I fancy myself to have understood philosopher Frederich Nietzsche to some measure, yet when I just came across this quote it hit me like thunderbolt
“Every profound thinker is more afraid of being understood than of being misunderstood. The latter may hurt his vanity, but the former his heart, his sympathy, which always says: "Alas, why do you want to have as hard a time as I did?”
Nietzsche has this habit of using extremely complicated sentences which can be interpreted in multiple ways, all of which appear to be equally correct. However this sounded like a warning to me, that by the sheer virtue of being capable of understanding him, I was myself a recipient of his sympathy. Maybe he means that only a person who has personally undergone severe trials & tribulations could be intense enough to understand him.
Whatever that means, I had always felt that I’m somehow distinctly different from others not as a superiority/inferiority complex but as a person who doesn’t have anything in common with crowds. Why I’m not able to enjoy what all others around me seem to enjoy is what left me in a permanent state of inner-conflict.
Why can’t I stand utterly stupid behaviour when all others seem to perfectly enjoy it? Why can’t I roam about aimlessly and be happy about it like others? Why can’t I stand vulgar misuse of time & resources? Why am I against vulgar display of delicate emotions? Why do I feel that such delicate emotions must be firmly suppressed by the iron hand of will?
On the contrary, have I achieved anything significant so as to claim (with a sense of moral superiority?) that others are in the wrong? As a matter of fact I’ve been incapable of achieving anything noteworthy so far.
Then why don’t I pack off my beliefs and shed my baggage of thinking and become so ignorantly blissful like others. When my thinking has given me nothing but problems & complications, why persist with this attitude? From the evidence so far, this has been most impractical and hopeless.
Sometimes, I wish I also become like others. I feel that I must trade-off my individualism in lieu of loneliness. I feel that I must behave how others expect me to! By blindly following the herd after all, I have nothing to loose & everything to gain.
But only a casual stroll into any party convinces me that the above thought is unworthy. People are directed by what others consider to be right, & not what they consider right. People with such narrow vision that they refuse to see beyond the secure confines of their immediate profit, abound. I have at such times said to myself “Whatever I may become, I must not be like these”.
I prefer knowledge however painful it might be to my beliefs than to stay safely protected by faith & convictions. I prefer solitude if the only company I may have is of such people! I prefer to be myself if the only alternative is to be like them! Insanity in individuals may be rare, but in herds its always the rule.
Plants have no capacity to suffer because they don’t have to think! With increasing complexity of life suffering on the mental plane becomes more common! Just as with increasing power comes more responsibility.
It follows that the above is purely my perception, and people have their own opinions about the same thoughts. But to few people who complain of my behaviour I wish to answer that it’s the product not of a thoughtless action that I’ve undertaken to be what I want to be. I’ve taken a conscious decision that I intend to uphold under all circumstances.
The path is full of thorns, yet, I refuse to trade my mode of living to any other. In this context I feel that Sarkar’s (movie) dialogue is apt, because it doesn’t spring from egotism but sense of purpose “Main wohi karta hoon jo mujhe sahi lagta hai,…Agar log ise apne nazariye se dekhna chahe to dekhe..I don’t care”. (I do that which I consider to be right, if others wish to view this in their perspective let them, .. I don’t care”.)
Part of the problem is that there can be discussion & comparison only between similars. Dissimilars can't be argued for there is no common ground at all to meet. (India says Pak has terrorists, Pak denies it; hence no advancement of talks, the basic premise itself is denied.) Hence "I don't care", because it can't be proved otherwise to many!
The primary motivation for any man is personal pleasure; how many look for perennial joy? How many are strong enough to withstand the test of time, questioning of their basic convictions, suspecting their hardcore belief system, and are willing to go beyond immediate gratification to sacrifice the pleasures of today in exchange for long term benefits!! Most of whom I've seen lack courage to do so!