The drama of an individual human life, or of the history of humanity as a whole, is not one in which a preexistent goal is triumphantly reached or tragically not reached. Neither a constant external reality nor an unfailing interior source of inspiration forms a background for such dramas. Instead, to see one’s life … as a dramatic narrative is to see it as a process of Nietzschean self-overcoming. The paradigm of such a narrative is the life of the genius who can say of the relevant portion of the past, “Thus I willed it,” because she has found a way to describe that past which the past never knew, and thereby found a self to be which her precursors never knew was possible.
Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity