August 29, 2013

“What does not kill me makes me stronger” – updated to include the Miley Cyrus Maxim…


NIETZSCHE’S FAMOUS MAXIM:

“What does not kill me makes me stronger.”
(“Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich stärker.”)
      
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
       German philosopher and poet
       In the
“Maxims and Arrows” section of his book Twilight of the Idols (1888)
       This famous line by Nietzsche has been translated and paraphrased in various ways, often with “Whatever” or “That which” in place of the word “What” and “destroy” or some other verb in place of “kill.” Nietzsche used a similar line in Ecce Homo (written 1888, published 1908), the last book he wrote before going completely insane. In the chapter of Ecce Homo titled
“Why I Am So Wise,” he wrote that a person who has “turned out well” could be recognized by certain attributes, such as a knack for exploiting bad accidents to his advantage. Regarding such a man, Nietzsche said: “What does not kill him makes him stronger.” (“Was ihn nicht umbringt, macht ihn stärker.”)


THE MILEY CYRUS MAXIM:

“In our celebrity-obsessed culture, whatever outrageous act doesn’t manage to kill a celebrity’s career simply makes them a bigger celebrity.” 
       Comment posted by “JohnnyYuma” on the ABC News story about Miley Cyrus and her “twerking” performance on the August 2013 MTV Video Music Awards show


MEL’S STRENGTH-THROUGH-HUMILIATION SYSTEM:

“You ask anybody what their number one fear is and it’s public humiliation. Multiply that on a global scale and that’s what I've been through. It changes you and makes you one tough motherf**ker. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s really that simple.”
      
Mel Gibson 
       In a
January 2010 interview in The Telegraph 
       Commenting on what he learned after the publicity flap over his 2006 arrest for DUI and the anti-Semitic remarks he made to the cops who arrested him. Mel told The Telegraph the incident had a positive effect on his life and he had learned from his mistakes. The interview came out before his highly-publicized, ranting attacks on his former Oksana Grigorieva, which undoubtedly made Mel even stronger (and even less marketable as an actor).


THE JOKER’S VARIATION:

“I believe whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you stranger.”
      
Heath Ledger, as The Joker, in the movie The Dark Knight (2008)


ANGELINA’S VARIATION:

“quod me nutrit
  me destruit.”
      
Latin saying tattooed on Angelina Jolie’s lower abdomen
       In English, it means “What nourishes me also destroys me.”


THE SCREW YOU VERSION:

“Whatever hurts you makes me stronger.” 
       Actress
Leslie Stefanson, as Capt.
Elisabeth Campbell, in the movie The General’s Daughter (1999)


THE SHARED PHILOSPHY OF CONAN AND CLAIREE:

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
       Quote shown at the beginning of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie
Conan the Barbarian (1982) and also used as a quip by Clairee Belcher (actress Olympia Dukakis) in the movie Steel Magnolias (1989).

Here’s a link to another Quote/Counterquote post with variations on Nietzsche’s famous maxim.

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on my Famous Quotations Facebook group.

Further reading: books by and about Nietzsche:

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