24 March 2017

Nietzsche and tattoos

Apparently, young people (also known as “youth”) often amuse themselves these days by drinking vodka and getting tattooed.

These both seem like forms of self-mutilation, and remind me of descriptions of the former Soviet Union. There, life was mostly grim, and if you were young you sometimes reacted to it not by avoidance but by embracing, as a kind of rebellious gesture — both acknowledging the pain and defying it.

I wonder what Nietzsche would have made of it. Nietzsche believed in the virtue of exposing yourself deliberately to pain and hardship, as a way of advancing psychologically.
Perhaps he would have applauded vodka and tattoos as expressions of yea-saying to bleakness. On the other hand, he might have condemned them as symptoms of slave morality.