Friday, November 18, 2005

I don't value what your good at

Nietzsche, Part 2

The weakness that Nietzsche despises was explained to me the other day and it really helped me understand what he is talking about.  He hates weakness that doesn’t accept it’s weakness nor struggle to overcome its weakness, but the weakness that legitimates its weakness by attacking strength.  For example, if I am a bad painter, it is alright to admit it, or try to get better at painting, but not ok to call what I do good art and what good artists’ work bad art in comparison to my art (hum, I wonder what he would say about modern art?)  

Being a development studies student I have the largest ego on campus because I am saving the world while everyone else is learning how to blissfully go along with the system that is killing everyone (George Bush opened up the equivalent of Banff national park in Alaska to the extraction of oil a couple days ago).  This ego was a topic of a good discussion, the question was do we have a big ego and accept this paradigm because we weren’t winning in the other way of looking at the world?  My immediate reaction is no, my thinking changed because I saw life from the other side of the exploitative relationship the first world has with the rest of the world, but the question is was that a more favourable position for my ego?  I would have to say no, because I was very excited about going to business school and making the money, but it was my faith that changed my perception.  

I just finished another book, The other side of Eden by Hugh Brody, and at the end of this book Brody says that what makes us who we are is inheritance, the way our bodies are, and the “hard-wiring” of the brain, also language.  The thing with language though is that it is shared, so part of what makes us who we are is our relationships.  When I was a kid I always went on the team that was losing.  I remember switching teams to help out the losing team.  I never wanted to be on the winning team because I always felt sorry for the losers.  That is who I am in a nut shell.  I hate oppression, of the weak.  I always liked playing for the underdog team.

Actually I do remember thinking that I liked playing for the underdog team because I would get to play a lot more, my contribution was more valuable, I had the chance to be “that guy” if the rest of my team sucked.  So maybe I am not so noble.  I found a way of reconciling my two conflicting forces: wanting to be valuable, and wanting to help the underdog, the weaker party.  

I value strength in myself, but like to be surrounded by weaker people.  But I think that is something that I have come to terms with because my best friend is better than me at everything.  But he is my best friend and I trust him not to demean me.  

That is what I despise is mean people that are strong: people that take a weakness in comparison to their strength and rub it in another’s face.  How does a person deal with those kinds of people?  Taoism – avoid them, Christianity – turn the other cheek?  I think a popular way is to focus on the areas I am better at then he or she is.  For example, I am an average athlete, so I am smarter than the dumb jock, so I value being smart.  Our values are how we get around it, but the tough question to ask is how we come to those values.  A good test of this is to ask yourself if you value what you are good at.  

Getting back to Nietzsche, he despises the person who deals with their weakness by changing what strength is, so the truly strong person is stifled.  

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