I began my philosophy challenge last September with the very definite conviction that I must start with the unholy German trinity of Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche. Here is how I would describe each:
Hegel is like a thick dark, murky, muddy forest. It is almost impossible to maneuver around, and all you really know is that you want to find your way out. Once out, you place a sign at the entrance warning those who would venture in to tie a rope before entering. It is no fun place, but it is important to know what is in there.
Marx, to borrow a concept, is like a forest where every tree is sawed down. It is just not pretty. Everyone, therefore no one, owns it, and you wonder how anyone could imagine such a place. It is not clear whether the design is based on rage or simply a lack of creativity. Your sign in front of this one warns those who would enter that it has been condemned.
Nietzsche is like a forest blazing on fire. There is no need to place a sign; for, one is already there. You yourself are warned not to get too close, and this is wise. The flames leap high and from tree top to tree top. You sense that whereas the fire rages meaninglessly and nihilistically, it actually has a purpose – to bring forth something new.
Here, you stop. Here, you have found the place. Whereas the first two were lifeless and inert, this forest, on the contrary, is killing life savagely to create new life. This forest wants to create life by its own will, not just be created life, and this is why it rages. However, when the flames become their most super, is the moment precisely when they run out of fuel. The fire begins to die at the height of its will; its powerful effort, useless.
But there was fire, no matter how awful. And it is fire, no matter how awful, that led you to stop here. Fire is that for which you were seeking. Standing in the middle of the ashes, you look for life but none can be found. As if by divine provocation, you cry out – fire! – whereupon the Heavens open and the Fire of Life falls to set the entire landscape ablaze again. New life, more fruitful than originally sought, unfolds.
The last forest was the most formidable. It was also the most redeemable.