When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
3:1 After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said:
3 “May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ 4 That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it.
3:11“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?
42:1 [After God explained to Job how the world was created with wonderful things beyond Job]
Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
Amoi Fati (Love Fate)
The greatest weight.– What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, an in the same succession and sequence–even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!” Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine!’ If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, unto you desire this once more and innumerable times more?” would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal? (Nietzsche, Gay Science, 341)
“Pain, too, is a joy….Have you ever said Yes to a single joy? …then you said Yes, too, to all woe. All things are entangled, ensnared, enamored. If ever you wanted one thing twice, if ever you said “you please me, happiness! Abide, moment!” then you wanted back all. All anew, all eternally, all entangled, ensnared, enamored—oh, then you loved the world. Eternal ones, love it eternally and evermore: and to woe, too, you say: go, but return! For all joy wants—eternity!…You higher men, do learn this, joy wants eternity. Joy wants the eternity of all things, wants deep, wants deep eternity! (Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, IV 19)
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)
To live right—till the end
The horrible instant in an unblessed death must be the thought: “oh if only I had….Now it’s too late.” Oh if only I had lived right! And the blessed instant must be: “Now it is accomplished!”—But how must one have lived in order to tell oneself this! I think there must be degrees here, too. But I myself, where am I? How far from the good & how close to the lower end! (Wittgenstein, PPO, p.185)
A few days before the end of his own life, Wittgenstein said to his student Drury “Isn’t it curious that, although I know I have not long to live, I never find myself thinking about a ‘future life’. All my interest is still on this life and the writing I am still able to do.” (Monk, Duty of Genius, p.580) This seems to link to his view on the alleged immortality of the soul: “Not only is there no guarantee of the temporal immortality of the human soul, that is to say of its eternal survival after death; but, in any case, this assumption completely fails to accomplish the purpose for which it has always been intended.” (TLP, 6.4312).
“The last remark of On Certainty was written on 27 April , the day before Wittgenstein finally lost consciousness. The day before that was his sixty-second birthday. He knew it would be his last. When Mrs. Bevan presented him with an electric blanket, saying as she gave it to him: “Many happy returns’, he stared hard at her and replied: ‘there will be no returns.’ He was taken violently ill the next night, after he and Mrs Bevan had returned from their nightly stroll to the pub. When told by Dr. Bevan that he would live only a few more days, he exclaimed ‘Good!’ Mrs. Bevan stayed with him the night of the 28th, and told him that his close friends in England would be coming the next day. Before losing consciousness he said to her: ‘Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life.’” (Monk, Duty of Genius, p. 579)