Nietzscheanistic Words

Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “That for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts.”

That’s a pretty amazing sentence right there, but then again Nietzsche had a tendency to say and write things with a pretty high shock value. 

When you think about it, though, he has a point.  What do we really use words for?  A common answer to this would be that we use them to express our thoughts, ideas and sentiments.  But do we really do that all the time?  Do we not use words to instead to convey and communicate what we wish was within us?

We use them to articulate that which cannot otherwise be articulated.  Literary language calls attention to itself, it is beautiful in and of itself, and clarity and clear-cut explicitness is not its main objective.  The beauty lies in the confusion, the seemingly arbitrary collage of letters.  It awakens you.

Much of what we do in life, on a day-to-day basis, is done unconsciously, and literary language enables and allows us to go through the experiences again consciously.  This is what I think Nietzsche was trying to say.  The words we use when we write are an assault, an undermining, on the language of everyday-ness and they force us to re-engage with the realities of the world.  They communicate the numbness and oblivion that’s taken over our hearts, and in the act of writing about it, we become aware of this unawareness.

It’s a remarkable process, and we go through it everytime we write down even a single word.

On a lighter and completely irrelevant note, Team Canada (Men’s hockey) won the highly-yearned-for Gold Medal last night at the Winter Olympics.  It was a nail-biting game that kept you at the edge of the seat and all the other cliches you can think of, and the winning goal was made in overtime.  Good job, Team Canada, it really was about time.

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5 Comments

  1. That’s because he spoke only one language – German.

    He probably had some knowledge of Latin and classical Greek, but he was really fluent only in German.

    You can revive just about everything in your heart by giving it a different name in another language. A rose by any other name is not just a rose. It becomes a different world altogether with different sounds in other languages. Even animals (cats, dogs, roosters) make very different sounds in different languages.

    Perhaps the mistake Nietszche made was that he was not a student of languages. With his incredible command of hauntingly beautiful German vocabulary, he would be lost for a few more decades in strange sounds and stranger concepts. Instead, he became insane and committed suicide according to some, or died of syphilis according to others, relatively young.

    And then he got to meet God who obviously asked him: “Friedrich, why did you say that I was dead?”

    Friedrich is silent.

    And then, God adds:”I’m just kidding”.

    Reply

  2. what are you studying? i thought LUMS only has management courses. i looove writing and my dream is to be a journalist also, but i thought pakistan doesnt have this field except in punjab university, which m not sure i wana go to. my only other choice is NCA, and they take u to a whole other side of it. I think u might be able to give me advice. m 20 yrs old, female and i recently came from the u.s. and totally frustrated cuz theres no one around like me. so please help.

    Reply

    1. Fatima, give this country a little more credit than that. You’d be surprised at all the possibilities you can avail at LUMS, it’s broadened its range of offerings in the oast 2 decades. You can do law, engineering, humanities, economics, math, accounting, etc, all at LUMS. Check the website for details: http://www.lums.edu.pk
      And also, check your Gmail!

      Reply

  3. wow, what a beautiful post, i think you really hit the nail on the head with this! writing is so therapeutic for me for this very reason, bringing the unconscious to consciousness, exploring reality (and attempting to do it in an eloquent way).
    xo

    Reply

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