They encounter a sick or a very old person or a corpse, and right away they say ‘life is refuted!’
But only they are refuted and their eyes, which see only the one face of existence.
Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
And still the temptation of saying ‘life is refuted’ remains. A reason for this is the habit of emitting general statements every time when the particular cases overwhelm the power of one person. The sickness of an individual man seems deeper than the intensity of life possessed by his observer. To not be conquered by his sickness till to the point of diminishing and, therefore, proceeding to a refutation of your healthy life for the sake of the sick man, it is preferred to profess a refutation of life itself conceived as a general notion. One finds a way of feeling comfort for himself in its generality, even if this comfort means, as Nietzsche added, ‘a thick melancholy’. Such sad and supposed deep feelings makes one to overleap the problem of judging how much life or death is in himself. Their general extension is an at hand excuse.
The refutation of life is in fact close to its reverse: the full embracement of life. The same generality of life appears to someone who has optimistic feelings about it. The solely difference is that the optimistic feelings means a dispersion among the life events, this being the form of omitting the strict individuality.
When one state is a pair of its contrary, both of them lack their importance and become trivial matters.
This similarity is the cause of the triviality that accompanies any general statement about life, optimistic or pessimistic. Also, any suffering for an individual fact decays in its importance, if it is assumed in the name of a general statement about life and the same occurs with the optimistic statements.
Another mark of their triviality is the suddenness of the process of passing from the individual fact to the general statement: and right away they say…It is the suddenness of an exclamation or of a wordless shout. But it is not a meaningful shout by itself, since it is issued as an inductive inference that contains more than one meaningful proposition.
The accusation of triviality does not imply the refutation of their truth, but they are true in the same way many scientific propositions are, without any relevance to the existence shared by an individual. Such relevance is borne by the individual cases from which someone starts for saying general statements. The sick man, the old one and the corpse is relevant to an individual man as long the second knows to appreciate in himself what is sick, aged and dead. When he exams himself, he will simultaneously know what is health, young and alive in him.
The appeal of knowing the both sides of existence, made at first by Heraclitus, has to pass through an individual examination, as the Greek philosopher stated by quoting the Delphic advice of self knowing. The continuous and implicit reference to your individual person should not be equated with a subjective fashion of viewing the existence, but as a manner of apprehending that existence which is relevant to individual persons and as a way of controlling the easiness of saying general statements about life.
And any such examination becomes immune to sudden encounters. You are always at yourself and this simple fact weights much than any floating generality. This weight cannot be a strictly personal belief, since it is heavier than the individual who bears it and almost always wills to loose himself through general statements and topics.