Even though I write, I love to read even more. My thought processes are often so deep, that their depth cannot be truly measured. I don’t do small talk in the same way I don’t do light reading. I don’t understand society, culture or human nature as much as the next person but it doesn’t stop me trying to interpret things in my own way.
One of my favourite books is Friedrich Nietzsche‘s classic “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”, a story of the travels of an ancient prophet and the lessons he provides to strangers along the way. I pick up this book at least once a year as it gives deep analogies to the simple things in life that pass me by.
On his travels, Zarathustra encounters a small boy staring into the valley whilst resting against a tree. Then Zarathustra explains that with his own hands, he can’t shake the tree no matter how hard he tries. Zarathustra, viewing himself as a physically strong man, cannot make the tree budge, yet the invisible wind can topple the tree given enough gust.
The boy ponders this observation, and doesn’t really know what it means. In a way I could understand the boy. In a literal sense, the wind is much stronger than any one individual. It’s an obvious and somewhat tedious observation that the wind can blow a tree down much quicker than a man could push it over.
I tried to go slightly deeper. Invisible forces in a literal sense are gravity or the physical force of a gale knocking things over. In a philosophical note, I have been blown over by many invisible forces; frustration, confusion or sadness. They are the only interpretations I can think of off hand.
Theres a huge difference between physical strength and an invisible force. Some of the worst forces in the world can be invisible; discrimination, anger, ignorance and greed. The invisibility aspect doesn’t necessarily have to have an object assigned to it, it’s just there, causing destruction.
Zarathustra and the boy come to an understanding that as the tree grows skyward, it’s roots find it more difficult to travel earthward. As the boy and Zarathustra parted ways, I wondered if the tree could grow to such a height that the wind couldn’t blow it down. Given how awful people are to other people, I decided that I didn’t think so.
Although if the tree was somehow protected from the philosophical wind, it wouldn’t blow down so easily. I would say in years gone by, I was easily blown down. The slightest hiccup or breath of wind in my life would have felled me immediately. As I knew the wind was coming, I learned how to brace myself, and I still do.