some questions from a beginner

Hello everyone, I think this is my first post.

When philosphers talk about other “worlds”, as in the symbolic realms, such as the world of morals, free will, etc., is that a reference to something deeper than just the consideration of those subjects? Is it such that their entire conscious being is fully absorbed and focused in this other realm that it is absent of intruding prejudices from other, more frequently occupied worlds (the world of physical experience, daily interactions, math, etc.)?

What I am trying to get at is this. Is it that these great thinkers are just more efficient at processing thought than the rest of us, or is it a matter of the will? Do they take their minds to a higher realm of consciousness and introspection that is capable of dealing with matters without intrusion of the ego and its prejudices? How deep in thought do we really need to go to understand what some of these guys are saying, before we can even begin to criticize their ideas? Do we need to fully understand ourselves in order to have a philosophy that transcends our subjective experience?

If it helps to know where I’m coming from, I have an engineering background with no formal education in philosophy, although i’ve been reading on my own for several months now. I just started reading a couple works by Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil, The Birth of Tragedy), and the implications of some of the ideas that come out are just so profound to me that I want to make sure I don’t go crazy or something. Maybe its just my excitement at using parts of my brain that have been dormant through all my years of just learning equations and algorithms.

Where did Nietzsche refer to other worlds? I’m not sure where that was in either of those two writings.

Nietzsche is actually trying to get rid of the other “worlds” created by other Philosophers and religion. There’s no higher realm of consciousness, no transcendental value and no transcending personal subjective experience, according to him.

So, he tries to level them at their own game. I can see why you wouldn’t get that right away, having a background in the exact sciences and all. To really understand what his cure is about, maybe you’d have to get sick first.

Here a nice summary of what he’s going on about (from twilight of idols) :


1. The true world — attainable for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man; he lives in it, he is it.
(The oldest form of the idea, relatively sensible, simple, and persuasive. A circumlocution for the sentence, "I, Plato, am the truth.")
2. The true world — unattainable for now, but promised for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man ("for the sinner who repents").
(Progress of the idea: it becomes more subtle, insidious, incomprehensible — it becomes female, it becomes Christian. )
3. The true world — unattainable, indemonstrable, unpromisable; but the very thought of it — a consolation, an obligation, an imperative.
(At bottom, the old sun, but seen through mist and skepticism. The idea has become elusive, pale, Nordic, Königsbergian.)
4. The true world — unattainable? At any rate, unattained. And being unattained, also unknown. Consequently, not consoling, redeeming, or obligating: how could something unknown obligate us?
(Gray morning. The first yawn of reason. The cockcrow of positivism.)
5. The "true" world — an idea which is no longer good for anything, not even obligating — an idea which has become useless and superfluous — consequently, a refuted idea: let us abolish it!
(Bright day; breakfast; return of bon sens and cheerfulness; Plato's embarrassed blush; pandemonium of all free spirits.)
6. The true world — we have abolished. What world has remained? The apparent one perhaps? But no! With the true world we have also abolished the apparent one.
(Noon; moment of the briefest shadow; end of the longest error; high point of humanity; INCIPIT ZARATHUSTRA.)"[/i]

Well he uses the phrase "world of… " multiple times in “Beyond Good and Evil” just seearch the text for that phrase and you will find

world of…
desires and passions
“modern ideas"
absoute and immutable


Take this section of the end of chapter one:

Never yet did a PROFOUNDER world of insight reveal itself to daring travelers and adventurers, and the psychologist who thus “makes a sacrifice”—it
is not the sacrifizio dell’ intelletto, on the contrary!—will at least be entitled to demand in return that
psychology shall once more be recognized as the queen of the sciences, for whose service and equipment the
other sciences exist. For psychology is once more the path to the fundamental problems.

I am just trying to understand if he uses the word world to refer to something of a deeper subjective experience, or if it has little importance to what he is trying to say. Is it just a word he uses to encompass the act of having insights (in the use above).

[size=95]The more I have come to realize in nature those omnipotent formative tendencies and, with them, an intense longing for illusion, the more I feel inclined to the hypothesis that the original Oneness, the ground of Being, ever suffering and contradictory, time and again has need of rapt vision and delightful illusion to redeem itself. Since we ourselves are the very stuff of such illusions, we must view ourselves as the truly non-existent, that is to say, as a perpetual unfolding in time, space, and causality—what we label “empiric reality.” But if, for the moment, we abstract from our own reality, viewing our empiric existence, as well as the existence of the world at large, as the idea of the original Oneness, produced anew each instant, then our dreams will appear to us as illusions of illusions, hence as a still higher form of satisfaction of the original desire for illusion. It is for this reason that the very core of nature takes such a deep delight in the naive artist and the naive work of art, which likewise is merely the illusion of an illusion. Raphael, himself one of those immortal “naive” artists, in a symbolic canvas has illustrated that reduction of illusion to further illusion which is the original act of the naive artist and at the same time of all Apollinian culture. In the lower half of his “Transfiguration,” through the figures of the possessed boy, the despairing bearers, the helpless, terrified disciples, we see a reflection of original pain, the sole ground of being: “illusion” here is a reflection of eternal contradiction, begetter of all things. From this illusion there rises, like the fragrance of ambrosia, a new illusory world, invisible to those enmeshed in the first: a radiant vision of pure delight, a rapt seeing through wide open eyes. Here we have, in a great symbol of art, both the fair world of Apollo and its substratum, the terrible wisdom of Silenus, and we can comprehend intuitively how they mutually require one another.
[Nietzsche, BT 4, compilation of various translations.][/size]
In BT, Nietzsche pictures three worlds, only one of which actually exists. The original Oneness (a.k.a. the Primordial One) is all that exists. But because It “has need of rapt vision and delightful illusion to redeem itself”—from Its Suffering from overfullness/Being/overjoyedness—, It imagines Itself to be fragmented into beings whose nature is lack/Becoming/woe. Those beings are what we’d call “material objects”, including ourselves. And our lack/Becoming/woe causes us to imagine a world of fullness/Being/joy—the Apollinian dreamworld (not just in the literal sense of “dream”).

These are the fundamentals of Nietzsche’s early metaphysics and thereby of BT—concepts like the Apollinian and the Dionysian cannot be truly understood without them. That doesn’t preclude this from being quite uncommon knowledge, though.


Oooh, in that passage he’s using it metaphorically. He saying that the science of psychology has up till now (then) mostly been influenced by morality. And if one where to look at it free from moral concepts, or throught the lens of a concept like will to power, alot of new and more interesting stuff could be found (eg a world of…).

Wow, that is very interesting. I have a lot to learn. Stuff like this really shows you that things are not as they seem, like that somehow the seemingly absurd world in my dreams actually has some relevance to my waking existence.

Another thing that interests me is ideas like the primordial being, onenness, etc. are as universal across cultures as the idea of god, if not more so. I don’t know what to make of it yet.