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Wednesday, 17 May 2006


"The great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude". [R.W.Emerson, 'Self-Reliance']

Let us go back to that important imprecation;
"Few are made for independence - it is a prerogative of the strong [Vorrecht der Starker]".
[Nietzsche BGE 29]

Elsewhere, Nietzsche offers some advice for those who may want to shoulder this perogative;
"Not to cleave to another person, though he be the one you love most - every person is a prison, also a nook and corner: not to cleave to one's own detachment ... not to cleave to our virtues; One must know how to CONSERVE ONESELF: the sternest test of independence". [ib. 41]

To 'conserve', from the Latin 'conservare', from 'com-', thoroughly, + 'servare', to keep, to guard, observe. Never letting oneself go, practising constant self-vigilance;
"Perhaps severity and cunning provide more favourable conditions for the formation of the strong, independent spirit and philosopher than does the gentle, sweet, yielding good-naturedness and art of taking things lightly which is prized in a scholar, and rightly prized". [ib.29]

Indeed, as Montaigne says, "the contagion is very dangerous in the crowd. A man must either imitate the vicious, or hate them".

Constantly we see these associations in Nietzsche;
- strength + solitude + philosophy.
Strength is always emphasised most of all, the sort of strength needed in those great isolated Leaders of Men;
"The strong are as naturally inclined to SEPARATE as the weak are to CONGREGATE ".
[Nietzsche GM III:18]

Is that why I am up here - ALONE ?

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