Thursday, January 26, 2006

How to make Philosophy with Jogging Shoes

There are times when Nietzsche resurfaces with force in my life. I guess it is one of those times again.

The good old blasphemer was the first who got me very passionate about philosophy. I devoured Nietzsche's works as a teenager like a crazy road lizard and fueled my rebellious fire with the explosive power of his words. Now when I look at it, about 20 years later, I think I barely understood too much about what I did read.

Nevertheless, Nietzsche’s spirit has walked with me ever since. It’s a long way from the first time I did read Also Sprach Zarathustra or gave a long and appropriately passionate presentation of his philosophy in high school. But no matter that I know the subject somewhat better now, I still ultimately get inspired about Nietzsche’s thoughts for the same reasons that I did also in my teens.

It is the spirit. An uncompromising spirit of an individual will and its profound value and significance. The burning need to overcome oneself. The braveness of the heart. The dynamism. All of that as an essential key to one’s very being, one’s innermost nature. That spark of desire for sovereigty of self through practise of will has always been dear to me. It has also been a good key to the fourth floor of my house of consciousness.

Nietzsche said somewhere, that the best thoughts occur while walking (there must be a link here to his question how can anyone become a thinker if he does not spend at least a third of the day without passions, people and books?). I have noted that there is some truth in this. I could add that some of the best thoughts occur to me also while running. Using the categories of the five levels of consciousness that I wrote about earlier in this blog, I think I can say that I have been spending some good time at the fourth floor of my house of consciousness pretty often while walking and running. I think that if you resonate with Nietzsche’s philosophy of hammer, you might find some odd resonance with it and jogging for a number of reasons.

There is something similar in the spirit of Zarathustra’s residing on the mountains and jogging, especially if it means long distance running. Both are in a way beyond ordinary environment of daily things. In both you are often alone. Just you and your solitude, your effort, your spirit that gives you the power to carry on. Love of feeling the limits and powers of one’s being and of overcoming them.

I have sometimes thought, that after a long run and experience of ”runners high” the great physical feeling that follows is somehow similar to the radiant feeling of power of Nietzsche’s philosophy. There is expanding feeling of power and happiness in both of them.

Well, or maybe it's just me. I have been running this month already about 150 kilometers (ca 93 miles), alone in the darkness of cold nights at outskirts of Turku (remember that we have minus celcius degrees, ice, snow and werewolves here in Southern Finland at this time of the year). It has been lovely. And perfectly suited besides studying Nietzsche. After all, isn’t his philosophy of will to power very organic, a sort of non-metaphysical trancendence in its nature? (as R.J. Hollingdale noted in A Nietzsche Reader).

If there is an eternal recurrence of some kind (one of Nietzsche’s more metaphysical ideas), I guess I am experiencing such regarding Nietzsche’s influence on my thinking currently. With jogging shoes.


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