Nietzsche, Pathétique, and No Pain, No Gain
Part Two of One-Liners

On Monday, I wrote about the two things that Friedrich Nietzsche wanted two Things in life: music and a dancing god. I stumbled on Nietzsche’s desires due to a former colleague of mine’s gift of a book, A Music Lover’s Diary. Since we both love music, she thought that I would enjoy the diary. Time will tell whether I enjoy writing notes about various pieces of music. Nonetheless, it contains dozens of one-liners, which relate to music. I was fascinated about a dozen comments that famous people have said about all forms of music.

Nietzsche’s quote riveted me. So, I dog-eared that page along with a dozen others. However, while there would be other essays about what others thought about music, I was captivated by this comment by Nietzsche, “Without music, life would be a mistake…I would only believe in a God who knew how to dance.” This one-liner is from his novel, Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Off I went to the Internet to discover why Nietzsche wrote that one-liner. In the process of discovery, I found not the reason, but another one-liner: “I tell you: one must still have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star.” The first one was that Nietzsche wrote it. However, this second one addressed my Weltanschauung. It was as if Nietzsche knew that I needed to figure out something. So, I started with the Internet, wrote out an outline, and pondered. Even though his comment about chaos resonated with me, I wasn’t getting anywhere quickly. I looked at Ginger, my 80-pound Irish Setter, and said, “Let’s go for a walk.”

Ginger loves circumnavigating the lake on which we live. However, she senses things when I can’t resolve some issue or problem. Unless you have had a dog, you will think that is stretch. Trust me. She not only is aware of some vexing problem, but she will process it and act accordingly. I told my friend about one of her changes in behavior as a result of her reading me. It is eerie but true. Therefore, off we went for an hour walk around the lake. I don’t recall much of what I said to Ginger other than babbling on about Nietzsche. When we returned, Ginger went to the sofa and watched me return to writing.

My venting or expressing a long litany of issues seemed to clear my head, and I went back to my writing. I have used the phrase, no pain, no gain, for decades. I realize that pain, if addressed, will help you in all sorts of issues in life. In reality, pain is a blessing. It will make you move or resolve some issues. I have on my articles’ index page, Critical Issues, which are essentially, articles which have a similar theme.

Go to Critical Issues. Every one of them are examples about the no pain, no gain concept. Address the pain, and the result will be some sort of gain for you. It does work. That was Nietzsche’s observation also. “I tell you: one must still have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star.” He merely called the pain chaos. The chaos forces one to act. If one doesn’t act, one will merely exist complaining about all the chaos and pain in that person’s life.


I was on a roll. I didn’t have to go for another walk with Ginger, Nietzsche and the pain/gain issue merged into one. The next eureka moment came when I thought about Beethoven’s Pathétique. If you are a highbrow musician, the full name of Pathétique is Sonata No. 8 in C-Minor, Op. 13, Sonata Pathétique. Nevertheless, Pathétique means emotionally or passionately. In the middle section of the sonata is the cantabile, which is my favorite. However, that middle section defines who I am. The music raises and falls off, especially toward the very end. Listen to this middle section of Pathétique. When the cantabile approaches 4:30, the music starts to die. Then, a couple sections of seeming death, the coda resurrects the sonata.

I have mentioned that Pathétique musically is who I am. I’ll fight the good fight, and, then sometimes, it seems that I will fail. However, as with the coda in Pathétique, something inside of me kicks in, which gives me new life. That is what Nietzsche means with his one-liner, “I tell you: one must still have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star.” Chaos is the instrument that gives birth to a dancing star.

Also, Nietzsche in Thus Spoke Zarathustra agrees with my spin on Beethoven’s Pathétique. Nietzsche said, “Only where there are graves are there resurrections.”

The birth of a dancing star….

It seems to me that what we believe is what we will become. We won’t always win, but if we don’t believe, we will usually fail. Nietzsche, Pathétique, and no pain, no gain are an interesting trio. If you wish to give birth to a dancing star, try morphing that trio together.

I have a habit of adding to one-liners from Tolkien to Nietzsche. This is Nietzsche’s original one-liner, “I tell you: one must still have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star.” This is my tweaking of his statement. “I tell you: the more the chaos, it might give birth to dancing stars.”

If you are honest with people, tell them where and why you are where you are. Show them your honesty. Sometimes, you may create dancing stars, but this will occur only if you truly face the chaos. Time will tell. However, in the meantime, I believe Nietzsche’s insight, only slightly modified by me.