"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often,and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high too pay for the privilege of owning yourself."
Alexys over at Unraveling the Spiritual Mystique had the above quote in her blog today.
It got me thinking!
What's Nietzsche actually trying to say here?
I think he's talking about freedom and independance. Of being able to choose one's own destiny regardless of what everyone else is doing.
There is a dichotomy in this. On the one hand human beings have always had a instinctive desire to belong to the tribe; to be at one with others. We survive that way. Our emotional natures require that we live in close proximity to others of our kind who will nurture and sustain us.
On the other hand he's saying that we must at all costs maintain our individuality, our freedom to express our own unique natures. We must rebel when we are forced to be completely assimilated into a tribe that we have had no say in making.
And yet we can go mad from lonliness and fear when we are disconnected from the tribe that loves us.
There's a fine balance of individualism and coherence here that I find interesting and intriguing. Stubborn resistance to being made to belong whilst at the same time stubborn refusal to be ostracized too!
What a weird mob we are!