Wisdom from Nietszche

“Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.”  

– Friedrich Nietszche

What I love about this quote is that differentiation between walking a chosen path and having your eyes on the prize, which may necessarily mean course corrections. And you know, either can be a good thing. 

If you can absolutely and positively trust the path you’re on to be the healthiest, best, least-harm-most-good path, then it is a beautiful thing to be able to walk that path no matter what it takes, even when it asks you to become a better person in order to stay on it, even when it asks you to become even healthier tomorrow than you were yesterday.
The only problem, really, is making sure your path is trustworthy, and perhaps Nietszche’s point is that a lot of paths aren’t. 

Of course a downside of Nietszche’s sentiment is in that last portion: ‘few in pursuit of the goal’, because sometimes people in pursuit of a goal pursue it at all costs. Which very quickly leads one to the mentality of the ends justifying the means, and then we are down a very dark rabbit hole and we have abandoned any moral compass we may have brought with us on the trek. I don’t recommend it. 

Looking at that statement from an ‘ends don’t justify means’ base assumption (which also means that if your goal is to harm someone, you just have to stop right there because nothing I can say will apply to you), you can go good places with it, however. If I have my eyes on the prize and I am serious in the pursuit of my goal, I am willing to listen to all the teachers God sends me, and not just the ones who look like teachers to me. I am willing to shed larger and larger portions of my ego, because I can’t actually get to where I want to go and also still keep all my assumptions and biases. 

But if I am clear in the pursuit of my goal and dedicated to it (and I’m also dedicated to compassion and the ethical idea that my best and highest good is also your best and highest good, and visa versa), then it doesn’t really matter what path I take to get there, and if I get hung up on the path, I pause in my progress to my goal.

Yes, interpreting this quote from Nietszche does require some caveats – no harm, best and highest good, ends don’t justify the means – because without those caveats this quote can be taken quite the wrong way. AND ALSO, you should see how many caveats I need when I preach on Ancient Wisdom to fully and deeply understand and convey the good within it. I’ll give you a hint: a lot more than I needed with Friedrich Nietszche.

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