Youth and Grey Thinking

“31. In our youthful years we still venerate and despise without the art of NUANCE, which is the best gain of life, and we have rightly to do hard penance for having fallen upon men and things with Yea and Nay. Everything is so arranged that the worst of all tastes, THE TASTE FOR THE UNCONDITIONAL, is cruelly befooled and abused, until a man learns to introduce a little art into his sentiments, and prefers to try conclusions with the artificial, as do the real artists of life. The angry and reverent spirit peculiar to youth appears to allow itself no peace, until it has suitably falsified men and things, to be able to vent its passion upon them: youth in itself even, is something falsifying and deceptive. Later on, when the young soul, tortured by continual disillusions, finally turns suspiciously against itself—still ardent and savage even in its suspicion and remorse of conscience: how it upbraids itself, how impatiently it tears itself, how it revenges itself for its long self-blinding, as though it had been a voluntary blindness! In this transition one punishes oneself by distrust of one’s sentiments; one tortures one’s enthusiasm with doubt, one feels even the good conscience to be a danger, as if it were the self-concealment and lassitude of a more refined uprightness; and above all, one espouses upon principle the cause AGAINST “youth.”—A decade later, and one comprehends that all this was also still—youth!”

Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm (2011-03-24). Beyond Good and Evil (p. 25). . Kindle Edition.

Translation: Youth is a time of black/white thinking, where the individual is trying to grasp, control and compartmentalize the reality which they have just popped into. Eventually, it becomes clear that black/white thinking is not practical. With this realization, youth will put black/white thinking into the “black” category. This does not solve the problem because you are applying your broken way of thinking to solve your broken way of thinking. This is essentially turning the knife against oneself. Youth will eventually realize that they had never grown-up they had only manifested their black/white thinking in a different way. Hopefully, nuance and grey thinking will be found.

Example: At 20 years old you look back at your 15 y/o way of thinking and think “how foolish”. At 25 years old you look back on your 20 y/o way of thinking and think “how foolish”. When will this pattern stop?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *