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vendredi, 23 mars 2018

The Black Sun: Dionysus, Nietzsche, and Greek Myth


The Black Sun: Dionysus, Nietzsche, and Greek Myth

Gwendolyn Taunton

Ex: https://manticorepress.net

Affirmation of life even it its strangest and sternest problems, the will to life rejoicing in its own inexhaustibility through the sacrifice of its highest types – that is what I call the Dionysian…Not so as to get rid of pity and terror, not so as to purify oneself of a dangerous emotion through its vehement discharge – it was thus Aristotle understood it – but, beyond pity and terror, to realize in oneself the eternal joy of becoming – that joy which also encompasses joy in destruction…And with that I again return to that place from which I set out –The Birth of Tragedy was my first revaluation of all values: with that I again plant myself in the soil out of which I draw all that I will and can – I, the last disciple of the philosopher Dionysus – I, the teacher of the eternal recurrence(Nietzsche, “What I Owe to the Ancients”)

It is a well known fact that most of the early writings of the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, revolve around a prognosis of duality concerning the two Hellenic deities, Apollo and Dionysus. This dichotomy, which first appears in The Birth of Tragedy, is subsequently modified by Nietzsche in his later works so that the characteristics of the God Apollo are reflected and absorbed by his polar opposite, Dionysus. Though this topic has been examined frequently by philosophers, it has not been examined sufficiently in terms of its relation to the Greek myths which pertain to the two Gods in question. Certainly, Nietzsche was no stranger to Classical myth, for prior to composing his philosophical works, Nietzsche was a professor of Classical Philology at the University of Basel. This interest in mythology is also illustrated in his exploration of the use of mythology as tool by which to shape culture. The Birth of Tragedy is based upon Greek myth and literature, and also contains much of the groundwork upon which he would develop his later premises. Setting the tone at the very beginning of The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche writes:[spacer height=”20px”]

We shall have gained much for the science of aesthetics, once we perceive not merely by logical inference, but with the immediate certainty of vision, that the continuous development of art is bound up with the Apollonian and Dionysian duality – just as procreation depends on the duality of the sexes, involving perpetual strife with only periodically intervening reconciliations. The terms Dionysian and Apollonian we borrow from the Greeks, who disclose to the discerning mind the profound mysteries of their view of art, not, to be sure, in concepts, but in the intensely clear figures of their gods. Through Apollo and Dionysus, the two art deities of the Greeks, we come to recognize that in the Greek world there existed a tremendous opposition…[1]

Initially then, Nietzsche’s theory concerning Apollo and Dionysus was primarily concerned with aesthetic theory, a theory which he would later expand to a position of predominance at the heart of his philosophy. Since Nietzsche chose the science of aesthetics as the starting point for his ideas, it is also the point at which we shall begin the comparison of his philosophy with the Hellenic Tradition.


The opposition between Apollo and Dionysus is one of the core themes within The Birth of Tragedy, but in Nietzsche’s later works, Apollo is mentioned only sporadically, if at all, and his figure appears to have been totally superseded by his rival Dionysus. In The Birth of Tragedy, Apollo and Dionysus are clearly defined by Nietzsche, and the spheres of their influence are carefully demarcated. In Nietzsche’s later writings, Apollo is conspicuous by the virtue of his absence – Dionysus remains and has ascended to a position of prominence in Nietzsche’s philosophy, but Apollo, who was an integral part of the dichotomy featured in The Birth of Tragedy, has disappeared, almost without a trace. There is in fact, a simple reason for the disappearance of Apollo – he is in fact still present, within the figure of Dionysus. What begins in The Birth of Tragedy as a dichotomy shifts to synthesis in Nietzsche’s later works, with the name Dionysus being used to refer to the unified aspect of both Apollo and Dionysus, in what Nietzsche believes to the ultimate manifestation of both deities. In early works the synthesis between Apollo & Dionysus is incomplete – they are still two opposing principles – “Thus in The Birth of Tragedy, Apollo, the god of light, beauty and harmony is in opposition to Dionysian drunkenness and chaos”.[2] The fraternal union of Apollo & Dionysus that forms the basis of Nietzsche’s view is, according to him, symbolized in art, and specifically in Greek tragedy.[3] Greek tragedy, by its fusion of dialogue and chorus; image and music, exhibits for Nietzsche the union of the Apollonian and Dionysian, a union in which Dionysian passion and dithyrambic madness merge with Apollonian measure and lucidity, and original chaos and pessimism are overcome in a tragic attitude that is affirmative and heroic.[4]

The moment of Dionysian “terror” arrives when […] a cognitive failure or wandering occurs, when the principle of individuation, which is Apollo’s “collapses” […] and gives way to another perception, to a contradiction of appearances and perhaps even to their defeasibility as such (their “exception”). It occurs “when [one] suddenly loses faith in […] the cognitive form of phenomena. Just as dreams […] satisfy profoundly our innermost being, our common [deepest] ground [der gemeinsame Untergrund], so too, symmetrically, do “terror” and “blissful” ecstasy…well up from the innermost depths [Grunde] of man once the strict controls of the Apollonian principle relax. Then “we steal a glimpse into the nature of the Dionysian”.[5]

apollonooooooo.jpgThe Apollonian and the Dionysian are two cognitive states in which art appears as the power of nature in man.[6] Art for Nietzsche is fundamentally not an expression of culture, but is what Heidegger calls “eine Gestaltung des Willens zur Macht” a manifestation of the will to power. And since the will to power is the essence of being itself, art becomes “die Gestaltung des Seienden in Ganzen,” a manifestation of being as a whole.[7] This concept of the artist as a creator, and of the aspect of the creative process as the manifestation of the will, is a key component of much of Nietzsche’s thought – it is the artist, the creator who diligently scribes the new value tables. Taking this into accord, we must also allow for the possibility that Thus Spake Zarathustra opens the doors for a new form of artist, who rather than working with paint or clay, instead provides the Uebermensch, the artist that etches their social vision on the canvas of humanity itself.  It is in the character of the Uebermensch that we see the unification of the Dionysian (instinct) and Apollonian (intellect) as the manifestation of the will to power, to which Nietzsche also attributes the following tautological value “The Will to Truth is the Will to Power”.[8] This statement can be interpreted as meaning that by attributing the will to instinct, truth exists as a naturally occurring phenomena – it exists independently of the intellect, which permits many different interpretations of the truth in its primordial state. The truth lies primarily in the will, the subconscious, and the original raw instinctual state that Nietzsche identified with Dionysus. In The Gay Science Nietzsche says:

For the longest time, thinking was considered as only conscious, only now do we discover the truth that the greatest part of our intellectual activity lies in the unconscious […] theories of Schopenhauer and his teaching of the primacy of the will over the intellect. The unconscious becomes a source of wisdom and knowledge that can reach into the fundamental aspects of human existence, while the intellect is held to be an abstracting and falsifying mechanism that is directed, not toward truth but toward “mastery and possession.” [9]

Thus the will to power originates not in the conscious, but in the subconscious. Returning to the proposed dichotomy betwixt Dionysus and Apollo, in his later works the two creative impulses become increasingly merged, eventually reaching a point in his philosophy wherein Dionysus refers not to the singular God, but rather a syncretism of Apollo and Dionysus in equal quantity. “The two art drives must unfold their powers in a strict proportion, according to the law of eternal justice.”[10] For Nietzsche, the highest goal of tragedy is achieved in the harmony between two radically distinct realms of art, between the principles that govern the Apollonian plastic arts and epic poetry and those that govern the Dionysian art of music.[11] To be complete and  to derive ultimate mastery from the creative process, one must harness both the impulses represented by Apollo and Dionysus – the instinctual urge and potent creative power of Dionysus, coupled with the skill and intellectualism of Apollo’s craftsmanship – in sum both natural creative power from the will and the skills learnt within a social grouping. This definition will hold true for all creative ventures and is not restricted to the artistic process; ‘will’ and ‘skill’ need to act in harmony and concord.


In Nietzsche’s philosophy, Apollo and Dionysus are so closely entwined as to render them inseparable. Apollo, as the principle of appearance and of individuation, is that which grants appearance to the Dionysian form, without for Apollo, Dionysus remains bereft of physical appearance.

That [Dionysus] appears at all with such epic precision and clarity is the work of the dream interpreter, Apollo […] His appearances are at best instances of “typical ‘ideality,’” epiphanies of the “idea” or “idol”, mere masks and after images (Abbilde[er]). To “appear” Dionysus must take on a form.[12]

In his natural state, Dionysus has no form, it is only by reflux with Apollo, who represents the nature of form that Dionysus, as the nature of the formless, can appear to us at all. Likewise, Apollo without Dionysus becomes lost in a world of form – the complex levels of abstraction derived from the Dionysian impulse are absent. Neither god can function effectively without the workings of the other.  Dionysus appears, after all, only thanks to the Apollonian principle. This is Nietzsche’s rendition of Apollo and Dionysus, his reworking of the Hellenic mythos, forged into a powerful philosophy that has influenced much of the modern era. Yet how close is this new interpretation to the original mythology of the ancient Greeks, and how much of this is Nietzsche’s own creation? It is well known that Nietzsche and his contemporary Wagner both saw the merit in reshaping old myths to create new socio-political values. To fully understand Nietzsche’s retelling of the Dionysus myth and separate the modern ideas from that of the ancients, we need to examine the Hellenic sources on Dionysus.

apolyre.jpgMyths of Dionysus are often used to depict a stranger or an outsider to the community as a repository for the mysterious and prohibited features of another culture. Unsavory characteristics that the Greeks tend to ascribe to foreigners are attributed to him, and various myths depict his initial rejection by the authority of the polis – yet Dionysus’ birth at Thebes, as well as the appearance of his name on Linear B tablets, indicates that this is no stranger, but in fact a native, and that the rejected foreign characteristics ascribed to him are in fact Greek characteristics.[13] Rather than being a representative of foreign culture what we are in fact observing in the character of Dionysus is the archetype of the outsider; someone who sits outside the boundaries of the cultural norm, or who represents the disruptive element in society which either by its nature effects a change or is removed by the culture which its very presence threatens to alter. Dionysus represents as Plutarch observed, “the whole wet element” in nature – blood, semen, sap, wine, and all the life giving juice. He is in fact a synthesis of both chaos and form, of orgiastic impulses and visionary states – at one with the life of nature and its eternal cycle of birth and death, of destruction and creation.[14]  This disruptive element, by being associated with the blood, semen, sap, and wine is an obvious metaphor for the vital force itself, the wet element, being representative of “life in the raw”. This notion of “life” is intricately interwoven into the figure of Dionysus in the esoteric understanding of his cult, and indeed throughout the philosophy of the Greeks themselves, who had two different words for life, both possessing the  same root as Vita (Latin: Life) but present in very different phonetic forms: bios and zoë.[15]

Plotinos called zoë the “time of the soul”, during which the soul, in its course of rebirths, moves on from one bios to another […] the Greeks clung to a not-characterized “life” that underlies every bios and stands in a very different relationship to death than does a “life” that includes death among its characteristics […] This experience differs from the sum of experiences that constitute the bios, the content of each individual man’s written or unwritten biography. The experience of life without characterization – of precisely that life which “resounded” for the Greeks in the word zoë – is, on the other hand, indescribable.[16]

Zoë is Life in its immortal and transcendent aspect, and is thus representative of the pure primordial state. Zoëis the presupposition of the death drive; death exists only in relation to zoë. It is a product of life in accordance with a dialectic that is a process not of thought, but of life itself, of the zoë in each individual bios.[17]


The other primary association of Dionysus is with the chthonic elements, and we frequently find him taking the form of snakes. According to the myth of his dismemberment by the Titans, a myth which is strongly associated with Delphi, he was born of Persephone, after Zeus, taking snake form, had impregnated her. [18] In Euripides Bacchae, Dionysus, being the son of Semele, is a god of dark and frightening subterranean powers; yet being also the son of Zeus, he mediates between the chthonic and civilized worlds, once again playing the role of a liminal outsider that passes in transit from one domain to another.[19] Through his association with natural forces, a description of his temple has been left to us by a physician from Thasos: “A temple in the open air, an open air naos with an altar and a cradle of vine branches; a fine lair, always green; and for the initiates a room in which to sing the evoe.”[20] This stands in direct contrast to Apollo, who was represented by architectural and artificial beauty. Likewise his music was radically different to that of Apollo’s; “A stranger, he should be admitted into the city, for his music is varied, not distant and monotone like the tunes of Apollo’s golden lyre”. (Euripides Bacchae 126-134, 155-156)[21]

Both Gods were concerned with the imagery of life, art, and as we shall see soon, the sun. Moreover, though their forces were essentially opposite, they two Gods were essentially representative of two polarities for the same force, meeting occasionally in perfect balance to reveal an unfolding Hegelian dialectic that was the creative process of life itself and the esoteric nature of the solar path, for just as Dionysus was the chthonic deity (and here we intentionally use the word Chthon instead of the word Gē  – Chthon being literally underworld and Gē being the earth or ground) and Apollo was a Solar deity; but not the physical aspect of the sun as a heavenly body, this was ascribed by to the god Helios instead. Rather Apollo represented the human aspect of the solar path (and in this he is equivalent to the Vedic deity Savitar), and its application to the mortal realm; rather than being the light of the sky, Apollo is the light of the mind: intellect and creation. He is as bright as Dionysus is dark – in Dionysus the instinct, the natural force of zoë is prevalent, associated with the chthonic world below ground because he is immortal, his power normally unseen. He rules during Apollo’s absence in Hyperborea because the sun has passed to another land, the reign of the bright sun has passed and the time of the black sun commences – the black sun being the hidden aspect of the solar path, represented by the departure of Apollo in this myth.


Apollo is frequently mentioned in connection to Dionysus in Greek myth. Inscriptions dating from the third century B.C., mention that Dionysos Kadmeios reigned alongside Apollo over the assembly of Theben gods.[22] Likewise on Rhodes a holiday called Sminthia was celebrated there in memory of a time mice attacked the vines there and were destroyed by Apollo and Dionysus, who shared the epithet Sminthios on the island.[23] They are even cited together in the Odyssey (XI 312-25), and also in the story of the death of Koronis, who was shot by Artemis, and this at Apollo’s instigation because she had betrayed the god with a mortal lover.[24] Also, the twin peaks on Parnassos traditionally known as the “peaks of Apollo and Dionysus.”[25] Their association and worship however, was even more closely entwined at Delphi, for as Leicester Holland has perceived:

(1) Dionysus spoke oracles at Delphi before Apollo did; (2) his bones were placed in a basin beside the tripod; (3) the omphalos was his tomb. It is well known, moreover, that Dionysus was second only to Apollo in Delphian and Parnassian worship; Plutarch, in fact, assigns to Dionysus an equal share with Apollo in Delphi[26]

A Pindaric Scholiast says that Python ruled the prophetic tripod on which Dionysus was the first to speak oracles; that then Apollo killed the snake and took over.[27] The association of Apollo and Dionysus in Delphi, moreover, was not limited to their connection to the Delphic Oracle. We also find this relationship echoed in the commemoration of the Great flood which was celebrated each year at a Delphian festival called Aiglē, celebrated two or three days before the full moon of January or February, at the same time as the Athenian Anthesteria festival, the last day of which was devoted to commemorating the victims of the Great Flood; this was the same time of the year when Apollo was believed at Delphi to return from his sojourn among the Hyperboreans. Moreover, Dionysus is said to have perished and returned to life in the flood.[28] Apollo’s Hyperborean absence is his yearly death – Apollonios says that Apollo shed tears when he went to the Hyperborean land; thence flows the Eridanos, on whose banks the Heliades wail without cease; and extremely low spirits came over the Argonauts as they sailed that river of amber tears.[29]

This is the time of Dionysus’ reign at Delphi in which he was the center of Delphic worship for the three winter months, when Apollo was absent. Plutarch, himself a priest of the Pythian Apollo, Amphictyonic official and a frequent visitor to Delphi,  says that for nine months the paean was sung in Apollo’s honour at sacrifices, but at the beginning of winter the paeans suddenly ceased, then for three months men sang dithyrambs and addressed themselves to Dionysus rather than to Apollo.[30] Chthonian Dionysus manifested himself especially at the winter festival when the souls of the dead rose to walk briefly in the upper world again, in the festival that the Athenians called Anthesteria, whose Delphian counterpart was the Theophania. The Theophania marked the end of Dionysus’ reign and Apollo’s return; Dionysus and the ghosts descended once more to Hades realm.[31] In this immortal aspect Dionysus is very far removed from being a god of the dead and winter; representing instead immortal life, the zoë, which was employed in Dionysian cult to release psychosomatic energies summoned from the depths that were discharged in a physical cult of life.[32]


Dionysus is the depiction of transcendent primordial life, life that persists even during the absence of Apollo (the Sun) – for as much as Apollo is the Golden Sun, Dionysus is the Black or Winter Sun, reigning in the world below ground whilst Apollo’s presence departs for another hemisphere, dead to the people of Delphi, the Winter Sun reigns in Apollo’s absence. Far from being antagonistic opposites, Apollo and Dionysus were so closely related in Greek myth that according to Deinarchos, Dionysus was killed and buried at Delphi beside the golden Apollo.[33] Likewise, in the Lykourgos tetralogy of Aischylos, the cry “Ivy-Apollo, Bakchios, the soothsayer,” is heard when the Thracian bacchantes, the Bassarai, attacks Orpheus, the worshipper of Apollo and the sun. The cry suggests a higher knowledge of the connection between Apollo and Dionysus, the dark god, whom Orpheus denies in favour of the luminous god. In the Lykymnios of Euripides the same connection is attested by the cry, “Lord, laurel-loving Bakchios, Paean Apollo, player of the Lyre.”[34] Similarly, we find anotherpaean by Philodamos addressed to Dionysus from Delphi: “Come hither, Lord Dithyrambos, Backchos…..Bromios now in the spring’s holy period.”[35] The pediments of the temple of Apollo also portray on one side Apollo with Leto, Artemis, and the Muses, and on the other side Dionysus and the thyiads, and a vase painting of c.400 B.C. shows Apollo and Dionysus in Delphi holding their hands to one another.[36]

An analysis of Nietzsche’s philosophy concerning the role of Apollo and Dionysus in Hellenic myth thus reveals more than even a direct parallel. Not only did Nietzsche comprehend the nature of the opposition between Apollo and Dionysus, he understood this aspect of their cult on the esoteric level, that their forces, rather than being antagonistic are instead complementary, with both Gods performing two different aesthetic techniques in the service of the same social function, which reaches its pinnacle of development when both creative processes are elevated in tandem within an individual. Nietzsche understood the symbolism of myths and literature concerning the two gods, and he actually elaborated upon it, adding the works of Schopenhauer to create a complex philosophy concerning not only the interplay of aesthetics in the role of the creative process, but also the nature of the will and the psychological process used to create a certain type, which is exemplified in both his ideals of the Ubermensch and the Free Spirit. Both of these higher types derive their impetus from the synchronicity of the Dionysian and Apollonian drives, hence why in Nietzsche’s later works following The Birth of Tragedy only the Dionysian impulse is referred to, this term not being used to signify just Dionysus, but rather the balanced integration of the two forces. This ideal of eternal life (zoë) is also located in Nietzsche’s theory of Eternal Reoccurrence – it denies the timeless eternity of a supernatural God, but affirms the eternity of the ever-creating and destroying powers in nature and man, for like the solar symbolism of Apollo and Dionysus, it is a notion of cyclical time. To Nietzsche, the figure of Dionysus is the supreme affirmation of life, the instinct and the will to power, with the will to power being an expression of the will to life and to truth at its highest exaltation – “It is a Dionysian Yea-Saying to the world as it is, without deduction, exception and selection…it is the highest attitude that a philosopher can reach; to stand Dionysiacally toward existence: my formula for this is amor fati”’[37]  Dionysus is thus to both Nietzsche and the Greeks, the highest expression of Life in its primordial and transcendent meaning, the hidden power of the Black Sun and the subconscious impulse of the will.


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[1]James I. Porter, The Invention of Dionysus: An Essay on the Birth of Tragedy, (California: Stanford University Press, 2002), 40

[2]Rose Pfeffer, Nietzsche: Disciple of Dionysus, (New Jersey: Associated University Presses, Inc. 1977), 31

[3] Ibid.,31

[4] Ibid., 51

[5] James I. Porter, The Invention of Dionysus: An Essay on the Birth of Tragedy, 50-51

[6] Ibid., 221

[7] Ibid., 205-206

[8] Rose Pfeffer, Nietzsche: Disciple of Dionysus, 114

[9] Ibid, 113

[10] James I. Porter, The Invention of Dionysus: An Essay on the Birth of Tragedy, 82

[11] Rose Pfeffer, Nietzsche: Disciple of Dionysus, 32

[12] James I. Porter, The Invention of Dionysus: An Essay on the Birth of Tragedy, 99

[13]Dora C. Pozzi, and John M. Wickerman, Myth & the Polis, (New York: Cornell University 1991), 36

[14]Rose Pfeffer, Nietzsche: Disciple of Dionysus,  126

[15] Carl Kerényi, Dionysos Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, (New Jersey: Princeton university press,  1996), xxxxi

[16] Ibid., xxxxv

[17] Ibid., 204-205

[18] Joseph Fontenrose, Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and its Origins (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 378

[19]Dora C. Pozzi, and John M. Wickerman, Myth & the Polis,  147

[20]Marcel Detienne, trans. Arthur Goldhammer Dionysos At Large, (London: Harvard Univeristy Press 1989), 46

[21]Dora C. Pozzi, and John M. Wickerman, Myth & the Polis,   144

[22] Marcel Detienne, trans. Arthur Goldhammer Dionysos At Large, 18

[23] Daniel E. Gershenson, Apollo the Wolf-God in Journal of Indo-European Studies, Mongraph number 8 (Virginia: Institute for the Study of Man 1991), 32

[24]Carl Kerényi, Dionysos Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, (New Jersey: Princeton university press,  1996), 103

[25] Dora C. Pozzi, and John M. Wickerman, Myth & the Polis,  139

[26] Joseph Fontenrose, Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and its Origins (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 375

[27] Ibid., 376

[28]Daniel E. Gershenson, Apollo the Wolf-God in Journal of Indo-European Studies, Monograph number 8, 61

[29] Joseph Fontenrose, Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and its Origins (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 387

[30] Ibid., 379

[31] Ibid., 380-381

[32] Ibid., 219

[33] Ibid., 388

[34] Carl Kerényi, Dionysos Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, (New Jersey: Princeton university press,  1996), 233

[35] Ibid.,217

[36] Walter F. Otto, Dionysus: Myth and Cult, (Dallas: Spring Publications, 1989) 203

[37] Rose Pfeffer, Nietzsche: Disciple of Dionysus,  261

vendredi, 05 mai 2017




The German philosopher is not the proto-postmodern relativist some have mistaken him for.

Since his death in 1900, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche has had the unfortunate distinction of being blamed for three catastrophes to have befallen Western civilisation. He was blamed for the First World War, when his inflammatory and bellicose writing became cult reading not only for Europe’s restless youth, yearning for blood sacrifice at the beginning of the 20th century, but also for a German military class adjudged to have initiated that catastrophe.

As if being charged for one world war wasn’t bad enough, Nietzsche was also blamed for the Second World War, with his talk of superior ‘Supermen’ [Übermenschen] crushing the ‘decadent’ and ‘weak’ selectively appropriated by Hitler and the Nazis. This was despite the fact that Nietzsche loathed German nationalism and especially despised anti-Semites for their pathetic resentment.

And thirdly, in the past 50 years, Nietzsche has been blamed for a more silent disaster: the rise of relativism and the idea that there is no such thing as objective truth. Seldom now, especially in academia, do you now read the word ‘truth’ written without those doubting – and even contemptuous – inverted commas. One of the most resilient doctrines of our times is that all knowledge depends on who is saying it and for what motive. This relativism is invariably traced back to Nietzsche.

This is largely to do with French philosopher Michel Foucault’s rehabilitation of Nietzsche. Foucault’s writing on power and knowledge in the 1960s and 1970s, which has been widely disseminated in society ever since, drew upon quotes from Nietzsche that ‘truth’ stems from the desire for power and has no eternal objective foundation. In his landmark lectures, ‘Truth and Juridical Forms’, delivered in 1973, Foucault said of the myth of ‘pure truth’: ‘This great myth needs to be dispelled. It is this myth which Nietzsche began to demolish by showing… that behind all knowledge [savoir], behind all attainment of knowledge [connaissance], what is involved is a struggle for power. Political power is not absent from knowledge, it is woven together with it.’

I believe that it’s time that the great man and free-thinker par excellence was reclaimed by the school of the Enlightenment

When you hear cries on campus or in academic literature these days that knowledge, truth or science are but ‘white’ or ‘male’ inventions, look no further than Foucault to discover from where this rhetoric came. And because Foucault is open in his debt to Nietzsche, he helped to raise Nietzsche to his current status as the godfather of postmodernist relativism.

He has consequently been maligned as the source of our nihilist discontents. In Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind (1987), a key work in the Culture Wars, Bloom complained that Nietzsche was behind the emergent spirit of nihilism in academia, the fount of the corrosive culture of relativism eating away at the values of liberal democracy. ‘Nobody really believes in anything anymore’, wrote Bloom, ‘and everyone spends his life in frenzied work and frenzied play so as not to face the fact, not to look into the abyss. Nietzsche’s call to revolt against liberal democracy is more powerful and more radical than is Marx’s.’

Elsewhere, in Experiments Against Reality (2000), conservative commentator Roger Kimball damns ‘Nietzscheanism for the masses, as squads of cozy nihilists parrot his ideas and attitudes. Nietzsche’s contention that truth is merely “a moveable host of metaphors, metonymies and anthropomorphisms”, for example, has become a veritable mantra in comparative literature departments across the country.’ More recently, Peter Watson opened his 2014 work The Age of Nothing with the following questions on the book’s very first page: ‘Is there something missing in our lives? Is Nietzsche to blame?’

But is Nietzsche really to blame? And was he really a relativist? I would say that he isn’t and he wasn’t. I believe that it’s time that the great man and free-thinker par excellence was reclaimed by the school of the Enlightenment.

Nietzsche is often invoked favourably by relativists, or denounced by their detractors, for an infamous statement near the beginning of his 1878 work, Human, All Too Human. It reads: ‘there are no eternal facts, nor are there any absolute truths’.  Yet elsewhere in the same book he exhorts the values of ‘rigorous reflection, compression, coldness, plainness… restraint of feeling and taciturnity’. Thus spoke the real, authentic language of Nietzsche’s rational, harsh and demanding philosophy – not the lazy relativism of legend and hearsay. And the most interesting and telling thing about Human, All Too Human is that it is actually dedicated by the author to Voltaire, one of the principal propagators of the Enlightenment.

This shouldn’t surprise us. Nietzsche, after all, attacked superstition, religious dogma and uncritical, unexamined and outdated ways of thinking – just as Voltaire did. They both believed that Christianity’s god was dead. And they believed in thinking for yourself and daring to challenge the consensus. As Nietzsche later reflected: ‘Voltaire is, in contrast to all who have written after him, above all a grand seigneur of the spirit: precisely what I am, too.’ When writing Ecce Homo in the late 1880s, Nietzsche sought to resurrect the Voltairean spirit in Europe, which he felt by his times had been washed away by pessimistic Romanticism. ‘Voltaire still comprehended umanità in the Renaissance’, Nietzsche wrote, ‘the cause of taste, of science, of the arts, of progress itself and civilisation’.

In Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche in turn denounces Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the writer many claim birthed Romanticism. ‘It’s not Voltaire’s temperate nature, inclined to organising, cleansing and restructuring, but rather Rousseau’s passionate idiocies and half-truths that have called awake the optimistic spirit of revolution, counter to which I shout: “Ecrasez l’infame!” [‘crush the infamous thing!’— referencing Voltaire’s cry against superstition]. Because of him, the spirit of the Enlightenment and of progressive development has been scared off for a long time to come: let us see (each one for himself) whether it is not possible to call it back again!’

Truths were to be obtained and striven for, but they were always to be tentatively held, ready to be jettisoned when they were disproved or no longer useful

Nietzsche believed in truth, albeit of an unstable, contingent, perspectival and disposable variety. He believed in constant experimentation and argument. His Übermensch forever goes beyond and above. This is why they had to struggle, because truth was difficult but ultimately necessary to obtain through free-thinking and reason. As he wrote in Daybreak (1881): ‘Every smallest step in the field of free thinking, and of the personally formed life, has ever been fought for at a cost of spiritual and physical tortures… change has required its innumerable martyrs… Nothing has been bought more dearly than that little bit of human reason and sense of freedom that is now the basis of our pride.’ Far from being casual about truth, Nietzsche cared deeply about it. And any truth we held had to earn its keep. ‘Truth has had to be fought for every step of the way, almost everything else dear to our hearts, on which our love and our trust in life depend, had to be sacrificed to it’, he wrote later in 1888 in The Antichrist.

Nietzsche believed truths had to be earnt. He believed we had to cross swords in the struggle for truth, because it mattered so dearly, not because ‘anything goes’. We had to accept as true even that which we found intolerable and unacceptable, when the evidence proved it so. All points of view certainly are not valid. Walter Kaufmann, who began the mainstream rehabilitation of Nietzsche after the Second World War, concluded in the fourth edition of his classic Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (1974): ‘Nietzsche’s valuation of suffering and cruelty was not the consequence of any gory irrationality, but a corollary of his high esteem of rationality. The powerful man is the rational man who subjects even his most cherished faith to the severe scrutiny of reason and is prepared to give up his beliefs if they cannot stand this stern test. He abandons what he loves most, if rationality requires it. He does not yield to his inclinations and impulses.’

Of course our truths aren’t eternal. Times change. While Nietzsche’s quote that ‘there are no eternal facts’ has been appropriated by relativists, this statement is entirely consistent with our Popperian approach to truth today: we hold on to truths before new evidence comes along to prove otherwise. Copernicus had fathomed the truth until Galileo came along with a better one. Newton’s physics were right until Einstein supplanted them. The science of tomorrow will inevitably disprove the science of today.

Nietzsche was in the end a radical empiricist – a self-declared enemy of ideology, ideologues and people who cling dogmatically to systems, beliefs and ‘-isms’

Truths were to be obtained and striven for, but they were always to be tentatively held, ready to be jettisoned when they were disproved or no longer useful. Nietzsche wrote how contingent truths were useful for our everyday lives: ‘One should not understand this compulsion to construct concepts, species, forms, purposes, laws… as if they enable us to fix the real world; but as a compulsion to arrange a world for ourselves in which our existence is made possible. We thereby create a world which is calculable, simplified, comprehensible, etc, for us.’ Not all points of view were equally valid, because some were useful, and others were useless.

Nietzsche was in the end a radical empiricist – a self-declared enemy of ideology, ideologues and people who cling dogmatically to systems, beliefs and ‘-isms’. He deplored Kantian metaphysics for the same reason he decried Rousseau’s Romanticism: both were detached from the here and the now of real life. Both told us nothing about what was important or useful.

Truths do change with the times. Our truths are not eternal and do indeed evolve, and not all truths are ‘equally valid’. They have to prove their worth. Nietzsche put it so in a youthful letter to his sister, ‘if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire’. What champion of the Enlightenment would argue with that?

Patrick West is a spiked columnist. His new book, Get Over Yourself: Nietzsche For Our Times, will be published on 1 August by Imprint Academic. Preorder it here. Follow him on Twitter: @patrickxwest

For permission to republish spiked articles, please contact Viv Regan.

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dimanche, 20 novembre 2016

Nietzsche et l’hyperphysique de la morale


Nietzsche et l’hyperphysique de la morale

L’interrogation sur la morale est au cœur de la pensée de Nietzsche. « Je descendis en profondeur, je taraudais la base… je commençais à saper la confiance en la morale » (Aurore). La démarche de Nietzsche est une démarche de soupçon sur le pourquoi des choses. En conséquence, Nietzsche annonce qu’il faut de méfier à la fois de la morale et des moralistes. « J’ai choisi le mot d’immoraliste comme signe distinctif ou comme distinction », écrit-il dans Ecce homo.

Le rapport à la morale de Nietzsche va toutefois bien au-delà de la dimension de provocation, d’où la nécessité d’une généalogie de Nietzsche quant à la question morale. Le propos du philosophe André  Stanguennec consiste d’abord en cela : retracer l’apparition et les remaniements du thème de la morale chez Nietzsche. Il vise ensuite à étudier son traitement dans la Généalogie de la morale, cette œuvre étant vue comme l’unification de la théorie du problème moral chez Nietzsche Enfin, la troisième partie du travail de Stanguennec est consacrée à des mises en perspectives critiques d’origines diverses (Kant, Fichte, une certaine philosophie matérialiste – celle d’Yvon Quiniou), critiques présentées sous une forme dialogique.

Il faut donc effectuer un retour sur l’approche que fait Nietzsche de la morale. Nietzsche s’oppose d’abord à Socrate et à ses trois idées : 1) le savoir est condition de la vertu, 2) on ne pêche que par ignorance, 3) il est possible de chasser le mal du réel. Comment Nietzsche voit-il la question de la morale ? Sous l’angle du perspectivisme, « condition fondamentale de toute vie » (Aurore), perspectivisme d’abord humain, puis supra-humain. Il s’agit en d’autres termes de mettre en perspective les actions de chacun par rapport à son itinéraire, à ses valeurs, et cela sans référence à une morale transcendante, ni à une origine commune de celle-ci quels que soient les hommes.

aurorefn.jpgRien n’est responsabilité et tout est innocence pour Nietzsche (Humain, trop humain). Il reste la probité c’est-à-dire la rigueur et l’exigence vis-à-vis de soi-même. Quand Nietzsche dit qu’il n’y a pas de responsabilité des actes humains, en quel sens peut-on le comprendre ? En ce sens que : c’est le motif le plus fort en nous qui décide pour nous. Nous sommes agis par ce qui s’impose à nous en dernière instance : soit une force qui nous dépasse (ainsi la force de la peur qui nous fait fuir), soit une force qui nous emporte (ainsi la force de faire face conformément à l’idée que nous avons de nous-mêmes). Mais dans les deux cas, il n’y a pas de responsabilité à proprement parler.

La notion de responsabilité de l’individu est rejetée par Nietzsche pour deux raisons. L’une est qu’il ne s’agit pas pour lui de se référer à l’individu en soi. La seconde raison est que la notion de responsabilité supposerait l’univocité du sens de nos actions – univocité à laquelle Nietzsche ne croit pas. Quand Nietzsche oppose le « divisé » à « l’indivisé » qu’est l’individu (Aurore), il plaide pour un individu acceptant la division même de son être. Et c’est pour cet être et pour lui seul que se pose la question de la morale. Cette question de la morale prend ainsi sens à partir de la mort du dieu moral, le dieu des apparences, le surplombant (le Père), à partir de la mort du dieu d’amour (le Fils), et à partir de la mort du dieu devenu homme (le dieu modeste et humanisé qu’est aussi le Fils).

Loin d’être à l’origine des comportements « vertueux », la morale est pour Nietzsche une interprétation de ceux-ci a posteriori. Et une interprétation parmi d’autres. En ce sens, pour Nietzsche, cette interprétation est toujours fausse parce qu’incomplète. L’interprétation morale a posteriori nie ce qui s’est incarné dans l’acte – le flux de forces, l’énergie, la mise en perspective de soi (toujours le perspectivisme). La morale de l’intention ne dit jamais avec probité ce qui vraiment a fait advenir les actes. C’est pourquoi il y a selon Nietzsche un fondement « amoral » à une autre morale possible et souhaitable selon lui. Quelle est-elle ? Une morale en un sens plus restreint, une morale plus tranchante, avec laquelle on ne peut biaiser. « Ce qui fait le caractère essentiel et inappréciable de toute morale, répétera Nietzsche dans Par-delà bien et mal, c’est d’être une longue contrainte … c’est là que se trouve la “ nature ” et le “ naturel ” et non pas dans le laisser-aller » (paragraphe 188).

La morale est la théorie du déplacement des jouissances du monde. Qu’est-ce qui ordonne le passage d’une jouissance à une autre ? Quelle structure ? C’est là qu’est la morale selon Nietzsche, en un sens donc, à la fois étroit et ambitieux. Tout le reste est conséquence de ce questionnement ainsi formulé. Nietzsche peut être pacifiste ou belliciste en fonction de ce qui permet le mieux l’apparition d’un type humain supérieur. Il peut être pour un certain type de sélection si elle permet l’apparition d’un type d’homme supérieur, mais contre la forme actuelle du progrès donc de la sélection contemporaine : « Le progrès n’est qu’une idée moderne, donc une idée fausse », écrit Nietzsche (Antéchrist).

S’il y a une morale pour Nietzsche, elle consiste donc, exactement et strictement, à remonter aux origines des actes humains. Il faut comprendre que « le corps est une grande raison » (Zarathoustra). Il faut aussi enregistrer qu’il y a la vraie morale (c’est-à-dire l’éducation d’une contrainte par la contrainte) de ceux qui savent « digérer le réel » et la fausse morale-alibi des autres. « Un homme fort et réussi digère ses expériences vécues (faits, méfaits compris) comme il digère ses repas, même s’il doit avaler de durs morceaux » (in Généalogie de la morale). Le vouloir-lion ne se résume à aucune morale, aucun « tu dois ».

L’homme-lion ne refuse pas la douleur, à la manière de l’épicurien. Ce serait là vouloir un bouddhisme européen, une Chine européenne, une Europe devenue « Petite Chine ». L’homme-lion ne recherche pas non plus à tout prix le plaisir, à la manière du gourmand tel Calliclès (qui ne se réduit bien sûr pas à cette dimension et est notamment le fondateur de la généalogie de la morale et du droit).

L’homme-lion n’est ni masochiste (et donc certainement pas chrétien) ni hédoniste (d’où l’écart dans lequel se trouve Michel Onfray quand il défend Nietzsche au nom, à la fois, du matérialisme et de l’hédonisme). En d’autres termes, pour Nietzsche, tout « oui » à une joie est aussi un « oui » à une peine (cf. « Le chant du marcheur de nuit », in Zarathoustra, IV, paragraphe 10). « Toutes choses sont enchaînées, enchevêtrées, éprises. »

Lunatic Asylum Nietzsche by shamantrixx.jpg

La morale de Nietzsche ne consiste jamais à représenter quelque chose et surtout pas l’esthétique du sublime qu’il attribue à Kant et à Fichte. Elle consiste à présenter, à affirmer, à produire. Elle est métaphorique. André Stanguennec le montre bien : si l’anti-nihilisme de Nietzsche  est clair et net, son rapport au bouddhisme est ambivalent : sa conception du Moi comme illusion, et illusion à tenir à distance de soi-même plaît à Nietzsche. Et dans le même temps il perçoit fort bien comment un bouddhisme « épuré » psycho-physiologiquement (cf. A. Stanguennec, p. 277) pourrait rendre « vivable » le nihilisme – et même –, car Nietzsche mène toujours une analyse biface du réel – circonscrire ce nihilisme à un espace et à une population tels que d’autres horizons s’ouvrent au(x) surhomme(s). Le nihilisme servirait alors stratégiquement de bénéfique abcès de fixation à la médiocrité.

Cette nouvelle morale de Nietzsche est donc tout le contraire d’un « bouddhisme européen » (au sens de « européanisé ») consistant à « ne pas souffrir », et à « se garder » (en bonne santé). La grande santé n’est en effet pas la bonne santé. Elle est la santé toujours en conquête d’elle-même et en péril de n’être assez grande. Le bouddhisme européen est donc une fausse solution.

L’alternative n’est pas entre bouddhisme et hédonisme. La morale de Nietzsche n’est pas non plus le finalisme, qui postule qu’il faudrait se conformer à un sens déjà-là. C’est à l’homme, selon Nietzsche, de donner une valuation – une valeur dans une hiérarchie de valeurs – aux choses. Et ces valeurs sont conditionnées par leur utilité sociale. À quoi servent-elles ? Que légitiment-elles ? Voilà les questions que pose et se pose Nietzsche Ne le cachons pas : il existe un risque, au nom d’une vision « réalitaire », au nom d’une philosophie du soupçon, de croire et faire croire que l’homme n’a que des rapports d’instrumentalisation avec ce qu’il proclame comme « ayant de la valeur » pour lui. Des rapports purement stratégiques avec les valeurs : les valeurs de sa stratégie et non la stratégie de ses valeurs. « Nietzsche concède donc, écrit en ce sens André Stanguennec, qu’une part non négligeable de vérité a été découverte dans la perspective sociologique et utilitariste sur la morale » (p. 225).

Deux composantes forment la morale de Nietzsche : surmonter la compassion, surmonter le ressentiment. Il n’y a pour Nietzsche  jamais de fondement de la morale mais toujours une perspective. Cette perspective est ce qui permet au fort de rester fort. Il s’ensuit que ce qui met en perspective la morale de chacun se distribue selon Nietzsche en deux registres : morale des faibles et  morale des forts. Le terme « morale » n’est au demeurant pas le meilleur. Il s’agit – et le mot dit bien la brutalité dont il est question – d’un fonctionnement. Morale des faibles : elle se détermine par rapport à l’autre; le jugement (attendu et redouté en même temps) des autres précède l’action qui n’est qu’une réaction. Morale des forts : le sentiment de soi prévaut sur le sentiment de l’autre ou des autres; l’action s’en déduit, le jugement – qui est un diagnostic en tout état de cause sans repentir – intervient après l’action. Pour le fort, il ne saurait y avoir de faute puisqu’il ne saurait y avoir de dette vis-à-vis d’autrui. Il peut juste y avoir un déficit du surmontement de soi par soi, c’est-à-dire une mise en défaut de la volonté de puissance.

Ce qui est moral pour Nietzsche c’est de vouloir la multiplicité infinie des perspectives. Nietzsche s’oppose donc aux philosophes ascétiques, adeptes d’une volonté de puissance à l’envers, et dont le mot d’ordre est de « vouloir le rien » (attention : la volonté de néant des ascétiques ne se confond pas avec le bouddhisme, volonté du néant de la volonté – « ne rien vouloir »). Ensuite, contrairement à Kant, Nietzsche refuse la distinction entre l’apparence des choses et les choses en soi. Pour Nietzsche, la référence de la morale, c’est le monde comme totalité inconditionnée, totalité ni surplombante ni substantielle mais parcourue par les volontés de puissance qui sont comme les flux du vivant.

friedrich_nietzsche_by_gpr117.jpgNietzsche tente de dépasser la question du choix entre l’infinité ou la finitude du monde. Il tente de la dépasser par un pari sur la joie et sur la jubilation. C’est en quelque sorte la finitude du monde  corrigée par l’infinité des désirs et des volontés de puissance. La physique de Nietzsche est peut-être ainsi non pas une métaphysique – ce qui est l’hypothèse et la critique de Heidegger – mais une hyperphysique.

Cette hyperphysique nietzschéenne du monde consiste en l’impossibilité d’une morale du « moi ». Le « moi » renvoie à l’idée d’un dieu unique qui serait le créateur du « moi » comme sujet. Or, Nietzsche substitue au « moi » un « soi » comme « grande raison » du corps (Zarathoustra). Le dernier mot de la morale est alors la même chose que la vision de soi acceptée comme ultime. Nietzsche nous délivre sa vision : « Je ne veux pas être un saint … plutôt un pitre » (Ecce homo). Toutefois c’est une saillie marginale que cette remarque de Nietzsche. Ce qui est bien pour Nietzsche, c’est d’être soi, c’est d’approfondir non sa différence aux autres, mais son ipséité, c’est se référer non aux autres mais à soi. Nietzsche rejoint Fichte quand celui-ci précise : « Ce que l’on choisit comme philosophie dépend ainsi de l’homme que l’on est » (Première introduction à la doctrine de la science, 1797).

Ainsi, il n’y a pas pour Nietzsche de vrai choix possible d’une philosophie ou d’une morale : « Nos pensées jaillissent de nous-mêmes aussi nécessairement qu’un arbre porte ses fruits » (Généalogie de la morale, avant-propos). S’il n’y a pas de vrai choix, il n’y a pas pour autant de transparence. Nietzsche affirme : « Nous restons nécessairement étrangers à nous-mêmes, nous ne nous comprenons pas, nous ne pouvons faire autrement que de nous prendre pour autre chose que ce que nous sommes » (Généalogie de la morale). Étrange platonisme inversé que celui que développe Nietzsche. Car dans sa perspective, notre possibilité d’être, et notre force d’être elle-même, repose sur l’acceptation et même sur le pari de notre inauthenticité, de notre être-devenir « à côté de nous-mêmes ». Et c’est un autre problème, au-delà du travail de Stanguennec, que de savoir si cette position est tenable.

dimanche, 30 octobre 2016

Bruno Favrit, Vitalisme et vitalité


Bruno Favrit, Vitalisme et vitalité

(Editions du Lore, 2006)

Ex: http://cerclenonconforme.hautetfort.com

brunofavrit.jpgIl est parfois bon de parcourir les bibliothèques d’autrui. Ainsi, c’est en explorant une bibliothèque où le paganisme et les traditions d’Europe ont bonne place que je tombai par « hasard » sur une brochure du nom de Présence Païenne. Son auteur, Bruno Favrit, sans jouir (hélas) de la renommé d’un Jean Mabire ou d’un Christopher Gérard, n’est pas un inconnu et encore moins un débutant.

Collaborateur à la décapante revue non-conforme Réfléchir & Agir, Bruno Favrit compte une quinzaine d’ouvrages à son actif, principalement des essais sur le paganisme et des romans. En fin connaisseur de la Grèce antique – particulièrement de l’œuvre de Platon – et de la philosophie de Friedrich Nietzsche, l’auteur synthétisait dans la brochure susnommée une vision solaire du paganisme traversée par un vitalisme bienvenu en ces temps moroses d’apathie existentielle et de nihilisme. Quelle ne fut pas ma surprise et ma joie lorsque je découvris que Bruno Favrit avait précisément consacré un ouvrage à la question du vitalisme, et pas n’importe lequel: celui de la Grèce antique. Vitalisme et Vitalité, c’est donc son nom, est un essai dont la lecture devenait par conséquent indispensable…

« La Grèce comme creuset de la civilisation occidentale est un fait avéré […] Son vitalisme se tient là, dans le champs de tous les possible. C’est ce que nous proposons de méditer à une époque où la sclérose, la limitation, la législation n’ont jamais été aussi pesantes ». Redécouvrir des racines enfouies au plus profond de nous-mêmes à une heure où, justement, plus rien ne doit avoir de racines, ni de sens, où l’existence de chacun se résume à un parcours linéaire allant d’un point A à un point B. Nous autres Européens avons la chance de pouvoir puiser le vitalisme nécessaire quant à notre sauvegarde dans nos nombreuses traditions et cultures : c’est pourquoi nous incarnons la diversité dans l’unité. Néanmoins, la racine prépondérante de notre civilisation Européenne est incontestablement la Grèce antique (« Tout est parti de la Grèce ») qui fut un point de départ pour des domaines tels que l’Art, la Philosophie (qu'elle soit tournée vers la métaphysique ou le politique), la Religiosité et le Sacré, la Science, etc. C’est ce que propose d’étudier la première partie de cet essai.

Il y aurait énormément de chose à dire sur ce berceau civilisationnel que fut la Grèce antique. Nous l’avons dit plus haut : son influence est prépondérante. Or, il s’agit ici d’un essai et non d’une étude universitaire, l’excellente connaissance du sujet conjugué à un esprit de synthèse s’imposent donc. Heureusement, Bruno Favrit manie les deux parfaitement et la lecture de Vitalisme et Vitalité n'en est que plus agréable. Dans la sous-partie « La tradition et les idées » l’auteur développe les thèmes des dieux, des mythes et des différentes écoles de philosophie présocratique avec des figures telles Pythagore, Anaxagore, Parménide, Héraclite et post-Socratique en la figure de Platon. Bien que cité de nombreuses fois, on regrettera cependant l’absence d’une partie consacrée à Aristote, philosophe, au coté de son maître Platon, d’une importance et d’une influence pourtant capitale…

La mythologie et la religiosité des anciens grecs sont bien entendu à l’honneur. En bon nietzschéen, Bruno Favrit nous gratifie même d’une partie dédiée à Dionysos, expression d’une autre facette du vitalisme européen, celui là-même que le christianisme, poison de l’âme européenne, n’a cessé de diaboliser. D’autres grands thèmes sont pareillement étudiés lors de cette première partie (à savoir les mœurs et l’éducation à Sparte, l’expérience de la guerre et l’expérience métaphysique) dont nous pourrions en résumer la quintessence via la citation suivante : « L’union et la volonté comme moteur de l’action, c’est donc la leçon que nous donne la Grèce. Elle n’appelle pas seulement à ce que l’homme tende à s’identifier aux dieux, mais à ce que la société toute entière s’organise autour de cette idée, davantage du reste qu’une idée : une interprétation du monde. »

La deuxième partie de l’ouvrage, « De l’homme empêché à l’homme vitalisé », se veut être « le constat d’une déréliction, ses causes et ses effets, et une relecture du monde à travers le prisme vitaliste ». Sont désignés par l’essayiste comme ennemis de l’être et, en ce qui nous intéresse, de l’être européen: l’idéologie du progrès, les monothéismes, l’eudémonisme, le règne de l’Opinion, l’irénisme et l’égalitarisme. L'auteur revient également sur la notion capitale à ses yeux (et nous souscrivons entièrement à son point de vue): le Mythe. Mythos qu’il oppose au Logos. Les mythes, les légendes, et les contes font partie intégrale de notre identité d’Européens, un auteur comme Robert Dun s’attachait particulièrement à ces derniers. Nous avons ici matière à inspirer nos vies et la jeunesse. Plutôt Siegfried et Héraclès qu’Iron Man et Captain America !

Vitalisme et Vitalité de Bruno Favrit est un essai roboratif, loin de la lourdeur des écrits académiques et de celle du « dernier homme », emprunt de poésie parfois, chose normale pour ce lecteur de Nietzsche ! Ils sont d’ailleurs nombreux aujourd’hui à remettre au goût du jour cette philosophie vitaliste (voir Rémi Soulié et son Nietzsche ou la sagesse dionysiaque). Le renouveau vitaliste sera une étape majeure quant aux retrouvailles avec notre être européen, cette fameuse « âme européenne ». Notre imago mundi est certes politique mais elle est aussi métaphysique, et cette métaphysique se doit d'être vitaliste, c’est à dire « plus que vie ». L’essai de Bruno Favrit est un appel. Espérons qu’il sera entendu !


Note du C.N.C.: Toute reproduction éventuelle de ce contenu doit mentionner la source.

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dimanche, 16 octobre 2016

Bruno Favrit répond au questionnaire de la "Nietzsche Académie"

Ex: http://nietzscheacademie.over-blog.com

Bruno-Favrit.jpgRéponses de l'écrivain nietzschéen Bruno Favrit (link) au questionnaire de la Nietzsche académie. Bruno Favrit est l'auteur d'une biographie sur Nietzsche aux éditions Pardès (2002).

Nietzsche Académie - Quelle importance a Nietzsche pour vous ?

Bruno Favrit - A quinze ans, j'ai découvert ''Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra'' et j'ai senti toute la puissance qui se tenait dans ces pages. Bien entendu, l'adolescent est plus prompt à s'enthousiasmer du moins je veux encore y croire, dans ce monde où la culture se traduit par une offre débridée et quasi illimitée dont la qualité n'est pas la partie émergente. Mais le signe que Nietzsche est une valeur sûre, c'est que trente ans après, je peux le retrouver avec le même étonnement, les mêmes battements de cœur. Je ne peux en dire autant d'auteurs qui ont illuminé ma jeunesse mais qui ont depuis nettement perdu leur pouvoir.

BF-1.jpgN.A. - Quel livre de Nietzsche recommanderiez-vous ?

B.F. - ''Le Crépuscule des idoles'' me semble une bonne entrée en matière. D'ailleurs, dans ''Ecce homo'', à propos de ce livre, Nietzsche a cette confidence : « C'est une exception parmi mes livres. Il n'y en a pas de plus substantiel, de plus indépendant, de plus révolutionnaire, de plus méchant [...] qu'on commence par lire cet écrit.». Et, contrairement à ce que j'ai fait, il faudrait presque terminer par le ''Zarathoustra''. Car il est formidablement crypté et il convient d'avoir côtoyé Nietzsche pour en goûter toute la substance hauturière. Entre ces deux, il ne faudrait rien négliger. On doit savoir que ses livres ont été composés sans véritable espoir qu'ils passent avant longtemps à la postérité. Conscient qu'il ne s'adressait qu'à une minorité, Nietzsche, qui a fini par s'éditer à compte d'auteur, ne s'est pas découragé, même s'il a quelquefois songé à s'orienter vers la poésie ou la musique. Je pense qu'il était conscient de la puissance de ses écrits. Il croyait en lui. Tout l'avantage de sa pensée est dans ce qu'il n'eut pas à la diluer pour complaire à un éditeur, aux critiques ou à un cénacle.

N.A. - Être nietzschéen, qu'est-ce que cela veut dire ?

B.F. - D'abord apprendre à penser par soi-même. Se doter d'une certaine forme de misanthropie  en tout cas ne point trop s'illusionner sur l'homme. Ensuite, s'obliger à affronter l'adversité et la bêtise sans se laisser étouffer par trop de compassion. C'est déjà beaucoup. Quand j'ai publié ma biographie sur Nietzsche, on m'a reproché d'en avoir restitué une image païenne. Mais je ne vois pas comment j'aurais pu en faire une autre lecture. Il encourageait la danse, la divagation sur les sommets en compagnie des ménades. Quant au Galiléen... on sait bien ce qu'il en pensait.

BF-2.jpgN.A. - Le nietzschéisme est-il de droite ou de gauche ?

B.F. - Je pourrais me défiler en disant qu'il n'appartient à aucune idéologie mais il faut tout de même noter que Nietzsche goûtait peu les ''socialistes'' qui montraient, selon lui, de profondes similitudes avec les chrétiens. Son attitude essentiellement aristocratique ne devrait pas nous faire penser que, s'il revenait en ce monde, il prendrait le parti de ceux qui ont renoncé à défendre les ouvriers pour se consacrer aux exclus, aux malades, brefs à ceux qu'ils ont tellement assistés et pommadés qu'ils ont tué en eux toute velléité de résistance. Si Nietzsche a pu être ''de gauche'', il y a bien longtemps.

N.A. - Quels auteurs sont nietzschéens ?

B.F. - Je vais certainement en oublier. Mais il me semble évident que des figures comme Montherlant ou Drieu lui doivent énormément. Cioran, est son fils spirituel. A l'étranger : Hamsun, Pessoa, Jünger, Henry Miller, Mishima... Quant à dénicher d'authentiques nietzschéens en ce début de siècle, c'est bien difficile. Peut-être Naipaul, Gòmez Dàvila et, par chez nous, le sociologue Michel Maffesoli qui prédit le retour de Dionysos. En revanche, si le nietzschéisme d'Onfray n'est pas une imposture, cela y ressemble fort.

N.A. - Pourriez-vous donner une définition du Surhomme ?

B.F. - Les spécialistes n'ont pas fini de soupeser et de se prononcer sur cette notion. Il suffit pourtant de lire le Zarathoustra, même si son aspect parabolique peut dérouter. Le Surhomme, c'est celui qui vient se mettre au contact des hommes ceux de la place du marché  et qui, effrayé par tant d'inanité, s'en retourne sur les hauteurs. Il peut s'agir aussi de Dionysos reconceptualisé et infiniment libre et libéré si l'on conserve la majuscule. Pour moi, plus ''trivialement'', le surhomme est déjà celui qui sait « conserver la joie d'être son propre maître » (pour reprendre une formule de ''Humain, trop humain''). Lorsque l'ermite de Sils Maria écrit « mes livres ne parlent que de victoires remportées sur moi-même », il participe de sa tentative de s'ériger en surhomme. A ce sujet, je me suis fait cette réflexion : Nietzsche a été malade la majeure partie de sa vie au point qu'il a dû s'arrêter d'enseigner. Ce qui ne l'a pas empêché de donner par la suite une tonifiante leçon de vie et de grande santé à ses semblables. Comme quoi la maladie a du bon lorsqu'elle frappe des ''surhommes''. Il est préférable pour nous que le père de ''Zarathoustra'' ait éduqué le monde plutôt que la centaine d'étudiants de l'université de Bâle.

N.A. - Votre citation favorite de Nietzsche ?

B.F. - « Qui n'est pas un oiseau ne doit pas se risquer au-dessus des abîmes. » (Zarathoustra II - Des sages célèbres.)

13:37 Publié dans Entretiens, Philosophie | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : nietzsche, entretien, bruno favrit, philosophie | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

jeudi, 08 septembre 2016

Zoroastrismo, modernidad y Nietzsche


Zarathustra par Nicolas Roerich (1931)

Zoroastrismo, modernidad y Nietzsche

Ex: http://hiperbolajanus.com

Irán es un país lejano, tanto en el ámbito geográfico como en aquel de las mentalidades, y más respecto a un Occidente moderno totalmente carente de empatía hacia cualquier realidad que sobrepase el marco de «valores» y mentalidades convencionalmente aceptados. En el contexto de la geopolítica mundial atlantista Irán representa uno de los males absolutos a abatir, al que combatir con toda clase de armas, desde la desinformación y la propaganda negra hasta la difamación y las visiones más grotescas. La revolución islámica de Jomeini cambió las perspectivas de Occidente respecto a este país, especialmente en el momento en el que dejó de ser un títere de los americanos para recuperar la integridad de su soberanía. Pero más allá de estos conflictos y visiones de nuestros días, ¿qué sabemos realmente de Irán? ¿Qué sabemos de su sistema de creencias más allá de la fe islámica ahora dominante sobre un extenso territorio y casi 80 millones de habitantes? Hoy nos gustaría destacar la importancia de ciertas creencias preislámicas que, desarrolladas en suelo iranio, han tenido una importancia, que no conviene infravalorar, en la configuración de las grandes religiones monoteístas.


En primer lugar, habría que reconocer a este extenso país el mérito de haber sido el origen del sincretismo y sistematización de algunos conceptos que son parte inestimable de las grandes religiones abrahámicas, y entre los elementos más destacables están la articulación de un sistema dualista a nivel cosmológico, religioso y ético o de los valores de las grandes religiones del desierto. No en vano, de estas concepciones dualistas surgió la idea del «bien» y del «mal» que forman parte del juicio moral que estas concepciones religiosas hacen del mundo, y son parte inextricable de su cosmovisión. Otros mitos recurrentes y asociados a formas de profetismo, así como la idea de resurrección de los muertos encontraron también sus primeras teorizaciones en tierras iranias. Sin embargo, cuando buscamos el origen de estas ideas y su formulación doctrinal el enigma y el misterio vuelve a aparecer ante nosotros, y en este caso la figura de Zoroastro o Zaratustra se nos presenta como una incógnita que entre el mito, la leyenda y la realidad, pero frente al cual ciertos especialistas en la religión y espiritualidad iranias tratan de arrojar algo de luz: por un lado se habla de un Zaratustra histórico y vinculado a una función revolucionaria, como reformador de las concepciones religiosas y espirituales de los pueblos iranios. Otra vertiente duda de la función de profeta e historicidad de la figura de Zaratustra para destacar aquello que éste representa desde la perspectiva de las creencias espirituales de los antiguos pueblos de Irán.
Más allá del debate historiográfico acerca de la veracidad histórica del personaje, su función arquetípica dentro de un universo simbólico y espiritual es inestimable. Algunos han fechado su existencia entre el 1000 y el 600 a,c, aunque se ha podido concretar que pudo vivir entre el 628 y el 551 a.c y se dice que pudo vivir en el este de Irán, probablemente en Jorasmia o Bactriana. Según la tradición fue zaotar, que se correspondería con la figura de un sacerdote sacrificador, vinculado a la ejecución de los ritos, y cantor, y sus escritos sagrados, sus gathas, se inscribirían en una vieja tradición indoeuropea vinculada a la poesía sagrada. Pertenecía al clan Spitama, de criadores de caballos y su padre se llamaba Purusaspa. Se sabe que Zaratustra estuvo casado y que tuvo dos hijos, de los que incluso se conocen los nombres. El contexto en el que Zaratustra difundió su mensaje era el de una Comunidad sedentaria de pastores, fuertemente pertrechada por valores étnico-religiosos y sacerdotales, en la que nuestro Profeta representó un factor revolucionario desde el punto de vista espiritual al poner en duda a las autoridades sacerdotales, y de hecho en su ataque a esta casta saderdotal invocó a Ahura Mazda, a la divinidad tribal. Como consecuencia de estos ataques a la ortodoxia religiosa vigente, Zaratustra se vio obligado a huir de la Comunidad y refugiarse en los dominios de otro grupo tribal, de la tribu Fryana, donde consiguió convencer y convertir a su nueva fe al jefe de la tribu, Vishtaspa, que, desde ese momento, se convertiría en su principal valedor y protector. Sin embargo, sus enemigos continuaron en su empeño de defenestrarle, tanto a él como a su familia. En los gathas también se conserva el testimonio de las actividades misioneras de Zaratustra, de la extensión de su palabra y de los numerosos adeptos y discípulos que se agruparon en torno a él. Este texto sagrado, que refleja un sentido de la existencia sobrio, tono pedreste o la sequedad en la narración, también refleja las enseñanzas zoroastrianas bajo la forma de las parábolas, o enseñanzas a través de las que se trazan una particular cosmovisión del mundo, donde el castigo a los malvados y la recompensa a los virtuosos es una constante. Al mismo tiempo hechos milagrosos y relatos mitológicos van generando una aureola mística y salvífica del personaje, quien representa la luz sobrenatural del bien en su grado excelso frente al mal absoluto de los demonios.
Se ha vinculado a Zaratustra a las experiencias y técnicas empleadas por los chamanes y el uso de alucinógenos y otros estimulantes, algo que se ha contrastado históricamente entre los indo-iranios por otros pueblos coetáneos como fueron los escitas o los indios, y que en teoría habrían inspirado sus profecías, que le habrían sido transmitidas directamente por Ahura Mazda. La particularidad de esta revelación divina es que deja a la libre elección del hombre la elección del bien y el mal, y su ejercicio depende enteramente de la voluntad humana, abandonada a su libre albedrío. De modo que existe la posibilidad de que el hombre acepte el camino correcto, el que dirige a la regeneración en lo primordial, como la vía contraria, la que hunde al hombre en el envilecimiento del mal. Tanto el bien como el mal tienen su origen en Ahura Mazda, pero éste trasciende toda contradicción al acoger todas las opciones en su seno, y parece indicar que la aparición del mal estaría directamente relacionada con la condición previa de la libertad humana. Al mismo tiempo Zaratustra se opuso a una serie de ritos orgiásticos y sacrificios cruentos y otros excesos que formaban parte de la liturgia tradicional de los pueblos indo-iranios. Paralelamente en la reformulación de las antiguas tradiciones étnicas, Zaratustra trató de otorgarles un nuevo valor, y con ello revigorizarlas. Otro de los elementos que aparece en este contexto de reforma es el viaje de los muertos y la idea de juicio al final de los tiempos, un elemento especialmente recurrente en la escatología cristiana, donde los justos serán salvados y admitidos en el paraíso, mientras que los malvados formarán parte de la casa del Mal.
El fin último de Zaratustra no era otro que transformar la existencia, probablemente ante la idea de un inminente fin de los tiempos, y la idea de renovación, la cual tendría lugar a través de la intermediación directa de Ahura Mazda, quien representa un modelo de bondad, santidad y omnipotencia que sus adeptos deben tomar como modelo al representar éste el bien frente al mal, que sería identificado con la antigua religión. La división entre buenos y malos es lo que desemboca en una visión dualista del mundo que define dos cosmovisiones antagónicas y enfrentadas, tanto a nivel cósmico como antropológico, y una forma particular de ser y estar en el mundo.
Finalmente, y según nos cuentan las fuentes, Zaratustra murió asesinado a la edad de 77 años a manos del turanio Bratvarxsh en un templo del fuego. En algunas fuentes tardías se dice que los asesinos se disfrazaron de lobos, que representaban simbólicamente a las sociedades de hombres vinculadas a las antiguas tradiciones iranias, a las que Zaratustra identificaba con el Mal.
Hay muchos más elementos de análisis que podríamos comentar, pero que dada la naturaleza de nuestro texto no vamos a profundizar en ellos. No obstante, es importante apuntar la existencia de elementos de reflexión muy profundos, de naturaleza filosófica, y el conocimiento de la doctrina y teología de la antigua tradición indo-irania.


Las referencias que tenemos en el presente del Zoroastrismo y su fundador están muy mediatizadas por el uso que el filósofo alemán Friedrich Nietzsche hizo de su figura, al que, paradójicamente, convirtió en una especie de apóstol o profeta de sus propias enseñanzas. Zaratustra proporcionó una multitud de elementos, mitos y doctrinas que, ulteriormente, servirían de vehículo de expresión, hasta llegar al terreno de los mitos, y en el ámbito teológico, para el desarrollo de las grandes religiones monoteístas, y en concreto del cristianismo, que fue precisamente la máxima expresión de la moral del rebaño, de la desfiguración y falsificación de la existencia a manos de los sacerdotes, a los que también se enfrentó el propio Zaratustra en su momento. Sin embargo, Nietzsche no buscaba moralizar el mundo, sino más bien destruir las categorías morales bajo las cuales se pretendía enmascarar la naturaleza y la Verdad, y enfrentar al hombre a sus propios miedos y al mismo abismo de la vida, en toda la magnitud de su crudeza. Zaratustra era el hombre solitario, acompañado de sus animales heráldicos, el águila y el león, que vive en una cueva, apartado del mundo, y que para transmitir su mensaje a la humanidad, su mensaje de superación, renovación y transfiguración, tiene que volver entre los hombres, y enfrentarse a sus miserias, a sus vilezas y mediocridades.
Zaratustra se convierte en el vehículo de los grandes conceptos de la doctrina nietzscheana, desde la voluntad de poder, el superhombre o la idea de transvaloración, y lo hace transformando la esencia de las ideas que, históricamente, había representado aunque no de ciertas actitudes, como aquellas relacionadas con la voluntad de transmutar la esencia del discurso religioso dominante, o una forma de trascendencia más directa e inmanente, y con ello más dependiente de la voluntad humana. Nietzsche tenía un conocimiento muy limitado del mundo oriental, aunque en ocasiones hacía referencias a éste, y son conocidas sus menciones del famoso Código de Manú, un antiguo texto védico en lengua sánscrita, que había servido de base a la sociedad de castas, y que destaca por su rigor y la rectitud de los principios que lo articulan, el cual es mencionado con veneración por parte del filósofo alemán.
La trascendencia y espiritualidad dependen enteramente de un principio de objetividad, de la existencia de unas verdades eternas e inamovibles capaces de hacer partícipes en la esencia de lo primordial a los hombres. El abandono de los preceptos espirituales o la democratización de las grandes verdades esotéricas al gran público no hace sino destruir y vulgarizar el Principio Divino, al cual no se puede someter a ningún tipo de discusión, y mucho menos ser puesto en duda por parte del hombre prometeico y racionalista moderno, quien trata de sustituir las grandes verdades de la Tradición por la falsa omnipotencia de la razón y la ciencia. Zaratustra fue un reformador y el contexto de su discurso era fundamentalmente religioso, con un afán claramente proselitista, algo es propio de las religiones del «fin de los tiempos», del Kali-Yuga, donde la formulación de aspectos personales y relacionados con la salvación tendrían una importancia decisiva frente a los mencionados aspectos de Trascendencia, de Verdades eternas o perennidad.

jeudi, 21 avril 2016

Rémi Soulié: Nietzsche et la sagesse dionysiaque


Avec Rémi Soulié nous abordons tout l'aspect dionysiaque de la philosophie de Friedrich Nietzsche, son actualité, ainsi que les concepts d'éternel retour, de volonté de puissance, de sagesse tragique, une improvisation libre sur cet esprit libre, sa vie et son oeuvre - en tant que disciple de Dionysos.

Blog de Pierre Kerroc'h : http://www.vivezentransemutants.com

Page facebook : Pierre Kerroc'h


00:05 Publié dans Entretiens, Philosophie | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : rémi soulié, nietzsche, entretien, philosophie | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

samedi, 14 novembre 2015

Dorian Astor: «Du point de vue de Nietzsche, nous n’en avons pas fini d’être modernes»


Dorian Astor: «Du point de vue de Nietzsche, nous n’en avons pas fini d’être modernes»

Dorian Astor est philosophe, ancien élève de l’École normale supérieure et agrégé d’allemand, il a publié chez Gallimard une biographie sur Nietzsche (2011). Dans Nietzsche, la détresse du présent (2014), il interroge le rapport qu’entretient l’auteur de Par-delà bien et mal avec la modernité politique et philosophique.

PHILITT : Vous considérez que la philosophie naît en temps de détresse. Quelle est cette détresse qui a fait naître la philosophie (si l’on date son apparition au Ve av. J.-C. avec Socrate) ?

Dorian Astor : Je ne dis pas exactement que la philosophie naît en temps de détresse, dans le sens où une époque historique particulièrement dramatique expliquerait son apparition. Je dis qu’il y a toujours, à l’origine d’une philosophie ou d’un problème philosophique, un motif qui peut être reconnu comme un motif de détresse. Deleuze disait qu’un concept est de l’ordre du cri, qu’il y a toujours un cri fondamental au fond d’un concept (Aristote : « Il faut bien s’arrêter ! » ; Leibniz : « Il faut bien que tout ait une raison ! », etc.). Dans le cas de Socrate, on sent bien que son motif de détresse, c’est une sorte de propension de ses concitoyens à dire tout et son contraire et à vouloir toujours avoir raison. Son cri serait quelque chose comme : « On ne peut pas dire n’importe quoi ! » C’est alors le règne des sophistes, mais aussi du caractère procédurier des Athéniens. C’est ce qui explique que Platon articule si fondamentalement la justice à la vérité. Or l’absence de justice et la toute-puissance de la seule persuasion ou de la simple image dans l’établissement de la vérité, voilà un vrai motif de détresse, que l’on retrouvera par exemple dans le jugement sévère que porte Platon sur la démocratie.

Je crois que chaque philosophe est mû par une détresse propre, qu’il s’agit de déceler pour comprendre le problème qu’il pose. Il est vrai que dans de nombreux cas, en effet, la détresse d’un philosophe rejoint celle d’une époque, c’est souvent une détresse de nature politique : Leibniz, par exemple, est obsédé par l’ordre : les luttes confessionnelles et le manque d’unité politique le rendent fou, c’est pourquoi il passe son temps à chercher des solutions à tout ce désordre, à réintroduire de l’harmonie. Pour Sartre, ce sera la question, à cause de la guerre et de la collaboration, de l’engagement et de la trahison. Il y aurait mille autres exemples.

Dans mon livre sur Nietzsche, j’essaie de montrer que l’un de ses motifs fondamentaux de détresse est le présent (un autre motif serait le non-sens de la souffrance, cri par excellence, mais c’est une autre affaire). Le présent, non seulement au sens de l’époque qui lui est contemporaine, mais en un sens absolu : le pur présent, coincé entre le poids du passé et l’incertitude de l’avenir, jusqu’à l’asphyxie. Des notions comme celles d’ « inactualité », de « philosophie de l’avenir » ou même d’« éternel retour » et de « grande politique », etc., sont autant de tentatives pour répondre à et de cette détresse du présent. L’un des grands cris de Nietzsche sera héraclitéen : « Il n’y a que du devenir ! » Heidegger a parfaitement senti cette dimension du cri dans la philosophie de Nietzsche. Or, c’est un cri parce que cette « vérité » est mortelle, on peut périr de cette « vérité ». Nietzsche s’efforce d’inventer des conditions nouvelles de pensée qui permettraient au contraire de vivre de cette « vérité » : ce sont les figures de l’« esprit libre », du « philosophe-médecin » et même du « surhumain ». Tous ces guillemets appartiennent de plein droit aux concepts de Nietzsche : c’est le moyen le plus simple qu’il ait trouvé pour continuer à écrire alors qu’il se méfiait radicalement du langage, de son irréductible tendance à l’hypostase, c’est-à-dire de son incapacité à saisir le devenir.

Selon vous, Nietzsche a quelque chose à nous dire aujourd’hui. Est-ce parce que nous traversons une crise généralisée ou bien parce que nous sommes les lecteurs de l’an 2000 qu’il espérait tant ?

Il y a eu un léger malentendu sur la démarche que j’adopte dans mon livre — et que l’on retrouve jusque sur sa quatrième de couverture, dans une petite phrase que je n’ai pu faire supprimer : « ses vrais lecteurs, c’est nous désormais ». Non, nous ne sommes pas aujourd’hui les lecteurs privilégiés de Nietzsche. Si c’était le cas, il n’y aurait d’ailleurs pas besoin de continuer à publier des livres sur lui pour essayer d’« encaisser » ce qu’il nous lance à la face. Lorsqu’on voit le portrait que dresse Nietzsche de son lecteur parfait, par exemple dans Ecce Homo[1], on se dit qu’on est vraiment loin du compte… Je fais simplement l’hypothèse que, sous certaines conditions, le diagnostic qu’établit Nietzsche à propos de la modernité, de l’homme moderne et des « idées modernes », comme il dit, nous concerne encore directement : je crois, pour paraphraser Habermas dans un autre contexte, que la modernité est un projet inachevé[2]. Nous sommes très loin d’en avoir fini avec les sollicitations de Nietzsche à exercer une critique profonde de nos manières de vivre et de penser. En ce sens, nous sommes toujours des « modernes » et la notion fourre-tout de « postmodernité » ne règle pas le problème. Sans doute est-on d’ailleurs autorisé à formuler cette hypothèse par la temporalité propre à la critique généalogique nietzschéenne, qui est celle du temps long. « Que sont donc quelques milliers d’années[3] ! » s’exclamait-il. Que sont 150 ans, après tout ? Bien évidemment, il ne s’agit pas de dire que rien n’a changé depuis l’époque de Nietzsche, ou même que rien ne change jamais, ce qui serait parfaitement ridicule ; mais de sentir que, du point de vue de Nietzsche, nous n’en avons pas fini d’être modernes : dans notre rapport à la science, à la morale, à la politique, etc. De toute façon, Nietzsche a un usage très extensif de la notion de moderne : on le voit, dans sa critique, remonter l’air de rien de siècles en siècles jusqu’à Socrate, voire jusqu’à l’apparition du langage ! — comme si le problème était en fait l’« homme » en tant que tel, ce qu’il répète d’ailleurs souvent.

Mais revenons à cette notion de « crise généralisée » de l’époque actuelle. Que la situation ne soit pas bonne, c’est évident. Mais je crois avec Nietzsche que nous n’avons pas non plus le privilège de la détresse. Permettez-moi de citer un peu longuement un fragment de 1880 : « Une époque de transition c’est ainsi que tout le monde appelle notre époque, et tout le monde a raison. Mais non dans le sens où ce terme conviendrait mieux à notre époque qu’à n’importe quelle autre. Où que nous prenions pied dans l’histoire, partout nous rencontrons la fermentation, les concepts anciens en lutte avec les nouveaux, et des hommes doués d’une intuition subtile que l’on appelait autrefois prophètes mais qui se contentaient de ressentir et de voir ce qui se passait en eux, le savaient et s’en effrayaient d’ordinaire beaucoup. Si cela continue ainsi, tout va tomber en morceaux, et le monde devra périr. Mais il n’a pas péri, dans la forêt les vieux fûts se sont brisés mais une nouvelle forêt a toujours repoussé : à chaque époque il y eut un monde en décomposition et un monde en devenir.[4] »

Ce seul texte, parmi beaucoup d’autres, permet d’affirmer que Nietzsche n’est pas un décadentiste, alors même qu’à partir de 1883, il fait un usage abondant du terme de « décadence » (en français, de surcroît). Par le simple fait que sa pensée est étrangère à toute téléologie historique, il ne peut souscrire au décadentisme ou à ce qu’on appelle plus volontiers aujourd’hui le « déclinisme ». C’est qu’en réalité, on voit ressurgir de manière récurrente les mêmes dangers à diverses époques : la « décadence » est avant tout, pour Nietzsche, un phénomène d’affaiblissement psychophysiologique, dont la détresse est l’un des signes ou symptômes. Or cela peut arriver n’importe quand et arrive à toutes les époques. Les variations de puissance, les alternances de santé et de morbidité, suivent des cycles, ou plus précisément des « mouvements inverses simultanés », plutôt qu’un vecteur unidirectionnel.

Alors on peut critiquer ou rejeter chez Nietzsche les couples de notions tels que santé et maladie, force et faiblesse, vie ascendante et vie déclinante ; mais si l’on décide par méthode de les appliquer à la situation actuelle, nous risquons d’en arriver à un diagnostic aussi édifiant qu’effrayant… En tout cas, il est fort probable que nous soyons en pleine détresse ou, pour le dire en termes nietzschéens, victimes de chaos pulsionnels que nous sommes incapables de hiérarchiser — autre définition de la « maladie ».


Pour Antoine Compagnon, les antimodernes sont les plus modernes des modernes. Nietzsche est-il, en ce sens, un antimoderne ?

Nietzsche écrit souvent « Nous autres, modernes », il sait parfaitement qu’il est un moderne, fût-ce sous la forme de l’antimodernisme, qui, en effet, comme dit Compagnon, a quelque chose de plus-que-moderne ; on pourrait jouer à dire « moderne, trop moderne », sur le modèle d’Humain, trop humain. Nietzsche est moderne en ce sens qu’il a le sentiment d’arriver à un moment décisif où il faudra préparer un autre avenir que celui auquel semblent nous condamner le poids du passé et la détresse du présent. Comme je le soulignais à l’instant, le présent est pour Nietzsche un problème très inquiétant, et chaque fois que cette inquiétude s’exprime, c’est une inquiétude de moderne. Je pense à la définition minimale que Martuccelli donne de la modernité : « L’interrogation sur le temps actuel et la société contemporaine est le plus petit dénominateur commun de la modernité. Elle est toujours un mode de relation, empli d’inquiétude, face à l’actualité ; c’est dire à quel point elle est indissociable d’un questionnement de nature historique[5] ». Ce qui est antimoderne, dans l’inquiétude moderne de Nietzsche, c’est sa lutte acharnée contre l’optimisme, le progressisme, l’eudémonisme, la Révolution, la démocratie, etc. Mais attention : sa position « anti-Lumières » – pour reprendre le titre de l’ouvrage de Sternhell[6], à mon sens plus important que celui de Compagnon – est très ambiguë. On ne comprend pas, par exemple, sa haine de Rousseau si on ne l’articule pas à sa critique impitoyable du romantisme, qui fut précisément un vaste mouvement anti-Lumières. Sa proximité avec les Lumières, certes très conflictuelle, quasiment sous la forme d’un double bind, ne se limite pas, comme on le répète souvent, à la période dite intermédiaire, celle d’Humain, trop humain. L’anti-romantisme de Nietzsche est un élément essentiel si l’on veut discuter équitablement de la dimension « réactionnaire » de son œuvre.

Vous consacrez de nombreuses pages au rapport que les antimodernes entretiennent avec la modernité. Cependant, vous ne faites pas la distinction entre antimoderne et inactuel. Doit-on faire la différence ?

Si je ne la fais pas dans mon livre, alors c’est qu’elle y manque ! Parce que ce n’est effectivement pas la même chose. En réalité, je crois avoir essayé de faire cette distinction, sans doute pas assez explicitement. Mais je ne peux y avoir échappé pour la simple raison que Nietzsche est tiraillé entre ces deux positions, c’est ce que j’appelle la « bâtardise de l’inactuel ». D’un côté, la lutte (anti)moderne contre le temps présent : « agir contre le temps, donc sur le temps, et, espérons-le, au bénéfice d’un temps à venir[7] », écrit Nietzsche ; de l’autre une lutte contre le temps au sens absolu, c’est-à-dire au bénéfice d’une certaine forme d’éternité. Bien avant l’hypothèse de l’Éternel Retour, Nietzsche cherche à inscrire ou réinscrire de l’éternité dans le temps qui passe. En d’autres termes : s’arracher à l’Histoire pour s’élever au Devenir, ou y plonger. Parce que c’est le Devenir qui est éternel. L’Histoire ressortit au régime de la production et du développement, le Devenir à celui de la création et du hasard. C’est sans doute la part deleuzienne de ma lecture de Nietzsche : la distinction profonde entre l’Histoire et le Devenir, entre le fait et l’événement, entre le progrès et le nouveau…  Je crois que c’est l’antimodernité qui le fait polémiquer avec son époque, mais que c’est son inactualité qui l’élève à une intuition de l’éternité. Toutefois, ces deux démarches sont coextensives, c’est pourquoi il n’emploie qu’un seul terme : « unzeitgemäss » signifiant « qui n’est pas conforme à l’époque », mais aussi, en quelque sorte, « qui est incommensurable avec le temps ».

Peut-on dire, à l’inverse de l’impératif rimbaldien qui invite à être « résolument moderne », que la pensée de Nietzsche coïncide plutôt avec la phrase de Roland Barthes : « Tout d’un coup, il m’est devenu indifférent de ne pas être moderne » ?

L’alternative que vous formulez est une autre manière d’exprimer la différence entre l’antimodernité et l’inactualité dont nous venons de parler, et donc d’exprimer la tension prodigieuse, chez Nietzsche, entre la « résolution » et l’« indifférence ». On pourrait la formuler encore autrement : c’est la tension qu’il y a entre la vita activa et la vita contemplativa, entre la préparation de l’avenir et le désir d’éternité. Puisqu’on parlait d’inactualité, il faut dire que, si Nietzsche a beaucoup changé entre les Considérations inactuelles (1873-1876) et la partie de Crépuscule des idoles intitulée « Incursions d’un inactuel » (1888), la tension demeure toutefois entre la descente du lutteur dans l’arène de l’époque et le retrait du contemplatif dans la montagne. Zarathoustra lui aussi monte et descend plusieurs fois. Il y a un fragment posthume fascinant de l’époque du Gai Savoir où Nietzsche se propose de pratiquer, à titre expérimental, une « philosophie de l’indifférence[8] » (qui d’ailleurs doit préparer psychologiquement à la contemplation de l’Éternel Retour). Cette indifférence du sage, c’est ce qu’il admire chez les stoïciens et les épicuriens ; et lorsqu’il les accable au contraire, c’est en vertu de la nécessité de l’action et de la responsabilité du philosophe de l’avenir. Alors oui, il y a quelque chose de rimbaldien chez Nietzsche, surtout dans sa volonté de « se rendre voyant », d’« arriver à l’inconnu par le dérèglement de tous les sens » : c’est au fond un peu ce que prescrit le § 48 du Gai Savoir qui a inspiré le titre de mon ouvrage : le remède contre la détresse, c’est la détresse. Et sans doute y a-t-il aussi chez lui quelque chose de… barthésien : une aversion pour ce qui vous récupère et vous englue, pour le définitif et l’excès de sérieux ; un plaisir du provisoire, de l’aléatoire, de la nuance. En ce sens, Nietzsche comme Barthes sont baudelairiens — et modernes : ils ont bel et bien l’intuition qu’il y a de l’éternel dans l’éphémère.

astorhhhh.jpgEnfin, qu’est-ce qui différencie un « nietzschéen de gauche » et un « nietzschéen de droite » dans leur vision du monde moderne ?

Ah ! La question est un piège, et ce pour plusieurs raisons. D’abord, permettez-moi de m’arrêter un instant sur le terme de « nietzschéen », qui est en lui-même problématique. Si l’on veut seulement dire : spécialiste de Nietzsche, ça a le mérite du raccourci, mais ça ne va pas très loin, et on sent bien que l’adjectif est toujours surdéterminé. Être adepte, disciple, héritier de Nietzsche ? Vivre selon une éthique nietzschéenne ? Bien malin qui peut y prétendre – mais ceux qui font les malins ne manquent pas… Ce qui peut être nietzschéen, c’est, dans nos meilleurs moments, une certaine manière de poser certaines questions, une certaine affinité avec certains types de problèmes ; c’est emprunter une voie sur laquelle on pourra peut-être dire beaucoup de choses nouvelles, mais une voie qui reste ouverte par Nietzsche. C’est évidemment la même chose pour les platoniciens, les spinozistes, les hégéliens, etc. Je crois par ailleurs que le plus intéressant, c’est de savoir avec quelle famille de philosophes on a senti une parenté ou conclu des alliances. Mais ce sont certains aspects, certains réflexes ou instincts qui peuvent être nietzschéens en nous, non pas l’individu tout entier — et heureusement !  Pour mon propre compte, j’ai été assez clair sur ce que j’entends par mon affinité nietzschéenne : c’est simplement le fait que, malgré tout ce qui reste difficile, opaque, voire inaudible ou inacceptable à la lecture de Nietzsche, je continue inlassablement à le lire et à travailler patiemment, parce que j’en ai besoin — en deux sens : je m’en sers et j’aurais du mal à vivre sans. Ce besoin, qui est au fond une affaire strictement personnelle ou, disons, idiosyncrasique, n’est pas une conclusion de mon travail, c’est une prémisse que vient confirmer ou relancer chaque acquis de ce travail. Mais le but de mon travail en revanche, c’est de franchir (et de faire franchir) des seuils ; d’essayer de montrer qu’en un certain point de blocage ou d’intolérabilité, on peut trouver dans l’œuvre même de Nietzsche de quoi débloquer le passage et augmenter le seuil de tolérance ; expliquer et comprendre, pour le dire vite.

Une fois dit ce que j’entends par nietzschéen, il faudrait définir ce qu’on entend en général par la gauche ou la droite, dont les définitions elles-mêmes sont « en crise » aujourd’hui : vous imaginez bien que je ne me lancerai pas dans cet exercice redoutable ! Mais là encore, je ne crois pas qu’un individu tout entier soit de gauche ou de droite, mais que certains aspects, certains réflexes ou instincts peuvent l’être, et qu’ils s’expriment alternativement ou simultanément. Ce serait trop simple ! En tout cas, je crois que, plus on travaille sur Nietzsche, moins les expressions « nietzschéen de droite » et « nietzschéen de gauche » ont de sens. Toutefois, il y a une histoire de la réception de Nietzsche où elles deviennent historiquement pertinentes, bien qu’ambiguës. Je ne peux pas développer ici cette vaste question, qui obligerait à balayer trop grossièrement un siècle et demi de réception. Je n’indiquerai brièvement que deux pôles extrêmes : d’un côté la récupération bien connue et très rapide de Nietzsche par l’extrême-droite puis le fascisme ; de l’autre, l’émergence d’un Nietzsche « post-structuraliste », dans les années soixante-dix, marqué par ce qu’on appelle aujourd’hui, souvent avec un mépris odieux, la « pensée 68 ». Ce nietzschéisme « de gauche » est lui-même ambigu, lorsqu’on voit les critiques adressées à de prodigieux penseurs profondément influencés par Nietzsche, comme Deleuze et Foucault dont certains se demandent s’ils n’ont pas finalement ouvert la voie à un relativisme néo-conservateur – c’est par exemple la position d’Habermas –, à un ultralibéralisme débridé ou tout simplement à une dangereuse dépolitisation de la philosophie — et si vous me demandiez à présent de parler d’Onfray, je ne vous répondrais pas, cela me fatigue d’avance.

Mais revenons à mon idée que droite et gauche ne permettent pas d’aborder Nietzsche avec pertinence. Avant toute chose, il faut être honnête : il y a évidemment un noyau dur qui interdira toujours de rallier Nietzsche à une pensée de gauche — c’est son inégalitarisme profond et son concept fondamental de « hiérarchie ». Le problème n’en demeure pas moins que, si l’on décide de rallier Nietzsche à la droite ou à la gauche, on trouvera toujours de quoi prélever dans ses textes ce dont on a besoin, mais on sera tout aussi sûrement confronté à des éléments absolument inconciliables avec nos convictions ou inappropriables par elles. Ou, à un plus haut niveau d’exigence, on trouvera chez Nietzsche des éléments fondamentaux propres à critiquer très sérieusement certains présupposés idéologiques de la droite comme de la gauche.

Pourquoi nous heurtons-nous toujours à l’impossibilité de fixer Nietzsche d’un côté ou de l’autre ? Ce constat dépasse largement le seul domaine des idéologies politiques. J’essaie de montrer dans mon livre la manière dont Nietzsche ne cesse de renvoyer dos-à-dos, ou de faire jouer l’un contre l’autre, les pôles de systèmes binaires ou les termes de relations biunivoques — pratique très consciente et très maîtrisée que l’on appelle communément les « contradictions » de Nietzsche, et que je nommerais plutôt l’usage du paradoxe, en référence à la définition qu’en donne Deleuze[9]: un ébranlement multidirectionnel initié par un élément rebelle dans un ensemble pré-stabilisé d’identifications univoques — en d’autres termes, des attaques de l’intérieur contre l’alliance du bon sens et du sens commun. Ce caractère multidirectionnel signifie notamment la mobilité des points de vue, leur multiplication autour du phénomène considéré, la nécessité de saisir la multiplicité de ses faces et volte-face pour déjouer le « bon sens » à sens unique du jugement commun (doxa) et l’hypostasie congénitale du langage — C’est ce qu’on entend généralement par le perspectivisme de Nietzsche.

Prenons l’exemple de son rapport très complexe au libéralisme, en son sens classique, qui fait l’objet d’une assez longue analyse dans mon livre. Nietzsche écrit, que « les institutions libérales cessent d’être libérales dès qu’elles sont acquises […] Ces mêmes institutions produisent de tout autres effets aussi longtemps que l’on se bat pour les imposer; alors, elles font puissamment progresser la liberté[10]. » Vous avez là une proposition qui, à la limite, pourrait inspirer aussi bien la gauche révolutionnaire que la droite ultralibérale ! C’est que tout se joue dans la reconfiguration profonde des concepts de puissance et de liberté, de leur exercice et de leur articulation alors même qu’ils sont des processus en devenir et jamais une quantité stable ou une qualité inconditionnée. Alors, pour répondre à votre question : peut-être un « nietzschéen de gauche » insistera-t-il sur les puissances d’émancipation, c’est-à-dire sur la résistance ; et un « nietzschéen de droite », sur l’émancipation des puissances, c’est-à-dire sur l’affirmation. Cela sous-entendrait que l’affect fondamental de la gauche soit un refus des situations intolérables, et l’affect fondamental de la droite, un acquiescement aux choses comme elles vont. Je n’en sais rien, ce que je dis est peut-être idiot. De toute façon, cela ne nous mène pas très loin, car résistance et affirmation sont chez Nietzsche des processus indissociables, comme le sont la destruction des idoles et l’amor fati, ou même le surhumain comme idéal d’affranchissement et l’éternel retour comme loi d’airain. Voilà des injonctions paradoxales ! Mais les meilleurs lecteurs ne séparent jamais les deux, et travaillent au cœur du paradoxe. On parle beaucoup du grand acquiescement nietzschéen à l’existence, et avec raison. Mais il ne faut jamais oublier que le oui n’a aucun sens sans le non, toute une économie des oui et des non, des tenir-à-distance et des laisser-venir-à-soi, comme dit Nietzsche. Toute une micropolitique qui déjoue nos grandes convictions et oblige à des pratiques expérimentales de l’existence, y compris politiques. C’est que Nietzsche, comme tout grand philosophe, se méfie des opinions, et encore davantage des convictions, dans lesquelles il reconnaît toujours un fond de fanatisme. Lui-même rappelle quelque part qu’il n’est pas assez borné pour un système — pas même pour le sien.

[1]  « Pourquoi j’écris de si bons livres », § 3
[2]  Cf. Jürgen Habermas, « La Modernité : un projet inachevé », in Critique, 1981, t. XXXVII, n° 413, p. 958

[3]  Deuxième Considération inactuelle, § 8
[4]  FP 4 [212], été 1880
[5]  Sociologies de la modernité, Gallimard, 1999, p.9-10
[6] Zeev Sternhell, Les Anti-Lumières : Une tradition du XVIIIe siècle à la Guerre froide, Fayard, 2006 ; Gallimard (édition revue et augmentée), 2010.
[7] Deuxième Considération inactuelle, Préface
[8] FP 11 [141], printemps-automne 1881
[9] Différence et répétition, PUF, 1968, p.289 sq., et Logique du sens, Éditions de Minuit, 1969, p.92 sq.
[10] Crépuscule des idoles, « Incursions d’un inactuel », § 38

mardi, 27 octobre 2015

Réponses de Julien Rochedy au questionnaire de la Nietzsche académie

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche by risu.jpg

Réponses de Julien Rochedy au questionnaire de la Nietzsche académie
Ex: http://nietzscheacademie.over-blog.com 

Julien Rochedy est l'auteur d’un essai d’inspiration nietzschéenne Le Marteau sous-titré Déclaration de guerre à notre décadence, auteur d’un mémoire universitaire sur Nietzsche et l’Europe et ancien directeur national du FNJ.

Nietzsche Académie - Quelle importance a Nietzsche pour vous ?

Julien Rochedy - Une importance fondamentale puisque je pense véritablement, sans pathos, qu'il a changé ma vie. Sa lecture, précoce, a fait office d'un baptême, d'une sorte de renaissance. Je l'ai lu si tôt (entre 14 et 17 ans) qu'on ne peut pas dire qu'il s'agissait de lecture à proprement parler, avec le recul et la distance que cela suppose. Je l'ai littéralement ingurgité, je l'ai fait mien, sans aucune interface entre ses livres et le jeune « moi » qui était en pleine formation. Dès lors, quoique je lise, quoique j'entende, quoique je voie ou quoique j'ai envie de faire, je ne peux l'appréhender qu'avec le regard nietzschéen qui me fut greffé si jeune.

N.A. - Etre nietzschéen qu'est-ce que cela veut dire ?

julien_rochedy_carre_sipa.jpgJ.R. - Je tiens Nietzsche pour une paire de lunettes. Il est, pour moi, avant tout une façon de regarder le monde. Une grille de lecture. Un filtre d'exactitude et, surtout, de sincérité. C'est s’entraîner à percevoir ce qui se mue et s'agite autour de soi en se débarrassant des grilles de lectures morales (le bien et le mal) ou idéalistes (au sens de la primauté de l'Idée). C'est donc regarder les choses et les hommes par delà bien et mal, par le prisme des valeurs aristocratiques ou des esclaves (le sain et le malade, le bon et le mauvais), en s'attardant plutôt sur la psychologie, et en fin de compte, la physiologie (l'importance du corps comme heuristique de l'esprit) pour comprendre les idées d'un homme, au lieu de se mentir sur la capacité « raisonnante » et abstraite des humains. Et c'est aussi sentir profondément ce qui appartient au nihilisme, au déclin, au mensonge vénéneux, à la maladie et à la mort, plutôt qu'à la vie, à la grande vie et l'immense « oui » qui va avec.

Je vous parlai de sincérité à propos de ce que nous oblige Nietzsche. Avec lui, après lui, on ne peut plus se mentir à soi-même. S'il m'arrive par exemple d'avoir une idée pour m'économiser, même si mon cerveau se met à fonctionner, comme de mise chez tous les hommes, pour me trouver une justification, morale ou raisonnable (toute « idée » est une justification de soi), je sais qu'en réalité cette idée ne fait que découler de ma faiblesse. Tout le reste est prétexte.

N.A. - Quel livre de Nietzsche recommanderiez-vous ?

J.R. - Je ne recommanderai pas un livre en particulier, même si « Par delà bien et Mal » et, bien sûr, « Zarathoustra », surnagent. Je recommanderai plutôt une succession de livres pour celui qui voudrait se lancer dans Nietzsche. D'abord Généalogie de la morale, qui suscite directement un immense doute sur ce que l'on croyait établi sur la nature du bien et du mal. Puis Par delà bien et mal, pour approfondir. Ensuite Zarathoustra, l'apothéose poétique de sa philosophie. Après, l'ordre compte moins. Je conseillerai toutefois particulièrement les œuvres de Nietzsche de l'après Zarathoustra, c'est à dire à partir de 1883, car j'ai toujours pensé qu'il y avait un Nietzsche, à la fois en tant qu'auteur (le style) et philosophe (la puissance), avant son Zarathoustra et après son Zarathoustra. L'auteur du Gai Savoir est encore un peu académique. Celui de Crépuscule des Idoles est pur génie.

N.A. - Le nietzschéisme est-il de droite ou de gauche ?

J.R. - Tout dépend bien sûr de ce que l'on entend par droite et gauche. Ces concepts peuvent signifier tellement de choses différentes selon les personnes qu'il est difficile d'enfermer Nietzsche dans des espaces si vagues. Toutefois, en me permettant de les prendre d'un point de vue philosophique, si toutefois ce point de vue peut exister, je dirais bien entendu que Nietzsche est de droite. L'importance qu'il donne à l'inégalité, aux valeurs aristocratiques, au goût raffiné, à la sélection et à la force, ainsi que son mépris souverain pour la populace, les valeurs égalitaires, la féminisation, la démocratie, le matérialisme grossier, etc, font que Nietzsche ne peut évidemment pas être reconnu comme un auteur de gauche.

N.A. - Quels auteurs sont à vos yeux nietzschéens ?

J.R. - Je pourrai vous faire une liste non exhaustive, de Drieu à Jünger en passant par London, mais ça n'aurait pas vraiment de sens, dans la mesure où ces auteurs peuvent être nietzschéens pour différentes raisons, et que des auteurs, nés avant Nietzsche, pourraient être considérés comme nietzschéens. Les grecs par exemple, Héraclite, Alcibiade, Périclès, sont des nietzschéens avant l'heure. Encore une fois, Nietzsche est une façon de voir le monde, et cette façon fut partagée mille fois dans l'Histoire, la plupart du temps par les hommes les plus grands, les plus intelligents et les plus honnêtes avec eux mêmes.

N.A. - Pourriez-vous donner une définition du surhomme ?

J.R. - Avec une lecture simple, mais tout de même pas trop mal, je pourrais vous répondre : c'est le kalos kagathos des Grecs, l’homme idéal, celui qui a la vie la plus remplie et dont la santé débordante s'enrichit de toujours plus de passions et d’aventures, de pensées, de force et de beauté. Mais ce serait bien trop banal. Le surhomme est celui qui accepte le tragique, le destin, et qui l'accepte en riant. C'est le Dieu Thor qui va à la guerre en riant aux éclats dans sa barbe rousse. Le monde n'a manifestement pas de sens, la vie est précaire, je suis imparfait, rien ne vaut rien, mais je cours au charbon quand même. Le pied dansant. Et là, à ce moment là, tout trouve son sens : la vie n'a comme seule justification qu'elle même. C'est le pessimiste actif dont parle Heidegger dans ses écrits sur Nietzsche.

N.A. - Votre citation favorite de Nietzsche ?

J.R. - Je n'en ai pas une en particulier, mais laissez moi vous raconter une anecdote :

Un jour que j'étais dans un bar et que je réfléchissais, avant de l'écrire, à mon livre le Marteau (d'inspiration largement nietzschéenne comme vous l'avez rappelé), je vois un grand gaillard venir s'accouder à côté de moi. Et sur l'un de ses avants bras, je vois tatoué « Amor fati ». J'exulte. Je vois cela comme un signe. Je me mets à délirer en mon for intérieur. Je lui fais signe et lui dit, bêtement, un truc du genre « aux nietzschéens ! » en levant mon verre. Il me répond, interloqué : « quoi ? ». Je lui répète et m’aperçois qu'en réalité il ne connaît pas Nietzsche. Il s'était tatoué ça juste « parce que ça sonnait bien ».

Alors finalement, je vous répondrai « amor fati ». Ça résume tout.

Et en plus ça sonne bien.

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samedi, 05 septembre 2015



de Dorian Astor (folio) Ed. Gallimard

Pierre Lance*
Ex: http://metamag.fr

astornietz.jpgJ’avoue avoir manqué de prudence lorsque j’ai promis à MÉTAMAG de rédiger une note de lecture sur cet ouvrage. Car je n’avais encore rien lu de l’auteur et je ne m’attendais pas à recevoir un pavé de 650 pages constituées de commentaires sur l’oeuvre de Nietzsche. 

Certes, je salue bien bas la performance. Noircir 650 pages de considérations d’une utilité très contestable, il faut le faire ! Pourtant j’ai un préjugé favorable envers tous les écrivains qui se passionnent pour Nietzsche, le plus grand philosophe et psychologue de l’ère contemporaine, mais j’attends d’eux qu’ils apportent un éclairage original et des réflexions pertinentes sur les écrits flamboyants du prophète de la surhumanité. 

A mon grand regret, je n’ai rien trouvé de ce genre dans aucune de toutes les pages que j’ai lues, soit environ le quart du total en différents endroits, car je n’ai pas pu m’astreindre à lire la totalité de ce pensum, indigeste au plus haut point. L’avant-propos déjà m’avait laissé perplexe. D’abord parce que l’auteur y abuse des mots «moderne», «modernité» et «post-modernité» qui sont pour moi des termes dépourvus de sens, du moins sur le plan philosophique. Car la philosophie s’attache à l’essentiel qui, par nature, est intemporel. Ensuite parce qu’une phrase de ce texte m’a fait bondir. Dorian Astor nous affirme en effet : «Il ne fait aucun doute que la lecture de Nietzsche est douloureuse». J’en suis resté pantois ! Car mes premières lectures de Nietzsche me plongèrent immédiatement dans un bain de joie et d’enthousiasme sans pareil. Enfin quelqu’un qui avait tout compris ! (Et je ne peux imaginer de douleur à cette lecture que dans les esprits congelés par une religion ou idéologie quelconque). Si bien que je n’ai eu de cesse d’avoir absorbé les oeuvres complètes de ce magnifique trublion, sans oublier les Fragments posthumes, ni, bien entendu, la correspondance. C’est dans cette dernière que Nietzsche renie sans équivoque sa vision de l‘Éternel Retour (dont les petits professeurs de philosophie se gargarisent encore à qui mieux mieux), dans une note relevée par son excellent biographe Daniel Halévy dans une lettre à Peter Gast du 10 juin 1887. 

Le biographe écrit et cite : «Sans doute Nietzsche a-t-il voulu, une fois de plus, mettre sa pensée au clair». Quelques mots, deux lignes à peine, jetés comme un cri, interrompent cet exposé. Les voici : «Le Retour éternel est la forme la plus extrême du nihilisme : le néant (l’absurde) éternel !». Quel soulagement ce fut pour moi de voir Nietzsche reconnaître à ce propos son erreur, laquelle ne cessait de me tarabuster. Tant il me paraissait évident que l’idée d’un éternel retour de toutes choses est absolument incompatible  avec un univers éternel et infini (ce qu’il est inexorablement), donc indéfiniment renouvelé. (Nous abandonnerons à leurs rêveries pseudo-scientifiques et crypto-théocratiques les ridicules adorateurs du Big-Bang). À vrai dire, Nietzsche avait déjà quasiment tordu le cou à l’Éternel Retour dans l’aphorisme 335 du Gai savoir, dans lequel il écrit : «Qui juge encore: «dans tel cas tout le monde devrait agir ainsi», n’a pas encore fait trois pas dans la connaissance de soi-même; sans quoi il n’ignorerait pas qu’il n’y a pas, qu’il ne saurait y avoir d’acte semblable, que tout acte qui a été fait le fut d’une façon unique et irréproductible, qu’il en sera ainsi de tout acte futur...».
Dorian Astor s’est fort empêtré lui-même dans l’Éternel Retour, mais je porterai à son crédit ce paragraphe de la page 518 de son livre, dans lequel il écrit : «... Il me semble que dans l’Éternel retour, c’est la question de l’Éternel qui est centrale, et qui forme le point où se nouent le problème de la connaissance et celui de la vie. Le Retour n’est «que» l’une des formes hypothétiques ou expérimentales d’un exercice ou ascèse de la pensée et de la vie philosophiques en vue de répondre au problème de l’éternité.»  (Soit dit en passant, je ne vois pas en quoi l’éternité est un problème. C’est au contraire son impossible absence qui en serait un). Cette tentative de «justification» intéressante et astucieuse de l’absurdité fondamentale de l’Éternel Retour ne saurait pourtant remplacer la vérité toute nue : Nietzsche a lui-même donné congé à sa vision première de ce Retour sempiternel et illogique. A la décharge de tous ceux qui l’ignorent (et qui sont trop pauvres en intuition philosophique pour découvrir cela par eux-mêmes), il est vrai qu’il ne l’a fait qu’en une seule courte phrase, alors qu’il avait consacré des pages et des pages à vanter sa «vision» de 1880. 

Toutefois je m’étonne que Dorian Astor, qui a manifestement lu et relu toute l’oeuvre de Nietzsche avec grande vigilance, autant que moi-même s’il se peut, n’ait pas relevé la dénégation nietzschéenne de l’Éternel Retour. Aurait-il négligé la correspondance avec Peter Gast, le grand ami et confident de Nietzsche ? J’ai peine à le croire. A moins qu’il n’ait pas osé diffuser cette révélation capitale ? Car l’on a tant glosé sur cet impossible Retour depuis un siècle et sur toute la planète que cette révélation tardive causerait une véritable secousse sismique dans le landerneau universitaire, où l’éternel retour de l’Éternel Retour constitue en quelque sorte la rente viagère des cerveaux dévitaminés. Il n’y a donc probablement qu’un chien fou de mon espèce qui soit capable de jeter un tel brûlot dans les cimetières de la culture.

Dorian Astor, Nietzsche. La détresse du présent, Collection Folio essais (n° 591), Gallimard 10,20 € . 


lance348-1338573363.jpgPierre Lance fut en 1969 le fondateur de la «Société Nietzsche», qui publia jusqu’en 1977 la revue «Engadine». Il est l’auteur d’une vingtaine d’ouvrages, dont notamment «Charles de Gaulle, ce chrétien nietzschéen» (1965, épuisé), «Au-delà de Nietzsche» (1976, réédité en 1992, épuisé), «En compagnie de Nietzsche» (recueil d’articles, 1991) et «Le Fils de Zarathoustra» (Editions Véga-Trédaniel, 2006). Il publie actuellement un billet quotidien abordant tous les sujets sur le site www.nice-provence.info.

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mercredi, 25 mars 2015

Heidegger on Nietzsche, Metaphysics, & Nihilism


Heidegger on Nietzsche, Metaphysics, & Nihilism

By Greg Johnson 

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Heidegger’s central philosophical topic has a number of names: the sense (Sinn) or meaning of Being, the truth (Wahrheit) of Being, the clearing (Lichtung) of Being, the “It” that “gives” Being, and the “Ereignis” (“event” or “appropriation”) of Being, referring to the mutual belonging of man and Being.[1] All of these words refer to that-which-gives and that-which-takes-away different “epochs” in the history of Being, which are comprehensive, pervasive, and fundamental ways of interpreting the world and our place in it. 

Heidegger’s topic is shrouded in mystery, for that-which-gives each epoch in the history of Being is hidden by the very epoch that it makes possible. This mystery is built right into the dual meanings of Heidegger’s names for his topic.

The word “Lichtung” refers both to Being (that which lights up beings) and also to the clearing that makes it possible for the light to illuminate beings—and the light attracts our attention to itself while leaving the clearing that makes it possible in darkness. The “it” that gives Being is hidden behind Being, its gift. Ereignis is the mutual belonging of man and Being, in which man in enthralled by the world opened up by the event and thus oblivious to the event itself. Heidegger even hears the mystery of Being in the word “epoch,” which refers both to the historical spans of particular dominant ways of interpreting the world, and, when heard in the Greek as “epoche,” refers to the withholding of that which grants the epochs, the giver that hides behind its gift.

Now we are in the position to begin to think through the connection that Heidegger draws between metaphysics and nihilism. Heidegger’s thesis is that nihilism is the consummation of Western metaphysics. To this end, I wish to comment on one of my favorite texts by Heidegger, the two lectures entitled “The Eternal Recurrence of the Same and the Will to Power.” These lectures beautifully epitomize Heidegger’s vast two-volume work on Nietzsche, and they gather together and display the unity of themes discussed by Heidegger over a period of more than 50 years.

Heidegger’s thesis is that “Nietzsche’s philosophy is the consummation of Western metaphysics.”[1] For Heidegger, Nietzsche’s philosophy represents the epitome of modern nihilism, the ultimate manifestation of the nihilistic impulse built into Western metaphysics from the very beginning. Heidegger’s thesis that Nietzsche is the last metaphysician of the West is a stunning thesis, a thesis very difficult to defend, for Nietzsche is widely regarded as the first post-metaphysical thinker, not the last and ultimate metaphysical thinker.

Traditional metaphysics is constructed around the dualisms of permanence and change and of appearance and reality. The permanent is identified with Being, which is said to be a reality that lies beyond the world of appearances, the world of change, the realm of becoming. Nietzsche seems to overcome these dualisms by collapsing the distinctions between permanence and change, appearance and reality, Being and becoming. Therefore, Nietzsche seems to go beyond metaphysics.

How, then, does Heidegger establish Nietzsche as the last metaphysician of the West? Another way of putting this question is: How does Heidegger establish that Nietzsche’s attempt to overcome metaphysics is a failure? What does Heidegger think that a genuine overcoming of metaphysics requires?

Nietzsche’s Metaphysics

When Heidegger uses the word “metaphysics” pejoratively, he refers to the metaphysics of presence: “These positions take the Being of beings as having been determined in the sense of permanence of presence” (p. 162). Another word for the metaphysics of presence in the Heidegger lexicon is “Platonism.” Platonism is a view that cannot necessarily be identified with Plato’s own views. Platonism, rather, is the pervasive interpretation of Plato’s views in the tradition. Platonism identifies Being with permanence as opposed to change, presence as opposed to absence, identity as opposed to difference.

The latter terms of these pairs—change, absence, difference—are identified with non-being. In the world around us, rest and motion, presence and absence, identity and difference are all mixed together.

Thus the Platonist concludes that this world is not the true world; it is not the realm of Being, but the realm of becoming, which is a mere blurred image or decayed manifestation of Being. Becoming is merely a veil of appearances which cloaks and hides that which is real, namely Being.

The Platonic realm of Being is identified as the place of forms or essences. The world of becoming is the world in which we find individual men, individual dogs, individual chairs, individual tables. All of these individuals come into being, change, and pass out of existence. The world of Being contains not individual men, but the essence of man, or “manhood.” It does not contain individual dogs, but the essence of dog, “doghood.”

Forms or essences, unlike individuals, do not come into being; they do not change; and they do not pass away. While particulars that become exist in time, forms of essences exist outside of time in eternity. Because particulars in time are infected with change, absence and difference, we cannot have certain knowledge of them; at best, we can have only tentative opinions about things in the world around us. We can have certain knowledge only of the forms or essences that make up the realm of Being.


Heidegger holds that the metaphysics of presence—the interpretation of Being as presence—and also the Platonic distinction between the world of Being and the world of becoming is retained in Nietzsche’s allegedly post-metaphysical doctrines of the Will to Power and the Eternal Recurrence of the Same. What is the Will to Power? And what is the Eternal Recurrence of the Same?

Nietzsche called the ultimate constituent of the world Will to Power. This is a highly anthropomorphized name for something that is neither a will (for there is no agent behind it that wills); nor is it “to power” (for it is not directed toward the goal of power, or any other goal). Will to Power is Nietzsche’s name for chaos, which he conceived of as a virtual infinity of points of force charging and discharging entirely without pattern or purpose. Heidegger defines the “Will to Power” as “the essence of power itself. It consists in power’s overpowering, that is, its self-enhancement to the highest possible degree” (p. 163).

The Will to Power is the constant exercise of power as an end in itself.

The Will to Power makes possible the constant exercise of power by positing limits for itself and then exceeding them; Will to Power first freezes itself into particular forms and then overcomes and dissolves them.

The Will to Power is Nietzsche’s account of what the world is.

The Eternal Recurrence of the Same is a concept derived from the ancient Epicureans and Stoics. Both the Stoics and Epicureans believed that the cosmos is finite. The cosmos consists of matter and void, and there is only so much matter and so much void. Matter, however, is not fully inert. Matter has both inert and animate dimensions. Matter has the tendency to remain at rest or in motion, which the Epicureans represented by matter falling through the void. But matter also has a non-inert aspect that causes it to swerve from its fall or to move from rest to motion by its own power. The Epicureans represented this aspect of matter as the famous “clinamen” or “swerve” of the atoms. The Stoics represented this as divine logos, which following Heraclitus, they represented as fire. Matter, in short, is in some sense vital and animate; it is alive and ensouled. Matter’s vital principle allows order to form out of chaos. Matter’s inert dimension allows order to dissolve back into chaos.

Given a finite amount of matter and a finite void, given that matter has both a tendency to give rise to order and dissolve order, and given that time is infinite, the Epicureans and Stoics argued that the random play of chaos within a finite cosmos over an infinite amount of time not only gives rise to order, but gives rise to the same order an infinite number of times. Everything that is happening now has already happened an infinite number of times before and will happen an infinite number of times in the future. The Same events will Recur Eternally, hence the Eternal Recurrence of the Same. As Woody Allen once put it, “Eternal Recurrence of the Same. Does that mean I’ll have to sit through the Ice Capades again?” And the answer is: “Yes.” Not only will he have to sit through it again an infinite number of times, he already has sat through it an infinite number of times. It’s deja-vu all over again.

Nietzsche takes this argument over completely. The Will to Power corresponds precisely to the two aspects of matter discussed by the Epicureans and Stoics.

The animate aspect of matter that gives rise to form and organization corresponds to the Will to Power’s tendency to posit order.

The inert aspect of matter that causes form and organization to dissolve back into chaos corresponds to the Will to Power’s tendency to overpower and dissolve the very order that it posits.


Nietzsche holds that the Will to Power is finite and that time is infinite. Given the possibility of endlessly rearranging a finite Will to Power over an infinite amount of time, the same kinds of order will inevitably repeat themselves, and they will repeat themselves and infinite number of times: Eternal Recurrence of the Same.

Just as Will to Power is Nietzsche’s account of what the world is, The Eternal Recurrence of the Same is Nietzsche’s account of how the world is.

Nietzsche claims to have abolished metaphysics because he abolishes the dualism between appearance and reality, Being and becoming, presence and absence, identity and difference, etc. All of these pairs of opposites are found blended together in the Will to Power and the Eternal Recurrence of the Same. There is no realm of pure presence, pristine identity, total rest, and separate essences, lying behind the world that appears to us.

Heidegger’s critique of this claim is twofold. First, he argues that the basic elements of Platonism are still at work in Nietzsche. Second, he argues that Nietzsche really does not understand what it would take to overcome metaphysics.

How is Nietzsche a Metaphysician?

Heidegger argues that Nietzsche’s doctrines of Eternal Recurrence and Will to Power are metaphysical in two ways. First, the accounts of Eternal Recurrence and Will to Power still buy into the metaphysics of presence. As Heidegger puts it:

“Recurrence” thinks the permanentizing of what becomes, thinks it to the point where the becoming of what becomes is secured in the duration of its becoming. The “eternal” links the permanentizing of such constancy in the direction of its circling back into itself and forward toward itself. What becomes is not the unceasing otherness of an endlessly changing manifold. What becomes is the same itself, and that means the one and selfsame (the identical) that in each case is within the difference of the other. . . . Nietzsche’s thought thinks the constant permanentizing of the becoming of whatever becomes into the only kind of presence there is–the self-recapitulation of the identical. (pp. 164–65)

Elsewhere, Heidegger writes:

Will to Power may now be conceived of as the permanentizing of surpassment, that is of becoming; hence as a transformed determination of the guiding metaphysical projection. The Eternal Recurrence of the Same unfurls and displays its essence, so to speak, as the most constant permanentizing of the becoming of what is constant. (p. 167)

Will to Power and the Eternal Recurrence of the Same, in short, think Being in terms of presence too, by making becoming itself permanent, by making becoming recapitulate the identical, by making the motion of becoming circular, thus bringing a kind of eternity into time itself.

The second way in which Heidegger argues that Nietzsche is a metaphysician is somewhat more elusive and difficult. Heidegger writes on page 168:

From the outset, the Eternal Recurrence of the Same and Will to Power are grasped as fundamental determinations of beings as such and as a whole—Will to Power as the peculiar coinage of “what-being” . . . and Eternal Recurrence of the Same as the coinage of “that-being.”

Heidegger claims that this distinction is “co-extensive” with the basic distinction that defines and sustains metaphysics. “What-being” or “whatness” refers to the identity of beings. “What-being” or “thatness” refers to the existence of beings. To talk about the identity of a thing is to talk about what it is in contrast to the identity of different things, the things that it is not. When we talk about the existence of something, we are talking about the fact that it is, as opposed to the idea of its non-existence.

Now, in Platonism, the identity of a particular being is endowed by its form. A particular dog has its identity as a dog because it is related to the Form of dog, or “dogness.” A particular man has his identity as a man because he is related somehow to the essence of man, or “manhood.” A particular dog has his existence as a concrete individual dog because a bit of the material world has been informed by the essence of dog. So, for Platonism, the identity or whatness of a particular being is explained by its essence and its individual existence or thatness is explained by its materiality.

Heidegger holds that this Platonic distinction is present in the distinction between the Will to Power and the Eternal Recurrence of the Same. Will to Power names the whatness or identity of all beings. Therefore, it corresponds to the Platonic form. Eternal Recurrence names the thatness or existence of beings. Therefore, it corresponds to the instantiation of the Platonic Form in a bit of the spatio-temporal world. Will to Power is the principle of identity. Eternal Recurrence is the principle of existence. This dualism, Heidegger claims, is not overcome by Nietzsche, so Nietzsche does not overcome metaphysics.

Indeed, Heidegger claims that Nietzsche represents the culmination of metaphysics. To understand this, we must understand how, precisely, Nietzsche fails to overcome metaphysics. And to understand this, we need to know what Heidegger thinks a genuine overcoming of metaphysics would require.

What Constitutes a True Overcoming of Metaphysics?

Heidegger thinks that a genuine overcoming of metaphysics requires that we think his distinctive topic, the distinctive matter of his thinking: that which gives and that which takes away the different epochs of the history of Being. It requires that we think the Truth of being, the Meaning of Being, the Clearing of Being, the Event of Being, etc. Heidegger mentions his distinctive topic in a number of places in these lectures:

It first appears on page 164 (second paragraph):

What this unleashing of power to its essence is [i.e., that which grants the interpretation of Being as Will to Power], Nietzsche is unable to think. Nor can any metaphysics think it, inasmuch as metaphysics cannot put the matter [die Sache, the topic] into question.

It also appears on page 165 (second paragraph):

This “selfsame” [Being interpreted as Eternal Recurrence] is separated as by an abyss from the singularity of the unrepeatable enjoining of all that coheres. Out of that enjoining alone does the difference commence.

Here Heidegger contrasts Nietzsche’s metaphysics of history (which encloses becoming in the circle of Being through the idea of the eternal recurrence of the same) with his own view of the history of Being as a sequence of unrepeatable contingent singularities in which new epochs in the history of Being displace one another.


One can ask, however, if Heidegger himself does not ultimately subscribe to a kind of cyclical history, since he seems to believe that (1) the pre-Socratic Greek sense of Being as the dynamic interplay of presence and absence is correct, even though it overlooked the conditions of its own emergence, and (2) that it is possible to return to this correct interpretation of Being, either (a) reflectively, with an appreciation of its importance in the light of the subsequent tradition, or (b) naively, though the liquidation of the present civilization and a return to barbarism, which may be the meaning of Heidegger’s famous claim that “only a god can save us now,” meaning a return to naive belief.

Heidegger’s topic shows up again in the very next paragraph:

Thought concerning truth, in the sense of the essence of aletheia, whose essential advent sustains Being and allows it to be sheltered in its belonging to the commencement, is more remote than ever in this last projection of beingness.

Here aletheia refers to that which both grants a new epoch in the history of Being and shelters its advent in mystery.

There is also an extensive discussion of the topic from the bottom of page 166 throughout the entirety of page 167.

Heidegger claims that Nietzsche does not overcome metaphysics because the overcoming of metaphysics requires that one think that which grants different epochs in the history of Being and Nietzsche does not think this topic. Heidegger adds, furthermore, that Nietzsche not only fails to overcome metaphysics, he actually make this overcoming more difficult because he fosters the illusion that metaphysics is already overcome, thereby enforcing our oblivion to that which grants metaphysics, thereby making us less likely to think this topic and thus to effect a genuine overcoming of metaphysics. As Heidegger writes on 166:

Inadequate interrogation of the meaning of Nietzsche’s doctrine of Return, when viewed in terms of the history of metaphysics, shunts aside the most intrinsic need that is exhibited in the history of Western thought [i.e., the need to think that which grant metaphysics]. It thus confirms, by assisting those machinations that are oblivious to Being, the utter abandonment of Being.

It is at this point that we can understand why Heidegger thinks that Nietzsche is not only a metaphysician, but the culmination of metaphysics. Metaphysics thinks the Being of beings, but does not think the meaning of Being, the clearing of Being, etc. Nietzsche is the culmination of metaphysics because Nietzsche’s metaphysics not only fails to think that which grants Being, but actually makes this altogether impossible because it fosters the illusion that metaphysics has been finally overcome.

A further reason for regarding Nietzsche as the culmination of metaphysics can be appreciated by examining Heidegger’s definition of nihilism. Heidegger defines the modern technological age, the age of nihilism as “the age of consummate meaninglessness” (p. 174). Consummate meaninglessness is equivalent to the interpretation of Being in terms of man’s own subjective needs: Being as certainty; Being as intelligibility; Being as availability and deployability for human purposes. The world is meaningless because wherever we look, we only encounter projections of our own overweening subjectivity and will to power. The essence of modernity is the idea that everything can be understood and controlled.

This view of the world is made possible by our failure to think about what grants it, what makes it possible, the source of this epoch in the history of Being. Heidegger claims that we cannot understand the origin of the idea that we can understand everything. We cannot control the emergence of the idea that we can control everything. Trying to understand the origins of nihilism forces us to recognize that there is a mystery that cannot be explained or controlled. And this encounter with mystery is alone sufficient to break the spell that everything can be understood and controlled. It is thus a real overcoming of metaphysics and of its culmination in the nihilism of technological modernity.


1. See my essay “Heidegger’s Question Beyond Being,” http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/10/heideggers-question-beyond-being/ [4]

2. Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche, vol. III: The Will to Power as Knowledge and as Metaphysics, ed. David Farrell Krell, trans. Joan Stambaugh, David Farrell Krell, and Frank A. Capuzzi (New York: Harper and Row, 1987), p. 161.

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URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/03/heidegger-on-nietzsche-metaphysics-and-nihilism/

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[4] http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/10/heideggers-question-beyond-being/ : http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/10/heideggers-question-beyond-being/

jeudi, 19 février 2015

Notes on Nihilism


Notes on Nihilism

By Greg Johnson 

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

It is often said that nihilism is one of the leading characteristics of the modern age, but what is nihilism? Nihilism means something like the “death” of God, the denial of objective meaning and value, the erasure of moral distinctions and hierarchies, the dissolution of a common world into individual perspectives, and the dissolution of a common culture into subjective “given preferences.” 

Nietzsche defines nihilism as the devaluation of the highest values, the core values, of a civilization. On that account, to understand nihilism we must, therefore, grasp: (1) the nature of values, (2) the role of values in life, (3) the nature of the claim that values make upon us, and (4) how it is possible for values to lose their claim upon us. I propose that we answer these questions through an examination of four thinkers: Giambattista Vico (1668–1744), Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), and Ernst Jünger (1895–1998).

Nietzsche on Life and Values

Nietzsche called the ultimate constituent of the world Will to Power. This is a highly anthropomorphized name for something that is neither a will (for there is no agent behind it that wills) nor is it “to power” (for it is not directed toward the goal of power, or any other goal). Will to Power is Nietzsche’s name for chaos, which he conceived of as a virtual infinity of points of force charging and discharging entirely without pattern or purpose.

Chaos somehow gives rise to life, life to consciousness, and consciousness to self-consciousness. Self-consciousness, however, presents a problem for life, because self-conscious beings demand reasons for continuing to live; they demand meaning and purpose in life. And this is a demand that chaos cannot meet. In a world of chaos, all options are equal. Nothing is any better or any worse than anything else. No option is preferable to any other. Choosing is not preferable to not choosing. Action, therefore, is fundamentally irrational. There is no reason to get out of bed in the morning. There is no reason to prefer continued existence to non-existence. Nothing matters. Nothing makes a difference. This is a condition so terrifying to self-conscious beings that they are annihilated when they encounter it directly.

Life, however, goes on. It preserves itself behind the back of consciousness by manufacturing values. These manufactured values are fictions which consciousness mistakenly thinks it discovers as objective facts. Fictional though they may be, values change everything. Once values are created, some things show up as better than others; some actions show up as better than others; some things show up as goals to be pursued; others show up as evils to be avoided. Life takes on meaning, purpose, and structure. Things begin to make a difference. One suddenly has a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Life can go on. The truth of chaos is a truth that kills. But the lie of values is a lie that we can live with. It is a necessary lie, a noble lie.

For Nietzsche, nihilism results when the core values of a culture cease being believed. There are two types of nihilism: passive and active. The passive nihilist deeply identifies with the core values of his civilization. Thus be experiences their loss as demoralizing and devitalizing. The active nihilist primarily experienced the reigning values as impediments to the freedom of his desires and imagination. Therefore, he experiences their downfall as liberating. For Nietzsche, the age of nihilism will be terminated by a particular kind of active nihilism: setting up and imposing new core values for a new civilization.

Vico & Cassirer

At this point, I wish to add an aside on the accounts of the origins of language, myth, and culture offered by Giambattista Vico (1668–1744) and Ernst Cassirer (1874–1945), for I think that these naturalistic accounts are broadly compatible with Nietzsche’s account of the origins of values and they supplement it nicely by describing the concrete embodiment of values in language, myth, and culture. Vico and Cassirer give essentially the same account of the origin of language and myth, for both hold that the first words were proper names of gods, and around these names grew up mythologies and languages which formed the cores of cultures.

Vico-223x300.jpgVico offers a wonderful myth to illustrate the origins of language and myth. After the biblical flood, when the Earth was drying out and slowly re-populating, the sons and grandsons of Noah went back to nature, becoming very much like the Natural Man described in Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origins of Inequality. They lost all arts and sciences, organized families and communities, myth and religion, and even the use of language. And, because they also lost personal cleanliness and wallowed in their own urine and feces, Vico claimed—in accordance with an old wives’ tale then current in his hometown of Naples—they grew to a gigantic stature. Thus Vico offers us a picture of giants, devoid of language and culture, without families or cities, wandering alone in a vast forest that covered the drying Earth, occasionally bumping into one another and fornicating and then going their separate ways.

Eventually, though, evaporation from the drying Earth brewed up huge thunderstorms—thunderstorms greater than any seen before or since, thunderstorms that blanketed the entire Earth, and from the storm came a flash of lightning that lighted up the entire world and a mighty clap of thunder that shook it to its foundations, and the giants cried out in their terror a single word: “Jove.”

Jove was the first word. It is a proper name. And what it names is a terrifying force of nature. But when this force is named Jove and personified, something remarkable happens. The storm is no longer such a terrifying mystery. Rather, it is the product of a deity who has his reasons for sending it. The storm suddenly becomes intelligible. Furthermore, if we can discover the reasons behind the storm, then perhaps we can avoid riling Jove up. Or, if we can find his price, we can bribe him. Either way, we gain some control over our world. Myth and language, then, are man’s first attempts to master and understand an otherwise chaotic, inscrutable, and terrifying world.

But note that the origins of language and myth are pre-rational or irrational. They are not deliberately constructed, but spontaneous and automatic reactions to environmental stimuli. Nobody sat down and created languages and myths as conventions. Rather, the existence of conventions already presupposes the existence of a common language and a common community which can discuss and agree upon the adoption of certain conventions.

But if language and myth, culture and values are pre-rational fictions, then what kind of claim can they make upon us? What would motivate us to believe and follow them? What is the source of their authority and allure? For an answer to these questions, we turn to Kierkegaard.

Kierkegaard on the Claim of Values

Kierkegaard_4480.jpegSøren Kierkegaard was the first self-proclaimed “existentialist.” Kierkegaard, like many skeptics and fideists, reverses the traditional philosophical valorization of theory over practice. Kierkegaard holds that it is practical, engaged activity, not disengaged theoretical reflection, that gives us access to the true and the good. We learn what is true and what is good through being socialized into a community and culture, and the process of socialization is primarily a practical matter.

We learn by doing—by doing as others do around us, by imitating authoritative persons and following their commands. We learn what is true and what is good by apprenticeship in the concrete institutions and practices of a society, and the true and the good are accessible to us only so long as we participate in these concrete institutions and practices and recognize their authority.

In short, the primary locus of values is culture. The primary means of disseminating values is enculturation. And the authority of values derives from our pre-reflective, pre-rational identification with our culture and way of life.

Because values are disclosed through practice, not theory, their claim upon us is pre-rational. Therefore, the attempt to use reason to reflect upon, criticize, and perhaps give a foundation for our values, serves instead only to alienate us from them by weakening our pre-rational commitments to them.

In his 1846 work, The Present Age, Kierkegaard described how reason and reflection had undermined all authoritative institutions and practices of Western culture, thereby undermining commitment to its core values, leading to the collapse of moral distinctions, the flattening out of moral hierarchies, and the subjectivization of values. He prophesied the coming of a nihilistic age.

Kierkegaard’s question was how to regain a meaningful existence, how to save values from withering away from a sickly and effeminate rationalism, how to claw our way out of the quicksand of passive nihilism. Kierkegaard’s answer was simple: Each individual must make a conscious and absolute commitment to some form of life and its constitutive values. Once we make such a commitment, the world is no longer a matter of indifference to us; things again show up as good or bad, right or wrong—so long as we maintain our commitment unwaveringly. In short, for Kierkegaard the cure for passive nihilism is active nihilism—and the fact that Kierkegaard’s own commitment was to Christianity makes that commitment no less nihilistic.

Jünger on Technology and the Death of Values.

Ernst-Jünger-1954-1.jpgErnst Jünger is in essential agreement with Nietzsche on the origin and nature of values and with Kierkegaard on the nature and cure for nihilism, but he adds a significant new dimension to our understanding of the means by which nihilism comes to reign. It is an account that profoundly influenced Heidegger, and with which Heidegger was in essential agreement.

The central concept of Jünger’s account of nihilism is technology. If values are fictions posited by life to sustain itself, and if values are encoded in and transmitted through concrete cultural institutions and practices, then one can see culture as a protective wall that we erect against the enervating terrors of a chaotic reality. For Jünger, modern technology is the Trojan Horse that leads us to open the gates of culture to the overwhelming forces of chaos.

Modern technological civilization is a form of culture. But it is a form of culture that undermines all other forms of culture—and also undermines itself as a culture—for the modern technological worldview is premised on the use of reason, science, and technology to progressively liberate mankind from all external and irrational impediments to the satisfaction of his desires.

While the ancients experienced nature as a fixed an eternal order founding and bounding the realm of human action, moderns experience nature as simply a pile of resources that are, in principle, infinitely transparent to human knowledge and infinitely malleable to human ends. From the technological point of view, there are no fixed boundaries to human action; there are only temporary impediments that will eventually yield, in time, to better science and better technology.

Unfortunately, however, the technological mentality regards values and their concrete cultural and institutional embodiments in religion, myth, and practice as such impediments. Values, after all, arise out of pre-rational or irrational sources. They are by necessity falsifications of reality. And they impose limitations on the technological satisfaction of our desires.

How many of us sigh and shake our heads bitterly when we hear of people refusing their children blood transfusions and vaccinations “merely” on religious grounds, merely in the name of something sacred? Technological civilization must, therefore, set itself at war with myth, religion, tradition, custom, values, and the kind of pre-rational attachments that, for instance, make us want to help our own children even though other people’s children might need our help more.

However, as we progressively bargain away more and more of the sacred and the moral for the benefits of technological culture, we also bargain away the sanctity and dignity of our own humanity; we find ourselves slowly transformed from sovereign subjects employing technology to satisfy our desires, into passive objects of technology.

For instance, we find that more and more of our desires are supplied by the imperatives of the very technological system that was designed to satisfy them. Once our activities are determined not by ideals and values, but by bodily desires—by our pre-cultural, naturalistic selves—the body, not the soul, becomes the subject, the driving agent, of the technological system.

But the body’s agency is illusory, for the body is—and always has been—primarily the object, not the subject, of technological manipulation. From makeup and fashion to piercing and tattooing, from diet and exercise regimens to plastic surgery to genetic engineering, the body is the object of technological manipulation, largely in response to imperatives generated by the technological system itself.

In our pursuit of freedom through the mastery of our environment, we soon discover that each one of us is an object in somebody else’s environment, and that the other side of mastery is domination. But it is a form of domination in which everybody is an object and nobody is a subject, i.e., it is domination without a dominator, domination by an impersonal technological machine that grew as an unintended consequence of individual actions, that was not consciously designed by anyone, and that cannot be consciously controlled by anyone.

Domination without a dominator is another way of speaking of will without a willer; it is another way of speaking of the Will to Power. The Will to Power is the very chaos that culture was supposed to protect us from. But technological culture, by undermining the pre-rational origins, necessary falsehoods, and constitutive values of culture, has brought the Will to Power into the heart of human world and installed it as our master.

The most chilling image of the triumph of the technological Will to Power are the “Borg” in Star Trek—The Next Generation. The Borg are humanoid creatures whose lives became so intertwined with technology—including technological implants in their own bodies—that they lost all individual consciousness and became almost literally mere cogs in their own machines They became objects, not subjects, of an autonomous technological system. And although this system had attained a collective consciousness of its own, which drowned out the individual consciousnesses of its humanoid components, the Borg collective mind is driven by a single imperative: to assimilate all other technologies and all other living beings into its technological system. Why? There is no ultimate end beyond the simple continuation of the process itself. The Borg assimilate only in order to continue to assimilate. The Will to Power wills only one thing: the continuation of its willing.

What is Jünger’s solution to technological nihilism? Jünger believed that the technological Will to Power is unstoppable, that it will subjugate the entire Earth and the entire universe, that nothing can stand in its way. Jünger’s experiences in the trenches of the First World War led him to believe that the war was an autonomous technological system, a human creation that quickly escaped the control of its creators and subjected them to the technological imperatives of its own continued existence. All moral and political motivations, all policy objectives, all means-ends rationality became moot, but the war went on; it carried itself on, simply for the sake of carrying on. Jünger became convinced that the only way to understand the phenomenon of total and autonomous war is to view it as an expression of the Will to Power, as its unstoppable volcanic eruption into the human world.

And, if you can’t beat it, join it. Jünger was convinced that the only way to salvage some meaning from the unfolding of technological nihilism was to submit oneself to it, to will the inevitable, and thus to internalize it and make it one’s own. In Battle as Inner Experience, he writes:

All goals are past, only movement is eternal, and it brings forth unceasingly magnificent and merciless spectacles. To sink into their lofty goallessness as into an artwork or as into the starry sky, that is granted only to the few. But he who experiences in this war only negation, only inherent suffering and not affirmation, [not] a higher movement, experiences it like a slave. He has no inner, but only an external experience.

Like Kierkegaard, Jünger holds that the solution to passive nihilism is active nihilism, which still leaves us within the realm of nihilism.


heidegger-1.jpgIs there a fundamental alternative to nihilism? Is there an alternative to strong wills positing or negating values? Is there an alternative to weak wills receiving or losing the values imposed or negated by others? Is there an alternative to all this willing? For the root of nihilism is the will—specifically, the inflation of the will to the point that it becomes the defining trait of Being itself. Martin Heidegger’s philosophical project can be understood as an attempt to overcome nihilism at its root, the inflation of the will into the meaning of Being.

Heidegger’s account of nihilism agrees with Nietzsche’s account of the origins and the nature of values, with Kierkegaard’s account of the cultural embodiment and transmission of values, with Kierkegaard’s account of the role of reason in the undermining of commitment, and with Jünger’s account of technology as the Trojan Horse that allows the Will to Power to invade and conquer the human world. But Heidegger does not agree with their solutions, which all boil down to replacing passive nihilism with active nihilism. For active nihilism is still nihilism.

Overcoming nihilism, however, is no simple task. For Heidegger traces the metaphysics of the will back to the origins of Western metaphysics. Thus to overcome nihilism, we must overcome metaphysics. But Heidegger does not see the metaphysical tradition as merely a record of human errors, but as the product of Being’s self-concealment. Thus trying to overcome nihilism, or trying to overcome metaphysics—as if they are merely human errors that can be corrected by human means—is itself essentially nihilistic. We may only be done with nihilism when we accept the possibility that nihilism may not yet be done with us.


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/02/notes-on-nihilism/

jeudi, 30 octobre 2014

Nietzsche: Hymnus an das Leben


Friedrich Nietzsche

Hymnus an das Leben

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jeudi, 23 octobre 2014

Paganism & Christianity, Nietzsche & Evola


Paganism & Christianity, Nietzsche & Evola

By Jonathan Bowden 

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Editor’s Note:

This text continues the transcript by V. S. of Jonathan Bowden’s interview at the Union Jack Club in London on Saturday, November 21, 2009, after his lecture/performance on Punch and Judy [2]. The title is editorial. 

Q: When did you decide to convert to paganism and why?

B: Well, I never really converted to paganism. I mean, there are some orthodox pagans, if you can have such a thing, who probably think I am not one. But I’m a Nietzschean and that’s a different system. Somebody made this for me. [Points to odal rune pendant.] And I like Odinic paganism sort of as an objectification of my sort of sensibility. Does one believe the gods objectively exist in another realm? Well, you see, religion is a philosophy about life which is sacristic and has rituals in which you partly act out, therefore it’s more important because it’s made slightly more concrete than ideas or it’s really just based upon ideas. There are relatively simple but powerful ideas at the crux of all the big religious systems. Most people are born in a system and just accept that and go along with it as long as it’s not too onerous or they feel like they live their life through it properly.

I just agree with the ethics of that type of Nordic paganism, which is really how the Vikings lived and how they behaved. I’m less concerned with small groups, which I respect. I like the Odinic Rite, but I personally believe that those sorts of things will only ever activate post-modern minorities and very small ones at that.

I think people should identify with what they think they are and the values that they hold. This symbol really means strength or courage or masculinity or the first man or the first principle of war or the metaphysics of conflict. So, I just think it’s a positive system of value.

I never really was a Christian. Culturally, I have great admiration for elements of Christian art. More so than most people who are pagan who have violently reacted against it. I don’t really share that emotionalism. But I don’t agree with Christian ethics. Deep down, they’ve ruined the West, and we’re in the state that we are because of them.

Q: Just added on to that: How do we create more Nietzscheans? How do we spread Nietzscheanism as a religion, as an idea?

B: You’ve got to get people quite young. I think you’ve got to introduce alternative value systems to them. This is a society that says weakness is good, weakness should be pitied, the ill are weak, the disabled are weak, people who’ve got various things wrong with them (too fat, too thin, bits dropping off) they need help. They may need help. But the value system that lies behind that desire to help worships the fact of weakness and the fact that people are broken. If you worship the idea of strength and tell the weak to become stronger, which is a reverse idea for helping them essentially. You help them in order to get stronger. You totally reverse the energy pattern and you’ve reversed the system of morals that exists in this culture now. You’ve reversed the sort of things that Rowan Williams or his predecessor or his likely successor always says, basically. I think that’s what you have to do.

I personally think it’s a moral revolution, not anything political, that will save the West, because all the technology is here, all the systems of power are here. You only have to change what’s in people’s minds. It’s very difficult though.

Q: So, to a young person watching this video, never heard of you before, where would he go to find out about Nietzscheanism?

B: Just go to the Wikipedia page, surprisingly, although it’s a bit trivial, is actually quite accurate in a tendentious way. Although some of the philosophical debates about him and the genealogy of his works might confuse people because it views it in an academic way. And you don’t need to put his name to it. There’s a cluster of power-moral, individualistic, elitist, partly antinomian, partly gnostic, partly not, partly pagan, vitalist and other ideas which go with that sort of area.

Strength is morality. Weakness is sin. Weakness requires punishment. If you’re weak, if you’re obese, if you’re a drug addict, become less so. Become stronger. Move towards the sun. Become more coherent. Become more articulate. Cast more of a shadow. It’s almost a type of positive behaviorism in some ways. But it’s not somebody wagging their finger and so on, because you’re doing it for yourself. It comes from inside.

Q2: Do you not think though that Nietzscheanism doesn’t have a transcendental element to it?

B: That’s why I’m wearing this [rune pendant], you see, because I probably think there ought to be such a thing. Many people need to go beyond that. If his thinking before he went mad, probably because he had tertiary syphilis, it’s up to sort of 1880, so we’re talking about thinking that’s 130 years old.

I think in some ways he’s an anatomist of Christianity’s decline, because Christianity been declining mentally and in some ways extending out into the Third World where it’s real catchment area now is. I mean, there will be a non-White pope soon. Christianity will begin to wear the face of the south very soon. It’s the ideal religion for the south. It’s pity for those who fail, for those who are weak, for those who are hungry, for those who are broken. Have pity on your children, O Lord. It’s an ideal religion. Don’t take it through violence or fear or aggression. Submit and be thankful for what He will give you in His wisdom.

But it’s ruining us. For centuries we were strong even despite that faith, but of course we made use of it. The part that fits us is the extreme transcendence of Christian doctrine. That’s what Indo-Europeans like about that faith. The enormous vaulting cathedrals, the Gothic idea that you can go up and up and up. It’s that element in it that we like, and we made into ourselves. But we forgot the ethical substratum. We forgot the sort of troll-like ethical element that there is no other value but sympathy, there is no other value than compassion, that love is the basis of all life. And ultimately that is a feminine view of civilization which will lead to its collapse in masculine terms.

Q2: How would you view the works of Julius Evola?

B: Yes, they’re the counter-balance to Nietzsche. There is a lot of religious elements in there of a perennialist sort that a lot of modern minds can’t accept. You see, Nietzsche is a switchblade, and nearly all people in this society are modern even if they think they’re not. Nietzsche is a modern thinker. Nietzsche is a modernist. Nietzsche can reach the modern mind. Nietzsche’s the most Right-wing formulation within the modern mind that people can accept.

My view is that people who accept Evola straight out aren’t living in the modern world. That’s not a criticism. It’s a description of where they are. I think for people to become illiberal they have to become illiberal first within the modern world. Some people would say you have to go outside of it. You know, the culture of the ruins and the revolt against the modern world, per se. But I personally think that we’re in modernity.

But there will be people who go to Nietzsche and Thus Spake Zarathustra, which is really a semi- or pseudo-religious text, is not enough and they’ll want to go beyond that and they’ll want a degree and a tier of religiosity. The dilemma always in the West is what to choose. Back to Christianity or on to paganism? Which system do you choose?

Evola said he was a Catholic pagan, didn’t he? One knows what he means. But I see paganism peeping out of everything. I see paganism peeping out of Protestantism, the most Jewish form of Christianity, through its power-individualism and its extremist individuality (Kierkegaard, Carlyle, Nietzsche). I see paganism saturating Catholicism and peeping out of it at every turn, aesthetically, artistically, the art of the Renaissance, the return of the Greco-Roman sensibility, the humanism of the ancient world. Some of the greatest classicists were Medieval Popes and so on. I see it just looming out. The whole structure of the Catholic Church is a Roman imperial structure, Christianized. So, I see it peeping out.

Our law is Roman. All of our leaders were educated and steeped in the classical world to provide a dialectical corollary to Christianity without them being told that’s what is happening. The decline of the classics is partly because people don’t want to go back there, basically. So, you don’t teach it to anyone apart from tiny little public school elites, which are .2% of the population who read a few authors who no one else even knows exist. You know, big deal.

The difficulty with Evola is that it’s a very great leap for the modern mind. Although in his sensibility, I agree with his sensibility, really. I agree with him going out amidst the bombings, not caring. I agree with that sort of attitude towards life, which is an aristocratic attitude towards life. But we’re living in a junk food, liberal, low middle class society. You’ve got to start where you are. I think Nietzsche is strong enough meat for most people and is far, far, far too strong for 80% now.

Today, the mentally disabled have been allowed into the Paralympics. So, you will have the 100 yard cerebral palsy dash at the next Olympics in London in 2012. This is the world we’re living in. Nietzsche would say that’s ridiculous and so on. And that is a shocking and transgressive and morally ugly attitude from the contemporary news that we see. So, it’s almost as if Nietzsche’s tough enough for this moment.

But I’m interesting in that he said, “God is dead in the minds of men.” That doesn’t necessarily mean, of course, although he was a militant atheist, he’s living open the idea that . . . [God objectively exists—Ed.]. You see, the Christian idea of God was dying around him, mentally, and it has died. I mean, hardly anyone really, deep down, believes that now. Even the people who say that they do don’t in the way that they did 100 years ago or their predecessors did.

So, it has died, but I think there are metaphysically objectivist standards outside life. Whether our civilization can revive without a return to them is very open. It’s very questionable. Where that discourse is to come from is . . . The tragedy would be if Christianity sort of facilitated our greatness, but ended up ruining us, which of course might be the true thesis.

Now we’re getting into deep waters.

Q: What is your view of Abrahamic religions?

B: I think religion is a good thing. The Right always supports the right of religion to exist. Religion does cross ethnic and racial boundaries. Afghanistan was Buddhist once. I prefer people to have some sort of religious viewpoint, even the most tepid sort of thing, but none at all, because at least there is a structure that is in some sense prior.

But, personally, I prefer tribally based religions. I prefer religions that are about blood and genetics and honor and identity and are nominalist and that are specific. But I think people will adopt different systems because they’re physiologically different even within their group. You can see that about certain people. Certain people, Christianity suits them very well and they can be quite patriotic and quite decent people and so on in that system and there we are. But for me? No.

I’m a barbarian in some ways. People can worship what gods they want within the Western tradition, and that’s all right.


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/10/paganism-christianity-nietzsche-evola/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/NietzscheSeated.jpg

[2] Punch and Judy: http://www.counter-currents.com/2013/03/the-real-meaning-of-punch-and-judy/

lundi, 13 octobre 2014

Nietzsche 1844-2014


00:05 Publié dans Evénement, Philosophie | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : événement, italie, philosophie, nietzsche | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

mardi, 22 avril 2014

Nietzsche, ou la sagesse dionysiaque

Nietzsche, ou la sagesse dionysiaque

Un ouvrage de Rémi Soulié

Ex: http://www.bvoltaire.fr

Cliquez pour acheter

Nietzsche, ou la sagesse dionysiaque ? Un titre aussi étrange que provocateur donné à son dernier essai, par Rémi Soulié, critique littéraire au Figaro Magazine et contributeur aussi brillant que rarissime sur Boulevard Voltaire. À l’instar de Dionysos, ce dieu incontrôlable dont les Romains durent contenir les excès ravageurs du culte public qui lui était jadis voué, cet ouvrage ne se laisse guère apprivoiser par une lecture furtive et dilettante. Les premières lignes offrent une clef de compréhension qui rassure le lecteur : « L’amour de la sagesse défini comme un exercice vital de la volonté. »

Pour qui connaît la philosophie « à coups de marteau » de l’auteur d’Ecce Homo, celle-ci n’est guère caractérisée par la juste mesure aristotélicienne qui sied à la sagesse. Il faut pourtant plonger au cœur de son évocation du sublime Zarathoustra pour s’apercevoir que gît bien une sagesse au « grand midi » : « La volonté de puissance, énergie chaotique, tend à son propre accroissement. […] Il appartient au surhomme, manifestation ultime des forces actives, de la reconnaître et de la vouloir dans son caractère affirmatif, en symbiose avec le tout de l’univers, de manière qu’il puisse transmuter les valeurs jusqu’à l’acquiescement renouvelé et sans reste à la vie. » Il poursuit : « Acte paroxystique d’un tel vouloir : l’approbation du temps avec lequel le surhomme a signé la paix, se délivrant ainsi de tout esprit de vengeance à son égard. En dernière analyse, l’unique ressentiment des hommes contre le temps et son “il était” disparaît par l’approbation active de chaque ins-temps passé, présent et à venir dans la plénitude de sa répétition infinie (il reviendra). »

Ce diable d’homme, dont on ne sait si c’est l’auteur ou Nietzsche lui-même dont il semble avoir adopté la broussailleuse moustache et la ténébreuse posture, nous coupe le souffle ! Extatique mais point ataraxique. Assurément, cette prescription éthique est puissamment politique en ce qu’elle est irréductiblement discriminante (pour ne pas dire discriminatoire). À la question proprement nietzschéenne de savoir si l’on est prêt à revivre sa vie strictement à l’identique, « chaque douleur et chaque joie, chaque pensée et chaque soupir, tut l’infiniment grand et l’infiniment petit de la vie, […] tout cela dans la même suite et le même ordre », Soulié lâche, détaché, en anarque jungérien : « Qui répond positivement à la question posée peut faire l’objet d’un “élevage” et accéder à l’éducation dionysiaque, éminemment sélective : l’aristocratie et dangereuse sagesse que prône Nietzsche ne s’adresse qu’au petit nombre capable de s’élever au-dessus de lui-même ; la seule édification digne de ce nom passe par la culture – au marteau, s’il le faut – des pulsions affirmatives. »

Soulié nous invite dans son Sud natal pour y trouver, à la manière des troubadours d’antan qui ne cherchaient pas mais trouvaient (« trobar »), « lo gai saber », le gai savoir, soit « la diététique du sage dionysiaque, toujours idiosyncrasique, fondée sur l’accord musical avec le monde ». L’auteur tente, in fine, une réconciliation métaphysique du « Crucifié » avec l’Antéchrist. Las. Elle est balayée par Dionysos, imprévisible danseur « sur les pieds du hasard », qui répugne à ce saut dans la foi. Dans ce qui n’existe pas. On s’interroge. Dieu ou Dionysos ?

00:05 Publié dans Livre, Livre, Philosophie | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : nietzsche, philosophie, livre, rémy soulié, allemagne | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

lundi, 09 décembre 2013

Nietzsches ‚Biopolitik’

Nietzsches ‚Biopolitik’

B108nietzsche.jpg„Entartete Kultur“ – so charakterisierte Kardinal Meißner 2007 den unfruchtbaren Zustand modernen Kunstlebens. Sofort schallten die Alarmglocken der öffentlichen Meinung, die reflexartig den Bannfluch über die vermeintliche Nazivokabel aktualisierte. Ent-artung – was soviel meint wie „aus der Art schlagen“ – wurde tatsächlich von dem nationaljüdischen Arzt Max Nordau geprägt, und zwar im Rahmen einer Semantik, die bewusst das physiologische und kulturelle Feld miteinander verschränkte. Er transferierte die ursprünglich medizinische Vokabel auf kulturell-künstlerische Phänomene, um vor einer für die Menschheit ungesunden Kulturentwicklung zu warnen. Unter anderem geriet Friedrich Nietzsche unter Nordaus Entartungsverdikt. Der Philosoph, der sich selbst als „Arzt der Kultur“ verstand, hatte nicht zuletzt selbst von einer „Degenereszenz der Instinkte“ als einer Ursache kultureller décadence gesprochen und empfahl den Übermenschen als Remedur zugunsten einer „Höherzüchtung der Menschheit“. Es sieht so aus, als könne man eine Kontinuität zu eugenischen Programmen und Sozialhygienemaßnahmen herstellen, die im 20. Jahrhundert verhängnisvolle Folgen zeitigen sollten. Es scheint, als wäre das Entartungstheorem das darwinistische Pendant der radikalen Rechten zum marxistischen Entfremdungstheorem der radikalen Linken. Beide eröffnen eine ‚engineering’-Perspektive auf Mensch und Gesellschaft, die heute im gender-mainstreaming oder den Anthropotechniken fröhliche Urständ feiert und das befürchten lässt, was C. S. Lewis die Abschaffung des Menschen nennt.

Wenn man die – wie wir heute mit Foucault sagen können- ‚Biopolitik’ Nietzsches genauer betrachtet, stellt sich jedoch ein differenzierteres Bild dar: Entartung ist nicht einfach der Keim des Verfalls, sondern immer auch notwendige Voraussetzung höchster kultureller Blüte. An ihr lässt sich eine aufschlussreiche kulturtheoretische Dialektik ausfalten, welche die Kultur in ihrer geschichtlichen Dynamik zu fassen und Faktoren ihrer Fruchtbarkeit freizulegen vermag. Nietzsches biopolitisches Grundgesetz lautet in nuce: „Veredelung durch Entartung“. Entartung wirkt also nicht primär degenerativ, sondern umgekehrt: veredelnd und kulturproduktiv. Die empirische Beobachtung der Geschichte lehrt Nietzsche, dass der „lebendige Gemeinsinn“ eines kulturfähigen Volkes durch „Gleichheit [der] gewohnten und undiscutierbaren Grundsätze“ und „gemeinsamen Glauben“ konstituiert wird. Durch die „tüchtige Sitte“ werden die Menschen berechenbar und homogen gemacht: Das Individuum muss Unterordnung lernen, seinem Charakter wird Festigkeit anerzogen. Es entsteht so etwas wie Konformität – ein „auf gleichartige, charaktervolle Individuen gegründetes Gemeinwesen“. Kultur enthält nach Nietzsche – vor allem in ihrer anfänglichen Konstitutionsphase-  immer die Komponente der Zucht oder mit Max Weber gesprochen das Moment der Sozialdisziplinierung. Ohne kultivierte Menschen würde Kultur in sich zusammenfallen und in nackte Barbarei regredieren. Der Stabilität aufbauende Konformitätsdruck der Kultur kann aber sehr schnell in sein Negativ umschlagen: Nietzsche erblickt die Gefahr in der „allmählich durch Vererbung gesteigerten Verdummung“. Man kann an die Wendung: „kein Hirt und eine Herde“ denken, die in seinem Zarathustra in Zusammenhang mit dem letzten Menschen auftaucht. Statt die biologistischen Anklänge von vererbter Verdummung überzuinterpretieren, können wir uns ein kollektives Trägheitsgesetz der Masse in der Logik des Sozialen vorstellen, das Kreativität und Individualität zu ersticken droht. Da bedarf es eines Gegengewichtes zum „stabilen Elemente eines Gemeinwesens“, das dynamisch und auflockernd wirkt und dadurch zum „geistigen Fortschreiten“ beiträgt. Dieses positive Gegengewicht bilden „die ungebundneren, viel unsichereren und moralisch schwächeren Individuen“, eben die „Entarteten“: „es sind die Menschen, welche Neues und überhaupt Vielerlei versuchen“. Künstler und Intellektuelle erweisen sich als solche Versuchende im Sinne eines kreativen Elements, insofern sie gerade oft außerhalb kultureller oder sozialer Normalität stehen. Sie sind nicht „Zersetzer“, wie die NS-Rhetorik zu suggerieren suchte, sondern das zentrale Stimulans der Kultur. Sie fügen ihr eine „Wunde“ zu, aber „an dieser wunden und schwach gewordenen Stelle wird dem gesamten Wesen etwas Neues gleichsam inokuliert“. Der „Volkskörper“ ist nicht geschlossen und rein gedacht, sondern assimilatorisch, über die Einverleibung des Anderen vermittelt. So konzediert der Fortschrittskritiker Nietzsche sogar: „Die abartenden Naturen sind überall da von höchster Bedeutung, wo ein Fortschritt erfolgen soll.“ Fortsetzung im Großen setze jedoch Schwächung im Kleinen voraus. So ergibt sich ein kulturproduktiver Antagonismus zwischen den starken Naturen, die den Typus festhalten, d.h. im Wortsinne konservativ wirken, und den schwachen Naturen, die den Typus „fortbilden“, d.h. progressiv wirken. Aus dem Zusammenspiel der zentripetalen Kräfte und den zentrifugalen Kräften ergibt sich als Resultante die Kultur. Entartung präsentiert uns Nietzsche als tief ambivalentes Phänomen:

„selten ist eine Entartung, eine Verstümmelung, selbst ein Laster und überhaupt eine körperliche oder sittliche Einbusse ohne einen Vorteil auf einer anderen Seite. Der kränkere Mensch zum Beispiel wird vielleicht, inmitten eines kriegerischen und unruhigen Stammes, mehr Veranlassung haben, für sich zu sein und dadurch ruhiger und weiser zu werden, der Einäugige wird Ein stärkeres Auge haben, der Blinde wird tiefer in’s Innere schauen und jedenfalls schärfer hören.“ Formen von Entartung – Krankheit oder Behinderung- ermöglichen Kompensation und Spezialisierung, die einen kulturellen Mehrwert zu erzeugen in der Lage sind. Der monokausalen Erklärung vulgärdarwinistischer Kurzschlüsse – der Kampf ums Dasein als Ursache für  „das Fortschreiten oder Stärkerwerden eines Menschen, einer Rasse“- wird eine scharfe Absage erteilt und durch ein differenzierteres Modell ersetzt:

„Vielmehr muss zweierlei zusammen kommen: einmal die Mehrung der stabilen Kraft durch Bindung der Geister in Glauben und Gemeingefühl; sodann die Möglichkeit, zu höheren Zielen zu gelangen, dadurch dass entartende Naturen und, in Folge derselben, teilweise Schwächungen und Verwundungen der stabilen Kraft vorkommen;“ Auf der einen Seite eine homogene Gemeinschaft aus Glauben und Gemeingefühl, auf der anderen Seite die entartenden Naturen, die letztere immer wieder neu transzendieren (und damit natürlich auch den Verband schwächen oder gefährden können). Gerade die „schwächere Natur“ sei die „zartere und freiere“ und mache „alles Fortschreiten überhaupt möglich“. Dabei unterscheidet Nietzsche drei Perspektiven: die auf das kollektive Leben des Volkes, die auf das individuelle Leben des Einzelmenschen und die auf den Staat. Natürlich imaginiert Nietzsche das Volk im Bildes des organischen Körpers: Der Volkskörper – partiell angebröckelt und schwach aber doch „im Ganzen noch stark und gesund“- „vermag die Infection des Neuen aufzunehmen und sich zum Vorteil einzuverleiben“. Analog solle die Erziehung des Menschen verlaufen: Zunächst sei er „fest und sicher hinzustellen“, um ihm daraufhin „Wunden beizubringen oder die Wunden, welche das Schicksal ihm schlägt, zu benutzen“, damit „in die verwundeten Stellen etwas Neues und Edles inoculiert werden“ könne. Nietzsche plädiert hier weniger für eine autoritäre Erziehung, vielmehr stellt er fest, dass eine freie Persönlichkeit immer auch durch die Negativität des Lebens hindurchgegangen sein muss. Sie muss Schmerz und Bedürfnis erlebt haben, um ihre Stabilität und Autonomie zu bewähren und gegen Widerstände weiter auszubilden. Nietzsche spricht schließlich von den Früchten der „Veredelung“. Am Ende steht der Staatskörper, auf den der Philosoph seine Beobachtungen überträgt. Er ruft dabei Machiavelli als Gewährsmann auf, der Dauer als „das große Ziel der Staatskunst“, welches alles Andere aufwiege, herausgestellt hat. Im Gleichklang mit Machiavelli erweist sich Nietzsche als im klassischen Sinne konservativ, wenn er zustimmend hinzufügt: „Nur bei sicher begründeter und verbürgter größter Dauer ist stetige Entwicklung und veredelnde Inoculation überhaupt möglich.“ Nur wenn das Staatsgebilde auf Dauer ausgelegt ist und einen Stabilitätskern besitzt, sind Entwicklung und Assimilation des Anderen möglich, durch die hindurch sich ja das, was sich entwickelt, durchhalten muss. Die „gefährliche Genossin aller Dauer“ ist die Autorität, die als Gegenspielerin gegen Dynamik, Entwicklung und Veränderung auftritt und deren Schattenseite reaktionäre Erstarrung im Alten ist. Autorität und Entartung, Dauer und Entwicklung, Konformität und Kreativität bilden das Spannungsfeld, in dem Kultur gebildet wird. Sie sind auch die Koordinaten konstruktiver Kulturkritik, die Reduktionismen vermeiden sollte. Ungesund wird eine Kulturentwicklung immer dann, wenn sie in ein Extrem ausschlägt und den jeweils komplementären Pol vergisst. Wer seinen Nietzsche gelesen hat, darf entspannter das Wort „Entartung“ in den Mund nehmen und kulturkritisch verwenden, ohne natürlich die historischen Belastungen auszublenden. Ein biologistischer Kurzschluss ist bei Nietzsche jedenfalls nicht in der heute inkriminierten Vokabel enthalten, im Gegenteil: Nietzsche weiß um die vor allem produktiven Wechselwirkungen mit der soziokulturellen Sphäre, er weiß, dass soziale Körper – sei es der des Individuums, des Volkes oder des Staates, die immer einer organischen Logik folgen, welche die Form von Geschlossenheit und Emergenz zwischen Teilen und Ganzem anstrebt – auch zur Transzendenz fähig sind und damit nicht nur mit sich selbst sondern immer auch mit ihrem Anderen – eben dem Entarteten- identisch sein können.


Nietzsche: KSA, Bd.2, Menschliches, Allzumenschliches, S.187-188.

jeudi, 31 octobre 2013

Nietzsche fenomenologo del quotidiano



Scolari, Paolo, Nietzsche fenomenologo del quotidiano




Milano-Udine, Mimesis , 2013, pp. 233, euro 20, ISBN 978-88-5751-472-7



Recensione di Massimiliano Chiari 

Ex: http://recensionifilosofiche.info



Nietzsche è stato senza dubbio un filologo precoce e promettente: non ancora venticinquenne, e non ancora laureato, ottenne – per meriti scientifici – la cattedra di filologia classica all’Università di Basilea. È stato anche, e in misura incommensurabilmente maggiore, un filosofo di primissimo piano capace di condizionare il pensiero filosofico dell’intero Novecento, e oltre. Tutto ciò è assolutamente noto, direi a tutti.



Ciò che, invece, è senza dubbio meno universalmente noto del pensiero di Nietzsche, è la sua propensione fenomenologica verso la quotidianità, la sua capacità – cioè – di offrire una lettura tagliente, profonda, lucidissima e in molti casi profetica (nel senso di anticipatrice) della realtà quotidiana e delle sue strutture sociali ed economiche. Accanto a un Nietzsche “maggiore” (filologo e, soprattutto, filosofo) ci sarebbe dunque anche un Nietzsche “minore”, semplice (pour ainsi dire) osservatore della realtà che lo circonda, analista e descrittore (fenomenologo, appunto) del quotidiano: questa è la tesi sostenuta – e ampiamente dimostrata – dal giovane (classe 1983) Paolo Scolari nel libro in esame, pubblicato anche grazie ad un contributo finanziario dell’Università Cattolica, “sulla base di una valutazione dei risultati della ricerca in esso espressa”. È chiaramente un giovane molto promettente l’autore di questo bel libro che ci conduce, ci accompagna per mano, fra i luoghi meno noti – e pur tuttavia interessantissimi – del pensiero di Nietzsche.


“Il suo sguardo fenomenologico – ci ricorda Scolari – si posa su quei piccoli temi – «le cose prossime e più vicine di tutte», come le chiama Nietzsche – che vanno a comporre l’esistenza degli uomini della società moderna: «le ventiquattro ore del giorno, il mangiare, l’abitare, il vestirsi, l’aver rapporti sociali, la condotta di vita, la ripartizione della giornata, la professione ed il tempo libero, la festività e il riposo, il matrimonio e l’amicizia»” (p. 15-16); insomma, questo Nietzsche minore, o “terreno” come lo definisce anche Scolari, questo “osservatore dei «luoghi umani» della convivenza”, fa del filosofo tedesco un vero e proprio fenomenologo del quotidiano, testimone di «quella cronaca quotidiana che indagò come sfera dell’umano troppo umano»” (p. 16), per riproporre un’efficace espressione utilizzata da S. Moravia.


Scolari ha individuato un saldo filo conduttore che attraversa tutta la nietzscheana fenomenologia del quotidiano; si tratta della “frammentazione dell’umano” (p. 118): “Io mi aggiro in mezzo agli uomini, come in mezzo a frammenti (Bruchstücken) e membra (Gliedmaassen) di uomini! E questo è spaventoso ai miei occhi: trovare l’uomo in frantumi (zertrümmert) […]” (p. 119, cit. da Così parlò Zarathustra). L’uomo in frantumi è quello che si manifesta, al fenomenologo, nelle strutture sociali ed economiche della seconda metà dell’Ottocento: nella scuola, nella cultura, nel lavoro, nel tempo libero, nella città come luogo dell’abitare, e perfino nel giornalismo. L’uomo in frantumi è l’anticipazione nietzscheana dell’uomo a una dimensione, teorizzato da Herbert Marcuse nel suo famoso saggio Der eindimensionale Mensch del 1964.


Così ad esempio, la “cultura” prodotta dalle scuole tedesche “perde in profondità quanto pretende di guadagnare in estensione. Non una «vera cultura» (Wirkliche  Bildung), bensì solo una «specie di sapere intorno alla cultura», una «culturalità» (“Gebildetheit”) che «si ferma al pensiero e al sentimento della cultura»” (p. 44). La cultura non ha più come fine se stessa, “ma viene sfruttata per realizzare quelli che, un tempo semplici mezzi, sono ora diventati i fini più importanti dell’esistenza umana: l’utile economico e la potenza dello Stato” (ivi). Ciò che Nietzsche critica aspramente è il “democraticismo” della cultura (e della scuola) tedesca, e ciò in quanto “il valore della cultura è inversamente proporzionale alla sua diffusione: la «cultura quanto più possibile vasta e universale» e «comune a tutti» ha una sola via d’uscita, la «barbarie»” (p. 47). Per Nietzsche la cultura autentica “deve rifiutare ogni asservimento, non deve «servire» a niente, deve cioè essere “«fine a se stessa», gratuita, socialmente disinteressata, al di sopra della mischia sociale” (p. 57). Ma più propriamente, a cosa è asservita – secondo il filosofo tedesco - la cultura dei suoi tempi (e, potremmo aggiungere, dei nostri tempi)? Essa è innanzitutto e per lo più asservita al denaro: “In una modernità «travolta da un’economia del denaro gigantesca e spregevole», dove si rincorrono freneticamente «tutti i mezzi e le vie per guadagnare più facilmente possibile del denaro (Geld)», la cultura «si fa sempre più utile in senso economico»: nei tempi moderni «esiste una naturale e necessaria alleanza di “ricchezza e cultura”, e, ancor più, questa alleanza sarebbe una necessità morale»” (p. 62, cit. da Sull’utilità e il danno della storia per la vita). Un’anticipazione profetica: non grazie alla cultura, ma sotto la spinta del commercio mondiale – ha scritto Nietzsche – “sarà il «denaro a costringere l’Europa a stringersi insieme in un’unica potenza»” (p. 63).


In che senso, quindi, il decadimento della cultura e l’egemonia del denaro gettano l’uomo “in frantumi”? Nel senso che “la società sarà dominata da “uomini attuali” senza identità, facilmente spendibili, in grado di valutare ogni cosa soltanto in termini di utilità economica. Uomini coinvolti nel mercato del lavoro, scambiabili e ridotti a valore di scambio: uomini-merce che, «livellati dallo spirito del mercato», hanno perso la propria «qualità individuale» e ritengono superflua una consapevolezza di sé che vada al di là di una mera determinazione del prezzo” (p. 65).


Ma l’uomo moderno non è “frammentato” solo a livello culturale, lo è anche nell’ambito lavorativo e perfino nella fruizione del suo (presunto) tempo libero: “ovunque c’è frammentazione, lì ne va dell’umano” (p. 85). L’analisi nietzscheana del lavoro rimanda, forse inconsapevolmente, al concetto marxiano, ed hegeliano prima, di “alienazione”; “nell’era del dominio della fabbrica, continuando a specializzarsi, l’operaio non solo ripete meccanicamente e ininterrottamente la medesima azione, ma diventa l’oggetto di quell’azione: non solo produce la vite per la macchina, bensì si trasforma lui stesso in quella vite” (p. 95). In un aforisma di Umano, troppo umano, Nietzsche scriverà che “«La macchina umilia, è impersonale (unpersönlich), sottrae al pezzo di lavoro la sua fierezza, la sua individuale bontà e difettosità, ciò che rimane attaccato ad ogni lavoro non fatto a macchina, – quindi il suo pezzetto di umanità (sein Bisschen Humanität)»” (p. 96). Anche il tempo libero, che dell’antico otium non mantiene neppure lontanamente la parvenza, diventa funzionale a qualcosa di diverso da sé, serve ormai solamente “per riprendersi dalla stanchezza del negotium” (p. 103). Perfino “la religione moderna”, quella “che vive nell’epoca della morte di Dio” è “ridotta a un dovere della domenica, un ulteriore impegno fra le numerose occupazioni del cittadino moderno” (p. 108).


Di particolare pregio è il quarto capitolo (pp. 160-202) del saggio di Scolari, quello in cui viene riproposta la “fenomenologia della città” (luogo dell’abitare) che il giovane studioso fa sapientemente emergere, in particolare, dalle pagine del Prologo di Così parlò Zarathustra. “La città è quell’affascinante palcoscenico sul quale va in scena l’umanità dell’epoca moderna: un’umanità che Nietzsche, «seduto al caffè» della piazza, osserva con molta attenzione (p. 166). Zarathustra incomincia la predicazione del «superuomo» proprio nella piazza della città: “nonostante la dirompente portata del suo messaggio, la folla è indifferente nei confronti di Zarathustra”, non gli presta ascolto, “egli «passa in mezzo a questa gente e lascia cadere qualche parola, ma essi né sanno prendere né trattenere». Questi uomini non riescono a capire ciò di cui parla, continuando imperterriti ad aspettare lo show del saltimbanco” (p. 181). “In quella piazza, l’agire della «folla» si spinge ben oltre la semplice indifferenza. Essa non solo non ascolta Zarathustra, ma con grande fragore «ride di lui»” (p. 183). Ma da chi è composta la gente che affolla quella piazza? Dall’uomo moderno, frammentato, incapace di prestare attenzione a, di cogliere un messaggio nuovo e rivoluzionario che intende ricondurre l’umano alla sua interezza. La gente della piazza “è popolata da «buoni», «giusti» e «credenti»: «esperti di ‘bene’ e di ‘male’», uomini «prigionieri della loro buona coscienza»” (p. 184). La piccolezza di quegli uomini si riflette, perfino, nelle loro abitazioni: quel tipo d’uomo “abita in case ristrette e «saltella su una terra diventata piccola» […]: una piccola «felicità», una piccola «ragione», una piccola «virtù», una piccola «giustizia», una piccola «compassione». Piccolezza e moderazione che tuttavia sanno molto di «accontentabilità» e mediocrità” (p. 186).


Il saggio di Scolari offre altri numerosi esempi di fenomenologia del quotidiano, così come viene filtrata dalle lenti di Nietzsche, ma sempre medesimo appare il tratto distintivo di quell’umanità moderna così banale: ciò che ne emerge è l’uomo frammentato, l’uomo a una dimensione per dirla con Marcuse, l’uomo che ha perso il senso della sua originaria unità e potenza, l’uomo che sarà protagonista del ventesimo secolo e, anche, dei giorni nostri.









Sguardo sul quotidiano: Nietzsche e le “cose prossime”



Capitolo I


Sull’avvenire delle nostre scuole: cultura, educazione, società



Capitolo II


Frammentazione dell’umano: cultura, lavoro e tempo libero



Capitolo III


Fenomenologia delle masse: Nietzsche e le logiche collettive



Capitolo IV


Fenomenologia della città: Nietzsche e i luoghi dell’abitare





La preghiera del quotidiano: Nietzsche e i giornali

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dimanche, 15 septembre 2013

L'ironie de Diogène à Michel Onfray


Archives, 1997


Introduction au thème de l'ironie:

L'ironie de Diogène à Michel Onfray

Dans la philosophie grecque et européenne, toute démarche ironique trouve son point de départ dans l'ironie socratique. Celle-ci vise à aller au fond des choses, au-delà des habitudes, des conventions, des hypocrisies ou des vérités officielles. Les conventions et les vérités officielles sont bourrées de contradictions. L'ironie consiste d'abord à laisser discourir le défenseur des vérités officielles, un sourire aux lèvres. Ensuite, lui poser des questions gênantes là où il se contredit; faire voler en éclats son système de dogmes et d'idées fixes. Amener cet interlocuteur officiel à avouer la vanité et la vacuité de son discours. Telle est l'induction socratique. Son objectif: aller à l'essentiel, montrer que le sérieux affiché par les officiels est pure illusion. Nietzsche, pourtant, autre pourfendeur de conventions et d'habitudes, a raillé quelques illusions socratiques. Ce sont les suivantes: croire qu'une vertu est cachée au fond de chaque homme, ce qui conduit à la naïveté intellectuelle (a priori: nul n'est méchant); imaginer que la maïeutique et l'induction peuvent tout résoudre (=> intellectualisme); opter pour un cosmopolitisme de principe (Antisthène, qui était mi-Grec, mi-Thrace, donc non citoyen de la ville, disait, moqueur, que les seuls Athéniens pures, non mélangés, étaient les escargots et les sauterelles). Il n'empêche que ce qui est vérité ici, ne l'est pas nécessairement là-bas.

Pour nous, le recours à l'ironie socratique n'a pas pour objet d'opposer une doctrine intellectuelle à une autre, qui serait dominante mais sclérosée, ou de faire advenir une vertu qui se généraliserait ou s'universaliserait MAIS, premièrement, de dénoncer, démonter et déconstruire un système politique et un système de références politiques qui sont sclérosés et répétitifs; deuxièmement, d'échapper collectivement à toutes les entreprises de classification et, partant, d'homologation et de sérialisation; troisièmement, d'obliger les hommes et les femmes qui composent notre société à retrouver ce qu'ils sont au fond d'eux-mêmes.

Nietzsche critique Socrate

Mais comme Nietzsche l'avait vu, la pensée de Socrate peut subir un processus de fixation, à cause même des éléments d'eudémonisme qu'elle recèle et à cause des risques d'intellectualisation. Après Socrate viennent justement les Cyniques, qui échappent à ces écueils. Le terme de “Cyniques” vient de kuôn (= chien). Le chien est simple, ne s'encombre d'aucune convenance, aboie contre l'hypocrisie, mord à pleines dents dans les baudruches de la superstition et du conformisme.

Première élément intéressant dans la démarche des Cyniques: leur apologie de la frugalité. Pour eux, le luxe est un “bagage inutile”, tout comme les richesses, les honneurs, le plaisir et la science (le savoir inutile). La satisfaction, pour les Cyniques, c'est l'immédiateté et non un monde “meilleur” qui adviendra plus tard. Le Cynique refuse dès lors de “mettre sa sagesse au service des sots qui font de la politique”, car ces sots sont 1) esclaves de leurs passions, de leurs appétits; 2) esclaves des fadaises (idéologiques, morales, sociales, etc.) qui farcissent leurs âmes. Les Cyniques visent une vie authentiquement naturelle, libre, individualiste, frugale, ascétique.

La figure de proue des Cyniques grecs à été Diogène, surnommé quelquefois “le Chien”. On retient de sa personnalité quelques anecdotes, comme sa vie dans un tonneau et sa réplique lors du passage d'Alexandre, qui lui demandait ce qu'il pouvait faire pour lui: «Ote-toi de mon soleil!». Le Maître de Diogène a été Antisthène (445-365). Antisthène rejetait la vie mondaine, c'est-à-dire les artifices conventionnels et figés qui empêchent l'homme d'exprimer ce qu'il est vraiment. Le danger pour l'intégrité intellectuelle de l'homme, du point de vue d'Antisthène, c'est de suivre aveuglément et servilement les artifices, c'est de perdre son autonomie, donc le contrôle de son action. Si l'on vit en accord avec soi-même, on contrôle mieux son action. Le modèle mythologique d'Antisthène est Héraklès, qui mène son action en se dépouillant de toutes les résistances artificielles intérieures comme extérieures. L'eucratia, c'est l'autarkhia. Donc, avec Antisthène et Diogène, on passe d'une volonté (socratique) de gouverner les hommes en les améliorant par le discours maïeutique, à l'autarcie des personnes (à être soi-même sans contrainte). L'objectif d'Antisthène et de Diogène, c'est d'exercer totalement un empire sur soi-même.

Contre les imbéciles politisés, l'autarcie du sage

Diogène va toutefois relativiser les enseignements d'Antisthène. Il va prôner:

- le dénuement total;

- l'agressivité débridée;

- les inconvenances systématiques.

Le Prof. Lucien Jerphagnon nous livre un regard sur les Cyniques qui nous conduit à un philosophe français contemporains, Michel Onfray.

Première remarque: le terme “cynique” est péjoratif aujourd'hui. On ne dit pas, explique Jerphagnon: «Il a dit cyniquement qu'il consacrait le quart de ses revenus à une institution de charité»; en revanche, on dit: «Il a dit cyniquement qu'il détournait l'argent de son patron». Dans son ouvrage d'introduction à la philosophie, Jerphagnon nous restitue le sens réel du mot:

- être spontané et sans ambigüité comme un chien (pour le meilleur et pour le pire).

- voir l'objet tel qu'il est et ne pas le comparer ou le ramener à une idée (étrangère au monde).

Soit: voir un cheval et non la cabbalité; voir un homme et non l'humanité. Quand Diogène se promène en plein jour à Athènes, une lanterne à la main et dit aux passants: «Je cherche un homme», il ne dit pas, pour “homme”, anèr (c'est-à-dire un bonhomme concret, précis), mais anthropos, c'est-à-dire l'idée d'homme dans le discours platonicien. Diogène pourfend ainsi anticipativement tous les platonismes, toutes les fausses idées sublimes sur lesquelles vaniteux, solennels imbéciles, escrocs et criminels fondent leur pouvoir. Ainsi en va-t-il de l'idéal “démocratique” proclamé par la démocratie russe actuelle, qui n'est qu'un paravent de la mafia, ou des idéaux de démocratie ou d'Etat de droit, couvertures des mafiacraties belge, française et italienne. Dans les démocraties modernes, les avatars contemporains de Diogène peuvent se promener dans les rues et dire: «Je cherche un démocrate».

Jerphagnon: «La leçon de bonheur que délivrait Diogène (...): avoir un esprit sain, une raison droite, et plutôt que de se laisser aller aux mômeries des religions, plutôt que d'être confit en dévotion, mieux vaut assurément imiter les dieux, qui n'ont besoin de rien. Le Sage est autarkès, il vit en autarcie» (p. 192).

Panorama des impertinences d'Onfray

Cette référence au Cyniques nous conduit donc à rencontrer un philosophe irrévérencieux d'aujourd'hui, Michel Onfray. Dans Cynismes. Portrait d'un philosophe en chien (1990), celui-ci nous dévoile les bases de sa philosophie, qui repose sur:

- un souci hédoniste (en dépit de la frugalité prônée par Antisthène, car, à ses yeux, la frugalité procure le plaisir parce qu'elle dégage des conventions, procure la liberté et l'autarcie).

- un accès aristocratique à la jouissance;

- un athéisme radical que nous pourrions traduire aujourd'hui par un rejet de tous les poncifs idéologiques;

- une impiété subversive;

- une pratique politique libertaire.

Dans La sculpture de soi. La morale esthétique (1993), Onfray parie pour:

- la vitalité débordante (on peut tracer un parallèle avec le vitalisme!);

- la restauration de la “virtù” de la Renaissance contre la vertu chrétienne;

- l'ouverture à l'individualité forte, à l'héroïsme;

- une morale jubilatoire.

Dans L'Art de jouir. Pour un matérialisme hédoniste (1991), Onfray s'insurge, avec humour et sans véhémence, bien sûr, contre:

- la méfiance à l'égard du corps;

- l'invention par l'Occident des corps purs et séraphiques, mis en forme par des machines à faire des anges (=> techniques de l'idéal ascétique). Le parallèle est aisé à tracer avec le puritanisme ou avec l'idolâtrie du sujet ou avec la volonté de créer un homme nouveau qui ne correspond plus à aucune variété de l'homme réel.

gourm.jpgIl démontre ensuite que ce fatras ne pourra durer en dépit de ses 2000 ans d'existence. Onfray veut dépasser la “lignée morale” qui va de Platon à nos modernes contempteurs des corps. Onfray entend également réhabiliter les traditions philosophiques refoulées: a) les Cyrénaïques; b) les frères du Libre-Esprit; c) les gnostiques licencieux; d) les libertins érudits; etc.

Dans La raison gourmande (1995), Onfray montre l'incomplétude des idéaux platoniciens et post-platoniciens de l'homme. Cet homme des platonismes n'a ni goût ni olfaction (cf. également L'Art de jouir, op. cit.). L'homme pense, certes, mais il renifle et goûte aussi (et surtout!). Onfray entend, au-delà des platonismes, réconcilier l'ensemble des sens et la totalité de la chair.

Conclusion: nous percevons bel et bien un filon qui part de Diogène à Onfray. Un étude voire une immersion dans ce filon nous permet à terme de détruire toutes les “corrections” imposées par des pouvoirs rigides, conventionnels ou criminels. Donc, il faut se frotter aux thématiques de ce filon pour apprendre des techniques de pensée qui permettent de dissoudre les idoles conceptuelles d'aujourd'hui. Et pour organiser un “pôle de rétivité”.


samedi, 07 septembre 2013

Nietzsche e o Mundo Homérico


Nietzsche e o Mundo Homérico

Por Carolina Figueroa León*
Ex: http://legio-victrix.blogspot.com
nag1.jpgNietzsche desde o princípio apresentou um apego ao mundo grego, uma idealização deste como estrutura social, ideológica e intelectual. Esta aproximação não é especificamente com a época clássica, mas com a época arcaica que é representada através dos poemas homéricos.
Tomando em conta que o ideal que surge neste período se baseia na luta de poder, na excelência de uma classe aristocrática que é representada através dos heróis e através da areté. Neste período em que o filósofo encontra a essência do grego, porque é o momento em que se desenvolve da melhor forma a condição inerente ao ser humano: o instinto e a vontade de poder. Portanto, ao tomar esta leitura deixamos de lado a visão de que estes poemas remetem necessariamente à época micênica, senão que por sua vez estão carregados de elementos ideológicos, morais e sociais correspondentes à época em que escreve Homero.
Para compreender como este ideal guerreiro baseado em uma moral agonística se encontra na sociedade aristocrática arcaica é necessário analisar a obra homérica, a qual se deve relacionar com o contexto do século VIII a.c. e desde aí contrastar com as posturas de Nietzsche, as quais se encontram em seus primeiros escritos mais filológicos como O Estado grego e A luta de Homero.
Portanto, é importante analisar o contexto histórico de enunciação destas epopeias, ver se este realmente se vê representado em ditas obras e finalmente analisar o problema a partir da leitura nietzschiana da cultura grega.
O mundo homérico e a moral agonística
O chamado mundo homérico é o que historicamente corresponde à época arcaica da cultura grega, em que se assentam as bases do crescimento e surgimento das grandes polis. Para Nietzsche é neste momento específico em que se daria o apogeu da cultura grega, não o mundo clássico que foi modificado pelo Romantismo e os filólogos classicistas: “Mas os gregos aparecem ante nós, já que a priori, precisamente pela grandeza de sua arte, como os homens políticos por excelência (...) Tão excessivo era nos gregos tal instinto (...) a expressão triunfal de tigres que mostravam ante o cadáver do inimigo; em suma, a incessante renovação daquelas cenas da guerra de Tróia, em cuja contemplação se embriagava Homero como puro heleno”[1].
Para começar esta análise é necessário nos remeter à época arcaica em si, para logo trabalha-la em comparação à homérica. A época arcaica é quando se destaca a imagem de um governo aristocrático precedente à democracia. Para autores como Francisco Rodríguez Adrados, este período é denominado a sociedade homérica, já que se baseia na mesma estruturação social que dão conta os poemas homéricos, posto que na cabeça da sociedade está o rei (Basileus) e este é secundado por aristocracia que na épica é representada na imagem dos heróis. Portanto, os pontos de reconstrução do ideal aristocrático se dão em Homero, quem logra encarná-los em seus poemas. Para Rodríguez Adrados isto se deveria a que o pensamento racional em que foi constituído esta aristocracia se baseia no mito principalmente.  Portanto, Homero plasma através de suas obras tal realidade, a qual se mescla com a mitologia existente de Micenas, mas por sua vez e com maior força aludindo a seu século [2].
Frente à utilização dos mitos como reconstrução de identidade e histórica, Rodríguez Adrados refere: “Se trata de uma sabedoria tradicional, de um espelho de conduta posto no passado e no aceitado tradicionalmente, que não tem porque ter uma coerência absolutamente rigorosa” [3].
Dentro deste tipo de sociedade vemos a imagem do homem que é similar aos deuses, com a única diferença que é mortal. Esta aristocracia por sua vez se caracteriza por uma moral agonística que se assenta nos valores como honra (time) e virtude ou excelência (aretê). Estes se encontram presentes já em grande medida na epopeia grega: “A moral da aristocracia grega é na epopeia essencialmente competitiva ou agonística” [4].
Esta imagem podemos percebê-la já que na maior parte do pensamento dos heróis, no caso da Ilíada, por exemplo: Glauco narra como seu pai Hipóloco o manda lutar a Tróia, o dizendo que é preferível que regresse morto, antes que derrotado e sem lograr ser o primeiro em batalha: “Me insto muitas vezes a ser o primeiro e me destacar entre os outros e a não desonrar a linhagem de meus pais que foram os primeiros em Feira e na vasta Licia” [5].
Frente a esta imagem da desonra da linhagem surge a noção de que o herói sempre deve ser virtuoso e é a partir deste elemento que surge o conceito de aretê. Esta excelência em primeiro momento se dá a nível de linhagem, já que sempre o herói é de uma família nobre. Esta traz o prêmio e a fama, o qual se demonstra através das botinhas que se recebia (Geras) logo depois da façanha.
A aretê que surge no ideal heroico é o que conforma a excelência da nobreza da sociedade arcaica, já que neste ideal assentam suas bases, que resgatam esses reis e heróis, porque são a representação de sua classe.
Finley também se refere á idéia que a aretê heroica é símbolo da nobreza quando nos afirma que isto se faz patente em Odisséia: “Particularmente na Odisséia, a palavra “herói” é uma expressão de classe para toda a aristocracia, e as vezes até parece compreender todos os homens livres”[6].
Podemos tomar o afirmado por Finley no seguinte fragmento da Odisséia: “Amanhã – indicou Atena a Telêmaco – convoca no ágora os heróis aqueus” [7]. É nesse sentido que a aretê se converte em um valor de ensinamento frente a esta sociedade. O que já é afirmado por Jeager em A Paideia [8] Para ele, o ideal de aretê é exemplificado através dos mitos heroicos. Precisamente neste sentido a educação do século VIII se baseia nas epopeias. Os cantos épicos se convertem em uma educação moral, em que se ensina que a aristocracia possui uma excelência que é natural. Mas apesar de ser uma condição imanente ao nobre, a aretê se deve demonstrar individualmente. Portanto, há que esforçar-se para conseguí-la, o que se vê na Ilíada quando nos narra que Aquiles foi treinado para vencer na arte da guerra por Fênix. O que nos apresente no canto IX quando Fênix trata de persuadir Aquiles para que volte a lutar com os aqueus: “O ancião cavaleiro Peleo quis que eu te acompanhasse no dia em que te enviar de Ptía a Agamenon. Todavia criança e sem experiência da funesta guerra nem do ágora (...) e me mandou que te ensinará a falar e a realizar grandes feitos (...) te criei até fazer-te o que és”[9].
Neste ponto vemos que não só importa a natureza especial do nobre, mas que há que desenvolvê-la e a partir disto é que se reconhece seu mérito.
Seguindo com as características desta excelência, surge a imagem da doxa, que se relaciona com a opinião que o resto possui do herói, é esta a que da posteridade e transcendência encarnada na Fama. Portanto, como antes mencionei, tal valor se representa através dos objetos materiais como os despojos de guerra. Portanto, a culminação desta doxa é a Glória ou kleos. Neste sentido ocorre a disputa entre Aquiles e Agamenon, já que ninguém dos dois pôde ficar sem uma escrava, que seja o exemplo tangível de seu triunfo. É por isso que a única forma para que Agamenon não perca sua honra ao entregar sua escrava a Apolo é remover a de Aquiles, posto que este é um igual.
Ao revistar este exemplo de Ilíada vemos que no mundo aristocrático não há uma diferença entre o parecer e o ser, ambos elementos são a mesma coisa, portanto, o que prima é a aparência principalmente. Devido a esta visão do homem é que surgiria a antes mencionada doxa que é a opinião, a que afirma o reconhecimento por parte do outro. Ao conseguir tal aceitação o herói pode chegar a tal (euphrosyne), que se representa através do despojo e do banquete “ O agathós ou homem destacado tem alguns meios de fortuna proporcionados. Isto se deduz do paralelismo que se estabelece entre a time ou honra de cada chefe e a parte de despojo que recebe”[10].
Outro ponto importante é o das riquezas, que também é outro componente da excelência. O qual se representa através das pertenças do oikos, tais como terras, gado, criados, escravos, etc. Todos estes bens se transmitem diretamente por via de herança. Daqui podemos desprender como nos afirma Rodríguez Adrados que, quando o nobre não pratica a guerra, desfruta da riqueza em seu lugar. Isto nos fica bastante claro na imagem do Banquete em Odisséia [11].
Para concluir este imaginário do mundo homérico me parece importante ressaltar que: “É uma sociedade voltada para o mundo, não a outra vida nem ao homem interior; mas com um ideal de heroísmo ao próprio tempo. O ideal se encarna no nobre, o homem superior ou excelente, cuja aretê é fundamentalmente competitiva, mas pode desembocar no sacrifício ou na alegria de um viver refinado” [12].
Diane-Kruger-Troie.jpgTomando esta citação compreendemos que a aristocracia se conforma a partir de sua riqueza, e devido a isto é fundamental entre os nobres fomentar vínculos com seus iguais, o qual se dá através da hospitalidade, já que se atende a alguém do mesmo valor moral e social. Neste sentido também se volta importante uma espécie de relação de parentesco dentro da que surge certo intercâmbio econômico representado em presentes (hedna). Na Odisséia se faz patente esta relação de hospitalidade através da narração da viagem de Telêmaco pelas cortes gregas, onde é bem recebido e por sua vez se atende tal como se formara parte da família, sem importar de onde venha, nem as fronteiras que os separam. Outro exemplo chave é o fato que conduz à Guerra de Tróia, a falta da hospitalidade de Paris (Alexandre) frente a Menelau ao raptar Helena.
A luta de Nietzsche
 O fascínio do filósofo pelo grego parte já de sua infância, na época em que vive com seu avô materno, quem o aproximará ao grego a partir das leituras de Homero que realiza. É neste ponto que o grego se converte em um refúgio para Nietzsche, quem detesta a educação petista na que cresceu, já que o grego se converte na antítese e anti-utopia frente á miséria de sua existência cotidiana cristã-protestante. A partir deste fascínio surge uma imagem do grego que irá contra o pensamento filológico de sua época, para quem a essência do grego se daria no século V ateniense, em pleno Classicismo. Para Nietzsche isto não é o grego, mas o pré-clássico, principalmente assentado no pré-socrático e em Homero.
O que se relaciona com as afirmações de Arsênio Ginzo em seu artigo “Nietzsche e os gregos”: “Nietzsche havia chegado cedo à conclusão de que a visão da Grécia transmitida pelo Classicismo alemão era instatisfatória. Já com anterioridade à publicação de O nascimento da tragédia, Nietzsche havia distanciado da imagem da Grécia dos clássicos alemães (...) A partir de 1869, quando começa sua atividade como professor em Basiléia, Nietzsche mostra claramente que resulta insatisfatória essa imagem da Grécia (...) A razão do rechaço nietzschiano consistia em que primeiro os clássicos e depois seus epígonos nos haviam transmitido uma imagem falsa da Antiguidade, uma <<falsa Antiguidade>>, idealizada, unilateral, domesticada” [13].
Este distanciamente o leva a afirmar que o centro de gravidade do grego já não é o século de Péricles, como afirmava o resto dos filósofos alemães de sua época, mas antes o século VI ou talvez antes: “Aqui se encontrariam a seu juízo os verdadeiros gregos, uma cultura grega todavia não falsificada nem debilitada, aqui residiria a <<origem criadora>> de uma cultura ocidental, a modo de referente paradigmático que lamentavelmente havia caído em esquecimento ou bem havia diluído seus perfis”[14].
Partindo desta imagem do grego contextualizada na época arcaica vemos que Nietzsche descobre neste o melhor exemplo da vontade de poder, a idéia de luta, de sobrepor-se ao outro, que define ao ser humano, o que estaria representado em Homero. E é neste contexto que se percebe a crueldade, a inveja, um gosto pela destruição, dando conta que a destruição é algo próprio do ser humano. Os gregos não forma deshumanos, mas os homems mais humanos dos tempos antigos. Aceitam, não inventam nada papra criar outra humanidade alternativa. A luta para Nietzsche é antes o fim da cultura e educação. E isto é o que afirma em seu texto A luta de Homero, onde a força do agon é o valor mais transcendente dentro da sociedade homérica. Esta imagem apontaria no pensamento do filósofo à noção de um grande desenvolvimento cultural, que só se havia logrado em tal sociedade. Ele não queria pensar na humanidade da antiga Grécia sem sua selvageria, na cultura em sua vigorosa natureza, nem na beleza de seu mundo sem todo o terrível e feio que formavam parte dele:
Assim vemos que os gregos, os homens mais humanos da antiguidade, apresentam certos traços de crueldade, de frieza destrutiva; traço que se reflete de uma maneira muito visível no grotesco espelho de aumento dos helenos (...) Quando Alexandre perfurou os pés de Batis, o valente defensor de Gaza, e atou seu corpo vivo ás rodas de seu carro para arrastá-lo entre as provocações de seus soldados, esta soberba nos parece como uma caricatura de Aquiles, que tratou o cadáver de Heitor de uma maneira semelhante (...)” [15]
Ao afirmar isto vai contra o otimismo do progresso que foi instaurado a partir do Iluminismo. Para Nietzsche o grego é a antítese do que odeia de sua época. Para ele os gregos seguem sendo o que haviam sido para os clássicos: paradigmas da humanidade, cultura do homem político, mas a imagem que tinha começou a oscilar entre a simplicidade da concepção clássico e o vigor, inclusive a atrocidade de uma cultura pagã, cujos valores representavam a antítese da história cristã.
É em meio a este ideal que começa a afirmar seu projeto de desmascaramento da cultura ocidental como uma luta, uma conquista e a partir disto se homologa com a sociedade homérica. Para ele tudo é visto como uma missão, os gregos eram construtores de cultura, de sua cidade, este não era um agon pessoal. De aí que Nietzsche não entenda o conceito de fama só como um reconhecimento egoísta que se comprova através dos bens materiais. E sim antes é outorgada pela coletividade. Por exemplo, a fama à que apela Aquiles tem que ver antes com a doxa, o que nos fica clarro através da idéia que os aqueus veem possível triunfo em Tróia se Aquiles não decide voltar a lutar. A partir deste exemplo podemos situar a idéia da individualidade que representa o herói para Nietzsche:
Cada ateniense, por exemplo, devia desenvolver sua individualidade naquela medida que podia ser mais útil a Atenas e que menos pudesse prejudica-la (...) cada jovem pensava no bem-estar de sua cidade natal, quando se lançava, bem à carreira, ou a tirar ou cantar; queria aumentar sua fama entre os seus; sua infância ardia em desejos de mostrar-se nas lutas civis como um instrumento de salvação para sua pátria (...)” [16] 
Analisando o texto O Estado grego de Nietzsche se visualiza seu ideal de um Estado orientado para a cultura, mas que deve ser fundamentalmente hierarquizado e fundamentado em base à escravidão. Nietzsche glorifica a pólis grega antiga como um arquétipo anti-socialista e anti-liberal. Uma sociedade hierarquicamente estruturada, cruelmente opressiva, cuja excelência cultural provém da implacável exploração dos escravos. Este ideal iria contra a organização burguesa da modernidade. Finalmente, quando conclui seu ensaio louva Platão como o grande teórico do Estado, mas o critica por ser o artífice da Idéia, que será o que ficará na criação do Cristianismo e uma filosofia metafísica. [17]
Outro dos pontos que resgata neste texto em relação á sociedade homérica é a noção de indivíduo excepcional que de desprende da imagem do herói, que possui virtude (aretê) e que é quem logra levar a cabo a culminaçãp da grande cultura e determinam o curso da história.
Em relação a esta idéia do homem excepcional podemos tomar em contra a noção do herói homérico seguindo as afirmações de Moses Finley em seu texto O mundo de Odisseu: “A idade dos heróis, tal como entendia Homero, foi, pois, uma época em que os homens superavam os padrões sucessivos de um grupo de qualidades específicas e severamente limitadas” [18].
A partir dessa noção de Finley podemos relacionar a visão do termo da individuação e por sua vez a imagem do gênio excepcional afirmada por Burckhardt.
Burckhardt em seus estudos relacionados com o Renascimento começa a afirmar que esta é a época em que surge a imagem do gênio, a idéia do desenvolvimento da individualidade do artista, elemento que romperia com o anonimato presente na arte da Idade Média. O que para ele se entenderia a partir do descobrimento do homem como homem. O artista agora aspira à fama terrestre, já não à espiritual tal como se via na Idade Média. Seu móvel é a glória, ser reconhecido por seus logros artísticos. Se perde totalmente a idéia medievalista do homem que vê a atividade terrestre como um passo ou preparação à vida celestial. O homem moderno ou renascentista para Burckhardt vê antes que a atividade que realiza  recai em seu presente e em suas glórias futuras, é antes um benefício imediato ao que pode ascender. É assim como Burckhardt afirma que este novo homem já não é passivo e receptivo, mas que antes se transforma em um grande criador. Um produtor de cultura. [19].
Esta idéia logo é aplicada por Nietzsche, quem entende a este gênio como um indivíduo excepcional que surge em toda sociedade como o artista ou militar. Tomando esta idéia, Nietzsche afirma o princípio de individuação que estará presente em sua obra O nascimento da tragédia. Este princípio se relaciona com a vontade individual que propõe Schopenhauer, a qual se relaciona com a denominada volição individual que é antes uma maniestação limitada da vontade que se daria a nível do mundo objetivo. Portanto, a vontade seria algo inconsciente que se manifesta no amor à vida de cada um dos indivíduos. A partir destas idéias afirma que o mais importante é entender que todos os fins que persegue o homem estão impulsionados por uma vontade que é original. A essência do mundo é a vontade, levada à vida mesma, sendo esta algo íntimo do ser, o que relacionamos com a noção do núcleo do indivíduo, com sua natureza humana [20].


E é neste sentido que se afirma que o Estado deve preocupar-se deste indivíduo excepcional, que afirma uma vontade natural de aspirar à glória, seguindo as afirmações de Burckhardt. Devido a sua genialidade, Nietzsche afirma que o resto do povo (laos) deve se submeter, já que graças a esta escravidão estes gênios podem ter o tempo suficiente para o ofício e em meio dele criar cultura:
Com o fim de que haja um terreno amplo, profundo e fértil para o desenvolvimento da arte, a imensa maioria, ao serviço de uma minoria e mais além de suas necessidades individuais, há de submeter-se como escrava à necessidade da vida a seus gastos, por seu plus de trabalho, a classe privilegiada há de ser subtraída à luta pela existência, par que crê e satisfaça um novo mundo de necessidades” [21].
Ao ofício a que se refere Nietzsche não é o que atualmente entendemos como Estado de não atividade, senão que pelo contrário tomando a noção de ofício grega em que os artistas só se dedicavam a produzir cultura. É a partir desta idéia que Nietzsche nos propõe que para os gregos o trabalho era vergonhoso e frente a isto os disse:
O trabalho é uma vergonha porque a existência não tem nenhum valor em si: mas se adornamos esta existência por meio de ilusões artísticas sedutoras, e lhe conferimos deste modo um valor aparente, ainda assim podemos repetir nossa afirmação de que o trabalho é uma vergonha, e por certo na segurança de que o homem que se esforça unicamente por conservar a existência não pode ser um artista” [22].
Neste texto também podemos ver que se desprende esta defesa da moral agonística grega, da luta, o uso da violência para poder criar cultura, de aqui que para ele a escravidão se converta em uma horrível necessidade:
Os gregos se revelaram com seu certeiro instinto político, que ainda nos estágios mais elevados de sua civilização e humanidade não cessou de advertir-lhes com acento bronzeado: “o vencido pertence ao vencedor, com sua mulher e seus filhos, com seus bens e com seu sangue. A força se impõe ao direito, e não há direito que em sua origem não seja demasia, usurpação violenta” [23]. 
Por sua vez através desta visão violenta, de destruição e força, Nietzsche nos afirma como exemplo Iliáda: “a expressão triunfal de tigres que mostravam ante o cadáver do inimigo; em suma, a incessante renovação daquelas cenas da guerra de Tróia, em cuja contemplação se embriagava Homero como puro heleno” [24].
Em relação à imagem do gênio extraordinário, Nietzsche toma Homero, o qual se afirma em seu texto Homero e a filologia clássica. Neste trabalho, apresentado na inauguração de sua cátedra de filologia em Basiléia, não se mete na questão homérica, senão que antes interessa o que este como figura em si simboliza. Deste ponto de vista para o filósofo, Homero se converte em um modo de viver, uma política, um ideal religioso e na criação de um panteão de deuses.
Resgata Homero como o indivíduo excepcional que logra sublimar  a tradição, posto que já não é o poeta quem possui uma vontade racional, portanto, nega o conceito de tradição homérica. Há para Nietzsche o desenvolvimento dinâmico de um poeta que se eterniza em um futuro. Para os filólogos da época, Homero recolhe uma tradição de muitos séculos, a concretiza e a escreve. Mas Nietzsche disse que Homero não é isso, que não há uma vontade, e sim uma dinâmica. Para ele a única forma de abordar Homero é através da arte, não da razão, escrevê-lo através da experiência: “a possibilidade de um Homero se faz cada vez mais necessária. Se desde aquele ponto culminante voltamos atrás, encontramos logo a concepção aristotélica do problema homérico. Para Aristóteles é o artista imaculado e infalível que tem perfeita consciência de seus meios e de seus fins; com isto se revela também com a ingênua inclinação a aceitar a opinião do povo que adjudicava Homero a origem de todos os poemas cômicos, um ponto de vista contrário á tradição oral na crítica histórica (...) é necessário perguntar-se se existe uma diferença característica entre as manifestações do indivíduo genial e a alma poética de um povo” [25].
A excelência da alma individual que não inventa nada, que eleva a outra categoria à alma popular. O que nos leva a entender que personagens como Homero não são mais uns, senão que sublimam, que são excepcionais e que levam a outra categoria a uma tradição, dado por sua individualidade, seu caráter excepcional: “Agora se compreende pela primeira vez o poder sentido das grandes individualidades e das manifestações de vontade que constituem o mínimo evanescente da Humanidade; agora se compreende que toda verdadeira grandeza e transcendência no reino da vontade não pode ter suas raízes no fenômeno efímero e passageiro de uma vontade particular; se concebem os instintos da massa, o impulso inconsciente do povo como a única primavera, como o único palanque da chamada história do mundo” [26].
Para Nietzsche. Homero não só recompilou a poesia oral, visto que sem a figura do bardo não existiria Ilíada Odisséia: “Nós acreditamos em um grande poeta autor da Ilídia e Odisséia; sem embargo, não acreditamos que este poeta seja Homero” [27]. Esta é uma visão muito distinta da que afirmam os estudiosos da questão homérica. Nietzsche afirma uma terceira visão, diferente da noção que foi afirmado, em que se vê Homero como um personagem qualquer. Nietzsche ao invés disso disse que suas obras são produto de uma excepcionalidade, o que se relacionaria com o princípio de individualidade que aparece em o nascimento da tragédia. De onde se desprende a idéia que os personagens individuais determinam o curso da história.
Como temos visto, Nietzsche é muito certeiro ao realizar uma leitura do mundo homérico, e tomar deste aquela idéia que através do ideal guerreiro se pode lograr antes de tudo produzir cultura, portanto, não é tão azaroso que em Grécia se tenha dado a grande formação da cultura de Ocidenten, o qual claramente só se pode conseguir a partir da guerra, a que eles chamavam polemos. Daqui que a educação que se recebera aludira exatamente a um ideal guerreiro baseado na noção de aretê, a qual se lograva tanto a nível de trabalho individual como por sua vez pelo simples fato de nascer nobre. Portanto, os gregos foram uma cultura que se educou e conformou na base da noção de uma moral agonística, em que sempre há um que é superior ao outro. Mas ambos heróis estão na mesma altura, já que ambos possuem as mesmas características de nobreza, entendida através do termo aristoi. Daqui que se repete potentemente a imagem de Heitor, quem Homero nos apresenta como o único herói que poderia competir com a potencialidade de Aquiles. Desde este ponto me parece interessante o resgate que realiza Nietzsche frente ao que o resto de seus contemporâneos haviam considerado dentro dos estudos filológicos o menos importante, o mais bestial, que não teria comparação com ao nível artístico do século V. E é neste sentido que depois da conclusão que se a sociedade arcaica não tivesse sido constituída a partir desta noção de agon, não se tivesse logrado mais adiante tais manifestações culturais tão magnânimas que nos tem deixado o século V ateniense.
*Carolina Figueroa León é bacharel em Humanidades e Ciências Sociais. Licenciada em Literatura Criativa da Universidade Diego Portais com um Menor em menção em Cultura Clássica. Estudante do Programa de Magíster em Estudos Clássicos da Universidade Metropolitana de Ciências na Educação (UMCE).
[1] Nietzsche, Friedrich, O Estado grego. (Obra Póstuma) Prólogo de um livro que não foi escrito, 1871, p. 6
[2] Ver Rodríguez Adrados, Francisco, La democracia ateniense, Editorial Alianza, España, 1998.
[3] Ibíd., p. 32
[4] Ibíd., p. 36
[5] Homero, La Ilíada, Canto VI, Editorial Plaza y Janés, Barcelona, 1961, p. 154
[6] Finley, M.I., El mundo de Odiseo, Fondo de Cultura Económica, España, 1995, p. 30
[7] Ibíd., p. 20
[8] Ver Jaeger, Werner. “Capítulo II: Cultura y educación de la nobleza homérica” en Paideia: los ideales de la cultura griega, Editorial Fondo de Cultura Económica. México, 2001, pp. 32-47.
[9] Homero, Op. cit., pp.226-228
[10] Rodríguez Adrados, Op. cit., p.39
[11] Ver Homero, La Odisea, Canto XVII. Se menciona um banquete no cual se encontram os pretendentes de Penélope.
[12] Rodríguez Adrados, Op.cit., p.38
[13] Ginzo, Arsenio, “Nietzsche y los griegos”, Polis. Revista de ideas y formas políticas de la Antigüedad Clásica, núm. 12, 2000, p.103
[14] Ibíd., p.106
[15] Nietzsche, Friedrich, La lucha de Homero. Prólogo para um libro que não foi escrito (Obra póstuma) (1871-72).
[16] Ibíd.
[17] Nietzsche, Friedrich, Op. cit., pp.1-9
[18] Finley, M. I., Op.cit., p.30
[19] Burckhardt, Jacob, La Civilización del Renacimiento en Italia, Vol. I (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1958), pp.143-174
[20] Véase Schopenhauer, Arthur, El mundo como voluntad y representación, 1844 (2º Edición, con los Suplementos).
[21] Nietzsche, Friedrich, Op. cit., 1871.
[22] Ibíd.
[23] Ibíd.
[24] Ibíd.
[25] Nietzsche, Friedrich, Homero y la filología clásica. Trabalho apresentado em Basilea no ano de 1869.
[26] Ibíd.
[27] Ibíd.

Nietzsche et l'éternité

Au cœur de la philosophie nietzschéenne

Pierre Le Vigan
Ex: http://metamag.fr

kmn1.gif « La vie éternelle n’est pas une autre vie, mais, précisément, la vie que tu vis » écrivait le philosophe de Sils-Maria. La question de l’éternité est au cœur de la pensée de Nietzsche. Aimer la vie longue est selon lui le contraire d’aimer la vie. L’homme ne se résigne pas à la brièveté. L’homme est malade du manque d’éternité. Pour Nietzsche c’est la cause du nihilisme. L’éternité est pourtant à portée de main. Elle est dans le corps même, ce grand oublié, elle est dans la vie même. C’est la vie elle-même qui crée les valeurs qui rendent inutile le nihilisme. La tentation du nihilisme est inhérente à la vie elle-même mais c’est la vie qui permet de la surmonter. « Nous ne pouvons comprendre que le monde que nous avons créé » explique Nietzsche. Il rejette ainsi toute foi et toutes valeurs extérieures à l’homme. Le principe d’une foi extérieure à l’homme est de refuser le temps cyclique, comme le faisait Augustin d’Hippone. Le monothéisme veut le temps droit et linéaire. Au contraire, Nietzsche affirme que « tout ce qui est droit ment (…), toute vérité est courbée, le temps lui-même est un cercle. » (Zarathoustra). C’était ce qu’exprimait Héraclite : « Pour le temps comme sur le pourtour de la roue, le début et la fin sont communs ». 

L’éternité s’atteint alors par la transformation « de tout ce qui a été » (Zarathoustra). Le surhomme n’est pas autre chose que l’homme qui interprète et transforme le monde, ici et maintenant, à la différence du stoïcien, qui se contente d’accepter le monde. Amor fati s’écrit Nietzsche. Mais il lui donne plutôt le sens d’amor mundi. Et le monde est transformation et métamorphose. Ambivalence de Nietzsche : « Je vous enseigne comment vous libérer du fleuve éternel ». L’éternité serait donc le mal ? Non, l’éternité serait le mal si elle était immuabilité. Ce qu’elle n’est pas. L’éternité bonne, c’est tout simplement l’éternelle métamorphose du présent. 

« Le royaume des cieux est un état du coeur – ce n’est pas un état ‘’au-dessus de la terre’’, ou bien ‘’après la mort’’ (…). Le ‘’règne de Dieu’’ n’est pas une chose que l’on attend, il n’a point d’hier et point d’après-demain, il ne vient pas en ’’mille ans’’ dans le sens chronologique ou historique, selon un calendrier – il est une expérience du cœur, il est partout, il n’est nulle part, il advient à tout moment et à tout moment n’est point là »(L’Antéchrist). Il en est du retour comme du bonheur. « L’éternel bonheur n’est pas une promesse mais une réalité ». Parce que tout présent inclut une promesse d’éternité. « Chaque chose a deux faces, l’une est celle de ce qui passe, l’autre celle de ce qui devient ». Il n’y a jamais ni de commencement ni de fin à l’écoulement du présent dans le passé, ni à son écoulement dans l’avenir. « Le temps plonge ses racines dans l’éternité et s’attache à elle » écrivait de son côté Nicolas Berdiaev. K. Michalski renouvelle l’étude de la question de l’éternel retour chez Nietzsche. « Zarathoustra raconte le mystère du retour de tout ». L’éternel retour du toujours neuf beaucoup plus qu’un éternel retour du même.
Krzysztof Michalski, La flamme de l’éternité. Essai sur la pensée de Friedrich Nietzsche, Zdl éditions, www.zdl-editions.com, 318 pages, 24,90 E

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mercredi, 04 septembre 2013

Elementos no. 49-50-51-52-53-54

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Más allá de los Derechos Humanos. Defender las Libertades, por Alain de Benoist

Reflexiones en torno a los Derechos Humanos, por Charles Champetier

El Derecho de los Hombres, por Guillaume Faye

Derechos Humanos: una ideología para la mundialización, por Rodrigo Agulló

En torno a la Doctrina de los Derechos Humanos, por Erwin Robertson

¿Derechos del hombre?, por Adriano Scianca

¿Son universales los Derechos Humanos?, por François Julien

Los Derechos Humanos  como derechos de propiedad, por Murray Rothbard

La religión de los Derechos Humanos, por Guillaume Faye

Derechos comunes y Derechos personales en Ortega y Gasset, por Alejandro de Haro Honrubia

Derechos Humanos: disyuntiva de nuestro tiempo, por Alberto Buela



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Gottfried Benn. El doloroso calvario de un inconformista descreído, por Alain de Benoist

“Consideraciones de un apolítico” de Thomas Mann, por Nicolás González Varela

Friedrich Reck, el solitario elitista, por Christine Zeile

Edgar J. Jung, la ambigüedad de la Revolución Conservadora, por Jean-Pierre Faye

Hugo von Hofmannsthal, la voz del simbolismo vienés, por Francisco Arias Solis

El vitalismo e historicismo de Ludwig Klages, por César Águila Cázarez

Edwin Erich Dwinger: dar sentido al sufrimiento, por Ulli Baumgarten

Homenaje a Ernst von Salomón, por Ernesto Milá

Apuntes sin sombra de Hugo von Hofmannsthal, por Otto Cázares

Thomas Mann y el desencantamiento de las tradiciones alemanas, por Fernando Bayón

Friedrich Reck: el hombre que pudo matar a Hitler, por Peio H. Riaño

Otto Strasser y el Frente Negro, por Erik Norling

Ernst Forsthoff y el Estado Total, por Jean-Pierre Faye

Carl Schmitt, ¿teórico del Reich?, por Alejandro Vergara Blanco

Oswald Spengler ¿precursor del nacionalsocialismo?, por Javier R. Abella Romero


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El totalitarismo igualitario, por Alain de Benoist

Tradición e Igualitarismo, por Laureano Luna

Las falacias del igualitarismo, por Carlos Alberto Montaner

La naturaleza subversiva del igualitarismo, por El Emboscado

Igualitarismo y las élites, por Murray N. Rothbard

La dogmática del igualitarismo, por José María Benavente Barreda

Acerca de la democracia: el igualitarismo, por Eduard Alcántara

Ciencia y desigualdad, por Denes Martos

El igualitarismo democrático como triunfo de la moral cristiano-nihilista en Nietzsche, por Verónica Rosillo Pelayo

Igualitarismo, democracia y plebeyismo en Ortega y Gasset, por Alejandro de Haro Honrubia

Las paradojas vinculadas al igualitarismo y la utopía, por H.C.F. Mansilla

Igualitarismo e Imperio, por William Marina

El igualitarismo es una revuelta contra la Naturaleza, por Murray N. Rothbard

El mito del igualitarismo, por Eugenio Vegas Latapie

El igualitarismo de las masas, según Sloterdijk, por Juan Malpartida


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Nietzsche contra Wagner, por Andrés Gómez

Wagner contra Nietzsche. Meditaciones sobre dos mundos enfrentados, por Ramón Bau

Nietzsche y Wagner, por Rüdiger Safranski

Wagner según Nietzsche, por Sergio Méndez Ramos

Nietzsche-Wagner, por Heinrich Köselitz y Ferdinand Avenarius

El desvío nietzscheano de Wagner, por Joseph Victor Widmann

Nietzsche contra Wagner, Wagner contra Offenbach. Una contribución estética al “Caso Wagner”, por Gerardo Argüelles Fernández

Wagner y Nietzsche: la trascendencia nacional o filosófica, por Daniel Alejandro Gómez

Nietzsche-Wagner: Preeminencia de la poesía en la obra de arte total, por Gonzalo Portales




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Un hombre asombrado...   y asombroso, por Fernando Savater
La revelación de Emile Cioran, por Abel Posse
Cioran y la ética de la introspección, por Luis Ochoa Bilbao
Cioran: apasionado por la existencia, por Sergio Rivas Salgado
Cioran: el alarido lúcido, por Luis Fraga
Emile Cioran, el ateo creyente, por Gianfranco Ravasi
Sobre E. M. Cioran, por Fernando Savater
¿Es Cioran un filósofo?, por Luis Roca Jusmet
El inconveniente de ser Cioran, por Augusto Isla
Cioran y Eminescu. La plegaria de un dacio, por Vasilica Cotofleac
Homenaje a Nicole Parfait, lectora de Cioran, por Rosemary Rizo-Patrón
Nicole Porfait y Émile Cioran: el desafío del ser, por Nelson Vallejo-Gómez
Emil Cioran y la Revolución Conservadora en Rumanía, por Claudio Mutti
Cioran y el fascismo, por José Ignacio Nájera
Cioran y la España del desengaño, por Manuel Arranz
El concepto de la historia  en Cioran, por Rafael Rattia
Entrevista a Simone Boué, esposa de Cioran, sobre Cioran, por Maite Grau
Emil Cioran: un escéptico apasionado por la lucidez, por Mijail Malishev

Cioran, del rumano al francés, por Edgardo Cozarinsky

vendredi, 29 mars 2013

La danse de Nietzsche...

La danse de Nietzsche...

« Ne jamais séparer le corps de l'esprit. Apprendre par son corps la joie d'être vivant. Apprendre par les mouvements de son corps à libérer son esprit. N'est-ce pas la première loi du danseur? »

Les éditions Verdier viennent de rééditer dans leur collection de poche La danse de Nietzsche, un essai de Béatrice Commengé paru initialement aux éditions Gallimard en 1988. Auteur de romans, mais aussi danseuse et voyageuse, Béatrice Commengé est une lectrice passionnée de Nietzsche, d'Heidegger et d'Anaïs Ninn, notamment, et a raconté dans Voyager vers des noms magnifiques (Finitude, 2009) et Flâneries anachroniques (Finitude, 2012) ses voyages sur les traces de ses auteurs préférés.

Danse de Nietzsche.jpg

" Sur le sentier qui longe le lac de Silvaplana, à Sils-Maria, Nietzsche s'est brusquement arrêté : de l'ombre de ses yeux malades, de la fatigue de ses nuits blanches, de la douleur de ses migraines, de ses longues marches dans le froid ou dans la lumière, va naître Zarathoustra, le danseur.
Il ne le quittera plus. Avec lui, il marche. De Sils à Gênes, et de Gênes à Nice, à la recherche d'un ciel plus pur et d'un air plus léger. Il le trouve parfois, l'espace d'un chant, sur les hauteurs d'Èze ou sur la presqu'île de Portofino, dans les ruelles de Venise ou sous les arcades de Turin. Un «dieu danse à travers lui».
Ce livre, on l'a compris, est aux antipodes du commentaire universitaire; à l'opposé de l'univers sombre et glacé de la philosophie allemande. Voici un Nietzsche grec, italien, français - comme il se voulait."

Ex: http://metapoinfos.hautetfort.com/

dimanche, 25 novembre 2012

Nietzsche, Physiology, & Transvaluation


Nietzsche, Physiology, & Transvaluation

By Mark Dyal

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

“Whenever the will to power falls off in any way, there will also be physiological decline, decadence. And when the most masculine virtues and drives have been chopped off the god of decadence, he will necessarily turn into a god of the physiologically retrograde, the weak.” – Friedrich Nietzsche[1]

Bourgeois bodies exist only within a matrix of consumption, so much so that even “healthy lifestyles” are merely another marketing niche to be utilized by demographically defined individuals seeking more self-expression and corporate-friendly individuality. Health, as bourgeois capitalist science understands it, is most useful as a way of prolonging a life of consumption. This is clear when even radical scientists (such as New Biology advocate Bruce Lipton) advise their audiences to use health as a way to live “happier and longer.” Comfort, peace, security, and the prolonging of life are there for the taking – so long as the dystopia that makes health and fitness marketable to begin with is ignored.

But, these same arguments of bodily manipulation may be read as the promise of a foundation upon which a new cultural and physiological reality may develop. If we become soft and weak under the manacles of bourgeois modernity, might we also become hard and strong by the counter-narratives being created at the extreme edges of modernity? If bourgeois scientists tell us that we may counter the effects of modernity with even more softness, ecumenicalism, and “love,” they do so only because of a prohibition against bodily violence, hierarchy, and discrimination; and to direct the body even further away from its natural inclinations.

But does the body need violence, hierarchy, and discrimination? What is it about the naturalness of the body that is so dangerous? If softness and “free love” encourage one avenue of manipulation, what might become of us if harshness, precision, strictness, and a reimagining of our heroic past became our ideals? What might happen if, in all this talk about the body and physiology, there was a way to better understand the problems of morality and bourgeois selfhood? It is the purpose of this paper to address these questions while examining Friedrich Nietzsche’s understanding of physiology and the consequences of vitality.

Physiology versus Metaphysics

From his earliest notebooks and teaching materials in the 1870s to his last discernable thoughts in the 1880s, Friedrich Nietzsche was convinced that the body was the key to all of the causes of modern man’s cultural and intellectual degeneration. This was due in large part to the Christian and scientific separation of mind/soul and body, which not only made an abstraction of the body in order to convince men of their own divinity, but also, more importantly, encouraged them to ignore the bodily origins – and bodily connections – of what the church and scientists assumed made them divine. Against the modern metaphysical explanations of the “burden of man,” Nietzsche followed the Greeks and proposed instead the “nature” of man’s existence.

Nietzsche wrote so much on physiology that it is difficult to find a definitive statement or ideal on the subject. As we will see, Nietzschean physiology is primarily a way of reuniting the body and soul of the Greek ideal. Yet, it was not merely a metaphorical tool, for Nietzsche was deeply concerned that modern men were unable to understand their place in the world because of their inability to understand physiology. For the body, its instincts, and general functions was the source of consciousness, the will, and reason. Its vitality was, thus, directly related to the contours and functioning of all communicable human experience.

Through a complex web of signification, education, and communication, the body was also the source of morality and political philosophy. The body, and how humans come to care for, treat, ignore, or worship it, says much to Nietzsche about the ideals and supraordinate goals of a form of life. Later, we will examine how ascendant and descendant forms of life understand and use the body. First, however, we begin with a rough chronology of Nietzsche’s physiological philosophy.

In 1871, Nietzsche taught a course on Greek rhetoric that allowed the young professor to discuss at great length the power of persuasion in a world knowable only through interpretation. This epistemological approach put him at odds with the more established faculty members who sought metaphysical certainty over metaphorical mystification. However, far from stopping at an epistemological demolition of truth and reality, Nietzsche grounded epistemology itself in physiology, arguing that bodily processes limit and direct grammar, logic, and causality – the underlying principles through which we know the world.[2]

In a notebook entry from the same period, Nietzsche toyed with the notion that art is a manifestation of instincts making themselves known through consciousness. He posited that ideals, as well, have instinctual and thus bodily origins.[3] A few years later, in his “middle period,” Nietzsche more confidently discussed physiology and instincts, arguing that the intellect itself is only the symptom and instrument of “a bodily drive.”[4] This was part of a general argument that defined this period of his thought.[5] Whereas his earliest works can be said to organize around the conflict between science, art, and philosophy (and the concomitant divergence of truth and beauty), the middle period trilogy[6] is built upon Nietzsche’s use of physiology as a way to move beyond metaphysics.

This movement beyond metaphysics was a two-fold process. The first involved Nietzsche’s own study of physiology. Christian Emden makes a persuasive case that Nietzsche came to regard physiology so highly as a result of his own suffering. Wracked with headaches, nausea, and poor vision throughout his teaching tenure in Basel, Nietzsche poured through the scientific literature of the day, seeking diagnostic and curative possibilities. His notebooks indicate that he was particularly impressed with the ideas of Friedrich Albert Lange, a prominent philosopher of materialism who studied the physiology of sensory perception. Lange suggested that mental states such as thinking or feeling were the result of physiological functions occurring at the conceptual and preconceptual level. He was particularly interested in the physiology of thought, which he studied metaphorically through an examination of the mechanics of speech. His work theorized that thought is subject to constantly fluctuating bodily stimulation.[7]

As for Nietzsche himself, the two volumes of Human, All Too Human were written as an act of war against the physical pain of his everyday life. Gary Handwerk explains that this pain led to Nietzsche’s new aphoristic style and identity as a critic of Schopenhauer’s pessimism. His self-transformation was a question of mood and tone, and bespoke of a style that hit hard, fast, and precise. But Nietzsche knew that his style was also a direct reflection of his physiological state, and, importantly, he began to assume that such was the case for all philosophers. What made Nietzsche’s new style so martial (in regards to its subject matter), though, was his rejection of pessimism, for he had become determined to embrace a love of life that especially included and celebrated its darkest moments.[8] Nietzsche got no “enlightenment” from suffering, apart from realizing that it is an everyday part of life. As such, he believed – much to the chagrin of Christian priests and modern progressives – that suffering must combine with joy to teach us who we are, and that, to deny the one for the sake of the other was to commit an act of cowardice in the very face of life.

The second process involved making this type of “physiological knowledge” the basis of many human experiences assumed by religion, science, and philosophy to come from a metaphysical source. To do so, he turned to the instincts, specifically theorizing the origins, content, and purposiveness of this much-maligned mystery of the body. Like Lange, he saw the instincts as a product of physiological drives. But unlike Lange, he was convinced that the body’s instinctual processes produced consciousness, renaturalizing one of the pillars of metaphysics. He even began thinking about the impact of digestion on conceptualization. In the meantime, however, he realized that transvalued instincts gave him a way around the Christian/Platonic belief that exalting the human means to move beyond our animalistic drives.[9]

Having descended from a long line of Protestant preachers, Nietzsche undoubtedly knew, but still studied, the many methods of flesh-desecration promoted by Christianity to save the soul from bodily temptation.[10] He began to see the healthy body as a weapon against a Christianity that stimulated sickness as a means of salvation. But why did it do so? Later, Nietzsche answers the question in a number of ways that point to the political reality of the early church, as well as the nature of the first Christians.

nietz.jpgIn “The Religious Life” in Human, All Too Human, he follows the latter path to a scathing conclusion: “the saint” is the product of “a sick nature . . . spiritual poverty, faulty knowledge, ruined health, and overexcited nerves.”[11] In other words, the saint is the product of his derelict body and impoverished instincts, and not some metaphysical deity or utopia; just as all behaviors and concepts can be related to the physiological state of their human bearers. This type of analysis served Nietzsche well in his later examinations of the origins of morality. It demonstrates that physiology was not merely a metaphorical platform for explaining human behavior, but in fact, a philoso-scientific way of naturalizing even the most exalted of ethico-behavioral schemes.

Nietzsche maintained this line of thought until the end of his conscious life, making the body a veritable warzone, but one that could be used creatively and artistically against the regimes of metaphysical truth proposed by priests, scientists, and philosophers.[12]

Zarathustra Contra Darwin

In the two years between Dawn and the publication of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche’s health stabilized, allowing him the failed romance with Lou Salomè, and, more importantly, a new perspective on “physiological knowledge” as a critique of the bourgeois Last Man. In Ecce Homo, Nietzsche looked back at this period’s superabundant health and its impact on his thought. Whereas illness had made him a “decadent,”[13] his great health made him instead “the opposite of a decadent.”[14] Thus, he had been blessed with the ability to clearly identify with two divergent human potentialities.

Being decadent, Nietzsche says, gave him a dialectician’s skill for searching out nuances in the most obscure spaces – searching for truth with abandon. But, as one bestowed with greater health, he came to understand that truth (and the search for truth) is a symptom of instinctual and physiological decline (he also explained the value of truth in its relation to certain humans’ need for security). In other words, Nietzsche “recognized how perspectives on life reflected the instinctual circumstances of individual wills.”[15] The clever beginning of Ecce Homo also reveals an important aspect of Nietzsche’s later thought on physiology: that great health and vitality are beyond truth – an idea that he explored in Zarathustra.

Along with eternal recurrence, the Übermensch is one of the two major concepts introduced in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.[16] Philosophically speaking, the Übermensch is the attainment of a complete transvaluation of decadent values, while, from the perspective of physiology, it is the overcoming of the Darwinian Last Man. And, looked at from Nietzsche’s perspective, it is the overcoming of the one through the attainment of the other.

Zarathustra explains that the Übermensch is not the fulfillment of a higher reason, but a higher body, for the body is the “seat of life.” Its energy is ultimately and purely “creative,” and as such, it created the spirit and the will.[17] But these manifestations of bodily energy – primal but unique to each body – are capable of being consciously disciplined, making transvaluation, as we shall see, a project that “starts at home.” Nietzsche means for the Übermensch to be a profoundly physical man, in whom the instincts and drives are coordinated, allowing active energy to guide all thought and action. This is energy, then, that is never reactive but indicative of the harmonious and propulsive will. Nietzsche sheds some light on this human type in his self-description at the beginning of Ecce Homo. In Nietzsche’s words, the Übermensch has “turned out well”:

He is cut from wood that is simultaneously hard, gentle, and fragrant. He only has a taste for what agrees with him . . . what does not kill him makes him stronger. He instinctively gathers his totality from everything he sees, hears, and experiences: he is a principle of selection; he lets many things fall by the wayside.[18]

The Übermensch is the literal embodiment of a superior state of being and a higher awareness that emerges from the harmony of instincts and the willful practice of self-selection and self-hygiene. His will makes all interaction with the world a benefit to himself, even going so far as to court risk, danger, and the possibility of death with the maximum of self-affirmation.[19] In other words, he does not seek or cherish objective survival (random Darwinian fitness)[20] but the pure expression of his will, regardless of the environment.

The Übermensch, though, is a singular phenomenon and not the goal of a common evolution. It is a transvaluation of the “most contemptible” subject of Darwinian evolution – itself the subject of the fifth part of “Zarathustra’s Prologue.”[21] In contrast to the Übermensch, the Last Man suffers from life, avoiding danger, and seeking comfort, base personal gratification, and individual survival; all the while hoping for a long and uneventful life.[22]  By following this course, the bourgeois Last Man guarantees his type’s survival. He is “ineradicable, like the flea beetle.”[23] While a Darwinian might rejoice at the fecundity and self-preservation instinct of the Last Man, these only add up to a horribly mediocre human overrunning the earth.

The power, and perhaps confusing nature, of Zarathustra is that it perfectly summarizes vast stretches of Nietzsche’s complex thoughts on art, science, philosophy, physiology, morality, and politics in single sentences. Thus, as Zarathustra explains the internal features of the Last Man, he also explains the external influences and consequences of his behavioral instincts. These influences and consequences seem to revolve around softness. As we know, Nietzsche understands modernity primarily as an ethico-political system based in weakness. Zarathustra tells us that man is growing “smaller,” “modest,” “tame,” “cowardly,” “virtuous,” “mediocre,” and, among a host of other things, clever fingers “that do not know how to form fists.”[24]

In contrast to these traits and virtues, Zarathustra presents a short but dynamic model of the benefits of harshness.

You are becoming smaller and smaller, you small people! You are crumbling, you contented ones! You will yet perish of your many small virtues, of your many small abstentions, of your many small resignations! Too sparing, too yielding – that is your soil! But in order for a tree to grow tall, it needs to put down hard roots amid hard rock! And even what you abstain from weaves at the web of all future humanity.[25]

After Zarathustra connects strength’s need of resistance with “self-love” and the very ability to “will,” he returns to the implications of softness for the future by shifting the focus of the discourse squarely on modernity. He does so in two words: “poor soil.”[26] Poor soil, as he puts it, only grows poor weeds. Modernity, in other words, is only capable of producing inferior human types.

The Last Man survives not on account of any superiority – genetic or ethical – but because he lacks the sufficient energy and higher will to squander himself in pursuit of creative self-affirmation. He considers his survival a virtue rather than a direct expression of his instinctual reality – much like the priests who impose ascetic practices on the strong. The superiority of the Übermensch – over both the bourgeois Last Man and the priests – is ultimately physiological.

The Body and the Priest

Moving toward the late-1880s, it becomes ever more clear that the ethical and political implications of Nietzsche’s thought are visible in his naturalistic, life-affirming physiology. Although as in his earlier works, Nietzsche weaves in and out of the body and the environment, making decadence both a cause and effect of bodily and instinctual weakness, in his later works he focuses more on the political implications of decadence. Still, though, the body and the will are ever-present, as Nietzsche’s life-affirming philosophy demands (of itself and adherents) contest with temporal sources of weakness. Fostering a noble, affirmative type and challenging modernity are inseparable pieces of Nietzsche’s project; as life involves contest, the path to a noble life demands that one challenge the reactive and decadent forces in life.[27]

Nietzsche variously describes these decadent forces as those promoting democratization; exalting of compassion, weakness, and pity; and stimulating a cult of facility and painlessness, in order to make of Europeans a race of sheep-like herd animals.[28] The Übermensch becomes a historical actor because of his transvaluation of these forces. His enemies, likewise, are defined by their unmooring of these forces from their instinctual origins in physiological weakness, illness, and fatigue of life to become, instead, the metaphysical basis of a “good life.” As Nietzsche moved away from Zarathustra and the Last Man, he renewed his focus of attack on the priests. But in doing so, the archetype of decadence remained.

As Nietzsche makes clear in On the Genealogy of Morality, ascetic interpretation is the key to the priest’s struggle for earthly power. He promotes a denatured existence where all active, life-affirming forms of life are discredited. Over and above active, affirmative understandings of nature, the priests become purveyors of a “higher existence.”[29] But, in order to promote such a form of life, the priests must have been considered degenerates by the other – more powerful – castes to begin with.

This priestly subversion of nature is Nietzsche’s best proof that, contrary to Darwin, the weak do not perish of the “struggle for existence,” but in fact thrive in its face. Even if the priests are unable to participate in the natural, superabundant, active existence of the warriors, for example, they continue to cling to life through devotion to asceticism (and denial of the primacy of the body). For Nietzsche, though, this is only the beginning of the problem, as the ascetic practices do not give the priests physiological strength and health, but instead make them more sickly and debilitated. Removed thus from nature, the priests seek a form of self-mastery that promises revenge against life.[30]

Nietzsche not only sees in this proof that priestly metaphysics is an outgrowth of physiological degradation, but that Judeo-Christian morality cannot be understood without realizing the bodily origins of resentment. General morality exists in this scheme as the outcome of the human struggle for existence and the outgrowth of conflicting physiological drives. Morality reflects a constellation of emotions, instincts, and drives peculiar to specific (ascending or descending) human types. As Johnson explains, Nietzsche is not interested in locating morality in nature, but in revealing what moral interpretations tell us about human instinctual reality.[31]

Self-Overcoming and Politics

It is in the face of this transcendentalized decadence and resentment that the Übermensch or the “higher type” must act. But because of the transcendental nature of this decadence, the man who fights to destroy it must start first with destroying its vestiges in himself. This is why the Greek ideal – with its balanced and harmonious relationship between the body and the regulatory instincts – remained central to Nietzsche’s political philosophy. Against the anti-nature of the priests, the higher type must embrace the “evil” instincts – all of the active, dangerous, harsh, spontaneous, outer-directed impulses that Judeo-Christian modernity has condemned.

Doing so is the first step away from modernity and toward self-overcoming. The latter, though, is most important here, as Nietzsche displays in the memorable scene in which Zarathustra encounters the shepherd and the snake. Because man is not able to simply go back to periods of strength, will, and natural nobility, he must create of himself a person with character worthy of such a past. It is only through this self-overcoming that we will overcome modernity and the modern Last Man.

The contrast between the Übermensch, Last Man, and the priests – and the instinctual-behavioral distance that separates them – provides a solid foundation on which to build a discussion of Nietzsche’s physiological politics. For each of these human types, we not only have a struggle for mastery between ascendant and descendant instinctual processes, but also an ethico-political environment that reflects this struggle. Again, it is this fluidity between internal and external that demonstrates Nietzsche’s commitment to the Greek ideal as a potential post-modern political reality. It also reveals each unique individual’s path toward self-and-modern-overcoming.

Nietzsche’s last works and notebooks of 1888 focus on ascendant and descendant lines of human development. While these lines are not teleological, he believes, first, that they can be demonstrated historically and physiologically, and second, that each person embodies one of these two lines. As he states in Twilight of the Idols,

Selfishness is worth only as much as the physiological value of the selfish person: it can be worth a lot or it can be worthless and despicable. Individuals can be seen as representing either the ascending or descending line of life . . . If they represent the ascending line, then they have extraordinary value, – and since the whole of life advances through them, the effort put into their maintenance . . . might even be extreme.[32]

Nietzsche then combines this eugenic political suggestion with an extreme evolutionary statement, which puts the onus of history squarely on the individual even as it is being decentered.

Individuals are nothing in themselves, they are not atoms, not ‘links in the chain.’ They are not just legacies of a bygone era, – each individual is the entire single line of humanity up through himself. If he represents descending development, decay, chronic degeneration, disease (illnesses are fundamentally consequences of decay, not its causes), then they are of little value.[33]

In the notebook entry that might correspond to this aphorism, Nietzsche discusses at length the social consequences of the rule of the descendant line. In essence, these are all of the prime characteristics of Judeo-Christian morality and political modernity: a preponderance of moral value judgments, resentment, altruism for the weak, and hatred of the strong and vital.[34] We must assume that these societal features are either the symptoms or causes of physiological and instinctual decline, as they are consistently described as intertwined with bodily weakness and decadence.

By understanding moral judgments as symptoms of physiological thriving or failure, Nietzsche is able to explain the conditions of preservation and growth represented in these lines of development. Forms of life, more specifically, ascendant and descendant forms of life, he explains, “educate the will” through morality, art, and aesthetics.[35] These produce what he calls “regulating instincts,” which, in ascending forms of life, stimulate to pride, joy, health, enmity and war, reverence, strong will, the discipline of high intellectuality, and gratitude toward life.[36] The problem with modernity is that it was formed as part of Christianity’s war against these types of instincts. It has, as he says, taken the side of everything weak and degenerate. Thus, the modern Last Man has poor instincts – those that desire what is harmful to the flourishing of strength, pride, and beauty.[37] As we have seen, the only way to overcome “poor instincts” is by self-overcoming – by transvaluing what is valued by descending forms of life.

Conclusion: Breeding Beauty and Strength

In contrast to the bourgeois “universal green-pasture happiness,” security, harmlessness, comfort, and easy living that has softened the instincts and bodies of the Last Man, Nietzsche suggests a festival of pride, exuberance, and unruliness; and an exclamatory Yes to oneself.[38] “Aristocraticism of the mind,” he says, must consist of pathos of distance from vulgarity, failures, weaklings, and the mediocre.[39]

Once again, we see Nietzsche returning to the Greeks as a curative to modern decadence, for the “festival” he describes matches “middle period” explanations of Greek pride.[40] But it is possible to read this description of the modern features from which one should feel a great distance as a curative of bodily decadence as well. Consciousness, explains Nietzsche, is a part of the body’s communication system, in that what we become aware of (and make communicable) is only that which serves the herd instincts of the human. It is “really just a net connecting one person with another,” he says, “the solitary and predatory person would not need it.” Because “becoming conscious” involves thought, and that “conscious thinking takes place in words, that is communication symbols,” the very ability to know oneself presupposes that one will do so only in terms useful to the herd/community.[41] Although thought is tainted with the herd, action, he says, is inherently personal, because, for the ascendant type at least, the body has the capacity to match “noble” instincts. This leads us back to the idea that great health and vitality are beyond truth.

But it also begs an examination of the role of the immediate environment in the body’s instinctual activity at any moment.

Sit as little as possible; do not believe any idea that was not conceived while moving around outside with your muscles in a celebratory mode as well. All prejudices come from the intestines – sitting down – I have said it before – is a true sin against the Holy Spirit.[42]

Nietzsche’s preferred method of working since at least Human, All Too Human was to walk or hike with a small notebook – carried either by himself or a companion – in which to note his various, evidently rapidly occurring thoughts. He not only felt it a “sin” to sit down but to wake in the morning and read a book. This was the habit of his Basel colleagues, and it helped Nietzsche’s attitude against academics to harden into contempt. These were men suited for the civil service, with wills to match their morbid bodies, he noted.[43]

In critiquing the philologists’ squandering of moments most full of vital energy on books, and in turn, creating a body of work (certainly not a philosophy) based on idleness, Nietzsche was working from the premise that conceptual vitality – philosophy itself – depended on the body’s instinctual vitality – what he called in Ecce Homo, the “surplus of life,” or superabundance of bodily energy flowing freely from the will and instincts.[44]

While he certainly understood transvaluation as part of the undamming of these forces, he also demanded that the body be made to move in order to create most vitally. It certainly seemed to help, as well, that the body move in beautiful environs. Nice, Genova, Sils-Maria, and Torino are striking in their man-made and natural beauty, combining the human nobility he so desired with demanding topographical harshness.[45]

With this in mind we may extrapolate from the “aristocratic festival” the true purpose of the Greek idealization of beauty and creativity. If form equals content, if the mind and body are one and the same, if “the will strives for purity and ennoblement,” then what did the Greeks gain from surrounding themselves with so much beauty? What, in turn, is the cost of modern vulgarity and lack of beauty?

Once again, the distance between the Greeks and moderns makes itself known, for we must remember that Greek and Nietzschean beauty does not prohibit violence or harshness. In fact, as an ascendant element of life, it could not exist without them. While for Nietzsche this had much to do with a transvaluation of modern softness, for the Greeks (Nietzsche’s “Greeks” were always pre-Socratic) it was natural and divine to equate beauty with the extreme effort required for its creation.

With the ideal of the Greeks in mind, Nietzsche began thinking of a new form of life to be made possible by breeding strength. He saw in it another grand transvaluation of the entire sum of modern institutions and values; of the “progressive diminishment” of man’s “will, responsibility, self-assurance, and capacity to set self-serving goals.” To fight this, he recommends moral and ethical systems (at a societal level) that value self-selection and hardship, education only to benefit the higher type of man, distance between ascendant and descendant types, and freely adopting all values that are forbidden by modernity.[46]

Elsewhere, he explains that, as long as democratic and socialist “ideas” are fashionable, it will be impossible for humanity to move en masse toward an ascendant form of life. However, he says, anyone who has studied life on earth understands the optimal conditions for “breeding strength:” “danger, harshness, violence, inequality of rights, . . . in short the antithesis of everything desirable for the herd.”[47] This “fire next time” scenario is of great contrast with the exuberance and pride of individual self-overcoming, but these are not necessarily contradictory as much as complimentary.

For in embracing strength, one must reject weakness; in embracing harshness, one must reject mildness; in embracing beauty, one must reject vulgarity; in embracing oneself, one must reject the mob. Once again, we’ve moved within and without the body, for overcoming the modern Last Man must begin with self-overcoming.


[1] Friedrich Nietzsche, “The Anti-Christ,” in The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and Other Writings, trans. Judith Norman, ed. Judith Norman and Aaron Ridley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 14 [17]. (All quotes from primary Nietzschean sources include page and aphorism number.)

[2] Christian J. Emden, Nietzsche on Language, Consciousness, and the Body (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2005), 138.

[3] Friedrich Nietzsche, Writings from the Early Notebooks, trans. Ladislaus Löb, ed. Raymond Geuss and Alexander Nehamas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 24 (5[25]).

[4] Friedrich Nietzsche, Dawn: Thoughts on the Presumptions of Morality, trans. Brittain Smith (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2011), 77 [109].

[5] An interesting example of how the idea expressed in Dawn 109 evolved can be found in Beyond Good and Evil 36.

[6] Human, All Too Human (1878-1880), Dawn (1881), and The Gay Science (1882).

[7] Emden 105.

[8] Gary Handwerk, “Translator’s Afterword,” in Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human II and Unpublished Fragments from the Period of Human, All Too Human II (Spring 1878-Fall 1879), trans. Gary Handwerk (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2013), 558.

[9] Fredrick Appel, Nietzsche Contra Democracy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999), 21.

[10] Horst Hutter, Shaping the Future: Nietzsche’s New Regime of the Soul and It’s Ascetic Practices (Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2006), 146.

[11] Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human I, trans. Gary Handwerk (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1995), 112 [143].

[12] Paul E. Kirkland, Nietzsche’s Noble Aims: Affirming Life, Contesting Modernity (Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2009), 11.

[13] Friedrich Nietzsche, “Ecce Homo,” in The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and Other Writings, trans. Judith Norman, ed. Judith Norman and Aaron Ridley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 75 [Wise 1].

[14] Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, 77 [Wise 2].

[15] Dirk R. Johnson, Nietzsche’s Anti-Darwinism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 77.

[16] Although it is problematic to discuss them separately – as to truly be the latter one must fully understand and embrace the former – the purposes of the Übermensch for this paper do not require a detailed examination of eternal recurrence.

[17] Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, trans. Adrian Del Caro, ed. Adrian Del Caro and Robert B. Pippin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 22-24 [Despisers of the Body].

[18] Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, 77 [Wise 2].

[19] Friedrich Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 8 [Prologue 4].

[20] Dirk R. Johnson, 59.

[21] Friedrich Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 9-11.

[22] Dirk R. Johnson, 60.

[23] Friedrich Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 10 [Prologue 5].

[24] Friedrich Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 134-136 [On Virtue that Makes Small 2, 3].

[25] Friedrich Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 136-137 [On Virtue that Makes Small 3].

[26] Friedrich Nietzsche, Zarathustra, 137 [On Virtue that Makes Small 3].

[27] Paul E. Kirkland, Nietzsche’s Noble Aims: Affirming Life, Contesting Modernity (Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2009), 8.

[28] Curtis Cate, Friedrich Nietzsche (Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press, 2002), 472.

[29] Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, trans. Carol Dithe, ed. Keith Ansell-Pearson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 85 [III 11].

[30] Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy, 85-86 [III 11].

[31] Dirk R. Johnson, 185.

[32] Friedrich Nietzsche, “Twilight of the Idols,” in The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and Other Writings, trans. Judith Norman, ed. Judith Norman and Aaron Ridley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 208 [Skirmishes 33].

[33] Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, 208 [Skirmishes 33].

[34] Friedrich Nietzsche, Writings from the Late Notebooks, trans. Kate Sturge, ed. Rüdiger Bittner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 242 [14 (29) Spring 1888].

[35] Friedrich Nietzsche, Late Notebooks, 200 [10 (165) Autumn 1887].

[36] Friedrich Nietzsche, Late Notebooks, 242 [14 (11) Spring 1888].

[37] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ, 4-5 [3, 6].

[38] Friedrich Nietzsche, Late Notebooks, 201 [10 (165) Autumn 1887].

[39] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ, 40 [43].

[40] Friedrich Nietzsche, Dawn: Thoughts on the Presumptions of Morality, trans. Brittain Smith (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2011), 190 [306].

[41] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, trans. Josefine Nauckhoff, ed. Bernard Williams (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 212-213 [354].

[42] Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, 87 [Clever 1].

[43] Friedrich Nietzsche, Unpublished Writings from the Period of Unfashionable Observations, trans. Richard T. Gray (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1995) 181-183 [28 (1) Spring-Autumn 1873].

[44] Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, 110 [Birth of Tragedy 4].

[45] David F. Krell and Donald L. Bates, The Good European: Nietzsche’s Work Sites in Words and Images (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997).

[46] Friedrich Nietzsche, Late Notebooks, 166 [9 (153) Autumn 1887].

[47] Friedrich Nietzsche, Late Notebooks, 31 [37 (8) June-July 1885].


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dimanche, 15 juillet 2012

Guillaume Faye on Nietzsche

Guillaume Faye on Nietzsche

Translated by Greg Johnson

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Translator’s Note:

The following interview of Guillaume Faye is from the Nietzsche Académie [2] blog. 

How important is Nietzsche for you?

Reading Nietzsche has been the departure point for all values ​​and ideas I developed later. In 1967, when I was a pupil of the Jesuits in Paris, something incredible happened in philosophy class. In that citadel of Catholicism, the philosophy teacher decided to do a year-long course on Nietzsche! Exeunt Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Marx, and others. The good fathers did not dare say anything, despite the upheaval in the program.

It marked me, believe me. Nietzsche, or the hermeneutics of suspicion. . . . Thus, very young, I distanced myself from the Christian, or rather “Christianomorphic,” view of the world. And of course, at the same time, from egalitarianism and humanism. All the analyses that I developed later were inspired by the insights of Nietzsche. But it was also in my nature.

Later, much later, just recently, I understood the need to complete the principles of Nietzsche with those of Aristotle, the good old Apollonian Greek, a pupil of Plato, whom he respected as well as criticized. There is for me an obvious philosophical affinity between Aristotle and Nietzsche: the refusal of metaphysics and idealism, and, crucially, the challenge to the idea of ​​divinity. Nietzsche’s “God is dead” is the counterpoint to Aristotle’s motionless and unconscious god, which is akin to a mathematical principle governing the universe.

Only Aristotle and Nietzsche, separated by many centuries, denied the presence of a self-conscious god without rejecting the sacred, but the latter is akin to a purely human exaltation based on politics or art.

Nevertheless, Christian theologians have never been bothered by Aristotle, but were very much so by Nietzsche. Why? Because Aristotle was pre-Christian and could not know Revelation. While Nietzsche, by attacking Christianity, knew exactly what he was doing.

Nevertheless, the Christian response to this atheism is irrefutable and deserves a good philosophical debate: faith is a different domain than the reflections of philosophers and remains a mystery. I remember, when I was with the Jesuits, passionate debates between my Nietzschean atheist philosophy teacher and the good fathers (his employers) sly and tolerant, sure of themselves.

What book by Nietzsche would you recommend?

The first one I read was The Gay Science. It was a shock. Then Beyond Good and Evil, where Nietzsche overturns the Manichean moral rules that come from Socrates and Christianity. The Antichrist, it must be said, inspired the whole anti-Christian discourse of the neo-pagan Right, in which I was obviously heavily involved.

But it should be noted that Nietzsche, who was raised Lutheran, had rebelled against Christian morality in its purest form represented by German Protestantism, but he never really understood the religiosity and the faith of traditional Catholics and Orthodox Christians, which is quite unconnected to secularized Christian morality.

Oddly, I was never excited by Thus Spoke Zarathustra. For me, it is a rather confused work, in which Nietzsche tried to be a prophet and a poet but failed. A bit like Voltaire, who believed himself clever in imitating the tragedies of Corneille. Voltaire, an author who, moreover, has spawned ideas quite contrary to this “philosophy of the Enlightenment” that Nietzsche (alone) had pulverized.

Being Nietzschean, what does this mean?

Nietzsche would not have liked this kind of question, for he did not want disciples, though . . .  (his character, very complex, was not devoid of vanity and frustration, just like you and me). Ask instead: What does it mean to follow Nietzschean principles?

This means breaking with Socratic, Stoic, and Christian principles and modern human egalitarianism, anthropocentrism, universal compassion, and universalist utopian harmony. It means accepting the possible reversal of all values ​​(Umwertung) to the detriment of humanistic ethics. The whole philosophy of Nietzsche is based on the logic of life: selection of the fittest, recognition of vital power (conservation of bloodlines at all costs) as the supreme value, abolition of dogmatic standards, the quest for historical grandeur, thinking of politics as aesthetics, radical inegalitarianism, etc.

That’s why all the thinkers and philosophers — self-appointed, and handsomely maintained by the system — who proclaim themselves more or less Nietzschean, are impostors. This was well understood by the writer Pierre Chassard who on good authority denounced the “scavengers of Nietzsche.” Indeed, it is very fashionable to be “Nietzschean.” Very curious on the part of publicists whose ideology — political correctness and right-thinking — is absolutely contrary to the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche.

In fact, the pseudo-Nietzscheans have committed a grave philosophical confusion: they held that Nietzsche was a protest against the established order, but they pretended not to understand that it was their own order: egalitarianism based on a secularized interpretation of Christianity. “Christianomorphic” on the inside and outside. But they believed (or pretended to believe) that Nietzsche was a sort of anarchist, while advocating a ruthless new order. Nietzsche was not, like his scavengers, a rebel in slippers, a phony rebel, but a revolutionary visionary.

Is Nietzsche on the Right or Left?

Fools and shallow thinkers (especially on the Right) have always claimed that the notions of Left and Right made no sense. What a sinister error. Although the practical positions of the Left and Right may vary, the values ​​of Right and Left do exist. Nietzscheanism is obviously on the Right. The socialist mentality, the morality of the herd, made Nietzsche vomit. But that does not mean that thepeople of the extreme Right are Nietzscheans, far from it. For example, they are generally anti-Jewish, a position that Nietzsche castigated and considered stupid in many of his writings, and in his correspondence he singled out anti-Semitic admirers who completely misunderstood him.

Nietzscheanism, obviously, is on the Right, and the Left, always in a position of intellectual prostitution, attempted to neutralize Nietzsche because it could not censor him. To be brief, I would say that an honest interpretation of Nietzsche places him on the side of the revolutionary Right in Europe, using the concept of the Right for lack of  anything better (like any word, it describes things imperfectly).

Nietzsche, like Aristotle (and, indeed, like Plato, Kant, Hegel, and Marx, of course — but not at all Spinoza) deeply integrated politics in his thinking. For example, by a fantastic premonition, he was for a union of European nations, like Kant, but from a very different perspective. Kant the pacifist, universalist, and incorrigible utopian moralist, wanted the European Union as it exists today: a great flabby body without a sovereign head with the Rights of Man as its highest principle. Nietzsche, on the contrary, spoke of Great Politics, a grand design for a united Europe. For the moment, it is the Kantian view that has unfortunately been imposed.

On the other hand, the least we can say is that Nietzsche was not a Pan-German, a German nationalist, but rather a nationalistic — and patriotic — European. This was remarkable for a man who lived in his time, the second part of the 19th century (“This stupid 19th century,” said Léon Daudet), which exacerbated as a fatal poison the shabby petty intra-European nationalism that would result in the terrible fratricidal tragedy of 1914 to 1918, when young Europeans from 18 to 25 years, massacred one another without knowing exactly why. Nietzsche the European wanted anything but such a scenario.

That is why those who instrumentalized Nietzsche (in the 1930s) as an ideologue of Germanism are as wrong as those who, today, present him as a proto-Leftist. Nietzsche was a European patriot, and he put the genius of the German soul in the service of European power whose decline, as a visionary, he already sensed.

What authors do you see as Nietzschean?

Not necessarily those who claim Nietzsche. In reality, there are no actual “Nietzschean” authors. Simply, Nietzsche and others are part of a highly fluid and complex current that could be described as a “rebellion against the accepted principles.” On this point, I agree with the view of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Locchi, who was one of my teachers: Nietzsche inaugurated “superhumanism,” that is to say the surpassing of humanism. I’ll stop there, because I will not repeat what I have developed in some of my books, including Why We Fight and Sex and Perversion. One could say that a large number of authors and filmmakers are “Nietzschean,” but this kind of talk is very superficial.

On the other hand, I believe there is a strong link between the philosophy of Nietzsche and Aristotle, despite the centuries that separate them. To say that Aristotle is Nietzschean is obviously an anachronistic absurdity. But to say that Nietzsche’s philosophy continues Aristotle, the errant student of Plato, is a claim I will hazard. This is why I am both Aristotelian and Nietzschean: Because these two philosophers defend the fundamental idea that the supernatural deity must be examined in substance. Nietzsche looks at divinity with a critical perspective like Aristotle’s.

Most writers who call themselves admirers of Nietzsche are impostors. Paradoxically, I link Darwinism and Nietzsche. Those who actually interpret Nietzsche are accused by ideological manipulators of not being real “philosophers.” Even those who want Nietzsche to say the opposite of what he so inconveniently actually said. We must condemn this appropriation of philosophy by a caste of mandarins who proceed to distort the texts of the philosophers, or even censor them. Aristotle has also been a victim. One can read Nietzsche and other philosophers only through a scholarly grid, inaccessible to the common man. But no. Nietzsche is quite readable by any educated man. But our time can read only through the grid of censorship by omission.

Could you give a definition of the Superman?

Nietzsche intentionally gave a vague definition of the Superman. This is an open-ended yet clear concept. Obviously, the pseudo-Nietzschean intellectuals were quick to blur and empty this concept by making the Superman a sort of airy intellectual: detached, haughty, meditative, quasi-Buddhist—the conceited image they have of themselves. In short, the precise opposite of what Nietzsche intended. I am a partisan not of interpreting writers but of reading them, if possible, with the highest degree of respect.

Nietzsche obviously linked the Superman to the notion of Will to Power (which, too, has been manipulated and distorted). The Superman is the model of the man who fulfills the Will to Power, that is to say, who rises above herd morality (and Nietzsche thought socialism was a herd doctrine) to selflessly impose a new order, with two dimensions, warlike and sovereign, aiming at dominion, endowed with a power project. The interpretation of the Superman as a supreme “sage,” a non-violent, ethereal, proto-Gandhi of sorts is a deconstruction of Nietzsche’s thought in order to neutralize and blur it. The Parisian intelligentsia, whose hallmark is a spirit of falsehood, has a sophisticated but evil genius in distorting the thought of annoying but unavoidable great authors (including Aristotle and Voltaire) but also wrongly appropriating or truncating their thought.

There are two possible definitions of the Superman: the mental and the moral Superman (by evolution and education, surpassing his ancestors) and the biological superman. It’s very difficult to decide, since Nietzsche himself has used this expression as a sort of mytheme, a literary trope, without ever truly conceptualizing it. A sort of premonitory phrase, which was inspired by Darwinian evolutionism.

But your question is very interesting. The key is not having an answer “about Nietzsche,” but to know which path Nietzsche wanted to open over a hundred years ago. Because he was anti-Christian and anti-humanist, Nietzsche did not think that man was a fixed being, but that he is subject to evolution, even self-evolution (that is the sense of the metaphor of the “bridge between the beast and the Superman”).

For my part — but then I differ with Nietzsche, and my opinion does not possess immense value — I interpreted superhumanism as a challenge, for reasons partly biological, to the very notion of a human species. Briefly. This concept of the Superman is certainly much more than Will to Power, one of those mysterious traps Nietzsche set, one of the questions he posed to future humanity: Yes, what is the Superman? The very word makes us dreamy and delirious.

Nietzsche may have had the intuition that the human species, at least some of its higher components (not necessarily “humanity”), could accelerate and direct biological evolution. One thing is certain, that crushes the thoughts of monotheistic, anthropocentric “fixists”: man is not an essence that is beyond evolution. And then, to the concept of Übermensch, never forget to add that ofHerrenvolk . . . prescient. Also, we should not forget Nietzsche’s reflections on the question of race and anthropological inequality.

The capture of Nietzsche’s work by pseudo-scientists and pseudo-philosophical schools (comparable to the capture of the works of Aristotle) ​​is explained by the following simple fact: Nietzsche is too big a fish to be eliminated, but far too subversive not to be censored and distorted.

Your favorite quote from Nietzsche?

“We must now cease all forms of joking around.” This means, presciently, that the values ​​on which Western civilization are based are no longer acceptable. And that survival depends on a reversal or restoration of vital values. And all this assumes the end of festivisme (as coined by Philippe Muray and developed by Robert Steuckers) and a return to serious matters.

Source: http://nietzscheacademie.over-blog.com/article-nietzsche-vu-par-guillaume-faye-106329446.html [3]


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