Your Own Self-Overcoming – Skate across America Day 63

December 5th, 2010


Total Distance for today: 0 miles
Total Distance for Tour: approx. 553 miles
LOCATION: Raleigh, NC
STATUS: Closing on some speaking engagements in the area!

Bringing about your own Self-Overcoming

I’ve had a little bit of extra time here in Raleigh, and I’ve used some of it to dabble in one of my favorite books, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. It’s one of my favorite books because, like it’s author, it is both wonderful and awful. It is both beautiful and repulsive. It is both light-hearted and led-weighted. Most of all, it is somewhat beyond good and evil. It pushes the limits of my psychology and courage more than any 50 mile skate ever could. It captures, in a seemingly impossible way, a glimpse of some of the most elusive pieces of my psychology. It is a book for the brave. It is “a book for all and for no-one.”


There is a specific passage in the prologue of the book that I feel the need to quote today. It is about the one who is courageous enough to let part of himself die that he might come back stronger again. This one overcomes himself that he might have the courage to create a stronger world – a stronger humanity. The overcoming is in the mind and in the body; it is a total transformation, and it must happen continually and without end. So would strength, courage, joy, and life have it.


The words in the passage below mean different things to different people. Few people can appreciate and affirm Nietzsche’s hard teachings here. Still fewer are even remotely close to the psychological place where he was when he wrote the passage. That’s why it’s worth quoting. Here are some of the bravest words ever penned by man:

What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an over-going and a self-overcoming.


I love those that know not how to live except as self-overcomers, for they are the over-goers.


I love the great despisers, because they are the great adorers, and arrows of longing for the other shore.


I love those who do not first seek a reason beyond the stars for going down and being sacrifices, but sacrifice themselves to the earth, that the earth of the Superman may hereafter arrive.


I love him who liveth in order to know, and seeketh to know in order that the Superman may hereafter live. Thus seeketh he his own self-overcoming.


I love him who laboureth and inventeth, that he may build the house for the Superman, and prepare for him earth, animal, and plant: for thus seeketh he his own self-overcoming.


I love him who loveth his virtue: for virtue is the will to self-overcoming, and an arrow of longing.


I love him who reserveth no share of spirit for himself, but wanteth to be wholly the spirit of his virtue: thus walketh he as spirit over the bridge.


I love him who maketh his virtue his inclination and destiny: thus, for the sake of his virtue, he is willing to live on, or live no more.


I love him who desireth not too many virtues. One virtue is more of a virtue than two, because it is more of a knot for one’s destiny to cling to.


I love him whose soul is lavish, who wanteth no thanks and doth not give back: for he always bestoweth, and desireth not to keep for himself.


I love him who is ashamed when the dice fall in his favour, and who then asketh: “Am I a dishonest player?”- for he is willing to succumb.


I love him who scattereth golden words in advance of his deeds, and always doeth more than he promiseth: for he seeketh his own self-overcoming.


I love him who justifieth the future ones, and redeemeth the past ones: for he is willing to succumb through the present ones.


I love him who chasteneth his God, because he loveth his God: for he must succumb through the wrath of his God.


I love him whose soul is deep even in the wounding, and may succumb through a small matter: thus goeth he willingly over the bridge.


I love him whose soul is so overfull that he forgetteth himself, and all things are in him: thus all things become his self-overcoming.


I love him who is of a free spirit and a free heart: thus is his head only the bowels of his heart; his heart, however, causeth his self-overcoming.


I love all who are like heavy drops falling one by one out of the dark cloud that lowereth over man: they herald the coming of the lightning, and succumb as heralds.


Lo, I am a herald of the lightning, and a heavy drop out of the cloud: the lightning, however, is the Superman.


(courtesy http://nietzsche.holtof.com/ns/select.htm. note: I’ve replaced “down-going” in all occurrences with “self-overcoming,” as that is the meaning I have come to get from it, and I think it makes the most sense to modern readers.)


WHAT I SEE: What is great goes beyond what is good, because it must overcome all of what has been. The brave man knows not how to live except if he be somewhere beyond what has been conceived, understood, or tamed with words like safe, good, and virtuous. The brave man overcomes even his own teachings and beliefs. He is born anew, not just a time or two. He is born anew every moment, and so for him, every moment is it’s own eternity, cause, and reason. Every moment is sublime.

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