Toward the Nietzschean age!

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Toward the Nietzschean age!

Post  Sauwelios on Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:33 am

I will try to explain the insight that inspired me to create this website by the hand of the high point, the thirty-fifth paragraph, of one of Leo Strauss's last writings, his "Note on the Plan of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil".

I will start with the first sentence.

Instead of explaining why it is necessary to affirm the eternal return, Nietzsche indicates that the highest achievement, as all earlier high achievements, is in the last analysis not the work of reason but of nature; in the last analysis all thought depends on something unteachable "deep down," on a fundamental stupidity; the nature of the individual, the individual nature, not evident and universally valid insights, it seems, is the ground of all worthwhile understanding or knowledge (aph. 231; cf. aph. 8).
The sentence is divided into three parts by two semicolons. The first part suggests that, by making said indication, Nietzsche implies why it is necessary to affirm the eternal return instead of explicating it. The second part implies that said fundamental stupidity is nature. And the third part confirms and qualifies this by suggesting that said stupidity is the individual nature, not evident and universally valid insights or a nature shared by all individuals. The last two parts also imply that the highest achievement is worthwhile understanding or knowledge, and thereby a thought.

I will now do six sentences at once.

There is an order of rank of the natures; at the summit of the hierarchy is the complementary man. His supremacy is shown by the fact that he solves the highest, the most difficult problem. As we have observed, for Nietzsche nature has become a problem and yet he cannot do without nature. Nature, we may say, has become a problem owing to the fact that man is conquering nature and there are no assignable limits to that conquest. As a consequence, people have come to think of abolishing suffering and inequality. Yet suffering and inequality are the prerequisites of human greatness (aph. 239 and 257).
Solving the highest, the most difficult problem is the highest achievement mentioned in the first sentence. Nietzsche's problem of nature is that people are abolishing the prerequisites of human greatness and there are no assignable limits to that abolition; the only limit is the natural limit of zero.

I will now do the next three sentences.

Hitherto suffering and inequality have been taken for granted, as "given," as imposed on man. Henceforth, they must be willed. That is to say, the gruesome rule of nonsense and chance, nature, the fact that almost all men are fragments, cripples and gruesome accidents, the whole present and past is itself a fragment, a riddle, a gruesome accident unless it is willed as a bridge to the future (cf. Zarathustra, 'Of Redemption').
The prerequisites of human greatness and their cause, the reign of fortuna, must henceforth be willed as a bridge to future human greatness.

Now I will do the last two sentences.

While paving the way for the complementary man, one must at the same time say unbounded Yes to the fragments and cripples. Nature, the eternity of nature, owes its being to a postulation, to an act of the will to power on the part of the highest nature.
Paving the way for the complementary man means willing the bridge to future human greatness. This is done by saying unbounded Yes to all things, including the fragments, cripples, and gruesome accidents among men. Saying unbounded Yes to all things means affirming or willing their eternal return. And willing the eternal return is a postulation, which is an act of the will to power, on the part of the highest nature. But the highest nature, the individual nature at the summit of the hierarchy of the natures, is itself the complementary man...

To summarise:

The highest nature, the individual nature at the summit of the hierarchy of the natures, is the complementary man. His supremacy is shown by the fact that he solves the highest, the most difficult problem. This solution is the highest achievement, and it is worthwhile understanding or knowledge, and thereby a thought. The highest, the most difficult problem is that people are abolishing the prerequisites of human greatness---suffering and inequality---and there are no assignable limits to that abolition. The solution is the thought, the postulation, of the eternal return, for this assigns limits to the conquest of nature and thereby to the abolition of the prerequisites of human greatness. The thought that the eternal return be a fact is an act of the most spiritual will to power, philosophy: it is the tyrannical decree that it be a fact (cf. BGE 9). With this decree the complementary man wills the eternal return of the prerequisites of human greatness, i.e., the future existence of those prerequisites.


Last edited by Sauwelios on Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:04 am; edited 2 times in total

_________________
RECVRRAT·NATVRA·ET·EXPELLATVR·FVRCA
avatar
Sauwelios
Philosophical Supremacist

Posts : 28
Join date : 2011-12-17
Age : 38
Location : Amsterdam

View user profile http://sauwelios.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Toward the Nietzschean age!

Post  Sauwelios on Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:24 pm

I think the fundamental problem of our era, which was also Nietzsche's era, is the conquest of nature. The conquest of nature was "commanded and legislated" (cf. Beyond Good and Evil, aphorism 211) by Machiavelli, Bacon, and Descartes (among others) for the sake of philosophy, which was gravely threatened by Christianity back then. The scientific revolution instigated by those philosophers was what "killed" the Christian god, for which "killing" we should be most grateful. However, just as the religious revolution instigated by Socrates and Plato et al. was first beneficial but later became detrimental to philosophy, the revolution instigated by Machiavelli et al. has now itself led to a grave threat to philosophy. For "genuine philosophers" (again BGE 211) like the ones mentioned above belong to the formidable exceptions among men, and those exceptions are now in threat of becoming obsolete to the rule, the many, because of the technological advancements that in the West have made life easy for the many, who now no longer need such formidableness (which is indispensable in real crises).

The dire situation of many animals is just one of the consequences of what Heidegger called nature's reduction to a Bestand, a standing reserve, a resource. The real problem is paradoxically not that animal rights are not being respected, but the conceited notion of the existence of any rights at all! There's no such thing as natural rights; men are not naturally entitled to accommodate the rest of nature to their needs. But neither are they naturally forbidden to. Therefore, there's only one way to counteract the continuing exploitation of nature; and that consists precisely in the ideal of the eternal recurrence, in the wish that everything, including all the woes that befall animals---and of course men, too, are animals---, recur eternally... For by wishing for the eternal recurrence of all things, one manifests oneself as the counterideal to the ideal of the man who wallows in "wretched contentment" (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Prologue, 3)---as an Übermensch as opposed to a Last Man. And only this ideal, "the ideal of the most high-spirited, most alive, and most world-affirming man" (BGE 56), can raise people out of their comfy animal-hide armchairs---if only by offending them!

_________________
RECVRRAT·NATVRA·ET·EXPELLATVR·FVRCA
avatar
Sauwelios
Philosophical Supremacist

Posts : 28
Join date : 2011-12-17
Age : 38
Location : Amsterdam

View user profile http://sauwelios.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Toward the Nietzschean age!

Post  Sauwelios on Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:31 pm

I believe that the great philosophers, "genuine" or "actual philosophers" as Nietzsche called them[1], are the real directors of the course of human history. Thus I think Homer ushered in the Homeric age[2], Socrates and Plato the next age, the Platonic age[3], and Machiavelli, Bacon, and Descartes the age after that, the Machiavellian-Cartesian age[4], which is the age we're still living in---the age of the conquest of nature. My greatest obsession is the end of the Machiavellian-Cartesian and the beginning of the Nietzschean age. Note by the way that the Machiavellian-Cartesian age is still a Platonic age.

[1] "Die eigentlichen Philosophen": Beyond Good and Evil, § 211. Compare §§ 957 and 972 of The Will to Power.
[2] See Benardete's The Bow and the Lyre.
[3] See Lamperts's How Philosophy Became Socratic.
[4] See Mahdi's Alfarabi and the Foundation of Islamic Political Philosophy, chapter 11, and Lamperts's Nietzsche and Modern Times.


Last edited by Sauwelios on Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:47 pm; edited 1 time in total

_________________
RECVRRAT·NATVRA·ET·EXPELLATVR·FVRCA
avatar
Sauwelios
Philosophical Supremacist

Posts : 28
Join date : 2011-12-17
Age : 38
Location : Amsterdam

View user profile http://sauwelios.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

On the phrase "Machiavellian-Cartesian age".

Post  Sauwelios on Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:45 pm

First, with regard to the popularised meaning of the words "Machiavellian" and "Cartesian", it may help to know that I'm thinking of the age of the scientific-technological conquest of nature: "Machiavellian" resonates with "conquest", while "Cartesian" resonates with "scientific-technological" (Descartes stood at the forefront of the mathematisation of science, which has revolutionised it).

Second, I subscribe to the following view. Machiavelli and Descartes both belong to what Nietzsche called "the genuine" or "actual philosophers", "commanders and legislators"[1] who have been the real directors of the course of human history for thousands of years already.[2] The ultimate significance of Machiavelli is that he was the first commander and legislator of the scientific-technological conquest of nature, which was intended as "the movement to crush Christianity's spiritual tyranny", Christianity being "the kingdom of darkness Machiavelli and all his successors [including Descartes] fought".[3] While Descartes's major innovation lay in the mathematisation of science, Machiavelli's lay in the transformation of science into "a servant to be used rather than a master to which one submits"[4], i.e., into a means to technology rather than an end in itself ("science for science's sake", i.e., for the sake of the pleasures of contemplation, as it was to the ancients).

I think of Descartes as well as of Machiavelli as in the first place a philosopher, not a scientist. As for the crucial difference between philosophers (i.e., genuine or actual philosophers) and scientists:

There is, strictly judged, no "presuppositionless" science at all, the thought of such a science is unthinkable, paralogical: a philosophy, a "belief" [or "faith": "Glaube"] must always first be there, so science gains a direction, a meaning [or purpose: Sinn], a limit, a method, a right to exist from it.[5]
The genuine or actual philosophers are commanders and legislators in that they command/legislate such directions etc. And they do so by providing people with a faith or belief. Thus the last sentence of Benardete's book on Homer as such a philosopher is:

He [Odysseus] should now know that his destiny is to establish belief and not knowledge.[2]
The notion that the scientific-technological conquest of nature be a good thing is a belief, not knowledge.


[1] Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, section 211.
[2] For example, on Homer as such a director, see Benardete, The Bow and the Lyre.
[3] Lampert, Leo Strauss and Nietzsche, page 144.
[4] Mahdi, Alfarabi and the Foundation of Islamic Political Philosophy, page 239.
[5] Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals, 3.24.

_________________
RECVRRAT·NATVRA·ET·EXPELLATVR·FVRCA
avatar
Sauwelios
Philosophical Supremacist

Posts : 28
Join date : 2011-12-17
Age : 38
Location : Amsterdam

View user profile http://sauwelios.forumotion.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Toward the Nietzschean age!

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum