Saturday, September 4, 2004

Love as a device

I have been re-reading Man Alone With Himself, the last part of Nietzsche's Human, All-Too-Human, and I find myself imagining uses for this strategy:

'Whoever wants really to get to know something new (be it a person, an event, or a book) does well to take up this new thing with all possible love, to avert his eye quickly from, even to forget, everything about it that he finds inimical, objectionable, or false. So, for example, we give the author of a book the greatest possible head start, and, as if at a race, virtually yearn with a pounding heart for him to reach his goal. By doing this, we penetrate into the heart of the new thing, into its motive center: and this is what it means to get to know it. Once we have got that far, reason then sets its limits; that overestimation, that occasional unhinging of the critical pendulum, was just a device to entice the soul of a matter out into the open.'

When I think of all the ways we strip raw the subjects of our adoration, I suspect that the consuming desire to crawl inside the ones we love may be more honestly the desire to turn them inside-out just so that we can see them better...


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