A Response to Nietzsche (criticisms and comments sought)

Hello all,

What follows is a piece that I wrote for my blog (The Dream Chronicles) after reading the Douglas Smith translation of Nietzsche’s ‘On the Genealogy of Morals’. The book is made up of points, written within a preface and three essays. My response (such that it is) covers only the preface and the first essay and is made up of the thoughts and images that would occur to me in response to what I was reading.

Criticisms and comments are most definitely sought.

PREFACE

1
What many find in the search for themselves is nothing but confirmation; what a foolish base upon which to build a foundation for discovery. In the realm of discovery, it is of much benefit to keep in mind that man, being closest to everyone, is ‘furthest away from himself.’

2
What drive are you,
But the recognition of it?
Everything is indeed, me
.

3
Theology is the science of hope, and of solution. Evil stems from the divine man but praise is due to he who resists his divinity until such time that it means nothing to him. Here is the location of man’s secret little garden…

4
How is it Independant Man,
That your voice is filled with another’s words?

5
Success itself is its own victory which itself has no desire beyond its own flavour.

6
If man is to migrate to newer, fresher ranges, a seed would have to be hidden, deep inside the earth, to one day blossom itself upon a world corrupted by comfort and security.

7
They will look to what was, once what is eventuates. For this not to occur, there needs to be a recognition of the issue in question but at this distance, that issue for many is like a piranha feeding amongst toothless sharks.

8
It is an uphill battle when the rules of engagement are against you. In this environment, the value of a sniper can never be underestimated and so bearing this in mind, then with what follows, they will literally not know what hit them!

FIRST ESSAY

1/1

Some do not trust the vitality of life; others know nothing else. What are we to make of those who labour away at conviction only to never find that conviction has laboured away at them? Picture then, if you will, the perfect rock. The paleontologists are the closest to understanding. Or is it the geologist? Rocks! What a fascinating study, and if we work hard enough, if we dig just that little bit deeper, just that little bit harder, well then, who knows? Perhaps we will strike oil…

1/2

Egoistic’ and ‘unegoistic’ are observations from the platform of self-consciousness. Both observations are in fact one and the same. How could they be otherwise given their source? Recognition (in this case, judgement) is all. By recognising the physiological authority of success, self-consciousness observers were able to believe that they could bypass that authority. This is how consciousness competes with the brute fact of physical power. Given the appropriate conditions, consciousness easily comes away with a victory (consider the charging bull ) but never with a knockout (much to the dismay of the victor).

1/3

The success of power is its own justification, though now the violence of that success is something that needs to be denied, if not ignored. Living under the shade of success cools the collective will – and it is collective, as man – as a species – has yet to affirm his identity as himself. Rather, he refers to himself through the tension generated by competing demands on his person. At times, he dreams himself leader of the pack. At other times he acquiesces to the fear of what being a pack leader entails.

1/4

The leveling out of knowledge, that is, of memorising, reduces the standard (quality) of judgement. Judgement, of course, is the basic function (right?) of an independently-minded consciousness but for those who rely upon public transportation, this train of thought encounters too many pot holes. Watch them look towards the Ministry of Roads & Traffic to re-tar the highways for them.

1/5

When man discovered himself in the guise of God, he styled himself as such and guaranteed that the Devil would always live in the next village. How fortuitous it was that it was his own village that housed heaven’s representative!

1/6

Willingness to expend oneself in the way of security is the special talent of consciousness. As the mind perceives its confirmation of itself, so the difficulty of disbelief grows. And yet, as they say, forewarned is forearmed so while disbelief may be the truest of visions, it is just as true that the mind must still move within man’s sphere – remember the Victorious Hallaj…

1/7

The most fanatic of fears is dissolution. There exists also, the guilt of not having taken a stand. Man lives to affirm his self but there lives a distance between herd and hunter that is often never crossed except upon the demise of one (though usually the other). Consider the fear then, the confusion inherent in one trapped between variations; on the verge of a new species… and yet slipping and sliding between the herd’s sanctuary and the hunter’s authority. Is there anything more slippery than the fear of disappearing?

1/8

The sacrifice of the herd and the instinct to hunt have been merged. Now, one hunts through mass support and the myth of independence. With this myth, the victory of consciousness is guaranteed (beware of the chameleon!).

There was a time when the reptiles ruled the earth but they too (consider this a premonition) fell to the wrath of their heaven. How ironic that these kings for a million dynasties, who ruled the earth with their bulk, who relied upon the sun divinity for their life and their will to motion, were defeated by the absence of that very same divinity. How arrogant then that man’s history is thought to begin with him!

1/9

It is a fact of man that he will always defend his mind first, before anything else. Through this fact, one comes to understand the extent to which god is dependant upon his servants. There is also the rule that man’s mind is his body and that his body is his mind. It may seem that Descarte succeeded in thinking to separate the two but in actuality, he was doing nothing more than taking an old tradition to its logical conclusion.

1/10

Consider the anthropology of success and how, in knowing this – life’s purpose, we know its scope of action. The anthropology of defeat is the same though it takes courage to recognise opponents as brothers. When forced to look out, the vision of the defeated expands to meet the physical threat to itself. Remember that consciousness always finds a way to save itsef.

(begin interlude) …A way of life has now been instituted that guarantees that the dream for independence is believable (and attainable). Through this way of life, the mentality of the herd is merged with the natural desire for some form of affirmation of the self… (end interlude)

Consider the necessity of prey for a hunter. With this knowledge, it is easy to predict the next conflict. Given that shots are always fired over space, think on how the relationship between hunter and prey is one of, ‘we are here and they, they are there.

Ultimately, to hide is an act of observation. To understand observation is to allow an independent consciousness to survive, something that was formerly the province of the violent progenitor.

1/11

Success in affirmation controls the definition of ‘good.’ But what is often forgotten is that herd and hunter both seek the good. One searches for exultation, the other for confirmation. The hunter attacks what is outside of him as an expression of his self. The herd seeks protection from losing itself. The vehemence of the individual member in a herd is a remnant of his necessity to affirm himself; how frustrating it must be when the vehicle proves inadequate for its passenger.

The lion’s roar is exultant;
Lord, you have made me thus,
What is this, defeat?

1/12

The terrible power of a divinity has always contended with the immediate power of the terrible man. How easy it has been then, to call upon divine wrath! To stop those who dared call upon it, a new power source was envisioned and the terrible man restrained himself, transforming himself under the authority of a collective amnesia that denied the original terror. Now, man struggles to reconcile the first memory with his sleep induced awakening.

1/13

In the shadow prior to action,
Spiritual space is available.

Man moves through his nature: nothing more, nothing less. And yet for him who waits, who sees himself bereft of chance, his success is measured by his reality; life must go on! (And how is that possible without a progenitor?)

1/14

Survival, if not perpetuation, at any cost. The herd has discovered that there is only one hunter, and how they outnumber him! But there is always the possibility that it could be me… and some live within that very fear.

1/15

There must be something more! is the cry of the desperate. Is this all there is, a rabid scramble for bragging rights? Forgoing their inheritance, the victors are no longer carnivorous and are now shedding the last vestiges of omnivority. But the carnivores, they too can live forever.

1/16

Viruses are not much, but they know how to claim victory. Scavengers too, are well versed in the arts of satiation. The real danger therefore, is the lack of leftovers as any real predator will naturally understand the necessity of leaving enough for the scavengers if he is to avoid them from turning on him. A predator who does not do this has in fact become worse than any scavenger and his fate will depend entirely upon the extent of their hunger.

1/17

There is a time for all
…beyond inheritance…
And a timeline that waits
For a payment of dues.

Don’t be shy! Criticisms too, would be appreciated. :blush:

Tell me something, did you merely take excepts of the paragraphs, or did you try to say what he meant by his words?

I think at times, I was basically rewriting what I thought he was saying but at other times, I felt as if I was elaborating on what he wrote. Of course, I was always aware that whatever I was putting down on paper was a response to what I sensed or thought I understood and so even if I totally misinterpreted what Nietzsche was trying to say, I still felt that it was of value.

But of course, that probably depends on the reader.

You see, the trouble with Nietzsche is that he seldom writes down what he intends for the reader to learn. His entire issue is that he wants individuals to leave the subjective domain and grow beyond their frame of reference. That is why he is giving examples from which it is clear that the thought from the frame of reference is incorrect. This creates for the dichotomy between his written works and his thoughts-in-themselves (which we cannot know :wink: ).

So, did you understand this dichotomy and which have you tried to capture in your words? Or did you just write down whatever presented itself to you?

I was always aware that Nietzsche was trying to have his readers understand for themselves. Personally, I find this kind of approach the most refreshing and dare I say, ‘philosophically authentic’. I think that this kind of approach however, needs to be based on a certain degree of self-honesty and consequently, experience, so whatever I have written comes from my own self-discoveries but their expression, such as they are, were motivated by what I read in Nietzsche’s words.

Philosophical authenticity is not derived from the memory of one’s own insights. That is derived from writing what one thinks at that moment. This never includes the memory thereof. Since self-honesty is pivotal in this, experience is excluded. That is why any discovery made can be expressed in any and all words and can be caused by any and all input. You saw your own thoughts reflected in Nietzsche’s words. But what did Nietzsche mean? He was not authentic in this sense. He carefully constructed subjective experiences that would refute themselves so that his readers could, by their experience, cast off the usage of experience in that field. It is this act that defines the Übermensch.

Anyway, what would you have this summary say on his work?

I wonder if people consider art to be a form of philosophy?

I’m curious as to what people found, if anything, in this ‘summary’. Reading Nietzsche generated a reaction from me and I’m curious if I was able to generate a reaction from anyone who read what I wrote.

Art is not a form of philosophy per se. However, art can inform and impact philosophy and vice-versa.

Where is this darkness,
That men inhabit?

:wink:

When reading your remarks I now think that you have indeed, but perhaps not always. That is what I liked about it. Tell me, do you know what a pardox is and how it is explained?

Paradox is a one-eyed man staring at a pair of sunglasses. You explain it to him by watching him remove the lenses…

Okay, do you know the philosophical explanation?

The philosophical explanation? No, I don’t. Why do you ask?

I ask because you seem to quote thing who have that paradox in them, but do not seem to be able to express it yourself.

It is perhaps best explained by set theory. If I would create a set of all users on this forum named solly and in that set I collect the subset of all users named solly, but are not named solly we arrive at the situation in which we must conclude that if the set is valid the subset is not, or that if the subset is valid we must conclude that the set is not. They cannot both be valid. This creates a paradox: it seems to contradict itself since we cannot name a solly who is not solly. However, by the realization of ‘levels’ in this reasoning (that of a set and of it’s elements) one is able to realize that in fact there is no contradiction going on, but only a seeming contradiction. There are those who use this purposefully to mislead, others (like Nietzsche) use it purposefully to lead.

You should check the Russell paradox. He is much clearer and is credited for the explanation. However, you seem to have come there on your own accord (as did I long ago). In fact, that is probably the only way one can get wise to this sort of thing. Perhaps a nicer example still is the liar paradox.
:slight_smile:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dgmgub8mHw[/youtube]

I think the only way to get there is of your own accord.

Anyway, thanks for commenting. It has been much appreciated :slight_smile: