He who fights with Monsters


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Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the often misunderstood and misquoted philosophers of all time, yet his genius shines on in the great abyss of contemporary mediocrity. Towards the end the syphilis kicked in and he was driven to madness but the testament he left behind will continue to be a bright beacon beckoning those few souls who desire to rise above the ignorant wasteland of the human malaise. One particular statement stands most vividly in mind: “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster”…Yet, the question needs to be asked, just who are the monsters and those who one considers as being friendly? Usually a friend is one who will continue to accept you despite all your foibles no matter what the cost, and an enemy is one who seeks to permanently wreck you into oblivion. And yet the opposite can also be the case. Friendships can be very fragile, especially in this age of the social beast where one phrase can obliterate an otherwise eternal pact of kinship. And a purported enemy can actually “wake-one” up from the present dangerous path one may be embracing, challenging and breaking the façade and in so doing creates a more stronger “you.” So just who is the real monster?

The rest of Nietzsche’s declaration reads, “When you gaze long into the abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” Meaning when you look too long into the face of a demon who is stronger than you, he will tear you asunder and drag you down into the depths of an abysmal hell. But the so-called abyss itself need not be feared. Huangbo wrote that the abyss (the void) that you fear is in actuality really your own inmost face looking back at you: deep looks upon deep. In this sense the great abyss is the place where the Primordial Speaks. This Great Abyss has a variety of ways of looking back at you. The vast emptiness of the open sky. Those brilliant shining stars burning in the great heavens of the night sky. The deep abyss of the oceans harboring untold silent wonders, not yet visible to the naked eye. When you discover the magnificent harmony of such marvels, you will become part of the silent depths itself. There are no monsters here, but only quiet and gentle friends who bathe you with solace. So, who are the monsters and who are your friends? A great discernment is needed.

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