Chapter 11: A Teacher’s Night Song
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In this chapter, Steel explores the “Night Song” from Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra for the insights it offers readers concerning the spiritual yearnings that constitute the contemplative foundations of the teaching life. Particular attention is given to Nietzsche’s purposeful inversions of “light” and “darkness” imagery in the poem as these relate to the suffering of subtle, psychic tensions. Having elucidated how Nietzsche’s understanding of psychic tensions is related to active willing and passive receptivity, Steel’s analysis focuses upon the manner in which teachers’ obligations towards students create a learning atmosphere that has certain deleterious effects upon any great hopes of nourishing the precious spirit of wisdom-seeking that ought to underlie all true teaching as a “way of life.”
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