I felt haunted by my e-mail the other night to my friend... I checked online for some of the basic elements in philosophy, and found exactly the answer for the question I raised... about just how Odysseus would feel after a short resting period after his long journey. It says volumes about me and about the human condition...
"Have I - yet a goal? A haven towards which my sail is set?
A good wind? Alas, he only who knoweth whither he saileth,
knoweth also what wind is good and a fair wind for him.
What still remaineth to me? A heart weary and flippant;
a wandering will; fluttering wings; a broken spine.
This seeking for my home: ah, Zarathustra, knowest thou well,
this seeking hath been my home-sickening; it devoureth me.
Where is - my home? For it I ask and seek and have sought, but have not found it.
Oh eternal everywhere, oh eternal nowhere, oh eternal - in-vain!" -Nietzsche
Existentially, I am in a dangerous place... from this point, you could stare into the emptiness of reality and despair or fall in. Worse yet, you could adopt a dangerous
belief structure. Take a look at Nietzsche; he thought that the only answer to the great bit nothingness that stared back at him was in humanity's basic drive to dominate others... the will to power. While that idea might be fine for a bunch of Nazis (or some CEOs), it still doesn't resolve anything.
Take Nietzsche, for example. On the morning of January 3, 1889, while in Turin, Nietzsche experienced a mental breakdown which left him an invalid for the rest of his life. Upon witnessing a horse being whipped by a coachman at the Piazza Carlo Alberto, Nietzsche threw his arms around the horse�s neck and collapsed, never to return to full sanity.
Nietzsche wrote once about the last temptation that threatened his beloved Superman. "Where lie thy greatest dangers? In compassion." It is fitting that an act of compassion would be his undoing, since it fundamentally flew in the face of his soulless, anti-humanitarian Will to Power. Obviously, the conflict must have been too much for him... It is one thing to look into the void that is life with unflinching eyes... but it is another thing to pull back a piece of emptiness from the void and try applying that to people of flesh and blood.
I hear that Walt Whitman stares into the same void in "Leaves of Grass", only to come up with a better, more humanistic alternative than Nietzsche. I have wanted to read Whitman for a long time... now would be appropriate. Until I find a way to pull back from the edge, I think I will pursue those two great 21st Century philosophers... Ben & Jerry. ;->