In the hopes that this jerk hasn’t gone out of style yet, let us talk a bit about Zarathustra. The floor is open to other suggestions, but I’m going to ask what’s up with the whole going down business. Zarathustra is said to be somewhere up above, beyond, on a mountain, and wants to go under, and “become human again.”

The verb you translate here as “going down” is untergehn, literally “to go under”. I think the quintessence of Zarathustra’s meaning of this verb is found in the following passage:

[size=95]“Where is innocence? Where there is will to procreation. And he who seeketh to create beyond himself, hath for me the purest will.
Where is beauty? Where I must will with my whole Will; where I will love and perish [untergehn], that an image may not remain merely an image.
Loving and perishing: these have rhymed from eternity. Will to love: that is to be ready also for death. Thus do I speak unto you cowards!” (“Immaculate Perception”, Common translation.)[/size]

The first word of Plato’s Republic, which is spoken by Socrates, is katebên, “I went down”; and we all know what happened to Socrates.

[size=95]“‘You must go down,’ says the Platonic Socrates to the philosopher inclined to remain outside the cave (Republic vii.520c). Alfarabi and Maimonides are Platonic political philosophers: they went down, they followed Plato’s injunction to act on behalf of philosophy.” (Lampert, Leo Strauss and Nietzsche, page 142.)

“That the lonesome height may not forever remain lonesome and self-sufficing; that the mountains may come to the valleys and the winds of the heights to the plains:–
Oh, who could find the right prenomen and honouring name for such longing! ‘Bestowing virtue’–thus did Zarathustra once name the unnamable.” (“The Three Evil Things”, section 2, Common trans.)[/size]

Hey Saw,

I agree. It’s worth noting that Piraeus was a port city. A colorful town, so to speak. The philosopher went down, in both senses that you mentioned, down to Hades as in the case of Odysseus, but also back down to the cave. Zarathustra ends his going under at the end of Book II, when he returns to his solitude for good, and then again, in The Convalescent, when his going under is said to have ended.

There is a task of the philosopher, both to himself and to others. He [i]commands /i value, as in, he serves as the origin, authority, justification and meaning and he legislates, as in he teaches, he sees that his value is embodied in a people.

[tab]That is to say, the child is the judge and avenger, and also the victim of his own value.
"In all commanding it seemed to me there is an experiment and a risk; and always when it commands, the living risks itself in so doing.
“Indeed, even when it commands itself, even then it must pay for its commanding. It must become the judge and avenger and victim of its own law.” (Z, II, On Self-Overcoming)

If you get a chance, look at the Late Notebooks, 38[13] for an interesting discussion of bad conscience. It’s very relevant to Zarathustra, and especially to The Stillest Hour.[/tab]

What does it mean that Zarathustra wants to be human again? Moreover, it seems that Zarathustra goes under, down to the marketplace, because he cares about his happiness. What would the sun’s happiness be, were it not for those who received it. The sun’s overflow needs hands outstretched to receive it, to unburden it. Yet after abandoning his disciples, and going back to his solitude, he is said to not care about his happiness anymore. What matters is his work. This sameself sacrifice on the part of the philosopher, the sacrifice involved with solitude, comes up a lot in Beyond Good and Evil.

Yes, like The Motley Cow in Zarathustra.

Yes, that’s section 972 of The Will to Power. I know it quite well. It’s an important “genuine philosophers” section, which should be compared to BGE 211.

That the cup wants to be empty again. Though actually, the German says “This cup wants to become empty again, and Zarathustra wants to become human again.” (I’m surprised by how badly Common translates it, by the way.) The pleasure is not in being human, but in becoming human.

Well, in “The Night-Song”, which is almost exactly in between the Prologue and the first chapter of Part 4 as far as the number of chapters is concerned, Zarathustra sings:

[size=95]“My happiness in bestowing died in bestowing; my virtue became weary of itself by its abundance!” (Common trans.)[/size]

The answer to such a dithyramb of solar solitude in the light would of course be Ariadne.

Exactly. Look at BGE 200. Therein I think Nietzsche talks about the origins of Zarathustra.

What’s most interesting in that draft of BGE 211 is what doesn’t make it to the published section, viz., the discussion of Plato and Mohammad as examples of value creators with bad conscience.

Well, I remember a letter from the Lou Salome period right before TSZ where NIetzsche says the same thing in reference to leaving his solitude and socializing and whatnot.

The implication, I think, is that in teaching the wisdom he’s accumulated in his solitude to people, he is thereby abandoning it. BGE 296, the last section, comes to mind. The cup has been emptied, it seems.

[tab]Louis CK and Carlin resolved to drop old material every year, and every year come up with new stuff.[/tab]

Possibly; he says in a note that on Zarathustra’s convalescence, there stands Caesar.

Well, though he may have been right about Mohammed, he was wrong about Plato: see Lampert’s work, especially his How Philosophy Became Socratic.

Yes, good one, in his letter to Lou of 2 July 1882 he does indeed say he wants to be lonesome no longer and to learn to become human again. But consider what I said in my previous post. The pleasure I referred to is in becoming “human”, in becoming “empty”, in the sense of discharging one’s surplus into relatively empty people, or relatively empty mankind-as-a-whole (cf. AC 4); of venting one’s superhuman overfulness on the merely human. This is the meaning of Dionysus and Ariadne.

“The answer to such a dithyramb of solar solitude in the light would be Ariadne” is from Ecce Homo, “Thus Spake Zarathustra”, section 8 (the chapter’s final section).


[size=95]“But we awaited thee every morning, took from thee thine overflow, and blessed thee for it.” (Thus Spake Zarathustra, “Zarathustra’s Prologue”, section 1, Common trans.)[/size]


[size=95]“Many suns circle in desert space: to all that is dark do they speak with their light–but to me they are silent.
Oh, this is the hostility of light to the shining one: unpityingly doth it pursue its course.
Unfair to the shining one in its innermost heart, cold to the suns:–thus travelleth every sun.
Like a storm do the suns pursue their courses: that is their travelling. Their inexorable will do they follow: that is their coldness.
Oh, ye only is it, ye dark, nightly ones, that extract warmth from the shining ones! Oh, ye only drink milk and refreshment from the light’s udders!” (TSZ, “The Night-Song”, Common trans.)[/size]

Before the beginning of Zarathustra’s Prologue, Zarathustra himself was such a dark, nightly one! The Sun was Zarathustra’s Dionysus, Zarathustra was the Sun’s Ariadne; but by “taking from her her overflow every morning” (die Sonne is feminine), Zarathustra became overfull himself, became a Dionysus himself. He then went down to find himself his Ariadne.

Nietzsche surely entertained the wishful thought that Lou would be his human Ariadne. As a philosopher, ultimately his Ariadne was the entire world:

[size=95]“In the new wisdom of Zarathustra, the wise man, the spirited knower, is a lover who transforms the beloved [the world as will to power] into something still more beautiful than she is [namely, into the world as eternally recurring will to power], and she is beautiful as she is.” (Lampert, Nietzsche’s Teaching, page 120.)[/size]

On a smaller scale, the philosopher’s Ariadne is the whole of mankind:

[size=95]“[T]o man doth it ever impel me anew, my fervent creative will; thus impelleth it the hammer to the stone.
Ah, ye men, within the stone slumbereth an image for me, the image of my visions! Ah, that it should slumber in the hardest, ugliest stone!
Now rageth my hammer ruthlessly against its prison. From the stone fly the fragments: what’s that to me?
I will complete it: for a shadow came unto me–the stillest and lightest of all things once came unto me!
The beauty of the Superman came unto me as a shadow.” (TSZ, “In the Happy Isles”, Common trans.)[/size]

But Nietzsche was still looking for his individual human Ariadne, whom he might raise to the throne next to his own on the Blue Mountain, to be his Tantric Queen. This is necessary because there must be a goddess as well as a god: see this post of mine:; my signature quote at the time of writing was more or less this:

[size=95]“Hitherto every great age of humanity grew out of Bodenständigkeit (rootedness in the soil). Yet the great age of classical Greece gave birth to a way of thinking which in principle endangered Bodenständigkeit from the beginning and in its ultimate contemporary consequences is about to destroy the last relics of that condition of human greatness. Heidegger’s philosophy belongs to the infinitely dangerous moment when man is in a greater danger than ever before of losing his humanity and therefore–danger and salvation belonging together–philosophy can have the task of contributing toward the recovery or return of Bodenständigkeit or rather of preparing an entirely novel kind of Bodenständigkeit: a Bodenständigkeit beyond the most extreme Bodenlosigkeit, a being at home beyond the most extreme homelessness.” (Leo Strauss, “Philosophy as Rigorous Science and Political Philosophy”; cf. Harry Neumann, “Liberalism’s Moloch”.)[/size]

I mean the reason why Zarathustra is said to be from The Motley Cow, a democratic place of warring instincts and values, and of indiscriminate mixing of ‘races.’ I thought it interesting that Nietzsche makes such a condition necessary for the emergence of a philosopher. If you think back on Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks - a point in time when Nietzsche can reasonably be said to still be a good German, instead of a good European - he says that it is a healthy culture that accords philosophy its fullest right. It seems that early on Nietzsche saw the genuine philosopher as embedded in the fabric of his culture, as its greatest product and highest achievement, as the crown of a healthy culture plant. There is no sense that these patriotic philosophers overcame their culture; rather, they’re defined as philosophers by their comprehensive view of the whole, the manner in which they expressed this perspective, and the value with which they embedded it; their world-view is necessarily a Greek world-view, both because its rooted in its facticity, but also because, without knowing it, they are working towards strengthening Greece. Later on his opinion about philosophy and the philosopher changes. What do you think?

I’ve not read that book, but if the argument is based on the idea that Plato did not believe in the forms, then I think that’s mistaken. There is good reason to believe Plato believed in the forms, and for that reason that he had bad conscience.

I agree with the part of the text I left unquoted. I want this interpretation to work, because I think it’s right, but there seems to be a problem here in the quoted part of your post. If Zarathustra is the Sun’s Ariadne, and the Sun is his Dionysus, then why would the sun be referred to in the feminine? Is the word for ‘sun’ typically feminine in German?

Yea, but this is what’s unforgivable in his life as a philosopher, and this is why I think he was so ashamed of the Lou affair. What it revealed is his all to human self, which stands in some contrast to the way in which he presented and lived as a philosopher. If his Ariadne ended up being the entire world, it was not because that was his first choice.

[tab]Then again, I remember another letter where Nietzsche says, or perhaps is said to have said by Elizabeth or Lou herself, that for his purposes for the next 10 years of his life, he would need a temporary wife, or something like that, and that that’s why he asked Lou to marry him. Elizabeth calls it a “crazy marriage.” Then again, its likely this is just a narrative to save face after the fact.[/tab]

I don’t like this. It posits the will to power as a fact about the world with respect to which the eternal recurrence is a mere life-affirming and beautifying perspective. They’re both perspectives, that much is clear. Lampert’s emphasis on truth is misplaced, I think. BGE 9, for example, in which Nietzsche seems to imply some facts about nature, contrary to what the Stoics believed, viz., that it is “wasteful beyond measure, indifferent beyond measure, without purposes and consideration, etc.,” and Lampert’s reading that the new philosopher will love nature in light of who she is, without having to cover her up, is non-perspectival. Zarathustra loves his own image in the stone. What the new species of philosophers will love is their truths, and they will not be dogmatic about it.

It’s only the talk of ‘truth’ that is preserved, not any trans-perspectival truths about life.

Kaufmann here translates
[size=95]"…thus is the hammer impelled toward the stone. O men, in the stone there sleeps an image, the image of my images. [/size]
It’s by interpretation, by the new philosophy (as the subtitle of BGE suggests) that the stone is carved, and it is interpreted as will to power, which eternally recurs. The ugly stone is, of course, also human beings, and the image Nietzsche sees within it, that which he is carving out of the stone, is his ideal. In this sense Zarathustra is a people creator, and his hammer is his philosophy, his perspective, the new world interpretation.

With this task in mind, well, you want to make a people, you have to break a few eggs, as the saying kind of goes.

In On Chastity from Z, the counsel to chastity is given to those for whom it is a virtue, those who would not be poisoned by it. It is implied that those for whom chastity is not a virtue are of lower rank. Zarathustra is certainly chaste.

Where does it say Zarathustra is from The Motley Cow? I don’t think it says that anywhere.

I don’t think Nietzsche ever makes such a condition necessary. Anyway, consider sections 427 and 428 of The Will to Power: the Sophistic culture–“including Anaxagoras, Democritus, the great Ionians”–went beyond the polis; Lampert’s book on Plato begins with the dialogue with Protagoras, who “represented a synthesis of Heraclitus and Democritus”: Socrates’ project was an attempt to esoterically further the Sophistic enlightenment; but because Nietzsche’s knowledge of the Socratics’ esotericism was limited, he regarded it as anti-Sophistic, as anti-Greek, as ignoble.

But even Nietzsche himself points out this much:

[size=95]“Is Plato’s integrity beyond guestion?-- But we know at least that he wanted to have taught as absolute truth what he himself did not regard as even conditionally true: namely, the separate existence and separate immortality of ‘souls.’)” (The Will to Power, Kaufmann ed., section 428.)[/size]


[size=95]“The will to power takes the place which the eros–the striving for ‘the good in itself’–occupies in Plato’s thought. But the eros is not ‘the pure mind’ (der reine Geist). Whatever may be the relation between the eros and the pure mind according to Plato, in Nietzsche’s thought the will to power takes the place of both eros and the pure mind. Accordingly philosophizing becomes a mode or modification of the will to power: it is the most spiritual (der geistigste) will to power; it consists in prescribing to nature what or how it ought to be (aph. 9); it is not love of the true that is independent of will or decision. Whereas according to Plato the pure mind grasps the truth, according to Nietzsche the impure mind, or a certain kind of impure mind, is the sole source of truth.” (Strauss, “Note on the Plan of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil”, paragraph 7)[/size]


[size=95]“[I]t must certainly be conceded that the worst, most protracted, and most dangerous of all errors so far was a dogmatist’s error, namely Plato’s invention of the pure spirit [der reine Geist] and the good in itself.” (Beyond Good and Evil, Preface, The Nietzsche Channel translation.)[/size]

Now the Straussian Seth Benardete writes:

[size=95]“If man cannot live except politically, he must live with men who, if they do not know what constitutes man, must have a version of the knowledge of what constitutes man that does not preserve, however much it may reflect, the nature of man. Homer indicates that a most powerful version of that knowledge is summed up in the word ‘Hades.’ ‘Hades’ splits body and soul apart in a peculiar way: the soul retains the looks of the body, and the mind vanishes entirely.” (Benardete, The Bow and the Lyre, page 88.)[/size]


[size=95]“In Hades, he [Odysseus] learns, there are recognizable images of men and women, but, with the exception of Teiresias, they have no mind (10.492-495).” (op.cit., page 87.)[/size]

Thus, though a separately existent and separately immortal “soul” is not a sufficient condition for a pure mind–i.e., for a mind that can love the true independently of will or decision–, it is a necessary condition for it.

Yes, die Sonne is the German form of “the sun”. Here’s something I wrote in a draft for a follow-up to my second post in this thread:

In TSZ, Zarathustra is masculine and Life is feminine, but as Seung points out, these correspond to Parvati and Shiva, respectively, in Saivism.

This reminds me of what he wrote to his friend Jacob Burckhardt in one of his “letters of insanity”:

[size=95]“When it comes right down to it I’d much rather have been a Basel professor than God; but I didn’t dare be selfish enough to forgo the creation of the world.” (January 6, 1889, The Nietzsche Channel translation.)[/size]

Though Burckhardt, too, was never married, he, contrary to Nietzsche, always remained a Basel professor. So maybe if Lou had become Nietzsche’s Ariadne, the world would never have.

The thing is that it’s at the same time perspectival and non-perspectival:

[size=95]“One is tempted to say that Nietzsche’s pure mind grasps the fact that the impure mind creates perishable truths. Resisting this temptation we state Nietzsche’s suggestion following him in this manner: the philosophers tried to get hold of the ‘text’ as distinguished from ‘interpretations’; they tried to ‘discover’ and not to ‘invent.’ What Nietzsche claims to have realized is that the text in its pure, unfalsified form is inaccessible (like the Kantian Thing-in-itself); everything thought by anyone–philosopher or man of the people–is in the last analysis interpretation. But for this very reason the text, the world in itself, the true world cannot be of any concern to us […]. What he [Nietzsche] seems to aim at is the abolition of that fundamental distinction: the world as will to power is both the world of any concern to us and the world in itself. Precisely if all views of the world are interpretations, i.e. acts of the will to power, the doctrine of the will to power is at the same time an interpretation and the most fundamental fact, for, in contradistinction to all other interpretations, it is the necessary and sufficient condition of the possibility of any ‘categories.’” (Strauss, “Note on the Plan”, paragraphs 7-8.)

Yes, Kaufmann’s translation is technically superior here, as the two “its” are not the same, the “for me” part is a Germanic idiom, and the word Common translates as “image” and “vision” is one and the same.

In this context the ugly stone is only human beings, as in BGE 62. In BGE 55, to be sure, the stone is the world.

I don’t think the human stone is merely to be reinterpreted. But compare TSZ “On Self-Surpassing”, which (like BGE 9) is about both the world and mankind: it ends with these words:

[size=95]“With your values and formulae of good and evil, ye exercise power, ye valuing ones: and that is your secret love, and the sparkling, trembling, and overflowing of your souls.
But a stronger power groweth out of your values, and a new surpassing: by it breaketh egg and egg-shell.
And he who hath to be a creator in good and evil–verily, he hath first to be a destroyer, and break values in pieces.
Thus doth the greatest evil pertain to the greatest good: that, however, is the creating good.
Let us speak thereof, ye wisest ones, even though it be bad. To be silent is worse; all suppressed truths become poisonous.
And let everything break up which–can break up by our truths! Many a house is still to be built!”[/size]

Mark the word “Tantric”.

My bad. I had Lampert in mind when he points out The Blessed Isles and The Motley Cow are referred to as Zarathustra’s. Point still remains that in BGE 200 Nietzsche is talking about the new philosophers, Zarathustra, and says that it is because of their warring drives, their inner turmoil, that they become unfathomable ones.

Certainly not the strong sense “necessary,” but he certainly makes make it necessary in some other less stringent sense of that term. He opens up PTAG by saying that those who argue that philosophy is indispensable for a healthy culture need to support this claim; that some cultures can be healthy w/o philosophers, and that a philosopher cannot heal a culture. If the culture is sick, the philosopher is also diseased and his philosophy can only hasten the degeneration of that culture. He also goes on to say, as I already mentioned, that philosophy gains its fullest right only in a healthy culture. It’s pretty clear that a philosopher is just a product of his culture. Or, as he puts it in The Pre-Platonics, a philosopher is “the real true history of a people,” and that “the entire life of a people impurely and imperfectly reflects the image that its highest geniuses offer.”* The genuine philosopher, early on, is merely a mirror of his culture. There is no need to overcome it to be a philosopher. In fact, one can make the weaksauce argument that philosophers can’t even create value, because as he also says:

[size=95]Can a philosophy become the germinating point of a culture? No, but [it may] fend off the dangerous enemies of an already existing culture.[/size]

And here he seems to recant what he said previously about philosophy being incapable of healing a culture in PTAG. But the overall point is that early on Nietzsche did not think a philosopher could surpass their culture. At best, if the culture is healthy and strong, so will be their philosophers. Worst case, if the culture is weak and in decline, the philosopher will attempt to heal it by going back to old healthy values, by a kind of atavism of the spirit.

[tab]It reminds me of Heidegger, the ridiculous ties he makes between German and Greek culture, and gelassenheit.[/tab]

*This is from the Introduction.

In 427 he says that the sophists are “completely Hellenic” (my emphasis), and that the transition was between polii (sp?) within the same Hellenic framework. It’s not an overcoming of capital-C culture, just the sub-culture within the larger culture. It explains why he goes on say “[t]he philosopher […] desires the old virtue…old institutions.” After all, it’s what all philosophy amounts to: a pure reflection of culture.

Yeah, but then there’s the draft of BGE211 which clearly says the opposite. It’s not that Plato relied on the forms and the pure spirit as a noble lie that makes Nietzsche say he had bad conscience; its that he believed them. Look at Plato’s 7th Letter for example. There he speaks in his own voice, and its clear the man believed in the forms. Nietzsche is aware of the 7th letter, and probably believes its legitimate. Its on the basis of this letter that he argues that Plato had serious political ambitions, especially in Syracuse.

I understand the parallels between Plato and Nietzsche with respect to their noble lies, but its the differences that make Nietzsche really interesting. Plato really believed his lies, or the ones that mattered. He had to. God was still alive and well, and as Nietzsche says elsewhere, philosophers are lazy, and their task is overwhelming. Any chance they have to throw the burden off, or at least to lessen it, they’ll take. Hence Plato comforted himself, as Nietzsche puts it in LN 38[13], and spoke through God’s mouth.

Paganism was to Homer what Christianity was to Plato, methinks. Plato was trying to dethrone Homer and what can be called Homer for the people, paganism, just like Nietzsche did the same thing with Platonism and Platonism for the people, Christianity. I don’t know that you can use Homer to justify a claim about Plato.

Very very nice. Look at The Stillest Hour. It tells him to speak what he “knows,” and to break. He refuses, and goes on to spend the third book making himself ripe enough for his ripe fruit, culminating in The Convalescent, where after throwing up his abysmal thought from his depths, he does not speak it. His animals do.

There is something very interesting in The Stillest Hour. Zarathustra tells his stillest hour that he does not have the lions voice for commanding, and she responds by pointing out something Zarathustra already knows, and said in On Great Events a bit earlier; namely that it is the stillest words that bring on the storm. In other words Zarathustra is mistaken about needing a lions voice for his task. Could explain why Zarathustra does not speak. He realized, contrary to what he said in The Night Song, that he does not need to, perhaps. Or at least not roar it.

I’ll get back to you on this.

Will to power is ONE experiment within a perspectivist framework by means of which you can explain perspectivism, but the framework of perspectivism on top of which will to power is introduced, is not argued for. Nietzsche does not argue for perspectivism by assuming will to power. In sequence of appearance, will to power finds its expression in BGE in 36, and perspectivism in 34, and much earlier in 22. It is why he can say “so much the better,” when the circularity is pointed out.

[size=95]“…that is interpretation, not text; and somebody might come along who, with opposite intentions and modes of interpretation, could read out of the same “nature,” and with regard to the same phenomena, rather…” [/size]
That someone else who can come along and offer another interpretation of the same phenomena turns out to be Nietzsche (but others who don’t rely on will to power are of course possible) and his interpretation, which is just one among others, posits will to power as he says in BGE 36 “the experiment of making due with a single [causality],” until it “has been pushed to its utmost limit (to the point of nonsense, if I may say so).” Will to power is presented as an experiment within a larger framework of perspectivsm, and by means of it you can explain the same phenomena that natural scientists study, including perspectivism itself.

It is not at the same time perspectival and non-perspectival. It’s just perspectival. What makes it seem factual (and thus non-perspectival) is that Nietzsche thinks that will to power can give an account of perspectivism; perspectivism can be explained by other means.

It is sculpted by being interpreted. A people changes when their worldview is changed. There are practical political consequences that arise from a fundamentally different way of relating to the world, to eachother. Different values require different political arrangements and maneuvering, but this is the micro-managing part once the culture is on track towards its new “wither and where to.” First a new comprehensive look of the whole, a new value, a new teaching is required.

Honestly I’m not a fan of the overemphasis on the metaphors surrounding Ariadne and Dionysus in BGE.

Are you sure BGE 200 is exclusively, or even necessarily, about the new philosophers?

Well, Nietzsche never finished PTAG, of course. And I think that is because it still relied on his early, “artists’ metaphysics”. In his writings from around the time of the BT, he still spoke of “the Greek will” and the like.

For the early Nietzsche, you mean?

The overcoming of the subculture implies the overcoming of the larger culture, of course.

That’s not the opposite of what he says at the end of 428. The soul is not the pure mind. I had to provide those other thoughts to connect the two.

Whoa, “it’s clear”? Have you read it in the Greek? And are you sure you picked up on all the subtleties, allusions, etc.? I’m a complete skeptic with regard to Plato. I think it takes a Strauss or a Lampert going over the letter with a finetooth comb to tell whether the writer believed in the forms.

Possibly. I don’t know the 7th letter, but I’m willing to grant this much.

I don’t think any genuine philosopher believed in gods.

In the Republic, among other writings, Plato explicitly builds on Homer’s account of the afterlife. My claim is simply that there cannot be a pure mind without a separately existing, immortal soul inasmuch as there cannot be a mind without a soul.

I’d add Machiavelli to your list. The step from Homer to Plato is not as big as that from Plato to Nietzsche. Machiavellianism is a kind of Platonism, though, so in that sense I agree.

One thing though, Zarathustra’s speech in The Stillest Hour does not necessarily tell us what he experienced, but only what he told his disciples he’d experienced.

Actually, will to power already finds expression in BGE 9 and 13, and also in 22.

I contend he says that because his opponents acknowledge the superiority of his position by pointing out the circularity.

It’s not just one among others. It’s the supreme. He shows this precisely by pushing the experiment to its utmost limit without thereby pushing it to the point of nonsense.

The key is in the connection between perspective and interpretation. There can be no inter-pretation but through a per-spective. The question is as to the interpretation of interpretation.

Yes: “This world is the will to power–and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power–and nothing besides!” This new worldview, intensified by the eternal return teaching, is what will sculpt the human stone.

Not only was it for the longest time intended to be the last aphorism of BGE–the aphorism about writing thoughts down was added almost as an afterthough–, but the last section of the chapter on TSZ in EH–TSZ, the work that stands apart among Nietzsche’s writings–says Ariadne is the solution to the riddle of the Night-Song–which is quoted in full in the forelast section–, the problem that a Dionysus is condemned not to love. The section then immediately points to the eternal return teaching, and then immediately to the Übermensch, the image or sculpture trapped in the human stone. I think the metaphors surrounding Ariadne and Dionysus in BGE can hardly be overemphasised. They represent Nietzsche’s task, the task of political philosophy. Nietzschean political philosophy is religious philosophy.

I suppose it’s necessarily about them because they shall spring from motley modernity.

It’s also about the last man. It’s the condition of modern society, of motley modernity. I see it as about the tension in the bow, which will either relax, or shoot the arrow.

What I’ve learned of PTAG is that he abandoned it because Wagner told him he didn’t like it, and that he should work on…what became Untimely Meditations. Keep in mind that at that time the project was rejuvenating Germany by going back to the Greeks. Philology was instrumental for this purpose, yet Nietzsche gave up on philology a year into Basel, and wanted a seat in philosophy. It’s actually hilarious when you think about it.

Yes. His concern became the philosopher, and his understanding of what philosophy and the philosopher is changed over time.

I’m not sure that’s what Nietzsche means in that aphorism. A change from democracy to socialism, for example, is still essentially Christian.

When I say God, I of course mean a beyond. Plato’s God is the realm of the forms. Plato’s herd conscience, the great dragon whom the spirit calls lord and god––see BGE 199–could not allow him to pose as a commander, which is why he posed as a mere executor of a higher law. He hears his own legislation in his own ear as a “thou shalt” and not as a “I will” for this reason.

Let’s look at LN 38[13] again to see Nietzsche very clearly saying that Plato believed in the forms as a way of “relieving his conscience,” as a “means of consolation.”

This second kind of philosopher rarely turns out well; and indeed their situation and danger is tremendous. How often have they intentionally blindfolded themselves to stop having to see the narrow margin that separates them from the abyss, the headlong fall: for instance Plato when he persuaded himself that the good, as he wanted it, was not the good of Plato but the good in itself, the eternal treasure that just happened to have been found on his path by some man called Plato! In much coarser forms this same will to blindness rules among the founders of religion: their ‘thou shalt’ must on no account sound to their ears like an ‘I want’ - only as the command of a God do they dare to discharge their task, only as ‘divine inspiration’ is their legislation on values a bearable burden which does not crush their conscience. --Once those two means of consolation, Plato’s and Mohammed’s, have fallen away and no thinker can any longer relieve his conscience with the hypothesis of a ‘God’ or ‘eternal values’, the claim of the legislator of new values arises with a new and unprecedented terror.

I don’t know that ‘builds on’ is the right way to put it. He uses the myths, certainly.

I seriously think that for Nietzsche, the step IS from Plato to him. At best, you’ll get a free spirit in between, and even that’s saying much, but as far as genuine philosophers are concerned, there’s none. They’re all Christians, and even when they’re undermining Christianity, it’s with Christianity.

Yea, I know Lampert says this, but I’ve yet to really look at the idea that Zarathustra is deceiving his disciples here.

Barely. The full treatment is in 36. It is of course looming in the background, just like perspectivism.

I don’t see how that makes sense. By pointing out the circularity his opponents are undermining it. It is in response to this attempt to undermine it that Nietzsche says “so much the better,” which, I take to mean that Nietzsche has tempted them towards their own interpretation, and towards perspectivism in general. In saying “so much the better,” about one interpretation, i.e., will to power, the point is that perspectivism is accepted as the ground rule.

In 36 he doesn’t seem to care to NOT push it to the point of nonsense. He puts forth will to power as an experiment which has to run its course; he puts it forth as the way not taken. Instead of positing many causes, i.e., making a cause out of every subject, and really, making subjects out of everything, he takes the path not taken, one which begins with ONE cause, and he sees how much mileage he can get out of it. It’s an experiment, an error among errors. The perspectivist framework is necessary for constant overcoming, but perspectivism itself does not have its foundations on the will to power.

I am reminded of an aphorism in Daybreak, and I don’t have the book right now so I can’t say exactly where it is or exactly what it says, where Nietzsche says of disciples that they overcome their master, and he says the same thing elsewhere, to the effect that a student does not repay his teacher well if he remains a student. Zarathustra is waiting to be overcome. His teaching, his experiment, is not meant to last forever, and I think saying of WTP that it is supreme is to make something out of it that Nietzsche did not want. It’s a sculpting of the stone which, in part, does not preclude other sculptors from emerging.

I’m not sure I follow.

We’re on the same page here. This is greatly supported by the notes on Eternal Return.

Yea, I just mean that the discussion becomes too flowery when we use these figures to interpret Nietzsche. I’m not yet clear enough about Nietzsche to afford being obscure.

I would post this in Nietzsche’s shortcuts.

I take issue with this. BGE 296 is an epilogue, and it serves to frame the whole of BGE, and to elucidate the sense of ‘truth’ that can be ascribed to the sections contained therein. GS 354 comes to mind as the reason Nietzsche is so playful and non-serious with his ideas, and why he has to end the book reminding the reader to chill out.

BGE 296 is the most fitting ending of BGE, because more importantly than Nietzsche’s politics and ideals is the soil on top of which he’s building them that needs to remain fertile for other ideals. BGE is a school for gentlemen, for other cultivators.

[tab]Eternal agon.

I wholly agree. Also, nice parallel between Zarathustra’s Prologue and BGE Preface.

Yes: Nietzsche as a professional, academic philosopher…

What I mean is that the relativity of all subcultural values within a culture also implies their relativity to all subcultural values in other cultures. If there’s no reason to think Athenian values are more universal than Spartan ones, there’s also no reason to think Greek values are more universal than Egyptian ones.

Well, I think Nietzsche is wrong there (not in BGE 199). It’s not Plato’s herd conscience that ordained how he should pose, but the conscience Nietzsche mentions at the beginning of BGE 61, the philosophical conscience–concern with the interests of philosophy, and only thereby, indirectly, concern with the interests of the herd. When Icarius gave the people the wine (cf. “firewater”) the secret of making which he’d learned from Dionysus, they got drunk and, thinking he’d poisoned them, killed him in return. If the philosopher is not to be killed, like Socrates, he should rather give the people something different from what he found outside the cave: namely, the lie of an “outside”, a “beyond”, where in reality there are only caves; an Apollinian (i.e., dream-inducing) opiate, not a Dionysian psychedelic.

Oh yes, Nietzsche says that alright. And I’m not saying he’s lying, either. I’m saying he’s wrong

Yes, he certainly rebuilds them. But he does not raze them to the ground to build something entirely new. He retains the Homeric framework but fills it in differently.

I completely disagree. It’s true that from and including Socrates or Plato until and excluding Nietzsche, the genuine philosophers told lies, pretended to be Platonists; but they wrote exoterically, i.e., in a way that what they really thought can be read “between the lines”, so to say, by a Strauss (who however also wrote exoterically) or a Lampert. Machiavelli was the genuine philosopher who first commanded and legislated the scientific-technological conquest of nature. Bacon and Descartes were genuine philosophers who carried on his work. Compare:

[size=95]"The essential characteristic of the Grade [of Magus] is that its possessor utters a Creative Magical Word, which transforms the planet on which he lives by the installation of new officers to preside over its initiation. This can take place only at an ‘Equinox of the Gods’ at the end of an ‘Aeon’; that is, when the secret formula which expresses the Law of its action becomes outworn and useless to its further development.

(Thus ‘Suckling’ is the formula of an infant: when teeth appear it marks a new ‘Aeon’, whose ‘Word’ is ‘Eating’).

A Magus can therefore only appear as such to the world at intervals of some centuries; accounts of historical Magi, and their Words, are given in Liber Aleph.

This does not mean that only one man can attain this Grade in any one Aeon, so far as the Order is concerned. A man can make personal progress equivalent to that of a ‘Word of an Aeon’; but he will identify himself with the current word, and exert his will to establish it, lest he conflict with the work of the Magus who uttered the Word of the Aeon in which He is living." (Crowley, “One Star In Sight”.)[/size]

Machiavelli’s “Word” was “scientific conquest of nature”. Nietzsche’s “Word” was then “scientific celebration of nature”. But compare

Well, regardless of what Lampert says, surely what anyone says only tells us that he says it, not that it’s true.

Then insofar as his position is perspectivism, his opponents acknowledge its superiority precisely by pointing out the circularity: “If perspectivism–i.e., the view that all views are perspectival–is true, then perspectivism is itself merely a perspectival view!” But precisely if all views are perspectival, perspectivism is at the same time perspectival and non-perspectival–supra-perspectival.

An experiment is not necessarily an error; it only is an error if it leads to nonsense. Nietzsche’s experiment does not.

Ah, but at the end of the Preface of EH, Nietzsche quotes precisely the corresponding words from Zarathustra, and says that they indicate his difference from teachers that would seem similar.

Well, what’s your interpretation of interpretation? What would you say interpreting is?

Fair enough.

“Back to the Greeks” will always be essential, because Greeks were Kshatryas from India and their antagonism with the priestly ideal is crucial in Nietzsche’s anti-Christianity. The entire Greek culture is a political kshatryatic culture. The Greeks have always been considered the highest culture until the mid 19th century, when a study of the Indian culture started and finally the opinion about them standing above the Greeks came into existence. I think Nietzsche never gave up the Greeks as the highest.

Buddhist doctrine states that desire is the root cause of all suffering and therefore the goal of those seeking an end to suffering is to rid oneself of desire. Interestingly, according to some Zen/Buddhists, the very last desire of the near perfect man is the desire to save mankind. Once this desire is overcome, there is no return.

Enlightenment manifests as compassion and this compassion overwhelms and compels one to share his ‘overflowing cup’. The enlightened being is compelled to ‘come down’ from his private mountain… from his state of personal bliss. The enlightened man is compelled to ’become human again’…. to become one of us in order to make us one of him.


A good analogy, except that what compels the philosophically enlightened one to go down is not compassion, but rather want of “empathetic joy” (mudita): see my “Dionysa” thread,

I think the philosophical boddhisattva is superior to the philosophical buddha.

I guess that is where the pain of return transforms into the pleasure of the joy, or the other way around. Only on this level can the true value of sadomasochism be understood as the holy of holies of sacrifice of the self.

The question I would like to ask is regarding the source of what compels. Is of from an outside source of holiness, or is of beyond such distinction? If return is based on laws of cause and effect then freedom of return is constrained by such laws. This leads one to think that Nietzsche’s will has more to do with a non casual return, effected by love rather then merit. This would subordinate compassion to love.

I think Nietzsche’s message on this level is ironically love, the love of the return to coming down.

Is there an explanation why Nietzsche chose the “pope out of service”? The last pope is the first out of service