5-20-2002 1:55 am
I was reminded of Nietzsche today. Thus Spake Zarathustra was referenced as a literary choice of a friend of mine who committed suicide a few months ago. She was who introduced me to Sartre, who fueled my craving for Camus, and who made me feel like maybe there was hope for understanding. When referenced today, I realized how little I know of Nietzsche, so I started reading nodes. Since I found it, I’ve always enjoyed using e2 as a reference.

I read Confusion of language of good and evil, I read Nietzsche and the X-Men, I read The Idiot's Guide to the Transmutation of Morals, and so many others. I got to thinking. I agreed with a lot of what this guy had to say. Now, that’s an over generalization. I agreed with what the combination of node upon node upon node of interpretations had to say. It made so much sense to me. I hate it when Philosophy makes sense to me. I always assume I’ve misunderstood something horribly if I think I can understand anything like that. With Emily gone, and my questions of how well she Understood to remain forever unanswered, I’m forced to believe I’m lost in my own misinterpretations. And well I might be.

The idea of a Superman or an Übermensch was first explained to me on the way back home from seeing a few Beckett plays at UMBC. A friend’s mother tried to explain as simply as she could to a 13 year old just what one was. I liked the idea – and I mean that simply. I just liked the idea.

When I read Semisane’s node on Beyond Good and Evil, I felt some horrible sense of hope. Recently my academic advisor has been yelling at me. I’ve never been one for specialization, and he sees this as grounds for punishment. He believes I should have bypassed my independent study of Buddhism for some QualityTime of hanging out with friends, resting, relaxing, or doing work. That never appealed much to me. Not to imply I’m antisocial; I’ve found one of my greatest passions is spending time with people so as to greater understand them. I just always have felt like if I could be expanding my understanding, that would be preferable to potentially wasting away my precious hours.

When I was in sixth grade, I had to choose what foreign language I wanted to study. This was a surprisingly hard choice for me. I had decided I wanted to learn both. Upon a dialogue with someone I know who was fluent in both languages, she suggested I learn French first. She explained learning French first would give me a good basis on which to learn Spanish; it’d also get rid of learning all the spelling complexities I wouldn’t find in Spanish. So I took French. I bemoaned the lack of time to study Spanish also, much like I resented my limited selection of French or Spanish. I wanted to learn it all. Ever since I found there were some things that couldn’t be directly translated from one language to another, I decided the only way to truly understand the world would be to learn every language out there. I would read philosophical documents in their original language; I would understand the complexities and subtleties lost on the average man in translation.

Sadly, one of the first things I learned about French was that it was harder for me than for my classmates. When I first realized my difficulties, I stubbornly refused to give up. Maybe I’d have to work one hundred times harder than John, Rebecca, or Dan – it’d be worth it. I would be able to read L’Étranger, La Peste, La Nausee, L'Etre et le Neant and that would make it all worth it. I’d move on to Latin and Germen. I’d learn Ancient Greek. I’d reach out and try to grasp everything I could.

At the ripe old age of twelve, I first was able to articulate what now I’d consider a desire to be Superman. As I’ve aged the desire still remains. I’ve always detested the idea that ignorance is bliss and I’ve always strived for more than bliss. It’s hard. There are days when it feels like I’ve chosen prematurely and arrogantly. After all, I’ll never know everything. I’ve been born with no innate abilities to remember or connect or comprehend. I can only hold on to Socrates and remind myself, “He said that there was one only good, namely, knowledge; and one only evil, namely, ignorance.” Some part of me would like to believe Emily would’ve agreed with him.

So, as I sit here, remember, and reminisce, I’m aware I’m wasting time. I should be off finishing Steppenwolf or translating The Bible or conjugating Latin verbs. Instead I’m here writing. I’ll never accomplish anything this way. I’ll never be anyone Emily would’ve looked up to. But I’m an unreasonable person. I’ve been labeled a True Believer before – and not just in the Stan Lee sense – because I care and think about and believe in things I’ve no reason to care or think about or believe in. Emily has made me stubborn. I think I’ll pick up a copy of Thus Spake Zarathustra next time I go to the library.

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