Crack of the whip

The idea was to see Nietzsche’s mental collapse as a case of being overwhelmed by pity.

An overwhelming pity is a destructive force, desperation in the face of suffering. Overwhelming pity, despairing pity has a destructive and a seductive will: “The cry for help”, to draw an other (saviour) into the black swamp. In the first place. And in the second place the will to destroy oneself, “to end it all”, by a withdrawal from life which in the end does not seduce but seeks to enslave others.

Is there another pity, which does not threaten to overwhelm? A pity which is not destructive or seductive? Or is it always a question of keeping pity in check, of shooing it off like a vile little terrier dog? The problem is that pity obscures life, by throwing us into a chaotic and stupid state in which we no longer see real people. You should stand and shout at the little brute, dominate it. I think that neither I, nor horses, nor children want pity. We want “a fair crack of the whip” – others either help us seize the whip or not. Not a feeling of pity but an allegiance.

Was there something in Nietzsche’s writing that exposed him to such an overwhelming pity? Or can his susceptibility to this be separated from his writing? The point is to get a hold of the whip.


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