Archive for November 12th, 2021

Higher Self

GC Myers- The Durable Will sm

The Durable Will – Now at the West End Gallery, Corning, NY

Traffic with one’s higher self. Everyone has his good day, when he finds his higher self; and true humanity demands that we judge someone only when he is in this condition, and not in his workdays of bondage and servitude. We should, for example, assess and honor a painter according to the highest vision he was able to see and portray. But people themselves deal very differently with this, their higher self, and often act out the role of their own self, to the extent that they later keep imitating what they were in those moments. Some regard their ideal with shy humility and would like to deny it: they fear their higher self because, when it speaks, it speaks demandingly. In addition, it has a ghostly freedom of coming or staying away as it wishes; for that reason it is often called a gift of the gods, while actually everything else is a gift of the gods (of chance): this, however, is the man himself.

–Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human, Aphorism #624

For those among us who have spent their lives observing people, this current time in our history is filled to the brim with all the widest possible array of examples of human behavior, from the noblest to the most awful and base.

Of course, it’s always been that way throughout history. It just seems to become more apparent in certain times of great conflict and stress.

And much of this can be attributed to the thought behind the entry above from an 1878 book of aphorisms, Human, All Too Human, from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. We sometimes lose sight of those parts of us that comprise our highest sense of being, instead opting to act in ways that seem easier and less taxing on our willpower.

We choose to do that which is expedient but not necessarily in line with our higher self.

And it is a choice. We all have our own higher self, our highest level of being, always at hand. It is built in, the gift of the gods as Nietzsche calls it. But we often choose to ignore this gift and act in less worthy ways.

I don’t know if this higher self can be extinguished in someone. I am pretty sure that the Nazis that appropriated some of Nietzsche’s writings in the 20th century and twisted them for their own evil purposes had lost much of their higher self or at least had a most distorted sense of it. But for most of us, we have the choice to serve our higher self on an everyday basis, to elevate our personal sense of grace while pushing down our darker urges and biases.

I want to believe this is applicable to the real world. I do believe it, actually. But I worry that too many of us will not be willing to answer its call because, as Nietzsche points out, it speaks demandingly. It is not always easy to deny our base urge or reaction, to opt for reflection over reaction.

But it’s there for us, if we so choose.

Just letting you know.

Now get off my lawn!

See? I am still looking for my higher self…

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