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On this day in 1844 the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born.
A strong atheist, he is chiefly remembered for his savage indictments of religion: “Certainly the Christian religion is an antiquity projected into our times from remote prehistory; and the fact that the claim is believed – whereas one is otherwise so strict in examining pretensions – is perhaps the most ancient piece of this heritage.” Such views on religion contrast with his strongly held views on the integrity of humanity and man’s capacity for shaping his own destiny.
He is often called the Father of Existentialism: ‘In every Now, being begins; round every Here rolls the sphere There. The centre is everywhere. Bent is the path of eternity.’
Today’s poem is by way of relief from such heavyweight thinking, Love’s Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley:
Fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine? –
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
Today I ask that I will keep it simple and not complicate my world views unnecessarily.