Once you perceive that you are flung into a cosmos in which God is dead (or silent), and your ultimate questions are unlikely ever to be answered, it’s time to stop worrying about who or where you are really—what the truth is—and just, say, make lion-man totems from pieces of animal bone (as in the image above).
That’s Nietzsche’s solution to the problem of life. Escape reality–the three dimensions of space plus the dimension of time–and live in the fifth dimension–the aesthetic imagination. Master your circumstances in accord with your imagination; create something or do something interesting regardless of what ultimate truth there might be “out there.”
If there is, after all, an ultimate truth, maybe it’s less interesting and less hopeful than the one that you can create in your imagination. It’s okay not to be adaptive to “reality.” It’s okay to live in a deception.
In fact, it’s preferable. And this is why Nietzsche was prone to mock Darwin’s interpretation of how life evolves: it’s too focused on an organism’s adaptation. Don’t adapt, says Nietzsche. Will. Struggle. That’s life. In the teeth of your suffering, creatively rule your circumstances. Make of your agony an ecstasy. Contra Buddha and Jesus, alleviating suffering is not life’s problem, the failure of imagination is. Embrace your suffering and fate, and bloom from where you’re planted. And don’t let even science dictate the parameters of acceptable thoughts and behavior. Don’t let anything do that. Nietzsche can get scary here, for he says bye-bye to Christian “slave” morality and its weak-tea child, secular humanism. Instead, be barbaric in your rule and reign, like the Homeric Greeks before that wussy Socrates came along.
So here’s Nietzsche in a nutshell: reality and adaptation to it are overrated. Don’t be “well-adjusted.” Overgo reality into the dimension of your own imagination and creative will.
Like Rod Serling did:
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.
Nietzsche would have admired the creator of The Twilight Zone, and perhaps even the hippie trippiness of the below Fifth Dimension song (though not its emphasis on the “slave morality” of universal human brotherhood and sympathy).
And this raises a question: Can hippies admire Nietzsche? Can they embrace his emphasis on Dionysian creativity even as they shit-can his proto-fascist Apollonian side? Should they?