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Beyond Good and Evil
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Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil > Part 9, What is Noble -- and the book as a whole

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Thomas | 4515 comments How to begin but to ask, "What is noble?"

This is the final part and culmination of the book, and I think it follows from all that has passed before. When viewed from a certain distance, the book seems to me to have a certain integrity, despite Nietzsche's fragmented style.

Nobility is based on rank, obviously, but it isn't quite clear where rank comes from. At times it seems to be a product of nature, perhaps honed by struggle and pain, but at other times it seems to be a point of faith. There are moments when Nietzsche sounds to me like a motivational author, a nineteenth century Tony Robbins who urges the reader to "awaken the giant within." While reading this book I've been searching for the criteria by which Nietzsche judges the superior man, but this is difficult because he makes this a kind of moving target. But at 265 he writes:

At the risk of displeasing innocent ears I propose: egoism belongs to the nature of a noble soul -- I mean that unshakeable faith that to a being such as "we are" other beings must be subordinate by nature and have to sacrifice themselves.

I was quite pleased to read that, not because I find the subordination of other beings very pleasing, but because faith in this instance makes a lot of sense. In the absence of objective criteria for values, including self worth, faith is a necessity. The question is then whose faith, and whose egoism, is to prevail over the other? How is rank determined?

The book ends with an "Aftersong," a poem on the theme of friendship, and to a certain extent, loneliness. The average and mediocre are easily understood because they speak a "common" language, but the noble speaks an original language and must often wear a mask to the world. Solitude is a virtue for the noble man, who must distance himself from the unwashed masses, but one must still have friends, apparently.

How does the aftersong relate to the rest of the book?

And finally, whether you agree with Nietzsche's worldview or not, is Beyond Good and Evil a "great book"? Did it at least make you look at the world from a different perspective?


Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments Zimmern left the Aftersong out, and Kaufmann makes pretty clear that he does not think highly of it.

His poetry in The Gay Science was much better. Like, a thousand times better.


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Lia Christopher wrote: "His poetry in The Gay Science was much better. Like, a thousand times better."

Whoa, speak for yourself! I got the chills reading it. —————-E


Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments Book as a whole- I would say it is great in the sense that if you've read it once, you've hardly read it at all.

If you come to it with more experience and insight, it will meet you on whatever level you're prepared to meet it.

So, like Mansfield Park, and not too many others.


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Lia Christopher wrote: "Book as a whole- I would say it is great in the sense that if you've read it once, you've hardly read it at all.

If you come to it with more experience and insight, it will meet you on whatever le..."


you make it sound like it’s a book that overcomes itself, or rather, it rewards readers who overcome themselves.


message 6: by Lia (last edited Dec 05, 2018 08:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia In BGE 296, Nietzsche apostrophes his “written thoughts” — Ovid did something like that to his own “elegiac meter” which he made popular.

Ovid:
Ars: 2.3–4 ‘now for the first time, my elegiacs, you travel with greater sails just now, I recall, you were a tiny kind of work’,


The tone, the self-consciousness, seems really really similar”

Nietzsche
296 Alas, and yet what are you, my written and painted thoughts! It is not long ago that you were still so many-coloured, young and malicious, so full of thorns and hidden spices you made me sneeze and laugh – and now? You have already taken off your novelty and some of you, I fear, are on the point of becoming truths: they already look so immortal, so pathetically righteous, so boring! And has it ever been otherwise? For what things do we write and paint, we mandarins with Chinese brushes, we immortalizers of things which let themselves be written, what alone are we capable of painting? Alas, only that which is about to wither and is beginning to lose its fragrance! Alas, only storms departing exhausted and feelings grown old and yellow!


And yet, the content seems Socratic: i.e. [written]words-no-good.

I suspect that’s what he’s talking about when he advised to let memories go, but keep the door open for new thoughts. Supposedly, prose kills novelty and musicality, and threatens to become “truths.”

I think this partly explains why Nietzsche writes the way he does: he is trying to overcome this problem of prose. To use words, yet expel the congealed, and keep the becomings. Only the gerontions let themselves captured with prose.

Of course, this exile of (former) friends is an echo of earlier sentiment, when he said only a few select kind will have the inclination for the hunt, when he told those who would hesitate and be amazed by what they see (i.e. BGE) to turn around.


message 7: by Lia (last edited Dec 05, 2018 09:32AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia “Only those who change themselves remain akin to me.”

Seems the only “friend” who can keep up is Zarathustra — Nietzsche’s own creation, an imaginary friend. (Implying some friends aren’t imaginary??)

Seriously though, Nietzsche doesn’t just tell us what not to do, Nietzsche is putting on a performance here: he had already created Zarathustra before he wrote BGE. In this poem, he (the narrator) goes through the self-doubt, the preparing and waiting for friends to arrive, the loneliness, the eternal repetition, (the waiting and middaying is a kind of repetition within this short little poem) of being looked at funnily when they finally arrive, always at the wrong time, when they are no-longer-friends. Ghosts of friends.

But that’s okay, leave the door open, new friends will come. After the Dionysus/ Ariadne tryst in Part 9, you’d think Dionysus would be the guest of guests, but NO!

“Friend-Zarathustra” has come — but why not in the present? At present, NOW, the world is laughing. Is (?) the “event” of Zarathustra a comedy? The Ancient Greek performances followed this sequence: tragedy, satyr play, comedy.

If Z is (? Are we allowed to call Zarathustra a “being”? Can we say Z “is”, Z “be”?) the comedy, that means the tragedy and the satyr are over, they’re things of the past, they got kicked out.

The whole thing — from Zarathustra to BGE — is philosophy, but is also a performance of self-creation, and affirmation of light and darkness (which finally got married after the “curtain is rent.”)

Nietzsche affirms, but he doesn’t affirm anything simple and easily captured with words — not the old thing (“Gerontion”) that’s already stale by the time it’s written. I’m so stoked, I’m not saying I want to follow his prescriptions, but I want to go through BGE again, and again, encore!


P.S. the “Come now! It is time you were here!” repetition is seriously Eliotic (“Hurry up please, it’s time!)


Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments 284

To live with tremendous and proud composure; always beyond—. To have and not to have one’s affects, one’s pro and con, at will; to condescend to them, for a few hours; to seat oneself on them as on a horse, often as on an ass—for one must know how to make use of their stupidity as much as of their fire. To reserve one’s three hundred foregrounds; also the dark glasses; for there are cases when nobody may look into our eyes, still less into our “grounds.” And to choose for company that impish and cheerful vice, courtesy. And to remain master of one’s four virtues: of courage, insight, sympathy, and solitude. For solitude is a virtue for us, as a sublime bent and urge for cleanliness which guesses how all contact between man and man—“in society”—involves inevitable uncleanliness. All community makes men—somehow, somewhere, sometime “common.


Lia, I thought you would be glad to see the beautiful ass make its reappearance, after so long.

(way back in sec. 8: There is a point in every philosophy at which the "conviction" of the philosopher appears on the scene; or, to put it in the words of an ancient mystery:

Adventavit asinus,
Pulcher et fortissimus.)


Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments He also says something much more personal about "immediate convictions" which restates this from the first part:

The faith in “immediate certainties” is a moral naïveté that reflects honor on us philosophers; but—after all we should not be “merely moral” men. Apart from morality, this faith is a stupidity that reflects little honor on us.

Now he says:


281 —“Will people believe me? But I demand that they should believe me: I have always thought little and badly of myself, only on very rare occasions, only when I had to, always without any desire for ‘this subject,’ more than ready to digress from ‘myself’; always without faith in the result, owing to an unconquerable mistrust of the possibility of self-knowledge which went so far that even in the concept of ‘immediate knowledge,’ which theoreticians permit themselves, I sensed a
contradictio in adjecto: this whole fact is almost the most certain thing I do know about myself. There must be a kind of aversion in me to believing anything definite about myself.

This contradictio in adjecto means, I think, that one cannot qualify "certainties" with the term "immediate."- like "four-sided triangle" or some such- contradictio in adjecto.


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Lia High mountains, table in the highest height...

The beautiful and stronk ass is high as a kite! 💕
(what is he feeding them?)

Not just to condescend either, aphorisms are for high places:
Zarathustra: He who writes in blood and aphorisms does not want to be read, he wants to be learned by heart. In the mountains the shortest route is from peak to peak, but for that you must have long legs. Aphorisms should be peaks, and those to whom they are spoken should be big and tall of stature.



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Lia My interest is piqued whenever N says “naïveté.” (Or, oddly enough, “fingers.”). Strange words that make me think there’s more to it, he’s alluding to something, he’s being coy and esoteric, and I can’t figure out what it is.

I suspect the finger has something to do with “Rosy fingers of Dawn”, the goddess. But then he’s talking about musty, crusty fingers of philosophers. Coarse fingers, rash fingers, lizard fingers. Hmph.


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Lia I thought his objection to “immediate certainty” was specific to Descartes, which is one of the many items that supposedly threaten our intellectual freedom, the false limits we place on ourselves about what thoughts can be thunk.


Oddly enough, I thought the “We Scholars” chapter was the more confessional and intimate one. It seems he really struggled with the academic community, and the limitation of being a scholar places on thinkers. Which, I suppose, goes back to feeding this demand of “immediate certainty.”


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Lia Thomas wrote: "The book ends with an "Aftersong," a poem on the theme of friendship..."

Is it just me, or is it insanely Nicomachean to write a (9+1 = 10 parts) book that keeps modifying itself in the process of examining endoxa, towards discovering how to live a good life in this world, that ends with “Friendship?”


Thomas | 4515 comments Christopher wrote: "He also says something much more personal about "immediate convictions" which restates this from the first part:

The faith in “immediate certainties” is a moral naïveté that reflects honor on us p..."


Immediacy is an aesthetic concept; in this context, I take it that judgments are a matter of taste, not morality. If truth is as dynamic and subjective as he says, then certainty in the traditional sense is not possible, and perhaps simply irrelevant. An "immediate certainty" is possible only if it is a feeling rather than a logical conclusion.


Thomas | 4515 comments Lia wrote: "Thomas wrote: "The book ends with an "Aftersong," a poem on the theme of friendship..."

Is it just me, or is it insanely Nicomachean to write a (9+1 = 10 parts) book that keeps modifying itself in..."


What's not so insanely Nicomachean is when he says the instinct for happiness belongs to a slave morality. One must ask then, what is more important than happiness? (Perhaps it's cleanliness. I like the "will to cleanliness".)


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Existential Investigator Nietzsche held that power was that which is superior to happiness. First I quote the Antichrist, section 2:

"What is good? - Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself, in man.

What is evil? - Whatever springs from weakness.

What is happiness? - The feeling that power increases - that resistance is overcome."

A way of explaining this is by indicating that the search for happiness can be reactive - one reacts to the world and how it makes one feel (happy or not happy) and so one becomes at the whim of the world and even oneself.

On the other hand, Nietzsche's thesis would be that not only does power give one pleasure (to be in the superior position rather than the weaker or inferior position), power would by definition, if possessed, give one the ability to attain all worldly goods.

Nietzsche was not an aesthete though. He did not advocate the attainment of power for the pursuit of pleasures, if for no other reason than that a pursuit of pleasure would most likely lead to a state of weakness.

Something which I think is controversial to be said is that Nietzche actually thought of himself as a philanthropist. From the same section (Antichrist, 2):

"The weak and ill constituted shall perish, and we shall help them to do so. The first principle of our philanthropy."

He was thinking of humans here as a type, or species and not as individuals. In this sense, one might consider how this is philanthropic. The reason is because he held that if all weak individuals disappeared and all that was left were strong and well consituted ones, people wouldn't experience suffering in the same way that a weak and ill-constituted person does now.

The German veteran Ernst Junger, who was very much influenced by Nietzsche, wrote on how pain can become a virtue.

Also, Nietzsche has to be understood as not simply a strange outcropping around the turn of the 20th century or he will seem like nothing but an oddball. His first ancestor would be the sophists as depicted by Plato, particularly Thrasymachus (from The Republic) and Callicles (from Gorgias) come to mind. Also consider the reception of Machiavelli in the renaissance. Machiavelli was often depicted as an atheist, and as a reason that atheism was dangerous, because people would not have to conform their behaviour to morality because they lacked fear in any eternal retribution.

Nietzsche wanted to take the atheism of his age to its logical moral conclusion.


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Lia Thomas wrote: "What's not so insanely Nicomachean is when he says the instinct for happiness belongs to a slave morality. One must ask then, what is more important than happiness? (Perhaps it's cleanliness. I like the "will to cleanliness".) "

You know what else Aristotle said about the problem of happiness? After asking around, ultimately most people say the “good” of every endeavor is for the sake of happiness; but then what is happiness? Three things: posession of wealth, pleasure, and honor.

But remember what Aristotle said about pleasure? to live for the sake of pleasure is to live a slavish life suitable only for fatted cattle .

Nietzsche, too, thought “to will” is a simplification of a combination of psychological activities (and Aristotle also said happiness is an activity of the soul). In that sense, expressing that will is a kind of happiness, just not the slavish kind that is promoted by minimizing suffering /maximizing material-comfort / utilitarianism.

BTW, this nobility thing ...does it not read like a rehash of Aristotle’s greatness of soul? (Megalopsuchia?)


Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments I agree with Lia. Although N. hardly mentions Aristotle, if at all, his own ethics corresponds with A.'s.. EXCEPT that for Aristotle, the rule of reason, its, so to speak legitimacy as the supreme power and end (telos) of man, means that weakness (hamartia) is a problem for him which he can barely account for.

Other than that, look at N.'s occasional references to the masses.. the men who think only of their bellies and their.. This is something else he and Aristotle share. Only N. says perhaps the philosopher should study the rule more than the exception.


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Existential Investigator While I do agree that there is great deal of similarity between Nietzschean and Aristotelian ethics, I would caution against too great of an identication between the two.

Christopher seems to be in on what I want to get at with his exception.

If you read Nietzche's Daybreak, section 42:

"Origin of the Vita Contemplativa.—During barbarous ages, when pessimistic judgments held sway over men and the world, the individual, in the consciousness of his full power, always endeavoured to act in conformity with such judgments, that is to say, he put his ideas into action by means of hunting, robbery, surprise attacks, brutality, and murder: including the weaker forms of such acts, as far as they are tolerated within the community. When his strength declines, however, and he feels tired, ill, melancholy, or satiated—consequently becoming temporarily void of wishes or desires—he is a relatively better man, that is to say, less dangerous; and his pessimistic ideas will now discharge themselves only in words and reflections—upon his companions, for example, or his wife, his life, his gods,—his judgments will be evil ones. In this frame of mind he develops into a thinker and prophet, or he adds to his superstitions and invents new observances, or mocks his enemies. Whatever he may devise, however, all the productions of his brain will necessarily reflect his frame of mind, such as the increase of fear and weariness, and the lower value he attributes to action and enjoyment. The substance of these productions must correspond to the substance of these poetic, thoughtful, and priestly moods; the evil judgment must be supreme.

In later years, all those who acted continuously as this man did in those special circumstances—i.e. those who gave out pessimistic judgments, and lived a melancholy life, poor in action—were called poets, thinkers, priests, or “medicine-men.” The general body of men would have liked to disregard such people, because they were not active enough, and to turn them out of the community; but there was a certain risk in doing so: these inactive men had found out and were following the tracks of superstition and divine power, and no one doubted that they had unknown means of power at their disposal. This was the value which was set upon the ancient race of contemplative natures—despised as they were in just the same degree as they were not dreaded! In such a masked form, in such an ambiguous aspect, with an evil heart and often with a troubled head, did Contemplation make its first appearance on earth: both weak and terrible at the same time, despised in secret, and covered in public with every mark of superstitious veneration. Here, as always, we must say: pudenda origo!"

You can see that he puts a degree of suspicion upon the contemplative nature. I can't remember exactly where it is, but there is another instance where Nietzsche talks about the need for reflection is also evidence of a lack of self-certainty and healthy spontaneity.

Though he acknowledges that there is a kind of power in the contemplator, if one is left merely to musing without realizing any ideals then one is merely self-deluded in thinking himself great.

The strength of the philosopher(Beyond Good and Evil, section 211): "THE REAL PHILOSOPHERS, HOWEVER, ARE COMMANDERS AND LAW-GIVERS; they say: "Thus SHALL it be!" They determine first the Whither and the Why of mankind, and thereby set aside the previous labour of all philosophical workers, and all subjugators of the past—they grasp at the future with a creative hand, and whatever is and was, becomes for them thereby a means, an instrument, and a hammer. Their "knowing" is CREATING, their creating is a law-giving, their will to truth is—WILL TO POWER."


My apologies for using Gutenberg translations, but I find it easier for quick reference and pasting to the comment.


Thomas | 4515 comments Existential wrote: "Nietzsche held that power was that which is superior to happiness"

I think this is abundantly evident from BGE as well.

Nietzsche was not an aesthete though. He did not advocate the attainment of power for the pursuit of pleasures, if for no other reason than that a pursuit of pleasure would most likely lead to a state of weakness.

I agree with this as well -- he was definitely not an aesthete in the hedonistic sense -- but I think the way he makes judgments is based on feeling rather than reason. That is evident from your quote, "whatever augments the feeling of power" ... "that feeling that power increases" ..." as well as from the arguments made in BGE.

I also appreciate your comment on Thrasymachus, who made an appearance early in our discussion. Thrasymachus makes a strange exit in the Republic when he concedes so easily to Socrates. He makes a strong reappearance in the thought of Nietzsche.


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Thomas | 4515 comments The most complete happiness for Aristotle is the contemplative life: being-at-work (energeia) in accord with the highest virtue, which is intellect (grasping of the universal.)

Would Nietzsche agree?


Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments Thomas wrote: "The most complete happiness for Aristotle is the contemplative life: being-at-work (energeia) in accord with the highest virtue, which is intellect (grasping of the universal.)

Would Nietzsche agree?"


Tell me how that most complete happiness jibes with the writing of a book called "Ethics," and you will be halfway to an answer.


message 23: by Lia (last edited Dec 06, 2018 08:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia Thomas wrote: "The most complete happiness for Aristotle is the contemplative life: being-at-work (energeia) in accord with the highest virtue, which is intellect (grasping of the universal.)

Would Nietzsche agree?"


You’re conveniently ignoring the stuff Aristotle said about the “natural slave.” Apparently we all — masters and slaves — have the same intellectual / soul parts, just organized differently. Slaves, masters, future politicians, gods all have different ways of ranking them.

I think the troubles with comparing Aristotle’s Eudaimonia and Nietzsche’s “happiness” is that the Greeks and we moderns don’t mean the same thing. For us, happiness is just whatever we subjectively name our psychological state, no one but the individual gets to decide whether she’s happy. For Aristotle, Eudaimonia is presumably objective. Different people have different habits and inclinations and ways of ordering their souls, but there’s only one way that is (objectively proper) to human, at least according to the treatise that is almost certainly written for a very specific audience: potential future politicians or philosophers. The already well brought up young elites considering which habit to cultivate in.

We run into troubles if we presume Eudaimonia is the same stuff Nietzsche disses. Because Aristotle scoffs at the same thing (akrasia), but just call them different names.

Also, Plato ranks the “spirit” just above the appetitive part of the soul. If Plato’s “spirit” (Passion, anger, courage, honor, temper ... ) are the same as Nietzsches’, then they were seen as “higher” impulses that check the lower ones, like Athena checking Achilles. IF that is the case, the problem with the pampered moderns might be that we have subverted the order and debased the spirit.

Contemplation might not be the highest virtue — we already know his free spirits have 4 virtues, he named them for us! That’s not necessarily contra Aristotle, because they are writing for proper cultivation for different sets of readers, for different social realities: we can’t unmix the mixed, we are already modernized and democratized. Assuming Nietzsche inherits similar Aristotelian metaphors and methods, he will necessarily arrive at a different conclusion.

As for Nietzsche privileging spontaneity over reflection — I remember reading something like that too, but it’s dangerous to isolate one thing Nietzsche says and conclude that’s his eternal position for all situations. I think I read that as Nietzsche taking cultivation to be a matter of habituation — and that’s pretty much Aristotle’s path to virtue as well. Even for Aristotle, virtue is not indecisively thinking over everything prudentially, virtue is NOT acquired through thinking and knowing, but through practice, habit.

Most significantly: the idea of contemplation as ideal is probably related to Plato’s idealism — I don’t think Aristotle scholars have even settled the debate on whether contemplation is the highest human good. From memory, I think some argue it’s the highest good for the gods, hence pure mental activities. For humans, it’s still practice, habit, virtue, ethos. Depending on who your audience is (god, or human), your highest good varies. For some (slave, herd) it’s just pleasure, for some it’s legislating and value-creation (but legislating can be self-law-giving, a la Kant. Remember only those who self-legislate are rational humans with dignity and must not be treated as tools. The rest are legitimately tools, at least I expect Nietzsche to say so.). As for the gods, apparently it’s contemplation.

Why most significantly? Because Plato also said something about attaining highest good through mimicking the gods, yet Nietzsche (or the narrator) declared the curtain is rent! Someone ripped the veil off! There isn’t another realm so ideal it’s beyond our senses, Nietzsche re-envisioned, reordered the soul according to this realization — the highest good is no longer to imitate what is divine (contemplation,) but to become Gods ourselves. (Or Zarathustra, I’m not picky.)

BTW, didn’t we end BGE laughing? Aren’t the Greek gods always laughing and feasting? That sounds like a divine sort of “happy ending”. (Back to middle school again!)


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 304 comments Thomas wrote: "Thrasymachus makes a strange exit in the Republic when he concedes so easily to Socrates. He makes a strong reappearance in the thought of Nietzsche. ..."

I'm not convinced of this. Thrasymachus makes the claim that it is better to be unjust than just, because the unjust man will be able to gain all he wants at the expense of the just man. Unscrupulous power. I don't think that's what N is arguing for at all--Thrasymachus' ends were, it seems to me, precisely the things that N was dismissing. Plus, I also think that N was trying to arrive at a sense of justice--I'm not saying he was successful--by which the short-sightedness of Thrasymachus wouldn't be able to comprehend.

In a way, it seems to me that both Thrasymachus' and Socrates' arguments are subsets of what N is trying to accomplish. His free spirit could look like either one, depending on conditions. Either tyrant or philosopher-king--but that wouldn't exclude either from being termed 'just'.


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Existential Investigator Bryan wrote:

I'm not convinced of this. Thrasymachus makes the claim that it is better to be unjust than just, because the unjust man will be able to gain all he wants at the expense of the just man. Unscrupulous power. I don't think that's what N is arguing for at all--Thrasymachus' ends were, it seems to me, precisely the things that N was dismissing. ."


That is really only a problem if you see Nietzsche as merely a rehash of Thrasymachus or the sophists as depicted by Plato, but there is no reason to think so. There's no real reason to think Plato was completely fair dealing with the sophists in his works which made them his targets.

I'd be interested in hearing more about what sense of justice you think Nietzsche is propounding, with some quotes from Nietzsche's work.

From Genology of Morals, Second Essay, 11:
"Therefore ‘just’ and ‘unjust’ only start from the moment when a legal system is set up (and not , as Dühring says, from the moment when the injury is done.) To talk of ‘just’ and ‘unjust’ as such is meaningless, an act of injury, violence, exploitation or destruction cannot be unjust’as such, because life functions essentially in an injurious, violent, exploitative and destructive manner, or at least these are its fundamental processes and it cannot be thought of without these characteristics."


Bryan--The Bee’s Knees (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 304 comments Existential wrote: "I'd be interested in hearing more about what sense of justice you think Nietzsche is propounding, with some quotes from Nietzsche's work..."

In BG&E, I don't think he really propounds much at all. I think he suggests a way of looking at things that is contrary to the way people have in the past.


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Existential Investigator Lia wrote: As for Nietzsche privileging spontaneity over reflection — I remember reading something like that too, but it’s dangerous to isolate one thing Nietzsche says and conclude that’s his eternal position for all situations. I think I read that as Nietzsche taking cultivation to be a matter of habituation — and that’s pretty much Aristotle’s path to virtue as well. Even for Aristotle, virtue is not indecisively thinking over everything prudentially, virtue is NOT acquired through thinking and knowing, but through practice, habit.

I'm assuming this part of your message was directed towards my reply because you bring up this absent quote I mentioned.

I did not mean that the contemplation which would ensue would be indecisive. But all contemplation is a lack of certainty, by definition. It is the using of mental effort to come to a conclusion which was not held or reached prior. In that sense I referred to the stopping to contemplate as a lack of self-certainty. The certainty would be in oneself as insurrmountable and superior to anything that might face oneself, which could include existential issues.

In order for cultivation to be needed, a lack of power would have to be present in the first place, something which calls for improvement. It is already an indication of a lapse of power, even if that lapse has natural or inevitable causes.

I refer back to the quote I posted from Daybreak.


message 28: by Existential (new)

Existential Investigator Bryan wrote: .In BG&E, I don't think he really propounds much at all. I think he suggests a way of looking at things that is contrary to the way people have in the past.

Okay. I don't think that Nietzsche was trying to arrive at a sense of justice (see the quote I provided from On the Geneaology of Morals).


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Lia Existential wrote: "
In order for cultivation to be needed, a lack of power would have to be present in the first place, something which calls for improvement. It is already an indication of a lapse of power, even if that lapse has natural or inevitable causes..."


So? Nietzsche is pretty unambiguous in saying the Free Spirits when developing themselves are extremely fragile things, unlike the common types that have the health to easily survive. I don’t think Nietzsche is implying Free Spirits come already pre-made and need no development or cultivation. In fact, the whole point of BGE seems to be to educate such a spirit, not by imparting knowledge, but by making readers practice going through the labyrinth.


Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments I think if one wants to compare Nietzsche and Aristotle, as well as focus on this section of BGE, one could look at N.'s musings on the 'final statements' of the philosopher as 'resting points,' and all his fine imagery of the hermit's cave.

There's no way the hermit would reveal his cave without 'hiding' the cave beneath it where his true treasure is hidden...

So, we fortunate ones have the privilege of reading the EN from a post-Nietzschean point of view- his (Aristotle's) ethics are mere 'foreground,' and, not coincidentally, a defense of the philosophic life masked as advice to young, ambitious men.

As for the quote from The Dawn of Day, it bears thinking about.

Who are these men, who, wicked and strong in their youth, turn to contemplation when their strength begins to fail? Can you name someone, in history or in literature, who fits this description?

(someone may say "Wagner." Does the answer to every question about Nietzsche have to be Wagner?)

I would say that this sketch doesn't hold water as an explanation of the contemplative life. In fact, as being itself somewhat 'evil-minded,' it is almost self-refuting, or self-undermining.

... which is not to disparage Dawn of Day, which is a fascinating book.

(and, btw, the 'Gutenberg' (public domain) translation is arguably as fine as more recent ones).


message 31: by Existential (last edited Dec 06, 2018 10:42AM) (new)

Existential Investigator Christopher wrote: Who are these men, who, wicked and strong in their youth, turn to contemplation when their strength begins to fail? Can you name someone, in history or in literature, who fits this description?

I don't necessarily think its meant literally.


message 32: by Lia (last edited Dec 06, 2018 10:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia The time of BGE is Midday though; what was dawn was in the past. Nietzsche self-overcomes all the time, judging by all the editings that went into the second editions of prior books.

The mind of Europe is a mind that changes, so is the mind of Nietzsche.


message 33: by Existential (last edited Dec 06, 2018 10:45AM) (new)

Existential Investigator Lia wrote: The time of BGE is Midday though; what was dawn was in the past. Nietzsche self-overcomes all the time, judging by all the editings that went into the second editions of prior books.

The mind of Europe is a mind that changes, so is the mind of Nietzsche.


That's a clever statement but it doesn't really take away from what I explained. To engage in contemplation one is already distancing oneself from the world. Since Nietzsche held all thoughts to be interpretations that would be especially so for him.


message 34: by Existential (last edited Dec 06, 2018 10:54AM) (new)

Existential Investigator In his entry on Daybreak in Ecce Homo, Nietzsche does not say that the book is refuted by his later works. In fact he says this ("THE DAWN OF DAY: THOUGHTS ABOUT MORALITY AS A PREJUDICE", 2):

"The definite proof of the fact that the priest (including the priest in disguise, the philosopher) has become master, not only within a certain limited religious community, but everywhere, and that the morality of decadence, the will to nonentity, has become morality per se, is to be found in this: that altruism is now an absolute value, and egoism is regarded with hostility everywhere. He who disagrees with me on this point, I regard as infected."


message 35: by Lia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia Existential wrote: "the early people who are wicked and strong in their youth, and the moderns are those who have lost their strength."

Except Nietzsche overheard two old patriots talking about how they are strong but not great, and thought to himself:
what! a statesman who did all this, a statesman for whom his nation would have to atone for all future time, assuming it had a future – would such a statesman be great?’ ‘Undoubtedly!’ the other patriot replied vehemently: ‘otherwise he would not have been able to do it! Perhaps you may say it was mad to want to do such a thing? But perhaps everything great has been merely mad to begin with!’ – ‘Misuse of words!’ cried the other: – ‘strong! strong! strong and mad! Not great!’ – The old men had obviously grown heated as they thus shouted their ‘truths’ in one another's faces; I, however, in my happiness and beyond, considered how soon a stronger will become master of the strong; and also that when one nation becomes spiritually shallower there is a compensation for it: another nation becomes deeper. –


I don’t see Nietzsche as saying the moderns as having lost their strength at all.


Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments Existential wrote: "In his entry on Daybreak in Ecce Homo, Nietzsche does not say that the book is refuted by his later works. In fact he says this ("THE DAWN OF DAY: THOUGHTS ABOUT MORALITY AS A PREJUDICE", 2)

The d..."


Jesus! Nietzsche sounds like Vox frickin' Dey.


message 37: by Existential (new)

Existential Investigator Lia wrote: I don’t see Nietzsche as saying the moderns as having lost their strength at all.

I'd like to hear your exegesis of that quote you provided, if your up for it. I don't see how it says that moderns are particularly strong, at least not in the same way he held the Romans to be strong. I am willing to concede on it though.

Also, be sure to check the message I posted above about Ecce Homo in further reference to our discussion about the Daybreak quote.


message 38: by Lia (last edited Dec 06, 2018 11:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia Existential wrote: "That's a clever statement but it doesn't really take away from what I explained. To engage in contemplation one is already distancing oneself from the world. Since Nietzsche held all thoughts to be interpretations that would be especially so for him."

So, I’m not very good at reading tones over the internet, did you mean to be condescending? I just want to clarify this so I know what kind of dialogue we’re having.

Anyway, we’re talking about the Platonic/ Aristotelian highest good as contemplation, and Nietzsche’s apparent objection to that right? I thought I already addressed that : contemplation (in Nicomachean) is probably refering to the highest good for the gods; not for mortals, whose highest good is ethics, ethos, practice, activities. Including activities of the soul, which is a lot of things, it could include contemplation, but not just contemplation.

I think Nietzsche mocks those who would envision pure knowledge completely devoid of earthly attachment, prejudice, completely depersonalized. WITH THAT SAID, much of BGE deals with the need to distance oneself from the common in order to cultivate the taste, the ears, for the future. That is, he sees the flaw in isolation, the need to condescend to down below, but at the same time, he affirms, has uses for, distancing oneself from the world.

And repose, Epicurean style.


message 39: by Lia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia Existential wrote: "exegesis of that quote you provided, if your up for it. I don't see how it says that moderns are particularly strong..."

I think he listens to two “timely” patriots, nationalists, who gloat about the strength of their nation, their modern mights now , but already, Nietzsche has his eyes and ears for the philosopher of the future, the even stronger, which will become the master of the “strong, strong, mad, not great.”

The philosopher of the future, which BGE is prelude to, Nietzsche predicts, is going to become the master of useful “merely strongs” of the present.


message 40: by Existential (new)

Existential Investigator Lia wrote: So, I’m not very good at reading tones over the internet, did you mean to be condescending? I just want to clarify this so I know what kind of dialogue we’re having.

I actually thought the statement was clever, and condescending implies a feeling of superiority which I don't feel. It probably came across as being condescending because I simultaneously thought it was clever while not agreeing.

Unfortunately I don't agree with you here either. Now I'm not sure if all my statements sound condescending.

It seems like a lot to unpack and I fear this discussion might become pedantic on my part. If we can go to the quote from Ecce Homo, he refers to philosophers (priests in disguise). You said, completely depersonalized, but since I can see your fairly familiar with Nietzsche you presumably know he considered all philosophy to be highly personal. Then it becomes a question of slave morality vs. master morality.

The Ecce Homo quote (and referring again back to the Daybreak quote with reference to it) seems to indicate that he thought there was a problem with the contemplative mind proper. Even his own philosophy is in a large part a response to the nihilism of his age - adressing a problem, and thus reactive.


message 41: by Existential (new)

Existential Investigator Lia wrote: I think he listens to two “timely” patriots, nationalists, who gloat about the strength of their nation, their modern mights now , but already, Nietzsche has his eyes and ears for the philosopher of the future, the even stronger, which will become the master of the “strong, strong, mad, not great.”

The philosopher of the future, which BGE is prelude to, Nietzsche predicts, is going to become the master of useful “merely strongs” of the present.


That sounds like a good interpretation. This whole question about the strength of moderns isn't really that interesting to me as a philosophical question or a Nietzsche question, but we can discuss it if you think it's worth it. I probably just have an autistic way of writing that makes me come across as an arsehole.

I suppose we are discussing this in relation to what I said about humans becoming weak as compared to past humans (I by the way removed that slightly before I saw your first response mainly because I didn't think it was a good interpretation of the Daybreak quote I made the remark in response to).

I'm not sure if Nietzsche would consider moderns strong in the way that the Romans (earlier people) were. Is it important? I'm not sure. I do think he saw the phase of nihilism people were entering as a weakness and uncertainty. Really I don't have much more to say about this particular issue.


message 42: by Lia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia Did he imply ALL philosophers are priest in disguise, or did he give an account of the history of philosophy (which was a pretty standard thing to do around that time, post Kant and Hegel etc), which, at the point the priest subverted the established social norm (Master-good, slave-irrelevant, evil-not-really-a-thing.), threw away all the groundworks the Greeks did to prepare the mind for knowledge, and those who continue to do philosophy must wear the costumes of the priest, going on to confirm the incidental, accidental, timely, contemporary norm as eternal and absolute?

I read that as one episode of the history of (western) philosophy, not all philosophers as priest in disguise.


Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments I am going to lay a triple quotation on ya, and then ask, what does it mean, a philosopher is a priest in disguise? What does a priest do? He protects the secrets of the mystery from the profane. And in this sense Nietzsche, too is a priest.


... When a man has been sitting alone with his soul in confidential discord and discourse, year in and year out, day and night; when in his cave—it may be a labyrinth or a gold mine—he has become a cave bear or a treasure digger or a treasure guard and dragon; then even his concepts eventually acquire a peculiar twilight color, an odor just as much of depth as of must, something incommunicable and recalcitrant that blows at every passerby like a chill.
[...]
Every philosophy is a foreground philosophy—that is a hermit’s judgment: “There is something arbitrary in his stopping here to look back and look around, in his not digging deeper here but laying his spade aside; there is also something suspicious about it.” Every philosophy also conceals a philosophy; every opinion is also a hideout, every word also a mask.
[...]

292
A philosopher—is a human being who constantly experiences, sees, hears, suspects, hopes, and dreams extraordinary things; who is struck by his own thoughts as from outside, as from above and below, as by his type of experiences and lightning bolts; who is perhaps himself a storm pregnant with new lightnings; a fatal human being around whom there are constant rumblings and growlings, crevices, and uncanny doings.



message 44: by Lia (last edited Dec 06, 2018 11:31AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia Existential wrote: "Unfortunately I don't agree with you here either. Now I'm not sure if all my statements sound condescending..."

Nah, just the clever remark. It's fine if you want to condescend to me, it's also fine if you don't, I just really can't read the cues and wanted to know which mask to put on for the play.

I don't think you're an arsehole, not that I have any problem with arseholes. (Or asses, beautiful and strong!)


message 45: by Existential (new)

Existential Investigator Lia wrote: I read that as one episode of the history of (western) philosophy, not all philosophers as priest in disguise.


I don't know Lia. I can only say how I read it, I suppose. In the Ecce Homo quote (remember the quote is about Daybreak) he uses (at least in the English translation) "the" philosopher, and not philosophers or certain philosophers. That makes me think he means philosophers as a type rather than as particular instances.

Then going back to the Daybreak quote, the section I posted is about the origin of the contemplative life. If it is the origin, it would be the origin for all philosophers. I don't see him speak of a second origin of another healthier branch.

I suppose you feel there may be some hope for the contemplative life as a way of life?

I cannot respond more for the night.


message 46: by Christopher (last edited Dec 06, 2018 12:54PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments There's always hope for the contemplative life.

eta: Consider how Herman Hesse, who was as much a Nietzschean as the next guy, envisioned the future in The Glass Bead Game- the monasteries return, but they are secular.

It's been a while since I read it, but I remember his bit on "The Age of the Feuilleton":

According to the premise of the book, “the Age of Feuilleton” is essentially what we live in now at the end of the 20th century. It was an age of intellectual frivolity. Feuilleton is a French word which refers to the light entertainment articles in daily newspapers. The book opens with future scholars trying to figure out the Feuilletonistic age. Hesse’s future archivists write: “We must confess that we cannot provide an unequivocal definition of those products from which the age takes its name.”

The phrase — which I couldn’t pronounce to save my life — was coined by a fictional historian named “Ziegenhalss” to capture the unseriousness of the popular mood of the 19th and 20th centuries. Typical articles of the Age of Feuilleton were, according to Hesse, “Friedrich Nietzsche and Women’s Fashions of 1870,” or “The Role of the Lapdog in the Lives of the Great Courtesans.” Others might be — considering the word is French after all, “How to Capitulate while Making Smelly Cheese,” or “Full Employment Schmull Employment.


https://www.nationalreview.com/1999/0...


Thomas | 4515 comments Lia wrote: "For Aristotle, Eudaimonia is presumably objective.."

This is my point. Nietzsche obviously borrows and adopts a lot of ancient Greek thinking, including Aristotle, but his foundations are solidly pre-Socratic. Whatever happiness is for Nietzsche, it's subjective and dynamic and egoistic. The free spirit to a great extent creates his own nature and his own happiness, whereas for Aristotle happiness is bound up with living according to nature in the world as it already is. Human beings don't create the conditions for happiness, though they are responsible for living in a way that comports with those conditions. Aristotle's orientation is toward an objective and knowable world, whereas Nietzsche's orientation is toward the self.


message 48: by Lia (last edited Dec 06, 2018 01:01PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia Thomas wrote: "Lia wrote: "For Aristotle, Eudaimonia is presumably objective.."

This is my point. Nietzsche obviously borrows and adopts a lot of ancient Greek thinking, including Aristotle, but his foundations ..."


But I’m only talking about the mistranslation of the word Eudaimonia into “happiness,” (kind of like the troubles with translating Arete into “virtue”). Whatever Nietzsche is dissing, is not Eudaimonia.

I think Aristotle is pretty inconclusive as well, he starts out saying if there is an objectively knowable good, then it’s most worthy of searching, but then gropes about imprecisely, arriving inconclusively.

I don’t think Nietzsche’s orientation is toward the self, I think he’s working towards a new public that is not founded on Platonic metaphysics, a reordering of the soul (psyche, psychology) so that we moderns (herd included) don’t have to twist into pretzels clinging onto the past while facing towards the future. And that’s basically what I meant to say when I compared BGE to NE: they are both about discovering, through a lot of digressions, doxa, endoxa, detours, repetitions, to arrive at some practical “eudaimonia” (not pleasure-based utilitarian material “happiness”) that is proper for the modern soul.


Christopher (Donut) | 531 comments Thomas wrote: "The free spirit to a great extent creates his own nature and his own happiness, whereas for Aristotle happiness is bound up with living according to nature in the world as it already is.

Thomas, as you willing to assert, here and now, that Aristotle's "nature," Aristotle's "world as it already is," WAS in fact, nature itself, and the actual world as it actually was (let alone the world as it is now).

Or, is Nietzsche letting the cat out of the bag, maybe? Maybe Aristotle CREATED the values he espoused.


message 50: by Lia (last edited Dec 06, 2018 01:45PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lia Existential wrote: "I suppose you feel there may be some hope for the contemplative life as a way of life?"

Not just some hope, but certainty that contemplative as a component is necessary in Nietzsche’s program.

I OCR'd this from google play book, there might be typos, but it's from Gay Science 301

GS 301
The fancy of the contemplatives- What distinguishes the higher human beings from the lower is that the former see and hear immeasurably more, and see and hear thoughtfully-and precisely this distinguishes human beings from animals, and the higher animals from the lower. For anyone who grows up into the heights of humanity the world becomes ever fuller; ever more fishhooks are cast in his direction to capture his interest; the number of things that stimulate him grows constantly, as does the number of different kinds of pleasure and displeasure: The higher human being always becomes at the same time happier and unhappier. But he can never shake off a delusion: He fancies that he is a spectator and listener who has been placed before the great visual and acoustic spectacle that is life; he calls his own nature contemplative and overlooks that he himself is really the poet who keeps creating this life. Of course. he is different from the actor of this drama. the so-called active type; but he is even less like a mere spectator and festive guest in front of the stage. As a poet. he certainly has vis contemplativa and the ability to look back upon his work but at the same time also and above all vis creativa which the active human being lacks, whatever visual appearances and the faith of all the world may say. We who think and feel at the same time are those who really continually fashion something that had not been there before: the whole eternally growing world of valuations, colors. accents, perspectives, scales, affirmations, and negations. This poem that we have invented is continually studied by the so-called practical human beings (our actors) who learn their roles and translate everything into flesh and actuality, into the everyday. Whatever has value in our world now does not have value in itself, according to its nature - nature is always valueless but has been given value at some time, as a present-and it was we who gave and bestowed it. Only we have created the world that concerns man! —But precisely this knowledge we lack. and when we occasionally catch it for a fleeting moment we always forget it again immediately; we fail to recognize our best power and underestimate ourselves, the contemplatives. just a little. We are neither as proud nor as happy as we might be.


So, yes, I think Nietzsche did change after Dawn, (other than the part where he says change is the only thing that is eternal...) AND that we ourselves are the contemplatives.

Not pure contemplatives, but BOTH contemplatives AND actors. Not disinterested nature with value exiled, but the creator of value, through holding two previously opposing impulses (contemplation vs action) in tension.


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