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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Guide To Happiness - Nietzsche

This is probably the best programme in this series by Alain De Botton,
'Nietzsche on Hardship'.

One of the reason is, of course, the subject, but, I found that his style of film making sometimes becomes too light-hearted.

In this one, he manages to strike a good balance, between Nietzsche's philosophy and its implication in our modern life.

However, I do think that 'Human, All Too Human' is a better documentary.

"That which doesn't kill me makes me stronger."

Christopher Hitchens wrote an essay in Vanity Fair before he died, casting doubt on this notion.

"[O]ne thing that grave illness does is to make you examine familiar principles and seemingly reliable sayings. And there’s one that I find I am not saying with quite the same conviction as I once used to: In particular, I have slightly stopped issuing the announcement that “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”..

In fact, I now sometimes wonder why I ever thought it profound. It is usually attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche: Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich stärker. In German it reads and sounds more like poetry, which is why it seems probable to me that Nietzsche borrowed it from Goethe, who was writing a century earlier...

In the remainder of his life, however, Nietzsche seems to have caught an early dose of syphilis, very probably during his first-ever sexual encounter, which gave him crushing migraine headaches and attacks of blindness and metastasized into dementia and paralysis. This, while it did not kill him right away, certainly contributed to his death and cannot possibly, in the meanwhile, be said to have made him stronger..."

I always love his writing.

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