Flourishing rather than content Barry Magid February 13th 2016

One criticism leveled against Christianity by Nietzsche is that rather than challening the way people lived their lives, it became a source of bovine contentment for the bourgeoisie. In the early years of our practice, there's no doubt that we're engaged in tending to our own suffering. We derive important benefits from practicing in a community and the stability, discipline, and dependability of practice. How then do we escape settling into something comfortable, predictable, in our practice? How do we make it more than that?

From Robert Pippin's Essay on the Expressivist Nietsce

The issue concerns what matter to us. Which things matter because others do, and things that simply matter. That we could not imagine not mattering. Since we do not decide what ought to matter, and thereby have it matter, and since things can matter to us we think ought not to matter, we have to call such commitments pre-reflective and pre-volitional, or I suggested, erotic attachments. We do not decide whom or what to love, who or what to care about. Nietzsche diagnosis of nihilism was that it was not a crisis of credible belief or strength of will, but the failure of desire. The failure of mattering. Boredom would be an example. But the even more paradozical thought was that Nietzsche seemed to think that one particular catastrophic manifestation of nihilism was contentment. Bovine satisfaction in the low and base. Caring in the wrong things. Not not-caring.

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