Sunday, 1 February 2009

Would Nietzsche help?

I was just taking a look at the Crazy Like Us? blog and I found this, which I feel is a testament to the strength that some people suffering from depression can have to continue living. However, I was left thinking that in the long term to just continue living, which in the context and implication of the blog means to continue 'existing', may not be the best way to consider your life. To just exist is not a good way to live. And I was thinking that taking on a Nietzschean approach to life might help.

Nietzsche argued that we should live our lives as if it is going to repeat eternally, over and over again, exactly the same each time. It would repeat exactly the same because otherwise the repetition would not be of 'our' life - it would be the life of another 'I'. Every action we take we are creating ourselves anew, and thus we have complete control, complete creative power, over the direction which our lives will take. If we create a fantastic future for ourselves then we can will that all the bad things that have happened in the past should repeat over again because we will get to this fantastic future. All actions are linked - the past leads to the future. So if we just allow ourselves to merely 'exist' we are not creating a future that could 'justify' those bad moments in our lives.

Now I understand that this may sound a little simplistic. Some things can happen to a person, such as rape, that no future creating could possible make them wish that it would repeat over and over again, no matter how great the future is. However, the Nietzschean view of the world can help individuals get over past events and stop dwelling on them. The past cannot be changed, but the future can. And if, for example, an individual has been raped, the best thing they can do is start creating a future for themselves that does not mean 'existing' within those past events.

To get back to the situation at hand, I sincerely believe that a Nietzschean perspective on life can help people through depression. Depression causes individuals to think they have no control over their own lives, but the Nietzschean perspective is the complete opposite - humans have control over their lives and they should use it by not just 'existing' but striving for change.

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