Walter Kaufmann believed that there is an urgency in life and expressing oneself or, at least, there should be. The full significance of this urgency is captured is the following excerpt:
Let people who do not know what to do with themselves in this life, but fritter away their time hope for eternal life. If one lives intensely, the time comes when sleep seems bliss. If one loves intensely, the time comes when death seems bliss… The life I want is a life I could not endure in eternity. It is a life of love and intensity, suffering and creation… As one deserves a good night’s sleep, one also deserves to die. Why should I hope to wake again? To do what I have not done in the time I’ve had? All of us have so much more time than we use well… Lives are spoiled and made rotten by the sense that death is distant and irrelevant… But it makes for a better life if one has a rendezvous with death… There is nothing morbid about thinking and speaking of death. Those who disparage honesty do not know its joy.
– from The Faith of a Heretic, by Walter Kaufmann.
In his book Socrates Café, Chris Phillips describes the impact this passage had on his life quest.
Kaufmann’s words made me realize not how short and precious life is, but how unbearably long and meaningless much of my life had seemed to me. And they made me realize how inexcusable it was for me to have allowed my life to take on such soporific dimensions by abandoning my search for meaning.
Chris Phillips is an American writer and modern day philosopher, author of the best-sellers Socrates Café and Six Questions of Socrates. For anyone wishing to dive deep into the questions of being and self-expression, these provocative books are a #must_read
Walter Kaufmann (1921 – 1980) is a German philosopher, primarily known for his scholarly works of Friedrich Nietzsche and Goethe’s Faust.
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