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We Are Growing Volcanoes

“Countless things that humanity acquired in earlier stages, but so feebly and embryonically that nobody could perceive this acquisition, suddenly emerge into the light much later... All of us harbor concealed gardens and plantings; and, to use another metaphor, we are, all of us, growing volcanoes that approach the hour of their eruption; but how near or distant that is, nobody knows—not even God.” — Fredrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

“I prefer to understand the rare human beings of an age as suddenly emerging late ghosts of past cultures and their powers—as atavisms of a people and its mores: that way one really can understand a little about them. Now they seem strange, rare, extraordinary; and whoever feels these powers in himself must nurse, defend, honor, and cultivate them against another world that resists them, until he becomes either a great human being or a mad and eccentric one—or perishes early.” — Fredrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

Most of us feel the changes within ourselves, pushing us beyond our previous boundaries. Change is uncomfortable yet necessary, for aren’t we meant to grow? Nurtured or resisted by the host, we learn over time. We are, each of us, growing volcanoes.

The thing is, the rest of the world doesn’t like volcanoes very much. Who wants volatility and fire? Volcanoes are disruptive. Volcanoes are change agents that turn the landscape upside down. The world wants tranquility and sameness. The world wants us to remain dormant.

Forget the world. Volcanoes are builders. They create islands where there were once only waves. They create mountains where there was once only thin air. For all the fuss at the time, it isn’t until things cool down a bit that we see just what was created. For the world to grow we volcanoes need to tap into what’s deep inside.

The very process of becoming is inherently dynamic and disruptive. Nobody feels this more than the volcano. But we must let our creative forces flow or we’re doomed to explode. History is filled with explosive characters who made a real mess of things in their time. We aren’t here to make a mess, we’re here to build something bigger than ourselves. When we let ourselves become what we want to be, that pressure is relieved. Flow is creative expression released. The trick is to flow, not blow.

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