The Abyss

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche’s quotes fascinate me. When you stare into the abyss, it stares back at you is interpreted to mean that the fixation or obsession with the void/ abyss is going to affect you; lead to its infiltration within you; becoming part of you; and you in turn losing yourself in the process, the abyss drawing you in to the same extent as you are drawn to it.

I feel the Abyss doesn’t imply evil, it implies void, non-ego, dark night of the soul, or a metaphorical concept you want to use for the moment in conscious experience when a person experiences the feeling those terms all denote. Most people don’t have this experience, so if you don’t know…you haven’t experienced it. Don’t ever get to know the void or evil too well. It is far too easy to become what you see…

I think Nietzsche’s ‘looking into the abyss’ is metaphoric for falling into our own darkness, if we allow a descent into our fear, hatred or unchecked righteousness to feed the way we view and respond, we reflect that abyss, our shadow ‘the monster’. It consumes us, becomes us.

What do you think Nietzsche meant by “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” What kind of monster? What does it mean for you to look into the abyss?

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