Three Nietzschean prescriptions: Create a style for yourself; Overcome yourself; Choose wakefulness over inheritance.
From Zarathustra: “This – is now my way: where is yours?’ Thus I answered those who asked me ‘the way’. For the way – does not exist!”
Create a style, overcome yourself, choose wakefulness: find your way.
There is no authentic self to guide you. No matter how quietly you sit, no matter how penetratingly you introspect, there is, at bottom, nothing. The you at the surface – and this will be a different you depending on the moment, the conditions – is the only authentic you there is, and that you is a fragmentary and more or less shifting, fickle, reflection of the multitude of drives, constraints, desires, ambitions, fears, affects, feelings, anxieties, hopes and – above all – antagonisms that you embody.
‘I’ experience myself, but in so doing am experiencing the spring-loaded responses, borne by my body, to the predictable, systematic vagaries of the social and physical world.
Am I angry? Then I’m on my bike, cut off by drivers. Am I wandering in the clouds, dreaming of possibilities? Then I’m reading Adorno or Camus. Am I amused? Then I’m surfing buzzfeed articles for 25 tweets only I will understand.
But, deeper. Am I ambitious? Then I have cobbled together some combination of desire and strategy, but without also calling up all the obstacles facing me, resources needed. Am I hesitant and anxious? Then you are handsome and confident and I need you to pass me the coffee cream or spot me while I bench press. Am I jealous and enraged? Then you are equally handsome and confident and I am lost in the conflicting urges to have you, to be you, to be wanted by you – sexually, financially, totally.