American democracy is a chess-game in which pawns imagine themselves to be free individuals with wills of their own: that delusion is one of the rules of the game, without which the game could not continue. I doubt anyone, no matter how sharp and sharp-tongued, could succeed in getting across to high school students how vital an acute mind is for just keeping a grip on one's life and earnings in our mendacious politics and economics. No wonder our school system is devoutly dedicated to demoralizing and blunting such minds.
And the meaning of man in this dream of his Illusion of Life is to fulfil the man, to know that he is not in the least more insignificant than the sun or the stars, to know that the sun and the stars of the endless universe will finally become the same stardust as the man, that nothing is above him. He will know the divinity in him won the battle on the entire universe by giving it a meaning, that of a being that accepts the vanity and though this acceptance it becomes a divine being, that no longer is inferior to the universe, but equal to it, because the stras and the man will be lost in the same stardust
As Kierkegaard insisted from his theistic perspective, so Nietzsche also argues from his naturalistic one: whoever accepts the whole must accept as well the negative, resented, embittering, contrary elements in that whole. If life and character and nature and society truly are wholes, then everything in them is in some way essential to that whole; and we cannot grasp that whole by means of value-judgments if values are INHERENTLY DISCRIMINATORY or divisive functions of our intelligence. Values drive rifts between options, they exist for the sake of the natural powers of the will which (so to speak) needs its food cut up into willable portions or differentiated options.
The aristic thrust and conception of "contra natura" lie in our power finitely to extend our self-mastery, to GROW in will and spirit; but as Nietzsche repeatedly teaches in ZARATHUSTRA, such ends must be WILLABLE, achievable. There is nothing to be learned from the human-all-too-human impulse for self-deification or wholesale transcendence over the vicissitudes of life -- even though this aims at something contra natura, it is not truly concretely WILLABLE, it is just a fantasy of our imagination. We cannot BECOME a God. But we can learn to hold our deepest passions in check for the sake of a higher morality, if indeed we are aristoi. Willing and valuing must become an art, must be made consonant or coherent with the fabric of our natures. Mere megalomaniacal extravagance does not truly increase our charge of concentrated power; on the contrary it fires up our ambition with inflationary abstractions that give no traction or purchase to our actual wills. That way lies radical frustration and a metaphysics of depression: an inevitable life-pattern of self-delusion, as we suffer over and over from the necessity that "it would not be better if men got what they wanted," and yet will not permit ourselves ever to see or to learn anything from this self-deception and self-betrayal.
Aimed at as something terminal or ultimate or absolute, quiescence is, from the standpoint of life, a form of death, a stillness and inertia, an impassivity. Life is infinite sensitivity to all things, the quicksilver sympatheticism of everything that belongs in the natural cosmos. The mind and will do close out or exclude extraneous distractions as a means to their powers of self-concentration ("Thinking is a momentary dismissal of irrelevancies," Buckminster Fuller). But Buddhism makes this quiescence not a means but an end in itself, incompatible as it may be with the very life of spirit and of will. Taken as a mere exercise or tonic, it has an utterly different value of course.