Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 08-12-2003, 09:11 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: California
Posts: 3,552
What does "when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." mean?

I get the first, "Don't become a monster", part of the quote, but what does the second part mean?
#2
Old 08-12-2003, 09:22 PM
Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 42,556
It means that James Cameron makes sentient movies.
#3
Old 08-12-2003, 10:10 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Away for a while
Posts: 6,680
Be careful of what you hate lest you become it.

There's another one about touching pitch that I can not recall ...

Aquainting yourself with evil can bring evil into you.
#4
Old 08-12-2003, 10:17 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Away for a while
Posts: 6,680
Actually, I don't know that 'evil' is the right word; maybe just 'the unknown' would work as well.
#5
Old 08-12-2003, 10:32 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 25,090
Nietzsche is talking about the tendency to "fight fire with fire"...He's saying that when you fight against something, you run the risk of becoming the thing you're fighting against, and that's how causes get subverted.
#6
Old 08-12-2003, 10:42 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 30,095
Quote:
Originally posted by CalMeacham
It means that James Cameron makes sentient movies.
They're alive! They're alive!
#7
Old 08-12-2003, 11:10 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 12,684
Quote:
Originally posted by Captain Amazing
Nietzsche is talking about the tendency to "fight fire with fire"...He's saying that when you fight against something, you run the risk of becoming the thing you're fighting against, and that's how causes get subverted.
It sort of makes me wonder why he didn't say that then. And I also wonder if our government leaders and members of Congress, for the time being, have ever considered this.
#8
Old 08-13-2003, 12:14 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,466
Nietsche liked hyperbolic language. He was a Romantic or near kin to a Romantic. The idea was to evoke an image that would be more powerful and meaning-laden than a straight-up statement.
#9
Old 08-13-2003, 01:09 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Anderson, IN,USA
Posts: 14,741
Are we sure that Nietche wasn't saying "abbess"? "When you look long into the abbess, the abbess also looks into you." To me, it sounds like one of those recovering Catholic phenomena.
#10
Old 08-13-2003, 01:09 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: America's Dairyland
Posts: 12,780
That reminds me of something John Cheever once wrote:
Quote:
So he stands in the forest, asked to choose between the boundless light and a darkness whose only charm is mystery.

But what he overlooks is the fact that lightness and darkness have their own opinions.
#11
Old 08-13-2003, 02:26 AM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: I'm coming back, now.
Posts: 7,419
It is not just fighting monsters.

When we concentrate on a value system, or a particular set of human behaviors, we tend to make our focus more and more narrow, in order to understand the specific thing we seek to understand. But human behavior is broad, varied, and complex. So, if I seek to understand the minds of murderers, I must look at the lives of murderers, and their opinions.

They are humans, and I too am human. What motivates them is also a mutilator to me, on at least some level. The more closely I study murder, as a behavior of humans, the more I can see the same human characteristics in myself, and in you, and in all other people. Eventually, I empathize with murderers.

So, I become more able to feel, and identify with the aberration of murder than with the more common, and more adaptive behaviors of "normal" people, because I have engaged in the aberrant behavior of murder vicariously to such an extent that it has become more normal to me than the virtue of the more common man. I distrust his virtue, because I cannot understand it.

I have studied evil, but I have not studied virtue.

I have looked into the abyss, and in the end, I peer out of it myself.

Tris
#12
Old 08-13-2003, 07:39 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 24,237
Triskadecamus, my compliments on some excellent thought and writing. Chillingly well told!
#13
Old 08-13-2003, 08:21 AM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 16,869
Quote:
I get the first, "Don't become a monster", part of the quote, but what does the second part mean?
Ya have that a bit backwards - the Big N was saying

"Don't get too close to monsters, or you risk becoming one yourself."

Its the second part that completes it and warns against becoming a monster.
#14
Old 08-13-2003, 09:08 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: US
Posts: 285
Did you mean to write "mutilator", 13?
#15
Old 08-14-2003, 02:17 AM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: I'm coming back, now.
Posts: 7,419
No.

But, I hesitate to "correct it now.

Tris

Just sittin' staring out of the abyss.
#16
Old 08-14-2003, 07:56 AM
Fop Fop is offline
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 40
I guess Tris meant 'motivator'.
#17
Old 08-14-2003, 09:08 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: US
Posts: 285
...Now, thaat's creepy !
#18
Old 08-14-2003, 10:22 AM
Eve Eve is offline
Guest
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 22,064
Oh, that's not Nietzsche, it's Yakov Smirnof: "In United States, you look into abyss—In Soviet Union, abyss looks into you!"
#19
Old 08-14-2003, 10:34 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 39,805
Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us."
#20
Old 08-14-2003, 10:57 AM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 944
In My Back Pages Dylan wrote
Quote:
In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
He is basically saying the same thing. He was so against hate that he ended up hating the haters, in that he became what he was against.
#21
Old 08-14-2003, 12:01 PM
KGS KGS is offline
BANNED
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Porn Capital USA
Posts: 4,657
I stared into an abscess once. It grew eyes and stared back. Kinda freaky. I decided to call my dentist at that point.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:31 AM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: legal envelop call 1888 saucer and cup young turnips wide car eggs danny thomas behind ear smells best budget cognac malibu chasers ground hog killing recursion assembly boiling clothes how far will a 22 rifle shoot slept for 20 hours how to boost am radio signal what does attached earlobes mean about your personality mount and blade warband level cap have you been drinking tonight is 1520 a good sat score what to mix with tequila what does ky jelly stand for third day after surgery worst book a hotel without a credit card when did ac become standard in cars