Roses into the Abyss

Daily Meditation #324–1/12/2023


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“Throw roses into the abyss and say: ‘here is my thanks to the monster who didn’t succeed in swallowing me alive.” 

Friedrich Nietzsche

What did Nietzsche mean with this phrase?

In my interpretation, it isn’t meant to be as “out there” as it initially sounds. We should be thankful for the traumas, nightmares, addictions, horrors, and difficulties of the world that we survive. 

Instead, however, how many among us instead embrace these difficulties?

We take them up, nourish and baby our childhood abuses, our rapes, our racial injustices, our bullying, our alcoholism, our coldly judgmental parents, our dead pets, our awful bosses, our illnesses…

We take them all up and wear them like medals. We wear them like armor. We treat all the things that turn us into victims like crutches upon which we seek alms and hugs and good feelings from the world for.

And in the “You’re so strong,” and “I am here for you,” and the “You will get through this” we find solace.

And we are strong, we do have support, and we will get through our challenges.

But the “monsters who seek to swallow us alive,” those rapes, brutal parents, addictions, hate, and so on can absolutely not be our crutches upon which we live every day.

We cast roses into the abyss as a thank you to those monsters. Monsters we have slain (metaphorically) by continuing to exist in the face of their onslaught.

And we mustn’t simply exist. 
We must thrive.

But we mustn’t simply thrive…

…We must thrive because of those monsters.

All the things that have happened to us, all those violent little horrors that flash in our memories, all the cold moments of unloving…
They have formed us up into the creation walking the Earth, today.

And that form is not made haphazardly of clay and dirt, washing away at the first rain.
No, all those blows have been but a chisel at the marble of our psyche, our mind, our soul.

So, gather your roses for your myriad monsters. Gather them and cast them into the abyss, giving thanks for those horrors.

Then, go forth and conquer.

Follow for daily philosophical meditations.

These are distillations from my coming book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing.”

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