Weekly Aphorism: A Bad Conscience For This Age

One of Nietzsche’s challenges, thrown to the few in his posterity who would be his readers and soul-fellows: to be a “bad conscience” for the age (the war we wage against our own instincts as “man’s suffering of himself,” and sees in this struggle the suggestion that one “is not a goal but only a way, an episode, a bridge, a great promise.” (“Genealogy of Morals”)

Searching, still; still searching for some sense of mission in this life, I wonder whether this would fit – me? – this age?

For years, too many years it seems now, I bitched, complained, railed upon the badness of things, the poorness of quality, the unwillingness of people to talk about issues, to discuss, to… I sense it sounded like whining, like a puppy which had lost its mother; a puppy who had strayed away to a place in which it could not place itself. Now, stronger, I want to do whatever needs to be done: to make this age better. If there are problems, where there are problems, it is not enough to make them known, not enough to raise the ire of those who ameliorate this age – those practitioners who keep the world going.

And go on it does.

The trick of power and government in this age: to stay low; quiet? A bad conscience is ineffective in an age where the energy of power is like a banked furnace: a mild glow whose heat, though still great, is diffused. Is there any point, in this age, to be a bad conscience?

Better to read Nietzsche, to study the other ages and places where bad consciences could be heard above the hum and drum of bureaucracy’s banality, to think and walk and talk with those who could and did.