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The Resolutions of Friedrich Nietzsche for the New Year, 1882


Though often associated with violent ideas, Nietzsche’s radicalism rests on his ability to raise old questions anew.

The months of December and January are loaded with a very particular energy: conversations and the very air are thickened with future plans and prospects. Everything begun in the preceding year has ended, and yet, we’ve not made it concrete. An intelligence as perceptive as that of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was also not entirely alien to these movements of the psyche.

At the risk of trivializing Nietzsche’s thinking, one might recall that his work always had one foot in the life of the common people. Their preoccupations, and the sorts of voluntary slavery to which they surrender, in submission to the morality of their times. Times change, though, and Nietzsche’s perspective remains as fresh and powerful as when it was written.

Included in his book The Gay Science (1882), this brief annotation of the philosopher serves as a welcome to the unknown. “Amor fati” is nothing more than the acceptance of one’s destiny, whatever it may be. Instead of waging war against that which disturbed him, Nietzsche understood that in the necessity of things lies their beauty. He said “yes” to all that was yet presented to him as alien, for it is only here that the avidity of learning will lapse.

For the New Year—I still live, I still think; I must still live, for I must still think. Sum, ergo cogito: cogito, ergo sum. To-day everyone takes the liberty of expressing his wish and his favorite thought: well, I also mean to tell what I have wished for myself today, and what thought first crossed my mind this year,—a thought which ought to be the basis, the pledge and the sweetening of all my future life! I want more and more to perceive the necessary characters in things as the beautiful:—I shall thus be one of those who beautify things. Amor fati: let that henceforth be my love! I do not want to wage war with the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers. Looking aside, let that be my sole negation! And all in all, to sum up: I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer!


*Image: Kim MyoungSung – Creative Commons

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