Caspar David Friedrich - The Wreck of Hope

We may think there is a safe road. But that would be the road of death. Then nothing happens any longer – at any rate, not the right things. Anyone who takes the safe road is as good as dead.


If you risk nothing, you risk everything.

Geena Davis

You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame; how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes?


That which we need the most will be found where we least want to look.


A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.


If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.


I have never thought of writing for reputation and honor. What I have in my heart must come out; that is the reason why I compose.

I want to seize fate by the throat.


Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.

The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind; and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. Because of the artists, who are self-selected, for being able to journey into the Other, if the artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.

Terence McKenna

Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.


The fool is the precursor to the savior.


Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Andre Gide

If God does not exist, everything is permitted.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)

Fear does not prevent death, it prevents life.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate


I hate everything that merely instructs me without augmenting or directly invigorating my activities.


What he wanted was totality…he disciplined himself to wholeness, he created himself.

Nietzsche (on Goethe)

Destiny urges me to a goal of which I am ignorant. Until that goal is attained I am invulnerable, unassailable. When Destiny has accomplished her purpose in me, a fly may suffice to destroy me.


I hear with pleasure that our sun is moving rapidly in the direction of the constellation of Hercules: and I hope that men on the earth will in this matter emulate the sun.

What does your conscience say? – ‘You shall become the person you are’.

All psychology so far has got hung up on moral prejudices and fears: it has not dared to descend into the depths.

I undertook something that not everyone may undertake: I descended into the depths, I bored into the foundations.

He enters a labyrinth, and multiplies a thousandfold the dangers that life in itself brings with it – of which not the least is that nobody can see how and where he loses his way, becomes solitary, and is torn to pieces by some cave-minotaur of conscience.

Direct self observation is not nearly sufficient for us to know ourselves: we need history, for the past flows on within us in a hundred waves.

[The] most shortsighted and pernicious way of thinking wants to make the great sources of energy, those wild torrents of the soul that often stream forth so dangerously and overwhelmingly, dry up altogether, instead of taking their power into service and economizing it.

He has lost and destroyed his instinct, and can no longer trust the “divine animal” and let go the reins when his understanding falters and his way leads through deserts.

It is a myth to believe that we will find our authentic self after we have left behind or forgotten one thing or another…To make ourselves, to shape a form from various elements – that is the task! The task of a sculptor! Of a productive human being!

There is a false saying: “How can someone who can’t save himself save others?” Supposing I have the key to your chains, why should your lock and my lock be the same?

There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.

The poison from which the weaker nature perishes strengthens the strong man — and he does not call it poison.


…if you do not accept yourself as you are you cannot make yourself available for transformation. One cannot leave a place until one has arrived at it… Even those aspects of oneself one truly wants to change must first be accepted, even embraced. Self-transformation thus is always preceded by self-acceptance.

Leslie Greenberg

Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit, and forces us to be strong. First principle: one must need to be strong — otherwise one will never become strong.


…only to the extent to which a man commits himself to the fulfilment of his life’s meaning [i.e., his vocation], to this extent he also actualizes himself. In other words, self-actualization cannot be attained if it is made an end in itself, but only as a side effect of the self-transcendence.

Viktor Frankl

Every philosophy also conceals a philosophy. Every opinion is also a lurking place. Every word is also a mask. Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than of being misunderstood.


Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.


All I can do is be me, whoever that is.

Bob Dylan

The strength of a person’s spirit would then be measured by how much ‘truth’ he could tolerate, or more precisely, to what extent he needs to have it diluted, disguised, sweetened, muted, falsified.


The time has come when we have to pay for having been Christians for two thousand years: we are losing the center of gravity by virtue of which we lived; We are lost for a while


If you wish to understand the psychological and spiritual temper of any historical period, you can do no better than to look long and searchingly at its art. For in the art the underlying spiritual meaning of the period is expressed directly in symbols.

Rollo May

The picture of the ideal man disappeared from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Nikolai Berdyaev

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.


Picasso’s art no longer seeks the complete human being at all. It has lost the faculty of seeing things as wholes. It tears off one cover after another in order to lay bare the structure of nature and in doing so penetrates even further into the depths, disclosing images of things truly monstrous.

Nikolai Berdyaev

Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Where is it moving now? Where are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not continually falling? — Backwards, sideways, and in all directions? Do top and bottom still remain? Are we not wandering through infinite nothingness? Is not the breath of empty space in our faces? Has it not grown colder? Is not night continually closing in on us?


In Futurism man has completely ceased to be the leading theme of art, indeed in futurist art there are literally no more human beings, for man has been torn into tatters. All the real things in the world leave the places that are proper to them, and objects such as lamps, sofas, streets begin to penetrate the human form, so that man and his incomparable personality are no longer entities at all. Man collapses into the world of objects.

It is characteristic of all these movements that the human form should be shattered to pieces and utterly dismembered, and indeed [in modern art] we have a sort of ending to man as an entity.

Nikolai Berdyaev

But let us be careful! We are speaking of ourselves. If this art is degenerate, we too are degenerate, for innumerable individuals are suffering the same collapse of the cultural canon, the same alienation, the same loneliness – the rising blackness with its shadow and devouring dragon. The disintegration and dissonance of this art are our own; to understand them is to understand ourselves.

Erich Neumann

The development of modern art with its seemingly nihilistic trend towards disintegration must be understood as the symptom and symbol of a mood of universal destruction and renewal that has set its mark on our age. This mood makes itself felt everywhere, politically, socially, and philosophically. We are living in what the Greeks called the right moment for a “metamorphosis of the gods,” of the fundamental principle and symbols. This peculiarity of our time, which is certainly not of our conscious choosing, is the expression of the unconscious man within who is changing. Coming generations will have to take account of this momentous transformation if humanity is not to destroy itself through the might of its own technology and science.


I am circling around God, around the ancient tower, and I have been circling for a thousand years, and I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm, or a great song.

If my devils are to leave me, I am afraid my angels will take flight as well.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Our envy of others devours us most of all.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Preludes of science — Do you really believe that the sciences would ever have originated and grown if the way had not been prepared by magicians, alchemists, astrologers, and witches whose promises and pretensions first had to create a thirst, a hunger, a taste for hidden and forbidden power? Indeed, infinitely more had to be promised than could ever be fulfilled in order that anything at all might be fulfilled in the realm of knowledge… Even as these preludes and preliminary exercises of sciences were not by any means practiced and experienced as such, the whole of religion might yet appear as a prelude and exercise to some distant age. Perhaps religion could have been the strange means to make it possible for a few single individuals to enjoy the whole self-sufficiency of a god and his whole power of self-redemption.


What we are creating now is a monster whose influence is going to change history, provided there is any history left, yet it would be impossible not to see it through, not only for military reasons, but it would also be unethical from the point of view of the scientists not to do what thye know is feasible, no matter what terrible consequencess it may have. And this is only the beginning!

John Von Neumann

The indignant person feels anger at the prosperity of those who do not deserve it, and the envious at that of everyone.

indignation is felt at the well-being of evil persons, while envy at the happiness of the good ones.


The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.

Aldous Huxley

…no society can exist in which envy [is] raised to the status of a normative virtue…Even [the] superstition…of simple societies, sees envy as a disease, the envious man as dangerously sick – a cancer from which the individual and the group must be protected – but never as a normal case of human behavior and endeavor. Nowhere, with very few exceptions, do we find the belief that society must adapt itself to the envious man, but always that it must seek to protect itself against him.

Helmut Schoeck

Contemporary people are subject to a massive supply of information through the mass media; consequently, people can have opinions about the happiness of those they have never met or groups of people to which they do not belong; and, as a result of these feelings, they may envy. This possibility becomes a probability if, as is habitual in the mass media, information is distributed already “focused” by a partial selection, an intentional editing, mystifying, or simply a bias that, in our case, is directed to bring out the differences among individuals… One does not envy this or that person, but an abstraction, like “the rich” or “the elitists.”

A contemporary disguise of collective envy is what is called “social justice.” How does this ideological…argumentation run? A fundamental postulate is established that the more just a society is, the more equal its members are in opportunities, position, and wealth; and immediately it is established that the party will fight without rest to achieve such “justice.”

Gonzalo Fernandez de la Mora

[envy] directed against personal qualities is the most insatiable and poisonous because the envious is left without hope; it is also the lowest type of envy for it hates what it ought to love and respect.

Arthur Schopenhauer

All men of resentment, are these physiologically distorted and worm-riddled persons, a whole quivering kingdom of burrowing revenge, indefatigable and insatiable in its outbursts against the happy, and equally so in disguises for revenge, in pretexts for revenge: when will they really reach their final, fondest, most sublime triumph of revenge? At that time, doubtless, when they succeed in pushing their own misery, indeed all misery there is, into the consciousness of the happy; so that the latter begin one day to be ashamed of their happiness, and perchance say to themselves when they meet, ‘It is a shame to be happy! There is too much misery!’


What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. This history can be related even now; for necessity itself is at work here… For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.

My brother, if you have a virtue and she is your virtue, then you have her in common with nobody. Even naming one’s virtue would make her too common; if one must speak of her, it should be: “This is my good; this I love; it pleases me wholly; thus alone do I will the good. I do not will it the law of a god; I do not will it as human statute and need”

Nobody can build the bridge for you to walk across the river of life, no one but you yourself alone. There are, to be sure, countless paths and bridges and demi-gods which would carry you across this river; but only at the cost of yourself; you would pawn yourself and lose. There is in the world only one way, on which nobody can go, except you: where does it lead?

“Man is a rope,” Zarathustra cries out to the crowd, “fastened between animal and Superman – a rope over an abyss.”

We have learnt better. We have become more modest in every respect. We no longer trace the origin of the human being in “spirit”, in the “divinity”, we have placed it back among the animals…And even in asserting that we assert too much: the human being is, relatively speaking, the most bungled of all the animals, the sickliest, the one most dangerously strayed from its instincts. But for all that, he is of course the most interesting.

To call the taming of an animal its “improvement” is in our ears almost a joke. Whoever knows what goes on in menageries is doubtful whether the beasts in them are “improved”. They are weakened, they are made less harmful, they become sickly beasts through the depressive emotion of fear, through pain, through injuries, through hunger. – It is no different with the tamed human being…

You aspire to free heights, your soul thirsts for the stars. But your wicked instincts, too, thirst for freedom. Your wild dogs want freedom; they bark with joy in their cellar when your spirit plans to open all prisons.

Who among the philosophers before me was in any way a psychologist? Before me there simply was no psychology

One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil.

I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.

And once you are awake, you shall remain awake eternally.

There is always some madness in love. But there is always some reason in madness.


From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Luke 12:48

God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console our selves, the most murderous of all murderers? The holiest and the mightiest that the world has so far possessed, has bled to death under our knife, who will wipe the blood from us? With what water could we cleanse ourselves? What purifications, what sacred games shall we have to devise? Is not the magnitude of this deed too great for us? Shall we not ourselves have to become Gods, merely to seem worthy of it? There never was a greater event and on account of it, all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history so far!


It should be said at once that the completely profane world, the wholly desacralized cosmos, is a recent discovery in the history of the human spirit…for the nonreligious men of the modern age, the cosmos has become opaque, inert, mute; it transmits no message, it holds no cipher.

Mircea Eliade

The end of Christianity – at the hands of its own morality… which turns against the Christian God. The sense of truthfulness, developed highly by Christianity, is nauseated by the falseness and mendaciousness of all Christian interpretations of the world and of history; rebound from “God is truth” to the fanatical faith “All is false”

Among my writings my Zarathustra stands by itself. With this book I have given mankind the greatest gift it has ever been given.

I need pure, smooth mirrors for my teaching; upon your surface even my own reflection is distorted. Many a burden, many a memory weighs down your shoulders; many an evil dwarf crouches in your corners. And there is a hidden mob in you, too. And although you are high and of a higher type, much in you is crooked and malformed. There is no smith in the world who could hammer you straight and into shape for me. You are only bridges: may higher men than you step across upon you!

The time is coming when man will no more shoot the arrow of his longing out over mankind, and the string of his bow will have forgotten how to twang!

But, by my love and hope I entreat you: do not reject the hero in your soul! Keep holy your highest hope!


But life has gone out of the churches, and it will never go back. The gods will not reinvest dwellings that once they have left. The same thing happened before, in the time of the Roman Caesars, when paganism was dying. According to legend, the captain of a ship passing between two Greek islands heard a great sound of lamentation and a loud voice crying: Pan ho megas tethneken, Great Pan is dead. When this man reached Rome he demanded an audience with the emperor, so important was his news. Originally Pan was an unimportant nature spirit, chiefly occupied with teasing shepherds; but later, as the Romans became more involved with Greek culture, Pan was confused with to pan, meaning “the All.” He became the demiurgos, the anima mundi. Thus the many gods of paganism were concentrated into one God. Then came this message, “Pan is dead.” Great Pan, who is God, is dead. Only man remains alive. After that the one God became one man, and this was Christ; one man for all. But now that too is gone, now every man has to carry God. The descent of spirit into matter is complete.


What if a regressive trait lurked in “the good man,” likewise a danger, an enticement, a poison, a narcotic, so that the present lived at the expense of the future? Perhaps in more comfort and less danger, but also in a smaller-minded, meaner manner? … So that morality itself were to blame if man never attained the highest power and splendor possible for the type man? So that morality itself was the danger of dangers?

…a smaller, almost ridiculous type, a herd animal, something eager to please, sickly, and mediocre.

[The modern] individual focuses too narrowly on his own short lifespan… and wants to pluck the fruit himself from the tree he plants, and so no longer likes to plant those trees that demand a century of constant tending and are intended to provide shade for long successions of generations.

The concept of greatness entails being noble, wanting to be by oneself, being able to be different, standing alone and having to live independently.

There is a solitude within him that is inaccessible to praise or blame, his own justice that is beyond appeal

There is among men as in every other animal species an excess of failures, of the sick, degenerating, infirm, who suffer necessarily; the successful cases are, among men, too, always the exception

The morality that would un-self man is the morality of decline par excellence—the fact, “I am declining,” transposed into the imperative, “all of you ought to decline”…This only morality that has been taught so far, that of un-selfing, reveals a will to the end; fundamentally, it negates life.

Finally—this is what is most terrible of all—the concept of the good man signifies that one sides with all that is weak, sick, failure, suffering of itself…the principle of selection is crossed—an ideal is fabricated from the contradiction against the proud and well-turned-out human being who says Yes, who is sure of the future, who guarantees the future—and he is now called evil.— And all this was believed, as morality!

We can see nothing today that wants to grow greater, we suspect that things will continue to go down, down, to become thinner, more good-natured, more prudent, more comfortable, more mediocre, more indifferent… Here precisely is what has become a fatality…together with the fear of man we have also lost our love of him, our reverence for him, our hopes for him, even the will to him. The sight of man now makes us weary—what is nihilism today if it is not that?—We are weary of man.

My brother, if you have a virtue and she is your virtue, then you have her in common with nobody.” Even naming one’s virtue would make her too common; if one must speak of her, it should be: “This is my good; this I love; it pleases me wholly; thus alone do I will the good. I do not will it the law of a god; I do not will it as human statute and need

Our highest insights must – and should – sound like follies and sometimes like crimes when they are heard without permission by those who are not predisposed and predestined for them

[for the last two milennia…] a common war on all that is rare, strange, privileged, the higher man, the higher soul, the higher duty, the higher responsibility, and the abundance of creative power and masterfulness.

Today – is greatness possible?

When some men fail to accomplish what they desire to do they exclaim angrily, “May the whole world perish!” This repulsive emotion is the pinnacle of envy, whose implication is “If I cannot have something, no one can have anything, no one is to be anything!”

What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?


Great star! What would your happiness be, if you had not those for whom you shine!

You have come up here to my cave for ten years: you would have grown weary of your light and of this journey, without me, my eagle and my serpent…

Behold! I am weary of my wisdom, like a bee that has gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it.

I must descend into the depths: as you do at evening, when you go behind the sea and bring light to the underworld too, superabundant star!

Like you, I must go down…

Behold! This cup wants to be empty again, and Zarathustra wants to be man again. I teach you the Superman. Man is something that should be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? All creatures hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and do you want to be the ebb of this great tide, and return to the animals rather than overcome man?

The church fights passion with excision in every sense: its practice, its “cure,” is castratism. It never asks: “How can one spiritualize, beautify, deify a craving?” It has at all times laid the stress of discipline on extirpation (of sensuality, of pride, of the lust to rule, of avarice, of vengefulness). But an attack on the roots of passion means an attack on the roots of life: the practice of the church is hostile to life.

Once you said ‘God’ when you gazed upon distant seas; but now I have taught you to say ‘Superman’

Man is a rope fastened between animal and Superman – a rope over an abyss.

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 a prophet of the lightning and a heavy drop from the cloud: but this lightning is called Superman.

It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the seed of his highest hope. His soil is still rich enough for it. But this soil will one day be poor and weak; no longer will a high tree be able to grow from it… I tell you: one must have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: you still have chaos in you. Alas! The time is coming when man will give birth to no more stars… Behold! I shall show you the Last Man…

No herdsman and one herd. Everyone wants the same thing, everyone is the same: whoever thinks otherwise goes voluntarily into the madhouse.

And now they look at me and laugh: and laughing, they still hate me. There is ice in their laughter.

It is the same with the human being as with the tree. The higher they climb into the height and light, the more strongly their roots strive earthward, downward, into the dark, the depths – into evil.


Can freedom become a burden, too heavy for man to bear, something he tries to escape from?

Erich Fromm

Nothing has ever been more insupportable for a man and a human society than freedom. Man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over that gift of freedom with which the ill-fated creature is born.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“I did examine myself,” he said. “Solitude did increase my perception. But here’s the tricky thing — when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.”

Chris Knight (hermit living in the woods for 27 years)

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.


Strange as it may seem, life becomes serene and enjoyable precisely when selfish pleasure and personal success are no longer the guiding goals.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

how you do anything is how you will do everything.

John Wooden

We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies — all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.

Aldous Huxley

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Steve Jobs

Our earth is degenerate in these latter days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching,.

Attributed to Assyrian stone tablet of ~2800 B.C.

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

Native American Proverb

Man isn’t a noble savage, he’s an ignoble savage. He is irrational, brutal, weak, silly, unable to be objective about anything where his own interests are involved—that about sums it up. I’m interested in the brutal and violent nature of man because it’s a true picture of him. And any attempt to create social institutions on a false view of the nature of man is probably doomed to failure.


Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.

Ben Franklin

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions. Their lives a mimicry. Their passions a quotation.

Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth.

Oscar Wylde

Step out of the cave my friend, it is a bit colder, but my god the stars of beautiful.


No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training…what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.


If you can’t be criticized for it, it’s probably not remarkable. Are you devoting yourself to something devoid of criticism?


You are afraid to die, and you’re afraid to live. What a way to exist.

Neale Donald Walsch

Two years he walks the earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the road. Escaped from Atlanta. Thou shalt not return, ‘cause “the West is the best.” And now after two rambling years comes the final and greatest adventure. The climactic battle to kill the false being within and victoriously conclude the spiritual pilgrimage. Ten days and nights of freight trains and hitchhiking bring him to the Great White North. No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become lost in the wild.

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.

Chris McCandless

Life is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy for those who feel.

Horace Walpole

Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: It might have been.

John Greenleaf Whittier

I will say that the God concept is at the heart of 2001 but not any traditional, anthropomorphic image of God. I don’t believe in any of Earth’s monotheistic religions, but I do believe that one can construct an intriguing scientific definition of God, once you accept the fact that there are approximately 100 billion stars in our galaxy alone, that each star is a life-giving sun and that there are approximately 100 billion galaxies in just the visible universe. Given a planet in a stable orbit, not too hot and not too cold, and given a few billion years of chance chemical reactions created by the interaction of a sun’s energy on the planet’s chemicals, it’s fairly certain that life in one form or another will eventually emerge. It’s reasonable to assume that there must be, in fact, countless billions of such planets where biological life has arisen, and the odds of some proportion of such life developing intelligence are high. Now, the sun is by no means an old star, and its planets are mere children in cosmic age, so it seems likely that there are billions of planets in the universe not only where intelligent life is on a lower scale than man but other billions where it is approximately equal and others still where it is hundreds of thousands of millions of years in advance of us. When you think of the giant technological strides that man has made in a few millennia—less than a microsecond in the chronology of the universe—can you imagine the evolutionary development that much older life forms have taken? They may have progressed from biological species, which are fragile shells for the mind at best, into immortal machine entities—and then, over innumerable eons, they could emerge from the chrysalis of matter transformed into beings of pure energy and spirit. Their potentialities would be limitless and their intelligence ungraspable by humans.


The fundamental error of reformers is that they believe the fault lies in the man and not the system. “If only we could put a well-meaning person in charge and drive out the bad apples, then we would have our utopia”, they claim. Social, political, and economic pressures determine the behaviour of an individual, much more so than the individual himself does. Voting in someone new into the same old system and expecting results will only lead to disappointment. The founding fathers of the United States understood the laws of political pressures far better than the vast majority of people do today.

Robert Greene

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.


There are certain emotions in your body that not even your best friend can sympathize with, but you will find the right film or the right book, and it will understand you.


My time has not yet come… some are born posthumously… I should regard it as a complete contradiction of myself if I expected to find ears and eyes for my truths today: the fact that no one listens to me, that no one knows how to receive from me today is not only comprehensible, it seems to me right that it is so.


But thus I counsel you, my friends: Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. They are people of a low sort and stock; the hangmen and the bloodhound look out of their faces. Mistrust all who talk much of their justice! Verily, their souls lack more than honey. And when they call themselves the good and the just, do not forget that they would be pharisees, if only they had—power.


It should be said at once that the completely profane world, the wholly desacralized cosmos, is a recent discovery in the history of the human spirit… for the nonreligious men of the modern age, the cosmos has become opaque, inert, mute; it transmits no message, it holds no cipher.

Mircea Eliade

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Buckminster Fuller

Just as in the desert individuals must travel in large caravans out of fear of robbers and wild animals, so individuals today have a horror of existence…they dare to live only in great herds and to cling together en masse in order to be at least something.

Søren Kierkegaard

Of all that is written, I love only what a person hath written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit.


…at times a premonition runs through my head that I am actually living a very dangerous life, since I am one of those machines that may explode.

…my face was making continual grimaces in order to try to control my extreme pleasure, including, for 10 minutes, the grimace of tears.

It hurts me frightfully that in these fifteen years not one single person has ‘discovered’ me, has needed me, has loved me.

How rarely a friendly voice reaches me! I’m now alone, absurdly alone…And for years not a word of comfort, not a drop of feeling, not a breath of love.

I don’t want to be lonely anymore and wish to rediscover how to be human.

It has been ten years already: not a sound reaches me any longer — a land without rain…If only I could give you some idea of my feeling of isolation. Neither among the living nor the dead is there anyone with whom I feel any kinship. This is inexpressibly horrible.

The curious danger of the summer is – not to mince words – insanity…It could come to something that I have never thought possible in my case: that I should become mentally deranged…my drives and aims have become totally confused and labyrinthine, so that I no longer know how to find my way out.

Unless I discover the alchemists’ trick of turning this filth into gold, I am lost.

Nietzsche (letters)

Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.


I think Nietzsche was right when he said that Lou was a thoroughly evil woman. Evil however in the Goethean sense: evil that produces good… She may have destroyed lives and marriages but her presence was exciting.

Poul Bjerre on Lou Salome

Reading after a certain age diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking, just as the man who spends too much time in the theater is tempted to be content with living vicariously instead of living his own life.


Early in the morning, when day breaks, when all is fresh, in the dawn of one’s strength — to read a book at such a time is simply depraved!


Man loves two things: danger and play. Therefore he loves woman most — the most dangerous plaything.


The libertarian-authoritarian axis on the Political Compass is a tradeoff between discoordination and tyranny. You can have everything perfectly coordinated by someone with a god’s-eye-view – but then you risk Stalin. And you can be totally free of all central authority – but then you’re stuck in every stupid multipolar trap Moloch can devise.

Scott Alexander

The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.

Antonio Gramsci

To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities—I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not—that one endures.


You want, if possible — and there is no more insane “if possible” — to abolish suffering. And we? It really seems that we would rather have it higher and worse than ever. Well-being as you understand it — that is no goal, that seems to us an end, a state that soon makes man ridiculous and contemptible — that makes his destruction desirable. The discipline of suffering, of great suffering — do you not know that only this discipline has created all enhancements of man so far?


I could become the Buddha of Europe, though admittedly an antipode to the Indian Buddha.


Of all writings I love only that which is written with blood. Write with blood: and you will discover that blood is spirit.

In the mountains the shortest route is from peak to peak, but for that you must have long legs. Aphorisms should be peaks, and those to whom they are spoken should be big and tall of stature.

Untroubled, scornful, outrageous — that is how wisdom wants us to be: she is a woman and never loves anyone but a warrior.

Nietzsche, Zarathustra

the political slogan of the Antichrist is: peace & safety…

1 Thessalonians 5:3 (paraphrased)

Only great pain, the long, slow pain that takes its time… compels us to descend to our ultimate depths… I doubt that such pain makes us “better”; but I know it makes us more profound… In the end, lest what is most important remain unsaid: from such abysses, from such severe sickness, one returns newborn, having shed one’s skin… with merrier senses, with a second dangerous innocence in joy, more childlike and yet a hundred times subtler than one has ever been before.


Jung on Hitler

His Voice is nothing other than his own unconscious, into which the German people have projected their own selves; that is, the unconscious of seventy-eight million Germans. That is what makes him powerful. Without the German people he would be nothing.

In comparison with Mussolini, Hitler made upon me the impression of a sort of scaffolding of wood covered with cloth, an automaton with a mask, like a robot or a mask of a robot. During the whole performance he never laughed; it was as though he were in a bad humor, sulking. He showed no human sign.

His expression was that of an inhumanly single-minded purposiveness, with no sense of humor. He seemed as if he might be a double of a real person, and that Hitler the man might perhaps be hiding inside like an appendix, and deliberately so hiding in order not to disturb the mechanism.

With Hitler you do not feel that you are with a man. You are with a medicine man, a form of spiritual vessel, a demi-deity, or even better, a myth. With Hitler you are scared. You know you would never be able to talk to that man; because there is nobody there. He is not a man, but a collective. He is not an individual, but a whole nation. I take it to be literally true that he has no personal friend. How can you talk intimately with a nation?


Fortunately for us, the threat of his [The Devil’s] coming had already been foretold in the New Testament— for the less he is recognized the more dangerous he is. Who would suspect him under those high-sounding names of his, such as public welfare, lifelong security, peace among the nations, etc.? He hides under idealisms, under -isms in general, and of these the most pernicious is doctrinairism, that most unspiritual of all the spirit’s manifestations. The present age must come to terms drastically with the facts as they are, with the absolute opposition that is not only tearing the world asunder politically but has planted a schism in the human heart. We need to find our way back to the original, living spirit which, because of its ambivalence, is also a mediator and uniter of opposites, an idea that preoccupied the alchemists for many centuries.

If, as seems probable, the aeon of the fishes is ruled by the archetypal motif of the hostile brothers, then the approach of the next Platonic month, namely Aquarius, will constellate the problem of the union of opposites. It will then no longer be possible to write off evil as the mere privation of good; its real existence will have to be recognized. This problem can be solved neither by philosophy, nor by economics, nor by politics, but only by the individual human being, via his experience of the living spirit, whose fire descended upon Joachim, one of many, and, despite all contemporary misunderstandings, was handed onward into the future.

Zarathustra’s Tarantulas

Behold; this is the hole of the tarantula.

Do you want to see the tarantula itself? Here hangs its web; touch it so that it trembles. There it comes willingly. Welcome, tarantula! Your triangle and symbol sits black on your back, and I also know what sits in your soul: revenge sits in your soul. Wherever you bite, black scabs grow, and your poison makes the soul dizzy with revenge. Thus I speak to you in a parable — you who make souls dizzy, you preachers of equality. To me you are tarantulas, and secretly vengeful. But I shall bring your secrets to light; therefore, I laugh in your faces with my laughter of the heights. Therefore I tear at your webs, that your rage may lure you out of your den of lies, and your revenge may leap out from behind your word:


For that man be delivered from revenge, that is for me the bridge to the highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms.

The tarantulas, of course, would have it otherwise. “What justice means to us is precisely that the world be filled with the storms of our revenge” — thus they speak to each other:

“We shall wreak vengeance and abuse on all whose equals we are not”—thus do the tarantula-hearts vow. “And ‘will to equality’ shall henceforth be the name for virtue; and against all that has power we will raise our clamor!”

You preachers of equality. The tyrannomania of impotence clamors thus out of you for equality: your most secret ambitions to be tyrants thus shroud themselves in words of virtue! Aggrieved conceit, repressed envy — perhaps the conceit and envy of your fathers — erupt from you as a flame and as the frenzy of revenge.

What was silent in the Father speaks in the Son, and I often found the Son to be the unveiled secret of the Father.

They’re like zealots, but it is not the heart that fires them, but revenge. And when they become elegant and cold it is not the spirit, but envy, that makes them elegant and cold. Their jealousy leads them even on the paths of thinkers. And this is the sign of their jealousy:

they always go too far,

till in their weariness they must in the end lie down to sleep in the snow.

Out of every one of their complaints sounds revenge; in their praise there is always a sting, and to be a judge seems bliss to them.

But thus I counsel you my friends: mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful! They are people of a low sort and stock; the hangman and the bloodhound look out of their faces.

Mistrust all who talk much of their justice! Verily, their souls lack more than honey. And when they call themselves “the good and the just,” do not forget that they would be pharisees, if only they had power.

My friends, I do not want to be mixed up and confused with others. Some preach my doctrine of life, and are at the same time preachers of equality, and tarantulas. Although they are sitting in their holes, these poisonous spiders, with their backs turned on life, they speak in favor of life, but only because they wish to hurt.

They wish to hurt those who now have power, for among those the preaching of death is still most at home. If it were otherwise, the tarantulas would teach otherwise; they themselves were once the foremost slanderers of the world and burners of heretics.

I do not wish to be mixed up and confused with these preachers of equality. For thus speaketh justice unto me: “Men are not equal.” And neither shall they become so!

… On a thousand bridges and piers shall they throng to the future, and always shall there be more war and inequality among them: thus does my great love make me speak!

Inventors of figures and phantoms shall they be in their hostilities; and with those figures and phantoms shall they yet fight with each other the supreme fight!

Good and evil, and rich and poor, and high and low, and all names of values: weapons shall they be, and sounding signs, that life must again and again surpass itself!

Aloft will it build itself with columns and stairs—life itself into remote distances would it gaze, and out towards blissful beauties—therefore does it require elevation!

And because it require elevation, therefore does it require steps, and variance of steps and climbers! To rise striving for life, and in rising to surpass itself.

And just behold, my friends! Here where the tarantula’s den is, risen above an ancient temple’s ruins—just behold it with enlightened eyes!

Verily, he who here towered aloft his thoughts in stone, knew as well as the wisest ones about the secret of life!

That there is struggle and inequality even in beauty, and war for power and supremacy: that does he here teach us in the plainest parable.

How divinely do vault and arch here contrast in the struggle: how with light and shade they strive against each other, the divinely striving ones.—

Thus, steadfast and beautiful, let us also be enemies, my friends! Divinely will we strive against one another!—

Alas! There has the tarantula bit me myself, my old enemy! Divinely steadfast and beautiful, it has bit me on the finger!

“Punishment must there be, and justice”—so thinketh it: “not gratuitously shall he here sing songs in honor of enmity!”

Yea, it has avenged itself! And alas! Now will it make my soul also dizzy with revenge!

That I may not turn dizzy, however, bind me fast, my friends, to this pillar! Rather will I be a pillar-saint than a whirl of vengeance!

Verily, no cyclone or whirlwind is Zarathustra: and if he be a dancer, he is not at all a tarantula-dancer!—

Thus spake Zarathustra.