Live Dangerously!

The Struggle is Real…(or at least it should be?)

All varieties of suffering and disappointment are to be welcomed by anyone seeking happiness. Failure and suffering should be greeted as tough challenges to be overcome, in the same way that a climber accepts the on-coming trials of the mountain or rock they are attempting to ascend.

Not necessarily my thoughts, but generally reflective of the great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

“To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities—I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not—that one endures.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power

It really is no wonder that Friedrich Nietzsche is often viewed as a negative and maligned character whose outlook on life is as dreadful as the life he lived. But this view is totally skewed, and generally out of context. In spite of the dreadful life that Nietzsche had to endure, his outlook is quite positive, radically progressive, and ultimately affirming.

There’s no doubt that Nietzsche struggled throughout his entire life, a true genius who was granted professorship at the age of 24, struggled with bouts of extreme loneliness, at a young age he contracted syphilis that lead to dementia, poor eyesight, constant nausea, migraine headaches, and mental breakdowns throughout his illustrious career. He agonized through one last mental breakdown from which he never bounced back, before suffering two strokes leading to paralysis, ending up in a mental institution and finally being liberated from “life” at the age of 58.

He was officially stateless, but spent his summers in the mountain village of Sils Maria, Switzerland1. It was the only climate he could persist in without extreme agony brought on by other climates unbecoming to his weakened constitution. Regarding Sils Maria, he claimed, “I now have Europe’s best and mightiest air to breathe, its nature is akin to my own.”

While at Sils Maria, Friedrich Nietzsche continued to endure pain that most people couldn’t imagine, but in fighting through that pain he was able to compose some of the most magnificent philosophical pieces that have ever been written including Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and Beyond Good and Evil. But aside from his enormous philosophical contributions, and in spite of his debilitating pain, Friedrich Nietzsche managed to go for a hike each and every afternoon. While he experienced physical pain, there was a much deeper type of pain that he would advise we do our best to avoid.

“Difficulty is normal we shouldn’t panic or give up when we experience it, we feel pain because of the gap between who we are at the moment and the person we could ideally be.”

Friedrich Nietzsche was driven to avoid the gap between who he was and the person he could ideally be. To suffer is expected, but to give up would be tragic. And so he walked, and hiked and climbed. Often times persecuted by local schoolboys who would throw stones at him, he continued to walk, often times barefoot because he couldn’t afford socks, he continued to walk, and often times dehydrated by bouts of nausea, he continued to walk.

“Remain seated as little as possible…Put no trust in any thought that is not born in the open to the accompaniment of free bodily movement, nor in one in which even the muscles do not celebrate a feast. A sedentary life, as I have already said elsewhere, is the real sin against the Holy Spirit.”

And so Friedrich Nietzsche continued to walk!

But he didn’t just walk; he climbed (literally and metaphorically), spending much of his time on the peak of Piz Corvatsch2. Standing at 11,322 ft, and dropping right into Lake Sils, the climb is intense even for the fittest of climbers, and the struggle is real, but the view…the view makes it all worthwhile (literally and metaphorically).


Like with all “climbers” and all “climbs” our failures will always outweigh our achievements, but like Nietzsche maintained throughout his life, any worthwhile achievement is born out of struggle, hard work, and the way in which failure is met. This of course is why Nietzsche wished failure upon his friends, not so that they might suffer (suffering is inevitable), but so that they might blossom into something beautiful.

“That which does not kill me makes me stronger!”

“The secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas!”3

Carrot (Co-writer) theDIHEDRAL

1.     Anne Frank is another who embraced the majesty of Sils Maria

2.     If anyone wants to go for a walk with me this summer, I hope to make the summit.

3.     This is one of my favorite quotes of all time, and I have to give a shout out to my dear friend for the constant reminder and invaluable life lessons!

40 Replies to “Live Dangerously!”

  1. What is dangerous? Statistically seen there is higher possibility to die in a car accident then climbing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Like with all “climbers” and all “climbs” our failures will always outweigh our achievements,’ maybe this is true only in our own minds. 🙂 Maybe what we achieve only makes us want to attempt something more. I dunno… 🙂

    I love Nietzsche. Zarathustra is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. “Oh great star, what would you be if not for those for whom you shine?” ❤

    Something in your post made me think of this, “'It is necessary to travel. It is not necessary to live.’ These words inspired early investigators when the vast frontier of unknown seas opened to their sails in the fifteenth century. Space is the new frontier…To travel in space, you must leave the old verbal garbage behind: God talk, country talk, mother talk, love talk, party talk. You must learn to exist with no religion, no country, no allies. You must learn to live alone in silence. Anyone who prays in space is not there. William S. Burroughs, “It is Necessary to Travel” from Word Virus

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This gives me pause, gratitude is first and foremost in my mind as i retrospect life and relationships. I also garner inspiration to persevere onward.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I suffered from depression for the better part of a decade, and truly believe that the happiness and success I enjoy today come from the determination that I had to find in myself to climb out of that dark hole. Thank you for encouraging others not to give up as they struggle down the stormy roads that can lead to sunny destinations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bustedtobeautiful…thank you for saying this, it is so gratifying to read that something I put together has the ability to strike a chord! You made my day!!!


  5. Great insight into a tortured soul.
    While at 64, my hikes do not tend to be to the mountain tops, I have had the pleasure of hiking the Nietzsche path at Eze, France this past May. While not proven, oral history said he used to hike this path from Eze Bord de la Mer up to Eze le Village to stimulate his mind so he could write. We hiked it downhill on a warm day and can only imagine what torture it may have been to hike uphill in the full summer sun. But, spectacular views and a great experience were our reward. In January, we pushed this further by hiking down Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon – 6 miles and 3,000 feet of elevation down and then back up. Totally worth it, but our legs paid the price for the next few days. Too many people expect the best things in life should be easy. If they are easy, what is their value?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well put Kagould17. That hike sounds amazing! Did you guys spend the night in the canyon, or complete the trek in one day?


  6. Excellent post – both educational & inspirational. Studied Nietzsche a bit in college, but had no idea about his life & struggles. BTW, I’m totally game for that “stroll” up the summit. Happy trails (they always are)!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You know, depending on where you are in life, it can be your true hardest battles will be with yourself.

    What ever form it takes, there are no free-er feeling in life than looking down a steep pitch on two skis and taming your dragons.

    Thanks for getting my attention with this post, the rest of the blog making it a worthy follow.

    Sarah, also seems to come from my mother from another sister! That sense of disconnection and energy from finding your peace with Mother Nature!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Interesting choice of a quote! The Will to Power is generally thought to have been tampered with by Nietzsche’s nationalist sister, but the quote you picked out seems to be in line with much of what he published himself.

    Reading through most of his major works, I find myself on the edge of reconstructing my life in a profound way. Anyway, this is rad. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “Put no trust in any thought that is not born in the open to the accompaniment of free bodily movement, nor in one in which even the muscles do not celebrate a feast. A sedentary life, as I have already said elsewhere, is the real sin against the Holy Spirit.” This is surely the only certain cure for writers’ block. Climbing a mountain is never a waste of your time.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love your post Dihedral Team!
    Until now I have never heard of Friedrich Nietzsche, and am truly happy to have read your words about him and his life 🙂
    It is so true, the only way to achieve more is to take that extra step towards the summit!

    Here’s to a hand clasp that spans the globe, please keep up your great work!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have never heard of this man before this but he sounds very smart to me. I really believe that time spent walking heals and look forward to following in his hiking footsteps this summer!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Although I knew Nietzsche as a philosopher, I didn’t know him as a hiker. Thanks for making that connection. I feel the same way as Nietzsche: sitting destroys our ability to connect with our world. I’m blogging about my 52 hikes in 52 weeks with a philosophical slant myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “Living Safely is Dangerous” – Irvin Yalom (When Nietzsche Wept)

    I keep coming back to this blog post and every time I reread it is better than the last! Definitely one of my favorite pieces of writing you’ve done!

    Liked by 1 person

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