Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Ghost and a Gambler

Every now and then a person comes along who ignores the living and holds his only meaningful conversations with the dead and with those who have not been born yet. If, for whatever reason, the latter fail to hear him after he is gone, he will have left no significant traces of himself. But he will have known the ghostly pleasures of living out of time and the thrill of gambling for posthumous status.


Gopher said...

Delve into this a little more. I'm not sure where this has come from or what its intention is but it intrigues me.

Nature's Rebel said...

I have created a character here, based loosely on observations of myself but more precisely on someone like Nietzsche, who led an untimely life, as he liked to put it, that is, one that reached out of his own particular time into historical time. What that means in practical terms is that he lived an extremely solitary life, read great literature, and held his 'conversations' with the authors, who were people from the past. To read Nietzsche carefully is to discover how intimate he felt with those people. It's quite beautiful. Those are the dead, of course, from my post. Now, coming to the conclusion that these are the real people who matter in the long run, one gets the idea that he would like to become one of them. In order to do that, one must become a great writer oneself and leave something behind for those untimely souls in the future to discover. Of course, this is a gamble. You are giving up living your life in this time and achieving whatever meaning you might acquire right now for the oddly uncertain prize of posthumous notoriety (Nietzsche is famous for saying that some men are born posthumously.) If no one in the future picks up your line of communication, however, you not only make no mark in the here and now, but you make no mark in the future either. Hence, no trace at all. But still, the pleasures of your ambition, of your conversations with the past, of seeing through the transient ambitions of your contemporaries, of thinking maybe, just maybe, somebody will talk to me in the future as I talk to (Descartes?) from the past, are intense, even erotic.

That's all the post means.