The born aristocrats of the spirit are not overeager; their creations blossom and fall from the trees on a quiet autumn evening, being neither rashly desired, not hastened on, nor supplanted by new things. The wish to create incessantly is vulgar, betraying jealousy, envy, and ambition. If one is something, one does not actually need to do anything—and nevertheless does a great deal. There is a type higher than the “productive” man.

— Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

Ironically, I re-encountered this aphorism while flipping through books, looking for inspiration to spark some writing after what seems like an endless string of days filled with work and the usual dispiriting effluvia of pop culture and current events. A reminder of wu wei by way of 19th-century Germany. Speaking of Taoism, Po Chu-i famously tweaked Lao-tzu for telling us that “those who speak know nothing; those who know are silent,” before proceeding to elaborate with five thousand more words. Likewise, how dare a man who published eleven books in one decade suggest I’m vulgar and ambitious for wanting to scribble a few times a week? I suppose I’m just a born bourgeois of the spirit.