Meaning & I

Notes on Nietzsche , Goethe and the very personal meaning of life



6/2/20224 min read

Set Meaning

With the incredible wealth of in-depth thought in Friedrich Nietzsche, it is difficult to find a favorite thought. One that comes very close is Nietzsche's idea that, if you look closely, every human being actually has his or her own philosophy.

That is to say: one's own life with its experiences from earliest childhood on shapes the practical philosophy of the individual to the highest degree.

Suitably to it is drawn then accordingly to the suitable texts & justifications. In the best case, these in turn expand that private philosophy to a larger and freer view of the world.

For me formative were the destruction of the life, felt by me as self-destruction of the own life, at the example of my mother and my uncle Roland. Due to the distance of the generations from the child's point of view, the complexity of their lives will always remain partially hidden to me, and with it the reasons for the inner despair, which in both cases led to alcoholism and physical as well as social decline, but it was intuitively clear to me that this was a dangerous whirlpool, which I had to oppose powerfully.

One source of strength that I have felt drawn to in varying degrees throughout my life is the Christian faith. At the age of about 8-10 years I sank so far into it that I also thought of becoming a priest. With the extreme determination that was always mine , sometimes difficult to distinguish from fanaticism and stubbornness, I attended early Mass during the week even before school started and meditated myself into praying the rosary.

Afterwards, with increasing erudition and a certain narcissistic delight in my own intellect, I began to question all this with the greatest delight in destruction and intellectual shenanigans, especially in the context of communion classes that were soon to begin.

The second way into the faith led after end of my marriage & family and the accompanying feeling of a certain lostness & ungroundedness about the music of Bach. I still see the picture in front of me: my playing children on the playground of Liesborn in Westphalia, which also had a kind of sound sculpture, where you could try out your very own sound, in the background the beautiful abbey:

All at once it was clear to me how the music I composed took on a new meaning: in humility before God and His creation.

This, it seemed to me, was what made Bach's music so great above many others: His willingness not to let his talent shine as an end in itself, but to humble himself in a certain way, in order to set himself a framework of his own free will, to the perfection of which he now makes his contribution. Building on this basic thought, I now let myself be guided and tried to open myself to the path that God had chosen for me.

And the more real life weighed on me, be it with unhappy relationships or material worries, the more I gained through meditation and concentration on this path that can only be found in secret. Thus, in a sense, began the "Orchestra of Cultures" and even more "Spirit of One" and the "Choir of Cultures."

But back to my experience of my immediate life: It appeared to me that the unhappiness of my mother and uncle, and in a certain way also of my father, sprang on the one hand from the feeling of loneliness and defenselessness, and on the other hand from the longing for confirmation and love. All humanly absolutely understandable longings, which are probably inherent in everyone. But what if there is no equivalent on the outside of one's own person ?

I cannot force another person to end my loneliness. I can change my life at any time. But what if I lack the confidence to do so? What if I don't have the confidence in myself?

All parents know how difficult it is to do justice to only one child. With several children, it will be difficult to always have concentration and love that will meet every need of the child. So it will always have a justification to blame the parents for lack of love and encouragement, and thus also for that inner emptiness and bad decisions in one's own life. It is easy to project the lack of love in one's own life onto one's partner, onto God, onto society, and in the case of a lack of reciprocation, to hold them responsible for one's own unhappiness.

But perhaps the mistake lies already in the fray of the search for meaning ? The longing of the ego for confirmation and meaning of one's own life is scattered in so many ways in the vague hope that as many confirmations as possible will make it easier to wake up every day.

To me a radically simple way seems to be the most preferable: Set a priori that your existence has a meaning. Set a priori that every existence has a meaning. It is not even decisive what exactly this sense is: knowledge, beauty, truth, love.... All these are finally only sub-answers for the strong assertion:

That I am, has meaning.

Which, that will already show itself... Similarly, but nevertheless differently, is Goethe's sentence of: "The meaning of life is life itself," which, however, leaves room for a slight absurdity, since it is a realization of a superior for which one, in a certain sense, relinquishes responsibility.

I am concerned with the willful positing of the individual: I recognize that the search for meaning in any form leads only to unhappiness and self-destruction. Therefore I assert my own sense.

This thought is then closer to Nietzsche's much-maligned concept of the superman. It goes along with my life experience that in all difficulties of life, which can easily lead one into despair and tiredness of life, the solution is ultimately always to be found in oneself.

Prayer may also sometimes ease the first despair as a push prayer and hope may lead one a few steps further.

But especially if one takes seriously the Christian concept that man is a God-gifted being, then the highest probability of the solution of any problem is to be found in oneself or more precisely in the God-gifted part of our being. And no matter how hidden the solution may be: the conviction that the place of the problem ( namely the I ) also holds its solution is the greatest possible power of one's life.

And since in each of us not only the invididual life is at home, but also the universal power of life, we also always have, even if sometimes more difficult, access to this urine inspiration of the universe, which spans the whole cosmos. Everyone may develop their own ways to get there: Tranquility, nature, mediation, prayer, music, art, poetry... they all open paths.

What is decisive is the inner conviction of being the source of power oneself.