Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings – always darker, emptier and simplerFriedrich Nietzsche
All of the thoughts that crossed my mind this year, never have I imagined being questioned on whether I read Nietzsche’s work extensively.
Expect the unexpected, I suppose?
The answer to that question is a resolute no. And yes, I feel slightly judged (and maybe intimated). After all, that’s the quote I put as a description in all of my social media channels. I owe no one any explanation for my decision but then again, what’s the harm of sharing my two cents right? So here we go.
I could no longer recall when and where exactly I encountered this quote for the first time. But based on my deduction, it must have been the A level years since that was the period in my life when I had both General Paper and debate sessions. It was love at the first sight – I read it, something clicked in my brain and I have been using it ever since.
Feelings and thoughts are two separate entities for me – feelings are the spectrum of my emotions while thoughts are the products of my attempt to articulate to those emotions. So, my thoughts are always the shadows of my feelings because emotions precede thoughts, much like the relationship between light and shadow. And because emotion is a spectrum, it can be extremely messy and complicated, so much so that it becomes almost impossible to accurately assign a word or string of words to fully encapsulate and represent it. As such, thought becomes a simplification of a feeling. Hence, simpler.
Given the nature of emotions, feelings can escalate and become overwhelming very quickly, during which my propensity to overthink kicks in. As such, my thoughts are darker and emptier than they should be in most circumstances because I begin to solely focus on and inflate the less than ideal possibilities and overlook the complexities of the situation, resulting in an overly negative outlook of the situation. Overthinking is a struggle I face every day so in a way, Nietzsche’s quote is a quick reminder to myself that my thoughts are just incomplete fragments of my feelings and these thoughts may not be the reality I am facing or going to face. Most of the time, the reality is less dreary than my thought.
Some people would have argued that I need to read Nietzsche’s work first before quoting him, but I don’t fully agree with such a view. Although reading the work will allow the reader to grasp the author’s original intentions, at the end of the day, the interpretations of the readers will still be subjected to and ladened with their values and experiences. And that’s the beauty of it all, isn’t that?