Nietzsche, Beyond Good And Evil, (Part Two, Paragraph #41, On “The Free Spirit”):
“One has to test oneself to see that one is destined for independence and command—and do it at the right time. One should not dodge one’s tests, though they may be the most dangerous game one could play and are tests that are taken in the end before no witness or judge but ourselves.”
The right time. Kairos. When is that? When was that? When will that be?
It is ability + time. Knowing + time. Being + time. Becoming + time. The call + answer. It equals ethics.
One should not dodge one’s tests.
What Nietzsche writes later in “What is Religious,” about Christianity and atheism, about asking and listening.
About God not only not answering calls, but not hearing them, or even knowing how to answer them, much less in ways we can understand or decipher.
Last week I went to see a Tarot card reader with a question about love at a moment when I had no more answers. They gave me an answer, but when I asked them when?, they said, “If I told you when you would surely miss it.”
How can I miss a call (or rather an answer to a call), I wondered, that I am waiting for? That I am ready to receive. This means that hearing—testing—is not simply a matter of preparation or Hamletian readiness. So what then? How one organizes all of the above (ability, time, knowing, ethics, readiness, preparation)? Pulls it together in (and from oneself) in time.
“One might get a hold of the truth too soon,” Nietzsche writes, as well as too late (Hamlet).
See also Avital Ronell’s The Test Drive on reality testing. On testing everything. On being tested. But also in(ter)dependence (and I’m not sure that Nietzsche, or other people for that matter, fully understand this) is learning how to be dependent, admitting to our need (not just desire for) of the other. How to need and let oneself be needed. How the other is our marrow, our sustenance. How we must keep vigil and be vigilant about being called upon, taking tests, and answering calls. To be commanded not by authority or power, laziness or habit—vanity—but by love and valor. By being (“these burnt children”) even what has been taken from us. What seems destroyed, exhausted, and irrevocably wounded.