He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Friedrich Nietzsche – Beyond Good and Evil
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I was going to publish this as is because I was feeling lazy but instead I think I’ll take a few minutes to explain why they resonate with me as they do.
Nietzsche’s quote has been known to me for decades but only recently has its appeal become personal. Doing the job that I do I encounter ‘monsters’ and not just as physical manifestations (violent abusers, hardened criminals) but also in themes across society. An underlying culture of cruelty and indifference applied by ‘the powers’ against the poorest and the most vulnerable. I see evil. I see wickedness. I see exploitation and abuse. I see all of the things which people who are sleeping safely in their beds on a night do not see. My colleagues and I combat these things.
Nietzsche reminds me to temper my response to wickedness and violence. It reminds me that I have to be the ‘good’ vs ‘evil’ and that my methods must remain true. One cannot fight with a monster by becoming the same as the monster. One must be conscious of one’s methodologies in that fight.
Thomas’ quote is clearly referencing death. I have seen death. Too much personally and too much professionally. Every day above ground is a gift. Every new dawn a privilege. This reminds me that old age is not guaranteed and that we don’t all make it that far. It instils in me a desire to fight for every last day, every last breath. Do not go gentle…