When Nietzsche Wept (1992)

When Josef Breuer agrees to help Friedrich Nietzsche work through his despair, he finds himself getting healed too.

FN: “I can’t cure despair…I study it. Despair is the price one pays for self-awareness. Look deeply into life, and you will always find despair” (139).

FN: “I like the possibility of your being helped by your own discovery. For one can never really be helped by another; one must find the strength to help oneself” (160).

FN: “When a friend needs a resting place, it is best to offer a hard cot!” (169).

FN: “Great passion is required to defeat passion” (176).

FN: “No, the problem is not discomfort. The problem is that you have discomfort about the wrong thing!” (181).

FN: “Not to take possession of your life is to let your existence be an accident” (188).

FN: “…transform the ‘thus it was’ into the ‘thus I willed it’” (193).

FN: “Perhaps…symptoms are messengers of a meaning and will only vanish when their meaning is comprehended” (220–221).

FN: “Maybe, Josef, living safely is dangerous. Dangerous and deadly” (223).

IY: “Today it seemed to Breuer as if all motives, his and Nietzsche’s, sprang from a single source—the drive to escape death’s oblivion” (246).

FN: “I do not teach, Josef, that one should ‘bear’ death, or ‘come to terms’ with it. That ways lies life-betrayal! Here is my lesson to you: Die at the right time!…Live when you live! Death loses its terror if one dies when one has consummated one’s life! If one does not live in the right time, then one can never die at the right time” (247).

IY: “…assumption of eternal recurrence” (249–251).

FN: “Yes, eternal recurrence means that every time you choose an action you must be willing to choose it for all eternity. And it is the same for every action not made, every stillborn thought, every choice avoided. And all unlived life will remain bulging inside of you, unlived through all eternity. And the unheeded voice of your conscience will cry out to you forever” (251).

FN: “I teach that life should never be modified, or squelched, because of the promise of some other kind of life in the future. What is immortal is this life, this moment. There is no afterlife, no goal toward which this life points, no apocalyptic tribunal or judgment. This moment exists forever, and you, alone, are your only audience” (251).

FN: “I meant only that, to fully relate to another, one must first relate to oneself. If we cannot embrace our own aloneness, we will simply use the other as a shield against isolation. Only when one can live like the eagle—with no audience whatsoever—can one turn to another in love; only then is one able to care about the enlargement of the other’s being. Ergo, if one is unable to give up a marriage, then the marriage is doomed” (280).

JB: “Perhaps we’re all fellow sufferers unable to see each other’s truth” (298).

JB: “Isolation exists only in isolation….Once shared, it evaporates” (300).

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