“What are you so afraid of?”, they ask me, sometimes with an air of aggression, sometimes with puzzlement, sometimes with pity.
For one thing, I’m terrified that so many people have to ask that question. The state of the world implied by having to ask that question is terrible.
Nietzsche said “What does not kill me only makes me stronger”. And so the 20th century saw the refinement of torture to a science, the development of nuclear weapons, the accelerated destruction of the environment, widespread totalitarianism and surveillance by the elite, and the making ignorant and infantile of the population. If Nietzsche lived today how very strong he would be!, whatever that means. Strong right up until an airtight scientific slavery, a quick death, or an increasingly certain death, apparently.
All being on a mountain does is ensures you’re the last to die. Perhaps that’s what Nietzsche wanted. Him and his non-human animals and his plausible deniability in the form of his writings.
But the terror goes far deeper. Women accept having sons who are torturers. Men commit atrocities and call it “feeding their family”. Only a small fraction of the society effectively condemns atrocities, and virtually noone blames the individuals responsible, saying the problem is “the system”. Yet instead of destroying the system, they merely try to ensure that their own individual lives are decent, and shut away their relationship to this system they say is the problem.
A much more rational question is to ask someone living a placid life, “What are you so not afraid of?” I’ve never heard that question asked, which is one more reason to be terrified.