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Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation
Search by title, catalog stock , author, isbn, etc. After sharpening the critique of art and genius during the positivistic period, Nietzsche seems more cautious about heaping praise upon specific historical figures and types, but even when he could no longer find an ideal exception, he nevertheless deemed it requisite to fabricate one in myth. Work pursued in service of the future constitutes for Nietzsche an earthly form of redemption. Yet, exemplars of type, whether in the form of isolated individuals like Napoleon, or of whole cultures like the Greeks, are not caught up in petty historical politics or similar mundane endeavors.
According to Nietzsche in Twilight of the Idols , their regenerative powers are necessary for the work of interpreting the meaning and sequence of historical facts. My Conception of the genius— Great men, like great epochs, are explosive material in whom tremendous energy has been accumulated; their prerequisite has always been, historically and psychologically, that a protracted assembling, accumulating, economizing and preserving has preceded them—that there has been no explosion for a long time. Of what account then are circumstances, the epoch, the Zeitgeist, public opinion! To what extent is Nietzsche entitled to such a vision?
The great man and the great deed belong to a human destiny, one that emerges in situations of crisis and severe want. Psychologically, they are the effects of human energy stored and kept dormant for long periods of time in dark clouds of indifference. Primal energy gathers to a point before a cataclysmic event, like a chemical reaction with an electrical charge, unleashes some decisive, episodic force on all humanity.
From here, the logic unfolds categorically: all great events, having occurred, are possibilities. All possibilities become necessities, given an infinite amount of time. Perhaps understanding this logic marks a qualitative difference in the way existence is understood. Perhaps this qualitative difference will spark the revaluation of values. When a momentous event takes place, the exception bolts from the cloud of normalcy as a point of extreme difference. Such commentators will maintain that Nietzsche either in no way intends to construct a new meta-theory, or if he does then such intentions are mistaken and in conflict with his more prescient insights.
Indeed, much evidence exists to support each of these positions. Nevertheless, with this bit of moral psychology, a debate exists among commentators concerning whether Nietzsche intends to make dubious morality per se or whether he merely endeavors to expose those life-denying ways of moralizing inherited from the beginning of Western thought. Nietzsche, at the very least, is not concerned with divining origins. He is interested, rather, in measuring the value of what is taken as true, if such a thing can be measured.
For Nietzsche, a long, murky, and thereby misunderstood history has conditioned the human animal in response to physical, psychological, and social necessities GM II and in ways that have created additional needs, including primarily the need to believe in a purpose for its very existence GS 1. This ultimate need may be uncritically engaged, as happens with the incomplete nihilism of those who wish to remain in the shadow of metaphysics and with the laisser aller of the last man who overcomes dogmatism by making humanity impotent BGE In the more critical engagement, Nietzsche attempts to transform the need for truth and reconstitute the truth drive in ways that are already incredulous towards the dogmatizing tendency of philosophy and thus able to withstand the new suspicions BGE 22 and Perhaps the radicalization of will to power in this way amounts to no more than an account of this world to the exclusion of any other.
Nietzsche thus attempts to bring forward precisely that kind of affirmation which exists in and through its own essence, insofar as will to power as a principle of affirmation is made possible by its own destructive modalities which pulls back the curtain on metaphysical illusions and dogma founded on them. How does the exceptional, for example, begin to take shape in the ordinary, or truth in untruth, reason in un-reason, social order and law in violence, a being in becoming?
The variation and formal emergence of each of these states must, according to Nietzsche, be understood as a possibility only within a presumed sphere of associated events. Indeed, the new cosmology must account for such a fate. Most importantly, the new cosmology must grant meaning to this eternal recurrence of emergence and disintegration without, however, taking vengeance upon it. Chemistry of concepts and feelings. In almost all respects, philosophical problems today are again formulated as they were two thousand years ago: how can something arise from its opposite….?
Until now, metaphysical philosophy has overcome this difficulty by denying the origin of the one from the other, and by assuming for the more highly valued things some miraculous origin…. Historical philosophy, on the other hand, the very youngest of all philosophical methods, which can no longer be even conceived of as separate from the natural sciences, has determined in isolated cases and will probably conclude in all of them that they are not opposites, only exaggerated to be so by the metaphysical view….
As historical philosophy explains it, there exists, strictly considered, neither a selfless act nor a completely disinterested observation: both are merely sublimations. In them the basic element appears to be virtually dispersed and proves to be present only to the most careful observer.
Human, All Too Human , 1. How is it dispersed so that only the careful observer can detect it? On the doctrine of the feeling of power. Whether benefiting or hurting others involves sacrifices for us does not affect the ultimate value of our actions. Even if we offer our lives, as martyrs do for their church, this is a sacrifice that is offered for our desire for power or for the purpose of preserving our feeling of power.
Certainly the state in which we hurt others is rarely as agreeable, in an unadulterated way, as that in which we benefit others; it is a sign that we are still lacking power, or it shows a sense of frustration in the face of this poverty…. What is good? What is bad? What is happiness? No otherworldly measures exist, for Nietzsche.
Yet, one should not conclude from this absence of a transcendental measure that all expressions of power are qualitatively the same. That is the nature of living creatures. Either way, one will be commanded, but the difference is qualitative. Hence, one will take the easier path, if unable to command, choosing instead to obey the directions of another. The exception, however, will command and obey the healthy and self-mastering demands of a willing self. But why, we might ask, are all living things beholden to such commanding and obeying? Where is the proof of necessity here?
Zarathustra answers:. Listen to my teaching, you wisest men! Test in earnest whether I have crept into the heart of life itself and down to the roots of its heart! But what is being obeyed, on the cosmological level, and what is being commanded? The venom of slave morality is thus directed outwardly in ressentiment and inwardly in bad conscience. The ancient philosophical problem of emergence is resolved, in part, with the cosmology of a creative, self-grounding, self-generating, sustaining and enhancing will to power.
Such willing, most importantly, commands, which at the same time is an obeying: difference emerges from out of indifference and overcomes it, at least for a while.
Life, in this view, is essentially self-overcoming, a self-empowering power accomplishing more power to no other end. Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world is the will to power—and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power—and nothing besides! Nietzsche discovers, here, the words to articulate one of his most ambitious concepts.
Soul Revolution: How Imperfect People Become All God Intended
In spite of the positivistic methodology of The Genealogy, beneath the surface of this natural history of morals, will to power pumps life into the heart of both master and slave conceptual frameworks. Moreover, will to power stands as a necessary condition for all value judgments. How, one might ask, are these cosmological intuitions derived?
How is knowledge of both will to power and its eternally recurring play of creation and destruction grounded? Logically, with respect to knowledge, Nietzsche insists that principles of perception and judgment evolve co-dependently with consciousness, in response to physical necessities. The self is organized and brought to stand within the body and by the stimuli received there. Let us beware, Nietzsche cautions, of saying that the world possesses any sort of order or coherence without these interpretations GS , even to the extent that Nietzsche himself conceives will to power as the way of all things.
One aspect of the absence of absolute order is that interpretive gestures are necessarily called-forth for the establishment of meaning. A critical requirement of this interpretive gesture becoming transparent is that the new interpretation must knowingly affirm that all principles are grounded in interpretation. The philosopher of the future will posses a level of critical awareness hitherto unimagined, given that his interpretive gestures will be recognized as such.
Yet, a flourishing life will still demand, one might imagine, being able to suspend, hide, or forget—at the right moments—the creation of values, especially the highest values. Or, do trees and other forms of vegetation?
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Apparently, they do not. Such problems involve, again, the question of freedom, which interests Nietzsche primarily in the positive form. Some human forms of participation in will to power are noble, others ignoble. Oh you noble Stoics, what deceptive words these are! Imagine a being like nature, wasteful beyond measure, indifferent beyond measure, without purposes and consideration, without mercy and justice, fertile and desolate and uncertain at the same time; imagine indifference itself as a power—how could you live according to this indifference?
Living—is that not precisely wanting to be other than this nature? Is not living — estimating, preferring, being unjust, being limited, wanting to be different? But this is an ancient, eternal story: what formerly happened with the Stoics still happens today, too, as soon as any philosophy begins to believe in itself. It always creates the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise. Other commentators have suggested that Nietzsche, here, betrays all of philosophy, lacking any sense of decency with this daring expose—that what is left after the expression of such a forbidden truth is no recourse to meaning.
Periodically, something exceptional is thrust out from its opposite, given that radical indifference is indifferent even towards itself if one could speak of ontological conditions in such a representative tone, which Nietzsche certainly does from time to time. Nature is disturbed, and the human being, having thus become aware of its own identity and of others, works towards preserving itself by tying things down with definitions; enhancing itself, occasionally, by loosening the fetters of old, worn-out forms; creating and destroying in such patterns, so as to make humanity and even nature appear to conform to some bit of tyranny.
Soul Revolution: How Imperfect People Become All God Intended
From within the logic of will to power, narrowly construed, human meaning is thus affirmed. To no end, Nietzsche would answer. But nothing exists apart from the whole! But, what temporal model yields the possibility for these expressions? The solution takes shape as Nietzsche fills the temporal horizons of past and future with events whose denotations have no permanent tether. Will to power, the Heraclitean cosmic-child, plays-on without preference to outcomes. Within the two-fold limit of this horizon, disturbances emerge from their opposites, but one cannot evaluate them , absolutely , because judgment implicates participation in will to power, in the ebb and flow of events constituting time.
The objective perspective is not possible, since the whole consumes all possibilities, giving form to and destroying all that has come to fulfillment. Whatever stands in this flux, does so in the midst of the whole, but only for a while. It disturbs the whole, but does so as part of the whole. As such, whatever stands is measured, on the one hand, by the context its emergence creates. On the other hand, whatever stands is immeasurable, by virtue of the whole, the logic of which would determine this moment to have occurred in the never-ending flux of creation and destruction.
One is left only to describe material occurrences and to intuit the passing of time. Each simple thing or complex event is linked, inextricably, to a near infinite number of others, also demonstrating the possibilities of their happenings. If all of these possibilities could be presented in such a way as to account for their relationships and probabilities, as for example on a marvelously complex set of dice, then it could be shown that each of these possibilities will necessarily occur, and re-occur, given that the game of dice continues a sufficient length of time.
Next, Nietzsche considers the nature of temporal limits and duration. He proposes that no beginning or end of time can be determined, absolutely, in thought. No matter what sort of temporal limits are set by the imagination, questions concerning what lies beyond these limits never demonstrably cease. Time is infinite with this model, but filled by a finite number of material possibilities, recurring eternally in the never-ending play of the great cosmic game of chance. What intuition led Nietzsche to interpret the cosmos as having no inherent meaning, as if it were playing itself out and repeating itself in eternally recurring cycles, in the endless creation and destruction of force-points without purpose?
How does this curious temporal model relate to the living of life? In his philosophical autobiography, Ecce Homo, Nietzsche grounds eternal recurrence in his own experiences by relating an anecdote regarding, supposedly, its first appearance to him in thought. It is important to note that at the time of this discovery, Nietzsche was bringing his work on The Gay Science to a close and beginning to sketch out a plan for Zarathustra. The greatest weight. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust! How would the logic of this new temporal model alter our experiences of factual life?
Would such a thought diminish the willfulness of those who grasp it? Would it diminish our willingness to make normative decisions? What would we lose by accepting the doctrine of this teaching? What would we gain? It seems strange that Nietzsche would place so much dramatic emphasis on this temporal form of determinism. If all of our worldly strivings and cravings were revealed, in the logic of eternal recurrence, to be no more than illusions, if every contingent fact of creation and destruction were understood to have merely repeated itself without end, if everything that happens, as it happens, both re-inscribes and anticipates its own eternal recurrence, what would be the affect on our dispositions, on our capacities to strive and create?
Would we be crushed by this eternal comedy?
See a Problem?
Or, could we somehow find it liberating? Even though Nietzsche has envisioned a temporal model of existence seemingly depriving us of the freedom to act in unique ways, we should not fail to catch sight of the qualitative differences the doctrine nevertheless leaves open for the living. The logic of eternity determines every contingent fact in each cycle of recurrence.
That is, each recurrence is quantitatively the same. The quality of that recurrence, however, seems to remain an open question. What if the thought took hold of us? If we indeed understood ourselves to be bound by fate and thus having no freedom from the eternal logic of things, could we yet summon love for that fate, to embrace a kind of freedom for becoming that person we are? Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth!
Even some of the most enthusiastic Nietzsche commentators have, like Kaufmann, deemed it unworthy of serious reflection. The presentation of this idea, however, leaves room for much doubt concerning the literal meaning of these claims, as does the paucity of direct references to the doctrine in other works intended for publication.
Nevertheless, intellectual histories pursuing the question of how Nietzsche has been placed into the service of all sorts of political interests are an important part of Nietzsche scholarship. While an exhaustive survey of the way this key issue has been addressed in the scholarship would be difficult in this context, a few influential readings may be briefly mentioned.
Nietzsche had many casual associates and a few close friends while in school and as a professor in Basel. On both levels of this complex issue, the work of Martin Heidegger looms paramount. However, the plausibility of this reading has come into question almost from the moment the full extent of it was made known in the s and 60s.
Nevertheless, the question remains open whether Nietzsche does not already leave the metaphysical dimensions of any problems essentially and intentionally behind in his conception of the cosmos. Notable works by Schacht, Clark, Conway, and Leiter fall into this category.
In a loosely related movement, many commentators bring Nietzsche into dialogue with the tradition by concentrating on aspects of his work relevant to particular philosophical issues, such as the problem of truth, the development of a natural history of morals, a philosophical consideration of moral psychology, problems concerning subjectivity and logo-centrism, theories of language, and many others.
Due to these suspicions, moreover, common Nietzschean themes such as historical nihilism, Dionysianism, tragedy, and play, as well as cosmological readings of will to power, and eternal recurrence are downplayed in Anglo-American treatments, in favor of bringing out more traditional sorts of philosophical problems such as truth and knowledge, values and morality, and human consciousness. Nietzsche reception in the United States has been determined by a unique set of circumstances, as portrayed by Schacht and others.
The next stage of Nietzsche reception in the U. So successful was Kaufmann in this regard, that Anglo-American readers had difficulty seeing Nietzsche in any other light, and philosophers who found existentialism shallow regarded Nietzsche with the same disdain. In such a light, Schacht sees his work on Nietzsche as an attempt to bridge this institutional divide, as do other Anglo-American readers.
The work of Rorty may certainly be characterized in this manner. Despite these attempts, tensions remain between Anglo-American readers who cultivate a neo-pragmatic version of Nietzsche and those who, by comparison, seem too comfortable accepting uncritically the problematic aspects of the Continental interpretation. The following list is by no means exhaustive. A number of these writings are available to English readers, and a few are accessible in a variety of editions, either as supplements to the major works or as part of assorted critical editions.
The following list offers a sample of these writings. A firsthand and secondhand biographical narrative may be followed in the collected letters of Nietzsche and his associates:. The following list is by no means comprehensive, nor does it purport to represent all of the major themes prevalent in Nietzsche scholarship today. It is designed for the reader seeking to learn more about the intellectual history of Nietzsche reception in the twentieth century. In addition to a typically large number full-length manuscripts on Nietzsche published every year, scholarly works in English may be found in general, academic periodicals focused on Continental philosophy, ethical theory, critical theory, the history of ideas and similar themes.
In addition, some major journals are devoted entirely to Nietzsche and aligned topics. Related both to the issue of orthodoxy and to the backlash against multiplicity in Nietzsche interpretation, the value of having so many outlets available for Nietzsche commentators has even been questioned. The following journals are devoted specifically to Nietzsche studies. Dale Wilkerson Email: Dale. Friedrich Nietzsche — Nietzsche was a German philosopher, essayist, and cultural critic. The following division is typical: i. Post—the later period Nietzsche transitions into a new period with the conclusion of The Gay Science Book IV and his next published work, the novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra, produced in four parts between and The Human Exemplar How and why do nihilism and the pessimism of weakness prevail in modernity?
Again, from the notebook of Will to Power, aphorism 27 , we find two conditions for this situation: 1. Will to Power The exemplar expresses hope not granted from metaphysical illusions. Zarathustra answers: Listen to my teaching, you wisest men! References and Further Reading a.
Kritische Gesamtausgabe: Briefwechsel, ed. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, 24 vols. Berlin: de Gruyter, Kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke , ed. At the present time, the project remains unfinished. Walter Kaufmann, New York: Vintage, Hollingdale Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, The four essays of this work are available separately in other editions Human, All Too Human Menschliches, Allzumenschliches [vol.
The later editions of this translation contain a helpful index. Walter Kaufman New York: Vintage, Hollingdale, New York: Penguin, Hollingdale New York: Penguin, Nietzsche contra Wagner Nietzsche contra Wagner , , first published , trans. Walter Kaufmann, in The Portable Nietzsche , ed. Walter Kaufmann New York: Viking, Keith Ansell-Pearson; trans. Sander L. Gilman, Carole Blair, and David J. Marianne Cowan Washington, D. The Pre-Platonic Philosophers Die vorplatonischen Philosophen , lectures during various semesters at Basel from to ; ed.
II, part 4 , ed. Unpublished Writings from the Period of Unfashionable Observations vol. Bernd Magnus; trans. Richard T. Walter Kaufmann and R. Hollingdale New York: Vintage,