Random neuron firing, lame philosophy, literary pontificating, movies, sex, clothes & other femme stuff

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The Philosophical Ingredient

I always love seeing what Alli's been reading in continental philosophy! Here she posts a wonderful passage by Nietzsche. Much real estate in my commonplace book is in his name. I can't help posting some of my faves.

How did logic come into existence in man's head? Certainly out of illogic, whose realm originally must have been immense. Innumerable beings who made inferences in a way different from ours perished; for all that, their ways might have been truer. Those, for example, who did not know how to find often enough what is "equal" as regards both nourishment and hostile animals--those, in other words, who subsumed things too slowly and cautiously--were favored with a lesser probability of survival than those who guessed immediately upon encountering similar instances that they must be equal. The dominant tendency, however, to treat as equal what is merely similar--an illogical tendency, for nothing is really equal--is what first created any basis for logic.
Nietzsche, The Gay Science

In order that the concept of substance could originate--which is indispensible for logic although in the strictest sense nothing real corresponds to it--it was likewise necessary that for a long time one did not see or perceive the changes in things. The beings that did not see so precisely had an advantage over those who saw everything "in flux." At bottom, every high degree of caution in making inferences and every skeptical tendency constitute a great danger for life. No living beings would have survived if the opposite tendency--to affirm rather than suspend judgement, to err and make up things rather than wait, to assent rather than negate, to pass judgement rather than be just-- had not been bred to the point where it became extraordinarily strong. from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s.111, Walter Kaufmann transl..

Cause and effect: such a duality probably never exists; in truth we are confronted by a continuum out of which we isolate a couple of pieces, just as we perceive motion only as isolated points and then infer it without ever actually seeing it. The suddenness with which many effects stand out misleads us; actually, it is sudden only for us. In this moment of suddenness there are an infinite number of processes which elude us. An intellect that could see cause and effect as a continuum and a flux and not, as we do, in terms of an arbitrary division and dismemberment, would repudiate the concept of cause and effect and deny all conditionality.

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s.112, Walter Kaufmann transl.

What is new, however, is always evil, being that which wants to conquer and overthrow the old boundary markers and the old pieties; and only what is old is good. The good men are in all ages those who dig the old thoughts, digging deep and getting them to bear fruit - the farmers of the spirit. But eventually all land is depleted, and the ploughshare of evil must come again and again.

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s. 4, Walter Kaufmann transl.

Groundhog Day. Screenplay by Danny Rubin, based on an idea by Friedrich Nietzsche
-- What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence - even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!" Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?... Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s.341, Walter Kaufmann transl.

-- Someone took a youth to a sage and said: "Look, he is being corrupted by women." The sage shook his head and smiled. "It is men," said he, "that corrupt women; and all the failings of women should be atoned by and improved in men. For it is man who creates for himself the image of woman, and woman forms herself according to this image." "You are too kind-hearted about women," said one of those present; "you do not know them." The sage replied: "Will is the manner of men; willingness that of women. That is the law of the sexes - truly, a hard law for women. All of humanity is innocent of its existence; but women are doubly innocent. Who could have oil and kindness enough for them?" "Damn oil! Damn kindness!" someone shouted out of the crowd; "Women need to be educated better!" - "Men need to be educated better," said the sage and beckoned to the youth to follow him. - The youth, however, did not follow him.

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s. 68, Walter Kaufmann transl.

The greatest danger that always hovered over humanity and still hovers over it is the eruption of madness - which means the eruption of arbitrariness in feeling, seeing and hearing, the enjoyment of the mind's lack of discipline, the joy in human unreason. Not truth and certainty are the opposite of the world of the madman, but the universality and the universal binding force of a faith; in sum, the non-arbitrary character of judgements... Thus the virtuous intellects are needed - oh, let me use the most unambiguous word - what is needed is virtuous stupidity, stolid metronomes for the slow spirit, to make sure that the faithful of the great shared faith stay together and continue their dance... We others are the exception and the danger - and we need eternally to be opposed. - Well, there actually are things to be said in favor of the exception, provided that it never wants to become the rule.

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s. 76, Walter Kaufmann transl.

Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.
Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, pt. II, ch. 29

The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets successfully through many a bad night.
Beyond Good and Evil

"On Truth and Lying in an extramoral sense"

If somebody hides a thing behind a bush, seeks it again and fids it in the self-same place, then there is not much to boast of, respecting this seeking and finding; thus, however, matters stand with the seeking and finding of "truth" within the realm of reason. If I make the definition of the mammal and then declare after inspecting a camel, "Behold a mammal," then no doubt a truth is brought to light thereby, but it is of very limited value, I mean it is anthropomorphic through and through, and does not contain one single point which is "true-in-itself," real and universally valid, apart from man. The seeker after such truths seeks at the bottom only the metamorphosis of the world in man, he strives for an understanding of the world as a human-like thing and by his battling gains at best the feeling of an assimilation. . . . Only by forgetting that primitive world of metaphors, only by the congelation and coagulation of an original mass of similes and percepts pouring forth as a fiery liquid out of the primal faculty of human fancy, only by the invincible faith, that this sun, this window, this table is a truth in itself: in short, only by the fact that man forgets himself as subject, and what is more as an artistically creating subject: only by all this does he live with some repose, safety, and consequence. If he were able to get out of the prison walls of this faith, even for an instant only, his "self-consciousness" would be destroyed at once. Already it costs him some trouble to admit to himself that the insect and the bird perceive a world different from his own, and that the question, which of the two world-perceptions is more accurate, is quite a senseless one, since to decide this question it would be necessary to apply the standard of right perception, i.e. to apply a standard which does not exist. On the whole it seems to me that the "right perception"--which wold mean the adequate expression of an object in the subject--is a nonentity full of contradictions: for between two utterly different spheres, as between subject and object, there is no causality, no accuracy, no expression, but at the utmost an aesthetical relation, I mean a suggestive metamorphosis, a stammering translation into quite a distinct foreign language, for which purpose however there is needed at any rate an intermediate sphere, an intermediate force, freely composing and freely inventing.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Listed on BlogShares