Nietzsche channels Dionysus

Nietzsche was grinning wide and red wine spilled freely from the seems of his mouth. Around him were many of his friends, Schiller and Holderlin among them, and many other young budding philosophers. Some of them were admired and revered in their own right, but next to Nietzsche they seemed like mere shadows upon a cave wall. Sometimes he would play tunes for them in the great halls of the university, deep into the night. As his fingers danced accross the keys he would seem to lose himself somewhere. Later on, they rejoice and recite poetry on the grassy hills overlooking the campus. They lie under the sprawling stars and the moonlight shone brightly down on them like truth itself. Their conversations were wild and free, like wild horses streaming over the hilltops. On this night, there was a young man sat close to Nietzsche, wide-eyed and wide-eared, writing frantically with his quill, trying to catch every word that flew from Nietzsche’s mind. What seemed mere jocularity to him seemed of greatest importance to this young man. He felt he must capture it all, for in these moments of jest, in the red swill of wine, his mind seemed to dance at its Dionysian zenith. At one point, when a silence had fell on them whilst in quiet reverie, Nietzsche looked up to the stars, and to the circle of friends around him. As if on cue a comet streaked by like the flick of a quill. Then he whispered to no-one and to all: we need only gaze up into those vast nebulas, those abyssal straits, to find enough inspiration to fill a thousand lives with wonder… we need not hail God… simply the infinite unknown! They smiled and drank to that, and gazed up at the stars for a very long time.

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“nitimur in vetitum: we strive for what is forbidden”

“Philosophy, as I have hitherto understood and lived it, is a voluntary living in ice and high mountains… from the lengthy experience afforded by such a wandering in the forbidden I learned to view the origins of morilizing and idealizing very differently from what might be desirable: the hidden history of the philosophers, the psychology of their great names came to light for me. How much truth can a spirit bear? How much truth can a spirit dare? Error, a belief in the ideal, is not blindness, but cowardice… Every acquisition and step forward in knowledge is the result of courage, of severity towards oneself… Nitimur in vetitum: in this sign my philosophy will one day conquer, for fundamentally what has hitherto been forbidden has never been anything but the truth”

Nietzsche – Ecce Homo

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“such pillars of fire must precede the great noontide”

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Gerardo Dottori – Burning City (1926)

“Here is the great city: where you have nothing to seek and everything to lose… Here is the Hell for hermits’ thoughts: here great thoughts are boiled alive and cooked small. Here all great emotions decay… Do you not smell already the slaughterhouses and cook-shops of the spirit? Does this city not reek of the fumes of slaughtered spirit?… Woe to this great city! I wish I could see already the pillar of fire in which it will be consumed! For such pillars of fire must precede the great noontide… I offer you in farewell this precept: where one can no longer love, one should pass by…”

– Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

“Behold, I am the prophet of the lightning!”

West_-_Benjamin_Franklin_Drawing_Electricity_from_the_Sky_(ca_1816)
Benjamin West – Franklin drawing electricity from the sky (1816)

“I love all those who are like heavy drops falling singly from the dark cloud that hangs over mankind: they prophesy the coming of the lightning and as prophets they perish. Behold, I am the prophet of the lightning and a heavy drop from the cloud!”

– Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

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raptured conductor

beckons the glorious maelstrom

to o’erthrow the ages

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“Give me madness, you heavenly powers!”

blake_abel_grt
William Blake – Cain fleeing the wrath of God (1805)

“Ah, give me madness, you heavenly powers! Madness that I may at last believe in myself! Give deliriums and convulsions, sudden lights and darkness, terrify me with frost and fire such as no mortal has ever felt, with deafening din and prowling figures, make me howl and whine and crawl like a beast: so that I may only come to believe in myself!”

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak