When Nietzsche Weeps, the psychoanalytic novel of existential psychotherapy master Irving Yalom was made into a film and received unanimous acclaim. In the film, Owen Yaron designed the encounter between Nietzsche, the master of philosophy, and Blair, the master of psychoanalysis. The opportunity to meet is Nietzsche’s lovesickness. But this little lovesickness involves big problems in life.
Nietzsche’s lovesickness Nietzsche, who
advocated the will to power, actually got lovesickness. If Nietzsche’s thought is not strong enough, the other party is too charming. When Salome sat in front of the psychologist Breer and talked about Nietzsche’s disease, Breer immediately intuitively felt that the cause of Nietzsche might be this charming woman in front of him. In her gestures, Salome projected unparalleled charm, a look, a smile, even the habit of pursing her lips, biting her lower lip and other small movements, but also formed a huge “lethality” to men. What is even more frightening is that she is not only beautiful in appearance, but also intelligent, and her rational thinking is no less than that of any man. Therefore, it may be unique to be her male friend without bowing under her skirt. First-class minds such as Nietzsche, Freud, and Rilke have all become captives of Salome. Nietzsche bore the brunt.
Salome recounted the process of Nietzsche’s illness: through a friend’s introduction, she met Nietzsche, and she was deeply attracted by Nietzsche’s ideas. The two quickly became close friends who talked about everything. The tacit understanding between the two has even reached the point where they can understand each other without words and only by gestures. Nietzsche’s will to power was completely disintegrated in front of Salome, and he soon asked Salome to marry. However, he was rejected by Salome. In Nietzsche’s view, Salome rejected him because she was in love with their mutual friend Henry. As for Salome, she doesn’t want to marry anyone, she just wants to share her wisdom and talent with men, but she doesn’t want to be the bearer of mundane family responsibilities. Approaching Henry is more of a stopgap measure to get rid of Nietzsche’s emotional entanglement. But no matter what, Nietzsche was really in love and couldn’t extricate himself. In his own words, “She seems to be my other brain, my soul mate.” He felt that Salome was his destiny. Half of them will spend the rest of their lives with him, helping him overcome the loneliness that haunts him. Salome’s great charm makes Nietzsche feel the happiness and warmth of the world again, which is the villain’s life that he has always resisted. Nietzsche was ready to give everything and give up everything to Salome. And Salome’s refusal made him despair and lost his motivation for life. If the strong will to power previously supported him against the world and against loneliness, now his eroded will to power is no longer able to support him. What’s worse, even though Salome turned to Henry, he still believed that Salome loved him and that he was her only one. Lovesickness struck Nietzsche, and he was depressed and hopeless. Mental illness led to physical illness, and he suffered from severe headaches. All this made him think of suicide.
Even without considering his feelings, Nietzsche’s talent made Salome unbearable to see his depression, and he didn’t want him to end his life. So Salome turned to psychologist Blair for help, hoping that he could cure Nietzsche’s lovesickness and suicidal thoughts caused by it. Blair didn’t want to accept the request, because as smart psychologists know, lovesickness is not a disease, and there is no cure. But Salome’s irresistible charm and sincere, mournful eyes led him to agree. Afterwards, when Blair and his close friend, the future psychoanalyst Freud, talked about it, he still felt that he was in a dream.
After persuading Blair, Salome managed to introduce him to Nietzsche through other friends. Nietzsche was pulled in front of Blair by Salome’s invisible hands. Salome warned Blair in advance not to do anything that would make Nietzsche feel that his will to power was weakened when he was treating Nietzsche. It seems that although the core of the will to power has been weakened by Salome, it has made Nietzsche more insistent and sensitive to its empty shell. Although Blair had been very careful, he still touched the nerve of Nietzsche’s will to power, which caused the two people’s first two meetings to be unhappy. Nietzsche decided to discontinue treatment. But Nietzsche’s refusal and difference stimulated Breer’s desire to heal and conquer him. Moreover, there is a small interlude in the middle. Nietzsche suffered a sudden headache while hanging out with prostitutes in a hotel. In a coma he uttered Blair’s name. Blair’s generous assistance saved Nietzsche’s life. In the rescue, Nietzsche called for help to Breer, which made Breer realize that although Nietzsche appeared to be very strong on the surface, he was actually very weak inside, and he also needed the help of friends and friends. So, Blair decided to keep Nietzsche.
Blair thought of a good way to keep Nietzsche without irritating Nietzsche’s sensitive nerves. He wanted to keep Nietzsche by making a deal. He panicked that he had a mental illness and wanted Nietzsche to use his philosophy to treat him; and he would treat Nietzsche’s headaches. To avoid irritating Nietzsche, he bypassed the mental causes of Nietzsche’s headaches and attributed them all to physical causes. In this way, Nietzsche had to accept Blair’s suggestion, after all, he owed Blair’s favor.
The ultimate goal of Blair’s plan was to cure Nietzsche’s mental illness. He asked Nietzsche to treat himself, in fact, he wanted to implement his talk therapy on Nietzsche, that is, during the process of talking, Nietzsche’s heart was fully opened unconsciously, and he asked him for help, and he would guide and integrate his mental illness. cured. In this process, Blair will still have control and initiative, and his relationship with Nietzsche’s place is still the relationship between doctor and patient. The power he gave Nietzsche was empty, it was only a bait. However, by accident, Nietzsche turned this false power into real power. The reason is that Blair, like Nietzsche, suffered from lovesickness, but he himself did not realize it clearly.
Two years ago, Blair had seen a female patient named Porta. Porta, young, beautiful and full of vigor, suffers from hysteria. During therapy, Blair fell in love with Porta. For him, Porta was like a bolt of lightning, illuminating his dull and depressing life. He has been living in a life plan arranged for him by others: study hard, get out of the Jewish ghetto; find a decent job, make a good life, and gain a good social status; build a family, marry a wife and have children, and do the best to be a wife and a father. responsibility. His life is about accomplishing given tasks that are mandated indicators rather than his own choices and hobbies. Therefore, there is little passion and joy in his life. And in Porta, he seems to have found himself. Porta’s cry for help made him feel powerful, her dependence and need on him made him feel worthy, and when she said to him “you will always be the only man in my life” When he spoke, he gained a god-like feeling, and he felt that he possessed incomparable magic and passion. In Porta he becomes the master of himself and the world, his ego fully realized. His life is no longer gray, but full of sunshine and passion.
One day, however, Porta’s illness flares up, publicly revealing her relationship with Blair. Blair had to transfer her to another clinic. But Blair’s heart is still on Porta. He often wanders with Porta in his dreams in the paradise of birds and flowers, enjoying the ultimate joy of harmony and brightness. Lovesickness also invaded the wise Blair.
In order to keep Nietzsche, Blair must provide Nietzsche with certain mental illnesses. At first, he made up several illnesses at random. But Nietzsche was very serious, and he used the shrewdness and sharpness characteristic of a philosopher to force Blair to tell his greatest heart disease, his story with Porta. As a result, Breer’s power was taken away bit by bit by Nietzsche. Under the guidance of Nietzsche’s excellent analysis, Blair slowly embarked on the track laid by Nietzsche. As the conversation between the two deepened, Nietzsche peeled off the layers of disguise wrapped around Breer, pointing directly to the ultimate source of his lovesickness.
At first, Blair regarded his concern and concern for Porta as the pity of a healthy person (or the strong) for a sick (or weak), and this pity gradually turned into guilt in his heart, as if the patient’s The disease was caused by him. He blamed himself deeply for not protecting and curing Porta. This self-blame made him unable to work with peace of mind, and became more indifferent to his family. All he was concerned about was the condition and life of Porta, who was abandoned and damaged by him. Nietzsche saw at a glance the nature of Blair’s concern. Blair’s concern has obviously exceeded the duties of a doctor, and behind the concern lies desire. The desire for Porta made him idealize and perfect it. In his eyes, any misfortune that landed on Porta was undeserved. Nor is he willing to do anything to hurt Porta. Therefore, he saw Porta’s departure as a great injury to the angel, for which he tossed and slept, until he felt like a disaster, as Nietzsche said, “his obsession with women tore him to shreds”. Therefore, Nietzsche concluded that it was not that Porta was weakened and damaged, and that Porta as a patient could not be weakened any more; rather, Blair was weakened, and he had been captured by the “crippled” Porta. And, driven by desire, “he licked her dirty fangs”.
Nietzsche’s analysis made Breer feel a little shocked, and he felt Nietzsche’s strength. In his later dreams, Nietzsche invaded his dreams with a will to power. Originally, he wanted to remind Nietzsche with his own story, but Nietzsche’s analysis made him feel his own disease first.
However, desire is not the root of the problem. In the following conversation, Nietzsche further restored Breer’s lovesickness. He described an incredible picture for Breer: a person walking on a snowy hillside, small and helpless. At this time, the road behind him was collapsing step by step, and he fell into panic and despair. At this time, he saw the naked woman on the top of the mountain. The appearance of the naked woman seemed to make him forget the dangerous situation and the threat of death. In this way, Nietzsche restores lovesickness to the essential state of existence of human beings. People live in the long river of time. In time, man is like a small point on the endless snow mountain, and his limited life will disappear at any time. The greatest suffering of the passing time is death. Time is gone forever, just like the collapse of snow-capped mountains. Every step of man is toward death. In the face of the inevitable death that may come at any time, his existence becomes meaningless. Such is the experience of Blair, “Time is irreversible, and the hourglass of my life will pass away… As my death draws near, I realize that I am insignificant.” He was forced to find a way to forget time, overcome Tool for the pain of death. He found the most passionate tool of sensuality. In this passion, as Blair puts it, one seems to be able to “escape the trap of time.” When he and Porta were together, they were calm and happy, completely free from the rush and anxiety of being in the middle of time. To them, time seems to have stopped, and at that moment they transcend time and become eternity.
However, Nietzsche said, all this is rubbish. It is vain to hope that the burden of time will be freed from the lust of the flesh, which does nothing but turn man into a beast. Moreover, it is impossible to get rid of the burden of time by transcending time. People cannot escape from time. “The biggest challenge is to live in the burden of time.” How to shoulder this heavy, dull and cruel time burden? To be superman, Nietzsche said, “You have to learn to say ‘yes’, say ‘yes’ to every moment of your life. Be passionate. Be free-thinking. Go beyond your boundaries and be a superman.” That is, If you want to overcome the fear of death, you must face death, cultivate your inner spirit with enthusiasm and free will, and constantly surpass yourself and reach the peak of life. At this time, death is no longer terrifying. Entering the ropes of women, pursuing the comfort and pleasure beyond time, is an escape from life, a renunciation of the noble life of Superman, who will eventually become a member of the beast.
Blair was deeply impressed by Nietzsche’s ideas, and among the two patients, Blair became the one in urgent need of treatment. The roles of doctor and patient are completely reversed.
Moreover, Nietzsche also found another factor in Breer’s infatuation with Porta, which was Breer’s mother, Porta. Although Blair’s mother died when he was very young, the shadow of his mother has remained in his subconscious. The patient Porta was fitting into his subconscious, so both Porta became his objects of dependence. No matter how different the two Portas may be, they are the same in that they both become Blair’s safe haven from death and the burden of time. Nietzsche advises Breer to give up any pretense, to face death, to exercise free will, and to truly experience life. Blair took Nietzsche’s advice.
Blair’s Journey to Purgatory and Nietzsche’s Tears
The conservative Blair dared not directly practice Nietzsche’s suggestion. He first used hypnotism to experience Nietzsche’s so-called free will in a dream. In the dream, Blair gave up everything he had, and left his status, family and career behind. Everything starts from scratch. He gained the freedom to live again. What will he do when he is free? He first thought of Porta. There was nothing stopping them from being together now. Without hesitation he ran towards Porta. When he arrived at Porta’s clinic, he unexpectedly found that Porta was with a young man, and they were very close. When Blair approached them, he vaguely heard that Porta was also saying to his male partner the words that made all men fascinated: “You will always be the only man in my life”. Breton was dumbfounded. The angel who made him abandon everything to pursue is just playing with him. The core of the universe he envisioned, the basis of life, is nothing but an illusion. Blair fell into complete despair. He started complaining about Nietzsche’s free will, which left him with nothing. Nietzsche said to him: “Long before you saw me, you gave up everything. Nothing is to be. To be strong, you must be rooted in nothingness. Learn to face your loneliest loneliness. You must be ready to use Your own flame burns yourself. How can you be nirvana if you don’t burn it to ashes?”
Blair undoubtedly misunderstood what Nietzsche meant by free will. Nietzsche’s free will is a commitment, not an indulgence. Superman will enter society again with insight into the essence of life. He will take up his responsibilities freely, voluntarily and not compelled to do so. Since this is his free choice, he will put the greatest enthusiasm into it. He would say yes to everything and be passionate about everything. In his march toward death, he pushed his life to the top as much as possible. In this way, his life will not be external and empty, and his value will be realized. At the beginning of the dream, Blair understood free will as indulgence, and he let desire guide him, which is precisely what Nietzsche opposed. Fortunately, Porta’s performance shattered Blair’s desire, and he completely woke up and gradually understood the meaning of Nietzsche’s freedom.
When Breer told Nietzsche all this, Nietzsche said that he had been deceiving Breer. While he was treating Blair’s lovesickness, he never forgot Salome for a moment. He can deeply analyze others and guide others powerfully, but he is powerless to face his own heart. He once said to Blair: “We are more in love with the desire itself than with the desired.” Such was the desire in his heart. Salome is just the fuse of desire, she ignites the dormant fire of desire in Nietzsche’s heart. Later, Nietzsche was no longer obsessed with Salome, but his own desires. He clearly knew that the root cause of the disease was himself, not Salome. Yet he was unwilling or unwilling to quench his lust. He was addicted to it like a drug, and he let it burn his body and mind. He refused to extinguish his lust, and put the blame on Salome. So his vicious swearing at Salome is just another expression of his desire. Therefore, Breer is performing a dual task. He not only has to save himself, but also bear Nietzsche’s emotional vent, because Nietzsche’s analysis of Breer is also self-analysis and self-confidence. The seemingly strong Nietzsche turned out to be fragile. Then, in the relationship between the two of them, we can no longer tell who is driving who.
Nietzsche was still immersed in fond memories of Salome until Breer told Nietzsche that Salome had arranged for him to come to the clinic. He was even jealous of Blair’s acquaintance with Salome. He couldn’t forget that sacred moment he shared with Salome, the only sacred moment of his life. But Blair told him that the only moment he considered sacred was his wishful thinking. Salome never mentions the divine moment, the moment Nietzsche regarded as her favorite, as insignificant to her.
Nietzsche woke up like a dream. Nietzsche’s desire bubble finally burst, just as Blair saw Porta make love to other men. His disguised strength also disintegrated, and tears flowed uncontrollably. For the first time he showed others his weakness and loneliness. His tears were the antidote, made him see clearly the vanity of desire, the impossibility of seeking salvation from others, and he must face his loneliness again. A tearful Nietzsche puts himself back on nothingness, and a powerful Nietzsche will be born. Nietzsche finally saw that the escape from loneliness and death through love or something external is, after all, a dream. Of course, this doesn’t mean demeaning women either. For Nietzsche now, it is not women who are at fault. “Because women are a force of nature, it is absurd to condemn women as having bad morals.” The root is his own desire.
Lovesickness in the World
It can be seen that Yaron did not concoct this strange friendship for lovesickness. He is using lovesickness to demonstrate existentialism. Since the awakening of man’s reason, it is no longer possible for him to accept the teachings of myths and religious gods, and at the same time he rejects the transcendence and eternity of myths and religious commitments. People plunged headlong into the river of time. Their biggest discovery under the guidance of rational eyes is the idea of finitude, that is, what people have is a one-time mortal life. If there is eternity, it is time that elapses indefinitely. And people are just passing travelers in the long river of time. His life becomes irreversible and mortal. While people are still ignoring or trying to cover up this reality, Nietzsche first loudly declared this fact – after God dies, man must die. People will face utter emptiness. In order to fight against nothingness, Nietzsche prescribed the “superman” for people. But people in various disguises are doomed to fail to accept Nietzsche. It was only a few decades later when the outbreak of modern diseases made people realize the accuracy of Nietzsche’s genius prediction. Heidegger organized Nietzsche’s thought into a huge system, which became the now famous existentialism. Existentialism allows people to face their mortal fate and live their authentic lives. As Aaron said, people become wiser and richer when they dare to think about death.
But it’s easier to fall into self-deception, hoping to find some way out of the shadow of death and loneliness. At this time, the most common choice for people is to indulge their own desires, either materialistic or erotic. This is the lovesickness of the world. There is a Carmen in everyone’s heart. People intend to forget the harsh reality in the high-intensity stimulation of desire. However, this is just an illusory soap bubble, and the more beautiful it is, the easier it is to be disappointed. People must take the true nature of life seriously, break through all kinds of fake passions, improve their inner life and will, push their life to the top, and face everything calmly. That’s probably what this film wants to tell us the most.
Back to the topic, although the Nietzsche concocted by Yaron is not necessarily the real Nietzsche, it is undeniable that he and his Nietzsche have indeed taught us a lot.