See it, feel it, intuit it. Then build it, sculpting excellences out of bone and wood, grow it as if one were Fire living among Fire People. Practice power coming forth not in hot foolish but with a sense of control. Finally, achieve beauty–grace, grandeur–through the manner in which power comes forth: harmoniously, concordantly, joyfully, with a sense of ease that is at one with the totality of Life. Now you can breathe like a god in all the grandeur and splendor of acting.

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