If it is true that a book might make a more reliable companion and faithful friend than any person, as I fear may indeed be true, then this is a book that held my hand (and mind) through some of my darkest days. I had travelled around the world following the death of a close family member and in romantic pursuit of a beautiful woman with my passport, some clothes and with the companionship of two books (of which this was one, the other being John Leslie’s exegesis of cosmology, physics and philosophy “Universes”).
Nietzsche’s aphorisms are not to be read for agreement or disagreement as there will most certainly be aspects with which you agree and others that either mystify or distress you in their naked self-righteousness. No, Nietzsche is to be read to learn to think clearly in the same way J.S. Bach is to be played to learn music – the lesson is in the logic and whether or not you enjoy the style, the modulation or the resolutions – you are bound to come away both significantly enriched and intellectually challenged, in equal measures.
As for Nietzsche’s philosophy – it must be experienced for yourself and if you arrive at the other side as though having passed through a bramble and thorn-rich forest, troubled and bloody – seeking to reassess your beliefs or at least the reasons why you hold them, then you have understood the message here. If you do not feel changed by this text, and regardless of whether you agree with Nietzsche or not, it may behove you to return to Harry Potter or Twilight for your intellectual sustenance.