In this commentary on chapter one, "Why I am So Wise," of Nietzsche's Ecce Homo, the author dispels the long-standing impression that Ecce Homo is an irrational book in which the madness that claimed Nietzsche only months after he began writing it had already begun its work. Ecce Homo, it is alleged, is not egotistical, or narcissistic, or megalomaniacal. It is not a work of madness. In his linear exposition of this first chapter, the author presents Nietzsche's revelation of the tragic fact that his very aliveness was in a state of being overwhelmed, consumed, by powerful unconscious emotion, the condition he called decadence. Nietzsche's madness may have caused him to lose perspective on the meaning of having dwelt in "a world of exalted and delicate things," as he writes of himself in Ecce, but the original experience of elevation that comes of an abundance of life, of a surplus of life, certainly was not pathological.
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