My Dinner With Nietzsche

14 08 2011
(Had a dinner with Fred Nietzsche the other night here in Pasadena. Jewish Deli. After a bottle of Manischewitz, the conversation took an interesting turn. He suggested we play a game that’s been around for centuries, often done among spires and domed cathedrals, typically played by curious minds, and always after a late dinner. It was called Echo. The first person would utter a sentence in the form of a claim, and the second person would then respond with a counter-claim using the same or fewer number of words. Because we were speaking English, my native tongue, it was only fair that Fred went first. His words are in blue, mine are in black. The following is an inexact transcript of our dialogue, as I remember it):
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that reason can’t prove everything.
Often one remains faithful to a cause merely because one’s opponents are boring.
Often one remains faithful to a cause because one’s opponents are wrong.
Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Battle with monsters, lest ye be consumed by one, and if you can gaze into the abyss, you’ll be reminded you’re not in it.
In heaven all the interesting people are missing.
In hell all the people think they’re interesting.
In truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.
In truth, there is only one Christian, and he was raised from the dead.
No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
No price is too high to pay for the privilege of giving yourself away.
One must have a good memory to be able to keep the promises one makes.
One needn’t a good memory if the promises are kept.
Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.
So you say.
The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it.
St. Paul said it first.
The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.
The visionary lies to himself if he lies to others.
To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.
To presume one’s purpose is the commonest form of hubris.
You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.
You need chaos in your soul to give thanks for a shining star.
There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.
And some madness in reason.
Digressions, objections, delight in mockery, carefree mistrust are signs of health; everything unconditional belongs in pathology.
Digressions, objections, delight in mockery, carefree mistrust are signs of poor health; everything unconditional belongs to God.
Poets are shameless with their experiences: they exploit them.
Poets are generous with their experiences: they give them away.
What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.
What takes place beyond good and evil cannot be love.
(At this point Fred bid goodnight and excused himself from the table. As I left the deli, I saw him still searching for the exit.)
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