What is said here?

from 4:21

When you look long into an abyss… then I just can’t get the meaning of the phrase. (

Here is the transcription. The actual meaning requires you to do some research on Nietzsche’s Beyond good and evil. I will let others help you with the meaning since I am not very interested in philosophy.

“It’s like an answer to Nietzsche’s conundrum: If you look long enough into an abyss, then the abyss looks into you. It’s like, well, if you look long enough into an abyss, past when the abyss looks into you, you see who you could become in the form of the great ancestral figures who nested inside the catastrophe of life.”

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Thanks a lot! I got it now. I could not understand this part - past when the abyss looks into you - since it seems to be an unusual grammatical construction. (I would have used after instead of past)

I can totally relate, gbvr. When I’m listening to Dutch (and I’m understanding all of the words spoken, so it’s not a problem with understanding the words), sometimes if it’s a long sentence and the phrasing is out of the ordinary, I have trouble putting the sentence (the thought, really) together. Based on your response, that’s what you seem to be describing here.

But the expression is if you look past, not if you look after. They have left out certain words that would have made the sentence more understandable: You’re looking past a point in time (or space): the point when (or where) the abyss looks into you. (I would choose the word ‘where’ here, but they chose the word ‘when.’)

If you look past the point where the abyss looks into you, then you see who you could become.

The word “after” doesn’t fit here. You look past (beyond) a certain point, not after a certain point.

The “answer” seems to be a bit of a conundrum itself, but I’m just looking at the grammar of the sentence. I’m not interested in discussing Nietzsche.

Hope this helps!

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Thank you, brucenator. Does it work this way only with the word “look”? Is it still possible to say, for instance - do something after (the moment) the abyss looks into you?

It depends on what that ‘something’ is, but yes, you can take an action after another action (by you or by someone else or in this case by something else) occurs, certainly.

You can also ‘look after’ someone or something, but that has a completely different meaning.

To ‘look after’ someone or something means to ‘take care of’ someone or something, i.e. care for, attend to, keep an eye on, keep safe, babysit, etc. For example:

Could you look after my pets while I am on vacation?

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