Posts tagged ‘duty vs. love’
As mentioned in my last post, one of the books I read after Christmas was When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin D. Yalom – a historical novel set in Vienna of the late 19th century depicting a fictional “therapy” between Friedrich Nietzsche and Josef Breuer, the latter being the mentor of Sigmund Freud.
The first three quarters of the book were worthwhile reading, but the last quarter was simply a tour de force that deeply challenged my own life.
A pivotal concept in that last part was what Nietzsche called “Amor Fati”, which is Latin and can can be translated as “love of one’s fate.”
Breuer feels stuck in his life and keeps living the way he does out of a sense of duty rather than love. Nietzsche then shows him that he should either abandon his life or learn to love it. He teaches him to embrace his fate, not in an emotionless stoicism, not in a resigned acceptance of the inevitable, but with a passionate, resounding “Yes!” to life – to his particular life.
In Nietzsche’s own words, taken from his Ecco Homo:
“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary—but love it.”