20 July 2020

Notes on 'Ecce Homo'

A friend advised that instead of self-help books, read the philosophers. Makes sense. The self-help articles and videos I consume reference the great thinkers anyway.

Why the need for self help? I've always believed that I am mentally healthy. Which means I could manage intrusive thoughts and extreme emotions. I've also made a temple out of solitude.

Until this pandemic shakes everything, including my mental temple. Doubts arise and loom ever so persistently. By managing my head I may have meant creating distractions or utilizing the imagination to build a fantasy land to escape to. There's also this new reality that I don't have access to things that make me happy: theater, concerts, being out there.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Ecce Homo. Oxford, 2007.

So I look at my book shelf and pick Nietszche's slim autobiography, Ecce Homo. I remember the excitement I felt when I bought it eight years ago. I'm only midway through, but I'd like to spend more time pondering on some sections. For now, I'll share quotes (even if feels wrong, given that their context is so important):
I don't want to be mistaken for anyone — so I mustn't mistake myself. (p36)

Ultimately no one can hear in things — books included — more than he already knows. If you have no access to something from experience, you will have no ear for it... Those who thought they understand me have turned me into something else, in their own image. (p37)

You have to be sure of yourself, you have to be standing bravely on your own two feet otherwise you cannot love. (p42)

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